Thursday, 23 December 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar - Grand Prizewinner!

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner of a Kindle 3G and an assortment of Harlequin Historical ebooks...
The Grand Prizewinner is JEANNE M!
Watch your mailbox, Jeanne, you are about to receive a Kindle!

Many thanks to all our entrants for making this contest so much fun.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
The Harlequin Historical Authors

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Garland in a Tudor Hall & Medieval Shopping...

This is last year's Christmas Garland at Cotehele.  It is made of flowers and is a real work of art.    Sadly, we didn't get to Cornwall to see this year's garland, but I am posting last year's on the blog because you can see most of the hall and it's very evocative of many late medieval halls.   A fire would be blazing in the huge fireplace, logs would spit and crackle.   You can also see the displays of arms on the walls - they were decorated with sprays of leaves and berries.  As were the doorways.

Below is a picture taken from the Weald and Downland Museum.  The building on the left is a reconstructed market hall.  In this area of the museum, the buildings have been laid out as (part of) a medieval street.    Wooden shutters would close up the shops at night.

Today it's Ann Lethbridge's day on the Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar, so don't forget to check out her page!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas Deliveries...

This little van stands outside a tea shop near us.     Below is a picture of some of the cakes in the shop window.   I don't think the van is used any more, but I like to imagine it whizzing around doing the Christmas deliveries.    (These pics were posted on eharlequin yesterday, they are so cheerful, I thought I would put them up here too).

Please could May Chan get in touch, so that I can make my Christmas delivery and send her her prize! 
Happy Christmas!

And today - am editing this on the 19th now - it's Blythe Gifford's turn on the Advent Calendar...
Also, I understand there were internet problems yesterday with Georgina Devon's day, so do check out her site today, if you couldn't get through then.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

My Competition has ended....

Thank you so much to all the entrants, the response has been wonderful!    Part of the point of this promotion was to attempt to engage with potential readers, and I appreciate your efforts.  It's helpful to know why a book appeals and the themes that interest everyone.

Here are the two winners, drawn from  the correct entries:

1  Deb H

2 May Chan

Congratulations Deb and May Chan!  I have emailed Deb H for her mailing address, as her email was on the entry.   May Chan, please could you let me have your address (click on the comments link to tell me, I won't publish your email address!)
Thanks so much, everyone!

And now it's December 15th, so it's Deb Hale's turn on the Advent Calendar!    (I've just noticed, that's another Deb H - how weird!)

Monday, 13 December 2010

December 14th!

The Carol Townend door opens on the Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar today!   Two entrants have the chance to win a signed copy of my medieval romance Her Banished Lord, plus their choice of one of the other Wessex Weddings stories.  All correct entries will also have a chance at the Grand Prize of a Kindle 3G to be drawn on December 23rd.

For your chances to win, read this excerpt from Her Banished Lord and answer three questions.

Q 1:  How old is the heroine?
Q 2: What is her brother's first name?
Q 3: If you win, which other Wessex Wedding story would you like me to send to you, and why?
         Details of these titles are here: The Novice Bride
                                                           An Honourable Rogue
                                                           His Captive Lady
                                                           Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord
Please post your answers using the comments link below.  Good luck!

This competition closes for entries at midnight on December 14th, UK time.   Winners will be announced on this blog on December 15th!

On December 23rd, a random drawing from among all 22 authors' entries will determine the Grand Prize winner of a Kindle 3-G. Please see the official eligibility rules for this giveaway.

Happy Holidays from the Harlequin Historical Authors!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Goodreads Draw...

The recent Goodreads draw for copies of Her Banished Lord has just ended - this is to let the winners know that I am posting their copies today.  Please bear in mind that the books are being sent from the UK, and what with the Christmas post, they may take a little longer than usual!

Also, don't forget to click on Day 11 on the Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar where it's Joanne Rock's day...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Winchester Christmas Market 2010...

Here are some pictures as promised.   I'm also blogging today on eharlequin at eHarlequin Historical Author Blog where there are more photos.   The Winchester Christmas Market is a wonderful place to do Christmas shoppping.    As you can see, the stalls were set up in the square behind the Cathedral.

We found lots of presents and drank spicy mulled wine while watching the ice-skaters.    Well, it was VERY cold!   We also went into the Cathedral.     There are angels on the ceiling:

And stars in the medieval floor tiles:
This is the crypt:

After the bustle of the market, it was lovely and peaceful in the Cathedral.  There are underground rivers beneath Winchester, one runs very close to the Cathedral and features in Her Banished Lord.

On another note, today is Day 7 of the Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar - which means it's Barbara Monajem's day!  Click on this link to visit her site: Barbara Monajem

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Winchester Christmas Fair...

Christmas shopping at the Winchester Christmas Fair is great fun - we found some gorgeous presents and had a glass of mulled wine while watching the ice-skaters!  Later we went inside the Cathedral and I found myself looking at images of angels, I have photos of some of them and will try and post them tomorrow.    Am head down with the revisions today.  

And it's day 6 of the Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar which means that Deb Marlowe's door opens.   Visit her site for a chance at her prizes and to be put in the Grand Draw for a Kindle 3G!

Also don't forget the book giveaway at Goodreads for Her Banished Lord runs until December 11th.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Her Banished Lord  (Mass Market Paperback) by Carol Townend

Her Banished Lord

by Carol Townend

Giveaway ends December 11, 2010.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Door 5 Opens on the Advent Calendar...

Today it's the day of Elizabeth Rolls, a copy of her book is the prize for one winner of the question on her website.   (If you like animals, this one's for you!)  The link is here: Elizabeth Rolls.    Entry also gives you a chance at the Grand Prize of a Kindle 3G.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Medieval Romance Giveaway at Goodreads...

To enter, please click on the link below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Her Banished Lord  (Mass Market Paperback) by Carol Townend

Her Banished Lord

by Carol Townend

Giveaway ends December 11, 2010.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Follow the Harlequin Historical Authors' Advent Calendar - Prizes!

Michelle Willingham, one of the Harlequin Historical Authors dreamed up the idea of a Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar.    Jeannie Lin designed it and here it is!

On each day in December (up to the 22nd) one of the authors will be posting a giveaway/hunt on her web or blog.    To participate, go to the author of the day, either click on the small calendar above or find separate links to each author below.

Competition Rules here

December 1st - Lynna Banning
December 2nd - Annie Burrows
December 3rd - Charlene Sands
December 4th - Jeannie Lin
December 5th- Elizabeth Rolls
December 6th- Deb Marlowe
December 7th -Barbara Monajem
December 8th - Terri Brisbin
December 9th- Diane Gaston
December 10th- Joanne Rock
December 11th- Emily May
December 12th - Blythe Gifford
December 13th- Cheryl St John
   December 14th - Carol Townend   
December 15th- Deborah Hale
December 16th - Amanda McCabe
December 17th- Michelle Willingham
December 18th - Georgina Devon
December 19th - Julia Justiss
December 20th - Michelle Styles
December 21st - Ann Lethbridge
December 22nd - Denise Lynn
December 23rd - Grand Prize Draw!
December 24th - Christmas Eve
December 25th - Christmas Day

The smaller calendar you will find at the very top of this blogsite during the month of December has live links to each author of the day

Have fun!

Notes: From December 1st you will find also the calendar here, as well as on the individual author sites. Each day, click on the name of author assigned to that date on the calendar (the list is on this blog below the picture of the Calendar) to visit the host author's website. You can win prizes such as signed books, gift certificates, and holiday goodies.
You will be asked to complete a task, such as posting a blog comment, searching for a hidden ornament, or answering a question about an excerpt. Please check the author's web page for your instructions and to see what the daily prize is. You can enter once each day, at each of the twenty-two websites.
On December 23rd, a random drawing from among all 22 authors' entries will determine the grand prize winner of a Kindle 3-G. Please see the official eligibility rules for this giveaway.
Happy Holidays from the Harlequin Historical Authors!
Each participating author has an activity planned on their website for their special day. You may be asked to comment on a blog, find an ornament, or visit a Facebook page. For each day you participate, your name will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. At the end of the month on December 23, one day from the calendar will be randomly selected. One of the entrants from that selected day will be randomly selected to win the Kindle. The more days you visit, the better your chances!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Bound to the Barbarian - Covers and Excerpt

This widget shows the US paperback cover of Bound to the Barbarian.   Click on the button to read an excerpt. 

Cover blurb

Falling for the Forbidden Warrior!

Out of her depth and into his arms…

Sold into slavery, maidservant Katerina promised one day to repay the Princess who rescued her. Now that time has come, and Katerina must convince commanding warrior Ashfirth Saxon that she is her royal mistress.

Spending balmy days and long sultry nights with this man make Katerina’s task increasingly impossible. How long will she be able to keep up her deception? And how long before she finds herself willingly bedded by this proud barbarian?

