Monday, 25 June 2018

74. Privateers Ahoy!

Welcome :)

It’s a blessing to belong to such a creative collective as authors and writers. When you meet established authors, who are so giving of their time, experience, and wisdom, so generous in their encouragement of others, it’s always a struggle to say thank you for the opportunity in a way that matches that generosity. It’s more challenging when they graciously agree to spend time with you on your little blog. :)

This month the RWA Aspiring writers spent time with one of these special people - Historical Romantic Author, Ms Elizabeth Ellen Carter. :) Ms Carter answered all the hard questions, going beyond expectation with her answers, shared her experiences and a little of herself, and generally encouraged the group to follow their writing dreams.

It’s always exciting to know someone you admire goes through similar processes in creating their stories that you do. It validates the feeling you’re not wasting your time, or perhaps thinking you’re not really a writer until you learn everyone has doubts and rejections. It’s encouraging when you know they’ve let nothing stop them from achieving their dreams, and then they give back to those who are still learning the processes and making the mistakes they may have experienced.

So, it gives me great pleasure to present Question Time with Ms Carter, and to share news, an excerpt, and the blurb for her latest release – Shadow of the Corsairs – Book Three of the Heart of the Corsairs Series. :)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I always wanted to write. When I was about 10 years old, I started writing my first book about a girl detective because I’d run out of Nancy Drew Mysteries to read. In high school, I loved English and the short story writing component of every exam was my favourite. Back then the only viable option for me to be paid for my writing was to become a journalist and I was fortunate enough to be awarded a cadetship straight out of high school.

Do you have support from family and friends?

My darling husband is my biggest supporter. We were journalists together and he was one of my first editors. Today, he is the very first to see my books and is my first-port-of-call editor.

Do you have a particular writing style?

I can’t honestly tell. I think it would take someone a step or two removed to identify it. I try to write stories that are rich in world building with fully fleshed out characters in a story which is as much adventure/suspense as it is romance.

What are your favourite story writing genres and authors and what draws you to them?

I love historical romance. I love bring history to life and the best way to do that is by creating characters that readers can relate to but who, nonetheless, are authentic to their time and place. I love discovering more real history through well-told historical fiction and historical romance.

Where can we buy or see your works?

I’m published on Amazon. All of my books are here - Readers can keep up with my new series on my web site –

Can you tell us what are you working on at the minute?

I’m starting a new historical romantic adventure series called The King’s Rogues. The first book is Live And Let Spy. And it connects to my recently completed Heart of the Corsairs series.

How much research do you do?

My hubby jokes that it is 20 minutes research for 5 minutes writing, so considering I try to write 1000 words in two hours and my books are about 100,000 words, so... 48,000 hours? I’m not sure it’s really that much (I have to eat and sleep some time).
What I try to do is spend the first few weeks immersing myself into the time and place, then starting with the world building.

Why do you write?

I would go mad without a creative outlet. I can’t sing, I can’t dance and I can’t play an instrument, so it looks like writing is it!

Do you have a writing routine?

I try to sit down for two hours each weeknight to get 1000 words and then try to get 2000 on Friday (my day off) and the weekend. I’m happy if I can get 10,000 words a week. I go back and read my story notes, then the previous chapter and begin again from where I left off.

Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, how do you get through it?

A writers block usually means there is something wrong with a technical aspect of the story. Perhaps the scene is in the wrong POV, perhaps the characters don’t have sufficient motivation, or they’re whinging about the same thing they were in the previous three chapters – that means nothing has changed. If that happens, I take a break for a day or two and let the characters rehearse various scenarios in my head until the solution presents itself.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love antiques and collectables so I like to visit lots of markets and Op Shops and see if I can find a bargain. I haven’t done too badly over the years. When I’m not doing those things, I love going camping with my husband and getting away from busyness and technology for a while.

Shadow of the Corsairs - Excerpt:

“Have you seen Hardacre? He’s been missing for three days.” Jonathan could not hide the note of accusation in his voice.
Elias stopped sweeping. He mopped his brow and leaned on the broom. He looked equally irritated.
“The last time I saw him, he told me Ahmed Sharrouf had returned to Palermo and made contact.”
Bidatam! Jonathan let the profanity roll around in his head a moment before he verbally vented. “What is that pale-headed idiot think he’s playing at?”
“It’s Kaddouri. Sharrouf has news he would only share with Kit.”
“And you let him go alone?”
“No, I didn’t let him go alone,” Elias bit back. Jonathan took that as evidence of the man’s own concern. “I followed them. Two of Sharrouf’s men jumped me. Now I have a goose egg on the back of my skull for my troubles. Now make yourself useful and grab another broom.”
Jonathan obliged. Soon, both men were scrubbing the deck of the Terpsichore, joining other members of the crew, equally hard at work at making the ship spotless.
“So what’s the plan?” Jonathan asked.
“Kit said to stay put. He left sealed orders to be opened in three months if he didn’t return. In them, he said if there’s been no word from him in all that time, we sell everything and distribute the money to the crew.”
“You opened his orders? I never figured you as a rule breaker, Preacher.”
“I never follow stupid rules.”
Elias glanced across at him at they worked. “Gus is checking records with the harbor master to try to find out which ship Sharrouf came in on. Giorgio has taken a couple of men to scour the taverns for information.
“And while we’re at it, where have you been for the past two days? You never returned with us after Nico’s wedding. I assumed you were staying with Morwena and her family. Yesterday, I found out that she hasn’t seen you.”
“I needed time to think.”
“Did it help?”
“I don’t know.”
And he really didn’t know. Morwena’s accusation that night had cut deep – partly because she was right.
He wanted Morwena with a passion and was swept along by her own. He could think of a hundred reasons why he loved her and only one reason why he shouldn’t.
The ghost of Mellesse came between them still.
More and more frequently in that shadow place of his dreams, he would find himself making love to one woman and waking up alongside another. It did no good to tell himself he was not responsible for what went on in his mind during those nocturnal hours.
Was he ready to remarry? Part of him cried yes! Another part was afraid – afraid to give his whole heart, his whole life to another, only have it brutally and cruelly ripped away from him again. If he were to lose Morwena as he had lost Mellesse, he would not be able to bear it.

Shadow of the Corsairs - blurb

The Past Casts a Shadow Over a Second Chance For Love….
Palermo, 1810

Morwena Gambino is struggling to keep her family’s business going against mounting troubles. Her widowed father, once shrewd, is now increasingly forgetful, letting debts mount and disavowing his sons. Morwena runs the shop behind his back, forced to hide her enterprise not only from her father but also her bitter older brother.

In Tunisia, Tewodros “Jonathan” Afua is struggling to stay alive. Once an Ethiopian prince, he is a captive of the corsairs who slaughtered his wife and children. When a US naval bombardment provides an opening for escape, Jonathan falls in with a seemingly deranged English pirate. Aboard Kit Hardacre’s rundown ship with its ragtag crew, Jonathan learns the real reason he was taken by slavers.

Reluctantly joining Hardacre’s crew, he meets Morwena in Palermo. The fiery young Sicilian woman is the opposite of his quiet reserve, but he is attracted to her despite mourning for his late wife. As he and Morwena grow closer, it emerges that they have something in common – secret betrayal by those close to them – and they must count what they’re willing to risk for a future together.

