The Last Charm by Ella Allbright.

I’m absolutely delighted with this beautiful and thoughtful review Victoria has written for The Last Charm. Read on!

The Book Believer

Thank you to netgalley and the author for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the book: When Leila loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake. So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

My thoughts:

I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to read this book as I completely fell in love with it and it is a story that has stayed with me constantly since I finished it. I felt every emotion whilst reading it, some quite overwhelmingly at times and I am…

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First Drafts With… Ella Allbright

Hi lovelies, I’m delighted to join JS Clerk on her blog today. Have a read about how I write first drafts here 🙂

Hi everyone! This evening I am delighted to welcome author Ella Allbright to the blog.

Ella writes commercial women’s fiction and is signed to The Blair Partnership. Her first novel as a women’s fiction writer is out in August. Her bio is below, followedby her answers to my questions on how she tackles the firstdraftprocess. Enjoy!


Aself-confessedreadingaddict,Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Herfirstnovelin this genre,The Charm Braceletwill be published in August2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins, and she’s currently hard at work on her next book.Ella is represented by agent HattieGrünewaldat The Blair Partnership, who represent J.K. Rowling.

Ellaalso writes asNikki Moore,theauthor of thepopular#LoveLondonromanceseries.

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Getting Published: #Vlogging


Hello my lovelies,

I hope you’re well. I recently decided that I’d sidestep into vlogging to share my writing and publishing experiences. As I live in beautiful Dorset, not far from the beach, I thought that ‘Author by the Sea’ had a nice ring to it.

While I don’t like the thought of being on screen (especially when the thumbnails make you look drunk!) filming vlogs isn’t as hard as I’d imagined, given I’m talking about one of my favourite subject areas, and how passionately I believe that sharing our author/publishing experiences is important for aspiring authors and the wider writing community.

I’ve been delighted by the support so far and have received some lovely messages about the vlogs, and how helpful they’ve been for some people.

So without much further ado, here are the links to vlogs 1 and 2 – with more to follow…

Vlog 1 – Getting Published: No Magic Formula

Vlog 2 – Getting Published: Hook An Agent

If you enjoy them/find them useful – please like/share/subscribe/spread the word on Facebook, Twitter etc. Thank you!

Until next time, happy reading & writing (and watching!),

Take care, Nikki x

Publication Day – #LoveLondon Novellas come to Italy!

Hello my lovelies,

I’m very excited this morning because I get to blog about a publication day! It’s been a while since the last story in the #LoveLondon collection was published in the UK and made available across all the English speaking platforms, so I’d almost forgotten the thrill you get when your book is released. I must confess that during the years leading up to securing a publication deal, I never dared to dream that I’d ever sell foreign rights, so I’m still pinching myself 🙂

So, what’s going on? Well, the five novellas from the #LoveLondon collection are in a volume 1 ebook released today under the HarperCollins Italia eLit brand (including on Amazon Italy and Google Play) under the title Innamorarsi a Londra – doesn’t that sound wonderfully romantic? Loosely translated, it means ‘fall in love in London.’ And the fact that these stories are in a new language in a country I have my origins in, makes this extra special. My maternal grandmother was Italian and moved to France when she was young, so it’s nice that my first foreign rights deal is for Italy. France next, please! 😉

The five novellas, in order, although they can be read as ‘stand alones’ are Skating at Somerset House, New Year at The Ritz, Valentine’s on Primrose Hill, Cocktails in Chelsea and Strawberries at Wimbledon. They each have a slightly different twist on love stories i.e. the one that got away (aka Strawberries at Wimbledon), love that grows from friendship (aka Valentine’s on Primrose Hill) and are set in my favourite places in our gorgeous capital. Hopefully these stories are going to find a brand new batch of readers and they’ll fall in love with London as much as I have.

I’m delighted to reveal the cover here – it’s very similar in tone to the newer UK covers for the novellas and I absolutely love it. Thoughts please?


The novel that finishes the collection, Picnics in Hyde Park, will be released as volume 2 as an ebook in Italy later in June under the title Picnic a Hyde Park (I’ll refrain from translating that for you!) and I’ll be revealing the cover closer to the time 🙂

Until next time (when I’ll be back with a blog post about the wonderful sights and sounds of Orlando and Miami, before reverting back to my usual writing tips posts), happy reading and writing.

Love, Nikki x

P.s. if you know anyone who reads in Italian and want to give them a nudge, I’d appreciate the sale! The amazon link is – thank you!



Writing Tip #4 – Learn your craft?

Hello my lovelies,

hope you’re well and enjoying all the glorious sunshine! In my previous writing tip posts, we’ve talked about reading a lot, being prepared to work hard and writing what you know and love. So with that in mind, you may think it’s time to sit down and scope out your plot now, or just start typing away in a blank Word doc or writing in a pretty notebook (I have a TON of them), but I’m going to tell you not to do that yet…


I know you probably can’t wait to get started, and if you want to ignore me and skip to the next post later this week then that’s fine – I don’t want to get in the way of inspiration and creativity – but if you want to take a few minutes to read and consider this, then that’s great. My next tip is learn your craft.

This will mean different things to different people, and it’s a personal choice how you do this depending on a whole range of factors including time restraints, finances and personal style.  So what do I mean by learn your craft, related to writing and being published? (Other than reading a lot, which I feel is an inherent part of the process). Well, for me it’s: –

1) Learning how to use the English language to write effectively in order to create a compelling, colourful and memorable story. How technical you make this in terms of learning about grammar and so on, is up to you. (Personally, I’m not convinced I need to be able to define what a past participle or a subordinate clause is in order to write well, but each to their own and there are some people who love all that stuff!)

2) Learning about the different elements that make a great story i.e. plotting, pacing, description, characterisation, dialogue, creating a satisfying story arc… and then learning  how to pull all that off when you’re actually writing the book. It’s far from easy!

3)  Learning about the publishing industry – how it works, where to go for what type of service, agent vs publisher, the submissions process, requests for rewrites, publishing contracts, deadlines, royalties, PR, social media etc. It’s complex and often confusing, so be prepared!

To get started with some of this, it might be that you consider:-

  • Signing up for a Creative Writing or English degree;
  • Enrolling in a creative writing class through the local college, often run at the weekends or over a few evenings a week;
  • Paying to be in a writing academy run by a publisher like Faber & Faber in London (which is quite well known for generating best selling authors, but these can be expensive);
  • Joining a writing group where you can talk freely about your book idea, receive constructive criticism on early drafts and get advice from other people on the same journey as you (but who might be further along it and able to offer support);
  • Finding a published author who will mentor you and provide constructive criticism (some do this to supplement their writing income).

I dabbled with a writing class for about six weeks when I was in my late teens, and joined a writing group in my early twenties for a few months, but neither were a good fit, and they never really felt like they were adding value, so I did something different.

I read numerous non-fiction books on writing and publishing, before putting all the knowledge into practice, writing a draft manuscript and getting some constructive criticism so I could make improvements to it. There’s a separate post about constructive criticism later in this series, so for now I’ll focus on some of the books that I found invaluable when I was learning my craft. These are just a few of the best, there are hundreds out there: –


I hope you find the above list useful, and that if you read and enjoy any of them, you’ll let me know. Otherwise, if you read any others that are great, just post in the comments below or catch up with me on Twitter. We’re all still learning our craft 🙂

Finally, in my honest experience, every published author has had a different journey and I don’t think that any particular one is the right one, so it’s up to you to decide which route to take, whether it’s any of the above or not. The important thing is that once you’ve found the right one, you do yourself justice and commit to it 100%. Good luck!

Until next time, happy reading & writing,

Love, Nikki x

Writing Tip #1 – Read a lot!

Hello my lovelies,

I don’t know about you, but I was so glad to see the sunshine yesterday; I always feel much happier when it’s sunny, and find it easier to write too 🙂

Following the lovely response to my last blog post about when to say no to a publishing deal, I thought I’d do a series of blog posts for aspiring authors. I’m by no means a bestselling author, and I haven’t hit the dizzy heights of a mass paperback deal, but I have done my time as a budding author trying to get that elusive publishing deal, so I thought I’d share the benefit of those experiences with others to help them along the way. The support of other writers has always been really important to me, and I have no doubt that all those titbits of advice I absorbed over social media, through conversations in closed forums (such as the Romantic Novelists Association forum ROMNA), and by chatting at writing industry parties, helped me massively on my journey to publication. So, here goes…

Tip #1 – READ. A LOT.

I know this might seem counterintuitive – after all, if you’re reading all the time, when are you going to have time to write? – but don’t underestimate the importance of reading widely and well. This will expand your thinking as well as improving your vocabulary and grammar (as long as you’re reading quality books!). I’ve always been a massive bookworm, and love to read. If I can transport my readers into another world in the same way that my favourite authors can for me, then I’m happy. My bookcase is heaving with a mixture of genres, from non-fiction writing craft books to romance to psychological thrillers to literary fiction. I honestly think that my love of reading has made a big difference to my writing, injecting my books with passion and colour.


More importantly, you should read in the genre you are going to write in. This will help you understand what a successful book in that genre looks and feels like. I’m not talking about reading books in your chosen genre in order to copy them, or steal ideas or emulate them; no-one wants a carbon copy of a book they have read before, and if you don’t then inject your unique voice and passion into it, it’ll fall flat. What I’m talking about is reading books in order to grasp what the important elements are, such as: –

  • Plotting – What is the story about? What are the core elements?
  • Structure – How is the story structured? I.e. long or short paragraphs and chapters; use of devices such as diary entries, emails, tweets; flitting between current day and the past, or between multiple viewpoints etc.
  • Pacing – How does the story unfold? What tools does the author use to slow down or speed up the story?
  • Description – How does the author create a vibrant atmosphere so that you feel you can step into the pages? I.e. visuals, use of the five senses etc.
  • Characterisation (including point of view) – How does the author make the characters three-dimensional? How do they create a main character that you can live inside the head of, and are rooting for?
  • Dialogue – How does the author create natural sounding dialogue that carries the story forward, instead of bogging it down? How do they use dialogue tags to create action i.e. rather than just adding ‘he said,’ and ‘she said’ after every bit of dialogue? How do they use dialogue to add depth to the characterisation?
  • Showing not telling – On the whole, how does the author communicate the story to you? I.e. ‘Jack slammed his fists on the worktop’ (rather than, ‘Jack was angry.’) etc.

The above isn’t an exhaustive list, but should give you a starter for ten 🙂

Personally, I read books on two levels – one with my writer/editor hat on, ‘That’s an interesting way to do it, that works, I can see what s/he has done there, I didn’t like that bit of description – why not?’ and one with my reader hat on, ‘Wow, I’m hooked, what a great story, I should be going to bed but I’m going to keep reading instead.’ (BTW, I know that a book is particularly good if my writer/editor hat disappears altogether and I stop noticing the writing techniques). Try it and see how you get on; I’ve been amazed by the useful things I’ve come up with that I’ve then applied to my own writing. In fact, after reading a brilliant book by Lisa Jewell, Then She Was Gone, I have just changed one of my character’s viewpoints from first to third person in a multiple viewpoint book, to help create a different ‘voice’ and it now works much better.

Let me know how you get on 🙂 I’d love to hear from you if you found this post useful, and I’m around on Twitter if you fancy a chat via @NikkiMoore_Auth

The next top tip is coming soon! Until then, happy reading and writing.

Love, Nikki x

When to say ‘No’ to a Publishing Deal (A post to #AspiringAuthors)

Hello my lovelies,



I hope you’re all well. Spring has sprung and we’ve dealt with some ridiculously surreal snow over the last few weeks, but I’m pleased to say that the daffodils are out and more daylight is beckoning.

Over the weekend, I was talking to a friend about my journey to publication. In the course of that, thinking about how I started writing short stories during my English GCSE with great encouragement from my teacher, before moving onto A ‘levels with the prospect of reading English at Loughborough uni looming in the background,  I realised that the publishing deal I ended up accepting was actually the third offer I received. Which got me thinking about when it’s right to say no to a publishing deal, and how I might share that advice with aspiring authors. So brace yourselves; it’s a long post…

I first started writing seriously when I was in my early twenties, as a single mother sitting up with a word processor in the small hours of the morning to get some quiet time. I joined the Romantic Novelists Association for a year and wrote a couple of shorter category romances aimed at Mills & Boon (I don’t say that lightly; it was blood, sweat and tears and I had very little idea of what I was doing) and got some lovely feedback with a ‘thanks, but no thanks, but please send us your next book,’ to both manuscripts. So, being the impatient novice that I was, I repackaged one of them and sent the first few chapters off to a new publisher I’d just heard off, headed up by an author from a well-known romance publishing house. Following my submission, she gave me lots of positive feedback – which believe me, when you are trying to get published is like absolute GOLD DUST – and suggested that if I rewrote the book in line with her many suggestions, a deal would be on the table. This was it, I thought, stardom beckoned, I was going to be a world-wide best seller! Except… except…

Look, I’m not precious about my writing; it’s part of a writer’s lot to get feedback and act on it, when it feels right to. I went through the fantastic Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme for three years which included some bracing constructive criticism (which after a bit of weeping and wailing, I totally took into account, later resulting in my much improved debut novel). I’m always eager to hear my lovely editor Charlotte’s thoughts on the latest work in progress and I’d say I use at least 85% of it to make changes to the manuscript, and would have to feel very strongly about something not to take it on board. However, the changes that first publisher wanted me to make to the book to get a deal, in terms of character and storyline, were so radical that it wouldn’t have been my story anymore. I felt uncomfortable and worse, that I would be miserable rewriting it. And if there’s anything I’ve learnt from being published over the last four years, it’s that while you need to write to market and consider the commercial angle, more than anything you have to write what makes you happy. So, I kindly and politely thanked the publisher for the feedback and declined the rewrite. She thanked me in turn, and asked me to send her any future manuscripts.

Was it a mistake to turn down the rewrite and potential deal? Was I being a literary snob or a difficult author? I wondered at the time, but intuitively felt I’d done the right thing. There were no hard feelings and the door was still open. However, the books I later saw published by them weren’t the best quality and I seriously disliked the covers. The publishing house went out of business a year or so later, so I’ve never actually regretted the decision.

Fast forward a few years, during which I’d put my writing aside to pursue a Human Resources career, gain more qualifications and have another child, I started writing again in 2010 after a serious illness. After rejoining the RNA New Writers Scheme, and being finalist in a few writing competitions, I submitted a partial manuscript to a small American romance publisher in around 2012. Receiving some great feedback from the editor, with a request for some small tweaks which I made without hesitation, a deal was on the table. They wanted to publish my book! This was it. Best seller stardom, royalties, fans etc. As you can tell, I had a massively naive view of publishing back then 🙂 The feeling of elation was incredible… But at that point, my sensible side kicked in. I’ve always made my decisions based on a mixture of research and facts, and considered reflection, with a little dollop of gut instinct. So I did some digging on the publishing house at a writing festival I went to, speaking with their published authors and other aspiring authors who’d heard of them. The feedback, overwhelmingly, was that the publishers were lovely people and nice to work with, however the sales of books would be extremely low, potentially non-existent. My gut instinct was that this wasn’t my time and this wasn’t the route to take. If I had poor books sales, it might hurt my ability to sell future books to other publishers or agents. So, I took the stupid/brave decision to decline very politely and moved on.

Another two years passed, in which I attended RNA parties and conferences, worked on the next book, submitted manuscripts to the New Writers Scheme, read books about writing craft and the publishing world, wrote small articles for the RNA’s magazine ‘Romance Matters’, and utilised my lovely aunt’s huge writer’s brain and generous spirit in the quest for more constructive feedback (Author Sue Moorcroft – she has given me SO much brilliant writing advice over the years, and if you haven’t read any of her books, you’re missing out. Go and buy one. Now!). Then at a Romantic Novelists Association conference in July 2013, I met Charlotte Ledger, who was part of newly created HarperImpulse, the digital first romance imprint of HarperCollins. I’d sent her the first chapter of a book ahead of my 1:1 meeting with her on the Sunday of the conference, the ‘hangover’ slot, given that the Saturday night always includes a fancy dinner and lots of wine. I had the best 10 minutes with her that morning, in which she told me she loved my voice and would read anything I wrote, really liked the book and wanted to see the rest of it. I was amazed, delighted, gobsmacked. We talked about the book, and where it was heading, and we got on as if we’d known each other for years. I confessed that the book wasn’t quite finished, or as polished as I’d like it to be, before she saw it. I asked if I could have some time to work on it, before sending it to her, and Charlotte said the magic word – yes. And then, because she and Kim Young had said in a HarperImpulse presentation the previous day that they’d consider any length of story, so long as it was great writing, I pitched two romance short stories to her, and she told me to send them over. When I left the conference I was floating on air. I had the best feeling.

I sent Charlotte the short stories in the week I got home, and worked hard over the next few months to finish the book she’d seen the first few chapters of. It was a difficult time, during the breakdown of my marriage; I was doing everything I could to make sure my kids were okay, and to hold down my demanding day job. But we were slowly getting through it, when in the October Charlotte sent me an email I still have saved in my inbox, asking when would be a good time to talk? THIS was it. It was The Call I’d been waiting for, I knew it 🙂

When we spoke a few evenings later, she offered me a four work deal (any four writing pieces, whether novel, novella or short story), and said lots of lovely things that I promptly forgot because I was so excited. We agreed she’d email me the contract and all the details, and I asked for a couple of days to consider it all. It was probably a bit of a gutsy move, but at the end of the day you’re entering into a business relationship and legally binding contract, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into and if you can be happy together.  Charlotte was great, and encouraged me to talk to other HarperImpulse authors. I promptly did so, and was thrilled with what I heard. I was also impressed with the fact that authors got input into their book covers, which is rare, and also spoke to my aunt about the terms they were offering me. The next day, I emailed Charlotte to accept the contract, and I have never regretted it. It was the best decision I could have made. Two short stories, two novels, and five novellas later, I’m currrently working on the next book, an epic love story, and looking back on it, my writing journey makes complete sense. Now I think that maybe it’s a bit like a good romance; the main character often has to say no to a few Mr Wrongs, before finding Mr (or Mrs) Right.

So, if you’re trying to get published – work hard, keep writing, take the knock backs in your stride, consider your options, and don’t be afraid to say no. Who knows what you’ll end up saying yes to?

Until next time, happy reading and writing.

Love, Nikki x


Exciting News! The #LoveLondon Series is going to Italy!

Hello my lovelies,

I hope you’re well and have been enjoying the good weather.

LL series.jpg

I was delighted to get the brilliant news recently that HarperCollins Italy are going to publish the whole #LoveLondon series in eBook format! One novella will be published a month from November 2017 onwards, with the novel that finishes the series – Picnics in Hyde Park – to be published in April 2018.

I am ridiculously excited, especially as this is my first foray into foreign rights as an author and it means that my books can be read by a whole new audience 🙂 I must also confess that because I’m a quarter Italian through my mum (who is half French, half Italian) it’s a little bit more thrilling… France next?

I’m really looking forward to this, and seeing what publicity I can get involved in… trip to Italy, anyone?

In other news, it looks like the series may be re-jacketed this year – as soon as I can confirm and reveal the new covers, I’ll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, happy reading and writing.

Love, Nikki x




Cover reveal and the London Book Fair

Delighted to share this blog post by the fab Sue Moorcroft, who is revealing the lovely cover for her new book (I LOVE this and can’t wait to read it) and talking about the London Book Fair…

Take Five Authors

Drrrrrum rrrrroll please! It’s my pleasure this Sunday evening to share my new book cover!

JFTH Ebook cover small

Avon Books UK has given me another fabulous cover, one I’m proud to have on my book. Paperback, ebook and audio book will all be released on 18 May 2017 and you can get your preorder in hereJust for the Holidays is about Leah Beaumont who, having made a decision not to marry or have children, finds herself stuck in France looking after her sister’s husband and kids. But, hey, it’s just for the holidays, right? Well, whether you’re headed for an exotic beach or prefer something closer to home, Leah’s holiday is probably going to make your summer feel pretty good.

Apart from getting excited about that pretty cover, I spent three days last week enjoying the delights of the London Book Fair. It’s a giant trade fair where agents, publishers and…

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Carole Blake

A lovely tribute to the dynamo super literary agent Carole Blake by Liz Fenwick, who was one of her clients and also a friend. Carole was a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry for more than 50 years; straight talking, knowledgeable and always willing to share her thoughts and insight. Her book ‘Pitch to Publication’ was one of my bibles when I was trying to get published. She was taken too soon, and will be missed.

Vulpes Libris

Yesterday, the publishing world was stunned by the news of the sudden death of Carole Blake, co-founder of the Literary Agency Blake Friedmann and author of the perennial best seller, ‘From Pitch to Publication’.

We asked one of the many writers she represented – Liz Fenwick – for her memories of one of the publishing industry’s titans:


Carole and LizAs I write this I’m struggling to believe that a woman of such vitality as Carole isn’t here any more. The world is a lesser place for her loss. She is also someone who is hard to write about without using superlatives – and I can hear her voice in my head, editing me.

But I have to say that she was so vibrant, so loving, so fierce and so passionate, I can’t believe all that energy is gone – and gone far too soon. She had only just celebrated her seventieth…

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