Friday, 3 February 2017

The Rake And His Honour

   This is the story of Arnaut, the second brother in the Montailhac family 
    and of his brave companion, Louise.


Together they travel between France and England, not always avoiding Napoleon's elite spies but determined to succeed in their mission.

                          to buy:

Street in Saint Lizier in the Pyrenees

Hartwell House, residence of the French king in exile, Louis XVIII

Image result for French king's fleur de lys

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Olivia's new home

On arriving in ConstantinopleOlivia and her companion, Miss Neston, inspect the house her brother has rented for them. 

The ladies were pleased to find that their new home was a handsome, stone built villa near the top of the hill and with a view of the sea. 

Olivia flitted back from the balcony. 'I like this house,' she declared, 'The view over the city and across the water is delightful. It’s splendid to be living in one continent and looking out at another one, do you not agree, Nessie?' She surveyed the room and nodded briskly. 'All we need is carpets, a few hangings and some ornaments.' 

The view over the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait from the hilltop in Galata where Olivia stays.

Image result for the bosphorus strait constantinople

Another view of the busy Strait

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

An adventurous Regency lady


Constantinople 1811

Not a promising start to the relationship between the diplomat and the artist.....
'It would be very easy, Olivia,' he insisted, his eyes flashing as she kept shaking her head. 'No servant would hesitate if I gave the order to have you tied in a sack and thrown in the Bosphorus.'
            At this she leapt to her feet. 'You are disgusting!' she shouted, 'I can hardly believe you're human when you talk like that. You take me away by force and plan to use me for your entertainment with no respect for my wishes or my reputation.'
            He rose in one fluid movement and stood over her. 'You have no reputation.'
                   ...and it soon gets much more complicated

The reviews for my story are very encouraging and I'm delighted to share some of them

By lesley whitfield on 21 Jan. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this book and, although it was after midnight, I simply couldn't put it
down until I had reached the end. Beautifully written with such detail of what took place at the time.
The descriptions were just right of the characters, enough but not too much. I love to have some
freedom to add my own thoughts on the characters. This was well researched and well written,
hence the 5 star I have given it. An insight into the troubles at the times, with romance thrown in,
as well as danger.

By Birdseye on 22 Jan. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Olivia is a wonderful character. She is delightfully independent. She knows exactly what she wants
and what she needs and has the courage to get it. She is also so real, so strong. It was like following
a friend that I admired through her adventures.

By evelyn on 20 Jan. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

a book with actual story telling as well as humour for a change

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Fire and Ice. Can they ever mix?

A new Regency tales adventure.

             Set in Constantinople in 1811, SCANDALOUS LADY   is the story of a top ranking, ice-cold diplomat who encounters a fiery, rebellious artist  and thereafter, nothing goes to plan - for either of them!
Published by Endeavour Press               
Experience the city together with Olivia as she discovers the exotic mix of past and present, east and west in Constantinople, the " city of the world's desire ". 
                                                             Related image

                                     Dusk on the Golden Horn, 1845 - Ivan Aivazovsky

The Ciragan Palace, summer residence of the Sultan and his court. 

A narghile, a water pipe. In the coffeehouse she visits, Olivia takes only one puff but Lady Hester Stanhope is constantly smoking hers.

Image result for amadeo preziosi
Turkish Café -Picture by Amadeo Preziosi

Image result for Turkish food

The bewildering variety of food   [picture by TooIstanbul]

Historical Turkish male and female costumes. Ottoman Empire clothing    and of costume....
[Picture courtesy of world4eu]

The splendid goods such as carpets

and jewellery

     Transport - on land

     -and on water

[Transport pictures by Giovanni Brindisi, 1845]

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Interview with Regency Author, Beth Elliott by Lynette Rees

Interview with Regency Author, Beth Elliott

Hello, Beth, welcome to my blog. 
Hello Lynette. Thank you for inviting me. It’s lovely to have a chat.
You write Regency Romance and have recently had a book published by Endeavour Press called, ‘April and May’, could you tell readers a little about your book?april-and-may
Four years earlier Tom and Rose met and fell in love but both families disapproved and they were parted. They meet again in Constantinople. Circumstances force them to work together on a secret project. Rose now has a new admirer, handsome Kerim Pasha, the Sultan’s chief minister. Back in London, Tom and Kerim Pasha carry out their secret mission, with threats of violence never far away. Both wish to win Rose but it takes her a long time to understand her own feelings.
Is this your first book? Do you have any plans to write and publish any other books?
I’ve written six stories set in the Regency period. April and May has just been published as an e-book by Endeavour Press. It’s my first story using Constantinople [now Istanbul] as a setting, although the plot moves to London later on.
My next story, Scandalous Lady, is set entirely in Constantinople. That’s the story of an ice cold diplomat who meets a rebellious artist and thereafter, nothing goes to plan.
Who was your favourite character in ‘April and May’? And why?
I love all my main characters – no favourites, although I do have a soft spot for Sebastian. There’s a plot all ready for him to have his own story soon.
Is there any sort of theme throughout your book?
Very simply: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Did you learn anything from writing the story?
In terms of crafting the story there’s always more to learn. I feel pleased with some of my scenes but conveying character, events and setting while keeping the story flowing is a never-ending process.
Where do you usually write?
I have a small study [very untidy with books and papers in heaps] and prefer to write on the desktop, then edit on printed out pages. It gets messy!
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever written?
When I stay with my long time French friend, she puts me in her study to write while she carries on with her endless DIY. [She has an enormous old farmhouse]. Every now and then she sticks her head round the door and asks ‘Are you writing?’ As she’s always holding either a hammer, an electric screwdriver or a saw, you bet I’m writing. It’s like that cartoon on Facebook where the stick figure with the gun says ‘Just write the damned novel’.
Tell me a little about your writing day…
I’m a night owl. In the day I may do research but the actual writing starts about 9pm and goes on until I run out of ideas or the characters get stroppy. They normally cooperate until at least midnight.
Do you have any writing advice for would be authors?
Writing is not easy but don’t get discouraged. Never throw anything you have written away. In a few days you’ll find something in there that is worth developing.
Which authors have you been influenced by?
I always loved tales of long ago and far away. As a child, Robert Louis Stevenson’s stories fired my imagination, and in a completely different vein I enjoyed Jane Austen. Then I sneaked my mother’s Georgette Heyer stories. I also like Louise Allen, Nicola Cornick and Loretta Chase. Then there’s Mary Balogh and Diane Gaston and, again showing an inclination for travel and adventure, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe stories – after watching the delectable Sean Bean in the TV films of them.
Can you tell readers something about yourself that would either amuse/interest/or surprise them?
I studied French and Italian [in England] and went to teach at a university in France. There I met my Turkish husband. He had also studied French and Italian [ in Turkey]; so we had two languages in common but then we both had to learn each other’s own language to speak to the members of our families.
If you could be anything other than an author, what would that something be?
An archaeologist. It involves history, travel and breathless excitement when you discover unexpected items from so long ago. You’ll notice there’s a whole family of archaeologists in April and May.
Finally, can you tell readers where they can find your books and where they can find your website/social media links online?
The best way to find my books is via my website
There’s a link there to my Amazon page as well as to Endeavour Press
I have a Blog called Regency tales – It’s mostly a well illustrated scrapbook of research for my stories, with a few interviews and travel notes.
I’m also on Facebook as Beth Elliott and on Twitter as @BethElliott.
Thanks for answering my questions and good luck with your new book! 
Thanks to you for the invitation. Your questions have made me think hard.  And in my grandmother’s language I’ll end by saying Diolch yn Fawr Iawn to you, Lynette.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The splendid Palace of Schools, Coimbra.

From 1544 the University of Coimbra has been situated in the Royal Palace of the Alaçova,
 at the very top of the hill in the city of Coimbra. The splendid setting has enhanced the  sense of identity and tradition in this very special place of study.
The vast courtyard of the university, looking towards the main entrance to what
 was originally the Throne Room of the palace.

The Grand Staircase leading to the Latin Way

The crowning glory of this impressive site is the Joanine Library. This was built in 1724 and is a marvel of Baroque architecture. It houses 30,000 books as well as thousands of manuscripts.

 The decor is highly ornate with red, green and gold everywhere. To protect
the books from damage by insects, especially moths, a colony of bats is allowed to live in
the library.

                               File:Biblioteca Joanina.jpg
The ground floor stacks and credenzas
Photo: By Trishhhh - Flickr: DSC_5156, CC BY 2.0,

The upper stacks
Photo By Ernesto von Rückert [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Historical author Lynette Rees is my guest

Multi-published author Lynette Rees writes stories set in her native South Wales.

Hello and welcome, Lynette. 

You’ve just published another novel. Could you tell us something about it?

Yes. My latest novel is called, The Workhouse Waif. It’s the story of a young girl called Megan Hopkins, who has to enter the workhouse with other family members after her father dies. Once inside, the family are all divided which is difficult for Megan to cope with, but even so, she tries to keep an eye on the youngest members. Cook, at the workhouse, sometimes sends Megan out to the town on errands for her. One day, Megan passes The Temperance Hall, where she hears the most beautiful, melodious voice, she has ever heard in her life. Little does she know she will soon encounter the lady who has ‘the voice of an angel’. Their paths are about to cross and what happens next is pure magic.

What led you to write about this theme?

I have a strong interest in local history. It all began around twenty years ago when I had to help the children with school projects which involved some research about this historic town of ours – Merthyr Tydfil. I enjoyed the projects so much, I found myself reading more into the history of the town, borrowing books from the library and taking photographs. St. Tydfil’s Union Workhouse is a building I’ve always been familiar with. When it closed as a workhouse, it later reopened as a local hospital. I was even born there! In later years, I worked for various organisations which held meetings there and even once worked there as a young nurse many moons ago! It’s a building I’ve often thought about over the years.

 What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The editing and revision. It’s not my favourite part of the writing process to be honest, but a necessary evil I have to accept! I think part of my dislike for this part of the process is because I’m so keen to see my work in print, my impatience if you like!

 And what was the most enjoyable part?

I think the most enjoyable part for me is always the first draft. It’s then I allow my imagination to run free. Although I researched thoroughly for this book, I’m a very character-led author in that the characters themselves dictate the story. I rarely plot all that much.

 You’ve already published a series of stories set in Wales at the turn of the last century. What motivated you to write about this period?

The series you mention is called, ‘The Seasons of Change’. I wrote about that particular time period from 1865 onwards because it tied in with some of my own family history. I discovered that I was a descendant from a wealthy family from Merthyr Tydfil – The Harmans. Many converted to Mormonism. They preached on the streets in this town and got stoned for their efforts, but still their faith remained strong. I was particularly inspired by William Harman’s story. He was a pioneer Mormon who left Merthyr to travel to his ‘Zion’ – Great Salt Lake in America. A wealthy uncle who was childless, offered to leave him all his money in his will, even though there were several other nephews who should have been benefactors, but William said, “No. I choose Zion and my faith.” Well words to that effect, so the other nephews eventually received all the wealth instead.

William left behind a wife and son in Wales. His wife would not convert to the faith. He remarried a Welsh widow in Utah and went on to have more children. He helped build the Mormon Tabernacle Church in Great Salt Lake (as it was known back then) and had a good living out there.

The man I’m directly descended from, Lewis Harman, my 3 x great grandfather, forged a very different path. He was a coal miner who was excommunicated from the religion for drunkenness. I often wonder if that hadn’t happened, would I be a Mormon myself today? Or maybe I wouldn’t even exist!

Also, as well as the family history which forms part of the story (fictionalised), there was a big (real life) accident in the village of Abercanaid where I live, in 1865—a pit explosion killed 34 men and boys. It happened just before Christmas that year, which got me thinking, what would Christmas have been like for the villagers that year?

And so, Black Diamonds was born. There are another 3 books in this saga series: White Roses, Blue Skies and Red Poppies. And who knows, I might even write another!

 What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Before beginning a book of this nature, I tend to read up on things beforehand, look at old photographs, maybe even visit the library, examine old maps and building locations, etc., then I write and research as I go along.

 How do you choose names for your characters?

I’m very fussy about character names, they have to suit the character themselves. Sometimes, I even change a name by the time it gets to the final draft if I think it’s not strong enough. One of my favourite characters in Black Diamonds is a gossipy Irish lady called, Maggie Shanklin. She’s my favourite all-time character in any of my books! I thought the name of Maggie sounded a bit Irish and maybe I came up with Shanklin from the Shanklin Road in Ireland, who knows, but I thought it fitted her character well! Although the Shanklin Road is in Northern Ireland and I see Maggie as being Southern Irish.

Another character in this book is an Amercian man called, Cooper Haines. I have no idea why I choose the name other than to me, the name Cooper seemed American to me. It seems to fit his personality well too and I could imagine him speaking in an American drawl.

You also write contemporary novels. What kind of subject inspires you in this genre?

Now that’s an interesting question! I’ve got ideas from my contemporary novels from all sorts of places! For example, I came up with the idea for the plot of ‘The Honey Trap’ after reading a newspaper article about honeytrappers! Those women who set up cheating men for their partners to see whether they will take the bait or not!

Other places I get ideas from are countries/places I’ve visited, even conversations, plotlines in soap operas [yes, I sometimes steal an initial idea and make it my own, but the story is always a different one!]

 If you could go somewhere for a few months to write, where in the world would you go?

I think I’d like somewhere rural like Southern Ireland as I’ve never been there or stay in a Wooden cabin in Scandinavia. I have been to Sweden and loved it there but that was years ago!

 Which authors do you choose to read for pleasure?

One of my favourite authors at the moment is Dilly Court. Though this year via a reading group, I’ve also enjoyed the works of some new authors like, Nadine Dorries and L. J. Ross.

 What do you do when the inspiration falters?

Take a break from writing. I always think this recharges my batteries and then the writing flows freely again, rather like turning off a tap and turning it back on again.

How do you make time for writing?

Well if it means switching off the television, then I do so. So many people make excuses when it comes to writing, but over the years I’ve written just about anywhere and everywhere, on planes, buses, cars, doctors’ waiting rooms, cafes, etc. I’ll always make the time somehow.
What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

I use Twitter and Facebook a lot as well as my blog -- which automatically posts to several social media accounts at the same time. I also find talking about my books at online forums and in real life at book signings etc., helps tremendously.
 What projects are you working on at present?

I’m just finishing off writing a crime fiction novel. Yes, I write that too, under the name of Lyn Harman. Then I plan to write another historical fiction novel about the match girl strike of 1888.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep going, you’ll get there in the end!

 How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I must be getting faster! My last book, The Workhouse Waif, from first draft to publication, took just two months which has to be a record for me! Sometimes it takes six months or longer!

Thank you for interviewing me, Beth. I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions. 

Thank you for sharing your writing ideas and methods with us, Lynette.


Lynette Rees on Twitter