Wednesday, 14 November 2012



What is the title of your next book?

It’s called The Wolf Banner and follows on from my debut novel Sons of the Wolf. It continues the saga of Wulfhere’s life and the reader will discover more about the historical events that led to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Invasion.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

My Sons of the Wolf series was inspired by David Howarth’s “1066 the Year of The Conquest”.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely Historical Fiction

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm, I think that Wulfhere should be played by someone like Kevin McKidd. Edward the Confessor would be Jeremy Irons. If Daniel Craig was a wee bit taller he would definitely make the best Harold Godwinson ever. I’d like to see James Purefoy in their somewhere but not sure who I would cast him as yet. Brian Cox would be good as Leofnoth and Jeremy Irvine as Aemund. For the women I would think that Naomi Watts should play Ealdgytha and Scarlet Johanssen as Freyda. Harold’s Eadgyth should be played by Eva Green and Queen Edith should be played by Kate Beckinsale. Finally, the actress I would like to see cast as Alfgyva would be Emily Blunt. Mind I’m sure there would be others better but thats all I can think of at the moment.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self Published

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Originally Sons of the Wolf and The Wolf Banner was one big book and it took me 6 years to write and research. However realising it was far too an ambitious project for my first novel, I made it into two books.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think my story compares to Bernard Cornwell in the sense he takes a fictional character and plonks him in a historical setting. I find it easier to write about fictional characters rather than real because with fictional, you can make him be and do whatever you want without having to stick to facts. Don’t get me wrong though, I make sure my book as historically accurate as it can be.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always wanted to write since I was a young girl reading the likes of Rosemary Sutcliffe, Leon Garfield and Dickens.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It has everything, love, romance, blood feuds, family rivalry, battles and intrigue. It’s an emotional roller coaster of adventure interwoven with historical facts and details.
Click on the link or more info about my current novel  Sons of the Wolf

I’d like to tag, in my turn, these writers:

Tony Franks Buckley
Christy K Robinson

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Author Spotlight: Kathleen Morris, Writer of Christian Fiction


I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and love to put a little bit of it in each book I write. My favorite genre is Christian Fiction Suspense but I've written poems and songs as well as many plays over the years.

I look at my writing as my ministry. I like to write about 'real' Christian people with flaws and show how they overcome them. I think we are all the same basically, with the same pressures in life, the same difficulties. I know I like to read about that and love to incorporate it all in my stories so we can all learn from each other.

I enjoy sitting in my office typing away. If you were a fly on my wall, you'd find me smirking, laughing, grumbling, and yes...even crying as I write my characters lives.

I consider my books as my babies...and I have two. Deep Bay Vengeance and Deep Bay Relic are two books in my first series. I thoroughly enjoyed writing both of them even though it took me ten years to get them published. I'm currently working on my next series. The Blood War Series...but for now...I will keep that a secret:)

I have raised three grown children and find that my nest is empty now since they have all moved away...but since I've filled it with my new babies...I never feel alone. Yes I see my grown children often and spend time with my hubby of twenty five years...but I always seem to be thinking of story ideas because writing is and always will be my passion!

Links to Kathleen's books
Download Purchasing Links: DEEP BAY VENGEANCE (BOOK ONE) :
Barnes & Noble :
Kobo :
Sony :
Apple :
Amazon :
Diesel :

Barnes & Noble :
Kobo :
Sony :
Apple :
Amazon :
Diesel :

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Author Interview Susie Hanley

  1. What is your book about?
Muse is an adult urban fantasy about a woman who finds out she is a Muse and gains some interesting abilities. The story is about her coming to terms with her new role in life, adjusting to having some superhero type Guardians stalking her every move and all the while, keeping her kids safe.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of a Muse, that unseen force that influences our endeavors. Even more intriguing is the idea that a person in our lives can be our Muse. This was such an unexplored idea that I wanted to build upon it and bring something new to the Urban Fantasy genre.

3. What makes your book different than others in your genre?
There are two things that really make Muse different to the Urban Fantasy genre. The first is simply the idea: it has never been done before. This uniqueness also makes for a bit of difficulty since people don't, generally, have any idea of what a Muse is. For example: if I told you I wrote a book about vampires, you'd have some idea of what that means (they probably don't go out during the day, they drink blood, etc.), but when I tell you I wrote a book about a Muse ... you probably have little, if any idea, what I am talking about. This isn't a bad thing, but it does make it unique.

The second thing that makes Muse different to the urban fantasy genre is that the main character has children. I am glad I found a way to incorporate this important aspect of many women's lives into my story. My hope is that it makes her a much more relatable character.

4. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
I don't think I can pick just one. I admire the talents of many authors and try my best to emulate each one at times. I will have to say that Janet Evanovich and Laurell K. Hamilton have been the most inspirational while writing Muse. Stephanie Meyer will always have a place in my heart too and more recently E.L. James taught me a thing or two as well.

5. What strange writing rituals do you have?
I think the strangest ritual I have is doing my nails while I think. I am not big on having my nails done or spending a lot of time on my appearance, but when I am writing and stop to think, I file my nails. Then the next time I stop writing to think I buff them, and so on until I have a good few coats of clear nail polish on them. Then over the course of the next few days I peel off the polish and then start again. I am not sure how or why this ritual evolved, but it certainly helps me think.

