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Experience An English Civil War Battle Near You!

Experience An English Civil War Battle Near You!

  In England we are lucky with the resources available to us if we want to learn about the civil war which tore our country apart during the 17th century. As well as countless books on the subject you can conduct research online or maybe visit the National Civil War Centre in Newark, but to get a real experience of what life was like when parliament rose up against the king we have a number of wonderful re-enactment societies. Cavalry (copyright Sealed Knot) Both the Sealed Knot and the English Civil War Society provide authentic re-creations of both civilian and military life, and the information they provided was very helpful to me whilst I was conducting research for my novel ‘The Cavalie...
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Poetry of Creation Myth Recited by Yohl Ik’nal

Poetry of Creation Myth Recited by Yohl Ik’nal

Palenque’s Creation Myth Recited by Yohl Ik’nal.   Yohl Ik’nal Side of Pakal’s Sarcophagus   In her transformation to adulthood ceremony, Yohl Ik’nal recited the creation myth of B’aakal, her people and land. She correctly recited from memory, and was acknowledged as “bearer of the sacred royal blood” by the ruler of Lakam Ha. She became the first woman ruler of Palenque, ruling successfully for 22 years. From The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik’nal of Palenque. Book 1, Mists of Palenque Series.     Glyph of Muwaan Mat “It was before the Fourth Creation, in times long ago Ix Muwaan Mat was born. Of her birth it is said, she entered the sky On the Day of Lord (Ahau), Month of Conjuring (Tzek),...
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Horror in the beech forest – the liberation of Buchenwald, 11th April 1945

Horror in the beech forest – the liberation of Buchenwald, 11th April 1945

Would you like to visit somewhere called ‘Beech Forest’? It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? But our impressions change immediately we find out the German for ‘Beech Forest’ – Buchenwald. Today marks the anniversary of the liberation of that infamous place. The concentration camp at Buchenwald was built just 5 miles north of Weimar, on the slopes of Ettersberg mountain, and was the largest complex of its kind in Germany with a main camp as well as 139 subsidiary camps and extension units. Established before the Second Wold War began, most of the original inmates of the camp were criminals or political prisoners who arrived in July 1937. The number of prisoners rapidly increased during 1938 when ‘...
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The Road Between Us by Nigel Farndale

The Road Between Us by Nigel Farndale

1939: In a hotel room overlooking Piccadilly Circus, two young men are arrested. Charles is court-martialled for ‘conduct unbecoming’; Anselm is deported home to Germany for ‘re-education’ in a brutal labour camp. Separated by the outbreak of war, and a social order that rejects their love, they must each make a difficult choice, and then live with the consequences. 2012: Edward, a diplomat held hostage for eleven years in an Afghan cave, returns to London to find his wife is dead, and in her place is an unnerving double – his daughter, now grown up. Numb with grief, he attempts to re-build his life and answer the questions that are troubling him. Was his wife’s death an accident? Who paid h...
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Palenque Creation Myth: Lady Cormorant and the Birth of the Triad

Palenque Creation Myth: Lady Cormorant and the Birth of the Triad

Cormorant Goddess from Dresden Codex The ancient Maya city Palenque (Lakam Ha) had a unique creation myth that linked the origins of their ruling dynasty to primordial goddesses and gods. All the Maya regions in southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras shared a common creation myth about the Hero Twins and how they outsmarted the Death Lords of Xibalba and resurrected their father, securing life on earth for their people. This legend is recorded in the Popol Vuh, an 18th century copy of the original codex rendition that has been lost. Palenque’s unique myth incorporates deities widely known in their region, but nowhere else honored in the same way. The Triad deities were the patron g...
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Hitler’s guidebook – The Baedeker Raids

Hitler’s guidebook – The Baedeker Raids
Mass grave for the victims of the bombing of Lubeck
Have you ever used a Baedeker Guidebook when on holiday? The first of these travel guides was published in the 1820’s and were a ‘must have’ for travellers. But did you know that there was a series of air raids on England during the Second World War which got their name from these guidebooks? So why did the Germans use these books to target historic towns and cities in Britain during the spring of 1942? The intensive bombing of the German blitz ended in May 1941 when Hitler re-targeted his resources on his invasion of Russia; this meant that attacks on Britain were confined to hit-and-run raids on coastal towns. At the same time night bombing by the RAF was being scaled down as it was felt t...
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Blast from the Past: Pet Peeves: Malapropism

Blast from the Past: Pet Peeves: Malapropism

A text-only version of this article appeared in my GoodReads blog on August 24, 2010. Mrs. John Edwards as Mrs. Malaprop, Via WikiMedia Commons.  No restrictions. In his play The Rivals, Brinsley Sheridan introduces us to Mrs. Malaprop. Mrs. Malaprop thinks that she sounds very educated because she uses some pretty fancy words — but she has no idea what they mean, so she comes across as fairly ignorant. My favorite examples come from Mrs. Malaprop’s speech to Sir Anthony Absolute about her ambitions for her daughter: “Observe me, Sir Anthony. — I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don’t think so much learning becomes a young woman; for instance — I ...
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Facts from My Fiction: Story Board, “His Beloved Infidel”

Facts from My Fiction: Story Board, “His Beloved Infidel”

Hi, everyone.  Yesterday, I shared a little sample of His Beloved Infidel.  This novella ranks among my favorite pieces of work for a variety of reasons.  I got to write about a city I love, share real-world events as seen through the eyes of ordinary people, and learn a great deal about the Persian culture.  I had the opportunity to ask questions of people, as well as studying on my own. I also gathered a great many images to inspire me.  I use Pinterest for my story boards; it’s easy and convenient.  If I found an inspiring image, I could put it up.  I could also put up photos of places I planned to use in the text so that I could find them for easy refer...
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Recommended read – ‘A Town Like Alice’ by Nevil Shute

Recommended read – ‘A Town Like Alice’ by Nevil Shute

Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins. When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle – an experience that leads to the deaths of many. Due to her courageous spirit and ability to speak Malay, Jean takes on the role of leader of the sorry gaggle of prisoners and many end up owing their lives to her indomitable spirit. While on the march, the group run into some Australian prisoners, one of whom, Joe Harman, helps them steal some food, and is horrifically punished by the Japanese as a result. ‘A Town Like Alice’ is a classic which loses none of its a...
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Sample Saturday, and a Bonus Track: “In The Eye of The Storm”

Sample Saturday, and a Bonus Track: “In The Eye of The Storm”

Hello, everyone.  It’s time for another Sample Saturday.  This week, it’s from my award-winning novel, In The Eye of The Storm.  The first-person narrator is Gilbert Rochambeau.  After reading, please enjoy a performance of Chopin’s Heroic polonaise, referenced in the text, by the late Vladimir Horowitz. The circumstances of Honor and me coming to know one another were singularly unpleasant. Claire’s melancholia manifested itself so strongly that she became bedridden. She wished only to sleep. Erik gave orders that she never be left alone; melancholics often took their own lives. I later read, in Miss Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing, that melancholics did better i...
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Call the midwife?- pregnacy and childbirth in the 17th century

Call the midwife?- pregnacy and  childbirth in the 17th century

Did women receive antenatal care during the 17th century? And if so, were men involved? These are questions I have been asked by people who have read my recent novel, The Cavalier Historian. It is a fascinating topic, and one which may cause you a few surprises! Before the 17th century pregnancy and childbirth were the exclusive domain of women with male doctors only occasionally being called in to help with difficult deliveries. During the mid-17th century, however, some doctors began to take a more active role in childbirth although this was limited to the process of delivery with no real attempts at gynaecological surgery. It was not until the beginning of the 1700’s (50 years after the s...
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How to discover diamonds

How to discover diamonds

Discovering Diamonds a new website reviewing Historical Fiction. Why not take a look and discover some great authors and great books. I would like to thank Helen Hollick, founder of Discovering Diamonds, for her review of Heronfield. Original link
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Thank you Whispering Stories for a lovely Author Interview

Thank you Whispering Stories for a lovely Author Interview

I’d like to thank Stacey for her lovely write up of our interview about my life and writing. I do hope  you can take a look and find out a little more about me and my writing. As most of you know I now live back in the UK but the beautiful photo of ‘where I write’ is actually the view I had from my desk at Lakeside where most of ‘The Cavalier Historian’ was written. I was very lucky to have probably the best view in the world from an office! Original link
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The poisoned witches – a scientific explanation for witchcraft

