Sunday, September 8, 2013

Some top notch writing tips

Elizabeth Moss is the author of a number of Regency romances and most recently has released Wolf Bride the first in a series of raunchy Tudor Romances. You can find out more on her website here Elizabeth writes historical fiction and teen fiction under another name. Guess who? Check out her fantastic writing tips below.

The Opening Pages of your Novel Part One

And

Opening Pages of your Novel Part Two


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Three competitions for novel writers


Irish Children’s Prize

This year A. M. Heath are launching their Irish Children’s Prize.  We are looking for a new standout voice in children’s fiction.
The Irish Children’s Prize will be judged by Julia Churchill, children’s book agent at A. M. Heath, and David Maybury of Brown Bag Films, Penguin Children’s Books and Inis Magazine editor.


http://amheath.com/blog/irish-childrens-prize/


Novel Fair 2014

The Prize

Twelve entrants will be anonymously selected by a judging panel to take part in the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair on February 22nd, 2014. Each writer will have a stand at the Fair where they will present the synopsis of their novel, the finished novel itself and biographical material. Top Irish publishers and agents will be invited to the Irish Writers’ Centre to meet these writers in person.

http://writerscentre.ie/novelfair/novel-fair-2014/



Richard and Judy launch bestseller competition

Friday, September 6, 2013

A fantastic interview with my favourite author Diana Gabaldon

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley


Susanna Kearsley's latest novel is out in paperback now. I bought this while on holidays and started it straight away I had heard great things from The Historical and Time Slip Novels Book Club on facebook so I just had to have it. I certainly wasn't disappointed. Nicola has a special gift she can hold an object and see a glimpse of its past. It's a tool that's come in handy in her work as an art dealer. Margaret Ross travels down from Scotland to the London gallery where Nicola works to find out more about a family heirloom and how much it could be worth. Nicola holds the carved wooden firebird for a moment and immediately she sees that the Ross family stories are true it was given to an ancestor of Margaret's by The Russian empress Catherine. However Nicola has never told her boss or any clients about her gift so she needs to find evidence to back up her vision. She decides to investigate and enlists the help of old flame Rob McMorran who has a psychic gift even greater than Nicola's. Together they uncover the fascinating story of Anna a young Scottish woman who  lived  in Eighteenth Century St Petersburg and became embroiled in Jacobite politics. This is a brilliant and well written tale perfect for fans of Diana Gabaldon and Barbara Erskine.
Out now from Allison & Busby.

The Golem and Djinni by Helene Wecker


This a fabulous debut. An historical fantasy tale set in New York in 1899 in which the author conveys a strong sense of time and place. The author brings to life the many various neighbourhoods of turn of the century New York, the cold, the poverty, the overcrowding but also the customs and the habits and most importantly she brings alive the legends and the heritage as the two main characters are creatures of Arabic and Jewish mythology. The Golem is Chava a woman made from clay her purpose to serve her master in all things but when her master dies she is cast adrift and must find new purpose. Ahmad is the Djinni trapped for centuries in a copper flask and freed by a unwitting tinsmith. Each has their own separate beginning but the author seemlessly weaves together the disparate mythologies and unites the two characters who are hunted by a desperate and dangerous magician. This is a glorious and page turning escapist read perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke, Deborah Harkness and Carol Goodman.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Longbourn By Jo Baker



Many authors have attempted to write about the world of Jane Austen's fiction including most recently P.D James whose Death Comes to Pemberley  left me a bit cold. With Longbourn however debut author Jo Baker takes an entirely new approach telling the story of the Bennett Household from a vantage point we have never seen before; that of the servants. The story is told through the eyes of Sarah one of the housemaids who doesn't view Jane and Lizzie through the same rosy tones as we might having met so many film and television versions of them. They are rather different creatures to Sarah who has the washing of their muddy petticoats and soiled linen. Longbourn shows us the harsh realities of a servant's life Sarah suffers blisters and chillblains and is sent out in the rain to fetch shoe roses. She is constantly carrying bedpans and hanging out washing. She does however find some time for romance flirting with Mr Bingley's footman a former slave who reveals that the Bingley fortune is founded on sugar and therefore on slavery. We also discover the cruelty of military life through the back story of Mr Smith. I adored this book. I found it unputdownable and can't recommend it highly enough. Presenting the world of Austen's characters in an entirely new light is no mean feat but Jo Baker has the skill and imagination to do exactly that. Longbourn is available now in hardback and trade paperback from  Doubleday.

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield


It's a number of years since I first read Diane Setterfield's debut The Thirteenth Tale and I enjoyed it so much I have recommended it to many others since, friends, family and customers alike I even listed it in my top five reads of all time which believe me was not an easy list to compile.
So of course I jumped at the chance to read an early review copy of her next book Bellman & Black which will be published by Orion this October in time for Halloween. I dived straight in to find a glorious slice of Victoriana layered with gothic suspense and mystery. The story opens with the last dying moments of William Bellman as his life flashes before him. He remembers being a ten year old playing in the cemetery with his friends and firing a stone at a rook with his catapult. He knocks the bird to the ground and instantly feels that he has crossed a line. Death has entered William's young life and it follows him through the years. The image of the rook, of the cemetery of the mourning clothes and all the trappings of the Victorian cult of mourning recur throughout the story and lead William to open an emporium of mourning, the first department store dedicated to funerals; black hats and gloves, coffins, black edged stationary can all be purchased at Bellman & Black. This novel is a glorious return for a wonderful and talented writer.