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Wednesday 25 June 2014

HNS Indie Award 2014

I am delighted to announce the Historical Novel Society Annual Indie Award
By Helen Hollick
Managing Editor HNS Indie Reviews

As Managing Editor for HNS Indie Reviews I have been working for some time to organise an Historical Novel Society Indie Award for self/indie published historical fiction writers, and I am pleased to announce that the first annual Award will be made at the HNS London 2014 Conference in September.
My whole idea behind this Award is to promote the quality produced by Historical Fiction  indie writers.
Any indie novel reviewed by the HNS Indie Review teams in the UK or US (and eventually Australasia) that receive an Editor’s Choice accreditation will automatically be entered onto a long list for the Award (usually 16-18 books, but numbers may vary).
From these, the US and UK Editors will nominate nine books to go forward as a short list to be independently judged  in order to select four finalist choices.

For this exciting inaugural Award, however, we have chosen a short list from the past Indie Editor’s Choice selections, as published on the HNS Indie Review pages:

I am proud to announce that for 2014 two eminent writers have kindly consented to be our judges. Orna Ross, bestselling literary novelist and Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) will be our short list judge, and the four finalists selected will be judged by New York Times bestselling and award-winning novelist, Elizabeth Chadwick. My thanks to both ladies.

There is no entrance fee, but authors short-listed will, if they wish to take part (there is no obligation) be required to provide, at their own expense,  a PDF (or equivalent) file and two hard copy editions (hardback or paperback) of the selected book.

There will be a first prize, donated by Orna Ross of £100 (or current $ exchange rate) and a year’s free ALLi Membership, and a runner-up prize of £50 (or $ current exchange rate) sponsored by Geri Clouston of Indie B.R.A.G. with B.R.A.G. Medallion credits for all four finalist books.
My thanks to both these generous sponsors.

The Winner and Runner-up will be announced at the HNS London Conference on 
September 5th–7th 2014.

The  finalists, short-listed authors, and full rules are available here:

So how do you enter your book as a possible selection for next year’s 2015 award?
Simple, just submit your work of historical fiction to the HNS Indie Review Team for review and if it is selected as an Editor’s Choice you might be a lucky winner!

Details on how to submit can be found here:
HNS Conference 2014

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Nearly Forgot it is Tuesday!

Oops! I've been so immersed in various things that I almost forgot that today is Tuesday and I am supposed to put a Tuesday Talk post up! 

The cupboard is bare and the cellar is dry though - haven't a clue what to write about and I have a few very important e-mails to attend to regarding something VERY exciting for Historical Fiction Indie writers that I've been working on. 

So I'm going to do a huge cheat here and direct you to my Devon Diary Blog - Leaning On the Gate.
It is called this because almost every day I walk up the lane and lean on our top field gate.

Here are the latest entries
A Beautiful Morning
Making Hay
The Build

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Thank you

June 18th 2014
The Rainbow Bridge across our Orchard here in Devon
Thank you everyone for all your beautiful and so kind thoughts, about the loss of our foal, Erik. Please excuse me for not replying individually to you all. We're still in emotional shock, he was such a lovely little chap, a real sweetheart.

A lot of people knock Facebook and social media  for various reasons, but at times like these past couple of days, for myself and my family, Facebook in particular has been a source of great comfort. To know that there are a lot of very, very lovely people out there in the world has been an amazing experience - people I am genuinely honoured to call 'friend'.

It seems Erik had a hole in his palette and possibly brain damage from being born, or there could have been what is called 'dummy foal syndrome'   (Equine Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome). Even if the vet had been able to keep him alive he may well have been "disabled", which in a horse, unlike people, is not as easy to cope with. The kindest thing was to let him go - as nature would have ensured had he been born in the wild.

Even so, I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out why the spirit world took him back - this is the second foal taken from us at 6 days old, it seemed so very unfair. Why are we being treated so cruelly? Are we not good enough/caring enough to to bring up a foal in this world? How could you do this to us again? Are the spirits so uncompassionate to do this to us yet again? Why? Why? Why?

But someone,, ( a good friend) said something that has answered the questions.
We are not being treated cruelly, the spirits are not laughing at us, or playing evil games - the little body wasn't strong enough to accommodate the spirit, so the spirit had to leave. Just one of those things. Hard and sad to accept, but understandable. The little body was not formed right, the spirit couldn't survive in it.
Next time 'Erik' will be OK.

I doubt there will be a next time for us, I'm not sure that we are strong enough to try again to home-breed another foal - I don't think I could face it.

But who knows what the future holds?

I have been assured that the little chap is being looked after by a host of horsey uncles and aunts, and his dam, Ishi is content with her friends Lexie and Squidgy grazing side-by-side in our meadow.

Thank you again for all your so kind thoughts. They have all been very much appreciated.

Ishi and Erik

Friday 13 June 2014

To raise a smile for the weekend

I've opened a new Friday Fun weekly post 
on my H2U Blog 
the intention being to raise a smile 
to end the week on
and to start the weekend with a laugh!

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Success and Successio with Alison Morton

The Third One
When I launched my first novel, INCEPTIO, on the unsuspecting world in March last year, it was the end of three years’ slog, some of which was writing, rewriting and polishing the book, but an equal part was learning ‘How To Be A Novelist’. I went on specialist courses, to conferences, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, networked and drank a lot of coffee and wine in the process. 

There followed a frantic period of a high-profile launch with Sue Cook the broadcaster, blog tours, library talks, speaking at conferences and events, signings, shortlisting for the International Rubery Book Award and the award of a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM for excellence. Oh, and I sold a few books.

Alison Morton and Sue Cook
Seven months later, PERFIDITAS, the second book came out. Set in the same imaginary country of Roma Nova, it burst with spies, intrigue, Roman themes, romance and derring-do, all tied together with a tough, but sometimes bewildered, heroine. And betrayal and rebellion are in the air. Not only that, but famous Roman author Simon Scarrow endorsed it: “Sassy, intriguing, page-turning…  Roma Nova is a fascinating world”. Elysium!

Alison Morton and Simon Scarrow
Now number three, SUCCESSIO, is published. Just for the record, the Latin title has a double meaning – ‘what comes next and ‘the next generation’. Two birds with one stone, etc.

When you write a book, you hope someone will read it. In fact, you hope a lot of someones will enjoy it and tell their friends, workmates, family, their local reporter, the cousin who works on the national newspaper – you get the picture. Fellow writers can be especially supportive; as purveyors of literature they know a good (or bad) thing when they read it. So I’m honoured by Helen’s second invitation to be a guest here today and blather about my new book. (Helen: my pleasure Alison! I love your books!)

What’s SUCCESSIO about?

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun to the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

 And here’s a trailer with some exciting music

SUCCESSIO is available through your local bookshop (paperback) and online as e-book and paperback

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing on her blog at 
Twitter: @alison_morton

HNS Review for:
'This is not an historical novel, being set entirely in the present day, but what may prove of interest to HNS readers is that the author has set her plot in an alternate history timeline.
It is a modern thriller. In New York, twenty-something Karen Brown’s life is turned upside down as both the ‘big brother’ corruption of a modern state and a secret from her past collide with unexpected violence. Rescued by a charismatic alpha male, she discovers a new life in central Europe, in her late mother’s homeland, only to discover that her past and its secrets are determined to catch up with her.
So far, so readable, but what catches the HNS’s eye is that Karen’s late mother’s homeland is Roma Nova, a Latin speaking, pagan state with a penchant for creating excellent technology and a sizable voice in global politics. The premise is that in AD 395 after the Emperor Theodosious’ decree banning all pagan religions, some 400 Romans loyal to the old gods and presenting some 12 major patrician families left Italy to found a new state. So in Roman Nova Saturnalia is still celebrated instead of Christmas (and is very popular with tourists!), gladiatorial combats are popular and the Praetorian Guard has become something like the SAS.
The alternate timeline is presented in a short introduction, and most of its consequences are drip fed throughout the text. Personally I would have liked more of the history, but this is the first in a series and perhaps the author has deeper plans. In the meantime, this is a convincing thriller with some interesting background.'
Towse Harrison

'Not strictly an historical novel, Perfiditas is an alternative history adventure thriller that will delight crime fiction readers, but may also be enjoyed by Roman fans as Ms Morton has very cleverly blended into a modern tale the ‘what-might-happen’ had the Roman Empire survived to present day. Perfiditas continues the story started in the first book of this intriguing series, Inceptio, with more thrilling excitement from kick-ass Captain of Special Forces, Carina Mitela – the Special Forces being the equivalent to the Praetorian Guard.
An attempted coup threatens the matriarchal government of Roma Nova, which could destroy two millennia of achievement.  Carina hopes to put matters right, but betrayal sees her becoming a fugitive, going undercover to preserve her family’s honour, and she is forced to fight her way back with her skills of courage, determination and wonderful gadgetry.
This is a fast-paced read, although I did find the opening a little difficult to get into, trying to sort out the backstory and recall the main players from book one, who they were, what they did. Reading this on Kindle I did not see the useful cast list until the end – maybe slot it in at the beginning? (Or better still, read the hardcopy book, not the e-book version!) However, the breathless plots and sub-plots soon took hold – one in particular that I did not see coming was most exciting.
The attention to detail is superb, as is the believability of this alternative history existence. It is a skilfully and intelligently written story, with first-class production and presentation: all indie books should aim for this professional standard.'

 Helen Hollick

Monday 2 June 2014

I might be gone a while... that eureka moment!


I've been struggling with the secondary plot for the next  Sea Witch Voyage for months now - that #eureka moment happened at 2 a.m. this morning.
Wham! Palm-smack-forehead... Of course!!!! 

I've been awake since then thinking it through and I can't tell you the relief of finally knowing which direction this novel needs to go in! 

Being an indie writer means you are independent in virtually all the writing process, from conception to birth. Yes you need an editor, yes you need a cover designer, possibly an assisted publisher of some sort to do the technical bit of actually publishing the book, but unlike with mainstream there is no trusted agent (who is possibly also a friend) to chat about "the next book". There is no Managing Editor at her desk in your publishing house. No back up, no sounding board to toss ideas back and forth.

My UK publisher is very supportive ( ) as is my editor - both are willing to chat, but both are busy - and neither have the frustration that I've had of not quite being sure how On The Account was going to actually pan out.

Two people have even said to me "go away and write something else". No..o... I hear my Jesamiah followers cry in despair! We want to know what happens next after Ripples In The Sand!

Maybe the Alliance of Independent Authors could open a "grapple with your ideas" forum or something for authors like me who have been stuck for plot ideas?

Anyway, I had to do some chores this morning, but I'm now going out into the garden with a pile of books to do the research I need. Then I am going to write like the clappers...

I might not be around as much these next few weeks (although I'll not disappear altogether! 

Oh and the idea? 
You think I'm going to TELL you..... 

You are just going to have to wait and read the book.

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