Tag: historical

Tim’s Book Blog – Sept 2021

SEPTEMBER 2021
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly book blog. 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
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AUTHOR NEWS…

In my news, Guardians at the Wall continues to sell moderately well since its June launch, attracting a good number of page reads on Kindle Unlimited. 

My first attempt at dual timeline, it tells the story of student archaeologist, Noah Jessop, and his investigation into the life of Roman centurion, Gaius Atticianus. Both stories, although separated by 1,800 years, share the same locations – Vindolanda, Corbridge and Epiacum forts near Hadrian’s Wall.
It will be the subject of a second Kindle Countdown Deal when the e-book will be just 99p/c from 14th to 19th September, the perfect time to download your copy at the link below if you haven’t done so already… enjoy, and please leave a review!
Paperback £7.99/$8.99 or read on Kindle Unlimited:
AMAZON BOOK LINK

This month’s guest author is Dominic Fielder. Tell us about yourself, Dominic…

I’ve held a variety of working posts, some I’ve been good at, and others appalling. Before the world of Marvel and DC became popular, I ran a comic book store and worked for my parents’ family book business (which ran for 61 years and only recently closed). Either side of that, I worked in the Banking and Insurance sector, when such jobs seemed glamourous, but really weren’t, and as a telephone sales and alarm services clerk, which never seemed glamourous but allowed me to meet some interesting characters.

I undertook a History degree and after achieving First class honours had a change of direction in life. For the past ten years, I’ve become a tutor, specialising in Maths and English for students between years 5 and 11 (10 to 16 in old money). During lockdown, I moved my tuition to an on-line delivery whilst training to become a Secondary school Maths teacher. When I’m not doing those things, I try my best to be a reasonable father, and whatever free time is spare from those commitments, I give to writing.  

The King’s Germans series that I’m now working on, is a twenty book and twenty plus year commitment. Fingers crossed, I will stay the course.

Queen of the Citadels (King’s Germans Book 3) blurb

The new series for readers who enjoy Sharpe, Flashman or The Three Musketeers – discover the third book in the King’s Germans series which will take you from 1793 and the war in Flanders, to the Field of Waterloo in 1815.

October 1793: The French border.

Dunkirk was a disaster for the Duke of York’s army. The French, sensing victory before the winter, launch attacks along the length of the border. Menen is captured and the French now hold the whip hand. Nieuport and Ostend are threatened, and Sebastian Krombach finds himself involved in a desperate plan to stop the Black Lions as they spearhead the French advance. Werner Brandt and the men of 2nd Battalion race to Menen to counterattack and rescue Erich von Bomm and the 1st Grenadiers, whilst von Bomm struggles to save himself from his infatuation with a mysterious French vivandière. Meanwhile, dark and brooding, the citadel of Lille dominates the border. The Queen of the Citadels has never been captured by force. The allies must now keep Menen, which guards Flanders, and seize Lille to open the road to Paris. All of this must be done under the watchful eyes of a spy in the Austrian camp. Juliette of Marboré is fighting her own secret war to free Julian Beauvais, languishing in the Conciergerie prison, and waiting for his appointment with the guillotine, as the Terror rages in Paris.

Some of the reactions to the series so far…

The first good series on the wars of the French Revolution that I have read since Alexandre Dumas...” 5*

If you are looking for your next action-packed historical military series, this is it!” 5*

A great series, full of colourful, often unsavoury, characters set in a neglected period of warfare” 5*

BUY LINK

Follow the series on social media: FACEBOOK PAGE TWITTER

Check out books one and two in the series:

BOOK ONE BUY LINK BOOK TWO BUY LINK

International Literacy Day, 8th September 2021

Since 1967, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has celebrated an International Literacy Day around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist with at least 773 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills today.

I took the opportunity to participate in a literacy promotion project in Zambia from 1995 to 1996 through the British overseas aid organisation, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). My role was marketing and book distribution adviser and trainer attached to the Booksellers and Publishers Association of Zambia. I ran workshops for indigenous publishers, organised the annual book fair, and delivered one-to-one consultancy, to help give association members the skills to promote their own school curriculum books and materials and so reduce the reliance on international companies like MacMillan and Oxford University Press. I was one of a team of five volunteers with different aspects of publishing skills and experience. One promotion we worked on together was the publishing and launch of Zambian President, Frederick Chiluba’s book, Democracy: The Challenge of Change at the 1996 Zambia Book Fair.

In February 1995 I took my laptop with me, did what research I could in country, and produced my presentation slides in PowerPoint – something relatively new in Zambia. The only Internet Service Provider at the time was a University of Zambia project called ZAMNET, and their flaky dial-up service only had a one-mile radius from campus! This involved physically going there to dial in to receive and send emails, and to do a bit of internet surfing. Part of my presentation and follow-on consultancy was setting up small publishers with internet accounts and email, and introducing them to information sources for their sales and marketing activities. Ground breaking stuff that was both enjoyable and rewarding.

