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Interview with M.L.S. Weech

My guest today is author, M.L.S. Weech, otherwise known as Matt!

Hi Matt, welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to begin by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
Me

I’ve been published for about three years. I do that when I’m not enjoying my job teaching Sailors at the Defense Information School. I was raised in the desert southwest, and in my youth, there wasn’t exactly a lot to do because I essentially lived in a desert. My imagination was my most accessible toy. I grew up to join the Navy, and after ten years of service, I returned to where my career started as a civilian instructor.

 
When and why did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about 8. I’d just watched what is still my favorite movie ever, and my favorite character died. Naturally, I cried, but my biodad sort of chuckled at me and told me to write a better movie if I didn’t like this one. So started work on the sequel, and I’ve been writing ever since. I finished my first book when I was about 17. I got genuinely serious in 2009, when I joined a writer’s group and committed to writing 1,000 words a day. I love stories. I love thinking about the plot. I love the crafting of words. It has simply been a part of my life for so long I’m not sure what my life would look like if I didn’t do it.

 
What inspires your books?

My posts are usually inspired by something random. My first book, The Journals of Bob Drifter, was inspired by my family dod and my dad. My mom had a nightmare she told me about, and that inspired my second book, Caught. My newest published novel is an anthology in which my contributing story was inspired by the riots in Virginia. So usually I see or hear something, and my brain, which is prone to flights of fancy, takes it to an extreme degree.

 
Are there any particular places that help you get the creative cogs turning?

I’m a believer in work habit and ethics. I can pretty much write anywhere, but I’m most productive on my couch with my laptop and cool elevating table. (I can pull the top up so it’s even with my arms). That’s where and how I’ve written for about five years, so that’s where my body is most conditioned to want to write.

 
What is the setting and genre of The Power of Words?

The Power of Words has four stories. The first is a science fiction novella set in a world where people can virtually swim in a social media world. That world is dominated by a group of speakers called Voices. This is a world in which social media and digital lives (in this case lived through visors known as omnies) rule, and bare faces are considered odd.

The second is a traditional fantasy set in Richard T. Drakes’ Hollow World series. The story takes place at a seedy bar, and it’s essentially a hostile negotiation between an entrenched criminal and a newly risen hero of the people.

The third is the first in a post-apocalyptic series. It’s a zombie survival story taking place in San Antonio. Some might roll an eye at the idea of “another” zombie apocalypse, but this story is unique in that the main character isn’t one who’s in any way suited to survive in such a place.

The last story is my own, of which I’m very proud. It’s a dystopian science fiction heist story. A mom, who’s essentially a former policeman, hatches a scheme to take out the servers for the planetary silence protocol currently enforced. She believes in the right to speak, and, more importantly, she wants her daughter to be saved from the ruthless enforcement policies currently in place.

 
Why do you think this book will or should appeal to new readers; what makes it stand out?

The first reason would be that it’s great speculative science fiction in the vein of Hugo novels of old. There’s a clear message and meaning, which is nice in a world of popcorn scifi.

The other reason is that it’s all dedicated to the importance of communication. We live in a world where maybe sometimes people want to be heard, but they don’t want to listen so much. I think people need a reminder on the importance of hearing and speaking. Communication is what matters. These themes are wrapped stories that are engaging and fun.

 
Many authors state that their characters are portions of themselves. Is this true with you?

I don’t even hide from this. Part of my process when I create characters is that I give them one trait from myself. Sometimes it’s a good trait. Sometimes it’s a not so good trait. Every now and then, I take a positive trait to an obsessive degree to see what happens. I’ve has people ask me which character is most like me, and I do have a thought on that, but the fact is every character has a part of me. Those who know me and read my books often comment how much of myself they see in each character.

 
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Umm….(counts in his head)…five unpublished books and one half-finished.

 
What is your favourite part or scene in The Power of Words? Can you give us a peek?

I can’t give you the peek because my favorite part is the reveal in my contribution to the story. I’ve had many people complement me on the plot twist in Caught, and I think this twist is just so much better. That’s honestly my favorite part, but another part I enjoy is a scene in which the crew’s lifter, Laree, is trying to get a security badge. It’s just a cute little scene that makes me chuckle. Here it is:

A pair of glass doors whooshed open as she stepped into the lab. She kept her eyes down, but noticed a few technicians look at her. She pointed at the empty lab chair before snatching up a data pad, pretending she’d forgotten it.
Bad mark! she thought looking at the first person she saw. He didn’t have a red badge either. Bad mark! Bad mark! Two more employees displayed their green badges like wards against her plan, mocking her increasingly impossible timeline.
She walked around the monitors and holo-tables as if simply taking a leisurely route back out of the room.
Bad mark! For spark’s sake does anyone on this floor have a … there’s a good mark.
A spindly young technician in need of two meals and a gallon of anti-acne cream sat at a monitor. His red badge dangled from his white coat pocket like a pretty bow. She made a show of nearly dropping the data pad, and the helpful tech, who’d probably never seen a woman naked before, had his moment in the limelight. He heroically stood there while she plowed into him. He just managed to snag the data pad as she snatched the man’s badge.
He looked at her, and she could practically see the wedding play out in his eyes.
Oh, Sweetie, no! She hid her face with the data pad and winked at him before heading out of the lab.
That’s when her wrist communicator started flashing.
Come on, Laree! Did you really think it was going to go that smoothly?

 
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

Power of Words Cover_FRONT_EBOOKAgain, I’m super proud of this one. I actually designed it myself. I knew I wanted a text-based cover because it was an anthology. So I took the title and played with some concepts. One of my favorite design techniques is the Gestalt principle of figure and ground. Silhouettes use this same principle. The idea is the contrast of one set of shapes on a simple background create the impression of an object or, in my cover’s case, words. I took this one step further because I used a very specific set of words as my figure (the text creating element). I keep it secret as to what those words are because I’d like to think people wonder what the words are and end up staring at them to figure out what publication they’re from. It’s a simple concept executed well. I’m not trying to boast. I’m not saying it’s the greatest cover or concept ever. I just assert it’s a solid idea done well. The real judgement of that would be the viewers though.

 
Have you done any personal appearances?

Ever? Yes. I’ve been in a few bookstores, and I usually do a book launches at a local comic book store. The owner (Bumper) is a great guy, and I like to hang out there. I don’t anymore because if I go in there, I’m going to buy rare comics, and they’re expensive. Most of my appearances (and the one I’m about to do) are at conventions. My next one (and last for the year) will be the Baltimore ComicCon Sept. 28-30.

 
What do you think makes a good story?

I honestly have a simple formula for that. Sympathetic, proactive characters + interesting plot + interesting world = good story. The key element there is the character. They can be reading a book or talking about the weather if they’re sympathetic and proactive enough. I do have to explain that sympathetic to me doesn’t necessarily connote “likable.” A character someone hates can be just as captivating as a character someone loves. The point is, the character evokes strong emotions.

 
Which writers inspire you?

Currently, I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I think Peter V. Brett is the best with characters. Dan Wells is the most underrated author out there right now. Then there are the go-tos, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Timothy Zahn, and Dean Koontz. I do want to give special attention to Michael G. Manning and C.L. Schneider, two indie authors who really are outstanding.

 
Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your book(s)?

The Journals of Bob Drifter is already out on Audible, and Caught is nearly finished. In fact, the Audible version of Power of Words is in production, though I’ve hit a snag there, so it might not be out as soon as I want.

 
Writing seems to be a large part of your life. Imagine a future (if you can) where you no longer write. What would you do?

Well, I’m getting married in November, so I’d probably just be an annoying dad and (hopefully) loyal husband. I’d watch WAY more football (and THAT’S saying something) and play a few more video games too. I might take up sleeping as a hobby. I’ve heard good things about it.

 
Your blog is a mixture of books (news and reviews), Book Cover of the Month and your Mum/your faith:
How/why did you come up with the idea for Book Cover of the Month?

I love top ten lists and competition and brackets. I also love book covers. So I started out just picking covers I thought were nice because that’s actually how I discovered C.L. Schneider. After I started doing that, I wondered what to do the covers. The idea for a bracket came pretty quickly after that. I just like to talk about covers. I’d like to see more voters, and I would really like to have more (professional) debates about why this cover works and why that one doesn’t. For now though, it’s really fun, and I’d look at the covers regardless. This just gives me an interesting bit of content to offer my readers.

 
Has writing about your Mum’s illness and your ‘Trial of Faith’ helped you?

The testimony is first and foremost about giving glory to God. This trial truly shaped me. It saddened me. It broke me. It humbled me. But it also helped me improve my relationship with God. I struggle with pride so much in my life. I was raised in it. I was trained in it while in the Navy (Take Charge! Be a Leader! Be Assertive!). This event was humbling because here I am, a man committed to the idea of, “There’s always something I can do!” Then I’m placed in this situation where I was simply helpless. It’s put me in a place where I’ve realized I’m subject to God’s will and God’s grace, and I’m better for it. Life was hard when I felt like it was all on me. Now I realize my life is in God’s hands, and everything he does, even this, is for good. The testimony reminds me of that. I still struggle with pride. MAN do I struggle with it, but I hope I’m improving and growing.

It also helped me to open up more. As I said above, I already fail to see what’s “interesting” about me. Combine that with the fact that I’m honestly super private and generally selfish with my time, opening up like this has helped me grow as a person.

The greatest help would be hearing, thinking or knowing that my testimony has helped introduce more people to Jesus, and through him God. I fear now that what I’m doing might be brining too much attention on myself and not enough to God (which is the main objective). I feel this way because our faith and grace are evidenced (not granted!) by the fruits of our labors. I’m not honestly sure if’ I’ve born any fruit. I’m not sure if I’ve helped anyone find Jesus or even encouraged anyone going through something similar. That portion of the blog is almost over. I have ideas on what the Sunday blogs will be, but I want them (and everything I do) to glorify God. I may fail more often than I succeed (because we all fall short of the Glory of God), but I want to try.

 
It’s time to relax! What do you do?

I write. When I’m not writing or watching football, I’m playing video games. Reading is fun. But honestly if I had more time for writing, I’d be much happier. Marketing, editing, publicity, those things just really burn me out.

 
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Favorites ever are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BEST EVER), How I Met Your Mother, Stargate SG-1, and Supernatural (the first five seasons only). Current series would be Doctor Who, The 100, The Marvel TV shows, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things.

 
If you had to choose a character from one of your books to have lunch with, who would it be and why?

Bob from The Journals of Bob Drifter. Sure, he might be there to take my soul, but he’s hundreds of years old. He’d have a ton of stories to tell me before I croaked.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m bad at sharing. Not because I’m unwilling, but because I’m really just sort of baffled at the sorts of things people want to know about. I think I’m pretty boring, so it’s hard to think about things because I just don’t know. I usually talk about my students or my kids (my fiancee’s kids, but I’ve pretty much already hijacked them).

 
Thank you for joining us today, Matt. Good luck with the release of The Power of Words in October, and best wishes for your wedding and the future.

 

Noémie’s Journey by Victoria Saccenti

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is proud to announce the release of her newest novel
Noémie’s Journey

 
Noémie's JourneyLove is waiting around the next curve…but trouble is never far behind.

Desperate to shake memories that stalk him like feral beasts, Richard Winters points his motorcycle toward the highway and twists the throttle—destination anywhere but New York. By the time he puts his kickstand down, he’s in Summitville, North Carolina, where, with a few annoying exceptions, one being an outlaw MC, he’s left alone.

Except there’s one woman who catches his notice and resurrects the protective instinct that cost him everything once before. A woman with stunning green eyes that haunt his dreams, and facing prejudice that makes him want to rise to her defense. But that would mean doing the last thing he wants to do—lower his guard.

Noémie Bellerose has heard times are changing, but in 1968 North Carolina, she and her younger brother are second-class citizens. The new bartender in town is temptation on two wheels, but in what world could the two of them connect? Not this one.

Despite their best intentions to avoid trouble, trouble finds them both—and so does an attraction that won’t be denied. But can love bloom where it is planted, or will they be forced to resort to desperate measures…before hate cuts them down?

Available for pre-order now at 99c

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Excerpt:

PROLOGUE
Mount Vernon, New York. April 1968

         Dickey entered his apartment, and before he could flip the light switch, the memories—feral beasts lying in wait—pounced from every direction.
         