6. Is your writing style similar to any other writers? If so which ones.
I write first person and there are a lot of writers that also do so. Janet Evanovich, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephanie Meyer, and E.L. James just to name a few. Charlene Harris also writes this way, as well as Richelle Mead, Jeanianne Frost and many more.

7. Who is your Muse?
This question made me chuckle. I have to say that I don't have just one Muse. I pull from a lot of characters when I write and each character that I write has a lot of characters that inspire them. I guess I'd have to say that my Muses are the people in my life who love me. They each bring something unique to my writing.

8. What are your hobbies?
Other than writing? Laundry. Just kidding, with two kids and a husband I often feel like laundry is a cosmic joke without a punch line ... it really does never end.

When not writing or doing laundry, I spend a lot of time on DIY type projects. This month I painted an exterior door, last month I repainted the man cave a couple nice shades of dark brown for my husband. Recently I made some cool paper window coverings and embroidered curtains for my daughter’s room and my dining room. I do a lot of needlepoint projects, and I do enjoy crafty things like painting and such. Otherwise I am organizer extraordinaire. If it can be sorted, I'll be there!

9. Does your main character resemble anyone in your family or circle of friends?
I suppose my main character most resembles myself, but she is really quite unique. I like to think that I mostly pulled elements from my life and put them into hers because they were familiar. Things like her car, house and kids. Otherwise she is definitely her own person.

10. How long did it take you to write your book?
To actually write Muse only took about 8 months with the help of an award winning writing coach pointing me in the right direction. However, Muse went through no less than 15 drafts over the course of nearly 4 years. There are many important steps in editing that often take more time than the actual writing does. Let alone all the time it takes to prepare the book for publication.

11. What are some writing goals for the future?
Muse is intended to be the first in a series of books about Muses and Guardians. My first goal is to have Book 2 released by the end of 2013. I also have a specific number of books I'd like to have sold by that date, which will also be about the time I turn 30.

12. If you were stranded on an island which book would you bring with you?
Hmm... Definitely one that would have lots of information about how to survive being trapped on an island.

13. What makes a good (pick one, depending on your genre) mystery, horror, romance, sci-fi, memoir, how-to, children’s book, etc.
I guess I will pick romance and I think what really makes one good is when they simply can't live without each other for some reason or another. Forbidden love is always fun, but can get overdone and corny really quickly.

14. What was the most difficult thing you have learned being a writer?
This one is easy to answer: rejection.
The most difficult thing to accept as a writer is that not everyone will like my work and that's okay. I've collected over a hundred rejection letters from agents and publishers and even had friends and family tell me that the story just wasn't their taste. As you can imagine, at first that was really difficult to live with, but then after a while you realize that not everyone likes Harry Potter or Twilight either and you do your best to get over it. People love to complain and those who complain often do so louder that those who compliment.

15. What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am reading The Man with the Green Suitcase by Dee Doanes and someday soon getting back to Game of Thrones. I have a ridiculously long to-read list at the moment, but it is my to-write list that is keeping me awake at night for the moment.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Author Interview with Samantha Holt

Today I would like to post an interview for the best selling historical romance writer, Samantha Holt.

What is your book about?
The Angel’s Assassin is a medieval romance but it explores the ideas of trust and redemption. The hero, Nicholas, is the ultimate anti-hero - a man with a bad past and a sinful deed to carry out. My heroine, Annabel, is the complete opposite of him and challenges him in many ways. She makes him want to change but whether Annabel believes him capable of change is another thing!

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to write an anti-hero and I knew I wanted to set it in early Norman England, a time when the country was still very much in turmoil It started with a baronial revolt and the story went from there really. The revolt only really plays as the backdrop for the story as the events act as the trigger but the rest of the story really revolves purely around Nicholas and Annabel.

What makes your book different than others in your genre?
My use of language is different. I know my native English tongue differs slightly but I hope that brings a sense of realism, particularly when it comes to dialogue. I love writing dialogue and I think that comes across. I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to visit places featured in my books (castles etc) and I hope to bring a sense of realism into my stories by blending my experiences into my tales.

How long did it take you to write your book?
Generally I take about three months. I write full time so I put in anything between 4-6 hours of writing a day.

What are some writing goals for the future?
I’d like to perhaps expand into a different historical era or even write some contemporary romances. For the moment, I still have some untapped medieval stories but I imagine there’s only so many you can write. Having said that, I’m always sure the one I’m working on will be my last one and then another miraculously comes along.

If you were stranded on an island which book would you bring with you?
How to Survive on a Desert Island - I’m making the gross assumption this book exists! Failing that, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

What makes a good romance book?

The characterisation is essential. I love it when a book makes your stomach churn with fear, apprehension, excitement… If you don’t care for the characters then that won’t happen. In romance, you need to want them to get together and I love that little stomach flip you get when it finally happens.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Book Launch Party!

Hi guys! Very happy to report on how my Book Launch Party for Sons of the Wolf went at Crawley Library last week. My novel is my debut attempt at historical fiction. Click on the above link for the synopsis.  I wanted my party to have something different than just a book talk, reading and 'buy my book' theme. I wanted people to enjoy the night and be informed, regardless of whether they bought  my book or not.

 I am pleased to say that it went amazingly well! I had 5 members of the public turn up the rest were my friends and family. Altogther including myself, my re-enactors and library staff, there were 43 people in the room and to be honest we couldnt have fit any more people in there. It was very exciting for me to see so many people turn up for my debut novel and I was overhwelmed. It felt amazing to have this opportunity and am so grateful to the library staff for their help. I was very lucky to have my re-enactors Adam Price and Katrina Burton who did me very proud and Rich Price who read so beautifully for me  and helped his son Adam demonstrate the weaponry.

