Monday, March 6, 2017

Number 1 on Amazon.

Last week, one of my historical novels, Aurora's Pride was free on Amazon kindle, a promotional offer by my publisher.
The results were that Aurora's Pride made it to number 1 in the free saga category!
Thank you to every one who downloaded a copy.
I hope you enjoy the story.


Aurora's Pride
1898 Yorkshire--Aurora Pettigrew has it all, a loving family, a nice home, a comfortable life. She's waiting for the right man to offer her marriage, and the man for her is Reid Sinclair, heir to the Sinclair fortune and the love of her life. But, Reid's mother, Julia, is against the match and her ruthlessness unearths a family secret that will tear Aurora's world apart.
Unwilling to bring shame on her family and needing answers to the allegations brought to light by Reid's mother, Aurora begins a long journey away from home. She leaves behind all that is familiar and safe to enter a world of mean streets and poor working class. Living in the tenements of York, surrounded by people of a class she'd never mixed with before, Aurora struggles to come to terms with the way her life has changed. 
By chance, she reconnects with a man from her past and before he leaves with the army to war in South Africa, he offers her security through marriage. Aurora knows she should be happy, but the memory of her love for Reid threatens her future. When tragedy strikes, can Aurora find the strength to accept her life and forget the past?



Amazon Australia https://goo.gl/YkZrOx

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Isabelle's Choice - Victorian saga.

A little excited that my back list of novels are getting republished. It's so lovely to fall in love with them all over again! LOL
Isabelle’s Choice

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Magical Attributes of Amber

Amber lifts the heart, delights the eye, and excites our imagination. We think of amber as a precious stone but unlike most jewels it is not a mineral. Like pearls, diamonds and jet, amber is of organic origin, coming from the petrified resin of ancient forests. The Baltic region produces the best amber as this is from the prehistoric Pinites succinifer tree, which is at least 50 million years old and now extinct.

As the sticky resin ran from these ancient trees, leaves, twigs, fungus gnats, dragonflies and other insects could be caught up and become an inclusion in the amber. These add to the value and reveals priceless information about the flora and fauna of the ancient world. A moment in time frozen forever.

Neolithic tribes believed that amber was a piece of the sun fallen to earth and sunk into the sea. Greek myths claimed that amber represented the tears of Apollo’s daughters, Apollo being the God of the Sun. Priestesses wore amber beads for the magical energy stored in these beautiful stones. Ladies of the court of Rome thought that touching and stroking amber would create in them a youthful appearance, cool their hands in the summer heat and enhance fertility. As amber was said to bring good luck to the wearer, gladiators stitched pieces of amber into their clothing before a fight. Native American amber is said to represent the east wind of grandfather sun, Amber is still seen by many to be a sacred symbol of the sun. It is often called Tears of the Sun, Gold of the North, Hardened Honey, or Captured Sunshine.

Amber has long been considered to have therapeutic value which will improve health and mental clarity, fight depression and promote healing, particularly for children. A belief that continues to this day as baby teethers, beaded amber necklaces, amulets of amber hearts or crosses, and bracelets, are still a traditional gift for a child. Amber oil is also believed to be effective for rheumatic diseases. Rubbed into the skin it improves blood circulation and eases muscle pains.

Best of all the attributes of amber is its pure beauty and the hundreds of glorious shades, generally from white through yellow, honey, butterscotch to a reddish brown. The darker the colour, the older the amber. One of the world's most valuable art treasures, the Amber Room in Catherine Palace was made entirely out of amber. When the palace had to be evacuated during World War Two the panels were covered up, but tragically lost, or rather stolen, by the invading Nazis. But it has since been rebuilt, a perfect replica of the original which has taken at least twenty years to achieve. We visited when on our Baltic cruise, which sparked off the idea for The Amber Keeper. Photography is not allowed in the room, so I’m afraid I have no pictures, but we also enjoyed visiting the workshop.

If you own some amber, then keep it in a sealed plastic bag away from heat. Amber is soft and a tiny drop of olive oil will help deal with any scratch. It will always look beautiful and very special, in addition to all its magical properties.

Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Russia, The Amber Keeper is a sweeping tale of jealousy and revenge, reconciliation and forgiveness.

English Lake District, 1960s: A young Abbie Myers returns home after learning of her mother’s death. Estranged from her turbulent family for many years, Abbie is heartbroken to hear that they blame her for the tragedy. 

Determined to uncover her mother’s past, Abbie approaches her beloved grandmother, Millie, in search of answers. As the old woman recounts her own past, Abbie is transported back to the grandeur of the Russian Empire in 1911 with tales of her grandmother’s life as a governess and the revolution that exploded around her. 

As Abbie struggles to reconcile with her family, and to support herself and her child, she realizes that those long-ago events created aftershocks that threaten to upset the fragile peace she longs to create.



Excerpt from The Amber Keeper 


Amazon UK

Amazon US

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Isabelle's Choice - historical saga

Isabelle's Choice


Blurb
Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

Isabelle’s Choice is available for pre-order and will be released March 14th.
Amazon UK  https://goo.gl/THWIyH


Friday, January 13, 2017

Treatment of Women in the Spanish Civil War

Before the Spanish Civil War, girls had a very poor education. Boys were permitted to stay on at school much longer, while for girls it was merely a means for learning domestic duties. It irritated Rosita and no doubt women in the real world that they were legally obliged to leave school at twelve, despite their love of education and desire for a career. Nor were women permitted to take a job outside the house without the permission of their father or husband.

But the war initially brought a change in status for women, as they wished to do their bit to help in support of their husbands. Many received their best education during the war years, assisted by Mujeres Libres, which did a great deal for the emancipation of women. This organisation didn’t do battle with men, but neither did it believe that women should be ruled by them. They claimed all women should be considered equal and have the same education and opportunities as men.

Women working in the war was not approved of by the Fascists, even if it was only doing the laundry for soldiers. Nor were they allowed to wear overalls or carry guns. Both left and right wing parties tended to dismiss women’s efforts as inappropriate, treating them more as sexual objects. They were expected to practise self-sacrifice and self-denial for their family, husband and the church. Some women tended to assume that the problems were more about class and economics, rather than gender. Others would deny they were feminists, nervous of endangering their efforts for equality and the fact they had no wish to be ruled by controlling men.

 The problem was that if the authorities could not find the man they were seeking, they would arrest his wife or children simply for that reason. They hoped that threatening a man with that possibility could result in his surrender. Tragically, family differences could on occasions reveal where a fugitive was hiding. Women were often imprisoned for helping family and friends to escape. They could even be denounced by a neighbour, alleged friend, or family member.

After the war, they were returned to the kitchen, rather as was the case in the UK following both world wars. Women yet again felt cloistered, offered a very limited education and every effort was made to prevent them from attending university. They were even denied the right of divorce, contraception, abortion, or to open their own bank account. And no job was allowed once they were married. Laws were set up to ensure that women acted only as good wives and mothers. Fortunately, this anti-women attitude did eventually change, although it took some time. And the characters in this book are generally strong women, who very much do their bit to help, no matter what the risks involved.


It is 1936 and Spain is on the brink of civil war. Across Europe, young men are enlisting in the International Brigade to free their Spanish brethren from the grip of Fascism, leaving sisters and lovers at home. But not all women are content to be left behind. In Britain, Charlotte McBain and Libby Forbes, friends from opposite sides of the class divide, are determined to do what they can; in Spain, Rosita García Díaz, fiercely loyal to her family and country, cannot stand by and watch. Three brave women, inspired by patriotism, idealism, love and even revenge, dare to go into battle against tradition and oppression. 

Tying them all together is Jo, Libby’s granddaughter. Five decades later she travels to Spain hoping to make sense of a troubling letter hidden among her grandmother’s possessions. What she learns will change all of their lives forever. Deceit, heartbreak, and a longstanding fear of reprisals must all be overcome if the deeds of the forgotten women are to be properly honoured.

Amazon UK 

Amazon US

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Eastenders and Creating Your Own Story





The BBC have given helpful guidelines to aspiring writers to help them create their own stories.

1. Set the scene: pick locations, props and characters.
2. Tell your story with dialogue, expressions and poses.
3. Click "Publish" to share your story with the world.

In a nutshell, this is the way to write books. Of course, a whole lot more goes into fleshing out a novel but this is great advice. Editors love to have your pitch wrapped up in one burning question. Here on a mini scale are some examples from Eastenders episodes;

Denise finds herself in an impossible situation - will the truth out?

​The day of Ronnie and Jack’s wedding has finally arrived - will they get the day of their dreams, or will it turn into a nightmare?

Carmel throws a surprise baby shower for Denise - how will she react?

A New Year; can things get better for Phil Mitchell?


And, as most of us know the answer to each question will dig the holes ever deeper for the characters to fall into. The series would be boring otherwise, and not the roaring success it has achieved today.

I asked one question before writing my bestselling shorter story, ’Lily’s Christmas Workhouse Baby’. What would a mother be prepared to sacrifice to save her baby? And so began Eastender Lily Flynn’s journey of discovery in the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian workhouse!

I hope 2017 will be full of dramatic writing questions for you.

​Love Carolx

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Romance is important and why I write!

I have been asked a few times why I write romance books, (sometimes complete with that look of disdain as though it was beneath them, you know, the common look people often give romance authors...)
I replied that the genre chose me, but on consideration, I realised that writing about two characters who find that instant spark - that immediate connection - is a privilege and a joy. Through my characters, I get to experience that initial rush of blood, the heart somersaulting and chemistry that comes when we find another person attractive and interesting.
Could there be a better topic to write about? Romance in some form is usually found in all genres, but a lot of people don't believe that. However, if you study some of the other fictional genres, you might be surprised to see that love between characters is usually a base to build stories on. For example: revenge on a murdered loved one (crime) or twisted love/stalker (horror)

Just like my characters, everyone needs romance in their lives.
Romancing a potential partner opens up so many possibilities in each other, especially the all important communication.
What is more perfect than feeling you are loved? Or more importantly, being shown you are loved?
And that's the piece most people mislay...Showing they love someone. We are all guilty of doing it as life gets in the way and we have pressures and responsibilities, etc. However, it takes but a minute to show you love someone. I make sure my characters do it.
In my book, Long Distance Love, Liam fills a room with flowers for Fleur, but it doesn't have to be that grand a gesture! It's the little things that makes a difference:
An email/text/message saying, I love you...
a phone call, just because you can....
a bath run as you walk in the door...
a special smile just for you...
dinner arranged and the cleaning up shared...
a shoulder to fall asleep on...
a kiss hello and goodbye - both are important...
a hand to hold...
cuddling on the sofa...
a cup of coffee brought...
stopping for a moment to say, how was your day...
taking care of them when they're ill...
listening to that special song you share...

The list is endless, of course, but the message is there, clearly - we all love to be romanced. We all need it in our lives. We all want our special 'other' to show us that they are thinking of us and that's why romance books and movies are so popular - if we don't have it for real in our lives, then we need to find it elsewhere. 

However, for me, there is also the satisfaction of creating love and romance for others to read, to experience, to search for in their own lives. It's true I put my characters through drama and hardship but in the end they find happiness, which is what we all want.

We should never accept the ordinary, but strive for the extraordinary.
An unashamed romance author.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Volunteers who helped in the Spanish Civil War

The aim of volunteers was not to establish communism in Spain, but to help the people hang on to democracy.’

The characters in my book were inspired to go to Spain for personal reasons and as a result of what they saw on the British Pathe news. Crowds of refugees escaping the bombing of their town, children crying and bodies lying everywhere. This was why many local Scots volunteered to join the International Brigade. Of course, some young men were seeking adventure or felt the need to escape from some problem back home. But hundreds of brave men and even women volunteered to help the Spanish people, believing in humanity and democracy. These comprised ordinary working and middle-class folk, students, artists, photographers and many others, both British and Scottish. They also feared that if fascism was not stopped in Spain, it would spread to a wider conflict across Europe and maybe to England. And with no support from the British government, they would make their own way to Spain.

Many Scottish Nurses went to help too. As Orwell states in his personal account of the Spanish Civil War - Homage to Catalonia, ‘Apparently there was no supply of trained nurses in Spain, perhaps because before the war this work was done chiefly by nuns.’ Possibly for that reason, their assistance was greatly appreciated, as foreign medical volunteers were much better trained. The Scottish Ambulance Unit made a vowed commitment to neutrality, pledging to treat the injured of both sides even if this sometimes proved difficult. The nurses too remained neutral.

Spanish women took on their husbands jobs once they’d joined up to fight. The government recommended families did this, thus enabling industry to continue, women having been granted more rights during the war. But as we know, the Fascists did not always approve of them working close to the Front, even when they were supporting the men by providing food and clean clothes. However, many brave women paid no attention to this attitude, some even fought alongside the men and were in need of volunteer nurses if they suffered injury.

Around 2,400 British nationals fought in the International Brigade in Spain and about 550 were Scottish. Very few had had training and ammunition was not easily available at first. There were some volunteers who had naively imagined the war would last only a few months, and when they realised that wasn’t going to happen, would escape and return home. Later, that was disallowed, although most volunteers fought hard to the end, many of whom never returned.

The moment finally came when Franco declared he’d won and all foreigners must leave. Those who did return home were often assumed to be communists, as a consequence of their support in the Civil War, and had problems finding a job. Some men went to join up and fight in World War II, many believing that if the British and French government had done more to help Spain fight for their democracy, Hitler might never have started that war. Mussolini too might have thought twice about what he did. Yet many Spanish lives had been saved thanks to the International Brigade, including evacuated children. But sadly, Spain’s problems continued for some time.



It is 1936 and Spain is on the brink of civil war. Across Europe, young men are enlisting in the International Brigade to free their Spanish brethren from the grip of Fascism, leaving sisters and lovers at home. But not all women are content to be left behind. In Britain, Charlotte McBain and Libby Forbes, friends from opposite sides of the class divide, are determined to do what they can; in Spain, Rosita García Díaz, fiercely loyal to her family and country, cannot stand by and watch. Three brave women, inspired by patriotism, idealism, love and even revenge, dare to go into battle against tradition and oppression. 

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

As the year draws to a close, I'd like to thank all my readers for their support during 2016.
In the new year I'll have exciting news regarding six of my older books which are having a revamp with new covers, and I'll have a new website up and running!

Until then, please everyone have a safe and happy holiday and a wonderful 2017.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Guest Author: Emma Hornby

Please welcome to the blog, guest author, Emma Hornby, who writes historical sagas set in Lancashire.


I've always had a deep passion for the Victorian era and have read sagas for as long as I can remember. Therefore, writing historical sagas was the inevitable route I took once I was hit with the author bug. I chose to set my books in Lancashire; it has such a rich and interesting history.

 I’d been researching my family tree for years and was fascinated by what I unearthed. Generation after generation lived, worked and clawed out a life in the poorest slums in Bolton and Manchester. I’d spend hours imagining what their lives must have been like, picturing these faceless characters, wondering about their struggles, their daily lives, their relationships, loves, fights, hopes and struggles. My mind was soon swamped with imaginary scenarios and I began penning down snippets, immersing myself in the research of the time. The result was a full-length novel and an overflowing trunk of ideas now sitting patiently in my mind, just waiting to be turned into a future stack of books.

A Shilling for a Wife, a gritty northern saga, is my debut novel. The eBook and hardback are now available to buy, and paperback will follow on the 23rd February. Audio and large print will be with you in the near future. My second book is out May 2017.


Blurb:

Sally Swann thought life couldn't get much worse. Then a single coin changed hands.

A dismal cottage in the heart of Bolton, Lancashire, has been Sally’s prison since Joseph Goden 'bought' her from the workhouse as his wife. A drunkard and bully, Joseph rules her with a rod of iron, using fists and threats to keep her in check.

When Sally gives birth, however, she knows she must do anything to save her child from her husband's clutches. She manages to escape, and taking her baby, flees for the belching chimneys of Manchester, in search of her only relative.

But with the threat of discovery by Joseph, who will stop at nothing to find her, Sally must fight with every ounce of strength she has to protect herself and her son, and finally be with the man who truly loves her. For a fresh start does not come without a price . . .

Amazon UK:


Amazon US:



Social media links:


https://twitter.com/EmmaHornbyBooks