Friday, 30 September 2011

A Scottish Duo: new releases

A couple of new Scottish releases from authors I'm acquainted with.  First, Anita Davison, whose novel, Culloden Spirit, is published by Muse It Up.  Here's an edited blurb from her book - for more information, check out Anita's blog.

When Carrie's family takes a summer trip to her father’s ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands, her handsome Scottish cousin, Duncan McRae, takes an immediate dislike to Carrie, mainly due to her father’s plans to refurbish Cair Innes castle which is in need of extensive repair beyond the means of its present owner and resident, Iain McRae.

Carrie feels the vacation will be a disaster until she discovers a strange young man while exploring the derelict castle, However, she soon learns Ruairi McRae is not what he seems, and the battle he intends to fight was lost by his clan a hundred and fifty years before.

Will Carrie be able to accept that she cannot be part of Ruairi’s world? And when the Roma arrive to camp on Bucks Meadow as they do every summer, who is the beautiful gypsy girl Duncan won't talk about?

Also out this month is Jennifer Hudson Taylor's Highland Sanctuary, the second (but not sequel!) in her Highland series.  The first, Highland Blessings, was a find summer read for me last year.  If you like inspirational historical fiction, you should check out the goodies for offer in Jennifer's book launch contest, running on her blog until October 9th.  Her book blurb:
Gavin MacKenzie, a chieftain heir who is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh, discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and
comely lass, who captures Gavin’s heart in spite of harboring a deadly past that could destroy her future.

The villagers happen to be keeping an intriguing secret as well. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith...

(P.S. I'm experimenting with a font that doesn't need to be huge print to read well on blogger, so bear with me!)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Housecarl and Cold Heart, Cruel Hand by Laurence J. Brown

Laurence Brown was the first author to introduce me to the fact that there are writers out there producing quality work – and doing it pretty successfully – without the backing of either an agent or a traditional publisher.  He’s also a gracious person who is always willing to share his experiences and advice with other writers.

His two novels follow the story of the Saxon warrior Ranulf, a member of King Harold Godwineson’s personal guard.  The first, Housecarl, follows the events of 1066, where the course of European history is changed in one month and three battles on English soil; Cold Heart, Cruel Hand traces the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings and Ranulf’s decision to join the rebellion of Hereward the Wake in a last bid for freedom for the Saxon people.  Laurence has a knack for bringing battles to life and recreating the real, human relationships of those who are barely even a footnote in English history.

Laurence drew inspiration from several sources, in particular, his father, who imparted a love of history, and an enthusiastic junior school teacher.  He recalls, “I remember our history teacher telling us about 1066 and the Norman invasion of England and showing us an extract from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting Harold's warriors lining the hill with their shields overlapping, their hedge of spears pointed menacingly at the Norman cavalry. I asked the teacher who they were and he said: ‘Those were Harold's housecarls, Laurence, the bravest warriors in Christendom.’”

I was pleased to catch up with Laurence and discover he is writing a third novel in the series, in fact a prequel, in which Ranulf, now an old man, recounts the story of how he came to be Harold’s champion.  It is something of a departure of style for me since Ranulf is narrating the tale himself,” he comments.  “In a sense his voice is mine, his thoughts, his character, is mine and it is both exciting and a little worrying - I don’t want to spoil the image that readers already have of him.”

Laurence’s books were first published by Paul Mould Publishing (Empire Books in the US), and are now also available as Kindle editions.  For more information, please visit his website.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Historical Fiction News

Some interesting news from the latest issue of The Historical Novels Review, a publication of the Historical Novel Society.  After a successful fifteen years of conferences, an excellent quarterly review of all new UK and US historical fiction, and a lively magazine, Solander, they are gearing up to become a web-based society.

Among changes touted by the society's founder, Richard Lee, will be daily updates of news and book reviews, facebook links and twitter feeds, and, eventually, a searchable database of all reviews.  Check out the current website for a taste of what is already on offer, including the online review that covers ebooks, non-conventional presses and self-published novels.

The two covers in this post are of the latest books I and my daughter reviewed for the society.  Click on the images to learn more.

Carrie Vaughn's Steel

Amit Mujmadar's Partitions