Friday, 30 November 2012

Sherry Gloag - Vidal's Honor

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Sherry Gloag to my blog.  Sherry's latest release is a Christmas Regency romance, Vidal's Honorand here she talks about the 'silent witness' in her story:


The Silent Witness.

Do you ever wonder how there can be an influential silent witness, or an unnamed character, in a story?
Is it possible? 

Yes it’s possible, and in some cases essential. The reality first hit home when I read Nora Robert’s Northern Lights many years ago.

This story takes place in Alaska, and a couple of mountain ranges are named and mentioned throughout the tale.  A murder takes place on one many years before the opening of Northern Lights, while missing boys found on the mountain are the catalyst that reveals past events that impact directly on the present in this story. In strategic spots the mountains are mentioned and become true characters that, while passive in their presence, influence almost every facet of the tale. So in this instant the mountains in this case are the ‘silent witness’s.

In Vidal’s Honor, released by Astraea Press this November, the weather became the unnamed and passive character in my Christmas Regency romance.  Ask any Brit, and you will soon learn the weather is an abiding passion with them.  It is not unheard of for certain places in the UK to experience five different weather conditions in one day, so it offers a topic ripe for discussion. 

But what if the weather in question in a story are those of 1812?  How can you possibly have an accurate discussion about the state of the weather conditions two hundred years ago?

Well, it will be no surprise to research buffs that you can.  It was more in hope than expectation that I googled ‘weather conditions from July to October in the Spanish Pyrenees’, and again the same in France, and over several weeks while my hero and heroine travelled across a war-torn Europe in their attempt to reach England before Christmas.  I admit I became fascinated with the information, so much so that one scene was written completely round the weather conditions on the French and English Channel coastlines on a certain day. There’s nothing like a good storm to keep your main characters on their toes.  Almost at every stage of Vidal’s Honor the weather has an impact on unfolding events, if not specifically, certainly indirectly.  

The weather, therefore, became my ‘silent witness,’ and had many faces, and appeared in many guises, but its influence is revealed at the beginning and is still in evidence during the final stages of Vidal’s Honor.

When you are reading a story, do you take note of the silent witness in the tale? And for authors, how do you maximise the use of ‘silent witness’s’ to move your story forward?


Multi-published author Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.

Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.

Vidal's Honor

When plunged into a world of spies, agents and espionage during the Peninsula wars, Honor, Lady Beaumont, flees for her life when the French capture her husband at Salamanca, and relies on his batman to arrange her safe passage back to England.

Viscount Charles Vidal is ordered by Robert Dumas, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to travel to Spain and escort the only woman he’s ever loved, Lord Devlin Beaumont’s widow back home before the French discover her whereabouts.

Their journey is fraught by danger, least of all knowing whether they are surrounded by friends or foe. Will they survive long enough to explore the possibility of a future together or will whispers of treason be enough to see Honor dispatched to Tyburn first?


While Vidal joked with his cousin, the viscount scanned the room. The smell of fine wine, whiskey and cigar smoke blended into a rich aroma that was as much a part of Whites as the card games, the background chatter, and outbreaks of lewd laughter from the younger members of the club. 

One member in particular interested Vidal tonight, and he watched Robert Dundas, second Viscount Melville, and First Lord of the Admiralty, take leave of his friends and head in his direction.He wondered why the man spent the best part of the night watching his every move, and paused in the act of fobbing his snuff box while he waited for the viscount to join him. 

“Take a walk with me?” Although couched as a question, Vidal noted the quiet steel of command in the other man’s voice. Dundas laid a hand on his arm; a companionable gesture for anyone interested enough to observe the two men leaving the club together. “I believe I live not far beyond your own house. I’d appreciate your company, and this is not the place for such a discussion. ” 

With an indolent twist of the wrist Vidal returned the modish lacquered box, unopened, to his pocket and nodded agreement. A man’s club was no setting for private conversation, and it was plain the man wanted to talk about something away from flapping ears. 

Together they strolled across the room stopping to take leave of several mutual friends.


Vidal's Honor is available now from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Bookstrand, Kobo, AllRomance ebooks

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Myths and Facts

A fascinating list of myths and facts about Thanksgivings, past and present :0)

Thanksgiving 2012 Myths and Facts

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth by Jennie A. Brownscombe (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Giveaway ending soon, The Golden Age of English Food & Festival of Romance

Goodreads Giveaway

There are only a few hours left to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a signed copy of A Bright Particular Star.  Just click on the widget below to enter before the deadline :0)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Bright Particular Star by Elizabeth Hanbury

A Bright Particular Star

by Elizabeth Hanbury

Giveaway ends November 20, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

BBC Four Calf's Head and Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food

If you are you in the UK, you might like to watch Calf's Head and Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food on BBC 4 at 9pm this evening.  Food writer Stefan Gates delves into the past to discover the origins of British cuisine, focusing on an often overlooked golden age, some 300 years ago.  He re-creates a host of recipes in his kitchen, although I'm not sure all of them will catch on in the modern domestic kitchen.  Calf's Head surprise, anyone?!

In this clip, Stefan and food historian Ivan Day discuss puddings and why they are such an English thing (see also my earlier post about British Pudding Day).

Clip from BBC Four's Calf's Head and Coffee - why are puddings an English thing?

There are several recipes here, all taken from their original texts, including this one for Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream!

Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream

(taken from The Complete Confectioner by Frederic Nutt published in 1807)

Take six eggs, half a pint of syrup, and a pint of cream ; put them into a stewpan and boil them until it begins to thicken ; then rasp three ounces of Parmasan cheese, mix and pass them through a sieve, and freeze it.

Festival of Romance

The Festival of Romance was held during 16-18th November in Bedford.  It was a fabulous event and although I only managed to attend on Saturday, I had a great time.  My author friend and fellow Coffee Crew member Phillipa Ashley won best e-book award for Miranda's Mount - very well deserved as it's a great read!    

You can view the official photo stream for the event, but here is my shot of the lovely Dan and Sarah from Tread the Boards Theatre Group, who played the perfect Regency gentleman and lady ;0)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Innocent Tears - Iris Blobel

I'm welcoming fellow Astraea Press author Iris Blobel to the blog today to talk about her latest release.  Over to you, Iris! :0)


Hello everyone – First of all I’d like to thank Liz for having me on her blog to tell you a bit about Melbourne. Why? Easy - my latest book “Innocent Tears” is set in this very southern city. We’re talking Melbourne Australia – 4.1 Mio in population, currently buzzing with horseracing, soon host of international cricket games  AND host of the Australian Open every year in January.

But this is not supposed to be an ad for Melbourne, but a bit of background for my story. I live about 100 km west of Melbourne – small town, but just right to raise children and just the right distance to be able to hop to Melbourne and enjoy the international flair of the Arts, Sports or Entertainment.

Melbourne is a constant buzz. A melting pot and has something on offer for everyone. My favourite spot? Probably along the Yarra River, and I added a little scene into the book, where Flynn, the main character, watches the world go by as he looks over Southbank. 

The city with four seasons in one day has a lot to offer, not only the beach, but also the mountains, which are only an hour or two away. The marine life, and one of the most popular surf beaches in the world: Bells Beach where they filmed “Point Break” with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.

 For me that was the perfect setting for “Innocent Tears” where the two worlds of Flynn, Business Lawyer, and little Nadine, only six years old, collide.

Thank you all for stopping by. I appreciate it!


Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it almost pulls the feet from right underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight! He had no idea about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody. 

With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, and his parents, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’, and Emma is voicing her opinion as well. And right in the middle is little Nadine, still grieving the loss of her mother and finding a wonderful friend in Emma. There’s no doubt she’s afraid where and with whom she will settle.

But in the end, it’s a letter Flynn receives that helps him figuring out what to do.

Where you can buy “Innocent Tears”

Where you can find me online:

Thank you, Iris - very best of luck with Innocent Tears,  it sounds a fabulous read and I would love to go to Melbourne one day.