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New Helen Harper Website: HelenHarper.co.uk!

  • February 23, 2015
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As you may have noticed, we’re up and running with a new website! HelenHarper.co.uk will now be the new official Helen Harper Website, and the main source of information about Helen Harper‘s books. More than just a catalogue, we want to keep you up to date with with the author and her new work as it progresses, let you know about special promotions, and even recommend some of Helen’s favourite books as she reads them.

The old Helen-Harper-Books Weebly website will hang around for a little bit, but while it has served its purpose nobly until now, the growing number of books in Helen’s back catalogue and the larger number of visitors means it was time for an update. This is a snazzy new WordPress website, set up, hosted and customised just for Helen Harper by il.lustr.us Media! So take a look around, and as always we’d love to hear feedback from you.

Helen Harper

Urban Fantasy Review: Rebecca Chastain

As a die-hard Urban Fantasy addict, I read the fabulous A Fistful of Evil a couple of days ago and I’m already hooked on the series!  To find out more about the author, check out the interview below.  If YOU could live in any author’s ‘world’, whose would it be?

Where have you lived throughout your life?

I’ve lived in the United States my whole life. I spent five happy years as a child in Tucson, Arizona, when I was too young to notice the heat. Then we moved to northern California, and I got to grow up in the middle of a forest, riding horses and generally running wild. 

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Helen Harper

Fantasy Review: Unfinished Song (Tara Maya)

What a gorgeous cover!  I’m excited to share this great fantasy book series with you – it’s even free if you download it now.  Links are at at the bottom of the post.

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

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Helen Harper

The Art of Reviewing

  • April 29, 2014
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Reviews come in all shapes and sizes.

To begin with, there’s the minefield of family and friends. I know which friends will tell me honestly what they think, and which ones will merely keep quiet about what they thought if they didn’t like one of my books. I know that my family will tell me everything is “simply wonderful” – mainly because I think they’re so astonished I’m writing books and ‘real’ people are actually buying them and reading them.

Then there are the reviews I receive on sites like Amazon and Goodreads.

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Helen Harper

Reviews: The Best Of…

Virtually all the books I read over this last week were fabulous. And all the friends I’ve met up with over the last seven days have been bored stiffless because I’ve had to tell them about every single one – ad nauseum. But, hey, what’s the point of reading a great book if you can’t then share it with others? So here are my ‘Best Of’ books, in a sort of mini-review format.

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Helen Harper

Be My Valentine!

  • February 10, 2014
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Okay, I’m officially excited now! The proof of Eros has just returned from the editor (the wonderful Karen at www.2qt.co.uk – and, goodness me, what it difference it makes having someone edit it professionally). That means that – aside from a few last minute changes, it’ll be ready and published on Valentine’s Day.

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Helen Harper

Settings

  • January 28, 2014
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There are a lot of urban fantasy books around. I think my first real introduction to the contemporary notion of the genre was when I idly picked up a Laurell K Hamilton novel (one of her early ones, of course), and was immediately transfixed. I’d always loved fantasy, but this was something different. The parallel universe type idea was fascinating, and I drank in every detail. From that point on, I actively sought out all and any additions to the genre. Strong female heroines, gorgeous escapism, touches of romance…what could be better?

However, all the main urban fantasy authors seem to come out of the USA, and are setting their books as you’d expect. Now, don’t me get wrong, I love reading about the States.

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Helen Harper

The Joy of Writing

  • January 14, 2014
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By day I’m an English teacher and by night I’m an author – and there’s often somewhat of a dichotomy between the two. While I teach how to write and develop many different text types, from arguments to discursive essays to reviews and so on, naturally creative writing is frequently a feature of lessons.

There are numerous ways to approach original writing.

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Helen Harper

Whilst?

  • January 05, 2014
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I’m British. Well, Scottish, if you really want to get into it, but my passport says British. And even if I’ve lived in Japan for years and Malaysia for more, my language and my writing are rooted in that heritage. One of the elements of that heritage involves, perhaps oddly for some, the word ‘whilst’.

It seemed perfectly normal to me. A quick scan through my first novel, Bloodfire, throws up the following:

“Fortunately the fact that I spent all my time with my pack meant that the worst of my so-called human stench was already covered from just sheer transference, whilst the lotion did all the rest.”

And…

“It might be better to get it out of the way whilst we can still maintain some control over the situation.”

As well as…

“Behind the keep, out of sight, was Julia’s little herb garden which she used to grow any manner of weeds with which to feed her various concoctions, whilst in front lay a long drive covered in pale pink shale which had the unnerving habit of jumping up by themselves and chipping a long line of visitors’ gleaming car paint.”

I didn’t think there was a problem. That was until, of course, an Australian friend helped me proofread my third book, Bloodrage. Every time I wrote ‘whilst’ (and there were a lot of times), she highlighted it and changed it to ‘while’. We argued playfully. She was adamant that it wasn’t a word. I was equally determined to tell her that it was. Besides, I was the author, I was British, and I was going to use ‘whilst’ if I damn well wanted to.

And then I received a review on Amazon.com complaining that there were just too many ‘whilsts’. Followed by another on a similar vein. Then I read a comment on a forum for self-publishers for something to the same effect. Okay. Anyone who has read book four and beyond will be in a position to note the absence of that one little word because I’m suddenly, glaringly, aware of it. I had to proofread someone else’s writing recently (yes, another Brit), and it was full of instances of ‘whilst’. Clearly ‘whilst’ is idiosyncratically British. I’ve temporarily beaten out the urge to litter my writing with it, but it still occasionally sneaks in. It makes me wonder what else is in there that is jarring for others. Certainly there are other culturally distinct phrases that never cross the waters. ‘I couldn’t care less’ (UK) and ‘I could care less’ (US) is one comparison that always has me pausing, given that grammatically they are opposite, but contextually in meaning they are the same.

Whilst 😉 writing this, I am wondering whether you can think of any more?

Helen Harper

Health and Happiness

  • December 19, 2013
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The events of this week have had me considering the vagaries of good health. It sounds cliched, I know, but why do some people enjoy (rude) health, while others suffer so much? Take me, for example – I smoke. I started when I was a teenager for all the usual boring reasons, and have never found it in myself to quit, despite numerous attempts to the contrary. And, yes, I know New Year is coming up and I could make it my resolution (again). I know the dangers. I know it’s stupid. But I still do it. If I woke up tomorrow with terminal lung cancer I would have no-one but myself to blame. The Religious Studies teacher I started working with when we were both green newbies and who died ten years ago from leukaemia (her second time around – she’d already beaten it once) didn’t smoke. She didn’t drink either. She’d just gotten married. So why her and not me? It doesn’t seem fair.

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An excellent Urban Fantasy series

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