FREE BOOKS THIS WEEK!

I think we can all agree it has been a tough week (month… year…), so how about some free books?

For three days, all of my titles will be free across all Amazon sites worldwide in Kindle form. The whole Canna Medici mystery series, the whole Secrets of Spain series about the Spanish Civil War (including the mammoth three-in-one if you want to grab it as a set) and my most recent release, set in 19th century Valencia.

Never purchased a Kindle/e-book? You are late to the party, but I know there are still some of you out there. No need to have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app on any device for free and the book(s) will also be yours for free.

There is a limit of 1,000 copies of each up for grabs, so if you want Night Wants to Forget, I suggest you get in quick because that particular title always sells out first.

The sale starts at 00:01 Wednesday June 7 and ends at 00:01 Saturday June 10. These times are PST, so check the time zone for your area. (It’s 7pm June 7 in New Zealand, 9am June 7 in Madrid, 3am June 7 in New York, as a reference)

Quick links (all other amazon sites are also eligible) –

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PART 5: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A – First Chapter Free!

Here we are, part 5 of the author Q+A. Now that all the questions have been answered, as promised, here is the first chapter of Canna Medici in Luminous Colours of Dusk. Time to see how Canna has progressed with her recovery from drug-addicted Countess to semi-normal woman. In true Canna style, things won’t be smooth for long.

~~

CHAPTER 1

 LONDON

Canna laughed out loud as she ran along the footpath. The streets of London were at a standstill with traffic, but she could pull on her running shoes and dart between the mindless, frustrated nine-to-fivers whenever she felt the urge. Mid-spring made its presence felt in the warm morning sunshine. Canna paused on the edge of the footpath, and waited her turn to cross the street. As she crossed the road and headed into the park, a man called out to her.

“Hey, sexy, why don’t you run over here and blow me?”

“Why don’t you go fuck yourself?” she called back with a friendly wave.

“Bitch!” the guy cried as Canna kept running.

“You bet I am, bigger and bitchier than ever before,” she muttered to herself with a smile. Canna flicked her golden brown ponytail over her shoulder and carried on with her morning workout.

By the time she reached the townhouse of Veena Valadez, the ex-wife of Canna’s husband, Canna had already completed ten kilometres around her adopted city. Canna rang the doorbell and did a few leg stretches while she waited on the doorstep of the luxurious two-storey townhouse. She glanced down at the four nautical stars on her left arm; a large star on her wrist for the love of her life, and three others for his friends, who once helped change her life. Her right arm also bore four black stars, representing her older brothers, just like the four Medici brothers, to whom Galileo dedicated the Medician stars, the four moons of Jupiter, in 1610. The twelve tattooed stars on her back told a different story entirely, as did the tattoos on her foot and ribs. Now, Canna felt proud of the story her skin told.

Veena opened the door with a cynical smile. “Sent you this time, did he?”

“Claudio slept in again. You remember how tired he can be after a performance,” Canna replied as she stepped into the narrow entrance-way.

“He can’t be too keen to visit his son today if he can’t even get out of bed.”

“Veena, it’s 8am. Give the guy a break. Claudio is the main star in Rigoletto, and the demands on his baritone voice are extraordinary.”

Veena paused and checked her reflection in the full length mirror in the hallway as the pair headed to the living room. Veena Valadez Sabela, music producer. With an outfit that probably cost more than Canna’s first car, her black hair coloured blonde and a face full of makeup, 43 year-old Veena looked every bit the strong businesswoman. Canna caught sight of herself in the mirror and smiled. In her running gear, her curly hair a mess, her facial scars as prominent as her flushed cheeks, she couldn’t feel happier about her appearance.

“Mamá tiene que ir a trabajar, mi bebé,” Veena said as she went into the living room.

On the rug sat who Canna knew to be the most beautiful child ever to grace the Earth. Casamiro, at 18 months old, looked the image of his father, Claudio Ramos Ibáñez, the man of her dreams. Pity Casamiro’s mother was such a bitch.

“Buenos dias, mi pequeño,” Canna said as she knelt down to the boy, who grinned when he saw her. Thanks to Claudio, Canna was now fluent in Spanish.

“Catherine, please, we discussed this; you must speak English to Casamiro,” Veena snapped.

“Good morning, my little one,” Canna corrected herself and picked up the contented child. In his features, she could imagine Claudio’s smile, his sparkling dark brown eyes, his strong jawline. Fortunately, the boy hadn’t taken after Vicious Veena at all.

“Thank you,” Veena said, her accented English as strong as ever. “Claudio and I must speak Spanish to the boy, and we leave you and the nanny to speak English to him. Casamiro has to learn both languages.”

“I know,” Canna said as she smoothed the boy’s collar. She didn’t take her eyes off the baby, who reached out to touch Canna’s diamond stud earring. “I can also teach him Italian. If you let us take him to our home in Corsica, he could pick up French.”

“Casamiro lives with me in London,” Veena retorted and folded her arms.

“Claudio and I have lived in Corsica for over a year now. The only time we come to London is to visit Casamiro.”

“And sing in Rigoletto, by all accounts.”

“Claudio has to work. He is a consummate baritone; he can’t sit around as my house husband all the time.”

“You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?”

Canna hesitated and looked over at Veena. Claudio had moved to London with his then-girlfriend and manager Veena four years ago, to join an operatic quartet named Virtuosi. They had released an album and toured Europe and then the United States; they sold millions of copies of their self-titled album, and their Royal Albert Hall DVD. But their manipulative ‘assistant’ Canna had an affair with Dane at the same time as an affair with Claudio, which destroyed the group. Virtuosi broke up a year and a half ago when Canna threatened to kill tenor Dane Porter and Claudio quit in search of an easier life. Now Claudio spent his days relaxing in Bonifacio, southern Corsica, while Canna ran a boatyard. But the occasional appearance in opera houses around Europe wasn’t enough for a talented baritone like Claudio Ramos Ibáñez and both Canna and Veena knew it.

“Say it, Veena.”

“Claudio should be working more often.”

“He is here in London to perform and visit his only child. Claudio’s life is devoted to spending time with his son.”

“Claudio wouldn’t have dumped me while pregnant if Casamiro was his main priority.”

Canna sighed. New day, same argument. “What do you want me to say, Veena? Claudio left you after having an affair with me. I’m a whore, I know.”

“Don’t speak like that while you’re holding my son.”

Canna looked at the delightful little boy dressed in the cutest little white polo shirt and baby jeans. His curly black hair was out of control, but no one had the heart to give him a haircut. “I apologise, Casamiro,” Canna said as the boy put his fist in her mouth.

“Do you love my son, Catherine?”

Canna took Casamiro’s fingers from her lips and kissed his hand. “Of course I do, Veena. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to see him, I could have stayed home in Bonifacio. I wanted to be here, to see Claudio perform and watch him spend time with his boy. I’ve been here for every visit every single month.”

Veena unfolded her arms and smoothed her white blouse. “If… If I gave Claudio more time with Casamiro, you wouldn’t have a problem with that?”

“No way. Claudio would love more time with Casamiro.” Canna glanced over at Veena, who looked teary. “Veena, has something happened?”

“No, no.” Veena dismissed Canna with a wave of her hand. “Casamiro is all I ever wanted. I need to know he is well cared for when he’s out of my sight.”

“I can promise you that, Veena. Claudio loves your son. He adores being a father, no matter how reluctant he was when you got pregnant.”

“I don’t doubt Claudio’s commitment, I’m questioning yours.”

“I am 540 days clean and sober if that’s what you’re asking. My bipolar disorder is under control; I haven’t missed a single day of my mood stabilisers that whole time. God-honest truth.”

“You were once an alcoholic and a drug addict. You used to mutilate yourself for fun and hang out with mafia types.”

“The useful words in that sentence are ‘used to be’. I am not Countess di Caraceni anymore. I am Mrs. Catherine Ramos, the scarred and tattooed eight-toed director of Medici Marine, wife of a baritone and stepmother to a darling little boy. I am innocent these days.”

“Still, you can appreciate a mother’s right to worry.”

“Of course I do, Veena. I don’t want to hurt myself or anyone else these days. Now, I work out each morning, go to work, go home, cook a healthy meal for my husband and relax. If you and Casamiro ever came to Bonifacio, you could see our lives first-hand. I invited you to our belated wedding. You didn’t send your RSVP back.”

“It’s difficult being the first wife at your ex-husband’s wedding.”

“I bet! I’m grateful my first husband is dead.”

 “You got married eighteen months ago, why have a wedding?”

“It wasn’t an ideal time for marriage,” Canna said with a shrug. “I was up on murder charges, you had just given birth to Casamiro… Now, we are ready for a wedding. Plus the work on our new château is just finished.”

“Everything is coming up Catherine.”

Canna frowned. “Are you sure there’s nothing wrong with you?”

Veena shook her head and glanced at her watch. “I need to go, I have an appointment before work.”

Canna gave Casamiro back to his mother for a kiss goodbye and went and got the pram from the entrance-way cupboard. She took it outside and unfolded it. Veena came out a minute later with Casamiro and his bag. “What are you going to do today?” Veena asked.

“Casi and I will hit the farmers market for dinner ingredients, and then head home.” Canna waited until Veena had finished strapping Casamiro in his seat; the boy seemed eager to get outside for a stroll, favourite white blanket in hand. “Then I’ll see what Claudio would like to do with his son. We don’t have many days left in London now. I need to get back to Corsica and to work. Another yacht is ready to leave the boatyard and start sea trials.”

Veena took a deep breath and brought a hand to her chest. “I won’t come around to your place and collect Casi tonight.”

“He can stay over tonight? Excellent.”

“I’m not sure I can look after my son tonight, not with nanny Lysandra away this week.”

“Veena, please don’t make me ask again. What’s wrong?”

Veena tried her best to smile. “I’m sure everything will be fine. Besides, it’s none of your business.”

“Whatever.” Canna tucked the baby bag in the bottom basket of the pram and flicked the brake. “We should let your Mamá get to work. She is busy and celebrated at Taylor Studios.”

Canna headed down the quiet narrow street and saw Veena drive past in her massive black Audi. The two women never got along and never would. Canna first met Claudio four years ago by being his nameless one-night stand in the Spanish seaside city of Cartagena. He was visiting Veena’s family there, and they had a fight. Claudio went in search of trouble at a beach bar, to find Canna, a married Countess who had been fighting with both her Italian husband and French lover. A one-night Spanish interlude seemed like a worthwhile idea at the time. Claudio went on to marry Veena, and Canna found herself pregnant by a stranger. Luckily, Canna’s husband hit her with her own car and killed the baby and almost her, too. Problem solved; right until Canna walked into Virtuosi at Taylor Studios and accidentally blew the whole charade wide open. Life would have been so much easier if Canna and Claudio hadn’t fallen in love; he could have stayed with his wife, Canna wouldn’t have broken tenor Dane Porter’s heart. The friends would have remained together in Virtuosi… But the course of true love had never run any less smoothly than within the story of Canna and her baritone.

Lamenting on the past wasn’t something Canna did often. The past was a dusty old book that never deserved to be pulled off the shelf, and nostalgia held very few pleasant memories. “Here we are,” Canna said to Casamiro as they headed amongst the basic stalls of the Notting Hill farmers market. “How about we buy something for dinner? Meatballs? Wise choice. I have some lamb at home, the superior quality New Zealand stuff.”

The baby turned and looked up at Canna for a moment, before turning back to the noise and smells surrounding him.

“You won’t ever see my home country,” she muttered. “I don’t think I will ever see it either. I haven’t been there in twelve years. It’s not like my family will ever want me, so we will have to settle for eating my home nation’s meat. Meatballs! Yes, we need fresh tomatoes to make our own sauce. I have all the herbs already. I also would like a marvellous Limoncello, but you don’t need that in your bottle, and I’m an alcoholic.”

“Did I just hear you suggest alcohol for a baby?”

Canna turned at the sound of the perky English accent, and she squealed with delight. There stood Lea Jacobs, Virtuosi’s former music manager, and her one-year-old son in a pram. “Holy shit, Lea!” Canna cried as she embraced the tall blonde.

“We haven’t seen you since Christmas!” Lea said when she let Canna go again. “Casamiro has gotten so big!”

“So has Laurent.” Canna bent over and stroked the little boy’s cheek. “Gosh, Lea, he is the spitting image of Henri.” Laurent was the opposite of Casamiro with his dark eyes and olive skin. French-English Laurent had his parents’ blonde hair and his father’s bright green eyes.

“If he looks like me, I hope that means we are very handsome.”

Canna stood up to see Henri Moreau, the French tenor of any woman’s dreams. “You know I’m hot for you, Henri,” she said as he hugged her so tight she couldn’t breathe.

“No one can resist me,” he said and kissed her cheek. “How are you, Canna?”

“I’m okay.”

Henri held her shoulders with his hands and looked her right in the eye. “Are you?” he asked in his heavy French accent. Canna never figured out how he always managed to look as if he had stepped off the cover of a fashion magazine.

Canna nodded with a smile. “I’m fine. Not fucking anything up at the moment.”

“Playing step-mum today?”

Canna chuckled and looked at Casamiro in the pram. “Just picking him up from Veena and delivering him to Claudio. Papá slept in this morning.”

“How is Claudio? Haven’t seen him for a while.”

“I see he is playing the lead in Rigoletto this week,” Lea added.

“He sure is, and loving it. This is our fourth trip to London this year to be with Casamiro, and the first time Claudio has managed to secure a part. You should come to closing night tomorrow.”

“Well, as I’m sure Claudio told you, operatic performances secure their stars far in advance. Up to five years in the future,” Henri replied.

