Saturday, August 22, 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON AUTHOR....

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 Saving the world, one happily-ever-after at a time…





When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Truthfully, I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until I already was one.

Since I was a child, I have always written stories in my head. I also re-wrote books and movies I liked to have an ending I liked better or to send the characters off on new adventures. I did it for my own entertainment, never intending to commit them to paper. It was just a habit of mine, a way of sort of taking a mental vacation during the day.

In 2011, I read a book called Gabriel’s Inferno. I went to Amazon to write a review, but got distracted by reading reviews others had left. (Come to think of it, I never did write that review.) One of the readers said it had once been Twilight fanfiction. I wasn’t familiar with the term, so I went off to research it, and discovered that other people re-wrote books and movies too — and not only that, there was a massive online community dedicated to these stories.

I read a few of them and worked up some of my courage. I decided to post one of the stories I’d mentally written about the Twilight series, a little tale in which Bella winds up with Emmett. No one would ever read it, I thought. But I was okay with that. I liked the idea of it being out there, floating around on the internet, and maybe one day finding a reader.

As the story progressed, I gained twelve readers, and I was both elated and astonished. Twelve people were reading my stuff! Willingly! And they were so nice about it!

After a bit of dithering, I decided to write another story. I had reservations because this one was just so weird. I was scared I was going to be roundly mocked for it, and probably end up on one of those “Most Ridiculous Fanfictions of All Time” lists. I planned out my exit strategy before I even posted the first chapter. I told myself that if people were cruel about it, I could simply quietly delete my stuff and disappear into the ether. No one would be the wiser.

But to my astonishment, people loved it. Within days, I had hundreds of readers. Then thousands. I started to get a little scared at this point, because I’d never expected this. Even today, it all seems like a fevered dream. I have a memory of watching the stats climb on the fanfiction site and actually feeling a little woozy. I had a delicious sense of freedom when I thought no one was reading. Now, it felt like a responsibility to those readers, and that was just a wee bit terrifying.

A few months later, I got an email from a publisher wanting to know if I’d ever considered writing a book. I hadn’t had my morning tea yet, and I remember staring at the email. Refreshing it. Staring at it again. I called my True Love and said, “Um, don’t get your hopes up or anything, but it looks like I may be publishing a novel.”

Five books later, here I am, and it still doesn’t quite seem real.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It varies. I wrote Ghostwriter in less than 90 days. Under These Restless Skies took me a whole year.

I’ve found that “being an author” severely cuts into my writing time. I have social media to run, emails to answer, books to mail out, promo activities, figuring out stuff to post on my blog, book shows to attend… Honestly, when I first accepted the contract to write Ghostwriter, I thought I would write the book, send it to them, and that would pretty much be the end of my involvement. I’d go on to write the next one, and the publisher would take care of everything else. Well, that’s not the way it works today, even at the major publishing houses.


What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

When I’m trying to get something finished on deadline, I’m at it from the moment I get up until the moment I go to bed, unless there’s something pressing I need to do during the day. Don’t get me wrong, I take breaks to read the news or look something up, but I spend the majority of my life in front of the computer these days. I have to force myself to take recreation breaks. I know I’ve been pushing myself too hard when I start sleepwalking. No joke. At that point, I know I need to force myself away to watch some television or play some video games (Fallout and Skyrim are favorites.)


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m pedantic. I get bogged down in these little details no one else in the world will ever notice, but it drives me nuts until I get it right. If I’m describing a real place, I’ll want to know whether my characters are walking uphill or downhill. I’m probably on some FBI watch list from how much research I did into explosives for the End of All Things series. The downside is that I’ll get lost in a deep pool of research and won’t come back up for hours. While I was writing Under These Restless Skies, it occurred to me I wasn’t sure what word the people of the Tudor era used for “shark.” I started looking into it after diner one evening. Four AM found me reading a transcription of a document housed in a tiny British library, a deposition for a lawsuit over a shipwreck in which the crew were picked off by sharks before they could be rescued. Yes, they did call them “sharks,” in Tudor England.


How do your books get published?

After the first book, my publisher seems to have sort of accepted my weirdness, and it became a much more informal process. I’d just tell them what I was going to write next and they’d ask me when I expected to have it finished.

I’d be assigned an editing team, and boy, did those poor souls earn their keep. My first drafts tend to be a mess. I go off on tangents, add piles of unnecessary detail, and have an almost-criminal overuse of adverbs. There’s one editor whose job it is to check continuity. “You said it was a green shirt, Lissa, and now two pages later, it’s a blue shirt.” They ask hard questions, and I’m glad because I know readers would, too. But it becomes vaguely amusing when you have this series of emails going back and forth about the physics of a Moltov cocktail or whether readers really need a section about the 1919 anarchist bombings.

And they also keep my excesses in check. On the original draft of Under These Restless skies, I had sixty pages of notes at the end. My editor was quite gentle about it, but she made me realize I had to trim it down substantially. She had the great idea of turning the notes into a blog, so that’s how my Tudor history blog got its start.


Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas come from everywhere. I’ve never suffered for a lack of them. For me, it always starts with the question, “What if?” A lot of these ideas never go anywhere, but sometimes, they grow into a full-length novel inside my head.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

When I was a child, I wrote my first fanfiction of The Wizard of Oz. I didn’t know that’s what it was called at the time; I called it a “parody,” for want of a better term. In it, nobody really liked Dorothy, and the Wicked Witch was actually the hero. She was on a magical quest to free the Munchkins from the evil Glenda’s enslavement spell, and the Ruby Slippers were the last item she needed to collect.

Yeah, imagine my surprise when Wicked came out.


What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m an avid reader, of course, and I love to travel.


What does your family think of your writing?

It was a long time before I told them, actually. I took my mom out to lunch one day and said, “I have something to tell you. Don’t panic. It’s something good. Um. I’ve got a book that’s being released next month. Yeah, I write.” I’m an intensely private person, so it was hard to let people I know take a peek inside my head.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That writing was actually the smallest part of the job. If all I had to do was write – which, in my innocent pre-author days, was all I thought an author had to do – I could put out several books a year.


