#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Five Things – Beth Merwood @lizcity77

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Five Things’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Beth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.

Social Media Links:
Website
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

perf5.000x8.000.inddFor nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.
Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.
When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Guest Post :

A trip to the garden centre

How do I spend my time when not writing, or editing, or reading? Well, often I spend it weeding or carrying out some other task amongst the flower beds.
A trip to the garden centre is something to look forward to as well, and I think a lot of us will agree, makes for a reviving and inspiring interlude. It’s important to make sure to allow enough time for a visit: it’s a place where it’s easy to get carried away, to become absorbed by the items on sale and all the possibilities that they conjure.
To start with, there’s a lot of looking to be done. It’s always good to wander through the tree section. For me, that’s a place to dream of having a fruit orchard. I imagine the spring blossom on a cool sunny morning, a few pigs or sheep grazing under the branches.
It seems that gardeners love their ornaments and furnishings, and next I find myself surrounded by grand stone seats, wooden outhouses and glass houses, too large for my space but still enjoyable to see and admire.
In another section lie the accoutrements that might encourage other beings to join us in our outdoor hideaways. Water bowls and bird tables. There are bee houses, insect towers and butterfly hotels on offer. A variety of food for all sorts of birds and beasts can be bought, and plenty of seeds are available that, if grown, could attract and make welcome more of the true owners and inhabitants of our little pieces of the outside world.
Even coming away with a small item, perhaps a new garden tool, a pot, or a piece of garden furniture fills us humans with a positive feeling. It will be pleasurable to go out into the garden later with the perfect implement for the job at the ready. The sheds confirm, that over the years, this has been a common finding, at least for members of my own family. The little buildings are stuffed with implements old and new, practical and experimental. And much as I like a new garden tool, I also love an aged one, with woodworm in the handle, the metal dull and coarse compared to the arrogant shiny stainless steel of the modern version. Some of the older implements remain unfathomable to me; I can’t work out their purpose at all. Others are so simple and throw up visions of a past heyday, in summer fields and expansive plots. I’ve kept a simple tool which involves two wooden spikes joined by robust garden string. The twine is wound round one of the wooden pieces: you push the empty reel into the ground and unwind until, at the distance you require, you push in the other spike. It’s unsophisticated, but perfect for marking a row to plant vegetables or for digging the line of a new flower bed.
A morning cup of coffee on a folding chair on the lawn; reading a book in the shade of a tree; a cool drink with a friend on a terrace or patio on a mild evening, the light fading.
So, car laden with new pots and compost, bird seed, an irresistible watering can, even some flowers — young bedding plants — I’m going home to while away a few hours on a small but special patch of land.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : The Girl With Flaming Hair – Natalie Kleinman @NatKleinman @SapereBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Girl With Flaming Hair’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Natalie’s passion for reading became a compulsion to write when she attended a ten-week course in creative writing some sixteen or so years ago. She takes delight in creating short stories of which more than forty have been published, but it was her lifelong love of Regency romance that led her to turn from contemporary romantic fiction to try her hand at her favourite genre. Raised on a diet of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, she is never happier than when immersed in an age of etiquette and manners, fashion and intrigue, all combined into a romping good tale. She lives on the London/Kent border, close to the capital’s plethora of museums and galleries which she uses for research as well as pleasure. A perfect day though is when she heads out of town to enjoy lunch by a pub on the river, any river, in company with her husband and friends.
Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Synopsis :

Sophie is plagued by the shadows of the past…
Regency England
While driving his curricle, Rufus Solgrave, Earl of Luxton comes across Sophie Clifford lying unconscious in the road, having fallen from her horse.
Not too far from home, he takes her back to Ashby, his country seat, leaving her in the care of his mother, Elizabeth, Countess of Luxton, and his sister, Lydia. Under their kindly supervision, Sophie soon begins to recover.
Upon discovering that Sophie has never mixed with London society, Elizabeth invites her to accompany the family to town for Lydia’s come-out. Unhappy with her homelife and eager to sample the delights of the season, Sophie accepts.
However, her enjoyment is marred when talk of an old scandal surrounding her birth resurfaces. What’s more, her devious stepbrother, Francis Follet, has followed her to London, intent on making her his bride.
Sensing Sophie’s distress, Rufus steps in to protect her from Francis’s unwelcome advances.
And although neither Rufus nor Sophie are yet thinking of marriage, both soon begin to wonder whether their comfortable friendship could blossom into something warmer…
THE GIRL WITH FLAMING HAIR is a historical romantic tale set in Regency England, with a spirited and intelligent heroine at its heart.

Amazon

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always been a reader but I definitely wasn’t one of those people who aspired to becoming a writer. It thrust itself upon me quite by accident when I joined a creative writing class. I could as easily have chosen Art Appreciation or French or any number of other things. It only took one lesson and I was hooked.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I ran the usual gamut of children’s books and suddenly, I have no idea why, The Prisoner of Zenda has popped into my mind. I haven’t thought about it for years! I must read it again. As an adult I went through a sci-fi phase and devoured a huge number of books. Asimov and Heinlein etc. I also loved (and still do) Agatha Christie. Oh, and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. A short period of some wonderfully written horror stories but I had to give up when they gave me nightmares. I can’t watch films in that genre either, for the same reason. But throughout my life since the age of eleven and I have read again and again Georgette Heyer’s historical romances. It’s my comfort reading, though ‘comfort’ isn’t to minimise how very clever she was, and it’s almost entirely due to her that I became the author of traditional Regency romantic novels. There is another who influenced me as well. Now what was her name? Ah yes, Jane Austen. 🙂 I just love the world in which one lived and both wrote.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen for their superlative writing.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Paddington Bear, because he could have all the marmalade sandwiches while I ate the egg mayonnaise and tomato. He’s honest, earnest, and I imagine a joy to be with.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Rituals, no. Habits, yes. I always get ‘jobs’ out of the way before I begin writing because I find it hard to focus when I know there are things that have to be done. And usually those jobs, the regular ones, are done in a particular order so maybe I was wrong to say no rituals 🙂

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
There are one or two people I would like to put in my books but I think they’re safe, for the time being at least. Plot ideas can come from a variety of sources. An old photo in particular can be the catalyst that fires up an idea. This works especially well for short stories. Visiting stately homes where the house itself becomes the setting for a new novel or a city where the architecture is predominantly Georgian, and then something jumps out and I ask myself ‘what if’. An old well in a garden centre was the inspiration for one of my as yet unpublished books. It grew from ‘what if’ into a whole book.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’ve always been a pantser though I’ve learned over time that a certain level of plotting can be helpful. I have to be careful though. I once plotted an entire novel which ended up forced and stilted. It’s still in the virtual drawer and there it will remain.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Writing is a craft and like any other it takes time to learn. The overnight successes one hears about are usually the result of years hard labour. There’s a lot of help out there. Don’t be afraid to ask. Attend what workshops and classes you can but you can’t do everything so choose wisely. Read. Above all, write something every single day. It’s a muscle that needs to be exercised. Don’t be disheartened by rejections – difficult I know – but every writer get them. Even those overnight successes I mentioned above.

What are your future plans as an author?
My publishers, Sapere Books, have three more of my Regencies in the pipeline so I’m hoping for more of the same. Only this morning in the wee small hours I had an idea for another book and no, I have no idea what triggered it. One day though I’d like to write a cosy crime. I love reading them or watching them on TV so it’s something I’d really like to pursue. For the time being though I’m well and truly settled in the early nineteenth century.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
I’d be delighted. There’s a clue in the title – The Girl With Flaming Hair. When the past comes back to haunt her, Sophie Clifford learns that her whole life has been based on a lie. A lie that will affect her whole future.

“That man. The one who has just ridden by. I think I have not seen him before, but he seemed to acknowledge me as if we were acquainted. Pray, can you tell me who he is?”
Bridlington, whose gaze had been fixed on the tree, had not seen the rider. He looked over his shoulder to see who she was referring to. “Good Lord, is he back in town? I haven’t seen him for years. We should move on, Miss Clifford, for I do believe we are causing an obstruction,” he said, gripping her elbow and moving forward. She went willingly enough but repeated the question.
“Why, that’s Joseph Templeton,” he answered. “He’s been fixed abroad for an age. Frankly, I thought never to see him again.”
“He looked surprised when he saw me. I couldn’t help noticing. His hair, Lord Bridlington. Streaked with grey but nevertheless red. Very red. Like mine. I wondered if perhaps we might be connected in some way.”
Ollie was no coward but he didn’t think it fell to him to offer a full explanation, and certainly not in the middle of Hyde Park.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Natalie Kleinman.

Thank you so much for the lovely welcome today. I’ve really enjoyed your questions.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Search For The House of Dreams – Alison Burke

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Search For The House of Dreams’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook
Instagram

Synopsis :

It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears. Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there. Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover. To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris. Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

What happens here leads to the heroine, Genevre, going to London instead of her sister Barbara and meeting the enemy who will become her lover. Here, left alone by her selfish parents to look after Barbara, dangerously ill with a fever, she has sent for a doctor.

He came into the room, a tired, heavy old man in a shabby greatcoat.
‘Miss Stratton,’ he greeted me and explained that he had been delayed by a difficult confinement. He went to the other side of the bed to hold Barbara’s wrist and I didn’t know if the tremor in his hand was due to exhaustion or some other reason. I saw him bite his lip as he felt her racing pulse.
‘Her hair’s keeping the heat in her scalp,’ he said gruffly. ‘It’ll have to come off.’
I stared at him, shocked. Barbara’s hair was a tangled mess now, but when she was well it fell over her shoulders like a golden cloak.
‘Her hair has never been cut. My parents wouldn’t accept that it was necessary.’
He interrupted sharply, ‘They’ll likely have to accept the loss of a daughter if something isn’t done to break the fever. You have scissors, do you?’
Terrified, I turned to the nearby sewing box and snatched up the dressmaking shears, gathered up a handful of her hair, then hesitated.
I felt tears come to my eyes and he said, more kindly, ‘Give the scissors to me. Your parents can’t blame you then,’ but I could not trust Barbara to his unsteady hand and set about cutting off her hair as near to the scalp as I could manage.
When the job was done, he came to my side of the bed, took off his greatcoat, rolled up his shirt sleeves, took the sponge, sodden with cold water, and slopped it over Barbara’s head, ignoring her moans of protest. Water ran everywhere, the pillow was soaked, and he set about drenching the rest of her through her cotton shift. ‘I’ll trouble you for more cold water, Miss Stratton and then you’d best take a rest while you have the chance,’ he told me, and I hurried down to the kitchen, where pails of water from the pump in the yard were lined up on the draining board ready for the morning. I filled two large enamel jugs to the brim and took them up by the back stairs, struggling under the weight. Relieved when the doctor said that would be sufficient, I lay down on the other bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
It was almost an hour later when I heard Barbara calling my name and was by her bed in time to see her blue eyes flutter open. Her forehead was cool to the touch, the doctor smiling with relief.
‘We will never know if it was the medicine, the water or the hand of God that’s pulled her through, but you can close the window and we’ll get her bed changed.’
We pulled the wet sheets and pillow from beneath her and replaced them with the dry ones from the other bed, put her into a fresh nightdress and tucked in the bedclothes.
‘You do not have the appearance of sisters,’ he remarked as he was putting on his greatcoat to leave.
I was used to people remarking on the difference between us. Barbara was small, fair and prettily curved. I was tall for a girl, skinny and with a darker complexion, my hair and eyes very dark.
‘Barbara and the rest of the family are like my father. My mother is from the south of France. I believe I have taken after her side.’
‘And very nice too, if I may say so. How old are you, Miss Stratton? Seventeen? Eighteen. I thought so. A lovely young woman on the threshold of life!’ he remarked with an unexpected touch of gallantry. I felt my colour rise and I glanced away, unused to compliments.
After he had gone, I was too nervous to close my eyes again and sat on the upright wooden chair beside Barbara’s bed, watching in case the fever came back. She slept peacefully, but only when the night faded to early morning light and I heard the clock strike five did I feel it was safe to lie down on the bare mattress of the other bed, pull the blanket over myself and fall asleep.
There was a sudden cry, almost a scream, and I started up, wide-awake. Our mother was standing beside Barbara’s bed, her eyes wild, her beautiful face distorted by a look of horror. For a dreadful moment, I thought the worst had happened, that the fever had returned and taken Barbara while I slept. Then, as I reached the bedside, I saw she was awake, starting to cry as her small, pale hand reached up to feel her cropped hair. Relief swept over me even as our mother turned on me.
‘What have you done? Her beautiful hair gone. Ruined, spoiled forever. You wicked girl. Why did you do such a thing? Why? Why are you so stupid?’
She was likely to shout anything in a temper. I was used to that, used to placating her when she was in the wrong. Now, after the night of anguish I had endured, this was too much. I lost control just as our father came into the room. His anxious glance flickered over Barbara, then he hurried to our mother’s side and put a protective arm around her.
‘She was ill, Mama,’ I cried. ‘The fever was so bad that the doctor said it was the only way to cool her down. To save her! I had tried everything else. What was supposed to do?’
My mother flung herself against my father’s shoulder.
Her French accent, barely perceptible at other times, was pronounced as she sobbed, ‘Charles, what are we to do? Barbara was to go to London with dear Gertrude Oliphant in less than a week’s time. Gertrude has been so good to us and she has asked just this one little thing, that Barbara accompany her. And now she will not be able to go. Not like this with her pretty looks ruined by a jealous sister.’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Not In My Name – Michael Coolwood @ClaretPress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Not In My Name’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

Michael Coolwood writes feminist cosy mysteries. His work is deeply political and his characters are driven by a desire to make the world a better place. This is partly due to a respect for passionate, caring people, and partly because cuts to the health service in the UK have ensured he can barely leave the house due to his swamp of health problems. 

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook

Claret Press:
Website
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Facebook

Synopsis :

PHOEBE GREEN is an anti-war activist in an alternate 2003 where Tony Blair held a referendum to determine whether the UK should go to war with Iraq. The pro-war side won by 52% to the anti-war side’s 48%. The nation is split. Political tensions are running high with accusations that the Yes side manipulated the referendum.
Phoebe is at a protest with her fellow activists CASSIE, XIA, VINCE, PAULA, GUS, LIAM, her ex-boyfriend SEFU and her sister MEL, when they are all arrested except Cassie and Paula. Hours later, Phoebe is interrogated by the police and is informed that Cassie has been murdered.
Phoebe has trouble coping and decides to try to solve Cassie’s murder in order to maintain some sense of control. The activists tidy up in the wake of a police raid, and Liam tells Phoebe that malicious gossip will be emerging about him soon.

Amazon UK (paperback)
Amazon UK (e-book)
Amazon US (paperback)
Amazon US (e-book)  
Waterstones (paperback)

Giveaway :

Win a Paperback of Not in My Name by Michael Coolwood (UK Only)
UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : The Web They Wove – Catherine Yaffe @CatherineYaffe

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘The Web They Wove’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

catherine-skeet-yaffe-006Catherine Yaffe is a full-time writer of crime novels, based in the North of England. The Web They Wove is Catherine’s second novel and continues the theme of questioning how well we know those around us. Her debut novel ‘The Lie She Told’ in October ‘20 was received with widespread acclaim, and so far, has gained over 50 five star reviews across Goodreads and Amazon.

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

DIfc7bRwNot all killers are who they first seem..
The mutilated body of a young female is found in a popular recreation ground in Leeds city centre. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are at once assigned to close the case.
With little to no forensic evidence left at the scene at first Ziggy struggles to put the pieces together. When a second body turns up in the same place, Ziggy starts to feel the pressure from his bosses and the media as fear spreads through the city.
Realising that victims have been held captive prior to their deaths, Ziggy delves deeper and relentlessly chases down every lead, taking him close to breaking point.
When the investigation leads him dangerously close to home, will time run out before the tangled web of evil he’s uncovered destroys everything he holds dear?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Preacher Boy – Gwyn GB @GwynGB

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Preacher Boy’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author. Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.
Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.

Website
Facebook
Twitter
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Synopsis :

A MISSING BOY’S BODY FOUND IN WOODS…
A SECOND BOY SNATCHED…
CAN THE PSYCHOLOGIST WITH A PAST HELP THE CHILDREN WITH NO FUTURE?
When Police find the body of a young boy they fear a Satanic connection and call in Dr Harrison Lane, Head of the Ritualistic Behavioural Crime unit. When a second boy is kidnapped, it becomes a race against time to save him. But he seems to have literally disappeared without trace. It’s down to Harrison to work out who could have taken him and where they’ve gone. The trouble is, the investigation reawakens the dark shadows in Harrison’s own past…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance – Lucy Morris @LMorris_Author @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Lucy Morris lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two young children and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves gin, bubbly and Irn-Bru. A member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association, she was delighted to accept a two-book deal with Harlequin after submitting her story to the Warriors Wanted submission blitz for Viking, Medieval and Highlander romances.
Writing for Harlequin Historical is a dream come true for her and she hopes you enjoy her books!

Social Media Links:
Facebook
Twitter
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Synopsis :

A challenging wife
For a warrior Viking
When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed long-ship he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. This high-status ice queen is not the comfortable wife this warrior chief is seeking. But maybe the bitter-sweet pain in Gyda’s eyes hides another woman beneath? The one he tasted that first night when she’d kissed him with such pent-up longing…?

Purchase Link

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Absolute pleasure, thanks for having me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always loved building stories and worlds in my head. I even scribbled down a few ideas over the years. But I never had the confidence to finish a book or even contemplate about submitting it anywhere.
I did a media degree and then bumbled around until I eventually got a production assistant job at a magazine publishers. After I had my two children, I was at a loss as to what to do with my life. I’d given up work but still needed a focus and some kind of income, like a lot of women, I loved being a mother but also felt as if I’d lost a part of myself.
Writing was a great creative outlet for me, and there was something wonderful about snatching time to write during nap times and free moments. When I finished my first book I was elated, and after ‘editing’, or at least what I thought was ‘editing’ it. I thought ‘what the hell’ I’ll give publishing it a go…what have I got to lose?
Turns out that first book wasn’t any good, but it gave me the confidence to try again. I joined twitter and subsequently found writing tips, groups, and the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers scheme. The second year I was on the scheme I was thrilled to be offered a two-book contract by Harlequin Historical.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a young child I loved fairy tales. I guess that’s a huge hint to my romantic streak right there! Then I started to sneakily read my mum’s historical romances. She was a big Johanna Lindsey fan and I devoured every one of her books. My mum spotted what I was doing, and bless her, she only encouraged me to read more! What does a romance reader love more than books? Talking to other romance readers!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I guess I’ve got to go for the queen, Nora Roberts. I’d love to know how she moves so seamlessly through different genres. As that’s something I’d love to do, I’d also love to know how she manages to write so much – her productivity is immense.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Ahh I’ve been asked this before, and I’m afraid my answer is very sentimental. I lost my mum in the autumn of 2020, so maybe my mum and my characters Gyda and Thorstein? That way my mum could get to know them. I’m so glad she was alive to learn about my publishing deal, but she passed away suddenly and never got to read my book (I’d insisted she wait until the final version). I’d love to spend a bit more time with her and for her to meet my characters, I think she’d have liked them. Plus, Thorstein is pretty hot so not bad eye candy for dinner!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Now that my kids are at school (well depends on the latest lockdown), I try to treat it as a job and sit down to write after I’ve dropped them off.
Firstly, I always write a to do list while I drink the first (of many) cups of tea. I write down what I need to achieve that day, both in writing, promo, and personal life. I find it helps focus me and if I don’t do it then I feel like I’ve achieved nothing or I become overwhelmed by the list of things to do buzzing in my head. I have both a weekly to do list and a daily…I really like lists! Which I know is a bit dull!
I also sometimes light a candle. I heard that can create a sort of Pavlov’s dog response to accessing your creativity… not sure if it works though as I keep forgetting to bring the matches up with me, and the candle I last bought didn’t smell of anything – what a waste! Sometimes while I’m editing or doing promo work, I’ll play music quietly, but music can be a bit of a distraction so I won’t always.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
No, don’t worry. I rarely base characters on real people, maybe aspects of them, but never the ‘whole person’. I love to read and I think that helps with ideas and your skill as a writer. Sometimes I’ll think of a character first or a situation and then work from there. I started ‘The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance’ with the idea of storm and a shipwreck. I had the image of a broken longship smashed against the rocks, illuminated by the light of a burning tree. I loved the contrasting imagery, of fire and rain. I guess that’s where the idea of an ice queen heroine came from too. I used this image in the start of my book and the story went on from there.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I plot – but not in too much detail. I write the general gist of characters and storyline in one of my many notebooks. Then I write my ‘skeletal draft which is always very short and basic. I sometimes give this first draft to my poor critique partners who obligingly read my ‘hot mess’ and tell me what’s working and what’s not. I then go through fixing the problems in my plot and characters, and develop a much stronger, more detailed draft. I then edit and tweak this draft until I’m happy to send it out into the ‘real’ world.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Tip One: Finish your first book. Once you’ve completed your first you know you can actually do it. I spent far longer on my first book then any others…and it’s still unpublishable. You need to learn writing by doing, and there’s no point agonising for too long on your first book. Write it, edit it and then write the next. ‘The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance’ is the third book I’ve ever written. I was finishing my fourth book when I got the Call. Writing is not like a story with a beginning, middle and end, it’s a constantly turning wheel, and we’re the hamsters pushing it.
Tip Two: Find good critique partners, beta readers, writing groups. Not everyone will like or get your work. But hopefully, you’ll find some people that do. These people are like gold dust and I would not have my publishing deal without their advice and encouragement. My writing group and critique partners have lifted me off the floor when I’ve been rejected. They’ve also given me the encouragement and criticism to improve on my writing. By reading their work I’ve gained insight into my own words. They are essential. I’d also recommend the RNA New Writers Scheme if you’re writing romance.
Tip Three: Target your writing to what you know and/or love. I have loved historical romance since I first started sneakily reading my mum’s Johanna Lindsey books as a pre-teen. But I have no academic background in history, so there’s no way I could write my favourite sub-genre, right? Wrong. I’ve read this sub-genre for nearly twenty years. It’s amazing what you pick up along the way. So, write what you love. That’s not to say I don’t do any research, I do. But as it’s a subject I love anyway, I don’t mind doing it. You don’t have to be a history professor to write historical romance books, you just need to be willing to learn. Don’t let anyone or anything put you off from writing what you love.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’d love to write a series next. I’m thinking a trilogy maybe? I really hope people like my books and I can develop a readership with Mills and Boon. The idea of anyone ‘anticipating’ the release of my next book would be a dream come true! I follow my favourite authors on social media and amazon so that I always know when their next book is out…the idea anyone would do the same with me is inspiring….But we’ll see!
I’d like to explore different time period in historical romance…Maybe write something set in the ancient world.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Well as I mentioned my burning tree scene – I might as well show it. It’s at the start of my novel.

North Sea, Coast of Northumbria, 880AD

Thorstein Bergson’s longship crashed through the turbulent waves at a relentless pace. Even so, he feared it would be too late for the survivors of the shipwreck that lay broken upon the rocks. The wind and rain stung his face as mountainous waves threw his boat up and down with merciless fury. But he knew these waters, every dip and every shallow—unlike the unfortunate travellers who’d strayed too close to the broken teeth of land.
Above the wreck, high on an arching cliff, a lonely oak tree burned. Struck by lightning, it blazed from the inside out, its blackened branches reaching up into the storm as if screaming for mercy. Its centre a glowing beacon of death and destruction in the early light of dawn.
A message from the gods that even he could not ignore.
If there were any survivors they should leave an offering at the base of that tree. Without it, Thorstein would never have seen their longship and come to their aid. He was still unsure why he was risking his men’s lives, and possibly his own, to help strangers.
At least the storm that had raged throughout the night was beginning to die. Thor no longer beat his hammer in the righteous sky, and the lashing rain was beginning to ease. It wouldn’t be long before they reached the horseshoe of cliffs that surrounded his settlement’s harbour.
His friend Magnus came to join him at the prow of the ship. Magnus leaned his shoulder against the intricately carved serpent’s head and clicked his tongue against his teeth as he followed Thorstein’s gaze. ‘We shouldn’t sail too close to the rocks, or we might meet a similar fate.’
Thorstein grunted in agreement. The storm was running out of power, but the cliffs were treacherous at the best of times. Currently the tide was coming in, and it was coming in fast.
Magnus eyed his friend thoughtfully. ‘They’ll probably all be dead before we reach them.’
Thorstein frowned and folded his arms against his barrel chest. The longship slowed as his men turned the vessel to come abreast of the wreck. Both men braced their legs and barely moved as the ship swung to the side. They had been in worse waters than this.
Thorstein’s arm ring shone in the amber light of dawn and he stared at the burning oak above the wreck, his facial scar aching in the bitter whip of the wind.
‘I’ll get as close as I can,’ Magnus said, and he nodded.
He frowned at the survivors where they clung to the side of their upturned hull. Their pale, exhausted faces were like skulls in the weak light of dawn.
A cobalt cloak drew his eye. The shade was deep and rare, reserved for only the wealthiest of nobles.
Was this why Thor had brought him here? Was he to save a noble and win a reward?
Thorstein crossed his arms and braced his legs wide as his boat rocked from side to side. He had no need for wealth. His hoard was safely buried beneath his Hall. He had enough for both his future and the afterlife. No, there must be some other reason he’d been called to their rescue.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Lucy Morris.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Rose’s Ever After – Chrissie Bradshaw @ChrissieBeee

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Rose’s Ever After’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Association Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker who writes contemporary and historical family sagas.
Chrissie has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking her dog on the beach, travelling or spending time with her family and friends. She would love to hear from readers.

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Synopsis :

Rose has a promising future stretching out before her until a cruel twist of fate seizes it. Will she overcome her heartache as she tries to build a new life? Rose returns to the safe haven of Linwood colliery and her warm-hearted family. As she settles into life in the colliery rows, Rose makes an astounding discovery and a long lost family member appears who makes demands on them all..
Chrissie Bradshaw’s emotionally gripping historical reads have a northern Catherine Cookson vibe with a modern attitude. ‘Rose’s Ever After’ follows on from ‘Rose’s Choice’ yet it can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel
Read ‘Rose’s Ever After’ to follow the twists and turns of Rose’s eventful life. Will the rugged path ahead, full of challenges, lead her to a new ‘happily ever after’?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Guest Post :

Hi Stefanie
It’s so lovely to be invited into your magic wor(l)d again, thank you!
This post is looking at names given to characters in books and to real-life children. I wrote it ‘tongue in cheek’ so I hope your readers like it and it gives them something to smile at and think about.
Cheers Chrissie

What’s in a name?

I hate to disagree with Will Shakespeare but, for me, a rose needs to be called a rose to smell sweet. ‘Bladderwort’s Ever After’ just wouldn’t do it as a title for my latest book!
When I was young, we used to find Yarrow, a pretty hedgerow flower and pick bouquets. It was called ‘old man’s baccy’ in our neck of the woods and our mother wouldn’t have it in the house. Was it the name? There might have been room for a vase of wild yarrow.
The gift of a bunch of piss-the-beds, which were meant to have a diuretic effect, didn’t get over the threshold either. Dandelion, from the French ‘dent de lion’ meaning lion’s tooth, sounds much more attractive and refers to the jagged leaves of the plant. However, the French do also use the name ‘pissenlit’ because of its diuretic effects.
I rest my case; plant names are important and I want roses, with their lovely name, for a sweet smelling bouquet. Rose is the name of my main character in ‘Rose’s Choice’ and ‘Rose’s Ever After’ and, if you look at the cover,I’m sure you’ll agree I that it suits her perfectly.
The naming of children and of characters in books is a serious undertaking. I spend lots of time choosing my character’s monikers. They can usually withstand a ‘strong’ name because they are fully grown and I can ensure that they live up to their name. The main protagonist in one of my earlier books is Cleo – I know she is wilful , beautiful, a tad selfish, and has the strong features and glossy dark hair of a Cleopatra. This is a perfect name for a grown up and one that only the brave would dare choose for a tiny 7 lb baby girl.
Baby’s names -what about naming our children? Choosing something they’ll live with throughout their lives is a grave responsibilty. These days, I see some parents playing about with them almost recklessly. There should be ground rules don’t you think?
Of her own name, the late Peaches Geldof said:
“Mine has haunted me all of my life, and will continue to do so. I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit. I’m not Jane or Sarah or Samantha: I am Peaches. This doesn’t make sense to me at all. (My dad told me it was because he and my mum were on a Tennessee Williams trip at the time.) Then again, I was going to be called Angel Delight at one point, so I suppose I can count myself lucky.”
Here are my personal feelings on naming both children and characters in my books – I realise that you might disgree with some.
• No fruit – Apples, Mango or Melons won’t do.
• No telescopic names from the parents -Chrisbert, Tomelia or Gilliam don’t hold up.
• Nothing reminiscent of hard materials unless they’re jewels – Woody, Pebbles, Sandy , Clint, Cliff aren’t good but Emerald, Amber and Pearl are fine.
• Nothing with an X – they never sound like that anyway.
• No places with conception connotations – Paris, Valetta,Toyota, Africa, Whitley Bay.
• No baby names like Dolly, Angel, Princess or Munchkin – these are names that will not sit well when the child is school age. Schooldays are hard enough so don’t inflict them on children – keep them for small cuddly beings. Angel my cat was angelic and cuddly so she fitted this name perfectly.
Like most people, I rarely admit that I don’t like a name, do you? I have set responses to baby names. Otis? -interesting! Xanadu how cute! Chicago? Great town to be named after! We must consider that Chintzia, Muconium, Millennia, Zirconia and Sambucca may lose their sparkle but a Rose or a Lily will always be sweet! I must be biased towards flowers – my latest family saga, Rose has a sweet baby daughter called Lily.
I’ve listed groundrules, but I must confess that I believe that some rules are meant to be broken and let me be the first to say that my family’s most recent generation has a fine variety of rule-breaking names! I’m used to them now and find they fit each youngster absolutely beautifully. Xenia -perfect for a delightful girl, Arlie – unusual and just fitting for a handsome boy and Ora – a pretty name for a sweet girl.
I wonder what names will crop up in the next generation of your family? Send me any unusal ones to add to my list.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Dr Glass – Louise Worthington @louiseworthing9

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Dr Glass’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Louise is the author of the psychological thrillers Rachel’s Garden, Willow Weeps, the Entrepreneur, and the horror novel, Rosie Shadow, book one in the Black Tongue Series.
Born in Cheshire, England, Louise studied literature at the University of Essex. As a teenager she read until the small hours, enjoying the darker worlds conjured by Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier.
When Louise isn’t reading or writing, you’ll most likely find her outside enjoying the Shropshire countryside with her husband or messing about with her daughter, and furry and feathered friends.

Website
GoodReads
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Synopsis :

Dr Emma-Jane Glass is a qualified clinical psychologist with her own practice. Emma-Jane has an article published about maternal filicide (a mother murders their child or children) in an academic journal and is subsequently interviewed on local radio about her sympathetic standpoint.
Her perfect life changes when she receives hate mail.
‘Your business is my business now. How many more are going to die before you stop meddling? One, two, ten, Dr Death?’
Abducted and held captive in an empty house, Dr. Glass begins to doubt her own mind.
The tables turn.
And roles reverse.
Emotions are raw. Who is in control?
Hearts and minds collide in a shocking tale of psychological suspense.
Fans of The Silent Patient and The Last Sister will love this hard-hitting and emotional tale.
Dr Glass is the first novel in the Glass Minds Series from the author of Rachel’s Garden and The Entrepreneur.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

An extract from Dr. Glass,
a psychologically layered story of revenge and grief by Louise Worthington.

Dr Glass is safe in her own home, but the memory of her captor still lingers in ways she hadn’t expected.

Enjoyment of food eaten off her finest china plates – she had even used her best cutlery, left to her in her mother’s will, for a meal of paella for one – wine and sleeping and the luxury of an afternoon nap in front of the TV have satiated those unfulfilled needs, but the hunger pangs for something are still there.
Boiling the kettle to make herself a cup of tea when she wanted one quickly lost its novelty appeal; as did expensive coffee from the machine. Even her double bed now seemed smaller than the single mattress they had slept on so comfortably. Yesterday, she’d driven into town and spent as much money as she could in a boutique clothes shop, not even trying the clothes on before purchasing them and bundling them into her wardrobe.
Lucy calls him a monster, but that means Emma-Jane’s heart belongs to one. It is a monstrous love fed by everything, and she will not have her stomach stapled or deny herself a moment longer. She wants her fill of him. Every inch of his skin, his every word a morsel to be savoured, to make her satiated.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : The Highlander’s Secret Son – Jeanine Englert @JeanineWrites @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Highlander’s Secret Son’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

His first love
Now his sworn enemy…
What is Fiona MacDonald doing on the run across his lands? With a wee baby as well! Brandon once loved this woman with all his heart―until her family killed many of his clan. Now, as the new Campbell Laird, he must make sure she pays the price for her betrayal. But how can he claim his vengeance if what she says is true…? That her child is his son and heir!

Amazon US/Paperback
Amazon/US Kindle
Amazon/UK Paperback
Amazon/UK Kindle

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was 8 years old. I wrote poetry and short stories, but it wasn’t until 2013 when I joined Romance Writers of America that I became serious about trying to become a published author. In 2019, I published my first book, a Victorian romantic suspense, Lovely Digits with Soul Mate Publishing.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I have always loved to read, and my parents used to take me to library to get the max number of books I could for the summer reading program. My favorites when I was young were Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. I still love to read mysteries, like the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber, and of course romance. My favorite romance authors are Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, and Mary Jo Putney.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to talk at length with Jayne Anne Krentz. Not only do I love her Amanda Quick books, but I’ve loved every writing session I’ve heard her speak at and learned something new every time.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I would love to sit down with Lady Darby (a character from Anna Lee Huber’s Books) as well as Lucy and John, the heroine and hero from my first book, Lovely Digits.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I use music to plot many of my scenes, and I write best early in the morning (like 5am early) with just my lamp on and several cups of black coffee.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The ideas I get are often triggered by a meshing of something in my current environment with something that’s been spooling up in my imagination without me even knowing it. And I never know when it will finally push itself to the forefront of my mind. For example, the opening scene to The Highlander’s Secret Son came to me right before I went to sleep one night, so I had to get up and scribble it out on a piece of paper before I went to sleep. So, yes, maybe those people in my life should worry. 🙂

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a “plantser.” After rewriting books multiple times due to not having an outline, I now use Plottr software to help me visually plan out my ideas before I begin, even if many of them change.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Here are my top 5 best advice tips:
1) Finish the book.
2) Just because an agent or publisher says yes to you doesn’t mean you have to say yes to them. Pick the agent and publisher that are right for you.
3) Stay in your own lane. Do not worry about what other authors are doing or you will lose your purpose and your joy.
4) Listen to your books as you edit.
5) Edit from the end of the book to the beginning.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I would love to one day be a full time author and be able to live off that income. It would allow me to write 4 books a year: 2 historical and 2 mysteries, and that would be bliss to me!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Set-up: This is an excerpt taken from The Highlander’s Secret Son. It is the moment our hero and reluctant laird, Brandon Campbell, realizes that the baby he has found is his son.

His son?
Brandon blinked at the beautiful little creature gurgling at him. The boy smiled with joy, glee. Hope. The kind of smile he hadn’t encountered in some time. He swallowed hard and stared. He and Fiona had shared more than one clandestine night together and he’d planned on making her his bride, despite the objection he knew her father would have had against the union. The night of the MacDonald attack on Argyll Castle had severed any such plans.
It was more than possible that the boy was his, but was it a trick? She’d deceived him before, and people he’d loved had died.
‘Why should I believe you?’ he asked.
‘Because I give you my word.’
He released an ugly laugh. ‘Your word? It will take far more than that for me to believe you. Not after all you’ve done.’ He stood and crossed his arms against his chest.
‘Curses! Look for yourself, then. He bears the mark of the Campbell upon his arm.’ She glared at him and nodded towards the boy.
Brandon squatted and gently tugged back the grey wool blanket that surrounded the boy. The sight of the pink egg-shaped birthmark along the wee babe’s forearm sent a ripple of recognition scampering down his body. His heart beat feverishly in his chest. The mark was identical to his own, and that of his older brother Rowan.
Glancing up, Brandon met Fiona’s gaze. The mask of indifference, anger and mischief was gone. The softness of her features and the longing in her eyes confirmed the truth. His stomach dropped.
The boy was his.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Jeanine Englert.

Giveaway :

Win A bundle of Highland Treats (Open INT)
Prize contains:
1) One signed paperback copy of The Highlander’s Secret Son.
2) Bookmark and magnet book swag.
3) Scottish Blessing Bracelet.
4) Sterling Silver “Spread Your Wings and Fly” Necklace.
5) Red Journal.

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!