Friday, February 12, 2016


Happy one indeed, since  my book, "Foxing the Geese" has received a starred review from Booklist, the American library review magazine. A great way to start the year off! 

Title:         FOXING THE GEESE

Publication:    BOOKLIST

Issue:         15TH MARCH 2016

* Foxing the Geese. Woods, Janet (Author), Apr 2016. 240 p. Severn, hardcover, $28.95. (9780727885821).

Vivienne Fox, the vicar’s daughter, has inherited a huge fortune from a distant relative. Since she has reached the terrible age of spinsterhood, her father is anxious for her to marry as soon as possible, so he sends her off to London to accompany her spoiled cousin who is also there for the Season. But Vivienne doesn’t want anyone to know about her new wealth. She wants a man to marry her for love. Lord Alex LeSayres might be an earl, but he’s broke. His father left him with a mountain of gambling debts, so he needs to find a rich wife, and quickly. Alex would much rather marry for love, but he’s too pragmatic for that. It’s just too bad that he’s fallen for Vivienne, the penniless daughter of a clergyman. Woods (Different Tides, 2014; Moon Cutters, 2014) has written a delightful Regency romp, complete with an Austen-worthy hero and a feisty, resourceful heroine who has no use for the social conventions of the time. This will be a pleasure to recommend to fans of historical romances.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Foxing The Geese
Severn House
December 2015
ISBN: 9780727885821

Parson’s daughter, Vivienne Fox despairs of ever finding a man who will wed her for love alone, so when she inherits a fortune she knows it will attract the wrong type of man. She decides to keep it quiet. For her, it’s going to be a love match – or nothing.

Alex L├ęSayres has the title of earl and an estate in Dorset to go with it – but very little else, his deceased father having lost their cash at the gaming tables. His penny-wise brother manages to scrape up enough cash to buy Alex a new suit of clothes, and send him off to London with instructions to find himself a wealthy wife.

When Vivienne and Alex meet they fall in love and discover it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Assembly


Recently I sorted out a cupboard, mainly because I needed more room to store hardcopy manuscripts. I came across a box filled with short stories that dated back twenty- five years. Mostly they’d been print published, some in magazines designed to attract women readers. Some had ended up in anthologies, others in newsletters. They came in several styles – contemporary and historical romance, fantasy and science fiction. There was a fantasy that my daughter begged me to turn into a book, which I did, and then there was general relationship shorts or stories that I’d entered in comps. Usually they ended up in writers’ newsletters etc. Many of them had been placed, or had won various prizes . . . or had been published more than once. Gathering together the strictly romantic ones I put together a collection of electronic romance short stories with Belgrave House.

The leftover stories were oddments, contrasting as to style, subject and length rather than a theme. Yes . . . some do have traditional romantic values. For instance, Rogue of Hearts is a short romantic novella, while Kira Kira is a tribute to the Australian aboriginal people and the generation of lost children due to Australian government policy at the time. Breaking it down further: Two stories are very short romances I overlooked the first time round, and two stories border on the ridiculous. Three are otherworldly and two have no romance at all.

I have called this 2nd collection THE ASSEMBLY and it’s free to download from To my regular readers, new readers and passers-bye I hope you’ll enjoy my stories.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Today's trend is tomorrow's old-fashioned.

Happy New Year 2015.

This last year has just whizzed past. Electronic publishing is beginning to find its level. It’s not all that innovative now. I think my first ebook was published about 14 years ago, when the Rocket was the reading device of the day. I do know that last year, for one publisher I sold many more print books than I did the electronic versions.

 There are many more writers on the market now, many of them doing their own publishing, so it’s getting a little crowded. Amongst all the hype of this newness, business begins to take the gloss from the newly minted masterpiece. The same enquiries pop up on the lists that did the rounds twenty-five years ago. What to do about copyright, public lending rights, writing rules, house styles. Agents, advances, royalties, percentages, tax forms. The time for these tasks must come out of the writing time. All have to be dealt with.

I must admit I prefer to see my books in print form, though they all have electronic versions. To start with the print books won’t disappear into the ether, unless you’re a magician. There are some books that I know I’ll want to read again down the track. They are on my keeper shelf. Books by Sharon Penman . . . Mary Stewart . . . the dreaded Thomas Hardy. I love his poetry because it grounds me. I get him. I get his slowness and his meandering sentences that wind like a path through the heath lands. Perhaps our souls will meet one day in the future – The return of “two natives” perhaps.

Some say print books are old-fashioned, but then, so are many of their readers. They were brought up without television and read books for entertainment. They are familiar with the words and phrasing . . . the style. What's wrong with being old-fashioned, anyway?  Today’s trend is tomorrow’s old-fashioned. We only have one life, so why rush through it?

The year has started off well for me. Two of my print books are to be part of a Mother’s Day promotion in the UK. Published by Simon & Schuster, they will be available through Sainsbury’s and Morrison stores.

That’s at the same price as an electronic book, and just the thing to wrap up with a box of chocolates. As a bonus you can tie a red ribbon round it. You can’t do that with an ebook!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I’ll Be There
Janet Woods

                               (The life and times of Janey Renfrew)

1960/70s London/Dorset.

Janey Renfrew has a troubled childhood in a quiet English village. A traumatic assault causes loss of her memory and she names the wrong man. He is sent to prison.
            Leaving home when she’s sixteen she goes to London and is befriended my Sandy. Both girls have dreams – Janey’s is to become a successful artist.
            Due to the good friends she makes, Janey succeeds. She meets Drifter, an American, and falls in love. Janey moves in with him and has his child. Drifter is pulled into the 70’s drug scene. Janey’s drink is laced and she swallows a small amount of LSD. The resulting ‘trip” opens her mind to the previous assaults and she discovers that she named the wrong man.
              Forced to return to America by his grandfather Drifter abandons Janey and their baby daughter. The pair are offered shelter by Janey’s agent, Devlin. He is a slave driver, but he wants her to succeed.
            Back into her life comes Griff, a long time friend from the village they grew up in. He is now a doctor. Beset by guilt over the past, she determines that she must put right the wrong that she unwittingly caused an innocent man. But there are other complications – especially when Janey falls in love and must chose one man over the other..


First published by Robert Hale London as “Against The Tide” 2003.
Copyright © Janet Woods

NOW RELEASED. e book available from Belgrave House. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

April releases in ebooks.

A Dorset Girl by Janet Woods


I'm pleased to announce that Simon & Schuster is re-releasing my best-selling trilogy in ebook. 

A Dorset Girl - Beyond The Plough - A Handful of Ashes - will be available in April 2014 and follows the life and loves of Siana Lewis and her struggle to survive after a tragedy leaves her responsible for her two younger siblings.

 My other backlist books will also be available in e format from Simon&Schuster and other reputable outlets.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's in a name?

Janet Woods

What’s in a name?
            In the application of story characterization – plenty.
            I’ll start with my own names. Janet (meaning in the grace of God) and Angela (meaning angel-like). Okay, so Janet is not a bad little name, it’s comfortable and safe, easy to spell and pronounce.
            Angela is quite a pretty name if one desires to be compared to an angel. I headed in the other direction. Perhaps it was wishful thinking on my mother’s part, though she wasn’t religious. Sorry mum . . . not this Janet!
            I think my parents were influenced by their workplace. Dad was a chauffeur and my mother a housemaid. They, and my grandfather (who’d been the head coachman for the same family before) worked for gentry, a family who made most of their fortune out of the industrial era manufacturing and selling gas appliances.
            Both my grandfather and my father drove a Rolls Royce for the same family, with my father inheriting the job. (sorry, I just had to name drop!).
            I’ve always found that, in writing, expectations come with names.
            Picture Janet as a trusted housekeeper in cap and apron wearing muted shades, the keys to the stately home hanging from the chatelaine at her waist as she hovers, quietly dependent and unobtrusive in the background. Being directed about their work by the loyal Janet will be the Millies, Mollies, Nellies, Fannies, and Bessies. They’ll be doing the dirty work, running around, raking ash from the coals, black-leading the grates, washing the bedpans and making the dust fly. Most likely they would chatter about boys and be generally frivolous as they flirted with the delivery boys and stable hands. They might even flirt with the son of the house, after he’d swallowed a couple of snifters of brandies.
            The handsome sardonic hero and heir is William Carstairs. His mates address him as Big Willie with an exchange of winks and schoolboy chuckles. His sisters call him Little Willie on account of them being older than him and because they are virgins and totally ignorant about willies of any type. They don’t even know what virginity is until they lose it, by which time it’s too late to complain, not that they would now they’ve discovered the secret of life.
            If the sisters were unmarried as well as unfrocked she’d be called something exotic, like Claudia or Jasmine, Rita, Carmen of Lola. Older spinsters would have virtuous names and I sometimes think they were destined to be spinster aunts since birth . . . Patience, Prudence, Charity or Hope. The heroine might be Adelaide, Charlotte or Caroline.    
            Heroes’ names come in several styles. Solid and steady, heroic or unusual, try these standards for endurance. They are always in fashion. Edward, George, Samuel, Thomas, William, John, Roger . . .
            Roger? That one might be a bit dicey. You know the Roger-the-lodger jokes and the occasional vulgarity men use regarding the name, I expect. Let me just say that the meaning of the name Roger is “Famous with a spear.” That aside, one of the best and most beautiful books I’ve ever read was “Through a Glass Darkly.” It was written by Karleen Koen and first published in 1986. Her troubled hero was Roger who struggled to define his own sexuality within a marriage to a woman who cared deeply for him.
            The solid and steady hero always works well because the names endure. You need only look up name lists for any given era to see that. My personal favorite is for hero types that are easy to spell. Alex, Leon, Benedict, Nick.
            I also like unusual Celtic names. The trouble with them is although they look good on paper they’re usually a devil to get your tongue round. My latest use of a Celtic name is Tighe. I was often asked how it was pronounced. To the best of my knowledge it’s Tie. However, in case the enquirer is a professor of the Celtic language, I usually ask, “How would you pronounce it?”
            Some say Tiggy. Some Tigehee. Some prefer Tig-he, and an Irish man said “I T ” and laughed. Old joke, I know, but you’ve got to love the Irish sense of humour!
            So what’s in a name? There are quite a lot of points to consider if you want the right name for your characters, one that is suitable for their position in life as well as providing a compatible union with the heroine’s name. Sharon and Darryn? Elizabeth and Edgar? Nah, I don’t think so! My characters nag me if they don’t feel comfortable with their names. Luckily we have a search and change function, which means we can try out different combinations.
            Now back to Janet. Had she been a housekeeper in the historical past, she would have been referred to as Mrs. Woods, whether married or not.
            As it happens, the family my mother worked for had two daughters. The younger of the two was called Jane Alicia, and referred to rather reverently in conversation as Miss Jane. It doesn’t stretch my imagination too far to know who I was named after. When my mother was pleased with me, which wasn’t often, or when she had visitors for tea and I was under a death threat if I argued, she fondly called me “Our Jane.”
            Otherwise I was, “Where’s that Janet got to? Eh, but she’ll be the death of me.” That was an exaggeration. Mum lived to be 105 and I had nothing to do with her demise, promise.
            My first novel was written under a pen name. Being confronted by a name I’d chosen for myself was traumatic. It felt as though somebody had stolen my work. It reinforced the notion that names were an important part of my characterization.
            So from then on I was Janet (forget the housekeeper notion!)
            I do sometimes have a smidgen of regret for not soaring off on my angel wings though. Who know how high I could have flown!