Thursday, 26 July 2012

Weekly Update

Good Morning all!

I hope your summer is going well and your plans for your holidays turn out exactly how you want them to!

As you have noticed I have changed blog site.  This was mainly because of problems people were having posting and also because on this one I am able to do more.  I have transferred all posts over to this new one too.
The old one will stay where it is - I will not take it down.  So if you posted there then you can still see those posts and comments.

I am still writing away as you will be glad to know.
Due to popular demand a sequel to CHARLOTTE is being planned at the moment.  I have a few ideas about that one and where it will go.  It'll be interesting because as CHARLOTTE is a sequel in itself, then the new one is technically a sequel to a sequel.  Confused? Well, don't be.
So many of you have written to me asking me things which I cannot write here for fear of giving away the plot of CHARLOTTE - but I am confident that a sequel will happen and it will be just as much fun as it predecessor.

You can buy CHARLOTTE here for the US or here for the UK.

But that's not all!!

I am writing a Chick Lit book too.  It's a contemporary novel and will appeal to most of us as I am sure we can relate to what the heroine is going through in this book.

And.... (yes I am a busy bunny!)

I have another Historical Novel in the works too.  I won't tell you too much about either of those two books because during the early stages things can change... a lot!

Finally, I wish you a great weekend and keep on reading! :o)


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Last week of Introductory Price for RELATIVE DECEIT!

This is the last week that 


will be out for its

Special Introductory Price
99 cents!

England 1911 - 1912
Driven by jealousy, greed and desire, nothing will stop Gregory Rogers from taking that which he believes is his.
He'll do anything to gain money, Bancroft Hall and the power that comes with the title of Baronet.
Including murder.
...Until his eyes fall upon the beautiful Jane. 
Can she rescue him from himself? 
Will she be the one thing that he cannot ruin in order to have?

Interview with Karen Aminadra

So we ‘The Powers-that-be’ decided that we’d like to interview Karen Aminadra and ask her how it’s going in Author-land.
We know that the life of an independent author is never easy.  We wanted to know how she was fairing.
Karen, thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

No problems, I’m glad to.

It’s been a month now since Charlotte was published, has it been exciting?

Yes, it’s been very exciting.  A roller coaster for my emotions and also a very sharp learning curve.  

What do you mean by that?

Well, no matter how much advice you get and no matter how much research you do, you still make mistakes and have a lot to learn.  But once learnt I can build on that knowledge for the next book.

Are there any things you regret or wouldn’t do again?

Oh I don’t think there’s anything I regret.  But, there are things I wouldn’t do again.  Or, that I’d do in a different order.  For example, I wish someone had explained to me that the American IRS try to get you to register for tax in the US and as a Brit that isn’t necessary.  I don’t live there and so I don’t work there.  But unless someone tells you that or has experienced that themselves it hits you like a brick wall, and you think now what?!  It caused a headache or two I can tell you.  Finally, I discovered a few British independent publishing companies that will deal with all of that for me which is a relief.

Would you share that information with anyone who wanted it?  

Yes, of course!  Leave a comment below and I will send you links to British and European indie-pub companies.  
I don’t want to endorse one in particular on here until I have more experience with it all.  But so far the paperback publishing with Feed-A-Read, which is Arts Council and Lottery funded, is going well.  That is instead of using Createspace and having to deal with all the tax forms.  Also I will try out another company for the ebook publishing in August when my 90-day exclusivity with KDP is over, and let you all know how that goes too.

That’s great.  I am sure that information will be a lot of help to new and established authors outside of the US alike.
You mentioned the next book, how’s that going?

Very well.  I can see the finish line and I am excited about it.  I need to make some time and get writing!
From the blurb on the website it’s different from Charlotte, why is that?
Yes it is, very different.  I have actually had that on my computer for about 10 years.  Well, it was transferred from computer to computer to computer to be honest!  
I decided that it would be good to get that one finished.  So, although it’s my third to be finished, it’ll be the second published and was the first started.
It’s much darker, there are a few murders in it, as well as romance.  Either historical crime or as the Aussies say Crimance. 

What does that mean?

It’s a cross between crime and romance.  I like that term!  

So, you’ve had to murder a few characters.  How was that?

Oh it was horrible!  The first one had me in tears it was really hard to do.  It took hours to write quite a short scene.  I had to drag up a lot from deep within me.

When will that book be out?

I hope in July.

We look forward to reading it.  What comes after that? Any ideas?

Yes I do have a few ideas.  But I’m not giving away any clues right now!

Oh shame!  You mentioned that your next book will be your third finished.  You’ve written another that we don’t know about?

Yes!  About two years ago I wrote a children’s book.  The only reason that hasn’t been published is because of funding.  It needs to be illustrated and we know that isn’t cheap.  But I do hope in time that will be published too.

How lovely!  It’ll be great to read that too!

Thank you so much Karen for speaking with us today!

Any time!  I look forward to speaking with you all again soon.

So there you have it folks!  Lots going on in the world and mind of Karen Aminadra.  Lots to look forward to too.
I know we ‘Powers-that-be’ are certainly looking forward to more great reads from Karen!  So keep your eyes peeled for news and updates!
If you have any questions you’d like to ask Karen Aminadra then please let us know in the from below and we’ll be sure to include your questions in the next interview!

A Hertfordshire Lass


Yes, that’s me! I am a real bone fide English girl.
I am from Hertfordshire, England. I am ashamed to admit that most Brits do not know that through triangulation the locations of Meryton and Longbourn are known to us. Well, having said that, neither do most Jane Austen fans.
I first discovered that I lived not 10 miles from Longbourn when I was in my late teens, which coincided with my discovery of Jane and her world.

