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Saturday, February 21, 2015

I have found a new love... Pinterest

Yes, it's true. Facebook... Twitter... you have your place in my heart but I am afraid a perky, newcomer has stolen my heart. I have discovered Pinterest.

Now you might think that I have just found a new and fascinating way to procrastinate and you would not be wrong.  I could happily spend hours flicking through the Boards and repinning fantastical pictures. It is the 21st century equivalent of going through magazines and cutting out pictures to stick in a scrap book.

My problem is that I am a visual person so something like Pinterest is of immediate interest to me. I like maps, and pictures of all sorts of things. to help me visualise my work. 

I had a brief flirtation with Pinterest when it first started but the lawyer in me tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out that what I was doing was quite possibly a breach of someone's copyright and you know that probably (read, definitely) rings true. If you google Pinterest and Copyright there are slews of articles warning of lawsuits and damnation both for Pinterest and users of Pinterest. 

And this sensible advice comes from a lawyer - Mr. Pink... who wrote in a Wall Street article journal (How to use Pinterest without breaking the Law...
For the most conservative of Pinterest users, lawyers say following a few simple rules will avoid potential legal trouble.
“The best and easiest way to avoid trouble is to put up your own content, the content you created,” Jonathan Pink, a California-based intellectual property lawyer with Bryan Cave LLP told the Law Blog.
For example, Mr. Pink said that if a Pinterest user sees a piece of furniture that he or she likes, or a tasty-looking cookie, they’ll be safe taking out their smart phone, snapping a photo, and pinning it.
“Own the content you are publishing,” Mr. Pink said.
On the flip side, Mr. Pink said, “if you are going to play it conservative and safe, you should never pin an image on Pinterest for which you don’t own the copyright interest or for which you have not obtained a license from the copyright owner.”
There are some exceptions: Old photos that pre-date 1923 can be “safely posted” under copyright law, he said.
One area that might be somewhat less risky is recipes.
“You can post a recipe as long as you are creating the text of the recipe yourself, according to Mr. Pink.
(Hmm... I have to take issue with Mr. Pink, simply taking your own photograph of anything does not necessarily make it yours either... you are still infringing on the rights of the owner of the chair or the building. But, hey, I'm not a lawyer any more so this is not legal advice!)
Back to my rediscovery of Pinterest. Like all forms of social media since my initial flirtation, followed by a dose of panic, I ventured back on to it - with my own content in hand. Interesting photographs I have taken for research purposes in my travels, my needlework and, of course, my cats.
What I discovered was a realm of possibilities. The whole world had discovered Pinterest (and were happily posting up pictures regardless of possible copyright violation). What if I posted up all those images I captured for use with my books (currently stored on Scrivener and Evernote)? What if each book had its very own board?  Would that help bring it to life for the readers? (see the Pinterest Board for By The Sword - above)
So yes, all my books, including the WIPs in progress now have their own Pinterest Boards.
But best of all, for me, were the costume resources! 
One thing you probably don't know about me is that I am a costume fiend. I love historical costume and in my adolescence dreamed of becoming a stage costume designer. I can't get enough of galleries with decent costume displays (The Bath Costume Museum for example) and I am hoping to get to the V&A on my next trip to London. This is why (if you follow me on FB) you FREQUENTLY see me in dress ups... from Medieval costume in Shrewsbury to Roman Armour in Wales. Being the visual and historical person I am, nothing gets me into a time and place faster than costume. 
I am addicted to costume and Pinterest just feeds my addiction.
So come and visit me on Pinterest and I will happily share my addiction with you!

Monday, February 9, 2015

JOIN ME FOR VALENTINE'S DAY! (with the Digital Writers' Festival)

To kick off your Valentine’s Day evening, join a bunch of writers, poets, and comedians as they share their stories of love (both true and unrequited), lust, ardor, and romantic awkwardness. In the leadup to the event, send in dedications to your loved ones for our artists to read on air – just the way they did it on FM radio back in the nineties.

Join me and fellow Escape author, Lee Christine for an hour of fun and romance on Valentine's Day Evening.

We are the guests of the Digital Writers Festival and we will be 'hanging out' in a Google Hang Out with Siv Parker and Karys McEwan from 6pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Click HERE to go the web page for further details, to RSVP and to send in your dedications!

Thursday, February 5, 2015


From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them.

The battle of Worcester in 1651 was the last great battle ever fought on English soil. Cromwell routed the forces of the young King Charles II and plunged England into nine years of a Rebulican experiment which ended with Cromwell's death and the restoration of Charles II.

The Guardians of the Crown series follows the fate of three men who fought beside the King on that day - Jonathan Thornton (BY THE SWORD), Kit Lovell (THE KING'S MAN) and Kit's brother, Daniel Lovell (EXILES' RETURN). Their stories will span the ten years of the Interregnum from 1650 until 1660.

I have often described BY THE SWORD as 'The book of my heart"... in later posts I will go into greater detail as to how I came to write it and the inspiration behind it, but for now BY THE SWORD was and always will be my first great love.

This was the book I started writing in a ski chalet all those years ago. It has been on a long journey with me... finalling in RWA's Emma Darcy Award (as it was then) and winning an EPIC Award for Best Historical Romance but it has never really found a home and people to love it as I do.

So a huge thank you to my wonderful publisher Escape Publishing for giving BY THE SWORD a new lease on life - re imagined, rewritten and re-edited. So even if you have read it before in an earlier incarnation, you won't be disappointed by revisiting this edition...

For my newsletter subscribers... watch out for my next newsletter coming out shortly. There will be a special offer just for you - so if you would like to become a subscriber, you will find a box to the right of this post. 


England 1650: In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King's cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life  forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?


As one reviewer wrote:

"By The Sword was one of the most moving and powerful books I have read in a very long time. You could actually feel the struggle these two characters had to endure to be together. Alison Stuart really drove home how hard it was for people of that time especially woman to survive. Her book felt so real that I wondered if anyone living today could ever cope with the way life was back then. This book pulls at your heart strings and you hold your breath until the very end praying for these two characters." Coffee Time Romance (5 stars)

Find out more about BY THE SWORD by clicking HERE or visiting its very own PINTEREST BOARD HERE


Monday, February 2, 2015

What's not to love about a spy? Great and Unfortunate Desires - Gina Danna

Great and Unfortunate Desires

Victorian England c. 1870

Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.

Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.

Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.




“I shall talk to him shortly.”

Evelyn raised her brows, eyeing over his shoulder. “Shortly may be now, my lord.”

Tristan turned. Barreling down the lawn, creating a wake in in his path, Evelyn’s father stormed toward them. Not far behind him was Huntington and his son. Tristan gauged their pace and the distance. He had a few seconds and could hear Evelyn’s foot tapping against the grass. Frankly, he was surprised she hadn’t crossed her arms in anger or left him. With every second, her behavior and decision to stay put only made him more interested in her. Damn! Her dowry and position made her exactly what he needed his English bride to be like, with a ramrod backbone and a defiance of societal rules. As Evelyn’s father got closer, there was only one thing Tristan could think of to ensure she become his. In one swift move, he turned, pulled her close, bent her backward, and pressed his cheek to hers. She gasped.

“Considering the situation, you need me as much as I need you. We are the perfect match,” he whispered, smiling and gesturing as if to kiss her.

They both knew in that moment she became his forever. The compromising position between two single people in a public setting was shocking to the ton.

Tristan heard the grass crunching under the footsteps of the Baron and his party. He didn’t look in their direction but eased back from Evelyn, watching her reaction. Suppressed fury blazed in her eyes, and her body was rigid.

“Naught, naught, naught,” he murmured. “To slap me would be appropriate but would serve you no purpose.”

Despite the fire in her gaze, she relaxed a little within his arms. “But it would give me satisfaction nevertheless,” she whispered defiantly, although she didn’t move.



Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.

You can connect with Gina on her website, Facebook and Twitter:  @GinaDanna1


Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and reputable on line bookshops.