Sunday, 18 May 2014
I just popped in to tell you about my new book coming out on 22nd May 2014.
The Downstairs Maid
This is a big saga set a hundred years ago, telling the sory of a young girl growing up on a farm, happy with the father she adores until she is forced to go and work as a skivvy at the Manor. Emily is made of more than common clay and she will find a way to freedom and happiness.
Emily could hear the row going on downstairs and she stuck her fingers in her ears, burying her head under the pillows to shut out the angry words. It was warm in her bed, because she had two wool blankets and a thick eiderdown filled with duck feathers, and the sheets smelled of lavender. At night when it was cold out, she liked to burrow right down into her soft mattress, pull the covers over her head and disappear into her own world. In Emily’s secret world she could be whatever she wanted to be – a princess living in a castle with jelly and cake for tea every day. Or a lady in a fine house with a big diamond ring like Miss Concenii had – or…there Emily’s imagination ran out, because she knew so little of the world. The Vicar spoke of foreign lands sometimes, but the stories he told didn’t seem real but more like the fairytales in the old books Pa sometimes brought home for her to read. Pa was always bringing some treasure home for Emily. Usually, the bits of glass and china were chipped or cracked.
‘I can’t sell them like that, Em’ lass,’ he would tell her, taking her on his knee to explain that the latest find was Derby or Coalport or Worcester porcelain and the glass cranberry or Bristol Blue or perhaps a very early Georgian wineglass with a spiral stem. ‘If they were perfect they would be worth money – this scent bottle has a silver top, see – look at the hallmarks; that little lion means it’s proper English silver and the leopard’s head means it was made in London and that one is the date letter. See those four letters; they’re the maker’s marks but they’re a bit worn and I can’t see, but there’s a feel to this piece. That was made by a good silversmith that was and I’m not going to scrap it even if it would bring in a couple of bob. If this was perfect it would be worth at least two pounds, perhaps more – but the cap is dented, the stopper is broken and the glass is chipped. I wouldn’t get more than a shilling.’
‘I don’t mind,’ Emily said and hugged him. ‘I love it, because it is pretty and I don’t care that it’s damaged.’
She thought she would like to learn all the silver hallmarks but Pa didn’t know them all. He needed a reference book, so he’d told her. Emily decided that one day, when she had lots of money, she would buy him one, to say thank you for all he gave her
Pa nodded and kissed the top of her head. ‘That’s right, lass. Always remember when you buy something to buy quality. If it’s damaged it will come cheap and that way you can afford things you’d never otherwise be able to own.’
In Emily’s eyes the fact that her father had given her the treasure and took the time to explain what it was, where it was made and what it was for, meant more than the item itself. She liked to be close to Pa, to smell his own particular smell and feel safe in his arms. Emily knew her father loved her. She wasn’t sure if her mother even liked her, though sometimes she would smile and tell her to fetch out the biscuits or cakes, though she more often received a smack on the legs than a kiss.
The row seemed to go on for longer than usual that night. Driven at last by a kind of desperate curiosity, she crept down the uncarpeted wooden stairs, avoiding the one that creaked, to stand behind the door that closed the stairs off from the kitchen. Because it wasn’t shut properly, Emily could hear what her parents were saying.
‘But you’re his only relative,’ Ma said and she sounded almost tearful. ‘It isn’t fair that he should leave everything to that woman.’
Pa’s tone was calm and reasonable, the same as always. ‘Miss Concenii has been with him for years and nursed him devotedly this last year. The lawyer said he changed his will two months ago. I was the main beneficiary in the first one – most of the money and the house and contents…but then he changed it.’
‘And we know who’s behind that, don’t we?’ Ma said in a sullen tone. ‘She must have guided his hand. I told you to go and see him. I would have had him here and looked after him myself if you’d bothered to do something about it - but you're always the same. You just leave things and now we’ve been cheated out of a fortune.’
‘You don’t know that,’ Pa said. ‘He probably thought she deserved the house and money for putting up with him all those years.’
‘She guided his hand that’s what she did. You should go to court and get your share.’
‘He left me fifty pounds, a set of chessmen in ivory and ebony, a mantel clock and a Bible – and he left Em a ring. I’ve got it in my pocket…’
‘She can’t have that, it’s too valuable,’ Ma said. ‘Give it to me. I’ll look after it for her until she’s older.’
Emily wanted to call out that the ring was hers. She was frightened her mother would take it and sell it, but her father was speaking again.
‘I’ll just keep it for her. Albert left you this, Stella…’
Emily heard her mother give a squeak of pleasure. Obviously, the bequest had pleased her. Emily craned forward to peep round the door and look. She could see something on the kitchen table. It flashed in the light and she thought it must be diamonds, though there were blue stones too.
