Sunday, 30 September 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Six more sentences from ‘Changing the Future’. For those who have been following my previous excerpts, we’re now three chapters before the end. Lisa has just discovered that Paul was one of the scientists at the observation post on Mount Lakuda when it erupted. The room has swirled around her.
 
Millie pushed her head down towards her knees. “Take some deep breaths, Lisa.”
 
Lisa did so and gradually the dizziness receded.
 
“I told him go to hell,” she whispered as she lifted her head again.
 
“Here, drink this,” Millie said, offering a glass of water to her, but all Lisa could do was raise anguished eyes to her friend.
 
“The last time I saw him—the last thing I said to him—I told him to go to hell—and now this—oh, God—”
 
Blurb: Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
 
'Changing the Future' is available at $3.99 on Amazon
 
Many thanks for all your comments each week!
 
Read more 6 sentence excerpts from the other Six Sentence Sunday authors here.
 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Thursday Tour of NW England - V is for Victoria


I haven’t found any places in Lancashire beginning with ‘V’ so this week I’m looking at a different kind of V with some links between 'Victoria' and my adopted city of Manchester. Yes, I know Manchester is no longer (administrively) in Lancashire, but it was in Victorian times! By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, Manchester had become the centre of the Lancashire cotton industry. Its nickname was Cottonopolis and many of its present buildings date from the Victorian era when merchants, industrialists and bankers built imposing edifices in the city centre. So here are some of the places in Manchester that were named after Queen Victoria.

Victoria Park is a suburban area of Manchester, about two miles from the city centre. It was established in the 1830’s by an architect whose aim was to build a residential area with substantial houses for prosperous business and professional families. By 1850 about 50 houses had been built, and the area still has about 20 listed buildings dating from that time. One notable resident was the suffragette leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Mrs Gaskell, author of Cranford, also lived in this area at one time. Now many of the large houses have been converted into apartments, often for the use of the large student population at the nearby university.
 

The University of Manchester’s official title from 1880 until 2004 was ‘The Victoria University of Manchester’. It was founded in 1851 as Owens College, after John Owens, a textile manufacturer, left a bequest of £96,942 to establish a college. The original college was in the city centre, but by 1873 a new building had been constructed about two miles out of the city. In 1880 was granted a royal charter thus enabling the word ‘Victoria’ to be attached to its name. When it merged with the Institute of Science and Technology in 2004, it was renamed as the University of Manchester, so it has now lost its link to Victoria.
 

Manchester Victoria Station is situated to the north of the city centre, and serves destinations to the north and east. It was opened in 1844 and was named Victoria with the permission of the Queen. By the mid 40’s, six different railway companies were using the station and it was one of the largest passenger railway stations in Britain. It was enlarged in the first decade of the 20th centre, with a 160 yard long fa├žade. Inside the station there is still a large tile mural showing the routes of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company which operated most of the trains until 1923. There was also a long platform linking it to the adjacent Exchange Station. At 2,194 feet, it was the longest passenger platform in Europe.

The station has now been reduced in size, mainly due to the construction of the Manchester Arena, and its general fabric deteriorated. So much so that in 2009 it was identified as the worst station in the country! There have been various plans for refurbishment which have fallen through because the withdrawal of government funding, but a new project was announced in 2010 which hopefully will improve the place!
 

Victoria Baths, although named after Queen Victoria, are actually Edwardian, built in 1906 by the ‘Baths and Wash-houses Committee’ of Manchester Corporation. They were described as “the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the county” and provided extensive facilities for swimming. They also had many period decorative features – stained glass windows, terracotta tiles and marble floors.
When the city council decided to close the Baths in 1993, there was strong reaction from the local community, and a charitable trust was set up to preserve and restore them. Nothing was done for about 6 years, and the building started to fall into disrepair, until the charity received a large grant from English Heritage. The project is still ongoing.


All photos licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Next Big Thing


I’ve been tagged by the very talented Gilli Allan to answer 10 questions about my next release, which will be published in November. You can read about Gilli’s ‘Next Big Thing’ on her blog, Writer Cramped.
 
So here we go:

What is the working title of your book?
The working title was ‘A Nile Romance’ but I decided that was fairly boring. ‘Romance on the Nile’ was too reminiscent of Poirot and Agatha Christie, so I searched around for a different title. In the end, I decided on ‘Her Only Option’ as it represents the heartrending decision the heroine thinks she has to make to save the man she loves.
 
 
Where did the idea come from for the book?
From a Nile Cruise I took two years ago. As a historian by profession, I’d always been interested in Ancient Egypt. Twenty years ago, I visited Cairo, saw the Pyramids and went to the Egyptian Museum to see the treasures from Tutankhamen’s tomb. The one place I really wanted to visit was the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, so my visit to Egypt in October 2010 was the culmination of a long-held dream. The Valley exceeded all my expectations, especially the opportunity to go into Tutankhamen’s tomb, and some of the other Pharaohs’ tombs too.
 
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s primarily a romance, but has some suspenseful moments, and a mystery too.
 
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hugh Jackman would be perfect for my hero, Ross McAllister. In fact the scene where Ross appears at a Luxor party was inspired by Hugh, as the Drover, arriving in white dinner jacket at a charity ball in the movie ‘Australia’ – a definite ‘quick intake of breath' moment for every fan of Hugh.
 
I’m less sure about an actress to play Neve, my heroine. Maybe Joanne Froggatt who plays Anna in Downton Abbey.
 
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Can they discover whose enmity is driving them apart, before it’s too late?
 
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s being published by Whiskey Creek Press, a small independent publisher.
 
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About six months. I started it while I was in Egypt and wrote two chapters while we were staying for a week at a Luxor hotel after the cruise. When I got home, I abandoned it temporarily to complete another novel and came back to it a few months later. I submitted it just less than a year after my Nile Cruise.
 
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I have no idea! I tend not to compare books, but treat each on its own merits.
 
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The original inspiration was, as I’ve already said, my trip to Egypt, but the first ‘trigger’ came when I was on the sundeck of our cruise ship while it was moored at Aswan. The cruise ships are usually moored four abreast because there are so many of them. They’re all built to roughly the same design so all the sundecks are level with each other. Lying on a sunbed, I idly wondered if it would be possible to vault over the rails and across the short gap from one ship to another. Not that I had any intention of trying it, you understand!
 
But somewhere in my mind, a story was being conceived. Supposing the hero and heroine were on different cruise ships and the hero did that vaulting over the rails?
 
That evening, I put the question to one of the friends we had made on the cruise - “Ross, would it be possible to vault from one sundeck to another?” He walked across to the rail, studied the gap for a moment, then said, “Well, I wouldn’t try it now, but I could have done it easily when I was in my twenties or thirties.”
 
First piece of research completed - it was possible. And I could see my hero doing his death-defying leap (slight exaggeration!) to be with the heroine. In fact, this never actually happened in the finished book, but it was the moment when the story was first conceived.
 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The heroine is a cruise ship tour guide, and the hero is an archaeologist, and I hope readers will be interested in the Egyptian setting, especially the cruise up the Nile, the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and the Abu Simbel temples.
Oh, and there’s also a Nile boatman who sings Elvis songs! He ‘invented’ himself as a very minor character originally, and left me wondering ‘Where on earth did he come from?’ But I liked him so much, I decided to give him a bigger part to play in the story (or maybe he decided that?)

 
Next Wednesday, October 3rd, other writers will tell you about their ‘Next Big Thing’, including:
Celia Yeary   Lynette Sofras  Nancy Jardine

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Six more sentences from ‘Changing the Future’. For those who have been following my previous excerpts, we’re now three chapters before the end.

Paul is in Iceland, and Lisa has just heard about the eruption of Mount Lakuda. Now she’s watching the television in the college cafeteria, desperate for any news about him. A spokesperson from the Volcano Research Centre is being interviewed about the team who were at the observation post on the south flank of the volcano and has explained that contact was lost with them just after the eruption began.
 
“How many scientists are at the observation post?”
 
“Four.”
 
“Including the Director of the Research Centre, Kristjan Dagsson, I understand.”
 
“Yes, Dr. Dagsson joined the team earlier this week, together with Dr. Paul Hamilton who arrived here last Sunday.”
 
“Dear God, no.” The words slipped involuntarily from Lisa, and she swayed as the room swirled around her.
 
Blurb: Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
 
'Changing the Future' is available at $3.99 on Amazon
 
Many thanks for all your comments each week!
 
Read more 6 sentence excerpts from the other Six Sentence Sunday authors here.
 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday Tour of NW England - Unusual Placenames


There are not many places in Lancashire starting with the letter U (and none that I know personally), so instead I’ll look today at some ‘unusual’ place names and their meanings:

Bashall Eaves – the origin of this name is Old English, and comes from ‘becks-halgh’ meaning a hill by the brook. Eaves refers to the settlement being on the border of the forest (in this case the Forest of Bowland).

Chipping – there are several examples of this name in England, often with another name attached (e.g.Chipping Campden). The word comes from the Old English ‘ceapen’ meaning market. It was originally spelt ‘chepyng’. The village of Chipping in Lancashire was a thriving place during the Indistrial Revolution with 7 mills along the river. Now it's a picturesque village which has won several 'Best Kept Village' awards. Its Craft Centre holds the record for having been used as a shop for the longest continuous time in the UK, having been established in 1658 by a local woollen merchant.

Dolphinholme – nothing to do with the sea creatures, this comes from Scandinavian, possibly a Norseman called Tolfin. The word ‘holme’ means either an island in a river or lake, or low flat land near a river i.e. the River Wyre.

Foulridge – no, not offensive or smelly. It’s pronounce ‘Foal-Ridge’ which is actually its origin, as the word foal comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘fola’. It's situated on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, and barge trips along the canal take visitors into the mile-long Foulridge Tunnel.

Much Hoole – the Old England word ‘hulu’ means shed, and the village has been spelt as Hull and Hole in the past. It was referred to as Magna (great) Hole in 1212, and later as Grett Whollen.

Oswaldtwistle – pronounced ‘ozzel-twizzel’ and often shortened to ‘Ozzie’. Twistle refers to a place where two brooks meet, and there is a legend that St Oswald, king of Northumbria in the 7th century, passed through the area which was then named in his honour. Of course, it could equally be named after a local farmer in the area! Nowadays its main attraction is 'Ozzie Mills', a textle mill now converted to a craft centre which also has an exhibition about the life in the mill in the past.

Winewall – not a stack of alcohol, sadly. The name comes from Win-wall, and is thought to refer to an ancient entrenchment on the hill

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sunshine Blog Award


Today I received a ‘Sunshine Blog Award’ from my friend Erin O’Quinn, who writes great historical novels about Ireland, and also provides a wealth of knowledge about Ireland and all things Irish on her blog  - http://erinsromance.wordpress.com/
 
 
Now I have to answer 8 questions
 
1. What is your favourite Christmas/festive movie?
 
Not sure I have a favourite, but if pushed, I’d probably say ‘Scrooge’, the musical version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Albert Finney playing Scrooge. There are some great songs in it.
 
2. What is your favourite flower?
 
Daffodils, because they mean winter’s over and spring is coming
 
3. What is your favourite non-alcoholic beverage?
 
Diet coke - I think I'm addicted to the stuff!
 
4. What is your passion?
 
Er – writing? To qualify that, I really struggle with the first draft of a novel, but once that’s done, I’m away. I love the editing and polishing stage best.
 
5. What is your favourite time of year?
 
My answer to #2 has probably already told you – Spring. Winter’s over, the nights start getting lighter, the air smells fresher, and the flowers start growing again.
 
6. What is your favourite time of day?
 
Evening as that’s when I do my writing. I’m a night owl and always say my brain starts to come awake about 9pm!
 
7. What is your favourite physical activity?
 
Because of my arthritis, I can’t do very much physically these days. When I was younger and fitter, I used to love walking in England’s Lake District. Now I have to rely on my memory and my ‘inner vision’ to recall the wonderful views from the tops of the mountains and alongside the lakes.
 
8.What is your favourite vacation?
 
The best vacation I ever had was a Nile Cruise, two years ago, when I saw the ancient sites I’d always dreamed of seeing, especially the Valley of the Kings and the Abu Simbel temples. That cruise inspired my next novel ‘His Only Option’ which comes out in November.
 
Thanks so much for this Award, Erin – and here are my 8 nominees to receive it from me:
 
Rosemary Gemmell, Jennifer Wilck, Celia Yeary, Joanne Stewart, Nancy Jardine, Suzie Tullett, Glynis Smy and Gilli Allan

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Six more sentences from ‘Changing the Future’. For those who have been following my previous excerpts, I’m jumping ahead now to three chapters before the end.
 
After a blistering fight which ended all Lisa and Paul’s efforts at reconciliation, Paul has gone to Iceland. Lisa is in her room at college one morning when Ralph Glover calls her.
 
“Get yourself to a TV,” Ralph said.
 
“Why?”
 
“Mount Lakuda has erupted, it’s breaking news, and Paul’s over there”
 
“Yes, I know, he went to Iceland last
 
“Lisa, they’ve lost contact with the team at the observation post on Lakuda. I’m trying to find out just where Paul is.”
 
Blurb: Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
 
'Changing the Future' is available at $3.99 on Amazon
 
Many thanks for all your comments each week!
 
Read more 6 sentence excerpts from the other Six Sentence Sunday authors here.
 
 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Thursday Tour of NW England - Trawden

Trawden is a village in East Lancashire. In medieval times, the area of Trawden Forest belonged to the King, and only he and his retainers were allowed to hunt there.

There were probably scattered homesteads, and some area were converted to ‘vaccaries’ where the ordinary people were allowed to graze their cattle.

From the beginning of the 16th century, more clearings were made, and small hamlets started to form, with a few homes. Most people were agricultural labourers while others worked as trades such as blacksmiths or carpenters.

The big change came in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the labourers started to supplement their income with handloom weaving in their own homes. After the invention of spinning and weaving machines, cotton mills were built. More houses were needed for the mill workers, and the area between the hamlets was gradually filled by these houses.

Trawden had several mills, but most have now been demolished or converted into apartments.

My interest in Trawden stems from the fact that my mother’s maternal ancestors originated in this area. I’ve been able to trace them back to the 17th century, when William Waddington was born at Winewall (part of Trawden) in 1685. This was about a mile from where my grandmother, Lucy Waddington, was born just 200 years later. She worked in one of the cotton mills from the age of 12, as did all her siblings, and also many of her ancestors, who all lived in the Trawden area.
 

This was my grandmother’s home in the 1890’s, in one of the small houses built by mill owner for his workers. Two of her father’s brothers and his sister also lived in other houses in this terrace, most with 8 or 9 children each! The houses had two small rooms downstairs, and three upstairs (but no bathrooms, just an outbuilding at the back of the house)
 
And here, just to show how little the area has changed, is a postcard sent to my grandmother in 1937, followed by my own photo of the same road in 2001. The main difference is that the cotton mill on the 1937 photo has now been demolished.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Six more sentences from ‘Changing the Future’. At the end of the first week, Lisa and Paul are forced to meet again when a group of staff go to an Italian restaurant for lunch. It seemed to Lisa that Paul was making deliberate, although veiled, references to their past life together. Back at college, they have another brief spat and Lisa tells Paul she can’t think of the good times they had together, only the bad.
 
She caught a glimpse of Paul’s small shrug before she pushed open the door and took a deep breath of fresh air.
 
Was his shrug ironic, regretful or something else? She wasn’t sure. Thoughts whirled through her mind until she let out a brief frustrated sigh.
 
Why did she even care what he thought anymore? If he still believed she was involved with Ralph, it was his problem, not hers.
 
Blurb: Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
 
The latest 5 star review says:  If you're looking for an extremely well constructed, sweet, cosy read then Paula Martin delivers it well in Changing The Future
 
'Changing the Future' is available at $3.99 on Amazon
 
Read more 6 sentence excerpts from the other Six Sentence Sunday authors here.
 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Witches, a Ghost and a Bloodstain


Today's stop on my tour of NW England is Salmesbury, a small village in the Ribble Valley. It’s pronounced ‘Sarms-berry’ and the name comes from the Old English ‘sceamol’ meaning ledge, and ‘burh’ meaning fortification.
 
Those of you who remember my post about the Pendle witches may be interested to know that three Salmesbury women – Jane Southworth, Jennet Brierley and Ellen Brierley – were charged during the same series of trials in 1612 as the Pendle witches.. As with the Pendle women, it was a young girl who accused them of witchcraft. Grace Sowerbutts aged 14 said the Brierley women (her grandmother and aunt) were able to transform themselves into dogs which haunted her. She also said the women had taken her to the home of Thomas Walshman and his wife, and had stolen their baby in order to suck its blood. The baby died the following night, but Grace said the woman dug up its body and took it home. They then cooked and ate part of it, and used the rest to make an ointment which enable them to change into different shapes. Later Grace admitted the stories were not true, and the women were found not guilty of the charges of child murder and cannibalism.


 
Salmesbury Hall was owned by the Southworth Family, and is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Dorothy Southworth, known as the ‘White Lady’. In the 17th century, the Southworths were strong Roman Catholics, but Dorothy fell in love a young man from the Protestant de Hoghton family. The young lovers, although forbidden to meet, still met in secret and planned to elope. Dorothy’s brother discovered their plan, ambushed the young man and his two retainers, and killed them all. Dorothy was then sent to a convent abroad where she became insane due to her grief and soon died.
 
Her ghost has been seen around the house and also near to the spot where her lover was killed. Many visitors to the house have also heard the sound of weeping, and the rustle of long skirts in the galleries and corridors. There are even reports of motorists on the nearby main road stopping to pick up a lady in white – who then disappeared.
 
In the late 1800’s, three bodies were discovered when drains were being laid nearby – maybe the luckless young lover and his squires?
 
Another story about Salmesbury Hall concerns a priest who took refuge there when Catholic priests were being persecuted during Elizabeth I’s reign. He was hidden in a small, secret room known as a priest-hole, but unfortunately for him, he had been followed. Soldiers broke into the room and beheaded him on the spot. Legend has it that the floor was stained so badly with his blood that no-one was able to wash it way. The room was bricked up for 300 years, but when it was opened in 1898, the servants refused to go in until the floorboards were replaced. Even so, there are reports that the bloodstain continues to re-appear, even to this day!

Photo of Salmesbury Hall © Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Romancing the Hop - winner!


The winning comment on last weekend’s ‘Romancing the Hop’ bloghop came from Allyson. In response to my question about the most thrilling aspect of falling in love, she wrote:
 
The butterflies in your stomach when that person walks in the room...How you have each other’s complete attention...That first dance when everyone else in the room disappears...then it can be the simple things that let you know you care...
 
I loved this description!
 
There were many other excellent descriptions too. Anticipation figured highly, but here are some other descriptions:
 
- the whole romance of attraction - even with those seemingly out of our reach
- finding out about the other person. Kinda like unwrapping a nummy piece of chocolate
- the romantic tension, the lingering looks and tentative touches
- the tingling feeling and the feeling of complete and utter comfort
- discovering new things about each other and finding out new things you have in common
- the whole world looks different and you feel like a different person, too
- making a unique connection with another person
- it's like starting a new journey. everything is thrilling
- exploring all the differences that each person brings to the relationship
- the surprises
- the trust and respect built between the characters
- how just a look from them can make you blush, and how their touch can just set you off
- It's kind of like a feeling of being high
- being with that person makes everything all better. Like nothing can go wrong is his arms.
- the realization that they are "the one". That moment when it clicks that after waiting and looking for your other half, you've finally found them.
- all the feelings are new, intense and beautiful!
- the growing intimacy and chemistry {non sexual} between people.
- you get all tingly when you know you're gonna see him real soon
- that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you are about to see or talk to the person that you have fallen in love with.
- The yearning and all encompassing feeling for that person... magic
- the beginning when you first realize they like you too
- the knowing that you love them for who they are and they love you for the same
 
And last but not least:
The most thrilling aspect of falling in love has to be the "honeymoon" phase when reality hasn't hit and you're madly in love. Of course if you can last beyond that stage, then you can reap the rewards of a loving and committed relationship.
 
I do use a lot of these emotions in my contemporary romances. If we can bring all these things into our stories, we’ll keep everyone happy!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


If you’re visiting my ‘Romancing the Hop’ post, please scroll down to the end of this Six Sentence Sunday post or click here - although you can always read this post too, of course!
 
Thank you all again to all the Sunday Sixers for visiting my blog and leaving such encouraging comments for me!
 
Six more sentences from ‘Changing the Future’. At the end of the first week, Lisa and Paul are forced to meet again when a group of staff go to an Italian restaurant for lunch. It seemed to Lisa that Paul was making deliberate, although veiled, references to their past life together. Back at college, they have another brief spat.
 
As she turned towards the main door, his voice stopped her. “No references to the past then, Lisa? Not even the good times?”
 
She stopped, bit her lower lip hard as memories flooded through her, and then looked back at him. “I can only think of the bad times, Paul.”
 
She caught a glimpse of his small shrug before she pushed open the door and took a deep breath of fresh air.
 

Blurb: Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
 
'Changing the Future' is available at $3.99 on Amazon
 
Read more 6 sentence excerpts from the other Six Sentence Sunday authors here.
 
 
Or stop a while longer to read my 'Romancing the Hop' post below and leave a comment for a chance to win one of my novels. There are lots of other prizes from over 200 'hoppers', plus 3 Grand prizes!