Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Competition: Far Beyond Rubies

Today to celebrate the publication of the paperback of Far Beyond Rubies I am offering the first and last entrants a copy of the novel.

To enter answer the following questions, the answers to which are at or

Q. In which year is Far Beyond Rubies set?

Q. To which country is Gervaise drawn when he first sees Juliana?

Q. What do Gervaise and Juliana want to prove?

Q. What are the titles of Rosemary Morris's other published novels?

Send the answers to:  and include your name. Subject. Competition. Far Beyond Rubies

Competition ends on Saturday, 2nd November.

Prize Winners announced on Sunday, 3rd November

The prize winners will be notified by e-mail

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift

Releasing in Paperback tomorrow, out on Kindle now!
'There is everything to admire in this novel - the crisp writing, the fully-realized characters -- but it's Swift's sensitive and vivid portrayal of the Moriscos that especially sets this novel apart. A Divided Inheritance achieves what all stellar historical fiction must: through the voices of imagined characters, important lessons from the past linger and haunt long after the book is finished.' 
Langum Prize winner Ann Weisgarber
EXTRACT from Chapter 2

After an hour they were back at West View House, unlacing
muddy boots in the hall. Elspet hung up her cloak, and heard the
door creak open behind her. She paid it no mind, accustomed as
she was to the servants coming and going with coals for the grate.
But a hand on her shoulder made her swivel round, startled.
He was never back from work this early. From the corner of her
eye she saw Martha dip a ragged curtsey, both dogs were growling
and barking and pulling at her.
‘What a din,’ Father said. ‘Martha, take those wretched dogs
out the back, to the stables.’
Martha bobbed and pulled the dogs away. Elspet heard Jakes
barking all the way to the back door.
‘Elspet, may I introduce your cousin, Zachary Deane.’ It was
only then that she saw him, the stranger hanging slightly back in
the doorway, his eyes casting quick, sidelong glances about the hall.
‘Oh,’ she said, pulling off her muddy gloves in haste and putting
them aside. ‘I wondered what was the matter with the dogs.’
‘You’re too soft with them,’ her father reproached.
‘They look like fine animals,’ Zachary, the young man, said. He
placed one hand on his sword as he made a small bow.
Father’s fingers pulled nervously at the edge of his robe. The
newcomer was still bent over and she saw his hair was tangled and
damp with perspiration. He swung back to upright with a brisk
wave of his hat.
Father nodded to her to prompt a response.
‘Oh – your servant,’ she murmured, dipping her head first to
the newcomer, and then to her father, ‘Forgive me, Father, you
caught me by surprise.’
She tried to catch the young man’s eye and smile, but he glanced
away, finding something of interest in the yard.
‘Zachary is my sister’s boy,’ Father said in a rush. ‘But Magda—
’, he broke off. ‘I mean to say, Zachary’s mother and I have been
estranged for some years. Unfortunately, she has passed away.’
Zachary smiled thinly at Father, his lips compressed, and then
looked at the ground.
‘I did not know she was gone,’ Father said, ‘and Zachary and I
have only just found each other.’
‘My condolences, Cousin.’ Elspet’s first impression was that
Zachary did not look like a man in mourning – not wearing that
shoddy rust-coloured doublet and cloak worn to grey at the hem.
She wondered if he was ill-fed; his hose sagged at the ankles.
‘With his mother gone, it is right and fitting we do our duty and
look to our own,’ Father said. ‘Zachary will lodge in the lower
chambers, and I know you will make him welcome.’
In the distance Diver was yapping. Elspet gathered herself. She
regretted not being warmer or more welcoming, especially as her
cousin had been bereaved. He must think her lacking in courtesy.
She smoothed her ruffled hair and said, ‘What a terrible thing. I am
so sorry to hear of your loss, I hope you will feel at home here.’
Father turned to him. ‘The lower chambers are not much, but —’
‘They will be better than I am used to, I’m sure,’ Zachary interrupted
him. ‘Do not go to any trouble on my account.’ His voice
was pleasant and neutral, though his eyes darted restlessly round
the hall.
Father patted him on the arm sympathetically. An unusual gesture,
for he was never much given to outward shows of affection.
He must be trying hard, Elspet thought.
‘Good.’ Father exhaled a long sigh. ‘I’ll take Zachary down,
and Coleman will help him fetch his trunk from the carriage.’
‘No need,’ Zachary said. ‘It’s paltry few things. I can do it
‘Coleman will assist you. No point having servants else.’
Zachary was about to speak but then closed his mouth. Instead
he gave a curt nod. He cast Elspet a long appraising look before
turning and going back out of the door.
When he was out of earshot, Father said, ‘You will grow to like
him, I know you will.’
‘I like him already.’
‘No you don’t. It is written clear as clear on your face. You
looked him up and down as though he were a servant you were
about to hire.’
Indignation rose up in her. Father had described exactly the way
Zachary had looked at her.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Colourful Death now in PAPERBACK

by Carola Dunn

A COLOURFUL DEATH is the second in my Cornish Mystery series. Cornwall is a peninsula bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the northwest. The coast is indented with rocky, cliff-bound coves providing harbours over the centuries for fishermen and smugglers alike. Much of the centre consists of rugged Bodmin Moor, but the moors are surrounded by fertile farmland with a milder climate than most of Britain.

Large print edition

With small towns, built of local granite and roofed with local slate, and picturesque scenery, Cornwall has long been a haunt of holiday-makers--and artists.

One such painter, Nick Gresham, is next-door neighbour to my protagonist, Eleanor Trewynn, a widow in her 60s. Thanks to an introduction from Eleanor, Nick succeeds in placing a couple of paintings in a London art gallery. He returns triumphant from London only to find the pictures in his shop have been slashed to ribbons.

US edition, hardcover and paperback

Sure that he knows who the culprit is--a jealous fellow-painter--Nick sets out to confront him. Eleanor, worried about what he might do, tags along, with her Westie, Teazle, in tow.


"There it is." Nick pointed to a narrow shop front opposite the Gold Bezant Inn.

It took Eleanor a moment to decipher the sign above the shop window, as it was written in Old English script. King Arthur's Gallery, it said.

"King Arthur? Shouldn't that be in Tintagel?"

"He couldn't find a suitable place in Tintagel, but he's obsessed with King Arthur. Come and look."

In the window was a display of three paintings. At first glance, they seemed to Eleanor to be quite pretty but rather depressing. She could understand why holiday-makers didn't choose to buy pictures of slender mediaeval maidens with flowing hair and tragic mouths drooping over dead or dying knights, however meticulously portrayed. She wouldn't want one on her wall, breathing gloom every time she looked at it. They were flamboyantly signed: Geoffroie Monmouth.

But she didn't have time to study them. Nick had pressed the electric bell button. No one came. Heedless of the CLOSED sign, he pushed the door. Opening, it set off a jangle, just like his own shop door. The fact that it was not locked suggested to Eleanor that the artist was still within, probably in the throes of producing another grim memento mori. She tied Teazle's string to an ancient, worn boot-scraper to one side of the door and hurried after Nick.

The blind at the rear of the display window was pulled down, so the interior of the shop was dim. Facing the door, a life-size and remarkably lifelike King Arthur stood, barring the way. Grey-bearded, he wore a crown encircling his helmet, and his visible arm and his legs were clad in gleaming armour, the rest covered by a crimson tabard embroidered with flowers. In his right hand he wielded Excalibur. His other arm was hidden by a blue shield with a device of three crowns. Exquisitely detailed flowers surrounded his mailed feet.

Though Eleanor was sure she had never seen the picture before, it was vaguely familiar.

The jangle failed to bring any response. Nick looked around. "Damn," he swore under his breath. "If he's not in the back room, I'll have to trek up to his bungalow."

"Not a bungalow, surely! He ought to live in an ancient cottage overgrown with rambling roses, if he can't manage a crumbling castle."

"A 1950s bungalow," Nick said firmly, striding round behind King Arthur. "And any interest he has in flowers he devotes to his painting, not his garden."

Reluctantly Eleanor followed. He flung open a door in the back wall and stepped through into a room lit by a window facing north, high in the far wall.

"Ye gods! Eleanor, don't come in!"

But Eleanor was already on the threshold. She saw a figure sprawled face down on the bare boards. His beige smock was drenched with crimson, and a crimson pool had spread across the floor around him.

Someone pushed past her and cried in an anguished voice, "My God, Nick, what have you done? You've stabbed him!"

So Nick is arrested, and it's up to Eleanor to find out who really killed Geoffrey Monmouth. She soon finds out there are many people who would have liked to...

UK edition

Seattle Mystery Bookshop
Mysterious Galaxy

Tintagel--Old Post Office

Padstow--scene of the crime

A shop in Port Isaac. Eleanor and Nick live in a fictional village based on Port Isaac and Boscastle, farther up the North Coast.

The popular TV series Doc Martin is set in Port Isaac.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Marry a smuggler?

Smuggling was rife in the eighteenth and well into the nineteenth century among the small hamlets and remote farms of Northumberland. This surprised me when I researched the history of the area in which I wanted to place my heroine, Melanie Grey, and I decided to incorporate such activities into her story. She seemed just the right sort of person to be able to live with such risks, though she tried to persuade the master of Gavington to mend his ways for the sake of his child if not for himself. I've given you the opening lines of the story here, and to find out what happens you'll have to read on...

‘Gavington House, Miss.’
The coachman, no doubt anxious to reach his journey’s end before dark, was briskly polite as he drew the coach to a halt on the road between Corbridge and Morpeth. Descending unaided and with some difficulty, given her hooped skirt, she saw he had deposited her bag beside the imposing stone pillars of an open gateway. He tipped his hat to her and sprang back up to his perch with a cry to his horses. She watched the coach roll along the lane, and waved away the cloud of dust and grit that flew up behind the large wheels.
Green hedgerows divided greener fields, and there was not a dwelling in sight. Looking around, Melanie shivered. The snarling griffins with claws dug into the top of the stone gateposts added to her feeling of unease. Stepping closer, she realised the griffins protected a date incised into the stone beneath them: 1524. Gavington House had stood here for three hundred and forty years.

A little unnerved by such a span of time, Melanie stooped, gripped the handles of her portmanteau and marched between the gate posts with a determined stride. The gates had been opened and then abandoned some time ago, for tall weeds grew on both sides of them. Odd, she thought, as she walked along the weedy gravel drive that led through a shadowy clump of pine trees. Though she had packed only the necessities and a fresh gown for tomorrow’s interview, her leather bag was heavy and the gravel drive did not make for easy walking. Full of shallow gradients and curves, it wound through the trees in a most annoying way. Now and then, through gaps in the foliage, she caught sight of what must be Gavington House.

Had she been in the comfort of a sprung carriage, she would have found the approach charming and no doubt been delighted with each pretty vista as it appeared. But after twenty minutes of energetic walking, Melanie hesitated. The drive was about to take one of its unnecessary bends away from the house, which was plainly visible two hundred yards away in the opposite direction.

With a frustrated sigh, Melanie gripped her bag firmly, brushed through the low hanging branches and strode out across the lawn. If she were shot for it, she would not follow that drive an instant longer. Hurrying across the open stretch of recently scythed grass, she glanced over her shoulder, half expecting an irate gardener or gamekeeper to chase her off the hallowed turf.

Available here:

“Fascinating and beautifully created characters, plenty of secrets, and a compelling love story between a hero and a heroine that tugs at your heart strings, makes this a must read.”