Friday, January 28, 2011


New  covers are always exciting and scary. I am sure I have said this before.  On the left is the North American April Release for, The Gamekeeper's Lady,  and on the right the same book issued in the UK in December. Both do justice to my heroine, so I can stop holding my breath.  Oh, no! I can't, because there is a book out in May. More than a Mistress is a sequel to The Gamekeeper's Lady. Now I have to start holding my breath all over again.

The Gamekeeper's Lady

A most forbidden attraction! Frederica Bracewell grew up under a cloud of shame. As an illegitimate child, she was treated by her uncle like a servant. It isn't until she encounters the new gamekeeper that shy, innocent Frederica starts to feel like a true lady...Lord Robert Mountford has been banished by his family. After a debauched existence, he revels in the simplicity of a gamekeeper's lifestyle. Until temptation strikes! Frederica's plain appearance and stuttering speech are a far cry from the ladies of the ton, but she may just be his undoing...and unmasking! 

If you fancy buying a copy use the links in the sidebar to order or pre-order depending on where you live or go to your local bookstore or library and enjoy!

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Searching for Regency London

This is my latest release in the UK and I am so happy to be sharing it with some other authors.  I love the cover and the title. Just to be clear this is a Mills and Boon Anthology containing the Undone short stories by several authors which are all available in ebook format from Harlequin and Mills and Boon and in all kinds of other formats for ebooks as single stories.

If you prefer print books , then this will let you in on the action with these new stories for Harlequin and Mills.  You will find it in the UK primarily, and you can Buy it from

Returning to our topic, we are continuing our walk along the side of the Thames below London Bridge.  This is of course the dock area.  We are in Wapping. An area long known as being poor and crime ridden. This area is full of building used as warehouses for storing goods either to be shipped or coming into Britain. Many or most of them are now luxury dwelling.

                                   These pictures are taken of Wapping Old Stairs.  As you can see these stairs lead down into the Thames.

The Thames is tidal at this point and I think you can see quite clearly the high water mark on both the step and the concrete wall, which by the way supports the terrace where my guides and I had a very nice lunch and a cup of tea. There are older stairs on the right, but I was unable to access these, but here is a picture of them from Wikipedia that someone took without needing to get their feet wet.

These pictures looks down the narrow alleyway that gives access to the stairs between the pub and the building beside it. The left towards the street and the right, obviously towards the river.

 In 1811, the horrific Ratcliff Highway murders took place at The Highway and Wapping Lane.  I will post about this at some other time.

     The Town of Ramsgate pub is the white building with  red trim on wone side of the alley leading to the steps. While not the original pub, the name is as it was in the Regency and it was so named as a way of attracting the custom of Kentish fishermen who used to land their wares here.  

Some where near here was located Execution Dock where pirates met their end. Several pubs claim the honour but a rather unscientific survey leads me to believe it lay closest to the Town of Ramsgate. The final hangings were George Davis and William Watts charged with piracy and hung December 1830.

And so we finish with a picture of the inn.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I can't remember how many times I have complained about Graffiti, but this past summer, I was enchanted to find some.  Sounds very strange, I know, but to me this was special.

I visited Sturminster Newton Town Mill and was fascinated to find that the mill dated from the eleventh century.  The current building has two wings one dating from c. 1650 and the later part, jutting out into the River Stour was built in the late eighteenth century, and was originally a fulling mill used for the finishing of locally woven material known as 'Swanskin', a coarse, white woollen cloth or flannel produced for soldiers, sailors and Newfoundland fisherman. Ah a Canadian connection.  The mill was thatched until 1862 and now is roofed with stone tiles.

But to get to my topic. The south facing wall of the mill has some very nice graffiti, initials and dates from the late eighteenth and nineteens century. These initials are deeply carved in the south wall of the building on the bank.   The first is S.N from 1874. He was in fact Samuel Newman, the miller at this time. The second is C.B from 1812.C.B also made an appearance in 1809 and he was Chas Baverstock, also a miller. A way to make sure you are remembered for a considerable period of time, even if it was for not having much work to do.

 Not all graffiti is of the idle kind.  If you can see on this next picture, there are deep grooves in this stone, which is situated in the doorway into the mill. These grooves represent the height of winter flooding.  The highest was recorded in 1756, and the next highest in 1979. I was glad to see the tradition continued.l

  I wonder if you can tell why no one wrote there name on this nearby bridge made of the same stone during a very similar time period.


It might have something to do with this little sign which I found on many of the bridges in this county.  Good old George IV.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Searching for Regency London

First I wanted to offer my sympathy to all those readers and authors in the Brisbane area. I visited Australia two years ago and have friends there. I am devastated watching those news reports and my thoughts are with you all.


The next part of my journey involved the River Thames.  An important highway, the City grew up beside it and around it.  We walked from the Tower of London towards the docks.

 One of the first things my guide pointed out was a Thames Barge.

You can just see the red sails. Apparently they were not dyed red, but the preservative used on them turns them red.

Originally, Thames barges and lighters were rowed out from the docks from ships to large to tie up at the warves.  They would bring the goods from ship to shore.

As time went on sails were added and their heyday was around 1900, there being about two thousand working on the river by that time.

This next picture is of Jacob's Island, which you may recall as the setting from Dicken's Oliver Twist

 What you are looking at here is the point at which the River Neckinger meets the Thames at St. Saviour's Dock. While it is now a desirable area, it was once notoriously squalid.

The following pictures from earlier times will help set the picture I think.

This picture from wikipedia shows Neckinger River in 1813, which by the way my guide told me was the term for a noose for a river pirate. Further research revealed the river is believed to be named from the term "Devil's neckcloth.  Until the eighteenth century Thames pirates were excuted at what was then called Neckinger Wharf near the mouth of the inlet. The corpses were displayed further downstream as a deterrent.   

Particularly interesting is the attached map. Hard to read, but fascinating.  If you look closely you can make out Mill Street running parallel and one block to the left from the dock.  Which brings us to the next picture, circa1840.

Folly ditch.  Man made tidal ditches had surrounded Jacobs Island in earlier centuries, a way of getting goods to wharehouses. Over the years they were filled in leaving them land locked with all the attendant evils of stagnant water.
If you want to know more about Jacob's Island, earlier and later than the Regency, I found this website to be fascinating. 

Some books I found useful in preparing for my walks around London.

 Secret London: Exploring the Hidden City, With Original Walks And Unusual Places to Visit

A. to Z. of Regency London At

Or Search for the A-Z of Regency London at Abebooks where you might well find a cheaper version

More to come on the River Thames and its History next time.  Until then, Happy Rambles.