How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have five books out now, but trying to pick a favorite is like trying to pick your favorite child. I love them all, but some I love a little differently. I’ll always love Ghostwriter because it was my first novel. But if you asked me what my favorite work of all time was, including non-published, I’d say it was one of my fanfics, Written in the Stars, which was the one that sort of blew up on me and got me into this mess. (Did I say mess? I meant “delightful career.” Well … It’s both.) Writing that story was literally a life-changing experience, and I think it’s the best story I’ll ever write. Looking back at it now with all I’ve learned about writing, I see all of its technical flaws, pacing issues, etc. If I wrote it today, it might be cleaner, tighter, and with significantly less adverbs, but I like it the way it is. It’s my “baby steps.” And I’m very proud of it.


Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Write more. Write every day. The only way you’ll ever improve is with practice. It’s like playing the piano. No one sits down at the keys the very first time and plays a sonata. Even Mozart had to learn his scales and play them over and over for hours on end. We have to practice writing, too. Crafting sentences and constructing paragraphs, fine-tuning our words until we can express emotion with just a sprinkling of carefully-chosen adjectives.

I’m still practicing every day. This is a craft at which no one is ever a master.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I hear from them every day. I’m friends with some of them on Facebook. I’m just an ordinary girl, and I certainly don’t try to keep any distance between myself and my audience. Fanfiction taught me that writers and readers have a vital symbiotic relationship. No story ever lives unless a reader allows it into their hearts and minds.

My readers have encouraged me and helped me fine-tune my work. They encourage me, challenge me, and help me grow. I adore them.


Do you like to create books for adults?

Yes. I’m not an explicit author when it comes to sex scenes, but I have a lot of mature themes in my novels. YA has changed a lot since I was young, but I still keep my books in the adult category, regardless of the ages of my characters, because that’s the audience to which I relate. I think I’d spend a lot of time second-guessing myself if I was thinking about a young audience reading my stuff (though I know they do.)

What do you think makes a good story?

People have been asking that question for centuries. I don’t think there’s an exact formula to it. The best answer I can come up with is that a good story is the story that speaks to you.

I’ve seen quite a few instances where I liked books that were widely panned by critics and disliked the ones considered classics of literature. (Confession: I never liked Jane Austen. There. I’ve said it. And probably lost a bunch of readers because of it.)

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be everything. I wanted to be a doctor and a lawyer and an astronaut and a spy and a veterinarian and an archaeologist. I wanted to be an alien and an elf princess and a dragon-slayer. Fortunately for me, I’ve found a career where I can be all of those things in my head.


Author Bio
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete's foot ... though only in her head. Real life isn't so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.
She is the author of three novels. Ghostwriter is available through The Writer's Coffee Shop, AmazoniTunes, and KoboThe End of All Things is available through TWCS, Amazon, and iTunes. Under These Restless Skies is available through AmazoniTunesBarnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher
She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from TWCS, Amazon and iTunes, or can be purchased separately from Amazon. A short story collection featuring the characters from The End of All Things is also available from Amazon.


Links:






Novels
The End of All Things
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-61213-141-2
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-61213-142-9
Released January 24, 2013
Order from TWCS, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo
Read the first chapter here.
See the trailer here.


After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.




Ghostwriter
 
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-61213-121-4
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-61213-122-1
Released October 12, 2012
Order from TWCS, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo
Read the first chapter here.
See the trailer here.




After being laid off from the newspaper where she worked as a journalist, and losing her boyfriend in rapid succession, Sara Howell is looking to downsize before her dwindling savings run out. Things are finally starting to look up when she lands a job ghostwriting the biography of a popular politician and rents an isolated island house which turns out to have once been the home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925.

But when strange things start happening, as objects break, or go missing, and terrifying visions appear, Sara begins to wonder if Seth ever left, or if she is losing her mind.

What happened to Seth is a secret closely guarded by the family to this day, a family that seems to exist under a terrible curse. Through an old trunk of letters she discovers in the attic, Sara unravels the mystery and becomes caught up in a tale of greed, lost love and the horrors of WWI.

When Sara realizes she is not going crazy and that Seth Fortner’s spirit still haunts her new home on the isolated island, she begins to draw him out of his shell bit by bit. She will discover what happened to the idealistic young writer who went to the battlefields of France to save lives, and to his beautiful bride to destroy the love between them, and what led Seth to make a terrible choice which would have consequences that would echo for generations.

They gradually fall in love in their world of dreams, dreams which swiftly become more attractive than reality, as Sara learns from a ghost how to truly live. Will she be the one to break the “Fortner Curse” by helping Seth conquer his demons, and heal both of their hearts in the process?
 



Romantic Interludes
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-61213-179-5Publication date: Feb 1, 2013
Order from TWCS, Amazon, iTunes

See the trailer for The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly here.


The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House gives its readers seven spicy, sweet, and sassy stories guaranteed to satisfy.

What happens when the god of love is smitten by a mortal woman? Or when a marine comes home from overseas and wants a second chance with the one he let get away?

From a greeting card writer who hates Valentine’s Day, to a matchmaker who doesn’t believe in love, to a young couple who has to face fears from the past before then can accept their future – Romantic Interludes includes seven tales of love from these authors:

Lissa Bryan
Suzy Duffy
T.M. Franklin
Allie Jean
Sandi Layne
Sydney Logan
Jennifer Schmidt

Whether in an emergency room or flower shop, love is in the air. From first glances to second chances, this bundle of romantic stories will get your heart racing! 
The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly: When one of his arrows goes awry, Eros whisks the beautiful, modern Psyche to his home on Mount Olympus. He keeps her blindfolded so she doesn't fall in love with the first man she sees. But what if love is blind after all?
 The Gentleman Gardner: Becky longs for something beyond small town life and her job at The Little Flower Shop. Perhaps a handsome stranger with terrible taste in flowers will be the one to give her what she’s been missing.
 A Piece of Cake: Emily Valentine walked away from her gift and her family’s legacy, instead trusting in science to help others find love.  But when cake designer Sam Cavanaugh is matched with her latest client, she just may find the heart trumps reason. 
Dissecting Lies and Intentions: After the less than stellar ending to Christine and Mitch’s relationship, she has gone out of her way to avoid him. When she finally works up the courage to confront him about his lies, will she be able to forgive and let go of the past? 
Justin’s Second Chance: Ten years ago, Justin Clark walked away from April Peterson. Will a chance encounter with the beautiful widow and her daughter be the second chance that Justin has longed for? 
Stupid Cupid: Jada Morgan hates Valentine’s Day and especially Cupid.  Perhaps single father Nathan Reynolds will be the one to change her mind. 
Two Pink Lines: After twelve years of friendship, Memphis and Kennedy Adams took a risk that changed their lives forever. Will two unexpected pink lines destroy their blissful world or will Kennedy be able to overcome her fear of the past?





