Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas is Cancelled...

I have another guest today, helping me celebrate my 20th anniversary. Aurelia Rowl is an online friend who has been a wonderul supporter of my books and it's a huge pleasure now to be able to be able to talk about her Christmas novella - Christmas is Cancelled. I love that title ad the cover is gorgeous, too!

I've asked her to tell you a little about her book and for those of you who wonder how a writer's brain works, here's how the story came to be written.


Christmas is Cancelled is one of those stories I didn't plan. I was actually in the middle of a different story, and I was about to go off on a Summer family holiday abroad, but then I saw it...a submission call for Christmas stories up to 15K words, with the deadline just after I returned from holiday. "I can do that," I thought to myself, "and I might be able to get it done before we go." Ah, those immortal words. The laptop ended up coming on holiday too, of course, but I'm jumping ahead of myself. Having made the decision to 'give it a go', I fired up Scrivener and stared at the blank page. I had no characters, no setting, no ideas and certainly no outline. 

But then came the spark...my heroine was having a really bad day and to top it all off her train was cancelled, leaving her stranded on Christmas Eve with nowhere to go. And then came the hero...he's had his share of trauma all right, but even I didn't realise just how bad things had been for him until half way through the book. That same book which has already passed the story limit and deadline for the initial submission call, but it demanded writing nevertheless. Taking my chances with the curve ball I'd be thrown--by turning it into a New Year story instead--it was even known as 'A Resolution Too Far' for a while. Except I wasn't being true to the story. 

I decided to let the other deadline go, and left the manuscript languishing on my laptop, two-thirds complete, with the ending mapped out in my mind. The school summer holidays had landed and writing time was almost non-existent. I gave no thought to writing until I saw the final call for Breathless Press for 'Holiday Cheer' stories; something I'd seen previously but discounted because of the heat level it demanded, but then I decided to go for it anyway. Not to mention the characters wouldn't leave me alone, always perstering...nagging...demanding to be heard. Lesson learnt - never ignore your characters! 

I happened to comment in a group on Facebook that I was 'going for it', and the editor herself offered me lots of encouragement to get my manuscript sent in, even though I didn't believe it to be polished enough. All I had to do now then, was finish it. The editor at this point dropped the bombshell that the deadline was in just a few days, not the end of the following month as I thought. And it was still the school holidays. Great! Cue several late nights, then almost to the minute of the deadline, I managed to hit send. Less than a week later, the contract arrived and I am delighted to share the resulting book with you today...

Here's the blurb

Matilda 'Tilly' Carter didn't think her day could get any worse, but even Christmas had just been cancelled.

The one girl Dean Watson has sworn never to have—never even expected to see again—just flared back into his life and into his home—his sanctuary—like she belonged there. Christmas would certainly be more bearable with Tilly around though…

And an excerpt...

Tears welled in her eyes, clouding her vision. She turned and wandered blindly toward the exit as the first tear escaped, forging a track down her cheek for the rest to follow. Tilly took in a lungful of air and then another. Having made a spectacle of herself once already, she really didn't want to be the cause of yet another scene.

The crowds swarmed around her, with students and family members heading home for the holidays only adding to the usual rush-hour melee of commuters. They jostled past, threatening to swallow her whole, as they rushed en mass in the opposite direction, using their briefcases and suitcases as a battering ram.

It was suffocating. She had to get out of there. Breaking into a run, broken heel or not, she raced through the doors and out into the biting December chill. Her waterlogged eyes struggled to adjust to the dark, dreary sky after the bright station lights, but she didn't dare slow down, desperate to escape the throng of festivities and merriment.

Carol singers assembled outside burst into a jovial rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," full of joy and happiness. Didn't they know Christmas had just been cancelled?

"Ooof!" Tilly smacked her shin against the edge of a low bench, too dark to see as she tried to dodge the growing audience. She ended up sprawled across the bench, dropping the handle of her suitcase with a loud clatter.

At least the pain shooting down her leg gave her an excuse to be crying. Unfortunately, it meant she had to stop running too. Not good. Whenever things got too tough, too intimate, or too confrontational, you could rely on her to make a run for it. Running away was what she did best...

A tall figure loomed in the edge of her vision, something vaguely familiar about the man's loping gait. In an effort to see him more clearly, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hands, then cringed inwardly at the black streaks now etched all over them. Great. She could add impersonating a panda to her day from hell as well then.

The mascara stung her eyes, rendering her unable to focus properly. She blinked furiously as the man strode past her, talking into a mobile phone in a deep voice that resonated throughout her body and made the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. A surge of adrenaline rushed to her legs, numbing the pain as her subconscious told her to run. Now!

The cloaked figure stopped mid-stride as if he'd heard her gasp. "Mike, I've gotta go," he barked into the phone, hanging up instantly. He backtracked until he was standing right in front of her, his tone changing from a growl to one of surprise. "Basmati?"

Great. She hadn't heard the nickname for years—nine years, four months and...sixteen days, to be exact—and even then, only one person had ever actually used it. She screwed her eyes tightly shut, shaking her head from side to side. No. No way. There was absolutely no way this could be happening to her. Not now. Not today of all days... Talk about kicking a girl when she was down.

And finally - a trailer!

Christmas is Cancelled is available to buy here 

To find out more about Aurelia, or to check out what projects she's working on right now, you can visit her website www.aureliabrowl.com

PS Don't forget OLD DESIRES is free to download from Amazon until midnight PCT on Thursday! It made the top ten in the UK yesterday!


Christy McKellen said...

It's funny how these things work out. I think I work better under pressure - it certainly gets things finished! Congrats on your impeding release Aurelia!

Christy McKellen said...

That was meant to be impending :)

Aurelia B Rowl said...

Thanks Christy :-)

And thank you Liz, for hosting me today!

Carmen Falcone said...

When you know, you know... I'm so glad you kept writing. Christmas is Canceled sounds fabulous! Congrats on your sale and enjoy every moment!

Caroline said...

Phew! When I read your strap line Liz, I thought something horrible had happened! So glad it wasn't something horrible but something nice! Aurelia, your novella sounds great. Merry Christmas everyone. Caroline x

Aurelia B Rowl said...

Thanks Carmen :oD

And thanks Caroline. The thread title is a bit startling when you're not expecting it, isn't it?! Merry Christmas to you, too.

Vince said...

Hi Aurelia:

Can you tell us about your name, ‘Aurelia’? If you had been the daughter of two Roman Emperors, your name would have been Aurelia. (Marcus Aurelius and Aurelian.) It means golden and sometimes refers to golden haired blondes. Do you work gold into your promotions?

“Christmas is Cancelled” is just the kind of Christmas story I like. Do you think it will be available for the Kindle?

Merry Christmas and good luck with your book. I’m glad you stayed the course.


Aurelia B Rowl said...

Good evening Vince, and merry Christmas to you too.

I must confess that 'Aurelia B Rowl' is my pen name, and is in fact an anagram of my real name - imagine lots of playing with Scrabble letters! - but I have been contacted by other Aurelia's which has been interesting. Before deciding on this particular name, I did check its meaning and liked it a lot, hopefully bringing some sunshine into somebody's life with my words.

Christmas is Cancelled is available to pre-order direct from my publisher in a wide choice of digital formats, including mobi for the Kindle. It should also be on Amazon either on, or soon after its release on December 21st.