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

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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! 🙂

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

So? Just who was Grace O’Malley?

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John Quinn –

I think you mean awesome.

 

John Quinn

Indeed she is but she’s retired now and more of a consultant on rebellious behaviour. Though best not use the ‘r’ word in her presence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_O%27Malley

https://www.historyireland.com/…/grainne-mhaol-pirate-queen-of-connacht-behind-th…

John Quinn

It’s about roots and turbulent times and love which endures and more…but I was also trying to create characters whose values are out of sync with the world around them but refuse to be cowed. They use their intelligence wit and humour to deal with it.

 

John Quinn,

I’m not Farrell Golden although it is a family name in my family tree. So I’d be lying if I said there aren’t autobiographical elements there. Probably more than I’m comfortable with admitting.

 

John Quinn

No comment. AS for a day in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital?  Morning at the National Museum of Scotland followed by a pub lunch at Maggie Dickson’s in the Grassmarket or the Abbotsford on Rose Street. Walking round the city rounded off with some live music in the evening at Sandy Bell’s pub. With Shey of course…..

 

John Quinn,

I tried the usual routes and got what might be termed a modicum of interest. I was going to self-publish but then….oops that involves Shey…   Sorry. Did I say something wrong? I think the important thing as with so much in life is to have faith in yourself and keep going. As for what I am doing. How kind to ask.  I’m about 10,000 words into another novel, also  I’m working with a musician I know to write song lyrics which I hope will in due course become an album to raise money for a child poverty initiative in Dundee .. Lastly…more poetry.

 

Available Amazon UK 99p and Amazon US 1.29c

State … Security … Secrets …

Scotland 1972. A turbulent place – miners’ strikes, blackouts, Clyde shipyard workers defying the British Government, oil discovered in the North Sea and the long and deadly arms of conflict in Ireland reaching across the Irish Sea.

Farrell Golden is a bright working class kid from Dundee with an Irish heritage. But he hasn’t always paid it much attention. Thanks to his family he’s made it to the University of Edinburgh against the odds. But does he want to stay there?

There’s beer and there’s women – in particular a beautiful ethereal English girl called Maggie. She’s out of the London stockbroker belt but she’s not all that she seems. Then there’s an Irish girl who is somehow familiar …

Roisin O’Malley’s not like any trainee teacher Farrell’s ever seen. What is she getting away from in Edinburgh? What are her family’s links to the Troubles? What of her ex-boyfriend?

At a Bloody Sunday protest march Farrell sees Roisin in trouble and goes to help. He’s knocked unconscious. When he wakens up he finds he’s stepped down a rabbit hole of Irish history, family ties and state security. Is there a way back? Should he have paid more attention to the family heritage? Who is Roisin O’Malley really?

https://amzn.to/2KtDCdG

 

​About John Quinn

John Quinn’s  Twitter profile tells him he’s a persistent Dundonian, left footer, ex-teacher, global justice worrier and “wid be scriever.” His poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Poetry Scotland, Northwords Now, Mind the Time, and Lallans. He has performed his work including slam poetry in various places ranging from public parks to coffee shops and pubs. However, unlike his Dundonian predecessor, Oor Wullie McGonagall, he has found that to date, people have only thrown words at him. He is also the author of the play ‘O Halflins an Hecklers an Weavers an Weemin’ about the history of Jute and its impact on the City of Dundee. In 2017 the play was performed in the High Mill at Verdant Works Museum accompanied by the music of Michael Marra. John Quinn lives above the River Tay with his wife.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004436284172

@jquinnsco -twitter.

Blog https://t.co/ZZ5lUTQVII

 

 

We interrupt abnormal service……

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I woke up on with pneumonia and flu on New Year’s Day to discover that, contrary to having six books out, I now only had two, after one of my publishers had removed the books of all us foreign authors, without actually telling us.

The first thing in order for me to have any hope of seeing these books, which represented hours of work, out there again was to get my rights back. Even as I fought that corner I was busy planning on setting up my own wee publishing house, Black Wolf Books, to publish these books, that of Mr Shey and any other authors I saw getting a raw deal. Oh.. and recovering from pneumonia and flu.

