Sunday 27 October 2013

Lord Rivenhall Returns

I'm delighted to tell you that Lord Rivenhall Returns is now available on Amazon here and in the States. This was the first book I sold way back in 2005 to DC Thomson, and since that happy day I've sold a further 26 Regency titles and two World War II mainstream historical titles.
I have another fantastic cover from Jane Dixon-Smith – I'm sure you like it as much as I do. This title is the first of a series of six books all with either a lord or a lady as the main protagonist. The second in the series, Lady Charlotte's Deception, will be released at the end of November.

Here is a short extract which I hope will be enough for you to want to download it.

Amelia almost stamped her foot with frustration. ‘It is so unfair that we should be in this sorry state, unable to pay our bills, or the few staff we still have, when there is so much money sitting in the bank. How typical of Papa not have the foresight to organise his affairs before killing himself.’
Her mother was shocked. ‘Please do not speak so, Amelia. Your father did not kill himself; he died in a riding accident, as you well know. How was he to anticipate he would meet his maker at only two and fifty?’
Amelia was immediately contrite. ‘I am sorry, Mama. It is just so frustrating, waiting for news.’ But the news they were waiting for, at that moment, was the identity of the mystery visitor. There was a discreet tap on the door and Foster, their antiquated butler, stepped in; his expression for once, almost animated. ‘There is a gentleman below, my lady, desirous of speaking with you. I have taken the liberty of placing him in the library.’
Amelia jumped to her feet. ‘I will come at once, Foster.’
‘You cannot attend on your own, Amelia, it would not be seemly. You must have Martha with you.’
‘Oh, very well, Mama.’ She turned to Foster. ‘Please ask Martha to come here immediately.’ A few minutes later Martha, her mother’s abigail, joined them in the drawing-room. ‘We have a visitor, Martha, and you are to accompany me to the library,’ Amelia told the middle-aged woman, waiting for instructions. ‘I will return here as soon as I have any information for you, Mama.’
Amelia, closely followed by Martha, hurried downstairs eager to discover the identity of the stranger. Foster was waiting to announce her. The library, the only other room where a fire was still lit every day, was at least warmer than the cavernous, marble tiled, entrance hall.
The butler opened the door and announced her. ‘Miss Rivenhall.’
The tall, dark haired man turned from his thoughtful contemplation of the fire. He bowed low. ‘Good morning, Miss Rivenhall. Thank you for receiving me. I have brought some information from your lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf. Perhaps you could oblige me with somewhere to change whilst you read them, for as you can see, I am somewhat damp.’
Amelia realized that he was, in fact, standing in an ever-growing pool of water. ‘Good heavens, of course you are. I shall have you taken upstairs immediately. Martha, could you ring for Higgs?’ The housekeeper bustled in, all anxious enquiry. ‘Good,’ Amelia said, hiding a smile. The woman must have been outside the door in order to have arrived so quickly. She was not the only one enjoying the unexpected break from tedium. ‘Could you show this gentleman to the Blue room? And please find him something suitable to wear whilst his own garments are being restored.’
The gentleman in question exuded good taste, and full pockets, from the cut of his dark blue, superfine topcoat to the superb fit of his buff inexpressibles and once shiny black Hessians. He bowed again. ‘Thank you, Miss Rivenhall, but that will not be necessary. My man, Peters, will bring up my boxes as soon as he has seen to the horses.’
Although rather surprised by this presumption Amelia returned his bow politely, with a nod of her head. ‘Higgs, please direct Peters to the Blue room, when he appears.’
‘Very well, Miss Amelia. Come this way, sir, if you please.’
The man picked up the package of papers that he had placed on the mantel shelf, and offered them to Amelia. ‘I am sure that these, Miss Rivenhall, will explain my unexpected arrival here.’ Automatically she reached out and took the proffered documents. ‘I shall rejoin you soon. Then we must talk.’ At this, the man strode after the departing housekeeper.
Amelia, her hand shaking, already suspected what would be amongst the legal papers she had been given. Inside she found several certificates and a letter from the family lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf.
The first document she looked at was a record of the marriage between, Edward Rivenhall and a Miss Mary Marshal. The second, a birth certificate for Richard Edward Rivenhall; from the date she realized it made him almost eight and twenty. The third, and final, document was the death certificate for Edward, dated scarcely three years after his marriage.
Amelia barely glanced at the letter of introduction from the lawyers. At last their worries were over. There would be money to pay the bills and life could return to normal. The privations of the past eighteen months, which had so damaged her mother’s delicate health, would soon be forgotten.
She gathered up the papers and rang the bell. Almost immediately the door opened, and Foster appeared, bristling with curiosity.
‘Foster, please take these documents up to Lady Rivenhall.’ She paused, enjoying for once, the opportunity to have more information than the butler. ‘Lord Rivenhall will be re-joining me here. I
would like luncheon served at noon in the small dining-room. Tell Cook that we would like soup, cold cuts, and the remainder of the game pie. Thank you, Foster, that will be all.’ She turned to Martha, beaming beside her. ‘This is wonderful news, is it not, Martha. You had better go to Lady Rivenhall for she will wish to come down to meet her nephew.’
The butler retreated clutching the papers and Amelia knew he would know their contents before her mother. His officious manner was a constant irritation to her, but his loyalty to the family could not be questioned. Martha, still smiling hurried after him.
The sound of footsteps approaching heralded the imminent arrival of her new relative. Quickly Amelia sat down, not wishing to appear too eager. The door swung open and her glance was drawn to the man who appeared to fill the entrance. For a second their eyes locked, and something, she did not understand passed between them.
He smiled and immediately looked less intimidating. His teeth gleamed white in his darkly tanned face. Remembering her manners, Amelia gestured to the large leather Chesterfield opposite her position by the fire.
‘Please be seated, my lord. We obviously have a lot to discuss.’
The fact that this time they were alone, unchaperoned, appeared to have escaped his attention. Rivenhall flicked aside the tail of his coat and sat down, relaxing instantly against the sofa, his long booted legs crossed casually at the ankles.
‘Miss Rivenhall, you have obviously read my papers and must know that I am your cousin, Richard.’ His voice was deep and attractive, his expression sincere.
‘I did not know I had a Cousin Richard until now.’
‘I realise all this must be a shock, but I hope it is a welcome one. Mr Metcalf explained how
intolerable things have been for you. And I can only apologize for my tardy arrival.’
‘We have managed, but I must admit that I am delighted you have come at last. My mother is not well and the worry has made her worse.’
‘It is to be hoped that her health will improve when the rooms are warmer and the pantry full.’
Amelia smiled. ‘Indeed, I hope so. But now I am curious to know why it has taken you so long to get here. Where have you been all this time?’
‘I was fighting in the Peninsula when your father died and had no reason to read obituaries. My mother had never told me that I could be heir to a title and a large estate.’
‘I see, but, my lord…’
He interrupted her. ‘Do you think we could dispense with formality and use our given names? After all we are cousins, are we not?’
This unexpected request caused Amelia to blush. Surely it was too soon for such intimacies? ‘I am not sure it would be correct, my lord. We have only just met.’
‘I intend to address you as Amelia; you must, of course, please yourself.’ This statement was accompanied by a charming smile.
‘Oh, very well then, I suppose I must call you Cousin Richard,’ she replied a trifle ungraciously. Then she smiled, feeling her reply had been rather churlish, and her face was transformed.
‘Now, let me continue. On my father’s death my mother had sufficient funds of her own to keep both of us. She reverted to her maiden name and I grew up using the name of Marshal, and did not
even know I was a Rivenhall.’ He paused, his expression sad. ‘My mother died when I was twelve and there was just enough money left to purchase me a set of colours, and so I joined the Army.’
‘So young? You were still a child.’
‘Not for long; the army is a place where you grow up fast, if you are to survive.’
Amelia could imagine how difficult it must have been for a young boy, recently orphaned, to make his way in the army. ‘Please go on, Cousin Richard. Did you make good progress in your career?’
He nodded. ‘Yes, moderate; when I resigned my commission last month I had reached the rank of major.’
Amelia was not surprised. She had sensed immediately that her cousin was a man used to command. ‘I am impressed. But how did you finally discover you were the heir to Rivenhall?’
‘Quite by chance; after Waterloo I returned to London and visited Blake and Sons, my mother’s lawyers. I had been sending them my prize money over the years, and they have been investing it for me. I needed to know how my affairs stood. I did not know, however, that they had been holding that pack of documents in safe keeping. My mother had left instructions for them to be given to me when I reached my majority. They had no idea of their contents. Because I had not been to see them since my mother’s death they had remained unopened.’

He leant forward; his dark eyes glittered in the firelight. ‘I was astounded when I learnt that I was now a lord, and not only heir to vast estates, but guardian to a cousin and responsible for an aunt. Naturally I came down here immediately. And I can only apologize again, for the unforgivable distress my absence has caused to yourself and Lady Rivenhall.’  (  (Amazon.UK)

Fenella J Miller

Tuesday 22 October 2013


Alison Morton is back on my blog again and very welcome she is too. Her second book, Perfiditas, is now published and she's here to tell us all about it. I've lareayd devoured it - brilliant book - even better than Inceptio.


When I launched my first novel, INCEPTIO, earlier this year, it was the end of three years’ slog, some of which was writing, rewriting and polishing the book, but an equal part was learning How To Be A Novelist. I went on specialist courses, took part in conferences, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, networked and drank a lot of coffee and wine in the process. 

This March saw a high-profile launch with Sue Cook the broadcaster, blog tours, library talks, speaking at conferences and events, signings, shortlisting for the International Rubery Book Award and the award of a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM for excellence. Oh, and I sold a few books.

Seven months later and the next book, PERFIDITAS, is out. Set in the same imaginary country of Roma Nova, it bursts with spies, intrigue, Roman themes, romance and adventure, all tied together with a tough, but sometimes bewildered, heroine. And betrayal is in the air…

When you write a book, you hope someone will read it. In fact, you hope a lot of someones will enjoy it and tell their friends, colleagues, family, the cousin who works on the national newspaper – you get the picture. Fellow writers can be especially supportive; as scribes themselves they know a good (or bad) thing when they read it.  So I’m honoured by Fenella’s invitation to be a guest here today.

 What’s PERFIDITAS about?
Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’├ętat thirty years ago. Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad. Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators. As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal…

What others have said
“Sassy, intriguing, page-turning…  Roma Nova is a fascinating world” - Simon Scarrow
Powerful storytelling, vivid characters and a page-turning plot”
– Jean Fullerton
Scenes and characters are sometimes so vividly described that I felt I was watching a movie.” – Sue Cook

 And here’s a trailer with some exciting music:

PERFIDITAS is available through your local bookshop (paperback), on your local Amazon (paperback and ebook) and on other online retailers.

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing here on her blog at
Twitter: @alison_morton

Saturday 12 October 2013

Kathy Bennett - Crime Writer answers some questions.

Today I welcome Kathy Bennet to my blog. Kathy is a very successful indie-published writer of crime novels and I'm delighted to have her here.

Why do you write?

I think I first thought of writing commercially when I was in junior high school (ages 13 – 15). My English teacher assigned each student in the class to write a story.

I wrote a story and ended it with an ambiguous ending. The teacher must have thought the story was good because she read it aloud to the class. When she got to the end of the story the entire class groaned in disappointment that I hadn't 'told' them how the story ended…A suspense writer was born in that instant.

What books did you love growing up?

The first series of books that I loved were the Trixie Belden mysteries. The series featured thirteen-year-old Trixie and her best friend Honey Wheeler, and Trixie's brothers too. I was about nine when I started reading them. Every weekend my mother would give me the money to ride my bicycle to the store to buy another 'Trixie' book.

As I got older, I read the book Gone With the Wind. That was my first taste of a book with a romance. I've read Scarlett and Rhett's story at least sixteen times…and seen the film even more times.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

They are ALL hard for different reasons.
When it comes to getting published, you're relying on a small amount of people to 'think you're good enough.' It's very difficult to get a small group of people to agree that what you've written has merit and is salable.

In regards to writing, distractions are my bugaboo. With all the family responsibilities, and social media obligations it can be hard to focus.

Marketing is a whole other animal. There is no way to know for sure if your marketing efforts are successful. Additionally, one author will have success with one method and tell everyone else, and then many authors are doing the same things which makes them all less effective.

What marketing works for you?

I've seen the best results from my Facebook page (please join me at ) and talking to people on an individual basis. Of course, writing the next book is a sure winner too.

Is your family supportive ? Do your friends support you?

My family is extraordinarily supportive. My husband cooks, cleans, and does laundry so I can write. Oh, and he works full time too. My daughter assists me with administrative tasks, like being sure I get paid the right amount.

When you're not writing, how do you like to relax?

My mother has Alzheimer's disease and lives in an assisted living facility about thirty-five miles away. I go visit her three times a week and teach gentle exercises to the residents who live there. Most of the residents are in their seventies, eighties, and nineties. There are even a few women in my classes who are over one hundred-years-old. I love the time I spend with my mom and her fellow residents. It's good for my soul.

Another way I relax is my not-so-secret vice of reality TV. I like to tell myself I'm studying people's character, but the truth is I'm fascinated by people are so clueless to how they're appearing to the rest of the world, and how little they seem to care about the world's perception of them.

How often do you write? When is your most productive time?

I've been in a dry spell as of late. My mother-in-law passed away last week after a month-long illness. She lived about 300 miles away from us, and my husband and I were taking turns going back and forth to look after her.

Excluding special circumstances, I try to write every day. I've found the best time for me to write is about 9:00 p.m. to about 2:00 a.m. Unfortunately, this doesn't go over so well with my husband who is still working as a police officer and gets up early in the morning.

Do you have a writing schedule?

Each book I've written I've had a different kind of schedule. I've found trying to write to a particular number of words a day my best motivator.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so, how did you get over it?

Sure I've had it. Usually when I've been away from writing for more than two days I really struggle to get back into it. The situation can be made even harder when you're not sure where your story is going when you do get to writing. You just have to put your fanny in the chair and go to work.
What are you working on  now and when will it  be published?

I just released the second book in my LAPD Detective Maddie Divine series. The book is called A Deadly Justice, a fast-paced suspense story with threads of different crimes woven into an intricate web of suspicion, lies, and betrayal. The investigation of those crimes could expose one of Maddie's darkest secrets, forcing her to confront a truth she's tried desperately to bury.

Blurb – A Deadly Justice

A brutal murder. A rash of sophisticated burglaries. A serial rapist.

Little does veteran LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and her new partner, Jade Donovan, realize that a single thread tie the crimes together. But as their investigation digs deeper and the cases begin to unravel, they threaten to expose one of Maddie’s darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she’s tried desperately to bury.

Harley Elliot: The sleazy broken-down owner of a trendy pizzaria pays his employees well above minimum wage. What’s in it for him, and if he gets caught, will he go to jail?

The Saunders Brothers:
Blake - A cunning manipulator who knows he’s devised the perfect crime.
Logan – The hot-tempered middle brother whose careless misadventure made him a perfect target.
Jeremy – The peacekeeper for his older brothers and the calculating voice of reason in their dysfunctional trio.

Shelbie Saunders: The adopted little sister of the wild Saunder’s boys is trying to find her place in the family as she blossoms into a young woman. Trying to keep up with her new brothers is her first mistake.

Zak Murdock: The brawny sergeant of police has a troubling history with Maddie’s partner, Jade. When he’s assigned to detectives, he puts Maddie and Jade in his sights.

Walt Lamb: The hard-working bartender at Harley’s pizzaria keeps a low profile to protect his ‘side job,’ yet he misses nothing.

Kathy Bennett – Bio

Kathy Bennett served twenty-one years as a sworn police officer with the LAPD. Most of her career was spent in patrol, but she’s also been a Firearms Instructor, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover. Kathy was honored to be named Officer of the Year in 1997.

In June of 2011, Kathy self-published her debut novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses. The e-book climbed the charts becoming a bestseller at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 
In April of 2012, Kathy published her second full-length suspense novel, A Deadly Blessing. That book is the first in the series featuring LAPD Detective Maddie Divine. A Deadly Blessing also became a bestseller at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In fact, Barnes and Noble chose the book as a Best Nook Book Original for 2012.
Kathy's third book, A Deadly Justice released in September of 2013. She is currently working on the next book in the series, A Deadly Denial.

Thank you Kathy - I hope your new release does very well.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Why Indie Publish a Paperback?

 Is there any point in going to the trouble and expense of publishing an e-book as a paperback?
 I decided that I wanted my mainstream historicals, Barbara's War and Hannah's War, to be available to readers in both formats. I've also put them on all the various e-book outlets even though I know Amazon is the main seller.
I've only sold a handful of physical books, at this rate I will recover the costs involved for years. So why am I going to publish the second part of Barbara's War as an e-book and a paperback?
Is it vanity? If I'm honest, probably that has something to do with it – but the main reason I'm prepared to make any financial loss on the paperback is because I want physical copies to give to my friends and family. I also want one on my bookshelf.

I haven't been able to promote my books into indie bookshops or the libraries because at the moment Create Space, with whom I publish, only produce author copies in America and the postage is prohibitive. It's actually cheaper for me to buy from Amazon.UK than to send for author copies. I'm hoping that sometime soon I shall be able to buy personal copies for resale to bookshops and at events will be available here.

I am selling hundreds of copies every month of each title as e-books; it only took one month to recoup what I spent on producing the paperback. I'd much rather spend my royalties on writing related things than give it to the taxman.

I would be interested to hear what other indie writers, and indeed readers, think about this. Do we still need to have a physical copy of our book in order to feel we are "real authors"?