Book Tour: How to Play the Game of Love by Harmony Williams


How to Play the Game of Love

by Harmony Williams
Ladies of Passion, #1
Publication Date: October 17, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select, Historical Romance



Synopsis: He’s everything she thinks she doesn’t want.When Miss Rose Wellesley’s father threatens an arranged marriage, she knows she’d better settle on a choice quickly or end up having no say in who she marries. Fortunately, she’s garnered a rare invitation to Lady Dunlop’s “Week of Love” house party, an annual affair notorious for matchmaking. Her plans to expedite a proposal would go smoothly if not for the brash younger sister she must chaperone, her outspoken, disagreeable best friend, and the bullish Lord Hartfell who seems determined to dog her every step.

Lord Hartfell embodies every last thing Rose dislikes in a man. He’s domineering, tenacious, argumentative, and a little too casual with his nudity for her tastes. Worst of all, Rose can’t seem to get him—or his kisses—out of her mind.

Rose is determined to find a more appropriate husband, even if her heart disagrees with how unsuitable the stubborn lord is…



The rustle of cloth hailed Hartfell removing his jacket. Ignoring me, he laid it on the floor in front of the chuckling fire. Not a terrible idea. After unknotting and unwinding the cravat from his throat, he discarded it onto the gleaming desk. Then he went to work on his shirt.

I turned my back. “What in damnation are you doing?”

“My clothes are soaked. Yours too. Even if you’d like to catch a chill, I’d rather avoid it.”

He sounded amused, not at all contrite or ashamed. And he’d called me shameless.

“We’re very much alone,” I reminded him.

“If we stood in the middle of a crowded room, it would hardly be appropriate for me to undress.”

At that, I whirled on him. “It is not appropriate now!”

His shirt hung over the back of the desk chair. He stood, utterly bare from the waist up, in nothing but his breeches and boots. The soft-looking mat of hair on his chest glimmered golden in the firelight.

He lingered far too close. A ballroom would not have been enough space between us, but he stood scarcely two steps away. With his ground-eating strides, maybe one.

Breathlessly I added, “Anyone might walk in.” My heart beat frantically, restraining my voice to a whisper. If I were discovered with him in this state of undress, I’d have to marry him.

A more odious fate, I couldn’t imagine.

With a shrug, he crossed to the closed library door and locked it.

My mouth fell open. “What did you just do?”

“I ensured no one would interrupt us.”

“Interrupt us? You make it sound like we’re having a conversation. You are undressing.” I lowered my voice and hissed out the last word.

He turned. “Maybe we are, and you’re just too blasted stubborn to hear it.”

His chest loomed within an arm’s reach now. I’d stalked toward him without noticing. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the unadorned flesh of his body.

He was what Francine would call an agreeable specimen. Of course, she referred to plants rather than people when she spoke those words, but no other description fit him. I hadn’t had the misfortune of seeing many men bare-chested, after all. My experience was limited to one.

The breadth of his shoulders devoured the space in the room, closing in on us until he seemed to surround me. The downy hair on his chest beckoned. Would it feel soft? Raspy? I clasped my hands behind my back to keep from finding out firsthand. My gloves, a bit damp, squelched softly. His muscular physique surprised me. What did he do to stay so supremely fit?

“Do you like what you see?” he asked in so low a rumble, I nearly mistook his voice for the thunder outdoors.



Harmony Williams has been living vicariously in Regency-era England since she discovered Jane Austen. Since time machines don’t yet exist, she’s had to make do with books—fictional and non-fictional. On the rare occasions she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she likes to drink tea and spend time with her 90-lb lapdog. A feminist, she writes stories about strong women and the men who support them as equals.

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Book Blitz: Slow Grind by Missy Johnson & Ashley Suzanne


Slow Grind

by Missy Johnson & Ashley Suzanne
Publication Date: October 24, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Purchase: Amazon

I’m the kind of guy who will do anything for a friend, so when my best mate, Max, gets sick I naturally want to help. He needs money for experimental treatment overseas and he needs it fast. So I round up the guys with an idea to raise the cash for him.

Stripping. Chicks love that shit, right?

At first, the guys are skeptical, but we’re a good looking group of men who who’ve been known to bust out a dance move or two, so we decide to go for it.

When Max offers his kid sister up for choreography, I think, great. We can use all the help we can get. The last time I saw Aubrey she was a loudmouthed twelve-year-old who wouldn’t leave me alone. Now, she’s twenty and possibly the sexiest woman I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Max has made it clear that his sister is off limits to me, because apparently, I have a reputation. He says he has enough to worry about without me chasing his sister.

Fine, I can respect that.

But I’m not sure she can.


About Missy Johnson

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Missy lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia with her husband and her confused pets (a dog who thinks that she is a cat, a cat who thinks he is a dog…you get the picture).

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Newsletter | Reader Group

About Ashley Suzanne

Ashley Suzanne has been writing as long as she can remember. As a youngster, she was always creating stories and talking to her imaginary friends. Thankfully, her parents also carried this love of fiction, and helped her grow into the writer she is today.

Ashley is a bestselling author and spends equal amounts of time writing and reading. Being the true book whore she is, Ashley would rather dive into a good book before going out of her house. Giving up her career in Real Estate, Ashley has officially moved to hermit status.When Ashley isn’t coming up with her next story, you’ll most likely find her on the couch with a kindle in her hand (probably watching some crappy reality show while , annoying her husband by telling him all about her new book boyfriend or spending quality time with her two gremlins … Sorry, I mean adorable children.

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Getting to know… Beth Miller

Welcome back for another instalment of Getting to Know… Today, we’ve got British author Beth Miller in the hot seat. Beth is originally from London but now she lives in Sussex.  She’s written two novels: When We Were Sisters and The Good Neighbour. She’s also written two non-fiction books, For The Love of The Archers and the just-published For The Love of Shakespeare. Beth’s taken a break from working on  her third novel to hang out with us for a bit.



Beth Miller (Photo credit: Katie Vandyck)


Thanks so much for joining us today, Beth. It’s always great to have a chance to meet another writer. Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer? Do you remember how old you were when you knew?

When I was six. I knew I wanted to be a writer because I loved writing stories. I got a lot of encouragement from teachers and my parents who thought I could write well. I got published at the age of 47. I am a slow-burn kind of gal.

Then we’re birds of a feather. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. It just took me until I was 43 to actually publish a novel.🙂  Now when it comes to writing, are you a plotter or pantster?

I’ve been both. First novel: pantsed it. Took 12 years. Second novel: plotted it. Took eight months. Current novel: a mixture, which is going to take roughly two years. I think plotting is a very good idea, but probably not everyone needs to. I’m just not a very good pantser.

I’ve got both of your novels on my Kindle, but haven’t had a chance to read them yet. I’m looking forward to reading them in December, once NaNoWriMo is over. Now, I know you’re working on a third novel. What can you tell us about it? 

I’ve nearly finished the first shoddy-looking draft. It’s about Hana, who comes from a very restrictive and sheltered family, and leads a double-life. It’s got lots of lists in it (I love lists), and it’s really about love, and the mistakes we make when we’re young. And the mistakes we make when we’re older, too. I think it’s funny, though I’m often the only one who finds my writing amusing.

It sounds intriguing! I can’t wait to read it! Speaking of reading,  what are you reading now? And what’s on your To-Be-Read List?

I usually have a fiction and non-fiction book on the go. The non-fiction currently is Contested Will by James Shapiro, about the was-Shakespeare-really-Shakespeare conspiracy. It’s for a talk I’m doing later this year. And I’ve just finished a couple of fiction books because of being on holiday: Girl on the Train (I was late to this particular party, though I wasn’t mad about it), and The School Gate Survival Guide by Kerry Fisher, which was great. The next one on the pile is Beyond the Sea by Melissa Bailey, and I’m very much looking forward to Rebecca Mascull’s next novel, The Wild Air, out next spring. Her books are different from anything else out there.

Since I am American, I don’t know anything about The Archers. I’ve heard British friends mention it, but other than that, I don’t really know what it is.🙂 Could you tell us a little about the Archers and how you decided to write about the program? 

The Archers is a long-running radio drama which is set in a fictional area of the Midlands. In fact it’s the longest-running radio drama in the world. I was commissioned to write the book because a friend of mine who’d been asked to do it turned it down and offered it to me. She didn’t listen to the Archers but I was a fan and had already written an Archers blog for years.

What made you decide to write about Shakespeare?

The same publisher (Summersdale) asked me to write the Shakespeare book for no other reason than I’d done the Archers one for them and they thought I could do it!

I think I’m going to have to check out the Archers.🙂 Maybe I can listen to it while I am working. Now, speaking of work, what’s your typical day of writing like?

Take my boy to school, come back, make tea, and go up to my messy desk in the loft. Faff around on the internet for a while, then gradually pick up from where I left off last time. I edit the last couple of pages and then write onwards from that point. This makes it sound really smooth. There’s a lot of stop-starting and popping downstairs for a biccy before I get my head back into it.

Are you one of those writers who has rituals need to have certain things with them when they write or start a new project? 

I do buy a notebook at the start of each book but don’t think that’s a ritual so much as a necessity – I use the notebook! I’m not a very ritualistic person.

I always buy new notebooks when I start a project, but then I end up doing most of the work on my computer. So I think the buying of notebooks must be my ritual.  So what would you say is your favorite part of being a writer? 

Without question, people who have read the books telling you what they thought. I don’t mean Amazon reviews, though I do love reading those, even the bad ones. I mean in person, when people stop you in the street and tell you how a certain aspect resonated with them or how it made them feel. Those encounters keep me going through the arid periods of unsuccessful writing.

You are also an editor/book coach/ writing teacher. Does having this background make writing easier? Or do you find that your inner critic is more relentless?

I see the book coaching and writing as slightly separate to my own writing. I can’t assume that a client or student will have the same difficulties or strengths in writing as I do, so I try to be where they’re at with their writing. There are a few universal rules, though, that apply to everyone (such as ‘get some words written!’) I’ve been through the mill with writing, getting rejected, re-writing, getting rejected again, etc, and I have made every mistake in the book, so I think I know a few shortcuts now that I can pass on to people. But there are no shortcuts when it comes to getting the words down in the first place.

So true! I think a lot of people believe we writers can magically make words appear, but it’s all about putting in the time and actually writing. There’s no magic to it.

What about characters? Now when it comes to yours, is there a particular one who’s your favourite? 

In my first novel (When We Were Sisters), my favourite character for a long time was Miffy, the young girl. But I came to realise that the other main character, Laura – self-centered and bitchy – was a bit closer to my heart. In my second novel (The Good Neighbour), my favourite is definitely Davey, one of the three narrators. He’s a nine-year old boy, a wheelchair user, who’s brilliant at technology. I love his resourcefulness and his generous spirit.


What about social media? What’s your take on it? Do you think it’s  vital for today’s authors? 

I think it works for a few people, those who already have a built-in audience, such as Caitlin Moran. I’m not convinced it works so well for new authors. My twitter feed sometimes seems to be made up entirely of authors shouting, ‘read my book!’ in increasingly desperate ways. I worry that they are spending so much time on it, when they could be getting on with the next book. And there’s often a lack of wit and flair in the way people try to draw attention to themselves.

And there’s also a law of diminishing returns. I might see a post about a book that looks interesting, but by the time I’ve seen six, ten or even more tweets about the same book, I’m sick of the sight of it. Sorry. I don’t know what the answer is. I enjoy Facebook and Twitter but I’m not expecting them to make or break this thing I laughingly call my writing career. My current favourite social media is Instagram, though I don’t really follow any authors on it. I just like looking at the pretty pictures.

I know what you mean. I love Pinterest and Instagram for the very same reason.🙂

What about writing advice? What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

‘Don’t get it right, get it written’. I don’t remember who said it to me, but I now say it all the time to writing students. It means don’t go back endlessly over your work rewriting; don’t sit there pointlessly worrying that it doesn’t say exactly what you want; don’t waste time moving commas about; don’t be neurotic. It means churn out the words, and trust that you can make them better later. I have this as a mantra in my head the whole time I’m writing the first draft.

So true! You have to write the words first. You can always revise and make it better. But that dirty first draft is a necessity. 

Now, when you’re reading or writing, are there any subjects that are taboo for you?

I would never write about child sexual abuse. Not because I am squeamish, but because I think it has become over-used as a plot device, and its horror is becoming diminished. I also don’t like killing people off in my books, as I think that can often be a slightly lazy device to move on the plot. But I love writing sex scenes – the raunchier the better!

Heheh! Sex scenes are always fun to write. Some of my readers tell me I don’t write enough of them, maybe I need to change that.  Now what about dream projects? If you could work on a collaborative project with any writer, who would be your dream writing partner?

In fact, my dream job would be to work as a collaborative writer, on an American TV comedy such as Frasier or Thirty Rock. I love writing with people but hardly ever do it any more. My dream writing partner would be Tina Fey, but she hasn’t called back.

You and I are on the same wavelength. I would love to work with Tina Fey–especially since we come from the same city. Well, maybe if we send her boxes of Philadelphia delicacies, she’ll give us a call.😉

Thanks so much for thanks so much for joining us, Beth! Readers, make sure you check out Beth’s books. And don’t forget to follow her website so you’ll know when her next book is coming out. 


Release Blitz: Constellation by Jennifer Locklear

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Title: Constellation

Author: Jennifer Locklear

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 20



She’s intelligent, beautiful, and emotionally numb.
He’s older, sophisticated, and harboring secrets.

Up-and-coming executive, Kathleen Brighton is ready to launch her family’s firm into the next level of success. Polished and professional on the outside, Kathleen’s personal life is a source of constant struggle and letdown. But after one night alone with Jack Evans, her sexy new colleague, her life takes a turn toward erotic intensity.

Torn between her instinct to guard herself and her irresistible desire for Jack, Kathleen has only known heartache. And when she finds herself in the middle of a shattering personal crisis, she must trust fragile and uncertain bonds to survive. Will Kathleen conquer the demons of her past to find a future worth fighting for?

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About the Author


Jennifer Locklear lives in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. She married her high school sweetheart, Morgan, in 1995. She is the mother of two children, a son and daughter.

Jennifer enjoyed creative writing as an adolescent, but set aside her favorite hobby to concentrate on college studies, career and family. In 2010, she rediscovered her passion for writing when her husband recruited her to edit his own stories. They co-authored and published their debut novel, Exposure, in 2014.

Since 2000, Jennifer has been employed in fundraising and development for a non-profit organization. She has been a contributing reviewer for the “Bookish Temptations” book blog and is a founding moderator of “Argyle Empire,” an approved fan site for author Sylvain Reynard.
She also enjoys participating in charitable activities, both locally and online.

Constellation is Jennifer’s first solo novel.

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Blog Tour: Secret Places Revealed by Paulette Harper


frontcoverAbout the Book

A broken man, a woman on the run, a love that won’t be denied.
Single—and very content—real estate developer Aaron Blackman is determined not to become involved in another relationship. He’s experienced enough drama to last a lifetime. The only thing garnering his attention now is his growing business. And he plans to keep it that way. Then Simone Herron waltzes into his life, beautiful and confident. Fighting to keep his promise to himself—to remain single—he soon discovers that when it comes to love, some promises must be broken.

After losing her fiancé in an untimely death, Simone Herron relocates. She desperately needs to put the past behind her and start a new chapter in her life. While love is the farthest thing from her mind, she experiences an attraction to the handsome Aaron Blackman that frightens her. She’s built a wall around her heart, but can she find the strength and courage she needs to welcome love again? To do so, she must conquer her fears and allow God to put all of her broken pieces back together.

Get a taste of Secret Places Revealed.

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Behind the Books: What Inspired Secret Places Revealed

As an inspirational and fiction writer, I write to inspire and empower readers. I write because I feel I have message to share with readers not only to entertain readers but to help them grow spiritually. I love to mix real life stories into my fiction. Although each story is unique, we experience some of the same feelings, situations and challenges in life in which the reader can identify.

With the ability to craft fiction books, it gives me the opportunity to live through each character. I’ve been blessed to write in several different genres: Christian fiction, nonfiction and children. Although each genre is unique, I enjoy them all. Developing a craft for writing is an ongoing process. I’ve been able to gleam from so many others. I read books which help me learn the craft as well.
When I pen a non-fiction book, I can go deep into my soul and the soul of the reader. My non-fiction books come from my own personal life experiences, research and biblical studies. I try to connect with readers in a place where the words in the book can leap off the pages and bring about a spiritual change as well as spiritual growth. Everyone needs to be inspired, empowered and strengthen in every area of their lives and this is where my books are able to touch the readers.


About the Author

photo-greyIn addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.

Connect with Paulette

Facebook – Twitter –  Amazon author page – Website – Goodreads – Instagram



Follow the tour:

#FAA2 – Tyler ARC Giveaway with Esther E. Schmidt & Kim Talks Books

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-21-48-29Welcome to Day#2 of Foster An Author Week with Esther E. Schmidt on Kim Talks Books!

We’re having an ARC giveaway on Esther’s and my Facebook pages! TYLER AREION FURY MC #3 launches on 28 October! Want a chance to read it before it’s live?

It’s easy!

Make sure you stop by Esther’s Facebook page and give it a like. Then stop by Kim Talks Books’ FB page and give it a like (if you haven’t done so already) and then comment on the pinned post there about the giveaway.

That’s it–easy as pie!

Esther’ll pick one winner on her FB page and I’ll also pick one winner on my FB page who’ll get Tyler straight to Kindle on Friday 10/21.

Make sure to enter on both pages to double your chances!

Good luck!
#FAA2 #FosterAnAuthor2 #Giveaway #MCromance #MCnovel #bikers

#FAA2 – Get to know Esther’s Areion Fury MC Series

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-22-08-06Title: Zack,  Areion Fury #1
Author: Esther E. Schmidt
Cover Design: Esther E. Schmidt
Release: October 23rd, 2015

Buy links:
Amazon – iBooks – Kobo – B&N

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Zack’s spent his whole life loving just one woman—Belle—only to have her walk out of his life and go half way across the world. But three years later, her unexpected return is stirring up feelings that never died, and Zack’s ready to do whatever it takes to get her back.

Belle has never gotten over Zack, but she has secrets—secrets she knows could hurt those closest to her, Zack included. When an old enemy returns and wants what he thinks is already his for the taking, she knows it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
With so much more than just their love on the line, will Zack and Belle manage to come together as one and pull through or will their past and their enemies tear them apart?



screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-22-19-21Title: Dams, Areion Fury #2
Author: Esther E. Schmidt
Cover model: Dan Francis
Photographer: FuriousFotog, Golden Czermak
Release Day: 29 April 2016

Buy Links:


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Dams is a man of few emotions, apathetic if you will. His past carved him into the man he is today; a strong body and mind but lacking the desire for connections beyond his brothers. He’s stoic. Unflappable. You can throw anything at him and he will divide and conquer making him the perfect VP of Areion Fury. He’s got everything he needs in life, or so he thought. On a backside road in the middle of nowhere he finds what seems to have been missing all his life.

Nerd prefers the digital world rather than the real life version. There’s a reason she’s a genius with a computer. She’s a lot like them; a lot of memory, a hard drive and no emotion. Stuck in the past with painful memories, she keeps the contact with Areion Fury digital for a reason. She hates lying, cheating bikers. A family obligation pulls Nerd from behind her computer and a chance encounter pushes her further from her comfort zone.

Will Nerd let her past determine her future? Not if Dams has anything to say about it. While Dams is marking his territory, danger is circling Nerd’s family business and threatening her safety. Can Dams handle the threat before it takes away everything he never knew he wanted?



Title: Tyler, Areion Fury #3
Author: Esther E. Schmidt
Cover Design: Esther E. Schmidt
Cover model: Joshua Sean McCann
Photographer: FuriousFotog, Golden Czermak
Release Day: 28 October 2016

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Tyler doesn’t have many things to worry about in his life. Fully patched in to Areion Fury MC, he finally has a solid spot in the brotherhood he calls his family. When a girl steps up to defend him against the teasing of his brothers, he’s stunned. The moment Tyler locks his gaze with the most intriguing eyes he’s ever seen, he knows with every fiber of his being that this is supposed to be his girl.

