Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
newsletter, I wonder?
My good news to share with you is that I have had another memoir accepted
by Magna/Dales - entitled Dancing in the Street - which we did on VE night!
The story covers the decade from 1940-50.
Will have another go at attaching pic of cover of The Poplar Penny Whistlers -
to be published by Hale next Feb. but available for pre-order now...
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I am delighted to announce that Hale have joined the Faber Factory and will be publishing their first ebooks on the 1st of January 2011.
The titles are:
No Less Than the Journey by E.V Thompson
The Rybinsk Deception by Colin D. Peel
Sherlock Holmes in Russia by Alex Auswaks
The Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes by Paul D. Gilbert
Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Black Horse Westerns, Collection 1
Monday, November 22, 2010
Why not have a look?
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Below are brief excerpts taken from some additional reviews for FLOATING GOLD. Previous reviews posted on 29 June.
I read FLOATING GOLD in a couple of sessions and my attention was clearly caught by the storyline and the detailed description of life aboard Elusive. Most engaging of all was the search for the treasure which had me rapt.
Margaret Muir has woven a tale worthy of a Hornblower epic.
John Livermore – Maritime Times of Tasmania
Muir crafts a spellbinding nautical tale that captures the reader’s attention and never releases it until the final page is turned. Her research and attention to detail are impeccable and her experience as a mariner enhances the adventure. FLOATING GOLD whisks readers back to the heyday of the British navy and readers find themselves living the life of a sailor and witnessing the awesome beauty and dangers of Deception Island and sailing the seas on a wooden ship in days of yore.
Cindy Vallar – Ed. Pirates and Privateers (www.cindyvallar.com/pirates.html)
There can be no doubting the calibre of the author’s writing. I found the book hard to put down and was kept interested throughout. There is a richness and sharpness to the prose that made FLOATING GOLD so enjoyable. I would certainly not hesitate in recommending it.
John Harding – www.thebookbag.co.uk
As sea-stories go, FLOATING GOLD ticks all the boxes. Ms Muir is adept at characterization, plotting and descriptions as well as showing that she knows one end of a ship from another. We are promised on the flyleaf “unknown dangers and unspeakable horrors” and I can promise some of these. Highly recommended and I do hope the first in a new series.
Rachel A Hyde – www.myshelf.com
FLOATING GOLD is an intriguing mystery featuring murder, spies and skulduggery. The plotting and pace are well maintained throughout and the penultimate chapter is page-turning historical fiction at its best. A book to be enjoyed by anyone who likes historical mysteries or cracking adventure yards about ships and the sea.
Marina Maxwell – Historical Novel Society
FLOATING GOLD - a well-crafted story full of interesting places with carefully and accurately detailed descriptions of now nearly-lost seamanship skills: I recommend this book to both the casual reader of a good story and to readers with an interest in sailing ships and seamanship.
Rob Thomas – T’gallant Lookout, Tasmania
The way that the author captured the language of the times, the mannerisms of the characters and sea terms was remarkable…giving the reader a real sense of what it was like during those years. An excellent novel. A great read, expertly crafted.
David Laing – Australian author
FLOATING GOLD is a historical seafaring adventure/mystery which will be a special treat for those who have salt in their veins, or those who enjoy a quest for an unusual treasure at a time when it was valued far beyond anyone’s dreams.
Rose Frankcombe - Stylus Magazine (ed)
I read FLOATING GOLD and found it to be an enthralling read which kept me wondering what the ‘treasure’ would be.
Bob Petrass – Maritime Times of Tasmania (editor)
Finally: Jon Stephenson – geologist, vulcanologist, member of the Fuchs/Hilary Antarctic expedition in 1958 wrote: ‘I enjoyed the story immensely and kept saying to myself, “this must be Deception Island”’. Jon was correct though the island was never identified by name in the story.
Jon Stephenson – Antarctic explorer and author – CREVASSE ROULETTE (2009)
‘Hundreds of billowing sails, resembling patches of morning cloud, were suddenly seen scudding around the rim of the world while, in the east, great golden spokes fanned across the sky like the helm of an ethereal ship rising from the seabed.’
FLOATING GOLD by Margaret Muir – published by Robert Hale Ltd (2010)
To order a copy WORLD WIDE POSTAGE FREE go to The Book Depository
Sunrise image from Google free images
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The latest Chuck Tyrell novel, Hell Fire in Paradise, hits the stands in November. If anything, it shows the pure pluck of the pioneer woman. When I was a youngster, we often sat on Aunt Sarah Mills's front porch and listened to her tell of the days back then. When she was eight, Geronimo, according to her, appeared at her home in Forestdale, Arizona, with four horses in tow. He wanted to trade the horses to Aunt Sarah's father for her.
The town of Ponderosa, just a few miles from Paradise Valley, is modeled on the real life town of McNary, which was home to Southwest Forest Industries' largest sawmill for several decades.
The sawmill at McNary/Ponderosa
The heroine of my novel, Laurel Baker, loses her sons and her husband on the same day. Then a well-dressed man shows up wanting to buy her ranch in Paradise Valley. Laurel won't sell, and things go from bad to worse. But neighbors watch over neighbors, and good people band together.
