12 Days of Kissmas: Avon Gale

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TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

Guest Post

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Hi! I’m Avon Gale, and I’m here sharing a delightful picture of two boys kissing – er, almost kissing. I like this picture because I love that moment of tension right before the kiss. Also this one cutie is wearing a bowtie! Adorable, right?

My most recent novella, Whiskey Business, is out December 28th from Dreamspinner Press and is a part of their States of Love line. It’s about a bourbon distillery in a small Kentucky town, and it features an opposites-attract love story and a lot of really bad puns.

whiskeybusinessfs_v1I’m from Kentucky, so writing this was super fun for me. Also, I love bourbon (and pie), which is why I decided to share this recipe with you! Ignore that “or water” part of the directions, because trust me, you want the bourbon 😉 And make sure it’s good Kentucky bourbon, too – none of that Jack Daniels nonsense (sorry, Tennessee!) for this pie.

(Kidding, you can use whatever you want, but in my humble estimation, Kentucky bourbon is the best and that’s all I have to say about that.)

 

Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie

1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon or water

4 large eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons plain white cornmeal

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon table salt

 

Preparation

Hands-on: 15 Minutes

Total: 2 Hours, 10 Minutes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust.

Stir together corn syrup and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk one-fourth of hot corn syrup mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot corn syrup mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until set; cool pie completely on a wire rack (about one hour).

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giveaway

Avon Gale is giving away an ebook of winners choice. Give us your favorite traditional recipe. (Any tradition you like).

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Montly Author Column: Nicola Haken with Exclusive Excerpt

Obsessed_with_Nicola

 

Hey, fantabulous people! If you’re reading this then I guess that means Denise hasn’t friend-divorced me for being so behind with this month’s post. I’d like to suggest we switch it to a random ramblings post rather than a monthly post because, well, I’m clearly shit and unreliable. I’d like to say the delay is because I’ve been busy leading the life of a high flying celebrity author, jet-setting around the globe, getting accosted by my adoring fans and being pampered by half naked men wearing little more than oiled-up muscles and bowties. But the truth is, my kids have been driving me crazy, we’ve been having house renovations done, and, well, I’ve been trying to think of something to talk about that wouldn’t send you to sleep.

That’s where the helpful guys who attended Teodora Kostova’s release day party for A Sip of Rio came in! I got them, okay, okay, I begged them, to ask me some questions that I could answer in this post so that Denise wouldn’t kick my arse and tell me I was no longer welcome on her blog. I can’t afford to lose Denise as my friend. She sends me nice cakes in the mail.

So, here they are!

Erin: What made you switch from writing the Souls of the Knight series- rock and porn stars, low angst, etc to something like Counting Daisies which was full of angst, dark with lots of triggers?

Honestly? Confidence. I was so nervous entering the MM genre and there was definitely an element of ‘playing it safe’, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. I didn’t know if anyone would take a chance on me, or if I’d be any good, or if I’d match up to this genre of amazing authors who I already read and admired every single day. I’ll always love my Souls boys, but I was still very much a newbie writer then, despite having written several MF books beforehand. It was the MM genre that really welcomed me as an author. It’s the place I met most of the greatest friends I’ve made in this business, where I discovered the most valuable professional relationships I’ve formed, all the advice and encouragement I needed to help me grow as a writer. And I have. I grow and learn with every book I write. I feel myself getting better with each story, and that’s why I now have the courage to write whatever ideas start burning away in the back of my head. And I’m also lucky enough to know I have so many amazing readers that continue to support me every time I release something new. I can’t even begin to describe how that feels. It blows my mind!

Jennifer: Was it as hard for you writing Counting Daisies and Broken as it was for us readers to read? Well ok for me to read.

I hope I don’t sound like a heartless cow when I say no! I have no idea why, but angst just seems to pour from my brain like water from a tap. I totally lose myself in really gritty, heart wrenching scenes. When I’m writing I act the story out in my head. I see my characters like they’re in a movie, and I’m playing whoever’s perspective I’m writing at the time. I’m with them. I am them. I’m right there with them and I feel everything they’re going through and let it all out into words. Which doesn’t sound fun, but I really enjoy it! Maybe I’m a little twisted! When I’m reading an angsty book written by another author though, holy hell THEY are hard for me to read. I’m a total ugly crier. But again, I love those kind of books!

Evie: What inspired you the most when writing Counting Daisies seeing as it was such a change from your other stories?

Counting Daisies came to me in a true light bulb moment while listening to Let Her Go by Passenger. It wasn’t so much the lyrics, although song lyrics often inspire whole stories in my mind, it was little more than a vision of a broken guy sat playing a guitar and an entire story spiralled from there. I was nervous about this one, though. People might not understand Dylan and his choices. He made lots of mistakes, bad ones, and I knew I couldn’t expect everyone to understand or forgive him for those. If I’m honest, I might’ve been one of those people once upon a time. But there was so much more to this one than simply writing out the thoughts that came into my head. Dylan’s story is fictional, but addiction is a reality for many, so research and representation was extremely important to me. I read true-life stories, and even spoke to a young woman who has been through Dylan’s struggles, and those are the people who truly inspired me. I’m glad I told his story. I’m grateful to everyone who took a chance on Dylan and Cameron, and I’m thrilled, once again, by the positive reaction I’ve had to it.

