#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Playing The Duke’s Fiancee – Amanda McCabe @AmandaMcCabe01 @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Playing The Duke’s Fiancee’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.
Amanda also writes as Laurel McKee for Grand Central Publishing, the Elizabethan Mystery Series as Amanda Carmack, and the Manor Cat Mystery Series as Eliza Casey.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

A pretend proposal
For the unconventional heiress
When American heiress Violet Wilkins crosses paths with William, Duke of Charteris, she has extremely low expectations of the “Duke of Bore.” But when this seemingly stuffy aristocrat offers her escape from a dreadful arranged marriage, she leaps at the chance! To her surprise, the arresting Charles whisks Vi into an exhilarating make-believe romance. And as she gets to know the man behind the title, she can’t help wanting more…

Purchase Links:
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Guest Post :

One of the fun things I researched for His Unlikely Duchess (and for “The Dollar Duchesses” series in general!) was the process of being an “official” debutante at the royal court of the nineteenth century. It was a long process, starting with getting approved, curtsying classes, multiple visits to dressmakers, hairdressers, and florists—and making sure you didn’t embarrass yourself in front of the queen. (As Lily would certainly never do!!!)
During Victoria’s reign, the Court Drawing Rooms were held in Buckingham Palace at four stated periods every year–two before Easter and two after. Levées, hosted by the Prince of Wales for the presentation of gentlemen, were held at intervals during the like season in St. James’s Palace. Though of lessening distinction as the Victorian period wore on, the delicious prospect of being presented to the Queen or Prince of Wales continued to be a beacon to ambitious social climbers.
When the date of a drawing room was announced, letters poured into the Lord Chamberlain, suggesting names of ladies for presentation. Everyone who had kissed the Queen’s hand was able to nominate another for presentation. But it wasn’t guaranteed that any name submitted was accepted. The list underwent careful scrutiny by both the Lord Chamberlain and the Queen, Her Majesty only receiving those who “wore the white flower of a blameless life.”
There were only three qualifications for admittance to the throne room:
1.The lady wishing to be presented should be of good moral and social character.
2.Presentation had to be made by someone who had already been presented.
3.The status of the actual presentee. The most obvious candidates, the wives and daughters of the aristocracy, had the privilege of being kissed by Queen Victoria (though no kisses were received if the Princess of Wales were acting as stand-in, and the practice was dropped entirely in the Edwardian era), then came the ranks of those candidates whose presentation would be sealed by the action of kissing the Queen’s hand. These included the daughters and wives of the country gentry and Town gentry, of the clergy, of naval and military officers, of professional men such as physicians and barristers, of merchants, bankers and members of the Stock Exchange, and “persons engaged in commerce on a large scale.”Summonses were sent out three weeks in advance, allowing ample time for the excited debutante or newly married lady, to practice the complicated court curtsy and order the regulated costume demanded for presentation, as laid out, via the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, in Lady Colin Campbell’s Manners and Rules of Good Society, 1911 edition:
Full Court Dress: low bodice, short sleeves, and train to dress not less than three yards in length from the shoulders. Whether the train is cut round or square is a matter of inclination or fashion. The width at the end should be 54 inches. It is also imperative that a presentation dress should be white if the person presented be an unmarried lady and it is also the fashion for married ladies to wear white on their presentation unless their age rendered their doing so unsuitable The white dresses worn by either debutante or married ladies may be trimmed with either colored or white flowers according to individual taste.
High Court Dress: dress of silk satin or velvet may be worn at Their Majesties Courts and on other State occasions by ladies to whom from illness infirmity or advancing age the present low Court dress is inappropriate. Bodices in front cut square or heart shaped which may be filled in with white only either transparent or lined at the back high or cut down three quarters height. Sleeves to elbow either thick or transparent. Trains, gloves, and feathers as usual. It is necessary for ladies who wish to appear in High Court Dress to obtain Royal permission through the Lord Chamberlain. This regulation does not apply to ladies who have already received permission to wear high dress.
White gloves only should be worn excepting in case of mourning when black or grey gloves are admissible. As a lady on presentation does not now kiss the Queen’s hand as formerly she did she is not required to remove the right hand glove before entering the Presence Chamber. This order therefore is no longer in force and a lady wearing elbow gloves and bracelets will find it a great convenience not to be to take off her glove.
It was compulsory for both Married and Unmarried Ladies to Wear Plumes. The married lady’s Court plume consisted of three white feathers. An unmarried lady’s of two white feathers. The three white feathers should be mounted as a Prince of Wales plume and worn towards the left hand side of the head. Colored feathers may not be worn. In deep mourning, white feathers must be worn, black feathers are inadmissible.
White veils or lace lappets must be worn with the feathers. The veils should not be longer than 45 inches.
Bouquets are not included in the dress regulations issued by the Lord Chamberlain although they are invariably carried by both married and unmarried ladies. It is thus optional to carry a bouquet or not, and some elderly ladies carry much smaller bouquets than do younger ladies. A fan and a lace pocket handkerchief are also carried by a lady on presentation or on attending a Court but these two items are also altogether optional.
Armed with the proper arsenal, the young lady or new wife was ready to take London by storm. Queen Victoria held her presentations in the afternoon at 3 o’clock, which caused a traffic snarl of monumental proportions. It was common for the débutante to queue up in her carriage for hours down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, boxed in on both sides by other equipages and the throng of curious onlookers. Then, once she alighted from her carriage, there was another long wait in the close, sweltering palace antechambers, where neither refreshments nor relief were available.
The young lady who persevered to the end, however, got her rewards. Carrying her train over her left arm, she made her way through the groups of attendants to the anteroom or corridor where one of the lords-in-waiting, with his wand, spread out her train she’d let down, and walked forward to the Throne Room.
Her name was announced as she curtsied before the Queen, so low as to almost kneel, and while doing such, she kissed the royal hand extended to her, underneath which she placed her own ungloved right hand. The peeress or daughter of a peer received a kiss from Queen Victoria. When the Princess of Wales stood in for Her Majesty, the lady being presented curtsied only and did not kiss the Princess’s hand. After passing Her Majesty, the débutante curtsied to any of the Princesses near her and retired backwards in what may be called a succession of curtsies until she reached the threshold of the doorway. The official in attendance replaced her train upon her arm and the presentation was complete!
As was stated above, the reception of a kiss on the cheek from the Queen or the gift of one upon her hand was tossed out when Edward VII came to the throne. Other, more important changes were made to the presentation ceremony. Things were sped up by his reign, the drawing rooms and levees switched to the evening and held in June; the telephone used to summon a débutante’s transport, thus easing the traffic; buffet supper, served from tables laid with gold plate helped to revive waiting ladies; and the court photographers were allotted a room for speedy snapshots of the women.

Levées were conducted somewhat on the same plan as that of the Drawing room but were confined exclusively to men who wear uniform or Court dress. Hosted by the Prince of Wales, later the King, those entitled to be presented to H.R.H./H.M. were members of the aristocracy and gentry, the members of the diplomatic courts, the Cabinet and all leading Government officials, Members of Parliament, leading members of the legal profession, the naval and military professions, the leading members of the clerical profession, the leading members of the medical and artistic professions, the leading bankers merchants and members of the Stock Exchange, and persons engaged in commerce on a large scale. An exception to the rule as regards retail trade was made in favor of any person receiving Knighthood ,or when holding the office of Mayor, or being made a Justice of the Peace, or on receiving a Commission in the Territorial forces.
The workings of the levee were similar to those of the drawing rooms: dates announced and names submitted, and specific court dress required:
The Dress to be worn at Courts State Functions and Levees: Full dress uniform is invariably worn by all gentlemen entitled to wear it. All officers Scottish kilted corps should wear the kilt irrespective their being mounted officers or not. Gentlemen who do not wear uniform may wear either velvet Court dress new style; velvet Court dress old style; cloth Court dress.
The new style velvet Court dress is of black silk velvet. The body of the coat lined with white silk and the skirt with black silk. Steel buttons. Waistcoat of white satin or black silk velvet. Breeches of black silk velvet, black silk hose, patent leather shoes, steel buckled, white bow necktie, white gloves, sword, black beaver or silk cocked hat.
The velvet Court dress old style is very similar to the foregoing with the addition of a black silk wig bag at the back of the neck and lace frills and ruffles.
The cloth Court dress consists of a coat of dark mulberry claret or green cloth with black silk linings, gold embroidery on collar, cuffs, and pocket flaps, gilt buttons with Imperial Crown, waistcoat of white corded silk or white Marcella, breeches of cloth color of coat, black silk hose, patent leather shoes, sword, white bow necktie, white gloves, black beaver or silk cocked hat.
On certain days of the year, the so-called Collar days, high diplomatic and distinguished personages wear the collars and badges of the Garter, Thistle, St Patrick, Bath, and other Orders of Knighthood.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Her Outback Driver #HerOutbackDriver – Giulia Skye @GiuliaSkye , A #GuestPost

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-guest post

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but I’m sharing a guest post written by Giulia Skye, author of ‘Her Outback Driver’ to promote this book.
Before I let you read it, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Italian-born Giulia Skye writes page-turning romances with a lot of heart and sizzle. She describes her books as pure feel-good escapism! She lives in England with her Man and their two gorgeous sons, loves gardening and hates waste of any kind.
Her Outback Driver is her first novel. Her second novel, The Summer of Sebastian, will be published in 2022.

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Synopsis :

When former Olympic champion, Michael Adams—now Canada’s hottest reality TV star—insults his fake showbiz wife on social media, he jumps on the first flight to Australia to escape the ensuing scandal. Desperate to experience ordinary life again—if only for a few weeks—he becomes “Adam”; just another tourist exploring the dusty Outback trails in a beat up truck. But with a reward out for his safe return and his fame’s nasty habit of catching up with him when he least expects, Adam needs a better disguise… and he’s just found one.
Tired of lies and liars, British Backpacker Evie Blake is taking a year out of her busy London life, looking for adventure to heal her broken heart. So when the hot Canadian she meets at the campground offers to drive her through Western Australia’s wild Kimberley region, she grabs the chance, unaware he has the world out looking for him. He’s just a down-on-his-luck traveler, right?
But when hot days turn into even hotter nights, how long does Adam have before Evie discovers who he really is?

Buy Link

Link to a free copy

Guest Post :

The cheapest holiday you’ll ever take!

Needless to say, living through a pandemic is tough and I think we’re all in need of a holiday! So let’s book our flights, pack our bags and… keep a daily check on which countries we can visit… pay for over priced accommodation…do our best to understand the quarantine rules…take tests and prove that we’ve been vaccinated and…
Yes, sadly, the actual “going” on holiday part can be tricky (and stressful) these days and lot of people have decided to stay at home this summer, but wait! As anyone who loves to read knows, there is a way to switch off from daily life and take a holiday—and that’s by delving into the story worlds of books. In fact, it’s the cheapest holiday you’ll ever take!
In a previous life before children, My Man and I travelled a lot—Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands—then there were the “normal” beach holidays or weekends away… but I also spent a lot of my free time reading on my garden bench or sofa. I’d often start a book in the morning and would read all day, completely enthralled and wrapped up in the story world—particularly if I was reading a Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Rachel Gibson novel!
Now that I have children and my free time has diminished to pretty much zero, I’ve been thinking a lot about those days spent reading and how, after such a day, I’d feel as relaxed and happy as if I had actually been on holiday. And in many ways I had, albeit in my mind!
When I wrote my first novel, Her Outback Driver, I had escapism in mind throughout as both main characters, Adam and Evie, are taking a holiday from their normal lives (for very different reasons). Both are travelling a land that is foreign to them so I described the setting in a way that would make readers feel the burning heat, see the vast, red landscape of the outback and taste the dust in the their mouths—just as Adam and Evie do.
Adam and Evie meet by chance and journey across a breath-taking landscape. Experiencing their emotions and drama is also an escape—like experiencing the thrill and excitement of a rollercoaster ride from the safety of one’s armchair. But the true escapism of the novel comes from its feel-good factor and guaranteed happy ending. I’m a firm believer that life’s too short to read miserable books!
Granted, a book won’t serve you food and cocktails but it will release those relaxation hormones. It will take you places and entertain you, and because many people won’t be going on holiday this year, I’m giving out free copies of Her Outback Driver. This novel has been shortlisted for a Romance Writers of America® VIVIAN® award and all you have to do to read it is click on the link below, then sit back and enjoy a holiday in the Australian outback—heart warming love story, included!
Happy travels!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall – Lotte R. James @lottejamesbooks @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Lotte James trained as an actor and theatre director, but spent most of her life working day
jobs crunching numbers whilst dreaming up stories of love and adventure. She’s thrilled to
finally be writing those stories, and when she’s not scribbling on tiny pieces of paper, she
can usually be found wandering the countryside for inspiration, or nestling with coffee and a
book.

Social Media:
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Synopsis :

She arrived as a housekeeper
Will she leave as a countess?
To some, Thornhallow Hall might be tarnished by tales of vengeance and ghosts, but to new housekeeper Rebecca Merrickson it represents independence and peace from her tumultuous past. Until the estate’s owner, William Reid, the disappeared earl, unexpectedly returns… After clashing with him over the changes she’s made to the house, Rebecca slowly unearths the memories that haunt brooding Liam—and her defiance gives way to a shockingly improper attraction to her master!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
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Harlequin Books

Guest Post :

How developing characters for theatre informed my process as a romance writer

If you peek at my bio, you’ll see that I trained as an actor and theatre director. I love theatre, and still work in the industry when I can, mainly as a director. Some might say those nice pieces of paper I earned in pursuit of an acting career are now just that – pretty pieces of paper. But I honestly don’t think I would be the writer I am today, if I hadn’t learned all I had on that path.
Actors create characters. It is a group effort, or at least, in my opinion, should be, between all the parts that make up the whole; writer, director, creatives… Whether a Shakespeare, or a new piece of devised work, creating a piece of theatre, TV, or film, is only possible if all the parts work together. But at the heart of the actor’s work, is taking a character, and bringing them to life. Giving them breath, and making them real.
You are taught many tools, tricks, and techniques to make that happen. Everyone has their preferred methods; some like some Chekhov (Michael – not Anton), while others prefer some Uta Hagen. Some start with movement, others with research. Most I’ve met use an arsenal, pulling out different tools for different projects.
Typically, you begin by looking at the trajectory of the play. You have certain moments to work from; the character’s story as it is given by the writer or creator. Many, myself included, build from there, working through intentions and actions, motivations and objectives, as well as what the character uses to fulfill those objectives. Are you guilting others? Seducing them? What’s working? You’re looking at power – who has it, and who wants it? All this informs who the characters are (to you).
From there, always a storyteller at heart, my process continued with piecing together the rest of the character’s story. Filling in the blanks – the what happened before this scene or what happens after the play. I think many writers and actors share an affinity for character bios – along with lists of favourite colours, foods, or pieces of music. Then I would look at movement, and voice. What is their center? Head, heart, or gut? Do they move quickly, or slowly? Does their place of birth inform the way they speak?
You can begin to see how very similar building characters in fiction might be, and how such in-depth, pointed work, might transition nicely to writing. All that I’ve mentioned are tools I still use to build characters in my novels. Sometimes, if I’m stuck on a character, I will literally take a walk in their shoes, and break out my old acting skills. I’ll try on some clothes, or a way of moving. I definitely am guilty of talking out scenes – making sure it sounds human, and like my character.
And of course, at the heart of characters, well, humans, is emotion. On stage and on the page, particularly in romance, you need to know what the character is thinking, how emotions and patterns of thought inform decisions and action.
For The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall, I began with an image – the housekeeper before the grim mansion. But what brought her there? What made the lord run from there? What emotions can be powerful enough to drive them along the paths they have tread so far? What do they lack? How has their work informed how they move, and speak, and relate to each other? (To know the answers, naturally you’ll have to read the book…)
I read a quote from Kafka a few weeks back that really stuck with me: ‘A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside of us.’ There are so many thoughts on what art is, what it should be. For me, it is something like what Kafka says. And to be the axe, you first have to break through and explore the frozen depths of those things you put on stage or on the page. For when there is truth in the work, human truth, then, and only then, can it reach out and touch others’ hearts.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #GuestPost : Ariadne Unraveled: A Mythic Retelling – Zenobia Neil @ZenobiaNeil #HistoricalRomance #HistoricalFantasy #AncientGreece

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Ariadne Unraveled Blog Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Ariadne Unraveled: A Mythic Retelling’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Zenobia Neil author pictureZenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes historical romance about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. 

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Ariadne Unraveled
Author: Zenobia Neil
Publication Date: 7th July 2021
Publisher: Hypatia Books
Page Length: 345 Pages
Genre: Mythic retelling / Historical Romance

ariadneebookcoverjpgAriadne, high priestess of Crete, grew up duty-bound to the goddess Artemis. If she takes a husband, she must sacrifice him to her goddess after no more than three years of marriage. For this reason, she refuses to love any man, until a mysterious stranger arrives on her island.
The stranger is Dionysus, the new god of wine who empowers women and breaks the rules of the old gods. He came to Crete seeking vengeance against Artemis. He never expected to fall in love.
Furious that Dionysus would dare meddle with her high priestess, Artemis threatens to kill Ariadne if Dionysus doesn’t abandon her. Heartbroken, the new god leaves Crete, vowing to become better than the Olympians.
From the bloody labyrinth and the shadows of Hades to the halls of Olympus, Dionysus must find a way to defy Artemis and unite with his true love. Forced to betray her people, Ariadne discovers her own power to choose between the goddess she pledged herself to and the god she loves.

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Guest Post :

Greek Gods

When I wrote Ariadne Unraveled: A Mythic Retelling, I had the pleasure of writing about a great variety of Greek gods—Dionysus is one of my main characters, so I also wrote about his foster father Silenus and his half-brother Hermes. I have scenes with Ariadne’s grandfather Helios, the Sun God. I wrote about Artemis and Apollo, Hera and Ares, but the Greek god who surprised me the most, who I delighted in getting to know better, was Hephaestus God of the Forge.
In Ariadne Unraveled I strove to write about lesser-known myths. I didn’t want to focus on Theseus or the Minotaur, though both are important characters in the novel. There are already so many tales about them. True, there are many stories about Ariadne, but less so about her relationship with Dionysus, especially the lesser-known story that she was married to him before meeting Theseus, which contradicts the more popular myth that he abandoned her on Naxos possibly for Dionysus to wed. How could I rectify these conflicting ideas? Figuring out how to weave these stories together was one of my goals, but I also wanted to focus on the other less familiar tales.
While researching, I read Adrienne Mayor’s delightful book Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology. I had not thought about automatons in the ancient world before and it was fascinating to consider all the feats of engineering in ancient myth. Mayor discusses the reported accomplishments of the mortal Minoan engineer Daedalus, who I mention in Ariadne Unraveled but don’t focus on because there are many myths that include him, and he is often the one credited with giving Ariadne the ability to free Theseus from the labyrinth.
In Gods and Robots, Mayor also writes about Hephaestus and his amazing skill to make moving statues. I always knew about Hephaestus, the lame God of the Forge who was married to Aphrodite, but I never thought much of him or realized how amazing he is.
Hephaestus is the only Olympian who has a disability. Some myths claim that Hera gave birth to him herself to prove to Zeus that she could. But, the myths say, Hephaestus was born with a clubfoot, and she threw him off Olympus. (This feels so terribly like the Greek gods.) Later, when he went back to Olympus, he intervened in a fight between Hera and Zeus and Zeus tossed him from Olympus a second time. He then was cared for the by the people of Lemnos, a northern Aegean island that became sacred to him, and a mythic home of Ariadne and Dionysus.
Hephaestus is the God of the Forge and the only god to actually do work and to work with his hands. Inspired by his disability, Hephaestus crafted different carriers for himself. Mayor wrote about him making a chair of golden women. I loved this idea that the only god with a physical disability used that to inspire his craft and to elevate himself.
During my research, I read that Dionysus and Hephaestus had both sought refuge with Thetis under the sea. One of the two times Hephaestus was thrown from Olympus, Thetis rescued him as she later did with the young god Dionysus when he was chased by his uncle who had been enraged by Hera.
Dionysus and Hephaestus are similar in many ways. They both have serious issues with their divine parents. (This might be true for most of the Greek pantheon but being thrown off Olympus twice is pretty bad even for the Olympians). Dionysus didn’t meet his father for a very long time and spends a great deal of his life not knowing for sure if he even is a god. They both take one thing and change it into something else.
While I was writing, I imagined these two gods meeting under the sea with Thetis and becoming friends and then I heard them call each other by their nicknames. Here’s a passage where they’re reunited in Lemnos.

The hammers ceased, and a flash of gold rippled inside the cave. Blinking into the light of day, Hephaestus, seated in a chair held by four golden women, came to greet them. The God of the Forge had a blunt face covered with a wild black beard and equally wild, wavy hair. His broad chest swelled with muscles. His strong forearms and hands were black with soot, as was his red tunic and thick leather apron.
“Twice Born!” Hephaestus bellowed when he spotted Dionysus.
“Twice Fallen!” Dionysus shouted, running toward his friend. “You appear much taller than the last time we met.”
“Indeed! I have grown four golden women bearers and a golden chair instead of regular feet.” Hephaestus’s laughter reminded Ariadne of a rock crumbling. “I am honored to host you.”
“And we are honored to be here. Allow me to present my lovely wife, Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth, her companion Thalia, and my foster father…” He glanced around, not seeing Silenus. “My foster father is here somewhere.”

When I first began to write about Ariadne and Dionysus, I had not expected to write about Hephaestus or even to take my characters to Lemnos, but writing fiction, like studying the Greek gods, is often surprising.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Coldharbour – John Mead @JohnMeadAuthor

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Coldharbour’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

66H7-ZfwJohn was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.
John is currently working on a seies of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.
For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.
And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

Purchase Links:
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Guest Post :

Crime Novels
My loves and pet hates

It is probably worth starting with an initial note about book genres: they are a necessary evil for the publishing industry, how else do you advertise a book or list it on Amazon, but are otherwise meaningless. Like all authors – he said, shaking his head as he did so, to emphasise the disdain he felt for publishers and agents – I write about life. Although… if there are any publishers or agents reading this: I write Crime Fiction / Police Procedurals — just in case you are interested in such things, they are well worth a read.
In reality there is no definition of a crime novel. Bertie Wooster stole a silver cow-creamer (The Code of the Woosters), Smeagol (AKA Gollum) stole a ring (The Hobbit), Count Dracula assaulted people and sucked their blood (Count Dracula) and Daenerys Targaryen would undoubtedly have ended up doing time for her misuse of dragons to destroy whole towns (Game of Thrones); the fact remains that none of these are crime stories.
There is no requirement to include a detective in a crime novel, not a professional one, nor even a private investigator, paid or unpaid. Any interested amateur is enough. Occasionally journalists and lawyers are used and, given they have reasonable investigative skills, are not bad choices. However, in practice, any old busybody will do. Just look at the qualification base of the likes of Agatha Raisin, Phryne Fisher or the unrivalled Miss Marple. Sherlock Holmes had, at least, studied for his profession, as consulting detective, focusing only on the knowledge he needed to solve crimes to the exclusion of everything else — to the extent that he seemed unaware that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
However, as with all other investigators of the non-professional kind, Holmes only had to prove his suspect guilty to his own satisfaction. No need for trial by a jury of his peers and chains of evidence, his own judgement was sufficient. And, of course, if the accused dies, hopefully in some ironic way, at the very end then justice is served. All those legal requirements that can make things messy, and let’s not mention appeals and pardons, are done away with. Everyone is happy, people are never wrongly suspected and accused — not in the world of sleuthing.
If, however, this doesn’t quite tie things up as neatly as readers demand then one way round the issue is to have the baddie confess. Preferably in front of a group of witnesses and probable alternative suspects who have been gathered together deliberately for dramatic effect. In fact this is such a popular way to bring about an ending, in order to completely confirm that the investigator has fingered the correct suspect, that it often occurs in investigations conducted by police inspectors. No caution is ever given, no reading of rights, no need for the accused to have legal representation. The entire case is laid out before witnesses and other probable suspects, just to ensure everyone is speaking from the same page and pointing their finger at the same person. No wonder the accused always cave in and owns up, not that it matters as the confession would be thrown out of court but that’s an inconsequential detail.
Of course, like everyone else, I love these type of crime stories. Who wouldn’t want a world where the baddie is always unmasked and punished for their crimes, where the death of a loved one is a plot device and no grey exists. Reality is very different but not always as enjoyable. However, there is some Crime Fiction that is both realistic and enjoyable. Look at a couple of recent TV shows, such as Broadchurch and Unforgotten, they show it is possible to tell crime stories that are both realistic, harrowing and yet entertaining.
In the final analysis, all writers of Crime Fiction cut corners and take a degree of licence with reality, in order to tell their story. Inspectors and DCI’s are managers and rarely do the investigative work their fictional counterparts do. The police are part of large organisations which tend to be highly regulated and usually have authoritarian structures. A lot of the day to day grind is just that, a boring grind. The police are ordinary men and women dealing with ordinary people, victim and suspect alike, going through a terrible situation. And as for crime, whether it is the theft of a few coins or a murder, in reality it is never fun for the victim — never justifiable as a reason for someone to exercise their little grey cells or stave off boredom (both Poirot and Holmes are great fictional characters, but have a tendency to be self-satisfied and smug).
However you like your crime stories, whether artificial and contrived or realistic and harrowing, they should – unlike the real thing – always be entertaining.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #WNLVirtualBookTours @WNLBookTours / #GuestPost : The 10 Win Commandments – Derrick Gray

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Derrick-Gray-Banner-1

Today I’m on the ‘The 10 Win Commandments’ blogtour, organized by Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours. This tour will run July 1 – August 31, 2021 and can be followed here.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information and a guest post for you.

About the Author :

Derrick Gray pic (1)Derrick Gray is a Christian Minister, business owner, filmmaker and author of The 10 Win Commandments. A Long Island native and purveyor of all things hip-hop, he knows God’s not through with him yet. Derrick lives in York, Pa with his wife and family.

Synopsis :

JustOneWord_FrontCover_V1In the realm of bestselling books like A Purpose Driven Life, The Motivation Manifesto, Author Derrick Gray has written this debut masterwork that touches the soul with relatable guidance and motivating prose. The author guides us through worldly experiences as a quintessential mentor of life. Students, administrators, CEOs, business visionaries, and others will find his advice for success nothing less than masterful.
This book profoundly dives into guidance that enables you to go through life at the level in which God intended. The execution of these words of wisdom lays out how victory is achievable for anyone. It’s all about self-appraisal, self-reflection, God’s direction, and personal growth. Everyone has a designed path and achievement is within anyone’s grasp. All it takes is the correct compass and no book maps it out better than Derrick Gray’s 10 Win Commandments.

Guest Post :

Get to know Derrick Gray A-Z

A first time author
Beds to Go store owner
Cookie is my dog
Everyday I’m grateful for life
Freddy Gray is my Dad and Grandfathers names
God is all that
Home is my favorite spot to write
I am the oldest of two siblings
Jasmine is my middle daughter
King codes are what I live by
Lauren is my youngest
My mom is one of 14 siblings
New york is my birth state
Only Jesus
People call me Tank
Quest, A Tribe Called is my favorite group 🙂
Racism is stupid
Sydney is my oldest
Tonya is my bride
Under God’s wing is where I’ll be camping out
Victory is mine
XLfaith
Your life will be completely transformed when you become
Zealous for the things of God

Giveaway :

Win an eBook of The 10 Win Commandments

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Angel of the Lost Treasure – Marie Laval @MarieLaval1 @ChocLituk

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Angel of the Lost Treasure’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

HifK7RngOriginally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Awards, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC. Her latest novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was released in February 2021. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

vH0J0CBQAn ancient secret hidden within a mother’s song …
When young widow, Marie-Ange Norton is invited to Beauregard in France by the mysterious Monsieur Malleval to collect an inheritance, she has no choice but to accept.
But when she embarks on the voyage with her fiery-tempered travelling companion Capitaine Hugo Saintclair, little does she know what waits for her across the sea in turbulent nineteenth-century France on the eve of Napoleon’s return from exile. When she arrives, she is taken aback by Malleval’s fascination with her family – seemingly inspired by his belief they are connected to a sacred relic he’s read about in coded manuscripts by the Knights Templar.
As it becomes clear that Malleval’s obsession has driven him to madness, Marie-Ange is horrified to realise she is more the man’s prisoner than his guest. Not only that, but Hugo is the only person who might be able to help her, and he could represent a different kind of danger .

