Category Archives: Fairy Tale in New York

It’s a wrap: how to do **all** your Christmas shopping in twelve hours (or less)

Ditch the seasonal stress and become an oasis of calm and festive cheer this Christmas!

I’m every woman. No, really, I am. I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m in charge of cooking, cleaning, ironing, ensuring homework gets done, lunches are made, bags are packed, I’m responsible for running the varied family timetable to precision with all its different—and frequently overlapping—activities day in and out. Oh, and did I mention I work? Plus we have pets. So, you see, I am every woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; but it does stress me out. It’s a logistical nightmare. Presents, activities, present wrapping, food shopping, keeping the kids (and the relatives) entertained in the run-up to the Big Day, let alone when they’re all together… It’s hard work. Time is of the essence if, like me, you haven’t got enough hours in the day even before the Christmas madness truly hits.

But over the past few years, I have perfected the system for taking the stress out of Christmas, at least where the logistics of present organising and wrapping are concerned. This year, I set a personal record of getting it all done in a total of twelve hours over two days. And if I can do it, so can you.

Here’s how.

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Your goal: a tower of presents ready and wrapped for festive jollification

Day 1: Preparation and Online Bonanza

1. Make a list of lucky gift recipients (15 minutes)

I know it’s obvious, but a list has to be your starting point. Without a plan, this whole operation won’t work. Make an honest and exhaustive list; put everyone on it who you will want to shower with gifts. Kids, husband or wife, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, aunties, uncles, friends, long lost relatives in outer Mongolia, the old lady up the road who always takes in your parcels. Leave no one out.

2. Brainstorm (45 minutes)

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Wearing your best St Nick’s hat…

Once you’ve got your list, populate it with ideas. The children will have given you a wish list—transfer all the items on your list mercilessly. (This doesn’t mean you have to get all of it, but at least you won’t forget any of it!) Think of things your husband would like, your parents-in-law, your own parents… No holds barred. Allow yourself to be creative.

At the end of this stage, your list must show ideas for everyone, however small or general the idea may be. For example, for the lady down the road who always takes in your parcel, “a nice Poinsettia” will be a good placeholder until you get shopping. For your five-year-old glitter-obsessed niece, “glitter art” will be a perfect reminder of what to look out for. You get the idea.

3. Go online (2 hours maximum)

Now you’ve got ideas brimming over, go online and go crazy, especially for the Big Things. A well-known search engine will pull up for your convenient comparison all manner of online retailers with their respective prices if you simply type in what you are looking for. When you see something that suits your budget, pounce. Buy it, and have it delivered to your house wherever possible. Don’t spend hours dithering and ensuring you get the absolutely best possible deal to the last penny; there simply isn’t time.

Right. Well done. You’ve got the big pieces in place. Cross them off your list and breathe. You are done for today.

Day 2—Real life shopping

This is crucial final stage of your new grand master plan. You need to set aside a day to bite the bullet and Get It Done. Also, you want to think of the one store that will satisfy at least ninety percent of your outstanding shopping needs. In my case, that store is a local independent art and toy shop that also sells magazines, calendars, knick-knacks, stationery, and haberdashery. It’s a veritable treasure trove, and the prices aren’t too different from online retailers. (I know. I checked).

4. Go shopping crazy (2 hours)

So, pick one shop, and go for it. Grab a basket or a trolley and pile in items from your list, but also other items that inspire you. The beauty of going into a small(-ish) store with a varied but manageable stock is that you get loads of new ideas. The important thing is to put things in your basket when you see them, even if you’re not quite sure how you might use them. What’s in your basket, you don’t have to hold in your head. Simple.

After an hour or so, take stock of what you have and allocate items to the people on your list. (You remembered to bring your list, right?) Write down who might like what; this is important because in four hours, you might not remember who’s supposed to have the Tattoo Art. You’ll find that some of the New Things You Found Along The Way will fill some amazing gaps on your list. And if there are any items in your basket that on reflection you don’t want after, you can put them back on your way out.

Continue browsing until you’ve got everything and everyone covered. If you’re finding that to be impossible, keep going until no more than three or four items/people remain unaccounted for. Your goal at this stage is to Get The Bulk Of The Presents That You Didn’t Order Online, but remember, two hours is the max. Then: Brace yourself and pay.

5. Have a break. Lunch, or a nice slice of cake (30 minutes)

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Ginger bread latte… yum!

Retire to an eatery and take stock. Work out where you can get the remainder of the presents that you need. For example, this year, I frequented a local bookstore. If you have to resort to multiple mini-buys, think strategically about where the shops are and write out the order in which you want to visit them. Ideally, this will be working your way back towards the car park or, in my case, the bus stop. Then: ready, steady, go!

6.Get the rest of your presents (1 to 2 hours max!!)

7. Go home

Wahoo! Home-time. You’ll be filled with the “oh wow, I did it” glow, and the sense of relief will be overwhelming. But calm yourself, the day’s not done yet.

8. Make a strong cup of tea or coffee and put the Christmas music on

If you don’t have to drive again today, you might also treat yourself to a mug of mulled wine. This is important because next you will…

9. Wrap the presents (1 to 2 hours)

Yes. You must wrap the presents. I know, I know. You’ve worked hard, you’re tired, your feet hurt, you just want to chill. The wrapping can wait.

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Critical tools…

Not! No no no no no. Give yourself a pep talk and get on with it. Of course you’ve bought wrapping paper, labels, and ribbons. (Add them to your list now). So: just do it. This is the final frontier. Belt out the Christmas tunes as you go and munch on some mince pies for sustenance.

Watch the pile of festive goodies grow as you work, and feel the magic seep through your bones as you realise you are on the homestretch. You’ve done it. You’ve conquered Christmas. Hooray! Now all you need to do is hide the presents, and then you can put your feet up. Tomorrow, you’ll be the smug one ambling to the school gates and going to work in a state of unprecedented, zen-like calm. You are the Festive Goddess. You are in control. Everything else is a doddle.

And why does this work? The secret is all in the prep work. The list, and the ideas, and the grand plan for shopping.

Well done you, and Merry Christmas!

Psssst…. Don’t forget to come back and tell me how you got on!

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Fairy Tale in New York: Official Launch Day!

When someone’s in distress, you give up your flight. When there’s a white-out, you have dinner and hope for the best. When it’s Christmas and you can’t get home… you hope for a miracle. And that’s the essence of Fairy Tale in New York, officially out today!

What the critics say…

Amazing. Breathtaking. Thanks to Fairy Tale in New York, @Faroofthedark is a convert to Christmas themed books! http://ow.ly/D7SpF

Everything you could wish in a #Christmas story, five stars! @Cometbabe on Fairy Tale in New York http://ow.ly/DYoHK

A truly beautiful book, can’t recommend it highly enough! @dawnlcrooks on FAIRY TALE IN NEW YORK http://ow.ly/E34ot

“Wonderfully uplifting, just how a Christmas novella should be!” Rachel reviews FAIRY TALE IN NEW YORK @readlovelust http://ow.ly/E351k

“Magical” says @bethany_Petty in her review of Fairy Tale in New York at @chicklitcentral! http://ow.ly/E3tmI

Perfect for #Christmas, 4.5 Stars! @skydreamersimi enjoyed FAIRY TALE IN NEW YORK! http://ow.ly/E3wWz

Festive, magical, beautiful, sweet, charming, fun… 5 stars for FAIRY TALE IN NEW YORK from @SophieRTB http://ow.ly/E4rB2

Fairy Tale in New York > soul-warming, uplifting, festive! 5 Crowns from Kelly at @peruseprincess http://ow.ly/E4u5v

What I say…

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Fairy Tale in New York is an all-out, no-holds-barred, super-sized feel-good and good-cheer Christmas novella featuring a rock star and the girl next door. I know, that’s a lot of adjectives right there. But you see, this is my annual indulgence. I love Christmas. More specifically, I love the run-up to Christmas, the Advent season. The lights, the baking, the weather (yes, the howling gales which allow me to curl up inside with my mulled wine, and the snowy blizzards–if we get any–that draw me outside the make a snowman, I’ll take it all!), the goodwill, the cheer, the colours.

I’m the anti-Grinch. Christmas rocks!

Therefore in this Fairy Tale, I really let my hair down. I wanted to bring you the ultimate Christmas book, the one with the crisis and the romance and the great ending. I’m taking you on a flight of fancy, but I can assure you, I did my research, and the key event… well, let’s just say it would be possible. Just! LOL.

However, there’s a little more in there for you too. For a start, you can amuse yourself by working out my playlist from the Chapter titles. Have fun! But there’s yet more; there’s a little bit of reflection that grounds the book. For I take my characters (Jude, the rock star in particular) down a road of giving and helping that they’d never previously have considered.  It’s all about love, but in more ways than one. (And yes, that one too, although we shall keep our discrete distance this time. It is a Christmas Fairy Tale, not a hot rock romp. LOL).