Ridley’s only living relative manages to destroy every chance she has at happiness by constantly causing trouble. To protect herself Ridley likes to hide; beneath her raven black hair, her clothes, her shop. Slowly but surely the harassment is becoming more violent so to protect the ones she cares for, she pushes them away. Except the stubborn, handsome biker leaves her no other option but to accept that he isn’t going anywhere.

When you are forced to look over your shoulder all day, every day, it is impossible to live. Can the meeting of two similar souls spark a solution? Will Ridley stand up for what she wants in life and stop hiding? Will Tyler get his happily ever after or will he see it crash and burn?

Foster An Author: Esther E. Schmidt

So you’re Dutch, do you run into complications when writing?
Yes, I’m Dutch but write books in English. My PA (Christi) does all the first rounds of edits. Or as she puts it… translates my dutch-glish. This sometimes leads to interesting discussions when Dutch traditions or sayings flow into my stories.

What made you decide to write?
The first erotic novel I wrote was Zack. I started writing after I saw a black and white picture of Joshua Sean McCann by FuriousFotog (Golden Czermak). I shared the photograph on my facebook with the statement that I could write a biker by just one look at this picture. My friends told me; do it. And so I did. Funny detail? One year later to the date, I have Joshua on the cover of book three in that series.


Coming soon from Esther E. Schmidt

When you self-publish, do you do it all yourself?
The majority, yes. But there are a few things you can’t do yourself, or make that I won’t do by myself. For one, my PA, Christi Durbin. She’s my rock and also does the first round of edits for each of my books. She’s also the main editor for one of my series and will be for other books in the near future. I love her opinion and also all the work she does as my PA (and that’s a lot!). Then I have another editor for my main series. I also have a few amazing readers who pimp the hell out of me and I appreciate everything they throw out there. Although the word self-publish sounds as a one person job… it clearly isn’t. It’s hard work for the writer but also for the team around her and I am truly grateful to have the people around me who work with me.

Any addictions?
Yes. I’m a gum addict. My favorite brand is Mentos White. I like to pop too, not blow bubbles but keep it in my mouth so it pops louder and many times in one go. Annoys the hell out of my husband.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Cardio. It’s as simple as that. When my feet are running, so is my mind. I can go over storylines and it just flows freely.

Foster An Author Week Starts Tomorrow and My Guest Is Esther E. Schmidt!

14650155_1692164671103361_2661112677935940131_nAll this week I’ll be hosting Dutch author and graphic designer Esther E. Schmidt as a part of the Foster an Author 2 promotion started by Jo & Isa Love Books.

Esther lives in the Netherlands and writes the Areion Fury MC, Broken Deeds MC, The Dudnik Circle series, and The Swamp Heads series.

Author Esther E. Schmidt

Author Esther E. Schmidt

She’s a new author for me, so I am looking forward to getting to know her and her work! So what do I know about Esther? I know she’s Dutch and writes in English, she likes writing about bad boy alpha males and, like me, she is a gum addict.

Make sure you pop by every day this week to get to know a little more about Esther and her work!

Want to get to know and follow her too? You can do so here:


Getting to know… Catherine Hokin

Hi everyone! I’ve finally recovered from a nasty bout of bronchitis and also back from Dublin, Ireland (more about that later). I fell behind on a few things while I was ill, but I am trying to catch up now. Today’s the day for another edition of Getting  to Know… our spotlight author is Catherine Hokin, whose debut novel Blood and Roses was published in 2015. Catherine is a Glasgow-based author whose fascination with the medieval period began during a History degree which included studies into witchcraft, women and the role of political propaganda. And this sparked an interest in hidden female voices, which plays a big role in Blood and Roses. So let’s get comfortable and get to know Catherine!


Thanks for joining us today, Catherine! Let’s start off by getting to know you a little better. 

I’m from the Lake District although I’m a complete city-dweller now and too much countryside brings me out in a rash. I live in Glasgow, which I love, in the West End which is over-run by hipsters (of which I am not one), like a mini – McHoxton. I did a history degree at Manchester University and then set out on a very varied career which took me through the fashion industry, politics, teaching and the green industry – my CV looks mad but, like many women, it was often dictated by needs other than mine. Outside writing I go to concerts of the loud, guitar-driven type (Biffy Clyro was the latest), I love to travel (Sicily next) and I am helping with the organization of the Havana Glasgow Film Festival – I’m not sure how that happened.

I’ve always wanted to visit the Lake District. It’s on my bucket list of places to visit in the UK. I haven’t been in Glasgow in a while. Maybe next time I’m there we can meet for writing and chatting. Now tell me, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Since I was in my early twenties – before that I wanted to be a ballerina, a fashion designer and a forensic detective, none of which worked out! I’ve had a couple of near misses years ago: one was a children’s book but then a certain wizard appeared and I didn’t have any wizards; the other was a novel about Anne Boleyn but Ms Gregory beat me to it. Like a lot of women I got buried under children and the demands of full-time work and I simply couldn’t snatch enough time to string verbal sentences together never mind written ones. I finally started getting serious (ie. carved out thinking space) a couple of years ago when the youngest one went to university and then, this year, I got a mentorship through the Scottish Book Trust and decided to take the plunge and write full-time. That decision’s paying off in everything except money…


Blood and Roses, is the story of Margaret of Anjou and her pivotal role in the War of the Roses. 

I know what you mean. But it’s fantastic with having the mentorship. So happy for you! And I can see your interest in history started early.🙂 Was there any particular author or book that inspired you to become a novelist? 

If I had to pick one author I think it would be Margaret George. Her novel The Autobiography of Henry VIII was published in 1986 and I loved it, also her novel about Mary Queen of Scots: Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. Until I discovered those I’d only seen historical fiction either of the type written by Jean Plaidy and Anya Seton which was far too romance-driven or Robert Graves, which was brilliant but way more literary than I wanted to/could ever imagine writing. Once I found George and also Sharon Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour, which again takes historical characters and breathes real plausible life into them, I realized historical fiction was a genre I could not only love but write in.

Speaking of writing, are you one of those people who is a plotter? Or are you a pantster?

I’m a plotter with a little bit of panster thrown in. I start with an idea, which is a bit of an itch, and then do preliminary research to see if it is an idea with legs or a non-starter. Then I spend about 5 months in solid research, taking notes, using Pinterest, building a story arc. The next stage is a long synopsis (a very rough skeleton draft) of about 40,000 words were I put the notes to one side and write the story – this is when I let it flow and start feeling my way round the characters. If that works it’s time for storyboarding and a proper first draft – and lots more research. That never stops!

Are you working on a new book now?

My second novel is set in the fourteenth century and is an exploration of the relationship between Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt with a bit of help from Chaucer. Plague, political machinations, a crazed king and a very frightening monk plus one of the most powerful love stories you’ll find in any historical period. That is with my agent and you can find out more here. While that is being dealt with, I am busy on book three which is set in the twelfth and sixth centuries and has a cast of interesting women.

I love the premise. I will definitely be adding this to my TBR list. What about your favorite books of 2016–which titles are on your must-read list ?

Far too many! High on it was Summertime by Vanessa LaFaye which I’ve just finished. It is a wonderful book set in 1930s Florida which weaves together the worst hurricane to hit that area with racism and the treatment of WWI veterans. It is a visceral book and I devoured it. The next pile contains The Muse by Jessie Barton, The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I’m also keen to read The Girls by Emma Cline – I’ve just been watching the tv show Aquarius about Charlie Manson and am a bit obsessed with the case.

I’ve got the Girls on my TBR list. I’ve always been fascinated by Charlie Manson and his influence over the people in his gang. I read Helter Skelter a few years ago and remember being terrified of the sway he held over people. I need to add Summertime to my list as well–that one’s especially relevant for me considering the current tensions in the US. Now, I’m one of those people who usually end up writing in cafés. Where do you usually write? Do you have a favorite writing space? 

I have a study and I love it. My desk is in the front of a window looking out onto the River Kelvin, although admittedly I’m usually squinting through rain as this is Glasgow. I have an internet radio permanently on, my favourite movie posters on the walls, a sofa for when I’m ‘thinking’ (that’s my excuse) and a reading corner. It’s the first time I have ever had a proper workspace that wasn’t fighting family needs – the children are no longer allowed home.


Catherine’s writing space. Cozy, isn’t it? 

I know what you mean. It’s important to have writing space of one’s own. I have a little home office, but I need to make it feel more mine. Now, I still work every day and have to fit my writing around my 9-to-5 job. What’s your typical writing day like? Q

I keep office hours – it’s a hangover from ‘proper jobs’ I can’t shake. Like many writers, I have 3 books in different stages: Blood and Roses is out and there’s still a lot of publicity to do including 3 bookstore events in October; book 2 is with my agent; book 3 is in research/draft/fear stage. I start the day with admin, emails and social media – then research/reading moving to writing in the afternoon when I’ve been for a head-clearing walk. It’s quite ordered but I like it that way!

I think I need structure like that. Once I can actually write full-time  I will need to follow a similar schedule. When you write, do you imagine any particular actors/actresses as your leads? Or do you find inspiration elsewhere?


Julianna Margulies, who plays Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife, could make a good Margaret of Anjou.

I love the whole movie casting thing although I sometimes think it’s just an excuse to look at pictures of attractive men! I’m very visual and use Pinterest boards a lot. When I was first starting to imagine Margaret of Anjou I had pictures of tv characters like Claire Underwood from House of Cards, Alicia Florrick from The Good Wife and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. All feisty, challenging women who fight convention. As to the casting of Blood and Roses, I’ve always wanted Oona Chaplin for Margaret and Richard Armitage for Warwick – actually Armitage would make a great John of Gaunt and I’m sure I can write him into book three…


I think most writers have a favorite character. Which of your characters is your favorite? 

It’s a funny question to answer as I think each character becomes my favourite as I write about them: they have to be challenging and strong, and flawed, to interest me or I wouldn’t be able to bring them alive. I found Margaret of Anjou, who was a very complex woman, fascinating partly because the myths around her are nothing like the accounts written at the time – she has really fallen foul of propaganda – and also because of the relationship with her son. Katherine Swynford in my second novel is another woman who has come to us in one-dimension (romantic heroine) when she was multi-layered and at the centre of one of the most turbulent centuries in English history. She was also my ancestor so perhaps I should choose her!


A lot of people say that writers need to be active on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, etc if they want to make it these days in the literary world. What’s your take on social media? Do you think it’s an absolute necessity for us? 

I do think it is vital – when I was taken on by my agent she asked for a writing CV which needed to include my internet presence and how confident I was using social media. Her advice was that publishers expect authors to market their work and every writer I know has borne this out: my first novel was with a small publisher who had no marketing budget so I expected to do a lot but writers at large houses do no less. It’s a competitive world and there’s no point pretending it isn’t. My advice is to pick a couple of platforms you are happy with, make relationships, learn every wrinkle and stick to just them so you don’t get overwhelmed – I do Author Facebook and Twitter, that’s plenty!

Since I am an indie writer, I end up spend a lot of time on social media, but it’s a necessity. It’s just trying to find a good balance. What about taboo topics? I know a lot of people have lists of what they refuse to read or write about. 

I am an adult so nothing is taboo when it comes to what I read and I will challenge myself to read things that might be out of my comfort zone, whether I ultimately enjoy them or not – the recent A Little Life is a good example of that. When it comes to writing we all draw on our personal experiences – with historical fiction there are ways that you can explore difficult emotions and people in your own life without it being seen as autobiographical and I take a lot of comfort in that!

So true! People are always giving writers advice. I know I’ve had my share of it.🙂 What about you? What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

Treat it like a job, ie. give it serious time, set deadlines and expectations and finish things. Also draft and edit, then redraft and edit, then redraft… Nothing is ready when you think it is and everything can be re-edited. The other thing that has worked for me is writing short stories and entering competitions which give critiquing feedback – it is a great way to learn your craft particularly in terms of story structure.

Catherine, it’s been so great getting this chance to get to know you and your writing. Have you got any final words of advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors?

Respect your readers: do your research but don’t show off your knowledge; care about the characters you are writing about so they will care to; edit your writing even when you think it has been edited enough. Be brave and send your work out but don’t let the first person other than you who reads it be the agent or publisher you send it to. Take criticism positively and never respond to bad reviews, ever – once the work is out there, it’s out there. Enjoy very success, no matter how small – it’s all steps on the way to being published and that’s the big celebration!

Many thanks to Catherine for doing us today! Make sure you follow her:

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