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 CafĂ© 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.