Who We Are by Nicola Haken: Exclusive Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

Nicola Haken is stopping by today to bring us the amazing cover by Jay Aheer, along with an exclusive excerpt and giveaway. Who We Are is scheduled to release on March 13th.

 

synopsisSince putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

teaser

Who We Are Fish Teaser

Who We Are Future Teaser

 

excerpt

Excerpt from Who We Are.
Copyright Nicola Haken 2017

~Sebastian~

“Oh! Drinks,” I remembered, pushing out from under the table.
“I’ll get them,” Mum said. “You’ve done enough making this.”
“Have you got any wine?” Auntie Gemma asked. “Red, preferably.”
“No, sorry.” I forced an apologetic frown as I lied to her. She was gobby enough without alcohol in her system.
My mum returned moments later with eight glass tumblers, four stacked in each hand, and a bottle of lemonade tucked sideways under her chin, which Oliver grabbed before it fell.
“Thanks, sweetie,” she said, setting the glasses out on the table.
As she started pouring drinks, Scott reached out to grab a piece of garlic bread, using his thumb and little finger – the only digits he had on his right hand.
I caught Tyler staring at his hand, a line of curiosity forming between his eyebrows. “What happened to your fingers?”
“Ty,” Oliver interrupted, his voice low yet slightly scalding.
“Nah, it’s okay,” Scott said, turning back to Tyler. “I’d rather people ask me than stare like I’m a freak. I had meningitis when I was a kid. I’ve got missin’ toes too. Wanna see?”
“Not at the dinner table,” I cut in, baffled and slightly amused by the pride he took in his missing body parts.
“Sick.” Tyler rolled up the sleeve on his hoody. “I’ve got this scar here from when I fell off my bike when I was six. Broke it so bad they had to operate and put a pin in it.”
Scott nodded, impressed. “Cool.”
I glanced at Oliver to see if he found their fascination with scars and missing fingers as bizarre as I did. I guessed he did by the shrug and somewhat bewildered look he gave me. But, hey, at least the boys were getting along and that was great to see.
“This tastes mint, Dad,” Scott said, shovelling another forkful of lasagne into his mouth. “How’s yours, Uncle Rob?”
I wanted to drown the cocky little shit in the bath.
Uncle Rob nodded, still chewing. “Good, thank you.”
“So, Oliver,” Auntie Gemma began. “How do you get that shine on your cheeks? Your face looks…” she trailed off, wiggling her fork in the air while she thought of the right word.
“Like a woman’s,” Uncle Rob mumbled under his breath.
“That’s outta line, Rob,” My dad chimed in.
Rob looked up from his plate, sitting back defiantly in his chair as he glanced between Oliver and my dad. “I’ve nothing against gays…”
Here we go…
“…You know that, but he’s a man, wearing you know, women’s things. Does he want to be a woman? I know that’s all the rage these days too.”
I opened my mouth to put the ignorant fool in his place, something I’d never done before – but he’d never insulted someone I cared about before either, only Oliver beat me to it. “They’re not women’s things, they’re my things, and you’d probably be better asking me,” Oliver began. “No offense to Mr Day, but he’s only just met me. I doubt he’ll be able to answer any questions you have regarding my gender as adequately as I can.” And then, with a swift roll of one shoulder, Oliver carried on eating as if they’d simply been discussing last night’s episode of Coronation Street.
Straightening my back, I dropped my fork onto my plate, staring at Oliver, this incredible man, in utter awe. I’d known Uncle Rob my entire life, put up with his bullshit comments and homophobic slurs for as long as I could remember, and I’d just rolled over and ignored them or changed the subject because he was family and it wasn’t worth the hassle.
But not Oliver. He’d known him less than an hour and here he was, prepared to challenge him and, if I knew Oliver like I thought I did, educate him. Not that I held much hope of Rob actually listening.
“Well? Do you?” Rob asked.
The room fell deathly silent. Auntie Gemma chose to chew her lip and pretend to admire Scott’s school photos on the wall, my parents stared awkwardly at their plates, and Scott and Tyler gawped between Uncle Rob and Oliver with their mouths hung open.
“Do I want to be a woman? No. I’m very happy with my gender.”
“Then…why?” Uncle Rob’s nose scrunched up in what looked like disgust.
“Because I believe everyone deserves to feel good about themselves. I wear what makes me feel good. I don’t particularly like your jumper,” he said, pointing towards the argyle knit my uncle wore. “So I wouldn’t wear that, but under normal circumstances I’d never have told you that because you clearly feel comfortable in it and that’s all that matters.”
Uncle Rob looked down at his grey jumper, the disgust on his face melting into confusion.
“Plus, I’d be interested to meet the person who decided makeup is exclusively for women, given that it hasn’t always been the case. Men have been wearing it since the times of ancient Egypt. Maybe before.” Oliver shrugged. “I’m no historian. My point is, somewhere along the way someone, I don’t know who, decided we shouldn’t do that anymore. Well, unless we’re rock stars, actors, or new romantics, because that’s acceptable, right? Well, seeing as I don’t even know who decided I shouldn’t wear makeup simply because I have a penis, I don’t see why I need to listen to them.”
Oh shit. My mum started coughing and spluttering, choking on the lemonade she’d taken a sip of at, clearly, the worst moment possible. “You okay?” I asked her.
Still coughing, she raised her hand and attempted to nod as my dad patted her back. Oliver’s lips tightened into a firm, worried line, like he was afraid he might’ve been about to ruin what should’ve been a relaxed family dinner by killing my mother. But then she stopped coughing and managed to swig a few sips of the water Auntie Gemma had got from the kitchen without choking to death.
“If anyone’s still interested in what I was saying,” Auntie Gemma began, taking her seat back at the table. “I was trying to say your face looks like something out of a magazine. Photoshopped, almost. How do you get it to look so…so perfect?”
“Practice and good products,” Oliver answered with a proud smile.
“Do you do other people, or just yourself?”
Oh, Christ. Where’s she going with this?
“It’s just, Rob and I have a wedding coming up. My friend’s daughter is getting married in a few months. Could you make my face look as good as that?”
If you sprinkled glitter on a turd would it look like a diamond? I deserved a frigging award for not saying that out loud.
“Sure. I could do your makeup. I’ll give you the number for the salon I work in. Ring up and ask for an appointment with me.”
Thank fuck. At least that way we wouldn’t have to go around to their house for another hour of jaw-aching fake smiles and soul destroying awkwardness.
“Whoop! I’m all excited now!” she said on a squeal, clapping her hands.
Whoop? Who actually says whoop aloud? The same woman who often said LOL as an actual word, that’s who.
“Hey, Dad?” Scott piped up. “Can Ty and I go up to my room to play on the Xbox?”
“Don’t you want pudding? It’s spotted dick,” I said, raising my voice a notch higher. No one could resist spotted dick. “Custard too.”
Scott flashed the side-eye towards my auntie and uncle and said, “We’re full.”
“Sure,” I agreed. “I’ll save you some to reheat later.” Honestly, I wished I could hide out upstairs with them too.

Add to Goodreads TBR:

tco exclusive

Are you ready for the cover?

.

.

.

.

.

.

Are you sure? 🙂

.

.

.

.

.

wh0-are-we-customdesign-JayAheer2016-EBOOK-COVER Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00007]

meet the author

Nicola Haken lives in Rochdale, England, with her five kids – one of whom is a grown man who many refer to as her husband. She spends her days writing about life, love, and all the beauty and angst that comes with it, and her nights binge watching Netflix or being the household slave. She’s also not very good at referring to herself in the third person, so if you’d like to get to know her your best bet would be to follow her on social media!

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

Facebook
Twitter
Website: www.nicolahaken.net
Newsletter Sign up: http://eepurl.com/b5juVj
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

12 Days of Kissmas: Nicola Haken: Exclusive Guest Post and Excerpt, Giveaways

15301163_1901555790064065_2104185639_n

 

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

IAffectionate young gay couple kissing together while sitting at their kitchen table in the morning’ve looked at so many pictures for my 12 Days of Kissmas post (which was fun!) and I kept getting drawn back to this one. I could’ve gone for something raunchy and steamy, for something naked and hot that got me all of a fluster…but…this picture is what Christmas, what life is about for me. It’s about waking up in the morning, kicking out under the covers and feeling that other person who means the world to you on the other side of the bed. It’s about those little stolen kisses in the kitchen, just like in this image, that you do automatically without caring whether they’ve got jam or toast crumbs stuck to their lips. It’s about having someone to share the everyday with – the ups and downs, the smiles and tears – and I think that’s what this picture shows.

I see so much in this photo. My mind is set to Christmas because of the time of year and the theme of this post, and so I see them having their first coffee on Christmas morning, just before they head into the living room to open their presents. Then, I see them heading upstairs to get ready for the day, to shower and change into their smart Christmas clothes – or maybe their funny Christmas jumpers, stealing a couple more kisses…maybe more, before heading out to spend the day with family and friends. I see love, tenderness, happiness, and so much beauty all from that one little kiss.

Another reason why this image jumped out at me is because it reminds me of a scene in the book I’m writing right now. It’s the morning after the first full night Oliver and Sebastian have spent together, and Seb begins to realise how special the little things in life can be when shared with someone important. It’s the magical turning point for my new guys, the moment things really start to heat up for them, and I’m sharing that whole scene with you here!

Who We Are is releasing early 2017 (I don’t have an exact date yet, but all will be revealed soon) and I’m so excited for you to meet Seb and Olli…and also, as usual, nervous as hell. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

~ Sebastian ~

“Ah, I’m glad you’re awake before I plate up,” Olli said when he saw me. Dressed in only a loose fitting vest top that skimmed his thighs, he held up two bottles of sauce. “Red or brown?”
“For sausage, gotta be red.”
“There’s bacon too. It’s under the grill.”
Damn, it was way too early for such big decisions. “In that case I’m gonna need brown too.”
His nose scrunched up into a cute little ball, but he didn’t question my odd flavour combination as he put both bottles of sauce on the round bistro table that separated the kitchen from the living room. Taking a seat on one of the metal chairs, I watched him move around the kitchen, humming along to Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King on the radio as he danced between the stove and the toaster.
The scene I found myself living in felt awfully domesticated, and I liked it. A lot. The problem was we still didn’t really know each other, and if I wanted this to continue that needed to change. If I wanted more mornings like this he had to know who the real me was. He needed to know that yesterday wasn’t my typical Saturday, that usually I had my fifteen year old son to take care of.
He needed to know that I was bisexual, and that being with him wouldn’t magically ‘cure’ my attraction to women. I’d fallen into the pretending to be gay trap, straight too, before. If I was truthful, I’d been doing the latter for the last four years, and I was tired. Lying was exhausting, disheartening, and honestly I didn’t even know why I did it. I told myself I wasn’t ashamed, but on some level I must have been.
Then I remembered Oliver on that stage last night, so fierce and proud, rocking the shit out of those long leather boots, his voice so damn powerful I wanted to turn it into a blanket and keep it wrapped around me for the rest of my life…and I really did feel ashamed.
If Olli had the courage to reveal who he was to the world then I could do the same to one man. He deserved that. I deserved that. Even after the relatively short time we’d known each other I respected him too much to lie to him, to pretend for him. I knew who I was, and I wanted Oliver to know too.
I could only hope he would accept it.
Just not today. Last night, and this morning, had been perfect, and I wanted to remember them that way.
“Wow,” I breathed rubbing my hands together when Oliver placed a plate, stacked high with sausages, bacon, beans, toast, and two fried egg yolks in front of me. “You remembered?” I said, pointing towards the eggs.
Taking a seat opposite, he smiled and pointed to the fried egg whites on his own plate. “Of course. We’re destiny, right?” he said, pushing my knife and fork towards me.
And just like that, he took another tiny piece of me that I didn’t think I’d ever get back.
“I hope your friend won’t mind that you’ve emptied his fridge.”
Olli shrugged, cutting into his bacon. “I’m doing him a favour. He needs to watch his cholesterol in his old age.”
Laughing, I dipped a piece of sausage in my beans and popped it in my mouth. Mmm. Heaven.
As the minutes ticked by I found myself paying more attention to Oliver than I did my breakfast. He didn’t mix his food, eating one component entirely before moving on to the next. Not a big deal, but it fascinated me, just like everything else about him. He caught me staring several times and at first he stared right back, but eventually he became adorably embarrassed and tried to focus on his food.
“I really like you, Oliver,” I said, reaching out and brushing over his forearm, the skin still mottled with yellowy-green bruises. I didn’t care how cheesy it sounded. I liked him, really liked him, and I wanted him to hear it.
A small smile played on the corners of his lips, his head tilting to one side. “I like you, too.”
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, are we, I mean I don’t know if this is the kinda thing we need to talk about. Like I’ve said before I’m not all that good at this shit. I just…” Jesus, stop rambling, I inwardly cursed myself. “I want to do this again. With you. Only you. I’m not after a bit on the side. I want us to get to know each other. So I suppose what I’m-”
“Are you asking me to go steady with you, Sebastian?” he interrupted, followed by an amused chuckle.
“Well when you say it like that it makes me feel like we’ve slipped into an American high school movie, but yeah. I guess I am.”
“Sorry,” he muttered, grinning. “One too many episodes of Teen Wolf.” Taking my hand off his arm, he laced his fingers through mine. “I want that, too.”
Damn those eyes of his. Those pools of blue did insane things to my body.
“We should-” I was about to suggest we celebrate our official relationship status in the shower when the sound of the flat door opening disrupted me.
We both turned towards the noise to find Oliver’s friend, Rhys, walking through it, looking decidedly less graceful than I remembered him.
“Sorry to interrupt the love fest,” he said. “I had to escape.” Skulking gingerly over to the window, he drew the blinds closed and plopped himself down on the sofa, hiding his face behind a cushion.
“What happened?” Oliver asked. “You had a row with Davey?”
“Stop yelling,” Rhys muttered, peeling the cushion off his face. “And get me some painkillers.”
“I’m not your slave,” Oliver replied in the same quiet voice he’d been using all along, yet he slid his chair out from beneath the table anyway and walked over to the cupboard above the sink, where I presumed Rhys kept the medicines. “So what happened with Davey?” he added, taking Rhys a box of ibuprofen and a glass of water.
“I didn’t go to Davey’s. I went home with that guy. The one with the nose ring.”
“That’s not like you.”
“It wasn’t like me, until a few months ago. I think I’m havin’ a mid life crisis. Anyway, I wake up this mornin’ to the sound of retchin’ comin’ from the bathroom and the most intense feelin’ of gay ja vu washes over me. Then I remember. I’ve been here before. In this same bed. Listenin’ to this same guy. A guy who can tickle his lungs with the tip of my dick without blinkin’ but can’t stand the feelin’ of a toothbrush in his mouth.”
