Category: Poems

Newsletter – January 2021

JANUARY 2021

This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com

Author News
Firstly, happy new year to all of you – let’s hope for better things in 2021. As for me, I’m writing my winter novel – something I’ve done for the past four years (I have got into the habit of planning and research in September/October, writing from November to March, then getting it proof-read and copyedited, the book cover finalised and launch strategy worked out). But having finished my epic five-book series, A Light in the Dark Ages, with 2020’s Arthur Rex Brittonum, I’ve retired that set of characters and set my mind on writing a standalone novel.

My work-in-progress is titled Guardians at The Wall, and it will be my first attempt at a timeslip novel. I got the idea for a story involving intrigue amongst archaeologists meshed with a Roman soldiers’ story on a trip to Hadrian’s Wall sites and museums in September 2020 (between lockdowns!). Time slip, I’ve recently discovered, can be a sub-genre of either historical or science fiction that combines two strands to the story – contemporary and historical/another time. As I know little about this, I joined a Facebook group, Historical & Time Slip Novels Book Club, to find out more.
I posted a statement about my work in progress and asked for suggestions, and received dozens of useful comments, including a link to a blog article by author, Kathleen McGurl, on writing dual timelines. She provides her own definitions of the different types of time slip stories that gave me pause to reflect on what I was attempting:
Kathleen has identified three types of time slip novel:
Time travel – characters deliberately and intentionally travel through time. Science fiction.
Timeslip – characters unintentionally and accidentally slip through time. Supernatural/magic.
Dual timeline – a mystery from the past is uncovered and resolved in the present day. The story is told in two timelines, woven together. No science or magic needed.
From these definitions, I can firmly locate my project as dual timeline. My contemporary story involves a search to uncover a mystery and to piece together the actions of a Roman centurion in the second century, posted at Hadrian’s Wall. The historical story is the story of that centurion, outlining what actually happened all those years ago. The archaeologists must piece together what they think happened based on scraps of information, and then search for the location of a buried payroll chest.
Kathleen has shared how she approaches writing her novels (BTW, her latest book is The Forgotten Gift – see below) and it resonates with how I’ve approached my story, giving me comfort and the confidence to push on.
She makes each chapter a single timeline, alternating between her two stories, so reader knows what to expect; chapters are typically 3,000 words in length (to give the reader a chance to get into each timeline before swapping); chapter 1 and the last chapter are the contemporary story – the character with whom the reader will most identify; make both stories equally strong.
She goes on to advise authors that they will need several elements for a successful dual timeline: two linked stories; strong characters in each timeline; a great setting that the reader sees in both timelines; an item turning up in both timelines; and a theme to help tie the stories together.
So, thanks for the advice, Kathleen – now I just need to write it!

What would you do to protect the ones you love?

The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

1861: George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?
Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…
Discover a family’s darkest secrets today. Perfect for fans of The Girl in the Letter, The Beekeeper’s Promise and The Forgotten Village!

Our featured guest author this month is Jean M. Roberts who lives with her family outside of Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Houston with a BSN in nursing. She then joined the United States Air Force and proudly served for 8 years. She works full time as a nurse administrator for a non-profit.
A life-long lover of history Jeanie began writing articles on her family history/genealogy. This in turn has led to two works of historical fiction. She is currently working on a third book, The Heron, due for publication in April 2021. Jean has kindly written an article for us on the period of American history she is particularly interested in.

Her first novel is:  Weave a Web of Witchcraft

This is the haunting tale of Hugh and Mary Parsons of Springfield, Massachusetts. Using actual testimony recorded in their depositions and trials, the book recreates the story of this ill fated couple. Happily married in 1645, their life slowly disintegrates into a nightmare of accusations, madness and death. By 1651, Hugh is accused of witchcraft by his own wife and soon the entire town turns against him. Hugh’s friends and neighbors tell outlandish tales of unnatural occurrences, ghostly lights and mysterious beasts then point the finger of blame squarely at Hugh. In a wild turn of events Mary confesses that she too is a witch and has danced with the devil. Both Hugh and Mary are deposed and sent to Boston to stand trial for witchcraft before the General Court of Massachusetts; one is charged with murder. Their very lives hang in the balance. Exhaustively researched, this book is filled with vivid details of life on the frontier of Massachusetts, and brings to life the people who struggled for existence in the harsh world that was Puritan Massachusetts. Predating the famous Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 by almost forty years, this is the page turning story of a tragic couple whose life is overtaken by ignorance and superstition.

War in the Colonies
As an American, I can trace my ancestry to the British Isles. According to my DNA profile, I am 100% Anglo/Irish. I am also a lover of history. Like Tim, I am a novelist, but although I adore medieval English history, I don’t know enough to write with any authority. My historical novels are focused on Colonial America, from the early beginnings, through the War for Independence.

My first book, Weave a Web of Witchcraft is set in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1650. The story revolves around a real couple, Hugh and Mary Parsons, who were both accused of witchcraft. My second book, Blood in the Valley, is the fictionalize tale of my ancestors before and during the American Revolution. The story follows them from New Hampshire to the wilds of the Mohawk Valley of New York.

This brings me to my next book, The Heron, which has a dual time narrative; modern day and the 1690s and is set along the banks of the Oyster River in New Hampshire. War plays a big role in this chilling story, specifically, King William’s War. This was the opening conflict of what was to be called The French and Indian Wars. A brutal fight, waged on both sides, it would last until 1763, when a peace agreement, the Treaty of Paris, was signed by the European powers. But the fight with and against the native people on the American continent continued well into the 19th century.

Like many American children, I grew up playing games we called ‘Cops and Robbers’ and living in Texas, ‘Cowboys and Indians’. The cops and the cowboys were the good guys; men in white hats riding white horses. The men in black, the bad guys, were the robbers and the Indians. We fought over who had to be the baddie, the enemy. The idea of the ‘bad Indian’ was ingrained in us from a young age.

From the day the first white man stepped ashore, the Native population has been maligned. Englishmen were smarter, braver, they had God on their side and like all conquerors, entitled to take what they wanted. England itself had been swept by conquering peoples from time immemorial. The Romans, the Saxons, the Norsemen, the Normans. It was the natural order of things.

Along with guns, and a healthy sense of superiority, Europeans brought plague and pestilence with them to the new world. Historians call it ‘The Great Dying’, 90% of the native population perished. The Americas were ripe for the taking. In a way, I can see a parallel between the beleaguered American natives and the people of England, the Romano-British people who banded together under King Arthur to fight the Saxon invader and preserve their land.

In 1620, a group of English religious separatists, set sail for the Colony of Virginia. At that time, the territory of Virginia stretched as far as today’s New York, and their intended destination was the mouth of the Hudson River. They didn’t make it. Blown off course they found themselves far to the north. This year, 2020, marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage.

When we think of the Pilgrims, fresh off the boat from Plymouth, England, newly landed on the Cape of Massachusetts, images of a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner come to mind. The starving settlers were aided by Native Americans, taught to grow food in the unfamiliar land. It’s a lovely narrative but this peaceful co-existence was short lived.
As wave after wave of Englishmen arrived on the shores of North American, the Native Americans became increasingly concerned. Conflict was inevitable.

Loss of land, subjugation to harsh English law, and enslavement led to a rise in tension between the two peoples. In 1675 the Native Americans along the North East coast banded together under the leadership of a Wampanoag man, Metacom. The English called him King Philip. The Natives lashed out at the interlopers.

This war, King Philip’s War, was a full-out assault on the colonists in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Together with warriors from Nipmuck, Pocumtuck and Narraganset tribes brought death and destruction to the Colonist, their combined efforts all but drove the colonist into the sea. If they had held together, the English would have been penned up in coastal cities, and possibly forced to abandon New England.

But this was also a war between Native Americans. The Mohegans and the Mohawks of New York, allied themselves with the English and fought against Metacom and his coalition. For the better part of 14 months, Metacom and his warriors ravaged New England. He was captured and killed in August of 1676 and the fight gradually dwindled until the signing of a peace treaty in Casco, Maine in 1678. Hundreds, if not thousands of native fighters and their families were rounded up and shipped to the Caribbean to work as slaves on the sugar plantations.

Peace did not last long. In 1689 King William of England declared war on France. As battles waged on the Continent, simmering tensions in the Colonies flared. Canada was, at that time, a French territory. The Governor, Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, devised a three-prong plan of attack against the Colonies of New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts (Maine was part of Massachusetts). In the winter of 1690, a force attacked the town of Schenectady in New York, a second attacked Salmon Falls in New Hampshire and the third destroyed Fort Loyal in Maine. The loss of the Fort, near present day Portland, emptied the frontier.

Hundreds of settlers, men, women and children were killed or taken as captives to Canada. The numbers may not seem significant but the population of these settlements was small, and so the impact of losing males of working age had a huge effect on the economy and the ability of these people to survive. That these people survived at all is testament to their tenacity. King William’s War ended 1697 but flared again in 1702 with Queen Anne’s War.

For many Americans this is dry dusty information, naught but boring dates without meaning. If your family, whether they were of English descent or Native American, lived in New England in the 17th – 18th century it is almost certain that they were also affected by these wars. If nothing else the mental toll must have been enormous. In fact, Mercy Lewis, one of the Salem Witchcraft accusers fled the attack on Casco Bay in 1689, where her parents were both killed, leaving her an orphan and forced to work as a servant. It has been suggested that the psychological damaged inflicted by the war might have played a part in her role as an accuser.

As most know, the native population of America was pushed further and further west, just as the remains of the British population were pushed into Wales and down into Cornwall. Or, they were forced to assimilate into the in new culture. King Philip and King Arthur have many similarities, their biggest difference being, King Arthur is a hero and King Philip a long-forgotten fighter for Indian freedom.

My upcoming book, The Heron, is set along the Oyster River of New Hampshire. This area was subject to repeated attacks during King William’s War. My story has two main characters, Abbey Coote a modern-day woman and her ancestor Mary Foss who struggled to survive, not on the war, but life in general. My story is full of period details and as accurate a portrayal of life in the 1690s as I could get. Be sure to check it out. Its release date is April 15 2021.

In Poet’s Corner this month we have Michael le Vin, a writing mate of mine from our Windsor Writers’ days. Now, he is more likely to be spotted turning up at Slough Writers’ meetings and events. His poem, Tammany Adieu, won the Slough Writers Annual Poetry Prize / Competition, 2020.