Racheal: Broken meant a lot to me cause it touched on a topic that many authors never wrote about but now I see a lot more opening up on the topic? Broken by far was my favorite of your books!

Thank you so much! I’m seeing a lot more books being written about mental health too and I think it’s a great thing. Maybe they’ve always been there and I simply didn’t notice them before, but either way, I think it’s important that they’re out there, that people are talking about them, that people have something to read that they can relate to. I don’t think I will ever be prouder of any book I ever write than I am of Broken. The response I had to James and Theo’s story continues to amaze me every single day. Mental illness feels like you’re trapped in such a lonely place that nobody understands. But from the amount of messages, emails, reviews, and support I’ve received/seen since releasing that book, I can see it’s not such a lonely place after all. I’ll always be grateful to Broken, and to every single person who’s read and supported my guys.

Oor Janie: Do the Souls of the Knight guys get a Christmas book one year!??

I know how much you love your Christmas stories! But confession time, I’ve still never even read a Christmas book! So I’m not sure how to write one! But…never say never!

Racheal: Will you be doing any sequels to Counting Daisies or Broken?

I keep getting asked both of these questions and the answer is – Broken, I have no immediate plans to, but as I said to Janie above, never say never! Counting Daisies – YES! I don’t have a date yet because I’m currently working on a brand new story about brand new characters, but Paul and Derek WILL be getting their own story some time next year, and I can promise that it will be a lot more light-hearted than Counting Daisies. Because really, could Paul and Derek be anything less than fun, awkward, and a whole lot sarcastic?!

Kristian: When did you know writing was what you truly wanted to pursue?

I hear most writers say when they get asked this question that they’ve always loved writing, and that they’ve been readers for as long as they can remember. I’m not one of those writers! I can honestly say my favourite subject at school was English, and that I was pretty awesome at it. It was the only subject that I graduated with A*’s in even though I skipped school as often as I could because I hated it. English just came naturally to me, and when I’m interested in something I have a photographic memory that retains information after only seeing/being told something once. (Excuse me while I go and deflate my ego. Okay, I’m back.)

But once I left school, I had no desire to pursue anything that resembled school-type learning any further, so I didn’t actually read another book all the way to the end until I was in my late twenties…and that was only because my sister-in-law pestered me until the point reading it was easier than having to listen to her any longer! That book was Twilight (don’t judge me, okay?) and Oh. My. God. I became unconditionally and irrevocably in love with reading, from that day on (A fellow TwiHard will know what I did there 😉 )

Naturally, as a brand new reading addict, I polished off the whole Twilight Saga in a few days before moving onto, cough*Fifty Shades*cough, (we agreed no judging, remember?) Then I bought a Kindle, let my family forage for food scraps in the bins while I spent my days with a Paperwhite stuck to my face. Then one day I thought, I fancy a go at this writing malarkey myself! And so I did. I took myself back to my childhood when I’d spend hours acting out made-up movie scenes with my Barbie dolls, and let my imagination run wild.

I’m sure my mum thought I was stupid, and I can’t really blame her. I’ve had a lot of whimsical ideas in the past! But I did it anyway, and I kept on doing it, and honestly, looking back I was seriously crap at it. But the difference between writing and all the other jobs and dreams I’ve had in the past is that I really, really loved doing it. As soon as I wrote my very first sentence I knew I wanted to do it forever. I didn’t know, then, that I’d ever be able to make a career out of it – that’s just a bonus that I doubt I’ll ever quite understand how it happened and one that I’ll be eternally grateful for – but I knew I had to pursue it. It was the best decision I ever made, and it’s all thanks to Keeley, my sister-in-law, her love for Twilight and her persistent nagging!

Amy: I love Souls of the Knight series, anymore from them? And would you ever write maybe a younger/older book? Possibly?

Firstly, thank you! This is a popular question! I’ve never considered returning to my Souls guys, but so many of you are asking and it’s starting to make little ideas tickle around in my brain. Sooo….I don’t know. Maybe?! Do you mean a younger guy/older guy couple? I’d maybe write that if those voices came into my head. I never know what stories will appear in this overloaded brain of mine! Sometimes all it takes is a certain song, an advert on TV, a movie, seeing someone in the street, a dream… or I can be lying in bed thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner the next day and BOOM – new idea! But I’d give anything a whirl if it came into my mind- except YA. I think I swear way too fucking much for that.

Jennie: Looking forward to more from the Souls of the Night series. Are you working on one now??

Again, SO MUCH LOVE FOR MY SOULS GUYS! Thank you! I’m not right now…but maybe one day!

Thank you to every single one of you who came to Teodora’s party and saved my arse by asking me these questions! I love you guys! While I’m here, I want to take the opportunity to address something I’ve been asked several times over on Goodreads and via email too. That question is, will Tess from Broken be getting her own book?

This is a tough one for me and I’ve um’d and ah’d about it for a long time. Truthfully, I’d love to give Tess her own book, and I do have plans to release a couple of FF books in the future. However, I know FF is a whole new genre and that many of my readers don’t read it. Girly parts in books are a big no-no for a lot of MM readers, which is okay, we all have our preferences and that’s what makes life, and reading, interesting! But I wouldn’t want to give off any excitement over a Broken sequel only to leave some people disappointed when they discovered it was a FF story. So my answer is…possibly. I’m just not sure how to market it. I need time to think about it, as I do with the other FF story ideas floating around in my head right now. Let’s see what the future brings!

But for now, Oliver and Sebastian will be up next in Who We Are, coming early 2017. You can add it to your Goodreads TBR (if you want to, that is!) here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32493413-who-we-are

 

tco exclusive

In the meantime, here’s an exclusive excerpt to be getting on with!

~Sebastian~

I wanted to skip into work the next day singing, dancing, and maybe even twirl June around a few times, too. But seeing as I overslept and arrived an hour late I figured I’d best walk in with my head down and force a croak into my voice instead.

If I was going to lie, I needed to sound believable. “Up all night I was, June,” I said, rubbing my stomach. It wasn’t a total lie. I didn’t get much sleep…just not because of a dodgy stomach. After devouring Oliver, or rather, letting him devour me in more positions than I even knew existed, we just…talked. For hours we lay awake and discussed anything and everything. He told me about his first boyfriend, how he got into hairdressing, shared his coming out story – which wasn’t actually news to his mother, apparently.

He told me about the months when he mum was sick, and how life changed when she passed away. I found out about Tyler, about the problems Oliver had been having with him lately, and he told me how difficult he found parenting but that he wouldn’t swap a single second of it – something I understood completely.

By the time I eventually drifted to sleep, that strange pull in my chest had grown even stronger, dragging me impossibly closer to the man whose head rested soundly over my heart.

“Think it’s food poisoning,” I added. “But here I am, soldiering on.”

“Oh you poor thing.”

Frowning, I nodded slowly. I deserved a frigging award.

“Hmm. You do look a little green.” Clearly, she needed a new glasses prescription, but I kept my gob shut. “Well you can’t go out on the road. You should be in bed.”

“Nah, I’m fine. I’m a trooper. I’ll power through.”

She gave me a stern mother look, ticking her finger from side to side. “You will not, young man. You might be willin’ to put your own life at risk but you’re not the only driver on those roads. Either go home, or I’ll get Steve to put you on warehouse duty for the day.”

Shit. I hadn’t thought this master plan through. I hated the warehouse, and most of the morons who worked in it. “Okay, here’s the deal, June,” I said, leaning against the Perspex partition above her station after scanning the office for eavesdroppers. “I’m not sick. I’m seeing someone, and we didn’t hear the alarm. You know how it is when it’s all new and exciting, right? But shhh, I don’t want the guys to know yet.”

She pushed her thick glasses up her nose, her weathered lips forming an ‘O’. “Ooo, it’s not that Penny off nights is it? I was only sayin’ to Zoe t’other day I think she’s got ‘er eye on you.”

You had to love June, almost as much as she loved to gossip. I’d miss the old bird when she retired next year.

“No, not Penny.” We are who we are, and that’s okay. Oliver’s words fresh in my mind, I dragged in a deep breath and spoke before I chickened out. “His name’s Oliver.”

If her jaw had fallen open any wider her teeth would’ve dropped out. It was no secret that June had false gnashers. She popped them out every lunchtime and set them on a napkin next to her keyboard while she ate her dinner.

“D’you know my friend Marjory’s first husband was one o’ them whatdyamacallits…a transvestite.”

Um…okaaaaay.

“She comes home from bingo one night and there he is in her best knickers and the underskirt she bought specially for her Karen’s weddin’. Took the shine right off winning sixty smackers at the bingo, I can tell ya. His name was Frank. Do you know him?”

I bit down on my tongue to stop myself from laughing. “Um, nope. Don’t think I know a Frank.”

“Hmm. Thought you might now you’re mixin’ in the same circles.”

Yep, because every bisexual knows every cross-dresser. Oh, June. I did love her.

“Well, good luck to you. Live and let live, that’s what I say,” she said, squinting at the computer screen as she tapped the keyboard.

I smiled even though she wasn’t looking at me. It was grateful smile, a relieved smile…a proud smile, and in that moment, life felt pretty damn perfect.

“Thanks, June. That means a lot to me.”

“Don’t thank me yet, darlin’. I gave your run to Rod because you weren’t here, which was goin’ to leave us in the crapper for Glasgow but…” she trailed off, rose from her chair and grabbed a set of keys from the cabinet on the wall. “But now you’re on that, and there’s been an accident on the M6.”

