Monday, 30 December 2013

Gardening 2014

The recent storms blew over my wooden bird table and smashed it. Never mind it was very old and a bit rickety so I shall replace it instead of trying to mend it. I'm hoping for a few days mild enough to potter in the garden and greenhouse. I am looking forward to gardening in 2014. In the meantime, while the weather is too bad to be outside, I have checked my packets of seeds and disposed of those which are out of date. I shall now consult seed catalogues, order more seeds, and some perpetual strawberries.  Very soon it will be time to chit seed potatoes and sow the first tomato seeds. 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Saturday, 28 December 2013

My Christmas

My head's reeling with Christmas cheer. One of the highlights was watching my daughter's children delving into their stockings and the 4 year old repeatedly saying: This is the best Christmas ever. And the nine year old saying the same thing but adding: Because you're here, Grandma.

The most amusing was one of my 12 year old grandson telling his father that he no longer believes in Father To which my youngest son replied. "If you don't believe, you don't get." "I believe, I believe." Later, he told me. "I don't understand why parents would want a strange man to enter their children's bedrooms while they are sleeping."

I divided my time between my children's houses and loved every minute with each one, my daughters in law and my grandchildren.

On Christmas Eve we lunched at a favourite restaurant, I spent the night at my daughter's house, Christmas Day after stockings at presents at her house, I visited son No.3 and his family and then had a wonderful vegetarian lunch at his twin brother's house.

Boxing Day is on of my granddaughter's birthday. She and her cousins celebrated it playing bowls in the late afternoon. I enjoyed watching my grandchildren and two guests bowling before we went out to dinner.

I spent yesterday at my daughter's house and went to see The Hobbit 2 with my twin sons and three grandsons.

And now, after having such a happy Christmas, back to work on my novel Monday's Child the sequel to Sunday's Child.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Greetings

My prayers go out to all those who are afflicted.

I offer the compliments of the season to all of you who celebrate Christmas, and hope those who don't will have a peaceful time.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Ideas for My Novels

I'm sure many novelists are asked where they get their ideas for their novels. I am not an exception. My novels are often inspired by historical research, reading non-fiction or visiting a place of historical interest, after which my imagination takes over.

While writing I draw inspiration from many things, including poetry. Yesterday, after reading the following verse, I went to sleep with the words in my mind.

Her gentle motion and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Anon (17th century)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Read

I'm still staying at my youngest son's house and treasuring my time with his wife, two of my grandsons and one of my granddaughters. The Christmas lights and tree are up and we are enjoying each other's company.

I've dipped into one of the books I chose to read during the Christmas holidays The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. The fate of the Princes in the Tower is uncertain, and the personal relationship between Henry VII and his queen, Elizabeth of York is speculative, but, so far, I'm enjoying the novel.

Time Off

As a rule I'm up early in the morning and working on my laptop. However, I'm spending a long weekend with my youngest son, his wife and children. So I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping late and the afternoons in their lounge in front of a log fire. Very bad for writing my novel, Monday's Child the sequel to Sunday's Child but very enjoyable.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Infant's Library - Georgian's Revealed Exhibition

At the Georgain's Revealed Exhibition at The British Library I fell in love with The Children's Library a collection of 17 small books published c.1800. They measure approximately 55mm by 45 mm. These tiny books are covered with pretty coloured paper. They are illustrated with woodcuts, some of which are hand-coloured. Originally they were contained in a box with a pink paper lining and a sliding front with "a pretty image of a glass-fronted bookcase".

The subjects of each book are diverse: the alphabet, reading and spelling, games for boys and girls, furniture and domestic items, etc.

Two of the books on display were open. The first two facing pages. Page 62 and 63 of the "History of England". A woodcut of "Our most gracious Sovereign George III" and another woodcut of "his amiable consort Queen Charlotte. The second book was open at a page with the text "I will practice a minuet, and when Harriet and Matilda come in the evening, they will dance to it." The woodcut is of a young girl practicing on a harpsichord.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Dates for Monday's Child

I am more than halfway through Monday's Child, the sequel to my novel Sunday's Child, set in 1814.

The dates are important so I checked my chapters and added one at the beginning of every scene. When I submit the novel to MuseItUp Publishing I shall remove them, but while I'm writing they ensure I'm not in a tangle - so to speak -  with fast moving events.

Miracle of Christmas

The shops are flooded with baubles,  tinsel and many other decorations. Small children visit Santa's grotto. The competition for shopper's money is fierce. Articles about what to buy and cook for Christmas are profuse. Credit cards purchase goods which too many people will struggle to buy. So where is the miracle of Christmas? It was in the faces of the pre-school children, who enacted the nativity today, including that my four year-old granddaughter, who represented Mary and rocked the baby doll standing in for Jesus with real tenderness. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas Greenery

My eldest granddaughter and I decorated my Christmas tree. It's something she enjoys doing with me every year.
I picked assorted greenery from my garden some with berries on it, arranged it in a large glass vase and hung small baubles on the branches. It looks gorgeous and the cuttings from evergreen trees smell gorgeous. And now to think about making a wreath for the front door using material from the garden.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Georgians Revealed

I visited The Georgians Revealed Exhibition at the British Library with a friend. The walls on the approach the gallery are lined with black and white friezes of Georgian life, and are hung with portraits of the three King Georges. From the ceiling are suspended copies of many pictures and posters of Georgian life.

In the gallery there were also a few items of costume, china and many books on display.

The gallery is divided into three sections. No 1. Public places, private spaces. No 2 Buying luxury, Acquiring style. No 3 Pleasures of society, virtues of culture.

It took my friend and I the better part of the day to view and make notes of everything. And now, to my annoyance, I have lost my notebook. I could say some very rude words, but I won't. In future, I shall always make sure that I write my name and address in front of my notebooks.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Useful 2nd hand book

While I was in the town with no bookshops I popped into the Oxfam shop. I was delighted when I found a useful book for research: The History of Everyday Things in England Volume 1 by Marjorie & C. H. B. Quennell. It was first published in 1918.From then until 1956 it was in continuous demand and ran through ten impressions and three editions. My edition was published in 1956 - perhaps more editions followed. I already own Volume 1V 1851 - 1914 and hope to buy the other two volumes.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

No Bookshops in Town

I went from one end of the town centre to the other yesterday and also completed a tour of the large shopping mall. I finished my Christmas Shopping but was saddened because there no longer a bookshop in either. W.H. Smiths has survived but it's stock is limited compared to the independent bookshops which have shut, Borders which has closed down, and Waterstones which no longer has a branch in town.

Daughter's Fate, Karma or Kismet?

As though it was not enough of a shock for my daughter's car to be a write off, the car her friend lent her broke down, and was followed by a frantic telephone call from her asking me to pick my granddaughter up from pre-school.

The problem with the car was minor  but being stuck in the cold waiting for the AA added to the stress she is undergoing.

I pray that in her case bad luck will not come in threes.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Car was a Write Off

My daughter was driving on the motorway with her 4 year old and her 9 year old in the car. The bonnet opened and slammed against the windscreen. The glass shattered and the roof of the car buckled. She managed to see through a tiny gap at the side of the broken windscreen and stop on the hard shoulder. Thank God she was driving slowly and neither she nor the children were injured. Needless to say she and her son were shocked and he couldn't stop crying for ages. My granddaughter was O.K. One of her brothers came and then collected her eldest son from his gymnastic class, her other brother came and arranged for her car to  be taken to his house. But, as I've written thank God no one was hurt.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Carols at Westmister Cathedral

My 9 year old grandson sang with the rest of his class at Westminster Cathedral. He was a little nervous at the thought of singing in front of an audience of 6,500 people, but overcome by the beauty of the Cathedral, and the carols sung by other choirs he enjoyed the occasion.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

'Tis the Season to Be Jolly

I've nearly finished my Christmas Shopping + Birthday Presents for 3 of my grandchildren one of whom was born on Boxing Day. Presents are piled on the dining room table waiting to be wrapped and, today, I shall buy Christmas Cards and post them on Monday. Next weekend, the Christmas tree will be in place and decorated, probably with a grandchild's help. So, the season to be jolly is underway in my house.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Choosing a Title for my Novel

I have a  title for my medieval novel set in Edward II's reign but after reading an article by Alison Baverstock in Writers & Artists Yearbook 2013 I'm dissatisfied with it. She quotes: Heather-Holden Brown of the hhb agency says: "The title matters hugely I want something that excites me, and that will draw a similarly instant reaction from any publisher I mention it to." So go for something that is topical, intriguing or witty and to the point."

