So here we are again, at the beginning of another November. At this time of the year the winter sun shines directly into my kitchen window. It acts as a spotlight to any dust or marks that I have missed. And I miss a lot.
Oh dear, I do not think I would make a very good housekeeper! I would much rather be reading a book.
And talking of books, at the end of this piece there is the chance for you to win a few (four!) plus extra goodies.
Those who know me from Social media will probably realise that I have moved. A big move. Massive. After 30 years in one house I have moved to the Scottish Highlands. To Wester Ross. It has been described as Britain’s last great wilderness, and with good reason. Moving here is not just another country, it is another life and a very different one. The language is almost the same. Almost, but not quite. One has to think more about it. No one asks where you live, it is where are you staying, as if you are just passing through.
Hospitality is generous, tea, cake or biscuits are often offered as a matter of course. Which means I need to brush up on my baking skills.
Okay, I doubt I will EVER bake anything this good!
The Scottish Highlands from a writer’s point of view
I travel through this land with my writer’s hat on. The landscape feels old. Continue reading →
Today I am calm, relaxed. I wanted to share that with you.
I have just returned from a few days touring the Highlands. The North Coast 500 to be exact. And what has this to do with writing, you may ask? Well, it does us all good to get away from the desk occasionally, to be inspired by new locations, different ways of life.
So. It is Almost Out (just like one of Heyer’s hopeful young ladies of the Regency). The Highborn Housekeeper. My book about a noblewoman turned cook. A kind of Regency Nigella.
And funnily enough, my heroine resembles her, too. In my head.
Picture by Brian Minkoff-London Pixels
Controlling Fallen Women?
A few years ago I wrote about the fallen women of Compton Parva. (That was my working title. It was published by Harlequin/Mills & Boon as The Ton’s Most Notorious Rake.)
One of the “fallen women” was Nancy, the big-hearted, big-bosomed earl’s daughter who was the mother hen of the group, looking after everyone.
Controlling Nancy? She was far too large a personality to be confined to a bit part in one book.
I fought it, I truly did, but no. She would NOT lie down. Continue reading →
I have done it! I have finished my latest historical romance!
Hooray, I hear you say. At last.
It has been polished, re-polished and sent winging its merry way to The Editor, the god-like creature who will pronounce judgement upon my baby. As some old writer hack said, “parting is such sweet sorrow.”
It is an anxious time.
But while I wait, chewing my nails to the quick, I have been pondering on Life, the Universe and…
Hi, Sarah here. If you think writing is easy, think again!
Yes, an author might have a burst of creativity, ideas may come thick and fast, but translating those scenes in one’s head into a publishable book can be tortuous. Sometimes anything seems a better option than actually putting words on the page.
Recently, Liz Fielding and I sat down to discuss the problem of procrastination. Then we were distracted!
Liz: Moving is a two-way problem. Either you’re upsizing, in which case you don’t have enough furniture, or downsizing, in which case you have too much of everything.
My Old Man said Follow the Van…
Sarah: To make things worse, I moved twice within twelve months (I know, madness, but we had A Plan… more of that later).
Liz: Aargh! I have just downsized from a five bedroom, four reception house to a two bedroom flat. I had too much of everything and what I’d have liked to have kept was mostly the wrong size. Where on earth do you start!
Sarah: I know exactly what you mean! We had a dream of moving to the west coast of Scotland but we had no property in mind when we moved out of our old house, so no idea what we would need to keep. All I knew was that we would not need muchContinue reading →
As anyone researching the Regency period knows, the rake — the real Regency rake — was dangerous, unscrupulous and sometimes even a vicious womaniser.
I am very sorry, dear reader, if I have shattered your illusions.
Many of us like the fantasy of “taming” a bad boy, but most of us know in our hearts that it is nigh on impossible. Not quite impossible, of course. There are exceptions to the rule, but these are probably as rare in real life as the number of real live dukes in existence (which may be material for another story, another time).
There is always something to research for a new book. Often it seems obvious — military history for instance, when one sets a book around the Battle of Waterloo; or costume details for the period.
We have to invent a history for each of our characters. It may not feature in the actual book, but it is very necessary. As my latest book has proved. Continue reading →
Dogs are very popular with writers. Think of fictitious ones like Heyer’s Italian Greyhound, Tina, in The Grand Sophy, Bulls Eye the fighting dog belonging to Bill Sykes in Dickens’s Oliver Twist and Timmy, the fifth member of Blyton’s Famous Five. Even Conan Doyle’s “gigantic hound”. We love them all.
Not quite Heyer’s Tina
The Dog in Sarah’s Life — Willow
Many writers have dogs of their own (some, like Liberta’s very own Sophie, have cats, but that, as they say, is another story). I must hold up my hand. I have a dog.
Sarah with her faithful friend
First things first, let’s get something straight. Willow is a dog. Yes, yes, I hear you say, we can see that.
He is a male dog. He looks so elegant, even pretty, and being called Willow, it is no wonder that many people think he is a girl.
We adopted Willow as a rescue dog when he was just over three years old. We thought it would be better to keep his name than change it to something more, er, butch, such as Bouncer or Max.
Adopting Willow was one of those serendipity moments that happen, sometimes. Continue reading →