Tuesday, 30 December 2014

How I Wonder What You Are - Jane Lovering

About the book...
“Maybe he wasn’t here because of the lights – maybe they were here because of him …”
It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.
But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no common drunkard, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.
Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn …



Buying Links:
Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/SU59KS 

Guest Post...
How I Wonder What You Are begins with our heroine, Molly, riding her horse Stan over the North York Moors, where she encounters the naked and unconscious Phinn Baxter. The first part of this is based on personal experience, the second part is not … maybe sadly, maybe not, I don’t know, given how curmudgeonly Phinn is after Molly has rescued him. But I have spent quite a lot of time riding over the moors in all weathers.  In fact…I just might have managed to set off my own ghost story on one occasion – draw close around the fire and gather your loved ones to you, while I tell my spooky tale…
It was a foggy morning and, up on the moors the fogs can be so thick that not only can you not see your hand in front of your face, you can’t even be sure which way your face is facing. I was riding my pony Jack, up on the high moors where you really only get sheep, dedicated walkers and lost people, along one of the old sandy tracks that run over the moors.  Cantering along through the fog, singing (me, not the horse), when I heard voices.  Not wanting to hurtle my way through a family picnic (unlikely, given the fog, but you never know, tourists can be funny things), I pulled back to a walk and Jack and I carried on our way, to hear somewhere off to our left a puzzled discussion about having heard the sound of an approaching horse, that vanished.  The track being sandy, they’d heard the jingle and creak and thump of us cantering, but now we were walking Jack’s hooves were muffled and we weren’t making much noise.  The fog was so thick that they were probably only a few yards off the track, but they couldn’t see us.
I know I should have said something, maybe called out a ‘good morning’ but I more sort of … didn’t.  We just rode on past and back down into the valley.  Silently. So, somewhere, there’s a group of people who just might believe that they heard the ghost of a Bronze Age warrior galloping towards them over the moors.  When really it was a very Twenty First Century me on a scruffy pony tiptoeing past them in the fog.
About the author...
Jane was born in Devon and now lives in Yorkshire. She has five children, four cats and two dogs! She works in a local school and also teaches creative writing. Jane is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has a first class honours degree in creative writing.
Jane writes romantic comedies which are often described  as ‘quirky’.
Her debut Please Don’t Stop the Music won the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and the Best Romantic Comedy Novel award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.




Monday, 29 December 2014

Skating at Somerset House - Nikki Moore

About the book....
The first short story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore!

There’s nothing Holly Winterlake loves more than Christmas and skating, so working as an Ice Marshall at London's Somerset House is a dream come true.

Noel Summerford hates the festive season and is a disaster on the ice, so taking his godson to Somerset House is his idea of the nightmare before Christmas!

Things are bound to get interesting when these two collide…

With a forty foot Christmas tree, an assortment of well meaning friends and relatives, and a mad chocolate Labrador, will this festive season be one to remember … or forget? 

About the author...
Nikki Moore lives in beautiful Dorset and writes short stories and touching, sexy romantic fiction. She's thrilled to be published by Harper Impulse, the digital first romance imprint of Harper Collins.

Be My Valentine, a collection of poignant short stories by Nikki and other Harper Impulse authors was published on 13 February 2014 and has received four and five star reviews. Her debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love was published by Harper Impulse on 24th April 2014 and will be available in paperback on 25th September but can be pre-ordered via Amazon now.


On 21 February 2014 her short story 'A Night to Remember' was published in digital and print editions of the Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply, edited by author Sue Moorcroft. Best-selling authors including Carole Matthews, Katie Fforde and Adele Parks feature. Nikki's short story in that anthology has been bundled with stories by Katie Fforde and Heidi Rice in a shortened ebook available from 1st April.


Nikki's was a finalist in several writing competitions from 2010 onwards, including Novelicious Undiscovered 2012. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she has contributed to their magazine 'Romance Matters,' has far too much fun attending the annual conferences and has also chaired a panel and taken part in a workshop at the Festival of Romance.


She posts about three of her favourite things - Writing, Work and Wine - on her blog and believes in supporting other writers as part of a friendly, talented and diverse community so she often features other authors and new releases on her blog.


