Longsword by David Pilling

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Jonny Alexander behind the camera!

A very different topic for this blog update, but I would highly recommend that everyone checks out my good friend Jonny Alexander's photography! Please click on the image to access the lovely images on his Facebook page :)

Sons of the Wolf!

Today I have a guest slot for Paula Lofting Wilcox, whose novel, Sons of the Wolf, is due to be released by Silverwood next February. The following is Paula's description of what sounds like a great historical tale:

1054, and pious King Edward sits on the throne, spending his days hunting, sleeping and praying, leaving the security and administration of his kingdom to his much more capable brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex.

Against this backdrop we meet Wulfhere, a Sussex thegn who, as the sun sets over the wild forest of Andredesweald, is returning home victoriously from a great battle in the north. Holding his lands directly from the King, his position demands loyalty to Edward himself, but Wulfhere is duty-bound to also serve Harold, a bond forged within Wulfhere’s family heritage and borne of the ancient Teutonic ideology of honour and loyalty.

Wulfhere is a man with the strength and courage of a bear, a warrior whose loyalty to his lord and king is unquestionable. He is also a man who holds his family dear and would do anything to protect them. So when Harold demands that he wed his daughter to the son of Helghi, his sworn enemy, Wulfhere has to find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery as the daughter-in-law of the cruel and resentful Helghi, without comprising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold.

Following the fortunes of his family, we meet Ealdgytha, his golden-haired wife, attractive, neurotic and proud. Her lust for success and advancement threatens to drive a wedge between her and her husband, while Wulfhere’s battle with his conscience and his love for another woman, tears at the very heart of their relationship.

Also central to the story are his children; Freyda, his eldest daughter, reckless, defiant and beautiful; Tovi, his youngest son, his spirit suppressed by the pranks of the red-haired twins, Wulfric and Wulfwin; Winflaed, a younger daughter, whose submissive acceptance of womanhood belies a stronger spirit and a longing to hold a sword in battle like her warrior father.

Sons of the Wolf is snap shot of medieval life and politics as the events that lead to the downfall of Anglo-Saxon England play out, immersing the reader in the tapestry of life as it was before the Domesday Book. With depictions of everyday life experienced through the minds of the people of the times; of feasts in the Great Halls to battles fought in the countryside, it cannot help but enlighten, educate and entertain.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Young Ned

Sandwiched between the warring factions in Folville's Law is young Prince Edward, eldest son of Edward II and Queen Isabella. The image is a contemporary likeness of him, done in his later years when he apparently sported a truly magnificent forked beard that should definitely come back into fashion. You have to love the massive sparkly hat as well.

Edward was later to become arguably the greatest monarch England ever had, but at this early stage in his life (he is just fourteen in the book) he was little more than a valuable pawn. His father, the increasingly embattled King Edward, needed to keep hold of his son and heir to prove that he was still in control and that the fate of the Plantaganet dynasty was in his hands. His mother needed to wrench the boy away from her estranged husband, thus making her and Mortimer look like deliverers rather than conquerors when they invaded England.

What did Edward make of it all? The pressures on his young shoulders must have been immense, but there is no way of knowing his inner thoughts. In contrast to the aggression and dynamism that characterised the high years of his reign, he was strangely passive at this stage, apparently willing to be used and exploited. His mother proved to have the greater influence on him, succesfully spiriting him away to France and keeping him there, despite the increasingly angry and pathetic letters his father sent demanding his return. At lat the King warned his son that unless he returned to England, his father would make a terrible example of him that would act as a warning to all faithless sons. The threat was hollow, and the prince stayed in Paris with his mother and the Flashman-esque Roger Mortimer, until the time came for the invasion fleet to gather in Hainault...

Friday, 11 November 2011


Folville's Law is released today from MUSA PUBLISHING! Exciting times :)


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Guest blog!

Medieval historian and expert on all things Hugh Despenser the Younger-related (as well as early 14th century England in general) has very kindly given me a guest spot on her blog!

Check it out below:


Monday, 7 November 2011

Folville's Landing!

So the release of Folville's Law is imminent. I'm very excited to have my first full-length book out, and very grateful to the professional care and support of Musa Publishing, as well as the support and encouragement of my family and close friends (you know who you are, yes you do...)

A link to the book purchase page on the MUSA website is below, available on PDF, Kindle and many more formats.


For those who do take the plunge and kindly decide to purchase it, many thanks, and any feedback or reviews would be very much appreciated :)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

New website!

Martin Bolton and I now have a shiny new co-author website - check it out!


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Introducing Lizzie...

...Clinton, the heroine of Folville's Law.

When I wrote the story, I knew I wanted to include strong female characters, but ones that were believable in the context of the era. Women in the Middle Ages weren't generally supposed to lead exciting, independent lives, and the ideal noblewoman (in the eyes of noblemen) seems to have been a combination of breeding machine and useful political tool.

There were exceptions, of course, two of the most well-known being Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc, neither of whom were any man's footrest.

Depending on circumstances, women could enjoy a degree of freedom, and there are examples of them managing their own affairs. In the famous Paston Letters from the late 15th century, for instance, Margaret Paston took an active role in the localised warfare that erupted between her family and the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, who were greedy to get their hands on the Paston estates.

The tough-willed Margaret and other real-life medieval women like her were the inspiration for Elizabeth Clinton. When we first meet her Liz is widowed, childless and approaching thirty, which was well into middle age by the standards of the time: the average life expectancy for women was somewhere between twenty-eight and thirty-five. She does, however, own a great deal of prime real estate in Leicestershire that she manages without any male interference...that is, until John Swale comes along.