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Redheaded Roses

There aren’t that many of us on the street, but we turn up a lot in books. What, editors? Struggling indie authors? (I’m both of those!) No, redheads. (Yes, I’m one of those too.) The most popular hair colour for literary heroines is red, and to go with the fiery locks they often have green eyes. I’m as guilty as the next person. I’ve created a green-eyed redhead leading character, Fiona, in Something Fishy, a book you’ll find in blovel form here under the pen name of Rorie Stevens. I hadn’t realised I was being so predictable  until a message thread on an author’s forum alerted me to the fact that many of us have similar looking heroines. Since then I’ve come across hundreds more in books I’ve read! We redheads make up a lot less than 10% of the population, even in Celtic countries such as Ireland and Scotland, but around 50% of the fictional population I’d guess!

Not that it matters. I think authors tend to go for redheads because that colour hair is unusual, attractive and has the associations of a certain feistiness. Red hair has long been thought to be a sign of a hot temper, but there’s no proven biological explanation for this. The idea probably grew up, in England anyway, due to the invading Vikings having red hair as did the brave and troublesome Scots.  Another myth is that redheads have a higher libido than other people. Another good reason to have a redheaded hero or heroine if you’re writing in the romantic genre!

Rose Thorne of Gary Vanucci’s short fantasy novel A Rose in Bloom is therefore both a typical yet very unusual literary heroine. She has long red hair and green eyes, a strong personality and works in a bordello. So far she fits the bill. But add to that her various special gifts which include light-fingeredness and the ability to merge in and out of the world of shadows at will, and she becomes a formidable ally, or if you’re unfortunate, enemy. Arm her with a magical daggers and you could have a problem! You can read about Rose for yourself for free today and tomorrow – 18th and 19th May – since A Rose in Bloom is free on Amazon here (and on the other various Amazon sites). Gary Vanucci is a brilliant author. He creates wonderful characters and exciting situations for them, so you’re in for a treat with his books. And if you fall under Rose’s spell, which I am confident you will, then you can follow her adventures in Gary’s Covenant of the Faceless Knights, where she plays a leading role.

Gary’s books are illustrated by the talented William Kenney. I’m a huge fan of his artwork.

Can you spot Rose?
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Fantasy Novellas from Gary Vanucci

I’ve blogged about Gary Vanucci before, and featured a guest post from him.

Time to mention his two newest books, both in the Wothlondia Rising series – Distant Familiarity, and Rose in Bloom, both of which have stunning covers drawn by William Kenney.

Distant Familiarity is the first in a series of new novellas by this very talented science fiction author. The realm of Wothlondia is a fascinating one, with distinctive landscapes and a rich variety of inhabitants, including dwarves, elves, barbarians, ogres and zombies.

This story introduces us to the three friends Tiyarnon the High Priest, Rolin Hardbeard the dwarf and half-elf Nimaira Silvershade. It’s a touching account of their relationship as they unite to face an old and dangerous enemy who may possibly be too powerful for them to defeat. Can he control their wills and turn them against each other? Or do they know and trust each other well enough to overcome Cyrza’s challenge?

Gary Vanucci creates excitement and tension in this story through the cleverly constructed, fast-moving plot and his inspired use of language which ranges from the brutal to the beautiful.


Now, you want a feisty heroine? Well, you’ve got one in Rose Thorne in Rose in Bloom. A troubled, abusive childhood has not cowed this young woman and she’s full of life and mischief as she starts her career at a bordello in Oakhaven in Wothlandia. This fantasy world, created by the ever-imaginative Gary Vanucci, has its seedier side, which Rose steers in and out of.

Rose is a little light-fingered, and it’s this that brings her to the attention of Ganthrope, an ambitious and quickly rising town digniatary, who keeps an eye on the criminal element of Oakhaven. But there’s more to him than meets the eye, and he has a proposition for Rose, his favourite redhead. A mutually advantageous relationship develops between the two of them.

However, there’s even more to Rose than Ganthorpe imagines. He may think he has her in his grasp, but you can never hold a rose too tightly because of its thorns! We’ll be hearing more about this wonderful character …

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Editing Fantasy – Wothlondia Rising

I’m passing the buck in this post – to myself! I wrote a guest post for the fantasy writer Gary Vanucci  which you’ll find here. Do please head over and have a read. I talk about editing fantasy in general, and Gary’s books in particular. You’ll be delighted to discover an exciting new author and find out about his Wothlondia Rising series.

To find out more about my budget-friendly editing services, check out