Category Archives: Story Background

Miss Penny’s Opinion!

This is Miss Penny, Susan’s assistant. I know I need a hair cut, but remember what happened last time? Anyway I asked Susan if I could write the blog today because I have an opinion I would like to share about boredom. Yes, dogs can get bored and have opinions. I listen to Susan’s stories over and over again and hush don’t let Susan hear me say this but it can get boring. It occurred to me that maybe, there comes a time when you get fed up of hearing about how the stories are progressing or when a book is to be released, at least I get to hear the story you have to wait until it’s published. Love’s Endings and Beginnings is coming soon. Sorry! I mentioned it again.

So changing the subject I have an opinion about not paying attention, which resulted in me being locked out of the apartment causing a very boring hour of my time and I could be traumatized for life. We live in a condo apartment and disposing of garbage, rubbish, or trash, (depends where you live) I know for a little dog I’m quite well informed, takes place in a tiny room that has a hole in the wall at the end of the hall. When Susan ties up the garbage bag I lie in wait. If I’m really fast when she opens the door I can whip out and run down the hall, I have to be fast because the condo rules don’t allow pets off leash. On Friday I was fast, but then something odd happened, Susan disappeared and the apartment door was closed and I was on the wrong side. Well, I sat there not knowing what to do; I don’t bark. I barked once and it scared me, so I just sat there until I heard Susan calling me my pet name, Penny-Penny, that means she wants me to come. I’m the other side of the door, I wanted to yell. Her voice became quite frantic, did she think I’d jumped off the balcony or perhaps someone had stolen me, doubtful we live on the ninth floor. Finally, she opened the door, oh my goodness, she was beside herself hugging me and whispering she was sorry. My tail was wagging so hard, we call it my happy tail. It was so good to be home, on the inside of the door.


Writing Updates: Susan is working on the book cover design.

Books I’m Reading: Fiction My latest read is historical fiction Gill Paul’s No Place for a Lady, set in the mid1800s. A time when ladies could accompany their husbands to war. The conditions were terrible and it’s hard to believe these gentle-women moved from fine drawing rooms and china teacups to canvas tents, ankle-deep in mud without china teacups or tea or any other supplies and still dressed in silk gowns.

 

 

Nonfiction: The Author’s Guide to Cover Design by Stuart Bache

 

 

Writing Courses: First Sentence to First Sale  Thanks to the Apple Store workshops. I have all the material and just need to blend the slides with the video. 


Would you like to write? I hear this comment all the time. “I want to write a book?” But few people actually write. First Sentence to First Sale is an online writing course that helps you decide if writing is for you and gets you started on your writing journey.  Due for release soon, we’re a little behind schedule so please stay tuned Click here for details


The books are available at online retailers. Click the title, make your choice

The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on  2.99 A perfect summer read 560 pages of reading pleasure

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99

Check out the synopsis on My Books page. A great Book club read.


A gift of an e-book Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read. And the opportunity to sign up for Susan’s Reader’s Group.  

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

  Click to download your gift of a free e-book   

SaveShow

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Fuel for Stories!

Zoomed back into childhood; that happened to me this week. I was ten years old sitting in the dickie seat (a seat inside the boot/trunk of a sports car) of my dad’s grey Triumph Roadster with my friend Margaret, our hair blowing in the wind, waving, usually the royal wave, and giggling at the reaction from passersby. We felt very important. Pictures from Classic cars

One perk of writing historical fiction is the research, it can be boring on occasions but, more often than not, it’s intriguing and like my research this week it brings back memories. How I came across 1949 Triumph Roadsters when I was actually researching British cars in 1917, is a bit of a puzzle, no matter, because I love the happy memories. 

The 1917 car information was for my current book Sophie (working title). Carlos, Sophie’s lost-recently-found love is taking her to dinner in his car, a Model T Ford. Now, in 1917 personal cars were few as the War Office commandeered them for war services and the men who were the drivers, although that was changing, were fighting the Great War. Fuel, that would be petrol, was scarce and pretty much impossible to find for personal use. Another interesting fact I discovered was that gas, (the vapour kind not the North American word for petrol) was used as fuel. They attached a large inflatable balloon to the roof of the car or van, which fuelled the vehicle for short distances, the limit was about 30 miles. Um… not sure I would want to be driving around with explodable gas sitting on my head! Pictures from  BBC Schools 

Back to Sophie, Carlos is now, an orthopaedic surgeon, for those of you who read Ruins in Silk, you’ll remember he worked for Sophie’s father; we will catch up with his past life as the story unfolds. As a practising doctor, he would have a car and a petrol allowance, for emergency calls. Perhaps not intended for taking a lady to dinner, but if an emergency arose at the hospital while dining, he would need transportation.

