Tag: hadrianswall

Tim’s Book Blog – June 2021

June 2021
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter.
It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet?
If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com
SOCIALMEDIA
F A C E B O O K
T W I T T E R
I N S T A G R A M

Guardians at the Wall Book Launch
June 1st saw the official launch date for my new novel, Guardians at the Wall – although some of you may have noted that it went ‘live’ on Amazon ten days earlier. Why wait when its success or failure hangs on the number of good reviews it accrues? Please help Noah and Gaius gain the readership they yearn for by putting up a customer review on Amazon and/or a review on Goodreads. Thanks!

90,000-word novels don’t just come together by accident. It has been nine months in the making, starting with my late-September two-day visit to Hadrian’s Wall where the ideas and inspiration infused my brain. Then plotting and a winter of writing, ably assisted by my enthusiastic critique partner, Linda Oliver. I discussed my approach and sent chapters for her feedback. Also, she’s the perfect grammar policewoman – thanks Linda!

A book cover concept was roughed-up and discussed with my cover designer, Cathy Walker. The section of wall across the middle of the cover is my photo of a section of the replica stone battlements at Vindolanda. The wall separates the ghostly image of a Roman centurion from curious archaeologists.
Once the draft was finished, I then gathered together a team of a dozen volunteers from Facebook groups to beta read it. Their feedback proved vital in tightening-up the plot and steering me to firmer ground with archaeological practice. Then Version Two was given a final proof-read by Linda and sent to Sinead Fitzgibbon for a copyedit. Sinead has been with me since Thames Valley Tales in 2015 and I trust her judgement implicitly. Further tweaks were made, and the final manuscript was good to go by 20th May.

What’s the book about? Well, here’s the short description:
Guardians at the Wall is a gripping dual timeline historical novel set at Hadrian’s Wall. Archaeologists uncover artefacts that connect them to the life of a Roman centurion in second century Britannia.
Currently just £1.99/$2.99/e2.69 on Kindle!
Paperback £7.99/$8.99 or read on Kindle Unlimited:
AMAZON BOOK LINK

FIRST BOOK AWARD
Guardians at the Wall has been awarded the International Review of Books Award by Books go Social (booksgosocial.com is a Dublin-based company that supports independent authors). Here’s what their reviewer said:
“The writing in this book is superb. I felt like I was at Hadrian’s Wall with a group of students on an artefact dig. The author’s descriptions of what was happening, what the characters felt and saw were wonderful.

I also felt like I travelled into the past where the artefact originated. These details brought the story alive. Yet, it’s more than about finding an artefact. There is a story of love and mystery as well. This creates added interest in the book. The main character has to deal with going on an important mission that could risk his future career and the hardship of theft. The author intermingles the two timelines very well providing details into a complete story that is about the people as well as the artefacts.
More than an artefact is dug up in this story. There are questions surrounding it that need to be answered. What does this find really mean? What is the story behind it? Finding the answers makes the reader eager to know what is happening and what happened long ago. Every step of this story adds more details to this well-written novel. It is full of everything you are looking for in historical fiction with some mystery and romance.”

General thoughts on the Novel: 
“This is a fascinating world throughout two timelines and two worlds found in the same place. The world has changed since the artefact had last seen the light and the writer did well relaying the two timelines. The design of the book is good throughout. The idea of this story is interesting with enough details to keep track of each timeline.”

This month’s guest author is Colin Garrow.
Colin grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland. He has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. All Colin’s books are available as eBooks and most are also out in paperback, too.

His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Word Bohemia, Every Day Fiction, The Grind, A3 Review, 1,000 Words, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine.

He currently lives in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where he writes novels, stories, poems and the occasional song. Colin’s latest book is an historical horror novella, Black Witch Moon.

Tyburn, 1625. A young woman hanged as a witch. A doctor plagued by nightmares.

Wracked by guilt, Robert Winter struggles with the notion that a witch may have been wrongly accused. But if that is so, what can he do about it?
When strange things begin to happen, Winter’s understanding of good and evil are put to the test. Compelled to choose one or the other, he soon learns that taking sides is the least of his problems…
In this horror series set in London, the novella Black Witch Moon is book #1 in the Black Witch Saga.

Currently just 99p on Kindle!
BOOK BUY LINK

Tim Walker’s review of Black Witch Moon:

This historical suspense/horror novella was an enjoyable read. The author brings many years of writing to his concise yet visually rich evocation of 17th century London – a time when belief in witchcraft was rife. Doctor Robert Winter is the doctor at the Bethlem asylum, and has just witnessed one of his inmates, Lizzie Pickins, hung for being a witch. This is not the end, but the beginning of a tale of intrigue as she appears to have risen from her grave to take revenge on those who testified against her. Robert becomes central to her plans, as he struggles to distinguish between reality and fearful superstition. A gripping tale full of gasps and sniggers. It bodes well for the series. Highly recommended.

Tim’s Newsletter – March 2021

Newsletter March 2021

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

WORLD BOOK DAY – 4TH MARCH 

World Book Day changes lives through a love of books and shared reading. World Book Day is an educational trust whose mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own.

Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. We want to see more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them.

World Book Day was created by UNESCO on 23rd April 1995 as aworldwide celebration of books and reading. It is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.

The first World Book Day in the UK and Ireland took place in 1997 to encourage young people to discover the pleasure of reading.

