Dark, deep and devastating….

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“When it comes to being anything, do you seriously think I chose this life? We’re none of us armored, sweetheart. Not the way we arrive here anyway. We only wish.”

His Judas Bride-5*Review @ShehanneMoore

 

My Thoughts…

‘Dark, deep and devastating aptly describes this historical romance, set in the beautiful but often brutal highlands of Scotland. 

Kara and Callm are both damaged by life and forced on a path of avenge and revenge, even though it is often at odds with the people they once were before tragedy struck.  Their meeting is unconventional and neither want to surrender to their passions, it’s too dangerous.

Kara needs to keep to her plan to save her son, Callm has already lost too much, his people are everything, and he can never put his personal pleasure above their safety. Love becomes a weapon rather than a balm and the resultant passion reflects this with vivid imagery.

If you want to relive history with all the rough edges and raw emotion, this story with its complex, challenged characters will consume you.

I received an ARC of the second edition from the author in return for an honest review. 

Threatening to leave in the hope of bringing him to his senses was a bad idea, when he’d no senses to speak of, let alone ones she could blackmail him into.

My Thoughts…

Lady Splendor was once the lowest of the low, now she needs to find a way to keep her new lifestyle, and that means a chess competition that only men can enter. There is lots of fun in this story as Splendor risks all to achieve everything she desires. 

Kendall Winterborne is a dissolute rake, who dislikes being challenged or made a fool of. Splendor does both and with their history, their relationship is never going to be easy going. Passion escapes, but they are at war, and anything more than physical attraction seems both unwanted and unobtainable.

A thoroughly  entertaining, romantic tale, which is full of witty dialogue, sizzling scenes and unforgettable characters, perfect holiday reading,

I received an ARC of this book from the author.

Shehanne Moore -Splendor -London Jewel Thieves #2 – 5* Review @ShehanneMoore

He was not a man she could help, any more than she was a woman who ever did such things

My Thoughts…

Loving Lady Lazuli is a tense, character-driven historical romance which gives the reader a unique perspective on life and love in Regency England. The power of society and its harshness when crossed is implicit from the first chapter. Lord Devorlane Hawley returns to his ancestral ten years after he left in disgrace. Now the unexpected fifth Duke of Chessington he wants revenge for his ten years of exile where severe mistreatment changed him from a naive youth to a cynical man.
The prodigal is thrown into an unexpected homecoming party. Bored a young woman attracts him. Is she the girl who caused his disgrace a decade ago? Cassidy fears her secret is uncovered and leaves the party abruptly. With the threat of the noose for being a jewel thief hanging over her Cassidy (Sapphire) tries to find the documents that prove her claim to Barwych hall.
Their relationship is laced with misunderstanding, humour and poignancy. Both distrust, threaten and cheat each other. Devorlane demands she becomes his mistress for his silence and help. Cassidy (Sapphire) agrees until she discovers his life-threatening secret and reclaims the advantage. The historical attraction between Devorlane and Cassidy (Sapphire) rekindles and ignites despite his hateful behaviour and her scheming. When their passion overwhelms secrets emerge which affect them profoundly and make them face their emotional involvement.
Memorable characters give this unusual historical romance a realistic edge which makes Loving Lady Lazuli a passionate, enthralling read.

https://t.co/FoLB7SPT93

 

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Location in writing. Four places in #Glencoe

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Shey – Yup. Indeed I’ve been meaning to blog it and show off a few pics of that weekend….ages ago now.

 

Shey….including the moveable summit there above. I say that cos mountains in Glencoe are a bit like writing books that way. You think you’re there when you’re not. Indeed you could say that about this whole biz.

But location? Yep. Kate Furnivall said something last post about it being another character in a book and for me that says it all.   It may not have goal, motivation or conflict BUT you ignore it at your peril if you want to bring your book to life.  So I always look to choose a location, or invest a place, a house for example, with characteristics that will hopefully do that.   

Glencoe has been a special place for me, for many years.  And when it came to thinking of what I could

blog about this book, well, it’s a place of savage grandeur , I thought given I’ve a lot of different readers now, so why not the places that found their way into the book?

Besides I got Christmas baking to do and get in the freezer.

In writing His Judas Bride, I wanted to write about the Highlands as I know them. And the clans as history tells us. That’s with a lot of bloodshed and savagery, oh and double crossing. 

So….  Location one that found its way into the book–

One -The Devil’s Staircase.

The most obvious way to stop her from leaving Lochalpin—and it was written in his blood, he damn well would—was to station men at the top of the pass. He’d done that. Hell. Four days now. He’d done everything.

 

Seen above there in the snow….. which used to cut the Highlands off in the winter months often as not. So yeah, there’s a  ton of snow in this story. There’s also the Staircase.

In 1692, the path was the approach route for the (apparently delayed) troops coming from Kinlochleven to provide reinforcements for the Massacre of Glencoe in which 38 people died at the hands of billeted soldiers, who had come as ‘guests’ – the only Trojan hamster…oops… horse way in to the glen at that time.  I may have renamed Glencoe,  Lochalpin, but the Trojan horse principle is the core of the book.

Famously? In personal terms? Well the scene of a turn back off the range behind it in June, covered in ice, in Arctic conditions.  

TWO – The Hidden Valley

 Not once in the last hour, as she’d edged along that treacherous gully, expecting to pepper the rocks hundreds of feet below, with her bones at any moment, had she any idea anyone was followinghidden valle

Famously, the scene of one incident where our party handed out hotel towels– be prepared is my  mountain motto, specially with things taken from everyone else, sure the hotel was delighted NOT–and formed a chain across a raging burn to rescue a stranded party, as you do in Glencoe….

 ‘And the Macdonalds hid their stolen cows here?’  I asked the first time I was ever here.  I mean the coos must have had quite a climb, how they got along the rake with their big cloppers, never mind the one slip and that’s it bit,  I couldn’t tell you. But ideal for giving Kara second thoughts about getting out the place again once things start to fall apart.   Oh, and maybe taking you dudes to, next time I visit……

Location three

The Lochan –

Knew it, didn’t he—what a stunning specimen he was. More stunning in fact than the plate-glass loch, the iced mountains that rose like sentinels around it.

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All right…man made under the most romantic circumstances by Lord Strathcona, https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/she-had-seduced-him/ so here doubling as the lovely loch of Lochalpin. Naturally in the story it has a castle out on the loch, and the Black Wolf and his bunch of bandits live in underground caves on the shore…so let’s not hang about here either…..

Famously- okay, ‘fessing up here.. our party once got rid a large half tree trunk here that had been cluttering our boot.

