Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas on the Home Front and GIVEAWAY - copy of Barbara's War.

To win a copy of Barbara's War just leave a comment on this blog post and I will put names in a hat and pick one on Sunday 21st. Please leave contact details in case your name is picked out of the hat.

Christmas during the Second World War in Great Britain was celebrated with gusto in 1939. The government suggested that the population should carry on as if nothing had happened – this might be the last time they could have a traditional British Christmas.
Rationing was introduced in the January of 1940 and by the end of the year there was little in the shops in the way of luxuries – that is unless you were rich enough to access the black market.
The Minister of Transport sent this Christmas message to the British public. 'I wish I could be a Santa Claus this Christmas and produce out of the bag hundreds of extra trains, miles of additional tracks and thousands of extra railway workers, so that you could travel where and as you wish – and in comfort.
Indeed, I have to curtail Christmas passenger trains and try to persuade you not to travel at all. You know this must be a stern Christmas-tide – one during which we must work for victory. The enemy won't wait while we take a Christmas holiday, and therefore railways must continue to devote all their energies to vital war transport.
There are no extra holidays for railway workers – for you no extra travelling facilities. Forgive no presents this year, but best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.'
The Post Office also made an appeal to the public, this time to post early. (No change there then.)
Posting should be completed by December 18, and the earlier the better. In normal times the Post Office has a difficult task of disposing of the heavy Christmas traffic, and the task can only be accomplished by engaging some 80,000 temporary workers throughout the country. This year the difficulties have been increased because of the release of 40,000 trained men for the Forces, the slowing up of road and rail transport because of the blackout, and the need for confining deliveries, and collections, as far as possible, to the short hours of daylight.
Home decorations became a do-it-yourself affair.
Woman & Home had a Christmas special in which they suggested the Christmas table could be made special by decorating the drinking glasses with coloured stars cut from sticky paper and stuck on the outside of the glass. It also suggested that pine-cone clusters should be hung about the house. These to be made of strands of plaited, coloured raffia which were attached to the cones. Said cones could be painted gold or silver or other "gay colours".
No doubt paper chains were made and hung about the place.
Those that live in rural areas obviously fared better than city dwellers but they were less likely to be bombed and had access to 'wild' food such as berries, mushrooms and rabbit. There was also more likelihood of them getting eggs and dairy products from local farms. If there was alcohol it would perhaps be home-made wine in the country, and beer at the pub for everyone else.
Everyone knows about famous truce in the trenches the first Christmas of World War I but did you know that Christmas of 1940 the German Embassy in Washington sent word to the British Government that Germany was prepared to suspend bombing missions against Britain over the Christmas period if the RAF did the same. No formal arrangement was made, but neither side launched any attacks between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. As the weather was overcast the lack of attacks was attributed to this.

I hope you have a pleasant and enjoyable Christmas holiday and that your New Year will be peaceful and healthy.

1. Helen Hollick : You are Cordially Invited to a Ball (plus a giveaway prize)
2. Alison Morton : Saturnalia surprise - a winter party tale (plus a giveaway prize) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
3. Andrea Zuvich : No Christmas For You! The Holiday Under Cromwell - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog 
4. Ann Swinfen : Christmas 1586 – Burbage’s Company of Players Celebrates - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
5. Anna Belfrage :  All I want for Christmas - (plus a giveaway prize) CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
6. Carol Cooper : How To Be A Party Animal - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
7. Clare Flynn :  A German American Christmas - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
8. Debbie Young :  Good Christmas Housekeeping - (plus a giveaway prize)  CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
9. Derek Birks :  The Lord of Misrule - A Medieval Christmas Recipe for Trouble - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
10. Edward James : An Accidental Virgin and An Uninvited Guest -  CLICK HERE  and - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog  
11. Fenella J. Miller : Christmas on the Home front (plus a giveaway prize) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
12. J. L. Oakley :  Christmas Time in the Mountains 1907 (plus a giveaway prize) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
13. Jude Knight : Christmas at Avery Hall in the Year of Our Lord 1804 - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
14. Julian Stockwin: Join the Party - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog  
15Juliet Greenwood : Christmas 1914 on the Home Front (plus a giveaway) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
16. Lauren Johnson :  Farewell Advent, Christmas is come - Early Tudor Festive Feasts - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
17. Lucienne Boyce :  A Victory Celebration - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
18. Nancy Bilyeau :  Christmas After the Priory (plus a giveaway prize) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
19. Nicola Moxey : The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182 - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
21. Regina Jeffers : Celebrating a Regency Christmas  (plus a giveaway prize) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
22. Richard Abbott : The Hunt – Feasting at Ugarit - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
23. Saralee Etter : Christmas Pudding -- Part of the Christmas Feast - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
24. Stephen Oram : Living in your dystopia: you need a festival of enhancement… (plus a giveaway prize) - CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
25. Suzanne Adair :The British Legion Parties Down for Yule 1780 - (plus a giveaway prize )  CLICK HERE to go to this Blog
26. Lindsay Downs  O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree  - (plus a giveaway prize) CLICK HERE to go to this blog

Thank you for joining us 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Liz Everly - Tempting Will McGlashen

Today I am delighted to welcome Liz Everly to my blog. She is going to explain how she does her research. There is also a blurb and all the links you need to buy the book and enter the giveaway.

Research and Inspiration for TEMPTING WILL McGLASHEN  
By Liz Everly

I adore historicals. But I’m very particular. There are very few “regency” historical that I like, but it’s not the time period, it’s the framing of most of them. I don’t like reading about Dukes and Duchesses, I much prefer the common people. It’s their stories I find intriguing.
One of the things that intrigues me about history, overall, is how perceptions of it often don’t stack up to the reality of it. Which is why when I read about something that kicks my school-learning-belief system in the head, my writer’s ears prick. Being married to a historian has given me a keen sense of how history written in books skims the surface. My husband, has taught me to look deeper and think harder about history.
I’ve worked a couple of “walk-on” characters into this novel that are based on odd but true stories. One of the stories is about Ned, the African-American man who was married to a white woman. This was mentioned in the historical documents known as the Moravian Diaries and there is a book about it—“The Road to Black Ned’s Forge: A Story of Race, Sex, and Trade on the American Colonial Frontier” by Turk McClesky.
Another walk-on real character in the book is Mary Ingles, whose story of capture, escape, and survival is nothing short of miraculous. “Follow the River” by James Alexander Thom is a novel that brings to life this inspiring true story.
The Virginia frontier is a fascinating subject. I am lucky to live near to the Frontier Culture Museum, in Staunton, Va., where my husband works and I am able to ask many questions of the staff. It is home to many houses from many lands—one is a German farmhouse from around 1688-89 and the other an American house built by German-Americans summer of 1773. Both of these houses had later additions built on as the families prospered. These are the houses on which I based my ordinary.
For the food in my story, I relied on both the “Virginia Housewife” and several books by William Woys Weaver: “Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking” and the “Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.”
For some of the interesting German folkways, including powwow, I relied on the “Pennsylvania Dutch and Other Essays” by Phebe Earle Gibbons and “Hex and Spellwork: The Magical Practices of the Pennsylvania Dutch,” by Karl Herr .

Mathilde Miller wanted to be a good daughter and marry the son of a long-time family friend, Joshua Bowman. But she didn’t want to be the wife of a Pennsylvania farmer. She loved her life, cooking on the Virginia frontier at her family’s ordinary. The minute blacksmith Will McGlashen walks into her kitchen, her restlessness focused on him. Fresh from Scotland, with a voice “like a song” and thick coppery hair, her heart belonged to him. Was it possible for the daughter of a Pennsylvania German to marry a hired man from Scotland? What did she really know about Will McGlashen and his secret past?

Will McGlashen needed to keep his own counsel. A man with a past full of violence and loss in Scotland, he was grateful for this chance to rebuild his life as a blacksmith in Virginia. He’d have to ignore the undeniable pull he felt toward his boss’s eldest daughter. When Joshua Bowman showed up and claimed her, instead of providing resolution for will, it burns like the fire he wields in his blacksmith shop. As events unfold, Will wonders if the signs she’s sending him are all in his head and prays that he has the strength not to find out.

The story is set in the Virginia frontier in 1765, a time when Native Americans still lurked in the hills, bandits and robbers were handed swift justice, and enterprising men and their families attempted to live in and tame the wild western edge of the new colonies. An ordinary offering good food, a bed, and company for travelers along the way was a much welcomed respite. Mathilde and Will's story is woven into the history, adventure, and danger of the time period.

