Tag Archives: #bookreview

Still Haven’t Found You – latest novel by Sarah M Reed

Just over a year ago I introduced indie author Sarah M Reed to you all. 

Did you miss it? Nevermind, here’s the link to that introduction:-

Introducing Sarah M Reed | Coral McCallum

On 11th February, Sarah released her latest novel Still Haven’t Found You.

To quote the book’s description –

He is what her dreams are made of, but she is the one he never saw coming…

After Cade Lawson is discharged from the Army, he comes home with more than just physical scars. Losing his best friend, Blue, was like losing a limb, and he doesn’t know how to move forward. Isolating himself from others, he vows to keep his solitude for the rest of his days. Until she comes along and ruins his plans…

No stranger to grief herself, Clara Stewart has been on a quest to find the mysterious stranger haunting her dreams for nearly a year. When she finally finds him, he is nothing like what she expected. A giant of a man, Cade is gruff and unapproachable, but Clara persists, believing in a bigger purpose behind their meeting. As they discover how their lives are inexplicably intertwined in more ways than one, they begin to realize how they each may be the only one who can truly save the other…

A slow burn, brooding romance about love, loss, and starting over, with a guaranteed happily ever after.

This book does not disappoint!

I found myself with several hours of reading time last Saturday night and devoured this book more or less in one sitting. No spoilers from me, but very quickly I was invested in both main characters. This is a slow burning romance as Sarah describes in her blurb but the chemistry is clear for all to see from the very first time Cade and Clara meet. That smouldering chemistry is the key to the success of this tale. Sarah’s description of Cade’s home also captivated me. I could see myself there!

On a personal level there were aspects of Clara that tugged at my heartstrings; there were aspects of Cade that tugged at my heartstrings. The main thing though is that they were both believable characters who by the final scenes felt more like friends than fictional characters.

Loved it! Can’t wait to read Aaron’s story and see where that one leads.

This book gets 5 * from me

If you don’t believe me, you can check out Still Haven’t Found You and Sarah’s other novels on Amazon worldwide.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-M-Reed

https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-M-Reed

Introducing fellow indie author Nicole Thorne

 Some of you may remember that earlier this year I featured The Gingerbread Tea House on my blog? No? You missed it?

Fear not…

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2020/03/16/fancy-a-good-book-with-that-coffee-and-cake/

And then the world went into lockdown……..

Nicole, however, has been a busy lady and, since our first catch up, has published not one but two novels.

So, I’d like to welcome her back to my blog to talk about what she’s been up to creatively this year.

I first “interviewed” you back in March, so how has life treated you so far in this crazy world that is 2020?

Wow! I don’t think either of us predicted how this year was going to pan out. What incredibly strange times we’re living in. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that none of my loved ones have been badly affected by the virus itself. My 20 year old daughter thought she had the virus back in April, she had heart surgery as a baby so I always worry about her health, but she was fine. I own a cafe, so of course I had to close the business. I was closed for a couple of weeks, but then customers started contacting me and asking for afternoon tea. I ended up delivering afternoon teas and homemade scones all over Widnes. It’s been difficult from the point of view of my business. Not knowing if the business will survive and trying to decide what to do in the longer term is tough. Since we reopened though my customers have been amazingly supportive. The good will i have received has been heart-warming. I live in the North West and case numbers are high again. I’m waiting to find out over the next few days if we are going to be told to close again, but it’s simply a case of waiting and hoping we can weather the storm. Whatever happens I have lots to be thankful for. Lockdown gave me a little time to stop and think. I had been writing Chasing Butterflies for years. Lockdown gave me the chance to pull it all together and edit it before self-publishing. I also managed to start The China Doll before I reopened the business. Your debut novel Chasing Butterflies was published in May this year.

Your debut novel Chasing Butterflies was published in May this year. How did it feel holding your “book baby” in your hands and seeing your name on the cover?

Holding my own book was a dream come true. I have always dreamed of being an author. I have written bits and bobs all my life but completing Chasing Butterflies gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Has Chasing Butterflies been well received? I see it currently has 5 stars on Amazon. Well done!

