Category Archives: novella

BOOK TITLES ~ Finding the right one

Do you struggle with finding the “right” title for your writing – whether it’s a short story, novel, poetry or even a blog post?

Do you have to have your title before you begin to write?

How many times do you change your title before you’re finally happy with it?

The title for my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past, came from a sentence in the book.

book titlesThe cover was designed around that. It works, don’t you think?

I thought I would use the same concept to come up with a title for the second book in the series and in keeping with the time-travel element, came up with Shadows From Her Past.

Don’t get all excited. Book two isn’t out yet. Book two isn’t anywhere near being ready. Book two doesn’t have a synopsis or back cover blurb yet (and that’s a whole other story – and yes, it will also require a title).

So finding a title can be an arduous task but I’ve looked around online and found these three sites that might be of help to you. There are more, but these were in the top of the google search results.

tarasparlingwrites.com/book-title-generators/

fantasynamegenerators.com/book-title-generator

kitt.net/random-book-title-generator

I’d love to hear how you deal with this conundrum. Drop me a line in the comments sharing how you find the “right” title for your work.

 

Robbie Burns Night with Janice Horton

Robbie Burns Night Celebrations with Janice Horton

Robbie Burns

I’m so glad you were able to work me into your busy schedule, Janice. You’ve been snap-gapping all over the place of late so I’m thrilled to have you here at Celtic Connexions. You’re looking very “Scottish” today, all decked out in your tartan. Janice Burns Night1

I take it you’re ready for a good old-fashioned ceilidh – Canadian style.

Here, come sit by the fire Robbie Burns take the chill off (escorts my esteemed guest to one of the tartan wing-back chairs facing the crackling fire ).

 

 

Robbie Burns
photo from Flickr

I’ll summon my manservant, Donald (the Red) , to bring us some refreshments. Robbie BurnsWould you care for a wee dram? Perhaps Glengoyne – Scotland’s only un-peated single malt? (rings bell and gives manservant instructions)

I think you’ll like what I have in store for you at the ceilidh tonight. I tried to get the Old Blind Dogs but they weren’t available. That’s okay as I do have a vast collection of Scottish music on CDs – Old Blind Dogs, The Corries, Runrig and the list goes on.

(swish of swinging door as the manservant returns with a tray carrying a decanter of whisky – 18 year old Glenlivet no less, two glasses and water). “Your whisky, my lady,” he says as he places it on the table.

“Thank you.”

As the manservant straightens to leave, I cry out… “Donald, where’s your trousers?” because so unlike him, he’s wearing a kilt!

Overcome by the shock of seeing him dressed in that fashion, it takes me a moment to regain my composure. (fans self with copy of Leopard Magazine).

Well, while we wait for our meal to be ready, Janice, let’s chat about your novel. I’m really interested to find out more about it and your creative process. You spent three months on the Island of Utila researching and writing Castaway in the Caribbean. Can you tell me more?

Yes, I had the most amazing time in 2014 visiting, researching and writing in the Caribbean. While there I spent a lot of time in boats (as one features in my new novel) and even got to sail off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands in a schooner used in the making of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie! After visiting lots of islands, my husband and I settled down to island life for a stay of three months on Utila, a tiny Caribbean island off mainland Honduras. This is where I wrote the first draft of ‘Castaway in the Caribbean’.

When do you expect to release it?

April 2015. I have promotional online book tours organised for April and May.

What made you choose that title?

I feel the title suits the story line perfectly. The premise of the book is that the two main characters, a surly boat captain who hates tourists and a girl holidaying in the Caribbean who desperately needs to get to a neighbouring island, end up castaway together on a remote island. It’s a fun, fast paced romantic adventure novel that I hope will be the perfect beach read for 2015!

The manservant returns and tells us that dinner is served… so we pick up our drinks and at the first skirl of the pipes, Robbie Burns wait for him to enter the room and we get piped in to the formal dining room (I wish I had one of them, too) to the strains of The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie for a traditional Robbie Burns feast.

Once everyone is around the table, we begin with The Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,  And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,  Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Our first course is Cock-a-leekie soup.

Robbie Burns
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Not strictly traditional as I don’t put prunes in it.

You mentioned (or did I pick up on it) something about the names of your characters. Was there a particular reason why you used those names? If so, can you share it?

