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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A DISH OF STONES ~ the movie!

I've had some brilliant comments about my YouTube trailer which I'm thrilled about as I created it myself. Hopefully it gives everyone a flavour of what A DISH OF STONES is about, and up to now the novel has received some great reviews, not least because of the very haunting cover, designed by Tim Pryor of Pryority Designs.

People have asked me if the story is based on my own life.  I suppose writers draw from their experiences all the time; it's impossible not to colour our writing with events of the past, no matter how long ago they were.  There are some moments in A DISH OF STONES that are personal; some that made me happy and some that made me sad, perhaps some experiences that changed my life, but although Angie, Kate's mother in 'A Dish of Stones', abuses alcohol when Joe, Kate's father disappears, I can assure you my mum would get squiffy on one sherry. The two sherries she allowed herself on Christmas Day usually resulted in lots of laughter because she was so funny, so she and Angie have nothing in common.

Each of the characters has something about them that I remember from being a teenager in '70s London. I had many new experiences during that time...we were all caught up in the excitement that seemed to accompany every day.  Anything was possible and I had a wonderful time working in the West End, first in a bank on Oxford Circus and then for a government-backed fashion export company.  (I was secretary, client greeter and catwalk model.  Such fun, and so many interesting people.  I even met John Lennon!)  It was a very unique time, and although people constantly talk about the 60s (which I also remember) the years of the 70s were brilliant.

Glam rock was fantastic, as were the clothes and the laid-back culture of the day which made those years so full of fun and without the 60s angst of trying to be cool. We were unconscious of how we were meant to be.  No one thought about it.  We were who we were, and there was a definite shift to being totally independent and out in the world. We were determined to have fun and we did.  And I'll never forget it.

Unfortunately for seventeen-year-old  Kate in  A DISH OF STONES, life is not like that. Her story does document some of my own experiences, but her life is vastly different to how mine was then.  I hope you will read about her and how she fought her way out of the difficulties she was presented with.  I would love to know what you think.  Below is the book trailer for A DISH OF STONES.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Book trailer for A DISH OF STONES

Today I uploaded my first video on You Tube for A DISH OF STONES.
I don't think Spielberg's got anything to worry about, but it was fun (and a little frustrating) to make.
Hope you enjoy it!

Love Valentina

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Glance Back in Time

This is my first blog post in quite a long time.  So much has happened since my last that I hardly know where to begin.  I guess it's just life, doing what it does, moving on without any of us really having any control. Yes, it's quite scary, but hey, it's been like that for quite a long time!

During the latter part of last year I had a plan. I had published two books in six months and I was feeling very happy. I had planned to finish A GIRL CALLED RANDOM, and release it in time for the Christmas rush (ahem!) but it didn't happen.  Again, life decided to take over and point me in another direction...the direction of loving, caring mum and nanny.

My ex-husband, David, became very ill and unfortunately died in October.  Of course, my girls were devastated, still are, and needed some mum-shaped support and guidance. Sadness overwhelmed the whole family.  I'm guessing many of you have experienced the depth of grief that overcomes us when we lose someone close, someone who has had a very profound effect on our lives.  I know my girls can still hardly believe they won't see their dad again. When a person departs our lives it leaves such a huge void.

Now that another New Year beckons, I think it's a time for reflection on moments I haven't thought about in a while.  Even though David and I had gone our separate ways a long time ago, I've taken some time to remember him; his wicked sense of humour, his irreverence, and his commitment to living his life his way.  Good on him!  Perhaps we should all have a little of that in us.

My hope is that my wonderful, loving daughters will be able to move on into 2015, complete with their cherished memories of their dad and looking forward to the future with their own families.  We have a new arrival joining the family in February and I'm sure that little boy will bring renewed optimism; a little bundle of love we can all share.

My wish for my family, friends, followers, readers, and all of those who have helped me so much during the last twelve months, is a fabulous New Year celebration, and a happy, healthy, successful 2015.  Thank you for your enduring belief and support.  It won't be forgotten.

