Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Bride For the wicked Earl/ Linda Sole






‘Damn him to hell!’ Julian, newly created Earl of Larchester on his father’s death, swore softly as he heard the terms of the late earl’s will. ‘It’s where he deserves to burn for eternity for this.’

The young woman sitting just behind him, in the large drawing room, drew her breath sharply, causing Julian to turn and look at her, a mocking gaze in his cool blue eyes. He was a handsome devil, spoiled from birth by his doting mother and accustomed to having his own way, his dark hair softly waving back from a patrician forehead, his mouth deceptively soft and generous, but above all sensuous.

‘Don’t worry, Cressy,’ he drawled. ‘I have no intention of bowing to this iniquitous document. It cannot be legal. I am heir to Larchester and all that it entails, and even my father cannot stop me inheriting both the title and the estate.’

The elderly lawyer cleared his throat and looked uncomfortable as he peered over his gold-framed spectacles. ‘Forgive me, my lord,’ he said in a voice that trembled slightly. ‘The terms of your late father’s will apply to his personal fortune – and that he is at liberty to withhold if you refuse his last request.’

Julian scowled at the lawyer, his mouth becoming a thin line of anger. ‘How can this be? Are you telling me that all the money was his personal fortune? His fortune must have come from the estate. He has no right to withhold it from his heir.’

‘Forgive me, my lord,’ Mr Bartlet said. ‘I begged him to reconsider what he was doing but he would not. He said that you had defied him in life but would not do so in death. His money came from…I hate having to disclose this to you, my lord – but your father invested heavily in…textile mills in the north of the country, and that is where he made his money…’

‘He must have used money from the estate to begin the business and thus in law, the mills must form part of the estate…’

‘No, my lord. Your father more than repaid to the estate any money he may have used to set up his business empire – but he told me that it came from the prize money he received when he left the army after your grandfather’s death. As you may know, the estate was then on the brink of collapse; it was your father’s hard work that rescued it and due entirely to his efforts that you still have…’ Mr Bartlet’s words died on his lips as the new earl gave him a slaying look. ‘Forgive me. I know this is hard to accept, but you must marry within six months or your father’s personal fortune goes to his ward, Miss Cressida Harding.’

‘What if I refuse to accept it, or choose to give it to Julian?’ Cressy asked from behind him.

‘If you refuse the bequest it passes to a distant cousin of the late earl. You cannot pass the money to Lord Julian…unless you become his wife within the six months, of course.’

Julian cursed, stood up and moved to look out of the window. Without turning his head, he said, ‘That isn’t going to happen. Cressy wouldn’t have me – it would be a match made in hell for both of us. This is iniquitous!’ He turned to glare at the unfortunate lawyer. ‘Is there no way this can be broken, sir?’

‘I regret, none.’

‘Damn him to hell!’

Julian sent one of his father’s favourite Chinese porcelain vases smashing to the floor in his rage. How dare his father make such an outrageous will? They had quarrelled frequently in the years before Julian had left home to take up a life in the army. The late earl had cancelled his allowance, forcing him to manage on his pay as an officer and the competence left to him by his maternal grandfather. The late Lord Henry Larchester had vowed that he would bring his heir to heel, after Julian’s scandalous affair with the young wife of the late earl’s friend.

He could recall the mocking look in his father’s eyes the day they had parted.

‘You will be sorry for the disrespectful way you have behaved to me, Julian. Lord Brock was my oldest and dearest friend. You knew that – and yet you seduced his

Hope you enjoy this little taster. Love from Linda/Anne

Hi from Anne Herries and Linda Sole

Hi.  It is ages since I've been able to pop in to update you on my books.  I have been very busy writing under a new name.  I'm now doing mainstream sagas for Ebury.  My first is The Downstairs Maid/Rosie Clarke and will be published next years - others to follow.

On the Anne Herries front there is a new Regency Trilogy coming in December and following on in the new year.  The first is Drawn To Lord Ravenscar.  Then Protected by the Major and a third title later.

I have also written a Regeny novella - Regency Rakes/ A Bride For the wicked Earl/Linda Sole.

I am enjoying writint but have been very busy on the personal front as well, so sorry for not posting for a while.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Clothes and Desperate Remedies

As an author, my working wardrobe seems to consist mostly of comfortable clothes like tracksuit bottoms with T-shirts. It’s one of the perks of working from home and whenever I think back on my days as a secretary, I’m really grateful not to have to put on smart skirts and jackets every day. In the last few weeks I seem to have done a lot of dressing up though. Not just to go to parties or events, but also period costume and this weekend, a regional costume from Sweden. And actually, it’s been great fun!

It started with a request from the organiser of this year’s Festival of Romance (held in Bedford at the beginning of November). She wanted all the authors of historical novels to dress up in period costume for an evening of readings. At first, I was going to put on a kimono, since the heroine of my latest historical novel is half Japanese, but this was something I had already done previously so I began to think that perhaps it was time for something different.

I thought I’d try my hand at making a new costume and found someone who sold patterns of clothing from the 1640s (the era my book was set in). However, my sewing skills are limited at best and the more I looked at these patterns, the more I realised this was never going to happen, at least not in time for the Festival. Desperate measures were called for – I enlisted the help of a lovely seamstress who promised to do it for me.

The result was all I could have wished for and as I put on my costume I was very grateful I hadn’t attempted it on my own. I can’t say the outfit was flattering and the bodice was very tight and somewhat restricting, but I really felt like I had stepped back in time and could thoroughly empathise with my half-Japanese heroine who had to get used to English clothes instead of the lovely silk kimonos she’d always worn before.

Strangely enough, the Swedish regional costume I’ve been wearing this weekend for another event, is very similar to the historical one. The main difference is that the bodice is looser and the skirt a bit shorter. But I guess it goes to show that clothing for ordinary women in Europe didn’t really change all that much through the ages until the advent of factory made clothes. It was only the upper class ladies whose fashions varied dramatically.

From desperate measures to Desperate Remedies – the third of my Regency novellas is now available as an e-book (either alone or together with the previous two). Here is a short blurb:-

She would never forget the day her heart broke …

Lexie Holloway falls desperately in love with the devastatingly handsome Earl of Synley after a brief encounter at a ball. But Synley is already engaged to be married and scandal surrounds his unlikely match with the aging, but incredibly wealthy, Lady Catherine Downes.

Heartbroken, Lexie resolves to remain a spinster and allows circumstance to carry her far away from England to a new life in Italy. However, the dashing Earl is never far from her thoughts.

Years later, she returns home to find that much has changed – including the marital status of Synley. Whilst the once notorious Earl is a reformed character, the problems caused by his first marriage continue to plague him and it appears that his life may be in danger.

Can Lexie help Synley outwit those who wish to harm him and rekindle the flame ignited all those years ago, or will her associations with the Earl bring her nothing but trouble?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desperate-Remedies-Choc-Christina-Courtenay-ebook/dp/B00FF9V3JI/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385150283&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Regency-Collection-Christina-Courtenay-Choc-ebook/dp/B00GOA6FNQ/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385150283&sr=1-6

Christina x
www.christinacourtenay.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Face to Face With the Past

This isn't  about the Regency period, but I found it so fascinating that I thought you might like to share my experience of this amazing technique for bringing us face to face with people from the past.
Last week I spent the day at Manchester University on a study day with Professor John Prag and Richard Neve - the people who pioneered facial reconstruction as an archaeological tool in Britain. You have probably seen many of Richard Neve's reconstructions on TV archaeology shows and he was responsible for the reconstruction of the face of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, Lindow Man and even King Midas (or possibly his father!) The photo below is of three people buried in one of the circle shaft graves at Mycenae. There were several groups within the burial and no suitable material for DNA testing. However the facial likenesses were enough to allow grouping into families.



Before anyone reads further and is worried about any skulls in the photographs, they are all casts of original skulls which now can be produced by scanning the originals and then producing a plastic replica with 3D printing.

I was surprised that attempts at facial reconstruction go back to the late Victorian period, but apparently the First World War marked the end of work in this field and it was not picked up again until some Russian scientists tried it during the Cold War period, when information was not shared with the West.

In the early 1970s Manchester Unversity decided to unwrap one of the Egyptian mummies in its collection (coincidentally my father's dentist did the dental work on the mummy, the description of which did nothing to make my father's trips to the dentist less stressful!) and asked Richard Neve, a medical artist, to attempt to reconstruct the face. This was the start of the science in this country and the development of not only the techniques but also the vast database of measurements that enable the different layers of muscle, fat and skin to be acurately built up on faces of various ages.
Richard Neve described the process as dissection in reverse and explained how, although the reconstruction can never perfectly reproduce the face of the real person, it will, if done properly, be biometrically correct and it is this that has enabled identifications to be done of crime and accident victims, even though details, such as hair style and colour and eye colour, are not known.

He showed us the reconstruction of Philip of Macedon and then demonstrated that certain key measurements on the skull always show on the reconstructed face and how, in Philip's case, the resulting measurements on the head mesh uncannily well with the two contemporary images of Philip - a stone portrait head and a tiny ivory image. The photo on the right shows the bust of Philip with the cast of his skull behind. Both the skull and the reconstruction show the terrible scar where he lost his right eye to an arrow.


After the process and the science were explained and we saw images of past work we were introduced to some of the faces in wax, clay and resin: a spinge-tingling encounter! And finally Richard Neve worked on one half of a face so we could watch how he built up the structure from underlying tendons and muscles. We were grouped round, all of us prodding our own faces as we found for ourselves the underlying bone structures and distances that make the reconstructions possible. The tilt of the eyes, the presence or absence of a cleft in the chin, the width of the mouth and the spread of a nose are all there in the underlying bone. The only really difficult non-bony structure is the ear, apparently - no clues to size at all, although it is possible to tell whether they might have stuck out a lot.

Louise Allen
My latest novella - Seduced by Love - is available now to download from Amazon

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Autumn Rituals


Fall. Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...

It's obvious enough from the gorgeous turning leaves I see from my window, but I was reminded of the rituals of the season when a kind neighbour arrived at my door with a brace of pheasants. I live in the country and country folk still shoot. We follow other country customs too – my kind neighbour received a pot of home-made bullace (wild plum) jelly and a bag of apples from our trees in return for the birds.

In Regency times, hunting and shooting were almost a religion. Gentlemen rode and hunted and shot. They learned to shoot as soon as they were old enough to be trusted with a gun, and were usually taught by the gamekeeper, if their family was rich enough to own a country estate. Even smaller estates had shooting. We probably all remember Mrs Bennet inviting Mr Bingley to come and shoot on Mr Bennet's ground once he had shot all his own birds. And we probably laughed at Lizzie's cringing embarrassment as she listened to her mother fawning over him.


Reminiscences of keepers can be interesting. Their job was to guard the game from predators (animal) and poachers (human). We modern folk may have sympathy with both. The predators were only doing what came naturally, and many of the poachers were desperate to put food in their children's mouths. Poachers could receive very heavy sentences if they were caught, especially as the magistrate might well be one of the local landowners, keen to preserve his rights.

Predators, if caught, ended up dead and that included birds of prey like hawks and owls, and mammals like otters and stoats. There were often special rules for foxes, though, even though foxes could do huge amounts of damage to young game birds. Keepers were usually forbidden to shoot foxes – the "sacred" fox – because the foxes were to be kept as the quarry for fox-hunting, which started on the first Monday in November. Grouse shooting started on 12th August, the partridge season in September, and the pheasant season in October, so the gentlemen had plenty to keep them occupied through the autumn and into the winter.


Hunting foxes with dogs is illegal now, but in the Regency period it was practised wherever the countryside was suitable, and especially in Midland counties like Leicestershire. Many, perhaps most, gentlemen hunted. One exception was Beau Brummell who apparently would not ride for any distance with the hunt because the pristine tops of his riding boots might become muddy! And Oscar Wilde (not in our period but worth quoting) called it "the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable".

My pheasants – cooked with apples and sage from the garden, plus a good slug of vermouth – were delicious!

Joanna

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book signing at Lyme Park - Pemberley!


 

I had a wonderful weekend signing books at Lyme Park, the beautiful National Trust property used as Pemberley in the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. I'm still buzzing from the event. I arrived early on Saturday morning and was warmly welcomed by Anne, who took me in to a meeting so that I could say hello to everyone else working there that day. It takes a lot of people to keep a house as large as Lyme Park ticking over, even in the winter when the house is closed. Renovation work takes place, there are special exhibitions and events, and the restaurant and shop are also open, as well as the park.

After the meeting, I had time to look at the Pride and Prejudice exhibition. There are framed photos of cast members on the walls, with biographies. Lines from the novel are stencilled onto the walls, so that everywhere you look you're reminded of Pride and Prejudice. There's even a grid of character names, all linked by their relationships - wife, sister, betrothed etc - which was very attractive as well as a good reminder for anyone who can't remember exactly who is who.
But I didn't spend too long looking at the walls because I was eager to move through to the costume exhibition. It's very well laid out, with plenty of space between the costumes for people to mill about and take photos. Lizzy and Darcy's wedding outfits are on display, as well as their walking outfits. There are the Bingley sisters' ball gowns, one of Kitty's outfits (or possible Lydia's, I'll have to watch the DVD again to be sure :) ) and Mr Darcy's white shirt. Yes, THE shirt.


When I'd gazed longingly at the costumes - and, of course had some photos taken - I went through to the small wardrobe room where there are costumes for visitors to try on. There are children's outfits as well as outfits for men and women. I noticed a red coat for the men, but my eye was drawn to the gorgeous high-waisted dresses. I couldn't resist, I slipped one on and I loved it so much I wore it for the rest of the day! It had short sleeves and I thought I would freeze, but once I'd topped it with a cloak it was surprisingly warm. The cloak was velvet and it was lined, and it felt as warm as my usual outdoor coat.



Then I went through to the shop, where Paul and I chatted before customers started to arrive. I introduced myself and chatted about my books, and copies of Mr Darcy's Diary and Pride and Pyramids flew off the tables. People were buying Christmas presents or gifts for good friends and family members, or buying for themselves. I loved signing the books and I couldn't believe how busy I was. It was a fantastic day, and once I went home I had a chance to relive it all on facebook.


Best of all, I was going back again on Sunday to do it all again. This time, Paul had dressed up and looked fantastic in a high-collared shirt, waistcoat and cravat. He posed in a top hat, too. He has the most incredible eye for detail and real flair when it comes to display, as you can see from the photos. The suitcase, books, quill and top hat really set the scene on the display table and I love to see my books there.

But the real highlight is meeting people. I met one of my facebook friends, Jayne, and it was lovely to meet face to face after knowing each other online. She was there with her friend Carolyn and the three of us couldn't stop talking. And, last but not least, the giant Mr Darcy is walking out of the lake!


So, all in all, an incredible weekend. The exhibition is on until February, weekends only, and I highly recommend it. I will be signing books there again on December 14th and 15th and I'm already looking forward to it. There are details of forthcoming Pride and Prejudice events on the Lyme Park website, or download a flyer here
 


Amanda GrangePS One of my Regency romances, One Snowy Night (UK)  or One Snowy Night (US)   (originally published under the title Rebecca's Refusal) is in a Kindle countdown offer for 99p at the moment (Tuesday -but please check the price before buying as the offer ends soon)

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Lord Rivenhall Returns


'Lord Rivenhall Returns' is the first book I sold to DC Thompson way back in 2005 – they now have 16 of my books. They will not have any more because all my new books go directly onto Amazon; I couldn't do this if DC Thompson was going to publish the title. As I can also sell my new books to large print without them having been published by traditional publisher the necessity for publishing with DC Thomson has now been removed.
Lord Rivenhall began life as an exercise in a workshop at my first RNA conference in Leicester. This was a historical novel workshop run by Nicola Cornick. It has been published by Regency reads, My Weekly Pocket Novel, Linford Romance and now as an indie published book on Amazon.
Last year Amanda Grange told me about Amazon Kindle books and since then I have republished eleven Regency books and added two new titles. I will be putting up Lady Charlotte's Deception at the end of this month. Three years ago I was making more money from PLR and ALCS then I was from sales – now I am earning more than I did as a full-time teacher. Even though e-book sales have flattened, especially in the States, I still believe this is the way forward for any writer with a long backlist. Regency titles are especially popular at the moment.
Here is an extract from the first chapter:

Amelia, closely followed by Martha, hurried downstairs eager to discover the identity of the stranger. Foster was waiting to announce her. The library, the only other room where a fire was still lit every day, was at least warmer than the cavernous, marble tiled, entrance hall.
The butler opened the door and announced her. ‘Miss Rivenhall.’
The tall, dark haired man turned from his thoughtful contemplation of the fire. He bowed low. ‘Good morning, Miss Rivenhall. Thank you for receiving me. I have brought some information from your lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf. Perhaps you could oblige me with somewhere to change whilst you read them, for as you can see, I am somewhat damp.’
Amelia realized that he was, in fact, standing in an ever-growing pool of water. ‘Good heavens, of course you are. I shall have you taken upstairs immediately. Martha, could you ring for Higgs?’ The housekeeper bustled in, all anxious enquiry. ‘Good,’ Amelia said, hiding a smile. The woman must have been outside the door in order to have arrived so quickly. She was not the only one enjoying the unexpected break from tedium. ‘Could you show this gentleman to the Blue room? And please find him something suitable to wear whilst his own garments are being restored.’
The gentleman in question exuded good taste, and full pockets, from the cut of his dark blue, superfine topcoat to the superb fit of his buff inexpressibles and once shiny black Hessians. He bowed again. ‘Thank you, Miss Rivenhall, but that will not be necessary. My man, Peters, will bring up my boxes as soon as he has seen to the horses.’
Although rather surprised by this presumption Amelia returned his bow politely, with a nod of her head. ‘Higgs, please direct Peters to the Blue room, when he appears.’
‘Very well, Miss Amelia. Come this way, sir, if you please.’
The man picked up the package of papers that he had placed on the mantel shelf, and offered them to Amelia. ‘I am sure that these, Miss Rivenhall, will explain my unexpected arrival here.’ Automatically she reached out and took the proffered documents. ‘I shall rejoin you soon. Then we must talk.’ At this, the man strode after the departing housekeeper.
Amelia, her hand shaking, already suspected what would be amongst the legal papers she had been given. Inside she found several certificates and a letter from the family lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf.
The first document she looked at was a record of the marriage between, Edward Rivenhall and a Miss Mary Marshal. The second, a birth certificate for Richard Edward Rivenhall; from the date she realized it made him almost eight and twenty. The third, and final, document was the death certificate for Edward, dated scarcely three years after his marriage.
Amelia barely glanced at the letter of introduction from the lawyers. At last their worries were over. There would be money to pay the bills and life could return to normal. The privations of the past eighteen months, which had so damaged her mother’s delicate health, would soon be forgotten.
She gathered up the papers and rang the bell. Almost immediately the door opened, and Foster appeared, bristling with curiosity.
‘Foster, please take these documents up to Lady Rivenhall.’ She paused, enjoying for once, the opportunity to have more information than the butler. ‘Lord Rivenhall will be re-joining me here. I
would like luncheon served at noon in the small dining-room. Tell Cook that we would like soup, cold cuts, and the remainder of the game pie. Thank you, Foster, that will be all.’ She turned to Martha, beaming beside her. ‘This is wonderful news, is it not, Martha. You had better go to Lady Rivenhall for she will wish to come down to meet her nephew.’
The butler retreated clutching the papers and Amelia knew he would know their contents before her mother. His officious manner was a constant irritation to her, but his loyalty to the family could not be questioned. Martha, still smiling hurried after him.
The sound of footsteps approaching heralded the imminent arrival of her new relative. Quickly Amelia sat down, not wishing to appear too eager. The door swung open and her glance was drawn to the man who appeared to fill the entrance. For a second their eyes locked, and something, she did not understand passed between them.
He smiled and immediately looked less intimidating. His teeth gleamed white in his darkly tanned face. Remembering her manners, Amelia gestured to the large leather Chesterfield opposite her position by the fire.
‘Please be seated, my lord. We obviously have a lot to discuss.’
The fact that this time they were alone, unchaperoned, appeared to have escaped his attention. Rivenhall flicked aside the tail of his coat and sat down, relaxing instantly against the sofa, his long booted legs crossed casually at the ankles.

‘Miss Rivenhall, you have obviously read my papers and must know that I am your cousin, Richard.’ His voice was deep and attractive, his expression sincere.

Fenella J Miller

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The China House

I wanted to share this beautiful little building which I came across on a walk recently. It's called the China House and it is in the grounds of Beckett Park in Oxfordshire. Originally built in the 17th century by Inigo Jones, the China House is small but perfectly formed!. The pagoda-style overhanging roof gives a definite Chinese effect, which is also emphasised by the little white bridge at its side.

The China House was named in the Georgian period. The Barrington
family of Beckett Park housed their fine china collection there. It was also the place where the ladies took tea, inviting their guests for a walk in the park and tea in the China House afterwards. In the Georgian and Regency period the main road to Oxford passed by the China House and the ladies would apparently amuse themselves watching the carriages pass by!

The China House also has a balcony overhanging the lake so that whilst the ladies were taking tea, the
gentlemen could indulge in another popular Regency pastime, fishing. The building was much admired in the fashionable journals of the 19th century and described as "one of the greatest treasures in the way of garden architecture... set like a rare gem in the midst of flowers, with a background of dark yews."

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Lysander’s Lady: Removing the Heyerisms




My first Elizabeth Hawksley novel, Lysander’s Lady, (1994) was written on a typewriter – I had yet to be dragged into the computer age. It was literally cut and paste, not to mention a lot of Tippex. So when I began to think about e-books, my first job was to get my back list onto my computer, re-typing if necessary. Fortunately, most of them were already on the computer, even if some were on Amstrad floppy disks. I began working backwards.

Now, I’m back at the beginning with Lysander’s Lady, (1994). I started by re-reading it; I was worried that it might have become dated. The book had done quite well. It had been published in the UK by Robert Hale, and by St Martin’s Press in the USA. It had gone into large print both in the UK and the USA. And it had also been published in Poland as Guwernantka. However, re-reading it made me wince in places.

Yes, it was a lively romp, but, my goodness, how I’d head-hopped! And there were far too many overlong sentences. Take the opening sentence of Chapter 3 where the seventeen-year-old Lady Arabella is having a French lesson with her governess, Miss Lane:

Miss Lane, whose migraines were only equalled in severity by her determination to inculcate into her charge in the principles governing French grammar, arose from her bed of sickness and decided, once more, on a fresh start.

What a length! I could see, very clearly, how much I’d been influenced by Georgette Heyer. She went in for eighteenth-century Johnsonian prose, full of literary Latinate words like ‘inculcate’, and long, convoluted sentences. There was also more than a dollop of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with Miss Lane playing the part of Miss Prism, and Arabella (I hate French!) as the na├»ve Cecily Cardew who rebels against her ‘Horrid, horrid German!

I needed a second opinion; so I took the first four pages of Chapter 3 to the fortnightly meeting of the Islington Children’s Writers’ Group. The members are published writers of children’s books, ranging from picture books for the very young, to gritty teenage stories. My Regency romance offering was definitely not their normal thing!

For a start, it was much racier than they were used to: Lady Arabella storms out of her French lesson, and speeds off to an assignation in the woods with farmer’s son, Josh – where things get decidedly out of hand. The group, to my amusement, reacted to this scene with hysterical giggles. But they were also very helpful. That first sentence had to go, or at least be pruned severely. They also had useful comments on how the reader views Arabella: is she a monster or just a minx? And they didn’t like the head-hopping which is an absolute no-no for children’s books.

But they certainly wanted to know what happens next! So now I’m typing the book out, editing as I go. It is taking its time - I have to earn a living, after all - but it is much improved. Once it’s done, all my back-list will be on the computer, edited and ready to go.
  
Wish me luck.

Elizabeth Hawksley

Sunday, November 03, 2013

SIDE EFFECTS OF A CREATIVE MIND




We have had a lovely summer here in the UK but winter is on its way now, so are you looking forward to it, or dreading it?  Are you an optimist or a pessimist? A "glass half-full" or "glass half-empty" type?  

 For me it varies, but much as I love the winter weather, I am …. cautious, because I can see so many potentially  horrendous results of a tiny little action.  I believe this is one of the side effects of having a creative brain that is always thinking of "what if…."  Very necessary for me as a writer, because many of my "what if" moments turn into full-blown novels, but sometimes the creative side gets carried away.



For example, with  the icy weather in prospect I shall soon have to be thinking of finding my ice-grips to put over my walking boots when I take the dog out for his exercise. (Yes, that is me in the photos!) Some people love the snow and ice and bound around, skiing, snow-boarding and generally enjoying themselves.  I am more cautious, watching every footstep and trying to keep my balance.   The eager optimists will say "just enjoy it, after all, what's the worst that can happen? You can fall over.'









Yes, well, that's their opinion, but my creative mind goes much further than that. Yes, I could fall over. I could break an ankle, or a leg, my mobile phone might not work because the signal on the hills is intermittent, so I could be lying there for hours… days… perhaps even in a blizzard.  And when (or if) I am rescued the leg could be infected, perhaps need to be amputated  -  you see what I mean about getting carried away! 




But that's the way my writer's brain works, always thinking up scenarios. If you write crime or horror, then the scenarios must be even more bleak, but perhaps they are kept firmly under control! Fortunately, the "what if" scenes for my books are the optimistic kind and have my characters finding a happy-ever-after ending (although not until they have struggled sufficiently to deserve their happiness, of course). Let others carry on with their daring exploits and adventurous life-styles, I am definitely not one of life's action heroes – I prefer to let my characters enjoy adventures while I stay safe and warm at my desk.


So let's go back to my "what if" scene of falling over in the snow. It could be very different.  I could fall down and hurt my ankle, and be found by a handsome hunk who carries me back to his nearby cottage and wraps me in a huge fluffy bath sheet while my wet clothes are drying, and we sit before the roaring fire enjoying hot chocolate and marsh-mallows…..
Now isn't that a much nicer image? It makes me quite excited about the coming winter!


So am I alone in this? Do you have "what if" moments that prevent you from doing things? Or is it the opposite and the "what if" positively encourages you to go ahead and take a chance?  I'd love to know!








MELINDA HAMMOND / SARAH MALLORY
BOUGHT FOR REVENGE – pub Harlequin August 2013