Saturday, February 11, 2017

In Defense of 19th Century Women by Karla Stover

     Three years ago, a woman named Kat Callahan posted an article which said, "Your Childhood Pal, Anne of Green Gables, Was Probably Queer." My research could be wrong, but this may be the same "Kat" who is or was a Canadian radio personality. Two years later, a woman named Heather Hogan wrote that Anne "was obviously bisexual."

     At first, when I read the articles, I was disgusted. Then I dismissed them thinking, oh brother, because Lucy Maud Montgomery came from a different time, and statements such as these require a careful look at female relationships in the late Victorian era.

     According to Carroll Smith Rosenberg, who was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities, "The female friendship of the 19th century, the long-lived, intimate loving friendship between two women, is an excellent example of the type of historical phenomena which most historians know something about, which few have thought much about, and which virtually no one has written about."

     Historian Lilian Faderman who did look at same-sex relationships, wrote, " Men saw themselves as needing the assistance of other men to realize their great material passions, and they fostered “muscle values” and “rational values,” to the exclusion of women. Women, left to themselves outside of their household duties, found kindred spirits primarily in each other. They banded together and fostered “heart values.”

     The concept of separate spheres for men and women goes back to the ancient Greeks, however, it was emphasized during the Industrial Revolution. Piety, purity, domesticity and above all, submission were the woman's lot in life. "The world corrupts, Home should refine," wrote Mrs. William Parkes in 1829.

      Then there was the fact that in 1870, 1 in 200 women died in childbirth, the belief that "the pain of childbirth would make women love their children more."

     "During the 1800s, it was taboo to write negatively about pregnancy and childbirth because it was largely lauded as the most noble and valuable contribution of women to their husbands and to society" wrote blogger Maggie Maclean. The avoidance of pain during childbirth was seen as thwarting the will of God.

     In the post-Freudian perspectives of the 21st century, it is impossible to "decipher the complexities" of female friendships, particularly when these friendships were part of the romantic rhetoric of the time.

     Sarah Wister and Jeanne Musgrove met in 1849, when they were both teenagers, and though each married, they remained close throughout their lives. "Dear darling Sarah," Jeanne once wrote, "you are the joy of my life." "Dearest darling-- how incessantly I have thought of you," Sarah wrote on another occasion.

      In the 1890s, a Scottish physician sent out 500 surveys . Of the 190 women who responded 152 admitted that they did have sexual desires and 134 reported having had orgasms.

     And this brings us back to Anne Shirley, her bosom friend, Diana Barry, and a quote from Carroll Smith Rosenberg to wit, perhaps "there is (and was) room between homosexual and heterosexual relationship[s] for platonic friendships between women.

Product DetailsProduct Details

Book Cover Endorsementss, by Karla Stover


Visit Karla Stover's Books We Love page for more on her books and to purchase.
I just finished reading Stephen King's book, Joyland. Brian Truitt provided a recommendation on it for USA Today. He called it "tight and engrossing. The Washington Post's Bill Sheehan called it,
". . .appealing coming-of-age tale that encompasses restless ghosts, serial murder, psychic phenomena and sexual initiation." Mr. Truitt has a book about the movie, Twilight available on Amazon. Sheehan has one about Peter Straub, a horror-fiction author. I guess that is supposed to make them experts but I will never take their reviews seriously, again. Joyland was a dull--308 pages with the above-mentioned "restless ghost" etc, making weak appearances on page 271.
     So I ask myself, does anyone read a book based on these blurbs? And who is responsible for providing them, the publisher or the author?
     The first thing I did (naturally) was Google. Here are some quotes from the website, ( says websites should be italicized).

     "Most often its someone in the marketing department at the publishing house."

     "They are usually arranged side-by-side with pull quotes (blahs) by authors. These are usually people working in the same genre and often in the same publishing company."

     "packaging/marketing firms."