The evening started with a welcome, food was laid out and wine and soft drinks for the guests to help themselves to. It was great to see so many of my friends coming through the door and also the people I had not met yet. The library had told me that 15 people had put their names down at the library but at least 5 turned up! Each guest was given a raffle ticket to win a free copy of my book. They didn't show it but I am sure they were delighted! Then when everyone was settled and the Library staff had done their Health&Safety thing, I nervously got up to introduce myself and thank everyone for coming. I must admit I was nervous and felt that I shouldn't be reading from a script but I had been so busy with work and everything I hadn't had a chance to try and 'learn' my speech. Still, people gave me great feedback and I was happy with that.
After I had done the intro, my dear friend and fellow re-enactor Rich Price read from the first chapter of Sons. To be honest, he blew me away with his rendition, it was amazing. If anyone has ever experienced someone read their book with such grace and eloquence  as Rich did for me, then they will certainly know the feeling I got when I heard his deliverance of my prose. I could hardly believe I was hearing the words that I had written. I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. the applause he got was heart warming.
The next part of the presentation was to introduce my first re-enactor, after I had explained a little more about the main character and his background. Initially I had intended to have someone play his part, however, due to work commitments, the actor was unable to make it so his 'wife' Ealdgytha had come accompanied by Wulfhere's deputy, Esegar. Ealdgytha was played by  Katrina Burton. I have known Katrina for some years now and she knows her stuff. Katrina has worked for Tunbridge Wells Museum and currently works at the  Fishbourne Roman Villa near Chichester. She began by describing what she was wearing, her tunic and her underdress and her wimple and what her day would have been like. She  described how she had dyed her clothing with woad, to make her dress a pale blue. She also demonstrated how wool is spun on a drop spindle.

After Katrina had wowed the audience with her presentation, I spoke a bit more about the land division in Sussex and how the military system in 11thc England was linked to this. Then it was time for my young warrior, 'Esegar' AKA Adam Price to take centre stage. Esegar is Wulfhere's right hand man and shield bearer. He is a semi professional warrior and part time farmer, brought into military service by the one man for every 5 hide law. As a King's thegn, Wulfhere also owed military service. He and Esegar have been through much together having served in two major battles. As Wulfhere was unable to attend due to being on King's business, Esegar has come in his place to demonstrate the weapons used by the 11thc army.
 Rich demonstrates how the sword might have an adverse affect on an armoured warrior.
 Rich wields a great Dane axe at a terrified audience.
 Some of the shields available to a warrior were round.
The Kite shiled was becoming more popular

Now it was time to talk briefly about the Battle of Hereford before Rich performed the last reading, a scene from Chapter 19 The Battle of Hereford. As I listened to the reading, I was amazed once more at the care and considerstion Rich was giving to the prose. The dramatic lines made me realise how gory it was and I was satisfied that I had done the scene justice, however I apologised to the audience just in case the gore was too much for them. Apparently they thought it was brilliant!

Next I talked about Regia Anglorum, the re-enactment society that we belonged to and hopefully may have recruited a couple of people. And then it was time for questions and answers and got some great feedback from the audience who asked some really interesting well thought questions to which I tried my best to reply with sensible answers. Of course I had my trusty re-enactors to help me out. This followed with book signing and raffle draw. I managed to sell 12 books, most of my friends already had bought one prior to the launch. I also donated a copy to the library and was pleased that the library people were impressed enough to offer me some more venues around West Sussex libraries. which I am happy to say I will take up in the near future.

It was a great evening and I cant thank every body enough for coming and helping me have a fantastic first Book Launch!

Find out more about me at 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

This Week and Other Things

Well, back again after some abscence. It's really difficult keeping up with 3 blogs and writing a novel and a fulltime job, being a Mum and a reenactor. This week I have been doing my best to write posts for them all, my latest one was for my Threads to The Past blog, the 2nd in a series of posts about the relationships between Edward the Confessor, Godwin, Earl of Wessex and Robert Champart,the Archbishop of Canterbury. Today I thought I'd just re-cap on what I've been doing over the week. I've had a terrrible bout of illness this last fortnight and am beginning to turn the corner now and getting better. Firstly a fortnight ago today I did my first booksigning in Waterstones in Crawley (see me left standing in front ot the 50 Shades of Grey!). It was a lovely event and the girls and guys in Crawley Waterstones made me feel comfortable and welcome. I managed to hand-sell 12 of the 15 books they'd ordered which I was told was very impressive for an Indie author on a not so busy day.

photo by Alison Offer
What followed was an awful week of feeling really unwell with some kind of kidney thing. Last week I managed to attend Wychurst, which is the site for Regia Anglorum 's Saxon Longhall. I had written a scenario for the wekend show which was called A Game of Thegns (a pun on the Game of Thrones series) in which an English thegn and a Danish Thegn organise a wedding to create peace between the two communities in the tense times after the death of Archbishop Alfeah at the hands of the Danish invaders. Each thegn has their own agenda and one's was not so honest. The Scenario was filmed and the links can be found at the bottom of this page.  To the right is a picture of the players with me sitting on the bench with the madder tunic and green bag. Needless to say we had so much fun but scenarios are only just some of the things Regia is about.

One of the sad things that has happened this week is my daughter fleeing the coup and going odd to Kent University to do her Psychology degree. Although it is an exciting time for her, I know she is feeling out of it a bit, missing her family and her boyfriend, as we all miss her. Hopefully she will settle in soon and she will start to feel more at home. I've been trying to sort her room out today and can't really get used to the idea that she's gone, even if its only a short distance in the grand scheme of things. Not to hear her quirky little voice as she jokes and plays mischievously with me fills me with sadness. I worry about her, but I know she will be alright. We all want to keep our little birds safe, but there comes a time when you have to let them go. I pray that she will find a sense of peace and joy as she takes on her new role in life as a student. Love you my darling beautiful little girl

Links to the Re-enactment Scenarios

Marital Mayhem Part 1

Marital Mayhem part 2


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Military Odyssey, a piece in the local rag and a coming Book-signing

Hi all! What a fabulous weekend I've had. As always, the Military Odyssey in Kent has turned out to be one of the best shows for a re-enactor to attend this year. With so many other re-enactment societies participating, there is something for everyone, from the Ancient Greek Hopplites and Roman legions to World War I & 11. The fact that on Saturday morning it poured down on several warriors at training, many wearing maille armour and metal helmets, and caused us to squelch obscenely in our period shoes did nothing to dampen the spirits throughout each camp. By the time the afternoon came, the sun made up for the terrible down pour and the weather remained dry for the rest of the weekend.

Such is the Military Odyssey: fiercely inspiring, heart-wrenching, side-splitting and thoroughly educational. I've been doing this show for some years now and have seen many of the re-enactments, but this year was the first time I had ventured into the amazing camp that belonged to the 10th Essex re-enactment society. This fabulously talented and innovative group of men and women  created an experience for interested members of the public that took them into the world of WWI by simulating the tunnel that was used in the Messine Ridge Offensive. This structure was produced to give the sense that you were 75ft underground where the 19 explosives that were to be detonated on the 7th June 1917 were kept in the mines. The target of the offensive was the Messines Ridge,  an important German stronghold southeast of Ypres. When the mines were detonated it basically obliterated the German camp and so loud was the explosion that even Lloyd George could hear it in his Downing Street study. This part of the experience, which was repeated every half an hour on their site, followed a short skit given by the men of the flying core

Then there was the Battle of Hattin performed by the members of the fabulously flambouyant Crusade Re-enactment society and Draum Broedr who are an amazing combat and living history outfit. Some of my own fellow members of Regia Anglorum participated and next year I would love to be able to join them and be a Saracen. These guys are some of the best show fighters I've ever seen. My friend Rich Price has video-ed the battle if any of you are interested here is the Link.

Regia Anglorum generally don't re-enact battles at Detling as such but rather a competitve combat from the dateline given to us which was 1087 this year. Our brief was that Bishop Odo, Earl of Kent and famous episcopal brother of Willliam the Conqueror, had rebelled against the new King, William Rufus, son of the former. This was an actual event that had happened. The battle we performed was a portrayal of what might have happened. Our policy is that if we re-enacted battles that have happened, it would take out the fun competitive element of our hobby and so this is how we do our shows. The first two days of the Odyssey saw Rufu's troops beating Odo's retainers and mercenaries. On the third day Odo's army was victorious. Here is a Link to the Regia Battle. you can see me somewhere in there too.

Yesterday I was in the local paper. Yes! I've finally made the big time! Well not quite but exciting nonetheless. Just a small piece about me and my novel  Sons of the Wolf  and my up coming book-signing next Saturday 8th of September in Waterstones, Crawley the Martletts. I'm very excited to be doing that and hope that lots of you will pop in and say hi if you're in the Crawley/West Sussex area.

Well thats all for now! Enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Guest Spot: Bobbie Coelho, writer of beautiful poetry

Welcome Poet, Bobbie Coelho to my Guest Blogspot

Finding the Light
You are born in the dark of the morning
And you think it’s your destiny light
As you age, you realise it’s a false one
Artificial, easily switched out
In older age, the day breaks
And you blink at the glint of the morn
The pieces of your life fit together
That is the day you are born          (from Bobbie's beautiful book of the same name)
 Tell us about yourself, Bobbie, and how you came to write your book Finding The Light I have always liked poetry, but somebody said she thought I was a true visionary poet, so I started to write.My first poem was written at school, though.I had just read the diary of Anne Frank and it affected me very much.We had to write about a cowboy, so I did, but although he was in a bad position, he had a vision of Anne and he realised he wasn’t so bad.My first poem as an adult was “Island Girl” and I just kept on writing.I think it has saved me from the bitterness I prayed not to become.  
Your poems are very poignant, are they based on your own experiences? Some are, like “Island Girl” and “Freak”, but not all of them, most have a story behind them, though.  For instance, “White Flowers” is about the Beslan School siege and “Premature” was written after seeing a programme about it premature babies.  I want to write poems that make people think.  
Which is your favourite poem and what does it mean to you? If you mean my poems, I would have to say it would be “What is a Soldier to Me?”  They do a wonderful job and protect us, they are the best.  I feel a great thrill that the blood which won the battles of Crecy and Agincourt is still flowing through our soldiers today. “Freak” I like because it was the first time I felt really different.  When people stare and point it is heartbreaking.  English people do not ask, do they?  They just point and stare.  It doesn’t bother me so much now. but still feel I should make a badge which stays “Don’t Stare, Please Ask!” White Flowers is very emotional:  it is about the Beslan School siege and it affected me more than you would ever know.  
Are there any famous poems that you really love and do you have a favourite poet? I have many “favourites”, but I really love “Miracle on St David’s Day” by Gillian Clarke.  I would encourage everyone to read it.  In my opinion it is a masterpiece.  I also love “Not Waving but Drowning”, which reminds me of my life and “Crossing the Bar“ by Tennyson, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and “Invictus” by  Henley. I would have to say that Gillian  Clarke is my favourite, she is brilliant.     

