Wednesday, July 02, 2008

AND THIS WEEK'S GUEST IS...

The delightful, Nell Dixon.

I first met Nell at the Romantic Novelists' Association conference in Leicester a year or two ago. We missed a train together, then travelled to Birmingham, talking about writing, family life and other stuff. A charming companion, the journey passed much too quickly.

Nell wasn't published then, but not long after her book Marrying Max was published and the following year won the Romantic Novelists' Association Romance Prize/Betty Neels trophy.

I wasn't there, but her present editor, Cat Cobain of Headline, told me when I met her at the Women's Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, that Nell's acceptance speech was so moving that their whole table of hardened publishers was moved to tears and they made a vow then and there to "sign her up".

They were not just talking through their champagne. This month Nell's book, Blue Remembered Heels is published by Little Black Dress and all round the UK romantic novelists are cheering to the echo. And I had my email from Amazon to tell me that my copy was despatched today. Hooray!

Go, Nell...

I can’t believe Liz has her fiftieth title out this year. She doesn’t look old enough for a start. When I decided six years ago that it was time I made good all those promises I’d made to myself when I was younger about someday writing a book I looked at the authors whose books I loved reading the most. Needless to say Liz was one of those authors. I’ve always envied the way she can add her own unique stamp to a story. Even without her name on a cover, I could probably tell it was her voice. From Gentlemen prefer Brunettes to the classic, The Bridesmaid’s reward, I love Liz’s books and her sparkling sense of humour that all her heroines appear to possess. I knew that was the kind of writer I wanted to be. Since then I’ve been fortunate to achieve my dream and become a published writer.

This month sees the appearance of my debut book for Little Black Dress. Called Blue Remembered Heels, it’s the story of sisters Charlie and Abbey – both accomplished con artists, their brother Kip and what happens when a freak accident turns your life upside down. When Abbey is hit by lightning out of a clear blue sky one ordinary afternoon she discovers she can’t tell lies anymore. A bit of a snag when the man she’s falling in love with happens to be a police officer.

I got the idea for the story after reading in the newspaper about a man who was hit by lightning and suddenly found he could speak fluent French. Blue Remembered Heels is a suspense filled romp through dog whispering and footballers wives as Abbey, Charlie and Kip try to stay one step ahead of the law and find their happy ever afters.

Out on July 10th, you can order from Amazon or from any good bookstore.

Stop by at my website or my blog to find out all my news and to read more excerpts from my books.

Here’s a taster from Blue Remembered Heels, where Abbey has her first close up encounter with Mike:


Manydown was a typical country village. It boasted a pub, church, bakery, general store, butcher, greengrocer, ironmonger and a couple of clothes shops. I parked the minivan in the small car park behind the church and trotted across the street to the bakery.

Of course it was shut. I’d forgotten about it being Sunday. The small general store at the end of the road looked as if it was open so I headed down the street in the hope that they would at least have some crisps and chocolate.

At first glance it looked pretty deserted when I stepped through the old-fashioned door complete with jingly bell. A middle-aged woman at the counter served an elderly man with whisky and cigarettes while the rest of the shop appeared to be empty. I picked up one of the battered wire baskets from the end of the counter and looked along the shelves for something to keep my stomach quiet on the journey home.


The tinkle of the shop bell signalled the arrival of another customer right before I spotted some tubes of Pringles right up on the top shelf.

“Allow me.” A masculine arm reached over my head and handed me a tube of “Cheesy Cheese” flavour.

“Thank you…” The words died on my lips as I turned to look at my snack saviour. Holy crap, it was the same man who’d been in the hotel bar when Charlie and I had been setting up the sting on Freddie!

“You look familiar. Have we met?” Dark brown eyes the colour of melted chocolate gazed into mine. A shiver ran down my spine and I knew he was being sarcastic. He knew damn well where he’d seen me before.

“I saw you in a hotel bar once.” Crapity, crap, crap - why couldn’t I regain control over my mouth? Charlie would kill me and we were all going to go to jail if I didn’t learn to zip it. He smelt delicious though, masculine and woody. I knew I was in trouble and not just because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
His eyes narrowed and I guessed my openness had caught him off guard. “Yes, you were with a very pretty dark-haired girl.”

“My sister, Charlie.” I smiled at him even as I cursed myself for being unable to stop blabbering like an idiot. Typical - even the coppers fell for my sister. That idea dampened my spirits somewhat.

“And a Mr Freddie Davies was with you?”

“Yes.” Blast.

“Are you and your sister friends of Mr Davies?” His tone was casual but I knew a cop interrogation when I heard it. The problem was I couldn’t disengage my mouth from my brain.

“Business only.”

He might have a very sexy voice for a cop, but all the same I had to get out before he could ask me anything else. I’d said far too much as it was.

“Nice meeting you but I’ll have to go; my brother’s waiting for me.” I squeezed past him. The heat from his body shimmered into mine in the confined space of the aisle and I bolted through the tinned goods section to the till. Thank God I had cash. I plunked my Pringles in front of the cashier and added a couple of Crunchie bars from the display next to the till.

With the change in my pocket I made for the door only to find Mr Sexy Voice waiting for me.

“Don’t I even get to know your name?” He pulled the door open.

“Abbey Gifford.” I stepped outside, praying he wouldn’t try and follow me.

“Mike Flynn. Perhaps we’ll meet again?” Cute little crinkles formed at the corners of his eyes as he smiled.

“Maybe.” I was flirting with the enemy. That bolt of lightning had a lot to answer for.

I have a signed copy of Blue Remembered Heels to send to the person I pick from the comments who I think confesses to the worst/funniest fib that they ever told.

25 comments:

Michelle Styles said...

It is lovely to see Nell here. And I will echo Liz in saying a great cheer went up through the ranks of romantic novelists when Nell sold to LBD.
My copy of Blue Remembered Heels arrived the other day. It is a sparkling read, full of heart. My daughter thinks the title rocks.

Nell said...

Aw, thanks Michelle. Your daughter is such a lovely girl, I really enjoyed meeting her.

Estella said...

I just put Blue Remembered Heels on my Wish List.

traveler said...

The book looks wonderful and unique. The funniest lie was about my age. I look younger than I am so when I did tell my age most people are totally flabbergasted.

michelle Douglas said...

Nell, I'm hopeless at fibs... dreadful. Can't lie to save my life. I tell the truth, the whole truth and, to everyone's peril, nothing but the truth. In my final year at Uni at a party, I got to chatting with a girl I vaguely knew from one of my classes. When I mentioned another class I was taking, she said, 'Oh, you'd know Kate D!' I rolled my eyes and said, 'If there is one person who really gets up my nose it's Kate D.' She answered, 'Kate is my best friend.'

All my friends moved away from me.

That incident taught me to be more circumspect with the truth, but I still can't lie. Have to admit, I found myself empathizing greatly with Abbey! Can't wait to read Blue Remembered Heels.

ruth said...

Blue Remembered Heels is so appealing and I love that retro artwork cover. Congratulations on the release. The funniest fib was telling someone that I walk every single day of the year. I do but not a real walk everyday.

anne said...

Congratulations Nell. What a great book and so attractive. I am entranced with this book.

Liz Fielding said...

Ruth, I walk every day, too. From the computer to the kitchen. From the kitchen to the computer... :)

Traveler, I used to look a lot younger than my age. I'm afraid time has caught up me!

I started reading BRHs last night. Loving it...

Nell said...

Hugs, Estella, I hope you'll enjoy it.
Traveller, I wished I looked younger than my age but alas somedays I look every bit of it and then some.
Michelle D, I'm the same as you. I can't lie, I'm so rubbish at it.
Ruth, I love the artwork too. I was so excited when I saw it as the artist had really got the details exactly as I describe them in the book.
Anne, thanks for the compliments.
Liz, I do that kind of walking too. I used to love to walk but my hip probs have severely curtailed my walking at the moment.

diane said...

Congratulations on Blue Remembered Heels Nell.This delightful book beckons me and is so original and special. Much success and enjoy this time.

robynl said...

