Tag Archive | historic fiction

Book Review: A Christmas Secret by Anne Perry

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Book Review: A Christmas Secret by Anne Perry

First of all, Merry Christmas, or as my British friends would probably say, Happy Christmas!
I hope everyone has had a jolly time so far this holiday season.
Yes, there have been a few things happen which are so sad, from the death of George Michael to the plane crash which killed sixty-four members of the Alexandrov Ensemble a.k.a. Russian Army Choir (formerly the Red Army Choir). As a longtime fan, I am stunned. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandrov_Ensemble

Our prayers go out to the families and to the country of Russia, as a whole, on the loss of so many members of this iconic ensemble. A true tragedy.
And to the friends and family, and the many fans of George Michael, I offer my deepest condolences.

But life goes on. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it can, but miraculously the sun comes up the next day even if we don’t want it to.
We’ve had our shares of ups and downs this year and over the last few, but our lives are going on.. And I am diving into reading again. I found I was spending so much time working on editing other people’s books, not only wasn’t I writing, but I also wasn’t reading. So that has changed. It’s my biggest New Year’s resolution. Read for fun!!!

So I grabbed one of Anne Perry’s Christmas Mystery books off the shelf where it had been sitting for a couple of years, and thought, I should read THIS!!!
I love Anne’s writing. It satisfies all my needs to my core. Nice historical settings. The ones that resonate with me—the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. I think that must have been the time period of my most recent past life. I have never really felt totally comfortable in this era. I’ve met Anne at the Surrey International Writers Conference ( http://www.siwc.ca ) in years past. I’ve even sat with her for lunch. And, of course, there are the inevitable meetings in the bathroom, during the conference. We are all the same.

During lunch, we chatted and her concerns were just like the rest of us, dietary. I have to order special meals because of serious allergies. We seemed to be a table of food concerns that day.
I missed seeing her this year. I hope she shows up in 2017. She is one of the figureheads of the conference—along with our beloved Jack Whyte ( http://www.jackwhyte.com )and Diana Gabaldon ( http://www.dianagabaldon.com )—and such a lovely person.

Of course, I started with the second one in the collection, A Christmas Secret, which is number four in The Christmas Stories. A Random House publication, it was published on November 7, 2006.

Here’s a brief description off Amazon.com.

“Dominic Corde is thrilled to “fill the robe” as substitute vicar in the village of Cottisham, while the Reverend Wynter is away on a three-week Christmas holiday. Glad to escape his dreary London flat and a less-than-satisfying job as church curate, Dominic and his beloved wife, Clarice, set off for what they hope will be a lovely winter getaway.

Upon arrival, in the midst of a frigid, exceptionally snowy season, Dominic and Clarice are welcomed by warm, hospitable neighbors and enchanted by the cozy, inviting vicarage. Everything seems almost too perfect. Dominic’s only concern is how he will be received by the congregation, who hold the Reverend Wynter in such high regard. But as Clarice soon discovers, she and Dominic have much more dire matters to worry about. It turns out that the Reverend Wynter isn’t on holiday at all–and that something very sinister has transpired.
As a blizzard leaves Cottisham treacherously snowbound and the isolated village swirls with unsavory secrets, Dominic and Clarice suddenly find themselves in deadly danger.”

I love Anne’s descriptive style. You can almost taste her verbal pictures of the weather and landscape. Here’s an excerpt.

“Dominic remained another fifteen minutes, and then took his leave out into a fading afternoon, now even more bitterly cold. Some of the clouds had cleared away, and it had stopped snowing. The light was pale, with the amber of the fading sun low on the horizon. Shadows were growing longer. The edge of the wind cut like a blade, making his skin hurt and his eyes water.
His feet slipped a little as he trudged down the icy drive. Other than the thud of the mounded snow on the evergreens overbalancing onto the ground below, there was silence in the gathering gloom.
Beyond the trees, the village lights shone yellow, making little golden smudges sparkling against the blue-gray of twilight. Someone opened a door onto a world of brilliance. A dog scampered out then back in again, and the light vanished.
Dominic’s hands and feet were numb. Hunching his shoulders from the cold, he stopped for a moment to retire his scarf.
That was when he heard the footsteps behind him. He swung around, his breath catching in his throat from the icy air in his lungs. The figure was there, crossing the village green only a few yards away. She was bent, shivering, and very small. She stopped also, motionless, as if uncertain whether to try running away.” Page 309 of the two book collection.

As a Canadian, who grew up in Ontario, and was born in one of the worst snowstorms in January of 1952, I can tell you this winter description is dead on the money. I can taste the cold. I got pneumonia, one year, from running to school, breathing through my mouth, without a scarf over my face. I know what icy cold feels like in your lungs. I know the wind of winter can take your breath literally away and make you think you are suffocating.

I can see the skies, and feel the air when I read her stories. Plus she knows how to pace a mystery, slowly and carefully, making you have to turn the pages and just finish the bloody book or you will never sleep. So I don’t pick up one of her books unless I know I have a few hours to read, because I’m just going to stay up through the night till it’s done. Thankfully, I’m a fast reader.

Anyway, I have now read three of her Christmas Stories, and will share bits from each over the next couple of weeks as I continue to read as many as I downloaded on my kindle. It was too ‘wintery’ outside to go to the bookstore, so I just bought the e copies. But know I am the kind of reader who likes the feel and smell of the hard copy in my hot little hands! I will never allow the tech device to replace the real thing completely. (Though I do like the ability to enlarge the print on these new fangled devices.) And I will probably pick up hard copies as I find them so I can wear them out for real. 😁
So, if you’re looking for a nice winter Mystery, here is a good one.
I give it five stars! Or six, if there was such a thing. *****(*)+

It’ll keep you in the Christmas mood!
Here’s a bunch of links:

http://www.anneperry.co.uk

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Secret-Novel-Stories-Book-ebook/dp/B000MAH7V8/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482781308&sr=1-9&keywords=anne+perry+christmas+series

https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Perrys-Christmas-Mysteries-Holiday-ebook/dp/B001IZC3MY/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482781366&sr=1-16&keywords=anne+perry+christmas+series.

Forgive the long links, I’m feeling very lazy today. 😳😒

And here’s a little something extra.

All the best, and Merry Christmas!

Lynne

 

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What’s Been Happening?

Hi Everyone!

Wow, I’ve been absent for a bit. I need to apologize to my readers. Had a little run-in with the big C and required surgery and various and sundry treatments.

So far—so good!

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In the meantime, I have been very lax in getting any blogging or writing done.

Some of my authors have been hard at work and so I’ve managed to get some stuff edited. That kept my brain working and filled my time.

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Donna Jean McDunn has completed the third book in her Nightmares Series. Premonitions will be coming out soon from MuseItUp Publishing. Also The Rose Stalker came out recently. Now there’s a super story! A slow paced little number that will keep you turning the pages as it gets scarier and scarier. Donna did a nice job on that one.

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Rosemary Morris and I just finished the edits on Monday’s Child, a sequel to her wonderful Regency Romance, Sunday’s Child. It is well done and the last few chapters were just great. It is set during the Napoleonic wars and her writing about those events, the soldiers involved in the fighting, the wounded, well, you feel like you’re right there.

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One thing about Rosemary, she is not one of those historical writers who set a 20th century character in the middle of another time. Her characters are genuine and part of the era. Her settings are well researched. The descriptions of the clothes, amazing. Just so well done!

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Have a new author I’m just finishing working with named William J. Dezell.

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We did It’s The Little Things You Miss. Oh, what a nice story. A mystery, but I loved the flavour of the book. A detective story with a fellow who should have been born in the Sam Spade era. Great lines. Super descriptions. Lots of wit. I’ll keep you updated on its progress. Bill’s other work:

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My author, J. Troy Seate, has moved on to another House. I just loved working with Troy and hope he does well wherever he goes.

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I have a couple of editing projects on my desk right now in the private field. One is a Historical Romance and the other is a Historical Word War Two Paranormal Action Adventure. Can’t wait to get my teeth into them! In the mean time, I have a couple of other projects to keep me busy.

 

I finished and published a book of Prayers which you can check out on my Exploring the Divine blog, www.exploringthedivine.wordpress.com  or my website, www.vlmurray.ca

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I have other things along those lines in the works right now. Plus my short story Huntin’,

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a paranormal thriller set in northern Canada, with a Medicine Wheel theme, was published in 2014. It’s a creepy little one. Lots of fun to write. Check out the book trailer on my website, and this site, as well.

 

I sure wish I had more time to sit down and work on my own things, but I’m gradually getting back into the swing of things.

So for now, I hope all is well with you. Take care, and enjoy the Spring!

Cheers,

Lynne

 

 

Coming out February 21, 2014: The Captain and The Countess

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Today is the release day for a very special book by well known author Rosemary Morris. The Captain and The Countess was a fun book to work on. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and had to rip through it quickly in order to be able to concentrate on the edits. Such is the nature of the action/adventure romances which Rosemary produces. Super read! Loved the heroine and the hero! Great antagonists to hate with a vengeance. 5***** stars all the way!!!!!

The Captain and The Countess: His heart captured by the Countess, only Captain Howard sees pain behind her fashionable façade and is determined to help her.

The Captain and The Countess by Rosemary Morris

Available from MuseItUp Publishing:

http://tinyurl.com/m5r9e8n

Sales price: $4.76

Sales price without tax: $5.95

Discount: $-1.19

Available where all your favourite ebooks are sold.

Genre:  Historical Romance

Tags:  Naval captain, artist, bachelor, Countess, widow, Queen Anne Stuart, Duke of Marlborough, Sarah Churchill, Fleet Street, High Society, Marriage, 18th century culture,18th century society, fashion, wine, the spice trade, The Royal Exchange, Dr Moore’s Almanac, Historical Novel, Historical Romance, Mainstream Fiction.

Release:  February 21, 2014

Editor:  V.L. Murray

Line Editor:  Greta Gunselman

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

ISBN  978-1-77127-492-0

Price  $5.95

Back Cover:

Why does heart-rending pain lurk in the back of the wealthy Countess of Sinclair’s eyes?

Captain Howard’s life changes forever from the moment he meets Kate, the intriguing Countess, and resolves to banish her pain.

Although the air sizzles when widowed Kate, victim of an abusive marriage, meets Edward Howard, a captain in Queen Anne’s navy, she has no intention of ever marrying again.

However, when Kate becomes better acquainted with the Captain she realises he is the only man who understands her grief and can help her to untangle her past.

Excerpt:

The Countess of Sinclair’s cool blue eyes were speculative.

Captain Edward Howard gazed without blinking at the acclaimed beauty, whose sobriquet was “The Fatal Widow”’.

Did she have the devil-may-care attitude gossips attributed to her? If she did, it explained why some respectable members of society shunned her.

The lady’s fair charms did not entirely explain what drew many gallants to her side.

He advanced toward her, conscious of the sound of his footsteps on the wooden floor, the muted noise of coaches and drays through the closed windows and, from the fireplace, the crackle of burning logs which relieved the chill of early spring.

Her ladyship scrutinised him. Did she approve of his appearance? A smile curved her heart-shaped mouth.

“How do you do, sir,” she said when he stood before her. “I think we have not met previously.” Her eyes assessed him dispassionately. “My name is Sinclair, Katherine Sinclair. I dislike formality. You may call me Kate.”

“Captain Howard at your service, Countess.” Shocked but amused by boldness more suited to a tavern wench than a great lady, Edward paid homage with a low bow before he spoke again. “Despite your permission, I am not presumptuous enough to call you Kate.”

“You seem gallant, sir, but you are young to have achieved so high a rank in Her Majesty’s navy.”

“An unexpected promotion earned in battle.”

“You are to be congratulated on what, I can only assume, were acts of bravery.”

“Thank you, Countess.”

The depths of her ladyship’s sapphire cross and earrings blazed, matching his sudden fierce desire.

Kate looked up at him.

He leaned forward. The customary greeting of a kiss on her lips lingered longer than etiquette dictated. Her eyes widened before she permitted him to lead her across the room to the sopha on which his godmother sat next to Mistress Martyn.

With a hint of amusement in her eyes, Kate regarded Mrs Radcliffe. “My apologies, madam, I suspect my visit is untimely.”

Her melodious voice sent shivers up and down his spine, nevertheless, Edward laughed. Had the countess guessed his godmother, who enjoyed match-making, wanted him to marry Mistress Martyn?

“You are most welcome, Lady Sinclair. Please take a seat and partake of a glass of cherry ratafia.” Frances said.

“Perhaps, milady prefers red viana,” Edward suggested.

“Captain, you read my mind. Sweet wine is not to my taste.”

In response to the lady’s provocative smile, heat seared his cheeks.

Kate smoothed the gleaming folds of her turquoise blue silk gown. The lady knew how to dress to make the utmost of her natural beauty. Her gown relied for effect on simple design and fine fabrics. Later, he would sketch her from memory.

Kate inclined her head to his godmother. “Will you not warn your godson I am unsound, wild, and a bad influence on the young?”

Edward gazed into Kate’s eyes. Before his demise, had her husband banished her to a manor deep in the country? If it were true, why had he done so?

Kate’s eyebrows slanted down at the inner corners. She stared back at him. He laughed, raised her hands to his lips, and kissed each in turn. “I look forward to furthering my acquaintance with you.”

“High-handed.” Kate gurgled with laughter. “Captain, please release me.”

What did he care if she were some ten years his elder? He wanted to get to know her better. Edward bowed. “Your slightest wish is my command.”

His godmother fluttered her fan. “Edward, Lady Sinclair, please be seated.”

When they sat side-by-side opposite Mrs Radcliffe, although Kate smiled at him, the expression in her large blue eyes remained cool. “Tomorrow, please join those who visit me daily at my morning levee.”

“I fear my voice would be lost among many, thus casting me into obscurity,” Edward replied, much amused.

“I don’t take you for one to be ignored. However, I respect your wishes. Besides those who seek my patronage, there are many gentlemen eager to wait on me. ’Tis more than my porter’s life is worth to deny them entry.” She looked at his godmother. “Mrs Radcliffe, do you not agree it is pleasant to lie abed in the morning while indulging in conversation with one’s admirers?”

Frances toyed with her fan. “It does help to pass the time.”

“Come, come, madam, confess you value their advice,” Kate teased.

“Sometimes.”

Kate turned her attention to Edward. “I have no doubt you would become a cherished member of the group of those who seek my favour.”

“Countess, life at sea teaches a man to be wary of enemies, not to compete with them. I am not a flirt who is given to haunting ladies’ bedchambers.”

“If I seclude myself with you tomorrow morning, may I have the pleasure of your company?”

“Alone with you in your bedchamber? How improper. Are you always so careless of your reputation?” he asked, with a hint of laughter in his voice.

Her eyes widened. “I have no reputation to guard, Captain.” She had spoken in a forward manner he was unaccustomed to in polite society.

“Have you not?” Edward needed a plunge in icy water.

A frozen glimpse of despair deep in her eyes unsettled him. Did he imagine it? He could not speak. Why should a lady like the countess despair?

He recovered his voice. “If it is your custom to take the air in The Mall, I shall be pleased to be your sole escort.”

Kate fidgeted with a diamond buckle. “Are the battle lines drawn?”

“Don’t confuse battle lines with a mere skirmish at sea.” His voice hinted at the chuckle he restrained.

“There are those who would welcome an invitation to a tête-à-tête with me.”

He preferred to take the lead in affairs of the heart. “Perhaps I am not one of them. Maybe I would like to be your friend.”

“My friend? Is that all you want of me?”

His eyes widened.

Kate laughed. “No, I thought not.”

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Rosemary Morris was born in Sidcup, Kent in 1940. As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was always ‘in a book’.

While working in a travel agency she met her Indian husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at WestminsterCollege.

In 1961 Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 to 1982. After an attempted coup d’etat, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction. The Captain and The Countess is her fifth published novel.

She is a member of The Romantic Novelist’s Association, The Historical Novel Society and Watford Writers.

Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit and vegetables and creative crafts.

Interview with Author Renee Duke

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N&R: My guest today is author Renee Duke. Here’s a short biography of Renee.

          Renee Duke grew up in Ontario, and British Columbia, Canada, and Berkshire, England. Due to a treacherous re-drawing of county lines while she was out of the country, her little market town is now in Oxfordshire, but she’s still a Berkshire girl at heart.

As a child, her favourite authors were Enid Blyton, Anthony Buckeridge, and Thornton W. Burgess. When she became a teenager, it was Jean Plaidy, Norah Lofts, Robert A. Heinlein, and Edgar Rice Burroughs who fed her voracious reading habit.

Time for reading lessened after she went into teaching, as did time for writing, which she has been doing since she was seven (the age at which she realized stories were actually made up by someone). Her work has appeared in such publications as Reader’s Digest, Zamoof!, Stitches, and Our World 50+ (Canada); Spider, Story Friends, and Pockets (U.S.A.), and My Weekly, and The People’s Friend (U.K.).

Mother of one son and servant to two cats, she resides in Kelowna, B.C. with her widowed mother. She still does an occasional inter-active history unit with 6 to 12-year olds at an after-school care centre, but is otherwise ‘retired’ and able to concentrate on writing.

N&R: Hi Renee. Welcome to Natter and Review. It’s very nice to meet you.

RD: Thank you.  And thank you for allowing me to join you today.

Note to My Readers: We have a contest to win a copy of Ms. Duke’s book. The information is at the end of the posting. Good luck!

N&R: Can you tell us a little more about your early years? I see you have grown up in two different countries. How did that come about? And where exactly did you live in Ontario. That’s where I grew up and lived till I was forty-four.

RD: I grew up in both Canada and England because my family lived in both. During WW II, my mother and oldest brother lived in Scotland for a time, as well, to escape the bombing. My father was born in Scotland, and from childhood up, cherished a dream of playing the bagpipes. My Sassenach (English)-born mother was unaware of this when they met and married, and never did learn to like them. By WW II, my father’s family had dispersed to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and he served with the Canadian forces. He took his own branch back there afterwards, then back to England (twice – once on an extended visit, the other to live), and then back to Canada again, where we finally took up permanent residence in Kelowna, B.C. In Ontario, we lived Keewatin, which is close to the Manitoba border. I have dual citizenship, and an accent that I am told is neither British nor Canadian.

N&R: I see you had some favourite children’s authors including Thornton W. Burgess. I think I read everything he wrote. What were some of your most loved? Did any of those stories inspire you to create other works?

RD: My favourite Burgess books were The Adventures of Chatterer The Red Squirrel and The Adventures of Bob White. When I was little, I really liked Enid Blyton’s Noddy books, and when I was older, her Galliano’s Circus trilogy her Naughtiest Girl trilogy and the five books in her Secret series.  I don’t know that any of them inspired my own writing, but my very favourite childhood book was The Secret Garden, so that might have started me thinking that the past was ‘cool’.  And I do vaguely recall making up stories that featured characters from some books I read.  I won’t say which ones, in case their heirs decide to sue. (Let’s just call it ‘fan fiction’ – small children don’t understand plagiarism.)

N&R: I think most of us did that when we were young. Tell us a little about your teaching career. What ages did you teach and what subjects were your specialties?

RD: I was (and am still licensed to be) an Early Childhood Educator. From 1974 to 2000, I taught 2½ to 5-year-olds their ABCs and 123s, and threw in as much drama and history as I could.  In 1977, I went to Belize, Central America, with World Peace and Development, and spent the summer working with 3-8-year-olds. I was also a playground supervisor for Grades K-7 from 1996 to 2012.  From 2008 to the present I have been doing interactive history programmes with 6-13-year-olds in an Out-Of-School Care facility.

N&R: Wow, that’s amazing. So you sure haven’t lost your touch. You say in your bio that you started writing at the age of seven. I can relate to that. What kinds of things poured out of your heart at that age? Do you still have any of your early work?

RD: The first thing I remember writing came from having to choose a topic off the blackboard at school and write a story about it. I did one about the life of a banana peel. As I recall, it ran several pages. I do not, however, recall what it was about, other than there was a banana boat and a banana spider involved. The earliest work I still have (somewhere) is a short, syrupy poem about Spring that I penned when I was eight. How anything that awful ever got chosen for the school magazine, I will never know. I’m sure the Ralphie Rabbit readers another school printed out for use in the Infants Class a couple of years later were almost as bad, but I have no proof of that as we didn’t take any copies with us when we next moved. I was allowed to print those myself, with the help of three friends. We were supposedly under the supervision of our teacher, but he was rash enough to leave the room for a few minutes and came back to four ink-covered children (two girls, two boys). After scrubbing us reasonably clean, he probably went home thankful that we would soon be moving on to ‘big school’, which, in England, you did at age eleven. I also wrote plays and made a lot of comic books based on favourite TV shows, such as Thunderbirds).

N&R: Sounds like you were well on your way to a higher career. You certainly have a lot of stories out in the magazine publishing world. How did that come about for you? And was it all fiction or some non-fiction in the mix?

RD: I started sending stories and articles out to magazines when I was still in my teens. They came back with monotonous regularity, but eventually, some of them were accepted. My magazine pieces for children have been mostly fiction. Only two were non-fiction, an article on Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo for Wonder Time and some turtle horoscopes for Zamoof! My adult pieces were all non-fiction, articles and humour pieces.

N&R: Are there any stories that our readers can get copies of?

RD: Some of the magazines are no longer being published, but they might be able to find back issues of Pockets (September 2003, April 2009), Spider (February 2006), Okanagan Life (June 2001, April 2005) or My Weekly (July 24, 2004). The People’s Friend is still being published, but its ‘Children Corner’ carried some of my earliest stories, and you’d have to go back quite a ways for copies of those (December 20, 1980, August 8, 1981, & April 3, 1982).

N&R: Did you lose the rights to those works that you published in magazines?

RD: No. I only sold First Time Rights. All other rights reverted to me, so I suppose I could think about posting them on my website—minus the artwork—which was created by other people.  Despite my childhood passion for doing comic books, I really don’t draw very well, but have been lucky in being matched with good illustrators. I especially like the great cover Marion Sipe did for The Disappearing Rose.

N&R: Glad you didn’t lose the rights. Some authors do and it is very frustrating for them. And that brings us to your recently published book, The Disappearing Rose from “The Time Rose Series” released by MuseItUp Publishing on August 23rd, 2013.

Tagline: The two little Princes in the Tower disappeared five centuries ago—so what are they doing in our time?

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Here is the back cover information from your book The Disappearing Rose.

            No one knows what happened to the little Princes of the Tower. That’s what Dane, Paige, and Jack are told when they start working on a medieval documentary for Dane and Paige’s filmmaker father. But then an ancient medallion transports them back to the fifteenth century and gives them a chance to discover the truth about the mysterious disappearance of young King Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard, Duke of York. But they’d better be careful. The princes are definitely in danger, and the person responsible for their disappearance just might decide that their new friends should disappear as well.

So, where did The Disappearing Rose come from?

RD: The Middle Ages have been my favourite time period for as long as I can remember, and I have been interested in the fate of the two royal brothers ever since I read about them in what my Grantie Etta character would call my ‘Tudor propagandist’ history text in school when I was about nine. Even at that age, the wicked uncle theory didn’t seem too convincing. That I would eventually want to come up with my own story about them was inevitable. Originally, I just planned a straight forward historical novel. The time travel approach came later.

N&R: How long did it take you to write the book?

RD: Due to the fact that I was involved in both the teaching and raising of children at the time, the actual writing took about two years. Research took considerably longer, and started before I had a clear idea of the book. For several years I was really just visiting places associated with the princes and their era, and learning more about it because I was interested. Though I was in London several times as a child, I never actually got to the Tower of London until my late teens, because I usually went with school or church groups and the Tower wasn’t on their itineraries.  Family visits didn’t work either because, on the one occasion we planned to go to the Tower, the queue was three quarters of the way up Tower Hill, and my father—who wasn’t big on waiting—wouldn’t. (We went to Madame Tussaud’s & the London Zoo instead.)

N&R: Were there any particular challenges or struggles to overcome to create the work?

RD: Not really. Just finding the time to do it. Now that I’m mostly retired, that isn’t quite so difficult.

N&R: When did you realize you had the makings of a series under your belt?

RD: Pretty much right away. The medallion that serves as the children’s time portal has been used by their family for generations. It has a definite purpose. In order for them to find and help the child it seeks, it must first take them to other children in trouble. The princes were the just the first of these.

N&R: Here’s an excerpt from the book, The Disappearing Rose, for our readers.

“After they had eaten, Dane remembered the paper under his hat. He took it out and studied his aunt’s translation but was unable to make anything of it. Holding it to one side so the others could see too, he read it out.

“Ancient portal, hear this plea,

Open for thy golden key.

Feel its power,

Know its might,

Put the Mists of Time to flight.”

Paige clicked her tongue. “Another cutesy little rhyme. We haven’t even figured out the first one yet.”

“No, but what it said about speaking words in proper tone had to be in reference to the ones in this rhyme. Trouble is there’s no knowing what they mean, either. ‘Open for thy golden key.’ What key? And how can a key have power?”

“The medallion’s gold,” said Jack. “Perhaps it’s the key. I don’t know what the ancient portal could be, though.”

“The door to some long forgotten temple in the middle of Armenia, I expect,” said Paige, standing up. “Maybe we should stick to uncovering secrets of the past that are closer to hand, like that secret passage you promised to show us.”

The boys got up, too. As soon as Dane had tucked the translation back under his hat, they went to the kitchen to ask Mrs. Purdom for what Jack called torches and he and Paige called flashlights. While she was getting them, Jack selected a key from a row of hooks hanging on the side of a cupboard and unlocked the cellar door at the back of the kitchen. “The cellar’s electrified,” he said, flicking on some lights, “but we’ll have to use our torches in the passage.”

“Mind you don’t get those costumes dirty,” said Mrs. Purdom.

“Someone else with a thing about clean clothes,” Dane murmured as they started down the cellar steps.

The cellar was a large one. It had other comparatively modern features besides electricity including a sink and, in a small room near the stairs, a chain-flush toilet.

“How come the secret passage is way down here, Jack?” Paige asked as they made their way past a row of wine racks. “In movies they’re always behind a bookcase or something.”

“It starts in an upstairs room in the oldest part of Rosebank,” Jack replied. “That room’s locked now, so we have to go in this way.”

Squeezing past some barrels, he led them into a storeroom. In keeping with the Wolverton family’s tradition of hoarding, Grantie Etta had filled it with disused furniture and other assorted junk. At the far end was a small wooden door covered by a curtain, a door Jack said was now the passage’s only entry point.

“It would have been the exit point once, wouldn’t it?” said Dane.

“No,” said Jack, pulling the curtain aside to unbolt the door. “The passage originally led out into a wood behind one of the gardens. The wood’s gone now, so that end of it was filled in and a door cut to give access to the cellar.”

He turned on his flashlight and shone it to one side of the passage entrance so the others could see the difference between the new masonry and the old.

“Come on,” he said, stepping inside.

Dane was sensitive to dust. His nose and throat quickly became irritated by the damp, musty odours that filled his nostrils as he and Paige followed Jack along the narrow tunnel they had entered. He wasn’t about to turn back though. He found the idea of exploring a secret passage just as intriguing as his sister did.

They walked along on level ground for a time. When not stepping over small piles of rubble, they had to take care not to slip on flagstones worn smooth by generations of feet. Farther on, winding stairs took them past the ground floor and into the upper part of the house.

At last Jack stopped in front of a stone ram that seemed to glare down at them from the wall. Handing his flashlight to Paige, he reached up and twisted the animal’s horns to open the passage’s other entrance. Much to his chagrin, nothing happened

“That’s funny,” he said. “I can’t seem to budge these horns.”

The ram didn’t respond to Paige’s efforts, either. Or Dane’s.

“The mechanism must be stuck,” said Jack. “Oh, well, there’s not much to see in there anyway. Just some old furniture and a painting or two.”

Dane pushed on the secret door itself, his medallion clinking against the stones at every shove.

Paige caught hold of it. “Hmm,” she said. “This thing’s supposed to open ancient portals. Let’s give it a try.” Stretching it out the length of its chain, she pressed it against the door. “It doesn’t seem to be working,” she said sadly.

“You didn’t do it right,” said Jack, entering into the game. “I expect it only opens things if you say the rhyme.”

“Oh, yes. I forgot about that. Okay, here goes.”

She chanted the rhyme in a silly, singsong voice, the kind of voice adults used for saying nursery rhymes to little kids.

“Well, that didn’t work, either,” she said, letting the medallion fall back against Dane’s chest. “I guess someone used up all its special power years ago.”

“You’re still not doing it right,” Dane said with a grin. “The words do have to be spoken in ‘proper tone’, you know. Let me try.”

The others giggled as he closed his fist around the medallion and held it next to his heart. They continued to giggle as he repeated the rhyme in solemn, majestic tones, emphasizing every word.

“Ancient portal, hear this plea,

Open for thy golden key.

Feel its power,

Know its might,

Put the Mists of Time to flight.”

Suddenly, sparks jumped at him from every side. Then a strange blue and white mist appeared, accompanied by a roaring sound. Within seconds, his ears were buzzing, and the whole passage spun around him.

Jack grabbed his shoulder in alarm.

“Dane, what’s happening?”

“I…I guess I did it right,” Dane gasped as the swirling mist engulfed them.”

 the_time_machine_large_01

Picture from The Time Machine movie made in 1960 starring Rod Taylor and based on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

Wow, that looks really interesting. I guess I will be getting the book asap. Time travel seems to be quite popular right now. When did you start being interested in the concept? And, well…do you think it is possible?

RD: I can’t remember if my first experience with the concept came from a book or TV, but I’ve long been intrigued by it and I do think it’s possible, though not perhaps in the manner often depicted in books.  I’ve read articles where people claim to have briefly stepped though into another time (such as pre-French revolution Versailles) but could not interact with anyone, merely observe for a time until the scene before them vanished.

N&R: I know what you mean. There are lots of recorded instances where people have claimed to have momentarily viewed another dimension or time. I would love to experience it but only if there was a guarantee of complete safety. LOL. Are the majority of your works geared toward Middle Grade readers?

RD: They are now.  I’ve really come to enjoy that age group since I started working with them.

N&R: If our readers wish to contact you, how would they get in touch? Do you have a website, twitter, blog etc?

RD: I don’t have a blog as yet. I do have a website and am on Facebook and Twitter. My son (actor/filmmaker, Richard Duke) is also planning a book trailer for the first Time Rose book, but that’s still in the idea stage.

N&R: Here are the links to purchase this e book.

Muse:   https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/coming-soon/the-disappearing-rose-detail

Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/mhlyljj

Amazon.ca:  http://tinyurl.com/lostrov

Barnes and Noble, Nook Book: http://tinyurl.com/l2jjhuc

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/the-disappearing-rose-the-time-rose-series

            One last question, do you have anything you would like to share with our readers about the writing world or your experiences with the publishing industry.

RD: E-publishing is a new field for me.  I’m having to learn as I go along.

N&R: Well, thank you for dropping by, Renee. I have enjoyed getting to know you and am looking forward to reading your book in its entirety.

RD: Thank you for having me.

N&R: You can connect with Renee Duke on her website at http://www.reneeduke.ca/ .

Watch for Book Two in the saga: The Mud Rose coming in January, 2014.

 

Contest:

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Painting by Paul Delaroche.

            Okay my peeps, now you get to put on your thinking caps. Ms. Duke is offering a free copy of her book to someone who votes and leaves a comment as to why they voted the way they did. She will be watching for the most clever and interesting answer. You have five days to put on your thinking caps and file your vote. All postings must be pre-approved by me so don’t freak if they don’t show up right away. I will be watching from a distance and okaying the non-spam votes. Thank you for your participation in advance.

Here we go: What happened to the princes, King Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard, Duke of York, and who was responsible for their disappearances, is still unknown, so we are putting it to a vote, with our possible suspects being:

(A)   Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), the uncle who reluctantly—or maybe not so reluctantly—took over the throne once the older prince had been deposed.

(B)   Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, another uncle who thought the crown would look better on his head.

(C)   Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who became king after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and strengthened his claim by marrying the princes’ sister, Elizabeth.

(D)  Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry Tudor, who knew from the moment he was born that her boy was better suited to kingship than any of those good-for-nothing Yorkists.

(E) Elizabeth of York, who had been heir presumptive until those bratty brothers came along.

(F) Sir Thomas More, who was only five at the time, but he could have hired someone.

Please enter your vote for one of the individuals listed above and include your comment as to why you chose the person you did, in the “Leave a comment” section below this article.

We look forward to you suggestions.

Interview with Author Rosemary Morris

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Natter and Review would like to welcome author Rosemary Morris today. Rosemary is a Historical Romance and Regency Romance novelist. She hales from Britain and lives in Hertfordshire.

Here is a brief biography of our guest.

Rosemary Morris was born in 1940 in Sidcup, Kent. As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was ‘always in a book.’ While working in a travel agency, Rosemary met her Indian husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at Westminster College. In 1961 Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 until 1982.  After an attempted coup d’état, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction. She is now a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novel Society, and Watford Writers. Her novel, Tangled Love, was short listed at the 2012 Festival of Romance for the best e-romance of the year.

Apart from writing, Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts.

Time spent with her five children and their families—most of whom live near her—is precious.

N&R: Hi Rosemary. Welcome to Natter and review. It’s great to have you here.

RM: Thank you for the invitation.

N&R: I have to ask because I see this event in your biography. What do you remember happening during the coup in Kenya? That sounds like it might have been a pretty frightening event.

RM: The first we knew of it was early in the morning when our twin sons came into our bedroom and told us they could hear guns firing. “Don’t be silly,” we said, “go back to bed, it’s too early to get up.”

All too soon, we found out there was an attempted coup d’etat and my imagination ran riot. Fortunately, the area I lived in was not affected. However, there were stories of looting and much worse. From then on, for my childrens’ safety and against my husband’s wishes I was determined to leave Kenya.

N&R: That sounds as if it must have been pretty scary. I think I would have headed for home as well.

Living in an ashram in France must have been very interesting. Is that where you developed a love of Indian Cooking?

RM: Yes, it was very interesting, and during my time in the ashram I developed a love of classical Indian literature such as The Bhagavad-gita As It Is, or Gita Govinda, the Song of God, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, The Mahabharat and The Ramayan amongst other famous translations.

I developed a taste for Indian Cooking while living with my in-laws in Nairobi. However, although I regularly make Indian dishes such as spinach and paneer (Indian cheese) curry, the recipe for which can be found in Far Beyond Rubies, I have an international collection of recipes. For example, my grandchildren will phone asking me to make risotto, lasagna made with spinach, ricotta cheese and pine nuts, apple or rhubarb pies and crumbles, as well as other food they particularly enjoy.

One of the reasons my family and friends enjoy the meals I cook is that I grow my own herbs, fruit and vegetables. Ingredients picked fresh from the garden taste superior to those bought from the shops. However, I am not 100% self-sufficient so I buy organic produce whenever possible.

N&R: Your dishes sound superb. I must admit I have a love of Indian cooking as well. I was pleased to see you had included a recipe at the end of Far Beyond Rubies. It was a great idea. And a nice dish as well.

Your books explore the era of the Napoleonic Wars and your male heroes and villains are often connected in some way to the military or the war of that period. You outline the atrocities very effectively and the various formalities of the era. When did this particular interest develop for you? And what kinds of things do you feel are important to note during this period of history.

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RM: The French Revolution and the aftermath destroyed the old order. Britain was determined to preserve the Rule of Law, including Habeas Corpus, which means no one can be held indefinitely without appearing before a judge.

When my hero and his best friend return to England, almost at the end of the long struggle in the Iberian Peninsula, it is a relief to be in a country not devastated by the depredations of brutal French soldiers. (Wellington did not tolerate looters, rapists etc. He had them hung.)

If the Duke of Wellington and Blucher had not defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the history of Europe would have been quite different.

N&R: I think I better read a little more about this period in history—especially if I want to continue as your editor. LOL. I find it really fascinating. Most of us study these kinds of things in school but we rarely pursue the topics later on in our lives.

I love the descriptions of the women’s clothing in all of your books. Some are absolutely breathtaking. Has women’s clothing been a favourite for you as a rule, or is it just this era that interests you the most?

RM: Thank you for the compliment. In my novels I try to recreate times past and part of that past is fashion, which even dictated how people moved. Can you imagine how restricted your movements would be when wearing whale-boned stays?   In each era in which my novels are set, I try to paint verbal pictures of my characters that include their appearance.

N&R: I think you have succeeded very well in that endeavor. And no, I cannot even dare to think how women could breathe, let alone move, in the kinds of things they were forced to wear in the past. I am very happy I live in this era.

How does one begin to research the kind of background knowledge required for creating a work such as Sunday’s Child?

RM: I have always been interested in history. Since childhood I have read voraciously, so there are many facts and anecdotes floating around in my mind. Over the years I have collected non-fiction about the Regency and other eras.

I have begun Monday’s Child, the sequel to Sunday’s Child, and decided the hero and his best friend will be hussar officers at the Battle of Waterloo. On Sunday I shall visit Apsley House, the residence of the Duke of Wellington, in search of more information. At the moment my bedside table is crammed with books about the Regency. As I read, I use post it notes on items of particular interest.

N&R: It must really help when you are writing these books to be able to go to the places where some of your stories have been set. That is wonderful. I live in British Columbia right now and it is a very young province whose history is certainly nothing like what you have available at your fingertips. You are very lucky.

MuseItUp Publishing has released four of your books now: Tangled Love, Sunday’s Child, False Pretences and Far Beyond Rubies, and we are just getting down to business with your latest, The Captain and The Countess. Can you tell our readers where the inspiration comes for these great stories? Let’s start with Tangled Love. Was it your first book? Where did the idea for the plot come from?

RM: As I stated above, I read historical non-fiction for pleasure. While seeking a period which is less often chosen to set historical fiction in, I read about James II. Although many of them did not like the man, his politics or his religion (Roman Catholic), the peers of the realm swore an oath of allegiance to him. Eventually, he was forced to flee to France. Subsequently, he was succeeded first by his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange, and then by his daughter, Anne.

William and Mary

Some peers of the realm felt they could not swear oaths of allegiance to either Mary and William, or Anne while James lived, and followed James to France. What, I asked myself, would be the position of the children of such peers? A story formed in my mind so I wrote Tangled Love, a tale of riches to rags to riches set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, 1702 – 1714,

The theme of Sunday’s Child is that of two people, who, as the result of war, could—in today’s terms—have become dysfunctional.

False Pretences, set in the Regency era, is the story of a young woman still at boarding school whose only wish is to find out who her parents are. There are many twists and turns in the tale before the surprising truth is revealed with the help of a charismatic gentleman she meets when she runs away.

In Far Beyond Rubies, set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, my heroine must prove she is the rightful heiress to a great estate and that she and her sister are not bastards. It was an era of political and religious controversy and intolerance. The hero adds to the heroine’s confusion when she doubts his political and religious affiliations.

My new novel, The Captain and The Countess, to be published in February, 2014, explores the possible relationship between an outstandingly beautiful, wealthy widow and a captain in Queen Anne’s navy.  The captain, who is also an artist, is the only gentleman to realize profound sorrow is buried deep in the alluring countess nick-named Fatal Widow.

N&R: I have to add that when I first became your editor, I wasn’t particularly fond of romances, never have been, but you changed my mind on that one. Your romances are full of excitement, adventure, graphic description that makes the era come to life, and historical reference. You also keep the dialogue fairly lodged in the period and not more modern as many authors prefer. I have learned a lot of interesting words from the time.

As you were saying, you are working on sequels to Sunday’s Child. What are these books about and was there a specific catalyst for the original story?

RM: Yes, as I have stated above, I am now working on Monday’s Child, the second in a series of seven novels named for the days of the week. In each novel, I introduce a character who will be the hero or heroine of the next book.

The catalyst for the first tale was my speculation about the effects of war in an era in which there was no counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder. My hero is an honorable officer, who returns to England at the end of the war in the Iberian Peninsula, tortured from a tragic event. My heroine is an eighteen year old young lady, who once wanted to marry an army officer. However, after the deaths of her beloved father and brothers due to war, she no longer wants to marry a ‘military gentleman’ for fear he would be killed in battle. So, the reader will ask, how can the captain and the major’s daughter find peace and happiness?

N&R: Sunday’s Child was our first book together. It kept me intrigued right to the end. Our last one, Far Beyond Rubies is a beautiful story and has a bit of a paranormal theme running through it concerning reincarnation. I personally believe in the concept and so was quite happy to see a reference to it in what I consider more mainstream fiction. How important do you think it is to bring an author’s personal beliefs or interests into their work?

RM: I think an author can explore personal beliefs, such as reincarnation, in fiction, so long as they are in keeping with the characters. In other words, the reader should find them interesting, and the author should not attempt to foist her beliefs on the reader.

N&R: That sounds like a good rule of thumb.

Let’s share some blurbs and excerpts from your work.

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Here’s the blurb from Tangled Love followed by a brief excerpt.

The throne has been usurped by James II’s daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William of Orange.  In 1693, loyal to his oath of allegiance, ten year old Richelda’s father must follow James to France.

Before her father leaves, he gives her a ruby ring she will treasure and wear on a chain round her neck.  In return Richelda swears an oath to try to regain their ancestral home, Field House.

By the age of eighteen, Richelda’s beloved parents are dead.  She believes her privileged life is over.  At home in dilapidated Belmont House, her only companions are her mother’s old nurse and her devoted dog, Puck.  Clad in old clothes she dreams of elegant dresses and trusts her childhood friend Dudley, a poor parson’s son, who promised to marry her.

Richelda’s wealthy aunt takes her to London and arranges her marriage to Viscount Chesney, the new owner of Field House.  Richelda is torn between love for Dudley and her oath to regain Field House, where it is rumored there is treasure.  If she finds it, Richelda hopes to ease their lives.  But, while trying to find it, will her life be at risk or will she find true love?

Excerpt:

Prologue

1693

Nine year-old Richelda Shaw sat on the floor in her nursery. She pulled a quilt over her head to block out the thunder pealing outside the ancient manor house while an even fiercer storm raged deep within. Eyes closed, she remained as motionless as a marble statue.

Elsie, her mother’s personal maid, removed the quilt from her head. “Stand up child, there’s nothing to be frightened of. Come, your father’s waiting for you.”

Richelda trembled. Until now Father’s short visits from France meant gifts and laughter. This one made Mother cry while servants spoke in hushed tones.

Followed by Elsie, Richelda hurried down broad oak stairs. For a moment, she paused to admire lilies of the valley in a Delft bowl.  Only yesterday, she picked the

flowers to welcome Father home and then arranged them with tender care. Now, the bowl stood on a chest, which stood beneath a pair of crossed broadswords hanging on the wall.

Elsie opened the massive door of the great hall where Father stood to one side of an enormous hearth. Richelda hesitated. Her eyes searched for her mother before she walked across the floor, spread her skirts wide, and knelt before him.

Father placed his right hand on her bent head. “Bless you, daughter, may God keep you safe.” He smiled. “Stand up, child. Upon my word, sweetheart, your hair reminds me of a golden rose. How glad I am to see roses bloom in these troubled times.”

Richelda stood but dared not speak for she did not know him well.

Putting an arm round her waist, he drew her to him. “Come, do not be nervous of your father, child. Tell me if you know King James II holds court in France while his daughter, Mary, and William, his son-in-law, rule after seizing his throne?”

“Yes, Mother told me we are well rid of King James and his Papist wife,” she piped up, proud of her knowledge.

With a sigh, Father lifted her onto his knee. “Richelda, I must follow His Majesty for I swore an oath of allegiance to him. Tell me, child, while King James lives, how can I with honour swear allegiance to his disloyal daughter and her husband?”

Unable to think of a reply, she lowered her head, breathing in his spicy perfume.

Father held her closer. “Your mother pleads with me to declare myself for William and Mary. She begs me not to return to France, but I am obliged to serve King James. Do you understand?”

As she nodded her cheek brushed against his velvet coat. “Yes, I understand, my tutor told me why many gentlemen will not serve the new king and queen.”

“If you remain in England, you will be safe. Bellemont is part of your mother’s dowry so I doubt it will be confiscated.”

If she remained in England! Startled, she stared at him.

Smiling, he popped her onto her feet. “We shall ride. I have something to show you.”

****

Before long, they drew rein on the brow of a hill. Father pointed at a manor house in the valley.  “Look at our ancestral home, Field House. The Roundheads confiscated it soon after the first King Charles’ execution.  Richelda, I promised my father to do all in my power to regain the property.” Grey-faced, he pressed his hand to his chest. “Alas, I have failed to keep my oath,” He wheezed.

Richelda not only yearned to help him keep his promise to her grandfather, she also yearned to find the gold and jewels legend said her buccaneer ancestor, Sir Nicholas, hid.

She waited for her father to breathe easy before she spoke. “If we found the treasure trove you could buy Field House.”

“Ah, you believe Sir Nicholas did not give all his plunder to Good Queen Bess,” he teased.

“Elsie told me legend says he hid some of his booty in Field House.”  The thought of it excited her.  “In his old age, when Sir Nicholas retired from seafaring, is it true that he put his ship’s figurehead, Lady Luck, in the great hall?”

“Yes, for all I know she is still above a mighty fireplace carved with pomegranates, our family’s device.”

“I would like to see it.”

“One day, perhaps you will. Now, tell me if you know our family motto.”

“Fortune favours the brave.”

“Are you brave, my little lady? Will you swear on the Bible to do all in your power to regain Field House?”

To please him, and excited by the possibility of discovering treasure, she nodded.

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Here’s the blurb and excerpt from Sunday’s Child.

Georgianne Whitley’s happy life ends after the death of her beloved father and brothers.

In Sunday’s Child, Georgianne Whitley, must cope with her widowed mother in order to secure her happiness and that of her two younger sisters.

When Rupert, Major Tarrant returns to England from Spain in 1813, his family expect him to marry and father an heir, but although Tarrant wants to please his relations he has compelling reasons for not wanting to have a child.

A rich, elderly suitor desperate for a male heir seeks Georgianne’s hand in marriage.  Although the titled man’s offer would improve her situation she hesitates to accept his proposal.

Georgianne, who has known Tarrant since she was in the nursery, turns to him for help.  She knows he is quixotic and that he will never fail her.  Yet, even in order to help her sisters she is not sure as to whether or not she wants to accept his solution to her problems.

Tarrant admires dainty Georgianne and wants to protect her, but if he expects her to conform to Regency conventions and manners he will be surprised.  Sunday’s child is ‘fair of face’ but she is not a ‘bread and butter Miss’.

Neither Tarrant nor Georgianne can guess what the future holds.

Excerpt:

Tarrant stood in quiet contemplation by the drawing room window framed by faded velvet green curtains.

Adrian Langely stared at him.“What are you looking at?”

“The wind whipping the leaves from the trees. Oh, what does the weather matter? We have campaigned in worse conditions.”

His friend’s smile made him look younger than his twenty-seven years. It transformed the deep lines of his square soldier’s face and softened his dark eyes. “Am I correct in thinking you favour the beautiful Miss Whitley?”

Tarrant shrugged. “I have known Miss Whitley since her infancy, and admit to a certain fondness for her.”

Langley grinned. “Be careful, my friend, before you know it, you will become a tenant for life.”

Tarrant turned away from the window. “I have not considered marriage for a long time, however, my father wants me to tie the knot and, in biblical terms, beget an heir.” As he spoke, his mind crowded with memories of ladies suffering in the hands of French soldiers, compatriots of those who had cheered each time a head rolled during the French Revolution.

“Dolores?”

At Langley’s mention of the lady to whom Tarrant was previously betrothed, Tarrant’s face contorted.

“I beg your pardon. I should not have mentioned her.” Langley cleared his throat. “You never told me why you broke it off. If you still love her is there no hope of making her your wife?”

“We did not break if off.” His shoulders slumped. “At the time I could not bear to speak of the matter. She was repeatedly raped by French soldiers. She died in childbirth.”

“My God! I did not know, I never guessed!” Langley exclaimed, jerked out of his usual calm.

Every muscle in Tarrant’s body contracted. He was present at the time of Dolores’s death. Even now, her screams, as she struggled to give birth, rang in his ears. He shuddered at the memory of his horror as those piercing cries faded to faint groans when Dolores delivered a stillborn baby. Overcome by grief he had made an impulsive vow never to be responsible for such suffering. He sighed. Since his elder brother’s death, he needed to fulfill his duty to father an heir, yet…

Tarrant clenched his teeth. Despite his avowal of undying love and his assurance that he would marry her after the baby’s birth, he doubted Dolores had wanted to live. Most likely, she had welcomed death.

He crossed the room and stared out of the window into the night. “I must see to my horse,” he said, his voice husky.

On the way to the stable, he paused to look up. Dark, silver-edged clouds raced across the full, lemon-yellow moon. He bent to rub his right leg. Although it had healed, it ached sometimes.

I am feverish, he thought, when he imagined Georgianne and Dolores’s faces merging.  Usually, he tried not to think of gentle Dolores, in whose admiration he once basked. He sighed and entered the stable. Corunna, his grey, whickered a welcome. He stroked the horse’s neck, considering past events. After witnessing the consequences of the brutality of Boney’s officers and common soldiers toward the fair sex, like Langley, and many other gentlemen, he believed a nation’s civilisation should be judged by how it treated women. He despised men like Pennington, who thought their rank entitled them to grab anything they wanted without mercy.

Oh, he did not claim or wish to claim the virtues mouthed by men like Wilfred Stanton. Before his betrothal to Dolores, he had always enjoyed the petticoat company whom he treated with respect. At the same time, he had always taken care not to disgrace either his family or his regiment.

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Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from False Pretences.

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

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

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

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

Excerpt:

The chaise came to a halt no more than two yards from Annabelle and Dan.

Annabelle swallowed the bitter bile, which rushed into her throat in response to her brush with near death from horse’s hooves and deadly wheels, and all her limbs trembled.

A groom alighted from the back of the chaise and opened the door nearest to her.

“Why the devil have we stopped?” a crisp male voice demanded.

The groom scrambled down from his seat next to the coachman, lowered the steps, and mumbled something before a tall gentleman descended.

Annabelle glanced at the coat of arms on the chaise and assumed they must be those of her would-be-bridegroom, for who else would travel along this short-cut to The Beeches so early in the morning? Besides, her mind was too preoccupied with Dan to consider other alternatives. “Monsieur le Baron de Beauchamp, I presume. Your arrival is more than welcome, monsieur.” She pointed at Dan, who lay limp on the road. “We need help. A footpad held us up. You cannot imagine a dirtier, scruffier, more impertinent person…”

“Indeed,” the gentleman murmured, his eyebrows lowered.

She stared up at Monsieur le Baron. Some six feet tall, dressed in a beautifully cut dark green coat, cream-coloured unmentionables almost moulded to his powerful legs, a dark grey coat with as many as twelve capes and a snow white, intricately tied cravat at his throat, her artist’s eyes approved of him. Her eyes also approved of his short black hair which curled at the ends, a pair of large brown eyes with golden depths, and a well-shaped, clearly defined mouth that had deep, endearing dimples on either side of it, softening the effect of his square jaw and cleft chin.

The baron picked up her hat, dusted it with gloved fingers, and inclined his head. “I regret I have no comb in hand for you to tidy your curls.”

She sighed, well able to imagine the small, unruly curls that often escaped and clustered round her face, despite her best efforts to subdue them.

“You are trembling. Allow me to help you to stand and I shall return your hat to you,” he said, his eyes troubled and his expression thoughtful.

She stood without his help and he handed the hat to her. “Thank you.” Made ill-at-ease by his scrutiny, she tried to smooth those annoying little curls before she replaced her hat. “Monsieur, a footpad took my saddlebags, knocked Dan down, and stole my mare.”

“Good God! Did he harm you?” The gentleman stepped forward to clasp her hands.

His touch sent fire up her arms. She pulled herself free from him, and then tried to shake the dirt from her skirts. “I am uninjured but, as you see, poor Dan is unconscious.” She knelt next to the stable boy. “He is so pale.”

“So would you be if you had been knocked senseless. Do stand up again. Rest assured that I will not leave the lad here. My groom shall put him on the floor of the chaise. That will not leave much room for our feet but we shall contrive until we reach the next village.”

Annabelle hesitated. She was not ignorant of the ways of the world, and knew she should not travel in his chaise without a chaperone, but realised she had no choice. It would be folly to reject his offer and either wait for help or walk to the inn, prey to any other footpad lurking in the woods. She stood and pointed in the opposite direction to the one from which the chaise had approached. “Dan said there is an inn not far from here.”

The baron beckoned to his groom. “Put the lad in the chaise,” he ordered.

When the muscular groom picked Dan up without the slightest difficulty, Dan did not stir.

“Gently,” the baron ordered and watched his groom settle the young man inside the chaise. The baron nodded at his coachman. “Turn the chaise round.” He turned to Annabelle and offered her his arm. Without pause for prudent hesitation, she put her hand on his smooth broadcloth sleeve, surprised by the sudden tingling in her fingertips.

Annabelle permitted him to lead her far enough down the road to make way for the chaise to turn.

“Good, you have stopped trembling.” The baron smiled. His dimples deepened. Her heart lurched and continued to when the baron scrutinised her face as they waited to get into the chaise. “May I ask how you know my name, Miss—?”

She removed her hand from his arm and looked down at the tips of her dusty riding boots. “I am Miss Allan. We were expecting you. That is, Miss Chalfont told me, oh dear, this is so awkward, monsieur. I am sorry to disappoint you, but I must be honest. Nothing would persuade me to marry you, for although your eyes do not bulge like a frog’s and you are handsome, you are too old for me.” Nervous, she moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue.

“Thank you for your compliment, I am relieved to hear my looks do not displease you,” the gentleman said dryly.

“Don’t try to persuade me to change my mind.” Her cheeks burned. She should not have been outspoken and rude. Yet she ran away because she did not want to marry at her guardian’s command, and she still believed she had no other choice despite Monsieur le Baron’s handsome appearance and charm. She peered up at him before resuming her contemplation of the tips of her boots.

Le monsieur’s mouth twitched. His eyes laughed at her. “Please be good enough to tell me why you are here with an unconscious ragamuffin.”

“I like to ride early in the morning.”

“Ah.” His eyes still laughed at her, their golden flecks deepening. “As soon as we reach the inn, I will send someone to notify the authorities of the crime.”

“Do you think my mare will be recovered?” She looked up at the seemingly harmless man whom Fanny had described as one overly fond of women. Thank God he was not ogling her. Even Miss Chalfont could not have objected to his manners. She

looked away from his expressive eyes, fringed with sooty black lashes, long enough to make any young lady envious.

Oh, she understood his success with the fair sex. Not only did he possess an attractive personality but he had broad shoulders and a slim waist, and those muscular thighs beneath the tight fitting unmentionables she had already noticed.

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And finally, Far Beyond Rubies, the latest Rosemary Morris publication from MuseItUp Publishing.

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 on 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.

Excerpt

“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?

A cold light burned in the depths of William’s pebble-hard eyes.

Juliana straightened her neck. She would not bow her head, thus giving him the satisfaction of revealing her inner turmoil.

William cleared his throat. His eyes gleamed. “Did you not know you and your sister were born on the wrong side of the blanket?”

Anger welled up in her. “You lie. How dare you make such a claim?”

Hands clasped on his plump knees, William ignored her protestation. “You now know the truth about your whore of a mother,” he gloated.

Well, she knew what William claimed, but did not believe him. “You are wicked to speak thus. My mother always treated you kindly.”

“As ever, you are a haughty piece.” William’s broad nostrils flared. Anger sparked in his eyes. “My dear sister, remember the adage: Pride goeth before a fall, however, do not look so worried. I shall not cast you out without the means to support yourself.”

William rang the silver handbell. When a lackey clad in blue and gold livery answered its summons, he ordered the man to pour a glass of wine.

Juliana watched William raise the crystal glass to his lips. What did he mean? How could she maintain herself and her sister? She had not been brought up to earn a living.

She looked away from her half-brother to glance around the closet, the small, elegantly furnished room in which she kept her valuables and conducted her private correspondence before her father’s death.

Now it seemed, William, the seventh Baron Kemp, and his wife, Sophia, had sought to obliterate every trace of her by refurbishing the closet. Where were her books and her embroidery frame? Where was Mother’s portrait? Rage burned in the pit of her stomach while she looked around her former domain. Juliana wanted to claw William’s fat cheeks. It would please her to hurt him as he was hurting her. No, that wish was both childish and unchristian. She must use her intelligence to defeat him.

At least her family portrait—in which her late mother sat in front of Father, and she and William, dressed in their finest clothes, stood on either side of Mother—remained in place. One of her father’s hands rested on her pretty mother’s shoulder, the other on the back of the chair. A handsome man, she thought—while admiring his relaxed posture and frank expression, both of which depicted a man at his ease.

At the age of five, she already had resembled Mother when Godfrey Kneller painted her family in 1693. They both had large dark eyes and a riot of black curls, as well as fair complexions tinged with the colour of wild roses on their cheeks. She touched her narrow, finely sculpted nose. Judging by the portraits, she inherited her straight nose, oval face, and determined jaw from Father.

Her hands trembled. After Father died, she knew life would never be the same again. Yet nothing had prepared her for what would follow.

Today, when she first stepped into the spacious hall, it seemed as though she had also stepped over an invisible threshold. From being a beloved daughter of the house, she had become her half-brother’s pensioner. Knowing William and Sophia’s miserly natures, she doubted they would deal kindly with her. Yet she could not have anticipated William’s appalling accusation of illegitimacy, and his arrangement—whatever it might be—for her to earn her living.

The lackey served William with another glass of wine.

William jerked his head at the man. “Go.”

Her head still held high, Juliana looked at tall, fleshy William. She liked him no more than he liked her. Indeed, who would not dislike a man so parsimonious that he neither offered his half-sister the common courtesy of either a seat or a glass of wine? Infuriated by his gall, she clasped her hands tighter, trying to contain her anger and keep her face impassive.

She shivered. Today, when she alighted from the coach, rain soaked her clothes. On such a wet, grey day, why did no fire blaze in the hearth? Here, in the closet, it was scarcely warmer than outdoors. She clenched her hands to stop them trembling and imagined the heart of the house had died with Father.

“You shall put your fine education, which our father boasted of, to good use,” William gloated. “You shall be a teacher at a school in Bath.”

Fury flooded Juliana’s chilled body. “Shall I?”

“Yes. Our father saw fit for you to have an education far beyond your needs. You are more than qualified to teach young ladies.”

“Beyond my needs? Father admired Good Queen Bess and other learned ladies of her reign. He deplored Queen Anne’s lack of education. Our father decided no daughter of his would be as ignorant as Her Majesty and her late sister, Queen Mary.”

The purple-red colour of William’s cheeks deepened. “Enough! I despise over-educated women.”

She stared at him. Undoubtedly his mean-minded wife had influenced him. Sophia was jealous because her own schooling comprised of only simple figuring, reading, and writing learned at her mother’s knee, whereas Juliana benefited both from the tutors her tolerant father, the sixth baron, had engaged, and her father’s personal tuition.

William interrupted her thoughts. “You have no claim on me.”

N&R: That is an amazing collection of work. I have read and reread them all and still could do it again. I encourage all my readers to purchase copies through MuseItUp Publishing. These are very intricate stories with adventure for both sexes. Is there one of your books in particular which you like more than the others?

RM: I like all of my novels equally, but am particularly pleased that Far Beyond Rubies has been published because it gave me the opportunity to develop various themes, such as reincarnation, which I have mentioned.

N&R: Can you tell us a bit about the novel you are working on right now without giving away too much of the plot?

RM: Monday’s Child begins in Brussels shortly after Napoleon has escaped from Elba. The hero and heroine are characters introduced in Monday’s Child. They assumed they would marry, but unforeseen events will intervene.

Here are my author’s notes and my draft of the first, very short chapter.

 

Monday’s Child

Monday’s child is fair of face.

                                                                                                                                                                                             First line of Monday’s child poem

* * * *

Author’s Notes

After the collapse of Napoleonic France a new country, called The United Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. It incorporated the former Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), and the Dutch provinces. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands formed a buffer state between France—the throne of which Louis XVIII, the Bourbon king, had ascended—and land-hungry Prussia. To strengthen the borders, British troops were stationed in the country which the Duke of Wellington visited on his way to Vienna for the peace conference.

The defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the rule of the House of Orange resulted in debt ridden English people flocking to Brussels where they could reduce their expenses.

* * * *

Chapter One

March1815

Brussels

Helen Whitley frowned as she regarded her reflection in the full-length mirror of her luxurious bedchamber, in the house which her brother-in-law, Rupert, Major Tarrant, and her older sister, Georgianne, had rented on the Rue Royale.

“If you will permit me to say so, you look beautiful, Miss,” her middle-aged dresser said, smiling shyly while she bent to tweak one of the six frills at the hem of  the new, cream silk gown into place.

Helen sighed at the sight of the soft folds of the gown which flowed from beneath her breasts. “Thank you, Mabey,” she said, in a flat tone of voice.

She scrutinised the low-cut bodice, ornamented with tiny seed pearls, and her pearl necklace and earrings. Although, in her own opinion she was too tall for beauty, she was the epitome of a well-dressed young lady, about to attend a ball.

The expression in the green eyes gazing at her from the mirror softened. Soon Viscount Langley, Rupert’s comrade in arms, would arrive in Brussels and propose marriage to her. Afterward, she would insist they loved each other so dearly that there was no reason to delay their wedding, and then she would be free from Georgianne and Rupert’s charity.

Another long drawn out sigh escaped her as she coaxed a brown, pomaded curl into place on her forehead. She was an ungrateful wretch. Through marriage to Rupert, their cousin-in-law, Georgianne had saved her from a life of unhappiness.

Subsequently, Langley’s tender consideration and kind words had made it obvious that he loved her.

“Miss?” Mabey held out a pair of elbow-length white kid gloves.

Helen put them on, her head filled with thoughts of Langley, and then allowed Mabey to enfold her in a rose-pink velvet cloak which would keep her warm on her way to the ball with Georgianne and Cousin Rupert. Once, she had looked forward to making her debut in society. Now that she was part of it, her enjoyment was diminished by Langley’s absence. The evening would be perfect if he were at the ball. Oh, how she longed for the day when they would be man and wife. © 2013 Rosemary Morris

N&R: I’m looking forward to that one coming across my desk.

Is there anything you would like to share with up and coming historical fiction writers?

RM: It is embarrassing to admit I wrote for many years without securing an agent or a publisher. Fortunately, my late husband encouraged me to continue. He said that one day all my novels would be published. He was right, after much revision some of them have been. Along the path to publication I studied books on how to write, attended some workshops, and joined one to one and online critique groups. This helped me to polish my novels. However, from time to time I was advised to write something different—e.g. cosy crime, contemporary novels—because historical fiction is not as popular as it used to be. I did not agree with this well meant advice and continued to write historical fiction.

In my opinion, up and coming historical fiction writers should make sure they are not writing about 21st century characters plunked in the past. They should ensure that their characters are of their time and place, which means authors should not skimp on meticulous research.

N&R: Very good advice.

Well thank you for visiting and we wish you well in all your future literary endeavors.

RM: Thank you very much.

N&R: For our readers, the following links will connect you to Rosemary’s website, blogs and locations to purchase her work. Please support this very talented writer. I really look forward to working with her more in the future as an editor; it certainly offers me a great opportunity to be one of the first to read her genuinely well-crafted stories.

Links:

http://tinyurl.com/bzydpr8

http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-Morris/e/B007MQI9Q2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1371792933&sr=1-2-ent

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=%22Rosemary+Morris%22

http://www.rosemarymorris.co.uk/             http://www.rosemarymorris.blogspot.ca/

 

 

Interview with Author Tammy Lowe

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Today’s guest is author Tammy Lowe, a new member of the MuseItUp author alumni. Here is a biography of our visitor.

Tammy lives in Cambridge, Ontario, with her husband of twenty years and their teenage son.

From September to June, she is surrounded by preschoolers and covered in glitter and glue.

Once school is out, she grabs her hubby and son and takes off on some grand adventure. They’ve explored pyramids in Egypt and sailed down a river in rural China on a tiny raft,  slept in the tower of a 15th century Scottish castle, searched for the Loch Ness Monster and have even dined at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert. She’s part Mary Poppins, and part Indiana Jones.

Tammy loves to explore this amazing world of ours.

As a kid, she loved to read books and watch shows like Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables.  She loved anything set in the “olden days”.

When she was about ten years old, Tammy began to wonder about time travel. Her biggest wish was to end up back in the pioneer era. She wanted to go and hang out with spoiled Nellie Olsen. When asked, Tammy can’t recall why she wished for Nellie over Laura Ingalls, but thinks it may have had something to do with the fact that Nellie’s parents owned the candy shop.

Tammy realized she didn’t want to live in the 18th or 19th century because she’d miss her family too much, and also she knew she can’t live without modern comforts but wanted the freedom to travel back and forth through time.

So strong was her wish to time travel, she even dressed the part, as much as possible, without raising anyone’s suspicions. She wore dresses to school every day, when all her friends wore jeans and t-shirts. She had to be prepared just in case it worked and she was whisked through time. One summer, Tammy even begged her mom to buy her a bonnet.  She did. Tammy wore that white bonnet everywhere.  If she had ended up in Walnut Grove or Avonlea, she was ready.

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By the sixth grade she was old enough to realize that time travel probably wasn’t going to be a reality for her, so she decided that when she grew up, she’d write a book about a girl who could travel back and forth through time.

N&R: And so I guess that is where we should start. It’s obvious I don’t have to ask you how much of The Acadian Secret has you and your childhood desires in it, so, I am going to ask, what did you want to cram into this book that you managed to succeed in doing?

TL: I wanted to include the tale of the Oak Island Money Pit. It is the longest running, the most expensive, and the deadliest treasure hunt in history…and it’s right here in Canada.  The discovery of the mysterious pit, by three teen boys in 1795, is a huge storyline in The Acadian Secret.

N&R: I’m into time travel as well. Did you contemplate other ways to get your heroine across the years besides using a necklace?

TL:  It was always going to be with a quartz crystal.  I learned about the electronic wonder of a quartz crystal watch and that sent my imagination into overdrive.  I find it amazing that a crystal can send off a vibration used to measure time.  I imagined what might happen if I had a quartz crystal bigger than one in a watch. I put it on a chain and gave it to Elisabeth.

N&R: Tell us more about the beginnings of this particular tale. Where did it spring from? Were there any specific catalysts?

TL: That is hard to answer.  The Acadian Secret is almost two stories in one and you don’t know how they tie together until the very end.  In a sense, it was written in layers and woven together over several years. There was no specific catalyst.

I felt as if I was following a trail of breadcrumbs. Doing research, something unrelated would catch my attention and I knew I had to go with it. I was never sure how it would tie in, but I knew to follow my intuition.

Many curious things happened during the entire process. For example, many of my characters were real people in history. There was one young lady I needed to include in the story, but I was having trouble finding her real name. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah kept floating around my brain, so I called her Sarah, with the intention of changing her name once I discovered it in my research. When I finished writing, and I couldn’t imagine my Sarah being called anything else, I discovered her real name. It was Sarah. That gave me goose bumps.

Everything seemed to happen that way, even after I finished the manuscript. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard back from the content editor who had taken on my book.  As fate would have it, she had also spent years researching the Oak Island Money Pit and knew all about it.  She was the perfect person to help me polish The Acadian Secret.

N&R: Wow, that’s pretty interesting. Even though you have traveled to Scotland and seen the place or places like the ones described in your book, how much research was required to turn out a convincing story of the time period described?

TL: There is a lot of research involved. Not just with Scotland, but with Nova Scotia’s mysterious Oak Island Money Pit as well.  I don’t want to give twists in the plot away, but the research goes beyond Scotland.  It’s taken me years to put it all together and lay the foundation for the follow up books.

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N&R: How about giving us a short write-up on the story to entice our readers?

TL: THE ACADIAN SECRET is a Tween/YA Paranormal Action-Adventure about a young girl who can…time travel.

Here’s the tagline: Elisabeth finds she can play in the past; when bosom friends, treasure hunters and tormented alchemists are still the norm.

BACK COVER:

Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents.  Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland.  They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.

Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think.  The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.

However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft.  At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.

N&R: Can you share an excerpt from the book?

TL: Sure, let me just tie on my bonnet and get into the mood.   *clears throat*

“As the afternoon sun began to travel behind the mountains, it cast an emerald glow across the glen. The valley was littered with boulders, while a small river twisted its way toward a distant forest.

Malcolm Craig was stalking his prey. He was a tall, strong man with piercing blue-green eyes, a short beard, and wild black hair that gave him a crazed look. He smelled the boar before he saw it. Talbot, his hunting dog, lunged into the brambles after the wild pig which began to grunt in anger. That was when something to the right caught his eye. A young girl lay motionless in the heather.

“What the devil?” Malcolm said as he jumped down from his horse. While still keeping his hearing attuned to Talbot and the boar, he walked over and bent to peer at her. He breathed a sigh of relief to find she was fast asleep. Malcolm scooped the sleeping girl into his arms. “You’re lucky I found you, lassie, before that beast did.”

With a sigh, she rested her head against his chest and put her arms around his neck. “Daddy…” she said in her sleep.

Malcolm laughed. “Daddy? I’m nae your daddy. No daughter of mine would be dressed like this, wandering around barefoot in the middle of…”

Elisabeth’s eyes popped open and she let out an ear-piercing scream. She bit Malcolm’s shoulder and he dropped her.

“Och, child! You bit me!”

The silence in the valley broke as Talbot howled, the boar squealed and Elisabeth jumped to her feet and wailed in horror.

“Dinnae move, lass!” Malcolm yelled to be heard over the pandemonium. He reached for his dagger. It was almost time for the kill.

