Guest Author Juliet Greenwood

Today we have Juliet Greenwood as our guest author, she wrote We That Are Left which I reviewed yesterday, see this link for the review http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5MX

Let’s find out more about Juliet and her books.

Juliet With We That are Left

 

 

1) Where is your home town?

I live halfway up a mountain on the edges of a village in Snowdonia in North Wales. In one direction I look up to the mountains, and to the other I look over the romantic Island of Anglesey, and some pretty gorgeous sunsets. I lived next to the Hammersmith flyover in London for several years, so I certainly appreciate the peace and quiet!

2) How long have you been writing?

All my life! I wrote my first rip-roaring historical at the age of ten, and never looked back. It’s taken me a long time to be actually published and begin to be the writer I want to be. It’s been a long learning curve, but I feel that time and experience is often vital to the creating of a long-term career as a writer. Having your first book published is really only the beginning of the journey.

3) What was the one idea behind this book?

I wanted to write about the amazing women in WW1, who not only kept life going at home under the most difficult of circumstances, but also worked on the front line risking their lives as ambulance drivers, doctors and nurses, but who have been largely forgotten.

4) For readers who don’t know the book yet, can you introduce us to Elin?

At the start of the book, Elin is a typical wife of her time, living a comfortable, but rather unfulfilling existence in the country estate in Cornwall. Her husband, Hugo, is much older, and sees her in the way women were generally viewed at the time, as delicate and in need of protection, and is quite unable to share his own traumas from fighting in the Boer War. Like many women, Elin is left to take charge of the estate when WW1 breaks out, discovering new strengths and depths that eventually take her on a desperate rescue mission in the battlefields of France. It’s an experience that changes her forever.

5) Mouse is such a fun character, can you tell us about some of her beliefs.

I love Mouse! Like Elin, she’s frustrated by the limitations of being a woman in Edwardian times, but coming from a rich, aristocratic family she has far more choices. She is adventurous, and loves to shock. She flies her biplane over to France and back for a bet, wears trousers (very shocking at the time), speaks her mind and is determinedly independent. She has no wish to be tied to a rich husband and forced into tedious domesticity. When the war comes and her brothers go off to fight, she is determined not to be left behind. Like many rich women of the time, she takes off with supplies to help on the frontline of the fighting. Despite the things that she goes through, she never loses her free spirit.

6) How does Elin grow into her role as leader at Hiram Hall once Hugo leaves for war?

 

Elin soon realises that she will need to use the estate’s kitchen garden to help the local population as food prices rise, and eventually shortages kick in. She rediscovers old recipes and remedies to cope with the shortages, and she also rediscovers her own passion for baking, inherited from her mother.

 

As the war goes on, Elin takes on more of the responsibilities, learning to deal with staff and the accounts, and discovering that she is perfectly capable of running a large estate, as well, if not better, than her husband. Like many women during the war, she becomes the linchpin of the local community, dealing with the grief and loss of those around her, and reassuring them in the face of the danger from Zeppelin air raids. When Hugo returns, he can no more understand this change in her than she can understand his experiences of war, meaning that, for Elin, the end of the war is where her own battles begin. It was something that happened for many couples after WW1, in fact so much so that the level of those seeking to divorce after the war finally led to divorce being made possible for ordinary people.

 

7) What do Mouse and her friends do to help the war efforts?

 

In WW1 there were plenty of wealthy women who were determined to do their bit for the war effort, despite being scornfully dismissed by those in authority. It was totally chaotic, with volunteers simply taking off with supplies and going over to France to do what they could. Mouse and her friends fit out a truck and set off with food and medical supplies to help on the frontline, driving ambulances and helping in the makeshift field hospitals. One of the real-life women who did this was the Duchess of Sutherland who set up her own field hospitals: http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-on-land/casualties-medcal/2383-millicent-duchess-of-sutherland-ambulance.html They were truly brave and heroic women!

 

8) Can you explain how the front line might move from day to day and how the field hospitals coped?

 

The part set in France is not only in the trenches but on the edges of the battlefields, the tiny bits of land that were fought over constantly during the years of the war. What was horrible about the fighting was that it was over such small advances that caused huge losses on both sides, and then the line moved back again, with the civilians who had nowhere to go caught in the middle. This meant that in places the front lines were constantly shifting, which caused huge suffering not only for the soldiers involved but also for the French civilians. I have family in France who experienced the effects on civilians in both wars, something that has always haunted me. I also read accounts of the women working on the frontlines, in field hospitals in whatever building they could find, who frequently had to move as the fighting grew too close, losing precious vegetable gardens that supplemented the lack of food, and desperately trying to take wounded and dying men to some kind of safety. So much is written about the soldiers and the battles, I wanted to give a sense of what it must have been like for civilians caught in the middle of the horror and the chaos of war.

 

9) Is this your only book set in this time period? What else have you written?

 

This is the only book I’ve written that covers the period of the war. My first book for Honno Press, ‘Eden’s Garden’, is a timeshift set in Cornwall, London and Wales in contemporary times and the late Victorian era. The historical story of ‘Eden’s Garden’ ends just before WW1, and it was during my research that I stumbled across the stories of the women during the war, and so the idea behind ‘We That are Left’ began.