Happy New Year

LoveValentina xxx

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cover Release for A GIRL CALLED RANDOM...and a fun interview!

to be released December 2014

Hi, everyone.  Here is the cover for A GIRL CALLED RANDOM, the second in the Notes from Random Knight series.  I'm so excited about it because it takes Random and her friends into a whole new realm of adventure, love, bravery and yes...evil!  
Pre-order NOW!
NOTES ON A REBELLION, the first in the series is available from Amazon

And a fun interview with Doug Schwartz from Checkered Scissors

Q1 ~ What is your name? ~ My pseudonymn is Valentina Hepburn.  I chose this name because my mum looked like Audrey Hepburn and I wanted something which meant 'love', so I thought of Valentine's Day, hence Valentina.  Valentina's me a few years ago.

Q2 ~ When did you decide to be a writer? ~ I wrote my first book when I was seven, called Mischa and The Eskimo.  My lovely mum sewed it into a book and I was astonished when it wasn't picked up by a publisher!  Anyway fast forward to now (a few years down the line) and I'm still writing.  I'm not sure a person can decide to be a writer.  I think we write because we have a passion.

Q3 ~ What did you most recently publish? ~ I've just released NOTES ON A REBELLION, a fantasy/dystopian/romance, the first in the Notes from Random Knight Series.  The second in the series, A GIRL CALLED RANDOM, is due to be released in December.  I've also recently released A DISH OF STONES, a family saga already released as an ebook on Kindle.

Q4 ~ What is your next project? ~ My next project is a stand alone novel called SCARRED, in the thriller genre.

Q5 ~ Which paths have you taken: traditional publishing, self-publishing, or both? ~ I decided to  self-publish a few months ago.  To date the process has been very enjoyable and a massive learning curve.  I've connected with some wonderful people and looking forward to releasing more novels.

Q6 ~ Why should people consider reading your work? ~ I hope my novels have real depth of emotion and connect with readers who like to escape into a story.  I've worked hard on world-building and to ensure my characters art believable.  I hope anyone who reads NOTES ON A REBELLION, and 
A DISH OF STONES, will love the characters and their unfolding story and will want to follow them through the series.

Q7 ~ How do you describe your writing style? ~ In the Notes from Random Knight Series, I write in a confiding, caring, sometimes feisty style.  Her observations about her fellow raiders and their experiences in the rebellion of 2046 reflect her personality; the fact she misses her mum, dad and brother, her love for her dog, Ordinary, and her unfolding love for Ethan Smith who is also part of the raiding party.  She also cares deeply about the battle in front of her and the cause she's fighting for.

Q8 ~ Where and when do you like to write? ~ I write every day, regardless of where I am.  I write a lot at home, but where ever I am, I have either my laptop or a notebook and pen with me.  I've learnt the hard way to always have something to write with and on!

Q9 ~ At what time, day or night do you feel the most creative?  For me the best time to write is first thing in the morning, but I'll write at any time.  Often I'll get ideas at night and I can't wait to get them down, so at night is good too.

Q10 ~ Which authors inspire you the most, and how? ~ I love Adriana Trigiani, Kate Mosse, Lesley Downer, Arthur Golden, Molly Cochran, to name a few of my favourite authors.  Of course I love the classics,  That's a given.

Q11 ~ How do you overcome the writer's demons: Procrastination and Self-Doubt? ~ I used to suffer greatly from these two demons, but maturity (?) has taught me to push them away and just go for it.  Occasionally they rear their ugly heads, but I keep writing anyway.

Q12 ~ What aspect of your writing is strongest, and what needs the most improvement? ~ I think my character development and world-building are my strongest writing skills.  I'll leave it to others to decide the answer to the second question.

Q13 ~ What was the best part of the worst thing you've written? ~ That the manuscript is buried under the patio never to be released on to an unsuspecting world!

Q14 ~ What advice do you have for others who want to be writers? ~ Write, write and then...write.

Q15 ~ What form of marketing works best for promoting your work? ~ I'm trying everything, but at the moment my favourite is Goodreads.  I think great reviews and word-of-mouth has to be best.

Q16 ~ If life is a bowl of cherries, what does life as a bowl of cherries look like? ~ Happy, healthy and safe family, great book reviews and sales, and a study looking out of French windows onto a beautiful garden.

