Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Layered Pages Current Reads

Today I finished reading, A Twist in Time by Julie McElain and my review will be coming soon at my WordPress. So be sure to be on the lookout for that. I have lots of interesting things to say about the story.

I’m currently reading two books! 

Roma Amor (Won in a book giveaway)

Riding home from the Danube frontier, Marcus Carinna hears a voice whisper, “Your turn,” as he passes his family tomb. An unseen presence also startles the Germanic priestess Aurima, whom he is bringing to Rome. But hardheaded Romans scoff at ghosts, and Marcus can’t believe it’s a warning from his brother, who killed himself three years earlier.

37 AD: To great acclaim, 25-year-old Caligula Caesar has become Rome’s new master. No one is more pleased than Senator Titus Carinna, who helped him succeed to the throne. It’s a shame the Senator’s older son—Caligula’s closest friend—committed suicide after being charged with treason. But that still leaves Marcus, his second son.

Headstrong and hot-tempered, Marcus would rather prove his courage by fighting Rome's enemies than take his brother’s place. Yet when his father calls him home to befriend and steady the erratic Caligula, he has no choice.

Swept into a labyrinth of deceit, conspiracy, and betrayal reaching from Palatine mansions to the city’s grimy, teeming streets, Marcus will uncover a secret that threatens his family, the woman he desires, even his life… and may bring chaos to the young Roman Empire.

Berlin Calling (ARC for review) - Pub Date 14 Feb 2017 

Germany 1938. While young and old are captivated by the country’s rapid ascent under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, naive Maggie O’Dea, an American studying abroad, finds her own fortunes turning after falling in love with a handsome soldier and landing a job with the Propaganda Ministry. Embodying the infectious spirit of nationalism sweeping the country, her powerful dispatches launch her broadcasting career as a champion of the Fatherland.

But as Germany invades one peaceful neighbor after another and the wheels of World War II are set in motion, Maggie starts opening her eyes to the grim reality of Hitler’s intentions. Torn between her successful career rooted in the allegiance to her adopted land and a growing dread over her role in a tyrant’s ruthless reign, Maggie—supported by a new love—must fight her own war of conscience. Will she survive a conflict threatening the world…and her own life?


Be sure to check out my Cover Crush this week over at my WordPress HERE and my Wish-List 5: Random Bits of Bookish Delights HERE.

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages II today!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Interview with Award Winning Author Helena Schrader

 Today over at my WordPress, I've interviewed award winning author Helena Schrader.

"Slavery is one of the most abhorrent practices known to man. It is equally repellent in the Ancient world, the Middle Ages, pre-Civil War America or today. Regardless of place or period, slaves are first and foremost dehumanized, they are subjected to extreme brutality, contempt, cruelty, overwork, malnutrition, sadism and torture. What struck me as particularly repulsive the context of this book, however, was a passage written by Salah ad-Din’s secretary Imad ad-Din in which he gleefully delights and glorifies in the humiliations to which Christian women and girls captured in Jerusalem were subjected, “bringing a smile to Muslim faces at their lamentations…” -To read more of this interesting context click HERE. A really fascinating read! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Layered Pages: Monday’s Featured Book

With divine beauty comes dangerous power.

Helen believed she could escape her destiny and save her people from utter destruction. After defying her family and betraying her intended husband, she found peace with her beloved Theseus, the king of Athens and son of Poseidon.

But peace did not last long. Cruelly separated from Theseus by the gods, and uncertain whether he will live or die, Helen is forced to return to Sparta. In order to avoid marriage to Menelaus, a powerful prince unhinged by desire, Helen assembles an array of suitors to compete for her hand. As the men circle like vultures, Helen dreams again of war—and of a strange prince, meant to steal her away. Every step she takes to protect herself and her people seems to bring destruction nearer. 
Without Theseus’s strength to support her, can Helen thwart the gods and stop her nightmare from coming to pass?

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

Amalia on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter here and here.

More great book posts at Layered Pages WordPress HERE

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Over at my WordPress this week, I posted my book review of Girl In Disguise by Greer MacAllister. I thought I would share here as well because it’s such a great story and I want to get the word out about it!

With no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin―unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective.

Battling criminals and coworkers alike, Kate immerses herself in the dangerous life of an operative, winning the right to tackle some of the agency’s toughest investigations. But is the woman she’s becoming―capable of any and all lies, swapping identities like dresses―the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?

My Thoughts:

The Pinkerton Agency is widely known for their pursuit of Jesse James, the Dalton Brothers and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch. What is not commonly known is the agency hired the first female Detective-Kate Warne- in the U.S. during the mid-1850’s. The founder Allan Pinkerton immigrated to Chicago from Scotland in the early 1840’s and joined the Chicago police department and soon after opened the first Pinkerton Agency. Before reading, Girl in Disguise, I had not known about Kate, so I was delighted when I discovered this book on NetGalley.