Damn it. Stop. Stop. He stabbed his fingers into his face, but the self-inflicted pain had no effect on the barrage of angry whispers circling him. Taunting him, they grew louder…intensified to a roar of screams and jeers.
         He’d done everything to break the pattern, had changed his routine, rearranged the sequence and time of his actions and nothing worked. As soon as he was alone, the scene and participants came to life, clawing at him whether he played music, listened to the radio, or watched TV. No distraction, no entertainment on earth could end the torment or silence the voices. No. They pulled him, yanked him back to the moment…the god-awful moment.
         
No more.
         It was late, close to midnight, and still he reached for the phone—a pathetic jerk, a slave of the past. He loathed the lack of control, the outright weakness the call would reveal.
         “Hey, Skip. Sorry to wake you.”
         “Hmmm…yeah. Dickey?”
         “Got a moment, pal?”
         “Shoot. I’m awake now.”
         “You once offered to buy my share of the business. Are you still interested in going solo?”
         “It was a passing interest. But…why bring it up now?”
         “Because I’m getting out of Dodge. I refuse to spend another hour in this state. I’m done. Finito.”
         “Hold on, man. Vivian again? It’s been years.”
         “I can’t shake it. I see her…them… No more.”
         “What about that sweet young thing? She likes you.”
         “And she was getting too clingy. I don’t do girlfriends. Mind’s made up.”
         “Wait, Dickey—”
         “Nah, I’m packing. I’ll head west or maybe south. Not sure. When I stop, wherever I stop, I’ll call. Hopefully, a drastic change will do the trick. And Skip, when you see that girl, please tell her I wish her the best.”
         He dropped the phone on the cradle and swept through his place, tossing a few rolled items into the smallest duffel he owned. He didn’t need much. He’d tear into the road, travel light and long with a single purpose in mind: leave good old Dickey behind and forgotten. Hello world, meet Richard Winters.
         In a few strides, he closed the door to his last home in New York, mounted his bike, and, with a deep rumble, sped into the night.
         Ill or fair, he’d meet the wind head-on.

 

About the Author:

Victoria SaccentiAmazon Bestselling author, Victoria Saccenti picked up pencil and paper the moment her childhood book heroes started conversing with her. Sounds a little crazy, but there’s no rhyme or reason for inspiration. Back then, she wrote one-act plays and short fairy tales for simple amusement. Today–many…many moons later–her playful stories have grown into family sagas and retro and contemporary romances with an edge. An avid people watcher, she explores in her novels the twists and turns of human interaction, the many facets of love, and all possible happy endings.

Victoria lived overseas and traveled the world for thirty years, and she brings that experience and sense of adventure to her stories. She enjoys taking her reader on a private journey from America to Europe to Southeast Asia and back around.

Central Florida is home. She splits her busy schedule between family and her active muse at Essence Publishing. But if she could convince her husband to sell their home, she would pack up her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores.

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Interview with Victoria Saccenti:
by Karina Kantas

-What made you want to be a writer?

My writing journey began decades ago. I plunged into the adventure-filled pages of Emilio Salgari’s Tigers of Malaysia and my imagination awakened. I started writing juvenile fantasies, kept a diary, progressed to short stories, then finally took on the big project, full-length novels.

 
-How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

Read, read, and read some more. That is the main advice given by every major author. As other works expand the knowledge and style base. We’re exposed to new and different worlds when we read.

 
-Which character do you identify with most in your novel?

This may sound crazy, but I don’t identify with one specific character. I love and identify with all of them. When they speak to me, I listen.

 
-Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?

I don’t like to tell anyone how or what to think. I only present events, choices, and possibilities. The characters come up to the proverbial crossroad and learn from their mistakes. In the exchange I can only hope the readers take something of value.

 
-Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

I hide out in my silent cave. LOL I can’t write with music. If I do, my mind wanders away, gets lost in the notes and I lose the connection to the character(s).

 
-What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

My cave is an organized chaos. I have all sorts of necessary goodies. Affectionate notes from my dear hubby, photographs of dear friends, my special notebook, things like that.

 
-What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.

The biggest challenge was to gather the courage to put your work “out there” exposing your soul to the public.

 
-When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

I have a wonderful set of friends.

 
-How do you market your book?

Social media platforms are a great way to spread the word. I also advertise via Internet publications. Plus, I have a terrific VA.

 

-Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.

Yes, readers regularly contact me. Their compliments are extremely rewarding.

 
-Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

I send the manuscript to two fantastic Beta readers. My editor is also a wonderful barometer/critic.

 
-Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

My very first book signing took place in San Antonio, Texas, at the lovely Menger Hotel. I was a nervous wreck and didn’t know what to expect, or how many books to bring. Authors decorated the packed room with colorful pullout and table banners. Logo’s, quotes, and character images where everywhere. My table partner was sweet and funny. She was probably as nervous as I was, since that was her first event as well. The happy cacophony of laughter and conversation and the scent of fresh popcorn are indelibly etched in the memory bank. Who knew that would be offered at the door? I also remember the aroma of chocolate. I had swag Hershey’s bites spread out on my table. I have a feeling the bites had a lot to do with the readers stopping by. They might have sold a book or two. Hershey’s bites rule!

 
-What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

Reading is my favorite pastime.

 
-Tell us your favorite novel?

I’ll take a different tack. My favorite writer is Dorothy Dunnett. I love her series The Lymond Chronicles and House of Niccolò. The best historical fiction books ever written, in my humble opinion.

 
-What kind of advice can you give to other aspiring authors?

Hire a good editor. Editors are worth their weight in gold.

 

WRITING 101

 

KKantas AuthorAssistKKantas AuthorAssist

Interview with Michelle Peach

Michelle Peach

Last week it was the book, Gazelle in the Shadows, that was in the spotlight. This week I turn the spotlight towards the author, Michelle Peach.

 
Hi Michelle, and welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings. No rambling from me this morning, so if you’d like to start by telling my readers and I a little about yourself and your background, that would be lovely.

Michelle Peach - Author HeadshotI’m a stay-at-home mom, married with three children and love volunteering for school activities and animal rescue. In between time, I love to write. I am a graduate of Durham University with a degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies. I worked for many years overseas in the British Foreign Office and as an executive PA for a Dubai company. I met my future husband while working in Dubai and soon after moved to America. That was twenty years ago! How time flies!

