Categories
Guest posts Historical Fiction

Spotlight on Nancy Jardine and the latest in the Celtic Fervour series

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Ocelot Press author, Nancy Jardine, to the blog today. She published a new book this week in her gripping and thoroughly researched Celtic Fervour series, set in Roman Britain. I’ll let Nancy tell you about it.

Thank you for inviting me today, Vanessa, to share a little about Beathan The Brigante, the 5th book in my highly acclaimed Celtic Fervour Saga Series. The novel launched two days ago with Ocelot Press and I’m still not down from the ceiling! It’s available in e-book and paperback from Amazon, and in paperback format via Ingram Spark (bookstores and libraries).

An offer from Nancy

Something your readers might find of interest is that the ebook versions of Books 1-4  in the Celtic Fervour Saga Series are reduced to only 99p/99c/0.99euros each, for some days around Book 5’s launch day and, depending on when your readers see this post, the offer may still be available. You can find the ebooks via my Amazon author page.

Writing the Celtic Fervour saga

I’ve loved writing all five books of the series, though honesty makes me confess that sometimes it’s been difficult at times knowing what to keep and what to remove from my final copies. I love to research and, like most historical authors I know, always want desperately to keep every little detail in the final copy. That is, naturally, entirely unrealistic but authors live to dream! I hope in Beathan The Brigante that the balance is just right for making the settings credible.

Although I’ve endeavoured to create each book as a ‘stand-alone’ read, the links between all of the books – and the development of the Garrigill Clan as the saga unfolds – make that difficult. Recurring themes also permeate the books, some being more relevant to my Roman Iron Age ‘Celts’ and others to the Ancient Roman characters.   

Beathan The Brigante

Beathan The Brigante brings one particular theme of the series to a full circle. The birth of a baby is prophesied in The Beltane Choice (Book 1), a son who is destined to become a famous tribal leader. Nara and Lorcan of the Garrigill Brigantes name their child Beathan – which means ‘life’.

Beathan’s upbringing is tinged with the constant threat of domination by the legions of Ancient Rome. When Beathan is seven, his Brigante clan from Garrigill Hillfort become refugees and trek northwards to Nara’s birthplace (Book 3). However, living there is very temporary since  the Roman invasion continues northwards, led by the new Governor of Britannia, General Agricola. At the age of almost thirteen, Beathan goes to battle at Beinn na Ciche against the Ancient Roman legions of General Agricola. That battle is lost by the Caledonians and we subsequently find Beathan is captured by Roman auxiliaries (Book 4).

Book 5 is Beathan’s story and tells the tale of what happens to him from his imprisonment at the age of almost thirteen to revenge against his Roman captors when he is a very mature seventeen-year-old. However, Book 5 is also partly the story of Beathan’s unique relationship with the Ancient Roman general, Gnaeus Iulius Agricola. Dragged in chains to Rome doesn’t mean that Beathan has lost all sense of honour. Equally, Agricola has enemies of his own and finds impartiality an impossible burden. And it isn’t only the main characters in Book 5 who make surprising choices!

Beathan endures so much during his early teenage years. He deserves some happiness but finds that Torrin is a determined young Brigante lass with her own plans mapped out. Love rarely comes easily for my Garrigill warriors and readers will find that young Beathan is no different!

There are repeated themes throughout the five books – threads which are sometimes fragile but also have a tensile strength that’s needed to face up to the Roman invaders. What keeps Beathan going during his years of captivity is the desire to be back in the bosom of his Garrigill family, but there is also an all-encompassing hunger to wreak havoc and disaster on his Roman tormentors.

Beathan is my current hero – might be for some time to come – and I do hope readers like him, too!

About the book

AD 85 Roman Empire

How can young Beathan of Garrigill – held hostage by General Agricola and dragged in chains to Rome – escape and wreak vengeance on his enemies?

Torrin is a strong-minded Brigante warrior-woman who forges her own future. She willingly takes care of him in a time of need, but her own plans are paramount.

Agricola’s career is in tatters. Attempts on his life are plentiful, having lost favour with Emperor Domitian. His gods have abandoned him, though assistance comes from a surprising source.

Will Beathan gain his freedom to return to his kin in Caledonia? Will Torrin be by his side? And how will Agricola survive without the emperor’s benevolence?

Beathan the Brigante is the fifth in the bestselling Celtic Fervour series.

Beathan The Brigante ebook edition

Beathan the Brigante paperback edition

About Nancy

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction, time travel historical adventure and contemporary mysteries. When not writing or researching (a compulsion she can’t give up), she’ll be with her grandchildren, gardening, or reading novels. She loves to interact with her readers when regularly signing/ selling paperback versions of her novels at local Craft Fairs, and at larger event venues. She enjoys presenting author talks and gives formal presentations on her novels, and on Ancient Roman Scotland, to groups large and small.

She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland, the Romantic Novelists Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She’s self-published with Ocelot Press.

Find Nancy at these places:

Copyright © Nancy Jardine, Vanessa Couchman 2020, all rights reserved.

Categories
Guest posts Writing tips

A Novel Approach

I’m delighted to welcome my friend and fellow Ocelot Press author, Jennifer C. Wilson, to the blog today. Her latest book, aimed at writers, A Novel Approach, was published yesterday by Ocelot Press. She tells us how the book came about and what it aims to do. I’ve had a sneak peek, and I know that budding and experienced writers alike will find it really helpful.

Over to you, Jen…

Is there a novel in you? Let me help you find out…

That’s the goal behind A Novel Approach, my new non-fiction title, that I’m so excited to see coming out through Ocelot Press. I love going to writing workshops, working through prompts and exercises, and learning from other writers. And, as I’d enjoyed going to so many, I decided to host my own, working with writers through the various key stages of pulling together a piece of long-form fiction.

Over a course of six workshops, we brainstormed, wrote, and discussed, and the results were brilliant. Although it is aimed at those looking to write a novel, there were short stories generated from the prompts, as well as scenes for both new and existing story ideas. That’s the thing I think is great about prompts like this – they can help you when your starting point is the blank page, but also, if you have that initial idea in your head, but need a bit of help organising your thoughts onto the page.

The exercises will get you thinking about your characters, their voices, what they want and need, and what they’ll do to get those things. There are also prompts to bring your settings to life, making them feel real to your readers, as well as dropping conflicts into your characters’ paths, keeping the pages turning.

I really hope writers get something out of this, and would love to hear from anyone who uses it to get the ink flowing!

The blurb:

Based on my series of workshops held throughout 2019 and into 2020, this book is designed to help writers work through each of the key stages of their story, including:

  • Idea generation;
  • Creating characters;
  • Describing your settings;
  • Showing vs telling; and
  • Keeping the words flowing when you find yourself stuck.

As well as the above, I have also added sections on hooking your readers in, leaving them wanting more, and useful resources as a writer, including how to dip a successful toe into the world of social media.

The workshops were fun, helping writers of short stories and novels alike, and I hope these exercises can help you too!

A Novel Approach: mybook.to/ANovelApproach

About Jennifer

Jennifer C. Wilson stalks dead people (usually monarchs, mostly Mary Queen of Scots and Richard III). Inspired by childhood visits to as many castles and historical sites her parents could find, and losing herself in their stories (not to mention quite often the castles themselves!), at least now her daydreams make it onto the page.

After returning to the north-east of England for work, she joined a creative writing class, and has been filling notebooks ever since. Jennifer won North Tyneside Libraries’ Story Tyne short story competition in 2014, and in 2015, her debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Books. The full series was re-released by Darkstroke in January 2020.

Jennifer is a founder and host of the award-winning North Tyneside Writers’ Circle, and has been running writing workshops in North Tyneside since 2015. She also publishes historical fiction novels with Ocelot Press. She lives in Whitley Bay, and is very proud of her two-inch view of the North Sea.

Connect with Jennifer:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Instagram

Amazon

Copyright © Jennifer C. Wilson, Vanessa Couchman, 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories
Guest posts Historical Fiction

Another “spirited” title joins Jennifer C. Wilson’s Kindred Spirits series

jenwilsonebooks

It’s always a pleasure to welcome my friend and fellow author Jennifer C. Wilson to the blog. Jen specialises in writing “historical fiction with spirit” that speculates on what’s happened to the ghosts of well-known historical figures since their own era. She’s about to launch an addition to the Kindred Spirits series, in which the ghosts are based in famous historic places. This time it’s York. I’ll let her tell you more about it.

Categories
Guest posts Novels

Alternative Endings & Unanswered Questions: Guest Post by Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard Author

A few months ago, Alison Morton was my guest, talking about alternate history. Today I’m very pleased to welcome back my friend, author Sue Barnard, who’s talking today about alternative endings to famous stories. Her latest novel, Heathcliff, was published yesterday and it’s a great read. I know, because I had a sneak peek a while ago. Tell us about your inspiration, Sue.

Categories
Guest posts Novels

Murder and Mayhem in la France Profonde: Angela Wren’s Merle

A street in Mende, the French town which features in Merle

It gives me great pleasure to welcome author Angela Wren to the blog today. Angela is a Francophile and writes a series of detective novels set in the Cévennes, featuring investigator Jacques Forêt. Merle, the latest in the series, is published on 5th July by Crooked Cat Books.

Categories
Guest posts Historical Fiction History People guest posts

History People #6: Carol Maginn, Lured by History

10406513_845420645501490_6586226217114669927_n
Author Carol Maginn

Next up in my series about people who write historical fiction is Carol Maginn, who shares with us her journey into history and its influence on her writing. She also tells us how she avoids the pitfalls of historical research – and I know from my own experience what those are!

Categories
Guest posts Historical Fiction History People guest posts

History People #3: Cathie Dunn, a Medieval History Fan

Historical novelist Cathie Dunn
Historical novelist Cathie Dunn

I’m delighted to welcome back author Cathie Dunn to the blog today, who continues my series about writers of historical fiction.

Thank you, Vanessa, for hosting me today. I love talking about history and research, and I’m grateful for the offer to do so again.

Categories
Fiction Guest posts Historical Fiction

BLUESTOCKINGS: The Victorian Campaign for Female Education – Guest post by @carolJhedges

Bedford College plaque
Bedford College plaque

 

Today’s guest on the chaise longue is novelist Carol Hedges. She’s written a number of very successful books, the latest of which are Victorian crime thrillers. A passionate environmental campaigner and devoted grandmother, Carol is also noted for her clever wit and punning Tweets. And she always has something interesting to say. Here she is on women’s education – a subject close to my own heart.

Categories
Fiction Guest posts

Unrequited Love: Guest Post by Jeff Gardiner

Author Jeff Gardiner
Author Jeff Gardiner

It’s my great pleasure today to welcome to the chaise longue a man who wears many hats. Jeff Gardiner is a writer of short stories, novels and non-fiction works. He’s also an editor and performer.

His novels have been published by Crooked Cat Publishing and by Tirgearr Publishing. Jeff published Treading on Dreams with the latter last year, which deals with romantic rejection, the subject of Jeff’s post today. He’s included an excerpt to whet your appetite.  

Categories
Fiction Guest posts Novels

The Role of the Editor: Guest Post by Sue Barnard

Author and editor, Sue Barnard
Author and editor, Sue Barnard

I’m delighted to welcome my friend and fellow Crooked Cat author, Sue Barnard, to the chaise longue this week. Not only is Sue an author in her own right, but she’s also an editor. More precisely, she is my editor. And a cracking job she did, too, of The House at Zaronza. She saved me from many a howler and smartened up my prose no end.