Coming through the airwaves : Nicky Wells

Today, I’m delighted to welcome author and radio presenter Nicky Wells onto the blog.  Many of you will know Nicky through her Romance that Rocks Your World books, but more recently she has also taken on the role of radio presenter.

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Nicky, can you tell us a bit about your radio show, please?

Hi Sue! Of course I can, but first up, thanks so much for inviting me back to Romaniac HQ. It’s always such a pleasure to hang out here! Now then, my radio show. It’s called BOOKS ROCK, and it’s a show where books and their authors and readers take centre stage. Because, as you know, I love writing, I’m an avid reader, and I’m addicted to music. It seems the ideal combo to me! Every show features two authors and two readers, often bloggers. The authors talk about writing-related matters and their books, and the readers give their perspectives on the theme of the day—e.g. research, or point of view—plus their top reads for the month. So far, we’ve had authors such as Jill Mansell, Talli Roland, and Tracy Bloom on the show—plus of course, your good self! We also have a ‘reality radio’ segment whereby we’re tracing the progress of Karina Jackson, a local aspiring writer. You might say I’m putting her through a creative writing course live on air. Then again, you might say we’re simply talking about her progress. I’ll leave that up to the listener to decide, but the idea is to give idea and inspiration to other emerging authors out there.

BOOKS ROCK airs on Siren 107.3 FM at 11 am UK time on the third Saturday of every month (and then again the following Tuesday, usually about 7pm)—people in the Lincoln area can listen live, and the rest of the world can tune in at sirenonline.co.uk. Plus, of course, the podcasts are available from the Siren FM website. This is the bit where I get to say, ‘here’s one I made earlier…’ :-)

http://www.sirenonline.co.uk/archives/9589

How did this role come about?

Ah. Well. Please don’t laugh. *coughs* I had a dream. No, really. I woke up one morning with the concept for the show and a sample schedule for the hour-long programme all ready in my head. I went downstairs to my office to set the whole crazy notion on paper before it got away from me. And then, before I could think about it twice, I zapped the whole thing to one of the producers at Siren FM via email. I’d been involved in Siren FM through The Midweek Drive for about eighteen months by then, so it didn’t seem a big deal to present a crackpot idea—they’d either say yes or no. As it happened, they said yes—within about two hours of receiving the proposal. I was delighted, and now I get to make a monthly radio show. Awesome!

You certainly sound very natural on the radio and definitely put me at ease when I was a guest. Is it as easy as you make it sound?

Thank you so much for saying that! LOL! Is it as easy… now there’s a question. You see, I love it. I’m a chatterbox by nature and find it virtually impossible to shut up. I’m timid in person, but somehow the medium of radio, the one level of remove from face-to-face interaction, seems to take away the inhibitions—never mind that my ramblings go out live on air! I also have a professional background of interviewing senior business executives both in person and by phone, and I think it’s probably that which gives me the confidence to just ‘chat.’

Turning to your writing, you’ve certainly given us a lot of fabulous rock romance books over the past few years, which has been your most favourite one to write?

*laughs* Are you asking me to pick between my babies? I’m afraid I don’t have an easy answer for this one. I have a tendency to be in love with my most current work in progress, but I guess that’s normal. Here’s a few thoughts. Sophie’s Encore made my heart sing, if you pardon the expression, because I was able to give a perfect ending to the story that I’d dreamed up. Also I had found the courage to inject a lot more drama and a lot more heat into my writing, so I felt very grown up, as a writer, when I finished. Fallen for Rock, my fourth full-length novel, was a fun story from start to finish, and I found myself jumping up and down with excitement and punching the air in victory a few times on Emily’s behalf. So that’s a favourite! And right now, I’ve finished my next Christmas novella, and it’s such a sweet, warm and cheerful story that I feel all gooey and overcome, even though I wrote it myself. Seriously, if it’s goodwill and fairy tales you’re after, then watch out for my next release. Plus I’m seriously in love with the cover—it’s all dreamy and starry and just perfect, in my humble opinion.

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So, what’s on the horizon book wise? I’m crossing my fingers you have something lined up for us in the near future.

I do indeed! Let me tell you a bit more about the Christmas novella then. It’s titled Fairy Tale in New York.

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Here’s the 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.

Fairy Tale in New York is available for pre-order from Amazon now and launches officially on 10 November. I can’t wait to share this one!!

Thanks so much for being our guest, as always, it’s a pleasure to chat with you.

Thank you, Sue, for inviting me again. Big hugs to you and all the fabulous Romaniacs, you totally rock, ladies!

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The Romaniacs are brushing off the mince pie crumbs and thinking of a group hike today – it’s been an interesting week on the whole. The blocked sink is unbunged, thanks to the very nice man from AA home insurance (what a big pipe he’d got, but that’s another story) and the dishwasher man came today as promised. He wasn’t quite so nice, to be perfectly honest but he removed some cat fur and bits of broken wine glasses and now the washing up situation can go back to normal. Thank goodness – the others were about to go on strike and my Marigolds are in ribbons. Anyway, here are my best bits from Christmas 2013 – what were yours?

  • Surprise hit game of Christmas – an ancient Bagatelle that used to belong to Grandpa. The competitive spirit has surfaced big time. And some other games have gone up the charts here too:

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These special straws make drinking even more fun and give you that instant suave moustached look: sorry this one’s on its side but drinking has that effect on me …

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And also a picture of the Silvertown Express and a collection of USA photos from the offspring were a lovely reminder of the great rail journey of the summer.

 

SilverUSA snaps

 

 

 

 

 

 

So those are my highlights, along with a lot of lovely mess, a great box set to look forward to in 2014 and some Christmas music to remind me of my dad.  The Romaniacs would love to hear about your Christmas  moments if you still have the strength to tap out a few words. Happy New Year!

Celia xxx

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Gina Dickerson and her Special Christmas Tradition

Before handing the blog over to the gorgeous Gina Dickerson, we just want to say a big CONGRATULATIONS on the publication of Gina’s novella …

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Over to you Gina …

I adore Christmas time. As soon as those ultra-early Christmas decorations hit the shops at my local shopping centre, usually just before Halloween, I have to snap one – or three – up! There’s nothing quite like the feel of unwrapping the decorations for the tree and discovering old favourites, as well as some I may have forgotten about. This year I’ve been so busy with writing a festive novella I’ve only just put the Christmas trees up – I’m always super eager and want them up at the end of November!

Christmas was always a special time I spent with my mum, be it shopping, decorating, or looking for gifts. Many hours were stolen from us by the lure of festive goodies. Since my mum passed a few years ago I decided to begin a new Christmas tradition in her memory and write a Christmas novella every year.

Last year’s offering was a festive, romantic suspense tale entitled Unveiling Christmas with family secrets, a lost diamond ring, and a greed-fuelled killer. This year I have changed the genre entirely and The Pennington Christmas Curse is a paranormal mystery. It centres around two sisters, Iysobel and Ziema, and their fight as they discover a curse hangs over their family. There’s wintery magic, mysterious people, and, of course, romance! I wanted to reflect the coldness of the tale in the cover, and after several drafts, I think I’m happy with the final version! The novella is due out at Winter Solstice (22nd December) this year as this is a prominent date in the story.

One thing I’ve not yet done this Christmas time is bake. I saw Sue made some yummy looking reindeer cookies and will have to try the recipe. My son wants to make a gingerbread house. Our previous attempt was a little crooked! Unlike the main character in my new novella we’re hoping for a white Christmas. We have a Siberian husky who just loves diving into fresh snow and burying himself!

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About The Pennington Christmas Curse:

Something came for the Penningtons at Christmas time. On the same day thirteen years later, daughters Iysobel and Ziema are terrified by what appears in the mirror before them.

There’s a curse on the Pennington family but as eldest daughter Iysobel nears the truth, those she loves are threatened.

Can Iysobel fight the curse and save her family? This winter one thing Iysobel isn’t wishing for is a white Christmas . . .

GAbout me:

I live by the Thanet coast on the north-eastern tip of Kent, in the UK, with my family and playful Siberian husky. I write romantic suspense with a twist, horror, paranormal and fantasy because my characters refuse to play nice and wind up with more than a few bone-rattling skeletons in their closets.

When I’m not writing, I like to amble along one of the many gorgeous Thanet beaches with my pooch, or rummage in vintage shops for even more weird things to adorn the house with. I adore shoes, fashion, photography, and baking. I hate people with bad manners, mushrooms (although I’m a vegetarian), big hairy spiders, and vacuuming – which, sadly, is a must with an overly hairy Siberian husky.

My blog :ginadickerson.blogspot.co.uk

Website: www.ginadickersonwriter.co.uk

Goodreads: Gina Dickerson author page

Twitter: @GinaDWriter    Amazon UK: Author page     Amazon.com: Author page

Smashwords: Author page

Faking It – Christmas Fir or Not?

Every year when I decide it’s time to put up the Christmas tree, I have a moment of excitement at the thought but this is quickly replaced by a sigh, as I acknowledge the Krypton Factor like mental dexterity and The Cube like hand-eye coordination this will require.  And as I begin this labour of love, I can’t help but wonder if I should just get a real tree. Wouldn’t it be so much easier?

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Annual Christmas Tree challenge

I wouldn’t have to sort out the colour coded branches of my artificial tree, where some colours are not that much different to others, and then match these up with the coloured strips round the ‘trunk’ of my tree. With a real one, isn’t it just a case of buying it, putting it in the right spot – job done?

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I am pleased with the result and, as I stand back and admire my children’s handiwork of decorating it, I push back the thought that in a few weeks time it all has to be done in reverse.

What do you prefer? Fake or Fir?

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Challenge completed!

Sue

x

Carols? Crackers? Chestnuts a Roastin’? What fuels your festive glow?

At HQ, we’re well and truly into the Christmas swing. The tree’s up, adorned with sparkly baubles and yummy chocolates (well … empty wrappers …) we’ve mince pies and mulled wine galore and plenty of yuletide music on to sing along to while we work.

What really sparks that Romaniac festive spirit?

Jan: Well, I could probably fill a sheet of A4 with my reasons for loving Christmas, but what really creates that magical feel for me is when I hear the loft hatch creak open, followed by the rustle and smell of tinsel as Mr B hands me down the bags of decorations. It’s then a case of the more festive faces on show, the better … Love it!

Celia: I’m the same as Jan with my long lists of reasons why I heart Christmas but three of my favourite things about the season of goodwill are the school and church plays, (although I’m just at the point when I’ve nearly had enough of sheep and camels) buying just the right tree, and of course, the vegetables of choice  – the ornamental parsnip and the delicious brussel.

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Laura: For the past three years, it’s been the November Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Winter Party. The trip to London, and the cab ride from our hotel to the venue has me oohing and ahhing, as you girls will testify. I love seeing the Christmas lights. I used to live in Watford, a twenty minute train ride from the big city. A quick trip on the Underground to Knightsbridge, and I was in Harrods, on floor three, revelling in the beauty of the sparkling decorations. I went this year for the first time since my twenties, and I am pleased to report the childlike wonder is still there. IMG_4871

When my children break up from school though, that’s when I know it’s Christmas, and I love, love, love spending those days with them, and Gajitman, watching Christmas movies, sharing chocolates, and playing daft games.

 

 

Catherine: It has to be a good bit of Christmas music! That’s when I get excited. But this year is really special as it’s my twin girls’ first & they’ve been getting in the spirit as well.

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Vanessa: I love Christmas SO MUCH! Always have – even before the children came along. But now, there’s more of us in the house to start getting excited about the visit from Santa. I always start making lists in November, which always gets me in the Christmas mood – festive food lists, helping the girls with their lists for Santa, Christmas present lists for the family. Then, as soon as December arrives, it’s Christmas EVERYTHING – the Christmas CD goes on in the car, seeing the reindeer parade and the big light switch-on in my village, watching my daughters in their angel costumes in school concerts, wrapping presents late at night while watching Love Actually and eating After Eights … turkey, stuffing, sprouts, champagne, chocolate, mince pies and Christmas pudding!!

Sue : I love decoration spotting. Whilst my youngest delights in spotting them, myself and my older children are filled with a mixture of wonderment, awe and, sometimes, disbelief at how far people go with their outside decorations. This is a neighbour of mine, one of the more reserved ones we’ve seen this year. :-)

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Well, there are some of our favourites … We’d love to know what gives you that special Christmassy feel?  xx

Tuesday Chit Chat with Lizzie Lamb

Hi Lizzie, welcome to Romaniac HQ. The kettle’s on, the biscuit tin’s restocked, so let’s get started, shall we?

Hi Jan, can I just check that the coffee is strong enough and that the biscuits are coated in milk chocolate? If you can’t get biscuits, I quite like giant chocolate buttons.

Lizzie, you’ll be pleased to know it’s a yes to both and we’ve even got chocolate buttons too :)

Great! I’m sitting comfortably, so let’s begin.

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Having successfully self-published your debut novel, Tall, Dark & Kilted (cracking title, by the way!) tell us a bit about what inspired the story.

I thought up the title (it was initially called BIG BAD WOLF) and the two main characters Ruairi and Fliss, and thereafter the novel wrote itself.  I originally wrote the novel for Little Black Dress (Headline) after attending my first RNA conference in Leicester. I’d attended a seminar given by then editor, Cat Cobain, who told me that LBD were looking for new writers. She gave an inspiring talk and said she wanted a book that was small enough to fit in someone’s handbag so they could read it on the tube/bus, etc, on their way to work. I had a 1:1 session with her and told her I’d written a book about a therapist who tries to set up a therapy centre in the highlands of Scotland. She said to finish it and send it to her. It took me a year to finish the novel which I sent to the RNA New Writers’ scheme where it almost received a second read. I then made some changes to it and sent it off to LBD.

In the meantime, I got on with writing another novel. I also entered a competition to write the jingle for the LBD website, winning a year’s supply of books. I then learned that the publication was no longer taking on new authors and was closing down. My novel came back to me and I sent it to The Hilary Johnson Authors’ Advisory Service where it was reviewed by a former senior editor of a publishing company. I didn’t agree with her critique, so I put the novel in the drawer and had a go at writing a Mills and Boon.  

I also won another competition to have the first three chapters read and critiqued by Carole Matthews, who sent me a mug which changed colour and advertised her latest novel when I poured tea or coffee into it. We’ve been friends ever since; she’s been very encouraging, as has Trisha Ashley and Kate Hardy, telling me to keep going as I’ll get there in the end.

Describe that moment (words and actions) when you first saw your novel available to download on Amazon, and later, in paperback.

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I would still be writing and rewriting the novel ready to send to agents if it hadn’t been for Amanda Grange (author of Mr Darcy’s Diary, etc). Mandy had lunch at my house where she encouraged me and three other NWS members: June Kearns, Adrienne Vaughan and Mags Cullingford to put our books on Amazon. It was then that we decided to form THE NEW ROMANTICS 4 and have a paperback version of our book as well as a kindle download, so that we could hold roadshows and sell the novel to friends/general public.  We had to get our American tax code (that’s another story!), design the front cover, etc, and finally send it up to Create Space. By the end of the process we were all shattered. We were having lunch with Mandy in a nearby café when my lovely husband, Dave (aka Bongo Man) turned up with my proof copy, which had just arrived. By then I was so exhausted, I just looked at it, feeling numb. It took me a couple of days to realise what I had achieved. Only then did I really begin to feel excited.

Did you draft each chapter out beforehand or did your characters have free rein to take you wherever their stories led them?

I must admit I’m a plotter rather than a pantser. I knew where the story was going but wasn’t totally sure how to get there – I also lengthened the novel to 120k words. June Kearns is my writing buddy/beta reader and she suggested another plot thread whereby all my ideas fell into place. I had a 1:1 with an editor at another RNA conference and she said that the title of my novel wouldn’t work and suggested a change. Tongue in cheek, I suggested Tall, Dark and Kilted and she said she LOVED it but wasn’t taking on any new authors. So, I followed Mandy’s advice and self-published because life’s too short to wait for agents to get back to me.

Do you have a set writing routine or any literary rituals? 

Luckily my time is entirely my own, and after 34 years of getting up at 6am to get ready for school, I’m definitely a morning person. I try to be at the PC for about 8am and answer emails, put a post on Facebook and write something on Twitter. THEN I begin writing until about 11am or thereabouts – normally my parrot Jasper calls me to let him out and he plays in his cupboard all day. I tend to write for some of the evening, too, as there are very few programs on the TV that I enjoy. I also try to plan to see friends a couple of times a week, otherwise I’d stay in my study writing and never venture out.

In addition to being part of The New Romantics 4, you run the Leicester chapter of the RNA, as well as belonging to several online writers’ groups. How beneficial has that writerly support and camaraderie been for you and how big a part would you say social media has played?

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I would say that the best thing I ever did was to join Facebook a few years back, before my novel was finished and ready for publication. Most of the people I’ve made friends with are writers, aspiring writers or avid readers – in this country and in the USA. I’ve been encouraged by Facebook friends (many of whom are in the RNA NWS) to finish the book and lots of them have bought the download/ novel and posted a review on Amazon. They helped make my tweet-a-thon (where I held a virtual picnic in the highlands of Scotland) a great success. Twitter actually blocked me because I sent too many tweets. I tweet about my novel three times a day in order to catch the UK, East coast of USA and then the West coast of the USA before I go to bed. My lovely twitter friends retweet for me and I return the favour.

Can you give us a teaser about what you’re working on at the moment?

I’m writing a new romantic comedy about a rookie reporter (a rebel without a cause) who goes undercover in a boot camp for brides. Her partner is an infuriating photographer who has a hidden agenda and is on the trail of a drug smuggling gang. That’s all I’m saying . . . for now! I want to have it finished for the end of summer and will then decide whether to submit it to the NWS or not.  

We love reading about Bongo Man and, indeed, about the famous Bongo itself, which we know you’ve taken many a literary trip in, so if you could take three famous travelling companions along for the ride one day, who would they be and why?  

Dave (aka Bongo Man) has been fantastic and given his life over to my book launches with the other New Romantics 4 because he knows this is my dream come true. He even bought full highland dress, sack wheelers, stepladders and an old Imperial typewriter off eBay for our launches. Who would I take along with me for the ride? Well, Jan, you would definitely be one of my companions because we’d have such a laugh together, wouldn’t we? You know, I can’t think of anyone famous I’d like to come along with me – isn’t that strange? Perhaps that’s because I spend so much of my life dreaming up plots, etc.

Dave (aka Bongo Man)

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Any other creative passions, Lizzie? 

I love taking photographs, as you might have noticed on Facebook. My ambition is to buy a new PC (hopefully a Mac) and an iPhone when my present contract runs out, and synch them together with my iPad. Then it’ll be whole lot easier taking photos, sharing them with friends and setting up a blog after Christmas.  I also want to make a video of me reading Tall, Dark and Kilted and put it on YouTube after Christmas, too. Not to mention joining an online newspaper for Indie writers.

