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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 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."

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?

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

Monday, 16 June 2014

FREE excerpt from Notes on a Rebellion ~ The countdown is on!

I wake in Ethan's arms.  The warmth of his body and the sound of his breath as he sleeps mesmerises me.  His face nuzzles against the crook of my neck, leaving the vapour of his gentle breath on my skin.  He looks even more beautiful at rest - his features calm, his soft blond hair ruffled by sleep.
        As he stirs, the realization of where he is dawns on him and a smile unfolds across his face.  “Hi, sweetie.”  I lean forward and kiss him.  He grabs me and twists me onto my back, pinning my arms to the bunk.  Resting his naked torso on top of mine, he presses his lips to my mouth – a deep, passionate kiss promising much more.       
I trace my fingers up his spine to the nape of his neck where I play with his hair, entwining it through my fingers, playfully tugging and pulling.  He leans up on his elbow and looks into my eyes.  “Not now.”  He kisses me again to quieten my protests, disappointment registering on my face. 
“When, Ethan?”
“When we're alone.  When it's right.  Now isn't.”
I hear morning sounds from the shelter – cell doors sliding open, the clatter of metal forks on metal plates, and a burst of laughter from one of the dwellers.  The moment has gone.   
You could WIN a Signed First Edition Copy of Valentina Hepburn's incredible
Notes On A Rebellion. It's FREE to enter. Go to

Sunday, 15 June 2014

NOTES ON A REBELLION ~ FREE excerpt ~ How long will I love you?

When the sun is highest in the sky, Gunther and Grace hand a cup of water to every dweller.  This must last until evening, when we get another.  Water is heavily rationed.  It's the most precious commodity we have and everyone must have the same amount.  I watch sadly as Christina gives hers to her little boy.  She feels my eyes on her and looks up. Sighing, she shakes her head, a tear rolling down her cheek. 
Grace hands me my cup of water and smiles.  This is the first smile I've had from anyone since last night.  “Are you OK, Random?”  I look down.  I don't want her to see how troubled I am.  “I don't think I'm very popular at the moment.” 
“Don't take any notice of Dan.  He has fire in his belly and no patience.  He wants to save the world.  He believes he's the man to do it.”
“Do you think he is?”  She shrugs and sits next to me on the dusty floor, wincing at the aches and pains in her elderly body.  “I don't know, sweetheart, but he's going to have a damned good try.”
“He might die trying.” 
            She shuffles her scruffy trainers in the dust, making patterns then scrubbing them out.  “They could all die.  Or, they might just make it.  Who knows?  But I do know since all this fighting talk started my Gunther has a spring in his step I haven't seen for a very long time.  He's just like he was when we first met.”  She winks at me and I grin.  “Grace, you naughty girl.”  She laughs.  “We must get our comfort where we can.”  She looks over to Ethan and Lafayette.  “Including you, my dear.”
“Ethan is finding his comfort with Little Miss Melons.”
“It's nothing.  It means nothing.  My guess is it's you he wants.  You love him, don't you?”  I nod; amazed that she'd worked it out.  She reaches for my hand with her own gnarled, yet soft hand, lowering her voice almost to a whisper.  “Then fight for him, darling.  You fought a Nicor yesterday, didn't you?   It 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 might have very long.”
You could WIN a Signed First Edition Copy of Valentina Hepburn's incredible
Notes On A Rebellion. It's FREE to enter. Go to

Saturday, 14 June 2014

I'm Random Knight!

The shelter’s quiet except for the low murmur of intense conversation between small groups of dwellers who’ve banded together for company.  It's always like this.  Talking is all we do after blackout.
This thrown together shack is where we eat, sleep, and find sanctuary from Nicor attacks.  I guess it’s home, the only home some of us will ever know now that the world has changed.  We don't talk much about the future – it's almost a dirty word here.  Living from day-to-day is challenging enough.  There’s no running water in the shelter and only basic sanitation.  Our existence is as grim as it gets.  I'll never get used to it.

Before the shelter I had aspirations; dreams of success...and love maybe.  I often wondered what my life-plan would be and where it would take me.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would be imprisoned in a compound with hundreds of strangers, surviving on miniscule rations handed out to us by a government that seems to have deserted us.  My heart sinks at the hopelessness of it all but I know I have to grit my teeth and have faith that things will change for the better.
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, 12 June 2014

Win a signed 1st edition of Notes on a Rebellion

My beloved Ordinary
'Ordinary is the only member of my family I managed to hang on to when we were arrested.  I watch him gnawing and playing with the deer bone.  For once in a very long time my best friend has found some bone-shaped happiness.  It was a risk to go out just before blackout, but watching him now, I'm glad I did.
Ordinary playing happily with his bone makes me feel better so I leave my cell and go into the communal area at the centre of the shelter.  The dweller’s cells – their own little piece of privacy in our prison – run along the length of the building.  At mealtimes it feels like King's Cross Station at rush-hour, with dwellers spilling out of the cells like passengers leaving their carriages and hurrying out onto the platform.  I like the hustle and bustle and the sing-song undertone of the dweller’s chatter.  It reminds me of where I came from.'
You could WIN a Signed First Edition Copy of Valentina Hepburn's incredible
Notes On A Rebellion. It's FREE to enter. Go to

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Chapter 1
Hell's teeth, I so know how to get myself into trouble.  A Thayne warrior fixes me with unblinking eyes, his jaw rigid with hate. A dazzling flash of light from the overhead beam bounces off the knife in his leather-gloved hand.  Bile rises in my throat as I imagine how it'll feel when he pushes the knife into my body – to lose my life as blood pours out of the tear in my flesh.  Where will that shiny, razor-sharp blade go?
In my heart?
Across my throat? 
I’m staring death in the face and just seventeen.  Shit!  Why don’t I freakin’ listen, sometimes? 
He's big – six and half feet at least, each flexing muscle accentuated by the sweat glistening on his deeply tanned skin.  His armour is so highly polished the reflection is blinding.  This guy means business.  In this crystal clear moment, his business is me.
As I wait for him to attack, an overpowering, acrid smell descends from the sky.  Sulphur!   The Nicor have left the nests they built on the cliffs.  Could this get any worse?  Slashed to pieces by a Thayne warrior or torn to shreds by a flying sea- serpent.  Oh, great...just great. 
The Nicor swoops about overhead pissing acid over everything below. When the acid hits the ground, bubbling and fizzing, a sticky yellow gloop spreads across the dirt.  It stinks like nothing else on earth.  This is how they get us.  If that stuff hits you you're in deep ca-ca.  I've seen it with my own eyes; the damage it does to human flesh is horrific.  Last month a guy from our prison shelter was hit by an acid-bomb and his body turned to soup.  He didn't scream – he didn't have time.
When the Nicor invaded our atmosphere in the thousands, the government soldiers who arrested us ran into the mountains to save themselves from being eaten or blasted with sulphur bombs. Those soldiers are now Thayne warriors; a unit of highly trained killers who stop at nothing to get what they want. The gossip in the compound is that they have a large force and a new, powerful leader giving them confidence.  I hope this is just rumour.  If they get their way every person in the compounds will die of starvation...unless we've been fed to the Nicor.  Whatever the outcome the Nicor will definitely get a good meal.  Looks like I'll be the starter.
I see something move at the corner of my line of vision and draw in a sharp breath.  Ethan!        
A dweller from the shelter hides by a broken down truck the soldiers left when they fled. My heart skips a beat and the relief almost melts me when I see my slingshot and leather pouch of sling-bullets at his feet.  He puts a finger to his lips, then holds up five fingers and mouths, 'on five’ as he points towards the Nicor.  Jumbled thoughts shoot around my brain like cars on a chicane.  Mum – I love you.  Dad – I miss you.  Zack – my pain in the neck brother – where the hell are you?  And what about my dog, Ordinary?  Who'll take care of him?  Damn.  I've really screwed up this time.
The Thayne warrior seems to have lost interest in me as he turns around in circles, craning his neck to follow the flying sea-serpent as it commands the sky.  Maybe he’s as scared of the Nicor as we are in the compound.  It gives me a few precious moments to save myself. 
Looking back over to Ethan, I nod.  Ethan counts.  On five he tosses the slingshot and bullets across to me then runs towards the Thayne, launching himself at the warrior and felling him.  I lift the slingshot, load in a bullet and wait for the Nicor to attack.  The Nicor flies in an arc then swoops down with its mouth gaping, revealing two enormous fangs dripping with toxic green slime.  It whistles past me, its huge feathered wings carrying a glistening, metallic armoured body with graceful ease.  As it glides directly over-head I glimpse the formation of a bubbling acid-bomb ready to be excreted from an opening in its belly.  I follow the Nicor's flight-path, holding the slingshot comfortably in my hand, ready to launch the bullet.
This is my strength.  I must use everything I know about the slingshot now – focused steadying of the catapult and the intended trajectory of the bullet.  Everything I've learnt could save my life. 
I fire.  
The bullet hits the Nicor squarely in the throat knocking its head backwards, its bloodshot eyes registering astonishment as the bullet punctures its scaly skin.  I scream out “Jog on, you freak,” and load up another bullet, firing again as I run a few feet to my right to strengthen my firing position.  The second bullet hits it in the chest.  I sling another, hitting the soft spot under the wing.  The flying beast hits the ground with a loud thud, carving out a crater in the dirt, clouds of dust and grit flying high up into the air as it lands.  There’s rise and fall in its chest, so I wait before I risk approaching.  I hope death comes quickly.  One less Nicor is no loss to the world.
Gradually the movement diminishes, and with a final breath the Nicor dies.  I can barely see over the top of its body, but this is a small Nicor compared to the beasts that fly over the compound at night, scaring the dwellers half-to-death.  Although I hate the Nicor more than I could have ever imagined hating anything, there's a kind of fascination about them – the way the oily scales swirl with colour as they reflect the silent flashes of lightening streaking across the sky – the sweeping, feathered contours of its huge wings. Horrific and beautiful, the Nicor is a deviation of life intent on killing everything in its path.
I watch in awe as Ethan punches seven bells out of the Thayne.  He's fit in every sense of the word.  His life before The Warming playing American soccer for the New York Red Bulls has given him a body rippling with tight muscles.  I can't help but admire the way he handles himself in a fight.  It's very ... sexy.
When the Thayne realises the upper-hand belongs to Ethan, he runs off leaving a trail of blood behind him.  He found a way into our prison compound – a mystery – the perimeter fences are electrified from a central government source, but now is not the time for a discussion.  It's dark and we need to get back to the shelter, otherwise we'll be in the compound courtyard after blackout.  I should've listened to Ethan.  He told me not to leave the shelter at dusk but I'm such a know all.  I knew – I thought I knew I could make it.
Ethan walks towards me.  The dust on his face mingles with beads of perspiration on his forehead leaving muddy tracks down his cheeks.  The front of his khaki jacket is covered in the Thayne's blood, and as he stands next to the dead Nicor – self-assured, hands on hips, he shakes his head.  “It's just a baby.”  He raises his eyebrows and looks at me with exasperation.  “We're so gonna pay for this.” 
“Hey, look, Ethan, I'm really sorry.  You should've stayed in the shelter with the others.  I didn't mean for you to follow me.” 
He runs a hand through soft blond hair that reaches past his collar.  Deep blue eyes flicker with amusement as he grins.  “Oh, OK.  I'll leave you to the Thayne next time, shall I?  Or maybe you would've preferred the acid treatment.  You're a pain in the ass.  Why can't you do what everyone else does?  You know what it's like out here after dark.  What's so important, anyway?”
I push my slingshot and bullet-pouch into his hands, run over to the perimeter fence, lie on my stomach and reach under a bush to retrieve a deer bone.  I drag it towards me and hold it up, grinning with delight.  “It's for Ordinary.” 
I know Ethan thinks I'm crazy, but Ordinary looks more like a bone than the bone.  A lurcher needs a lot of food.  I can't lose Ordinary.  He's all I've got.  Ethan shakes his head in disbelief.  “You risked your life – for a freakin' bone?  You gotta be kidding me.” 
“He's worth it.” 
The light from the overhead disappears as it automatically shuts down, and we're left standing in the pitch black.
“We'd better be getting back.  When the Nicor realise one of their babies is missing they're gonna be out in force,” Ethan says, walking towards the shelter. 
We walk side-by-side, my stride matching his.  Even though I'm still hyped-up and trembling, it feels awesome to be near him.  “Do you think they'll dive bomb us?  Their baby is lying dead near the shelter and the last time a Nicor died here we were holed up for weeks.  Christ, Ethan.  What have I done?  If I'd known what would happen...”   Ethan looks down at me, smiling.  “You'd have done it anyway.  I know how much you care about Ordinary, Random, but you take too many risks.  You could’ve been wasted out here.  I knew you wouldn’t listen to me so I followed you.  Come on, I'm hungry.   Gunther and Grace are handing out supplies they got from the feeding station.  If we don't get back in time we'll lose our share and I'll be the one gnawing that bone.  Ordinary won't get a look in.”
Come back tomorrow for another FREE excerpt from 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

NOTES ON A REBELLION ~ Free excerpts until release day 20th June

Separated from her parents and brother during an anti-government march and imprisoned in a sprawling government-controlled compound, eighteen-year-old, Random Knight embarks on a mission with her soul-mate, American soccer player, Ethan Smith, six of their friends, and her lurcher, Ordinary, to save her community from starvation. 

Their aim is to relieve the barbaric Thayne warriors who were previously government soldiers, of seeds and grain stolen from imprisoned farmers during 'The Warming' to enable the dwellers to survive the world's dwindling food-stocks. As they journey to Castle Firamodor, the Thayne warrior's stronghold, Random and her fellow raiders realise the Thayne and the Nicor, flying sea-serpents that drop acid on their prey, are not their only enemies.  She and her friends must overcome other assailants before they do battle with the brutal Thayne.

In the midst of the ravages of battle, Random and Ethan’s love remains steadfast.....
  “In my wildest dreams or imaginings I never realised I could love anyone as much as I love Ethan.  It’s totally real, so real and so wonderful.  Whatever happens to us during the rebellion, no Thayne warrior, no horrific Nicor can separate us.  Our love is our destiny.  Nothing can destroy it.”

It's not only salvation from starvation that Random seeks.  She’s desperate to find her brother.  A shocking discovery shakes her faith in family loyalty and she must make a judgement that throws her into the path of a cruel and terrifying adversary.

The year is 2046.  A rebellion rages against dictatorship led by a girl whose bravery determines the future.  

Random Knight.

Pray she succeeds...

Visit Letters from Valentina Hepburn tomorrow to meet Random Knight and her lurcher, Ordinary in the FREE 1st chapter of 

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