Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Welcome to Historical Author - Jean Moran

I’m delighted to welcome Jean Moran to my blog.

Hello Jean, I’m so thrilled to have you as a guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat today. Over the years, we’ve met on many occasions and shared countless laughs (and a drink or two) with fellow members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association - BathWiltsChapter at our local watering hole in Lacock. The hilarious stories you’ve told of the ups and downs of being an author have had us practically rolling on the pub floor in stitches. But before we discover more about your latest release, Tears of the Dragon, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: How did you manage to get your first novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Jean: I studied the markets and happened on an opening with Virgin. It resulted in me obtaining a publishing contract just fourteen months after I started writing. I went on to write twelve in that particular genre.

Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beachfront to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Jean: The woods or clothes, though I will let you into a secret – I buy most of my clothes in charity shops or on ebay – secondhand. I’ve had some great bargains – Phase Eight dresses and jumpers for around £8, ditto Ted Baker, Betty Barclay and All Saints. I look to look good but at a reasonable price.
I spent too much time on the sea living on a sailing yacht, so that’s well and truly out of my system. I prefer the quiet of a forest – notably Tintern Forest where I used to live and take walks with my dog. Fabulous views and full of red deer.

Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, Tears of the Dragon?
Jean: I’d had enough of writing about WW2 Home Front. I wanted to expand the genre into historical epic and depict my characters against the momentous happenings in both the military and political arena. One of my favourite books was King Rat by James Clavell, also Shogun. I was interested in the Far East. I had written touched on the fall of Singapore in previous books that I wrote both as Lizzie Lane and Erica Brown, but so too had a lot of other authors.
I can’t recall anyone writing about the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas Day in 1941 and I got interested. Along the way I became interested in Kowloon Walled City, a Chinese enclave in the midst of a British Crown Colony. Doctor Rowena Rossiter, my main character, is imprisoned there for a while and it’s oddly comfortable compared with the prison camp she ends up in – and funded by opium.

Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Jean: Anywhere except when travelling. I get travel sick reading except on an aircraft.

Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Jean: Whenever I feel a need. I don’t need any essentials. I’ve been told I’m a natural born storyteller. As long as I’ve got a scrap of paper, the stub of a pencil and an idea, then I’m away.

Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Jean: Nobody. If you’re any good you work your way through. I’m experienced enough (over fifty books published) to know that a better idea will come along if I just let it simmer.

Arabella: The T.V. is on and you’re in control of the remote. Which is it to be: A quiz programme…An afternoon of sport…A family soap…A romantic film you always wanted to see but missed when it was shown at the cinema?
Jean: Might do a quiz, never watch a soap, do watch cricket, but rarely watch or read romance – which might be something of a surprise. Unless the film is Casablanca which I’ve seen many times. Other than that, no romance please. Give me a thriller or a war film.

Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” authors starting out on their writing journey?
Jean: Get a job in Tesco – it’s less work!   Seriously, understand that your reader becomes your lead character when they’re reading. Tell the story and always keep on board that your main character takes the story forward not a load of cleverly crafted prose. You’re the storyteller, the descendent of those who sat round the fire in Neolithic times and told stories verbally. If you can tell a good story across a pub table, you’ve got the makings of a writer.

Thank you so much for sharing some of your writing secrets with your readers, Jean. I’m sure, like me, they were amazed you never watch or read romance stories. I’m now wondering where you get your inspiration from so you can write such blockbusting bestsellers!
Best wishes and good luck with Tears of the Dragon.
Arabella Sheen


Best-selling author of over fifty novels mainly concentrating on World War Two. Winner of BBC New Writers Award.
Once keen on breeding and showing dogs, now keen on sailing around in warm climes, writing books and sampling Italian wine.
FAVOURITE QUOTE  --  I'm the right weight for eight feet tall.

A sweeping, exotic historical saga for fans of Dinah Jefferies.

One sultry evening in Kowloon, Dr Rowena Rossiter and Sister Alice Huntley are off-duty and in search of fun – little knowing that their world is on the brink of collapse.

That night, Rowena will meet two men who will fight for her heart for the next four years. Connor O'Connor, the rebellious Irish soldier, who will woo and then lose her, and Kim Pheloung. Immensely rich and the most beautiful man Rowena has ever seen, he is also the most ruthless, with a sinister need possess and control.

When the Japanese invasion leaves this previously strong and independent woman raped and broken, who will succeed in claiming Rowena's body and soul? And will she ever learn to love the child born of that terrible Christmas Day?


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Welcome to Romance Author - Sherry Gloag

I’m delighted to welcome Sherry Gloag to my blog. 

Hello Sherry. It’s lovely to have you join us. But before we get to hear about your latest release, Queen of Diamonds, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Sherry: Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Arabella, it’s a pleasure to be here today. I write romance. The wonderful thing about writing romances is that within that single genre there are so many more genres an author can choose from. I write contemporary romance, Regency romance and light paranormal romance. I also like to add a twist of mystery, history and intrigue to my stories so within the three genres mentioned I expand into sub-genres too.
Arabella: Are there any organisations, writing, or reader groups, you belong to? And, how do they support or help you in creating such wonderful, inspirational novels?
Sherry: The RNA ~ The Romantic Novelists’ Association. There are regular meetings and conferences (which due to family health issues I’m unable to attend) members who do attend share info and photos in groups online. The support and friendships are phenomenal.
Facebook has its problems, but again it offers you the chance to join so many groups of like-minded people who share their experiences, good and bad, and I learn so much from them. I could go on but... 

Arabella: Where do you read? Sofa or bed or ____?
Sherry: Pretty much anywhere, except the sofa!  The garden in good weather, my workshop when it is cold but sunny, my bed in the evening are just a few places when at home. If I’m out, like waiting for an appt, I’ll take a book with me.

Arabella: In your latest release, Queen of Diamonds, who is your favourite character and why?
Sherry: Queen of Diamonds is a short, short novella that originally released in a valentine’s anthology many years ago. I did an extensive re-write and had it professionally edited when the rights were returned at the start of this year. It released this March.
I have a soft spot for my hero, Culley. He is so not ready for love when it strikes, and yet after he’s had time to convince himself love at first sight exists, he sets about reeling Sybil in.

Arabella: When writing a novel, how do you work? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Sherry: I am a pantser, in as much I have no idea how the story is going to develop, but over time have found that if I add a brief précis at the end of each chapter to read through before working on the next one and then using the ‘who,’ ‘where’ and ‘when’ brigade I have a rough idea of which direction the next scene is going to take.

Arabella: Which would you prefer to do: 1) spend a morning vigorously working out at the gym, 2) be pampered from head to toe at the spa and beauty salon, 3) indulge and pile on the pounds with a romantic dinner for two?
Sherry: The idea of being pampered is too beguiling to be ignored :-)

Arabella: Which do you prefer to wear: beach shorts and top, a long evening skirt and blouse, pyjamas and slippers?
Sherry: In the context of this question it would have to be ‘beach shorts and top.’ Fortunately for me, I live quite close to the sea with many lovely sandy beaches to choose from locally and further along the coast.

Arabella: We all have a long list of books we keep meaning to read but never have the time for --- which book is a must read for you this summer?
Sherry: The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer to be followed by her most recent release The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows

Arabella: What about your future plans? Any books or series in the making?
Sherry: So far 2019 has been the year of book-rights returned. Four to date, including The Respectable Charades, which was included in last year’s Christmas Regency anthology Nine Ladies Dancing. I spent several months working on extensive re-writes and having it professionally edited again. I also had fun creating the book cover. I hope to release The Respectable Charades shortly. I am also working on the other *returned* books, plus another, new, Regency romance for this year’s ‘Ladies Dancing’ anthology.

Thank you for being a guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Sherry. I’m sure your readers will be delighted to know you are revamping, editing, and republishing some of your novels for them to read and enjoy.
Best wishes and happy romance writing…
Arabella Sheen

About Sherry Gloag:
Best-selling author Sherry Gloag now lives in the beautiful East Anglian countryside in the UK. She spent her childhood in Scotland before moving to the Midlands of England.

After cutting her writing teeth with contemporary romance, Sherry tried her hand at light paranormal. Her next adventure, writing Regency stories, produced her best-selling novel, Vidal's Honor.

When she's not writing, Sherry enjoys walking gardening and her crystal craft work. “It's bit like writing :-) When you're in the 'zone' everything just flows. It's a great feeling.”

