Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Design A Book Cover Blogfest - New Historical due Release early September!

This blogfest is kindly hosted by the lovely Teralyn Pilgrim 

And, here is my entry for Design a Book Cover Blogfest. 

The title says it all, and this historical novella is due for release early September on Kindle.  :) 

The RFW motif bottom left of cover relates to a challenge group for romance writers: Romantic Friday Writers.

To see other participants, and to vote for favourite go here.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Whoopee! Two blogfests!

Here's your chance to play with creative software packages!

Create a Book Cover and enter it in the lovely Teralyn Pilgrim's blogfest.

Then vote for your favourite cover image!

Blogfest day: 31st August


Now we have a fun Judge & Jury blogfest hosted by the lovely Lady Gwen.

The Jury are suspects, too!

September 5 -10th

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge/Blogfest!

395 words: MCA.

Beth bit her lip. She’d worked so hard for this, and had fought against the male fraternity and carried the weight of their scorn on her shoulder at ever turn, at every jump. All the hoops had burned ever brighter as the weeks, months and a year passed in solid training. But, she could do this. He could do it, too. She watched him closely, every muscle powering on the pressure, edging him forward with every pace. They were on the home run, and it was a now or never situation. He had to pull ahead, had to stretch himself. 
       Excitement and expectancy rose in tumultuous roar all around, and for the first time she felt this was it. This was to be her day, his day, too. Yet, an all too familiar arm around her waist felt dangerous, and almost sinful in its intimacy.
      “We’re in a public place,” she said, her words stolen by uproarious chant of “Yes. Yes. You can do it, you can do it.”
       “So. I own you as I own him, in a roundabout fashion.”
       His hot breath likened to flame of desire seared her flesh, and joy of imminent win added to the sexual heat rising within. Yet her heart was supposed to be out there, on the track, not here with this sun-tanned Adonis. Damn his blue-grey eyes always searching for that one answer; raised eyebrow and suave manner of patient man in waiting. He was spoiling the moment and complicating her life in ways she had never envisaged.
       “I can’t do this.”
       “Sure you can,” he said, tightening his grip. “Enjoy it. Enjoy the thrill of the moment. You’ve got a winner, and I’m thrilled for you, thrilled for him, and believe it, I love him almost as much as I love you.”
       Sheer cacophony of cheering throngs raised the intensity of it all. She could hardly bear to watch, but he did it, he snatched the lead and hit the winning line a length stride in front. “We did it, we did it.”
       She spun round, those blue-grey eyes alight with white heat, her feet off the ground in a thrice, his lips on hers. The answer was going to be yes, she could no longer hold out against him. He’d won. Patience had won. New Horizons had just won the greatest steeplechase ever.
This little flash-fiction piece is dedicated to Jenny Pitman, the first female horse trainer to take a horse to victory in the Grand National Steeplechase. The horse was Corbierre, a grey. When she retired from the racing world as a trainer Jenny began penning horse orientated novels with romantic elements.  

©       To see entries by other participants go to RFW.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Book Reviews! - Loads of great reads various genre!

Book Reviews:

I have few excuses for not having posted these long ago, other than too much time spent on social media outlets and not enough getting down to business! ;)  All are available via Amazon and other outlets!


No. 1 - Historical:   “A Dead Man’s Debt” by Grace Elliot.  

Set in 1780, Ranulph Lord Charing, is the ideal hero. Tending arrogant, a man of means with a mistress to boot, of hawkish good looks and superb horseman, he suddenly finds himself attracted to the delightfully charming Celeste Armitage. Torn between duty to a long-standing mistress and desire for young Celeste, he commits the unthinkable in wild moment of rash indulgence. News of his interest in Celeste soon stretches beyond the confines of Hazeledene House, and listened to with vindictive intent by his mistress. Forced by circumstance of a dead man’s debt and his mistress’ cunning, Ranulph has no choice but to sacrifice his own happiness and that of Celeste’s. And, without spoiling the plot, I can tell you there are twists and turns aplenty as truths come to light and debts settled, though not without heartache and much soul searching as Ranulph sets out to counter his mistress’ hold upon him.


No.2 - Contemporary:    “His Leading Lady” by Paula Martin.

For those who love a sweet contemporary romance with smouldering sexual tension, “His Leading Lady” fits the bill. Set against the backdrop of theatre-land in the West end of London, and a new musical production nearing its opening night, the star of the show, Lora Harper, has vanished.  Naturally, Kyle Drummond, director of the show is none too pleased, and Lora’s sister suffers the brunt of his sharp-edged tongue when he comes knocking demanding to know where in hell Lora is. Stunned in more ways than one by Kyle’s fury, Jess nevertheless holds her own and makes a lasting impression on the one man who’s about to turn her world upside down and inside out. With Lora’s agent wishing to stall for time in order to salvage Lora’s career, Jess sees no alternative but to masquerade as her twin sister. But, as events unfold Jess ponders Kyle’s former relationship with Lora. Was it purely innocent?  And, she begins to wonder if Kyle sees only Lora when he kisses with passion in his eyes and fire in groin? Ha ha, to find out the answer, buy the book.   


No 3 - Historical:   “Trade Winds” by Christina Courtenay.

It’s 1731 and Killian Kinross - a professional gambler and ladies man - throws the dice for the last time. Amazed by his own luck in a make or break game of chance, his win is set to change his life forever and dispatch him on a venture he never envisaged with a woman he’s never met. He trades Scotland for Sweden and once there, aims for a new and honest life: devoid of gambling, and a good way to escape his dark past. Whilst keen to learn the art of trading and of sailing the South China Seas, he encounters a prickly young miss whom stirs delightful sensations within. Miss Jessamin van Sandt, on the other hand seems immune to his charms, but as time passes and Jessamin uncovers a dark family secret of her own, they strike a business deal. But, to be married to a business partner in name only tests their resolve to remain as such. As they struggle with inner desire and physical attraction to one another, events soon tear them apart and their individual dilemma' momentarily solved. What happens next is for you to find out, because this is a fabulous story of love, trauma, adventure and lust in the snowy wastes of Sweden and on the high seas. The Scottish lilt throughout adds to Killian’s already charming attributes.     


No.4 - Contemporary:  “This Can’t Be Love” by Debra St John.

This contemporary romance sets precedence for extreme conflict and unmitigated attraction between Jessica Hart and Zack Rawlings. The story begins with Jessica’s arrival at her grandfather’s cabin uninvited and unannounced, where she discovers a stranger in her grandfather’s bath. While she sets about him with verbal hell, he brazenly displays his assets and declares his right to be there as temporary janitor. Naturally, male hair bristles for various reasons and female resistance to manly charm increases, which effectively leans more toward war zone than pleasant country retreat. As tempers cool, frustrations of a different kind begin to sizzle, and the inevitable occurs in a most unexpected way. But, what feels good at the time, with hindsight can seem reckless. Jess rapidly builds metaphorical walls against Zach’s increasing lure to her inner needs. How this dilemma is resolved is for you to find out, but believe it, there’s much heartache ahead for both. So be prepared for a big surprise outcome.


No. 5 – Historical WWI:   “The Silver Locket” by Margaret James.

In this historical WWI drama, a little piece of Rose Courtenay’s heart has always belonged to Alexander Denham though she cannot and will not allow her self to consider that to be true. Plus, the English class system is strongly upheld by Rose’ parents, and they envisage their daughter married to a man of some means. Rose, though, is somewhat headstrong and has it in her head she will never marry. To that aim she rebels against her parents and leaves home and becomes a nurse. As war sweeps across Europe, she volunteers for service overseas and soon finds herself working aboard hospital trains and seconded to ambulance duties. Fate brings Rose and Alex together, and suddenly life takes on new meaning for both, as each declares their true feelings. But, numerous twists and turns in this WWI story set it apart from many others of similar ilk, and one often wonders can Rose and Alex ever find the happiness they seek from each other. I loved this novel, because it really brought alive the horrors of mud-laden trenches, not to mention Alex’s despair alongside heroic actions against all the odds of his surviving the awfulness of it all. And Rose is a heroine in her own right even though terrified by her own reckless behaviour and, acts of bravery.          


No. 6 - Contemporary:  “Starting Over” by Sue Moorcroft.

Tess is in a quandary: get married or run? She runs, and whilst on the last leg of her proposed new life in the village of Middledip, she collides with a breakdown truck. Brittle, vulnerable, upset, and a blooded nose, of course, it’s entirely the truck driver’s fault for having parked in a narrow country lane. On the other hand, Miles Rattenbury, mechanic-cum-proprietor of a local car workshop and classic car enthusiast, sees the obvious of someone not paying attention to bends in the road. So, this troubled meeting is set to change Tess’ life in more ways than one. And Miles, Ratty to his friends, has no idea the impact Tess will have upon him once settled in her idyllic cottage. A bit of a ladies man and not looking to a permanent relationship, Ratty soon finds himself drawn more and more to Tess despite her prickly nature. After all, when one has a dodgy motor, which has a tendency for regular breakdowns, Ratty is close at hand. Not unaware of her interest in him he plays a waiting game and renders her putty to his aloof if sexual appeal. But, the road of true love can be treacherous when old loves from the past drive centre stage. What occurs next is sometimes scary, funny and basically a lovely read with earthy characters in a village setting where gossip can make or break a loving relationship. Enjoy!


Now to a fantasy fable!  “The Bear With Two Shadows” by Roland D. Yeomans.

In this fable, which incorporates many myths and legends from around the globe, the bear Hibbs, embarks on a journey of self-discovery and that of making sense of the world he is to circumnavigate. He’s absolutely adorable, and it’s impossible to list all the characters, or attempt to try and describe them for they are all unique and mystical in their own right. Names are equally stunning. How can one fail to be fascinated by the following; Angelus, Rind, Leandra, The Diatheke, The Sidhe, Elu, Estanatlehi. The author provides a wide canvas of colour and atmosphere and characters that sometimes make one cringe, laugh and cry. One minute a forest surrounds you, the next an open plain, then mountains and crags and messenger birds. I cannot say it’s any thing like your average fantasy with monsters and demons. No, this story goes deeper, much deeper and heads into the ethics of man’s imposition upon the planet, and of lost knowledge that may never be regained!       


And lastly: Two paranormal ghost tales of ghouls and vampires.

 “French Quarter Nocturne”   by Roland D. Yeomans.

French Quarter Nocturne is set in the wake of hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans. Whilst people struggle to come to terms with the aftermath, no one expected or foresaw the dark elements that have risen to stalk the streets of the city. Normal reptiles are the least of anybody’s worries, and as ghosts and vampires take the lead in attempt to bring some sense of order out of mayhem and destruction, one such person is that of Sam McCord a Texas Ranger trapped in a nether world of those who cannot cross over to the other side. A hero in his own right he nevertheless has personal issues that often tug at his heartstrings, and memories of one woman, Meilori, dogs his every footstep. As gruesome as things become, he does question the right of others to commit atrocities but is no innocent, either, when dire need grips him. This is a fantastic read, has bizarre instances of persons from mythology stepping centre stage, famous writers from the past, too, but this is not the sort of book to dip into before going to bed: you might need to keep the light on. 

Adrift in the Time Stream  Roland D. Yeomans.

Adrift in The Time Stream is yet another super-natural spook laden thriller, with bizarre twists and turns, and at times, as a reader, one wonders what sort of mad world Sam McCord revolves in. In this novel Meilori (the love of his life) features a lot, so too her sister Maija, an evil sorceress of unusual status. There are other weird and wonderful characters, and love and sex abound alongside danger and evil influences. Although all are aboard the ship Demeter, I never quite fathomed whether it was sailing oceans across time or that of the ether. Either way, McCord has an assassin on his case, and again legends, myths, fables, call them what you will, abound in this novel.  I defy anyone to say, after reading this novel, that they haven’t enjoyed Sam McCord’s weird and wonderful adventures.      


Oh, and little self-promo!  For anyone who loves historical romance: 
Her Favoured Captain: novella. 

It's on Amazon, too. Reviews at Amazon. See link top of sidebar.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge/Blogfest - Confused!

For this week's theme "Confused" I've snatched a snippet from my present WIP, a historical novella set in the period of the French Revolution.  

Brief:  Half French by birth, Diamonta Whitaker, long-since returned from trip to France, has it in mind for a return visit. After all, she's received a letter from dear friend Angelica De Boviere, a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette Queen of France. She's also received an invite to attend at the Court of Versailles for Christ's mass. How can she possibly refuse such an invite, but will her mother agree to her going once knowledge of Diamonta's interest in Angelica's brother comes to light?   

Word Count 400 +: MPA.

“There you are. I quite thought you all in the music room.” Rustle of silk implied great haste, her mother upon them so quick Charles barely managed to raise his rump from seat. “Sit down, dear boy.”
       Charles fell back to chair. “What ails, dear lady? You have the look of news most important.”
       “Viscount Somerton. I must speak with him.” Her mother glanced about them. “Please tell me Leohne has not imposed herself upon him.”
       “Not in the least,” said Charles, a broad grin. “Blame Diamonta. It was her idea to foist our little sister upon Richard.” He inclined his head toward the lake. “They will return fairly soon, I shouldn’t wonder.”
       “I did not foist Leohne upon the viscount, I merely suggested they go ahead while I assisted in Charles’ exercise.” How beautiful her mother was, when suspecting intrigue afoot.  Chloetilde DeRochers, a daughter of France who married below her station for love, embraced joy of step-son and would no doubt be enraptured to know her eldest daughter had eyes for a handsome young French count. “Does it matter, if Leohne has her heart set at Richard?”
       Her mother grimaced but momentary, a smile slow to face, her dark brown eyes cast to the lakeside path visible here and there between trees. “I had thought your heart, Richard’s.”
       “I am fond of him, it is true.”
       “Ha,” blustered Charles. “Diamonta has her heart set on a . . .” He faltered, Diamonta held his gaze to prevent utterance of Frenchy. He gathered himself. “A count, and son of France.”
       “Is this true?” Her mother glanced her way, eyebrow raised. “What is the name of this count?”
       “It is Angelica’s brother, and  . . .”
       “Ah, I see,” came forth as unaccountable dismissal. “A most unsuitable choice.”
 Stunned and confused she could not muster words, words to extract explanation of her mother’s disregard for Francois. “I hardly know him,” her defence. “I’ve met him once only.”
       “Just as well,” her mother’s curt response. “Good, I see them, now.”
       Sense of relief at Leohne and Richard’s reappearance swept over her, for her mother would not press further on Francois and the way in which they had met, nor the time and place of their meeting. How glad she was to have refrained from telling her brother and sister all that had happened on her last venture to France. Perhaps there were things best kept secret, after all.
       To see entries by other participants go here.

