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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween with Ms Stuart and giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS TO HELEN HOLLICK who is the winner of a copy of SECRETS IN TIME. Thank you to all blog hoppers who came trick or treating at my door!

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

In Australia, Halloween does not have the deep seated tradition that it has in the USA or in the UK.   It is really only over the last ten years that I have noticed Halloween displays creeping into supermarkets and the occasional smart alec kids who don’t really get it, knocking on the door.  As 99% of householders would not be entering into the spirit at all, the pickings are slim!

The origins of Halloween are lost in the commercial world of pumpkins and spectres but it was originally the festival of “All Hallows Even” - the night before All Hallows Day.   Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day.
The carving of jack-o'-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory.  The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips!

Through the magic of the “Interwebs” we are now global citizens and when my friend, English writer Francine Howarth, proposed a Halloween blog hop, I put up my hand to join her.

Francine’s idea is to encourage readers and writers to try reading something outside their comfort zone. 

So as my “treat” I am offering a Kindle copy of ‘SECRETS IN TIME' - dashing cavaliers, time travel and, most importantly, a witch…Is there anything more appropriate for Halloween?

Can love overcome time itself?

When Nathaniel Preston stumbles into Dr Jessica Shepherd’s garden, she is reluctant to believe he has crossed more than three hundred years to seek her help. He must help her understand why he has travelled from the midst of civil war to the quiet English countryside of the twentieth century.

But is falling in love with him destined to end in heartbreak? Jessica knows he must return to his own time and face certain death in battle.

Why has Nathaniel been sent to find Jessica? Can their love survive a bloody battle…and overcome time?

SECRETS IN TIME is currently hovering around the best selling lists on Kindle.

Meet my witch, Dame Alice

Dame Alice stood back to allow me to enter first. Bunches of drying herbs hung from hooks and little round clay pots crammed the shelves between stoppered flagons. My nose twitched. The room smelled of sage and rosemary with the tinge of something sweet, such as honey. We had touched on the history of medicine in my studies and here was an opportunity to study it at first hand. My professional curiosity overcame any reservations I may have had about Dame Alice.

“This is extraordinary,” I said.
She shut the door behind her and indicated a heavy, leather bound volume on the table. “That is my book of receipts. The sum total of my knowledge.” She looked up at me with her grandson’s clear eyes. “It would be wonderful to be born in your time, to have your knowledge.”
“What do you know of my time?” I challenged.
“What I have seen, Doctor Shepherd. Extraordinary machines that do the work of men and horses. Magic lights and water that comes from the walls, but I have also seen unhappiness and poverty. Those things are universal to any age.”
“How do you see?” I looked around the room, wondering if she kept a crystal ball or some sort of bowl with magical divining liquid in it.

TO EARN YOUR TREAT…  Tell me what halloween costume you are wearing/ would like to wear for Trick or Treat this year (even if you are Australian and don't believe in the Halloween stuff...dream a little!)

And don’t forget to hop over to Francine’s blog, ROMANCING THE BLOG, to find other opportunities for a trick or treat.

Ms. S. in Halloween costume...the city had to be scoured to find something suitable!
Visit the other Blog will be in for a treat!
Hallowe'en Blog Hop

1. Francine  9. Denise Covey  17. Susan Hanniford Crowley  
2. Marie Laval  10. Grace Elliot  18. Stephen Tremp  
3. NancyJ  11. Gilli Allan  19. Hywela Lyn  
4. N. R. Williams  12. Alison Stuart  20. Iyana Jenna  
5. Alison Morton  13. Mary Pax  21. Vala Kaye  
6. Karen Aminadra  14. Natalie-Nicole Bates  22. Yolanda Renee  
7. Lori Crane  15. Douglas Boren  
8. Derek Birks  16. Anna Belfrage  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Taking Tea with...Heather Garside

After a month of in the genteel company of Regency writers, it is my great pleasure to slip into something more R.M. Williams boots and Akubra hat...and welcome HEATHER GARSIDE to my tea table. Few people would be better equipped to write about life in outback Australia, than Heather...

