Daisys Dilemmal 333x500


Daisy’s Dilemma amazon UK – US – AU – CA

Kobo – Omnilit – MuseItUp


RNA – 60th Anniversary – Scottish Chapter

Romantic Novelists’ Association, Scottish Chapter

Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February, the Scottish Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association is hosting an event on Facebook to mark our contribution to the year long celebrations of this wonderful organisation.

The event is here

I warmly invite you to pop over and read the book extracts and a few wee personal details of their authors. I think you’ll find many of us began our publishing careers after submitting work through the unique New Writers’ Scheme of the RNA.

My Mariah’s Marriage was the fifth book I wrote in that scheme. Courting the Countess is my most recent e-published novel and there’s also Daisy’s Dilemma..

Mariah’s Marriage, Daisy’s Dilemma and Courting the Countess are also available in Ulverscroft, Linford Romance Library, editions.


Diary of a Writer – February Writing Prompt – Romance Reading Month

Throughout February as part of the special events planned to mark its 60th Anniversary year, the Romantic Novelists’ Association is celebrating the joy of reading romance.

 Romance Reading Month – The RNA is launching its first Romance Reading Month during February. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Fall in love with a love story:

Love Your Library week (1 – 7 Feb)

Make a date with a book on Valentine’s Day.

As a grand finale of Romance Reading Month Leap Into A Love Story Day on the 29th. Why not get together with other romance lovers and talk about books on the 29th?

The picture above was taken when I was a member of the RNA committee. I’d graduated from their New Writers’ Scheme to being a published writer and was ‘paying back’ a little for all that help. The RNA  is a truly supportive organisation and has been for 60 years.

Next Saturday and Sunday, the Scottish chapter of the RNA will be hosting an online Facebook event featuring some of the great members who live up here and allowing you, our wonderful readers, the chance to read an extract from some of our work. The link is here.

How is this a writing prompt? Well, it’s some time since I wrote a full length romance and seeing the picture above reminds me of the thrill of having work out there. Sleeves rolled up and fingers poised above the keyboard…

MARIAH’S MARRIAGE, DAISY’S DILEMMA and COURTING THE COUNTESS are all available in the library.

COURTING THE COUNTESS can also be bought here for your kindle.

Kelly Lacey is hosting a month long celebration of the RNA on her blog, Love Books Group. Kelly will feature a different romance author on all 29 days of February and kicks off with former RNA Chair, Christina Courtney. You can find Kelly’s blog here .

It’s going to be an exciting year. I’ll keep you updated.


Round Robin – January – Changes

How can contemporary fiction cope with the rapid changes of today’s world?

January’s question in the UK could hardly be more pertinent. As a writer of romance, I am grounded in its favourite tropes. Take ‘rags-to-riches’: think Cinderella.

Fast forward to 21st century and many publishing houses will welcome a rags-to-riches story with delight. Look at real life where, for example, two beautiful young women married into the House of Windsor. Neither were in rags, but both were commoners and they both got their prince.

And now the trope may have to have a twist because, for the younger prince at least, the Happy ending of the romance turned out to be a ‘Happy for Now’ ending. Apparently, he can’t have both the woman and the job. He’s chosen the woman.

In terms of romantic tropes, there have been other seismic shifts in recent years. The ‘Me-too’ movement has caused a lot of re-assessment. I find it particularly difficult to navigate as I like to write historic fiction. Is it acceptable any longer to write your story as you know it would have played out (from the many written sources available to us)? Do you have to create each new hero as a person with today’s sensibilities?

If we look at the theme in the scientific and technological fields, then there’s other coping to be done, too. My colleagues who write romantic suspense or straightforward detective fiction, can be heard muttering about mobile phones. How often can you have your heroine out of reception or battery charge, or both? Does DNA analysis remove all doubt over guilt? Well, no, as it turns out. Secondary transfer can creat doubt – at least enough for a competent lawyer to work with.

Personally, I think writers are about character and character is always there for us to describe, to use, to exploit. Regardless of how they do it, or did it, there will always be people whose will prevails and there will always be natural victims. There will always be people with minds open to persuasion and those whose minds are shut like a clam.

The writer does have to watch out for the detail. If it was possible to ask a female candidate whether she expected to have children in a 1950s job interview, it isn’t in today’s world. But then, detail always was the Devil.

Other views on this topic can be found by clicking on the links below.



Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1OK
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Anne Stenhouse  https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

Round Robin – December 2019 – and Last, but Not Least, a wee Christmassy Tale


“What do you mean? You’re not coming for Christmas.” Jess knew she was shrill. She knew it wasn’t cool to let her brother hear the need, but she was unable to stop herself. “I’ve ordered fillet steaks.”

“Look, Jess, I can’t…”

“Don’t you enjoy having Christmas with me? We hardly see each other for the rest of the year, but we always make Christmas.” She choked back a sob and heard Simon’s long intake of breath. It was just as well because it stopped her saying how they’d promised Mum they’d always look out for each other.

“We have done, but this year, I want to do something different. I’ve volunteered with a youth charity. I’m going to be in a yurt in Speyside,” Simon said in the matter of fact way he had when he’d rehearsed all the arguments and reached his decision. Jess remembered the tone well. He’d used it the night they put their dad out of the family home and advised him not to return.

“Really?” she asked. Where had this come from, she wondered. “You’re  a corporate lawyer not a social worker.”

“Very funny, not. I was hoping to let you know with a bit more time for you to do something different for yourself, but the firm sent me off to Delhi and with all the admin involved in that, I’m afraid I let it slip. My bad, Jess. Sorry.”

“Sorry,” she parroted, “Sorry. It’s Sunday night and my office is closed for two weeks, but you’re sorry. Well, that’s all right then. Conscience clear.”

“Don’t do this. I am sorry, but I’ve made the arrangements and there are people relying on me,” he said.

“I was relying on you and I thought you were relying on me, too.” Jess knew it was a mistake, but she couldn’t stem the flow.

“Enough, Jess. You’re an adult with a good job, a roof over your head and the gumption to get organised. I don’t need this emotional blackmail every year. Enjoy your break. I’ll be in touch in the New Year.”

Jess looked at the phone in her hand in bewilderment. Her brother had hung up. She tossed it onto the settee and sank to her knees in the rug. There was no point in phoning back. In this mood he’d block her calls until the New Year, and she really couldn’t cope with the reality of that.

When the central heating clicked on, Jess stared around her living room. Nothing had changed of course, but she hoped its familiarity might provide some comfort. Her legs ached and her back felt it might seize if she didn’t get up. Just as she reached her full height, the doorbell chimed.

Simon, she thought, he’s changed his mind and come over to tell me himself. She went into the hall and across to the intercom where the light was flashing. With shaky fingers, she threw the switch.

“Hullo, Jess, it’s Will here. Can I come up, please?”

“Will”, she said and Will, she thought. Will, who had a thing for her and was undeterred by her refusal of coffees, walks on Sundays, films and requests to sit in when his bridge group was short of a fourth. Will was here, today. “Why are you dressed like that?”

She watched Will on the tiny screen and saw his bewildered glance as it looked down over the chef’s tunic and stripey trousers he was wearing. Another corporate lawyer who’d taken up a secret life?

“Oh this.” She saw the hand wave around in the air as it so often did when she fixed her gaze on him. “Look, can I come up. I need to ask you something, please.”

Jess buzzed him in. Whatever it was, she’d get rid of him as soon as and return to whatever she was doing when he arrived. She caught sight of her tear-stained appearance and grabbed her bag to drag a comb hastily through her hair. The blotchy eyes would have to be unexplained. What she was doing when he arrived wasn’t clear in her mind. Simon wasn’t coming for Christmas.

“Thanks, Jess. Thank you so much,” Will blurted as he half-fell, half-loped into her hallway. “Look, it’s urgent. I volunteer at Crisis sometimes because getting back to Orkney has its probs, you know, weather…”

“Fog, you said last year,” Jess said and flushed a bright red to add to her blotches. Simon had suggested they could have asked Will to join them when he couldn’t get home to the islands, but she’d been horrified and refused.

“Yes, fog last year. This year my mum and my aunt are with me, but although Crisis starts tomorrow, the kitchen is offering a meal today, so I’m still able to offer them a shift.” He took a deep breath. “Sorry, I’ve been running and I’m not fit. Look, the team is three folk short because a car coming in from West Lothian has broken down. They will get into Edinburgh on a bus, but eventually. We need people to serve the food now. Could you possibly? It’s just round the corner.”

Jess stared at him in confusion. Could she go and serve food to a hall full of people she’d never met before. Moreover, the sort of people who needed charity at Christmas.

“Yes,” she heard herself say. “I could do that. Simon phoned. He’s delayed.”

Will looked as if he was about to say something else, but he changed his mind and smiled.

“Is this okay?” She waved a hand over her sweater and jeans. “Should I change?”

“Really, there’s no time. You look fine,” Will said and she heard the relief in his voice.

Jess sank into bed eight hours later and stared at the ceiling where lights from the street swirled around and made patterns in the dark. A bit like my head, she thought, as she tried to bring some order to the myriad impressions her afternoon had brought.

Bert, whose wife put him out three years ago because of his gambling. Davey whose stepdad put him out two weeks ago because he couldn’t cope with another male in the house. Tracey whose family moved away without telling her where.

Was her own father spending Christmas in a Crisis shelter somewhere, she wondered. Putting him out had seemed like the only solution when they did it. Now, she pondered. Just as sleep claimed her, she knew she’d need to try to find him. Mum was gone and he couldn’t hurt her any more.

Christmas Day broke slowly, and Arthur’s Seat was all but hidden in the fog until lunchtime. Jess went to the morning service in the local church where she was invited to stay on for coffee and mincemeat tarts. Will and two elderly ladies bore down on her as she sipped the hot liquid.

“Jess, my mum, Christina, and my aunty Meg. Happy Christmas,” Will said and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

“Happy Christmas,” she replied shyly.

“I was telling Mum and Aunty Meg how you stepped in yesterday. It was so good of you, Jess,” Will said, and Jess smiled again.

“Do you know, I think it’s made this year the best Christmas I’ve ever had,” she said.

“Really? Well, that’s quite a claim,” Will said.

“Simon phoned earlier. He’s helping a youth group in Speyside, he says.” She laughed. “I think there might be a lady, though.”

Will blushed and Jess realised he’d known. They weren’t in the same legal firm, but it was a comparatively small world.

“Now, Jess,” Mrs Stout was saying, “I do hope we can persuade you to have your denner with us.”

“Aye, indeed, lass,” Aunty Meg added. “There’s too much of this individualism stuff around in my opinion.”

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly,” Jess spluttered. “When there’s only three of you, there won’t be spare to accommodate an extra.”

“Don’t believe it,” Will said. “I laid in everything they have in Orkney and they brought down everything they would have had in Orkney.”

“Can’t be too careful,” Mrs Stout said. “We know where the animals have been.”

“Aye, indeed,” said Aunty Meg. “Grass-fed beef, cream and butter…”

“It’s not a farming commercial we need, Aunty Meg.” Will turned to Jess as his aunt choked a little on her coffee. “Please, Jess. After all your hard work yesterday, it would be my pleasure.”

She nodded. Just at that moment, words failed.


copyright Something Different Anne Stenhouse

Crisis Charity

Courting the Countess

I hope you enjoyed my little story and it may have whetted your appetite for some more quality fiction. Other Robins writing for you this year:

Connie Vines  http://mizging.blogspot.com

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1Ng
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

A Capital Collection and a capital Christmas Tree

Creel Christmas Tree, Ullapool

I’m beginning to feel the Christmas Season is underway and I thought I’d re-post this pic from Ullapool as they’re having the wonderful tree made from fishing creels again this year.

On the writing front, I contributed a short story to the Mayfield Salisbury day of storytelling to mark the 150th anniversary of CrossReach. CrossReach is the social responsibility arm of the Church of Scotland and does so much with people in difficult circumstances.

Capital Writers have produced a collection including the CrossReach stories. Published for kindle this week, you can get a copy here Capital Collection.

What’s special about your own tree?, if you have one. I have a treasured collection of tree decorations. I might share some pics later.


Diary of a Writer – December writing prompt

The Laundry

I’ve posted this picture before. It’s already inspired a story I wrote for the Writelink site. Looking at it today, I can feel a chill and I can smell the caustic chemicals necessary at the time this laundry was state of the art. Why am I selecting it now?

Two weeks ago my washing machine finally gave up the struggle. It had been showing signs of turning its taps off for a wee while, but ever one to soldier on, I kept nursing it along. After all, it had seen me through football strips and gym kits, Mum-in-law’s skin irritation, countless back from holiday washes and so much more. Through a period approachng twenty-five years, it had been there for me.

Come the day, it would not come on.

So what will this picture inspire today? The fruitlessness of hope over expectation? The warm glow of knowing there’s a ‘new toy’ to play with?

Will it be connections? New domestic circumstances – new writing goals? Poetry? Drama? A short story? An essay (there’s plenty going on to make one want to philosophise). Maybe just the letters for my Christmas Cards.

Do you keep on keeping on? Or are you an avowed ‘out with the old in with the new’ sort?


Diary of a Writer – November prompt – Pocket Novels

Writing is really about re-writing. Perseverance will pay off as the headings from three other authors show. I thought I’d include Melissa’s story to remind self I have done it before – written and then re-written a novel. So my prompt this month is a very personal one.

The very best of good wishes to all those setting off this month on the annual NaNoWriMo challenge https://www.nanowrimo.org/

I have done it once and made the target with 50,000 words of Bella’s Betrothal. So, I know of what I speak. It ain’t easy.

Courting the Countess



Judges needed for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards



Urgent appeal for new judges for the Romantic Novel Awards


If you know anyone who loves reading books with a (sometimes quite broad) romantic theme or you can help by sharing this on your own page, I’d be eternally grateful!

Judges must be able to access books in ebook/digital format and be willing to read a variety of romantic genres, including romantic suspense, sagas, historical, romantic comedies, shorter novels and contemporary romantic fiction. Full RNA members are not eligible to judge.

Please email me at ronaawards@romanticnovelistsassociation.org for further details.

Many thanks in advance

This was posted by organiser Celia Anderson on her FB page

Surprise Price Reduction

Courting the Countess was on offer from Endeavour Media at 99p Now available for £2.99

Lady Melissa Pateley is not having an easy time of it.

Her beloved husband Neville has died, and a fire at her London home has left her covered in scars.

If it wasn’t for a band of loyal servants, she’s not sure how she would survive.

Things take a turn for the worse when one day, Colonel Harry Gunn and his fellow soldier Zed break into her home, bundle her into a coach and kidnap her.

She is at a loss until she learns that Harry Gunn is the cousin of George Gunn, a man who has been stalking her for years, and that Harry’s Uncle John had warned him that as long as George is out there, Melissa is not safe.

Uncle John insists that Harry finds Melissa and keeps her safe.

But that very night George shows up at Harry’s home with Harry’s sister Lottie, who thinks Melissa and George would make a good match.

Perhaps Melissa would have been safer at home after all.

Yet even with her scars, she is certain that the handsome Colonel Gunn is attracted to her.

But of course, nothing is ever simple.

Startling revelations rip the family apart, causing everyone to question what they once held dear.

As Colonel Gunn goes in search of George and the truth, he has to wonder – had the keeping of secrets not marred more lives than the secrets would have destroyed?

Round Robin – Plotting

Rhobin’s topic for September is about plotting. She wonders what, in designing our plots, we rely on most: personal experience, imagination or research.

This is a really difficult question to answer because its list of choices belies the delicate meshing of these three aspects of writing. They intertwine in a seamless fashion in my practice.

INMAGINATION – probably takes the lead, if I have to choose, because if you weren’t imagining, how would you progress to story? Say you’re on the bus and have to listen to a drunk setting the world to rights, by their way of thinking. It’ll be garbled non-sense, but it will have grains of their experience buried in the damaged psyche. So my writer’s brain is already at work. Did he say his mother had no time for him because she was an actress? Did she say her father had no time for her because she was female? On and on, over and over till the essence of story is distilled. That probably leads on to:

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE – so, discounting the inciting incident, be it drunk on bus, toddler having tantrum, stray deer in garden, I will consider what my wider experience of life can bring to the fledgling idea. In particular, I am influenced by place. Ocasionally, I experience a wash of feeling that alerts me to a theme long buried in my subconscious. I can only compare it to the hormonal reactions we all have when confronted by some circumstances. There’s a story here and it wants/needs to break free. This scene in the nether regions of a country house underpinned quite a few stories:

The Laundry

I can almost smell bleach just looking at it now. And that brings me rather neatly to:

RESEARCH – because memory is notoriously faulty, research is needed. I write historical romance, but I do not make up the history. I write contemporary magazine fiction, but I don’t know everything about anything, really. One of the things I find about research, particularly when working in the historical genre, is that often I don’t know what I need to know when I start writing. I will have read a lot around and in the area, studied maps of the time, looked at fashion plates, but there comes that moment of uncertainty. When were scissors invented? What year was the window tax?

Another thought provoking topic from Rhobin. Thank you Ma’am. Other writers give their take and you can read them from the links below.

Capital Writers will have a bit of news shortly. Come back soon to find it out.


Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1IK
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne Stenhouse  https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com