Thursday 27 December 2018

Escape to the Country by Lily Harlem

My popular, and particularly filthy story ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY has had a revamp. Beautiful new cover art by STUDIOENP.

Back Cover Information

London life is hard going for Annie and Tim, and despite being in love, they're just not hitting the spot in the bedroom.

So, in an attempt to put the steam back into their relationship, Tim whisks Annie to the Cotswolds to visit Matt and Jane his uber-cool, sexually liberal friends from University.

As the temperature heats to melting point in the chocolate box cottage so does the sex, and Annie, with the help of her hosts, discovers a variety of hidden carnal desires, not just in herself but also Tim.

Who would have thought he'd be into that? Who would have thought 'that' would have her buzzing from head to toe?

Please Note - This book contains ménage scenes and both M/M and F/F intimacy and is written using English dictionary spellings.


Friday 7 December 2018

Poor House Lane Series

Editions of Poor House Lane Series have been published by CANELO provided with beautiful covers.

1 - The Girl from Poor House Lane What lengths will a mother go to in order to protect her son? The first in the historical Poor House Lane sagas The slums of Poor House Lane are no place to bring up a child, and Kate O'Connor struggles to make ends meet when her beloved husband is killed, leaving her a single mother with a baby to support on the meagre hand-outs she gleans from charity. So when the childless Tysons, owners of Kendal's shoe factory, offer to adopt her son, Callum, and employ Kate as his nanny, she seizes the chance to ensure he has a better life. To be so close to her son, yet no longer be his mother, is bittersweet. But Kate is not prepared for the jealousy the new arrangement provokes in Eliot Tyson's brother, Charles, who sees Callum as a direct threat to his inheritance…


2 -The Child from Nowhere Kate finds herself back in Poor House Lane with some heartrending decisions to be made, not least how to find her missing son. Somehow she must also make a living for herself and help the women being abused by the hated Swainson. But nothing is straightforward, and her sister-in-law Lucy isn't done with her yet…


3 - The Woman from Heartbreak House The Great War is over and Kate is ready to welcome back Eliot with open arms. But her husband is a changed man. Kate has become used to her independence, and Eliot's return creates tensions both at work and at home, particularly with Kate's son, Callum. It tears Kate apart to see such strife between the two men she loves most. And her sister-in-law seems determined to stir up the animosity in order to benefit her own son. But when tragedy strikes, Kate cannot imagine just how much trouble Lucy's ambition can cause…


Tuesday 27 November 2018

Medieval Christmas Gift Giving - plus 2 sweet medieval Christmas historical romances

During the Middle Ages, Christmas was seen as a sacred time, the time for the three Christ-Masses. Charitable giving to the poor was encouraged on Saint Stephen's day, December 26, which we know as Boxing Day.  On Boxing Day in the middle ages, the poor received money in hollow clay pots with a slit in the top, nicknamed 'piggies'. Unlike modern piggy banks, these clay pots had to be broken to extract the cash.

A page from the Bedford Hours.
What about gift-giving among other classes?

Sacred gifts - of prayer books and so on - were seen as being appropriate for the holy Christmas period. Anne of Burgundy presented the Bedford Hours to Henry VI, her eight-year-old nephew, in 1430. The book is now at the British Library.

Gifts were sometimes given at the New Year. New Year's day, known at the time as the étrenne, a word derived from the Latin strena,  (used to mean both the gifts and the ritual exchange) was the traditional time to do so. Gifts might be food -Christmas was a time of feasting and, for example, it was considered bad luck to refuse a Christmas mince pie given by a host. A Christmas kiss of peace might be given under the green kissing bough of holly and other green-stuff and mistletoe, the plant of peace. Sometimes the 'gift' might be a joke, such as the 'book' given by the illuminators of Les Tres Riches Heures to the Duke de Berry, which turned out to be a block of wood. 

At times the gifts were part of very formal processions and ceremonies. At the courts of Henry Tudor and Richard II the king rose on the day of the New Year and seated himself in his chamber ready to give and receive presents, given and received in strict order or rank. Sometimes the heralds and messengers bringing such gifts could also find themselves rewarded, as happened in the court of Richard II when the carver of the King was given a gold cup by the French King Charles. Kings and Queens could exchange gifts, often of rich jewels, as a public show of respect and affection. Rulers were expected to be generous but at the same time the size and value of gifts were ranged in order of class - kings and queens, their families, nobles, servants, right down to laundresses and cleaning-women. In some years, certain symbols might be used in gifts. In 1422 at the court of Charles VI, small jewels shaped like peacocks were given out to courtiers -  the peacock being one of Charles's badges. 

In medieval England, such gift-giving also went on. People gave New Year’s gifts to those above and below them in the social hierarchy. For example, peasants who worked on landed estates brought gifts of farm produce to the local lord during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Custom dictated that the lord respond by inviting them to a Christmas feast. Personal gifts between people of equal status might have taken place but there are few records of such. In the records and for many kings and nobles, gift-giving meant ostentation and display.

Christmas and gift-giving features in several of my books. In my latest medieval romance, "Sir Conrad and the Christmas Treasure" I show my hero and heroine taking part in several medieval Christmas customs, including winter hunts, gathering and displaying Christmas greenery, Christmas fairs and dancing carols.

In the dark time of the year and the winter solstice, there might also be spirits and ghosts. My Christmas novella "Sir Baldwin and the Christmas Ghosts"
have Sir Baldwin and Sofia seeking to placate the restless dead in time for Christmas.

Lindsay Townsend

Saturday 27 October 2018

Sexy Scottish Historical - OUT NOW!

I'm so excited to release my hot and kinky clan chief, Trevor McTavish into the world! Grab your copy now and be seduced by his warrior charms and Scottish passion.

(Also on Kindle Unlimited)

Back cover Information

After Isla Dunoon is saved from a man's forceful, unwanted advances by Trevor McTavish, the leader of the Highland clans, she cannot help falling for her rescuer. But when she is caught with something she stole from Trevor in order to cast a spell she hoped would endear him to her, Isla quickly discovers that not only is the stern, handsome warrior already entranced by her, he will not hesitate to spank her bare bottom hard and thoroughly when her behavior makes it necessary.

Though Trevor soon takes Isla as his wife and claims her properly, it isn't long before her spell-casting attempts attract attention and put her life at great risk. He punishes her strictly and shamefully in an effort to tame her recklessness, but will his efforts prove to be in vain?

Want more? Don't miss the spin off novel OWNED BY THE HIGHLANDERS

(Also on Kindle Unlimited)

Thursday 27 September 2018

THIEF - Romantic Suspense set in London


Back Cover Information

Kat uses her female charm and womanly attributes to pinch elite cars for her unscrupulous boss, Carlos. But when John Taylor becomes her latest hit, Kat finds herself at the receiving end of an expert seduction by a man who’s not all he appears.

Despite their night of passion, Kat has no choice but to take John’s car—Carlos knows where she lives. What she doesn’t bargain on is so does John.

In a week of sex and danger, honesty and kink, the couple become inextricably tangled in each other’s lives. Emotions and desires reach boiling point as they push each other to their limits in and out of the bedroom.

Can each handle the other and will they ever be able to trust enough to open their hearts?

*Please note, THIEF was previously published with different cover art and is intended for mature readers owing to its sexual content.

Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Wednesday 19 September 2018

allthingsbookie: Take me I'm Yours

allthingsbookie: Take me I'm Yours:                                                                           Take Me, I’m Yours India Buchanan plans to set up an Engli...

Many thanks to Julie Ryan for a super review, loving the Capulets and Montague reference.

Monday 17 September 2018

Saturday 15 September 2018

Against the Flow Press: #BlogTour #Review: Take Me I'm Yours @lizzie_lamb...

Against the Flow Press: #BlogTour #Review: Take Me I'm Yours @lizzie_lamb...: Take me, I'm Yours    Written by Lizzie Lamb   Published by  New Romantics Press  (24 July 2018) Genre Contemporary Roman...

Many thanks to Deborah for blogging about my latest novel. Download for 99p until 21st September.

Inspiration for Polly's Pride

The idea came from the story of Great Aunt Hannah who, back in the thirties in order to survive through difficult times, sold off all the furniture save for an earthenware bread bin and their bed. The bread bin thereafter held their food, and acted as a table or stool. With the money, she and her husband bought second hand carpets from auctions and better class homes, which they cut up to sell on the local market. They also bought many other items offered, such as small pictures, clocks, jugs and vases, even chamber pots. Anything saleable was grist to the mill for them to survive. Everything would be loaded on to a two-wheeled hand cart and transported home to their rented terraced house.

Carpets in those days were a luxury, most houses in working class areas covering their floors with lino, although kitchens were generally just scrubbed flags, perhaps with a rag rug made from scraps of old clothes. But when they first went into business they did not have the space or the facilities to properly clean the carpets before putting them up for sale. On one occasion Aunt Hannah was showing a carpet to a prospective buyer when a huge cockroach ran across it. Fortunately he didn’t see it as she quickly grabbed the horrible thing in her hand and held it until the customer had paid for the carpet and left. She must have been a tough lady.

They also bought the entire set of carpets from the German ship SS Leviathan which was being scrapped. In order to do that, and having refurnished from the profit made, they sold everything all over again, repeating this process several times. Gradually their hard work paid off and they expanded, renting the shop next door, and later bought property where they began to sell new carpets, as Polly does in the books. Aunt Hannah was such a kind lady that when my parents, who had married early in the war, finally set up home together in 1945 in rented premises as a shoe repairer, living behind the shop, she gave them a brand new carpet as a gift. They treasured this for much of their married life, as they’d only had Dad’s demob money, and otherwise would have been on bare boards.

I often use family stories, suitably adapted and fictionalised. In this case my aunt had a very happy marriage, not suffering the traumas that Polly was forced to endure.

ebooks and paperbacks available on Amazon

Polly’s Pride

Thursday 6 September 2018

The new PUMPKINNAPPER is here! Regency Comedy

 The new Pumpkinnapper is here!

The all-new, expanded and completely rewritten Pumpkinnapper is now available at Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Amazon and other retailers:

Universal Buy Link:

Have some fun with a Regency Halloween, a second chance at love, ghosts and a jealous goose.


EPIC eBook Contest Finalist in Historical Romance 

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and geese that go bump in the night!


Hank, Baron Grey, might have found ghoulies and ghosties as he lay in the dirt on this cold autumn night watching and waiting for pumpkin thieves. With widespread food shortages in 1816, this Year Without a Summer, pumpkinnappers—pumpkin kidnappers or pumpkin thieves—have threatened his friend Emily’s pumpkins. Instead, he got a goose. A big, mean goose who “watched” him in a very embarrassing place. Repeatedly.