But the work of the developed world in supporting people in developing country is, and must be, ongoing. Narrowing the divide through information and skills sharing must be the long-term solution to reducing the appeal of widespread economic migration to Europe. The Zambian economy has leapt forward in the new millennium, with a new professional class emerging to work for regional and international companies and organisations, or setting up their own businesses. Education, literacy and access to resources are vital to emerging economies who can become, in time, self-supporting nation states.

International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 will be celebrated on 8th September under the theme, “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”.

The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, disproportionally affecting 773 million non-literate young people and adults. Youth and adult literacy were absent in many initial national response plans, while numerous literacy programmes have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.

Tim (far right) and his publishing workshop group

Even in the times of global crisis, efforts have been made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning.  Access to literacy learning opportunities, however, has not been evenly distributed. The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.  

The pandemic, however, was a reminder of the critical importance of literacy. Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. It is also a driver for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy, therefore, is central to a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. ILD 2021 will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. By doing so, ILD2021 will be an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic.

Tim’s Book Blog – August 2021

28TH JULY 2021 / TIMWALKER1666 / 0 COMMENTS / EDIT

AUGUST 2021

This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly book blog. 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

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THEAKSTON CRIME FESTIVAL REVIEW
In this covid-calamity year, the on-off 2021 edition of the popular Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate finally went ahead, with caution and an absence of international big names, between 22-25 July.

Mark Billingham and Richard Osman

With covid-safe protocols in place, the author talks took place outdoors under a massive marquee tent on the rear lawn of the Old Swan Hotel. I had attended the festival in 2019 and decided, with a friend, to visit our mate in Harrogate again for a social weekend.
We only booked two events – a short story writing panel discussion led by Ian Rankin on the Saturday, and the celebrity author interview – Richard Osman interviewed by Mark Billingham – on Sunday. Both were entertaining and informative, although Stuart Neville’s late withdrawal from the short story panel through illness meant I didn’t get to hear him talk about his new collection of crime shorts, The Traveller, or get my copy signed. Ian Rankin was an enthusiastic and ever-present Chair of the organising committee, introducing most of the sessions. 

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From a short list of six, the winner of the 2021 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is Chris Whitaker. His third novel, We Begin at the End, is a powerful story of crime, punishment, love and redemption set in coastal California.
Mick Herron was the special guest author, interviewed by N.J. Cooper, and although I missed this, I bought a signed copy of his new crime thriller, The Slough House. I also came away with a proof copy of former Labour MP, Alan Johnson’s, first attempt at a thriller, The Late Train to Gypsy Hill, due for autumn release. I look forward to reading them all, together with Richard Osman’s record-breaking bestseller, The Thursday Murder Club.

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The articulate House of Games and Pointless quiz master, Osman, spoke with warmth about how visits to his mother in a retirement village inspired him to write a mystery novel (soon to be 4-book series) where the elderly residents of a care home investigate a murder. Now it’s an international bestseller and Steven Spielberg’s company will be making the film next year. Richard has already written the follow-up, The Man Who Died Twice, due for launch in September. It seems his early mentor was the man interviewing him, Mark Billingham, and his prompts revealed personal details of their meetings to discuss the embryonic concept. I always enjoy listening to authors discussing the writing process.

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In my news, Guardians at the Wall has sold moderately well since its June launch, attracting a good number of page reads on Kindle Unlimited. 
It will be the subject of a Kindle Countdown Deal when the e-book will be just 99p/c from 28th July to 2nd August, so hurry and download your copy at the link below!
Paperback £7.99/$8.99 or read on Kindle Unlimited:
AMAZON BOOK LINK

This month’s guest author is Pam Lecky. Pam is an Irish historical fiction author, writing crime and mystery with a dash of romance. Pam is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency in London. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Authors and has a particular love of the late Victorian era/early 20th Century.

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In November 2020, Pam signed with Avon Books UK/Harper Collins in a two-book deal. The first book in the historical thriller series, Her Secret War, will be published in October 2021; the sequel in 2022.

Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; and longlisted for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award.

Her short stories are available in an anthology, entitled Past Imperfect, which was published in April 2018.

June 2019, saw the release of the first book in the Lucy Lawrence Mystery series, No Stone Unturned, a fast-paced Victorian mystery/crime, set in London and Yorkshire which was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, Footprints in the Sand, set in Egypt, was released in March 2020. She is currently working on the third book in the series, The Art of Deception, which will be published in late 2021.