Due to awful government planning, Jane’s books had been dropped from the reading list at my school. I am glad however, that The Bard, was not. I think it was Shakespeare who first taught me that the past is a great place for fun and frolics! However, it was my mother-in-law who gave me my first copy of Pride and Prejudice, and I was in love with Jane from then on. Living near Longbourn (Redbourn) and actually going to work every day in Meryton (Harpenden) meant that I rarely thought of anything else other than Lizzy, Jane and Mr Darcy! It’s pretty sad though, that the house that Jane knew as Netherfield has been demolished and it’s grounds are now a golf course!

So, let me tell you a little bit about my Hertfordshire. The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon heort ford, meaning deer crossing of a watercourse. The name Hertfordshire first appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011. Deer feature prominently in many county emblems too. The county has boasted settlers since the Stone age. Later of course, the Romans came and put their stamp on the county, followed centuries later by the Normans. They built some of the most wonderful churches and cathedrals as well as castles too. The Norman Royal Residence was at the castle in Berkhamsted, (now in ruins I am afraid) and there were also castles built in Bishop’s Stortford and King’s Langley. (Where coincidentally my dad was born, in the village, not the castle!)
Hertfordshire’s most famous claim-to-fame these days are the film studios at Elstree and Leavesden; which are famous for the James Bond and Harry Potter films.

I lived near a wonderful park called Gadebride, probably named so after the bridge over the river Gade!  (These names are so imaginative.) I believe Mary Lydon Simonsen mentions Gadebridge Hill in one of her books too. However, the hill is now covered with houses, so the view from it isn’t all that good. The great thing about the river Gade was the abundance of stickleback fish, that almost every child in Hemel Hempstead used to catch each summer. Apparently, there was a Roman Villa there too, but for us the sticklebacks were far more interesting!

Another place of Roman interest in Hertfordshire is spa town of Verulamium, now known as the cathedral city of St. Albans. (Yes, the same city that was sacked by the Iceni Queen Boudicca along with Londinium.) It’s situated on the famous Watling Street, and is where I met my husband!  The Norman cathedral is a must-see if you’re ever in the area too, and has the most amazing Norman wall-paintings – just inside the door and to the left.
Hertfordshire also boasts the Ashridge National Trust Estate, probably the best picnicking place in all Herts. We often went there on a summer evening to picnic, play ball games and to walk in the woods. The wildlife there is wonderful too and it is not unusual to see a whole herd of deer. Not bad when you consider how close we were to sprawling London.

I remember also from my childhood a place that for us was shrouded in mystery, although now as an adult that mystery is gone. Ivinghoe. Just the name sounds mysterious. Ivinghoe is actually in Buckinghamshire, but who cares about that, eh? Ivinghoe Hill was the site of an Iron Age hill fort and has one of the many beacons that are spread out throughout the British Isles. The last time it was lit was this year for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebration.

Let me go back to Longbourn/Redbourn. That too is situated on Watling Street (the Roman road that dissects England, and played its part in the Danelaw too. Redbourn is still small, dates back to Saxon times, and is even mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is uncertain whether the house the Jane knew as Longbourn is still standing or not. There are a few candidates for it, but no one can be sure.
Allow me finally to take you to Meryton/Harpenden. Today it is an affluent town, an excellent place to shop, and many people aspire to live there, but it apparently dates back to the Bronze Age. It was the site of the second battle of St. Albans, which took place during the War of the Roses too. Harpenden is known for its beauty and rural feel, and it was awarded a Green Flag for that too in 2007. It is surrounded by parks and commons and is really a lovely place to visit too.

As you can tell, there is more to Hertfordshire than just the Jane Austen connection. However, after Jane Austen draws you there, do spend time exploring the rest of what the county has to offer, I promise you’ll love it!

Amazon Links to CHARLOTTE
Twitter -@kaminadra

For the full article on Darcyholic Diversions and a chance to win a copy of CHARLOTTE click HERE

Introductory price only until the end of July!

Just to remind you all that


is out at a special introductory price
until the end of July!!

Suffolk, England 1911 - 1912
Driven by jealousy, greed and desire, nothing will stop Gregory Rogers from taking that which he believes is his.  
He'll do anything to gain money, Bancroft Hall and the power that comes with the title of Baronet.
Including murder.
...Until his eyes fall upon the beautiful Jane. 
Can she rescue him from himself? 
Will she be the one thing that he cannot ruin in order to have?

Life & Love has a new cover!

I am so excited to announce that 

(short stories)

has a fabulous, gorgeous new cover!

My review of Mohawk Moon by N. Kuhn

Mohawk moon is a contemporary tale – a mixture of crime, passion and the beliefs of the Native American Mohawks. The Native American element to this book was interesting, adding a touch of the supernatural to the suspense that the writer weaved throughout this tale.
Mohawk moon is a sad tale in essence; there is a lot of deep hurt throughout for all the characters. It’s a story of broken hearts, honour, and betrayal, with a great deal of passion thrown in.
The heroine, Jany, is a hard-as-nails woman. Her life wasn’t easy and she made very hard choices to remove herself from very bad situation, however, while she was absent that situation grew worse and she was forced to return home and face facts. That is where the tale begins.
The hero, Damien, is an interesting guy – he begins this story as the anti-hero but … well you’ll see what happens with this steamy character. These characters are good but I was left wishing to know a little more about them, I’d love them to be deeper.
The plot builds up to a climax with a lot of aggression spent along the way. The ending was nice and romantic, and the author has left it wide open (as you will see when you read it) for a sequel. I am glad of that, as this will make a great series and together will make a wonderful long read. It was too short unfortunately and I personally would have loved it to go on for longer.
N. Kuhn’s style of writing is different from that which I usually read, and although it was a challenge for me to step out of my comfort zone, I enjoyed the experience. While the story is nice and interesting, I do feel that with a professional copy-edit and some rewriting it could be wonderful. All in all, a lovely first book from N. Kuhn, and I look forward to more from her in the future. I am glad I read this and will read the second in this series when it comes out.

Buy Mohawk Moon here

Relative Deceit now out on KOBO

We are extremely pleased to announce that 


is now available

5 Star Review of CHARLOTTE from IndieJane

Review and Giveaway: Charlotte – Pride and Prejudice Continues
by KIMBERLY NOELLE on JULY 16, 2012 ·

I generally don’t hold with Mr. Collins apologists. I love him as a deliciously smarmy character, a bumbling, toadying man with few personal charms. And I always agreed with Lizzy Bennet’s shock at Charlotte Lucas’ marriage to him. So, I was skeptical of Karen Aminadra’s Charlotte: Pride and Prejudice Continues before I started.
But early on I got a clue as to how the author viewed Mr. Collins and, like the gradual love story in the book, I started to come around. Here’s how Charlotte describes her husband:

 “His attentions were kindly meant; he simply had no real knowledge and no true discernment of the feelings of others to prevent him from either upsetting someone or insulting them.”

In other words, Aminadra writes a Mr. Collins who means no malice. He is just so socially inept that he can’t help treading on toes, which he does quite literally when he and Charlotte dance. This is just one of many traits that Charlotte finds irritable about her husband as the story begins. Though she scolds herself roundly and reminds herself that she did not marry for love, Charlotte cannot help but be jealous when her friends start to fall in love and get married. She begins to wonder if she is not more romantic at heart than she had suspected. Her transformation into a romance heroine is a delight to watch as the story unfolds across Aminadra’s pages.
Indeed, one of the funniest parts happens when Mr. Collins, who is attempting to take more of an interest in his wife’s thinking, finds a novel by Charlotte’s bedside and begins reading. His reactions to the salacious bits are hysterical and had me laughing out loud. It was then I knew that my mind was starting to change about this character.
What is also a delight in this story is the way the characters deal with the biggest nuisance in their lives. Like Napoleon conquering Europe, Lady Catherine de Bourgh – known in Pride and Prejudice as Mr. Darcy’s interfering aunt – is intent on ruling Hunsford and all its people. She is here made to seem like a jealous, petulant tyrant. Everyone in the town is negatively affected by her strict adherence to hierarchy. This plays itself out, of course, in the main story, but also appears to great effect in a very sweet secondary storyline involving one of Charlotte’s friends. So it becomes a pleasure then to see the characters take their small revenges on the tyrant. And eventually to see Mr. Collins get his own back. (This is a happily ever after, after all…)
Another aspect that I particularly loved about this novel, aside from the happily ever after for Charlotte, is the wonderful female friendships. In Pride & Prejudice, we know that Charlotte and Lizzy are friends, but we don’t see too much of their intimate conversations. In Charlotte, we see a woman developing warm and caring relationships with quite a few females, including two of the town’s ladies & even her own housekeeper. These relationships are crucial in helping Charlotte remain strong in herself, even when she despairs of Mr. Collins.
Overall, Karen Aminadra creates a believable story that helps us understand why Mr. Collins might be the way he is, and speculates on what might happen to him when he realizes he is blessed with the love and devotion of a good woman. Charlotte charmed even this reviewer into giving Mr. Collins another chance. You should too.

see the whole article at IndieJane here

Charlotte cover showcased too!

Katie Jennings also added 

the cover and trailer of


to her fabulous website (

which showcases great book covers and trailers

click on the link below to check it out!

Relative Deceit cover showcased!

Katie Jennings has added  the cover of 


to her fabulous website (ilovebooktrailers) which

showcases trailers and great book covers!

Check it out… 

Relative Deceit

Driven by jealousy, greed and desire, nothing will stop Gregory Rogers from taking that which he believes is his.

He’ll do anything to gain money, Bancroft Hall and the power that comes with the title of Baronet.

Including murder.

….Until his eyes fall upon the beautiful Jane.

Can she rescue him from himself?

Will she be the one thing that he cannot ruin in order to have?

Out now for a special introductory price of 0.99!!

Remembering Jane!

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism and biting social commentary has gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth.[B] From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is “famously scarce”, according to one biographer. Only some personal and family letters remain (by one estimate only 160 out of Austen’s 3,000 letters are extant), and her sister Cassandra (to whom most of the letters were originally addressed) burned “the greater part” of the ones she kept and censored those she did not destroy. Other letters were destroyed by the heirs of Admiral Francis Austen, Jane’s brother. Most of the biographical material produced for fifty years after Austen’s death was written by her relatives and reflects the family’s biases in favour of “good quiet Aunt Jane”. Scholars have unearthed little information since.

Interview with Lady Catherine de Bourgh by Jakki Leatherberry of Leatherbound Reviews

Interview with Lady Catherine de Bourgh 

In celebration of Karen Aminadra’s debut novel, Charlotte~ Pride and Prejudice Continues, I have decided to take on the formidable task of interviewing Lady Catherine. While Aminadra’s Lady Cat is one of the most villainous I have seen, I managed to hold my own during the interview and walk away with only a few minor scrapes.  


Good afternoon, Lady Cat. May I call you that, as I find it fits so well since you always have your claws drawn.

No, you may not! Impertinent child! A person of my standing ought to be addressed correctly, and if you cannot find manners enough to address me correctly, then consider this interview at an end. You may refer to me as Your Ladyship.
Moreover, what do you mean, claws drawn? I am known up and down the land as most generous, kind and caring. Indeed, yes I am.

My sincerest apologies, Your Ladyship. May I offer you some tea?

Yes, you may. No sugar, just a drop of milk. 
I must say this is a very small room you have here. How inconvenient! Why, you could only get six or seven people in here. Most incommodious!

I find it serves my purposes quite adequately, but thank you. Now then, I know you are a very busy woman, carefully instructing those in your employ and tenants in all matters, so I will attempt making this quick. I will ask you a few questions, and if you would be so kind as to answer them with the first answer that pops into your head, I would be eternally grateful!

Yes, of course you would. Most people are grateful you know, and I am never remiss in my attention to those whose rank is beneath my own. It is the least I could do.

You are too kind. If you could have been truly proficient in ONE thing, what would it have been?

Oh, if I could have been truly proficient my dear, it would have been in all things. Just like my Anne. 
However, if you must press me for an answer by staring at me so, I choose playing the pianoforte. Yes, that would have pleased me greatly. It pains me that I never learnt, but my time was much more usefully spent. Yes, indeed, take a look around you. I did not acquire Rosings Park, a title and my fortune by idling my time away frivolously playing the pianoforte my dear.

You are perfectly right. You have employed your time much better. Is the reason you do not wish others to marry for love because you are jealous you didn’t?

I beg your pardon? You are decidedly impertinent for so young a person. I am not used to such behaviour!
But now that you mention it, I did not indeed marry for love. Neither would I expect anyone to be so foolish. Love indeed! Pray tell me, what love has to do with matrimony?

Let’s just agree to disagree on that point, shall we? Now that your nephew, Mr. Darcy, is married to the bewitching Elizabeth, to whom do you have your cap set now for Anne? By the way, rumors have it that you are planning a house party!

Yes, my dear Anne. Who could resist such charm, such elegance and beauty? I was considered a beauty in my day too, you know.
I digress. I have a few young men in mind. Colonel Fitzwilliam would be perfect. Alas, he has no property but he has fortune enough. Then, there is the sixth Duke of Devonshire, now he is most eligible. He owns Chatsworth, you know. Yes, he would suit if he were not such a close friend of the Regent.

Sounds promising! What were your real intentions in detaining Mr. Collins on Christmas? It is rumored you detained the parson so Mrs. Collins’s Christmas dinner would spoil.

Detain? Detain, Mr Collins? What a notion! My dear, I do not know who fills your head with such nonsense!
I cannot imagine that Mrs Collins had set as handsome a table for him as I offered him, mind you. Mr Collins visited me on Christmas day, and of course he stayed longer than he intended. However, they always do. Once a guest is here, they seldom want to leave again. Such is the attraction of Rosings to all.

*Snort* I’m sure that is why. With Mrs. Collins’s help, Mr. Collins changes, (in a whisper) and some would even say for the better, what are your true thoughts on the matter?

Change? I never saw it. Nonsense child.
Although that woman, my nephew’s wife, and Mr Collins’ own wayward wife I am sure have worked their arts on him. That woman is such a manipulator of men! Just look at the way she ensnared my nephew! Yes, you mark my words, my dear; if Mr Collins has indeed changed, they are to blame. Poor man!
In closing, if you could impart readers with one last piece of sage advice, you would tell them…
Always respect your betters, defer to their judgment. They know better than you.

Thank you…

Do not interrupt! I am not finished, never speak until spoken to.
Most importantly, never seek to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up, keep to your own rank and station. It is the way things have always been, and the way they should always remain.

Well, thank you for honoring me with your presence today, Your Ladyship. This was truly an… enlightening experience.

Yes, I am sure it was. I wish I could repay the compliment.

Whew! Now that you have gotten to know Lady Cat a little better, I hope she has not scared you off. If our dear Charlotte can find the courage to stand up to the Gand Damme, hopefully you will find your own and pick up a copy of Charlotte~ Pride and Prejudice Continues

Review of CHARLOTTE from Jakki Leatherberry

Review: Charlotte by Karen Aminadra

In Pride and Prejudice, Austen leaves writers with a surplus of avenues for variations and continuations. Debut author Karen Aminadra explores one of the roads less travelled in Charlotte~ Pride and Prejudice Continues in which we discover what married life was really like for Mr. & Mrs. Collins.
Austen’s odious and obsequious Mr. Collins is on full display, his self-importance often irritating me. About halfway through the book though, Mr. Collins slowly begins to change, noticing Charlotte’s worth, and the fact that Lady Catherine might not always know best.
With proper encouragement from her new friends, the Abbots and the Misses Thomas, Charlotte is able to stand her ground against not only her husband, but also Lady Catherine. I welcomedCharlotte’s newfound fortitude. However, this causes much tension in their marriage and is one of the major obstacles the couple needs to overcome in order to find true happiness, and possibly love. But will the demanding Lady Catherine stand for this?
We know Charlotte didn’t marry for love, but what happens if she begins having feelings for another man, Colonel Fitzwilliam? Though there are behaviors on both parts I didn’t care for, and this portrayal of Colonel Fitzwilliam was far from my favorite, I did appreciate the author’s realistic depiction of the thoughts, actions, and internal struggles of a confused and unhappy couple.
Towards the end, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy make an appearance. It is here where the greatest change takes place in the Collinses’ lives. Even though Mr. Collins irritated me for a good portion of the book, I found his and Charlotte’s interactions towards the end delightful, fun, and awe-inspiring.
Despite a tiresome beginning, the book ends on a positive note, and ties up any loose ends. By the time I got to the epilogue, I was enjoying the changes in both Mr. Collins and Charlotte.
For those desiring to see a changed Mr. Collins, or learn how a couple who didn’t marry for love manages to fall in love, grab a copy of Charlotte!

My review of Betrayal by Michele Kallio

Carefully Written – Skilfully Crafted

Since writing this review Michele's book has won a B.R.A.G Medallion Award!

Betrayal is a nice long book and rightfully so. Michele has given plenty for a reader to get their teeth into. Betrayal is so carefully written and skilfully crafted that it will go down in my memory as one of the best books I have ever read.
Michele has a great way of making you feel as though you are feeling intuitively about her characters. Usually a writer drops clues or breadcrumbs to follow, and we build up a picture of the character, however, Michele connected with me intuitively and I thoroughly enjoyed that experience. For me that was a first and it was fascinating. Her characterisations are truly wonderful, there are plenty of them to love, and there are those you also want to slap!
This is probably the first book from a Canadian that I have read. I have learnt so much just from this one book. Although I still cannot get my head round the Maine accent. It makes me laugh, I need to go there and hear it first hand I think.
Michele clearly has done her research too. She is fully acquainted with the history within her novel, and it seems the personality traits of the people she has included in there too. Another thing I personally loved is that Michele also knows England. It would be too easy to gloss over that and generalise, but as a Brit I appreciate her attention to detail, it makes the places she writes about come to life.
From the beginning, the heroine is dealing with a rather delicate and nasty problem, and it was not long before I was engaged enough and interested enough to want to find out more.
The boyfriend had me against him at the beginning, he was a little too sneaky! Even though I could not put my finger on it or explain it at all, I was left with a feeling of dislike and distrust of him. I wanted to read on and see if my ‘intuition’ about him was right.
I love the changes through time, they are handled very well, and I connected instantly with both worlds as Michele transported me from one century to another, and there was no shell-shock from being transported through time either. Very well handled indeed.
The feeling of foreboding and danger for Elisabeth grew steadily with each page in the past so that the book turned out to be a real page-turner.
My curiosity about Lydia’s dreams grew as they also grew in intensity in the book. My suspicions and brow furrowed more deeply over Dan’s reactions. I was as curious about him as Alan Stokes was!
I actually found myself thinking about poor Lydia from time to time during the day while I was working and could not wait for my day to end so that I could curl up and read it!
The ending is lovely, it is a great and satisfying conclusion, and brings together of all the threads that Michele has woven into her story.
There is however, one question still left unanswered, but as I have discovered Michele is writing a sequel so I am sure all will be revealed then.

Click here to buy Betrayal by Michele Kallio

Hear Jakki Leatherberry from Leatherbound Reviews read a snippet of CHARLOTTE!

Hear Jakki Leatherberry from Leatherbound Reviews read a snippet of CHARLOTTE on her vlog.

Do you find writing a review daunting too?

I like to show an author that I liked or loved their book by writing a review, but I admit, sometimes I find it difficult to do.
I personally don’t write negative reviews. That’s just nasty. Unless I have constructive criticism – remember there’s a HUGE difference between constructive and destructive – then I just put the book aside. If I have something constructive to say, I’ll email the author privately. I personally do not want to be to blame for a drop in that author’s sales over what might be something really small, and easily changed – like typos!

~~~~ ♥ ~~~~

Show love for your favourite author and write them an Amazon review… but how? I hear you ask!
That seems to be the biggest stumbling block for readers. Once we’ve read a book and loved it, we think “yes I am going to review it!” But then we’re faced with that blank screen, and the same thing happens to our mind… it goes blank!
So how can we fix that?
Well, I have a few suggestions. Below I have written a few questions that we can use as a template for a review. Then underneath that, I will use the questions to write a sample review.
Sounds easy, right? Well let’s see...

Is this the genre that you normally read?
What drew you to the book? Was it the cover?
What did you like most about it? 
Did the book make you laugh, cry, etc?
Were you suspicious of or hate any of the characters?
Did you like or love any of the characters?
Were you satisfied with the conclusion of the story?
If you were, then why?
If you weren’t, then why not?
Could you guess or anticipate the ending? 
Did that add or detract from your enjoyment of the story?
Would you recommend this book to anyone?
Would you read another book by this author?

Ok, that all seems simple enough. So, let me try and write a review using those questions.

This is not the genre that I usually read but my husband loves this kind of book, so I thought I’d give it a try. I particularly liked the cover, it’s bold and I was attracted to this book because of it. 
I really enjoyed how the characters came to life, I was transported from my very busy life into A.N. Author’s world. The story was well written and made me cry, it was so powerful and scary that I slept with the light on one night.
I knew that X was the killer, I just hated him from the beginning and I found myself shouting at Y to get away from him. I loved the ending, it was satisfying and I am glad X got his comeuppance. Although I think A.N. Author left it open for a sequel, I really hope so!
I loved this book and now my husband is reading it. I will certainly buy more from A.N. Author in the future.

So, not a bad review. Not brilliant either, I didn’t answer all the questions, but I know, as an author, I would still love a review like this!

Now, let me try a few questions about my own book Charlotte ~ Pride & Prejudice Continues. (Of course, I won’t add any spoilers!) 

Had you ever wondered what life was like for Charlotte?
Have you ever read a Pride & Prejudice continuation?
Why did you buy this book?
What did you like most about it?
Did your opinion of Mr Collins change?
Would you have liked Charlotte and Col. Fitzwilliam to have run-off together?
What did you think about Lady Catherine?
Would you have liked to have seen her change?
Would you like to see a sequel to Charlotte? 
If yes, what would you like to see happen?

~~~~ ♥ ~~~~

I had often wondered what life was like for Charlotte after she married Mr Collins. He’s not exactly great husband material, and she had to live next to Lady Catherine too!
I have read many P&P continuations before and I love them. So, when I saw a new author had come onto the scene I jumped at the opportunity to read her book. 
I loved how Mr and Mrs Collins grew in the story. I was very surprised to discover I actually liked Mr Collins in the end. I was glad that Charlotte didn’t go too far with her paramour and saw the light in the end.
Lady Catherine was awful in this book, I really wished to slap her more than once. I hope Karen Aminadra writes a follow-up and Lady C gets her just desserts!
I loved this book and can’t wait to read more from Karen Aminadra.

Again, not bad! I’d be pleased to see that on Amazon!

~~~~ ♥ ~~~~

I hope I’ve helped to make it a little easier to write a review. I know we authors LOVE to hear from our readers!

I hope to hear from YOU soon!

Review of CHARLOTTE from Ginger Myrick

Charlotte has finally been given her due! She is no longer the less interesting and attractive sidekick of Lizzie Bennett but a flesh and blood woman with a personality, 
opinions, and desires of her own. 
With the piquancy of Jane Austen’s Emma but of a more reserved disposition (let us not go too far!) the portrait Aminadra paints of her Charlotte is so spirited, vibrant, and witty, it makes this reader wonder how she ever perceived her as plain.
Though still tolerant and gentle (she has put up with Mr. Collins’s over-fawning and sycophantic devotion to Lady Catherine on a regular basis with complaint) Charlotte proves her resourcefulness by laying out the facts and allowing her husband to sort them out on his own. With her nearly imperceptible guidance, he begins to see the flaws of his patroness, value his wife’s assets, and become less pompous and more likeable in the bargain. And although I did not come to LOVE Mr. Collins, I at least began to understand him and make allowances for his previous behavior.
Aminadra has fashioned a delightful tale that admirably matches the style, language, and dispositions of the characters first introduced to us in Pride and Prejudice. The setting is consistent, the storyline compelling and a logical furtherance of the original, certainly strong enough to overcome any technical flaws. Jane Austen would be tickled to have inspired such a sweet tribute to her timeless classic!

My interview with author Judith Arnopp

It is my pleasure and privilege to interview a wonderful author - Judith Arnopp  

How did you become an author? Was it something you always wanted to do?

Well, it is something I’ve always done.  As a child I was very influenced by C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and made up stories based on that.  Then, as a teenager I wrote lurid romances, and while my children were growing up I turned to adventures using them as the main characters. Writing has always seemed the natural thing for me to do so I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to do it.  I never let anyone read it until I was in my forties when I did creative writing as part of my studies.  Then my writing group encouraged me to publish but it wasn’t until I’d completed my studies that I turned to writing seriously.

What is it about Welsh history that attracts you?

I think its living here, surrounded by the culture, treading in the footsteps of Welsh heroes. There is hardly a hill you can walk around here without stumbling upon a ruined castle or a stone circle or a hillfort.  My home is quite remote and although modernisms are creeping into the area now it is largely unspoiled.  It is possible to see the past quite clearly in both the architecture and the landscape. I have a thing about earthworks and ancient churches and there is nowhere like a mouldering graveyard to feel the people of the past peering over your shoulder. I sit quietly and listen while they tell me stuff.
Explain a little about Welsh pronunciation in your books.  For example, how do you pronounce Heledd?
I knew the names could be a problem for non-Welsh readers so I included a pronunciation table at the front of The Song of Heledd but, of course, as Welsh isn’t my first language, I could well be miles out although I did consult a Welsh friend. Heledd, I believe, is pronounced Hell – eth.

Tell us a little about the poems Canu Llywarch Hen and Canu Heledd.

The basis of Heledd’s story come from fragments of Welsh poetry known as Canu Heledd and Marwnad Cynddylan. The poem, and others relating to Heledd and Pengwern, can be found in The Red Book of Hergest. The Red Book of Hergest dates from the 14-15th centuries but the poems themselves are believed to have been written in the 9th century, although set in the 7th. The poems were probably part of an older oral tradition, recorded and transcribed in the medieval period.
There are very few female dialogues in the saga tradition and, apart from this poem, women do not speak or appear. Sole survivors of disaster are not uncommon but female survivors are. This dispensing with tradition suggested to me that Heledd’s story could perhaps be a historical event that has passed down through the oral tradition to become legend. The poem itself is historically inaccurate, even in those days literature was written for entertainment not to enter the historical record.
When the poems are read alongside the historical documents of the time, they complement eachother, and this is what I did to come up with a fictional account of Heledd’s life. It is a complicated period of history, largely impenetrable by modern society and to that end I have simplified many place names and the names of the peoples who inhabit it. The Song of Heledd concentrates more upon how it might have felt to play a female role within that society rather than how events really happened. History is an unknown place, full of half truths and many opposing opinions and this just forms my own version of an obscure truth and is a fiction.

Your books also are about the Anglo-saxons and the Normans, what draws you to them?

I became interested in Anglo-Saxon poetry while I was at university and learned about the culture and heroic tradition. Although it was a violent society, they struck me as a noble, very proud people and, compared to the Normans, their justice system was fair. Under the Norman regime ordinary people were oppressed but beneath Anglo-Saxon rule low status people had rights and even women and slaves had a fairer deal.
When I was about seven years old I did a school project on the Norman invasion and fell in love with King Harold. Since then I’ve read every book, fiction and non-fiction, about him that I could lay hands on. It seemed natural to make him part of my first novel. He and Richard the Third are my heroes. I guess I just love an underdog.
Can you explain for our readers what Gruffydd ap Llewellyn means?
The ap in Gruffydd ap Llewellyn means ‘son of’ so it means Gruffydd son of Llewellyn. He was the first leader to rule the whole of Wales but he was never referred to as ‘king’ although that was his role. He is often mixed up with Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, another Welsh leader of similar name who appears in history a few hundred years later. When they named their children they didn’t make things easy for us, did they?

You have 5 books out now, which is your favourite?

Ooh, that is a hard question. I think my favourite is whichever one I am writing when the question is asked. They are all so different but I suppose it is to do with the characters. Most of my protagonists are anti-heroines to an extent. In Peaceweaver, Eadgyth is hugely annoying. We meet her first as a complaining teenager (hormones don’t change) and see her grow into a stubborn, flawed adult. Her journey from girl to womanhood is complete when the story ends in her twenty-first year. In the course of ten years she marries and buries two kings, births five children and her status declines from Queen to exile. She has learned her lessons.
The Forest Dwellers is set after the conquest in what we now know of as The New Forest. The Saxons are oppressed, evicted from their homes and forced to live in servitude but Ælf and Alys fight on against their oppressors, both using very different weapons. Ælf is justifiably angry and will punch anyone who asks for it and Alys has learned to use her pretty face and neat figure to survive. I love the story and although I had a few publishing issues with it to begin with, the whole thing has been revised now and the new edition is much better for it.
The Song of Heledd is a lament for lost things. Heledd has seen her dynasty, her youth, her family destroyed by fault of her own. She has some harsh lessons and she learns them the hard way. The story is set at the transition between the pagan and Christian religion and looks at the resulting confusion and chaos until ultimately Heledd is forced, quite horribly, to admit the new God into her heart. She has the harshest lessons of all I think.
The Winchester Goose, my work in progress, is more light hearted, although still replete with beheadings and suffering.

Which was the hardest for you to write?

Peaceweaver was the hardest and I will always have a soft spot for it. As you know, when writing your first novel you not only have to learn the formula of getting your writing into book form but the discipline of sitting down every day and just getting on with it. It took me about three years, I suppose. One year of research, one year writing and one year editing and rewriting. It hasn’t taken the world by storm but world domination isn’t really what I’m aiming for. Peaceweaver won me a small group of readers who wait eagerly for my next book and it is their praise that keeps me writing more.

A Tapestry of Time is a collection of short stories, how did that come about?

I find editing my novels to be quite stifling creatively so to prevent myself from going nuts during those periods, I write shorts. I’ve had a few published in various magazines etc but it isn’t easy finding publications that take historical shorts. As my hard drive is stuffed with unpublished stories it made sense to do something positive with them. I think it was a good decision as many Kindle owners read on trains or planes or while they eat lunch and want a quick hit, so short story collections sell well and, at the same time, introduce my work to people that may otherwise have not heard of me. Many of my readers have progressed from the short story collections to my full-length novels.

Do you find short stories easy to write?

Usually, but I do have quite a few that will never see the light of day.  I find once I have a title or a few words on the page, the rest follows of its own accord. Then I put them away and bring them out later to edit when I’ve distanced myself from them. I belong to a local writing group The Cwrtnewydd Scribblers and we are set ‘homework’ once a week. Often something comes of those pieces.

Again Dear Henry: Confessions of the Queens is a collection of short stories and a current bestseller – why did you choose to write that?

I wrote Dear Henry: Confessions of the Queens in a workshop situation, no research, no plan, just straight out of my head. It just came out, practically as it stands apart from the quotes from letters that were added later. It was so well received by members of the group and online sites that I was encouraged to publish it as an e-book. I didn’t expect it to do anything. It went out free at first and my readers loved it, so instead of pulling it, I kept in on Kindle. It is my best seller by far and is as cheap as I can get it. Historical novelists and historians don’t rate it because it isn’t accurate but most readers love it and, after reading it, go on to buy my other novels. I have had so many requests for it as a ‘proper book’ that it will be available in paperback soon. It is very short, just a pamphlet really but it has caused me the most anguish, some reviewers are very rude which can be hard to take. Constructive criticism is always welcome but insults help no one and say more about the reviewer than they do me. In hindsight maybe I should have polished it up more but it isn’t meant as history, more as an examination of the psychological strain of living with a monster. I do stress whenever I can that I write fiction. If you want to learn history read a non-fiction history or go to classes. My books are intended for entertainment alone.

Your books are often described as ‘un-put-down-able’, why do you think that is?

I’m not sure. Lots of people have said that they flow rather well. Maybe it’s because I write in the first person and involve the reader directly in the action. I write my novels as if I am sitting in a room with the narrator and she or he (I often write as a male) is telling me their story. I am just a sort of medium, I suppose.
Also, again because they are in the first person, they are not overly descriptive. If you were to describe yourself going into your kitchen to make a cup of coffee you wouldn’t give extravagant details of the make of kettle or how the water manages to appear as if by magic from the taps. These things are all familiar to you and you don’t notice them. It’s the same with Heledd and Eadgyth and Ælf. When they move through their world they are used to the decorations in the hall and the way the walls are constructed. I give the reader enough of a picture to know where and when they are but it is the thoughts and feelings and motivations of my characters that are primary.

What hints and tips can you give to aspiring or new authors?

I’m a new author myself so I could do with someone giving some to me – ha ha. I would say, first of all, sit down and write. You aren’t a writer unless you do so. Then I would say, never think your writing is good enough. All writers, even the most successful of us, should strive for improvement so join a writing group and keep going to writing courses. Read the competition and keep writing, writing, writing. It is the best way to improve. There should never come a time when you feel you can sit back and stop trying to develop.
Editing is more important than I can say and you cannot do it yourself. I find uploading my manuscript to my kindle helps me to distance myself from the work and errors and typos then stand out much better. Get your manuscript as perfect as you can before it goes to the editor and then have it edited again before you send it off or self-publish. Once it is out there and you flick through it, you will find typos and small formatting mistakes and, if you are self-published, there are critics that will slaughter you for this. Ignore them and make your next book even better.

What are you working on now?

Since Dear Henry began to sell I have had streams of people asking me if I have written any other Tudor books. The world is full of them but it seems there aren’t enough yet, so although I was initially reluctant to do so, I am bowing to pressure and jumping on the bandwagon. The Winchester Goose opens in London and Southwark just as Henry VIII is about to marry Anne of Cleves. The plot then encompasses the annulment and subsequent marriage to Katherine Howard.
During the period in question Southwark was outside the jurisdiction of London and it was there, across the river, that various entertainments evolved that were not available in London town. Since the Middle ages the Bishops of Winchester owned lands and properties in Southwark around Winchester Palace which was situated there. The area became popular with visitors to the city, traders and exiles, people far from home. Gentlemen from court also spent their leisure time on the far side of the bridge on Bankside.
The Winchester Geese were prostitutes who lived and worked in Southwark and paid their rents to the Bishop. My novel is told from the perspectives of Joanie Toogood, a warm hearted prostitute; Francis Wareham, a young, womanising adventurer who is roped into working as a spy for Thomas Cromwell and two gentle women, sisters Isabella and Evelyn Bourne who are ladies in waiting to Henry’s queens. The adventures of these fictional characters coincide with the historical events at the royal palace and I hope provide a refreshing perspective of the King and his court.
I am having tremendous fun writing it and am about three quarters of the way through the first draft – the fun bit.

What are your writing plans for the future?

Well, I had better not stop. If I can’t find the time to write I get very growly and not nice to be near so my husband, for his own sake, is very supportive. I am lucky to be able to write full time and hopefully that will continue.
I have nothing planned yet but each of my books have grown from another so I have confidence that, somewhere along the line, an idea will germinate from The Winchester Goose. 
Even if I stopped publishing my work, I can’t imagine ever not writing at all. It is the creative process that I love, it’s more important to me than hitting the big time. It is a sad fact that many high earning authors are so pushed around by the publishers that their writing is suffering and readers are noticing this. More and more people in search of well-written, innovative novels are learning that the best place to look is among independent writers. I would like my books to be among them.

It was a pleasure interviewing Judith.  You can find out more about her here.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Review for Charlotte from Victoria Le-fort

Charlotte ~ Pride & Prejudice Continues by Karen Aminadra.

The first novel from a self-confessed Austenite promises much.  An unconventional love story much in the vein of Jane Austen herself.
Charlotte is the story of Lizzy’s friend who married the cast off Mr Collins, a sequel to Pride & Prejudice.  Convinced she has to make the best of her marriage, Charlotte is a make do and mend kind of woman, who never believed she would attain her deepest desire, to fall in love.
Her husband, the pityful and fawning Mr Collins, is far too obsessed with his patron, Lady de Bourgh, to realise what he truly should be grateful for.  And into this mix comes the dangerous and smouldering Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Conflicts, desire and a truly historical delight with real attention to detail go to show this first novel has a real feel for the period and I do believe Miss Austen herself would not disapprove.
Victoria Le-fort
April 2012

5 Star Review of Charlotte from Jennifer Petkus

5 Stars for Charlotte

It shows a great deal of charity to think kindly on the odious Mr. Collins of Pride and Prejudice.Sure, we all feel for Charlotte Collins née Lucas, who, knowing that her marital prospects are not good, accepts his offer of marriage.
As Charlotte confessed to Elizabeth Bennet: “I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.” 
(NOTE: There are potential spoilers below, but come on, did you think an Austen continuation would end unhappily?)
William Collins (who even thinks of him having a first name?) is certainly not a villain, but he is such an object of ridicule that we can only think with sympathy of “poor Charlotte” left alone with Mr. Collins and the condescension of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Jane Greensmith in her story All I Do even has this line: “I’ll accuse you of being a ‘Collins’ if you keep on bowing and scraping.”
But Karen Aminadra in her new book Charlotte — Pride and Prejudice Continues, has seen something in Mr. Collins that the rest of us have ignored and has endeavored to give Charlotte the happy ending she deserved within the context of the bargain she has made. Although the beginning of the book certainly gives no indication that the reclamation of Mr. Collins is possible:
Upon her arrival she found the house and servants in pandemonium, for all his shouting and flapping Mr Collins had not produced the haste which he so desired but had made all about him unable to discern whether they were coming or going.

“My dear Charlotte I cannot express to you how important the patronage of Lady Catherine de Bourgh is to us and the sovereign importance of performing our duty to her. We are called to dine at the great house this every evening; our presence is required. We must prepare ourselves.”

Soon Charlotte is determined to stand up to the dictates of Lady Catherine, especially after she learns the extent to which their patroness has controlled and ruined the lives of others in the village of Hunsford. That stand comes at a cost, however, when Lady Catherine urges Mr. Collins to take a stronger hand in dealing with his “wayward” wife.
All the while, however, it begins to dawn on Mr. Collins just how lucky he is to have found Charlotte, who fulfills the job of a rector’s wife admirably. Her charm, sense and open spirit make her the ideal companion, but she is not without fault. It also slowly dawns on her that her admission to Elizabeth that she is not a romantic may be untrue and that the bargain she has made with Mr. Collins may leave her very unhappy.
It’s fun that the revelations Charlotte and William experience are not in sync; and when they do sync, they both have a taste of what their lives together could be. Lady Catherine, however, is always there to drive a wedge between them.
Ms. Aminadra also shows great restraint in making her book solidly about Charlotte and Mr. Collins, with few mentions of the main characters of Pride and Prejudice. I almost thought Elizabeth and Darcy would be completely absent, but they do appear at the end of the book and their intervention is both appropriate and necessary.
One character from P&P who does play a major role is Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy’s cousin. He’s often a character in play in Pride and Prejudice continuations, and here he’s a charming snake in the garden, tempting Charlotte from her vow to her husband. He’s no Wickham, of course, but he does show Charlotte what she’s missing in her marriage and ultimately, they’re equally unable to deny their mutual attraction.
I have to admit I don’t read many Austen continuations that don’t have some gimmick: vampires, zombies or a murder mystery. But Ms. Aminadra’s story eschews gimmicks and has the simple plot of one of Austen’s novels: a women who has to make a choice between two men and characters who have to adjust their perceptions of one another. She’s also taken on the more difficult task of asking readers to change their perceptions of one of the most ridiculous characters Austen created.
I fear I give away too much in this review, but be reassured that as in Austen’s novels, it’s the details and the characterization and not the plot that drive the story. You know that the heroine will have a happy ending; what you will enjoy reading is Charlotte’s efforts to secure that ending. The friends she makes in the village not only emphasize her genuine spirit, they also help her see her bargain for what it is. Those same friends are also her allies against Lady Catherine.
My only disappointment in the ending is that Ms. Aminadra ultimately could not find a way to resolve the impasse with Lady Catherine. Her charity does not extend that far and in retrospect, I have to admit the reclamation of Lady Catherine would be too much to expect.

Click here to see the review on Jennifer's blog