Wednesday 10 July 2019

Writing a series of novels is tough work.

These novels are driven by romance within history, the history aspect of prime importance. This isn't about major battles or memorable skirmishes, the series is about families in time of war, rebellion, and how they live, survive, and where love and devotion is tested not only by family loyalties but loyalties to king and county. Although the English Civil Wars entailed several major battles, and numerous skirmishes, much of the fighting was splintered and local to specific places as the rival armies  traversed the country from north to south, and east to west. 

I have always derived immense pleasure from reading series novels. In fact I love ‘em and long ago I had it in mind to pen a series of four novels. Hence the English Civil Wars, Charles II’s attempt to wrest England from Cromwell’s clutches, the Restoration of Charles II and the Monmouth Rebellion sprang to life, and one portrait was the inspiration: 

Who is, she and what might her life have entailed?

The stories as a whole have been in my head since some thirty years ago after a ghostly apparition of a horse appeared in the courtyard of our house, or not. Perhaps in truth, what I experienced on that day, albeit within the house where I lived, was mere sense of a time past, and yet, the bridle of the horse was real to the touch. Even so, life itself and other publishing commitments (books in popular genres publishers wanted to publish for guaranteed returns on investment ) prevented this series coming to fruition. But at last, they are here, or at least, they're on Amazon. Since quitting mainstream publishing and going Indie in 2011 I've settled to writing for me and for readers who love romance and life-like history in equal measure not merely dressed up historical romances. 

By the way, for anyone who follows my blog posts or knows me well, they also know how the majority of my stories come about, and if you’d like to know for yourself you can find out by reading About Me. That said, the two houses in this series, in part reflect aspects of two houses, being one where I was born and the other in which I lived with my first husband. 

But, getting back to the subject matter, there’s nothing more frustrating than having read a book and wishing when the end is reached, that the story had carried on. Often I’ve wanted to know what happens to the lead characters post HEA, but more than that, to learn the fate of secondary characters. And there have been occasions when a prequel could have added to a series. Hence, I came to the conclusion there was scope for one of those little informative prequels to my series after I'd written book one and partway through book two. The second lead character in book one was determined to redeem his reputation a little and in doing so enlighten readers as to his earlier days of frustrations in the court of Charles I.  

And here it is.m behold the prequel Debt of Honour the forerunner to Book 1 

By Loyalty Divided. 

Yep, it’s set within my favourite period of history The English Civil War. The backdrop setting is Somerset - Bristol/Bath and surrounding districts. Bristol at that time was the second most important city in England and several times it changed hands between Royalists and Parliamentarians throughout the Civil Wars. Yes, two wars, not one major conflict.

In By Loyalty Divided, the main characters are:
Morton Viscount Axebury, (rebel son of William Lord Gantry) who becomes a Captain of Horse in the Army of Parliament = New Model Army.
William Lord Gantry (Royalist Commander)
Anna Lady Maitcliffe – born within the confines of the royal court until Lord Gantry became her ward.

The plot is a love triangle, which inevitably leads to tragedy.

Secondary characters:
The Lady Georgina Mrs. Darnley (Parliamentarian) - his lordship’s sister 
Catherine Thornton and her brother 
Captain Thomas Thornton (Royalist). 
Prince Charles, 
Prince Rupert, 
Lord Wittlesham.   

The second novel in The Royal Series:

Toast of Clifton, needless to say Toast meaning hostess of note. This novel is also set within the West of England at the time of Charles II’s bid to regain the throne and crown of England.

Main characters:
Thomas Thornton
Elizabeth Mountjoy
Morton Lord Gantry
Anna Lady Gantry

Secondary Characters are Catherine Lady Wittlesham (nee Thornton), Lord Wittlesham, Charles II, Lord Wilmot and others.

Although Toast of Clifton is a story of intense and passionate love, past betrayal haunts the hero and when the chance to right a wrong comes his way he takes it, but to lose every thing including the love of his life is a high price to pay for heroism. For when the odds of being imprisoned and deported to the colonies is your lot, and your King is fleeing the enemy as well, who comes first: family or King?  

And then to Royal Secrets, in which  the eldest Thornton daughter, Justine, sets her heart on the second generation Viscount Axebury of whom her father thoroughly disapproves and not without cause. Battles of family loyalty ensue, not only within the Thornton and Gantry households, but at Court too. It can be dangerous to overhear royal secrets when plotting to rid a king of his queen are afoot, as Justine soon discovers and her life suddenly in peril.      

And then as the years pass the Gantry and Thornton children begin to take centre stage along with Lord Wittlesham's daughters. Old feuds, lust of youth, desires and recklessness are set to cause mayhem and heartbreak and many tears are shed as the young test the allegiance and loyalty of their elders during the heart-wrenching weeks of The Monmouth Rebellion!  

One of their number, Henry Gantry, is looked upon as a traitor to the Gantry family, his story is one of spies, emotional turmoil, and regrets aplenty. But he's a king's man and loyal to James II, whilst his brother and the Thornton's are loyal to the Duke of Monmouth. Family feuding aside, Henry soon faces the awful truth royal favour is as fickle as his wife's affections, and when he's confronted with love that knocks him sideways he's tormented by duty to king and crown and torn between the two women. Tragedy strikes a severe blow, and although Henry turns to kingly duties whilst grieving a great loss, it is a tuning point in his life, where sense of family suddenly means more to him than his king.         

Rebellion continues in Lady of the Tower - Monmouth's Legacy. 

The rebel in this case is Thomasina, the youngest of the Thornton family, who risks her own life by venturing to the battlefield where carnage prevails. Whilst in search for her brother-in-law in a selfless act of bravery on behalf of her sister, her mission is fraught with danger, more especially when she's caught and assumed to be robbing the dead!  Whilst love blossoms for Thomasina and Captain Owain Lascelles, the horror in the aftermath of the Monmouth Rebellion unfolds, and Judge Jeffreys reign of terror throughout Hampshire, Dorset, and Somerset impacts on their lives, their families, and friends.       

And then, to come in about a year from now will be the release of:
 To Risk All in the Name of Treason. 

Set during the time of the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689), though "glorious" is a slightly overrated word for the toppling of a king who scarpered when senior army officers went over to the enemy. This is the story of Lady Georgina Gantry and Ira Wittlesham (junior).

Whilst Georgina takes on the role of spy within the Court of James II, as a lady to the Queen's bedchamber, Ira spies from within the king's personal court and within the salons of fellow officers of his majesty's lifeguards.  

But as history tells us, much deceit was already rife during the immediate aftermath of the Monmouth Rebellion and the dreadful circumstances surrounding Judge Jeffreys bloody reign. Thus the run up to the coming of William of Orange to the throne of England, is depicted from 1685 when a plot to overthrow James II was seeded and grew into a secret club of army officers. Two of the most famous hedged their bets throughout in determination to be on the winning side thus they wore false faces at court as did several more courtiers and junior officers of their day, and the latter were the first to desert their lines in Salisbury and ride to greet William and join his forces.     


All the books are available via Amazon worldwide.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Indie publishing Vs Conventional publishing and Author Vanity.

OK, so you’re an Indie Author and you’ve made the decision to tell the world you’re not interested in getting a publishing deal with one of those biggies with offices in NY, London, Tokyo, et al. But of course, there are those who have quit the mainstream of conventional publishing and gone Indie. The majority of these are mid-list authors who were dropped with the coming of mass mergers and take-overs by conglomerates such as the Hatchette Corp, and there are those who are Indie because they didn’t and haven’t a cat’s chance in hell of securing a publishing deal with one of the Big 6, barring the easy medium of big publisher off shoot e-book enterprises such as Harper Impulse etc. 

So who can blame ex mainstream authors for going Indie or turning to small press publishers, some of which are mediocre in terms of sales and revenue, some better if a tad slack in what they publish (anything reasonable passing muster), but when incomes for mainstream authors are plummeting worldwide and Indie authors are stealing a march on the conventionally published of this world, what else can one do but seek other outlets? In the meanwhile celebrity authors hold sway in the conventional world of publishing, and they do come in various shapes and sizes book wise, from the hard-won novelist who hit the big time with the right book at the right moment and copped a Series Deal, and then there are the ex movie stars, TV presenters, ex journalists, and ex page-three girls (you know, big boobs et al) who write stories for children! The conventional author mix is eclectic, and as diverse as the novels they write. Same goes for Indies.
So how do Indies sell their wares?

In knowing they are up against the household names, how then can they become a household name? Like every other Indie author they will have paid visit to all the various FB groups and Web Sites, Blogs etc, signed up/joined, you name it they’ve been there, most having moved on from FB groups when they realise the group is non-interactive and just a sales board littered with book ads. Then there are the Indie authors who inevitably end up in a round-robin-networks on Google, Goodreads, Wattpad, et al , where they think selling their books will be a doddle until they realise everyone else is intent on selling you their book = catch-twenty-two. All the former are as a result of the natural camaraderie and belief such is the key to success until reality hits and "I am going to be famous even if it's going to cost me hundreds of dollars to get my book noticed worldwide”.

Indie Vanity – and why not?

Many Indies group and set up collaborative/joint projects, joint review teams, joint FB pages, they hold give-away competitions, they join or set up book review web sites or blogs etc., and many Indie authors turn to email newsletters and create a modest following of 1,000 subscribers to their newsletters, some are more successful than others who reap upwards of 3,000 followers by paying for that listing, but another hidden truth is rarely realised, that more than half the subscribers to email listings gradually set their email box to auto dispatch newsletters straight to the spam box

The latter is unfortunately a natural response to persistent cluttering of mail boxes with items no longer of interest to the recipient, and repeat begs of “please purchase my book/s, oh and I have a new one you might have missed” =  believe it, your subscriber didn’t miss your new release because you kept reminding them. Thus Vanity plunges Indie authors into a make-believe world reminiscent of the characters they create, and almost every author is truly given to huge amounts of vanity when it comes to their baby! 

Let's be honest, every book we produce it is that cute baby in the pram scenario and the proud parent parading the new born for all to see... 

So where's the downfall to all this parading, and the foolishness of author vanity? And what of Indie vanity that stretches to investment of hundreds of dollars to be featured on a Book Review/Promotion Web Site (????) but at what cost in real-term of financial outlay and long-term revenue if your book is listed at merely 0.99 / 2.99 $/£? 

Come five years down the line when that baby is no longer topping the upper book sale charts and real-time earnings on that book is mediocre or non-existent, this question will loom “Whatever possessed me to waste all that money on a momentary high?” And guess what, those authors will doll out another $350 -$500 all over again per book to sustain the image they are households names, if but for a week or two of high profile input on social media sites.

The last and most shocking aspect of email newsletter marketing is the blatant reality that email list providers glean email addresses  and sell them to retailers of other products. Do not believe the lies of supposed confidentiality, because there are few service providers who do anything without financial gain attached both ways, i.e. the person who pays or gains the app for free (email listing app) and the resell of that list to other third party sources!!    

Does your vanity stretch to purchase of status and the harassing of a willing readership, or are you of a philosophical bent = you get what you pay for, or you get what comes by mere good fortune and goodwill of readers?

Friday 25 November 2016

Historical Novel Blog Hop - Add Your Blog Url!

Instructions at bottom of page.

No matter your chosen genre, the time for advertising books for the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, is upon us. 'Tis a time of chill, of frozen ground, windswept drifts of snow, fires in the hearth, and mulled wine on the trivet. What better then, than a good book to hand! 

Not so for our Southern Hemisphere chums who bask in glorious sunshine, frazzle steaks on the Barbie, and take cool dips in oceans blue. Iced drinks they crave, a comfy lounger, and pray to heaven they don't forget that beach read they bought in hope of lazy hazy days way, way back in history!

So join the history coach, listen to the horses hooves clattering across the cobbles and wheels grinding forth; for the journey begins to the past, as we wend through hill and dell, over moor and mountain, thus thrills may come and go along your chosen route!   

To enter your blog hop please send your URL link to Francine:  or contact me via FB. 

And please link back to this page or add the listed links to your blog page by copy/paste. 

This is a shared venture to benefit all who participate, so please play fair...

Sorry to say I have used auto sign ups in the past, but ruthless and opportunist marketeers directed viewers to all manner of unsuitable blogs. So it's back to manual uploads. 


Romance Reviews Magazine UK 

Regina Jeffers

Katherine Pym 

Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Alison Stuart

M. J. Logue

Beverley Oakley

Monday 18 April 2016

The Interview!

Today in the hot seat is Juli D. Revezzo, revealing aspects about her self and her novel "Watchmaker's Heart". 

So a big thank you goes to Juli, for taking time out from her busy schedule to  enlighten and delight us with news of her career as an author and what inspires her writing! 

Juli D. Revezzo writes fantasy and romantic stories filled in with elements garnered from a lifetime love affair with magic, myth, witches, wizards, and fated lovers and legend. She is the author of The Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, steampunk historical romance WATCHMAKER'S HEART, and short stories published in ETERNAL HAUNTED SUMMER, LUNA STATION QUARTERLY, among others. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour. To learn more about this and future releases, visit her at:

Follow her on Facebook:

or Twitter: @julidrevezzo


(1) What actually inspired the writing of your novel(s)?

Ans: I think it was inspired by art, actually. I’d always enjoyed Pre-Raphaelite art, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, andDante Gabriel Rossetti and I wondered how their work would impact a young girl in the Victorian age. Well, Phoebe decided she lived in the later end of the age, but she admires them, nonetheless. The rest of the story came with her as she brought along her own art and take on the era.

(2)  Alpha or beta hero –profession/title/rank?– brief description!

Ans: I think you’d call Mortimer a beta hero. He is a watchmaker and (actually) an ex-thief. Thieving is a profession he gave up in his youth, when a generous watchmaker took him under his wing and showed him a better path.

(3)  Can you describe your heroine’s personality- title/rank?– description!

Ans: My heroine, Phoebe, is a spitfire. She is born to a man with ambitions to a higher class, which don’t jive with her own ambitions, to be an inventor. So you can imagine she and her parents butt heads now and then.

(4)  Are there secondary lead characters with important roles?

Ans: Yes, there is this one character who is the leader of the gang that is blackmailing Mortimer, but he has a double life as a gentleman. (It’s a bit of a spoiler so I don’t want to say which character I mean. J)

(5)  Where is the novel (s) set? – time-frame – country etc.

Ans: The novel is set in London in the year 1898.

(6) What is it about your chosen era/periods that you most enjoy?

Ans: I like that it was just on the cusp of our modern world, that women were finally making some strides into roles that we here in modern day, now take for granted. It gave Phoebe a little more wiggle room than, say, setting it fifty years or so earlier. Not much, but some.

(7)  Which if any of your characters do you dislike, and why?

Ans: Grunel and Sykes! They’re just real…ahem, unlikeable guys. Grunel is just a sleeze and Sykes is a stuck up punk. I wrote him and I’d like to throttle him.

(8)  Do you avoid sex scenes, gross violence or other in your works?

Ans: In Watchmaker’s Heart, there are no graphic love scenes but there are hints in the background; as to violence, there are a few, slight fisticuffs here and there in this book. But it really depends on the story. I do tend to write more closed door love scenes overall, but some of my other books have plots that revolve around fantasy wars, for instance my Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series is based on the Irish myth of the Battle of Mag Tuired, so there are various battle scenes involved and some closed door love scenes.

(9)  How would you rate your novel – historical fiction, romantic fiction, tear-jerker, emotional drama, swashbuckling adventure, or...?

Ans:WATCHMAKER’S HEART ishistorical romantic fiction with a little fantasy and a little humor, for good measure.

  Back cover blurb:

For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.
London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.
Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

And Watchmaker’s Heart, of course, is available at Amazon: 

Your readers can find my website and blog at:

Thank you for having me today, Francine!

Monday 3 August 2015

Opting for Exclusivity at Amazon!

The advantage of exclusivity at Amazon!

The advantage of exclusivity at Amazon. And yes this may sound a bit like a Promo for Amazon. But that said, I do think Jeff Bezos deserves a pat on the back for giving the great unpublished a worldwide platform that never quite existed before Amazon opened its virtual doors.
Indeed there were small on-line presses and a lot of small niche/romance publishers had their own web sites, some with stores, but it was a hit 'n' miss market place for readers and authors alike. OK, so... there were others who first dreamed up mass market on-line e-book stores, some succeeded like Smashwords/Lulu et al, and others dreamed up e-book readers, and yes, Kindle stole the lead on good marketing. Plus Amazon's uploading facility was slick, unlike other cyber platforms, though it's fair to say one or two of the others have improved somewhat, but not all.
So why have I chosen to keep the majority of my books exclusive to Amazon? Ans: Loyalty! It gave me a second crack at getting my books to readers, some old republished editions along with new ones, and I've found Amazon staff a pleasure to contact, and have in general received a polite and charming personal footnote to e-mail correspondence, except in one case when a female member of staff was clearly having a bad day at work or was simply devoid of social graces, hence her response was curt and unhelpful. But, out of the blue, I received a follow-up e-mail from a male who had taken up my query and had run with it, and the response was great: mission accomplished!
So yes, despite the fact other authors complain about Amazon's bully tactics, and at how Amazon's exclusivity deals restrict other opportunities, I'm a fan of Amazon and loyalty is two-way stretch in my little book of honour against the odds, and I'm betting not one of you can claim greater sales on any of the other cyber platforms, and I'll second wager, the majority of your income is acquired via Amazon.