The Great War

I purchased one of the ceramic poppies placed at the Tower of London in 2014 to remember the fallen in the First World War memorial.

Researching this story timeline is an interesting and somewhat sobering journey.

I am aware of some things during that time period because my ancestors lived in the Manchester area during the war years of 1914-1918. I have a few reference books with newspaper articles that give insight into the times and struggles at home while the men were away fighting.

My ancestors lost sons and husbands to the war, which are my second cousins two times removed on the generational chart. (This means we share the same third great-grandfather. Their fathers were my second great uncles, Robert Holland and Henry Holland.) Since I’m an avid ancestry nut, I have been able to trace military records and references to their losses.  Below is a sampling of the information I have discovered.

The story of Lady Grace will include two men in the military – Grace’s husband Benedict and Arabella, her friend, whose husband Thomas has left for war. What happens to them while they are away, of course, you’ll find out when you read the story. However, the main focus will be the women left behind during turbulent times.

In honor of my relatives who lost their lives during World War I, which I hope you don’t mind me sharing with you, are noted below. When I think about them, it saddens me that they perished at so young an age never able to live out their days. May we never forget the sacrifice of the millions who died during this world conflict and others. You will note that their bodies never returned home and are buried where they died in France, Belgium, Turkey, and India.

In Memory

Name: Thomas Douglas Holland
Death Date: June 5, 1915
Death Place: Gallipoli

Buried: Helles Memorial Cemetery in Gallipoli, Canakkale, Turkey
Rank Private – Regiment Manchester Regiment – Battalion 1st 6th Battalion
Type of Casualty Killed in Action – Theatre of War Balkan Theatre

The National Roll of the Great War (Entry)

“Holland, T. D. Pte. 6th Manchester Regiment. He volunteered in August 1914, and sailed for Egypt in the same month. From Egypt he proceeded to Gallipoli in April 1915, and took part in the famous landing at Cape Helles, ever memorable for the magnificent bravery displayed. In the second Krithia Battle in June 1915, he fell fighting gallantly and was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory medals. “Great deeds cannot die.”

Frederick John Holland
Died May 8, 1918
Killed in Action France
Place of Burial: Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Regimental Number: New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 2nd, Service #57847, New Zealand Entrenching Battalion, 2nd


Major George Henry Holland
Died May 15, 1918
Killed in Action France
Buried Euston Road Cemetary, Colincamps, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France
New Zealand Army


Corporal John Holland Sapsford
Died November 4, 1918
Killed just one week before the end of WW1 in India.
Buried C W G cemetery in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan).
Royal Field Artillery
Name noted on St. James War Memorial along with Thomas Holland, both grandsons of Robert Holland.

Private Harry Walton
Died February 6, 1917
Killed in Action France
Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion

Private Gilbert Hough
Died October 9, 1917
Killed in Action Belgium
Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion
Buried Tyne Cot Memorial – Zonnebeke, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium

Lady Isabella – Release

old train on the bridge

Lady Isabella is finished and in the process of release.  Here are the schedules:

  • It’s up on Amazon for pre-ordering release Kindle version 2-1-17
  • It’s distributed to Draft 2 Digital and will be released on iTunes, Nook, and Kobo sometime next week
  • The print version is pending.  It’s been uploaded and is in a publishing review process.  Proof and release pending.
  • Audio auditions pending

Here is a synopsis of the story:

Seduced at the tender age of sixteen, Isabella Stuart did not understand what one poor decision could do to a person’s life. The consequences of her flirtation with the stable boy infuriate her parents, who make arrangements to hide her scandalous behavior. As a result, they send her into hiding to give birth and insist she give up her child for adoption. Upon her return to England, she discovers that her freedom remains severely hindered as her parents insist on orchestrating her marriage. Isabella, however, has fallen in love with another man, who unbeknown to her possesses far more than her heart.

Lady Grace

 Lady Isabella is out for editing, and it should be ready for release February 1 in eBook and print.

After mulling over a few story lines and time eras, I felt compelled to backtrack to the time period of World War 1 for my next story entitled Lady Grace.  I had thought about choosing other names for the title, but the name Grace stuck with me because of the personality of the young woman that I will be writing about.

In 1914, Grace has given birth to her first child and her husband, Benedict Russell, has left for the front. Of course, anytime that I decide to write about somethi

Already, I have chosen a cover for this new work and hope that you find the picture of Grace dressed in red, standing among a field of poppies, a poignant reminder of the times. Gazing at the cover helps me develop the character as I write the story. I can’t tell you how many times I will pause in a portion of a book,glance over at the face of my heroine or hero, and wait for the inspiration to know what they would say or do next. It’s a way of looking into their faces and becoming who they are so I can bring them to life on the page. Hopefully, each of these fallen ladies in this series of books will have vastly different personalities.

In the meantime, stay tuned for Isabella! For her story, too, set in 1930 will hopefully be an entertaining one.  I will let you know when it’s release. Those on my mailing list will get an email, too.  If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter for release notices, you can do so by following this LINK.

All my best,


Let’s Talk About Men in 1930’s

Men are the sexiest when dressing to kill – you know, lady killers (a charming man who is very attractive to women).  I don’t mean dressed in blue jeans, sneakers, and tight t-shirts.  I’m talking about three-piece suits, hats, and the fashions of the 1930’s.  To round off the look, add the cleanly shaved face, except perhaps for thin mustache. Hair is neatly trimmed, parted, and full.  (Guys, these looks nowadays where you walk around with a perpetual five-o’clock shadow doesn’t cut it.)  You’ve lost the attraction of the earlier eras – clean cut and handsome.

Gals, take a look at these 1930’s hotties.  I imagine Reginald Spencer, the hero in Lady Isabella (soon to be released), to look like the handsome Erroll Flynn in the first photo.  Below are some of the 1930’s male stars – Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and Tyrone Power with their leading ladies to illustrate the fashionable men of the era. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

I have always liked the look of the double breasted suits with vests. Like women, they often wore hats when out in public, which is another hallmark of the bygone days of fashions. I even have a fun picture of my own father, taken in the 1930’s below.  He wasn’t a bad looking guy either, with my mother off to the left.  His hair has the same almost center part, and he’s wearing a double-breasted suit. What’s interesting is that men’s trousers were worn high above the waist.  (The style is a far cry from now where some young men wear them falling off their rears. Oh, have times changed.)

In any event, this picture also shows a 1930’s wedding and bridesmaid dress.  My dad was definitely a looker and so was my mother.

So gents, looking to catch a lady’s eye?  Try dressing up once in a while.