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Shameless self-promo

Harlequin are running a contest to find the Harlequin Hero of the year.  The hero has to appear in a book published between October 2014 and September 2015 which means both Hugh and Will are eligible.  The top sixteen heroes will face off to find hero of the year (and who wouldn’t want to watch those scenes acted out) and it would be lovely to see a Historical hero in the mix.  If you’ve enjoyed my books and think Hugh or Will have what it takes please nominate them.

You can Vote here by leaving a comment or tweet to Harlequin Books using the hashtag #HarlequinHero including the name of the hero, book and author.

Nominations end on September 20th.

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I’ve never heard one called that before!

Warning- links in this post contain language that may offend.
Since starting writing I’ve searched for all manner of things I never expected to.  If my internet use is being monitored I’m sure the powers that be are building up a rather odd picture of my interests.  The other week I was searching for methods of hanging in Norman England (trapdoor opening or just push the condemned ladder?  Most likely the latter which was good as it gave me the opportunity for a dramatic end to a couple of characters).  I was also searching for terms to describe certain body parts and came across these wonderful and extremely helpful timelines of terms used for male and female genitalia recorded back as far as the 1200s.  Some of them are wonderfully descriptive, others I found hard to work out the origin, quite a few would make wonderful character names in themselves.

I was prompted to write this post after a conversation with a friend regarding the fun game of rearranging spice jars in the supermarket to spell out rude words and began wondering whether it would be more fun to use old terms.  For anyone wishing to extend their repertoire of herb based humour follow the links below (which as far as I know is an un-used term).

For the ladies

For the gentlemen

Voila! Cover Reveal

Falling for Her Captor is being published in French in October and I can now reveal the cover.
Dans Les Bras De L'Ennemi

I love the close up as it shows the lovely details of the model’s clothes, and of course those earrings that I still covet.

The link to buy  from Amazon.fr is here Dans Les Bras de L’Ennemi for anyone wanting to brush up their French! Très bon!

A Wager for the Widow – Elisabeth Hobbes

Bookish Jottings

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A compelling, poignant and highly engrossing Medieval romance from an outstanding new author of historical romance, A Wager for the Widow is the second mesmerizing novel by fast-rising star Elisabeth Hobbes.

The widowed Lady Peyton cherishes her life of independence where she is the mistress of her own destiny and nobody’s subordinate – unlike many other women of her time. Eleanor’s life on her secluded island might get lonely at times, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She loves pleasing herself and not having anyone to answer to and she is not exactly overjoyed when she is summoned by her father, Lord Edgar, to the family home over midwinter. Well aware that her parents are keen to see her married off again, preferably to a man of great rank and fortune, Eleanor is not looking forward to being paraded around like a prized heifer by her mother and…

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On research and world building

One of the things I always love to see in reviews is a reference to how accurate my setting and the time period are.  I’m a bit of a pedant so I hate finding anachronisms when I’m reading.  It’s even worse when I’m reading my own work.   I’m at the redrafting stage of my work in progress and know I’m bound to find a few things that slipped through the net.

A few weeks ago I was asked to take part in a discussion on the Harlequin blog about creating believable worlds.  I wrote this piece that I’m sharing here.

‘Round about chapter five of my first book, Falling for her Captor, I had the characters sitting round the campfire. The seasoned older soldier, about to dispense some words of wisdom to the hero, lit his pipe and somewhere in Anachronism Central a red light flashed and a siren started wailing. Why? Because my story was set (albeit in a fictional country) in the medieval period, which as we all know means no tobacco. Fortunately I spotted that one and didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of my editor pointing it out but it still makes me cringe.

It does, however, illustrate how important research is to the historical writer. Big inaccuracies can ruin a book from the outset so make sure you’re familiar with the hierarchy of society, forms of address and social conventions for the time you’re writing about. Fortunately there is a wealth of information available online to ensure you get these right.

I love reading historical fiction as well as writing it and for me a convincing world is one where the author has got the small, incidental details right (thought choose your details carefully- your hot medieval duke would almost certainly have had lice and bad teeth but your reader won’t want to know this). The story and characters are naturally the most important element but nothing kills the moment like an anachronism leaping off the page. In the same way that an errant TV aerial can ruin a period drama, the reader’s should be concentrating on the hero slowly teasing the heroine’s shift down over her shoulders, not shouting in annoyance about the fact that cotton wasn’t available in the Middle Ages and she would have worn linen.  And don’t get me started on the Tudor novel where the heroine felt a jolt of electricity run through her!

When trying to find ideas for clothing, food, houses and transport my first port of call is often contemporary art such as illuminated manuscripts and tapestries which can be a wonderful source of detail. Knowing exactly what sort of river ferry existed made it much easier to describe Will in  A Wager for the Widow almost knocking Eleanor over the side when he jumps his horse on board. I also love researching the food characters might have eaten and have some interesting recipes I’m planning to try out as soon as the holidays come around.