So Fairy Tale in New York tells the story of a perfect Christmas in the most imperfect of circumstances. Here’s the blurb.

Fairy Tale in New York

New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are only killing time while they wait for their flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same.

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet…

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.

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OUT TODAY!

Why, of course I’ve got to tell you it’s out today. That’s the whole point of launching a book! You can get it in e-book and paperback editions from all Amazon stores, including:

Amazon.co. uk | Amazon.com

But there’s more!

I wanted to spread some seasonal joy, so check this out!

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FREE on Kindle for one week from 8 November 2014!

Fallen For Rock by Nicky Wells

$0.99/£0.99 on Kindle for one week from 10 November 2014!

For the next seven days,
Spirits of Christmas is completely FREE on Kindle.

And Fallen for Rock
is only $0.99/£0.99.

How’s that for a mega launch celebration?

Wooohoo!

Wishing you a FABULOUS Christmas season,
and thanks for all your support in 2014. Rock on!

FREE on Kindle for five days: Spirits of Christmas, a Rock’n’Roll Christmas Carol

Yes, you read that right. This is my first free promo EVER.
Spirits of Christmas is absolutely free on Kindle for five days only!

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Go grab it here or in any other Amazon store:
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Why am I giving this book away free?

Easy. Because it’s Christmas (well, getting there!) and I’m celebrating the impending launch of Fairy Tale in New York, which is available for pre-order right now but will officially release on Kindle next Monday for only $2.06 or £1.29.

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Help spread the word about my free Spirits!

Please help me spread the joy by sharing a tweet or Facebook message or posting to Google+. Thanks so much! And to make it really easy, here’s a sample message you can use:

SPIRITS OF CHRISTMAS, rock’n’roll Christmas carol by @WellsNicky #FREE on #KINDLE!  http://ow.ly/DXQfW Romance, music & Xmas, go get it!

Thank you so much!! Loveya!

 Spirits_FairyTale_Giveaway

Add your voice to my Thunderclap for a real **bang**!

Have you heard of Thunderclap? By which I mean not the natural phenomenon nor the band, but the social media variety? The one that allows you to bring together 100s of supporters all at the same time to hold a virtual loudhailer to a message you want to share on Twitter or Facebook?

Well, it’s awesome. It really is. The possibilities are mind-blowing!

Here’s the gen.

Thunderclap is a new ‘crowd-speaking’ platform that allows you to donate a Tweet or Facebook message to an artist’s project… like for example a book launch. Like, for example, my upcoming launch of Fairy Tale in New York. If you pledge, the message is let loose on social media all at the same time. It’s completely safe, it’s not spam, and it will automatically post just one message on your behalf, just once. Like, for example, this one I made for Fairy Tale in New York.

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 I got lift off!

For a Thunderclap to go ahead, you need a minimum of 100 supporters. And I’m ecstatically pleased to report that my Thunderclap campaign for Fairy Tale in New York has lift off!

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If you want to add your support, it only takes 5 seconds to join. Really. Honestly! Try me! Here’s how:

1.  Visit this link. https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/17561-fairy-tale-in-new-york

2. If you are prompted for a sign in, you can do so with your Twitter or Facebook ID

3. Click on ‘support with Twitter’ or ‘Support with Facebook.

4. Confirm by clicking ‘Add my support’.

And that’s it! If you feel like it, you can even tweet about this to get more people involved. Let’s launch my Christmas Fairy Tale with a real bang next week. 🙂

Thank you!

 

Uncovering the magic: Fairy Tale in New York #Christmas #Romance #Rock

New York. A restaurant near Park Avenue. It’s early evening, and dusk is falling. So is the snow. Jude and Carrie are merely killing time while they wait for their return flight to London. They don’t know yet that their life will never be the same…

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‘Um.’ Carrie leaned forward and dropped her voice to a whisper. ‘You know that scene in Pretty Woman? In the bar? I’ve always wanted to try that out.’

Jude burst out laughing, startling Maya. ‘Sorry, babycakes, I didn’t mean to frighten you,’ he cooed and scooped her onto his lap. ‘Your mummy is propositioning me in the most outrageous manner, you know. Quite scandalous.’

