Snippet Sundays

stacks of books artHere is week 3 of the Snippet Sundays installments. Visit my latest alluring 6 sentence clip from my novel CUT FROM THE EARTH on my author Facebook page:  byStephanieRenéedosSantos.

Enjoy! Click, read on, leave a comment, and “Like” my writer page!


New Release by bestselling author Barbara Kyle: BLOOD BETWEEN QUEENS

Barabra's latest release!

Barbara’s latest release!

Barbara’s writing is like entering the magic of a theatrical stage, vivid and colorful, with engaging dialogue and characters. This is the fifth book of the Thornleigh Tudor series, a story of a  middle-class English family’s rise through the tumultuous Tudor reign. Enter the saga where people are forced to make hard decisions about loyalty, allegiance, duty, family and love.

“Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it.

Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancé that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest enemy.

Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign…”

Praise for Blood Between Queens:

“A masterful commingling of fact and fiction, effortlessly transporting readers to the perils and passions of Tudor England. Gaspworthy treachery and the poignant sweetness of steadfast love make this a book of quickly and eagerly turned pages. Justine Thornleigh is a heroine to root for and to love.” – Sandra Byrd, bestselling author of Roses Have Thorns
A reader’s review on Goodreads“Kyle’s finest…an experience of vivid literary color.”

Available for purchase starting today!

Order the in print copy of Blood Between Queens:

Book Reviews: Historical Novel Society

I am pleased to announce in February I will begin writing eBook reviews for the Historical Novel Society.

Please visit the Historical Novel Society Indie Book Reviews page at: .

About the Historical Novel Society:

Founded in 1997 the HNS was conceived to campaign for the literary genre of historical fiction.  Two magazines were developed for this cause:  Solander(no longer being published as of 2011) and Historical Novels Review.  To date, the HNS has reviewed 5,272 historical books, making it the preeminent clearing house for historical fiction in the English language. These reviews and 108 featured articles can be viewed online at:  As an international society HNS aims to review all US and UK mainstream published titles, and as many other historical novels written in the English language worldwide, along with the desire to eventually cover foreign language titles as well.

The organization is based in the UK and USA and membership is open to the world — to anyone with an interest in historical fiction: readers, writers, publishers, editors  ̶  yes everyone!

In addition to the review print magazine and online reviews, the HNS facilitates writers’ conferences and social media groups, creating spaces to bring together the excitement, knowledge, exchange, and love of historical novels.

For more information visit:

The Next Big Thing

I’m delighted to have been introduced to The Next Big Thing — an author blog hop — by the passionate writer and book reviewer Darlene Elizabeth Williams whose blog reviews the latest historical fiction.  Visit her site to read engaging book reviews and learn about her books…

Before moving on, I would like to talk briefly about these words “The Next Big Thing” as initially I have issues with giving power to them. For what isbig” to one person is “insignificant” to another.  What matters is to follow our calling, to express, to share, to explore — to write.

With this said...a few words by author Marianne Williamson:

(label, substitute, and call “God” what you want– for me it is the ‘Infinite Energy of the Universe’)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – A Return To Love: Reflection on the Principles of a Course in Miracles 

I have been asked the following questions: 

1. What is the working title of your book?


2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came on a solo painting trip I took to the Peruvian Amazon in 2006.  To read the whole story click here!  The Story Behind the Story

3. What genre does your book fall under?

 Historical Adventure/Thriller w/Magical Realism

4.What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Johnny Depp, George Clooney or Antonio Banderas as Piloto; Robin Tunney or Penelope Cruz as Paulina; Will Smith as Babau; I am still mulling over who would play Makiki…?

*It would be ideal to cast Portuguese and Brazilian actors for the parts but I don’t know which ones! So, I’ve stayed with names I am familiar with for now.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

CUT FROM THE EARTH is a story of mid-eighteenth century Portuguese tile and of love —  defying gender and class  —  The Great Lisbon Earthquake  — and the wisdom of nature and the power of love to guide and  heal.

* For more information visit my blog’s  Historical Novel page and read the excerpt.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

 Currently, my plan is for the book to be represented by an agency.

 7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote the first draft in roughly 6 months in 2010. But this is after spending 4 years learning Portuguese to do the research.  During this time and throughout the writing/rewriting process, I read and researched the history of the time period and traveled to many of the places where the book voyages.

8.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

CUT FROM THE EARTH has similarities in storyline and subject matter with historical thriller/adventure novel Pompeii by Robert Harris, while blending with the artist based historical novel, Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell. Also, think of the dramatic and atmospheric film The Mission.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

CUT FROM THE EARTH is inspired by my love of Portuguese tile, the beautiful hardwoods of the Amazon, and to explore why one finds azulejos in the Amazon and Amazonian hardwoods in the churches and estates of Europe.  In addition, the story is inspirited by my desire to shine light on the often unheard voices and the contributions of minorities and females in the history of the arts.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think readers will be interested to learn about the real life event: The Great Lisbon Earthquake that struck Lisbon, Portugal on November 1st, 1755 , All Saints Day. When the vast majority of the city’s population was at church. The incident was followed by tsunami waves and mass fire. These disasters affected the whole of Europe in the eighteenth-century. Today, these historical events and what they triggered are little known, but the history is important and fascinating.


Readers will gain insight about the Mocambo: the predominately black neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon — uniquely in existence in a European capital since the sixteenth-century.


