Genre: After Canons

Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | “Rational Creatures: Stirrings of Feminism in the Hearts of Jane Austen’s Fine Ladies (Vol.3: the Quill Collective, series)” narrated by Victoria Riley

Posted Thursday, 12 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Rational Creatures” via Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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From one Janeite to another, this felt like it was hand-picked for us,…

I’ve been a Janeite for a very long time – during #AustenInAugust [2017], I had the joyful pleasure of submitting a guest essay to commemorate how Austen has been moving in and out of my life over the years which ran on a featured day on Roof Beam Reader’s blog. It is in of itself a quite all-inclusive look at how Jane Austen has left a strong impression on my life.

As soon as I first learnt of this blog tour, I had an intuitive reaction to the premise and the sampler I listened to for the collection. It simply felt like it was hand-tailored to those of us who are consistently in awe and love for all stories inter-related to our beloved canon of Jane Austen! There is such a wide field of choices – it is hard to pin down whom to read first, which series play off the original characters so well as it give you goosebumps as you read their new stories as they are so accurately portrayed and which collections of anthologies best hug back into the style of Jane Austen as well.

It isn’t enough to write a variation, sequel, re-telling or experiment with a unique portal of insight which can flourish in the after canon realms – for me, it has to play homage to the original author, the original novel & maintain a sense of loyalty for how Jane Austen herself presented her characters to us. For me, that is a hard rule and one I won’t break as I pick up new stories to read. This is one reason being able to read the Miss Jane Austen series by Collins Hemingway has been such an enjoyable journey (see also my reviews).

Imagine my joy to find this collection on the foot-heels of celebrating the third Miss Jane Austen novel going on a blog tour this October. I am thankful for those writers who are re-experimenting with these characters and re-settling us into their lives as if they are still vibrantly alive and living new adventures to be shared with us all.

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An informative conversation with Victoria Riley:

Rational Creatures stories banner by The Quill Collective

the questions were provided by Audiobookworm Promotions wherein Ms Riley was able to select the 10 questions she preferred to respond to directly.

Generally speaking, I do provide my own interview & guest post topics for authors I am featuring on Jorie Loves A Story – however, due to how chaotic my Summer became, I must admit, I lost sight of a few of the blog tours along the way. Including being able to submit my own questions for Ms Riley. However, I’ve read over her responses in this conversation and love her candor and her willingness to share a personal glimpse into being a narrator, why she personally is passionate about Jane Austen and how adaptive you have to be to get the narrations recorded! I felt this would be a delight of joy to share with my readers – especially as she picked the questions to respond to (as there was quite the long list!) – this felt like a very organic convo to promote.

I also found another interview by Ms Riley you might enjoy reading which was featured during this year’s #AustenInAugust!

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When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?

Riley responds: Well, I’ve always said that I’d be happy to just sit in a cupboard all day reading books. I didn’t know that I could actually do that and get paid for it. Dreams do come true, folks.

How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?

Riley responds: I’m actually a classically trained actress and was originally interested in theatre. When I started out, audiobooks weren’t really a big thing and it didn’t occur to me as a career. I gradually veered into voiceover and my first audiobook was through my VO agent. I then set up my own studio at home and audiobooks are just one of the things I work on.

A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?

Riley responds: I wouldn’t say it’s essential, but it really, really helps. We’ve been trained to analyse scripts and characters, to convey nuance and emotion. With audiobooks, you have to do it all with your voice, though, so it is an added skill. However, I do think that some people are natural storytellers. My Mum worked as a primary school teacher and I still remember the way she read books to me before bed.

What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?

Riley responds: I LOVE Jane Austen. I love her female characters with their fire and intelligence. To have such strong minds, but be so restricted with their options in life. For marriage to be your only way forward when you have so much to offer the world. It makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. From a working perspective, this is also my first collection of short stories. Short stories are a real art form. You have to draw the reader (or listener!) into the tale very quickly and make them care about the characters without the luxury of a whole novel in which to do it. I really enjoyed each one being a separate little project, so I had a sense of closure and achievement after each one.

