Made my day…

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book, as being of the slightly older generation I am not familiar with the concept of blogs and hashtags. But having started reading I couldn’t put it down until I knew how things turned out for Liz. The sudden death of a husband at a young age is undoubtedly a tricky subject, but the author managed it extremely well. There were tears, but also humour. There were some fascinating insights into the different way people react to death and the bereaved. The book shows there is no ‘right’ way. People need to find the way that works for them. Liz’s way may be unconventional – but that doesn’t mean it was wrong. I loved this book and would recommend it highly.

A reader, Life After Joe

I don’t have to tell you that it’s days like these that make being a writer an amazing thing.

The Queen of England: Coronation, Behind the Scenes.

I probably should’ve done this for some of my other novels, but anyway, I thought it would be fun to reveal some of the behind the scenes that went into the creation of The Queen of England: Coronation.

  • I couldn’t get the cover I really wanted.  I tried to contact the artist who took the photo that I thought was the best fit, but it was a dead end, so I ended up going the more ‘historical’ route.  While I think it works, I think it would be fun to do an ‘alt’ cover one day.
  • The old adage of not pissing off authors is true… Although I’ve never done it previously, someone royally pissed me off while I was in an early draft of the novel.  A version of that person’s name became an unlikeable character, completely on purpose.  All other details have been changed to protect the innocent.
  • The idea for the novel came to me after a lengthy (and relatively epic) Friday brunch (yes, the kind where you drink all day).  Something I read before I went to bed (about Prince Harry, if memory serves) seemed to trigger the book.
  • Juliette’s original name was Rosamund, which I ended up giving to her mother.
  • Captain Jonathan Cranleigh’s surname comes from an upscale prep school near where my former employer was located.
  • Juliette choice to prefer coffee to tea is an homage to my dad, who absolutely loves coffee.
  • A bit of a deep cut, but I first started writing… Sailor Moon fanfiction (and still do occasionally!).  SM fans will probably catch a little scene which is more or less directly out of the manga.
  • I have about 10 pages of scenes/dialogue that I ended up cutting…only to be replaced with more scenes and dialogue.
  • I still feel bad about fictionally killing Victoria and Albert.

Real Talk: Is it time to go back to the real world?

I’ve been struggling with this thought for the past few weeks (yes, before I published The Queen).  And let’s go ahead and say, I’m WELL aware of the privilege in this post.  We are a household that can comfortably exist on one income — I understand this is not the case for everyone and that I am super fortunate to have even had the chance to my little experiment.

In case you weren’t aware, intentionally, I’ve been out of the traditional job force for the past year and a half.  In that time I’ve managed some successes — published a book, finished a trilogy, traveled, volunteered with K9 Friends, kept the house mainly in order, and did fairly well with food writing stuff.  Honestly, that’s about the sum total of my efforts.  For the above, as you might well imagine, I’ve been paid roughly less than a pittance.  Sure, a few bucks for some articles and not having to pay for meals while in Dubai has been great, but those things don’t actually contribute to the overall earnings of a household.  This is magnified by knowing others who I deeply respect and are in similar positions to mine and have managed to, you know, actually get paid.  And just so we’re clear, this is entirely my opinion — I have felt zero pressure from my wonderful husband for any of this, throughout the past 18 months.  He’s never once asked, “So, when are you going to start making money?”

As much as I dislike being around people (thank you, misophonia), I do enjoy making money (and, of course, spending it, especially in this political climate).  Essentially, I think the practical and rational side of myself is telling me, “You had a good try, but when can you admit that you’re not going to earn a living from writing?”  Man, that was a tough sentence to write.  The flip side of this coin is that I am actually good at work.  I leave organizations better than I found them.  I have a better than average work ethic, work longer hours than I’m ever paid for, and have put up with my fair share of shit over the years.  Spoiler alert, that’s everyone, I know.  Still, I have stellar recommendations.

So, I decided that the end of this year was my cut off before I started looking for work (although, knowing me, it will be sooner).

I am never going to give up writing, however, even as I get compliments on my work, these kind thoughts aren’t going to pay the bills.  I am part of numerous author groups and see the successes — goals that seem forever out of reach for me.  Maybe if the Amazon clusterfuck hadn’t happened, I might be in a different situation.  Maybe if I had planned a better release calendar for The Queen, or kept after Joe, I might have a bigger audience.  Maybe if I published more novels in a year (and yes, I have those books to publish).  Maybe if I hustled more.  Or maybe, my audience is never going to be large enough to support me.  Maybe I don’t write books for the masses.  Maybe I’ll just have this little side vanity project for my whole life and that will have to be enough.

It’s tough because anyone who knows me understands how much I hate to waste time.  Thus, what has this time ‘off’ been?  I was always going to write the books, so, it’s not as if they only came into existence because I wasn’t tied to a desk.  I suppose learning that you’re not meant to do the thing you thought your whole life was intended to be isn’t a waste of time, but it certainly doesn’t feel all that great.  Or maybe 18 months isn’t long enough to determine that fact.

Let’s see what the universe holds next for me.  As always, maybe ‘author’ is just one of the things that define me.  While I wanted it to be one of the main things, perhaps there is something else.

Casting Couch, The Queen of England: Coronation

Well, of course I had actors in mind while writing this novel!   As this was such a fun project with Life After Joe, once again, I thought I would give this a go.  And naturally, I watched BBC’s Victoria as part of my research (and am very much looking forward to the next season – squee!).  While I did read a number of biographies on Queen Victoria, it was interesting to see people from history brought to life.

Anyway, as Victoria is most notably absent in my novel, here’s my cast:

Camren Bicondova (Queen Juliette)

For reasons unknown, Camren has always been in my mind when picturing Queen Juliette.  Juliette is a young, independent woman, and Ms. Bicondova (to me) would make a great choice should the Queen ever make it to the screen.

Camren Bicondova

Jude Law (Askew)

Perhaps in a bit more dapper fashion than his look as Watson, I genuinely think Mr. Law would make a fine version of Queen Juliette’s Lord Steward.

jude law as watson

Jesse Williams (Prince Estevan)

In my opinion, tall, dark and handsome princes should always look like this (In my fictional world, I would age him down to about 25).  He speaks a number of languages, is quite well written, and gifts unicorns.  Le sigh.

Jesse Williams

Alex Pettyfer (Captain Jonathan Cranleigh)

Our Captain of the Queen’s guard has a difficult job, trying to keep up with Queen Juliette and ignore his feelings for her in the process.


Kat Denning (Isabella, The Black Queen/Lady Thief)

With the resident Queen of the Seven Dials on your side, what could go wrong?Kat Denning

Ariana Vail (Miss Helena Westbury)

Of course I’m going to have an American running around!  Helena is a smart and enthusiastic friend of Juliette (someone she definitely needs in her life).

Romann Berrux (Quick)

Every Queen needs a reliable page she can count on, and Quick is no different.


Of course, the next two books will reveal additional cast members (and I only included the principal cast here), but I wonder if there were any actors you particularly had in mind when reading The Queen of England: Coronation?