I wrote the first draft with my husband’s name, Travis, as the romantic hero’s name and the heroine of the story is called Janey (which is kind of like my name, Janice). I fully intended on changing the names in the second draft but for some reason ended up not doing so. The characters of Castaway in the Caribbean are Travis and Janey in their own right – they are not meant to be me and my husband – and the story is definitely a work of fiction!

The soup course is cleared away and the skirl of the pipes begins again. The door opens and the haggis is brought into the room with great pomp and circumstance.

Address to the Haggis

 

Robbie Burns
a wee dram for the haggis
Robbie Burns
Haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps

We’ll have a bit of a musical interlude courtesy of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers before we carry on with the rest of the evening’s festivities.

What’s your next project? Do you have another novel started?

I have a few ideas in mind for new projects. I’m travelling again this year and I’d like to continue the theme of writing romantic adventure novels set in places that inspire me.

Now that we’ve talked about your WIP (work in progress for those not accustomed to author-speak and abbreviations), tell us more about you and how the readers of Celtic Connexions can follow you?

Thank you, Melanie. I really enjoy connecting with people. I’m a keen blogger. I’m always on Facebook and I love to Twitter too. So here’s my links:

My Author Blog

Follow me on Twitter: @JaniceHorton

Friend me on Facebook Page

Link to my Amazon Author Page

Check out my page on Goodreads

My LLm Bookshelf

Associate Editor at: Loveahappyending Lifestyle Mag

Janice Horton writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Look out for Janice’s new release for 2015Castaway in the Caribbean

Robbie Burns

and her Amazon Kindle bestselling booksBagpipes and Bullshot

Robbie Burns

andReaching for the Stars

Robbie Burns

and her fun ‘Voodoo Romance’ series of novellas.

Robbie Burns

Her nonfiction guide to online promotion ‘How To Party Online
Robbie Burns
is recommended reading for all authors and writers by publishers. Janice is a regular blogger from her website at janicehorton.co.uk and you’ll also find her on Facebook and Twitter. She is also associate editor at the award winning online magazine Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine where she produces her monthly ‘The Bookshelf’ feature and her seasonal ‘Snap Gap Travel’ features.

Thank you so much for coming to my “un”conventional Robbie Burns Night. I hope you won’t have a sair heid tomorrow. I see the chairs have been rearranged in the front room so shall we move the party in there and let the ceilidh begin?

Gay Gordons, anyone?

 

Book spotlight ~ STAR OF THE TEAM by Beverly Stowe McClure

star of the teamSTAR OF THE TEAM

MG contemporary

Blurb:

A girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Eleven-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.

Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:

A great read at any age!

I loved this book. The characters are well developed, the action in the basketball scenes is authentic and the plot is strong. Shattered dreams, pre-teen angst and jealousy are portrayed in a way that the reader is pulled deeper into the story.

As an adult, I found the book short but for the middle grade audience it’s targeted, the length is perfect. Perhaps this could be the beginning of a series that follows Kate, Emily and the others through school, sports and beyond.

I can’t wait to read more of Beverly’s work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/k5y1mky

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/18r6ox4

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

star of the teamAbout Beverly:

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories.

You can follow Beverly here:

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

FAIRY TALE IN NEW YORK by Nicky Wells ~ Cover Reveal

Fairy Tale in New York

Fairy Tale in New York Paperback

Blurb:

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.

Excerpt:

‘I can’t believe it’s all over. Where did three weeks go?’

Carrie smiled at Jude while shifting their baby daughter, Maya, onto her other hip. The check-in queue at JFK airport had ground to a complete standstill, and Carrie was beginning to struggle with her six-month-old’s weight. Unperturbed, Maya gurgled happily and snuggled her head onto Carrie’s shoulder.

‘She’s half asleep again,’ Jude commented and stroked his daughter’s rosy cheeks. He planted a quick kiss on Carrie’s forehead before responding to her question.

‘It’s crazy, isn’t it? Three weeks on tour all over the US, and suddenly it’s done. Seventeen gigs in twenty-one days. My God, I’m not half knackered.’

‘It was worth it, though. You were a runaway success.’ Carrie grinned with proprietorial pride at her rock star boyfriend. ‘They loved you.’

