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Showing posts from August, 2022

Masterworks: Legacy - Samantha Wilcoxson - Interview

  Today is the last of a series on nine interviews I'm sharing on the Crowvus Book Blog. These are from the authors of the short stories included in the  Masterworks  anthology by the  Historical Writers Forum . We're running through chronologically, some are video interviews, others are written. I am delighted to welcome the fantastic Samantha Wilcoxson, who is sharing the artist inspiration for her short story Legacy , as well as the appeal of James A. Hamilton, and the delights of researching. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you write (besides Masterworks!), and what inspired you to begin writing. I was inspired to write by my love of reading. After watching me read, write reviews, and keep journals for twenty years, my husband asked me why I didn’t try writing, so I did! Without really planning on it, I ended up writing historical biographical fiction. I’m drawn to a tragic tale but also to lesser known historical figures with emotive stories to tell

Book Review: Marlon and the Scary Something

    Review I should begin this review by apologising to Dan Bailes, the author. I had promised to review Marlon's most recent adventure months ago but, after a very busy three or four months, I'm only just getting round to it. But I am so pleased I did eventually get round to reading Marlon and the Scary Something . It is a charming book, and one which deals with issues of anxiety and fear in childhood in a way that rarely strays into being heavy-handed. The story follows Marlon, a cat who certainly feels like he's got the cream! He's just lounging around and winding up his brother when suddenly a dog appears! He doesn't even know what a dog is at this point - he just knows that this new arrival makes him feel afraid. Over the course of the book, Marlon realises that the best thing to do is to face his fear and, eventually, it all ends very well.  This is a personal book for the author, who explains in the afterword that he experienced anxiety as a child. This reall

Book Review - Roman Britain's Pirate King - Simon Elliott

 After reading Alexander the Great versus Julius Caesar , I knew I liked the way Simon Elliott writes - something which is even more important in nonfiction than fiction. Roman Britain's Pirate King  focuses on a period in the Roman Empire which I have got to know rather well through my own research, but my research had all been in the east of the empire. I couldn't wait to dive into this book as it explored events in the west! The book divides into two parts: the first half is scene-setting, taking the reader through a step-by-step explanation of the situations leading up to the usurpers' actions; the second half looks at the events surrounding Carausius and Allectus. I have to admit, this hadn't been exactly the ratio I'd expected. Out of 166 pages, our protagonist only has 46 pages between his birth and death. But the book is a fascinating look at the legacy of the events in those ten years when Britain became a bargaining chip for control of "the imperial p

#HistFicThursdays - Horrible Histories 8 - Dick Turpin

Going down to visit my grandma in Lincolnshire from our Orkney home was always an adventure. We did it most years, sometimes by train, sometimes by car. This might seem an odd way to open a blog about Dick Turpin, as we were the best part of 300 years too late to be stopped by highwaymen, but there is a reason! It's strange the sort of things our memories are built on. I can still remember the stuffy smell of the veranda, and the rows of bun boxes in the pantry (and yes, from time to time I might have sneakily helped myself to the tubs of sugar-strand toppings). And I also remember a decorative plate she had on the wall in the Living Room. It was of a cloaked man, hiding behind a bush as a stagecoach travelled towards him (see, I told you there was a reason!). At the bottom, it had a line from John Gay's poem "A Journey to Exeter": Where broken gamesters oft repair their loss In the poem, the travellers are not journeying by coach, but riding. This would have bettered

#HistFicThursdays - Guest Post - Karen Heenan - The Inspiration Behind Songbird

Today's #HistFicThursdays post comes from another fabulous member of the Historical Writers Forum , Karen Heenan. Welcome to the world of Songbird  her fantastic Tudor book. Here's how it all began... The Inspiration Behind Songbird (and The Tudor Court Series) Henry VIII, by Hans Holbein I discovered the Tudors at a young age. My mom was watching the BBC’s Six Wives of Henry VIII (the 1970 series, which the US got in 1972) and I ended up getting sucked into the program. Mom only wanted to watch through the Anne Boleyn episode, because she always had sympathy for the “other woman” in stories, but I insisted, at the age of seven, that we watch the whole thing. And that was it. Tudors for life. Although I’d always written, it never occurred to me to write historical fiction, much less in the era I was most passionate about. This was possibly because there were so many books about Henry and Anne and the rest that I didn’t feel I had anything new to say on the topic. It also didn’t

Book Review: A Paraphrase of "Paradise Lost" For Youngsters

  Blurb: This retelling of books V and VI of the epic poem Paradise Lost, written by John Milton, follows  the story of Satan's rebellion and fall from grace. The Father announces his heir, Satan rebels,  Abdiel tries to reason with the fallen angels, followed by a war scarring Heaven's landscape.  Brother against brother, the rebellious few against their Father, a family torn apart by war,  concluded by the victor, the Father's chosen Son, casting the disobedient out of paradise. Excerpt: At God’s declaration of war, dark clouds covered all of Heaven and smoke began to roll down  the sacred hill. Then the countless hosts of Heaven marched on the enemy, fully armed from  head to toe with helmets, spears, and shields. Satan gathered together his army as well. He stood on his chariot, bright as the Sun,  surrounded by his fiery angels with their golden shields, and marched toward the throne of God. He hoped that if he moved swiftly enough, he could reach the throne unopposed.

#HistFicThursdays - The Story of Wintercombe - Pamela Belle - Guest Post: Building Locations

Today, for my #HistFicThursdays blog, I'm delighted to be sharing a guest post from Pamela Belle as she introduces the world of Wintercombe, the setting for her series of books. The Story of Wintercombe I’ve always loved old houses, especially those built in the mediaeval and Tudor periods – somehow, Georgian grandeur just doesn’t do it for me. Elizabeth Bennet may have fallen in love with Pemberley, but I’d just think about all that chilly marble flooring and those high ceilings, and how difficult it would be to heat, never mind the dusting. Rushbrooke Hall in Suffolk, taken in  the 1940s For my first historical novels, I was inspired by Rushbrooke, the house, alas no longer standing, where my mother had lived as a small child, another, similar house called Kentwell Hall, and also the perfect pocket mediaeval manor, Stokesay, in Shropshire. I had four books under my belt, and was looking for a subject for another. Then I went to stay with a friend who had just moved to Wiltshire.

#HistFicThursdays - On Bur Oak Ridge - Jenny Knipfer - Book Excerpt

  Today, I'm delighted to hosting Jenny Knipfer once more, this time with the next book in her Sheltering Trees series: On Bur Oak Ridge . I'm sharing a short extract, but first, let's meet the book... “The plot has its twists and turns to keep readers intrigued…to the very end. A great comfort read that will soothe the spirit with renewed hope and faith.” Readers’ Favorite five-star review  A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF FINDING HEALING AND A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE In the early 1900s, quiet and reserved Molly Lund finds refuge from her past at the Nelsons’ farm in Minnesota. In an attempt to turn a new page in her life, Molly works at making peace with her losses and coming to terms with the disfiguring burns on her face.  Samuel Woodson, the Nelsons’ hired hand, carries his own cares. Split from his family and bearing a burden of misplaced guilt for an act that haunts him, Samuel – seeing past Molly’s scars – draws her out of her self-protective shell.  Molly and Samuel form a frie