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NEWSLETTER – DEC 2019

AUTHOR NEWS
Arthur Dux Bellorum is a finalist in The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year in the following category: Historical Fiction Book of the Year, Early Medieval Period.
Results out in early December!
Arthur Dux Bellorum buy links:- Kindle/Paperback   i-books/Kobo/other

Books make great Christmas gifts! I’ve finally got around to formatting The Adventures of Charly Holmes for paperback. It’s now available in both ebook and print-on-demand from Amazon, together with book two in the series, Charly & The Superheroes. Each paperback is now just £4.99/$5.99 so treat a child this Christmas! (suitable for children aged 9+, parents and teachers).

Adventures of Charly Holmes – paperback UK paperback USA

Charly & The Superheroes – paperback UK paperback USA

This month we welcome Claire Buss who has a new book out. Claire is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. 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 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.

Claire’s new book is – The Gaia Solution, book 3 of The Gaia Collection

BUY LINK TO YOUR FAVOURITE RETAILER

The Blurb:

Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.

More about The Gaia Collection series

The Gaia Collection is Claire’s hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.

In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.

Book Buy Links:

The Gaia Effect    The Gaia Project    The Gaia Solution

What Readers Say…

Praise for The Gaia Effect, winner of the 2017 Raven Award for best sci-fi/fantasy book

‘A story filled with emotion, angst & hope’

‘Brilliant post-apocalyptic science fantasy’

‘Wonderfully written, with a warm friendship at its heart’

‘A fantastic debut novel’

Praise for The Gaia Project…

‘A fantastic read from start to end’

‘Great book, thought-provoking read’

‘Mums are the heroes of the story and it’s the relationships that make it all work’

Sovel Cunningham
Poet & Speaker

The Postwoman, Human Resources Professional and Poet, how are they all connected? 
Give up? 
Well, they are all parts of Sovel, who now uses her skills for writing, spoken word and five decades of life experience to support others in communicating their truth through prose and poetry.
She explores and unpicks the meaning of being human and “its” interaction with the world and others.
Sovel has shared her poetry from Slough to Findhorn. 
Her debut book, Marshalled in Ranks –The Rearrangement of Words, is based on an observational discernment of the world. It includes illustrations, and each poem is prefaced with the spark of its creation.  

For those who have a love for listening, Marshalled in Ranks – The Audio Selection is a professional recording of twelve poems, all taken from the book.
Marshalled in Ranks – The Podcast, will be available post book release. In these podcasts a special guest discusses a poem topic from the book.
Robert Holden, author of Loveability and Life Loves You, co-written with Louise Hay said, “Sovel’s poems are meditations for the soul. They help me to be more open and more present in my life.”
If you would like to connect to Sovel, please email her through – the website

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5abcf569-7164-488f-89a0-a328a00c2893.jpg

The Manual for Being Human 

I’ve found the manual for being human

to give you direction

and remove any confusion
 

A manual detailing 0 – 100 years

with frequently asked questions listed in the back

the perfect solution for keeping you on track

I’ve found the manual for being human

To give you direction

and remove any confusion

Sections

Paragraphs

all neatly aligned

the complete companion to accompany you through a life-time

A manual detailing 0 – 100 years

with every description of anyone you’ll ever meet

unanimously inscribed to save you from defeat

With frequently asked questions listed in the back

the perfect solution for keeping you on track

© 2019 All Rights Reserved Sovel Cunningham

Newsletter – Nov 2019

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2019

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

NANOWRIMO 2019
I am once again taking advantage of November being National Novel Writing Month to motivate me to get on with writing the follow-up to this year’s novel, Arthur Dux Bellorum, published in March. The working title of part two of my Arthur story is Arthur Rex Britonnum…although I’m not settled on this title. The story will chart the second half of King Arthur’s life, leading up to his final battle at Camlann (around the year 537, as certain Welsh Chroniclers have dated it, although location remains in the realms of speculation). A possible alternative title could be, Arthur – The Road to Camlann.  What do you think?

National Novel Writing Month is an annual Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. Well-known authors write “pep-talks” to keep them motivated throughout the process. The website provides participants, called “Wrimos”, with tips for writer’s block, information on where local participants are meeting, and an online community of support. Focusing on the length of a work rather than the quality, writers are encouraged to finish their first draft quickly so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion. The project started in July 1999 with 21 participants. By the 2010 event, over 200,000 people took part and wrote a total of over 2.8 billion words. If you’re having a go, then send me a writing buddy request – timwalker1666.  Website: https://nanonwrimo.org

Tim Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages book series starts with…

Abandoned:- Kindle/Paperback     i-books/Kobo/other 

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans:- Kindle/Paperback     i-books/Kobo/other 

Uther’s Destiny:- Kindle/Paperback    i-books/Kobo/other

Arthur Dux Bellorum:- Kindle/Paperback      i-books/Kobo/other

No guest this month, so here’s my Halloween 2019 poem, written for the Spoken Word Poetry Night at the Innerverse, Wednesday 30th October, at the Herschel Arms Pub in Slough…

Newsletter – Oct 2019

Author News
I briefly emerged from my cave to take part in Slough Libraries’ Local Author Showcase at The Curve on Wednesday 25th September. Five authors took part (pictured) – Sudhana Singh; Isabel Rogers; Sovel Cunningham; Naima Rashid and myself. It was well attended with over 50 eager book enthusiasts and many questions were answered by the panel after each had introduced themselves and their latest book. More of these please!

Also, I was invited to take part in a Sky  (UK)Television programme called Round Table to discuss the subject of ‘Legends’. I couldn’t make it to the studio so appeared via Skype… here’s the YouTube link… https://youtu.be/qF5CwnLLvVU

Are you up-to-date with my historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages? Book four, Arthur Dux Bellorum, was published in March this year, and I am currently working on its follow-up, part two of my Arthur story, Arthur Rex Britonnum

Tim Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages book series starts with…

Abandoned:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Abandoned

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/Abandoned

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Ambrosius

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/Ambrosius

Uther’s Destiny:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Uther

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/Uther

Arthur Dux Bellorum:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Arthur

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/ArthurDuxBellorum

I’m a member of a FaceBook Group for independent authors around the World called Sparkly Badgers. From time to time the group produce a themed anthology of short stories and poems. As October is the month of Halloween, the group have produced the following collection, Haunted, now available as a FREE download from Amazon Kindle and other online stores… check it out and help them with a review… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XXHRS21

HAUNTED

The Sparkly Badgers’ are a writing group thriving on Facebook made up of an eclectic mixture of writers from all backgrounds, writing in different genres and with different styles. We all have a passion for writing and for sharing our work with others and so I am delighted to be able to bring you this spooky anthology of spine tingling, goosebumpling and hide behind the sofa stories and poems.
 

If you are a writer who needs more sparkle in their lives then please, come join us on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1720960814878512

we’d love to badger you.

Claire Buss, Chief Sparkler & Editor

Newsletter – June 2019

AUTHOR NEWS…. Arthur Dux Bellorum e-book price promotion is running from 1st – 5th June – download your copy now!

Kindle & Paperback Link i-books, kobo, nook, other link
Welcome to Poet’s Corner… ANNA JONES

A founder member of the Herschel Arms Writers, Anna Jones is a creative producer, writer and theatre maker – connecting words & images, places & people to create art, ideas & change. 

Her place-based work explores heritage and how people respond and resonate with their local history today. She discovers, celebrates and shares stories from her home & work place of Slough & surrounds and her heart & roots place of Dartmoor & Devon.

Please see a selection of Anna’s poetry on The Innerverse YouTube channel. Please check out her website

Caroline charts the story of 18th century Slough based astronomer Caroline Herschel. The piece featured in an Arts Council commissioned play written by Anna and performed in her house in Upton Road where the Herschel family once lived. It was selected to be performed at the opening of The Curve theatre venue and to celebrate International Women’s Day.  

Our Special Relationship was written in response to The New York Times call for poems in reaction to the 2017 election of Trump and was published on the New York Times website.

Anna Jones at the Innerverse

Join in at The Innerverse every last Wednesday of the month at The Herschel Arms in Slough. This poetry, spoken word & comedy night has just marked its first year Innerversary and these films were made as part of these celebrations. This regular open mic night is a welcoming community of poets/lyricists /MCees/wordsmiths/spokenword artists/comics

The Innerverse is especially encouraging of first-time performers as we know the nerves and courage it takes to perform.

Anna is currently directing and producing an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate and mark the 80th anniversary of Windsor Theatre Guild.

Celebrate 80 years of Windsor Theatre Guild this summer with our outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s most enduring and enchanting play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. BOOK TICKETS

Bring family and friends, food and fizz to the beautiful private settings of Foxleigh Grove where we will be conjuring up midsummer mystery and mayhem.

Join fairies, lovers and our passionate players so that, like Bottom the Weaver, you can be moved, maybe even transformed, by the magic of theatre.

Picnics from 6.30pm, show starts at 8pm July 4th, 5th, 6th & 11th, 12th, 13th.


Lady Howard of Tavistock
 
I’m Mary with a story, which many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who condemn us all to hell.
 
My own tale is a cursed one, that’s told from days of yore
Five hundred long years I’ve travelled, across the wild Dartmoor
In a ghostly ghastly carriage made from the bones of six dead men
It carries me nightly and forever to Oakhampton and home again
Betwixt the strike of midnight and the dawn’s first cock’rel crow
From Fitzford House near Tavistock to Oak Castle I must go
To carry out my penance and fetch forth one blade of grass
Until the lush green mound is bare, my curse will never pass.
 
I’ll begin at the beginning, with the bones of him who died first
John Fitz once lord of Fitzford House, our home now with me cursed
Daddy John inherited a vast fortune, but our fortune was brief
It drove him insane and set my path: an eternity of grief
The Fitzford wealth it earnt him, more enemies than silver groats
He killed friend and foe, his craz’d mind hooked on slitting rivals’ throats
Those who spill it they soon come to learn, blood can’t be washed with gold
I found him slashed by his own hand, I’m an orphan, nine years old.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who send us all to hell.
 
Alone, young, rich and female, I need protecting from false claims
How naïve to think my earthly saviour could ever be righteous King James
Pious bastard sold me like a chattel to the Earl of Northumberland
Was only a child when he tired of me and gave his brother my wedded hand
As abused and trapped and frightened as the poor creatures he hunted for glory
I beseeched mother earth and all of her beasts to remove him from my story
Nature is red in tooth and claw, soon horn and hoof his gizzards gore
Hunter is hunted and dead man two, I’m your prey no more.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who drive us all to hell.
 
I ran away with my sweetheart, married in secret to fair Thomas
My life it finally felt full of hope, future brimming with such promise
But you’ve guessed by now that this isn’t a tale where happiness will last
Just a few months of joy ‘til tragedy when my one true love he passed
The pain and grieving will never stop for my dead man who went third
Was still in black weeds and just sixteen when forced to wed John Howard
Hid from him my every penny: “Sir do you not love me poor?”
This stayed as unknown as the causes of death of this dead man number four.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who take us all to hell.
 
I rue the day I met my final husband Sir Richard Grenville
Used fire and fists to harm me, locked me up against my will
Star chamber found him vile and violent sent him straight to Lydford Gaol
On escaping he revelled in torment and terror on a far much larger scale
When brother turned against brother and England she was bleeding
‘Twas turncoat rich warred for both sides as general and was leading
Parliament ‘gainst royals and vice versa ’til no troops were left alive
This traitor, Skellum, Gren-villain is the bones of dead man five.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who doom us all to hell.
 
I’m way past the point of white weddings now, I’ll only take a lover
Although as a wife I’ve truly failed, I try and be a better mother
Head home to Tavistock with George my boy, but me and luck don’t mix
The fates they deal my last mortal blow and make him dead man six
My heart and earthly body breaks, soul taken, no longer my own
I’m cast as a black widow, with a black dog to match, in a carriage made from bone.
 
Betwixt the strike of midnight and the dawn’s first cock’rel crow
From Fitzford House near Tavistock to Oak Castle I must go
To carry out my penance and fetch forth one blade of grass
Until the lush green mound is bare, my curse will never pass.
 
Legend is not kind to females, especially when bold, brave and beautiful
It warns all girls throughout all time to be decent, dull and dutiful
I’m a woman with a story, but aren’t all our sex damned as well?
Leave those men and your life behind you my dear, come and ride with me to hell…
 
Anna jones ©2017

Newsletter – May 2019

Arthur Dux Bellorum Wins Book Awards

April proved to be a good month for Arthur Dux Bellorum, book four in A Light in the Dark Ages series. It has been well-received with positive reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, and two book awards from notable sources. Here are the awards citations:

The Coffee Pot Book Club Award

“Following in the footsteps of the great Arthurian authors, Walker has penned a story that is as rich in historical detail as it is in all its mythological traditions. Drawing on the works of Monmouth, Nennius and Welsh folklore, he has presented a hero who has to desperately fight a seemingly invincible foe to win his throne and take his place in British history.

Walker’s compelling narrative caught my attention from the opening sentence. The author’s careful blend of mystery, treachery, deceit, war, honour, and the knightly code made this book unputdownable. The skilfully described battle scenes were so real in the telling that I could almost taste the terror and the chaos as our intrepid hero fought for not only his life, but for the throne and the kingdom which was rightfully his. All of which is set against a very believable historical backdrop.

The forces of good and evil run through the heart of this book. Morgana’s desire for power is as seemingly unstoppable as the tide. She is determined to secure her son’s throne. However, one could surmise that it is not in Mordred’s interest that Morgana is so despotic in her ambition to vanquish her enemies, but in her own insatiable lust for power. Morgana is often portrayed as the anti-hero in the story of Arthur, but I thought Walker brought a refreshingly new take on the character. She is deplorable, but at the same time she drives this story forward, and I found myself holding my breath as she continued to plot and scheme to thwart her adversaries.

In comparison to Morgana, her half-siblings, and in particular Artorius (the young Arthur), came across as level headed and for the most part compassionate. Artorius does struggle with some of the things he has done, particularly in the heat of battle, which I think gave his character a tremendous depth, and made him very believable.

Likewise, Merlyn was a character I enjoyed reading about. His ingenuity and his use of the tools available to him made his story compulsively readable. I enjoyed following his progression throughout this wonderful book.

There are several secondary characters that fans of Arthurian fiction will be familiar with — Gawain, Percival, Bors and Tristan — all of whom Artorius looks up to for advice. I thought these characters were well fleshed, and I look forward to reading more about them in the next edition of this remarkable series.

Like a heroic poem from times of old, Tim Walker’s Arthurian saga continues to mesmerise. A must read for those who love everything Arthurian, but also for those who have a keen interest in the Dark Ages. I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club, April 2019

One Stop Fiction Book Award

“This is a very well written reinvention of the myth that portrays Arthur not as a superhero but as a sometimes-conflicted young man. He is not quite sure that he is meant to be king but is led by Merlyn to accept his role. He questions his paternity, is often disgusted by the brutality he witnesses, and yet becomes an inspirational leader of men.

Many of the familiar characters are present in Arthur Dux Bellorum: Merlyn, Gawain, Percival, Geraint, Gunamara (Guinevere), Morgana, and Mordred. Mainly these characters are fleshed-out to be well-defined and human.

It would be interesting to see what the author would do with the later Arthur and Gunamara story as well as with the legend of the Round Table.

The story moves at a fast pace with several battle scenes that were marvellous to read. The narrative switches points of view between Arthur and his mother and sisters who are living in the shadow of Morgana and Mordred. This alternation serves well to highlight the attempts to unify the British tribes under one rule.

One of the best aspects of the novel is the picture it paints of Britain after the Romans had left. This is a divided and beset land, subject to invasion by outsiders and by wars between rival tribes. It was very interesting to learn that parts of the Roman legacy remained in surviving towns and forts and in military tactics. The conflicts between the old and new religions, between warring chieftains, between Britons and the foreign invaders were all beautifully set out.

As an American reader, I often found myself wondering exactly where in England the story was taking place. For authenticity, it is important to use the names of towns as they were at the time. However, it was a bit difficult, even with the author’s list of place names at the beginning of the novel, to follow the movement of Arthur’s company. Because of that, I would strongly recommend that anyone who reads this read it in a hard cover or paperback edition and not on an e-reader. Readers who like to follow the plot with maps of the area should avoid will find it impossible to read the maps that appear on the e-reader edition.

This is a small complaint, but it is nearly impossible to find anything to dislike about this book.

The author is to be applauded for making yet another re-telling of the Arthurian legend fascinating and suspenseful. I would very much like to see one more book in the series to bring the rest of the legend to life. Arthur Dux Bellorum is a highly recommended book and winner of the One Stop Fiction Book Awards.”

By Kathleen Lance, Book Reviewer, onestopfiction.com

Welcome to Poet’s Corner, Richard Tyner

One of the Herschel Arms Poets, Richard was born in the boondocks outside of the town of Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland. He has very fond memories of growing up in Ros Beg and indeed the first eighteen years of life in rural tranquillity.

Richard does not see himself as a poet and if pushed describes his work as that of a rhymer. It has long been his ambition to write songs. As he said they were just rhymes, until my talented friends gave them tunes.

One of his collaborators has uploaded two of the songs to Soundcloud. Search for them under the names of Bogman and Ian Brown UK.

Thinking back his first writing was in the years 1972 to 1976. First date is Marriage, second date birth of first child. In true fashion he put aside foolish activities and concentrated on career and family.

He is pleased to report that hardly any of his rhymes from back in those days have survived. The memory of living in Ireland is forever in his heart and in order to maintain his accent he visits there whenever he gets the chance.

In 1967 his Mother took her 8 children to Peterborough England. Richard started work as a computer operator, then, after ten years, moved to Shell Oils. Closure of the local office necessitated a change of career, this time resulting in a management role in a publishing house. He was head hunted by the TSB to work in Norfolk as an investment advisor. Two years later he became self employed and continued as an IFA until the onset of Parkinson’s brought about early retirement. He has since then been busier and happier than any other period of his life.

Married forty-seven years he counts himself lucky and is still trying to figure out why his wife is still with him. Cheryl has been heard to say, “that he would trouble the patience of a saint”.

He loves music across all genres but admits his guilty pleasure is Country music citing the likes of Waylon and Willie. Townes van Zant, Hank Williams. He is a mean quizzer specialising in songs and bands of the 60’s and 70’s. He likes travel and wishes he had rhythm, balance and a bigger pension.

A SONG WITHOUT WORDS

I wrote a song that had no words

Just the sighing of trees

The chirrup of birds.

The rhythm of rain

 Turning into snow

Bluebells in dells

A choir of crows

Humming honey bees

Harmonise with the breeze

Waltzing holly hocks

A flotilla of leaves

Sprites using dandelions

To tell the time

Cascading waterfalls

Crescendo and climb

 songs of the rivers

as they flow through the glens

Sometimes angry at the way of men

This world is an opera

The finest ever heard

It has no conclusion

An aria without words.                   

ALL THOSE YEARS AGO (Westport)

I am not sure why I am here

I am not sure what it all means

Time goes around in circles

I live my life in dreams.

I was born by the ocean side

I never learned to swim

A flat stone leaving ripples

Won’t you follow the circles in.

I met you all those years ago

In a city far from the sea

You fed me a breakfast

I stayed for lunch and tea.

Your bark and bite are the same

Not all lines are on my face

Father hear my confession

So I can die in a state of grace.

Mother hear me calling

In the hills above the clouds

Father won’t you tell me

Why were you alone in crowds?

Its almost gone full circle

I am in the dying years

I have questions without answers

I weep without the tears

The breeze is blowing cold

I stand on Ros Beg shore

I hear the curlew calling

It will soon be time to go.

This place is in my heart

I fished here many times

Some came here before me

Many more will bait their lines

I wonder if they listened

To wiser men than me

Will they take greater care

So this world’s a better place to be.

NO TIME FOR REGRETS

I have no need of clocks or watches

It’s enough to know night from day

Sometimes I only sleep for minutes

To dream in blues and pastels grey

I often think of my old friends

It was my luck to know

Of the country where I was born

Those generations that had to go.

Mothers at the garden gate,

 Letter’s that never come

Waiting for the return

Of their husband or a son.

In time they would return

These restless worn out men,

To walk alone along the shore

Stopping every now and then

I sometimes shook a hand

Occasionally shared a glass

Those that talked were rare at all

Most let the moment pass

They had lived so long alone

The need to send home pay

Turning boys into bitter men

They got lost along the way.

They do not seem to notice

Life is passing fast, but

You cannot foretell the future

You cannot change the past

Once more the young are leaving

Hearts heavy as a stone

They gather in their ghettos

To sing their songs of home.

Instead live every moment

Let your life take flight

Live like there is no tomorrow

One of these day’s you will be right!!!

© R G Tyner 26/09/2018

Newsletter – April 2019

SUCCESSFUL BOOK LAUNCH – ARTHUR DUX BELLORUM

The launch went well and with the addition of pre-ordered e-books, sales on Amazon drove it into the top ten in the ‘Alternative History’ category. It hung around in the ‘Top New Releases in Alternative History’ rankings for a couple of weeks – thanks to those of you who bought it. Reviews on amazon.co.uk have been good and are into double figures at time of writing.

I’d like to thank the following for featuring Arthur Dux Bellorum’s launch package on their book review blogs:

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

English Historical Fiction Authors

Black Books Blog

Hair Past a Freckle

AF Stewart’s Book Blog

Linda Hill blog and review (Linda’s Book Bag)

Claire Buss author interview (A Slice of Cake)

Juliet Butler (Book Literati)

Susan Hampson blog and review (Books From Dusk ‘Till Dawn)

Eric Klein (Friday Features interview)

Jenny Kane Book Blog

Grace Reviewer Lady Book Blog (included review by John)

Jane Risdon’s Book Blog

Emma Mitchel’s Little Book Worm Blog (Character spotlight on Arthur)

Nancy Jardine’s Book Blog

Melanie Smith’s Book Blog (review)

Julia Sutton book blog interview

Michelle Connor blog interview

If I’ve missed you, sorry! If you have a book blog and would like to feature me then please get in touch. Thanks everyone! The indie author support network is a strong as ever.

My buy links are: PaperbackAmazon Kindle universalApple i-book, Kobo, Nook, other

Michelle Connor

This month I’m delighted to welcome fellow British indie author, Michelle Connor.

Michelle lives on the North East coast of England in a town called Grimsby. She’s been with her husband for twenty-one years. They have three children together. Their youngest is sixteen. She is the princess of the family and has two older brothers. As well as writing Michelle loves to paint, draw, and take lots of photographs. She has a great intrigue for history and spends many a summers day hunting for castles and ruins to visit. I think this comes through in her first novella series as it is set in the medieval era.

Please visit her website for more.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I had poetry published when I was fifteen, but I didn’t realize I wanted to write fiction books until I was in my thirties.

What genre books do you write? Fantasy with a heart.

What is the name of your book/books? The Bound: Hers to Save Series. Where Ravens Soar: Nine World Protection Agency Series.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? To not give up writing because life got in the way.

Does your family support your career as a writer? It depends on the day.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? Not using clique dialogue every now and then.

Does writing energize or exhaust you? Both. I can be crying at a sad scene while I write it and shouting at the screen if someone dies I wasn’t expecting too or laughing at something funny a character does or says. I’m a complete pantser and maybe a little crazy too.

What items do you surround yourself with when you write? Music and sometimes reference books.

What is your favourite genre of books to read? Epic Fantasy, but my guilty pleasure is romance books.

What is your favourite childhood book? Flowers in the attic.

Do you have a favourite author or one who inspires you to write? Joel Shepherd.

What words of wisdom would you give to someone who wants to be an author? Read lots, and when you start the first draft just write. Don’t worry about your spelling or if it’s any good. Get the words on the page and worry about all the rest during the many rounds of edits which are to come. And those will come, boy will they come.

Book Link1

US Book Link

John Karlicuk

Welcome to Poet’s Corner, John Karlicuk…

“I was born in Slough 1950 (maybe 8pm) half Ukrainian half Irish, thus the name John Ivan O’Karliciuk.

I spent my early years in Wexford Eire living with my grandparents till my parents could decide if they wanted me and had saved up for my boat ticket to England. I went to St Joseph’s Roaming Catholic School in Slough and spent my childhood roaming about running away from home and even travelling back to Wexford twice on a platform ticket as of course the fare was more than 6 pence. At school I mainly played truant as I had no musical talent. I began to write at a very young age (mainly on lavatory doors).

I had many types of employment trainee supermarket manager, trainee male nurse, office jobs and countless manufacturing jobs. I never found my niche and work sadly prevented me following my dreams of being a playboy layabout. I tried to join the RAF in 1969 but they were shut that day. Also, my strange name smelled of Soviet Spy. I married early about 11am. The marriage didn’t work out but at least I hadn’t wasted the whole day! I met a wonderful Lady and travelled extensively to America, Australia, Egypt and Europe. I have many interests and have been in amateur dramatics and also a local writers’ group along with my cousin and good friend Mary Parris. I would describe my unique writing style as ‘progressive garbage’ My passion is searching for the meaning of life and when I find it, I’ll disclose it in a poem…”

POETIC MUSINGS…

In Taplow’s historic village, a stones’ throw from the Thames

In a weathered crumbling churchyard stands one of England’s gems

Wildflowers in the hedgerows

Welcome ramblers on their way

To sacred ground and Taeppa’s Mound from an Anglo-Saxon day

Taplow was named from Taeppa Low the Saxon prince entombed below

Twelve centuries chief Taeppa slept this burial mound his secrets kept.

In the British museum his royal grave goods now are stored

A golden buckle-drinking horns

Rich textiles and his sword

I wondered back to the village Inn

The charming Oak and Saw

To take a drink-reflect and think

My mind still filled with awe

Long have I lived near Taplow

Yet of its wealth I never knew

Just a stone throw from the Thames a gem like Sutton Hoo.

I slap on the makeup my best to look

Then post my selfie on Facebook

I hide the way I am and feel

So, my Life looks so ideal

Of my reality you have no notion

You only get my self-promotion

It seems sometimes that life’s on hold

That so much data’s made us cold

No meat and veg, its sugars n’ jam

And Life is one great pile of spam.

Children once went out to play

But now its x-box night and day

Too much sitting-little walking

Too much texting little talking

To old eyes it seems a mess

Can this really be progress?

We’ve left our tribe and village bliss

Now lost inside Metropolis

What if the computers are human haters

Sent from our future terminators?

They promised Wonders to inspire us

But seeded in our brains a Virus.

I noticed it back in the time of Thatcher’s

The invasion of the Body Snatchers

So, are people changing?

Growing mechanistic selfish colder

Or am I just a Luddite with silicon

Chips upon my shoulder?


May I introduce Lady History?

She’s enthralling-Dark-Mysterious

But much of what you’ll hear of her

You shouldn’t take too serious.

She’s Hot! She’s very Spicy!

Can give intense heartburn

She does seem to repeat on us

We mortals never learn!

I’ve heard a bit about her-would love to learn some more.

Some say she’s an Angel, some say just a Whore.

One thing you’ll discover when she

Wines and dines.

She wears a ton of make up

To hide her many lines.

So, wear your finest dinner jacket!

Look your best you can’t go wrong

For Lady History so admires

The Wealthy and the Strong.

Lady History will seduce you

Dressed in fine Lace and Satin.

There is no book she hasn’t read

And she loves to speak in Latin.

But imagine not she cares for you!

In her no Love you’ll find.

She sweeps all suitors from the stage

And casts them out of mind.

Newsletter – March 2019

Author News

Well, after nine months of research, plotting, writing and hand-wringing, the fourth book in my A Light in the Dark Ages series, Arthur Dux Bellorum, is finally good to go. I’ve formatted it for e-book (on a variety of platforms) and paperback. I love the cover, and feel the Fates (as the Romans would have it) smiled on me the day I saw Gordon Napier’s stunning picture, entitled ‘Arthur Dux Bellorum’ on deviantart.com.

My cover designer, Cathy Walker, added her magic and the end result is a cover I can be proud of. We decided to let the whole picture cover the page, and not block-out the bottom to conform with the previous covers in the series.

Rather than bore you with self- praise (lol), I decided to throw the gauntlet to my keen proof reader and critic partner, Linda Oliver, to tell it from her perspective. She has been on board since book one, and quite honestly, I would have given up, racked by self-doubt, a long time ago if it wasn’t for her support and emailed kicks-up-the-backside. Writing can be a lonely business…

My buy links are: Paperback

Amazon Kindle Universal

Apple i-book, Kobo, Nook, other

First, catch your… writer – by Linda Oliver

I caught my writer on an online fiction forum. Tim had set out his idea to write a series of novels about how life changed for fifth century Britons after the Romans left. It would end with King Arthur’s death, about a hundred years later.  I did a double take.  I’m still sulking because I lent my childhood copy of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table twenty years ago, and never saw it again, so the topic appealed to me. Also, I was charmed by the epic scale of the Boy’s Own Adventure project. But I thought a novice fiction writer would get lost in it. Tim Walker’s a nice nom de plume, I thought, wordplay on the literary time travel he’s embarked on. I was wrong about that too.

 Tim had posted an extract from the first incarnation of ‘Abandoned’, with a request for feedback. I read, admiring the pleasing balance between narrative and dialogue, the clear point of view and the vivid settings, and then I forgot I was reading for a purpose and my imagination took over. I enjoyed the idea of Marcus Aquilius, a young character whose father had been a Roman soldier and whose mother was a Briton, a sorceress in the eyes of some. I could see him torn. Should he view the departure of a Roman legion as an opportunity to advance himself, or a cause for dismay? When his mother gave him a tunic on which she’d stitched her own design, he was touched, but took it off so that his men wouldn’t see him in it, which reminded me of me, taking off my knitted bonnet with its chin strap at my gate. Not in recent times, obviously.

Linda Oliver lives in a beautiful corner of Britain – the Yorkshire Dales

 When I finished reading, I was smiling, but I realised I’d noted a few pointers and had a strong urge to look up the number of people living in Britannia at this time. I’ve always had a weakness for seeking demographic insight. So there I was, shimmying down into the role of invited busybody. This writer deserved praise because the story set out clearly, in a varied manner, what was happening in the wider Roman Empire, in the town and in the family of Marcus Aquilius. Its complexity opened out gradually. And then the characters sprang into action. So I told him all this.

But there were questions. Once I’d become a regular sounding board for Tim, we discussed issues related to style. Would the screenplay style in the early version of ‘Abandoned’ be suitable and sustainable for a series? That’s a lot of externalising, heavy going for writer and reader. And how should the dialogue sound? I accepted the characters are statesmen and scholars, as well as soldiers, in this version of the past. They need to articulate developed ideas, despite the likelihood of them swinging a sword through their enemy before the end of the same chapter. And who is it for? Adult and young adult readers?

 As the series has progressed, every novel has taken on a slightly different style, and the military leaders focus on different regions of Britannia. The protagonists also bring contrasting back stories and personal qualities. The second book in the saga, Ambrosius, is about a character with a vision for his homeland, one who chooses to pursue it, whereas the other leaders have responsibilities thrust upon them. They are all the standout individuals of their generation. They’re not cosy,  spending their lives wearing a groove in The Devil’s Highway and Ermine Street, driven to drag hesitant lads to confront foreign raiders, or usurpers in their midst. They are the characters making hard decisions when there is a plague to be contained, or taxes must be raised to feed an army.       

The novels reflect Tim’s knowledge and interest, and his ability to bake the chewy plots that keep me reading. The latest instalment,’ Arthur, Dux Bellorum’, out now, is no exception. Readers of Uther’s Destiny will find the story unexpected from the start, and Merlyn and Artorius continually find the challenges ahead throw up unpredicted twists. The noise and energy of armed conflicts drive the adventure, and one of the features of a novel with such an array of characters is that we reader knows they won’t all make it to the next instalment of the saga, no matter how familiar they may be. So that keeps up the tension for me.

 I can’t guarantee I haven’t noticed that a gas poker has been introduced in a roundhouse, or a woman married off to her uncle, but I think I’ve raised all the issues I felt a need to raise. In fact, that’s why I’m in this newsletter. When our esteemed author tapped out a fate worse than death for a character in one of those last minute strokes I’ve learned to expect from him just before a book’s launch date, I set out a reasoned argument why they should be spared, based on continuity, gender power in the novel (I know), and demands of the plot. So, out of gratitude for clemency being shown to an imaginary woman, I’m showing myself ‘front of house’.

 Yes, I’ve loved helping on this project, and the more time and thought I’ve committed to it, the more I feel invested in the series. It’s an accessible interpretation of history, a possible version of a mysterious era of great fluidity, and I found it an informative as well as an entertaining read. My greatest wish was that the eponymous hero should get out of the novel alive… now, that would be telling.

Welcome to Poet’s Corner – Mary Parris

I grew up in Slough, Buckinghamshire, with a shillelagh in one hand and a pen or paint brush in the other. From an early age I started writing little ditties and creating odd paintings. I was lucky to have travelled extensively and lived for a while in California and various other places. However, family ties brought me back to Slough which had then moved to Berkshire!!

I enjoy trying new things (as long as they are legal!) be it Morris dancing, Salsa, Tai Chi. You name it, I’ll try it.  I sang with a West Indian Steel band for a number of years, studied various art forms including Zentangle, Batik, acting, folk art, and poetry which I enjoy the most.

Whatever pops in my mind hits the paper. Silly, sad, romantic, strange, wherever my mood takes it. My paintings and writing have been described as ‘quirky’. I am happy with that. I like the idea that I can dance to the beat of my own drum….

DO NOT SEE ME…

walk as not to know me.

shush. do not see me.

do not glimpse

or make our eyes meet.

I am a whisper of life

dancing on tip toe,

leaving no footprints

to catch me.

I move stealthily, glide so i do not

tremble the waters,

stir the heavens, tempt the devil.

I feel I cannot breathe

trying to control

spirit that emanates from me.

trying to stay hidden.

I am a whisper of life.

dancing on tip toe.

leaving no footprints

to catch me.

if there is a god,

I do not want to wake it.

if there is a Satan

I do not want to tease it.

ignore me. leave me be.

I can carry no more.

I am forsaken from joy.

what sins are upon me

that I fear each new day

will strike a deeper blow

within my heart

that already bleeds its love.

if there is a god,

why is he not kind to me?

cradling my soul.

or is it that he has twinned with

the fallen angel

to torment me.

generous with his maladies,

touching those I love

with his demon fingers.

my thoughts cry,

my tears cry. my heart cries,

my pain, my soul, my life cries.

enough, enough, you bastards.

you have forsaken me.

I will forsake you.

you have burned me enough.

I will believe in no one

but myself.

I will pray to no one

but myself.

I will defy you.

we will defy you.

you do not see me.

I will not see you.

I am a whisper of life

dancing on tip toe,

leaving no footprints

to catch me.

Mary Parris – 26.9.17

THE MODEL

Did I say I’m a model?

I love to preen and pout

and if the money’s generous

I’ll get my tutu out.

I don’t ‘ave o levels

not even an A you see

but I can boast a prefect’s badge

and an amazing double D.

I’ve modelled for the camera club,

was a pin up in 2008,

I did topless for the paper sun

but me photo did not rate.

I was queen of the night in Benidorm,

did some shoots in Wigan town,

then me tan got overloaded

and I went an orange brown.

Me face is quite unique

they say, and me hair’s like

golden honey,

and though I get a little bored

I just think of the money.

I look good in my pink tutu

with my curvy figure eight,

tho not in me fleshy tights

as I’m a little overweight.

and tho I am a model

I am brainy as well.

I do walk ons at dart shows

and pose in bikini’s in Bracknell.

I’ve got a big show Sunday

the best I’ve had so far.

I’ll be sitting on a mini

in Slough’s Herschal Bar.

me mum is excited

tho me dad thinks it’s funny

but I like being a model

cos I like the easy money.

Mary Parris – 30.1.2018

NEXT!

Next time I see you, I will come to your table and say hello.

That’s if my shy, nervous heart will let me.

Or maybe I should just stay in the background, worship you from afar.

But next time you may not be alone and my chance shall be lost.

I imagine you are one of those ‘new men’ all metric, meditation

and mindfulness, whilst I am more of a pound, shilling and pence

kind of girl and next to modern models of makeup, botox and buttocks,

I’m more your Betty Rubble than Betty Boop,

Your Bette Davis than Bette Milder. 

Ah, but next time you may pass me by like you did yesterday,

deep in conversation with your phone. 

I stepped aside for you, heart pounding with hope, expectation.

I think you nodded but you really did not see me.

You have never really seen me.

All my smiles and polite conversation lost in the wilderness of translation,

if there ever was any.

Maybe I’ll just stay in the shadows, me and my aching heart

and forget about this enchantment and yearning for you.

And so, what next?

Next time, hopefully the thrill of you will have eased, softened, ebbed away. Maybe.

…Maybe next time!

Mary Parris – 6.8.18

CHAT FROM THE CAT

Tis I, Cat,

and yes, I saw you sneak in

lifting your heavy foot over me

to climb the stairs in silence.

Your other half sleeping fitfully

unaware of your bawdiness

and debauchery.

Plus, you forgot to feed me today.

Me your ginger mog star

who keeps the mice at bay.

And I don’t like those crunchy morsels

with soft centres.

But did you ask? No.

Your piece of haddock

smelled much more interesting

though you did not have to shout

when I licked it…

But this tom foolery will have to stop.

Waking me in the midnight hour

reeking of who knows what.

Even I have stopped mooching about

for a piece of the action.

All that noisy meowing and yodelling.

And you should know better.

What would the neighbours say?

What would your kids say?

And your other half?

Probably dreaming of the two of you

running hand in hand

somewhere exotic

like Bognor…

And me ow do you think I feel

when you whisper your doings

whilst stroking my tail,

thinking I’m cat napping?

I might be a cat

but I’m not catatonic.

I hear ya, I see ya, I smell ya.

And at your age.

All that beer and belching,

foul talk and farting.

Keep that up and I may move

to the Murphy’s at no 5.

But if you feed me whiskers

or fish I’ll stay.

But stop acting like you’re a tom cat.

You’re a shemale

with your hemale tucked up

cozy snoring the night away.

Go join him.

And if you do go to Bognor

I’d like some fresh eel.

Oh, and by the way,

I finished your haddock.

G’night…   Cat…

Mary Parris – 2019 �=

Newsletter – February 2019

FEBRUARY 2019

I’ve Finished My Book! – What Next?

These are the things I’ve learned over the past three years through self-publishing my books. Once you’ve finished your book, checked and proof-read it and sent it off for a copyedit (yes, you should!). Then sit back, exhale, and take a moment to think about the next step – how to market, promote and sell your book.

My budget is extremely slim (contact me privately and I might tell you) – my biggest cost is on a thorough copyedit. I also invest in a good book cover (e-book and paperback). But to get maximum value from the copyedit, it is advisable to first have your manuscript read and critiqued by one or two trusted friends or beta readers. Get it as good as you can before engaging the services of a professional copyeditor. They will tidy it up and have a care for the overall smooth flow of your story.

As a matter of priority, get your book cover done and write a blurb for your book.

If you’re an indie author and intend to self-publish your book, you need the following things in place in the build-up to your launch date:

  1. A completed, proofed and edited manuscript. You may also have sent your m/s to trusted beta readers who can give you critical feedback. You can tweak your m/s up to about five days before your launch date – then you MUST load up the final version to KDP/D2D or other self-publishing platforms. Always best to launch with the final version!
  2. A list of willing fans/book reviewers to send your advanced reader copy (ARC) and hopefully get you started with some supportive reviews. The main platforms for reviews are Amazon and Goodreads. If you are a reader, you can link your Goodreads account to your Amazon account so that whenever you review an e-book on Amazon, the review is automatically replicated on Goodreads. If you read a paperback copy, then you might have to post a customer review on Amazon and then manually copy and paste your review to Goodreads. Also, Amazon (annoyingly) only publish reviews in the territory in which it was placed. So, if you are a British reader, like myself, operating in amazon.co.uk, then my book reviews will only be seen in my territory and not in other important territories like USA, Canada, EU countries, Australia, etc. You may want to politely ask reviewers to copy reviews to .com, although I understand Amazon are now making this difficult.
  3. A Book Cover. By all means have a go yourself – I dabbled with using cheap-and-cheerful designers through http://fiverr.com and making covers on the cheap, but ultimately remained dissatisfied with the outcome. I soon discovered the value of having a professional book cover designer to discuss my cover ideas with and then hand over to them to work their magic – sizes for your e-book and paperback (wraparound) are precise details best left to an expert. Also, your designer can choose a perfect font for your book – which becomes all the more important if you are developing a series (see my A Light in the Dark Ages series covers with consistent look and fonts – thanks Cathy Walker!).
  4. Get your ASIN (Amazon book number) as early as possible. It’s advisable to load your manuscript to Amazon using the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) http://kdp.amazon.com platform at least three weeks before your intended launch date. You can use their pre-order function and have your e-book available to pre-order before your launch date. This will, Hopefully, give you a sales spike on your launch day and also provides a platform for early book advertising and promotion. The important thing about using the pre-order function is that you MUST load up your final manuscript FIVE DAYS before your launch date (if you have made any last-minute changes). This gives you an ASIN (book sales link) that you will need to include in your guest blog posts and pre-arranged advertisements.
  5. Also, with your ASIN you can then get a universal link. This is a customised link, often with a short version of your book title, that takes readers to the Amazon or other online retailer sales page for your book wherever they are in the world. It makes it easier for readers to buy your book!

The two I use are booklinker.net (http://mybook.to/Abandoned) and books2read.com (http://books2read.com/Abandoned) Why do I have two? Well, I’ve been using booklinker for three years for just my Amazon-listed titles. In 2018 I joined http://draft2digital.com (who use books2read for their links) to make my e-books available on other platforms including, Apple i-books (i-tunes); Kobo; Nook and others.

  • Format the paperback. Yes, if you’re doing it yourself, you need to use the platforms in KDP and/or draft2digital to load up your MS Word manuscript. You must re-format your e-book m/s and change the page size (eg. 5” x 8”) and include things like a numbered contents page, header, page numbers (footer) in a newly saved Word document. Very fiddly the first time you do it, but thereafter you have created your own template. Tip: get a ruler and measure the ideal page size you want in cms from your paperbacks. KDP offers your two standard book sizes. You will need to read up on setting margins, gutters and bleads. I think your book cover needs to be in print-ready PDF format for KDP, and the spine width is calculated on the number of pages – information you need to give to your book designer once you have it.
  • Consider booking paid-for advertising. In some platforms, like Twitter and Facebook page boosts, you can define your target audience by relevant demographics and interests. Try BooksGoSocial and BookBub for ads aimed at active book readers.
  • Free promotion. Since the launch of Uther’s Destiny in March 2018, I’ve been organising my own book blog tours. This involves identifying relevant book bloggers who review and/or promote independent authors, approaching them and asking for a guest author slot. There are some very supportive book reviewers out there who will be happy to fit you into their schedules, but beware, most take bookings between 6-9 months in advance. So, for my forthcoming book, Arthur Dux Bellorum, due for a 1st March 2019 launch, I’ve been booking guest blog slots since September last year. The other way to promote for free is through your own social media – facebook, twitter, Instagram, pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn; and your newsletter or blog if you have one. I have a monthly newsletter and my following has slowly crept up to over 60 emails (not much, but it’s a start!). If you are reading this on my blog and haven’t yet signed-up, please follow this link and get a FREE short story download! (incentivising people to sign-up is recommended) – http://eepurl.com/diqexz
  • Write your book blurb. I approach this by reading book descriptions of other, similar books in my genre and getting a feel for how author’s entice readers to choose their book. It helps if you’re an international bestselling author (which I’m not… yet) – these tend to lead with ‘BESTSELLING INTERNATIONAL AUTHOR OF…..’ and then a punchy opening line to make you salivate. Others lead with a review quote from a notable source. I’ve just read an article that advises authors to marshal their thoughts by writing a brief summary description using the following formula – A (adjective) CHARACTER NAME + Intrigue.

So, mine might be, “A determined Arthur must learn quickly if he is to survive in Dark Ages Britain.”  This could become your first line/headline, or a guide for your thoughts.

Make it easy to digest for skimmers – short, punchy sentences using power words to heighten emotions. Don’t summarise your book’s plot. It is meant to be a teaser that piques the skimmer’s interest. Its aim is to get those undecided readers to click YOUR buy button.

Here is my first attempt – please give critical feedback!

Arthur Dux Bellorum by Tim Walker

From the ruins of post-Roman Britain, a warrior and charismatic leader arises to unite a divided land.

King Uther is dead, and his daughter, Morgana, seizes the crown for her infant son, Mordred. Merlyn’s attempt to present a youthful Arthur as the true son and heir of Uther is scorned, and the bewildered teenager finds himself in prison. Here, our story begins…

Arthur finds he has friends and together they flee northwards, moving through a fractured landscape of tribal conflict and suspicion, staying one step ahead of their pursuers whilst keeping an eye on Angle and Saxon invaders who spill onto the shores of the troubled island. Arthur gathers supporters as he battles his way to a temporary haven at the great Roman wall. He gradually refines his image with help from his family and followers, learning the harsh lessons needed to survive and acquire the skills of leadership.

Tim Walker’s Arthur Dux Bellorum is a masterly retelling of the Arthurian legend, combining myth, history and gripping battle scenes.

Fans of Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden and Mathew Harffy will enjoy Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages series and its newest addition – Arthur Dux Bellorum.

  1. Make your own social media adverts using http://canva.com

Canva makes it easy by having the differing standard size templates for your social media posts, covering Facebook story, timeline or page posts; Instagram; twitter; pinterest and others. The three key elements of your adverts are: background, book cover, headline. I tend to place a clickable link in the body of the social media post. Here’s an example of a teaser ad in Instagram size for Author Dux Bellorum:

  1. Plan your Launch Day. Some author’s have Facebook parties, with competitions, free books or other giveaways, inviting friends to join them and post. This can help raise awareness for your book launch. Some authors have a price drop or even a limited time free e-book on launch to generate reads and reviews. Email your friends – make sure everybody knows! Aim to appear as a guest on important blogs and post in your Facebook groups. If you can afford it, plan some advertisements too.

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.

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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.
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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?’

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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