Spring Gardens

Calthorpe Community Gardens

Calthorpe Community Gardens

There’s an abundance of wonderful flowering shrubs, trees and plants around us at this time of year. Even in the heart of London – Camden, walking distance from King’s Cross railway station – Calthorpe Community Gardens hold a variety of plants and herbs. It was a joy last week when I was in London for RNA matters to walk out of my hotel and find this green lung within five minutes.


Magnolia, home

Magnolia, home

My husband is the gardener around our place and his spring garden is the moment when it’s at its most spectacular. The young magnolia tree was particularly beautiful this year.


Garden magnolia

Garden magnolia

On Friday, I walked across to the British Museum where I saw a great exhibition of art and artifacts made by the native peoples of the Torres Straits Islands. On the way I rested a bit in the gardens of Bloomsbury Square. I’ve been collecting photographs of daisies from various places to help advertise my upcoming Daisy’s Dilemma and Bloomsbury Square provided Daisies with added pigeons.


Bloomsbury Square Gardens

Bloomsbury Square Gardens

We have pigeons and they’ve stripped a cherry in next door’s garden of its fruit. They fly into it and grab at the thin twiggy ends of the branches with their feet. Several heart-stopping seconds of aerobatic antics later and they gain a perch. It would be funny, but in five weeks time they’ll be making the same hopeless landings in our blackcurrant bushes causing a lot of damage.

It’s great to walk the streets my heroine would have known. I stopped to admire a blue plaque marking the first terraced houses John Nash put up in the late eighteenth century. still standing and in good order they house a dental clinic today.

Daisy’s Dilemma amazon UK http://goo.gl/iMFFVu amazon US http://goo.gl/DMUXzK


Round Robin May changes in direction


This month’s topic is about the direction romance writing and markets are taking. Robin asks:  what changes have you seen in romance novels in the past decade? Is there a change in romance novel direction? Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories?

Changes over the last decade have been many, of course, but there are two main areas to my mind. Explicit erotica and same sex romance are much more mainstream than they were ten years ago. Large minority interests are being catered for and many who are not of those groups may satisfy their curiosity by reading this fiction.


The arrival of e-readers has facilitated both because a person may now read privately in very public places. I sometimes wonder if it, the e-reader, also allows more men to read ROMANCE.

That’s good, chaps, carry on.

Romance Novel Direction is the sort of change that happens in the currents below the surface. It’s ongoing and we don’t necessarily see it, but in due course we become aware. 

Changes I’ve observed over time include things like the move from the male doctor marrying the female nurse to both being either a doctor or a nurse. Billionaires are no longer necessary. Today’s super-educated, super-confident heroine wants a real man. If he comes in fireman’s gear, so much the better. Paternalism is seriously off-trend.

A downside of this might be in my own genre where occasionally a writer thinks her 1780 – 1830 heroine is a babe in a long frock with her hair in ringlets. I occasionally wince when I read about girls thinking up 21st century solutions. Personally, I find it more of a challenge to think back to how she went about it in the face of apparently insuperable social odds.

Daisys Dilemmal 333x500

Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories? I think yes. Not every reader wants the biologicals every time. Some of them don’t want them any of the time. It varies. I’m trying to persuade my favourite supermarket assistant to give my books a go, but she thinks there won’t be enough bedroom interest for her.

So, what’s your own view? Will you be slotting in a bedroom scene, a gay kiss, a fireman? Or will you do what you’ve always done – whatever that is?

Other people musing over this are to be found in the list below. I’m immediately followed by Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/

Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Anne Stenhouse  https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com

Find my books here: http://goo.gl/EouENm

Join me at my facebook page

Tweet to me at anne_stenhouse

Fascinating I Am Gilly Stewart



Welcome to Gilly Stewart author of Sunshine Through the Rain who is going to share some fascinating facts about herself with us.


Fascinating Fact One I never set out to be a farmer and yet ended up doing just that. I have used some of my own experiences when writing about Ellen, the heroine of Sunshine Through The Rain, who is unexpectedly left to run a farm assisted only by three young children. I really wasn’t very skilled, and remember trying to retrieve a dead calf


from a very possessive (and angry) Highland cow. Deciding that my son was much more agile than me, I distracted the cow with some cow nuts while son over the fence, lifted the calf, then nipped back. Fortunately he was very agile.

Fascinating Fact Two

 I get great satisfaction out of setting up and maintaining a good, moderately complicated spreadsheet (for those who don’t know what a spreadsheet is, Wikipaedia defines it as ‘an interactive computer application program for organization, analysis and storage of data in tabular form’). Oooh, all those lovely figures!

Fascinating Fact Three

I am a cat lover and since leaving home have always owned at least one cat. The first two were named Porritt (after Green politician Jonathan Porritt) and Jean Paul (after Jean Paul Sartre). Pseudo-intellectual? Moi?

Fascinating Fact Four


For a short while in the mid-1980s I was a biker. My bike, a Honda CB250, was so heavy if it fell over I couldn’t move it. Until, that is, one day I skidded in the rain and crashed: adrenaline is an amazing thing – I picked up the machine no bother, got back on and rode home.



5. The most serious injury I have had to date is a dislocated elbow. How did I receive this, you may ask? By being pulled off my potty by my irate grandmother! Long may this continue to be my most serious injury.

Sunshine Through The Rain cover (low res)

Gilly’s first novel with Accent Press, Sunshine Through The Rain, is available from  (£1.99 e-book, £12.99 paperback).

You can visit Gilly on her Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/GillyStewartWriter

Daisy’s Dilemma is on pre-order – Another wonderful cover

Daisys Dilemmal 333x500


Another wonderful lady from CK Volnek for MuseItUp. Don’t you think her brooding air is so suitable for a lady in a dilemma?

DAISY’S DILEMMA is available to pre-order now from:

MuseItUp and amazon. Links are below. What’s it about? Back to London for this one, 1822, when Lady Daisy, sister of Tobias, Earl of Mellon, is recovering from food poisoning. Lady Daisy was one of those secondary characters who simply cried out for a place to tell her own story. So, here it is:

Lady Daisy should be ecstatic when her brother, the earl, allows Mr. John Brent to propose. She’s been plotting their marriage for two years. However, she is surprised to find herself underwhelmed and blames their distant cousin, Reuben, for unsettling her.
Reuben Longreach wonders whether the earl understands the first thing about Daisy’s nature and her need for a life with more drama than the Season allows. It’s abundantly clear to him that Daisy and John are not suited, but the minx accepts his proposal nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Daisy hatches a plan to attach Reuben to her beautiful, beleaguered Scots cousin, Elspeth. Little does she know that Elspeth is the focus of a more sinister plot that threatens Daisy too.
Will Reuben be able to thwart the forces surrounding Daisy before she is irretrievably tied to John? Will Daisy find the maturity to recognise her dilemma may be of her own making before it’s too late?

Publication date is 16th June, but you can pre-order and it’ll be automatically sent to your e-reader from:

amazon UK and US or  MuseItUp or kobo


Across on Exquisite Quills

Some blog owners very generously offer the chance to publicise on their blog. Rose Anderson and Exquisite Quills is one such. Today for example Exquisite Quills asks for a 2-3 line snippet and a buy link. I’ve put up this for Bella’s Betrothal:


Charles Lindsay released her mouth slowly, and she was fascinated by the clouding of his eyes as he opened them and stared into hers. Anger melted into the moment.
The peace, however, did not last long enough for any treaty negotiations to begin.
anne’s amazon author page http://goo.gl/EouENm

Mariah’s Marriage has its own warm moments. Here’s one from the evening Mariah’s plans go a little astray:

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.

Tickle your fancy? Daisy’s Dilemma is coming soon and carries forward the story of Lady Daisy from Mariah’s Marriage. Watch this space for early notice of her beautiful cover from CK Volnek.

Fascinating I Am – novelist Margaret Montgomery

                                                    Margaret Montgomery
 Novels Now has been pre-occupied by the A – Z Challenge, did you notice, and neglecting fellow writers for a wee while now. However, there are many super writers and lovely books out there, so let’s get back into the groove. Where better to start than with the debut novel of today’s guest, Margaret Montgomery.
Margaret’s novel is called Beauty tips For Girls and it’s brought to us by Cargo Publishing.

 Fascinating Fact One


Margaret really likes sport. She always has the impulse to do a cartwheel (or two, or three) when  on a beach. When there’s a soft landing, she’ll maybe give a back flip a go.

Fascinating Fact Two

Margaret scored her first rejection slip (it’s called earning one’s credentials) at a very tender age. She entered a writing competition at primary school, gave it her all and was heart broken when she found out it was a ‘handwriting’ and not a creative writing competition.

Fascinating Fact Three

As a teenager, Margaret’s pin-up was William Gladstone. (Very apposite as we career towards a general election, Margaret, and brings a touch of class to Novels Now.) Margaret’s fascination stemmed from the fact that she discovered Queen Victoria was rather nasty to him and made it quite clear she favoured Disraeli. (It’s very British to favour the underdog.)

Fascinating Fact Four

Margaret knows everything there is to know about cardboard and its various attributes. This oddity is one of the results of being a professional journalist. (My DH uses it to accelerate the compost bin.)

Fascinating Fact Five

Margaret worked in the US where she narrowly avoided becoming alligator lunch and seems to have done her best to create an international incident. Read on in her own words “I found that America and the UK are, indeed, two countries separated by a common language. My reputation was put at risk and probably never recovered when I knocked on the door of the professor who had an office next to mine at the University of Florida. I’d been writing some notes in pencil and made mistakes. Surely a good way to meet my colleague and correct my errors was to introduce myself and ask if he had ‘a rubber’? Apparently not, judging by the colour he turned and his reserve towards me ever after.”

Oh Dear!

Margaret Montgomery is a writing tutor at colleges and universities in Edinburgh, and teaches nonfiction writing, English and media. She originally trained as a journalist and has worked as a writer and subeditor on a range of magazines and newspapers. Her first novel, Beauty Tips for Girls, was published by Cargo in March 2015. Margaret also enjoys writing short stories and poetry and has been shortlisted in a number of short story competitions. When not writing or teaching, Margaret likes sport, spending time with her friends and family, reading, working on her allotment and going to the theatre. She grew up in Ayrshire and is based in Edinburgh.

I have my copy of Beauty Tips For girls and it’s going in the packing for my next trip away. If you would like your own, buy links are here:


Buy Links:
Cargo Publishing  http://tinyurl.com/o4hkkyx
 Blackwell’s bookshop http://tinyurl.com/o54odhv

Margaret has a brand new blog. You can catch her here:

Thank you so much for being my guest, today, Margaret. I’m really impressed to read how fit you are, but I won’t be attempting any cartwheels, back flips or similar. Rising safely out of my chair can be challenging enough. Anne