Category Archives: Historical Fiction

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   

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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   

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Behind Closed Doors

Hello! Miss Penny speaking. Susan is busy writing, the new Sophie book, so I told her I would write the blog today. We recently had guests staying, which was great, lots of ear tickles and tummy rubs, except for the bathroom door.  It was closed. I soon learned to scoot in fast before the door shut, but sometimes even when I raced across the apartment, I was too late and my nose hit the closed door. Now, this is a scary thing for a nine-month-old puppy, Susan and I are inseparable. What goes on behind closed doors? Is there a secret exit and Susan will disappear forever or mad dogs might attack her or it could be aliens, not that I know what aliens are but the grandkids talk about them. So I whine a little, I could howl but that might disturb the aliens. The whining does the trick; the door opens and Susan is fine, I, of course, inspect the bathroom but no mad dogs and no aliens; Susan is safe and I trot at her heels. But that bathroom is still a mystery. Why does the door open and close so often when we have visitors? 


Work in progress: Susan’s new book Love’s Endings and Beginnings – A sweet romance novel – Heartbreak to Second Chance is now at the editors, the lovely Meghan Negrijn. While that’s being edited Susan is researching nursing in the Great War for book 1 of the Sophie series.  Sophie is completing her nurse’s training and will, be heading for a field hospital in Passchendaele. Shush! I’ll tell you a secret, a long-lost love appears and it’s not Bill. Hee-hee! I’d better not say anymore, no spoilers or I’ll be in trouble. 

What I’m reading. Still reading Elizabeth George for fiction and researching WW 1 for non-fiction. So not much to report


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   

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Love That Hat!

 Love that hat! I first heard this comment at an outdoor craft fair. I had rented a table to display and sell books. It was a hot summer day and nobody was interested in buying anything, except my hat, which was sitting at the side of my books. I giggled at the requests to buy my hat. It is a colorful baseball cap with some gold glitter giving it lots of bling. I wondered why the hat and not the books were appealing. Food for thought–perhaps I need more bling in the book display.

I’m waiting!

 That is not the end of the story. Walking Miss Penny in Britannia Park people stopped me to say, “I love that hat.” Even a group of cyclists, clipping along the bike path, yelled, “Love that hat.” It’s quite a conversation piece in my condo elevator. I thought of making up a story about the origins of that hat; after all, I am a writer and I have a vivid imagination. Maybe a famous Parisienne designer or the Queen’s milliner made that hat as a gift for little old me! Sadly, its origin is not as exotic. It was a $2 purchase from the Dollar Store right here in Ottawa. I love that hat, and… sorry… it’s not for sale.

Writing Updates … As you know I am starting a new historical fiction about Sophie Romano 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 happy to be reading one of my favourite mystery authors Elizabeth George, a new Inspector Lynley and DS Barbra 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.

NonfictionDorothea’s War A nurse’s 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

 


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

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

 


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 free e-book   

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Jackhammer Guest

Imagine having a jackhammer in your apartment; believe me until you hear it you have no idea what it sounds like. That’s the sound I’ve been listening to most of this week—concrete balcony repairs are in progress. It starts about 8:15 a.m., a short break around 10 and another break around 1 p.m., finishing at 4:30 in the afternoon; Monday to Friday as long as the weather holds; they don’t work in rain or high winds, which makes sense swinging up into the heavens on a little wooden platform is dangerous enough.  Our twenty-one story building, The Britannia, perched at the top of a hill overlooks an expanse of park and the mighty Ottawa River. Even a mild wind is gale force around The Britannia but the jackhammers continue.  Although it is a relief when the wind gets too gusty and stops the jackhammers, it also means it will take longer to finish the job.  It is difficult to work with such a noise, but not impossible, it’s a case of adapting. My morning writing time, which is before the jackhammers, continues, but recording videos for the online writing course is on hold.

Novel writing progress has been slow to none existent; my time has been spent editing, the new contemporary sweet romance Endings and Beginnings, which is now ready for the professional edit. My submission Romance at Mr. Booker’s Bookshop for the Ottawa Independent Writers anthology submitted. Many of you have asked when my next novel will be out. I expect to have the first of the new Sophie series (working title) out before Christmas. 

Sophie Romano the protagonist from Ruins in Silk and the headmaid from The Blue Pendant is the heroine for this new series. Desperately in love with a man who loves another, Sophie leaves The Sackville Hotel. The new series follows Sophie to London where she trains as a nurse and deploys to France to nurse injured soldiers in the Great War. Amid, the terrible conditions of war Sophie finds romance and even a lost love from her youth. So readers, stay tuned for regular updates.

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 at the end of April. Click here for details


Books I’m reading: No change from last week, I’m still reading Anne Perry’s latest and for non-fiction Donald Maas’s The Emotion of Character.

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

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

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


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 free e-book

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Sarah’s Darwin Connection

Sarah Wexford our main character in Sarah’s Choice book three of the trilogy is a talented artist. We follow her studies and achievements at the Royal College of Art in London England–nothing but the best for Anna’s grand-daughter. Researching frequently uncovers lesser known facts about obvious things and events. I needed to know the name of the college principal in1960. I could have made up a name but I prefer to use facts if possible. The gentleman’s name

Robin Darwin Sketch by Arthur Lissmer

revealed on Wikipedia is Mr. Robin Darwin principal of the college from 1948-1967, and later Sir Robin Darwin. Now Darwin is a household name, I wonder, is there a connection? I  research further and my tenacity is rewarded. Robin Darwin was the great-grandson of Charles Darwin the famous naturalist. And…there’s more.. this sketch of Darwin, drawn by the artist Arthur Lissmer, a member of the famous Group of Seven also connects with Sarah’s studies of her favourite artist who also happened to be Anna’s favourite artist, Emily Carr. And, Emily Carr’s art was heavily influenced by the Group of Seven. How cool is that?

Blog post introducing SarahSarah’s on her way – June 17/17 


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  

Image attributes:

Sarah’s image -Ramnoki/Shutterstock

Robin Darwin By Shepsil22 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sackville or Anna?

The sequel to The Blue Pendant called The New Sackville Hotel  will be here in a few weeks. Originally I intended the story to span two books. However, three-quarters of the way through writing the sequel The New Sackville Hotel  Book ll, I realized the story was not nearly finished and a third book needed to be written; a trilogy is born.

The Blue Pendant front cover

Do we need a name for the trilogy? Because much of the story takes place at the Sackville hotel my first thought was Sackville Saga – Book l. However, the story does travel to other locations in England and several trans-Atlantic crossing to Canada always returning to the Sackvillle Hotel.  My second choice would be Anna’s Saga – Book 1. Anna is the main character throughout the three novels, it is her life’s journey. I would value your opinion. Please write in the comments which title you prefer?

  1. No title just Book 1 (2 & 3)
  2. Sackville Saga – Book 1 (2 & 3)
  3. Anna’s Saga – Book 1  (2 & 3)

The Blue Pendant is available at all online retailers ebooks and paperback including ; Amazon with just one click for e-book and paperback; Kobo e-books only. Also available at the following Ontario bookstores. Coles at Billings Bridge, Arnprior Book Shop, The Loft in Smiths Falls and The Book Nook in Perth.

Ruins in Silk a novella, the prequel to The Blue Pendant but not part of the trilogy is also available as above Amazon with one click.

 

Belgravia

BelgraviaI just finished reading Belgravia by Julian Fellowes the author of Downton Abbey. While it was an interesting novel about British society post the Battle of Waterloo, it may not appeal to everyone. I enjoyed it because I love Fellowes intricate detail of society during that time period and he did not disappoint me. I walked beside the characters in their stiff British environment always in control. However, there were breaches of protocol and disturbing events that took place that made it difficult to keep the decorum, but like true Brits they did, scandals were brushed under the carpet and the drawing-room continued as though nothing had happened.  If you enjoyed Downton Abbey you will enjoy this book.

My next reading book is the third book in Ken Follett’s trilogy Edge of Eternity all 1098 pages. I love getting my head into a really big book and this is definitely big. I am also reading it as a research project as my next novel after The New Sackville takes place in the early 60s. One might say it is my era, I was married in 1962 (child bride of course? Ha!) perhaps because I was busy with babies from 1963 through to 1972;  I think I was sheltered from much of the political fallout of post-WW 2 and the Cold War as I only have vague recollections of  the political climate and had no idea how complex and devastating it was to some people. Writing this last book in the saga is going to be a challenge as we follow Sarah’s adult life in the sixties.


The Blue Pendant rescheduled signing at Coles Bookstore Billings Bridge Plaza Riverside Drive Ottawa Saturday, Aug 27th 11 am – 2 pm. Please come and join me and chat about books and writing.