#FridayReads ‘Wildfell’ by London Clarke #authorInterview @londonclarke2 Happy Publication Day!

Today is publication day for London Clarke’s debut, Gothic suspense novel, Wildfell.

 

Wildfell by [Clarke, London]

 

Running away isn’t always an escape…

Anne Fleming is running away…

An ill-fated relationship with her grad school professor drives Anne to check out of life. After disposing of all her possessions, Anne assumes a new identity and boards a plane. But a chance meeting on a London-bound flight leads her to Wildfell, a gothic mansion with a cast of strange characters and a long history of disappearances and deaths.

While living at Wildfell, Anne is plagued by voices, ghostly mists, and a mute girl with a sketchbook full of murders. She only remains because of her violent attraction to fellow inhabitant—gorgeous actor Bain Tierney. But when Wildfell tenants begin disappearing one by one, Anne must decide if she trusts Bain. Is anyone in the house who they claim to be? Or are there are other forces at work inside Wildfell? And will they ever let her leave?

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Wildfell is on my kindle and I’ll be reviewing soon, but first a short interview with London.

What attracted you to the Gothic genre?

I was attracted to the gothic genre from a young age. When I think back to the first gothic novel I read, it was probably one by Victoria Holt given to me by my grandmother. My grandmother was a voracious reader, and I have to attribute my own love of reading and writing to her. I loved the creepy house set in some rainy, windswept setting. There was always a brooding, mysterious, yet breathtakingly handsome man with a dark past. He either turned out to be a good guy in disguise or a killer who deceives the heroine. The unpredictability of the stories riveted me. I still love the eerie settings, the potential for the supernatural, and the isolation of the settings.

I remember reading Victoria Holt as a teenager, too. In fact I still have ‘On the Night of the Seventh Moon’, first published in 1972! I also love novels with creepy houses!

How important are the supernatural elements in your novel? 

Although I may write some novels in the future that only suggest the supernatural, right now I’m exploring the darker side of supernatural elements and how they can wreak havoc on a house and its inhabitants. I’ve always been interested in houses that experience hauntings and what that actually means for the people within. So, in short, the supernatural elements are pretty important in my novels.

I’m sure plenty of readers love ancient, haunted houses. I do! 

Tell us something about your main character/s.

Anne, my main character, has lived a nontraditional life. She has no idea who her father is, and she’s grown up with a mother who hates men and has done her best to poison Anne against them. But instead of buying into her mother’s philosophies, Anne rebels and romanticizes men. Her impetus to run at the beginning of the novel is because her hopes of proving her mother wrong are crushed when she is betrayed by her graduate school professor—a man she thought she was in love with. By the time she arrives at Wildfell, she’s in crisis mode–confused, ashamed, and searching for a foothold as she emotionally freefalls. When she meets Bain, she’s immediately attracted to him, but he also furthers that confusion. She feels a little intimidated by him, can’t make him out, and doesn’t know if he’s friend or foe.

A mysterious love interest who could be on your side or against you, leads to intense suspense and romance…

What kind of reader would enjoy Wildfell? 

A reader who enjoys a gothic setting with a creepy house (obviously), scary novels, and twisty mysteries. There is a strong thread of mystery to the story. Readers of Wendy Webb, Darcy Coates, or Laura Benedict will, I think, enjoy Wildfell for its elements of the supernatural. But there is probably more of a romantic angle than most horror fiction, so I’d like to think it will appeal to readers of romance and paranormal romance as well.

Sounds intriguing, paranormal, romance, suspense… I am so looking forward to reading!

What are you working on now?

I am working on a second gothic suspense novel with a vampire angle. This one will be the first book of a series set in Asheville, North Carolina. The working title is The Burning Thirst, but it will probably change. Currently, it’s scheduled to be released late this year.

I’m not too keen on vampires, but I could be persuaded if the plot is thick and the characters engaging!

What would you like readers to know about you?

Hmmm… Well, beyond the creepy stuff I’m truly a romantic at heart. I love to cry in a book or a movie, and I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen. I’m also an animal fanatic. I have two greyhounds that I love to distraction and I would have more, but my husband says two are enough (and it’s his house too). I’m also a bit of a wine connoisseur. At least, I like to think so.

I certainly hope you’re having a glass of vintage wine or champagne to celebrate your publication day! 

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Obsessed with vampires and haunted houses from a young, London grew up reading gothic tales featuring romantic and tragic heroes like Wuthering Heights and Dracula. She considers herself a recovering runaway and confesses that she once moved to England in search of a man who was the perfect amalgamation of Dracula, Hamlet, Heathcliff, and Mr. Rochester. London graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Music and M.F.A in Creative Writing and has had an eclectic array of jobs including receptionist, legal secretary, literary assistant, high school English teacher, and freelance editor.

London lives in a Washington, DC suburb with her husband and two greyhounds. She’s happiest when she’s writing novels, reading books, or re-watching her favorite programs like The Vampire Diaries or Being Human.

Follow London Clarke on Twitter

Visit London Clarke’s Facebook Page

Visit London’s Webpage

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#BookTour ‘Christmas Secrets’ #Author Interview @donnahatch

Interview with Author Donna Hatch

  1. Could you tell us something about why you wrote this novel and where the idea, or inspiration, came from.

I’ve been toying with the strangers kissing idea for a couple of years, and have had a few false starts. Finally, I brainstormed the concept with a critique partner. After trying several options, I finally landed on one that worked for me.

2- You are a bestselling author of Regency Romances. Why do you think this genre is so popular 200 years after the original romances were written?

I think there are many reasons. One reason they are popular is due to all the recent movies based on famous historical books such as all the Jane Austen films, North and South with the dreamy Richard Armitage, and many other historical novel adaptations as well as BBC series that take place in historical eras.

Another reason historical romance novels stay popular is because most people read either to relax or escape—which are kinda one in the same. We crave a reprieve from our troubles. The fantasy of vicariously living the life of the very rich, wearing beautiful gowns, having handsome heroes vie for our favor or even dueling over our honor is very appealing, and giving those stories a historical setting furthers the fantasy.

In Regency England, manners were very formal. There was a protocol to everything from how many sets a lady could dance with a gentleman in one evening (two), to what to wear while walking (a walking gown).

I love the eloquent speech used during the Regency and how they also prized wit. My job as a historical novelist is to include witty dialogue in every historical I write. I also love the manners of the Regency: gentlemen stood when a lady entered the room, removed their hats, cleaned up their language, and bowed. Yes, I do wish men still did those things today. Regency men were educated as well as athletic; they rode horses, fenced, and boxed. They were strong, noble and honorable—to the point of being self-sacrificing. And that is why I love them!

3- Have you ever thought about writing another genre, such as contemporary romance?

Not contemporary but I have written a fantasy, which is currently out of print, and I’d like to write more in the future. I also am considering writing young adult fantasy or futuristic/science fiction.

4- What are you writing at the moment?

I am working on book 5 of my Rogue Hearts series, and I’m brainstorming a new series about spies during the Napoleonic Wars.

5- What would you like readers to know about you?

I love chocolate and cute fluffy baby animals.

Here is my official bio: Best-selling author, Donna Hatch, is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, the force that drove her to write and publish twenty historical romance titles, including the award-winning “Rogue Hearts Series.”  She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six (yes, that is 6) children. Also a music lover, she sings and plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Donna and her family recently transplanted from her native Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Connect with Donna here:

Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~  Goodreads ~ Twitter ~

 

Holly’s two Christmas wishes this year are to finally win her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and discovering the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that mystery kisser is the resident Christmas ghost.

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon Canada ~ Amazon Australia ~

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To view the blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit the Official Facebook Event page 

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:

#Author Spotlight Jennifer Theriot & #BookReview ‘Out of the Box Awakening’ for #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today the Spotlight is on Jennifer Theriot, whose novel Out of the Box Awakening I recently reviewed as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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BLURB OUT OF THE BOX AWAKENING

Olivia is a good woman, a good mother, a good wife. She’s got it made. She doesn’t want anything to change.

Of course, it does…

Swept from her perfect paper-doll life in Houston, Olivia finds herself in Chicago, alone, betrayed, and far from home. Soon everything she thought she knew about herself and her life will be challenged. She has only courage, love, and her passion for music to carry her through the maelstrom—or draw her further in.

Ash is the man who has everything—everything except healing from the losses of a lifetime. His only peace lies in the sweet flow of music pouring from his guitar.

What happens when the married woman and the sexy handsome widower are thrown together by fate?

Out of the Box Awakening is a story about second chances, shared passion and shared joy. Jennifer Theriot has written a compelling book about what happens when two people find new life and new love for themselves and for those around them.

My Review

Out of the Box Awakening by Jennifer Theriot is a contemporary family drama with a hopeful ending.

Olivia, who is in her late 50s, is faced with making major life changes. Her children have grown up and left home, and she has to move from Huston to Chicago due to her husband’s new job. Her husband, Alan, is staying with his friend, Ash, who becomes Olivia’s supportive friend as her life unexpectedly falls apart.

We will follow Olivia through the discovery of betrayal and her traumatic divorce, as she gradually falls in love with Ash. She realizes she hadn’t really been in love with her husband for a long time before their marriage ended. For example, she loved music and dancing, while Adam didn’t, so she had abandoned her hobby until Ash and his son, who is a musician, open up a new world of music and dancing. The realization that she has been drifting through life with Alan, who had never really appreciated her, comes as a shock. For instance, there’s a scene when she’s in hospital and Ash phones Alan to ask about her medical history to fill in a form, but he doesn’t know the answers.

‘Alan, tell me you actually know something about your wife? I’ve got to get these forms filled out and I goddamn need your help.’

Alan replies: ‘I honestly don’t know.’

It’s devastating, but at least Olivia is fortunate enough to have found Ash, who is supportive emotionally and helpful from a practical point of view too. He teaches her to value herself, her body, her hobbies and her freedom. He encourages her to find a part-time job, to keep herself busy, motivated and independent.

Most romantic novels have young main characters, so it was refreshing to read a novel about a more mature love story including characters who were my age. There are also plenty of young people in the novel, such as Olivia and Ash’s young adult children, who liven up the story.

Although it can be read as a standalone because there is no cliffhanger ending, and the ending is happy, there’s still a story to be continued. I was thrilled to discover that there are two more books in the series. How will their new life together work out? They both have families and personal baggage, will they be able to start again? Life with Ash will be better than life with Alan, because at least Ash respects and supports Olivia, but Ash also has his secrets. His job in government security, which we know little about and keeps him away for periods of time, is intriguing. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment, Out of the Box Regifted which is already on my kindle!

Out of the Box book 2

Interview with Jennifer Theriot

1- Most romantic novels are about young couples, what were the challenges you faced writing a romance involving a mature couple?

There really were no challenges, per se. At first I wasn’t sure how well the readers would take to it though. Here you have a middle-aged couple, young at heart, still sexually active,falling in love and doing silly things.

2- I’ve read and reviewed book 1, Awakening, but there are two more, Regifted and Everlasting, what inspired you to write the ‘Out of the Box’ Trilogy?

When I finished Out of the Box Awakening, my characters wanted to go on – there was more of the story to tell, so I went with Out of the Box Regifted (where Olivia was ‘regifted’ to Ash by Alan). This one has a lot more ‘steamy romance’ in it, as Ash and Olivia’s relationship flourishes and he encourages her to be more spontaneous and uninhibited. The characters wanted to go one more, so I left a little ‘cliffy’ at the end of Regifted. In Out of the Box Everlasting, the story comes full circle. I have a little political conspiracy theory in Everlasting – with this being an election year and all. I figured why not throw in a little Trump-esque scenario 😉

The trilogy is complete and the order of it spells ARE (Awakening, Regifted, Everlasting)

My thoughts: I know what you mean when you say, my characters wanted to go on, because I had the same feeling as I wrote and even now that I’ve finished my trilogy! Some characters seem to have a mind of their own!

3- What’s your writing process like? 

By all means, non traditional! I live outside the box, so don’t follow the rules. I don’t use an outline, I’m pretty unorganized  and I wait for my characters to guide me. I write at night and on weekends, because I have a full-time day job crunching numbers.

Unwrapping Noel

4- What are you working on now?

Last Christmas, I wrote a little novella called Unwrapping Noel. It’s about a full-figured thirty something year old woman who was in a tumultuous and toxic marriage. She owns a PR firm and goes to the Silicon Valley on business during the Christmas holidays, where she meets a sexy silver fox named Leon Hallas who falls head over heels for her. (Did you catch the palindrome?)

I’m now working on the sequel to that, called Finding Joy. I love writing this couple!

5- What would you like readers to know about you?

I love connecting with new readers and I love to hear from them. I’m a people person by nature.

Here’s my author biography:

USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Theriot (pronounced Terrio) hails from the Great State of Texas. She is a career woman, working as CFO of a Texas-based real estate investment firm by day and does her writing at nights and on weekends. In her limited spare time, Jennifer enjoys being outdoors; preferably somewhere on a beach curled up with a good book. Spending time with family and friends, listening to music, watching a baseball game and enjoying a good bottle of wine are usually on her to-do lists. She’s mom to three grown children and ‘MiMi’ to four grandkids – all of whom she adores!

Jennifer took a chance that there could be an interest in romance with middle-aged couples who are finding themselves at a crossroads and wrote her debut novel Out of the Box Awakening, which centers on the hope of finding happiness and passion through unexpected heartache. It emphasizes the need for family and friends as Jennifer has learned in her own life. Grownup romance from the other side of 30 is how she characterizes her books. The books have also been described as “Mature Sexy” by one reviewer…

Jennifer

6- How can readers contact you or find out more about you?

As you can see below, Jennifer is very active on social media, so take your pick!

GOOGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/102404514817870981129/posts

WEBSITE: http://www.jennifertheriot.com

BLOG: http://jennifertheriot.com/blog/

AUTHOR FACEBOOK:   Jennifer Theriot, Author https://www.facebook.com/JenniferTheriotAuthor

TWITTER:  @ JenTheRiot https://twitter.com/JenTheRiot

BOOK BUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-theriot

GOODREADS AUTHOR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082754.Jennifer_Theriot

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Theriot/e/B00D8SW61C

AUTHORGRAPH: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/JenTheRiot

Book Trailers

http://youtu.be/fJp9fUMiedI

http://youtu.be/PaOdiY-J2YY

http://youtu.be/cg4WXXGvqqg

7- Where can readers buy your books? buy links.

 UNIVERSAL BOOK LINKS:

http://mybook.to/OutoftheBoxAwakening

http://mybook.to/OutoftheBoxRegifted

http://www.amazon.com/Out-Box-Everlasting-Jennifer-Theriot-ebook/dp/B01D0S3JSI

http://mybook.to/ToccataObbligatoSerenadingKyra

http://mybook.to/FortuneBrawling

 http://myBook.to/CrazyLadyAuthorsCookbook

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Thank you so much for your visit, Jennifer. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing more of your novels, which I’ll be sharing on this blog with my readers at a future date!

 

Blog Tour ‘Visions of Zarua’ and #Author Spotlight on Suzanne Rogerson

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour Banner

I’m delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour of Suzanne Rogerson’s debut novel, Visions of Zarua.

This is the last stop on her tour.  You’ll find out more about the novel and the author below. You’ll also be able to take part in a Goodreads Giveaway. Tour schedule:

Blogg Banner Zarua

Blurb: Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart.

Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Visions of Zarua Book Cover

To buy links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Kobo

Author Interview

1- Visions of Zarua, is your first published novel. Can you tell us something about your journey into publishing.

Getting Visions of Zarua published has been a long process – 10 years +, though my journey started way before that. I wrote a teen novel when I was 12 and had written two fantasy novels by my early twenties. Since then I’ve completed several fiction home study courses and attended creative writing classes. These helped me become a better writer, but it was the professional critiques and editorial services I paid for that really shaped this book and gave me the confidence to self-publish it.

Over the years I’ve contacted agents and entered many competitions, but looking back the books and short stories I submitted weren’t ready.

When Visions of Zarua was finally finished, I decided not to wait on an agent or publisher’s decision, but to take charge myself and let the reading public decide. Seeing the wonderful comments from readers and reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m so happy I took that chance. If I hadn’t, I could still be waiting now.

2- Which authors have influenced you most as a writer? 

The author that most influenced me is David Gemmell. Apart from being a master storyteller, he had a way to make you care about every single character no matter how small a part they played. That’s something I love about his books and still keep in mind as I write.

More recently I’ve been influenced by the success of a self-published author Anthony Ryan. He started out like me, before being snapped up by publishers and is now a bestselling author. When I read his first book, Blood Song, I knew I’d found someone worthy of stepping into David Gemmell’s shoes.

3- Someone says, ‘I don’t usually read fantasy novels.’ What would you say to convince them to read you novel?

Fantasy is about so much more than just magic and wizards, that’s what attracts me to the genre. Visions of Zarua has elements of other genres that I love to read; mystery, adventure and a sprinkling of romance.

A recent reviewer called Visions a fantasy detective story, and many others have commented on the mystery side of the story. It’s still a fantasy, but it’s accessible to everyone, not just fans of the genre.

I’ve created characters readers seem to love or hate, and another big plus for this book is that it’s a standalone – no need to wait a year or more to find how things turn out.

Many of the reviews for Visions of Zarua have said it’s a book anyone can enjoy even if you don’t normally read fantasy, and that it’s the perfect introduction to the genre.

 4- Can you tell us something about your main character?

There are several main characters in this book. Paddren is the reluctant hero, forced at every turn by events out of his control, but he’s also guided by a sense of duty and determination to see his master’s killers brought to justice.

Varnia is strong-willed and stubborn, but she’s caring and determined to do what she thinks is right for everyone.

Leyoch’s need to be accepted by society drives him into difficult situations, though he always puts the welfare of others above his own needs.

5- What are you working on now?

A fantasy trilogy ‘Bloodlines’ which has a similar mix of fantasy, mystery and romance. The first book, The Lost Sentinel, will hopefully be published later this year or early 2017.

I also hope to develop a short story into a novella. It’s about a woman whose husband doesn’t return from war, though his body is never found. She has nightmares about him reaching out to her from the battlefield and becomes convinced he’s trying to contact her. Certain he isn’t dead, she enlists the help of a local mystic to find him.

I have several other novels in various stages of planning and first draft, and I’m hoping to reach a point where I can publish a book a year. That means I really should get back to writing now.

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2015 author photo 2015 Zarua

Suzanne Rogerson. Author Profile

 Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

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Suzanne Rogerson’s Social Media links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

 

If you’d like to win a copy of Visons of Zarua, you can take part in the following Goodreads Giveaway (Click on the banner below):

Giveaway Poster Zarua

 

 

 

#Author Spotlight Karen Long & #BookReview The Safe Word for @BrookCottageBks

TheSafeWordTourBanner

Published January 14th 2014

Genre: Mystery / thriller / crime

Eleanor Raven Series: Book 1

 There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

The Safe Word

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

B & N

**** PRAISE FOR THE SAFE WORD ****

Just read The Safe Word by Karen Long – an unputdownable serial killer tale. James Purefoy

For DS Eleanor Raven It’s not so much who, what or when but ‘why’ that leads this powerful read to its conclusion and Karen Long reminds us that a brutal, vicious and destructive act is not something inherently ‘Evil’ or derived from Satan but is a rational choice made by a human being. The quirky, offbeat and endearing relationship between Eleanor and her partner Laurence Whitefoot shines a light on this dark compelling world of sexual intrigue and mystery. My imagination was certainly held captive! Robson Green

Most fictional detectives these days have to have a ‘thing’ to set them apart from the others, and Raven’s is one of the most original for a long time. The plot moves in some unexpected directions, and builds to a genuinely exciting climax. The Safe Word is an impressive, confident debut. Convincing characters and some nice twists make for a compelling, satisfying thriller, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Eleanor Raven. Killing Time

**** My Review ****

You’ll enjoy The Safe Word if you like reading gritty crime fiction with plenty of action and suspense. It will keep you turning the pages to find out who the criminal (in this case the serial killer) is, and more importantly how he’s caught. Eleanor Raven is a brilliant detective, but a difficult person to work with. She has a dark side and a cold and analytical approach, which may help with her detective work, but doesn’t make her very popular with her colleagues, especially not with her new partner detective Laurence Whitefoot. The end is truly gripping, I can say no more without including a spoiler, but I can say I’m interested in seeing how their relationship between the two detectives develops as a result. Both characters are complex, and although Laurence is more likeable, they’re both intriguing. I’d definitely like to find out more about both of them, and watch them unravel more crimes.   

 Karen Long

ABOUT KAREN LONG

Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.

AUTHOR LINKS

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

BLOG

TWITTER

GOODREADS

All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston – brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Check out Book 2 – The Vault – http://amzn.to/1WSnlDn

book

Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?

http://twitter.com/RavenEleanor

https://www.facebook.com/TheEleanorRaven/

 

GIVEAWAY

1ST PRIZE – SIGNED PAPERBACK OF THE SAFE WORD – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

2ND PRIZE – ECOPY OF THE SAFE WORD – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

Enter here

 

Guest Post @JanRuthAuthor & #BookReview ‘Palomino Sky’ for #RBRT

Today I’m reviewing Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth for Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Palomino Sky is book 2 in the Midnight Sky Series. I reviewed book 1, Midnight Sky  earlier this month. I’d like to thank both Rosie and Jan for the opportunity of reading and reviewing.

Jan Ruth Banner Midnight and Palomino Sky

This post includes, the blurb, my review and a guest post by Jan Ruth about her love of horses which figure predominantly in her life and her novels.

Blurb PALOMINO SKY

A golden promise for the future in a lonely palomino mare, but life deals a cruel hand for James and Laura.

James is still running from the past after the loss of his wife, and a devastating accident forces him to face his final demons, but at what cost? Laura is forced deeper into his rural world – a life she once despised – but discovers empathy and hope in the palomino mare she calls Song.

Repercussions abound for Maggie too, when the full extent of her daughter’s dangerous liaison comes to light, leaving the entire family in turmoil. Will James and Laura ever find a golden future, or has life dealt too vicious a blow?

Palomino Sky is the sequel to Midnight Sky, both novels are named after horses on the farm where James lives and carries out his equestrian business.

Palomino Sky Cover MEDIUM WEB

My Review 5-Stars

Palomino Sky is named after another new horse. Liz (James’ bossy and independent sister) calls a ‘showy palomino’. I know very little about horses, and one of the joys of reading these two novels is learning more about them, like discovering that palomino is a coat color in horses, consisting of a gold coat and white mane and tail. Rhian, one of the staff says ‘Jamie reckons she’s a natural at hooking up, a joiner.’ James, the horse whisperer, needs horses like that to help recover the horses he heals from trauma and injury. Palomino is also a metaphor for Laura’s role in the novel. She will have to heal, or ‘join’ James in the second part of the novel.

Palomino Sky moves the story started in Midnight Sky in a much darker way, because there are various dramatic and violent events, which will seriously change the course of all their lives, especially in the case of Laura and James.

In book one, James helped Laura during a traumatic moment in her life, including her break up with Simon, but in book two, it’s Laura who will have to heal James from real physical injury and trauma. I can say no more without including a spoiler.

Maggie and Pete have set up a bed and breakfast to supplement their meagre income at Hafod House, the running of which brings some humorous relief to the dramatic action. I liked the way Maggie’s role as older and wiser sister is heightened, and she actually takes some very important and risky steps to help Laura with her personal issues with the men in her life.

On the other hand, Jess’s role as troublesome teenager, develops into a dangerous troublemaker. A violent boyfriend, and a new crush on James’s twenty-year-old American son, will lead to many unfortunate incidents throughout the novel, including an almost tragic event, which will rock their lives.

There are some beautiful descriptive passages, such as: ‘The sun was dying across Snowdonia, bleeding slowly through a palomino sky,’ which add to the beauty of the novel and enhance the reading experience.

Although the ending is satisfactory, at least for James and Laura, there is still a long road to happiness, and there are plenty of loose ends to tie up in book three, which I’m impatiently looking forward to reading.

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I’ve asked Jan to tell us more about her passion for horses.

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SWEET NOTHINGS

My passion for horses, whispering, and the inspiration behind my equine series

Just when you think you know everything about a subject, along comes someone to blow apart a lifetime of assumptions. Monty Roberts’ father was virtually destroyed by his son’s belief in ‘horse-whispering’, as a far more humane and less exhausting method of breaking and training horses. It’s no secret that Monty took a severe beating for it.

A remarkable man, Roberts went on to foster disadvantaged children, using much the same wisdom and insight he’d learnt through studying horses and their social groups in the wild. It’s too easy – and often misguided – to bestow animals with human emotion, but maybe trust is rooted in the same place in humans as in horses, and observation and interpretation is all that’s required to make a valuable connection, regardless of language. And isn’t whispering usually far more effective than shouting? Much the same as writing good fiction; and if we’re talking analogies there’s nothing worse than clunky dialogue. Is Natural Horsemanship simply natural dialogue?

Guido Louis Leidelmeyer: “In the words of the horse: ‘Listen’ by observing me, and communication between us will come naturally and silently. In my words: Can I help you do that?”

Horse Jan

As with most things that work well, it’s based on a simple concept of alignment with nature. Horses like to hang in a crowd (herd), follow the leaders – usually the older mares – and be out in the open simply because if there’s a predator, they’re more likely to bolt, than stand and fight. That’s about it. If a horse is singled out he is more likely to turn to us without fear or aggression once he comes to realise that we are not predatory, and as a surrogate leader can offer the ultimate protection. And that’s where the ‘following’ or ‘joining-up’ comes in.

This principle works with wild/un-handled horses as well as re-training by reiterating the relationship of horse and leader for equines who have formed bad habits, or those with anxiety issues.

Actually, most bad habits stem from anxiety and a lack of leadership. It’s a little like your pet dog – and dare I say children, too? – needing to know they’re safe and secure place in the family pack, although the body language between dogs and horses is rather different. Flattened ears in a dog is more likely to mean subservient greetings whereas a horse … well, watch out!

Not everyone agrees that these principles are quite so cut and dried, and as is often the case with a lot of unquantified skills, there is perhaps some sixth-sense at work gleaned from years of experience. There are many equine behavourists who claim the ‘following’ principle is flawed. But the proof is in the pudding.

I’ve watched Guido use these techniques on a couple of riding-school horses – both of whom he’d never ‘met’ – with amazingly fast results: 20 minutes to resolve a problem with electric clippers on a mare which had for some 12 years, aggressively avoided the issue. The owner was quite rightly, open-mouthed. But the problem isn’t solved in its entirety, as Guido explained: Tilly’s owner needed to learn and understand the process for herself, and as is the case with most success stories, a certain measure of self-belief is required. It’s this psychological leadership which is perhaps where the sixth-sense bridges that gap between human and equine.

Grey Horse

Horses have been a lifetime’s passion for me. No surprise that they feature in most of my novels, more so in MIDNIGHT SKY and the sequel: PALOMINO SKY. Both books draw on the principles of horse-whispering and the power of self-belief – but I take on this theme in a fictional sense rather than a technical sense. It’s so easy to swamp the narrative with too much unwanted detail. And yet, it’s the minutiae of life which underpins the storyline in PALOMINO SKY. As with horse-whispering, it’s the observation of perhaps something seemingly inconsequential which can change an entire situation. If you’re not horse savvy or enjoy only a passing interest, I’ve tried to portray the equine aspect as secondary to the storyline in these books. On the other hand, horse enthusiasts will hopefully embrace the setting!

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Thank you, Jan, for a fascinating insight into ‘horse-whispering’. I can see how this idea of life and social interaction seeps into your novels. The balance between love, leadership, and a sixth sense helps repair some relationships in your novel, and a lack of balance certainly leads to family drama and conflict; I’m thinking especially of Jess here 🙂

If you’d like to read the Midnight Sky series here are the links:

MIDNIGHT SKY is currently 99c US

PALOMINO SKY: US

MIDNIGHT SKY is currently 99p UK

PALOMINO SKY: UK

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You can also find out more about Jan Ruth on Facebook or follow her on Twitter

#Author Spotlight @Lizzie_Lamb and #BookReview Scotch on the Rocks for #RBRT

In the spotlight this week is Lizzie Lamb, author of Scotch on the Rocks which has just been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize, this year.

Good luck Lizzie, because you’ve written a wonderful novel, which deserves all the praise and attention it’s getting from readers and reviewers!

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Blurb Scotch on the Rocks    5-Stars!

ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.

Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.

In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie. However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s Bed and Breakfast on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is she wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?

As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .

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My Review

Scotch On The Rocks is the first book I’ve read by Lizzie Lamb, and it won’t be the last! I already have her two other books on my kindle, Tall, Dark and Kilted, and Boot Camp Bride.

Scotch on the Rocks is a contemporary romantic comedy set in a small, picturesque village in Scotland.

The author brings to life an unconventional cast of characters in the small local community, including a histrionic and egotistical opera singer, her best friend, fanciful Lindy, who calls herself Lola, a cheating ex-fiancé, as well as a foul-mouthed and cheeky parrot!

The plot thrusts the heroine, Issy, straight into the action. She’s upset because she’s just broken up with her fiancé, whom she was about to marry, and drives back home across a flooding causeway, to her eccentric aunt Esme’s home, transporting her father’s ashes. On her arrival at her aunt’s Bed and Breakfast, she meets the attractive and secretive, American, Brodie.

As the plot unfolds, Issy will gradually find out why Brodie is there and who her family really are. No-one is who they seem, and the secrets of the past, going back to the WWII, will be disclosed. Their lives will never be the same again.

I loved the sharp dialogue, which makes the characters come alive, the vivid descriptions, which made me feel part of the scenery, and the passion, which made me fall in love with all the lovers (young and older), and the island.

The setting was a real plus. The last time I visited Scotland was many years ago, and I can’t wait to go back and visit places like Cormorant Island and picturesque coastal locations. I enjoyed the local customs, dialect, food and drink. I’m so glad I read it over the Christmas holidays, because although it takes place in summer, it has a Christmassy feel to it. It’s definitely a novel to curl up with on a comfortable armchair by the fireplace!

Scotch on the Rocks is humorous yet tragic. It’s also surprising, exciting, heartwarming and romantic, too.

Finally, there’s a satisfactory ending and hopeful message: It’s never too late to follow your dreams, and by never, I mean even that some characters are well over the age of retirement when they made their dreams come true!

I’d like to thank Lizzie for gifting me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review, and Rosie for organizing Rosie’s Book Review Team, and making it possible for readers, writers and reviewers to connect.

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Lizzie is an amazing author, so I asked her to answer some questions which will be of great help and inspiration to all writers, especially those new to this fascinating profession. 
1- What made you decide to leave your teaching job and become a full-time writer?

I’ve always wanted to be a ‘writer’. The bug really bit after my grandfather bought me a Petite typewriter when I was about ten – and I never looked back. Fast forward a few years . . . I became a teacher and married, however, with a mortgage and bills to meet I knew that I couldn’t afford the luxury of giving up the day job in the hope of making a living out of writing. Then, after thirty-four years at the chalk face, the day dawned when I thought, this is it; now or never. I left the profession and set on the road to becoming a published writer.

2- What advice would you give an author who wants to self publish his/her novel?

Write the best novel you can, the one you hope readers will want to read. THEN, if funds allow it, have it professionally edited; I used Hilary Johnson Agency for my first novel, and also had it critiqued, twice, by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Don’t be afraid to ‘kill off your darlings,’ when you edit, be professional and always keep your readers in mind. Pay to have it proof read and I also suggest that you have it formatted by a professional – at least the first time. Readers are very unforgiving if a book is sloppily presented and full of spelling mistakes. I would also advise wannabe writers to ‘get their ducks in a row’, well before they self-publish. By which I mean: build up your social media presence: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and create a website which has a built-in blog. Use all of the above to build up your on-line persona and find potential readers before you actually publish your novel. Make friends, generously promote other writers and once your book is published, find new readers via a newsletter etc. Sounds daunting? It is, but hard work reaps rewards. Finally, write another book, and another; prove that you have what it takes to go the distance.

3- Which writers have influenced you as an author?

When I first set out as a writer I was heavily into historical novels. However, as I moved up the career ladder, I had less time for reading. That’s when I got into Mills and Boone (in the 80’s heyday when there were some fantastic writers: Charlotte Lamb, Sara Craven etc, then the shorter Jilly Cooper novels, Jill Mansell, Catherine Alliot, Fiona Walker and finally, Sophie Kinsella. They made me realise that I loved romantic comedy and that’s what I decided to write, although I do find dropping snippets of historical factoids into my novels irresistible. Later, I was much taken by the Little Black Dress (Headline) imprint and I aimed my first novel at them. Unfortunately, by the time I’d finished writing it, the line was closed and I had to start looking for a different publisher.

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4- Could you tell us about the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s and the New Writers’ Scheme?

Here’s a link to the New Writers’ Scheme which tells you everything you need to know. It’s a fabulous place to start out and you learn so much from meeting and mixing with published authors and agents. As part of the annual subscription, you are entitled to a critique of your novel (full or partial) by an author already published in your genre. Once you gain a publishing contract you can ‘graduate’ to full membership. In 2015 the rules were changed to allow self-published authors to leave the NWS and become Independent Members, provided they meet the criteria for that membership. I love being part of the RNA and have learned since joining, it’s well worth an aspiring writer to consider joining.

5- What is your writing routine?

I try very hard to stay off social media until after I’ve done my words for the day, but I never manage it. There’s always mail to answer, tweets to schedule and blog posts to write. But, once I get started I don’t want to be interrupted. Luckily I have a room at the end of the house which is all my own and I can leave the pc in sleep mode, return to it later in the day and pick up where I left off. I don’t allow anyone on my computer as several years ago one of my great niece’s accidently deleted swathes of work. Now everything’s backed up on Dropbox. I’m disciplined and write every day (where possible). We have a touring caravan and when we go on holiday, the pc and the parrot come, too. I find that if I leave too long between writing my novel, I lose the flow . . .

6- Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I start off as a plotter and get the bare bones of the story down on a time line with post it notes, then I start writing. That’s when plotter becomes panster – the novel unwinds in front of me as I type, like a movie and I simply have to write it down and knock it into shape. Sounds easy? I spend all day dreaming about my novel and my characters act out scenes in my head, scenes I hadn’t even thought of. Then, when I sit down to write it’s all there, demanding to be made into a novel. Sometimes I wonder who’s in charge – them or me!

7- What are you working on now?

I hope to publish my next novel, This Highland Magic, within the next year.

Dr Henriette Bruar travels to north to catalogue the library in an ancient castle set in the middle of a remote Highland loch. The laird, Sir Malcolm MacKenzie, of that Ilk, is pressed for cash and is selling off the estate’s assets, including the library. This doesn’t please his son, Keir, who fears there will be nothing of the estate left to inherit. To all outward appearances, Henriette seems like just any run of the mill academic, unremarkable even. However, in her heart of hearts, she sees herself as a cross between Indiana Jones and the Relic Hunter and dreams of someday finding a precious manuscript, a hidden treasure or unlocking family secrets. At Sir Malcom’s castle, she sets out to do just that.

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8- What would you like readers to know about you?

After teaching my 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, I decided pursue my first love: writing. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of my time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, I published a third novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS in July 2015. It achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon. I am a founding member of an indie publishing group – New Romantics Press. In November 2014 we held an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London the icing on the cake as far we are concerned, and a fitting way to celebrate our achievements. I live in Leicestershire with my husband David (aka Bongo Man) and a naughty parrot called Jasper.

9- How can readers find out more or contact you?
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb
Lizzie’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter
Lizzie’s email: lizzielambwriter@gmail.com
Lizzie’s Website: website: http://www.lizzielamb.co.uk
Lizzie’s Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016
Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/
Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/
Twitter: @lizzie_lamb

10- Where can readers buy your books?

https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb

Thank you for visiting my blog and taking art in this Author Spotlight, Lizzie. It was a pleasure to have you here and learn more about your writing process and future projects. Good luck with the Exeter Novel Prize and I’m looking forward to reading your next novel, later this year 🙂

I hope you all follow Lizzie’s advice and have a wonderful weekend!

Follow your heart