   I know you have a debilitating condition Bobbie, how do  you find it affects your writing? Does it inspire you to know that you have overcome an illness to write such a beautiful menagerie of poetry?I have Parkinson’s, which has taught me that life is so short, love is the most important thing in life, but most people don’t realise this.  I also wanted to raise awareness of Parkinson’s which I am proud to say I have done.  Do you like to read novels and if so, what are some of your favourites and why? I love Neville Shute, but he is old fashioned, his most famous book is “A Town Like Alice”.  I love his writing because it shows the good that people do.  When I read “Requiem for a Wren”, I realised that for some, the Second World War was the happiest time of their lives – I had never considered that before.“To Kill a Mockingbird”,  Harper Leebrilliant for many reasons – everyone should read it.“Road of Bones”, Fergal Keane  - just brilliant.  About Kohima “Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austin  – brilliant observation “Notes from a Small Island “,Bill Bryson – an American who understands the British Psyche “The Vanishing Act of Esme Lomax” by Maggie O’Farrell, made me angry. So many more, I could write all night!    
  If you could be with anyone famous, in the past or present, who would that be and why?Richard III!!! I want to know the truth about the princes in the tower!! 
  Do you have any more plans to write more poetry or a novel perhaps?I don’t have any immediate plans to publish, but I will always write poetry.
  Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time? Hopefully  with better medication for my condition.  I have been very lucky in that I have achieved the ambition I always wanted – to love and be loved.

Here is one of my favourite poems inspired by this picture

*This picture is a famous one from WW2, showing the
invasion of the Sudetenland, and shows a woman saluting with
one hand and a handkerchief in other, crying.
The Woman in the Picture*
The picture came from the past
Washed with disturbing emotion
From the largest tidal wave
Changing the world forever
As if the very film
Which captured the image
Was laced with the sorrow she felt
What happened to that woman?
Does anybody know?
The world saw it happening
Stood by and did nothing
The world is so tiny, really
There’s no such thing as
“A land far away of which we
know nothing”
She’s my sister and my mother
My father and my brother
Affecting us all, good or bad
We must stick together
The woman in the picture
Has haunted me for years

When I look at her face

I am always reminded

What a broken heart looks like

How potently I see it

And how passionately

it speaks to me.

Bobbie's book can be found here on Amazon and at SilverWoods books


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How I became a published author

Hi everyone! Been a bit too busy to update for the last week. Well now you are talking to a published author and I have to say, it feels really great! Since I recieved my first consignment of books from the printers last Tuesday, its been nonstop, I've been such a regular at my little post office that now they know exactly what I'm doing when I appear in there. I've even sent books off to really kind people in the US, Canada, Australia and Germany who have kindly paid the £10 postage to buy a signed copy. I feel really blessed. This is what I've always wanted to do (even when I didnt remember that it was something I wanted to do) all my life. Ive also been delivering them myself in person and have nearly run out of books! I  know that some people are buying through the books on line so I think I'm doing well for the first week. I've been going around with such a big smile on my face that my cheeks ache! Anyway here are a few questions that you might be wanting to ask about my book.
So, who am I published with?  SilverWood books . They are an assisted publishing company and they offer a range fo services with plenty of advice and support for anyone thinking about publishing their work. The Team there are friendly and helpful   Yes, you do pay for the service, but its worth it. It really felt like I was being valued and my concerns and wishes for my book were listened to on every level. I cant thank them enough for the work they've done for me and if anyone is  looking for someone to help them publish their book and are willing to pay for it, I would definitely recommend them.

What is assisted publishing?Elena Ransley gives a good description of the definition of assisted publishing and the difference between the different types of publishing. I dont agree on one point however, becasue as far asI am concerned, I am not self published, I wrote the book, edited and proofread it, obtained my own designer for my images and the lovely people at SilverWoods copy edited and set it for printing. I would rather refer to myself as Indie published because I am not with a main stream publishing company and am free to go wither I desire if I wanted to, not that I would because why would I want to if I am getting a great service from them?

Did I submit to an agent or a mainstream publisher? No, I didnt. I considered it and bought the Writers' and Artists Year Book, however after searching through what looked like a complete nightmare, trying to sort out the chaff from the wheat, I decided that this was going to be a very stressful process and that was something I could really do without. Plus I really couldnt be doing with all that 'suffering for one's art' thing, sending off your hard work to publisher and agent after publisher and agent only to have them rejected if they bothered to reply at all.

Why did I choose to go Assisted Publishing? I found out about SilverWood Books through another well-established writer who had decided to publish with them. When I mentioned to them that I was thinking of self-publishing and asked her what she thought of ****.com, she advised me that if I wanted to do it properly and professionally, try SW books. Because I did want to do it properly and professionally, I approached Helen Hart, the director, and haven't looked back since, although it took me awhile to gather the finances. It was a hard decision because I had always been led to believe that successful authors didnt pay the publishing company, they paid you and I once read an article that you should never pay anything to an agent or a publisher! I've since found out that the world of books is changing. The thing I liked about Assisted Publishing, I get pretty much complete control over my book. Helen and the team  'suggest' things but it was up to me, if I wanted to take their advice, I could but if I didnt, it was okay. I was never pressured into anything. I also had my own artist for the cover images, their Design Team did the rest. Whats more they were very open to my ideas and that's often something you dont always get with mainstream where they tell you what they want taken out of your book, changed or put it. Also, I have been quite out off by some of the historical front covers I've seen with parts of heads missing and a totally inauthentic person dressed in the wrong time period for your book. Maybe that is the re-enactor coming out in me, but it can put me off a book when I see that.

So, for anyone thinking about publishing and is fed up with lack of interest from the big publishing houses and agents, please think carefully about self publishing and how you self publish. There are plenty of self publishing sites out there with templates etc but no proof readers or editors and I've seen some doozies! If you want to get published, look for a company like SilverWoods who offer everything a mainstream publisher would, professionalism, except with SilverWoods, you get a say in what goes in and on your book!

Sons of the Wolf is available here at SilverWood Books and on Amazon, Waterstones and The Book Depository. Soon available on Kindle

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Week That Was

Gosh, so much happened last week. Firstly I sent back my approval form for printing and then waited with baited breath to recieve the jacket proof of my novel Sons of the Wolf and secondly I was looking forward with intrepidness to my return to work after being off for some time due to illnesss. I went back to work on Thursday which was surprisingly a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I do love nursing and I had been off for so long I had almost forgotten just how much. Everyone was really supportive too which was really good.
Friday I kept checking my emails for the last jacket proof and finally it came and I was so desperate to show all my colleagues at work because I was so proud, but the computer couldnt download it for some reason. Anyway,I managed to see it when I got home in all its glory and apart form needing one little word removing, it was all in order and I was completely chuffed.
This week it will be going to press, bar anything major going wrong and I will be a published author! I've come a long way since I sorted my life out 11 years ago. Things hadn't been going too well and I'd made a hash of things but now, how different my life is. I still have some mountains to climb and some demons to put to rest but things are looking up at last..... :)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Eliminating Self Pity

So I am one more step closer to seeing my dream of having my own novel published coming true. It's a very exciting moment in my life and one that I thought I would never see. I feel somewhat nervous and i woke up this morning with that funny tummy feeling but its gone now, disappearing through the red letter box that I sent off my corrected proofing for the publishers this morning. Its a really nice feeling to know that soon I will be checking the final proof!

I've not had much to say lately, actually thats a lie because everytime something has popped into my head and I think, that'd be good to blog about, I am in no way able to do it timewise. So today's blog is really just about tuning back in and sorting out the cobwebs in my brain because I have been mad at work on my proof reading and believe it or not I have thought about pretty much nothing else for about 5 days.

my family

Actually I am feeling pretty grateful and lucky today, I met a man last night who I have known for some years and he is dying of cancer. He came to my AA meeting last night and funnily enough the topic for the meeting was 'Eliminating Self Pity'. I shared about my own ability to wallow in self pity and I also shared about my difficult relationships with my kids, not that the kids themselves are difficult creatures, its me. As he shared is stuff, I thought to myself  about me and my poor-me-head "STFU, who are you to be so ungrateful?", you're alive and in good health compared to some and you have great kids and a loving mother and a full and busy life which is more than poor Derek (not his real name)  has, for he has less than a year to live. So this morning, as I happily trotted down to the post office to send my future off in that big brown jiffy bag, I remembered Derek from last night, grateful that he is dying sober, grateful that he got into recovery before he died, grateful that he has the fellowship to help see him through the worst thing that could happen to him and smiling and laughing with such fortitude and courage at what he is facing. Yes life is good today and don't I bloody well know it!

Monday, 11 June 2012

To Debate or not to Debate - that is the question. Is it good for our psychological well being?

Facebook is a Debating Society. The way it is set up makes it that way. Whatever your status, it is bound to get some sort of attention. Just of late there has been some ruffled feathers concerning historical debate. Debate is meant to be contentious, especially if it is in the public interest and whereas a subject about a historical topic may not be necessarily one of the most inportant issues in a modern society, it can provoke great argument amongst  both the professional and amateur historians. We are taught in college and uni that when you join a debating society, you are likely to hit upon some emotions that no one ever thought existed within themselves and others, but that although joining in a debate that contains emotive an subject may get argumentative and aggressive, it doesnt mean you get personal and nor do you take things personally because thats when the topic becomes void, when people begin responding to what they believe to be a slight or an insult.

Equally, when you put a 'contraversial' idea out there, such as an author's suggestion that one of our historical King's was actually the son of someone else, you cannot expect people to not question this and you must be prepared to respond. Both the questioner and the responder need to do so politely and without aggression because although its a debate, we're not at college or uni and these aren't our colleagues, fellow students or mates. These may not be people we've ever spoken to before. Debating on FB should not be the same as the rigorous debating groups we maybe used to in our academic places. What I often find disturbing is that friends and fans often come to the 'rescue' of the debated and I've seen some pretty nasty things said to people who are asking for sources or putting over a different perspective or argument. People need to remain calm and allow people their views without trashing them personally.

It often pays to play it cool. I'm a bit of a hothead myself and used to get fired up about stuff but really, people stop focusing on the subject and focussing on my behaviour then and that only helps them deflect the topic from the real issue which is not the desired outcome when trying to get an argument over. Plus I have often over-reacted to something and then felt really awful with an emotional hangover that makes me feel even worse. I have been learning that debating on FB means you are often taking the safety of your mental well-being into your hands . you have to have thick skin and broad shoulders not to be hurt by some of the really inflammatory things that are said. I am saying this because so many of my friends have been hurt bey things getting personal and resentment is an evil powerful tool with which to batter ourselves with. I know I have to stay away from anger as it is not an emotion that serves me well as my past history will tell me.

People need to react more calmly to people's views, don't give in to that little voice inside your head that wants tor bite back otherwise the whole debate is lost and noone is the winner, certainly not the person/subect, you are trying to defend or defame which ever it be.

Recently I posted a piece about Anger and shared this very wise line: "Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die", it isnt going to happen cos very often they're calmly and happily asleep at night in their beds while you toss and turn and play your next argument or what you should have said over and over in your head. Debate, but don't get personal.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

PAULA'S PEOPLE Guest Blogspot- Kathryn Warner


Welcome to Kathryn Warner: At day, mild mannered English teacher, at night, obsessive Edward II reasearcher and blogger

Hi Kathryn, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed and being my very first guest. Hi So tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Thanks for inviting me to the blog, Paula!  Great to be here.  I grew up in the Lake District and studied at Manchester University, where I received a BA and an MA with Distinction in medieval history and literature.  I then qualified as a teacher and have been teaching English in Düsseldorf, Germany since the early 2000s.  In my spare time, I research and write my blog and Facebook page about Edward II, and do a lot of translating – German and fourteenth-century documents written in Anglo-Norman.  I had an article published in the English Historical Review last year about the plot of Edward’s half-brother the earl of Kent to free him from captivity in 1330, over two years after his supposed death.                                    
So you are an Edward 11 enthusiast. Tell us how he came to be your favourite historical character and how long have you been studying him?
I wrote an essay about Edward in my second year at university, which makes me cringe to read now as I knew so little about him back then.  ;)  It was some years later, in 2004, that I really became obsessed with him and his reign.  I was reading a novel which mentioned his great-uncle Richard of Cornwall (Henry III’s brother), and started looking up Richard’s family online.  It somehow struck me, seeing Edward II on the family tree, how little I felt I knew about him, and I resolved to put that right, and started reading whatever I could find about him.  Within days, I was lost.  It was as though I’d found what I was meant to be doing in life, and my interest – obsession! – has continued ever since.
Edward's tomb

What is it about Edward that you like so much more than any other character in history? And tell us what is the most surprising or unusual thing you have found out about him?

He was so utterly unconventional for the time he lived in, and this fascinates me, though it exasperated his contemporaries!  He had little if any talent as a war leader and wasn’t interested in jousting; instead he preferred ‘rustic pursuits’ such as hedging, digging ditches, thatching roofs and shoeing horses.  He enjoyed or preferred the company of his low-born subjects: in 1315 he went rowing and swimming in the Fens with a ‘great company of common people’, according to a distinctly unimpressed chronicler, and there are numerous references in his household accounts to his spending time with the low-born, such as his giving a pound to a woman he drank with in Newcastle in 1310, watching a group of men fishing near Doncaster in 1322, and passing the time at the wedding of Hugh Despenser’s niece in 1326 with a servant who ‘made the king laugh very greatly’ and also received a pound from him.  He had a great sense of humour, as well as the typical Plantagenet vile temper, and his vivid and flawed personality comes right out of the pages of history at me 700 years later.  His chamber account of 1325/26 is far and away my favourite source for his reign, full of the most delightful little snippets of information about him, such as giving generous sums of money to numerous people who had brought him gifts of fish, chickens and ale as he sailed along the Thames and his staff having to buy a key for a chest of money to replace one ‘which the king himself lost’. 
You get ? hits a day on your blog about Edward so it is obviously a very popular one. What sort of things do you focus on in your blog about him and how difficult/easy is it to maintain regular posts for it after 8 years? 
I get between 150 and 250 hits a day usually, though this is sometimes a lot higher – when I recently wrote a post about historical fiction, I got several thousand visitors in a couple of days.  A lot of my visitors, I think, are looking for information about their fourteenth-century ancestors, genealogy being an enormously popular hobby these days.  I write biographies of the royal and noble men and women who lived at the time, about Edward’s character and family, and about major events of his turbulent reign and its aftermath – his imprisonment at Berkeley Castle and the tales of his death and so on.  I also sometimes write book reviews and more light-hearted, humorous posts.  Sometimes it’s a little difficult to think of a topic every week or more often, but I always find inspiration eventually, and still have many, many things and people I want to write about.  ;)
Edward is obviously a very complex character and a lot has been said about him in a very denigrating way, that he was a useless ruler, a neglectful husband who cared only for his ‘male’ lovers and hanging out with peasants. What is the worst thing that you have found anyone has ever said about him? 
I would never deny that Edward was an incompetent king, but some of the things said about him are totally unfair and unreasonable.  One seventeenth-century writer said he was worthy never to have been born, which I think is a frankly evil thing to say about anyone.  What perhaps upsets me most is the modern notion, popularised by Braveheart, that he wasn’t the real father of Edward III.  Several novelists have also written this nonsense into their stories (not a shred of contemporary evidence exists for the notion, and it wasn’t invented until 1982, in one of Paul Doherty’s novels). It amazes me that in the twenty-first century there is still so much contempt for Edward’s non-heterosexuality – I’ve lost count of how many prejudiced, bigoted and unkind statements I’ve seen about him in this respect.  I once had the misfortune to read a romance novel featuring Edward as a character, and the hatred and revulsion the author showed for him literally made me feel ill – he was a flabby, effeminate and repulsive worm of a man, everyone including his own lover loathed him and he made people shudder with disgust, he didn’t give a damn about his children and refused to pay their expenses, and he was called ‘perverted’ and ‘unnatural’ frequently throughout the novel, in a way which made it obvious that the author was expecting her readers to share this opinion rather than expressing the prejudices of the early fourteenth century.  The way the writer gloated in her author’s note over the ‘red-hot poker’ story of his murder in 1327 (which she presented as fact, although it most certainly isn’t) and called it ‘ingenious’ was just the final straw.  The book was a hideous piece of offensive bigoted nastiness and I find it astonishing that it was ever published.  

Certain modern novelists and even non-fiction writers, apparently in the belief that Edward II just hasn’t been maligned enough for the last 700 years, seem to be falling over themselves to invent new slurs to hurl at him that are based on no evidence at all.  In recent years, he’s been said to have committed ‘atrocities’ in Wales (nope, never), to have had Jewish people who set foot in England murdered (definitely not), to have allowed his ‘favourite’ Hugh Despenser to rape his queen (not a shred of evidence), to have been ‘extraordinarily stupid’ (he may not have been a Mensa candidate, but he founded colleges at both Oxford and Cambridge, borrowed books from a monks’ library in Canterbury and was a cultured man who enjoyed music and plays), and to have not cared about his children to the extent that he could barely remember their names (the evidence strongly suggests he was actually a loving, caring father).  And there are at least four novels I can think of where another man is put forward as the real father of his children, although he and Isabella were certainly together at the right time to conceive all four of them and there is absolutely no reason at all to think that he might not have been their father (see this post  here):
  I find this extremely disrespectful, both to Edward and to Isabella.

On your blog you try to focus on the truth about Edward and sift through all the negative evidence about him and put it into context. How do you find that people respond to this? Are they interested, surprised or disbelieving when you present them with the facts? 
I try not to whitewash Edward, but to present him as honestly as possible.  I would never say that he was a good king or military leader – no king ends his reign the way he did, or suffers as many military setbacks, without making a long series of horrible mistakes.  But there’s far more to him and his reign than a one-dimensional disaster sandwiched between the glorious reigns of his father Edward I and son Edward III.  I’ve been delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response from my readers – I’d say that 99% of all the feedback I get is supportive and interested, and yes, many people are surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to his character and reign than they’d thought.  Although there will always be people for whom Edward II will never be anything more than the effete gay prince who loses at Bannockburn and gets a poker up the behind, I’d like to think my blog and Facebook page have gone some small way to presenting a more rounded and positive view of him.
So you live in Germany and you teach English. What is it like to be an English girl in a foreign country? And do your German friends know about your penchant for an English king with a reputation for “failing” his kingdom?   

I love my job here and am lucky enough to teach fantastic people, and have always been made to feel extremely welcome and comfortable.  It’s a great place to live.  ;)  A few people know about my fascination with Edward and are pretty indulgent about it, even if they don’t really ‘get’ it.  ;)  When I look at my blog stats, Germany is fifth on the list of visitors (after the US, UK, Australia and, surprisingly, Russia), so it seems that a few people here are interested in Edward II too!
Apart from Edward 11, are there any other eras that you are particularly interested in? And who would be some of your favourite historical characters? 
I love your favourite era, Paula, the eleventh century in England, before the Conquest.  I’ve been reading quite a lot this year about Edmund Ironside, Emma of Normandy, the Godwinsons and so on, and am finding it fascinating.  They’re my favourite historical people at the moment, after those of the early fourteenth century.  My favourite two people ever are Edward II and Piers Gaveston.  ;)  I also like the thirteenth century, the Wars of the Roses, medieval French history in general, and am keen to learn a lot more about German history of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries too.  Generally though, I’m interested in all historical periods, from ancient to about 1700 – after that it gets a bit too modern for me, haha.
9) Can you recommend any really good Edward books?
Professor Seymour Phillips published a magnificent biography of the king in 2010, in the Yale English Monarchs series, which I can’t recommend highly enough.  Professor Roy Martin Haines also wrote a very good biography of Edward in 2003, though it’s very academic, and as far as popular histories go, Caroline Bingham’s 1973 work on Edward is excellent (though necessarily dated now, of course).  The only novels about Edward that I would unhesitatingly recommend are Susan Higginbotham’s The Traitor’s Wife and Brenda Honeyman’s The King’s Minions and The Queen and Mortimer.  Sadly, the latter two are very hard to find these days.  There are a few other novels about Edward and Isabella which aren’t bad either, such as Margaret Campbell Barnes’ Isabel the Fair, Pamela Bennetts’ The She-Wolf and Hilda Lewis’s Harlot Queen.
Lastly, when are you going to write that novel? 
Heh! ;)  I think I’m better at writing academic articles, actually, but would also love to write a novel about Edward and Isabella that’s historically accurate and sympathetic to both of them.


Great answers! Thanks so much Kathryn, it's been lovely having you as my first guest. Good luck with the blog and and continue the fight to educate people to the true Edward!