‘We are all the product of our experiences in life, of our upbringings, our hopes, dreams, failures, mistakes, needs, fears. Life shapes us and life is not always perfect.’ Shehanne Moore, Tea, Toast and Trivia podcast with Rebecca Budd.
Cassidy Armstrong has had an unfortunate life, that has scarred her in more ways than one. Cast off from family as a baby, and her brother dead from beatings, she is pressed into being a jewel thief. Nonetheless, she has managed to hoard her virginity like it was a massive collection of fine Waterford Crystal worth more florins than any working class person would see in a lifetime
Now, she has returned to claim her birthright. As a fake widow, Lady Cassidy Armstrong can move around more freely, searching for her proof of heritage. Yet, even after 10 years of aging, donned in a widow’s “Crow Black” and with a new name; Devorlane Hawley (fifth Duke of Chessington) recognizes her.
I asked Shehanne: Devorlane Hawley – Fifth Duke of Chessington, was off at war for 10 years. Was it the Napoleonic Wars? If not, which war was he in, and can you give a bit of history of the war and/or London around the time of this story?
Answer: It was the Napoleonic Wars but he was in the military a little before they actually started in 1803, as an unwilling recruit shall we say? And obviously since the book is set in 1810 and the wars didn’t end for another five years, he’s no longer a soldier, having been badly wounded and invalided out. The Wars came out of chaos that was the French Revolution and for some time, a long time, it looked as if Napoleon Bonaparte could become master of Europe, until he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to Saint Helena. I imagine that life for people in London and indeed elsewhere, would–as ever, even as we’re seeing today– depend on your wealth. Whatever your class, most people had a relative in the army or navy and would be anxious about that but that’s roughly where any kind of things in common would end. For the rich there was the chance to make more money, for the women to adopt new fashions, go to charitable balls and see some wonderful re-enactments of battles etc onstage. For the poor–the usual struggle for survival. All the English counties had a militia, there to protect the county and of course there was espionage, the suggestion of which the heroine of this book uses to her advantage at one point.
“Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.”
I came up with that exceptionally memorable saying, after reading “Splendor”. It was the first book by Shehanne that I read. I pair it here with “Loving Lady Lazuli”, as they are both part of a series about London Jewel Thieves.
You can read my review, and mini interview with Shehanne by clicking on the drawing of “Splendor”, above.
I read “The Viking and the Courtesan” quite recently. It is definitely a bit of a departure from the other stories.
Malice Mallender is quite the piece of work. For the right price “Strictly Business” will destroy any marriage, usually by dealing with the wife nuisance. The right price; enough to buy the latest pair of shoes she covets in Madame Faro’s window. So, what happens when “Strictly Business” is inadvertently hired to destroy Malice’s own marriage to Lord Cyril Hepworth?
I asked Shehanne: In “The Viking and the Courtesan” – How did you come up with the idea of “time displacement” ?
Answer: My dearest, lovely Resa, first let me thank for all your kindness and especially for the gowns and asking me here today. You may know I must be amongst your biggest fans, not just as a mega admirer of your work but the fact you make gowns to be used for charity.
Okay, so to answer your question, I had a flash moment. I never ever set out to write a time displacement story. Just like I never ever set out to write any book. But I had written the first few chapters of this book exactly as they stand now, to the bit where she goes to her husband, Cyril’s flat. The story was to be a second chance love story between them but one day as I was belting away at the keyboard, I thought that idea was a bit too similar to the Lady Fury book. Then the little voicewhispered… you know that Viking idea you have where you have the hero’s story but not the heroine’s? Hmm?? Well … why don’t you just bung that in here? Quite understandably I thought, no way. Are you serious???? I mean, come on. Then I went and thought about it for a moment. And I thought, okaaaay. Maybe I should just give it a try for a chapter or so, no more? What have I got to lose really? And that was it. That’s the truth. It just popped into my head.
The moment I saw the new cover of Shehanne’s re-released tale of Lady Fury (Genoa 1820), I fell in love with the gown. I read chapter one on Shehanne’s blog. Then I read the book.
“Rule One: There will be no kissing. Rule two: You will be fully clothed at all times… Widowed Lady Fury Shelton hasn’t lost everything—yet. As long as she produces the heir to the Beaumont dukedom, she just might be able to keep her position.”
Perhaps ex-privateer Flint Blackmoore (a man she’d rather see rotting in hell than sleeping in her bed) has never been good at following the rules, still she decides to use him to produce an heir.
I asked Shehanne: In “Lady Fury” – What was your impetus for coming up with “the rules”? Did you have a reason for making Blackmoore a privateer… ie: a love of ships, a port you have been stimulated historically by?
Answer: Ooh, I have always loved pirate stories since I read Treasure Island as a kid. I was reared on all the old films and one of my fav board games was buccaneer. I was gutted to learn it just wasn’t possible to pursue my chosen choice of career actually. But I did always want to write a book about a pirate or a privateer. As for ‘the rules’, well, once again I had written first few chapters and I thought, now what? You can tell by now I never ever think anything out. And I thought, well, he’s got her cornered which she’s er…not going to take lying down. So what would she do here to pay him back and keep any feelings which she sees she sort of still might have, under wraps Then I thought I could maybe have a little fun dissecting a certain activity shall we say? I am a great believer in having fun especially with rules on anything. Let’s face it, I dunno about you but over here in Scotland right now, and England, well .. I never saw so many that were badly thought through.
his is my favourite book by Shehanne. It is her most recent, and proves that she gets better with time. As the ending demands a sequel, I am hoping there is one in progress!
You can read my review, some Q&A with Shehanne and see the gown drawings by clicking on my above rendition of Destiny
Shehanne’s titles are available worldwide on Amazon, Ingram Books & Barnes and Noble. If you click on the above banner, you will go to Amazon’s universal “select a country” page. Once there, select “Books”. In “Books” search “Shehanne Moore. It will take you to all of her titles.
Kate. Oh Bobby Bub, I bet that grandpappy of yours was a right royal rogue in the 1950s. A damn handsome fellow of course like yourself and with the same penchant for stylish headgear, no doubt.
But to be honest, the reason I chose the year 1953 for my book was that it was a year when the future of Europe was balanced on a knife edge.
And yes, you’re right, it is the latest period I have chosen as a setting for a book – but it is a moment in history that fascinates me. The start of the Cold War. A crisis point of tension and danger when Americans and Russians were at each other’s throats as they battled for nuclear dominance. I was transfixed when I delved deeper and discovered just how close that apocalypse came to exploding into life in the beautiful marshy plains of the Camargue region in south-west France,
But there was another trigger for the inspiration behind this book – that of the bonds that hold a family together in the face of a conflict that is driving them apart. At the heart of The Guardian of Lies I explore the bond between a brother and sister. My own older brother passed away several years ago but I still think of him daily, and it is this brother-sister relationship that kept intruding into my mind each time I picked up my pen to write.
This is the story of a young French woman, Eloïse Caussade, who tries to track down the Soviet agent who attempted to murder her brother in a car crash in Paris. But nothing is as it seems, so she leaves Paris to return to her father’s bull farm in the Camargue where her brother is recuperating from his injuries. There she finds herself trapped between two worlds that are on a collision course. One is the quiet rural life that is the world she believes she has outgrown and to which her childhood friend Léon still belongs. The other is the tense and dangerous existence of those caught up in the Cold War between America and Soviet Russia, a world in which lies, spies and murder entwine to drag Eloïse into their dark web. She cannot ignore the blood in the barn or the fire in her father’s stables. Her family is being targeted and she has to find the killer. But she has a lot to learn about herself and with the help and love of her friend Léon, who is now the local police chief, she battles to discover the truth. The Guardian of Lies is a fast-paced thriller but also a powerful love story.
Kate. Who says it isn’t? I admit I didn’t actually bump into any while I was cruising Arles’ colourful market for the gorgeous local lavender soap, but I know you hamsters are cunning critters and might have been lurking in the shadows, watching my every move. After all, The Guardian of Lies is a spy thriller, right? While I was checking out the bars in the back streets of the ancient city – in the interest of research of course – and watching local artists at work at their easels, I swear I could hear the scurrying of scratchy little feet over the cobbles and tiny French voices squeaking about world domination. La domination du monde.
So don’t give me this guff about “it ain’t home to hamstahs”. I got ears.
Kate. Well, yes, that’s easy. I confess that I do set my stories in countries that I’d love to visit on a research trip. So far I’ve used China, Russia, Singapore, the Bahamas, Italy, France, Germany and Egypt (which included an awesome ride in a hot-air balloon at dawn over the desert) as the backdrop for my books. Oh, how I suffer for the sake of my art! But I have a mighty hankering to see more of Africa. You know, I’ve never been on an African safari and I’ve always wanted to do so.
That would be quite some research trip, to get to view the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo – in their natural habitat would be truly mesmerising. Unforgettable. I’m sure I could weave a thrilling story around a moment of conflict over land and resources within the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya. Ivory poachers. Political corruption. Loss of natural habitat. Romance and murder against a ticking clock as they fight to save the elephants. Bring it on. Maybe even a colony of hamsters endangered by the waste disposal of a local chemical plant. Hey, Bobby Bub,how about coming out to do the research with me?
Kate . Yes, definitely. Look at us. One of my major inspirations for The Guardian of Lies was my terror at what I see happening in the world today. We are in the grip of another Cold War between America and Russia, though now they fight their battles on the bloody land in the Middle East, not on American or Russian soil. The fingers of seeming psychopaths hover dangerously close to nuclear buttons.
The threat is ever present, so I wanted to take a look back to a time in 1953 when the world was on the brink of a nuclear war between Soviet Russia and America, when both countries were frantically trying to amass information on each other’s military secrets and nuclear developments.
Spies and counter-spies lurked in every walk of life, in government, industry, laboratories and education. They were everywhere. Sound familiar?
This atmosphere of suspicion, lies and fear only intensified in 1953 when the USA decided to construct a series of eleven nuclear air bases in France to create a formidable line of defence/attack against the Soviet threat. This struck me asa fascinating and revealing moment of brinkmanship that we should be examining closely now. I believe an important part of the job of a historical writer is to make the past more accessible to today’s readers. To offer them the chance to learn from the mistakes of those who came before us. I hope this book will encourage people of today to take a closer look at those into whose hands we place immense power. To think again. And to demand a safer world to live in.
KateWell, now, BB, what a humdinger of a trip this is going to be! Get your shades on and don’t forget your cute shorts, because it gets hot down there. We’d start with fancy croissants and a few laps of the pool at our beautiful old hotel, L’Hotel du Forum, in the ancient heart of the city of Arles. What? You’re not a swimmer? You don’t like getting your fur wet! I thought all hamsters could swim, but okay, I get it, you’re not a lemming. Calm down. Let’s head out instead to explore the magnificent Roman remains that are the focus of the city.
The massive Roman amphitheatre is the place to start. It’s breathtaking. It was built in 90 AD with seating for over 20,000 spectators to watch the chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. I can picture you clashing swords with Gladiator Hamstah Dickens in the arena with blood-curdling yells. And then we’d wander down to admire the beautiful brickwork on the Roman bathhouse and take to the stage in the Roman theatre, where we could act out a romantic scene from Antony and Cleopatra.
After that let’s take a breather at the gorgeous little Van Gogh café in the shady Place du Forum. The artist Vincent van Gogh used to hang out there and made it famous by creating a wonderful night-time painting of it.. We’ll down a glass or two of vino and a platter of plump Camarguais olives, then we’ll head off on safari in an open Land Rover to explore the unspoiled marshland of the Camargue, a protected area that is stunning. Here the white horses and the scary black bulls roam wild among the tamarisk tress and the saltwater lagoons. But watch out for the mozzies – they’re nearly as big as the bulls. The area is bursting with abundant birdlife – white egrets, plovers and avocets – which we can observe through binoculars.
What’s that you say? You can’t find binoculars to fit your cute button nose?
Aw, don’t fret. Instead we’ll take a romantic stroll around the water’s edge of the étangs just as the evening sun is sinking and the pools seem to catch fire. We can watch hundreds of skinny-legged flamingos lifting into the air with unexpected grace, a ribbon of pink and black trailing across the vast sky as they leave their feeding grounds to roost for the night.
Ready for something to eat? Okay, it’s back to Arles for dinner at the superb Hotel Jules César – a 7th century ex-nunnery – its décor all dolled up now in bright knock-your-eyes-out Christian Lacroix colours. (Arles was Lacroix’s home town.) Fancy a cocktail? Champers with apple brandy? Great choice. Then I recommend their fab signature dish of Risotto de Langoustines, followed by a Crêpe Soufflé au Grand Marnier. To die for! And if you fancy kicking up your heels, tossing aside your jolie French beret and dancing the rest of the night away, there’s always the Irish pub which has live music and vino till you drop. Santé!
Sleep well. Tomorrow we’ll start with a river trip on the mighty Rhône …..