‘Shush,’ Carrie hissed. ‘What if she understands you?’
‘She won’t,’ Jude replied calmly. ‘How could she?’
‘You know what they say about not talking to your baby in a baby voice…’
‘Well, I’m right on track, aren’t I?’ Jude replied mischievously. ‘As for your proposition…well, I must say… you’re on. I suppose we’d better get this young lady tucked up first, don’t you?’
Carrie chuckled. ‘Are we naughty, or what?’
‘Not naughty,’ Jude corrected gently. ‘Just in love. Let’s go.’

He stepped up to the counter to pay at the till while Carrie put Maya back into her coat and hat. The little girl was droopy and tired and glared at Carrie around a thumb plugged firmly into her mouth. Carrie kissed her nose and tugged her hat down a little further. ‘Nearly time for your bath and bed,’ she told her daughter. ‘It’s not far to the hotel.’

Jude lifted Maya into her sling and fastened it securely. He gave a quick nod towards the window. ‘Have you noticed? It’s snowing.’
‘Really?’ Carrie squealed and pressed her nose to the window like a small child. ‘Omigod, so it is! Could this day end any more perfect?’
‘I don’t know about perfect,’ Jude grumbled. ‘Let’s hope it’s a temporary flurry.’
‘Oh, I’m sure it will be,’ Carrie mused. ‘You know me and snow. It never snows where I am. And if it does, it doesn’t stick. But it’s so romantic. Just think, we could light some candles and sit at the piano together and watch the snow fall onto Park Avenue…maybe have a glass of vino…’
‘Is that before or after we try that scene from Pretty Woman?’
‘You and your one-track mind.’ Carrie pretended to pout and threw a glove at Jude.
‘Hey, that’s not fair!’ Jude caught the glove and laughed. ‘You suggested it.’
‘That was before!’
‘Before what?’
‘Before it snowed!’
Jude shook with laughter all over. ‘How does that change anything?’
‘Well, you know.’ Carrie wrapped her scarf around her neck and donned her own woolly hat. ‘I never get to sit in a suite in a glamorous hotel and watch the snow fall, so that’s pretty special, don’t you see? I’ve got to enjoy this moment.’
‘And so you shall. Just as soon as we’ve both enjoyed something else.’
‘Tsk. Honestly. Anyone would think you’re a rock star, the way you carry on.’

Can’t you just picture the scene? Don’t you just wish you could be there?

Well, I can’t quite magic you there, but I can invite you to ride along with Carrie and Jude’s incredible rollercoaster of magical events in my latest masterpiece, Fairy Tale in New York.

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You can order your Fairy Tale already!

And guess what… You can pre-order it right now, right here, today! Find it in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O98EMRG/  and the US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O98EMRG/ and, of course, in all other Kindle stores. One-Click today, and the novella will magically appear on your Kindle on its official launch day of 10 November 2014.

Rock on through a wonderful festive season, my friends. Loveya!

Finally proofed… Fairy Tale in New York, my upcoming #Christmas novella

It’s done. I’ve finally finished editing, proofing, and polishing this year’s Christmas novella, Fairy Tale in New York. The Kindle copy is ready and waiting to be uploaded. The paperback copy is sitting pretty, just aching for me to hit the ‘publish’ button. All systems are go!

Essential proofing tools: Irish cream latte; biscuits; laptop; the annotated print proof; and Christmas rock songs (which sadly I can't show you!) :-)

Essential proofing tools: Irish cream latte; biscuits; laptop; the annotated print proof; and Christmas rock songs (which sadly I can’t show you!) 🙂

So…. watch this space! Watch this space especially hard next week Thursday, 9 October, because there might just be a cover reveal right here alongside some other special news! 🙂

Fairy Tale in New York

When rock star Jude gets stranded in New York with his family on Christmas Eve, he has no idea that he is setting in motion a chain of events that will turn their Christmas into the most magical one yet.

No good deed goes unpunished, or so it seems to Jude and Carrie on the morning of the twenty-fourth of December. The previous day, they gave up their London-bound flights to someone in crisis. And now, a spectacular whiteout is grounding all planes, and Jude, Carrie, and baby Maya are stuck far from home.

Tired, hungry, and just a little panicked, Jude loads his family into a cab and returns to their hotel. But there’s no room at the inn, and not even a platinum credit card will make a difference. Snow is falling heavily, and the family is facing a very bleak night indeed.

How do you celebrate Christmas with no place to stay, no food, and no presents? Join Jude, Carrie, Maya and a cast of colourful characters in this fairy tale story of Yuletide in New York.