Figura de Convite, An Invitation Figure

And, art lovers  will be curious to learn about the eighteenth-century Portuguese  contribution to the art of tile making  —  the innovation of the figura de convite  —  a life-sized invitation figure that was placed at the head of stair landings and patios to welcome visitors.  What is special about this invention is that it is the first time in the history of tile making that the tile composition deviated from the square tile and embraced the outline of the cut-out figure, which opened up a plethora of new design possibilities. Had this not been developed, we may never have had the cardboard movie theater life-sized cut-out of Marilyn Monroe…who knows?

It’s my pleasure to tag the following three talented writers from varying genres in the order they will be posting on their blogs…to carry this blog hop forward:

T.C Paulson will post on January 12th 2013 –  – A technical writer by day, a confessionalist poet and novelist by night — she explores imagination, spirit, and the anthropology of existence. Tsena writes about what she knows: pain, pleasure, suffering, peace, victory, loss, joy, demons, angels, daughters, mothers, lovers, and friends. She shares her poetry at open mics around the Pacific Northwest of Washington State, USA. Soak up her works at (you won’t be disappointed!) : Her current novels-in-progress are too secret to reveal at this time…

Andrew Shattuck McBride  will post on January 13th 2013 – – Washington State-based writer and editor, Andrew has poems published or forthcoming in anthologies and journals including Platte Valley Review, Magnapoets, Caesura, Haibun Today, and Clover, A Literary Rag. He has edited four poetry collections and a historical novel.  Currently, he is working on a chapbook titled: Reclaiming Air: Poems; a collection of linked short stories; and a new project of  lyric essays.   To delight your senses and to enjoy word play visit Andrew’s blog: or editor’s blog: .

Christian De Benedetti will post on January 27th, 2013 – .  A freelance writer whose hop charged words have enriched the pages of The New York Times, Esquire, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, GQ, Weekly Pint, and Eaters.  He is also author of the award-winning book:  The Great American Ale Trail:  The Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation,  THE GREAT AMERICAN ALE TRAIL: The Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation .  Christian is a very busy writer.  Also, he is one of the masterminds behind, “The Bräuler” a stainless steel growler– used to transport or store your favorite brewed beer, for more information see:

Conflict: How I Came to Write CUT FROM THE EARTH

Conflict instigated the writing of Cut From the Earth. Real life drama. Family drama. Like good fiction riddled with problems that move the story forward, conflict, literally spurred me from my comfortable hammock, thrust me to sea in an open dory, rowing without life jacket along Brazil’s southern coast, and into writing a novel. Moments before leaving land  —  providence  —  I threw in the boat the book Your First Novel by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitecomb; a writing book that I had been packing around the world and had yet to follow its advice and instruction.

What conflict started a 40-day sea journey, the opening of that book, and pen to paper?

I was attacked by my husband’s younger brother  —  accused of lying and sabotage.

Why? Because I told the truth when asked by the brother’s, now, ex-partner, of any strange behavior I’d witnessed while she was away from Brazil in France. She being French and I being American, both involved with Brazilian fishermen brothers, along with my fondness for her, I told her the only thing I knew for sure about her partner’s actions in her absence:  How he had invited me into their place, late one night, while I sat at an open window writing as my husband slept nearby.

“Do you want to come in?” he had said suggestively with a devilish smile, looking to his door.

I knew he was drunk or under the influence of something, and I had heard it was not uncommon in Brazilian culture to be hit-on by brothers in the family; a show of one ups’em ship, the demonstration of ones prowess over another. So, I was not totally caught off guard by the invitation. I declined. I went to bed. In the morning I mentioned the incident to my husband, he shrugged it off as if not surprised nor threatened by it. I too did not take it to heart, but found it interesting from an anthropologically point of view. I left it at that. When I shared the story with my friend, I never thought I would become involved in their matters as nothing actually happened.  I had written the suggestive approach off as an ignorant drunken offer that could not be taken seriously.

But in a heated argument between the couple, the brother, in a fit of desperation, and I assume drunken or drugged rage, burst into our abode and accused me of lying and trying to ruin their already tainted love story. For their romance was singeing on hot rocks of a previous betrayal of his. Now, after reflecting, I am not surprised he reacted as he did when she brought up the incident to him, as I believe he doesn’t remember what he said to me that proposition night, nor was he aware of his body language because of his altered state. A novella style argument ensued, ending with me and my husband fleeing our small coastal town, to protect our relationship from their disintegrating one. And to actualize a long dreamed of trip of my husband’s   —  to camp and explore the little visited islands along Brazil’s southern coast.

We left the drama of the mainland and set to explore the uninhabited tropical islands.

The traumatic event thrust open the space for me to begin writing Cut From the Earth, a story that had been brewing for years. The moment manifest of long quiet days with nothing begging of our time but feeding ourselves, seeking out ancient hieroglyphics, and enjoying the peace and wild of the islands and sea. Idle time. Open time. Time without demands. Time without constraints. I wrote 70 pages of Cut From the Earth under swaying palms, by headlamp in our tent during tropical night storms, in the ion charged ocean mist as waves crashed on the island rocks, and at smoky fires repelling the swarming insects. The novel’s story came forth into the hot humid air as my own steam of the past events simmered. And the experience of rowing an open dory on the Atlantic, life jacket less, rang a tune of old sea times of my husband’s forefathers in the eighteenth century while they explored and settled the Brazilian coast: the time period of my story. Conflict, oh sweet conflict! How you prod and push us into ourselves and our dreams, forcing us forward, to look for solutions to our problems, for sometimes it takes an out-of-the-ordinary event to release us onto our desired path.

Conflict the substance of epic tales and the kick-starter for the realizing of Cut From the Earth.