Buy Links

About Liz Everly
Liz Everly writes, plays, and cooks in a tiny house with a big garden. She writes under a pen name to escape expectations and to embrace all possibilities. She's the author of the SAFFRON NIGHTS SERIES (e-Kensington), and a contributor in THE LADY SMUT BOOK OF DARK DESIRES. She also writes regional bestselling cookbooks and Agatha-award nominated traditional mysteries under her own name. On any given day, you may find her researching murder, sex, or cooking techniques. She'd not have it any other way. @Lizeverly1

You can also find Liz on Facebook.


<script src="//"></script>

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Lady Eleanor's Secret

£1.53 on Amazon
I am pleased to tell you that my December book is now live on Amazon. This is one that was with Musa for three years - but I am hoping the lovely new cover attracts fresh readers.
I originally wrote this for Robert Hale -but never sent it to them - it is also available as LP in UK libraries. 

Lady Eleanor feels destined to forever endure the misery of living as an unpaid governess to her brother Edward's children – until she meets Alexander, Lord Bentley. Alex is seeking a suitable wife to care for his children, thus leaving him to live as he wishes. 
Then, mistakenly believing he has compromised Eleanor, Alex makes her an offer, and she accepts with delight believing he has asked because she will be perfect mother for his children. 
Eleanor is horrified when she discovers his real motive. If she told him the truth he will send her away. Edward, desperately needing his his sister's inheritance to fund his gambling, plans to separate them by whatever means is necessary. 
Will Eleanor's secret or Edward's machinations ruin everything? (.com) (.uk)

Hope your Christmas preparations are going smoothly - I've only last minute food shopping to do. Feeling very smug. :)

Fenella J Miller

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas -What does it mean to you?

No 1 Best seller.
What does Christmas mean to most people? If you are of a different faith then probably not a lot you will be celebrating,  you have your own festivals at different times of the year. However, for Christians it is not only a time to get together with family and exchange gifts and good wishes, but also a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and reflect on what his arrival in the world means to you.
For those without any faith, has it become just a commercial event, a time for overheating and overspending on items we will never use? I don't think so.
Many of my Facebook friends put up their trees before the beginning of December – they love the glitter and tinsel and feeling of anticipation and excitement that all of this brings.
I believe I could call myself a secular Christian – that is, I believe that Jesus Christ was the most important human who has ever lived on this Earth but do not believe in a supreme  being and all that entails. I wish I still did – I found my faith a comfort, but I have moved on from that position.
For me the meaning of Christmas is twofold – it's a time for generosity, for sharing and for enjoying the indulgences I avoid at other times. We get to see my two oldest grandchildren – now they are adults and I can no longer visit them this is the only time I see them, which makes it doubly precious.
Although commercialism has taken over many aspects of this celebration I still believe the magic of Christmas is very much alive and well.
As a writer I find myself stretched for time. There is so much involved in the preparations for that one day that I don't seem to be able to find the time to work for as long as I should. I hope you are all well ahead with your preparations do not find yourself scouring the empty shops at four o'clock on Christmas Eve for the last minute gifts you have forgotten.
I would like to thank all of you for making this year so special for me and putting six of my books in the bestseller lists. I write for my readers – but being paid for doing what I love is fantastic too.
Fenella J Miller

Friday, 14 November 2014

Being an Ethical Author

Barbara's War -The Trilogy
Available as paperbacks 30th November
The Alliance of Independent Authors, of which I am proud to be a member, have come up with an initiative to which a writer may agree to, outlining a variety of standards to which said writer agrees.
Here are the things we are agreeing to:

Ethical Author Code

Guiding principle: Putting the reader first

When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers/buyers of my books. I behave professionally online and offline when it comes to the following practices in my writing life:


I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. If I find myself in disagreement, I focus on issues rather than airing grievances or complaints in the press or online, or engaging in personal attacks of any kind.


I do not hide behind an alias to boost my own sales or damage the sales or reputation of another person. If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.

Reviewing and Rating books

I do not review or rate my own or another author’s books in any way that misleads or deceives the reader. I am transparent about my relationships with other authors when reviewing their books.
I am transparent about any reciprocal reviewing arrangements, and avoid any practices that result in the reader being deceived.

Reacting to reviews

I do not react to any book review by harassing the reviewer, getting a third party to harass the reviewer, or making any form of intrusive contact with the reviewer. If I’ve been the subject of a personal attack in a review, I respond in a way that is consistent with professional behaviour.

Book Promotions

I do not promote my books by making false statements about, for example, their position on bestseller lists, or consent to anyone else promoting them for me in a misleading manner.


I know that plagiarism is a serious matter, and I don’t intentionally try to pass off another writer’s words as my own.

Financial ethics

In my business dealings as an author, I make every effort to be accurate and prompt with payments and financial calculations. If I make a financial error, I remedy it as soon as it’s brought to my notice.


I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realise anyone is acting against the spirit or letter of this Code on my behalf, I will refer them to this Code and ask them to modify their behaviour.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Ghosts at Pemberley

£1.99 on Amazon
Jane Austen Variations

The Ghosts at Pemberley by Fenella J Miller

Jane Austen has been one of my favourite authors since I was very young – although I must admit I didn't fully understand the nuances of her language and her gentle irony until I was in my late teens.
Of the six completed books I, like most other readers, have Pride & Prejudice as my favourite, and the one I like least is Emma, that is because Emma is not a character you warm to.
There have been many TV and film adaptations of her books and again I enjoyed most of The Pride & Prejudice ones; however, I didn’t enjoy the Mansfield Park TV version with Billie Piper – I think she was wrongly cast.
There have also been Jane Austen variations such as Death Comes to Pemberley and Lost in Austen. The PD James version was not well received and although well-acted there were too many historical inaccuracies to make it enjoyable viewing. Lizzy, for instance, wears the same green dress every day. Lost in Austen, although a fantastic, has to be my favourite. I’ve watched the final scene many times as it is the most romantic ending ever.
I’ve also read dozens of sequels, prequels and mash ups over the past few years. It appears that the thousands of Janeite fans will read anything related to her work, although Pride & Prejudice linked books are still the favourites.
I have been looking at what is around at the moment and there is everything from appallingly written erotica to some excellent sequels. There are also books where the only things that are the same are the names - I don’t read books of that sort – I want my Jane Austen variations to be firmly linked to actual books.
I really enjoy Amanda Grange, Jane Odiwe and Monica Fairview’s books. There are also several authors producing contemporary Jane Austen linked books – such as Juliet Archer and Victoria Connolly. There are dozens of other good writers but I prefer British authors. Although traditional publishers decided the Jane Austen bubble had burst a few years ago, author-publishers are still producing them and they are still being devoured eagerly.
I wrote a Pride & Prejudice version telling the story from Jane and Bingley’s viewpoints, Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley, some years ago which still sounds a handful of copies a week. However, I have now written the first in a four book series entitled, Pemberley, (I know, I could have come up with a more original series title – but it is what it says on the tin.) The Ghosts at Pemberley is Kitty Bennet’s story and is, I hope, a genuinely scary ghost story as well as a romance. This is now available on Amazon Kindle and there will be a paperback, perfect for Christmas presents, out in November.
I am writing the second in the series, A Scandal at Pemberley, which is Georgiana Darcy’s story and this will be published next March as an e-book and the paperback will follow in the summer.  (  (

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Christmas at Hartford Hall

I decided to republish this novella, that I have just got back from Musa, with a brand-new cover done by the wonderful Jane Dixon-Smith. It is a book that was written on commission for DC Thomson several years ago and is based on the Cinderella story.
I am thrilled that it is already a bestseller in the US and hopefully will also be popular over here.
Here are links if you would like to buy it – it is also available free to anyone who has joined the Kindle owners library. (.com)  (.uk)
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Ghosts at Pemberley

Available for pre-order on Amazon (com) (uk)
The first of my Pemberley series, The Ghosts at Pemberley is now available to pre-order on Amazon. This book will be released on 30th October 2014.
I love the cover and would like to thank Jane Dixon-Smith for designing it and Amanda Grange for finding me the image of the girl who is exactly how I imagined Kitty Bennet to be.
I am going to write a series of at least four books all set in and around Pemberley. Each one will feature a different hero or heroine and the main thrust of the story will be their romance. However, Darcy and Elizabeth will also be an essential part of each book, as well as a variety of other well-known characters from Pride & Prejudice.
The Ghosts at Pemberley is Kitty Bennet's story. The second one in this series of Jane Austen variations, A Scandal at Pemberley, will feature Georgiana Darcy and the third one will be Mary Bennet's story. A Scandal at Pemberley will be published in the spring of 2015 and the third book will be released in November 2 015.

The Ghosts at Pemberley - a Jane Austen Variation. 
Miss Kitty Bennet is travelling to Pemberley in order to become a companion and friend to Miss Georgiana Darcy when disaster strikes. Adam Denney, the Rector of Bakewell comes to her aid and is much taken with her. Bingley is hurt in the accident and he and Jane are obliged to remain at The Rectory, whilst Kitty continues her journey. 
The coach accident is just the first of many terrifying incidents that occur once Kitty is established at Pemberley. Somehow her arrival has woken the spirits that occupy the East wing and these ghosts are determined to get their revenge on those who trapped them in the spirit world. Elizabeth is in danger and Darcy is determined to keep her safe. Can the power of God defeat the evil or will Pemberley and its occupants be destroyed?

Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Barbara's War - The Resolution    (uk)    (com)
Barbara's War -The Resolution is the final part of a three book series. The books can be read as stand alone -but would be better read in order. 

If Barbara's secret is discovered it will destroy her family, but no one can keep a secret forever. Her husband Alex, a Spitfire pilot, would reject her and her marriage will be over. A tragedy almosts rips the family apart and then Alex is posted abroad. Barbara has to learn to live without him. A series of domestic catastrophes, bad news and the unexpected appearance of her childhood friend, John Thorogood, cause her further heartache. Can she find a happy resolution to her problems? 

I am thrilled that my final book in this series is already 22 in the Kindle Historical Fiction and it isn't out until 26th September. This is possible because Amazon - bless them -have made pre-ordering available to indie writers.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Barbara's War -The Resolution
Available for pre-order at Amazon now.
The final book in my Barbara's War series, Barbara's War -The Resolution is now available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be released on 26 September.

If Barbara's secret is discovered it will destroy her family, but no one can keep a secret forever. Her husband Alex, a Spitfire pilot, would reject her and her marriage will be over. A tragedy almosts rips the family apart and then Alex is posted abroad. Barbara has to learn to live without him. A series of domestic catastrophes, bad news and the unexpected appearance of her childhood friend, John Thorogood, cause her further heartache. Can she find a happy resolution to her problems? 

I am going to miss this cast of characters after being so closely involved in their lives for three years. The first of the series, Barbara's War, will be coming out as a large print in October and so should be in libraries some time after that.

I would like to thank Jane Dixon Smith for providing me with such fantastic covers – I'm sure her designs have played a big part in the success of these books.

I would also like to thank my beta readers, Fay Cunningham, Kim Sheffield, Thorunn Bacon and Susan Rhodes for their valuable input in the series.

The books would not be so well produced without the help of my editor/proofreader Rachel Bevan.

I am now writing a three books series of Jane Austen variations and the first one is finished and should be published in October some time. I have already got the outline in my head for the second two books and will be writing one in 2015 and one in 2016. 

I am about to start on the final edit for my next two book, World War II series, entitled, Victoria's War. The first part will come out in spring and the second in the autumn of next year.

Fenella J Miller

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Latest Regency - Lord Orpington's Wager

Available on Amazon £0.77
I am delighted to tell you that my last short novella - previously published by D C Thomson and Linford Romance as 'The Reluctant Bride' is now available under the new name of 'Lord Orpington's Wager.'
You might well notice that it has the same couple on the cover as a recent release - can't remember the title -but it is a Jane Austen variation. Both covers are good -but mine is, of course the best. :)
Here is a sample to wet your appetite.

Chapter One
Suffolk, 1812.

‘Mama, please don’t worry about me. I am perfectly happy living here with you. When dear Jack died at Talevera three years ago he left me with a comfortable income, and a determination never to marry again.’
Lady Bryson shook her head, unconvinced by her daughter’s protestations. ‘My dear girl, you were married out of the cradle, the major snatched you away from me before you had even a season. Good heavens, Patience, you are hardly in your dotage, you are only three and twenty and a beautiful young lady. It is high time you went back into society and found yourself another husband.’
Patience had heard quite enough of this nonsense recently. She pinned on a smile and pushed back a stray curl from her forehead.
‘Mama, I have told you repeatedly that with Jack I had a perfect marriage.’ She paused, her smile becoming sad. ‘Of course, we were not blessed with children, but apart from that there is not a man on this Earth who could match him. I shall not settle for second best.’
She watched her mother draw breath knowing she was about to embark on yet another reason why being a contented widow was not enough. ‘Very well. As you are so insistent that I am mouldering away in this village I shall accept my godmother’s invitation and stay for the season at their London house.’
‘My dear, I am so pleased you have changed your mind. Lady Orpington is not well and as her daughter Rosamond is to make her come out, she is in need of a companion for her.’ For a small, plump lady Mama jumped with surprising agility to her feet. ‘I shall go at once and write a letter to dear Eleanor and tell her that you are coming immediately.’
Patience laughed. ‘I hope by your use of the word immediately you’re referring to the writing of the letter and not my imminent departure to London?’
‘You do not intend to go for the festive season? It is so quiet here; you would be much better enjoying yourself with people of your own age. You have been out of black for more than two years; it is high time you rejoined society.’
Patience was adamant. ‘No, Mama, I shall stay here for Christmas and travel in the New Year. The season does not really start until March which should give me ample time to replenish my wardrobe and get to know Lady Rosamond.’
Her parent accepted defeat. ‘Well, my dear, I must own that I shall enjoy your company. I am sure that Eleanor will send her carriage for you so you may rest assured, your journey will be comfortable.’
‘There is no need for that, Mama. I shall take the mail coach. As I shall be travelling with Mary and Sam Perkins I shall come to no harm.’
‘I can see that you have made up your mind. Therefore I will l say no more about it. If you are travelling with a maid and a manservant you should be safe enough. I shall have the missive ready in thirty minutes. If you delay your ride until it is finished you could take it down to The Red Lion for me.’
Patience agreed to wait until the letter was done. She had been about to take her huge, black gelding for a gallop through the woods whilst the weather was clement and was already dressed in a handsome, green riding habit that exactly matched the colour of her eyes. She tapped her booted foot on the carpet feeling decidedly put out.
When she had returned to live with her mother in the comfortable Dower House, she had thought she would never recover from the loss of her dear friend and husband. She had spent four years following the drum and had loved every moment of it. She had nursed wounded officers and even delivered a baby. Her life had been full of excitement and wherever the regiment had gone, she had been there.
The widow of a common soldier was often remarried before her husband was cold in his grave for she would have been unable to stay in camp on her own. The wife of the commanding officer, as her husband had been by then, did not have such an option. She was obliged to make her way home with Mary and Sam to recover slowly in the peace of the Suffolk countryside.
Now she was obliged to spend several months in London escorting a young debutante of seventeen years to various routs, soirees and balls. She frowned, shuddering at the thought of being constrained to make polite small talk to other matrons and companions. She thanked God that as a widow she would not be required to join in with the jollity and dancing.
She spun and paced the room, ending in front of the gilt mantel glass. At least she could put on her hat whilst she waited. She stared at her reflection in the mirror her head to one side. Her mother was right, she seemed to have grown into her looks since she had returned to England. She had lost the roundness of youth and her eyes appeared to dominate the oval of her face.
This would not do. The last thing she required was to be admired by members of the ton. She was not wealthy, not by her godmother’s standards, but she was comfortable and owned a neat estate in Norfolk which brought her in more than enough for her modest monthly needs. She had not touched the money Jack had left her; indeed she had no idea how matters stood in that department. Her lips curved slightly. At least her visit to Town would enable her to see her lawyers.

She heard hurrying footsteps approaching the room. Good – her mother was returning with the letter. She pushed the final glass topped pin into her hat, collected her gloves and riding whip and went to meet her.

Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Monday, 4 August 2014

What do you think of the new Kindle K OL?

There has been a lot of talk on various blogs and writers' forums about the new Kindle KOL system that was introduced ten days ago. I have all my books in Kindle Select and was given the option to remove them before this was introduced but decided, as much for inertia as anything else, to leave things as they were and see how it developed..
Although I don't get massive loans under the old method, they do bring me in around £100 a month which is well worth having. Remuneration for the loans is excellent, more than $2 a borrow, but nobody seems to know how much we will get with this new system.
I'm not exactly sure how it works – would be interested to know if anyone out there has found out yet. I do know that American users get the first month free which might account for the thirty or so downloads a day that I'm getting at the moment. On reading the various information pages put up by Amazon I recently discovered members of this "club" can borrow as many books as they like and keep them indefinitely.
I don't see how this is going to work – surely if they can have as many books as they want, and don't have them taken from their device the end of each month (which is what I thought happened ) then why should they bother to buy books in future? So far I've not noticed any deterioration in my sales, but it's early days yet.
A member of this club pays $9.99 a month – if they read more than half a dozen books then obviously this is a good thing for them. I presume that the five big traditional publishers don't have any books in this system, so if you want to download a well-known title you will still have to buy. Amazon said 600,000 books were in the library – I think there are well over 3 million books on Amazon – so this must be the amount of writers who have their books in Kindle Select.
I can't see that Amazon can continue to pay writers over two dollars per loan, and as the ordinary loan system is now lumped in with this other one, no doubt this will mean getting less for these loans, which will impact upon my income. The fact that the pound is so strong against the dollar has reduced my American royalties by a third – I really don't want to lose any more.
I would  like to know what borrowers and writers think about this? Is it a good thing for writers – or the end of the world as we know it?
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Duke & The Vicar's Daughter

£0.99 - out now
I am delighted to tell you that my latest Regency title, The Duke & The Vicar's Daughter, is now live on Amazon KDP.
This is my third new title this year and there will be the final part of the Barbara's War trilogy in September, and a Jane Austen variation, which I am writing at the moment, should be ready for publication in October. This will make a grand total of three full-length books and two shorter ones. I'm hoping to be able to write a  Regency with a Christmas theme, to come out in November, as well. Here is the blurb:

The Duke of Edbury decides he must marry an heiress if he is to save his estates. So far he has managed to stay out of the clutches of the predatory mama's who spend the Season searching for suitable husbands for their daughters. The god-daughter of his aunt, Lady Patience, might be a suitable candidate and he is persuaded to act as a temporary guardian to both Lady Patience and her cousin, Miss Charity Lawson. 
When Charity and Patience exchange places the fun begins.There is also the matter of an abandoned baby and an abduction, as well as the inevitable misunderstanding between Hugo and Charity, to sort out before there can be a happy resolution.

I hope you enjoy this story is much as I did writing it. My August release will be my final back list book, one I wrote way back in 2006. I shall get the rights back for my the books that are on Musa in October so will have those to republish next year.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Jane Jackson - Crosscurrents - is my guest today.

 Today I'm delighted to welcome Jane Jackson to my blog. Jane is going to tell us some historical facts upon which her book, Crosscurrents, is founded. There is also an extract form her new book -CROSSCURRENTS - which I can't wait to read.
Over to you Jane:

In  Regency times when clean drinking water could not be guaranteed, everyone from gentry to labourers drank ale.  Towns had commercial breweries while country houses and farms brewed their own ales of varying strengths.
Harvest time required hundreds of gallons of weak, thirst-quenching small beer. Strong ales brewed for the country gentleman’s table were often laid down like wine and kept for several years ready for important family occasions like a wedding or the birth of an heir.  
In the 1400s household beer was usually drunk out of horn cups.  With most farms having horned cattle this raw material was easy to obtain and making horn cups quickly became a recognised craft. They had the great advantage of being light, strong, and easy to carry when travelling.
Horn cups used by servants and labourers were simple in design. Those made for the wealthy often had rims decorated with silver or pewter.
By the mid C16th ale drinkers preferred glasses to horn cups. Most were imported from Venice and made of soda glass with a milky appearance that masked the cloudiness of home-brewed beer and ale.
Mid C17th brewers were producing clearer ales, and George Ravenscroft had invented a clear lead-based glass that quickly replaced Venetian glassware. 
C18th English ale glasses bore no resemblance to the chunky glass tankards of today.  Because ales were much stronger, C18th glasses were smaller, only four to five inches high.  Elegant and beautiful, they were similar in design and decoration to wine glasses. 
Ale flutes appeared in the mid 1700s. Made of high-quality glass they had a narrow elegant bowl on a long decorative stem with a circular foot. An engraving of hops or barley on the bowl was all that distinguished them from those used for champagne. 