What types of things are harmful to your voice?

Riley responds: I wouldn’t say I’m that careful with it to be honest. I’ve had vocal training drummed into me for decades, so I think it really comes naturally to me to support my voice well and to speak from the diaphragm. I’ve been trained to project to the back of a theatre, without a microphone, night after night after night. Some narrators get tired voices, but you can’t shut me up!

Who are your “accent inspirations”?

Riley responds: Absolutely everybody! I love accents. I have a broad Lancashire accent myself. I hope you can’t tell from ‘Rational Creatures’! If I hear a good accent, someone on TV or in real life, I’ll be there mouthing the words, fascinated by how they’re forming the sounds. Penelope Keith is a good one for very upper class ladies. Pam Ayres for West Country. Some elude me, though. My Cockney wanders all over the place, though you get a snippet of it in ‘Rational Creatures’. My boyfriend has a London accent and sometimes he helps me with pronunciations. I’ll be texting him asking things like ‘Transport or traaaahnsport??’.

How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?

Riley responds: Well, a lot of the characters are very well-known anyway, which helps. I didn’t feel as though I was creating them from scratch. Most of them just jump off the page too. There are simple things like class to consider. Also character traits, like arrogance, pomposity, shyness or humility, which affect voice and delivery. I love a character that you can really embody. When it’s so obvious how they should sound that you don’t even really have to think about it.

How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?

Riley responds: It takes a REALLY long time, especially if you’re fully producing the work yourself. It takes around six hours to produce one hour of finished audio, sometimes longer. That doesn’t even include all the prep work you have to do first, reading the work in full, researching characters and pronunciations, deciding on voices. Editing takes forever, combing through the recording, editing out little sounds like mouth clicks or any particular noisy breaths. I also regularly do radio jingles, which is a good comparison, because it takes no time at all! Audiobooks are not for the faint-hearted.

If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?

Riley responds: Apart from absolutely everything by Jane Austen? I have so many author heroes! However, if it’s from my youth, then I’m going to plump for Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’. His stories are so evocative and he doesn’t shy away from darker themes. I was born in Pendle Witch country, so this one struck a particular chord with me.

Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?

Riley responds: We’ve all done silly things. Giving an Oscar-worthy performance, then realising you haven’t pressed record. Stuffing a cushion up your jumper to stop tummy rumbles reaching the mic. Gradually getting more naked as you stifle in the booth in summer. We’ve all done it.

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Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | “Rational Creatures: Stirrings of Feminism in the Hearts of Jane Austen’s Fine Ladies (Vol.3: the Quill Collective, series)” narrated by Victoria RileyRational Creatures
Subtitle: Stirrings of Feminism in the Hearts of Jane Austen's Fine Ladies
by (Editor) Christina Boyd
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Victoria Riley

“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” (Persuasion, Jane Austen)

Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels are timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary - because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.

In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, 16 celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s heroines, brave adventuresses, shy maidens, talkative spinsters, and naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.

Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.

“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; - that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” (Mary Wollstonecraft)

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07VCH37LL

Genres: After Canons, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by The Quill Collective LLC

on 18th July, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 18 hours and 3 minutes (unabridged)

The stories & authors of “Rational Creatures”:
as well as noting which characters are featured per story

Christina Morland “Self Composed”
Eleanor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility

Nicole Clarkson “Every Past Affliction”
Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility

Amy D’Orazio “Happiness in Marriage”
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice

Joana Starnes “Charlotte’s Comfort”
Charlotte Lucas Collins from Pride and Prejudice

Anngela Schroeder “Knightley Discourses”
Emma Woodhouse from Emma

J. Marie Croft “The Simple Things”
Miss Hetty Bates from Emma
Previously, I’ve read Love At First Sight by Ms Croft.

Caitlin Williams “In Good Hands”
Harriet Smith from Emma

Brooke West “The Meaning of Wife”
Fanny Price from Mansfield Park

Jenetta James “What Strange Creatures”
Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park

