Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grindelwald, Tasmania - home to Hale author

About 20 years ago a man named Roelph Vos, a Dutch businessman living in Tasmania, fell in love with Switzerland. But not wanting to move from his adopted country, he decided to build his own little bit of Switzerland – in fact a complete village – in the Tamar Valley near Launceston.

Grindelwald, with its Swiss-style houses, lakes and even a mini Tamerhorn, is still quite a tourist attraction. And this is where I chose to settle when I moved from Western Australia a little over two years ago.

Situated only 15 kilometres from Launceston (90,000 people), it is far enough from the city, to feel like being in the country. And, as it is situated on the top of a ridge, it is well above the mists which drift over the valley in winter.
When I look out of my window and see the early morning sun tinting the clouds, I feel as though I am on Cloud Nine.

As for 2010, my next Hale book is due out in May (FLOATING GOLD – a Horatio Hornblower-type nautical adventure) and am currently researching the life of Tasmanian bushranger, Matthew Brady, with a view to writing about him. I’ve enjoyed the research so much that I've applied to go back to university to study History and Aboriginal studies full time, so that should keep me out of mischief for a while.

So for now, wherever you are in the world, I wish you the compliments of the season and I send my very good wish to you all for a happy, safe and prosperous year in 2010.

Best wishes,
Margaret Muir

PS - Perhaps other Hale authors would also like to spotlight the place they call home

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Loren Teague

It is with the greatest of sadness that I give the news of Hale author, Loren Teague's death.

After a courageous battle with cancer, Loren lost her fight, and we lose a treasured person and a gifted story teller.

I received an email from her only a few weeks ago and she was still being positive and excited about her latest book from Hale.

I wish to extend my personal, and I'm sure all Hale authors', sincere condolences to Loren's family and friends at this difficult time.
After Glow
I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun of happy memories
that I leave when life is done

Rest In Peace Loren.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Death is the Cure : an innocent visit to Bath can prove fatal!

Yippee! The advance copies of Death is the Cure arrived today!

Nicola Slade’s new Victorian Mystery – Death is the Cure – is published by Robert Hale Ltd on 31st December 2009

An inquisitive young woman, a swordstick, a wooden leg, a man whose hobby is funerals, a murder and some fearsome-looking electrical medical equipment!

Death is the Cure
Nicola Slade
A Victorian Mystery set in 1858

When Charlotte Richmond's dearest friend decides to visit Bath for medical treatment, Charlotte, a young Victorian widow, is delighted to accompany her. But the spa town turns out to be far less genteel than she anticipates. Their fellow guests at elegant Waterloo House seem to be haunted by secrets and Charlotte is soon embroiled in mysteries, mayhem and murder. When one of the inhabitants of Waterloo House is stabbed to death it is Charlotte who trips over the corpse and begins to ask questions. In the course of her unofficial enquiries her own life is put in peril as she uncovers family secrets and stumbles upon a mystery that could even change the course of history.

ISBN-13: 9780709089551 RRP £18.99
Special Offer @ £13.29 (till 31st January 2010)

Fortunate Wager Is Out Today

I am delighted to announce that my second Newmarket Regency - Fortunate Wager - is out today.

As I say on my website:

Anyone who has read my first Newmarket Regency, Fair Deception, cannot have failed to spot that Caroline Fortune was only being held to secondary-character status by a supreme act of will on the author's part.

In Fortunate Wager (set a year later in 1817), she breaks gloriously free and sets about making the book her own from the very first page. Caroline is under no illusion about her attractions: plain, unbecomingly dressed and with little money, she is resisting all attempts at marrying her off as a housekeeper-substitute - because what she really wants to do is settle down on her own and train horses.

Lord Alexander Rothwell, on the other hand, cannot wait to shake the dust of Newmarket off his Hessians and get back to London. Unfortunately he is stuck here for the moment because he has promised Lady Jersey that he will try to get to the bottom of the double-dealing she claims to be taking place on the racecourse.

He manufactures what he considers to be an excellent excuse to hang around the training grounds, by making a preposterous wager with cub-trainer Harry Fortune (Caroline's brother). This seriously inconveniences Caroline who needs seclusion to help train Harry's string.

But the wager is not nearly as inconvenient as when Alexander is struck down and left for dead at Harry's stable. Now that really does make life trying.

Fortunate Wager is available to order at a reduced rate from the Hale website, but non-UK readers can use the Book Depository for post-free delivery anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gary Dobbs Interview

There's an interview with myself HERE regarding both my western and crime writing.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Placing a pre-publication order for any Hale book through THE BOOK DEPOSITORY means you can secure a big saving on the recommended price and also receive free postage worldwide which represents a significant saving to overseas buyers.

Already advertised on The Book Depository’s website is New Zealand author, Loren Teague’s forthcoming novel, The Italian Affair.
Classed as a thilller, this is Loren’s third book with Hale.

As I thoroughly enjoyed reading Loren’s previous novels, True Deception and Ultimate Betrayal, I look forward to reading this story which is due for release in February 2010.

The story sounds intriguing:
Gina Rosselini, the granddaughter of a wealthy fishing magnate, lives a charmed life until her twin sister, Maria, is shot on her wedding day, and Gina is marked as the gunnman's next target. The Rosselini family hire Rick Caruso, an ex-cop and private investigator, to act as a bodyguard for Gina...but Gina has other plans. A strong, independent woman, Gina has no intention of letting Rick protect her. Then, an attempt on her life changes everything. As the danger escalates, Gina must face her worst fears. Meanwhile, the killer watches her from the shadows, waiting for his moment to strike...

The Italian Affair is currently advertised by THE BOOK DEPOSITORY at 25% discount for pre-publication orders.

Posted by Margaret Muir

Saturday, November 7, 2009

E Books

I have been reading the dismal news about e-books. Dismal for non best selling authors like myself because the e-books threaten not only me but publishers too. I think the only people who will reap the benefit of e-publishing will be the top authors and any decent publicist who can persuade the buying public to download his/her client's material. Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

FLOATING GOLD - first step in book production

The jacket cover is one of the first things completed in the process of publishing a book. It is required for all pre-publication advertising and promotion.

It's a well used cliche that you can't judge a book by its cover but it's also a fact that a good cover will go a long way to selling a book.

Revealed today is the jacket cover for FLOATING GOLD, Margaret Muir's latest novel due for release in May 2010.

The artwork by Michael Thomas is certainly colourful and will hopefully prove to be an eye-catcher on library shelves.

The Blurb which will appear inside the jacket flap reads as follows:

1802 - The fragile peace with France has brought massive debt and unemployment to England and frustration to its naval officers.

After an enforced absence, Captain Oliver Quintrell is eager to return to the sea, but the commission he is granted leaves him cynical and disappointed. In command of a mere frigate, he heads south unaware of the unimaginable dangers which lie ahead.

The seething Southern Ocean, enemy ships, a discontented crew and the secrets held by a living breathing volcanic island pose more of a threat than a full broadside from a man-of-war.

FLOATING GOLD is a nautical fiction adventure which follows the tradition of the CS Forester and Patrick O’Brian stories.

Margaret Muir (Tasmania)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

April And May

When Rose Charteris arrives in Constantinople the last thing she expects or wants is to come face to face with Tom Hawkesleigh, the man who broke her heart four years previously. Worse still, she is forced to work with him on a top secret document for the Sultan. Spied on by all sides, Rose must affect a polite indifference and get the job done.
At last she can return to London but enemies still hope to disrupt Tom’s work and so danger follows her. Rose struggles fiercely to maintain her independence, spurning all Tom’s efforts to help her. Finally when she does realise that she still loves him, it seems she has left it too late to win him back.

The cover is another stunning picture by artist David Young. Sunset over Constantinople - and with a kiosk - what more could I want!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Ever since a visit to the Marmaris region of Turkey, I've been a fan of kiosks. The word comes from Persian and means pavilion - a roofed open-sided shelter from the sun, and which creates a little privacy. In the south west of Turkey, people prefer to sit in a kiosk rather than at a table in a cafe - it's a whole new experience to drink your tea and then lie down for a little siesta, shaded by the slatted roof and the poplar branches moving gently against the blue, blue sky. This photo is of a slightly different type of kiosk in a restaurant in Konya. Somehow it is more enjoyable to spend time in a kiosk, rather than just at a table while eating.

My new story, APRIL AND MAY, is set partly in Constantinople in 1804. To my delight the cover features a kiosk.
The heroine is staying with a rich Turkish family. Here is a small extract describing her first visit to the kiosk in the garden.
For the second time that day Rose followed Fatma down to the salon and this time out into the garden with its flowering shrubs. As she approached the kiosk, she saw a tall form rise to his feet. He was a fine figure of a man, lean and compact, yet his strength was obvious. Now she could see a similarity to his sister in the almond eyes and high cheekbones. His grey eyes sparkled as he watched her approach.
He bowed courteously, a hand against his heart in the Turkish fashion. ‘So good of you to answer my plea, Mrs Charteris. I will not take up too much of your time.’ He indicated that she should sit.
Rose looked about the little wooden structure with interest. The painted slats were arranged in a criss-cross pattern, light and pleasing. The roof was held up by four carved posts and all rails and bars had a scalloped edge. It was a very different type of summerhouse from an English one. She sat on the low cushioned bench. He sat opposite her. Fatma stood at a respectful distance, hands clasped in front of her.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

FLOATING GOLD - new tack for Hale author

Due for publication in May 2010, FLOATING GOLD is an age-of-sail nautical fiction adventure. It is set in 1802 during the awkward Peace of Amiens when both naval ships and men lay idol. Frustrated by an old injury and by the Admiralty’s lack of response to his recent requests for a commission, Captain Quintrell reminisces:

Closing his eyes for a moment, he pictured a white beach the morning after battle. A bay littered with bloated bodies, some washed ashore, others turning in the shallows like pigs roasting on spits – carcases rolling over and over unable to made landfall. Dead men stripped of clothes and skin. Faceless faces devoid of their human masks. Arms, wrenched from shoulders, scattered haphazardly. Hands poking up through sand. Fingers outstretched in supplication. Severed heads without ears. Human hair blowing in the breeze. The scream of frenzied gulls.

Such an inglorious end robbed a man not only of his raiments but all evidence of nationality, allegiance and rank. For those departed souls there was neither honour nor glory nor recognition - not even a Christian burial. Their mortal remains would be stripped clean by armies of invading crabs. And there were many fat crabs on the beaches that season.

When he is summonsed to attend the Sea Lords, the captain receives his orders - to head for the Southern Ocean in search of an unspecified treasure. But when Oliver Quintrell sets sail from Portsmouth, he has no idea of the dangers which lie ahead.

FLOATING GOLD is a maritime adventure inspired by the classic seafaring stories of CS Forester and Patrick O’Brian. Unlike Margaret Muir’s previous books, this novel targets a male audience.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have an interview tomorrow, 22nd. October on Talk Radio Europe. It will be on the Hannah Murray Book Show which goes out, on-line every Thursday. My time is 1.45 (UK time). I contacted Hannah through the Talk Radio Website, not really expecting a reply, but received one a couple of days later. Hannah's interviews are done over the phone, and you don't have to be a local author to qualify. So, those of you who feel you might have something to offer, why not give it a try. Or perhaps listen in tomorrow, on-line?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two Gentlemen From London

This month my ninth Regency adventure, Two Gentlemen From London, is released. This is set in Suffolk and Norfolk in East Anglia and has plenty of daring do and romance. Here is an extract to wet your appetites.

Chapter One

'Miss Bentley, lawks a mussy! They're here. Young Fred saw the carriage turn into the lane not ten minutes ago.'
Annabel Bentley dropped the jar of bramble jelly she had been about place on the shelf in the pantry. 'After so long? I had thought Mama and I safe from him.' Stepping over the sweet mess on the flagstones she gathered up her skirts, calling over her shoulder as she ran. 'You and Tom know what to do; we have about thirty minutes before they arrive.'
How had he found them? They had been so careful these past years, had not even attended church or visited Ipswich themselves. Her heart pounding, she ran upstairs calling her mother.
'Mama, we are discovered. We must get organized or it will be too late.' She had hoped never to be reminded of that black time again.
Lady Sophia appeared from the south facing chamber she used for her studio, as usual she had paint streaks on her face and fingers. 'Are you quite certain, my love? I can hardly credit that monster has been able to find us.'
'Well, he has. Mary and Tom are putting on the holland covers, we have to clear your studio.'
In the beginning they had practiced this exercise several times, but as the months, and then the years, slipped by they had stopped rehearsing. However, the boxes were ready and it was the work of moments to fill them with the paraphernalia.
'Quickly, open the panel and I'll start taking things through.' Annabel tried to recall how long it was since she had checked their intended hiding place. It must be almost a year, the two secret rooms would be dust covered, but it was too late to worry about that. There was the clatter of footsteps and their servants arrived to disguise the bed chambers they had been occupying with covers.
'Miss Bentley, everything's ready downstairs, we shall have your rooms done in a trice. Fred is moving the horses, I reckon we'll be prepared in good time.'
'This room is finished; all we need is sufficient food and water for today and tomorrow. No doubt you will be obliged to offer accommodation tonight, but when he finds he's mistaken, he will surely leave first thing.'
'He'll not get a meal he'll enjoy tonight, I'll make sure of that.'
'Thank you, Mary. I cannot imagine why the three of you have stayed with us so long in this isolated place, but we could not have managed without you.'
'Bless you, miss, it's been our pleasure. You mustn't worry. If you and Lady Sophia get settled, we'll be up with what you need as soon as we've done here.'
Annabel stepped into the hidden passageway, relieved to see her mother had not been idle, the sconces were burning and she had sufficient illumination to fasten the panel behind her and to pick up one of the remaining boxes.
The passageways and narrow staircase led from top to bottom of the ancient mansion. The place had once been used by smugglers and although the exit to the beach had fallen into disuse years ago, it was still possible to get from the kitchen to the hidden apartment in the attic.
She followed the twists and turns without hesitation, it was fixed in her mind. She could hear her mother moving about ahead of her and guessed she would be setting up her easel.
'There you are, my love. I shall run back and fetch the last box whilst you check we have everything we need up here. I fear the bed linen will be damp after so long.'
Annabel didn't bother to argue that she was younger and fitter and should be the one to go back, for it would be untrue. Her mother was barely eight and thirty, and she nineteen on her last name day, they would be taken for sisters if ever they appeared together in public.
These secret rooms had been constructed when the house was built. There was no way to enter them via the attics, the only panels that opened were in the room that had been used as a studio and the boot room in the basement. She walked across to the low doors that opened onto the roof.
She pulled them back and stepped out, knowing she could not be seen from below. Brandon Hall, originally built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, now had a false edifice making it appear what it was not. Behind the brick frontage, hidden between two chimney breasts, was a space more than large enough to walk about. She carefully removed the brick that filled the peephole.
Her throat constricted and her hands clenched. Fred had not been mistaken. Already half way down the long curving drive was a smart, black travelling carriage. They had not received a visitor since they had joined Great-Aunt Beth, nobody knew they were there. It could only be her stepfather, Randolph Rushton, and his loathsome man of affairs.
A vivid flash of lightning split the sky. She counted, had reached five, when the thunder followed. The storm they had been anticipating all day would be upon them within the hour. She prayed the river that ran parallel to the lane would not flood, the last time it had done so it had been a week before the road was passable.
Her mother appeared at the door, her face pinched and pale. 'Come in, my dear, we must get ourselves settled whilst it is still light enough to do so. You know we cannot risk more than a single candle once it is dark.'
'Very well, Mama, the carriage will be here imminently. We can't move about once it arrives, you know how sound echoes down the passageway.'
The coach rocked violently. 'God's teeth! Sinclair, are you certain we have taken the correct turning?'
Colonel Robert Sinclair grinned at his companion. 'The yokel the coachman questioned a while ago directed us along this godforsaken track. It's your family we're visiting, Dudley, not mine, remember.'
'My sister said she lives in rural splendour, not that she lived somewhere as inaccessible as this.'
The horses slowed to a walk and Robert lowered the window. 'I can see something carved into the gatepost.' He leant out and could just make out some letters under the verdigris. 'Yes, it's definitely Brandon Manor.' He shouted up to the coachman. The groom sitting next to him on the box, hung precariously over the edge to listen. 'This is it. The drive is in no better state than the lane. Take it carefully, I don't want my horses lamed.'
'Very well, Colonel, we'll take it steady.'
The driver waved his whip in acknowledgement and Robert resumed his place on the squabs. This was turning out to be a more interesting excursion than he'd anticipated. When Dudley had suggested a visit to darkest Suffolk to see his sister Amelia, he had agreed. Since Waterloo, and reduced to half pay, even a sojourn in the country seemed preferable to kicking his heels in town, and having too much time to dwell on his loss.
'I know your sister has been widowed, but surely her finances are not so parlous that the estate has fallen into disrepair?'
'To tell you the truth, I know little about Brandon Manor or her dead husband. She met and
married Sir John Barton whilst I was on the Peninsular with you fighting Napoleon. She has two children, I misremember their names, but from what I recall, Barton was a young man with deep pockets. Amelia wouldn't have looked at him otherwise.'
Robert smiled. 'She always said she would marry money; but I'm surprised she chose someone who lives so remotely. I doubt she has much social life stuck out here in the back of beyond.'
The sky was rent by a sheet of lightning closely followed by the rumble of thunder. 'That's all we need, a storm. The going is too poor for us to make faster progress; I fear we're going to be caught in a downpour.'
'At least we will be well looked after when we arrive. Amelia keeps a good table. This journey has been beyond tedious, I cannot wait to stretch my legs and enjoy a decent meal.' Simon Dudley shuddered. 'The repast we were given last night beggars belief.'
'It didn't prevent you from finishing it,' Robert said dryly. The carriage dropped into another pothole tilting dangerously; he was catapulted from his seat. 'Dammit! That's the axle gone. God knows how we're going to get it fixed out here.'
He untangled himself from his friend and reached up to grasp the door which was now above his head. 'Did I hurt you?' Major Dudley shook his head. 'I must get out and help Jethro with the horses. We're still a mile from the house; I fear we're going to have to walk.'
The team might be in imminent danger of entangling themselves in the traces. He prided himself on having four incomparable matched bays and had no intention of letting any one of them injure themselves. Heaving himself upright he smashed the door open; he thrust through the opening to roll down the carriage to the ground.
His driver was before him and had his knife out to slice through the leather. There was no sign of the groom. He ran to take hold of the bit of the lead horse, he pulled the animal's head down and spoke soothingly until it calmed. 'Where's Billy?'
'I ain't had time to check, sir, he went over the side and I've not seen him since.'
There was the thump of boots as they hit the ground behind him. 'Dudley, my groom's hurt. Check on him.' He knew his friend wouldn't question his orders; after all he'd been following his commands during the years they had served together in the same regiment.
'A concussion, he's out cold, but his pulse's steady. How the devil are we going to get him to the house?'
'I can see help arriving; there's a pony and trap heading this way. I find it decidedly odd that Amelia can provide us with nothing better than that.'
Dudley shrugged. 'I suppose it might have been sensible to have informed her of our coming.'
'Good God! How did the regiment survive with you in charge of transport? I should not have agreed to accompany you, or use my carriage, if I had known we were not expected.'
The trap clattered to a halt beside them and an elderly retainer scrambled out, a younger version, obviously his son, close behind. 'It's going to rain something heavy any time now, sir, so we best get you to the hall before it do.'
Robert nodded. 'My groom is injured, take him and our bags. Major Dudley and myself will ride.' The man touched his cap and vanished to the far side of the tilted carriage to collect the patient. He was about to swing up on the horse he was holding when something the man had said made him stop. 'Is this Brandon Manor?'
The two servants staggered around, the comatose body between them. The older man answered. 'Bless you, sir, no it ain't. This is Brandon Hall. Brandon Manor is ten miles away, at Upper Brandon. This here place is Lower Brandon.'

Don't forget you can get free postage all over the world from The Book Depository - and Hale has the book on offer for the first couple of weeks.
Fenella Miller

The Gentle Wind's Caress in Large Print

The Gentle Wind's Caress is a Victorian historical saga set in Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall and surrounding areas of Calerdale, West Yorkshire, England.


1876 - On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson must fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. To escape a life of drudgery and near-rape at the hands of the matron's son, Neville Peacock, Isabelle agrees to marry Farrell, a moorland farmer she has never met. But Farrell is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to run the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. Despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan and his best friend, Hamish MacGregor, as she faces the return of her long lost father and Neville Peacock. And when Farrell returns to claim his wife, tragedy strikes, changing all their lives forever.

Available in LARGE PRINT, which can be purchased from or ordered by your local library. The large print cover has the wrong period dress, but it's still very pretty. :o)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Zealand author’s second novel published by Robert Hale

Ultimate Betrayal by Loren Teague is a story of intrigue and deception set against the dramatic scenery of New Zealand's high country and the rolling green hills of Ireland.
In this page-turning mystery, IRA terrorists, the Irish Police, New Zealand Immigration and MI5 all have a significant role to play.

When Katrina Jones flies from Boston to New Zealand in search of an old friend, she sets off a chain reaction. But the secret which Sean McKinlay carries cannot be resolved until the pair retrace their footsteps to where the story began – Ireland.
I stayed up until 1.30 am last night to finish the book – what more can I say!

Ultimate Betrayal is Loren’s second novel with Hale Books and is available from The Book Depository – world-wide postage free.

Note: Ultimate Betrayal was published in March but due to ill health, Loren has been unable to post anything about it. In an email I received from her today, she says, 'I am getting there again!'
Best wishes to you, Loren.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Black horse Western News Round-up

For all the latest Black Horse Western news be sure to check in at the Black Horse Express

Recent items:
Review of Packing Iron by Steve Hayes
Don't Tarnish the Brand article by Howard Hopkins
New Chuck Tyrell cover
Bestsellers at The Book Depository
Review of Ruben's Ruse by Ben Coady
Gun Law available to order
Dales Westerns - August 2009
Vampires on the Range
Bestsellers on Amazon
James C. Work writes about Black Horse Westerns
Last Chance Saloon by Ross Morton
Terry James's 2nd BHW to be published
Review of Riders of the Barren Plains by I.J. Parnham
Black Horse Westerns - July 2009
Review of The Short Creek Rustlers by J.D. Ryder
Edition #15 of Black Horse Extra available
Wild Bunch Wednesday
Bestselling Linford Westerns on Amazon
Review of Rio Bonito by Abe Dancer
Review of the Death Shadow Riders by Elliot Conway
Review of Gunman's Walk by Clint Ryker
Linford Westerns - July 2009
Dales Westerns - July 2009
Interview with Mark Bannerman
Review of Portrait of an Outlaw by J.D. Kincaid
New Chuck Tyrell novel accepted

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Marketing - Beat to a Pulp

For the last few months I've had a number of short stories published in local magazines, together with a prominent footnote about my books plus fingernail cover pictures. This is one way to market books, though I have no idea if it brings in any new readers. It does keep my names (Ross Morton and Nik Morton) in the public eye. I have also had a couple of stories published on an online webzine; even if I wasn't keen on marketing my books, I'd still send stories to this outlet as they are gaining a fine reputation for a broad range of good writing, ably edited by Elaine Ash.

Beat to a Pulp is a webzine that features a great variety of stories in a number of genres. Each week a new story is featured; earlier tales are still accessible, either on the page or in the Archive. The writers also benefit from feedback from the readers, which is a real bonus.

This week's 'punch' is one of my short stories, 'I Celebrate Myself' - the title is taken from Walt Whitman; his poetry lends itself to story titles, I reckon. Anyone reading my latest western The $300 Man will know that Whitman - along with Christina Rossetti - is quoted by the two main characters.

Anyway, 'I Celebrate Myself' is about a NY cop faced with an unusual dilemma and it can be found at

complete with readers' comments; feel free to drop in, read and leave a comment..


Friday, August 7, 2009


The NOPRIZE award will be given out twice a year for excellence in the western genre. There's no pretty little statue to display, no certificate to hang on the wall - in fact the NOPRIZE is basically a kudos thing - a way for western fans to thank the winners for all they've done for the genre. Details of the categories and of how to vote will be given here soon and I do hope western fans everywhere will cast a vote. Basically the NOPRIZE is intended to be a bit of fun and although there is no physical prize it'll be great for any writer to know that people like their work so much as to vote for it.

And so to start the ball rolling I would like to give a honoury NOPRIZE to publisher, John Hale for his sterling work with the Black Horse Range. If it wasn't for Hale there would be no British westerns at all and the publishing house has supported the genre for many many years. Of course this last year has seen the books starting to get more and more attention and many BHW writers, myself included, have seen their work reviewed on blogs, websites and in newspapers and magazines. Once the BHW range were only available in the UK but they are starting to gain in popularity across the seas, especially in the spiritual home of the genre, the USA. If one man deserves congratulations for this then it is Mr Hale himself who has bucked the trend of the market place by sticking with the genre through thick and thin.

And so on behalf of western writers and fans everywhere The Archive says a big, "Thank you" to Mr Hale who undoubtedly deserves his NOPRIZE award.

Super review

I just found this super review at USA

***** page turner

"Suffering from amnesia after being involved in a hit and run accident and having no living relatives, Alva is released from hopital into the care of her estranged husband, Conte Luca Mazareeze, to recuperate.

Unable to recall why she fled from her husband and the beautiful island of Santa Caterina, Alva falls in love with Luca again. Life should be blissful, yet something bothers her. As her memory returns she discovers nothing at the Palazzo is as it seems and she is surrounded by danger and intrigue.

Margaret Blake's page-turning thriller/mystery, Shadows of the Past, builds to a nail biting finale. Definitely recommended as a highly entertaining read."


Sunday, July 26, 2009

In All Honour - a hero with a difference

'Why can't I meet a man like Greg in real life?'

Several people have asked this question after finishing In All Honour. Of course, it helped that Greg is over six foot tall, broad shouldered and has a pleasant, open look with glowing amber eyes and coppery brown hair. He is energetic, brave and kind but fierce in the defence of his family and his honour.

In her review of the book for, Rachel Hyde says: "I often think that there are not enough Regency novels set in Bath, surely one of the main places that come to mind associated with this period. This book brings the town to life, with a good feel of the place and its pleasures and pastimes. I also enjoyed the amiable Greg, a pleasant change from the usual dominating alpha male and somebody it would be easy to like as well as be attracted to. The odd "gray" character might add spice to this type of tale however, where everybody is either very likeable or irredeemable villains but this is still a very enjoyable novel."

Greg appeared in The Wild Card and so he was already established as a nice guy. It seemed to me that the only way to balance this was to have a truly horrible villain. And the people who like Greg so much just love to hate Lord Percival. So I think my story gives pleasure in some rather different ways...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tarnished Marketing

As this blog's about marketing our work I thought you may be interested in this post on The Edge Hill University marketing blog about my online marketing of The Tarnished Star. Please leave a comment on the piece. Go HERE

Saturday, July 18, 2009

THE CONDOR'S FEATHER - Patagonian adventure - out now

In the centre of Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan, stands a statue to Ferdinand Magellan the navigator who, in 1520, named the sandy beach along which the town is now built.
Situated at the tail end of the earth, Punta Arenas has had a troubled history.
It was first settled by sealers and whalers, shipwrecked mariners, convicts running from the law, native Indians, hunters and treasure seekers.
Then in 1877 a riot resulted in much of the town being destroyed and families murdered in their homes.

In 1879, a real-life Englishwoman, Lady Florence Dixie, sailed to Sandy Point (as the English called it) and embarked on a ride across the pampas.
She was accompanied by her brother, the Marquis of Queensbury and a friend.

When I visited the town a few years ago, I read a snippet of information about this remarkable young aristocrat and was intrigued.
Inspired by her exploits, by the town’s history, and by the remarkable landscape of southern Patagonia, I wrote THE CONDOR’S FEATHER – an equestrian adventure set in 1885.

THE CONDOR'S FEATHER is now available at your local library.
Or you can order a copy from The Book Depository (free world-wide postage).
Or go to: Hale Books (free UK postage)

To read more about THE CONDOR’S FEATHER - from inspiration to publication - press here

POST SCRIPT - (25 July 2009)
I have not yet seen a copy of the book which is officially due for publication next week, but this morning I received an offer from Thorpe (Ulverscroft) to publish a Large Print edition. This will probably be available early in 2010.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Just to let everyone know there is a two part interview with myself HERE


This book shares the same title as a Steve Berry thriller of 2006 and also concerns the Third Secret of Fatima. There the similarity ends, however. Spanning the period 1941 to 1970, this sixth book by Michael Parker is a relentless page-turning adventure that should appeal to fans of Frederick Forsyth.

It opens in the Vatican in 1941 and a Cardinal is substituting an important document in the Secret Archives. He is fearful for the original’s safety, as it, together with Vatican gold, was being shipped abroad before either the Nazis or the Russians might plunder Rome. While passing through Chad, the secret Italian convoy transporting the Vatican gold is attacked by British troops led by Captain Miles Roselli. The transport truck is hidden away…

Some 22 years later, one of the Vatican gold ingots is located and the hunt is on to find the hiding place. In truth, the document is more valuable than the gold, as if it is revealed to the world as a fake it could discredit the Roman Catholic Church. Those involved in the search are Roselli, the Vatican’s special agent Cellini, the Mafia family Galliano, a French Foreign Legion commandant and Roselli’s children Angelina and Bruno.

Until her stepbrother arrived on the scene, Angelina’s life had been pretty ordinary. Once she decided to take the chance ‘to change from a kind of quiescence that characterized her life into something that promised the unknown’, she found herself fighting for dear life in dark wet caves and dodging bullets.

Parker has peppered the story with telling description, notably of the inhospitable mountains, and nuggets of information whether about bullion dealing or the Vatican Institute for Religious Works. Also, there are plenty of great phrases, for example: ‘… once he stopped trying, he would start dying.’ Another: ‘… began to think of other things rather than the footprints of a memory that he didn’t know he possessed.’

If you like your adventure tales with pace, intriguing characters, believable heroes and exotic locations, then this is definitely for you.

The book has one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long while; interestingly, the latest Dan Brown thriller, The Lost Symbol also features the papal seal, though Hale’s cover was out first.

A version of this review can be seen at following blog:

Friday's forgotten books is a regular (weekly!) feature. I was asked for a review so used this one. Not that Mick’s book will be forgotten, ever. By the way, my wife Jennifer has also read The Third Secret - she kept turning the pages and really enjoyed it.
Nik Morton

Black Horse Western News Round-up

For all the latest Black Horse Western news be sure to check in at the Black Horse Express

Recent items:
Interview with Gary Dobbs
Wild Bunch Wednesday
Review of Revenge at Wolf Mountain by Chuck Tyrell
Bestsellers on The Book Depository - 13 July
Extract of Misfit Lil Robs The Bank by Chap O'Keefe
Wild Bunch Wednesday
Bestsellers on Amazon - 6 July
Review of Double-Dealing at Dirtville by Clay More
Review of Long Shadows by Terry James
June's BHW poll
Review of The .45 Goodbye by Dempsey Clay
Review of Lanigan and the She-Wolf by Ronald Martin Wade
Bestselling Linford Westerns on Amazon - 29 June
Extract of the Tarnished Star by Jack Martin
Review of Blast to Oblivion by Chap O'Keefe
Review of Long Shadows by Terry James
Review of The Outpost by Owen G. Irons

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wild Bunch Wednesday

Today on the following blogs a group of Black Horse Western authors aka The Wild Bunch are posting excerpts from their current and upcoming releases. It's a themed event and this week it's the turn of the hero. At the end of each post you'll find links to the other authors and their excerpts so click on any link below to get you started and Happy Reading!

Terry James at Joanne Walpole’s blog
Lance Howard at Dark Bits blog
Jack Martin at The Tainted Archive
IJ Parnham at The Culbin Trail
Jack Giles at Broken Trails

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Woodland Daughter large print release

My historical family saga, Woodland Daughter, originally released by Hale, has now been released in large print in the UK and I've just seen the cover for it. I've put it on here but it's not very clear for some reason, sigh.

Throughout her years of devoted service to the Bradburys, Eden Harris has hidden a secret that would affect them all, a secret shared only with her husband, Nathan, and her grandfather. But an enemy returns, shattering her world and exposing her secret. Then, robbed of Nathan, she must flee from the country estate. However, her attempt to start anew is not so simple as the past haunts her. Now Eden must gather her strength and look into her heart to accept what the future offers.

Woodland Daughter can be bought in hardback here with free worldwide delivery, or in this large print version here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Ice Angel
, my second Regency romance published by Robert Hale, is officially available from today and I hope readers will enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

David Young’s fabulous cover depicts an Elizabethan E-plan house (based on Trerice manor house) which features in the book. Ice Angel is set in London and Sussex in 1815. It tells the story of Isabella, Lady Vane – the eponymous Ice Angel of the title – who is a beautiful but mysterious young widow, newly arrived in London. While society wonders about the secrets in Lady Vane’s past, Harry Cavanagh, 3rd Earl of Bramwell, continues his devil-may-care approach to life … that is, until he meets the bewitching Isabella and feels compelled to discover what lies beneath her icy exterior.

I had great fun researching this book, particularly with regard to the Regency passion for gambling and eccentric wagers ;0) To coincide with publication date, I’m posting a three part blog on Regency wagers at ForRomanceReaders

Do pop over and take a look – it’s a fascinating subject!

Ice Angel is available to order on-line from Hale books, Amazon, The Book Depository and other outlets, currently still at pre-order discount prices.

Elizabeth Hanbury


An interview with Gary Dobbs

To celebrate the publication today of The Tarnished Star, read an interview with the man behind the bestselling Black Horse Western Gary Dobbs at The Black Horse Express

Monday, June 29, 2009

Shadows of the Past - review

Alva returns to her Italian husband’s private island home after recovering from a hit-and-run. Unfortunately, she has lost her memory. Her husband Count Luca Mazareeze hopes that she can be healed in their idyllic setting. Gradually, Alva learns that there was an enormous rift between her and her husband before the accident. If only she could remember why!

While the household staff seem solicitous, Alva’s stepdaughter Renata is totally unpleasant and even says that she hates Alva.

