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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Self-publising in the fantasy genre

Fantasy is big business. When you look at the most recent successes of novels or films, let's say over the last fifteen years, fantasy has become an overriding genre . Yet all fictional novels, films, short stories are fantasy. They might sit in very different genres, but they have all come from someone's imagination, a writer fantasizing about a theme or plot. 
Even in the fantasy world, emotions, events, and situations come from real experiences.  No writer has experienced every emotion or situation that makes a setting or situation for a story believable; most writers need to carry out a certain amount of research when planning a novel.  But I believe that our writing about certain situations shows a deeper understanding when we have experienced them ourselves.
There have been times in my own life that if I could choose I would not have experienced.  From a very early age I came to an understanding that life was tough, that I needed to have resilience if I wanted to find happiness, but anything I've experienced, the ups and downs, the gains and losses, have all provided me with a very deep well of different emotions that I draw on every day.
The tentacles of those emotions wrap around everything I write.  In Notes on a Rebellion, Random feels emotionally abandoned by Ethan.  That feeling of knowing I had to rely on myself features strongly in my experience of being a child, so I was able to draw on the crushing disappointment I felt sometimes when I had hoped for a level of support which didn't materialise.  The subject of death is also part of Random's story.  I was able to draw on my feelings of grief from when I lost my mother when I was pregnant with my second daughter, and also when a very dear friend died.  These are experiences none of us want to have, but they are part of life and must be a significant part of what we write, no matter the genre we write in.  Those we come in to contact with, whether they are family, friends, or even strangers can change our perspective on life.  People will surprise us, cheer us, shock us, or hurt or disappoint us. They live their own lives and behave in a way that reflects their own life-experiences
I'm currently writing the second book in the Notes from Random Knight series, A Girl Called Random, Destroying the Compendium, and yet again my experiences of life, good and bad, have materialised on the page.  From my point of view I look at this in two ways.  Sometimes it's hard to revisit those moments, but I'm grateful that life has provided me with rich and varying experiences to draw on.  And I know how it feels to be intensely happy. I have a wonderful family that gives me joy, and, every time I enter Random Knight's world, I know how privileged I am to be the one to write her story.






Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Formatting? - Oh, please!

Well I tried.  Really I did, but I'm hopeless.  I tried to reformat Notes on a Rebellion for Kindle and...it doesn't bear thinking about!

What I ended up with was a huge gap at the beginning, a telling off from Amazon in the form of an exclamation mark and a little camera where the Copyright sign was (I got the symbol from Word, so don't know what I did wrong, and ironic if you think about it) - and the text all over the place.  Is it me?  Can you do it?

Honestly, I think I must be 'technically challenged', 'completely bereft of the skill of following instructions', or maybe just 'plain dim'.  I don't think I'm completely dim but I do think leaving it to the experts is the best option.

Now I'm trying to format for Createspace.  I'll let ya know how I get on.  Where's that gin bottle?

Lots a love
Valentina x

Monday, 23 June 2014

The self-publishing journey so far.

So it's out there.  Notes on a Rebellion is finally available on Amazon after weeks of angst-ing over cover designs, fonts and formatting.  And then of course there's the rest of life to think about.  The world keeps on turning, just as it should.

I've lost count of the number of people who've said, "I'd love to publish a book."  Well, my friends, it's all there, you just gotta to find out how it works.

It sorta sounds easy, and I suppose for some, it is.  In truth it's OK once you get going, but hands up, I had help from someone in-the-know and I was very glad of it. 

All-in-all, the experience has been really enjoyable...and exciting.  The beauty of 'doing-it-yourself' is that you remain in control of the process - you can choose your own publication date, your own cover, and how you choose to promote and market your book.  Organising the cover with Tim Pryor was brilliant and lots of fun.  I knew in my mind's-eye how Random looked, we know our own characters better than anyone, don't we?  And when he and I agreed on the image and I saw the first draft I was over-the-moon. I couldn't have wished for a better result and I can't recommend him highly enough.  My current website www.valentinahepburn.com looks great and will be updated on Wednesday with more info about Notes on a Rebellion and the sequel, now entitled The Compendium.  I'm very busy now, writing new scenes for The Compendium, updating A Dish of Stones due to be released soon, and getting Notes on a Rebellion ready for paperback and hardback. 

Thank you to all my Blogettes who sent messages of support, particularly Tanya Reimer, Richard Hughes, and Vicki Tremper, who have been there from the start.  It's lovely to hear from fellow writers because we understand each other and we know what goes into completing a novel; the blood, sweat and tears, and what it means to us to create something enjoyable and thought provoking for others to read.

The Notes on a Rebellion competition is running until July 31st.  Please enter here for your chance to win a 1st edition hardback copy.  I'll keep you up-to-date with new releases and competition news. 

Best wishes for your own writing.

Lots of love

Valentina xxx

Friday, 20 June 2014

Publication Day ~ NOTES ON A REBELLION!

This is the day I've been waiting for...the publication day of the first novel in the 
Notes from Random Knight Series:~
which can be purchased from Amazon or borrow from Amazon KDP Select here for UK or
for USA here

I hope you fall in love with the characters as much as I have.  Random Knight, Ethan Smith, Silent Red, Jemima-Jim, Christina, Dan, Gabriel, Thomas, and of course the wonderful Ordinary are waiting for you to join them on their odyssey; the journey to Castle Firamodor on the Island of Fae, to save their community from starvation after The Warming.
Thank you to those who have already entered the competition to win a signed 1st edition copy.  The competition will remain open until 31 July, details below.

You could WIN a Signed First Edition Copy of Valentina Hepburn's incredible
Notes On A Rebellion. It's FREE to enter. Go to

Thursday, 19 June 2014

One day to go for publication of Notes on a Rebellion





Author of the Legacy Series, Molly Cochran Murphy supports Notes On A Rebellion!

"If Lord of the Rings & The Hunger Games got married, this would be their offspring"

Recently, Valentina received high acclaim and the backing of New York Times Bestseller Molly Cochran, Author of the hugely successful "Legacy Series".
Molly has authored more than 25 books, including Legacy, Poison and Seduction. Her first Novel, Grandmaster with Warren Murphy, was a bestseller plus Edgar Award Winner. She also authored the international bestseller The Forever King with Warren Murphy. 
After reading Notes On A Rebellion Molly said "If Lord of the Rings married The Hunger Games, Notes On A Rebellion would be their offspring. It's wonderful, one surprise after another! The odyssey-like trek through fantasy worlds was thrilling".
If you want to find out more about Notes On A Rebellion & fancy being in with a chance of winning a signed first edition head over to our site now.
Website →

WIN a Signed First Edition...

To celebrate the launch of the book, Valentina is giving you two chances to WIN a FREE signed first edition ofNotes On A Rebellion.
Simply visit the website or head over to our Facebook page and give us a like. Once you have liked the page you will be immediately entered in with a chance of winning. 
Facebook Page →

How Long Will I Love You?

..."Then fight for him Darling. You fought a Nicor yesterday, didn't you? That makes you very special around here. Do what you have to do but don't leave it too late. You might not have long with him, Random."
"None of us have very long".
read more →

..."What is it about Men & Boobs"...

"Ethan's talking to Lafayette, a blonde with breasts shaped like balloons. They probably are balloons"..."She is kind of pretty if you like long blonde hair, endless legs and model girl looks"..."My stomach lurches with jealousy. What is it about men and boobs?"..."You could park a bike in her cleavage".
read more →
Like our Facebook page and win a Signed 1st edition copy of Notes on a Rebellion


You could WIN a Signed First Edition Copy of Valentina Hepburn's incredible
Notes On A Rebellion. It's FREE to enter. Go to
Copyright © 2014 Valentina Hepburn, All rights reserved.








Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A Self Publishing Odyssey




"Ethan's talking to Lafayette, a blonde with breasts shaped like balloons.  They probably are balloons.  She was a glamour model before The Warming.  She is kind of pretty if you like long blonde hair, endless legs and model girl looks.  Ethan gazes up at me and grins like a soppy schoolboy.  My stomach lurches with jealousy.  What is it about men and boobs?   We girls have all got 'em.  I just don't choose to put mine on display like she does.  You could park a bike in her cleavage."


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

NOTES ON A REBELLION ~ FREE EXCERPT ~ Three days to publication!

Photo: How long will I love you? How much time will we be given?www.lettersfromvalentinahepburn.blogspot.com




Late yesterday afternoon, after the discovery that Jenni and Lara had been abducted, a mass-meeting was held in the communal area.  The Thayne have made it clear they'll stop at nothing to populate their garrison with women.  They've taken Jenni, and Lara, her three year old daughter, and we’ve heard more reports of missing women from the other shelters.  I’m in no doubt I would have been abducted too had the Nicor not put in an appearance at the right moment.  The dwellers realise that we're not as cocooned in our community as we thought.  We feel utterly violated.  Most think the Thayne have dug a tunnel into the compound which is so well hidden we don't notice it, but Ethan and I aren’t so sure.  The mystery deepens.  How they get in is beyond us.  We've searched high and low and still no answer.

In the middle of the 2030s we were all scared of hidden bombs from revolutionary factions.  I remember the feelings of vulnerability and how much our fear disabled our lives; stopping us from doing ordinary, everyday things.  Now those feelings have infiltrated the compound.  If we ever thought our situation couldn't get any worse than simply starving to death, we were wrong.
You could WIN a Signed First Edition Copy of Valentina Hepburn's incredible
Notes On A Rebellion. It's FREE to enter. Go to

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