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Author Blogs

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Combining a full-time career, family and being a successful novelist: meet John D Cressler

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Good morning John. Well I suppose my first question is a little self-evident. How did a Schlumberger Chair Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering decide to become a historical novelist? Thanks for having me, Joan, it is a real pleasure. Funny! Yeah, I get it. Professor and novelist? WHAT?! Not a typical combination, that much is certain. My training is in physics, and I am a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, where I lead a large research team focused on what comes next in the world of electronics and nanotechnology. BUT, for my entire life I have almost exclusively read fiction for pleasure, and have always dreamed of writing fiction si...
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Danny Needs Your Votes


My new book  Look for Me Under the Rainbow  has been enrolled in the  AllAuthor Cover of the month for their May contest , competing with 69 other books! This year it has been enlisted a day later than other books, so already at the start it didn't have an equal position when it appeared online: it was over 140 votes behind. This is why my harp seal pup Danny and my book need your help more than ever!  Please vote for  Look for Me Under the Rainbow .  Help it catch up and give it a chance to fight the battle of equals. With your support, we stand a chance. Without you . . . well I don't even want to consider that option. Thank you so much for your support! I look forward to your votes! Pleas...
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What was like to be a concubine of the Royal harem in Moorish Spain?

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In the Harem by Fillippo Barratti My name is Najm. I belong to the most powerful man in the world. His name is Abd al-Rahman III, caliph of al-Andalus. It is the year 950 AD and I have been one of his concubines for the last fifteen years. How did I end up here? The truth is that I do not really know. One day I was living with my family in a village in Saxony when we were attacked by Viking raiders. They killed many of the villagers but most they captured. I was very frightened because I had no idea what they would do with me. I was only ten years old and I’d never even been out of the village before. After a long, frightening journey we reached a big city. I had never seen anything like it ...
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More than one way to be a pilgrim

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Now is the time of year when people start thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago. In summer it's very hot and in the winter it rains; the higher roads can even be blocked by snow. So Spring and Autumn are the ideal times to walk across northern Spain. In the recent TV travelogue, The Pilgrimage, the seven pilgrims taking part —an actor, an ex-soldier, a priest, a singer, a TV presenter, an investigative journalist, and a comedian -- started at the French border at St Jean Pied de Port, but didn't walk the entire 800 km to Santiago de Compostella - they walked part of the way. 26 km to be exact and then they took a bus. Finally they resumed their walk to complete the last 100 km. Cheat...
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FOUR HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

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Writing is a solitary business. It is rarely a group effort. The writer needs to immerse him or herself in the story, live with the characters, breathe the air that they breathe. There is no room for team talks. Yes, the writer can bounce ideas off other people and ask for opinions, but basically it is down to one person—the author. So I was rather surprised, but pleased, when I received an email from two novelists who also write historical fiction, suggesting we get together to do some cross-promotion. Wonderful idea. Especially so because they also write about Moorish Spain, an area of fiction that is largely neglected in the English speaking world of the historical novel. Then a fourth wr...
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PLEASE NOMINATE MY LATEST NOVEL "LOVE IS ALL"

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My latest novel is finished and ready to be published. But this time I am going to try something different. I'm hoping to publish through Kindle Scout. Never heard of it? Neither had I until recently when I read an article by a fellow member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. After ten years of writing I have grown to realise that one of the keys to success is getting your book known. After all nobody is going to read it if they have never heard of you or your book. And like it or loathe it, Amazon is currently dominating the market as far as book sales go. So a book promoted by Amazon has much more likelihood of success. What is Kindle Scout? It's a system where Amazon offer your book ...
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Why do you use Facebook?

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Why do you use Facebook? Personally I use it mainly as a marketing tool. With around a billion users, it is a great way to bring my latest books to the attention of readers. However, now that I live in Spain, it is  also a good way to keep in touch with old friends and family members. For example I am now in touch with lots of my Scottish cousins, whom I hadn't heard from in years. According to Ingram Spark's March newsletter, Facebook have recently changed the way in which users receive news. The founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be more family and friends  orientated. He thinks people don't want to spend hours scrolling through hundreds of posts that do not interest them a...
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A TURNING WIND

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  JG Harlond has a close affinity with the sea, having grown up in north Devon and this is plain to see in her  second book in The Chosen Man Trilogy. As she openly admits, it took her two years to write A Turning Wind, but she feels it has been well worth it. It follows on from the adventures of the charismatic and roguish hero of The Chosen Man, the merchant Ludo da Portovenere. ​ From the 17th century trading colony of Goa to the royal courts of England and Spain, Ludo endeavours to fulfil dangerous secret commissions on his own terms, and for his own reasons. But as these tasks bring him closer to personal success, Ludo is forced to confront a secret of his own. Accompanying Ludo on her ...
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How Resilient are You?

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I realised the other day that I have completed twelve books during the time I have been writing professionally—now ten years—and that my books fall neatly into two separate categories. There are those that look to the past and those that are firmly grounded in the present. What is more, I seem to have spent a great deal of my energy promoting the former to the detriment of the latter. I enjoy writing historical fiction and have found pleasure in reading books by Hilary Mantel, Anna Belfrage and am now looking forward to JG Harlond’s latest novel in The Chosen Man Trilogy, A TURNING WIND—due out next month. However, to be honest, most of what I read is contemporary or literary fiction—or, in ...
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A Thriller-Like Poll


By a heartbeat my book  A World Without Color  ended up first on the novella of the week poll today in a super exciting photo finish in the last minute! A piece of my heart goes to everyone who voted for my book in the past few days. My respect and gratitude to you all! My respect also goes to the other two books and authors, especially to Andie J Fessey who walked arm to arm with me all along the way and deserved the victory too. The Twitter poll was organized by Book Recommendations & Promotions and I thank them for considering  A World Without Color  as one of the contestant for their novella of the week. Please follow them on Twitter at  @UkBookrecom . I would also like to ask you to...
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Copyright

© By a heartbeat my book A World Without Color ended up first on the novella of the week poll today in a super exciting photo finish in the last minute!

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UK to pay compensation to surviving child migrants

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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its findings into the abuse of British children who were sent to Australia under the Child Migration Programme. It heard from 48 witnesses and studied over 30,000 pages of relevant documents. It examined not only the experiences of the children but also the extent to which those in charge took care to protect the children from abuse of any kind. It also looked into how much the authorities knew about the abuse that occurred and what reparations had been offered. Its results are pretty damning, placing the final blame on the British government for what was allowed to happen to the children. Over many years the UK government had all...
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Fashion guru - 10th century style

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When I was researching into the background for my series of historical novels entitled The al-Andalus series, it wasn't just dates and battles that I needed to know about. I wanted to find out the details of everyday life and to do that I needed to scour the internet, read as many books as I could on the period and visit museums to see what artefacts had survived from 10th century Spain. Then I made an interesting discovery. Many of the customs and fashions that we now adopt originally came from the agile mind of a freed Arab slave. He was called Abu al-Hasan, who was born in 789 AD in Persia. His family were slaves or freedmen and served the Abbasid caliph  in Baghdad. There is some doubt o...
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Will they have closure at last?

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In 2012 I read an article in the Economist that stunned me. It was about the children who'd been sent to the British Dominions during, before and even after World War II. These were the child migrants -- orphans,  neglected or abandoned children.  I was amazed, not only that such a thing could happen in Britain but also that it had been kept secret for so many years.  If it hadn't been for a chance circumstance, many of those children, now adults, would never have been reunited with their families.  A social worker, Margaret Humphreys, was assigned the case of a woman who claimed that she had been deported from Britain when she was only four-years-old.  That was in 1986; since then Mrs Humph...
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Historical Fiction: why we like a good series

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The only series of books that I've written is the al-Andalus trilogy, set in 10th century Spain. The fact it has ended up as a trilogy doesn't mean I set out to write it that way. As all writers know, no matter how clear your plan of action is at the start, the novel takes on a life of its own and sometimes you end up in quite a different place. The first book was The Shining City and when it was finished I was happy and prepared to move on to something else, but then someone asked if I was going to follow on with a sequel. 'People like historical series,' they said. 'You'll sell more books if you write a sequel.' So I delved back into that period and found that forty years later, history ha...
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PRIMARY SOURCES: a treasure for the historical novelist

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It really came home to me when I was writing my historical novel Spanish Lavender —set in  Málaga  during the Spanish Civil War—the importance of primary sources, eye-witness accounts. There were plenty of second-hand accounts: historical perspectives on the events, hundreds of books written about the Civil War and plenty of secondary sources from the relatives of those who took part. But to bring a novel to life, you really need to know what it was like to be there, living in a city where it was hard to know who was friend and who was foe. So I was very fortunate to come across two books written by people who were actually in the city in February 1937. One was written by Gamel Woolsey, the ...
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The Ring of Flames: paperback version released this week

The paperback version of The Ring of Flames was released by the printers on Monday 18th September.  But then a reader told me it still wasn't listed on Amazon. I checked and sure enough only the Kindle version was listed. I waited a couple of days, knowing how long it can take for things to move in this instant, digital world. (Ever tried to transfer money from one bank account to another and wondered why it takes so long?) Anyway, on Thursday I contacted Amazon and within no time at all it was listed. Just so you know, you can buy it from Amazon.co.uk ,  Amazon.com  or order it from any High Street bookshop. This is the last book in the al-Andalus series, but that doesn't mean I've given ...
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Why do authors chose specific locations for their stories? Or do they?

I think we'd all agree that location is an important ingredient to any story but sometimes it is more than that. It is the reason the story has been written in the first place. JG Harlond’s series of books about the tulip wars could only be set in Holland - although her characters do move about quite a bit, to Spain, Italy and England. But I’m sure she started with the idea of the tulip wars, which inevitably led her to Holland. My novel Spanish Lavender is about the Spanish civil war, but because I am focusing on the exodus of people from the city of Malaga in 1937, the action could only take place in that city. More than that - the location is the reason I am writing it. When a friend told...
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MOMS AGAINST ZOMBIES on Tour...Check It Out!


        MOMS AGAINST ZOMBIES by Alathia Paris Morgan   Genre: Paranormal Horror     Emma Jackson is an army wife and new mom with all the uncertainties that come with it… until that fear is pushed in a different direction. Instead of worrying about diapers and feeding schedules, her only objective is to keep her child alive after being chased by a man who looks entirely too dead.   Trish Walsh thought her day was bad when she had to drag all four of her children on an errand, but she rethinks the meaning after what she can only hope was someone dressed up like a zombie beats on her car door. Yet, the bloody mess left behind is anything but reassuring.   Cooper Walsh’s job is top secret. When...
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Featuring Dual Release Blog Tour of All That Glitters Ain't Gold and Sitting Behind the Gates of Hell by Teresa Mason Browning


  All That Glitters Ain’t Gold & Sitting Behind the Gates of Hell Blog Tour     Vaneka’s VIP Literary Services is pleased to announce the Dual Blog Tour of All That Glitters Ain’t Gold and Sitting Behind the Gates of Hell by Teresa Mason Browning.             Author Teresa Mason Browning   Genre African American Fiction, Urban Fiction   Publisher Self-Published       All That Glitters Ain’t Gold (Book 1)       At what point are you willing to risk it all to get ahead? Is your freedom worth the gamble?   For most of us in this world, there are times when certain occasions arise in our lives that we consider to be that golden opportunity that once in a lifetime moment that we’ve waited for...
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Mark Anthony the Psychic Lawyer-Summer 2017 Tour (July-September)

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Mark Anthony the Psychic Lawyer-Summer 2017 Tour (July-September) FLORIDA Saturday, July 15 at 7 PM Aquarian Dreams An Evening of Spirit Communication For Tickets call: 321-729-9495 Or online visit: CLICK HERE FOR AQUARIAN DREAMS COLORADO Saturday, July 29 at 7 PM Denver, Colorado An Evening of Spirit Communication Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities (sponsored by “For Heaven’s Sake Bookstore)   CLICK HERE FOR ARVADA CENTER EVENT TICKETS IANDS (International Association of Near-Death Studies) Westminster, Colorado-August 3-6, 2017 Special presentations on Friday, August 4 by Mark Anthony who will present the Key Note Speech “Debunking Death: The Science of Near-Death Experiences” and later...
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