 
When and why did you decide to become a writer?

I had procrastinated about writing the book for many years but the catalyst came when my children started to ask me what I had done before marrying their father and I felt a need to tell my story for them in addition to the urging of many friends.

 
What gets your creative juices flowing?

There’s not any one thing I can pinpoint as my creativity can be sparked by listening to the radio, reading a book, taking a long walk or even in the moments before sleep.

 
What is your top writing tip?

As a visual thinker, what helped me tremendously was a story planner. I created my arc on a cork-board with index cards pinned in sequence. It was easy to switch things around and play with the chapters until I was happy to begin the writing process.

 
What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Hands down, the hardest part has been the marketing after my book was published. I’m not much of a salesperson so it has been a steep learning curve to push my book forward.

The easiest part was receiving my first printed paperback. Holding it in my hands, feeling the weight and texture of the pages gave me immense pride and fufilment.

 
Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?

I don’t have a typical day. Some days I might write but as a general rule, I enjoy writing at night when the house is quiet.

 
Gazelle in the ShadowsHow did you come up with the title?

I searched for a title that would point to the Arabian setting of the story and remembered that the gazelle has been used to symbolize femininity and love in Arabic literature and music since pre-Islamic times. I also liked it because the gazelle, much like the protagonist, Elizabeth, is preyed upon by many predators. The second part of the title “in the shadows” depicts how Elizabeth faces the unknown where her predators operate in the clandestine world of betrayal and espionage.

 
You say the book is ‘largely based on your life’, how much is fact and how much is from your imagination?

If I were to quantify it, I would say that two thirds of it is true and the rest fictionalised.

 
What is your favourite scene that you’ve written? Can you give us a peek?

I enjoyed writing about the hammam which I visited in Damascus. It brought back many memories.

      We entered the reception area through a heavy, dark curtain used for privacy from passersby in the street. The room opened out unexpectedly into a cavernous space. There were seats along the walls furnished with rich, although threadbare, oriental carpets. In the centre, directly under the dome, there was an octagon fountain inlaid with blue, mosaic tiles. From the inside, the dome was transformed into a light show. Cracks within the bricks allowed shafts of sunlight to shine through. The illumination made me feel relaxed. Unfortunately, it didn’t smell as relaxing, as the vapoury air invaded my nostrils with tobacco and must from wet carpets.
      There were two women who were assisting us in the lobby area. One of them, a plump, short woman, was dressed in a long, black robe and colourful
hijab. She handed out some minshafa, thin towels. The other, a tall, slim woman, handed us glasses of rose water.
      “Get undressed,” Fatima told me. “And wrap this around you.”
      I timidly undressed feeling embarrassed by my body. I wished I had packed my swimsuit now. I clung onto the towel as I awkwardly struggled to pull my clothes off and then wrapped it tightly around me. I was relieved that it was large enough to cover me from my breasts to my knees. Na’imah and Suheera disrobed, unabashed by their nakedness and tied the towels around their waists.
      I was freezing as I stood almost naked in the lobby area. Fatima saw my chattering teeth.
      “This is the
barrani chamber, the coolest room. Let’s go into the next one which is warmer.”
      I happily followed her into the next, warmer chamber. Suheera and Na’iamah stayed in the
barrani chamber. I sat on the wet, stone floor next to Fatima and felt the sweat run from every pore in my body. Fatima took out some soap and face cloths, which she had brought, and began to wash herself. I began to scrub myself as well.
      In the steamy mist, I saw other women in the room. Many small groups were chatting and socializing while washing their hair and bodies. They walked around without towels. I was shocked at how open they were with each other. I couldn’t help but reflect on the two extremes of womenfolk: being concealed in the homes and covered in black when out in the street compared to the freedom and nudity in the
hammam. I could understand how they must cherish the time they spent together and the community it helped them create.
      I was eager to chat about Hama with Fatima and hear about her and Naguib. I hadn’t had a chance to catch up with her. I hoped she had changed her mind about Hussein. After all, she seemed to have enjoyed her time with Naguib.
      “The trip to Hama was great,” I said. “I hope we can go on another with Naguib and Hussein.”
      “I had a good time, but I don’t think I’ll have time to go again.”
      “Is that because Naguib and you have to work?”
      Fatima paused and looked thoughtfully at me.
      “Yes.”
      “I’m so glad that Hussein can spend so much time with me.” I suddenly realised how insensitive that sounded and corrected myself. “I mean, I’m not glad that his father died, but I’m glad he is not working right now.”
      “What do you mean?” she asked.
      “Isn’t he still in mourning?” I wasn’t entirely sure how long he would be in mourning, and I had supposed he still was.
      “I don’t know,” she said, but her tone was abrupt. It was strange that she didn’t know about Hussein’s father and I sensed she didn’t really care to talk about Hussein.
      I bit my lip, frustrated. Fatima got up and gathered her things.
      “Let’s move onto the
jouwani, the hottest chamber.”
      I had thought we were already in the hottest one, but I was extremely mistaken. The third room was like a kiln. The furnace was situated in this room. Heat and smoke passed in pipes under the floor from there into the other middle room. I realised I had not drunk enough, as I felt very thirsty and had probably lost a pint of sweat already.
      Fatima was listening in on some women talking. She was bemused by their conversation. The women were cackling loudly at each other. There were four of them, all middle-aged, round and fat. They sat in a huddle, washing each other with a clay substance. I had noticed that they occasionally looked at me and cackled more.
      “What are they talking about?” I asked, thinking they had made a joke about me, and hoped Fatima had heard them.
      “Those women are gossiping about a girl that the mother is arranging for her son to marry.”
      “What’s so funny?” I asked.
      “She brought her here.”
      “Why?”
      “Mothers-in-law always like to check out the bride-to-be. She wants to make sure she’s not got any serious, physical faults,” she explained. “One of her friends thinks the girl is too ugly for her son.”
      “That’s awful,” I said, but I laughed anyway.
      “Then the mother asked if they noticed anything about the body of the bride-to-be being ugly, and one of them said she thought she saw she had three nipples.”
      “No,” I splurted. “That’s so funny.”
      “I don’t think it’s true, but they love spreading rumours.” Fatima was laughing hard.
      After that room, Fatima took me into a cold one, which I disliked very much. It was meant to cool you down, but I found it too chilly. The stone was slippery. We returned to the middle chamber to find Suheera and Na’imah. The second lady from the reception was sitting with them, still dressed in her black robe. She was scrubbing Suheera down with a black scrubbing cloth made of goat’s hair.
      “Elizabeth, you need to be scrubbed by the
muqashshara,” Fatima said, indicating the woman with the cloth.
      The darkly clothed exfoliator beckoned me over. Her pruned and puckered hands were covered in henna designs and her nails were orange. It seemed ominous, as I lay, almost naked, in her shadow, on a rubber mat. I thought I had washed myself and scrubbed my skin, but she scrubbed harder, so hard that I could feel my skin sting.
      
“Baqraa qadhra. Ya shamootah. Ajnabia qabiha.”
      Dirty cow, I translated. Prostitute. Ugly foreigner.
      She doused me in hot water and lathered my skin with soap. Then she pummelled my skin, squeezed my muscles and pinched my flesh. I felt like a rag doll in the hands of a mischievous toddler.
      I wanted to respond to her insults, but honestly, I didn’t have the energy, or feel in a position to defend myself with barely any clothes on. When she had finished with one side of my body, she slapped me on the arm and indicated to turn over.
      The women around us clucked like hens, as they watched me squirm and gasp while I was vigorously scoured like a burnt frying pan. Strings of black dirt accumulated on my stomach, arms and legs. Obviously, I hadn’t washed myself as efficiently as I had thought. I was embarrassed, but not surprised by all the grime as I hadn’t had a decent shower since I arrived. When the woman had finished inflicting pain, both verbally and physically, I felt like a freed convict and rushed to the cold chamber to rinse off.
      “She was so rude to me,” I commented to Fatima, as I rinsed.
      “I am sorry for what she said. She is not used to seeing foreigners in this
hammam.”
      My spirit was somewhat bruised, but I stroked my fresh and clean skin while getting dressed. Within a few minutes of waiting, Hussein arrived to pick us up and deliver us back to the house.

 

For those of us who are thinking of reading your book, could you tell us what to expect?

The reader will enjoy a fast-paced story with romance, friendships and betrayals weaved around an increasingly dangerous and threatening story which culminates in an unforeseeable ending.

 
When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

I look forward to continuing to be as content as I am now.

 snowman
What is your earliest memory?

One of my earliest memories is from when I was a toddler. After a night of heavy snowfall, my brothers and I woke to a garden transformed into a winter wonderland. We bundled up in scarves, coats and gloves to play in it and I built my first snowman with them; carrots, currants, twigs’n’all.

 
How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy family time. We enjoy vacations, walking, especially with our three dogs and sometimes even our cat follows us, boating on Lake Allatoona, camping and gardening.

 
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I enjoy reading although I don’t get the chance to read novels as much as I would like. I spend a lot of time reading articles, blogs and news in general on the internet. Amongst my favorite authors are Philippa Gregory, Amy Tan, and Stieg Larsson.

 
Your book is being made into a movie, which star would you cast as Elizabeth?

That’s a great question as it’s my dream that the book be made into a movie. I’m not very au fait with current young actresses but I imagine a young Meg Ryan would make a great Elizabeth.

 
If you could travel to any place and time in history, where and when would you visit?

crowdLike many British subjects, I love the Royal family. I was especially fascinated by Princess Diana, who was only 5 years older than me. If I could travel back in time, I would travel to 29th July 1981, to witness the Royal Wedding celebrations along with the multitudes of enthusiastic well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace in London. As a young teenager, her fairytale wedding was one of my happiest historical memories. Sadly, as we all know, her story is tragic. I was working in Dubai the day I heard about her tragic death and visited the British Embassy to place flowers outside. Her legacy lives on in her children and I miss her humanity and grace.

 
 

Quick fire round:

Favourite Season?

Spring

 
Dream vacation?

Maldives

 
Favourite quote?

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving

 
Something unique about you?

I traveled around the world alone when I was 23 years old.

 
Favourite song?

Storms in Africa Parts 1 & 2 by Enya

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I hope the reader will enjoy learning about some of the culture, history and beauty of Syria in my story which, in many ways, has irrevocably changed due to the ongoing war. I find myself often thinking about the places I visited, saddened by the fact that much has been destroyed and about the kind people I met and whether they and their families are still alive. My deepest wish is that somehow Syria will one day miraculously return to be a country travelers can visit and be enthralled by the centuries of history and ancient cultures within its boundaries.

 
Thank you ever so much for spending this time with us, Michelle. Best wishes for any and all future projects.

Find out more about Michelle and Gazelle in the Shadows on:

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Interview with Joan Schweighardt

Joan Schweighardt

 

My guest today is Joan Schweighardt. Joan is an award-winning author, who’s books include The Accidental Art Thief and The Last Wife Of Attila The Hun.

 

Hi Joan, thank you for joining me today. I’ll dive straight in with the first question, if that’s ok?

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Joan SchweighardtI started writing when I was a kid. I wrote poems, and later short stories. I won second prize in a college short story contest the first year I took a creative writing class. And then I had a few stories published in literary magazines. In addition to my own projects, I was always looking for jobs where I could write—press releases for a PR company, copy for an ad agency, resumes for a resume company, local newspaper articles. At some point I realized I had become a “pen for hire.”

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

In the case of my most recent novel, Before We Died, it began with a freelance job I took speed reading backlist books for a publisher and then writing up a paragraph or two about each book for their website. One of the books I was asked to read was a thin diary of a rubber tapper working in the South American rainforest in the early 1900s. I knew nothing about rubber tapping before this little book, but after a second read I had to know more, so I made two trips to South American and began to research everything I could find on the rubber boom, the tapping process, the indigenous people of the South American rainforests, Manaus, Brazil, the hub of the rubber boom, the time period, and on and on and on.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing

Being really engaged in a project takes me outside of myself. I think we can all relate to that. When we can get the ego to climb into the backseat, the subconscious has a chance to slip into the front. And suddenly it seems like ideas are coming from out of thin air. Not all writing experiences go like that, but some do.

 

Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.

We have a sizeable den, and my desk is in one corner. Friends ask me all the time why I don’t set up in the back bedroom where there is a door I could close for complete privacy. I’m claustrophobic, I guess. I like being out in the traffic area.

 

Where do you find your inspiration?

I always worry when I’m wrapping things up on one book project that I won’t have an idea for the next one. And sometimes that happens… there’s a gap of time where I seem to be looking and looking and can’t find a single thing to inspire me onto a new project. And then something shows up, usually when I least expect it.

 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Before-We-Died800x1200The great thing about writing historical fiction, which is what I have been doing in recent years, is that you are gifted a setting—a time and a place—right off the bat. Boom: Amazon rainforest; early 1900s. Women did not travel to the Amazon to tap rubber trees in the early 1900s, so boom again: narrator has to be a man, a tough man who can endure the hardships of working in the jungle, probably youngish. My knowledge of the setting kind of dictated the details I would I would need to develop the plot. On the other hand, researching the historical setting also got in my way at times. By the time I was ready to write I knew almost too much about the rubber boom and life in the rainforest. When I reread my first draft I thought I was reading a text book. I had to delete a lot of the historical stuff and focus in on the characters and plot for the next draft.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I am very bad at choosing names. I wish someone would come along and pick out all the names for me. And while I like the titles I usually end up with, it takes me forever to come up with each of them.

 

When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

I’d love to see Before We Died and the other two books in the series (Gifts for the Dead and River Aria) be made into a movie, or better yet a TV series. The books collectively cover 1908 to 1929, and they move back and forth between the New York metro area to the jungles of Brazil. WWI as seen from the docks of Hoboken, NJ, the Spanish Flu, and the lead up to the great depression are all accounted for, as are events going on in South America, including Henry Ford’s unsuccessful attempt to start a rubber tree plantation in Brazil. So that’s all happening in the background of the three books, and in the foreground my characters, Irish emigrants who settled in Hoboken, NJ and their offspring, are trying to deal with personal challenges regarding issues of love, loyalty, betrayal, power… all elements of the human condition. Great stuff for a TV series!

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, hang out with my husband, hang out with family and friends. I love to travel. I spend hours painting, but I’m not great at it.

 

How many books have you written? Which was the most fun to write ?

81X1YZaP1VL._SY300_I’ve written eight books to date. The first three were rather similar—darkly humorous contemporary novels with female narrators. My first historical novel is entitled The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. It took a long time to research and write because it was informed by both Nordic legend and the actual history of fifth century Hun, Roman and Germanic tribes. But I loved writing that one and I’m very proud of it. When it was completed, I wrote another darkly comic contemporary novel and also a memoir. I published the latter under a pseudonym so that I could go all out and divulge all my secrets. Then I started on the trilogy, of which Before We Died is book one. During the time I was writing the trilogy, I had a zebra dream, and I woke up and wrote a children’s book based on it, and I’m excited to say that No Time For Zebras will be published by Waldorf Press in the near future.

These are all my books that I’ve written for myself. There are also several books I’ve ghosted for other people as part of my freelance work.

The most fun books were the Attila novel and this new one, Before We Died, because I love research so much.

 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I was very creative as a kid. I always drew, and after my father bought me oil paints, I always painted. I wrote; I tried to learn to play the guitar; I made houses for my paper dolls and filled them with items from magazines. I was always doing, living more often in that state of engagement that I describe above than not. But what I wanted to do most was go to an art college and become a better artist. That didn’t work out; my family did not have the money to send me to the school. So I started taking college classes at a community college and working part time to pay for it, and after a few English lit classes, I changed course.

 

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

I have given so much thought and attention to the early 1900s that I suppose I would visit then. I’d head right to the docks of Hoboken, where my characters are from.

 

What movie or book character are you most similar to?

Elisa Esposito(Sally Hawkins)The Shape of WaterI’m going to say Elisa Esposito, the mute janitor that Sally Hawkins plays in The Shape of Water. I’m not mute, and I’m not a janitor, but I identify with Elisa in other ways. Elisa is a bit clumsy, a bit short on social graces and self-confidence, but big on heart, always dreaming, and adventurous enough to be able to step outside her comfort zone. (I love the movie, and I love the writer and director, Guillermo del Toro.)

 

What would your warning label say if every person was required to have one?

Do not put the enclosed woman on a small overcrowded tour bus filled with strangers under any circumstances or for any length of time.

 

Quick fire ‘this or that’ round:

◊ Ocean or Mountains?

Ocean

◊ Pancake or Waffle?

Neither

◊ Tablet or Computer?

Computer

◊ Jogging or Hiking?

Hiking

◊ Couch or Recliner?

Couch

 

Many thanks for your time, Joan and best wishes for the upcoming release of Before We Died!

Catch up with Joan and her books:

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 Joan Schweighardt

 

Interview with Eve Lestrange

Eve Lestrange

Eve Lestrange, author of The Christina Lafage Chronicles, has joined me here on Rainne’s Ramblings, to answer a few questions about herself and her books.

Hi Eve, and welcome.

Would to like to start by telling us a little about yourself and your background?

A1bydGUdukL._UX250_I was born in New York but now reside in Pennsylvania. I originally wanted to be a musician & I was for a while, playing bass for the Empire Hideous. When the band broke up, I turned to writing for a creative outlet.

 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I always liked to write, but playing with the band didn’t leave me a lot of time. I had written some poetry but started writing books after the break-up of the band.

 
What gets your creative juices flowing?

Music, definitely music. It is an essential tool for me & I can’t write without it.

 
What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?

Aside from a few technical things, I don’t think I’ve been given any.

 
What do you enjoy most about writing?

Writing is truly my own; I can do whatever what I want & don’t have to worry about creative differences or time restraints.

 
The Christina Lafage Chronicles is a horror series set in the eighteenth century, what drew you to this genre and time period?

The character of Christina Lafage is based on a woman named LaVoisin. She was a poisoner & held black masses for Seventeenth Century French aristocrats. The story was an interesting one, but I thought it would be more interesting is I made the character younger & moved the timeline to the Eighteenth Century.

 
Do you develop characters from your personal experiences and/or draw from that of others?

No, not really.

