Happy Monday everyone! Mondays can be happy when you're hanging out with great people :). Gather around and help me give Nicole Flockton a warm welcome. Nicole is a fellow Harlequin forum follower (say that fast ;) who loves writing contemporary romances set in hospitals and boardrooms. Definitely places where you'll come face-to-face with alpha heroes...like her latest hero, Luc Morelli.
1. Hi Nicole! Congratulations on this month's release of
your second book, Bound by Her Ring, published through Harlequin's
digital arm in Australia, Escape Publishing. Your first book, Masquerade,
came out last October through Crimson Publishing and will be followed this
summer with Rescuing Dawn. Tell us what being an 'escape artist' is like,
and how you manage to juggle a husband and kids, along with the demands and
deadlines of two different publishers (especially with today's e-pub speed).
Hi Rula! Thanks for having me here. I love being an “Escape Artist”. It’s such a
cool term. And I’m also a “Crimsonista” with Crimson Romance. I like being with
two publishers, it’s a great way to diversify and there are so many
opportunities for authors nowadays. I can’t say I juggle everything very well. I
often don’t realize the kids are calling “Mum” “Mum” until they’re kind of
yelling at me! I will say that my release
date with Escape crept up on me because I was busy finishing “Rescuing Dawn” to
get it to my editor. But it has been a great ride so far.
2. Call stories can be surreal, euphoric and...scary. We'd
love to hear your Call story! How long after the Call did panic (if any) set
in, and if so, what scared you the most?
I remember opening the email from
Escape saying that they wanted my story and looking at my husband and saying
“I’m going to be multi-published. Escape wants my story!”. I then quickly phoned
my parents in Australia to pass on the news. It was Thursday 25th
October and Masquerade had been released on Monday 22nd October. I
was experiencing a first release high and then I had second sale excitement added
in. I don’t think panic set in per se...more like Oh wow it’s real now. I have
two publishers who like my work. Of course what scared me then and still does, is the
responses by people. I do know that not everyone will love what I write, but if I can generate emotions in readers then I know I’ve done a good job.
3. In Bound by Her Ring, Luc Morelli takes
Jasmine Anderson to several gorgeous Australian locales, such as the pristine,
private coves and incredible beaches the country is known for. Definitely
romantic! If your real life hero were to whisk you away to your dream spot in
Australia, where would it be?
Oh you know I’m not sure! I’d love to go to some of the beautiful
Whitsunday Islands off the north coast of Queensland. But the north west of
Western Australia (my home state) has some most amazing gorges and rock formations
that I would love to see them too.
4. There's a line in Bound by Her Ring that captures
your hero Luc's alphaness. You wrote: He didn't do 'possibilities' he did
'guarantees'. If Luc decided to write about his romance with Jasmine,
how would that attitude help and/or hinder him in the publishing industry?
Being as business savvy as he is, what advice or lesson would he give
to those seeking publication?
I think his Alphaness would probably
hinder him if he wrote a book, but then again he will be writing about his true
love so maybe he romantic side would really shine through. His advice would be
never to give up, always chase your dreams because you only need to get it in
front of the right person and then you’ll be on your way.
5. You have said that your first teacher report stated that
'Nicole likes to tell her own stories'. What's the most memorable or
entertaining story that you made up as a child?
It was a story I did when I was in
Grade 4 and it was called “My Trip Down the Plughole”. I have no idea what the
character was, whether it was a bug or was a mini me, but it was very a very
adventurous trip. I remember that when medicines or tablets were past their use
by date, my mum would wash them down the sink. Hence my little character saw
all of the tablets that had been flushed down. LOL.
6. That would be an interesting perspective! Your heroine Jasmine has enjoyed her fair share of fine
dining. What's your favorite food? What about a favorite deadline crunch-time
snack or quirky writing rituals?
I’m a very plain eater. When I go
out I look for things I can recognize, so I’ll usually choose a steak dish. As
for favourite snack food, well that is undoubtedly chocolate. I’m always
delving into the fridge for some of it! Right now I’m munching on Cadbury Mini
Choc Eggs with the crisp coating – I just love them so I get excited when they
arrive on the shop shelves for Easter :).
7. Chocolate is a universal fave, isn't it? Other than not quitting, what's the greatest lesson or
advice you can share with those striving to get published? What would you have
I think I’ll echo what Luciano said,
“Never give up” because one day you will find your home. It’s scary taking that
leap and putting your work out there. It took me a long time to do it and when
I did, it all fell into place. As to whether I would do things differently, you
know I don’t know. I’m a firm believer that everything happens when it’s supposed
to. So I was supposed to send that email to Crimson in June of last year – that
was my time to join the author train. Tomorrow it will be someone else’s time :).
It has been a pleasure having you here, Nicole. Best wishes! GIVEAWAY: Nicole is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered in the drawing. The winner will be announced here this Thursday, Feb 28th.
BLURB: Bound by her Ring
Luciano Morelli has perfected a plan to get revenge on his runaway wife; confronting her at the opening gala for her father’s hotel. What he didn’t plan on was the flaring of emotions the moment he sees her again. Jasmine Anderson has no memories of her husband. Her only link to him are the wedding rings she wears. Luciano storms back into her life announcing he is her husband, demanding she join him on a business trip or see her father’s livelihood crumble. Passion reignites as they rediscover what first drew them together. But more than just memories are lost. Can their bond be rebuilt or will secrets infect their already shattered trust?
Water related catastrophies have been a big topic in the news lately. Hurricanes, flooding, ships stranded at sea...and waking up to almost two feet in my basement.
Let me begin by emphasizing that in no way was my disaster as bad as what victims of natural or man-made catastrophies go through, including those of recent Sandy and the stranded cruise ship. My situation could have been so much worse and I'm grateful that it wasn't. No complaints here, but I did want to let all of you know why I disappeared long after January ended, and hopefully save anyone with a sump pump in their basement from dealing with a similar mess.
If you live along the east coast, you probably recall the heavy, flooding rains and high wind storms that blew through that last week of January. I woke up the morning it had tapered off and smelled something funky. It smelled like electrical burn, but we hadn't lost power. All the lights were on, so in my rush to pack lunches and get the kids to the bus, I brushed it off as lingering smells from dinner the night before (note: I'm not that bad of a cook lol). I saw the kids off and was about to hit the writing, but a nagging voice in my head told me to check it out. Fine. I figured maybe one outlet shorted from lightening or something. I started down the basement steps to check the fuse box and...was met with what turned out to be 21 inches of water. The entire basement was a pool.
I didn't touch the water, given the electrical burn smell. No one could, so the power company had to shut power to the house in order for the water clean up crews, plumber etc...to do their work. This meant no heat and the wind chill was single digit those few nights. We had no power, no house phone, no internet (all went under), no septic, no heat, and no water (we're on well) for days. The flood had caused our water pump tank to fall over and break. The heating elements on the water heater had shorted and melted. The furnace for the main floor...same thing. We got the heat going upstairs by the second night which helped tremendously. The rest of the week we used jugs of water. I'll spare you the details. We're still cleaning the basement weeks later...but it could have been worse. To make a long story short, we survived.
MY WARNING TO ALL:
1. Check your insurance plan. Many have sump pumps listed as an exclusion. Ours denied the claim. In fact, take a sec to read all your plan's exclusions. You might be surprised.
2. Get a quality battery back-up installed if you have a sump pump. It's so worth the cost.
3. Watch your back. These water clean-up companies charge more than plumbers, electricians and shoot, even doctors, combined. Their clients are in desperate situations. Do what you can to avoid the situation.
4. Don't store anything in cardboard boxes. We had a mix of plastic bins and old boxes of things from way back. Take the time to put everything in plastic bins...before it gets wet.
Thankfully, our basement isn't finished, but it is full. We use it as if it's finished...treadmill, toys, bookshelves full of books from our college days, an extra fridge and tons of things in storage. Some of what was lost was sentimental, but again, no complaints because it could have been worse, especially with that electrical burn smell. At least I still have my house and family. We are fine. I really feel for those who have lost everything to natural disasters and fires.
Anyway, I'm getting back in the swing of things. Last week, we had the stomach flu and strep go through the house. Yep, when it rains, it floods (pun intended). I'll try to pop by blogs later this week and I have an interview on Monday with author Nicole Flockton. I hope to see all of you around soon!