Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thinking of Christmas Shopping?



October 23rd is almost here, the day when my 2014 novel, TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS is published in paperback form. The book's beautiful cover shows my central character, Flora Shine, dressed in her Great War nurse's uniform. Together with her two close friends depicted in the background, this clever artwork hints at the story inside. I'm so grateful to Simon & Schuster, my publisher, for taking such care to make the tale come alive for the reader from the moment the book reaches the shelves. But no sooner than TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS is done and dusted, my attention turns to next year's story, where the characters impatiently wait in the wings, eager to be written into life. September's amazing weather has allowed me to work in the garden on my laptop where intoxicating scents of bonfire and horse manure fill the air. I am at once transported back to the blackened chimneys and dilapidated 1930's terraced houses of London's East End, my writing turf . If you've read my first novel, Lizzie of Langley Street, set in 1919, you'll know costermonger Lizzie Flowers is as stubbornly determined to succeed in business as she is to protect her family from the hard men of the capital's underworld. In this sequel, my cast of characters have moved on from their horse-drawn carts and into the modern world of motorized vehicles. Lizzie plans to open a  cooperative for women, giving hope to those families who are burdened by poverty and destitution. But the criminal gangs soon get wind of her enterprise and demand a large slice of her investment. Lizzie knows she has some difficult choices to make. Does she pursue her dangerous path, refusing to give in to the racketeers and perhaps putting her family in danger? Or will she finally realise that survival is more important to her than success? Well, you'll have to join Lizzie next year to find out -  and I promise it will be worth your wait! Meanwhile, with Christmas shopping already underway, TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS might just prove the surprise stocking-filler you're searching for!

AMAZON 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Release: Woodland Daughter

Woodland Daughter is set in Yorkshire in 1902, Queen Victoria has died and the new century has brought in many changes, including another Boer War in South Africa, which features a little in this story.


Blurb
A new century brings change to the carefully ordered world Eden Harris maintains, change that threatens all she holds dear. Despite years of devoted service to the Bradburys, the leading family of the community, Eden hides a secret that would affect them all. When an enemy returns, her world is shattered and her secret exposed. Torn and provoked, she strains to protect her family until a devastating accident leaves her alone and frightened. As the threat against her grows, Eden takes her precious daughters and flees from the only place she's called home, to live amongst masses in York. Her attempt to start anew is not so simple as the past haunts her, and the one man she thought lost to her so many years before, returns to claim what has always been his. Eden must gather her strength and look into her heart to accept what the future offers. Can she find the happiness she longs for?

Excerpt.
Joel rested his body against the ship’s rail, bracing himself for the slightest pain in his shoulder. With one arm in a sling tucked beneath his uniform jacket, he was careful to keep out of the way of people. The slightest touch could have him sweating in pain. The sea breeze lifted the hair on his forehead and neck, cooling him slightly. He needed a haircut, but he’d wait until he’d reach England before attending to that.
Below him on the deck, he watched the crowds scurrying about like ants. Soldiers, nurses, travellers, ship crew, dock workers all hurried back and forth. Behind him, from within the ship, came the noise of eager travellers settling in for their ocean journey.
He stared out into the distance, where Table Mountain dominated the view. He was sad to be leaving Africa. He’d come to think of it as home in a way. The sights and sounds, the heat and people were familiar now. Of course nothing competed against Bradbury Hall, but he’d been in Africa for seven years. It was a long time. The army had replaced his family. He’d learnt to rely on his fellow officers to ease the loneliness, and at first it had worked well. The adventure and excitement kept his mind from thinking of home. But lately, for the last year and a half, a yearning to return home had claimed him and not let go.  
The ships funnels belched smoke and the boarding siren wailed. Under his feet he felt the deck shudder as the enormous engines surged with power. Anticipation welled. He was going home. Despite the ache in his shoulder, he smiled. Time to start a new phase of his life. Time to reaffirm the links with his family, the estate, old friends, and… Eden.
He was conscious of the changes awaiting him back home. Much had happened in his absence. Not long after he joined the regiment, his mother died. That had been a blow, but on the whole he had managed to keep the family and home intact in his mind. When he’d left England, his father had been alive, Charlie well, Annabella cheeky, pretty, naive and Eden… Eden had been beautiful, a free spirit of the woodland where she lived.
What awaited him now?
The ship eased from its berth and glided out into the harbour. The breeze sharpened and Joel turned away from the rail. He glanced at a crippled solider standing near the door leading into one of the saloons. The soldier swayed on his crutches, one leg gone in battle.
“Major Bradbury?”
Joel checked his step and hurried over to steady the man with his good arm.
“Thanks, Sir.” The solider smiled.
“Stevens, isn’t it?” Joel mused, helping the man to lean against a wall and out of the way of other passengers.
“Stevenson, Sir, Corporal Dave Stevenson.” He leaned against the support and breathed out slowly. “I still haven’t got the hang of these things yet.” He held up the crutches.  
Joel grinned. “I think it might be an art that takes practice, Corporal.”
Dave took of his hat and wiped the seat off from his forehead, his fair hair stuck to his head. “Do you mind, Sir, if I sit down? This leg isn’t used to holding all the weight and gets a bit shaky, like.”
“Of course, man, sit.” Joel again aided Stevenson in lowering to the deck. There were no chairs about and after a moment’s hesitation, Joel join him and gently eased his backside down, careful not to jar his shoulder. “We should have gone inside, it would be more comfortable.”
“Sorry, Sir, but I’m no sailor. Once inside my stomach has a mind of its own. I’m better out here.”
“Well, I’ll keep you company for a while until dinner is announced. My stomach is the opposite of yours. Once on the ocean I’m always ravenous. I do nothing but eat.”
“You might struggle with a knife and fork, using only one hand.”
Joel chuckled. “Yes, true. So far I’ve had only soup and sandwiches.”
Stevenson laid his crutches beside his good leg and gazed out through the iron rail. “So, we’re going back home to England. I’ve been away three years. I should be happy to be going back, but I’m not as excited as I should be, I don’t think.”
“It affects men in different ways.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, Sir, how do you feel? Was your clipped wing the reason for you to go home?”
“Yes. My shoulder stopped a bullet.” He glanced down at his padded and bandaged left shoulder. “Normally they’d take it out and I’d be back in the mix of things, but this Boer bullet went in at an angle and wedge itself deep. The surgeon managed to get it out, but he wasn’t sure what damaged had been done. Only once the swelling has gone down and the soreness gone, will I know what strength remains in the arm.”
“Does your family know about it yet?”
“No, not yet. It didn’t seem worth writing when I was going home anyway. What about your family?”
“Oh aye, they know. I’ve been in hospital a while, long enough for letters to go back and forth.” Stevenson bent up his leg and rested his elbow on it. “They say they don’t care if I come home missing a leg, as long as I’m coming home to them. I’m an only child see, and I used to help my father run our grocers shop.”
“Will you do that again?”
“I guess so. Funny how things change, isn’t it. I hated working in that shop as a lad. All my friends would be out playing football or cricket and I’d be stuck behind a counter. The first opportunity I got to leave I took, and that was the army.” He tapped the toe of his boot on the deck. “Now, I can’t wait to get back there. I miss me mam and dad, and me gran, who lives with us. My mam makes the best jam roly-poly you’ve ever tasted. Dad brews his own beer in the back shed and Gran used to be my partner in cards.”
“There’s nothing better in this world than returning home to a family that loves you.” A picture came into Joel’s mind of the estate in autumn, the tall graceful trees, their leaves turning gold and amber, the squirrels scurrying around in the wood, collecting the last of their booty, harvest time and bringing in the hay, the smell of open fires as the gardeners raked up and burnt the fallen leaves.
He leaned his head back and smiled in remembrance. “I long to go riding with my brother. We used to ride for miles. Sometimes we’d stop at a pub and have an ale and a hot pie smothered in gravy.”
“Me mam has written of a neighbour’s daughter, Vera, who she hopes I’ll one day marry. I’m not so sure what Vera has to say about it though. We got along all right before I went away, but…well, I’m not as I once was.”
“If this Vera is a decent woman, she’ll not mind.”
“Maybe.” Stevenson lifted his face to the breeze. “Will you have a girl waiting for you at home, Sir?”
Joel’s stomach clenched. “Perhaps. I’m ready for a family. However, I’ve been away longer than you, and I’m not sure what to expect when I arrive home.”
“None of us are, Sir, none of us are.”   
A group of children ran by, the shoes thundering on the timber deck. One cheeky boy paused and waved to Joel and Stevenson before scampering off again. A harassed nanny tried to catch up as she wheeled a pram after them. Joel watched until they turned a corner at the bow of the ship and were out of sight. His heart constricted, thinking of the boy’s lively face. A son. He wanted a son so badly it hurt. A boy to teach all the things his father taught him, to hunt, to fish, to ride, to play sports. He thought of Charlie. Two sons perhaps. Two fine boys to grow up together like he and Charlie did.
Emotion clogged his throat and he coughed to clear it.  He’d been away from home too long…

Buy in ebook or paperback from all online retailers such Amazon USA and Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook, etc. 

I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August's ebook 'Together For Christmas'


My Great War Centenary book ‘Together For Christmas’ is published in ebook this month. So August is a very exciting month for me, as publication coincides with the Centenary celebrations. 'Together for Christmas' opens as Britain declares war on Germany. The whole country seems to be in uproar as Flo, Hilda and Will, orphans who have just left St Boniface's Orphanage in the East End for their first jobs, sit in the sunshine of Hyde Park on a rare day off, discussing the impending war and the changes it will bring to their lives.
Little do they know what is ahead of them - nine million combatants are to be killed during the period July 1914 – November 1918. The effects of this conflict will shatter families for years to come. Some returning troops suffered what we now recognize as post traumatic stress disorder and in one way or another my young characters' lives are linked to this heart rending disaster .
Should you like to read a little more about the novel please visit my website carolrolrivers or call by Amazon.co.uk where you can download an excerpt from the first part of the book.
My very best wishes Carol Rivers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kitty McKenzie's Land

After a bit of a delay, I've managed to get the sequel to my novel, Kitty McKenzie, re-released.
Titled, Kitty McKenzie's Land, the story continues of Kitty's new life in Australia after leaving England to follow the man she loves. But not all goes to plan.

This story was previously published in 2006, so it's been a while since it's original 15 minutes of fame. I'm hoping this time around, the story reaches new audiences and readers enjoy the two books about Kitty and her extraordinary life.


Blurb
1866

Kitty McKenzie's path has taken her from the slums of York to the inhospitable bush of colonial Australia. Yet, when she believes her dreams will never be attained, she is shown that sometimes life can be even better than what you wish for.

Kitty McKenzie is gifted land in the far north of New South Wales. Life at the northern property is full of hardships as she learns how to become a successful landowner.

However, Kitty’s strength of will and belief in herself gives her the courage most women of her time never realize they have. A decided thorn in her side is the arrogant and patronizing Miles Grayson, owner of the adjourning run. He wants her gone so he can have her land, but he wants her even more.

Available 0.99c as an ebook in several formats.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Steam Yacht Parties on Lake Windermere

During the Industrial Revolution the local gentry, rich cotton magnates and entrepreneurs loved to socialise on Lake Windermere. They held weekend steamer and tea parties, the ladies showing off their elegant dresses and parasols, while the gentlemen competed for the finest looking steam launch. These would display the very best in velvet upholstery, carpets and leather seating. Even the boat’s name and their own family crest on the crockery. There would be lace tablecloths and servants would be present to serve lunch or the picnic, perhaps on an island on the lake.

Osprey

The gentlemen might indulge in a little fishing for salmon, trout or char, while the ladies gossiped and relaxed. Char was considered to be a great delicacy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Regattas, FĂȘtes and Water festivals were an important feature of Lakeland life, a wonderful opportunity to show off a new boat, and take part in water sports, sailing and fishing competitions. Kaiser Wilhelm II visited in 1895, while staying with the Earl of Lonsdale at Lowther Castle. The streets of Bowness and Ambleside were decorated with flags and bunting to celebrate the event. Then there was the ice skating when it froze over, including the winter of 1929. Lily gets involved in many such events, although things do not always turn out quite as she expects.

The Gondola on Ullswater

Lake Windermere has been a focal point of the community since at least the time of the Romans, who could access it from their camp, Galava, at Waterhead. Medieval monks also used the lake as a source of food and transport.

Steam launches still operate on the lake to this day, where visitors can enjoy a sail and even tea out on the lake made on a Windermere kettle. To see a fine display of the most historic, the Windermere Steamboat Museum is most definitely worth a visit.

Excerpt from Lakeland Lily:

The town was humming with people in their best summer dresses. Flags and streamers were everywhere, with much splashing and squealing coming from the lake, everyone enjoying the fun. Besides the sailing races there were always plenty of games for the children: musical chairs at the water’s edge, balloon bursting, eating buns on cycles, tent pegging and apple bobbing. Lily didn’t think herself too old for such fun. Not quite yet.

For the more adventurous, there would be home-made raft races and lots of other silly water games which resulted in the contestants getting a proper soaking if they were anything like her twin brothers. Later there might be a sham sea battle with mock explosions and clouds of smoke as if in a real war. Then the winning side would storm on to the other team’s island and everyone would cheer.

Lily knew her father would take part in the fishermen’s boat race, and likely win it as he so often did. After a picnic tea, which they would take together beneath the trees, they’d loll about and recover from their adventures for a while. Then would follow the grand firework display. It was worth coming to the Water Carnival for that glory alone.

The uncertain Lakes weather had been known to spoil the day in the past, for all it took place in early summer. Lily was delighted that this particular June day was perfect, with a merry blue sky and hardly a puff of cloud, the striped Egyptian cotton sails of the small boats dazzling in the sun. When the figure of Dick emerged from a stand of trees a few yards from the water’s edge, Lily’s happiness was complete.


Sadly, her happiness did not last for long, and what followed set in action a need for revenge which held dire consequences for Lily.However, as with all my books, there is a happy ending.

 Buy from Amazon


Friday, July 11, 2014

Could the daughters of Downton Abbey cope?

Imagine the daughters of Downton Abbey losing their home, their parents, their wealth, their status, their friends.
This is what happens to the characters in my historical novel, Kitty McKenzie.
Kitty has lost everything, and as the eldest daughter, she has to now provide and care for her younger siblings, a task she has no experience or knowledge of how to do. From a life of privilege she is faced with all kinds of adversities to overcome.
How will she manage to cope with these new challenges when the only decisions she used to make was what dress she needed to wear and what book to read after dinner?
How was she to create a home for them all, and an income?
She never realised that buried deep inside her was an inner strength that would come to the fore and allow her to manage, even prosper, in an alien world of the working class.

Could Mary or Edith from Downton Abbey have coped so well? I'd like to think they would.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Re-releases.

It's always nice to see an older book being released. It gives me the sense of renewal and that hopefully my book just might reach a new audience and give readers some hours of enjoyment.

The very first book I wrote, To Gain What's Lost, has been re-released under my new pen name of Annemarie Brear. It's available in ebook, paperback and now large print.

I loved writing this book. At the time (1997) I had no idea about the art of writing, I simply just let it pour out of me and got it down on paper. The story was huge, enormous. It took me two years to finish it and was obviously in need of serious editing. Eventually it was cut down in word length, edited, chopped, re-written and finally allowed out into the world a few years later.

Now, it's been given another chance to shine. I do hope you like it.



Blurb:
She thinks her life has changed for the better, her dark secrets hidden, but little does she know… The daughter of a wealthy landowner in Yorkshire, England in 1864, Anna Thornton leads a privileged life. But she is not content. She wants her life to mean something and longs to be accepted for the free-thinking, independent woman she is. When the dashing, adventurer Matt Cowan sweeps her off her feet, she thinks she has finally met her soul mate. However, he’s not the man he seems to be. After he sails for South America, leaving her behind in England, Anna discovers she’s preg¬nant. Heartbroken she flees her family home, determined to keep her child’s illegitimacy a secret. He has a few dark secrets of his own… 
Brenton O’Mara is a strong, independent man who wants to make his own way without relying on his father’s wealth. He comes to Anna’s new home looking for work and convinces the reluctant woman to hire him. But Anna's wary of men, of love, and treats him as nothing more than the penniless laborer she believes him to be. Then, just when Anna seems to feel she is getting on with her new life, and Brenton believes he has a chance with her, the past rears up to confront them. 

Can Brenton and Anna learn to trust each other, or will they let yesterday destroy tomorrow?

So you can grab a copy in the normal online places.
ebook, at:
Smashwords
Amazon Kindle
and large print at Amazon.UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gain-Whats-Lost-Large-Print/dp/1626941556/ref=cm_wl_huc_item



Sunday, June 1, 2014

A June Competition



It’s June and time for the summer competition. As many of you know, I write about East Enders – the cockney communities who came before the EastEnders of Albert Square in Walford. I set my East End families on the real Isle of Dogs (map above), Whitechapel, Limehouse, Poplar and surrounding hamlets, pre 1960. My family dramas are gritty stories and always include a heroine who will not be brow-beaten by the crime bosses and heart-rending poverty of the time. My wartime stories also reveal a whole raft of sub-plots simmering below the surface of the bombed and broken East End. So I have one question for you to answer. In one hundred words or less, name your favourite Carol Rivers book and explain the reason for your choice. One hundred words is the maximum, but if you can convey your message in less, that’s brilliant. Visit my website www.carolrivers.com and click on the link NEWS & COMPETITIONS. Here you will find all the information you need to enter. Good luck and happy writing!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ebook Sale!

My publisher, Knox Robinson is having a sale on all ebooks this week, which obviously includes my novels.
http://www.knoxrobinsonpublishing.com/book-category/historical-romance/


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Heatseeking East End Angel

Where did the idea come from for one of my best-selling novels, EAST END ANGEL? During a conversation with a friend about the romantic intrigues and dangers of life in the Blitz, the character of Pearl Jenkins began to form. I saw her clearly - on her wedding day, but the occasion was threatened by the appearance of an old flame who just wouldn't let go! My setting for the Rivers novels is the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End, widely known as Docklands. The island, a horseshoe-shaped piece of land surrounded on 3 sides by the river Thames, was ear-marked by the Luftwaffe and bombed, almost flattened in World War ll. My dad survived service in the navy and was decorated at Buckingham Palace by the King. My grandfather returned from the trench warfare of World War l whilst my parents house was blown apart by a doodlebug. East Enders were a rare breed in a strangely liberated world. So it's no wonder that I like to write about a new kind of resourceful heroine, battling for equality and independence. EAST END ANGEL is the story of Pearl Jenkins, who beat the Blitz but had a far more dangerous adversary to contend with - and some!