Monday, 7 November 2011

Welcome Tirgearr Publishing author, Scarlett Valentine!

So happy to be a part of your blog tour Scarlett! I hope that lots of my visitors will continue to follow you along the way. Can't wait to learn more about Awakening!

Over to you...

Path To Publication

Thanks for having me here today to talk about my path to publication.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a path as it was a treasure hunt map. You know, with one of those quirky maps with all the twists and turns, portent signs, and obscure clues!

I won’t say I’ve been writing ever since I was old enough to hold a pen. I don’t remember back that far! But I will say I’ve always loved books, and before I started putting pen to paper, I would make up stories in my head to go with the images in picture books.

The first ‘book’ I ever ‘published’ was called Mickey the Mouse. Yeah, I know. Real original! That was for fifth grade extra credit—an original one-of-a-kind, hand written, and staple bound volume.

In high school, I started writing what today would be classed as a young adult novel. I read it years later and shook my head. Talk about rubbish! In my early twenties, I went onto write my first serious historical romance novel. After that, there was no stopping me.

My path to publishing took me down a road where I was asked to write some promotional materials. That was my first paying job as a writer. Not long after that I moved to Ireland and started publishing travel articles about historical locations I had visited around Ireland. I’m an avid castle huntress and love photography and research, so it all kind of goes together.

It wasn’t until 2005 when a friend’s publisher was putting together an anthology for charity and I was asked if I wanted to contribute, as they were short on submissions. I’d never written short stories before and wasn’t sure I could do it. But I wrote two and they were accepted, and I eventually published several short stories and a novel with the same publisher.

While I’ve submitted my work for years, I can’t say there was ever a time I got The Call. Writers are always waiting for that big day with a publisher rings to say they want to contract the work and offer a great advance. That never happened to me. It was always the case of ‘We have a space, would you like to fill it’ or ‘You’ve been to this place, write us a piece about it.’

It was the same with Awakening. Erotica is a new road on my publishing life’s map, and when Awakening was completed, I was invited to submit and it was accepted.

I’ve been very lucky so far in my writing career. Things are moving steadily forward and it’s introducing me to new and exciting things, and I’m making great friends along the way. Unfortunately, writing these days won’t make very many people rich—only the very rare and lucky few—but I love writing. It’s as much part of me as my heart and lungs. I couldn’t survive without them, and I certainly couldn’t survive without being able to express myself through the written word. I look forward to each twist and turn, deciphering the signs and figuring out the clues on the treasure map that is my life.

~ Scarlett

“What’s a little bondage between friends?”

Available now – Awakening, book one of The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series


Ysbail of Ellesmere is a pawn in her guardian's war. For decades there has been unrest between the marcher lords and Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd. The most recent war had been the bloodiest she could remember in her eighteen years. Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys, and his allies lost untold numbers of men at the hands of Owain's soldiers. When a settlement of truce is presented to Madog, it's at Ysbail's expense. She is to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. If all the rumors and stories she's heard are true, she knows her marriage will be rife with horror and fear.

Since proving himself worthy with his sword, Bedwyr fights at his king's side. He's shed oceans of blood and sent untold numbers of men to their graves. He's become what his name foretold—the grave-knower. He's afraid of nothing, least of all death. All men fear him, including those who fight at his side, and sometimes even his own king. Terror of him lives within women's hearts; only the bravest of whores accept him into their beds. And children weave their own tales of the monster they hear him to be, embellishing the details to their own gruesome degrees.

When King Owain informs Bedwyr that he's to marry Ysbail of Ellesmere as part of a peace settlement with Madog, Bedwyr is furious. A man such as Bedwyr can only survive on the battlefield. For without love, hatred will send a man like him to the edge of insanity. Then push him over. But when Bedwyr sees Ysbail for the first time, blood-thirst turns to blood-lust, and he vows to show her that she should have no fear of him.


He gazed at her slumbering form. Firelight danced over her flawless skin. She was the fairest woman he had ever seen, her skin perfection but for the flush in her cheeks as she thought to defy him, and that of the passion he awoke in her. The fairness of her features only served to accent the deep blush of her lips.

Her lips.

She did not kiss him like a novice. Following his lead, she kissed him back with equal alacrity. He felt she was yet unsure of her own power over him, but he knew it was only a matter of time before she could control him with a simple touch.

And her eyes were the palest of green. Or were they blue? He could not tell. He only knew they reminded him of pools of seawater ensnared in the white sands along Cymru’s coast, and just as translucent. He could gaze long into her eyes, searching their depths, letting himself be hypnotized by them.

Her features were gentle, innocent. It was as if she had never witnessed any of the world’s horrors, that her heart and soul were pure. In that she was now married to the likes of the Grave Knower was incredulous. More so incredulous was her fearlessness. She never cowered before him. Not even as she stood naked before him, challenging him with her gaze.

Indeed, she was the very opposite of himself.


Scarlett Valentine is the alter ego of award-winning romance author, Kemberlee Shortland. Together they write Erotomance -- Erotic Romance.

Originally from Northern California, Scarlett has spent the last fourteen years living in Ireland. She's traveled extensively through Ireland and Wales. When she's not writing, she can often be found castle hunting.

Scarlett's stories cross subgenres to explore hetero, gay and bisexual relationships in a series of stories that include time periods from historicals and contemporaries, futuristics and science fiction, paranormal and suspense, and more.

Awakening is the first book in The ABCs of S-E-X: Love by the Letter series and is available right now through Tirgearr Publishing or...
For Nook, or for all formats at Smashwords

Great post, Scarlett! Your path to publication isn't too unlike mine, to be honest. And I didn't realise you live in the UK! I am yet to visit Scotland (despite living in England my entire 37 years!) but love North Wales. My family and I holiday there every year. Love it!



  1. Scarlett, your love for writing just shines through. It's wonderful. Thank you for the amazing excerpt.


  2. Hi Marybelle,

    Yep, I've always loved books from an early age. I was taught to read and write early on so maybe it was my destiny to write.

    I grew up in a small town and in school the history classes focused on American history. It wasn't until I started hitting the town library that I discovered the rest of the world, and decided that local school curriculums needed changing to include more world history, and not just that which centered around wars America had been in. That may have been about the same time I discovered Ireland and tucked it in the back of my mind for later. Who knew it would lead to nearly 15 years of residency and marriage to an Irishman! LOL

    I hope the Awakening excerpts posted along the tour have encouraged you to read the full story. I'd love to hear your comments if you do.

    Thanks for visiting today.

  3. Hey, Scarlett,

    What is your favorite genre to read to disconnect with your writer's mind and enjoy a book?

  4. Hi Toni,

    Great question. My reading tastes are fairly eclectic, but mostly I read romance and erotica regardless of genre. If it's a good story I'll read it. But to disconnect from romance, I usually go for Dean Koontz if I'm in the mood for suspense. He cut his teeth writing romance so his writing style appeals to me--it can be fairly floral at times. That's not to say he writes with purple prose, just that he can be very emotive in his descriptions. He has a lot of women readers because he touches on how his characters feel rather than how they react . . . if that makes sense.

    Shying away totally from fiction, I like biographies. I read a lot of bios about 60s musical performers, especially as it relates to the California music scene, as that's one of my favorite music periods. I currently have Steven Tyler's 'new' bio on my TBR list.

    I'm also currently reading a bio about Brian Boru, the last great high king of Ireland. My traditional WIP romance is set in Ireland in 1014 at the end of Boru's lifetime and the book is giving me some great plot ideas.

    I will add that while I'm writing or plotting, I don't read books set in the same era as I'm writing. I don't want to subconsciously glean anything from another author's work or have my own voice altered from being influenced by what I'm reading.

    I've been asked in the past if I enjoy reading Irish set romances because I live here. To be honest, I've stopped reading Irish set stories altogether because 99% of them are hopelessly inaccurate, even from noted authors. Just makes me cringe. I've read some great Irish set stories though, but sometimes it's very hard to get past inaccuracies to enjoy the story.

    But like I said, if the story is good, I'll read just about anything.

    Thanks for stopping by today!

  5. I've always loved books & I too wrote my first book in grade school, which as I recall was an assignment for the Creative Writing class I took in 6th grade. Our teacher took us to one of the Kindergarten classes & we were each paired up with a 5 or 6 year old that we had to interview & then write a story for. I wish I would have saved a copy of the book I wrote for my student, who was a boy that told me his favorite animal was a Hippo. All I can remember is that the book was called "Fat Fanny Hippo & The Weight Watchers". Now that I think about it, maybe I should be glad there was only one copy, which with any luck he didn't save.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at

  6. Hi Kathryn,

    What a great memory. And I love that title! It's a shame that we lose so much of our youths growing up. At least we have the memories. I'm sure I have my little short story somewhere. Just don't know where. I've moved around so much over the years that it's not impossible to think it's gotten lost, too. I still remember my teacher's comment though when I handed in my story . . . 'Oh no, not another one!' I was notorious for handing in stuff like this for extra credit rather than doing my real work ;-)

    Have you ever considered writing, or was 6th grade your big foray?

    Thanks for sharing your memory! And thanks for your visit.

  7. I love hearing how writers got their start! As one who is aspiring to be published someday, I think the scariest part for me right now is just getting those first lines down on paper. I have an ongoing story that is continually playing out in my mind but when I get to the point of writing it down I just freeze up. I would imagine it has something to do with knowing that once I get it on paper then I have to take the next step...submitting it...EEK!! Thanks for a terrific interview. I'm enjoying your tour since I get to read different excerpts from Awakening!


  8. Hi Stormy,

    What might help you to get your story down is don't try to actually write the story. Make notes, arrange your thoughts on paper without trying to add dialog and physical motions or even character thoughts. Just get the story itself down . . .

    Example -- This is a story set in medieval Wales. The heroine is a young virgin. The hero is a mighty warrior. They're forced together. Dynastic marriage. Time of border wars. Secrets! Turmoil in the household. Trust issues. Use some Welsh language for flavor, etc.

    Once you have the story plotted you can start thinking about how you want to tell it. You may already get snippets of dialog as you write your basic plot. Put those on a separate page.

    Also, start strong, don't get lost in narrative and description, and the most important is to have fun. If it's not fun, you'll freeze up and not be able to get the story out.

    And if your problem is writing it down, try a voice recorder.

    Yeah, submitting is a whole other story! You'll go through the whole process before you get to submissions though. You need to have the story finished, edited, edited again, then when you think it's ready to submit, edit again. Work with a critique partner, someone with whom you're not friends with who will tell you like it is. Develop a thick skin because our stories are our babies and we don't like it when people tell us our kid is ugly! ;-) But you need someone to tell you what works and what doesn't, but tell you respectfully. And remember, critiquing goes both ways. You'll be expected to tell your partner what didn't work for you too, or what did. CPs are great supports for each other.

    There is such thing as a fear of success. It's not just about failure. But it's my guess that once you get your first story out that the bug will have bitten you before you type THE END and you'll be ready to start the next story :-)

    I'm glad you're enjoying the excerpts of Awakening. I hope you get the chance to read the full story. Would love to hear your comments when you do. And if you get that story out and it finds a publishing home, drop me a note and tell me where to find it!

  9. Hi Scarlett,

    What an interesting path you took to being a published author. Some authors have developed play lists of songs for each book they write. Do you listen to music while you write? And do you develop a playlist for each book too?

  10. Hi Karen,

    I tend to not listen to music while I'm writing, at least most of the time.

    What I'll normally do is listen to something to get me in the mood to write. For example, I'm working on a time travel romance that takes my heroine back to 1014 Ireland. There's a big battle scene toward the end, historically called the Battle of Clontarf. To get into the scene I'll listen to music like Brian Boru's March. Boru was killed after winning this battle in that year. There's a chase scene after the battle when my hero and heroine escape, so I'll listen to something like Carmina Burana to get into the mood for that. But during the actual writing I won't listen to the music much. I tend to get too wrapped up in it which pulls me out of the story. I especially can't listen to music with lyrics while I'm writing. If I write with music playing, it has to be lyric free.

    I do listen to music during most other parts of the writing process, such as when I'm researching and looking for images on the web that I'll use for inspiration . . . photos of settings, characters, period architecture, etc. I don't story-board, but listening to certain pieces of music gets me in the mood to write those scenes while I'm researching that aspect of the story and collecting images. Then when it's all in my head, I sit down in a quiet place and write.

    One of the rare exceptions would be when I wrote certain scenes of a book that's part of a series I wrote that has yet to be published (Shape of My Heart/2013). The heroine is actually moonlighting as an exotic dancer. The book opens on Halloween night. There's a Halloween event going and the dancers are in costume. I listened to certain pieces of music while writing my character's movements around the stage. That piece of music was integral to the scene, as the woman's moves were choreographed with the song and how she related to her audience. That song was Etta James's I Just Wanna Make Love To You. You'd probably recognize it from the Diet Coke commercials :-)

    I use another Etta favorite, At Last, later in the book for another very important scene. But for the rest, I just listened to the voices in my head ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're enjoying the tour as much as I am.

  11. A big thank you to Rachel for hosting me. I had a great time chatting with everyone.

    Before I head out, I'm going to drop a spot prize in Kathryn Merkel's lap! Watch your email Kathryn :-D And thanks for sharing your memory of Fat Fanny Hippo and the Weight Watchers! Sounds like a demented rock band ;-) Love it!!

  12. Thanks for being here, Scarlett! I have to say you leave really great responses to all your visitors. So interesting!

    Rachel x