“Great,” I said, saturating the word in sarcasm. It seemed I had a longarse day ahead, one that could possibly turn into an overnighter, and all because I’d missed my stupid alarm. Still it was worth every second of the extra minutes I got to spend in bed with Oliver, and absolutely nothing could dampen my day when my phone pinged with a Facebook notification as I made my way through the warehouse to my wagon.

Facebook: Oliver Clayton accepted your friend request.

Yep, today was a perfect day.

Copyright © Nicola Haken 2016

As always, thank you for reading, thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me, and you can keep up with me and my ramblings by following my social media or signing up to my newsletter!

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Monthly Author Column-with a Giveaway: Avon Gale

Featured Author Avon Gale

 

Hello there!
Last month, I talked about how awesome (and also weird!) it was to have one of my books turned into an audiobook. So I thought maybe it would be nifty if I did a giveaway for an audio copy! I love the narration, and Scott R. Smith really made the characters come to life. I was impressed by his audition because he nailed that earnestness that so defined Lane Courtnall as a character, but I have to tell you – his Jared is hot like burning. Seriously it made me want to write an entire book of just Jared saying things so that Scott would maybe read it. Gah.
You can enter the giveaway via this handy Rafflecopter! (I can’t ever not giggle when I say/type that word, “Rafflecopter” – is that just me??)
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The giveaway runs until September 1st, and it will choose one random winner for an audio copy (via Audible) of the book.
In a few weeks, I’ll be back to talk about the newest Scoring Chances title, Empty Net, which releases on September 2nd. Yay! It’s a story about goalie Isaac Drake, who you may remember from Power Play as the angry, blue-haired Spitfires’ goalie. Isaac has a new reason to be cranky when his hockey nemesis, fellow goalie Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. I’m super excited to share this one, because if you can’t tell, Isaac maaaaay be my favorite (shhh, don’t tell the others I said that!) and I definitely made him work for his HEA 😉

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Monthly Author Column: Avon Gale Writes

Featured Author Avon Gale

 

The other day on Twitter (where, it is established, Avon spends a lot of her time) someone asked the question, “What’s the first audiobook you remember listening to?” And I thought about it, because important questions like these deserve thoughtful answers, and realized the answer was…

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.
Okay, disclaimer, I’m thirty-nine so I grew up in the era when everyone read Flowers in the Attic, even those kids who didn’t read or whose parents were always trying to get books banned in your school. Someone inevitably had it and passed it around to “that one part” in the way of kids. Or, maybe I should say, in the way of kids in the late eighties. Now I guess it would be on Snapchat.
Anyway, my parents actually bought me two box sets of V.C. Andrews’ novels for Christmas when I was twelve – one with the Flowers in the Attic series (three books at the time, I believe) and one with the three-book Heaven series, which was actually my favorite. I have no idea why my parents thought these were appropriate books for a twelve-year-old, except that I read Sybil in the fifth grade and Pet Sematary in the sixth. So maybe they were like, “Dial it down, would you?” There’s a reason I found Bridge to Terabithia boring in school, LOL.
So long story short, I loved the V.C. Andrews’ books. When I was 13, my mom would give me a copy of a gothic romance novel and that was it, I was sunk and I ended up a romance novelist. (I still read a lot of V.C. Andrews along with the romance in my teenage years, I won’t lie. I gave up around Ruby though.) So I have a very vivid memory of checking the audiobook out of the library – they were cassette tapes, of course, because this is the late eighties. We also used to go on a lot of car trips when I was a kid, and my parents would stop at Cracker Barrel because you could rent “books on tape” there and then return them at any other Cracker Barrel, of which there are a lot – especially in the south.
(Apropos of nothing – I still refer to audiobooks as “books on tape.” I can’t help it.)
I remember spending a lot of happy trips listening to Lawrence Sanders’ Archie McNally series with my mom, about a PI in Palm Beach, Florida. And I remember listening to my favorite Disney story, “The Fox and Hound”, on one of those little record players for kids that were popular when I was small.
Recently I had the experience of listening to my own book in audio, as the narrator for Breakaway (Scott R. Smith, who is awesome!) sent me the files as he recorded them. It was one of the coolest experiences in my authorial career thus far, hearing a professional bring my words to life. I was lucky enough to get narrators for both that title and my first book, Let the Wrong Light In, who really sounded like the characters did in my head. Lane and Avery both have distinctive voices to me, and Scott and Derrick McClain (the narrator for Let the Wrong Light In) both nailed those voices to a T. And wow, Scott’s Jared is just to-die-for sexy, let me tell you.

