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#HistFicThursdays - Writing Battles

 By the very nature of the books I write, whether medieval, Jacobite, or regency, there are invariably battles to recount. A lot of historical fiction features wars of some kind because it's often in these times of trial and conflict that we can see the very best and the very worst of humanity. Writing battles is a daunting prospect. After all, most of us writers have never been in a battle, and certainly not one which used the type of warfare with existed 200, 500, or 1000 years ago. Re-enactments and handling artefacts are great for getting an idea of the weight of weapons, the blindspots of armour, the power of a charge, but these events are full of people who have all gathered for the same purpose. This means (thankfully, I should add!) that there is not that driving fear and recklessness which must have been present in those forays. But this is where you as the writer come in. No one enters the field of combat without some reason for - or belief in - what they are doing. Mass
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#HistFicThursdays - Horrible Histories 1

This Christmas holiday, we have found ourselves wandering around the house randomly singing snatches of songs from the genius that is Horrible Histories. This series of books-turned-TV-programmes is something which, until recently, I was never really interested in. I wasn't violently opposed to them, but I was exactly the wrong age for when they came out. My sister had and read all the books, even the special editions. And then - the best part of twenty years later! - another sister began to introduce us to some of the songs from the programme. Still less than 100% convinced, it was pointed out to me that there was a song for every period in history. This sounded like a throwing down of the gauntlet, but they did indeed manage to find me the song fitting for my current project. Here it is: Since then, I've become something of a convert to the musical antics which were in the series and there hasn't been a day in the last month when I haven't woken up randomly singing a

#HistFicThursdays - The Widow Wore Plaid by Jenna Jaxon - Excerpt

 Today's blog is one of our visiting authors! It is great to hear from fellow historical fiction writers, and today I'm very excited to welcome historical romance author, Jenna Jaxon, and her book The Widow Wore Plaid ! The Battle of Waterloo made them widows, but each has found new happiness. And Jane, Lady John Tarkington, intends to keep her freedom, even if love—and one particular gentleman—are determined to claim her heart  . . . It is a truth rarely acknowledged—at least in public—that a wealthy widow is free to pursue a great many adventures. For two years, Jane has privately enjoyed her independence. Why should she remarry, even when the gentleman proposing is as wonderful as Gareth, Lord Kinellan? She entreats him never to ask her again. But as her Widows’ Club friends—now all joyfully remarried—gather at Castle Kinellan, Jane begins to wonder if stubbornness has led her to make a terrible mistake . . . Kinellan needs a wife to give him an heir, and he wants that wife

#HistFicThursdays - Merry, Fotherby? - Excerpts

Today I just want to take the opportunity to wish you and your family and friends a very merry Christmas! I love writing Christmas from the past. There is something simultaneously simplistic and exuberant about earlier Christmases, and it is a great opportunity to look into the emotive side of personal history. You can tell a lot about an historical person by looking at how they regarded Christmas. So here is a couple of snippets from Beneath Black Clouds and White which show two very different Christmases: And, if it catches your eye, the eBook is currently free on Smashwords . Have a Very Merry Christmas, Historical Fiction Fans!

#HistFicThursdays - History Close to Home

One of the most incredible things about history is that, the older it gets, the more it resonates. It doesn't shrivel up like an old apple, or drop limbs and branches like an ancient tree, it just gets bigger. With every second which passes and every century which grows, history only piles up. Of course, there are aspects which fade, artefacts which succumb to erosion, but that's the archaeology not the history. I don't remember exactly what got me into writing historical fiction, but I do know I have always loved that my family are hoarders of antiquities. Ranging from the colossal millennia-old ammonite fossil my dad saved from the children who were chipping it to pieces, to the papers which define my own thirty-six year history, we have kept so much. It has it's downside - moving house this year has been a long, drawn-out process of about five times as many trips as a normal family move - but the richness it affords is second to none. But you don't have to come f

#HistFicThursdays - Writing Real People

One of the most problematic aspects of this genre is that, inevitably, we end up covering real people in some way, shape, or form. My books have included a range of real people, from kings to outlaws, prime ministers to military captains. It's not really possible to write a convincing historical fiction story without at least referencing someone who was a true historical figure, and with this comes a series of considerations which historical fiction writers have to address. My multiple-great-grandfather, William the Conqueror (pic: Man vyi) Firstly, in what way are you choosing to reference this character? It could be one of three things, and each of them have pros and cons attached: The real person is only mentioned. There is a pretty decent likelihood that your invented characters will know of the people who existed in the real world. This is a cunning way of setting a time and place for your story. The obvious one being a reference to a ruler and, unless you're writing with

Book Review: The Stranger of Wigglesworth - Colby Hess

Blurb: The arrival of a mysterious stranger in the happy village of Giggleswick causes a schism that disrupts their innocent, carefree existence. A brave, clever, freethinking boy then sets off on a quest to reveal the stranger’s deception and rescue his fellow villagers. Review: This is the story of how a stranger appears and starts telling happy, content people that they'll be more happy and content if they live their lives his way. When they refuse, things start going wrong in their joyful little village of Giggleswick. But all is not as it seems... there is a darker force at work! I thoroughly enjoyed it. To me, it had elements of The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning, both in content and style. The story is written in a kind of gentle poetry which is more about rhythm than rhyme and that makes it a wonderful thing to read aloud. The Stranger of Wigglesworth  is a picture book for older children. It states clearly on the cover that it is for Ages 6-11, and it's impo