I’m naturally obsessive and sometimes researching what should be a small plot point ends up taking a lot more time than it should. My latest heroine inherits a business from her deceased husband so or A Wager for the Widow I ended up so engrossed in oyster farming in Medieval Cornwall I lost hours! Ditto tide times in December that cover the causeway to St Michael’s Mount. I’ve also spent time on Google Maps working out distances and cross referencing them with tables of how far and fast a horse could be expected to travel to ensure my characters could make journeys in the timescale I’ve given them.

So what have I learned? Know your period well before you start to write so you don’t write yourself into a corner. Don’t put the wrong monarch on the throne, don’t have a six-day journey taking a couple of hours. Don’t dress your characters in clothes that weren’t available, and don’t have your knights eating baked potatoes.’

How much do anachronisms bug you?  What is the biggest you’ve spotted in a book or film?

Celebrating readers and reviewers

‘I finished the book at 2am!! I literally devoured it.’

‘I couldn’t put this book down and didn’t want it to end. It brought a tear to my eye, made me laugh and smile all at the same time.’

‘I forgot my worries and just lost myself in this highly convincing world and romance. William is one of my favourite ever m&b heroes – a rogue whose devil may care attitude hides a broken heart.’

‘It’s gripping and exciting and romantic and sexy and simply a wonderful read!’

A Wager for the Widow has been out since Wednesday.  I’m overwhelmed with the fabulous reviews I’ve received so far (if that hasn’t convinced you to buy it for everyone you know – your mum, your child’s teacher, your next door neighbour, your sister then read the rest here).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B00VS0FV5U/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_top?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=byRankDescending

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed my blog for the past year and a half. As a new author who still can’t quite believe I’m being paid to do what I love, getting the ‘likes’ and comments on the blog, Facebook or Twitter means a lot to me, as does everyone who has taken time to read and review.

This week as well as celebrating the release of AWFTW I’ve finished my first draft of my work in progress and am getting ready to start reworking that.  I’m also recovering from Ofsted and am about celebrate (!?!) my 40th with some good friends.  I’ll be raising a glass to everyone who has been with me along for the ride.

Thank you and here’s to the next two years!

Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night

When I write there’s usually a particular song going round in my head, or which I play when I get a bit of writer’s block and want to get back into the mood.  For Falling for her Captor it was Intervention by Arcade Fire and with less than a week until release date I wanted to share the song that accompanied writing A Wager for the Widow.

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen.

It’s one of my all time favourite songs and one that whatever mood I’m in at the start, by the end I’m singing along doing bad harmonies (right around 1.42 on the video if you want to join in).

Before I’d even entered SYTYCW or dreamed I’d ever write more than one book I loved the romance of it.  I saw Springsteen at Wembley a couple of years ago and it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to.  He sang this as the encore, alone on stage with his guitar and it raised goosebumps and made my hair stand on end.

‘Don’t run back inside
darling you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking
That maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night’

For me the lyrics perfectly capture Eleanor and Will’s story of a woman who has withdrawn from the world (in Eleanor’s case literally as well as metaphorically) and the man who loves her trying to persuade her to open up to him and give romance another go.

‘You can hide ‘neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets’

Life can be sad and bleak and lonely, and even though the narrator says promises will be broken and by his own admission he isn’t hero material, the idea that taking the risk and stepping off the porch can lead to true love is a wonderful fantasy.  You’ll have to read the book to find out if Eleanor takes the chance.  I think I’d be grabbing my bag by the end of the first verse if he turned up at my door.  I’d love to know what you think.  Now I have some singing to do!

BBC Radio Manchester interview

Release date is getting closer so yesterday I paid a visit to Media City in Salford to talk to Becky Want on BBC Radio Manchester about A Wager for the Widow.

Flattering photo on my ID card.
Flattering photo on my ID card.

I had a case of nerves before I went on air and I’m not sure the coffee helped but I enjoyed sitting in Costa beforehand and trying to work out if the man at the next table was famous.

This is the interview.  I haven’t listened to it all as I never like hearing myself but I think it went well.  I managed to remember the names of the characters (thanks to a crib sheet) and had a fun time.  Becky was a great host.

My friend very kindly (and cleverly because I wouldn’t know where to begin) recorded the interview as an MP3 for me.

Catch me on the Becky Want show here

I love the area round the quays and for a change the weather was nice enough to go for a wander around.  The views from the multi-storey are great, taking in most of Salford and outer Manchester.

BBC one side.  ITV the other.  I wonder if the staff give each other hard stares as they look out of the windows?
BBC one side. ITV the other. I wonder if the staff give each other hard stares as they look out of the windows?
Fabulous view from the car park.
Fabulous view from the car park.

A WAGER FOR THE WIDOW by Elisabeth Hobbes

Fantastic first review for A Wager for the Widow from Amanda Shivrattan

Amanda Writes

Elisabeth Hobbs is most definitely an author to look out for. Her second historical novel will1972506_10153290407375306_7679200537964881838_n sweep you away into an era full of attitude, poise, rules and romance of course! Fresh, fast-paced and elegantly written with characters that stand out and command attention…A WAGER FOR THE WIDOW will most certainly have you turning the pages!

Highly Recommended

5/5 Stars

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