Could You Fall In Brit Love?

Hot, contemporary romances with a distinctly British flavour. Gorgeous heroes, beautiful heroines and iconic locations.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Breaking down romance....

..and I don't mean home-wrecking.   Today I'm looking at the kinds of romance available to download onto your Kindle and the number of different sub-genres available (or not).

I'm currently working on a romance set in the thirteenth century.   Bayard, a damaged knight of the crusades, has lately returned to England to find himself landless and destitute following the death of his father and the seizure of his estates.  In order to reclaim his birthright, he must accompany the Lady Adela north where she's soon to be married.  

But they're crossing dangerous territory - in every sense of the phrase.   Adela's bound in marriage to a man she's never met and desperate to escape her life of confinement.   Bayard's fighting his own demons and wonders if he'll have the strength to continue to battle against both Adela's desire to escape and his growing attraction for her.   It leaves him having to choose between regaining his family honour and protecting the most beautiful woman he's ever seen.......Watch this space!

I thought it might be worth doing some market research, to find how other authors have tackled this historical era and went onto Amazon's Kindle store.   Selecting "historical romance" gives a breakdown of the most popular romance genres and the number available.   They look like this, and obviously they'll be some crossovers:-

  • Total historical romances - 23,038
  • Regency - 4583
  • Scottish - 697
  • Victorian - 1114
  • Highlanders - 1435
  • Pirates - 361
  • Royalty and aristocrats - 705
  • Vikings - 1103
Interestingly, there's no sub-genre for knights, crusades, medieval ...or anything similar.  Is this simply because Amazon's forgotten to make this category?   Or because no one's writing them?   Or because no one's reading them?  

Searching the word "knight" brings up over 1400 books but the word could appear as the author's name or in titles that have nothing to do with medieval romance.

So what's your view on medieval romance?  Are you a devoted reader, or a dedicated author, or just someone who loves that period of history?  Or if you don't like these kinds of stories, which other genre do you prefer and why?

Leave me a comment or catch me over on Twitter - [at] avisexley.

Happy reading [and writing].  Avis xx

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Hair Raising

An occasional lesson in American / British English

Brits and Americans may share a great many things but occasionally we're divided by a common language.   In order to help my US author friends who write books set in England, I occasionally highlight cases where words don't translate exactly.

Very often, particularly in historical novels, the heroine will have "braided hair", and I'm assuming the authors mean the style in the photo on the left.  In England, braid is a decorative cord or ribbon used to trim, for example, uniforms or furniture.  To us it's a "plait" and hair is plaited, never braided.

Alternatively, whilst uniforms might also have fringes on them, we in England have them on our heads.   What Americans call "bangs" we call "a fringe" and it's always used in the singular.

American ladies might keep their braids in place with a "barrette" (a term I've personally never come across) but plaits are only ever tamed by a "hair slide".   Smaller curls are kept tidy with "hair grips" not "bobby pins".

Everything might then be finished of with "hair spray", "lacquer" as a word is rather dated and rarely used.   And when it comes to colour (note the extra "u"), if anyone were described as having "red" hair, we'd expect to see something crimson or cherry.   Your "red" is our "ginger".

And where might one go to get their hair done?   To the "hairdressers", not the "hair salon" or "beauty parlor".

Hope this made sense.  And if you think of any more, please forward them to @avisexley on Twitter and why not give me a follow at the same time?

Have fun!   Avis xx

Sunday, 29 September 2013

NFL in London

Tonight the Minnesota Vikings play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium in London.  

The streets of London were full of fans wearing shirts from just about every team in America, getting in the mood for tonight.

And here's Regents Street literally flying the flag.

Win or lose, I hope everyone has a great night

Avis xx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Who's Who In The Servants' Hall

As any watcher of Downton Abbey will know, there was a strict pecking order below, as well as above, stairs.   Therefore, to celebrate the return of the series to British screens tonight, here’s a quick who’s who of the servants’ hall in a big country house.

The butler was the most important male servant and commanded a great deal of power and respect.   Although he was in charge of the wine cellar and served wine at dinner, his main role was to supervise the other servants.  He’d preside at the dinner table, oversee life in the drawing room and be there to welcome important guests to the house.   

The butler, like the other senior servants, would have worked his way up to the position after a life spent in domestic service.   During that time, he’d have been a footman who cleaned the family silver, answered the door and cleaned the shoes (unless the house was large enough to employ its own boot boy).   Whilst the butler might greet visitors to the house, it would be the footman opening the door and taking their coats.   Very large households might also have an under footman who was learning the role.

The housekeeper saw to the domestic details and was in charge of the female servants.   She kept the accounts, dealt with tradesmen and ensured the smooth running of the house, above and below stairs.   She employed chambermaids – for cleaning the bedrooms – and parlour maids – for cleaning the day rooms.   These maids, as well as the footman, might also double up as table servants when the family dined.   

The kitchen was ruled by the cook who would have at least one assistant.   The lowest ranking kitchen servant was the scullery maid who did all the worst jobs like washing up, cleaning the cooking range and floors, or lighting the kitchen fires.   In the days before central heating, she was also responsible for ensuring those above stairs had hot water by heating it in huge coppers.   This meant getting up before dawn to light the kitchen range and put the water on the boil.   The other domestic drudge was the “between” maid, or tweenie, who helped clean both upstairs and in the kitchen.

The lord and lady of the house would each have had a personal servant – a valet and a lady’s maid – and these servants had a very high status within the household.   The maid and valet both took care of their employer’s clothes, helped them to dress and ran personal errands for them.   Their close relationship with the heads of the house meant they were often privy to many of the family’s secrets so a sense of discretion would have been essential.

Children would have been seen and not heard in this age, and spent most of their time in the nursery.   New babies might have had a wet nurse – in the days before powdered baby milk, the upper-class new mother would have employed a local woman who’d also recently given birth to breastfeed the aristocratic newborn.   Nursery maids looked after the older children and took their meals with their charges, probably sleeping in an adjacent room, rather than with the other servants.   This meant they were slightly detached from the servants’ hall, like the governess, who was employed to tutor girls who were rarely sent away to school.   These governesses may have been impoverished gentlewomen themselves, forced to work, and therefore inhabiting a space above the servants but not quite part of the family.

Beneath these came a veritable army of laundry maids and minor domestic servants, not to mention those who worked out in the stables or the gardens.   And whilst it might look romantic on Downton Abbey, the hours were long, the pay was small and the work was very often cold and dirty.   However, for many it meant regular employment and a chance to better themselves by working their way up through the ranks.

I’m currently working on a new hot romance set in a large stately home.   Eve Byrne, sister of Radford from Lovers In Law, takes a job at Eastfield Abbey to recover from a broken heart.   From the moment she sees Joe, Lord Raybourne’s groom, she decides he might be exactly what she needs to put her broken heart back together.   But everything at Eastfield Abbey is not quite what it seems.

To see some photos that have inspired the story, as well as some snippets from the novel itself, visit my Pinterest board.
You’ll never look at Downton Abbey in quite the same way again!

Have fun,  Avis xx

Sunday, 21 July 2013

It's hot in London
Mount Street Gardens, Mayfair
London is scorching today.  It's so hot that a haze is rising from the pavement, making the air shimmer.   The streets are heaving with tourists and the shops are overheated and packed.   It sounds like the prefect day for sitting in a shady park, reading a hot book.   For a capital romance, try falling in love with London by giving Love Notes or Lovers in Law a try.  Both available on Amazon and hotter than the August sun.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Last minute Mothers' Day present

Do you need a last minute Mothers' Day present?   What could be better than some hot romance to perk up her day?   A lot less calories than chocolate and a great deal more fun!

Erika Fenn fled England to escape a broken heart and found worldwide fame as a singer-songwriter.   Five years later, exhausted and on the verge of losing her voice, she’s back in Britain.   And the last person she wants to see is Aiden Thirstan, the man who broke her heart in the first place.

Not only did Aiden wreck her past but her future’s under threat now too.   The question is, does Erika trust Aiden enough to let him help her?   And if she does, can she trust herself not to fall in love with him all over again?

When London solicitor, Allie Lawless, is sent to help barrister Radford Byrne prepare a huge court case, it’s lust at first sight.   Radford’s gorgeous.   Melt your bones with his big, blue eyes gorgeous.   A brooding, mean and moody, beast between the sheets type of man.   Allie is Radford’s favourite kind of sexy: tall and curvy with glistening red lipstick – the type that leaves kiss marks on a man’s chest he never wants to wash off.   With sparks flying from the moment they meet, how will they ever keep their relationship strictly professional?

To make these stories even more exciting, they have their own Tumblr and Pinterest pages, with pictures of the novels' iconic locations and story extracts.  Share the romance by finding out more about the books' settings and visiting the places the characters live, work and fall in love.

Pinterest         Tumblr

Avis xx

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Although  I've never read any Steampunk, I've seen lots of amazing pictures of fantastical machines and costumes.   Therefore, when I saw this huge sculpture in Manchester, Steampunk immediately came to mind.   

I didn't write down any details about the statue when I took the picture so subsequently searched online where it's described as a Saxaphone sculpture. 

Here are the details I've found but, if anyone else had any more info, please leave me a comment.