Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Flawed Characters

Flawed Characters

 The inspiration for MY DEAREST FRIEND came from a dream, and when I examined it, I found the beginnings of a story. However, I had not envisioned my hero as a flawed character, but as his story unfolded,  it became obvious that he was as mortal as any man and therefore not perfect.

     He is a passionate man who loves deeply and protects fiercely but within that passion he harbors a jealous nature, which only comes to the fore when he mistakenly believes his wife to be duplicitous, as was his first love.  Despite the fact that his heart lies broken, his jealousy renders him blind and deaf to reason and thus drives him to doubt the wife he loves beyond all else.  A wife for whom he would willingly give his life.

     This doubt drives them asunder and it’s not until reason finally comes into being that he acknowledges his true feelings – he is, after all, only human and  susceptible to human failings.

     In all my writing, I stay true to nature and create flawed characters.  No one is completely perfect and these faults, along with everything that is good within us, make us what we are, so why not so with our fictitious characters – it makes them more believable and adds depth to their story.

     I love my flawed heroes and hope my readers do too.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

My Dearest Friend Virtual Book Tours Starts August 15th!

The My Dearest Friend Virtual Book Tour begins on Monday, August 15th!

Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is a man of intense emotions who loves deeply and protects fiercely. Devastated and wracked with guilt by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, he readily agrees to aid Jane Chandler to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal.
Much against Jane’s wishes, he decides to accompany her and together they embark on the hazardous mission to retrieve the young soldier. However, the journey holds many revelations, not least of all the abiding friendship and growing love between the two travelers.
That special love is put severely to the test by the treachery that awaits them upon their return to England, when a tenant of Jane’s former home invades their lives, maliciously creating jealousy and misunderstandings for his own nefarious reasons.
Can their friendship and love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them asunder?

My Dearest Friend Tour Schedule

Monday, August 15th
Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!
Tuesday, August 16th
Guest blogging at The Hot Author Report
Wednesday, August 17th
Interviewed at Examiner
Interviewed at Blogcriticsbooks
Thursday, August 18th
Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Friday, August 19th
Character interviewed at The Plot
Book spotlighted at Broowaha
Monday, August 22nd
Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag
Tuesday, August 23rd
Book reviewed at The Book Connection
Wednesday, August 24th
Guest blogging at Literal Exposure
Thursday, August 25th
Book reviewed at A Book Lover Forever
Friday, August 26th
Book reviewed at The Hot Author Report

You can read an excerpt on Hazel's website at 

Posted by Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Pump Up Your Book

Consequence Virtual Book Tour - Week 2

The second week of the Consequence Virtual Book Tour has ended. Here is a list of stops in case you missed it.

Monday, August 8th
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, August 9th
Book reviewed at Reviews by Molly
Thursday, August 11th
Interviewed at Paperback Writer
Book reviewed at The Hot Author Report
Friday, August 12th
Book reviewed at Life in Review
Book reviewed at A Book Lover Forever

Look for the My Dearest Friend Virtual Book Tour to start on Monday, August 15th. For more information, please visit http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/07/18/my-dearest-friend-virtual-book-tour-august-2011/

Posted by Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Pump Up Your Book

Monday, 8 August 2011

Consequence Virtual Book Tour - Week 1

The Consequence Virtual Book Tour is underway. Here is a list of tour stops from last week in case you missed them:

Monday, August 1st
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, August 2nd
Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag
Wednesday, August 3rd
Book reviewed at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 4th
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Interviewed at One Writer’s Journey
Friday, August 5th
Character interviewed at The Plot
Book reviewed at Words I Write Crazy

For more information about Hazel and her books, please visit http://www.hazel-statham.co.uk/. You can view information about her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/07/18/consequence-virtual-book-tour-august-2011/

Posted by Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Pump Up Your Book

Monday, 25 July 2011

Consequence Virtual Book Tour Starts - August 1st

In the wake of a duel, Marcel Blake, the Duke of Lear, an infamous rake and gamester, leaves London to visit his cousin in Paris. Here he meets and falls in love with Julie, the British ambassador’s daughter. Thinking she would be horrified if she learned of his reputation, Marcel fights the attraction; but when he is wounded while saving her from the unwanted advances of a less-than-desirable would-be suitor, Marcel finds that she returns his affections.
Ultimately, vengeance conspires against them; at their wedding reception, Julie is maliciously informed of Marcel’s previous life of misdeeds, and she’s led to believe that he only married her to please the king. With this insurmountable gulf suddenly between them, will Marcel prove his reformation, woo his wife, and find happiness with her, or is the sudden desolation in Julie’s heart impossible to overcome? Have Marcel’s games finally caught up to him for good?

Consequence Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, August 1st
Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, August 2nd
Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bagbooks
Wednesday, August 3rd
Book reviewed at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 4th
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Interviewed at One Writer’s Journey
Friday, August 5th
Character interviewed at The Plot
Book reviewed at Words I Write Crazy
Monday, August 8th
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, August 9th
Book reviewed at Reviews by Molly
Wednesday, August 10th
Book reviewed at A Book Lover Forever
Thursday, August 11th
Interviewed at Paperback Writer
Book reviewed at The Hot Author Report
Friday, August 12th
Book reviewed at Life in Review

You can read an excerpt from Consequence at Hazel's website:  


Posted by: Cheryl Malandrinos, Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

New Releases

Consequence by Hazel Statham: Book Cover          'My Dearest Friend'  by 'Hazel Statham'
Thank you for visiting my blog and welcome to my world of historical romance. 

There’s good news for those of you who are waiting to hear of The Dukes of Lear trilogy.  CONSEQUENCE, the first book in the series, which starts in 1746 with Marcel Blake, Duke of Lear, is now available on pre-order from Barnes & Noble at a special web price and also from Amazon.com. It’s my second release through Avalon Books and I have another, FOR LOVE OF SARAH, due out with them sometime next year.

DOMINIC, the middle book of the trilogy, is still available as both e-book and paperback from Wings ePress, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise etc.

The third book, MY DEAREST FRIEND,(Robert Blake, Duke of Lear), which completes the series, has found a new home with Write Words and is now available as an e-book from all the main e-book suppliers and will be available in paperback format in December.
Although the books are related, they are stand alone stories and can be read in any order

LIZZIE’S RAKE released through The Wild Rose Press, and HIS SHADOWED HEART, from Wings ePress, as well as being available in the USA, are now also available in the UK through Amazon.co.uk  Both books are also available as  e-books and paperbacks.

My website provides information about my books, short excerpts, reviews and some information about me – Hazel, the author. I hope you enjoy my website and you are more than welcome to email me at any time. I thoroughly enjoy my readers’ comments and promise to answer all my mail.

Hoping you enjoy your visit.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Good News!

      I have just heard that my new Avalon release, CONSEQUENCE, will be available in August, 2011.
     I wrote CONSEQUENCE many years ago and was delighted when Avalon accepted it. 

 Here is a brief blurb:

     In the wake of a duel, Marcel Blake, Duke of Lear, an infamous rake and gamester, leaves London  to visit his cousin in Paris.  Here he meets and falls in love with the British Ambassador’s daughter, Julie.  Thinking she would be horrified if she knew of his reputation, he fights the attraction but when he is wounded whilst saving her from the unwanted attentions of a would-be suitor, he finds she returns his affection.
     However, revenge and the fates conspire  against them and when, at their wedding reception, Julie is maliciously informed of Marcel’s previous life-style and  told that he only married her to please the king, she is devastated and an insurmountable gulf exists between them.  Can Marcel prove his reformation and woo his wife, or is the desolation she feels impossible to overcome?
     Will they eventually find happiness  or is the perpetrators revenge too complete?

Here is an excerpt:

     Everyone had gone to the hunt excepting Julie, who had pleaded a headache, Lady Markham who never rode to hounds and his grace who did not think fox hunting in France held any interest.
     It was about half an hour before mid-day when his grace, about to enter the library, heard a scuffle and a muffled cry come from the drawing room, and vaguely interested in its source, languidly opened the drawing room door.  The scene that met his gaze however, cast aside all languor.  Julie was found to be struggling in Coustellet passionate embrace, most obviously repulsed by his amorous attentions and vainly attempting to free herself from his hold.  Coustellet having his back to the door neither saw nor heard the duke’s entrance, and it was with no mild surprise that he felt his collar taken in a strangling grip and himself thrown bodily to the floor.
     After briefly asserting that Julie was unhurt, Marcel wrenched a bemused Coustellet to his feet and drove his fist into his jaw.  Staggering back, Coustellet shook his head before rushing forward like an enraged bull.  Throwing a wild right he caught the point of the duke’s jaw but a follow up to this move was confused by his grace serving him a heavy blow to the chest, which felled him to the ground.  Again Coustellet was on his feet and this time was favored with a lucky punch that drew a spattering of blood from the duke’s nose.  The thrashing that his grace then administered to the unfortunate gallant was suddenly cut short by Coustellet who, finding himself once more companion to the floor, in desperation, grabbed a nearby foot-stool and, quickly rising, dealt his grace a foul blow to the side of his head.
        Marcel sank semi-conscious to his knees while Coustellet, taking full advantage of the situation, ran to the open casement by which he had entered and beat a hasty retreat in the direction of the stables.
     Julie ran stumbling forward to help the duke whom, having risen rather shakily to his feet, was gingerly feeling the swelling that was fast forming over his left temple.  However he managed to execute a graceful if somewhat short bow.  “You must forgive me, my dear,” he said succumbing to Julie’s ministrations and sitting in a large chair.  “It was not my wish that you should be witness to such a vulgar turn of fisticuffs, especially one in which I should suffer the indignity of being defeated by a foot stool!”
     There had been a light of amusement in the duke’s eye as he spoke these last few words and Julie could not help but give a reluctant chuckle.  “It was neat was it not?” she agreed.  “If only Bertram could have seen you he would have been your eternal friend.  There’s nothing he likes better than a mill.”
     “In that case perhaps I should repeat the whole performance for his edification,” said the duke, with an attempt at levity.  Seeing that her hand trembled, he took her fingers in his warm clasp, his gaze intent on her face.  “Did he hurt you?” he asked quietly.
     “Apart from a few cracked ribs, I think not,” she said in an attempt to mirror his flippancy.  She tentatively raised her finger to the bruise that was spreading at his temple.  “It is you who are hurt, sir, and all for my sake.  I do beg your pardon.  Coustellet entered unannounced and took me by surprise.  I had thought him at the hunt with the others but, upon finding me absent, he came back to Sefron supposing me to be alone.”  Julie’s eyes fell before the duke’s fiery scrutiny, “and – and then he tried to force his attentions on me,” she stammered, unable to hide her distress at the situation, and whispered with a catch in her voice, “I don’t know what I would have done if you had not intervened.”
    “Probably used the footstool on him,” replied the duke with a lightness he was far from feeling.  Then unable to disguise his anger any longer, “I shall find it necessary to pay our amorous friend a visit in the very near future, so if you would be so kind as to furnish me with his direction…”
     “No!” she cried hotly, then, as the duke looked sharply at her, she said a little more calmly, “I will not allow you to be put out on my account, sir.”
     “I think Coustellet has already put me out as you term it,” purred the duke at his most unpleasant.  “There is now an issue between us that must be settled.  His actions toward you cannot be allowed to go unpunished.”
     “But it must go no further,” she persisted.  “No one must know, not even my father who holds Coustellet in strong aversion.  It would be said that I encouraged him by staying away from the hunt, apparently alone.”  Her gaze swept his face and as if suddenly becoming aware that his fingers still held hers, she pulled her hand away, saying “Where are my senses, your head must ache terribly and there is a very large bruise fast appearing.” 
     “You need not worry,” said the duke, making to rise.
     Julie gently but firmly pressed him back into the chair.  “I will get you something for the swelling,” she said, and without waiting for an answer hurried from the room.
     His grace was not very much hurt, but of a sudden had taken a liking to being pampered and allowed Julie, when she returned, to bathe his temple with a cooling lotion.  She perched herself on the arm of his chair requiring him to hold a small china bowl wherein reposed the soothing liquid and gently bathed the offending lump.
     The duke, deeming it prudent not to mention Coustellet, in an attempt to divert her thoughts asked lightly, “Did you enjoy your season in London
     Julie smiled ruefully, thankful for the diversion.  “I’m afraid my aunt who was to have brought me out suffered a seizure just before the season began and so my debut had to be postponed.  However, Papa has promised that I will have a season next year.”
     “No doubt your debut will be a great success, my dear,” he said, smiling.  Indeed, it is an event I shall look forward to with great anticipation.”
     As Julie gently smiled in response, he involuntarily became fascinated by the turn of her delicate cheek, and for the moment, imagined his lips resting there.    Mentally taking himself to task, he attempted to banish such errant thoughts but against his will, the fascination remained.  When, inadvertently spilling some of the liquid on his coat, Julie leaned closer to his profile in an attempt to dab away the offending liquid, he found the temptation impossible to resist.  Without conscious thought, he gently tilted up her chin and tenderly kissed the sweet roundness of her face. 
          For a moment she gazed blankly at him, and then with a sudden cry, ran from the room and up to her apartments, locking her door against all intruders and there spent the remainder of the day.
     The Duke of Lear, cursing himself for being every type of fool, reflected that he had treated her hardly better than Coustellet by taking advantage of her trusting innocence.  It had however, taken him completely by surprise that he could feel so tenderly toward her, for he had thought himself impervious to her charms and it was in some consternation that he also retired to his room.


Friday, 14 January 2011

The Void - a free short story

This story was first published on my website but I thought followers of my blog might also enjoy it.

The Void

     Someone came to the entrance of the rain-soaked tent to speak to her and they talked in hushed voices.  Obviously their words were not for his ears and he strained to comprehend their meaning. 
     She nodded, clearly understanding and agreeing with them, but to his frustration no one communicated with him.  Whenever they were in his presence, they spoke in hushed voices, unwilling to disturb his rest but his mind cried out to be disturbed, to be awakened.  How much longer would he be held prisoner in this abyss?  If only he could remember her, then all would fall into place.
     His sword and shield stood propped against his saddle in the corner, his helmet atop a wooden chest, which also served as both seat and table.  The coat of arms on helm and shield meant nothing to him.  He was obviously a knight of some standing.  One who had both property and land.  One of considerable consequence.  They called him Sir Miles Reynard.
     His squire came and stood just inside the entrance, casting a covert look at his master from beneath lowered lashes.  Realising that he was awake, he came hesitantly to the side of his straw pallet. “Have you need of me, sir?” he asked quietly, his youthful countenance appearing drawn.
     “Nay,” said Miles hoarsely, and turned his head away from him.  How could he have need of the boy when he could neither sit nor stand?  The gash that extended from temple to jaw drove all but a fierce throbbing from his brain.  The wound that ran from hip to knee rendered all but the smallest movements too painful to bear.
     She came to his side and placed a delicate hand on his brow.  “You appear cooler now, my love,” she said in a pleasantly low voice.  “Will you try some gruel?  You will feel so much stronger if you would but take sustenance.”
     “To what point?” he asked, his voice cracked with disuse.  “To what point should I feel compelled to revive?”
     “You are all we have,” she replied, dropping to her knees beside the pallet.  “We love you. What will we do if you leave us?”
     “I have no memory of we.  Why should I fight to remain in a world I know or care naught of?”
     She clasped his large, warrior’s hand in both of hers, as if willing him to draw life from their joining.   “It is your wounds that speak, they have brought you low, but once you begin to heal, so will your memory return.”
     “I wish I could believe you,” he said, in a more rational tone.  “For now, I see nothing beyond this pallet and if I do not heal, I will be naught but a cripple – a burden for you to bear.”
      “If that is so, then it is a most welcome burden, my love,” she whispered, her voice husky with the tears that slid silently from her lovely eyes. “The leg does not suppurate, the wound stays clean. If it remains so, there is no need for its removal…”
     “Aye, and what of my head,” he interrupted sharply.  “How can I live without memory, without sense of who I am?  I will not be thought a pitiable imbecile who hangs on your skirts!”
     Releasing his hand, Lilly rose quickly to her feet. “Have done with this. What I offer is love not pity. You are a strong man. You are no imbecile.  What you do not know, you will learn.  Once we have you returned to Radburn, to all that is familiar to you, we will rebuild your memory.”
     With effort, he raised his hand and reached for hers.  “Forgive me. I find this frustration hard to bear and I know not what I say. You are right, I must have fortitude.  If it is so important to you, bring me the gruel.”
     He watched her as she moved away, his eyes concentrating on the soft swaying of her hips.  Surely he should remember a woman of such beauty, but he did not.  He was a man and as such appreciated her comeliness; even in his present state he recognised her appeal.  Why then, did he not remember her as being his?
     As evening fell, he heard the sounds of decampment from outside the tent and realised that at sunrise he would be required to endure the tortuous journey to the place she called their home, Radburn.  His entourage was large, or so he believed and he had been assured that they would travel to accommodate him, that he would not be required to endure more than he was able, but still he dreaded the mere thought of upheaval.


     The pain in his head woke him.  He had slept far into the night and all was quiet in the tent.  Only the even breathing of his wife as she slept nearby disturbed the silence.  He felt a weight depress the foot of his pallet but he could not make out who sat there.  The weight shifted further up the pallet until it rested by his uninjured knee.
     “Father,” said a small voice.  “Father, ’tis me.”
    It was impossible to see in the velvet darkness but in his mind’s eye he saw a six- year old boy with hair, whose features so resembled his own.
     “Dominique?” he said reaching out his hand, and cold little fingers clutched his.  Not knowing why, he felt an unutterable sadness but he returned the pressure of the child’s hand.
     “You’re cold lad,” he said, lifting his blanket.  “Here, lie with me.  I will warm you.”
     The boy curled up at his father’s side, leaching the warmth from his body and a great peace stole over him.  It felt so natural that the boy should be there.  So right.
     “Could you not sleep?” Miles asked, placing his arm about the small shoulders.
     “I was thinking of the times you took me hunting, Father, and when you taught me to fish.  Do you remember?”
     “Aye, lad, I do.”
     “And we didn’t tell Mother how often I fell when you taught me to ride?”
     Miles smiled into the darkness, tightening his arm about his son.  “Soon I will teach you how to wield a sword, to defend yourself, in preparation for the day when you become a knight.”
     The boy gave a contented sigh and snuggled closer against his father’s thigh and he could feel the weight of the child’s head on his hip and heard his breathing deepen.  Dominique slept and so did he.

     When he awoke, it was to the sound of men and horses as they prepared for imminent departure.
     Seeing him awake, Lilly came immediately to his side, relieved to see that he appeared much improved and well-rested. 
     For the first time since the battle, there was no pain in his body and he greeted her with a warm, welcoming smile.    
“The boy, where is the boy?” he demanded, light-headed at the revelation that all had come back to him.
     “The boy?” she queried.  “You require your squire?”
     “Nay, my son,” he said, smiling.  “He spent the night at my side.  Where is Dominique?
       She blanched visibly.  “You remember Dominique?” she said, a catch in her voice.
     He smiled broadly.  “Rejoice with me, my love.  It was the boy, coming to me as he did, that brought back my memory.  I didn’t think of it at the time.  I just recognised my son.  I wasn’t even aware of the exact moment that all fell into place; only that it did.  Now I remember everything!”
     She sank to her knees beside him.  “Not quite …everything, love…
     “Aye, everything.  It has been nigh a sennight since the battle, why have you kept him from me?  Did you fear he would disturb me, for he did not?  The boy helped me remember!”
     Slowly, her slender frame crumpled and she pressed her face into his shoulder and he felt the wetness of her tears.
     “Dominique is dead,” she wept.  “You stood by his grave but six months past.”

     © Hazel Statham 2005