Pam’s Links:
Amazon
Facebook
Twitter
Author website
Instagram
Goodreads

HER SECRET WAR by Pam Lecky
Published by: Avon Books UK/Harper Collins
Release date: 14th October 2021

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A life-changing moment
May 1941: German bombs drop on Dublin taking Sarah Gillespie’s family and home. Days later, the man she loves leaves Ireland to enlist.
A heart-breaking choice
With nothing to keep her in Ireland and a burning desire to help the war effort, Sarah seeks refuge with relatives in England. But before long, her father’s dark past threatens to catch up with her.
A dangerous mission
Sarah is asked to prove her loyalty to Britain through a special mission. Her courage could save lives. But it could also come at the cost of her own…

A gripping story that explores a deadly tangle of love and espionage in war-torn Britain, perfect for fans of Pam Jenoff, Kate Quinn and Kate Furnivall.

Pre-Order Link: Available to pre-order now

Finally, there’s a new historical magazine on the e-book shelf. Issue one of Historical Times launched on 1st August… and it’s FREE to subscribers! Set up by author Sam Taw, all articles have been written by a collective of historical authors. The theme of issue one is The Romans. It’s available to read online only, so join the Historical Times community and read via this link: HISTORICAL TIMES. Issue 2 will be on the Tudors.

April 2021 Newsletter

April 2021 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
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Author News
My new book, Guardians at the Wall, is due out on 1st June. It’s a dual timeline historical novel, set at Hadrian’s Wall. The main protagonist is Noah Jessop, a student undergraduate on a dig, who digs up a carved stone goddess. His professor, Maggie Wilde, identifies it as Brigantia, the protector of the local tribe, the Brigantes. This is the first of a few objects that connect the contemporary story to the historical account of Centurion Gaius Atticianus, in second century Britannia, that runs parallel through the novel.

I’ll share some of Professor Maggie Wilde’s research into the goddess Brigantia with you. The name of the tribe, ‘Brigante’ means ‘the high ones’, suggesting they were a dominant tribe over lesser neighbours, and Brigantia fulfils the function of being the high goddess over all others, the great protector of her people. The Romans recognised this and were keen to co-opt her into their belief system, twinning her with various deities including Minerva, Fortuna and Caelestis, the latter a North African moon goddess who was also co-opted by the Romans, from whom we get the word ‘celestial’.

Whilst the archaeologists are looking for meaning in their finds, Gaius is gifted the goddess statuette and presents it to his wife, Aria. Her reaction surprises him, as she is from a southern tribe and regards the Brigantes and their deities as foreign. She reminds her husband that their household is watched over by the water goddess of her people, Sulis, twinned with Minerva, and she won’t countenance having a rival deity in the house. Incidentally, the Roman name for the city of Bath was Aquae Sulis – ‘the waters of Sulis’.

This was too much for Gaius, who stalked off for a warming bath after a hard day in the saddle splitting enemy skulls. Aria picked her moment, one night, to return the offending goddess to her people. She sneaked out to bury it outside the shrine to Brigantia in the native settlement outside Vindolanda fort. It was then excavated by Noah some 1,800 years later.

The picture shows a stone altar carving of the goddess Brigantia, here twinned with the Roman goddess, Caelestis, that can be found in the Museum of Scotland.
(picture source: pinterest board)

This month’s guest author is Elizabeth Keysian. Elizabeth is an international bestselling author of heart-pounding Regency romances, set mostly in the West of England. She is working on a fresh series for Dragonblade Publishing called Trysts and Treachery, which is set in the Tudor era.

Though primarily a writer of romance, she loves to put a bit of mystery, adventure, and suspense into her stories, and refuses to let her characters take themselves too seriously.

Elizabeth likes to write from experience, not easy when her works range from the medieval to the Victorian eras. However, her passion for re-enactment has helped, as have the many years she spent working in museums and British archaeology. If you find some detail in her work you’ve never come across before, you can bet she either dug it up, quite literally, or found it on a museum shelf.

Workhouse Waif
How can Bella Hart escape the hell of the Victorian workhouse?
Fleeing the abuse that she suffered there, the lonely outcast hopes her new life in a factory town can provide the esteem and affection she craves.
Torn between the worlds of masters and workers, Bella falls for the enigmatic Jack, but their relationship shatters when his true identity is revealed. In a desperate bid to revive her love, Jack unearths Bella’s past, with tragic consequences.
After a devastating fire, a secret emerges that seals Bella’s fate, and that of everyone and everything she holds dear.
Fans of Catherine Cookson and Victorian historical romances will love this book.

Here’s the universal BUY link-
http://mybook.to/workhouse

Social media/web links:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cxe369
Amazon page: 
https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Keysian/e/B06VVL9JMB/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EKeysian
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/LizKeysian
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/elizabeth-keysian?list=about
Website: https://elizabethkeysian.com/

This month, it’s Geoffrey Chaucer! He wrote his great work, The Canterbury Tales in the 1390’s. It’s about the stories a group of pilgrims told each other as they made their way to the shrine of Saint Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, and is regarded as one of the great founding works of English literature.

April Fools’ has been celebrated in the UK since the beginning of the 19th century but there are lots of different theories and explanations about where it originally came from.

The first of April some do say,
Is set apart for All Fools’ Day;
But why the people call it so
Nor I, nor they themselves, do know…
18th century folk rhyme

In the English-speaking world, some have traced April Fools’ Day back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales, in which a cocky rooster named Chauntecleer and the arrogant fox named Reynard battle wits.
The story begins with the melodramatic Chauntecleer waking from a nightmare where he is murdered by a fox. His wife tells him it’s probably just gas and to get over it. But later that day, Reynard the Fox shows up to flatter Chauntecleer on his beautiful singing. Never missing an opportunity to show off, the rooster crows and Reynard immediately snatches him up while all Chauntecleer’s barnyard friends give chase.

As the fox runs away with Chauntecleer’s neck in his mouth, the rooster asks Reynard to tell the farm animals to give up their futile chase. And as soon as the fox opens his mouth to taunt them, Chauntecleer flies up a tree out of Reynard’s reach.
This silly little tale is told in a parody of a great epic that all takes place on the 1st of April. Steel yourself for some Middle English:

Whan that the month in which the world bigan,
That highte March, whan God first maked man,
Was complet, and passed were also,
Sin March bigan, thritty dayes and two,
Bifel that Chauntecleer, in al his pryde,
His seven wyves walking by his syde,
Caste up his eyen to the brighte sonne,
That in the signe of Taurus hadde y-ronne
Twenty degrees and oon, and somwhat more;
And knew by kynde, and by noon other lore,
That it was pryme, and crew with blisful stevene.

This translated as:
The month of March—the same month when God had made the world and first made mankind—had passed, and the day was April 1. Proud Chanticleer, with his seven wives at his side, looked up at the bright sun, which was more than 21˚ through the sign of Taurus. His natural instinct alone told him that it was nine o’clock in the morning, and he crowed happily at the top of his lungs.
(Source: sparknotes.com)

The phrasing here is a little awkward, so “since March began, thirty days and two” might actually refer to either May 2nd or April 1st. April 1st is 32 days after March 1st, and May 2nd is 32 days after the last day of March. But either way, the first of April soon evolved into a popular day for pranks and tricks.

Newsletter – January 2021

JANUARY 2021

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

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

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

What would you do to protect the ones you love?

The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl

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

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

Her first novel is:  Weave a Web of Witchcraft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tammany Adieu
By Michael le Vin

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

Newsletter – December 2020

DECEMBER 2020

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

Author News
I’m closing the year on a high, with the news that my June 2020 historical novel, Arthur Rex Brittonum was short-listed for the Historical Fiction Book of the Year 2020 (early Medieval period) Award in the prestigious Coffee Pot Book Club Awards. I’ll take a runners-up medal in a hard-fought field.
It was reviewed in June by Mary Anne Yarde of the Coffee Pot Book Club and received a ‘Highly recommended’ badge. These were her impressions:
“From the desperate battle at Mount Badon to the harrowing final confrontation at Camlann, Arthur Rex Brittonum by Tim Walker is the enthralling story of the latter half of King Arthur’s reign.
With an engrossing sense of time and place, Walker has presented his readers with a novel that is as rich in historical detail as it is in story.

I was eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages series. I am pleased to report that the wait was most definitely worth it. This book was simply brilliant!”
The author presents his readers with a plausible Arthur – a very human Arthur, who stumbles, falls, makes mistakes and has moments of unbearable guilt.
I thought Walker’s portrayal of Arthur was very authentic in the telling, and he was a character I relish reading about. I highly recommend.”
Available from Amazon in PAPERBACK and KINDLE
Also, in i-books, Kobo, Nook and others

This month’s guest author is Pam Lecky. Pam is an Irish historical fiction author, writing crime, and mystery with a dash of romance. She is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency in London and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Authors.

Pam has a particular love of the late Victorian era/early 20th Century. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; and long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award. Her short stories are available in an anthology, entitled Past Imperfect, which was published in April 2018.

June 2019, saw the release of the first book in the Lucy Lawrence Mystery series, No Stone Unturned, a fast-paced Victorian mystery/crime, set in London and Yorkshire which was recently awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, Footprints in the Sand, set in Egypt, was released in March 2020. She is currently working on the third book in the series, The Art of Deception, and a new series of WW2 espionage novels.

Pam’s Links:
Amazon
Facebook
Twitter
www.pamlecky.com­­
Instagram
Goodreads 

No Stone Unturned is the first book in Pam’s Victorian series and the e-book has reduced to 99p/99c for the month of December… click the title to buy now!
Also available as AUDIOBOOK (USA only)

Book Blurb: A suspicious death, stolen gems and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?

