#AudioTour “The House Called Hadlows (Sebastian and Melissa Book 2)” by Victoria Walker

Author: Victoria Walker

Narrator: Kim Bretton

Length: 5 hours and 34 minutes

Publisher: Victoria Clayton Limited

Series: Sebastian and Melissa, Book 2

Released: Jul. 22, 2020

Genre: Fantasy; Children’s

The sequel to The Winter of Enchantment and the return of Mantari the magic cat.Sebastian and Melissa would never forget their arrival at the house called Hadlows. The long drive through the neglected park and woodland, the lake glimpsed through trees, the house, with its “thousand windows” looking down on them and the great hall, empty but for the portraits covering the walls. Hadlows held a secret, of that they were sure.

Victoria Walker was twenty-one when she wrote The Winter of Enchantment in 1968. A second story about Sebastian and Melissa, The House Called Hadlows, was published in 1972. In 1973 she went to Cambridge University to read English and married immediately after finishing her degree. Two children followed and two decades passed before she began to write under her married name of Victoria Clayton. She lives with her husband in Northamptonshire.

Narrator Bio

Kim is an accomplished and award winning actress and director with West End/Broadway theatre credits. Kim has narrated over 35 audiobooks and counting. She is also an in demand voice over talent in the commercial and corporate arena and owns her own class A recording studio in Nashville. Kim is from the UK but has lived in NYC, L.A. and now Nashville TN. She continues to work in Theatre, Film and TV as an actress and a director alongside narrating audiobooks and commercial voice overs.

Guest Post
By Victoria Clayton, March 2007

Those readers who were patient enough to persevere to the end of the introduction to The Winter of Enchantment may recall that The House Called Hadlows was written at the kitchen table of a tumble-down farmhouse in a valley in wildest Wales in the company of a Polish Count and an involuntary assassin. I thought rather more about the plot of this second book before I wrote it and it is a little more polished in consequence. As the rain poured and the fields became liquid mud and only the bracken flourished I pursued Sebastian, Melissa and Mantari through another set of adventures and derived much comfort from them to set against the insuperable difficulties of looking after forty cows and two hundred sheep with the help of two incompetents. I was of course hopelessly inexperienced myself. Before I moved to Wales I spent a short time living in a water mill just outside Hadlow Down in Sussex. It was a very pretty place, four storeys of a room apiece with an overhanging jetty at the top, painted clapboard inside and out. It was surrounded by tall trees and might have been a painting by Constable or a setting for a novel by George Eliot. The only drawback was the noise. Night and day the water from the mill race that debouched into the pond with a drop of ten feet or so roared in one’s ears like the torture of tinnitus until one became distracted to the point of madness. The iimillers of the past had gone home at the end of the day, of course, and so saved their sanity. Anyway, the experience provided part of the title of The House Called Hadlows.It was after the collapse of the Welsh enterprise and a lonely sojourn on Skye that I decided to read English at Cambridge University. This was in the days when Oxbridge didn’t care much about your A levels but much more about what assessment they made of you. I wrote an essay entitled The Wise Man Learns from the Experience of Others. I wrote reams but I got into rather a muddle and came to no conclusion. The interview that followed was nerve-wracking. I was given a Shakespearean sonnet to talk about but such was my state of anxiety that I could make nothing of it. The words trickled through my brain without making any sense. I asked if I could have a cigarette to help me to concentrate. Lifted eyebrows; sighs, frowns, all the windows were opened; I lit up. Silence while we all waited for Gauloise-fuelled brilliance from me. Nothing. I still couldn’t understand a word. It was terribly humiliating. One of the dons took pity and asked me about my life and achievements so far. I gave a Bowdlerized version, making as much as I could of the publication of The Winter of Enchantment and The House Called Hadlows, skating over the rest with proper reticence. I was astonished to be offered a place a few weeks later.Cambridge changed my life, undoubtedly for the better. As far as learning anything went, I was not a particularly diligent student. I still don’t know how to structure an essay and almost every one was written hastily in the six hours before it was due to be handed in. But the ethos was tolerant and inclusive and having been persona nongrataat my hidebound, class-bound, anti-intellectual school it was refreshing to find oneself accepted by authority. What difficulties there were during those three years were the result of a characteristic bit of woolly thinking on my part. Before moving to Cambridge I spent a few months in a rented house in Shropshire; a romantic black and white fifteenth century building on the slopes of a wooded valley. At its head were the Stiperstones, a windy ridge home to curlews and skylarks. At its summit is the Devil’s Chair. Legend says that whenever it is hidden by mist the devil sits there. I used to walk up there on my own quite a bit. It is a place of sinister beauty and I was not altogether surprised when I met one day a dark-visaged man to whom I was immediately attracted. Certainly he was not the devil. He was, more prosaically, a Kurd.At first his being of a different nationality, race and culture was a definite plus. In those days I wanted to believe that good communication was all that was required to banish strife and brutality and racism from the world. I was after all a flower child, albeit by this time rather an old one at twenty-five. The dark visaged one was a Cambridge graduate. He was handsome, clever and charming — a divine combination, you might think. Everything he told me about Mesopotamia sounded extravagantly exotic —love in a glamorous, kilim-decorated tent; eating pomegranates beneath a sinking desert sun. I thought our differences were fascinating but essentially superficial. In all important ways we shared interests that transcended cultural divergences.In fact it was quite the other way round. What I discovered when I embarked on what turned out to be a slalom (interesting, instructive but downhill) of a love affair was that the things we had in common — shared tastes in books, art, music, jokes, architecture — were relatively unimportant. Our differences were ethical and therefore fundamental. For one thing we had opposing views about the relative importance of men versus women. Being of the generation that had embraced Women’s Lib with fervour I was not pleased to find myself rated just above beasts of burden but lower than an opium-stewed wife-beating pavement barber in a back-street bazaar.But it certainly wasn’t all bad. We liked each other at intervals and we taught each other much that was useful. I bought a dilapidated cottage in the country, ten miles from Cambridge. It was thatched and white-washed with gables that leaned so far from the vertical that special insurance was needed before builders would agree to work on it. I enjoyed unbricking fireplaces and staircases and making my first garden. In spare moments I went to supervisions and read books, took exams. There is an awful lot of English literature. I suppose writing as a career is in some ways a soft option if you don’t care about being rich. It requires nothing more than a pencil and paper and you can do it at home in your dressing gown surrounded by unmade beds and unwashed dishes if that is your preferred domestic style. You require no training and no qualifications. So, it isn’t surprising that the written word abounds and the poor student is obliged to ‘do’ vthe Metaphysical poets in a fortnight and Shakespeare in a term. Of course we just skimmed the surface but what we did learn was roughly how, when and where writers of fiction and history and philosophy fitted in with each other and how to use a library properly. A university course gives you a map and pointers but education is the stuff you put in your own head by reading and thinking all your life long. I made new friends, my life took on a respectability, almost, which I found unexpectedly restful. The dark-visaged one came and went, sometimes delightful, sometimes swinish.It came to a parting of the ways. I barely had time to make a pyre of his collar stiffeners and restaurant receipts before I met the man who has nobly put up with me for thirty years. Nothing is more tedious to read about than a happily married couple so I shall draw a veil over the success or failure of this relationship. Two children, lots of cats and chickens and three moves later we live in a small seventeenth century manor house in Northamptonshire. It has been an amusing exercise to recall the far-off days of my youth as a background to The Winter of Enchantment and The House Called Hadlows, which I hope may have entertained some readers. Now I fill my days writing and gardening, which, ever since I read about Vita Sackville-West doing it, has seemed to me an ideal way to pass the time. For twenty-five years I published nothing. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I found my time fully occupied looking after the children, the livestock: domestic things. But when my son went away to school and my daughter preferred to spend her leisure hours with her pony rather than with me. Suddenly there was hiatus. I started to write for adults and have had six novels published under my married name, Victoria Clayton. A seventh is due in September 2007. A misspent, misguided and wholly idiotic youth have actually proved quite useful in furnishing insights into the vagaries of the human heart.To those who write but haven’t yet found a market, I urge you not to be put off by the stumbling attempts of the industry to identify the Zeitgeist. There is so much luck in it that no one can predict what will happen. My own idea is that one should never write for money, and always write what comes into one’s head first. Keats had a word for it: two, actually — negative capability — which roughly means a deliberate open-mindedness. You make your mind as blank as possible and see what comes into it without trying to be clever or rational. You can tidy it up later. The results are usually surprising. If you have been discouraged by rejections from agents or publishers, gird up your loins and go to: writing is lonely and difficult and discouraging most of the time but the hideous effort is probably worth it. At least you find out a heck of a lot about yourself, which can only be profitable.

