Welcome to Amy Rose’s Parlour…Elizabeth Ellen Carter ~ Author, Novelist

Amy Rose Uncategorized

Welcome to my blog, Elizabeth. You are my first ever guest author so please, come in, sit down and make yourself at home.

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Congratulations on your recent release WARRIOR’S SURRENDER! I loved your first published novel MOONSTONE OBSESSION—set in Georgian England, and post-revolutionary France. However, WARRIOR’S SURRENDER, is set in medieval England. What inspired you to write about such a different period of history?

Believe it or not, there is a connection between the two!

When I was researching Enlightenment philosophy to get a better understanding of the  political and philosophical underpinnings of the French Revolution and its aftermath, I learned that belief that people in the Medieval world thought the world was flat was a myth that was begun in the early 1800s – when there strong anti-Catholic church sentiment which was fostered in universities from the French Revolution onwards.

That had me thinking, what else do we believe about the Medieval period that is false? The more I started reading about the period, the most I appreciated that it was actually a vibrant, inventive and stimulating time!

Your attention to detail and the historical accuracy in your books is impressive, Elizabeth. I also love the way you effortlessly weave historical facts into the fabric of your story without overwhelming the reader. Would you like to share a particular aspect of early medieval history that you incorporated into WARRIOR’S SURRENDER?

One of the fun and most demanding parts of writing Warrior’s Surrender was accurately depicting a trial by combat scene which occurs at the climax of the book.

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Fortunately, just as Warrior’s Surrender was beginning to form in my mind, I happened across a documentary by National Geographic that took a look at the works of a medieval German fightmaster by the name of Talhoffer, who in 1459 wrote an illustrated book on effective fight techniques and these were re-enacted by stunt men. It was fascinating stuff.

For instance, if you are unarmed (apart from your sword) and were ambushed by a fully armoured man, you might think you were toast.

Not so.

All of the sword is designed to be used as a weapon. As you can see from this image here…

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The unamoured man is using the pommel of his sword as a weapon. Swung with enough power, it would give someone a pounding headache at the very least! At the worst, a depressed skull fracture.

Medieval swords were not sharp all the way to the blade. The steel was quite dull close to the hilt, which means you could use the sword like a dagger in close quarters combat.

Trial by combat was a method of Germanic law to settle accusations in the absence of witnesses or a confession in which two parties in dispute fought in single combat; the winner of the fight was proclaimed to be right. In essence, it was a judicially sanctioned duel. It remained in use throughout the European Middle Ages, gradually disappearing in the course of the 16th century. Wager of battle, as the trial by combat was called in English, appears to have been introduced into the common law of the Kingdom of England following the Norman conquest and remained in use for the duration of the High and Late Middle Ages.

Strange but true – women could elect to have a trial by combat. Talhoffer describes it here:

Da Statt Wie Man vnd Frowen / mit ainander kempffen soellen vnd / stand hie In dem anfanng.?Da statt die frow / fry vnd wyl schlahen vnd / hatt ain stain In dem Sleer / wigt vier oder finf pfund. ?So statt er In der / gruben bis an die / waichin vnd ist / der kold so lang / als Ir der Schleeer / von der hand.

Here is how a man and woman should fight each other, and this is how they begin. Here the woman stands free and wishes to strike; she has in the cloth a stone that weighs four or five pounds. He stands in a hole up to his waist, and his club is as long as her sling.

And this illustration particularly:

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Hie hatt Sie ain schlag / volbracht. ?Nun hatt er den schlag versetzt / vnd gefangen vnd wyl Sie zu / Im ziehen vnd noetten.

Here she has struck a blow. Now he has deflected the blow and caught it, and wishes to pull her to him and subdue her.

Fascinating stuff, Elizabeth! Now I think it’s time for a completely frivolous question! The Norman hero of WARRIOR’S SURRENDER, Baron Sebastian de la Croix and your heroine, the Saxon, Lady Alfreya, are both very strong characters. If your book was made into a movie, who would you love to cast in their respective roles?

