Review: Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo

just destinyReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: When Jenny discovers she is pregnant to her husband Gabe, she can’t find the words to tell him. The truth is, she never wanted to have children before, but when Gabe dies in an accident, she finds her world has collapsed around her and she has to make some hard decisions even though she is still grieving over her loss.

Review: Author of He Belongs to Me, Theresa Rizzo takes us through the harrowing moments when the most tragic thing happens to her husband and she has to try and rebuild her life from scratch while Gabe’s Uncle George causes more problems for her to overcome. Jenny tells Gabe she might be pregnant without really coming out and saying it, but he seems oblivious to what she tells him as he thought she never wanted kids – and a dog doesn’t really constitute a baby. As her pregnancy wasn’t planned, she can’t really come out and tell him, but soon it becomes too late as the bike accident that throws them both to the ground kills him.

For Jenny there is the overwhelming sadness of not being able to tell her husband that she was pregnant with their child, and the days of watching as he is in hospital without any brain function. She feels as though the accident was all her fault and throughout part of the novel she wishes she had come out and told him the truth after all. Her doctor tells her about organ donation and it is this that makes an enemy of her through her husband’s uncle.

Theresa gives the reader a good long hard look at what it would be like for a devoted wife to lose her husband while pregnant with their child. Not only does she suffer the pain of losing him, but has to undergo a long court battle to be able to use her husband’s sperm to give her the possibility of having his child.

Good Bits:

  • The way that Theresa showed what she was going through wither loss and how others couldn’t possibly know how she felt.
  • Her friends trying to help her while she is still in a bad state.
  • Steve, he tries his best to help her through all the bad decisions.

Summary: I enjoyed reading this book even though there were a lot of dark moments that overshadowed the happiness Jenny could have felt with her friends, but it is understandable as to be honest I don’t know what I would do if I lost my nearest and dearest.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Just Destiny

Write the Good Fight: Combat in the Theatre and Fiction

Jack AbsoluteGuest Blog by C.C. Humphreys, author of The Blooding of Jack Absolute

There are many similarities between choreographing a fight for the stage and for the page. They are both, in a way, ‘conversation by other means’. They should be all about ‘character in action’: reveal something of those we are following. Give us some stake in their peril. My wife says that even she, who cares little for fights usually will not skip mine because she always learns something new about the characters, is frightened for them – or indeed, is keen to see the villain suffer!

There’s a balance to be struck between the technical and the drama. The first can get in the way of the second. I write for the general reader, one who perhaps has little or no experience with swords (or other pieces of bladed weaponry). You want to give the feel that the character, and so the author, knows what he is talking about. A little expertise to put you in safe hands, not too much to put you off.

It always comes back to character. I wouldn’t start a book in mid fight or battle – the reader would be overwhelmed. But if you get to know someone, then you have a stake in their experience. You care whether they fight well, or not. You want to see them triumph or fall.

As to the mechanics, its good to know your weapon yet also always remember that it is only as good as its wielder – and that the best laid plans oft go aglay! At drama school I had a wonderful stage combat teacher, John Waller, who said that you should be able to freeze a fight on stage at any moment and take a photo of it – and the picture would be clear, exciting. I try to do that in the writing too – allow the reader to pause and see clearly that missed parry, the danger it put the hero in, his reaction to compensate. Fights are never in isolation, they are always at the service of the story. The character usually has to get through one as swiftly as possible to get onto their next important objective: free the maiden, warn the general, kill the Sultan. A fight, however exciting mustn’t pause the action. It is a way through to the next piece of action – though obviously I try to make the way through as historically accurate, realistic and entertaining as possible!

In my new novel, The Blooding of Jack Absolute, there is a fight on a grand scale: the Battle of Quebec. It is one of the more important battles in history, as it won North America for the Crown – and possibly lost the Colonies to the Crown by removing the enemy that the crown had protected the Americans from all those years – what need had you for us after the French were gone! I love battles, could spend books on them – but as I say, I write for a general reader. So it all comes down to character again: Jack’s, this young man in his first combat. I try to place him where he can see and describe the key points of the fight. But I don’t digress into the ‘authorial view’ and try and describe the whole thing. Jack’s involved, Jack’s in peril. I always say to film producers when they baulk at the idea of a battle and thousands of extras that you don’t need them – once that first volley is fired, gunsmoke obscures near the whole battlefield – so you only need to see the ten soldiers to Jack’s left, the ten to his right – and the ten fleeing Frenchmen right in front!

So I hope that everyone will enjoy the combat I create – and know that even if it is not your main sphere of interest, you will soon move onto something different – Character revealed in another way – perhaps in the battle of the boudoir! Talk about peril!

Buy: The Blooding of Jack Absolute

Regency Rakes and Their All Too Often Naughtiest Traits

by Sandra Scholes, guest blogger

Rakes are numerous in Regency romance novels, as a peek through a Mills and Boon or Jane Austen paperback will tell enough about a supposed gentleman’s personality, but what are the man’s traits that separate men in fiction from the rakish rogues in popular historical novels today?

What makes a Regency rake?

Normally a titled gentleman would be enough, though many are just about to be titled, and too many need an eligible woman; read into that – any eligible woman who might tolerate his nightly romps with women of the night while she is looking after their children.

Rake Traits:

  • A rake is a man who knows every seduction technique under the sun, and knows how to deceive a girl into thinking he cares about them.
  • He has charm by the bucket load.
  • He leaves a string of ladies sobbing at his infidelity.
  • They invite scandal at every turn, laughing at other people for being prudish about the thrills they get.
  • They prefer a girl with spunk who is not afraid to explore her sensual side.
  • He takes risks of being exposed by someone they don’t like or someone they do.
  • A rake knows instantly when a lady is most certainly not a lady (i.e. not a virgin.)
  • Most of the time rakes have a nice side to them the women exploit to the fullest.
  • They can be found at balls, and other respectable places, but it isn’t their normal scandalous haunt.
  • The rake is allowed to bed as many girls as he wants as long as he marries well.
  • They are adventurers of a sort who live to enjoy traveling the world, seeing sights and other native girls.
  • Rakes can be called such, or worse rakehell, depending on how bad they are.
  • Rakes have a great sense of humour that seems built in.
  • The rake has a mistress who is cold in bed, but meets a girl of high standing in society who turns out to be better in bed than her.
  • Rakes enjoy a night out at the theatre in a private box with a girl to entertain.