Jude chuckled. ‘They did, too, didn’t they? Gosh, San Francisco was a riot. I thought they’d take the stage down.’

‘I’ve never seen so much underwear flying your way. You’re gonna have to watch it, mate, or your girlfriend might get the wrong idea,’ Carrie teased.

‘Oh no, she won’t. She knows I love her.’

Jude looked Carrie deep in the eyes. He hoped she knew how much he loved her. One of these days, he ought to make an honest woman out of her. He had planned to, of course. He even had a ring. But what with Carrie having fallen pregnant, she hadn’t wanted to get married before the baby was born. ‘I don’t want to waddle down the aisle,’ she had joked when they had talked about it almost a year ago now. ‘I want to float, serenely.’

Add the band’s recording deal and the UK and European tours into the mix of their crazy life, and there hadn’t been the right time. There hadn’t been any time. They had just about managed to furnish a nursery for Maya, but that had been it on the family front.

New Year’s Eve, Jude resolved silently. I’ll propose to her then, and we’ll marry in the summer.

He snapped to abruptly when he realised Carrie was still talking.

‘I think Dan was a little put out at not getting quite so much attention himself after you gave up the stage,’ she was saying.

Dan was the mentor, manager, and record label owner behind Jude’s band, The Blood Roses, and also the lead singer of his own band, Tuscq. He was now on his way to Toronto for a special Christmas Eve show.

‘Dan was fine. He’s thrilled that it’s going so well for us. And I am looking forward to a lovely quiet Christmas at home, just me and my girls.’

Jude wrapped Carrie and the now sleeping Maya into a hug. The Blood Roses weren’t opening for Tuscq for the Toronto gig and had therefore gone their separate ways. Jude and Carrie elected to go back to London straightaway, but the rest of the band had added a short trip to Las Vegas to their itinerary.

‘Home. Ha. If we ever get there,’ Carrie grumbled. She yawned widely. It was only five-thirty a.m. Their flight to London Heathrow was due to leave in a little over two hours, but the queue hadn’t advanced for at least fifteen minutes. ‘Here, can you hold Maya a minute? She’s getting rather heavy.’

Jude took the baby out of Carrie’s arms and rocked her contentedly. He hadn’t expected to become so utterly bewitched by a toothless, hairless, and demanding little being.

Quite suddenly, the distant babble of voices that had been permeating his consciousness rose to a shouted exchange. Jude turned towards the front of the queue, curious to see what the commotion might be.

‘I really, really need to get on this flight,’ a harassed-looking man in an expensive suit reiterated. He wiped his brow with a monogrammed white handkerchief and tapped his fingers on the counter impatiently. Jude couldn’t help but eavesdrop along with the rest of the terminal.

‘Look,’ the man continued, adopting a more reasonable tone. ‘I know I’m not booked on this flight. But tomorrow is too late for me. I’m willing to pay anything at all to get a seat, any class. First class, cattle class, I really don’t care. I need to get home.’

My Review:

Homeless for Christmas. Of all times of the year, it has to be the worst. Jude, Carrie and baby Maya find themselves stranded in New York City over Christmas when a snow storm closes JFK Airport.

I’ve enjoyed all of Nicky’s books and this one is no exception. Having never been to New York City and only seen it in movies, her narrative brings the city to life under the cover of magical, Christmas snow.  Nicky’s writing is strong, and makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to this family.

Heartwarming~even the most miserly curmudgeon will enjoy this Christmas novella.

A 5-star read!

Portrait6About 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!

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

Good news! Fairy Tale in New York is now available for pre-order via Amazon Kindle.

Find it in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O98EMRG/  and the US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O98EMRG/ and, of course, in all other Kindle stores. One-Click today, and the novella will magically appear on your Kindle on its official launch day of 10 November 2014.

Join Nicky:  Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association |Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads| Pinterest

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.

 

 

The SHINE ON Award: 7 Random Things About Me

Melanie Robertson-King is the proud recipient of the prestigious SHINE ON Award in the ‘books involving her Celtic connections’ category.

Shine On AwardI’ve been nominated for the SHINE ON award! In order to accept the honour bestowed upon me by fellow Ottawa Romance Writer, Maureen Fisher, I have to share seven random bits of information about me with you – my readers.

So without further ado,

  1. Like my nominator, I’m an only child but both my parents came from large families. My mother was one of eight children and my father was one of twenty (his father was married twice and had 10 children with each wife).
  2. I’m a first generation Canadian. My father came to Canada as a Home Child through the Orphan Homes of Scotland.
  3. Not much of a surprise, but I love Scotland and all things Scottish and travel to the ‘auld country’ as often as possible, most recently this past August. I’m rather partial to a certain 18 year old Glenlivet single malt whisky and love haggis.
  4. I’ve never lived any further away from Brockville than 15 miles. Before I started school, I lived in a winterized cottage on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
  5. I have a background in Computer Programming and work in payroll for an Eastern Ontario trucking company.
  6. I’ve been a story-teller since I was a kid. My cousins and I would gather in the woodshed at my grandmother’s in the dark and scare each other silly with ghost stories.
  7. I can live without chocolate. Yup, you read that right. If I have it fine and if I don’t, well that’s fine, too. Doesn’t say much for someone who writes romance.

The SHINE ON award is one that keeps on giving, so now it’s my turn to nominate the following worthy authors:

Nicky Wells – the ultimate Rock Star author who writes Romance that Rocks Your World

Janice Horton – Scottish Author who writes Contemporary fiction with humour and heart

Joanna Lambert – who writes Stories Written with Passion & Inspired by Music

And, you can read Maureen’s SHINE ON post here.

 

 

Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol by Nicky Wells

Spirits of Christmas: A Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

SpiritsChristmas_NW_CoverAt 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.

 Amazon.co.uk Kindle | Amazon.co.uk Paperback

Amazon.com Kindle | Amazon.com Paperback

 EXCERPT

 ‘Hiya, Jude!’

The voice emerged from the door, and Jude’s head whipped round as if drawn by a string.

‘Hiya, Jude,’ the voice repeated cheerfully. Unexpectedly, it launched into the first line of one of Jude’s most favourite songs. Jude once again sank onto the bed, his legs refusing to carry him with the shock of this second apparition.

‘Is this really you?’

For a moment, Jude’s second otherworldly visitor abandoned his song and remained silent, motionless, allowing Jude to take a good, long look. The sideburns, the nose, the defined chin, the round glasses were clearly visible despite the spirit’s transparent appearance. Everything about this figure was familiar, yet nothing was quite as it should have been. It was as though Jude was looking at a hologram, a distorted, stretched vision where nothing quite fitted together.

Nonetheless, Jude found his voice. ‘Oh my God, it is you!’

Excitement made his exclamation strong and clear. The figure flinched at the sudden burst of noise, but Jude ploughed on. ‘This is…this is totally unreal. I mean, imagine this—here’s me in my bedroom, and there’s you, come to visit me.’

‘I’m not who you think you see,’ the apparition interrupted. ‘I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past.’

 Inspiration for Spirits of Christmas…

 Writing this novella was a bit of an inevitability for me, all things considered. If you don’t already know me, you have to understand that I simply love rock music. Rock musicians are like Viagra for my soul. I’m also a sucker for romance and a good-old fashioned happy ending. Moreover, I love the Christmas season: the lights, the sweets, the laughter. Combining all those things ~ rock, romance, and Christmas ~ was one of the most delightful writing projects of my career so far!

The idea for this book came to me the very night after I launched my second book, Sophie’s Run, in February of this year. I was hyped up with excitement, I had finished writing my third book and was waiting for publisher edits, and I had already planned my fourth full-length novel. I was utterly and completely unable to sleep with everything that was going on, and quite unexpectedly, the whole story was in my head. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas stories both in the original and its many varied adaptations. I suddenly thought… why not bring it into the rock’n’roll domain?

My wonderful husband, Jon, was somewhat taken aback when I presented him with this plan the following morning.

‘I’m going to write a Christmas novella,’ I said.

‘But you’ve got another book launch in September, and you’ve planned your fourth book already—how’s this going to fit in?’ he responded enthusiastically, if pragmatic.

‘I’ll figure it out.’

And so I did. It took me just over a week to write the first draft in May 2013, and another few weeks here and there to tweak, fine-tune and polish it over the following months. But here it is. Spirits of Christmas. I hope you enjoy!

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!Portrait

Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies!

Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

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

Join me: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest