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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

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

Men in Uniform – World War I (Lady Grace Research)

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 Read More

Lady Grace & The Great War

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, Read More

Lady Grace – New Book In Progress

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 Read More

Looking Back at 2016: Important Publishing Developments Authors Should Know | Jane Friedman

45% of all books purchased in the US in 2016 are digital In adult fiction, sales in the US are roughly 70% digital 30% of all US adult fiction purchases are books by self-published authors Source: Looking Back at 2016: Important Publishing Developments Authors Should Know | Jane Friedman An interesting article worth the read, especially that 30% of all U.S. adult fiction purchases are books by self-published authors.   Read More

The Year In Review & The Year Ahead

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 Read More

Lady Isabella in Editing – February 1, 2017 Release

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, Read More

I See the Finish Line

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 Read More

The Love/Hate Relationship for The Price of Innocence

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 Read More

My Visit to Lyme Park (fictionally known as Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley)

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 Read More