Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guest Blog with Grace Elliot


A Dead Man's Debt - a story of blackmail, duty and an unexpected love.

After publically humiliating a suitor, Miss Celeste Armitage is sent from the Ton in disgrace and resolves never to marry. But when she finds a sketch book of nude studies and discovers the artist is her hostess's eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing, she finds herself dangerously attracted to exactly the sort of rogue she is sworn to avoid.
Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf's life is a facade and he is being blackmailed over his late brother's debts. But just as the darkly restless Ranulf unexpectedly learns to love, the vengeful fury of his nemesis unleashed. In order to protect Celeste, Lord Ranulf faces a stark choice between duty and true love...
However Ranulf has underestimated Miss Armitage's stubborn resolve to clear his name, and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger....

20th Century Witchcraft.
Witchcraft has always had an aura about it; the fear of the unknown perhaps… and in the past an excuse for persecution. I write historical romance and it’s fascinating to look at how attitudes to the occult have changed over time, and to learn witchcraft laws still existed into the mid 20th century!
The peek of witch hunt fervor was 1480 – 1700 when many innocent women, many of whom were traditional healers or wise women and invaluable to the community, were persecuted and killed in a form a religious mania. During this period between 40,000 and 100,000 people were executed, for such flimsy reasons as living alone and keeping a cat for company!
Fortunately some long overdue common sense was asserted and the last executions for witchcraft took place in England in the 18th century. The law was changed such that witchcraft was no longer something to be feared and denied, but to be belittled and made fun of. King George II instituted the ‘Witchcraft Act of 1735’ where witchcraft ceased to be a capitol offence, and those that claimed to consort with spirits were prosecuted as ‘vagrants’ or ‘con-men’, with a punishment of fines or imprisonment rather than death.
Amazingly George II’s law still existed into the mid 20th century and was sited in 1944, during World War 2, to legally imprison a medium by the name of Helen Duncraft. Helen claimed to be able to summon spirits and was duly arrested, somewhat dramatically during a séance. Later, rumors spread through wartime Britain that she had to be silenced because superstitious military leaders feared her claims to speak with the dead were true and she might have revealed secret plans for D-day! Helen spent 9 months in jail and was released after D-day.
It took until 1951 for the 1735 Act to be replaced by the ‘Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951.’ It was suggested at the time that astrologers should be prosecuted under the Act. But from the 1930’s onwards horoscopes have been widely published in magazines and newspapers and so far there have been no prosecutions…food for thought though!
About the author:
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day, and author of sensuous historical romance by night. She believes that intelligent people need to read romance as an antidote to the modern world! Her debut novel, ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is now available.
To find out more visit:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Welcome Guest blogger Daniel Springer

Why I Wrote A Novel

My name is Daniel Springer and I am the author of The WILCO Project, a newly released mystery/thriller available in both eBook and print from Solstice Publishing. When people find out that I wrote a published novel I am usually asked, "How did come up with the idea for the story?" My answer is that I can't honestly remember exactly how the idea came to me, but I am sure it had something to do with my background in computers and telecommunications and me looking to the future of cell phones and the types of games that would be possible on those devices. I wrote the first draft of the manuscript in 2004 when much of technology in my book was in its infancy and, as it turned out, I happened to get pretty close on what is happening in that area of technology. But, I can not actually pinpoint how I came up with the story idea.
The less often asked question and the one that I think may be more interesting is, "Why did you decide to write a novel?" That is a more complex question that certainly has a longer answer. The most basic answer is that I can remember wanting to write the great American novel as far back as high school. I am forty-six now, which would make that thirty years ago--so I guess you could say that for all of my adult life I have had the urge to write a book!
In the summer between my junior and senior year of high school I can vividly remember scratching out about ten pages of, what I thought at the time, was the first in my string of bestsellers on notebook paper with a black Bic ballpoint pen. I vaguely recall that the story had something to do with a young Air Force pilot that was part of an elite squadron being trained to fly a secret fleet of space ships designed to protect the earth from alien invasion. I never finished chapter three.
In college I had another idea that I got serious enough to jot notes about and tear magazine articles out with facts that would come in handy when I wrote the book--this would have been in the mid-eighties. I did not start writing anything down until almost ten years later. I had a pretty good excuse as I had to graduate from college, get married, relocate from Tampa to Tallahassee with my new bride, then move back to Tampa a year later, build a house, and grow my career. But finally I did start a manuscript, this time typed on my first PC. This was a "sophisticated" story of a small market profession baseball team that defied the odds and made a run at the World Series. The antagonist was a young TV executive who would loose his career over the terrible ratings if the team won the pennant and on the World Series--he would have to make sure the team failed. The hero was to be a rookie pitcher who would bravely ignore the mob threats to throw the game, thus, risking his life. What a fantastic story! I never finished chapter five.
In 1997 my son was born and my daughter came along two years later. We built a larger house to accommodate our growing family. For a year and a half I commuted from Tampa to Dallas for my job--life was crazy busy! Then, one morning in 2001, while out getting some exercise, a car hit me while I was riding my bicycle. Fortunately my helmet saved my life and I received relatively minor injuries and made a full recovery. The hit-and-run driver's car impacted me at such a high rate of speed that I was launched into the air as the car sped under me and I landed some thirty feet in front of my bike! I could have easily been killed,
Needless to say, my appreciation for life changed as a result of that accident. So when the idea for The WILCO Project came to me, in July of 2004, I once again sat down in front of the computer to write the story. On this attempt, however, for six days a week I woke up a four in the morning and wrote for three hours. By late November I had completed the first draft, I had finally finished writing my novel. I guess I would conclude that I wrote my novel because I love to write and it was always a goal of mine--but, it also took a change in my outlook on life to give me the mindset to finish.

The WILCO Project won Honorable Mention in the 2005 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. It was a Semifinalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Publishers Weekly review says, ""THE WILCO PROJECT combines murder mystery with elements of a technological thriller, blending the genres in a deftly written manuscript...the author delivers a well-executed thriller." Please check out my website: