Crystal Chaos

In 2012, I came up with a series idea after falling in love with paranormal romance authors, like Lizzy Ford, Amy Barton, Kira Saito, Christie Rich, and Kiersten Fay. But I was shit at writing (or so I felt), so I stopped, shelved it, and started doing book reviews for my blog instead. This led to beta reading, which led to editing, which led right back around to writing once I’d figured out the best structure and techniques for my stories.

In 2016, I finished my first manuscript, which I have yet to edit, then moved on to short stories, and my Tinker Bell retelling—a work in progress still.

But my original story was nagging me this past month, and something clicked—an idea, a piece of the missing puzzle. I ended up writing book one within about a week. (I know, I’m still amazed too). I have a clear heading and am totally invested because, afterall, this was my first love; my first characters; my first fantasy world. So, I’m taking a step back from Tinker Bell, and focusing on Crystal Chaos—the title took forever to come up with—in my Veiled Fates series.

Currently, I’m writing book two, while cps/betas are reading book one and giving me feedback. I can’t wait to share this one with the world!

(Aesthetics created with images from Pinterest and Unsplash)

STAY TUNED FOR COVER REVEAL!

BOOK TWO Aesthetics can be found in my pinned twitter thread. 💀🥀

Author Jesse Stuart: Interview & Book Release!

I’m honored to have interviewed Jesse Stuart, author of Victorian Mistress, Nine Shillings, and her soon-to-be released Rum Cove. Thank you, Jesse, for taking the time to answer my questions and for sharing Lot’s epic tale with us! It will be a favorite of mine for years to come.


Victorian Mistress 7[1761].png

VICTORIAN MISTRESS

PAPERBACK NOW AVAILABLE!

UK & US

Summary via Amazon

Lot Maguire gets you right in the heart.

Charlotte ‘Lot’ Maguire is a thief on the streets of Victorian London until she meets Brandon O’Connor and spies a route to an easier, well paid, life. Except Lot isn’t made for the life of a Victorian lady and can’t resist the lure of trouble. With corrupt business men in the drawing rooms, vampires in the gentlemen’s clubs, and her old associates in the alleys she doesn’t have to look far to find it.

In retrospect, maybe ‘easier’ was the wrong word.

Contains bonus story, First Meetings, revealing how Lot and Bran met.

Content Warning: Victorian Mistress features: sexual content, violence, and references to physical and emotional abuse.

The bonus story, First Meetings, features: violence, sexual content, including bondage, and one instance of on page of self-harm.


Interview with Jesse Stuart

 

Who is the easiest character to write and who is the hardest?

I would say Lot is the easiest because I write the most in her voice but I’m not sure I would call any of my characters hard to write. They’re difficult to begin with because I tend to write into a character, I start off not knowing much, sometimes nothing, and figure it out as I go. It tends to work well for me but, perhaps, blurs the line between easiest and hardest.

 

Do you have a favorite?

I love most of my characters for different reasons. I love writing the dynamics between Lot, Bran, and Josef. Writing the kids is fun too because I love trying to write them as kids rather than little adults. Then there’s finding all the quirks of the side characters and the different ways they interact.

It’s an adventure getting to know them.

 

Sometimes characters take over the plot and surprise even their authors. What’s surprised you most about your main character (or choice character here) you’ve created?

Lot’s compassion surprised me. In very early versions I imagined her as a much colder manipulative character, although she had the same humour. In the finished version she’s still a manipulator and morally grey but she has this desire to protect that forms a clear line in the sand for her I didn’t find until I started writing.

 

You edit your own work, which is amazing! How long does it take to perfect each chapter?

It varies from chapter to chapter. I have some which in the serialised version had less than 10 edits. Then there was one chapter that had 30. It was a scene where finding the right emotional balance proved tricky but it was very important to get it right.

How did you learn self-editing?

Part of it was studying at university and working with different writers and seeing how they reacted to my work.

Most of it was practice and self-study. I’ve written all sorts of different forms and genres which all require different skills. Radio is great for developing dialogue because everything is dependent on sound. Film and stage for the visual elements.

Instead of reading ‘how to’ writing books I read literary theory and criticism which look at the mechanics of how fiction works and why it works in a completely different way. I also read books not only looking at how novels worked but how screenplays, radio plays, and poetry work. Each one gave me a slightly different perspective on my novel writing.

I also went in what, in my experience, is a different direction to other writers. Instead of beginning in long form I started in shorts. Short stories are great practice for self-editing because you have to get the maximum amount of story in the minimum amount of words. My average story was about 1,000 to 1,500 words, the average length of a Nine Shillings chapter.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

Oddly a lot of them come to me when I need them or, in a few cases, I needed a name mentioned but the character didn’t appear until later so I didn’t know exactly who they would be when they got their name.

There is an inherent problem with serialising by the seat of your pants that you don’t always know a character until you meet them and sometimes you don’t realise things about them until later which makes picking names based on who they are tricky. Then there’s issues around characters who don’t want to stand out because they’re immortal so I have to try not to reuse common surnames.

Having said that, there is a gag in the second book about how common the name John was in Victorian Britain so there’s big John, little John, and Johnny. I’ve used the Victorian fashion for giving children names with the same first letter too, which is how Millie, Merry, and Mary got their names. Things always get interesting when they all appear in the same scene.

 

What did you edit out of VM or Shillings?

There was definitely some sex edited out of Nine Shillings, it was little too graphic to match the rest of the scenes but bits of it was reused. I save all the versions of my chapters in separate files so I can reuse things later. The odds are if something was cut out it will reappear where it fits better.

At the other end of the spectrum the new edition of Victorian Mistress had some sex added because after writing on page sex in Nine Shillings the closed door seemed odd.

I can’t remember exactly what I edited out of either of them and didn’t reuse but there’s a lot of material waiting to see the light of day. By the time I finished the Wattpad/blog version of Nine Shillings I had 151 draft chapters saved but the book is 74 chapters in total.

 

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I read some the Mystery Man books by Colin Bateman and I found his use of first-person/subjective narration interesting because his narrator is an amateur detective who gets it wrong. Usually when we have a narrator investigating, or any main character, when they get to the end everyone else is wrong and they’re right. It made me think about how subjective the narrator’s perspective can be.

I’ve incorporated that subjectivity into Lot’s perspective. In Victorian Mistress Lot thinks part of the River Thames is classed as the sea and later on argues with Josef about this. The truth is that it’s not but young Lot based this assumption on her perception of the docks and the beach like river banks. It’s not a fact, it’s her subjective opinion based on her perception and experience which informs what she tells the readers.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

A lot of Victorian Mistress and Nine Shillings are based on narrative sleight of hand so there’s possibly a few things readers might only pick up on with multiple readings. There’s also a lot of Lot, Bran, and Josef’s pasts that’s hinted at rather than explicitly stated.

I also know my version of their history which isn’t always the same as readers’ so it’s always interesting to see how they interpret the stories based on the clues.

 

What was the hardest scene to write in either VM or Shillings, or both?

The hardest was probably the ending of Victorian Mistress. It was a tricky balance of what to reveal and what not. I won’t say anymore so I don’t give spoilers but I think the reasons why are clear when readers get there.


SEE H.A.LYNN’S FIVE STAR REVIEW OF VM!
“Lot is everything you wish you were, and everything you beg for from a female character”


You can find Jesse Stuart on Twitter, WordPress, Wattpad, Redbubble.

Love Victorian Mistress?

Sink you teeth into Book Two!

Nine Shillings 31[1762]


BOOK THREE

COMING SOON TO WATTPAD!

Dk-WbJOWwAAELox

THE AEON CHRONICLES by April M. Woodard

51YNTM6yfjL._SY346_

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary via Amazon: SOULMATES ARE DESTINED TO DIE BUT THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

Darkness descends upon the Infinite Realm as Aalok prepares to wage war with his creator. A plan of redemption has been set forth, but first, heaven and Earth must be destroyed. Sophie is ready to face death if it means saving her brethren. But when she learns that her suitor, Serus has been exiled, she begins to question her new life without him. That is until, she meets her Guardian, Alexander. The Aeon is shifting into oblivion and Sophie has but a short time to decide. Will she choose her love or die to live again?