 
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Names are very important. You want a character with a distinct name that readers will remember. I chose the names mostly because of the way they sounded & they were memorable.

 
Widdershins

Tell us about the covers and how they came about.

The cover of Widdershins was done by an artist named Jose Pardo.

 
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your books?

Fans of horror, the occult & the supernatural are my intended audience. My books are written for them, because I am also a huge fan of horror &the occult, so I know what the fans are looking for.

 
Which book of the series was the most fun to write?

They were all fun to write, the series just seemed to write itself.

 
In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick to play Christina?

I’m not really sure, maybe an up-and-coming actress.

 
What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I’m working on a ghost story set in Baltimore, but I am also thinking about a prequel to Widdershins. Christina & Madame Duchamp are not done yet!

 
What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be patient, but I’m actually still not patient!

 
How do you spend your free time?

I like to read. Listen to music & hunt for odd antiques.

 
Tell us about your favourite memory related to reading or writing?

My favorite memory is discovering HP Lovecraft. His tales are very well written & have definitely shaped my own storytelling.

 
Name three things you consider yourself to be good at, and three things you consider yourself to be bad at.

Well, I think I’m good at writing, proofreading & trivia, I have a vast wealth of useless knowledge! I’m not very good at math, art or technology, I’m lucky I can work my cell phone!

 
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To have a little more patience.

 
81rZEqVhA0L._UY200_If someone gave you a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Egypt, Italy & all of the other places that Christina Lafage has been.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Thank you for the interview & I hope your readers enjoy The Christina Lafage Chronicles!

 
Thank you for your time, Eve.
 

Author Links:

WebsiteFacebookGoodreads • Amazon

 

If, like me, you enjoy a good horror, check out last weeks feature on
The Christina Lafage Chronicles.

 

 

Patty’s Pick

pattys pickCampbells World

Patty and I have chosen this super article by Phyllis Campbell, featuring an interview with David Feucheux from Louisiana. David is a reader of a column that Phyllis writes for THE BLIND POST.

Phyllis had never heard of David’s hobby and pounced on him immediately for an interview. I, on the other hand, have – although I’ve haven’t tried it… yet!

 

A Different Kind of Hobby

By Phyllis Campbell

Reprinted from Hobbies, July-August, 2014 National Braille Press

Braiding-Patterns
David, a graduate of the Louisiana school for the blind, says that he has always wanted a hobby, but somehow couldn’t seem to settle on one until he discovered kumihimo.
Here is a description of it in David’s own words.

16-strand-set-up“Kumihimo is a type of braiding. It is done on a loom-type device. Imagine an octagon. Each of the 8 sides has 4 narrow slits. The octagon is made of the same material as flip-flops.

You arrange seven or eight strands in various slits. Each of the slits is numbered from 1 to 32. You cross certain strands over other strands in a certain pattern. You then turn the loom and do again. It’s rather hypnotic.”

 
David goes on to say:

“Here is a bit of background from a book I consulted.
Taken from the book Kumihimo Wire Jewelry by Giovanna Imperia

51xiWEyka+L“Braids are common in many cultures, where they have served a wide range of functions–from practical applications to decorations on garments to key elements in religious ceremonies. Some braiding traditions developed independently in different regions, which led to the emergence of unique designs and structures. Some braiding traditions developed as a result of cultural migration. A good example of the latter is the development of kumihimo in Japan.

There are also many different processes that are used in braiding. Some braids are made without the aid of tools. Other braids are made using a stand, typically round, and weighted bobbins. Among the cultures using stands, Japan is unique in that braids are made using a number of specialized stands, not just a round one.”

A BRIEF HISTORY OF KUMIHIMO

“The term kumihimo means intersected threads. It refers to any type of braid executed using the loop-manipulation method (which does not require equipment) or any number of stands.

Kumihimo has a very long history in Japan, where some early examples of impressions of braided structures on pottery date back to the Jomon period (8000-300 BC). By the Kofun period (4th-6th centuries), braids had become common thanks in large part to the diffusion of Buddhism. According to research by Masako Kinoshita, many of the early braids, such as the ones in the Shosoin treasure house (Nara period, AD 645-784), were probably executed using the loop-manipulation braiding technique.

Over the centuries, kumihimo became an integral part of the Japanese culture, where it assumed uses that ranged from the functional (such as ties for prayer scrolls or as lacing devices for the samurai armor, which required nearly three hundred silk braids) to the decorative (such as embellishments for Buddhist statues and rosaries as well as obijime, a narrow braided belt that holds the much wider obi in place). Because of its role in Japanese culture, over time, many different pieces of equipment were developed, which helped artisans produce braids faster and of consistent quality while developing new and more complex structures and designs.

Automated machines, developed later in the Meiji period (1867-1912), allowed for even faster production. These machines are still in use today, as are five braiding stands: the Maru Dai, Taka Dai, Karakumi Dai, Kaku Dai, and
Ayatake Dai.”

 

David says he first heard of kumihimo in 2010. When a short course was offered in January of 2014, he took it.

Although he had actually only been pursuing his hobby for about three months at the time of the interview in April, he was enjoying it a lot. He says that one good thing about kumihimo is that he is able to figure out a lot of it for himself, making progress easier, and to me, more challenging.

He uses various types of cord in his projects, although some people use wire. David says that so far that is beyond him, but something tells me that will be in his future.

 

When I asked about his hobby goals he said

magatama sample 1 small“I’d like to learn several other braiding styles. I also want to learn to attach clasps to bracelets and other projects. I’d also like to learn to use the rectangle loom. I am told it is used to make belts.

“I am about to make a bracelet using magatama beads. These are a particular kind of Japanese bead sold by the  website www.primitiveoriginals.com

Kathy James who runs the website is very helpful.

 
When I asked David what advice he would give anyone thinking about trying kumihimo he said,

“Go ahead and try it. The people at the website http://www.primitiveoriginals.com are very happy to help. I’d be happy to email with anyone trying to learn the craft. The NFB has a crafters division at www.krafterskorner.org. It is a good resource for crafter types.”.

kumihimo-007

 

When I asked David if he had any other special interests he said,

“My secret dream is to have several works published. I am not good at writing. I wanted to write one about my time at a blind school before this entire culture is forgotten by a younger, hipper, more fortunate, perhaps less appreciative, generation of blind who have no idea what it was like to go far away from home at a young age and meet nice and not-so-nice teachers, house parents, and fellow students.

