It Has Been Some Time…

While I’ve been absent the novel has been undergoing a few changes, hence the silence here…

Rewriting is harder than producing that first draft; between the one draft ending and the next beginning more thoughts and layers emerge with every missing scene I include.

I even discovered that a scene I thought was in the first draft wasn’t actually there… obviously one that had escaped the keyboard.

I’ve also made a few changes to the website which I hope will make navigation quicker and you will like.

The new colour scheme may still need adjustment. Having visual issues myself I’m aware that some readers may have difficulties, so do please use the contact form to let me know if the colour scheme creates any clarity issues and where…

Red Rose…

More soon…


Welcoming the New Year…



The New Year brings fresh challenges and opportunities;I will be doing the best I can to meet the former and take advantage of the latter.

Best Wishes for 2019 …

I hope your New Year will be filled with happiness and love, however you may celebrate this time.


Merry Christmas…

Christmas day approaches and the New Year beckons.

In the next couple of months I’ll be making a few changes to my site, though I’m still considering what I’ll be adding/removing or revising.


Christmas Wreath

2018 has not seen the progress I’d hoped for, but that’s not a valid reason not to persevere.

I am intending to do some rewriting over the Christmas holidays (although my family will be here).


However you may (or may not) celebrate this time of year I wish you peace and goodwill…



Time and Tide Does Not Wait…


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Gracious, it’s less than five weeks until Christmas and I’m not as far ahead as I expected by now.

House renovation has been going on around me this year, and then combined with the ill-health of family and a colleague, my work in progress time has been restricted. Sadly I’ll be unlikely to meet my June 2019 deadline, unless I can make swifter progress on my current second draft.

Where has the time gone?

Although I wasn’t writing I was creating the missing scenes in my imagination so they could be ready for building into the second draft. I’m now on chapter eight writing in the first of these additional scenes.

I’m sure every writer has repetitive words or actions that they give their characters without realising it, and unfortunately I’ve noticed my heroine, Sarah, has a tendency to lean against walls to restore her composure after an emotional scene with the hero, Hugh. That will need dealing with in the next draft!

There’s an additional sub-plot evolving that I missed in draft one and it will create additional conflict.

Having time to think about existing scenes and characters and how these new scenes can bring another layer to the story has been beneficial; so that time has not been wasted.

For now, moving forward (even slowly) is essential.

The Frost is Here…

I am…




12 months and Counting Down…

It has been a busy year to date, so now I have time to stop, breathe deeply and begin making plans for the next 12 months.

In July I’ll be attending the Romantic Novelists Association’s Conference. I’m especially looking forward to a couple of the sessions- they’re ideal for a historical romance writer. As well as seeing a couple of my favourite authors.

During the next six months I’ll be working hard to complete my debut novel, with the aim to have it ready for launch by the end of June 2019- that’s my target date.

I’ll be updating on my progress during the next 6 months…


Charity Shop Book Gems…

My latest charity shop book find was a hardback version of the History of Underclothes*

The hardback copy…

Now it’s not the original version from 1951, but a 1981 edition with revisions.

I also have this paperback version of it that’s smaller, but I prefer the hardback for the clearness of the illustrations – it may just be the font size and amount of ink used when the book was printed.

(I bought the paperback version in the gift-shop at The Blandford Fashion Museum many years ago during a family summer holiday.)

I always find the material at the back of this book interesting and helpful.

There’s a comprehensive Source of the Illustrations, chapter by chapter.

The Bibliography gives both the primary and secondary sources.

What the materials

I particularly like the Glossary of Materials.

Muslin had different types – something I didn’t appreciate, and couldn’t describe the differences without a little information.

The book covers underclothes from  the Medieval period up to 1940-1950.

There’s even a Appendix of Clothes Rationing for May 1942, giving the number of coupons needed for various items of underclothes, both male and female.

If you disregard C.W Cunnington’s earlier books with his apparent theories on women, fashion and sexuality, those books written with his wife Phillis are a good starting point for historical fashion.

When I began writing, it was their books on English Women’s Clothing in the 18th Century and the 19th century version that were both the first costume reference books I studied.

Don’t ignore those books that Phillis wrote after her husband’s death (1961); they provide interesting and useful information too on the clothes ordinary people wore…

Phillis Cunnington: born 1887 and died 1974.


* The History of Underclothes by C. Willett & Phillis Cunnington, with revisions by A. D. and Valerie Mansfield. Faber and Faber, 1981.

Sympathising with a Character…

While I’ve been absent and unable to make progress due to work on the wiring and plumbing in my home, I’ve been storing the disruption and emotions to share with the hero of my work in progress, Hugh.

Hugh has a platoon of workmen updating his manor, but trouble-free is not the plan.

He could find alternate lodgings but having been absent for so long it wouldn’t be desirable in the circumstances he faces.

The time away from the manuscript has also allowed me to develop the options for the gaps left in the first draft- that must be resolved in the second.

Also the antagonists have revealed their motives and produced a few surprises.

Progress will be made this year…

Story building blocks…


Merry Christmas…

The months have gone by and I’ve not been able to do as much as I’d wanted. The disruptions will be ongoing for a few months yet while (essential) major work starts on my home in the New Year.

However you celebrate this time of year (or don’t) I wish you a safe and peaceful time…



Book Reviews – The Devil’s Brood…


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Been a busy year so far, and I’m now in the middle of sorting and packing boxes to go into storage, for work to be done on the house.

This does mean a large amount of books are going into boxes; do I really have that many historical romance paperbacks?

The answer is yes…

There are a few on my Kindle too, so I have been working my way through my to be read list when I need a relaxing read at the end of the day.

Stephanie Laurens is on my favourite authors list, but I’d put off buying her latest Devil’s Brood trilogy until all three books were available.

These are connecting stories concerning the two sons and daughter of ‘Devil’ Cynster Duke of St Ives and his Duchess, Honoria. Years have passed and their children are now grown up and living in early Victorian times.

While you can read each book as a stand-alone story there is an ongoing plot involving gunpowder and more that link the books together.

Whilst this trilogy called The Devil’s Brood, is also part of the ‘Cynsters Next Generation Series’ as book 4, though book 1 in the ‘Brood set’…

(I’ll avoid spoilers as best I can.)

The Lady By His Side (Cynsters Next Generation Series Book 4)

Book 4: The Lady By His Side

Each book immediately follows on from the end of the previous story, so the events take place over a short time span.

Personally, book 4 was my least favourite.

Of course the ongoing plot needs to be set up and the associated characters, I don’t think Sebastian (the Marquess) appealed to me as much as the other heroes.

For me Sebastian was overshadowed by the enigmatic Drake Varisey, and the story didn’t really keep my interest until the first major incident, and the developing relationship between Sebastian and Antonia Rawlings, an Earl’s daughter.

The map of the grounds of Pressington Hall (where the story takes place) between chapters 3 & 4 surprised me. Likely because of being used to seeing this type of extra toward the front of a paperback.

BUT, by the last quarter of the book I wanted to keep reading. And yes I was eager to read the next book…

An Irresistible Alliance (Cynsters Next Generation Series Book 5)

Book 5 An Irresistible Alliance

Book 5 moves on to Michael. He has second son syndrome, no pre-determined role to fill, bored and eager to help when Drake Varisey needs assistance.

This is a just one more chapter book. I didn’t want to put it down and ended up reading to the end at 1.30 am.

Cleo Hendon works in her parents shipping office managing everything, but wanting some excitement in her life; and along comes Michael Cynster seeking information. Cleo is intelligent, daring and not afraid to take the lead and guaranteed to upset any Cynster male.

(Cleo’s parents are Kit and Jack from Captain Jack’s Woman.)

There are lots of twists and turns and misdirection as the gunpowder search continues; as the pace builds toward the conclusion of Michael and Cleo’s adventures.

By the end I wanted to start the next book as soon as I could.

Of the 3 books, book 6 The Greatest Challenge of Them All was my favourite.

The Greatest Challenge Of Them All (Cynster Next Generation Series Book 6)

Book 6 The Greatest Challenge of Them All

Drake (the Marquess of Winchelsea, and heir to the Duke of Wolverstone- from the Bastion Club series) is in charge of defending Queen and country from those intent on causing harm.

When he refers to Lady Louisa Cynster by the name given to her by the ton, ‘Lady Wild’, you can sense his dread, and it’s clear that sparks are bound to fly between two such strong-willed and devious characters.

That gunpowder has moved again, and every time they seem close to getting answers another barrier springs up to stop them as they race toward the answer to the ongoing mystery.

The developing relationship between Drake and Louisa is in some ways complex, but in others simple. He’s the one in charge and she refuses to be relegated to a troublesome assistant, but they each have depths that you know would take their lifetime to discover.

There were a few moments that made me laugh, because I could see what was about to happen and knew Drake would not stand a chance against a determined Louisa. (You’ll know when you get to it!)

Yes, this was another just one more chapter book, and was a further late night.

Each book has an author’s note so you can discover more about the background elements of the story and it is interesting.

I’m glad I didn’t give up at the end of book 4. The running gunpowder plot was intriguing enough to make me want to know what would happen next, so I was willing to give book 5 a chance, and it was worth it.

I also enjoy a happy ever after…



Book cover images from