“I did know that, so a last minute position in Rigoletto at the Royal Opera House was such a coup, the kind Claudio couldn’t afford to turn away.”

“Lucky for him,” Henri muttered and looked down at his polished grey shoes.

“Are you working, Henri? Or still a full-time father?”

“Henri has been song-writing for another group at Taylor Studios, a pop group,” Lea answered for her husband. “It’s a group I have been working with for the label, and they needed help.”

“That’s great, Henri,” Canna said, and the Frenchman half-smiled. “Wait, isn’t it positive?”

“Henri is a top level tenor, not a songwriter,” Lea said.

“Henri is also an exemplary songwriter and guitar player. Sorry, Henri, I’m talking about you as if you’re not even here.”

“That’s okay,” he shrugged. “My wife is a music manager, she does it all the time! You two used to do it all the time when you ran Virtuosi.”

“Like Henri was saying,” Lea continued, “an opera singer gets booked up far in advance. Henri cancelled his performances to develop the Virtuosi brand, and now can only get places in performances that are still years away. Nothing is available these days.”

“What about Erik?” Canna asked. She knew one of Virtuosi’s other tenors, Austrian Erik Vogler, had work.

“Erik was lucky to get a stint at the Salzburg opera festival last summer. Another tenor got hurt in an accident,” Henri said. “Erik was perfect for the role.”

“Erik and Holly are coming to our wedding,” Canna commented.

“Did Holly tell you that since Virtuosi folded, she hasn’t been able to find work as a music engineer?” Lea asked.

“She did.” Canna sighed. “Rebecca, however, has got work as a makeup artist on a ten-part period drama. So not all of Virtuosi’s staff have gone broke.”

“We’re not broke,” Henri chuckled. “Our CD still sells. Little royalty cheques come in, just like they do for Claudio, and Lea works at Taylor Studios with other acts.”

“But it’s not as fun as running my own group, though,” Lea added as she brushed her son’s straight blonde hair.

“Have you… You know…” Canna’s voice trailed off as she looked at Henri for an answer.

“Heard from Dane? No. Last we heard, he was an understudy for the lead role in a production of Tosca in Belgium.”

“Guess I don’t need to worry about bumping into him on the streets of London, then.” Canna felt scared, each time she returned to the London neighbourhood, she would run into Dane Porter, Virtuosi’s biggest tenor, her ex-lover, every time she stepped out on the street.

 The three stood awkwardly for a moment. “Um, maybe it’s a helpful thing we bumped into each other,” Lea said.

“Not now,” Henri said.

“No, if you need to say something, please, say it. Don’t you want to come to our wedding in Corsica?” Canna asked.

“No! I mean, yes, we would love to, if you will have us.”

“Of course, we would love to have you come to Corsica. It’s going to be a Herculean affair.”

“I approve of anything with the word ‘affair’ added,” Henri joked. “But in all seriousness, I need to talk to Claudio, and soon.”

“Claudio is in town a few more days, and then we are going home to Bonifacio.”

“We want to put Virtuosi back together,” Lea blurted out. “We believe there’s still life in the project. There are still fans of the group, and they talk about when they can see Virtuosi perform again.”

“Claudio made his position very clear,” Canna replied. “He doesn’t want to be part of the quartet anymore.”

“Then we will go on without him. Henri and Erik can revive the project, and if Dane agrees to come back, just Claudio will need to be replaced.”

“You have the backing from Taylor Studios to make another album?” Canna asked.

Lea paused for a moment. “Not yet, but if Veena agrees to come back to the project as producer, then she can help us lobby Scott Taylor for the green light.”

“Veena left as producer of the group because she and Claudio split,” Henri added. “Without Claudio it would work.”

“I’m surprised you would do this,” Canna sighed. “Henri, you begged Claudio to stay with Virtuosi once, and now you want Dane back instead?”

“Claudio can’t hold us back,” Lea said. “I’m sorry, you know I love Claudio. But he swore he wouldn’t be back, or sing with Dane. We have barely heard from Claudio since Virtuosi split eighteen months ago.”

“We have been busy, having a real life,” Canna said. “Christ, I almost died, we needed room to breathe.”

“And we can’t begrudge either of you for that,” Henri said. “Sorry, Canna, I don’t want to sound hostile. Of course, if Claudio wanted to come back to the group, then we would take him in a second. That’s why I want to talk to him, to make sure he is comfortable with us going ahead without him.”

“But be assured, we are going forward, with or without Claudio,” Lea added. “We want our lives back.”

“Claudio has his final night of Rigoletto tomorrow, why not speak to him before that?” Canna offered.

“I have to head to work soon,” Lea said. “I still work for the Taylor label. Someone needs a job.”

Henri smiled and rolled his eyes behind his high-strung wife, and Canna tried not to smile. “I won’t hold you up anymore, then,” Canna said and nudged the pram brake with her running shoe. “I have to be at the dentist this evening, leaving Claudio alone with Casamiro.”

Lea fussed with her own pram, ignoring the words, but Henri got the message loud and clear. He gave her a kiss goodbye, and the Moreau family disappeared among the hordes of morning shoppers.

Every Lithium tablet, a mood stabiliser, came in handy whenever Canna came to London. She tried to avoid all the triggers of her depression and bipolar disorder. She wanted to stay off the booze and morphine pills which increased her desire to self-harm. Every day was an exercise in patience and self-control. After 540 days without drugs, alcohol or violence, coming to London, home to distressing memories, raised her anxiety to record levels. Triggers, like any link to her past, lurked everywhere, even the farmers market.

A quick jog back to Pembridge Crescent and Canna fumbled in the bottom of the pram for her house keys. The townhouse seemed like such a brilliant idea pre-baby; now a pram needed to mount the stairs to the front door. She grabbed the keys and stood up, just as something caught her eye. A figure. Canna spun around and looked to the end of the silent street, but no one was there. Just for a moment, she swore she could see someone standing a handful of townhouses away. Everywhere Canna went, she swore someone was following her. The feeling wouldn’t ever dissipate; for years her bodyguard, Giancarlo Antelli, made sure no one came near her. But he had been dead for eighteen months. He had taken the fall when Canna murdered Russian mafia figure Yuri Dementyev, in Moscow two years ago. Canna always wondered if she would pay for defending herself against the would-be rapist. Anyone could consider her guilty, even if the police had closed the case. Canna knew all too well how the underworld dealt with crimes against their own.

But this time, none of the figures of her past as an Italian Countess worried her; here in London, Dane Porter could walk down the street. His home was just five blocks away. In the corner of her eye, it was Dane that she saw. He was her only ex-lover left alive, and while he was never a threat to her life, he threatened her lifestyle with Claudio, which seemed far more dangerous.

Click here to buy Luminous Colours of Dusk on Kindle and in paperback

Night Wants to Forget and Violent Daylight, parts one and two of the Canna Medici series are FREE on Kindle now, for a limited time.

 

 

PART 4: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

 

Here we are again, part 4 of the Luminous Colours of Dusk Q+A. here are all your questions about writing –

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve had storylines going around in my head for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until 2009 when I finished my university studies that I decided to sit down and try fiction. It took about another 18 months before I decided to publish a novel. If you want to do something, just do it!

Where do the your ideas come from?

My warped mind! For my Canna Medici series, the people and their scenarios are all totally fictional. Once I start writing, it all comes to me. For my series based Valencia, there is so much more work to be done – interviews with people in Spain, were in Spain, fought in the war, along with natural disasters, current news events, all come together and work around a group of characters I put together myself. Each type works well, though writing about Spain is important to me, as is its accuracy, and using real timelines of Valencia’s history with fictional characters is so much fun. Whereas with Canna, it’s all made up and my imagination can run wild.

If I knew, maybe I could make it stop.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Each of my five published books have taken different times to developed. Night Wants to Forget took 18 months. Violent Daylight was eight months from first word to publication. Luminous Colours of Dusk only took six months in total, but the schedule has been brutal. Blood in the Valencian Soil was a tough one, I spent ten months working on it, tossed the entire lot and wrote something else, then started again and it took a year for the finished product to be released. Vengeance in the Valencian Water took six months of writing time, and another two months to edit. My next two books have eight months each allocated to them.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I proofread and edit, and I have also have others do it as well, different people for different series. I can’t thank those people enough for all their help. Being edited can be really hard, so sticking with an editor/proofreader can be tough and you need to trust them. The first person who helped me with Night Wants to Forget was terrible. The book was a disaster. I would like to pretend the first edition doesn’t exist.

Do you think that the cover art is important?

I think so. You can make your own cover art, or get someone on fiverr to whip something up, but first impressions are really important. My personal preference is for a photograph, or a ‘real-life shot, as opposed to a plain cover or designed/drawn covers. For all the books in the Canna Medici series, I had an artist work on the books, so that they followed a theme and had the same fonts and designs used. The artwork was secured by the designer and she took care of everything for me from the United states. The Secrets of Spain series has a simpler design, and all photographic backgrounds are taken from the Valencia area, specific to the storyline. Having them all designed in the same style helps match as a set. Cheap-looking cover art can suggest a poor quality story, so why sell yourself short?