I want to write two nonfiction works, one is a diary, it’s in process, as I got the idea from Kathy Schneider, and the other about an ancestor who came here from the Canary Islands in 1779 at age 10. The latter would be a long epic historic fiction novel, Inca, in the style of Gary Jennings’s Aztec, but it’s not likely.

If I can get the diary and the blind fiction I’ll be pleased. I don’t describe myself as a writer. I do not enjoy it, and I do not feel like I have to write. It’s a means to an end. Characters do not pour through my head either. It’s work.”

Trust us, David, all who write find it work if they’re honest, at least with themselves. ~Phyllis

 

About the Author:

22853049_364248084029418_3608388457679183598_nPhyllis Staton Campbell, who was born blind, writes about the world she knows best. She calls on her experience as teacher of the blind, peer counselor and youth transition coordinator. She says that she lives the lives of her characters: lives of sorrow and joy; triumph and failure; hope and despair. That she and her characters sometimes see the world in a different way, adds depth to the story. She sees color in the warmth of the sun on her face, the smell of rain, the call of a cardinal, and God, in a rainbow of love and grace.

Although she was born in Amherst County, Virginia, she has lived most of her life in Staunton, Virginia, where she serves as organist at historic Faith Lutheran church, not far from the home she shared with her husband, Chuck, who waits beyond that door called death.

Amazon

 

An Interview with Hunter S. Jones

Interview with Hunter S. Jones

Hunter S. Jones is passionate about the history of romance, science and music, a.k.a. sex, drugs and rock & roll. She has a popular history blog, and is a historian for Past Preservers Casting.

When she isn’t writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, she’s living the dream in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband; and I’m delighted to welcome her to Rainne’s Ramblings.

 

DHunter-HeadColorHi Hunter, would you like to start by telling me a little about yourself and your background, please?

Hi Rainne! Thanks so much for featuring me today.

I write history and fiction as Hunter S. Jones. My real career has been in international sales and marketing. A freak accident ruptured my Achilles tendon a few years ago. While I was bed ridden, I started to fiddle around on social media and wrote stories. It was something to do.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Long ago and far away.

 

Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?

Are there typical days as a writer?

 

Would you tell us a bit about Sexuality & Its Impact On History: The British Stripped Bare…?

Learn of the scandals and romance that shaped Great Britain. This provocative collection of essays depicts the cultural and societal kinks of the British, from the Anglo-Saxons, Medieval, Tudor, Regency, and Victorian eras.

Hi res 3+18.pngDiscover the ménage that changed the course of the Anglo-Saxon throne, go undercover to explore Courtly Love, learn about the business of Tudor and Regency marriages. Read of a possible dalliance involving Queen Anne Boleyn, and the controversial marriages of Mary, Queen of Scots. Peek into the bedrooms of Victorian prostitutes. Each story provides shocking detail about what was at the heart of romance throughout British history.

Would you swig a magic potion or plot to kill your husband in order to marry your lover? These are just two of the many romantic and sexual customs from British history that you will explore when eight authors take us through the centuries, revealing that truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to love. From bizarre trivia about courtly love, to techniques and prostitution, you’ll encounter memorable nuggets of provocative info that you’ll want to share with friends and co-workers.

It’s all here: Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom, ménage a trois, chastity belts, Tudor fallacies, royal love and infidelity, marriage contracts (which were more like business arrangements), and brothels, kept women, and whorehouses. Take a peek at what really happened between the sheets. Each story provides you with shocking detail about what was at the heart of romance throughout British history.

The Impact of Sexuality in History: The British Stripped Bare chronicles the pleasures and perils of the flesh, sharing secrets from the days of the Anglo-Saxons, medieval courtly love traditions, diabolical Tudor escapades—including those of Anne Boleyn and Mary Queen of Scots—the Regency, and down to the ‘prudish’ Victorian Era. This scholarly yet accessible study brings to light the myriad varieties of British sexual mores.

 

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?

Once Sexuality & Its Impact On History is launched in the US later this year, I’ll share more about my upcoming work. Thanks for asking!

 

I’ll look forward to that.
What, to you, is the best thing about being an author

I’m not sure. Let me get back with you on this one. 🙂

 

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit…?

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/King_Henry_and_Anne_Boleyn_Deer_shooting_in_Windsor_Forest.jpgThis is a fabulous question. I would love to peek into the three years Henry VIII was married to Anne Boleyn even though the era was dangerous to so many people. I’d also like to visit—for a very short time—guess you could say I’d like to get a glimpse of America’s Reconstruction South. Most of the documentation from that time is politically slanted and extreme from various points of view. I would like to see what it was really like to survive in such a volatile era.

 

…and which historical figure would you like to meet?

Today, I would say former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. But, tomorrow the answer might be different. There’s something poignant about the mystery of her life.

 

Have you done any personal appearances?

Yes, I’ve done a few, a very few. Having a social media presence appears to be replacing personal appearances by authors, doesn’t it?

 

Which writers inspire you?

Anyone who has ever had the nerve to write a book and publish it has my greatest respect and admiration. Writing is daunting, and you have to be fearless to put your work in front of the public.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Today, I took some spa time and shopped. Later, my sweet husband is taking me to our favorite Indian restaurant to celebrate the reception of Sexuality & Its Impact On History. Writing history is hard work. Seeing a history book be so well received has blown my mind.

 

What do you have in your pockets?

No pockets today.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Thank you again for being such a fabulous hostess. Thanks too for all the support being given to our project. I’m humbled and thrilled—all at the same time.

 

Thank you for joining me, Hunter.

 

Sexuality and Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare is Hunter S. Jones’ first collection of historical essays, and she is delighted to work with the all-female writing team consisting of Emma Haddon-Wright, Annie Whitehead, Jessica Cale, Judith Arnopp, Gayle Hulme and Dr. Beth Lynne.

To find out more, find her on social media:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram • Pinterest

Sexuality & Its Impact On History is available in the UK at these online sites, or it can be ordered or found in bookstores:

Pen and Sword BooksAmazon

The Mail On Sunday said it was ‘a fascinating new book’.

Hi res 3+18