Till 17th June

Till 17th June

I’m shouting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MARIAH’S MARRIAGE is where the exciting Lady Daisy made her debut and that book is Free until 17th June

MuseItUp with coupon code MARIAHFREE (Includes a version for kindle)

Barnes & Noble





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


Artisans, Design Education and the Luxury Trades in Scotland 1780 – 1914

This one, Thomas Pitts, London 1761

Professor Stana Nenadic gave an absorbing (I missed my bus!) and enticingly illustrated talk about Scottish artisans, design education and the luxury trades in Scotland last night under the auspices of the Old Edinburgh Club.

I joined the club with just this sort of little gift in mind. Like many another historical novelist, I tour stately homes, scale the ramparts of ruinous castles and haunt costume museums, but you don’t always get the words right and the cheery assistant doesn’t always get the function of a piece exactly right.

Professor Nenadic chose a glass epergne made in Edinburgh to mark the marriage of Queen Victoria as the main item to illustrate her theme. The epergne was already out of favour as a functional piece at that time and by the time the craftsman had finished making his one, it was already a museum candidate.

Design education was increasingly important for the apprentice artisan from the middle of the nineteenth century on. Many firms sent their boys to the major centres. I suspect many families have in their possession wonderful ‘prentice pieces created by some of these lads towards the end of their course.

And what was the function of an epergne? It sat in the middle of the dining room table and displayed food. It’s heyday was that time when the whole meal was sent to the table at once and before the kind of service we now experience.

Bella’s Betrothal

Mariah’s Marriage

Essence of…

Mirror work

Mirror work


The essence of a book is sometimes captured in a few words.

MARIAH’S MARRIAGE While Tobias, Earl of Mellon begs Mariah not to quarrel, the reader knows there’s a promise of lots to come:

“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.” anne stenhouse Mariah’s Marriage UK Mariah’s Marriage amazon US

BELLA’S BETROTHAL Charles’s frustration over Bella’s intransigence is very clear in this short extract: 

 …a solitary figure ahead among some gorse and shrubs. Charles thought she made a beautiful picture in her riding habit with the exquisite hat Jenny Menzies wished to inherit. He thought the girl might get it sooner rather than later if he followed his instincts. At that precise moment, he wanted to shake Bella hard. Then he would lock her in the castle in Strath Menzies and hold her forever. anne stenhouse Bella’s Betrothal UK Bella’s Betrothal US


Mills and Boon Masterclass

Mills and Boon are running a masterclass in Paradise Road on 28th February. Price is a hefty £195, but maybe if you live in London that looks like a snip.

Details are here:

I once attended one of their days in Newcastle and found it useful and fun. If you go do report back and tell us all.

Prima Magazine and Mills & Boon

Prima Magazine and Mills & Boon have put their considerable skills together to set up this competition for a new romance writer.

Winning would bring you publication of that first chapter in prima and a one-to-one session with  an M&B editor and you might see your 50,000 word novel published. Closing isn’t until 31st March so plenty of time to think about it.


Oh, and it’s short. 1,000 word synopsis and 800 word first chapter.

Name that Character: Be immortalised in e-print

Iconic landmarks are something Edinburgh does in quantity. Among them, however, is one special church: the Church of St John the Evangelist situated at the west most corner of Princes street on the edge of the gardens.
Like all iconic buildings, it must adapt and upgrade to maintain its place and meet the requirements of a modern world. Plans are underway for a major upgrading and details can be read on the church’s website. Here’s the fundraising page of the website:
6.00pm – Auction of Things Money Can’t Buy
Ever wanted to take a trip in a vintage Bentley or have your family tree researched for you? Then come along to the auction of ’Things That Money Can’t Buy’ at St John’s Church Hall on Thursday 29th of January 2015 from 6pm , all proceeds and donations in aid of the Development Project. Refreshments and entertainment on a ‘Burns Night’ theme from 6pm.
Now maybe you aren’t too keen on abseiling down any towers? Or eating too many chocolate cakes? Really? So here’s what I’m offering to help the cause. The chance to become a character in one of my books.
Daisy’s Dilemma is scheduled for e-publication by MuseItUp during the spring of 2015. I’m offering the chance to have two characters named after successful bidders or their nominees. For the gentlemen, one character will be the coachman who drives the Edinburgh relatives to London. And for the ladies, the neighbour of Daisy’s aunt, Lady Beatrice, who lives in Queen Street, 1822.
Pop along to the live auction at St John’s Church Hall, Princes Street, Edinburgh or leave your telephone bid in advance with the church’s fundraiser, Charlotte Bray, on
0131- 221 2271

Upcoming events and news



My lovely publishers, MuseItUp have contracted Daisy’s Dilemma to appear later this spring.

Exciting in itself, but I’ve teamed up with Edinburgh fundraiser, Charlotte Bray to create something even more exciting.

Daisy’s dilemma is a continuation or spin-off from my debut historical novel, Mariah’s Marriage and picks up the story of sparky, restless Lady Daisy Mellon. It’s almost complete, but with edits still to come, there was scope to accommodate Charlotte’s exciting offer.

It might make a one-off pressie for the person who has everything.

It does make an interesting idea for pressies in those awkward Jan/Feb months when Christmas is so recently past.

It might be just what you’re looking for.

Come back next week and find out what. Mariah’s Marriage UK Mariah’s Marriage US Bella’s Betrothal UK Bella’s Betrothal US



Plot, structure characters, but the greatest of these is characters.

I’ve been struggling with a plot glitch for some weeks now and sinking into what’s looking seriously like writers’ block. I could not find a way to write the scene I saw so clearly in my mind’s eye. Why?


That’s why. You (generic writer you) can always tell that the plot is frog-marching everyone to a conclusion when the characters begin to grimace. Then they girn and then they go back into lurk and everything stops.

So why was this? The answer – and I really hope it is an answer- was in the structure. Cart before horse again and I saw it, but I didn’t see it. And now I do. So lots of hard work just when the Festive season is making demands.

Are you a writer? What stops you in your writing tracks? Mariah’s Marriage UK Mariah’s Marriage US Bella’s Betrothal UK Bella’s Betrothal US

And at the EWC

Edinburgh Writers’ Club now meets in the Wash Bar and we had a cheerful crush of members and guests last night to hear Janne Moller of Black and White publishing talk about Publishing.

It’s always good to hear how it is on the other side and Janne was clear about the constraints and challenges facing today’s publisher.

Her advice to those wishing to submit was equally clear. Don’t send me several pages of your backstory, is rule number one. When an editor is receiving around five mss a day, she doesn’t have time for that. Instead do send:

A short and interesting synopsis of the story and a few sample chapters

Your name and contact details.

A reply won’t come back too quickly and in the pressurised weeks around August – early November when the Christmas market books are going out, it is even slower. A quieter time to submit is December, January and February.

Janne cautioned against sending mss that are not visible in a house’s list. Black and White, for example, don’t publish poetry. This should tell the poet to go elsewhere rather than make him think, “They need me.”

Black and White publish around 45 books a year and about 10 will be fiction. Janne said in reply to a question that she was looking for contemporary women’s fiction with global appeal. As she is the foreign rights sales’ person, she wants to know the story will travel.

She used an expression I haven’t come across but might pin up over the wall behind my pc:

“microcosm within the macrocosm.”

Isn’t that what interests us all? How our individual story or drama sits within the global?