‘That’s sapphire and diamond that is,’ Pa said. ‘It’s a brooch, Stella – and worth a few bob.’
‘I can see that but it’s not worth as much as a house – and three hundred pounds. Think what we could have done with all that, Joe. You’ve been cheated of your fortune but you haven’t the sense to see it.’
‘Even if I have there’s no proof,’ Pa said. ‘She made sure of that – the doctor signed to say Albert was in his right mind when he made his last will…’
‘And what did he get out of it I wonder!’
Ma was in a right temper. Emily turned and went back up to her bedroom. She ran across the stained boards and jumped into bed. Her feet had turned cold standing on the stairs listening to her parents and her mind was full of pictures that troubled her. What had Miss Concenii done to poor Uncle Albert to make him sign his house and most of his money and possessions over to her?
Emily’s eyes stung with tears that trickled down her cheeks. She didn’t mind much that they wouldn’t be rich. Fifty pounds sounded a lot to her and she was curious about the ring Pa was keeping for her – but she hoped Uncle Albert hadn’t been made unhappy when he was ill. She felt sad for him having his hand guided and she felt sad for her father, because he’d lost his fortune.
Joe Carter worked hard from early in the morning to late at night, mucking out the horses and the cows, milking and watering and feeding the stock. His was only a small farm and he eked out a scarce living from his pigs, cows, ducks and chickens. He had one ten acre field put down to arable, which he alternated between barley, rye, wheat and potatoes, with a patch for vegetables for the house. He worked alone most of the time, though there was a lad of sixteen who came to help with the jobs he couldn’t manage alone. Bert was a little slow in his head but strong and a good worker. No one else would employ him, because he couldn’t be left to do a job alone, but Pa gave him a shilling now and then and he was always hanging around the yard, grinning at nothing in particular and eager to help. Because he was harmless and would do anything, Ma tolerated him and if there was nothing else for him to do she asked him to chop the logs for her.
When Pa had nothing much to do on the land he went out buying the things other people threw away. He had a barn filled almost to the rafters with old furniture. Ma said it was all junk, but Emily had seen some things she thought looked nice.
Pa had shown her some chairs with turned legs and a wide carved splat at the back, which he said were Georgian. He’d told her they were quality when new, but he’d only got five of a set of six and two of them had broken legs. One day he hoped to mend the legs but he was always looking for a single chair that would match the set – because a set of six was worth a lot more than five.
Best of all Emily liked the selection of silver bits, china and glass that Pa kept in a cabinet in the barn. She liked the delicate silver jug with a shaped foot Pa said was Georgian, the little enamelled snuff or pill boxes with pictures on the lids – and the silver box that opened to reveal a singing bird. That was lovely and Emily would have loved to own it, but Pa had to sell his nice things because there wasn’t enough money coming in from the land. He’d talked of having a shop in Ely one day, but Ma told him he was daft because he could never afford to pay the rent.
If Pa had got Uncle Albert’s house and money he could have bought a shop. Perhaps then Ma and Emily wouldn’t have had to hide from the tallyman ever again...
Look out for publication day on the 22nd May!
Hope you enjoy the book. I really do want this one to do well. It's a long time since I was able to write something like this for Linda Sole fans.
Love from Rosie.
Posted by Linda Sole at 10:45
I have a few author friends who like to attend weekly critique groups, they claim the system works. They bring a page or two of their current work-in-progress (before the story is finished) to read to the group. Sometimes changes are made based on the helpful comments made. That system doesn’t work for me. I’m called a pantser, I like to write my story from beginning to end before I begin any revisions, editing or re-writes. There is, though, a lot to be said for having another pair of eyes review your work before the finished manuscript is sent to submissions.
We all know that it is easier for someone else to pick out typos, grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the story, after all we KNOW what we MEANT to say and sometimes our own eyes play tricks on us and make us THINK we see what we know should be there. Sometimes it isn’t the typo we need to have pointed out to us.
In our writer’s mind we know where we want our characters to be going and we understand why they have personality quirks that would drive most people away. Our readers don’t necessarily understand this until that big reveal somewhere in the story which means they may become annoyed with the character flaws and simply stop reading. NOOOOOO!!!! I recently had my eyes opened about one of my beloved heroes, Adam in Courage of the Heart. Adam has a past that he is ashamed of and keeps secret because he just doesn’t feel very good about himself. Along comes Davie, a young innocent girl/woman – he’s attracted, she is too, but he manages to anger, insult and hurt her all at once (unintentionally of course) and now he fights to win her back.
I’ve been participating in the Weekend Writing Warriors weekly blog hop since last September (9/15/2013 to be exact). We share 8-sentence snippets from our works (published or unpublished) every week and then visit other participants, read and comment on their snippets. While several of the warriors use snippets from works in progress, some of us use pieces from already published works, like me. What benefit is there to using work that is already out there in printed form, either e-book or print, and can no longer be changed? I use the comments to see how well I have been able to communicate. The use of such small segments of each story can be challenging because it doesn’t allow for much room to make our point clear. It’s a lesson in making every word count.
Last week my fellow warriors noted that Adam seemed too persistent to the point of “creepiness”; now I am egotistical enough to console myself with some wonderful reviews I got for the book so obviously his actions are acceptable… to a reader who reads more than just the snippets. But this also means that I didn’t do my job as a writer. Writers need to keep a reader involved with the characters giving sympathy when appropriate or annoyance when it’s called for. When we fail to keep our characters real to our readers, we risk losing their interest in the story.
By seeing and understanding the story I wrote through other eyes, and not just for proofreading purposes, I have a clearer understanding that my intended thoughts are communicated. Even though my book was already published, I am able to use the insight from last week in my current work-in-progress to make sure that the inevitable genre formula where the boy loses the girl and works to win her back is not mired with “creepiness”. For those that are interested, I’m writing a sequel to Karma Visited and continuing the paranormal romantic suspense storyline between Annie and Dave.
In the meanwhile, this is an invitation to all writers to join this weekly blog hop we call Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday; post 8 sentences from a current writing project, published or unpublished, and then visit other participants and offer opinions, critiques, support. It’s a fun time as we hang out with other writers all striving to be better at what we do.
Please come visit me at my blog Chelle Cordero, Author
at my web-site Welcome to Chelle's World
Saturday, 17 May 2014
When Gisla hurls herself aboard Flane’s longship, she is desperate to avoid marriage to Karli Olafsson. Oli, Flane’s 16-year-old foster-son, thinks she’s the most wonderful girl he’s ever seen. But a Viking warship follows them home to Scotland. Can Flane and Oli protect Gisla without endangering themselves and their families? What is so fearful about Karli Olafsson? Why do the men of Dyflin, as well as the girl, fear him?
Adventures, romance and magic meld in VIKING MAGIC to provide a fascinating tale of love, sacrifice and undeniable passion.
Oli grabbed Flane’s arm. ‘You won’t make her go back?’
Flane looked down. It was not a boy’s hand clamped so fiercely around his arm, but the large, muscular hand of a man. Though Oli’s voice had broken early, he’d still acted like a boy. Now the boy was disappearing in front of his eyes, and the man was an unknown entity.
‘Some men will not take kindly to a bride escaping. They’ll come after her.’
Oli’s jaw clenched.
‘What if a sixty-strong warband arrives tomorrow?’ Flane went on. ‘We have only half that strength. You would put the lives of all at the Steading at risk?’
‘They’d protect her,’ Oli declared. ‘I’m sure they would!’ He appealed to Hakon. ‘You’d protect her, wouldn’t you?’
‘We might have to. Or at least protect ourselves.’ Grim-faced, Hakon nodded to the seaward end of the loch. ‘Look out there.’
Flane and Oli swung round. A ship stood at the mid-point of the loch, neatly framed by the mountains on either side of the water. The red and white striped sail, clear in the half light of the northern summer evening, shuddered as the breeze disappeared with the last of the sun’s rays.
Beside him, the girl moaned on an indrawn breath. Her hand covered her mouth, and her eyes stared unblinking at the ship. Flane looked at Hakon.
The big man shrugged. ‘She told us her father is Harold Ice-Walker. He’s the least of our problems. Her prospective father-in-law is Erik Bloodaxe.’
Friday, 18 April 2014
Adventurer Martin Blackstone escapes the stuffy rituals of England to seek his destiny in America. He leaves Alaina Craymore behind, believing she is better off without him. Suffering under the scandalous circumstances surrounding her father’s death, only Alaina’s love for Martin and the memory of their one stolen kiss have kept Alaina steady. But she hasn’t heard from Martin in far too long and cannot wait forever in the hopes that he will return from America. Just as Alaina begins to recover, one of her father’s associates emerges from the shadows with a choice—she must pose as his fiancée in America or he’ll send her brother to prison on charges of forgery. Willing to endure ruin and an uncertain future, Alaina agrees—she can do no less for the brother who’s spent his entire life protecting her. Only the man who spurned her can save her from the black mailing scoundrel and a ruined reputation.
Martin hasn’t forgotten Alaina or the kiss they shared. When word of her sacrifice reaches him, he’ll move heaven and earth to find her and make her his, no matter the cost.
Will the strong-minded, independent Alaina chose ruin over the fear that a marriage proposal has been offered out of duty rather than love?
A Kiss of Promise continues the story of the Blackstone brothers, introduced in Regal Reward. It will be released on April 3rd, 2014 by Ellora’s Cave Publishing under their Blush imprint and is presently available for pre-order on Amazon.
It was much too late to hope for his love. She had compromised her decency beyond redemption. What a mess she’d made of her life. She still had nightmares of the night her father died, of the gun slipping from her fingers. The dreams had lessened during the year spent with Aunt Cornelia. She had gained some hope for her future, but now she lived in a stranger’s home under the guise of being a widow and strolled the streets in a gaudy pink gown. Martin would certainly shun her. Better not to think of him.
When they reached the gates set up where the auction was being held, Harrington drew her to a quieter spot but near enough to watch the goings on.
“Remain here, Alaina. I must have words with one of the sellers before the carriages go up for auction. He waved a hand toward a bench that had one remaining seat available. Do not move from this place. You know what is at stake if I can’t find you when I return.”
Alaina’s mouth thinned but she nodded her acquiescence. When Harrington strode off, she signaled for Maria to take the empty seat. The woman was older and Alaina preferred to stand and observe the crowd. As the minutes went by the crowd grew. She glanced toward her chaperone, though she had to rise up on her tiptoes to have the bench in view. She was surprised to see Maria in an animated conversation with another woman. Their hand gestures suggested their own excitement over the venue. How she wished that she could find a friend in this mob of foreigners.
That was her last thought before clutching her throat. Martin. He was there in the crowd, standing taller than those about him. Her eyes grew wide as she watched him saunter casually toward where she stood. He hadn’t seen her. She watched his agile gait, his expression, one of expectation, even determination as he strode closer. She opened her mouth but clamped it shut again. She clenched her fingers into the folds of her skirt—she didn’t know what to do. Should she run to him, plead for his help, or hide? Instead of doing either, she stood paralyzed. She couldn’t believe that it was truly him. He drew closer and his eyes darted in her direction. He stopped when he saw her, nearly causing a man behind him to stumble back into the crowd.
She saw the disbelief in his features as he pushed his way through the throng, his eyes never leaving hers. She didn’t move, every ounce of her being wanting to run to him, while a warning within her kept urging her to flee.
“Alaina? By God, it’s really you.” He rushed to her side, breathless, grasping her upper arms. “What are you doing here?” He scanned her surroundings. “Who are you with? I can’t believe you’re here.”
She stared up at him, the sensation of his strong hands on her arms, rapturous. She didn’t want the warmth that encompassed her to end. She dared to lift her fingers and grasp his forearms, feeling the heat of his body beneath his shirt sleeves. Her lips trembled. She had to get hold of herself, say something.
“Martin,” she finally breathed. “I-I, I never expected to see you. Richard…” she swallowed as the story she must tell him, formed in her mind. “I have come with my brother. He is here to handle some business affairs. He is in there.” She pointed past the gates, in the direction where Philip had disappeared. “He wanted to look at the items at auction. He preferred I wait here.” She was amazed that she could utter even a sound or put a sentence together. She’d believed she could fall no further, yet she’d become worse than disgraced, she’d become a shameful liar. Would he believe her? She continued, the words invented as she uttered them. “My maid came along and is over there, on the bench.” She waved a hand, thankful the bench was now fully hidden by the crowd moving forward.
“Alaina, I have thought of you often. And to see you here, I’m speechless. Are you…how was your voyage? How long have you been in Boston?”
She realized that he was as tongue-tied as she and just as shocked at their meeting. Somehow, she needed for him to leave her. Her prayer had been answered only for her to realize how futile it was. As soon as she’d spoken her brother’s name, only seconds before, she had regained her senses and her purpose. She could not involve Martin, not now. Phillip would return at any minute. She feared his reaction if she saw them talking. She had to complete her mission alone and deny her dreams.
A Blush® historical romance from Ellora’s Cave
Elaine is a veteran high school English teacher and teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She holds a BS in English Education from the University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University. Her published works include novels, poetry, non-fiction publications, and book reviews. Her first novel, Regal Reward, a Regency Historical published in 2007, and available in ebook and print was a finalist in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Her second Regency, A Convenient Pretense, is available as an ebook. Her newest novel, A Kiss of Promise will be released April 3rd, 2014, and is presently available for pre-order on Amazon and at Ellora’s Cave Publishing. Her affiliations consist of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers, and Charter Oak Romance Writers. Visit her website at www.elaineviolette.com
A Kiss of Promise available at Ellora’s Cave
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