And lastly

 Four – Eilean Munde…….

‘“Has no one told you about the Isle of the Saints, then?”

“The w-what?” But perhaps that was because she’d always been more acquainted with the Isle of the Sinners.eilean

 

No not a person. A place. The burial island  once used by the Stewarts of Ballachulish, the MacDonalds of Glencoe and the Camerons of Callart. The clans shared the island and the maintenance of the graves, even when they were responsible for putting one another in them.  Also the site of a chapel built by St. Fintan Mundus…naturally chapel and island  doubles for the Island of the Saints, a place Kara rather unwillingly becomes acquainted with. Famously in my own book of life, near the spot where we wrecked the local cafe’s grass when our car sunk into it…..

That’s good dudes, cos see that island. Next time that’s where you’re going.  And since you can’t swim it’s where you’ll be staying too. Now I am gonna to open the voddie and do the cossack dance…….

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

 

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

 

To save his people, neither will he…

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

 She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.

https://amzn.to/2PSe9SR

 

Surviving in Berlin with Kate Furnivall

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Kate. Hi there, dudes, it’s great to be with you again. Thank you for inviting me over. I heard from Cat Cavendish and from that Aussie troublemaker Noelle Clark that I should think twice before accepting the invitation because it could be … well … traumatic. But I’m not nervous. Because we have an understanding, don’t we, Bobby Bub? *wink wink*

Okay, you ask what made me pick Germany as the setting for my latest book, The Survivors.

The choice was triggered by what I saw on my television screen night after night – the desperate flight of refugees arriving frightened and exhausted in flimsy boats on the shores of Italy and Greece. It was heart-breaking to watch. It got me thinking about how Europe dealt with the problem of refugees in the past. Have we learned nothing?

It seems not.

I started to delve deeper and became totally engrossed in the story of the millions – yes, millions – of refugees who flooded across Europe at the end of World War 2. Homeless, jobless and starving, many fleeing from Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, it was the biggest mass migration in the history of mankind.

So what did the Allied Military Government do?

They set up camps throughout Germany, just like we do today, to house the refugees. Some were in disused factories or military barracks, some in vast purpose-built enclosures. All had pretty basic facilities. Too often they were dangerous places. But they held out the offer of a dream of a better future.

To me it felt SO relevant to what is happening now and I knew I had found my story – a young mother and her child in one of the Displaced Persons camps in Germany, forced to confront the shadows of her wartime past when a man she knew in Warsaw enters the camp disguised as a refugee.

 Kate : I’m sorry, Bobby Bub, but all the hamsters in the camp were tossed into the stewpot with onions and garlic. Very tasty, apparently. Note to dudes:- steer clear of refugee camps!

 

Kate.

I wish I knew. To be honest, it varies. Sometimes it’s the characters who come to me first, walking into my life as bold as brass. But at other times it is the location that spills into my mind first, seducing me with its beauty or its history. This was particularly true of my last book, The Betrayal, which was set in Paris 1938. All that glamour and decadence. Oh, those delicious hot Parisian nights that I had to research …. I’m looking at you, Bobby Bub.

Kate. – I regard the location in each of my books as a character in the story, with a voice of its own. In The Survivors it’s not just the Displaced Persons camp location, but also the bomb-damaged cities of Berlin and Hanover that play a major role in the twists and turns of the plot.

At one point my main character Klara is taken to a scary prison in East Berlin and when she escapes, all hell lets loose. I loved stalking through the blackened ruins of the city at night with her, aware of its presence looming over her, feeling its breath on her neck. Yes, location for me is a crucial part of my books.

 

Kate.  The Survivors does exactly what it says on the tin – it is about those who endured the war and now have to survive the peace. At its heart lies the question of how far a mother will go to protect her daughter. The answer is to hell and back. Klara, who lost her husband early in the war, is a strong and resourceful young woman whose love for 10 year-old Alicja is absolute and unshakeable. This is what drives the story through its many heart-stopping moments.

Klara and Alicja are incarcerated in the Displaced Persons camp with thousands of others, caught in a twilit existence somewhere between night and day. When the arrogant Oskar Scholtz walks into the camp pretending to be a refugee, she knows he is a threat to her life. But more importantly a threat to her daughter’s life. Because they both know the truth about his Nazi past. Klara decides he has to die, but they begin a dangerous game in which neither can trust the other. Klara is helped by her close friend Davide and by Hanna, the camp’s mighty laundrywoman.

But who will leave the camp alive?

It is a taut and at times tough thriller about love, loyalty and survival. I believe its themes resonate very strongly with the world around us today.

 

Kate.  Berlin is a beautiful city full of parks, bicycles and fun. We’ll have a fab weekend there, Bobby B. I’ll take you first to explore the must-see thrills of the magnificent Brandenburg Gate, the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, the historic remains of the Wall and the Reichstag parliament building, reconstructed by our own British architect Norman Foster. Then we’ll head on down to Hackescher Markt for a spot of Apfelkuchen and beer, and a breeze round its warren of exquisite shops – chocs and leather goods to die for.

But for me the place in Berlin that I love most is right in the heart of the busy city – the awesome Holocaust Memorial designed by Peter Eisenman. It is so moving, it brings me to tears without fail every time I go there. Photographs do not do it justice. It swallows you whole in a maze of tombstones. Utterly brilliant.

In the evening we will enjoy a delicious dinner in the revolving Sphere restaurant at the top of Berlin’s television tower. Not scared of heights, are you, BB? It is 680ft high. Stunning views across the city.

 

After that we’ll hit the nightspots in Friedrichsheim where the bars and clubs rock to live music all night.

I’m packing my case as we speak …

 

Kate..

I certainly do. I am a sucker for German Apfelkuchen … that’s Apple Cake. It’s always moist, spicy and deliciously moreish. Sehr lecker! Here is my fave recipe:-

3 large eggs

300g sugar

250ml vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

600g peeled and finely chopped tart apples, I use Granny Smith

150g chopped pecans

Icing

250g cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

250g icing sugar

 

Instructions

 

1 Preheat oven to 170c degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract until completely combined.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.

4 Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine.

5 Fold in apples and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan.

6 Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool.

7 Make frosting. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth.

8 Add vanilla extract and icing sugar. Beat until smooth.

9 Spread on top of cake. Store leftovers in refrigerator

 

Kate. My next project? I am VERY excited about it. The story is set in France in 1953 – a new era for me – during the escalating nuclear threat of the Cold War. The story takes place in the Camargue, the French region famous for its gorgeous wild white horses and black bulls. The divisions within a family lead it into a sinister web of secrets and lies. Think Soviet spies, think danger, think thrills.