 

 

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

 

These are my media links:

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Juliet Greenwood

‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

Amazon.com

 

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

Amazon.com

 

Website:     http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:            http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 

 

We That are Left

Juliet Greenwood

Elin lives a luxurious but lonely life at Hiram Hall. Her husband Hugo loves her but he has never recovered from the Boer War. Now another war threatens to destroy everything she knows.



With Hugo at the front, and her cousin Alice and friend Mouse working for the war effort, Elin has to learn to run the estate in Cornwall, growing much needed food, sharing her mother’s recipes and making new friends – and enemies. But when Mouse is in danger, Elin must face up to the horrors in France herself.



And when the Great War is finally over, Elin’s battles prove to have only just begun.


Waterstones Wales Book of the Month, Wales Independent Bookshops Book of the Month and Wales National Museums Book of the Month, March 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Author Sharon Black

Please welcome Sharon Black to the blog today as she tells us about her debut novel “Going Against Type”

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1) Where is your home town?

I live in Dublin. I was born here and I now live in Sandymount, which is right by the sea.
2) How long have you been writing?

I’m one of those people who literally started writing as a child. I was always writing stories, filling copybooks, later on starting books which I never finished. After I got my degree, I trained as a journalist and I worked for national newspapers here in Ireland. I’ve also had some short stories published and I won a national short story competition a few years ago.
3) What was the one idea which sparked off “Going Against Type”?

When I was growing up, I adored the old Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 1940s on TV. My favourite romantic pair on screen, were Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. In the film Woman of the Year, he plays a sports writer and she plays a high brow pundit. So I thought I’d see what would happen if the roles were reversed a bit. My heroine is a sports writer and my hero is a fashion writer who knows very little about sport. I actually make a reference to Woman of the Year in my book!

4) Where is your book set?

Going Against Type is set in Dublin.

5) Introduce us to Charlie.

Charlie is a single, Dublin born woman in her late twenties. She lives for sport, and actually tried to pursue a professional career in sport, until she was injured. She loves her job and she is great fun. She’s very feisty and doesn’t pull any punches. She’s also a bit vulnerable. She hasn’t had a lot of luck with men.

6) Please tell us all about Derry.

Derry is very good looking, droll and at ease with himself. He dates a lot of women but hasn’t had a serious relationship in a while. He has quite a high position in his paper, but he doesn’t talk about it. He’s originally from Cork and still has a very faint, lilting accent. He is attracted to Charlie because she’s very pretty, but also because she’s very different to the type of woman he usually dates. He finds her refreshing and challenging.

7) What type of things does Charlie write about in her new column?

As the only woman on staff in the sports department, Charlie knows she has to make her mark, or Side Swipe will be handed to one of the men. She is a bit of a purist when it comes to sport, so she just tells it how she sees it. For example, in one column she attacks highly paid soccer stars for wasting their time promoting underwear or writing their autobiographies. In another, she pokes fun at the women who make Ladies’ Day at the races, all about the designer clothes.

8) How does she come into conflict with a rival columnist?

As well as being a fashion writer, Derry writes a column called The Squire for a rival paper. He reads Charlie’s first column and decides to take Side Swipe down a peg or two. He actually thinks it’s written by a young guy, trying to make a name for himself. Both columns are written anonymously.

9) Where and when do Charlie and Derry meet face to face?

Charlie and Derry first bump in to each other at the Galway Races. Literally! By that stage, they have already had a few weeks of attacking each other through their columns. The attraction is instant but it’s not how they first get together!

10) Tell us where readers can find out more about you and your books.

Sharon 254 b

I am a debut author, so I don’t have any other books as yet, but I have a book page and an author page on the Tirgearr Publishers site.

They’re tirpub.com/sblack and tirpub.com/gatype

These pages will take you into my author page on facebook and my blog.

You can also find me on twitter @Authorsharonb

My buy links can be found on tirpub.com/gatype

and on http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NJ2OL4M

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NJ2OL4M

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23213024-going-against-type

Guest Author Shelley Wilson

Today our guest is Shelley Wilson author of yesterday’s book How I Changed My Life In A Year, her is a link to my review of the book. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Ky

Shelley is also going to be writing 4 inspirational posts for us which will appear on Fridays beginning this Friday, October 17th.

Shelley Wilson

Let’s find out more about Shelley and her book.

1) Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Solihull in the West Midlands, but I left my heart behind in West Yorkshire when I moved away as a child. I do cling on very tightly to my Northern roots!

 2) What inspired your book?

For me, the New Year is a time filled with the promise of adventures to come and places yet to visit. Every New Year’s Eve I write a list of resolutions in my journal, but as I was re-reading them at the end of 2012 I noticed I had written the same ones over and over. I hadn’t achieved any of them and so they were regurgitated each year. As I run a holistic health business I am always telling my clients how they could improve their lives, and I realised that if I wanted them to take me seriously I needed to take my own advice. So I decided to write my list on a public forum to force me (or shame me) to achieve something. My blog was born http://myresolutionchallenge.blogspot.com and I thoroughly enjoyed updating everyone on my progress. One of my resolutions was to ‘stop procrastinating and write my damn book!’ I had never thought of writing non-fiction before, but the challenges and the blog were the basic outline of a book, it just took me a while to realise it.

 3) How did you come up with the ideas for you year long challenge?

Finding the ideas for my challenges was the easy bit. I just had to go back over the previous journal entries and copy all the things I hadn’t achieved!   Weight loss, getting fit, reading more…the usual culprits that make 90% of people’s resolution list. To flesh out the year I did a spot of brainstorming. I created a vision board and asked myself what I would do with my life if money was no object and I could have another five careers. This exercise got the creativity flowing and I found my twelve resolutions.

 4) How did you make a month challenge see less daunting?

When I started the blog it was all completely alien to me. I joined Blogger, picked a template I liked and filled in the blanks. It was only as I began to post that I read other blogs and become more involved in the blogging community. Good content and regular posts were a must according to the pros. This meant that my twelve challenges (one a month) wouldn’t be very entertaining for any readers. So much can happen in a month and my post could end up putting War and Peace to shame. This was when I adapted my challenge and broke every month down into weeks. The task didn’t seem so daunting and I could expand on my challenges. Every topic was divided into four and I blogged weekly about how I had progressed during that particular week. In February my challenge was to get fit, it worked out really well as I was able to try four different exercises and blog about each one separately.

 5) What was your favourite challenge?

I remember my November challenge with great fondness. This was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I had wanted to do this challenge for four years but backed out every time because I was scared. The beauty of blogging about my challenges was the inability to run screaming for the hills – it wouldn’t have made for a very interesting post. I had to do it because I’d told the world!

6) Which challenge was the hardest?

The hardest challenge had to be giving up wearing black clothing. It sounds ridiculous when you say it but it really was tough. That particular week crept up on me and on the first morning I flew into a panic because all my underwear was black – the thought of going commando was just too much and I nearly caved. After digging through my underwear drawer I finally found suitable attire, the rest of the outfit was even harder to find. I do want to do this challenge again but I now know that some planning (and shopping) is required. Picking my daughter up from school in an 80’s fancy dress outfit taught me that!

7) Can you tell us briefly about “Tapping”?

As part of my holistic business I am a qualified EFT Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique). This simple process can help alleviate anxiety and deep rooted issues that have a detrimental effect on day to day life. A fear of the dentist, overeating, depression and so many other ailments can be vanquished using this method. It involves tapping lightly with your fingertips on specific parts of your head, face, body and hands. The tapping action vibrates along meridians (energy lines) within your body and neutralises any blockages. It is such a powerful treatment, one which I used to help my own anxiety prior to my training. (www.aamet.org)

 8) What new skills or ideas have you kept up with from the challenge?

The most important thing for me when I decided to start this project was to find the time to write more often. Ever since I could hold a pencil I have wanted to write, and every year I would add this to my resolution list, but then let life take over and watch my dream slide past for another year. This is why I chose blogging instead of Facebook as the public forum for my challenges, I wanted the space and right platform to help me grow my skills. Deadlines, compelling content and a wonderful blogging/writing community all helped me to carry on once my year was up. I was also prompted to take part in other challenges that came along. In January 2014 I took part in the Cancer Research Dryathalon – no alcohol for the month of January. After doing this back in April for my book I found it much easier and have now turned tee-total. Writing the book and tweaking my blog to contain more motivational content also gave me the push to write a series of workshops. I have delivered these to ladies on a monthly basis at a local venue and they have been well received. I cover topics such as facing fears, time management, and finding out who you are and how to be happy with your life. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this had I not started my blog and published my book. I have also fulfilled my most important goal and continued writing. Thanks to NaNoWriMo I will be publishing my debut YA fantasy novel very soon.

 9) Do you think it helped make you a better person?

We are all a work in progress and have our own issues and demons to contend with. As women we tend to carry on with life and hide this side of ourselves, concentrating on being someone’s partner, mother, daughter or friend. It’s important for me to show my holistic clients that I can also suffer from self-doubt and anxiety but also to share with them the tools that I use to help myself. Publishing my book meant I had to face all my demons and put myself out there. I have had to learn to accept compliments and criticism and that this is okay. I’m not sure if that makes me a better person, but I’ve most definitely changed for the better.

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

My blog is still going strong, although I include more motivational content about living life to the full, reading and writing these days. You can find the blog at http://myresolutionchallenge.blogspot.com and the corresponding Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/resolutionchallenge I am also on twitter (far too often!) http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

How I Changed My Life In A Year

 

How I Changed My Life in a Year. Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk Or Amazon.com

 

 

Guest Author Suraya Dewing

Our guest today is Suraya Dewing author of yesterday’s book Bend With The Wind, here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5JC

Suraya

 

Where is your home town?

My home town is currently Auckland, New Zealand. However, I grew up in a remote part of New Zealand, Hokianga. The Hokianga shaped me. Auckland educated me.

How long have you been writing?

When I graduated from University I began a career as a trainee television director then went on to Public Relations. So, in that sense, I have been writing for 30 years. Like many creative writers I always wanted to write creatively but put that on hold because I needed certainty of income while we raised our family. In 2008 I returned to University and completed a Master of Creative Writing in 2009. I worked on ‘Bend with the Wind’ during 2009-10. Before that I had written short stories whenever I got the time (pretty average I must confess) and had a go at a novel which was awful.

What was the one idea which parked off Bend With The Wind?

The premise behind the novel is that a group might feel they have got away with an act of oppression. For a time the repercussions are hidden. However, resentment gathers momentum and eventually explodes. Usually an unrelated catalyst ignites the fire and violence becomes inevitable.

Where about in New Zealand did you set the settlement that Joe’s parents live?

Joe’s parents lived in a settlement called Parihaka which is in Taranaki, North Island of New Zealand. It is about ten miles out of New Plymouth.

Can you tell the readers a little about Colonel Messenger

Col. Messenger was a long serving member of the military in Taranaki and commanded an Armed Constabulary Post for a number of years.   In 1871-72 he was in command of the unit that pursued Titokowaru, a Maori leader and a government opponent. After the campaign Colonel Messenger returned to the Armed Constabulary Post and a nearby mountain was named after him in recognition of the period he spent surveying the area and protecting the land. He led, along with Col. Bryce, the troops into Parihaka. He was well regarded by settlers but for Sophie, being related to anyone associated with the history of the occupation was an anathema. This explained her reaction when she finds his name on their family tree.

How did they stop the Maori people from returning to their lands?

When the militia occupied the area they posted guards and no-one was allowed to return. Later, some received passes. At the time of the occupation and arrest of Te Whiti and Tohu homes were plundered, livestock killed and crops destroyed. The women were raped. Anyone who tried to get back was threatened and chased off. The land was in the hands of the militia for five years.

What were the Black Power group all about?

The Black Power gang lives outside the law and is largely made up of marginalised Maori and Pacific Island men. They live off income from drugs and the proceeds of crime.

Tell us some of the things that Joe did for young people to help them.

Joe helped the young people get back to their roots and to regain a sense of self worth. Many people were disenfranchised by the loss of their land. They were also banned from speaking Maori at school and the only legitimate history was that of the English which bore no resemblance to the world they knew. Afraid their children would be disadvantaged later in life, many Maori parents wouldn’t allow the children to learn anything of their heritage including language. He would have taught them their language, te reo, carving, whaikorero (speech making), local history going back many centuries and carving.There was a commonly held belief that being familiar with Maori culture would not allow Maori to get ahead in the world. This was true. Any connection with their culture was frowned upon by Pakeha authorities and often Maori parents supported this stance. He would have given them back a sense of pride in their heritage by taking them back to Parihaka, to the elders to hear the unacknowledged stories belonging to them.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

My publisher has requested a book of short stories so I’m working on those. Once they are finished I will go back through Bend with the Wind before my publisher produces it in hard copy.

Tell us about The Story Mint and where readers can find out more about you.

The Story Mint is a service that aims to give writers an opportunity to develop their writing skills, to get to know other like-minded people and to grow their profiles by demonstrating their story telling skills. We provide ways for them to do that including writing chapters and starters for serials, putting writing up on the Writers’Pad and getting engaged in the forum. We also have an active Facebook page and Linked In group. I have created an online analysis tool called the Style Guide™ which analyses writing styles. The writer submits a piece of writing and is immediately given feedback on the style and how to change it if it doesn’t fit with the intended audience’s preferred style. For example someone writing a romance novel will not want to have his or her writing land in the section where business articles land. The Style Guide™ is currently being tested for training writers who are second language users.

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http://www.thestorymint.com

Find a copy of Bend With The Wind here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Guest Author Mark King

Today our guest is Mark King, author of yesterday’s book Frenzy. Here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5HT

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Let’s find out more about Mark and his book.

1) Where is your home town?

I live in the city of Norwich in the county of Norfolk in the U.K. It’s one of Britain’s most historic cities and the hub for present day literature. Norwich is the only English UNESCO City of Literature with a thousand year history of writing right up to the present day. A lot of major award winning English authors of both sexes over the last twenty years have some type of connection to Norwich or Norfolk. That’s only just a small piece of what makes Norwich a great place to live and somewhere I am extremely proud to be associated with.

2) How long have you been writing?

I have been writing professionally for nearly four years. Since the release of Frenzy a Daniel Jones story I have been writing on the manuscript to Daniel Jones Doom the Sequel to Frenzy which should be published around the end of 2014, as well as magazine articles and on my world-wide blog at always-hanging-around.

3) What was the one idea behind Frenzy?

The idea first came for me one Monday morning during the recent financial crises that had engulfed the whole world while I was driving. I had a secure job with staff under me working for blue chip clients while handling a multi-million pound budget; and I was absolutely miserable traveling to my first working appointment of the day. Governments around the world had virtually bankrupted themselves for generations to come to save the banking system, or more specially the people at the very top of it, and now the rest of us are having to pay for it; either through higher taxes, or a reduced standard of living. The retirement age was increased to 68, and will probably increase to 70 if not more, and then I realised there may not be a golden age of retirement anymore. Most people can expect a life of toil before they die. In that moment the Bankers became the Overseers, the seven procedures became the lies we have all been told and the achievement centre is the promise of a golden old age that future generation may never see. By the time I arrived home that evening the story was set in my head. I knew I had to resign from my job to complete the book. That’s exactly what I did and Frenzy a Daniel Jones Story by Mark King is the finished product.

4) Who are the Over-Seers?