My characters and I have settled on 'intriguing' but I didn't appreciate them waking me up in the night giving me their input while I was half asleep. They suggested something on the lines of 'When once you practice to deceive what a tangled web you weave,' but  I told them that 'it ignores the romantic elements in my novel.' On the other hand... However, my protagonists needs to understand I am the boss and they are acting under my direction!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

What is on my Mind

First of all the Hindhu Wedding Service in which the bride and groom understand they will be joined in marriage for seven births. I've always thought that's risky. Suppose the marriage is unhappy and continues to be so for six more births.

This week I've dressed warmly and got on in my garden and greenhouse. I've sown micro greens which can be snipped when they are four inches high, and peas for shoots to be added to salad.

I cut the yellowing lower leaves off my Brussel sprouts and tied the plants to stop them from toppling over. I then raked and weeded the bed, fed the Brussels with a liquid feed and covered them with horticultural net to protect them from the beady-eyed wood pigeons that visit my garden. I have also spread manure around my fruit trees in the hope they will give the same bumper crop as last year.

Today, I hope to do a little more in the garden after a writing session followed by tidying up the house.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Father of the Bride's Farewell

At the end of the long Hindhu wedding ceremony that I attended on Sunday the bride's father spoke the following words.

"When you wake tomorrow morning there will be an empty place at our breakfast table. We will always remember you. Please, never forget us."

I admit his words brought a tear or two to my eyes.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Word Pictures

I enjoyed Sunday lunch at my youngest son and daughter-in-law's house with their three children, my daughter and her three children. The conversation turned to my paperback which they are very excited about, particularly because it is dedicated to my grandson, Harry. They asked me questions about how I write and I mentioned word pictures. Curious they asked me what I meant so I quoted from my new novel, Monday's Child the sequel to my e-book, Sunday's Child.

"The sun was low in a sky streaked with pale gold and powder-pink as though painted by God’s almighty hand."

This sparked their imaginations and they commented on it.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

A Hindhu Wedding

I attended my youngest nephew's wedding in a beautifully decorated conference room at a large banqueting centre.

There were approximately 500 guests to witness the bride in a magnificent white silk sari beautifully embellished with red and green beadwork and embroidery, and the bridegroom in a white heavy silk tunic worn over matching trousers, tight at the ankles.

All the ladies and little girls were resplendent in colourful outfits and jewellery, and the men, many who wore slippers with pointed toes reminiscent of Aladdin, and colourful tunics and trousers were equally resplendent.

I met people I had not seen for many years including a couple of ladies who I taught at secondary school in Nairobi.

The wedding ceremony was followed by a formal lunch - flat breads, curries, a savoury, rice, sweets and much more.

I returned home tired but happy.

Friday, 29 November 2013

New Novel

Phew! 1,750 words to write and I will be  halfway through my new novel Monday's Child set shortly before the Battle of Waterloo.

I send chapters to  critique partners who offer constructive criticism and revise each chapter after I receive their feedback. This means that when I reach those magical words The End I have a novel which needs little dusting, polishing and revision.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Eagle of The Ninth Chronicles by Rosemary Sutcliffe

As an avid reader and a historical novelist I enjoy giving books as Christmas presents.
I wracked my brains trying to decide what to give a 12 and 10 year old for Christmas. Both of them are keen readers and are interested in history so I chose The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles by Rosemary Sutcliffe.

In her foreword she writes:

"Sometime in about the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, which was stationed at Eburacum where York now stands, marched north to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes and was never heard of again.

During excavations at Silchester nearly eighteen hundred years later, there was dug up under the green fields which now cover the pavements of Callleva Atrebatum, a wingless Roman Eagle a cast of which can be seen to this day in Reading Museum. Different people have different ideas as to how it came to be there but no one knows, just as no one knows what happened to the Ninth Legion after it marched into the northern mists.

It is from these two mysteries, brought together, that I have made the story of The Eagle of the Ninth."

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Titles and Forms of Address

I treated myself to a copy of Titles and Forms of Address A Guide to Correct Use from the publishers of Who's Who, A & C Black, London. "A reference book for the desk that shows how to address (in speech and on letters and envelopes) men and women with ranks, honours ...etc.,".

I am pleased to have corrected a mistake I made in Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child. A character introduced another character as Colonel, Viscount Langley, instead of as Colonel, Lord Langley. I have corrected my mistake in the novel. Phew! I do like to be accurate.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cold Weather and Research

Warm and cosy indoors during the cold spell I read Antony Wild's lavishly illustrated The East India Company Trade and Conquest from 1600. the research will come in useful for my novel Monday's Child and a sequel to my recent paperback Far Beyond Rubies. All in all a profitable afternoon.

Cold Weather and Research.

Warm and cosy indoors during cold weather I spent an enjoyable couple of hours researching my novel, Monday's Child, by reading The East India Company Trade and Commerce from 1600 by Antony Wild.

Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemry Morris

I am delighted to announce that my e-book, Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris, has been published as a paperback and an e-book.

“When Gervaise first sees Juliana he recognises her, but not from this lifetime, and knows he will always protect her.”

Set in 1706 in England during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies begins when William, Baron Kemp, Juliana’s half-brother, claims she and her young sister, Henrietta, are bastards. Spirited Juliana is determined to prove the allegation is false, and that she is the rightful heiress to Riverside, a great estate.

On his way to deliver a letter to William, Gervaise Seymour sees Juliana for the first time in the grounds of her family home. The sight of her draws him back to India. When “her form changed to one he knew intimately—but not in this lifetime,” Gervaise knows he would do everything in his power to protect her.

Although Juliana and Gervaise are attracted to each other, they have not been formally introduced and assume they will never meet again. However, when Juliana flees from home, and is on her way to London, she encounters quixotic Gervaise at an inn. Circumstances force Juliana to accept his kind help. After Juliana’s life becomes irrevocably tangled with his, she discovers all is not as it seems. Yet, she cannot believe ill of him for, despite his exotic background, he behaves with scrupulous propriety, while trying to help her find evidence to prove she and her sister are legitima




J. Pitman’s 5 out of 5* review of Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris.

It was great to see that there's a new Rosemary Morris out. I like her exquisite attention to detail, and she writes in the reign of Queen Anne, which is something a bit different from the usual Regency romance.

In this new book, which I have to admit I raced through and will now read again, the heroine Juliana is stunned to discover that, according to her half-brother William, she and her sister are bastards. The tale of how Gervaise Seymour helps her, how she helps herself, her sister and her various strays is quite enchanting. Rosemary uses her knowledge of India, very pertinent in this period, to bring a spice of something different to this novel. Her 'tanned hero' is no pallid, painted Englishman but one who has travelled, married and been widowed on that exotic continent, thus earning himself the nickname 'Beau Hindu' amongst the fashionable in London.

This novel is not a light book, as it contains research into the politics, religion and morality of the reign of Queen Anne. However the research informs the novel quite naturally and I found this to be a lovely, sparkling romance. It is somewhat in the style of the late Georgette Heyer, although I think after four novels Rosemary Morris is developing a voice of her own.  

Suitable for those who like a cracking good historical romance, set in England, well researched, sensual but no explicit sex.


* * * *

Carolin Walz 5* Review of Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris.

Picked up Rosemary Morris' novel recently with the expectation of a nice escape into romance, and was agreeably surprised by the wealth of historical detail and engaging characters. The heroine, Juliana, is suitably persecuted by an evil step-brother and later on by a libertine suitor, and the hero, Gervaise, is not only handsome, but also mysterious, coming from a somewhat broken family and having been previously married to a woman in India. That is one of the things that sets this tale apart from the usual run of historical romances. The author is obviously quite familiar with India, and the reader gets all kinds of interesting tidbits about life there, from certain dishes Gervaise springs on his friends to what he has learned about the country's belief systems, the latter of which at first causes quite some conflict between him and the heroine. The resolution is believable and satisfying. Well-written throughout.


* * * *

Far Beyond Rubies is available from:



          Previous novels.