It’s been great chatting with you guys today and I can’t wait to read the great opus that will one day emerge from the Master. Thanks for having me over and for not scaring the hell out of me this time. Hugs to ya, BB. xx
A page turner I didn’t want to finish, is probably the best way to sum up this book set in France in the Cold War. A world of Communism, Capitalism, murder and espionage, both sides of the two coins presented centre stage, without preachifying, but with the rock of the Camargue standing like a magnificent bulwark, a character in its own right, untameable as the horses that roam it, a shaper of those who live on it. Eloise is such a character. Paris may have gotten into her blood, the Camargue is in her soul. As for what’s in her brother Andre’s soul? Well, that is what we are unravelling. Exactly who is he working for? And what will happen next because of it? Such is Kate Furnivall’s skill that little trails of breadcrumbs suggest things about Andre and many of the other major players, but that bit rightly waits for the finale. The skill doesn’t end there. From the street café in Arles, to the roadside trees, the prose is rich in an imagery that never swamps. Nor does the pacing flag. For me this book opened a window on a post war Europe fight I knew little about and I’m glad that it did. I consider it one of the author’s finest.
A REBLOG OF ARTGOWNS, DESTINY GOWNS AND A REVIEW FROM RESA BY RESA
Is the line between love and hate so fine you can’t see it? If you can’t see it, can you cross it?
Some women are attracted to bad boys. Are some men attracted to bad girls? What if a good boy became a bad boy? What if a bad girl became a good girl, even when she was bad?
That’s just part of the passion play in O’Roarke’s Destiny. The intrigue, mystery and small matter of an effective curse cast by Diver’s O’Roarke is the story’s action.
It’s 1801, Cornwall; a time when women needed men, more than men needed women. Or, so society knew. 1801, Cornwall; Destiny Rhodes needs no one, nor anything: save Doom Bar Hall, its servants, Aunt Modesty’s porcelain, Lord Tredwynne’s antique armour, Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, garlands in the hall at Christmas, her garden and all the embroidered pillows sewn up mended. At least that’s what Destiny was thinking.
However, it all seems somewhat moot after Divers O’Roarke wins Doom Bar Hall, from Destiny’s drunkard brother, Orwell.
It’s a world of smugglers, pirates, excisemen and extreme danger, yet, Destiny needs only her instincts. She’s in over her head, but owns a drive to do what has to be done to get to the bottom of what is going on, and retain a position to remain at Doom Bar Hall.
Still, Lyons busted her illegal casks of spirits. Who tipped him off? Mostly, why did Divers O”Roarke take the fall for her?
💥 BREAKING NEWS! 💥
There’s gowns in the story.
Tragically, Destiny’s dear husband Ennis, while in his carriage, had cascaded to his death into a ravine.(credit to the curse) Now, Destiny is in an eternal mourning in black. On top of it all, she has pined away her body’s curves, and chopped off her luscious long black hair.
Divers O’Roarke wants her, but black is for widows. He has won Doom Bar Hall … fair & square? So, her gowns are his, to sell at his pleasure. Yet, his pleasure is far from the few bits of coin he could get for the gowns. What he wants is to see Destiny, in any gown other than widow’s black.
Eventually, Destiny must wear a gown for him. She dons her least sexy gown, which is in Egyptian blue. (I don’t have that colour in my caddy, but I came up with an eau de nil). This colour is not her best, possibly her worst, definitely her most disliked.
Yet, what Divers O’Roarke wants is to see her in her most vibrant and glorious red gown. Will she wear it?
1. How did the idea of a curse come up? Are you superstitious, dabble in say; Tarot or Astrology? How/why did the curse entail everything turning to dust? Why not turn to toads, a lowly insect or even a hamster? (a little cheek)
Oh, now there was a time I did some work for a psychic journalist. I did once say what haven’t I done writing wise and other way wise when it comes to earning a crust. And yes I also did some Tarot work for her too as part of that. So I did learn the cards. At that time I also could do card readings from playing cards. I had a great aunt who could do the tea leafs. That totally fascinated me growing up. I think much as we may mock it, we do want to know a bit about what’s ahead, that HOPEFULY there’s a corner that will be turned or some good luck coming. As for the curse idea? Well, the book started about a house that the heroine had lost. And that idea came from us having to sell up our family home and me jokingly saying to a friend, I should just have flung myself in with it as a housekeeper. Then I thought BINGO idea for a book here. And it started out as fun and frothy but there were things on the table that weren’t right. Like why didn’t the hero just put her out? How can he be so besotted with this family when they were horrible to him as a child? Was light and frothy going to sustain a book? Then for some reason I saw their pasts and how and why he had cursed her and how everything had then gone wrong in her life since. Everyone she cared about has died. So she gets this name locally that way. Now if only I had thought beyond the box though, you are right. He should have said may everything you touch turn into a hamster dude. But then she’d have been overrun. That might have been a worse curse.2. Your use of humour helps in feeling the underlying intense emotional states of Destiny and O’Roarke. With Destiny it’s the simple practical day to day things she plans to do the next day. With O’Roarke, it’s what to dig his grave with. Did you intend these character’s personal thoughts to be a humorous relief? Or did it just turn out that way?
No. Firstly I always like to use humour of thoughts. We all have them, let’s be clear. Maybe not about graves and what to dig them with etc., but we do have little idiosyncrasies and of course we are not always aware of them either. And I also know my readers expect to have a few giggles. So I couldn’t not. My characters always have some kind of wee saying or attitude. One heroine had sliding scales of things. Another would sooner swallow a crocodile than do whatever and as the book went on, that list grew and grew. One hero–my most impatient one–had Christ on various things. I did feel this book would be a bit dark if I didn’t have these bits. They are neither of them in the best place emotionally. However I then have the prob of her being a widow and I did NOT want to tackle it by having her thinking well, she was widow, thank God, because she had every reason not to have loved her husband. I felt that was a get out. So I thought if I had her, having been hit so hard that her way through is to line up tasks and tick the boxes, that that actually could prove quite humorous, especially if she’s so busy lining up these tasks, while people keep ‘getting in her face’ she doesn’t see how deep the waters are getting. It was like a wee you may think wink to my readers she’s going to be incandescent with rage the way my other ladies would be, but you are in for a surprise here. She’s too busy thinking she has that cushion cover to sew and that stool to mend. In a way these are the things that also need to be prised loose from her fingertips.
3. I’m fascinated by “Doom Bar Hall”. How did you come up with that name? Had you considered calling it “Rhodes Hall”?
Doom Bar Hall was called after Doom Bar sandbar in Cornwall. Given I wanted to write of curses and smuggling, and not such great emotional states, I wanted something dark sounding and it is quite a fearsome sandbar I gather, responsible for hundreds of ship wrecks down the years. Originally before I went from frothy to dark, from Hampshire to Cornwall geographically, the house was called Lavistock and the book title was the Lady of Lavistock. Divers wasn’t called Divers O’Roarke either at that point. I just felt all round this was stronger. I do like to create a pervading mood and landscape for each book. This became the one here.
Resa, I want to thank you not just for inviting me here today, but your wonderful friendship AND the talent and readiness to use it to create gowns, for all those you create gowns for AND that includes my ladies. They and I salute you.
Here’ s the first drawing I did of Destiny. I was trying too, hard with the chopped off hair look. Yet, I still like it, because she looks like a pirate courtesan, with hair for an eye patch. Yet, perhaps this is a more correct visual introduction to Destiny.
Shehanne Moore is a native of Scotland, Dundonian by birth. She is the author of many Romance novels.
Having read 3 (almost 4) of her books, I can say her attention to the details of an era puts one in a different time and place. You don’t question it. You are there.
As for the flame of love she burns with her words, I suggest you read a book to see the fire!
Click on the pic below, to buy O’Roarke’s Destiny on Amazon!
A cover for one’s book can be as daunting as writing it. After a great search, Shehanne found the image below. The colours were wrong, but they were made right.
Eye’d like to thank all who took the time to read this post. Love you all!
Only because Jane Hunt can’t get her reviews on Amazon. Thank you. Now do we want the Cleanser here, or not…
And as Destiny, my high functioning depressive heroine says
“Really? And I’m the Man in the Moon. I go out at night and I fly up into the sky in a pair of silver breeches and shine me light on the world.”
Indeed it is Friday the 13th, not the best day in the world to release a new book on BUT then again, it is about a curse. It is also a book about two emotionally bereft people and features a heroine who is what is called a high functioning depressive. She will be along next week to talk more about that.
I made the decision many years ago that I didn’t want to write about people–hamsters either before you interrupt–whose lives were perfect.
