Thursday, 3 July 2014

Blog Hop - My Writing Process - Want to take up the Baton?


I've been nominated to take part in a Blog Hop by the lovely author, Margaret James, and if you've not read her "Charton Minster Trilogy"
 you've truly missed out on gem reads: all three!
 

 

The Blog Hop is titled "My Writing Process...."

1. What am I working on?

 
Think Regency England, a romance, several murders and mystery.
I can tell you, "For Love of Captain Jack" has been a tough novel to write. Albeit this novel is one of several Georgian and Regency Romantic Murdery Mysteries, I think my previous post on here gives insight to where I was at, not so long ago, in writing matters, being that of the hair-pulling kind. Thankfully I'm now past the "maze" stage in which characters were leading me up and down blind alleys, and where red-herrings were cropping up all over the place in order for the villain to carry out his wicked deeds. I am... Wait for it ... YES!!!  On the home run of last chapter.


2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?


Ha, well... I'm not Baroness P.D. James, who ventured from her world of contemporary murder mysteries (crime novels) to the historical realms of the Regency era with her book and TV dramatisation of Death at Pemberley. Oh no, my chosen historical world fits glove-tight with my love and studies in history, and lifelong expertise in rolling equipage and equine pursuits. I do feel at one with my chosen historical periods, and I duly take risks with depicting life as it was and not by way of a rose-tinted perspective. I suppose I'm a bit of rebel at heart, and rather than parade prissy misses around the Assembly Rooms in Bath or the stench-laden streets of London, with either a chaperone or whingeing mama, my heroine's are more likely to "dare" in gracious manner within country settings and indulge the occasional jaunt into town.              


3. Why do I write what I write?


I recall my nanny once saying: "You were most definitely born several hundred years too late, my girl" and all because I likely had my head within a 17th century swashbuckling tome (Alexander Dumas), that of Jane Austen or Ann Radcliffe novels, and my secret reading was that of the salacious harlot "Angelique" - a series of novels by Sergeanne Golon (Serge and Anne Golon) a French husband/wife team. Hence historical novels have been my life-blood entertainment, though not to the exclusion of a darn good read in any genre, even gothic vampire novels.      


4. How does your writing process work?


PORTRAITS and DREAMS! In all honesty portraits are usually the catalyst to a novel, whereby the image is stored in the conscious mind - the what is she/he thinking, what made her/him smile that way, why are the eyes laughing? From such thoughts the subconscious leaps into play with overnight dreams, thus in cinematic glory characters step forth their story revealed. My task then becomes one of turning a movie into a book, by painting with words what I have seen.   

Passing on the Blog Hop Baton
 
 
I hope if you've read this you won't seriously think me as mad as a hatter, but you know what, there are the odd occasions when I feel akin to Alice (Wonderland) and that I've fallen through time into a bizarre world of make-believe...
 
And so, to the passing on of the Blog Hop baton... Whom shall I choose? To the bridge, to the bridge... Let Pooh Sticks decide who shall be the one/s... Damn it, there's only a trickle. OK, anyone up for the Blog Hop Baton? Here are the Rules below:

1. Answer the four questions above and post on your blog
2. Link back to the person who invited you (me)
3. Name the people who will be posting next. You can name one or two, it’s up to you.


All my books are listed in the left hand column with direct links to Amazon.
 
The post below reveals the cover of the novel mentioned in this Blog Hop!
 



Thursday, 29 May 2014

Trapped in a Maze - the joy of writing historical murder mysteries!

It seems like ages since I penned a post for this blog, but life and other commitments have chipped away at the days and the weeks, thus time has slipped past almost unnoticed. That's not to say I haven't been writing. I have, and murder mysteries are complicated stories in which red-herrings (fishy clues) lead readers along dark alleys, and over hill and dell not knowing when a chance sighting of the murderer will occur, if at all. 
 
Whilst working on the case this author has likewise ended up in a maze. Yep, the macabre murders in "For Love of Captain Jack" have led to the journal of a dead woman, but can it reveal sufficient about the murderer for Captain Jack to expose the beast and bring him to justice? Should justice be meted by sword, pistol or the hangman's noose?

More updates on this novel later...


      

Monday, 14 April 2014

Exposure or Assassination! (?) - Meet my Main Character/s


Fellow FB friend, Marilyn Watson, invited moi to partake in the fun of a blog/tag, which entails a questionnaire for a WIP (work in progress). The instigator of the on-going blog/tag is Debra Browne. I am posting this early as I'll not be around on the 16th April. 
 
So here goes, and being a rebel 'n' all I've plumped for a Series novel.
 
 


 Questionaire:

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Ans) Fictional characters are my preference, no messing. After all, fictional beings require creative godlike input from their stepping to the page all innocent and carefree, and of course, totally unaware a momentous event is set to rock or shatter their lives. Thus I created the Royal Series, which span the years of the English Civil Wars and beyond (1644 – 1689), in which the households of Axebury Hall and Loxton House take centre stage.

The main characters are Anna Lady Maitcliffe and Morton Viscount Axebury.

The Gantry and Thornton families respectively take up arms and fight for King and Country. Well, not all, and there comes the rub of individual thinking. All my novels have love and romance as a central theme and I don't shy away from explicit love scenes and or violence: the latter, though, in moderation. 

 
 
Axebury Hall.

Both families are bonded by far distant ancestral links dating back to a Knight Crusader. The key to the series is the friendship between two young men and a girl who are essentially torn apart by war and divided loyalties. The two families are thus ripped asunder from within as time and war march ever onward, and so the saga begins.
 
 
 
Loxton House
 
 
 
2) When and where is the story set?

Book 1 is set in Somerset involving ongoing tussles to secure - at the time - the second most important port in England (Bristol). Throughout the period of the English Civil Wars opposing factions were treading and retreading across the hills and levels of Somerset and farther afield.

 

 
Glastonbury Tor
 
 
The George Hotel Glastonbury
Formerly known as The Pilgrims' Rest.
 
 
3) What should we know about him/her?

The hero Morton Viscount Axebury refuses a captaincy in a Cavalier Regiment of Horse, and instead rebels by taking up the cause of Parliament. Morton’s motivation bears no religious bent but he is a young man of noted moral beliefs. He despises the profligacy of the royal court at the expense of the people, who  are forced to pay higher taxes and increased tythes. As time passes life inevitably teaches him that change is not always as one had hoped for.


4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?


Banished from Axebury Estate and as good as disinherited, Morton suffers the loss of Anna, whom he adores. Prior sworn to uphold her status as that of his father’s young ward he has always treated her akin to that of a sister. When she later becomes betrothed to his father, life as a soldier serves merely to kill the pain of losing the love of his life, and hell is waiting around every corner when he dares to step back onto Axebury land as a Parliamentarian Captain of Horse.

 

Equally, for Anna, life is bittersweet when sure her heart’s desire has perished, she discovers otherwise. Untimely deaths, though, can tear a heart in two, the path ahead fraught not only with danger but emotional turmoil the like Anna suffered after the loss of her parents and would not wish on others. Nothing though, has prepared her for living with the enemy she loves but cannot forgive.  

 

 


 

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

 
For the hero: the abolition of the divine rite of King Charles I to rule without accountability to Parliament, the very King who defies and denies Parliamentary democracy as the elected voice of the people.

 
For the heroine: she dreams of peace not war, love not hate, but she’s young, self-centred, and despairs of men who war and fight and achieve nothing but carnage, pillage and plunder. And yet, love and hate are strong bedfellows in the emotional stakes and while war takes it tally in death, Anna learns that selfless love comes at a price she must pay for past mistakes. I will add there is a happy ending for Anna and Morton, though not without pain and heartache. But, with the death of a king and his son in exile, how long before Charles II will challenge the right of Cromwell to rule over England?

 

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

By Loyalty Divided

 

 

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

The book is already published in Paperback and Kindle version.
Book 2 and book 3 are also published.

The blurb:
A 17th century story of Undying Love and Scandalous Seduction. All set against the backdrop of the English Civil Wars 1642 -1649. Co-starring Charles Prince of Wales (Charles II) and Prince Rupert.
 
Orphaned at royal court, Anna Lady Maitcliffe has embraced freedom from courtly restraint whilst residing at Axebury Hall Estate. Wilful and impulsive she wins hearts with ease, but Viscount Axebury duly rejects her romantic overtures, not once but twice and for good reason. Civil War is marching across England and he will soon be regarded as the enemy.
 
Distraught by his rejection she turns to another for solace, an older suitor whom she trusts above all others. Seduced by her feminine wiles, Lord Gantry's overt desire to possess her soon gives rise to new meaning of amour. Nonetheless she is trapped in a loveless betrothal. Fate suddenly intervenes and throws her and the viscount together, but hell lies before them and claims terrible dues in payment for their undying love for each other.

Excerpt:



Anna had set out from Axebury Hall at dawn, and it was now late into evening. With one stop for food and wine at a small alehouse at around midday, darkness had now descended and the lights of Glastonbury town seeming ever distant. The only sound on the still night air was that of horse’ irons on stone and jingle of curb chains on mouthpieces and clanging of swords in steel scabbards. It felt strange yet reassuring to have a military escort consisting one rider to the fore leading the way, one alongside and two guarding against attack from the rear.
   In Thomas Thornton’s letter he had warned of scoundrels and vagabonds along the highways and byways, and had made mention of lone riders robbed recently in daylight and others attacked by night on the Glastonbury Way. Her safe conduct under military escort was at present his to command, and she, now willingly riding in company with Roundhead soldiers: Thomas their senior officer.
   She had never thought Thomas would agree to Morton’s plan of saving him from the fate of a dungeon or worse, and although at first reluctant in extreme he had finally caved and sworn allegiance to the Army of Parliament. In some respects it was all rather sad. For he was obliged to strip his Royalist attire from his body and cast all to a fire: every semblance of his former life a bed of ashes.
   But if not for Thomas she might have remained ignorant of Morton’s fate, and all she could do was pray he had not perished in the time Joseph and the troop had taken to reach Axebury Hall. Having always feared bad news, the sickness befallen Morton she thought cruel and unjust, because he was a good, honest and honourable man. It might already be too late, but she hoped not. She truly desired to make amends, and to exact forgiveness from him for all the hurt and scorn she had cast his way. Was it selfish of her to seek clemency?


 Amazon UK       Amazon US


 

Thanks for stopping by. Please visit five authors who will follow me with posts about their main characters (tomorrow) on the 17th April.

My fellow tagees are all authors of 17th century novels: a truly swashbuckling era.




 

 

 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Latest Release - Romantic Regency Murder Mystery






The Reluctant Duchess is a Regency tale of romance, abduction, mystery and murder. The setting is Exmoor in Somerset, a place made famous by the novel Lorna Doone, of which the local inhabitants refer to as Doone Country.
 
Devon Howard, the Duke of Malchester, acquires a bride by dubious means. Well aware Liliana is a reluctant duchess, and although his new wife submits to his ardent advances on the wedding night, he cannot be sure, that even if given time, she will ever surrender her heart to him. While his past continues to damn him, he sets out to win Liliana by inciting jealousy and rivalry ‘twixt her and Serenity: a would-be mistress?

Likewise Liliana has a dilemma, for although she despises her circumstances and feigns disinterest in Devon, she cannot deny his desirability. Twice married, rumours abound. Devon has twice bedded and broken a wife. Liliana believes otherwise. Nonetheless, evil does exist within the walls of Calder Hall, and Liliana fears for her life when she’s brutally abducted from her coach whilst en route from Dorset to Exmoor. But it is Devon’s blood that is sought, and while revenge for one person proves bittersweet, for another it proves fatal.
 
Excerpt: The duke's thoughts and discourse with his friend, an earl, whilst travelling in the duke's coach.
 
    Damn it to hell, from the moment of first setting eyes on Liliana, desire had embraced him as it never had before. Youthful romantic ideals had fallen pale against the gut-twisting moment of their second encounter. Perhaps his personal experience of grasping manipulative women had turned him from carefree youth to cynical lusty libertine, but on that day, that memorable day of having signed a promissory note to her father to rid her papa of debt, Lilana had unexpectedly rushed into the room declaring ‘Papa, I shall not wed a man I neither know, nor love’.    Dear God, how his pulse had raced, his heart near stalled, and with one fleeting glance of the situation before her, horror befell her. Her violet eyes turned mutinous, her kissable lips hardened, she tossed her golden head much like a yearling filly resisting the bit, and her voice tinged with ice sliced the air. ‘You can marry me to this libertine, but I shall not succumb to him of my own free will’. Those very words, ‘shall not succumb’ had tainted the marital proceedings, had set him ill at ease and thus he had sought solace and courage from liquor prior to entering her bedchamber. And now, an evening of bliss, and a night of delight in his wake he was feeling reborn.
    Marcus drew him from reverie, with a chuckle: “Well dear fellow, ‘twould seem your smug expression doth declare the duchess finally rolled over and laid her prickles to one side.”
    “Happen she did.”
    “Oh come now, Devon, the spring in your step is that of a happy rutting swain: if ever I did see one. Serenity is sore vexed at your betrayal.”
    “How dare she, how dare she raise betrayal as a weapon to beat my hide behind my back? Long before she became my mistress, though mistress being a loose term in respect of the fact we have never shared a bed. At the outset of any woman seeking favour from my purse, I have at all times made it abundantly clear I am a selfish individual, my own desires uppermost. And yet, women have rallied to my needs, have performed fellatio in the strangest of places, daringly at times, and all no doubt in the belief they could win my heart: eventually.”
    Marcus shrugged. “Women set out to change us, it is an inherent weakness in their makeup, and in rare cases they succeed. But, for the most part, we choose to let the ladies think they have conquered all whilst we covertly carry on with amours aplenty. Though, I confess, as a carefree singleton, I am exempt from the scurrilous business of infidelity within marriage.”
    “True enough, and when husband’s are caught delving beneath another woman’s skirts, those same men endure a home existence of purgatory involving narrow-eyed disdain, sharp tongued slights, slamming doors, cold beds and what amounts to unhealthy households where children despair their parents sanity.”
    “By God, Devon, you’re not seriously looking to become a righteous family man, are you?”
    Devon thrust a booted foot to the seat opposite; nudging Marcus elbow. “What is there, that betters the delights of a warm bed and a responsive wife?”
    Marcus expressed incredulity as a second boot landed on the seat beside him. “You cannot mean you are. . . By God, you really do have every intention of casting Serenity aside and taking yourself off to the marital bed.” Marcus shook his head, sense of despair about him. “And what is to become of us, the merry libertine troupe? We shall not survive without you, you know. You lead and we follow.”
    Silence hung heavy, each staring the other down, until Marcus averted his eyes out through the carriage window and mumbled, whether to himself or Devon, it mattered not. Devon closed his eyes, and said, “Wake me when we arrive at our destination.”
 


Friday, 27 September 2013

Now on Release! - The Dark Marquis




Blurb:

Despite a dark secret and aware his father the duke will likely disinherit him for marrying below his rank, Rupert Marquis of Ranchester is nonetheless determined to wed his mistress. But Caroline Lady Somerville, an old flame of Rupert’s has returned from India a widow, and has every intention of once again leading him into vices of the flesh, gambling and the dream smoke.

Nervous but happy about imminent wedlock life becomes Hell for Estelle, when one man’s inner desires lead to blackmail, betrayal leads to revenge, and a string of murders place the duke in the frame as the killer. But what possible reason could the Duke of Leighdon have for terrorising Estelle, for killing the duchess, a portraitist, a whore and Caroline?

Amazon



This is my first review gratis Suzy at Romance Reviews Magazine.

The Dark Marquis – Regency Romance & Murder Mystery Series
A well-written intelligent Regency Romance. It was a refreshing change to read a romance where the opening scene is missing the ubiquitous angst driven heroine bleating and berating the hero. Ms Howarth instead focuses reader attention with a duel at dawn and a chilling outcome. The hero survives his injury as he must for the story to continue. The death of his opponent however is totally unexpected. The action-packed start sets the pace for further macabre deaths leading to
a deeply disturbing murder mystery with several of the leading characters as the prime suspects. All have committed vile deeds in the past. Heartfelt defence put forth failed to exonerate their actions. Although the heroine [Estelle] has a feisty nature she’s loveable and vulnerable as all women were to the rules and regulations of Regency society. Mistresses within the haute ton conducted themselves in discreet manner. Mistresses from the lower order of the ton crossed the divide at their peril. Estelle has no title. Lady Caroline does. One is a lady, the other not. They both want the same man. I really did like the Marquis of Rantchester. His love for Estelle touches the heart in so many ways and I forgave him his one misdemeanour while in company with Caroline as does Estelle. He redeems himself with true heroic gallantry and the seductive Lady Caroline meets with a suitable humbling end. Without a shadow of doubt I rate this Regency Murder mystery a five star read all the way from beginning to end. The characters are strong. The plot is tightly woven. The murders are cleverly linked leading to a surprise villain. The romance is enduring. The voice of the narrative is unique
in portrayal of Regency England 1819.