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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Epic historical romance BOOK TRAILER

Five books so far, spanning one century: 7th Century Anglo-Saxon England. Let's take a closer look...

Anglo-Saxon England isn't a common choice for historical romance. Some readers are put off by the idea that this was a brutal era.

I assure you it was no more violent than the Medieval period that came after. Perhaps the fact that it was a largely pagan period has earned it a dark reputation in the history books - but in reality it was a time of great growth, a culturally rich era that was made for epic romance!

Find out more about this fascinating period in my new book trailer below.


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT - free on Amazon for 5 days only!

DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT is currently available free on Amazon (Kindle), for the next 5 days.

This novel is the first of my KINGDOM OF EAST ANGLES series. I wrote it after visiting the Sutton Hoo burial site in Suffolk. The idea of a king being buried in his long ship sparked my imagination. I've always loved the Anglo-Saxon period, and set out to write a story set in this era.

DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT was only meant to be a one off - but I had so much fun writing it that I found I couldn't stop! The novel was a quarter finalist in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (romance category).

Download your free copy of DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT.

Want to know more about the story?

A king's daughter, the son of his sworn enemy - and a reckoning... 

The year is 624 AD and Raedwyn, the fiery daughter of Raedwald King of the East Angles, has just been married to a man old enough to be her father. It is a political alliance and on her wedding night, Raedwyn realizes with disappointment that theirs will be a loveless marriage. 

However, fate has other plans for Raedwyn the Fair. 

Outlaws ambush her new husband's party on their journey back to his long ship and Raedwyn finds herself captive of a bitter, vengeful warrior - Ceolwulf the Exiled. Ceolwulf has a score to settle with King Raedwald and Raedwyn is his bargaining tool. 

Caelin, Ceolwulf’s enigmatic son, follows his father on his quest for revenge. Fiercely loyal to her own father, Raedwyn isn't prepared for her wild attraction to Caelin - or for its consequences. 

Theirs is a passion that could tear a kingdom apart...

Download your free copy of DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Author's cut #1 - Maric's scene

For DARKEST BEFORE DAWN, I'm keeping a record of the scenes I 'cut' - not just from the final draft, but from earlier ones as well. To give you a 'taster' of what's to come, I'll be sharing some of the most interesting bits and pieces from work in progress. 

The following scene, which I've cut from the first draft, gives a bit of background to the hero of the story, Maric. 



Maric rode up the incline towards the gates of Bebbanburg. His gaze shifted east, where he could make out the low, rocky outline of Farne Island, out to sea – and immediately regretted doing so. The wide seascape, wide swathe of pale sand and dunes brought him swiftly back to that day, two years earlier, when he had arrived here with Penda.
That day, he had ridden up to Bebbanburg with joy in his heart and hope for the future. Osulf and Elfhere had ribbed him mercilessly about his buoyant mood; the rest of them had complained about sore arses and empty bellies, but he had only noticed the fantastic scenery.
He had been a different man then. Now, he was aware of his tired limbs, chilled feet and hands, and hunger. Today, the view merely appeared cold, bleak and lonely. There was no joy in his heart; no hope for the future.
Maric rode towards the end of the Northumbrian fyrd, well behind the king and his ealdormen and thegns. He rode with a small group of Mercian warriors, all of whom were still recovering from their battle wounds. After a splitting headache for two full days, Maric’s only injury was the laceration to his upper arm, which had been tended and bound. Now, seven days later, the scab itched mercilessly as it healed.
Osulf and Elfhere had not travelled north with him, as Maric would have liked, for they were both too badly injured. Elfhere had been fighting a raging fever when Maric rode away from the River Winwaed, and Osulf had lost his injured eye. If they survived their injuries, Maric would be reunited with them both at Tamworth.
Maric rode into the fort, one of the last to do so, and followed the tide of men and horses up towards the inner perimeter. Already, he could hear the shouts of victory, the blasting of horns welcoming Oswiu and his men home. Folk had gathered on the side of the wide dirt road leading up to the Great Tower, their cheers deafening. Maric saw the happiness and pride on their faces and wondered at the scene in Tamworth, when Paeda arrived home, puppet to a new lord. It would be a much more somber welcome, if any at all.
Inside the wide stable yard, Maric dismounted, stretching his legs and back, stiff from a long day in the saddle. Then, he led his horse – a stocky bay mare who had once belonged to a Mercian ealdorman – into the large byre that flanked one side of the yard.
Inside, chaos reigned as men and horses jostled for space. Maric joined the other Mercians at the far end. They were a sober lot, the look on their faces – a blend of misery and humiliation – reflecting what he too felt. He unsaddled his horse and rubbed it down, tuning out to the raucous voices around him. The Northumbrians deserved their victory but he was in no mood to join them.
The mare began helping herself to mouthfuls of hay, while Maric took an armful of stale hay from the bottom of the manger and made a bed for himself at the far end of the stall.
He settled down on to it, sighing in relief, and trying to ignore his protesting belly. He had not eaten since dawn, and the smell of roasting mutton that wafted into the byre from the spits opposite, caused his mouth to fill with saliva.
I will eat later, he promised himself, once the celebrating has died down and my gloom does not appear so out of place here.
With that, Maric lay down on his side, the sweet smell of hay and horses filling his nostrils. Then, he closed his eyes, blocking out the world, and welcomed the heavy curtain of sleep.


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