Ranter’s Wharf Synopsis

This is what I have settled on.

When Betsy, a strong and determined spinster, of independent means, adopts her motherless nephew, she doesn’t mean to fall head over heels in love with the child. When she plucks William from the bosom of his family, she does it out of self-interest, hoping to thwart unwelcome suitors. Her plans to raise William as a gentleman, allowing his respectability to rub off on herself almost work. But things don’t always go to plan.

One person she hasn’t factored in is Joe, William’s brother. Years later he comes to avenge his loss, with devastating consequences for Betsy. William is horrified by his brother’s betrayal and vows never to forgive him. It takes a travelling preacher to bring the brothers together once more. William sets off on a journey of discovery and fulfillment he never expected.ranters_wharf_front_cover_small

The next generation fight their own battles against the evils of poverty and greed. Can William prevent his son, John, from losing everyone he loves?

This is a family saga about love, loss and betrayal.  It is an intimate portrayal of a family dealing with big ideas of the times.

The backdrop is the decaying, coastal town of Grimsby trying to reinvent itself amid the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars, dissenting religion and the fight for voting reform.

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New Blurb for The Digger’s Daughter

I experimented after Christmas with a new blurb for Search for the Light on Amazon. It didn’t work. Sales went down, so I reverted back to my old one. So I am now experimenting with this blurb for The Digger’s Daughter. Comments please.

Based on the life of Jane Dugmore Timms, this fictional account is a dramatic, historical adventure. It follows the life of the early settlers in Victoria, Australia. Bush Fires, Bush Rangers, Gold Diggers, and rebellion all feature in Jane’s early life. But she and her husband are driven DDpbackto succeed against all probability. She is a convict’s daughter who manages to escape her background, building a life of relative prosperity for her numerous children. All the time, the threat of bankruptcy haunts her family. One fire, one drought can bring all she has striven for tumbling down.

Jane never talks about the past, hiding her background from everyone. Her son, Joseph, mixed with the great and the good, from Nellie Melba to Sir Sydney Kidman, the cattle baron, but only Jane knows the truth about the family’s origins.

her death, her nurse, Mary, encourages Jane to talk, to tell her stories, to reveal her secrets. Mary nursed in Egypt and on the Western Front, and has her own dark past. Sometime
s their stories collide. Excitement mingles with the bleakness of disease, war, and poverty. Families sometimes support each other and sometimes tear each other apart, but at last, Jane learns to love and receive forgiveness. Mary wishes she could do the same, but her sin goes too deep.


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Ranter’s Wharf Cover

Thanks to Verite CM in Worthing I now have my cover. The image is courtesy of the Primitive Methodist Museum. It’s an image of Thomas King, an itinerant Primitive Methodist preacher on his mission to Grimsby.


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Is Search for the Light a romance?

In February we have Valentine’s Day – the month for lovers and romance. But romance comes in all sorts of guises and may not be the same now as it was in the 19th century, when a woman depended on men just to survive. There are three ‘love affairs’ in Search for the Light’ from the purely transactional, (Helen’s) to full blown love.


When I started writing it I had no idea how it would end, other than with the one character, I knew intimately, my husband’s three times great grandmother. She had to marry to create her family.

I think it was when we got on board ship to face the five-month voyage to Van Diemen’s Land that I first identified one of the sailors to be a possible love interest for Nora, the heroine of the story. I strongly believe that the characters find me and George’s empathy with the convict girls grew on me. He knew what it was to have an unhappy and bullying childhood. But, of course, they couldn’t declare their love for each other, it had to carry on secretly, but in plain view. Congress between the convict girls and the sailors was forbidden, or was it? The Henry’s ships’ surgeon, in real life, made one of the girls his mistress and had a child with her. But George and Nora conduct their love affair with subterfuge and song.

And Sarah, what about timid, abused Sarah, could she ever learn to trust a man? All my readers love Sarah. At one point I was considering whether she should die, probably by her own hand, but I couldn’t do it. She spoke to me, as she speaks to everyone. Never give up hope. Read now on Kindle 

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History Imagined

Several months ago, I applied to be on the History Imagined Blog with my interview of the main character in my book Search for the Light.

Well today’s the day and you can read it here.

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Audio Books

A new member of CHINDI has kindly made an audio recording of one chapter from The Digger’s Daughter. Here’s the link.

My question is how useful is it to have an audio book as well as e-books and paperbacks? How long will it take to cover the upfront cost?

Can we afford to create an audio book, is the first question. Here’s an example of costs.

What is the market for audio books?

Amazon, of course, have a solution. But they require 7 years exclusivity, so it’s a big step to go down that route. What indie authors should know

Meanwhile I have been quoted £1200 for my book though Book Narrator. What do you think?

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Chapter One, Ranter’s Wharf

Here goes – the first snippet of my new book, Ranter’s Wharf. Let me know if you want to be a beta reader and get a free copy sent to your kindle app.

William shivered, his patched smock offering little protection for a boy unused to standing motionless. His toes twitched on the bare earth, wanting to run, run away, anywhere but here. Tasting the faint tang of wood-smoke on the cool autumnal air, he gasped as the men lowered the box into the earth. He wanted to scream, shout Mama but bit his tongue to stop the sound escaping.  The painful image of his mother lying in the pine box, twisted his stomach into knots. He knew she lay in the coffin because he had seen her in it that very morning, before his father nailed down the lid; her skin pale and bloodless; her hair flowing around her shoulders like a raven’s wing. His father had told him to give her one last kiss and he leaned over to press his mouth to her cheek, flinching as his lips touched her icy, unyielding flesh.

She looked so peaceful and still, but Mama had never been still. From the time the sun woke until it set, there were things to do she said. He longed to climb in the box to lie against her and stared with jealousy at the small bundle in her arms. For eternity, that baby would lie with her but he, William, would never feel her hands yanking the wooden comb through his knotted hair; never hear her complaints about his torn and mucky clothes, nor feel her dig around in his skin with a needle to find the splinter in his hand. The worst thought of all, the one which caused his eyes to water was that he would never again have the comfort of her gentle hugs and kisses. He started as his little brother, Joe, attempted to climb up on the bench.

Continue reading

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