Under These Restless Skies 


ISBN (paper): 978-1-61213-214-3
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-61213-215-0


See the trailer here.
Visit the book’s blog here.
Scheduled for release February, 2014



Journey back in time to Tudor England with a tale of romance, intrigue, and the Celtic legends of the selkies.
Will Somers has spent his life alone, thinking himself unlovable. Emma is a selkie, one of the immortal fae-folk of the sea. When Will finds her sleeping on the beach, he seizes this unexpected chance to have a wife and family of his own. He steals her pelt, binding her to him until the day he willingly returns it.
Emma has never experienced life on land, and can barely contain her excitement and curiosity. She has to learn to adapt quickly to human customs, for Will is headed to the glittering, dangerous court of Henry VIII to serve as the king’s royal fool. It’s a world where a careless word can lead to the scaffold, and the smallest of gestures is loaded with political implications.

Anne Boleyn is charmed by Emma’s naiveté and soothing selkie magic, and wants Emma for her own fool. Can Will protect her from the dangers which lurk in every shadow? Theirs is a vocation that provides them some protection, but in Henry VIII’s court, no one is safe. 
Circa regna tonat:  Around the throne, the thunder rolls.











Excerpts

An excerpt from Ghostwriter:



Sara dreamt of grocery shopping. She wheeled her cart up and down the aisle, selecting items she needed because she was cooking Thanksgiving dinner for Mick Jagger. She did not question this bizarre set of circumstances, but enough awareness nibbled at the corners of her mind to be disappointed Seth had not come to her. She abandoned her cart when she saw him and ran to stand before him as the scene around her sharpened and clarified.
 Seth returned her smile, a tad nervously, she thought, and looked around in amazement at the store. “This is what a grocer’s looks like today? A far cry from my time when you handed your list to the grocer and he fetched your order from the storage room. There are so many varieties of everything! How do you choose?”
Trial and error, I suppose. When you find a brand you like, you stick with it.” Sara tried not to be impatient, she really did, but she didn’t want him exploring the store when there was kissing to be done.
Seth chuckled. “You sometimes dream of the oddest things.”
 Sara edged toward the door. The sooner they could get back to the beach, the sooner she could kiss him. As though he were reading her mind, a bit of nervousness again flitted across his face. She hoped she wasn’t being too bold or pushy, because she knew those were traits he had been raised to find unattractive in a woman, but she wasn’t going to play coy or hide what she wanted. With that thought, she realized how much she had changed and grown in such a short period of time. She was now willing to take charge of her destiny, to have the courage to go after what she wanted. 
Sara, I’m not sure . . .”
 “I am,” she said. Sara took Seth’s hand and pulled him gently from the store. The automatic doors slid open to reveal their beach. Near the water’s edge, an uprooted tree had washed up and she led him over to it. She sat down. 
He stood before her, his hands thrust deep into his pockets. He shuffled his feet awkwardly. 
Seth, sit down.” Sara patted a spot on the log beside her. 
Are you sure?” he asked, and she knew he wasn’t talking about taking a seat.
 “I’m sure.” 
Seth sat down beside her and rubbed a hand over his face. He gave a small, humorless laugh. “I feel like I should tell you . . . I’ve never kissed a woman other than Marcella.” 
That’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.” 
He blinked. “What?” 
You stayed faithful to her even while you were away at war. I think that’s admirable. No, I think that’s . . .beautiful.” 
I loved her,” Seth said simply. “I never wanted anyone else. And I made promises. I don’t take that lightly.” 
Oh, what a wonderful man, Sara thought. He deserved far better than Marcella had turned out to be. His nervousness had returned and he twisted the hem of his boxy uniform jacket. It was pristine this time, its brass buttons gleaming in the moonlight. Sara slid closer and said, “Come here.” She opened her arms and he went in them willingly for a hug. She felt his tension ease away. He drew back and smiled at her. 
Is that bet—” 
Seth stopped her words with his lips. Warm and soft, and so sweetly gentle as they moved over hers. Sara twined her arms around his neck and arched closer. Her heart was beating so fast she was afraid it might explode from the exertion and joy singing through her veins. She parted her lips to deepen the kiss, but he drew back. 
Sara cupped his cheek with her palm. “You’re going to disappear on me again, aren’t you?” 
Seth nodded. 
She sighed and released him. She had to remember not to pressure him because it would only cause him to retreat. But they’d certainly passed an important milestone tonight. 
Seth dove in for another quick peck on her lips as though he couldn’t help himself, and then was gone. Sara looked up at the bright moon and tilted her head back to bathe in its silver glow.




Excerpt from The End of All Things:



Two days later, they were out of food again, and Carly was faced with the prospect of trying to make it out to the store.
Sam swatted his metal bowl with his paw, and then stared down at it with a hint of expectation, as if rattling it would make food appear. Perhaps, in his little doggy head it did, because Carly had always filled it whenever she heard the bowl clatter on the floor.

Carly went over to the window to peek out at Biker Guy. Still there. Yesterday, she had gathered all of her courage and gone down to the lobby door again, but he had met her there with another Hello, and she’d panicked and darted back upstairs.

He was looking up at her window. He waved and reached down beside his bucket to pick up something that looked like a large white sheet of poster board. He held it up, and she could see the words he’d painted on it in black: PLEASE DON’T BE AFRAID. I WON’T HURT YOU.

He dropped the top poster to reveal another beneath it: I JUST WANT TO TALK TO YOU.

Carly thought that was highly unlikely. Whatever this guy wants, it isn’t just a scintillating conversation.

He held up another sign: I’M REALLY A NICE GUY. HONEST.

Yeah, like he’d tell me if he wasn’t.

He grinned as he held up the last board: SURRENDER, DOROTHY.

Carly had to giggle, but it faded as she realized it was the first time she’d laughed since the Crisis. She retreated and let the curtain drop. Indecision gnawed at her. She had to get food, and that meant confronting Biker Guy, whether she liked it or not.