Thank you, dudes, for inviting me over. I really enjoyed catching up again.

Bobby B, you got your passport ready?

*** THE TOP TEN BESTSELLING AUTHOR ***

Directly I saw him, I knew he had to die.’

Germany, 1945. Klara Janowska and her daughter Alicja have walked for weeks to get to Graufeld Displaced Persons camp. In the cramped, dirty, dangerous conditions they, along with 3,200 others, are the lucky ones. They have survived and will do anything to find a way back home.

But when Klara recognises a man in the camp from her past, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

He knows exactly what she did during the war to save her daughter.

She knows his real identity.

What will be the price of silence? And will either make it out of the camp alive?

Kate Furnivall had the shock proof of her life when she learned just over a decade ago that she was part Russian. Not a demure all-English rose after all then. It changed her life. Triggered those Russian genes into action. Inspired by her grandmother’s dramatic St Petersburg life-story at the time of the Soviet Revolution, Kate wrote her first historical novel, The Russian Concubine, which hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was sold in 25 countries.It hooked Kate into the thrill of setting powerful emotional stories in dramatic far-off locations. She took to travelling with a vengeance – Russia, China, Malaya, Egypt, Bahamas, Italy, France. All became backdrops for her sweeping tales set in the first half of the 20th century when the world was in turmoil.

Research trips were riddled with wonderful adventures and weird discoveries that enrich her books. She delves into dark themes as well as intense love stories, and strips her characters to the bare bones in times of crisis to see what they are made of. Her books are full of tension, twists and thrills, atmosphere and romance.

Kate was raised in Wales, went to London Uni and worked in advertising in London. She now lives in blissful Devon with her husband, snuggled up close to Agatha Christie’s house for inspiration. She has two sons and a manky cat.

Kate has written ten historical novels, two of which have been shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year Award.

 

He’s lean, he’s mean and he’s back…

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CHAPTER ONE

 

Scotland, long ago and far away

 Never look at the moon as you reach for the stars…

 Displaying herself half naked had never been part of the plan. Especially not in a see-through scarlet dress, in the middle of a raging snowstorm. But Lord Ewen McDunnagh was handsome so a plan could change.

It was unfortunate it should change so soon when he was also a drunk with a reputation for hiking the skirts of all women between the ages of fifteen and fifty and she’d still to gain entry to Lochalpin, but then again a knife jabbed her throat–his. So why not?

Show herself fully naked either? Well? Wasn’t she meant to be alluring, despite the fact it killed  her to the fossilized back ends of her chattering teeth?

“Lady McGurkie.”

Behind her, Kendrick—who else?—sounded as if he was hunched in abject despair over his palfrey.

When it later came to him describing her behavior, slut and she has learned nothing weren’t words her bastarding, old father would exactly want to hear.  But the stars could only be reached in Lochalpin. That place no stranger had set foot in in five years. Alive anyway. Here she was on the doorstep.

So the first thing wasn’t to ignore the way the snowflakes glistening in Lord Ewen’s umber colored hair, had just caused her jaw to drop when he first rode through the curtain of snow, the fact he was hard strength in worn leather and his voice when he’d told her to stop in his name, was richer than winter blackberries, too. The first thing was to get over it at all costs. The doorstep that was. That she’d been told to expect a troll and this wasn’t a troll wasn’t even secondary.

What exactly was Lord Ewen going to do if she didn’t shut her cloak which, actually, it had killed her to open? Send her back down the pass with her father’s men? Hardly. If it was his brother, the terror of her glen, perhaps. But it had been agreed he wouldn’t be here today.

Fisting the reins to control her nickering mount, she raised her chin.

“Thank you, Kendrick but I do think I’m capable of handling this. Lord Ewen, sir. I’m your bride, here at last after an arduous journey through the storm. So … so if you would just be so kind, so good …” Good was not something he looked like he was much accustomed to being. Except perhaps in bed? So maybe being good was something she should skip over, “as to remove … “

My bride?”

“Yes. To be, that is, sir. Because of course, we are not wed … yet.”

“Hmm …”

His sea-green glare said yet would be a long time coming–if at all–that he found her left nostril more appealing. Thankfully him wanting her was optional. In fact, if five years in her father’s dungeon had destroyed her allegedly famous allure, think of the hassle it saved her if he didn’t when she’d been expecting a troll and this wasn’t a troll.

There were shores she’d once danced on. This wasn’t one.

“Lady Kara—” Kendrick muttered again.

“Yes. Lady Kara McGurkie, my lord. Will you please stop interrupting me Kendrick, thank you? Chief … Chief Ian Dhub’s oldest daughter, in case you’ve somehow forgotten.”

Lord Ewen lowered his gaze, edged his lip with his tongue. The faintly rueful smile was the first, tiniest crack in his veneer.

Good. It would be a disaster if every piece of tittle-tattle ever to slip past his brother, Callm the Black Wolf, was just that and he’d changed his mind about this wedding.

Or he thought there was something untoward about her, sitting here dressed like this. But she could relax. Finally the glen beckoned.

“The tinker chief bastard’s daughter, my bride?” He thrust the dagger back in his belt, displaying an inch of hardened stomach muscle. “Don’t you just love learning something new in life every day, Princess?”

Yes, she did. Particularly that she was not going to have to fight him off until that ring sat on her finger. Obviously his brother wasn’t the only one who didn’t like strangers in his precious glen. It made her even more generously disposed towards him.

“Already my lord likes his little joke, I see.”

“Damn right I do.”

“Then I shall be sure to see—“

He leaned closer. It was only the brush of breath against her cheek. Yet the shock of the contact travelled the length of her body, the one she’d been dead inside of for five years. “Because where you’re concerned, you can count on it splitting my sides.” Before she could open her mouth he turned to the mob surrounding him, on foot and horseback. “Well, can’t she, lads?”grunge

Lads? Do pardon her for thinking she’d seen better-looking corpses. But to a man they whistled, catcalled and stuck out their tongues, so obviously they were as alive as her, for the time being anyway.

This wasn’t going quite as well as she’d like and if Kendrick complained again it might go even less. What exactly was Lord Ewen going to do if she didn’t shut her cloak? Send her back—remember? At least she hoped she did. Because that would not be a good choice for her.

“Oh, I think you’ll find when we’re wed, sir, I shall count on anything.”

“My lips are wet already.” He curved them in a deep grin. “With what you’re showing me here.”

“Good.”