Any sane man would give up. But Emily is here—Emily, the special playmate of his youth. He could never let anything endanger her. Ten years ago when they last saw each other, they might have become more than playmates. Perhaps now they can pick up where they left off—if her pet goose ever stops damaging him.

The widowed Mrs. Emily Metcalfe reluctantly allowed Hank to try and catch the would-be pumpkin thieves, partly as an apology for accusing him of being the pumpkinnapper. But that may have been a bad idea. Her pet goose will warn her of any villains and he intensely dislikes Hank. And then there is Hank himself, the lost friend of her youth, and with whom she would like more than mere friendship.

He’s unwed, and she a widow. Can a flame from so long ago once more burn bright? Or will the pumpkinnappers and the goose thwart them?

A sweet, traditional, drawing room not bedroom, Regency romantic comedy with paranormal elements. A new version of the previous work, expanded and completely rewritten. 31,000 words, about 120 pages.


Hank stopped. “That reminds me. Today in the tavern, the owner mentioned a night roamer carrying a lamp. You cannot stay here.”
“Oh, that.” Emily lifted a shoulder. “Just a tale. No one has ever seen this lantern-bearer up close, if he exists at all. Nothing to worry about.”
“I disagree. Even with Henry, formidable as he is—” Don’t you even think of getting in my way, bird.
The goose’s narrowed eyes spat Hank’s thought back at him.
“—you need protection. I will send over some footmen to guard the place.”
“No. Turnip Cottage belongs to Charlotte’s husband. What will the townspeople think, with Lord Grey’s servants about my house?”
“Well, then, I will send over Lindsell’s servants.”
“Again, no. The neighbors will still know who made the arrangements. In any event, the earl’s steward checks on the tenants every week, and I sent him a message about the pumpkinnappers. He was here before you arrived, and I convinced him I was safe. Henry and I can manage quite well by ourselves, can we not, Henry?” She nodded at the goose.
“HONK!” The goose smirked. If geese could smirk.
This one probably can.
“But thank you anyway.”
Hank balled his fists as his patience thinned and something else thickened. He would explode if she didn’t see reason. The sight of her petting that benighted goose didn’t improve his mood, either. “I will find you a guard dog. You require protection out here all alone.”
“But I have Henry.” She petted the demon bird’s head. Again.
The goose snuggled into her hand. Again.
“Henry is a very good watch animal. He also crops the grass and eats weeds. Though I might consider replacing him.” She fluttered her eyelashes. “Do you eat weeds?”
“I could be tempted.” Curse it, but Emily had always been stubborn. If only she would touch him instead of that blasted goose, and then, afterwards—long afterwards—they would celebrate with a goose dinner featuring this particular goose. “Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I will help you catch the villains.”
“Fustian, I am fine.”
He raised a restraining hand. “I insist. I worry about you. Please agree, for old time’s sake.”
He changed his voice to the voice that either melted a woman or earned him a slap in the face. “Who knows, mayhap we would enjoy ourselves as I lie in wait with you.” I would love to lie with you.
Her eyes widened and then narrowed. “I cannot stay alone with you. You know that as well as I.”
“You are a widow in your own home. No one will see. I promise.”
“No.” She marched into the cottage and slammed the door.
Henry smirked—that was definitely a smirk—and waddled away.
Hank grinned. He would be back, whether she liked it or not.

Universal Buy Link:

Thank you all,

Saturday 11 August 2018

If you love hot MMF and you love audio books, here's a treat for you. THE GLASS KNOT (set mostly in the beautiful Costwolds) has been narrated by the brilliant Rebecca McKernon and is available now on Amazon and iTunes. You can also read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Back Cover Information

What's a girl to do when the guy she falls for is married to another man?

This is exactly what happened to me. Seeing Josh Kendal stroll out of the Mediterranean Sea wearing tight navy swim trunks and looking like a hot new James Bond was a truly delicious moment. Catching sight of his wedding ring was like a kick in the shin and meeting his gorgeous husband, phew, that was enough to make any girl groan at the cruel joke God was playing on her.

But all was not as it seemed, and when Josh needed a woman to sort out a 'delicate predicament' I was the one for the job - heck, what did I have to lose? Certainly not as much as him, literally.

Trouble is, emotions always get tangled, loyalties can't help but be divided and with a night of memories so hot they'd have the devil sweating, there was only one thing for it--it was time to get honest, fight for what I wanted despite society's constraints and open my heart to the people it needed most.

Friday 20 July 2018

Cecily and the Suffragettes

A section of my latest book is about the suffragette movement Cecily is involved in. originally focused in Manchester, that was where Emeline Pankhurst and her family had lived. The general election of 1905 brought it to the attention of the wider nation when Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenny interrupted Sir Edward’s speech with the cry: ‘Will the Liberal Government give votes to women?’ Many women were very much in favour of that, and some were charged with assault and arrested.

They further shocked the world by refusing to pay the shilling fine, and were consequently thrown in jail. Never before had English suffragists resorted to violence, but it was the start of a long campaign. Their headquarters were transferred from Manchester to London and by 1908, by then dubbed the suffragettes, they were marching through London, interrupting MP’s speeches, assaulting policemen who attempted to arrest them, chaining themselves to fences, even sending letter bombs and breaking the windows of department stores and shops in Bond Street. They went on hunger-strikes while incarcerated, brutalised in what became known as the ‘Cat and Mouse Act.’ This ‘war’ did not end until 1928 when women were finally granted the vote in equal terms with men. They showed enormous courage and tenacity, were prepared to make any sacrifice to achieve their ends.

Fortunately, Cecily managed to avoid the risk of jail as she went off to France to entertain the soldiers in the war. But she believed very strongly in working for the suffragists and happily helped to organise a meeting before this idea came to her. Later she met one or two people who greatly intrigued her.

Extract from Girls of the Great War: 

This afternoon, being a Saturday, they were attending a Suffrage meeting, which offered much satisfaction. Cecily had worked alongside this organisation from before the war, taking part in parades and demonstrations. She’d always felt a sore need to help, as she strongly believed in the rights of women. She’d spent every evening the previous week happily delivering notices to encourage people to come to this meeting.
    ‘The place is packed,’ Merryn, who was seated beside her on the front row, softly remarked, glancing around. ‘You did an excellent job encouraging so many to come.’
    ‘Thank goodness there are plenty of women here.’ This had been helped by the fact that Annie Kenney, a most special lady, was attending the meeting. As a working-class factory girl who started to follow the Pankhursts she was now almost as famous as them and she certainly gave excellent talks, being very down-to-earth. ‘Unfortunately, some working women are unable to attend these suffrage meetings because they have families to feed after they finish work, or else they fear to offend their bosses or family. Irritatingly, the occasional sour-faced father or husband would toss away the notice I delivered!’
    ‘Men can be very commanding,’ Merryn agreed.
    ‘I would never allow one to control me,’ Cecily sternly remarked.
    ‘I can understand that your sense of independence is partly the reason you enjoy working with the suffragist movement to help them seek the vote. Me too, although I am in favour of marriage and willing to be a fairly obedient wife to make my husband happy.’
    Cecily chuckled. ‘Hang on to your rights, darling. I have no doubt that we will achieve the vote one day and find the love of our life.’
   ‘Exactly.’ Stifling their giggles they listened to Annie Kenney explain how Lloyd George, who had always been supportive, was now helping ladies achieve their goal, having finally replaced Asquith as Prime Minister last December. ‘We have every reason to believe that a vote will soon be granted, if only to women of a certain class who own property and are over thirty,’ she announced.
    ‘Why is that?’ Cecily quietly asked her sister, only to find herself hushed.
    She firmly disagreed with her mother’s attitude against the working classes, particularly regarding her beloved Ewan. It seemed politicians were equally disapproving. How would she, Merryn, and most other women, ever achieve the right to vote unless they succeeded in improving their status and raised enough money to buy themselves a house? Deep in some secret part of her soul, there lurked the hope that by stimulating the new talent she’d discovered in herself during that one performance on stage, it might happen again one day and earn her an independent income. Shutting down these dreams she realised Annie Kenney was explaining the reason for this puzzle.
    ‘The government is wary of the fact that women are in the majority. Men have been in short supply for some years. Many went to work in the colonies before the war in order to find employment, a situation that could grow worse once this war is over, as so many young men have already been killed. Therefore, the number of surplus women will increase.’
    ‘Is this lack of a vote for all women, whatever their age or income, because the government has no wish to be taken over by us?’ Cecily asked, giving a wry smile. Others in the audience laughed and cheered at this remark.
    ‘I’d say that is the reason, yes,’ Annie replied with a cheerful nod. ‘As a young Yorkshire lass wishing to help women get the vote, I packed my little wicker basket, put two pounds safely in my purse - the only money I possessed - and started my journey to London to join the Pankhursts. Fortunately, Lloyd George and Asquith both now agree that the heroism of hard-working women doing men’s jobs during the war has made them reconsider our situation. This bill will make a start on improving our rights. Given time and more effort, we will hopefully succeed in widening its scope.’
    As the meeting came to an end, Cecily joined the group of stewards to help collect donations from those women able to contribute. Some carefully ignored this appeal, not being well enough off, but she did manage to gather a fairly large sum.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancé is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Saturday 14 July 2018

His Vampire Harem - OUT NOW!

That's right, today is the day. Be quick and be one of the first to grab a copy of HIS VAMPIRE HAREM and lose yourself in a dangerous London underworld where sexy vampires will do anything for the man they love.

Back Cover Information

He's special. He just doesn't know it yet.

Darius Linnet has it all. He's a top male model, he's traveled the world, and everyone wants to either be him or be with him.

But would they really want to walk in his shoes? Because when emotions consume him, heated sparks fly. When he sleeps, his dreams take on an other-worldly twist. And his perfect body—sometimes it doesn't even feel like his own.

Until, that is, he meets a group of sexy, mysterious men who claim they've been searching for him for centuries. He's their savior, apparently, the key to their release from eternal damnation. They love him and they want to show him the pleasure he's been denying himself. There's only one problem: Darius's demon father has other ideas.

This novel contains male/female and male/male scenes.


Friday 22 June 2018

Performance in the Great War.

Entertainment was a place where soldiers could escape the harsh realities of their dangerous life. They were always overjoyed to see these performances. Concerts took place to liven up the troops. Two or three concerts a day were often available and most popular. Drama presented a particular challenge: contemporary comedies and romances were played with canteen furniture, and the scenery was often a backdrop of night sky. Violin solos, string quartets, operatic arias, all were performed behind the front lines. It was not unusual for the audience to be in their hospital beds, or wheeled out of the wards, even if rain beat down upon them. Shows were also given on ships, and out in the wild country or desert.

Back in England the war naturally brought a surge in patriotism, both in drama and cinema. Music hall was one of the dominant forms in World War One. Theatre managers, newspaper editors, civic leaders and even clergymen insisted that people wanted to cheer up and were not expected or even allowed to use their brains or be presented with a serious matter. The war was expected to end by Christmas. Many plays were written about the suffering, but the emphasis was more on the humorous to attract the masses. Soldiers on leave flocked to the theatres with their sweethearts, eager to be amused and entertained. There were many famous performers such as Harry Lauder, Vesta Tilley dressed as a soldier, Gertie Gitana and others, all popular with troops out in the war and for soldiers and their families back home.

After the war, popular tastes began to change. Entertainment then preferred Charleston, jazz and syncopation. Performers would often entertain cinema audiences between films. Queues too would be entertained by dancing dogs or a man playing a banjo or accordion. Then a collection would be taken up for the soldiers and sailors. Benefit performances were held to raise money to entertain wounded soldiers; just as there were Tank Weeks or fundraising for an ambulance. In Girls of the Great War, Cecily, having lost the love of her life, eagerly goes to entertain the soldiers in France, filled with the need to help and overcome depression, Her sister, mother and Johnny, a drummer friend, accompanied her, a part of which proved to be a problem. I was inspired to write this because I’d been involved in amateur dramatics for much of my life. I still love the theatre and have collected many books on the history of it and famous actors. Writing about it was a joy, and I have touched on this theme in one or two others of my books.

Here is a short extract of Cecily’s first performance. 

There was no proper stage, no curtains, dressing rooms or footlights, but they did have acetylene gas lamps glimmering brightly around the boxes. They worked for hours rehearsing and enduring more instructions from Queenie on what and how they should perform. Cecily suffered a flutter of panic as she became aware of hundreds more men gathering in the audience. A few were seated on boxes or benches, the rest of the area packed with a solid mass standing shoulder to shoulder. Many had been patiently waiting hours for the concert to start. Looking at the state of them it was evident that many had come direct from the trenches where they’d probably been trapped in horrific conditions for months. Those unable to move from their tent pulled the flaps open so that they too could hear the concert.
    Heart pounding and nerves jangling, Cecily felt the urge to turn and run as the moment for the concert to start came closer. Was her mother right and she couldn’t sing well at all? Would they roar and boo at her as they had that time at Queenie?
    She steadied her breathing, smoothed down her skirt with sweaty fingers and when she walked on stage the men gave a loud cheer of welcome. The excitement in their faces filled her with hope and as she stepped forward to the front of the boxed stage the audience instantly fell silent, looking enthralled and spellbound. She exchanged a swift glance with Merryn, counted one, two, three, four . . . and her sister and Johnny both began to play, sounding most professional. Cecily started to sing:
          There’s a Long, Long Trail A-winding. 
          Into the land of my dreams, 
          Where the nightingales are singing 
          And a white moon beams: 

    As she sang, her fears, depression and worries vanished in a surge of elation, soaring into a new life, and bringing these soldiers pleasure and relief from the war. When the song was over she received a tumultuous applause, cheers, whistles and roars of appreciation from them. Smiling broadly she went on to sing ‘Roses of Picardy’, followed by ‘Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag’ and many other popular favourites. Most of the Tommies would readily join in to sing the chorus whenever Cecily invited them to do so. Others would weep, as if fraught with emotion because they were homesick and felt greatly moved by this reminder of England. Then would again cheer and roar with happiness at the end, urging her to sing an encore.
    ‘You are doing quite well,’ her mother casually remarked during the short interval, a comment Cecily greatly appreciated. ‘Now sing some of those jolly music hall songs that I recommended.’
    ‘Right you are.’
    Cecily went on to sing ‘Burlington Bertie From Bow’and ‘Fall In And Follow Me’. These brought bright smiles and laughter to all the Tommies’ faces. She finished with ‘Your King and Country Want You’, bringing forth loud cheers of agreement. How she loved singing to these soldiers. If she hadn’t been a star before, she certainly felt like one now.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancé is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Monday 14 May 2018

"A Long Goodbye" by Anthony Le Moignan . Powerful Contemporary Fiction

‘A Long Goodbye’ 

Can you outrun a slow death sentence?

Emma, married with no kids, lives, breathes and manages Orchard Care Home; a position her husband, Michael, used to hold in the good old days. But now he’s soared up the company hierarchy she sees so much less of him.

Simon, a successful accountant, has a big problem. The biggest of them all. He checks himself into Orchard whilst still relatively healthy, the youngest resident by decades. He’s confident he cut all ties with the outside world and is untraceable, but determined ex-partners have their ways...

The attraction between carer and resident is instant, but ultimately destined for catastrophe. Alzheimer’s takes no prisoners and Early Onset, it’s most tragic form, is the cruellest of all.

How can Michael be jealous of this man and his time-bomb? Why does he see Simon as such a threat, driving him to behaviour that will end in disaster?

Simon understands less and less, but knows he has to try and run away from time - to somehow beat the ceaseless clock.

A powerful new novel by Anthony Le Moignan that will make you laugh and cry.


Unsurprisingly, the meal had been a fairly quiet affair. To Emma’s great relief, Simon had not pursued his intimate line of questioning any further - she suspected he might have forgotten what he’d asked Michael. It was the first time in her experience that a reasonable amount of Champagne had not encouraged people to talk more.
Michael had been staggered by Simon on many fronts. What was a guy like him doing in a residential home? Sure, eventually he’d obviously need one, but his social behaviour suggested that was a while down the road yet. And boy, was he right to be furious with Emma for gallivanting off to Manchester – that wouldn’t be happening again anytime soon.
He’d watched Emma carefully throughout the meal to see if there was any exchange of glances with Simon that would suggest they were already up to something. The man was constantly staring at her, but she didn’t seem to be looking his way. Then he thought about Penny and winced – taking the moral high ground was very much more difficult now than a couple of weeks ago. He was also furious with Simon for drinking his pint. There was something despicable about that sort of behaviour. However pathetic it sounded, Michael felt he’d lost a little bit of his mojo during that incident. Men didn’t drink other men’s pints. They just didn’t.
And as if the evening wasn’t weird enough already, Michael had become aware of Julie making eyes at him. At first, he thought he must be mistaken, but twice he’d felt her foot rubbing his shin. If there were any doubts left, they were well and truly extinguished when he went to the gents.
Julie was there as he came out, faking surprise at bumping into him. She pushed up against him, her chin on his shoulder, whispering her gratitude for the flowers. It jogged his memory, and he was starting to apologise when she’d put a finger on his lips and told him to save it for another time, and preferably one night soon.
As he stared at her, utterly lost for words, she told him how nice he smelt and then sauntered off to the ladies. More tragic than anything, he’d found himself watching her bottom as she walked off.
Michael sighed, shook his head and seriously contemplated punching himself in the groin.
Simon was feeling a little tipsy. Drink had often caused him to forget things, and this was one of those occasions. He remembered the waitress, and of course he remembered Emma, but the other young girl and the guy who looked a little bit like him were puzzling. He was enjoying the warmth of the late sun and the ambience of the busy pub, but he couldn’t remember how he’d got here.
Strangely, this didn’t worry him. He’d decided not to say anything and just listen to the others, but they weren’t saying much either. As he studied the faces, it occurred to him that the young girl must be with the other guy. She was looking at him, and unless he was mistaken, there was passion and desire written in her eyes and over her pretty face.
He looked at Emma a few times simply because it was a pleasure and a delight. If the other two were a couple, it would make sense that he and Emma were as well, but he knew this wasn’t the case. She seemed to be staring into the horizon, and he was unable to make eye contact with her.
It gave him an opportunity to study her features – he found her stunningly beautiful. He desperately wanted to kiss her. Surely he’d done that before?
The waitress approached the table. ‘Guys, there’s a taxi for Mr Carter.’
‘Oh, that’s me, excellent. Are we all ready to go?’
‘That’s just for us, Simon.’ Julie stood up and put a hand on his arm.
‘Really? Are you sure? What about Emma?’
‘Michael and Emma are going back a bit later.’
‘Oh, that’s a pity. Would you both like to come with us?’ Emma smiled and was about to accept the offer, but Michael got there before her.
‘No, we’ll stay on until our own taxi arrives, thank you very much. Is that a problem for you, Simon?’
‘Yes, it is, really. I wanted to go back with Emma. Would you like to come back with us, Emma?’
Michael swiftly stood up with his fists pressed on the table. ‘Well of all the ...’
This time, Emma was able to interrupt her husband.
‘That’s very sweet of you, but Michael and I should wait for our taxi. I’ll see you tomorrow back at Orchard, okay Simon?’ She smiled at him, not attempting to hide her reddening face.
‘Bye-bye, Julie, take good care of Simon. Michael, let’s go inside, it’s getting chilly now.’
Michael moved towards her, and she grabbed his arm, dragging him into the pub.
Michael had finally managed to buy and drink a pint of his own by the time Emma came back from the ladies. Some of his mojo had returned, along with a nice little buzz.
‘I don’t fucking believe that guy – I should have punched his lights out. And he orders two bottles of Dom, and I get to pay for that and the whole damn meal, the bloody con merchant. Is he one of these guys we’re going to have trouble getting residential fees from? Have you done financial due diligence on him, Em?’
Emma could no longer contain herself, buoyed by the alcohol and her heartache.
‘You fool. You stupid fool. Is it really that long since you were a carer that you’ve forgotten all the signs of Simon’s illness? Can’t you tell he didn’t have a clue where he was or what he was doing?’
‘Oh really? So what about when he grabs my drink off the tray, knowing it’s mine and drinking it in front of me. Then he asks why I don’t see you more often, the cheeky sod. I should have given him a slap. That Champagne came to two hundred and seventy quid, for fuck’s sake! Perhaps you told him I’m wealthy so I can afford it, eh?’
Emma couldn’t remember ever feeling so angry.
‘You’re so wrong on every level. No, he didn’t know it was your drink. As he walked up to us his expression changed. I know him well enough to realise something snapped in his mind.’
‘I bet you do.’
Emma stood up, and her chair clattered to the floor.
‘How dare you, you bastard. Dream on about giving him a slap or punching his lights out – you’d have been on the floor before you’d raised an arm. And no, you’re not wealthy, Michael – not compared to Simon. He’s a multi-millionaire, you idiot. If you’d looked in his file, you’d see his financial situation and how open he is about it. You’ll get your lousy money back. Couldn’t you see how totally confused he was before he left? Damn you, Michael. Damn you to hell!’
The pub had gone eerily quiet as Emma stormed out of the door, slamming it shut behind her. Michael jumped up out of his seat and ran after her, but two rather large local men stood in front of him by the door and politely asked him to calm down and return to his seat. They suggested he have another drink and leave the lady alone.
As Michael was arguing, one of the men’s companions went outside to find Emma. She was leaning against a table, sobbing. The woman put an arm around her.
‘It’s alright love, it’s okay. Are you far from here? Can we give you a lift?’
Between sniffles, Emma told her they had a taxi arriving soon. As they were talking, the cab pulled into the car park, and the woman helped Emma into it.
Back in the pub again, Michael was still arguing with the men – the woman spoke to one of them, and they all sat back down at their table.
Michael was just in time to see the taxi’s tail lights disappear down the road.
Links (this goes live on the 10th May)

Author Bio

It was both a shock and a delight when Anthony Le Moignan received The English Prize at end-of-term assembly.  He was 11 and in the 6th form, his final year at Prep.

The celebrations carried on for years – five in fact, at which point he was expelled from senior school (‘asked to leave’ was the official jargon).  However, a lifelong lesson was learnt (even if an avoidance of alliteration wasn’t) – he was clearly unemployable.

So through a series of almost absurd luck which he cannot begin to over-emphasise, he seems to have successfully ploughed himself to this current moment in time.

He won’t excuse his love of Cambridge.  Having travelled around the world playing croquet for a couple of decades, this little city is just about his favourite place on the planet.  He’s not entirely sure why, but he seems to love being surrounded by people far brighter than himself, and buildings older than God (welllll, sort of…).

So, a lot of his novels are going to be set in or around Cambridge and London, all of which he hopes will be glanced at in the fullness of time.  For now, he’d like to mention that all of the characters in his books, every single one of them, human and otherwise, are based on actual persons; fragments maybe, but they all truly exist.  Quite how any author can claim otherwise is a complete mystery to him.

Friday 11 May 2018

Extract from - Girls of the Great War



She was running as fast as her legs could carry her, rocks constantly tripping her up, and a blanket of trees towering around so that she could barely see where she was going. The sound of heavy feet pounded behind, filling her with panic. Was he chasing her again? Would she be captured? Breathless with fear she ran all the faster, knowing what would happen if she did not escape. She could feel her heart hammering, tension freezing every limb. Then pain rattled through her back with merciless precision. She felt utterly powerless and vulnerable, petrified of what might happen.
    A hand tapped her cheek and she jerked awake in panic.
    ‘Wake up, Martha, it’s time for breakfast.’
    Staring into her mother’s eyes, the young girl gave a small sigh of relief. So this had been yet another nightmare, a trauma she suffered from constantly. The emotion attached to it always cloaked her in absolute terror. At least she had managed to sleep a little last night, which was never easy. Tension would mount within her whenever she went to bed, no longer a relaxing time. Now pain and fear escalated through her once more and she cried out in agony.
    It seemed that having spent nearly five months virtually locked away in her room, she was now about to give birth, although she had only just turned seventeen.
    A part of her longed to vanish into oblivion, to disappear back into the world she’d once enjoyed, not least her happy and privileged childhood. Why had that all gone wrong after her beloved father died? Would she now die? Many women did when suffering this traumatic event. Would the good Lord take her to heaven? Her soul having no real attachment to Him, it was doubtful He would trust in her innocence and accept her. Nor did her mother, who’d made it clear she didn’t believe a word her daughter said. She no longer viewed her as respectable and had offered no sympathy or support, declaring that no one must ever learn of her condition.
    Martha gazed up at the window, her blue eyes glittering with desolation. How she ached to catch a glimpse of the sun, the cliffs and the sea. Oh, and how she missed her life. Her mind flicked back to the young man she’d once grown fond of. He was most handsome, dressed in baggy trousers, and lived in one of the fisherman’s huts. Whenever he wasn’t away at sea working in smacks and yawls to catch fish, he’d be in a local pub eating, drinking or gambling. He also spent much of his time sitting by the harbour mending nets. They’d sometimes listen to the band down on the bay along with crowds of spectators, or watch a concert and dancing. Claiming he adored her, he’d give her sweet kisses and had her name tattooed on to his arm. Then one day, when she’d excitedly hurried to meet him, as usual, he’d told her he was off to America in search of a new life, having become bored with fishing. She’d felt utterly devastated. He was so charming and helpful over her family problems that she was almost falling in love with him. How she missed him, but if he were still around why would he ever agree to marry her?
    Now water suddenly flushed out of her and the sound of her screaming echoed around the room, bouncing against the shutters that blocked the window. Over the next several hours she sank into more agony with no doctor or midwife around to help, only Enid her maid and of course Mama. Whenever another bolt of merciless pain struck, she struggled to sit up in a bid to resist it, only to be pushed back down by her scolding mother.
    Finally, something solid slid out of her, leaving her breathless and exhausted. She felt hands pressing upon her belly and more stuff flopped out, including blood that soaked the bed sheets. Then she found herself being briskly washed, wiped, stripped and dressed by the maid, making her feel like a piece of dirt. Not a single word had been spoken to her, save for orders to push hard and stop screaming. And no comfort offered.
    Whatever child had been delivered was now swept up into her mother’s arms and she marched away, slamming the door behind her. Martha gave a small sob of distress aware she’d been informed the baby would instantly be given away for adoption. She certainly would not be allowed to keep it. If only her life could return to normal but the harsh, uncaring attitude of her mother proved that would never happen.
    It came to her then that with the agony of her imprisonment and this birth finally over, she had no desire to stay here any longer. In order to maintain her safety, she needed to go as far away from here as possible, and change her name. The time had come for her to leave home and build a new life for herself. Then she’d find herself a husband and become respectable again.

A section of Chapter One 

Christmas 1916 
Lights dimmed as a man dressed as Pierrot in a bright blue costume and pantaloons, peaked hat and a huge yellow bow beneath his chin, skipped merrily on to the stage singing ‘All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor’. He was quickly joined by a troop of dancing girls. They too were dressed like Pierrots, all of them looking ravishing in a pink costume with a wide frilled collar, long swirling skirt decorated with fluffy bobbles, and a tight-fitting black hat. They were complete visions of beauty who brought forth roars of excited approval from the audience. Pierrot waved his gloved hands at them, the theatre being packed with British and Belgian soldiers who responded with cheers and whistles.
    Cecily smilingly watched from the wings as she loved to do most evenings. A part of her ached to join the singers, something her mother would never agree to. Viewing herself as the star performer she expected her daughters to wait upon her hand, foot and fingers. Not that Cecily believed herself to be a good assistant, being too involved with working as a conductor on the electric trams now that most men were caught up in the war. Her mother disapproved of that. Cecily, however, firmly believed in making her own choices in life.
    Feeling a gentle tap on her shoulder, she found her sister at her side. ‘Her royal highness Queenie requires your assistance,’ Merryn whispered, her pretty freckled face wrapped in a jokey grin. ‘I’ve been dismissed, as she’s engaged in her usual bossy mood.’
    ‘Oh, not again!’ Stifling a sigh, Cecily accompanied Merryn back to the dressing room. Gazing in the mirror she recognised the familiar lack of focus in her mother’s blue eyes, proving she’d again been drinking. Despite seeing herself as a star, Queenie too often felt the need to overcome a sense of stage fright before she performed.
    ‘Merryn has made a total mess of my hair,’ she stuttered in a slurry voice.
    ‘I’m sure she didn’t mean to, Mama,’ Cecily calmly remarked, and reaching for a brush began to divide her mother’s curly blonde hair across the back of her head.
    ‘Never call me by that name. You know how I hate it.’
    She’d chosen to name herself Queenie years ago as she considered it more appropriate for her career than Martha, the name she was born with. And that was what she required her daughters to call her, having no wish to be reminded of her age. Merryn seemed to accept this. Cecily always felt the need to remind her of their true relationship, which irritatingly was not an easy one. She carefully twisted up a small strand of her mother’s hair and clipped it, then tucked the other portions neatly around before pinning them together with a glittering silver hair slide on the top of her head.
    Grabbing a curl, Queenie pulled it down to loop it over her left ear. ‘I’ve no wish for my hair to be all pinned up. Flick some over my ears.’
    ‘I thought you liked to look as neat and tidy as possible, Mama,’ Cecily said.
    ‘No, fluff it out, silly girl. How useless you are.’
    Cecily felt quite inadequate at this job and checked her success or lack of it by viewing her mother in the mirror. She was a slender, attractive woman with a pale complexion, pointed chin and ruby lips frequently curled into a pout, as they were doing now. But she was also vain, conceited, overly dramatic, emotionally unstable, selfish, overbearing and utterly neglectful. Queenie was never an easy woman to please, even when she was stone-cold sober. She was an exhibitionist and a star who demanded a great deal of nurturing and support, a task Merryn was extremely skilled and happy to do, save for when Queenie was completely blotto, as she was now. And having been scolded and dismissed countless times when her mother was drunk, her sister would sit in the corner reading Woman’s Weekly, taking not the slightest interest. Once Queenie sobered up she would happily treat her younger daughter as her favourite child in order to make Cecily feel unwanted, even though she’d done her best to help. Not that she ever felt jealous about this, always eager to act as a surrogate mother towards her beloved sister as Queenie could be equally neglectful of them both, wrapped up in herself and her tours.
    There came a rap on the door. ‘Three minutes on stage please,’ called a voice.
    ‘You should have a drink of water,’ Cecily quietly suggested. ‘It might help to mobilise your voice and cool you down.’
    ‘How dare you say such a thing! My voice is fine,’ Queenie snapped.
    Reaching for a jug, Cecily poured a glass and placed it on the table. ‘Do take a sip to improve it, Mama.’
    Filled with her usual tantrum she snatched the jug and tossed the water over her daughter’s head. Then she swept the glass of water, a box of make-up, brushes, jars of cream and all other items off the dressing table onto the floor, swirled around and marched away.
    Grabbing a towel, Merryn rushed over to pat Cecily’s damp hair and face.
    ‘Don’t worry, it’ll soon dry off,’ Cecily said, rolling her eyes in droll humour. ‘Come on, we need to make sure Mama calms down and performs well.’
    Giving a wry smile, Merryn nodded, and they both scurried after her.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancé is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Published 22 May 2018
Amazon UK 

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