Plans took a step back when these backlist books had an invite to a new home–oh and did I mention there was the broken rib and the eye haemorrhage? AND let’s not forget the Mr’s play which I directed– Anyway, I was dancing on air to feel wanted, that my books were worth something,  after New Year’s bombshell NOT to mention the fact that backlist books can be notoriously hard to find  a new home for unless you DIY them. Or you’re some mega huge, rich best seller, in which case, you’d be better off DIY’ing them frankly so you’d be even richer.  And I concentrated instead on using that steep learning curve of formatting, cover size, cover designers and the world of Fiverr, you name it, to put out my Mr’s book. Oh and finish my seventh one, O’Roarke’s Destiny.

But feeling nice and wanted and being able  to ‘swank’  doesn’t sell books. Two weeks ago, I made a decision regarding the four backlist or orphaned books and my present unpublished book.  That was to let no more grass grow and revert to my original plan certainly for the four backlist books…

Yep….  AND Basically having sworn this

 

 

 

My new cover for Splendor arrived on Friday, after I bought the license half price in a Labor Day sale and gave it to a Fiverr designer at a damned good price, the next. A cover I feel represents the actual book.  Any expected hiccups–delays rather–  re me being the copyright owner did not materialize when I uploaded the final formatted book to KDP, later that day. My advice there is to make sure your license and copyright page is correct when a book has been with a publishing house.

I can now announce that as of yesterday Splendor is on ebook preorder for a pretty good price 99p and 1.29c.  AND she will also be available for the first time in print–October 1st. (Handing that to Fiverr formatter this week…) I’m hoping that Starkadder Sister, Sapphire, will be joining her on the 1st, that  they will be partying together. And that I have very good reason to clear the decks on these four books right now. If I don’t, I don’t. Its certainly made me focus on this decision.

So sorry for interrupting the dudes’ service…

What can I say about this writing business? Mainly? That even when you’re there as I thought I was in 2012 when I landed my first contract and entered the world of websites and twitter, signing contracts electronically and burning oil till 4 am to finish edits on time because your publisher is breathing down your neck for them, while writing your next book, you’re not. Once the happy dance dies down you’re on a pretty rickety ride. The important thing? Even when you hit all kinds of obstacles and brick walls, stay on the bike, adapt, change, whatever it takes. Just don’t ever give up. Not if you want to get there. Oh…AND Mr will be here next post I promise.

I even get a blurb that reflects the book….

He hates to lose. Especially to a man who’s not.

One move to win ten thousand guineas in a chess competition. One move to marry her fiancé.  Another to face the most merciless man in London across a pair of duelling pistols.  For Splendor, former skivvy to the London’s premiere jewel thieves, it’s all in a day’s work. But when one wrong move leads to another, can she win and keep her heart intact against the one man in London with the potential to bring her down? Especially in a chess game where the new wager is ten thousand guineas against one night with her.

The Endgame to end all Endgames

One move to pay back his ex-mistress. One move to show the world he doesn’t give a damn he’s been beaten in every way. The ton’s most ruthless heartbreaker, bitter, divorcee, Kendall Winterborne, Earl of Stillmore’s, pet hates are kitchen maids, marriage and losing.  Knowing Splendor has entered a male chess competition under false pretences, he’s in the perfect position to extort her help, regardless of the fact she’s engaged to someone else.  He just doesn’t bank on having to face up to his pet hates.  Certainly not over the kind of skivvy who ruined his father and set him on this course.

As one move leads to another, one thing’s for certain though. His next move better be fast if he wants to keep the Cinderella he’s fallen for. But the clock is ticking. When it strikes twelve, which man will she choose?

Sylva Fae and writing for children.

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Svlva…

Hi hamsters! You’re such a cute bunch, I feel quite honoured to be interviewed by you.

I grew up with a bunch of slightly dysfunctional animals, sadly there was only one hamster.

One in Bolton. He was quite a character though, he was a pure white hamster called Arthur and he liked to chase ducks. The rest of the mad menagerie included a giant rabbit who ruled the garden, two naughty goats, an over-amorous pig (he had great affection for a log), and a rabble of ducks, hens and dogs. My favourite was a crow but he wasn’t too keen on hamsters I’m afraid.

SYLVA

The house bordered onto the moors, a favourite place for my mum to take us on rambles when we were children. She loved to sketch the local landscapes while my brother and I would play hide and seek in the bracken or go bilberry picking.

SYlva

I started telling my girls stories when they were very little. Every time we went out, instead of just having a walk, we would follow the trail of the woodland dragon or go hunting for fairies. Later on, I decided to write some of our stories down, really just as memories for my girls, of the adventure we had together. I always write with them in mind. It just seemed natural to create picture books for children when I started but as they’ve grown, so have my stories.

Sylva

I do all my own illustrations using a digital scrapbooking technique from royalty free image sites. I layer many individual images to create the illustrations. One of the problems facing children’s writers is finding and affording an illustrator. They are justifiably very expensive and I only seem to like the most expensive ones! I couldn’t afford the ones I liked and I wasn’t prepared to compromise so I found a way to create my own. It is immensely satisfying to write, illustrate and create the whole book myself, I have a medley of monsters who help with the stories, recently a fox joined the gang, and I also tell stories for the local unicorns and fairies we meet on our travels. As yet I haven’t had any hamsters demanding I tell their stories, but I’m always open to inspiration from interesting charactersbut it’s a lengthy process.

 

Sylva

My stories are intended to just be colourful and fun but there is also a general theme running through them that encourages children to be kind and thoughtful towards one another.

Sylva.

Advice for aspiring authors? Hmmmm… find yourself some children to write for and read your draft stories to them. Children are the most honest, but also the most brutal critics and if they don’t like it, it needs rewriting. I spent ages creating a cover for a Christmas anthology and was really happy with it until one of my daughters said it looked like a Christmas card from a granny! She chose this one and I have to admit, she was right.

Find a group of other children’s authors and get involved. The more you put in, the more you will get out of it, and believe me you need all the support you can get. Publishing children’s books is really expensive unless you have the skills to do everything yourself, or barter skills with others.

Sylva

I have a million stories ready to be illustrated (OK slight exaggeration), about thirty half written stories and many more characters shouting from inside my mind to have their stories written. I guess I’m now going to have a bunch of rowdy hamsters invading my dreams now too!

My debut book Rainbow Monsters won the Chanticleer Little Peeps best in category award, I’m hoping my next books make it out of the slush pile for this year’s awards.

 

As well as publishing picture books, I write for a bedtime stories app. I have five stories already published through Little Lights Studio and I’m just in the process of writing the next five.

 

I also have several chapter books and a Young Adult book on the go. Busy busy… So many ideas, so little time.

 

Rainbow Monsters  Blurb:

 

On a mixed up rainy, sunny day,
The rainbow monsters love to play.

Jump on a cloud and join the rainbow monsters in their fun and games. Come and meet each of the monsters and learn the colours of the rainbow.

 

Mindful Monsters  

Blurb:

All the Rainbow Monsters are Mindful Monsters too,

Respecting one another, like all good monsters do.

 

The Rainbow Monsters are back, teaching you how to be mindful. If you want to grow up as fit, healthy, happy and strong as a monster, join them in their colourful antics.

Yoga FoxBlurb:

Scaredy Fox hates his name. Watching girls doing yoga in the park gives him an idea on how to get a new name. Will the forest animals be impressed by a fox doing yoga? Will Scaredy Fox get a new name he can be proud of?

 

Chanticleer                              http://test.chantireviews.com/2018/04/30/the-little-peeps-awards-for-early-readers-2017-official-list-of-winners/

 

Little Lights Studio   http://www.littlelightsstudio.com/portfolio/bedtime-stories/

 

Currently author of the month on the IASD website https://indieauthorsupportanddiscussion.com/

Blog https://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/

Amazon https://amzn.to/2M8HH8C

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SylvaFae

Twitter https://twitter.com/sylvafae

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sylvafae/

Heather Redmond and a Dickens of a new book.

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https://www.facebook.com/BlackWolfPublishing/?ref=settings

Heather.

Sad to say, I live in a pig-focused household, not a hamster household. My child never would have tolerated a book about hamsters. When a video game is designed about you and becomes a big success, then we might be able to immortalize you in print.

Heather.

A Tale of Two Murders features the young Charles Dickens, then a reporter, and begins the day he met his future wife, Kate Hogarth, at a holiday dinner party. I take into account everything I could learn about their real life, then inserted dastardly doings into their world. Of course they have to figure out who killed the young girl they watched die the night they met. I sold this as a three-book series, which I spread across 1835, when Charles was twenty-three and Kate was twenty. Hopefully I will be able to write more about them. I’m having a lot of fun invoking the humor and intelligence of this duo, with a hint of the stories behind the novels Charles would write in the future. Outside of their families, most of the other characters are fictional, and I’ve fallen in love with the “gang.”

Heather,

Heather Hiestand is the real me, and I first published as me back around 2004. Ironically, my first sale was a contemporary mystery short, and the second was a Victorian fantasy romance short. Now they have combined in 2018.

When my publisher a couple of years later wanted me to write a different sort of romance, I took on the Anh Leod persona to write very sexy paranormal romance. Some of the titles are still out there, some are off the market, and I’ve recently published a freshly revised one, Hunting John Doe, under the Heather Hiestand name since I have a few dark sci-fi romance titles out now.

When I sold the Dickens series I was asked to take another name, which is customary for the publisher. “Redmond” is a family name. Multiple names are a pain but we have to keep our publishers content. Happily, talking about the various pennames at book signings makes for a lot of laughs.

Heather.

It wasn’t easy at all! I’m one who wrote her first story some forty years ago, and first submitted for publication over twenty years ago. It took nearly a decade to sell a piece to a “real” publisher. This is despite a good education in fiction. I have a college degree in creative writing and I also did a certificate course. Part of the reason it took so long is that I was working full time and only wrote five novels in the first eleven years I was trying to get published. I wish I hadn’t wasted all that time watching TV and bookworming…I also fell down rabbit holes at publishers though. I continue to believe there is a lot of luck in this business. You have to have the manuscripts ready to be in the right place at the right time.

Editors who want to buy you have to be able to sell you to their sales and marketing folks. I had finished the first full novel I sold some six years before it found a publisher.

Heather,

Finish writing the book! Then start another. You can’t make your luck in publishing without a completed book. Once it is done, get some trusted opinions on it. Enter contests with reputable organizations. Ultimately, once you are past the creative phase, you need to look at your work as a product, and other opinions will help you see your “baby” more clearly.

Heather The next Heather Redmond title, Grave Expectations (A Dickens of a Crime #2) will be out in summer 2019. I’ve just seen the cover and it’s glorious! I’m not entirely sure what Heather Hiestand is up to. Krinar Solace came out on July 31st, and it’s selling well. I don’t know if I should write some more dark science fiction romance or follow my muse elsewhere. Mostly, I can’t wait for fall, with the cooler temperatures and the kiddo going to school all those lovely hours so that I have time to finish the third Dickens book.

 

 

Short blurb:

On the eve of the Victorian era, London has a new sleuth . . .

In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at his editor’s estate, Charles is smitten with his boss’s daughter, vivacious Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the evening. Charles and Kate rush to the neighbors’ home, where Christiana Lugoson lies dying on the floor. With a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . .

Buy links:

All I can find are listed at:

http://www.heatherredmond.com/books/a-tale-of-two-murders

bio: Heather Redmond is an author of commercial fiction and also writes as Heather Hiestand. First published in mystery, she took a long detour through romance before returning. Though her last known British ancestor departed London in the 1920s, she is a committed anglophile, Dickens devotee, and lover of all things nineteenth century.

She has lived in Illinois, California, and Texas, and now resides in a small town in Washington State with her husband and son. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her 2018 Heather Redmond debut, A Tale of Two Murders, has received a coveted starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

Please sign up for Heather’s newsletter to receive new release information, sales, and contests.

Website: http://www.heatherredmond.com

Blog: http://heatherredmond.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/815229628643004/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/heatheraredmond

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/heatherhiestand/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hiestandheather/

Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is heather@heatherredmond.com.

Grace O’Malley and Black Wolf Books

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State … Security … Secrets …

Scotland 1972. A turbulent place – miners’ strikes, blackouts, Clyde shipyard workers defying the British Government, oil discovered in the North Sea and the long and deadly arms of conflict in Ireland reaching across the Irish Sea.

Farrell Golden is a bright working class kid from Dundee with an Irish heritage. But he hasn’t always paid it much attention. Thanks to his family he’s made it to the University of Edinburgh against the odds. But does he want to stay there?

There’s beer and there’s women – in particular a beautiful ethereal English girl called Maggie. She’s out of the London stockbroker belt but she’s not all that she seems. Then there’s an Irish girl who is somehow familiar …

Roisin O’Malley’s not like any trainee teacher Farrell’s ever seen. What is she getting away from in Edinburgh? What are her family’s links to the Troubles? What of her ex-boyfriend?

At a Bloody Sunday protest march Farrell sees Roisin in trouble and goes to help. He’s knocked unconscious. When he wakens up he finds he’s stepped down a rabbit hole of Irish history, family ties and state security. Is there a way back? Should he have paid more attention to the family heritage? Who is Roisin O’Malley really?

https://amzn.to/2KtDCdG

​About John Quinn

John Quinn’s  Twitter profile tells him he’s a persistent Dundonian, left footer, ex-teacher, global justice worrier and “wid be scriever.” His poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Poetry Scotland, Northwords Now, Mind the Time, and Lallans. He has performed his work including slam poetry in various places ranging from public parks to coffee shops and pubs. However, unlike his Dundonian predecessor, Oor Wullie McGonagall, he has found that to date, people have only thrown words at him. He is also the author of the play ‘O Halflins an Hecklers an Weavers an Weemin’ about the history of Jute and its impact on the City of Dundee. In 2017 the play was performed in the High Mill at Verdant Works Museum accompanied by the music of Michael Marra. John Quinn lives above the River Tay with his wife.

Find John Quinn here.

https://perspiringpoet.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004436284172

 

The demons of finding another publisher by Cat Cavendish

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Catherine.

Well, firstly may I say I am delighted (if confused) that you hammies have invited me back again. I know poor Hamstah Dickens and I have had our differences –mostly over a complete misunderstanding which he took so personally.

 

Catherine ..

It was never meant as such… Anyway, that’s ancient history.

Catherine ..

Right now, I am looking around to see the quickest exit route. Ah, yes, over there. Just so I know. In case I need to make a swift getaway. Those hamster teeth are sharp.

Catherine..

Assuming I make it out here with all my faculties intact… Right now, I am thrilled that these five novellas – Cold Revenge, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, Miss Abigail’s Room and The Second Wife  – are out there again.

Then, in October, Damned by the Ancients is released by Kensington Lyrical. This is the third in the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy set in Egypt and Vienna (mainly) and centred on the evil, obsessed Dr Emeryk Quintillus who has hatched a new plan to reincarnate Cleopatra.

Catherine..

Sad to say, she didn’t have one. Mind you that was a good thing because she was away a lot and the poor thing would have starved. Or the maid, Becky would have screamed and let it out. Either way, it would have been a dog’s life… for a hamster.

 

 

Catherine..

Cold Revenge was the first – born out of a conversation when I pondered, what if revenge really was a cold dish? The Demons of Cambian Street was second and had its beginnings in a spooky walk-in cupboard in the 260 year old Welsh apartment we currently live in. When I decided to approach Crossroad Press (with whom I have another five titles), I read through each of these for the first time in a few years and immediately began re-editing them. I believe my writing is sharper now and the earlier work contained superfluous detail in some instances. I edited this out – trimmed off the fat if you like.

 

Catherine..

Then Crossroad’s editors gave it their professional eye and now we have five brand new editions I am really happy with.

 

 Catherine..

I have always liked scary stories, ever since I was a child. I would snuggle up in bed with a book of horror short stories and absorb M.R. James, Sheridan le Fanu, Edgar Allan Poe and a host of others. Horror is the safe scare. You know it’s not real but it gives you a delicious thrill. The real horror of course is what is happening in the world and that is far from safe. Loving to read horror fiction meant I was naturally inclined to want to write it. So I did.

 

Catherine ..

Crossroad Press is a brilliant, small, independent American publisher with a great ethos. They are such fabulous, talented guys to work with and treat their authors extremely well. They specialise in breathing new life into currently out of print work of a high standard and I share their roster with such names as Brian Keene, Mary Sangiovanni, Brian Lumley, Charles L. Grant, Frazer Lee and the late, great Jack Ketchum to name but a few. They also now welcome original books.

Catherine..

As for losing those titles… I had no advance warning that they were disappearing. It was a fellow author with whom I shared their then publisher who gave me the heads up that a whole shedload of books, not just by me but by many of my fellow authors, had been taken down from all online retail outlets, without warning. I contacted the publisher only to be told that they had decided to discontinue publishing any non-American authors! It was a huge shock. At least, though, I had another publisher, but for some of my fellow authors, had been loyal to this one publisher only to be left with no books for sale. Not, to my mind, a professional way of behaving. Another publisher of mine sadly went out of business and they handled things very

 

 

differently.

zdraw

Catherine..

Only one? That’s really difficult to decide. There are so many fantastic horror stories out there

Catherine..

but you’ve squeezed me into a corner and…OUCH! That hurts!…

OK, I’ll pick on one by one of my top favourite authors – Ramsey Campbell.

It’s actually the first one of his I ever read and it’s called The Overnight. Why do I love it?

It has all my favourite ingredients. It’s set in a large bookstore where the staff have to do an overnight stocktake. The tension builds steadily as we get to know the central characters but meanwhile, outside, a fog is descending and there is something in that mist. Something evil…and it’s getting closer. Fabulous! Ramsey is such a great storyteller. As I am sure Hamstah Dickens will be…one day…if only he’d stop eating his work!

 

The five titles:

Cold Revenge

 

Some dinner invitations are best ignored…

For no apparent reason, Nadine, Maggie, Gary, and Nick are invited to dinner at the lavish home of top fashion writer, Erin Dartford. But why has she invited them? Why doesn’t she want her guests to mingle? And what is it about the mysterious Erin that makes them want to run for their lives?

Little do they know that as they prepare to eat their first course, an evil as old as mankind is about to be unleashed. And revenge really is a dish best served cold…

 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

Miss Abigail’s Room

 

It wasn’t so much the blood on the floor that Becky minded. It was the way it kept coming back…

 

As the lowest ranking parlour maid at Stonefleet Hall, Becky gets all the dirtiest jobs. But the one she hates the most is cleaning Miss Abigail’s room. There’s a strange, empty smell to the place, and a feeling that nothing right or Christian resides there in the mistress’s absence.

 

And then there’s the blood, the spot that comes back no matter often Becky scrubs it clean. She wishes she had somewhere else to go, but without means or a good recommendation from her household, there is nothing for her outside the only home she’s known for eighteen years. Then when a sickening doll made of wax and feathers turns up, Becky’s dreams of freedom and green grass become even more distant. Until the staff members start to die – and Lord Stonefleet sees her and screams as if the hounds of hell were after him.

 Amazon

Barnes and Noble 

 

The Demons of Cambian Street

Sometimes evil wears a beautiful face…

 

After her illness, the quiet backwater of Priory St Michael seemed the ideal place for Stella to recuperate. But in the peaceful little town, something evil is slumbering, waiting for its chance to possess what it desires. When Stella and her husband move into the long-empty apartment, they’re unaware of what exists in the cupboard upstairs, the entrance to an evil that will threaten both their lives…

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

The Devil Inside Her

 

When nightmares become dreams, someone must die…

 

Haunted by the death of her husband and only child, Elinor Gentry’s recurring nightmares have left her exhausted. She’s crippled by debt, and only the remnants of her former life surround her, Then, for no apparent reason, the nightmares transform into pleasant dreams. Dreams that lead her to take back control of her life.

A string of horrific and unexplained suicides–and an unnerving discovery about Elinor herself—lead her best friend to seek help from the one person who has seen all this before, and things begin to spiral out of control. Hazel Messinger knows that Elinor’s newly found wellbeing is not what it seems, and Hazel’s not about to let the demon inside remain there permanently.

Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 

 

The Second Wife

 

Emily Marchant died on Valentine’s Day. If only she’d stayed dead…

 

When Chrissie Marchant first sets eyes on Barton Grove, she feels as if the house doesn’t want her. But it’s her new husband’s home, so now it’s her home as well. Sumptuous and exquisitely appointed, the house is filled with treasures that had belonged to Joe’s first wife, the perfect Emily, whom the villagers still consider the real mistress of Barton Grove.
A stunning photograph of the first Mrs. Marchant hangs in the living room, an unblemished rose in her hand. There’s something unnerving and impossibly alive about that portrait, but it’s not the only piece of Emily still in the house. And as Chrissie’s marriage unravels around her, she learns that Emily never intended for Joe to take a second wife…

 

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 

 

Cat’s contact links:

 

Catherine Cavendish

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