You can follow her on Twitter @NikkiMoore_Auth or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NikkiMooreWrites and she invites you to pop in for chats about love, life, writing or reading ... she is an avid reader so loves to talk about books!


My thoughts...
Many thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for providing an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.

Firstly, I couldn't start without saying what a gorgeous cover - it's what grabbed me from the start - blue being my favourite colour and the fact I had a December trip to London planned - a perfect opportunity to check out the setting before reading the book.


There are two main characters Noel Summerford who is anti Christmas and loves summer and Holly Winterlake, she loves Christmas and hates summer. The irony of their names was totally wasted on me until I come to write my review - wow Nikki, I'm sorry.


It really is incredible when an author decided to write a series of novellas and has to get your attention in book one, creating characters with depth and mysteries, that will keep you hooked to the end.  Nikki has done this with spots on - I was hooked from the first page.


This was a truly, scrumptious read set at Somerset House where the Skating rink sits every year next to the Fortnum and Mason tree - an absolutely perfect setting.  Holly is an ex-professional skater, working at the rink and befriends Jasper, Noel's godson. 


When Noel and Holly meet there is a definite fizz in the air, although both do their best to appear unfazed by each other, each claiming to be too busy for love and relationships.  The banter was hilarious and I'm sure every other reader like me was waiting for the cracks to appear in their outward armour.  


I loved Nikki's descriptions of the rink and the skaters - they were so accurate, people either over dressed like Noel, so stiff they can't move, or so clearly on an impulse visit, totally underdressed and cold!  Whilst I was at Somerset House I watched so many people like Noel, clinging to the edge of the rink, doing the scissor action with their legs going in opposite directions whilst flailing their arms like windmills as they headed for the ice.


It's such a feel good book, I was so behind Holly, rooting for her to thaw the ice in Noel's heart and get him to see Christmas through her eyes, what he must have thought when he rescued Holly and had to take her home to her family - he was met with an explosion of colour, family and laughter, everything he disliked about christmas (or so he says!) I laughed so hard at the entertainment her family dragged him into - ouch, is all I'll say - I've been there LOL.


I literally cannot wait to read the second part in this #LoveLondon series - New Year at The Ritz

A Proper Family Christmas - Chrissie Manby

About the book...
Annabel Buchanan has it all. A privileged life. Pots of cash. Looks and manners born of generations of fabulous breeding. At least, that's what she likes people to think. But Annabel's carefully created image is about to come crashing down.

With her beloved daughter Izzy in need of a kidney transplant, Annabel is desperate to find a suitable donor. That's how she comes to admit that before Annabel Buchanan there was Daisy Benson, given up for adoption by her teenage mum and dad.

Hoping her biological family will be able to help, Annabel traces the Bensons and is horrified by the embarrassing, chavvy bunch she discovers. They're definitely not her kind of people. And she is equally baffling to them.


But as Christmas approaches and Izzy's situation brings the Benson and the Buchanan families closer, will Annabel discover at last that blood is thicker than water?
About the author...
Chrissie Manby is the author of seventeen romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her recent novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award.

Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. 

You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.


My thoughts...
I recently joined an online book group and A Proper Family Christmas was our first book to be discussed at the end of December.  

The story begins with Annabel Buchanan showing some of the visitors to the annual village fete around her manor house.  Not because she wants to, nor because she needs the money - it's a free tour but because she feels she should!  She really does personify a stereotypical spoilt, rich, bored, stay at home kept woman.  On the surface she has it all, the property, clothes, holidays and pots of money.  But all that collapses when her teenage daughter goes to a music festival with some friends and ends up hospitalised.

A can of worms is opened when Annabel who was adopted at birth decides to trace her birth family, because she feels that only they can help Izzy her daughter to once again lead a normal life.  She approaches them with half a story and hopes to take what she wants and run.  It's fair to say that A Proper Family Christmas is a book with hidden depths.  I formed opinions about the characters early on, the descriptions were so vivid and life like and the scenario's so very real. My opinions changed many times as the characters evolved.  This book is so accurate we all form opinions based on first impressions but often the impression we give to strangers is a facade.  Chrissie peels away the layers of Annabel and her rich friends, her adoptive mother, birth parents, grand-parent and sisters.  Breaking down barriers and exposing the true characters.

