31 December 2011

The animals who have shared my journey.

I've had many animals in my lifetime, some have been more precious than others. Horses and dogs especially have featured in more than a few of my stories. Here are some of the main characters who played a part in my journey.
Peggy, my very first dog
Kim, my toy poodle. My husband gave her to me soon after our marriage. This was her first litter and we kept one. Susie and Kim accompanied us to Australia.
Gemma, the sweetest mutt you could meet. Unfortunately she had diabetes and didn't stay with us long.
Abby, the gentle one, with Twink, the only cat who owned us.
Abby again with Bindi, a true Aussie dog, part kelpie part heeler.
Jessie, part chihuahua, part terrier. She took Bindi's place in my heart after my husband passed away and only died earlier this year.

Candy and Baz, my latest. As you see I haven't gone for purebreds since my poodles but have adopted most of my dogs from the local shelter. 
Another Kim, this one a thoroughbred who brought me much joy and won a couple of races before being retired to stud.
Kim's first born, a filly.
Her colt, not too good on the racetrack so became an event horse.
Pippin. The last pony I owned before my bad back forced me to give up riding.
Tammy, my mare, and perhaps my favourite. 

19 August 2011

Remy released today

Remy is now available at 
Muse It Up Publishing. 
To purchase go to the MUSE  

A convicted man is not considered suitable husband material for the daughter of a wealthy property owner, even in the prospering colony of New South Wales in the early nineteenth century where class and caste mingle. Remy meets and falls in love with Sara, but their love is threatened even before it’s had time to flourish. Sara’s father considers convicts the scum of the earth, regardless of their crime.
After an unfortunate episode, Remy must flee from all he cherishes and Sara is forced into a loveless marriage by her hateful father. She despairs of ever seeing her love again, while Remy faces overwhelming odds and an ordeal that threatens to strip him of everything; his pride, his strength, his health—even his life. Remy is flogged and suffers sickness, injury and humiliation when he is sent north to Moreton Bay, a penal settlement where pain and suffering are everyday occurrences.
Will the lovers ever find the happiness they crave?
The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney Australia, setting for Remy.

25 May 2011

Remy - Australian Historical Romance

Cover art by Delilah Stephans
Remy, a convicted man, is in love with Sara, the daughter of a wealthy property owner. Even in the prospering colony of New South Wales, it would be far fetched to think he could ever marry her. Sara’s father isn’t Remy’s biggest problem.

With his family and everyone else turned against him, Remy must leave his sister’s property. Sara despairs of ever seeing her love again, while Remy faces overwhelming odds and an ordeal that threatens to strip him of everything; his pride, his strength, his health—even his life. When Remy finally has Sara within his grasp, he is sent to a place where pain and suffering are everyday occurrences.

Will the lovers ever find the happiness they crave?
Remy will be released in August at

12 May 2011

My research journey

  I was lucky when I began to write Remy as this book was a sequel to Blue Haze so a lot of the research had already been done. However, there were a new set of issues to be faced in this sequel, as the characters were moving into different settings. One of the reasons I love research is because it leads you into so many interesting avenues; places and facts you would never have known had you not delved for your story.
  What is that they say about the “good ol’ days’? Don’t you believe it! While researching for my historicals I come across some horrific forms of punishment. Poor Remy, my hero, endured one of the worst—flogging. Then there were the treadmills.
  I knew about treadmills of course, but had no idea what purpose they served in the 1800s. I thought they were constructed as a gruesome punishment for the early convicts sent to Australia by the British government. Their main function (apart from being torture) was to grind wheat and maize. Free settlers, soldiers and sailors as well as convicts did time on them for misdemeanors such as drunkenness, gambling and theft. Each man worked for about 40 minutes in the hour from sunup to sunset. Apart from being hard work, it was tedious and monotonous.  Some convicts said they would rather be hanged—so subsequently were sentenced to solitary confinement instead. Imagine what it was like. They had to step up or fall off and perspired so freely that 15 minutes work on the treadmill caused rapid wasting. Their hands became blistered through gripping the rail, their legs became swollen, and worse, if the shaft broke, they were thrown heavily onto the platform.

On a really cold and wet day here in Victoria it’s hard to imagine the heat, flies and dust they endured.

  The treadmill was by far not the worst of the punishments meted out in those early days. Remy’s flogging came about when he was moved to the new settlement of Moreton Bay. I knew nothing of the conditions suffered by the convicts sent there from Sydney until I began my research into Brisbane in the early days.
  Living down south in Australia I knew little of the settlement of Brisbane. And if I was sending my hero Remy to the convict settlement up there I had to know everything about the conditions. I contacted the State Library of Queensland with a query about maps dated in the first quarter of the 1800s and to my pleasure and astonishment, a wonderful librarian sent me back a whole wad of maps, pictures and information in answer to my plea.
  Brisbane was probably the best example of the early settlers’ grave errors of judgement in their attempt to colonise in a warmer climate.
  The first soldiers and convicts settled on the shores of Moreton Bay and set about planting seedlings carefully transported from the Botanical Gardens of Sydney. Unfortunately, after all their hard work the seedlings soon shrivelled and died. The sandy soil soaked up the water that had been carried by hand.      
  Most seeds never germinated and the ones that sprouted were soon scorched by the sun. Sickness set in and they had to wait another 8 months for medicines to arrive from Sydney. It was a painful learning process.
  The convicts barely survived up there and most were sick. Imagine nights spent in crowded barracks with appalling hygiene and polluted water. Because of the crop failure, they had no vegetables and so were prey to epidemics. In 1819 one in every nine convicts died of dysentery. Malaria was common and for the first time the soldiers suffered as much as the convicts they were sent to guard.

  So, these are just a few facts gleaned from my research and from my over 200 pages of notes and maps it’s likely that I used perhaps a half dozen pages. But what fun it was to delve back into the past and in my research learn so much about our early settlers and the struggles they went through to turn this land from hell to paradise.

Remy will be released at MuseItUp in August.

22 April 2011

Journey One

As an author one of the questions regularly asked of me is, “Where do your ideas come from?”
Well, for me, each story is a journey. A long, arduous, but enjoyable, journey from that first glimmer of an idea, to the finished product. Each journey requires a lot of research, whether it is a time-travel I’m writing or a historical romance. Even my modern romances take research, as you still need to know the area you are setting your story in, a few facts about the profession you have decided to place your characters in, and an insight into your character.
I thought I would try to go through some of my books with you to map out where they began their journey to publication. Why not start at the beginning. Blue Haze was my first published book way back in 2000. This book has since been re-released at Calderwood Books due to the closure of the original publisher.
Blue Haze, as most of my books, began with one scene. That scene was on the wharf at Sydney Cove when boatloads of convicts were unloaded after being ferried from the sailing vessel that had brought them from England in the early 1800s. All my books are character driven as I nearly always have their names settled long before much else is thought of. So, Bella and the other females who arrived with her had been transported for various crimes, most piffling; such as thieving to feed themselves or their family. Oh, and here I should mention that Bella was assigned to what she thought was a member of the aristocracy. Oh and how she hated them, for the reason she’d been sent to the budding settlement of Sydney was because she’d brought a knife to one such gentleman for trying to rape her.
I had the basis for my story, and that’s where the real work begins. So many questions needed answers before I could begin to enlarge on my story.
1: What was The settlement of Sydney like in the early 1800s? Did they have a hospital, a bank, or even solid homes?
2: Who controlled the settlement? Who was Governor?
3: What clothing would the gentry and convicts be wearing?
4: What was the average sentence for a transported person in the 1800s?
5: Where would most convicts have ended up and how far afield were some of them sent after disembarking?
Just a few of the questions to start with that needed answers before I could flesh out the story. I was fortunate that about that time my husband and I were travelling and when we reached Sydney went to the NSW State Library where I gained copies of maps etc. circa 1800. Then we travelled across to Bathurst for an insightful visit to the museum for more maps of the area and invaluable information.
Because I wanted my historical to stand out from others that had gone before I searched my brain to come up with a different angle. I decided to send my characters on what was an epic journey in those days—they would travel across the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in search of greener pastures. This idea brought forth a new set of questions:
1: Just when was the west opened up? When did the first explorers venture that far from the new settlement of Sydney? How long would the journey west have taken them and what form of transport would they use?
2: What would the pioneers do when they got there? Would they be allocated land or would they need to buy it?
3: Would convicts be allowed to travel there or was it just free settlers?
4: How would they build their homes and what materials would be available to them?
5: What did they take with them? Plants? Furniture? Utensils? Stock? Clothing?
The list of research questions needing answers is endless. When I was writing Blue Haze the internet was a relatively new thing and so most of my research was carried out through my local library. Book after book was brought home and studied. Page after page of notes were made. One of the books I brought home was a rare find and unfortunately, because some of my notes were lost in a computer changeover, I have no record of the exact name. However, it chronicled the letters sent home to Britain by British women who had accompanied their husbands to this land. It told of the hardships they endured and the journeys they went on with their husbands in search of new territory or to settle on farms, and various other things. Most of these women were so homesick that their stories were heart wrenching. One of them was Elizabeth Hawkins. Her husband, Thomas, had fought in the Napoleonic Wars. They had journeyed from England with Elizabeth’s elderly mother and eight children aged from one to twelve years. Elizabeth was 39 when the family set out across the Blue Mountains as the first family of free settlers to cross this formidable barrier. Thomas was appointed Commissariat storekeeper at Bathurst. They set out with their family possessions in a wagon, three ox-drawn drays and a tilted cart. It took them 18 days to complete the 220 kilometre journey. Along with them went one female convict and eight male convicts.
Because of this woman’s detailed letters home I was able to map out my travellers' hazardous journey following in their footsteps; the trials and tribulations they faced along the way.
Imagine crossing the mountains along a barely defined track, not knowing what awaited you beyond the next hill or around the next bend. This woman’s story was my inspiration for Blue Haze, my tribute to all pioneer women, no matter which country they opened up and helped establish.
Thomas and Elizabeth built a fine brick house, cleared and fenced the land, planted crops and formed a garden. 1n 1831 they sent wine made from their grapes to Sydney—the first wine made west of the Blue Mountains.
A lot of the research for Blue Haze came in handy for REMY, my August release at MuseItUp Publishing, but a lot more was needed as different settings were used. I’ll tell you about that next time.

12 April 2011

Tricia McGill Australian Romance Author

I've been writing for years (over 20 to be exact) but this is only my second attempt at a blog. (I know, I should be ashamed of myself)
Hopefully I will improve as I get the hang of it. My books cross a few sub-genres, but are all romances. I'm a sucker for a happy ending. My heroes are always kind-hearted and gentlemen at heart. I like to write longer books so I can bring in a few villains etc. 
Although I've written a few modern romances my real love is historicals and time-travels. I strongly believe I have lived a few times before and will live again in the future someplace(perhaps on another world far away).
I was born in North London but have lived in Victoria, Australia for a long time. Most of my modern romances are set here or nearby and one in Tasmania.
My next release is Remy. This is a previously published book that is now a hundred percent better than before thanks to my amazing editor at MuseItUp Publishing. Natisha voted Remy her spring choice, and had this to say, “I fell in love with this story the first time I read it. The characters and settings are rich, and the story is heart wrenching. REMY has an undercurrent of passion that resonated with me. It’s not only a love story set in the past, it’s a journey of two lovers who face challenges and hardships in their attempt to be together against all odds.
I read this story from beginning to end ten times and loved it each time.”
Remy will be released in August at