My Review: The best speculative romance of the ‘fallen’ angel and creation story I’ve read in a long time! Woodard captured my heart with light and dark, intriguing characters, who must choose between their faith and loyalty to their King or exile from their heaven.

My emotions were all over the place with the multi-POV, which was brilliant. Something shifty about Serus made me wary of him from the start, but I love his passion for Sophie, his need to do whatever it takes to win her over. I immediately fell head-over-heels for Alexander, the patient, strong Guardian. Sophie is irritatingly relatable, fickle and faithful rolled up into a confused little mess. I yelled at the book a few times due to her deals with devils and making choices she was warned against. The ending had me fan-girling hard over the inevitable ‘goodbye’ the reader will expect and dread the entire length of the book.

I read this book for my own enjoyment and look forward to discovering what happens now. Will Sophie and Alexander find each other? What will Serus do after a desperate move to make Sophie his again? I’m itching for the next book and have already recommended it those who may enjoy it (including my mother)! Bravo, April! Thank you for sharing your story with me and thank you for signing my copy!

Get your own signed copy of this beautiful book here: http://aprilmwoodard.com/

Author Stefanie Simpson

I was never one for romance. I avoided it for a long time, finding most books sappy, boring, with the same characters, redundant situations, overused troupes, nothing really original, total eye-roll. I didn’t care much for erotica because, I guess, none of the authors I followed did it right. I especially avoided best-sellers… Still do, because why certain books made top charts I’ll never know. But, Simpson’s stories are another level of uniqueness; they’ll enchant you and draw you in so deep you can’t stop reading or take a breath until you finish all the books! You care about her characters, you love them, you are them.

My obsession started with Not Going Anywhere, a New City Short Story. I heart Poppy most… I think (shh don’t tell Effie!). From there, I read all the shorts, as well as finishing the New City books 1-3 and reviewing them here, Amazon, and Goodreads. I’m now on to finishing Demon Beauty, her Beauty and the Beast retelling you can find here on Amazon.

You can find Stefanie Simpson’s works on Amazon or Wattpad!
Connect with Simpson on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And, make sure to check out her Sweary and Cute shit because, well, it’s the tits. She’s created a redbubble with a few sweary cuties here too! Head over to her website for more, and her Short and Dirty site for more shorts!

 

 

 

Saving Suzy by Stefanie Simpson

516TpUXZ2JL
New City Series Book 3

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary via Amazon: 

“Suzy Martin doesn’t need fixing. She doesn’t want a relationship, and she’s happy with who she is. Estranged from her family with a difficult past, she lives two lives: work Suzy, and Domme. What she does need is a man who’ll let her take control and who shares her sexual desires. Easier said than done. When she meets Nathan Maxwell, her temporary boss, she thinks she’s found the perfect short-term fling.

Submitting to a woman never occurred to the young widower, but Suzy takes Nathan on a journey of self-discovery of his sexuality and helps him move on from his grief. She is everything he never knew he wanted and is willing to change his life for her. It’s a shame the buttoned-up vixen that drives him wild won’t even listen.

Nathan’s only in Chadford for a few months before he moves on, and as much as he wants more from Suzy, she can’t give it to him, can she?

New City Series books are in UK English and are all stand-alone novels set in the fictional city of Chadford, a place people go for a fresh start in life.

Saving Suzy has been extensively rewritten from the first edition.


WARNING: Saving Suzy contains strong language, adult themes, and explicit sexual content from the start including BDSM, restraints, punishment, and anal.
Contains references to an abusive relationship, hospital stay, infertility, and death.”


My Review: Dominant leading lady! Submitting to a woman never occurred to Nathan, and I was pleasantly surprised how sweet and steamy these two characters are. Nathan’s backstory is heartbreaking. Suzy’s is infuriating. And, trying to get them both to work through their past and come together was a couple is frustratingly entertaining.

As always, Simpson’s characters are well developed. I love how each of her stories intertwines with the others, allowing you to meet all the characters and see how they fit together as well as separately in the New City world. I can’t put down her romances, be it this series, or her freebies on Wattpad. I’m now a romance reader thanks to Stef! Thanks for sharing this series with me! I highly recommend it.

I read this book for my own enjoyment. See my review of A Good Night’s Sleep and The Way Home by Stefanie Simpson.