Steven is giving away (3) Signed Paperback copies of “THE MEREST LOSS.” For your chance to win, be sure to leave him a comment below.
Getting to know Steven Neil, the author of THE MEREST LOSS.
THE MEREST LOSS, a story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.
The Writing Process
1. How did you set about writing your novel?
I planned thirty-six chapters of not more than 2500 words for my novel, even before I had a subject. This arose from a conversation with one of my Creative Writing tutors.
Me: I can only write short stories. I could never write a novel.
Her: But you can write a 2500 word short story?
Her: Well, can you write ten 2500 word short stories?
Me: Yes, I suppose so.
Her: Well, if you write thirty-six short stories on a linked theme, you have written a novel.
2. Where did your ideas come from?
Originally, I was planning to write a Dick Francis style thriller and I was researching a jockey called Jem Mason, who won the first Grand National at Liverpool in 1839. I found a line in his description which said something like ‘also famous for his relationship with Harriet Howard, who ran away to live with him in London when she was fifteen and who also became Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer’. I decided she was an even more interesting character and I set about writing a fictional account of her life.
3. Are you a planner?
As my answer to question one indicates, I am absolutely a planner. Once I have my outline however, I don’t write in a linear fashion. I move across the timelines and try to complete each chapter as a mini story.
4. How do you write, e.g. manuscript/PC?
I write straight on to PC and I edit on the PC. I have also used Dragon software to dictate on to PC. It works to about 85% accuracy once it learns your voice and I find it helps to unfreeze my thinking if I am struggling to type words on to the page.
5. When do you write: are you a lark or an owl?
I write at odd times. I often write late at night, but I also write early in the morning when ideas that have been running through my mind overnight are still fresh. I like to write to word count. I think 200-300 words at a time, edited and polished, is good going.
6. Do you have any writing rituals or habits?
I am not sure they are rituals or habits, but I do commit to reaching my word count every time I sit down to write. Even if the writing isn’t very good, I can always improve it later. ‘You can’t edit a blank page’ is good advice.
7. How do you edit?
I edit as I go along. I might generate 300 words of ‘new’ writing and then move to a section of ‘old’ i.e. unedited writing and spend time editing. I am always going back to the beginning and reading through, to make sure the continuity is right.
8. Have you experienced writer’s block and if so, how did you overcome it?
Not really. I just keep writing. Eventually it comes out.
9. What do you enjoy about the writing process?
I think I enjoyed the research process the most. I am not a natural writer. Nothing came easy. However, I think the planning and organisation skills I learned in my business career, allied to the writing craft skills I learned in my degree and my masters degree gave me the tools of the trade. I think Harriet Howard’s story deserved to be told as it is a fascinating tale. I hope I have done it justice.
10. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I have met some tremendously naturally gifted writers but that alone will not make you a published author. I genuinely believe that, however gifted, you need to learn the craft of writing. Invest in a creative writing course and learn about structure, plot, point of view, character, setting and dialogue before you start writing. When you have finished the first draft of your novel, understand that you have only just begun the process of writing a publishable novel. Even if all your friends and family tell you your novel is brilliant, invest in an independent development and copy editor before you even think about publication.
© Steven Neil
THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the US, UK, France, Canada and Australia.
Follow Steven Neil on TWITTER for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.
Steven has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a bookmaker’s clerk, bloodstock agent, racehorse breeder and management consultant amongst other professions in his varied career. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire, England. The Merest Loss is his debut novel.
As an expat who worked in fifteen countries spread through the Middle, Far East and North Africa, Colin Guest has lived a life most only dream. He started writing after his retirement and has had nine books published, with five made into Audiobooks.
Among a variety of articles Colin has written about, one is on helping wildlife. Colin is keen on both the environment and wildlife. As such, for those interested in helping wildlife, Colin recommends you volunteer at a wildlife animal rescue/rehabilitation centre. However, be aware, that strange though it might seem, volunteers have to pay to work at one. Also, as the charges can vary considerably from place to place, you should check out both costs, and plane tickets to get there. The reason why you have to pay to work, is that none of these places receives any monies from their respective governments. Given the costs involved in volunteering, Colin recommends that where possible, combine a holiday, with a period, (usually a minimum of two weeks, as a volunteer.
As a volunteer, Colin worked at two centres in South Africa and one in Thailand. The normal duties for a volunteer include cleaning cages, enclosures, preparing food and feeding the animals. While in Thailand, it included helping clean out pools for a variety of animals
While working at SanWild, a massive rescue/rehabilitation centre in South Africa, Colin had an incredible experience. A television crew along with presenter came to film the various wildlife for a television show. During this time, one of the centre’s lions became involved in a fight with another lion. As a result, it suffered an eye injury that required medical attention. A vet was called in to treat the lion, which after he had darted it, went in to check it was unconscious. Once satisfied, a group, including the television crew and Colin, went into the encloser. While the vet worked on the lion’s eye, the cameraman filmed the whole procedure. After finishing treating its eye, a group of men, including Colin, picked the lion up on a stretcher, then carried and put it down under a tree to recover. Once all were safely outside the enclosure, the vet gave the lion an injection to bring it back to life, then quickly joined those waiting outside.
It is due to incidents like these that volunteers never know what they will encounter during their stay at a wildlife centre. One thing is sure; you will always remember the time you volunteered to help animals in need. Not only that, it can be a subject for you to write about.
Social media contacts
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Tallie Brown’s life has never made sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life. Journalistic phenom Jackson James is still recovering from the devastating mistake that flatlined his promising career. Now he’s paying the price, working as the editor of a syrupy community rag in a posh D.C. suburb. But when the very man who destroyed him drops a tantalizing lead about a potential D.C. scandal, the reporter sees his chance for redemption and sets off to chase the story. Jackson’s investigation leads him to Cutler’s Ridge, a dying Virginia coal town, and directly into the path of the mysterious and beautiful Tallie. As these two mistrustful loners follow their leads, their stories begin to intertwine until they reach an alarming conclusion – something terrible happened in Cutler’s Ridge. As they doggedly pursue the story, the town’s cold reception spirals into threats and danger, proving that there are those who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden forever –because secrets never die.
~ Seagull Book~
Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Secrets Never Die is Laurie’s twelfth published novel.
Her women’s fiction/romance novels include Love on the Line, (2019), Awakening Avery, (2018), Love on a Limb, (2017), Sweet Water, (2017), The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis. Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical romance series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).
Laurie Lewis is a RONE Award Winner (The Dragons of Alsace Farm) and was twice named a New Apple Literary Award winner in 2017 (The Dragons of Alsace Farm), and in 2018, winning Best New Fiction (Love on a Limb.) She is also a BRAGG Medallion honoree, and she was twice named a Whitney Awards and USA Best Books Awards finalist.
Laurie loves to hear from readers, and she invites you to join her VIP Readers’ Club or contact her at any of these locations.
TALLIE: Brie Larsen (Captain Marvel) Oh yeah!
JACKSON: Zack Efron
JULIA: Helena Bonham Carter
WINSTON CHAMBERLAIN: Liam Neeson
MARLENE BODINE: Amy Adams
BODIE GLICK: Spencer Breslin
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page
BUTTERFLY IN FROST
By Sylvia Day
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
From #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Sylvia Day comes a hotly anticipated and passionate new love story.
Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.
Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.
He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.
And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.
Disclaimer:I received an ARC of BUTTERFLY IN FROST by SYLVIA DAY. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Many thanks to Montlake Romance and NetGalleyfor the Advanced Reader Copy.
It was my pleasure to read BUTTERFLY IN FROST by SYLVIA DAY. I haven’t read a book by Ms. Day in a number of years and I found myself quickly drawn into the story of Teagan, Roxy & Mike, and Garrett!
The passion in this novel is palpable from the moment Garrett runs onto the page! The only question is how long that passion will remain unfulfilled! Teagan and Garrett burn mystifyingly hot and the flames just get higher as they learn about each other. I wouldn’t consider this novel erotic in nature, but the sex scenes are very steamy!
I am always amazed when an author catches me completely unaware when I get through a book. Ms. Day had me looking for one ending and then wowed me with something that was so completely unexpected that I had to go back and reread the end of the book several times to really let it sink in! I was totally blindsided to say the least!
BUTTERFLY IN FROST by SYLVIA DAY is a book that I will keep and read over again, more than just once! I will definitely be watching for more of the same style from Ms. Day in the future as this really resonated with me!
I very definitely recommend BUTTERFLY IN FROST by SYLVIA DAY and give it five beautiful gold stars!
©AUGUST 27, 2019
Roxy bounces on her feet with excitement. “Les and Marge sold their house.”
I blink. “I didn’t know they were selling.”
She laughs and heads toward the front door. “That’s the thing. They weren’t.”
“Wait, what?” I hurry after her as she steps outside.
I look to the right at my home, a lovingly restored butterfly-roofed midcentury, then on to the traditional house just beyond it that belongs—belonged—to Les and Marge. Including Roxy’s, all three of our homes have unique lots set between the homes that line the street and the Sound, affording us unhindered views of the water as well as exceptional privacy—all within a twenty-minute drive of the airport.
Roxy shortens the length of her stride to allow me to catch up, then glances over at me. “The day after you flew to New York, a Range Rover pulled into their driveway, and the guy inside offered them cash to close—and move out—in fourteen days.”
My step falters, and Minnie gets momentarily tangled in her leash. The dog shoots me what I would describe as an irritated look, then keeps trotting forward. “That’s crazy.”
“Isn’t it? Les wouldn’t say how much the offer was, but I’m thinking it was huge.”
We march up the inclined driveway, my head tilted back to take in the houses scaling the hillside. Designed with big windows to maximize the view, the homes have a look of wide-eyed wonder. Our little stretch of the Sound used to be a secret, but with the housing boom taking over Seattle and Tacoma, we’ve been discovered. Many residences are undergoing major renovation to suit the tastes of new owners.
Reaching the road, we turn left. To the right is a dead end.
“Well, if they’re happy,” I say, “I’m happy for them.”
“They’re overwhelmed. It was a lot to happen all at once, but I think they’re happy with their decision.” Roxanne stops when Bella does, and we wait as the two dogs mark one of their usual spots on the gravel edging the asphalt. There are no curbs on the streets in our neighborhood and no sidewalks. Just beautiful lawns and a profusion of flowering shrubs.
“We all tried prying information out of them,” she goes on, “but they weren’t sharing anything about the sale.” She gives me a sidelong glance. “But they did share a bit about the buyer.”
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Because Mike and I both think the buyer is someone famous. A film director maybe. Or an artist. Can you imagine? First Emily, a bestselling author. Then you, a reality-TV surgeon. Now this guy! Maybe we’re sitting on the new Malibu—beachside living without wildfires or state income tax!”
The mention of Roxy’s husband, Mike, coaxes an inner smile. A New York transplant like me, he adds a welcome touch of the life I left behind to the reality I’ve since created for myself—a reality that’s just been rocked by the loss of neighbors I like.
“What are the clues you’re working with?” I ask, deciding to play along. If I’ve learned anything the past year, it’s to accept the things I cannot change. A tough task for a control freak like me.
“Les pointed out to this guy that he hadn’t even seen the inside of the house. The guy said he didn’t need to. He knew already that ‘the light is perfect.’ I mean, who would say that? Gotta be someone who’s in visual arts, right?”
“Maybe,” I agree tentatively, disquieted by the unexpected conversation. The road rises sharply before us, the incline steep enough to put a little burn in my thighs. “Doesn’t mean he’s famous, though.”
“That’s the thing.” Her words carry a note of breathlessness. “Les wouldn’t give numbers, but he did say it was crazy the guy didn’t just buy that huge compound at the end of the street. That house is listed for three and a half million!”
My mind staggers at the thought. Les and Marge have—had—a beautiful home, but it’s not worth anywhere near that much.
“I think I saw the buyer once through that big arched window in the living room,” Roxy goes on. “The blonde with him was a looker. Supermodel skinny with legs for days.”
I’m panting when we reach the top; Roxy, who hits a gym most days of the week, is not.
A quarter mile farther, there’s a street to the right leading to Dash Point. Beyond that and straight ahead, the road slopes back down and around until it’s at water level. Redondo Beach is there, as is Salty’s, a restaurant on stilts in the water with expansive views of Poverty Bay and beyond. I’m about to wax poetic about Salty’s seafood chowder when a runner dashes around the corner at a full sprint. His sudden appearance rattles me. A closer look makes me freeze midstride. My breath locks in my lungs.
There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature.
And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome.
Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.”
Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Visit the author at www.sylviaday.com.
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Susan was born and raised a Southern California girl but is grateful to have lived on the Oregon coast and in the Rocky Mountains of northern Utah. She’s now enjoying living with her husband in the incomparable beauty of the Redwood forest, nestled against the rugged coast of Northern California.
Susan raised a tribe of children, making ends meet as a registered nurse and lactation consultant, and now her tribe members have tribes of their own and she doesn’t get to see enough of them. She loves to travel and is thrilled with a good movie or a great book, but writing is her passion. She writes almost anything, especially epic fantasy and romance.
Susan would love to hear your comments. Please review her book at your favorite retailer or at Goodreads. Take a peek at her website, susantietjen.blogspot.com, and/ or drop her a note at:
Grace has given up on romance, on almost everything, since Rick Fleming betrayed her faith in him five years ago. Given her constant struggle with bad luck (her friend Murphy), being insanely accident prone, and having been the target of endless ridicule growing up, she has no reason to trust anyone.
Rick made some mistakes as a boy, and as a young man, his worst was hurting Grace Evans. His heart still belongs to her, even if she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, in the last confrontation between them, she demanded he never speak to her again.
Now, Grace’s best friend (and Rick’s sister) Hannah has invited her to a ten-day summer work-vacation to babysit Hannah’s teen cousins. A palatial cabin, a patio boat on the lake, and all the comforts of the rich and famous at their fingertips? A vacation made in heaven.
At least until they arrive and Grace finds Rick there. And neither can leave. Rick’s car is in pieces in the garage, and Grace forgot her driver’s license at home.
How will Grace survive it? Can she find a way to forgive? Can Rick learn to take responsibility for his past mistakes? And even if they succeed, what will they do when Rick’s most recent wantabe girlfriend shows up on their doorstep, determined to make Rick hers?
And now for the Cover
SET TO RELEASE ON SEPTEMBER 6TH!
Preorder Available Now on Amazon!
PRE-ORDER LINK: https://geni.us/Tr59Vx
Join us for the upcoming tour featuring this wonderful book HERE!
Find all of Susan Tietjen’s books here
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BY ELYSE DOUGLAS
A hot summer beach—
A marriage gone wrong—
Daring eyes and daring love, betrayed by a secret passion.
Kim feels trapped in a loveless marriage to a jealous, wealthy older man. He blames her for crippling him in an auto accident that he himself caused. Kim strives to make the marriage work, despite her husband’s blame, verbal abuse, and bitterness. When she meets a wickedly handsome man on the beach, she fights not to want him, not to want a new life and not to fall in love.
But Derek is seductive and irresistible—a former soldier who has recently come to town to start a landscaping business. Kim falls hard for him, as he does to her. Although Kim wants a divorce, her husband finds out about their affair and devises a plot to destroy them both. They must struggle to survive a web of lies, deceit and dangerous passion.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of DARING SUMMER by ELYSE DOUGLAS. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Many thanks to VIRTUAL AUTHOR BOOK TOURS for the advance copy!
It was truly a pleasure to sit and read DARING SUMMER by ELYSE DOUGLAS! I was fully invested in the “who-dun-it” of this book by the time I had read the full blurb! I just couldn’t wait to read it and see what the pages held in store!
The characters were incredibly well-developed. With the descriptions of their physical characteristics and their behavior, a very vivid picture of each of them grew as each chapter sped by!
DARING SUMMER is an incredibly fast-paced book with a plot that whipped this reader into a fury as Ben Maxell showed his true colors early on! Things move quickly from the first chapter as the authors take us on the daring journey through the sand dunes of Scorpio Beach during this brilliantly crafted book!
I very highly recommend DARING SUMMER for anyone that enjoys a great romantic suspense novel!
I give DARING SUMMER by ELYSE DOUGLAS five gleaming gold stars!
Please tell us your story as a husband/wife writing team. How did you meet, how did you discover you could write as a team, etc.
A: We met at the Greenhouse Theatre in New York, a theatre dedicated to nurturing writers, directors and actors. We were both writers, but I was also working as an actress in the soap opera Guiding Light.
After a night of working at the theater, Doug asked me if I wanted to go to a party that some of his friends were throwing to celebrate the production of his new play, and I said, “Why not?” We have been together since, more than twenty years… But whose counting?
When writing novels, we work together in a variety of ways. It depends on the plot and characters. We start with plot, structure, tone, then characters. We write maybe 10,000 or 20,000 words. If by then the story doesn’t smell right, we drop it and move on. We have begun and dropped at least five books over the years, two were completed. C’est la vie!
What draws you to this genre?
A: In the romantic suspense genre, characters are often struggling with inner demons that drive them to action. At least the better ones do. It’s not just a sexy attraction, but what lies beneath the dialogue and the plot that strips away the protective layers that allows the characters to truly fall in love.
How long did it take you to write this book from concept to fruition?
A: We made several attempts at Daring Summer before we were happy with it. We completed a draft a couple of years ago and then set it aside, returning to it twice more before finally completing it. So, from start to finish, over two years.
How important do you believe having a good editor is for the success of your book?
A: A good editor is mandatory—a must for every writer. I know of no writer who doesn’t need a professional editor to point out the cracks in the plot, the errant grammar and the pretzel sentences.
What is your usual writing routine?
A: I write 6-7 days a week at least four hours a day.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
A: Marketing is a challenge, but it is an essential part of writing. Without it, nobody will find and read your book.
What do you do when you are not writing?
A: Read, walk, take vacations and go to fun restaurants.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
A: Whenever I hear that question this quote comes to mind and I laugh.
“No man/woman but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
A: Entertained, uplifted and wanting more.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
A: Brian DeFiore, agent and editor, who taught me the absolute necessity of having a good editor.
Praise ‘Other Side of Summer’ by Elyse Douglas
“5 stars, another great, emotional read from this author!! I was hooked the minute I started reading it. Be warned you will need a box of tissues to read. I really love this author!”- Melissa Mendoza, Anne & Melissa’s Book Love
“I found this to be a satisfying, well developed warm and enriching read. It gave me a lot to think about. I will recommend it to readers of both genders, age high school and up, who like substance in their novels.”-Laura Reading, Laura’s Interests
“The book is more than just a contemporary romance – it’s a family saga, a book about the bonds of family, about love (not just between partners but between parents and children), about life and the choices we make. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. The writing is hauntingly beautiful, and the author has a talent for crafting believable characters. An excellent book, and I look forward to reading more by this author.”- Majanka, I Heart Reading
“Great story, I give it five stars. I thought the book was wonderful and emotional, and I loved the writing style and how the words flowed. I was happy to fantasize about being there to watch the story unfold. I loved this story; took me back to my young beach days.”-Diana’s Book Reviews