An excerpt from “The Golden Arrow and the Butterfly” in Romantic Interludes:



HIS TARGET WAS NEARBY. He could feel it. Eros searched the mall’s food court, unseen, unfelt by the people who bustled through the room to join lines or stake a claim on a table.
There. That was the one. A tall redhead swam though the crowd, a tray braced in her hands. He followed her, waiting for a clear shot. The redhead pulled a chair across the tile floor and plunked herself down before parceling out food for someone who would share her table. He lifted his bow and notched an arrow.
And then he saw her. He dropped the bow down to his side. Though it caused him pain, he moved closer, straining to hear her soft voice over the babble of the crowd. She wore a light cotton sundress and her dark brown hair was bound up off her neck, though tendrils always escaped no matter how hard she tried to contain them. She hated her hair and its uncontrollable curls. He thought it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
He wished he had the ability to walk up behind her and press a kiss to the soft curve of her neck. To trace the tiny butterfly tattoo on the back of her shoulder, a whimsical tribute to her name. To Eros, she would always be Psyche. His butterfly. And like a butterfly, he could only admire her beauty from afar.
Others called her Alexis, as her mother had called her by her middle name since she’d divorced her Greek husband, and that was the name she carried to adulthood.
Eros could not explain why this one particular mortal fascinated him so. He could only say that she called to him in a way that no other creature, mortal or immortal, ever had in the thousands of years he’d walked the earth. Certainly she was pretty and kind-hearted, but so were many others he had known. He knew only that she was special. The sound of her soft laugh made his heart speed up, and he edged closer.
A whisper danced through his mind. You have a job to do. He looked up and saw the man his red-headed target was destined to love winding through the crowd, a soda cup and sandwich borne on a plastic tray.
Eros notched his arrow, drew back, and took aim at the redhead. Just before he let go, Psyche gasped as she spilled her drink on herself, distracting him. He watched with horror as the arrow flew across the room and hit Psyche in the chest, bursting on contact into a golden powder.
Panic. He darted across the room, not bothering to avoid the people in his path. They shivered and glanced around as they felt him pass through, a cool chill that raised goose bumps in his wake.
Psyche was still dabbing at her dress with a paper napkin, employing her foulest language. “Darn it!”
She began to tilt up her head, and his gut went icy with despair. She would fall in love with the first man she saw after being struck by the arrow. Unless he could . . .
He reached her just in time and whispered a word of magic. Psyche swayed, her face drained of color and she toppled out of her chair. He caught her just before she hit the floor, and they vanished.




An excerpt from Under These Restless Skies



“Your majesty, Lady Pembroke, Master Richard Fermor and Will Somers.”
“Rise,” the king said. Will glanced at him quickly. He saw a large, but still muscular man with thinning reddish-blond hair, dressed in a dark brown velvet doublet, ornamented with pearls and gold frogs. The king had gained weight in the last few years and to disguise it, he had widened the shoulders of his surcoats. His eyes were small, a piercing blue-gray. Will caught a glimpse of them before he lowered his own eyes to stare at the floor.
“So, Fermor, you have brought me a fool.” The king’s voice was low and gruff and he didn’t sound terribly interested. The lady seated at his side wore a French hood and an initial pendant attached to her strand of pearls, the letters AB twined together. She wore a dressing gown of brilliant scarlet, trimmed in ermine. It was raiment that only the highest nobility was entitled to wear, but Anne Boleyn was now royal in all but name. Just weeks ago, the king had created her Marquess of Pembroke, the highest noble title in the land. She idly patted the small dog in her lap.
“Aye, your majesty,” Fermor said. “If it pleases your grace.”
“Well, fool, what can you do?”
Will was startled. He hadn’t expected the king to actually speak to him. “I – I can juggle, your majesty,” he croaked. “I can make jests, tumble, and sing a little.”
“Let us see it, then.”
Will’s hands trembled as he withdrew the balls from his bag. “If it pleases your majesty,” he started. He straightened his shoulders as best he could and said in his haughtiest tone: “I, Will Somers, am the best juggler in England.”
The king snorted and Will hoped it was from amusement. He fell into his act, bragging about his abilities while seeming to lose track of his juggling and keeping the balls in the air seemingly by accident alone. He was grateful that he had performed this particular act so many times because he thought he’d completely forgotten his lines, but they slipped from his mouth of their own accord and his limbs seemed to move themselves. The king guffawed a couple of times and he thought her heard Anne laugh at one point. He ended with one of the balls balanced on the tip of his nose before dropping it into his hands and sweeping low into a bow.


“Well done, Master Fool,” the king said, and he seemed a bit more jovial than he had when Will first entered the room, or perhaps it was simply wishful thinking on Will’s part. “But tell me this: I have fools already who can juggle and make jests. Why would I wish to have you at my court? What have you to offer they do not?”
The answer popped from Will’s mouth as though he had rehearsed it. “Because I will do something that none of your council, lords and ladies, ambassadors, servants nor soothsayers will do.”
The king lifted an eyebrow. “And what might that be?”
“I will tell you the truth, your majesty.”
Fermor gasped. Anne burst into laughter. “Oh, I do like him,” she said.
The king cast an amused glance at her. “Is that so, Master Fool? Then perhaps you are worth it after all.”
“But you must make an oath to me,” Will said.
The king flushed a little, but calmed when Anne giggled at Will’s audacity. “What?”
“You must swear it, as the word of a Christian king.” Will’s mouth was as dry as paper and his heart thudded wildly in his chest, but he continued. “You must swear to me, on your honor, that you will never hold it against me when I tell you the truth.”
The king stared at him, his mouth slightly agape, and then he burst into laughter. He slapped his knee and elbowed Anne, who laughed politely along with him, though she obviously didn’t find it as amusing as he did.
“You have my word,” the king said, as he accepted a perfumed handkerchief from one of his serving lords to wipe away the tears that had seeped from his eyes. “Or must I write it out and put my royal seal to it?”
“Your word is sufficient for me,” Will replied.
“I am flattered at your trust, Master Fool,” the king said solemnly, and burst into guffaws once again. “Go and have my steward find you rooms. Have you a wife?”
“I do.” Will thought quickly. He had to find a way to keep Emma away from court, but refusing lodgings offered by the king would be a gross insult.
The king waved a hand. “Bring her tomorrow. I wish to see what the wife of a fool looks like.”
“Much like every other wife in England,” Will said and that sent the king into laughter once more.
“Go, and come back on the morrow,” the king said. He waved a hand at the steward. “Find him some decent garb, and some for Milady Fool as well.”
Will bowed deeply and followed the steward from the room. “And for you, Fermor,” he heard the king begin before the door was shut behind them. Will’s knees gave out and he collapsed to the floor. His head swam in sick circles. He sat back on his heels and looked up at the steward. “Pray, pardon,” he rasped.
The steward smiled slightly. “You are not the first to react in such a manner.” He held out a hand and Will stared at it in surprise. The steward was a lord, and here he was, offering a hand to a baseborn commoner. Will took it gingerly and the steward helped him to his feet and drew him near.
“If ever a man needed to hear the truth,” the steward whispered, “it is that man in there.” He drew away again and his manner was once more brisk and officious. “Follow me.”














Press Releases
The Life-Altering Effects Of War Are Explored Through The Paranormal Romance “Ghostwriter,” Lissa Bryan’s Debut Novel

The Writer’s Coffee Shop, the original publisher of Fifty Shades of Grey, is proud to release Lissa Bryan’s debut novel Ghostwriter on October 11, 2012. This timely paranormal romance reminds us of the struggles many servicemen and women face as they return home to a family that will never understand what they’ve been through.

Fall in love with Lissa Bryan's Ghostwriter
A story began to form in my mind of an idealistic young writer subjected to the horrors of that terrible battle and coming home to a country that didn’t understand how the war had changed some of the people who’d experienced it.


Arlington, Texas (PRWEB) October 09, 2012
As troops return home from war-ridden areas, the number of cases of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are on the rise. This is what inspired author Lissa Bryan to write Ghostwriter. In an interview with Sandra from myfictionnook.com, Bryan explains how an article on the internet about the “Iron Harvest” caught her eye. “Every year, the farmers who live around the battlefields of WWI, especially around Verdun, find tons of unexploded shells, weapons and other debris when they plow their fields.” says Bryan. Her curiosity was piqued, and when she began researching the Battle of Verdun, she was surprised to find that great American authors such as Ernest Hemmingway and E.E. Cummings where among some of the wartime volunteers. “A story began to form in my mind of an idealistic young writer subjected to the horrors of that terrible battle and coming home to a country that didn’t understand how the war had changed some of the people who’d experienced it.”

Ghostwriter tells this story of a beautiful and touching romance between Sara and Seth. Newly single, unemployed, and with her savings dwindling to an all-time low, Sara thinks things are finally looking up when she lands a job ghostwriting a popular politician’s biography. She rents the affordable island home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925. Strange occurrences begin to happen as objects break or go missing and terrifying visions appear. It all makes Sara wonder if Seth ever left, or if she’s slowly losing her mind.

She gets no answers from his family, who closely guards the secret of his disappearance. Through an old trunk of letters Sara discovers in the attic of her seaside cottage, she unravels the mystery and becomes caught up in a tale of greed, lost love, and the horrors of World War I. Will she be the one to break the “Fortner Curse” by helping Seth conquer his demons while healing both of their hearts in the process?

Ghostwriter is available for purchase through Amazon, B&N.com, and iTunes.

Website: Lissa Bryan can be found on The Writer’s Coffee Shop, as well as her website.

About the Publisher:
The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing (TWCS) House is an up-and-coming independent publisher based in New South Wales, Australia. They recently gained a great deal of attention when they published Fifty Shades of Grey, the international literary sensation released in June, 2011 now represented by Random House.

Launched in October, 2010 with the vision of working alongside talented authors while providing quality e-books to the growing marketplace, TWCS publishes a wide range of fiction titles sure to have something for any literary appetite.


Contact
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The World Didn’t End As The Mayans Predicted, But The Publishers Behind Fifty Shades Are Betting That America’s Romance With Apocalyptic Tales Is Far From Over

The Writer's Coffee Shop, the indie publisher behind Fifty Shades of Grey, is entertaining America’s infatuation with “the end of the world as we know it” with its latest release, The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan. Bryan’s take on the apocalypse is not without hope, as a romance develops between two strangers struggling to survive.

The post-apocalyptic romance from Lissa Bryan
Hope, love, and the strength of the human spirit are the backbone of this surprisingly uplifting offering from Lissa Bryan.


Columbus, Ohio (PRWEB) January 22, 2013
There’s no question that Americans have an obsession with apocalyptic tales. From Stephen King’s The Stand to recent television phenomena like Doomsday Preppers, the end of the world has us glued to the screen. But why is this? Is it our natural curiosity of the unknown? Lissa Bryan has her own theory to explain the obsession. "Post-apocalyptic stories have an enduring popularity because in them we see human nature stripped down to the very bone. We see the characters at their most vulnerable point—when they have nothing but their inner strengths to keep them going.”

The End of All Things is the second novel for Lissa Bryan. Her first novel, Ghostwriter, also explored the human condition and finding love in an unlikely place. When asked how she became inspired, Bryan shared, “Stephen King once said that a story starts for him with one question: What if? It's much the same for me. What if the worst possible thing happened? What would people do in a situation where they're reduced to a struggle for basic survival, when the comforts and rules of society are gone? How would their ethics change to meet these new circumstances?”

The End of All Things is an exciting journey that begins with Carly. After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly—one of the few survivors—hides in her apartment in Juneau, trying to survive the best she can with occasional forays to gather food. She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier intent on making his way to Florida before winter. He convinces her to join him, and together they begin a journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way, from the changing seasons to injury and shortage of supplies.

And other survivors.

Some are friendly, some are malicious, and some have minds destroyed by the virus. Justin and Carly can only depend on each other, and she finds her perceptions challenged by what it takes to live in this brutal new world.
This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life and a home in each other.

Hope, love, and the strength of the human spirit are the backbone of this surprisingly uplifting offering from Lissa Bryan.

Website: Lissa Bryan can be found on The Writer’s Coffee Shop, as well as her website.

The End of All Things is available for purchase in paperback and e-book January 24, 2013 on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and The Writer’s Coffee Shop website.

About the Publisher:
The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing (TWCS) House is an up-and-coming independent publisher based in New South Wales, Australia. They recently gained a great deal of attention when they published Fifty Shades of Grey, the international literary sensation released in June, 2011 and now represented by Random House.

Launched in October, 2010 with the vision of working alongside talented authors while providing quality e-books to the growing marketplace, TWCS publishes a wide range of fiction titles sure to have something for any literary appetite.

Contact
Attachments




The Publisher That Brought Sexy Back With Fifty Shades of Grey Introduces Romantic Interludes, An Anthology To Keep The Fires Glowing This Valentine’s Day

Instead of sending roses this Valentine’s Day, The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House would like to give its readers the gift of discovering seven sexy stories in its latest release, Romantic Interludes.

A Romance Anthology From The Original Publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey


Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) January 29, 2013
When the ladies of The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House set out to do something big, they hold nothing back. On February 1st, just in time for Valentine’s Day, readers around the world will get seven new romantic stories from seven of The Writer’s Coffee Shop’s best-selling authors. Romantic Interludes will be a great way for the readers to get a sample of some of our award-winning authors,” says Christa Beebe, a Marketing Department team member.

Each of The Writer’s Coffee Shop’s authors has a strong and loyal following of readers who tend to scramble for new material from their favorites. Sherrie Holder, a longtime reader and Kindle owner tells us, “I just can’t wait to get my hands on a new Lissa Bryan book or a new romance by Sydney Logan. I love all the authors in this anthology, and I am counting down the days until I can get it on my Kindle.”

Luckily for Sherrie Holder and the rest of the fans, they won’t have to wait long to get their next literary fix. On February 1st, Lissa Bryan, Suzy Duffy, T.M. Franklin, Allie Jean, Sandi Layne, Sydney Logan, and Jennifer Schmidt release the much-anticipated Romantic Interludes e-book for only $5.99. This anthology of short stories is proof that The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House continues to deliver hot, sexy, and fun books that its readers are sure to devour.

Romantic Interludes is available for purchase on February 1st from the following retailers: Amazon, iTunes, and The Writer's Coffee Shop website.

About the Publisher:

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House (TWCS) is an up-and-coming independent publisher based in New South Wales, Australia. They recently gained a great deal of attention with Fifty Shades of Grey, the international literary sensation released in June 2011 and now represented by Random House.

Launched in October 2010 with the vision of working alongside talented authors while providing quality e-books to the growing marketplace, TWCS publishes a wide range of fiction titles and is sure to have something for any appetite.

Contact
Christa Beebe The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House 
(817) 264-7503
Email

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Reviews

Reviews for Ghostwriter



Cherie's review 


I will begin this review by stating that I have read Lissa Bryan previous to her debut novel, Ghostwriter. Ms. Bryan has her roots in Twilight fan fiction, and while some readers may arch their eyebrows at that admission, I would like to respectfully remind them of the meteoric success of another fan fiction series, the much touted Fifty Shades trilogy. So having started in that realm should not automatically convey disdain.

However, I am not saying Lissa Bryan is the same calibre of author as E. L. James. Far from it.

Bryan is vastly superior.

*** *** ***

When I read Bryan's work in fan fiction, I was struck by her mastery of story-telling craft. I remember vividly thinking that if she would change the names of the characters and replace them with non-branded Twilight names, I would still be as hooked as I was when I first ventured into her imaginary world. Then I read another of her stories. And another.

Names notwithstanding, her plots were original. Fresh. After having read so very much fiction throughout my life, very little catches me by surprise. Many climax twists are either obvious from the outset or worse, deus ex machina that insults the reader's intelligence. I was delighted beyond words to be caught out, as it were, when enjoying her works.

With this background, I was keenly interested in reading Bryan's "original" work beyond the fan fiction genre. When the opportunity arose to obtain an ARC (Advance Reader's Copy), I jumped on it.

Ghostwriter is a wonderful read. I have always been more interested in the quality of the story instead of the presentation, so I was delighted to catch throw-away references to classical myth as well as classic literature. At first, I was curious how she would somehow link Greek gods with a very modern world. Then I was thrilled to see how it was a trope for the story in itself: how to live in the world when your culture has passed you by...how hubris can present itself to modern man in the same guises as it did to Aeneas, or Odysseus. How can the faults and sins of past generations still resonate and affect descendants decades later?

I did not see the ending that was wrapped up and gifted to the reader. As I continued reading, I found myself asking questions: how could the relationship between a modern woman with a man from another era possibly end well? I had a few ideas that kept presenting itself as the plot unfolded, and not one of my guesses proved correct. (I am grateful for this as her ending was way superior to my clichéd imaginings.)

If you are looking for a novel that will charm and entertain you, I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. 
Denise rated it 


Lissa Bryan’s Ghostwriter does a great many things. It paints a heartbreaking portrait of an idealistic man corrupted by the horrors of war and scarred by his literary gift. It illustrates the destructive power of greed and the joy-inducing power of selfless living. It employs an engaging plot which culminates in a conclusion which makes me smile whenever I envision it.

But its greatest accomplishment is showcasing a woman’s bold decision to follow her heart in spite of its illogical destination. The freedom Sara finds in surrendering to her feelings for Seth is my favorite part of the novel and the reason I could not put the book down. For all Ms. Bryan’s novel does—and does well—it simply and beautifully tells the story of a woman choosing to love a man against all reason, odds, and common sense, liberating two broken souls in the process.

Sara is a woman in need of a new start, living a life devoid of color, and a forgotten family house on a lonely island is the perfect place to find it. But she finds more than a new place to call home within its not-so-quiet walls, and her curiosity about the odd goings-on yield more than she could ever imagine.

Seth is nobody’s hero, least of all in his own mind. But Sara’s support and fearlessness begin to loosen the noose of self-loathing around his neck, and he blooms and blossoms under her adoration. They find solace and serenity in each other, and his paranormal existence is but a minor detail.

Their romance is tender, fumbling, and feverish at turns, and its authenticity is due solely to the brilliance of Ms. Bryan’s steady pen. With each word and line, she breathes life into her characters, and in so doing, I come to see them as friends. I smile when they smile, frown at the stains on Seth’s uniform, and feel exquisite relief at each skirmish they survive. Their love is my love, and I enjoy every twist and turn of their supernatural ride. And I have every confidence that you will too.
Sarah Aisling rated it  
Sara Howell is a likable character who taps into a well of inner strength. She finds herself at a point in her life where she’s very much alone and ready for change. Her mother is a demeaning harpy who never has a nice thing to say, and her ex-boyfriend is a controlling, disapproving, jerk who treated her to scathing remarks about every aspect of who she was. More than once throughout this book, I balled my fists and even found myself talking out loud in some colorful language at the audacity of these two. Thankfully, Sara developed a backbone—although I’m sure it wasn’t easy with her upbringing—and faced off with them in a way that will make you cheer. She also has a little help at one point from someone very special (a moment I actually cheered out loud), but I’ll let you discover that for yourself as you read.

Lissa Bryan’s prose flows beautifully. I’ve read overly-descriptive writing that actually draws me out of a story, but that definitely doesn’t happen here. There’s nothing I love more than escaping inside the pages of a book, and I was able to do that here. I was sucked into the story and forgot my surroundings altogether.

It’s difficult to write a story surrounding a single character who is by themselves for a great deal of the story, and I was concerned about this when I started reading, but the author did an amazing job of keeping it interesting without repeating a lot of boring inner monologue. The writing was always fresh, and I never found myself wishing she’d move on to something else.

I was extremely impressed by the description of moments on the battlefield. If I didn’t know a young woman wrote this book, I would have thought she’d actually been there and experienced the horror firsthand. I was right there, and it was devastating and raw and ugly.

The love story in Ghostwriter develops naturally. That seems like an oxymoron when speaking about a ghost and a human, but you’ll understand when you read it. If a ghost met a girl on an island, and if they could communicate, their relationship developed in a very natural way. It wasn’t a “love at first sight and they fall into each other’s arms” type of scenario. I found it a very satisfying and beautiful journey.

The reason I gave this story four stars instead of five is because I saw several things coming in the storyline and a few things were too pat or convenient for my tastes. That said, it does take a lot to surprise me, and my intuitiveness sometimes ruins things for me when reading.

Lissa Bryan weaves an achingly beautiful love story, built around suspense, intrigue, the devastation of war, family secrets, and interfering loved-ones, rich with descriptions that will pull you right into her world. Give this one a read—you won’t regret it.

Reviews for The End of All Things



Jade Kerrion rated it 
When Lissa Bryan offered me an ARC of her latest novel, The End of All Things, non-apocalyptic fan that I am, I accepted with a bit of trepidation. Who wants all that doom and gloom anyway? Fortunately, The End of All Things is more about hope and second chances, and I very much enjoyed the tale.

After an illness sweeps through the world, wiping out large chunks of its population, Carly finds herself among the few survivors, eking out a meager life in Juneau, Alaska, accompanied by a dog (who is actually a wolf.) Another survivor, Justin, an ex-soldier, finds her and persuades her to travel south with him to warmer climates.

From that simple premise, Lissa Bryan spins a beautifully written story. The author has a talent for writing deep point-of-view and her main characters, Carly and Justin are wonderfully realized with distinct voices. Both are likeable, and they grow and change as the story progresses and as love blossoms between them.

The pace moves quickly for the most part, but takes the time to focus on important conversations and scenes. All in all, I thought it was well-balanced, spiced with enough humor to enliven what is inherently a fairly depressing concept of a worldwide plague that decimates the human race (lots of people die, no cable TV, no high speed internet, no hot water, you get the drift.)

Ms. Bryan definitely hooked me. Toward the end of the novel, after a certain twist that I saw coming but that I hoped wouldn't come, I was mentally railing at Ms. Bryan and calling her a heartless and cruel woman. Few books can get that kind of reaction out of me, so kudos to Ms. Bryan for her skill in storytelling. The good news, the novel does end on a hopeful note, so I forgave Ms. Bryan again, and all is well.

The End of All Things is highly recommended for all fans of apocalyptic fiction. It's a well-written book with excellent pace, plot, and best, it has real soul.


Sandra rated it 
This review is also available on My Fiction Nook.

After a bit of thought, I'm upping my rating to FIVE shiny stars. Yeah, it was that good.

Not only does Lissa Bryan tell a convincing end of the world as we know it story, but also a wonderfully emotional romance.

Meet Carly, 22, living in Juneau, Alaska, on her own, one of the very few survivors of a pandemic that wiped out most of the world's population. There is no electricity, no food, no police, no order, and nobody to help her make it from day to day. Her parents have succumbed to the disease, and Carly is all alone, with only her little puppy, Sam, for company.

It is Sam and his need for food that prompts Carly to make the trip to the nearby grocery store again, to scavenge for dog food and anything else she might still find. If only it weren't for Biker Dude who's been standing outside of her apartment building for the last few days.

Biker Dude turns out to be Justin, 34, a fellow survivor. He, with some a bit of 'tricksy hobbit' attitude, convinces Carly that their best bet for survival is to make the long trip south, through Canada, into the US and eventually to Florida, where the climate is better for farming. Justin is ex-Special Ops, and while he has quite a few survival skills, Carly learns to stand her own along the way.

It can be really tricky to merge a post-apocalyptic plot with a generous dose of romance. As the feelings between Justin and Carly grow, there are a couple of missteps and hurt feelings, but once they give in to the attraction, they both become stronger because of it.

The characterizations were extremely well done. There is growth for both main characters throughout the novel, and it is a credit to the author that the growth never felt forced or artificial. When Carly's skills are challenged, she finds the strength she needs to push through the difficulties, and Justin finds that place he's always longed for.

Hardship is inevitable in the situation they find themselves in, but neither of them ever considers giving up. The dystopian aspects of this novel are both realistic and outright scary. They certainly made me think - could I survive this kind of scenario? How far would I go to ensure the survival of my family? Would I kill, steal, pillage and harden my heart against the plight of others, to keep my own family alive?

The author also inserted a bit of mystery - why did some people survive the pandemic without ever getting sick? What makes them different? There isn't an answer (yet), but I hope the sequel (yes??) will introduce more of that element.

I also enjoyed the supporting cast of characters. Each of them served a purpose, whether to move the plot along, or to make a specific point, or to introduce the elements of the sequel (yes???) that I'm hoping and salivating for.

This novel is well researched, well executed and well-rounded, and I wasn't able to put it down for any length of time. A great book transports you to the world it describes and hooks you from the start - this one definitely fit that description.

Dear Lissa Bryan, please write the sequel!

If you like dystopian/post-apocalyptic kinds of stories with a good dose of romance, this is the book for you. Please give it a shot.
As seen on Ed and Em's Reviews!

Once upon a time, I read a Twilight fanfiction story about a girl, Bella, brought to an alien planet to become the queen of a dying alien race. She goes through trials and hardships, falls in love with an alien king, Edward, and eventually helps save the world. The story was Written in the Stars and the author was Lissa Bryan. I adored that fanfiction piece, still do. Ms. Bryan seems to just breathe compelling story lines because I enjoyed The End of All Things just as much as Written in the Stars.

