Bella’s Betrothal a few buy links

Bella's Betrothal

Bella’s Betrothal

Bella’s Betrothal is available from my lovely publishers, MuseItUp here:

From Amazon:
UK here:
US here:
Also in Canada, Australia and elsewhere folks, but I can’t access the links.

From Barnes and Noble here:

From smashwords here:

I hope those of you who enjoyed Mariah’s Marriage will find this one as entertaining and those of you who are new to my writing will enjoy. The book only really exists when you the readers have read.


Marie Laval discusses Place as Character


Thank you so much Anne for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about the setting of my second historical romance, The Lion’s Embrace, which is published by MuseitUp Publishing.

Where is the Lion’s Embrace set?

The novel is set in Algeria in 1845 and takes my heroine Harriet Montague and my hero Lucas Saintclair on a journey from Algiers to the magical Hoggar mountain range and Tamanrasset in the far South of the country.

Have you been there or anywhere similar?

I always dreamt of travelling to Algeria, where my mother was born and brought up. The stories about her childhood were so wonderful and vivid they captured my imagination, and I often felt I had actually been there myself, gazed at the Mediterranean sea speckled with sunlight or felt on my skin the hot, red Saharan dust swirling in the Sirocco wind.

What aspects of the place excited your writer’s mind?

Everything! I was particularly attracted to the natural beauty and mystery of many of the locations Harriet and Lucas stopped at, such as the lush Saharan oases and the incredibly beautiful Hoggar mountains. I also love the architecture of palaces in the Algiers Kasbah, with their carved doors, intricate mosaics and secret gardens, and that of the ksars, fortified villages of the Sahara.

I must also mention the rich history of the country and its people. From the rock art, which depicts a Sahara teeming with wildlife and people in the Neolithic period, to the tales of the Garamantes’ lost kingdom and the tomb of legendary Tuareg Queen Tin Hinan near Abalessa, the setting just lends itself to endless romantic adventures. It was very hard for me to choose.

Does the place act as an unnamed character in your book?

Definitely. The landscapes and the climate play a crucial part in the novel, not only because of the emotions they arouse in the characters and the way they shape the events, but also because of the legends they have inspired over the centuries.

The Lion's Embrace

The Lion’s Embrace

For example, the Tuaregs have many beautiful tales, poems and music inspired by their natural environment. In the old days, the telling of traditional stories was very important, and every tribe had a ‘bag of tales’ which contained a handful of stones, each representing a particular story. When his people gathered around the campfire in the evenings, the tribe’s story teller would pull a stone out the bag and know straight away which story it related to…

‘The Lion’s Embrace’ is available from Also from And

You can find me at

Bella’s Betrothal Publication Day And so to Bed

annes pictures 2012 2A 105

Bella’s Betrothal features a heroine who is of her time. She’s aristocratic, but curious outside her social circle. She’s gently raised, but a fearless rider. She’s respectful of her elders, but not overwhelmed by them. She’s aware of the constraints that govern her life, but willing to push the boundaries.

I hope in Bella, I’ve created an attractive character many of you will enjoy getting to know. Her story has a strong erotic undertone, but it’s not the eroticism of naughty words and even naughtier garments. It’s the eroticism of patience.

And so, to bed? Or…

Launch day has been lots of fun and I’ve loved welcoming you on here and on Facebook. Come again, stay awhile, leave your calling card. For now though, it’s ‘Goodnight. Sleep well.’

Publication Day Bella’s Betrothal The Dress

early 2012 087

Queen Victoria and her daughters are credited with the adoption of white for wedding dresses. Bella Wormsley marries before Victoria, but I did allow her a lovely white gown. It was, in the story, created as the central triumph of her winter wardrobe and decorated with Scottish freshwater pearls. I’ve been to several weddings in recent years and the girls have all looked lovely.
My mum wore a beautiful pink suit. I wore champagne coloured silk organza. Several friends have opted for colour rather than white.
When I was visiting the south of England, I came across a museum to the actress, Ellen Terry, Smallhythe Place. They had this dress displayed there:

Copy Lady Macbeth costume

Copy Lady Macbeth costume

It was made by a student and she used false finger-nails to create the effect of the falling ovals. The picture at the head of the post is of the original costume. It used beetles’ wings.

What did you wear to marry in? A bikini? A suit? A uniform?

Remember you might win a copy of Bella’s Betrothal.

Bella’s Betrothal Publication Day The Hope Chest

Hand Embroidered Whitework

Hand Embroidered Whitework

How many of us sat around the fire embroidering linens like these before our marriages?
The Hope chest or Bottom Drawer used to be a major feature in the life of an unmarried girl as she approached marriageable age. It would contain household linens, but also much of the bride’s adult wardrobe. this became known as her trousseau.
My bottom drawer contained several sets of mugs and glasses. The former won in a raffle at the village hall and the latter collected from garage forecourt promotions. As I didn’t drive until after I was married, this is an enduring mystery.
I was also given my mum’s jelly pan and that has been a treasured possession – and much used. I think my husband would find life diminished if he didn’t have some home-made marmalade to start the day.


Bella would have had the benefit of many attics to rifle through in order to supplement her list of wedding gifts. Although having looked in ours when the offspring moved out, I have to say that not everything looks too good to throw away after ‘keeping it for seven years’ as one thought when it went into storage.

Today, of course, many couples will have lived in their own flat and quite likely lived together, so the need for a long wedding-list of basic items such as bed linen, crockery and cutlery, is much reduced.

What did you have in your Hope Chest when you married? What was the weirdest wedding gift you received?

Leave a comment to be considered for the free copy of Bella’s Betrothal going to one commenter.

Publication Day Wedding Cake

Elspeth's cake

Bella’s Betrothal is set in Edinburgh of 1826 so I’m not exactly sure whether the company would have enjoyed the kind of meal now expected. In her wonderful book about walking Jane Austen’s London, historical novelist Louise Allen shows a print of the Wren spire of St Bride’s church. She quotes the legend that its elaborate tiers inspired Georgian pastry cook, Mr. Rich, to create the tiered wedding cakes we are familiar with.
There were not yet photographs so the traditional album picture of the bride and groom cutting a wonderful three-tier confection wasn’t an issue. However, I like fruit cake and when I asked my friend to send me a picture of one of the fabulous cakes she makes for brides in 2013, she readily obliged and you see it at the head of this post.
Make yourself a cup of coffee and just savour the delight.

I’m sorry it’s virtual cake, but at least that’s calorie free.

If you need a cake, or tablet, or one of many other confectionery items look in on Elspeth’s website here:

or on Facebook here:

Did you have a wedding cake? I made my own but had it professionally iced.

Leave a comment to be considered for a free copy of Bella’s Betrothal.



When I sent off my 2011 entry for the Mills and Boon New Voices competition, I knew I loved the two central characters. I adored the opening line “I trust you will not scream, ma’am.” And, because I came to Edinburgh as a starry eyed teenager and have never really left, I loved the city which is the backdrop to Bella’s Betrothal, too.

Finishing the book took a lot more effort than its promising beginnings would have led me to expect, but it hasn’t disappointed. I needed the ongoing support of NaNoWriMo, my husband, who took up regular cooking again, and the comments made on that original chapter.

Members of my writers’ group made hugely encouraging noises after a manuscript night when they thought it was a promising nineteenth century crime novel. My editors at MuseItUp were supportive and enthusiastic.

To all of those people “Thank You”
Leave a comment throughout the day and you might win a free copy of Bella’s Betrothal.

Buy Bella’s Betrothal now from MuseItUp, here:
Or from many online stores including

Bella’s Betrothal: George Square Edinburgh

Greyfriars Bobby - a capital landmark

Greyfriars Bobby – a capital landmark

Posting the statue of Greyfriars Bobby is a bit of a cheat, but I know how many of you like to see the picture of an attractive hound. He sits at the top of Candlemaker Row where some of the action with Charles Lindsay’s nemesis, Graham Direlton, takes place in my new novel, Bella’s Betrothal.
Walking briskly on and not detouring into the wonderful grounds of Greyfriars Church, brings you to Charles Street.

Charles Street

Charles Street

When I was a student in the early 70s, Charles Street was a mock Tudor extravaganza with the truly wonderful Parker’s Stores on the corner. Wonderful because, if memory serves, it was an emporium of the kind I loved to rake in. I do remember buying the dress of my dreams, clinging angora in French Blue, there one Christmas time. It wasn’t long before the whole complex of little streets and lanes was demolished and the University Refectory and Health Centre erected in their place.
None of that appears in the book, but I do use Charles Street for a little verbal sparring.
It’s when we get to the square itself, however, that I feel setting achieves the status of character. I loved George Square although I never viewed it complete because the University Library already existed before I became a student. I liked the Library building and still do, but the south side of the square was demolished to provide the site. Nonetheless, the wanderer can hear the rumble of horse-drawn vehicles and feel the breeze as a thousand ghostly skirts brush past.



Could Bella have walked on these cobbles between No 20 and the gates into the gardens? It’s the sort of question places raise in my writer’s mind. No doubt someone out there knows who lived in No 20 in 1826, there are Street Directories, but Bella’s Betrothal is a fiction, so bear with me.

The Menzieses' House No 20 The Menzieses’ House No 20[/caption

BELLA’S BETROTHAL will be published on Friday 20th September by MuseItUp. Details here:

Visiting Sara Bain’s Ivy Moon Press

I’m visiting fellow author and publisher, Sara Bain, today at her Ivy Moon Press blog. Here:

Come by and leave a comment.

Bella’s Betrothal is available now for pre-order and goes live on MuseItUp’s bookstore on 20th September.

Myra Duffy Crime Writer discusses Place as Character



Myra Duffy crime writer is the author of a formidable list of titles. I asked her a few questions about the influence setting has on her work.
Thanks for joining us today, Myra.

Where is Last Ferry to Bute set?

As with all my mystery novels this one is set on Bute, a small island just off the West coast of Scotland.

I assume, as it’s close to the mainland, you’ve been there?

We’ve had family connections with the island for many years and spend a lot of time there. The Isle of Bute has been a favourite holiday destination for generations.

I must say that Bute isn’t the hotbed of crime my novels suggest. In fact there is very little crime and it is a beautiful place with lots of unspoiled beaches and excellent walking, including the West Island Way. A lot of money is being spent on upgrading facilities, including the Art Deco building which features in Last Dance at the Rothesay Pavilion.

What aspects of the place most excited your writer’s mind?

The island is an ideal place to set a crime novel. It has a population of no more than 6000 people, except in the summer months when the holiday makers descend. This provides the benefit of a location that has strong associations for many people, not only in Scotland but for those of Scottish descent throughout the world. In a small place like Bute there are lots of opportunities for local gossip and intrigue to move the plot along.

Does the place act as an unnamed character in your book?

Very much so. You won’t travel far before meeting someone who remembers going there on holiday as a child or whose granny or other relative lived there! And a number of readers have told me that after reading the novels they’ve been inspired to visit the island.

I use different areas of the island in each novel. The latest one – Endgame at Port Bannatyne (out at the end of September) – is set in one of the villages on the eastern side of Bute.

All the Isle of Bute mystery novels are available from bookshops, on, and in eBook format on Kindle

Twitter @duffy_myra