And finally, whilst I make us another coffee and grab the mince pies, a few quick-fire questions for you:

Actor you’d most like to see in a kilt?

Owen McDonnell – he played the Garda in Single Handed on TV

Haggis or Clootie Dumpling?

Clootie Dumpling! I shudder at the thought of haggis, although I do like neeps (swede) and tatties that accompany it. It’s a funny thing, we lived in Scotland until I was eleven-years-old but we never ate haggis until we moved to Leicester. LOL.

Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig?

Daniel Craig. Pierce is gorgeous but a bit too smooth for me.

Dream holiday destination?

IF we ever find anyone willing to babysit the parrot (he’d never cope with being sent to the parrot equivalent of kennels/cattery) I’d love to go back to Greece or Italy and tour in the Bongo. We did it years ago. Failing that, I’d like to stay in a bungalow on a beach and have my every need catered for while I write.  

Singer you’d most like to serenade you?

I’d love the former lead singer in RUNRIG to sing An Ubhal as Aire (the highest apple) to me in Gaelic. I played it over and over when I was writing Tall, Dark and Kilted.

Cocktails or champagne?

Oh, champagne every time, dah-ling.

Novel you could read over and over again?

Can I be greedy and choose all the Jilly Cooper novels she wrote in the 70s: Imogen, Prudence, Emily, etc, and Georgette Heyer’s Friday’s Child?  

Fave Christmas Carol?

In the Bleak Midwinter – it always makes me cry.

Thanks so much for being our guest today, Lizzie. It’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you. Merry Christmas! X

Merry Crimbo to you and all the other Romaniacs. And can I say: if you have a dream, go for it…

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www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter

Follow Lizzie on Twitter: @lizzie_lamb /or @newromantics4

email: lizzielambwriter@gmail.com

Tall, Dark and Kilted – Amazon Paperback UKhttp://tinyurl.com/cn8fylt

Tall, Dark and Kilted- download Kindle UKhttp://tinyurl.com/cdjyec6

 

Christmas? And writing? Together? You are kidding…aren’t you?

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Here at Romaniac House, we’re getting seriously bogged down with heaps of sticky tape, rolls of wrapping paper and stacks of melt-in-the-mouth mince pies. Yes – the festive season is bearing down upon us in a big way.

So how can we keep normal life (or what passes for it) ticking over, and still get some writing done, amidst the chaos of shopping, wrapping and sprouts? I went out into the crowded Christmassy streets and asked some real life writers for their tips on coping with Yuletide and still managing to get some work done. Well, actually that’s a big, big lie. I sat in my warm and cosy chair and sent some messages out into the ether. Then I got out my favourite Christmas photos and had a large glass of Baileys. And this is what those kind authors told me:

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Talli Roland – I’ve found the best way to work through Christmas comes down to one thing: denial. Forget the mince pies, the carols, the Christmas cards… just put your head down (with perhaps a sip of mulled wine, if you’ve been good) and focus on the manuscript. I like to look at my growing holiday to-do list as a challenge, sometimes leaving it as late as Christmas Eve. It always gets done, and when the big day rolls around, I can finally relax in the smug knowledge my MS is where it should be AND I completed my shopping in one day!

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Liz Fielding – My December involves writing at the kitchen table, surrounded by drifts of wrapping paper and my notebook blotted with mincemeat. The only way to get any writing done is to get up at 5 am, lock myself away in my writing room on the top floor and get the pages done before the first “Did you organise…” puts the dh in danger of his life.

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Emily Harvale – have an advent calendar pinned to the wall above my desk and I’m only allowed to open each day and have the chocolate inside, when I’ve written at least 500 words.

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Debbie Viggiano – I got half way through writing the Christmas cards and then abandoned them to get my writing fix. I have yet to return to the task .  They are currently scattered all over the study floor after the new kitten divebombed the previously neat pile. I hope to complete the task before next Christmas!

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Fenella Milller –  I do everything on line, so that cuts down on time – have wrapped presents and written cards in the middle of the night when up watching the cricket. Then I have all day to write.
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Sue Moorcroft – Christmas? It’s no bother. I just get worse and worse tempered until people leave me alone, I suppose! Then I give in and have a week off.
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Lucy Felthouse – Hehe, that one’s easy. I just look at the deadlines I have – and think of the money I need to earn to pay for the presents! That makes me write faster.

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Phillipa Ashley – I’ve had a very busy and at times very stressful year, and have achieved some writing goals – now I need to space to think about what to write next and mull over new ideas. I really think my motto is Give Yourself the Christmas Gift of Stopping Writing if you need to.

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Rose McClelland – Oh dear! Lol. I am not doing any writing at the moment so I can’t answer that! Not only is Christmas on the go but I’m also moving house! So I’m afraid my writing is on hold!

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Sarah Tranter: I’ve been known to take my hearing aids out when I’ve been attempting some sneaky writing. But that isn’t a particularly helpful tip for most – and neither is it particularly effective as it doesn’t stop DSs from spinning me around in my chair and yelling in my face. Therefore, I’m afraid – I’ve no helpful tips. I could do with tips myself!

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Nicky Wells – Ruthless time management. I’ve had to scale back how much time I can dedicate to my authorly being during the festive season, what with baking, decorating, shopping and school plays; but when I’ve allocated a morning to writing (or proofing) I stick with it relentlessly. I do a little, as often as possible. Oh and there’s the occasional late-night or very-early-morning shift.

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Chris Stovell – I escaped to the depths of the country to get away from the madness of Christmas! Sheep graze in the field behind me and the sea stretches out in front; there isn’t a fairy light in sight, but I can still find excuses not to write! My tip is to try to take a little time for yourself every day in the build up just to stay in touch with your writing, then, when Christmas comes and you’ve got a house full, like me, you can celebrate with a clear conscience and several glasses of fizz! It’s only once a year – thank goodness. Cheers, and here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas and a writerly New Year!

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Mandy Baggot – Christmas? What? Is something going on? Do I have to lift my butt off the typing chair and shop for gifts? What’s that you say? I’m hosting Christmas dinner this year? HELL! My tip for carrying on writing as Christmas looms is to carry on writing and ignore the frenzy! I have a new wintry novel coming out on 13th December and I have concentrated my efforts on that rather than hanging garlands and wrapping gifts. So my ultimate tip is INTERNET SHOPPING! I know lots of you love the hubbub of looking for gifts when it’s cold and icy, you can smell the German sausage and mulled wine and hear the school choirs sing, however I get terribly frustrated with people who have no clue what they want to buy and browse…very slowly…painfully slowly! So Lady B’s tip is to go a little Scrooge and shop from home. You’ll write more and you won’t stamp on anyone’s toes! Or push them into the tinsel display.

Brussels

Christine Courtenay – I try to organise myself and I make endless lists – who to send Christmas cards to, what presents I’ve bought and still need to buy, what food I need to buy/make and so on.  Then I try to write in between actually doing the stuff on my lists – well, you have to sit down sometime!  And as long as I’ve ticked something off each day, I feel I’ve earned some writing time.
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Cara Cooper – I can give you one which  a journalist friend told me she did. When it all got too much and she was under a deadline, she would take her baby out of the playpen and sit in it herself with her laptop so she could finish the story in peace!

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So, there we have it – a small sample of sanity in the madness of Christmas. Thanks to all these helpful writerly people. I’m getting a great overview of all of us slowly giving up the battle and just letting Christmas happen! What do you think? Any more tips? I’m off to do my Christmas dance now. It was inspired by a pair of new and very festive slippers. We all have our own ways of getting ready…on the other hand I might just go and sit in my playpen.
Celia x
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