 Tangled Love

Sunday’s Child

False Pretences

New Release February, 2014 The Captain and The Countess

Monday, 25 November 2013

Reading at Watford Writers

I read an extract from my mediaeval novel set in Edward IInd's reign at Watford Writers. It is a passage I had struggled to write and in spite of my efforts was not entirely satisfied with. However, I am reading the novel in sequence and find the constructive feedback from other members very useful.

After I shared the scene and received some comments from a friend, I realised that I have written it from the wrong viewpoint and am looking forward to rewriting it.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Princess Fairies and Christmas.

It seems the latest craze amongst small girls is that of Princess Fairies. These are Disneyland dolls - Snow White, Beauty, Cinderella etc., for which various accessories are available.

Yesterday my daughter and I took my granddaughter to Toys are Us where she fell in love with the dolls. We told her she must wait for Christmas to see what Santa Claus brings. Many of the dolls were a bargain at half price and she doesn't know we have bought some for her. I can hardly wait to see her joy on Christmas Day.

There is something magical about seeing Christmas through the eyes of children. I shall spend Christmas Eve at my daughter's house, read the story of the nativity to the my grandsons and granddaughter, and share their  joy on Christmas Day when they open their stockings and presents.

On Writing Monday's Child.

While giving my house a through tidy-up on Thursday and doing a lot of shopping on Friday thoughts of my work in progress, Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child, both set in the Regency era were never far away. Mind you, I'm trying to train my mind not to consider the novel while driving. I don't want to have an accident while in the world of my imagination populated by a cast of interesting characters.

Chapter Ten was 'a pig' to write. None of the characters wanted to do as they were told and the historical facts I was trying to slip into their story seemed to annoy them. However, my first draft of Chapter Eleven was comparatively easy to write. The words flowed and the characters behaved.

To my relief the first two one thousand-five hundred words of Chapter Twelve, which I wrote yesterday, was a joy to write.  The heroine defied her temporary guardians but did not defy me me as my fingers almost flew over the keyboard. If only every piece of writing could flow as smoothly.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Plotting a Novel

The only novel I found extremely difficult to write was one that I plotted chapter by chapter. When I write I like my characters to have the ability to surprise me. However, if they try to 'get out of hand' they do need to be put firmly in their place. I also like twists and turns in the plot to take me by surprise.

Before I begin writing I complete detailed character profiles for the main protagonists and name them. I have to visualise them walking, talking, going about their daily lives and understand their aspirations and fears etc.

When I begin a the novel I know what the middle and ending will be, the rest is an exciting journey for my characters and  quite often for myself when I visit places of historical interest.

Love and Marriage - 17th c.poem

My isp was playing up this morning so I am posting much later than usual.

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

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

William Cavendish. Duke of Newcastle (17th century)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Writing, Shopping and Unmentionables

Yesterday, I nearly finished Chapter Eleven of my new novel Monday's Child set in the Regency. It's fun to write. The heroine got herself into 'hot water' through an indiscretion and is about to plunge into it for the second time.

The phone rang. My daughter asked if I would like to go into town, do some shopping and have a coffee. I considered my heroine and dismissed her.

I popped into Primark and chose a fleece pyjamas which only cost an unbelievable £3 about $2. They had been reduced from £7. My pyjamas have a discreet pattern. I would have bought more if I could face the idea of wearing ones patterned with garish Christmas designs. I also bought a very pretty, frilly white scarf, some gloves and, as my heroine would say, some unmentionables.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Love and Marriage - Poem

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were love'd by wife, then thee:
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize they love more than whole Mines of gold,
Of all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.

Anne Bradstreet (c1612-1672)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Love & Marriage - Poetry

"Who could relate, save those that wedded be,
The joy, the ease, and the prosperity
That are between a husband and wife?

Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340-1400)

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are on the to be read pile of books on my bedside table  I enjoy reading a bit here and a bit there and have decided Chaucer must have a walk-on-part in my mediaeval trilogy.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

When to Marry - Old English Rhyme

Married when the year is new
He'll be loving kind and true.
When February birds do mate
You need not fear your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow
Joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can
Joy for the maiden and the man.
Marry in the month of May
And you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when the June roses grow
Over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed
Must labour for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be
Many a change is sure to see.
Marry in September's shine
Your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry
Love will come, but riches tarry.
If you marry in bleak November
Only joys will come, remember.
When December's snows fall fast
Marry and true love will last.

Old English Rhyme

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Accomplished Regency Ladies

"It is amazing to me," said Bingley, "how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are...They all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. I scarcely know any one who cannot do all this, and I am sure I have never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished" - Pride and Prejudice.

It seems that young ladies learned many accomplishments from the time they were children. They studied French and spoke Italian so that they could translate romantic songs, as well as singing and practicing on a pianoforte and or a harp.

They also practised the art of drawing with a pencil and coloured their sketches with watercolours. Gothic novels such as The Mysteries of Udolpho included ancient castles about to fall into ruins and eerie landscapes. Such subjects were popular - even more so if a tree struck by lightning or another picturesque feature could be included.

I can easily imagine young ladies heads bent over their sketches, fingers striking chords or feet practising dance steps. I can also imagine some rebellious little ladies who did not want to please their mammas and papas by becoming expert in the arts of filigree, with decorative needlework, netting and other feminine accomplishments.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Far Beyond Rubies - Paperbacks

The paperback copies of my novel Far Beyond Rubies set in England during Queen Anne Stuart's reign, 1702-1714, have arrived. They are beautifully printed and  I'm delighted with them.

Lots of people have dreams they have been unable to fulfil. I'm one of the lucky ones. My dream of becoming a published author has come true.

 Far Beyond Rubies is also available as an e-book and so are my novels Tangled Love, Sunday's Child and False Pretences, and in February 2014 my new novel The Countess and the Captain will also be published by MuseItupPublishing.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Peach and Nectarine Trees

Several months ago I ordered patio a patio peach and a patio nectarine tree. They arrived yesterday, together with three small Rose of Sharon shrubs which should grow to a good size and a free packet of fifty tete a tete narcissus bulbs. Hopefully the weather won't be too bad today and I'll be able to pot up the trees and plant out the shrubs and bulbs.

I hope the advantage of the patio trees will be that if I hand pollinate the flowers they will thrive in the greenhouse and not be affected by peach leaf curl caused by rain. Hopefully the small crop of fruit will be delicious.

Chorleywood Book Festival

I am looking forward to a talk this evening organised by The Chorleywood Book Festival. Anne de Courcy has picked a topic about which we mostly know very little. During the 19th century, when Britain ruled India, many young men went out to work in the Raj in various roles. A band of women followed hoping to 'hook'  a man. They were known as the Fishing Fleet and her book carries that title.

I have read my own copy of the book and am sure I shall enjoy the event.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

My Garden in November

If the rain holds off it's time for me to get on in my organic garden. The broad beans are flourishing and will withstand winter weather. There are bright red apples on a tree, some of which might be ready to pick and store for later in the year. I already have eating and cooking apples and desert pears wrapped in newspaper and stored in trays in my cold greenhouse. Today I plan to harvest the rest of my carrots and store them in a box of dry compost as well as harvesting the beetroot. I shall store some, make beetroot pickle, give some to my daughter and make apple and beetroot juice. Nothing will go to waste - the beetroot greens are delicious cooked like spinach and sprinkled with a little lemon juice.

Back to Work

I'm back to work on my new novel after the Festival of Romance. I am researching balls in the Regency era. It seems he first dance was often The Minuet and the last dance was always the old favourite, Sir Roger de Coverly (later The Virginia Reel). I've had fun watching various dances performed on YouTube.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Festival of Romance

I thoroughly enjoyed The Festival of Romance in Bedford u.k.. I met friends, made new friends and for the first time met my book-trailer designer, Lynne Cobin who kindly popped in for a chat with me. My white silk sari embroidered with gold and my costume jewellery were greatly admired and I admired other historical author's historical costumes.
The extract I read from my novel, Far Beyond Rubies, was very well-received, and although the paperbacks had not arrived from my publisher, MuseItUpPublishing I thoroughly enjoyed talking to visitors at the book fair. Lots of people helped themselves to the postcards with pictures of the jacket covers of Far Beyond Rubies, Tangled Love, False Pretences and Sunday's Child on the front and brief descriptions of the novels on the back.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Festival of Romance

I've decided to leave earlier than necessary for The Festival of Romance to give myself a little time to have a look around Bedford. Amongst other things I want to visit the Higgins Museum.