The Over-seers represent not just the bankers, but all the people at the top of the finance system who have had a feeding frenzy off humanities labour since the liberation of the finance system that started in the early 80’s. Taking grotesque risks with our future, and our children’s, while taking out monstrous payments in bonuses which has left behind a hideous mountain of debt for us to clear up.

5) Can you tell the readers briefly about Daniel’s village life?

Daniel’s life is like most people’s lives today. It has its ups and downs and can be hard trying to cope with life’s daily trials and tribulations, but he, and everyone else in his community, believes if he works hard, keeps to the rules (seven procedures) and believes in the new gods called the Over-seers it will all be worth it in the end; because he can retire to a life of relaxation and security. Just like until recently when we were all told that if you worked hard, paid your dues and believed in the consumerist society you could retire at 65 to a relaxing life of cruise ships and enjoying time with the grand-children. For a lot of people this isn’t going to come true.

6) What happens to villagers on their Achievement days?

Now that’s for the readers of Frenzy a Daniel Jones Story to find out! But all I can say other than this is that it always takes people by surprise when they find out the truth, just like Daniel.

7) Tell us about the Triclops.

The Triclops are terrifying walking machines that stand hundreds of feet tall on three legs thus you get the first part of the name Tri. They have a body that transports the Over-seers over the land with a centre viewer that looks like one eyed-monster, just like a Cyclops, so you get the second part of the name, clops. We in the U.K are under constant C.C.T.C surveillance that keeps us under control, and the Tri-clops is the Over-seers tool of fear that keeps humanity of the future under control.

8) How long has Mary been in the desolate Lands?

Mary is just a young girl when you first meet her in chapter one and then she’s in her mid-twenties when in the resistance she rescues the young Gwendolyn. When you see her again later in the book she is her mid-sixties so in one way or another she would have spent sixty years living in a land of destruction when the Overseers first appear and take control. The story is based in the near future and the warnings signs of the Over-seers arrival are mentioned in the book. Some would say those very same warning signs are present today! There have been unprecedented weather events throughout the world recently. Are these a sign of things to come?

9) This is a Daniel Jones Story, are there more adventures to come?

Yes. The sequel to Frenzy, which is initial titled Daniel Jones Doom, should be published near to the end of 2014. I have kept to the same fast pace, exciting and vivid story telling that is to be found in Frenzy. In fact I like to think that the sequel is as good or has even surpassed the original book in a thrilling and stimulating read that will keep everyone from young to old, of both sexes, glued to the pages as the story unfolds.

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Readers can follow my weekly posting on my blog at always-hanging-around and through my Twitter page @author_king. I’m also on Goodreads and there is a Frenzy-a-Daniel-Jones- story Facebook page. I’m also on Google+ and for people in the media I’m on LinkedIn. Also I can be contacted via email at markkingtheauthor@gamil.com. My books are available through most outlets and also on Amazon U.K and Amazon U.S.A hard back or kindle, Nook and iTunes etc.

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Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Mark and Good Luck with the launch of the next book.

Guest Author Arie Farnam

Today our guest is Arie Farnam, author of yesterday’s book The Soul and The Seed. Here is a link to my review. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Hy

Arie Farnam

Let’s find out more about Arie and her book.