Q17 ~ Who is your rock, the one who encourages you the most and why? ~ My husband has always believed in me, as have my daughters.  My seven-year-old granddaughter, Scarlet is very proud to be my personal assistant.  They have never once discouraged me or disrespected my dream.

Q18 ~ What do you do apart from writing? ~ I help my husband run our countryside management business.  I like to walk somewhere lovely every weekend, and I try to get to London, a few miles away and where I was born, as often as possible.  I seem to do lots of baking, usually with my grandchildren.  I also like to paint in watercolour.

Q19 ~ Where can people find more about you and your work? ~ I have a website, I'm on Twitter and Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon. Also if readers want to contact me, they can send emails to

Q20 ~ What one question should this interviewer have asked and how would you answer it? ~ 
Q~ Will you ever stop writing?
A~ Never!

Many thanks to Doug Schwartz for this interview

Valentina xx

Sunday, 7 September 2014

This is...ETHAN SMITH from Notes on a Rebellion

Yeah, it was s'posed to be an adventure going to the UK after my dad died in 2044. I was on leave from my soccer club, The New York Red Bulls. I hadn't planned on it turning out the way it did.  Sure, I knew about The Warming.  You'd have to be living under a rock not to know about it.  The whole world was affected.  Everything went...crazy!  Storms, tsunami, hurricanes, you name it. Food stocks were at a minimum and everything just kind of went out of control. Was I scared?  Guys aren't supposed to admit it are they?  But, hell, yeah. And I'm even more scared now.

Living in the prison shelter is something else. Why the hell I'm in here I don't know.  We were just shoved into trucks and taken to the countryside where we were locked in the compound. I know I didn't do anything wrong.  All I did was walk peacefully through the centre of London like everyone else on the march.  I also know that it was never meant to be violent.  The Government soldiers made that happen.  And now they're in control.  The Thayne have their own army and they're leaving us to starve to death.  We're gonna be wasted if they have their way.

What do I miss?  I miss my dad.  I miss my  The beach. Running water, decent johns, all that kind of stuff. Y''s hard to name everything I miss because this life I have now is nothing like the one I had before, so I guess I miss my life!

And then there's Random.  Boy, she's one feisty chick.  But...she's kinda got to me.  I don't know what it is about her, I just know she's special.  Is she the one?  Well, I never expected to meet my forever-girl in a crap prison shelter, but...yeah, she's the one!  That's another things guys aren't supposed to admit, but everyone knows how I feel about her.  I love her.  And I want to be with her whatever happens during the raid on Castle Firamodor.  She's brave and opinionated and tells it like it is.  And she's beautiful and honest and caring. Random's my girl.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Molly Cochran's REVELS...The Review

REVELS ~ Molly Cochran's latest novella can be pre-ordered from Amazon here***

As promised, the review of New York Times Bestselling Author, Molly Cochran's new release, REVELS, a novella before the long-awaited final adventure, SEDUCTION, to be released December 2014.
REVELS continues the intriguing story of Katy Ainsworth and her friends.

When Katy Ainsworth's paranormally-gifted friends decide to have their own Halloween celebration of a night of partying around a camp fire, Katy is less than enthusiastic. Their plan is to escape the usual rituals of the town's witches, of dinner and a costume party at Hattie's restaurant, and anticipate having the time of their lives on their own.

As the Town Hall strikes six, Katy and her friends arrive at the camping ground to discover they're to have a chaperone...Miss P, a rare magical being known as a djinn. Waiting for her to arrive at the campsite, they're greeted by the dulcet tones of the dreaded Livia Fowler, Becca's mum, who has replaced Miss P after she sprains her ankle.  The school-friends think they're in for a very boring night. 

They couldn't be more wrong!

I've read all of Molly's Legacy Series so far, and I haven't been disappointed.  The latest, REVELS, is about what Katy and her friends do best, and what we all love them for; their endearing personalities and their paranormal gifts.  The friends have to face more than the usual teenage angst of love and exams in Molly's popular Legacy Series. In this break-out novella their loyalty to each other is paramount when they're called on to fight off more than a few mosquitoes.  REVELS is the perfect bridge to the long-awaited SEDUCTION, to be released in December when the complete Legacy Series will be available for readers of all ages.  Perfect!

Excerpt from REVELS

            I was sent off to gather worms. When I got back to the campsite, Lolille was making a ritual circle about twenty feet across out of twigs and dried grass.

            “Get in here!” she chided. “No pokin’!” She tossed one of my worms at Verity, who screamed.

            “That one’s high strung,” Lolille said to Cheswick with a nod. “Now gather round, y’all. Let me show you how we do things back home in Crawfish Gully.”

            She arranged all the gruesome things we’d gathered into the center of the circle and began to dance around them, hopping up and down and chanting in some language that seemed a little like French, although I couldn’t make out its meaning.

                                                An’ a gris-gris comin

                                                Better watch les petits

                                                Les mortes sont venues

                                                Ici avec nous

            Peter and I looked at each other. Verity was trembling. Becca had blanked out.

            “Weirdest camping trip ever,” Cheswick said.

            At that moment the circle around us burst into flames. Verity’s shaking hands flew to her face. Then Lolille fell into a swoon as the things around her—the worms and toads and moldy bark and all the other dirty things she’d made us fetch—wriggled and rose up around her like dream trees. They grew tendrils and wound among us, changing form, melting, growing, taking on color, taking on life, until we were faced with . . . people.

            They’d all turned into people.

            Some were young, no older than we were, and might have come straight from Ainsworth School, blinking in the moonlight and looking bewildered. There was a pale, beautiful girl with dark hair hanging down to her waist, who could have been on the cover of a fashion magazine, a lanky boy as tall as Peter, a gap-toothed Georgia Mae Jagger look-alike with big pink lips and bleached hair, a pair of twins with sly eyes like foxes, a short, stubby guy with a buzz cut and pimples . . .

            And him. Him, perfectly, heartbreakingly gorgeous. A Chris Hemsworth clone, aged seventeen. Blond hair a little too long, cheeks that blushed. Eyes like blue ice, sparking in the firelight. He was wearing a red military jacket with gold epaulets. And he was looking at me.


            “Huh?” I’d been willing my heart to stop pounding. Peter was pinching my arm. “Ow.”

            “This is some kind of spell,” he said.

            Duh. “Well, yeah.”

            “Are they all dead, or what?”

            “I don’t . . .” I began, but then the pretty brunette floated up off the ground and hovered above our heads. “Well, maybe.”

Molly Cochran, author of the teen paranormal romances LEGACY and POISON, has written 26 published novels and four nonfiction books under her own name and various pseudonyms. Her books include New York Times bestselling novels GRANDMASTER and THE FOREVER KING, coauthored with Warren Murphy, and the nonfiction DRESSING THIN, also a NY Times bestseller. She has won awards from the Mystery Writers of America (Best Novel of the Year), the Romance Writers of America (Best Thriller), and the New York Public Library (Outstanding Books for the Teen Age). Recently her YA novel LEGACY was given a Westchester Fiction Award.
SEDUCTION, the third installment in the LEGACY series, is scheduled for release later this year through her publisher, Simon & Schuster. A new adult novel, ANGEL OF NIGHT, published by Amazon Publishing, will follow in June of 2015.
Molly has lectured extensively and has taught writing at the college level as well as at a women's prison (where she was NOT an inmate). She also writes a blog on writing technique which appears on her website, Reach her at and Twitter at
She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Molly Cochran's New Release, and a Giveaway on Goodreads

A short post to let you know I have a Giveaway on Goodreads of 5 copies of


You can enter HERE!

Also, I have great news.  Molly Cochran's new novella REVELS will be reviewed here next week. The long-awaited SEDUCTION, the third instalment of Molly's Legacy series will be published by Simon and Schuster in December. REVELS will bring you up to date with Katy Ainsworth's intriguing story, and is a fabulous read for YA and beyond. The whole series will be available on the 14th December!
 REVELS will definitely whet your appetite for SEDUCTION. Woohoo!
Pre-order on Amazon here!

Lots of Love
Valentina xxx

The Blogettes