“Oh my God.” Oliver’s hand flew to his mouth. “I, um, I’m not really sure what to say to that.”
“I think I’m gonna give up on relationships and get a cat,” Rhys said before tossing two painkillers in his mouth and washing them down with a glug of water.
“Nah. Cats are evil and they stink,” Oliver said.
“I have a cat,” I cut in.
Oliver’s neck jerked around, his expression sceptical like he didn’t know whether to believe me. Seriously, if I was going to lie to make myself sound interesting I’d have thought of something more impressive than owning a moggy.
“His name’s Marvin.”
“Oh.” Oliver’s lips melted into a guilty line. “Well I’m sure they’re not all evil. Sorry.”
“Don’t be. He’s kind of an arsehole.”
He started to laugh but stopped himself. “Wait…Marvin. So that would make him Marvin Day?”
Finally! Someone who appreciated his name. His vet simply snickered and Lisa looked at me like I was a spanner short of a toolbox.
“I don’t get it,” Rhys said.
“Day. Gaye,” Oliver explained, which really ruined the whole thing. Poor Marv. I thought his name was awesome, which is why I chose it.
“Ah. Cool.” Rhys nodded, but couldn’t have sounded less amused if he’d tried. “I think I’m still drunk. I’m goin’ to bed to think about everythin’ that’s wrong with my life. Later, girls.”
Hauling his weary body off the sofa, Rhys paused by the table where I sat as he made his way to the bedrooms, his gaze raking down my bare chest. “Nice sausage,” he said, winking.
Instinctively, I looked down to my zipper in a slight panic before I noticed his hand reaching out to pinch an actual leftover sausage from my plate. Then he walked away, leaving me annoyed with myself for not thinking of a fun comeback in time.
“Sorry,” Oliver muttered with an apologetic smile as he wandered over to the table and started clearing our empty plates.
“Don’t be,” I said, following him through to the sink, ready to help him clean the epic mess he’d created. “I’m highly experienced in the dickhead best friend department.” My voice was teasing as I bumped his shoulder with my own. Truthfully, I liked his friend. He was funny, flirty, camper than the fairy godmother on an acid trip, and from the way he looked me up and down through narrowed eyes when we first met last night, I imagined he was also fiercely protective of Oliver.
The morning still played out perfectly despite the unexpected interruption. Working together in the kitchen, washing dishes, wiping counters, smacking his arse – which I was pleasantly surprised to discover was naked beneath that long vest…it all felt so normal. So everyday. Like we’d been doing this for years. Like I’d known him all my life. Like we were supposed to do this forever. It made no sense, yet it made perfect sense. We were so different, yet the same. When I looked into his eyes I saw a loneliness there that I’d so often seen in my own. It felt like he understood what it felt like to feel lost, to feel like a diamond in a sea of pebbles.
The difference is Oliver let his diamond shine. He polished it, made it sparkle, let the world see how special it was. His diamond was fucking stunning. Me? I rolled mine around in the dirt and disguised it as a pebble.
“You’re staring,” Oliver said, his back against the open door as I was about to leave.
Pressing my chest to his, I combed his hair behind his ear with my fingers. “You’re hard to look away from, and I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
“Maybe you could stop by the salon again in your big truck,” he suggested, his voice flirtatious as he ran the tip of his finger down the buttons on my shirt.
I didn’t find out which trips I was on until the night before, but I was sure if I flashed June a nice smile she’d work me in a few Manchester runs.
“You wanna check out my gearstick, eh?”
Tipping his head back and laughing, he pushed me away from his chest. “Okay, you just totally ruined the moment.”
“What! I almost went for ‘do you want to slip your tacho into my card reader?’ but I didn’t think you’d know what that meant.”
“Enough with the driver puns! I won’t be slipping anything anywhere in your truck. Trucks are filthy,” he said with an exaggerated shudder.
“I keep my cab immaculate, thank you very much. I’ve won driver of the month seven times for it,” I told him with a smug nod.
Again, he chuckled. I don’t know why he found it so amusing. I was rather proud of my awards. I had all seven of the little plastic trophies standing in a row on the windowsill in my downstairs toilet.
“I’ll call you,” I said, and then I grazed his lips with mine, letting them linger, not moving, just…feeling. My heart ached from missing him already and the feeling was almost surprising. I’d never considered myself unhappy, or realised just how lonely I actually was until I started spending time with Oliver. I’d been content with my life, happy with the simple routine of work, weekends with Scott, and hanging out with Benny occasionally.
But Oliver brought spontaneity, stirred emotions deep in my chest that I hadn’t felt in years, if ever. He made the world seem more interesting, waking up each day more exciting. He taught me how magical stolen kisses over a sink full of greasy water was, how funny a pointless three AM conversation about kangaroos could be, and how much I’d missed falling to sleep next to the warmth of another person.
He’d shown me that there was more to life than being content, that life could be fucking amazing when you got to share it with another person, and he’d done it so quickly too. A little voice in the back of my head, a rational voice, the one that thought back to my previous relationships, warned me to slow down before I got hurt, before I fell so hard it would take me months to get back up.
But it was too late. I’d already jumped.

Copyright © Nicola Haken 2016

Thank you, as always, to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me, and thank you to you for reading this post! I hope you enjoy what’s left of 2016. Stay safe, stay happy, and I’ll see you next year! Big hugs and smooches!

Oh, one last thing, and then I’m done I swear…here’s all my social media links and all that jazz in case you think I’m worth hanging around 😉 Love you!

Newsletter Sign up
Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: @NicolaHaken
Goodreads Link

Amazon Author Page

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

Big hugs and smooches!

Newsletter Sign up: http://eepurl.com/b5juVj

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.

Counting Daisies by Nicola Haken : Blog Tour, 2 TCO Exclusive Excerpts, and Giveaway

Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: MM Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2016
synopsis

Dylan Roberts and Cameron O’Neil were good kids. Growing up together, they shared everything. By the age of fourteen they were more than best friends – they were in love. They dreamt of their future, of success, marriage…happiness. They were going to grow old by each other’s side.

But… “Kids are stupid.”

When tragic circumstances forced them apart, Dylan discovered that life wasn’t the fairytale he dreamed of; it was dark, difficult, saturated with pain and shame. Life wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, merely survived, but even that became a challenge.

Damaged, worthless, and disgusting, he saw no point to his pitiful existence…

Until he came face to face with the boy he used to love.

Successful, honourable, and happy, Cameron had achieved the future they planned. He was good, positive, popular…everything Dylan would never be. What would happen if Dylan let him back into his world? Would he destroy Cameron too? Would his poison push him away like everyone else?

“Everybody leaves.”

“They leave or they die.”

But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?

buy now

“This is a deep and powerful book with the main theme which is refreshing less about the path of a relationship and way more about the real life gritty obstacles that come on the way of their HEA.” – Reader Review

“This book was phenomenal. I cried so many tears. Story was heart breaking and heartwarming all at the same time.” – SiKReviews

“This was a beautifully crafted story of friendship, love, bonds, addictive behaviour and heartache. It was hugely emotional in parts, and Nicola doesn’t hold back.” – 2 Girls & Their Kindles


excerpt
Rummaging through my coat pocket for my car keys, I stepped past what I assumed was a homeless guy sitting against the brick wall, staring up at the sky. It was a common sight on the streets of London, and as always I felt a pang of sorrow, maybe even guilt, as I carried on walking to my flashy car, ready to drive to my expensive apartment to eat my luxury food.
“C-Cameron?” The timid voice that carried my name darted into my ears, paralysing me, welding my feet to the pavement.
It can’t be.
“Cam, is that you?”
I seemed to turn in slow motion, my eyes squinting as I studied the face a few feet away, illuminated by the streetlamp above.
“Dylan?”
Standing, he strode towards me, each step hesitant and wobbly, and as he neared I had no doubt in my mind. “Oh my God. Dylan!”
Automatically, I lunged forward, my arms folding around his body, around his leather jacket, his dad’s jacket, and held him tight to my chest.
Pulling back, I stared at his face, pressing my hand to his cheek to move back the side of his grey hoody. Christ, the feel of his skin on mine…it still sent tingles through my spine even after all these years. He still felt familiar. He still felt like home.
teaser
tco exclusive

Excerpt from Counting Backwards (Book Two in The Counting Series)

~Paul~

“I’m gonna die alone,” I said, tipping my head back on the couch cushions.
I expected Derek to grumble, or at least laugh at me, but he didn’t. Instead, he slapped his hand down on my knee and spoke in the most tender tone I’d ever heard from his lips. “We got each other.”
Four little words, yet they made my chest feel funny. My heart beat a little faster and the feel of his hand on my jeans-clad leg made my stomach tickle. “You coming onto me, old man?” I didn’t like how unsettled I suddenly felt so I turned it into a joke.
“No.” He sounded almost offended. “I’m just sayin’ maybe I don’t wanna grow old alone either.”
“But…you hate people.”
“I don’t ‘ate you. Well, not all the time anyway.”
My eyes narrowed as I flopped my head to the side to look at him. He sounded so…serious. Derek and I didn’t do serious. “Are you saying you want to make one of those pacts? Like, if we’re still single in ten years we’ll marry each other kinda thing.”
“Fuck no! Christ, I couldn’t live wi’ your whiney arse twenty-four seven.”
We were back to goofing around. Normality had resumed.
Phew.
“I just meant if we never get to ‘ave the ‘ole romance novel life, we’ll always ‘ave each other to get drunk with. We can bitch about ‘ow sickenin’ the likes o’ Cam and Dyl are together while we’re doin’ wheelies in our wheelchairs in the old folks ‘ome.”
“I’d whip your arse in a wheelie contest,” I said, my voice brimming with confidence.
With an amused grin taking over his face, he pointed to my stomach. “Wi’ that podge?”
Covering my belly with my hand, my jaw dropped. “I do not have a podge!”
Derek’s build was what could only be described as fucking huge. He had broad shoulders and a strong neck, biceps like fucking watermelons that were decorated with vibrant tattoos on his left, black and grey on his right. He was solid everywhere. You ran the risk of getting knocked the fuck out just brushing against him.
Sure, in comparison I was tiny, but I didn’t have a podgy belly. If I tensed hard enough in front of the mirror I could almost see the shadow of a four-pack. “I’m lighter,” I said. “Which means I can haul my weight around faster. You don’t stand a chance.”
“Oh yeah? Prove it.”
I rolled my eyes. “Shit. I left my wheelchair at home.”
“Come to the gym wi’ me and Dyl this mornin’. Challenge me on the treadmill.”
Fuck. “I’m hungover. Wouldn’t be a fair fight.”
“Yeah, yeah.” The twat snickered. “Shame you can’t live up to that big gob o’ yours.”
“Tomorrow.” Shit. What the hell did I say that for? “Tomorrow. Seven AM. I’ll be ready.”
Derek’s eyebrow rose as he jerked his head back. “You’re on, Twinkle.” He held out his closed fist, which I proceeded to bump, but inside I was quietly petrified. “Prepare to lose.”
I’ll die before I step off that treadmill. I wouldn’t give the cocky fucker the satisfaction. And so it looked like today could quite possibly have been my last day on earth.
Shit.

paula review

This was such a powerful book. Dylan broke my heart. He’s so lost and broken. He tries really hard and struggles. My heart was with him through the whole book. I was rooting for him so bad. Cameron was amazing. He was so loving and forgiving. He truly believed in Dylan and was very supportive. I really like how Nicola wrote this story. There wasn’t a magic you’re fine ending. She was realistic in the work and daily struggle that Dylan would have to live with. Cameron was my champion in this story. He love for Dylan and his acknowledging the fact that Dylan would struggle with his sobriety. The entire story was very realistic to me with the ups and downs.

5 pieces of eye candy

5-pieces-eye-candy2

meet the author

Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dog and cat!) She is the author the author of the m/m romance Souls of the Knight series, and is currently working on a standalone with new boys, James and Theo, due for release early 2016. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

giveaway

HOSTED BY:

 

 

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.

Broken by Nicola Haken: Blog Tour, Giveaway and Teasers

Title: Broken

Author: Nicola Haken

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 29, 2016

synopsis

When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.

Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.

James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.

Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.

Broken.

Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?

(M/M romance. Not suitable for readers under 18 years of age due to language and sexual content. ***Please note*** This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may pose as a trigger, or be uncomfortable for some readers.)


buy now

teaser

 

“Broken is truly a remarkable book. I was blown away by it, by the raw and sincere way Ms. Haken took these men through the roller coaster of living with unrelenting demons. And now, as I sit here wondering if I have to courage to post this review, all I can think about is how far into my heart Theo and James have embedded themselves–and how I hope they never leave. I think it might be too hard to say goodbye…although maybe not as hard as it was find the words that I hope compel you to read this breathtaking book.” ~ Beth, Give Me Books 

“A stunning but achingly painful read” ~ Author Sloane Kennedy 

“This is an amazing book full of so much raw emotion that it gripped me and wouldn’t let up. I felt like I was watching a movie in my head and I wanted to just jump in the book and give James a huge hug. Lots of FEELz in this book.. both good and bad.” ~ Alpha Book Club


tco-playlist

teaser

meet the author

Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dog and cat!) She is the author the author of the m/m romance Souls of the Knight series, and is currently working on a standalone with new boys, James and Theo, due for release early 2016. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway



HOSTED BY:

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

Broken by Nicola Haken: Review and Giveaway

Broken-1800x2700

 

synopsis

When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.

Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.

James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.

Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.

Broken.

Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?

(M/M romance. Not suitable for readers under 18 years of age due to language and sexual content. ***Please note*** This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.)

buy now

Amazon

deanna review

I have read a few of Nicola Haken’s books, so I am familiar with her writing, but that in no way prepared me for Broken.

James Holden, CEO of Holden House is a difficult and demanding, but most of all he is broken. After a bathroom hook-up in a bar with Theodore Davenport he can’t seem to get him out of his mind. James can’t afford the distraction, work at his publishing house is busier that ever and personally he can’t let himself get involved with someone who will just leave when they find out how broken he is. When he discovers Theodore is new employee to Holden House he keeps finding reasons spend time with him telling himself it’s not serious, just a bit of fun.

Theodore wants his success at Holden House to be of his own merit, not because he is sleeping with the boss. Add to that, he doesn’t usually have sex while not in a relationship. When all James has to offer is sex Theodore needs to make him see that they could be so much more. Once James comes clean about himself Theodore needs to decide if he can be strong enough for the both of them.

In the aftermath of James’ downward spiral Theodore realizes just how strong a love like theirs really is and just how far he will go to make James see it.

Where do I even begin, this book is amazing. I am in awe, Nicola made me feel every emotion Theodore and James felt. When James was at his lowest, I sobbed. When Theodore was trying to be strong for them both I felt his resolve. I cheered when they were happy and cried more happy tears that I care to admit to.

This is not a fluffy, cute romance. This a realistic, this could happen to you story and I loved every second of it. This story gives hope to people struggling with mental illness and the people that love them.

I read this book a few days and I can’t get it out of my head. This quote keeps running through my head.

“When you’re living with mental illness, there is no happily ever after, like the kind we write about every day. Instead, we look forward to future days spent basking in the most dazzling light, followed by ones drowning in the deepest depths of darkness. There is only one constant, one guarantee, no matter which day we face. Love. A love so powerful it will carry us through. We will survive. Together.”

For me, this may be the greatest love story I have read. It’s gritty and raw and real.

5-pieces-eye-candy3

giveaway

**Comment on this post, and you could win a copy of Broken, from TCO.

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

The Making of Matt by Nicola Haken: Blog Tour, Review, Teasers, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: The Making of Matt
Series: Souls of the Knight
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: October 19, 2015
synopsis
Matt Carter, self-proclaimed sex-god and drummer for world renowned Souls of the Knight, didn’t have the time or inclination for planning his future, preferring to fill his days with music, women and alcohol. He didn’t want or need anything else in his life.
Until the band parted ways and he found himself no longer living the dream. 
Bored and lonely, with too much time and money on his hands, Matt turns to his best friend, Alex Clark, to help devise a new direction to take his life in. Together, they embrace their newfound venture, as owner and manager of one of L.A.’s hottest gay clubs – Kaleidoscope. For the first time, Matt has a plan. He knows where life is heading.
Until a devastating phone call turns his whole world upside down, sending him straight into the comforting arms of his best friend and leading him to doubt everything he’s ever known or believed about himself. 
Alex had always been content with his unrequited feelings for his rockstar friend, but as Matt starts to question if he might actually feel the same, he runs as fast as his feet will allow. 
Has Matt gone too far? Has his reputation as an irresponsible womanizer who refuses to take life seriously, finally managed to push his best friend away for good?
Or is Alex hiding secrets of his own?
buy now

michelle review
HELL YEAH……Now that was exactly how I had hoped Matt’s book went.    In book 1 I thought Matt was…well a twat….in book 2 he still was, but I was warming to the fact that he is completely different person behind closed doors.  Now that his book is here I am so stinking excited that we finally see what Matt & Alex’s friendship was like and how it would morph into a relationship!
I loved how Alex knew exactly who Matt was both inside and out.   Their friendship started in “Taming Ryder” and continues on into The Making of Matt.    Matt & Alex are best friends who have completely different personalities and completely different tastes (or so we thought).  While Matt is being Matt – Alex is trying to not let Matt affect him.  He is trying to keep things platonic.  He is trying to just be a friend but every time he walks in on Matt and another bimbo it gets harder and harder. Tragedy strikes, which brings Matt & Alex closer than normal.  So what happens when Matt takes a chance and throws caution to the wind?  Well…..A hell of a lot of tears, yelling, miscommunication and a secret so shocking I squealed…..not a happy jumping up and down squealing.  NO – it was an OMG-I-DID-NOT-SEE-THAT-COMING and OMG-WHERE-WILL-THEY-GO-FROM-HERE and OMG-THEY-BETTER-GET-THEIR-HEA squeal!
Once again Haken takes us on an emotional rollercoaster.   Matt & Alex go through some trying times and with the help from Uncle Sawyer (I heart him) they might be able to get passed them.  They are faced with obstacles no one should have to deal with and you’ll find yourself hoping they come out on top.   Haken was brilliant in the story she gave us.  It was real, raw and in your face, but it was exactly how Matt would want it.
You NEED to read this.  You will WANT to read this and once you start you will not be able to put it down.
****WELL F%UCKING DONE MS. HAKEN****
5 pieces of eye candy for The Making of Matt.

5-pieces-eye-candy3

paula review
This was a refreshing GFY read. Matt is a “go with the flow” kind of guy, so when he finds himself attracted to his friend Alex it’s not a big drama. That’s not to say there aren’t bump in the relationship. I really liked Matt’s attitude and personality in this story. He would be someone I would love to hang out with. Alex has his own issues to deal with. I liked the way after the initial drama about Alex’s issue, both guys just kind of tackeled it head on. I do think Matt would have saved himself some heartache if he would have just told Alex what was going on with him instead of trying to hide it. Overall, i think the characters and the storyline were well writting. The flow is good and I really liked that it wasn’t an insta-love book.
4-pieces-of-eye-candy2
excerpt
“Matt, are you telling me you think you’re in love with Alex?”

 

“No! Yeah…fuck I don’t know. I can’t be, right?”

 

 


 

“If you’d asked me an hour ago I’d have said ‘don’t be so fucking ridiculous’, but after listening to you, fuck I really don’t know. Answer me this, you said he touched your dick and you freaked. Why, if you kissed him first?”

 

 


 

“Because I almost came right there in my fucking sweatpants and it scared the shit outta me. It made me question everything I’ve ever known. I mean come on, you can’t just turn gay, right?”

 

 


 

Just saying it out loud sounded fucking ludicrous.

 

 


 

“You’ve lived an extraordinary life, Matt. Maybe it’s something that’s always been there but never had an opportunity to come out.”

 

 


 

“I’ve met plenty of guys, Saw. Never once have I been attracted to a single one of ‘em.”

 

 


 

“Have you ever had your dick out of a woman long enough to actually get to know a guy before though?”

 

 


 

“Touché.” I laughed, not just at Sawyer’s comment but at the whole situation I found myself in. “This is all Jake’s fault, you know.”

 

 


 

“And how the hell do you figure that?”

 

 


 

“Because everything was fine before he came on the scene. We were happy living for the music and women, and then he shows up with all his fucking gayness and passes it on to you. Then, like the pair of you were some kind of butt bandit magnets, Ryder comes along. Then like the gift that keeps on giving the gayitis spreads and suddenly life is all gay porn, gay clubs and gay fucking underwear. It’s gayness overload, dude! I’m fucking telling you that shit is contagious.”

 

 


 

Sawyer snickered, rolling his eyes at the same time. “Is there such a thing as gay underwear?”

 

 




 

“According to Ryder,” I said, shrugging before undoing the button on my jeans to expose the branded hem of my underwear. Sawyer raised his eyebrow, one side of his mouth curling up into a smirk. “They’re comfortable,” I said, feeling the need to defend my favorite pair of shorts. “What the fuck am I gonna do?”
teaser
meet the author
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dog and cat!) She is the author the author of the m/m romance Souls of the Knight series, and is currently working on a standalone with new boys, James and Theo, due for release early 2016. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…
giveaway

 

HOSTED BY:

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

The Making of Matt by Nicola Haken : Exclusive Cover Reveal, FREE books and Giveaway

We, at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy, are honored to have the EXCLUSIVE cover reveal for Nicola Haken’s next book in the Souls of the Knight series, The Making of Matt. And in celebration, for 24 hours only, Nicola has put Being Sawyer Knight and Taming Ryder FREE!!! So click below to grab them…and don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter to win some awesome prizes!

So, without further ado…here is the cover for The Making of Matt, as well as the synopsis.

 

 

TheMakingofMatt-1800x2700synopsis

Matt Carter, self-proclaimed sex-god and drummer for world renowned Souls of the Knight, didn’t have the time or inclination for planning his future, preferring to fill his days with music, women and alcohol. He didn’t want or need anything else in his life.

Until the band parted ways and he found himself no longer living the dream.

Bored and lonely, with too much time and money on his hands, Matt turns to his best friend, Alex Clark, to help devise a new direction to take his life in. Together, they embrace their newfound venture, as owner and manager of one of L.A.’s hottest gay clubs – Kaleidoscope. For the first time, Matt has a plan. He knows where life is heading.

Until a devastating phone call turns his whole world upside down, sending him straight into the comforting arms of his best friend and leading him to doubt everything he’s ever known or believed about himself.

Alex had always been content with his unrequited feelings for his rockstar friend, but as Matt starts to question if he might actually feel the same, he runs as fast as his feet will allow.

Has Matt gone too far? Has his reputation as an irresponsible womanizer who refuses to take life seriously, finally managed to push his best friend away for good?

Or is Alex hiding secrets of his own?

Print-TheMakingofMatt-Preview600

 

excerpt

Grabbing my iPad from the coffee table in the living room, I took it outside and sat at the pool-bar under the shade of the canopy. I rarely bought stuff online, always got other people to do it for me, so of course I’d forgotten my Amazon password. I reset it, then downloaded the app I needed.

It took me a while, and a couple more texts to Elle, to figure out I couldn’t buy books directly from the app, and then once I was eventually faced with the search bar on the website, I realized I didn’t actually know what I was looking for. That was something I didn’t want to share with Elle, so I took a chance and typed ‘gay’ into the Kindle section of the online store.

Fuck me sideways. There were hundreds, possibly even thousands, of books. My finger tapped away like a machine gun, clicking the ‘buy’ button one after the other for about three pages. Through the magic of Wi-Fi, the books appeared on my app within seconds. Closing my eyes, I ran the pad of my finger up and down the screen and tapped randomly, opening a book titled He’s Mine.

Before I got started I plucked a bottle of cold beer from the cooler behind the pool-bar, popped the cap and took a generous swig. I hadn’t read a book since high-school, and even then I didn’t actually read it. I’d get friends to tell me what it was about instead.TheMakingofMatt-promoblock

The first book I opened completely screwed with my head. I wasted half an hour of my life becoming actually invested in the story when out of nowhere the guy turned into a fucking wolf. Who the hell reads this shit? I discarded this particular book as a fail. I needed to know if I was attracted to guys not wild fucking animals.

I took a chance on another one and as my gaze honed in on the first chapter heading, I hoped I didn’t get bored too quickly. After the last book, I was already growing frustrated. The first couple of chapters went pretty smoothly and it surprised me that I was genuinely curious whether Ted Marshall would get his guy. Apart from the whole thing being littered with pretentious words and long-winded descriptions, it was going okay until I reached the first sex scene.

As Ted slithered out of Daryl’s heavenly warmth, decorating his lover’s stomach with his silky seed, he knew there would never be another man for him…

Seriously. Heavenly warmth? Silky fucking seed? Who the hell actually talks like that? I’d have related to Ted a whole lot more if he’d said, “I yanked my dick out of Daryl’s tight ass and shot my load all over his face.” Therefore, once again, I disregarded this experiment. No, it didn’t turn me on, but I struggled to believe such drivel would get anyone excited.

 

 

Being Sawyer Knight1400x2100 FREE Being Sawyer Knight Amazon Link

REV-TamingRyder-1800x2700FREE Taming Ryder Amazon Link

giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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