A Warm Welcome to Rumer Haven

Rumer Haven (2)Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (a contemporary/historical romance set in Y2K and 1920s Chicago). Her next novel, What the Clocks Know (a paranormal women’s fiction set in modern and Victorian London), is due for release by Crooked Cat Publishing in early 2016.


7forASecret_FRONT_REV (2)It’s the year 2000, and twenty-four-year-old Kate moves into a new apartment to find a new state of independence in a new millennium. A former 1920s hotel, Camden Court has housed many lonely lives over the decades—and is where a number of them have come to die. They’re not all resting in peace, however, including ninety-year-old Olive, who dropped dead in Kate’s apartment and continues to make her presence known. For Olive has a secret she’s dying to tell, one linking her to the sex, scandal, and sacrifice of a young dreamer named Lon. As the past haunts the present, Kate’s modern-day love life becomes entwined with Lon’s Jazz Age tragedy. 

In the 1920s storyline of Seven for a Secret, two Chicago socialites (Lon Ashby and Eva Hughes) struggle to find love and identity in their opulent, oppressive world. This scene follows Eva as she continues to go through the motions of her milieu after marrying Finlay Redcliffe.

Silver spoons clanked against delicate white china as Eva’s luncheon party cooled their tea in the secluded Palm Court lobby of the Drake Hotel.

The harpist’s flourishing notes helped drown out some of the dull murmuring surrounding her on this All Saint’s Day, but it couldn’t quite cancel out her own little group: her mother, sister, and mother- and sister-in-law.

Drake1 (2)Virgie, Finlay’s older sister, had a high nasally voice and the terrible tendency to end every laugh with a loud hum, serving as some sort of bridge to return her pitch from high to low. Mrs. Redcliffe—the other Mrs. Redcliffe, Finlay’s mother—was similarly affected with the need to place emphasis on the fourth word of every sentence she spoke. Eva sat with impeccable posture, stirring her tea and observing the effect her mother-in-law had on Eva’s own mother, who’d taken to crafting her responses with emphasis on the second word of nearly every sentence.

Ollie, on the other hand, just sat mutely munching through all the cucumber finger sandwiches, back hunched and feet swinging under the table even though she had to lift her knees to keep from skimming the floor. She’d already kicked Virgie once, which Eva hoped was accidental. Nonetheless, Eva touched a white-gloved hand to Ollie’s lap now and then as a signal to rein in her spastic limbs.

“I had the most divine tea last week at the Walnut Room,” Mrs. Redcliffe tittered on. “The cake was exquisite. I am positively certain the recipe still includes brandy.”

“That does sound decadent,” Mrs. Hughes replied. “We must make a point to go down to Marshall Field’s this week, Evie, before the masses descend at Christmastime. It’s most hospitable with its tea rooms.”

Yes, Mother,” Eva said, playing a private game of stressing the first word of her sentences, confident they’d never notice. “I agree. It is the last word in accommodating gentlewomen in this city. Positively charming.”

“Indeed, you are quite right there,” said Mrs. Redcliffe.

“I couldn’t agree more,” said Mrs. Hughes.

Quite unequivocally true,” said Eva.

Drake2 (2)“Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha! Hmmm,” giggle-hummed Virgie. “Charles told me the funniest story that happened in the Men’s Grill Room there recently…”

Ollie chomped on watercress, mentally checked out of the lofty lounge and, Eva knew, roaming the landscape of her even richer imaginary life.

As Virgie told her story, Eva tapped her spoon at the edge of her teacup, watching it flick creamy drops off its egg-shaped bowl. It reflected the glittering lights of the crystal chandeliers overhead, gleaming just like the silver spoons everyone in that room had held in their mouths since birth. Eva wanted to choke on hers.

To learn more about Rumer Haven and her books https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1407267304l/22700275.jpg

Why not visit Rumer at her website: www.rumerhaven.com

Book trailer: https://youtu.be/go9A4XeyvyI?list=PLMvR3rQW3JoRncvZz23kUFPRmmawE6XET

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rumerhaven

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rumerhaven

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8379833.Rumer_Haven

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rumer-Haven/e/B00MU2NXXW/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

A Warm Welcome to Author Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard author pic (2)We are delighted to welcome Sue Barnard today. Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.

Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

In case you haven’t read The Ghostly Father, it’s based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, told from the point of view of the character of Friar Lawrence (called Fra’ Lorenzo in this version). In fact all the characters are given the Italian versions of their names – hence “Giulietta” rather than Juliet.

TGF front (2)The scene Sue has given us, which is pivotal to the story, is set in the vault, whilst Giulietta is still in her death-like trance. This is where, in the original tale, the lovers fall victim to a maddeningly preventable double-suicide. But in The Ghostly Father, events take a slightly different turn…

I have no idea how long I had been sitting there, desperately trying to ignore my cold, dark and dank surroundings, when I suddenly became aware of the noise of footsteps. I held my breath and listened. The footsteps grew louder; I realised that their owner must be coming down the steps into the vault. But concealed as I was behind Giulietta’s bier, I remained out of sight of the entrance, and the shaded light of my own flambard was wholly eclipsed by the light of another one, which was now being borne into the depths of the tomb.

Whoever this intruder might be, and whatever business he might have here, I prayed: Please may he go before the lady revives. Otherwise, what he sees will require no end of explanation. And neither she nor I would wish to be the one who would have to give it.

Vault (2)The footsteps came ever closer, eventually coming to a halt at the other side of Giulietta’s bier. There was a moment’s silence, then I was aware that the muslin sheet which had covered her body was slowly being pulled aside.

The intruder let out a low groan, then a stifled sob, before brokenly murmuring, “Giulietta! My love! My wife!”

I recognised the voice almost before the words had been uttered.

I lifted up my flambard and slowly eased myself to my feet. A ghastly sight met my eyes: young Romeo, his body racking with sobs, was clinging desperately to Giulietta’s body, his streaming face buried in the folds of her white wedding dress. So absorbed was he in his prostrate grief for his lost love that he was clearly utterly unaware that I was now standing at his side.

I was so taken aback at his arrival that it took some moments for me to ask myself: What in Heaven’s name was he doing here?

I received the answer to that question in the next instant. The broken-hearted boy was reaching into his pouch and pulling out a small glass vial.

Juliet's tomb (2)

Juliet’s tomb in Verona (part of the city’s Romeo & Juliet trail). Copyright Sue Barnard

Oh merciful Heaven, I thought, as I recalled Giulietta’s words: “I have no doubt that he would wish to follow me to the grave…”

I had no time to wonder what had happened to bring him hither in this desperate state; I knew only that I had but seconds to prevent a true catastrophe…

Book Blurb

Here’s the book blurb, as it appears on Amazon and on the back cover of the paperback edition:

Romeo & Juliet – was this what really happened? When Juliet Roberts is asked to make sense of an ancient Italian manuscript, she little suspects that she will find herself propelled into the midst of one of the greatest love stories of all time. But this is only the beginning. As more hidden secrets come to light, Juliet discovers that the tragic tale of her famous namesake might have had a very different outcome… A favourite classic story with a major new twist.

Sue Barnard is the author of the award-nominated historical fantasy The Ghostly Father and the romantic intrigues Nice Girls Don’t and The Unkindest Cut of All

Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

She joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t. Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.

You can find Sue on Facebook, Twitter (@SusanB2011), or follow her blog here.

Sue is also an Editor at Crooked Cat Publishing

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