I love this question! I do have a fantasy cast and that is Ian Somerhalder as Sebastian and Julianne Hough as Lady Alfreya

Five quick hot-seat questions. Choose your favourite…

  • Tea or coffee?
    • Coffee first up in the morning and a cup of tea last thing before bed.
  • French fries or chocolate?
    • Oooh chocolate! Definitely chocolate – especially dark chocolate.
  • Red or white wine? 
    • Both! It’s mostly red wine, but there is nothing like a glass of chilled crisp white on a hot summer’s afternoon.
  • Beach or mountain retreat? 
    • Mountain for me!
  • Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen) or James Bond (Daniel Craig of course)? 
    • Daniel Craig, he has a slightly ‘bastard’ edge which I love.

About Warrior’s Surrender:

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A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…

Northumbria, 1077. In the years following William the Conqueror’s harrying of the North, Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick returns to her family home after seven years in exile. But instead of returning victorious as her dead father had promised, she returns defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.

To save her gravely ill brother’s life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy. As Alfreya gets to know her new husband, she finds he’s not the monster she feared, and their marriage of convenience soon becomes a bond of passion. But Sebastian is a man with a secret—one that could destroy him.

As a series of brutal murders haunt their nights, the man who betrayed Alfreya’s father returns claiming to be her betrothed. He has learned Sebastian’s secret and will use it to further his own ambition—using Sebastian’s own family—which will destroy Sebastian and mark him a traitor, and plunge an unprepared England into war with the Scots…

Excerpt from Warrior’s Surrender:

Frey suppressed a scream as she watched her husband duck and the blade scraped noisily along the edge of his helmet.

Sebastian dropped his own shield, pivoted, and answered with an upward-angled drive that missed his opponent’s thigh by a finger’s width.

Talbot sat bolt upright and turned back to Duncan.

“Did you see that? The baron’s helmet shifted; the blow must have sliced the leather chin strap.”

Duncan glared at Talbot and pointedly nodded at Frey. The young knight murmured his apologies, which Frey acknowledged with a distracted nod.

The absence of shields spurred both men on. Attacks and answering blows increased in pace.

Drefan concentrated his attack with left and right broad swipes now centered at Sebastian’s head. On a return swing, Sebastian swept his blade upwards, opening a gash along the length of Drefan’s right forearm. Red rivulets seeped through the tunic where flesh was exposed.

First blood.

Drefan dropped his sword and clutched at his arm. Sebastian held his sword at the ready, waiting for his opponent’s next decision. Drefan bent at the waist, gasping from the long exertion and the pain of his wound.

“End this now!” Sebastian told him, loud enough for the crowd to hear. “Call craven and it will be over.”

Buy WARRIOR’S SURRENDER

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Meet Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp – Meet My Character Blog Tour

Amy Rose Uncategorized

I’ve been tagged by fellow historical romance author, the lovely Elizabeth Ellen Carter, to take part in this fun blog hop. Each week, an author is tagged. Follow the links and discover more about a character in either a newly released or upcoming title, or a work-in-progress.

Next week (1st September), I tag Regency romance author Cassandra Samuels .

Meet Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp (aka Mrs. Beth Eliott), the heroine in my recently released Regency romance ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’. Edinburgh castle over dramatic clouds, Scotland, UK Eilean Tor Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, October 1815

Dear Reader,

Thank you for stopping by to hear a little about me and my journey heretofore. My name is Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp, lately known as Mrs. Beth Eliott (although you must promise not to tell anyone about my alias, my life may depend upon it).

You see, I have recently left my husband, Hugh de Lancey Harcourt, the Earl of Beauchamp, and have gone into hiding. It was not a decision I made lightly. We have been married three years now, and it is hard for me to admit this, but my husband has never loved me. We are long-estranged. I loved him once, but it is hard to continue to care for a man who professes you to be pretty but dull, and who barely gives you the time of day. I know he takes mistresses, and worse—prostitutes from the street—to his bed, rather than me. The shocking knowledge once tore at my heart, but now…I just feel saddened. Strange how I have grown used to feeling quite alone.

Indeed, it is because of Hugh’s dissolute way of life that I have been compelled to flee—I recently discovered he has syphilis, or ‘the pox’. One of his mistresses wrote to me but a month ago, warning me to leave before Hugh passed on this terrible, incurable and ultimately deadly malady. She professed that she had contracted the pox from my husband and I am inclined to believe her. Now, you are probably wondering why. Strangely, her letter held a ring of truth to it. She informed me that Hugh sported an incriminating mark of the disease—an ulcer called a chancre on his hand. I have seen it, but Hugh—arrogant and obstinate as ever—refused to discuss it with me, or consult our physician. Even more terrifying was the fact that shortly after I received the letter and had begun to lay careful plans to leave, Hugh suddenly—and uncharacteristically—wanted to bed me again; to beget an heir were his words to me on the very last night I spent at Harcourt House, our London residence. But I can never be intimate with my husband again. If I did share his bed, I and any babe conceived, would be damned as much as Hugh. And I cannot countenance such a diabolical act.

So I left him. With no personal fortune—Hugh has always controlled the purse strings—I have been compelled to take on a new persona, that of Mrs. Beth Eliott, widowed governess. As a patroness of the Widows of Waterloo Trust—a charity that finds paid, decent work for women who have lost their husbands at Waterloo—I heard of a long vacant governess’s post within the Marquess of Rothsburgh’s household in an isolated part of Aberdeenshire. Quite desperate, I journeyed here with my self-penned letter of reference from ‘the astute Lady Beauchamp’, only to discover that Lord Rothsburgh no longer requires a governess. After the recent, accidental death of his wife, their young daughter now resides in Edinburgh with his sister’s family. To make matters worse, on my arrival, I succumbed to a terrible ague that was plaguing the district, and to my mortification, Lord Rothsburgh himself took part in a good deal of my care.

My friends in the Widows of Waterloo Trust had warned me that Lord Rothsburgh was quite the misanthrope—a lone wolf—but I have not found him to be churlish or unsociable at all. I have observed in the short time I have been here at Eilean Tor, that he is quite mercurial and has a strange, perhaps even wicked sense of humor. But beneath all that, he is quite charming—and devilishly handsome, even dangerously so. Long ago, I gave up on the idea of ever having love in my life. And I must certainly not entertain the notion now. I might be physically attracted to Lord Rothsburgh but I cannot, must not, give into wicked temptation and cultivate any tender feelings for the man, despite his care and concern for my well-being. I have almost recovered from the ague and hope to hear of another governess’s position very soon. Indeed, Lord Rothsburgh is currently visiting his sister, Lady Maxwell, in Edinburgh to make enquiries—on my behalf—about other vacant posts.

If there are no other positions about, I really do not know what I shall do. All I know is that I cannot go back to Hugh.

I must go now, but thank you for listening. Please keep my secrets safe.

Warmest regards,

E

Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal – published by Secret Cravings Publishing, August 6th, 2014.

You can find all the buy links for my novel on the ‘Buy Amy Rose’s Book Page’ on this website.

New Release ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’

Amy Rose Uncategorized

Edinburgh castle over dramatic clouds, Scotland, UK

I’m thrilled to announce that my full length ‘Regency noire’ style romance – ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’ – was recently published with Secret Cravings Publishing in August!

A runaway countess finds love when she least expects it…but she can’t hide from her past forever.

Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp, fears for her life. When she discovers her dissolute and long-estranged husband has syphilis—and he wants to beget an heir no matter the cost—she flees to a remote part of Scotland to begin a new life as the widowed governess, Mrs. Beth Eliott at Eilean Tor Castle.

When Mrs. Eliott unexpectedly arrives on his doorstep, the reclusive and recently widowed Marquess of Rothsburgh is both irritated and intrigued. No longer in need of a governess—his young daughter now resides with his sister’s family in Edinburgh—he proposes the beautiful widow fill a position of a different kind…

Torn between staying true to her marriage vows and her wanton attraction to the devilishly handsome marquess, Elizabeth struggles against the temptation to become his mistress. But living a lie is not easy when you have fallen in love. And secrets always have a way of coming out…

Here are all the buy links:

 

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Amy Rose Uncategorized

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I thought we’d have a change of venue for this next post to my other ‘office’ (and yes I have eaten a macaron or two…).

