Friday, January 24, 2014

HF BOOK MUSE- NEWS: Castles, Customs and Kings EVENT!!!

HF BOOK MUSE- NEWS: Castles, Customs and Kings EVENT!!!: Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors ~ For the next week, several of the CC&K authors will guest post, and there is a giveaway of the anthology. Enter to win at the HF Book Muse blog!

Friday, January 17, 2014

'Dreaming of Books' Giveaway Hop

I am giving away one ecopy of Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors.

The book is an history anthology made up of posts from the English Historical Fiction Authors blog. With each topic being just a few pages long, it is the perfect book for short reads during a coffee break, for reading on the bus, or for a waiting room. Author Helen Hollick warns, however, "Readers are likely to become stuck in a comfy chair!"

Anyone who likes history or Britain would love to receive this book as a gift.

Elizabeth Chadwick said, "I think this will appeal to people across the board. It’ll make a perfect stocking filler for history buffs for Christmas. It’s companionable to read with a variety of different subjects, writing styles and approaches to history and historical research and can be dipped in and out of at leisure."

Other reviewers have said:

"If you are interested in nonfiction works on England, history, and/or royalty you will find a book that you will return to."

"I found the tales of queens and kings from the historical fiction I've loved and learned to treasure just absorbing in the small bites these authors provide."

"Actually, was mesmerized by it and took it in because it's written in small vignettes. "

"There is something for everyone, and something more again and again."

"I was surprised at the distinctly 'old-fashioned' feel of much of it.... I found the approach charming and reassuring."

"Just full of information on English history...all wonderfully compiled and edited...not one single dull entry!"

Comment below to enter the drawing, and please be sure to leave your contact information. Then visit the other blogs to see what they have to offer. Enjoy the hop!

Authors wishing to join this hop can enter HERE.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Writer's/Artist's Retreat: Y Cwtch Holiday Cottage, home of author Judith Arnopp.

As a writer I am very fortunate to live in a rural area, far from people and the distractions that go with them. One of the most common remarks I have from my fellow writers is, ‘How lucky you are to be able to write full time and in such an idyllic spot.”

Although we advertise the annexe for holidays it has only just recently occurred to us that it would make a pleasant ‘private retreat’ for writers or artists who don’t have the luxury of such surroundings every day. So we are expanding our marketing to include creative artists of all genres.

Our home used to house six people but now the children have fledged, it is sanctuary to just two of us. On finding ourselves rattling around inside we decided to offer it as a holiday base to like-minded people, authors, artists, walkers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

Y Cwtch (Welsh for hug) provides comfortable and competitively priced accommodation. Adjacent to the farmhouse Y Cwtch comprises of one double and one single bedroom with room for a travel cot. There is a newly fitted bathroom, a dual aspect sitting room and full equipped kitchen and separate utility.

Guests have full use of a private enclosed garden and are also welcome to make use of our own pretty, private grounds, although they should be aware of the possibility of bumping into us mowing or clipping. Visitors are welcome to help with the weeding should they desire to do so.

The meadows, that face south-west, are fed by a pretty rambling stream which is teeming with wildlife. In the past the fields have been home to a range of livestock but these days just provide refuge for wildlife and a couple of elderly Welsh mountain ponies.

There are plenty of lovely spots to sit with a picnic while you write, or dream, or plot, all within sight of Llanwnni Mountain which, while it may not be the highest peak in the world, has been our personal companion for many happy years. It sleeps in the opposite valley, watching but not commenting on all that takes place below.

Y Cwtch itself lies in a pretty valley just outside the farming community of Cwrtnewydd, a short drive from the market town of Lampeter, the fabulous coastline and Newcastle Emlyn, with its many antique shops.

It is still possible to access the historic past in Wales. There are sites ranging from ancient burial mounds, iron age hillforts, early medieval churches and castles, Tudor manor houses, 19th century stately homes and woollen mills. Many sites are admission free and it is perfectly possible to find yourself completely alone in a medieval castle within sight and sound of the sea. Perfect for absorbing the atmosphere and mind set of ‘those who lived before.’

West Wales is famous for its beaches, castles and ancient churches and is within an easy drive of Pembrokeshire, Brecon and North Wales, if you can tear yourself away from Ceredigion.

For more information please visit our website: or find us on facebook

Monday, January 6, 2014

Historical Fiction Excerpt: A Newfound Land

by Anna Belfrage

It’s 1672, and Matthew Graham and his family have left Scotland. Having taken the drastic decision to leave their homeland due to religious conflicts, Alexandra and Matthew hope for a simpler, if harsher, life in the wilds of the Colony of Maryland.

Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as you want them to, and the past has a nasty tendency to resurface at the most inappropriate moments. Both Matthew and Alex are forced to cope with the unexpected reappearance of people they had never thought to meet again, and the screw is turned that much tighter when the four rogue Burley brothers enter their lives.

Matters are further complicated by the strained relations between colonists and the Susquehannock Indians. When Matthew intercedes to stop the Burleys from abducting Indian women into slavery he makes lifelong – and deadly – enemies of them all.

Once again Alex is plunged into an existence where death seems to threaten her man wherever he goes.

Will Matthew see himself – and his family – safe in these new circumstances? And will the past finally be laid to rest?


Alex recognised the horse first, gulped and tried to make herself as invisible as possible. Difficult to do when one was wearing a flowered shawl and a white cap, and with a low whoop Philip Burley brought his horse to a halt.

“Well, well, if it isn’t Mrs Graham.” His mouth stretched itself into a cold smile. “And what may you have in your apron? More of those peppers you so kindly anointed my eyes with last time we met?”

“No.” Alex succeeded in sounding much more relaxed than she felt. “These are hips.”

“Hips, you say?” Philip let his eyes travel up and down Alex.

“She has good ones,” one of his companions piped up, eliciting a snicker from the other two.

Alex looked from one to the other. “Oh my God, it’s actually true. You do have three brothers.”

“Why is that so surprising?”

Alex just shook her head. Dark-haired and light-eyed the lot of them, the youngest not much more than a boy, the other two closer to Philip in age, somewhere in their late twenties. “I was commiserating with your mother. Imagine giving birth to four like you.”

“Seven actually, but the three eldest were girls,” Philip said.

“Lucky her,” Alex muttered.

“Very,” one of the other brothers said. “Four sons to keep her well protected – unlike you, Mrs Graham.” He looked over to Philip. “Is she the wife of the man who stole the Indians from you?”

“Stole? Matthew stopped your creep of a brother from abducting them!” Alex shifted a couple of yards further away from the path, eyeing her surroundings.

“Yes, she is.” Philip rode his horse into the underbrush, and Alex retreated behind a stand of maple saplings. “Think you can run?”

“Run? Why should I? Matthew will be here any minute.”

“Really?” Philip drawled.

“Really,” Alex said, taking yet another step away from him. “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in Virginia?”

“Our business is none of your concern,” Philip said.

“Business? Here?” Alex swept her arm at the surrounding wilderness. “What do you do? Sell nuts to the squirrels?”

Philip laughed. “There are always buyers for our goods – and services.” He turned to his brothers. “What do you reckon she’s worth?”

“Worth? Me? Why you—” Alex broke off at his look and backed into the closest bramble.

“She’s quite old,” the youngest of them said.

“Yes,” one of the others agreed. His eyes stuck to Alex’s chest, did a cursory inspection of the rest of her and returned to her chest. He had eyes as light as Philip, eyes that made her knees wobble.

“Just because she’s old it doesn’t mean we can’t sell her,” the third brother said. “Some sort of compensation for the lost Indians.”

“Just because you walk on two legs and can talk, it doesn’t follow you have a brain, does it?” Alex retorted.

“Feisty,” Philip said. “I like that in a woman. Makes it more fun to...” He made a rude gesture and his brothers grinned, eyeing Alex hungrily.

“I just told you. My husband will be here shortly.”

“Now why don’t I believe you, Mrs Graham?” Philip Burley leaned forward over the neck of his horse.

“Because you’re stupid?” Alex said.

“Stupid? I think not, Mrs Graham.” He rode closer. Alex groped for her knife and raised it high. Philip looked at her with a glimmer of admiration in his eyes. He smiled, a slow, dangerous smile further enhanced by the lock of coal-black hair that fell forward over his face. For eternal seconds, she was nailed to the spot by his eyes. The palms of her hands, the insides of her thighs broke out in a cold sweat.

Finally, he wheeled his horse. “I’ll be back,” he threw over his shoulder. “If nothing else to offer my condolences to the recently bereaved widow.”

She couldn’t help it, she gasped, making him laugh.

“We don’t have time to waste. We have a militia to join – coincidentally the same company your husband belongs to.”
“But...” the youngest whined. “I thought we’d—”

“Not today, Will,” Philip cut him off. He smiled at Alex and touched the brim of his hat. “We know where to find her when we want her.” With that he was off, his three brothers in his wake.

Alex sank down to sit where she stood.