Tag Archives: Sophie Weston

Christmas and New Year Greetings with Christmas books

The Libertà hive has got into the habit of relaxing over Christmas and New Year. Probably reading Christmas books! Which means no blog, sadly. The next “proper” blog will appear on Sunday 7th January, 2024.

In the meantime, we hope all our readers had a very happy Christmas and we wish you a prosperous and healthy New Year. Busy fizz

And if Santa didn’t bring you any Christmas books, there are some that the hive would recommend. (Since hive members wrote them, we would, wouldn’t we?)
What’s more, our cute cat loves them… Continue reading

Accidental Historical

Earlier this month one of my all time favourite authors, Leigh Michaels, proposed a new category of books: the Accidental Historical.

She has  coined it to cover republished books which she wrote some years ago. Back then, they were correctly described as contemporary romantic fiction. But we have had a digital, social and media revolution since then.

After pondering this for a bit, I think Amazon, other online stores and ALL publishers of ebooks in general would do well to adopt it.

Leigh Michaels

cover of novel, Brittany's Castle, showing a welcoming room with a tall Christmas tree, ablaze with lights and beautifully packed presents at its foot. Leigh Michaels is a multi-award winning author of contemporary and historical fiction, mostly romantic. She’s published in more than 25 languages and 120 countries the last time I looked. She is also a teacher and mentor for other writers. For a while we shared the inspiring editor Jacqui Bianchi, whom I have quoted here before.

And I have loved her books ever since Jacqui recommended them to me. Several of the books are on, not just my Keeper Shelf, but my Never to be Taken Out of This House Under Any Circumstances shelf.

I have had to wrench my copy of A New Desire  out of the hands of a departing guest. “If you want to read it, fine. But you have to come back here and read it in situ.” She did. She was 25.

And this is the nub of the matter. The book my visitor was so determined to read was first published in 1989. It was ten years older than she was.

Enter the Accidental Historical. Continue reading

Why romance writers turn to crime…

Changing genre to crime

Cover of Murder Among the Roses by Liz FieldingSince I made the major step to turn to crime writing (with just a touch of romance) I’ve noticed how many other romance authors have decided to turn to crime.

In my case, the story that became Murder Among the Roses (which is out in audio later this month) had been at the back of my mind for years. I had written a few thousand words, but had never had time to take a serious look at it. But it never let go. It was always there, a little voice nagging at me to get on with it.

It was lockdown, combined with the end of a publishing contract that did it. I realised that if I didn’t write it then, I never would. That gave me the push to take six months away from romance and go for it.

Crime needs more Characters

Cover of Murder Under the MistletoeIt was a sharp learning curve. Writing crime is a lot more complex than romance, no matter how many twists and turns it takes to get to the happy ending.

You need a lot more characters for one thing or, as I quickly discovered, the murderer is going to be obvious from about chapter two!

And some advice to anyone thinking of starting a series. You need to keep a very clear bible of who they all are, as they appear, and all the places you mention.

But, with the publication of the second of my Maybridge Murder Mysteries – Murder Under the Mistletoe – this week, I decided to ask a few other authors why they had been drawn to the crime genre. Continue reading

Happy New Year with our Sophie Weston serial

Audiobooks, explosion of delightA very happy New Year to all our visitors. May 2023 bring you health, wealth and happiness and, for the authors among us, booming sales.

As we said in our Christmas blog, the hive is on holiday until next weekend. But we don’t want to leave you with nothing, so we’re repeating the Christmas and New Year serial that Sophie wrote a year or two back.

The first episode is below. The link to subsequent episodes is at the end of each. It’s like binging on box sets of Downton or Bridgerton. Feel free to read all the episodes at a sitting. You know you want to!

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY SERIAL by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 1
London skyline with St Paul's dome and skyscrapers in fog

There was fog over the rooftops when Liv looked out from her bedroom window for the last time. She kind of loved this view of her bit of London. Like Mary Poppins and her sweep, she saw Victorian chimneys, with a distant church tower and, even further away, a block of Edwardian apartments. Continue reading

Off-Putting Endings — how not to finish a book?

