Monday, 13 February 2017

New Release & Spinsterhood Plots!

"A love at First Sight novella"

The Back cover blurb:

One grave transgression in her past, and Lady Louise de Winter, has accepted all hope for love and romance is but a dream she dare not embrace.

Aware her semi-closeted existence on the Harcourt Estate is no more, and a substantial inheritance awaits her pleasure, her friend Count Casarotto suddenly brings his personal troubles to her door and seeks sanctuary. Worse, pursued by officers of his majesty’s regiment of horse, Louise endeavours to conceal his presence despite qualms as to his innocence when the bare facts are laid before her. What is more, devastatingly attracted to the senior officer, Louise battles to retain sense of propriety as burning desire within takes hold. But despite Major Fitzwilliam’s reassurance he cares not a jot about her past, the truth remains she is not as other young would-be brides. Therefore, dare she give her heart into his care? 

And my thoughts on writing Spinsterhood plots!

Spinsterhood plots are quite a common trope within Georgian and Regency novels, and in general the heroine becomes a governess or a companion to some flighty young miss, which in turn provides sense of purpose in her otherwise lonely existence. Often as not the heroine secretly falls in love with a father or guardian, and he likewise secretly falls for the sometimes irksome, and or withdrawn governess, and as time passes, often by way of tedious blow-by-blow accounts of the hero and heroine glimpsing each other amidst her domestic duties and his the drudgery of business, eventually a love bell will ring and the hero and heroine finally admit their feelings for one another.  Whereas the Lady Louise de Winter amounts to none of those things so readily associated with spinsterhood. She bears a secret from her past, and her present life is not as expected of a spinster. Louise is a woman who has love to spare but dare not display it. Born to wealth and a title, and on the death of her father she has a substantial inheritance, and independent income. But love at first sight, as happens for her and the hero in her story is akin to a lightning storm, each knowing something has sparked between then, both aware it can burn if they cross the divide without sense of honesty. Truth, absolute truth, can sometimes kill desire, and therein lies the risk of losing someone who touches your heart as no other has. Some dilemmas are best served in the heat of the moment, or delivered with cold realism before the touch paper is lit?  But Fate is unpredictable, as is the outcome of Louise's story as she walks and rides in her father's footsteps within a second place he truly thought of as his home!  

       Amazon UK    Amazon US

Thursday, 26 January 2017

New Steamy Novella.

A Coaching Accident, a Regency New Year Fancy Dress Ball, and a Devilish Masquerade will ensue.

The cynical Melbourne, Earl Standish, has resigned himself to a bachelor existence in which a mistress is a damn sight safer than young chits with mother’s who are hell-bent on securing a title for their daughters. Stealing the cherry as sporting game has never been his gambit, until that is, a coaching accident, involving his sister and the Danby family, thrusts an irresistible young lady into his sightline. Conventions of hospitality must be afforded to the rescuers of his sister, and with a New Year ball imminent at Norton Priory, Standish is hopelessly smitten, but he has two brothers and the elder of the two is a renowned cherry stealer. Can the Earl overcome his misgivings and rejoin the Marriage Mart – and will the rakish brother let him steal away with Cecily Danby?

True to the traditional romance of Regency England coaches and horses feature greatly within Regency novels, and of course coaching accidents were not as uncommon as modern-day thinkers tend to assume. Some coaching accidents were fatal for passengers, especially those thrown overboard from up top,  Other coaching accidents, often in perilous weather conditions were almost as deadly. Thus a coaching accident features in this novella, and is the opening to a tale involving the original Cinderella fairy tale, though Cecy is no poor mistreated Cinderella. But the story reveals all, so I'll leave it there, except to say the coaching accident leads to a stay at Norton Priory, and that  is where Cecy learns who she really is, after seventeen years of believing she is someone else! 


So what does this once ecclesiastical building hold in store for Cecy?  

Amazon US      Amazon UK

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Dispelling Myths - People didn't take Baths

Dispelling Myths - People didn't take Baths in 16th-17th century etc - in reference to Cleanliness is next to Godliness!

In actual fact, throughout history, people bathed more than historians declare - as can be seen within private journals circa 17th century. The reason they wore perfume and carried pomanders was to kill the stench of the streets where the saying Gardy Loo had purpose before the pitching of effluent from chamber pots to street gully. Hence the wealthy abandoned cities in warm weather, as often as they could and retreated to their country abodes. There's a huge myth the aristocracy abided to seasonal Parliamentary sittings - not those who didn't give a toss about politics, and that was the majority. Yes, they had town houses, in many cases owned streets of houses leased out to the middling merchant/trader classes, but in most cases they only attended specific events, and tended to swan about with a mistress rather than have their family with them. Even the court retired to the country - often. The upper merchant class owned their own vast properties, but of course the lower class were unable to take flight to fresh air unless they paid visit to relatives who were a bit farther distant, bearing in mind Chelsea was a village with open green fields as were other places of note such as Putney where there were windmills on Putney heath - Greater London didn't exist!

