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?


◊ Pancake or Waffle?


◊ Tablet or Computer?


◊ Jogging or Hiking?


◊ Couch or Recliner?



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

Catch up with Joan and her books:


 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.


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

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.”


“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

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 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 It is a good resource for crafter types.”.



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.



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…? 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


Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

Todays throwback is to my very first interview.  Thanks again to Markie for being my guineapig!

Since this interview Markie has written another four books and a novella in The Undead Unit series; Souls of the Reaper, Blood Lust, Siren Song, Ashes to Ashes, and Undead Christmas: An Undead Unit Novella.

Markie has also released a historical romance set in ancient Egypt, The Pharaoh’s Destiny.

On top of that, she also has short stories in a number of anthologies and a couple of novellas.

• • •

Originally Published: September 14, 2015

An Interview with Markie Madden

Hi Markie, thank you for joining me and agreeing to take part in my first interview.Markie
Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi there, I’m glad to be here. I was born in Midland, Texas, though I moved to the small town of Flushing, Michigan, when I was 10. I grew up and went to high school there. Then I married my husband 21 years ago, and we now have 2 daughters. We live in small farm town Fisk (population 326) in southeast Missouri with our three rescue dogs and my horse, Athena, who’s pictured on the front of my Amazon best-selling book Keeping a Backyard Horse.

When did you start writing for publication, what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?

My first novel, Once Upon a Western Way was actually written while I was still in high school, though it’s been reworked and edited many times since. But my classmates had a great time reading what I’d come up with the previous night (shh, the teachers aren’t supposed to know we passed these around in class!) and everyone mentioned how I should try to publish it. I solicited publishers on my own (back when some did still accept unsolicited manuscripts), and I even hired an agent for a year when publishers would no longer accept books other than from a literary agent. It wasn’t until 2012 that I became aware of the self-publishing trend, and after that, it’s all history!

Who or what has helped you become a better writer over time?

I have to give kudos to several people here, first to my beta readers (and authors) Claire Plaisted, Sharon K. Miller, and Gary Seaton. All three have offered wonderful advice and helped my writing to become as good as I can get. Also, to writer’s group Scribophile ( where you earn karma points by reading and critiquing the work of others until you get enough karma to post work of your own for critique. It’s a wonderful place that all writer’s should check in to. Membership is free, although if you pay for membership you get a few more perks.

How has writing and self-publishing changed the way you read?

It’s funny you should ask that. I don’t read as much as I used to (never seem to find the time, curse that social media that sucks in so much of my daily minutes…!) but when I do read, it seems that I look at the book formatting a lot more than I used to. Or, at least I notice it now. You know, that occasional ‘someone stuck an extra line space in here’ or whatever. I’ve been called Grammar Nazi numerous times and I guess that goes for formatting as well. I’m of the opinion that as indie authors, we can compete with big name authors only by putting out the most professional looking product

What is that one moment you have had as a writer that made you realize you were actually a real author?

I published Once Upon a Western Way on Smashwords in April of 2012. But it seemed as if I was only partly an author, since it wasn’t available in print. I think that moment came when I got my first print book in my hands. That was Keeping a Backyard Horse, just about one year ago now. I’ll never forget that moment of opening the box and seeing the books inside with my name on them.

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

It’s not necessarily related to writing specifically, but it was in English class. ;p In 8th grade we were having trouble remembering prepositional phrases. So Mrs. Sharp, the teacher, began to throw chalkboard erasers around the room. Not purposely at people but I think she came close to boinking one or two. Wherever those erasers landed, she would say it’s under her, or over his head, and so on. As long as I live, I’ll never forget a prepositional phrase!

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

I have the first book of my new series out, and I think at the moment I have 6 more books outlined, and ideas for several more, so I think I have enough to keep me busy for a while. I’m disabled from cancer now, so I get to spend my time doing something that I love to do. Couldn’t ask more than that.

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

For me, the hardest parts are definitely editing and marketing. I hate to edit so much that I even invented a new word for it: fediting (we used to make up curse words like this when our kids were small, so you get the idea behind that one!), and it seems like I always end up rewriting when I edit, though I’ve hopefully developed a routine with it now after 5 books published. And marketing is just tough for anyone, I think. I’m not much of a social butterfly anyway, and I’m certainly no salesperson! I hate it when I go to the auto parts store for X and they try to tell me that I need to buy Y to go along with it. You know, if I wanted Y I would have picked it up already (and yes, I worked in auto parts for almost 2 years and am guilty of doing this myself, but only when they made me!). But the other side of that coin is if you don’t market, you won’t see any sales.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?


Fang and Claw is available for Pre-Order at 50% off. Visit Metamorph Publishing for a full list of retailers and formats.

My newest book is called Fang and Claw, and it’s out in paperback now. The e-book is releasing October 4, 2015. The idea for this series came to me in that twilight moment between sleep and wakefulness, and I think it was after a marathon of Supernatural season DVDs! When the inspiration struck, I had the ideas for the first 3 books. Fang and Claw is a crime/paranormal story and the first book in The Undead Unit series. It’s a bit of a future world where Immortal beings (Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, and more) are known and accepted (at least as much as any minority) by society. They live and work among humans, after taking an Oath not to harm any humans and to abide by all their laws. The Dallas police department has set up and elite new squad dedicated to solving crimes among these Immortals. Lieutenant Lacey Anderson is a Vampire whose entire family was massacred by a pack of Werewolves. Detective Colton Scarber, assigned as Lacey’s partner and second in command, is a descendant of that pack, but Lacey isn’t aware of this from the start. When she finds out the Colton was keeping this to himself, it threatens the fragile beginning of their partnership. And in the meantime, a mysterious suspect and strange physical evidence leads them to solve a case spanning decades, and leaves Lacey with no other choice than to rely on her enemy when her very life is in danger!

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

One of my beta readers told me after reading Fang in full, “You’re going to be the next JD Robb.” Now, I don’t really care about fame or fortune, but if in being like JD Robb I can leave my readers with the same sense of satisfaction at the end of reading my books as I get at the end of reading hers, then I have to say “Mission accomplished.” That’s all I truly want, for my readers to enjoy the story. After all, I don’t write for myself, though I love to do it. I write for my readers!

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

Right now I’m about 15,000 words into Souls of the Reaper, which is book two in The Undead Unit series. It involves a rogue Reaper who is stealing the souls of people who are not yet due to pass on. His victims then run around town with no soul or inhibition (you can imagine the havoc this would cause!), and the Reaper himself finds it difficult to hold onto that much extra energy. So he grows more and more psychotic with each steal. It’s up to Lacey and Colton to find him, and stop him, before he graduates to something even worse than stealing souls: stealing lives!

What about your previous books, tell us a bit about them and how we can get our hands on them.

My three other books are Once Upon a Western Way, a dystopian romantic fantasy set in a time of handsome princes, beautiful princesses, an evil foe, and an epic quest. In the end, you’ll never guess who the bad guy really is! No spoilers though!
Kindle EditionPaperback or for other retailers or formats, visit Metamorph Publishing.

Keeping a Backyard Horse is a simple and fun horse care guide aimed for the average horse owner who knows nothing of how to care for these animals (maybe the parent whose daughter says daddy, I want a horse!). The guide is laid out with simple terms, with a glossary included defining horse terms that cannot be avoided. Best of all, it’s narrated by my horse, Athena, who is also featured on the cover!
Kindle EditionPaperback or for other retailers or formats, visit Metamorph Publishing.

And last of all, My Butterfly Cancer is my memoir. It’s an uncensored look at a year in the life of a cancer patient. This book is purposely short (after all, it was just a year) and purposely unedited to an extent; I wanted reader to be able to see and feel just how poorly my brain function was; this was not even a full year post-chemotherapy when I wrote it, and much of the information came from my family members, and there were large chunks of time during treatment that I’m still (blissfully?) unaware of. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book goes to cancer charities.
Kindle EditionPaperback or for other retailers or formats, visit Metamorph Publishing

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What do you like to see from your fans, followers, readers, and supporters on your social media sites?

I love it for fans and readers to engage with me after reading my books. One reader even messaged me while she was reading, to discuss questions she had as she made her way through the book. It pleased her as well, because she said she’d never had the opportunity to talk with an author about a story and have the chance to ask all the questions that come to her while she’s reading.

Where can we find you to tell you how amazing we think you are?

Among other places you can find me on FaceBook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

And finally… If you were ever stranded on a deserted island what would you miss and which three books would you take along?

If I were stranded on an island I would miss a bathroom! LOL My dad always wants me to go camping. IN A TENT! I don’t mind sleeping on the ground in a tent, but please don’t take away an actual REAL bathroom with a functioning toilet! I don’t think I’d survive! Ha, ha!
My three books if stranded on a desert island? I can’t name three, just let me have my phone! Lol No, really, um…
1) The Black Stallion and Satan,
2) The Mammoth Hunters (Clan of the Cave Bear Series), and
3) Anything by Kay Hooper out of the Special Crimes Unit series!

Thanks again, Markie. I wish you the best of luck on your forthcoming release.!

Interview with Anita Kovacevic

Anita Kovacevic Interview Banner

Earlier in the month, I spotlighted The Forest of Trees by Anita Kovacevic. Today I’m interviewing the author. I’m a bit nervous as Anita is often the interviewer rather than the interviewee…

8512581Hi Anita, welcome to Just books.

Would you please begin by telling me a little about yourself and your background

You may have heard about my country through Game of Thrones, although I myself have not yet sat on the Iron Throne. I come from Croatia where I have been teaching English as a second language for over 20 years now. My books have entered the world of publishing in the last three years. I write multiple genres – from children’s chapter books to adult poetry, paranormal thrillers and fantasy, light romantic comedy, and short stories. I live with my family in a small town near the capital city Zagreb.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? (And was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?)

Ha-ha, this is a fun question to reply! When I was about 8 or 9 I wanted to write and did, a lot. I loved books of all sorts and would sometimes visit the library twice on the same day. Later on I started writing theatre plays and became a movie fan, so as a teenager I wanted to become a movie director. Since my love for the English language permeated all of these, I eventually became a teacher of English, which I love to do. Logical development, huh?Well, considering I do lots of storytelling with my little learners, also developing and writing stories for them, and I teach a lot of literature and creative writing to my bigger learners, as well as write and direct plays in which they perform, I would say I found a job in which I can do a bit of each. Not to mention the fact that now my books in English are actually out there on the market!

‘I can do this!’ comes with the territory as soon as you hold on to your printed paperback. There is no other feeling like it.

Mind you, there are days when I don’t want to be a writer at all. I tell myself I should have dreamed of getting a job which would make me enough money to travel the world with my family, not this. And then my characters wake me up in the middle of the night, laugh to my face and tell me their stories, and keep telling them till I write them down.

Do you have a writing routine?And how do you fit everything you do (writing, blogging, interviews etc.) into your day?

Oh that’s a tough one. There are days and days which go without me writing or blogging at all, which doesn’t mean I don’t think about it and want to do it. But my time is always split – most of it goes to my family and day job (teaching). Sometimes, usually in springtime when I feel most energised, writing strikes a deal with insomnia and the two make miracles. Mostly, I steal time to write from my weekends, holidays and sleepless nights.

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

Dreams, hahaha! Well, I am not actually kidding. Most of my ideas come to me on what I call dreamstep – when I’m just about to fall asleep or just waking up, or when I am already deep within a story, then scenes and characters wake me up from my deepest sleep. If it’s within a dream, then it doesn’t matter where, if it’s my bed at home or a hotel room on holiday.

Interestingly enough, I get great ideas whenever I am in contact with water – whether I am swimming, taking a bath, even doing the dishes. No idea why, but water has always had an ethereal effect on me.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Great things, I hope! There are so many works in progress, some waiting to be drafted till the end, some already waiting for the finishing touches, that I honestly hope I don’t give in to that overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. I truly enjoy writing, telling my stories… We are each granted only a few gifts in life and we should live up to them. Creativity is mine and I feel most myself when I create. I also feel I am my best to everyone around me when I create. Therefore, I am definitely planning to keep honing my skills, writing, designing, illustrating, interviewing, so that the tools I use to tell the stories end up create books which keep getting better and better.

Are there any differences between writing a novel and a short story for an anthology?

Huge differences! Writing a short story is a world of its own – you need to keep the mood steady throughout the story, you have to be compact and say a lot with very few words, still maintaining the flow of words and style, otherwise your story sounds as if someone just retold it. There is very little time to develop a character, so every detail counts. And still, a good short story needs its introduction, plot and peek, and some sort of a resolution.

As for a novel, the fact that you are given a larger space and time span to fill, actually makes it more risky and your responsibility seems greater. You get a lot of ‘playing space’ but you have to be aware of your timeline, characters, their development, and you need to keep the readers’ interest the entire time. I remember reading this quote a while ago: “A short story… is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.“ (Stephen King), and thinking that a novel is like a relationship then – you really need to work at it to make it work.

However, for myself I can say I never think about these things while I write. Sometimes I start writing something without having any idea if it will be a story or a novel. As it develops, it becomes clearer. I think about the points I mentioned above when I revise and edit, be it my work or somebody else’s. Being aware of the ‘big picture’ helps maintain the rhythm, the pace of a story, and pace is very important, because reading must feel like music to the reader. Not everyone likes the same music though, but that’s life.



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

The easiest part is the easiest to explain. The easiest part is the writing – when you are able to just let go and write, you become immersed into that mood, the world of your characters and you are just a witness, a scribe, who is humbled and honoured to be allowed into that world.

The hardest part… well, let me split this in two parts – one linked to ‘while writing’, and the other one to ‘after writing’.

The hardest part for me while writing is dealing with certain characters and acknowledging what happens is beyond my control. We often have to write characters and scenes which are painful, even disgusting, and sometimes our characters suffer fates we would never wish them to. There have been moments, while I was writing The Forest of Trees, when I felt physical pain and sorrow, and moments when I was sickened by some of my characters to the point of nausea. But if you try to cheat and force the story into where it does not want to go, it is no good. It reads fake because it is fake.

The after writing part of writing is what sometimes makes you want to quit writing altogether. Revisions, edits, proofreading, beta reading… those are time-consuming, but part of the process and absolutely necessary. But then you have to start seeing your book as a commodity to sell, a business, which can be torment for any artist. Getting the book published is quite a challenge – there is such a huge market out there that it is overwhelming. You encounter a fair share of vanity presses, preying on your hunger to be published and extracting from you any and all funds you may have or have borrowed to invest into your book, without any promise of even a return, let alone promotion or profit. Traditional publishers are mostly so flooded with submissions that they only bet on a safe thing, and sequels by already famous authors are enough to sustain them. Self-publishing has an unsteady reputation, constantly fluctuating between quantity and quality. Some authors have money to invest, but not all splendid covers encompass great writing. There is a huge number of books out there, but there is also a huge number of readers, all with their tastes and preferences. What is perfection to me is pulp fiction to somebody else, and I have learned to accept that. But some admirable authors write well and can afford excellent publishing promotional services, and this is my goal in writing – to hone my craft as best I can and earn enough to invest in a full-quality book. My light at the end of the tunnel.

THE.FOREST.3DYour book, The Forest of Trees, is being made into a movie, what music would you use as a soundtrack?

Oh wow, that would be something! To be honest, I’ve only ever seen The Forest as a great TV-series (so modest of me, right?). I’d like original music to be made, not use anything already in existence. A slight Celtic subtone would be most welcome. Mostly instrumental music, but I wouldn’t mind a strong theme song, maybe even two.

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

This is one of the most interesting things I’ve recently talked about with one of my readers. They said my choice of names for the characters in The Threshold and The Forest of Trees was perfect and must have been thought about for a long time. It actually wasn’t at all, but shhh… don’t tell anyone. For instance, the villain in The Threshold changes his surname from Thibbit to Thibedeaux, trying to sound more posh and important. The secret is this – his surname is actually tidbit, revealing the true size of his tiny soul. In The Forest of Trees, the town where the story takes place is called Tillsworth (not the actual place, I had no idea there actually was a place with that name) – the place is supposed to bring this huge positive change in the lives of The Stones (the main family) and, in a way, it does but not without some complications – basically it’s like buying a product off a shelf – the promise of a discount is there, the price tag is there, but what you end up paying at the till may not be what the product is worth. You get what you chose to take from the shelves.However, the names were not chosen on purpose – they simply… came to mind as such, and remained non-negotiable, just like the book titles.

As for my children’s books, they are slightly different and let me have a say in things;). Children’s characters need simple, often illustrative names. Winky is a penguin who winks when he is very happy (his name shows exactly that because he never pretends to be anything he’s not), Mimi is a spoiled little squirrel (behaving like a princess at first but embracing her independence), George is a common man trying to be a pirate so he could win his love (no pirate-like name for him because he is simply too kind to be a pirate), and Hank is a little hedgehog (his parents give him that name to make him sound tough, but he finds strength elsewhere), and so on.


Names are fun. I don’t think they really reveal what we are like, but the way we interpret them does reveal who we are. Hmmm… perhaps I should not have explained my name choices then, eh?

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

Too many to admit without blushing. I have two short story collections, one poetry collection, two children’s books and a YA fantasy novel in editing stages. Yes, you read it well. Still, it will take some time to edit those. I am currently putting on two teenage plays with my learners. I also have initial notes for a paranormal thriller which I am very excited about, but should keep quiet not to jinx it.

Other than writing, what are you passionate about?

Our children. They are our miracles and not a day goes by that my husband and I don’t feel blessed about that fact. I mean it. We must be doing something right to deserve such good people for kids, as crazy as they may make us from time to time.

I adore music. One of my passions used to be dancing, but I’ve had to cut down on that due to various reasons. I often dance in my mind though, to my favourite music. It’s like meditation.

As for hobbies, it changes as life goes by and free time is scarce. I enjoy repurposing old stuff into new, be it clothes, furniture, spaces… whatever. I love creative hobbies such as knitting, drawing, painting, sewing, cooking…

Reading is an essential part of my life and I am always reading something, fiction or non-fiction. I often write reviews, although I have slowed down because I realised it was beginning to limit my joy for reading. Reading for yourself is one thing, but reading to review is quite another. I enjoy interviewing authors – it is fun and I meet so many interesting people from all over the world.

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

Oh my, huge choice options! No battles, please, no wars, slavery, witchhunts… I’d like to watch great works of art being created – monuments, buildings, paintings, books, music… Oh to be in the room when some of the most famous music was made! To be in the room with Cleopatra when she let down her guard and allowed herself to feel weak… to see Tesla in his frenzy of ideas… to watch Da Vinci paint…Given the choice, where/when would YOU go?

I’m asking the questions today, Anita! 😉
I’d like to visit the times of dinosaurs, to see what they were really like, and how close the palaeontologists have been in their interpretations.

I wish I’d known … when I was younger.

I wish I’d known I was not as fat as I thought in high school. I wish I’d known I should have more fun. But then again, things come to us when we are ready, right?

You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take three people who would they be and why?

Hmmm… I’ll need to think about that. For my next book perhaps?

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

Thank you for inviting me as a guest, Rainne. I hope you and your readers enjoy stories whenever you get and share them with someone you love, or even someone you’ve never met. Share a good story – kindness matters!Find me on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest… either by name or Anita’s Haven

Thanks ever so much for joining me, Anita, and for the interesting answers. It’s been a pleasure.

You can find Anita’s interviews, and other articles, on her blog: Anita’s Haven.

Book links:

Lulu Author Spotlight • Universal Book Link • Barnes & Noble/Nook • Kobo/Rakuten

iTunes/Apple • Amazon Author page • BookGorilla • Goodreads



The Forest of Trees by Anita Kovacevic


An Interview with Maya Sacher


My guest today is Maya Sacher, author of Hungry for Love.

Maya is a law school graduate, an activist, and the author of three books. Two books were published in Croatia, a short story collection and a novel.

Hungry for Love is a new adventure for her, as it is her first self-published book and an attempt to reach a new, wider market.

Hungry for Love is due for release on March 1st, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon


07Hi Maya, and welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to kick off by telling us what motivates you to write…?

Life, experience, people, society and its anomalies.

…And how your interest in writing originated?

I was twelve when I first dabbled with writing. I remember we used to frequently go down to the air-raid shelter, (Croatia was at war in the early nineties), and there wasn’t much to do for a kid in a shelter. I would bring a notebook with me and I started writing down stories. But it wasn’t until I graduated high school that I realized I wanted to be a writer.

Who or what has helped you become a better writer over time?

One of my first teachers was my Croatian editor, Mr. Kruno Lokotar, who helped me shape up my first two books. I also learned a lot from the mentors of The Writers’ Workshop, Elizabeth Garner and Laurence Daren King, who I have worked with on Hungry for Love.

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

Writing is the easiest part, that’s where all the fun is. Rewriting is not as fun, but it’s still writing. Researching, although it has its moments, is the hardest part for me because it isn’t writing.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I don’t know yet. I’ll let you know when one of my books hits bestseller list.

Walk us through a day in the life of Maya

After my cats and I have had our breakfast, they find a cozy place to sleep, and I tap away at my computer until lunch break. After lunch I write some more. If the weather is nice, I’ll go for a walk. I usually finish off my day with a movie or I catch up on my reading or both. See, quite glamorous.

Are events in Hungry for Love based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I’m sure most writers draw their inspiration from their own experience, the people they know and the world around them. Actually, this is the first rule of writing – write what you know. So most stories have a touch of their author’s lives in them. Hungry for Love tells of trials and tribulations of a woman who falls in love with a new man while her husband is in a coma, and the most difficult decision she has to make when her husband wakes up. This premise is made-up, however some characters were inspired by the people I know.

Who is your favourite character from your book and why?

I could say the main character, Elizabeth, because she is both fragile and strong, but I could also pick her therapist, Dawn, because she is wise, cool and understanding. On the other hand, I also love the two male characters, Elizabeth’s quirky husband, Jesse, and her lover, Aidan, who is somewhat rough around the edges but has a big heart. I can’t really take my pick.

How about your least favourite character?

I can’t choose the least favorite character either because they are all my creation and I sympathize with all of them. All characters are, in essence, bits of their author. Choosing the least favorite character would be like saying I don’t like some part of me, and that wouldn’t be true.

Would you please tell us about the delicious cover and how it came about.

book cover


My friend, Sonja Kovač, takes pictures of books for publishers and websites. I love her photographs, so I asked her if she would take my cover photo.

I told her I wanted cookies theme, since Elizabeth bakes cookies, but I also wanted the cover to suggest a love triangle without actually showing people.

At the bottom you will notice a recipe. It was Sonja’s idea. It’s actually a recipe for happiness taken from the novel. So when the readers watch the table on the cover, it’s as if they are seeing from Elizabeth’s perspective, as if they are baking cookies themselves.


Who is your intended audience and why should they read Hungry for Love?

Women (and men) who enjoy unconventional love stories and family dramas.

Have you any books in the pipeline? Can you tell us a bit about it/them?

I am currently working on a young adult novel, a dystopian romance.

Your book is being made into a movie, what music would you use as a soundtrack?

Something along the lines of early Maroon 5.

Other than writing, what are you passionate about?

Movies, traveling, food. I love trying new flavors, visiting new places, and I’m probably addicted to movies.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Hopefully, more books.

If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?

I used to fantasize about changing this or that about my past, about whether or not I could have made a better choice or prevented something bad from happening, but now I don’t want to change anything. Let bygones be bygones and all that.

What are your pet peeves?

I guess my biggest pet peeve is when people don’t believe you even in the face of evidence. And when people spend more time on their phone than they do interacting with the people they are supposedly having a conversation with.

Quick fire round:

  • favourite thingsFavourite book?

    The Little Prince.

  • Favourite food?


  • Favourite flower?


  • Favourite animal?


  • Favourite quote?

    “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
    Marilyn Monroe

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you head back to your writing and your cats?

I hope the readers will enjoy Hungry for Love. If you’d like to share anything, ask a question, or just chat, feel free to get in touch via my Facebook page.

Thank you for joining us, Maya. Best wishes for Release Day!


An Interview with Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon

Last week Only One Woman by Christina Jones and ‎ Jane Risdon was in the spotlight here on Rainne’s Ramblings.

Today I have Jane Risdon here with me and she has agreed to answer a few questions.


1-image1Hi Jane, thank you for joining us.

Hi Rainne, thanks so much for asking me here today, it’s wonderful to chat with you and your readers.


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

Where to begin? I met my husband back in the late 1960s when his band arrived in England to record and tour and we’ve been together ever since. We have one son who lives in California with his wife and their three children.

Married to a musician my life has never been what you call normal I guess. He recorded and toured and I held down a ‘proper’ job in the early years – I worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall, and in various other government departments until we decided to go into the ‘talent’ side of the music business.

We built an International Music Management company together, managing and producing singer-songwriters, record producers, musicians and bands of all musical genres, as well as working on TV and Movie soundtracks – and on some other areas of movie and TV production too – and most things music related. We lived mostly in the USA, Taiwan, Singapore, and of course England. We’ve had some interesting adventures.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

I’ve always wanted to write but with our lifestyle it was never practical. Babysitting testosterone fuelled young men and hormone crazed young female singers never allowed for time to ourselves. We lived life in the fast lane, to quote the Eagles.

Back in the 1960s my husband’s fan-club secretary, Christina Jones, was also a rock journalist and short story writer for teen magazines and she knew I wanted to write and we always said we would write together one day. Trouble is I had an eye on writing crime thrillers. She went on to become a successful best-selling, award-winning author of what she calls Bucolic Frolics, so how we’d ever write together was a conundrum.

Fast forward many years and I found time to write and started – on the quiet – writing crime stories for anthologies and I began work on a few novels. She asked to read what I’d written and after some discussion we decided to get on with it and write together. By this time I was already signed with Accent Press – oddly she was also signed with them by then as she’d ended her former publishing contracts with the ‘big’ boys.

I have never written anything remotely classed as ‘romantic’ so it has been a journey for me writing Only One Woman with Christina. There aren’t any dead bodies, crimes to solve, just a rollicking good tale of two girls in love with the same musician back in the late 1960s. I cannot tell you how I itched to find somewhere to stick a corpse.

What inspired Only One Woman, and how did you come up with the title?

23316470_156873331586164_1681214585976771281_nInspiration for OOW (as we call it) was something that came from the ether. Christina and I wanted to write together but as I said before, she and I write in completely different genres. Finding something we could write about together seemed a distant fantasy. In 2012 I moved house and as I was going through some boxes I came across my husband’s old tour schedules, posters, fan letters, and some of our old diaries and I began to make notes. These soon became little chapters under diary date headings and before I knew it I’d written Renza’s story and it cried out for another voice. I sent it via email to Christina and she loved it and started writing her parts which turned into Stella’s story. This went on until 2014 when it went into our publisher who wanted to publish it later that summer. We wrote by email, text and Facebook messages – very 21st century! Due to various comings and goings at our publisher it has taken until November 2017 or it to be published. I learned patience in the recording studio making records and working with young musicians – just as well!

Only One Woman is the title of a single written by The Bee Gees which was a massive hit for The Marbles – lead singer Graham Bonnett went on to be a super-star with Rainbow and many other bands. In fact Graham and his girlfriend are reading OOW and he is going to write a foreword for the main Paper-back (for stores worldwide and audio) publication 24th May 2018. He just needs to find time as he is recording and touring at the moment. Fingers crossed. OOW is peppered with songs and musical references. It is about the blossoming UK music scene late 1968/69. We have our own YouTube playlists.

What is your favourite scene from Only One Woman? Can you give us a peek?

Gosh, now there is a question. I don’t really have a favourite scene – I love them all but how about when 16 year old convent girl, Renza, is taken by her new boyfriend, lead guitarist Scott, to a gig on Salisbury Plain with Narnia’s Children for the first time and she experiences ‘the swinging sixties’ full on. This is part way through a chapter. Renza is at an after-gig party with some weird and wonderful hippies and musicians….


Renza’s Diary from Only One Woman:

June 29th 1968 – later

…A girl in a tight fitting bolero top and hipster trousers came over to us and flung her arms round Scott, kissing him on the mouth, a bit too long and hard for my liking. Scott didn’t seem in too much of a hurry to push her away, and she melted into him as if she was trying to come out the other side.

‘Scott lover, how’s it hanging?’ She sounded just like Fenella Fielding, all breathy and wanton.

‘Yeah Scott, just how is it hanging?’ I snapped and flounced off to where I could see Rich sitting on his own, hugging a beer.

‘Hi Renza, babe, what’s up?’ Rich held the glass up to me in greeting and took another drag on his ciggy.

‘Who’s that girl talking to Scott?’ I asked plonking myself down next to him on the huge bean bag. We both nearly fell off as it settled itself with my extra weight.

‘Hey, don’t waste good beer babe.’ Rich held his glass away from me as I wriggled to get comfy.

‘Rich, who is she?’ I asked again as I saw her drape herself all over Scott and nestle into his shoulder. The bitch! Scott didn’t seem too bothered.

‘She used to help Stephan – he’s the band’s manager I told you about earlier – in the office in Jersey and then she came to the mainland with her boyfriend. She’s no one important, she sometimes hangs with the band when we’re over.’


I watched her like a hawk. Scott looked over and waved. The nerve!

Rich took a few gulps of beer and patted my leg. ‘Don’t fret about Scott, he’s mad about you. She’ll get the message after tonight.

I looked round the grubby room with its crates and boxes, and fake Greek Taverna decorations hanging from the walls, the fake fishing nets, glass baubles attached, and wine bottles with candles burning in them. And the couples seething in a mass on the floor, in the shadows, and on the cushions, doing goodness knows what, and I wanted to go home.

Actually, I wanted to get Scott to myself. Back home. In the village. Where things were normal.

‘Magical Mystery Tour’ came on and I suddenly thought about having to miss The Beatles at the Hammersmith Odeon, because I was ‘Mrs Spoffington’ in the school play, and couldn’t get out of it. Instead of The Beatles giving me the thrill of my life I was stuck on stage singing ‘Oh I do like to be beside the sodding sea-side,’ to a hall full of boring parents. Not that mine bothered to go.

‘Rich, mate, hi. Good gig. Stephan about tonight?’ A huge man of about thirty came up to us and nodded at me. ‘Want to sort some stuff out with him.’

He was wearing beads and a kaftan with an orange and green squiggly pattern on it, and had his ears pierced. His long black hair hung in tight curls around his shoulders. Mum would just love him.

‘Oh Renza, this is Psychedelic Smith,’ Rich said. ‘Remember we told you about him, he’s our fixer.’ I remembered. Apparently he was helping Stephan get Narnia’s Children a record deal. Everyone had to kiss up to him I was told. Well, thankfully, I don’t.

Psychedelic Smith dismissed me with a brief smile before turning back to Rich.

‘Stephan’s back in the smoke mate, got Top of the Pops with The White Knights, so he’s gotta be there for that.’ Rich drained his glass and put it on the floor next to him.

‘Right, yeah, going up the charts fast. That’s cool, I’ll ring him later. I’m in town tomorrow and want to arrange some record company auditions for the guys. Got some label interest.’

‘Do I need to re-organise anything for the boys?’ Rich asked.

‘Nope, I’ll sort some dates out with Stephan, he’ll let you know in good time. I’ve got some songs lined up for the guys to hear, so we’ll sort some dates for visiting publishers in town, too.’

I couldn’t help wondering what mum and Mrs Digby would say if Psychedelic Smith turned up in the village to visit the band. I giggled quietly.

Psychedelic Smith began to roll a ciggy and offered one to Rich. .