Tammany Adieu
By Michael le Vin

The desolation.
Waves lapping at the shallop’s hull. A kind of kissing;
January’s North Atlantic wind keening.
Bitter, biting face and hands.
Adel, weeping in rhythmic slow lament, as Boston fades in the mouth of the
Charles, desecrating the memory of the father she loved.
The man she knew.
At home.
A man of simple tenderness. Caring, loving, true
Looked after her dying mother, his second wife, adopting Adel as his own.
A man of political passions too, the father she loved,
The man she knew.
The public man.
Hard and strong, whisky swilling.
He could outdo the lads,
Happily gamble his silver dollar.
But fight for a cause, give women a vote, equal rights for all
Regardless of race, or gender or kin.
The battle-hardened politician.
The father she loved.
The man she knew.
His death.
His collapse at Tammany Hall. A shock!, Disquiet.
A deafening silence, before a fall.
Interring him in an unmarked grave, political allies and adversaries alike
demanding redress.
His birth certificate, said “Mary Anderson, born Govan 1840”.
Cynically they buried him…. in a dress….
The father she loved
The man….. she thought….. she knew

Newsletter – July 2020

NEWSLETTER – JULY 2020

This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com

SOCIAL MEDIA:
F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M

Author News
After five years of researching, plotting and writing, A Light in the Dark Ages book series is now complete with the publication in June 2020 of book five, Arthur Rex Brittonum.

I feel both a sense of achievement and relief, and hope that those of you who are reading the series will finally reach book five and leave me your thoughts in reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

Most of all, I hope you enjoyed reading my imagined saga of the Pendragon family over three generations, drawn from historical research and the romantic desire to believe that at least some of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s creative ‘history’ is based on real people and events.

They may now be lost in the mists of time, but their folk memory lives on in the realm of legend.

Picture: I imagined that Arthur’s banner would combine his family association with the dragon, and the animal after which he is named – the bear.

The book series can now be found on one page on Amazon and the e-books or paperbacks ordered with ONE CLICK
The e-books are also available on Apple ibooks; Kobo; Nook; 24Symbols; Scribd; Playster; Montadori; Indigo; Overdrive; Tolino; Bibliotecha; Hoopla; Angus & Robertson and now Vivlio  HERE

A Light in the Dark Ages book series

Welcome Amy Maroney…

I grew up in Northern California and have lived in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 20 years. I come from a family of bookworms, of writers and editors, of wanderers who love to travel and explore the natural world. In my childhood home, television was strictly regulated and reading was encouraged instead.
I went on to major in English literature in college and began a career as a writer and editor of nonfiction soon after graduating.

Eventually my husband and I welcomed our first child to the world and my writing career took a back burner to the demands and joys of parenting. I continued to freelance part time and took graduate courses in public policy while we added another child to the mix. Meanwhile, I got involved in various volunteer gigs and began a graduate thesis when disaster struck in the shape of a debilitating stroke shortly after my 40th birthday.

The stroke and its aftermath were a game-changer. I realized that perhaps I didn’t have as much time on this planet as I had imagined. During my recovery, I put aside my thesis and gave myself permission to seriously pursue creative work. I began writing fiction and mapping out plots for a series of pharmaceutical thrillers, the first of which has the intriguing title, The Sunscreen Caper.
Then we had the good fortune to fulfil a long-standing dream: we rented out our house and travelled with our kids for ten months. It was a magical experience. Inspired by our travels, I began researching and writing the first book of The Miramonde Series: The Girl from Oto. Everything in the book draws on our trip, but it is also influenced by my previous stints living in France and Germany. I loved every minute of writing the story. The sequel, Mira’s Way, followed in 2018.

Now Amy writes page-turners about extraordinary women of the medieval and Renaissance eras…

The Promise

This series prequel novella will transport you five hundred years into the past…

It is 1483, and the Pyrenees mountains are a dangerous place for a woman.

Haunted by a childhood tragedy, mountain healer and midwife Elena de Arazas navigates the world like a bird in flight.

An unexpected romance shatters her solitary existence, giving her new hope. But when her dearest friend makes an audacious request, Elena faces an agonizing choice.

Will she be drawn back into the web of violence she’s spent a lifetime trying to escape?

Click here for your free download of The Promise. Learn more at www.amymaroney.com.

Find Amy Maroney on Twitter @wilaroney, on Instagram @amymaroneywrites and on Pinterest @amyloveshistory.

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Innerverse poet, James Linton, to Poet’s Corner. Tell us a bit about yourself, James…

My name is James Linton and writing is what I do.  It’s the only thing I’ve ever really been good at and the only thing that I really enjoy.  I’ve been writing all my life from my silly childhood stories of a talking bird and cat super team, to cringy angst-filled teenage poetry and short stories on all types of topics: tragedy, love, children’s lit, crime and however you would class the Story of Esme Esmerelda.  I’ve also done some freelance student and travel blogging.

In the past six years, I’ve been writing performance poetry and I love it.  I love the accessibility of the medium and I love performing it.  It’s the best high, but my first love will always be prose. I’m editing my first book at the moment – a post-apocalyptic dystopia focussing on humanity trying to start again.  I’m also writing my second book now – The Willow Tree, a fictionalised retelling of my experiences working in a care home.

Writing has certainly taken me on a strange journey throughout my life, but I can’t wait to see where it will take me next. Please read more of my work here.

Size Four Footprints

 “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato

The fire crackles
as she walks through the sand
leaving behind size four footprints
a fighter plane reflects in her brother’s eye

A ringing in her ears,
as she holds her up extra-small hands
the lens looking like a barrel
the ground buzzing beneath her size four footprints

Shards of glass are tucked into the sand,
as she tiptoes over the stone and concrete,
clutching onto her little pony
one last present from her father

Their voices scream freedom
as she peeks from underneath the red-patched door
holding her breath
as the combat boots march past

Stacks of green bulge from Their Gucci and Prada
as she scavenges for copper and brass
dust coating her pigtails
salt sticking to her cheeks The Eye scans the waste
as she claims she’s a friend, she wants no more,
the Eye locks on, the hammer drops,
only the dead have seen the end of war.

