A Versatile Blogger

Well even if I don't get anywhere with the Bookbzz award (see below or VOTE HERE!) 
I have been gifted with this:

... courtesy of a fab lady  Elaine Cougler (do visit her blog when you've finished reading mine!) So without much more ado I shall accept, make my thank you speech and comply by the rules.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
The Versatile Blogger Award Rules:
  1. Display the Award Certificate (cut and paste it from my post) - DONE
  2. Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you - DONE (see above
  3. Post seven  interesting things about yourself -- DONE (read on
  4. Nominate up to fifteen other bloggers (and why you've nominated them) - DONE (read on)
  5. Inform them of their nomination  (probably via comment on their blog unless you have their email!)  -  DONE
Task One

Task Two 

Write a post

Often these Bloggy type awards can be a tad daunting, that's because one of the rules is to pass on the baton (or should that be wireless keyboard?) You want to be nice to nice bloggers by saying "Hey I think you deserve this!" but you also know they are probably incredibly busy and do not have time for faffing about finding the next bloggers to follow on.

Well yes, because I accepted the honour of becoming A Versatile Blogger I've spent most of the day, therefore, faffing about. And I've thoroughly enjoyed it! I've had a wonderful day browsing some of my favourite blogs, immersing myself in some fascinating - and diverse - articles.  From Rome to a switch to short-story writing via Sweden and A Wonderful Life - please click the links below and have an enjoyable read and find new blogs and new friends into the bargain! (but don't forget to vote for Sea Witch first!) 

Task Three:

Seven things about myself:
  1. I have just discovered Game of Thrones. OK I know, I'm late to the party, but it was on Sky here in the UK and I don't watch Sky. So I rented the first four episodes from Amazon's Lovefilm and was hooked from the start. Possibly too violent and sexual for some though. Rated 18 for a reason.
  2. I like Tia Maria Coffee with Devon cream on top. Oh gosh its gorgeous! Even when the cream doesn't float.
  3. I traipse into the Orchard of a morning in my wellies, nightdress and dressing gown to let the hens, ducks and goose out. Aw c'mon you don't expect me to be dressed before 8.30 a.m. do you?
  4. I have a companion in my study. Mab the cat has taken to sleeping on the chair. Only problem the blanket on it is black and white. She's black and white. I've accidentally sat on her a couple of times.
  5. We are not alone. We have at least one spirit in the house and one in the dairy. Nice 'people' who love this eighteenth century farmhouse I live in as much as I do.
  6. Devon cheese. Devon Blue and Taw Valley Cheddar. Oh boy. Delicious. We have a fantastic cheese shop in South Molton. Mmm. Mm!
  7. I'm getting over being frightened of spiders. Well, living in the country I haven't much choice have I? One ambled across my desk the other day. I just said 'hello' and let it amble. Ok OK it was about as big as my little finger thumbnail. I probably wouldn't have been as calm had it been as big as a coffee-mug coster (as they are here in Devon.)

