Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reviews for FLOATING GOLD by Hale author Margaret Muir

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

The Poplar Penny Whistlers

Just received from Hale the 'rough' for the jacket of The Poplar Penny Whistlers. The artist's interpretation is just as I imagined the picture myself - I am thrilled to bits! The artist is Barbara Walton. I am told the book will be published next February - it seems a long time to wait, but par for the course, as they say... Meanwhile the latest work is gaining momentum! May be it the same for all of you. Sheila Newberry

Thursday, June 17, 2010

THE CONDOR’S FEATHER – Large Print edition

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

Scandal at the Dower House was published in January 2010. I had written it over a year before, then in February 2009 we moved house, into an apartment called The Dower House. Our new neighbours were amused! I suspect this apartment was added to the old Georgian mansion as a Granny Flat.

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

Sheila Newberry

June 15th - Sheila Who? Some of you may well be saying. I realised, after reading Marina's introduction that I haven't given you any personal details - sorry! So here goes: a potted history! I arrived in a hurry after a drive from Surrey to Suffolk in an Austin 7 - my mother ate half a pint of shrimps on the journey and I guess that's why I am allergic to shell fish.
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
local expression...

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

Sheila Newberry

The Poplar Penny Whistlers is my eighth book for Hale and has just been accepted! Set in the late Victorian era. My heroine, Hester, becomes a nurse at the old Poplar Hospital where the rules are strict - nurses may not become romantically involved with patients is one she finds paticularly hard to follow, when she unexpectedly falls in love. Her sister Polly, one of the family Whistlers, is not averse to turning cartwheels down the market and showing her drawers - she is destined for the music hall. Other characters who jostled for centre-stage, are Granny Garter, Big Peg and a performing pug called Puglet, with an explosive sneeze.

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.

Audio cds arrived!

Today's post brought my author copies of Woodland Daughter in audio cds!

I've never had one of my books done as in audio before. The cover of the audio case looks wonderful.
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

Introducing Marina Oliver

This is my first post, so it's rather long and really just an introduction! I tend to agree with Mick Parker about the value of blogging, twittering and so on. Writing, editing, and living take up my time, and doing all the rest would stop me from doing what I really enjoy, writing novels. Keeping my website (www.marina-oliver.net) up to date is enough for me, but this blog is different. It's a showcase for all Hale authors.

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

Review of The Killing Trail

My Black Horse Western novel The Killing Trail, scheduled for release on June 30, has been reviewed by Ron Scheel. Read the review here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Free preview

Scribd eBooks store have a free preview of my novel A Policeman's Lot HERE


Once challenged, one could not refuse to meet one's challenger to a duel. Refusing meant loss of honour (unless of course one was the Duke of York. He was persuaded that because of his royal status, he could not possibly accept a challenge). Apologising was the safest way to avoid a duel. Of course pride and stubbornness often meant that an apology was neither sought nor offered.

There were many reasons for duels - a slight given, (oral or written, and often imaginary), political disagreement, religious disagreement and of course, love and adultery.

General Thornton was found guilty of cowardice and had to resign his commission, all because, at a party, (when they were no doubt all in their cups), the editor of the magazine John Bull insulted the general and the general did not issue a challenge. So you could be just as unpopular if you did not issue a challenge as when you refused a challenge.

Daniel O'Connell, the Irish political leader struggling for Catholic emancipation, fought a duel in 1815 that affected him emotionally all of his life. A minor political figure, d'Esterre, took offence at O'Connell's description of the Dublin city government as 'beggarly'. Why the man constructed that as a personal insult, only he knows, but it should be noted that d'Esterre was a well-known duellist. No doubt the Protestant expected to get rid of the Catholic thorn in their side. O'Connell killed d'Esterre (it took the man two days to die), and O'Connell was devastated. In 1835 he 'insulted' Baron Alvanley and was challenged to a duel but declined. For the sake of the family's honour, his son took up the challenge. Shots were exchanged. No-one was hurt and honour was satisfied.

Even the Duke of Wellington fought a duel with Lord Winchilsea (over Catholic emancipation). It is interesting to note that according to the seconds the Duke missed, although history has it that he deloped (fired wide) and so did Winchilsea.

The object of the duel was not always to kill or wound one's opponent. Duels were about honour. The code duello was a set of standardised duelling rules used in Britain and Ireland. (These rules were also employed in the United States).

Juries did not convict duellists for murder into the 1840's. Up till then it was considered acceptable for those of the upper classes. Prior to the 19th century, duels were often carried out by swordsmen, but with the advent of the duelling pistol, pistols became more common.

Because duelling was 'illegal', the seconds (those who 'stood up for' the duellists, usually their friends), had to work secretly to set up the duel in an isolated place, usually at the crack of dawn while nobody was around. Hence the phrase 'pistols at dawn'. And what a business it was to load the flintlocks. You poured powder into the barrel and shoved a wad on top (usually made of paper) and dropped the ball on to that. Then you needed another wad to hold the ball in place. Then you flicked the frizzen to open the pan and poured a little powder into that just beside the touch-hole and closed the frizzen.

When you fired you pulled back the cock (trigger). The flint flew forward hitting the frizzen which shot forward creating sparks as it did so. As it dropped into the pan it set off the main charge. All very well if you prepared the pistol beforehand. Pity the poor soldiers who had flintlock muskets. Some soldiers became adept at loading and reloading and were able to do it twice a minute while under enemy fire.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Policeman's Lot available now

I have just made my entry into the eBook arena with A Policeman's Lot - HERE

Think you know the Jack the Ripper story?
Think again!
Inspector Frank Parade carries out his daily duties in the Welsh industrial town of Pontypridd, duties complicated by the unprecedented presence of 500 members of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show encamped outside the town, not to mention the thousands attending the show every day. A series of depraved murders quickly makes things even more complicated. Buffalo Bill stands squarely in his path when Parade tries to investigate the likely possibility that one of the hundreds of show members is involved. And soon enough Parade’s own superiors are blocking his inquires, too. Still more deaths occur as Parade sifts through the thin evidence available and finds a trail that may lead to the perpetrator of the most heinous crime of the 19th Century—London’s “Ripper” murders.
Shocking revelations come thick and fast.
The greatest criminal mystery in history is about to be solved by a Welsh copper and an American Legend.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Killing Trail

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.