Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vikings and Christians

Far After Gold by Jen Black is up on Amazon Kindle at a very low price!
Amazon Far After Gold

The paperback has been lying forgotten on my shelves for a couple of years since Quaestor
ceased trading in 2010 due to the owner's ill-health. The book had just over a year of life as a viable paperback, and I suddenly thought - why waste all that effort? why not put it up on Amazon Kindle?

Checking my pc, I didn't have a file for it. None of my USB sticks held a copy. The thought of re-typing it all from the paperback, or scanning it, was not encouraging. Finally I found a copy on an old hard disc, which reminded me How Things Have Changed in a few years!

So I began with an old computer version. I put it into text to take out all the Quaestor formatting, and then began the laborious task of putting all the punctuation back in again. It takes time. As I inserted paragraphs and suchlike, I began tweaking the words themselves; a word here, a deletion there, but soon, I was taking out and rewriting whole chunks. All I can say is I wrote FAG, as I call it, about six or seven years ago, and I've learned a lot since then.

So, it's now a smart, sexy, romantic tale of a young Christian girl bought as a slave by a young Viking warrior.

Here's an excerpt:
“Come with me.”

 Emer stood rooted to the deck. Flane reached the gangplank, turned and beckoned.

 Emer scowled and did not move.

 Flane clicked his fingers. Astounded, Emer lifted her chin, turned her head and stared pointedly out to sea. From the corner of her eye she saw one sailor nudge another and both stopped what they were doing to watch what would happen next. Memories of the overseer and his cane flashed through her mind, and she decided moving might be her wisest choice even though he treated her like his favourite hound. Pride stiffened her spine as she halted before him.

 “My name is Flane.” He tapped his chest and repeated the words, as if she were stupid, and then sighed. “Trust me to pick a girl who doesn’t understand the language.” He drew his dagger, and the fierce blade flashed silver in the sunlight.

 Emer’s heart leapt into her throat. Would he kill her because she could not speak his language? What other reason could he have? Should she speak now, before it was too late? She met his blue glance for an instant even as she took a swift step back, ready to run, heedlessly, in any direction.

 He caught her wrist and dragged her in close.

 Her heart thudded wildly at the sudden contact of chest, hip and thigh. Mesmerised by his steady blue gaze, she stood there in the thin sunlight with the sound of water lapping against the ship and the smell of seawater and seaweed in her nostrils. She drew a swift, choked breath of air. Her last moment in the world had arrived, and she could not free her tongue to speak. Dear God…. She shut her eyes, awaiting the bite of cold steel at her throat. Dear Lord, accept my soul this day

 He hooked one finger under her leather slave collar. Surprised, she opened her eyes and flinched at the sight of the steel blade flashing wickedly in the sunlight.

“Steady, steady,” he murmured, as if to a nervous animal. “I thought you’d rather be free of this.” He gave a couple of gentle tugs on the leather collar at her neck, and before she grasped his intention, the steel sliced through the hated thing. She never even felt the coldness of the blade.

 He dangled the strip of leather with its attendant piece of rope in front of her. “Do you want to keep it?”

Visit Jen's blog today and learn fascinating facts about castles -

Furious at being frightened and then gentled like a nervous horse, Emer seized the hated collar and hurled it far out over the loch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

4 star review from RT Book Reviews for Hostage to Fortune

 E-book & Print. BUY:

by Maggi Andersen
Genre: Historical Romance, E-book, England, France
Sensuality: HOT
Setting: 1792 England and France
RT Rating
This is an adventure not to be missed. The excitement mounts as danger appears around every corner. The devastation of the French Revolution is a backdrop to the well-executed plot. Love is in the air for three couples, but will they survive to realize their dreams?
Verity is an actress whose father is in a French dungeon. To free him she must deliver Anthony Beaumont in trade. She travels to London to seduce Anthony into following her to France. She doesn’t plan on falling in love. Then, he hares off on his own to France to locate his brother-in-law. Verity follows him, reluctantly taking along his daughter who refuses to be left behind. Unfortunately, they just miss joining Anthony, as soldiers of the Revolution reach their destination ahead of them and capture him and his brother-in-law. Will everyone finally be reunited, or will they face the guillotine? (MAGGIANDERSENAUTHOR.COM

Friday, June 22, 2012

Turning Historical Fact into Fiction

Sebastian Faulks has described himself as a novelist whose books happen to be set in the past. ‘For me,’ he said, ‘the use of historical settings is to cast the present in a more interesting and broader light.’ People are clearly more important to him than circumstantial detail. Some novels are so deeply researched they seem like non-fiction in disguise. In a romance too much information can kill the story dead by boring the reader. Even so, we must do our research and set the scene as accurately as we can. We can take some liberties, for the sake of the story, but if we veer too far from the facts as we know them, the reader may feel cheated and lose faith in the work. If a mistake crops up, an anachronism, this will jar the reader, and jerk them out of the story back to the present.

It’s wise to avoid controversy or anything doubtful which has a hint of being anachronistic. It hasn’t so much to be correct as to feel correct. E.g: Soldiers did play baseball in the American Civil War. I believe they also played in a Jane Austen novel too. But the reader may found that hard to accept.

Societies traditions, moral mores and customs help to build the picture, but this is where even the most fanatical historian can come unstuck. Many time periods, such as the Regency, have become so stylised that you may actually be considered to have written an historically inaccurate book if you do not follow the “popular perceptions” of the period. Presenting a realistic, complex view of Society during a specific era can be the thing that makes the difference between a passable yarn and a gripping story.

Marie de Medici
It’s surely about striking the right balance. The story is the most important thing, but it must be firmly rooted in its world. It must not simply be a costume drama. I certainly needed to conduct a great deal of research for a trilogy set in Sixteenth Century France. The past must be made as relevant as the present. The problems are the same, human emotion, conflict and behaviour. Falling in love and losing that love are just as painful. Bernard Cornwell said: ‘Essentially the background has to be right because it’s the detail of the background that pins down the fiction in the foreground.’

The Queen and the Courtesan is what might be called biographical fiction, in that I have fictionalised the facts. Marie fell in love with Henry IV, to her misfortune, as it embittered her in a way. Rejection was something she could not deal with, because of experiences she'd suffered as a child. I think the hardest part of writing historical fiction based on fact, is that you can’t simply let your imagination run loose. I usually write character-driven relationship sagas but with this trilogy I had to search out every detail. It was almost like being a detective, finding out what these people were really like, the intrigues they were involved in, and what their motivation was. Fascinating, but scary too at times as I needed to read widely to gain every viewpoint before I could write with any confidence.

Henriette d’Entragues isn’t satisfied with simply being the mistress of Henry IV of France, she wants a crown too. Despite his promises to marry her, the King is obliged by political necessity to ally himself with Marie de Medici, an Italian princess who will bring riches to the treasury. But Henriette isn’t for giving up easily. She has a written promise of marriage which she intends to use to declare the royal marriage illegal. All she has to do to achieve her ambition is to give Henry a son, then whatever it takes through intrigue and conspiracy to set him on the throne.

The Queen and the Courtesan, published 29 June by Severn House, can be found as a paperback or ebook here: 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Gentle Wind's Caress released

My historical novel, The Gentle Wind's Caress, has been released in paperback and in digital formats. Yay!

The Blurb:Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, 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 save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

The except:‘He’ll be here soon.’ Hughie sat by the fire darning a sock. ‘The snow has likely held him up.’

‘What keeps him out night after night?’ She stamped her foot in frustration. ‘He drinks more than a sailor does on his first day back at port!’
 Hughie grinned.The sound of scratching made Isabelle frown. The snowstorm grew in intensity. She could no longer see the outbuildings. The scratching sounded again. ‘What is that?’
Hughie shrugged. ‘The trees on the window upstairs?’
Isabelle stepped away from the window, nibbling her fingertips. There would be no market day today. She went to walk into the scullery when a thump hit the back door. She opened it and cried out as Farrell landed at her feet.
Hughie dashed to her side and together they stared at her husband’s bloody form.‘Heaven’s above!’ Isabelle bent to touch him. He stirred and moaned. ‘Help me bring him inside, Hughie.’
They grabbed him under the arms and dragged him down the step and onto the kitchen floor. His coat was missing and his wet woollen vest cloaked him like another skin.
Farrell opened and closed his eyes. ‘Isabelle…’
‘What happened to you?’ She took a dishcloth from the table and knelt to wipe the blood oozing from a cut in his forehead. She gestured to Hughie. ‘Get me some blankets off the bed and a pillow too. He’s too heavy to lift, so I’ll have to make a bed in here for him.
As Hughie ran to do as she bid, Isabelle quickly made him a cup of sweet tea and held his head up to pour a little into his mouth. Next, she rubbed Farrell’s cold hands between her own. Hughie ran into the room with the items she asked for, and Isabelle placed the pillow under Farrell’s head. ‘Heat a warming pan, Hughie.’
Farrell’s eyes fluttered, he moaned between blue lips.
Isabelle ran into the scullery and found an old pair of gloves. She returned and tugged them onto his icy hands. ‘Lord, what have you done to yourself?’
He murmured and opened his eyes. She tucked the blanket around him more securely. ‘Lie still.’
‘No…’She put the cup to his lips again. ‘Drink this now. You need to get warm.’
He slowly eased himself up onto one elbow. ‘Got to hide.’ He wheezed and then coughed. His split lip began to bleed freely again.
‘Hide?’ She frowned. ‘Why?’
‘They’ll find me here!’ He tried to get up, but she pushed him back down. 
‘Had to run…’
Hughie knelt down beside them. ‘Has he lost his mind?’
‘Heaven knows, silly man. It’d be hardly surprising if he has, being out in this weather all night.’ She made Farrell drink again. ‘Take his boots off, Hughie.’
‘No!’ Farrell reared up. ‘I must hide.’ He gripped Isabelle’s arms until they hurt. His eyes were wide and frightened. ‘I can’t hide here. They’ll find me.’
In a panic, Isabelle glanced up at the door as though the riders from Hell would burst through it any moment. She flung away his hands, alarmed. ‘What have you done?’ Her voice sounded high to her ears.
‘They nearly caught me. Had to run.’ Farrell panted, throwing off the blanket, struggling to sit up. ‘They saw my face. I must go!’
Isabelle stood and hugged herself, fighting rising terror. ‘Tell me,’ she whispered.

To Purchase:

Amazon USA
Amazon UK