Purchase Links:
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Guest Post :

Mixing history and fantasy:
ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE and the treasure of the Knights Templar

I am not the first author, and I certainly won’t be the last, to be fascinated by the history of the Knights Templar and to find inspiration in their troubled, secretive and dramatic past.
In ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE my heroine Marie-Ange must recover a relic hidden by the Knights Templar – the Cross of Life – which is rumoured to give eternal life. With the help of cuirassier captain Hugo Saintclair, she unravels an old family mystery before returning the cross to its original hiding place in the crypt of the chateau of Arginy in the Beaujolais region.
Whereas the Cross of Life is my invention, I had great fun interweaving the romance between Marie-Ange and Hugo Saintclair with myths and historical facts about the Knights Templar.
But who were they and what happened to them?
The Knights Templar was a monastic order founded in 1118 to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land, to defend the Saint-Sepulchre and fight in the Crusades. The Order grew in power and wealth and the Knights Templar, in their distinctive white mantles adorned with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. They managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, acquired vast estates, became the French Kings’ bankers and built fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.
The Templars’ existence was tied closely to the Crusades and when the Holy Land was lost, support for the Order faded and rumours that they indulged in heresy grew rife. In 1307, Philippe IV of France – also known as Philippe le Bel – had most of their members arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and then executed. Cynics would perhaps mention at this point that the French king was deep in debt towards the Templar Order and probably hoped to get his debts written off and lay his hands on the order’s considerable fortune… Pope Clement V disbanded the Order in 1312, and the speculation and legends started.
One of them stems from the curse issued by the last Great Master Jacques de Molay as he was being burned at the stake in Paris. He supposedly predicted that the Pope would die within forty days, foretold Philippe le Bel’s imminent death and cursed all his descendents for the next thirteen generations. The Pope did die three weeks later, and Philippe le Bel eight months later. Some claim that the execution of King Louis XVI in 1792 put an end to the Templar malediction on the royal family, since Louis was the 13th generation of the Capet line.
King Philippe’s actions against the Templars didn’t make him a wealthy man since only a fraction of the Templar’s vast treasure was ever recovered. Some believe that the Templar Knights arranged for it to be shipped away to Scotland or Cyprus, or transported to a secret location, like the chateau of Arginy in the Beaujolais or Gisors in Normandy.
In ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE I chose the chateau of Arginy as the treasure’s hiding place. Arginy is a fascinating place indeed. It was built on an ancient Roman salt mine in the 11th century then extended in the 16th century. With its three towers and a dungeon, it looks imposing and mysterious, even to this day. Between the 13th and the 15th centuries the chateau belonged to the powerful Beaujeu family and to the man who was the twenty-first Grand Templar Master between 1273 to 1291: Guillaume de Beaujeu.
A few nights before his execution, Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master, called his nephew Guichard de Beaujeu to his jail in Paris for a final meeting. Nobody knows what they talked about but shortly after Molay’s execution, Guichard removed the coffin of his ancestor Guillaume from the Paris Temple and transported it to Arginy. What was in that coffin? Beaujeu’s remains only or the Templar treasure that Jacques de Molay had asked his nephew to keep safe?
So the legend was born…Ever since the 16th century, treasure hunters have tried their luck at Arginy, but there were so many accidents or reports of ‘diabolical’ goings-on that people soon believed the chateau was cursed. In the 1950s the chateau’s then owner, Jacques de Rosemont, called in a team of occultists who decreed that the Templar treasure was indeed hidden in the crypt at Arginy, and that it was guarded by the ghosts of eleven Templar Knights.
The chateau is still privately owned to this day, but nobody has been looking for the treasure for a while…
With so much history and so many legends attached to it, it’s no wonder that Arginy plays such an important part in ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #GuestPost : The Usurper King (The Plantagenet Legacy, Book 3) – Mercedes Rochelle @authorRochelle #HistoricalFiction #Plantagenet #HenryIV

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Usurper King’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mercedes Rochelle is an ardent lover of medieval history, and has channeled this interest into fiction writing. Her first four books cover eleventh-century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. The next series is called The Plantagenet Legacy about the struggles and abdication of Richard II, leading to the troubled reigns of the Lancastrian Kings. She also writes a blog: HistoricalBritainBlog.com to explore the history behind the story. Born in St. Louis, MO, she received by BA in Literature at the Univ. of Missouri St.Louis in 1979 then moved to New York in 1982 while in her mid-20s to “see the world”. The search hasn’t ended! Today she lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Usurper King
Series: The Plantagenet Legacy Book 3
Author: Mercedes Rochelle
Publication Date: TBC
Publisher: Sergeant Press
Page Length: 308 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

From Outlaw to Usurper, Henry Bolingbroke fought one rebellion after another.
First, he led his own uprising. Gathering support the day he returned from exile, Henry marched across the country and vanquished the forsaken Richard II. Little did he realize that his problems were only just beginning. How does a usurper prove his legitimacy? What to do with the deposed king? Only three months after he took the crown, Henry IV had to face a rebellion led by Richard’s disgruntled favorites. Worse yet, he was harassed by rumors of Richard’s return to claim the throne. His own supporters were turning against him. How to control the overweening Percies, who were already demanding more than he could give? What to do with the rebellious Welsh? After only three years, the horrific Battle of Shrewsbury nearly cost him the throne—and his life. It didn’t take long for Henry to discover that that having the kingship was much less rewarding than striving for it.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Guest Post :

WHO WERE THE LAST PLANTAGENETS?

Portrait of Henry IV- National Portrait Gallery (Creative Commons license)

Many people get confused when they read that Richard II was the last Plantagenet king. How can that be? During the Wars of the Roses, both the Lancastrians and the Yorkists were Plantagenets. And that’s true. However, Richard II was the last in the direct line—and that’s the difference.
One could almost say that Edward III had too many sons. If his heir, Edward the Black Prince hadn’t died prematurely, all would probably have gone a different route. Lionel, the second son of Edward III (who survived infancy) also predeceased his father, leaving a daughter Philippa from his first wife. It was through Philippa that we have the Mortimers, arguably the true heirs to the throne if you follow the “laws” of primogeniture (see below). The next son was John of Gaunt, the father of the future Henry IV (the Lancastrians). After him came Edmund Langley, later Duke of York (yes, those Yorkists), and lastly, Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester.
What is primogeniture? According to historian K.B. McFarlane, “a son always preferred to a daughter, a daughter to a brother or other collateral.” So the daughter’s heirs should come before the brother’s heirs (hence the Mortimers). Of course, it didn’t always work that way, even among the royals. As far back as King John, we see the youngest brother of a previous king mount the throne rather than the son of an elder brother (Arthur of Brittany—son of Geoffrey—should have ruled if the tradition of primogeniture were followed).
The Black Prince took nothing for granted, and on his deathbed he asked both his father and his brother John of Gaunt to swear an oath to protect nine year-old Richard and uphold his inheritance. Even this precaution didn’t guarantee Richard’s patrimony, and Edward III felt obliged to create an entail that ordered the succession along traditional male lines. This meant that the Mortimers were excluded. It also meant that John of Gaunt was next in line after Richard, and after him, Henry of Bolingbroke. This entail was kept secret at the time because of Gaunt’s unpopularity, and it’s possible that Richard later destroyed at least his own copy. It might have been lost to history until the last century when a badly damaged copy was discovered in the British Library among the Cotton charters (damaged by a fire in 1731). It clearly gave the order of succession as Richard, then Gaunt and his issue, then probably Gaunt’s brothers; parts of the manuscript are lost. According to historian Michael Bennett, “While crucial pieces of the text are missing, it is tolerably certain that the whole settlement is in tail male…”

John of Gaunt. Wikipedia

Why is this important? It’s more than likely that at least members of the royal family knew about the entail. King Richard II and Henry Bolingbroke never got along, and as Richard continued to remain childless, the thought of Henry succeeding him was anathema. He still refused to name an heir, and since he remarried in 1396 the 29 year-old king was still young enough to father a child, even though his new queen was only seven at the time. It’s interesting that he never gave the Mortimer line much credence; he only mentioned them once in his own defense when his barons grew rebellious in 1385: why usurp Richard and replace him with a child? (The Mortimers had a history of dying young and the current heir was just a boy.) Nonetheless, many of his countrymen assumed Roger Mortimer was heir presumptive and didn’t think to question it. By 1397 the grown-up Roger was very popular, but was killed in Ireland shortly thereafter.
Fast forward to Henry IV’s usurpation. Legally, he had a problem. There was another living under-aged Mortimer heir (he quickly took the boy hostage and raised him alongside his own children). Richard abdicated the crown to Henry but only under duress. The new king was advised against claiming the crown by right of arms, because the same thing could be done to him. His reign was riddled with rebellions, and because things didn’t improve like he promised, people started remembering Richard with nostalgia. They wanted the old king back, and rumors of his escape to Scotland only added fuel to the proverbial fire.
Henry IV only ruled for a little over thirteen years, and the last half of his reign he was a very sick man. There were times he couldn’t rule at all and had to depend on his council. His son, the future Henry V, was ready and willing to take over; he even tried to persuade the old man to retire. But that miscarried and Henry dragged himself back into action for a short time, dismissing his son from the council and taking control again. But his days were numbered and everyone knew it. Henry V’s short and glorious reign was cut short by dysentery, and the long and pitiful reign of his infant son Henry VI drove the country into civil war. So much for the Lancastrians.
The Yorkists were descended from both Edmund Langley, the first Duke of York and Philippa, ancestor of the Mortimers. That’s why they felt they had a superior claim to the throne. But by the Wars of the Roses, the Plantagenet line was pretty much diluted. It’s ironic that Henry Tudor, father to the next dynasty, was himself actually descended from a Plantagenet through his mother. Margaret Beaufort was the last surviving member of the bastard line issuing from John of Gaunt (and legitimized by Richard II). It sounds like poetic justice to me.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Five Things – Beth Merwood @lizcity77

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Five Things’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Beth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.

Social Media Links:
Website
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

perf5.000x8.000.inddFor nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.
Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.
When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Guest Post :

A trip to the garden centre

How do I spend my time when not writing, or editing, or reading? Well, often I spend it weeding or carrying out some other task amongst the flower beds.
A trip to the garden centre is something to look forward to as well, and I think a lot of us will agree, makes for a reviving and inspiring interlude. It’s important to make sure to allow enough time for a visit: it’s a place where it’s easy to get carried away, to become absorbed by the items on sale and all the possibilities that they conjure.
To start with, there’s a lot of looking to be done. It’s always good to wander through the tree section. For me, that’s a place to dream of having a fruit orchard. I imagine the spring blossom on a cool sunny morning, a few pigs or sheep grazing under the branches.
It seems that gardeners love their ornaments and furnishings, and next I find myself surrounded by grand stone seats, wooden outhouses and glass houses, too large for my space but still enjoyable to see and admire.
In another section lie the accoutrements that might encourage other beings to join us in our outdoor hideaways. Water bowls and bird tables. There are bee houses, insect towers and butterfly hotels on offer. A variety of food for all sorts of birds and beasts can be bought, and plenty of seeds are available that, if grown, could attract and make welcome more of the true owners and inhabitants of our little pieces of the outside world.
Even coming away with a small item, perhaps a new garden tool, a pot, or a piece of garden furniture fills us humans with a positive feeling. It will be pleasurable to go out into the garden later with the perfect implement for the job at the ready. The sheds confirm, that over the years, this has been a common finding, at least for members of my own family. The little buildings are stuffed with implements old and new, practical and experimental. And much as I like a new garden tool, I also love an aged one, with woodworm in the handle, the metal dull and coarse compared to the arrogant shiny stainless steel of the modern version. Some of the older implements remain unfathomable to me; I can’t work out their purpose at all. Others are so simple and throw up visions of a past heyday, in summer fields and expansive plots. I’ve kept a simple tool which involves two wooden spikes joined by robust garden string. The twine is wound round one of the wooden pieces: you push the empty reel into the ground and unwind until, at the distance you require, you push in the other spike. It’s unsophisticated, but perfect for marking a row to plant vegetables or for digging the line of a new flower bed.
A morning cup of coffee on a folding chair on the lawn; reading a book in the shade of a tree; a cool drink with a friend on a terrace or patio on a mild evening, the light fading.
So, car laden with new pots and compost, bird seed, an irresistible watering can, even some flowers — young bedding plants — I’m going home to while away a few hours on a small but special patch of land.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Rose’s Ever After – Chrissie Bradshaw @ChrissieBeee

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Rose’s Ever After’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Association Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker who writes contemporary and historical family sagas.
Chrissie has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking her dog on the beach, travelling or spending time with her family and friends. She would love to hear from readers.

Website
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Synopsis :

Rose has a promising future stretching out before her until a cruel twist of fate seizes it. Will she overcome her heartache as she tries to build a new life? Rose returns to the safe haven of Linwood colliery and her warm-hearted family. As she settles into life in the colliery rows, Rose makes an astounding discovery and a long lost family member appears who makes demands on them all..
Chrissie Bradshaw’s emotionally gripping historical reads have a northern Catherine Cookson vibe with a modern attitude. ‘Rose’s Ever After’ follows on from ‘Rose’s Choice’ yet it can be enjoyed as a stand alone novel
Read ‘Rose’s Ever After’ to follow the twists and turns of Rose’s eventful life. Will the rugged path ahead, full of challenges, lead her to a new ‘happily ever after’?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
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Guest Post :

Hi Stefanie
It’s so lovely to be invited into your magic wor(l)d again, thank you!
This post is looking at names given to characters in books and to real-life children. I wrote it ‘tongue in cheek’ so I hope your readers like it and it gives them something to smile at and think about.
Cheers Chrissie

What’s in a name?

I hate to disagree with Will Shakespeare but, for me, a rose needs to be called a rose to smell sweet. ‘Bladderwort’s Ever After’ just wouldn’t do it as a title for my latest book!
When I was young, we used to find Yarrow, a pretty hedgerow flower and pick bouquets. It was called ‘old man’s baccy’ in our neck of the woods and our mother wouldn’t have it in the house. Was it the name? There might have been room for a vase of wild yarrow.
The gift of a bunch of piss-the-beds, which were meant to have a diuretic effect, didn’t get over the threshold either. Dandelion, from the French ‘dent de lion’ meaning lion’s tooth, sounds much more attractive and refers to the jagged leaves of the plant. However, the French do also use the name ‘pissenlit’ because of its diuretic effects.
I rest my case; plant names are important and I want roses, with their lovely name, for a sweet smelling bouquet. Rose is the name of my main character in ‘Rose’s Choice’ and ‘Rose’s Ever After’ and, if you look at the cover,I’m sure you’ll agree I that it suits her perfectly.
The naming of children and of characters in books is a serious undertaking. I spend lots of time choosing my character’s monikers. They can usually withstand a ‘strong’ name because they are fully grown and I can ensure that they live up to their name. The main protagonist in one of my earlier books is Cleo – I know she is wilful , beautiful, a tad selfish, and has the strong features and glossy dark hair of a Cleopatra. This is a perfect name for a grown up and one that only the brave would dare choose for a tiny 7 lb baby girl.
Baby’s names -what about naming our children? Choosing something they’ll live with throughout their lives is a grave responsibilty. These days, I see some parents playing about with them almost recklessly. There should be ground rules don’t you think?
Of her own name, the late Peaches Geldof said:
“Mine has haunted me all of my life, and will continue to do so. I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit. I’m not Jane or Sarah or Samantha: I am Peaches. This doesn’t make sense to me at all. (My dad told me it was because he and my mum were on a Tennessee Williams trip at the time.) Then again, I was going to be called Angel Delight at one point, so I suppose I can count myself lucky.”
Here are my personal feelings on naming both children and characters in my books – I realise that you might disgree with some.
• No fruit – Apples, Mango or Melons won’t do.
• No telescopic names from the parents -Chrisbert, Tomelia or Gilliam don’t hold up.
• Nothing reminiscent of hard materials unless they’re jewels – Woody, Pebbles, Sandy , Clint, Cliff aren’t good but Emerald, Amber and Pearl are fine.
• Nothing with an X – they never sound like that anyway.
• No places with conception connotations – Paris, Valetta,Toyota, Africa, Whitley Bay.
• No baby names like Dolly, Angel, Princess or Munchkin – these are names that will not sit well when the child is school age. Schooldays are hard enough so don’t inflict them on children – keep them for small cuddly beings. Angel my cat was angelic and cuddly so she fitted this name perfectly.
Like most people, I rarely admit that I don’t like a name, do you? I have set responses to baby names. Otis? -interesting! Xanadu how cute! Chicago? Great town to be named after! We must consider that Chintzia, Muconium, Millennia, Zirconia and Sambucca may lose their sparkle but a Rose or a Lily will always be sweet! I must be biased towards flowers – my latest family saga, Rose has a sweet baby daughter called Lily.
I’ve listed groundrules, but I must confess that I believe that some rules are meant to be broken and let me be the first to say that my family’s most recent generation has a fine variety of rule-breaking names! I’m used to them now and find they fit each youngster absolutely beautifully. Xenia -perfect for a delightful girl, Arlie – unusual and just fitting for a handsome boy and Ora – a pretty name for a sweet girl.
I wonder what names will crop up in the next generation of your family? Send me any unusal ones to add to my list.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds