Sunday, 28 June 2015

Release Day - Murder On The Minneapolis

Flora Maguire, governess to thirteen-year-old Edward, Viscount Trent, is on her way home to England from New York after the wedding of her employer’s daughter.  Conscious of her status among a complement of first class passengers on the ship’s maiden voyage, she avoids the dining room on the first night, but meets a charming motor car enthusiast who goes by the unusual name of Bunny Harrington.  

Flora discovers the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway , but when his death is deemed an accident, Flora is not convinced. The mystery of her mother’s disappearance when she was a child drives her to find out what really happened to the dead man. Flora confides her suspicions to Bunny, and a German passenger, both of whom appear to concur with her misgivings. 

However, the ship's doctor and the captain are both reluctant to accept there is a murderer on board. When Flora and Edward are threatened, followed by a near drowning during a storm and a second murder - the hunt is now on in earnest for a killer. Time is running out as the SS Minneapolis approaches the English coast. 

Will Flora be able to discover who the murderer is and keep young Edward safe? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

 Released by Buried River Press, an imprint of 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Goodbye, Brimstone Butterfly - In Memoriam

I decided to repost this in loving memory of a friend - a virtual friend but one I find I miss quite a lot - and one which others appear to as well judging by the comments this article has received over the past three years. Please read them and when you see a butterfly, any butterfly, send out a thought for Caro - wherever she may be.

Most of my author friends have favourite blogs they dip in and out of to find tidbits of historical information we have not found anywhere else - most of which we confirm in other sources, but many a fascinating piece of trivia can be found in a blog. One I followed and visited often, is called The Brimstone Butterfly, written by a lady called Caro Riikonen. Coincidentally, she told a story on BBC radio I listened to in the car once printed here, and I feel this epitomises the type of person she was. It's a sad, but uplifting story of when she was caught in a house fire.

The subject of my current wip lived in one of the places Caro posted about, and she also visited and photographed many of the historic places of interest in my neighbourhood of Richmond, Kew and Twickenham which I love.

I clicked on the blog today to find some pictures of a particular historic house I knew she had visited, only to discover Caroline's farewell to those who read and appreciated her writing - on 10th February, 2012, Caro took her own life. She was 53.

We never met, but not only will I miss her blog, I will miss her too. Goodby Caro, and though you may not have known it, you were thought of by many and very much appreciated.

First posted in May 2012 - please read the comments below

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Talk to The Battle of Worcester Society

Last evening I was honoured to be invited to talk at one of the ‘Civil War Nights’ being held at the beautiful old Commandery in Worcester, an annual event held by the Battle of Worcester Society. The organisers didn’t want an academic lecture, which is just as well as I am purely an amateur historian, but about the process I used to research and write my English Civil War novel, Royalist Rebel, based on the life of Elizabeth Murray.

After a few nerves, mainly along the lines of doubts that I could talk coherently for over forty-five minutes, I was received by a charming group of people headed by Richard Shaw, and his wife, Christine, all impressively knowledgeable about their subject and to whom I could have chatted all night as they were so interesting.

Fortunately, they appeared equally fascinated by the subject of my novel and I found myself at the end having talked for an hour still with more to say. I spent the journey home regretting the snippets of information I didn’t get to, but hope what I did say kept my audience awake if not enthralled.

This morning I received some lovely e-mails thanking me for attending and saying how much they enjoyed my talk – as I said, a lovely group of people. Their enthusiasm made me want to start researching another 17th Century biographical novel – and that Elizabeth Murrays’ youngest son, William Murray would be a more than suitable subject.

His father died when he was six, spoiled by his mother who had to buy him a naval commission to keep him out of trouble. He killed another officer in a duel, was outlawed for several years, committed an act of piracy against a French ship, punished by being ‘burned in the hand’, was reinstated and covered himself with glory, only to contract yellow fever and die in the Bahamas at 28.

My heartfelt thanks to Richard and Christine Shaw for making me feel so welcome.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Steel and Lace 17th Century Antholgy

R E L E A S E   D A Y

Anita Seymour - Countess Spy
"Oliver Cromwell is triumphant and the king is dead, but Elizabeth, Lady Tollemache will never give up on the Royalist cause and pledges her loyalty to the exiled king."
 Anna Belfrage -
"Matthew Graham has the choice between staying in Scotland and risking death, or leaving his homeland and breaking his heart. Not the easiest of choices…"
Andrea Zuvich - The Chambermaid 
"I am as you find me. The wheel of fortune has turned and Vauxhall manor's rightful heir has returned"
Francine Howarth- The King's Courier
"Breeches do not maketh man any more than skirts maketh woman" 
Kelli Klampe - Secrets of a Princess
"They will take you even of they know the cost will take your very life"
Susan Ruth - Goblin Damn'd
"I fear this gentleman does not understand the jeopardy he is in. One does not simply walk into Woodhall and hold guns to people's heads." Will this do?
 M J Logue - Si du Doir Partir
"Russell Thought he would never be worthy of the only woman he'd ever wanted: Thomazine thought he was an idiot."

Thursday, 12 March 2015

REVIEW-The Shape of Sand by Marjorie Eccles


Life at Charnley is blessed for the Jardine children, Harriet, Vita and Daisy, who live in an idyllic Edwardian country manor with their loving parents, Beatrice and Amory. But one night, after a party celebrating their mother's birthday, their dreams of a propitious future suddenly come crashing down when a family scandal catapults them into the headlines. Nearly four decades pass by and still the exact events of that fateful night remain a mystery. But when an old diary detailing their mother's voyage to Egypt is unearthed it finally seems as though some of the answers are within reach - until the shocking discovery of a mummified corpse in the ruins of their old home. Beautifully written, evoking the life of the Edwardian upper classes, bomb-scarred post-war England and the sultry Egyptian landscape, The Shape of Sand is a compelling novel you will wish was as long as the Nile.


The premise of this story is quite simple, in that in 1910, after a lavish country house birthday party, Beatrice Jardine's teenage daughters,  husband and sun are shocked by the fact that to all appearances, she has run away with an exotic Egyptian visitor she met ten years before.

Of course the truth is far more complicated, and Ms Eccles weaves a multi-layered tapestry of emotions experienced by the diverse characters in the Jardine children, each of whom carry their own demons of their mother’s abandonment into WWII and beyond, suffering their own tragedies and getting their lives in order.

The events of the past are teased out with contrived slowness, combined with the emotions of the present which can be distracting in parts, but which made me feel this author’s deep and insightful writing requires close attention. This is not a book to be rushed, in that every personality is deeply drawn, leaving the reader to decide for themselves which of them have harboured a secret for forty years. Needless to say the story flows to a satisfying conclusion and wasn't spoiled for me at all by the fact I had guessed the ending.

I’m delighted to see there are plenty more of Ms Eccles’ books in which I can lose myself.

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