The enraged boar deserted his hiding spot in the brambles and charged toward the dog, its lethal tusks ready to kill. Talbot was well-trained so, instead of turning tail and running, he danced backward, facing the pig, luring it away from his master. With the boar now in pursuit of the dog, Malcolm did what was natural to any man born and bred in the Highlands: he ran at the beast as if he were a wild animal himself. Jumping on the boar from behind, he grabbed its ear, yanked its head up and slashed its throat.

Elisabeth continued to scream. Malcolm jumped off the boar as it fell limp at his feet and cleaned the blade on the carcass before putting it away. He walked toward Elisabeth, his bloody hands held in front of him.

“Enough, lass. It’s all right now.”

Her wide eyes fixed on the enormous man dressed in a skirt. “You’ve got a knife!”

“Aye. And a sword.” He smirked as he pointed to it.

“You’re armed!”

“I’m nae going to harm you, though. I was hunting.”

“Hunting what? Little girls? Where am I?”

Not waiting for an answer, she ran from Malcolm and toward the forest, her bare feet slowing her great escape.

“That lass is completely mad,” Malcolm grumbled while rubbing the shoulder she had bitten.

Malcolm mounted his horse; he couldn’t leave the terrified girl alone out here. It wasn’t safe and would soon be dark. She would be easy enough for a blind man to find again because she hadn’t stopped screaming. For some reason, he hadn’t stopped smiling.

His black warhorse was as large and intimidating as Malcolm was, and the animal’s powerful legs kicked up tall grass and thistles as it barreled along. The sound of its hooves seemed amplified as it raced toward Elisabeth. Malcolm caught up to her. Without needing to slow his horse, he reached down, scooped her up into his arms, and placed her in the saddle in front of him.

“There. Now be a good lass. I promise, I’m nae going to hurt you.”

And with that, Elisabeth fainted.

“Well now, that certainly makes things easier,” Malcolm muttered under his breath as he wrapped her in his plaid and nudged his horse on.”

N&R: That looks great. I love your humour, it’s wonderful. Great action and descriptions, too. So, I have to ask, has Diana Gabaldon had any influence on your work?

TL: Diana Gabaldon and Karen Marie Moning have been huge influences on me. They both write fabulous Time-Travel/Scottish Highland books that I can’t put down.

I remember thinking my young son would love the adventure of their stories, but I couldn’t read them to him because they’re definitely not PG-rated. However, those authors, and Julie Garwood, made me fall in love with Scotland and want to begin Elisabeth’s journey there. It was my way of letting children fall in love with the magic of the Highlands too.

N&R: Tell us a little about your profession: Pre-schoolers—how did that happen? When did you start this career? What are your favourite ages to work with? What issues do you think our country needs to address more carefully in the instruction and care of our children? If you were in charge, what would you change?

TL: I actually run a successful daycare for teacher’s children so I am only open during the school year. I used to work for the school board with Special Needs Children, but it was never a secure job. I only had contracts for weeks at a time. About ten years ago I opened up my own business and it’s been wonderful. I have a two year wait list for spots.

I love kids of all ages, but have rock star status with the two and three year old crowd.  Kids jump into my arms in the morning and fuss when they have to go home. I’m all about playing, imagination, and teaching kindness.

What I notice the most, and would love to change, is that many kids today have less and less imagination. If I put Lego out so they can build something, half the time is spent explaining why we are going to use our imaginations and we are not going to copy the picture on the box showing how it’s “supposed” to be built. You wouldn’t believe the anxiety this causes some of them.  To me, imagination is everything.  As Albert Einstein said, “it is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

N&R: Well said. Are you working on any new projects right now? If so, can you tell us a bit about them without giving too much away?

TL: I’m working on Elisabeth’s next adventure.  The Acadian Secret has a great ending and doesn’t leave you hanging, but it is the first of three books. I’m really excited about the next one, set in Ancient Rome.

N&R: What other things do you like to do in your spare time when you aren’t wrangling pre-schoolers, writing or traveling the world?

TL: I like to think I am a domestic goddess.*grin*

I love baking, gardening, home decorating, entertaining etc. I’m most comfortable nesting.

One thing I’ve learned from all my travels is there truly is no place like home.

N&R: I agree with you there. How supportive of your childhood fantasy is your husband, and dare I ask, teenage son?

TL: My husband and son are the best!

The three of us are extremely close-knit and will do everything to support one another’s dreams and goals. We help each other shine.

N&R: Can you share the links to your work and your own sites, please?

TL: The easiest place to find me is at http://www.tammylowe .com

I’m on FB: http://tinyurl.com/brsfrpa

The Acadian Secret is found at:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ca7hk67

Amazon Canada: http://tinyurl.com/ccudxjp

B&N: http://tinyurl.com/cfruuxt

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/c3nkg7u

MuseItUp Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/bpwgku9

iBookstore: http://tinyurl.com/ce5pudc

N&R:  Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers today?

TL:   I’d just like to thank you and everyone else for their time.  Have a great day.

N&R: Thank you so much for stopping by. We wish you well in your future endeavors, whether teaching, writing or traveling.

TL: Thanks so much for having me here today.

N&R: You are more than welcome. It has been fun and I am really looking forward to reading your book.

 

 

Far Beyond Rubies: Release Date March 22, 2013

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Far Beyond Rubies, the fourth novel by author Rosemary Morris, will be coming out on March 22, 2013 from MuseItUp Publishing.

Historical Romance

Release March 22, 2013

Editor  V.L. Murray

Line Editor  Greta Gunselman

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

Words  75454

Pages  302

ISBN  978-1-77127-292-6

Available from MuseItUp Publishing at  http://tinyurl.com/cxozqmy  

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 on 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.

Excerpt

“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?

A cold light burned in the depths of William’s pebble-hard eyes.

Juliana straightened her neck. She would not bow her head, thus giving him the satisfaction of revealing her inner turmoil.

William cleared his throat. His eyes gleamed. “Did you not know you and your sister were born on the wrong side of the blanket?”

Anger welled up in her. “You lie. How dare you make such a claim?”

Hands clasped on his plump knees, William ignored her protestation. “You now know the truth about your whore of a mother,” he gloated.

Well, she knew what William claimed, but did not believe him. “You are wicked to speak thus. My mother always treated you kindly.”

“As ever, you are a haughty piece.” William’s broad nostrils flared. Anger sparked in his eyes. “My dear sister, remember the adage: Pride goeth before a fall, however, do not look so worried. I shall not cast you out without the means to support yourself.”

William rang the silver handbell. When a lackey clad in blue and gold livery answered its summons, he ordered the man to pour a glass of wine.

Juliana watched William raise the crystal glass to his lips. What did he mean? How could she maintain herself and her sister? She had not been brought up to earn a living.

She looked away from her half-brother to glance around the closet, the small, elegantly furnished room in which she kept her valuables and conducted her private correspondence before her father’s death.

Now it seemed, William, the seventh Baron Kemp, and his wife, Sophia, had sought to obliterate every trace of her by refurbishing the closet. Where were her books and her embroidery frame? Where was Mother’s portrait? Rage burned in the pit of her stomach while she looked around her former domain. Juliana wanted to claw William’s fat cheeks. It would please her to hurt him as he was hurting her. No, that wish was both childish and unchristian. She must use her intelligence to defeat him.

At least her family portrait—in which her late mother sat in front of Father, and she and William, dressed in their finest clothes, stood on either side of Mother—remained in place. One of her father’s hands rested on her pretty mother’s shoulder, the other on the back of the chair. A handsome man, she thought—while admiring his relaxed posture and frank expression, both of which depicted a man at his ease.

At the age of five, she already had resembled Mother when Godfrey Kneller painted her family in 1693. They both had large dark eyes and a riot of black curls, as well as fair complexions tinged with the colour of wild roses on their cheeks. She touched her narrow, finely sculpted nose. Judging by the portraits, she inherited her straight nose, oval face, and determined jaw from Father.

Her hands trembled. After Father died, she knew life would never be the same again. Yet nothing had prepared her for what would follow.

Today, when she first stepped into the spacious hall, it seemed as though she had also stepped over an invisible threshold. From being a beloved daughter of the house, she had become her half-brother’s pensioner. Knowing William and Sophia’s miserly natures, she doubted they would deal kindly with her. Yet she could not have anticipated William’s appalling accusation of illegitimacy, and his arrangement—whatever it might be—for her to earn her living.

The lackey served William with another glass of wine.

William jerked his head at the man. “Go.”

Her head still held high, Juliana looked at tall, fleshy William. She liked him no more than he liked her. Indeed, who would not dislike a man so parsimonious that he neither offered his half-sister the common courtesy of either a seat or a glass of wine? Infuriated by his gall, she clasped her hands tighter, trying to contain her anger and keep her face impassive.

She shivered. Today, when she alighted from the coach, rain soaked her clothes. On such a wet, grey day, why did no fire blaze in the hearth? Here, in the closet, it was scarcely warmer than outdoors. She clenched her hands to stop them trembling and imagined the heart of the house had died with Father.

“You shall put your fine education, which our father boasted of, to good use,” William gloated. “You shall be a teacher at a school in Bath.”

Fury flooded Juliana’s chilled body. “Shall I?”

“Yes. Our father saw fit for you to have an education far beyond your needs. You are more than qualified to teach young ladies.”

“Beyond my needs? Father admired Good Queen Bess and other learned ladies of her reign. He deplored Queen Anne’s lack of education. Our father decided no daughter of his would be as ignorant as Her Majesty and her late sister, Queen Mary.”

The purple-red colour of William’s cheeks deepened. “Enough! I despise over-educated women.”

She stared at him. Undoubtedly his mean-minded wife had influenced him. Sophia was jealous because her own schooling comprised of only simple figuring, reading, and writing learned at her mother’s knee, whereas Juliana benefited both from the tutors her tolerant father, the sixth baron, had engaged, and her father’s personal tuition.

William interrupted her thoughts. “You have no claim on me.”

About the Author

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Rosemary Morris was born in Sidcup, Kent in 1940. As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was always ‘in a book’.

While working in a travel agency she met her Indian husband. He encouraged her to continue her education at WestminsterCollege.

In 1961 Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 to 1982. After an attempted coup d’etat, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction. Far Beyond Rubies is her fourth published novel.

She is a member of The Romantic Novelist’s Association, The Historical Novel Society and Watford Writers.

Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit and vegetables and creative crafts.