Because frankly—damn him–the time had come to stop sitting here showing him it in the perishing cold, the snow piling up in her hood and do what she’d come to do. She removed her gloved hand from the reins. “Because you agreed to put an end to the war between our clans by wedding Chief Ian Dhub’s daughter, Lady Kara McGurkie, did you not? And I am Lady Kara McGurkie. Yes. My credentials are right here should you wish to see them.”

An armory clinked. Claymores, dirks, and axes. All glinting in the snow-lit dusk. All leveled at her. His men were good all right. Far better than her father’s stretched on horseback along the narrow pass behind her. Imagine the wedding night if they did that around the bed.

Jesus.” The sloping, three-legged, shaggy beast at his side—what it was she’d no idea, except that it had fangs and it yowled, as his boot hit its backside. “Hell, Dug. Shut up, will you?”

Dug? She swallowed. He called the dog, Dug? How basic. What would he call his children when he had them? Child? Bairn? You? Son

Her ribs tightened.

God, her mind whispered, don’t waylay me on the road to perdition. You can’t win. But there it was in that same moment. A vision, a boy, sitting right there on Lord Ewen’s shoulder, pale as the snowflakes dusting it, ethereal as the roiling mist. The eyes blue as the sky on a sunny day. The same soft hair. Her boy, her son, Arland.

Children’s names?

Wedding nights?

Was she completely, ragingly insane?

There weren’t going to be any children. And there wasn’t going to be any wedding night.

Because, after the wedding feast, there wasn’t going to be any groom.

love most

Desiring her could be murder.

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to  swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, in order to get back her son.  But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

To save his people, neither will he…

Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

 She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.Releasing December 7th. Now available on pre-order for (99 p?!1.29 cents..limited time, pre-order only. Also coming on print. Just need to sort that with the er.. dudes….

 

https://amzn.to/2PSe9SR

 

 

Lessons learned from Jean Lee

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zinctr

 

Jean  – Wisconsin breeds the fantastic.

We are home to peculiar, toothsome beasts like the Hodag, devourer of all-white bulldogs (or hamsters, if you’re not careful).

We are home to unique, word-some writers like Neil Gaiman: “There’s that tiny off-kilter nature in the Midwest that’s in the details,” he says when asked about writing here.

We are home to hidden towns, small growths of community where railroads and highways meet, places that no one finds unless they mean to find it. Picturesque, perhaps? Plainfield was indeed picturesque once—until Ed Gein was arrested in November of 1957. You may know the rest. Basically, Gein inspired many of the fictional horror icons we know today: Norman Bates, Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill are all rooted in the reality of Ed Gein.

We drove through the wild patches between the hidden towns often when I was a child. I never tried to occupy myself with books or toys in the car. There was too much to see, out there in those scattered homesteads, too much to wonder about. What happened inside that dying barn?

Why is that gravel drive roped off, and where does it lead? Where are all the people for those rusted cars littering the field?

This is the Wisconsin I live in now. The land dips and rises in unexpected places. The trees may crowd a rural highway so much you can lose yourself driving, only to have the tunnel burst open to sunshine and a white-crested river running beneath a bridge you’d swear had never seen a car before. In the small farming town of my youth, I could stand on the lone highway through town and hear snowflakes land beneath the orange street lights.

The short stories began as a writing experiment last year. My husband had been listening to John Carpenter’s Lost Themes, and a story began to shape in my head of a child dying at the hands of a cuddly creature before a dark skulking thing gets involved. When I showed the short story to my publishers, they encouraged me to write more short stories as little introductions to the universe of Charlotte and these imprisoned shapeshifters. Thus Tales of the River Vine was born, with stories following both antagonists and protagonists across the years.

The challenge with such “prequels,” as they are, was to find emotional centers without chipping away at the emotional arc of Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. Take the last story of the collection, “Tattered Rhapsody.” Originally I intended the story to be called “Dirty Charlie,” featuring Charlotte the Wise-Ass taking on some gang members at her high school for profit. I even had little hamsters involved in the fight, bringing a gang member down after he crashes on their cages. I don’t think I have to tell you what these hamsters were named… 😉

But the story felt wrong. I couldn’t pin it at first. Charlotte’s there, she’s showing her strength, her protective instincts for her kid sister. And yet, the story felt…heartless.

Then it hit me: Charlotte’s heart doesn’t speak with her fists. It speaks with her music.

And just like that, the story’s heart found a pulse, a rhythm both despairing yet defiant. Just like Charlotte.

(Don’t worry—two hamsters still manage to make a cameo in the tale.)

I hope you enjoy reading “Tattered Rhapsody” and the other Tales of the River Vine and telling me what you think. They’re all FREE on Kindle, Nook, and other publishing platforms!

Three years ago, you may as well have asked what it’s like to juggle three bowling pins with spikes on fire.

Back when I was trying to write in bedlam, I stole whatever time I could before dawn. The television usually bought me at least an hour in the day to outline, draft dialogue, or keep up with my blog. The children’s naptime never felt long enough, but I made due. Once the boys began preschool, I could at least promise myself one hour of writing time a day. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But that’s the thing about writing and keeping a job and running a household: every minute to write’s a blessing. Sometimes those days crash and burn. Other times—like when the boys didn’t have school—we found other ways to be creative.

Now that Blondie, Biff, and Bash are in school all day, I always have time for writing, be it for the blog, editing, drafting, etc. Granted, summer’s still a trial, but because I didn’t give up on writing when time was scarce, I have many stories to share here in the daylight hours.

Honestly, not many. I studied in Ireland for a summer, and checked out important places in James Joyce’s life. While this was definitely cool, I was downright ecstatic to drive to Illinois and see the wardrobe that helped inspire C.S. Lewis when he wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Nostalgia played its part, I’m sure, but it was also a real thing connected to a fantasy. How often does one see and touch real doors to another world?

Research can feel like a big time-suck, but when it comes to publishing, DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are so many scammers out there with their “author services” and “exclusive anthologies.” They’re going to talk you up, make you feel amazing, and before you know it you’ve paid four digits for lousy editing on a slap-dash affair no one’s going to see. Scope out the small presses. Join author groups online to gather recommendations for editors, book designers, and cover artists. Your story deserves to be seen, but only when it’s ready.

Yes, an author platform really does help. Don’t think of it as yet another time suck; rather, treat it as the regimented prose exercise. Reading countless other voices, writing tight posts on a regular basis—all helps the craft, not hinders it. No, it’s not the novel you dream hitting the best-seller list, but making a website, commenting on social media—these simple actions give your name an author’s history. Other writers/publishers/agents/readers can trace your name back to studies, comments, and whatever else you write. You build that platform, you build a writer’s resume for the publishing business to see.

Yup, that’s a while ago, but life tends to fill the years, and in my case, I had just become a mom. Postpartum depression hit hard. Very, very hard. I felt very cut-off from life. I couldn’t feel the joy of motherhood. I found myself often staring out a window, trapped in walls yet somehow exiled outside of feeling. I’d look upon my sleeping baby and feel nothing but guilt because I couldn’t feel complete with motherhood.

Then a friend introduced me to the awesome challenge that is National Novel Writing Month. From November 1st-30th, you are to write 50,000 words of a story not yet started (that’s cheating. Outlines are permissible, though.). The story may need more than 50K words, but what matters is that you reach that length in thirty days.

I swung it that year, and felt AMAZING. I was escaping the trap, driven to feel with characters outside of this world. I couldn’t just sit and dwell on individual lines or plot points—I had to keep going, and because I had to march on in the narrative, I found myself marching on in real life, too. I wasn’t staring out the window waiting for minutes to pass. I was…I was back, you know? I felt a part of life again, enjoying the touch of my daughter’s tiny hands around my finger and her boundless grey-blue eyes. I reveled in these things. I felt…complete.

 

 

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Catherine Cavendish, One House, Many Ghosts,

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The Many Ghosts of Stanhope Old Hall by our fiend, Catherine Cavendish

‘In my new novel, Damned by the Ancients, the Mortimers’ new home is haunted by a presence so evil and so obsessed, it will stop at nothing to get what it wants.


In real life, there are numerous stories of haunted houses and, today, I want to take you to Stanhope Old Hall which has enjoyed a small community of them over the years.

Six years ago, previous owners, Bill and Sue Gandy decided to sell up the beautiful manor house. Not because of the ghosts – of which there are indeed many. When they owned it, they lived in it as their own house. These days, the present owners run an exceptionally well appointed B and B and restaurant. The Gandys had simply found that caring for such a large Manor House on their own was too much work. They were sad to leave. Even though their first days –and particularly first night there – had been scary.


 

The exquisite house and grounds form a medieval manor house situated on the edge of the village of Stanhope in England’s picturesque County Durham and was first mentioned in 1139. It passed from the Craig family through to the Stanhopes and then, as a result of a daughter’s marriage, became the official seat of the Fetherstonehaugh (pronounced ‘Fanshaw’) family for many years.


The last Fetherstonehaugh fell at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 and from then on the house passed through a number of hands, including a possible link to the Earl of Carlisle. The fabric of the building reflects its age, with huge 15th century open fireplaces still extant along with original oak doors, staircases and flagstone floors.
A number of memorable historical discoveries have been made here.

A 250 million year old fossilised tree stump was discovered and can still be seen in Stanhope’s churchyard and in 1859, a huge collection of Bronze Age items was found at nearby Heathery Burn Cave – including some of the earliest known evidence of wheeled transport on Britain. These items seem to have belonged to a wealthy Bronze Age family who may have been trapped during a flash flood and al perished. Their skeletons were also discovered.

They had probably lain there for around 3000 years.
So what of the spooky goings-on experienced by the Gandys and earlier owners of the house? One strange story has it that a young couple entered the house back in the Middle Ages. They were engaged to each other and were never seen again – until their skeletons were discovered under the floorboards. They were holding hands.

The owner – and old lady – who sold Stanhope Old Hall to the Gandys said she had called in the Paranormal Society as a result of all the strange experiences she had witnessed. The Society’s investigators reported sudden drops in temperature, images of red-robed monks in the boiler room, orbs captured on camera and an old grey lady. The monks apparently had hidden in the basement to avoid Henry VIII’s persecution.

But, despite the warnings, the Gandys fell in love with the house and bought it. They dismissed the woman’s warnings as she considered herself something of a psychic and they didn’t (at that time anyway) believe in all of that. It took just one night for them to re-think their earlier scepticism.

Recovering from a combination of pneumonia and the stress of moving house, Bill Gandy retired to bed late the first night when, just as the couple were dozing off, they were startled awake by a veritable cacophony of noise. Stomping feet, slamming doors, all coming from the floor above. The couple were so exhausted, they didn’t get up to investigate, but they were unnerved.

Nothing quite like that happened again, but there have been other strange events.
A workman employed by the Gandys fled from a bedroom in terror after hearing something he couldn’t see drop invisible stones or pebbles on the floor.
Bill heard the clomping footsteps once more some months after the first occurrence and their son, who lived with them for a time and worked form home, often heard running footsteps going up and down the stairs, even though there was no one else in the house.
The night before Bill’s birthday one year, Sue alleges she woke to see a cheerful Mrs Bridges-type (from Upstairs Downstairs fame) bending over him and singing ‘Happy Birthday.’
The old grey lady spotted by the Paranormal Society also seems to have been seen by neighbours who told the Gandys they had seen her standing at the window of what had been Bedroom 10 during the 1970s and ‘80s when the house was a hotel. That room also proved too much for two local women who used to work at the hotel. They refused to go into that room alone because they felt something wasn’t right with it.

Despite all the ghosts, the Gandys always found the house warm and welcoming. The spirits that linger there are, it seems, benevolent. In its new life, Stanhope Old Hall certainly seems comfortable and welcoming. As a family run B& B and Restaurant, it hosts weddings and accommodation, providing an excellent base for all sorts of walking and sporting activities. In winter, when the winds howl over the Pennines and horizontal rain lashes down, the house truly comes into its own. Those four foot thick walls keep out the weather and an open log fire toasts the toes of the weary walker.
As for the ghosts? The present owners don’t mention their presence on their website but who knows? They don’t seem at all threatening. The same however cannot be said for the ghosts that haunt Villa Dürnstein – especially the evil Emeryk Quintillus…


Here’s what to expect from Damned by the Ancients:
INFINITY IN DEATH

Vienna, 1908

Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .

Vienna, 2018

The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.

Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:

 

About the author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

 

In print and in deepest Berkshire….

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zinctr

Dark Doings in Deepest Berkshire – with Shehanne Moore

 

Catherine Cavendish….. ‘My guest today is historical author Shehanne Moore. I love her books, which combine adventure with feisty characters, humour and a flavour of the Gothic: ‘

 

   “As God is my witness, this property shall ne’er be inherited by two direct successors, for its sons will be hounded by misfortune.” 

                                                                                By Shehanne Moore.zinctr

As God is mine I must say I was heartily glad to read the following….

‘Berkshire is a place of mystery, myth and legend. The county abounds with strange tales of ghostly phantoms, ferocious creatures,

kings & knights, witchcraft, treasure and more.’

Why was I glad?

Because it’s never easy coming to the wonderfully chilling blog of Gothic horror writer, Catherine Cavendish. Certainly NOT when you write romance,  even when it’s slightly Gothic romance.  Thank you so very much Cat for inviting me. despite this.  

Not only is my recently re-released book Loving Lady Lazuli set in Berkshire where the heroine has gone to ground – phew- there was a ton of tales to choose from. 

I am glad to hear it. I thought you sort of chewed tails to bits, cut them right down the middle…  So it said online anyway–I mean about Berkshire of course– which was why I was initially drawn to the ‘most haunted’ Shaw House but the most interesting thing there I could find was the true story of how the Duke of Chandos took as his wife, a beautiful chambermaid who was being sold off by her husband in an inn yard with a halter round her neck.   (Something you hamsters dudes should try for size.)

Not just shades of Thomas Hardy’s, The Hamster…00OPS… Mayor of Casterbridge but proof that the business of dukes marrying what might be construed as women a universe  below their social status….as happens in Lazuli and Splendor and indeed in a hell of a lot of historical romance… is not as daft as all that.

 Moving on though, through covens of witches and headless men, I came to the story of Bisham Abbey…I guess apposite again as Barwych Hall in the book is based on Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire.  However, the Bisham monks were so furious at Henry VIII for ‘dissolving them,’

 

they cursed the ancient building.  

And indeed…as in another follow through from the book, sort of anyway…the sons of Bisham’s many different owners didn’t just fall down dead, they were beheaded, they died young, they were killed in world wars—and, as in the case of young William Hoby, they had some help from their mama. In this case, the widowed Lady Elizabeth who had such high standards of education,  she not only beat young William to bits and locked him in the Tower Room to do his lessons all over again, she quite forgot, despite being so brilliant herself, that she’d done it, clearing off to Windsor for several days of dancing and banqueting. A very merry widow to all accounts.  After all, weren’t there servants for tiresome things like children after all? Hamsters too……

At least Lady Elizabeth thought so, so she was really quite astonished on returning home to find that everyone thought William was with her…. 

I think we all know what’s coming next.

But did William exist at all? There’s documented evidence for Anne, the Chandos’ chambermaid bride. But William? 

Well, firstly the fact that there’s no genealogical evidence to show he did exist, doesn’t always mean a thing. Not all records survive.  And the Hobys had other estates where his birth could have been recorded. 

“Proof” of William’s existence is sort of provided by the discovery in 1840, during renovations, of copy books containing blots on every page, corrections

by the ‘wicked lady‘ herself and the name, William Hoby. Alas, I say ‘sort of’ because these copy books sort of then disappeared. Maybe Lady Hoby stole them…? A bit like my jewel thieves in the book. 

However 1840 was the point where the son first became known as William. Till then he’d just been a nameless son, like you get these nameless, headless hamsters….oops, horsemen. Lady Hoby did indeed have a son…Francis…who died young in unknown circumstances, at the time she had remarried and her surname was then Russell. 

You pays your money you takes your chances, I’d say on truth and legend mixing to become one…or the other.

Whether or not Lady Hoby caused her son’s death as said,  the Abbey is known to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain, certainly the most haunted in Berkshire and that haunting is done by her apparently grief-stricken self, dressed in black lace and white, washing her hands  a la  Lady Macbeth.  

She tears curtains, throws things. But mostly she just sobs and leaves lights up in the Tower Room.. a bit like Silv in the purple hat there.  Some people think she causes the mists that wreath the Abbey and until 1936 she especially liked to come out for coronations.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little venture to the darker side and won’t be afraid to visit the Abbey… 

Talking ghosts… here’s the blurb for Loving Lady Lazuli.

  A woman not even the ghost of Sapphire can haunt. A man who knows exactly who she is.

Only one man in England can identify her. Unfortunately he’s living next door.

Ten years ago sixteen year old Sapphire, the greatest jewel thief England has ever known, ruined Lord Devorlane Hawley’s life by planting a stolen necklace on him.  Now she’s dead and buried, all Cassidy Armstrong wants is the chance to prove she was never that girl. 

But her new neighbor is hell-bent on revenge and his word can bring her down. So when he asks her to be his mistress, or leave the county with a price on her head, Sapphire, who hates being owned, must decide…  

What’s left for a woman with nowhere else to go, but to stay exactly where she is?

And hope, that when it comes to neighbors Devorlane Hawley won’t prove to be the one from hell.

And here’s a snippet from the bit where a past ‘ghost’, Gil,  turns up unexpectedly and proceeds to ‘haunt’ the supposedly dead and buried, Cassidy— further than she’s just been haunted this evening already.

Hastily she tugged a shawl round her shoulders—the first thing to take care of was the fact she faced him half naked, with her undergarments on the floor. Silk ones.

“So? What do you want?”

Apart from staring at her drawers and corset? Well, he was welcome. It was all he was going to get to do with them–whatever else happened here, whatever he’d said. Maybe she wasn’t going to be able to dominate this situation with them on the floor, as much as she’d like, maybe her options were as numerous as one-legged chickens, gathering the garments up would show she knew it.

“Nice that.” He dragged his gaze from her corset. “What did you just say?”

“What do you want?”

“Hmm.” He screwed up his face, stuck his thumbs in his waistcoat pocket, looked at the ceiling. “Well now, to quote Hamlet, by that fellow, what’s his name again, William Shakespeare and all that, that is the question. Whether it’s to suffer the there them slings of outrageous fortune, or, you know, take up arms and all them things what you take up, and do what you can, to actually end this protracted situation what you is in. Or is it, the them there stings of outrageous fortune? You know, I can’t remember. But, see, what I am hoping is that I ain’t going to have to end them. Thinking how awful that would be for certain for those concerned, see? You get a big soddin’ arrow sticking in your—”

Jesus, Cass.”

“Evenin’ Rube.” He sniffed loudly. “Hope it’s a good ‘un.”

“It soddin’ was till yer soddin’ showed yer soddin’ ugly face.”

“Hmm.” He strolled around the copper tub, sniffing the stone cold suds. “Personally I think ugly sodding face is what you might call a better arrangement of the words. See, it has what you might call, a more them there poetic ring to it.”

“The only soddin’ thing I’d like to ring is—”

“Hmm. Well … Sure you ain’t alone there. Still, not to put too fine a point on it, not just you here, Rube, to bid a good and wondrous-to-behold, evening to. Pearl, Sapphire, jewels of the Orient. Here, don’t you think this is just like them olden days what we did have together, them happy times in … what was the name of that place again … Lanthorne Street?”

 

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Black Wolf Books. – Kara imprint

Character Interrupted. An interview BY Jean Lee

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#Author #Interviews: #historicalromance #writer @ShehanneMoore discusses #character development, #series #writing, #research, & starting a #smallpress #publisher

Jean Lee – Let’s first begin with what you write—smart, sexy, historical fiction. You delve into various time periods with your books, such as the 9th century in The Viking and the Courtesan and the 19th century in Splendor. What process do you go through when choosing the right century for a story’s setting? That is, if Splendor took place in another century, would it still be the Splendor we know?
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Probably not. The stories are influenced by the time, the characters too, although they don’t always abide by the constraints of them. Mind you Splendor would be a shopaholic , running up debts galore in any time because some things are timeless. She’d be having to manage everything too. So I guess a bit of both would be true. I generally stick to the Georgian/Regency period—it’s a sort of genre in own right. BUT I do like to dabble and I do spend time thinking of how I will set a book physically within that period, in terms of imagery etc.. There’s also things that happen when I write.

I mean there was never meant to be a Viking in The Viking and The Courtesan. That was a straight Regency. But then halfway through chapter two, the little voice whispered, ‘You know that Viking story idea you have, the one you’ve never really got the idea for the heroine ‘s goal in? How about you just use it here?’ Much as I want to ignore that little voice, I can’t.

Jean Lee. – Such a question should mean I ask you about research, too. I know you’re very passionate about your research to keep the period lifestyle true to history. 

the party

Visit my pages on BookFunnel & Instafreebie today!

Jean Lee. What’s your process in making the research phase as productive as possible?

You know people think I do a lot of research. I don’t . Too much can kill a story and read like a Wikipedia cut and pastes. At the end of the day I don’t want to know every detail of the time a story is set. I can read a history book for that. I want to read of the things that are universal. The things that stand the test of time. But I have always loved history, especially social history, ever since I can remember. I guess that’s what I have at my fingertips when I write. And of course, I will check a historical timeline detail where it is pertinent to a character, or setting, if I want a certain backdrop.

Jean Lee – One thing I love about all your books is that these characters are layered with feeling. They desire, they hate, they aspire, they love, they fear. Your books are so, so much more than the “meet-cute” kinds of romances out there populated by characters with little more than a single quirk each. These characters can get downright wicked, like Devorlane Hawley in Loving Lady Lazuli. How do you bring together both light and dark natures into your characters to keep your stories compelling and un-put-downable?

SHEY – Now Jean, it’s all right, I won’t set the dudes on you and the check is in the mail. You are way too kind. I just love characters. I want to write about the human condition and let’s face it sometimes it’s downright ugly. Okay, Devorlane Hawley, for example, page one, is not a man you would want to meet. He’s plainly gone to hell in a hand cart, is behaving outrageously and now he’s come into the dukedom because his older, perfect brother is dead, he’s for turfing out his sisters, his late mother’s ward, installing some floozie he’s scoured London to find and setting up a pleasure palace in the ancestral home. By page two/three he’s noticing that his home is nothing like he remembered, it’s a mess, his oldest sister is a drunk and that’s needling at what humanity he has, because it’s plain these years have been hard and the family have regrets. The fact is he’s the family black sheep, the man who made the kind of messes we can all make when we’re young. And that law-abiding, God fearing family let him go down for a crime he never committed, largely for  the sake of peace. By the end of chapter one he’s spotted the woman who did commit that crime and his goal instantly changes. Now he’s becoming the architect of his own doom in many ways.

51Bs3PwSXTLNo-one’s all bad—I think it’s important to remember that when you write. But we are all flawed in some way, a bundle of contradictions, the sum and substance of our life experiences. That’s what I’m trying to blend. Ultimately underneath everything Devorlane Hawley isn’t a bad man. In some ways he’s man interrupted by his earlier experiences– and what has shaped his life since has been hardship and brutality. So the race is on then to see if he can become the man he could be, or are the flaws going to get in the way. I spend a lot of time peering through my fingers going… I wouldn’t have done that, to my characters when I write. AND I let them drive everything. I seriously never have any idea where a story is going next.

Jean Lee- Yet another thing I dig (someday I’ll learn to write questions better), particularly where the  London Jewel Thieves are concerned, is that the series doesn’t just revolve around one heroine; rather, each book focuses on a different character of a group. I love how these different perspectives give us a richer look into their world, as well as fresh looks at characters we’ve met in the other books. Which heroine came to you first? Did she bring all the other thieves with her, or did they start telling you their own stories later on?

Good question. Actually the heroine of a short story I have yet to turn into a full length, came first. The idea was there of the jewel thief gang and being forced into stealing because for one reason or another they’ve fallen into the clutches of the man who runs this gang. BUT Cassidy Armstrong aka Sapphire from Loving Lady Lazuli came first in terms of the writing. Originally it was a standalone but as I wrote it, and I was working the background, I thought of that short story and the whole thing just fell into place. The idea of giving the women the name of a jewel, of the Starkadder Sisterhood, and of setting the books after the gang has broken up. So it’s about them having to find their feet by whatever means and keeping one step ahead when there’s prices on their heads.

Jean Lee – Lastly, congratulations on beginning your own small press! I’m so excited to see what Black Wolf Books will bring to readers—your own books, and the books of other authors. You’ve been writing for publishers for a number of years, but now you are both publisher and writer. How would you say your earlier experience prepared you for this change? What’s been the biggest “culture shock,” as it were, with donning the publisher robe?

Shey – Thank you so much Jean and ALSO for having me here today AND congrats on your own forthcoming release. Sure to be a rip along read. MAY I SAY HERE ON TO MY FOLLOWERS, JEAN IS WELL WORTH CHEKING OUT.

Shey- I have wanted to set up Black Wolf Books for about four years now but life got in the way. But I’m there now. I think the writing industry is in a constant state of flux. When I first subbed back in 2012, you still went the traddy route. Yes there were self published books but not so many, nor the same amount of tools to do it. I mean Amazon makes it so damned easy actually now. I have a lot of experience in the writing business that goes way back before 2012 and I’ve been able to use most of it now.

I think the biggest shock…well learning curve was formatting for ebooks and for paperback. Amazon does make it easy I just got in a flap till I mastered it. I initially paid a formatter for the print version for Splendor. I was too scared to do it, in case I messed it up. But when it came back like a dog’s dinner, I stood at the foot of the mountain and told myself to get up there. That it wasn’t anything like the time I took over the editing and design of a magazine and didn’t know how to draw a text box…

Jean Lee. Are you looking for submissions right now? If so, what kind and do you have any guidelines to share?

Shey – Well we are not officially open in that I didn’t want swamped. I wanted to feel my way, get out my books, and the Mr’s book, before dealing with what could be an avalanche. And often I think publishers can take on way too many authors without concentrating on the ones they have. But we already have a signing of a YA author who has a trilogy. So I say to folks, contact me through my blog contact right now. And really so long as it’s good, I’m not laying down all kinds of conditions.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this is that I’ve seen a lot of authors get raw deals, not been able to get a book out cos it’s not fitting the mold, despite having books out. My aim in setting up BWB is to help authors. Believe me, I know how brutal this biz can be.

Jean Lee –  Lastly lastly I’m hoping you’ll allow the little Hamstah Dudes, that precocious batch of knowledgeable cuties  who share amazing author interviews & writing advice on your site, to come on over for a moment and have the last word, as they’ve been very good and patient all through our chat.the last word, as they’ve been very good and patient all through our chat.

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Jean Lee – Many thanks to Shey for sharing her experience and stories with us! And don’t worry, Hamstah Dudes–Blondie’s working on a Halloween picture just for you. Hopefully I can stop by Shey’s site to share it! 🙂

 

 

Judging a book by its cover – dude tips.

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BLURB

A woman not even the ghost of Sapphire can haunt. A man who knows exactly who she is.

Only one man in England can identify her. Unfortunately he’s living next door.

 Ten years ago sixteen year old Sapphire, the greatest jewel thief England has ever known, ruined Lord Devorlane Hawley’s life when she planted a stole necklace on him. Now she’s dead and buried, all Cassidy Armstrong wants is the chance to prove she was never that girl.

But her new neighbor is hell-bent on revenge and his word can bring her down. So when he asks her to be his mistress, or leave the county with a price on her head, Sapphire, who hates being owned, must decide…

 What’s left for a woman with nowhere else to go, but to stay exactly where she is?

 And hope, that when it comes to neighbors, Devorlane Hawley won’t prove to be the one from hell.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

‘Did I mention how devilishly hot Devorlane is? Mean and arrogant. But HOT.’

‘Doing some reading? What to read next.’

If you are looking for the traditional regency period historical romance, you won’t find it here. This was one of the darkest historical romances I’ve read in good long while.

The Book Review.

‘Balls ladies, she has balls.

‘Doing some reading? What to read next.’

Enter Hamster Splendor, or Never Judge a Book…

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“Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.” – Resa McConaghy.

https://t.co/3cGqQXITlL

Genre: Historical Romance.

Much like a game of chess; this tale has moves, and counter moves. Is it checkmate, or stalemate? Read the book to experience the final play!

Although a woman in days when women were mostly property, Splendor finds a self chosen path. She will marry Gabe, the man of her breast’s heart. He will become a man of the cloth. Together they will help the poor.

Enter: the Earl of Stillmore, a chessboard, two Kings, two Queens, four Bishops, four Rooks, four Knights and sixteen Pawns.

Shehanne’s characters are vivid, interesting and all with purpose. I particularly adore the settings she recreates of time and place. I’m amused by the very appropriate, and humorously creative names Shehanne has given her characters. All throughout the novel her wry sense of humour prevails, but never assails nor assuages.

The thing is, it is romance. It’s romance with all the ardour lovers find in love’s wake. The main scene of passion is quite worth the reading and waiting for. It reaches just a tad deliciously beyond cutting to waves crashing on rocks, fireworks or a volcano erupting.

Furthermore, the Art Gown in me feels a hearty prick of the needle at the main peril Splendor puts herself in. Drawn like a moth to the flame of fine silk every time she passes Madame Renare’s shop and without means, Splendor finds herself sinking deeper into debt. T’is dire! The turnkey of the debtor’s prison workhouse  is upon her doorstep.

“In italicized quotations” are excerpts from the book.

“Mrs. Ferret set the beribboned hair comb Splendor had found impossible to resist, the robin’s egg blue one with the tiny cream rosettes attached,”

A bill is presented:

“She had spent a little money, it was true. She hadn’t meant to, but now she was back in credit again. Why shouldn’t she have the odd this and that?”

Splendor is a Fashionista:

“she had perhaps gone a little far with the silk parasol and the shoes to match, but if she hadn’t, Topaz would have stolen them and ended up in Newgate. Then there was the matter of just how respectful Madame Renare had been when she’d seen the address and the name, the new one she’d furnished herself with. Lady Winterborne, Countess of Stillmore.”

Although unrequited, Splendor retains her arrogant impudence:

“And that comb, this peignoir, the new day dress with the lace insert in the bodice, were all very nice. Too nice to leave feeling neglected in the shop. And the comb had been reduced by half a guinea. She had saved him half a guinea by buying it.”

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

I needed to ask Shehanne, whose blog runs the tagline “Smexy Historical Romance”,  a few questions.

1.  What does SMEXY mean?

A…an easy one this. It means smart and sexy which I like to think my heroines are even though they can behave incredibly stupidly at times.

2.  Where does the historical location inspiration come from… the castles and halls near where you live?

I squirrel. I find locations and ideas everywhere. With Loving Lady Lazuli– another book in the series–it was from visiting Mount Grace Priory, especially the monk’s cell there. It’s in Yorkshire actually and not what we’d know as a cell either. Catterton House in Splendor was based on a Georgian cottage where I then lived in Newport-On-Tay, except it wasn’t a cottage. It was a mansion build down the cliff face.

 3.  London Jewel Thieves – Where will I be able to read the ongoing serial?

As we speak Loving Lady Lazuli  which features Sapphire as the heroine and Ruby and Pearl as her sidekicks, is being formatted for kindle.. Now I have my rights back to this series I will be giving you the stories of Diamond, Jade and Amber. I may even yet turn Ruby into a heroine. I have an idea there.

Shehanne Moore is an author who writes historical romance novels. If you visit her Home Page , you will find out about all of her books.

Click on pic for better view

Take some time to visit Shehanne’s Blog Pageand you will realize that a very cute Pack of  Hamsters have hijacked her book reviews, interviews and other relevant endeavours. If you haven’t visited her blog, you should. You will enjoy the Hamsters & get to read a fab post! As crazy as it seems, I was inspired to draw a Hamster in a hamster gown, Hamstor Splendor. I hope Shehanne & all of her Hamster pals enjoy it!

You can pre-order “Splendor” in ebook format, on Amazon! It comes out October 1, 2018, with a hard copy following soon after.

Click on “Splendor”  to pre- order!