Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

The Unofficial Truce of Christmas 1914

World War I soldiers - National Archives
World War I soldiers – National Archives

As Christmas approaches, we’re moving to the end of the Historical Writers Forum December Blog Hop. This has included a lot of fascinating posts by fellow historical fiction writers on the theme of Christmas in past times.

Today, it’s my turn, and I’m focusing on one of the strangest happenings during World War I.

“There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” This was the slightly bemused verdict of a British Tommy on one of the most extraordinary and poignant events of World War I: the Christmas truce of 1914. Up and down the lines on the Western Front, men from both sides clambered from their trenches and laid aside their countries’ differences for a short time.

Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

True Inspiration for Fiction #5: the Ghosts of World War I

Armistice Day 2

At 11 am on this day in 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Ninety-nine years later, none of the combatants in that terrible war is alive, but the memories still echo down the years. In France, where I live, the smallest village has its war memorial. Often, several men with the same surname appear in the list: death cut a swathe through many families. Few were unaffected.

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Writers Abroad

Writers Abroad Free Magazine Out Today

wiximage

It’s a week for launches: my French Collection: Twelve Short Stories will be out in Kindle and paperback versions on Thursday 9th, but first Writers Abroad’s free magazine, The Third Space, is out today. You can read it online or download a PDF copy. And there’s a quiz on the last page with a prize of 15 euros in Amazon Gift Vouchers.

Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

True Inspiration for Fiction #3: Plague!

Villefranche Rue de la République
Villefranche-de-Rouergue: view of the Collégiale (cathedral) looming over streets barely changed since the 14th century (minus the cars, of course)

The plague first made an appearance in 1347-48, when a catastrophic and unstoppable pandemic swept through Western Europe. In four years, the population of 14th-century Europe plunged by an estimated 33-50% and its civilisation changed forever. The figures are debated, but as many as 150 million people may have died worldwide. The disease spread across France from the Port of Marseille and few places were unaffected.

Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

Book Cover Design: the Story of French Collection

French Collection Cover LARGE EBOOK

 

When people buy a book, their choice depends on many factors: recommendation, a favourite author, a catchy title, a genre they like and so on. The cover also has a big influence on book buying. For that reason, instead of exercising my minimal (no, zero) design skills on my forthcoming collection of short stories set in France, I commissioned a cover designer.

Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

True Inspiration for Fiction #2: Edgar Degas’ Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando

Edgar_Degas,_Miss_La_La_at_the_Cirque_Fernando,_1879
Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando by Edgar Degas – National Gallery, London, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Works of art can provide endless inspiration for fiction. The paintings alone, with everything they convey, would be muse enough. But sometimes the story behind the painting is just as enthralling. I have always loved Edgar Degas’ paintings and I was fascinated to learn the origins of ‘Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando’, which hangs in the National Gallery in London.

Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

True Inspiration for Fiction #1: the Christmas Truce 1914

World War I soldiers - National Archives
World War I soldiers – National Archives

“There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” This was the slightly bemused verdict of a British Tommy on one of the most extraordinary and poignant events of World War I: the Christmas truce of 1914. Up and down the lines on the Western Front, men from both sides stepped from their trenches and laid aside their countries’ differences for a short time.

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France Historical Fiction Short stories

Short Stories Inspired By #France

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie - view of village from above
Saint-Cirq Lapopie, one of the beautiful hilltop villages for which SW France is renowned

To celebrate my 20 years in France, I’ve decided to publish a collection of a dozen of my short stories. They are all linked by being set in France, many of them in the southwest region, where I live. This part of France has rich and varied landscapes and a strong tradition of separatism and independence.

Categories
Historical Fiction Short stories

Cover Reveal: Pearl Harbor and More – Stories of World War II: December 1941

cover-flat

 

I’m involved in a collection of short stories to be published in early November to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Pearl Harbor, which took place on 7th December 1941. The devastating surprise attack by Japanese fighter planes on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii led to America’s entry into World War II.

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Magazines Writers Abroad

@Writersabroad’s Literary Magazine 3rd Issue will be Published 1st September

150811_WA mag Title Page

Writers Abroad will publish the 3rd issue of its free online literary magazine in just over a week’s time, on 1st September. This twice-yearly publication has quickly established a reputation for fresh, interesting and entertaining writing from the members of Writers Abroad.