New fiction (Buried River Press): Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison

Murder on the Minneapolis 

9781910208267

Flora Maguire, a young governess, is on her way home on the SS Minneapolis after the wedding of her employer’s daughter. She meets the charming Bunny Harrington on deck on the first night, after having avoided the dining room, conscious of her status among the first-class passengers.

Flora finds the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway, but when his death is pronounced an accident, she is not convinced, and, having experienced her own tragedy as a child in the form of her mother’s disappearance, is driven to find out the truth.

Flora starts asking questions, but following threats, a near drowning during a storm and a second murder, the hunt is on in earnest for a killer.

Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast. Will Flora be able to protect Edward, her charge, as well as herself, and uncover the identity of the murderer? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

Anita Davison

Anita Davison is a regular blogger for various historical blogs including Unusual Historicals and English Historical Fiction Authors, and also reviews books for the Historical Novel Review. Details of her other published novels are available on her blog: thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.com

Buy your copy of Murder on the Minneapolis here

New fiction: Dreams That Veil by Dominic Luke

Dreams That Veil9781910208236

December 1911. Twelve-year old Eliza Brannan eagerly awaits the return of her brother Roderick from university, a welcome but brief diversion from her otherwise cosy existence in the heart of Northamptonshire with her widowed mother and cousin Dorothea.

Roderick and Dorothea are growing up fast. They are forging lives and loves of their own, and Eliza feels she is being left behind. When an unexpected proposal of marriage leads Dorothea to a search for her long-lost father in the slums of London, Eliza begins to realize that the world is a bigger and more frightening place than could have ever imagined.

Dreams That Veil is the story of England basking in the calm before the storm of the First World War and of a young girl’s struggle with her transition to maturity.

Dominic Luke

Dominic Luke was born in London and studied history at the University of Birmingham. He lives in Northamptonshire and has written four previous novels: Nothing Undone Remained (Buried River Press), Aunt Letitia, Snake in the Grass, Autumn Softly Fell and  Nothing Undone Remained.

Buy your copy of Dreams That Veil here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bookseller as Romantic Heroine by Caitlin Raynes

9781910208243What Would Ginger Rogers Do? testifies to a life-long love of bookstores.  I never tire of the smell of fresh print-and-paper spicing the air, and the bright array of appealing dust jackets gleaming.  The titles shelved on those long narrow aisles each seem to whisper Your next favorite book is right here, right now.  Bookshops are physically full of promise and sensory delight, an experience the internet cannot duplicate.

I especially like bookstores with high ceilings, worn wooden floors and a little dust here and there.  The best bookshops are warmly lit, lending a glow to the shelves. No cold, utilitarian fluorescence, thank you. I feel instantly welcomed in bookshops with creaking fans and a bell over the door. These affections are clear from Carter &Co, the bookstore I created for my romantic heroine, Tosca Tonnino.  Tosca’s job at Carter &Co is Events and Publicity, scheduling author events. (These always guarantee sales because writers absolutely cannot walk out of a bookshop empty-handed.  I know this from experience, and I passed that experience on to Tosca.)

In Carter &Co, as in any bookshop, you immediately sense the implied camaraderie between the staff and the customers, confirmed readers, one and all. Or not. Booksellers are also unfailingly kind to those grouchy customers, the non-reader desperate for a gift for Weird Uncle Ned.  As a writer and avid reader, I enjoy conversations with booksellers.  I admire their enthusiasm; their swath of knowledge and taste boggles the mind.   How can they be so well read, and yet work such long hours?  What Would Ginger Rogers Do? is a sort of  love-letter to booksellers in general.

The creative nub of the novel came to me—not surprisingly—from a bookseller.   This woman once placed a book in my hand, and with reverential solemnity said, “Here, take this book.  I promise you will love it. I love it. It’s an incredible novel. I’m so convinced you’ll love it, I’ll buy it back if you don’t.”  Or maybe the shop would buy it back; I don’t remember her exact words. I bought the book. I couldn’t possibly refuse after an intro like that. However, I don’t remember if I liked it. Sad to say, I don’t remember the book at all, not even the title. The incident shines in memory because her gesture made me dream of the day when a bookseller would press a book I had written into readers’ hands, would laud my novel with such conviction and sincerity. (Though I confess that What Would Ginger Rogers Do? is not a solemn novel. Quite the contrary.)

What Would Ginger Rogers Do? is a sassy tale of sex, ambition, and assumptions that all go awry. As Tosca says, “I felt less like Ginger Rogers and more like Tess of the d’Ubervilles: I knew I had been screwed, but I wasn’t sure how it had happened.”

Tosca Tonnino loves the old, romantic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals where Ginger invariably plays  one of those crisp career women, wise-cracking, sure of herself on the dance floor and everywhere else.  Tosca’s own breezy self-assurance, taken for granted in chapter one, is shaken by the arrival of a new co-worker, the brooding Ethan James. Like most romantic heroes as far back as Heathcliff, Ethan James might be best described as tall, dark and surly. Unlike most romantic heroines, Tosca might be best described as a Francophile, flawed, funny and fond of flingettes (this last surely self-explanatory).

Though the old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies are patently false with giddy plots and silly sidekicks, they are redeemed by the timeless music, the beautiful dancing. (As one feminist critic tartly observed: Ginger does everything Fred does, only backwards and in high heels.)   Of course the audience never sees the grueling hours of work that culminate in these famous dance duets, just as the reader never sees the grueling, unromantic  hours of work that go into creating a novel, even a novel as blithe as this one.

What Would Ginger Rogers Do? does not aspire to War and Peace, just as Fred and Ginger films did not aspire to be Ben Hur. Don’t look for chariot races or the Napoleonic wars in these pages.  What Would Ginger Rogers Do? offers readers thwarted romance, an island bookstore, a super-competitive cyclist, a family secret, a literary melee, and pizza. Then too, there’s the irreverent narrator herself, Tosca Tonnino, who will enliven your shuttling, fluorescent-lit Underground commute, brighten a rainy day, or enhance a sunny afternoon.

And should you, Dear Reader, find a bookseller who places my novel in your hand, swearing that you will love this book, please Tweet me immediately. I will Favorite, Retweet and pop open a bottle of champagne, no matter the time difference.

Order your copy of What Would Ginger Rogers do here

OUT NOW: It’s in the Cards by Pamela Fudge

It’s in the Cards

Ellen Carson is still heart whole and fancy-free at forty – and that is just the way she likes it. Growing up in a crowded family home has given her a yearning for the quiet life, and watching her older siblings make a mess of their relationships has left her grimly determined to remain single. But her family are full of other ideas and, when they discover that not one, but two men from Ellen’s past have arrived in town, are keen to show that one of them must be right for Ellen.
its in the cards
Just as she is coming round to the idea of finding ‘the one’ and changing her lifelong attitude, she finds herself a confidant to those around her who have now decided that staying single was the right idea all along. Is Ellen to blame when relationships start to fail? And what is she going to do about it to get everything back the way it was?

Pamela Fudge

Pamela Fudge works as a part-time administrator at Bournemouth University and has written poetry since she was a child. She started writing fiction in 1983 and has had short stories published in most of the national women’s magazines. Her previous books, also published by Robert Hale, include High Infidelity, A Blessing in Disguise, A Change for the Better, Never be Lonely, Turn Back Time and Not What It Seems.

You can find out more about her at http://www.pamfudge.co.uk

Buy your copy of It’s in the Cards here

New fiction: Love and Freindship (sic): And Other Delusions by Beth Andrews

9780719813856Love and Freindship was written when Jane Austen was just 14, and foreshadows the conflict between moral obligation and individual desire which animates Austen’s mature comedic efforts such as Sense and Sensibility. Now updated in this sparkling satire by Beth Andrews, the story follows Isabel and her daughter Marianne when they attend the theatre in Bury St Edmunds and encounter Isabel’s old friend, Laura Lindsay, who gives her journal to Marianne to read. It is a revelation to the younger woman as she reads of one hilarious madcap romantic escapade after another.

There is love at first sight, marriage the same day, the befriending of another young woman as romantic as Laura herself, exaggerated sentiment and complete disregard for the feelings of others. Havoc inevitably ensues. This is Jane Austen retold but retaining her huge capacity for laughter and enjoyment of the absurd. The book includes the Jane Austen’s version of Love and Freindship
– complete with uncorrected spelling.

Love and Freindship is published on October 31st. Author Beth Andrews discusses how she updated Austen’s original text:

“Re-writing Jane Austen seems a bit like attempting ‘to gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet.’  Still, fools and writers (surely members of the same species) tend to rush in where angels would hesitate to set foot.  The variations on Pride and Prejudice, and Austen’s five other adult novels, are Legion.  Nobody seemed to think that Love and Freindship was worthy of similar mistreatment, but I was determined to rectify this glaring omission.

Although the heroine of this novella is unique in the Austen canon, in that she has learned absolutely nothing at the end of her story, I felt that even a third-rate novelist like myself could improve things by introducing a sub-plot in which a minor character does actually learn a thing or two.  I also recklessly abandoned the creaky epistolary style of the original, threw in references to other Austen works and even a mild joke borrowed from one of my own books, added a host of anachronisms, and committed various other atrocities such as inventing a very different ending.   The kitchen sink may be missing, but not much else.

At this point, I considered my work accomplished.  It may lack the classic melodrama of Jane Eyrehead, with its delectable madwoman in the attic (though Laura might well have evolved into such a character); nor is it explicit enough to be mistaken for a more modern masterpiece like 500 Shades of Puce.  However, in its own small way, I feel it has made a considerable contribution to the moral and intellectual decline of the present generation, and may well serve as a prime example of the nadir of artistic achievement at which Western Civilization has finally arrived.  This may seem like an idle boast to many, but the current trend in self-promotion makes outrageous hyperbole a virtual necessity (please note that I have deliberately changed the names of the last two novels mentioned above, for the simple reason that I felt like it.).”

LOVE BYTE Dating Competition

Love Byte by David AtkinsonAndy Hunter is a single father trying to balance the demands of a 2-year-old daughter, an interfering but well-meaning mother-in-law and a job he is always in danger of losing. So, when he receives a series of delayed emails from his late wife Lindsay telling him to date, it seems like a good idea. With Lindsay’s emails spurring him on, Andy weaves a path of disharmony and chaos amongst his close friends and family, but soon discovers he is not cut out for modern dating. Filled with laugh-out-loud situations and moments of soul-searching, this heart-warming, moving romantic comedy set in Edinburgh, is a bittersweet tale of second chances and self-discovery.

In Love Byte, Andy Hunter goes on some pretty horrendous dates that will make you laugh and cringe in equal measure.

For your chance to win a copy of this new romantic comedy, just tweet your worst date using the hashtag #lovebytedating. (UK only)