Rich shook his head and got to his feet. ‘Nah, mate, gotta drive back soon or her Mum’ll kill me if she’s not home on time, won’t she, babe?’ Rich smiled at me and looked at his watch, then went off to round up the band.

Psychedelic Smith took a few more drags and offered me one. I shook my head. I could just see me floating in the front door with Mum waiting up to look me over and make sure I hadn’t ‘been up to anything’.

‘No thanks.’

The Demis Russos look-alike shrugged and headed for the kitchen. Dad would have a blue fit if he knew I was ‘fraternizing,’ with blokes in dresses.

I knew the only reason I’d been allowed out so late with the band was because Mum quite liked Rich and he’d sweet-talked her into letting me go to the gig. God! If she could see me now, in this horrible house with everyone stoned, she’d have a migraine for a week worrying in case the village found out.

I looked at my watch. If we didn’t leave soon I was going to be seriously late and that would mean all hell breaking loose. Scott was nowhere to be seen now and Rich was chatting to ‘The Bitch’ by the food. I know it is horrid calling her that but she’s got right up my nose, wall-papering herself all over Scott.

People were still wrestling on the floor which meant I had to watch where I looked: I didn’t want to appear a Peeping Tom, though it was hard not to cast a sly glance now and again. I mean, seriously, some were actually ‘at it’ in full view. Anyone would look, wouldn’t they?

Thinking about it, how do you ‘do it’ in public without all your bits and stuff being on show? I couldn’t see anything, you know, rude or anything, but they were definitely ‘doing it’, I just couldn’t fathom how.

‘You look deep in thought,’ Scott made me jump, ‘what’re you looking at?’

Before I could answer he followed my gaze to the nearest couple. He threw his head back and laughed loudly. I blushed as if I’d been caught out doing something naughty.

‘Ah!’ he said, ‘I see.’

I felt really stupid. I could feel the heat rising up my neck to my face, thank goodness it was so gloomy.

‘Bit of an education eh?’ He grabbed my arm and led me through to what could only be called an apology for a kitchen. ‘Can you wait here while I get the others? We should leave now. Don’t move. I won’t be long.’

And off he went again….onewoman



Who is your favourite character from your book and why?

I have to say Stella, as she is the sophisticated, worldly, gorgeous babe Renza would love to be and she has the best scenes I think. I am sure everyone is routing for her throughout the book. She seems to have the most fun with Scott.

What do you enjoy most about writing…?

Reading the finished product back to myself and thinking I’ve gone as far as I can with the story and then getting feedback from my husband – poor man has to read it all.

And what motivates you to write?

I love chatting and relating stories, writing them is just a step further. I spent a lonely childhood – eldest of a large family with siblings a lot younger than I – reading and writing kept me sane. I find writing helps turn the pressure cooker off inside my head when something is giving me grief. Also, living the life we’ve led there are so many stories to tell, so many characters we’ve met who did the most outrageous things – all fodder for a writer. How could I not write about some of it! Hollywood is stranger than fiction for starters.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No I cannot do that. I can write to a deadline and word count if told to but I don’t break it up into hours or days. I just write until I get tired, or other things call for my attention.

Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

Well, I guess so, who doesn’t? Indirectly, subconsciously, we all must. There are some events which I’ve experienced which would be criminal not to include in my stories, however, I am always conscious of not stepping too far out of line and waking up with a horse’s head in the bed or concrete boots on! One has to be very careful.

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 important to me but funnily enough names just pop into my head and they are usually very pertinent to the character I am writing. Sometimes it is a name which gives me inspiration for the book.

Your stories have appeared in a few anthologies, did this experience help move you to writing your novel?

I’ve had several novels on the go simultaneously as well as writing short stories and flash fiction at the same time, so it has not helped or hindered me really. Short stories and flash fiction are great for concentrating the mind, making every word and sentence count. I tend not to go in for long sentences or chapters when I can help it. Keeping the pace up.

Could you give us a brief synopsis of one (your favourite) of the stories?

51ennCOdBPLWow this is difficult. I love all my stories – I can’t help it. As it is Christmas (as I write this it is, anyway**) I will tell you a little about ‘Merry Christmas Everybody,’ published by Accent Press in the anthology ‘Wishing on a Star.’ The title is from The Slade hit.

It is based on true events one Christmas when we were recording in a studio in the North of the UK, owned by a super-star guitarist. We were working with a now deceased producer and I have exaggerated events a lot, and of course indulged in poetic license.

Twister is in the studio recording their follow-up album to their last massive hit and tensions are rising as the band work day and night to keep to their recording schedule and budget. Time is money. Their new producer obviously doesn’t like them and there’s no love lost on Twister’s side either. Daily they meet to review the previous night’s work but something’s wrong with the previous two night’s recordings – there’s keyboards all over the track and no-one in the rock band has played keyboards on the tracks and won’t be either. They are not bloody Night Ranger for goodness sakes. The producer is furious and accuses the band of sabotage and the band accuse him, but it soon becomes clear that other forces are at work…soon the atmosphere erupts and violence ensues…

**My apologies for the delay in getting this interview posted

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

I am an avid reader, I love photography and can be found with my camera photographing the countryside, wild-life and ancient churches, cathedrals and villages – some of which are later locations for my stories. I do family history research, I love astronomy and science and I am a history buff. Actually I’m curious about everything so keep my mind active with all manner of activities. I have undertaken 7 university courses since 2015, mostly studying Forensic Science and Criminal Justice so that I can have a basic understanding and knowledge for my crime writing.

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

I first wanted to be Doris Day and then I decided I’d love to dance with Fred Astaire so you can see a theatrical streak appearing. As a teen I wanted to be a writer and had hoped to work as an apprentice journalist on the Sunday Times with a dream of being a War Correspondent – the school careers officer soon put paid to that idea. I ended up working for the government for years until the theatrical side was satisfied when I managed bands etc.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Oh cripes I read and read…I love reading. I love so many authors, but here are a few: Kathy Reichs, Tess Gerritsen, Karin Slaughter, Michael Connolly, Peter James, Steall Rimington, Frederick Forsythe, John le Carre, Roger A Price, and so many more. Anyone writing crime and espionage basically.

You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take three people who would they be and why?

My husband, my son, and Professor Brian Cox because we can all talk about music and science and argue about UFO’s and so on.

