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Newsletter – January 2019

AUTHOR NEWS…

A very happy and fulfilling new year to you all! I’m currently writing the fourth book in A LIGHT IN THE DARK AGES series – Arthur Dux Bellorum. The launch date for this novel is set for 1st March 2019 (if I get it finished!).

I can now reveal the book cover designed by Cathy Walker from an original picture by artist Gordon Napier (all permissions obtained).

Arthur Dux Bellorum is my telling of the King Arthur story, adhering to the style and aims of the previous three books in the series – to present a possible history of Britain’s missing years following the end of Roman occupation in 410 AD, based around scraps of researched information and supplemented with a huge dollop of imagination.

Coming out in March 2019!

Born in Gibraltar and raised on a yacht around the coasts of the Atlantic, JC Steel is an author, martial artist, and introvert… “In between the necessary making of money to allow the writing of more books, I can usually be found stowing away on a spaceship, halfway to the further galaxy.

Science-fiction and urban fantasy are my favourite genres to write in. I grew up on a rich diet of Anne McCaffrey, Tolkien, Dorothy Dunnett, and Jack Higgins, and finally started to write my own books aged fourteen. I can’t point the finger at any one book or author that set me in my current direction, but I blame my tendency to write characters who favour drastically practical solutions on some mix of those. If I can toss in a bit of gender- and genre-bending, so much the better. Status quo is boring.”

Death is for the Living

…when ‘here be monsters’ doesn’t only mark the unknown.

By day, Cristina Batista is a deck girl on a Caribbean charter yacht, with all the sun, smiles, and steel drum music that entails. By night, she and her crew hunt the monsters that prey in the dark: the powerful vampire clans of the New World.

Unfortunately Cristina’s past is hunting her in turn – and it’s catching up. Without her partner, sometime pirate, sometime lordling, and ex-vampire, Jean Vignaud, Cristina wouldn’t simply be dead. She’d be something she fears far more.

Cristina and Jean are experienced, motivated, and resourceful. One faction wants them despite it. The other wants them because of it.

Death is for the Living was released on 26-December-2018

Yes, pirates, vampires, vampire hunters and storms at sea can exist within the pages of one book — and they do it so well in Death is for the Living. It’s most highly recommended.” ~Readers’ Favorite 5 star review by Jack Magnus

I wanted to be mad at the author for the ending; how could they do this! But it was perfect! It ended the way the whole book was written, with mystique.” ~Readers’ Favorite 5 star review by Peggy Jo Wipf

Links to – Author and characters:

Buy the book:

The first of our TWO new year poets is Andrew Green. Andrew recently retired after a career in Local Government, most recently with Slough and RBWM. The 66-year-old poet said when asked about his suitability to be the next Poet Laureate: “I won’t be too disappointed if they go for someone else. My poems are more for fun than to be taken seriously; affectionate but slightly irreverent.”

Begging Your Pardon is a light hearted look at what it’s like to live as a close neighbour of the royals in an imagined Windsor where locals regularly rub shoulders with the royals. It would make an ideal stocking filler for locals with a sense of humour.

Andrew has been writing for a while and won local competition for a poem about Slough that was broadcast on local radio and BBC radio four. He has begun to write more regularly two to three years ago and has built a following on Wattpad where two of his collections were featured and have amassed over 100,000 reads between them. His first published book was Margaret’s Story, a verse biography about his mother published earlier this year.

Andrew Green’s new book, Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate? is a humorous collection of royal poems pushing the merits of a local Laureate who could pop round to the Castle with a poem whenever the occasion demands it. The current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will shortly be standing down at the end of her ten-year stint a new Laureate is to be appointed from May 2019. Some well known poets have made clear they don’t wish to be considered, and have even suggested that the post should be abolished, but Andrew is available and willing and would aim to bring a lighter touch to the role. So why don’t they look past all the established poets who make such a fuss about it all and appoint a local poet as the next Poet Laureate?

Andrew has thrown his hat into the ring with a collection of light hearted royal and local poems first shared on Wattpad. He ‘doesn’t do pentameter’ is ‘really just an amateur’ but there should be something here to make you smile.

There is a, sadly one sided, correspondence with Her Majesty, his neighbour from up the hill, fanciful accounts of royal life such as what happens when they forget to take the flag down and encounters, one of them real, with the family themselves. There’s a poem in praise of our patron saint, Saint George, a bit of Brexit naughtiness, some fairy tale princes and princesses, some verses about the wedding and the obligatory royal wedding poem.

Book Buy Link

A poem from the book, Dear Queen Elizabeth expresses why Andrew thinks he would be ideal for the role.

Dear Queen Elizabeth

Just a note to say

Dear Queen Elizabeth,

When next you need a Laureate,

Please consider me.

I write a lot of poetry

So how hard can it be?

In terms of productivity

You could do worse than me.

I’d mark the big occasions

And mark each special day.

Be it births, or deaths,

Or marriages; the special jubilees.

Providing something rhymes with it

You’ll be OK with me.

The better poets turn it down

Get up themselves and sniffy.

I’ll just get on and churn stuff out.

I write most every day.

Whatever you want a poem about.

Please just give me a shout.

I can easily write at Royal request

And churn another out.

I’m very, very local

I just live down the road

I could pop round to the castle

Whenever you’re next home.

Could do a proper interview

Or just come for a brew

I’m flexible so any time

Whatever works for you.


Our second new year poet is the talented stand-and-deliver Pete Cox.

“Hello, I’m Pete Cox, I have been writing for 5 years and performing spoken word for 2. I’m from Slough, England where i host an open mic night called The Innerverse. I write based on experiences, annoyances and anything and everything. I love writing and sharing it. I find freedom in it. I found even more once pushed to perform. I am writing a poem a day for a year. I had worried what I would do with with my mind, thoughts and pain poetry has been the key to freedom. I love the many different styles from each poet I hear. I believe everyone has poetry in them, it just get lost in what people believe poetry should be. I have a YouTube channel and am in the process of creating a website. You can find me here on the social media link until then.

My 2018 thank you note ❤️

…………………………………….

2018 I want to thank you for the gifts you did bring

Firstly thanks for letting me live in the living ring

You began by gifting me foreign lands

Where I felt the break in my hurried plans

So you carried me with your many helping hands

Felt the strain of creative fears

You replaced them with listening ears

I couldn’t walk

So you gave me stages

I lost friends to fair weather flyers

So you gave me storm survivors

When I felt wrong

You said it was alright

That others have the same plight

So we opened mics

When the whereabouts of a venue got me thinking?

You sent in The Herschels King

When feelings dropped me into the submerged

You opened up The Innerverse

When my body wouldn’t function

We crossed to Jones junction

and floated words for general consumption

When I felt love had forgot me not

You showed me my brother tying the knot

When I felt useless and absurd

You gifted me Music And Words

When I danced around the edge

You sent me No-Ledge

When I saw no way through each day

You gave me a group of brothers

with words to play

When my tailor couldn’t fit my suit

Turkish delight filled my boots

When we spoke about my body issues

You gave me an artist who loves tattoos

When I needed a vehicle

From Parris with love took care of it all

When I was unsteady to climb

You gave me Jamie’s guideline

When I thought sports time had gone

You put the ping in my pong

When I felt a rumble in the stomach business

You sent me a hairdresser who fed me crickets

When I lacked vitamin D

You gave me the hottest summer in history

When I felt lonely

You sent me a lullaby who sang me poetry

When my brain needed to be stretched

You gave me lessons in chess

When I didn’t know what was going on

You sponsored me towards comicon

When I dreamt within a dream

You gave 365 days that where lived clean

When I felt the well of grief

You gave me the diving board

and I came back

with more coins to keep

When fear wouldn’t let me go on 2 wheels

You sent me a South African

who knows how it feels

I never went hungry

You always gave me meals

So 2018 thanks for the sweet feels

You gave me great cards during blind deals

You the people

The year is you

The cards in the deck

The hands I’ve not reached yet

You got me through

Each and everyone of you

I couldn’t be me without all of you

So 2018 I adore you

Newsletter – December 2018

AUTHOR NEWS…
Tim is currently writing the fourth book in his A LIGHT IN THE DARK AGES series – Arthur Dux Bellorum. The launch date for this novel is set for 1st March 2019. In January the book cover designed by Cathy Walker will be revealed.

Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology
Tim is a member of an eclectic Facebook Group of talented independent authors called ‘Sparkly Badgers‘. The group has flexed its creative muscle and produced an anthology of Christmas themed short stories to raise money for Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled. Download the e-book for a feel good glow that will carry you through the festive season…

A BADGER CHRISTMAS CAROL
C H Clepitt and Claire Buss bring you a modern retelling of a classic story, with badgers
CHRISTMAS UNDERWATER
Ever wondered if Santa could make it to mermaids? Wonder no more with this short story from Ted Akin
INVISIBLE CHRISTMAS
A poem from playwright, dramaturge and disability activist Amy Bethan Evans
MRS. CLAUS’S HOLIDAY
Sometimes even Mrs. Claus gets overwhelmed, but how will Santa manage Christmas without her? A sweet short story from Ann Frowd
WISHIN’ YOU WERE HERE BY ME
Will Lindsey and Claire get their happy ever after when Lindsey runs out on their wedding? From author A.M. Leibowitz comes a wonderfully romantic and quirky short story
MIDNIGHT LASAGNE
Some of the best conversations happen at midnight, over lasagne! A gentle short story from Maria Riegger
CHRISTMAS EVE, DESPONDENT
A poem from poet and novelist Joanne Van Leerdam
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING REINDEER
Staying awake to meet Santa doesn’t always go as planned in this quirky short from Lyra Shanti
SANTABOT!
How on Earth can Santa get around all of the houses in just one night? Layla Pinkett has a decidedly Sci-Fi theory
JOEY THE LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREE
Discover Christmas from the viewpoint of the tree in this unusual short from Margena Holmes
ZOË QUINN AND THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER
Spend Christmas with Zoe Quinn, as she learns that there is a lot more to it than just presents in this short story from Sophie Kearing
THE VISIT
Horror author Chloe Hammond weaves a spine-tingler of a tale with a twist at the end that you will not see coming
A CHRISTMAS TAIL
Writing partnership Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook bring a cute story in verse about a girl discovering the meaning of Christmas with the help of a mouse.
BUY IT HERE


This month’s guest author is… JENNIFER ASH (aka Jenny Kane) who’s here to tell us about her fabulous new historical novel that’s out from the 3rd December…

Edward’s Outlaw: Book Three of The Folville Chronicles

Blurb: January 1330: England is awash with corruption. King Edward III has finally claimed the crown from his scheming mother, Queen Isabella, and is determined to clean up his kingdom.
Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault, and her special advisor ‑ a man who knows the noble felons of England very well ‑ King Edward sends word to Roger Wennesley of Leicestershire, with orders to arrest the notorious Folville brothers… including the newly married Robert de Folville.
Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left than a maid is found murdered. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was the maid really the target ‑ or is Mathilda’s life in danger?
Asked to investigate by the county sheriff in exchange for him slowing the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder… including a web of deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…
The third thrilling instalment in Jennifer Ash’s The Folville Chronicles series.

