Thursday, 20 July 2017

A Warrior Poet

Thursday Already? 

This week is flying by for all sorts of reasons. My leisure reading has been limited but I have managed to read something light and easy. 

When I'm in the mood for a simple historical read I often reach for historical romance and the one mentioned today has been on my kindle queue for a little while. 

I've read other novels by Kathryn Le Veque and have enjoyed them so I thought I'd try this one with the intriguing title of The Warrior Poet. I was also interested after reading about the background research for the story having come in part from the poetic writing of a Sir Christian St. John pf the mid 1200s.

The Warrior Poet was enjoyable but less so than other novels by Kathryn Le Veque, like Lespada. The detail is as well researched as her other novels but there seems a slightly more relaxed style to the writing, and some language use that took me out of the medieval period.    

The Warrior Poet by Kathryn LeVeque 

It’s hard to equate a hulking medieval warrior as also being someone who writes the finest of poetry but Christian St. John is just that – and being the most handsome of warriors puts icing on his cake!  Some medieval knights had chivalrous streaks and without adding spoilers some of the St. Johns come across like that. A feud lasting decades between the St. John family and the neighbouring deGares seems to me to be a very believable concept in the northern England of 1266 A.D.

I enjoyed the tale of how Christian and Gaithlin’s romance develops though there are some aspects which didn’t gel with me so well. The use of ‘Honey’ as an endearment didn’t work for me (though, I believe, there’s documentation on its use from the mid thirteenth century). There were also some viewpoint changes that jolted me from what was mostly an absorbing read. 


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Summer Surprises with #The List

Its a Wednesday Summer Surprise for you!

Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to a new guest to this blog who has come with the kind of Summer Surprise that I absolutely love since it means me making a new purchase to add to my kindle queue. 

Graham H Miller
Graham H. Miller is a fellow Crooked Cat author who has a very exciting and busy day since his novel 'The List' launches today! I'll be popping into his launch party on Facebook  (19th July 2017) which is happening HERE 
and I'm sure he'll be delighted to have you pop in, too. (That's a cool hat Graham!)

Welcome to the blog, Graham. I love reading mysteries. I love writing them and although it wasn't my original intention some crime has crept into my contemporary mystery novels- though, unlike yours, mine cannot be termed crime novels. I've yet to read The List but it sounds just like my kind of story.

Can you tell us a little bit about what led to you writing The List?  BTW- Brilliant cover design! It's eerily mysterious...

The List is a crime novel with a mystery at its heart. My main motivation for becoming a writer was always asking myself “what happened next?” when I finished a book. This question really fuelled this book – each section begins with a short scene that takes place twenty years ago. 

The main hero is Detective Sergeant Jonah Greene of the South Wales Police. He feels his career is at a dead end when he returns from stress related sick leave and is pushed sideways into the role of coroner’s officer. His first body is that of a homeless man who froze to death. His bosses want the case closed but he is handed a list of seven names that the man wrote before he died. As he investigates the names, he becomes aware that something terrible happened in the mid-nineties. As he investigates, his career, relationships and finally life are put at risk.

As long as I can remember, I’ve had ideas for books. When I was at university I played role-playing games (the old-fashioned way with paper and dice) and graduated from there to writing stories. As I said, I’ve always been fascinated with the aftermath of big events, even if those events are usually the climax of a novel. 

One of my favourite TV programs of recent times was Broadchurch. Firstly they focused on one crime and studied it in detail, examining its effect on the whole community. Then, when they’d had the big climax with Olivia Coleman and David Tennant finding the murderer, they came back for a second season. This satisfied all my logical cravings as it exposed the faults in police procedure in the original series. It really was a “what happened next” plot.

So, when I was writing The List, I started with The Big Event in the nineties and worked out what would have happened as a consequence. From there I went to the crimes that would happen and finally how Jonah would solve them!

Law Courts, Cathays Park, Cardiff. 
My publisher, Crooked Cat, said that in my book, the location acts like a character. It’s set in Cardiff and the surrounding area in South Wales. In the last few weeks I’ve been visiting locations for this book and the next one to take photos and I’ve always been impressed. It’s such a fertile landscape for a writer to set a story in. 

Cardiff was a small town in 1800 and still has the energy of a city that is newly arrived. It has the old Victorian and industrial heritage side by side with modern areas which were developed less than twenty years ago. Outside the city are the valleys – a place all of their own – together with the coast and the countryside. Really, the possibilities are endless!

Thank you, Graham. That sounds like lots of books set in Wales are set to follow The List! There are so many places I need to revisit in Wales and Cardiff is one of the many that I need to explore a lot better sometime in the future, Graham. 

Your approach to writing The List sounds so 'planned and organised' compared to me since I essentially started off writing as a 'pantser' author. Well done with your organised strategy because I belatedly learned when I wrote one of my mysteries that being organised from the outset was a whole lot better than having to backtrack to tidy up at the editing stages! 

Graham H Miller can be reached at his website on Facebook at and on Twitter @grahamhmiller 

The List is available from Amazon HERE

Thank you for popping in today, Graham. Best wishes with your launch today (which is already looking very promising on Amazon at before 8 a.m.) and for the future success of your writing.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Another #Discovered Diamond for Book3 #Celtic Fervour Series!

Tuesday continues the smiles! 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Book 3 of my #Celtic Fervour Series has also received a 'Discovered Diamond' Review from Discovering Diamonds.

Once again the reviewer has some very rewarding things to say about my writing which has given my confidence a real boost.

Saying this in the last sentence puts a rosy glow to my face today that's nothing to do with the continued sunshine- "...the entire series is set firmly among the very best of early Romano British novels."

The rest of the review is also very complimentary in that the reviewer has captured the essence of the story with these words:   " a vividly compelling view of life as it may have been after Rome had swept into Britannia and taken everything for their own gain – except they never managed to conquer the hearts and minds of the Celtic people they conquered."

Her saying that the book is "thoroughly exciting" an "enjoyable read" and "wonderfully researched and elegantly written" brings me a lot of joy!

If you've not yet read my series you can pick up a copy from Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, KOBO, Itunes,  and other ebook stores.

If you'd like a signed copy of my series  - send me an email and we'll discuss how that can be arranged!

Enjoy the day.