Annoyingly, the dust-jacket blurb gave too much away, I felt; I’d have liked to learn these facts as the author revealed them.

Let it suffice to say that there are several reasons why Luca feels cold towards Alva. However, as he commented icily, she was good in bed – and there’s a heated interlude where that’s ably illustrated!

It’s soon clear that Alva is made of stern stuff, capable of picking herself up from disaster, dusting herself down and striving towards self-knowledge and the truth, no matter how painful.

The mystery of Alva’s past and the underlying threat that seems to hover ever-closer mean that this is a page-turning tale and an enjoyable read.

Blast to Oblivion - review

Inspired by Conan Doyle’s The Valley of Fear, this twenty-first Black Horse Western by Chap O’Keefe (Keith Chapman) starts with a bang – a shotgun killing in Denver.

Ex Pinkerton Joshua Dillard was hired by the deceased’s sister, Flora, to investigate the murder. She suspected that her brother’s wife was concealing something – particularly as she had moved away with her male secretary Joseph Darcy to the mining town of Silverville. When Dillard arrives there, he meets up with an unusual character with the monicker of Poverty Joe, who happens to be instrumental in saving Dillard from some desperadoes. Dillard interviewed the ungrieving widow but couldn’t find any evidence to link her with her husband’s death. Besides the unwelcome attentions of the desperadoes led by Cord Skann, Dillard also has to contend with the duplicitous Marshal Broadstreet.

This is an enjoyable yarn and it’s clear that the author has written about Joshua Dillard a number of times (this is his seventh appearances, in fact; the character fits like a well-worn glove. Subtle evidence of research crops up from time to time, too. ‘An English lady traveller in the district had recorded that bad temper and profanity in the presence of women was widespread.’ I could be wrong, but this may be alluding to Fanny Trollope’s classic ‘Domestic Manners of the Americans’.

The action-packed story is laced with humour as well as gunplay. The twist at the end is neat and it’s satisfying for both the reader – and especially for Dillard – that Flora is a woman of her word.

(It looks as though the cover features the same artist whose artwork adorns my latest BHW too; nothing to do with the book, but a stirring action-packed cover anyway).
Nik (Ross Morton)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Black Horse Western news round-up

For all the latest Black Horse Western news be sure to check in at the Black Horse Express

Recent items:
Black Horse Westerns - June 2009
Interview with Steve Hayes
Bestsellers on - 22 June
Review of Comanche Moon by John Brand
Review of the Tarnished Star by Jack Martin
Interview with John Paxton Sheriff
Linford Westerns - June 2009
Dales Westerns - June 2009
Bestsellers at The Book Depository - 15 June
Review of Coyote Deadly by Lance Howard
Interview with I.J. Parnham

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shadows of the Past

Thanks to a facebook friend I found this super review. The review is from and I do believe they review quite a few Robert Hale books, so check out their site if you have a book coming out.

"I was intrigued from the first page of Margaret Blake's Shadows of the Past...

Margaret Blake tells a story filled with raw emotion that shows that even when most vulnerable, a smart woman can be a formidable adversary.

I was wholly entertained by this clever tale..." Kay - Romance Readers at Heart


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pushing your books by sound

I've become aware of how valuable a tool in book promotion, podcasting can be. I have toyed with the idea of making an audible version of my blog The Tainted Archive - well I've done so now - it's called THE TAINTED PODCAST and can be subscribied to via Itunes. Take a listen here -

I'm quite pleased with the result - it has rough edges but that's just getting used to the editing. I plan to do a bi-monthly show. If you use Itunes then please rate the podcast as it'll build up its visbility.

You can also hear it screamed via the player on my blog -

The Other Mr Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel

I just found out that The Other Mr Darcy, due out on June 30th, is now available at The Book Depository. What a thrill!

The Other Mr Darcy is an Austensque romantic comedy: It features Miss Bingley, who gets a raw deal in Pride and Prejudice, because, of course, we see everything through Eliza's eyes.

Caroline Bingley is heartbroken at Darcy's wedding -- and caught in an embarrassing situation by Darcy's American cousin.

Here's the fuller description:

When Caroline Bingley, for the first time in her life, collapses to the floor and sobs at Mr Darcy's wedding, she does not think anyone is watching. Imagine her humiliation when she discovers that a stranger has witnessed her emotional display. Miss Bingley, understandably, resents this unknown gentleman very much, even if he is Mr Darcy's American cousin. And a year later, when she is forced to travel to Pemberley with him, she still has not forgiven him. But her attempts to snub him fail completely, and, as the Bennets descend upon them, she finds herself spending more and more time in his company, with her rigid standards of behaviour slipping slowly away...

Is there more to the infamous Miss Bingley than meets the eye? And can this other Mr Darcy break through her reserve?

This is a book for people who like to see things from a bit of a different perspective.

If you've ordered your copy, you should be receiving it soon. If not -- it's still available at the pre-order discount, which is very good, along with free UK, US and international shipping at The Book Depository.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kattn - a Tehuelche Indian - from THE CONDOR'S FEATHER

In this extract from THE CONDOR'S FEATHER (due July), Thia Beresford comments on the Tehuelche Indian girl who travels with them on their expedition:
‘Her heart is as deep and silent as the pampas,’ Thia said. ‘It is as though she is in tune with the vast countryside around her. A kind of innate animism which native people posses, which we civilized people seem to have lost.’
William had no answer. There was certainly something about this Indian woman which he could not explain. Without meaning or intention, she attracted him like a pin to a magnet, yet she hardly ever spoke, showed little expression, even conserved her gestures to essential movements. She was as tall as a longbow and moved like a willow in the breeze. Was as strong as any man he knew and slightly taller than he. She was not beautiful by English standards with her plucked eyebrows and painted skin, but she had the elongated face and forehead of the high priestesses he had seen engraved on the walls of the ancient temples in Cairo. Now he wished he had drawn her portrait as he could never replicate it accurately. Yet her face was engrained in his mind and he knew he would never forget it.
The Tehuelches Indians' territory was mainland Patagonia.
This old picture depicts a group of young Selk'nam Indians (Onas) of Tierra del Fuego. They were usually naked despite the freezing condition on the island.
Sadly, the natives of this region are now extinct.