As World Book Day founder, Baroness Gail Rebuck, recalls “We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.”

2021 is the 24th year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 4th March 2021, children of all ages will come together to share the joy of reading for pleasure.

Spending just 10 minutes a day reading and sharing stories with children can make a crucial difference to their future success and it’s fun for all involved.

That’s why World Book Day continues to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure through its work with authors, illustrators, publishers, bookshops and libraries. Authors – make a note to share your books on social media on World Book Day, 4th March 2021. Let’s get them reading!

RESEARCHING MY NEXT BOOK

I have recently completed the first draft of my next novel – Guardians at the Wall. This is dual timeline historical novel set at Hadrian’s Wall. It was inspired by a visit to a number of Roman sites and museums close to Hadrian’s Wall in September 2020. This is very much my Winter 20/21 novel, and it has helped keep me sane through this trying Covid-19 lockdown.
I have set the launch date for 1st June, and intend to reveal the cover in my 1st April newsletter. The book blurb is a work in progress, but this is the current version:

A group of archaeology students in northern England scrape at the soil near Hadrian’s Wall, once a barrier that divided Roman Britannia from wild Caledonian tribes.
Twenty-year-old Noah makes an intriguing find, but hasn’t anticipated becoming the object of desire in a developing love triangle in the isolated academic community at Vindolanda. He is living his best life, but must learn to prioritise in a race against time to solve an astounding 2,000-year-old riddle, and an artefact theft, as if his career depends on it, because it does.

In the same place, in the year 180 C.E., Centurion Gaius Atticianus, hungover and unaware of the bloody conflicts that will soon challenge him, is rattled by the hoot of an owl, a bad omen.
These are the protagonists whose lives will brush together in the alternating strands of this dual timeline historical novel, one trying to get himself noticed and the other trying to stay intact as he approaches retirement.
How will the breathless battles fought by a Roman officer influence the fortunes of a twenty-first century archaeology mud rat? Can naive Noah, distracted by the attentions of two very different women, work out who to trust?
Find out in Tim Walker’s thrilling historical dual timeline novel, Guardians at the Wall.

I have tried to link the contemporary and historical strands of my story through objects and through themes, such as trust, loyalty, societal attitudes and locations. One object that fascinated Noah that is on display in the Vindolanda museum, is fragment of a glass drinking tankard with a hand-painted colour frieze around it depicting gladiators fighting (pictured). In my historical story, Gaius and his mates drink a toast to Saturn on the eve of the Saturnalia festival, downing the ale poured by a serving girl and passing it on to the next in their circle, each having to tell a story of bravery in battle. To think that Roman legionaries over 1,800 years ago would have drunk from this tankard in the tavern outside the walls of Vindolanda fort is amazing to me.
Here is what the Vindolanda guidebook says about this incredible discovery:

“A long strip building, situated just outside the west gate of the fort, was the Vindolanda tavern. here the people of Vindolanda would have been able to enjoy locally brewed beer and wines from across the Empire and hot food. The front of the building, facing onto the street was where the common room or bar was situated. Its ceiling was held up by pillars to provide an open social area, with a small kitchen set behind to supply meals to travellers and patrons. You can imagine this would have been a noisy and smelly room, on of the focal social points of Vindolanda in the 3rd century.

When excavated, the tavern produced the highest concentration of drinking vessels from the site. One of those vessels is a fragment of the beautifully painted gladiator glass cup (now in the museum). The tavern owners had planned for their future by burying 270 coins below the floor of the kitchen. Unfortunately for them they never had the chance to spend the money as it remained hidden until excavators located the hoard in the 1977 excavation. It is likely that some of the money, which you can now see on display in the Vindolanda museum, was used to buy a round or two of beer in the tavern, almost 1,800 years ago.”

Here’s an extract from Guardians at the Wall. It is the scene where Gaius Atticianus, Officer of the Watch, meets auxiliary soldier, Amborix, on the battlements at Vindolanda in 180 C.E. on a cold winter’s night:

“Thank you, sir – although I have been told something different,” Amborix replied, also turning to watch the shimmering lights. He was only a few months at the Wall, and had already spent his meagre wages on woollen socks and a thick tunic he wore day and night. He watched in silence as the mysterious wave of light added in new colours – red, blue, violet and yellow – as it climbed into the night sky. “This is a strange land,” he added, throwing a stone in the direction of a hoot from an owl, “and a cursed one. Our protector, Sol Invictus, will only rise from his slumber for a few short hours.”

Gaius decided to ignore his insolence and let him prattle on. His head still throbbed from the beer he had drunk with his unit at the tavern that afternoon to celebrate the start of the feast of Saturnalia. They had sacrificed a goat to Saturn and had roasted the meat on a spit beside the tavern. Now he regretted the last two toasts, but grinned at the memory of drunken tales of bravery on their last posting in the wild lands north of the Wall. A glass tankard depicting colourful gladiators fighting for their lives had been passed around his carousing mates – each making a toast and downing the contents as a serving girl stood by ready to re-fill it from a pitcher.

“It is indeed a strange and wild land, but you will see in the coming weeks that Sol Invictus will gain more hours and Artemis will sulk in her hall. The long days of summer will come to give me more time with my horses.” He adjusted his shoulder guard and turned to the youth. “In Rome they say this is an empire without end, but here we are, boy, at the wild edge of Empire, hemmed in by the Wall.”

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