Monday, 29 July 2013

Blog Award

With many thanks to the lovely Maggi Andersen for nominating me for this Blog Award
For those I nominate in turn - I promise not to ask you to compile seven formerly unknown things about you and your mother-in-law. Nor shall I ask you to reveal to the world your most embarrassing moment - This one is easy and invites you to visit a list of wonderful writing and author blogs you may never have seen before.

Post the logo on your blog
Thank the person who nominated you
Choose 10-12 other ladies who blog, as your nominees
Post the links to the nominees' blogs and notify them  on their blog
Here are my nominees in alphabetical order

Friday, 26 July 2013

Where Are All The Good Books?

During a recent conversation with an author friend, she said her publisher is 'having difficulties with distribution', i.e. they are unable to get her new title into High Street bookstores. This seems to be a prevalent problem with authors who have secured print publishing deals whose book doesn't go anywhere because it's only available online.

I used to love spending time in bookshops and knew exactly where to find the titles that appealed to me,  the historical fiction section was located in its own alcove with a conveniently placed armchair - In the larger ones I could even buy a cup of coffee and happily browse - Bliss

I visited a major bookshop this week, one of the two large chains which have survived the publishing revolution. The historical fiction, contemporary fiction, so-called 'womens' books' teen, paranormal, chic lit and crime novels are all lumped together under 'Fiction A-Z'  Locating titles likely to appeal to me became a chore in itself, not to mention a pain in the neck [literally] from all that bending.  Science Fiction still has it's own section but then perhaps that is as it should be?

No quiet corner with a comfy chair away from the draught nowadays. Only Books Labelled:

Bestselling Author: Their umpteenth title to meet contractual requirements so the formula had become stale four books back.
Fan Fiction - spinoffs of Jane Austen [hundreds of them!] From 'Mr Darcy's Secret Brother,' to 'Recipes From The Parsonage Kitchen of Charlotte Collins'
Paranormal Teen Fiction - Teenagers screwing vampires [oh perleaze!]
TV Chefs and their fifteenth book '1000 Ways With Root Vegetables'
Celebrity Biographies - 'The Trials of My Life by Second Bandboy on the Left aged 19!'
Celebrity Coffee Table Books:  These are given the most prominent displays where photographs of TV and film celebrities grin at you and their eyes follow you round the shop. All ghostwritten of course.
Actors Turned Author Chic Lit novels which get taken up by one of the 'Big Five' having bypassed the slush pile completely and promoted on TV no matter how banal the plot or unbelievable the characters.

What happened to the epic stories with memorable, proud and flawed heroes and beautiful but slightly selfish heroines you still warm to, all set in good yarns to get your teeth into?

They are still there, just. Stacked in piles on the 'Buy Two Get One Free' bargain tables inside the door.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Anyone With Me On The White Queen?

Edward IV and Elizabeth at Reading Abbey 1464
As a rule, I avoid TV dramas taken from historical novels as the author, and then the producers tend to mess around with the facts too much for me - The Tudors being a case in point. Maybe it's because a scene might linger in my memory and I'll take it for truth instead of an invention of the scriptwriter for dramatic purposes.

I didn't intend to watch The White Queen, mentally writing it off as another of the same, but after the first episode, I have to admit I am hooked.

Perhaps I am blogging this because there have been so many detractors on FB amongst the writing fraternity who have declared it as giving a completely incorrect view of the late fifteenth century - even down to
lambasting the use of a zipper on a dress by history purists - well don't forget the cameras filming the whole thing!

Edward IV Marries Lady Elizabeth Grey

History aside, and there is plenty of accurate history in amongst the dramatic scenes, taking the series as a fact-based drama, I think it's quite impressive.  The characteristion of the three women, Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville may not be completely accurate - and maybe the York boys weren't so good looking and healthy, but they all make great TV.

Not being a medieval buff, I only have a hazy background of the Wars of the Roses - other than it went on for a long time, the machinations of the different factions is fascinating and has driven me back to the history books to discover more. 

It's beautifully filmed without being unrealistically glossy, and Ms Gregory's intention regarding her recent interview on the series, of showing the three women as the major players behind the throne, is excellently done. I loved the cleverly filmed witchcraft aspects. No cauldrons or chanting, but subtle knowing looks and silent whistling - magic as it should be. It didn't make me think Jaquetta and Elizabeth were sorceresses - but a bit of wishful thinking never hurt!

Photos from BBC

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Book Launch-Maid of Oaklands Manor

I am delighted to feature a novel being launched today which I am reading at the moment - and loving it!
Terri Nixon's debut novel published by Piatkus gives Downton Abbey a run for it's money, and as she explains on her blog, she thought of it first so Julian Fellowes must be following her!
I have also reviewed it at The Historical Novel Review Blog today as well 



1912: A chance meeting between scullery maid Lizzy Parker and heiress Evie Creswell leads to more than an enduring friendship, and a new job for Lizzy; it draws her into a world of privilege and intrigue, and delivers her into the loving arms of a killer.

When Lizzy meets Jack Carlisle, a charismatic friend of the Creswell family, she finds herself drawn to him despite the rumour that he had been involved in the death of Evie's father. She senses her feelings are reciprocated, but as she finds herself pulled deeper into the dangerous world Jack inhabits she must decide if he can be trusted with the life of a friend and, ultimately, if he is worth the risk to her own.

Mini Bio: 

Terri was born in the ancient maritime city of Plymouth, England in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to a small village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.
She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts at Plymouth University, where she is constantly amazed by the number of students who don’t possess pens. 

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