Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all the best for the Holidays and a healthy and happy New Year.

The winner of my part of the Annual Harlequin Historical Authors Contest was..... Amanda from Luton.  Congratulations Amanda!

And many thanks to all who entered.  I am looking forward to meeting you all on-line in the New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Buckland Abbey Part VI

If you are wondering why I have been absent for a while, it is because I had gone over my allowed limit of photos and have been trying to figure out how to proceed.  I am not yet sure I have solved the dilemma, but at least I have made a bit of room for myself.

Continuing on with our tour of the Georgian part of the house we end up where I always find myself the most fascinated.  The servants areas.

 This is one of the staircase that would have been used by the servants as they dashed about making their employers happy.  Compare it to that beautiful winding polished wood staircase in an earlier blog.

As you know, I have just finished an upstairs downstairs Downton Abbey series with a group of other authors and in one of my scenes, my hero, a chef, must go by way of the servants' stairs to meet my heroine in the library, while she travels there by way of the grand central staircase. While we would not tolerate it today it makes for a very interesting dynamic.

Here we have some of the bells used to call the servants to various rooms and little spaces at the bottom of the stairs used for storage. The flagstone floors are typical in the corridors and rooms used for servants areas, whether on ground floors or in basement.

Note the plain wall sconces, a single candle with a polished metal plaque to reflect the light. One can imagine how gloomy it would be at night or on a rainy day.  And then we have a glimpse at the kitchen along with a rare view of my patient party who accompany on these trips. Most of the time they avoid the camera lens but as you can see I caught them here.  So next time we will take a peek around the kitchen.

Until then, Happy Rambles

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Sarah Mallory, author of Book Five in the Castonbury Park Continuity Series, The Illegitimate Montague, Harlequin and Beneath the Major's Scars, has invited me to take part in a chain blog event entitled THE NEXT BIG THING - a series of questions and answers about what's happening next in my writing life.

What is the title of your latest book?
Lady of Shame is the most recent book. It is book for in the Castonbury Park Continuity Series and it came out in print in the UK and digital her in North America in November 2012.  It is out in print in North America under the title Ladies of Disrepute, which contains both book three and book four under one cover published by HQN.

I do hope that you can figure out what the heck I mean. I am putting both covers here for you to see.

How did you come by the idea?
The Castonbury Park Series has an upstairs downstairs theme, much like Downton Abbey, and I really liked the idea of a woman looking below stairs for her romantic interest. It would have been so scandalous for the daughter of a Duke during the Regency. I chose a French chef for my hero, because I liked food having an important role in the relationship.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it was a movie?
Keira Knightly for Claire and Daniel Craig for Andre, who was a soldier, before he was a chef and has a bit of a rough edge to him.

A one sentence synopsis of your book?
A ruined woman attempts to avoid seduction by a handsome chef while trying to salvage her reputation

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It usually takes me about three months to research, plot and write the first draft of a book.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?
In this case, I was invited to participate in the Continuity Series. The idea for a chef hero came from a course I had recently taken on Regency food. Claire walked on stage one afternoon when I was driving to the store.

What else would you like to tells us about this book?
Romantic Times said "Liberated heroines and intriguing, unconventional heroes will delight modern-day readers. The sensitive love stories, colorful backdrop and large cast of characters only add to the enjoyment." Four Stars.

To follow the chain, don't forget to check out the next to authors participating in The Next Big thing on December 11:
Mary Sullivan A few years ago, Mary picked up LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory and became hooked on romance. Mary discovered Harlequin Superromance and knew she wanted to write these heartfelt stories of love, family, perseverance and happy endings, about very human heroes and heroines graced with backbone, strength of character and hope. Her next book is In From the Cold out in February 2013.
Maureen McGowan is the author of the Young Adult novels: Deviants (The Dust Chronicles #1), Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer and Cinderella: Ninja Warrior. Maureen left a career in finance to pursue her love of fiction. Aside from books and writing, she’s passionate about art, dance, films, fine handcrafted objects and shoes.
Raised in various Canadian cities, her previous career moved her to Northern California and Philadelphia for a number of years. She now lives and writes in Toronto, Canada.