"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blog Hop: Meet My Main Character

I was invited by the talented and gorgeous Donna Russo Morin to participate in the blog hop about main characters.

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
The character I’ve chosen is Oriana Julian, professionally known as Ana St Albans. She is a fictional illegitimate daughter of a historic person—the Third Duke of St. Albans, who fathered more than one child outside of his childless marriage. This also makes her a direct descendant of actress Nell Gwyn and King Charles II of England. Consequently she's the great-granddaughter of the protagonists of my work in progress, a biographical novel about the first Duke and Duchess of St Albans.

2. When and where is the story set?
The story takes place in 1799 mostly in London, the Isle of Man, Liverpool, Newmarket, and the Cheshire countryside. Nearly all the characters are historic people—actress Harriot Mellon, impresario Michael Kelly, Sir Joseph Banks. And Oriana’s cousins, the Duke of St. Albans and his heir.

 3. What should we know about him/her?
Oriana, daughter of a singer, was trained from childhood to follow in her mother’s profession. After studying with Italian music masters she returned to London to establish herself as a performer. Lack of success and the desire to escape her demanding profession she eloped, but her soldier husband’s death and her mother’s illness forced her return to the stage. She performs at Vauxhall Gardens and other popular venues, and sometimes accompanies herself on the mandolin. Her aristocratic cousins regard her very much as a member of the family. Like them--and her ancestor Charles II--she's a racing enthusiast.

Oriana's house in London's Soho Square.

 4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Escaping to the Isle of Man for a quiet holiday, Oriana encounters Sir Darius Corlett a wealthy mine owner. Sensitive about her scandalous past, she uses her married rather than her professional name. Dare not only discovers her identity but also follows her to London, she’s torn by the demands of her career and the desires of her lover. Compounding her difficulties is the jealousy of her most devoted admirer, a nobleman who just might matrimony on his mind…

The beautiful Isle of Man...one of my favourite places in the world!

5. What is the personal goal of the character?
She yearns to overcome past scandals and achieve prima donna status at the Opera House. And her love affair with the bold and ardent Manxman complicates matters considerably!

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Improper Advances is a published novel, available in a revised digital edition as well as out-of-print hardcover and paperback editions and some foreign languages. It can be previewed and purchased for your e-reader at:

Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

I've tagged two authors who will post about their main characters on May 7th.

Danelle Harmon
Laura Purcell
On the Isle of Man

Monday, April 21, 2014


My beautiful jasmine plant is blooming indoors, scenting the entire second floor of the house. I've had it for many years now, the plant began as a slip of a cutting from the jasmine twining up the side of my parents' house. I re-visited that mother plant at the end of March.
It wasn't blooming at that time, but other beautiful spring blossoms were in evidence.
Yoshino Cherry Trees (the Cherry Blossom Festival was in full swing)
We returned home to find far too much snow still on the ground, followed by some rather harsh late spring weather. We even had snowfall--very light--as recently as last week!
But the ground is well-thawed now, not a speck of snow to be seen, and today I planted 4 new rose bushes, 3 climbers and a floribunda. I've got 4 more to go. I'm having some of my raised beds enlarged and combined, so lots of new space to fill with roses and perennials!
The crocuses are blooming, so are these lovely miniature irises. The hyacinths and daffodils are showing buds. Spring is springing--at last!