Monday, April 24, 2017

ANZAC Day 25th April



Every year ANZAC Day is held on 25th April in Australia. It celebrates the soldiers who fought in World War I (initially) but also commemorates all wars that Australians have fought in.
ANZAC means Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

There are moving and emotional parades through nearly every town in Australia and wreathes are laid at cenotaphs. After the memorial services, the public go to the local pubs and clubs and have a beer or two and play two-up, a gambling game involving throwing two pennies up in the air.

This year, I'm not in Australia, as I now live in England, however, after finishing writing my last novel, which is set in WWI and about young Australian men going off to the battlefields of Gallipoli and then France, I feel this ANZAC Day is more meaningful than ever before for me.


For the novel I have had to research an enormous amount of details of the first world war from the Australian point of view. I've read diaries written by soldiers to get a feel of what they went through, and although I read many soldiers' diaries, it is the diaries written by nurses who took care of these broken men which I found the most fascinating. The nurses who cared for soldiers very close to the front line had very few comforts and worked long arduous days. They received little or no recognition after the war was over and that is unjust in my opinion.
I've watched documentaries to see original footage. I want to do justice to al those brave men and women who left their homes and families and went overseas to defend our way of life. How brave and how unselfish they were.

It should never be forgotten that we live our lives in the comforts that we do, because those men and women sacrificed themselves for us.

No matter how many years go by, we should never forget.




 
 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Where Dragonflies Hover review

Where Dragonflies Hover review:

Wow! Wow! Wow! I was intrigued when I picked up Where Dragonflies Hover , (WWI Nursing, crumbling old manors and romance are the perfect combination to me) but as I delved into the story that AnneMarie Brear created, I was captivated, enchanted and completely in love with the characters, story, setting...just everything! This really is a truly special novel. --Sorcha O'Dowd, Old Victorian Quill

Amazon UK https://goo.gl/btSMDN
Amazon USA https://goo.gl/9zOmLJ
Amazon Australia https://goo.gl/uvfKtV
Kobo https://goo.gl/eWNeHx

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.