I picked this book up expecting an uplifting, xmas themed book that I'd smile and ooh and ahh my way through whilst eating and drinking my body weight in chocolates and wine. Oh how wrong I was.  It begins way before christmas and yes, it does end with a fuzzy, warm feeling but not before we tackle some hard hitting subjects head on - adoption, serious illness, teenagers, drugs, bulimia, dementia, perceptions and ideas about what is right/wrong from a family who just has enough, surviving more on love and family to a family that seemingly has everything but finds some things cost way more than money could buy.

Wow, I don't know how Chrissie managed it but the feelings and thoughts of everyone affected by each of the scenario's was covered in a sensitive but real way.  It was a breath of fresh air to get the truth, not just what I call the 'public face'. What this book demonstrates in a huge way is that family, love and support has a bigger impact, providing greater support  than any amount of money and superficial friendships ever could.

I particularly loved Annabel's transformation more than any of the others.  She set out to use her birth family for her own ends, smooching and smoozing her way into their lives - wanting to take, only giving them what she had to, yet not realising they weren't quite buying her story and an overheard conversation puts paid to any headway she'd made. She had nothing but kindness and love shown to her yet still continued in her blinkered way but when the chips really were down they all rally to help each other, putting aside their own issues and feelings as only a family can and does - it is this that made the story so real for me.

A lovely book that's more about people, family and relationships than anything else.  The Christmas setting prompts the feeling of goodwill and friendship.  Christmas to most of us means, family, friendship, generosity and kindness - goodwill to all and Chrissie wraps up this story in the twinkle and bows of christmas - demonstrating that nothing is impossible with family and friends sharing the journey with you.

I look forward to reading more from Chris Manby in the future because this author delivers exactly what it says on the tin plus a lot more besides - thank you

.

Cross Stitch - Amanda James

It gives me great pleasure to welcome, once again, to my blog the lovely Amanda James who tells us why she likes writing time travel books.

About the book...

A stitch in time may save nine but a cross-stitch spells disaster …

It should be the happiest day of her life. Despite past heartache, Sarah Yates is finally marrying her true love, John Needler.

But Sarah and John can’t pretend they’re an ordinary couple. They’re time travellers and where time travel is involved, nothing runs smoothly. One minute Sarah is saying her vows and the next she is hurtled back in time to a country that is on the cusp of war, and into the company of the bad-tempered Veronica Ratchet.

Newly-wedded bliss is certainly not on the cards for Sarah as events see her travelling from the British punk era to 1950’s America. And even when she returns home she can’t escape Veronica.

But when the past and the present collide, that’s when the real problems start …

Buying links:

Amazon US:  http://goo.gl/MMHGfA
Guest post....
The best thing about writing time travel for me is that I can send my characters to experience my favourite time periods. Before I wrote full time I was a history teacher, and though I found all aspect s of history interesting, I did have my favourites. I taught The American West and Medicine Through Time at GCSE and adored both. It was fantastic to be able to re-visit those periods in A Stitch in Time. I also taught both the World Wars at Key Stage 3 and Sarah, my main character is now no stranger to the Blitz of 1940, having visited in both A Stitch in Time and my sequel, Cross Stitch.

I also taught aspects of the women’s rights, slavery, and civil rights both in Northern Ireland and the United States. It was the latter that I decided to send Sarah back to in Cross Stitch as I have always been in awe of the bravery and determination of people like Rosa Parks, the lady who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on the bus. Though 1955 was a very dark period in Alabama’s history seeing segregation and racist organisations such as the Klu Kux Klan common place, it was also a time of great change because of people like Rosa and Martin Luther King. Sarah, though distressed at the situation in which she found herself coped admirably and saved a very important person. (In case you don’t know, Sarah is tasked with saving important people in the past on each of her jaunts back in time.)

Sarah also finds herself catapulted back to 1979 too with sometimes hilarious consequences. She has to contend with saving someone, while at the same time trying to explain the punk rock era to Veronica Ratchet, a very grumpy straight-laced schoolteacher from the past. I won’t say too much more about what happens or I will spoil the story for those who wish to read it.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest today!

About the author...

Amanda James, has written since she was a child, but has taken it up seriously in the last five years.
Amanda has written many short stories and has four novels currently published. A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 by http://www.choclitpublishing.co.uk and has met with great success.
The newest, also with Choc Lit are Somewhere Beyond the Sea and Dancing in the Rain (March 2014)
Righteous Exposure is published by Crooked Cat Publishing http://crookedcatpublishing.com/






Contact details...
Twitter - @akjames61
Facebook mandy.james.33

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Chrissie Manby

I recently joined an online book-group and our first book up for discussion on the 29th of December is A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby.  In anticipation of our first meeting I asked Chrissie if I could ask her a few questions to introduce her to the group and to break the ice a little.  I will of course be posting my review on here after the book group meeting and sharing with you the thoughts of the other group members.
An Interview Chrissie Manby

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Chrissie Manby.  I grew up in Gloucester but have been living in London for the past twenty-two years.  I have been writing full-time for about fifteen years now.  Before that, I had a variety of temp jobs, including abridging erotic novels for audio-books and typing up town-planning applications.  When I’m not writing, I love drawing and dancing.  I hate doing Pilates but I try to practice that regularly because otherwise my back would seize up (a side-effect of typing all day).  I love London but I love Florence even more and one of my dreams is to live there. 

  • How and why did you get into writing?

When I was fourteen, my English teacher at secondary school encouraged me to send one of my short stories to Just Seventeen.  The fiction editor, Jacqui Deevoy, gave me my first break and published the story in a summer fiction special. Jacqui was incredibly encouraging and I published around twenty stories in Just Seventeen while I was at school and college.  That early success gave me the confidence to write my first novel (as Stephanie Ash) aged twenty-two.  I’ve had plenty of rejections over the years but that early success made me believe I could make a leaving from writing.

  • If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?

I’d love to be a fashion designer.  In fact, that’s what I always wanted to be.  Unfortunately, I went to the type of school that prioritised academic subjects over the arts, so instead of A-Level Art and a foundation course, I did English, French, History and a degree in Experimental Psychology.  I’m revisiting my childhood dream next year though.  I’m starting a fashion styling course in January.

  • Describe a typical day in the life of Chrissie Manby the author.

No such thing as a typical day for me!  I don’t have set writing hours but I do always try to get around 2000 words done.  At the moment, I get around three months to write a novel so anything less than 2000 words a day would mean I missed my deadline.  Sometimes 2000 words is easy and they can be done before lunchtime (at the beginning of the book, especially).  Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth and I can only write ten words before I need to look at Facebook.  My New Year’s resolution is to stay off-line until I’ve got my word count done.  I’m hoping it will make me much more productive.

  • You’ve also written under a pseudonym - tell us about that?

I’ve written under four pseudonyms!  Stephanie Ash, Olivia Darling, Stella Knightley and Chris Byman.  My first five novels, which were erotic, were Stephanie Ash books.  They were recently rereleased in the frenzy surrounding fifty shades.  The Chris Byman book was a companion guide to a TV series called ‘Dark Skies’.  The Olivia Darling books are Jackie Collins style bonkbusters.  And the Stella Knightley books, my favourites, are historical erotica, set in Venice, Paris and Berlin.

  • Do you read and write in the same genre?

I do read in my genre but I also read non-fiction, history, books about fashion and horror.  Adam Nevill’s horror novels are my secret vice.  I love them.  He is such a great writer.  I have to read them in the daytime though. They are that scary. 

  • Tell us about your current book

A Proper Family Christmas is the second in a series of books about the Bensons, an ordinary family from Coventry.  It’s very hard to talk about this book without spoiling the ending of A Proper Family Holiday, so I will just say that PFC touches on themes of adoption, organ transplants and family secrets.  It doesn’t sound very jolly but there is some comedy in there, courtesy of six-year-old Jack, Doctor Who fanatic, and his great-Granddad Bill. 

I can also tell you that this was a very difficult book to write as it touches on issues that are very close to my heart.  I was terribly nervous before the first reviews came in and I was absolutely sick with worry when I gave a copy to Mum!  When she told me that she had enjoyed the book, it meant more to me than a million five-star Amazon reviews.  Hopefully, if you’ve read the book yourself, you’ll understand why.

  • Is there a message for your readers in your books and what do you hope they take from them?

I don’t consciously include ‘messages’ in my books but if someone finds something I write resonates with them or gives an answer to a question they’ve always wanted to write, I’m happy.  I’ve had quite a few emails about A Proper Family Christmas, from people who say that it’s helped them to understand a bit about how adoption feels from the adult adoptee’s point of view.  

  • What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m busy writing two more books starring the Bensons.  One to be released in the summer, the other next November.  The summer one is set on a Mediterranean cruise.  The winter book, which is set around a wedding, will be much more ‘Christmassy’ than A Proper Family Christmas, I promise.


Now for a little fun, a glimpse at the real 
Chrissie Manby:-

Are you prepared for Christmas or on the last minute?

This year I’ve prepared for Christmas with military precision as I’ve been doing a German language course this month and I’ve had lots of homework. There’s bound to be something I’ve forgotten though.

What Christmas traditions from your childhood do you still uphold?

I don’t have a working chimney, otherwise I would definitely send a letter to Santa / my New Year wishes up in smoke!  That’s one of my favourite childhood memories: Dad taking our letters to Santa and ‘posting’ them up the chimney on the heat from the fire.  He told us they went straight to the North Pole.  I was terribly disappointed when, one year, the chimney was being cleaned and I saw fragments of letters my sister and I had sent the previous Christmas in the coal dust.  

How do you typically spend Christmas?

With my parents on the South Coast.  My sister and her husband live nearby.  They’ve got two fantastic children – my nephews – and I love spending time with them around Christmas.  Their excitement is infectious!  I had an early Christmas treat last weekend when I looked after the boys for a whole weekend while their parents went shopping in London.  We went ice-skating.  Their first time ever and my first time in almost twenty-five years.  A brass-band was playing carols as we skated.  It was wonderful. 

Who cooks the Christmas dinner in your house?

I’m generally at my sister’s and I’m afraid to say I leave it to her and Mum.  They’re both excellent cooks.  I can burn water.

What’s your favourite Christmas tipple? 

Champagne!  I love champagne and would drink it in preference to anything else all year round.  But at Christmas you’ve got to have Bailey’s, haven’t you?  Very cold.  Over ice.  Over ice-cream, even better!

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things? 

Both!  I love savoury snacks.  Pigs in blankets!  Sausage rolls.  Lovely.  But I could also eat a family sized trifle in one sitting.  Hmmm.  This year I’ve been revisiting lots of things I did / wanted to do as a child.  Maybe I should just buy a trifle and go for it.

A co-ordinated tree or an explosion of colour?

My tree is pretty coordinated.  I started from scratch about seven years ago with a dash round the Christmas decorations at B and Q. The theme is silver and gold. It’s easy to coordinate if you do it all at once. But I have collected other baubles on my travels over the years and I love getting them out each year and remembering where I bought them.  

Friends coming round  for nibbles - home-made or shop bought?

Ha!  Shop bought every time.  I am a legendarily bad cook.

Play games or watch the Christmas movies/specials?

Hmmmm.  I’m not a big fan of games since they always seem to end up with someone in tears!  Especially Monopoly.  But I can very rarely find anything I want to watch on the TV at Christmas either.  I’m afraid I just don’t get Doctor Who and Downton has completely passed me by.  But my favourite Christmas film is White Christmas so a DVD of that would be most welcome.

In an ideal world your perfect Christmas would be….?


Spent with my family, with snow outside and good news from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan on the TV. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Nicky Wells - Rock and Roll Xmas Promo Party!!!

Nicky’s Rock and Roll Xmas Promo Party!!!

I can't tell you how pleased I am to be part of the Promo Blitz Party organised by J B Johnston for the author Nicky Wells - two truly lovely people!

Fairytale In New York 
New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.

Fairy Tale in New York is now available in Kindle and paperback editions from all Amazon domains, including: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Spirits Of Christmas 
A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol At one time, up-and-coming rock singer Jude had it all: a great band, a platinum record, a loving girlfriend. This Christmas, however, he is well down the road towards spontaneous self-destruction. 

Unwitting at first, Jude has progressively alienated his band and driven away the love of his life. Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve, he has broken the final taboo during a disastrous gig. Yet Jude doesn’t see how badly his life has derailed, not until a ghostly procession of legends passes through his bedroom with a series of vivid and powerful wake-up calls.

Will the Spirits help Jude put the friendship, love, and rock music back into his Christmas?

Spirits of Christmas is a modern-day rock’n’roll adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. This novella will enchant romance readers, rock lovers, fans of ghost stories, and everybody who adores the festive season.


Fairy Tale in New York is available in Kindle and paperback editions from all Amazon domains, including: Amazon UK : Amazon.com

About Nicky Wells...
Romance that Rocks Your World!
Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with her own monthly show. Rock on!



Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places. 

Guest Post by Nicky...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Or so the song goes. Excuse me for a moment while I go away and sing very loudly…. Ah, now, that’s better. You see, I love Christmas. Love, love, love it. Lo, of course I’m not quite as mad as some people; I wouldn’t want Christmas every day, and I certainly couldn’t eat a Christmas dinner every day, but I do love the season when it comes round. I’m the anti-Grinch. I’ll do just about anything in the spirit of Christmas.

First of all, there’s the lights. I think Christmas, I think lights. Little twinkly fairy lights, colourful lights, stars, the star (that would be the Christmas star). Candles of all shapes and sizes. 

And of course I always hope for snow. I love me some snow. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Being snowed in good and proper, just once, just for a day or two, is totally on my wish list. Obviously the fridge and freezer would have to be fully stocked, and the central heating and hot water would have to be fully operational. But you know… isn’t it so romantic, the idea of enough snow to keep you at home, build snowmen, go sledging, get red noses and cold fingers and then come home to… lights. Obviously! And hot chocolate with marshmallows. A plate of biscuits. Or mulled wine. (Side note—if you’re in the US: yes, I recall your tweets and FB messages during #Snowmageddon14. I know it’s not all that great when you have to contend with it for real. I know the stuff is cold and dangerous. But I’ve never experienced a snowmageddon, never. So to me… well, I’d just love it. Just the once. End of side note. LOL!)

Next up, there’s singing. I love my rock music, as well you know. And Christmas rock tunes are pretty much on continuous play in my house from 1 December. I tell you, Noddy Holder has nothing on me! But I also adore carols, and I’m in the process of arranging my little family into a mini three-part harmony choir, just for fun. Because there’s no better way of expressing the joy of Christmas than through music, don’t you think?

The one thing that ties all of these things together—the lights, the snow (if we’re lucky), the food, the singing, is family and friends. Christmas is a time for being together, for spending time, for looking after others.

Note how I haven’t mentioned the present thing yet? I have a bit of an issue with presents. I love giving them, but I struggle receiving them. And I have a big problem with the whole commercialism of it all. I could just as easily ‘do’ Christmas without big presents, or without any physical presents at all. Hey, no, I don’t mean depriving the kids. I’m not the Grinch! I love seeing the light in my kids’ eyes when they open presents! But that’ll do me. It can stop there. A few presents, and that’s it. I don’t need mountains. In fact, I don’t want mountains.

And now that you know all this, you’ll understand how Fairy Tale in New York came about. It’s a story about Jude and Carrie and baby Maya, but it’s also a story about the essence of me, of my perfect Christmas. Lights, snow, friendship, togetherness, singing, food… and no ‘other’ presents to speak of. And do you know what? It seems to work. It’s striking a chord with people. I’ve had readers email me telling me how much they enjoyed the story and its message. Truth be told, I wasn’t aware, when I was writing, that I was weaving a message into the narrative. I guess that kind of happened by the by, but now that it’s out there, I’m proud of it. Fairy Tale is just that—a real fairy tale, where the impossible happens in the most unlikely circumstances, and everybody puts faith in everybody else, helping out, making do, making merry.

On that note… Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you have a good one, and a rocking great 2015!
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