fiction, historical fiction, Novel

New Release: Red Stiletto Strategy

Today I’m thrilled to have historian and author, Hunter S. Jones who has dropped in to chat about her latest release, Red Stiletto Strategy, and her writing life.

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Welcome! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today and congratulations on your latest release. I can’t wait to read this – I have my copy right here. Now, your book is quite a departure from your usual writing, having taken you to the turbulent  historical period of World War Two. Can you tell us a little about it? Are any of the characters based on real people?

Thanks for asking. Red Stiletto Strategy is a World War II espionage short story based in 1942 London. All the characters are fictional, but the RAF pilot looks like my husband. It’s funny how that can happen every now and then.

Now, this is your first WW2 story. How did you come to write about this historical period?

There was a call for historical fiction short stories by a UK based author’s site. For some reason, when I saw the announcement, the title immediately sprang to mind. Within 24 hours I had written the rough draft. It was as if the story wanted to be told. It’s been one of the most interesting writing adventures I’ve ever had.

That’s so fantastic. It’s amazing how the muse operates at times.

What do you enjoy most and least about writing?

Thank you for asking. I seem to really enjoy research more than writing. Once I find a topic, I want to find what food people ate, how they dressed, what make-up women wore…the list goes on and on.

I know exactly what you mean. The research aspect is fascinating, and it’s so easy to become completely immersed.

What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a panster?

Great question, Suzy! I’m an outliner. Then I research everything. After all that, the story almost writes itself.

What genres do you prefer to read when time allows? Favourite books?

I love actual history books. One year I took a 400+ page on the Plantagenets on vacation. My poor husband just looked at me and said, “Why?” Although, I love a good historical fiction read, and short stories are my guilty pleasure.

When did you begin writing – was it from an early age or did it happen later in life?

It’s been one of those life things. High school and uni papers, a couple of indie alternative rock rags, newspaper and magazine articles along the way. I ruptured my Achilles tendon in a freak accident 5 years ago and was bedridden for a year and a half. That’s when I started writing and playing around on social media full time. You have to make the best of a bad situation, don’t you?

You certainly do, and you truly have. Are you a full-time writer or do you have to fit writing into your home/working life?

I write full time. Actually, I’m a housewife with a very expensive hobby, according to my sweet, very patient husband. 2018 is shaping up nicely though. I have two books being released – one on sexuality in British history, the other on the actress Lillie Langtry. Hopefully, I will make it to London for the release of The British Stripped Bare. Fingers crossed and I’ll let you know. The Langtry story is having a launch party in Manhattan, which is so perfect for her and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

The Atlanta Writer’s Club has asked me to speak at one of their events. I’m stoked about that! And, the Rivendell Writers Colony, which is associated with the University of the South, has invited me to be a Writer In Residence. It’s a super exciting time for my career.

Thank you so much for chatting with us today. I wish you all the very best with the new book and the next release – I’ll look out for that one too.

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Red Stilleto Strategy by Hunter S. Jones(3)

 

Publication Date 12th October 2017

ebook available to Buy Now

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Blurb

Born to an alcoholic, single mother in Texas, Luckie Stratton learns from a young age to keep her distance, avoiding getting close to anyone. She moves to LA as a young film actress, becomes enchanted by a swarthy English gentleman and flies to London in 1940 to join his secret British spy elites. The seductive blonde becomes an undercover assassin.

Armed with her charm, a switchblade and a Derringer, this femme fatale never fails her mission. Disguised as an anxious wife waiting for her British ‘husband’ to return from battle proves to be irresistible bait to Nazi covert operatives.

Tonight, she has a date with destiny.

Her newest lover is revealed as a double agent and she is given a Code Red: Order to Execute. But, the unexpected appearance of a handsome RAF pilot makes her lose her focus…her target…and betray her command.

Knowing the consequences of failure will make you either the hunter or the prey.

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Red Stiletto Strategy Excerpt

London, 1942

Luckie Stratten looked across her right shoulder into the mirror, then reached down and straightened her left stocking until the seam ran up her leg with the precision of a surgical knife. The room was dimly lit, and she checked her purse for the small Derringer pistol and the switchblade stiletto. Scraping the bottom of a lipstick tube, she applied the last of the Regimental Red she had brought from Los Angeles. She slipped her feet into her best heels and clicked off the table lamp. Smoothing her hair, she walked outside the apartment door, looking both ways before locking it.

Tonight, she had a date with destiny.

Dr. Smithers had been her mark for the last few months. Making her way into the misty haze of the London night, Luckie Stratton knew she had a mission to complete. Hamish had sent her a coded message yesterday saying that the German spy—a double agent—would be at the USO where Joey’s band played. She was to kill him by any means necessary. It was a job she had completed successfully many times, and what had earned her the nickname Luckie.

She was born in Red River, Texas; her mother had had a weekend fling with a doughboy she met in Dallas the weekend the First War ended. The boy left, her mother discovered she was pregnant two months later, and eventually moved to L.A. with the little girl. Her mother dreamt of being an actress but only became successful at becoming an alcoholic. Eventually, the young girl took on acting jobs to support her mother and herself. Fortunately for her, she learned early that if you didn’t become too attached to someone, you wouldn’t feel abandoned when they were no longer in your life. By the time she was eighteen, she knew she had a way with men; finding companionship with producers and businessmen was much more lucrative than being a bit player in movies. With her long legs and sultry voice, men were hooked once they met her. When she dyed her hair platinum blonde, the world was hers for the taking.

Then, war broke out in Europe and everything changed.

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Bio

 

Hunter S. Jones is passionate about the history of romance, science and music, a.k.a. sex, drugs and rock & roll. The Pulitzer Prize nominee has a popular history blog and is the author of the best-selling Anne Boleyn story, Phoenix Rising. She is a historian for Past Preservers Casting. When she isn’t writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, she’s living the dream in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband.

To find out more, visit Hunter S. Jones’s website.

You can also connect with her on:

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Book available to buy here

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New Release: The Du Lac Princess

Today I’m thrilled to announce The Du Lac Princess – a fantastic new release by award-winning author, Mary Anne Yarde, available to buy now. For fans of her series, The Du Lac Chronicles, this latest release is certain to be a hit with new and existing fans alike.

Mary Anne Yarde(1)

Blurb

War is coming…

The ink has dried on Amandine’s death warrant. Her crime? She is a du Lac.

All that stands in the way of a grisly death on a pyre is the King of Brittany. However, King Philippe is a fickle friend, and if her death is profitable to him, then she has no doubt that he would light the pyre himself.

Alan, the only man Amandine trusts, has a secret and must make an impossible choice, which could have far-reaching consequences — not only for Amandine, but for the whole of Briton.

Purchase Links:

 Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Extract

“This isn’t a laughing matter,” there was censure in the monk’s words.

“If I don’t laugh then I am going to cry. I have been made to feel like a sinner even though I haven’t sinned, not really. I am a woman without hope and without any friends or family. I have lost everyone I ever loved, and now you tell me that life is going to be difficult. How much more difficult can it get?”

“The Pope has condemned you with Bell, Book and Candle,” Brother Daniel stated. “But that is not all. The Abbot made sure that the Pope was all too aware of your crimes. I am sorry, Amandine, but the Pope will never welcome you back into the Church.”

Amandine gasped, her laughter faded and any colour that was left on her face vanished. “What?” her voice was quiet, barely audible. “But I thought…all the penance. I thought… Tell me it isn’t true.”

“You are damned,” Brother Daniel confirmed. “No one will want you, neither man nor Church. You are completely at the mercy of Philippe. But rest assured, I believe he has every intention of protecting you. I will not lie to you, my dear, you will be shunned, even with the King’s support. The chances of you marrying again are very slim.”

“I wasn’t looking for a new husband,” Amandine said as she tried to make sense of Brother Daniel’s words.

“It also means that you will never be able to leave the protection of the castle. The protection of this room.”

Amandine scoffed with realisation. “I am to be Philippe’s prisoner? Why don’t you just say what you mean?”

“You are not his prisoner, think of it as being his special guest. This is for your own protection. Many would see you hang or worse. I have spoken to the King. Alan will be in charge of your safety from now on. Philippe thought you would find no fault in that, as you and Alan appear to be on good terms. Amandine, you must understand there are many who saw what you did the day Merton died. They saw how you were dressed in his clothes. They saw how you threw yourself at him. How you got down on your knees and begged the King for mercy on Merton’s behalf. They saw how Merton reacted when you were threatened. And those who didn’t will have listened when the Abbot condemned you. You are a fallen woman, a threat to their good Christian souls. Our main concern now is keeping you alive. You must never leave this room. Ever.”

“But I thought—”

“That you were doing penance? So you have said. Did you really think that the Abbot was going to pardon you of all your sins? Oh, Amandine, you are not stupid. He was never going to give you absolution.”

Amandine shook her head, and she began to wring her hands together in despair.

“You must be strong,” Brother Daniel reached across and stilled her hands with his. “And brave. Just like our Lord Jesus was in those darkest of days. Remember, he too was condemned for a crime he did not commit.” He smiled at her and squeezed her hands. “I must leave you now. I shall make sure some food is brought up, but it will be tested before you eat it, so do not fear about being poisoned.”

“Poisoned?” Amandine gasped, she had not even thought of that.

“You need to rest and regain your strength.” Brother Daniel rose to his feet and smiled down at her. “I will be back tomorrow to listen to your confession.”

“If I am damned, then what need do I have to confess?” Amandine asked, staring defiantly back at the monk. “Besides,” she looked away, “I consort with demons. I am evil. I am a sinner. My soul will burn in Hell. I will be damned forever—”

“Ask for mercy, and you will receive it,” Brother Daniel stated, interrupting her.

“I have,” Amandine challenged back, “and look where that has got me.”

 Red Stilleto Strategy by Hunter S. Jones(5)

Author Bio

Mary Anne Yarde is the Award-Winning author of the International Best Selling Series — Mary Anne Yarde Head ShotThe Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Briton and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

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fiction, Novel, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: Red Stiletto Strategy

Today, I’m thrilled to be hosting the cover reveal for the Red Stiletto Strategy, by author & historian, Hunter S. Jones.

 

RRS large

 

Red Stilleto Strategy by Hunter S. Jones(3)

Publication Date 12th October 2017

ebook available to pre-order here

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

Born to an alcoholic, single mother in Texas, Luckie Stratton learns from a young age to keep her distance, avoiding getting close to anyone. She moves to LA as a young film actress, becomes enchanted by a swarthy English gentleman and flies to London in 1940 to join his secret British spy elites. The seductive blonde becomes an undercover assassin.

Armed with her charm, a switchblade and a Derringer, this femme fatale never fails her mission. Disguised as an anxious wife waiting for her British ‘husband’ to return from battle proves to be irresistible bait to Nazi covert operatives.

Tonight, she has a date with destiny.

Her newest lover is revealed as a double agent and she is given a Code Red: Order to Execute. But, the unexpected appearance of a handsome RAF pilot makes her lose her focus…her target…and betray her command.

Knowing the consequences of failure will make you either the hunter or the prey.

 

About the Author

Deb Hunter writes as Hunter S. Jones. She is passionate about the history of romance, DHunter-HeadColorscience and music, a.k.a. sex, drugs and rock & roll. She has a popular history blog, and is the author of the bestselling Anne Boleyn story, Phoenix Rising and is a historian for Past Preservers Casting.

 

When she isn’t writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, she’s living the dream in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband. The WW2 short story, Red Stiletto Strategy, will be released on Amazon later in October. Look for Sexuality and Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare to be launched in March 2018.  It is her first collection of historical essays, and she is delighted to work with the talented team of Emma Haddon-Wright, Annie Whitehead, Jessica Cale, Samantha Wilcoxon, Judith Arnopp, Gayle Hulme, and Dr. Beth Lynne. To find out more, visit Hunter S. Jones’s website.

You can also connect with her on:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Born to an alcoholic, single mother in Texas, Luckie Stratton learns from a young age to keep her distance, avoiding getting close to anyone. She moves to LA as a young film actress and

 

 

fiction, Uncategorized

Interview with Author Samantha Wilcoxson

'God save the Queen! God save our good Queen Mary!'When these words rang out over England, Mary Tudor thought her troubles were over. She could put her painful past - the loss of her mot

Today it’s a pleasure to have historical fiction author, Samantha Wilcoxson with us to chat about her writing life. Her latest novel, Queen Of Martyrs was released on April 12th, 2017, and is the third book in the Plantagenet Embers series. Welcome, Samantha.

How have you found the publishing process so far?

Now that I’ve been through the process a few times, I enjoy taking responsibility for my work from start to finish. Self-publishing offers many challenges in editing, formatting, and design, but it also offers incredible creative freedom. I used to spend days getting things to look just right, but once I came up with a system of formatting from the moment I begin a new project it became much simpler. The independent writing community is extremely supportive, and I have received help and encouragement from more people than I can say.

What inspired you to write this story?

A friend recommended that I write about Queen Mary upon completing Faithful Traitor. I was already gearing up to travel back to the beginning of the Plantagenet dynasty when he pointed out that I had left readers wanting to know more about what happened to that little girl whom Margaret Pole had loved as if she were her own. At first, I dismissed the idea, not having much interest in carrying on into the Tudor dynasty and certain that Mary’s story must have already been told. What I found when I began looking for historical fiction sympathetic to Mary’s point of view was that I was wrong. I quickly became passionate about filling that void.

Can you tell us a little about your novels?

What has become the Plantagenet Embers trilogy, began with a desire to write about one woman, Elizabeth of York. Hers was a story that had gone largely untold despite her proximity to kings, tragedy, and mystery. When she was mentioned, it was often as an inactive bystander to events. I wanted to look at the tumultuous events of the end of the Wars of the Roses and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty more deeply from her personal point of view. By the time I had completed Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen, I knew that I had to carry on with the story of Margaret Pole, a woman overlooked to an even greater extent than her royal cousin. Before I knew it, I was looking at a trilogy of the York remnant rather than a stand-alone novel.

Each of these novels is told from a close third person point of view. Therefore, the reader sees history play out as it would have been seen by the protagonist. I do not jump to a battle scene but wait with Elizabeth as she prays for her husband’s safe return. Margaret is left to wonder what is going on at court and get her news where she can, so the focus of her story is not on Henry VIII’s scandals outside of where they personally impact Margaret. Mary’s story is told the same way, though, in her case, she does become the reigning monarch. Each woman’s personality colors the way they interpret and react to well-known historical events.

Are you a full-time author?

I would have to say sort of. I do not have a job outside of writing, but I do have three children. My working hours are generally limited to when I do not have any of them home or housework to do, but that is another great benefit of a writing career. It easily fits within and around the other demands upon my time. I look forward to truly writing full time in a few years when they are all off to college.

How do you approach your writing and research? Do you plan strategically or do you wait to see where the muse takes you?

As I suspect is true with most authors, I do a little bit of both. I begin with researching the person that I have chosen to write about. Because I live in the US and write about England, that generally means ordering lots of books rather than research trips, though I was blessed enough to take a trip to the UK in 2015. I begin with a detailed timeline of my protagonist’s life, including both personal events, such as marriages and childbirths, and the broader historical events going on around them. Based on these facts, I begin to create personalities and motivations that make sense to me, evolving that timeline into a personal story. In each book, characters have blossomed into more than I thought they might be when I began. Cecily of York is an example of that from my first book. I did not plan to make her a major character or to give her such a spunky personality, but she has ended up a readers’ favorite. The same thing happened when I was able to bring Catherine Gordon, the wife of Perkin Warbeck, into Margaret’s story. I hadn’t previously realized how much their stories intertwined. It is fascinating to see where that stark list of facts can take my characters.

Have you ever been tempted to write in another genre?

I started out writing another genre because I was intimidated by my beloved historical fiction. My first published work is middle-grade inspirational fiction titled No Such Thing as Perfect. I also published a middle-grade historical fiction novel, Over the Deep, before convincing myself that I needed to explore my true passion. I’m so glad I did! There is no place I would rather be lost than in historic England.

Though I do not ever see myself stepping away from writing about history, I am also taking the plunge into nonfiction with a group project coming out this summer from Pen & Sword Books. The British Stripped Bare will be a look at romance throughout the history of Britain, and I am privileged to work on it with a group of wonderful writers. My personal contribution will be a look at the barriers to making a marriage in Tudor England and a few scandalous couples who snuck around them.

What part of the research process is the most enjoyable?

It is a joy to see historical figures come to life centuries after they are gone, even if it is only in my imagination. I love finding little tidbits of information in biographies that make great story elements, such as the fact that Margaret Pole and Catherine Gordon served Princess Mary together or Elizabeth of York’s odd final progress while she was ill and pregnant. A great biography can be just as compelling as historical fiction, and I appreciate the glimpse into the way people thought and lived differently. I especially enjoy exploring the way faith was such an important facet of their lives. This especially comes out in Mary’s story, of course, with her attempt at counter-reformation, but each of these women made many of their important life decisions based on teachings of the church. It is such an entirely different worldview than we hold today, and I find it captivating.

Favourite author?

Like any incurable bibliophile, I have many, but I am also devoted to trying new authors. Sharon Kay Penman is probably the greatest inspiration for my writing. My style is my own, but her dedication to extensive research and giving life to those long dead is a philosophy I have attempted to emulate. I also adore the writing of CJ Sansom. His Matthew Shardlake has to be my most beloved fictional character. When he is hurt or disappointed, my heart aches. Toni Mount’s new Seb Foxley series greatly reminds me of Shardlake, so I have a growing attachment to her books as well.

Of course, every writer also has their favorite classic authors. Mine is Charlotte Bronte. Villette is a book that spoke directly to my soul, and I love the eloquent use of descriptive language in each of the Brontes’ novels. They have a way of writing about matters of the heart that make the reader say, ‘Yes! That’s just how it feels!’ Edith Wharton is another favorite. I love the slow build and inevitable heartbreak.

Favourite quote?

That’s a tough one! I would have to say Hebrews 10:24. ‘Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.’

Favourite movie?

I’m not much of a movie fan, though I have a soft spot for Star Wars. I prefer period dramas, such as Downton Abbey, The Borgias, Victoria, John Adams, North and South, The Crown, and even the questionably accurate The Tudors.

*****

Bio91g5WEFpLjL._UX250_

Samantha Wilcoxson is an American writer and history enthusiast. She has written three novels and works as a freelance writer. Living with her husband on a small lake in Michigan with three kids, two cats, and two dogs, Samantha has plenty of writing inspiration.

‘Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen’ has been named an Editors’ Choice by the Historical Novel Society. This most recent of Wilcoxson’s novels has been long-listed for the 2016 HNS Indie Award.

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