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#Featured “Vegas Nights : A Billionaire Sweet Romance (Afro Luv Bite)” by Unoma Nwankwor


A woman scared of being hurt again is bent on playing it safe.
A man determined to stay focused and never experience poverty again.
One night on the wild side that changes everything.

Darius Gray
Become a self-made billionaire by thirty.
Love was never an option, acquiring the next investment was
Deal after deal, I ferociously and ruthlessly operated with that mission in mind.
Years later, mission accomplished.
Today, I celebrate another chain of hotels under my belt and then I heard her voice…
Mixing business and pleasure was never my style
Going after her would be a mistake
One I might just be willing to make…

Safiya Nadar
I used to live my best life
One shattered heart, a bucket of tears and shame turned it into my worst life
Now, I could care less what anyone said, love and the risk it came with was overrated.
If only I could get my bestie off my back.
Tuh! That’s easier said than done, so now we’re in Las Vegas
Three days, in and out, that’s her promise. Nothing extra
Until she pawns me for an exclusive, she’s writing
Just have drinks with him she said
Twenty-four hours later…
I wake up with a ring, a contract of two million dollars,
And a man, who for sure would leave me with a broken heart and a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s

This is the first book in the Billionaire Pact Series. It was formerly titled His Sweetest Mistake. Book 2 is titled Second Shot.






#Featured “The King’s Seer” by L.S. Bethel


Wake up. Check. Take shower. Check. Get car fixed. check. End up in an ancient feudal society where kings and warlords run the show. Wait. What?Serenity has no idea how she ended up in this place or how to get back home. She’s already made enemies of the most powerful men in the country and the threat of death is a very real concern. The only thing she’s got going for her is her very confusing yet strangely prophetic dreams and a powerless prince who thinks she’s insane. All Serenity wants is to make her way home, but fate has other plans.






#GuestPost Starting Out as a Writer – 5 Things to Know by Alison Levy, author of “Gatekeeper: Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series”

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Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series

Date Published: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Spark Press

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Starting Out as a Writer – 5 Things to Know

by Alison Levy

            If you want to write but find the prospect of getting started daunting, here are some tips that I found helpful when I decided to write a novel.

  • Decide why you want to write.

It’s important to decide this up front because it will affect the way you write.  If you want to write as a hobby, you can write any way you like.  If your goal is to eventually publish, you will need to write with a reader in mind.  I like some of my earliest pieces but at the time I was just writing for myself; if I wanted to publish those stories, they would need a lot of work to read coherently.

  • Never stop reading.

The more you read, the better you will understand writing in general: sentence structure, plot, character development, dialogue, etc.  If it’s hard to find time to sit down and read, try audiobooks.  I listen in the car, while I shop, while I walk my dogs, and while clean my house.  I’m a better writer for it.

  • Don’t wait for inspiration.

Writers are artists, and society likes to think of artists as eccentric, free-spirited people who live their lives according to the whims of their muse.  I love the feeling of inspiration washing over me but if I waited for it to hit, I’d never get anything done.  When I get an inspiration, I take notes in my phone and refer to them when I sit down at my regular writing times.  Whatever your mood, just sit down and write.  Once you get in the habit, you’ll find you don’t need to be inspired to produce quality work.

  • Get honest criticism.

When you’re ready, seek out a writer’s group.  It’s nice to get reactions from friends and family but even if they’re professional writers, they’re going to temper their feedback because of their relationship with you.  Joining a writer’s group has been extremely beneficial to me; the quality of my writing has dramatically increased since I started going to regular critique meetings.  It can be hard to share your work and let others point out its flaws, but getting honest criticism is the best way to grow as a writer.

  • Write every day.

Start writing!  Write the beginning of a story, or the end, or the middle.  Write an outline, a character description, or some dialogue.  Write anything!  What’s important is just to get started, to write often, and to build momentum.  Even if you find writing everyday difficult at first, if you keep at it, you’ll find your stride.  As the philosopher Epictetus said, “If you wish to be a writer, write.”

Good luck and happy writing!



Rachel Wilde comes from a dimension that exists adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil). Now Rachel has been given two unusual assignments: 1) find a person who has been trying to break down dimensional barriers, and 2) track down a missing line of gatekeepers, human placeholders for a daemon that was too badly damaged to repair.

Authorities of Rachel’s world believe the missing gatekeepers are descended from a girl who went missing from West Africa hundreds of years ago, likely sold into slavery. With no leads to go on, Rachel seeks help from Bach, a raving homeless man who happens to be an oracle. Bach does put her in the path of both of her targets―but he also lands her in a life-threatening situation. Somehow, Rachel has to stop the criminal, reunite a gatekeeper with her stolen past, and, above all, survive.

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About the Author

Alison LevyAlison Levy lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects.

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#Excerpt “Hell & Back (Outbreak Task Force Book 5)” by Julie Rowe

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Outbreak Task Force, Book #5


Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 9/21/2020

Publisher: Entangled Publishing


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 Racing to lock down the CDC’s deadly virus samples from terrorists, ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side by side, Henry’s taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby’s hiding something, though, and Henry fears she’s been leaking sensitive information. Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth faces a horrible choice. If she doesn’t give them a vial of Small Pox as ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and she can’t trust anyone. Not even Henry.

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“Stop sniveling and do it,” she said to herself. “If you don’t, they’ll kill Nate.”

After taking in a couple of deep breaths, she walked to the four liquid nitrogen–only freezers.

She opened the one containing the smallpox and searched for the correct storage slot. It was there, just like it was supposed to be, along with 138 other biological samples.

The vial was so small. About the size of her pinkie finger. Huh. She really could put it in her bra.

No. No, she couldn’t do it. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people would die.

She very carefully put it back. Her brother would die if she didn’t do this. She reached out, then hesitated. Did she truly have no choice?

Her mind conjured up the images of millions of people infected with smallpox. All the bodies in body bags piled in heaps and being buried in massive mass graves.

The image of her brother, his body riddled with bullet holes and blood, fought for air time in her head.

There was really only one choice she could make.

She plucked out the vial, double-checked the label, then closed the freezer. She turned, half expecting to see Henry standing behind her, but the room was empty. Relief stole some of the energy out of her muscles, and she had to force herself to keep moving.

She stood under the disinfectant spray, the vial clutched in her fist until her suit was thoroughly washed clean. The sample went inside a clean rubber glove as she went through the disinfectant process, then she opened the door leading to the hallway and elevator.

Arms crossed over his chest, Henry stood in the doorway, his face a mask of rage and disgust.

Rage and disgust aimed at her.

Ice froze her in place. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe.

Nausea rose in a hot, bitter wave and threatened to hijack her entire body. She fought it down with several convulsive swallows, her muscles so tense her bones threatened to break.

She was dead.

Her brother was dead.

Henry advanced—one step, two.

She backed up. Going around him was impossible—he took up too much space in the doorway. She had no doubt he’d squish her flat as a tank rolling over an ant hill.

Only after the door swung shut did he speak.

“What. The. Fuck.” The words came out of his mouth like bullets out of a gun. Each one physically rocked her back as pain blossomed across her chest.

What was there to say? She’d betrayed everything she believed in when she’d grabbed that vial. Her actions weren’t defensible. Not really. Anyone else would insist there was no negotiating with terrorists. They played with no rules of engagement.

“Why?” he barked out.

“D-do-does it matter?” Her whole body was shortcircuiting, including her mouth. “I d-did it.”


 About the Author

Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides. Her most recent titles include Search & Destroy book #4 of the Outbreak Taskforce series and Trapped with the Secret Agent book #1 of the Trapped with Him series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. You can find her at http://www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor.


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