Available on Amazon – all stores:

Thank you again, Ms Carter, for spending time with the Aspiring group, as well as being so generous to share your exciting news of your new release, and to answer questions on my blog. :)

Book Reviews

Moon Bound (Book Two of the Wolf Bound series) by Leisl Leighton

One pack, one coven, a destiny intertwined...
Five hundred years ago, facing extinction, a group of powerful witches united to create a pact with the Were to save witch–kind. The pact expelled an ancient evil, known only as the Darkness, that was blocking the Were from their wolves. With the Darkness destroyed, the Packs and their Covens grew strong as they thrived beside each other in their brand–new world.
But the Darkness was not destroyed.
Wiccan Healer–Witch Bronwyn Kincaid wants a quiet life. Her new powers have other ideas. Her increased healing magic and empathy mean she can't ignore the plight of River Collins, a wolf brought up thinking the animal inside him is an evil he must forever suppress. If Bronwyn can't control her powers and help River accept his wolf, the evil Darkness that hunts the Were will use them to destroy those they love.

When healer Bron agreed to help her friend and powerful witch, Skye Collins, stop an evil being obsessed with stealing their magic, she never expected a powerful boost to her own magic in return. If she can just gain control of it, Bron knows she can help heal Skye’s twin brother, River. And the attraction she has for him is so not the reason she wants to help, right?

River’s soul fractured the night he and his twin were almost kidnapped when they were children. Those monsters did something to him that night, changed him, and opened him up to true evil. He spent his formative years in a drugged state of repression, but now the evil within is growing stronger, longing to be free. It’s so hungry for destruction, so thirsty for blood, River’s afraid it will gain control and destroy everything and everyone he loves, especially the one woman who’s sworn to make him whole again – Bron.

With River so desperate to keep his distance, and Bron determined to get close enough to help, it takes more than a battle of stubbornness and determination to keep these two apart – a battle that both good and evil are determined to win.

Bron and River’s story tugs at more than just your heart, it pulls at your soul. These two have so much to learn about love and relationships, to trust again, and be open to the truth that sometimes you want to shake them and say, ‘get on with it already.’ But such things take time, and Ms Leighton allows her characters to stumble and fall before they find their way to the truth. I'm looking forward to book 3. :)

The Ceph Sector (Shamans & Shifters Space Opera Book 5) by Jenny Schwartz

The legendary Ceph have been in stasis for forty-two millennia. In a centyr, they'll wake. History remembers them as an unstoppable force, employing a mysterious power to decimate sentient life on the planets they attacked.

Jaya’s first mission as a new Shaman Justice is to lead an expedition into the perilous Ceph Sector. If she can learn how to contain or fight the sha-energy-using Ceph, Galaxy Proper might let them live. If not, destroying the Ceph’s home world, with all of them on it, will prevent the Ceph from ever waking.

Jaya will do anything to avoid the annihilation of an entire sentient species. But she has no idea what her compassionate instincts will cost her. She has a century in which to save the Ceph—unless they wake early.
“The Ceph Sector” is a compelling science fiction novel featuring aliens, alien politics, and secrets that will destabilize the galaxy.
Jaya’s first mission is far from simple, and she can’t help but think that’s intentional. However, she’s out to prove that humans belong in Galaxy Proper, so she wants to get this right. A pity then the powers-that-be refuse to let her pick her own crew. Instead, they throw together a band of Galaxy representatives that are not known for their tolerance toward each other, let alone a species as mysterious and formidable as the Ceph. Though her mate is by her side, Jaya must learn the difficult task of peacekeeping, negotiation, and leadership – and they haven’t even left base camp yet.

I am in awe of Ms Schwartz’s writing. The way she’s woven elements of previous books of this series to reach this amazing conclusion (if it has indeed concluded ;)) astounds me. All the pieces of the puzzle have come together in a way readers will be alternating between cheering and hiding their hands to stop themselves from biting their nails. Ms Schwartz never disappoints me with her story telling, and Ceph Factor is no different. :)

Her Outback Christmas by Rose Celeste

New Yorker, Tess Finlay, craves escape from the city for Christmas. The Australian outback seems like the perfect choice. Or not. She can cope with super-sized spiders and kamikaze kangaroos. The real danger is enigmatic chopper pilot, Matt. He’s rude and irritating, but there’s vulnerability under the tough exterior and hot body. A fatal combination she vows to steer clear of.
Matt Carter doesn’t do commitment, for very good reason. Which makes Tess a problem. Sparky wit wrapped in a delectable body is hard to resist, but he knows how to keep his distance.
It should be easy to avoid each other for a couple of weeks.  What could possibly go wrong?
A light holiday romance, give or take a bit of mortal danger.

Tess Finlay came to Australia to escape the ‘dangers’ of New York only to discover trouble of a different kind. How to stay safe in a harsh, but stunningly beautiful climate is drummed into Tess on a daily basis. It’s fine coming from her new friends, but why does it sound like Matt can’t wait to see the back of her? And why does she care?

Matt Carter has had a rough life and he’s not about to let anyone close enough to learn the reason why, especially the beautiful, sassy American he’s sure is more trouble than she’s worth. After all, she’ll be leaving in a few weeks – at least that’s what he’s trying to tell himself. A pity then that fate and Mother Nature have a different agenda entirely.

Constantly thrown together, and finding each other simultaneously frustrating yet hard to resist, it’s going to take some terrifying situations to make Tess and Matt admit the truth. And in the far North, anything can happen.

This made me smile. I love the Crocodile Dundee vibe. Even the characters make a few jokes regarding the movie. This is a sweet, romantic story with a little dash of spice. Perfect for romance readers who’d like to know a little more about Australia’s far North West. :)

Ms Celeste is currently working on her website. :) but you can find her Amazon author page here –

What I'm reading

I’ve started Alli Sinclair’s latest release – Burning Fields – OH WOW!
Stephen King’s – Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Shawn Inmon’s – The Unusual Second Life of Thomas Weaver


No workshops this month, but I’m now booked for a writing convention in early September, and I’ve bought my tickets for the West Coast Writing Festival in early November. I’m so excited to be attending workshops and looking starry-eyed at some amazing authors – hopefully without a stalker-like glaze.

One of these workshops is going to push me way out of my comfort zone. In fact, I’m already questioning why I’ve done this to myself, but I put in my selection and pressed SEND before I could change my mind. So, I’ll be attending a workshop on public speaking. I already feel sick. But I will try my best to get through it, and hey, I only have to think about it for the next ten weeks – eep!

I’ve also been beta reading for some wonderful writers enjoying a chapter swap, a novella, two novels, as well as a couple of short stories for competition entries. I can’t wait until their book babies are out in the world just as I’m keen to hear how the others did in their competitions. :)

Apart from filling my reading quota, I’ve sent my short story away, and my other short story is on its second draft for the other competition I found. The novel I am rewriting is almost done and I have at least one victim, er, beta reader, waiting in the wings. Most of the competitions I’ve entered will release their results in August. I do hope I have good news to share with you, but if not, I know there’ll be some valuable feedback coming my way.

For now, it’s back to work, so until next time, let beautiful words be the balm that soothes your soul. :)


  1. My brain froze at public speaking. So scary! You are BRAVE!

    and thank you for the gorgeous review, D :)

    1. My problem is my brain freezes but my speech goes on another tangent entirely. I've invented some interesting word mash ups this way. Pity none of them are cool or intelligent sounding. I also sound like someone hit the fast forward button. I should be quite the challenge. LOL

      And no, thank you Jenny for another awesome story to read. :)

  2. Public speaking is right up there with fear of dying and the dentist.Moving out of your comfort zone is brave.Anyway,your presenter will be doing the talking!Try and find one friendly face and speak to them,that is what I always try to do

    1. LOL I don't like the dentist either. But yes, I am trying to be braver.

      That friendly face will come after the workshop when I catch up with you. :)

  3. I can only dream of writing Elizabeth Ellen's 1000 words in two hours. But thanks for the inspiration and all of the book reviews to read.

    1. Hope there's a book there for you to enjoy, Ashlyn.

      Perhaps we need to do sprints to get our word counts up so we can get those numbers too. :)