The Smexy Pen of Shehanne Moore

Please meet Shehanne Moore: writer, author, publisher, wife, mother and one of the official Art Gowns models.

SMART + SEXY = SMEXY

I just finished reading “Loving Lady Lazuli”

Cassidy Armstrong has had an unfortunate life, that has scarred her in more ways than one. Cast off from family as a baby, and her brother dead from beatings, she is pressed into being a jewel thief. Nonetheless, she has managed to hoard her virginity like it was a massive collection of fine Waterford Crystal worth more florins than any working class person would see in a lifetime.

Now, she has returned to claim her birthright. As a fake widow, Lady Cassidy Armstrong can move around more freely, searching for her proof of heritage. Yet, even after 10 years of aging, donned in a widow’s “Crow Black” and with a new name; Devorlane Hawley (fifth Duke of Chessington) recognizes her.

I asked Shehanne: Devorlane Hawley – Fifth Duke of Chessington, was off at war for 10 years. Was it the Napoleonic Wars? If not, which war was he in, and can you give a bit of history of the war and/or London around the time of this story?

Answer: It was the Napoleonic Wars but he was in the military a little before they actually started in 1803, as an unwilling recruit shall we say?  And obviously since the book is set in 1810 and the wars didn’t end for another five years, he’s no longer a soldier, having been badly wounded and invalided out. The Wars came out of chaos that was the French Revolution and for some time, a long time, it looked as if Napoleon Bonaparte could become master of Europe, until he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to Saint Helena. I imagine that life for people in London and indeed elsewhere, would–as  ever, even as we’re seeing today– depend on your wealth.  Whatever your class, most people had a relative in the army or navy and  would be anxious about that but that’s roughly where any kind of things in common would end.  For the rich there was the chance to make more money, for the women to adopt new fashions, go to charitable balls and see some wonderful re-enactments of battles etc onstage. For the poor–the usual struggle for survival. All the English counties had a militia, there to protect the county  and of course there was espionage, the suggestion of which the heroine of this book uses to her advantage at one point.

“Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.”

I came up with that exceptionally memorable saying, after reading “Splendor”. It was the first book by Shehanne that I read. I pair it here with “Loving Lady Lazuli”, as they are both part of a series about London Jewel Thieves.

You can read my review, and mini interview with Shehanne by clicking on the drawing of “Splendor”, above.

I read “The Viking and the Courtesan” quite recently. It is definitely a bit of a departure from the other stories.

Malice Mallender is quite the piece of work. For the right price “Strictly Business” will destroy any marriage, usually by dealing with the wife nuisance. The right price; enough to buy the latest pair of shoes she covets in Madame Faro’s window. So, what happens when “Strictly Business” is inadvertently hired to destroy Malice’s own marriage to Lord Cyril Hepworth?

I asked Shehanne: In “The Viking and the Courtesan” – How did you come up with the idea of “time displacement” ?

Answer: My dearest, lovely Resa, first let me thank for all your kindness and especially for the gowns and asking me here today. You may know I must be amongst your biggest fans, not just as a mega admirer of your work but the fact you make gowns to be used for charity.

Okay, so to answer your question, I had a flash moment.  I never ever set out to write a time displacement  story.  Just like I never ever set out to write any book.  But I had written the first few chapters of this book exactly as they stand now, to the bit where she goes to her husband, Cyril’s flat. The story was to be a second chance love story between them but one day as I was belting away at the keyboard, I thought that idea was a bit  too similar to the Lady Fury book. Then the little voice whispered… you know that Viking idea you have where you have the hero’s story but not the heroine’s? Hmm?? Well … why don’t you just bung that in here?  Quite understandably I thought, no way. Are you serious????  I mean, come on. Then I went and thought about it for a moment. And I thought, okaaaay. Maybe I should just give it a try for a chapter or so, no more? What have I got to lose really? And that was it. That’s the truth. It just popped into my head.

The moment I saw the new cover of Shehanne’s re-released tale of Lady Fury (Genoa 1820), I fell in love with the gown. I read chapter one on Shehanne’s blog.  Then I read the book.

“Rule One: There will be no kissing. Rule two: You will be fully clothed at all times… Widowed Lady Fury Shelton hasn’t lost everything—yet. As long as she produces the heir to the Beaumont dukedom, she just might be able to keep her position.” 

Perhaps ex-privateer Flint Blackmoore (a man she’d rather see rotting in hell than sleeping in her bed) has never been good at following the rules, still she decides to use him to produce an heir.

I asked Shehanne: In “Lady Fury” – What was your impetus for coming up with “the rules”? Did you have a reason for making Blackmoore a privateer… ie: a love of ships, a port you have been stimulated historically by?

Answer: Ooh, I have always loved pirate stories since I read Treasure Island as a kid. I was reared on all the old films and one of my fav board games was buccaneer.  I was gutted to learn it just wasn’t possible to pursue my chosen choice of career actually. But I did always want to write a book about a pirate or a privateer. As for  ‘the rules’, well, once again I had written first few chapters and I thought, now what? You can tell by now I never ever think anything out. And I thought, well, he’s got her cornered which she’s er…not going to take lying down. So what would she do here to pay him back and keep any feelings which she sees she sort of still might have, under wraps Then I thought I could maybe have a little fun dissecting a certain activity shall we say? I am a great believer in having fun especially with rules on anything. Let’s face it, I dunno about you but over here in Scotland right now, and England, well .. I never saw so many that were badly thought through.

This is my favourite book by Shehanne. It is her most recent, and proves that she gets better with time. As the ending demands a sequel, I am hoping there is one in progress!

You can read my review, some Q&A with Shehanne and see the gown drawings by clicking on my above rendition of Destiny.

Shehanne’s titles are available worldwide on Amazon, Ingram Books & Barnes and Noble. If you click on the above banner, you will go to Amazon’s universal “select a country” page. Once there, select “Books”. In “Books” search “Shehanne Moore. It will take you to all of her titles.

LOVE!

O’Roarke’s Destiny – by Shehanne Moore

Is the line between love and hate so fine you can’t see it? If you can’t see it, can you cross it?

Some women are attracted to bad boys. Are some men attracted to bad girls? What if a good boy became a bad boy? What if a bad girl became a good girl, even when she was bad?

That’s just part of the passion play in O’Roarke’s Destiny. The intrigue, mystery and small matter of an effective curse cast by Diver’s O’Roarke is the story’s action.

It’s 1801, Cornwall; a time when women needed men, more than men needed women. Or, so society knew. 1801, Cornwall; Destiny Rhodes needs no one, nor anything: save Doom Bar Hall, its servants, Aunt Modesty’s porcelain, Lord Tredwynne’s antique armour, Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, garlands in the hall at Christmas, her garden and all the embroidered pillows sewn up mended.  At least that’s what Destiny was thinking. 

However, it all seems somewhat moot after Divers O’Roarke wins Doom Bar Hall, from Destiny’s drunkard brother, Orwell.

It’s a world of smugglers, pirates, excisemen and extreme danger, yet, Destiny needs only her instincts. She’s in over her head, but owns a drive to do what has to be done to get to the bottom of what is going on, and retain a position to remain at Doom Bar Hall.

Still, Lyons busted her illegal casks of spirits. Who tipped him off?  Mostly, why did Divers O”Roarke take the fall for her?

💥 BREAKING NEWS! 💥

There’s gowns in the story.

Tragically, Destiny’s dear husband Ennis, while in his carriage, had cascaded to his death into a ravine.(credit to the curse) Now, Destiny is in an eternal mourning in black. On top of it all, she has pined away her body’s curves, and chopped off her luscious long black hair.

Divers O’Roarke wants her, but black is for widows. He has won Doom Bar Hall … fair & square? So, her gowns are his, to sell at his pleasure. Yet, his pleasure is far from the few bits of coin he could get for the gowns. What he wants is to see Destiny, in any gown other than widow’s black.

Eventually, Destiny must wear a gown for him. She dons her least sexy gown, which is in Egyptian blue. (I don’t have that colour in my caddy, but I came up with an eau de nil). This colour is not her best, possibly her worst, definitely her most disliked.

Yet, what Divers O’Roarke wants is to see her in her most vibrant and glorious red gown. Will she wear it?

1. How did the idea of a curse come up? Are you superstitious, dabble in say; Tarot or Astrology? How/why did the curse entail everything turning to dust? Why not turn to toads, a lowly insect or even a hamster? (a little cheek)

Oh, now there was  a time I  did some work for a psychic  journalist. I did once say what haven’t I done writing wise and other way wise when it comes to earning a crust. And yes I also did some Tarot work for her too as part of that. So I did learn the cards.  At that time I also could do card readings from  playing cards. I had a great aunt who could do the tea leafs.  That totally fascinated me growing up. I think much as we may mock it, we do want to know a bit about what’s ahead, that HOPEFULY there’s a corner that will be turned or some good luck coming. As for the  curse idea? Well, the book started about a house that the heroine had lost. And that idea came from us having to sell up our family home and me jokingly saying to a friend, I should just have flung myself in with it as a housekeeper. Then I thought BINGO idea for a book here. And it started out as fun and frothy but there were things on the table that weren’t right. Like why didn’t the hero just put her out? How can he be so besotted with this family when they were horrible to him as a child? Was light and frothy going to sustain a book? Then for some reason I saw their pasts and how and why he had cursed her and how everything had then gone wrong in her life since. Everyone she cared about has died. So she gets this name locally that way. Now if only I had thought beyond the box though, you are right. He should have said may everything you touch turn into a hamster dude. But then she’d have been overrun.  That might have been a worse curse.  2. Your use of humour helps in feeling the underlying intense emotional states of Destiny and O’Roarke.  With Destiny it’s the simple practical day to day things she plans to do the next day. With O’Roarke, it’s what to dig his grave with. Did you intend these character’s personal thoughts to be a humorous relief? Or did it just turn out that way?

No. Firstly I always like to use humour of thoughts. We all have them, let’s be clear. Maybe not about graves and what to dig them with etc., but we do have little idiosyncrasies and of course we are not always aware of them either.  And I also know my readers expect to have a few giggles. So I couldn’t not. My characters always have some kind of wee saying or attitude. One heroine had sliding scales of things. Another would sooner swallow a crocodile than do whatever and as the book went on, that list grew and grew. One hero–my most impatient one–had Christ on various things.  I did feel this book would be a bit dark if I didn’t have these bits. They are neither of them in the best place emotionally.  However I then have the prob of her being a widow and I did NOT want to tackle it by having her thinking well, she was widow, thank God, because she had every reason not to have loved her husband. I felt that was a get out.  So I thought if I had her, having been hit so hard that her way through is to line up  tasks and tick the boxes, that that actually could prove quite humorous, especially if she’s so busy lining up these tasks, while people keep ‘getting in her face’  she doesn’t see how deep the waters are getting. It was like a wee you may think wink to my readers  she’s going to be incandescent with rage the way my other ladies would be, but you are in for a surprise here. She’s too busy thinking she has that cushion cover to sew and that stool to mend. In a way these are the things that also need to be prised loose from her fingertips. 

 3. I’m fascinated by “Doom Bar Hall”. How did you come up with that name? Had you considered calling it “Rhodes Hall”?

Doom Bar Hall was called after Doom Bar sandbar in Cornwall. Given I wanted to write of curses and smuggling, and not such great emotional states, I wanted something dark sounding and it is quite a fearsome sandbar I gather, responsible for hundreds of ship wrecks down the years. Originally before I went from frothy to dark, from Hampshire to Cornwall geographically,  the house was called Lavistock and the book title was the Lady of Lavistock. Divers wasn’t called Divers O’Roarke either at that point. I just felt all round this was stronger. I do like to create a pervading mood and landscape for each book. This became the one here.

Resa, I want to thank you not just for inviting me here today, but your wonderful friendship AND the talent and readiness to use it to create gowns, for all those you create gowns for AND that includes my ladies. They and I salute you. 

Here’ s the first drawing I did of Destiny. I was trying too, hard with the chopped off hair look. Yet, I still like it, because she looks like a pirate courtesan, with hair for an eye patch.  Yet, perhaps this is a more correct visual introduction to Destiny.

Shehanne Moore is a native of Scotland, Dundonian by birth. She is the author of many Romance novels.

Having read 3 (almost 4) of her books, I can say her attention to the details of an era puts one in a different time and place. You don’t question it. You are there.

As for the flame of love she burns with her words, I suggest you read a book to see the fire!

Click on the pic below, to buy O’Roarke’s Destiny on Amazon!

A cover for one’s book can be as daunting as writing it. After a great search, Shehanne found the image below. The colours were wrong, but they were made right.

Eye’d like to thank all who took the time to read this post. Love you all!

“Destiny” As a Resa one eye

Splendor – by Shehanne Moore

 “Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.”

Genre: Historical Romance.

Much like a game of chess; this tale has moves, and counter moves. Is it checkmate, or stalemate? Read the book to experience the final play!

Although a woman in days when women were mostly property, Splendor finds a self chosen path. She will marry Gabe, the man of her breast’s heart. He will become a man of the cloth. Together they will help the poor.

Enter: the Earl of Stillmore, a chessboard, two Kings, two Queens, four Bishops, four Rooks, four Knights and sixteen Pawns.

Shehanne’s characters are vivid, interesting and all with purpose. I particularly adore the settings she recreates of time and place. I’m amused by the very appropriate, and humorously creative names Shehanne has given her characters. All throughout the novel her wry sense of humour prevails, but never assails nor assuages.

The thing is, it is romance. It’s romance with all the ardour lovers find in love’s wake. The main scene of passion is quite worth the reading and waiting for. It reaches just a tad deliciously beyond cutting to waves crashing on rocks, fireworks or a volcano erupting.

Furthermore, the Art Gown in me feels a hearty prick of the needle at the main peril Splendor puts herself in. Drawn like a moth to the flame of fine silk every time she passes Madame Renare’s shop and without means, Splendor finds herself sinking deeper into debt. T’is dire! The turnkey of the debtor’s prison workhouse  is upon her doorstep.

“In italicized quotations” are excerpts from the book.

“Mrs. Ferret set the beribboned hair comb Splendor had found impossible to resist, the robin’s egg blue one with the tiny cream rosettes attached,”

A bill is presented:

“She had spent a little money, it was true. She hadn’t meant to, but now she was back in credit again. Why shouldn’t she have the odd this and that?”

Splendor is a Fashionista:

“she had perhaps gone a little far with the silk parasol and the shoes to match, but if she hadn’t, Topaz would have stolen them and ended up in Newgate. Then there was the matter of just how respectful Madame Renare had been when she’d seen the address and the name, the new one she’d furnished herself with. Lady Winterborne, Countess of Stillmore.”

Although unrequited, Splendor retains her arrogant impudence:

“And that comb, this peignoir, the new day dress with the lace insert in the bodice, were all very nice. Too nice to leave feeling neglected in the shop. And the comb had been reduced by half a guinea. She had saved him half a guinea by buying it.”

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

I needed to ask Shehanne, whose blog runs the tagline “Smexy Historical Romance”,  a few questions.

1.  What does SMEXY mean?

A…an easy one this. It means smart and sexy which I like to think my heroines are even though they can behave incredibly stupidly at times.

2.  Where does the historical location inspiration come from… the castles and halls near where you live?

I squirrel. I find locations and ideas everywhere. With Loving Lady Lazuli– another book in the series–it was from visiting Mount Grace Priory, especially the monk’s cell there. It’s in Yorkshire actually and not what we’d know as a cell either. Catterton House in Splendor was based on a Georgian cottage where I then lived in Newport-On-Tay, except it wasn’t a cottage. It was a mansion build down the cliff face.

 3.  London Jewel Thieves – Where will I be able to read the ongoing serial?

As we speak Loving Lady Lazuli  which features Sapphire as the heroine and Ruby and Pearl as her sidekicks, is being formatted for kindle.. Now I have my rights back to this series I will be giving you the stories of Diamond, Jade and Amber. I may even yet turn Ruby into a heroine. I have an idea there.

Shehanne Moore is an author who writes historical romance novels. If you visit her Home Page , you will find out about all of her books.

Click on pic for better view

Take some time to visit Shehanne’s Blog Pageand you will realize that a very cute Pack of  Hamsters have hijacked her book reviews, interviews and other relevant endeavours. If you haven’t visited her blog, you should. You will enjoy the Hamsters & get to read a fab post! As crazy as it seems, I was inspired to draw a Hamster in a hamster gown, Hamstor Splendor. I hope Shehanne & all of her Hamster pals enjoy it!

You can pre-order “Splendor” in ebook format, on Amazon! It comes out October 1, 2018, with a hard copy following soon after.

Click on “Splendor”  to pre- order!