Extract
The sound of a fist hammering at the door to the bedchamber broke through Mathilda’s contented slumber. Slower to react than her husband of just three days, she blinked the sleep from her eyes as Robert de Folville leapt from their bed. Wrapping a cloak around his naked frame, he responded to the urgency of the rapping by flinging the door wide open.
‘Adam, whatever’s wrong?’
Clutching the bedclothes to her chest, Mathilda tried to hear what was so pressing that their steward had had to wake them so unceremoniously. The draught, which shot with cruel enthusiasm through the open doorway of the manor house’s second-best bedchamber, made the new Lady Folville shiver, but not as much as her suspicion that something was wrong.
One look at Robert’s expression as he turned from the door confirmed Mathilda’s fears. ‘Something’s happened.’
Instead of elaborating, he threw open the clothes chest in the corner of the room and began piling garments onto the bed. ‘There is a linen roll under the bed; could you fetch it?’
Recognising the determined set of her husband’s face, Matilda hooked a layer of bed linen around her shoulders and dragged a bundle of bound material from beneath the bed. ‘You’re packing?’
‘We’re packing.’ Robert stopped moving as fast as he’d started and beckoned her to his side. ‘I’m so sorry, Mathilda. This isn’t the start to married life I’d imagined for us.’
Engulfed in his arms, relishing the closeness of his flesh, Mathilda concentrated on remaining calm. ‘What do you mean?’
‘We have to go away for a while.’
He stroked a hand through her wavy hair, teasing out the stubborn red tangles that had formed overnight. Even through the tenderness of the gesture, Mathilda could feel the tension rising in him. ‘Away?’
‘I’ll explain while we pack.’ Robert produced another roll from beneath the bed. ‘Separately.’
Determined not to neither shout nor give in to the tears that unhelpfully threatened to escape from the corner of her eyes, Mathilda spoke firmly. ‘Husband, the road to our marriage was not a smooth one. Are you telling me that, only three days after our wedding, we have to part?’
Robert’s eyes flashed with both regret and devilment. ‘Wife, you married into a family of felons. You didn’t expect we were going to live here happily ever after, did you?’

Buy Link US
Buy Link UK

Brief Bio
With a background in history and archaeology, Jennifer Ash should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, and writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jennifer writes stories of medieval crime, steeped in mystery, with a side order of romance.
Influenced by a lifelong love of Robin Hood and medieval ballad literature, Jennifer has written The Outlaw’s Ransom (Book One of The Folville Chronicles) – a short novel, which first saw the light of day within the novel Romancing Robin Hood (written under the name Jenny Kane; Pub. Littwitz Press, 2018).
Book Two of The Folville Chronicles – The Winter Outlaw – was released in April 2018. (pub. LittwitzPress)
Book Three of The Folville Chronicles – Edward’s Outlaw- was released in December 2018.
Jennifer also writes as Jenny Kane. Her work includes the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Romancing Robin Hood (2^nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018), Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and the bestsellers, Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).
All of Jennifer and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at
@JenAshHistory
@JennyKaneAuthor
Jennifer Ash Facebook 
Jenny Kane Website 

Newsletter – September 2018

This month my guest author is the fabulous and talented Mary Anne Yarde. She has a new book out in her Arthurian legend series, The Du Lac Chronicles. I have enjoyed reading this series and look forward to reading the fourth book, The Du Lac Prophecy.
More on that later. First, let me briefly bring you up to date with what’s happening in my creative writing world…

NEW BOOK OUT SOON – CHARLY & THE SUPERHEROES
Following on from The Adventures of Charly Holmes (2016), my daughter Cathy and I have written a new adventure, which we intend to launch on (or close to) 19th September.
The ideas came from Cathy, who’s new love is Superheroes movies. “Hey, Dad, why don’t we write a story where Charly goes on a studio tour in Hollywood and gets asked to take the place of a child actor who is sick in a new superheroes movie?!!”
So, we kicked the idea around during our summer holidays and came up with – Charly & The Superheroes.
We found an illustrator with cartoon experience through www.upwork.com and put up a proposal with a crude sketch showing the concept. The illustrator made the drawing and designed the cover, matching as closely as possible the fonts and style of the first book cover. We’re quite happy with the results… what do you think?

This month’s guest author is…
Mary Anne Yarde the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling series — The Du Lac Chronicles.

Mary grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were a part of her childhood.

1. Hi Mary and thanks for guesting on my blog. Firstly, can you tell us a little about the Du Lac Chronicles?

For well over a thousand years we have been enchanted with the tales of King Arthur and his Knights. Arthur’s story has everything – loyalty, betrayal, love, hate, war and peace, and like all good stories, there isn’t a happy ending for our hero. Arthur is betrayed by his best friend, Lancelot, and then he is betrayed once again by his nephew, Mordred. Arthur’s reign comes to a dramatic and tragic end on the battlefield at Camlann.

When Arthur died, the Knights died with him. Without their leader they were nothing, and they disappeared from history. No more is said of them, and I always wondered why not. Just because Arthur is dead, that doesn’t mean that his Knights didn’t carry on living. Their story must continue — if only someone would tell it!

The Du Lac Chronicles is a sweeping saga that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Lancelot du Lac’s sons as they try to forge a life for themselves in an ever-changing Saxon world. In each book, you will meet the same characters, whom hopefully readers have come to love. I made sure that each book stands alone, but as with all series, it is best to start at the beginning.

2. What inspired you to write The Du Lac Chronicles?

I grew up surrounded by the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset — the famous town of Glastonbury was a mere 15 minutes from my childhood home. Glastonbury is a little bit unique in the sense that it screams Arthurian Legend. Even the road sign that welcomes you into Glastonbury says…

“Welcome to Glastonbury. The Ancient Isle of Avalon.”

How could I grow up in such a place and not be influenced by King Arthur?

I loved the stories of King Arthur and his Knights as a child, but I always felt let down by the ending. For those not familiar, there is a big battle at a place called Camlann. Arthur is fatally wounded. He is taken to Avalon. His famous sword is thrown back into the lake. Arthur dies. His Knights, if they are not already dead, become hermits. The end.

What an abrupt and unsatisfactory ending to such a wonderful story. I did not buy that ending. So my series came about not only because of my love for everything Arthurian, but also because I wanted to write an alternative ending. I wanted to explore what happened after Arthur’s death.

3. What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?

Researching the life and times of King Arthur is incredibly challenging. Trying to find the historical Arthur is like looking for a needle in a haystack. An impossible task. But one thing where Arthur is prevalent, and you are sure to find him, is in folklore.

Folklore isn’t an exact science. It evolves. It is constantly changing. It is added to. Digging up folklore, I found, is not the same as extracting relics! However, I think that is why I find it so appealing.

The Du Lac Chronicles is set in Dark Age, Britain, Brittany and France, so I really needed to understand as much as I could about the era that my books are set in. Researching such a time brings about its own set of challenges. There is a lack of reliable primary written sources. Of course, there are the works of Gildas, Nennius and Bede as well as The Annals of Wales, which we can turn to, but again, they are not what I would consider reliable sources. Even the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, which was compiled in the late 9th Century, has to be treated with caution. So it is down to archaeologists to fill in the missing blanks, but they can only do so much. Which means in some instances, particularly with regards to the history of Brittany during this time, I have no choice but to take an educated guess as to what it was like.

4. There are many books about King Arthur. Can you tell us three things that set your novels apart?

You are quite right; there are many fabulous books about King Arthur and his Knights. So what sets my books apart:

1.) My books are set after the death of King Arthur.
2.) Not all the Knights are heroic, and some of them are not even Christians. Ahh!
3.) You will meet some “historical” characters from the past — not all of them are legendary!

5. Do you have a favourite Arthurian character from history?

I really should say Lancelot du Lac, as my books are based on his story. But in truth, one of my favourite characters is Sir Gawain. Gawain And The Green Knight is one of my all-time favourite Arthurian stories.

6. What next?
I am currently working on Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles.

The Du Lac Prophecy
(Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
By Mary Anne Yarde

Two Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.

Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.

If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.

Excerpt:
“I feared you were a dream,” Amandine whispered, her voice filled with wonder as she raised her hand to touch the soft bristles and the raised scars on his face. “I was afraid to open my eyes. But you really are real,” she laughed softly in disbelief. She touched a lock of his flaming red hair and pushed it back behind his ear. “Last night…” she studied his face intently for several seconds as if looking for something. “I am sorry if I hurt you. I didn’t know who you were, and I didn’t know where I was. I was scared.”

“You certainly gave me a walloping,” he grinned gently down at her, his grey eyes alight with humour. “I think you have the makings of a great mercenary. I might have to recruit you to my cause.”

She smiled at his teasing, but then she began to trace the scars on his face with the tips of her fingers, and her smile disappeared. “Do they still hurt?”

“Yes,” Merton replied. “But the pain I felt when I thought you were dead was a hundred times worse. Philippe had broken my body, but that was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. Without you, I was lost.”

“That day… When they beat you. You were so brave,” Amandine replied.
Her fingers felt like butterflies on his skin, so soft and gentle. He closed his eyes to savour the sensation.

“I never knew anyone could be that brave,” Amandine continued. “You could have won your freedom and yet, you surrendered to their torture to save me. Why? I am but one person. Just one amongst so many.”

“Why do you think?” Merton asked shakily, opening his eyes to look at her again, hoping she could see the depth of his love in his scarred and deformed face.

“I gave you these scars,” Amandine stated with a painful realisation, her hand dropping away from his face. “You are like this because of me,” her voice was thick with unshed tears.

“No, not because of you,” Merton immediately contradicted. “My reputation, Philippe’s greed, Mordred’s hate, and Bastian’s fear, gave me these scars—”

“I should not have gone back to your chamber. If they had not found me there, then they would never have known about us. If they had not known, then you would have had no cause to surrender. Bastian would not have taken your sword arm.” Amandine touched what was left of his arm. “Philippe would not have lashed you.” She touched his face again and shook her head. “I am to blame.” She sat up and her eyes filled with tears, her hand fell away from his face. “I am to blame,” she said again as a tear slipped down her cheek. “How can you stand to be near me?”

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Media Links:
Website/Blog: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryanneyarde
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15018472.Mary_Anne_Yarde

Newsletter – July 2018

This is the newsletter of British 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 bid for the guest author slot, submit a book review, flash fiction story (up to 250 words) or poem… contact@timwalkerwrites.co.uk

AUTHOR’S NEWS – ABANDONED REVISED AND EXTENDED NEW EDITION

I’ve just re-published a new, longer second edition of Abandoned, book one in A Light in the Dark Ages series. It addresses the complaints at the brevity of the original novella that told the story of Marcus and the defence of Calleva.

This is now incorporated into a longer story that charts Britannia’s troubled journey from abandonment by the Romans to choosing a king to organise their defence from determined raiders. The narrative thrust is loosely guided by the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 1136 work, The History of the Kings of Britain.

The romantic in me likes to think there might be some credence in his account of events in fifth century Britannia leading up to the coming of King Arthur (now widely thought to be a composite of a number of leaders who organised opposition to the spread of Anglo-Saxon colonists).
I’m holding the e-book price at just 99p/99c – so please help me replace the lost reviews from the now unpublished first edition. Much work has gone into this upgrade from novella to novel – I hope you enjoy it!

I can now say, after three years, the series is FINALLY COMPLETE!

ABANDONED

AMBROSIUS: LAST OF THE ROMANS

UTHER’S DESTINY

This month my two guests, Jonathan Posner and Sarah Ann Hall, are, like myself, members of the Windsor Writers’ Group.
The group of about 12 writers’ meet once a month at The Hope Pub (in the Library), on Alma Road, Windsor.
The group was formed in 2014 and has published a book of short stories – Windsor Tales

If you’d like to join or visit us (to give an author talk?) then please drop us an email: windsor.writers@gmail.com
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK

Jonathan Posner Author Profile
Jonathan has been an avid reader of fiction ever since he was old enough to own a torch. As a schoolboy he virtually lived in Narnia, and as he got older, he discovered historical fiction – particularly Phillipa Gregory, Susan Kay, C J Sansom and the Flashman Papers.

He loves creative writing, and has written Book and Lyrics for three full-scale Musicals, all of which have been performed locally. There have also been two plays, some poetry and several short stories. And now he has upcycled the plot of one of the Musicals into The Witchfinder’s Well, a full-length fantasy historical fiction novel.

The short stories have also been published as Once Upon an Ending
Currently he is close to completing the first draft of the sequel to The Witchfinder’s Well, to be called The Alchemist’s Arms. Jonathan is married with two sons and lives near London, UK.

The Witchfinder’s Well book blurb:
“Bringing the Tudors to life! … an engrossing thriller with plenty of twists and turns.”

Tudor England – a dangerous world where a few wrong words can get you accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake.

So when a freak electrical storm sends modern-day girl Justine Parker time-travelling back to 1565, she quickly becomes the target of sinister witchfinder Matthew Hopkirk.

Justine must use all her cunning and ingenuity to keep one step ahead of Hopkirk. But not only must she save herself, she also has to save her new love, Sir William de Beauvais, from the early death she knows history has decreed for him.

Can Justine save herself from Hopkirk? And what if she saves Sir William from one fate, only to pitch him into another, even more deadly?

The Witchfinder’s Well gives a refreshing and new take on Tudor history, and is a must for fans of Philippa Gregory, C.J. Sansom and Judith Arnopp.

Extract:
As she surveyed the royal banquet from her high vantage point in the Minstrel’s Gallery, Justine Parker twisted slightly to get more comfortable in the tight bodice of her gown.
All things considered, it was going pretty well.
An army of servants had brought exotic dishes up from the kitchens into the Great Hall and presented them to the assembled ladies, gentlemen, knights and courtiers for their appreciation and amazement.
There were dishes such as the noble roast peacock with its plumage dancing in the light, guinea fowl in a deep crusty pie and legs of mutton surrounded by mountains of peas and carrots. Fine red claret was drunk copiously from silver goblets, with the servants replenishing them from silver pitchers as they weaved around the tables.
Justine leaned on the railing of the gallery and let the warm sound of conversation and laughter wash over her; the rich hubbub of noise that rose up to the furthest corners of the magnificent ornate plaster roof. Down below her, the face of every guest was bright with enjoyment, bathed in the golden glow of a thousand flickering candles.
In the middle of the high table, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth sat bolt upright, her bright eyes dancing round the room as the courtier to her right engaged her in conversation.
Justine admired her pale beauty, set off by her striking bodice of red velvet edged with gold lace and sparkling with a thousand shimmering pearls, together with the single flashing emerald at her neck that brought out the green fire in her eyes. Then there was her red-bronze hair adorned with its simple, elegant gold crown, framed by the high pearl-edged lace ruff that flared up from her shoulders.
With a small raise of her hand, the Queen paused the conversation with the courtier beside her and looked up at the gallery. Maybe Justine’s small twisting movement had caught her eye. She held Justine’s gaze a moment, then gave the smallest nod of her head – so small that it could easily have been missed – as if to congratulate Justine on the success of the banquet she had organised.
With a smile Justine bowed her own head and gave a gentle curtsey. The Queen nodded again, then turned back to the courtier and resumed their conversation.
In the gallery Justine smiled again, this time to herself.
Yes, all things considered, the banquet was going pretty well.
She looked down across the room, taking in the full scene. The long high table ran along the back wall under the big windows with the Queen in the centre. On either side Justine had seated her most important courtiers, looking resplendent in their richly-coloured silk doublets with slashed sleeves and fine white ruffs. Beyond the courtiers she had seated the women, elegant in their low-cut gowns, their hair carefully parted in the centre and tucked under their French hoods – a style introduced originally by Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn.
Justine’s gaze moved to the table down the left side of the room. The people here were less important and their clothes reflected this – the men wore plain doublets and the women wore their hair in simple cotton coifs rather than the more elaborate French hoods of the high table. Their behaviour was no less exuberant, if anything slightly more so, and Justine smiled as they all laughed at a joke from the jester who had been moving round the tables. His brightly-coloured motley costume consisted of a tunic split into a red half and a yellow half, while his hose had one red leg and one yellow leg on the opposite sides. In his hand was a small jester head on a stick, which he was using to entertain the guests.
From behind her came the sound of the minstrels; four elderly men with lutes playing light-hearted music that was all but lost against the loud noise of the room. Their piece came to an end, and she turned to them.
“You play well, good sirs,” she said with a twinkling smile. “What is next?”
“We have not yet played Greensleeves,” said the eldest minstrel. “But first we need a drink.” All four reached down for the tankards by their stools and drained them with great satisfaction. The oldest man then examined the bottom of his empty tankard and looked up at Justine expectantly. She laughed and reached for the large pewter jug ready by her feet, then went to each in turn, pouring more beer into their proffered tankards.
“Ahh, thank you my girl,” said the oldest man, “it is always a pleasure to play at one of your banquets.”
Justine curtseyed in reply. The men drank some more, then put down their tankards and launched into Greensleeves.
She turned and resumed her gaze across the Great Hall.
To her right was a smaller table seating more people, with a carving table beside it. On the wall above was a large portrait of a handsome knight in a shining breastplate standing with a white stag in the background. Her gaze stopped on this portrait, as it so often did, and she gave a small sigh as she studied the man’s long blond hair and trim beard.
The jester turned from the table he’d been entertaining and looked up, catching sight of Justine as she stared across at the portrait.
His gaze took in her shoulder-length cascade of russet-coloured ringlets trying to escape from under her French hood; her small, slightly snub nose, her pale blue eyes under thick, dark eyebrows staring with a faraway look at the portrait…
He gave a little dance and waved his stick to catch her eye.
She spotted him and gave a small wave back. He raised an enquiring eyebrow, then flicked the stick up behind his back so the little jester head on the end popped up on his shoulder.
He turned to it and appeared to have a brief conversation, then pointed up at her. The little head on his shoulder nodded. He made a ‘doe-eyed’ face – a gross over-exaggeration of hers, with a sickly grin and fluttering eyelashes – then pointed back at her. The head nodded again, then both the jester and the head turned to look up at her, with the jester smiling broadly.
She couldn’t help but laugh and he laughed back. Then he gave a low courtly bow, while she applauded.
The jester turned back to the room and started dancing sideways up towards the high table.
Still chuckling, Justine’s gaze moved upwards to the large tapestries depicting heroic scenes of hunts that were hanging round the hall between the sconces. In one scene knights attacked a stag with spears and arrows in a green forest; in another a different stag was running from a pack of baying hounds, followed by nobles on horses.
Justine looked back down at the hall. The servants had cleared the main courses away and were now circulating with bowls of fruit and more wine.
‘Only an hour more and we’ll be cleared and finished,’ she thought, as she twisted once more in the tight bodice of her gown.
Just then she became aware of an insistent beeping sound over the noise of the room. Fishing her mobile from the pocket of her gown, she swiped the screen.
“Hello, Justine Parker here.”
“The taxis have started arriving,” said a voice. “They’re early.”
“Oh, bother. I put half-eleven on the schedule.” She nudged up the end of her lace sleeve with her elbow, to reveal her watch. “It’s only eleven fifteen. We’ve just served the fruit. Would you be a sweetie and tell them they’ll have to wait?”
“OK.”
“And please can you tell them to turn their meters off. I don’t want one of their silly waiting charges when it’s all their fault.” Justine thought a moment. “It is their fault, isn’t it? Oh bother and blast it, it had better be. I’ll check the email I sent them. Can you be an absolute poppet and bluff it out or something?”
“Sure, no problem.”
Justine tapped the email app on her phone and scrolled through to find the relevant message. There it was – ‘please make sure the taxis arrive at 11:30pm’.
Tucking her mobile back into her pocket with a satisfied smile, Justine looked back down at the hall.

Welcome to Poet’s Corner, Sarah Ann Hall

I have been writing fiction for 20-years, starting with the book I needed to get out of my system, which shall never again see the light of day. During that time I’ve worked as an antiques dealer, jewellery designer-maker, painter and decorator, and written a number of novel-length works that I would be happy to see published. I recently completed a novel about a young woman coming to terms with terminal cancer, for which I am currently seeking agent representation. I also write short stories, some of which have published in anthologies or short-listed in competitions, and flash fiction, which I post on my blog sarahannhall.wordpress.com. I find it difficult to identify my genre, but focus on relationships and the psychological while writing about love, death, and mental health.

I am not a poet but experiment with micropoetry – tanka, shadorma, American Cinquain – and find these concentrate the mind as well as language.

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Notice.

Look at these scars.

Open your eyes and ears.

Self-harm dulls the pain others cause.

Hear me.

 

kids line up in rows

sit at desks in the classroom

what’s one more or less

when measles contagion hits

or a gunman visits school.

 

And on a lighter note:

She likes jokes,

playing tricks, teasing.

‘Pull my thumb,’

she hisses.

Her prosthetic arm flies off.

She crumples, giggling.

At least fifty pounds

He spread his arms wide and winked

Perfect scales, bright eyes

A competition winner

If it hadn’t swum away.

Newsletter – June 2018

JUNE 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

BOOK COVER AWARD NOMINATION FOR UTHER’S DESTINY
Uther’s Destiny, the third book in A Light in the Dark Ages series, continues to attract positive reviews and the cover has been short-listed for the Alternative Read Book Cover Awards… voting is open until end of June so please visit their site and vote for Uther – thanks! VOTE HERE

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)

This month’s guest author is JANE RISDON.

This newsletter has a rock music theme… read on…

Hi Tim, thanks so much for asking me to share some information about Only One Woman with you. As you may know, this is my first foray into Women’s Fiction. I normally write crime/thrillers. So this was an amazing challenge for me, and especially as I’ve never co-written with anyone before. Christina Jones is my co-author, an award-winning, best-selling author in her own right.

Only One Woman was published as an E-book and a Paperback for Kindle in November 2017, and the Paperback and Audio for stores and mass markets was published in May 2018.

Photo taken in Studio City on 12/15/15.

The May paperback edition features a foreword written by Graham Bonnet, former singer with The Marbles – Only One Woman was their hit single in 1968, hence the name of our novel. Only One Woman which was written especially for Graham and his cousin, Trevor Gordon, by the Bee Gees. Graham went on to front the iconic rock outfits, Rainbow (Since You Been Gone), Alcatraz, Michael Schenker, Ritchie Blackmore and others. Graham now fronts his own band, The Graham Bonnet Band and is touring Europe and the UK in August 2018. We are really happy he agreed to write this for us and it tells the story of how his musical career began and also how much he loved reading Only One Woman; lots of guys love it too.

Only One Woman is a love triangle set in the late 1960s and has a musical theme, with the main characters, Renza, Scott – lead guitarist with Narnia’s Children, and Stella. Christina and I share a musical past; she was fan-club secretary to my then boyfriend’s band (now my husband) and so many of the experiences in the book are based – with poetic license – upon the real UK Music Scene in 1968/69, with lots of current events of the day, including the Moon landings, The Cold War and all the social changes happening at the time. There is a lot of music and fashion in the novel and so far guys love it as much as gals. It is much more than a love story.

Here is an extract:

Renza’s Diary
July 20th 1968

     Narnia’s Children, Rich and Stephan were crammed in Bessie, with me sitting on Scott’s knee, for our trip to ‘Tin Pan Alley’. Scott’s arms held me tightly as we lurched along, Bessie was obviously getting too old for all the work she had to do.
We parked near Soho and went into Denmark Street and up some stairs at the side of a music shop into a little cramped room full of people who looked like musicians, all going through sheet music and chatting to the publishers about songs.
The person ‘dealing’ with Narnia’s Children had set aside some sheet music and also some records which he called ‘demonstration recordings’ for them to listen to. Apparently singers recorded songs written by the songwriters to demonstrate to other singers what they sounded like, so they could decide if they wanted to record them or not. However, they said that whoever produced the record in the end would probably change things a lot anyway. It was all very exciting.
We even listened to a song recorded by The Bee Gees, called ‘‘Coalman’, which Stephan wanted Narnia’s Children to record, but no one was keen on it, even though The Bee Gees were apparently considering it for their own long playing record at some point.
Cilla Black was in there, choosing songs, and I thought she didn’t look that special close up. There were a couple of others, who I knew were famous but I couldn’t recall their names, and Scott frowned at me when I asked him who they were. So I shut up. It was still all so new and rather thrilling for me.
After a couple of hours the band had chosen some songs and we left with sheet music and recordings for them to keep of songs they were interested in.

Apparently they were due back in London tomorrow to have talks with some famous songwriters and record producers, so I wouldn’t be seeing Scott again until Sunday, if they weren’t playing.
On the way back we stopped off on the London Road and went inside the Little Chef for Coca Cola and a hamburger. I’d never been inside before or had hamburger and fries. Stephan had a pink milkshake – it was very American.
The band was fascinated when I told them that this Little Chef was the very first ever to be opened in the whole of England. I’m full of these little gems according to Rich.
Scott stayed behind with me when the others went back to their flat and Mum said we could go for a short walk if we wanted. We wanted. We set off on our usual route around the village and mercifully this time none of the kids were stalking us.
The cruise had been great fun and everyone ate and drank too much and partied too hard, Scott said.
‘You’d love it babe, there was so much to do on board and the shops and restaurants were amazing, so cool, so hip,’ he said excitedly, eyes shining. ‘And the people: so much money, so glamorous and sophisticated.’

Jane Risdon – Biography:
Jane Risdon has spent most of her life in the international music business. Married to a musician she has experienced the business first hand, not only as the girlfriend and wife of a musician, but later with her husband as a manager of recording artists, songwriters and record producers, as well as placing songs on TV/Movie soundtracks for some of the most popular series and movies shown around the world.
Writing is something she has always wanted to do but a hectic life on the road and recording with artists kept those ambitions at bay. Now she is writing mostly crime and thrillers, but recently she’s collaborated with award-winning author Christina Jones, on Only One Woman. A story they’ve wanted to write together, ever since they became friends when Christina became Fan-club secretary for Jane’s husband’s band. Only One Woman is published by Accent Press and is available from all good book stores, on Amazon and other digital stores.

Jane Risdon – links:
Jane’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8
Author Blog: https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon
Christina Jones Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaJonesAuthor
Only One Woman Paperback: ISBN: 9781783757312
Only One Woman Audio: ISBN: 1520037635
Only One Woman e-pub: http://amzn.to/2hrCbE8
Only One Woman Simon & Schuster North America/Canada: ISBN: 9781682994252
Only One Woman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/
Graham Bonnet Tour: www.shockcity.co.uk
Graham Bonnet Band: http://www.grahambonnetband.com/

My guest this month is legendary guitarist from Tubeway Army and punk band, Open Sore, SEAN BURKE. Sean lives in Berkshire and continues to writes songs – for examples of his current work follow the Soundcloud link below.

VERTIGO song lyric
As an angry young man back in the day, Sean was a founder member of punk band Open Sore, who famously played at the Roxy in London, amongst other venues including the Marquee. Their iconic song, Vertigo, written by Sean and vocalist, Bob Kyley, was selected for the Farewell to the Roxy live album.
“Ask anyone who has heard the Farewell to The Roxy album or even the bands themselves who played on it who’s was the best song and its odds on that Open Sore’s Vertigo will be the song they all say.” Quote from Punk77 fanzine
I asked Sean why he chose this lyric for my newsletter. He replied, “I wrote this in 1977 about the dangers of living in high-rise tower blocks in London and it all came back to haunt me during the Grenfell Tower tragedy last year. These lyrics suddenly have a fresh vibe.”

VERTIGO
It’s so high what we doing up here?
It’s so high what we doing up here?
It’s so high what we doing up here?
We got vertigo, vertigo, vertigo!

It’s so high

whatcha planning for us down there?
Whatcha planning for us down there?
What you planning for us?
We got vertigo, vertigo, vertigo!

We don’t like the view from this mountain
Everything is so distant to me.
Our legs ache, the lift ain’t working.
Meet me at the bottom and I’ll take you up for tea.

We just hope there isn’t a fire
We won’t stand a chance at the top.
Hellish fire not unlike a pyre.
The ladders wouldn’t reach us
The ladders wouldn’t reach us
The ladders wouldn’t reach us up here.

It’s so high, what we doing up here?
It’s so high, what we doing up here?
It’s so high, what we doing up here?
We got vertigo, vertigo, vertigo!

It’s so high…

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/TeVuZUSmSnw

BLOOD MONEY
“This song was written in 1990 about Sonia Sutcliffe suing Private Eye who on appeal had the original damages awarded reduced by 90%, casting doubt on her testimony that she hadn’t sold her story to the News of the World – I felt strongly about it at the time.”

I don’t owe you blood money
I don’t owe you blood money
Why don’t you sell them a photo
Oh, of yourself.

Then you may reach the papers
And have lots of friends again
Then you may never go out again
Yes, you can have some friends just to stay indoors.

You sit in an angry courtroom
You have no fear.
I don’t believe all the stories I hear
But I think you knew it all.

It must have been hell you
The things they said about your husband
It was true
I think you knew it all.

I don’t owe you blood money
I don’t owe you blood money
It’s a shame when there’s a nightmare
It’s a shame yeah
Where blood money’s concerned.

Why don’t you think of helpless people
Besides yourself?
Like the 20 motherless children
And let them forget it all.

Let their horror die in vain
‘Cause the woman ‘her husband, honey, he was insane’
It’s a shame they know…

Blood’s money
Money’s blood.

Words and music by SEAN BURKE. cc

Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/user-994232412

What Happened After the Romans Left Britain?

In 410, the feeble emperor Honorius informed the internal government of Britain that it would have to look after its own defence, implying that this would be a permanent arrangement. During what was either a revolt of peasants and slaves in Britain in 409 to mirror either the popular uprising of the oppressed classes in Armorica (Brittany), or at the tail end of the barbarian invasion, the Romano-British governor had appealed for imperial help, but help was not forthcoming. Britannia was on its own, and without a standing army to defend it.

The Dark Ages is the period in European history ushered in by the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Britain was thrown into a period of tribal conflicts and desperate resistance to invaders from the year AD410, when the last legion sailed away and Roman administration ceased. Early Briton kings, Vortigern and Ambrosius battled each other for the traumatised island, whilst what was left of the remaining Western Roman legions tried to stem the tide of Franks rampaged across Gaul.

This was also the year that Rome was sacked by the Visigoths under their king, Alaric, as barbarian tribes from the east swept across Europe. Roman authority was briefly restored after paying off the barbarians, but they would not go away, and the final collapse came in 476 when the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by Odoacer, whose father was purported to have been an adviser to Attila the Hun. The sun had set on a civilised and ordered way of life, to be replaced with tribal warfare, economic ruin and insecurity for the peoples of Europe.

I set about researching this little-known period in British history and uncovered a few fragments of historical facts and suppositions that form the basis of my story. I became fascinated by the debates between historians as to the identities of early kings, most notably the ‘villainous Vortigern’ and his enemy, Ambrosius Aurelianus – dubbed by Nennius as the last of the Romano-Britons.

Were they real historical figures? No firm evidence exists from this time – just the accounts of monks writing some years later, most notably Gildas, Nennius and Bede the Venerable. Ambrosius, Uther Pendragon and the Arthurian legend really takes shape some 300 years on with the monk Nennius, elabourated some 400 years later in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s, The History of the Kings of Britain. These works have been largely dismissed by historians as a collection of possible events and historical characters mixed with legends and fables; but they don’t know about all of their source material. Are there lost documents detailing real events?

My story is historical fiction, but my hope is that by telling it with conviction I may create a believable backdrop to the coming of King Arthur, who may well have been a real historical figure who continued the fight taken up by his grandfather (Marcus – a figure of my imagination), uncle (Ambrosius) and father (Uther) before him. Perhaps in time the mists that obscure our view of this period in our early history will be blown away by historical and archaeological discovery, and it can take its place in our history books. For now it remains in the territory of guesswork, and as such it is firmly in the literary realm of historical fiction.

 

There are the four main historical sources mentioning King Arthur and/or Ambrosius Aurelianus:

On the Ruin of Britain (De Excidio Britanniae) by Gildas, 6th century

History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum) by Nennius, 8th century

The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by The Venerable Bede, 8th century

Histories of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth, 12th century

 

Footnote: “Nennius was an eighth-century historian who is a major source for tales of King Arthur. Unlike the much more careful Bede, Nennius was, as one modern historian writes “unrestrainedly inventive” [Gerhard Herm, The Celts, [London, 1976], p. 275]. Not all of Nennius can be dismissed as he apparently had access to no-longer available 5th century sources, but neither can he be entirely trusted.” Source: Fordham University (https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu)

Devil Gate Dawn

Devil Gate Dawn is a tense near-future thriller, set in the UK, with a USA sub-plot.

No man planning his retirement should be subjected to a terrorist bomb blast that kills his friend and destroys his favourite pub.  George Osborne, former railway worker, gets mad and wants to get even.  He forms a vigilante group with Ken, an ex-army friend and Sunny, a sexy new neighbour, to track down those behind the pub bombing, the Anti-Poverty League (APL).devilgatedawnmodifiedcover_aug_2016

Britain in 2026 is teetering on the brink of revolution, as voter apathy brings down an unpopular government, and Head of State, King Charles III, is asked to lead an interim administration.  A recovering George has family matters to deal with as his son, Derrick, is in trouble with a local gang, and his teenage daughter, Essie, returns from the USA with a new boyfriend, the improbably perfect all-American college freshman, Dex.  They spent a romantic weekend together in New York, soaking up Trump America and the debate over the tunnels under The Wall.  Shortly after, Dex shows up in London….

Adventures ensue involving a plot to re-stage the Gunpowder Plot, and an escape to the country.

Inspector Wilson calls on George and Sunny to help them identify the terror group suspects, and they end up taking part in a dawn raid on Devil Gate Drive – country house of the mysterious leader of the APL, the Suzi Quattro-loving Peter Morris.

Devil Gate Dawn brings a string of unpleasant surprises, as George, Sunny and Bob Wilson grapple with their enemy in a bitter battle of wills.  Can they succeed in thwarting the deadly APL and their Hello World internet virus?  Will King Charles be saved?  Is Dex more than just an all-American college boy?  Will George and Sunny’s romance blossom… and will he ever get to enjoy a peaceful retirement?

Devil Gate masthead_FB

Find out as dawn breaks on Devil Gate Drive…

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