This week I was nominated for ‘The Respect Award’ by my writing friend Shehanne Moore and the irrepressible ‘Hamstah Dudes’. It means a lot to me coming from a lady I respect so much.
Shehanne writes unique historical romance. She has a fabulous blog that always guarantees a giggle and supports the writing community, across the world. If you haven’t visited it yet click on the link.Shehanne Moore Blog
The rules for this award are;
Display ‘The Respect Logo’
Thank the person who nominated you.
Answer the three questions
Nominate three individuals you respect.
So now for the questions:
What is respect and what does respect mean to you?
Respect is an emotion . It’s how you feel or treat someone or something. For me it’s an important emotion. I like to think people I care about respect me. I also believe it’s important to respect other peoples’ beliefs and ways of doing things, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.
Who do you respect the most?
At this moment in time, I respect my daughter most. The last year has been life changing for her. She has matured so much and coped with what ever life has thrown at her, in a positive and sensitive way.
Check out the lovely poem she wrote for her baby son.
It’s ages since I’ve done a writers Q& A tag and I loved doing this one from my lovely friend Shehanne Moore and the hamstah dudes. I hope my answers meet their exacting literary standards. 🙂
Shehanne’s blog and website is a delight you can visit by clicking on the images below
What is your favourite line of poetry about a hamster? Oh okay, we mean a small furry creature, or animal
I don’t remember a poem about hamsters but I do like this poem by an Unknown Author about-‘A Dog’s Soul’. The line that encapsulates a dog completely is this one:
Altho’ his heart may break in two
His love will still be whole,
Because God gave to every dog
An understanding Soul!
.What was your favourite children’s book if it was not Mrs Tiggywinkle?
I loved horses as a child and read so many books about them, but the one that sticks in my mind is ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell. The chapter about ‘Ginger’ the abused carriage horse still makes me so sad.
You’re in the forest, it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s mysterious, suddenly the bushes part and there snarling before your is a savage, giant hamster. What happens next?
I reach in to my pocket and pull out a… Peanut in its shell guaranteed to calm down even the most ferocious and hungry hamster. Maybe I would need more than one for a giant hamster?
Is there any place in the world you would like to set a book or poem and why?
I always feel inspired to write in English country or coastal settings. Northumberland and the Lake District where I set The Dragon Legacy’ are particular favourites.
My first book inspired by the Lakes
You can have dinner with your favourite book hamster, character. Who is it and what will the first course be? Recipes are welcome. Of course if you can’t find a hamster, just choose another animal.
I would love to have dinner with T.S Elliot’s Cats, such an interesting group of individuals. Naturally they would like cream and I love strawberries so the first course would be shortbread biscuits with extra thick double cream and fresh strawberries. mm delicious.
Tell us a bit about what you are working on now.What was the last book you read?
I have recently finished ‘Past Shadows’, ‘a historical mystery romance with a paranormal twist’. The story is set in Regency Derbyshire. I am currently working on a romantic mystery thriller, after the surprising success of The Dangerous Gift. More about this next week on my blog.
How much of you is in your characters or your poetry?
Probably more than there should be. However the elements of me are not necessarily me now, but me when I was younger.
Forget all this hero stuff. You’re being cast as the villain and it’s your choice who you pick so long as they are from a book.
I do love villains. I must admit I loved Xavier, my villain in The Dragon Legacy who was definitely not what he seemed…
Who or what inspires your writing?
Places inspire me first. When I visit a beautiful place or an unusual historical house, it always inspires me to write a story about it. For example when I visited Hardwick Hall a couple of years ago. I was struck by the coldness of some rooms and how ill they made me feel. I’ve stored these feelings away for use in a future story.
Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce-obtaining Lady Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin—a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only?
She came from another time.
Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice.
One kiss is all it takes to flash between two times.
But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be? Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin?
Where worlds collide, can love melt the iciest heart?
Lady Malice is not your typical Regency heroine but she is compelling and strangely likeable. A victim of an arranged marriage, she is still, woefully innocent and unfulfilled. Maybe this is why she enjoys her chosen career so much?
Destroying marriages is an unusual pursuit for a married lady but it keeps her in shoes and stops her thinking about her own disastrous nuptials. Faced with an unthinkable dilemma she seeks out her errant husband to carry out her latest commission, with life changing results.
The time slip is seamless and the shift from Regency drawing room to Saxon village under Viking attack, swift and shocking. Malice’s surprise and fear is tangible but her cynical outlook and sharp tongue remain. Both traits help her withstand the unexpected ordeal, despite the carnage surrounding her.
Sin is less than impressed with the latest slaves but he needs a bed slave to keep his fickle fiancée interested. Malice is no one’s slave but she finds Sin hard to resist. The chemistry between the courtesan and the Viking is memorable, despite the incongruity of their situation.
I loved the inconvenient time travelling and the gradual reveal of its meaning. Malice is prepared to risk all for her man and her strength and tenacity are legendary.
I purposely delayed writing this review for a few days, to see what I could remember. Malice, Sin and their compatriots’ formidable personalities, are easy to recall.
An early Valentine’s treat for you all.After last week’s author interview with the fabulous Shehanne Moore, if you missed it you can read here, I have the redoubtable Lady Fury on my blog today. She allows us a rare glimpse into her complex life. Thankfully she isn’t aware Shehanne was here first , so don’t tell her will you?
It’s lovely to welcome you to my blog Milady Fury.
Now forgive me for saying but anyone who has read your story; ‘The Unraveling of Lady Fury’ knows you are a little obsessive about rules. Do you have any other obsessions/secrets you’re prepared to share?
Moi? Obsessive? Oh not at all. You have read my story; you know how awful Flint can be and that rules with him are a must. As for other obsessions? I have none. Have I shown you this picture of Flint?
I can see the attraction.
Are you really the driven, often heartless woman you seem to be? If so what made you that way?
Not at all. Indeed, did you not say yourself, I was a delight???? I do admit that being dumped on a quay, in a strange city, without a penny to my name and a baby on the way, AND narrowly missing that trunk Flint flung at me, I may have become a little driven in terms of securing my future. Wouldn’t you?
When you put it like that I think I might be, which leads on to my next question. Would you consider Flint your weakness and if so why?
Oh…very well, Milady, you do drive a hard bargain. I think it is fair to say that Flint and I go back a long way. He was my first lover and there were times when we were very good together. I admit that I was younger then and a very different person from what I am now. So there were aspects of the not so good moments, I probably should have done differently and yes, these things can haunt. Like trying to bring that parakeet aboard the Calypso for example, which got me heaved off it. He is Storm’s father. I think women find it hard to walk away from that. I suppose he got under my skin and no-one else compared and not just because he’s good in bed. Flint’s not good at being humble and a cat probably had a better upbringing, so even when he’s bad, I can’t help but forgive him.
If you lived in the twenty- first century what type of woman would you be?
I’d like to be better educated. The opportunities for women that way are just so much better, although I suppose that being brought up in a brothel, had its uses. I’d hope to be less driven. And of course, I’d be just as nice and amenable as I truly am.
Mmm , how insightful you are Milady.Who’s your favourite character in Shehanne’s other stories?
You mean apart from myself? Well, I do admit that her Black Wolf of Lochalpin, Callm McDunnagh the hero of His Judas Bride, is rather tasty. Yes. He is very ruthless and thinks nothing of taking the odd throat out, then there’s his appalling sarcasm every time he opens his mouth. But the lovely Milady Aimee Duffy said he ‘is as terrifying as he is intriguing,’ while the equally lovely Milady Erin Moore summed him up by saying “Callm is a tortured and twisted alpha male, yet underneath is a big marshmallow.’ And I think that’s it with Callm. He is prepared to lay down his life for Kara and I do not think it gets more romantic than that. Kara is also a very damaged woman—let’s be clear, Shehanne wrote this—but he get totally gets that and knows he is going to have his work cut out with this woman. So I do admit to something of a soft spot for Milord Wolf. Indeed I wish Shehanne had written him for me…..
How interesting…I promise not to tell Flint. Now for all the romantics amongst us. Do believe in love at first sight?
Well, it is that romantic time of year isn’t it? So I suppose I should say that when I looked at Milord Wolf…sorry, I may not believe but it is very clear to me that Flint does. I mean in his own way, when he first saw me on board the Calypso, wearing his dead lover’s dress, it was perfectly plain, it was love. He just found it hard to admit, as we all do, that such a heart stopping thing can happen. You can find your partner in a glance.
You’ve travelled all over the world with your ‘book club’. Where in the world would you most like to live?
Hmm… Really Milady, so long as it’s with Flint, and isn’t any of the places we are wanted, anywhere is good.
Apart from Flint? Do you have a favourite crew member?
Apart from you good self, Skipper Jane, I am very fond of Myrtle, probably because if there is one thing Flint loathes it is parrots.
SO she has her uses, although we do have to hide her from him quite a bit and pretend we are doing all the squawking.
Do you believe in ‘Happy Ever After’?
I believe in ever after. Yes indeed. Any ‘ever after’ requires working at in order to keep it happy. If you waltz off into the clouds with unrealistic expectations, it’s a long drop down.
Thank you for visiting me here today Milady its been an unforgettable experience. Before you go, have you one of your wonderful recipes to share with us today?
My favourite Valentine’s dish apart from Flint? Oh, indeed, I have a special Valentine’s Day…. Sugared Nuts.
Do serve with my cocktail.
Mmm both of those sound delicious. I will be making a red velvet creation, a cake of course, which I will share with you tomorrow Valentine’s Day .
If you would like to read Lady Fury’s story or meet Callm McDunnagh,Wolf of Lochalpin, here you go:
Well Jane, I think I can safely say I just love the past. I always have. The books I read, the films I love best, are usually historical. And it wasn’t all that different in terms of the emotion. Look at how turbulent the big events in history were. Look at how, for example we love the drama of Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn. For all the times that story has been told I still reckon there’s a story there that has not been told.
I chose to write romance because I thought it was possible to get into the industry that way. Obviously when it came to choice of genre, there was only one!
What inspires you to create your dark, sexy, historical romances?
I’d love to say it’s a painting, or an old place. I do love old places and I squirrel them away for use. But all my stories start with a simple image, or premise. I have no idea what’s going to happen next. If only.
Lady Fury your first heroine, if I can call her that, has her own blog ‘Furious Unravelings’. Can you tell us how that evolved?
I reckon you’ve said it there yourself. ‘If I can call her that’. That’s the reason she has her own blog. My second book was coming out and I feared the havoc she would wreak not being centre of attention. So I thought I’d move her. Also, I did think that giving her a pirates’ book club would let me help promote other authors, as well as giving her something to do keeping the guys in about, even if they can’t read.
My experiences at the book club were very memorable you can read them by clicking on the links:
Now onto your other ladies who are also tempted by bright sparkly treasures.
Was there a particular event in history that inspired you to write your London Jewel Thieves series? What can we expect in book 2?
Talking these little flashes, I could see a coach, a woman with a necklace she’d stolen and her planting it on this guy and completely ruining his life. That was it. I started writing, I called her Sapphire and filled in the back story, putting her in this gang of thieves. Then I called her friends Ruby and Pearl. As I was doing this I began to think that some of these other women, I was mentioning could have their own story as part of a series.
Book two which is nearly finished is about Splendor. She’s not a thief, she was their skivvy and now the gang has broken up, she’s living on her wits, calling herself Splendor (as you do, her real name’s Dora) and trying to win a fortune in a chess competition. She’s a sort of Cinderella. But things get badly out of hand. Will she end up with Prince Charming, Buttons, or dead on a duelling field? My lips are sealed.
Can’t wait. If you haven’t read Loving Lady Lazuli yet, the first book in the London Jewel Thieves series, check out my review here.
Your stories are characterised by their wonderful dialogue. Do you find this easy to write? Any tips for writing realistic dialogue?
They are? I’m so glad you got that 20 quid and didn’t ask for more. I’d have been skint otherwise. Dialogue? Well, I guess I have one basic rule. Don’t waste a word. I used to write for Bunty and M+J (girls’ comics). You did it in frames. You wrote the dialogue and the instructions to the artist in each frame, so many frames to a script. You basically had to think in captioned photos. Perhaps because I did that I don’t find dialogue difficult to write. Narrative, yes. In fact I have to stop myself writing dialogue, or there would be a book of it. Tips? Well, I think plays really show you how to advance a scene with no narrative. So read some. Also remember that men and women use very different words and regard things totally differently. Think about your character’s sex and personality as well as their goal in each scene. They are bringing that to the table when it comes to what they are going to say and how they will say it. Also it doesn’t matter if it’s two lines of dialogue between a lesser and a major character. Don’t waste it.
Great advice and would you believe I used to read ‘Bunty’ many moons ago it was a fab comic. 🙂
You are a great supporter of other writers, myself included. How important are the blogging and writing communities to a writer’s success?
Okay, for some that might not be important at all. Obviously there’s writers who make it without that. But I think for those with smaller publishers, who can’t throw any money at promoting their authors, it’s vital. Personally I’m a big believer in supporting other authors. I’ve made some wonderful friends that way in both the writing and the blogging communities, including yourself Jane. These are people I would never have known if I’d stuck to the me, my book and my book mantra. It costs nothing to help someone.
Have you ever wanted to write a story in another genre? If so which one?
I used to write stories for my school pals years ago. They were historical epiccy things. I would like to write in that genre, historical fiction as opposed to romance. I’m considering having a look at them again and thinking about their focus.
I know that you have a new release in the summer with Soul Mate publishing can you share a few secrets about your latest story?
OOH. Well, The Viking and The Courtesan is a time slip story featuring Sin, a sumexy Viking and Malice a Regency lady who runs a marriage wrecking business. The blurb probably explains it best. I’m happy to let you have first sharie.
‘In 898 AD she wasn’t just from another land.
Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce obtaining, Lady Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin–a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only? She came from another time. Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice. One kiss is all it takes to flash between two worlds But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be? Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin? Where worlds collide can love melt the iciest heart?’
It sounds amazing, historical, time slip romance – I can’t wait to read it.
What type of books do you like to read? Any favourite authors?
Hmm. I love the hard boiled writers, Cain and Mcoy. Talking dialogue they never wasted a letter never mind a word. Give me F Scott Fitzgerald. Oh and Margaret Mitchell. Coming more up to date, I loved discovering Kate Furnivall and Kate Atkinson. I will read pretty well any genre, history mainly but I like suspense too. And I’m not just saying it because I’ve met many wonderful authors and some of these authors have become friends, but I do love reading Incy Black, Antonia Van Zandt, Noelle Clark, Catherine Cavendish, Sharon Struth and your good self. I would enjoy these books anyway.
I can’t let you go without mentioning the ‘hamstahs’. They’re an integral part of your blog now. What inspired you to introduce them to us?
Lol! Ok. I was looking at the entries on this pitch comp and some had everything but the kitchen sink flung in. So I thought I’d blog the basic rules of romance writing and I had this person thinking how they would put in the French Revolution, the Druids of Stonehenge and the emancipation of women. At the last for some reason I changed that to hamsters. I think it might have been Antonia Van Zandt who asked what was that about? So next blog I let them on. There is something very expressive about their faces so of course I let them speak. They haven’t shut up since.
I’m now going to but before I do can I just thank you for inviting me to your fabulous blog Jane. I’ve loved being here.
So glad you found time to visit me and I look forward to welcoming Lady Fury soon. If you want to know more about Lady Fury’s unraveling read my review here.
I’m introducing my latest hero Zane the wolf shifter who many of you may remember from The Dragon Legacy. Zane and his witch Jasmine made such an impact on me and my readers that I wrote their story as the second book in The Dragon Legacy Series even though neither of them are dragons. 🙂
I enjoyed putting together my Pinterest board for the Revenge Masquerade, particularly searching for visual inspiration for Zane both the man and the wolf.
Zane met Lukas nearly a thousand years ago when the dragon saved him from demons who slayed his family…
‘The angry cries of desperation from his allies, the wolf- shifters, alerted him. He swooped and scorched the demons with his fiery breath. Too late. All the wolf-shifters lay dead, except for Zane. He still fought, covered in blood and gore, with tears of hate and grief on his face. He didn’t notice Lukas at first, fighting for his life with increased desperation as he watched his family die around him. The attack was so quick; the wolves couldn’t shift in time. Zane killed the last demon as Lukas landed.’
Fire met Ice when Jasmine saw Zane
‘A flash of silver hair caught her attention as Jasmine carried a tray of clean glasses out of the conservatory. Zane, she ignored the unexpected hypnotic pull. She wouldn’t turn round for another man in pursuit of her power. “Hi, shall I walk you into dinner?” Zane’s deep voice forced her acknowledgement of him, so Jasmine smiled. “Thanks, but,” she indicated her outfit, glad of her watertight excuse, “as you can see I’m the hired help. I’ll be serving at the table rather than sitting at it.” ‘
‘Zane ushered her into the alcove, dominated by a beautiful lemon tree. Her stiff shoulders betrayed her annoyance, but her body relaxed as his warmth enveloped her. A small victory since Jasmine let his alpha behavior pass without comment. “You need to stay away from Xavier. He knows who you are. He wants your power.” Jasmine’s gaze clouded. “I don’t understand. What do you mean, who I am?” He didn’t have time for games. “He knows you’re a witch!” ‘
Zane is a heartbreaker…
‘He smiled at the thought of the fiery haired witch saving herself for him. Strong willed, powerful and a future guardian witch, she didn’t need a man to complete her life. Fortunately he was more than a man.”I have to go Jasmine.” “You’re leaving now?” Shock and disbelief filled her emerald gaze hastily masked. “Oh, I see. You meant to say goodbye and leave before and instead we… This was a mistake then.” She looked away but not quickly enough for him to miss the sheen of tears which marred her sparkling green eyed gaze.’
And a Fighter…
‘Zane launched himself at Xavier and pinned him against the jagged rock. He threw his head back and plunged in for the kill.’