Wednesday, 20 March 2019

#Launch News from #Joan Livingston

Welcome to Wednesday!

Today, I've got a very welcome visitor in Joan Livingston, my Crooked Cat author friend, who has returned to this blog to share information about the latest novel in her Isabel Long series. I confess I'm a bit behind in my reading of the series because a) I can't seem to get through my kindle pile quickly and b) I just don't have enough time in a day! Excuses, I know, but the fact that this is the third novel about this interesting journalist-turned-detective - Isobel Long -  means I'm not writing hard enough either.

Since I'm currently (honestly) reading Book 1 - Chasing the Case I feel I'm already familiar with Isabel, her hometown situation, and her chatty style of delivery. Today, Joan has sent along lots of lovely information to give us an idea of Book 3, so I'd best get cracking and get on with my reading of Bks 1 & 2!

Welcome, Joan. Spill the beans about Checking the Traps...

Meet the Big Shot Poet

By Joan Livingston

His name is Cyrus Nilsson. But Isabel Long, the protagonist in my mystery series, calls him the Big Shot Poet. And he is a suspect in the third book, Checking the Traps, and an unusual suspect, I would say.

Let me back up here. For her third case, Isabel, a longtime journalist turned amateur P.I., is hired to look into the death of a man. The officials say Cary Moore jumped from a bridge known for suicides. His half-brother, Gary Beaumont, says he was pushed. So, he’s paying Isabel to get to the truth.

The Big Shot Poet turns out to be a suspect. Why? Cary Moore was a highway worker who also wrote poetry. They were neighbors initially, and Cary got good enough that the Big Shot Poet put his name on several of his poems. They appeared in what turned out to be an award-winning book.

What’s Cyrus’s backstory? He grew up poor, went to an Ivy League college, and became a sensation in the poetry world when he made the right connections. His manners and style belie his humble upbringing.

So, naturally Isabel, being such a smart ass, came up with that nickname.

I’ve known many poets, and, no, none of them inspired the character. But as I wrote about Cyrus, I imagined someone who has worked hard to overcome his humble beginning. He likes being famous, but not the interference on his personal life, which includes fans who show up at his house or bother him in public.

He did take Cary Moore under his wing, reading his work and encouraging him to write more. As Cyrus tells Isabel, it’s the first and last time he would ever do that.

Among other scenes, I show Cyrus in action at a poetry reading — as well as his adoring fans. Isabel and her ‘Watson” — her 93-year-old mother — go there to coerce the man into an interview. Here’s an excerpt from Checking the Traps.

As I’ve said before, I’ve seen Cyrus in action although that time at the Penfield Town Hall, the atmosphere was different. Most of the folks who came were curious locals. He was decent not talking down to them, so he came off more like an understanding schoolteacher than a famous poet. That had to be twenty-five years ago. But for this reading, he is definitely the Big Shot Poet. I figured rightly his audience tonight would be filled with educated poetry fans, well, except for Ma and me. We’re only pretending. I even bought his new book for him to sign. It’s a ploy to meet him. Plus, I figure it’ll be a tax write-off.

Cyrus reads from his memoir and a few of the poems it contains. In between, he banters about the poet’s life. He finds inspiration wherever he goes. Yeah, right.

“At this stage in my life, I can’t help it,” he says.

Many in the audience go “ah” and laugh along with Cyrus’s knowing chuckles.

Good grief.

The man has aged well. I will give him that. He’s kept most of his hair, which is now white, and his face has the right amount of lines to make him look distinguished and smart. His white shirt is open a few buttons. His legs are spread apart in a rather manly pose, a thrill, I’m certain, for his middle-aged groupies.

“That poem practically wrote itself,” he says after reading one called “The Crossing.” “It came to me as I was standing on the bow of the ferry taking me to Nantucket. I stepped to the side and recorded it on my phone. What you heard tonight is pretty much what I got down that day.”

A woman in the second row moans. Actually, she moans whenever she thinks she hears anything profound, which seems to be about every third line that comes from the Big Shot Poet’s mouth. Her response is a cross between a moan and a gasp. It’s her way of saying she is moved big time, I suppose. Honestly, I find it annoying. So does my mother, who cranes her neck to see who’s making all that noise.

My mother mouths, “Do you think she’s in pain?”

I stifle a laugh.

The reading is over after Cyrus fields a few questions and agrees to sign copies of his book. He takes his place behind a table. Fans, clutching his latest, form a long line. I expected that. So instead, I sit and wait beside Ma.


Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.

Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.

The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.

As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure. Recently, she was named editor of the Greenfield Recorder.

After living eleven years in New Mexico, she has returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long Mystery Series.

 Find Joan here on SOCIAL MEDIA

Redneck’s Revenge: http://mybook/rednecksrevenge
Checking the Traps: http://mybook/checkingthetraps

Twitter: @JoanLivingston

Fabulous! Thank you for visiting today, Joan. Best wishes with this latest launch and with future writing. I'll be posting a review when I get my current read finished, which is presently around 65% read on my kindle! 


Tuesday, 19 March 2019

#Special Promotions #Celtic Fervour Series

Tuesday talk...

Special promotions are ongoing for the books in my Celtic Fervour Series this current week!

  • Monday 18th (March) and Tuesday 19th - Book 1 The Beltane Choice is #FREE across Amazon.

From a recent Amazon 5* review of The Beltane Choice
"...I hissed at villains, cheered the heroes, and found this delightful novel thoroughly entertaining."

  • Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th  - Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn is a featured author on the Book Hippo site at #99p. 

5* review of After Whorl: Bran Reborn:
"As in The Beltane Choice, the author brings the culture and society of celtic Britain vividly to life - and in this book there is also an intriguing contrast with the ordered, militaristic lifestyle of the occupying Romans. An engaging tale, with fascinating insights into Celtic and Roman Britain."

  • Wednesday 20th - Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn is featured on Ereader News Today and on #JustKindleBooks at #99p/99c.

My fingers are crossed that there's a little buzz of sales this week, to boost the impact of my Celtic Fervour Series (and to pay for the paid promotions).

To make things even easier for buyers and browsers Books 1, 2 & 3 will be on sale at 99p till early Friday 22nd, with Book 4 reduced to £1.99.

They are all excellent bargains for full length novels- with realistic experiences of what life was like in 1st Century Ancient Caledonia/ Northern Roman Britain with my Garrigill Clan as the main protagonists in this series that has also been called an ancient saga.

Readers should note that although I have tried hard to make each a standalone novel, they are very inter-connected, with some clan members taking the limelight in one book and then continuing the struggle to thwart the Roman usurpers as secondary characters in later books. and as in all good sagas by the time a reader reaches Book 4 it is the second generation clan members who are the ones featuring. Similarly it is a second generation clan member who is the main character in Book 5 which is currently being written.

Click the links below to get your copies on Amazon!

Bk 1 - The Beltane Choice

Bk 2- After Whorl: Bran Reborn

Bk 3 - After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks

Bk 4 - Agricola's Bane

p.s. All books are on #KindleUnlimited if that's how you prefer to find your quality reading material.

Enjoy the reads...


Saturday, 16 March 2019

#Saturday Selection with #Tim Walker

Saturday Special!

Today, I'm delighted to welcome back my author friend, Tim Walker, who has come to share news of the latest release in his A Light in the Dark Ages Series. Where I have chosen to focus on the earliest part of the Ancient Roman invasions of northern Britannia, Tim has been setting his sights, and imagination, on later centuries of Roman occupation, and beyond into the virtually unrecorded haze after the Romans retreated from Britannia. 

Neither of our chosen eras are easy to research, so I truly appreciate the effort it takes to create a credible world for the protagonists in the novel, and for the reader to believe in them when work is set in those formerly named 'Dark Ages' A.D.

I've very much enjoyed Tim's previous adventures in Ancient Britain and have this next book on my kindle where he gives us a new perspective on the intriguing figure of the fabled King Arthur. I'm looking forward to reading Arthur Dux Bellorum  very soon! 
(I have to find more pleasure reading time since my kindle pile is still too large!)

Along with details about Arthur Dux Bellorum, Tim's sent along an excerpt today to give us an idea of what to expect and to whet my/our appetite... so make sure to read all the way down...


BTW- Tim mentions an author unknown to me - Mathew Harffy- so I'll just have to go onto Amazon and fill up my kindle even more.

From the ruins of post-Roman Britain, a warrior arises to unite a troubled land

Britain in the late Fifth Century is a troubled place – riven with tribal infighting and beset by invaders in search of plunder and settlement. King Uther is dead, and his daughter, Morgana, seizes the crown for her infant son, Mordred. Merlyn’s attempt to present Arthur as the true son and heir of Uther is scorned, and the bewildered teenager finds himself in prison. Here our story begins…
Arthur finds friends in unexpected quarters and together they flee. Travelling through a fractured landscape of tribal conflict and suspicion, they attempt to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, whilst keeping a wary eye on Saxon invaders menacing the shoreline. Arthur’s reputation as a fearsome warrior grows as he learns the harsh lessons needed to survive and acquire the skills of a dux bellorum, a lord of war.
Tim Walker’s Arthur Dux Bellorum is a fresh look at the Arthurian legend, combining myth, history and gripping battle scenes. Although in a series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

Fans of Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden and Mathew Harffy will enjoy Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages series and its newest addition – Arthur Dux Bellorum.

You can buy the book using this link HERE

Tim Walker is an independent author based in Windsor, UK. His background is in marketing, journalism, editing and publications management. He began writing an historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages (set in Fifth Century Britain), in 2015, starting with Abandoned, set at the time the Romans left Britain. This was extensively revised and re-launched as a second edition in 2018.
Book two, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, was published in 2017 and the third installment, Uther’s Destiny, was published in March 2018 (winner of One Stop Fiction book of the month award, April 2018). The adventure continues from March 2019 in the fourth book, Arthur, Dux Bellorum.
His creative writing journey began in July 2015 with the publication of a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. In September 2017 he published a second collection of short stories – Postcards from London. These stories combine his love of history with his experiences of living in London and various Thames Valley towns.
In 2016 he published his first novel, a dystopian political thriller, Devil Gate Dawn, following exposure through the Amazon Scout programme. In 2017 he published his first children’s book, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, co-written with his 12-year-old daughter, Cathy, followed In 2018 by a second adventure, Charly & The Superheroes.
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From: Arthur Dux Bellorum 

Arthur and his father-in-law, Chief Meirchion Gul of the Rheged, are leading an army north of Hadrian’s Wall to secure an alliance by evicting Hibernian settlers (the Scotti) from Galway

BY MID-AFTERNOON on the second day, the army of Meirchion and Arthur had reached the settlement of the Scotti on the rocky, windswept coast called Galwydell. Meirchion sent Gawain and his cavalry to by-pass the coastal village and surround them. Arthur waited with his father-in-law on a sandy dune looking down on the feeble picket fence that enclosed a settlement of no more than fifty dwellings in a crude semi-circle, their ships lying on the beach behind. These were single-mast ships that could take eight oars on each side and carry about fifty men. The Scotti, a fierce tribe from the island of Hibernia in the western sea, knew of their presence and had their men lining the inside of the fence, armed and ready. Meirchion kept looking out to sea away to his left, until he saw what he searched for – the sails of a fleet of at least half a dozen ships.

“Ah, there they are. Those are our cousins, the seafaring Setanti. I ordered them to come and cover our sea flank. We have yet to establish the numbers of Scotti settlers on this coast, so their presence can help us count and corral them.”

“What do you intend to do with them?” Arthur asked.

Meirchion laughed and jabbed his heels into his horse’s flanks, pointing ahead of him with his short spear to where Gawain’s banner could be seen fluttering on a dune on the far side of the settlement. Horn blasts signalled the advance, and his foot soldiers marched through the sand and tufts of wild grass to take up a position within a hundred yards of the fence. Gawain did the same from the far side – a shallow stream separating the two forces.

Meirchion gathered his commanders to him. “These warriors, Arthur, are from the Novantae clan on whose land we are standing,” he said, pointing to a group of stocky warriors with weathered faces, their dark eyes under thick eyebrows burning with passion. “They are keen to evict the Scotti and take back their lands, and we are here to aid them.”

He pointed to the guarded settlement where ragged black banners fluttered in the strong sea breeze, and continued. “But first we must talk to their leaders. I will invite them to leave, provided they swear allegiance to me and give me warriors for our campaign further north.” He instructed three deputies, including one who spoke the Scotti tongue, to ride to the gates and request a meeting with their leaders. By now, the Setanti ships had blockaded the harbour, cutting off any chance of escape.

They had not long to wait before the rickety gates of the stockade opened and three men walked out. Meirchion nodded to Arthur and they took a central position, out of arrow range of the platform above the gate, and waited for them. The Scotti leaders had plenty of opportunity to see the thousand or more men lining the dunes around them as they walked out. Their leader spoke through a bushy grey beard in the language of the Gaels, his arm bands jangling as he gesticulated. Meirchion waited patiently for the translation.

“Tell him that I am Meirchion Gul of the Rheged and this is Arthur of the Brigantes. Together we speak for the entire north of this land, below and above the wall. They have seized this place from our friends, the Novantae, who now want it returned to them. They also want your heads on spikes to adorn their hall.” Meirchion paused for the translator to catch up. The startled looks on the faces of their opponents showed that they understood the full nature of the threat.

A garbled reply was translated as, “We have lost our home lands to raiders and have been forced to travel here, across the narrow sea. We are at your mercy, mighty lord, and ask only for land to settle.”

“Who is your leader?” Meirchion demanded.

“They are led by their king, Fergus Mor, who is in a settlement to the west,” the translator replied.

“Another king. That’s all we need. Don’t translate that,” Meirchion muttered.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Tim, and very best wishes for a great launch of Arthur Dux Bellorum.