Friday 26 February 2016

A Shackled Inheritance

A Shackled Inheritance is launched today with a Saturday Spotlight feature on In the book, my heroine discovers after her father's death that she has two unknown half-sisters, free women of colour who live on the family plantation in the West Indies.

Researching the lives of  free mixed-race people 200 years ago took me down some fascinating by-ways. In 1802, the Governor of Barbados highlighted the ambiguous status of free persons of colour in a slave-owning society when he wrote: "I think unappropriated people would be a more proper denomination for them, for though not the property of other individuals they do not enjoy the shadow of any civil right." Nevertheless, an archive of wills revealed that white fathers sometimes left substantial assets to their reputed (acknowledged) children, even if they never married the mother. Money and education gradually created a settled, prosperous class of tradesmen, teachers, seamstresses or overseers. Some became planters and slave owners. By the early 1800s, as the abolitionist movement gained force in Britain, free persons of colour in the West Indies were also challenging the established order, but they focused their demands on improving their own situation.


A Shackled Inheritance is released on 11th March and can be pre-ordered on Amazon:

Saturday 20 February 2016

Things get scary

Prepare for a shiver down your spine. Hornsea Writers have been dabbling in the occult.

East Yorkshire publisher, Fantastic Books Publishing, has been running a horror competition with a difference. Entrants are invited to submit a horror tale of exactly 666 words. Play the short trailer on THIS PAGE to listen to Dan their CEO intone his spooky competition trailer. He calls these 666 stories fantabbles.

Fantabbles? Stories of exactly 666 words? Yes, we thought, we could write those. No problem. Of course we didn’t write a single word, let alone 666. We just left it at ‘we could if we wanted to.’

Then Dan called our bluff.

‘I want some 666 stories from Hornsea Writers,’ he told us.

All of Fantastic Books’ anthologies include invited professional contributions and on this occasion one of those professionals is to be our own Linda Acaster. As members of the group we have heard and shuddered at her 666 words, but I’m afraid you will have to wait.

However, you won’t have to wait to hear two other contributions. As well as his invited professionals, Dan asked me and one of his other authors to provide contributions he could use to help launch his new sound studio.

Read by the actor, Penelope McDonald, Music at Full Moon and my own Opening Doors are already available as audio downloads and will probably be included in the final anthology although they won’t be in the pot competitively.

So whose fantabbles will win the cash prizes? No one knows. The winning entries might not even have been written yet. None of the invited contributions mentioned above are eligible. The competition doesn't close until 31 March. HERE’S THE LINK. Sharpen your quill! The winner might be you.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Don't Abrogate Your Own #Editing

Linda Acaster was recently handed a published paperback with the comment, 'You aren't going to like this.'

She didn't.

Abrogate your own editing skills at your peril. Read the full post on her site HERE.

Saturday 6 February 2016

The sometimes inescapable lure of being diverted. April Taylor

There are times when a writer, seemingly set on a certain road, gets interrupted and, in consequence, ends up going down another road completely.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. And the experience is proving to be a mixed blessing. I normally wouldn't open one eye for anything younger than the Elizabethan period. However, that has changed and if you want to know more, just click on the link below. I'll give you a clue in the shape of a photograph.

The Tudor Enigma and The Georgia Pattison Mysteries