Cressmouth to Christmas: Book Review

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This book actually talks about the background history to Cressmouth and how it became a Christmas village

It tells you of the people who were instrumental in setting up the various elements that produced the final village and the rationale for how it was set up – so for instance the villagers paid for a 100 years lease with no further rent with one Guinea. This ensured that no greedy landlord could impoverish them in the future.

It was also agreed that the food and entertainment and so on would be free to all, but when you take into account the amount of rent that they were going to charge for the Castle apartments, in fact the food and all the entertainments would be paid for with a hefty profit. Because every time they talked about the rent for the Castle apartments, the price went up, until it was over a year’s rent for a London town house. So this meant that if you could afford to rent one of the Castle apartments you got bragging rights, and your name would be inserted into the regular newsletters that was sent out by the Christmas owners and management, which therefore would bring in money, rather than paying out for adverts in other people’s newsletters.

There was also to be an annual edition which would bring out all the annual highlights, and would be charged for as a picture book that would be kept.

We know about the stringent terms on which the shops were leased from the previous story about the jeweller in which there were seven years to pay back the loan or you lost everything.

All of which meant that Christmas was profitable and yet appeared to be free for all to enjoy.

It was therefore organised so that the nobility and the rich paid up and those with no money paid nothing.

I’m going to give this one five stars because I like the rational of how Christmas was arranged. Below are the 12 books that complete this series.

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When the Swamp calls

This is a magic tale with a difference as the magic is ‘white’ but the power comes from the swamp and thus can be called a little contaminated perhaps.

As the story begins, we have a witch coming into her power and not yet fully trained. So far, so trope.

We have a lover who is a bad boy – in this case half demon and member of a motorcycle club. 2 dips into the trope. But nonetheless, very helpful to our witch. We also have a really good friend who helps with the magic. Sometimes this is a girl, but in this case a gay friend. Again we see trope.

So, whilst the setting is unusual and we have a Nile crocodile lurking around and a magic room behaving as a TARDIS, the trope is fully formed. The writing is quite nice but the storyline about finding out who killed Grandma and another set of ‘bad’ witches etc and her being a Protector, all play into a trope. Which is unfortunate as this could have been a good series to follow. Sadly, I will not be reading more.

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Cold and Hostile

Set in Cold City we have a hero, Bellamy Vale, who seems to get into at least one too many fights.

The story starts with him rescuing a young girl kidnapped for ransom. He is a Private Investigator with a penchant for getting into trouble – and a very strange relationship with a femme fatale demon – she saved his life and got various favours from him in return. He calls her Lady McDeath. And thus, we add in some supernatural to the storyline.

Written in the light style of modern PI stories where we expect to find our PI amenable, lovable, and to feel for him. He is not cold, and is often misguided, and must fight the nasties that other citizens may not even know about.

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Author Interview: And we need fear:

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  • Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? 

    Two reasons. The first is my love of Ireland, in many ways this is a love letter to my second country. My husband is Irish and while he is not the inspiration behind Connor, it was awesome to be able to share how much it has influenced me (and a few Irish mannerisms/sayings as well). There’s a reason I’m releasing on St. Patrick’s Day!!  The second reason is my obsession with pop culture and blind items. I’ve been following a few different sites for years, and knew about the #metoo movement from the posts years before it became a thing. I wanted to develop a strong female lead who found herself subject to this type of behavior in the industry – with a couple of twists – and how far she’s willing to go to right the many wrongs in her life.
  • Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

    I’ve not read another romance book that has tackled this subject matter and the lengths that people go in Hollywood to make it big – it is a big industry blight. Combined with my super strong Irish bassist hero, it was just a really enjoyable book to write despite some of the darkness.
  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?

    My LTZ series is more or less planned out for the next few books – but each one of the characters surprises me and sometimes do not comply with how I thought they would be. So, I’m always open to my own creative process and let the characters speak.
  • Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

    Yes – i use the “notes” feature on my iPhone when I get an idea, or something pops into my head that a character might say.
  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write? 

    That depends on the subject. For this one, a lot of it is first hand experience (e.g. Ireland) and living with an Irish husband who has lots of Irish friends. I’d often use my iPhone notes section to write down little “isms” that I’d overhear.

    For the Hollywood #metoo/bearding storyline – it was something I had already done a lot of research on – but of course I had to make sure it was my own story with my own scenarios. Really, just concepts.
  • What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

    I’m an avid reader and an avid pop culture fan. My background before I was writing Rockstar Romance was a band manager and music promoter. I’m still very active in the music community here in Seattle, so it’s an industry that I know inside and out. All aspects. Business. Management. Touring – it’s in my blood. So its really fun to make it come to life as fiction!
  • How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics etc when you say you want to write about them?