I'm a little nervous as the paperback copies of Far Beyond Rubies haven't arrived, and I'm wondering if people will stop at my book table to help themselves to postcards featuring the jacket covers of my books and to some nibbles.

Once I'm part of the festival I know I shall enjoy seeing old friends and making new ones so I am looking forward to it.

I shall post about the events next week.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Festival of Romance

Tomorrow, I shall attend the Festival of Romance in Bedford. For details or to buy last minute tickets visit

Everything I plan to take with me is lined up on the beds in the spare room. Later on this morning I shall pack my bags. Hopefully, I have not forgotten anything I shall need.

I'm really looking forward to meeting friends, making new friends and acquaintances and the opportunity to meet members of the public who enjoy reading.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Kitchen Sink Drama etc. Continued.

When the carpenter turned up at 8 a.m. yesterday, I had emptied the cupboard under the sink and the work surfaces. The new cupboard did not match the other ones. He called out his supervisor who measured up and said all the cupboards and worktops need to be replaced. I also need to have parts of the walls re-tiled and the area behind the oven tiled. Hopefully the work will be completed in a fortnight. Deep, deep sigh! Since August, while waiting for the wall under the sink to dry, the kitchen has been in chaos. Anyway, at least the plumber came and re-connected the water.
As for the etc. I sorted out the postcards illustrated with the cover of my novel Far Beyond Rubies - they should arrive today. However, the copies of the novel have not yet arrived from my publisher and there are only 2 and a 1/4 days to go before I leave for the Festival of Romance.
Another problem has been solved. Thank goodness, the mechanic from the AA sorted out my car. Hopefully, I shall reach Bedford and return home without incident.
In spite of all the upheaval I managed to write and keep up with writerly activities, but, today, I need time out so my daughter and I are going to swim and visit the health suite at the local sports centre and enjoy the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.

Monday, 4 November 2013

A Trying Day

On some days it would be better to pull the duvet over my head to shut out the world , which involved many phone calls before the plasterer and the plumber came in the afternoon. While waiting for them I wanted to track missing postcards for my book table at the Festival of Romance. The order number is in an e-mail. When I tried to log on my isp was down in my area. Connection was not restored until 5 p.m. by which time it was too late to phone about my order.
With no water in the kitchen, I decided to dine out and then attend Watford Writers to cheer myself up. Guess what! My car wouldn't start. The battery is flat. Somewhat later I did go to bed and pull the duvet over my head.
Sometimes it is hard to be philosophical, but today is another day. Hopefully, the carpenter and plumber will be on time, I'll arrange for the postcards to be sent, and call the AA to sort out the car.

Blood Pressure Rising

My blood pressure must be soaring.

There's a long drawn out saga about my kitchen . The wall under the kitchen sink was wet. The kitchen cabinet had to be removed. The wall was treated and for months the contractor has been waiting for it to dry out. For the fourth time I emptied the kitchen and was ready for the plasterer at 8 a.m. At 9.30 a.m. I phoned to see why he had not arrived. He had not finished yesterday's job and could not start the work at my house but the work would be started on the 7th. I nearly exploded. Instead I said that I do have a personal life and the 7th is inconvenient. (I shall attend the Festival of Romance although I did not tell her that.). The person I spoke to said she would phone back in an hour to let me know what was happening. She has not and I daresay the saga will be long drawn out.
Sympathy please.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A Day Out

Met a friend for a coffee yesterday at The Coach and Horses in Rickmansworth. We then visited the museum in the High Street, which was once William Penn's House, and found lots of things to interest us, as we are historical novelists. After lunch at an excellent Italian restaurant, we toured the charity shops where I found a couple of books for historical research and a copy of Two Under the Indian Sun by Jon and Rumer Godden. And, of course, we chatted about our writing, tossed ideas backward and forward, throughout the day. We concluded with a coffee and a snack at Café Nero, (my snack was an almond croissant stuffed with marzipan - naughty but nice.  Thoroughly content, we then made our separate ways to our homes.


Day Out

Recently, I wrote about The Coach and Horses in Rickmansworth. A friend, who is a novelist, wants to see it so we are meeting there  this morning. Afterwards, we might visit the local museum and then have lunch. We also intend visiting the charity shops. One of them has a huge selection of out of print books from which I might find one or more to add to my non fiction collection of history books.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Extract from Far Beyond Rubies

"Gervaise drew closer to the pavilion with the intention of announcing his presence.

Feet pattered within. A young woman peered through an open window. Her pale oval face looked troubled, and her coal black hair was slightly disordered.

For a moment Gervaise could not speak. The sight of her drew him back to India. Her form changed to one he knew intimately – yet not in this lifetime. He recognised the mark of a crescent moon on her right cheekbone, and sensed the love they once shared. A tremor ran through him. Never before had he thought the Hindu belief in reincarnation was worthy of serious consideration. Yet, in spite of the teachings of the Anglican church, what if -"

Far Beyond Rubies

Far Beyond Rubies
Chapter One


 “Bastards, Juliana! You and your sister are bastards.”

Aghast, Juliana stared at William, her older half-brother, although, not for a moment did she believe his shocking allegation. 

It hurt her to confront William without their father at her side. At the beginning of April, she and Father were as comfortable as ever in his London house. Now, a month later, upon her return to her childhood home, Riverside House, set amongst the rolling landscape of Hertfordshire, his body already lay entombed in the family crypt next to her mother’s remains. Would there ever be a day when she did not mourn him? A day when she did not weep over his loss?
Far Beyond Rubies is available as a paper back and an e-book from:
And elsewhere

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Competition. Win a paperback copy of Far Beyond Rubies.

Today to celebrate the publication of the paperback of Far Beyond Rubies I am offering the first and last entrants a copy of the novel.

To enter answer the following questions, the answers to which are at or

Q. In which year is Far Beyond Rubies set?

Q. To which country is Gervaise drawn when he first sees Juliana?

Q. What do Gervaise and Juliana want to prove?

Q. What are the titles of Rosemary Morris's other published novels?

Send the answers to:  and include your name. Subject. Competition. Far Beyond Rubies

Competition ends on Saturday, 2nd November.

Prize Winners announced on Sunday, 3rd November

The prize winners will be notified by e-mail

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Digital Camera

A novelist's life is always busy and never dull. There's never time to do everything. I would like to lock myself away in an attic, press a magic button to have food and drink supplied, and write all the hours of the day and most of the night. Ahem. Back to reality. I've decided that I really must learn how to use a digital camera and upload photos. It can't be that hard. So I went to town today and bought a digital camera. (I also treated myself to a pair of very pretty amber earrings.)

Monday, 28 October 2013

Under the Weather

I woke in agony on Saturday night and thought I was having a heart attack, but realised the pain was too low down. I spent a very uncomfortable weekend on a liquid diet including yoghurt drinks - yoghurt's so good for the stomach - and am still too wobbly to do much although I am sticking to a light diet. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and, hopefully, I can catch up and do all the things I should have done over the weekend. Illness is such a waste of time!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Poetry and School

Proud grandmother today. It was the parents teachers meeting at my grandson's school. He had been asked to read one of his poems to the entire school at assembly. One of the lines read: The lead in a child's pencil is the road to imagination. He is doing really well in all subjects but he received the award for being the best reader and speller in Year Four.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Indian Costume Jewellery

I bought a beautiful matching set comprising a necklace, earrings and a ring as well as eight bangles to wear at a special event at the Festival of Romance, where I shall wear a sari. The fancy dress is appropriate for the theme of my novel Far Beyond Rubies.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fancy Dress for Festival of Romance

The hero of my novel, Far Beyond Rubies, set in England in 1706, has strong links with India, so I shall wear a sari for a special event at the Festival of Romance.

Today, my daughter and I are off to Southall to buy some appropriate artificial jewellery to wear with it - great fun!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Flash Fiction

Yesterday evening Watford Writers, the writers group which I have joined, invited members to write a 250-300 word flash fiction on the subject of Dreams. Although I did not have time to enter, the variety of interpretations of the subject was interesting. A new writer, who has enrolled on a writing course won. My favourite was about a little boy with high hopes of finding treasure with his metal detector.

Weather and Writing Fiction

Yesterday a flash of lightning visible through the venetian blinds in my bedroom woke me. A clap of thunder sounded. It was so loud that it frightened my 12 year old grandson so much that he fell out of bed. It also startled me. Torrential rain followed the thunderstorm. Later the sun shone. I thought my newly planted winter cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli would have been flattened, but no, amazingly they were still upright. By then the day was mild so I worked in the front garden. Later, the sky darkened and more torrential rain fell.

The contrasts in the weather throughout the day would make an excellent backdrop for a day in a novel but not in the clichéd style of: "It was a dark and windy night..."

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Far Beyond Rubies

Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris
Set in 1706 in England during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies begins when William, Baron Kemp, Juliana’s half-brother, claims she and her young sister, Henrietta, are bastards. Spirited Juliana is determined to prove the allegation is false, and that she is the rightful heiress to Riverside, a great estate.

On his way to deliver a letter to William, Gervaise Seymour sees Juliana for the first time in the grounds of her family home. The sight of her draws him back to India. When “her form changed to one he knew intimately—but not in this lifetime,” Gervaise knows he would do everything in his power to protect her.

 Although Juliana and Gervaise are attracted to each other, they have not been formally introduced and assume they will never meet again. However, when Juliana flees from home, and is on her way to London, she encounters quixotic Gervaise at an inn. Circumstances force Juliana to accept his kind help. After Juliana’s life becomes irrevocably tangled with his, she discovers all is not as it seems. Yet, she cannot believe ill of him for, despite his exotic background, he behaves with scrupulous propriety, while trying to help her find evidence to prove she and her sister are legitimate
Available now as an e-book from,, and elsewhere.
Available as a paperback on 30th October, 2013  from MuseItUp publishing.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Writing and Gardening

After I blogged and checked my e-mails yesterday, I completed my goal, which was to write 2,000 words of my new novel, Monday's Child. (The heroine is the younger sister of the main character in Sunday's Child published  by MuseItUp Publishing.) I had finished Chapter Nine so I e-mailed it to a friend, another historical novelist, for her opinion.

I could sit happily at the laptop or computer writing all day, but that would result in all sorts of aches and pains. So, on most days I work for four hours in the morning and four hours in the late afternoon or early evening. The time is flexible, but I try to write and deal with writerly matters for two four hour sessions every day.

Yesterday was a mellow autumn day, so I worked in the garden. I tidied up the narrow flower bed on the right of the path leading to the front door and planted frilly rose-pink and peach coloured tulip bulbs in bare patches. I did some more weeding, replanted some broad bean seeds which recent rain had brought to the surface, and then planted out some purple sprouting broccoli. It's late in the year to plant it, but I bought a tray of plug plants in a sale at a garden centre for a pound. If they don't thrive I won't have lost much.

All in all an enjoyable morning.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Far Beyond Rubies

Four of my novels are available as online publications (e-books) but I am now pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of my novel Far Beyond Rubies as a paperback.

It can be pre-ordered through the following link.

School Assembly & New Novel

This morning I attended assembly at my 9 year-old grandson's school to watch his class perform a play about Moses. Every child had a line or more to say, and they obviously enjoyed the production. Afterwards I returned home and caught up with the housework and laundry. First thing tomorrow morning I hope to write another 2,000 words of my new Regency Novel, the sequel to Sunday's Child.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

' Zoe & The Ancient Egyptians ' 16/10/2013 18:00:38

My 8 year-old granddaughter, Zoe, is studying the ancient Egyptians at school. When her parents went with her eldest brother to watch her younger brother perform in Macbeth at Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth, I looked after her.

She had taken books from the library, copied pictures onto the computer and added several pages of text.

"Would I like to see her project?" she asked, and smiled enchantingly.

My dainty, curly haired granddaughter then spared me no details of mummification. I have and extremely weak stomach. At the end of her gruesome presentation with extra verbal comments she said: "I'm hungry, grandma, time to have dinner."

Dinner! My stomach heaved. Food! Would I ever be able to eat again.

I deserve a medal for grandmotherly love.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Unlike Elspeth Huxley, whose book Flame Trees of Thika I posted about yesterday, while I lived in Kenya from 1962 to 1982 I never felt entirely at ease. However, I do have some outstanding memories.

On a visit to the Nairobi National Park in 1968, a lion,  ahead of our car, plodded along the red dirt track. On either side stretched grassland interspersed with thorn trees, weird sculptures beneath a jacaranda-blue sky from which blazed a brazen sun. Not once did the king of beasts look back at our car. Totally at ease he ignored the herds of deer, wildebeest zebras and deer, and the giraffes and ostriches took no notice of him. At a leisurely pace he reached his destination, a flat-topped rock overlooking the grassland on which his  harem and his cubs had settled.

As my husband drove away I hoped the lions would enjoy long lives protected from hunters.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Memory of Kenya

Unlike Elspeth Huxley, whose book The Flame Trees of Thika, which I wrote about yesterday, I do not return to Kenya frequently. I was never entirely at ease during the 22 years I lived there and prefer living in England.  However I do have some wonderful memories.

On one occasion, when we visited the Nairobi National Park a lion sauntered in front of our car along the narrow, road which was not tarmacked. On either side of the road, the rich red of African soil, was scrubland interspersed here and there with thorn trees like weird sculptures.

Not once did the lion look back, not a breeze ruffled his splendid mane and the sun beating down from a Madonna-blue sky disturbed us but not the king of all he surveyed. Belly full, he ignored the giraffes, z

Flame Trees of Thika

I lived in Kenya from 1961 to 1982. During my years there I visited Thika. When I first went to Kenya I had not heard of Elspeth Huxley's non-fiction book, The Flame Trees of Thika, Memories of an African Childhood, first published in 1959.

I can't remember when I first read the autobiography, but I do recall finding it very interesting, although Elspeth Huxley's experiences in Kenya were so far removed from mine.

The other day, after I met my friend at The Coach and Horses in Rickmansworth I was delighted to find a secondhand copy of the book in a charity shop.

I've finished reading it with a sense of nostalgia for the beauty of the country.
The Flame Trees of Thika is a fascinating account of Elspeth Huxley's life and that of the first settlers in and around Thika, amongst whom were her parents, Robin and Tilly.

The author breathes life into her descriptions of the African tribesmen and women, their way of life, their beliefs and their attitudes.

I shall search for two of her other books, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, !"A Journey through East Africa",and White Man's Country, "Lord Delamere and the making of Kenya," as well as her novel, Red Strangers, a story of Kenya. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Rosehipa Jelly

Wet and windy today, so I put the rosehips collected earlier in the year to good use. I boiled 1 kilo of organic rosehips in 1pint of water  and 2 kilos of organic Bramley cooking apples from my garden in the same amount of water. The rosehips and the applies are now in separate jelly bags, to drain the juice from the pulp. Tomorrow, I shall add the finished jelly to my store cupboard.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Historical Pub

Yesterday, a friend and I met at one of The Coach and Horses, one of Hertfordshire's most historical pubs, in Rickmansworth.

I liked the ambience of the original tap room. Low, beamed ceilings, and flames leaping in the old fireplace warming the flag-stoned room. My imagination had not difficulty occupying it with people from times past.

According to the brochure: "To discover the history of the Coach and Horses, we must trace our steps back in time to the late 1600's and the Salter family of Rickmansworth.

"At around 1720, a Samuel Salter arrived in Rickmansworth. Born in 1695, this young man married Elizabeth Robinson in 1724 and settled in the town. ...

The Coach and Horses itself dates back to at least 1722, with the foundations of the building dating as far back as the end of the 16th century. Salter's brewery emerged at a later date beside the pub."
To discover more visit: www.thecoachand

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Beetroot Soup and Plum Pie

I have lots of beetroot from my organic garden. Yesterday, I made a big pot of soup to be served with sour cream and fresh dill from my garden.

From lunchtime onward members of my family popped in and had one or two bowlfuls of soup. So much for freezing some, but I don't mind. Even more than cooking, I like watching other people enjoying one of my homemade meals.

I also picked plums from the garden and made a plum pie, which members of the family ate with gusto.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Review of Far Beyond Rubies

Romance Historical Lovers Classifications:
Time and Setting: England 1706

Genre: Historical Romance Heat Level:1
Amazon. Reviewer Rating: 5 stars4
Review by Maggi

There’s a wealth of historical detail in this charming and well-written novel by Rosemary Morris. The plot is woven with some skill into the history of Queen Anne’s rein. The heroine, Juliana, is at the mercy of her scurrilous stepbrother, William, the seventh Baron Kemp. He plans to claim her inheritance, Riverside House, and rid himself of her and her sister, Henrietta, claiming them to be illegitimate. He has plans to marry Juliana off to a libertine. With her father dead, Juliana is at his mercy.

The handsome hero, Gervaise Seymour, is one of the most interesting heroes I’ve read in a while. He comes from a broken family, and has personal issues he must resolve. He is returning from India, where he gained a fortune and married an Indian woman. Now a widower, he mourns his lost love. But having come across Juliana who is in need of help, how can he turn his back on her? It is Juliana’s voice, which first attracts him: a melodious voice offering comfort. And despite Gervaise’s intentions, he is soon captured by her looks. But he is ever the gentleman.

Gervaise put a hand on each side of her tiny waist, controlling his fervent desire to hold her close.
He avoided looking into her eyes for fear she might read the lusty thoughts in them.
Determined to honor his dead wife, he fights his feelings during their shared adventure, quite convinced he will never marry again. But there’s a hint here, of something mystical between them.

Morris’ knowledge of India enriches this novel, adding spice, while never loading us with unwanted detail. It’s a novel, fresh story, which sets it apart from the more conventional historical romances.

Gervaise, a decent and attractive man, has brought Indian customs and food with him to England. His home is decorated in the rich colors of the East and delicious cuisine graces his table. This makes for a fascinating hero and serves to cause a degree of conflict between him and Juliana, who is a strong heroine. She is protective of her younger sister, and while extremely attracted to Gervaise she is reluctant to trust him or indeed any man.

I’m a fan of Rosemary Morris. Her characters always make perfect sense, and again the resolution of this story is quite believable. There are some great secondary characters too, like Monsieur Lorraine, an ‘air merchant

* * * *

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My organic garden plus a reciepe

Yesterday, I gathered my marrows and summer squash, cleared the  veggie patch where they grew, and then spread lime over it. Recently I bought a tray of winter cabbage and another of purple sprouting broccoli for next to nothing in a sale at a garden centre. It's a little late to plant them in the garden, but I've limed their patch and if I cover them with fleece to protect them from the worst of the weather I hope they will thrive.

The broad beans I planted two weeks ago after enriching the plot with manure are coming up. They are hardy and will survive even the worst winters. The plants toughen up so much that few blackfly attack them. Early next year, after sufficient pods develop, I shall pick the topmost leaves and cook them like spinach.

At the moment I'm enjoying apples, pears and plums from the garden. Today, I plan to make a plum pie, yesterday, I made vegetable marrow soup.

To serve four.

2 lbs of peeled, cubed marrow, seeds and pith removed.
2 ozs butter.
1 & a 1/2 pints vegetable soup stock.
1/2 pint milk.
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp pepper or more to taste
(I added a tbs of hyssop leaves from the garden but it's not essential.)

Watford Writers

Yesterday I attended Watford Writers at Café Cha Cha in Cassiobury Park.

On manuscript evenings members bring something to read and afterwards receive constructive comments from the group.

Yesterday, was a little different. There was a quiz about t.v. films and books. I did not do well but I'm not going to confess how  badly I did. We then played consequences. I chose Charles II for my character. I wrote a bit about him, and then folded the paper down, passed it on and answered the other questions on other papers. At the end the results were read out.

A number of men chose to be David Beckham. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Locked Out

After spending an enjoyable Sunday with some of my friends I returned home, went upstairs and could not open my bedroom door. Guess what! My address book, diary and mobile were in the bedroom. I used my landline to phone people whose numbers I remembered. Everyone was out.
Eventually I contacted a workman who came within the hour. He managed to open the door but the paintwork has been damaged. Anyway, in spite of that, I'm grateful to him.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tag for The Captain and The Countess

Last night I woke at 2.a.m and fretted about all the things I must do and those I want to do. While trying to go back to sleep I composed a 21 word description of my new novel The Captain and The Countess for my publisher. Afraid I would forget it, I turned on the bedside lamp and jotted it down on a notepad I keep beside my bed. I've sent it to my copy editor and hope she approves of it.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Garden Centres and Stephen

Yesterday, my 11 year-old grandson had a day off school. He spent the morning with me, and asked to visit a garden centre. Off we went. I bought some tulip bulbs - a different variety to the ones already in the garden. The pink and peach coloured flowers will be frilly. I also bought a tray of winter cabbage.

Grandson did not find anything he wanted so we went to Homebase. He chose a cactus in a blue pot with orange Mexican inspired designs and promptly named it Stephen. The cactus is tiny but it has vicious thorns.

I bought a tray of purple sprouting broccoli and some rock roses reduced to 20p a pot. I'll nurture them in the greenhouse until next year.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Who are you?

Yesterday, while I made green tomato chutney and considered my store of homemade jam, jelly, chutney and pickles with satisfaction, a fair-haired slip of a girl came to mind. She was making a conserve (of what?)when a servant rushed into the still room saying: "the soldiers are coming." At that point I sensed the anxiety of the girl, who loved her home, her garden, her still room and other country pursuits. Who is she? What is her name? Was she real or is she a figment of my imagination?
For a long time I have been considering writing a novel centred around a garden, perhaps my mystery girl will feature in it. At the moment, I want to get to know her.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Festival of Romance

I'm really looking forward to attending the Festival of Romance. I'm looking forward to meeting friends and making new ones as well as to the events. At the moment, I'm thinking about what to wear. A sari for a special event, a smart outfit to wear when I read an extract from Far Beyond Rubies, something appropriate for the awards etc.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Fewtival of Romance 2013

Yesterday, I booked accommodation at the Park Inn in Bedford for the 2013 Festival of Romance at which I shall be a participating author.

By the way, you could win a weekend away at the Festival of Romance and meet your favourite romance authors, thanks to the Romantic Novelists' Association

Details are at:

Harvest from my Organic Garden

Since I went on holiday to Woolacombe Bay in Devonshire my routine has been interrupted, but, to use a cliché, I'm back on track.

There's a bumper crop of fruit and vegetables this year. The apples, pears and plums are more delicious than any bought from the shops.

I've made chutney, jam and pickles and am about to make rhubarb pickle. I've also stewed plums and put them in containers in the freezer - I'll enjoy them in the winter months. I've also hoarded rhubarb, apple and apple and blackberry pies in the freezer.

So, I'm wishing myself bon apetit. Cheers everyone.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

From My Bookcase

Following the Drum - The Lives of Army Wives and Daughters Past and Present by Annabel Venning.

"Scanning four Centuries from the 1660's to the present day. Following the Drum tells the stories of wives, daughters and mistresses of the British army who followed their military menfolk to some of the most treacherous places in the world."

Annabel Vennings tells "of women taken captive, or forced to become fugitives in enemy territory; of women who endured long marches and harsh sieges; women who chose to follow their men onto the battlefield itself; women who had to give birth to the sound of canon fire and then march on minutes later; women who found themselves widowed and alone in a strange land; and of women who struggled to keep themselves and their families alive as the world they knew disintegrated around them."

A fascinating read, I glanced through the book and can't resist re-reading it.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Radish Pickle

Trying to be super-disciplined. Finished writing at 10 a.m. and got on in the garden. Some radish plants had formed seed pods. Hmm, I thought, I bet I can do something with them, so I googled radish seed pod pickles, found a recipe and followed it, however I replaced the chillies with mustard. Now I'll give the pickle time to mature and then taste it with interest. Next project is to pickle peppery nasturtium seeds and to make lemonade, some of which I'll use to make ice lollies.

From my Bookcase

The third publication I had forgotten I own is Waterloo A Guide to the Battlefield, The Official Guide of the Waterloo Committee published by Pitkin. It is informative with illustrations in colour. The guide book was written by the late David Howard who, according to His Grace the Duke of Wellington at the time of publication, " A Near Run Thing is certainly one of the most exciting accounts of the battle I have ever read."

Monday, 12 August 2013

From my Bookcase

Another 40 page long book I had forgotten I bought is one of the Men-At-Arms-Series (No.130) Wellington's Heavy Cavalry by Bryan Fosten, published by Osprey Military. There is a lot of useful information and it contains many black and white illustrations as well as coloured ones.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Men-At-Arms Series 126

I should catalogue my small but useful collection of non-fiction. Recently, I visited the National Army Museum in search of information. (At the moment I am researching British Hussar Regiments in the late 18th and early 19th century for my new novel, Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child published as an e-book.) Anyway, while removing a book from the shelf I found Wellington's Light Cavalry No.126 in the Men-At-Arms-Series by Bryan Fosten published by Osprey. I bought this informative book with many illustrations of uniforms and equipment ages ago and had forgotten about it. That's why I need to make a list of my books.

Friday, 9 August 2013

From My Bookshelf

Redcoat - The British Soldier in the Age of Horse and Musket by Richard Holmes is an interesting addition to my library.

 'Wonderful ...Not just a work of history - but of enthusiasm and unparalleled knowledge.' Bernard Cornwell.

'Redcoat is the story of the British soldier from the Seven Year War through to the Mutiny and Crimea. It is consistently entertaining, full of brilliantly chosen anecdotes, and rattles along at a good light infantry pace.' David Crane. Spectator Books of the Year.

From my bookcase Wellington's...

Amongst other books I am reading Wellington's Peninsular War Generals & Their Battles. A Biographical and Historical Dictionary by T. A. Heathcote.

The book "covers the lives of forty-one of the best known divisional commanders, principal staff officers and heads of supporting arms and services in Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army which famously halted Napoleon's previously invincible eagles and forced them back into France..."

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Home Grown Vegetables

Home grown vegetables for lunch today. New potatoes with parsley sauce, Swiss Chard dressed with powdered sesame seeds and vinegar and runner beans. Delicious.

English Costume for Sports and Outdoor Recreation.

English Costume for Sports and Outdoor Recreation 16th - 19th century by C. Willet and Phillis Cummington is a very interesting book. I don't own a copy but have frequently consulted a copy borrowed from the library.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Weeds and Pot Marigolds

The weeds have been growing like crazy, and the Lady's Mantle had finished flowering in a long narrow border, so I weeded and pruned this morning. Must say the pot marigolds look marvellous they are about two and a half feet tall, usually they are only about fifteen inches tall.

Costumes ffor Birth, Marriage and Death

Costumes for Births Marriage and Death by P.E.Cunnington and Catherine Lucas from the 11th century to 1914.  In the past I have consulted this book which is informative and interesting.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Costume - Household Servants -11th - 19th Century

Costume of Household Servants by P.E. Cunnington.

I don't own a copy of this book, but I have consulted and read it for pleasure in the past, and found it interesting and useful.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century

Here are two more snippets from the Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century by C. Willet and Phillis Cunnington.


'My dress at Court was a white satin petticoat with a patent net drapery - gold Brussels and fringe - gown; and train of green velvet ornamented with gold; headdress of seven white ostrich feathers and diamonds.' 1813. Journals of Mrs Calvert.


'a robe of real Brussels point lace over white satin...cottage bonnet of Brussels lace with two ostrich feathers; she wore a deep lace veil and a white satin pelisse trimmed with swansdown. The dress cost seven thousand guineas, the bonnet 150 and the veil 200.' 1812. The Ipswich Journal.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

National Army Museum, Chelsea, London

Yesterday, I visited the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London and made loads of notes for the sequels to Sunday's Child set in the Regency era. I also visited the research centre. The staff were very helpful and found books for me to consult. A very happy day.

Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century

Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century by C.Willet and Phillis Cunnington contains detailed descriptions of fabrics, gentlemen's and ladies' clothes and accessories.

For example: "Waistcoats: Materials: Striped Marcella, buff kerseymere, striped Valencia, casimere, swansdown, jean.

Throughout the two decades the back could be drawn in by means of one or two pairs of tapes or (rare) midline lacing.

Pockets sometimes absent, otherwise two horizontal c 5" wide, welted, containing the snuff-box, the watch being carried in the fob.

The lining and back usually twilled cotton, occasionally silk; the canvas of the eighteenth century no longer use.


'white, green buff with blue or black stripes wide asunder; blue striped twill jean manufactured expressly for the waistcoats and trousers of men of fashion. 1810 Ackermann's Repository."

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Family Tree

This morning, I revised the first two chapters of Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child.

I had been struggling to introduce the characters from the earlier novel without confusing the reader. Then it was though a bright light was switched on. I realised I need to construct the heroine's family tree.

Historical - Research - Underclothes

The History of Underclothes by C.Willet & Phillis Cunnington. Over the years I have used books by these authors for research, and always found the detailed information extremely helpful, so I have ordered a copy of this one.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Culinary Delights

Shopped for food like crazy today. This week I plan to use Swiss chard from the garden to make a chard and ricotta pie, and to use the stalks for a cheese dish. I also plan to make colcannon, mango ice cream, and courgette pickle with courgettes from the garden. I also bought ready made biscuit dough which my small granddaughter will enjoy rolling out and cutting into various shapes before I put the biscuits in the oven. And I'll make more ice lollies for the grandchildren. Well that plus my strict writing routine and some gardening should keep me out of trouble.

Regency - Reseach - The Duchess of Richmond's Ball

The Duchess of Richmond's Ball 15th June 1815 by David Miller. Chapter One gives a very brief history of the Low Countries, Chapter Two introduces the reader to the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and their family, Chapter Three describes the arrival of the English, who had been "confined in their homeland" since the short peace in 1803.

Apart from the events preceding the famous ball David Miller presents the guest list and allows the reader to make the acquaintance of Civilian and Military guests. He also delves into romances, and in Appendix E examines Wellington's affair with James Wedderburn-Webster's wife, Lady Frances.

All in all valuable research.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Regency - Romance - Jane Austen's Christmas

Jane Austen's Christmas, The Festive Season in  Georgian England, Compiled by Maria Hubert.. "delivers far more than it promises ... far from an exploitation of current popularity it is a most interesting compilation of diaries, letters, extracts from the novels and even a rhyming recipe for Christmas pudding! Conjures up wonderfully the spirit of the times.  THE LADY"

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Regency - Research - The Wordl of Jane Austen

Although I own several books about Jane Austen I particularly like this well-illustrated one - The World of Jane Austen by Nigel Nicolson Photographs by Stephen Colover first published 1991.

"Nigel Nicholson explains how Jane Austen's creative talent embraced a keen awareness of architecture, gardens and landscape. He follows her through southern England  and as far north as Staffordshire to identify the places she lived in and visited, and suggests how she drew on them for settings of her love stories - grand houses like Rosings and Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice, elegant town houses in Bath and London and Regency villas."

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Regency - Research - Madams Bawds & Brothel Keepers of London

Madams Bawds & Brothel Keepers of London by Fergus Linnane "is an entertaining romp through several centuries of social history," including The Regency.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Regency - Research - Royal St Jame's

Royal St Jame's Being a Story of Kings, Clubmen and Courtesans by E.J. Burford is useful when researching Regency London.

"A scandalous and sumptuously illustrated history of the royal parish of St James in London, from earliest times to the heyday of the Regency... the author colourfully portrays the astonishing variety of the little world of St James. He describes the long-standing rivalry between the beaux and bloods of the great Georgian clubs of White's, Boodles and Crockford's" - as well as many anecdotes.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Regency - Research - Walks Through Regency London

Walks Through Regency London by Louise Allen, describes 10 walks she  has undertaken.

"Louise Allen is the author of over thirty Regency novels. She loves exploring London in search of the ghosts of its past and is a passionate collector of all things Regency."

Walks Through Regency London has lavish illustrations from Louise Allen's collection of antique prints.

Ten walks are described. Walk One. (Distance 1.5 miles) St James. Gentleman's clubs, old shops, a palace, Almacks, Carlton House, Beau Brummell.

Even if the reader is unable to tread in Louise Allen's footsteps on each of the ten walks the book is rich in fascinating detail.

Amazon and my novels.

I'm delighted because Amazon are recommending my novels Tangled Love and Far Above Rubies to customers who have bought other historical novels.

Regency - Research - The Life and Times of George !V

The Life and Times of George IV by Alan Palmer (General Editor:Antonia Fraser) includes chapters titled, The Coming of the Regency 1807-1814, Contrasts of Victory 1814 - 1815 and Marriage and Mourning 1815 - 1819. Published in 1972 it is informative and well-illustrated.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Soup Maker

I used my new soup maker today. I chopped up a potato, a leek, a tomato, four stalks of celery and a leek and put it into the soup maker. then I shredded some coriander leaves and added it to the vegetables. Finally, I poured in three-quarters of a pint of water and two soup stock cubes. It took no more than ten minutes, and within twenty minutes the soup was ready except for the addition of two tablespoons of double cream. Delicious!

Regency - Waterloo - Dancing into Battle

Dancing into Battle, A Social History of the Battle of Waterloo by Nick Ffoulkes is fascinating. It "captures so well the mood of the time and each chapter covers an aspect of social life and the characters who were there, why they were there and what they did and thought about it." The Military Historical Society.

"Ffoulkes has written a wonderful book. Drawing on a rich stock of memoirs  from those who fought and those who partied at Waterloo, it creates a picture that is gaudy, sad, elegant and impeccably English." Mail on Sunday.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Regency - Research - The Age of Elegance

The Age of Elegance is the final book in Arthur Bryant's trilogy "devoted to the England that beat the French Revolution and Napoleon. This covers Regency England, a wonderful rich plum-pudding of a subject. It is the England of Wellington and Castlereagh, Scott and Byron and the Lake poets; of George Stephenson and Humphrey Davy, of Cobbet and Robert Owen. An England bursting with vitality and creativeness - getting on with the industrial revolution at home while successfully fighting the French Revolution abroad.!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Writing Goals and Cooking

Rather pleased with myself. I achieved my writing goals for today, made tomato soup, and also made rhubarb chutney with rhubarb from the garden. I enjoy the sweet and sour taste on crackers to be eaten with cheese, or, e.g. in a cheese and cucumber sandwich. I've also made a large jug of lemonade with unwaxed, organic lemons and organic honey. Very refreshing.

Regency - Research - Years of Victory

Years of Victory - 1802 - 1812 is the second in Sir Arthur Bryant's trilogy of the Napoleonic Wars.

"He paints a vital and  memorable picture of the Britain of 1939-1945 in its essential characteristics. A Britain startled by threats of invasion, grimly preparing to face the worst, solidly refusing to accept a tyrannical New Order in Europe, and then attacking again and again by land and sea. He shows how the inexorable blockade of an enslaved continent enabled her to gain a foothold in Spain and confront an astonished and sceptical world with the glorious campaigns of the Peninsular Wars."

Friday, 19 July 2013

Regency - Research - The Years of Endurance 1793 - 1802

Regency - Research - The Years of Endurance 1793 - 1802 by Arthur Bryant, the first of a trilogy.
"For twenty-two years this country fought against aggression and despotism to restore the law of nations and the liberties of mankind. She went to war in 1793 because the tyrants who had turned the French Revolution to violent and despotic ends had invaded Holland on the pretext of establishing the "natural frontiers".
As well as tracing the war against France this book also examines the social history and much more."

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Guest at Unusual Historicals

This week I am a guest at Unusual Historicals. The link is: unusual Apart from reading about Rosemary Morris and her novels, you can scroll down and find out about other interesting works of fiction.

Regency - Research - Britain against Napoleon

Britain against Napoleon by Carola Oman (Georgette Heyer's friend) is out of print, but as readable today as it was when my copy was published in 1943. Apart from tracing the events in the long war it is full of anecdotes.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Fierce Sun Overhead and Gardening

Going over to daughter's house later on this afternoon with the intention of splashing in the inflatable pool with the grandchildren, and helping the youngest to blow bubbles. Lots of fun.
I deserve it, I was out in the garden in the heat finishing the narrow border planted with veronica, lavenders and fuchsias. It looks gorgeous. Tomorrow I need to dig up a sadly overgrown patch and stand my potted, purple-red-leaved Japanese Acacia on it.

Regency - Research - Bucks and Bruisers

Bucks and Bruisers, Pierce Egan and Regency England by J.C. Reid

Yesterday, I collected the book from the library. I have leafed through it, and it looks very interesting.

Regency - Research - Bucks & Bruisers

Yesterday, I collected Bucks and Bruisers, Pierce Egan and Regency England by J.C. Reid from the library.

I've leafed through the book, and it looks as though it will be very interesting.

"Pierce Egan, whose Boxiana was the incomparable record of the golden age of pugilism, was by profession printer, publisher, journalist, hack-writer, actor and dramatist. His great success was a book called Life in London...

"In this the f
irst study of Pierce Egan J.C. Reed outlines his life and descrbes his careet, his intimate knowledge of London low life, and his eccentric, cocky, resilient personality...."

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Regency Research - The Gentlemen's Clubs of London

Today I collected The Gentleman's Clubs of London - Text by Anthony Lejeune - Photographs by Malcolm Lewis,, which I had reserved at the library. I have yet to read it. However, a glance through the book with many illustrations confirmed that it is a history of 39 gentlemen's clubs from their inception to about 1980. The Regency reader or researcher will find details of clubs in existence during that era. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Midday Sun

I am a mad Englishwoman out in the midday sun. Actually I finished my writing session (6a.m.-10a.m.) and went into the garden to plant out perennial fuchsias, French lavender in two shades and Veronica. I dug up the cornflowers that have finished flowering and added compost. Mind you, it's so hot that I retreated indoors every 20 minutes to drink some water and study a cookery book.

Regency - Research - Wellington The Years of the Sword

Wellington, The Years of the Sword by Elizabeth Longford.

"In the first volume Elizabeth Longford covers his (the Iron Duke's) martial life that ended abruptly, when he was a handsome resilient forty-six, in the holocaust of Waterloo. After Waterloo, Wellington was never asked to fire another shot.

This first volume shows the sensitive, withdrawn child of Irish aristocrats pushed into the army as 'food for powder', stumbling his way through the Flanders field , an abortive love affair, and the roistering banquet halls of Dublin Castle to reach India at twenty-seven. There he made his name and, as Sir Arthur Wellesley, returned to England and marriage to Kitty Pakenham ...etc."

I read this biography with great enjoyment and will consult it while writing my new novel, Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child published by MuseItupPublishing.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Blackbirds Having a Bath

England is having a heat wave. Yesterday evening I turned on the sprinkler to water the veggie patches and top up my very small pond. After I came upstairs, I looked out of the window on the landing and saw 3/4 grown blackbird fledglings chasing their mother begging to be fed. Then the mother fluttered across the lawn and obviously enjoyed being showered by the sprinkler. The fledglings followed her. The four blackbirds ran in and out of the shower. After five minutes or a little more,  they spread their wings and shook off the water before having a drink at the bird bath. As you can imagine, it was a delightful scene.

Regency - Research - High Society in the Regency Period

I found High Society in the Regency Period 1788 - 1830 by Venetia Murray very useful, and often refer to it.

"A delightful book well-researched and highly entertaining." Christopher Hibbert."

"Spanning the years from the French revolution to the Age of Reform, the elegant, dissolute Regency era was one of glorious paradox and turbulent change. Drawing on original material from the Royal Archives at Windsor and the Chatsworth Archives, as well as diaries, letters, memoirs and menus covering the whole spectrum of society..."

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Regency = Research - The Jane Austen Handbook

The Jane Austen Handbook. A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World.

"Every young lady dreams of a life spent exchanging witty asides with a dashing Mr Darcy, but how should you let him know your intentions? Seek counsel from this charming guide to Jane Austen's world. "

I found this handbook interesting and informative.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Gymnastics & Proud Grandmother

A very busy day yesterday which included Year Six's production of Aladdin at two of my grandsons' school.
The elder boy has bee practising gymnastics for 6 years. He is a member of a country team and has performed more than once in a theatre. Yesterday his performance looked effortless but he trains for 3 hours 3 times a week and sometimes on 5 days a week when a competition is imminent. ( He has already won a gold, silver and bronze medal. Not bad going for an 11-year old.)
Yesterday he came down the aisle between the audience and executed forward flips, cartwheels, handstands etc.,. Later he performed again in the from of the stage and once more at the final curtain call.
He received ample praise and, as you can imagine, I am very proud of him and admire his dedication and determination.

Regency - Research - Everyday Life in Regency & Victorian England

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England From 1811 - 1901 by Kristine Hughes.

"In this time saving reference book, respected author Kristine Hughes brings 19th century England to life as she leads you through the details that characterise this fascinating era.

From slice-of life facts, anecdotes and first hand accounts, to sweeping timelines and major historical events, this book presents the delightful and often surprising daily realities of Regency and Victorian England. With it you'll craft a vibrant story while you learn."