Kate Warne is an extraordinary woman-especially someone as independent as she was in the 1800’s. During those times it was unheard of for women to do what was considered a “Man’s job”. Allan Pinkerton was hesitant-if you will-to hire her but in his knowledge of undercover work, he knew that often times it was not easy for males to gain access to the people they were pursuing. With strong intellect and determination, Kate quickly proves herself to be invaluable and gains the trust of Pinkerton

Kate’s talent for gathering information is well displayed in this story and gives you great insight into detective work and I found this highly fascinating to read about. As the story developed further, the Pinkerton Agency flourished and you really get a sense of the character’s will to fight for justice.
The second half of the story focuses on the American Civil War and the agencies role. This is where I learned some new things about the agency I had not realized before. I did find a few scenes disjointed and there is a brief romance that just seem to appear and I was not sure-at first- how that would play out in the story. In the end I believe it worked and really helped Kate’s motivation for the actions she took. I do question Kate’s ability to travel freely on her own while the war was raging and I’m not sure that was believable to me. Nonetheless it did not entirely distract me from enjoying the story.

After finishing the story, I tuned to the author’s notes and I was glad I did. I developed a deeper appreciation for the story from having read it and I highly recommend that readers take the time to do so.

I have rated this story four stars and obtained a copy from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Holiday Season is Upon Us! Books make the perfect gift! Check out indieBRAG's list- HERE -of fantastic reads for everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ruler Of The Night by David Morrell

Tomorrow at my Layered Pages WordPress HERE, I will be posting my review of Ruler of The Night by David Morrell! Don’t miss it!

The notorious Opium-Eater returns in the sensational climax to David Morrell's acclaimed Victorian mystery trilogy.

1855. The railway has irrevocably altered English society, effectively changing geography and fueling the industrial revolution by shortening distances between cities: a whole day's journey can now be covered in a matter of hours. People marvel at their new freedom.

But train travel brings new dangers as well, with England's first death by train recorded on the very first day of railway operations in 1830. Twenty-five years later, England's first train murder occurs, paralyzing London with the unthinkable when a gentleman is stabbed to death in a safely locked first-class passenger compartment

In the next compartment, the brilliant opium-eater Thomas De Quincey and his quick-witted daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. Key witnesses and also resourceful sleuths, they join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, Detective Ryan and his partner-in-training, Becker, to pursue the killer back into the fogbound streets of London, where other baffling murders occur. Ultimately, De Quincey must confront two ruthless adversaries: this terrifying enemy, and his own opium addiction which endangers his life and his tormented soul.

Editorial review:

Ruler of the Night is a riveting blend of fact and fiction which, like master storyteller David Morrell's previous De Quincey novels, "evokes Victorian London with such finesse that you'll hear the hooves clattering on cobblestones, the racket of dustmen, and the shrill calls of vendors" (Entertainment Weekly).

Friday, December 9, 2016

Top 12: Historical Fiction Authors Who Write English Historical Fiction Novels

A friend asked me to post about my favorite authors who writes historical fiction stories that take place in England. Now this is a challenge for me but it’s not what you think. The challenge is, I have a lot of favorite authors who write English Historical Fiction! So how can I make this work without anyone feeling left out? The pressure is on! I have decided to list my top 12 favorite authors. 

Here we go:

Elizabeth Chadwick 
Helen Hollick
Diana Haeger
Lucinda Brant
Philippa Jane Keyworth
Sandra Byrd
Alison Weir
Patricia Bracewell
E.M. Powell
Ariana Franklin
Michel Faber
Elizabeth Freemantle

**Next Top Author List theme will be continuations of Jane Austen stories! Stay tuned! 

Be sure to check out my **Bookish Happenings** and lots of other great posts at my Layered Pages WordPress HERE

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Book Release: Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

Edition Hardcover
ISBN 9780802125743

Internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is one of our finest crime writers, whose gripping, impeccably plotted novels have garnered millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, Out of Bounds, she delivers a riveting cold case novel featuring detective Karen Pirie.

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating, a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems.

An enthralling, twisty read, Out of Bounds reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business.