If you would like to join Susan’s Reader’s Group online and receive a gift of the e-book Ruins in Silk. Click here or if you would prefer to purchase either an e-book or print book Click here

Writing Updates: The article above updates the progress of Sophie this week. However, I have interesting news about the contemporary romance Love’s Endings and Beginnings – A sweet romance novel – Heartbreak to second chance romance. My wonderful editor Meghan Negijn has worked her magic on the manuscript. I will correct it this week, write the front and back matter, design the cover and have it ready for you in a few weeks. 

Books I’m Reading…. Fiction – I am on the final leg of Elizabeth George, a new Inspector Lynley and DS Barbara Havers, mystery. I am finding this book very different from Ms George’s other Lynley books. There is a mystery, but it isn’t the main focus of the story. The story is more about the characters, in particular, DCS Isabelle Ardrey. The characters are well developed and interesting but for a 690-page book, I think I would like more mystery. Just my thoughts on The Punishment She Deserves 

Nonfiction – Not much reading this week mostly Google searches.


Would you like to write? I hear this comment all the time. “I want to write a book?” But few people actually write. First Sentence to First Sale is an online writing course that helps you decide if writing is for you and gets you started on your writing journey.  Due for release soon, we’re a little behind schedule so please stay tuned Click here for details


The books are available at online retailers. Click the title, make your choice

The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on  2.99 A perfect summer read 560 pages of reading pleasure

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99

Check out the synopsis on My Books page. A great Book club read.


A gift of an e-book Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read. And the opportunity to sign up for Susan’s Reader’s Group.  

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

  Click to download your gift of a free e-book   

SaveShow

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Fog in My Living Room!

Fog in my living room! First, I must mention that I hate housework, so I indulge in a cleaning lady, extravagant but worth every penny and I can get on with writing, which as you know is my passion. A couple of days ago I realized that the workman were on my balcony. If you remember back in April, I told you about the jackhammer noise as the balcony repairs continued on the building. Well, they moved around to my balcony this week.  I am in my office busy writing away on the new Sophie series, which is coming along nicely I’ll talk about that later, and the drilling starts… the noise coming from my living room is indescribable but that is not all. I decide to go check and the living rooms is so full of white fog I can’t see to the window. The fog is white cement dust. I had left the patio door open. Now here is my point, the guys working know the results of this drilling; they wear masks and protective gear; I felt sorry for them working in those conditions but not as sorry as I might have been had they done the courtesy of pulling my door shut; maybe they are not allowed to touch the door, or maybe they are just men and didn’t think. Whatever the reason, I am cleaning my living today. Grrr! 

Writing Updates: Forgive the repeat from last week but several readers asked me about the background for the new Sophie series.  Sophie Romano was the protagonist in Ruins in Silk and a character from The Blue Pendant. Sophie left the Sackville Hotel to become a nurse in the Great War. The story so far… Sophie is training to be a nurse. In 1915 nurses trained for three years but did you know as a probationer the training comprised scrubbing floors, doing laundry all menial tasks. Fast forward eighteen months and Sophie is nursing when a young doctor appears, a lost love from Italy, Carlos from Ruins in Silk. If you would like a free e-book of Ruins in Silk Click here

Books I’m Reading…. Fiction – I am two thirds of the way through my favourite mystery authors Elizabeth George, a new Inspector Lynley and DS Barbara Havers, mystery. I love long books, books that take me to far away places or deep into mystery. The Punishment She Deserves is 690 pages long, a perfect summer read.

Nonfiction – Dorothea’s War Dairies of WWI for research and films of that war also help in the research. 


Would you like to write? I hear this comment all the time. “I want to write a book?” But few people actually write. First Sentence to First Sale is an online writing course that helps you decide if writing is for you and gets you started on your writing journey.  Due for release soon, we’re a little behind schedule so please stay tuned Click here for details

 


All the books are available at online retailers. Click the title, make your choice

The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on  2.99 A perfect summer read 560 pages of reading pleasure

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99

Check out the synopsis on My Books page. A great Book club read.


A gift of an e-book Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read. And the opportunity to sign up for Susan’s Reader’s Group.  

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

  Click to download your gift of a free e-book   

SaveShow

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

I’m Back!