Task Four:
I nominate

  1. Alison Morton Because this is a place to go for everything Roman. Alison knows her stuff! (Her Roma Nova series is also pretty good! :-) "Superficially, Lupercalia looks like a mob of  scantily clad young men of rank, running around the posh part of the city, full of sauce and whipping people, especially young women – sounds very student-like… But this was a quintessential Roman rite and significant on many levels to Romans for a thousand years."
  2. Richard Abbott  Because he reviews for HNS Indie and he supports indie writers (and his blog isn't bad either!) "For the Mad Reviewer 2014 Reading Challenge I signed up for the Slightly Sane category – 26 books during the course of the year."
  3. Anna Belfrage Because she writes about so many versatile things and I enjoy reading them.  "Every now and then, I sit down to have a serious one-to-one chat with yours truly. Okay, so the conversation is generally one-sided, as I haven’t progressed to doing different voices for different sides of my personality, but the purpose of these little tete-a-tetes is to remind myself why I write.
  4. Joanna  Barnden I met Joanna while doing my 'author bit' at Battle Abbey for the annual Battle of Hastings Bash (re-enactment). She was a delight to talk to and I'm always happy to support interesting writers. "Why write historical fiction? All my life I’ve been fascinated by the past. I remember as a child visiting Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh and standing over the (presumably re-touched) bloodstain where David Rizzio was murdered by Lord Darnley and being forcibly struck by the reality of standing on the same spot."
  5. Janis Pegrum Smith because I agree with her - It's A Wonderful Life :  "I have made it a ritual to watch the movie 'It's A Wonderful Life' at some point in the run up to Christmas".  
  6. Jessica Talbot  because I enjoyed her book Picaflor and her blog reminds me that being far from home is nice, but being home is even nicer! "This site is for writers, storytellers and people who have a story to tell. I think there is a need for a place to share stories and to feel connected through the experiences we share living in countries far from our birth places."
  7. Caz Greenham because her books about Eric the Seagull are fun and she lives in Devon. 'Nuff said! "If I’m not writing about Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ then you can find me paddling along the seashore or dipping my toes in rock pools."
  8. Carol McGrath because she is an admirer and fan of Harold II who died in 1066 killed in Battle seven miles from Hastings. Any fan of Harold's is worth following!  "It’s 1075. Eighteen-year-old Gunnhild, King Harold’s daughter, is living in a nunnery. She has no wish to be a nun: she is a princess and would rather wed a knight and have the life a princess should. So when Count Alan offers to elope with her, she accepts. But does he love her, or does he just want the lands that she will inherit?"
  9. Katherine Bone because she likes pirates and writes about pirates. Couldn't be a better reason! "Shoutin’ from the top of the mizzen, me hearties! Sails on the horizon!"
  10. Loretta Livingstone because she's a lovely lady. "Some of you may have noticed that my writing has taken an unexpected turn. I went for a wander in Writing Woods, took a different turning than usual and ended up down Short Story Lane."

Task Five
Will carry out as soon as this is posted.

Thanks for dropping by
and thanks for being versatile readers and friends!

Now... about that voting...

click here and VOTE

and could you cut & paste & post on Twitter?

Publishers say no one likes pirate-based novels. Prove 'em wrong! Vote for Helen Hollick’s nautical yarn, SEA WITCH http://bookbzz.com/prize-writer-fantasy-fiction-vote/

Thank 'ee kindly! :-)

We're off to Australia for the HNSA Conference!

On the weekend of 20-22 March 2015, the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) is holding its inaugural conference at the historic Balmain Town Hall, Sydney, exploring the theme of ‘The Historical Novel in Peace and War’. The conference will be a celebration of the historical fiction genre in a weekend of talks, panels, debates, book launches and readings.

Balmain Town Hall
The two day informative and interactive weekend program on 21-22 March will showcase forty speakers discussing craft, research, inspiration, publishing, social media and personal histories. Among these are internationally acclaimed historical novelists such as Kate Forsyth, Colin Falconer, Felicity Pulman, Toni Jordan, Juliet Marillier, Sophie Masson and Jesse Blackadder.

Kate Forsyth is our Conference patron. She wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of more than twenty books for both adults and children.
Kate Forsyth
Her interests include fantasy, and the weaving of fairy-tales with history. She is best known for her historical novel Bitter Greens, which interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale with the true life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force.
Kate is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairy-tale retelling at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Conference Program 21-22 March 2015

Day One hosts five interesting and varied panel discussions. In the first of two sessions exploring personal histories, Linda Funnell will interview Peter Corris and Sulari Gentill on the inspiration for their novels and their careers. Linda has over thirty years’ experience in the book publishing industry, including roles as a publisher, editor and literary agent. Peter Corris is credited with reviving the fully-fledged Australian crime novel but he is also a talented historical novelist and will enlighten us on why he finds this genre so appealing.  Sulari Gentill’s first novel was short listed for the 2008 NSW Genre Fiction Award.

In Session Two, Jean Bedford, Isolde Martyn, Johanna Nicolls, Juliet Marillier and Craig Cliff will discuss why they chose a particular era as a setting for their novels, and what research they undertake to bring past times to life in Tall Tales and True: How Storytellers Imagine History.

Session Three, Can CYA fiction compete with werewolves, vampires and zombies, introduces a panel of award winning CYA authors including Sophie Masson, Belinda Murrell, Sherryl Clark, Pamela Rusby and Goldie Alexander who will explore how historical fiction can captivate the imaginations of young readers

In War Torn Worlds, Vashti Farrer, Nicole Alexander, Toni Jordan, Kim Kelly and Sophie Masson discuss why war inspires their fiction, and the challenge they face in depicting characters who must overcome, or succumb to, the turbulence of war.

Day One conclude with a ‘First Pages’ competition where aspiring historical novelists will have their submissions read aloud to industry experts: Irina Dunn, Louise Thurtell and Alison Green.

Day Two continues with the second ‘personal history’ session where Kelly Gardiner, author of Goddess, will interview Toni Jordan and Posie Graeme-Evans. Posie is not only a talented historical novelist but has been a TV executive and producer. Toni’s Nine Days gained world attention when it was recommended by the Richard and Judy Book Club in the UK.

In What is it about the Tudors? Natalie Grueninger, Wendy J Dunn, Barbara Gaskell Denvil and Jane Caro will explore the world’s appetite for historical fiction set in Tudor times.

In Intrigue, Mystery, Fantasy and Timeslip, Posie Graeme-Evans, Kate Forsyth, Sulari Gentill, Belinda Murrell and Felicity Pulman enlighten us as to why readers are drawn to tales of characters who travel across time, or enjoy a blend of genres.

The Path Less Travelled is chaired by ‘hybrid’ author, Elisabeth Storrs, who discusses how and why Prue Batten, GS Johnston, Goldie Alexander and Felicity Pulman chose to go off the beaten track to find their readership.

In Pathways to Publication, Irina Dunn talks to agent Tara Wynne and publishers Alison Green and Louise Thurtell on the expectations of agents and publishers when looking for the next big thing in historical fiction. 
And you will not want to miss out on our concluding In Bed with History panel where Kate Forsyth, Colin Falconer and Jesse Blackadder will read some of their saucier excerpts!

Social Events

The opening night reception will be held at the prestigious State Library of NSW on Friday 20 March where attendees will celebrate the launch of Felicity Pulman’s Unholy Alliance. There will also be a lively round table debate in which Kelly Gardiner will moderate a discussion between Rachel Le Rossignol, Gillian Polack, Jesse Blackadder and Deborah Challinor on the topic: ‘What can historical novelists and historians learn from each other?’

At the conference dinner on Saturday 21 March, attendees will have opportunities to mingle with leading authors and join us for the launch of Sherryl Clark’s, Do You Dare – Jimmy’s War, and listen to our after-dinner speaker, Kate Forsyth.

Super Sessions

There are three skills-based super sessions that are being run concurrently with the main conference program. Manuscript assessments will be conducted by industry expert, Irina Dunn. Dr Gillian Polack is offering two small group workshops focussed on how to weave research into compelling and authentic historical fiction. The third session will focus on how to use social media to build an author platform with author Elisabeth Storrs and review blogger, Margaret Bates. In addition to the super sessions, the HNSA is pleased to be partnering with Swinburne University of Technology to provide the opportunity to submit an academic paper to a special edition of The Australian Journal of Crime Fiction on the theme ‘Phryne Fisher and Other Fantasies: The Female Detective in History’.

Free Book Offers
The HNSA is offering some great deals! The first forty ticket holders to purchase a Standard Whole Conference Ticket will receive a free copy of either The Lace Balcony  by Johanna Nicholls, The King’s Shadow  by Barbara Gaskell Denvil, The Island House  by Posie Graeme-Evans or My Holocaust Story: Hanna by Goldie Alexander. The first fifty fully paid ticket holders to the conference dinner will receive a free copy of Sherryl Clark’s, Do You Dare – Jimmy’s War. And all ticket holders to the opening night reception will receive a free e-book bundle of Felicity Pulman’s Janna Chronicles!

So why not register for the HNSA Conference. 
There are some great free book offers, 
and also the chance to dine with an author. 
You can buy tickets here!

More information about the conference program and speakers can be found at 

Help us spread the word about the conference. Here’s a tweet you could use:

Register for #HNSA2015 Conference for some great #historicalfiction and #giveaways! http://ow.ly/IVL7x

Follow us on Twitter @hnsaustralasia 

Join our mailing list to obtain advance notice of all our announcements.

Helen: I would like to add my personal thanks 
to everyone involved with organising and 
supporting this event

* * * * * 
Notice from Helen Hollick

My pirate-based nautical adventure  Sea Witch (the first in the Sea Witch Voyageshas made it into the finals on Bookbzz. I would very much appreciate it if you'd be kind enough to support me by 
clicking the link below and voting for me.

There are other categories including Historical Fiction :
if you follow Prize Winner on the site's menu bar.
You are permitted one vote per category.