Baby name winner!

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Image: Pixabay

Wow, I am absolutely astounded by how popular this baby naming competition was! Thank you so much to everyone who entered on this blog and on my Facebook page. I found it incredibly difficult to choose as there were so many wonderful suggestions and I was going to go for a lucky dip but then this particular comment pulled my heart strings and I knew we had a winner. The name sounded right and the reason behind it even more so.

From Helen Boreham:

Isabelle – a name that is passed on through generations. A name worthy of a small child or a great-grandmother and that suits any nationality. A name I gave my gorgeous girl. I dedicated this name to your God-child in the new book and to my girl who is on a difficult journey and one that’s finding herself through reading.

Congratulations Helen (and Isabelle!). Please get in touch through my contact page with your postal details so I can send your prize of a Spanish fan. And your name will be added to acknowledgments when the book is released. 

Thank you again to everyone who entered and I’ll be sure to run another contest in the not so distant future to name another character. 

Happy reading!

 

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Behind the Story: Alison Stuart

Alison-8112-LR-Color.jpgToday, I’d like to welcome the lovely Alison Stuart who is an award winning Australian author. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published seven full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories.  Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.

Take it away, Alison!

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today, Alli.

Rather than talk about a single book I thought I would talk a little bit about my English Civil War series GUARDIANS OF THE CROWN.

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An early piece of Alison’s writing – age 15 years old

Firstly, why the English Civil War?

If I had a commercial bone in my body I would NOT be writing stories set in the English Civil War. Don’t think enough people haven’t told me that. I’ve heard it all… ‘great story, fabulous characters, can’t sell the period’. I have a small glimmer of hope that over the last few years a few more writers are venturing into this hitherto unknown territory and together we are building interest in what, for me, is the most interesting period of English history.

Because I love it… it has been my passion for nearly my whole life. It began with my father, who loved history and passed on his passion to me. In the days before television every Sunday afternoon he would read to my brother and me. The thing about my father – he loathed ‘children’s’ stories. Even when I was sick in hospital with meningitis, he sat by my bed for hours on end reading Hiawatha. One of the books he chose was Daphne Du Maurier’s The King’s General… and that was it, I was hooked on roundheads and cavaliers. The passion was sealed with the film CROMWELL (Alec Guiness, Richard Harris and a very young Timothy Dalton as Prince Rupert).

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Alison in a civil war Pikeman’s helmet

What is the attraction?

Here are the reasons why I love this period….

  • What’s not to love about men in large hats with feathers, lace collars, bucket top boots and large swords…? It is pure swashbuckling… every pirate fantasy you ever had (without the pirates!). Think THE MUSKETEERS…
  • Family legend has it that I am descended from a “regicide” (one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I). While no evidence has been found to support that claim I did recently discover another twiglet on the family tree with blood on his hands. Anyway who ever let fact get in the way of a good family legend!
  • The very idea of a Civil War throws up so many possibilities for an over active imagination: father against son, brother against brother, friends destined to become foes! Intrigues, plots, assassinations, revenge… What about the families… the wives, the mothers…the lovers?
  • Just the sheer drama… a King executed! Unthinkable and yet to be repeated 150 years later during the French revolution. What did this mean for the ordinary people of England?

What about The Guardians of the Crown?

This trilogy is not set during the war itself but in the ten years that followed the King’s execution (called the ‘Interregnum’) when England toyed with republicanism and Cromwell and his puritans ruled. 

The series takes the fates of three young men, bound by a friendship born on the battlefield of Worcester (3 September 1651). They will pay a heavy price for their loyalty to the King, Jonathan Thornton (BY THE SWORD) will be a hunted man in his own country, Kit Lovell (THE KING’S MAN) will sacrifice his honour to save someone he loves and his brother Daniel (EXILE’S RETURN) will endure years of imprisonment, torture and slavery. Their only hope is the restoration of a monarchy. And of course… the women who love them… Kate (BY THE SWORD), torn by her loyalties to the parliamentary cause and the man she loves, Thamsine (THE KING’S MAN) abandoned, penniless and friendless on the streets of London and Agnes (EXILE’S RETURN) whose love for her sister’s children will drive her to risk everything to save them.

And they say a picture speaks a thousand words…

Click here to see Youtube trailer

 

Guardians of the CrownThe first book in the series is BY THE SWORD

From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them.

England 1650: In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life  forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

AMAZON LINK… click HERE or visit Alison’s WEBSITE for full details.

Connect with Alison at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or subscribe to her newsletter for exclusive free reads, contests and more…

 

 

 

Name that baby!

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Image from Pixabay

Hello all! I’m currently writing my new book and I’m finding it difficult naming my heroine’s godchild. This part of the story is set in the late 1940s, the family is Australian, and the baby is a girl.

I’ll leave the contest open until Tuesday, 19 April, 23.59 AEST so if you’d like to hit me with your suggestions, do so in the comments below! I’ll select one winner and you’ll receive a super extra special thank you in acknowledgments for your contribution. I’ll also send you a lovely Spanish fan.

Right. Ready. Set. Name that baby!

Behind the Story: Joanne Dannon

profileToday we welcome the delight Joanne Dannon to tell us about her story behind the story of Falling for Mr Wrong. Joanne writes to give her readers the experience she still loves to savor—indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Welcome Joanne and please, tell us your story!

The Story behind the Story is perfect for my book, “Falling for Mr Wrong” which was published in 2015.

I started this book a few years back and got stuck around the 30K word mark. After much soul searching, I put the manuscript aside and wrote The Alex Jackson series. The first two books are now available – click here to find them.

In July 2014 I was selected to attend a dynamic women’s conference in Israel. I arrived early and spent 3 days exploring Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Although the conference was based in Jerusalem time was spent in of Tiberias and Tsfat.

I heard inspirational talks, met interesting people and had the opportunity to immerse myself in the country’s history and culture.

After 12 incredible days, I returned to Melbourne, opened my laptop and rewrote “Falling for Mr Wrong”. The words flowed as I poured all the amazing experiences I had just enjoyed into Tilly and Nate’s story.

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The Dead Sea – opening scene in Falling for Mr Wrong

Rather than just basing the story in Jerusalum, I took Nate and Tilly to beautiful northern Israel. Whether you’re religious or not, you can’t help but feel inspired by the places and events that occurred there.

Tsfat, the home to Jewish mysticism has amazing artists living there and you can immerse yourself in art and visit galleries.

In Galilee, Christians visit the places where Jesus performed his miracles, Jews visit the tombs of the Rambam and other great sages. And for the not so religious visitors, there are stunning walking tracks and hot springs to indulge in. 

The country is steeped in history and everywhere you go, there are monuments and remnants of the past that have been meticulously preserved.

I’ve loved the feedback I’ve received where readers have not only enjoyed the romance, but also the setting.

I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to go on the conference. There was a long waiting list of women, however I’d mentioned to one of the leaders that I had a valid passport and could travel last minute. Barely four weeks before the group were to leave someone had to cancel and I got their place. How lucky am I?

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Joanne in Jerusalem

GIVE AWAY – UPDATE:

The very lovely Joanne has kindly offered to send each of the commenters a copy of her e-book, Falling for Mr Wrong. Congratulations everyone and thank you so much, Joanne, for your generosity. 

Joanne is giving away an e-book of “Falling for Mr Wrong” to one reader. To enter, simply tell Joanne something wonderful that has happened to you lately. It could be seeing a burst of spring flowers or hearing positive news from a friend. Joanne will randomly give the prize to one person who comments. Give away closes Sunday, 10 April, 11.59 pm (AEST).

FallingforMrWrong-Joanne-Dannon-200x300-200x300Falling for Mr Wrong

As a nanny, Tilly Walker is more comfortable with her young charges than dodging the English press. But that’s exactly what she has to do when unwittingly caught up in a marriage scandal with a highly regarded Minister of Parliament.

Fleeing to the safety of her great-aunt in Jerusalem, the last person she imagines becoming involved with is an undercover reporter who follows her all the way from England.

Lone wolf Nathaniel Morgan-Young is a political journalist who must break Tilly’s story to vindicate past injustices, deceiving her to get the information he needs. But when Nate unexpectedly falls for the very real woman behind the Naughty Nanny scandal, he desperately wants her to know the truth.

Will he be able to convince her to trust him again, once he has his story? Can he find the right words to make her come back, mend his wounds from the past and make him whole again?

Praise for Joanne Dannon – “A handsome, mysterious Englishman; a feisty nanny and an exotic setting – what more could you ask for? Joanne Dannon delivers a sexy, emotional story with a relatable heroine and a hero worth falling for.” – Leah Ashton, RITA Award winning author.

BUY LINK FOR JOANNE’S BOOK: http://joannedannon.com/mrwrong/

Joanne Dannon is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family.  She can be found on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.  She loves to hear from readers.