Newsletter – June 2020

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com
SOCIAL MEDIA:
F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on T W I T T E R F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M

AUTHOR NEWS

New Book Launched on 1st June – ARTHUR REX BRITTONUM

From the decay of post-Roman Britain, Arthur seeks to unite a troubled land

Arthur Rex Brittonum (‘King of the Britons’) is an action-packed telling of the King Arthur story rooted in historical accounts that predate the familiar Camelot legend.
Britain in the early sixth century has reverted to tribal lands, where chiefs settle old scores with neighbours whilst eyeing with trepidation the invaders who menace the shore in search of plunder and settlement.
Arthur, only son of the late King Uther, has been crowned King of the Britons by the northern chiefs and must now persuade their counterparts in the south and west to embrace him. Will his bid to lead their combined army against the Saxon threat succeed? He arrives in Powys buoyed by popular acclaim at home, a king, husband and father – but can he sustain his efforts in unfamiliar territory? It is a treacherous and winding road that ultimately leads him to a winner-takes-all clash at the citadel of Mount Badon.
Tim Walker’s Arthur Rex Brittonum is book five in the A Light in the Dark Ages series, and picks up the thread from the earlier life of Arthur in 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum.
E-book available on KINDLE and iBOOKS, KOBO, NOOK
Or order the PAPERBACK

This month, I’m delighted to welcome fellow historical fiction author, Mary Ann Bernal, and her thrilling new book, Crusader’s Path.

Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her latest endeavour is Crusader’s Path, a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Connect with Mary Ann: Website • Blog • Whispering Legends Press •  Twitter • Facebook.

Crusader’s Path – Book Blurb…

From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Heeding the call of His Holiness, Urban II, to free the Holy Land from the infidel, Etienne follows Duke Robert of Normandy across the treacherous miles, braving sweltering heat and snow-covered mountain passes while en route to the Byzantine Empire.

Moved by Peter of Amiens’ charismatic rhetoric in the streets of the Holy Roman Empire, Avielle joins the humble army of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Mentz, the peasant Crusaders do the unthinkable, destroying the Jewish Community. Consumed with guilt, Avielle is determined to die fighting for Christ, assuring her place in Heaven.

Etienne and Avielle cross paths in Constantinople, where they commiserate over past misdeeds. A spark becomes a flame, but when Avielle contracts leprosy, Etienne makes a promise to God, offering to take the priest cowl in exchange for ridding Avielle of her affliction.

Will Etienne be true to his word if Avielle is cleansed of the contagion, or will he risk eternal damnation to be with the woman he loves?

BOOK BUY LINKS:  AMAZON.COMAMAZON.CO.UK

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Innerverse poet and wit, Rick Warren, to Poet’s Corner. Tell us a bit about yourself, Rick…

My name is Rick Warren and I enjoy writing stories and poems, mainly for my own enjoyment and as a way of trying to make sense of the world. Having stopped work last year to attempt a thriller, (way harder than I imagined),  I’m now writing and compiling poems and stories, hopefully putting out a book by the end of the year, to follow on from my first collection of poems “The Path to Redemption” which I self-published on Amazon under my pen name Lyrick.
I have always enjoyed the brevity and concise nature of poems, with their ability to distil sometimes complex thoughts and issues into a succinct and manageable format. Sometimes funny, sometimes not, the process of using fewer words to say more is challenging and one I really enjoy. 
You can see some of my work HERE 

So, What did you do in the Pandemic, Grandad?

One day we will look back, and our grandchildren will say,
“What did you do grandad, to make the virus go away?”
We’ll sit them down and in reverent tones speak of our incarceration,
When toilet paper became currency, and panic gripped the nation,
We will speak of all the hardship and of our deprivation,
The lack of pasta alone nearly ended in starvation,
No restaurants, pubs or cinemas, no golf and no football,
Just as well for Arsenal who were not playing well at all,

Well, we watched TV and we tidied our homes,
We washed our hands right down to the bone
We landscaped our gardens, did our shopping online,
We all learnt how to conference call, that helped to pass the time,
Some took up baking and making their own gin,
The most important thing that got us through was all of us stayed in,
Except for those too selfish, or too stupid to realise,
Every unnecessary journey was a chance that someone dies,
Books were read, box-sets streamed, conspiracy theories abounded,
Celebrities (with no scientific knowledge at all), expounded the unfounded,

Boris got sick and went to intensive care,
With the cuts, he was lucky that they had a bed to spare,
The staff, who were working without proper PPE,
Saved our new Prime Minister, and the likes of you and me,
So now you know of the hardships we faced,
Vaccines were created and Trump got replaced, (hopefully)
So now your world is a far better place…

You’re welcome – now go wash your hands.

Book Blog Newsletter – May 2018

MAY 2018

This is the newsletter of UK author Tim Walker. It aims to be monthly and typically includes: book news and offers, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Readers of this newsletter are invited to volunteer for the guest author slot, submit a book review, flash fiction story (up to 250 words) or poem to timwalker1666@gmail.com for future issues.

AUTHOR NEWS

FIVE STAR REVIEW AWARD FOR UTHER’S DESTINY

Uther’s Destiny, the third book in A Light in the Dark Ages series, has been selling well, briefly visiting the Amazon top 100 in the Historical Fiction and Alt-History categories. The book blog tour has helped raise awareness for the series and has led to some fine five star reviews.
In addition, it was submitted for review to Onestopfiction.com, receiving the five star review award for March. This award badge has been added to the cover of the e-book.

A LIGHT IN THE DARK AGES:
Book one – Abandoned (http://myBook.to/Abandoned)
Book two – Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (http://myBook.to/Ambrosius)
Book three – Uther’s Destiny (http://myBook.to/Uther)

Now I’d like to welcome this month’s guest author – CLAIRE BUSS…


Claire Buss is a science fiction, fantasy & contemporary writer from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 setting her writing career in motion.

Tell us a bit about your books.
The Gaia Effect is a hopeful dystopian novel and winner of the 2017 Raven Award from Uncaged Books for favourite Scifi/Fantasy novel. Here’s the blurb:
In City 42 Corporation look after you from cradle to grave. They protect you from the radiation outside the wall. They control the food, the water, the technology and most important of all, the continuation of the human race. Kira and Jed Jenkins were lucky enough to win Collection but when their friends start falling pregnant naturally, everything changes. How long has Corporation been lying to them? Is it really toxic outside the wall? As the group comes to terms with the changes in their lives they discover there is a much more powerful and ancient force at work, trying to bridge the gap between man and nature.

I’m currently working on the sequel, The Gaia Project, which I hope to release later this year. I can’t tell you too much at this early editing stage but I can share with you the fantastic cover artwork which is a constant source of motivation.

Tales from Suburbia is a collection of humorous plays, blogs and short stories that I published last year. It’s quite an eclectic mix of writing but it shows off my natural writing style which does lean towards humour. I’m planning a follow-up, Tales from the Seaside, for release this summer which has been great fun to plan.

My most recent novel, The Rose Thief, is a humorous fantasy inspired by my love of Terry Pratchett. I always thought he did such a great job writing stories that had a message but also had a great deal of fun telling you that message. I’ve been a fan for over twenty years so it felt very natural to write something encouraged by his own style. The book started out as a writers workshop exercise which I then went home and added 20k words to. It was left alone until NaNoWriMo 2016 when I added another 30k and then went on to write the rest. characters, I can’t wait to revisit this world again soon. I already have ideas for a couple of novellas but I feel quite sure we haven’t seen the end of Ned Spinks and his band of thief-catchers!

The reviews have been great calling the book a mixture between Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett which is fantastic. The first chapter is available to read on my website, here is the blurb:
Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses. But that’s not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It’s up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn’t exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?

Finally, my most recent project is The Blue Serpent & other tales, a collection of flash fiction stories, which is available to download as an ebook, for free, everywhere – including Amazon. Flash fiction is a new genre for me and I love it, I challenge myself weekly with a different theme or prompt and I love seeing how other indie authors respond to the same prompt, the possibilities are endless.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
As a mum to two small people, obviously I enjoy watching Postman Pat and reading Stick Man but what I really enjoy doing is tackling my huge TBR pile as often as I can and spending as much time as possible by the seaside. We moved in September 2017 to the coast and I keep having to remind myself that I’m not on holiday, I actually live by the sea. Obviously I hope for beautiful summer evenings, being inspired and writing at the beach however I feel sure the reality will be somewhat different.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?
I love building worlds and characters and seeing where they’ll take me. I am a complete pantser, I never know what’s going to happen next and when I’m writing a new book I just let the words flow. Usually I write 1000 words a day, I never read back over what I’ve written and I sit down at my laptop and carry on from the previous day. It does make editing a bit of a graft as I’m forever filling in plot holes and back weaving new characters that appear two thirds of the way through the book but I don’t think I could write any other way. I tried thinking about planning and I started to procrastinate before I’d even chosen what colour post-it notes to use so it just doesn’t work for me.

You can join Claire on social media at the follow places:

Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/busswriter
Join her Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/BussBookStop
Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407
Visit her Website: www.cbvisions.weebly.com
Read her Blog: https://www.butidontlikesalad.blogspot.co.uk

Sign up for her newsletter and get The Blue Serpent & other tales for free: https://mailchi.mp/402338620663/claire-buss-newsletter

All her books are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Buss/e/B01MSZY649/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

This month’s guest poet is JANE JAGO…

EVIDENCE OF GRIEF
The evidence of grief
And the motions of sorrow
Some that we learn
And some we just borrow
The solitary figure
Dry eyed by the grave
Whose hurt runs too deep
For convention to brave
Who stands thus erect
Drawing scarcely a breath
Feels the hard scraping pain
Of a love killed by death
Those who say cold
Have not looked in those eyes
It is not just a loved one
But I who have died

©️ Jane Jago 2017

AGAIN TOMORROW
It’s better to have loved and lost
is that not what they say
Who have not loved to count the cost
of one heartbroken day
A day when time and tide are out
a day to stand alone
A time to understand the doubt
the lie in the word home
Naked born and shed we tears
upon the barren earth
Cry, is it better yet to love
no matter what our birth
Should we turn our back on chance
for fear of bitter sorrow
Or open up our hearts and minds
and love again tomorrow

©️ Jane Jago 2017

For more prose and poems from Jane Jago please follow her blog:
Link to blog.  https://workingtitleblogspot.wordpress.com/

Book Blog Newsletter – April 2018

APRIL 2018 NEWSLETTER

This is the newsletter of UK author Tim Walker. It aims to be monthly and typically includes: book news and offers, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Readers of this newsletter are invited to volunteer for the guest author slot, submit a book review, flash fiction story (up to 250 words) or poem to timwalker1666@gmail.com for future issues.

AUTHOR NEWS

The third and final book in Tim Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages series, Uther’s Destiny, was published on 9th March. The primary focus of the launch awareness campaign was a book blog tour that involved author interviews, book blurbs, Q&As and links on a dozen well-known blogs, realising over 6,000 views/reads. This has helped support favourable March e-book and paperback sales (and KU page reads) for all three titles in the series. Here’s a list of the blogs…
Mary Anne Yarde Blog – 1st March (Background to Uther)
http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com
Linda’s Book Bag (Linda Hill) – 2nd March (Blurb, profile)
http://lindasbookbag.wordpress.com
Historical-fiction.com (Arleigh Ordoyne) – 3rd March (In Search of the Elusive Arthur)
http://historical-fiction.com
Books n’ All Promotions (Susan Hampshire) – 6th March (Book review and links)
http://booksfromdusktilldawn.wordpress.com
English Historical Fiction Authors (Debra Brown) – 6th March (In Search of King Arthur)
http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com
EM Swift-Hook & Jane Jago Blog – 9th March (Uther Q&A)
http://workingtitleblogsport.wordpress.com
Grace’s Book Review – 13th March (Book review by hubby John)
http://reviewerbookladygoodnready.wordpress.com 

Jane Risdon – 17th March (Arthurian article)
http://janerisdon.wordpress.com
Elizabeth-gates.com book blog – 22nd March (Author interview)
http://elizabeth-gates.com/blog
Rosie Amber Book Review Blog – 29th March (Arthurian article)
https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/your-book-reviewed/
Mary Anne Yarde Book Blog – 29th March (book review)
http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com
Jenny Kane Blog – 4th April
http://jennykane.co.uk/blog

Uther’s Destiny is the third book in A Light in the Dark Ages series, and can be read as a standalone (although readers who enjoy it may want to seek out book one – Abandoned (http://myBook.to/Abandoned) – and book two – Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (http://myBook.to/Ambrosius).

Buy the e-book or paperback or read on Kindle Unlimited: UTHER’S DESTINY

 

This month our guest author is British historical author, Elizabeth Gates…

Who is Elizabeth Gates?

Between reading English Language & Literature at Bedford College, University of London, and acquiring an MA in Linguistics at the University of Essex, ELIZABETH GATES explored Europe as a teacher of English and Creative Writing. She then went on to work as a freelance journalist for 25 years, published in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers and specialising in Public Health Issues. These issues ranged  widely including – among many others – stories about suicide among farmers, health & safety on theatrical stage and filmset, bird flu and PTSD in returning service personnel. But eventually, she retired from journalism and turned to fiction.

The Wolf of Dalriada is the first novel in a series and Elizabeth is currently writing a sequel set again in 18th Century Scotland but also in Robespierre’s Paris. Staining the Soul will be published in Autumn 2018. A third novel in the series, focusing even more deeply on the Clearances, is at the planning stage. With more ideas to come. She also writes, publishes and broadcasts short stories and poetry.

When she s not writing, Elizabeth enjoys time with her friends, family and animals. She also loves history and travelling. And she is director of the writing for wellbeing consultancy, Lonely Furrow Company.

The Wolf of Dalriada – the story
‘Gaelic calls spin a web through the mist in arcs of soft sound. Fear unsteadies the unseen flocks on the scrub heather hillside as men and dogs weave a trap around them in the darkling night. Once the flocks are penned, then the lanterns are turned towards the south. The watchers wait in silence.’
The Wolf of Dalriada Chapter One.

It is 1793… As Europe watches the French Revolution’s bloody progress, uneasy Scottish landowners struggle to secure their wealth and power and, in Dalriada – the ancient Kingdom of Scotland, now known as Argyll – fractured truths, torn loyalties and bloody atrocities are rife. Can the Laird of the Craig Lowries – the Wolf of Dalriada – safeguard his people?

At the same time, the sad and beautiful Frenchwoman, Adelaide de Fontenoy – who was staked as a child in Versailles on the turn of a card – is now living in thrall to her debauched captor, the English lawyer, Sir William Robinson. Can the laird Malcolm Craig Lowrie save the woman he loves?

And can the Wolf of Dalriada defeat enemies who, like the spirit of Argyll’ s Corryvreckan Whirlpool, threaten to engulf them all?

Written with a blend of mysticism, intrigue and psychological realism, The Wolf of Dalriada is an historical adventure novel, with a rich cavalcade of characters  – mystic, heroic or comic –progressing through its pages. Inspired by the historical writing of Phillipa Gregory and Hilary Mantel, the novel challenges any pre-conceptions of ‘romance’ and has been described in review as ‘A great read’!

What moments in the novel do you like best?
I love the moment when we first meet Malcolm Craig Lowrie, the Wolf of Dalriada – when he pauses between attacks to allow the enemy to collect their dead. Although he says little, he feels much. And, when we first meet Adelaide de Fontenoy,  questions about her mysterious life crackle in the air above her beautiful head.  I also enjoy the moment when rich, urbane and witty lawyer Sir William Robinson finds himself drawn into dangers he would have avoided, had he known they were coming. The triangle set up by these characters is, of course, the eternal one.

What moments do you like least?
I found the massacre at Ardnackaig difficult to write (although it flowed from the pen). This event illustrates how closely violent death stalks people perched on the edge of subsistence and this is a timeless message. The death of the loyal sheepdog, Bess, is sad enough but then the massacre of shepherds by a rogue war-band follows, and the scene ends devastatingly with the discovery of the hanging of two Craig Lowrie boys. The impact of this on the clan is terrible and the intended message is  ‘No one is safe.’ Everyone then placed their trust in their clan chief, Malcolm Craig Lowrie – a heavy burden for a young man to carry. Small wonder the name ‘Ardnackaig’ became the clan war-cry.

Is there an important theme (or themes) that this story illustrates?
How did women in the 18th Century ‘survive’ when they were so dependent on male patronage and has survival become any easier in the intervening centuries? I also explored the role of men. Their burdens could be almost intolerable, involving conflicts of ‘love’ and ‘duty’. And this begs the questions: Are the values of ‘duty’ and ‘loyalty’ outmoded? And what can replace them to keep society functional?  Of course, society may undergo huge change – such as  the change prompted by the waves of revolutionary thought emanating from 18th Century France – but you still need to survive. In short, you still need lunch.

What is the role of superstition and tradition in this story?
In The Wolf of Dalriada, superstition and tradition underpin the Highland way of life – respect for the ancestors, for example, was a common spiritual bond –  but both superstition and tradition are ruthlessly manipulated by those who wish to control the situation. Even so, whatever the venal believe about their own power, the supernatural glimmers in the Scottish air so you never quite know which world you’re living in. And this story veers between a fairy tale going back to the dawn of time and an18th Century comedy of manners.

What role have the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell -– in the writing of this book?
Phillip Pullman, in his wonderful book, ‘Daemon Voices’, says novels have more in common with film than theatre. I would agree – to a certain extent. ‘Sight’ is the predominant sense involved in the first draft of a novel and in film. You are describing a ‘rolling’ scene so that the reader can ‘see’ it. But theatre and subsequent drafts of a novel, I find, can appeal to the other sense too. As I was writing I found the ‘recall’ of other sensations help me describe a scene, reaching out to shared experiences with readers, helping them to relive the moment. The Scottish landscape is described, using all the senses. Scotland is sensual. And Versailles. And Fashion – which meant so much to the heroine, Adelaide de Fontenoy – also demands blatantly sensual description. So although the sense of sight is very important, the reader uses the other senses too. The author is working with the reader’s capacity to recall.

Which character would you most like to invite to dinner and why?
Sir William Robinson would be my go-to dinner guest. Even if it was in danger of becoming emotionally mired, he would know how to keep the conversation entertaining,. And he – like the Duke of Argyll and Malcolm Craig Lowrie – is a collector of useful information. Because he knows a lot but is also prepared to chat about it, he would be well worth an invitation. The trick would be to encourage him to think that your dinner table is worth opening up sufficiently to gossip.

Where did your research take you? How is research best handled? Historical fiction relies on accurate detail to build up a ‘world’ in which a story can believably take place but, even so, for the reader, the story remains more important than the research. And – even though we may teach through our parables – novelists must not be purely educators. Novelists must remember they are entertainers. As an historical novelist, I love research – people, places, times, customs – but it is better not to dump too much fact in any single scene. You lose your reader.

People say all fiction is autobiographical. Is there a formative experience in your life is the basis for this book?
I suppose this is asking how literature works. Readers can identify with what the author is saying or the characters are experiencing in a story. This encourages a capacity for empathy. Because of their empathic response, readers may also experience catharsis (a release of pent up emotions they struggle with). And readers may – through gaining insights into the problems explored in the story – gain insights into the problems in their own lives. Historical fiction has an extra benefit. It removes the ‘issue’ from the familiar everyday and any new perspective can throw up new insights. One formative experience in my life – which led me to explore the issues in this story – has been a conflict between love, survival and duty. I’m not prepared to say more. But yes, to a degree, The Wolf of Dalriada is autobiographical. I also love Argyll!

Contact and connect with Elizabeth Gates:-
Email:
egates3@gmail.com
Social Media Links:
Author Website:
https://www.elizabeth-gates.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com
FB Pages: https://www.facebook.com/TheWolfofDalriada/
https://www.facebook.com/LizzieGatesasNovelist/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizzieGates
Blogger: https://lizziegates.blogspot.co.uk

The Wolf of Dalriada is available to buy from:
Amazon.co.uk :
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1785899902

Available from all good bookshops and also available to borrow in the UK and Ireland through Public Libraries.

My Vedic Hymn To You

By Michael La Vin

You came to me from Kerala,
Purple and white, your Portuguese
Beauty illuminated me day and night
I wrapped my arms around you, and you grew within my core

I felt your trembling arms reach up,
Caressing my epiphytic roots,
I towered over you as your beauty blossomed.
With each tender caress,
I knew you would be mine forever more.

Rest your sweet head upon my arms,
As Krishna did
So many years, so many eons ago.
He has sent you now,
As a reminder of His power and beauty
As you blossom forever protected within my frame

As you lie within , caressing,
Loving and sharing , My roots ever stronger, strengthening,
As you blossom and flower,
Engorged and radiant,
Your scent transcends, a perfumed heady diaspora
Your sweet nectar flowing, feeding my soul
Your Karma washes over and through me

Intricately entwined,
Enwrapped, entrapped
Infinitely and endlessly interwoven.
Enlightenment achieved,
A oneness, a togetherness,
Rooted in, sharing and growing from the same earth

You came to me,
A material reflection of the spiritual domain,
A shadow of perfected reality,
Slowly unfolding your secrets,
In an intertwined rapturous eternal love
Come amongst us – declared as one of the perfect beings.

Book Blog Newsletter

Issue 1 – February 2018

Welcome to Tim’s Book Blog Newsletter. This will be a monthly newsletter on my website but also doubling as an e-newsletter for my mailing list. Please subscribe to my mail list to ensure you get future issues (fill in the form on the side panel of my home page and get a free short story!). The newsletter will include brief news of my writing and book promotions, feature a guest poem and also guest authors.

News

I shall be launching my next book, Uther’s Destiny, on Thursday 15th March. I intend to use the Amazon pre-order facility for the first time and promote it from the beginning of March as available for pre-order at 99p/99c e-book. 15th March is the official launch date when the e-book will be priced at £1.99/$2.99 and the print-on-demand paperback at £5.99/$6.99.

Uther’s Destiny is the third book in A Light in the Dark Ages series, and can be read as a standalone (although I’m hoping new readers will be motivated to go back to read book one – Abandoned – and book two – Ambrosius: Last of the Romans.

Here’s the cover and book blurb:

Fifth century Britannia is in shock at the murder of charismatic High King, Ambrosius Aurelianus, and looks to his brother and successor, Uther, to continue his work in leading the resistance to barbarian invaders.

Uther is a powerful warrior, proud of his reputation as the slayer of Saxon warlord, Horsa. A pragmatic soldier, he feels he has lived too long in the shadow of his high-principled brother. Uther has brushed aside the claim of his young nephew, Dawid, and is endorsed by quarreling Briton tribal chiefs, who know he is the best man to challenge the creeping colonisation of the island by ruthless Saxons.

Uther’s destiny as a warrior king seems set until his world is turned on its head when his burning desire to possess the beautiful Ygerne leads to conflict. Could the fate of his kingdom hang in the balance as a consequence?

The court healer, and schemer, Merlyn, sees an opportunity in Uther’s lustful obsession to fulfill the prophetic visions that guide him. He is encouraged on his mission by druids who align their desire for a return to ancient ways with his urge to protect the one destined to save the Britons from foreign invaders and lead them to a time of peace and prosperity. Merlyn must use his wisdom and guile to thwart the machinations of an enemy intent on foiling his plans.

Meanwhile, Saxon chiefs Octa and Ælla have their own plans for seizing the island of Britannia and forging a new colony of Germanic tribes. Can Uther rise above his domestic problems and raise an army to oppose them?

Uther’s Destiny is an historical fiction novel set in the Fifth century, a time known as the Dark Ages – a time of myths and legends that builds to the greatest legend of all – King Arthur and his knights.

 

Our guest authors this month are two talented historical and fantasy fiction authors, E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago, whose ‘Dai and Julia’ stories I have enjoyed immensely…

The Dai and Julia Mysteries are set in a modern day Britain where the Roman Empire never left. Crime is rife. Murder, trafficking, drug smuggling and strange religious cults are just a few of the problems that investigators Dai and Julia have to handle, whilst managing family, friendship and domestic crises. The Dai and Julia Mysteries are available as separate novellas or in an omnibus with bonus short stories.
Co-Authors:
E.M. Swift-Hook – author.to/EMSH
In the words that Robert Heinlein put so evocatively into the mouth of Lazarus Long: ‘Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.’ Having tried a number of different careers, before settling in the North-East of England with family, three dogs, cats and a small flock of rescued chickens, E.M. Swift-Hook now spends a lot of time in private and has very clean hands.

Jane Jago – author.to/JaneJago

Jane Jago lives in the beautiful west country with her big, silly dog and her big sensible husband. She spent the first half of her working life cooking and the second half editing other people’s manuscripts.
At last, she has time to write down the stories that have been disturbing her sleep for as long as she can remember.
Links:
Amazon – Novellas mybook.to/DnJ
Amazon – Omnibus mybook.to/DnJOne
This will be a guest poet’s slot (any offers?), but to get the ball rolling here’s one of mine – a thinly disguised, uncultured homage to the great Irish poet, WB Yeats…

The Enchanted Isle

By Tim Walker

I shall arise and go to the enchanted Isle,

Where my mind shall be soothed in quiet reflection,

Through the still waters of the lake, a mirror of the soul;

Ripples spread like pages from my life,

The warmth of the sun on my upturned face,

The freshness of the breeze upon this placid place;

Oarlocks groan to the steady rhythm of endeavour,

As my guide’s instincts deliver us safe,

We alight and tread the little-worn path,

Passing wildfowl and frogs, birds and bees,

Gnarled oaks randomly bend as thick grass encroaches,

On a procession through nature to the sacred stone.

Its weathered grey face leans at an uneasy angle,

Protruding from the earth where the ancients placed it,

The inscriptions in a long forgotten hand speak no more

Of the lives and beliefs of those who have passed;

But their spirits live on in the wind and the rain,

An indelible part of this patchwork landscape,

Without colour or cares, a slight moan of regret,

That their brief lives passed in a blink of an eye,

Through seasons’ change, what withers must die,

But soon replaced by a similar life,

That commits to the struggle to grow and survive,

On this earth where beauty elicits a smile,

And we strive to succeed for a very short while.

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