I promise. Hell Fire in Paradise is a good read.
Paradise Valley looked like this.
The cover of Hell Fire in Paradise looks like this. Available from Hale or most online booksellers such as Amazon and the Book Depository.
Friday, October 15, 2010
I promised to keep those of you who were interested updated on my foray into self publishing and e-books having parted company with Hale. My first paperback is now available on-line at Amazon. I am with a group of writers who have teamed up to promote each others novels. The group is registered as Acclaimed Book Ltd., and can be seen on www.acclaimedbooks.com. Because my novel is set in Alaska in 1968, based on the discovery of oil in that country (State), I have begun my promotion campaign there. To date I have arranged for advertising in the Juneau Empire for a seven day run prior to Christmas. A book reviewer has agreed to read the book and a book shop has kindly agreed too, hopefully the shop will buy a few copies. I'm working on the old adage about big oak trees from little acorns grow, and hope that my efforts in Alaska will drive up sales in that country and light the fires for me. I will continue to harass bookshops over there as well as other States in USA. I have also begun a smaller campaign in UK. You can see more about my book, which was first published in 1980, but never went into paperback, on my website: www.michaeljparker.com Wish me luck!
Monday, October 11, 2010
A quick self-introduction. I am a part time doctor, medical journalist and novelist in three genres. Since 2003 I have written twelve books for Robert Hale (one non-fiction, entitled DOCTOR'S LATIN) and eleven novels.
I write westerns under the name of Clay More, crime novels as Keith Moray and historical crime as Keith Souter.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Charles Whipple, who writes Black Horse Westerns as Chuck Tyrell, won AGAVE AWARD FOR LITERATURE in the THE 2010 OAXACA INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE COMPETITION, for his short story A Matter of Tea.
The competition is held in conjunction with the Oaxaca International Film and Video Festival because cinema and literature have always been closely intertwined. This competition provides a forum for writers from around the world to display their talents.
Whipple's story was selected as the winner from a thousand entries. He will fly to Oaxaca, Mexico, to receive the award. The top ten stories in the competition will be published in a special commemorative edition.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
I'd love to share this family saga with you! Experience pioneer life with my
characters in Moose Jaw, Canada, and later North Dakota; the bitter cold, the
lakes, the long journeys by train to the unknown... And follow a mystery throughout the story which is resolved back in the Old Country.
The synopsis is as follows: On a blazing hot day in late August 1914, twelve year
old Mattie dances in the stream, spraying her little sister Evie with silvery
showers of water. They have come here to cool off and to pick watercress for tea. They are unaware that their idyllic childhood in Suffolk is almost at an end, for as their mother says, "all the world's gone mad."
the girls will grow up to lead very different lives. Mattie is destined to travel far from home and to found a dynasty of strong-minded women like herself. Evie, in the role of family carer, still achieves a satisfying career.
But will the two disters be reunited and a secret resolved?
I researched this book with the five Mackley girls, born in Moose Jaw during the early days of the last century, when they grew up in a log cabin built by their
father, learned to sew their own clothes from flour sacks and cut up Sears catalogues for use in the privy!
Life was hard, but they all thrived, and were an inspiration to me.
See my books listed on Amazon and Fantastic Fiction.
Readers have provided good feedback on my recent memoir, Who Stirs the Porridge in the Pot? (Dales paperback)
Wishing you all happy reading - and writing! Sheila Newberry
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I received the proof copy of NORTH SLOPE paperback today. I am really delighted with it. I have no complaints and look forward to seeing it available on Amazon.com in the very near future. There shouldn't be too long a delay before it is available on Amazon in UK. This is the beginning of the 'new direction' I spoke of after parting with Hale. Judging by several web blogs I have read recently, many of them written by people in publishing and reviewing etc., I seem to be taking on a huge task. But I'm quite happy to do this. My target, initially would be to promote the book sufficiently well to get above the 350 mark that I associate with Hale Books. 400 would be good, but I'll have to wait and see. I have attached a copy of the book jacket, desgined by my son, for you all to have a look. You can also see it on my web page.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I've joined Author Central, Amazon, and you can now
find me on the Author Pages...
Now looking forward to receiving shortly Who Stirs The Porridge in the Pot? (Dales paperback/Magna) - Diane Allen sent me the JPEG of the cover! Just like my dresser at home - apart from the wedding photo -
keep mine in a safer place! We also have little fairies and elves peeping round our cups and plates - the family seem to think they suit me!!
All best, Sheila
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
This lovely review is from Mystery Women's Magazine: thank you to reviewer Jennifer S Palmer.
Death is the Cure : Review in Mystery Women magazine, July 2010
Charlotte Richmond made a very successful detective in her first adventure and this second outing confirms her skills. In 1858 she visits Bath with her friend, Elaine Knightley, who is to go a startling new medical treatment. The whole atmosphere of Victorian Bath is cleverly evoked – the stuffiness of polite manners, the centrality of illness and the apparently petty concerns of the town’s inhabitants.
The genteel behaviour that Charlotte had expected from the other guests at Waterloo House is not really what she finds. The atmosphere is one of unease with dark secrets hinted at behind elegant facades. The people staying at the guesthouse include a French family whose oldest member appreciates Charlotte’s depths of character, and an American who sees in Charlotte a fellow observer of the world. All the people at the table for each meal show signs of agitation as they receive various comments which seem innocent. These characters develop as we learn more and more about them.
Charlotte returns to the house one day and falls over a corpse on the cobbled mews outside. Shockingly, this is the stabbed body of one of her fellow guests and she feels impelled to ask questions about this even. She uncovers family secrets of both personal and political concern, imperilling her own safety in the process.
Again Nicola Slade has given us an exciting story peopled by memorable Victorians and involving a riveting mystery.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My collection of crime short stories, Spanish Eye, was published as an e-book on 29 June by Solstice Publishing.
Its first review can be found on amazon.com: ‘First, I have to confess, I am totally biased. I had the opportunity to work with Nik Morton in an editorial capacity on this collection of private eye stories. The manuscript was a pleasure to read. His voice is so unique, and his stories are as thought provoking as they are entertaining. There are beautiful moments in the prose that never get purple or fluffy. He masters the art of taking an adventure and condensing it into short shots.
’If you enjoy short stories, you'll love this collection featuring the same character and exotic settings. I am a total Morton fan now and waiting anxiously for his next release!’ – D Thorne.
Available on Kindle for $6.89 at:
Available as a pdf file for €2.96/$3.99/£2.01 to read on your computer at:
Leon Cazador holds back the encroaching night of unreason
Private Investigator Leon Cazador is half-English, half-Spanish and wholly against the ungodly. His connections run wide and deep, which is to be expected of a man who served in the Spanish Foreign Legion, liaised with Japanese police, and was a spy. Dive into his fascinating stories, based on real events. Glean insight into his past and the people with whom he rubbed shoulders. Cazador translated into English means hunter. He is indeed a man driven to hunt down felons of all kinds, to redress the balance of good against evil.
Sometimes, Cazador operates in disguise under several aliases, among them Carlos Ortiz Santos, a modern day Simon Templar. Join him as he combats drug-traffickers, grave robbers, al-Qaeda infiltrators and conmen. Be witness to the dodgy Spanish developers and shady expat Englishmen who face his wrath. Traders in human beings, stolen vehicles and endangered species meet their match. Kidnappers, crooked mayors and conniving Lotharios will come within his orbit of ire. Even the vengeful Chinese and indebted Japanese are his friends—and enemies.
In his adventurous life, he's witnessed many travesties of justice, so as a private investigator, he will use his considerable skills to right wrongs in the most clever and unexpected of ways. Leon Cazador fights injustice in all its forms and often metes out his own rough justice. It’s what he does.
(Ross Morton/Nik Morton)
Monday, July 5, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
FLOATING GOLD, published in hardback by Hale Books, has been well received by age-of-sail enthusiasts. To order a copy go to Hale Books (UK) or The Book Depository (world-wide postage free). Lending copies are also available from your local library.
Here are excerpts from some of the reviews:
FLOATING GOLD is a wonderful blend of classic Georgian naval fiction, a mystery/thriller and a grand treasure hunt. A rousing tale, well told. It's a well-paced and vividly drawn tale of adventure in the high latitudes and on the high seas. Highly recommended.
When you have read as many naval fiction novels as I have, the first challenge a new author and book has to meet is - do the story and characters seem fresh? This is a challenge Floating Gold achieves from cover to cover in a pacy narrative which held my attention.
Would I like to read more of Captain Quintrell, Lieutenant Parry, Acting Carpenter Will Ethridge and their adventures? I certainly would.
A book I recommend.
FLOATING GOLD is a nautical thriller that involves a well-plotted treasure hunt. Other nautical heroes too have been chasing treasures on the high seas and in exotic locations, most often Spanish galleons loaded with gold, but none of them – to my knowledge – have ever been chasing a treasure like the one that is featured in this book.
It is an innovative and entertaining tale, rich on detail about England and life at sea, and a tale that is very well told.
FLOATING GOLD is an excellent nautical fiction debut by Margaret Muir. I hope she continues to write about Quintrell – a character that I feel has a lot of potential.
If you like historical fiction, salty sea tales or clever adventures, FLOATING GOLD is a book you should get hold of – it is very entertaining, well written and intelligently plotted! http://www.navyfiction.com
With this positive feedback, author, Margaret Muir, is planning to write a sequel to this maritime adventure.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
There is something very special about Patagonia and the tall Tehuelche Indians who once roamed the Pampas. The magic of Patagonia was one thing which inspired me to write The Condor’s Feather.
Inspirations also came from the real-life adventure of a bold young English aristocrat, Lady Florence Dixie who, in 1878 at age 21, embarked on a ride across the largely unexplored Pampas with her brother. Based loosely on that concept, combined with the carnage of an actual prison mutiny, what better background for a story?
And how could I ignore the magnificent scenery, the snow capped Cordillera, the gorges and raging rivers, and the sunsets...
Thia and her brother clinked their imaginary glasses as the sun finally slid behind the mountain peaks and the night folded down like a concertina curtain - layer upon layer, pink on mauve, purple on blue, grey on navy. Dropping slowly. Pressing every ounce of pigment into the final few inches of sky in a fiery display of burnt orange. Polished mahogany. Burnished gold. The rich colour reflected in the skin of the Tehuelche Indians.
The large print edition of The Condor’s Feather by Margaret Muir was published 1 June by Ulverscroft and is available from The Book Depository post free.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
It's not at all like the bijou house tucked away in the grounds of the Grange that my heroine Caterina moves into when her elderly husband dies. The new Earl Nicholas comes to take possession of the estate, and, naturally, sparks fly. Then Caterina's young sister Joanna arrives, distressed and pregnant after being tricked into a fake marriage. Their mother was Portuguese, so they leave to visit her relatives, then go to Lisbon to await the birth. Meanwhile, back at the Dower House, there are problems and Nicholas cannot get in touch with Caterina. When he does, when she finally returns home...
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I have been writing since the age of 3 and never stopped story telling and scribbling (with illustrations) thereafter until my husband staggered home to our smallholding in Kent with a long-carriaged typewriter and told me to get something down in print! By the time we had seven children (result of too much dreaming, in my mother's opinion) I was being published, in my early thirties. Articles, short stories, stories for the American children's bible belt, and hopefully humorous look at family life for women's magazine, continued to this day in my memoirs for Magna Dales. Two more children and I got into my stride, with romantic short stories for the now sadly defunct Woman's Realm. Sally Bowden, the editor, said I should write novels, well, my first book took me seven years to write, Tilly's Family, but did very well. That was in 1996 and I haven't stopped since... I have had the pleasure of writing for Hale
for some years now and feel part of the Hale family of writers.
I am now grandmother to 23 spirited grandchildren, who inspire me!
There are always children in my books. I write about WW2, of the days
when I was a small evacuee - about the music hall (my grandmother was a theatrical landlady) and love all the research for the late Victorian era and the 1920's. In a talk once I heard myself telling the audience, "I'm a tender writer, shall I say..." I do write from the heart and I never know the end of a story until I reach that point, and often surprise myself.
Shall I admit that I have also written village pantomimes, and for my sins, have appeared in them too? More an ugly sister than Cinderella!
A few years ago I loved to tap dance and sing as well as act - but I am
becoming what my dear Mum, who is 102 and can still manage a high kick (though from a sitting position nowadays) discrepit. It's a telling
Probably your eyes have glazed over at this point. I have eighteen books under my belt and more waiting to burst forth, like all of you. Keep writing - and so will I. Sheila
Previous novels for Hale: The Spirit of Millie Mae
Our Cousin Rosanna
The Little Train Home
Bicycles and Blackberries
Hot Pies on the Tramcar
The Gingerbread Girl
The Watercress Girls
Out in large print and now in audio - Magna.
I wasn't sure how I'd feel hearing someone say my words, but I need not have worried. Anne Dover, the reader, has done a fantastic job. I'm so pleased.
After listening to it for a while I even forgot that the story was mine and became engrossed in the story! So funny.
Woodland Daughter in audio (varying formats) is available from Amazon.co.uk and can be ordered in by your local library.
Monday, June 14, 2010
My 55th novel will be published in August. It's a Regency, but I've also written other historicals, mainly set during the English Civil War and Restoration, twentieth century sagas, contemporary romances and crime. I've also written half a dozen non-fiction books (Writing Guides on novels, romantic and historical fiction, and Local History, including a history of my old school), and sometimes write articles. The New Writer magazine is publishing two at the moment on how historical fiction has changed in the past 50 years. This is to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Romantic Novelists' Association.
I've been Chairman of the RNA and am now a Vice-President. I have lectured in America and on Cunard cruise ships, and I run many writing courses and workshops as well as an Appraisal Agency, StorytrackS. I have also edited magazines, and novels for a couple of small publishers.
This year has been busy. I've been editing as well as writing. My Regency, Scandal at the Dower House, was published in January. The large print edition of Supervising Sally, which is set partly in Brussels on the eve of Waterloo, is out in June, and two of my very early Hale Regencies have appeared as e-books on www.Regencyreads.com I'll post more about all these another time.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Robert Hale Ltd. informs me that The Killing Trail, my sixth Black Horse Western, will be published on June 30, 2010.
The Dylan brothers ride high in Ouray, Colorado, until they bully a drifter who leaves three of them dead in the street. Nat Dylan, the youngest, swears to hunt down the drifter, Jared Carter, and avenge his brothers. Carter’s trail leads into Arizona country where Dylan meets Wagonwheel owner Colonel Alton Jackson and hires on to kill Jared Carter. But the more he learns of Carter and Jackson, the more he finds himself on the wrong side. He meets Carmen Vasquez, who sees him as an honorable man, and he feels the mutual attraction. Still, on his honor he must call out Jared Carter, but can he survive a gunfight with the man who killed three Dylans by himself?
Would anyone like to review this book? Contact me if you do.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I thought I would let you all know that there is life in an old dog - never despair and believe that books die. They can be resurrected.
In the eighties I wrote a novel called "The Saxon Tapestry" that was published by Robert Hale Limited. Since the rights have reverted to me, I decided to publish again in e-book (and perhaps paperback format). I did some work on the book but the story is much the same and it will be published next week as "A Saxon Tapestry"
I am not sure why I altered the title, just one of those things that flew into my head. I like to think that The/A/Saxon Tapestry is still a Hale book - the copy is sitting on my shelf even now, and in pristine condition. Although I do rather prefer the new cover, which is beautiful and just a little mysterious.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
It is May 1804 and Tom Hawkesleigh is engaged on urgent secret business for the Sultan. The last thing he needs is for three English ladies to arrive at the embassy, demanding help, especially when he finds that one of them is Rose, the girl he has been trying to forget.
Rose is no better pleased to meet up with Tom, the man who abandoned her.
But life in Constantinople is bewildering and dangerous. And the Sultan's chief minister, Kerim Pasha, draws Rose into the secret plan. Danger follows even when Rose returns to London. Tom is desperate to help but she remains fiercely independent. Yet, underneath, as she discovers what drove Tom away four years previously, all her barriers come down. But by this time it may well be too little too late...
Istanbul [as Constantinople is now called] is a magical city and one I've been visiting for over forty years. One day, while crossing the Bosphorus in an 'ordinary' ferry boat, I saw a small wooden caique with red and gold cloth draped over the cabin and being rowed by a dozen sturdy young men in traditional costume with sleeveless red jackets. It's a tourist attraction and costly, but it must be a wonderful experience to glide from Europe to Asia in such a way. Of course, I had to make use of a caique in my story.
Having a Turkish husband, I've been fortunate to experience much hospitality in many homes and many different regions of Turkey. I've tried to convey the sheer kindness of the welcome they give to visitors.
Monday, May 10, 2010
My latest Regency Historical, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly will be published on May 31.
You can read the synopsis below.
Falsely branded an adulteress and separated from her child by her vengeful late husband, Lady Olivia Farquhar unexpectedly discovers a deep and mutual love for her son's guardian, Max Atherton.
But happiness with Max can never be possible when Olivia is blackmailed into a union with her late husband's confessor. Unaware of the sinister motives behind the reverend's desire to make her his wife, or of Max's efforts to clear her sullied name, Olivia is bereft of hope. Can Max turn things around in time?
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Astrodene's Historic Naval Fiction is pleased to have obtained an interview with Margaret Muir, author of FLOATING GOLD which will be released on 31 May 2010 and is already available for pre-order.
I am sure you will find some of the answers very intersting.
What can you tell us about FLOATING GOLD, without spoiling the plot for readers?
The year is 1802 and Captain Oliver Quintrell is frustrated at being land-locked. However, when he is granted a commission, he is cynical that his vessel is a mere frigate. But Elusive is a sound ship and with a seemingly loyal crew he sails from Portsmouth. On entering the tropics, he discovers the purpose of his cruise and from Rio he heads south into the inhospitable waters of the high latitudes beyond Cape Horn.
But the secret orders he has been entrusted with are veiled in mystery and the chances of success seem near impossible. Murder, treason, enemy ships, ice, and the near loss of his ship are but some of the problems to confront him. His mission is to retrieve a valuable cargo and return it to England and Captain Quintrell intends to succeed no matter what the cost.
What made you decide to write your first book in the historic naval fiction genre?
Several things. My love of the Horatio Hornblower series. Inspiration after stepping aboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth. Experiences at sea sailing aboard replica vessels such as Captain Cook's HM Brig Endeavour and the tiny Colonial Brig Lady Nelson. Several voyages on a sail training vessel and a voyage across the Atlantic in a (latter day) barquentine.
What things in particular inspired you to write this book?
Two things. Firstly a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula a few years ago – what a remarkably unforgettable place that is! And secondly reading an article about a lump of ambergris being found on a beach in South Australia.
How did you undertake your research for the book?
My research is mainly through reading, but not fiction (that came earlier). And I tend to read factual seafaring accounts such as Cordingley’s, Billy Ruffian, Taylor’s, The Caliban Shore, Bergreen’s, Over the Edge of the World, besides reference books such as Goodwin’s, Nelson’s Men o’ War and similar. I read almost anything which is related to the days of wooden sailing ships. Obviously I also use the internet and where possible view primary source material of ships’ logs, reports or personal letters.
Where did your interest in the sea originate?
I don’t know. Perhaps from a model fully rigged wooden sailing ship which always graced the sideboard when I was growing up.
Then in the late 1990s I took my first tall-ship sailing adventure – a 12 day voyage as trainee crew on a barquentine, STS Leeuwin. Sitting on deck on bow watch one night while in the Indian Ocean, I was amazed to see the marine luminescent particles sparkling in the bow wave. At the time I didn’t know what this phenomenon was. I called these flashes of light illusive diamonds (they reminded me of the illusionist’s magic dust) and Illusive Diamonds was the proposed title for my first book. I was later advised that title would never sell so I changed it to Sea Dust which is less inspiring but possibly more marketable.
What drew you to write your first novel?