Friday, 5 August 2011

RFW Challenge/Blogfest - Voices!

In case you're visiting and haven't heard about Romantic Friday Writers, and you happen to be a romance author, take a peek at RFW because you may feel your missing out on a fun thing to do.
 RFW hold a weekly challenge (post Friday) which equates to weekly blogfest! Each week we have a set theme (as above) to write to: max word count 400 You can post a snippet from latest novel (released), from ongoing WIP, a piece of poetry, or Flash-Fiction.

Mine this week is a stand-alone piece of Flash-Fiction.  

She turned over, very slowly, not wanting to make the bed creak, and gently shook Jeff’s bare shoulder. The voices suddenly ceased and he woke with a start, exclaimed, “What the hell?”
       She instantly clamped his mouth with hand, and whispered, “Shhh. I can hear voices downstairs.”
       He sat bolt upright. “You’re joking?”
       They listened, intently.
       “You sure you’re not imagining things?” he said, a husky whisper.
       But no, the voices were at it again.
       “See, I told you so.”
       He threw back the duvet, swung his legs over the bed. Aided by minimal moonlight casting through gap in the curtains he slid from the bed. “Stay here.”
       “You can’t go down there.”  
       “Course I can. It’s my house.”
       “Yes, but they might be armed.”
       “So?” he said, making for the door.
       “You can’t go like that, you’re stark bollock naked.”
       “Better like this, nothing to grab hold of.”
       “Yes there is, and I value that part of you. Stay here, and let’s call the police.”
       A whispered chuckle came back. “I know what I’m doing. Believe it, they’ve picked the wrong house to break into.”
       With that he opened the door not a click heard and disappeared.
       She sat in silence the voices now quiet, too.
       Had they heard Jeff?
       Whilst silence hung heavy all around, her heartbeat and pulse likened to cacophony of drums. 
       How many minutes had he been gone?   
       Oh God. Voices again. They’re still down there.
       She couldn’t bear it. What was going on? Where was Jeff?
       All of a sudden he let out a terrible war cry, like he was some mad warrior hell-bent on revenge. Next thing a light went on outside the door, and footfalls heard on stairs. She held her breath, fearing the worst. The bedroom door flew open, her warrior then standing before her.
       “What happened?” sounded lame, and her with duvet clenched to breasts.
       He laughed. “It was the bloody television.”
       “The TV?”
       “In the heat of the moment of your wanting a valued part of me, you forgot to switch the damn thing off.”    
       “Oh  . . . Sorry about that.”
       “You will be,” he said, taking a lunge toward the bed. “My valued part is primed, cocked, and ready for action.”
       “I love it when you talk dirty, soldier boy” She threw the duvet open. “He who Dares, Wins.”
       “I love you, too.”

Word count 399

To see entries by other participants go here.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Novel Films Blogfest!

This blogfest is kindly hosted by the lovely Madeleine.

I'm not sure that all of the listed below have been made into both movies and TV series, but most have. The selection itself is a small proportion of novels that I've read and have been made into movies. But, they are novels that made a profound impact upon me, one way and another, and when made into movies they didn't always reach my expectations. The exceptions being GWTW, TTB,  LOTM, the WWII movies and the swashbucklers.


War & Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Dr Zhivago - Boris Pasternak

Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell

The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough


The count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

The Man in the Iron Mask - Alexandre Dumas

Frenchman's Creek - Daphne du Maurier

Wicked Lady - Magdalen King-Hall

Lorna Doone - R. D. Blackmore


Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

Treasure Island - Robert Louise Stevenson

Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper

WWII novels:

A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

The Cruel Sea - Nevil Shute

Waterloo Bridge (based on play) Robert E. Sherwood.

Bridge over the River Quai - Pierre Boulle

Post War novels:

James Bond (007) - Ian Fleming

Collection of John Le Carre novels made into films.  

Childrens Books:

National Velvet - Enid Bagnold

Black Beauty - Anna Sewell

Swallows & Amazons - Arthur Ransome

Classics:  Greek/Roman/Austen/Brontes'/Dickens/Shakespeare etc. Not to mention the longest running play    held in the West End "The Mousetrap"  adapted from a short story by Agatha Christie. And, of course her famous crime novels made into movies and TV series.

To see entries by other participants go here.