Saturday, October 25, 2014

Special Offers - Last Week - Historical Novels

Special Offers – Final Week
MuseItUp Publishing is celebrating its 4 Year Anniversary with 50% to 80% OFF specials until the 31st October.

The Link is.

My historical novels are included in the special offers.
Far Beyond Rubies. 50%off  £1.90   $3.09
Tangled Love. 50% off.  £1.84   $2.99
The Captain and The Countess 50% off  £1.90   $3.09
Sunday’s Child  80% off  £0.77p   $1.25
My novels are set in the early 18th & 19th centuries.
Visit to read the first three chapters of each novel and view the book trailers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Anti-Autumn Post

I’m a summer girl. As such, I hate to see summer end. That means (sorry in advance to everyone who loves this season), I kind of hate autumn.

Okay, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word. But I definitely dread fall. Maybe it’s because, except in summer, I’m always cold. Maybe it’s because I don’t like it when the big yellow bus comes to take my little loves away. Or maybe I just really dislike the thought of winter. Whatever the reason, for years, I’ve dreaded autumn.

However, this year is a little different. For medical reasons, I’m now homeschooling my son. I don’t have to get up before dawn to see him off. I get to spend every day working with him and enjoying his company. We’re learning things together, and it’s a true joy.

Maybe autumn isn’t so bad.

Maybe I’ll just sit here in my window seat and appreciate the beauty of the season.

PS: Deep down, I guess I'm not really an autumn hater. After all, I've set two books during this season! Check them out: Dream Shade (YA paranormal mystery set during Halloween and discounted 80% this month) and The Sound of Sirens (paranormal mystery set during Thanksgiving and discounted to $0.99 next month).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sunday Musings: October 19 2014

Pepper Approved

What book scared you?

Why and How.


Yup, it's October. People like and don't like Halloween for a variety of reasons. So we're digging into that fear.

So, why did it scare you.

And how did the author do that.

Now, I have to go to Clive Barker's BOOKS OF BLOOD series. That man freaked me out. His mind freaks me out. However, there is one book which I have never, ever, been able to finish GERALD'S GAME by King. Nope, just the idea of being handcuffed to a bed in the middle of nowhere with no one around but a dead body. Yup, never finished that book.

Oh, and for the record...editing THE DOLLMAKER by our Justin Robinson, and Michael Infinito's 12:19, yeah, let's just say...yeah...uhm...did not edit at nighttime.

Onward to our Musing Family...

Well, Halloween doesn't scare me, never did, although I must admit as I grew older, opening the door late at night to strangers wasn't entirely comfortable for me.  So, once the little ones started looking a lot like the much older ones, I turned off the lights and didn't answer the door.

As far as how the author scared me... not sure where you're going with this, but the only book I read that scared the crap out of me was the Barbara Michaels'  story, "Ammie Come Home," not because there were monsters per se, but because it's a old fashioned haunting and entirely within the realm of possibility.  Another good old fashioned ghost story is "The Uninvited" dates from the 40's I think and was made into a movie.  Highly recommend both reads for those of you who like the genre.  Otherwise, as far as what else scares me, I tend to be bomb proof.

Halloween was never an event in my family.  Currently, I love seeing the small children (and dogs) in their costumes.  Since I live in an apartment building, I don't see trick-or-treaters.  For sure, no one will buzz any strangers in late at night.

I can't recall offhand every being scared by any fictional story or movie.  I immerse myself in good ones, but somehow the hair does not stand on end.  Nonfiction will increase the heart rate on occasion.  I know what I read happened and that it can happen again.


I’ve always LOVED this holiday.  As a child my mother would round us all up and we’d go to the houses that gave out huge chocolate candy bars.  Also loved this holiday as a bilingual teacher.  The next day is Dia de Los Muertos-Day of the Dead.  I loved the whole ceremony of sugar decorated skulls and remembering our loved ones that had passed by decorating altars with their photos and things they loved in this life.  It’s a day of celebration and remembering.

Now on the scary movies?  I’m not much into graphic, guts, and blood movies but rather the psychological horror ones.  Loved the original Japanese version of THE RING.  Creepy, spooky.  Just the way I love them.  Also the mini series IT by Stephen King freaked me out big time when it first aired.  To this day I HATE clowns.


Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None had me pretty good and terrified at the tender age of fifteen. Without giving any spoilers (spoilers are the worst!)...there are multiple murders done according to a children's poem. To take something innocent and then morbidly twist is just so wrong, it is definitely a good way to give me the creeps. Also, the characters were relatable enough that the suspense of "who's next?" and "how will their murder fit into the poem?" was enough to have my heart racing.

But the real kicker was the ending. After finishing the book, I left my room in a daze. I thought I was home alone, when my twin sister jumped around a corner and shouted "Boo!" Yeah, I screamed bloody murder. She thought it was funny--until SHE read the book late at night and ended up sleeping on my floor because she didn't want to be alone. Haha! Poetic justice

DAWN KNOX, author

The first story I had published was a horror story, so it seems strange that I dislike scary stories and never read them. The last book that I remember which frightened me was the 'Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton which a teacher read to us at school. I think I was about seven years old! I became completely engrossed in the strange world the author created and I remember being disturbed that the characters repeatedly put themselves in danger. I associated so completely with them, I experienced the fear I would have felt, had I been with them in reality. I also read 'Rosemary's Baby' by Ira Levin when I was a teenager and I seem to remember I found it frightening but strangely, I can still recall details of the 'Magic Faraway Tree' but nothing of 'Rosemary's Baby'.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!

 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

Friday, October 17, 2014

Plan for a New Novel

I've nearly finished writing Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child, set in 1814. I am now planning the next follow on novel, Tuesday's Child, who is full of grace'. I realised the heroine I first character I chose, who appeared in Monday's child lacks inner grace. After much thought I selected the right character to be the heroine, who had a walk on but very important part in Monday's Child. She is not a beauty but moves and acts with grace. Phew! That's sorted.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

View Book Trailer. The Captain and The Countess.

I am delighted because the book trailer of my novel, The Captain and The Countess, set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart, has been uploaded onto my website., where you can also read the first three chapters of the novel.

P.S. At the moment there is 50% off the price of The Captain and The Countess from MuseItUp Publishing, and

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Interesting Interview

I am delighted by my interview at:

However I am mortified  because my brain tricked me into writing that Napoleon escaped from Brussels. Of course, he did not. I'm also mortified because I misspelt lives.

Apart from that I hope you will enjoy the interview, I enjoyed answering the questions.

The Stolen Necklace by Susan Bernhardt

Author of the mysteries, The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Halloween themed mystery) and Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Christmas themed mystery.)

Walking by the booths at the pumpkin festival, Andrea and her friends chatted about the Halloween party that evening. As they passed a grey haired gypsy-looking woman selling jewelry, a necklace caught Andrea's eye. 

Andrea stopped in her tracks. "Look at that ornate Celtic necklace, the one the old witch is selling. It'd be perfect for my costume."

"Quiet, she'll hear you," Marla said.

"She's petting a black cat for goodness sakes. What else would you call her?" Kerry said and laughed. 

They walked over to the old woman's velvet draped table. Racks of jewery stood between lit candles at each end. The old woman looked up and intently watched the girls. She wore a pashmina wrap around her shoulders. Her weather-beaten, creased face contorted, revealing a toothless smile. "Would you like one of my necklaces?"

Andrea picked up the alluring pewter necklace and put it on. Then she said, "Oh look, Marla, over there, those batiqued dresses." She started walking away.

"Young lady, young lady," the old woman cackled, "You forgot to pay for the necklace. Twenty dollars, please."

"Andrea, get back here," Marla called out.

"For this old piece of junk. I thought you were giving them away." She looked over at Kerry and smirked. "You asked if I would like one." Andrea threw the necklace down on the table.

The old woman looked hard at Andrea. Reaching under the table, she brought out a glass case that contained a stunning, crystal necklace. "This necklace shines like the stars in the sky. It has much magic and brings its owner, everything they deserve."

Andrea picked up the necklace. It was beautiful and had a great sparkle. She put it on. "How much?"

"For you, five dollars."

Andrea nudged Kerry and they took off running into the crowds, laughing.

Marla pulled five dollars out of her purse and plunked it down. "Sorry." She ran to catch up with her friends. "You swiped it," she said. "I can't believe you, Andrea." 

Kerry and Andrea rolled their eyes. "Oh, grow up," Andrea said. She and Kerry continued talking about who they thought would be at the party. Marla lagged behind. They came up to a caramel apple stand. Andrea grabbed one as she walked by. 

That evening Andrea stood at the mirror admiring her new crystal necklace. The moonlight shown through her bedroom window, making it sparkle. She remembered what the old woman had said about the necklace being magical. She deserved to have it.

At the party, Andrea started flirting with Kerry's boyfriend. When Kerry went into the kitchen to get a drink, Andrea and Todd decided to take it upstairs into an empty bedroom. While Todd was on top of her, Andrea started screaming, a bloodcurdling scream. She felt a tightness constrict her neck. Her screams stopped abruptly. Todd glanced down and saw the crystals of the necklace glowing, reflecting moonlight around the room, burning his eyes. He got up, made it to the door, and stumbled downstairs blinded. "Call 9-1-1!"

When the police arrived the crystal necklace lie loose around Andrea's red swollen neck. Todd was taken into custody on suspicion of murder. Still unable to see, he was led away.

A few weeks after Andrea's funeral, Kerry came over to visit with Andrea's mom. They were both having a hard time with the death. They went up to Andrea's room and sat for a while trying to find comfort. When the phone rang and Andrea's mom left to answer it, Kerry spotted the crystal necklace lying on the dresser, and slipped it into her purse.

A week later Kerry was found strangled in a park. She had been returning home, on a moonlit evening, from a friend's home. Her body was taken to the morgue, her clothing and personal articles sent to lockup in the police station for evidence. 

A young police officer checking in the articles in the evidence log, saw the beautiful, dazzling necklace. He looked around and quickly put it in his pocket. His first anniversary was coming up in about a month. It would make a lovely gift for his wife.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Musings: October 12 2014

ChrisChat Reviews

Hi, Everyone

Next on the list of how do you approach process is reviewers.

As a long-time reviewer, I'll be offering up my own musing from the other I like to be approached.

So let's get musing:

How do you, the author, approach reviewers with requests?


I approach Reviewers very politely, very cordially. One reviewer, I've developed a friendly relationship with, insists on hard copy so I print up the book, do the cover in color and snail mail it to him. I also send a nice letter and sign the cover. He seems to enjoy this a good deal. Always understand that you have to be patient with them as well, chances are they read a good many books and need time to get to yours.

I have advertised on review sites on facebook. Mixed success. Some folk just ask to receive everything in their preferred areas, I think, and then don't read them. Some have read and posted lovely reviews.

I have sent books to blogs and this has resulted in some really nice reviews. I have offered books as prizes and that has provided one or two, including a truly wonderful one on I have approached a variety of magazines.

I sent one as my 'bread and butter' thank you note to a friend. She reviewed it - five stars.

I have virtually begged friends I know have read one of my books to review it. I even offer a Tunnocks' tea-cake. To the ones who have responded, heartfelt thanks. To the others, I am so disappointed.

I have 'shared' that Reviews are like oxygen, or whatever, to writers FB post, on my timeline.

I am fairly conscientious about promoting the work of other writers by blogs, FB and twitter help and reviews. This can have a reciprocal effect.

It's a struggle. Readers we love you and need you. We know that writing a review takes time and that you may not be a 'skilled' wordsmith. That, however, makes your review stand out as that of a genuine reader. Go for it, but if it's one or two stars, then just write it and don't click 'publish'. Ta!

Back to me, ChrisChat

James and Anne have hit the nails on the heads. Each review site and reviewer wants to be approached in the same manner as you would a publisher...polite and having read their guidelines. The other aspect that's needed when approaching us reviewers...patience.

I know. During the entire editing process you've heard the value of pre-release reviews (great idea), reviews at release or shortly after (strike while everything's hot and new), even (and this is forgotten by most) post-release, long post-release reviews. Hey, your book is still out there even after six months or even three years, reviews are still valid as they bring new eyes and reminders to the audience out there just waiting for something to read.

I started reviewing for a couple of review sites. These sites each did a call out for readers/reviewers because they were inundated with requests. Which brings me to the point that reviewers and review sites with a host of reviewers can receive just as many requests in a day as any publisher. Personally, the most I've received in one day has been over twenty. Lately, it's been an average of five a day.

Now that doesn't sound like much. I should be able to read the information provided and answer quickly. Well, the truth is each reply can take me up to an hour at a time. Take an average day and that's five hours mixed in with being wife, mother, editor, publishing admin duties (answering submissions, assessing submissions, email requests, marketing, etc.), my own writing, and generally everyday life. I'm lucky if I can get one answered a day.

Mixed in all this is the reading of each book. Again, think an average of each book at two hundred pages and say my acceptance reaches five a day...yeah, the thought of all that is enough to put me into a guilt whirlwind. Oh and let's not forget the writing and posting of each review.

Sounds daunting, I know. Frustrating? Oh yeah, from your side and from mine.

Then why bother searching out reviewers? Why not just look to those readers who have bought your book and might leave a review?

Because each review site and full-time reviewer out there has their own following. Their own group of people who have come to trust them. Review sites can offer you something a large online bookstore can't...big fish/small pond exposure. And that exposure can reach across all readers. Think for a moment...if you own a Kobo what store do you go to? A Kindle? A Nook? An iPad or iPod?

So, how do you find that reviewer or review site? Footwork. The same footwork and research you used to find your publisher, you use to find reviewers.

Once there at the reviewer's email...follow their guidelines. Don't send erotic to a middle grade only reviewer or vice-versa. Be clear in all the information you have...working links, blurbs and tags, contact information, publishing information, a jpeg of the book's cover. And yes a free copy of your book in the reviewer's choice of delivery.

Okay, I've dragged this on beyond a simple musing. Think you have the picture.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!

 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at