Casting stone built Roman baths aside, Wooden baths were little different than wooden baths of the 16-17th centuries resembling cut off ale barrels. Not the little brandy and port barrels, the biggies. Then there were tin (Roman baths) carried with armies for officers and tin baths carried on alongside wooden ones for centuries. Then came the Georgian era and the ever present copper pans, kettles, and yes, Baths. Note the differing wooden baths, the tin one used in the Poldark series, and the Georgian copper. 

For more in depth reference go here

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Book Release!

A remote Scottish Castle, Murder, Mystery, and Romance.

You'll probably note the sprig of holly on the book cover, but this is not essentially a Christmas story, even though the seasonal aspect has a small part to play. This is a book that features dark elements, which most die-hard lovers of Sweet Regency Novels - in the vein of Jane Austen - will no doubt hate. But I do aim to reflect the darker side of Georgian and Regency life, combined with the social mores of that period. Thus I give you Lady Caroline, she whom led the Marquis of Rantchester astray (The Dark Marquis) until he took a firm grip on his own life.

Book blurb:

Whilst young Lady Caroline Douglas is plotting to take flight from a disastrous marriage and escape the confines of KilKenneth Castle, betrayal, lust, and the financial bank crisis of 1825 suddenly opens a Pandora’s box of intrigue, murder, and mystery. The newly widowed Lady Caroline faces few choices in light of imminent poverty, the best being to hunt down and marry a wealthy man, the worst to runaway with a penniless lover. Thence unbidden attentions of a would-be laird and with assistance from his strange sister, they conspire to keep Caroline prisoner to his every whim. Thus Caroline turns to essence of the dream smoke to thwart their plans, until a lewd painting leads to dark desires and threat of forced submission to the would-be laird. But romance and escape to love and happiness Caroline had so sought, and never encountered, her fate seemingly lies within a stained glass window depicting a mediaeval knight.   

Monday, 7 November 2016

New release - Love & Rebellion.

My latest novel required immense research through private and state papers, and private letters & journals in order to investigate fully the underhanded deceits that occurred at that time, thus sifting through the propaganda was an enlightening experience. Overall, the Royal Series revolves around two families based in the county of Somersetshire, and selected members of the Royal Court. 

The Gantry's reside at Axebury Hall, 

The Thornton's at Loxton House.

Knoll house has a major part in this novel, as does Henry Gantry, 

While it's never easy to retain a high level of entertainment value alongside essential points of historical accuracy, as a reader I've always despised narrative info dumps of historical matter, thus I do my best to drip-feed historical details via  character eyes, their individual viewpoints, and by way of dialogue. Likewise an unbiased  approach to history is not always as simple as it sounds, but again I do my best to present both sides of any divide, though it is almost impossible to like a person of their time, or an unsavoury character, who's given to evil intents and self-advancement, and at any cost to others' and their loved ones. 

This novel is set at a time in history when deception and court intrigues were as bad, if not worse, than that of outside factions, even where Parliament based influences held sway. For readers unfamiliar with this period in history, it was a treacherous time in more ways than one, not least within royal circles due to long-term grudges, envy, secret marriages, mistresses, illegitimate royal offspring, and power struggles on many levels. 

The Monmouth Rebellion is still talked of in the West Country, more especially surrounding the place where the Duke of Monmouth valiantly led his rebel army to engage with the royal army. What happened has remained engraved on the people of the western counties, there descendants, and across the green swathe of the levels, a low-lying area of Somersetshire. Therefore,  I could do no more than let the characters take centre stage:                  

A page from the Duke of Monmouth's notebook - thus his handwriting!

Book blurb:

A would-be King, a would-be Courtesan, Love and Betrayal. A Heartrending 17th century drama of Love, Desire, and Intrigue.

The Hon Henry Gantry’s covert life, in service to the royal household, is anything but secure. Riddled with guilt over hidden desires and acts of betrayal, Henry’s loyalty to the crown is tested in extreme as anti-Papist fervour reaches a peak of discontent across England. With the sudden illness and death of Charles II, speculation countrywide is of foul play, and the newly declared monarch, James II, takes the throne. Rebellion thus seems the only way to achieve the Protestants’ aims to rid the country of its new Catholic King. Thus, Henry is forever affected by tragic events as they unfold, and the Gantry and Thornton families are once again drawn into a web of courtly deceits.

From the midst of defeat and despair... a scrap of paper is a talisman and hope for a new dawn.