As I said, my first novel, Sea Dust (2005) was a sea story – a historical fiction story with a female protagonist. Set in 1856 in Whitby, Yorkshire it tells the tale of a young woman who escapes from England by stowing away on a cargo vessel and sailing to Australia. In retrospect, I think the story epitomises my own fantasies to run away. (I did leave Yorkshire many years ago and emigrated to Australia but my passage was on a Boeing 707)
Do you plan your stories before starting to write?
No. I don’t have a pre-conceived plot. If a particular setting or a person or action grabs me, that is where I begin and I let it flow from there. Sometimes the idea I come up with might be midway through the story (as with Sea Dust onboard ship). I then have to thread a beginning to it. Sometimes the most amazing things crop up as the story progresses which surprises even me.
Are your books available?
My previous four titles are available in Large Print only as they never went into paperback after the hardback edition sold out. The Condor’s Feather (2009) – an equestrian adventure set in Patagonia – is still available from on-line bookshops in hardback. FLOATING GOLD can be ordered on-line from The Book Depository, Hale Books or any on-line bookstore.
What intrigues you about the period in which the book is set?
I love the sense of adventure, heroes, challenges, hubris, courage, loyalty, tenacity and ingenuity; of man against man, and man against the elements.
Are you planning to write further naval fiction books set in the age of sail?
I had started writing the sequel to FLOATING GOLD, before I got sidetracked on a book about Tasmanian bushrangers. To complicate matters further, this year I embarked on more university studies. However if FLOATING GOLD is well received there will certainly be a sequel. Originally I had plans for a series of sequels and possibly a prequel.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
Writing is a lonely experience and authors get little feedback about their work - either good or bad. Without any follow up it’s hard to know what readers really want. I’m always happy to take on board any comments, feedback, suggestions or offers from publishers to take up the paperback rights.
My thanks to the Historic Naval Fiction Blog for this interview.
To read more about the book, go to www.squidoo.com/floatinggold
Interview with Margaret Muir - written by Astrodene
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Just a quick note to everyone at the Hale authors' blog. I'm Charles Whipple, a resident of Japan, and a Black Horse Western author since Vulture Gold was published in 2005 (as I remember). Since then, Revenge at Wolf Mountain, Trail of a Hard Man, and Guns of Ponderosa have been published. The Killing Trail stands in the wings with Hell Fire in Paradise to follow that. I'm active on the Black Horse Westerns group on Yahoo and belong to Jon Franklin's WriterL list.
I'm a native of Arizona and grew up there when cowboys were respected and looked up to. My grandfather came to Arizona in 1876 after two years of making charcoal to use in refining silver in Nevada. I rode a horse before I could walk, I think, and a horse was my mode of transportation to my first part-time summer job as well. I milked cows morning and night, took them to pasture, helped brand the calves, and generally grew up as a country bumpkin.
While I love westerns, I'm not an addict. I'm trying to get a gumshoe novel off the ground (it needs major revision right now) and I write quite a bit of non-fiction under my own name, magazine articles and a few books.
It's good to be a part of the Hale Authors Blog. Thanks for the invitation.
You can read my blog on things western here.
Sadly, I can't get the cover large with it distorting.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
My latest book is due out March 31st. I have already had some lovely comments from family and friends who have read it. But as we all know; as much as we appreciate those comments, we would dearly like to see them translated into sales. Anyway, for your delectation the prologue follows:
I think that was the moment I realised that I was in love with Shakira. I had known her barely three weeks. It probably happened within days of our first meeting at the Mission. Shakira was such a lively, extroverted character; so full of humour and yet with warm simplicity. I felt a connection with her that is difficult to describe, but one I believe was reciprocated. I knew without doubt that Shakira had warmed to me as soon as we met. There was something in her manner; the way she spoke and reacted to me. I can remember how her face would light up as soon as she saw me and how the atmosphere in a room seemed to change when she walked in; such was the effect she had. I felt the change in me and could see it in others. I loved the way she would throw her head back and laugh out loud at my terrible jokes, showing her beautiful, white teeth. And then she would stop laughing and look directly at me, her lovely eyes softening. And as her laughter died away, so her mouth would change into that wonderful, disarming smile of hers.
I had been working at the Mission for a number of weeks, each day writing up my report for The Chapter on the work that the centre was undertaking. Shakira was the senior administrator there. Because of my project I often found myself in Shakira’s company. In the evenings we would walk up to the high point above the Mission and talk over the highs and lows of the day. We would sit on a fallen tree trunk that had been there for many years. It was divested now of its foliage. It had no branches; they had been lopped off so that it could be used to sit and look over the lovely countryside. The view from there down into the valley was charmingly beautiful, particularly as the sun was setting. As we sat together on that log, it was obvious to me that we were getting closer and I felt, instinctively that Shakira welcomed it.
I can remember when I realised I had fallen in love with her. I had told her one of my ludicrous jokes. I can see her now, tossing her head back, her mouth wide open in that delicious laugh. She had thrown her hands up in the air and slapped them down on the tops of her legs. Her red dress, patterned with large, white flowers seemed to dance like fire in front of me. I was mesmerised and happy that I knew I loved her and that she loved me.
And that was the moment the bullet slammed into me. The impact pitched me forward and sent me sprawling at Shakira’s feet. The sound of the gun came moments later. As I hit the ground I blacked out, but it could only have been for a few seconds because when I looked up I saw Shakira’s lovely face turning into an image of shock and pain. The white flowers on her dress began to change colour as her blood seeped into the dress, and she rolled off the log, falling face down on to the hard, stony ground.
I opened my mouth to call out, but no sound came. I felt a terrible pain in my shoulder where the bullet had hit me, but the pain in my heart when I realised Shakira was almost certainly dead and I was probably about to die was unimaginable. It would be true to say that I wanted to die then; life without Shakira would be so empty.
I remember hearing a great deal of shouting and the sound of gunfire coming from below the slope, down at the Mission. I could hear screaming and the sound of men’s voices. Then the gunfire stopped and I heard the thud of footsteps as the attackers ran up the slope towards us. I lowered my head on to the ground and pretended I was dead. I prayed nothing else would happen.
But something else did happen; something even worse. I felt myself shrivel inside with an inordinate fear because I couldn’t close my eyes; I had to keep them open. Several men appeared. They were all wearing camouflage uniforms and calf length boots. Two of the men stopped beside Shakira and said something to each other in a language that I couldn’t understand. One of the men put his boot on Shakira’s body and pushed her. Then he leaned forward and pointed a gun at her head. He said something and shot her. I can see Shakira’s body jumping now. I see it every night in my dreams; in my nightmares.
The killer walked over to me and pointed the gun at my head. I noticed the little finger of his left hand was missing. Why do we remember such trivial things in our darkest moments? Aren’t we supposed to have no recall of events immediately preceding such trauma? Why wasn’t I allowed to have no memory of what happened? I will never forget it. Never. He laughed and said something in English, and then he shot me.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I am getting ridiculously excited about the upcoming Romantic Novelists' Association Pure Passion Awards Lunch on Tuesday. (The pendant is my commemorative present to myself.)
The awards have generated a lot of interest, as part of which Fair Deception (shortlisted for Love Story of the Year) has received a lovely review from SingleTitles .
Jan Jones writes with such verve and gusto that readers will be thoroughly enchanted by her exciting, enthralling and wonderfully engrossing debut historical romance, Fair Deception! Ms. Jones’ love for the Regency period shines in her writing and she manages to make the past come vividly to life without being didactic or overwhelming. A fast-paced romantic adventure that sparkles with atmosphere, danger, drama, humour and passion, Jan Jones’ Fair Deception is a mesmerizing historical romance in the grand tradition of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer which reader will want to read again and again!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I am delighted to announce that Fair Deception has been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association 2010 Love Story of the Year Award!
Fair Deception is the first of my Newmarket Regencies and concerns Susanna Fair - an actress who urgently needs a place to hide - and Kit Kydd - a would-be knight errant who badly needs to appear betrothed.
Unfortunately, Susanna's past won't stay conveniently put, Kit doesn't have a let-sleeping-dogs-lie nature, and both of them find themselves becoming enamoured for real.
I'm so thrilled to be on a shortlist that celebrates the best in romantic fiction and am really looking forward to the Pure Passion Awards Lunch in March and all the new readers that the publicity for the awards will hopefully bring in.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
It's always nice to get recognition for something, and I achieved that on www.thebookawards.com by winning the book of the month award for January for my novel THE THIRD SECRET. It's ironic really because John Hale told me last year that sales were disappointing. But I'll wallow in glory until the bigger prize comes up: a best seller. If you look at the website, you'll se that you can add your books to the list of nominees. Good luck!
Monday, February 1, 2010
Click here to see more about the Kindle edition of The Other Mr Darcy
Of course, Kindle itself isn't exactly a freebee. For those of you who enjoy the pleasure of holding a solid book in your hand, all the Robert Hale books are available internationally at The Book Despository, with free posting to most countries.
My second novel. SHADOW OF THE WOLF, which was first published in 1984 by Robert Hale, was released today by Ulverscroft in large print. Although in paperback, it's like having a new book released. When I approached John Hale about the possibility of reprinting the novel, he agreed to try Linford (Ulverscroft). Took him about a week. That's another title for my PLR list.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Behind him, he heard a footman yawn. A glance at one of the ornate clocks told him it was very late. There were only a few people left but Ned had still not appeared. Giles found him in the dimly lit library, deep in a book he had taken from the shelves.
'Nothing happened,' he assured Giles, when the latter had succeeded in rousing him from his story. 'Is it time to leave? Pity. This is a damned interesting tale.'
'So I see,' replied Giles caustically, 'Devil take it, Ned, there could have been an orgy in here and you would not have noticed.'
The 'interesting book' is a story by Jane Austen. The Prince Regent was a great fan and kept copies of her books in all his residences.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Because my books tend to have a lot of humour in them, I thought readers might be interested to hear about the little secret references that I sneak into the text!
Something I very much enjoy when I’m reading a novel is spotting little in-jokes and references to other aspects of life. Lindsey Davis does this particularly well in her novels featuring Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman detective and I’ve never forgotten yelling with laughter when I spotted Falco turning down a job offer from some Hebrew slaves who were building the Colosseum. They wanted him to go on a raid in search of The Lost Ark!
Because I find this so much fun I decided to slip in some odd references into my own books. So far, nobody has commented on the allusion to Cold Comfort Farm, in Scuba Dancing, though the use of a phrase from the Chalet School books has been picked up.
In the first of my Victorian mystery series, Murder Most Welcome, I nailed my colours to the mast (so to speak) by calling a main character, Mr Knightley, and keeping a Jane Austen theme running through the book, as the heroine, Charlotte Richmond, is (like me) an Austen devotee. There are also references to places in Hampshire, where the book is set, and local readers have told me what fun it is to watch out for these.
The latest book, Death is the Cure, (number two in the Victorian series) has some Austen mentions as befits a novel in which the heroine sets off to Bath with a friend who is taking the Cure. However, nobody so far has spotted that a famous fictional female turns up in the book, as does an equally famous, but real, historical gentleman.
Borrowing again from Lindsey Davis, I use the slightly archaic device of having a Dramatis Personae or Cast of Principal Characters at the beginning of the novel. Again, this is something I particularly relish when I’m reading for my own pleasure, and in my books it’s been a way of signalling to a potential reader that there is humour in the story. Jilly Cooper has been doing this successfully for years and my reasoning is that if it’s good enough for those terrific best-selling authors, it’s certainly good enough for me!
I’m not giving away all the secrets, allusions and references in my books but would be delighted to hear from readers if they spot them!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Introduction by James Reasoner, author of over 200 books. 21 new stories of the Old West edited by Nik Morton.
Revenge, retribution, and deceit. Damaged men and sinister night stalkers. Humor, irony, and tears. Bank robberies, showdowns, and lynchings. Tragic doves, plucky homemakers, and gun-toting belles. Birth and death, love and hate….
You’ll find it all here, penned by seasoned Western scribes and a few newcomers, too.
So saddle up for action and adventure … and grab yourself A Fistful of Legends!
Although this book isn’t from Hale, it deserves to receive a mention here for a number of reasons. Many of the writers featured are Black Horse Western authors, and some of their books are highlighted in the author biographies. The dedication is to ‘Robert Hale Ltd, publisher of the Black Horse Westerns imprint, for keeping the spirit of the Old West alive.’ The back pages, besides advertising a number of related western websites and blogs, also advertise six BHWs currently still available from halebooks.com.
As James Reasoner says, 'Western fiction has a tremendous power to entertain... As a reader, I count myself extremely fortunate that there are authors like these to spin such wonderful yarns and provide hours of solid entertainment. And as a Western author, I’m very pleased to count them among my friends and comrades who are upholding a long, proud tradition.'
Large format book, ISBN 978-0-557-19954-9
Afterword by Nik Morton
Available on Amazon on 31 January 2010.
Monday, January 11, 2010
The full interview will be posted as part of the Black Horse Weekend starting Jan 29th 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The first review for Death is the Cure has arrived and it's a lovely one! Thank you, Geranium Cat (well known book blogger). I'm so pleased she enjoyed the book and very grateful for her perceptive comments.
DEATH IS THE CURE by Nicola Slade
Nicola Slade does atmosphere well; a short way into Death is the Cure I became aware that she had caught the buzz of the Pump Rooms in Bath exactly, and I was there with Charlotte Richmond and her friends as they tried the (revolting) spa waters. Charlotte, a young widow, has accompanied her dear friend Elaine to Bath while she undergoes a Faraday cure, latest in the fashionable Victorian flirtation with electrical treatments. While Elaine is busy “sizzling”, as she puts it, Charlotte is at liberty, guidebook in hand, to explore the town – not so elegant as it had been in Jane Austen’s day, but especially interesting as she hopes there may be clues to her own background. For Charlotte is not quite the quiet and grieving widow she appears to be, but the daughter of a young woman transported to Australia and, while she would like to trace her mother’s origins, she is less than keen that they should be widely known. And she’s not alone – several of her fellow guests at the respectable Bath establishment where they are staying look uncomfortable when the sharp and inquisitive Mr Jonas Tibbins seems to suggest that they might have secrets. Before long, Charlotte stumbles across a body…
Charlotte is a very believable heroine – she is warm, practical, prone to giggles, and thoroughly good company. She’s not above considering her own interests when indulging in a bit of matchmaking, and quite prepared to admit that there are people she doesn’t like; indeed, she is thoroughly pragmatic about the other guests (inmates, as she drily thinks of them) and tolerant of – if amused by – their foibles. She and Elaine are quick to see the funny side, so that you know their company would be readily sought by the other guests – indeed, there is much of Jane Austen about these two women, in their intelligence and humour, but Charlotte is necessarily more modern and resourceful than Lizzy Bennet, used to living by her wits…hmm, perhaps more than a touch of the Heyer heroines, too?
This is the second time Charlotte has appeared – the first was in Murder Most Welcome – and I really look forward to her next foray into detection. With her independent spirit I can see her doing a good deal more travelling, her status as a widow giving her leeway to investigate all kinds of skulduggery, and you can be sure she’ll find allies (and readers!) wherever she goes.