Monday, 13 November 2017

Paranormal Romantics: Ghosts and Unfinished Business by Karen Michelle ...

I'm at Paranormal Romantics chatting about Ghosts and unfinished business. Come on by and share your thoughts. http://paranormalromantics.blogspot.com/2017/11/ghosts-and-unfinished-business-by-karen.html

Sunday, 12 November 2017

New Cover!

Eden's Conflict - My Victorian saga has had a revamp.  I felt the old cover wasn't getting the right response from readers. So I worked with Josephine, a graphics designer (JB Graphics) who is wonderful in my opinion, and after telling her about the story and what I envisioned, she came up with the cover you see below.
I love it. Those who have read the story will see how much the cover represents the story as well.

I've asked Amazon, Apple iBook and Kobo, etc, to change their listing to the new cover, which will take a few days or so to filter through online. Hopefully, this lovely new cover will soon be able to be seen by everyone.

Eden's Conflict
Blurb:
1901 - A new century brings change to the carefully ordered world Eden Harris maintains, change that threatens all she holds dear. Despite years of devoted service to the Bradburys, the leading family of the community, Eden hides a secret that would affect them all. When an enemy returns, her world is shattered and her secret exposed. Torn and provoked, she strains to protect her family until a devastating accident leaves her alone and frightened. As the threat against her grows, Eden takes her precious daughters and flees from the only place she's called home, to live amongst masses in York. 
Her attempt to start anew is not so simple as the past haunts her, and the one man she thought lost to her so many years before, returns to claim what has always been his. Eden must gather her strength and look into her heart to accept what the future offers. 
Can she find the happiness she longs for?

Eden's Conflict is available now.
Purchase 
Amazon: myBook.to/EdensConflict
 
 

Friday, 10 November 2017

Wartime Recipes

Borrowed from my grandmother’s old cookery book.

Bread and Butter Pudding 
Several slices of thin bread with margarine or butter
2 ounces of sugar (if available) otherwise one grated apple.
2 oz of dried raisins
1 beaten or dried egg
1 pint of milk
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Line a pie dish with layers of the sliced buttered bread, raisins and a sprinkle of sugar or grated apple between each. Beat up the egg or add the dried egg to the milk, then pour over the pudding and all to stand for about ten minutes. Cook at around 175 degrees for an hour or so.

Lord Woolton Pie
Chop a selection of potatoes, cauliflower, swedes, carrots, onions or whatever other vegetable you have available, and add one tablespoon of oatmeal.
Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Put them in a pie dish, add a sprinkle of herbs, thyme, sage or parsley, as you wish, and a little brown gravy.
Line the top with sliced potatoes or wholemeal pastry and bake in a moderate oven until the pastry has browned.

Mock Cream
1 tablespoon of dried milk
2 oz margarine or butter
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
Beat the margarine and sugar, slowly add the dried milk then add the vanilla and beat until smooth.

Chocolate Haystacks
8 shredded wheat
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
2 oz cocoa.
Mix and shape in an egg cup. Set out on a tray. Do not cook just leave to harden.

Courting Cake
8 oz flour
4 oz marg/butter
2 oz sugar
1 egg (fresh or dried)
Mix to a stiff pastry with a little milk. Cut in half. Roll out one round and spread with jam. Roll a second round and place on top. Or cut and form the other half into tiny balls and place evenly on top. Bake approx 40 - 45 mins at 180C until golden brown.

Bran Loaf
4 oz All Bran
4 oz brown sugar
6 oz mixed dried fruit
½ pint milk
4 oz Self Raising flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
Soak bran, sugar and fruit in the milk for 30 mins in a mixing bowl. Add the sifted flour and BP and mix well. Put mixture in a greased loaf tin. Bake for approximately 1 hour at 180C.

The heroine in Always in my Heart proved to be an excellent cook, if it sometimes created problems by treating her as a servant instead of a family member.


Brenda Stuart returns to her late husband’s home devastated by his loss only to find herself accused of bestowing favours upon the Germans. Life has been difficult for her over the war, having been held in an internment camp in France simply because of her nationality. Thankful that her son at least is safe in the care of his grandmother, she now finds that she has lost him too, and her life is in turmoil. 

Prue, her beloved sister-in-law, is also a war widow but has fallen in love with an Italian PoW who works on the family estate. Once the war ends they hope to marry but she has reckoned without the disapproval of her family, or the nation. The two friends support each other in an attempt to resolve their problems and rebuild their lives. They even try starting a business, but it does not prove easy.

Available in most good bookshops and online.

WH Smith 

Amazon UK 

Amazon US 

Kobo

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Free London Based Vampire Novel!