1) Where is your home town?
As a matter of fact, my home town is pretty much the initial setting of the story. I grew up about twenty miles north of La Grande in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon on a hill called Pumpkin Ridge. La Grande was our hub. I put my initially unaware main character there. It could have been any small rural town but I happen to know La Grande. I love stories where you can go to real places and walk around and imagine the story is real, so I decided to do that for my readers.  (Hint: Red Bridge Park and the 205 Bridge between Portland and Vancouver are also real places in The Soul and the Seed.)
2) How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I fell out of my cradle, more or less. I loved to make up stories as a kid and I started writing for newspapers as a teenager. When I graduated from college I took off for Eastern Europe, where the big international journalists were hanging out at the time, and started freelancing. Within two years I became a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and Business Week in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, the Ukraine and other areas of Eastern Europe. For many years, I didn’t have much time to write fiction but I would argue that gritty reality is the best education a fiction writer can get. Journalism also ruthlessly teaches the technical craft of writing and the realistic dialogue in my stories comes partly form the countless hours I spent transcribing interview tapes back before speech recognition software was a thing.
3) I described your book as a fantasy thriller, some of it is quite horrific, would you be aiming it at Young adult or New adult and upwards?
I don’t generally recommend this book for readers younger than sixteen and I think the core age of readers is between eighteen and thirty. Both men and women tell me they accidentally stay up all night reading it but the main character is a young woman and the story is told from an emotional perspective, so I think women will be particularly engaged.
It’s interesting that you call The Soul and the Seed a fantasy thriller. I hesitated to describe it as a “thriller” because it isn’t a book of unrelenting violence, which is my experience of modern thrillers. But if it’s a thriller in another sense, then I’ll embrace the term. Readers have said The Soul and the Seed maintains “terrifyingly taut tension” throughout, but the actual violence is only in a few incidents. I abhor violence. I have seen real violence as a conflict correspondent and I won’t engage in gratuitous or cartoon violence for the sake of fiction. There is a place for that but it isn’t something I can do. If there is going to be violence in a story of mine, it will not be glorified. The emotional intensity and realism of this book is one reason I recommend it mainly for adult readers and even some adults may find it difficult to bear at times. The others in the series will be similarly intense. I like to read emotionally real and intense books myself.
4) Tell us about the Addin.
The Addin is part of the premise of The Soul and the Seed. The book is set in modern America, or so it seems. The girl Aranka attends a school much like those that kids today attend and she has concerns like today’s kids, particularly about the cliques at school. The problems of the modern world are all there too – wars, greed, corruption, disease and so on. But where we often shrug and shake our heads at these terrible realities and wonder how such things can happen in the twenty-first century, the book gives an explanation.
There is a force or perhaps a kind of cult – no one is entirely sure which – that usurps the wills and emotions of individuals. It’s as if the human desire for power evolved into a conscious entity and it uses people to satisfy its thirst power. A certain portion of the population is under the influence of the “Addin Association,” meaning that they desire what the Addin desires and will act accordingly, as if of their own will, to secure more power for the Addin. Anyone under the spell of the Addin is capable of “taking” others and usurping their will. It might take only a word and a moment of eye-contact. Those who know of the danger live in terror of it, but most people don’t know and they live with the rules that the Addin sets without realizing that everything from politics to the latest clothing fashions are dictated by Addin tastes.
5) Who are the Meikans and where can they be found?
The Meikans are not really a race or a nationality anymore than the Addin is. The Addin can take anyone of any background. The Meikans are a diverse group of people who have resisted Addin control for generations and passed down the secret knowledge of what true inner freedom means for more than a thousand years. Essentially Meikans are simply the descendants of those who allied with the non-human Kyrennei against the Addin in ancient times. Meikans are found pretty much all over the world, although they are more numerous in some areas than in others due to historical circumstances. The Meikans in the story come from Russia and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Vietnam, Kenya and Ireland as well as Canada and the United States. One interesting part of the premise is that the Meikans have a mysterious “sign” that helps them identify who has been taken by the Addin and who is free.
6) How old a race are the Kyrennei?
The Kyrennei are the non-human “fantasy” characters in the story. I have had some reviewers accuse me of not writing fantasy at all but rather pure science fiction, because I have a pseudo-scientific explanation for the Kyrennei. My background is in linguistics and anthropology to some extent. I love the complex interplay of languages and cultures. I have also studied the theory of evolution and I am puzzled as to why only humans beings, among all the animals in the world, evolved in this particular way with a high level of language and manipulation of the environment. I have to wonder why no other animals developed in this way and why human races appear to have significant physical differences but insignificant to non-existent mental and psychological differences. There is also the interesting fact that many cultures around the world have legends about people who are slightly smaller than humans and often those legends include a detail about either slanted eyes or pointed ears or both. I put all of these real-world details in my cauldron, mixed them up and let them bubble with a dash of my childhood love of J.R.R. Tolkien and a pinch of Romani (Gypsy) lore and out came the Kyrennei.
They are essentially an non-human race, our closest biological cousins. They are at least as old as humanity, probably somewhat older. They didn’t arrive on a space ship, as some legends would have it. Instead they simply evolved along side humans. But they are not only physically different from human races. They are also mentally different. While the Addin can usurp the will and desires of humans fairly easily, the Kyrennei are essentially immune to Addin control. There are ancient myths about Kyrennei who “went over” to the Addin for one reason or another, but they were not forcibly taken by the Addin. the conflict between the Addin and the Kyrennei developed naturally. The Addin could easily control humans and the desire for power is the quintessential feature of the Addin. Anyone the Addin couldn’t control would be considered a threat. Throughout early history there was a struggle within the Kyrennei between those who believed they should remain aloof from human problems and interventionist Kyrennei who believed that the Addin wouldn’t be satisfied with controlling humans. Eventually, the interventionists won and the Kyrennei started collecting human allies and refugees who wanted to resist the Addin. These later were unified into the international Meikan sub-culture.
A relationship developed between the Kyrennei and their human allies which is summed up by the saying “my shield for your shield, your shield for mine.” Kyrennei evolved to be smaller than humans with a light, somewhat brittle bone structure, and while they have great endurance, they were not well suited to medieval warfare. Their human allies were essential to them once the Addin decided that the Kyrennei were a threat to their supremacy of power. On the other hand, the human allies were vulnerable to Addin mental control and the Kyrennei could offer some protection against that control. What kinds of protection Kyrennei could provide to others is unclear in historical documentation but one thing becomes obvious early on in the story. At least some of the Kyrennei could at least tell who was controlled by the Addin and who wasn’t, thus shielding their allies from Addin infiltrators, which were otherwise a serious problem.
7) Can you describe where and when your book is mainly set?
The book is set in the present in the American Northwest. Other books in the series branch out into Canada and Europe. There are some brief medieval era flashbacks and I hope to eventually write books within the world of the Kyrennei series that are set in medieval or ancient times but the current books are very solidly rooted in our time.
8) What was the one idea that sparked off this book?
I have had the premise for this story and the major characters for so long that I honestly don’t know what part came first. When I was a kid, my friends and I loved to act out fantasy stories. We were Tolkien fanatics and we belonged to the Society for Creative Anachronisms. Some of the initial ideas for The Soul and the Seed must have come out of all that, but it isn’t really traditional fantasy. I think a lot of the ideas came from real life. I was frustrated by the senseless cruelty of the high school popularity game and later by the inhumanity of modern political parties and militarism. I spent a lot of time lying under trees in the woods and turning over “what if” questions.
But all of that would have been for nothing without the characters. I barely feel like I can take credit for them, though my subconscious must have been hard at work. Several of them, particularly Kenyen, Rick and Thanh, came to me very close to fully formed when I was a teenager. Their backgrounds and names have not really changed in twenty years of musing, which is a bit odd because I was a kid living in an isolated rural area without much knowledge of the wide world at the time. I had never met an Israeli, an Arab or a Vietnamese person in those days. All I can say is that they are like real people. I can’t make them do or say things that they really wouldn’t do. When I found out more about their backgrounds and countries of origin, I discovered that they were more real than I had initially realized. I decided not to change their names to something realistic for their backgrounds because they had good reasons for having the names they did and they each had a clear voice that I didn’t want to silence.
9) Are you working on the second book now? When will it be available?
I am adding a chapter to the second book and polishing the rest of it. I hope to publish it on Kindle by early October.
10) Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
The online hub of the Kyrennei world is www.kyrennei.com
22919146
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 30

rosie1

Welcome to Day 30, the last day of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Our final guest is Jane Linfoot. Catch up with more from Jane in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

High Heels and Bicycle Wheels

Where is your home town?

I live in Matlock Bath, which is a Georgian Spa Resort, set in the gorge of the River Derwent, in Derbyshire, England

How long have you been writing romance?

The romance writing bug grabbed me in the autumn of 2010.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

So far I’ve written contemporary romance/romcom/chicklit, with feisty twenty-something heroines.

What does Bryony do for a living?

Bryony works for a TV production company. She loves to work on programmes which deal with anything pretty, especially those involving homes and style, but she goes where the work is. High Heels & Bicycle Wheels sees her working on a sports programme, which is hard when she’s the least sporty woman on the planet.

Why is life leaving her high and dry?

At the start of the novel Bryony is facing a triple whammy – her last single friend just named the day, the guy she’s loved from afar forever just got married, and her mother, despairing that Bryony will be single forever, has just offered to pay to have her eggs frozen. Not that Bryony wants a partner…in fact she’s happily single and determined to stay that way.

Tell us about Jackson.

Jackson Gale is hot as they come, cycling’s bad boy superstar. He’s been out of the sport due to injury, and is desperate to get back into competition. For a guy who has only ever known success, the struggles of the last year have left him broken and bitter. He’s agreed to try to clean up his image, as the ultimate one night stand womaniser, but he’s resisting all his manager’s attempts to push him to explore new career options. And then he meets Bryony – and the idea of working on a TV show suddenly gets much more interesting.

Why are Bryony and Jackson heading off in a camper van?

As a writer, I decided a camper van trip offered a fabulous way to fling these two strong characters together. I hoped that the confined space of a camper van would hot-house their conflicts, and send their sizzling sexual chemistry off the scale, and it did. In the story, neither Bryony nor Jackson wants to make the trip. Going away with the other is each one’s idea of hell, but they both have good reasons why they can’t wriggle out of it. And so they set off to sort out the locations for filming a series of cycle rides for Bryony’s TV programme, Sporting Chances.

Why do they need a tandem?

The tandem is the original reason Bryony and Jackson are thrown together. Jackson is supposed to be riding a fun charity tandem race with another sports presenter, who falls ill at the last minute. Bryony is the very reluctant, highly unsuitable replacement. Fast forward to double trouble….

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

Before I begin a to write a new book, I always have the framework firmly nailed down. I like to have the structure of the novel and the characters and their conflicts very well worked out. I’m currently at this stage on my next book, which has a big vintage theme.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Jane Linfoot

My Author links are:

Author Page Facebook (It would be great if people liked my page!): https://www.facebook.com/JaneLinfoot2

Personal Page Facebook (I love to get friend requests!): https://www.facebook.com/jane.linfoot.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janelinfoot @janelinfoot

Website: http://www.janelinfoot.co.uk

Buy Links:

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1qvx4wo

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1jh3Z2x

Find out more about Jane from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 29

rosie1

Welcome to Day 29 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Our guest today is Rae Rivers. Catch up with more from Rae in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Declan Cover

Where is your home town?

I live in Cape Town, South Africa.

How long have you been writing romance?

I started writing at the age of 12 years old and then more full time about a year ago when I signed my Keepers series with HarperCollins.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I usually enjoy stories that are well paced, spicy, filled with humour and romance. Contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense are always a favourite.

Who are The Keepers?

They are three swoon-worthy warrior brothers with very different personalities and powers – Archer, Declan and Ethan. A magical Paranormal Romance.

What do they protect?

They protect Sienna Beckham, a modern day powerful witch. They are her friends, her allies and her fierce protectors. Together, they preserve the balance of nature.

Who is Kate?

Kate is the heroine in Declan’s story. She has very unique powers that unfold throughout the book. Declan is the reckless, impulsive, bad boy of the three brothers and meets his match with Kate. The relationship that develops with these two is so sexy and beautiful. They were such fun to write!

Why was she breaking into The Keepers estate?

Kate’s after three daggers that belong to the Keepers. Her mother urged her to track them down as they’d offer her protection from the evil after her. Declan is at home when she breaks in – and all hell breaks loose. Once again, great fun!

This is part of The Keepers series, can it easily be read as a stand-alone book?

It’s written as a stand-alone book and so far, new readers to the series have found it easily reads as one, however, as it’s a series, it’s always a richer reading experience starting from the beginning. The prequel to the series, The Keepers: Sienna is FREE at all online retailers.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m currently writing the final book in the series, The Keepers: Ethan – and thoroughly enjoying it, despite the challenge of making this the big, epic finale my readers are hoping for!

Where can readers find out more about you?

Rae Rivers

 

My blog:             www.raerivers.com

Twitter- @raerivers1

Facebook – www.facebook.com/RaeRiversBooks

Amazon

http://smarturl.it/TheKeepers

 Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-keepers-declan-book-2-harperimpulse-paranormal-romance

 Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-keepers-rae-rivers/1119438570?ean=9780007536030

Find out more about Rae from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/

 

 

 

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 28

rosie1

Welcome to Day 28 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Liz Everly. Catch up with more from Liz in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Like Honey (eBook)

Where is your home town?

My hometown is Aliquippa, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh.

How long have you been writing romance?

About five years.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

It’s a toss up between erotic romance and historical.

What originally brought Jennifer to Scotland?

Jennifer had a mad love affair with a man who inherited the farm. They married and moved to Scotland.

Tell us about her honey farm.

It’s been in her husband’s family for generations, but when he dies, it fall to her to run it and she notices things are “off.” She tries to save the farm out of love and memory of her husband.

How does Grayson know his honey?

Grayson grew up on a honey farm in Virginia.

What is Grayson’s secret job?

He works for Homeland Security.

What is it that he is looking for on the honey farm?

Without giving away too much, I’ll say it’s illegal contraband.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m working on a non-erotic romantic suspense set in the Appalachians in Virginia, which is where I live.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Liz Everly

http://www.lizeverly.com

Amazon Author Page

Twitter @Liz Everly1

https://www.facebook.com/LizEverlyAuthor?ref_type=bookmark

Find a copy of Like Honey here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Find out more about Liz from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 27

rosie1

Welcome to Day 27 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Romy Sommer. Catch up with more from Romy in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

To catch a star new

Where is your home town?

I live in sunny Johannesburg, South Africa where the weather is warm, the lifestyle is outdoorsy and the people are always on the go.

How long have you been writing romance?

I started writing about eight years ago, not planning to write romance (which I’d hardly read before that point!) until another writer friend told me I “had a voice for romance”. I bought a pile of romance novels from a second hand bookshop, and so began my love affair with romance.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I enjoy historicals set in unusual periods, and YA or paranormal with some romantic elements, but my favourite sub-genre is definitely contemporary romance. Flirty, modern, relatable stories.

How do Christian and Teresa meet?

The meeting between Christian and Teresa was inspired by a scene from Singin’ in the Rain. I showed the movie to my daughters and as I was watching I thought “that could so happen today!” and so I have Christian running away from his too-adoring fans and jumping into Teresa’s car to escape. She assumes he’s trying to hijack her – as I probably would if a complete stranger jumped into my moving car!

What or who are Westerwald?

Westerwald is the fictional European country I created. It lies roughly where the Rhine River lies in reality, along the border between Germany and France. It’s a country of castles and vineyards, with a river running through it, and still ruled by an Arch Duke. Teresa lives in the tiny nation’s only city of Neustadt (New Town) and Christian is a movie star there to film his latest adventure film.

Why must Teresa apply to be Christian’s PA?

After their first, not very auspicious meeting, Teresa would be happy to never lay eyes on Christian again. But her father arranges her a job as Christian’s PA with a secret ulterior mission: to find out how he came into possession of a national treasure that disappeared from Westerwald about thirty five years earlier. It turns out she makes a pretty good PA, but does she find the answer to her secret mission? You’ll need to read the book to find out!

What is the National treasure?

The national treasure is a very ancient ring, a silver dragon curled around a blue lapis lazuli stone. There are only three in existence, and they are the rings of the heirs of Westerwald, passed on to the sons of the Arch Dukes. So how did one go missing and finally end up with a Hollywood actor?

Although this is book 3 of The Westerwald series can it be easily read as a stand-alone book?

There are a few references to characters from earlier books, and the missing ring question is raised in the previous book, The Trouble with Mojitos, but yes, To Catch a Star can definitely be read as a stand-alone.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

At the moment (as I answer these questions) I’m working on a fun short story project for my publisher, Harper Impulse. They invited readers to write an opening first paragraph on a Christmas theme, chose one winner, and then fifteen Harper Impulse authors have been tasked to each write a short story starting with that same paragraph. All fifteen stories with be published together in an anthology for Christmas. I’m very excited to see how different each of the stories will be!

Where can readers find out more about you?

Romy 2014

I have a blog, and am on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I’m also on Goodreads but I have to admit I don’t hang out there much!

Website/Blog: www.romysommer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Romy-Sommer/581103771909039?fref=ts

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/romy_s

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6603454.Romy_Sommer

Buying links

To Catch a Star is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon Smart URL

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iTunes

All Romance eBooks

Find out more about Romy from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/