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Showing posts from May, 2022

#HistFicThursdays - Things to Inspire - Books

There is a line in the remake of The Parent Trap  when the man (who owns a vineyard) is showing his former wife his collection of special wines: "I'm a man of limited interests". That is sort of like me with books! I have accumulated quite a few old books and it's not just because I love books. Our oldest complete book is the one above. It predates most of the settings for my books, the Jacobites, and the Great Fire of London. There is something very exciting about thinking about the different people who have read it over the years! I got it because it links in with one of our family's favourite books, The Children of Green Knowe . And then there are books which directly impact on my own writing. My sister bought me a first edition of Walter Scott's Ballads and Lyrical Pieces , a book which is gifted in my own story Day's Dying Glory . It is amazing to be able to hold the book, getting an idea of things beyond the words: the weight of the paper; the size o

#HistFicThursdays - Horrible Histories 5 - Owain Glyndŵr

 I absolutely love this song! I don't know whether it is that I know more Tom Jones and Welsh songs which the Owain Glyndŵr song calls on, or whether it is just more my sort of music, or that - which I think is another consideration - this is about a historical figure who drifts into the realms of legend. At the moment, I am rereading my family saga and I came across this line: That man will be a legend until the day he dies, and an inspiration beyond. When I decided to write today's blog on Owain Glyndŵr, this quote fitted rather well. The man being discussed in the book was not a real figure from history but - after sharing more than 400,000 words with him during the course of my family saga - it certainly feels like I know him better than any of his real-life contemporaries! When I was researching Owain Glyndŵr for this blog, I was surprised to find just how long his reign lasted. I had assumed it was almost a flash-in-the-pan uprising, similar to those we had in Scotland se

Book Review: Siggy the Soccer Dog by Brian Frederick (Illustrations by Vivien Sarkany)

Siggy the Soccer Dog tells the story of a very ordinary sausage dog, who does extraordinary things in his dreams. This charming, very traditional, picturebook story takes the reader on a dreamy adventure in which Siggy is the hero of the hour in a football match. This is a very gentle tale which would make a wonderful bedtime story for any child who loves either football or dogs. There was only one part I wasn't 100% convinced by, and that was the football chant/song which was included, but then I've never been to a live football match and anyone who has  been might tell you that it captured the atmosphere perfectly. The composition of the book is stunning: it is like a work of art. The words dance across the page, accompanied by perfect illustration. I would have loved to be able to take a hard copy of the book into school for my class to enjoy. In summary, an utterly charming story and a book which reflects the magic of dreams. Blurb Siggy looks so cute as he twitches and tur

#HistFicThursdays - Bird in a Snare - N.L. Holmes - Q&A Guest Post

   It's #HistFicThursdays again, and this week I'm thrilled to be sharing a Q&A post from award winning author, N.L. Holmes ,   as part of her Coffee Pot Book Club  tour. Find out what research drew her into the world of Ancient Egypt, and the enduring appeal this time has for her... Blurb When Hani, an Egyptian diplomat under Akhenaten, is sent to investigate the murder of a useful bandit leader in Syria, he encounters corruption, tangled relationships, and yet more murder. His investigation is complicated by the new king’s religious reforms, which have struck Hani’s own family to the core. Hani’s mission is to amass enough evidence for his superiors to prosecute the wrongdoers despite the king’s protection—but not just every superior can be trusted. And maybe not even the king! Winner of the 2020 Geoffrey Chaucer Award for historical fiction before 1750. Bird in a Snare  is available from  Amazon UK  -  Amazon US  -  Amazon CA  -  Amazon AU  -  Barnes and Noble  -  Kobo  

#HistFicThursdays - The Admiral’s Wife - M.K. Tod - Excerpt

   Today, my #HistFicThursdays blog welcomes M.K. Tod and her intriguing dual-timeline book,  The Admiral's Wife , as part of her Coffee Pot Book Club tour. Let's meet the book... The lives of two women living in Hong Kong more than a century apart are unexpectedly linked by forbidden love and financial scandal. In 2016, Patricia Findlay leaves a high-powered career to move to Hong Kong, where she hopes to rekindle the bonds of family and embrace the city of her ancestors. Instead, she is overwhelmed by feelings of displacement and depression. To make matters worse, her father, CEO of the family bank, insists that Patricia’s duty is to produce an heir, even though she has suffered three miscarriages. In 1912, when Isabel Taylor moves to Hong Kong with her husband, Henry, and their young daughter, she struggles to find her place in such a different world and to meet the demands of being the admiral’s wife. At a reception hosted by the governor of Hong Kong, she meets Li Tao-Kai,

#HistFicThursdays - The Alcoholic Mercenary - Phil Hughes - Guest Post

  This week's #HistFicThursdays blog is a guest post from Phil Hughes. His fantastic new book, The Alcoholic Mercenary ,   is currently touring with  Coffee Pot Book Club  and the blurb just caught me (yes, I did spot it mentions Byron)! So, when I was given the chance to ask about the quote, I leapt on it! But before the guest post, here's the book cover and blurb. Then scroll down to read all about the pull which Naples has for Phil Hughes and the inspiration behind that quote... Blurb They said, “See Naples and then die!” Rachel had thought it was to do with the natural beauty of the place. A misconception she soon lost after climbing down from the C130 troop carrier. The suspicious death of her predecessor, followed by the murder of a sailor, and an enforced liaison with a chauvinistic and probably corrupt cop saw to that. “See Naples and then die!” Some said the saying was anonymous. Some attributed it to Goethe. Still, others said it was Lord Byron, or maybe Keats. When