     And the saddest one:  
     "I once had a job, among other things, writing back cover copy for books. My official title was "marketing assistant," and I was completely unqualified to do such a thing. I was right out of college, I was writing blurbs for academic books in disciplines which I had never studied, and I often had no more than the introduction to go by. I'm sure my blurbs were often highly misleading. I apologize."


     From this website, I went to Here's what one author had to say:

     "I wrote critiques for them (well-known authors) and asked if they could kindly say this. They agreed. Saves them time/effort."

     More than one person on that website said they wrote their own endorsements.
     Back when I was a newspaper reporter, I interviewed an east coast news journalist whose name I've since forgotten but who had written a book and who was doing a signing tour. I asked her about book cover endorsements and she said they were very important to east coast publishers. I wonder if that still holds true, or if more people look to Amazon. My bet is Amazon.
     For my first nonfiction book on Tacoma history I asked a couple of local, well-known historians provided endorsements. For the second I didn't bother. My opinion is that an attractive cover is more important to potential reader/buyers that a quote from the Seattle Times. Jo Linsdell on seems to agree.

     "With millions of books for readers to choose from," she wrote, "the first 'sales pitch' is the cover."
     Sometimes it seems as if the three-legged stool of writing--plot, place and people--are the least important things about a book, but not to readers and certainly not to me. Sometimes getting rich means finding those little gems in plain green covers that everyone else has over looked.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Joys, and Challenges of Writing Part II



In my last blog, I had given my latest attempt at writing to my husband. An avid reader, he gets the first look at my work. If he likes it, I celebrate. Truly, I do! If he doesn’t, well, been there, don’t think much of it.
He took his lap-top into the living room, sat on his favourite chair and began reading. Being the good, patient wife I can be, not, I bit my bottom lip and left the room. I went to the lower level of our home to watch some television. All was quiet on the upper floor. A half hour later I couldn’t help but think, is he still reading or did he get bored. Is he surfing the net? An hour and a half later, I couldn’t wait any longer. I slowly crept up the stairs, every so quietly, listening for signs of movement. I almost made it. Almost.


     “It’s just your mom,” hubby lectured the dog. “She’s being silly.”

     I stepped into the kitchen and looked toward the living room. The dog was curled up on the couch, her chin rose as she looked toward me. Hubby was still sitting on his chair. He hadn’t moved. It’s a good thing it’s comfortable or he’d have pins and needles in his butt.
     “Well?” I asked. “Are you still reading it?”
     He looked up from his computer. “Yes–”
     “What do you think of it?” I knew he wouldn’t be done the entire book, yet. “I like it, so far.”
     “Hallelujah!” I bellowed silently. “Yes.”
     He was only ¼ of the way through the book. He had a long way to go but it was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.

     I watched a documentary on the band The Eagles a little while ago. One of the artists discussed handing lyrics and music to the rest of the band and the awful feeling in the gut. Will they like it?
I supposed all artists experiences the same anxiety.

     Anyway, when hubby finished the book, he gave me the thumbs up. Now we have to work on editing it. He’ll point out the silly mistakes that I have made. The type that an author simply misses. He will make suggestions and I will rewrite sections. This isn’t a short process but I want it to be the best it can be before, well before I cross my fingers yet again.
     Would you like in on a wee secret?  Book number two, currently called ‘Done’ is a stand alone novel. To classify this one into a genre, I’d say it’s a suspense, but not a ‘who done it.’
Intrigued? I hope so.

The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values.

Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.
Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?

A goodreads review from Holly -  "Sometimes I get the rare chance to read a book series or in this case, a saga that leaves me speechless and deeply moved....
This series has touched my heart and soul at the deepest level. I could relate to events and emotions in the story to my own life on a deeper level, that it was almost unreal. Heather Greenis has done a brilliant job as a master storyteller with this saga. Her amazing skills as an author have resulted in a story that will touch each and every reader in the deepest way possible."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

June Gadsy - Getting Inspiration

Getting inspiration for a book has never been a problem for me as a writer. Ideas just pop into my head, not as whole stories, but as words, phrases and music overheard. I could be anywhere, doing anything. On this occasion, I was doing the ironing, struggling to think how I could write a story that my mother would enjoy – so far she hadn’t liked anything, once to the extent of saying after a few pages that it was ‘disgusting’ – I had used some swear words that she didn’t approve of. Our relationship had been difficult since I was fifteen years old, but I still wanted to do something that would make her proud of me instead of the “you’re no daughter of mine” attitude and constant criticism because I was not made in the same mould as she was. But miracles happen when you least expect them and that day, wielding the hot iron a song on the radio gave me what was to be the answer to my prayer. Very Lynn was singing her famous war song, “There’ll be Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Dover….tomorrow just you wait and see… And there I had my inspiration for When Tomorrow Comes – title and family war saga all rolled into one. 

 Of course, at that time, I was still a struggling wannabe writer with nothing but a few travel articles, nostalgic pieces, three radio short stories and one novel [The Iron Master] published. Heroine Hildie immediately jumped into my mind, together with her family and all their problems that would take them through the second world war – forbidden love, incest, sons on the battlefields, betrayal by her best friend – and she got through it somehow, always with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. I even used characters based on family members, mainly my grandparents and my incredible three maiden aunts. One of the latter, called Effie in the story, was my particular favourite, but the local minister, having read the book, frowned over what I had done with her unforgettable character.

I presented the finished book to my mother and held my breath – then miracle of all miracles, she loved it. Shortly after, it was published and my then agent [the late Bob Tanner] claimed it was the best thing I had ever written. My relationship with my mother continued, however, to be ‘complicated’, but she was known to proudly announce to everyone she met that her daughter was an “authoress” – her word for it, but much better than telling people that I had a “nice little hobby”.

Thank you Books We Love for resurrecting Hildie and family in paperback and e-book. Of all the books I’ve written, this remains to this day, my favourite.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Introducing You To Our Special Promotion Celebrating #Canada150

The Series:

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.

Brides of Banff Springs

Brides of Banff Springs
Now available at your favorite online and print bookstores

Coming in March 2017

His Brother's Bride

His Brother's Bride
Coming in March 2017

Coming May 1, 2017

Romancing the Klondike  

Coming July 1, 2017



2017 Blog Themes
JAN: The Beauty of Canada
Take a virtual tour of the splendors of Canada through the eyes of each authors.

FEB: Who's the bride?
Our authors will be introducing the brides from their books and telling you a little bit about their story. Warning: may involve teasers, but never spoilers.

MARCH: Facing Challenges
Writing historical and/or non-fiction can be a challenge. Read about each author's struggles as they work to bring their stories to life.

APRIL: Plotting
Writing any story can lead to a need to keep track of details, but when you are dealing with a historical setting, the details pile up. Read about the strategies each author uses for keeping track of details and writing their story. Are they a post-it note person? Do they create book bibles they follow faithfully? Are they pantsers, or careful and meticulous outliners? Read April posts to find out.

MAY: A Day in the Life
Let's face it, being an author is glamours and thrilling (ok, maybe not). So let's take a look into a typical day in the life of these authors - do they work a day job and then spend a few hours each evening flesh out a scene in their latest WIP? Maybe they are retired and write as the mood takes them. You will have to check each post to find out.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Queen Anne Stuart by Rosemary Morris

Tangled Love
Rosemary Morris

I have written three books set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart. Each one is firmly set in past times.
Tangled Love set in England in 1706, during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, is the story of a daughter’s sacred oath to her father, a Jacobite, two great estates, duty, betrayal and passionate love. PG
The inspiration for Tangled Love came when I read non-fiction about the Stuart Kings and Queens.

The Future Queen Anne Stuart

More often than not, when I mention Queen Anne people assume I refer to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s ill-fated queen. In fact, I am referring to Queen Anne Stuart, who reigned from 1702 to 1714. During her reign, the Duke of Marlborough, an ancestor of Winston Churchill, led the country to victory against the French in the war of Spanish succession. During her reign the Act of Union with Scotland, which has repercussions today, was passed

The Cinderella Princess
When the future Queen Anne Stuart was born on the 6th February, 1665, neither her uncle, King Charles II, nor her father, James, Charles’ brother, heir to the throne, imagined she would become the last of the Stuart monarchs. Charles’ seven bastards had proved his virility, so it seemed certain he would have legitimate heirs to the throne, but his queen was barren. However, his brother and sister-in-law, James and Anne, the Duke and Duchess of York, had produced heirs, an older brother and sister for the latest addition to their nursery, Baby Anne.
Princess Anne and her older sister, Princess Mary, grew up in their nursery but their four siblings died. One can imagine the effect of these deaths on a small girl with poor health, whose weak eyes watered constantly.
With the king’s consent, in the hope that her eyesight could be improved, her parents sent the four-year old to her grandmother, widow of the executed first Charles, who now lived in France.
In a portrait of Anne as a small girl her eyes, set in an oval face with a mouth shaped in a perfect cupid’s bow, are wary.
In 1699, Anne’s grandmother died, and the child passed into the care of her father’s sister, Henrietta Maria. In 1670 Anne’s aunt died. Her eyesight only slightly improved, Anne returned to England.
By then her mother was unpopular because she had converted to the Church of Rome. James also converted, but the politics demanded the king’s heirs, Anne and her elder sister, Mary, be raised in the Protestant faith.
The princesses were sent to Richmond-on-Thames, where they benefited from country air. Their indulgent father visited them regularly, showered them with gifts and often stayed for several nights at Richmond Palace. Yet all was not well with the family. In 1673, due to the Test Act, which excluded anyone who did not take communion in the Anglican Church from public office, James was forced to resign as Lord High Admiral and to give up all his other official positions. In that age of fervent religious allegiances, what effect did religious controversy have on Anne, a stubborn child?
At that time, motherless Anne’s history had all the ingredients of a fictional heroine, but what would she make of her life?  After all, she belonged to the tragic Stuart family. It is not surprising that the princess living in the shadow of her older, cleverer sister, Mary, became deeply attached to twelve-year old Sarah Jennings, the daughter of a landed gentleman, and future wife of The Duke of Marlborough, with whom her friendship would last into middle age.
Years later Sara wrote: We had used to play together when she was a child and she even then expressed a particular fondness for me. This inclination increased with our years. I was often at Court and the Princess always distinguished me by the pleasure she took to honour me, preferably to others, with her conversation and confidence. In all her parties for amusement, I was sure by her choice to be one.
Anne was pretty with plump features, red-brown hair and her mother’s elegant hands of which she was very proud. However, she was shy, easily ignored and all too aware of her short-comings – her poor education did nothing to boost her confidence. As Sarah said years later: Your Majesty has had the misfortune to be misinformed in general things even from twelve years old. 
Undoubtedly, there was no reason to provide Anne and her sister with a better education because it was probable that the Queen would provide an heir to the throne. In Anne’s day few women could read and write – perhaps only one in a hundred were literate. For Anne it is likely that little more than dancing, drawing, French and music were required to prepare her for life at court. Her general education was neglected but not her religious education, which was rigorous and founded her life-long belief in the teachings of the Anglican faith.
Anne and Mary continued to live apart from the court and their indulgent Roman Catholic father and fifteen-year old step-mother, whom James adored and who would bear a son. Expected to be virtuous, the sisters could not have been totally unaware of the licentiousness of the court, and that their uncle, the king, and their father had illegitimate children, whom they had acknowledged
Lax though the second Charles’s morals were, he took some interest in Anne, who would be one of the best guitar players at court. She also had a pleasing voice, so he ordered the actress, Mrs Barry, to give Anne and Mary elocution lessons. These stood Anne in good stead when, as Queen, she addressed Parliament, and no doubt when she and Mary took part in some of the masques and plays popular at Court.
However, Anne and Mary grew up in the company of clerics and women, secluded from Whitehall with little to entertain them. One can imagine the boring conversations, stifling closets (small rooms) and endless card games. Later Sarah wrote: I wished myself out of Court as much as I had desired to come into it before I knew what it was.
In spite of the boredom, and storms that lay ahead, the Anne dearly loved her sister. So much so that when Mary married her Dutch cousin, William of Orange, in 1677 while Anne lay sick of smallpox, her father, who visited her every day, ordered that she should not be told her sister had departed for the Continent. The charade went as far as messages purported to be from Mary asking about her health being delivered to Anne.
As soon as |Anne recovered, she had to cope with separation from her sister. Fortunately, she still had Sarah’s companionship, and enjoyed the vast grounds of Richmond Palace. However, this tranquillity would soon be disturbed by the so called ‘Popish Plot’, in which, according to a criminal called Titus Oates, Catholic families planned to murder Protestants in London, overthrow the government and, amongst other things, kill the king.
After the subsequent hysteria Anne’s father and stepmother were sent to Brussels in March 1679. She visited them in August accompanied by her chaplains. However, she was never allowed to enter any one of the many Roman Catholic Churches.  When her father and stepmother went to
Scotland, Anne visited them between July 1681 and May 1682. Never again would she leave England.

An Eligible Princess

The king did not have a legitimate heir, so Anne was third in the line of succession.
Anne’s sister, Mary, her stepmother Mary of Modena and Sarah Churchill married when they were fifteen. It was time to find a bridegroom for Anne. In December, 1680, Anne’s cousin, Prince George of Hanover, the future King George 1, had visited the English court, which was still recovering from the Popish plot. It is possible George came to view Anne but not ‘taking’ to her, he quit the realm without approaching her father or the king for her hand in marriage. Subsequently, perhaps it was the case of a woman spurned for, to the end of her life, Anne disliked George so much that the succession to the throne was endangered.
Even if George unjustly found his cousin unattractive others did not, and a scandal ensued when John, Lord Mulgrave, a womaniser, made what was described as ‘a brisk attempt’ on the Lady Anne. Mulgrave denied it. He claimed he merely ogled her. The king and Anne’s father were alarmed. Mulgrave forfeited his offices at Court before being despatched on a leaky frigate to Tangiers. It seems Anne was not indifferent to Mulgrave. He remained one of her personal favourites. When she succeeded to the throne in 1702, he was appointed Lord Privy Seal and Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. In 1703 he was created Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.
Early in May 1683, the king was closeted with the Danish envoy to his court at Whitehall. Not long afterwards, Anne was told she would wed the younger brother of the king of Denmark, thirty-year old Prince George, who would arrive in England to marry her within three months.
Anne’s large, fair-haired husband-to-be had fought by land and sea against the Swedes. The rumour that he had saved his brother’s life in battle made him seem glamorous, and might have intrigued the Lady Anne. When he arrived at court an eye-witness described him as: “a comely person… with few pockmarks on his visage, but of very decent and graceful behaviour.
Ten days after Prince George arrived in England he married the Lady Anne, appropriately on Saint Anne’s day, the 28th July, 1683. Throughout their marriage Anne and George were close to each other, and she loved him very much. Unfortunately, Anne suffered 12 miscarriages and each of her five children died when they were young.

The Queen (in brief)
Anne’s uncle died in 1685, leaving a country torn by religious controversy. The throne passed to Anne’s Catholic father. He became so unpopular that he was forced into exile in 1688, after which Anne’s sister Mary and her husband, William of Orange became the new king and queen of England. Some English Protestants, who had sworn allegiance to Mary and Anne’s father, refused to take a new oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and joined James II in France. When Anne inherited the throne after her father’s death in 1702 many Protestant exiles returned to England. Others declared themselves Jacobites and supporters of James II son, who could not inherit the throne because he was a Roman Catholic.

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Published by Books We Love.

Available as e-publications and paperbacks.

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

Stillwaters Run Deep, Book One: Raven's Lament

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