Friday, October 23, 2015

#luckyseven - excerpt from Wolf Spear Saga: 2

I have been tagged in the #luckyseven meme by Battle Scars series author Charlene Newcomb. She is knee-deep in editing 'For King and Country', but was eager to share a taster and invited 7 of us to join in. Thanks Charlene!

I'm working on my second novel in the 'Wolf Spear Saga' series. It is the sequel to 'WULFSUNA' and set 27 years after Book 1. Life in Wulfgarsaetan has been settled for a few years, but there are stirrings of discontent. Instigated by Hengist's growing kingdom in the south-east, the Wealisc are once more harassing the Wulfsuna and it is rumoured their long-time Angle rivals Tha Eforas are hungry for war. Here, we find the Wulfsuna out on a peace-keeping mission in Wealisc territory, hoping to secure some allies...

In a low voice Beortgar said theatrically, “Deep into the land of the Silures...” As he chuckled at his own humour, Wulfsieg glared at him, for now was not the time for revelry. Beortgar rubbed a forearm across his mouth and whispered, “Sorry. I heard old Heahstan say that once in the Great Hall.”

            As Wulfsieg turned back to review their situation, he caught Ianbert beside him, grinning. His thegn leaned over, winking.

“Bit of his father coming through.”

“Give your name!”

            The call from behind the gates sent a hush through the Wolf Sons. Ianbert shook his head at Wulfsieg, who chose to ignore him and gestured to Ealdorman Osmund.


So, now it's time to name a few more of you. Here are the rules:-
  • Go to a page ending in a 7 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post the next 7 lines or sentences - as they are - on your blog or on Facebook
  • Tag 7 other people to do the same!
I nominate: Wendy PercivalS J A TurneyA A AbbottDeborah FoulkesLucienne BoyceAnnie Whitehead and Stephen Oram

~ ~ ~

Blood, betrayal and brotherhood.
An ancient saga is weaving their destiny.
A treacherous rival threatens their fate.
A Seer's magic may be all that can save them.

Wolf Spear Saga: 2 - coming 2016

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Inward Spiral

Autumn, for me, is about turning inwards. We coil from the cold, withdrawing inside for longer periods to escape the weather and the ever-increasing darkness. Longer evenings, curled in the warmth of our homes provide ample opportunity for reflection. Hence the introspection. There is time to contemplate our life path, to make promises to ourselves for things we wish to achieve in the coming new year, when the spiral begins anew. Since the spring the spiral of life has lurched outwards, flinging light and inspiration into the world until the fullness of summer. Replete from the bounty, the spiral began its inward turn and is now leading us towards winter.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Woman Behind the Wolves

This post follows on from my last blog entry 'Folklore of the Nix', which you can read here.


WULFSUNA is a book about battles: physical battles of blood and carnage, mental battles against pride and fear and emotional battles of torn responsibility, love and betrayal. It is also a book mostly about men. The Seaxen (Saxon) tribe of the ‘Wolf Sons’, whose name is the book’s title, is a war-band of viking warriors. Many of the women they knew are either deceased, too infirm to travel or have chosen to remain in Germania.

The book opens with the tribe’s arrival in the east fens of Bryton (Britain) and follows their journey inland, to a long-destined meeting between two halves of a tribe, separated by sea and some twenty years apart. However, amid all the sweating oarsmen, helmeted nobles and axe-wielding warriors is one who is stronger than all of them; she is a Seer and her name is Morwyneth. Who is she? Well, so far she has been shadowed by her more muscular counterparts and so I felt it was time for her to emerge; for the world (who have not yet read my book) to know the woman behind the wolves of the WULFSUNA.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Folklore of the 'Nix'

In my novel, the Saxon tribe of the Wolf Sons (who give their name to the book’s title - WULFSUNA) face a terrifying entity. What, you wonder, could put the fear into the hearts of several scores of burly Saxon warriors? Mortal enemies with swords and spears can be vanquished. Those foes do not frighten them. Even death, though often gruesome, is a fate greeted bravely, for it means acceptance to Woden’s great hall and a feast before the last great battle of the world. It is something far more sinister and foreboding that grips these men’s hearts with ice.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writing Historical Dialogue

At a recent library book club engagement I chose to openly explore the subject of writing dialogue in historical novels. As you can imagine, this is an area of the writing process fraught with difficulties posed by which period of history you have chosen and the availability (or lack of) detail about language during that age. My audience found it fascinating, evident from their own eager input during my talk, which became more of a group discussion. (I love it when that happens, don’t you?) I decided, therefore, to expand on it and share it here.

I have found historical dialogue to be a fine balance between staying true to a period and not alienating readers. Whilst there are those whose excitement mounts at every historical term used for armour, weaponry, clothing or day-to-day utensils, not everyone is after a language lesson. The majority of readers are in search of intriguing story and larger-than-life characters. One of the ways in which we authors can move the story forward and enhance the image of our characters is through the exchange of speech. We can immediately gain a sense of character when they open their mouth.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Hand Axe & Early Saxon Warfare

Hand axes have been with us for millennia, through the Stone and Bronze Ages, since man first crafted a tool. The precursor to the modern steel axe, flinted objects were used in everyday life for killing prey on the hunt, stripping meat from a carcass and for carving bone into tools or amulets. Revered for their functionality and the reliance early man had on them, they became worthy of decoration. A postgraduate study at the University of Southampton revealed the existence of two distinct Neanderthal cultures in Europe, based on the designs of their axe heads. The Neanderthals inhabited a western and eastern region, now France and Germany. The western Neanderthal culture made symmetrical, triangular and heart-shaped hand axes. During the same period, the eastern Neanderthal culture created asymmetrical bifacial blades. Furthermore, groups from both tribes living near their borders in modern day Belgium, crafted axes using a combination of both the western and eastern designs. Dr Karen Ruebens, of the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO), believes this suggests “distinct ways of making a hand axe (that) were passed on from generation to generation”. To my mind, this also shows an interest in defining weapons and territory through art, and that they were open to accepting influences from neighbouring civilisations.

Monday, August 4, 2014

'The Wolf Talk' by Shaun Ellis - A Review

A Tool for Research on 'Wulfsuna'

            For me, this book began as a casual dip into research on wolf behaviour, intended to supplement a character profile. I anticipated a light read that would provide me with insights into the ways wolves move and communicate, thus enabling me to transpose those elements into the character. I wanted to know how these animals hunted, ate, slept, fought, played and spoke to one another. I wanted to understand pack hierarchy. The book did not disappoint.

            ‘The Wolf Talk’ is indeed a wonderfully light read. You can breeze through the pages and come and go as you please. Shaun’s prose is relaxed and familiar. You could be sat with him in the trees, watching the wolves as he relays all he knows. The subject matter is, however, by no means light. Shaun is informing, without being condescending; he is knowledgeable whilst humble. As per the spiritual connotation for the wolf, Shaun calls them his teachers. His book is not about training wolves, it is about learning from them. Having spent a lifetime engaging with Canids in the wild and in captivity, he has a unique insight. Shaun has lived among these secretive and intelligent creatures, sleeping with them, playing with them and challenging them to retain the status of a Beta wolf within the pack. In one amazing entry he recalls how an alpha male brought him a piece of meat from a kill because, although he had defended his Beta position at the meal itself, he had consumed no flesh. Alpha and Beta wolves feed on the more sumptuous areas of rump and shoulder, consuming the higher protein meat, thereby increasing their intake of nutrients and giving them a mental and physical advantage over lower ranking wolves.