Is Historical Romance in a Rut?

As some of you may or may not know, I also have a historical romance website to help authors market the genre. It’s not that popular but is gaining in popularity, and I regularly post on it my thoughts or historical romance news.  You can find me a Historical-Romance Books. This morning I posted about the historical romance genre as a whole because of what I’ve noted. If you’ve read any of my books, you know I don’t exactly follow the cookie cutter of the genre and am all over the place with various story types and eras.  I just can’t conform and perhaps that is my downfall. Nevertheless, here is the post in the content below.  What are your thoughts about the genre?  Are we in a rut?  Frankly, overall, I think we are. Ah, the dictionary — it gives me the exact words to describe this post. RUT Read More

My Inspiration for Lady Charlotte

I had a great time writing Lady Charlotte, which is a tit-for-tat relationship between Albert Beckett and Charlotte Rutherford.  Cedric, Charlotte’s cousin, thinks her behavior is an embarrassment to the extended family and sets out on a bid to reform her ways. He chooses Albert Beckett to take on that task, who you will soon find out spouts an awful lot about what constitutes good society. So, where did I get all this stuffy fluff about behavior?  It’s from a book that I’ve used quite a bit in research entitled, The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentleman written by an Unknown Author in 1872. I wrote a review of the book on Amazon that will give you an idea of its contents: When writing, I try to be as accurate as possible regarding the times. However, this book goes far beyond what I would term a typical Read More

Where Are the Poppies Now – Tales From Those Who Bought Poppies

I was one of the lucky ones to purchase a poppy from the Tower of London. As you know, I dedicated Lady Grace to my fallen cousins who lost their lives in World War I. I’ve been able to replant the poppy on this wonderful website! Please visit, comment, and read their story of where the poppy has been planted.  Find my Tower poppy at: https://www.wherearethepoppiesnow.org.uk/the-poppy-map/               Source: Where are the Poppies Now – Tales from those who bought poppies Read More

Readers’ Favorite Honors J.D. Burrows for Conflicting Hearts

As you may or may not know, I’ve written one contemporary novel, Conflicting Hearts, under the pen name of J.D. Burrows. I entered the book into the annual competition at Readers’ Favorite and received a Finalist Award under Fiction/Social Issues. Here is the press release regarding the acknowledgment. There is an awards ceremony in November in Miami, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend. It looks like great exposure. Reader’s Favorite recognizes “Conflicting Hearts” in its annual international book award contest. The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities. Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Read More

How Reviews Help Authors

Marketing is a pain.  It’s expensive.  It’s a time-consuming task. It’s necessary to get visibility in a saturated marketplace. My biggest obstacle in releasing a new book is the lack of reviews that plague me on Amazon for months on end.  Without reviews, I cannot market.  Without marketing, I cannot sell in a saturated marketplace.  Amazon is the toughest place to obtain reviews. Star ratings are plentiful on iTunes in comparison. When I say that the best way to thank an author is to write a review, I sincerely hope that you will consider supporting the authors you read in this fashion.  A few words and a number of stars help immensely to aid authors in getting noticed amongst a crowded marketplace. Did you know that after 20-25 reviews, Amazon notices and will include me in the “also bought” list or the “you might like list” as you browse for Read More

Lady Grace Has Been Released in eBook

 Released!  Lady Grace.  Thank you, everyone!   As a young woman of twenty-one, Grace did not think it unusual to marry a man of forty. Although she wed a kind and respectful individual, something remained absent from their relationship. Before she could fully understand her growing despondency and restless emotions, England declared war on Germany. Like a jigsaw puzzle turned upside down, the pieces of Grace’s life scatter in different directions. When her husband leaves for France to fight for king and country, Grace is left behind to face years of loneliness, temptation, and loss. After the declaration of peace, the picture puzzle of her life is reassembled but paints a vastly different scene than it did before. Amazon – Published on July 28, 2017, 4:09 PM – Available Now Kobo – Published – Pre-Order Available 8/1 Apple – Published – Pre-Order Available 8/1 Nook, Scribd, Intera, 24 Symbols, Playster, Google Play Read More

Emotionally Involved

As I’ve been editing and rewriting portions of Lady Grace this past weekend, I have realized that I am emotionally involved in this book. Naturally, as a writer that often happens when you create characters and bond with them. It certainly did to some extent with the Legacy Series since I had so many lives that I followed on paper for twenty plus years. Lady Grace, however, has been an emotional journey. I don’t think that I have blubbered so much penning and reading my story. It finally dawned on me why my emotions have been so stretched after watching a new interactive documentary now streaming on Netflix entitled “Our World War” that originally aired on BBC.  You can read about here on the BBC site. It’s not an easy show to watch because it puts you in the middle of the war as if you’re standing in the trenches Read More

Building a Story Around History

My life would be so much easier if I just wrote in the twenty-first century where I’m familiar with everything around me.  I can see why contemporary authors often pound out book after book of modern love stories.  Unless they are focused on some particular subject, research is pretty much quick and easy. I’m sure in some cases, it’s not needed.  The only book I’ve been lucky enough to write with little effort is my one contemporary romance. However, I apparently love to torture myself by picking difficult subject matter.  Lady Grace is no exception.  Set during World War I in England from 1914-1919, I’ve been spending hours researching everything from aspirin to Belgian refugees in order to place this story in a believable setting.  Research teaches me (a person who once hated history), and I am often fascinated about what I learn. As I finish the first draft (yes, Read More

My Flawed Women

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection about the stories I write. Often, I get caught up in author articles regarding various genres and what’s hot. Hot usually equates to more sales. And who doesn’t want more sales? Unfortunately, the lane I’ve traveled for my personal storytelling doesn’t seem to want to change even though I often think of attempting other types of stories and characters. My only stretch has been to Gothic romance once with A Portrait of Perfection, which was a challenge.  Unfortunately, my brain is void when it comes to paranormal, science fiction, or murder mysteries (no matter how many British murder mystery shows I watch). Contemporary is difficult, except for the one I’ve written, but I have another partially finished tale that I grew bored with some time ago and put aside. One thing I’ve come to understand about myself is that I thoroughly enjoy Read More

World War I Posters

The call to war is evident by the myriad of propaganda posters encouraging the general public to enlist, serve as civilians, donate money, or to take in the downtrodden. One of the scenes in Lady Grace touches on the heroine’s thoughts of a poster she sees at the train station depicted below, “Women of Britain Say GO!” Rather than inciting empathy for the cause, she questions the ability of any rational woman to encourage their husbands to join and face the probability of certain death. Writing about this era in England has been a challenging exercise in examining the struggles of those left behind and the fears they may have endured. Of course, there is often passionate love based on the uncertainty of survival. As you can see from the examples of posters below, each carries their own theme that is meant for the very purpose of moving individuals to Read More

The 1880s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade – Mimi Matthews

Mimi Matthews is my go-to expert for anything Victorian. She’s a fantastic resource for 19th-century etiquette, fashion, beauty, and more. It is worth subscribing to her newsletter and blog if you wish to learn more about the era. Below is a link to fashionable gowns that will make you want to throw away your jeans and tee-shirts.  Enjoy! “The 1880s ushered in an era of tailored, close-fitting gowns, some of which were almost masculine in appearance.  These gowns exemplified women’s changing roles in society.” Source: The 1880s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade – Mimi Matthews Read More

Madam, it is my painful duty to inform you…

As part of my research for Lady Grace, I needed to know how families were notified of the death of their loved ones. The next of kin of officers often received telegrams, while the families of non-officers received a letter. The link to the article below talks more of the sad process during World War One and contains examples of correspondence. From looking at the demise of my distant cousins in the war, I discovered that their bodies were never returned to their homeland. They were buried where they fell in the distant lands of France, Belgium, and Turkey. Not having their bodies returned to be buried near their families surely added to the grief. I’m reminded of the movie Water Diviner, with Russell Crowe, that was released a few years ago. It’s a story about three of his sons who died in the battle at Gallipoli, Turkey (where Thomas Read More

World War One: Belgian Refugees

Britain was home to 250,000 Belgian refugees in WW1 so why is their story forgotten today? Read the story below. Source: World War One: How 250,000 Belgian Refugees Didn’t Leave a Trace – BBC News When I set Lady Grace during World War I, there were two choices for her manor home. One was to take in wounded soldiers for recuperation like those in Downton Abbey, and the other was a lesser known occurrence during the war – the influx of 250,000 Belgian refugees integrated into society. In the end, I decided to take the second route, because I had read quite a bit about it during my own ancestral research in Manchester during the war years. I discovered that Salford, where my grandparents were born, welcomed refugees. The city, at first, set up temporary housing using schools and other public buildings. However, as the wounded returned from the front Read More

Lady Grace – Update

Progress so far on Lady Grace – 12,192 Words – Chapters so far include: 1 – A World Turned Upside Down 2 – Shared Heartache 3 – Digging Trenches 4 – The World at War 5 – Welcome to Our Homeland 6 – Cozy Cottage 7 – Whales and Poets. Two new posts on Ladies of Disgrace book blog – fashions of the era and the story of Belgian Refugees. Women in Dresses  World War One: 250,000 Belgian Refugees Read More