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.


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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