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Tuesday 27 February 2018

Tuesday Talk with Helen Hollick: #(Hashtag)GoT

I am guessing that you either know what the above means – or you do not?

Hashtag (or more usually this symbol #) is a sort of alert sign, indicating ‘hey look at this specific topic’. Commonly it is used on Twitter (so I would put #BlogArticle followed by to draw attention to this (or any article that I decide to post here on this blog.) When something is 'trending', it means lots of people have noticed the # and are following that topic – sort of a Twitter bestseller if you like.

Now what about the GoT bit? Aw c’mon, where’ve you been these last few years? *laugh*.

I’m talking Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is a US fantasy TV drama series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Adapted from A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series of novels set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, and has an enormous cast of characters. Most of whom, at one time or another, are hoping to kill at least one of the other characters in one gruesome way or another.

If you’ve never watched the show, can’t stand it, can’t make head nor tail of it, abandon this article now, it’ll not hold much interest for you.

But #Love #GoT?... #Read on…

I had not read the books and came to the TV series rather late (series four!) not having Sky TV I  hired series one on Amazon’s Lovefilm (now, alas, discontinued:  what is it with Amazon? But that’s another discussion for a #FutureArticle). I watched the first few episodes with interest, but puzzlement. What on earth was going on, who were all these different characters with odd-sounding names – and I thought the series was fantasy? Apart from It being set somewhere that was obviously not Britain, America, Canada, Russia, New Zealand or wherever on this Earth, so obviously a make-believe country/land I couldn’t figure where the fantasy came in.

So there was a great Ice Wall? OK. Got that.
Winter was coming - obviously a harsh time that lasted years. Fine, we were in the realm of fiction, but not exactly fantasy.

Wolves – big wolves. Direwolves. Not quite ‘normal’ wolves. Acceptable. Still not fantasy?
Various things happened – mainly Ned Stark, the Lord of the North and his daughters go south with the King and his family, for Ned to be the King’s head adviser – 'the King's Hand'  That I found to be an interesting term. Darn – wish I’d thought of it!
One bastard-born son, Jon Snow went northward to serve in the Nights Watch. I guessed that meant to guard the Wall. Against who/what? Still not the fantasy I had expected. What was I missing here?

I was thinking Hadrian’s Wall, of course, and apart from the sheer size and the fact that the GoT Wall is made of solid ice, you can see the connection. Built across a narrow neck of land to keep the North out from the South (or vice versa if you happen to be from the North.) The Emperor Hadrian started to build his wall in AD 122. It (or its remains) is 73 miles long and varies between 10 – 20 feet in height. It stretches from the east coast of England in Northumbria to the west at Carlisle, with larger forts interspersed with smaller milecastles. Similar to our GoT Wall setup. Although that wall is much bigger!

As the episodes went on through series one, I worked out that the various ‘Houses’ were all at each other’s throats because of various past feuds, betrayals, jealousies and greed. I gave up trying to remember who was who for most of the secondary and minor characters though.
Head House was the King of the Seven Kingdoms, the House of Baratheon. Next, the Lannisters – the Queen’s family (and what a rum lot they turn out to be!) Then there’s the Greyjoys, the Tyrells, the Targaryens the… etc. The list is enormous. All of them to be frank, even more of a rum lot!

Then you’ve got the spies and those out for their own gain – remind you of anything else in history? The Wars of the Roses perhaps, with one House (York) against the other (Lancaster)? Add in the Tudors as well.  All wanting the Crown (or in the Game of Thrones, the #IronThrone – a throne made of swords) and willing to do anything – including torture, rape and murder – to sit on it. Or maybe compare to the upheaval of Rome after Caesar had been murdered. The goings-on between Augustus and wife Livia, then Caligula, Claudius, Nero…  (another very rum lot!) 

But #GoT? Still no fantasy. Had I got the wrong end of the stick somehow?

Enter the Dothraki and Daenerys Targaryen. Now this lot, the Dothraki, were very clearly the equivalent of Attila and his Huns, or the Vandals and Goths, or the modern-day Cossacks of the Russian Steppes. Their’s is the life of the nomad, the horse their most precious commodity and nothing, nothing, would stop the vast hoard once on the move. The only difference to Attila, we were in the hot grasslands (the African Savannah?) not the cold of Russia or Mongolia.

Daenerys. The Mother of Dragons, 
the Breaker of Chains the...
well, she has quite a long title to her name!
Ah! Some hint of fantasy at last! Daenerys (Dani) Targaryen,  the last daughter of the Targaryen House (everyone else except her whining, insipid fob of a brother, having been murdered by others mentioned above) is married off to Attila… well, in this story, Khal Drogo. There’s been a good bit of explicit and often violent sex up to now, by the way. Lots of bums and boobs, naked girls (and boys) in brothels and a fair bit of incest. So if you’re not keen on ‘explicit’, GoT is not for you.

As a wedding gift, Dani is given three stone dragon’s eggs. But are they stone…?

Ah, the fantasy is at last beckoning! Magic, supernatural, witchcraft, fantasy, it all starts creeping in,  but still I wasn’t sure. Was what was happening just superstition? Con tricks by those trying to gain positions of power? Then a zombie-like creature was brought to life... and THEN... (not giving away spoilers)… The zombie is killed and cremated and...   Oh WOW!

A lot goes on in between all the above, and following on (I bought the DVDs, couldn't wait to watch via hiring them). We are  (2017) up to series seven, with the last, the eighth, due to broadcast in 2018 or 2019, and I am not giving away spoilers, but I must share some of the lines that Tyrion Lannister – the Imp (the dwarf) comes out with. They are priceless. Actually, so is he.

“... a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

"The powerful have always preyed on the powerless. That's how they became powerful in the first place."

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."

Tyrion - the 'Imp'
Suffice to say, by the second series I was in love with Jon Snow, adored Tyrion, admired Daenerys  and was rooting  for Arya Stark… yes! Get in there girl!

Arya Stark
I also wonder how much is similar to the legends of King Arthur? A magic sword (well the swords in GoT are made of a special metal, so not exactly magic but...) The betrayals, the incest between brother and sister, the dragons... just a thought...

If you like intrigue, super character development, a nod to the past and history, and not  knowing what is going to happen next until it happens (no second guessing in GoT, apart from expect the unexpected) watch GoT. Add to all that, who survives not only to the end of each series but to the next episode without being murdered (one way or another) is, in my opinion one of the most engrossing aspects. And unlike many TV series, no it isn’t just the ‘bit-part’ guest characters who get bumped off. We’re talking main characters here!

Can you imagine? The lead character was dead in the previous episode …. So you sit there biting your nails hoping your favourite survives until next week…

Jon Snow
some more memorable quotes:

“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."

“Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.” 

"Why is it that when one man builds a wall, the next man immediately needs to know what's on the other side?” 

“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” 

“Laughter is poison to fear.”

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

 "Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow."

#GoT #LoveIt

Love it? Hate it? Do share your comments below, I'd love to hear your views! 

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Tuesday Talk: The Serial is in the Details by Loretta Livingstone

A few thoughts for old hands or new authors alike

Lorretta photo by Vanessa Champion
I just read a very good post on WordPress about ensuring you have all the relevant details for your fictional world written up before you start the first novel in a series.

This is excellent advice, and it would be all well and good except for one problem. I had no idea when I wrote my debut historical novel, Out of Time, that it was going  to become a series. My characters decided to pick up the ball and run with it. I have been puffing along after them ever since, just trying to keep up, as they merrily throw it on to the next catcher. [from Helen: Oh I know that feeling very well ... puff puff puff....]

The problem is, I have had to go along with some things that I would have done differently had I realised I was writing a series.

However, the moment I discovered they were getting out of hand, I wrote a description of each character including family trees with dates of birth and how they all interlinked. And thank goodness I did. Minor characters have suddenly decided they want their own books written. And none of them turned out the way I expected. I thought I was going to write a one-off novel about Robin Hood - but he never showed up. Instead, my MCs decided the story would be something else entirely.

I'm hoping to publish book three around June 2018 - the romance between one of the very first characters, Sir Giles, and his wife - and already the next character, a nun with a bit-part in book one, has been tugging at my sleeve and whispering her own story in my ear. Not to mention the abbess, who does have a story to tell, and Shannon/Rohese, who has no intention of being a one-story wonder. And her sister, who had an even smaller part but has suddenly realised she is missing out on something.

So, heed the warning. When you start your very first novel, build the world carefully, plan for future novels even if you don't have any intention of writing them just at the moment, and log very carefully things like eye colour, build, age - very important that, along with dates of birth - character quirks, and anything else which may be needed at a later date. And if, like me, you left it too late, go back over the first book and pull out everything before you go any further. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.


cover by

I recommend, also, that you read the following post for further good advice on the subject.

More about Loretta
Loretta in Costume
Loretta on Amazon
Out of Time

Have you any advice for potential serial writers? Please do share them below! 

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Tuesday 13 February 2018

Tuesday Talk with Helen Hollick: What pirates needed was a...

... Book of Boat Names!

We've all heard of the more notorious pirates: Blackbeard, Charles Vane, Callico Jack Rackham - along with his female sidekicks, Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Then there's Henry Avery, Black Sam Bellamy, Stede Bonnet... (Jesamiah Acorne!)  and a good few more.

But what about their essential requirement to be a pirate?
not a plank...
not a treasure chest of gold...
not a bottle of rum...
not a cutlass...
not a parrot...

A ship. 

Every pirate had to have a ship (otherwise he would be a mere thief or a highwayman, although for the latter he would need a horse.)

Pirates usually stole the ships they needed, although the technical term is 'commandeer'. Stede Bonnet is the exception along with William Kidd, both of whom legally obtained their first ships.

A ship was more than just a wooden hulk to sail about in. To the men aboard it (she!) was home, the community where they lived and worked all with the same purpose: to survive whatever the sea and the weather threw at you. Or in the case of pirates, to get rich quick with as little effort as possible. The best ships to acquire were sloops, schooners and brigantines, although in the pre-1700s galleys were also favoured because they had oars as well as sails.

So what is the difference between a ship and a boat? Simple. A boat has one or two masts, a ship has more than two, but this only applied to sailing vessels pre-mid-1800s, for modern ships/boats it gets more complicated: ‘the difference is about the way  a vessel heels (tips to the side) when going around a corner. A vessel is turning to port, and you are standing on deck facing the bow. If it heels outward during the turn (i.e. leans so your right foot is lower than your left) it's a ship. If the opposite is true, it's a boat.’ Or at least, that is what my engineer nephew tells me, but I think the 'two or more masts' rule is easier to work out and remember (sorry Tom!)

 Most pirates preferred smaller boats because they were easy to handle – not so many sails and less men required, which in turn meant more profit per person. The disadvantage being that it was more difficult to attack larger vessels, there were less men available in a fight and not so many guns could be used (it took more than one man to load and fire, then reload a cannon.)

More often than not a Prize did not suit the pirates who had captured her. They would head for the nearest careening place, or a safe harbour like Nassau, and customise her by removing unwanted decks, particularly the raised quarter or poop decks, shortening masts and removing bulkheads (inner timber walls/partitions) and cabins. Extra gunports and gun mounts would be added, then Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt … you have a fully-functioning pirate ship.

She is made of wood, well-seasoned oak being preferred by the English: note that the English oak tree is different to the American, ours is the familiar broad-trunked, wide canopied monarch of the forest, the American oak is taller and narrower. Then there are the tall masts stretching upwards and another pointing forwards. She has decks, and a hull, and a keel. A pointy bit at the front, a blunt end at the back. There are acres of canvas sail and a lot – a lot – of rope for the rigging. She is powered by the wind, or by oars as well, and the tall ships we are familiar with, such as the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory that are seen in dry dock as visitor attractions are steered by a steering wheel – the helm.

So why is a ship called a ‘she’? The legend goes that She is capricious, likes to do as She pleases and often has ideas of her own. She has a waist and stays, and it needs a lot of paint to keep her looking good. There is always a gang of men around her and it takes experience to handle her whims. She proudly shows her topsides, demurely hides her bottom, and when entering harbour She heads straight for the buoys. Very 'sexist' but now you know.

Nearly all the larger pirate vessels had a main deck with below it the living space and the cargo hold – the larger the vessel the more decks it would have. Space, particularly height, was limited with sturdy beams supporting the overhead deck, often with less than five feet of headspace. Light was provided through gratings and hatchways which were battened down in stormy weather and covered by tarpaulins or oiled sailcloth. For the Great Cabin at the rear (the captain’s quarters) there would be windows across the stern and sometimes at the sides for small quarter cabins, which would house a bed on one side and a latrine, which was nothing more than a hole leading to the outside, with a wooden surround, in the other. For the men the latrine, the Head, would be up towards the bow, and again, mere holes cut in a plank suspended over the sea. More often than not they would simply  urinate over the side – which side depended on which way the wind was blowing. The crew, especially on merchant ships lived mostly towards the front of the vessel at the forecastle (pronounced fo’c’sle). Here they would eat, sleep and pass the day when not needed on deck. The captain and officers aboard a merchantman would have wooden box-beds slung on ropes at each corner from the overhead beams. The crew had hammocks which would be taken down during the day, or they slept on the open deck.

Some of the vessels had a galley, a kitchen, which would have a secure brick-built oven set on a flagstone floor. Gunpowder would be stored below deck away from here, and usually protected by a wetted canvas curtain instead of a door. 

Conditions below deck would be dark, cramped, damp at best, wet at worst, would smell of mildew and mould and be infested with rats, lice and fleas. In heat it would be sweltering, in cold weather, freezing. The hold was amidships, supplies, sails, cargo, or treasure if there was any, would be stored here, with beneath this deck the bilge, a space filled with ballast which could be stones, rocks, gravel or sometimes timber if this was part of the cargo. It was always damp and stank; the anchor cable was also stored here.

Related image
Below Deck HMS Victory
Cannons would be placed according to the size of the vessel, and fired round-shot, grapeshot, langrage and chain-shot. The size of a gun was measured by the size of the round shot, so a four-pounder ball to a twelve or eighteen pounder meant bigger and heavier guns. Swivel guns mounted on the rail were of about two-pounder range and could, as the name implies be swivelled around to take aim or reload.

During action, the decks would be cleared of everything movable, the bulkheads below deck, that is, the inner walls, were taken down, and the stern windows swung up to be secured on the ceiling above. The galley fire would be doused and the lower sails on a square-rigged vessel ‘clewed’ up, that is furled away, to give a clear view along the deck and as a precaution to avoid the spread of fire. Sand would be scattered around the guns to prevent the men slipping.

Lady Washington firing her guns
The masts – vertical poles, or for the bowsprit at the front, a horizontal pole – were not one, long solid piece of wood, but had several sections that fitted neatly together, the lower section supporting the topmast, which in turn supported the topgallant. In bad weather these top two sections could be taken down – struck. The sails hung from wooden poles called ‘yards’, which could be hoisted up and down or turned back and forth by means of hauling on ropes. To ‘know the ropes’ meant to know what all the various ropes and pulleys did, where they went to and came from. The yardarms were the end of the yards and each yard was known by where it was situated with the fore yardarm being the least popular as it was from here that men were hanged. The sails themselves, made from canvas by sailmakers, with the canvas coming from flax, were hung either in a fore-and-aft vertical line along the deck, or at right angles for a square-rigged vessel. Even on a square-rigged ship sails were not square but tapered or rectangular, and the bigger the ship, the larger the area of sail. HMS Victory, seen now in dry-dock at Portsmouth, had about four acres of sail in total, although smaller ships such as those used by pirates were more likely to be nearer one acre. 

Rigging consisted of running or standing, running being rope that passed through blocks and tackles for moving the yards around, and hauling and lifting, while the standing rigging of shrouds and stays were ropes of various widths and lengths that were in a permanent fixed position to support the masts and yards. There could be about forty miles of rope on board with over 1,000 pulleys.

The topmen were those who went aloft to the highest yards, were usually the young, agile men, were the elite of the crew and valued their position. Working aloft meant they were out of sight of the officers for one thing, and they were left alone to get on with their job. They often had their own mess groups, and thought very little of the waisters, the non-sailors such as marines, sea-based soldiers. Until standard uniforms were introduced, they preferred colourful clothes and jewellery and wore different hairstyles. To be a topman also required courage. To go aloft to manhandle the sails and work dangling from the yards in not just bad weather but storms and gales, often in the dark, required a touch of madness as well as bravery.

Dangers to ships were shallows, rocks, and storms which could snap a mast in two or be so severe that waves would swamp the below decks, despite all hatches being battened down. Lightning was an unpredictable danger, especially if it were to strike near to where the powder magazine was situated. The lightning rod, or conductor, was invented by Benjamin Franklin  in 1749, and proved to be most useful for ships with tall masts, except too many conductors were fitted incorrectly and caused more damage than necessary. 

As if all that was not enough, you had managed to cross the Atlantic in one piece, with only a little water and food left. Your masts are just about intact despite the lightning, your keel is scraped for getting too close to the shallows and rocks, the hull is covered in barnacles and the sails are worn and patched from the rage of the wind. You have survived all that – only to come face to face with a damn pirate!


Howell Davies 
Sloop Rover 32 cannon 
Sloop Adventure 10 cannon

Edward Teach –Blackbeard,
Frigate  Queen Anne’s Revenge 40 cannon

Charles Vane
Sloop Ranger 10 cannon
Brigantine Ranger unknown

Bartholomew Roberts 
Brigantine Good Fortune 32 cannon
Frigate         Royal Fortune 32 cannon
Brigantine Sea King 32 cannon

Samuel Bellamy
Sloop Mary Anne 8 cannon
Galley Whydah Gally 28 cannon

Stede Bonnet 
Sloop Revenge 10 cannon

Jack Rackham 
Sloop William 6 cannon


Galley, or Gally, both versions are correct. Built in London in 1715 and launched a year later she was captured by Sam Bellamy in February 1717 and wrecked on 26th April 1717 off Cape Cod, Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was a Galley of 300 tons, 110 ft in length, carrying twenty-eight guns, fully rigged with three masts, she had a possible speed of thirteen knots (15 mph), and could carry a complement of 150 souls, but went down with 145 men and one boy. Her wreck was discovered in 1984, buried beneath the sand between sixteen to thirty feet under water.


Frigate, launched 1710, England, 200 tons, 103 ft, complement, 125 souls. Captured by the French and renamed La Concorde de Nantes, then captured by Benjamin Hornigold on 28th November 1717, near the island of Martinique, but commanded by Edward Teach who renamed her Queen Anne’s Revenge. She ran aground in 1718 near Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. Intersal Inc., a private research firm, discovered the wreck in 1996, located by director of operations, Mike Daniel in twenty-eight feet of water, one mile of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Thirty-one cannons of different origins have been identified, and more than 250,000 artefacts recovered which support that the wreck is that of Queen Anne's Revenge


Lady Washington Commencement Bay2.jpg

Not herself a pirate ship, but as HMS Interceptor she was commandeered by pirate Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. 
The original trade ship, Lady Washington, was a ninety ton brig, she left Boston Harbour in October 1787 and sailed around Cape Horn the first vessel carrying an American flag to do so. Named for Martha Washington, she was the first American vessel to reach Japan. She foundered in the Philippines in 1797. 
The replica was built in 1989, and designed by John Fitzhugh Millar of Newport House B & B, Williamsburg, Virginia. She has appeared in several films in addition to Pirates of the Caribbean as the brig Enterprise, a namesake of Starship Enterprise, in Star Trek Generations, in the IMAX film The Great American West and in the TV mini-series Blackbeard.


Again, not a pirate ship but, for me, a pirate connection as in her new guise as HMS Surprise, from the movie Master and Commander, I commandeered her as the template for Sea Witch. The movie is adapted from the novels HMS Surprise and The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian, the screenplay co-written and directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin and was  released by 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films and Universal Studios. For an almost authentic feel of what life was like aboard a ship in the eighteenth century watch this movie.

buy from Amazon
Her specifications are: 500 tons, full rigged ship; overall length, 179 feet; length on deck, 135 feet. Height of main mast, 130 feet. 13,000 sq feet area of sail; draught, 13 feet, beam, 32 feet.
My original intention had been to model Sea Witch on the Whydah or Queen Anne’s Revenge, but the plan never gelled. Rose/Surprise fitted my imagination like a glove, except she was built several years after the period that the Sea Witch Voyages are set – 1715 to about 1725, but then my series is part fantasy and it is not meant to be taken seriously, so I bent the facts a little.

Moored in San Diego, California, Surprise is a beautiful ship, originally built as a replica of HMS Rose, an 18th century Royal Navy vessel that was, in part, responsible for the outbreak of the American War of Independence and cruised the American coast during the Revolutionary War.

The replica was originally built in Nova Scotia in 1970 by John Fitzhugh Millar, using construction drawings from 1757. The real Rose was built in Hull, England in 1757 and her duty was to be a scout ship for the British fleet and to patrol the coasts of any enemy country during the time of war. In 1768 she was sent to America to patrol the eastern coastline where high taxes were causing unrest – and in 1774, commanded by James Wallace, she sailed to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island to put an end to the extensive smuggling.

On 4th May 1776 Rhode Island initiated the Declaration of Independence from Britain, two full months before the rest of the Colonies. It is often believed, especially here in the UK that the Boston Tea Party, where a cargo of tea was thrown overboard into Boston Harbour as a protest against the payment of taxes started the American War of Independence. In fact, it was the petitioning to Congress to form a Continental Navy in order to rid Narragansett Bay of the highly efficient Rose which fanned the flames of unrest among the Colonies.

But why my suggestion that pirates would have benefitted from a book of boat names?

Well, as you can see from the list of names above, many pirates called their ships by the same name - Revenge and Fancy being great favourites.

Maybe pirates didn't have much of an imagination...?

© Helen Hollick

article based on
Pirates Truth and Tales

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Tuesday Talk: The excitement of that new book!

On holding your first published book 
           by Christine Hancock

It has been delivered.
It was brought by a large van and arrived at my door in a cardboard box, five boxes, in fact. The copies of my debut novel; Bright Sword.

How do I feel?

It is like giving birth. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I touch it carefully, stroke it's soft skin. I check it has the right number of pages and that everything is in the right place. How did I manage to produce this beautiful thing?

It all started a long time ago, five years almost to the day. On a cold day in January 2013, I joined a class at the local Adult Education Centre. I was a keen family historian with a flourishing blog. I wanted to write about the people I had discovered - non-fiction of course.
That Christmas I tried to write a short story about one of them, a pirate (doesn't everyone likes a pirate?) I found it difficult. I wondered why. I saw the class advertised: Writing Fiction. Why not give it a go? It would be a bit of fun. Little did I know it would change my life.

Each week we were set exercises, learning different aspects of writing, preferably  from our "Work in Progress". For several weeks I floundered. What was my WIP? I flirted with a Victorian painter, considered my pirate; did I know enough about ships? Then, gradually he revealed himself. Byrhtnoth, a tenth century Anglo-Saxon warrior, famous for a glorious death in battle. He was old, about my age, which nowadays is not old!

I wanted to find out more. What had turned him into this hero? I couldn't find much. He appears in history here and there. We know his father's name, but not his mother's. We know he married and her name. But where was a born and where did he live? Nothing. The perfect subject for a novel. Even the period was right - midway between King Alfred and 1066, no one else seemed to be writing about it. I had found my WIP.

Together we went back to the start. I mothered him when he was an orphaned child. I worried as he made friends, and enemies. We had our moments of crisis, when we nearly gave up. Now he is a man and I have fallen in love with him, and now our child has arrived, a publisher acting as midwife.

What will happen to our child? Will it be successful or will it fail, dying in poverty and disgrace?

I know it isn't perfect, all books have their faults, especially a first book. Everything is new. Are you doing things right or should you have tried something different?
I will try again. The next one will be better.

For the story hasn't ended. My hero thinks he has grown up, but he still has a long life before him. The book has become a series. I am writing book three and have plans for the fourth. After that, who knows?

But for now, I hold this, my first book. It is a wonderful feeling. Will I feel the same about the next? Perhaps not. For the first time is always special.

© Christine Hancock

"England in the tenth century is close to peace, but the king is still in need of warriors. At the age of seven, his mother dead, Byrhtnoth is sent to train with other boys, but suffers as he has no father's name. He is shown a sword, his father's sword, and he is told that it will be his when he proves himself a man. When the girl he loves is captured by the Vikings he is sent to rescue her. A king tragically dies and Byrhtnoth blames himself. Can he overcome his fears and discover the truth about his father? Will he live long enough to become a man and claim the sword?"

cover design 

Buy the book

Find out more about Christine

Twitter:    @YoungByrhtnoth

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