To find out more about the book and my inspiration to write it, go to:THE CONDOR'S FEATHER. To order a copy with FREE WORLD-WIDE DELIVERY go to:
Marg Muir

Friday, June 5, 2009

Black Horse Western news round-up

For all the latest Black Horse Western news be sure to check in at the Black Horse Express

Recent items:

- An Interview with Joanne Walpole
- Review of Poseidon Smith: Vengeance is Mine by Jack Giles
- New BHW poll
- Review of Bad Day in Babylon by Clayton Nash
- Bestsellers at Waterstones
- Review of Time to Kill by Lee Lejeune
- Review of the $300 Man by Ross Morton
- Terry James's Author Day
- May's Black Horse Westerns
- Bestsellers on - 25 May
- May's Linford Westerns
- Marshal Jake T. Devine
- Extract of The $300 Man by Ross Morton
- Review of Long Shadows by Terry James
- New BHW Blog: Lee Walker
- May's Dales Westerns
- Interview with Jack Martin
- Review of The $300 Man by Ross Morton
- Review of Long Shadows by Terry James
- Bestselling Linford Westerns on - 18 May

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chat with author Terry James

Terry James is chatting over at the Black Horse Western Yahoo! forum today and tomorrow (30/31 May). Don't worry if you're not a member, it's not too late to join. Just click here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

online petition

Please everyone sign our online petition in favour western fiction HERE

Much appreciated

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shadows of the Past - published 29th May

My latest romantic suspense is published a week today. I am having a launch at my local library and have been, and will be featured, in the local paper. If all the people who said they are coming do arrive there won't be enough chairs!!

"Alva can't remember anything, not even the death of her baby in childbirth, and is horrified that her estranged husband Conte Luca Mazareeze should accuse her of trying to commit suicide. Little by little memories trip into her mind but it is only when she becomes the target of a murderer that she realises she knows something someone is afraid of her remembering."



Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Review for Long Shadows

The reviews are starting to come in for Long Shadows by Terry James. You can find the latest at Western Fiction Review plus links to two others at my blog Joanne Walpole.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Black Horse Western news round-up

For all the latest Black Horse Western news bookmark the Black Horse Express

Items in the last week :
- Video promo for Tarnished Star by Jack Martin
- Review of Gun Feud by Frank Arnside
- An Interview with Lance Howard
- Review of Loco by Ethan Wall
- New BHW website - John Paxton Sheriff
- Latest edition of Black Horse Extra
- An Interview with Joanne Walpole
- Bestsellers on - 11 May
- New BHW author website - Thomas McNulty

Items in the previous week:
- Review of Fast Gun Range by Ben Coady
- Howard Hopkins on his current BHW
- An interview with John Hale
- Bestselling Linford Westerns on Amazon - 4 May
- New BHW poll
- Interview with Gary Dobbs
- Audio excerpt of Long Shadows by Terry James
- Ray Foster on Bret Ray

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Victorian mystery, Murder Most Welcome, comes out in Large Print in September this year and the Audio Adition sometime later. Even more exciting (well, it is exciting for me, anyway!) is that the follow-up, Death is the Cure, is due out at the end of this year. It continues the adventures of my Victorian sleuth, Charlotte Richmond, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Long Shadows by Terry James - Available Now

My debut novel is now available at Amazon, Book Depository etc for immediate delivery. A nice surprise since the release date is scheduled for 29 May.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


On the Tainted Archive - go here

Friday, May 1, 2009


Now that it's the month 0f May, I can say my novel will be out on the 29th. Always a great occasion for any author, and I'm looking forward to having it in my hands and reading it as a reader rather than an author checking his or her manuscript. Do we all do that? Now I want you all to rush out and buy one! Don't forget, you can read more about my novel on my website:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Requiem for a Dummy

David Stuart Davies just sent me the cover for his forthcoming novel, Requiem for a Dummy, which is due out from Hale in September. Requiem is the fourth in his acclaimed Johnny One Eye series, and I think the artist has done a fantastic job, really capturing the sinister aspect of the ventriloqust's dummy.

Rafe McGregor

Friday, April 24, 2009

PSYCHO - a Hale reprint

I'm halfway through reading this book - the 1985 Corgi edition - and thought you might be interested in its printing history.
First released in the US in 1959, it was published by Robert Hale in 1960 and went into reprint in the same year.
Between then and my edition the book was reprinted or reissued as a paperback 12 times. It was a multi-million bestseller.
Of course it became a massive hit film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960 so Hale must have benefitted greatly from the cinematic release.

Very few books these days seem to show their printing history. I used to find it quite fascinating. And of course it was a measure of the book's popularity, for all browsers to see.

Nik Morton

Black Horse Western news round-up

For all the latest Black Horse Western news bookmark the Black Horse Express blog

Items in the last week :
- April's Black Horse Westerns
- Extract of Misfit Lil Hides Out by Chap O'Keefe
- Press release for Long Shadows by Terry James
- April's Linford Westerns
- I J Parnham, Black Horse Western writer
- BHW Bestsellers at the Book Depository @20 April
- Review of On the Great Plains by Logan Winters

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Poisoned Legacy

I have just found a five blue ribbon review for A Poisoned Legacy, from Romance Junkies. It is amazing what you find when you have half an hour to kill and you trawl the internet!

Do visit the site and check it out -

"A Poisoned Legacy is a must read! Mrs Blake had me from page one! I could not put the book down."Kimberley, Romance Junkies.