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Monday, 18 August 2014

This is... RANDOM KNIGHT

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.
Love
Random Knight

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. 
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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."


The Blogettes