18 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author M K Tod


Available on Amazon US

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Today I would like to welcome author Mary K Tod:

Tell us about your latest book

Time and Regret is a dual-timeline story set in World War One and the early 1990s. And if that wasn’t enough of a challenged, I also decided to make it a mystery. Here’s the premise: when Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. 

In the box are his WWI diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve the puzzle her grandfather has left her, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her.

What is your preferred writing routine?

You did say preferred, didn’t you, Tony. Like many writers, when I’m in the grip of a story, I could write all day every day. However, there’s also life to be lived! To begin with, I’m a planner, so I outline every novel chapter by chapter using a format I developed while working on my second novel. 

Usually, I get to my desk shortly after breakfast with a cup of coffee to get me started. I try to get up from my desk every two hours for some sort of break – sitting at the laptop all day is definitely not good for your back, your posture and, in my case, my right shoulder! One morning a week, I do blog posts and at some point each day I check on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads to see what’s going on. If I can write a whole chapter—a big if—I count the day a huge success.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

A few thoughts come to mind. (1) Treat your writing seriously. It’s hard work and you only improve by writing regularly with some sort of plan or objective in mind. (2) Find a story you’re passionate about. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your story and your characters so you have to enjoy them. If you’re passionate about your characters, they will ‘speak’ to you. 

I used to think this was malarkey but it’s true that gradually you will know what your characters think, do, and say in a given situation. (3) Start building your platform at the same time as you begin your story, if not before. (4) Connect with other writers. This doesn’t necessarily mean join a writers group, although many swear by that. For me it’s meant becoming an active member of the historical fiction community. Writers are generous souls who will help you out in ways you can’t foresee. They will become your tribe and a source of encouragement and advice.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

I’ve tried many techniques since becoming a full time writer and I always try to remember a simple equation: Awareness + Desire = Demand. So, your actions have to work on both awareness and desire. Blog tours are one way to create awareness and I recommend them at launch time. The effective ones charge for the service. Sites like BookBub can create a huge boost in sales as well as creating awareness. Authors need to secure reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon. The more reviews the better. 

A service like NetGalley can help secure reviewers. Other authors can also help spread the word about your latest release. Make sure you do guest posts as well to drive name recognition and a chance to mention your latest novel. And don’t forget to write another book. A second book drives sales of a first novel and so on. There is no magic formula – like writing, the marketing takes dedicated and ongoing effort.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered in your research

Time and Regret is set in France. My husband and I travelled there as part my research process. We took a tour in the environs of Passchendaele and at one point our guide stooped down and brought up a handful of dirt. In that handful were bits of shrapnel. I knew intellectually what shrapnel was but I’d never seen it. Seeing it and holding it in my own hand made me appreciate the war at a visceral level.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

This is such a difficult question, Tony. If I could generalize just a bit, the hardest type of scene for me to write is a war scene. To do it right (and who knows if I have), you need to do so much research—the weapons, the strategies, the duties of various soldiers, the conditions, the terrain, the sounds and smells, the minute-by-minute actions. And then, in a way, you have to forget those details and write as if you were actually there. But I have to tell you, I love writing these scenes.

What are you planning to write next?

I’ve already written another novel with a working title of Acts of Rebellion. It’s set in 1870 Paris, a time of tremendous turmoil with the siege of Paris and the Paris Commune. My agent is working to sell this to a publisher. I’m now working on a fifth novel, which is another dual timeline story set in Hong Kong both present day and 1912. My husband and I lived in Hong Kong for three years and I’m truly enjoying the memories this story is prompting.

M.K. Tod 
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About the Author

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNook
KoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and 
Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

17 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author David Pryce


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

300 Years before Columbus… Native American tradition tells of a brave group of pale skinned explorers who many generations ago crossed a ‘Great Water’ to get to their lands; these people called themselves ‘Welsh’ and this is their story…

Today I would like to welcome author David Pryce:

Tell us about your latest book

1170’ tells the tale of Prince Madoc of Gwynedd, who legend has it sailed across the Atlantic, making landfall near modern day Mobile, Alabama. The book starts in North Wales, before heading off into the vast blue yonder, via the Faroes and Iceland. At heart it’s an adventure story, inspired by those fun, swashbuckling Saturday morning matinees of years gone by.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I tend to write without an outline, so if I’m not digging into research I
will sit come with the proverbial blank sheet of ‘paper’ and start typing.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Make a start; you will end up editing what you have done anyway so don’t put it off, just dive in. Always keep a notepad by your bed for those times you wake up with a great storyline idea at some ungodly hour of the morning.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Aside from the usual Twitter and Facebook, by direct contact with the many Welsh societies here in North America.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

That Mississippian Indians in the American southeast were great mound and city builders. Some of their cities were home to thousands of people, in sharp contrast to the commonplace conception that all Native American tribes were nomadic.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The death of one of my favorite characters

What are you planning to write next?

A time-travel adventure set in late thirteenth century Wales, centering on the castle of Flint (my home town).

David Pryce
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About the Author



David Pryce was born and bred in North Wales; after graduating with a Mining Engineering degree he spent the next seven years living and working in Southern Africa. He currently resides in Colorado, but returns to North Wales on a regular basis to visit family and rediscover his intrinsic ‘Welshness’. This also affords him the opportunity to eat some decent fish and chips and sink a pint or three of real beer! You can visit David online at www.wales2america.com and connect with him on twitter @Madog1170

16 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Stephanie Churchill


Available from Amazon US and Amazon UK

In this gripping sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, a young woman finds herself unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of power, intrigue, and shifting perceptions, where the line between ally and enemy is åsubtle, and the fragile facade of reality is easily broken.

Today I would like to welcome author Stephanie Churchill:

Tell us about your latest book

My first book, The Scribe’s Daughter, introduced readers to two sisters, orphans living a hand-to-mouth existence in a dirty back alley of a large city. A mystery of the sisters’ family is introduced, and as the story continues, we follow the tale of the younger sister, Kassia, as she uncovers those mysteries, experiencing a wealth adventure, trauma, and hardship along the way.

My latest book, The King’s Daughter, tells the story of the older sister, Irisa. Just like her younger sister, she gets caught up in the mysteries surrounding her family’s history, but along the way she uncovers more than she bargained for. Set against the backdrop of a vast landscape, from dirty back alleys, to mountain vistas, to glittering palaces, The King’s Daughter tells a tale woven through with political intrigue, honor, family, love, and betrayal.

What is your preferred writing routine?

My preferred writing routine and my actual writing routine are quite different things! If I could arrange my life any old way I pleased, somehow having managed to tell the world to stay outside my shark-infested moat and not bother my seclusion, I would work on marketing and promotion for a bit each morning, then take care of life’s business until lunch, and finally have the freedom to spend my afternoons pondering and writing before picking up my two children from school.

I know so many other authors who, having plenty of other things to do in a day, end up writing into the wee hours at night. However, I am NOT a night owl. When my day is done, my day is done. I can’t even think, much less be creative in the evenings, so all my writing work must get done with the sun still in the sky. I do work from home, so I am generally able to get in a couple of writing hours during the afternoons, three or four days a week, though sometimes more if I am lucky.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Get into it because you love it, because you have stories bursting from your brain, not because you want to get rich and become a best-seller. While those are fine goals, the reality often proves to be different. Once you start off with the proper motivation, just keep at it. Keep doing it, day after day, week after week, taking a long-range view of the career. You likely won’t be a success overnight, if at all. I see my writing career as a marathon, not a sprint. Play nice and make friends with other authors, ask for help, and give help in return. If you are persistent, you can make something of it... assuming you write good books, of course!

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

I wish I had a good answer to this. For now I rely on social media and word of mouth, though I have done some paid advertising which doesn’t seem to have helped much. My long-term hope is that a longer back list will bring new readers as they work through all my books. Most importantly though, I support other authors and cross-promote. At the end of the day, even if I don’t sell as many books as I’d like, I hope I can help others along their path. We’re all in this together!

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Since I write a hybrid of fantasy rather than something as exacting as traditional historical fiction, research is something that informs rather than defines my writing. I often tell people that my books are “fantasy that reads like historical fiction” because there are no fantastical elements in my books. Instead, the settings and cultures in my books echo real historical places and times without actually being historical or containing any history. Any research I do serves to give the books a certain feel, but it’s up to me whether or not I use what I come across.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

As many authors know, more often than not one’s characters, or even the story itself, hijacks all good intentions by taking on a life of its own. The characters whisper their thoughts and desires into our ears, and then we can’t do much more than hang on for dear life and try to be the best scribe possible. When I was working on the first draft of my first book, The Scribe’s Daughter, circumstances turned dire for my main protagonist, Kassia. She found herself in a situation where, if I was going to be honest about my writing, lead to a very traumatic experience for her.

It was so horrendous that I stopped writing for a couple of weeks, knowing full-well that she had to go through it, but not knowing how I was going to pull it off sensitively while remaining authentic and transparent. I ended up confiding in a few people, one a highly seasoned author, and another who had personal experience similar to Kassia’s. After a lot of wrestling and struggle, I committed to the scene, and in the end, it turned out to be the most significant piece of character development I could have come up with, as it provided motivation and purpose for the rest of the book.

What are you planning to write next?

I set up the end of The King’s Daughter to write a prequel, telling the story of Irisa and Kassia’s parents. Once I set to work on a draft outline for my ideas, I kept getting tapped on the shoulder by characters from the previous book. They made a compelling case to continue their story. So for the time being I have set aside the prequel and have begun work on a third book about the sisters, continuing the story from the end of book two, The King’s Daughter. It will inter-mingle the various threads of character and plot from the first two books, bringing them together into one tale told together.

Stephanie Churchill 
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About the Author


Stephanie Churchill grew up in the American Midwest, and after school moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a paralegal, moving to the Minneapolis metro area when she married. She says, 'One day while on my lunch break from work, I visited a nearby bookstore and happened upon a book by author Sharon Kay Penman. I’d never heard of her before, but the book looked interesting, so I bought it. Immediately I become a rabid fan of her work. I discovered that Ms. Penman had fan club and that she happened to interact there frequently. As a result of a casual comment she made about how writers generally don’t get detailed feedback from readers, I wrote her an embarrassingly long review of her latest book, Lionheart. As a result of that review, she asked me what would become the most life-changing question: “Have you ever thought about writing?” And The Scribe’s Daughter was born. Find out more at Stephanie's website www.stephaniechurchillauthor.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @WriterChurchill.

15 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Summer Lane


New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Uriah True is a dangerous man. His past is cloaked in secrecy, and he writes his future in the blood of the people he kills. After the Great Global War, he leaves the militias behind to prey on the scum that remain loyal to the cruel and tyrannical regime of the defeated enemy Omega in this dangerous and new post-apocalyptic world.

Today I would like to welcome author Summer Lane:

Tell us about your latest book


My latest book is a surprise release! Vigilante is a thrilling novel of vengeance and romance, following the adventures of fan-favorite Uriah True from the Collapse Series. I wrote it for fun – I told nobody about it, aside from my husband. I didn’t set a release date or do any of the things I normally do with a book like this.

Taking the pressure off myself for this book actually made the process of creating the novel incredibly fast. It began as nothing more than something fun to write about in my spare time, and when I was done with it, I thought, “I should share this with my readers!” I’m so glad I did. It turned out to be a really fun story, and it provides some interesting insight into the world of Collapse. Any fan of Cassidy Hart will like what happens in this book.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I like to write in the morning. I love getting my manuscript creation done before the late afternoon hits. I find that I’m at my most creative in the early morning. Plus, I’ve been following the same writing routine for so many years, that my brain literally expects me to be creative at the same time every day. I work best when I’ve had a bit of coffee and a spot of protein and sugar, like an egg with an apple. My favorite type of writing day is a rainy one – I have written so many fun stories during thunderstorms and gloomy winter mornings.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write what you know and write what is true to you. Every writer’s voice is uniquely their own. If you can find a way to tap into your voice, your writing will be both authentic and enthralling. Never give up. One failure simply paves the way for two successes. I look at the highs and lows of publishing as an educational experience. You can’t be discouraged. You have to hang in there and tough it out, soldier.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Keeping in touch with my readers has been the most fantastic way of keeping my books in the spotlight. As a writer, you can never forget about how amazing your readers are. Without them, our work has no audience. Keeping that organic, natural connection with your fan base and remembering to be grateful is the #1 thing I do to keep my books at the forefront of peoples’ minds. I love my readers.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

I have done so much research over the course of the last 19 books that I’ve released. My favorite research project is a tossup between the Alaskan Gold Rush and the Pacific Rim. I loved researching Hawaii and visiting the beautiful jungle terrain there for State of Allegiance and beyond – I was surprised to learn about the United States Military presence on islands other than Oahu. For Running with Wolves, I spent months researching the 1890s of the wilderness of Alaska. Fun fact? Men in Alaska often shaved their beards off because their facial hair would freeze stiff in the brutal temperatures – painful, right?

Another fun fact: there really is a place in San Francisco where members of the highest ranking of Masonry meet (Bohemian Grove), and that conspiracy theory was the idea I used for Red Grove in State of Destruction. And yes, there really are reports of people sacrificing humans in effigy to a giant owl idol called Moloch. True or not? I don’t know, but it makes for a great story idea, right? *wink*

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Several of my books were logistically difficult to write, such as State of Vengeance, because I had to include technical combat strikes, such as the famous HALO jump that Cassidy Hart takes part in. Perhaps the most difficult scene I’ve ever written – emotionally speaking – was the last few chapters of State of Hope. I was pretty emotional when I was writing it, knowing that the series was coming to an end. The final battle was one of the most challenging writing scenes of my career. It was intense, and I wanted to be sure not to be repetitive. It tested my writing skills, and while it was difficult, I am still very proud of the final product.

What are you planning to write next?

I am currently working on Resurrection: Shadows of Omega, Cassidy Hart’s newest spin-off series (January 2018). I will be doing roughly 2 books per year in the Collapse Universe alone, and I’ve got ideas for other novels as well. I’ll be plenty busy for the next couple of years!

Summer Lane
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About the Author

Summer Lane is the #1 Bestselling Author of the COLLAPSE SERIES and the bestselling ZERO TRILOGY, a novella adventure series. Summer owns Writing Belle Publishing, a digital publishing company devoted to releasing exciting and engaging adventure and survival stories. Summer is also the creator of the online magazine Writing Belle, in addition to being an accomplished creative writing teacher and extensively experienced journalist. She is an entrepreneur at heart, and proud of it! Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, Scott, and their German Shepherd companion dog, Kona. Summer loves to travel, read and cook. Find out more at www.summerlaneauthor.com and find Summer on Facebook and Twitter @SummerEllenLane

Book Launch Spotlight ~ Richard II: A True King's Fall, by Kathryn Warner


New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Richard II is a figure famous in England's national myths – the king who went insane, the narcissist, the tyrant of Shakespeare's play. History regards his rule either as that of a superhuman monarch or a crazed and vicious ruler. But Richard II was a complex and conflicted man – a person with faults and shortcomings thrust into a role that demanded greatness. 

In this book, Kathryn Warner returns with the first modern biography of Richard II in decades, to paint a portrait of the king with all of his strengths and imperfections left in the picture. An aesthete and patron of the arts as well as a person troubled by a much-maligned ‘personality disorder’, Richard II here emerges from behind the mask of a theatrical character.

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About the Author

Kathryn Warner holds two degrees in medieval history from the University of Manchester. She is considered a foremost expert on Edward II and an article from her on the subject was published in the English Historical Review. She has run a website about him since 2005 and a Facebook page about him since 2010 and has carved out a strong online presence as an expert on Edward II and the fourteenth century in general. Kathryn teaches Business English as a foreign language and lives between Dusseldorf and Cumbria. Find out more at Kathryn's website edwardthesecond.blogspot.co.uk and follow her on Twitter @RoyneAlianore

14 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Kyra Kramer


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Fans of Jane Austen will recognise the players and the setting - Mansfield Park has been telling the story of Fanny Price and her happily ever after for more than 200 years. But behind the scenes of Mansfield Park, there's another story to be told.

Today I would like to welcome author Kyra Kramer:

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book is actually my first work of fiction. You would think it would be a historical novel set in the Tudor era, or anthropological fiction, since those are my fields of expertise, but no -- it is a retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park from the point of view of the antagonist, Mary Crawford. I titled it Mansfield Parsonage, since that is locale of MY heroine for the story, in contrast to saintly Fanny Price at the Park. I had been an Austen fan since secondary school, and it has always bugged me that Mary Crawford was treated so badly by the protagonists of Mansfield Park for the "crime" of wanting to save the hero's sister from ruin. The indignation over such injustice apparently stewed in the back of my brain until my frontal lobes had no choice but to write a retelling and defend Mary Crawford. 

What is your preferred writing routine?

What is this "routine" of which you speak?  In all seriousness, I am a mother with three daughters ages 12, 10, and 7 so I write when I can, in between the duties of adulthood and parenting. I am just grateful that my husband is the primary breadwinner, or I'd get no writing done at all. The uncertainty of my writing schedule is perhaps why nonfiction is my go-to type of composition; it is easier to jump back into the flow of facts. 

Added to that, I have Asperger's syndrome and simply adore facts in general. They are a delight to me, in most cases. I also like to find patterns, or connections, between non-related fields. For example, I often look at history through the lens of medical anthropology, and think things like, "But why did the Henry's doctors feed him rhubarb to treat his constipation rather than prunes?" Then I go down a research rabbit hole regarding the use of rhubarb as a laxative in 16th century England.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Join the military and learn to defuse bombs instead; it pays better and is less stressful. However, you probably still won't be able to escape becoming a writer. Like any other form of art, it will make you its addict and devotee without care for your peace of mind or other plans.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

With Asperger's syndrome, I am the worst marketer in the history of the world. The best thing for me so far has been the kindness (nay, mercy!) of my fellow authors who invited me onto their blogs and have reviewed my books and given me advice and helped me understand how to market my work. It was other authors who coaxed me onto Twitter and other forms of social media to help me spread the good word about my books, both fiction and nonfiction. I really should get an agent to help me, but the same Asperger's that makes me a pitiful promoter also makes me an abysmally bad pitch writer so I live in dread and fear of having to compose a query letter. 

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

The oddest, most unexpected thing for me has been the strange correlations between modern medical research and humoural medical theory. The medical theory du jour, right up until the revolution of the germ theory in the Victorian era, was that everything was made up of four elements: air, earth, water, fire. Each of those elements made a different type of humour, or fluid, in the body. 

Air made blood, earth made black bile, water madephlegm, and fire made yellow bile. You tried to keep those humours in perfect balance to stay healthy, and they could be balanced by the things did as well as the things you consumed. Prone to depression? Well, eat some gingerbread or spicy foods and listen to some jokes and walk in the sunshine to get dry up that melancholy with things rich in the element of fire! Too hot tempered? Eat some fish and pray and calm yourself with the stuff that increased the cold and watery humour in your body. 

Nowadays, we're discovering that although the theory was wrong the practice was smart in many cases. The microbiotia in the human gut controls not only general health, but mental states and moods as well, so food often IS the best medicine. Things thought to provoke heat, like ginger or cinnamon, actually do work as vasodilators that warm your extremities. Sunshine produces vitamin D, which is crucial for producing serotonin in the brain to prevent depression, as well as keeping your immune system working. The oily fish you were supposed to eat during lent, during the dark and the cold? Best source of vitamin D you couldn't get through week northern sunlight in late winter or early spring. Oranges help to fight a cold? Why, yes they do! 

To me, finding a connection between medical practices past and present and possibly future is fascinating.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The scene that took the most emotional toil was when I wrote Mary Crawford's reaction to EdmundBertram's condemnation of her. Mary had been very naughty -- she had come up with a way to save Edmund sister from being ruined forever. How very dare she! Edmund was aghast that Mary didn't understand that his sister, vile sinner that she was, needed to be punished and ostracised for her transgressions. He let Mary know her plans to try to save his sister were a sign of her OWN moral failings.  Mary didn't take this rebuke from her love well. 

I had to pull up all the anguish and confusion I thought Mary would experience, and the bewilderment, and the hurt, and then finally the rage that he would speak to her like SHE was a trollop just because she offered to help his soon-to-be-divorced sister. Trying to explain all those emotions in a way that allowed the reader to feel them, and to evoke how upsetting a break up can be so the reader could empathise with Mary, was the mental and authorial equivalent of being dragged backwards through a hawthorn hedge. I was raw at the end of it. It is, however, the scene that has gotten the most literary praise, so it was worth it.

What are you planning to write next?

Ideally, it would be the sequel to Mansfield Parsonage. I want Mary to go on and get her happily ever after now. I know the general plot outline, but writing the story is stymied by life at the moment. Too much to do and not enough time to do it in! I need a chunk of uninterrupted writing time to get into the groove of my narrative, and my day is broken into pieces right now because there are lots of grownup things I must also accomplish. I need someone to adult for me. Preferably an adultier adult than I am.

Kyra Kramer

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About the Author

Kyra Cornelius Kramer is an American anthropologist living in south Wales best known for her work on Tudor history. Her first historical novel, Mansfield Parsonage, a retelling of Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park from the point of view of Mary Crawford, was released earlier this year. You can read her blog at kyrackramer.com, follow her on Twitter @KyraKramer, or like her Facebook author page.

13 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Katarina West


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

A middle-aged saleswoman becomes a Hollywood star.
A spoilt celebrity becomes a suburban housewife.
An angel becomes a human being.

Today I would like to welcome author Katarina West:

Tell us about your latest book

It’s called The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice and it tells the story of an angel who becomes a human being and two women who swap bodies. 

What is your preferred writing routine?


In the morning, after a jumbo cup of Italian coffee.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?


This advice is actually from the novelist Helen Simpson, who took it from Flaubert. Flaubert said, "Faire et se taire", which Helen Simpson translated as "Shut up and get on with it." I think that’s a pretty universal advice for all writers, aspiring or not.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?


Good question. It seems to be one of those eternally disputed questions that have no definite answer, all the more so because trends and methods are so short-lived nowadays, so that what worked yesterday won’t work tomorrow. Except writing good stories. That always works.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research.


I truly enjoyed the science research for my second novel, ‘Absolute Truth, for Beginners’. It was fascinating to learn about the lives of various mathematicians.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?


What’s hardest for me is the drafting, the structure, not any individual scene. Once I’ve got the overall plot clear in my head, the fun part starts.

What are you planning to write next?


The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice is the first book of the the Angel Aid series, so I’m planning to go ahead in the Angel Aid series.

Katarina West

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About the Author

Katarina West was born in Helsinki, Finland, and studied at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London and the European University Institute in Florence, where she completed a PhD in political science. During those student years she started work as a journalist, and continued writing for various Finnish magazines and newspapers for over ten years, writing on various topics from current events and humanitarian issues to celebrity interviews and short stories. She also briefly worked as a university lecturer on humanitarian issues in Northern Italy. Katarina lives in an old farmhouse in Chianti with her husband and son. Find out more at Katerina's website katarinawest.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @WestKatarina

12 December 2017

Book Launch Spotlight ~ Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey, by Nicola Tallis

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

A significant retelling of the often-misunderstood tale of Lady Jane Grey's journey through her trial and execution―recalling the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which she became involuntarily tangled, and which ultimately led to a catastrophic conclusion.

"Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same.” These were the heartbreaking words of a seventeen-year-old girl, Lady Jane Grey, as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554.

Minutes later her head was struck from her body with a single stroke of a heavy axe. Her death for high treason sent shockwaves through the Tudor world, and served as a gruesome reminder to all who aspired to a crown that the axe could fall at any time.


Jane is known to history as "the Nine Days Queen," but her reign lasted, in fact, for thirteen days. The human and emotional aspects of her story have often been ignored, although she is remembered as one of the Tudor Era’s most tragic victims. While this is doubtlessly true, it is only part of the complex jigsaw of Jane’s story.

She was a remarkable individual with a charismatic personality who earned the admiration and affection of many of those who knew her. All were impressed by her wit, passion, intelligence, and determined spirit. Furthermore, the recent trend of trying to highlight her achievements and her religious faith has, in fact, further obscured the real Jane, a young religious radical who saw herself as an advocate of the reformed faith―Protestantism―and ultimately became a martyr for it.

Crown of Blood is an important and significant retelling of an often-misunderstood tale: set at the time of Jane’s downfall and following her journey through to her trial and execution, each chapter moves between the past and the “present,” using a rich abundance of primary source material (some of which has never been published) in order to paint a vivid picture of Jane’s short and turbulent life.

This dramatic narrative traces the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which Jane became involuntarily tangled―and which ultimately led to a shocking and catastrophic conclusion. 16 pages of colour illustrations

“Tallis narrates these dramatic events with all the verve and excitement that they deserve. Her portrait of Jane as something of a feminist before her time carries complete conviction. Nicola Tallis combines Jane’s virtues as a scrupulous scholar herself, with a colorful background of how Tudor England looked, sounded and smelled. She has succeeded in drawing Jane out of the shadows.” The Spectator (UK)

“This is a stunning debut from a young historian who deserves to be recognized as a major talent in her field. It's history as it should be written, vivid, colorful, pacy and evocative, but above all authentic and based on sound and innovative research. It's an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of Lady Jane Grey. Most warmly recommended!” Alison Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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About the Author

British Historian Nicola Tallis graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History in 2011, and from Royal Holloway College, University of London in 2013 with an MA in Public History. Since 2013 she has been studying for her PhD at the University of Winchester, where she teaches History. Nicola also worked as a historical researcher, most notably for Sir Ranulph Fiennes whilst he was working on his 2014 book, Agincourt: My Family, the Battle and the Fight for France. and is the resident historian for Alison Weir Tours. Find out more at Nicola's website http://nicolatallis.com/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @MissNicolaTal

Special Guest Interview with Author Anne O’Brien


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Queen’s Choice

The untold story of Joan of Kent, the mastermind behind the reign of child-King Richard II. A tale of treachery, power-hungry families and legal subterfuges. ‘What would enhance the pattern of my life further? One word slid into my mind. A seductive word. A dangerous word, perhaps, for a woman. Power.’ 

Today I would like to welcome author Marcia Meara:

Tell us about your latest book


My latest book is The Shadow Queen starring Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, who became Princess of Wales through her marriage to Edward, the Black Prince, and King's Mother when her son Richard II took the throne. For a woman with such medieval notoriety, we know remarkably little about her, particularly about her motivations in making some astonishing decisions. In The Shadow Queen Joan pursues her career through three marriages, one of them bigamous, with all the scandals, the insecurities, the heart-break and, not least, the desire for power. In a man's world, Joan is a heroine par excellence.

What are you planning to write next?

My new novel for 2018 is Queen of the North. This brings together two major medieval families, the Mortimers and the Percys, through the marriage of Elizabeth Mortimer to Sir Henry Percy, the heroic figure known to history as Hotspur. I was encouraged to write it by the dramatic scenes given to this pair by Shakespeare in King Henry IV part one (where Elizabeth is called Kate). 

It is a novel that brings to the forefront the Mortimer claim to the English crown with all its complexity after Henry Bolingbroke's usurpation of King Richard II's throne. It is a tale of rebellion and conspiracy, of love and betrayal, and its high cost in life and in freedom, not least for Elizabeth. I was delighted that Sir Edward Mortimer and Owain Glyn Dwr could make an appearance. 

What is your preferred writing routine?

I am definitely a morning person. I write almost every morning, starting early and writing through until lunchtime. Afternoons are spent in 'real-life' necessities when occasionally housework demands my attention. But even then conversations often play out in my mind, or scenes develop. I keep a notebook to hand because if I don't write it down I forget the best bits. Evenings I might read for research or plot the next day's progress, although I also read fiction for pleasure. Most of my writing is definitely a morning occupation.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Writing is not an easy occupation. Writing can be lonely and is very personal.

Taking advice is good, but it is not a one size/one fit for all ventures. Decide what is the best fit for you in how to write scenes, how to structure your story. When you are comfortable with it, stick to it.

Don't wait for the muse to strike. Sit down and write. You may not like the initial result but it is a base for revisions. Often it is better than you think.

Be persistent! If you are ambitious, will-power is an essential part of writing.

Most importantly; don't be satisfied with less than your best, until your characters, when they act and speak, ring true. Don't forget to watch them and listen to them. And of course enjoy them ...

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Social Media is vitally important these days for an author to get the message out there. I use twitter and facebook and I occasionally blog on my website, particularly if I set up a giveaway to draw attention to my new novel.

I realise that I am blessed with a PR team from my publishers behind me. It is far more difficult, and not least time-consuming, for indie writers.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Not so much discovering new historical information, but realising unexpected family connections always fascinates me and makes for interesting developments. Medieval royals and aristocracy were so strongly interconnected through family and marriage. The Holland family, descendents of Joan of Kent and Sir Thomas Holland, through well-planned marriages is an excellent example. They seem to appear in all my recent novels. Elizabeth Mortimer's sister in law, Alianore Holland, was granddaughter of Joan of Kent. 

Another marvellous realisation which added depth to Queen of the North: after Hotspur's death Elizabeth married Baron Thomas de Camoys who figured strongly in The Queen's Choice. It was like meeting up with an old friend.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Definitely the death of Hotspur at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. It could not be an 'eyewitness' account since Elizabeth- the novel is from her POV - was obviously not there. Nor could it be omitted since Hotspur's death is key to what happened next. Nor did I want it to be simply announced by a messenger or a letter - how un-dramatic that would be. It was too tragic an event to be treated lightly and there was so much potential drama involved in it. 

My choice was to record it by using some mystical foreknowledge of the battle, based on the eclipse of the moon which occurred at that exact time. Followed by a visit to the battlefield long after the event but when the shadows of so much death still lingered. Does it work? I hope so.

Anne O’Brien
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About the Author

Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history. She now lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire, on the borders between England and Wales, where she writes historical novels. The perfect place in which to bring medieval women back to life. Find out more at Anne's website  http://www.anneobrien.co.uk/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @anne_obrien.

11 December 2017

Special Guest Interview with Author Robert Gately


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

A dynamic book set in small town Pennsylvania which explores the intangible ties that form a family, a community and the influence that one man can make crossing social and economic lines. Readers will fall in love with Henry.

Today I would like to welcome author Robert Gately

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book, South of Main Street, has all the human twists and turns that one comes to expect from a Hallmark kind of story. The trouble begins when our hero inherits a multi-million dollar estate when his wife dies. His daughter sues him for financial control of the estate which sends him on a quest to prove he is normal - not an easy thing to do when you are not. Along the way he affects the lives of twelve people in a magnificent way in a town sharply divided by have and the have-nots.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I’m most creative in the morning, so I compose during that time. In the afternoon and evening, when my creative part of the brain is spent, I edit. It seems I’m most effective when I cater to my bi-cameral brain. They seem to be most useful during different times of the day.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

If you have the passion to write I can give no furtive advice that you do not already know or practice. So, I’ll just say this: negotiate with your spouse and children for time needed to write. You may be putting your head in the sand like an ostrich if you don’t. When you decide to see what has been going on without your attention, you could be surprised that ‘life’ has gone on without you.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Right now I’m querying book review bloggers to read and post reviews of my book. The reviews I receive have been great – all 5s, but how does that translate to sales? Only time will tell. I’ve also been asking School Districts to use my book as part of their reading process with the note that I will come in to talk to the class if they want. The jury is still out as far as weighing in on the success of that endeavor.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research?

That it doesn’t make any difference how well you write prose. I must have the skill to write a great query that will knock the socks off the reviewer, agent, producer or publisher.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?
South of Main Street has thirteen characters most of whom had character arcs. In writing one such arc, I needed to show how wine (liquor) affected one character. I had to show, not tell. For me, writing, or showing, one person ‘getting’ drunk was hard. Walk in sober and leave the bar-restaurant tipsy. Very difficult! But it developed into one of the best scenes in the book.

What are you planning to write next?

Although most of my efforts today are in the marketing area, I want to expand a non-fiction work I’ve already completed. The title is “Fillossofee: Messages from a Grandfather”. The title says it all, but I feel it’s incomplete. There’s more proselytizing to do.

Robert Gately
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About the Author

Robert authored of two novels, two non-fiction books, 12 screenplays and three stage plays since retiring early from AT&T in 1998. His body of work has been recognized as finalist or better in over 170 theatre, book and screenplay competitions around the world where his screen and stage plays alone have won a total of 27 contests and came in 2nd place in 19 others. One of his stage plays won a reading series at Abingdon Theatre in NYC and Ohio State University, and another, which he co-wrote, won Hollywood, London and Chicago. That play was showcased at the Venus/Adonis Festival at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC. Robert also taught adult education at Northampton County Community College in screenwriting after he retired, and was Temple University screenplay judge for their Senior Project class (Freese Award). Find out more at Robert's website http://www.rgately.com/

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