The poisoned witches – a scientific explanation for witchcraft
salem
What would you do if someone told you that there was a witch living in your town or village? Most people in the western world of the 21 st century would smile and treat it as a joke at best, and at worst as someone trying to stir up trouble. But things would have been very different in the past. During the Middle Ages witches were thought to be behind many illnesses from fevered nightmares to sick animals and dying children. This supposed interference in the natural order of things was known as bewitchment and struck at regular intervals, blighting the lives of thousands of people over hundreds of years. During the period of the 15th to 17th centuries bewitchment reached epidemic proportions...
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The greatest defeat in British military history – the fall of Singapore 15th January 1942

The greatest defeat in British military history – the fall of Singapore 15th January 1942
PEARL HARBOR,HAWAII: The USS Shaw exploded after being struck during the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.
Today is the 75 th anniversary of one of the worst defeats in British military history, the fall of Singapore during the Second World War. Japan in the 1930’s was a country looking to expand its influence in the Far East, and the Allies tried to halt Japanese campaigns in China by imposing sanctions. These actions were effective and oil reserves in the island Empire were soon rapidly depleting. With the situation becoming ever more serious the Japanese felt that they had to do something to secure their vital resources so plans were put in place to attack Great Britain and the United States. These attacks would open up the way for an invasion of the Dutch East Indies which were rich in oil. A...
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Recommended read – The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

Recommended read – The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

Penang, 1939. Sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton is a loner. Half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, he discovers a sense of belonging in an unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. The enigmatic Endo is bound by disciplines of his own and when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip s family and everything he loves, he realises that his trusted sensei to whom he owes absolute loyalty has been harbouring a devastating secret. Philip must risk everything in an attempt to save t...
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An incorruptible crown – The Execution of Charles 1

An incorruptible crown – The Execution of Charles 1
Cover_Kindle_front cover
Is it ever right to depose a ruler who has a legitimate right to rule? That is a question which   many people ask in the modern world where tyranny and democracy come face to face and conflict ensues. But this is not an exclusively modern problem. Charles I was a monarch who believed in the divine right of kings, that God had placed him on the throne and so no mere mortal should be able to tell him what to do. This attitude meant that he was constantly at odds with Parliament who wanted a role in ruling the country, particularly when it came to setting taxes. Charles would not listen to them and constantly dismissed Parliament, only recalling it again when he wanted more money. To make matte...
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The last invavsion of Great Britain – ‘overpaid, over sexed and over here’.

The last invavsion of Great Britain – ‘overpaid, over sexed and over here’.
London during the blitz
When was the last invasion by foreign troops into Great Britain? The Norman Conquest in 1066? Many people who lived during the Second World War might dispute that and say that 26 th January 1942 saw the start of the last invasion by a foreign force with the arrival of the first American soldiers! We have all heard the phrase ‘overpaid, over sexed and over here’ used to refer to GI’s who arrived in England in preparation for D Day, and many people did find their arrival disconcerting – particularly the young British servicemen overseas who worried about their sweethearts, or the men who served at home in jobs essential to the war effort but who could not compete with the rich, brash new comer...
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Trilogy is complete!

Trilogy is complete!

We are thrilled to announce the “What She Knew” trilogy is complete! Yippee! After so many years of working on our labor of love, we have completed our final novel in the trilogy, “Brightest Dawn” and they are now all available for your reading enjoyment.  Book one is “Fateful Night” and the second book is “Darkest Day”. Fun things are happening for us! We’ve been invited to a book festival, we’re going to have speaking engagements and we’re doing a few interviews.  We’ve finished a couple of podcasts, which are in editing, and will be released soon. They are all available in eBook or print form.  We are working on recording them in audio but that will be a few miles down the road yet. We al...
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Clare Hollingworth, 10th October 1911 – 10th January 2017

Clare Hollingworth, 10th October 1911 – 10th January 2017

Today I would like to pay tribute to one of the women who has inspired my writing and who died today, aged 105. Clare Hollingworth was one of the most respected war correspondents of the 20 th century. Born in Knighton in Leicestershire on 10 th October 1911, Clare’s father worked in the shoe trade. Clare had a fairly ordinary life as a youngster, and by 1939 she had married and was living in Poland with her husband. She was horrified by what she saw of the Nazi treatment of many groups of people and decided to help, rescuing around 3,000 refugees from Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia which had been annexed by Hitler). For some reason the British government was not happy with what she was...
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