I’m back…as one gets older and I’m not admitting to getting older, I find multitasking isn’t as easy as it was in my younger days. As a single parent of five kids, believe me, I know all about multitasking. However, the kids are long gone and it seems so have my multitasking skills. I had to take a break from blogging and The Sackville News and Updates to concentrate on completing Sarah’s Choice Book III of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy.

Drum roll please drrrrrrr……Last weekend I put the last period in the last sentence of the last chapter of the manuscript. followed by a few revisions and yesterday I hit the send button and off it went to Mark, my wonderful editor. I am happy to say we are on track for a December 1st launch of Sarah’s Choice. Look out for news, previews of the cover and giveaways as the launch comes closer.

As I hit that last period I had mixed emotions. I have spent many, many hours with

Bexhill Train Station Photo courtesy of www.postcards/bexhill

Anna. We meet at The Sackville Hotel in 1913, she is a young innocent woman of nineteen, challenging societies proprieties of marrying as she seeks adventure and independence. I laugh with her, cry with her, rejoice and celebrate and fall in love; through all the ups and downs of business and love, lots of love romantic and family until she reaches her seventies and passes the hotel to others. No spoilers!


Click the titles to buy  The Blue Pendant Book I   or  Anna’s Legacy Book II    

 

More details and read the synopsis of Anna’s journey. Warning…could cause sleep deprivation.

 


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download e-book

Don’t miss out on The Sackville Hotel updates news. Cross my heart, I promise no spam.  I hate it too. Join here 

Who’s Who at the Sackville

You often hear the expression, the characters develop themselves in a fictional story. I’m not sure if that comment comes from a writer or a reader. If you are a reader the chances are that you have identified in some way with one or more characters and their experiences feel real to you. If you are the writer the character is just as real but you have the advantage of knowing what it is that made the character who they are.So who’s who at the Sackville. Anna Neale is the heroine. She starts out with a strong independent streak but her efforts are interpreted by her peers as snooty and a spoiled brat. Bill, a kind gentle soul, the sous-chef, befriends her early on. At first, she is annoying and most of us want to give her a good talking too. Bill does that for us and Anna grows up and we quite like her now, she’s strong with youthful innocence, she works hard and knows what she wants. Mr. Lytton her immediate supervisor is also a kind person but Anna is incompetent and she pushes him into losing his temper, Mr. Lytton appears to have two sides to him. Mrs. Banks, head housekeeper also has two sides and Anna is not sure if she can trust this woman. She is severe looking, tough on rules but has a soft side when it comes to the well-being of the female staff. The villain, general manager Mr.Pickle is harsh and cold and we get a hint that things will get worse. This is an account of the situation as the novel begins but, dear readers, if these characters didn’t interact with each other and ultimately change and grow you would very quickly discard the novel.

Don’t miss out on The Sackville Hotel updates news. Cross my heart, I promise no spam.  I hate it too. Join here 


 The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    

The equivalent of 900 pages for less than $10 keep turning the pages all summer long. Warning…could cause sleep deprivation.

Also a prequel Ruins in Silk


Don’t miss out on The Sackville Hotel updates news. Cross my heart, I promise no spam.  I hate it too. Join here  

 

Weeping Window – Poppies come to Derby

Photo courtesy of Sandra Goodwin

Derby Silk Mill displays poppies. You may recognize the poppies from the Tower of London, Blood Swept Lands and Sea of Red created by artists Paul Cummins and designed by Tom Piper to commemorate 100 years 1914 – 2014 since the beginning of the First World War. Each ceramic poppy represented  888,246 military lives lost and the sea of red around the moat of The Tower of London made us remember and never forget that terrible war. The poppy sculpture is now on display at select cities in Britain including my home town of Derby U.K. The Derby Silk Mill contributed to the war efforts by grinding corn and making medical supplies. Derby is also known as home to famous Rolls Royce engines that developed the Eagle engine.

My mum, Betty Jennings, who just turned 97, (an amazing lady) went to visit the poppy display at the Derby Silk Mill, part of the Derby Museum and Gallery. Her father my grandfather Alex Walker fought in the First World War, he was one of the lucky ones that came home. If you read The Blue Pendant you will be familiar with Alex as he was a major character, Anna Neale’s beau at The Sackville Hotel; another significant connection is the story and cover of the prequel Ruins in Silk the story, set not only in Derby but at the Derby Silk Mill and the cover displays a picture of the Derby Silk Mill.

As many of you know I am a Reiki Master and a great believer in serendipity but this week has been amazing even for me with another unexpected connection with the Sackville Apartments, once The Sackville Hotel in Bexhill. More on that next week. The full story will be available later this week in Susan’s Readers Group News. Click here to subscribe


NEW! UNIVERSAL LINKS TO THE RETAILER OF YOUR CHOICE

Ruins in Silk –           https://books2read.com/u/bw8DjY

The Blue Pendant: – https://books2read.com/u/mlK7YP

Anna’s Legacy –       https://books2read.com/u/m2XAxO 


NEW! Nonfiction – 

 

I Decided to Self-Publish – https://books2read.com/u/bzp5r2


Join Susan’s Reader Group and receive updates, events and book releases. I promise no spam, I hate it too. Join here


 

Women or Ladies?

I know I date myself when I use the word ladies rather than women (spellcheck tells me I’m biased. I think it’s respect) and I don’t mind one bit. I am proud of my maturity, it took a long time to get here with many grey hairs, wrinkles, wounds and scars to show for it. Why wouldn’t I be proud? My maturity allows me to write about mature women.

I know how her life experiences, fears, family, career, love and losses, have influenced and changed her life. Developing a character is far more than adjectives on a page. I look deep inside her soul, what made her who she is and why? Based on her past how would she behave now? How would she live her life; respond to losses and achievements, love her family and her husband/partner–romance doesn’t die with youth. A woman of mature age has a richness and complexity about her that younger women can’t have because they are young. Although youth brings many other attributes, just by its very nature youth cannot be mature.

Protagonist, Anna in The Sackville Hotel Trilogy starts out as a nineteen year old woman seeking independence. Mrs. Banks and Lady Thornton are mature women who play a significant part in Anna’s maturity. By the end of the trilogy Anna is in her sixties, her life has changed drastically she has experienced fear, happiness, loss, hope, love and disaster. She loved twice, differently, once in her youth and once as a mature women.

I have developed three more mature lady characters in my short stories. Some of you will be familiar with Black Lake Chronicles. Hannah, an armateur sleuth, is in her mid-sixties, getting into scrapes and danger but always has her husband Tom to depend on. Eleanor’s Writing Adventures is a new series I’m writing. Eleanor who is a hobby writer has recently escaped her corporate job to write. And then there is Frances in the Chance Encounter series. Frances is a shy spinster preparing to retire from her boring job at the bank; her passion is reading and she bumps into a divorced, shy professor at Mr. Booker’s Book Store. All these characters have a richness to bring to the page, a richness I enjoy writing and like-minded ladies will enjoy reading.

Note: Black Lake Chronicles are available on the My Book page – Chance Encounter first published at Commuter Lit and is soon to be an e-book. Eleanor’s Writing Adventures is a work in progress. First story Eleanor Does Not Camp! was published in Thirty at Thirty by The Ottawa Independent Writers. For more information please contact Susan

 

Ruins in Silk, coming soon!

The Prequel to The Blue Pendant. I have a treat coming in late February. A neat little novella called Ruins in Silk. If you haven’t read The Blue Pendant, don’t worry,  Ruins in Silk is a stand-alone story. If you have read The Blue Pendant it will take you behind the scenes.

Lombes Silk Mill Derby England. Now a heritage building. As it looks today. Until recently it was a museum but is currently closed. The fictitious Romano Silk Mill was based on this mill.

Lombes Silk Mill Derby England. Now a heritage building as it looks today. Until recently the mill was a museum but is currently closed. The fictitious Romano Silk Mill was based on this mill that sits on the banks of the River Derwent.

Do you remember Anna’s friend Sophie Romano?

Sophie is the main character in Ruins in Silk. The story begins in Lucca Italy in 1906 on the Romano family’s silk farm, where Sophie was born and grew up. Her family moved to Derby England to make fine silk at the Derby silk mill. The farm and later the silk mill prosper, making silk for royalty including King Edward V11, until tragedy strikes. A story of loss, heartbreak and courage, and how Sophie starts a new life as a maid at The Sackville Hotel and ultimately meets Anna Neale, the main character from The Blue Pendant.

More details on how to purchase The Blue Pendant or Susan’s stories.

What people are saying…….

The Blue Pendant

The Blue Pendant

Angela said,  “Better than Downton Abbey! From the moment I opened The Blue Pendent I knew I was in for a ride……”

Sally said, “A brilliant read.……. I was totally engaged…..”

Audrey said, “….I’m so happy I didn’t miss the Blue Pendant. It’s an absolute winner. 

Trade paperback and ebooks available from Amazon.ca, and all Amazon sites. Chapters.ca, Kobo and all online book retailers.

To keep up with the news, excerpts, interviews and newly released books. Please subscribe to Susan’s Reader Group News for periodic updates and news.

Please post your comments I really do love to hear from you.

Bexhill After Summer Season

Canada in Autumn

Canada in Autumn

Here in Ottawa Canada, where I live, autumn is one of the most colourful seasons, bright red, orange, yellow and rich burgundy colours speckle the forests in glory, before the trees become bare and dormant for the cold winter months. Quite the opposite to a seaside town like Bexhill in Sussex England. Anna Neale, the main character in my novel The Blue Pendant would witness the bustling Sackville Hotel come to a quiet trickle of guests. The Promenade once teaming with holiday-makers taking in the sea air, would be eerily silent. The sun sucked deep into a grey sky, steely grey clouds

Grey Sea and Sky

Grey Sea and Sky

dropping low, almost touching the grey turbulent winter waves. An occasional watery sun would try to push through the grey, but mostly the dominant colour would be varying shades of grey turning black as winter storms rolled in from the sea. Depressing as outside might seem, long evenings in front of a warm fire in the staff room would kindle friendships including blossoming romances, which is how Anna was faced with two men in love.


ARC Reminder details on September 19th Blog: I am looking for a couple more ARC readers. If you are interested in receiving an advance reader e-copy and would consider writing a review of The Blue Pendant. Please fill out your name and email address and request an Advance Reader Copy through the Contact Page on the web site. I will send you details.


Changes coming next week to Susan’s Readers Group News.
Are you interested in historical fiction and love the Victorian and Edwardian era? Why not join Susan’s Readers Group News? A monthly chit-chat featuring historical trivia, book reviews, (historical, modern and local authors), interviews, book and author news and a brief summary of the previous months author and writer’s blogs. Susan’s Readers Group, join here.


If you would like to follow Anna and The Blue Pendant or the Blue Heron Mysteries. Click the FOLLOW BUTTON TO THE UPPER RIGHT OF THIS PAGE and add your email address. Once a week the blog will be sent to your inbox


Please feel free to share this blog with friends, or on social media but please remember the written content belongs to me. Copyright © Susan A. Jennings
Disclaimer: Please be aware that some the information in this blog, although factual in some incidences they have been fictionalized for the purpose of the story.

Boyhood Friends, Alex and Bill in Scotland

Young boys in the early 20th century

Young boys in the early 20th century

Alex and Bill, two of the three main character in my historical fiction novel, The Blue Pendant, were featured in the last two blogs. They were boyhood friends in Edinburgh Scotland long before they moved to Bexhill to work at The Sackville Hotel. Working alongside Anna, it is not surprising that an unusual triangular love story evolved. Oops! I digress.

Alex’s father, John Walker was a tailor and kilt maker providing gentlemen’s clothing, including kilts with all the accessories to gentry and clans across Scotland. A thriving business as one kilt does not fit all. Each clan had their own tartan and each clan had a selection of tartans worn on different occasions such as dress tartan for formal evening dress, an everyday tartan and some even had a hunter’s tartan for hunting and walking.

The Walker’s belonged to the Appin Stewart clan. Although they were part of the Stewart clan they were, in fact, a clan in their own right. John Walker also tailored custom livery for the household servants of nobility and royalty on the surrounding estates, which included Holyrood Palace. Bill’s father, Thomas Blaine was the stable manager at Holyrood Palace and responsible for ordering the coachmen’s and racing livery for the Palace. Bill accompanied his father to John Walker’s shop from being quite small and that is where he first met Alex. While their father’s talked business

19th Century photo of Holyrood Palace

Photo of Holyrood Palace 1878

and racing, (Bill’s father was a gambler) the young boys played together. Bill was the quiet one and Alex the mischievous one and they frequently found themselves in trouble. As they grew older they went to the same school and chose similar careers, eventually working together at The Sackville Hotel.

 


Are you interested in historical fiction and love the Victorian and Edwardian era? Me too. Why not join Susan’s Readers Group? A monthly chit-chat featuring historical trivia, book reviews, (historical, modern and local authors), interviews, book and author news and a brief summary of the previous months author and writer’s blogs. Next issue August 2015. Susan’s Readers Group, join here.


If you would like to follow Anna and The Blue Pendant or the Blue Heron Mysteries. Click the FOLLOW BUTTON TO THE UPPER RIGHT OF THIS PAGE and add your email address. Once a week the blog will be sent to your inbox.


Please feel free to share this blog with friends, or on social media but please remember the written content belongs to me. Copyright © Susan A. Jennings

Disclaimer Please be aware that some the information in this blog, although factual may have been fictionalized for the story.