Thursday, 30 April 2015

Medieval Novel. Revision With Style.

While I revise my medieval novel set in England during the reign of Edward II I get rid of repeated words and phrases.

I also rephrase sentences which contain gerunds that I tend to over use. For example:-

I changed "...trying to smooth away his pain" to "in an attempt to smooth away his pain."

Another examples follow.

I replaced "Yvonne broke her fast in the great hall before going..." with "Yvonne broke her fast in the great hall before she went..."

After I tweak the next 100 pages I shalll read the novel from beginning to end to check I for the last time.

I hope that the rewrite will be stylish after so much hard work.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Medieval Novel Revision and Emotion

This morning I continued to revise my medieval novel set in the reign of Edward II of England.

From the day of her birth the heroine's life takes many twists and turns, some of them tragic. While she grows from childhood into a capable lady,  I'm happy when she is and cry when she does. I hope that when the novel is published my readers will be swept away on the same tide of emotion and care deeply about her.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Raised Bed & radishes.

I have an eight foot by four foot raised bed in which I planted rows of baby lettuce, radish, rocket, carrots, turnip and beetroot. All of the vegetables, which I make good use of, are flourishing. Radish and turnip greens as well as beetroot leaves can be cooked and enjoyed in various ways.

Today, I ate this season's first radishes with crackers spread with Philadelphia cheese. Previously, I bought some radishes from the supermarket. They were large, a little woody and almost tasteless. My home grown ones are tender, juicy and slightly spicy. My grandson, who popped in after school to give me a slice of upside down cake that he made in food technology, agreed with me when he  tasted the radishes.

Such a humble salad vegetable but so delicious. I shall plant another row elsewhere.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mediaeval Novel - Final Revision

I wrote my mediaeval novel set in the reign of Edward II of England a few years ago. Since then, I five of my novels have been published and a sixth has been accepted for publication. In between writing those novels and dealing with lots of 'writerly' matters as well as the demands of daily life, I have dipped in and out of my mediaeval novel. Now, I am determined to finish the revision, but the main problem is that I have dipped in and out of it so often that I see what should be on the page, not what is actually on it. Sometimes it seems as if it will never be ready to submit but, fingers crossed, I shall submit it in June.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Winston and Winnie Are Dead

Winston and Winnie, a pair of plump wood pigeons annoyed me when alive. They pecked at any greens in the garden which were not covered with netting and stone seeds I put out for smaller birds.

On Friday, feathers floated on the surface of my small garden pond. This morning, I saw  feathers scattered over the lawn near the pond. I assume a fox from the nearby woods caught them or, maybe, a cat.

So sad not to have seen them today.

Winston and Winnie are Dead

Friday, 24 April 2015

False Pretences a Romantic Regency Mystery is a Guest

My novel, False Pretences. a Romantic Regency Mystery and I are guests at Story Teller Alley, do pop in and visit us at: (My hostess misspelt pretenses and will correct it, so you might need to visit:

Thursday, 23 April 2015

What is Romance?


What is Romance? Not an easy question to answer. I suppose everyone has a different opinion.


The cynical poet, Lord Byron wrote:

 Romances paint at full length people’s wooings,
But only give a bust of marriages;
For no one cares for matrimonial cooings,
There’s nothing wrong with a connubial kiss:
Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch’s wife,
He would have written sonnets all his life?

 I prefer a poem written by William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (17th Century)

 There is no happy life
But in a wife;
The comforts are so sweet
When they do meet.

 Two figures but one coin;
So they do join,
Only they not embrace,
We face to face.

Ah, you may sigh that is romance in marriage.

 But romance is much more. In the Middle Ages it was a narrative in verse or prose about the adventures of chivalrous knights and adoration of an unattainable lady, which had little in common with real life. King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table and the tale or Lancelot and Guinevere have fascinated the romantic at heart for generations.

Then there are the songs of troubadours, Henry VIII’s Greensleeves, and in more recent times one of my favourites, Unchained Melody.


Too Many Strawberry Plants?

On a sunny day the fragrance of ripe strawberries growing in the garden tantalises the taste buds. The pleasure of biting into a sweet, sun-warmed strawberry is far superior biting into one from the supermarket. With this in mind, I ordered 36 strawberry plants, 6 each of 6  varieties, which should provide fruit from April to September.

I'm an optimistic organic gardener, who always imagines bumper rewards from my small fruit and vegetable plots, some of which are in the front garden, some and in the back garden as well as those in pots. However, after I placed my order I panicked. Where would I find the space to plant them?

I decided to pot up the twelve plants which fruit earliest in the year and put them in the greenhouse where I will pollinate them with a paint brush.  The remainder should thrive in plant troughs.

If I plant all of them in John Innes Number 3 compost I should have plenty of fruit for the next three years which will repay me for my investment. Hopefully, not only will I have fresh strawberries to eat, I will also  have enough to make jam and, maybe, cordial.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

My Organic Garden

I woke at 6 a.m. and worked on my novel and other 'writerly' matters until 10.a.m when  I went into my organic garden.

I thinned a row of turnips and used the greens to steam and then stir fried them with thin slices of sweet potato cut in half, tofu and rice, and added a vegetable stock pot cube, lemon juice and black pepper for flavour.

Turnip greens are very nutritious so I felt virtuous while I ate lunch.

During the morning I sorted out more plant pots and arranged them on a shelf in the shed.

To straighten it, I tied the stem of my patio cherry tree, which I had planted in the garden, to a pole. It is in full flower. This year I shall find a way of protecting the cherries so that the birds don't eat them the second they ripen.

I then harvested some baby carrots and stored them in the fridge. Afterward I potted up French Beans and covered them with polythene. French Bean seeds can be temperamental so I put two in each pot in the hope that they will sprout. Finally I sowed cucumbers in pots and stood them in a heated propagator.

Tomorrow I'll sow peas, which are soaking in water to encourage them to sprout.

All in all, a happy, productive morning.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Delighted to invite you to visit Sara-Jayne at: where I am her guest.

Can't describe how I feel when I see myself and my historical fiction featured.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Bribery - Gambados - Granddaughter

I bribed my granddaughter to be good, not only with me, with a promise to take her to Gambados, an indoor play area. Earlier in the week, I promised to take her on Sunday because my daughter said she had behaved well throughout the Easter holiday. She was so excited that she told the plumber, the postman and everyone else she came into contact with: "My grandma's taking me to Gambados."

So, yesterday, with cucumber and cheese sandwiches, shortbread topped with chocolate, and small cartons of apple juice for lunch, she had her reward, and I deserve wings and a halo. Gambados is an indoor children's play area. The music turned up to full volume, excited children's chatter etc., and adult conversation conducted loudly in order to be heard is deafening.

My five year-old granddaughter's enthusiasm and happiness made the visit worth while although my wings and halo haven't appeared. From 10 30 a.m. when we arrived until we left at 12.45 she did not stop smiling. She climbed up the platforms to the overhead area with tunnels and other challenges, drove bumper cars making three point turns and reversing with expertise, hurtled down a long slide as well as riding a horse on the fairground style carousel.

She loved our visit so much that I've promised to take her again if she continues to be good.

I took her home, and then, for an end of the holidays treat, we went to our favourite vegetarian Indian restaurant, Sakonis, in Harrow.

Full to the brim with good food, we went home and I dashed down to Asda to buy some Schlur and nibbles to contribute to Watford Writers official change of venue from Cha Café to Oddfellows Hall.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

False Pretences a Romantic Regency Mystery - Back Cover

False Pretences

By Rosemary Morris

Traditional Regency Romance


Five-year-old Annabelle arrived at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, a dismal shadow blights Annabelle’s life because she does not know who her parents are.

Although high-spirited, Annabelle is financially dependent on her unknown guardian. She refuses to marry a French baron more than twice her age. 

Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a gentleman, who says he will help her to discover her identity. Yet, from then on nothing is as it seems, and she is forced to run away for the second time to protect her rescuer.

Even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, in spite of many false pretences, Annabelle must learn who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable heartache and even more false pretences until the only person who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well. and False PretencesB009YK1MFO, Nook and other online retailers.



Extract from False Pretences a Romantic Regency Mystery

False Pretences by Rosemary Morris

Romantic Regency Mystery

Abbreviated Extract from Chapter One



“My dear child, you are fortunate,” said Miss Chalfont, headmistress of The Beeches Boarding School for Young Ladies. “Your guardian has arranged for you to marry, Monsieur le Baron de Beauchamp.”

Annabelle looked up with a mixture of astonishment, disbelief, and intense indignation at the arrangement that took no heed of her wishes. “I am to marry a man I have never met?”

With restless fingers, Miss Chalfont adjusted her frilled mobcap. “Yes, your guardian has arranged for you to marry Monsieur le Baron tomorrow.”

Annabelle stared at her kind teacher as though she had turned into a monster. “Mon dieu!” she raged, reverting to the French she spoke when she was a small child. “My God! Tomorrow? My guardian expects me to marry a Frenchman tomorrow? Miss Chalfont, surely you do not approve of such haste.”

“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain.” Miss Chalfont tapped her fingers on her desk. “My approval or disapproval is of no consequence. Your guardian wishes you to marry immediately so there is little more to be said. A special licence has been procured and the vicar has been informed.” Miss Chalfont smiled at her. “You have nothing to fear. This letter informs me that Monsieur speaks English and lives in this country.”

Annabelle scowled. Her hands trembled. For the first time, she defied her head mistress. “Nothing to fear? My life is to be put in the hands of a husband with the right to…beat me…or…starve me, and you say I have nothing to fear, Miss Chalfont? Please believe me when I say that nothing will persuade me to marry in such haste.”

Not the least display of emotion crossed the head teacher’s face. “You should not allow your imagination to agitate your sensibilities. For all you know, the monsieur is charming and will be a good, kind husband.”

“On the other hand, he might be a monster,” Annabelle said.” ‘

“He is described as a handsome gentleman of mature years.”

“One would think the description is of a piece of mature cheese or a bottle of vintage wine.”

Miss Chalfont frowned. “Do not be impertinent, Annabelle, you are not too old to be punished.”

“I beg your pardon, ma’am, but please tell me how mature he is,” Annabelle said, her eyes wide open and her entire body taut with apprehension.

“Monsieur le Baron is some forty-years-old.”

“How mature?” Annabelle persisted with her usual bluntness.

“He is forty-two-years-old.”

Annabelle stood, bent forward, and drummed her fingers on the edge of the desk. “Please be kind enough to inform my guardian that I will not play Guinevere to an aging Arthur. I would prefer to build my nest with a young Lancelot.”


False Pretences is available as an e-book from: and False PretencesB009YK1MFO, Nook and other online retailers.


Friday, 17 April 2015

Sunday's Child a Romantic Regency Novel - Back Cover

Sunday’s Child by Rosemary Morris


Back Cover



Georgianne Whitley’s beloved father and brothers died in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte. While she is grieving for them, she must deal with her unpredictable mother’s sorrow, and her younger sisters’ situation caused by it.


Georgianne’s problems increase when the arrogant, wealthy but elderly Earl of Pennington, proposes marriage to her for the sole purpose of being provided with an heir. At first she is tempted by his proposal, but something is not quite right about him. She rejects him not suspecting it will lead to unwelcome repercussions.


Once, Georgianne had wanted to marry an army officer. Now, she decides never to marry ‘a military man’ for fear he will be killed on the battlefield. However, Georgianne still dreams of a happy marriage before unexpected violence forces her to relinquish the chance to participate in a London Season sponsored by her aunt.


Shocked and in pain, Georgianne goes to the inn where her cousin Sarah’s step-brother, Major Tarrant, is staying, while waiting for the blacksmith to return to the village and shoe his horse. Recently, she has been reacquainted with Tarrant—whom she knew when in the nursery—at the vicarage where Sarah lives with her husband Reverend Stanton.


The war in the Iberian Peninsula is nearly at an end so, after his older brother’s death, Tarrant, who was wounded, returns to England where his father asks him to marry and produce an heir.


To please his father, Tarrant agrees to marry, but due to a personal tragedy he has decided never to father a child.


When Georgianne, arrives at the inn, quixotic Tarrant sympathises with her unhappy situation. Moreover, he is shocked by the unforgivably brutal treatment she has suffered.


Full of admiration for her beauty and courage Tarrant decides to help Georgianne.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Spring Really Is In The Air

The birds that visit my organic garden know spring is in the air. The male blackbird and a pair of jays bathed in the water around the rim of my small pond, and then shook the water off their feathers.

While I get on in the garden I pause to admire butterflies and a narrow border filled with daffodils, white single and double tulips and narcissi, which have a wonderful fragrance.

The bluebells are almost in flower, but beautiful as they will be they grow like weeds and are overtaking the rose bed. I dug up loads last year but they are persistent so and sos.

Tomorrow I shall pot up runner beans and French beans, sow cucumbers, squash and pumpkins as well as moving plants from the greenhouse to the garden.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Publisher's Contract for Monday's Child

My day began really well. The contract for my new Romantic Regency Novel, Monday's Child, set in Brussels during the hundred days between Napoleon's escape

Monday's Child is a follow on novel from my published novel Sunday's Child. I hope my readers will enjoy becoming reacquainted with some of the characters they met in Sunday's Child.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Watford Writers

Watford Writers, the group, which I belong to, has moved from Cha Café in Cassio Park to Oddfellows in Watford, Hertfordshire.

We met there for the first time yesterday to offer constructive critiques on whatever members chose to share. As usual I am amazed by the talent of published and unpublished writers and enjoy the get togethers with an opportunity to chat during the tea break.

Anyone who would like to join this friendly, vibrant group and receive good advice and be sure of a warm welcome.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Plotting New Novel - Tuesday's Child

After my visit to The National Portrait Museum I jotted down my ideas for Tuesday's Child, a follow on Regency Romance from Sunday's Child and Monday's Child. This morning I typed my notes, the first step to writing my new novel. Afterwards I completed some preliminary research.

I don't plan my novels in detail because I like my characters to surprise me, but I do consider how to begin, what might happen in the middle and possible endings that leave no unravelled threads.

Before I write the first sentence I complete profiles of my main characters. These not only include their appearance, their likes and dislikes, their eccentricities and much more, such as their family trees, where they were educated and their life experience. I don't reveal some of the information about the protagonists but it helps me to create believable characters.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

New Novel - Tuesday's Child

I knew who the heroine of Tuesdays Child, the sequel to Sunday's and Monday's Child, Regency Romances, will be, and what  her circumstances are, but until I visited the National Portrait Gallery's Wellington Exhibition I didn't have an inkling of the plot. After viewing the exhibition I jotted down the outline while I ate lunch. All in all a satisfying day. I now plan to visit The Regency Exhibition at The National Gallery.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Chiltern Open Air Museum

I took three of my grandchildren to Chiltern Open Air Museum to see reconstructed historical buildings, which include an Iron Age House, Leagrave Cottage, 18th Century, Leagrave Cottage 19th Century and also a working farm, to name only a few.

My small granddaughter was fascinated by the rag dolls on one of the beds and by a patchwork quilt. The boys were interested in machinery, chimney sweeps brushes, bellows and fire irons and much more.

We enjoyed making friends with the shire horses and marvelled at the size of the oxen.

The weather was perfect, neither too hot nor too cold. W e appreciated our picnic, cheese and cucumber sandwiches, crisps, grapes, small squares of millionaires shortbread and apple juice, which we ate in a clearing in the woods to the tune of birdsong and chattering squirrels.

Tired but happy we went home and decided to return to watch jousts later in the year.

Agatha Christie and Syria

I am reading 'Come Tell Me How You Live' by Agatha Christie Mallowan.

In 1930 Agatha Christies married Max Mallowan a young archaeologist. According to the foreword by Jacquetta Hawkes 'Agatha did not see her own renown as any bar to sharing in her husband's work. From the first she took full part in every one of Max's excavations in Syria and Iraq.'

After the 2nd World War Agatha wrote: 'My thoughts turning more and more to those days spent in Syria, and at last I have felt impelled to get out my notes and rough diaries and complete what I had begun....For I love that gentle fertile country (Syria) and its simple people, who know how to laugh and enjoy life; who are idle and gay, and who have dignity, good manners, and a great sense of humour, and to whom death is not terrible.

'Inshallah, I shall go there again, and the things that I love shall not have perished from this earth...

Spring 1944.

Yet, seventy years late, moved to tears by her words in the knowledge of recent events in Syria, I ask myself if anything remains of the Syria she knew and loved. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Young at Heart

Yesterday, I took my granddaughters to see the new Disney production of Cinderella. The ten, nine and five year-olds loved every minute of it, and so did I. It's very enjoyable to recapture one's childhood by immersing oneself in a fairy tale.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Monday

Nothing exciting on Easter Monday, but the sunshine was very welcome.

I fitted in a lot of writing and enjoyed a satisfactory day. My daughter's 13 year-old son very kindly came round to help me to finish clearing a garden shed in which son number two had stored a lot of junk, some of it too heavy for me to shift. By now, the rubbish, which included ancient tins of paint, rusted tools etc., etc., filled about ten dustbins. My grandson insisting on sweeping away all the cobwebs and the floor while muttering, 'disgusting,' at regular intervals.

After my grandson left, I moved a pot of lilies, which will be scarlet when they flower, to the front garden and then planted a rose bush, which will have red blooms, and some polyanthas  at the front of the border. I then picked curly kale from the garden and made colcannon topped with grated mature cheddar cheese for lunch.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Ashridge Estate on Easter Sunday

Yesterday, it was a little chilly at Ashridge Estate but  my daughter, my twin sons and nine grandchildren enjoyed giveing and receiving Easter eggs and cards, and each other's company. After a long walk we sat outside the café having hot drinks and scones full of cream and strawberry jam. From our seats we were entertained by the sight of my two taller grandsons trying to hoist my daughter's shorter son up into a huge tree. Eventually, my twin sons heaved him up and then helped the other two into the tree. The branches spread out leaving a hollow where the three of them sat and chatted for ages. The three girls entertained themselves, climbing another smaller tree and the two younger boys found plenty to do.

We finished the day off with a delicious, vegetarian meal at an Indian restaurant down the road from me. By the time I reached home at half past eight I thought I would drop off to sleep while watching Poldark but managed to stay awake.

Today, after I finish writing and 'writerly' matters,I plan to get on in the garden, planting out more broad beans which are in the greenhouse etc., etc.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Eyes Which Do Peculiar Things

I don't like eyes which do peculiar things.
She dropped her eyes. I have a vision of her taking her eyes out of their sockets and dropping them. Why not write; She looked down.
His eyes darted. Where did they dart to/
She fixed her eyes on him. Did he appreciate her fixing her eyes on him. With what did she fix them?
His eyes stabbed her. Weird eyes, did he sharpen them?
Also, I'm not keen on body parts which do peculiar things.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Cottage Garden, Lilies.

After the rain stopped while I got on with 'writerly' matters, I worked in the garden. I tidied the back yard and the greenhouse and planted some scarlet lilies in a tall terracotta pot. The lilies will be 18 inches high and look beautiful at the back of the border beneath my sitting room window. I'm also looking forward to the stargazer (pink lilies), which I potted up earlier in the year, flowering. Pots of perennials are useful. They fill gaps year after year and need little more than an annual feed.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Writing,Cinderella, Garden Centre, Grandchildren Peach and Nectarine Trees etc.

I was shattered on Tuesday and even more shattered by yesterday evening. I devoted four hours to 'writerly' matters and went out at 11 a.m. I bought tickets for Cinderella for next Tuesday when I and three granddaughters will see it. The tickets bought, I went to the Garden Centre where I bought, 2nd early seed potatoes, red geraniums for the window boxes and red lily bulbs. They will be 2ft high and look good at the back of the border beneath my sitting room window. I also b...ought golden rod that will make a splash of colour next to the Michaelmas daisies in the autumn.
The pot in which I had planted a bay tree broke so I chose a heavy clay pot that I hope the wind won't blow over and planted the bay tree in it. What else? Oh yes, some succulents two green ones and a dark red one which are now on the kitchen window sill. I like the rosettes the leaves form. After unch out I went to the library to collect books I had reserved.
My daughter had an early appointment in London this morning, so I stayed at her house for the night. I gave the children their dinner, heard my 5 year-old granddaughter's reading, put her to bed and read a story about Aladdin, a princess, a genie, a villain and a baby camel to her. Then I played draughts with my 10 year old grandson until it was time for him to go to bed. Afterward, while waiting for the 13 year-old to go to bed I got on with some more 'writerly' matters. When he went to bed I read for a while before going to sleep.
This morning was busy after we all had porridge for breakfast and the children went to school. I worked on writing projects, then sorted out my mini peach and nectarine trees. Last year there was loads of fruit on them but it dropped off before it ripened. I've re-potted them in John Innes No 3 and pollinated them with a paintbrush. The pink flowers are so promising and pretty that, fingers crossed I will enjoy the fruit this year. Any advice about their nurture would be welcome.
Made a vegetable curry for lunch and then read until I returned to the laptop.
Hopefully the weather will be good for two days and I'll be able to do much more in the garden - but I must remember to wrap up all the Easter eggs.