Sunday, January 26, 2014

Maryde's Aussie Road Trip - Day 6 - Commemorating Australia Day

The Historical Hearts Site has been filled with posts on new releases, historical holidays to wonderful places of interest around the world, Christmas festivities and many amazing events and notes in History.
I'd like to thank all the Historical Bloggers who have shared their posts with us all.
I'm here to share more of Australia's History - as young as it may be - with you. This is the final leg of Maryde's Aussie Road Trip. For those who may have descendants who came to Australia on the First & Second Fleets, you may or may not know of this Memorial Garden or its place in commemorating an important part of Australian History.
Finishing up my trip for the year, I thought this post would coincide nicely with our National Celebration of Australia Day - January 26th 2014 - in a few weeks time.
I was blown away by this wonderful find, in a small country town NSW.  I hope you find it enjoyable as well.

It is day 6 and we say farewell to Bingara as I take the wheel for a few hours drive. It's okay, I'm not such a bad driver, and the Winnebago is only a bit larger than some big 4 wheel drives I've seen stacked with families. We are only a half days drive from home, but we will make an overnight stop-over at the tiny townships of Wallabadah & Werris Creek. 

Nestled by Quirindi Creek, on the site of an old, seldom used caravan park, is a living tribute to crew, passengers & convicts who came to Australia's shore in 1788 on the First & Second Fleet.
A huge metal structure of a tall ship faces the highway, and invites you to pull over and take a look. 

When you do pull up under the shade of some grand old trees, you find a fenced off garden and sandstone monuments and sign posts. The gates are open from early to late, a there is a donation box asking for a gold coin donation. Then you walk into a treasure of Australian History.
There are winding pathways lined with stone tablets, hand-chiselled by Stonemason, and descendent of one of the convicts from the First Fleet, Ray Collins-Cross. Read Ray's connection below. 

There are 11 Gardens, each dedicated to one of the tall ships and its passengers.
There is also 2 memorial gardens for the second fleet. There are sign boards with manifests and stories and memoirs from the passengers.
There is also an obelisk at Sans Souci, New South Wales that stands in Memorial to the First Fleeters.

By all accounts I read, Ray Collins had approached several councils with his proposal to erect a memorial to the First Fleet. This story on this sign tells us why it ended up in Wallabadah, NSW. There is also a visitors book to sign when you go. Look me up! 

This is the beautiful Park by the quaint rivers edge. So picturesque. There were over a dozen other RV's by the evening, so perhaps it is more popular now as a stop-over park than it was as a caravan park.  BBQ facilituies & tables and toilets makes it a lovely spot to have lunch or dinner. There is a maximum of one night stays for Mobile homes and caravans, but no camping is allowed.

Ray Collins' ancestor, John CROSS, was born in 1757 in Wiltshire England. At the age of 29 he was charged with sheep stealing and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation. John Cross was on the Ship The Alexander. John married Mary Davison, who was transported on the Lady Juliana (also known as the Floating Brothel). They had 9 children. John Cross died in 1824 and was buried at Windsor. His son David was a stonemason, who built the Victoria Inn at Wiseman's Ferry.
For more Info about the First Fleet Fellowship - click here

Anyone wishing more info about the Memorial Garden or perhaps would like to know about an ancestor whose name may be on one of the stone tablets, you may be able to find help   Here  on this blog:

We spent the afternoon strolling the gardens, walking along the river bed and relaxing in the cool of the evening, at this lovely park. We left after breakfast the next day, arriving home at lunchtime. 
This one weeks escape into the NSW Hinterland was a relaxing & interesting fun filled trip. 
Thanks for your interest. I hope you have enjoyed the photos & some of the history I have shared with you of our country. I look forward to sharing more as DH & I go off discovering our great Land Downunder.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CLAIMING THE REBEL'S HEART - a new release by Alison Stuart


It’s no secret that I have a passion for the period of the English Civil (1642-1660). My first two historical romances, BY THE SWORD and THE KING’S MAN were both set in the period after the execution of Charles I and my short time travel romance, SECRETS IN TIME, is based around the battle of Naseby in 1645.

I read widely on the subject and can highly recommend Antonia Fraser’s treatise on the life led by women in the seventeenth century, THE WEAKER VESSEL. Amidst the political and social upheaval of the English Civil War, women were left to defend their homes and their families. As I looked into the lives of women such as BRILLIANA HARLEY and the formidable COUNTESS OF DERBY, the writer's "what if" antenna started twitching and I started to play with the idea of a castle, a siege, a strong woman and a hero to love. I make no apology for the fact that I write historical fiction with a romantic theme. I like a hero and heroine and a happy ever after but I like to think it is the bit in the middle and how my hero and heroine earn their happy ever after that distinguishes mys stories from what is generally perceived as "historical romance". History first, romance second... or a very close equal first. 

I also wanted the challenge of writing a story from the parliamentary perspective. It is too easy when writing stories set in this period to come down on the side of the losers, the cavaliers who were "wrong but wromantic" (to use Sellers and Yeatman's description). The "roundheads" are universally depicted as "right but repulsive" (Sellers and Yeatman again). How to make a hero, fighting for the parliamentary cause, "right AND wromantic". 

Drawing heavily on Brilliana Harley and the siege of Brampton Bryan Castle with a sprinkle of Lathom House and Charlotte, Countess of Derby thrown in, I started with a fictional castle in Herefordshire (just over the border from Shropshire...). Herefordshire was a stronghold for the royalist forces  and like Brampton Bryan, I have set my story in one of the few strongholds for the Parliamentary cause, the fictional Kinton Lacey.

A man…a woman… and a castle - CLAIMING THE REBEL’S HEART by Alison Stuart. Book One in the Harcourt Chronicles (yes this will be a 3 book series).

War divides families…love unites hearts…

Herefordshire, England 1643

As the English Civil War divides England and tears families apart, Kinton Lacey castle is one of the brave few loyal to the roundhead cause.

With her father away, Deliverance Felton will do whatever it takes to defend her family home against the royalist forces ranged against it. She can shoot and wield a sword as well as any man and anything she needs to know about siege warfare she has learned from a book...but no book can prepare her for what is to come.

Captain Luke Collyer, soldier of fortune and a man with his own reasons for loyalty to the parliamentary cause, is sent to relieve the castle. Everything he knows about siege warfare in general and women in particular he has learned from experience, but when it comes to Deliverance Felton has he met his match?

Deliverance will not give up her command lightly and Luke will have to face a challenge to his authority as fierce as the cavalier foe outside the walls. He will do whatever it takes to win Deliverance’s trust but will he run the risk of losing his own, well guarded, heart?

Smashwords: (all eformats)

The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of CLAIMING THE REBEL'S HEART

Chapter 1
Kinton Lacey Castle, Herefordshire
July 25, 1643

Startled out of an uneasy doze by the crackle of musket fire, Deliverance sent books and papers flying as she rummaged through the detritus on the table in her search for the flint. As the candle sputtered into life, the door opened and her steward, Melchior Blakelocke, stood outlined in the doorway, holding a covered lantern.
“Are we being attacked?” Deliverance asked.
“I don't think so,” Melchior replied. “In fact, I think it is our besiegers who are being attacked.”
Hope sprang in Deliverance’s heart. “Is it Father? Has he come to relieve us?”
She reached for the elegant French Wheelock musket her father used for hunting, running her hand over the well-polished wood of the stock. It had a kick that threatened to dislocate her shoulder every time she used it, but she took pride in her mastery of the weapon.
Outside, the entire garrison of Kinton Lacey Castle had deployed along the walls, but to her relief, the firing and shouts came from beyond the crumbling walls of the old castle. She took her now accustomed vantage point on the northern tower of the bastion gate and squinted into the darkness and confusion.
Smoke and flame from burning outbuildings lent a surreal light to the melee of men that whirled and danced in the shadows as if re-enacting some ancient pagan ceremony. Only the clash of steel instead of cymbals brought home the grim purpose of the bizarre pageant.
Two men on horseback appeared out of the smoke and cantered towards the castle. Backlit by the fires, they could have been a pair of vengeful spirits.
Her heart pounding, Deliverance raised her musket and fired, cursing in a most unladylike manner as the musket ball skimmed past the two men, taking the taller man's hat. His horse, startled by its rider's jerk of alarm, reared up depositing the soldier on the ground. For a moment he lay still, before rising to his hands and knees. Shaking his head, he rose slowly to his feet, casting an upwards glance in the direction of the castle, as he dusted off his hat and remounted his horse.
Melchior cleared his throat. “While that is excellent shooting, I think you will find they are friends not foes.”
Deliverance’s stomach lurched. “How can you tell?”
“They wear the orange sash of the parliamentary forces, my lady.”
Deliverance leaned the musket against the wall, clenching and unclenching her hand in an effort to disguise her shaking fingers. Nausea rose in her throat. It was the first time she had fired the weapon intending to kill and she had nearly killed one of their own relieving force.
She took a deep breath, struggling to regain her composure as the two men came to a halt at the bridge over the castle’s defensive ditch. Facing them were the stout oaken gates to the castle that Deliverance had shut on her foe two weeks earlier.
“Hold your fire.” The man she had shot at called up to the defenders. “We are sent by Sir John Felton to relieve this castle.”
Deliverance picked up her musket and drew back to a vantage point where she could see without being seen. “You answer, Melchior.”
Melchior cast her a sidelong glance and stepped forward to the battlements. “Your name, sir?”
“Captain Luke Collyer.”
“How do we know they've come from Father?” Deliverance prompted her steward.
“How do I know you are sent by his lordship?” Melchior demanded.
The man who had identified himself as Captain Luke Collyer produced a paper from his jacket and waved it at the wall.
“These are my orders. While I don't wish to appear churlish, sir, we have no great desire to remain outside these walls when those knaves could be back at any moment.”
“What do you mean?” Melchior asked, leaning further over the ramparts.
“We appear to have seen off your besiegers for the moment.” The man’s voice rose to make himself heard by all on the castle wall.
Deliverance drew a sharp intake of breath as relief flooded through her. The siege was over but she still had to be careful. She put no trust in Farrington not to try and gull her in this fashion.
“Very well, Melchior, let them in, but I want every man with a weapon to have it trained on them.” She tapped a fingernail on the stock of her musket. “I will meet them in the Great Hall.”
“May I suggest a change of dress, madam?”
She looked down at her breeches. “Demure and ladylike?”

Melchior nodded. “Demure and ladylike.”