London October 1886: Trapped in a troubled marriage, Lucy Lawrence is ripe for an adventure. But when she meets the enigmatic Phineas Stone, over the body of her husband in the mortuary, her world begins to fall apart.

When her late husband’s secrets spill from the grave, and her life is threatened by the leader of London’s most notorious gang, Lucy must find the strength to rise to the challenge. But who can she trust and how is she to stay out of the murderous clutches of London’s most dangerous criminal?

Here’s a seasonal extract from my 2018 historical novel, Uther’s Destiny…

Winter Equinox at The Stones

Stars winked in the deep blue blanket above them as the promise of dawn seeped upwards from the distant edge of the World; a golden glow that prompted the start of the ceremony. Druids holding burning brands chanted to the steady beat of hand drums as a line of riders wrapped in bearskin cloaks watched, their breath trails mingling with those of their horses, rising like the souls of the departed buried beneath, making their way in twisting tendrils to the netherworld.
“Merlin, this had better be the sight you have much talked of,” King Uther growled, his horse stamping impatiently on the frozen earth.
“My lord,” Merlin replied, “This is the dawn on midwinter day for which these stones were erected and aligned by the ancients who understood the movements of the sun and moon. We are blessed with a clear sight of the rising sun, and you will soon see it shine through yonder stone portal and light up the altar on which a sacrifice will be made to the goddess Beira for seeing us through another winter…”
“My lord!” Bishop Andreus interrupted, causing Uther to turn to his left.
“What is it?” Uther demanded of the shivering, tonsured priest, his white face peeping out from his cowl.
“Beira is a pagan goddess of the druidic religion of the dark forests, banned by our former Roman masters,” he said through chattering teeth. “It is not long since the people bowed to the Roman god Saturn at their feast of Saturnalia…”
“And what is your point?” Merlin challenged.
“My point is, the Romans have now departed, taking their gods with them! The older ways of the ancients have passed into legend, banished by the one true Christian God to the dark corners of this land. I urge you to turn away from this base pagan bloodletting and embrace this day as the feast day of the birth of our saviour, Jesus the Christ. For our God is the one true light of the world…”
Uther raised a hand to silence him. “Save the sermon for later, bishop. Now let us bear witness to the mysteries of nature revealed to us.”

The smell of incense mixed with sandalwood wafted before them as Merlin pointed, drawing Uther’s attention away from the fretting bishop towards the stone altar and the light now bathing it in an eerie glow. Three druids stepped from the shadows, each holding a struggling creature in one hand and a raised knife in the other. Fowls clucked their desperation and kids screamed as their throats were cut and their blood dripped into silver goblets. The drummers increased their tempo as men and women dressed in animal skins and masks danced around the altar where the druids chanted and held their hands up to welcome the rising sun.
“This is an impressive sight,” Uther said, grinning his pleasure at Merlin. Bright yellow sunlight was illuminating a hitherto unseen ceremonial avenue bounded by rounded stones from east to west, cutting through the centre of the stone circle.
A golden shaft beamed through the windows of the largest pairs of standing stones on opposing sides of the circle, now in perfect alignment with the rising sun, like a bolt from the gods.
“From this day onwards, our days grow longer,” Merlin said, “and hope is restored to the people after the darkness of winter, and the earth is reborn.”
“You are forgiven for calling me out on such a cold night,” Uther said to Merlin, a broad smile cracking his frozen beard. He turned his horse to signal his readiness to leave and remarked to Bishop Andreus: “And, dear Bishop, we shall pray to the baby Jesus in our church, then progress to our hall where we shall raise a goblet to ALL the gods that they may grant us success in our campaign against the Saxons. Onwards!”

Newsletter jan 2020

This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com
F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M
AUTHOR NEWS
Happy new year to you all. The highlight of my 2019 was launching book four in my A Light in the Dark Ages series, Arthur Dux Bellorum, on 1st March. It was with some trepidation that I approached writing my version of the King Arthur story, aware that I was treading a well-worn road, and that my offering might be rubbished or shot down in flames by the legion of Arthurian fans. As it happened, it was well received, even in hardcore Arthurian Legend Facebook groups.

Since September I have been researching and writing the follow-up, Arthur Rex Brittonum, and hope to have it ready launch by May 2020 (progress has been hampered by illness that has negatively impacted momentum).

