Friday, 27 February 2009

The Gravel Walk, Bath

When Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth at last reach that happy moment when they understand each other and agree to marry, they need somewhere private to walk and talk and pour out their feelings. They set off through the streets of Bath to the Gravel Walk and take their time to go along this quiet way.

Each time I read 'Persuasion' I always imagine their blissful state, strolling slowly arm in arm as they go over the events that have brought them together and then savour the happiness of a shared future. The physical contact is also a thrill, after eight years apart. How I wish I could see them as they walk and stop, chat, move on a little, he catching her arm and pulling her close. Surely, however well bred she is, she is more than ready to snuggle up to him and maybe even exchange a few kisses.

This scene has fascinated me so much that in In All Honour I send my hero and heroine to walk along the same path. Of course, during that walk Greg is overcome by his feelings and by Sarah's beauty, so he cannot help kissing her. At this point Sarah thinks Greg has an understanding with her best friend, Lizzie, so she is upset by the kiss, even though she enjoys it. What a tangle life is!

She leaned closer, closer… Suddenly, both of them recollected where they were and jerked back at the same instant.
Sarah’s cheeks became very red but she kept her eyes on him steadily. She raised a trembling hand to touch her lips. Her breath was coming in little gasps. Greg’s eyes glowed as he watched her and his mouth curved into a breath-taking smile. They stood there, staring at each other, unaware of the wind, the cold and of various nursemaids and servants passing them in both directions.
It seemed a very long time before Sarah said: ‘We should not have done that. It was very wrong of us.’
‘I cannot believe that something so pleasant can be entirely wrong,’ protested Greg. He raised an eyebrow and grinned at her. After a moment in which she continued to stare at him, he added: ‘but if I have distressed you, I apologise.’
She looked down, veiling her eyes with long dark lashes. Her head was whirling. Why had he done it, when he was as good as engaged to her best friend? Why had she responded? And yet, somewhere in her mind, she rejoiced at that sweet contact, oh yes, and she wanted more of it. Which meant she must put herself out of danger, not just from the man she loathed but from the man she loved.

In All Honour pub: Robert Hale, March 2009

Kindle edition:   Sept 2011

Thursday, 26 February 2009


In All Honour will be published by Robert Hale in March.

In 1810 at the end of The Wild Card, Theo's friend, Greg, has fallen in love with Amelia but she turns him down. Broken-hearted, he goes back to his military duties in Spain.

Two years later, he is cynical about women. Wounded at the battle of Salamanca, he returns to England to face a series of problems involving his family. As he tries to unravel the mystery, developments became more and more sinister.

Sarah Davenport is one person who could help him but she constantly avoids his company. Greg cannot deny she has links to the villains even if she seems to be an honourable young lady.
Sarah has her own reasons for trying to keep away from Greg. She accepts an invitation to stay with a friend in Bath where they plan to enjoy the social life, with visits to the Pump Room, the circulating library and Assembly Rooms. Sarah thinks she has escaped but then Greg also appears in Bath - and, horror of horrors, so does the unpleasant Lord Percival, who is hunting Sarah relentlessly.
Can Greg resolve the impossible tangle?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Seeing HOW they do it

My current story, April and May, is the story of two sisters, Rose and Helena. The story begins in Constantinople [right] in 1804.

Starting a new story is splendid - new people and places to describe and a foolproof new plot. Only, it never is... the main characters quickly take over. By Chapter 9 or 10 they demonstrate their own particular interests. Now they go their own way and do quite different things from what was planned.

Keeping the main characters interacting can be a problem - especially when the heroine sails back to London, leaving the two male love interests in Constantinople. Fortunately they soon discover that they must come to London as well. And then the plot really thickens. Villains swarm all around but the real dangers are the emotions dominating the main characters' actions.

Love, rivalry, pride, fear, honour, determination, revenge and treachery, all have their part to play.

Rose is an artist. She visits the exhibition at Somerset House, but lingering too long in the empty gallery, she is almost caught by an assassin.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

RNA Joan Hessayon and other Awards Lunch, 11 /02 /09

Tuesday, 11th February was a difficult day for travelling. Snow or rain had fallen again overnight and ice and/or flooding caused havoc with public transport the length and breadth of the country. But that did not stop Romantic Novelists heading to the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington to join in the annual Awards luncheon. The cloakroom was full of brollies and boots but the dining room was full of delightfully dressed ladies and gentlemen. There was a happy noise of greetings and exchange of news, the clinking of glasses and the popping of corks.

The tables were laid with crisp white linen and decorated with black candelabra and red and black ostrich plumes. Name cards in beautiful script [which must have taken many hours work to write out for three hundred guests] told everyone where to sit [another headache to plan where to put everyone].

The food was superb. Each course was beautiful to behold and mouthwateringly good. Best of all, the hot dish was served hot! The lemon tart was made in heaven. And throughout, the conversation was cheerful and people made new friends and happily met up with old ones.

We shortlisted candidates for the two prizes arrived early, in a mood of pleasant anticipation. Whatever the final result, during the event we were basking in admiration from our fellow writers. The winner of the Romance Prize was India Grey, while Julia Gregson won the prize for the Romantic Novel of the Year.

My thanks to Pam [Kate Hardy] for letting me use her photo of four Romance Prize finalists.
L-R: Beth, Fiona, Kate, Jessica.

 I was also a finalist for the Joan Hessayon Prize, for my Regency adventure romance, The Wild Card.

RNA Joan Hessayon Prize,  -  Judge’s summary:

The Wild Card (Hale) by Beth Elliott - "The background is terrific, the story lively and the pace relentless as the story builds to a fantastic climax. A wonderful charming and well-written Regency with its essential lightness spiced with intrigue."

The Wild Card                
                                                         The Wild Card