 Editorial Reviews: 

“McDermid melds the political thriller with the police procedural for an intense novel that . . . feels both intensely personal and global . . . Karen . . . once again proves herself a formidable character worthy of her own series.”—Associated Press on The Skeleton Road

“McDermid excels in putting the reader at the center of the action . . . A tightly paced mystery . . . My bones tell me we haven’t seen the last of Inspector Pirie—or at least I hope not.” —Janet Napolitano, Los Angeles Times on The Skeleton Road

Monday, December 5, 2016

Parallels Between Historical and Modern Politics

A few days ago on Facebook, I had an interesting conversation about how I would like to see authors promote their work. Readers don’t want to see continual, “BUY MY BOOK” in their faces none stop. I love to see authors talk about their characters and drawing themes from their stories. Why did they write what they did and so on…? I did mention that readers do not like to see none stop political post from authors. I talked a little about that HERE and an interesting conversation sparked from this between two authors and myself.

One author said, “I think the posting about politics thing depends on the author and his/her genre. I choose not to because 1) I write Regency romances which have little to do with politics (at least not modern politics), and 2) I have always used books as an escape from stress (and what's more stressful that politics, particularly this year)? But if someone wrote contemporary political thrillers, talking about politics on social media would actually fit with his/her brand and book(s). I think readers in that genre would find that perfectly acceptable, too

Then the conversation about comparisons of politics from the past and the modern day sparked an interest from award winning Alison Morton who writes a fabulous post about the Third Reich for inspiration for her latest book, INSURRECTIO.

One of the passages in her post that caught my attention was this: "The backgrounds in the fictitious Roma Nova and 1930's Weimar Germany are different, but the ground is equally slippery under both. Weimar was caught between idealism, hide-bound and self-interested mindsets, economic and political instability."  To read Alison’s full post click HERE. I highly recommend you do.

Do you write Historical fiction or Alternate History? What are some of the politics themes you can draw from your story that we can compare to today’s modern politics?

Alison Morton is an award winning author of her Roma Nova series at indieBRAG!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kendra Donovan Series by Julie McELWAIN

Back in April, I interviewed author Julie McELWAIN about her debut novel, A Murder in Time. See full interview here and I have been waiting for her sequel, A Twist in Time, to come out. Well, guess what?! I was able to get an ARC of the story and I can’t wait to read and write a review about it. I hoping to this weekend. That remains to be seen. I have a buddy read to finish up and another for review. Next week I HAVE to turn in three full book reviews. Here is to hoping! 

To find out more about her first book, check out my full review of A Murder in Time here.


The sequel to A Murder in Time.

Pub Date 11 Apr 2017

When Kendra Donovan’s plan to return to the 21st century fails, leaving her stranded in 1815, the Duke of Aldridge believes he knows the reason—she must save his nephew, who has been accused of brutally murdering his ex-mistress.

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.

Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past—which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.

As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm—and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Exclusive Author Interview Annoucement

Coming up tomorrow-December 1st- on my Layered Pages WordPress is my interview with best-selling author C.S. Harris! She will be talking to me about her book, Good Time Coming.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Manic Monday & Bookish Delights

Today at Layered PagesWordPress, I am sharing with you David Morrell’s Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey trilogy) a Victorian mystery trilogy, is truly brilliant. Every historical detail is impeccable; you hang on to every word. His characters are unforgettable and he transports to you the Victorian London streets with vivid imagery, as if you were really there. Murder mysteries at its finest! Also, I share weekend happenings, thoughts and discovery of a show on Netflix! Be sure to check out my post and support book bloggers! We support you.

Click here for the post at my Layered Pages WordPress! 

indieBRAG is open for submissions!

Are you a self-published Author?

If you are self-published author and would like to be considered for a B.R.A.G. Medallion, we encourage you to submit your book! Submitting your book for consideration is easy—simply provide the required information about your book and yourself as an author, submit payment information (consideration is a submission fee of $50.00), and we’ll take care of the rest!
Submit your book here

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Upcoming Interview @ indieBRAG

I've got a REALLY fantastic interview coming up with award winning author & graphic designer Lee Davis tomorrow at the indieBRAG Blog,here. Don't miss it! -Stephanie M. Hopkins 

Lee Davis

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bookish Things & Reflections

Today over at my Layered Pages WordPress  I have shared some bookish happenings and some reflections about what has been going on this week during election time. Click on the link here to check out what I have to say. Also, I mention some great posts from my fellow book bloggers! I hope you all join me in supporting book bloggers, authors and great reads!

Now I am going to take a short break and enjoy a quick cup of tea before getting back to work. Enjoy your weekend and thank you for visiting Layered Pages! Many blessings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .
I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

Three sentences that grabbed me in the book description not mentioned above:

You do the same thing every day

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

My Thoughts:

How much privacy do you think we really have? With social media-it’s next to none. Imagine opening a newspaper and finding your picture shown big as a day on it with no explanation. There are no words to describe how one would feel. Or is there? Did Clare Mackintish accomplish that goal in, I See You?

I am absolutely fascinated with psychological thrillers. Why? I am curious about the human condition and what makes people tick. What motivates them to commit the acts they do. I do- however- think there is a fine line writers should not cross in this genre. Some things are too dark and disturbing for the average reader to venture to or for anyone for that matter. Clare Mackintosh is one of the few writers who can get into the mind of a psychopath or sociopath-if you will and stay in the boundaries just enough to not leave you feeling physically ill. She gives you the right amount of tension and chill factor to leave you totally creeped out. She has you thinking about just how much information do you put out there and what could happen. The ramifications in this story are mind-boggling and so intense!

I love how she has you thinking throughout the whole story-guessing-who is the perp. Who is the mastermind behind these unnerving and horrible acts? I was quite surprised the end but started to have my suspicions about a little over halfway through. I admired how she ended the story and I wanted more! I would also like to mention I was really intrigued with how the detectives handled the case and their process.

Be sure to check out I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh as well! Fabulous read.
I rated this book four and a half stars!

I received an ARC Copy from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

Book Publishing Information:
Berkley Publishing Group/Berkley/Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 04 Apr 2017

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 *You can find this review and other great posts at my WORDPRESS!

#supportbookbloggers #bookreview #thriller 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Waterstone's Bookstores

B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Authors-

Here is some info on getting your book into Waterstone's bookstores. If you are attempting to get your book into a bookstore or library, be sure to ask us for a letter from indieBRAG explaining why this award is important for your book. Click on the link here

IndieBRAG Site click here 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Historical Mysteries At Its Best!

The Sin Eater by David Penny has just been awarded the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree and I am really curios about it. This story looks seriously good! Adding it to my wish-list! For more information about David Penny and his other books click here. Be sure to check out other posts by me at my WordPress here! Happy reading!


Moorish Spain, 1484, and no-one is innocent.

Thomas Berrington, emigre Englishman who has made the doomed city of Garnatah his home, is once again attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths. Accompanied by his companion, the palace eunuch Jorge, Thomas struggles to discover the truth while those in power seek to distract him. As his investigation continues, his personal life splinters into chaos and he finds the Spanish once more demanding his presence.

As Thomas and Jorge draw closer to their quarry, the killer’s attention turns on them and those they love. The pair must race to unmask the sin eater before the lives of those close to them become forfeit.

The Sin Eater is the follow up to The Red Hill and Breaker of Bones, stunning historical mysteries set in a time and place coloured by intrigue and battle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Calling All Readers!

Are you passionate about reading and discovering new authors? Join a global group of readers at indieBRAG and help us discover talented self-published authors! Find out more information about indieBRAG and how to become a reader by clicking on the link here

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bookish Delights at Layered Pages and indieBRAG!

I've got a TON of bookish delights over at my WordPress! Be sure to check the posts out here 

Also, don't miss the exciting indieBRAG Halloween Event and enter your chance to win an Amazon Gift Card! There is some great guest posts and book deals as well.

indieBRAG Halloween Event here 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Award Winning Book-Midnight Marriage by Lucinda Brant

An Award Winning Book! -A great B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

Stand-alone book 2 in the acclaimed Roxton Family Saga, Julian and Deb’s story

1760s England and France. Julian and Deb are hurriedly, and secretly, married off as teenagers. Julian is then banished to the continent. Deb is returned to the nursery, told her midnight marriage was just a bad dream from the effects of laudanum. Nine years later, Julian returns incognito to claim his bride before a debonair rival can seduce her into bigamous wedlock. Can Julian and Deb’s marriage survive such a calculated deception?

Set in the opulent world of the aristocracy and inspired by real events, Lucinda Brant delivers another lavish 18th century experience in her trademark style — heart-wrenching drama with a happily ever after.

“Lucinda Brant’s sweeping family sagas are a perfect reminder of why I fell in love with historical romance” — Cheryl Bolen, New York Times bestselling author

2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Silver Medalist – audiobook
2013 Readers′ Favorite International Book Award Silver Medalist – ebook

“MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE carries on the Roxton series tradition with still another wonderful tale set in the 1700s where life is anything but simple. You will once again be reminded why Lucinda Brant’s books are such a treasure.” — SWurman: 5 STARS, a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
“Nice twists and turns, dramatic revelations, and some enjoyable chaos make this a book that keeps the reader turning the pages. Highly recommended!” — Fiona Ingram: 5 STARS, Readers’ Favorite

Only 10-15% of books considered are awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion, and now the first three books in the Roxton Family Saga have medallions!