Inspforget the starsired by Joanna’s recent blog on ways to put a reader off at the start of a book, I thought it would be interesting to discuss a few pet peeves about off-putting endings.

Call it book-ending Joanna’s post 😉

For me, there is nothing more disappointing than settling down with a book, enjoying the story and investing in the plot and characters. You read to the last page…  And then it leaves you flat.

I have to confess to a vested interest here – a book I read recently which turned out to be one of a series.
Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say.

Female climber clinging to the edge.No, only the cliff-hanger ending left so many loose ends in the main romance and the plot that I felt thoroughly let down. I also felt I was being hustled into buying the next.

I didn’t.

Having invested quite heavily in the story so far, I wasn’t prepared to have it happen again.

Solutions to off-putting endings

Continue reading

Springing into Summer, Today, Tomorrow, One Day Soon?

Today the Libertà hive are in celebratory mood, springing towards summer by relaunching our collection of novellas, Beach Hut Surprise.

In spring, says the poet, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. (Actually it was Tennyson in Locksley Hall, written when he was twenty-five and presumably knew what he was talking about. At least in the Young Man Department anyway.)

This spring, after a grim year of Covid 19 and at least three lockdowns, most of us, even the least romantic, are starting to think of Getting Out A Bit. It gives us hope. Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 12 conclusion

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 12 Conclusion
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

The nurse lived a good way out and insisted on taking them in for a drink to celebrate the New Year. As it turned out, this included a substantial ham sandwich which Patrick snarfed down like a starving wolf.

“Wonderful,” he said. “Busy day. First chance to eat.”

The nurse beamed and waved them off with a care package of goodies from the meal she was preparing to see in the New Year.

In the car on the way back, Liv relaxed, even when Patrick said, “Why didn’t you tell me to drive you to the Food Bank?”

She was surprised. “You were completely immersed in your research. I didn’t want to break your concentration.”

“Hrrmph.” Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 12 Part 1

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 12 Part 1
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

blue and silver christmas tree

The nurse was instantly alert. “Does he want to hurt you?”

“I don’t know,” said Liv. “And I don’t know why he’s following me. I don’t even know who he is.”

Except that the daring, athletic cyclist was definitely not Francis. That was a relief in one way. But only a small way. She could feel the hamster wheel of panic start up again. She breathed carefully.

I can deal with this. I CAN DEAL WITH THIS. 

But she felt as if her bones had turned to netting and her stomach cramped.

The nurse stayed cool and stuck to the important stuff. “He’s followed you before?” Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 11

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 11
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

Kings Road Christmas Lights

“No,” said Liv.

She went on saying it while Patrick Fell delivered a lecture from the podium on why this was absolutely the best—no, the only—solution. In the end, she was so cold that she said in desperation, “Can we discuss this in your car? I’m freezing.”

He harrumphed a bit, but agreed, though he made her put her mask on and opened all the car windows. “If this takes too long, I shall have to lower the top,” he warned her. “With current virus restrictions, it behoves people like us to be responsible.”

Liv swung round to look at him in disbelief. “Who the hell says behoves in the twenty-first century?”

“It’s a nice economical word and it says what I mean. Now, your place or mine?” Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 10

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 10
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

arrangement of roses tinted the wrong colours

Liv tried to sleep that night. She really tried. But her head was buzzing with half-formed ideas, questions, splinters of memory that she couldn’t get rid of.

At 2.13 a.m., she got up and made tea. She huddled into the rented couch in the rented room and remembered the big, uncomfortable chairs in Francis’s beloved drawing room That Night.

Even the professional florist’s arrangement had been too big. Come to think of it, Liv had never ordered it. Francis must have sent it specially. Set dressing for a supposedly impromptu celebration after the board meeting at Temple Blake Rossignol. Continue reading