     I love this question because it allows me to shout out to two awesome women who help me with all things medical. In Endless, Zoey has an injury and my doctor friend’s husband had a similar injury – so I just used all of the info she gave me. Another friend is a Rock Star Therapist – she used to work in touring and for a major record label and this is her second career. A lot of the things in ENDLESS, LIMITLESS and now FEARLESS when I refer to a counselor – this is her and she’s given me the information/advice to put into these books.  Famous people – especially musicians and athletes who are away from home for long periods of time – they have different issues than the rest of us.
  • Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?  If you need specialist knowledge to write a book, how do you obtain it? For instance, do you interview people? Go to the location? Use Google Earth? Apps?

    It helps if you have friends, but I think just reaching out – generally people are nice enough to help.

    All of the above. I love to write and work in places that I’ve been and loved. Helps to have first hand knowledge. I love to look up restaurants I’d love to try. Stores I’d like to get clothes from. Designers that would be fun to have custom make you clothes.

    For Connor’s home in Ireland, I perused real estate listings until I found my perfect home – and made it his!
  • Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

    I always planned on self-publishing. This is not my day job, I’m still running another business and am active in my arts community in Seattle. For me, self-publishing makes sense because I have control. The downside is there is a lot to do – and I’m not always sure I’m on the right path. It helps to put together a “team” – I have a real editor, a real proofreader, a real book cover designer and photographer. It allows me to retain full creative control.
  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

    Not yet but crossing fingers!
  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

    Rockstar Romances from my sister authors. I really just love contemporary romance. I do read biographies and sometimes I even design a few rooms on my design app!
  • If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

    Mari Carr, Carian Cole, Cari Quinn/Taryn Elliott, J.A. Huss, Piper Lawson, Jaine Diamond, Michelle Mankin, Anne Mercier – and my new obsession (currently binging) Sasha Marshall…
  • Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

    Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliott and maybe Terri Anne Browning – because they were my first Rockstar Romance authors and really the reason why I’m here.
  • Do you have any pets? If so, what are they?  

    My handsome boy Boudi, a 3-year old Siberian Husky. He’s magical – please follow him on Instagram @boudithehusky
  • Which of your books / series are you most proud of?

    Less Than Zero is my FIRST series – which means I’m super proud of it!
  • What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

    My business. I own a business where I have 8 women working for me and we support tech/media companies. It is amazing to work with all women and I love mentoring them to be self-sufficient and awesome.
  • Which is your favourite place to visit? Do you incorporate it into your books?

    Ireland and Australia – and you will see them prominently features. Also, Barcelona. Really, I love travelling.  I’m in LA and NYC for work a lot – so these are also cities that factor in heavily into my books.
  • Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this?

    I love to incorporate people’s traits into my books. The female characters are “inspired” by my close friends and a lot of the characteristics of the male characters I pull from my hubby and friends. Really, I think it’s authentic if you write from what you know.

    What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same?

    I love Rock music and am sad that it seems to be a dying musical genre. It’s so ingrained in everyone over 30, and I hope that we get a resurgence.  That is why my band LTZ is a “throwback” band that has brought it back into the mainstream – and they are the biggest (fictional) band in the world because of it!
  •  Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its?

I recently started writing on Scrivener which allows you to do really keep track of everything all in one place – then you don’t need to shuffle around and find it. It’s a computer program, so it allows you to be neat and tidy. You can upload photos and reference material – it’s great!  Each character has a file that you can keep track of details – and all of the sub characters that pop up. Yeah, it’s really fun to write on it.

  • What about turning your best seller into a film or TV series – would you want to write the script or be on the production team?

    In real life I work with a lot of productions and production teams – so YES I’d love to be part of it. I’d love for LTZ to be the next Bridgerton – only more EDGY because it’s Rockstar Romance! 
  • What about ‘snark’? is it good or bad?

    SNARK IS KING!  It’s the best!
  • How easy is it to write a good sex scene? And do you have to have experienced these things do you think, to write about them successfully? statements

    Sex scenes are really fun to write – especially because you can use your wildest imagination. I love to try to make things realistic yet sexy – and try to avoid common ways to describe things to make it more like the characters see things. To prepare to write my first scenes, I literally skimmed about 50 books of all genres and just immersed myself to get over the “hump.”
  • There are supposedly a number of character arcs. I have listed some archetypes and some characters below as examples. Which of these following do you use most? Why? And do you have any to add? And which book would we find them in?

Transformation:  One of my favorites – because we are all transforming all of the time. Characters never stay the same because people and circumstances change you – so you should allow your characters to grow and evolve. My books take place over a number of years – so it’s fun to see how they change!

Author Bio

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When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.

Author links:

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BookBlitz: Are You Curious?

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Secrets, curiosity, and passion.⁣

⁣Fantasy becomes reality with little encouragement.⁣

⁣Willa Camden, successful author of steamy novels, becomes entwined with Jackson Mitchell, a brilliant billionaire, and his best friend Casey Melrose. Their love is shared equally, and Willa is not always in the middle.⁣

⁣Craving excitement, they embark on international adventures in the style befitting a billionaire.⁣

⁣Cyber threats, blackmail, and theft turn their world upside down. Their careers are jeopardized, and lives are in danger.⁣

⁣Fair warning: They curse a little and have sex a lot, so please don’t be shocked. Join them for a wild ride.⁣

⁣If you’re ready for a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and grabbing for a fan, this story is for you.⁣

⁣⁣Just Curious by @ariellatalix is an all-new MMF romance and it’s out NOW! Get it FREE on #KindleUnlimited ➞⁣

⁣⁣#Bibliophile #Bookshelf #BookClub #Bookish #Booksy #BookNerd #BookWorm #romanticsuspense #mmf #ariellatalix #XpressoTours @XpressoTours #Bookstagram #bookstagrammer #BookBlogger #BookQueen #BookLove #BookStack #GoodReads #BookShark #BookCommunity #ReadersOfInstagram #BookBabe #Reading #BookAesthetic #BookishPost

Chapter 1: Excerpt

Willa Camden squinted at the television. She was trying to figure out how she knew the woman giving her acceptance speech at the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. Willa recognized the grating tone of the woman’s voice and the fake smile with overly whitened teeth. She appeared to be in her early to mid-thirties. The woman simpered at the audience and clutched the statuette to her chest. Her angular face was covered in gaudy makeup. It was too bad, Willa thought. If she hadn’t been so made-up, she might have been attractive. Unfortunately, her brassy-blond hair had a terrible case of dark roots.
“There is something so familiar about her…” Willa muttered to herself. She was certain they’d met. Her name appeared on the screen: Deb Abbey. It didn’t ring any bells; she certainly wasn’t one of the screenplay writers Willa knew.
“I’m so proud of this work,” Deb enthused nasally to the audience. “It started out as a novel, but I just saw everything in my head so vividly, I changed the work over to a screenplay about a quarter of the way through. Thank you to the Academy and to the actors, director, and the entire crew who brought my words to life so wonderfully. I can’t name you all, but you know who you are. And thank you to the people who inspired me.” Music played, and Deb turned to head offstage.
Huh, not much of a speech—especially for a writer. Dying of curiosity, Willa grabbed her laptop and Googled the movie—which was apparently new—to see if that would give her any clue about the writer’s identity.
Within seconds, she had the trailer booted up. Her face went scarlet, and she began to shake. Like a ton of bricks, the memory of meeting “Deb Abbey” came back in a rush and settled in her chest, crushing her.
“Fucking bitch!” she hollered at her laptop as her world blew apart. Willa jumped up and thundered around her house, finally deciding she needed to get outdoors before she broke something in her rage. She went to the fireplace where they’d always kept a bowl of smooth beach stones. She loaded up her pockets and ran for the door where she kicked off her shoes. Thoughtlessly, she flicked on the backyard lights and stomped down the stairs to the beach, where she ran to the water’s edge. Hot tears poured unchecked down her face. She hadn’t even locked the door behind her.

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Author details

Ariella Talix is the nom de plume of a bestselling author who lives in America’s Heartland.
Her goal is to preserve the dignity of family members who would rather not be associated publicly with a woman who writes such scandalous and stimulating novels. She’s not going to stop writing them though.

She loves her family, pets, great books, not-so-great books that still entertain, and art.

Born and raised near the beaches of southern California, Ariella Talix traveled the world extensively and then found her true home in the Midwest. She has a second-degree black belt in Karate and has been a professional artist for many years. Her work is displayed in countries all over the world.

A sudden brainstorm prompted the first of her novels, Make Believe, and since then the ideas just keep tumbling out like an avalanche.

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