Mariah, my Leading Lady: Main Character Blog Hop

Mariah Fox is my leading lady as she’s the heroine of my debut novel Mariah’s Marriage

London Girl

London Girl

Thank you to Rachael Thomas for tagging me to follow her in the My Main Character blog hop. Rachael’s blog is here:

Also talking about her main character after Rachael is Kate Blackadder here:

Mariah is a fictitious character.

When and where is her story set?  I set Mariah’s story in London, 1822. George the fourth has been on the throne for two years and that means it’s not strictly a Regency, but I hope it has all the same qualities. Sparkling dialogue, a fast paced changing society, frocks and horses.

What should we know about her?  She is an educated person who happens to be female.

What is the main conflict?  Mariah is passionate about education and would like to spend her life working in the teaching profession, but an earl comes along and thinks she might make him

Greek Lady, Sicilian Temple

Greek Lady, Sicilian Temple

an excellent wife.

What is her goal? Her goal is to leave the world a better place than she found it.

What is the book’s title? The book is called Mariah’s Marriage.

When was it published? Mariah’s Marriage was published one year ago by MuseItUp of Canada

Soon to introduce a Main character are:

Elaine Violette:

Helena Fairfax:


Greek Lady, Sicilian Temple Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


Book Throwing Prompts

 “Oh, Mariah, let us not quarrel. We will be married within the month. At least your papa’s house contains plenty of books. You may practise throwing them.”


London Girl

London Girl

Listing the things that Prompt me to Throw a Book, is bound to cause offence, I fear. So I’ll start with a modicum of explanation.

I speak standard English. It has a decidedly Scottish intonation, but that’s accent and geography. I grew up in a Scottish industrial village and even in those primary years, I spoke standard English. I have no idea why as I mixed with everyone in the playground, street, store etc.

So, I do not react well to sloppy grammar and it will make me Throw a Book – metaphorically speaking.

Repetition is something else that flexes the muscles of my throwing arm. I am not intellectually challenged by much. I may not know what something means, but I do know how to find out. So, I do not require to be told and re-told that the heroine was never cuddled by her mother or the hero’s first wife went off with his best friend and first fortune over and over; and over again. As a reader, dear editors of popular fiction, I can do subtlety.

Book Throwing Prompt number three is swearing and cursing used to replace vocabulary. There is always a way to say what you need to say although it may take a little while to work out what that is. The more innocent cliché is in here, too. Yes, they make your piece flow and you’ll read through it without the writer’s eye tripping over anything, but equally, it’s unmemorable prose for the reader. I want to find images I haven’t thought of and descriptions I haven’t seen used before.

I could go on… You may, however, prefer to read what prompts other writers to throw books and here are a few. Start with Diane and follow on:

Heidi M. Thomas
* Anne Stenhouse at
* Diane Bator at
* Fiona McGier at
* Margaret Fieland at
* Ginger Simpson at
* Geeta Kakade at 
* Connie Vines at
* Beverley Bateman –
* Rhobin Courtright – Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

Vision of Loveliness

The vision of loveliness my heroine presents is always at best vague and at its most common a matter of one aspect. Bella Wormsley’s hair, for example, was in her fictional family and I could see it clearly because I was envisioning the daughter of a close friend.



Jennifer Young, author of Thank You For The Music, and a friend, recently posted on Novel Points of View: about the problem of what characters look like to their creator. I sympathised and suggested we might attempt to get round the problem by engaging in some dialogue with people whose business it is to look at those characters.

I started with a dentist – “How did you chip that front tooth, Lady Bella?”

One might move on:

Milliner – “Your Ladyship has so much volume in her curls, I scarce know how to contain it beneath your riding hat.”

Dressmaker – “The new silks have peacock greens and blues which will complement your Ladyship’s colouring. I need hardly say, my lady, that your slender figure is shown to its best advantage in the straight fall of this gown, and your shoulders slope gracefully into the neckline.”

Lady’s Maid – “My lady, will you sit, please. I cannot reach to style your hair as you are now so tall. Nearly as tall as Mrs. Menzies, I think.”

Uncle Mack – “Bella, my love, there’s nothing breaks my heart so readily as seeing these sapphire blue eyes full of tears.”

And so a vision of Bella’s loveliness begins to emerge. I don’t have anything like the same difficulty when describing secondary characters. I’ve said elsewhere that CK Volnek, MIU’s cover artist for both Mariah’s Marriage and Bella’s Betrothal, might find the heroine’s eye-colouring change as the book progresses. I did have to go into the text to recover sapphire blue. Ah, well. You know what the aphorism says, Radio has the best pictures.

It’s all in the mind. Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

The Numbers Game



Working quietly away at ‘being an author’ involves an a lot of number crunching.

Start with the word count. There’s little point in sending an editor a short story of 3,000 words for a one page spot. Nor is there any future in sending a flash fiction of 150 words where the slot is 2 pages with an illustration. Moving into the world of novels and novellas brings the writer into contact with yet more slots.

Genre fiction, particularly romance, but cozy crime too, has specified lengths. Most houses have a page of guidance for would-be writers that outline which editor is looking for what and what length the submission should be. Occasionally the reader is left wondering why some words, phrases and even paragraphs are being repeated. Is the repetition to help any intellectually challenged readers – or is it padding and the book should have been an extended short story or novella? I name no names, but you’ll know of examples.

Next the fledgling author is asked for a 200 word blurb and a 1,000 word extract. There may be an author Bio needing 100 words. Most WP programmes have a word counter, but selecting that 1,000 word extract can be really hard. Too short and it’s not interesting, too long and the space is conflicted.

The Numbers Game doesn’t end there of course. Once published, the real number crunching gets under way. Meet any new author for coffee, lunch or dinner and the talk is likely to be about sales. Who’s checking Novel Rank, amazon sales and Smashwords rankings? What, if anything do they tell the author?

There is an idea that all e-published books are selling by the thousand every hour and we’re all still padding around in last year’s fashion to fool the Revenue. Sheesh!

One sale = how many hours of social media? Too many.

I’m so glad to be with a publisher and not going it alone. If I had access to all the numbers my publisher can call up, I’d be cross-eyed and fit to write nothing else.

And finally, there are the stars. Five, four, three, two or one. Hard earned every one and boy do they shine brightly. Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

Siem Riep Temples weren’t built in a Day

Temple, Siem Riep

Temple, Siem Riep

As I read through the draft of a critiqued submission to the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, my admiration for the readers grows. it takes a particular type of generosity to spend the time and energy needed with beginners’ work. I thought this book was the best it could be when I sent it in a few years ago.

Goodness, wasn’t I wrong?

It’s not a bad book. It has two wonderful central characters. It has a supporting cast of well drawn people and the reader thought only one verged on pantomime. It has few historical errors. It has plot, colour, historical detail, horses, frocks and interesting ideas.

It has a Voice and it’s well written in good grammatical English.


…and that’s where the particular skills and generosity of the Readers comes into play…

,,,it isn’t good enough. She helped me understand that.

Some temples are bigger and more decorated than others. Some temples have stood the blast of time. They weren’t built in a day and neither can a writing career be. Early blueprints need refinement.

As the year comes round to the RNA’s Summer party and the Joan Hessayon Award short list for first time published romance writers whose book went through the scheme, I remember that. My book, Mariah’s Marriage was a contender last year.

Bella’s Betrothal was not in the scheme, but it couldn’t have happened without that first one. A third novel has gone out for consideration and in the meantime, I’m getting on with the next. Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


And next?

A little R & R?

A little R & R?

Like most writers, I find the finishing of one project allows the immediate flowering of another into the vacated brain space, so Rest & Recreation might be shortish. Can’t say I’d sleep very comfortably in that sea-shell, but each to their own.

I’m currently working out what to work on. there are two attractive possibilities.

A draft novel that was critiqued by the Romantic Novelists’ Association through the New Members’ Scheme. Even as few as two published novels down the road, I see glaring errors, although I comfort myself with the Reader’s kind words about the quality of its Voice and the standard of the writing. These ladies are anonymous, but not unsung. Those of us who have achieved publication after benefiting from their work are usually pleased to acknowledge it.

A competition for a short story being run by the Historic Houses’ Association. Details here, folks:

I love old Houses, castles, keeps and in general, OLD STUFF.

With my butterfly brain, I’ll probably try both. Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

Elaine Violette Book Launch A Kiss of Promise


Being asked to act as one of Elaine Violette‘s Street Angels for the release of her Blush Historical romance A Kiss Of Promise, was very exciting. Novels Now likes to hear about the work of others writing in the same millieu, so we asked Elaine a couple of questions. Firstly, we wanted to know about villains as that’s been a recent topic on here.


Thanks for dropping by on launch day, Elaine.

Thank you, Anne, for hosting me. My newest novel, A Kiss of Promise, is a Blush historical romance and will be released by Ellora’s Cave Publishers.

How do you use the villain to advance and enrich your stories?

Wicked villains are an integral part of all my novels so it is a pleasure to tell your readers about their exploits and their intrusions into my heroes and heroines’ romantic  journeys. Sometimes I wonder if I have an inner villain that must crave to do something that my more wholesome self would not allow. What other reason could there be for me to gain such delicious enjoyment from creating the villains in my novels?

Although my books are ultimately stories of romance, the villains move the plots forward. As the scoundrels conspire to do their evil deeds, my heroes and heroines become entangled in their mischief.

For example, in my debut Regency, Regal Reward,  my villain’s greed for more titles and lands leads him to falsely accuse Lord Blackstone of treason. After Blackstone is imprisoned, his sons, York and Martin, seek to prove their father’s innocence.  The fiancée of the villain’s son becomes the ideal pawn and the woman York Blackstone desires in his obsession to recover what his family has lost.

In its sequel, A Kiss of Promise, my newest historical romance release, Martin Blackstone, York’s younger brother seeks to escape his past.  Having had a brief romantic encounter with Alaina, the daughter of the villain in Regal Reward, Martin chooses adventure in America over commitment to a relationship.  He is forced to face his past when he discovers that Alaina, the woman he left behind, is being blackmailed by Phillip Harrington, a ruthless business associate of her deceased father.   Self-sacrificing Alaina faces ruin to save her brother from Harrington’s accusations.  Only Martin can rescue her and her reputation, but Alaina won’t accept a proposal given out of pity rather than love.

In A Convenient Pretense, Marcus and Emily create a pretense to avoid marriage.  When Emily’s jealous cousin, bent on gaining his inheritance sooner than later, plots his own evil deception, Marcus realizes  that he and Emily’s seemingly innocent ruse brings him much more than he bargained for.

Despite my villains’ evil plans, my heroes and heroines’ passion for each other and for justice sends them on sometimes merry and often hazardous escapades before they can find a happy ever after.

Do you work on one project at a time or do competing ideas have to struggle for your attention? 

I like to give full attention to one writing project at a time since other non-writing life events can so easily tear me from the computer.  While I am working on a project, however, I may have another story waiting in the wings anxiously waiting for me to delve into it. For example, the idea for my newest manuscript grew after reading an epitaph on a nineteenth century gravestone.  With A Kiss of Promise available for pre-order on most sites, including Amazon, I am already 40,000 words in to my newest venture!

Buy links:

A Kiss of Promise available at Ellora’s Cave

For your Kindle

For your Nook

On her website

Visitors can follow Elaine on Facebook at

and Twitter

April First – Who’s fooling whom?

London Girl

London Girl

Okay, pax at Noon, but I wondered if today was a good day to share a small prank from Mariah’s Marriage.

“We will be seen, Mariah, when I wish us to be seen. I was talking about your intentions. Did you think to make me fall in love with you?” he asked. “Have you made some plan and put it into action too quickly without testing its prospects of success?” When she did not reply, he spoke again. “It is clear to me that Mr. Fox has kept you too close, my dear. He has not allowed you that intercourse with other young women that would have educated you about the affairs of men and women.”

“How can you say so, sir? My papa has allowed me out into the world where I have enjoyed far more freedom than your own sister,” she protested.

“Yes, he has. Freedom can act as a shackle too, Mariah. You think that the only way to live your life is the one your parents follow. By letting you go, he draws you back.”

“Is this not what you are pursuing when you say you want a woman to replicate your mama’s behaviour,” she said vehemently.

“Oh, Mariah, let us not quarrel. We will be married within the month. At least your papa’s house contains plenty of books. You may practise throwing them.” The instruments of the band fell silent and Mariah listened for the swell of voices that should take their place but there was none. A cold frisson of fear touched her heart. The earl had engineered her presence in the garden without any kind of escort and with none of his relatives to give them countenance.

“You have tricked me, sir,” she said.
“My beautiful girl, of course I have,” he said as he pulled her into his embrace and kissed her.

A small prank with life-long and life-changing results for Mariah. Why? You need to read on to find out… Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK