Competitions Winners and Other News

The diktat has gone out from Accent Press.

AP: You haven’t blogged recently. You need to engage with your readers.

Me – still scribbling: Are these the same readers who are screaming for the next book twenty-five minutes after the latest one’s appeared on Amazon?

AP: Yep. Bless them.

Me – still scribbling. And with both hands: But I haven’t eaten all day, and it’s getting dark and it’s not my turn for the candle, and if I don’t meet my 25k words per day quota you’ll set the rats on me.

AP: Stop whining and get on with it.

Me: Sorry.

So, having set the scene and engaged your sympathy with this fascinating peep into the working day of an Accent Press author – off we go.

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FREE extract from White Silence – the new paranormal thriller by Jodi Taylor out on September 21st

Here’s a sneak preview to the opening of White Silence that will be released on September 21st 2017. A limited edition signed paperback is now available – CLICK HERE to order.

White Silence

People say, ‘Silence is golden.’

They’re wrong.

Silence is white. White and deadly.

My name is Elizabeth Cage. I’m a widow. My husband, Ted, died suddenly.

They took me after the funeral. It was quick and it was quiet. No one knew where I was. There wasn’t a soul in the world who knew what was happening to me. There was no one I could call on for help.

I knew what they wanted but they haven’t got it yet and they never will. There’s more to me than meets the eye. I haven’t spent years cultivating the dowdy housewife look for nothing. To look at me – I’m a drab, insignificant, anxious, twenty-something housewife with unfashionable hair and no make-up. Unfortunately, my appearance is the only thing I can tell you about me. Because I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am.

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Situation Update

Actually, I have to say I felt rather like Max presenting a report to Dr Bairstow when I typed that. In my last job, the phrase ‘situation update’ was the polite way of saying, ‘You’ll never guess what’s all gone tits up now.’ Which I think would make quite a good title, but the cover would have to be enormous so as you were on that one.

I’ve been taking a few days off – yes, I know, but even I have to go outside occasionally, so I headed for Wessex, which is somewhere I’d only ever associated with Thomas Hardy and long dreary afternoons at school while our English teacher made us read someone else’s idea of a good book.

But Wessex is Old Sarum, Stonehenge, Avebury and Winchester, and it’s fabulous. No matter in which direction you look – History has happened all over the landscape. There’s barrows and tumuli (is that right?) and cursuses (is that right? Spell check is nearly as useless as I am.) and castles and cathedrals. I was quite blown away. I also remember thinking I really should have done this before writing about Stonehenge, King Alfred, hill forts, etc, but where’ s the fun if you do things the conventional way?

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White Silence

WHITE SILENCE kindleHere’s a surprise for me as well as for you. Some of you may remember the first chapters of White Silence, posted here a few months ago. The good news is that it is NOW available for pre-order.

The ebook is being published on September 21st, with the paperback following next spring. It will be available on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com and Audible, all on the same day. Let’s keep life simple.

It’s the story of a young woman, Elizabeth Cage, who is more than she seems. Elizabeth has a gift – or a curse – and after her husband’s death she suddenly finders herself isolated and vulnerable. And as if that’s not bad enough – strange things happen wherever she goes.

The book’s a little bit thriller, a little bit romance and a little bit supernatural. Well, quite a lot supernatural, actually.

Hazel is to re-post an excerpt on this page – just to whet your appetites – here’s a sneak peek of the cover.

This story is a bit of new departure for me. It’s a very different story to both the St Mary’s and the Frogmorton Farm series. I had actually forgotten how nerve-wracking it is to launch a new series on an unsuspecting readership. Some of you might like to light a candle and indulge in a few minutes’ personal meditation to prepare yourselves. Or, alternatively, just rip the wrapper off another giant bar of chocolate and grab a bottle of wine. Whatever floats your boat.

I personally am in Dr Who watching mode – behind the sofa.

If you want to know more, head over to Amazon here.

Markham and the Anal Probing

And then there was the day when Markham managed to get himself snatched by aliens – or so we thought at the time.

I was summoned to Dr Bairstow’s office to find Markham and Peterson already present. We looked at each other.

‘Any clues?’ I asked.

They shrugged.

‘You can go in now,’ said Mrs Partridge, so in we went.

He looked up from his desk. ‘There you are.’

We agreed that yes, here we were.

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The Bladder That Keeps On Giving

Have you ever noticed how often you want to go to the loo when you can’t walk properly? When even a short ten-foot journey to the bathroom is an endless distance and unspeakable agony for every inch of it? And it was going to the loo that got me into this predicament in the first place.

I’m on holiday. I knew it was a bad idea and I said so. I told them. Many, many times. God doesn’t give us laptops so we can frivolously abandon them to gallivant half way across the world for unjustified and unauthorly enjoyment. I warned them. I said it would end badly. And it did.

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Events and bookshops!

I’ve had a fabulous weekend at the end of April. On Saturday April 29th I was at the Llandeilo LitFest, sharing a Time Travel panel with Jasper Fforde, author of the wonderful Thursday Next series. An alarming number of people attended – I’m a bit like Sheldon Cooper in that I worry about crowds large enough to trample me! Not that this group was anything other than beautifully behaved and trampling definitely did not occur. Everyone asked intelligent and perceptive questions – i.e. ones to which I knew the answers.

There was tea at the panel. - Photo by the lovely Jean Gill.

There was tea at the panel. Photo by the lovely Jean Gill.

We all had a bit of fun with the Have you ever written anything you regretted? question and I had to apologise all over again for the ‘sudden and acrimonious break-up of the EU,’ America closing its borders and building a wall, and for the derogatory remarks about Donald Trump’s hair. Once again, I had to deny clandestine possession of a pod although, once again, I don’t think anyone believed me. I rather think I might slip a new chapter into Book 9, detailing the unexpected break-out of world peace and general benevolence to all, just to see what happens. Fingers crossed.

 

 

And Sunday was the Booky Brunch at Octavo’s Bookshop in Cardiff, where we got down and dirty with all things St Mary’s. We talked about Ronan, the Time Police, favourite characters, favourite moments, what was the thinking behind this that and the other, how I did my research – yes, I know it looks as if I just throw the books together, but really I don’t – and so on.

We discussed plot developments, the new supernatural series, possible titles for new books and people’s strange aversion to reading anything by the well-known Regency Romance author, Isabella Barclay. The questions were many and varied, and then we tucked into the world’s best ever Eggs Benedict. Followed by mountains of toast and I managed to get marmalade on both elbows. No idea how that happened.

No rest for the wicked, because last Saturday was the Masterclass – History and Humour – which was fabulous, not least because Accent Press (All hail Accent Press) don’t let me out that often. I’m normally down in the dungeon – third manacle from the right if anyone wants to visit – typing away for dear life in the hope of extra gruel and a light touch with the electrodes.

Where was I? Yes. Sorry. Wandering the paths of whimsy again. Of course there aren’t any actual electrodes. What was I thinking? I need my hands to type – and to write more books! No, this week’s good news is my books are now available in Waterstones! The first two books of the series, Just One Damned Thing After Another and A Symphony of Echoes are up on the shelves for all to see. Just like real books. I’m so excited I’m going to have to put the kettle on.

My publisher spotted these beauties in Waterstones Cardiff this past weekend!

My publisher spotted these beauties in Waterstones Cardiff this past weekend!

And to finish … just a quick plug for an event very dear to my heart. It’s that time of year again. The annual cheese rolling (as described in A Second Chance) will take place at Cooper’s Hill, Gloucester, on 29th May this year.  I’ve been there – In younger and fitter days I did manage to get myself half way up the hill, but collapsing through lack of oxygen. The slope was so steep that even sitting down I was in danger of rolling back down again and could only stay in place by clinging, face down, to a tuft of grass. And fear not – despite what happened to Max, very few people get smacked by the cheese these days. There’s a link below to anyone who can’t make it. Someone will post a video of this year’s carnage in due course. Enjoy.

http://www.soglos.com/sport-outdoor/27837/Gloucestershire-Cheese-Rolling

St Mary’s fanfiction short stories – week 6

The final runner-up for the fanfiction short story competition is Andy Farenden.

Excellent research and a vividly drawn word picture of a tiny snapshot in time. Nothing much seems to happen and yet quite a lot actually does. Nice to see Mrs Enderby getting out and about for a change. Congratulations on conveying a complex world in such a few words.

 

Mrs Enderby dipped her toes in Gunyan River letting the cool water wash over her aching feet; she wasn’t used to being out in the field. After a day on her feet exploring the fabric market, the short walk from the pod to the river in the hard-soled leather shoes had been a less than pleasurable experience. When she returned to St Mary’s she would investigate the possibility of adding some discreet cushioning to the history department’s more basic period footwear. Her security escort, a lovely young man whom Mr Markham had assigned to her, sat further back up the bank under the shade of a nearby tree rubbing his worn feet too.

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St Mary’s fanfiction short stories – week 5

Hello everyone! We’re here for another of the St Mary’s fanfiction short stories competition entries. This week it’s Kyrsty Hardy’s turn.

This was lovely. I’m so pleased Dr Bairstow had a happy ending for once. In fact, he’s figured prominently in all the entries. Obviously a favourite character. I really like the ending and the nicely understated image of the two of them dancing the night away. And huge professional congratulations on managing to fit Roanoke, a fire, a flood, a skeleton and the Queen’s Jubilee into only 500 words!

 

It was against Bairstow’s better judgement to send the usual suspects, but with Bashford concussed, and everyone else at a Tudor wedding, an urgent request from Thirsk left only Maxwell, Peterson and Markham available to jump to Roanoke. They had returned suspiciously meekly, and something was clearly amiss.

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St Mary’s fanfiction short stories – week 4

Welcome to week 4 of the St Mary’s fanfiction short stories. This weeks story is by Vicky Garlic and the first thing that came to my mind was: Seriously?

Only Sykes could manage to get herself propositioned by Fat Harry himself. And on his way to his own wedding, too! Has she no shame? Nicely written and the dialogue really pushes the story along.

 

The Flanders Mare Fiasco: 6th January 1540, Greenwich, London. A nice, simple observe and document jump, or at least it should have been. My name’s Max and I work for St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research where we investigate major historical events in contemporary time, don’t call it time travel.

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