Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A World of Friends with Guest Blogger Nell Dixon

Meet author Nell Dixon today at the Book Boost! Here's what she had to say about taking your friendships international...

The subject of international friendships struck a chord with me. I’m a UK author living in a small spot called The Black Country, in the centre of the British Isles. Although I work three days a week at my day job – I manage a therapeutic horticulture project for a disabled people’s charity – writing is a solitary occupation. Or at least it would be without the company of my friends.

Locally, I have the support of ‘the coffee crew’, who are fellow authors, Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury. We meet up every few months to talk about writing, whinge, laugh, drink coffee and eat cake. You can check out our joint blog (click here) to see what we’re up to.

In the UK I have a wonderful network of writing friends from the RNA, that’s the Romantic Novelist’s Association. I meet them in person every year at the annual conference and in between times we talk on twitter, via email, and via our blogs.

Internationally though, I have the most fantastic network of friends. My critique partner, Kimberly Menozzi and I met through Romance Diva’s. Kim is an American living in Italy. We met in real life this Autumn when her first book, Ask Me If I’m Happy was released.

I have the Batcave, we met and still meet at eHarlequin. We share a zany sense of humour and outlook on life. We have, over the years, supported each other through the loss of partners, divorce, severe health issues, house moves, meteorological disasters and all the ups and downs of daily life.

There are also my fellow sweet romance author friends at Sweeter Romantic Notions. We share a love of warm hearted feel good sensual romance.

People often question how ‘real’ a friendship can be when the people involved haven’t met and only know one another through the internet. I think the answer is much the same as in the people you see every day. Some people are acquaintances, work buddy’s, someone you know from the school gate or the gym. You know them a little, you chat, you might have coffee but that’s it.

Then there are the friends you’ve known for longer, maybe a neighbour or an old school friend. Again you know more about each other, maybe in the past or during a crisis you shared confidences. You might go for dinner or spend an afternoon, do each other the odd favour.

Finally, there are your soul friends. The one who if you rang them to confess to murder would simply ask if you needed help to bury the body. The ones who would do whatever they could to support you and you would do the same for them. Those friends are rare and precious but they can be on line as well as close to home. They can be international or next door.

I’m a lucky woman, I’m blessed with all those kinds of friends, and yes I have them at home but I have some internationally too in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and South Africa. And, I hope that circle of friends continues to grow especially as the world gets smaller thanks to the wonders of modern technology. You’re welcome to join my circle by friending me or following me, commenting on my blog or by subscribing at my website to a free quarterly newsletter. I’ll look forward to getting to know you!

A Note from the Book Boost: Nell, I love this notion of worldwide friendships and I am blessed to have the same. I laughed out loud at your "friends that you can ring up and confess murder to". If only we had more of those type friends, eh? ;-) Thanks for joining us from across the pond and please tell us more about your book.


Cassidy Jones needs a holiday and her friend's cottage in New Bay sounds perfect. The beach could heal the bruises from losing her job and her fiancé. Perfect for some time alone to gather her thoughts and heal her broken heart.

Josh Parker is also looking forward to a much needed break after eighteen months of non-stop work. His out of town friend offers her cottage and Josh thinks it would be just right for some time to let his hair down and revive his social life with his old surf buddy's.

One cottage, two unsuspecting occupants, a recipe for romance or disaster?


An outside table stood empty in the far corner near the seawall under the shade of a gaily striped umbrella. Cassidy took a seat and pulled off her hat, dropping it on the table. She ruffled her hair with her hands in an attempt to restore some bounce to her smooth auburn bob.

The pretty blonde waitress was busy taking an order from a group of surfers crowded together on a couple of tables near the outdoor service hatch. Cassidy sat back in the shade to wait her turn.

The male surfers were all wearing black or blue wetsuits, unzippered and rolled down to the waist. Pretty girls in tiny bikinis laughed and chatted as the group placed their orders.

One of the guys with his back toward her seemed strangely familiar. It was something about his stance and the untidy mop of dark brown hair. Cassidy sat up straight, willing him to turn around so she could see his face. Her heart thumped in a mix of fear and anticipation as she watched him chatting to the girls.

The waitress came toward her with a pad and pen in hand. Cassidy ordered a fruit juice, her attention still focused on the man with his back to her. Then, just as the waitress left to take Cassidy’s drink order inside the cafĂ©, he turned around.

“Cassidy? Cassidy Jones?”

Her heart sank. It looked as if she had been wrong about not meeting anyone who knew her here in New Bay. Of all the people she hadn’t wanted to bump into,

“Hello, Josh, what a surprise to see you.” Josh Parker was definitely one of them.

He crossed the paved area between the tables to come and stand at her table, a bewildered expression on his face. “What brings you here? I thought you and Ethan were supposed to be headed for the Seychelles.” He looked around as if he expected Ethan to suddenly materialize beside her.

Cassidy bit her lip. It looked as if her famously work-obsessed boss hadn’t heard the news.

“I didn’t get married.” She tried not to sound terse. In her head she’d practised how she would tell people and explain to them what had happened. Now, confronted in the last place on earth she had expected to see someone she knew, all her carefully chosen phrases deserted her. “Ethan dumped me.”

Josh looked confused. “So, you’re not married?”

Cassidy clenched her teeth. “No.”


She did a mental eye-roll. For a supposedly intelligent man who’d built up a thriving dotcom marketing business, Josh could be mystifyingly dense. “Are you here on holiday?” She prayed he’d say no, that he was just a day tripper. He hadn’t taken a holiday to her knowledge for over a year.

“I’m here for three weeks. I’m staying in a friend’s cottage.” He made a vague gesture in the direction of the cliffs.

Cassidy’s heart sank. Not only was he staying in New Bay, but her cottage was on the cliffs overlooking the sea, too.

Want More Nell?

Nell Dixon is a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-five years she has three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, she writes warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press and Freya’s Bower. Her latest titles include Animal Instincts, Just Look at Me Now, His Darling Nurse and Making Waves.

Visit her website here:

Or her blog here:

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here!


Phillipa said...

As one of the Brief Encounters Coffee Crew - who met Nell online - I can testify that writers gain huge benefits from online and RL friendships. I couldn't do without them :)

Leanne said...

Help, I have no patio! Nice blog, Nell :)