Monday, December 5, 2016

Introducing British Historical author Rosemary Morris

 Tangled Love by Rosemary Morris is set in England in 1706, during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign. It is the story of a daughter’s sacred oath to her father, a Jacobite, two great estates, duty, betrayal and passionate love. - Love - ebook/dp/B01LZRP7AE - Love - ebook/dp/B01LZRP7AE

Many people daydream about what they would like to accomplish. I am fortunate because my dream of becoming a published historical novelist has come true.
Looking back, it seems that since childhood I prepared to share my tales of times past. Maybe, while I was in my cot, a good fairy blessed me with a vivid imagination. If so, it was too lively for my parents, who couldn’t relate to it. They wanted a child with her feet firmly planted on the ground. Instead, my head was either filled with history, make-believe people or I was reading. 
So many obstacles intervened between my dream and reality. I have three very painful memories connected to writing and reading. The first, is my mother’s refusal to give me some paper to write a story on when I was ten years old. The second is of borrowing a book every day from the library, and the librarian’s doubt that I read all of them. The third is of an English teacher at Wallington County Grammar School for Girls. The first clash came when she asked the class what we had been reading.
 “Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy,” I answered when it was my turn, as though it was the most natural choice for a twelve-year-old.
“Don’t tell lies,” was her ice-cold response.
That stung because I was a very truthful child. If she had questioned me, I would have admitted that I didn’t understand all the ins and outs of the story, and explained that I enjoyed Hardy’s prose.
Clash number two concerned my composition about a nightmare in which I tried to capture imaginary terror. She unjustly accused me either of writing about a real nightmare or of plagiarism, a word I was unfamiliar with.
So much for lack of encouragement from my mother and teacher. However, despite many subsequent set-backs, I never lost my love of history, reading and making up stories. Eventually, I wrote a historical romance that a major publisher accepted. Unfortunately, the publishing house was sold and the new editor did not like my novel. Apart from that, I didn’t know the date of publication should have been stipulated in the contract so my novel remained unpublished.
My road to publication was very difficult. I lived in Kenya for twenty years where, although I had the privilege of visiting national parks and enjoying holidays at the coast, swimming in the warm Indian ocean, the country did not inspire me to write fiction. Old England remained my muse, but without adequate research facilities my muse deserted me.
We left East Africa, and after four years in France, we settled in South East England.
When our children left home, my late husband encouraged me to write. I completed the Open College of the Art’s writing course, read books on how to write, went on a Writer’s Holiday, joined The Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Historical Novel Society and a local writer’s group.
My historical romance, Tangled Hearts (subsequently published as Tangled Love) was accepted by Enspiren Press, which soon went out of business. Dismayed but not daunted, I accepted an invitation from MuseItUpPublishing to produce my novels as, with one exception, e-books. I am grateful to the publisher and editor from whom I learned so much. Now delighted to be one of Books We Love’s clients.
The long struggle to become a multi-published historical romance author has been worthwhile and is an example of the clichĂ©, ‘if at first you don’t succeed try, and try and try again. Indeed, I am fortunate to have achieved my dream.

Early 18th century novels by Rosemary Morris

Tangled Love
Far Beyond Rubies
The Captain and The Countess

Regency novels

False Pretences
Sunday’s Child   Heroines born on different days of the week. Book 1.
Monday’s Child  Heroines born on different days of the week. Book 2
Tuesday’s Child  Heroines born on different days of the week  Book 3

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Barbering by Katherine Pym

King Henry VIII with Barber-Surgeons Guild

First, a little technical history:

Back in the day, monks were barber-surgeons. They took care of all men's needs, from spiritual to the physical. They groomed men and performed surgery on them. It was a monopoly. 

But in 1163 at the Council of Tours, Pope Alexander III declared clergy getting their hands bloody was contrary to healing souls, and they were therefore banned from the practice. 
Enter the lay person where the profession of Barbery combined the services of grooming and doctoring. 

A Surgeon lancing a carbuncle
or something  equally horrid
Barbers let passersby know they'd leech or perform surgery by putting a bowl of blood in their windows, but in 1307 an Ordinance forbade that little advertisement. It dictated accumulated blood must be privately taken to the River Thames and dumped into its waters. If not, barbers were fined 2 shillings by the sheriff. Not to be outdone, barbers continued to advertise with red rags in the window. 

The next year in 1308, the barber guild was formed. The first master of Barber's Company was Richard le Barber. In 1462, the guild received a royal charter by King Edward IV. 

In 1540, the guild's title was changed to Barber-Surgeon, and disputes erupted. Finally, King Henry VIII enacted: "No person using any shaving or barbery in London shall occupy any surgery, letting of blood, or other matter, except of drawing teeth." 

Barber checking out a bad tooth
This law was not followed or enforced. Barbers often performed surgical procedures. They would barber in one part of their shop, and in another do surgery. Surgeons—to make extra coin—practiced barbery. 

The barber had long hours. King Henry VIII issued an edict : "No barber open his shop to shave any man after 10 o'clock at night from Easter to Michaelmas, or 9 o'clock from Michaelmas to Easter, except it be any stranger or any worthy man of the town that hath need : whoever doeth to the contrary to pay one thousand tiles to the Guildhall."

Well, to cut that edict to a nubbin, it meant if anyone with enough coin could be barbered whenever he wanted, which included Sundays and holy days. Barbers traipsed around town all days, from sun up to sundown and beyond. Pepys was often barbered on Sunday mornings before he went to church, or late at night before he went to bed. 

From Visible World published in 1658, and considered the first illustrated schoolbook, the barber in his shop would "cutteth off the hair and the beard with a pair of sizzars or shaveth with a razor which he taketh out of his case. And he washeth one over a bason with suds running out of a laver and also with sope and wipeth him." 

The barber's shop was a world onto itself. Gallants met there to be barbered or sewn together after suffering sword wounds. Carbuncles would be lanced and drained, and medicines dispersed. Those waiting played musical instruments and gossiped. The barbershop was where men went to learn current events or the latest scandals. 

A barber at work
Once in the chair, their beards were starched and their hair trimmed. In "Quip for an Upstart Courtier published in 1592, it related that the courtier sat on the throne type chair and the barber, after saluting him : 'Sir, will you have your worship's hair cut after the Italian manner, short and round, and then frounst with the curling irons to make it look like a half-moon in a mist ; or like a Spaniard, long at the ears and curled like to the two ends of an old cast periwig ; or will you be Frenchified with a love-lock down to your shoulders...'" One can only guess what his worship answered but I’d wager he looked very handsome once done. 

After the barber finished with the hair, he'd attack the beard. There were several ways to fashion the facial hair. Beards and mustaches could be formed into the Roman T, a stiletto-beard, soldier or spade beard, bishop’s beard, or the well known Vandyke. 

You could have the "court cut, and country cut." You could look fierce to your enemy or friendly to the ladies. 

Some barbershops created a veritable spa environment. Their nose and ear hairs were snipped. They'd foam and wash the patron's beard, dab it with fragrant waters, and anoint his closed eyes, then pull a rotten tooth. 

Or should the barber have pulled the tooth, first? 

Many thanks to:  
At the Sign of the Barber's Pole, Studies in Hirsute History by William Andrews, Cottingham, Yorkshire, J.R. Tutin, 1904

Wikicommons, Public Domain 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

CANADIAN BRIDES, historical fiction series, Book One releasing in December


Each of the Canadian Historical Brides novels features a historical event in one of the ten provinces and three territories of Canada. The books, based on actual historical times, combine fact and fiction to show how the brides and grooms, all from diverse backgrounds, join in marriage to create new lives and build a great country.


In the Dirty Thirties jobs were hard to come by.  Having lost her father and her home in southern Alberta, Tilly McCormack is thrilled when her application for a position as a chambermaid at the prestigious Banff Springs Hotel, one of Canada’s great railway hotels, is accepted. Tilly loves her new life in the Rocky Mountain town and the people she meets there.

Local trail guide Ryan Blake it quite taken with Tilly’s sparkling blue eyes and mischievous sense of humor.  His work with a guiding and outfitting company keeps him busy but he makes time for Tilly at every opportunity and he intends to make her his bride.  On the night he plans to propose to Tilly another bride-to-be, whose wedding is being held at the Hotel, disappears.

Tilly has an idea where she might have gone and together with Ryan sets out to search for her.Will they find the missing bride and will Tilly accept Ryan’s proposal?

Friday, December 2, 2016



I am an author who loves delving into the pages of history as I carry out research for my historical romance novels. I take pride in being historically correct.  No history book is too old or tattered for me to trawl through. I have tramped through cemeteries, spent hours in museums. I visited an old jail once and went into the little stone cell, and although it was a hot day, inside the cell it was bone chillingly cold. I wanted to know what it was like to be incarcerated in such a place, as the heroine in my novel, Daring Masquerade, was thrown in jail for a crime she did not commit.

I would like to think I have suffered for my craft, but I haven’t, except for a few blisters and sneezing fits.

How long did it take to have my first novel published?
I have been writing short stories for as long as I can remember.  It has taken me 20 years to get published.  I have been so close so many times, but something always seemed to happen to thwart me at the last minute. Publisher closing down, change of editorial staff, that kind of thing, then it was back to square one again, but I never gave up on my dream – to be a published author .

I guess you could say I have been writing most of my life. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, and of course, I write because I love it. It’s a compulsion, just can’t not write. It would be easier to hack off my leg, (only joking about the leg).

What influenced me to write?
I can’t really say. When I was about eight years old I started writing poems, then short stories.  I won a number of writing competitions over the years.  After I was married and at home with my children (my husband worked night shift), I couldn’t sleep if I went to bed too early, so I started writing romance stories, I aimed for Harlequin Mills & Boon, but I soon realized, after a few rejection letters that I couldn’t write to their strict formula.

I write mainly Australian historical romance because I love history. To write good, believable stories you have to write about what you know and I have read a lot about, and traveled extensively in Australia, so I usually set at least part of my stories around Wangaratta, the place where I was born, and also a very picturesque, historical area. I know it so well. In most of my stories there is some overseas elements in it, mainly England, because I have visited there a couple of times.

How do I come up with a storyline? 
Sometimes I might get an idea from a song.  If I hear a sad song, it makes me feel melancholy, and strangely enough, that is when I write best. Sometimes the tears are rolling down my cheeks as I write, which is why I write in private, otherwise I might get locked up for being a nut case. I normally write in long hand, not worrying bout punctuation, spelling or anything else, I just let the words flow. Sometimes I can hardly write quickly enough. After the story is finished, I then type it on to the computer, then do the corrections and revisions. 

Some-one asked me this question once.  If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

I would like to talk to a World War 1 Australian army nurse. I have a great interest in the 1st World War. A sad and tragic period of history, but it fascinates me. One of my published books, Daring Masquerade, from Books We Love is set against a background of World War 1. Lauren’s Dilemma and Allison’s War all published by Books We Love, are also set against a World War 1 background.

Thank you for reading this, hope you have learnt a little more about me and my writing.


By the time Ross Calvert discovers Harry Martin is in fact Harriet Martin she has fallen in love with him. Realizing she has failed in her final effort to protect her shell-shocked brother, she puts a desperate proposition to Ross. Marry her and she will give him an heir.

Ross accepts.  However, he is tormented by the betrayal of his former fiancĂ©e Virginia.  On his honeymoon he meets her again and is still infatuated.  With the army recalling him to the trenches of France, he faces a terrible dilemma. Taste Virginia’s passion before he marches off to war, or keep his marriage vows to Harry.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Books We Love has all of these new books available for you in December

Here are our new releases from the fall, and our new holiday books as well.  Plus, Joan Hall Hovey, the Queen of Canadian Suspense has a new thriller already in pre-order from Amazon.  Don't miss this chance for one of the best scares of your life.   Ho! Ho! Ho!  Stocking our Kindles and tablets and Ipads and laptops with Books, Books, Books for Holiday reading and the BEST gifts you can give to anyone is the joy of adventure through the pages (digital or paper - we have both) of our books.  Click the Books covers to be taken to the Order pages for any of these.





Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Remembering an Older November Holiday

by Kathy Fischer-Brown

Idealized picture of
John Van Arsdale raising the flag
Having recently celebrated Thanksgiving here in the States, it was interesting to discover an even older, and now mostly forgotten, holiday commemorated by our ancestors in New York. Evacuation Day was an observance begun at the end of the American Revolution and a major holiday into the early part of the twentieth century. Since 1901, the 125th anniversary of the Continental Army’s first victory over the British, it has been an official holiday in the Boston area. Through the first years of our republic, Evacuation Day in New York City rivaled the Fourth of July in its celebratory nature.

At noon on November 25, 1783, after seven years as an occupying force in the city, the last of His Majesty George III’s red-coated troops sailed from the southern tip of Manhattan into New York Harbor. (In Boston, the occupation army left the city and its environs on March 17, 1776, a date that coincides with St. Patrick’s Day). In New York, the event was marked with a parade of sorts. After the city was secured by American troops under the command of General Henry Knox, George Washington and New York’s governor, George Clinton (yup, lots of Georges in those days), led a procession of rag-tag soldiers into lower Manhattan to Cape’s Tavern, one of the most famous inns of its time. The troops then marched farther on down Broadway to Fort George (now Battery Park).

Menu from Delmonico's
Evacuation Day Centennial
There they attempted to lower the British flag and raise the stars and stripes, but for a bit of British trickery. The pole at the fort, it seems, was “thoroughly soaped,” its halyards cut, and the Union Jack nailed to the staff. This while the artillery had taken up position and guns were held in readiness for a grand salute, and the British in their ships and boats watched from the harbor in amused silence.

After many futile attempts to climb the flag pole, one John Van Arsdale, a young sailor with quickly improvised wooden cleats on his shoes and a pocket full of nails, worked his way up the pole, attached new ropes, and with the aid of a ladder brought from a nearby shop, accomplished the task.

The sight of the American flag waving on the breeze inspired a thirteen gun salute and was the cause for much revelry lasting for days, as rockets blazed through the night, buildings were illuminated, and bonfires burned on every street corner. A public feast was held at Fraunces Tavern, where over 120 guests honored Washington with thirteen toasts…and the celebration continued until the general left the city on December 4, when he resigned his commission. (British flags continued to fly over Staten Island, Governor’s Island, and Long Island until this date.)

The first anniversary of Evacuation Day was observed with a flag raising at the fort…on the selfsame pole…amid the pealing of church bells. Entertainments were held at the City Tavern. And the tradition continued well into the next century, evolving into an official holiday, complete with school closings, fireworks, displays of patriotism, feasting and pageantry. But as the veterans of the conflict became fewer and fewer, eventually dying off altogether, their accomplishments no longer seemed important enough to warrant such a full-blown expression holiday pomp. Neither did the ever-growing expense of such extravagance. Eventually Evacuation Day was supplanted by a new national holiday, Thanksgiving.

On the centennial of the original celebration, in November 1883, New York gave the old holiday what would be its grand send-off. Imagine the bi-centennial of the nation’s 200th birthday in 1976…with tall and small ships jamming the harbor and both the East and Hudson Rivers. Fireworks lit up the night sky, observed by upwards of 500,000 people. Madison Square Garden and Delmonico’s Restaurant hosted banquets.

Even as its observance continued into the 20th century with decreasing fanfare and interest, there were many reasons why Evacuation Day slipped out of favor, not the least of which was the American alliance with Great Britain during World War I. The last official observance was held in 1916.


Sources: “Evacuation Day: New York’s Former November Holiday,” Megan Margino, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; The Memorial History of the City of New-York, James Grant Wilson; Evacuation Day, Many Stirring Events, James Riker

Kathy Fischer Brown is a BWL author of historical novels, Winter Fire, Lord Esterleigh's Daughter; American Revolution-set novels, Courting the DevilThe Partisan's Wife, and The Return of Tachlanad, her latest release, an epic fantasy adventure for young adult and adult readers. Check out her Books We Love Author page or visit her website. All of Kathy’s books are available in e-book and in paperback from Amazon.