Social Media Links:

Blurb - Queen of Diamonds:

After four months of denying his feelings for Sybil Diamond, Culley Maccailin enlists her brother help to set up a poker game between them. He knows Sybil learned the game from her professional poker-playing father, and is just as good.
If he loses, he’ll fold. If he wins… The sky’s the limit.
As far as Sybil is concerned, love sucks. She’s been burned once and isn’t interested in a repeat performance. When her brother sets her up – again – she’ surprised to learn it’s against Cully Maccailin, the only man who’s stirred her heart since her ex-fiance walked out on her.
Let the game begin.

Buy Link:  Queen of Diamonds


Blurb - The Respectable Charades:
When Jenny discovers her fiancé’s body in his library both families blame her for his death. As they scramble to save their reputations in society, no one could have predicted the consequences.
Faced with homelessness or banishment to a country estate, Jenny accepts banishment despite the conditions attached.
Will the facts surrounding her fiancé’s death be exposed? And what will it take to unmask the truth?

Soon to be released… 
Sherry will keep you posted via:

Friday, 19 July 2019

Temporary Bride by Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 6

Temporary Bride
Arabella Sheen

Max Jordan is one of America’s most powerful, leading corporate lawyers. He is also the major stockholder and head of the billion-dollar corporation - Jordan Diamond Empire.
Max must marry soon to keep the business safe and the company secure from a takeover.
Returning to England in search of the only woman he knows and trusts to help him in his moment of need - he tracks Amy down and asks her to marry him.

Amy Denver wants nothing to do with Max Jordan…and she certainly wants nothing to do with his marriage proposal. Five painful years have passed since Max disappeared from her life and a lot has happened to her in between. Amy has a secret she’d rather he didn’t discover…her secret is Jake…their son. Once again Amy finds herself surrendering to Max and his demands as he whisks her and Jake off to Waterfront, his private, secluded home in the Hamptons.

Excerpt  6 continued...

It all happened five years ago when Amy had been training as a law student at the university. Her parents had died in a head-on collision with another car and, although the accident had been no one’s fault, Amy had been left devastated by their deaths.
Fellow students had become her family. They had supported and pulled her through the rough times. And then Max had come into her life.
They met one afternoon in the law office where she’d been working as a work placement student. Max was a practising lawyer in America at the time, but he had come to England to gain experience in International Commercial Law before returning to his practice in New York.
The ever-so organised Max had his career mapped out before him. Working in England in a specialist field was an opportunity that was supposed to be going to make or break his career.
Nothing and no one was going to stop him on his pathway to success. He was focussed and career-minded, and then along came Amy.
Amy had never been quite sure about Max’s family life or what he did when he was in America, but his family history hadn’t mattered and she’d never really pushed for details.
But perhaps she should have.
She’d been in love with him. Totally. And who he was or where he came from seemed unimportant to her then.
Max used to say his nomadic career style and moving from country to country was an invaluable life experience. What she hadn’t realised was that she too was part of that nomadic learning curve.
It seemed their relationship had been temporary and Max, for whatever reason, had eventually chosen to move on with his life.
They’d had one brief, glorious, hot summer together and then she’d had nothing. He had utterly seduced her and she had been willingly his for the taking. And Max had taken all that she’d offered, leaving her with only the memories.
For six red-hot, steamy, passionate months they had lived together in her compact, one-bedroom apartment not far from the university.
Together they would come home from a long, hard day’s work at the office and it would be an even longer, harder night in bed until the early hours of the morning,
At night they would fall asleep, sweaty and exhausted in each other’s arms until she was woken in the dawn’s early light by his urgent need of her. They couldn’t get enough of one another and their bodies craved fulfilment from one another, like a drug.
He had used her but not unkindly. And when she looked back on their time together she realised she had only herself to blame.
She had been full of innocence and she had been trusting. Her naivety hadn’t been his fault . . . only hers.
When Max’s time in England was at an end he had asked her to go back with him to America, but she couldn’t. The time wasn’t right. She had a law degree to finish.
Amy had been studying for nearly five years and they both thought it would be stupid to throw it all away for the sake of a few months.
He’d said she could always join him later - after her exams were over - but it hadn’t worked out that way.
She had been so sure of his love that as soon as she had finished her exams, she caught the first available flight to America and had flown there with the intention of living with him.
It was to have been a surprise, but the only person who had been surprised was Amy.
Flying into New York International Airport at two in the morning she had been jet-lagged, tired and wanting nothing more than the open arms of Max. Only she couldn’t fall into his waiting arm. He wasn’t there and no one seemed to know where he was.
The night watchman in the apartment complex where he was staying let her in, but only as far as the lobby. She had never been in such a place before. There was marble from floor to ceiling and everything that was chrome or crystal gleamed.
“I’m here to see Max Jordan,” she explained to the night watchman.
“Mr Jordan? Is he expecting you Miss?” he asked politely.
“No, he isn’t. I’m afraid I’ve only just landed,” Amy explained. 
The security guard looked questioningly at the flight bag she was carrying and the off-the-peg jeans she was wearing. Her luggage and clothing weren’t designer labelled and it was obvious to her that anyone entering these portals would usually have ‘chic’ written all over them. She didn’t. She was wearing her comfortable travelling gear.
“If you could buzz him, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind seeing me,” she said bravely and pointed to the elaborate intercom system.
“Buzz him? I’m sorry Miss. There would be no point in buzzing Mr Jordan. The gentleman’s not here,” he explained apologetically.
“Could you say when he’s likely to be home?” she asked.
“Don’t know Miss. It could be tomorrow . . . could be in a couple of months. Last week he packed a bag and the limo took him to the airport. He didn’t say when he’d be back Miss. If you’d like to leave a note I can see that it gets left with his mail. But I can’t say when or even if he’ll get it, Miss. The Jordans have closed the New York apartment until further notice.”
Amy was feeling totally alienated and out of her depth. To make it worse, when she made enquiries at the place where Max was supposed to be working, she was told there had been a family emergency and that he couldn’t be contacted.
That was probably the reason he hadn’t been answering his mobile phone.
 She was faced with the fact Max wasn’t here and no one was prepared to say when, or even if, he was coming back to New York.
Without a green card, she couldn’t get work and although she had sat her law exams, the exam results weren’t out and she had no proof of her qualifications.
Any money she had with her would soon run out and she couldn’t rely on Max returning in the near future.
With no qualifications, no work and nowhere to stay, she had no other option than to return to England.
Reluctantly she caught the next flight home intending to wait for Max to contact her.
He didn’t.
He never wrote, he never phoned, and for several weeks there was only silence.
Amy eventually stopped waiting. She had to get on with her life. She had to start living again.
She had to make plans and build a future for herself…and her unborn baby.

Disclaimer, Copyrights and Publishing
Any names or characters have no existence outside the imagination of the
 author or are used fictitiously and actual events are purely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, copied,
stored in a retrieval system known or hereinafter invented, without
 written permission of the publisher.

Copyright © 2013 by – Arabella Sheen
Published by priceplacebooks 
All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-0-9575698-0-5

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Welcome to Historical Author - Merryn Allingham

I’m delighted to welcome Merryn Allingham to my blog.

Hello Merryn, Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat.
Like you, I’m a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association and it’s been through the RNA that I’ve been able to connect with so many wonderful writers. It’s marvellous how everyone shares experiences - both good and bad – that they have faced on their writing journey. I'm looking forward to reading some of the gems of writing knowledge you're willing to reveal.
But before we discover more about your latest release, The Venice Atonement, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: Authors can release books, making them available to readers in various ways…via an agent, or working directly with a traditional publisher, or they can even go the self-publishing route. Which method of publishing do you prefer, and why?
Merryn: I’ve worked with traditional publishers - a large corporation like HarperCollins, and a smaller, independent such as my present publisher, Canelo. I’ve also published through agents (two, in fact) and self-published some of my back titles. Each method throws up positives and things that aren’t so positive. It’s helpful to have the marketing might of a large company, for instance, great to have editorial, copy editing etc and a super cover provided for you (Canelo are brilliant). On the other hand, I get a real kick out of choosing my own design and having control over things like titles, publication date and price.

Arabella: A slice of Chocolate Cake, a piece of Fruit, or Burger and Fries?
Merryn: Definitely not burger and fries, but I’m anguished over the chocolate or fruit. I love both, though probably chocolate - hmm…

Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, The Venice Atonement
Merryn: I’ve wanted to write a crime novel for a long time, I love art and I love Venice - and this story seemed a perfect place to start. I found changing genre a little daunting  (though there’s still plenty of relationship ‘stuff’ in the book) but I really enjoyed the plotting. And, of course, bringing Venice to life on the page.

Arabella: Currently, what is your most favourite T.V. programme, and why?
Merryn: One of my favourites has just finished - Line of Duty. I’ve loved this programme, though I felt the last series was probably the least successful, but still great television. The Handmaid’s Tale has now taken over Sunday evening!

Arabella: If the person of your dreams, (husband/wife/partner/or superstar), were to take you out for the night, where would they take you and what would you do?
Merryn: It would depend on the weather, but if we’re in an ideal world, I’d go for drifting down a gentle river - on a punt, I think - with a bowl of cherries to eat and a glass of champagne in my hand!

Arabella: When writing a book or chapter, which do you concentrate on first: plot, character, or setting?
Merryn: It’s always setting, I’ve come to realise - my books have visited India, London, Constantinople, rural Sussex and now Venice. It’s a specific place at a particular time that suggests an idea, then in come the characters who might have lived or visited there, and finally the problems/conflicts they face. Together they bring the book alive.

The Venice Atonement is set in 1955 when Italy is still recovering from the effects of the Second World War - there’s a lot of poverty in the city but also a few grandees who have made a great deal of money. Venice is still small and provincial with local shops and services and plenty of gossip - not the destination for a dozen cruise ships as it is today. And the 1950s is also the period when women felt the full pressure to ‘get back to the kitchen’ after their wartime efforts. My heroine, Nancy, is a feisty woman, so plenty of scope there for conflict, even when she’s not solving crimes!

Arabella: How do you research your novels and characters?
Merryn: Usually, I spend some weeks reading around the place and period I’m interested in and do more specific research when a point comes up in the text that I’m unsure of. But the Venice book was different; when I began researching, I found little to go on. There was an enormous trove of books on its splendid history -  in the Middle Ages it was an immensely wealthy city trading between East and West - but with the 1950s I drew a blank. I was forced to move on to the 1960s and to travel writers who had fallen in love with the place, plus I was lucky enough to talk in depth to a young woman whose grandmother had lived in Venice during those years. She recalled a very different city to today’s. Everything her grandmother had needed, she said, was on the old lady’s doorstep, the nearby campo or square providing bread, groceries, a vegetable market, newspapers and, of course, a church. Later on, I unearthed an old black and white film, amateurish by modern standards, but brilliant at catching the period my informant had described - the peace, the sense of a community and the simple, humdrum pleasures of life.

Arabella: What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their writing journey?
Merryn: Relax and let the words flow. Some you’ll want to lose, some will be okay and a few will be nuggets of gold.
Finding your voice is probably the most important thing you can do as a writer. Your background, personality, reading, all play a part and make your voice unique.
Be disciplined and write as regularly as you can. Be patient, too – getting where you want can take time.

Thank you for sharing some of your writing secrets with us, Merryn. And the outing on the river, drifting with the flow of the water sounds so idyllic that I might even join you.
Best wishes
Arabella Sheen


Merryn writes historical romantic suspense and timeslip, and now historical crime.

Merryn Allingham was born into an army family and spent her childhood moving around the UK and abroad. Unsurprisingly it gave her itchy feet and in her twenties she escaped from an unloved secretarial career to work as cabin crew and see the world.
Merryn  still loves to travel and visit new places, especially those with an interesting history, but the arrival of marriage, children and cats meant a more settled life in the south of England, where she has lived ever since. It also gave her the opportunity to go back to 'school' and eventually teach at university.
She has written seven historical novels, all mysteries with a helping of suspense and a dash of romance - sometimes set in exotic locations and often against a background of stirring world events. This year, she’s turned to crime!

Social media links:
Twitter: @MerrynWrites

BLURB  -  The Venice Atonement

A tragic accident at the opera – or the murder of someone keeping dangerous secrets?
While watching the opera at La Fenice, Nancy Tremayne is shocked to see a woman fall to her death. But how did this tragedy occur?
Newlywed Nancy is accompanying her art professor husband, Leo, on a work trip. As she explores Italy’s beautiful city on the water, she feels increasingly compelled to uncover the mysterious circumstances surrounding the woman’s death. Leo is adamant it was an accident but his assistant, Archie, reluctantly helps Nancy despite his seeming coldness to her. Nancy’s determination to reveal the facts puts her in harm’s way more than once. As she learns more about Venice’s secrets, she realises she may be forced to make a choice – the truth, or her life?


FLEETING ENCOUNTERS: Lady Francesca - Arabella Sheen - Excerpt One

   Fleeting Encounters: Lady Francesca     Arabella Sheen Fleeting Encounters Series … offers erotic bedtime reading Dare Lady...