The MOST inspiring, romantic or dangerous




Topic: What is the most inspiring, romantic, or dangerous setting you ever come across while reading or imagined while writing? Do you have a preference for a certain time and place for a story?

Wow! This is a difficult one because it covers a lot of emotional ground.

There’s a book called The Memory of Love written by Aminatta Forno. It’s set in Sierra Leone after the civil war and I could, with hand on heart, say it includes the most inspiring, most romantic and most dangerous settings I’ve read about. The three main protagonists are the local villain, the visiting UK psychiatrist and the young local hospital doctor.

It’s inspiring because it shows how normality returns to domestic and political life after even the traumas of civil war. And it’s set under huge African skies with endless beaches, too.

It’s romantic because the love between man and woman is central to the story. And because, for one half of one of the couples, the African experience is what tips him into the romance.

It’s dangerous because the possibility of war and outrages, betrayals and acts of superhuman kindness go on forever. And the truth has not always come out in everyday life.

So, the short answer is Sierra Leone.

Part Two: Do you have a preference for a certain time and place for a story?

When I’m writing the story and it’s novel length, then yes, I do. That would be nineteenth century Edinburgh or London. It would be after the Napoleonic wars are over and probably just post Regency, although still with the Georgians in the person of George Fourth.

I enjoy that moment when English becomes modern. I studied Anglo Saxon and Middle English as part of my degree and when you get to Jane Austen, there’s a sigh of relief. No more looking up every second spelling in the dictionary or fretting over the grammar.

In terms of place, I love the architecture of Edinburgh, where I live, and London where I am able to visit. I would like to write about Bath, too, but I’ve only been once and that was to buy a wedding present, so I don’t feel I know it well enough. However, I am hoping to include some Scottish country towns in future projects.

When I’m reading, then I’m open to different times and places. I read a lot of historical fiction, but through the good offices of my Book Group, a lot of modern writing, too. The Memory of Love, for instance, was a book group read.

There are other bloggers involved in this topic and you may follow on by clicking  Diane Bator’s link or reach any of them from the links below:

* Lynn Crain at
* Anne Stenhouse at
* Diane Bator at
* Geeta Kakade at
* Connie Vines at
* Marci Baun
* Beverley Bateman at
* Ginger Simpson at
* Margaret Fieland at 
* Fiona McGier at
* Rhobin Courtright at

* Heidi Thomas Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK

Blog Hopping – Today’s ‘Leaving Cards’

Outward Looking

Outward Looking

Visiting cards were the system that oiled a person’s movements around society. You left cards at houses where you were known and would be welcome and also at houses where you wished to be known and perhaps, weren’t quite so sure of a welcome.

I’ve just finished reading Anne De Courcy’s wonderful book about the British Raj, The Fishing Fleet. Well into the twentieth century, a person did not exist until they’d left cards letting the residents know they’d arrived in the area or returned to it. In today’s Establishment world, perhaps only Ambassadors carry on the tradition by presenting their Letters of Credit, identifying them in a foreign state.

However, the blogger and writer making headway in this electronic world we inhabit, also needs to present their credentials or leave their visiting card on other blogs.

Novels Now has been welcomed recently onto several blogs where the holder makes opportunities available. Often a free copy of one’s novel acts as a calling card.

At the head of this post is the flyer for the upcoming month of celebration marking The Romance Review’s 3rd anniversary. Novels Now will be there with a question on 7th March. And the calling card? A copy of Mariah’s Marriage for one lucky person.

This week, we accepted the invitation to leave an extract of Bella’s Betrothal on Ella Quinn’s blog.

Over the weekend, there was the chance to leave a shorter excerpt on Exquisite Quills

Exquisite Quills have other opportunities, too, like First Kiss Wednesday and Set the Scene in Six. Hosted by Rose Anderson and Jane Leopold Quinn.

Earlier this year, there was the Burns’ Night Blog Hop which resulted in a lot of visitors to Novels Now and a new reader who posted a lovely review.

Lyndsay Townsend, historical novelist, manages several websites where writers may leave cover details, make blog posts etc. Check out British romance fiction, Historical Excerpts etc.

It’s First Kiss Wednesday over on Exquisite Quills, but just for you dear reader, here’s Bella’s first kiss.

Bella's Betrothal

Bella’s Betrothal

Bella’s Betrothal by Anne Stenhouse published by MuseItUp, Canada
“Get out, Mr. Lindsay, before I scream so loudly everyone in this…”
Before Bella could finish, Lindsay reached for her and drew her up out of the chair, hard against the long muscles of his legs. His arms encircled her and the flickering light was extinguished as his head came down. With a restraining hand in her voluminous curls, he held her while his mouth covered hers. The kiss was pitiless, and Bella, who had never been so insulted despite what the scandal sheets said, was stunned. She did not struggle or respond, but squirmed in exquisite discomfort when Lindsay’s other hand found the curve of her buttock and lifted her into the apex of his thighs. She felt hard pressure against her abdomen and realised exactly how vulnerable she was. Drenching fear gave way to fury. When Lindsay released her, she would grab the fire-irons again and she would kill him.
There was a knock on the door. Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK