Friday, November 30, 2012


Book Description

 February 21, 2012
Mr. Hookumbacker and the Yella Yella Yum Yum Tree is a children's adventure story. The Forest of the Cracking Stone is full of wonder and natural beauty. It is also a place of magic as well as honey tickles, bumbletums, sapling shines and a kindly old tree master called Mr. Hookumbacker.

When the sapling shine Holly Shallina leaves the safety of the Forest of the Cracking Stone, she becomes trapped in the ground by the first rays of the rising sun. Holly's friends Buddy Trix, Cherry Petals and Shubbie Willows ask for Mr. Hookumbacker's help. When he agrees a race against time begins. Together they must journey far away to find a Yella Yella Yum Yum tree. Their journey takes them to a forbidden wood full of grubble wig and needle node weeds and on to the Forest of the Falling Waters. From there they must return with enough time to save Holly Shallina.

I am a lover of nature and all its splendor.  I sometimes marvel at how amazing everything in nature is, from the tiniest insect to the largest of trees.  In Mr. Hookumbacker and the Yella Yella Yum Yum Tree, nature is showcased in all is beauty, but also in all the mystery and magic that I believe is hidden within our world.  The book highlights the importance of taking care of our forests and our world, but it also sparks imagination in both adults and children with adventure, fun characters (with super cute and fun names) and a bit of suspense.  I really enjoyed it and rate it 4 stars!  I cannot wait til my boys are older and they can read this fun book for themselves!  

About the author:  My career as an author has slowly emerged during the time I have spent on the road touring Spain as a blues musician. I consider myself most fortunate to have a creative mind which enjoys the delicious avenues of storytelling. Many of the songs I perform on stage are self-penned stories delivered in my own unique style. Although I live in a cave house in Andalucia, when I go on tour I live in a motor home. It is between gigs that I have discovered a new outlet for my creativity in the world of fictional writing. Now that Mr. Hookumbacker and the Yella Yella Yum Yum Tree is published and laid down I am looking forward to exploring the new ideas that I am currently working on.  Contact:

Buy the book

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Showcase: Nicky Wells

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door.  She recently signed her work with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing.  Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters.  When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys.  In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy.  You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook.  Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing and, of course, Goodreads.

About Sophie’s Turn

Slapper? Slut? Adulteress? Sophie Penhalligan's life and moral universe is turned upside down when rock star Dan proposes to her in full knowledge that she is already engaged. She has always loved Dan, in a remote-crush kind of way. She thinks she loves her fiancé, Tim. What is she to do?

It's all happening because her past has come to tempt her. Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, up close and personal. Well, almost!

Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life just as Sophie is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident Tim would eventually propose. But while his persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan's sudden reappearance poses a whole new dilemma.

Having accompanied Dan's band to Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is... well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. Torn between the dream-come-true and the sensible-thing-to-do, Sophie concludes her inadvertent journey of self-discovery with an ending that surprises herself, and everyone around her.

Sophie's Turn is a glamorous contemporary fairy tale that will make chick-lit and romance lovers laugh, cry and rock along every step of the way. Kindle: Paperback:

Q.  What inspires your writing?
Two things inspire my writing. The first one is daydreams. Daydreams of fantastic things I'd like to happen to me or to other people. Suppose you're in a tricky situation. Maybe you've bumped into a really nice man somewhere and you'd like to approach him but you don't know how. Maybe you're stood outside the backstage door of your favorite rock star and you'd really like to knock and just walk in. Whenever there's a situation where you can say, "Wouldn't it be fabulous if..."  ~ That inspires me to think of scenarios, which in turn lead to books.

The other thing that inspires me is music. I'm always listening to music and sometimes there's a nugget of emotion or an idea in the lyrics that prompts me to jot down an idea for a book. I have a whole notebook full of 'novel nuggets' waiting to be developed into full-blown stories some day soon.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
 "I love it when a plan comes together." Isn't that what Hannibal used to say in the A-Team? Well, I get that feeling towards the end of a book when fate (aka my writing hand) takes the characters towards their destiny and there'll definitely be a happy-ever-after. Because I love my happy-ever-afters. It's an amazing feeling to make my characters happy, and hopefully that will bring a smile to the face of my readers, too.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
 Keeping it short! I'm a prolific writer; when I get going, I write fast and furious, which isn't necessarily a good thing.  For example, the first draft of my second novel, Sophie's Run, came in at just over 150,000 words. That's practically a saga! Needless to say, I cut that down to under 120,000  words and I'm right now cutting it down again during a round of publisher edits. The long and the short of it is that I have a lot to say ~ too much for my genre! Thus my toughest challenge is keeping an eye on the wordcount.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
Great question! I've tried being a professional consultant where I also got to write books, albeit on a non-fictional subject. I greatly enjoyed that role but it didn't combine easily with family life. Therefore, I have recently retrained to be a teaching assistant and I absolutely adore that job. Until recently, I used to volunteer in my local primary school a lot, and working with the children, gave me a tremendous buzz. I'm not working as a teaching assistant right at this time but if I couldn't be an author, that's the profession I'd turn back to. With, perhaps, a long-term view of qualifying as a teacher.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
Wow! What an interesting question. *sits back and ruminates* Probably, possibly something like "Swept Along by Music". 

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
That's a really tough question. There are so many! And I read so many different genres, too, so there's a favourite in each genre. I'll give you a seasonal answer, if I may. My favorite festive book of all times is Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery. It's written in 24 chapters, so it's an advent calendar in a book which also happens to be about an advent calendar. Gaarder writes a story within a story about a little girl who travels backwards in time to witness the birth of Jesus. In her mad dash through the centuries and across Europe (she starts her journey in a department store in Denmark) she accumulates all the critical characters ~ the wise men, the angels, the lambs, the shepherds ~ and tells an amazing story. It's skilfully done and my kids enjoy the book tremendously.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
LOL, I'd like to think I'm like Bridget Jones. Funny, loving, caring and just a little bit crazy at times. But like BJ, I can laugh at myself and get myself back on track.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
Ha ~ I was hoping you'd ask that. Sophie!! I've given Sophie a lot of me. People who know me say they can hear me talk when they read her words. And some of her experiences reflect things that may or may not have happened to me. :-)

Q.  What is your favorite season?
Winter, especially the time of Advent before Christmas. I love the dark nights; I love coming home cold and wet, lighting candles, drinking hot tea or hot chocolate, and curling up in front of a fire. Watching TV or reading books with the rain lashing against the window. Baking Christmas cookies and decorating the house. Plus my birthday is just before Christmas, so this has always been a doubly special time.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
Ah. Well! The original book cover for Sophie's Turn was quite different from the one you see now. It was pink, with a sign post, a butterfly and some flowers. Very chicklit, very innocent, a little fluffy. Cute. It did the job, but it didn't 'zing', somehow. It lacked panache.

When I asked a professional designer and close friend to redesign the cover, I wanted something a little more glamorous and sophisticated. That's what prompted the change from pink to purple and the gorgeous swirly font, and that's what brought the Eiffel Tower and the Carousel onto the cover. The cover picks up on the most critical scene in the book, and I am absolutely in love with it.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
Something funny... hm. Ok, here you go. I'm not sure it's laugh-out-funny but it had a certain sit-com value.

A while back, I did a reading a book club; the meeting took place in a pub. I didn't have a paperback copy of Sophie's Turn at the time, so I took my laptop to read from the Kindle version. I know ~ why not take the Kindle? Well, for one I'm not in the business of promoting Kindle. And for another, I had been told that most of the members of the book club didn't own a Kindle, so I wanted to show them that you can read e-Books on different media, too.

The members of this book club, while perfectly friendly and welcoming, were very dismissive of the whole e-Book phenomenon. Moreover, 'romance' or chick lit wasn't really their thing; that became obvious very early on. Have you ever had that weird, sinking feeling of being in the totally wrong place? Well, exactly.

Never fear, I'm a chatty person and I got them interested, so I proceeded with the reading. I powered up the laptop, opened the Kindle App and flicked to the section I wanted to read.

I read. And I clicked to turn the page, except the screen was frozen. I had two lines left before I had to move on. I clicked some more, and thankfully the page refreshed. Well, half of it, anyway. Ensue frantic clicking. Eventually, I had to confess to the listeners that the App had frozen, and I had to shut down and start again. Cue laughter from the group: See, they giggled, this technolgoy is nonsense. Gimme a paperback anytime. Ouch.

Needless to say, even after restarting the screen kept freezing. Imagine me sitting there with this bunch of readers who are anti-Kindle and anti-romance and the technology lets me down! I sweated buckets and talked like a madwoman. When I was done, I had a very large glass of wine.

Back at home, my OH told me that the computer would have kept crashing because it was looking for a wireless connection, and all I would have needed to do was to switch off the wireless function. Doh!

Q.  Are you working on something new?
Yes! And No! I am currently writing my third book, Sophie's Encore. This is the last instalment of the Rock Star Romance trilogy of which Sohpie's Turn is the first book. So I am working on a new book, but in an ongoing trilogy ~ does that count as 'new'? If not, then I can tell you that I have several ideas in the cooker for the next book after the Rock Star Romance Trilogy but I haven't decided which one I wil pursue yet.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
Yes, yes, yes! I want to say a big THANK YOU. First of all to you, Emily, for hosting me here today. Secondly, to all your lovely followers for visiting and reading our chat ~ if you have any thoughts or questions, I'd love to hear them! And lastly, to passers-by, for your interest and for coming to take a look-see. You are certainly most welcome, and I hope you all enjoyed yourself here today. Rock on!

Artificial intelligence

I’ll let you into a secret. Actually, you probably already guessed. Most people do, and certainly people who work with hair. I’m not really a redhead. See, you knew that. But did you guess my real hair colour? No?

Well, all right then. Now I can let you into a secret. I’m really a blonde.  Or I was, should I say, give the amount of grey that’s turned up in my roots of late. So why go red? The shop assistant in the chemist asked me the same incredulous question when I turned up with my bottle of copper at the checkout over eighteen years ago.

“Do you realise you’ve chosen a permanent colour?” she asked me, completely in shock.
“Yes, I do,” I responded airily. “I want it to be permanent.” I had no idea then just how permanent it would be—eighteen years’ worth, as I mentioned—but I did want it to last.

“You know this is… red,” she confirmed, quite unnecessarily.
“Yes, I know this is… red,” I echoed her tone of voice, then added sweetly, “that’s why I picked it, you see.”

She looked me up and down twice more, then shrugged and scanned the dye. Her whole body said, well, if you’re sure.

Sure, I certainly was. I took my purchase home proudly and full of anticipation, eager to get going. “Home” is probably a bit of an overstatement as I lived in Halls of Residence at the University of London at that time, but it would have to do. Never one to hang around once I made a decision, I applied the dye straightaway. Then I was nervous. I had remembered too late that the Halls were rather prone to fire alarms going off at all times of day and night, prompting a complete evacuation of the building. While I wanted my hair to go red, I didn’t want it to fall out, and the tangy smell of the ammonia in the hair dye wafting about my room scared me to death. It wasn’t all that pleasant dying your hair back then, as I recall now.

Anyhow, the half an hour passed without a hitch, I scuttled down the corridor unseen in my dressing gown with my head of gloopy hair, and I rinsed successfully. Back to my room, out with the hairdryer and dry away! I regarded the result eagerly and critically in the mirror as I went. Bingo. The real me was born!

You see, my natural hair colour, while optimistically called ‘blonde’ by the hairdressing profession, is more of a non-descript salt-and-pepper kind of ‘ash blonde’. That’s what the German hairdressing profession calls my particular brand of natural colour. I now realize that they’re probably making an association with a shade of light wood, but I have always thought of ‘ash.’ You know, from a fire. And I didn’t want to have ash-coloured hair anymore.

This new shade of bright copper… well, it put colour in my cheeks, set off my very pale skin beautifully, and made my blue eyes sparkle. If I say so myself. A whole new me!

Reactions ranged from blithe unawareness (you look different, somehow?) to shock (oh my God!), approval (Oh my God!) and intense dislike (my father’s, when he eventually got to see it a few weeks later). I sailed through the indifference, took the shock as a compliment, absorbed the approval, and rode roughshod over the dislike. And I’ve never changed back.

Over the years, I have tried almost the entire brown-red dye palette, staying away only from auberginey blues. I’ve gone dark mahogany and bright copper, with post-box red in between. I have never not liked the result. My conclusion: I was meant to be a redhead, and I’m just giving nature a helping hand.

So why did I call this post ‘artificial intelligence,’ you ask. I gather you’ve not heard the joke. Ok, I’ll tell you. I’m allowed, being a blonde myself. You cannot possibly misconstrue this joke as being blonde-ist, coming from me, now that you know. Ready?

Why did the blonde dye her hair? ~ To get artificial intelligence.

Cringe! But there it is. And now let me introduce you to my novel masterpiece, Sophie’s Turn…

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Tour: Falling For You by Heather Thurmeier

Follow Tour HERE

Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in upstate New York with her own personal romance Hero (aka her husband) and their two little princesses. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and an adventurous puppy named Indy,Heather's hard at work on her next romance novel.  

"Heather Thurmeier's hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love ... and coming back for more!" ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

"Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!" --NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst

Love and Lattes, Love on Landing, Love or Luxury, Bunny Hills and Bikinis, Falling for You ~ Available now!
Stuck on You, Lost without You ~ Coming Soon!

Connect with Heather!
Facebook: HeatherThurmeierAuthor

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  Everything inspires my writing in some way or another. Maybe it’s seeing someone interesting at the grocery store or overhearing a snippet of a very intense conversation at the coffee shop while I grab my latte. Sometimes it’s seeing, hearing, or smelling something that will trigger the “What if?” question in my mind and then the story blossoms from there.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A.  It’s very freeing! I love being able to put myself in someone else’s shoes for a while. I can be anyone, go anywhere, do anything… and all from the comfort of my couch. My characters have done all kinds of interesting things that I’ve never had the opportunity to do. Cassidy goes indoor skydiving in Falling for You, which is definitely one thing I’ve never had the opportunity to do, but it was sure fun to write about!

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
A.  Getting rejected. It’s hard to put your heart and soul into a book for a few months or even years only for an agent or editor to tell you they don’t want it. It sucks. But it’s just part of the process and you eventually get used to it. And once you do get it published, then it hurts to get a not so great review. It’s hard to get used to the idea that people might not love your idea as much as you did.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A.  If I had to choose another way to spend my time, I’d like to do something with horses. Maybe helping out with therapeutic riding for kids. I’m not trained as any kind of medical professional, but walking along side the horses, making sure the kids are safe while they go for their ride and seeing them interact with the horses would be a really amazing way to spend my time away from my own family.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  The Unexpected Path. I never thought I would end up where I am today in so many aspects of my life. But I’m thrilled with how things have turned out for me.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.  This is a question I’ve gotten a lot lately and it’s impossible to answer! I can tell you a couple of my favorites:

The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write?
A.  I would say the easiest part to write would be the ending. By the end, my fingers are typing as fast as they can to keep up with my brain because the story is at its climax and I really want to see how things end for my characters. And of course, I love a happily ever after.

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write?
A. The middle is usually really tough because a lot has to happen to keep the reader interested. The middle is really the meat and potatoes of your story so it has to do a lot of things. It has to entertain, develop characters and conflict, and it still has to be fast paced. You never want a saggy middle!

Q.  Which character from any book are you most like?
A.  I would say I’m most like Cassidy from Falling for You. She’s a little quirky and a little clumsy and not always very sure of herself and that’s sort of how I would describe myself. And we definitely have the same silly sense of humor.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.  I think I’m a fall girl. I don’t necessarily always love the heat, but I do love to be outside. In the fall I feel like we have the most fun because we can be outside so comfortably. And I really love going apple picking, pumpkin picking, on hayrides and other fall activities. Not to mention, seeing the leaves changing color is spectacular!

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).
A.  At a recent book signing, I was sitting at my table straightening books and swag while I waited for more interested readers to chat with me, when I heard “Oh my goodness, it’s my favorite author!” shouted from about 20 feet away. I was surprised, thrilled, and a little embarrassed. LOL. But I’m hoping for a lot more of those moments in my future.

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.  Yes, always! Right now I’m writing the third book in my reality TV romance series. It’s so fun to write about Zoe Oliver! She’s been the bad girl in the first two books, but now it’s her turn to fall in love and the readers are finally going to learn why Zoe is the way she is. I’m so excited to tell her story!

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  If you’re looking for heavy, issue filled books that cover touchy subjects, then my books are not for you. BUT, if you’re looking for books that make you laugh, give your heart lots of warm fuzzy moments, and maybe even make you tear up a bit, then look no further. And if you’re not totally sure if my writing is for you, then just try a free sample before you buy it. I think you’ll like what you read.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)?
A.  The inspiration for the cover of Falling for You was the reality TV show angle of the book. Cassidy is on a reality dating show and being followed around by a hunky cameraman 24/7. I think the cover did a great job of capturing the idea of the book as well as Cassidy’s character. I just love her jade green eyes!

Book Description:  Newly single Cassidy Quinn is thrilled to be a contestant on the new reality dating show The One. But her excitement turns to horror when the gorgeous bachelor turns out to be her ex-boyfriend. Seeing Brad again makes Cassidy realize she might not be as "over him" as she thought-and then she meets hunky cameraman Evan Burke. After watching his brother lose his wife in a tragic accident, Evan vows never to fall in love. But following Cassidy around as her personal cameraman makes him question his decision, and resisting her gets harder with every sunbathing, bikini-wearing day. Cassidy and Evan begin a forbidden affair while her ex-boyfriend tries to win her heart back one groping, awkward moment at a time. If Cassidy can manage to stop falling off horses (literally), stop falling onto her ex-boyfriend, the bachelor (yes, literally), and stop falling in love with backstage playboy Evan, she might still make it through the show without becoming a tabloid sensation. But soon Cassidy must choose between the ex who broke her heart and the cameraman who might never love her back. For Cassidy, this reality show just got real.

(The Villain)

“I don’t know about you girls,” Zoe said, “but I definitely think there are more hot men here than just the bachelor we’re all fighting for.”
“What are you talking about?” Holly asked. “Brad is super-hot. Like hawt.”
“Yeah I know, but you can’t honestly say you haven’t noticed the guys following us around, right?” Zoe nodded her head in the general direction of the cameramen surrounding the pool a few feet back.
“Zoe, you know they can still hear us in here,” Erica whispered.
Cassidy opened her eyes at the talk of cameramen. What is Zoe up to now?
“I know they can hear us, moron. That’s the point.” Zoe propped herself up on the edge of the hot tub on her forearms, forcing her breasts to jut out in front of her. “And I’m hoping one particular cameraman likes what he hears…and sees.”
Cassidy’s jaw dropped into the hot water as she realized Zoe was not only being overtly sexual, again, but this time it was projected directly at Evan. Her Evan.
Back off bi-otch. Six, seven, eight… Just relax. Keep your mouth shut. This is none of your business.
“You know we can’t do anything with the crew,” Erica said. “It said so on one of those forms we signed.”
“I know that,” Zoe huffed, “but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun while I’m waiting around for the finale, does it? Besides, someone needs to give America something good to watch. You girls certainly aren’t helping the ratings.”
Holly rolled her eyes. “So you’re going to screw around with the crew to help ratings?”
“Oh relax, girls. It’s not like I’m going to sleep with him or anything.” Zoe smirked. “Just a little harmless flirting, that’s all. Unless of course, someone else already has her eyes on him?”
Cassidy locked eyes with Zoe.
Is she implying there’s something going on with me and Evan? Why would she think that? Just because I want to jump him every time I’m near him doesn’t mean I have a thing for him. I can’t help it if my mind goes to dirty places when he’s around. I’ve never acted on one of those thoughts, so what’s she getting at? It’s not like she can read my mind… Can she? No, idiot, she can’t.
Say something, she’s still staring at you.
“You can do whatever you want, right girls?” Cassidy said to the other women. “Maybe you’ll even get yourself kicked off the show.”
“They can’t kick me out for saying hello and being polite.”
I can kick you.

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