At five o’clock exactly Melanie stood outside her father’s study door, her pulse loud in her ears. She squared her shoulders and drew in a deep breath before releasing it slowly.
Tapping the door with her knuckles she entered a comfortably shabby room with wood-panelled walls, heavy furniture, and a faint aroma of brandy and cigars.
Coming from behind his desk he indicated a leather armchair on one side of the hearth then seated himself opposite.
‘Now, my dear.’ Crossing dark-trousered legs he smiled at her, linking his fingers over his stomach. ‘Tell me what happened. I believed you to be in France with your mother. How is she?
‘Very well, though her condition –’
‘She is expecting another child.’
‘I see. And her husband?’
‘Monsieur is also in good health,’ Melanie answered, carefully expressionless.
‘So why are you not still in France?’
‘When my mother wrote inviting me to Paris, I thought –’ I thought she wanted to meet the daughter she had last seen as a four-year-old. I wanted to find out why she had abandoned me. Melanie cleared a painful tightness from her throat. ‘I had many hopes for my visit.’ So many hopes, so swiftly crushed.
‘You know how important art is to me so I think you will understand my longing to see the paintings in the Louvre? Also, if it was possible, I wanted to visit the studios of some of the artists working in Paris.’
‘What did you think of the Louvre? Magnificent, is it not?’
Melanie relived bitter disappointment as she shook her head. ‘I did not see it. There was never time.’
‘Why not?’
‘My mother and her husband have a very busy social life.’
‘Oh well, at least you made some new acquaintances.’
‘No.’ His startled expression had her torn between laughter and tears. ‘I remained at their apartment looking after the children. They have four-year-old twin boys.’ As Melanie had begun to wonder if her mother’s friends knew of her existence, she realised her summons to Paris had sprung not from any resurgence of maternal affection but because her mother was at her wits’ end.
‘They are sweet boys but very boisterous. There have been numerous nursemaids but none stayed long. I think with more time I might have had some success. But when they told me about the voyage –’
‘What voyage?’
‘To Quebec.’
Frederick Tregarron frowned. ‘Your mother never mentioned this when she wrote to me asking for your direction and my agreement to your visit.’
Within a week of arriving in Paris Melanie had seen her hopes of a joyful reunion with her mother for what they were: dreams with all the substance of mist. Her only value was as an unpaid nurse for the children. Her passion for art had been dismissed with the careless flick of a hand, of no interest to a woman who cared only for fashion and company.
‘You did not wish to accompany them?’
‘No,’ Melanie said flatly.
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ her mother had cried. ‘You must. I need you. Besides, what else would you do? You cannot stay here.’
Pretending a calm she did not feel, Melanie had said, ‘I shall return to England as soon as possible.’ Please don’t ask why. What could she say? Of what could she accuse him? He had done nothing exceptional, said nothing untoward. He was handsome, wealthy, and her mother adored him. Yet the moment they were introduced and he bowed over her hand she had felt a shiver of unease.
But her mother did not ask. Instead, shouting accusations of selfishness and ingratitude, she had burst into noisy sobs and flung herself into her husband’s arms.
As he patted his wife’s back, Melanie saw the fractional lift of an eyebrow and the hint of a sardonic smile.
Her skin tightening at the memory, she looked directly at her father.  ‘I could not remain in Paris. So I came back.’

Book Blurb:
Santo Innis is developing a revolutionary new engine to counter the lethal effects of high-pressure steam. His backer is Richard Vaughan, heir to Frederick Tregarron, owner of Gillyvean estate.
Following the tragic deaths of his wife and baby son, Richard immersed himself in work. But his world is turned upside down by the unexpected arrival at Gillyvean of Melanie Tregarron, a talented artist and Frederick’s illegitimate youngest daughter.  
Desperate to prove the viability of his invention, Santo persuades Richard to let him fit one at Gillyvean’s brewhouse. 
But when Bronnen Jewell - worried about her mother's suffering at her father's hands - arrives to brew the harvest beer she's horrified, fearing loss of the income on which she depends.
As the lives of these four become entwined, a shocking revelation shatters Bronnen’s world; desperate for money Santo makes a choice that costs him everything; Melanie fears she will never be free of her past; and Richard has to face his deepest fear. 

Buy links:


Author bio:
Jane Jackson has been a professional writer for over thirty years, and twice shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Crosscurrents is her twenty-eighth published novel. 
Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall most of her life, finding inspiration for her books in the county's magnificent scenery and fascinating history.
She enjoys reading, research, long walks, baking, and visiting Cornish agricultural shows where her husband displays his collection of 28 (and counting) restored vintage rotavators.