Which of us, in reality, has that kind of life?But, as today approached and after the many hair tearing moments I had on this book, especially trying to get in humour that was respectful to an emotional state…well… humour I know my readers expect, let’s just say there were plenty times I thought sometimes the path less chosen is indeed less chosen for a purpose.
That is why it was wonderful this morning to step online to a DM Facebook message from Jane Hunt, an author and reviewer who had an ARC rough copy and who does not shrink from pulling her punches. I want to thank her for that message AND also her review. This is my seventh book and my day, unlike when I released my first two, was to be spent getting on with my present WIP, the household tasks etc. But now I AM going to at least treat myself to a wee pre-Fri evening drink with my Mr. Oh obvi by pre I mean pre Friday nite meal with wine back here. But special days should be celebrated. I think Jane’s review has encouraged me…
…because I felt she got my leads AND after what I said the other week about this being the shortest on secondaries book I have written, she still felt the story was inclusive, the world of the two leads. So yep, I am sharing this review AND the post I wrote for her about the things that inspired Destiny You can look away now if you don’t want to know the score.
‘Cornwall in 1801 rife with smugglers and excise men trying to catch them is the setting for this clever, passionate and witty novel. Destiny Rhodes is cursed, everything she touches turns to dust. All she has left is Doom Bar Hall, her ancestral home, and now even this is in jeopardy.
Divers O’Roarke is a man with an agenda and so many secrets. He left Cornwall in the wake of tragedy, but not before he’d cursed the young woman he thought responsible. Now he’s back, the victor, but what he finds is not what he expected. What he feels is not what he thought, but he has a mission, and being turned to ashes by a cursed woman is not part of it.
The setting for this story is atmospheric and authentic. The subtle use of historical detail, lets you visualise nineteenth-century Cornwall. The sinister smugglers, the close-knit community, the rugged beauty of the coast, and the ethos of danger and suspicion, Amidst the roaring sea and windswept coastline, the story of two people, both emotionally bereft, and driven unfolds.
The dialogue is sharp and amusing, and the internal musings even more so. You spend a lot of time in Destiny and O’Roake’s minds, and they are both full of confusion and conniving.
The plot is pacy and twisty. Just trying to work out who O’Roarke is, keeps you guessing. Then there’s the exciseman Lyon, who becomes increasingly sinister. This story is inclusive, you feel part of the deadly game Destiny and Divers are playing, experience their anger, bewilderment, fear, and the passion they cannot hide.The intriguing plot comes to an intense conclusion, revealing who Destiny and Divers O’Roake are in more ways than you can imagine.
O’Roarke’s Destiny’, is historical romance for the twenty-first century. Complex mind games, passionate, sensual romance, and a fast-paced riveting plot that rides the waves of time. I’m looking forward to meeting the next ‘Cornish Rogue.’
Guest Post – Shehanne Moore – Inspiring Destiny
Firstly Jane, thank you so much for inviting me here today to your wonderful book review blog, which is such a help to authors and for your continued support. Always appreciated.
I actually got the idea for O’Roarke’s Destiny the night we sold our house back in 2014. Yep, a while ago and I actually started it when I finished the Viking and The Courtesan in 2015 and put it aside because other scheduled books got in the way. I’d lived in this particular house for almost 30 years and it was a hard house to leave for many reasons, nor was this necessarily a chosen thing. Although looking back now I don’t know what I was worrying about. Anyway, the first night the house was on sale, the second viewer arrived—the dad of one of my pupils who lived along the road. I thought they’d come about something to do with the lessons. Anyway, he soon dashed that hope when he said, ‘I will make you a good offer tomorrow morning first thing. I have already put my house on sale in the hope and prayer of this one. But I know this must be upsetting for you, so don’t show me round, I was burned on the house sale three doors along a few months ago, so you don’t have to.’ And he was as good as every word. Well, as I joked to a friend a few days later, I should have said, ‘And I come with this house. I just need a room.’ Then I thought … bingo, idea for a book there.
Ideas, mind you, are nothing like what ends up on paper. This book started as a frothy battle over a house that only starts a few years later when the hero brings home another woman, a fiancée and the heroine housekeeper doesn’t like this and she discovers her own feelings for the hero. While this had its merits, another idea—a stronger one–formed, that was to start the book at the point where the house has been lost in a card game to a man where there’s past history. But, this seemed a little contrived, given this man has been sort of lost to the world for years. What was he even doing back in the neighbourhood? So I suppose my next piece of inspiration was in the books of Daphne DuMaurier, the smuggling, piratey books I’ve long loved. Having tackled, pirates, Highlanders, Vikings, I’d wanted to do a book about smugglers. Where better to do that than in Cornwall? Why not make that world the backdrop to the story.
Books aren’t just nothing like the idea that you start with—well mine never are, alas–they are about keeping the story going. There’s only so many times two people can argue about the choice of dining room wallpaper for example or the fact that that’s the best antique dishes sitting out at the bin, so while this starts out as a battle over a house, that is only a first layer, with lids to be lifted on a couple who are slogging it out over so much more within themselves and where they are in their lives when the story opens. And that’s not actually the house at all.
Now you dudes can go open the voddie and git the dancing shoes on.
Well, I admire you of course…I have read three books of yours in the span of two weeks and I do not mind telling that I admire a lot of people around me….but yes amongst us definitely you….😀
I write poetry since I was five scribbling scripts even I didn’t understand, rhyming words for friends and I remember penning down my first poem when I was in my third standard and that was to mark the moment when my sister was born. Since then, I write rhyming poetry, villanelle, pantoums, quatrains and what not.
The book, “How much can we live, love & die?” is a collection of free verses, divided into six segments, we begin with love and end it in love. In between we touch life, death and grief. We try to show love in forms other than Phyllic form.
I am trying to highlight the relationship which love shares with death and life. We love only to live, die and love again. We are repeating this for generations and even now we are doing it just because we have fallen into a trend. But how long will we do it?
Yes, I have always been a writer, sharing my days scribbled in pages after school. I always knew I could write but gathering courage to do so, came very late in life.
I am from India and I belong to a very small town filled with trees and forests. I have spent many of the vacations in mountainous terrains and I have never been bored of them. Leh is home so is Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur and a few more.
I would go about putting one line about the other depending on my thoughts or a short paragraph maybe.
A collection of short stories or another book of poems whichever I complete first.
A very different book, from a very different poet. Thunder Ling poses the question in her title. How much can we live, love and die? Often because we have loved. ‘The heart is all it needs to look through tinted glass doors and a closed book,’ is just one richly evocative image that gives the sense of the things we risk in what is a cycle of life. Interlaced with the poems are nicely captured and written prose vignettes. Ling’s writing is easy to read but never misses a trick or descends into the maudling. Every piece has something to say that a reader can identify with on many levels. Also the book is short and a snip at the price. I really enjoyed and highly recommend.
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.
Take some time to visit Shehanne’s Blog Page, and 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.
Castle of the Thousand Passions by Catherine Cavendish.
Castle of the Thousand Passions by Catherine Cavendish.
‘I have set a large part of Waking the Ancients in Vienna, Austria where many ghosts and restless spirits walk among the verdant parks and lavish palaces. But Austrian ghosts do not confine themselves to their nation’s imperial capital. They can be found in towns, cities, villages and the depths of the countryside all over this beautiful land.
Also known as Schloss Altenburg, Schloss Tausendlust (Castle of the Thousand Passions) was built in the second half of the 16th century by Alexander Rüdt von Khollenburg, although it is first mentioned as a farm in the earlier part of that century. It is likely there was an earlier medieval castle on the site but this has not been excavated and today the house is a private residence. It changed hands a number of times over the centuries, belonging to Adam Gabelkhofer in 1605 and passing to his daughter, who sold the estate in 1650 to Christof Rudolf Freiherr von Eibiswald. He gave it back a year later, unable to make a living from the small income supplied by winemaking.
The Haydegg family acquired it and sold it in 1740 and there were more changes of ownership until, in 1790, Anton Schellenbauer Alternberg acquired it. He hailed from Lower Austria and had acquired extreme wealth and a noble title. He also had a reputation for appalling cruelty to his farmers and labourers.
Official history states that he was caught in 1817, arrested and charged with fraud, and was stripped of his nobility, dying in detention in 1829.
But legends go further.
It is said that, one night, his abused workers decided enough was enough. They stormed the house and Schellenbauer hid in the closet. His valet told them where he could be found and they hauled him out. He had hidden from them for years, now they would have their revenge. Using four oxen, they set about tearing him limb from limb.
It is his ghost who, to this day, haunts the small castle. He is most frequently seen near that same closet, which contains a secret passageway or in the castle grounds. Especially on stormy nights.