Elizabeth Adams “An Unnatural Beginning”
Anne Elliot from Persuasion

Karalynne Mackrory “Where the Sky Touches the Sea”
Sophia Croft from Persuasion

Lona Manning “The Art of Pleasing”
Penelope Clay from Persuasion

Beau North “Louisa by the Sea”
Louisa Musgrove from Persuasion

Sophia Rose “The Strength of their Attachment”
Catherine Moreland from Northanger Abbey

Karen M. Cox “A Nominal Mistress”
Eleanor Tilney from Northanger Abbey

Jessie Lewis “The Edification of Lady Susan”
Lady Susan from Lady Susan

Published by: The Quill Collective (@xtnaboyd)

Most of the collection installments are available in audio,
the few which are not are noted below for easy reference.
I hope one day they all will include an audio release.

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The Quill Collective series:

(read about the series on their site)

The Darcy Monologues (volume one)

Dangerous to Know:
Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues (volume two)
(*this one is not in audiobook)

Rational Creatures (volume three)

Yuletide: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories (volume four)
(*this one is not in audiobook)

Converse via: #RationalCreatures & #QuillCollective + #AudioReads

OR #loveaudiobooks, #JaneAusten and #Janeite or #Austenites

About (Editor) Christina Boyd

Christina Boyd

CHRISTINA BOYD wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 12 September, 2019 by jorielov in After the Canon, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Short Stories or Essays

#Mythothon Author Interview | How Shakespeare and Camelot merge together in the duology [ Merlin’s Shakespeare ] by Carol Anne Douglas

Posted Thursday, 5 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Good morning, dear hearts!

September marks my second year participating in #Mythothon – wherein, a group of us who are book bloggers, bookish tweeters and readers love to gather together to celebrate the mutual love & affection we have in discovering the Mythologically Fantastical about the artfulness of re-tellings and after canons as they parlay through origins in Mythology and/or Mythological Myths which can be from a wide net of origins.

When I signed on for this blog tour, I thought it would be interesting to host an author whose merged together two of my personal favourite canons which is Shakespeare and Camelot. Of the two, over the past several years, I’ve read the most extensively through Camelot and I will be re-visiting it again this September, as part of my #Mythothon readings this year is a Non-Fiction account of Guinevere’s life called “The Once and Future Queen”. A bit lateron today, I’ll be revealling what I am reading for Mythothon Year 2 and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has selected to entreat into this lovely new niche of interest we are celebrating!

Ahead of the conversation, I have with Ms Douglas is an extract from the first story in the duology for Merlin’s Shakespeare. The author revealled in our conversation that this is a duology at this point in time rather than a continuing series where there are more installments. I hope you’ll enjoy this introduction to the first novel and gleam a bit more insight into how it was written as you read the responses by the author herself in our conversation.

Extract from ‘Merlin’s Shakespeare’ by Carol Anne Douglas

the first novel in the Merlin’s Shakespeare series; used with permission of the author

“If you are Merlin, why would you come to our school?” she asked.

“I have my reasons. Can you imagine that Merlin would explain himself to you? Or to anyone?” He frowned. “Can you prove that you are Beth Owens?” he asked scornfully.

“I have lots of papers that say so, and my teacher will agree that I am,” Beth said, though it was clear that he already knew the answer.

“But may I ask why you honor us with a visit?” Ms. Capulet’s voice was reverent. She gazed at him as if he were the combination of a movie star and a religious leader.

Apparently the teacher’s manner was humble enough to mollify Merlin. “I came to teach Beth how to channel her magic,” the wizard said. He turned to Beth. “You have magical powers, and you love Shakespeare. Th at is a combination I need. I could use you as a researcher on Shakespeare’s plays.”

If he needed something from her, Beth wasn’t going to be speechless. “Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?” she asked. She had heard that some people believed he wasn’t the one who had written the plays.

“Did William Shakespeare really write all those plays?”

“Of course Shakespeare was Shakespeare.” Merlin looked at her as if she had said a pig was a chimpanzee.

“Some people say an actor couldn’t have known enough about kings or court life to have written the plays.”

“Of course he didn’t know enough. That was why I helped him,” Merlin said. “I saw that he had great ability as a poet, and I helped him travel to worlds where he would get the experience he needed. His plays are magic. He provided the art; I provided the magic.”

“Oh.” Beth paused to take in this information. A genius and a wizard working together. Th at made sense to her. “But how can you still be on this earth?” Merlin didn’t look like a ghost. “Are you dead or alive?”

“I am immortal,” Merlin said, looking down at her though he wasn’t much taller than Beth. “But I allow only a few people to see me.”

“Why do you think I could help you?” Beth asked.

Merlin rubbed his beard. Th ere was a gleam in his eye. “Not just because you have a talent for wizardry,” he said. “It is better to call you a wizard than a witch, I think. Safer for you.”

“Even today it is,” Ms. Capulet agreed. “Men who can do magic are seen as potentially great, but people too often think that women who can do the same thing are evil.”

“I have a task for you, Beth,” Merlin told her. He sat down on one of the auditorium seats near hers. “There is one great lack in Shakespeare’s writings. I helped him for a reason. I wanted him to write a play about King Arthur.” He paused.

“But there isn’t any Shakespeare play about King Arthur,” Beth said.

“There is not. Or there does not seem to be.” Merlin frowned. “I gave Will all he needed. Knowledge of kings, knowledge of battles. But he used bits and pieces in other plays, and never wrote the one I most desired. Or he did not appear to. There may be such a play, but it may be hidden.”

“A lost Shakespeare play!” Ms. Capulet gasped. “That would be incredibly valuable.”

“Beyond measure,” Merlin said, “especially to me. Not just any play, but the one that was to be his crowning glory.”

Beth wanted to giggle, because “crowning glory” in this instance sounded like a pun, but she refrained because Merlin intimidated her.

“If you, who are so powerful, can’t find it, why do you think I could? I’m just a teenager.”

“People might tell you things that they would not tell me,” Merlin said. “You have some magical powers—untried and unschooled, it is true—and you love Shakespeare and learn the lines quickly. You also have some talent for acting.”

“Thank you.” Beth felt proud. If she had impressed Merlin, she must be good. “But what people would know anything about this play, if it exists?”

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The Merlin’s Shakespeare duology:

Merlin's Shakespeare by Carol Anne DouglasThe Mercutio Problem by Carol Anne Douglas

Merlin’s Shakespeare | book one

Beth loves Shakespeare’s plays, but does she want risk her life for them?

The immortal wizard Merlin transports high school actor Beth Owens to Shakespeare’s London and the worlds of Shakespeare’s characters in search of a missing play about King Arthur. Mercutio guides her and flirts with her, but Richard III threatens her sanity, her friends’ lives, and the integrity of Shakespeare’s plays.

The Mercutio Problem | Book Two

High school actor Beth Owens faces a new challenge: She needs to bring a Shakespearean character she loves back from the dead. But she has to become a man and risk her life to do it. Richard III still menaces her.

Genres: Shakespeare | Camelot | Mythological Re-tellings / After Canons

Young Adult | Fantasy Adventure | Time Travel or Shift

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Posted Thursday, 5 September, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Lola's Blog Tours, Self-Published Author, YA Fantasy

Author Interview | Discussing MacBeth and the way this tale was re-spun through the vision DK Marley had for “A Fire in Winter”

Posted Friday, 16 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have an exciting interview to share with you today, as the author and I myself are both passionately dedicated to reading Shakespeare! I have appreciated the Bard since I was quite young though it wasn’t until a freshman in high school where I started taking more of an earnest interest in discerning what I was interpreting out of his stories; thus taking on a new role in my life as a Shakespearan reader. From that year til this one, I’ve been dancing through the plays in different formats of exploration – from the plays themselves, of course, but also through adaptations in film, after canon novels and the re-tellings which are re-shaping how we think, feel and understand the original canon of Shakespeare.

What truly implored me towards reading “The Fire of Winter” is wanting to re-step through a lens of insight into both MacBeth and the origin story surrounding Lady MacBeth. It was a play that has been a curiosity for me since I was sixteen and I felt Marley just might be the author who would give me a version of this story which would resolve some of my own questions and curiosities therein whilst giving me a heap of fodder to chew over as a book blogger. I was not wrong on all counts.

This interview is a follow-up to the review I’ve previously disclosed – wherein, you’ll notice through my observations and my readerly takeaways why the writings Marley is giving us are not just wicked good fiction but they are accountable and authentic towards a better understanding of why Shakespeare wrote his stories. She pulls you back into the context of his vision but also, re-represents that vision in a way that you can re-visit the themes, the characters and the settings in a wholly original examinations of those founding stories. For me, it was a way of re-stepping into a door of literature I have loved and finding a refreshing new spin on what I rememered having read.

If you want to settle your reader into the heart of the scene rather immediately after she opens your novel, I think when it comes to opening paragraphs DK Marley takes the ultimate star award for dramatic entrances! Not only do you gather the emotional rooting of this scene – partially built against the purity of rage and anger; as clearly the woman whose allowing men to die by flame and fire isn’t concerned with their dangerous demise but rather, the freedom (or so it appears) their death shall yield to her as a result of their premature deaths. This doesn’t outright surprise me because raids, unexpected coups and power re-alignments were quite common during this particular century as those who wished for power didn’t go about it diplomatically; rather, they plundered it off the lands of others, stole it outright or found ways to circumvent the ethical divides between the ruling class and pirating your destiny out of a world rife with war.

Gruah is a woman caught in a circumstance not of her own choosing – if you follow that thread you’d find she was ready to embrace a life with a man she desired to be with rather than one she was forced to remain enchained. The interesting bit here though is how Marley handles the scene as she doesn’t let us see the remorse of her character (not that I felt she had any to yield) nor does she give her time to apologise for her impulsive actions (again, I didn’t feel that was plausible!) – no, instead, she presents her just as she were – her faults surfacing with malice whilst carrying a gleaming glow of self-satisfaction. This was a woman who knew what she wanted, how she would achieve it and dare anyone to tell her differently. She leaves her mark and her mark is by fire and sword.

As Gruah grows in her hatred towards her newly wed husband forced on her by her father – an exchange of alliance and power; nothing more – she begins to emerge as Lady MacBeth. The woman who would turn her heart to stone if it meant finding her own internal power to eradicate the ills done against her – as you find her plotting her revenges even as she takes her first steps into her new marriage. Of course, she is already “MacBeth” in both honour and declared love; married to Lord MacBeth in secret and yet, secreted from that truth due to the alignment of strife to overtake her father’s and the King’s wishes on her behalf. I was curious about what changed the woman’s right to choose her own spouse – as it was mentioned briefly that they used to be able to make those choices outside the purview of the men; where their own destiny was once their own and not owned by others who did as they willed whether or not it was consented or accepted. In that regard, there are a lot of contemporary issues for women’s rights penetrating through MacBeth’s struggle to find the right action to fuse with her words; as her wrath was always spoken but its the actions she needs to take which take longer to formulate.

Marley has written an historical novel rife with conflict and the secrets which never stay in the past but which re-rise in the future when they are meant to be known. Her Lady MacBeth is a woman who is attempting to right the wrongs against her by taking action as an adult when she couldn’t act as a child. It is a story of redemption but also, of self-sacrifice as in this version of MacBeth you understand better what anchoured her to the darker roots of her faith and how the Earthen Spirituality she shared with her Mum was the only grounding foundation she had to battle against the horrors of her youth.

Marley also broaches the current topics of women’s rights, domestic violence against women and the suffering hours of being victims of sexual violence as children. She moves instinctively through the actions of the present and counters it with the recollected memories of the past to where you can overlay the past with the present and understand how everyone is on this collision course to where fate, life and death are interchanging their roles. It is a story that is fuelled by revenge but it is also a story of injustice and the purity of true love which seeks to rise through the ashes and lay claim to the purity of how love when it is freely given is a freedom of its own.

It is a hard novel to read in many regards because of how it descends and rises through the pacing of the play – including the fall of madness in Lord MacBeth. There is violence yes, as these are not people who opt for diplomacy to solve their problems, they’d rather take to the sword and see who is the better of combatants than to use talk to diffuse their differences. There are scenes which are hard to read just due to what they involve but at the heart of the novel is the life of MacBeth; both the husband and the wife. You get to re-examine what motivated them, what sparked the love between them and what ultimately drove them apart – you see those moments they shared together and how they perceived of their future by secret plotting.

The most powerful part of the story is the conclusion – where Lady MacBeth has a final say about what is meant to be remembered about herself. In that confession, you peer close to her soul and her heart; you see into her the truthfulness of her actions and the ways in which she felt she had to act in order to secure her own destiny. The difficulties of those choices however had consequences that do not wait to rest on a mind hardened by the actions of a woman who was aflame with murderous intentions to accomplish the deeds she first felt would define her and secure her future. You had to contemplate if she had the option to re-live it, what would she choose and what would she change; if anything? Or was it all pre-destined and her life lived out just as it was meant?

-quoted from my review of The Fire of Winter

As you embark on reading this conversation, be sure to have brewed your favourite cuppa and get ready to get your Shakespeare on as we discuss the components of this re-telling of MacBeth whilst also discussing why Marley has a firm passion for re-visiting other plays and how she is re-envisioning the canon of Shakespeare as a whole! I hope you enjoy where our convo led us and perhaps, you’ll find a renewal of interest in these stories as much as I have myself!

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Author Interview | Discussing MacBeth and the way this tale was re-spun through the vision DK Marley had for “A Fire in Winter”The Fire of Winter (Interview)
by D.K. Marley
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder?
What secrets fire her destiny?

Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.

Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?

The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.

“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1724914965

Also by this author: The Fire of Winter

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by White Rabbit Publishing

on 1st June, 2019

Pages: 355

Published by: White Rabbit Publishing

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #Shakespearean and #MacBeth

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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As “The Fire of Winter” goes into the heart of who Lord and Lady MacBeth were as their lives were being lived – what was your inspiration towards wanting to use the play and their story as a catalyst to explore the fuller background of this century through the drama of what their lives became?

Marley responds: I am a true Shakespeare-lover! Since the time I was eleven and my grandmother gave me her college textbook “The Complete Works of Shakespeare”, I was hooked. I am currently attempting to adapt all the plays into historical fiction novels, so Macbeth was the second on my list. My first adaptation is “Prince of Sorrows” which is Hamlet set in 9th-century Denmark. Read More

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Posted Friday, 16 August, 2019 by jorielov in 11th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, After the Canon, Anglo-Saxon History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Britian, Cosy Horror, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, England, Good vs. Evil, Heroic Bloodshed, Heroic Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Literature for Boys, Men's Fiction, Military Fiction, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Spin-Off Authors, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Sword & Scorcery, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment

Author Interview | Notes from when Jorie spoke with Mr Harper IRL about “A Knife in the Fog”!

Posted Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I personally feel as if Crime Fiction has a soft spot in my heart and mind; for as long as I can remember I’ve been claiming Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers as being my most keenly interested section of television teleplays and dramas of interest. Counter to that pursuit, are the novels – spilt between the Cosies I personally adore and have a deep affection for devouring and the more intriguingly brilliant and layered Cosy Historical Mysteries which have passionately become a favourite pursuit of my readerly life since I became a book blogger.

Adjacent to those inclinations, I am also most intrigued with the Historical Suspense and/or Thriller – there are a few of my interests in these kinds of stories which are on the ‘outer edge’ of my tolerance levels for visuals and/or inclusive scenes which are relevant to the story/series itself. Those I happily refer and reference as “Hard Boiled” entries for a point of reference here on my blog as well as a marker of interest in my own pursuit of the stories themselves.

When it comes to chasing down television dramas in Crime Fiction as much as Fictional series of the same nature, I have a profound affection for those writers who give keen insight into Forensic Science, Forensic Pathology and Forensic Investigative Techniques or the Psychology of the Crime through Forensic applications on the psyche.  What is interesting about studying Forensics through Fiction is how crafty writers have to become to keep us not only invested in their stories but for giving us a truism of realism within the boundaries of their stories. When they go to infer a step into their worlds – a world they are illuminating to become the mainstay of interest for a series in development for the new reader whose found their words – they are giving us a prime example of what is become expected of their collective works in future volumes.

This is why if a writer of Crime Fiction can capture me straight out of the gate – by their voice, their style or their world – over and beyond their lead character(s), supporting cast and the delivery of the suspenseful bits interwoven into the back-stories – they will have found a loyal reader in me for the life of their series*. (*) co-dependent on the fact they do not disappoint my palette of interest in future installments.

When it comes to Sherlock Holmes and the after canons of his stories – I have a very, short list of interest – at which you will find the Mary Russell stories at the very top as Laurie R. King was the first author I had discovered in 2009 who was writing a level of intuitive intention regarding Holmes which felt naturally intrinsic of the character I had remembered. Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer arrived a bit lateron but was a bit of a harder sell for me being that Enola’s story-lines were slightly a hit/miss for me but the character of Enola was intriguing enough to where I wanted to read more of her adventures. With Mary Russell – I was immediately smitten by her and Holmes at this junction in his life and thereby, wooed immediately into the world King had set out for us to discover.

I am quite critical about after canons, stories inspired by classical novelists and sequel authors – notwithstanding my interests in Conan Doyle, there are my inquisitive pursuits of chasing down stories of this nature within the embodiment of Jane Austen and the re-tellings of Jane Eyre.

What I am constantly seeking out is a certain layer of conveyance of presence, of loyalty to the authentic voice of the inspirational character in question and a purposeful dedication of not just honouring the past but of elevating the tone of the new incantation against the old. I love finding authors who have their own unique approach to re-writing a familiar character and giving us a newfound way of appreciating them through their new variant of interest in the here and now. Thus, what captured my attention with the Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries was simply this – how a pathologist was motivated to write these stories based on his own interest in Holmes and the writer behind Holmes (Conan Doyle) led him into a portal which granted us an immersive look at how Doyle himself might have approached investigative interests which re-lead us to appreciate how he created Holmes and Watson.

Overall, what I love most about Holmes and Watson in the traditional sense is the camaraderie of their relationship – their zest for intellectual dissection of the facts and their pursuit of uncovering the sociological implications of what is fuelling the crimes in which they investigate. They are uniquely timeless in how they inter-relate to one another but also how they approached their techniques – leaning on the intellect and the divisiveness of their research talents, they uncovered the criminology of their cases because of how they approached their ability to sleuth.

My love and appreciation for Holmes and Watson inspired me to take a chance on this new entry into a Holmesian niche of after canon story-lines. Not that this is a traditional after canon in the sense that there is an influence of Holmesian styling but it is not effectively a re-telling or a reincarnation of that canon per se but as you read or listen to A Knife in the Fog you’ll find Holmes and Watson have materalised anew in a different vehicle of interest altogether.

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Author Interview | Notes from when Jorie spoke with Mr Harper IRL about “A Knife in the Fog”!A Knife in the Fog (Interview)
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle
by Bradley Harper
Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another "crime story." Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.

Once there, he is offered one month's employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a "consultant" in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell--Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes--agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.

Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633884861

ASIN: B07HKJ71X5

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog


Genres: After Canons, Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Suspense


Setting: London, England, UK


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Audiobook | mp3, Trade Paperback

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperA Knife in the Fog (audiobook) by Bradley Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

Converse via: #AKnifeInTheFog, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalMystery
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

A Knife in the Fog was nominated for
an Edgar Award in 2019 for “Best First Novel”

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Posted Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Arthur Conan Doyle, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era