13839675_1569807789990139_951329194_o
I won’t lie, listening to someone read a sex scene I’ve written was…well, if you follow me on social media I think I posted a picture of me hiding under a blanket the first time I had to listen to one. It’s a similar feeling to the one I got when my mother-in-law told me she was reading Breakaway because…well, she’s my mother-in-law. (She liked it, though!)
One of the things that I really found interesting as I was listening was how much I hear the rhythm of my own words when I write them – and how the narrator “hears” them so much differently than I do. Not even dialogue, though that is a part of it, of course. It’s the non-dialogue bits, too – my own narrative voice, if you will. I had no idea how strongly I narrate the inflection in my head (since I never stop talking, this is probably a surprise to no one). And it’s not a case of right or wrong, good or bad — it just surprised me to hear how different it could sound.
It’s sort of the same feeling I get when people talk about my characters, and how different other people’s interpretations of them can be than my own. Lane was a character that people either really liked and connected with, or…not so much 😀 Which is fine! As an author, I think it’s sort of awesome when people have strong reactions to my characters, even if they don’t like them. I mean, Lane drove me crazy a lot. They all have things that drive me crazy, to be honest. I try to make them real people and that means they’re not perfect, even if I do tend to write everyone living in a land where people are tolerant and accepting because, well, that’s the world I’d like to live in and that’s a happily-ever-after I can totally get behind.
Writing and putting something out there is scary, but the rewards are pretty awesome – and I really do love the audiobook and hope people who enjoyed Breakaway will love it, too. It’s strange to think about myself when I was younger, listening to Flowers in the Attic or the McNallybooks, scribbling away at my own stories and not knowing one day I’d have the chance to listen to those.
I wonder if V.C. Andrews listened to her books. I bet I know exactly what part made her cringe, too.

 

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Dreamspinner Press

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Nicola Haken Monthly Author Column

Obsessed_with_Nicola

**TCO is always excited to have Nicola Haken with us. She is such a great friend to the blog, and a wonderful person and author as well. 

 

The Nicola Haken Pocket Dictionary

 

First things first, music. As I write this month’s post I’m currently listening to Jesus He Knows Me by Genesis. I’m also singing to it. Loudly. I wonder if that’s why my cat’s staring at me like she wishes I was dead. She clearly doesn’t appreciate my talent.

Now that’s out the way, let’s get to the actual post. I live in this little country you might’ve heard of called England. I’ve been told we talk weird over here, though personally I think it’s all the peeps across the pond who talk funny. You know, all you guys who are too lazy to use the U in your spelling. 😉 And the Z’s instead of S’s? What’s all that about, eh? Anyway, every one of my books contain British characters, therefore British language and Britishisms which I’ve been told have confused some of you! So I thought for this month’s post I’d put together a handy little translation guide featuring some of the words I use on a daily basis.

The first thing you need to do when you imagine me talking is scrap the idea that I speak like the Queen. I don’t. I’m common as shit. I often toy with the idea of doing one of those talking to my readers video things on Facebook like some other authors do, but then I realise I’d have to brush my hair, and so I save it for another day which never arrives.

So, I think we know all the main ones, right? Like, chips/fries. Boot/trunk. Lift/elevator. Pavement/sidewalk etc. Below are the ones I’ve had people question me about, or ones people have told me they’ve had to Google! I’ve also included a few which are upcoming in the Counting series which I think might have a few of you scratching your heads too J

  • Chufties: To ‘get the chufties’ means to be ‘chuffed’ about something! To be ‘chuffed’ about something means to be really happy about it. For example, when my Pride Chucks arrived I was seriously chuffed, and when they fit (despite my monstrously wide feet!) I got the proper chufties!
  • Mint: Awesome! Eg. Those new shoes look mint!
  • Knackered: Tired/exhausted
  • Hump: Bad mood. Saying ‘I’ve got the right hump’ didn’t get the response I hoped for from my American friend not so long ago!
  • Strop: Also bad mood. Eg. She’s in a right strop today.
  • Nowt: Nothing
  • Minging: Disgusting/horrible
  • Manky: Also means Disgusting/horrible
  • Butty: Sandwich
  • Jammy: Lucky. Eg. If you won a tenner on the lottery you would be a jammy sod!
  • Muffin: Now, this one is debatable across the UK and I have, in fact, had many a heated argument amongst my friends. A muffin is a round piece of bread which you make a butty (sandwich) out of and don’t let anyone else tell you differently. Yes, sweet muffins with chocolate chips/blueberries inside are also muffins, but they are chocolate chip muffins, blueberry muffins etc. DO NOT let the anti-muffin brigade try and fool you with their ridiculous bap/barm/roll nonsense!
  • Naff: Rubbish. Eg. These cheap pens are naff.
  • Nick: Steal
  • Row: (rhymes with cow) Argument
  • Bellend: Literally – The head of a penis. Most used to mean tosser, nob head, wanker, stupid person, idiot. (Although if Denise Shirley Carter asks it means wonderful friend, okay?)
  • Nob: Penis. There’s a debate in the UK whether it’s spelled with a K or not. I’m an anti-K-er through and through! There is no K in NOB. Just putting that out there.
  • Ballsed up: Gone wrong/made a mistake
  • Sod it: I give up
  • Boff/boffin: Nerd/geek
  • Kecks: Trousers
  • Ta: Thank you
  • Wanksplat: Literally – the resulting splat at the end of a wank. Most commonly used as insult for a stupid person. Eg. “Shut up, you wanksplat.”
  • Wankstain: Refer to wanksplat
  • Spunk: Semen. This language difference always makes me giggle when I read it in American books. But, I’m immature like that.
  • Kip: Sleep/nap
  • Bloke: Man
  • Skint: Poor
  • Summat: Something
  • Muppet: Stupid person
  • Wonky: Uneven/unstable. Eg. That table is a bit wonky, put a book under the leg.
  • Mard/mardarse: Wimp. For the record, I’m a total mardarse.
  • Lurgy: Sick/poorly. “I’ve got the lurgy.”
  • Whatever, Trevor: This just means whatever. That’s it. Trevor isn’t a person, his name simply rhymes with whatever. I actually put this in one of my books once though and three of my betas thought I’d put the wrong name as a typo so I removed it to save confusion!
  • Fanny: Vagina
  • Scran (northern English): Food
  • Tosser: Idiot
  • Nobhole: Fanny. Also, idiot.
  • Bobby: Policeman
  • Fire Bobby: Fireman
  • On my Billy/On my Todd: On my own. Poor Billy and Todd, whoever they are, must have no friends L
  • Fag: Cigarette. I think most people know this one, but did you know that faggots are also a kind of pork meatball in gravy over here? I’ve never tasted one because they look disgusting. Seriously, there isn’t enough money in the world that you could pay me to put a faggot in my mouth. Blurgh.

I think that’s it. Have I missed any? If you think of any more just ask and I’ll set you straight! As always, thank you for reading my ramblings. If you enjoy watching me talk about random nonsense make sure you follow me on social media, or sign up to my newsletter. I’m not always interesting, but I give away free stuff (I’m not opposed to bribery) and free stuff’s always good, right?! 😉

 

Until next time, I love you!

 

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TCO Exclusive: Avon Gale Monthly Author Column

Featured Author Avon Gale

**We are so excited to have Avon Gale join us for a monthly author column.  Her latest release is Power Play, which you can grab here. One of my personal favorites though is Conversation Hearts. I promise if you read it, you will be begging Avon to write a follow up. You can check that one out here

 

Time (Mis)Management
So, it’s been just about six months since I decided to write full-time in lieu of pursue my hair stylist career. I simply didn’t have the ability to build up a stylist clientele and focus on the writing at the same time, and to be honest, writing is my first and greatest love and I never, ever thought I’d be blessed enough to do this as a job. And now I am! And boy, have I learned a lot in these six months.

 
Some of these lessons include:
1. My cats do not appreciate my dance moves or random, impromptu sing-alongs. My cats hate joy.
2. Being an extrovert and working home alone all day…well, there’s a reason I have dance parties and impromptu singalongs. IT’S TOO QUIET HELP SEND PEOPLE.
3. My neighbor seriously spends all his time mowing his yard. 24/7. It’s not that big of a yard, either. I don’t even know.
4. I talk to myself constantly, at home or while doing errands during the day. To be fair, I did this before I started writing full-time. I do it a lot more now, but hey. Eccentric authors can talk to themselves, right?
5. Eccentric authors can also leave the house in their stylish work-from-home wardrobe of leggings, canvas skull shoes, a tank top and the two of the world’s smallest pigtails which are totally uneven because whatever, #YOLO.
6. I fought having to get up in the morning like some kind of angry fighting thing that fights. Now? I wake up naturally and without my alarm at 7:30, and am usually at the desk working most days by 8:30/9:00 and work until 6 or so. Contrarian to the end, that’s me.
7. Time management, my ancient nemesis, is a lot easier when you love what you do…but loving what you do isn’t enough to master it.
8. One day I watched my mail carrier put the mail in our mailbox, then flip off my house. I still don’t know what that’s about.

Probably the hardest thing, though, is that planning and plotting and writing have always been things that I just *did* before. I wrote sometimes (or, who are we kidding here, all the time) at my office jobs, I wrote in the evenings, I wrote on the weekends. I wrote at theSocial media time management and web strategy concept with a clock and social network word and sign printed in multiple colors 3d render image. salon when I was working as a receptionist during beauty school. I was probably always writing when I was supposed to be doing something else, which yes, was a pretty good sign I should have been doing this all along.

 

Except now I have entire days devoted to writing, so I thought I’d be doing it constantly. And that is totally not true. Some days I’m in the groove and I write like crazy, but some days I play on Twitter, dance with the cats (they REALLY hate that), do promo stuff (you know, like playing on Twitter >>) and obsess over my schedule and when I need to get things done by.

You guys, the other day I procrastinated editing (okay, I think this is fair though because editing arghhhh) by cleaning out my linen cabinet. What! I used to procrastinate cleaning by writing! WHAT MADNESS IS THIS!
Things that have plagued me my entire life are organizational skills, time management and pesky details that I would rather ignore in favor of candy. So now that I’m my own boss, I’m having to find ways to curb my natural distracted tendencies, set up schedules and procedures that work, and not feel guilty about not getting enough done. I read somewhere this was the biggest challenge for people who work from home, the constant thought that they should be working around the clock and never take breaks to play Futurama: Game of Drones on their phones, or have intense conversations with their friends about craft night.

 
I guess that’s the main thing I’ve learned – even when I love something as much as I love writing, even as passionate as I am about what I do and how grateful I am that I get to do it…I’m still going to play Futurama: Game of Drones and have cat dance parties. (Sorry, cats.)

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Obsessed with Nicola Haken: Monthly Author Column

Obsessed_with_Nicola

TCO is so super excited that when we asked Nicola Haken if she wanted to do a monthly column, not only did she say yes, she actually followed through with it! So, without further ado, welcome the lovely (and very hard for this American to understand when she’s talking) Nicola Haken to the blog. And if you have something you want Nicola to talk about next month, let us know!

Who the Hell is Nicola Haken?

Firstly, I was thrilled to be asked to do a monthly blog post for Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy, even though the founder of the blog is a bellend (I love her, so I’m allowed to call her names). By thrilled, I mean nervous. There’s a reason I don’t update my own blog, and that’s because I’m wholly uninteresting!

But, what the hell. I’m going to try my best to sound all intellectual and fun!

Okay, that lasted like two seconds. While I try and think of something clever and interesting for my next post, I’ll take the easy way out this time and introduce myself, tell you some random shite about me and my career, and hope I don’t bore you to death.

Right. Interesting. I can do this. I’m singing along to the Glee version of Gold Digger as I type this. Is that interesting? No? It would be if you could hear me, but I’ll move on.

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Nicola. She was always a little weird, a lot neurotic, and had a wild imagination. But you know what that little girl never did? Read. Despite English being my favourite subject at school, I didn’t actually read a full book until I was in my twenties, and I wouldn’t have done that if my sister-in-law didn’t force me to. That book was Twilight (don’t judge or diss my Edward or I will smack you in the face) and from that day I was addicted. I loved those books so much I had to get them in hardcover too. Then I needed somewhere to display them so I bought a bookcase. But what if I wanted to read them in bed, or on the go? So I bought a Kindle and downloaded them onto there too. (Did I mention I’ve always been a little obsessive?)

Holy crap on a cracker, there were like a bajillion books available on my new toy, so I started downloading them by the dozen. Where had this whole new world been hiding all my life? If you’ve read Broken, remember how James was always taking on new interests? He always had new ideas, tried his hand at lots of different things, well that’s me. There is a lot of me in James, but that’s a whole other blog post. When I left school I started sixth form with the aim of becoming a teacher one day. But then I got bored. I hated school. I’ve never been good with having people tell me what to do! So, I left and went to work in a supermarket until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

Ooo, I know! I’ll be a nail technician! So off I went to train to be one of those. I was good at it, determined to start my own business. I poured a tonne of money into that idea, but then I got bored with that too. Then I found hairdressing, got bored, found some other new stuff…you get where this is going. Whatever I did, I never felt like I belonged. I didn’t ‘fit’ anywhere. So it wasn’t really a surprise when people thought I was exploring another whimsical fad that would never amount to anything when I started writing my first book.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I’d never heard of a book blog, an editor, or a beta reader. I just wrote out the words in my head and ran with it. But it didn’t matter that I didn’t know anything about the book world because I’d DONE it. I’d found that thing I’d been searching for. I knew what I was born to do, and that was to take the vivid imagination I’d been born with and turn the ideas in my head into stories. I started out writing New Adult M/F stories, because back then that’s all I knew was out there (I meant it when I said I knew literally nothing about the book world). With each book I wrote I learned something new. I got to know how the publishing side of things worked with every mistake I made. I’m still learning. I hope to continue learning. To me, every book is better than the last.

So, how did writing MM Romance happen? Simply put, the second I discovered the genre existed I knew where I wanted to be. I stumbled across gay romance accidentally by reading a novella which was part of the MF series I was reading at the time, only it happened to be about the gay best friend. These characters were so different to anything I’d read before. Sure, they were men, but I related to them so much. Part of this story in particular was one of the MC’s struggling to accept his sexuality, which took me right back to my teenage years. Maybe I’ll go into this more in another post, but to summarise, I started questioning my own sexuality when I was thirteen. I felt different to my friends. I dreamed about female celebrities while they dreamed of the Backstreet boys. So, I must be a lesbian right? I didn’t tell anyone. I felt stupid and embarrassed, so I kept it to myself.

Eventually I told some friends, but then I realised I also understood what they saw in the guys they swooned over, too. Then I felt even more stupid. I didn’t know what the hell I was, what group I belonged in. I knew what bisexual meant, but I also knew that was greedy and not taken seriously. That’s what I grew up hearing anyway, so I definitely didn’t want to be that; you believe all the ignorant shit you’ve grown up listening to when you’re young. That didn’t work out too well. I couldn’t seem to ‘pick’ a side. It wasn’t as simple as finding men or women attractive. I’m attracted to people. I fall in love with the inside. That doesn’t mean I don’t find the outside pretty damn hot too, of course!

Anyway, I digress. My point is I felt more connected to these gay characters than I had with any other book I’d read before, but even then I didn’t know there was a whole freaking genre waiting for me. That came when I clicked on Double Full by Kindle Alexander after seeing it on my newsfeed, for no other reason than I loved the cover. I had no idea what I’d find inside, and that hot gay sex hit me in the face within the first couple of pages. BOOM! I needed more of this…so I went out and found it. Within days it became my new favourite genre. In MF, whether reading or writing it, being in the male MC’s head had always been my favourite place to be, so now with both sides being in a guy’s head I was in literary heaven! There’s something insanely beautiful reading about two men falling in love. Men are naturally perceived as being ‘tough’ and resilient, which to me just makes reading about their insecurities, watching their macho walls – which society assumes they should have – fall, and witnessing the tender moments two people in love share, so much more special.

Yet, I’ve seen people comment on these kind of moments, in reviews or book groups, saying things like, ‘men don’t act like that in real life.’ ‘Men don’t think like this.’ ‘This MC sounds like a woman.’ Honestly, I find it ridiculous. No, I’m not a man, but I know real-life men. I have a husband. I have gay friends. And d’ya know what? Men are tender. They are romantic. They do go gooey-eyed over the person they love. They do get coy and turn into bumbling idiots in front of someone they fancy, and they do whisper sweet and dreamy words in their partner’s ear. Of course, the books we’re talking about are fiction. The romance, the drama, the angst and the sex is all ramped up to super-speed. Real life isn’t all butterflies and daisies, but who wants to read about guys farting in bed while worrying about which bill to pay first?

Bloody hell, I’ve totally gone off-point again haven’t I? Maybe I should add rambling to the Fun Facts About Nicola Haken list. So, we’ve established I love MM Romance, but I wasn’t brave enough to write it myself for a long time. What if I was no good? What if they didn’t want some newbie who didn’t know what they were doing in their genre? What if my existing readers didn’t like it? I can’t even remember what made me take the plunge, all I know is that it was the best decision I ever made. Being Sawyer Knight was born and I’d found my home. It wasn’t my best book, because like I said before I’m constantly learning, but I’m still damn proud of it, and grateful too. That story, those characters, introduced me to some of the best people in the whole world (including the bellend in my opening sentence!) The MM Romance genre is literally flooded with awesome people – fabulous readers, amazing bloggers, fan-freakin’-tastic authors. It holds a sense of community. It’s like a giant family to me. I’ve made some lifelong friends here. I feel like I belong – FINALLY – and you guys ain’t getting rid of me without a fight 😉

So, that’s how I got into writing. There was no magical epiphany. It wasn’t my ‘calling’. I took a chance and I fell in love with it. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to do this as a career. I’m grateful for each and every person who’s ever read my words, interacted with me, supported me and my characters. I wouldn’t be where I am today without other people, and that’s why I’m all about giving it back. I enjoy seeing other authors’ successes – I love sharing them, promoting them, drooling over their covers. I love seeing readers recommend other authors books, because I’m a reader too. I don’t get the hump (this means annoyed for you non-Brits!) if I get page-like requests from strangers or added to groups. It’s difficult to achieve anything in life alone, and so if I can help I will. My life’s motto is pretty simple; don’t be an arsehole.

Wow. This has turned into a really long post considering I had nothing to talk about! If you’re half-asleep with drool down your chin, wake up, I’m nearly finished I promise. I’ll end with that Fun Facts About Nicola list I mentioned because if I drone on for any more paragraphs I fear Denise will tell me not to come back.

• My name is Nicola (okay, that’s not fun but it is a fact!)
• I have a tendency to ramble (See? Told you I’d add it.)
• I don’t like even numbers (This is a problem when it comes to biscuits. One, obviously, isn’t enough, but I can’t have two because I don’t like even numbers, so three it is. Or five. Hence my fat arse.)
• I have lots of tattoos (sorry, Mum!)
• Pepsi Max is my best friend
• I couldn’t live without potatoes in my life.
• I eat and drink like a child. No grown-up foods allowed! I’m a chicken nuggets and orange juice gal.
• I swear way too fucking much.
• I can’t eat with metal spoons. I’m not allergic or anything, I’m just weird.
• My favourite song right now is You’re Not There by Lukas Graham (this will likely change before you read this.)
• My favourite colour is purple.
• I have a tendency to zone out when people are talking to me.
• I am a whiney bitch who moans about literally everything, but not in public. No one wants to hear that shit.

If you’ve survived this post, congratulations! That’s some impressive stamina you’ve got there. Also, if you know what I should ramble about next time please let me know because I’m out of ideas! If you have any questions, comment below and give me something to talk about 😀

Cough*shameless-self-promo-ahead*Cough, if you’re not fed up of me already then I’m always excited to meet new stalkers-I mean friends, so follow me on social media! Friend request me, like my page, hide out behind my shed…wait, I don’t have a shed. I have a garage you could keep dry in though.

Until next time…

https://www.facebook.com/NicolaHaken/
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNicolaHaken
https://twitter.com/NicolaHaken
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7094294.Nicola_Haken
http://www.amazon.com/Nicola-Haken/e/B00CVY43A6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.