LUCINDA BRANT is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Georgian historical romances & mysteries full of wit and adventure. Her award-winning novels have been described as from ‘the Golden Age of romance with a modern voice’, and ‘heart wrenching drama with a happily ever after’.

Lucinda has degrees in History and Political Science from the Australian National University and a post-graduate diploma in Education from Bond University, where she was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Education.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Lucinda taught History and Geography at an exclusive boarding school for young ladies. She drinks too much coffee and is addicted to Pinterest. Come join her there in her 18th Century world: Pinterest  

Monday, October 17, 2016

indieBRAG Halloween Event!

indieBRAG is holding a month long Halloween Event featuring some of our award winning authors who write great stories that are great for October reads or for anytime. Be sure to check out their fun Halloween post, sales, giveaways and enter your chance to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card from indieBRAG here


 Are you, or is someone you know, a self-published Author?

If you or someone you know is a self-published author and would like to be considered for a B.R.A.G. Medallion, we encourage you to submit your book! Submitting your book for consideration is easy—simply provide the required information about your book and yourself as an author, submit payment information (consideration is a nominal fee of $50.00), and we’ll take care of the rest!

Submit your book here

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Highlight: Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Karen Aminadra

Over at my WORDPRESS I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Aminadra and I thought I would share this wonderful interview with you all here. Be sure to check out other great post on at my WORDPRESS site! Enjoy!

I’d like to welcome back award winning Karen Aminadra to Layered Pages! Karen is a multi-genre author who writes novels within many different genres; Historical Romance, Historical Crime, and modern Chick-Lit.

She can usually be found sat at the computer either writing a novel, writing down new ideas or on social media chatting!

 Her love of reading, writing short stories, and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels. Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since. Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.

She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work. Today, with her feet firmly back in the United Kingdom, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.

 Hi, Karen! Thank you for chatting with me today! Tell me about your story, Wickham.

Hi Stephanie, it’s a great pleasure to be interviewed by you once again. Wickham is a great book. I know I’m the author and I know I’m supposed to think that, but I have been rereading it lately in order to get the timeline straight in my head to write the next book, and I really like it! It takes place during the Napoleonic Wars about one year after Lydia Bennet and George Wickham were married in Jane Austen’s pride and prejudice. As you can imagine, if you have read pride and prejudice, they are not the most ideally suited couple. George is a libertine and is always on the lookout for more money. Lydia is extremely selfish and childish. Therefore, their marriage is not likely to be very happy. My novel Wickham takes the couple through a new stage of their life. Lydia has a child and Wickham is sent off to France to fight—new situations and adventures await them both to get, literally stuck into.

What is the mood or tone your characters portray and how does this affect the story?

Lydia is extremely selfish and childish and that has quite a negative effect on those around her. In the opening lines of chapter one, I state that Wickham is bored. He is bored with his regiment is bored with the North of England and he is, most certainly, bored with his wife. A man like him is bound to be, isn’t he? He has wondering eye and I did not want to change that trait but wanted to see where it might lead him. As you read the book, you’ll see it get him into some hot water. Lydia, on the other hand, goes back to stay with her family in Hertfordshire, where her immature and self-centred behaviour leads to some very interesting situations. Of course, Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley are there in Hertfordshire, and the addition of these two… shall we say, stabilising characters, helps to continue the vein that Jane Austen started in revealing the true nature of Wickham’s character.

What are the emotional triggers of your characters and how do they act on them?

George Wickham and Lydia are both very emotional characters. For George, his emotional triggers are that he is very lusty, and is controlled by those urges. Lydia, however, is also controlled largely by her opinion of herself being the centre of everyone else’s universe. As you can imagine, if she doesn’t get her own way, she is likely to throw a tantrum or two. I found them very interesting to write about. I decided at the beginning I would not redeem Wickham but I wanted to see how his character played out and where it would eventually lead them both to. I do think, however, that Lydia does mature a little bit throughout the book, thankfully.

Describe England during this era.

England during the Napoleonic Wars is a place of great juxtaposition which I have tried to show in my novel. On the one hand Wickham is in France fighting a formidable enemy, and on the other, Lydia is back in England, and everything is all happy, and tea parties, and you wouldn’t think that there was an enemy not very far away bent on the invasion of the whole of Europe. I found this quite fascinating as I was writing it, because whilst Wickham was dealing with defences, soldiers, long marches, and living in tents, Lydia was living at her parents’ house in Hertfordshire in relative luxury. They have everything they need, and even have guests to stay with them. The two parts of the story are worlds apart. And that’s exactly how it was during those times, which does seem rather strange to us. They had no news reports or internet to tell them every five minutes throughout the day what was happening and so lived in ignorance. They had, of course, the newspaper reports, but they were often months out of date. You could read about some terrible battle happening somewhere in Continental Europe thinking how awful it was, but in actual fact it was long since finished and the soldiers have moved on to the next battle. Wars would last for years and were fought in an almost hand-to-hand fashion. Yes, there were cannons and cavalry etc. but we have no notion of what it was like. Wars today are all computerized and ground troops, although needed greatly, are not as vital as they were in the Regency period, where they were the main force. That kind of warfare is something that our generation can barely comprehend.

Do you feel that Wickham has any redeeming qualities?

Actually Wickham does have redeeming qualities, believe it or not. He does in truth have a conscience. We see it developing throughout the novel and it’s actually quite interesting to watch. He also develops a sense of loyalty and of duty. These are things that we don’t see very much in Jane Austen’s pride and prejudice. However, they naturally developed in my novel and I was quite happy to see where they went. Perhaps one day, if I were to hypothetically continue the novel, Wickham would be a redeemed fellow. Or maybe that’s too much to ask.

I’d have to say that Lydia’s view on life is quite extraordinary and exasperating. Tell me about the emotions you experienced while writing about her.

I literally wanted to slap Lydia more than once and this was a character I was writing myself! She drove me incessantly crazy. I knew I couldn’t change her without upsetting Jane Austen’s original character drastically and I didn’t want to do that. If she was to change it had to happen slowly and naturally. Lydia, thankfully, does begin to very slowly grow up in Wickham. There is a sudden shock at the end of the novel, which may or may not help to mature her in the next instalment that I’m writing now, but I’m not going to give away any clues!

I can imagine you had great fun writing this story. Did you face any challenges?

Yes, the French had to be perfect. Although I did study French at school and I did very well, I knew my French wasn’t good enough for the novel. Thankfully, I knew two people in Lyon, France who are experts in old French and how it is correctly spoken. They were a great help! Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the process. I really do like delving into history books and doing the research necessary for a historical novel. I haven’t, however, yet visited Scarborough Castle. I have planned to do that many times, and unfortunately it has never happened. I am hoping this summer to make it there finally, and take some photographs to put on my blog for my readers.

How much time did you spend working on this story and what was your process?

Wickham took me longer than usual to write. I think there were many factors involved in that. I was under a lot of pressure at the time, the characters themselves are not the most lovable, and I had to make sure that the history was correct. As it was written in two thousand fourteen, I cannot actually remember how long it took specifically, but I know it was most of the year.

To date, Wickham is the longest book that I have written, and having re-read it recently I’m really pleased with it. In the past, and at that time, I would sit down and I would not get up from my computer until I had written a minimum of one thousand words every day. I have to admit to being a bit of a perfectionist and if I don’t do my minimum word count every day, I get a little bit cross with myself. Back in 2012, my process was a lot different to what it is now. I take far more breaks than I used to, and probably drink far too much coffee as well! But, I am more productive now.

I make a notes document and I keep both documents open on the computer. I write down everything I need to know in the notes document, for example, eye colour, hair colour, height, the name of a particular weapon or gun, and details of a town or city. On a separate document, I will begin the novel. I’m quite a linear writer—I write from the beginning all the way to the end. It is very rare for me to add a chapter randomly somewhere in the book. My head just does not work that way. I usually know that somewhere along the line I will find that one particular passage that will be my prologue or my opening scene, and I always make space for it at the beginning. So, when I finally get to the end of the story and I typethe end it really is the end of the whole story for me.

Where can readers buy your book?

Wickham is now available through all major stockists. Here is the Amazon link (that’s a universal link and it will take you to the Amazon store in your country)

What’s up next for you?

I’ve just put the finishing touches to the last in a three-part clean Regency romance series called The Emberton Brothers series. Now, though, my thoughts are turning towards book 4 in my pride and prejudice continues series. It takes place almost 6 months after the end of Wickham, so for those of my readers that are keen to know what happens next, this next book will tell that story. Many of my readers have messaged me in some form or another to ask me to tell Mary and Kitty’s story. That will be my focus for this next book.

For next year, I am planning to step back into women’s contemporary fiction and chick lit, as well as something new in the pipeline. I am thinking of delving into a genre I haven’t visited before as a writer but am a fan of as a reader I have a few books planned for next year as well. It’s an exciting time! I am extremely motivated right now!

More About Karen:
She is now the author of seven novels;
Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues,
Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2,
Relative Deceit – Death in the Family,
The Uncanny Life of Polly,
It’s a Man’s World – Lettie Jenkins Investigates,
Wickham – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3,
The Spice Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 1.
The Suitable Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 2 – out Friday 15th July.

In 2012 she received a B.R.A.G Medallion  for her debut novel Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues.

In 2013 she was once again honoured with a B.R.A.G Medallionfor Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2.

In 2016 she received another prized B.R.A.G Medallion for Wickham -Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3.

AMAZON (universal link)

A message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to Karen Aminadra who is the author of, Wickham, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Wickham, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Book Release!

Karen Aminadra has announced her newest book release, The Suitable Bride! The eighth boo she has published in four years.

The Suitable Bride is book 2 in The Emberton Brothers series and is a clean Regency romance novel.

In the first novel, we followed the story of Richard, the eldest of the three brothers. In this book, we follow Edward the middle one.

Edward is the driven one out of the three. He has spent years working hard at achieving his dream. He’s a politician and dreams of being Prime Minister of Britain one day. He knows the advantages there are to be had in marrying and is eager to find a bride from amongst the set who will help advance his career.

Frances Davenport is the daughter of a lord. She is privileged and has led a life that has had its ups and downs…literally speaking. She’s a little naughty. She doesn’t believe there is one single man out there who can please her as a husband and is resigned to that fact. Until she meets Edward, that is…


Edward Emberton wants to be Prime Minister. He has a passionate vision for the future of England, which includes the abolition of slavery. As the son of a tradesman, his journey to Parliament has been a difficult one, but there is only one thing left to cement this foothold on the steps to Parliament – a suitable bride. She must be of noble birth, reasonable intelligence, mild temperament, and extraordinary beauty.
Frances Davenport is most of those things. And a suitable marriage to Edward isn’t only the answer to her prayers; it’s a way to keep her secrets. Edward is handsome, driven, and better still, enchanted by her beauty. It’s more than a suitable match; it couldn’t be more perfect.

But appearances are often deceiving, and Frances’ beguiling beauty comes with its own set of problems. Edward and Frances are about to discover that there’s more to marriage than suitability because neither is as suitable as they seem…


Author Bio:

Karen is a multi-genre author who writes novels within many different genres; Historical Romance, Historical Crime, and modern Chick-Lit.

She can usually be found sat at the computer either writing a novel, writing down new ideas or on social media chatting!

Her love of reading, writing short stories, and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels. Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since. Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.

She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work. Today, with her feet firmly back in the United Kingdom, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.

She is now the author of eight novels;

Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues,
Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2
Relative Deceit – Death in the Family,
The Uncanny Life of Polly,
It’s a Man’s World – Lettie Jenkins Investigates,
Wickham – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3,
The Spice Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 1.
The Suitable Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 2.
In 2012 she received a B.R.A.GMedallion ™ for her debut novel Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues.
In 2013 she was once again honoured with a B.R.A.GMedallion ™ for Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2.
In 2016 she received another prized B.R.A.GMedallion™ for Wickham -Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3.
For more information and to download a free book visit

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

indiebrag Thrillers!

indiebrag is featuring thrillers for the next few weeks! One of my favorite genres and perfect for the summer time! Below are pictures of B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree books and a link to follow so you may learn more about them and where you can purchase it. Enjoy and happy reading!

Indiebrag’s mission is to discover new and talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves. Their primary focus is fiction across a wide range of genres...

I love thrillers, and I always have. -Kenneth Branagh

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Interview with M.J. Neary

I’d like to welcome, Marina Julia Neary to Layered Pages today. A self-centered, only child of classical musicians, Marina spent her early years in Eastern Europe and came to the US at the age of thirteen. Her literary career revolves around depicting military and social disasters, from the Charge of the Light Brigade, to the Irish Famine, to the Easter Rising in Dublin, to the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl some thirty miles away from her home town. Notorious for her abrasive personality and politically incorrect views that make her a persona non grata in most polite circles, Neary explores human suffering through the prism of dark humor, believing that tragedy and comedy go hand in hand.

Her debut thriller Wynfield's Kingdom was featured on the cover of the First Edition Magazine in the UK and earned the praise of the Neo-Victorian Studies Journal. After writing a series of novels dealing with the Anglo-Irish conflict, she takes a break from the slums of London and the gunpowder-filled streets of Dublin to delve into the picturesque radioactive swamps of her native Belarus. Saved by the Bang: a Nuclear Comedy is a deliciously offensive autobiographical satire featuring sex scandals of Eastern Europe's artistic elite in the face of political upheavals. Her latest Penmore release, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of conspiracy and revenge set in czarist Lithuania.

Tell me about your premise. 

Saved by the Bang is an autobiographical satire and certainly a change of pace for me. I gained moderate notoriety as an Anglo-Irish historical novelist.  Even though I don't have an Irish or English strain of DNA in me, I have been writing about the Anglo-Irish conflict. My readers have been nagging me to write something autobiographical, so I gave them what they wanted. Don't tell me I didn't warn you! As one of the readers mentioned, this book is "not for the faint of heart".

Describe Gomel, Belarus.

Gomel is a waterfront Central European city founded by at the end of the first millennium AD by Radimich tribes - East Slavic people notorious for their flashy jewelry. Gomel took a beating during WWII - like most of Belarus. Much of the original architecture was obliterated, and the city had to be rebuilt from scratch. Among the surviving landmarks is the Paskevich Palace and a gorgeous Orthodox Church. The city is very green in the summer and very white in the winter. All four seasons are clearly fleshed out.

The city mascot is a bobcat. It's on the city crest! 

 The Paskevich family palace

The river front park

The music academy where the illicit affair develops

A coveted housing development

Gomel also was affected heavily by the Chernobyl disaster.

Most of the events described in the novel take place in Gomel, but some take place in other cities like Minsk (capital of Belarus) Smolensk (Russia), Gurzuf (a resort in the Crimea), Vilnius (capital of Lithuania) and New Canaan, Connecticut.

What is the mood that Maryana conveys and how does this affect the story? 

Throughout the novel, Maryana is portrayed as a victim who does not really behave like one. In a way, she is a magnet for hostility and she derives sick pleasure out of it. Maryana was the name my father wanted to give me, but my mom had a fit. She thought it sounded to quaint and folksy. When you hear "Maryana" you think of an anthropology major who wears a long skirt with tennis shoes and writes a thesis on the matriarchy within pagan Slavic tribes. My mother opted for a more cosmopolitan Marina. When you think of Marina, you see a multilingual interpreter prancing around in patent leather pumps. Maryana conveys the sentiment of self-mockery. I don't know how else to describe it. The girl revels in her suffering and gets inspiration and sick pleasure in it. She is a professional victim. 

How do you/or talk about how you flesh out the moment of greatest sorrow in Maryana? 

Given that the girl is a professional victim, she makes most of every opportunity to be miserable. She's a magnet for antagonism. As a writer, I find that understatement is a powerful tool. I try to avoid hand-writing and wailing and keep the diction matter-of-factly, not sensational or melodramatic. In one of the scenes Maryana gets kicked off the gymnastics team for developing a crush on a female teammate. She gets a hearty beating at the park for her dual transgression: being Jewish and a lesbian.

Describe a humorous scene in your story. 

I realize that not everyone shares my sense of humor, but I believe that humor and tragedy go hand in hand. It has to be obscene, and awkward.  In Saved by the Bang there is a scene where Maryana is her older cousin are on their way to Vilnius to sell their grandmother's famous cranberry-and-vodka marmalade. They are both heavily made up and decked out in finest Polish denim. They get pulled over by the cops, who assume that the two girls are child prostitutes taken to the city. Maryana's alcoholic uncle Alexander spends some time explaining to the law enforcers that the girls are not being sexually exploited, they were just experimenting with cosmetics.

What is the Crimean Sanatoriums? 

Oh, so glad you asked. The Crimean Peninsula was a sought-after vacation site for the Soviet hot-shots. Most people could not afford to travel there and stay on their own dime. If you kissed the right behind, or if you were in a position of influence yourself, you could get a travel voucher - a room at a resort, a beach sticker and a basic meal plan. One of the most enchanting places was Gurzuf, a Tartar village where Asiatic, Slavic and Greek folklore combined. In Gurzuf there was a military sanatorium. It was utilized by military officers. During the 1980s, while the USSR was engaged in a conflict with Afghanistan, there was an influx of wounded soldiers who came there to recover. My main character, Antonia, strikes a brief platonic romance with one of such soldiers. 

Crimean sanatoriums

This is the Goddess of the Night fountain. Thousands of couples have kissed in front of that fountain. It's like Juliet's balcony in Verona. It has the same romantic connotation. 

What are the different emotions you had while writing this story? 

Revenge, revulsion and sick amusement. You have to realize, I have very mixed feelings towards my country of origin and my former compatriots. There is no warm and fuzzy nostalgia. There's a fair amount of anger that I'm still trying to work through. I turn that anger into humor.

Any conspiracies in this story?

There is no conspiracy per se, but there's plenty of corruption. The extent of damage was covered up by the authorities. The deformed children born as result of the radiation leakage were swept under the rug. I wanted to share a few pictures from my home town. I took American and British journalists to expose the full extent of the damage. So as you can see, the tragic and the mundane exist side by side. You have a gorgeous historical park with flower beds, and just a few miles away, inside a clinic, you have children with severe birth defects and radiation-related cancer. I want my readers to see these images.