Colleen Houck

“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

Colleen's blog


    December 10, 2014

     FEATURING GUEST Alexandra Monir

    A Day in the Life of Writing

    Welcome to the eleventh session of




    “The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.’”

    — J.K. Rowling

    Introducing the lovely

    Alexandra Monir

     profile pic of alexandra monir

     A Day in the Life of Writing Suspicion
    “I can hardly believe that Suspicion is actually out in the world! It seems like just yesterday I was spending months hunkered over my desk writing the manuscript.Even though it was probably the most ambitious, hardest book I’ve written, it was definitely the most fun. And that’s because I combined several story elements I love most into one story, from the gothic murder mystery to the paranormal to a sweeping English manor setting. This meant that a typical day as I was drafting the book involved a bunch of different things…Studying British lifeJust like Imogen in the story, it was very important to me to be completely at home in the British world. I wanted to create an authentic English setting with characters who felt real and not dreamed up by an American author. While working on Suspicion, I usually spent a good hour a day reading a bit of a contemporary novel written by an English author (to get a better sense of the current slang and everyday terms) as well as UK guidebooks and maps, to make sure I had all my geography straight and that I knew the culture and backstory of each area, be it London or Oxford. But the best thing I did was take a research trip to England with my mom while I was writing the book—that’s when everything came together and I really felt confident that I could write about this country I love so much. Getting inside the minds of British aristocrats. It wasn’t enough to just understand British culture—I had to know what it was like to be a Duke or Duchess! I did a ton of research on the history of the British aristocracy, reading everything from memoirs like Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan’s The Glitter and the Gold to nonfiction like the deliciously fun So You Want To Marry a British Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace. But to understand what it’s like to be a British aristocrat in modern times, I had one trusty resource: Tatler magazine! Even though the book is already written and published, I still pick up the magazine every month to dive back into the glamorous world of young Lords and Ladies today.Studying the art of mysteriesSUSPICION was inspired by my love of the classic suspense novel Rebecca, and while I wouldn’t dare compare myself to the brilliant Daphne du Maurier, it was crucial to me that I understand the craft of mystery writing and make sure that my plot held its own. So while reading and watching countless mysteries, I took note of at which points in the story the writer chose to drop their clues and red herrings, how the big twists were set up, and so on. This made me really excited to continue writing mysteries—it’s so much fun assembling the puzzle!Yes, eventually after all the research and planning, it was time to get my hands on the keyboard and start writing. And while it can be so nerve-wracking to stare at an empty screen just waiting to be filled with words, there was nothing more gratifying than losing myself in the scenes.

    I hope you enjoy reading SUSPICION as much as I loved writing it! I’ll be going on tour starting with a book release & holiday party this Thursday evening, December 11th at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica, CA. I’d love to see all of you SoCal readers there! If you’re not in California, you can find out the rest of my tour dates and more about me at”


     Here’s a little teaser of her new novel NOW AVAILABLE, SUSPICION!



    Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.

    Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.




    Check out Alexandra’s song to go with the book at! She’s so talented!

    A huge thanks to Alexandra for sharing some insight into the life of a writer! I can’t wait to check out this book myself!  For those of you who are aspiring authors, a great resource can be those writers who have paved the path before us. Their experiences bring great insight and wisdom and can help us along on our own journey in writing.


    If you’d like to win a copy of Suspicion, leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite mystery. It could be a movie or a television show, a book, or a real live mystery that has never been solved. 

    ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Featuring Authors, The Modern Ink Society, Upcoming YA Books.

    2 Responses to MODERN INK SOCIETY

    1. Allana Lopez says:

      I love the National Treasure movies. I think it’s so cool that the character Ben can conjure up these amazing facts about history dating centuries back in records that are not widely recognized. I love all the puzzles he has to solve and the way they tie back in with history in an entertaining explanation of why this or that happened a long time ago

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.