Palace Brides - Byzantine Beauties, Claimed by Warriors

Shorter Excerpt

She eyed him from under her lashes, her gaze skimming over him from the top of that dark head, down past those arresting blue eyes, past those high cheekbones and well-sculpted mouth, past that strong jaw...Goodness, he was a handsome man. She only had to look at him and her cheeks were on fire!

Impersonating the Princess had flung her deep into uncharted waters. She was utterly out of her depth here in more ways than one. Surely he could sense it? Her hand was shaking so much she was likely to tip wine over her gown. Does he know that I am quaking inside? Does he suspect that I am misleading him?

Will I be safe if he learns the truth?

A new thought caught her by surprise. For the first time in an age, Katerina was not sure she wanted to be safe.

Text copyright © 2011 by Carol Townend
Cover Art Copyright  © 2011 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.

If you'd like a glimpse into some of my research files, please click on the Byzantine Research label below this post.
Review: here are a reader's comments on Goodreads.
And this is the US Cover (February 2012)




Sunday, 14 November 2010

November evening light...

Today the weather has been miserable, so I thought I would post a more cheery picture taken at the end of a walk last week-end instead.  The sun was going down, the shadows were long, and the country near Box Hill (Surrey) was gorgeous.   We had just walked to a nearby medieval church.  (St Martha's-on-the-Hill).  St Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus.  Her church dates from the twelfth century and lies on the Pilgrim's Way.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Blogging at eHarlequin...and celebratory walk

There is a brief blog on eHarlequin today... Harlequin Historicals Group Author Blog about a visit to the village of Hambleden and the church of St Mary's.    This picture is the painted church ceiling above the choir, you can see Tudor roses.   In medieval and Tudor times, most church interiors were brightly painted.   The plain walls and wooden carvings we see today are much duller than they were originally.
The church font is said to be twelfth century, though it might be from the original Saxon church.   My picture hasn't come out that well, you can just about make out the dove in the patterns on the side.

And the reason for the celebratory walk?   I had just submitted a draft of my second Byzantine novel to my editor...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The River of Time...

I am blogging today at eHarlequin about a visit to Cornwall.   Here are some of the pictures I couldn't get on that blog!  This one is oyster beds on the River Fal, you can see how wooded the riverbank is.

Below is Smugglers' Inn at Tolverne, where General Eisenhower planned the Normandy D Day landings.

This sign can be found on the way to the inn at the edge of the road.

And here are a couple of the 'ghost' cargo ships that are lying in the deep waters of the river, waiting out the recession.
The blog is about rivers and stories because Her Banished Lord is just released on eHarlequin.  Her Banished Lord is a novel which opens with the help of the river at Jumieges in France, and it ends with the help of a river in Winchester...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Leaves on the Wind

Leaves on the Wind is coming out in a new English e-book edition in April 2014 with the original US cover...
It is set in England and Cyprus in 1099, at the time of the First Crusade.

The blurb:

Loving the Enemy...
After Judith Coverdale saw her family's estate razed to the ground by Normans, she vowed to avenge her family's honor. She donned a boy's disguise and joined a band of outlaws, led by her brother, to terrorize the invaders.
When disaster struck, Judith found herself in the strong arms of the great warrior Rannulf de Mandeville. What she soon realized was that Rannulf was the brother of the murdering Norman who'd stolen her lands.
Time and time again, Rannulf proved his devotion to her and taught her lessons in survival, but would she ever accept his love? 

Text copyright © 1990 by Carol Townend
Cover Art Copyright  © 1990 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.

To read an excerpt, please click on the widget below:

Leaves on the Wind has also been reissued by Cora in Germany as an e-book. It's German title is  In den Handen der Normannen.  Here's the new e-book cover...

It was originally published in the UK in 1990.  The previous German print edition was a duo with Elizabeth Henshall's, Verrat des Herzens
This is the cover of the print edition:

And because the changes in cover fashions are interesting, this is the original German cover (from 1991):

And this is the other German edition, (I think it's 1993). 

Monday, 20 September 2010

Don't let the plot get in the way of the story...

The Mills & Boon search for New Voices goes on!   Here is a link to a page with great writing tips and interviews with some of the editors...
Romance is not, top tips

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Toll-gate Reconstruction

Above is an early nineteenth century toll cottage.   It is one of the Weald & Downland reconstructed buildings and there is a little more about it at eHarlequin today:
I am going to try and get the picture of the toll charges to show here.  (It wouldn't show on eharlequin because I can't downsize the photo, due to my email not working!)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Harlequin Historicals Author blog launched!

The new blog for the Harlequin Historical line has gone live.   Yesterday Deborah Hale posted and today Louise Allen is talking about elopement!  Here's the link: Authors' Blog for Harlequin Historicals

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Charlecote Park

These pictures were taken at the week-end when my husband and I escaped London for a walk near Charlecote Park.    The weather was VERY changeable, at one moment pouring rain, and the next blazing sunshine.  We got thoroughly soaked.   Twice.   Below is a picture of the gatehouse.   The Lucy family (they came over with William the Conqueror) have owned the land since 1247.    The gatehouse is not medieval though, like the main house, it's Tudor.

This is the garden (more of a terrace, really) overlooking the River Avon.     I love the patterns the little box borders make with their heart-shaped infils of bright flowers.

And, since I am currrently interested in bread ovens, here is one in the main house.   (Not medieval!)   And below that is a picture of an old cooking range, I am not sure of the date of the range, but it looks Victorian. 

We saw lots of fallow deer in the park on our walk and naturally, they weren't the least bothered by the rain.   Most of the time they were too far away for any picture to come out properly but I was able to take this final one because there was a small stream between us and the deer.  They knew they were safe.    There is a story about William Shakespeare poaching deer from this park, but I don't think it's reliable...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Marriage of Medieval and Modern...

Making Bread with wholemeal flour ground at the Lurgashall Mill
The first attempt  worked, the loaf rose well and tasted lovely.    (I am using modern technology - ie a bread machine.)   However when we bought the flour, we were advised not to use 100% wholemeal, but to blend it with strong white flour.    So the second loaf was made using two thirds wholemeal and one third strong white flour.   This was not quite such a success.   The dough rose, but fell back, and it has a big dint in the top!!   Perhaps I should have put a Vitamin C tablet in; perhaps there wasn't enough salt.     Since I am 'cheating' by using a bread machine, I am well aware that I am not really a loaf-kneader in the Anglo-Saxon sense!    Will have another try at a loaf using blended flours, and if it doesn't come right, will revert to the 100% wholemeal.  If anyone has any suggestions as to improve the blended loaf, please say...

Monday, 16 August 2010

Medieval Cottage

This cottage can be seen at the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton.    It's a reconstruction of the remains of two cottages excavated in Hangleton.   The cottages were probably built in the 13th Century and abandoned in the 15th.    Inside, there is a main room with an open hearth, the smoke would wind up through the roof.  There is also an inner room with an oven.    It is a reminder that for most people, life in the early medieval period would be pretty basic.  The cottage is made from flint; and the hearth in the main room consisted simply of clay tiles, laid on their sides and set into the centre of the floor.    The cottagers would probably have sat round the fire on wooden stools.

The roof of this medieval cottage has been thatched with straw, but wooden shingles or turf might have been used.  Or even broom or furze.
Below is the oven in the inner room, the whole room was little wider than the oven.   I imagine that using an oven like this one must have taken some skill!  Burning the cakes must have been all too easy...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Medieval Horseshoes and Her Banished Lord - the US Cover...

This picture is of some of the oldest horseshoes in England. It was taken at the Weald & Downland Museum and I wish I had used something to show the scale. The oldest of the horseshoes, the one on the top left is thought to be 10th or 11th century and it is tiny. In fact all of the horseshoes in the medieval display looked very small in comparison to modern ones.

Below is the cover for the US Harlequin Direct edition of Her Banished Lord which will be available from the eHarlequin website. The official publication date is November 2010.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

The buildings at the Weald & Downland are real historic buildings that have been rescued, taken to pieces and lovingly reconstructed.  It's a wonderful museum, very evocative, with a thirteenth century cottage and a medieval hall.   But it's not all medieval, there are Tudor kitchens where copper bowls are bubbling ready for laundry and gardens growing herbs and vegetables.   One of my favourites is Lurgashall Watermill.   The oldest part is probably 17th century, and it was a working mill until the 1930's.    It still works!   We bought some flour ground there to try out in my bread machine.  As you stand in the mill watching the grindstones turn, the whole mill rattles and clacks.   There were HUNDREDS of ducks outside, hoping for grain.  This picture was taken when  picnickers had lured most of the ducks up to the mill pond...

Here is the inside, this shows some of the workings on the spout floor where the finished grain pours into sacks:

And this one is from the next floor up - the stone floor.  You can see the hopper where the grain goes into the grindstones.  there's a bell which rings when it needs filling, because if the stones were to run dry, there's the risk of sparks which might cause a fire.