Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Boy Behind The Fireplace

     In October 2003, the skeleton of a young boy was discovered when replacing the original fireplace in the main hall of a thirteenth century castle.
     There was no clue to the boy’s identity, but sightings had been recorded of a small boy of the period seen playing in the hall.  This is my idea of what might be his story.

The Boy Behind the Fireplace

’Twas in the thrall of winter, he holed me in this wall.
My life I was to forfeit, my lord would have it all.
My hearth my lord did covet, my mother he desired.
My death was all he needed and for this he conspired.

My mother’s heart he captured, he held her in his spell.
To me, he showed his hatred, and left me in this hell.
Now let this wall bear witness, to the evil of his mind,
For all will know his purpose, when they my body find.

My life’s breath still did linger when put inside this wall
And though I cried and pleaded, no one would heed my call.
I scraped against the brickwork, but it still held its place
Now none will ever know me, and none behold my face.

My lord, my place has taken, my mother and my worth,
And I am left here grounded, forever on this earth.

Hazel Statham © October 2005

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

My Blog at Historical Romance UK Blog

     Inspiration for THE PORTRAIT came to me from a song whilst watch the film ‘Hawks’, which is the story of two young men dying of cancer, but determined to enjoy life whilst they can.  In the song, the singer utters the words ‘I want to be the man that you think I am’ which, in the theme of the film, translates into wishing he was strong and healthy for his girlfriends sake.  I took that thought and translated it into a hero returning from war with devastating wounds.
     When he had joined the ranks of those fighting against Napoleon, Edward Thurston, the new Earl of Sinclair, had recently entered into an arranged betrothed with Lady Jennifer Lynton, but a cannonball wreaked such damage on his noble frame that he had no desire to continue with the marriage.  In other words, he wanted to be the man she thought he was, not the wreck he perceived himself to have become.  However, during the campaigns, it was seen that he relied greatly on a miniature he carried and it was to this he clung during his time spent recovering in a convent on the Portuguese  border.
     For differing reasons, Lady Jennifer had also decided to end the engagement.  She felt slighted that Edward’s letters had been impersonal with little but trivialities in their content.  Why should she trot down the isle with a man she hardly knew and made no attempt to inform her of his injuries?

     Will Edward find happiness with the girl in the portrait or will he stay firm in his resolve not to wed?  His head dictates on course, his heart another!

If you have time, please read an excerpt at the link below

Friday, 10 December 2010

My Guest Blog at The First Draft

     Authors are divided into two groups, the planners and the pansters.  Me?  I’m definitely a panster.  Of course, I know in which direction I want the story to go but, apart from a vague idea, I just go with the flow.  For me, it’s like listening in on private conversations and just watching as the story unfolds before me.  Quite often, I hear words coming out of my characters’ mouths that I never even dreamed of and frequently the story takes a completely different direction.  This doesn’t cause a problem and, on the whole, usually enriches the plot.
     An example of this is that I never knew Stephan, a character in MY DEAREST FRIEND, had an illegitimate daughter until the sergeant confided it to Stephan’s brother.  It came as quite a surprise but added yet another element to the story.  I write, primarily, for my own amusement and don’t write to a formula so my characters are allowed to do or say anything they wish.  Luckily, this usually works and adds to the enjoyment of writing the book.
     The first draft is where I develop the story and characters.  Refinement comes later.  I am never completely satisfied with the first, second or indeed, third draft, but there has to come a point when you let it go and, for good or bad, allow it to fly.

     If anyone had told me that a character could take over a book and make it his own, I would not have believed them.  However, I would now have to admit that this did indeed happen.  Dominic, Earl of Vale was a very strong character who just strode onto the page and more or less wrote the book himself.  He was a fun character to write and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
     Dominic was so determined to tell his story that even though we vacationed in Orlando, he insisted I paid attention and continued with his story.  It was hurricane season, the rain came in torrents and the trees outside our hotel room were horizontal.  My husband slept and I wrote. 
   His is a fun story about an unconventional courtship and unbelievably needed little more than tweaking after the first draft.  I have never been so fortunate again.  THE PORTRAIT came very close to it however, and again, the first draft proved quite satisfying with only minor changes being made thereafter. 
     I have been lucky and the stories continue to come.  All my characters are dear to me and I have great pleasure in telling their stories.  If some never get past the first draft, then so be it, they have been a joy to write.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

An Interview with Lady Flora Carlton and the Honerable Peregrine Thruston, siblings of the Earl of Sinclair

     Yesterday, I had the very good fortune to take tea with Lady Flora Carlton and her youngest brother, Perry, and I thought I would take this opportunity to relay the content of our cozy tête-à-tête to you.
     “How fares your dear brother so recently returned from war?” I asked, when the opportunity arose.  I was eager to hear news of Edward, who now, owing to his father’s demise,  found himself to be the new Earl of Sinclair.
     “I do believe he is improving,” stated Flora.  “No sooner did I hear of his injuries than I decided Carlton could fare well enough without me and I hastened to Fly Hall resolute to be at my dear brother’s side.  I was determined to nurse him in his hour of need.”
     Perry looked his disgust at his sister’s words.  “Edward needs no nursing and well you know it, Flora.  Your overzealous attentions drive him demented.”
     “You overstate the case,” snapped Flora.  “How can you, a mere boy, understand how the loss of an arm can affect a man?  Not only the loss of his arm but also the loss of his intended!  I will not have it said that I neglect my dear brother.”
     “It was by mutual agreement that they ended their betrothal and as for the loss of his arm, he copes  exceedingly well.   You are such a female  Flora!  A chap has no need for coddling and doesn’t wish for it.”
     Flora bridled, annoyance showing in every line.  “I’m sure that if my presence is unwelcome,  Edward would have found a way to tell me so.”
     At this point, to Flora’s utter dismay, Perry’s large mastiff-like dog lolloped into the room.  His entrance had been facilitated by an unsuspecting footman who, having found him wandering the hallway looking for his master, had thoughtfully opened the door for him.
     “Take him out! Take him out,” demanded Flora, flapping her hands in the dog’s direction.  “I will not have our visitor upset by that great brute.  Whatever must she think of such unruly behavior!”
     As I hastened to assure her that the dog was most welcome to stay, Perry caught his collar and proceeded to drag the unwilling animal toward the door way.  Opening the door, he pushed the wayward canine through and with a rebellious glance over his shoulder, quickly followed in its wake, closing the door none-too-gently behind him.
     With a sigh, Flora sat back in her chair, folding her hands demurely in her lap.
     “Thank goodness that irritating boy has gone,” she said, relief heavy in her voice.  “Now I can tell you my main concern for Edward without the fear of constant interruption.   Of course, I see that physically he improves every day but it is his foolish intention never to marry that greatly concerns me.  I cannot believe a man of his intelligence cannot see the advantages of taking a wife.  I am completely out of patience with him.  He is my brother and I love him dearly but I can quite understand Jenny’s point of view.  I do believe that it is not the loss of his arm that drove her to also end the betrothal.  He is a man of considerable address and it would have taken such little effort on his part to woo the girl, albeit from a distance.
     She is young and young girls have romantic notions and expect that sort of thing from a man.  Indeed, my own dear Carlton was most attentive, and still is… but I digress…”
     Sitting forward, she offered to refill my teacup, but I politely refused and, assuring her I was quite in sympathy with her cause, encouraged her to continue with her narrative.
     Relaxing once more into her chair, she continued,  “If he is able, it is my intention to persuade Edward to join us in London for the season.  He was always a favorite with the hostesses so I need not fear he will be overlooked.  Perhaps, in time, he will change his mind and start to look amongst society’s  beauties for a wife.  He need not fear rejection.  He is handsome enough and his fortune rivals any in the land.  Once it is known that he enters the marriage mart, there will be a surfeit of mama’s eager to put their daughters in his way.”
     “What of Lady Jennifer?”  I asked.  “Do you think she will reconsider her decision not to wed?  It is rumored that her disgraceful brother, Hawley, is all eagerness to see her away from under his roof as he aspires to enter the married state and wishes the house for himself and his bride alone.”
     Flora nodded.  “I can’t help but feel for the girl,” she said quietly.  “She is in an unenviable situation.  Now that the engagement is ended, that unscrupulous older brother of hers will not hesitate to throw suitors at her head.  Being an heiress definitely has its disadvantages.  Any and all fortune hunters will beat a path to her door and Hawley will deny not a one of them.” 
     There was the sound of voices in the hallway and immediately Flora recognized the tones of the Earl of Sinclair.
     “Edward is here,” she said straightening in her chair.  “Not a word to him of our conversation.”

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

My Guest Blog from Diva's Bookcase Blog

       Over the next few days, I will share my guest blogs with you.  These blogs were originally published whilst I took my virtual blog tour in November to promote the release of THE PORTRAIT.

  About three years ago, Regency Romance  went into decline and many publishers dropped the line altogether.  However, the good news for readers of the genre is that it is making a strong comeback and publishing houses are now opening up new lines.  Several are offering to take previously published books to enable their readers to find out of print works.
     Despite the temporary downturn, I resisted the pressure to write in other genres and remained true to the period I know and love.  I love the romance and elegance of the Georgian and Regency eras and wish nothing more than to re-create them in my work.
     My books remain ‘sweet’ and the bedroom door is firmly closed, but this does not mean they lack in romance.  On the contrary.  Remaining true to the period when innocence was prized, my heroines remain pure and my heroes strong.  There is chemistry between the two and despite all that fate may throw in their  way, they are destined to be together.  There is often humor and pathos in their lives, but throughout it all, remains love.  Sometimes they do not realize that their fate it to be together and often  fight the thought but, nonetheless, the fact remains irrefutable.  Add to this the elegance of a bygone era and you have the perfect mix for a romance.
     Although many readers will not admit to reading romance novels, they nevertheless remain one of the most popular genres with very respectable sales figures.  Where else can you find the recipe for a happy life than between the covers of a good romantic book.  You live the highs and lows of the characters’ lives and rejoice with them at the book’s conclusion.
     As with everything else, reading trends run in cycles.  Fortunately, romance in one form or another, remains throughout.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

More News of The Portrait

I have been really thrilled with the reviews The Portrait has received.  If anyone would like to read these very kind reviews, please visit my website

If you wish to purchase a copy of the book it is available from the following sites

I also have a limited number of copies available for sale from my website.
The weather here is terrible and the roads area atrocious.  Of course, Mollie our young Lab, loves it and pesters my husband, as soon as he gets up, to go for a walk, hence they are at The Brook by 8 am no matter what the weather.  I have a problem walking and use a mobility scooter to go with them, but this weather makes it impossible.  Short of harnessing Mollie up to the scooter and shouting 'mush' I have to wait at home LOL Of course, all this cold weather gives everyone the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book and just ignores all the severe elements.