Do you write every day or as and when you can?

I plan my life, my family, my work and then working writing around it all. I aim for 3-4 chapters per week, slipped in where I have free time. If I don’t feel like writing, I just give up. I can skip weeks of writing and then spend two weeks catching up, and the work is always completed. Trying to keep to a strict timeline only stresses me out. With my last book, I fell nearly a month behind, so the next month meant I wrote a chapter nearly every day. It’s not a schedule I would recommend.

 Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

When I write, I write a chapter from start to finish, regardless of how many words it needs to be. My chapters can run from 2,500 to 4,500 words, depending on the book, and I always finish a chapter when I get started. Obviously, some planning is required to achieve this.

For example, Luminous Colours of Dusk is 155,000 words long. That’s not a 200 page chit-chat. Maybe I should write shorter books. I can’t guarantee that I will ever master the art of the 70,000 word book. In fact, I already know I won’t, I have some epic sagas planned.

Do you get a lot of support when writing?

I always have my lovely twitter followers to push me on when things get rough. For my Spanish wiring, the #wabas group, Writers and Bloggers about Spain, are always helpful, with tips, encouragement, promotions, editing, whatever I need, someone can appear and help. I’m a lucky woman.

Do you get writers block?

I usually start with a huge burst of enthusiasm with every book, then get to the middle, worry that I’m not getting to the point fast enough, spin in circles for a month or so, then kill off loads of people and end the story. It’s less writer’s block and more mass confusion about where I’m going. I write a list of what each chapter has to achieve, and then just ignore my own advice. If I just got to work, my problems would probably solve themselves.

What are the highlights and lowlights of writing?

I’m one of those people who don’t like birthdays. They are normal days, but you expect more, and then get let down (at least I do, anyway). Book release day is much the same. There should be excitement, but instead it’s mostly just relief the work is over. It should be a highlight and it isn’t. You may see an increase my use of exclamation points in an attempt to make the day a highlight. Likewise, small moments can make themselves into highlights, like coming up with a plot twists. The day I figured out the plot-twist connection between Luna Montgomery and María Medina in Blood in the Valencian Soil (won’t share – spoiler), I literally jumped for joy in public. Probably looked mental.

Is being edited/ editing other hard?