This blog tour is where authors answer four questions about their writing process. My author friend Susanne Bellamy—who tagged me to participate in this hop—posted hers last week. She has had two contemporary stories published ‘White Hot Ginger’ and a sexy novella ‘One Night in Sorrento’. Not only that, Susanne has also recently signed with Entangled Publishing to write Book 4 of the five book continuity series, The Emerald Quest.

You can check out Susanne’s writing process here: http://www.susannebellamy.com/my-blog.html

Now to the questions…

What am I working on?

At the moment I have two ‘works-in-progress’ both quite different from each other.

I absolutely love historical romance of all kinds, particularly those set in the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras. Hence, one of my WIPs is a Regency romance.  Although, for the first time in one of my books, my hero and heroine actually attend a ton ball. My other completed stories—one a Scottish-set Regency and the other a Jacobite Rebellion tale—haven’t featured balls or soirees at all! I’m particularly enjoying playing around with banter-laden dialogue between the hero and heroine in my new WIP. Although I’m finding that I have to watch out for anachronisms. Oh, what I wouldn’t do for a wonderful etymology dictionary! I estimate that the word count for this story will be somewhere between 85-100,000 words. I do tend to write quite long novels; both of my completed single title manuscripts are both over the 100k word mark.

My other WIP is a novella (estimated length of 15-20 000 words) with a working title ‘Long Gone Girl’. It’s not exactly contemporary—it’s set in the 1950’s—but it’s certainly more modern in tone than my other stories. I’ve had great fun researching a new era as well. It’s based on a second chance romance trope between a nurse and pilot, both of whom have just returned to their home town in New Jersey after the Korean War. I’m hoping this one will be finished within the next month.

Aside from writing, I’m also researching and planning a cross-genre trilogy—it’s a combination of historical romance/murder mystery/paranormal story. I’m hoping it will have a dark, gothic edginess to it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think I’m a bit of a rule breaker and boundary tester when it comes to my characters and plots. Whilst I love reading traditional historical romances, I also love stories that are a bit left of center, especially dark, gritty high-stakes romances. Australia’s Anna Campbell is one of my favorite authors in this genre.

My second novel fits into the category of a dark Regency. My heroine who is in an estranged marriage, leaves her syphilis infected husband rather than stay and become a victim when he decides it’s time to beget an heir. And then she falls for someone else. So I guess I could safely say that I’m breaking some of the rules of the traditional romance with this story! I’m also testing the boundaries a little in my new Regency WIP. The widowed heroine in this story was in a marriage of convenience for many years—her husband just happened to be the lover of her twin brother!

My erotic Regency short story ‘An Improper Proposition’—which has just been accepted for publication by the Australian boutique publisher Steam eReads—also features a cougar/upstairs-downstairs romance. So again, it’s not a traditional Regency romance by any means.

Why do I write what I do?

I love writing and I have wanted to write books since childhood. Indeed, I fell in love with historical fiction when I first read Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ (I think I was in Year 4 of primary school and I probably didn’t understand half of what I read!). Of course I read titles from a wide variety of genres now, but historical romances are my firm favorites. It seems natural for me to want to write within a genre I love so much. Plus I love history, castles and grand manor houses, as well as researching about all of the period clothing that was worn at the time! As for my boundary-testing plot ideas…I’ve always had an active imagination and like the idea of writing something that’s a little bit different…

How does your writing process work?

I am very much a plotter and a bit of a pantser. I like to have the characters worked out and the whole plot mapped out before I start to write. But I’m not rigid…I don’t plan scene-by scene. And I’m happy to follow the lead of my characters. I love it when they tell me what to do!

(I’ve posted another blog today ‘Getting Inside the Writer’s Mind’ if you’d like to read more about my process.)

Thanks for dropping by and reading my post. Next on this rolling blog post is the lovely Alyssa J. Montgomery, author of contemporary romance—her post is due out on 24th February. You can find out all about Alyssa’s books and her writing process on her website and blog: http://www.alyssajmontgomery.com

 

 

 

 

Getting Inside a Writer’s Mind

Amy Rose Uncategorized

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Welcome! Come on over and grab a cuppa and a macaron or two and find out how my mind works!

