Monday, 31 March 2014

Critique at Writer's Group

I enjoy attending a writer's group on Monday Evening at which members often read poems, short stories, extracts from novels, anecdotes etc.

Unfortunately, to coin a cliché, there's always 'a fly in the ointment'. The fly at the group is a young woman who never, ever, praises anything anyone has written. She is so critical that I suspect she completely discourages new members who need some positive feedback as well as constructive suggestions. Yesterday, I was so irritated by her tearing someone's work to pieces that I asked: "Is there anything you like about X's short story." The gentleman who runs the group grinned and said: "Good question, Rosemary."

Recipe for a Perfect Mummy


The text from my 8 year-old grandson’s Mother’s Day card. I’m not ashamed to say that it brought tears to my eyes.

 

How to Make a perfect Mummy

 

1.      First beautifully cut the love into several pieces.

2.      Then crush the gentle kindness and mix it all in a bowl.

3.      After that mash the cuddles onto a plate until it’s like mashed potatoes.

4.      Cut the sympathy into little pieces until they are mini.

5.      Now mix all the ingredients together.

6.      Finally bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

 

Decorated with a heart with an arrow through it and framed in decorated yellow card.

 

All the best,

Rosemary Morris

www.rosemarymorris.co.uk

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mother's Day Today

It's Mother's Day in England. I'm admiring the gorgeous roses my youngest son and his family gave me when they came to lunch yesterday.

I think my other children will pop in this morning and then I'm going out to lunch with my daughter and her children at our favourite restaurant Zakoni's in Harrow. The sun is shining and I'm looking forward to a happy day.

Mind you, for those of you who do not have children, do bear in mind what my late mother always said: "If you don't have them to make you laugh, you don't have them to make you cry." Believe you me, I've had my fair share of laughs as well as more than my fair share of tears.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Spring Day

Son number 3 and his wife and family came to lunch today. I made a peas, potato, cauliflower and curd cheese curry, a lady's finger curry and urad  (black beans the size of moong beans but oval in shape) cooked with yoghurt and spices served with jaggery ( palm tree sugar) chappatis, flat breads,  brown rice, grated cucumber in spiced yoghurt and mango pulp,

After lunch we sat in the garden on the first real day of spring. Faint perfume came from a long narrow bed of daffodils, narcissi, yellow and white tulips. The first delicate blossoms on the bullace tree - wild plum tree - was silhouetted against a clear blue sky. Bliss!

Friday, 28 March 2014

New Review of Far Beyond Rubies

The following review of Far Beyond Rubies has 'made my day".


5.0 out of 5 stars Far Beyond Rubies is a Gem, March 27, 2014

By 


This review is from: Far Beyond Rubies (Kindle Edition)

“Swounds, he thought, I am expected to marry and produce a male heir. An image of Juliana filled his mind. She would grace these ancient walls better than any other lady he knew. But what would she say whenhe revealed his past?”This is but a snippet of the delightful prose found in Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris. The author perfectly achieves the delicate balance of elegance and spice, humor and pathos, in this tale that takes place in England during the reign of Queen Anne.


The settings and characters are exquisitely detailed and described, from cruel and scheming relatives to determined orphans, and an unusual hero with mysteries of the orient in his silky, spicy past. Throw in some extremely amusing servants and landladies, and one is set for a thoroughly charming reading experience.

 

Rosemary goes beyond the mere surface of the era, rewarding the reader with an enchanting story set against a vivid backdrop of the of the culture, politics, and belief systems of the times, and the issues that developed when East met West: Fascinating. Lovingly and beautifully rendered throughout.

And the book trailer of the novel can be viewed on my website.

www.rosemarymorris.co.uk

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Taking a Step Back

When writing a novel I usually forge ahead trying to write 2,000 words a day until, triumphant, I type The End. However, I have slowed down and put aside the sequel to Sunday's Child, Monday's Child set in the Regency period. for a few days. I have made notes on how the plot develops in the remaining third of the book, and on tying up loose ends, but I need to think them through. On Monday, refreshed by distancing myself from my hero and heroine for a few days, I hope to return to Monday's Child full of enthusiasm.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Miserable Day in More Ways Than One

This morning, I have no idea why the formatting on an important document changed. I struggled for over an hour to correct it. I then rewrote the entire document - 8 pages of single spacing with not wide margins. By then I was cross and more than ready to have breakfast. If my mother had not brought me up not to swear I can't imagine what I would have said.