I sulk after every chapter of edited work comes back o me. Then I see why changes have been made and I move on… to sulk after getting the next email. Editing others can be hard too, because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but don’t them suffering with typos or mix-ups either. It’s okay to hate editing and/or criticism – just don’t get the two confused.

~~~

Phew, that is all the answers given. Part 5 of the Q&A will be chapter one of Luminous Colours of Dusk, free to read. Also there is a free promo on for Night Wants to Forget and Violent Daylight, go HERE for details.

Click here to read PART 3: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A – All about Spain

Click here to read PART 2: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A – all about me

Click here to read PART 1: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A – all about Canna

thanks to writingmemes.tumblr.com

PART 3: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

When I put out the call for questions ahead of my Luminous Colours of Dusk book release, inevitably there would be questions about Spain and my books based there. So, here is a Q&A section dedicated to my Secrets of Spain series.

Why write about books based in Spain?

That is a good question. I’m a New Zealander, a baby country with a small but interesting history. To write the story of my family coming out to this pioneering nation from Scotland and Ireland would make a great tale. But when I moved to Spain, the place spoke to me, as it has spoken to so many foreigners over time. I feel a personal connection to the struggles of the country, and the history and politics speaks to me better than my home country. (Though, since it’s election time in New Zealand, I’m pretty outspoken at the moment). You can find a 1001 books based in Madrid, Barcelona, or anywhere in southern Spain, but Valencia sits outside the spotlight. You only have to visit the city to understand how unique it is, and to me, the perfect setting to write books. The history of the place gives so many exciting possibilities.

Why write about the Spanish civil war?

There is no war like the Spanish civil war. There was no one side versus another, rather factions coming together, struggling against the enemy and one another. Nothing is as vicious as a civil war, yet other nations weighed in, while some stayed on the sidelines with their own agendas. Volunteers came to fight and changed the course of the war. While one side defeated the other, and evil won the war, some believe the outcome was a good one. There were no winners in Spain, and the wounds are not fully healed. The multiple facets are what drives my interest.

Out of your Spanish books, who is your favorite character?

Tough question! Luna Montgomery was the first character I ever created, but she has a great supporting cast in Blood in the Valencian Soil and Vengeance in the Valencian Water. I have always enjoyed writing Paco Beltrán, patriarch of the Beltrán Morales bullfighting family. He played a good role in both books, and has a big space in the third book, Death in the Valencian Dust. As evil as he was, I enjoyed also writing José Morales. His transformation from conflicted young officer to evil Francoist was a joy to undertake. I know a lot of people found him hard to stomach, but some really liked him. Scarlett Montgomery was a great character for me, as she was based on a real life New Zealand nurse who defied her country and went to the civil war.

How much research do you do for your Spain-based books?

I lost count of the hours spent researching years ago. I never stop researching – everyday conversations with Spain lovers help me. Even tiny comments can come in handy for minor details. I can often sit down and need a basic piece of info for a chapter and spend all day reading, long forgetting the original point I needed. One day I sat down at my desk at just after 9am, needed a detail on where a bus stop was in 1957, and then my alarm rang to stop writing at 2.45. Somehow, the whole day had disappeared. I never know where I will find helpful information. Between all the books and websites I use, I can be buried in info, much like my desk is. I can’t actually see my desk under all the stuff I have piled up ahead of my next book on Valencia.

I am lucky to be part of #wabas – Writers and Bloggers about Spain. The members are kind enough to let me be part of their group and I can absorb all kinds of information from them, so thanks!

What will the next Luna Montgomery book be about?

(I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible for readers still on books one and two)

Death in the Valencian Dust is another double timeline story, split between 1975 and 2014. At the end of the second book, Cayetano Beltrán asks his uncle Jaime about the time he went to prison in Valencia in 1975. It is centred around the time when Franco dies and King Juan Carlos takes over, and the upheaval Jaime goes through thanks to some dodgy dealings in Valencia. The 2014 timeline sees Cayetano at age 45, facing retirement from bullfighting, while Luna’s life is going in a very different direction. Cayetano is struggling with Luna’s rising career and ambitions while the sun sets on all he has ever known. The Beltrán Morales family has undergone a major upheaval since we saw them in 2010 (cant tell yet!), and in the shadow of King Juan Carlos retiring, they reflect on their family and the loss of all the traditional Spanish ideals they have previously enjoyed.

Have you ever had the desire for Luna Montgomery and Darren James to become a couple?

Pro-cyclist Darren James will be in the third book very prominently, and still rubbing Cayetano Beltrán up the wrong way. The men will find common ground with the changes in their lives and careers, but they are an uneasy alliance with Luna endlessly caught in the middle. Have I had the desire to have Luna and Darren as a couple? Yeah, I have thought about it. There is a lot of logic in a pairing like them. The third book isn’t out yet…

How do you feel about reviews of the series? Do you seek out reviews?

I’m not really comfortable with asking for book reviews. I am pretty happy with the reviews I have received, and get nice little messages via twitter regularly from people who are reading. I write a niche subject so it is easy to get lost in the crush of millions of books to read. I am meticulous with my planning of the series, and that satisfies me personally.

Of all the people you have killed in the series, which was the hardest?

SPOILER ALERT – you may want to skip this bit if you are not finished the books

I have always felt bad about killing Alejandro Beltrán. To me, it was an awful way to die and I feel sorry for writing it. Cayetano Ortega was a tough character to kill as well. In fact, everyone from the first book in the 1939 timeline met a sad end.

Do you have a book planned, away from the Secrets of Spain series?

I do, my long suffering novel based in Spanish civil war slowly continues to grow in size. The book starts in Barcelona 1937 and progresses throughout much of the war, based mostly among the fighting of Madrid, Barcelona and Teruel (and surrounding areas). That will be released after Death in the Valencian Dust, with all new characters from me. The characters are fictional, based on real accounts, and set to the real timeline and outcomes of the war itself.

Do you use social media much for book promotion?

It was be impossible to work without social media, though I have placed a ban on using it on my computer, or I never get any work done. I have broken my bad social media habits. In saying that, you can always catch up with me. Twitter is my preferred medium, much more than Facebook. You can find me –

Website: here obviously carolineangusbaker.com

Facebook: Caroline Angus Baker (subscribe, since I make many public posts)

Twitter: Writer_Caroline

Pinterest: WriterCaroline

Tumblr: Duende Lover

Google+ : Caroline Angus Baker

Book Links:

US – Caroline Angus Baker

UK  – Caroline Angus Baker

New Zealand (paperback only) Caroline Angus Baker 

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Part 4 is all the questions about writing, and Part 5 is the first chapter of Luminous Colours of Dusk. Also, there will be a free promotion on Night Wants to Forget and Violent Daylight. Details will in Part 4.

Click here for Part 1 – all about Canna Medici – PART 1: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

Click here for Part 2 – all about me – PART 2: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

PART 2: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

caroline

Hello, welcome to part two of my author Q&A, home to all the more unusual questions I was asked via social media. Today is all about… me! We shall be doing this section rapid-fire style. Where do you peeps get your questions?

Click here for Part 1, all about the upcoming Luminous Colours of Dusk

1) What is the weirdest thing you have Googled?

Tough choice – What does a mercenary cost? How long does it take to strangle someone? How long does a severed hand stay warm? Which switchblade fits in a bra? You know, standard fare.

2) Name something you learned at school

When you’re 17 and your math teacher is 24, and he wants to hang out with you in the photocopy room, it’s not to help out with your recipe book pages.

3) What will your cemetery headstone say? 

I REGRET NOTHING! (Just kidding, I don’t want a headstone – scatter me!)

4) How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?

Sulking, pyjamas, The Borgias and hot chocolate.

5) Do you make your bed?

Pfft… nope.

6) Do you get road rage?

Oh God, yes. Five minutes in the car and I’m flipping someone off.

7) What is the toughest thing to write?

Um… I don’t know if anything has been tough, but I remember reading back chapter 14 of Vengeance in the Valencian Water, and thinking, ‘no one should have ideas like this’. It is outside the boundaries of normal, healthy thoughts.

8) Is there something you would refuse to write about?

I have yet to come across an issue I can’t broach, but obviously rape and murder of children will never be a subject of mine.

9) What is the strangest thing that has been said to you by a reader?

I know what flavour of ice cream you would be. (He confessed to being naked when he messaged me)

10) What is the biggest lie you have told?

Sure, I can speak Portuguese!

11) Do you have a special skill?

I have an excellent memory. It irritates the crap out of my husband.

12) Do you dream?

I dream very, very vividly, which I have been able to use in writing. Just last night, I was trapped as a victim of human trafficking in the desert.

13) Have you ever gotten into a fight?

Ahhh… verbally – yes, that happens very regularly, online and in real life. Physically, I have only ever slugged a few people, the last time was when I punched a guy in the supermarket car-park when he tried to force me into his car.

14) Do you drink or smoke?

Drinking – only in Spain. At home I am a teetotal. Smoking – gross!

15) How do you come up with book titles?

They come to me at random. All of the Canna series’ titles are from one piece in Violent Daylight – “Night wants to forget the sun, but is defeated every morning. It’s violent, the way daylight overpowers the night. But at least we get the luminous colours of dusk each evening.” If you read the books they would make more sense. As for my Spain series, I wanted to make sure Valencia was in each title, since I love the city so much.

16) What holiday location would you most like to visit?

The Alps in southern France and the Pyrenees, I have never been and want to visit all the best mountain climbs for cycling.

17) What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to your writing?

Someone said that the Canna series brought them back to reading again. Someone else said my characters are boring and unlikable. Each is only an opinion, sometimes compliments can sound fake, sometimes criticism sounds like trolling. It can be hard to decide on what to believe.

18) Do you get twitter trolls?

Hell yes! Mostly guys who take offence to my feminist posts (Seriously? You hate equality?) In saying that, there’s plenty of vicious/jealous/stupid women out there too. A few months ago, a friend (real life) had a problem with her husband and strippers (won’t go into details for privacy), and I tweeted that I don’t think strippers are acceptable ever, regardless of other’s opinions. Some woman tweeted that her celebrity crush doesn’t like strippers and I need to shut the fuck up. How the hell she came to that conclusion…. talk about lala land. On the upside, a few of my followers agreed with her, so hello, block function! That cleared out some tripe. There are always trolls about, and it doesn’t annoy me much. Block, block, block.

19) Which is harder to write – sex or violence?

Neither. Give me a wedding or heartfelt romantic plea and I’m stumped. I’ll take a murder or secret affair any day.

20) Do you believe in God?

Nope.

21) Do you still think you’re a Spain fraud?

Not so much anymore. After I wrote Why Spain? many people denied my fraudster claim. I haven’t been writing about Spain much this year, which probably helps my fraudster feelings. I start a new Spain novel in two weeks; that might change my feelings again.

22) Have you ever done anything you are ashamed of?

I damaged a friend’s car in Buñol, outside Valencia, and lied about it.

23) Are you a good holiday companion?

Ask my husband about the time we were in Seville, it was 46 degrees and we were lost.

24) Do you have a day job as well?

Yes, though the summer is much busier than the winter. Sailing classes, swimming lessons, sports, field trips, reading, spelling, whatever my children’s school needs.

25) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I have no idea, and I love that fact. I don’t know who I will be in 10 years.

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Phew! The next post is back to my writing, all about the books I have written (besides Luminous Colours of Dusk), and what is coming next.

Click here for PART 1: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A and look out for an upcoming free book offer coming soon!