A huge thank you to the fabulous and multi-talented author and editor, Annie Seaton for asking me to participate in this rolling blog post ‘Getting Inside a Writer’s Mind.’ Annie writes contemporary and paranormal romance and has had the occasional foray into the historical steampunk world. You can visit Annie’s blog and find out all about her fabulous books here: http://www.annieseatonromance.com

In the last week I’ve signed my first ever publishing contract for an erotic Regency short story ‘An Improper Proposition’ with the all Australian boutique romance publisher Steam eReads. And this is one of my very first blog posts! So it’s been an exciting couple of weeks to say the least!

So where do I begin?….What is my writing process?

When some of my extended family first heard about my ambition to write novels and hopefully one day become published, my sister-in-law said to me (over a glass of wine or 2 or 3, but who’s counting?), “How do you even go about writing a novel? I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

She asked a great question. And at the time there was no simple answer. Not that I could really put into words anyway.

Part of why I write and how I write seems to be just related to the way my mind works (scary huh!). I’ve always wanted to write books…since childhood (as I know many other writers do). For many years—until I got up the courage to actually have a go at writing one of the many stories going on in my head—I dabbled at writing…I day-dreamed and plotted in notebooks, stopped and started stories (I still have several boxes of all these notebooks in my scarily messy spare room), read voraciously, bought and read a couple of craft books on writing popular fiction…So I guess I had been practicing my writing skills for many years before I finally knuckled down to write a whole book 18 months ago…And somehow I just kind of subconsciously knew how to go about it…for the most part. It took me 6 months to write a 100,00 word novel which ended up coming second in the 2013 Emerald Award—Single Title section (I’m still amazed at that result). So I must have got some things right with my process.

But I’m definitely still learning and honing my skills and expect to for a very long time. Since I joined Romance Writers Australia at the end of 2012, I’ve certainly learnt a whole lot more about the art of writing romance. Now after having written two full manuscripts and a short story, I think I actually can put into words what my particular writing process is…

Here’s what I do:

  • I usually get an idea that just won’t leave me alone. It can be about a character (the hero or heroine), a particular scene or situation these characters are in…and I usually develop the whole story from there…Inspiration can come from something I see, music, something I’ve read. I’ve yet to get stuck with coming up with a story idea (touch wood). And I always have a notepad on hand to jot down ideas or snippets of conversation whenever inspiration strikes (even at 3 in the morning!)
  • I don’t use character charts or interview my characters, or write a particular archetype (not consciously any way). I just tend to develop my own character profiles for the main protagonists in tandem with the plotting phase. I generally work out the physical appearance (that’s the fun part), names, age, personalities (strengths and weaknesses), backstory and GMC (goal/motivation/conflict) of the main characters. When creating the hero and heroine, I really try to get into their headspaces to make sure I’m able to write from a deep point of view perspective.
  • I am a plotter and a bit of a pantser. I have to work out the whole story arc before I begin writing. I don’t use novel outlines/templates; I’ve found I haven’t needed to. Rather, I usually start plotting with pen and paper. The ideas just seem to flow better that way. Then I put together a word document with key plot points dot pointed out. Although I’m not rigid about planning all scenes. I love the spontaneity of writing especially when the characters seem to come alive and take over. Since joining and getting to know other writers in RWA, it seems a lot of others experience this special type of madness. So I’m glad it’s not just me who has voices in their heads!
  • Recently I’ve also started creating a visual board or collage for each story, thanks to Google Images and Pinterest. That’s a whole lot of fun too!
  • With writing historicals there is usually some research involved. But it depends on the story as to how much I need to do. I’ve been reading historical set novels and have always been fascinated by history so I love this part of the process. And thank heavens for the internet! That has made research so much easier.
  • Once all the planning and research is done, I get going. I try to write every day and tend to edit as I go. So at ‘The End’ I usually have a fairly clean manuscript.

So I guess that’s about it! Like I said, I’m still learning. I’d love to attend more craft workshops (other than online ones) or join a writer’s group but that can be tricky given that I live in a rural area…But we’ll see what the year brings!

Next on the list for this rolling blog is Australian author Darry Fraser. Darry has recently had several titles released with Steam eReads—her latest, ‘Anything for Love’ was just released on Valentine’s Day! Here’s the link to Darry’s website and blog here: http://www.darryfraser.com