I really wanted to put a man in uniform on the cover of Lady Grace. Days – I spent days hunting pictures on stock photo websites. Only a few decent ones came up after searching World War One soldiers, most of which could not be used because they were editorial. (In case you don’t know what that means, they cannot be used for commercial purposes like book covers because there is no model release. For example, taking photos of men in uniform during a public re-enactment exercise.) However, I did find one I really wanted but they wanted $300 for usage rights. (Gasp for a tiny image in the background behind Grace.) CLICK HERE TO SEE IT
After giving up there, I went to the public domain and did find a few that I downloaded. In fact, I had been ready to put the face of one particular gent on the cover and a horrible pang of guilt sliced through my heart. I had no idea who the man was or whether he survived the Great War. After going through a guilt trip of using another person’s image, who had no say in the matter because he was long dead, I came to the conclusion – no photos of soldiers on the cover.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I cannot share them in this blog post of dashing British officers that served in the war. A few of these soldiers are breathtakingly handsome. Since Grace is married to a man in his forties, I thought the man in the center with the mustache and his hands behind his back would be a perfect representation of the middle-aged gent she wed.
Here they are – most with mustaches but a couple of clean-shaven British males, circa 1914-1918.
In closing, if you are looking for public domain photography or illustrations, visit Flickr. The British Library has posted over 1,000,000 items that are free for use. All you need to do is give the credit as I have done above. Here is the HOME PAGE.
Researching this story timeline is an interesting and somewhat sobering journey.
I am aware of some things during that time period because my ancestors lived in the Manchester area during the war years of 1914-1918. I have a few reference books with newspaper articles that give insight into the times and struggles at home while the men were away fighting.
My ancestors lost sons and husbands to the war, which are my second cousins two times removed on the generational chart. (This means we share the same third great-grandfather. Their fathers were my second great uncles, Robert Holland and Henry Holland.) Since I’m an avid ancestry nut, I have been able to trace military records and references to their losses. Below is a sampling of the information I have discovered.
The story of Lady Grace will include two men in the military – Grace’s husband Benedict and Arabella, her friend, whose husband Thomas has left for war. What happens to them while they are away, of course, you’ll find out when you read the story. However, the main focus will be the women left behind during turbulent times.
In honor of my relatives who lost their lives during World War I, which I hope you don’t mind me sharing with you, are noted below. When I think about them, it saddens me that they perished at so young an age never able to live out their days. May we never forget the sacrifice of the millions who died during this world conflict and others. You will note that their bodies never returned home and are buried where they died in France, Belgium, Turkey, and India.
Name: Thomas Douglas Holland
Death Date: June 5, 1915
Death Place: Gallipoli
Buried: Helles Memorial Cemetery in Gallipoli, Canakkale, Turkey
Rank Private – Regiment Manchester Regiment – Battalion 1st 6th Battalion
Type of Casualty Killed in Action – Theatre of War Balkan Theatre
The National Roll of the Great War (Entry)
“Holland, T. D. Pte. 6th Manchester Regiment. He volunteered in August 1914, and sailed for Egypt in the same month. From Egypt he proceeded to Gallipoli in April 1915, and took part in the famous landing at Cape Helles, ever memorable for the magnificent bravery displayed. In the second Krithia Battle in June 1915, he fell fighting gallantly and was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory medals. “Great deeds cannot die.”
Frederick John Holland
Died May 8, 1918
Killed in Action France
Place of Burial: Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Regimental Number: New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 2nd, Service #57847, New Zealand Entrenching Battalion, 2nd
Major George Henry Holland
Died May 15, 1918
Killed in Action France
Buried Euston Road Cemetary, Colincamps, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France
New Zealand Army
Corporal John Holland Sapsford Died November 4, 1918
Killed just one week before the end of WW1 in India.
Buried C W G cemetery in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan).
Royal Field Artillery
Name noted on St. James War Memorial along with Thomas Holland, both grandsons of Robert Holland.
Private Harry Walton Died February 6, 1917
Killed in Action France
Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion
Private Gilbert Hough Died October 9, 1917
Killed in Action Belgium
Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion
Buried Tyne Cot Memorial – Zonnebeke, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium
Lady Isabella is out for editing, and it should be ready for release February 1 in eBook and print.
After mulling over a few story lines and time eras, I felt compelled to backtrack to the time period of World War 1 for my next story entitled Lady Grace. I had thought about choosing other names for the title, but the name Grace stuck with me because of the personality of the young woman that I will be writing about.
In 1914, Grace has given birth to her first child and her husband, Benedict Russell, has left for the front. Of course, anytime that I decide to write about something new, I’m strolling down research lane. The premise of this story is going to make me study more than fashion, makeup, and hair. It’s also going to cause me to research England during World War I and the sacrifices that its citizens made while men gave their lives on the battlefield.
Already, I have chosen a cover for this new work and hope that you find the picture of Grace dressed in red, standing among a field of poppies, a poignant reminder of the times. Gazing at the cover helps me develop the character as I write the story. I can’t tell you how many times I will pause in a portion of a book, glance over at the face of my heroine or hero, and wait for the inspiration to know what they would say or do next. It’s a way of looking into their faces and becoming who they are so I can bring them to life on the page. Hopefully, each of these fallen ladies in this series of books will have vastly different personalities.
In the meantime, stay tuned for Isabella! For her story, too, set in 1930 will hopefully be an entertaining one. I will let you know when it’s release. Those on my mailing list will get an email, too. If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter for release notices, you can do so by following this LINK.
It’s difficult to phantom that another year has flown by. It’s time to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017.
This past year has been a busy one with the release of The Price of Passion, a Portrait of Perfection, and A Christmas Mission. In addition, I did new covers for The Legacy Series and continued to update the old text with updated versions.
The poor and trampled upon The Price of Innocence continues to receive its critics on Amazon, but strangely enough, on other retailers, it does far better. The iTunes version has over 349 reviews averaging at 4.5, while Amazon has plummeted to 3.2 with 103 reviews after my BookBub advertisement. I take it on the chin because I know there are many who love the series but may be too shy to review. (The advertisement, however, gave me a huge sales spike for the series so I can’t complain.)
With my various releases under my real name and two pen names, I’m now up to fourteen books. Unfortunately for some, I have kept my Nora Covington novellas (Thorncroft Manor, Whitefield Hall, and Blythe Court) exclusively in Kindle Unlimited. Eventually, I plan to pull them from KU in 2017 (because of reported problems on page reads at Amazon’s end) and release them on all venues. That also includes my contemporary romance, Conflicting Hearts.
There are often times when I swear I’ve written enough books, but then my brain comes up with another story and I continue to live through my characters. Escaping into another world is as therapeutic for authors as it is for readers. I liken myself to the movie Anonymous, where the main character states, “The voices! I can’t stop them. They come to me. I would go mad if I didn’t write down what the voices say.” Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Really, though, I’m not that schizophrenic.
In 2017, I hope to release three works again – perhaps four, depending on my ambition. Lady Isabella is finished and off to editing. It’s scheduled for a February 1 release date. Afterward, Lady Charlotte will portray her own scandalous ways, while in the background I’m going to work on my time-travel world back into the Victorian era. Frankly, I’m writing this one for my own escape, but hopefully, you’ll take the journey with me and enjoy a rather light-hearted fall back into time.
I do plan on at least three books in the series of Ladies of Disgrace but doubt that I will get to the third in 2017. However, you never know.
Of course, I am sure that you have your personal thoughts about the year past and the year ahead. Each of us reflect on our lives at year’s end and gaze hopefully into the coming months ahead. As my readers who have enjoyed my stories, I am forever grateful that you have allowed me to entertain you with my ramblings on paper this past year. May you close out this year with happiness and enter into the next with hopefulness.
Lady Isabella is in editing! Release is scheduled for February 1, 2017. I have been editing using Grammarly and ProWriting, checking the placement of commas, rewriting sentences, fixing grammar, and will soon send it off to an expert editor who knows better than software programs. Victory Editing has been booked to do the final pass in early January. Afterward, my first lady of scandal will be released in eBook and Print. I may do audio as well.
Since all of my ladies of disgrace will be in red dresses, I thought I would do some research on fashions for the 1930’s. Here is an interesting look at the modest fashions of the day for new holiday frocks. To read more, follow my Ladies of Disgrace blog (FOLLOW HERE) for interesting posts about my progress and upcoming books in the series. You might enjoy the various topics on the era’s fashions, makeup, and hairstyles.
When I’m almost finished with the first draft of a book, I start to get giddy. Especially when I think to myself — this is a good story. Even if some readers do not enjoy it, I’ve learned that if I enjoy it, it usually comes out okay. However, if I write something and struggle with the process, it doesn’t do as well. I suppose it has to do with inspiration, though I don’t often understand the muse that drives writers.
I have two more chapters to complete! It’s currently at 35,000 words, so I’ll be close to my goal of 40,000. Word count often fluctuates, too, when you begin editing.
Here is a list of the final chapters, which I hope continue to pique your interest. Also, if you haven’t been following my Ladies of Disgrace blog, you’ll be missing out on all of my research from horse racing in the United Kingdom to makeup and hairstyles of the 1930’s. You can find me at LADIES OF DISGRACE on WordPress.
In the past week, I’ve been diligently working toward the finish line of Lady Isabella.
Written in the first person, I often enjoy this point of view. I realize that it keeps the thoughts of other characters hidden, but I needed to explore the emotions and inward thoughts of this young character.
Currently on Chapter 14 and reaching 28,770 words, I’m hoping to bring this book to the final closing by the end of December. Muse willing.
In the meantime, here is a peek into the chapter titles to tease your interest.
Punishment Well Deserved
Preparations for Change
Hidden in France
Goodbyes and Hellos
Polished and Finished
Dinner for Two
No Room at the Inn
A Secret Rendezvous
Hats and Horses
Lines are Drawn
The Out-of-Tune Aria
Winners and Losers
I Do – I Don’t
Sugar and Spice
Of course, more chapters are to come. My plan is to release these new books in eBook, print, and eventually audio.
On another note, thank you to my readers for the successful run on BookBub with the free giveaways of The Price of Innocence. I’m grateful for the new followers of The Legacy Series saga — Books 1-4.
Additionally, my second short-story Christmas novelette has been released this past week — a Christmas Mission (Two Sisters Determined to Heal the Past). It’s available for download on all major retailers.
My recent promotion on The Price of Innocence has once again skyrocketed the book into bestseller sales ranks, giving it more exposure than usual. It appears that I am having a repeat of my 2012 experience when I participated in May with a free giveaway.
Since this book was first released in 2009, I have consistently advertised it as historical fiction, with romantic elements. It is not historical romance. If you’re looking for traditional feel-good romance, that is not The Legacy Series. If you read the series, proceed with caution. It’s not the normal cookie-cutter story to sweep you off your feet. It is a family saga that covers twenty-plus years. My characters face hardship and challenges. The story is filled with reality; and its themes are the price we pay for innocence, deception, love, and passion.
The Price of Innocence has been reviewed by Writer’s Digest (read here the critique), Coffee Time Romance, NightOwl Romance, Mama Kitty Reviews, and others. The book was my debut novel. It has been read worldwide and accepted by many fans who followed the series to the end.
Lastly, I want to thank all of my new readers for downloading the book. Whether you love, hate, or average me out, it’s been wonderful meeting you all. I’m not offended if you find the story difficult. Read according to your tastes. However, like any author, I am blessed and graciously thankful for those who have supported the series and sent me communication letting me know how the story moved and touched their hearts. It has taught me the power of how readers can get emotionally involved with characters regarding their struggles, love relationships, and overcoming family discord to find happiness.
And thanks to BookBub! They are a great source for getting books in front of readers.
I love being an author. One of my favorite scenes from the movie Silver Lining Playbook is below that puts things into perspective and keeps me smiling. I do apologize for the strong f-word language, but it makes a humorous point that not everyone will love your books, even if you’re Ernest Hemingway.
My visit to Lyme Park while visiting Manchester UK this October was for the purpose of taking my book, Blythe Court, and standing in front of the estate and snapping a picture. Lyme Park is on the cover, as well as “The Cage” on a hill in the background. Of course, most of my readers are probably more interested in the fact that Lyme Park was Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley in Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth.
Getting to Lyme Park is fairly easy coming from Manchester. I took a train from Piccadilly Station to Disley, which took approximately 36 minutes. When I exited, there is a steep climb up to the roadway. The directions I received from the National Trust was to turn left and walk a half-mile. There is a sidewalk the entire way but the road is extremely busy with cars and trucks whizzing by your side only a few feet away. When I came to the entrance, it turned into a 200 yard downhill walk to the gatehouse. There is no fee to enter the park itself, and if you’re on foot, like me, they have a shuttle who will drive you the mile walk to the manor house.
(Note: Click on the picture to enlarge.)
Like anything else, you usually have preconceived ideas of what you are going to see. When I arrived, I pictured one grand entrance door into the house itself. There is an archway you walk through that enters into a courtyard. This is the North Entrance. The house is a huge rectangular shape but the center is an open courtyard instead of the interior of the home. There are a few steps off to the left that lead to the entrance itself. There is a ticket office and giftshop off to the right of the courtyard. If you walk to the other side and exit the courtyard, it brings you to the gardens.
The house is managed by the National Trust so I took a few minutes to understand how these estates, which the families cannot afford to keep any longer, end up in the National Trust and are preserved. The guide told me the history of how the estate came into the hands of the Trust. It was an interesting education, but I won’t go into detail here. You can visit the website and learn more about the process. Richard II in 1398 granted Lyme to Piers Legh and his wife, Margaret, as a reward for heroic deeds in battle. The main home began in late 16th century but was rebuilt and updated by subsequent generations. (As a tidbit of information, during the 1700’s they were Jacobites and loyal to the “rightful” occupants of the throne, holding meetings in the house.)
Once you get your ticket, the amazing tour begins. I climbed the stairs and entered into the grand entrance. There is no large foyer of any type. Instead, you step into the entrance way and face what they call the Entrance Hall, which is a huge room that takes your breath away. It was used for in the Edwardian period for daily reading of prayers, after-dinner games, and conversation, and for the Servants’ Ball on New Year’s Eve. You can take pictures, but here it’s the no touch – no sit rules because much of the interior is filled with the original furniture. In each room stands a volunteer guide, who can give you information. Also, on nearby tables are booklets with extensive history regarding the room should you wish to learn more. These stay in the rooms are to be read as you pass through them.
There are many stunning rooms in the manor house, but this one is my favorite – The Drawing Room. Elizabethan and Jacobean room is very different than the Entrance Hall. Dark paneling and the rich interior is accented by a beautiful stained glass window. I spoke with the guide who stated that this was the room that the ladies retired to after dinner for tea, while the gentleman stayed behind for cigars and drinks to discuss their mistresses. Let your imaginations wander!
As you step through the door, you enter into The Stag Parlor. It’s a small room with a beautiful tapestry hanging on the wall. Here is this room where the gentlemen plotted the return of the Stuarts to the throne. They retired from the dining room here to have port and plot.
The next room is the Dining Room, and again you are stunned by its beauty and stately silver settings. The Edwardian Chippendale-style chairs are from the early 19th century. The fully set table is adorned with silver cutlery, fine china, and crystal. It is one of those rooms that you stare at for some time, imagining the dinners and the guests. Just outside the dining room is the Ante-Room, where the family and guests proceeded to the Dining Room from the Library.
The next room is the Library, which contains medieval manuscripts and 15th-17th century books. Look, but don’t touch. The room itself is beautiful.
The next room is the Saloon (not a place to drink) but a room for receiving guests. It leads out to the grand staircase, which is impressive and grand indeed. The woodwork is dark, the carpeting red toned, and it leads upstairs to the Long Gallery.
The Long Gallery is an impressive room that goes from one end of the house to the other, with a fireplace in the center. Unfortunately, my shaky hand didn’t take a very clear picture for which I apologize, but you will get the enormous length regardless. The brochure states that it was used for, “gentle exercise in bad weather and to display family portraits, but it has also been the setting for the family’s theatricals.” It’s been redecorated over the centuries.
Beyond this point, there were a few bedrooms but not many to see. Frankly, they were much smaller and less impressive, except for one gorgeous mahogany poster canopy bed. Quite a few rooms upstairs are closed to the public.
I also toured the downstairs, where the servants ate and the butler and housekeeper ran the household. There is a list of the household staff and how many it took to run the household before the Great War.
Afterward, the garden grounds were perfectly manicured. The day, however, was cold and windy with a few raindrops, so I didn’t take an extensive walk among the grounds. Below are pictures from the South Entrance.
This concludes my tour of Lyme Park, and yes I have a picture of myself holding my book Blythe Court. If you happen to visit by train, I only have one word of caution. If the volunteers tell you to take Red Lane back to the station rather than the main road, I can only say – BEWARE. It has a few strenuous uphill climbs and a rather frightening steep decline down the hill through the woods to bring you to the train platform. If you are young and in shape, no problem. If you’re older, take care.
I hope you enjoyed this long post as much as I enjoyed visiting Lyme Park.