The sun shone a little but it was very cold so I went shopping for groceries instead of getting on in either the greenhouse or the garden. I bought half of the items on my shopping list, had lunch, and then bought the other half. When I reach home hailstones rattled on the car, on the pavement and on me as I took the shopping in.

You up there far above the grey sky, if I pray very nicely, please may we have some nice weather.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mini Peach and Nectarine Trees

The mini-peach and nectarine trees in my garden have flowered. The blossom is exquisite. Yesterday, I pollinated it with a fine paint brush and hope to have delicious fruit.

I also potted up half a dozen strawberry plants - old fashioned favourites called Cambridge, and sowed mustard and cress on damp kitchen towel, and rocket in a pot of compost. As my garden is on the small side, I grow a lot in pots.

Later in the day, I went through the gardening catalogues that arrive regularly in the post and ordered black-skinned tomato plants, which the supplier claims are blight resistant and a variety of sweet potatoes call Beauregard. I also ordered a tool to help with weeding. The bottom part is placed over the weed, the top is pressed down and, 'hey presto' the weed is removed, another press at the top and the weed plops out into a container. Finally, I treated myself to a 3 metre long ruler which helps to sow seeds at the correct spacing. My justification? Mother's Day is approaching and I'm a mother so I decided to treat myself.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Saturday Lunch

At the end of my novel, Far Beyond Rubies, is the recipe for Spinach, peas and Indian Curd Cheese curry. I have made it for my youngest son and his family who are coming to lunch today.

Rest of the menu.

Sweet potato, butter beans, tomato curry to which I added some greens a dry curry served with cucumber raita (grated cucumber in seasoned yoghurt).

Moong dahl, (an Indian version of soup spiced with powdered cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and fresh coriander. 

Chappatis (Indian flat bread made with brown flour).

 Brown basmati rice.

 Mango pulp.

I defy anyone who thinks a vegetarian diet is unhealthy to find fault with the nutritional value of this meal. Incidentally, the spices have their own health-giving properties and moong is rich in iron,

All the best,
Rosemary Morris
Historical novelist published by MuseItUp Publishing

Friday, 21 March 2014

Beautiful Spring Day

The lawn has been cut, the flower beds are ablaze with daffodils and a raised bed has been prepared for runner beans. Good quality soil at the bottom, a layer of shredded junk mail to retain water topped by well rotted manure beneath homemade compost.

There are artichokes and strawberries in the greenhouse waiting to be planted out and the compost is waiting for me to sow seeds. The mini peach and nectarine tress are about to flower.

I really think my organic garden is a little piece of heaven. Deep, appreciative sigh.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Threatened with a Policeman

When reading this, please bear in mind that no one has ever threatened to report my 4 year-old granddaughter to the police. My only mention of the police was to explain that her chocolate drops had to be paid for, and if they were not the shop keeper might summon a policeman.

Today I took her out to lunch. I didn't finish all of my meal so she told me in no uncertain terms that a policeman would punish me for not eating up. I would be taken away and cry because I would never see her again.

The child not only provides me with material for novels, she is also a budding author. Due to her vivid imagination, her mother and I are very nervous about what she says to her teachers at pre-school



Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Regency - Weight Loss

While researching the Regency era I as amused when I discovered it was believed that salt meat caused profuse perspiration and thus aided weight loss!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Viking Exhibition at The British Museum

I phoned the British Museum to book tickets for the Viking Exhibition. I've never waited for an answer other than repeated requests to continue holding for the next available operator. After a long, long wait, which I should have timed, I booked tickets for the 5th of April for myself and a friend. Now that the booking is confirmed I am really looking forward to visiting the exhibition. I have an idea for a novel set in the Viking era and am sure I will  be inspired when I see the artefacts etc.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Saturday Lunch

I made a favourite vegetarian meal for Saturday lunch. It's Sweet Potato Balti, a mixture of sweet potatoes, spinach, butter beans and tomatoes spiced asofoetida, curry powder and soup stock. Delicious served with mint and cucumber raita i.e. grated cucumber drained in a tea towel for half an hour, finely chopped mint, salt and a tiny amount of sugar mixed with yoghurt. I made a double quantity of the balti to freeze and then enjoy it on another day.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Springtime

My back garden I shouting that spring is in the air and elsewhere. The delicate white blossoms of the bullace (wild plum tree) are flowering, masses of daffodils and crocus are in bloom and so is the forsythia. The rhubarb is pushing it's way up out of the ground, and the bluebells and forget-me-nots are about to flower.

I have a wonderful book that traces the history of gardens in the u.k. There is a section about monastery gardens in which it describes each monk being allocated a small plot in which they were allowed to grow whatever they pleased. I have another book which traces the history of plants native to the u.k. and the introduction of foreign species. One day I would like to marry the two in fiction.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Review of Taming a Gentleman Spy - Book 2 of The Spies of Mayfair Series


Taming A Gentleman Spy

 

Book 2 of The Spies of Mayfair Setries

 

By

 

Maggi Anderson

 

“If ever beauty I did see
Which I desired, and got, ‘twas but a dream of thee.”

The Good Morrow. John Donne.

 Taming A Gentleman Spy is an enthralling historical novel set in The Regency era after Napoleon has been defeated at the Battle of Waterloo and then exiled. At that time the Government feared the effect of The French Revolution and its supporters at home and abroad whose aim was to overturn law and order.

 John Haldane, 4th Earl of Strathairn, a gentleman spy, returned to England after fighting the French in the Peninsula Wars and at the Battle of Waterloo. His experiences gathering information have marked him, and no one is more aware of this than Sibella, sister of the Marquess of Brandreth.

 Brandreth, who has heard rumours about Strathairn’s link with the war office and the spymaster, warns Strathairn not to pay particular attention to Sibella, “…who loves home and hearth. She looks for a husband who will sit by the fire with her at night.” Brandreth doubts Strathairn could make Sibella happy.

 Sibella is curious as to why Strathairn does not intend to marry in the foreseeable future. She thinks they are well-suited and his kiss thrilled her.

 Strathairn will not marry Sibella because he could be killed like his partner, Nesbit, whose widow is pregnant.

On the ground, next to Nesbit’s lifeless body, lay a cravat pin in the shape of an eagle like the one favoured by Count Fornay, a dangerous revolutionary who fermented rebellion in England, and is presumed dead. “And why,” Strathairn asked himself, does Passion, a lady’s perfume linger in the air at the scene of the murder.

 Urged on by her mother and brother, Sibella agrees to marry Lord Coombe in the hope that she will learn to love him. However, she is determined to discover the truth about his first wife’s death.

 Maggi Anderson does not overwhelm the reader with historical facts but she does impart ‘the flavour’ of the times

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Reviews of Fiction. Phew!

Phew, perfectly expresses my feelings. I have reviewed each book in a tottering pile and posted my reviews to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com and good reads. It's amazing how good I feel after completing a task I have meant to tackle since mid-February.

I have one more novel to review for a friend, and then I'll be up to date with the fiction. However, I have a number of non-fiction books to review in the future, but I don't consider this urgent.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Reviewing Books

I have decided to focus on one 'writerly' thing a day, or during each writing session. This morning I have been catching up with reviews of the tottering pile of fiction and non-fiction. One of the books I have reviewed is Louise Allen's excellent non-fiction book, Walks Through Regency London. I might not complete all of the ten suggested walks on one occasion, but I will complete part of them when I visit London.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Time Management

I am trying to manage my time more efficiently. Instead of working on several things every day, I have decided to concentrate on one thing every day + blogging and dealing with e-mails. Yesterday, I caught up with critiques of submissions by members of writers' groups that I belong to. Today, I have concentrated on  critiques of my chapters.

 For the rest of the week I shall get on with writing my new novel Monday's Child and hope to write at least 6,000 words provided I don't need to do too much research.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Spring Bulbs

I round up mismatched china and, in the autumn, put charcoal in the bottom of bowls, cups, flower vases, tureens etc., in the bottom of each one. Next, I add compost and put bulbs on top of it before adding more compost. Last year I planted hyacinths, mini-daffodils, crocuses and dwarf tulips. The first three are flowering, so I've brought them from the greenhouse into the house. Beautiful - and the flowers are cheaper and last longer than cut flowers.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Cooked for my Daughter & Her Family

Helped by my 4 year-old granddaughter, I made a vegetarian pasta sauce for myself, my daughter and her children.. I cut organic carrots, mushrooms, celery, leeks and green peppers into chunks, and then stir-fried the vegetables in olive oil in which I had steeped fresh oregano and basil several months ago. Next, I added two tins of organic chopped tomatoes and seasoned the mixture with salt, pepper and a little sugar. When the vegetables were cooked I tipped everything into the blender. The result? A delicious pasta sauce - and I made enough to freeze two cartons on another day.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Too Much To Do

My daughter is making a slow recovery, but I am still taking two of her children to school and collecting one of them at one o'clock, cooking main meals for them and going to her house in the evenings to help out. This means that writing my new novel, Monday's Child, as well as many 'writerly' activities are taking a proverbial back seat. Deep, deep sigh.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Collector's Copy

I took my daughter's younger children to pre-school and primary school and, later in the morning visited a friend after arranging the three children's evening meal. Next I indulged myself by trawling through the charity shops in one of which I found a collector's copy of I Will Repay  by Baroness Orczy, Author of The Scarlet Pimpernel published. My copy of I Will Repay was published in 1906 - 107 years ago.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fiction I Read Recently.

I re-read three novels, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Gone With the Wind. Although I was aware of the bygone styles of writing while reading and Margaret Mitchell's questionable views on slavery, which are incorporated in her novel, the powerful stories swept me away.

I have also read The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier, which gripped me from the first page to the last. In complete contrast, I read Banishment, a light-hearted Regency Romance with twists in the tale by M. C. Beaton, author of Agatha Raisin, and liked it enough to begin reading Intrigue, the second in the series. The heroine of each novel is one of six sisters. If the second novel is as an enjoyable bedtime read as the first, I also hope to read Deception, Folly Romance and Homecoming.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Day Off

I took a day off from writing to sort my house out now that the kitchen has been redecorated. I'm pleased with everything other than the woodwork. The painter hasn't rubbed the old paint down properly and he did not fill in chips etc., in the wood. I've contacted his boss and have to wait and see what the response is. Tomorrow I shall try to make up lost writing time but as I'm still doing the school run, cooking and helping out my daughter in other ways don't know if I'll succeed.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Busy Day Ahead

I know my day will be very busy, so I woke at 6 a.m. posted an e-mail to The Romantic Novelist's Association  on line group, checked my e-mails and wrote 2,000 words of Monday's Child from the viewpoint of an important character in the sub-plot. I hope it will  amuse my readers.

It's nearly time to have breakfast, do one or two mundane chores and then get ready to take my 9 year-old grandson to play in a football match. Afterward, I am taking my daughter's three children and my second eldest son out to lunch.

My daughter was still in an awful state yesterday evening. I hope she will be a little better today, but will go round the corner to her house at tea time to help her and sit with the children until they go to bed.

It's really hard to see a person one loves suffer so much.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Daughter's Ill Health and my Novel.

I'm not superwoman so I am tired this evening. This morning I woke even earlier than usual and wrote 2,000 words of Monday's Child. Next I revised an earlier chapter before checking my e-mails.

I emptied another carton of kitchen paraphernalia and put it on the shelves in my new kitchen cupboards. By then it was time to take my daughter's older son to his gymnastics lesson. He is on the London South East team and is practising for a competition. Her younger son, who is nine, and I had a quick lunch and then returned his books to the library. He wanted to know about Shakespeare so he was delighted to find an informative book about the bard, his plays and poetry. At the moment he is learning about World War I at school and is a keen football player so he chose some books about these subjects.

After I took him home, I put my feet up for an hour and then cooked the evening meal for my daughter and the three children.

She is really suffering - asthma attacks, dreadful migraines and to make matters worse, as I mentioned yesterday  she has either dislocated her shoulder or the cartilage is swollen and wrapped around something. Deep, deep sigh, the anti-inflammatory medication which she should not have been prescribed have upset her entire system and I fear she is becoming dehydrated because she can't keep anything down.

I'm now tapping away on the laptop having put the four year old to bed and will stay at my daughter's house until it is time for the boys to go to sleep. By then, I'll be glad of my own comfortable bed.