Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Vertically challenged heroes?

A lot’s been said about the process of writing historical fiction and the importance of getting the facts right. But do we? Take your average hero, for example. Admiral Lord Nelson. Now there’s a man worthy of the accolade in ever I knew of one. And yet he was only five foot six tall. Now that wasn’t considered below average in his day and yet have you ever read a Georgian or Regency romance with a hero that short? Thought not.

How about an ugly hero come to that, or one with a squint, male pattern baldness, missing limbs or bad breath. I’ve yet to read of a hero who’s human enough to possess any such realities of life. In fact I’ve seldom encountered one who doesn’t top six feet, has a muscular physique, a full head of thick hair and thighs that look damned good in tight breeches.
Why is that, do you suppose?

Personally I reckon us girls ‘invent’ the sort of man we wouldn’t mind bumping into in a dark alley and then just add the features that do it for us. My heroes are usually…well, tall dark and handsome. How stereotypical is that? In my own defence, some publishers do kinda insist upon hunky heroes, presumably because romances are predominantly read by woman and they’re supposed to fall in love with the guy.

Which leaves the poor old heroine to take the brunt of any physical shortcomings on offer. I mean, if every single historical romance had a handsome hunk playing the male lead and a drop dead gorgeous female with an hour glass figure sharing the limelight, things would get pretty boring. I’ve read books that feature heroines who are timid, (don’t try that one at home), plain enough to fade into the woodwork, myopic, flat-chested and even disabled. Daphne duMaurier’s wonderful novel The King’s General is a fabulous example of how that can work when handled with skill and sensitivity.

I’ve written a novel featuring a (shock, horror) overweight heroine.  

Downsizing is a contemporary and tackles the misery of obesity, the scourge of the modern age. It’s been published by Musa who were kind enough to say nice things about it, as have a number of people who’ve read it. I wonder what their reaction would have been if I’d made the male lead a fattie?

I guess it’s still a man’s world. 


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Alzheimer's - The Scourge of Old Age

We’re leaving Florida in May to spend a few months back home in Europe. Our first stop will be the Isle of Wight – home to my entire family, including my 87-year-old mother. I haven’t seen her for some months – not that she’d be aware of that, but I’m acutely aware of the passage of time and the things I’ve never said to her.

Mothers traditionally hold families together, often at the expense of their own aspirations. Everyone’s mum is special, and mine’s no exception. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t active. She always had a duster in her hand, a pot simmering on the stove, a shopping list on the go – not to mention a demanding part time job looking after old people. My mum was the epitome of multi-tasking before it became fashionable.

She often came home from helping her old folks, saying how distressing it was to see them losing their marbles. Well, those weren’t her exact words, but you know what I mean. She SO didn’t want that to happen to her but none of us ever thought it would. She did everything right. Never touched alcohol, (not sure where I get it from – it certainly wasn’t through parental example!), never smoked, ate healthily and walked absolutely everywhere. Not a lot of choice about that since for most of my childhood we didn’t own a car.

She spent years nursing my father through a long illness and when he died eight years ago we thought that, at last, that Mum would get to lead her own life. But the opposite happened and her mind started to go. It seemed like she’d lost her purpose and had given up.

She’s in residential care now. We had to sell her house to pay for it, (don’t get me started on that one!). She still doesn’t like to sit about but the staff understand that and are so patient with her. They let her help clear up the tea things, (which probably means the job takes twice as long!). She found a carpet sweeper and insisted it was her job to keep the carpets clean so the staff went to the trouble to provide her with her own special sweeper with the brushes removed. It brings a tear to my eye whenever I think about that. At what point do our parents become our children?

Anyway, I shall see my gentle Mum in a couple of weeks. They’ll tell her I’m coming, that way she’ll remember who I am. Several times, when I’ve arrived unexpectedly, she’s looked up at me with vacant eyes, smiled and asked me who I am.

It’s heart-breaking and she so doesn’t deserve this.

See you soon, Mum.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Congratulations to Brandi and Kat

Many thanks to all of you who stopped by during the Easter Bunny Blog Hop and expressed interest in my books.

Brandi won a copy of The Perfect Impostor and Kat was the winner of The Name of the Game.

Thanks again for stopping by.


Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Easter Bunny Blog Hop

Hi there, and happy Easter to you all.

I'm a diverse soul and write in several different genre. I've just had two books released - one a sizzling romantic suspense set in the modern day, the other a hot regency.

Here's a bit about them both.

The Perfect Impostor, my latest Regency romance is published by Carina Press April 2nd. I’m delighted with the cover. Carina artists do awesome work and I haven’t had a cover yet that doesn’t beautifully encapsulate the mood of the entire book. If readers do actually judge a book by its cover then I have high hopes for my little impostor. 

What do you think?

Katrina Sinclair, recently widowed, is struggling to make a name for herself as a modiste. Her childhood friend, now a marchioness, could well make that happen when she asks Katrina to design her wardrobe for an upcoming society house party. One small snag though, Julia wants Katrina to swap places with her for the duration of that party. They did it often enough as children. No one could tell them apart then and can’t now.
Against her better judgement, Katrina agrees. What harm can come of it? 

Plenty, as it happens. For starters, Julia’s husband, equerry to the prince regent, puts in a surprise appearance, expecting to spend the night with his wife. Katrina will do much to protect Julia, but sleeping with her husband is several steps above and beyond the call of friendship. How will she get out of that one?
Worse, Lord Leo Kincade turns up as well, supposedly on his way home from France. In actual fact, he’s been assigned to look into jewel thefts that are occurring at society gatherings such as the one Katrina’s attending. The proceeds from those thefts turn up in Napoleon’s coffers, making the lady behind the scheme a traitor to her country. Julia is a prime suspect.

Leo was once engaged to Julia but knows almost at once that the woman he meets at Lady Marshall’s isn’t Julia Dupont. But who is she? Why is she pretending to be Julia? Why is he drawn to her in a way that he never was to Julia? And what does she have to do with the thefts?

To add to Katrina’s woes, her late husband’s brother tracks her down to the house party too. He blames her for his brother’s death and is set on revenge…

The Perfect Impostor by Wendy Soliman available from Carina Press and all good ebook stores from April 2nd 2012  http://amzn.to/GEGuhy $4.79

With my contemporary hat on, The Name of the Game has just been released by SirenBookStrand and is my first effort at writing romantic suspense solely from the heroine’s point of view.

Ashley believes her boss when he says his marriage if over. They enter into a steamy affair and Ashley works her butt off to prepare the company for amalgamation with a rival so that she and Matt can go public with their relationship. But the bottom abruptly falls out of her world when Matt’s ‘estranged’ wife appears at the office, heavily pregnant.

Ashley breaks off the affair but Matt won’t let up on her. He convinces her that he isn’t the father of the baby but must stand by Eve until the amalgamation goes through because she owns a vital five per cent of the company’s shares that could swing the deal in either direction.

Someone is trying to sabotage the amalgamation. Ashley delves into the Templeton family’s affairs, uncovering deeply buried secrets that someone will go to any lengths—even murder—to protect. As she fights to save the man she loves from the brink of ruin, Ashley finds that she’s placed her own life on the line…

The Name of the Game by Wendy Soliman – Available now from SirenBookStrand $3.39 http://www.bookstrand.com/the-name-of-the-game

Check out my books on my websites: http://www.wendysoliman.com and http://www.wsoliman.com
Or follow me on twitter @wendyswriter

I'm giving away a copy of each of the above titles. Just leave a comment here and tell me which you'd prefer to win.



Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Perfect Imposter

My latest Regency romance, a sizzling story of changed identity, thievery and heart warming romance is released today by Carina Press.

Can an aspiring modiste really get away with changing places with a marchioness for an entire week at a society house party? More to the point, won't Leo Kincade, the man the marchioness jilted and who's at the party to look into jewel thefts, notice?

Find out in The Perfect Imposter by Wendy Soliman available now from Carina Press and all good on-line ebook stores.

Go to my website and read the entire first chapter. You can enter a contest there whilst you're at it since I'm giving a copy away.

Do let me know if you like what you read.