Author Spotlight: David Neilson and the Sophie Rathenau Vienna Mysteries

If he were to fail to meet her standards, she just might pull her gun on him—a gun she carries primed and loaded in case she needs it in a hurry. But David knows to follow her lead.

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Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a man can’t create a living, breathing, believable female character. I am continually astonished at the sensitivity with which David Neilson builds his main character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. I think Sophie truly does live in his head, and she directs the stories he writes. If he were to fail to meet her standards, she just might pull her gun on him—a gun she carries primed and loaded in case she needs it in a hurry. But David knows to follow her lead.

In an online interview, he tells us that Sophie does, indeed, resonate in his head. “She knows she’s the star turn and she doesn’t tolerate rivals. I can catch her sometimes thinking whether she’s tough enough in one scene, or vulnerable enough, or self-righteous enough.… the best moments for me come when Sophie says or does something outrageous, for example, getting to get into a ball for free by pretending that a non-existent husband will pay, or trying to con a Jesuit rector into believing she’s a rich patroness.”

Who is this woman, you ask. “An investigator in Mozart’s Vienna, she’s tousle-headed, modest of bosom, large of hand, acid-tongued, and inclined to be self-righteous. Getting involved in the direst conspiracies of her day, she needs all her wits to come out in one piece.” That’s how David described her in an interview with Sue Seabury on her blog, The Technopeasant. Mozart’s Vienna in the 1770s hardly evokes a society in which a liberated woman might thrive as a private investigator. But Sophie manages to be the woman all women want to be.

The Prussian Dispatch and Lay Brothers, books one and two of the Sophie Rathenau Vienna Mysteries, bring you the adventures of this remarkable woman. In the first, Sophie is caught up in an international conspiracy when she is hired to locate a missing government dispatch sent from Prussia to Vienna. To complicate matters, she must keep a vengeful Chancellor at bay and deal with a past that threatens to engulf her. In the second, she’s managed to escape to Munich where intrigue comes in the form of a request from a friend who needs help finding a missing priest. In searching for him, she raises the ire of the increasingly corrupt Jesuit Order whose efforts to silence the priest turn deadly.

I promise you that if you love strong women characters and historical fiction at its finest, you will fall in love with Sophie Rathenau and the stories she drives David Neilson to tell. Visit Sophie’s website, which is a treasure trove of information about Vienna in the 1700’s, the politics, the people, the architecture, and the fashion.

Visit David’s Pinterest page, another place to see images of the people, places, and fashion of Sophie’s world. You can also view the trailers for each book:

The Prussian Dispatch

Lay Brothers

The third book, to be released soon, is Serene. In it we will find her protecting the rebellious Austrian Archduchess Isabella in Venice, a place Sophie had been warned never to return unless she is prepared to die. If something happens to the Archduchess and Sophie manages to escape Corona Mundt’s threat, the Austrian Chancellor will exact his revenge. It’s a lose-lose situation. Having had a preview of this third book, I’m eager for it to be published.

Karen J. Mossman: Author Spotlight

A secret is a secret for good reason. Kerry O’Brien has a secret so terrible it burns inside her. All she wants is to be part of a normal family, but with a step father like Bill, that is impossible.

A New Feature

I’m pleased to introduce a new feature to my blog called Author Spotlight with Karen J. Mossman as my inaugural author.

Karen J. Mossman is originally from Manchester in the UK, but she has now settled into retirement with her husband of nearly 40 years. She lives on Anglesey, a small Island off the North Wales coast and says, ‘Retirement means I am busier than ever as I’m able to spend more time writing. I’m also an avid book reader and blogger. When I am not working on my computer, I belong to an embroidery club where I cross stitch. I am also involved in Anglesey Federation of Women’s Institute. So, retirement has improved my life by enabling me to do the things that make me happy.’

Karen’s book is called The Secret.

Catch up with her on social media: Facebook Twitter Google+ Website Book Blog

The Secret

Image 1A secret is a secret for good reason.

Kerry O’Brien has a secret so terrible it burns inside her. All she wants is to be part of a normal family, but with a step father like Bill, that is impossible.

Set in the 1970s when secrets like this were only ever whispered about, Kerry somehow keeps her humour by pretending everything is fine. Then she meets biker Tommy, and he has his own secret; one that impacts on her.

Kerry’s secret becomes harder to keep and the tell-tell signs are harder to hide. Can she keep it together? Can Tommy and Kerry get it together?

Then the worst happens and Kerry’s secret is a secret no more.

Universal Link, Amazon UK, Amazon US

What Readers are Saying

Karen Mossman’s The Secret is the beautifully written story of high-spirited, Irish-born Kerry O’Brien who struggles to walk a tightrope in her dangerous home life. Set in Manchester, England, in the 1970s, a more “innocent” time when family secrets could be even more deadly than today and the cloud of secrecy over domestic abuse made it hard for victims to find a way out.

Lynne Murray

The story is gripping and interesting, the romance warm and simmering. I absolutely loved the ending, which gives the story an almost fairy tale-like feeling. All in all, it was a very enjoyable two hour read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of the genre.

S. Anderson

I really enjoyed this book and I was automatically drawn into the characters world, from the very first page. Tommy treats Kerry like a queen, and it’s so refreshing to read a story where the man respects and truly loves the girl.

Jenna Hodge

The characters were so real and the story definitely so believable. These sort of secrets unfortunately still go on. Let’s hope others can find the strength, just like Kerry, to come out the other side.

Lindy-Lou

 

 

An Interview with Cheryl Holloway

I recently had a lovely interview with author and book blogger, Cheryl Holloway. You can read it here. Cheryl’s blog is her way to “pay it forward” on behalf of other authors. She says, “To Pay-It-Forward means that we must serve others in order to lift up ourselves,”  and she does just that.

It was great fun talking about all three books in the Clay Series. Book 3, The Clay Sustains, is due for release on September 29, 2017. Amazon pre-sales will begin on September 1.

In her interview, she asked which book was the hardest to write. My answer? It was the upcoming third book, The Clay Sustains, because I had to do a certain amount of world-building, since it was a prehistoric culture and society I was describing. Many of the spiritual and cultural beliefs of the characters were borrowed from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s ancestral people, the Yoeme, as well as from the Tohono O’odham Indians, who believe they are direct descendants of the Hohokam. I felt an obligation to treat these beliefs and practices with the utmost respect, while at the same time creating a society that readers should not assume to be factual representations of either culture or tribe. And, because Yoeme spirituality is somewhat complex, I had to work hard to make it accessible to my readers.

Striking a balance between creating a fictional world and honoring the real culture that serves, to some extent, as a model is something that I had to keep in mind with every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter. I can only hope I succeeded.

She asked a wonderful series of thought-provoking questions that gave me an opportunity to explore my writing experience in depth.

Mosey on over to Cheryl’s blog and catch up with me and my author’s journey.

By the way, I will have a repeat interview with Pat Rullo on Speak Up Talk Radio on Tuesday, September 22. It’s a follow-up to last year’s interview in which I talked about writing the first two books in the Clay Series. Now I get to talk about book 3, The Clay Sustains.

5 Questions Book Bloggers/Reviewers Should Answer on Their Websites

There is a lot to love about being an author, but there are a number of frustrations that have nothing to do with actually writing. It’s the marketing and promotion that get to me. Currently, on the top of my list is the challenge of finding reviewers or book bloggers from whom I can request a review.

Navigating book reviewer/blogger sites

I’ve spent hours going through website after website of reviewers from Amazon’s Top Reviewers using Amazon’s website as well as this site, which makes it a little easier to find and check the reviewer out. Or you can go to Twitter and do a search for “book reviewers” or “book bloggers,” adding your genre as part of the search terms. No matter where you go to find potential reviewers, you will follow the same procedure once you’ve found a website link for them. Continue reading “5 Questions Book Bloggers/Reviewers Should Answer on Their Websites”

“Solving” an Archaeological Mystery in Fiction

As I near the end of my current work-in-progress, The Clay Sustains, the third book of The Clay Series, I have arrived at the chapter wherein I will “solve” one of the greatest archaeological mysteries from the Hohokam era in the Tucson Basin.

In 1949, a man by the name of Ray Romo was hunting in an area of what is now Catalina State Park, near Tucson, Arizona. When the ground collapsed beneath his foot, I can only imagine he knelt down to examine the resulting hole and “peered into the past” (Swartz and Doelle, “The Romo Cache and Hohokam Life,” In the Mountain Shadows, 27:1, Archaeology Southwest, 1996 and 2013).

What he found was an ancient Hohokam pot cupped over a larger Hohokam pot containing a most exciting and intriguing treasure. Inside were 25 copper bells and 100,000 beads. That’s right. You read that correctly: 25 copper bells and 100,000 beads! romerocachediscoverysitebackgroundsstif

https://southwestphotojournal.com/category/prehistoric-pit-house-construction/

Continue reading ““Solving” an Archaeological Mystery in Fiction”

*”He Moved”

It was one of those moments when time slows and details become more pronounced, a rather macabre tableaux vivant, burned indelibly in my mind. My father, outside, trying to break the door down; my mother inside with the shotgun; me standing helplessly to the side. Nearly sixty years later, the image presents itself from time to time, triggered, perhaps by something on the news, in a movie, or from an overheard conversation. Time has not diminished the clarity of the image.

When she pulled the trigger, I saw him, through the window on the door, jerk his head backward and disappear from sight. Continue reading “*”He Moved””

What Makes a Book a Keeper? Part 1

booksSome books are meant to pass time on my shelves before getting swept into the donation box for the local library or the thrift shop. Others have the distinction of permanent residency on what might be dubbed my “shelf of honor.” Those books are the ones that have somehow made a difference in my life. Maybe they were books that left a profound impression on me through their content and the author’s craft. Or they might be personally and professionally important–those that I had the honor of editing and designing for publication (or even writing), for example, or one that marked a life-passage for me. Continue reading “What Makes a Book a Keeper? Part 1”