Hetty Avebury’s Eight Essential Travel Tips (whilst sailing on a man-of-war)

I  have a very special visitor today to kick start the blog. hetty blog july

Hetty Avebury, Regency heroine from Only a Hero Will Do has just arrived.

Welcome Hetty , perhaps you could  tell the guests something about yourself  whist I go and see to the tea.

Of course, Susan. Off you go, I will look after the visitors. Oh! Where are my guests precisely?

Trust me, they are out there listening, just talk  – you’re good at that. But don’t give away too much of the plot before I come back. 

Good! She has gone. I really do fear for my author.  I think she has become quite addled brained. Blog !  She told me I would have an audience.  Ah, well, I hope she at least brings back some scones, as I have a weakness for scones. In fact I have a few weaknesses. Gambling is one – luckily I am very good at it. My scheming family do not realize that I am able to gain funds this way. Therefore you might say it is also a strength.

Another weakness is books. I do love books! I can never get enough of the exciting informative kind (if you understand my meaning). The attendant at the library back home always examined my choices, so they were limited to the mundane. However, whilst I was at sea, Dr Withington lent me some books which were very informative.

But I must return our attentions to this umm… blog, where I will share some useful tips about sea travel. I gained this knowledge after I inadvertently found myself sailing from Portsmouth to Gibraltar on board a Man of War.

So here we go .

1. Make sure you know which is the leeward side (the sheltered side) of the ship. It is important to know which way the wind is blowing when you are prone to seasickness. It was a shame about Doctor Withington’s coat-but luckily it was only his second best.

2. Do not stray from the quarterdeck. The stern end is the civilized end of the ship. Although it is a lot more colourful down the pointed end.

3. Prepare for your sleep to be interrupted. The ringing of the ship’s bell and the beating of drums occur at regular and unsociable times.

4. Do not complain of boredom, believe me that is a good sign. If you see a French ship approaching things will get very unpleasant, and you will soon wish to be bored again.

5. If you have a chance to pack for the journey (which I did not) include warm clothing. Also a supply of lemon juice is useful to bathe freckles,which multiply like a plague of insects across your skin once exposed to the sea air.

6. Prepare to be stoic. You will witness the misery and sacrifice of war. Even If you are lucky enough to avoid battle, deaths on board from injury and disease occur frequently.

7 Do remember to knock the weevils from the ships biscuits, and do not try to cut biscuits into delicate pieces; they resist all attempts.

8. If there is a tall, dark, sombre physician around, whose job it is to keep you out of trouble, and looks at you with eyes … Oh, no – Susan is coming back with the tea.

There is much more to tell dear guests, and if you feel like indulging in a romantic adventure and discovering what happened during and after my unscheduled voyage, please take a look at Only a Hero Will Do. ( I haven’t even begun to tell you about Doctor Withington and you need to know about him.)

Here is a little taster.

Hetty Avebury’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can a stuffy ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?.

Marriage to a cruel dandy, is not how Hetty Avebury envisons spending the rest of her life. Determined to avoid the match she raises funds the only way she knows how – gambling .Her plans go astray and she finds herself on board a man-of-war under the care of its high handed physician. But Hetty soon realizes that Doctor Withington is not quite the stuffed shirt she had first imagined.

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

My thanks to  Wendy Metcalfe for  tagging me for the My Writing Process Blogtour.  Wendy  is an author of science fiction,  creative writing tutor and blogger. You can check out here latest publications here.

So here we go with the four required blog questions. 

What am I working on?

A contemporary romance where a police sergeant and a super fit cyclist find their passionate attraction seriously compromised by her work and his troubled past. I am about 30,000 words into the story – the stage when the characters begin to take over and mess with your original plotline.

I am also starting edits on my second historical romance Rebellious Cargo  due to be published in March by Musa publishing.  The story takes place in 1803 and follows the stormy relationship between a code breaker and  a naval captain whose frigate is sent to recruit her services for the military. But the last thing Jane Charlesworth wants is to set foot on a naval ship – not after the last time.phone 050

I  really have to get my head down and concentrate during edits, as I find it a very fraught time. So, the oncoming weeks will include a lot of cursing, coffee and cloistering. I usually put on a couple of ‘comfort food’ pounds during this time.  It’s hard graft but the satisfaction of ending up with a well-edited book is amazing.

Q How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Although there is no time travel involved , my  two contemporary novellas  share a Regency link.   I just can’t quite leave the period alone .  A  Regency paperback  features as a plot tool in  The Man in the Blue Flowered Shorts    and a Regency themed ball is the setting for The Man in the Buff Breeches. Both stories are firmly set in the 21st century  and include a fair amount of suspense and humour.

I  always take my heroines out of their comfort zones.

In Only a Hero Will Do, Hetty Avebury  defies convention to escape  a disastrous match arranged  by her  family, but she discovers a whole new set of values  and rules when she finds herself  aboard  a naval ship under the protection of the Physician to the Fleet.

Why do you write what you do?

I am fascinated by the period leading up to and including the Napoleonic wars .

Authors who have inspired me to set my stories in this era  include  Jane Austen  with her astute dialogue and  witty character observations,  and Patrick O’Brian  with  his masterful  Avebury/Maturin series which portray a vivid portrait of life in the Royal Navy and the culture and politics of the period.IMG00094-20120427-1221

I  worked in London  for  few of years and know Bath  quite well,  so Regency architecture and artefacts have always been close by.  If  I need a little more inspiration  I can spend time at Portsmouth’s historic dockyard and wander around Nelson’s flag-ship.  Or maybe take  a stroll around   Jane Austen’s house  at Chawton.

How does your writing process work?

The truth is I need a deadline.  I am much more productive when I am forced to use time efficiently.  I really believe that it is  not how much writing time you have but how well you use it.

I try to  rise early and shoot a few pages off before anyone else gets up.  This is my most creative part of the day, so definitely a morning person.  After 8pm I am virtually brain-dead, so reserve this time for the mundane tasks.

I find a lot of my plot/editing problems solve themselves overnight and I wake up with the answer.  I also dream some really good storylines, but if I don’t jot down new ideas as soon I wake up , after a couple of hours, they have slipped from my memory.

If my story lines dry up, as they frequently do, I load a blank sheet and start writing about anything that comes into my head.  This generally kick starts the work in progress ,and triggers the creative juices.

I do have some unproductive writing days, distracted by  the social media , a sneaky game of Tetris,  or checking  the  Amazon  ratings  to see if my  books  have  miraculously shot up to single figures.  This happened once, in one of those dreams I mentioned earlier. LOL.

I have tagged author  Kadee Mcdonald  to carry on  this blogspot. Kadee is a  Texan whose  love for the Regency period  shines through in her storytelling .  You can read  more about her great stories  over at her website . So over to you Kadee!