In the not-so-distant future, everyone who got the Infection either died, or was changed because of the severe affect the illness had on their brains. Carly has only seen one normal, living person since she hid away from the Infection in her apartment. The person, is an ex-soldier named Justin. Justin's presence frightens her at first, but as they get to know each other, they fall in love. Once Justin is able to convince Carly that they need to get out of Alaska, they encounter desperate thieves, dangerous villains, an unwanted pregnancy and make new friends on an epic adventure to find a place in this highly dangerous world where they can live safely and thrive.

I loved the characters! Justin was an absolutely awesome companion for Carly during the apocalypse not only because of his survival skills, but because he is a genuinely good person. You could tell that he really grew to care for Carly as a friend, before he started falling in love with her, and hated when he couldn't help someone they saw as they continued their journey, but he always made decisions that needed to be made. His knowledge on survival actually taught me something, too! It would probably take me longer to die now! Score! Carly was a good main character as well. She's my age, which made it easier to relate to her emotions and actions. I enjoyed reading from both of their perspectives, especially as the tension grew and their relationship developed. I not only rooted for them to survive, but for them to take advantage of the time they had together and realize that they cared for each other beyond just being traveling companions.

This book was good. Really good. Really, really good. I was hooked immediately and finished it in a few hours because I didn't want to put it down. Everything about it sucks you in. The writing style and setting reminded me a lot of the movie, The Mist, which is based off of the novella written by Stephen King. That may sound random, but it really felt like they could be in the same world, ya know… minus the flesh-eating monsters. Reading this from start to finish wasn't hard. In fact, it seemed to fly by and by the end, I wished it had been longer! The End of All Things is addictive and absolutely brilliant. The readers will be so drawn in that they have to continue because they just have to know how it ends.

There is going to be continuation of The End of All Things titled The Beginning. Lissa Bryan says it will be a extension of Carly and Justin's story, but there isn't a release date yet. I definitely will be reading it! This world that the author created has really left an impression on me and I'm not ready to let it go. Plus, I would like to see how the author expands the story and what is next in store for Carly, Justin and their child.


Reviews for Romantic Interludes:



Kathie (katmom) rated it 
Yes, I'm giving this five stars. I've read six of the seven stories in this anthology (and will get that last one soon!).

And I LOVED THEM.

Fun, flirty, sweet, charming...and sexy! Workplace romances, Mythology fun, ER docs, military man, BAKED GOODS...so much to enjoy here!

Such a cool thing to have many of my favorite authors gathered in ONE PLACE!


5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about Sizzling Valentines! January 31, 2013


I have read two of the seven stories and LOVED them as well! I cannot wait to the others read. I have read at least one book from each of these authors and must say, they get better everytime they put out something new.

This is a must read and will definitely get you in the mood for a hot date of your own!!





Reviews for Under These Restless Skies:



Angela Oliver rated it 5 of 5 stars
This is a beautifully written, compelling and evocative book written around the Tudor court, specifically of Henry VIII and his marriage to Anne Boelyn. It is eloquently told, with strong characters and suprisingly historically accurate, despite the slight supernatural twist to the plot. For the main protagonists are court Fool, Will Somers and his wife, Emma. Now, Will Somers was a real person, slightly crippled and the respected ear to the king. Emma was not. It is her addition that turns this from just another Tudor politics story into a heart-breaking drama and romance. We all know the story of Anne Boleyn, and the fate that befall her, so it is hard to find a story that offers something new, something surprising. Emma is that addition. For she is a selkie, who give herself over to Will in the first few pages. Her fae nature gives her a unique perspective on the situation, being not bound by the formalities of court-breeding/schooling, and also gets her into trouble in a few cases. And her relationship with Will is just beautiful to behold. There were a few disappointments - mainly in that a certain character did not get her comeuppance, although history reveals that she did in the end reap a similar fate to that which she had sown.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story of politics, manipulations, sly and selfish rulers and, overall, true love. I wish Will and Emma the happiest ending of all.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lissa Bryan's Under These Restless Skies is a delightful work of historical fiction. It's a love story. Not a romance, not really, but a love story. Not only the happy story of Will Somers and Emma, but also the sad story of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Within the story, the reader may learn of Selkies and their lore. They will get a small taste of conversation that might have been about in Tudor England. They will hear of philosophies and suppositions taken as fact. They will see the inside of the Tudor Court from a very intimate setting.

Which always makes for a good intrigue!

Lissa Bryan has provided a rich assortment of details that delight, entertain, and even educate her readers as they live with Will and Emma in close quarters with Henry VIII as he settles his Great Matter, as he turns the English church on his whim, and as history is irrevocably changed. While Will sees the greater issues, Emma does not, and so the reader is privileged to enjoy the emotional responses of Emma while getting a sketch of the situation from Will.

For this reader, anyway, it is a delightful experience. I am sure others will find it to be so as well.

Absolutely a full five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My All-time Favourite Historical Male Romantic Lead, March 14, 2014
By 
This review is from: Under These Restless Skies (Kindle Edition)
This book is so close to my heart that it’s really hard for me to choose what to say about it. Yes, I received a copy from NetGalley and TWCS for my honest review, but I’ve also bought a copy for my virtual shelf and will be snapping up a hard copy (which I’ll be pestering Lissa to sign for me). It’s just that good.

I was privileged to read the initial draft and the second draft. There are so many threads and so much supporting detail, but you won’t even notice because you’re going to get swept into the fairy tale. I suggest you don’t start reading before you’re due to leave for work or you might be late.

There’s as much political intrigue here as you might find in 'Dangerous Liasons', but this book has an asset that’s lacking in that jaded story: Emma, an innocent selkie who provides a first-hand look at the fascinating personalities, customs and world of the Tudors. Court is a sophisticated and dangerous place. The outside world can be contrastingly simple, even rough. Neither human sphere is an easy place for a sweet-natured selkie to survive.

But there’s Will, the oft-rejected man whom Emma chose for her husband because she thought he looked kind. And he IS. Some men sour under adversity, but not dear Will. He’s masculine, witty, wise and brave, and he’s worth a thousand of those muscle-boys you find on other covers. I wouldn’t trade him. In fact, he’s probably my favourite Historical male lead of all time. He beats out Darcy. That’s saying a lot.

I pray Lissa will add another book to this one. There is so much potential for the immortal Emma, who is soul-bound to Will. They could show up anywhere in a new generation and I’d love to see how a story set in a very different society would read.

If I could give this hidden gem six stars, I would. It has it all. Run, don’t walk, to buy it. Thank you, thank you, Lissa Bryan for putting your heart into this book. It shows.











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