Following the demise of Schellenbauer, the castle’s fortunes declined sharply. Lightning had destroyed the tower in 1825 and by 1878, most of the castle had fallen into ruin and it was used solely as a winery. It was eventually purchased by the Nyary family in 1903 and an inscription of 1911 above the family coat of arms, shows that major rebuilding began then, and included the construction of a bell tower, under which a chapel was built.
Today, following yet more extensive renovation under its current owners, its beautiful grounds are particularly noted for the magnificent magnolia trees, which bloom in spring. The castle lies on the hill between the villages of Hitzendorf and Berndorf and provides a delightful sight for passers-by.
As for the ghost, the current owners are keeping quiet.
The same cannot be said for Dr. Emeryk Quintillus…
Waking the Ancients
Legacy In Death
University student Lizzie Charters accompanies her mentor, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, on the archeological dig to uncover Cleopatra’s tomb. Her presence is required for a ceremony conducted by the renowned professor to resurrect Cleopatra’s spirit—inside Lizzie’s body. Quintillus’s success is short-lived, as the Queen of the Nile dies soon after inhabiting her host, leaving Lizzie’s soul adrift . . .
Paula Bancroft’s husband just leased Villa Dürnstein, an estate once owned by Dr. Quintillus. Within the mansion are several paintings and numerous volumes dedicated to Cleopatra. But the archeologist’s interest in the Egyptian empress deviated from scholarly into supernatural, infusing the very foundations of his home with his dark fanaticism. And as inexplicable manifestations rattle Paula’s senses, threatening her very sanity, she uncovers the link between the villa, Quintillus, and a woman named Lizzie Charters.
And a ritual of dark magic that will consume her soul . . .
‘I have read all of Catherine Cavendish’s books. In addition to writing the kind of horror I love, she has a real knack for blending past and present. And this first part of this new series does not disappoint, opening and closing with the kind of spine-tingling bang where you just know that for her characters horror is everywhere and there’s no escaping it no matter how hard you run.
Pity poor sensible, not easily frightened, Adeline Ogilvie who not only has the misfortune to be a descendant of Cleopatra, but comes to realise there’s something nasty in the basement and that something might be the very person she’s related to. Then there’s Cleopatra’s one true love and it’s not the men history shows her to have been involved with either. Dr. Emeryk Quintillus will stop at nothing to resurrect his queen. And nothing will stop him.
That’s as many spoilers as I’m giving but I will add that not only does Catherine Cavendish effortlessly blend past and present, giving us all kinds of insights into ancient Egypt, her stomping ground for this book is early twentieth century Vienna, the coffee houses, the streets, the historical figures who graced them.
Bring on part two.’
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. 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.
I love a bit of time travel romance, so I was looking forward to falling into this story and discovering how the two main characters would stumble across each other – or, in the heroine’s case, appear in the 18th century in the blink of an eye.
Brittany is your classic heroine; she portrays a strong, don’t-mess-with-me, nothing-can-hurt-me-exterior, but as the story moves on you begin to notice cracks in her resolve.
It took me a while to warm to Mitchell, however, as he came across as conceited and totally void of emotion and empathy. Except this is where Ms Moore has written her colourful, full-bodied characters so well. They are perfectly flawed, because no-one is ever as they seem on the surface.
The overall story arc is beautifully chaotic, comical and a touching read. It left me with that wistful sigh of the happy-ever-after, and tailed-off thoughts of… what happens next?
I’ve not read The Viking and the Courtesan, but it’s definitely being added to my TBR pile.
Mother, freelance writer and social media marketer, passionate about life, love and wellbeing.
Writer of inspirational articles, from the best moments and discoveries in life, to finding yourlevel of happy. Creator of real-life, sassy heroines and their journey in finding out who they are.
Social media marketer, cultivating and nourishing meaningful relationships through networking. Sowing and growing excitement for brands across social media with boundless energy and enthusiasm (also keen gardener and wordsmith). Inspiring others to seize the day and embrace life with added sparkle.
After all, we’re just winging our way through life, and we only get one chance at it.
Dare to dream… Then live it
7 Simple Ways to Survive on a Budget
In 2012, I left full-time employment to concentrate on my family and a writing career, in favour of a better work/life balance. This book was inspired by my decision and looks at simple ways to save money in the current economic climate, filled with hints and tips I apply on a regular basis.