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.
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!
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 www.valentinahepburn.com, I'm on Twitter and Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon. Also if readers want to contact me, they can send emails to email@example.com
Q20 ~ What one question should this interviewer have asked and how would you answer it? ~
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 friends...soccer. The beach. Running water, decent johns, all that kind of stuff. Y'know...it'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.
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
watch les petits
mortes sont venues
Peter and I looked at each other.
Verity was trembling. Becca had blanked out.
“Weirdest camping trip ever,”
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
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.
MORE ABOUT MOLLY
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, MollyCochran.com. Reach her atfacebook.com/mollycochranbooks and Twitter at
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!
NOTES ON A REBELLION has some wonderful characters, and I know I'm the writer, but I've fallen in love with them. It's just as well because 'Notes' is part of the Notes from Random Knight series, so I'm spending lots of time with them. I thought it would be a good idea to give them some space to tell us about themselves in their own words. Over the next few weeks, they'll tell you how they came to be in Notes on a Rebellion, and their thoughts about their role in the 2046 rebellion. Random Knight, Ethan Smith, Silent Red, Jemima-Jim, Christina Alexander, Thomas Dwyer, Gabriel Jackson, and last but not least, Dan Kelly, will tell you how they feel about being in Notes on a Rebellion, and their hopes for the future. They're looking forward to meeting you. Valentina Hepburn
This is...Random Knight.
I was just hanging around, waiting for some friends. And yeeess, I was chewing gum, which Valentina doesn't like. She liked it even less when I spat it, rather expertly I thought, into the gutter.
I don't know how she found me. She says I just turned up in her thoughts and knew I was the one. I was wearing my usual uniform of jeans, shirt, and leather jacket. And my cowboy boots from Chi-Chi Shoos. Mustn't forget them. I saved my wages from my part-time job as a cinema usherette to pay for them. They cost a fortune. I still haven't told Mum and Dad how much they cost. I think they'd explode!
I love films, so working at Cine-See, the government controlled cinema was great for me. I was also involved with a group of students who found films The Government banned because they said they incited dissent. We used an old warehouse to show the films, a place where organised raves were held about ten years ago. The Government banned those too. I had to be really careful because I wanted to be a lawyer, and if I'd been caught by the government soldiers that would have been the end of my career in the justice system before it even started. We had a few near misses I can tell you. OMG, I can just imagine Mum and Dad's faces if that had happened after all the money they spent on extra tuition. I would have been banished to the salt mines. For. Ever.
Human rights was my thing. I was passionate about it, still am. Well, I didn't get the chance to wear a gown and wig did I? Or to change the world.
Anyhow, we were all angry with the government because they did absolutely nothing to prepare us for The Warming. Or the Nicor. Mum, Dad, Zack and I would sit together at mealtimes, discussing what could be done. Should be done. Debating ideas in between mouthfuls of Mum's fantastic chicken roast. Her roast potatoes are to die for, by the way. She uses olive oil, not goose fat. That's just too old-fashioned. It's one of the things I really miss - that and Chocodillo Bars. Those times together, enjoying good food and not worrying about where we would get the next meal from became less and less as The Warming took hold. I remember Mum going to the supermarket and coming home soon after with practically nothing because there was so little food on the shelves. She would cry and cry, then just get on with it...like women do. Thinking about those times sends horrible anxious feelings across my skin. I so miss my family and friends. I don't know where they are, and I can hardly believe all this has happened to us. It's terrible to live life in fear. It's what happens when our freedom is taken away.
And it's all part of life, isn't it? All those little things that make up who we are. Valentina, please let me remember the small things as well as the big things. Like Mum's voice, so soothing and comforting. My Dad, always trying to be cool. Oh, come on, when was he ever cool. He's so funny. Or is it, was so funny. I still don't know.
I know I feel lost sometimes, like I'm living in a bubble. I'm pretty sure everyone in the Shelters feels the same. Valentina, couldn't you have made things a bit easier for us? I mean, how hard would it have been to give us a working toilet? The latrines are disgusting. I'm a girl. I need stuff, like soap and shampoo, and...things. Oh, and a bath. What would I give to have a bath. I know you'll help me, Ethan and the other raiders find ways of changing things. You said I'm the one who will change life for my community.
I hope I don't let you down.
Just one thing, Valentina. I'd love to know what happened to Mum and Dad. And Zack. Thank you for letting me be with Ordinary. You know I adore him, my loyal, bony, very loving best friend.
I trust you.