However, I’d like to sign off for the year and by thanking all those who read and reviewed Arthur Dux, and I’ll leave you with a handful of glowing review comments…
• I really loved this book. The characters come alive with Tim’s very descriptive writing. I really felt like I was there with Arthur and part of his life and events.
• The author has certainly done his research with this book as it covers all the old legends along with all the new information that has been found recently to make this the most up to date story based on Arthur that I have ever read.
As with the previous books the story flows brilliantly and the fight scenes are really well written along with the locations and characters.
• I enjoyed it – historical fiction with a smattering of magic – a really good read.
• An exciting journey. Into a wee world of sorcery, knights, battles and of course fair maidens. A great read, brilliant storytelling of the rise of Arthur as a warrior wielding his legendary sword Excalibur.
• Great storytelling, excellent battle scenes, interesting new ideas about the legendary Arthur and his impact on Britain in the Dark Ages. Looking forward to reading the next instalment in this series!
• Tim Walker doesn’t just begin this story with a boy and end it with a man. Arthur’s right of passage wasn’t served on a plate, he earned every man’s respect and grew with age into a legend that is still talked about. The story is mesmerizing, brutal and stunning. Loving this series.
• Arthur, Dux Bellorum is the sort of engaging historical fiction I’m always delighted to discover; this is described as book four of four but I hope there is more to come as I will definitely be reading any future books in the series and look forward to catching up with the previous novels.

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

Dying to be Born’ is the third installment in Jane Jago and EM Swift-Hook’s entralling book series based on the Dai and Julia characters.

You see… In a modern-day Britain where the Roman Empire never left, Dai and Julia find themselves pitted against their most dangerous and implacable enemy yet, whilst still having to manage the inevitable family, friendship and domestic crises.  The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus includes the three novellas ‘Dying on the Streets’, ‘Dying to be Innocent’ and ‘Dying to Find Proof’ plus several exclusive short stories.

Here’s one of the exclusive bonus short stories The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook

            “And what do you think Llewellyn?”
            The voice of the Magistratus cut into Dai’s thoughts. He had been attending a meeting on the monthly crime figures for Demetae and Cornovii, a meeting which he usually came to armed to the teeth with relevant figures and ready to make a strong case for increasing the hours allocated to the crimes which affected the ordinary people and not those which impacted only the Roman elite. But this time he had turned up empty-handed and with only the vaguest idea of the figures which he had read through on his palmtop in the few minutes that elapsed between his arrival at his office in the Basilica Viriconia and the start of this meeting.
            “I ..uh…”
            He became painfully aware of the over-sharp look he received from the other individual in the room, his opposite number and fellow Submagistratus, Agrippina Julius Valerius Apollinara. It felt like he had Divine disapproval since she was of the great reforming Emperor’s bloodline even only if a distant and forgotten cul-de-sac of that.
            The Magistratus tapped a finger on the print-out in front of him.
            “I am not so surprised you have no opinion, these figures are a little troubling. Whereas the team under Submagistratus Julius Valerius has been making great strides and inroads into crime on all fronts, your own teams seem to be failing badly. Especially that of Senior Investigator Cartimel, his clear-up rate has bottomed out at an all-time low. How would you explain that Llewellyn?”
            It was hard to be sure from the perturbed frown on his face whether Magistratus Sextus Catus Bestia was genuinely more concerned about the poor figures or about there being some underlying problem which might explain them. Dai decided to try for the truth – tactfully.
            “The cases we have been assigned are…”
“Ones I feel are best suited to your skillset – local knowledge, British crimes.”
It was hard to disagree with that. Bryn Cartivel stood far more chance of making headway with those on the lowest rungs of the social ladder than the man shipped in from the provincial capital to cover, on a temporary basis, the Senior Investigator role for Agrippina Julius. That had needed to happen following the tragic death in action of her previous SI. A death she still seemed to place somehow at Dai’s door. It was an eternal elephant in the room every time they were forced into professional contact.
The one person Dai knew who might have been able to resolve it all was Julia, his Roman born wife, but Julia…
He jerked his thoughts away with a near-physical reaction. He couldn’t let himself go there. Not here. Not now.
“Cartivel is doing a solid job,” he said quickly, “but the cases you are assign – I mean the cases he is being assigned are those which take a lot of investigation. They are anything but open and shut.”
“Really?” Bestia frowned down his nose at a line his finger had come to rest on. “So the fact that a spate of robberies that just happened to coincide with the return to the area of a known criminal from a sentence of three years hard labour for petty theft took a lot of investigation?”
“Gillie had an alibi for each occasion – rock-solid ones. The man has only just got back to his wife and children he’s not about to…”
“These people will always alibi each other, they can’t be trusted. No. Just tell Carnival to arrest the man and we’ll let the courts decide. See how many of his low-life alibis are willing to speak up for him under oath before the face of the Divine Diocletian.”
And that was the problem. Whilst most might be willing to speak to Bryn and tell him what they knew, none would have the courage to step into a Roman court with the knowledge that their evidence if dismissed, could result in a charge against them for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
“SI Cartivel has a strong line of enquiry…”
“Just do what I suggested, eh?” the Magistratus dropped an odd avuncular wink. “And then your SI can get on with something else a bit more important. His dithering around with these open and shut cases does make me wonder if he’s not really up to the speed of modern Vigiles work. He must be close to retirement now.”
“He has another five years before…”
“Exactly. This is a younger man’s job. Now tell him to make the arrest, it really is for the best. Then we can close the case, improve the figures and move on.”

Universal Book Link
EM’s author page
Jane’s author page
EM’s twitter
Jane’s Twitter

No poem actually, just a drabble.
What is a drabble? I hear you shout. Let me tell you…
It is a short story of no more than 100 words in length, a form at which the aforementioned Jane Jago is a master (or mistress, perhaps).
This one was written by me shortly after the apocalyptic images of Notre Dame Cathedral burning in April 2019 flashed across my television screen. I intend to put this and other short prose, together with odd verse, into a collection I shall call ‘Perverse’ and hope to publish in early 2020.

Morte de Notre Dame

The hoot of a barn owl was met by the stony glare of a gargoyle, fashioned by medieval masons to guard the holy building from evil. But tonight, they have failed.
A wraith-like figure danced down the aisle, glowing in the cavernous darkness, revenge on her mind.
Orange and yellow flames licked the inside of the monstrous granite cathedral, feeding off rows of wooden pews, torching tapestries and melting lead in stained glass windows that popped colourful shards.
Esmerelda smiled as she skipped barefoot through the barred oak doors, out into the silent square, past the scene of her murder.

Newsletter – Sept 2019

AUTHOR NEWS… I have enjoyed my summer break (beneath a wide-brimmed hat) with family and am now poised over the keyboard to plot my next fiction books. During the holidays my daughter Cathy and I discussed the storyline for Charly in Space, and I will devote this month to writing up a first draft of what will be book three in our Adventures of Charly Holmes series.

I have also read two historical novels, both different and excellent in their own way. The first, The Head in the Ice, is a gripping Victorian crime thriller from debut author, Richard James. I attended his book launch in the small bookshop in Cookham some months ago, and am pleased to see from his reviews that the book has been well received.

Richard James (left) with Tim Walker

The second was recommended to me as an example of expert historical fiction writing, and it has not disappointed. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick is sweeping epic set in 12th century when the Norman legacy is splintering through civil wars and family feuds, non more intriguing than in the court of King Henry II and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is the story of English knight, William Marshal, and his rise to royal favour as the guardian of the king-to-be, Henry. The author’s superb grasp of historical detail and expert storytelling, particularly her use of metaphor to conjure up detail in beautifully constructed scenes, is something I hope I can learn from.

My own autumn and winter project will be to plot and write the follow-up to Arthur Dux Bellorum, and hope I can do justice to the second half of my King Arthur story. Working title – Arthur Rex Britonnum (if you have any better suggestions please let me know!)

Also… I’ve been invited by Slough Libraries to take part in their Local Author Showcase at The Curve on Wednesday 25th September from 7.30pm. Come along if you can!

For more information: https://www.slough.gov.uk/libraries

I’m pleased to welcome fellow indie author, Colin Garrow, to my newsletter/blog this month. I have read a couple of Colin’s books and have thoroughly enjoyed his easy style and wry Northern humour. Over to you, Colin – tell us a bit about yourself…

I grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and have worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. I’ve also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. As well as several stage plays, I’ve written eleven novels, all of which are available as eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble etc.

My short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days I live in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where I write novels, stories. poems and the occasional song.

I’ve been interested in murder/mysteries since I was a kid, and grew up reading series like The Hardy Boys, and The Three Investigators, before moving on to grown-up novels by Agatha Christie and Stephen King. Initially, I wrote stage plays but started writing novels for children back in 2013, beginning with my first book The Devil’s Porridge Gang. Since then I’ve penned another five books for middle grade readers and my books for adults include the Watson Letters (a spoof Sherlock Holmes adventure series) and the Terry Bell Mysteries. I’ve just released the second of these, A Long Cool Glass of Murder and the next one, Taxi for a Dead Man should be out by Christmas.

A Long Cool Glass of Murder (The Terry Bell Mysteries Book 2)

When taxi driver and amateur sleuth Terry takes on a new client, he doesn’t expect her to turn up dead. With echoes of his recent past coming back to haunt him, can he work out what’s going on before someone else gets killed?

‘Charis Brown’s elfin-like smile was, like the footsteps on the stairs, noticeably absent. She looked at me, looked at the dead woman and let out the sort of sigh I knew from experience meant it was going to be a long night.’

‘A Long Cool Glass of Murder’ is book #2 in the Terry Bell Mystery series.

If you love mysteries and amateur sleuthing, ski-mask-wearing villains and the occasional bent copper, this’ll be right up your everyday seaside-town street.

You can find my books on Amazon and Smashwords, and links and more info about my writing are on my websites:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colin-Garrow/e/B014Z5DZD4

https://www.smashwords.com/

https://colingarrow.org/ (for Adult readers)

https://colingarrowbooks.com/ (for middle grade, teens and YA)

https://thewatsonletters.com/ (The Watson Letters Blog)

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

Book Blog Newsletter – March 2018

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

AUTHOR NEWS

The third and final book in Tim Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages series, Uther’s Destiny, is set to launch on 9th March. This novel completes the series he began writing in July 2015 with the novella, Abandoned!, inspired by a visit to the site of former Roman town, Calleva Atrebatum (Silchester in Hampshire). It was Tim’s intention with this series to create an ‘alternative history’ of life in Britannia in the Fifth Century. This is the time immediately after the Roman occupation ended (in 410 AD) and his narrative incorporates elements of the Arthurian legend, as described by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain, published in 1136.

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

UTHER’S DESTINY – Pre-order now!

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

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

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

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

This month we welcome British dystopian novelist, Stuart Kenyon.  Stuart prefers to write in public places, tapping away as the world passes by, and he plots his stories whilst out walking the dog. He has always enjoyed reading disturbing tales which explore the darkness at the heart of the human condition, and his characters are devised with this in mind.

As the father of a severely autistic son, the author has pledged to donate a fifth of all royalties from the SUBNORMAL series to his local Special Educational Needs school. They are raising money to provide much-needed sensory equipment for the children. The treatment of disabled people in Britain – in particular the cuts in welfare benefits for society’s most vulnerable – provided Stuart with the inspiration for his original trilogy. The Brexit vote, and the lurch to the right in politics across the Western World, prompted him to write SWIFTLY SHARPENS THE FANG.

Stuart lives in Greater Manchester, England with his wife and two young children. Despite wanting to pen a novel since reading English Literature at the University of Salford, he didn’t start writing until 2014. He released the final part of the SUBNORMAL series in May 2016, and has recently written a new novel, SWIFTLY SHARPENS THE FANG, which released 30th January 2017. Currently, he is writing a post-apocalyptic science fiction series, which should be finished by the end of 2018.

@StuartKenyon81 (Twitter)
Stuart Kenyon – Author of Dystopian Novels (Facebook)
stuartkenyon.wordpress.com (website)
Book Links:
bit.ly/subnormal1 (Subnormal)
bit.ly/subnormal2 (Supernormal)
bit.ly/subnormal3 (Postnormal)
bit.ly/swiftlybk (Swiftly Sharpens the Fang)

David Bowie: Star Man

A personal reminiscence by Linnet Lane
1973.  Enter David Bowie, my first musical idol…

Not a hand-me-down crush.
Not copy-cat crooner nor harmonising hoofer.
Boys and girls, we all wanted to BE Bowie, not to bed Bowie.  Or so we said.
In a suffocation of affiliates – stick with, stick to, stick in the bubble -gum bovver boys and soul sisters –   Bowie stuck out.
He struck out, struck up, struck US, and lightning-struck Ziggy Stardust.
Bowie’s cosmic visionary, ungendered by grease paint, whined in the key of light,
Crashing and lapping like a lover on the shore of our sensibilities.
We Major Tommed and Jean Genied all our sixteenth summer long,
Took the songs to our hearts and the genius for granted.
John, I’m Only Dancing.
Dancing out loud in dazzling colours.

Yesterday a grey locked, death locked, grave garbed image
Shared the only vision the rest of us ever had, one of parting.
Didn’t rage against the dying of the light, but bent its last rays to a spot for his thorn-bird song,
Effortlessly in tune at last.

Major Tim, floating in his ’tin can’, twixt a new earth and a new heaven, mourns.
His life trailed by art.
The tide is far out. And the stars look very different tonight.

By Linnet

It’s customary to list partners, offspring and pets as a breastplate against literary rejection…  I live with a supportive collection of houseplants in a nineteen-sixties semi within a Yorkshire village that tries hard. The pen name Linnet (the storyteller in Lucy M Boston’s ‘Children of Green Knowe’) wakes my imagination.  I wrote my first complete story in 2014, forty years after study got in the way of writing for its own sake, and have begun to build a collection.
This poem is a one-off.

 

 

 

Postcards from London

The city of London is the star of this collection of fifteen engaging stories from author Tim Walker. Drawing on the vivid history of the city where he has both lived and worked, Postcards from London celebrates the magnificently multi-faceted metropolis that is home to 8.8 million people.

Imagine Iron Age fishermen, open-mouthed to see Roman galleys, rowed by slaves, dropping anchor at their village – a place the Romans would turn into the port and fortified town of Londinium. These Romans were the first of many men of vision who would come to shape the city we see today.

London’s long and complex history almost defies imagination, but the author has conjured citizens from many familiar eras, and some yet to be imagined. Turn over these picture postcards to explore his city through a collage of human dramas told in a range of genres. See the tumult of these imagined lives spotlighted at moments in London’s past, present and, who knows, perhaps its future.

Each postcard on the front cover relates to a story inside the book…

http://myBook.to/PostcardsFromLondon

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