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

That is a huge ask. I would love your readers to seek out my writing – I have a wide and diverse range of work from crime to ghost stories (not too scary) to basic fiction, and therefore I hope to have something for everyone. Only On Woman has been an epic undertaking second only to my Ms Birdsong Investigates series – in with my publisher still. Like all writers we need readers who review and are happy to share their thoughts on Amazon and GoodReads. For some reason it makes the publishers happy and any agents looking at an author. I have stories in two anthologies last December: Ghostly Writes Anthology 2017, and Stab in the Dark: Christmas Capers 2017 – both best-sellers on Amazon.Jane Risdon Christmas

Oh! And if you want a giggle….Only One Woman was put in the wrong category on amazon and we had a little wait for them to put it elsewhere (still not right but better). They put it in BDSM and Erotica – it went to #33 in their chart. Hilarious but actually, not very helpful for us. It is Women’s Fiction and Saga but we are not holding our breath.

And finally, a few quick-fire questions if you don’t mind…

When was the last time you walked for more than an hour?

I walked in the lake district for a whole day.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

I’d love to Time Travel.

Are you an early riser or a night owl?

I am an owl and a lark. Working in the music business you learn to operate on little sleep and cannot afford to stay in bed and we mostly work at night anyway.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sing often and sometimes my husband and I sing duets and harmonise. It has to be done and we cannot help ourselves. It is in our blood.

Thank you for spending this time with us, Jane. If you wouldn’t mind leaving us some links before you get back to your busy schedule!

Thanks so much Raine. I loved doing this.

Here are my links. Not all my books are on amazon but my blog should provide links.

Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Amazon • Goodreads

Only One Woman

Amazon • Facebook

View across the fields (c) Jane Risdon 2011

View across the fields (c) Jane Risdon 2011

An Interview with Raechel Lynn



Last week I featured Raechel Lynn’s recently released book, Enthralled. Today Raechel has joined me for an interview.

Thank you for your time, Raechel, and welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.



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

Hi, my name is Raechel, I’m an author based out of Seattle, WA where I grew up. I’ve been an avid reader all my life, I’ll read anything, however fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi are my favorites to read and therefore write. I have three four-legged children that are my world. A blue nose Pitbull named Remington, and two American Quarter Horses, Frisco and Cinder.

When did you start writing for publication, what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?

I wanted to challenge myself to do something outside of my comfort zone. I started with a few standard romance novels, but it wasn’t until I got a push from my good friend to jump into the paranormal erotica genre that really pushed me into the public eye. I got picked up by CHBB publishing, and they’ve supported my budding career.

What gets your creative juices flowing…?

Any and everything. My mind is constantly people watching, wondering what goes on beneath the surface. I want to know what makes people tick, and I’m fascinated by how people interact with one another to serve themselves, or the greater good. A phrase, or an image, or even a song will start my mind spinning off in many directions.

…And what does writing mean to you?

Ultimately it is a creative outlet. I thoroughly enjoy the act of creating things. Building entire worlds in my head is great, but letting all of them out with their crazy cast of characters is even better. It’s a challenge, and I thrive on challenges.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That depends on how long the book is. For my previous release, Enticed, it took me a few months, only because I was working on other things as well at the time. For my second Enthralled, I think start to finish it was about a month.


Tell us a bit about Enticed and how we can get our hands on it.

It’s the first in the Eleanor and Magnus series. You’ll want to read it to know how they got to the point they are at now. It’s on Amazon,



In love fashion couple kiss against a grey wall.

Enthralled is your latest book, isn’t it. What inspired it?

Enthralled is the newest one. It is the second in the series that my amazing friend TL Travis laid down a gauntlet and said, “you should write vampire erotica”. So, I did. As soon as she put the challenge at my feet, my brain ran with an idea, and Enthralled is the continuation of that idea.


What is your favourite scene from Enthralled? Can you give us a peek?

It’s hard for me to choose just one scene, but for me, a pivotal moment between the two main characters is when Magnus drops his guard and lets Eleanor take the lead.

      His gorgeous body once again took her breath away. His muscles had filled out, though he was still leaner than he should be. But even though he was covered in blood, she wanted to lick every single inch of him, exploring all his valleys and peaks to find what drove him wild. “Magnus…”
      “Don’t ever stop looking at me like that little girl.” He crushed his mouth to hers, aching for a taste of her honeyed haven. She was even sweeter than he remembered, opening willingly to his invasion, desperate as he was to be as close as possible. With minimal effort, he gathered her into his arms and carried her into the shower. The pounding spray was warm, easing all the aches in his muscles, leaving behind the fire of his desire for her.
      “Are you certain you aren’t hurt?” Eleanor framed his face with her hands, forcing him to meet her eyes.
      He couldn’t help the smile that broke over his face. “Why don’t you look for yourself?” He set her on her feet, and took a step back under the pounding water.
      Eleanor couldn’t stop herself from reaching out to him, running her fingers over his shoulders, down his arms, back to his chest then down his perfect washboard abs. He was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen, and on a primal level that she couldn’t understand, his body called to hers. She didn’t hesitate to run her hands down his hips, checking his strong muscular thighs for wounds, all the way down to his ankles before coming back up the inside of his thighs as she stood up to his waiting erection.

Which, if any, of your personality traits do you write into your characters?

That depends on the character! I love giving each character a piece of personality that makes them a little bit unique. I myself am sarcastic, and usually at least one of my characters has a serious problem with their sarcasm. I’m also stubborn, which works great with reluctant heros, so I use that trait regularly.

Where would you like to you see yourself in 5 years time?

I’d love to be able to support myself between writing, and coaching swim team. That’s my big dream, but at the very least I’ll still be writing and have a fresh and current voice in the industry.

When you’re not writing, and it’s time to relax! What do you do…?

Well, if I can find a patch of sunshine I’ll be laying in it, reading a book. If not, I’ll be curled up under a blanket snuggling my dog, reading a book.

…And other than writing, what are you passionate about?

My horses. I compete year-round, though summer is my busy season. I participate in western gaming, also known as patterned horse racing, or essentially barrel racing. The goal is to go as fast as possible, stay on your horse, run the correct pattern, without knocking anything over.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Training my horse Frisco was probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. He had a lot of emotional baggage that we had to work through. He taught me the value of starting over at ground level, patience, tolerance, and persistence. He turned into an amazing horse, but it took about five years to get there.

Lagertha & Janeway
Which fictional character, book or film, would you like to meet and why?

That is a tie. Both characters are strong female leads, who deal with way more crap than they should, make some choices that not everyone agrees with, and are survivors. I’d love to meet Lagertha from the history channel series Vikings, and Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager.


Thank you for joining me, and my readers, Raechel.
Before you go is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Just a piece of philosophy: this world is full of positives and negatives, light and dark, good and bad. Unfortunately, we cannot have one without the other. However, we can choose how we as individuals view what is around us, and often what is darkness for one person, is light for another. Treat others better than you want to be treated, because you never know anyone’s full story.

Thats a wonderful thought to leave us with, Raechel. Thank you!


Enthralled by Raechel Lynn



An Interview with…


Thomas McRae

Author of Pimp In The Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit: Part II


20180101_155301Where were you born and brought up?

I was born in The Coney Island Hospital located at Brooklyn New York and grew up there for half my life.

Where do you live now?

I live in Areverne N.Y. along with my parents and hopefully someday soon I’LL be able to buy myself and my folks a house we all can enjoy and share together.

How would you describe your childhood in general?

I grew up in a two-parent household. My father was the primary Financial supporter and my mother was the nurturer and economical genius. Both of my parents are hard-working individuals who dedicate their lives to providing a better future for their children. Now truth be told my parents weren’t perfect but they were definitely extraordinary role models and wonderful human beings. Who till this day still inspires me and give me a glimpse of hope to look forward to.

Did you enjoy school?

I enjoyed certain aspects of school because certain classes appealed to me more. But I wasn’t crazy about going to the same school as my brother because for years I was living under his shadow and for the most part people didn’t see me they saw Marshall’s little brother.

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

At first, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I was really into animals such as dogs, cats, parrots and fish. But once I got older I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be because I had a lot of confidence issues. And it took me a while to find my creative niche but once I did I decided I was going to be a writer or at the very least just die trying.

20180102_170348Tell us about Pimp in the Pulpit 1 & 2 in your own words rather than the blurb?

Both books are inspired by personal experiences in my life, but not all facts. Many of these stories contain funny and silly antics that my family has done over the years I also took some stories from friends of mine and combine each dialogue into one story. If you’re easily offended than these books isn’t for you because it’s full of foul language and crazy unexpected surprises. Basically, you would see these type of things on a television or movie production but believe me it’s filled with fiction, wishful thinking, personal experiences and some facts all submerged in to one hilarious story.

Would you say your books have a message or an underlying theme?

My response to that would be yes there is a message and the message is you should never let others Define Who You Are or what you are trying to become. No matter how rough life maybe you should always love yourself because it took me a while but I finally realized that no one is going to love me like me.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story consists of many things. First, you need entertaining characters people that are relatable and unforgettable. Then you need several solid punchlines and an imagination that appeals to a large audience no matter the race, religion, or creed. After that, you just need one more thing and that would be passion. Because passion will give your story life and with that, you will have the people’s attention.

Why do you think your books will or should appeal to new readers what makes them stand out?

First of all my books are very honest in regards to my experiences in life and my pain. These books share a glimpse of light to those who have lived a privileged life and never experienced this type of situations with their family or Inner circle. Pimp in the Pulpit 1 & 2 have the ability to make you laugh, cry or even appreciate your own family. Truth be told I think these books have the potential of being an instant Tyler Perry classic film and I would consider it a personal honour and privilege if I can meet with him and Hammer out some kind of agreement. Because Pimp in the Pulpit 1 & 2 are destined to do great things – this I believe and have no doubt.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

It’s a very delicate question to answer because I feel like I accomplished a great deal and still have much to accomplish. But if I had to pick just one then I would say my greatest achievement is knowing that I didn’t allow myself to become a statistic.

I feel like my greatest achievement is that I was a success the moment I grew up and left my old neighbourhood without any criminal background or drug or alcohol issues. I believe I was a success the moment I decided not to allow my environment to be my reality.

My greatest achievement is I don’t have any bastard children or numerous mothers who have conceived my kids. I’m not out there selling drugs or robbing & hurting innocent people.

My greatest achievement is I’m being my own person and my own man and I’m not allowing society to dictate who I am or should be because of the colour of my skin or the circumstances I was brought up in.

What is your greatest regret?

I try not to regret anything I’ve done or didn’t do. But there have been times I wonder if I did something differently how my life would have been. For example, if I would have told my childhood friend how much I adored her when we were younger what would have happened. Or maybe if I told my Aunt Gloria, my Uncle Snell, my good friend Mrs Virginia Bell and several other people who have touched my heart in a positive way that I sincerely and generally love them all. How would that affect my life up till this very day? But for the most part, I try not to dwell on regrets because life is all about learning and growing and trying to become a better person and God willing I’ll be able to inspire others through my words my heart and my spirit.

If you could change one thing from your past what would it be and why?

Honestly nothing I wouldn’t change anything for the mere fact all my mistakes and virtues are what turned me into the man I am today. I have many flaws and a lot of good qualities but one thing is certain I do not regret being me and I look forward to going to heaven to meet my maker and accept any judgment He decides to pass on me.

What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession would be my mother Mrs Sylvia A McRae who is my best friend in the whole wide world. And my Goddaughter Kayla Veronica Lewin who is just the sweetest thing you will ever meet.

What makes you laugh?

Pretty much anything that is funny or amusing. But at the same time, I do have a rather unique sense of humour so it could be anything depending on the moment and how I feel.

What three words best describe your personality? And would others use the same three words? If not what words do you think they use?

Publication1The first three words that pop into my head are loving, caring and loyal. I believe most people would say the same thing especially if they genuinely know me. But if not I hope they say he’s got a good heart, generous spirit plus a humble kind soul.

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

I have so many unpublished materials especially in the Poetry section. But I am currently working on several new short fiction novels each one inspired by personal experiences, but not all facts. I promise you these books will bring you joy and suspense from one page to another.

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

I’m not a very complicated person I just want a family of my own, a happy prosperous life and I would like to promote and Market my books at a much higher level. Also to get that home for my family that I always wanted. And last but not least I would love one day to turn my books into a movie and that would be something.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to stay focused and determined because your blessing is coming. I would also say to myself not to overextend your hand for everyone because not everybody who says they love you generally loves you. But the last thing I would tell myself is to keep trying and never let anyone discourage you or try to put you in a bubble. We’re all a blessing and that is why God gave us life.



Pimp in the Pulpit: Amazon * B&N
Pimp in the Pulpit part II: Amazon

I previously interviewed Thomas on Just Books.
When he contacted me, to let me know he had released Pimp in the Pulpit: Part II I jumped at the chance to ask more questions!

Thank you, Thomas!