I have had some really great feedback for Chasing Butterflies. As with most creative people, I really lack self-confidence and I’m my own worst critic. My heart thumped in my chest as I read every word of every review, but i was really pleased with the feedback I got. Readers seemed to really engage with Hope’s story and rooted for her throughout the book.

Without giving any spoilers, what made you want to tell Helen’s story in The China Doll?

After I finished Chasing Butterflies, Helen was still in my thoughts. As a mother myself I felt for her. I really felt that there was more of her story to tell. She was such a damaged character, it seemed a disservice to her not to tell her story and explain how she became so fragile.

Tell me a bit about your approach to your writing. Are you a meticulous planner or do you tend towards letting your characters go with the flow?

My approach to Chasing Butterflies was very different to my approach to The China Doll. I wrote Chasing Butterflies over the course of 5 years. I wrote, rewrote, changed and edited along the way. I wrote scenes as they came to me and didn’t have so much of a plan. With The China Doll, I had a much more linear approach. I set myself word counts for each week and tried to stick to my plan as much as possible. I did deviate in places, but the story was more evolved in my mind before I started to write.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

I own a cafe where we have a book exchange. Following the pandemic we put in bookcases to separate tables. During quiet times I can be found sat at a table in the corner, hiding behind a bookcase and typing away. At home I sit in the lounge on my sofa with a chaise lounge. I put my laptop on my knee and become immersed in the story I am creating. My husband Sean sits with me, often practicing his guitar playing while I’m working.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I guess the best advice I have been given would be that you can’t edit a blank page. I was terrible when writing Chasing Butterflies for revisiting the same scene again and again to edit it. It really slowed my writing down.

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors out there?

Set yourself weekly word count targets. Keep your targets realistic. Don’t compromise on quality over the quantity of words.

So, what’s next creatively? Are you working on anything else just now?

I’ve started my next project. It’s a stand alone book and not part of the Secrets and Lies series, although I do plan to return to those characters in the future. My next book “My Friend Bill” is the story of Jack. His parents were killed in a car accident when he was a baby and he was brought up by his somewhat resentful grandmother. Feeling unloved and unwanted, Jack develops an unlikely friendship with Bill. But who is Bill and why is he drawn to Jack?

Thanks, Nicole. Can’t wait to meet Bill and Jack!

I was fortunate enough to be given an ARC copy of The China Doll by Nicole Thorne and I loved every word of it.

The prequel to Chasing Butterflies, The China Doll tells the back story of Hope’s mother, Helen. Without giving any spoilers away, if you’ve read Chasing Butterflies, it answers a lot of the unasked questions and makes sense of the past.

If you’ve not read Chasing Butterflies then you’ve time to read book one in this Secrets and Lies series before The China Doll is published on 14 November 2020.

Nicole’s writing is vivid as she paints the scenes in this second book in the series. You can hear the seagulls and smell the salt in the Cornish air. Like the sea itself, this story draws you in and leaves the reader captivated by its beauty. There’s a fragility to this tale but also a huge amount of inner strength to the characters. Both books are making we want to travel to Cornwall and remind myself of its rugged beauty.

Great read! Well done, Nicole.

And if you missed my review of Nicole’s debut novel Chasing Butterflies..

I was drawn into Hope’s story right from the start and my heart immediately went out to her as her world falls apart around her. Chasing Butterflies is well written and, in some respects, flits about like a butterfly as the reader is drawn into Hope’s present and gradually enlightened about her past. No spoilers but I loved how past and present eventually entwine.

You can find both books on Amazon-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nicole-Thorne/

https://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Thorne

You can also catch up with Nicole herself on Facebook-

https://www.facebook.com/NicoleThorneAuthor

The One Star Review…..

Resilience-Quotes-and-Sayings

So there it sat in all it’s horrific glory- a one star review on Amazon.com.

Well, to be fair, it had to happen one day. You’re never going to please everyone all of the time.

Then I re-read it…. and I re-read it again…. and then I burst into tears.

Ever since I first posted on this blog, way back in December 2013, I have been working on building my psychological resilience. Sharing the words that I write with people still scares me half to death. FACT! It’s a fear I’ve worked hard to overcome over the past six or seven years. To see my book baby described like that was heart breaking for me.