Heather grew up on a cattle property in Central Queensland and now lives with her husband on a beef and grain farm in the same area. She has two adult children and her daughter was married last year, but she is still waiting for the grandchildren!

She has previously published three historical romances and has helped to write and produce several compilations of short stories and local histories. She works part time at the local library and enjoys helping out at home.

Welcome Heather, hang your "Driza-bone" on that hook near the door and I will just swing the billy in the time honoured fashion. I love a good bush tea, drunk in the Australian bush, straight off an open fire, preferably with a slice of buttered damper. What is your tea preference?

Thanks so much for having me, Alison. There’s nothing like the taste of billy tea and years ago, when I went on long days mustering with my sandwiches in my saddlebag, there was nothing like it to wash down the said corned-beef sandwiches. They were usually pretty dry by the time we got to eat them! Although we boiled quart pots instead of a billy and we had little cloth bags of tea and sugar, tied together with string, in our saddlebags. Our present farm has much smaller paddocks and we usually have the cattle in the yards by morning tea time.

If I’m not out in the bush I drink coffee and green tea – I love a flat white! How times have changed.

You grew up on a cattle property in central Queensland. While that may sound romantic, I know from my travels in the outback (city girl that I am!) that it can be a hard life for an isolated family. 
What were some of the downsides for you and conversely the upsides of life as a child in the bush?

The biggest downside of that isolation was rarely seeing other children. Occasionally we met up with some cousins, usually at Christmas time, and we started attending pony club when I was in upper primary school. We did our lessons by correspondence. As a result I was excruciatingly shy and have battled that shyness all my life. Luckily I had three siblings to play with and we devised many exciting and wonderful games. I’m sure we had much more fun than today’s children with their computer games etc. 

What do you think growing up in the bush teaches a child?

I think it teaches you resourcefulness and self-sufficiency. You have to acquire a degree of physical and emotional toughness to survive long days working in the heat and you have to learn to cope with nature’s brutality.

You and I published our first books with an epublisher way back in 2007, before epublishing became popular. What changes have you noticed over the last few years? 

Certainly the rise in popularity of eBooks! I hardly sold any eBook copies of my earlier books. In comparison Breakaway Creek is steadily selling copies every day from Amazon. Now my other books are selling as eBooks, too.

Another big difference is the acceptance of epublishing by the industry in general, which is wonderful to see.

It’s been a long time between those first two books and your latest release, BREAKAWAY CREEK, why is this? And when can we expect your next book?

I’m a slow writer, but the big factor was the amount of time Breakaway Creek spent with publishers before I found one to take it on. It was a finalist in the QWC/Hachette programme which tied it up for almost twelve months. Another publisher had the full for six months before passing on it. I must have been behind the times as I didn’t do multiple submissions.

As to my next book – I have started another one but because of contract issues I’m not sure whether to keep going with it. I’ve never been someone who’s had lots of ideas popping out of my head, nor can I churn a book out every year. Consequently I’ve never aspired to be a full-time author. We writers are all different and not everyone is highly ambitious. I also like my other jobs of helping out on the farm and working at the library. 

“Rural Romance” (or “RuRo”/ “Chooklit”) seems to have really captured reader attention in the last few years, in your opinion what do you think has brought about this phenomenon?

I’m not sure. I think Rachael Treasure started it all, by writing a rural book with contemporary themes that resonated with modern readers. I’m sure it was encouraged by the TV show, The Farmer Wants a Wife.


Two city women, a century apart, find love and adventure in the Queensland outback.
Betrayed by her boyfriend, Shelley Blake escapes the city on a quest to unravel a century-old family mystery.  Her search takes her to a remote cattle station run by Luke Sherman.
Shelley and Luke try to resist their mutual attraction as he fights to reclaim his children from a broken marriage, and Shelley uncovers the truth about her ancestors, Alex and Emma.
Emma’s story of racial bigotry and a love that transcends all obstacles unfolds in the pioneering days of the 1890s.

Shelley and Emma are separated by time but they’re bound by a dark secret to a place called Breakaway Creek.

To find out more about Heather and her wonderful books of life in outback Australia visit her WEBSITE

Monday, October 21, 2013

GATHER THE BONES is on sale...

UPDATE:  as at 1800AEDST 21 Oct 13, GATHER THE BONES hits the top 100 across all Kindle books.

It's been nominated for 5 awards and received some glowing reader reviews and now it can be yours for just .99c UNTIL 22 October.

DESCRIBED AS A STORY FOR FANS OF "DOWNTON ABBEY" and "A HAUNTING LOVE STORY"... now is your chance to snap it up.

On sale at Amazon Kindle or Smashwords.

War leaves no heart untouched

In the shadow of the Great War, grieving widow, Helen Morrow and her husband’s cousin, the wounded and reclusive Paul, are haunted not only by the horrors of the trenches but ghosts from another time and another conflict.

 As the desperate voice of the young woman reaches out to them from the pages of a coded diary, Paul and Helen are bound together in their search for answers, not only to the old mystery but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen’s husband at Passchandaele in  1917.

As the two stories become entwined, Paul and Helen will not find peace until the mysteries are solved.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Avoiding Earl Grey tea with...Suzi Love

"Is it perfume?'
Is it tea?
Whatever it is it does nothing for me
Should I drink it?
Or dab it on?
Can I swap it for a coffee or has all the water gone?..." 
(lyrics from Earl Grey by Enda Kenny)

My taste (or not) for Earl Grey tea is becoming infamous and here to join me for a cup of tea and a chat this week, is the irrepressible SUZI LOVE, one the of the most generous writers I have come across. Her knowledge of all things Regency which she shares through her blog and her Pinterest boards is astounding... So is she here to discuss muslin and lace? No...she is going to torment me with a post about Earl Grey tea... Enjoy!

Alison, I know you loathe Earl Grey Tea, so instead of trying to convince you how lovely it is (AS:  errrkk...), I'll share some of my favorite Weird and Wonderful facts about Earl Grey Tea. Which will probably convince you even more to never lift a cup of Earl Grey to your lips.
Basic Facts:
Traditionally, the term "Earl Grey" was only used  for black teas that contain oil of bergamot, which gives it a citrus aroma and taste.

Disputed Facts: 

·         Earl Grey's Mixture is assumed  to be named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister  in the 1830s, who reputedly received a diplomatic gift of tea  flavoured with bergamot oil by an envoy returning from China. 

·       Jacksons of Piccadilly claim they originated Earl Grey's Tea after Lord Grey gave  the recipe to a Robert Jackson & Co. partner  in 1830 and the recipe, based on China tea, has been produced by them ever since.

·         However,  the Grey family states that  the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey to suit the water at the family seat,  Howick Hall, in Northumberland, and the bergamot was added to offset  lime in the local water. Lady Grey used it when entertaining in London as a political hostess and it became so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it as a brand.

Weird and wonderful?

Would you like to try some foods flavoured with Earl Grey tea? 
(AS...No I would not!)

·         How about Breakfast Banana Bread with Earl Grey?
·         Or perhaps a Kit Kat Earl Grey from Japan?
·         Have you tried any cakes, confectionery, or chocolates flavoured with the tea?  For sweet recipes, loose tea is added to melted butter or hot cream and strained after the flavour is infused.
·         What about savoury sauces?  Tea bags are added to the basic stock, boiled for a few minutes, and the bags discarded.

The tea itself?
Earl Grey drinkers are revolting...????
·         Bergamot is a source of bergamottin which causes the grapefruit juice effect, where juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs. An Austrian man, in a study, drank four litres of Earl Grey a day, equivalent to at least 16 cups of tea, and the overdose of essence of bergamot caused muscle cramps. Moral of the story? If you only drink one litre of Early Grey a day, you’ll stay healthy. (AS A litre of the stuff???)
·         When Jackson's sold the recipe to Fitch Lovell food manufacturing in 1985, it caused world turmoil because the recipe had been traditionally processed for 155 years at Jackon's.
·         When Twinings changed the flavour of its Earl Grey, tea drinkers rose up in revolt. The ultimate storm in a teacup. And Twinings had to make the original recipe again, though they kept their new version as well. (London Telegraph)

'Tea with cake' takes on a new meaning!

Earl Grey tea cream and Eccles cakes by Marcus Wareing from Great British Menu

·         Earl Grey tea creams are mixed like a  crème caramel while the pastry is chilling.
·         But don't leave the bags to steep or the creams will taste like stewed tea. Ewww!
·          Milk, cream, tea bags, and sugar are boiled, egg yolks sieved into the mixture, and left to set overnight.

I get excited about different genres and eras and write in a few.  A mix of historical romance  - Early Victorian, Regency Noir, Erotica… plus….an outback medical.
Though always romance, the language of love…  Ah …. L’amour!
Find out more about Suzi at her WEBSITE.

SUZI's latest book:  THE VISCOUNT'S PLEASURE HOUSE will be released on 3 December
Historical erotic romance

Lady Chrissie Wellsby and her two country friends research dozens of rogues before selecting the notorious Viscount Hawkesbury, owner of London’s most exclusive and expensive brothel, to educate them in erotic seduction. The ladies coerce Justin Tremayne into letting them visit The Pleasure House and to teaching them the sensual tricks mistresses and prostitutes use to entertain men. Justin concedes to Chrissie’s demands simply to gain information about his long-lost mother and sisters, yet he falls head over heels in love with his pupil. But can he convince Chrissie to take a chance and marry again?


PS... I have been asked WHY I so dislike Earl Grey tea. The answer is that it was the "drink de jour" when I was in Year 12 at school and we felt we were all grown up with our own little kitchen. EVERYONE drank Earl Grey (probably because we felt it was a classy, grown up sort of thing to do) and Moccona instant coffee. We drank gallons of the even the smell takes me back to the Year 12 centre!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Writer's Life - The Contest Circuit

In this morning's Inbox, was the wonderful news that GATHER THE BONES had finalled in the 2014 EPIC Awards for Best Historical Romance, a category I won with BY THE SWORD back in 2008.  This is its 5th award nomination this year.

Contests are a part of a writer's journey and a long time I wrote a book.It sat on my desk, a pile of paper (pre digital age!) and I just stared at it. I had no idea what do next... Where should I send it? 

A friend in the publishing industry read it and said “You do realise this is a historical romance? Why don’t you enter it into the Romance Writers of Australia Emma Darcy contest?”

The 1996 Emma Darcy Award
Here’s a confession - I had never even dreamed there was a Romance Writersorganisation and (not being a traditional romance reader) neither had I heard of (the lovely!) Emma Darcy. In the days before internet,  somehow I tracked down the organisation and entered the Emma Darcy Contest and to my utter surprise I received a phone call from ED herself congratulating me on coming 2nd in the contest. The rest, as they say is history…
Even as an unpublished author I picked and chose which contests I entered. I was never a “contest junkie”. The contests I went in for were those that would give me the best feedback on my entry. Now, not all feedback is good and trust me, some comments I received cut to the bone but to be honest it is those comments that I went back to in the rewrite. As a contest judge myself these days, I try to impart that my comments are my subjective opinion and try to offer constructive suggestions on improvement. It is not always possible to say wonderful things about an entry you are reading, sometimes you have to hold the mirror up. It’s how it is done that is important.

The other great thing about entering unpublished contests is your works gets in front of editors and agents. I had a few requests for full manuscripts but alas, the magic "call" never happened but at least I was being read and getting feedback from professionals in publishing.

The world of “feedback” contests closes once you become published but the occasional contest, such as the Romance Through the Ages Contest is open for published authors. I won it in 2012 with an unpublished regency romance. Once again the feedback was invaluable…particularly from the judge who DIDN’T like it!

GATHER THE BONES was published in September 2012. It is the cross genre story to end all cross genre stories…history, mystery, romance and ghosts… but I thought in my heart of hearts I had written a good story and so I invested in the contest circuit. Two of the contests in which it has finalled were reader driven contests (The Australian Romance Readers Awards and the RONE Awards). I didn’t lodge the entries…they came from the readers…and believe me those nominations mean the world to me. The other 3 were contests I entered. It does cost money to enter contests, particularly if one also has to provide printed copies of books to distant places.

So what is the benefit to entering these contests…particularly if you don’t win?
        It would be nice to think that it lifts your book above the pack but to be honest I have noticed no appreciable increase in sales riding on award nominations.
        BUT it does go on your writing CV, it builds your profile and makes you a more attractive proposition for editors and agents. This, for me, is the major reason I would enter published author contests.

So there we areGATHER THE BONES has just garnered its 5th Award nominations and I am as proud as punch of its success… Stay tuned for a special offer on purchasing this book that begins 20 October :-)

Alison with her 2008 Eppie Award for BY THE SWORD

In the meantime I would love to know why you think contests (for pubbed or unpubbed) are worth entering…OR NOT….

Friday, October 11, 2013

Taking tea with...Kadee McDonald (Regency writer) + Giveaway

Ms. S is definitely on her best behaviour this month as another wonderful Regency writer, KADEE McDONALD, presents her calling card! 

A big Texas “Howdy!” to my guest this week, author Kadee McDonald. Do they drink tea in Texas, Kadee, or is it coffee all the way? I would hope as a lady with such strong ties to English history that you don’t mind a tea? If so, which is your favourite and I will have my butler brew us a pot.

People in the U.S. in general, and Texas specifically, are big coffee drinkers, but I’ve always preferred a nice “cuppa” myself. English breakfast tea, if you have it, would be lovely…two sugars, no cream. 

You grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, a long way from the green fields of England. Who was the greatest influence on your love of English history and why?

That’s a hard question because I can’t remember ever *not* being an Anglophile. I probably first noticed the music…the Beatles were a bit before my time, but my early years by the radio brought me the likes of Rod Stewart, Cat Stevens and Elton John. I was also a fan of the movies and historical movies, specifically, even though I didn’t realize as a young girl that they were often highly inaccurate portrayals of history. PBS, our Public Broadcasting television here in the U.S., was also a big influence, airing what we call “mini-series,” such as Poldark, The Duchess of Duke Street, and Upstairs, Downstairs. When I got up in the middle of the night to watch Lady Diana marry Prince Charles, with all the pomp and grandeur of the occasion, I was “hooked” for good. 

(AS...all my faves too. LOVED the Duchess of Duke Street. Less keen on the remake of Upstairs Downstairs... I suspect we are probably "of an age" Ms. McDonald!)

Did you study History at college? If not what was your field of study? What do you do now?

My degree is in broadcasting, but I also took so many history courses that just completing one or two more would have given me a second degree in history. My regular job now is working for one of the large entertainment companies in Los Angeles…but definitely behind the camera and not in front of it! (AS Sounds like a dream job. Remind me to ask you more about that next time!)

Have you visited England? 

Regretfully, no, time and funds have never allowed me to travel to Europe. When I do, I hope to go for an extended visit…starting with a week or so in London and then renting a car and driving out into the country, visiting all the castles and landmarks I’ve read so much about…Hampton Court, Stonehenge, Chawton (of course), Bristol and Bath, to name a few.

In your opinion, what do you think the great attraction of the Regency period is for American readers?

There’s a “surface gentility” in the customs and manners of the early 1800’s in England that most Americans have never experienced…coming-out balls, morning calls, and the entire system of aristocratic ranks and titles and such. And although debutantes and royalty aren’t parts of our lives here, I think they’re wonderful fun to read about!

I see one of my feline friends has joined us...just move him! I believe you are also haunted by two feline muses...

These are my two “rescue kitties,” the mother-and-daughter duo of Izabella and Juliana, who take over my most comfortable reading chair whenever I’m hard at work on my computer.  =^..^=

(AS One of mine prefers to sit right on top of the keyboard. I WISH he occupied the reading chair!)

You have two “regency” titles recently published with Aurora Regency, an imprint of Musa Publishing – Marisa’s Choice and An Arranged Valentine.  What was the inspiration behind Marisa’s Choice?

“Falling in love with the boy next door” is a common theme in American romance stories (including my own!) While consuming the hundreds (possibly thousands!) of Regencies I began reading years ago by authors such as Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, Joan Smith, and many others, I wondered how the “boy next door” (or in Marisa’s Choice, “the boy on the neighboring estate”) scenario might play out in Regency times. What if, instead of meeting on the dance floor at Almack’s, the heroine and hero have known each other most of their lives? What if he’s the brother of her best friend?

I hope you’ll relate to Marisa falling in love with William, “the boy next door.” 


A determined young Regency lady...three eligible true love.

Marisa Landon agrees to a whirlwind London Season because it seems to be the only way to prove to William Wycliffe that their lifelong friendship can turn into something more. She has loved Will since she was only fourteen. Now that she’s grown up and he’s returned from the war, she’s more determined than ever to make him her own.
But first, Marisa must deal with her step-father’s attempt to engage her to an eccentric viscount and the unexpected attentions of Will’s best friend, a charming young earl who can offer her wealth and status.
What will Marisa choose to do if Will won't offer for her?

MARISA'S CHOICE is available from Aurora Regency, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords 

And a litte more about Kadee McDonald...

Sometimes I wear leather, but a piece of my heart will always belong to the muslin and lace of the Regency, so I decided to try my hand at writing a traditional Regency romance. The result was Marisa’s Choice, my first book with Aurora Regency and Musa Publishing. After that came my first novella with Aurora, An Arranged Valentine. I hope you’ll enjoy reading both of them as much as I did writing them.

Find Kadee  on Twitter (@KadeeMcDonald) or Facebook (KadeeMcDonaldAuthor) or visit her website for updates

Ms. McDonald is offering a  giveaway of an e-book copy of either Marisa’s Choice (novel) *or* An Arranged Valentine (novella) to one random commenter. We look forward to hearing from you!

 Were you ever in love with a boy from your school or from your neighborhood?

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Writer takes a Holiday...or does she?

It has been one of those (happy) years where my friends just roll their eyes at me, heave a sigh and say “Where are you off to now?”

I love travel. I was born to a peripatetic life. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Africa making annual visits (”Home leave”) to England and later, as an adult, living in Singapore for 3 years.
AS 'on holiday' in Central Australia...and yest that is a fly net I am shouldn't need to write and swat flies at the same time.
As soon as I had saved enough money, just before starting my final year at university I was off to Europe on the big “OS”. Australians are great travellers. One of the drawbacks of living in our wonderful country is that it really is at the bottom of the world and so to travel ANYWHERE you have to be prepared for long hours in planes which means we really appreciate everything Europs/Asia/Americas have to offer! None of this popping over to Paris for a weekend. A trip to Paris has to be planned, saved for and involves at least 24 hours of solid flying.

I have been fortunate in recent years and managed a great deal of overseas travel.  This year, for example I have been to the USA, the Caribbean and Russia… Next year - nothing planned but I am sure something will come up.

It is therefore perfectly natural that my writing “career” began when I was on holiday - a skiing holiday in the Australian alps with our young family. I foolishly believed my husband when he declared “This slope doesn’t look steep.” One dislocated shoulder and one of the most embarrassing experience of my life later and I found myself alone in a ski chalet in the Australian ski fields with one of the very first “notebook” computers, loaded with Word Perfect 5.1 (still the BEST WP software IMO) and the rest, as they say is history. I finished that book and it is now, some incarnations later, BY THE SWORD.

It was enough, I was addicted to writing! Everywhere I travel now I carry a notebook and pen. If I forget to pack one then I panic and rush off to the nearest shop to purchase one. These days I also carry my iPad but I prefer the immediacy of a pen and paper when I am on the move.  I have sat in cars, jotting down scenes that had to be written THAT MOMENT. I have sat on planes and scribbled in my notebook. I have lain beside pools and let the ideas foment in my head. Every place I visit I view like a location spotter for a movie, every story I read in a museum is a potential plot. If I find myself alone in a hotel room with “NOTHING” to do, I will be scribbling away. In short I seem to never quite be “on holiday” from writing.

I have just returned from a week in Central Australia. It was hot but the flies weren’t too bad (thanks for asking). DH (darling husband) and I camped under the stars in the West Macdonnell ranges. This holiday I thought I would try my hand at painting (I come from a long line of artists) so I sat by the picturesque waterhole staring at the blank page of my new sketch book, pencil in hand. What did I do? I wrote… I just let my mind go into free fall and what I felt unable to communicate visually I did verbally… "The ancient red soaked walls rise hundreds of feet into the air, cracked and scoured like a reptile skin…” or “The ghost gum clings to life, its roots forcing down into the rock to find the precious water to sustain its existence…”. I sat at a table in our campsite and scribbled down the start of a new story (for those who have read GATHER THE BONES… Tony Scarvell is crying out to have his story told).

Full credit to Debbie Redpath of for this wonderful cartoon that has done the rounds of all my writer friends!

Is this inability to escape from writing a good thing? I don’t know. I can’t imagine not travelling without it 'in my hand luggage'. It’s not like travelling with the weight of a law practice on my shoulders. Its fun and invigorating and, in my view, good for the muse to find herself in different situations. Mind you there are times when my muse seems to go on holiday without me...but that's a post for another day.

What do you think? Should I leave my writing behind when I am on vacation? If so, any suggestions as to how I do that?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Taking tea with... Georgiana Louis (Regency Writer)

This is my month for taking tea with Regency Romance writers. In a becoming frippery of muslin and lace, I am delighted to welcome Georgiana Louis <Here Ms. Stuart curtsies appropriately - she is very well trained in Regency manners>.

The maid has brought in the tea tray so it is my pleasure to pour us two bowls of tea. Ms. Louis do you have a favourite blend that I can provide for you?

Peppermint tea would be wonderful please! 

<AS. Hmmm...did they have peppermint tea in Regency times?>

Now we are settled, let's chat. In your “real” world you are a chiropractor. What led you to that particular choice of profession? What do you love about it?

What don’t I love about it, would probably be a shorter list. 

Well, when I was in Year 11, I went to a Health Sciences night at my school and my mother pushed me to attend the Chiropractic talk as well as the Physiotherapy one that I wanted to see. The physio spent the whole time talking about money and the chiropractor told us of all the patients he had helped over his forty year career. 

I love the fact that Chiropractic has a true philosophy and that it’s completely natural. We know that the brain and nervous system control everything from your immune system, to the movement of your toes. As chiropractors we believe that if you keep the spine healthy- which is the gate keeper for all of those electrical messages from the brain- then the body will function optimally.

I get to adjust old people, young people, elite athletes, everyone. And I don’t generally stop when they are out of pain. My favourite patients are those that come in once a month for their ‘tune up’ because they know that keeping their spine healthy will increase their quality of life. It’s truly awesome.

<AS. You have reminded me that I need a 'tune up'...a week of sleeping on the ground in central Australia has played havoc with my back!>

You are an extremely versatile writer, moving easily between contemporary and historical settings? Do you have a preference ie do you prefer writing the historical or the contemporary stories?

Honestly, it depends on my mood which I write and which I enjoy more. I started out with historical because it was all I used to read. Specifically the Regency period, but now I write whatever story comes to me which is at present, contemporary.

You have two contemporary stories in publication. Any more contemporary novels planned?

Yes. England or Bust is a contemporary short story due out in December with Steam eReads. It’s really cute and I will continue to write as the muse hits.

Who or what sparked your interest in history?

The amazing works of Sabrina Jeffries, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn and Karen Hawkins. I started reading their books and just had to write one too.

Your historicals are set in the Regency period. What is it, in your opinion, about this period that inspires such a following among readers?

I can only tell you what I love about that period and it certainly isn’t the clothes- quite horrible really. I personally love it because you are in the world of Duke’s and Earls, there’s something so grand about the world of the aristocracy. But also, it was the time when love matches first came into ‘fashion.’ Thirty years before that, all aristocratic marriages were arranged and I love watching a Regency man struggle against expectation and loving a woman of ‘lower rank.’ It was also the era that wife’s were considered more than just a decorative piece for your house. Women of ‘conversation’ became more popular and I of course love that!

I am particularly interested in your “Spares” series. Book number 1 (with a  gorgeous cover!) THE RELUCTANT DUKE is out. What is the premise behind this series and what do you mean by “The Spares”?

Well, my original idea behind the series came from the saying ‘an heir and a spare.’ ie. An aristocratic family would aim to have two sons so that if one died then there was another to inherit, as female children couldn’t. So I imagined four friends, all spare sons to rich aristocratic families. None of the men want the responsibility or the title and yet one by one they inherit and of course make beautiful matches along the way.

All four men are quite different and they have equally different heroines.

The reluctant Duke is my sweetest story and has my sweetest heroine- Annabelle. My women…and my men seemed to get more firey as I wrote them.

When can we expect Book Number 2, THE RUINED MARQUIS?

Hopefully soon,(probably November) The tentative release date has already passed me by.

For more information on GEORGIANA LOUIS and her books, visit her WEBSITE.


Colin Lyre, recently inherited 10th Duke of Lincoln, has been told his whole life that he is superfluous to his family.  
When he must deal with the responsibility and stress that comes with his new title, he flounders rather badly. He is determined do his ‘duty’’ and marry an ‘appropriate Duchess.’   
Life throws Colin’s plans wayward when he rescues the beautiful Annabelle from a ball. She makes him realize how much better his life could be, but he doesn’t know if he truly deserves such happiness.  
Annabelle wants nothing to do with the responsibility of marrying a title. She simply wants to make a suitable match with a gentleman who can support her family.  
Colin is Annabelle’s perfect prince until she realizes what life as his life would be like. However, making the rational decision to stay away from one another is much harder than either of them expects.
MS LOUIS is generously offering a giveaway of THE RELUCTANT DUKE to a lucky commenter. Come into my parlour and tell us why you love Regency Romance?

As a special treat Ms. Louis will now read to us, an extract from the up and coming THE RUINED MARQUIS.

This is Archie and Victoria’s story and is riddled with guilt, passion and long standing love. Enjoy.

Archie moved over to Victoria and went down on his knees in front of her. He reached for her hands and clasped both of hers in his. She looked up at him with tear stained eyes and his heart did a little misstep.

“Marry me,” he urged, squeezing her hands for emphasis.

“No.” Victoria looked horrified by such a proposal. 

“Yes,” he insisted, holding onto her hands when she would have pulled away.

Archie heard a growl behind him, knowing it was John and he also knew he had only seconds left before a fist was landing somewhere in his body.

“I love you. I have loved you since you were sixteen years old and debuted in the most horrible white dress I have ever seen. Marry me, please.”

MS LOUIS is generously offering a copy of THE RELUCTANT DUKE to a lucky commenter, so please step into my parlour and tell us WHY DO YOU LIKE REGENCY ROMANCE?

Archie had so much more to say but he felt the hands pulling at him and he let go of Victoria’s hands so that he could confront his friend.

John and Rupert pulled him to his feet and spun him around.

“Why are you offering to marry her Archie?” John asked, his face a mixture of fear, anger and trepidation.

“Because I love her, I have always loved her. I just didn’t want to offer for her when my family’s name was so badly ruined. But now, I have no choice, I must.” He spoke with conviction and although Victoria’s heart did a little dance when he confessed that he loved her, it also broke a little at the knowledge that he felt that he had to marry her.

“You’re offering to marry her, despite the baby? Or because of the baby?” John asked, his face showing signs of hope and fear warring.

Archie took a deep breath and told the truth, knowing full well what was going to happen, and he deserved it.

“Both…It’s my baby,” he announced quietly although the stillness in the room meant the words echoed as though he had shouted.

John’s fist ploughed directly into his jaw causing Archie to spin backwards.

Don't forget that you are welcome to leave a comment. We would love to know why YOU love Regency romance?