One evening this guy Myles comes over and wants more than I am willing to give. So to have him leave I devised a plan. I casually mention that my friend in the apt. below me is picking me up to go with her and her nephew to a hockey game. (We had done this before.) At around 10 p.m. I say I should phone Joyce to see why she isn't coming so I do that. But she doesn't answer because this is just a made-up plan and I pretend she answers and carry on a one way conversation. At the end I say to her so you will be ready in about 10 minutes and I'm supposed to meet you downstairs. I get off the phone and say that we are leaving in 10 mins. and guess what, he leaves. I go with him and then head towards Joyce's apt. until I see him gone and then I go back upstairs.

jenna said...

Blue Remembered Heels is absolutely precious. I will be reading this book this summer. What a knockout cover. Fibs are not my forte, but my sister once told a fib that was a doozie.

Liz Fielding said...

Jenna! You absolutely cannot leave it like that!

Ellen said...

I guess the worse fib I ever told was one I used constantly as a child and never got away with. If I did something wrong and got caught I would say that one of my brothers did it/talked me into it/or somehow blamed it on one of them.

Nell said...

Thanks Diane, hope you enjoy it.
Robyn, that is so naughty! but good.
Jenna, now I have to know what it was.
Ellen, that's always a good one.

petite said...

Blue Remembered Heels! Just love that title, color and design. Congratulations Nell! An outrageous fib that I told was that I was a gourmet cook. Had to prove it too. Luckily it did work out well since I persevered in my efforts.

Anonymous said...

I told my teachers I was my sister (my twin sister) when we used to exchange classes. Most of them never challenged me. Oh boy, what a time I had when I went with her boyfriend and told him I was her.
JWIsley@aol.com
JOYE

Dena said...

Hi Nell, It's good to see you here. Your new book sounds really good, I liked the excerpt. I like a good suspense story with a HEA.

Kate Hardy said...

Congrats, Nell! Look forward to seeing you at the conf this weekend (and you can sign my copy of BRH).

Nicola Marsh said...

Nell, congrats on your release. It sounds fabulous!!!!

We get LBD in OZ and I've bought quite a few so will definitely chase up Blue Remembered Heels.

I remember Nell was one of the first people to congratulate me on my first sale over at eharlequin and it meant a lot. You don't forget stuff like that :)

I'm hopeless at telling fibs. My face is one of those you can read like an open book ;)

But I remember a guy trying to pick me up in a pub once, a big brawny guy...who told me he was a wig maker! I didn't know whether to laugh or not, was he serious?
He proceeded to tell me a whole elaborate story about wigs, then I just thought he was kinky so I made a mad dash away from.
Though now I'm getting a bit greyer, a wig wouldn't go astray... ;)

Nell said...

Joye, that was naughty - but fun.
Petite, it was a good job you could cook well enough to get away with that one.
Hi Dena, hope you'll enjoy it.
I'm just back from conference so i got to hug Kate in person and sign her copy of Blue Remembered Heels- which sold out from the conference bookstore!!!!!
Nic! Hi, I love Nic's books.

Liz Fielding said...

Yay! Congrats on selling out, Nell. I finish BRH last night and loved it so much.

Phillipa said...

Hi there Nell.

So great to see you here on Liz's blog - she's a hero(ine) of mine too, as she well knows. And so fantastic to read the first brilliant extract from BRH. I can't wait to buy my copy from Merry Hill next week. I know it's going to be a great read and a huge success.

Liz - congratulations on your 50th anniversary.

Phillipa

Michele L. said...

It is so nice to have you hear Nell!

What an awesome title! The cover is fab too! I love covers with great artwork!

The best fib I ever told was to a girl at work. She wanted to know how to go about having a girl baby. She has 3 boys. I was seeing a fertility doctor at the time. I told her, that you need to start eating sardines. That there is an ingredient in the fish that will prepare your ovaries for the arrival of the guys sperm that somehow changes the properties in the sperm into a female. This girl was notorious for gossiping and she tried to get me to spill other secrets but that was all I told her. Well, she tried eating sardines for a while but really got sick of them and complained to the girls upstairs. It was all I could do to keep from laughing that she actually thought I was serious! The girls thought she was nuts for eating so many sardines because she had cans piled up everywhere!

Nell said...

Michelle - that really is a beauty!