Today, I’m pleased to share my review for Catherine Clarke’s fabulous book, The Only Living Lady Parachutist. I was lucky enough to read this in beta with The History Quill and I absolutely loved it. I’m so pleased it’s now available for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s the blurb:
To test her courage, daredevil Lillian risks her life for fame and fortune by parachuting from a hot air balloon throughout Australia and New Zealand. But in the competitive 1890s era of charlatans, showmen, and theatrical hucksters, is she brave enough to confront the truth about her past? A story of courage and ambition, and the consequences of secrets and lies.
I really loved The Only Living Lady Parachutist. The author told a magnificent story that sucked me in, and I read it in three evenings. I was enthralled by the story of Lillian and her daredevil approach to life, and also by the wonderful reimagining of Australia and New Zealand at the time. (I’d not long finished watching The Luminaries so it tied it perfectly). The fact it’s based on ‘real’ people, as I discovered at the end, only added to my enjoyment of it, and I can appreciate how much fun the writer had in piecing together the story (and perhaps, how much heartache as well.)
The Only Living Lady Parachutist is available now on Kindle.
I’m really excited to share that The History Quill are running a Virtual Writers Conference from 2nd-6th February 2022.
Why am I so excited? Well, firstly I’m going to be involved in not one but two panels. And, secondly because I think writers really need these sort of conferences to learn and share information – especially for the more anti-social of us (me) who aren’t very good at getting out there and asking questions.
From now until 22nd December, there is an early bird discount for those booking. And what I think is great is that you can choose your days and ‘build’ your own conference. Each day has a theme, and if you’re not interested in that theme, then you don’t need to attend.
Day 1 – The Future of Historical Fiction
Day 2- Book Marketing in Historical Fiction (I will be involved in a a panel – Three Book Marketing Success Stories)
Day 3-Publishing and Getting Published
Day 4-The Craft of Historical Fiction
Day 5- History and Research (I will be involved in a panel – The Relationship Between History and Historical Fiction)
There’s an intention that those in the UK and US will be able to fit this around their own timetables – for those who are extremely keen, you can attend from about 10.30/11.30am-2.30am every day of the conference, but the sessions will be recorded, and available afterwards, so you don’t have to attend everything ‘live.’
If you’re not sure about attending the conference, do be assured that The History Quill have been running standalone masterclasses for quite some time now. I’ve attended three of them and they were all excellent and I learned something from the great presenters.
If you’re interested, then please do check it out. There’s some great names on the panels – and if you use my affiliate link here, I will be rewarded for encouraging you to join me at the conference.
Right, I’m off to start work on my presentations – so much to say, how will I fit it all in?
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Meredith Allard to the blog with a post about the historical research she undertook to write her book Down Salem Way.
I’ve been reading, editing, and writing historical fiction for many years. As a matter of fact, I’ve even written a book about how to write historical fiction called Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction. Thank you to M.J. for allowing me space on the blog today to share my thoughts on one of my favorite subjects.
The way I research historical fiction has changed a lot over the years. When I first started writing historical fiction, I would check as many books as I could carry out of the library, take meticulous notes, color code my notes with highlighters (blue for food, pink for fashion, etc.), return those books and check out another pile, and so on until I felt I had enough knowledge to begin drafting my story. Sometimes it was months worth of research before I started writing anything. Once I started writing I knew exactly where to look in my notebook for what I needed. If I was writing a dinner scene, I could find my notes about food. Notes I referred to often, such as important dates or events that I kept mentioning, were written on index cards, also color-coded, for easier access.
I no longer complete my research before I start writing. As a fellow writer friend said to me, feeling like you have to do all of your research before you start writing slows down your process to the point where your story doesn’t get written. These days I do some preliminary research by reading generally around my topic, perhaps taking a few notes, just enough to keep things clear in my head, and then I begin the prewriting process. Usually, through the process of brainstorming, prewriting, and drafting my story, I recognize what specific bits of historical information I’ll need and then I’ll search for those bits. That’s when my note taking begins in earnest. I create digital folders to organize my notes, citations, and annotations, and I still keep categories of information together (food, clothing, political climate, and so on).
One trick I learned from a history class I took years ago is to think about the historical world I’m creating through the acronym GRAPES.
Geography—How does the climate and landscape affect the people who live there?
Religion—How does the society’s belief system and traditions affect the people who live there?
Achievements—What are the achievements of this society—good and bad?
Politics—What is the power structure in this society?
Economics—How are goods and resources used in this society?
Social Structure—How does this society organize people into classes? Who ends up in which class and why?
I love to travel to the place I’m writing about as well. I always get a lot of good ideas for my story from my travels. As I work to weave the information I learned into my story, one thing I keep in mind is that I want to carry my readers into my world by touching their senses. What do readers see, hear, taste, touch, and smell? Often it’s the smaller details, what people wore, what they ate, the houses they lived in, that brings historical fiction alive since these are details we can relate to, even if what we eat and drink and where we live is different today.
Some dependable online research sources I’ve used over the years are Project Gutenberg, the Library of Congress, the Victorian Web, V&A, and JSTOR. The History Quill has a list of 50+ research sites for writers of historical fiction. I also love to go to the library to see what books I can find, and I’ve found that librarians are more than happy to help if I can’t find what I’m looking for.
I love learning about history, so researching historical fiction is actually fun for me.
Thank you so much for sharing your post with us. Research can indeed be a rabbit hole from which you can’t return:)
Here’s the blurb;
How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?
In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.
But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?
Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at http://www.meredithallard.com.
Today, 25th June 2021, is the one year anniversary of the release of The Last Warrior. The anniversary has come round quickly, (I promise not to start doing this with all of my books), and gives me the perfect opportunity to once more say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who has read, enjoyed, rated or reviewed the book. I’m blown away by how much readers love Coelwulf and his motley collection of friends, enemies, and horses, and how you eagerly embrace each new episode in their story.
I thought I’d use this as an excuse to give a few updates on the series. Book 1-The Last King is now an audiobook available on Audible. Book 2-The Last Warrior is in the process of becoming one. (I think I worried my narrator so much with The Last Warrior he had to rush to the end to find out what was happening:)).
I am busy finishing off Book 6, The Last Shield, and in the meantime, the first five books are now available in a beautiful hardcase laminate edition from Amazon, and I have to say, they look amazing, especially all together. The hardcase laminate uses the new covers as designed by Flintlock Covers. Amazon doesn’t have the preview showing of the hardcase yet so here’s a few photos, inexpertly taken by me.
In association with The History Quill, on online site for readers and writers of historical fiction, I am running a give-away for a paperback copy The Last King, with some other fab Viking authors, which can be entered here. but the closing date is the 30th June, so be quick.
So, once more, thank you for reading, and I promise to keep on writing as long as you keep reading.
Today I’m excited to share with you the details of a giveaway for a copy of The Last King, as well as 2 other Viking books by Eric Schumacher, Forged by Blood, and Kelly Evans, The Northern Queen, with The History Quill.
To be in with a chance of winning one of the 3 books, just click this link and add your details.
The competition runs until 30th June 2021, and please check the entry requirements.
If you don’t know The History Quill yet, they’re there for writers and readers, providing book recommendations through their book club and important resources for writers and would be writers.. Pop by and have a good look, and join the book club if you’re looking for good recommendations.