Roll Up, Roll up! Courting the Countess Freebie

Greyfriars Bobby - a capital landmark

Greyfriars Bobby – a capital landmark

Publishers Endeavour are offering my Scottish Regency COURTING THE COUNTESS as a free download between 10th and 14th October.

‘I finished it a couple of days ago after reading it greedily fast, and feel bereft!’ From the five star review by Mrs K Brock.

Is romance, a twisted fairy tale and murderous mayhem your kind of read? Then look no further – and Courting the Countess is FREE for Five Days.

And maybe, just asking, maybe you’d like to leave a review, too? Please.


UK      US      DE    CA  AU

Diary of a Writer – October Prompt

Sea Lions, Chile

Sea Lions, Chile

Last month’s prompt was a path bordered by lush green gunnera. It was relatively peaceful, although one or two of you found sinister thoughts along the disappearing pathway and into the hidden areas beyond.

I took October’s prompt, above, while on a botanical trip to Chile. It was perhaps my favourite outing of the whole expedition and the island in the picture is part of the reason.

It’s an island – and like JM Barrie, I’m mildly fascinated by them.

It’s covered in sea lions.

The scene is full of life and energy. The sea lions fought an ongoing struggle to get out of the boiling waters among the rocks and onto the island. It was mesmerising to watch.

Sorry you have to take my word for the sea lions. My camera isn’t strong enough to show them in detail, but they are there.

How does the prompt affect you? Care to share any piece with us?

September Round Robin – do you have eccentric writing practices – Pardon?

What writing practices do you have that you think are eccentric or at least never mentioned, but you find helpful? – is the theme or topic for September’s Round Robin post.


If they’re our practices will we be aware that they’re eccentric? If we are, do we keep quiet about them lest others think we’re eccentric – or because we sense an unfair advantage?

100_5920So, Tunnock’s Tea-cakes are the secret eccentricity around here. But – maybe not so eccentric as they’ve been around, if not here exactly, but in Scotland anyway, for  nigh on 60 years. They are a much enjoyed tea-time delicacy, school snack, lunch treat, anytime…


And how do they constitute an eccentricity in writing terms? Well, when it’s going well, they’re a wee reward. when it’s going okay, they’re a sugar rush to the head. When it’s going badly – well there are worse things to do than eat a teacake – or two.

Maybe I was supposed to tell you about long-hand drafts or my portable type-writer; the folders of tourist information brought back from trips abroad and never again consulted, but I know they’re there if needed; the xxxx dotted through MSS so I can find the places in need of corroboration or checking; the frantic ‘find and replace’ searches in final edits so that the heroine’s hair and eye colour is the same throughout.


My fellow Round Robin friends may have more curiosities for your delectation. They can be consulted by clicking on the links below. In the meantime, I’ll unwrap a teacake, designed by Boyd Tunnock for the family firm in Uddingston in 1956.

Courting the Countess





Skye Taylor
A.J. Maguire
Beverley Bateman
Dr. Bob Rich
Rachael Kosinski
Anne Stenhouse
Connie Vines
Helena Fairfax
Victoria Chatham
Margaret Fieland
Rhobin Courtright

Diary of a Writer – Something completely different

A Traveller's Life-part-1Diary of a Writer reflects the diversity of things written. Last week I had the pleasure of sharing the publication of Courting the Countess with you all and hot on its heels is a new departure for me – a magazine serial: opening in the People’s Friend edition dated 17th September.

A Traveller’s Life began its life as I Joined the Shows and was my entry in last year’s People’s Friend serial writing competition. I hadn’t written to instalments before and found the experience both interesting and instructive.

Writing a synopsis is my least favourite favourite writing task, but it was endlessly useful when it came to writing three instalments. Most importantly, it showed me I had too much story.

Writing the serial did involve much that was familiar. Not least seeing that all the characters had one name and only one name (thanks Ed) throughout, research into what actually happened and not what I remembered as happening in the 1960s. And the normal characterisation, dialogue and narrative of creating a fictional world as well.

I love the illustration at the head of this post. The talented artist is Kirk Houston.

Hope you all have happy memories of rolling pennies down slides or trying to avoid winning a goldfish in favour of a coconut. And what about the candy floss?

The magazine are describing it as a taut family drama. I think so.




It’s such a pleasure to introduce my latest book to you all.

COURTING THE COUNTESS from Endeavour Press went up on amazon platforms this morning.

Courting the Countess is my take on the Beauty and The Beast myth and features Melissa, Lady Pateley who has lost her beauty in a fire. She has become an object of desire, however, for many unscrupulous men who would marry her and use her wealth. Falling back on loyal servants and her own innate strength, Melissa responds to Colonel Harry Gunn, a retired army doctor. Can he, handsome and charismatic, persuade Melissa life will be worth living again? Can he overcome his own uncertainties along the way?

Courting the Countess is available here for UK buyers and here for US.

Diary of a Writer – September Prompt



Diary of a Writer there’s no easy explanation of why a picture touches a nerve, causes a shiver of recognition or repels. As soon as I reached this path with its deep green borders of  gunnera, I knew I’d use it at some point.

The picture encapsulates that day’s visit in mid summer mist.

This picture perfectly addresses so many of the questions in the writer’s tool box. Who’s waiting? Why are they waiting. How long have they been waiting? What will the narrator find?

Gunnera is native to South America – plant hunter’s story?

Will it inspire something for you? Come back and tell us.

Inverewe Garden

Round Robin August – Coming Soon – Courting the Countess

Really exciting news this month because I can also tell you about a new book in the production process. You’ll have to check back for the cover Reveal and publication date, but meantime, TA RA………………………………………………………….

COURTING THE COUNTESS will be my 4th published full-length romance when it comes out from Endeavour. It’s the story of a young woman whose beauty has been lost in a fire. As such, Courting the Countess, is a most appropriate study for this month’s round robin feature: What mental, physical or spiritual wounds or scars have you used in your stories?

Courting the Countess began life as an entry for the Elizabeth Goudge Award competition when the then RNA Chair, Christina Courtney, asked for a novel opening based on a fairy-tale.

WHAT IF, I thought, the Beauty was the man and the Beast was the girl?

Easy enough to create a physical illness or disability for one of the characters, but what implications does the loss of beauty have for a person? Lots, I would say and thereby was my story found.

Injuries and pain bring with them a loss of confidence and zest for life. Can my hero restore her? What spiritual wounds might he be living with that help or hinder him in this task? There have to be some, I think, in a well-rounded novel or the light and shade is compromised.

Courting the Countess, like my other books also has a lot of fun, dry wit and period detail – 1819, Scottish Regency, Edinburgh. As a writer I don’t believe in whacking the reader with mental, physical or spiritual burden all the way through. Life is a kaleidoscope, but the heroines of any romance need a fair bit of angst to work through and show their characters to best advantage.

If this subject interests you, then please head along to one of my blogging friends, below:

Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Rachael Kosinski
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
A.J. Maguire
Fiona McGier
Rhobin Courtright

Anne’s on twitter @anne_stenhouse


Buy my books here: Amazon Author Page


August is Review a Book Month

Rosie Amber wrote a great post here explaining why reviews are important to writers and why you don’t need to have literary qualifications to write them.

After the Night Before

I’m Shy

Picking up the theme Terry Tyler wrote this blog here carrying the theme forward and posting some lovely reviews and covers folk have been inspired to make as a result of Rose’s original initiative.

It’s NOT about seeking views for one’s own books, so I won’t post my links. You can find them easily enough, but if there’s someone else’s book you read and thought, I think people would like that story, then Please, Please – go for it.

Diary of a Writer – reaping a few rewards

100_5920Reaping a few Rewards is rather nice.

I entered a caption competition put up by my publishers, MuseItUp last week on facebook and won a free e-book from their bookshop. I’ve chosen Comedy of Terrors by Graeme Smith. A treat to look forward to when it wings across.

People’s Friend cleared my short serial for publication. So, while the going was favourable, I submitted a short story which they have also bought. Don’t have final titles for either of these yet, but will keep you up-to-date.

Ulverscroft, the wonderful large print imprint, have just bought world large print rights in Daisy’s Dilemma. So there will be a short library run. New cover, of course, but here’s Charlie’s in the meantime.Daisys Dilemmal 333x500Buy my books here

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Diary of a Writer – Storing the Research Materials

Book Sale books

Book Sale books


I never allow visitors into my study because I know exactly where everything is. Apparently, I have a visual memory (tested by a training programme at work) and if something is moved – it’s lost. Also it’s a tip (ie not suitable for visiting). Elsewhere in the house my husband shelves books by type (travel, etc) and fiction by alphabet. So in the rest of the house, other people have a fighting chance of locating a Dickens novel should they want one.

My study also contains a lot of research material and much of that was bought at the Christian Aid book sale pictured above. As I wrote a play about JM Barrie, I was able to source almost all his works and several biographies there. As I now write Scottish Regency novels (look out for the next coming soon-ish), I’ve bought many Scottish source books. I have made an attempt to shelve them by General Scottish and Edinburgh. Even so, they cover two bookcases and two shelving units with a few on the floor, the desk or behind the printer.

Is this the most efficient way to recover that tiny fact holding up chapter ten? Maybe not, but it works for me because I do in fact visualise. Firstly I see the fact and whether it’s on the right hand or left hand page. Then I see whether the book in question was hand sized, A5 or coffee table. Then I see its colour. Oops! I have a very shaky colour memory and have to hope I’ve found the volume before that becomes an issue.

There’s also that muscle memory thing – you know where you can go on doing things long after you’ve essentially stopped that activity. We used to have a large bookcase outside our bedroom. It’s been gone over 20 years. I still find myself studying the wallpaper there wondering where a copy of such and such has gone.


So, how do you store your paper books?

My kindle has been teasing me recently. I’ve been building up an electronic collection of both Georgette Heyer and Ann Cleeves. Recently I was scrolling through and discovered how separated they become because of that operational thing whereby your last read book rises to the top of the ‘library’. I think, with a little time, I could group the already read ones. But, and it’s a big but, how does one keep that up-to date? Answers please. Then I might have the defence that although the study is a muddle, the kindle is a model of perfection.

Anne on Amazon Author Page

Daisy’s Dilemma Kobo