There are three ways that folk react when faced with an adverse situation. It’s known as the Cycle of Resilience. When faced with an adverse situation, folk might:

  • Erupt with anger
  • Implode with overwhelming emotions, go numb and then become unable to react.
  • Simply become upset about the situation.

Only option 3 promotes well-being. This is the approach taken by resilient people.  This is the approach I took. Options 1 and 2 lead to people playing the victim by blaming other people and to rejecting their usual coping mechanisms when faced with a difficult or challenging situation.

There have been numerous studies into psychological resilience and how to develop and sustain your own resilience. Long story short and  grossly simplified, there are four key factors to this:

  • The ability to make realistic plans and being capable of taking the steps necessary to follow through with them.
  • Confidence in your strengths and abilities
  • Communication and problem solving skills
  • The ability to manage strong impulses and feelings.

 

I walked away from the laptop until I had regained control of my emotions then calmly sat back down at the desk and re-read the review again, contemplating what to do.

The review in question was of Shattered Hearts and, to be truthful, it was vile. It was peppered with expletives. It was inaccurate in its description of the storyline. It misrepresented the book. It was offensive.

I slept on the issue then, the following morning, I reported it to Amazon. I did not request that it be removed. I merely reported it as being inappropriate and offensive due to the language used. If the review had been an honest reflection of the book I’d have left it where it was and taken the feedback on the chin.

Amazon removed it within a few hours. Whew!

But…. I know it was there. (I’ve no idea how many other people around the world read it but that’s not a point I dare contemplate for too long and I feel I should apologise if it offended anyone who had the misfortune to read it)

In all honesty it’s bothered my conscience that it was removed almost as much as it distressed me in the first instance when I read it. People are entitled to express their opinions  but it was the right thing to do  to report it to Amazon before it risked offending any prospective readers.

I’d be lying if I said that was an end to the matter. The whole thing has niggled for a few weeks now. It dented my self-confidence. It made me doubt my storytelling ability then I got it all back into perspective. I drew on my psychological resilience. I drew on my coping strategies.

I picked up my pen and went back to doing what I’d like to think I do quite well- I went back to writing and resumed work on Book Baby 6.

 

 

 

 

Have you seen the Silver Lake dragon?…

blue dragon 3

His inbox was crammed full of unread mails – most of which were advertising junk. Before this infuriated him further, he tweaked his junk mail filters, then returned to his inbox. There was one email from Maddy that caught his attention. The subject heading was “Silver Lake album and merchandising artwork.” He opened the message, scanning the details about a band meeting scheduled for Friday to discuss the attachments. Jake opened the first of four attachments to reveal the three draft designs for the album cover, each significantly different. Instantly his eyes were drawn to the distinctive signature on the drawings. He opened the other three attachments and found a variety of other designs tagged as t-shirt proposals and miscellaneous. One proposed album design caught his eye – a dragon, with its wings spread out nestled inside an intricate Celtic knot. The twist of its tail reminded him of the Celtic trinity that was in the band’s logo. When had Lori found time to complete this portfolio? Why hadn’t she told him? Suddenly, he desperately wanted to talk to her, but it was four o’clock in the morning. Smiling for the first time since Monday, Jake reached for his phone and turned it on. A barrage of text alerts pinged through – he ignored them for now. Quickly he typed, “Love the designs. Love the Celtic dragon knot. Love you. J x”. He hit send.

 

(extract from Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series)

 

If you want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

 

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Have you met Ellen?

Ellen final version front cover

“It’s fine, Rocky,” said Ellen, praying she sounded calmer than she felt. “Luke, I’ll make a deal with you. One error and I’m gone. One from you and the result’s the same. You go.”

 

Want to know more? Check out Ellen on Amazon today.

 

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

Dead In A Day….. introducing a new “whodunnit”

 

dead in a day

To those of you who follow this blog regularly, you may recall I introduced you to a fellow indie author at the start of this year – PF Gregory.

To those of you who missed the introductions, here’s the link to that post https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/introducing-pf-gregory/

Well, Paul has been busy this year and has recently published his third crime novel, Dead In A Day.  I finished reading it at the weekend and loved it!

As a fellow author, I take my hat off to crime writers who can weave such an intricate plot and keep their readers guessing. I took the opportunity to ask Paul for a little insight into the book that I could share here along with my review of the book.

“I guess the spark of inspiration came from the ‘WHAT’ would kill a person? Readers of this book – and of a certain age, will likely know a high profile murder was committed with the same WHAT in London, decades ago. I then needed an ingenious and original way for the HOW? Having devised this, I next needed to build a plot and storyline around these points.”

So, having decided the WHAT, how do you decide on the WHERE?

“In terms of setting, then – and sticking to my ‘Ten Commandments of Davieson’ I wanted another rural village setting and a handful of quintessentially English elements. We start, then, with a village Open Gardens and a good excuse to have all my list of characters in the same place together.

As a lover of real ale, I also included a real ale/homebrew and Microbrewery element – and the traditional village pub with its weekly quiz night.

Another influence was witnessing an English Civil War re-enactment at an Open Farms event with the family in 2017. I now had a nice backdrop in which to set sinister events.”

There’s a colourful cast of characters in Dead In A Day and a couple of familiar faces.

“Davieson and Kent are the key protagonists again but (with almost equal billing) so is a village gossip and stereotype nosey busybody. In some respects, this character is a little like one of my literary heroines ‘Miss Marple’ but hopefully my character comes across as a lot more annoying and somewhere between the well-intentioned Marple and the annoying deaf old lady in Fawlty Towers!

As in my previous novel there are links, over-and-above Davieson/Kent, to my other novels so we share a character and building with ‘The Evil From Among You’ as I continue to build and develop my fictional world.”

And that leaves us with the HOW and the WHO………

If you want to discover more about that then you’ll have to read Dead In A Day for yourself as you’re not getting any spoilers here.

You can pick up a copy via Amazon. I’ll even make it easy for you. Here’s the links:

Amazon.com :  https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Day-P-F-GREGORY-ebook/dp/B07FS6X68G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1541967746&sr=1-1&keywords=pf+gregory

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Day-P-F-GREGORY-ebook/dp/B07FS6X68G/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541967814&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=dead+in+a+day+pf+gregory

 

Oh and as for my review of Dead In A Day….well, here it is.

Dead In A Day is PF Gregory’s third crime novel and, in my humble opinion, his best work to date.

Set in the quaint English village of Folestree Parva, PF Gregory introduces us to a colourful cast of characters.  Due to the creative twists and turns of the storyline any one of them could easily have been the murderer. I particularly liked Mrs Richards, Folestree Parva’s answer to Dot Cotton.

Once again, this novel features veteran crime reporter Merv Davieson and Chief Inspector Kent. An unlikely pairing on the face of it but, in fact, a very likeable pairing. Think Watson to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Great characters who grow stronger and more believable with every outing.

On a personal note, I do hope Phillipa Shales was not based on any romantic novelists that the author knows!

PF Gregory captures all the key elements of a great murder mystery in Dead In A Day. Like his previous two novels, Kindly Invited To Murder and The Evil From Among You, this book will keep you guessing right to the bitter end.

Already looking forward to the next one!

 

I’d like to thank Paul for the insights into Dead In A Day. If you want to keep up to date with Paul and his work you can find him here:

https://www.facebook.com/Kindly-Invited-To-Murder-a-novel-by-PF-Gregory-1837097583236305/

 

paul gregoryPauls books

 

 

Book Baby 4- waiting for the stork to arrive

Stork 3

I’m fidgety. I’m growing impatient. I’m clock watching. I’m restless. I’m not sleeping well (ok, I seldom sleep well). I can’t concentrate on my writing.

It can only mean one thing….. I’m on the final count down to the arrival of Book Baby 4 aka Ellen.

Ellen final version front cover

Ellen is all set to be released on 1 September and this period feels a bit like the calm before the storm. In reality, there is very little calm about me (“No change there,” I hear my friends cry!)

The hard work is complete. The story has been told. Finally, the spellchecking and editing are done. Several ARC copies have been circulated for review. UPS are due to deliver the final paperback proof copy tomorrow (Please don’t let it get lost!) I’ve sense checked the Kindle edition. Pre-order for the e-book has been set up worldwide on Amazon. I’ve drafted the “script” for the online launch party. I’ve even ordered some promo guitar picks to use as a giveaway item.

What have I forgotten? What have I missed?

While I was stressing about things to a friend earlier, they described me as a “pro”. I fell about laughing.

This may be Book Baby 4 but I don’t feel like a “pro” at anything! A pro at stressing and worrying maybe!

When I’d stopped giggling, I did reflect on the comment. I know I am my own worst critic, not just of my creative efforts but in most aspects of life. One thing I appreciate hough is how incredibly fortunate I have been on this creative journey over the past few years. I may not have sold thousands of books but no one has said that my book babies are “ugly”. All three to date have earned heart-warming reviews and are enjoying 4.5/5 star status on Amazon.co.uk. It’s taken a while, a long while, but I am proud of what I have achieved so far. It totally blows my mind to think that people from all around the globe have downloaded and hopefully read the stories that I have created in the comfort of my kitchen (and the front doorstep).

I may be an “indie author” but I couldn’t have made it so far along this creative journey without the love and support and tolerance of some very special people (You know who you are)

So, all that’s left for me to do is to try to be patient and wait for 1st September to arrive so that I can introduce you to my new book baby, Ellen.

In the meantime, if you want to show your love and support for this wee anxious indie author, you could perhaps be so kind as to pre-order the Kindle edition of Ellen here:

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

Or you can accept the open invite to the online launch party

https://www.facebook.com/events/1634651586662114/

And me?

Well, while I’m waiting I might as well continue work on Book Baby 5, the next instalment in the Silver Lake series,

An indie author’s work is never done!

 

 

 

Dead Hope Book Tour…YAY it’s my turn!

thumbnail_DeadHopeTourBanner(1)

When I was offered the opportunity to host a date on the Dead Hope Book Tour, I grabbed the opportunity and was ready to run with it…then I had to wait…and wait…and wait… until my scheduled date arrived.

The Dead Hope Book Tour started on 27 February and has visited many blogs before coming to rest in mine for the day.

So, how did I fill the time while I waiting for the tour to reach me?

Well, for a start I read, or should that be devoured, this amazing book. I read it over a couple of days.

So, how to fill the remaining time while waiting for the tour to reach me?

Ok, I’ll come clean. I was introduced to Nicky just over two years ago, via a mutual writer friend, and have followed her work closely ever since. She has also played an important part in my own author journey with her Photoshop expertise. Nicky and her “magic wand” have been my writer “fairy godmother” on more than one occasion! This is the lady who has taught me, via Facebook, email and one or two frantic phone calls, all I know about designing book covers and using Photoshop. She’s a lady of many talents and an absolute STAR!

With a few days to go until the Dead Hope Book Tour arrived at my blog, I reached out to Nicky and asked if she’d answer a few questions to give you more of an insight into the lady behind book. I was delighted when she said “Yes”.

Those who have read Nicky’s previous books will already be aware that Dead Hope is her first thriller so my first question was “Why the change in genre? What sparked the idea for the story?”

“This is a great question, Coral; I’ve actually asked myself the same thing more than once! Let me just say that this wasn’t planned. I didn’t sit down one day and thought to myself, you know, Nicky, you should really write a thriller. Which is ironic, really, given that I read crime and thriller by the truckload, probably more so than romance. But I digress.

So, I had this idea for a book: a rock star abandons his normal life and goes undercover in an office job like a normal person. Cue all sorts of romantic comedy moments as he discovers true love whilst incognito. That was the idea. Except when I started planning in depth, I was missing the answer to one critical question: how did he get there? What would have caused him to go under cover into a “normal” life? I didn’t have a good answer, so I went back to the drawing board. And suddenly, all manner of dark ideas came out, mostly fuelled by the concept of “witness protection.” A suspense theme took hold and transformed my rock star hero into the daughter of a rock star. So far, so good. However—when I started writing, the suspense took over and I literally was swept away by the thrill of it all. The result: DEAD HOPE.”

As I read Dead Hope, I fell a wee bit in love with one of the central characters, Kay. So, my next question was around whether Nicky has any plans to revisit Kay and Cat Hope and continue their story in the future.

“Do you know, I hadn’t considered it, but several people have asked me if I would resurrect my team of amateur super sleuths for future mysteries… so I’ll give it some thought. I’m not ruling it out, but I’ll need to see if the right story presents itself for the two of them.”

To date, Nicky Wells has published eight books, including Dead Hope. A  massive achievement! I was keen to learn out of all the characters she’s created, who is her favourite? Which one does she miss the most now that their story has been told?

“First of all, thank you! It feels like a big achievement. I certainly did  see eight books coming when I first launched Sophie’s Turn on the world; and most certainly not the eight particular ones I wrote. It’s been a great journey.

I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite character. That would be like picking faves among my children. I love them all! But I do miss Sophie and Dan. They were my first creation and their epic relationship still haunts me.”

(I miss Sophie and Dan too)

One thing I’ve learned about Nicky is that she always has at least one idea on the go and that she plans her books like a military expedition. (Total contrast to my own more fluid approach.) I’d read that she has another thriller in the pipeline and I’m already looking forward to reading it, but wanted to know if there were any plans for more rock star romances?

“Truth be told, I have three more thrillers in the pipeline; one is being written at this moment in time, and I’m about 20K words in, wahoo! The next one is fully planned and jostling for attention like an unruly child. And the third is on paper in outline form but will require a LOT of research, so I’m getting with that part (the research) while I’m writing the next two books.

I do have more plans for rock star romances and general romances as well. I just need a clone to get all these books on paper!”

Like myself, Nicky is a busy, working mother of two and probably never has enough hours in the day. I know I don’t! It’s a juggling act so I was curious to learn how Nicky maintains the balance between her working life, precious family life and her creative world.

“I’m a ruthless planner. There’s a time and a space for everything. My family time is absolutely holy, and my writing time is sacrosanct. That said, ideas can’t be boxed up that easily, so I do get attacked by writerly creative notions at random, often inconvenient times of day and night, and I have learned to do one of two things. Either I carry a notepad and pen with me to scribble down urgent, emergent ideas post haste. Or I beg paper and writing implements from random strangers (I’ve been known to scrounge scrap paper, receipts and napkins) to do the same.”

A keen writer since childhood, I was curious to know which book or author had inspired Nicky to write.

“If you want the absolutely honest answer, it would have to be Enid Blyton. The Famous Five really got me hooked on reading (albeit in their German translations), and the first five or six books I ever attempted, at about age 10 onwards, were children’s books in the same vein as The Famous Five. I desperately wanted to be her. That didn’t quite happen, but it certainly kindled (pun intend) a love for reading and the written word.”

Finally, I asked Nicky if she had any words of wisdom to share with any aspiring authors reading this.

“Wow. Where to start? First up, have faith. If you feel the urge to write, write, and believe in your words. Don’t let anyone belittle your “hobby” or your efforts. If you’re setting stories on paper (or screen, as it were), then you are an author, whether you’re published yet or not. So, be confident.

Next up, be professional, and don’t rush to publication in your great excitement to have penned “The End.” What do I mean by that?

Here goes. No one writes the perfect first draft. No one. When you’re done, put the printout or manuscript aside for a few months. Don’t look at it, don’t think about it. After a due amount of time has passed, go back and read your work afresh as though you’d never seen it before. Allow yourself to be critical. If you get stuck on a passage or if something rankles, don’t rationalise it away: mark it, and fix it. If it sticks out to you, the creator, it will stick it out to your reader.

That accomplished, enlist help. Either contract a critique writer or start building a cadre of test readers, a group of five to ten people (not necessarily your closest friends) who are likely and able to give you an honest, critical opinion. Gather their feedback and see if there are any themes of criticism; if so, do something about those.

Then, and only then, are you ready to either sub your work to an agent or publisher, or to begin the process of publishing it yourself.

Publishing your work is not quick; it takes time, it takes patience, it takes at least fifteen rounds of reworks and proofs, and you will have to go through the obligatory “will this ever finish?!?” anguish before the thing is properly baked. But don’t give up; these birthing pains are normal, natural, and fruitful.

Go do it, and good luck!”

HUGE thanks to Nicky for taking the time out of her hectic schedule to talk to me. Really appreciate it.

So, the reason we’re here is to celebrate the launch of Dead Hope.

I was fortunate enough to be given an ARC copy of Dead Hope and, as I’ve already said, devoured it over one weekend. (I have since bought two copies – one Kindle for me and one paperback as a gift for my mum.)

I’ve also taken a moment or two to collect my own thoughts on Dead Hope –

Coral’s Amazon & Good Reads Review of Dead Hope by Nicky Wells

In a move away from her previous rock star romance genre, Nicky Wells has written her first suspense thriller. And a great job she’s done too!

Dead Hope is a tricky book to tag by genre. I’ve wrestled with this thought for a day or two and “rock’n’roll thriller” is the best description I’ve come up with so far.

Without giving the plot away, Dead Hope sees Cat Hope, spoiled little rich girl, given a somewhat unique sentence, a fresh start in the real world and an introduction to all sorts of things the rest of us would take for granted, like a mundane 9-5 job. It’s at work that she meets Kay. Both of them have ghosts in their pasts. I love the connection that Nicky has created between them.

You can’t take the rock chick out of Nicky entirely though as throughout the tale Cat seeks to learn the truth around her rock star parents’ deaths almost two decades before.

Dead Hope moves along at a fast, easy to read pace with plenty of twists to the plot. As a debut effort in the highly competitive thriller market, Nicky is off to an impressive start here. She has also maintained the right level of romantic interest to ensure fans of her previous seven books remain engaged. (I’ll admit to developing quite a crush on Kay as the tale progressed.)

One minor criticism, and it’s my own personal curiosity perhaps, but I’d have liked to have had more of an insight into Cat’s guardian, Ron. I couldn’t help but feel his character was a little “light”.

All in all, a fantastic first venture into the suspense thriller market. Highly recommend this one!

And, Nicky, what about more of what happens next? (Hint! Hint!)

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Dead Hope – Synopsis (purely to tempt you!)

Genre: Thriller/Romantic Suspense

Release Date: 23 February 2017

 Cat Hope doesn’t want to go to prison. She needs a job, and she needs it fast: judge’s orders. Caught in a drugs raid while trying to dull the pain of her parents’ deathaversary, Cat is serving a ‘rehab’ sentence under a new identity in the deepest depths of rural nowhere.

Kay Mahon, office worker by day and hacker by night, is on the run from a past life that he’d rather not remember.

When their paths cross, they discover that the night that derailed Cat’s future nineteen long years ago also changed the path of Kay’s life. Confused and intrigued, they begin to investigate the truth behind the deaths of the successful rock star couple Jackie and Adam Hope. Little do they know that their quest is putting Cat in grave danger.

After Cat goes missing, Kay finally puts the pieces together. But how is he going to find Cat and her abductor in a place as big as London before it is too late?

You can check out Dead Hope for yourselves via the following links

 

KINDLE

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Hope-thrilling-suspense-romance-ebook/dp/B06WD89J1V/

US: https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Hope-thrilling-suspense-romance-ebook/dp/B06WD89J1V/

 

PAPERBACK:

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Hope-Nicky-Wells/dp/1542376157/

US: https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Hope-Nicky-Wells/dp/1542376157/

 

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AUTHOR GIVEAWAY

Click on the link below to enter

 

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be03017215/

 

Prize 1: £10.00 Amazon voucher and 1 signed bookmark

Prize 2: £5.00 Amazon voucher and 1 pen

Prize 3: 1 mug, 1 signed bookmark, 1 pen

Prize 4: 1 mug

5 runner up prizes: signed bookmarks

 

Good Luck!

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Author Bio

About Nicky Wells: Love & Thrills

 Nicky Wells writes captivating romance and breathtaking thrillers featuring famous (or infamous!) feisty heroes and extraordinary villains. DEAD HOPE is her eighth book and the first published novel in her “Wake Up Dead” themed thriller series, with the next two books scheduled for release through the course of 2017 and 2018. Nicky has previously published seven works of romantic fiction both with US publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, and independently.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. She loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s hopelessly addicted to reading crime novels by the truck load.

And most importantly!!!

You can check out Nicky’s other books below. You’ll love them!!

 

Nicky’s books: Sophie’s Turn | Sophie’s Run | Sophie’s Encore | Spirits of Christmas

| Fallen for Rock | Fairy Tale in New York | Seven Years Bad Sex

 

 

Want to follow Nicky’s journey? You can reach out to her through the following links-

 

Join Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+