To celebrate all things spooky this Halloween I'm giving away BITE MARK for FREE. Grab your copy from Amazon - also on KU -  then make sure you check out the sequel CLAW MARK.



Saturday, 14 October 2017

Edwardian Fashion

I really enjoy looking at historical fashion, especially from the Victorian and Edwardian eras which are the periods I set a lot of my novels.
Below are some pictures of Edwardian gowns that I can easily imagine my characters wearing. I like the simple, clean lines of the Edwardian fashion and the soft subtle colours and textiles. They capture the essence of style and femininity.


I see my character, Tilly Grayson from my novel Southern Sons wearing this dress.






I love this dress. Simple but elegant.
 
 
 
 

 

 


Friday, 13 October 2017

Writing the Heroine's Journey

1. What is the inciting incident or problem and in what way does it effect her life?

2. What emotional state is she in at the start of the story?

3. What does she want? What are her aims and goal, and what does that tell us about her?

4. What is her flaw or inner conflict that prevents her from attaining her goal, and which traits will help her to overcome them in the end?

5. Many external conflict or obstacles will stand in her way?

6. What is at stake? The stakes need to be high. What will she lose if she doesn’t achieve her objective?

7. Why would the reader care about her? They need to be emotionally involved, to understand her situation and willing her to succeed. Motivation. Motivation. Motivation is the secret of good characterisation.

8. What does she learn along this hazardous journey? How does she confront her demons and develop as a person?

9. The darkest hour will come when it seems she has lost everything. This will be followed by the climax when, largely by her own efforts and certainly not luck or a Prince Charming riding to her rescue, she wins through.

10. How does her story end? Redemption and resolution. Major problem finally solved and a satisfying end for the reader.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Is Accuracy important in the Historical Novel?

Historical novels are so deeply researched they sometimes seem like non-fiction in disguise. And some readers consider that romance can kill the story dead. Even so, we must do our research and set the scene as accurately as we can. We can take some liberties, for the sake of the story, but if we veer too far from the facts as we know them the reader may feel cheated and lose faith in the work. If a mistake crops up, an anachronism, this will jar the reader and jerk them out of the story back to the present. It’s also best to avoid controversy or anything doubtful, which has a hint of being anachronistic. It has to feel correct. E.g: Soldiers did play baseball in the American Civil War. I believe they also played in a Jane Austen novel too. But the reader may found that hard to accept.

France in the war


Societies traditions, moral mores and customs help to build the picture, but this is where even the most fanatical historian can come unstuck. Many time periods, such as the Regency, have become so stylised that you may actually be considered to have written an historically inaccurate book if you do not follow the “popular perceptions” of the period. Presenting a realistic and complex view of society during a specific era can be the thing that makes the difference between a passable yarn and a gripping story.

It’s surely about striking the right balance. The story is the most important thing, but it must be firmly rooted in the appropriate period. It must not simply be a costume drama. The past must be made as relevant as the present. The problems can be the same: human emotion, conflict and behaviour. Falling in love and losing that love are just as painful, whatever year it is in.

A combination of accuracy and imagination that will make the story plausable. The writer needs to incorporate the odd, quirky detail. Perhaps the price of cheese, a housemaid’s monthly wage, a description of underwear, length of time for a journey, breed of horse, how someone would get their boots mended, what book or newspaper they might read. How would they conduct a funeral, spin wool, pluck a hen, fire a rifle, fight a duel or take part in a bare knuckle fight. Whatever is needed for your story. When you can’t draw on personal experience or memories use interviews, explore diaries, memoirs, biographies, newspapers, etc. Select with care. Don’t put material in just because you wish to show off how much you learnt at the Imperial War Museum. Too much info can be boring unless it is entirely relevant to the story.

It is the correct little details which builds the atmosphere, gives a strong sense of time and place that creates a feeling of reality vital for the reader, so that they’ll sit back and enjoy the ride.


Brenda Stuart returns to her late husband’s home devastated by his loss only to find herself accused of bestowing favours upon the Germans. Life has been difficult for her over the war, having been held in an internment camp in France simply because of her nationality. Thankful that her son at least is safe in the care of his grandmother, she now finds that she has lost him too, and her life is in turmoil. 

Prue, her beloved sister-in-law, is also a war widow but has fallen in love with an Italian PoW who works on the family estate. Once the war ends they hope to marry but she has reckoned without the disapproval of her family, or the nation. The two friends support each other in an attempt to resolve their problems and rebuild their lives. They even try starting a business, but it does not prove easy.

Available in most good books shops and online.

WH Smith

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo