Oh what an idiot!

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A couple of days ago my number one Sony Vaio laptop finally curled its toes and died, having its equivalent of a heart attack when its hard drive went into melt-down. Nothing unusual in that – even technology has to wear out! After all I had been using it on a daily basis three hundred and sixty-five days a year for the last three years.

The only major setback for me was that I was only three stories from the end of the third edition of my reworked fantasy anthology Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales. While I’d religiously saved its file to the hard drive, like an idiot I hadn’t backed it up on a flash drive!!!

Fortunately I have another Vaio laptop (this one) which still works. So, it looks like I’ll be starting the rewrite once again. This time I will back up the darned file as well as saving it to this laptop’s hardrive. I retrieved the new cover, family portrait and map of Goblindom from a file here on my WordPress blog.

I was so damned close to finishing the third edition for the ebook marketplace, so very close. Serves me right for being an idiot and not backing up my crucial files…

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Another teaser

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The following short extract from one of the thirty tales of the anthology, describes the real enemy of every living thing in Goblindom…

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Crellen the black wizard stood up, cleared his throat and addressed the assembly. “Aeons ago in the time before, after we had banished the humans, we placed a wall of magic around our part of the world to protect ourselves from everything beyond our borders. If these humans find a way through, we must destroy them where they stand by any and all means at our disposal. Magic still rules here, not metal! We cannot allow these accursed humans to invade. While we fight amongst ourselves, our squabbles are as nothing compared to the evil these creatures present to all living things in Goblindom. How many of them exist is anyone’s guess? There may be thousands of them. I have heard of their ways from other wizards further to the south, as you have too I think Morweth.”

Morweth and Brilith both nodded their heads in agreement. Crellen continued, “whenever humans encounter anyone passing for witch or a wizard in their land, they burn or drown them. In the part of the world humans dwell in, there is no room for magic of any kind, no matter that their ills are still cured by magic’s practioners in the form of healers. They plunder, slash and burn forests, laying waste to every living thing. They kill for food, or for pleasure. They make war on their own kind for land. They share nothing with all the other kinds who live where they dwell. They either kill or enslave all they conquer. Humans are truly evil. They must be driven from here. Then once we have rid ourselves of them, we must reinforce our wall of magic to hide our land forever. In time we may even need to travel to their homeland to annihilate them all.”

~~~

Crellen’s description of our species pretty well sums us up, wouldn’t you say?

More later,

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Want a taste of what I’m re-working at the moment?

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Glob holding his emerald tipped magic staff with Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak perched on his shoulder. Make with his bestest Briar pipe. Cross-eyed Neo with his war club. Accident prone Mous. The youngest goblin brother – Byz, always getting into trouble…

~~~

Here is one of the thirty tales that has been reworked so far, contained within the fantasy anthology Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tale.

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I Juth Want One Night’th Thleep!

     In which Bejuss, the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak, seeks revenge.

~~~

     As the sun slowly climbed in the sky all was quite in the world, except for the sound of loud snoring echoing among the ancient trees, terrifying the woodland creatures. Glob yawned, broke wind, stretched, burped, scratched his backside and turned over. A few more minutes in his warm bed was all he asked of life at this particular moment in time.

Make curled his arms tenderly around his pillow and began murmuring sweet nothings to it with a silly smile on his face. Mous tossed and turned muttering unintelligible bursts of nonsense words as he fought an imaginary monster. Byz lay on his back kicking his feet in the air dreaming he was a goblin youngling once again, gurgling happily, and furiously sucking his thumb. Between his loud snoring bouts, Neo mercifully fell silent with a look of total bliss on his old leathery face. In these far too brief moments of silence he dreamt of waking up each morning nestled beside his beloved Miranda. Then as fast as his dream faded, his snoring quickly resumed.  Over the countless years they had all shared their comfortable oak tree home with him, each and every one of his brothers had become immune to the effects of Neo’s nightly audible assault; but not simpleminded Byz’s pet raven, Bejuss.

~~~

     The old bird suffered terribly each night from Neo’s ear-splitting assault on every fibre of his being. Deprived of precious sleep yet again, his feet locked themselves even more than usual to the perch, as his cage was violently vibrated with each fresh snore, threatening to shake him loose at any moment.

Now wide awake, bleary eyed and decidedly unhappy with the situation, he covered his ears with the tips of his flight feathers. Poor Bejuss did his level best to rest a few moments more before the sun’s rays finally entered the window, bathing the interior of the goblin household in its golden light. Ever since the day when he first willingly joined the band of goblin brothers, he had come to dread bed time. Within an hour after sunset he knew that Neo would be the first of the brothers to go to sleep. Something had to be done about the goblin’s peace destroying snoring – but what?

~~~

     After breakfast Glob sat beside the window enjoying his favourite view of the Southern Woods, allowing his meal to digest properly. Make carefully packed a plug of his honeysuckle flavoured tobacco in his bestest briar pipe, lit it and enjoyed the pleasant taste of the sweet herb, while idly blowing smoke rings out through the window past Glob’s head.

As usual, Neo left the domestic duties to his brothers, considering tasks like cleaning and washing up beneath him. He quickly left on his morning visit to be with Miranda in her stable. Along the way, he picked a bunch of the finest, juiciest blades of grass for her breakfast.

Back in the goblin brother’s home, it was Mous’s turn to do the washing up. Being the accident prone goblin that he is, almost as soon as the pot of water had boiled on the fire, he managed to tip the lot all over himself as he struggled with its weight. He let out a yell at the top of his voice and ran outside onto the large bough beyond their front door, waiving his hands in the air, frantically trying to cool his injured hands. “It hurtz, it hurtz; takez itz away, it hurtz!” he screamed loudly, as inflamed patches on the skin of his bony goblin hands deepened their colour while the pain intensified. Glob ran to him with a jar of honey and gently applied a generous amount to his severely scalded hands.

“Why don’t yer blows on them thens?” Make suggested between puffs on his pipe, thinking he was being especially helpful to his best friend.

“I’z hatez yer Make!” Mous sobbed, with tears welling up in his eyes, despite the soothing feeling of the honey slowly doing its work as it eased the pain.

“I’s wos only trying ter helps yer brother, sorry’s I’s sure!” Make replied indignantly, puffing furiously on his pipe, sending more smoke signals into the air.

As usual, Byz was totally oblivious to all that was going on. After he had replaced the stale oak leaves in his armpits with freshly picked ones, he found a spider in his bed and began playing with it, completely forgetting to feed Bejuss. “Rarrk, me’th hungry – me needth food!” the old bird lisped angrily from within the witch cage.

Glob kicked Byz in the shins causing him to yelp. “Looking arter Bejuss is yer sponsibility, so yer’d better feeds him, sharpish like – or else me lad!” Glob yelled, above the noise all around him. Byz began crying loudly as he ran outside.

In between sobs he yelled back at Glob. “Yer is a bully Glob, I’s hates yer!”

Feeling totally fed up and decidedly angry, Bejuss opened the door to his cage and flew off to the kitchen. “Can’t get any thleep, n now me can’t get me breakfath neither!” he lisped, while casting his one eye around the kitchen shelves looking for something juicy to eat. Finding nothing, he flew back into the living room in disgust and perched on the back of Glob’s chair beside the window. Byz sulkily returned from outside after a few minutes with some juicy bugs for Bejuss’ breakfast. The old bird made him yelp again when he angrily snatched his breakfast from him with his sharp twisted beak, swallowing them so quickly that he gave himself hiccups. Glob hung his head low and sighed heavily. As if things weren’t bad enough already what with Mous scalding himself, now he had an angry hiccupping raven perched behind him to contend with. The day was not exactly getting off to a good start.

Bejuss hiccupped loudly in his ear before saying, “it’th bad enuff that a bird can’t get any, hic, thleep around here coth of Neo’th thnoring; but forgettin me breakfath, hic, ith the latht thtraw!”

Then a ray of hope shone on the day’s gloomy beginnings when Mica arrived. “Good morning my friends,” Mica shouted to make himself heard over the sobs, yells, hiccups and moans coming from the leafy branches of the ancient oak above his head. Glob leaned out of the window and saw his humin friend below with a heavily pregnant Agnitha sitting on Miranda’s broad back, accompanied by Neo, who was seated between the old mare’s large soft ears, constantly whispering sweet words to her. “We were wondering if you fancied joining us for a picnic beside the stream, and maybe a bit of fishing.” Mica enquired, as Miranda suddenly lowered her head to crop the grass, almost unseating Neo, making him cling on tightly to one of her ears. Quickly forgetting their bickering, the remaining goblin brothers hastily put together a supply of their favourite foods, plates and mugs as well as an acorn barrel full of Neo’s freshly brewed special mead, all stowed carefully by Mica in a basket slung from Miranda’s back. Despite the pleasant prospect of a picnic, Bejuss could not forget the troubles of the night as he glared angrily at Neo. As for Glob, he was relieved for the welcome distraction. He led his brothers down to the ground and soon they were on their way along the path for a nice day out with their humin friends.

Agnitha’s mothering instincts took over as she tenderly cradled tiny Mous in her arms, kissing his pointed goblin ears and wiping away his tears with her soft blond hair, making him totally forget all about his scalded hands. Byz hobbled along tethered to Make, rubbing the painful bruise on his shin. Bejuss perched on Glob’s shoulder in deathly silence, except for his constant hiccups, while the old goblin walked and talked with Mica.

By mid-morning they had finally arrived in a lush meadow beside the stream. Mica helped Agnitha down, and between them they spread a large flax sheet on the grass. Glob and Make carried the picnic baskets between them and helped Agnitha set out the wooden bowls, mugs, and the pots and parcels of carefully wrapped foods. By now, Mous was completely head over heels in love with his surrogate humin mother, the fair Agnitha. He fussed around her, fetching and carrying for her despite his tiny size, dragging a humin sized mug over to her, so she didn’t have to stretch too far for anything in her delicate condition. Whatever she desired from the delicious repast, Mous delivered. Each time, no matter how large or small the request from her, she rewarded him with a gentle kiss on the top of his leathery head, making him blush deeply, much to everyone’s amusement. Mica nudged Glob, pointing at the spectacle of the tiny love struck goblin and grinned. Perhaps the day would turn out far better than Glob could have hoped for after all. Neo sat on Miranda’s neck combing her main, making it shine. Make sat back to back with Glob, while he packed his pipe once more, lit it and closed his eyes, puffing contentedly. Byz, still tethered to him, played with a butterfly.

~~~

     All seemed well with the world. But high above the happy scene, Bejuss was already plotting and planning. “Me can’t take another night of Neo’th noith,” the old bird muttered to himself. And then a solution occurred to him. Of course, why hadn’t he thought of it before? Plug the hole; that way there would be no more noise! The germ of a plan slowly formed in his tiny bird brain. He would need an assortment of items necessary to complete the task, so he flew off in search of the things on his list, unnoticed by his friends below.

By mid-afternoon they were all mostly asleep. Mica and Agnitha were curled up in each other’s arms with Mous snuggling blissfully between them. Byz and Make lay back to back on their sides on a bed of soft grass, bathed in the warmth of the sun. Glob sat with his back to the trunk of a tree beside the stream, holding his willow wand fishing pole and its spider silk line, baited with a caddis fly, watching it drift on the surface of the stream. His hat was pulled low over his eyes while he drifted contentedly between awake and asleep. Miranda had laid down in the shade of a willow with Neo fast asleep beside her soft muzzle. Inevitably the time came when he lay on his back with his mouth open.

Bejuss returned from his trip and landed on one of the willow’s branches. At long last his hiccups had gone. On the way back he had found a fat juicy worm, a snail and a slug for his own picnic lunch, which he now deposited in a knot hole on the branch. He had hidden his secret weapon elsewhere for the moment. As the afternoon drew on, Bejuss slowly devoured the worm, before he pecked the snail carefully out of its shell with his twisted beak and swallowed it whole. Next he ate the slug. The peaceful scene was finally broken as Neo began to snore loudly. “Right – it’th time!” the old raven lisped determinedly to himself. He picked up the empty snail shell and flew down to where Neo lay. Carefully positioning himself above the snoring goblin from a lower branch of the willow, he dropped it neatly into Neo’s mouth. Instantly the old goblin began choking and coughing. Everyone was immediately aroused by the sound of the violent coughing fit. Mica picked Neo up by the scruff of his neck and slapped his back hard. With one or two more slaps, he coughed up the snail shell. Bejuss’ one eye focused on the scene below him with growing satisfaction. Phase one of his plan was successful. Phase two would have to wait until nightfall.  “That’ll teach him,” he chuckled and flew off home unnoticed.

~~~

     On their return, the goblin brothers entered their home to find the old raven sitting on his perch in the witch cage. He had his back to them lisping angrily to himself, clearly in no mood for friendly conversation. Simpleminded Byz was about to say something when Glob stopped him, shook his head and gestured to his brothers to leave Bejuss alone. By now Make and Mous had made up and were best friends once again. Thanks to Glob, they all had a nice fish for their supper. Glob took it upon himself to feed Bejuss his supper of worms, taking great care not to induce hiccups in the old bird once again. Very soon night took over, and the five goblins turned in.

Bejuss didn’t have to wait long to complete his revenge. Within a few minutes, Neo began snoring, quietly at first. But inevitably, each fresh snore grew louder than its predecessor. The old raven carefully opened the door to his cage. Next, he silently flew to where he had hidden a balled up spider web he had collected earlier that day. With a couple of deft hops along the rafters, he positioned himself above Neo’s bed. Slowly he lowered the ball of spider web on a single thread of silk, until it was just above the goblin’s mouth. The next two snores threatened to dislodge the old raven as the vibrations built up, but he hung on with grim determination. In an ‘it’s now or never’ moment, he lowered the ball of web till it tickled Neo’s tonsils, before rapidly retrieving it. Neo woke, saw nothing, and quickly returned to sleep. As soon as the snoring resumed, Bejuss did it again, with the same result. The old bird kept it up, until eventually Neo turned on his side and peace reigned in the household.

At long last Bejuss returned to his cage after hiding the balled up spider web, with a look of deep satisfaction on his face. From now on whenever Neo snored, Bejuss merely had to repeat the process. Just one good night’s sleep was all he had ever asked for, and now he had the instrument to ensure nocturnal raven bliss forever more, safely stowed away in the rafter above Neo’s bed.

~~~

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Got to divert myself…

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…while waiting for sales of my latest novella – Autumn 1066 to pick up, if they ever do. I’ve decided to go ahead with the third edition of Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales. A task I’ve been putting off for ages…

As you can see I already have the new cover, family portrait and revised map, all created by a good friend of mine here in Beccles, Duncan Niall Boswell, featuring Glob and his brothers Make, Mous, Neo and Byz, not forgetting Glob’s old friend Bejuss, the one eyed lisping Raven with a twisted beak. In fact I’ve had them filed away for months on this laptop with the idea of one day creating a top quality third edition.

I’m in no hurry with the task ahead. Where before I would work to a deadline, often sacrificing quality merely to get another ebook out for the hungry market, as I did with the first two versions. Not this time round…

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     From left to right – Glob with Bejuss on his shoulder – lower left, Make –  left, Neo – centre, Mous –  right, and Byz – lower right.

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Reworking the anthology will take most of the rest of this year, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, tale by tale.

More later

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Announcing the release of Autumn 1066

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Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of  Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066.

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At long last my historical novella Autumn 1066 (paperback only) is now available for purchase.

Please take note of the following number:- ISBN-13: 978-1546685302.

First of all, may I suggest that you order your copy directly from CreateSpace by inserting the above ISBN number when looking for it. Ordering directly from the printer is by far the cheapest purchasing option.

I ordered six copies to give to my friends at US$2.15 each as opposed to US$5.38 each on Amazon US, and UK£4.17 on Amazon UK. The CreateSpace price for my latest book works out at roughly what you pay for the average ebook these days. Which makes it value for money, I’m sure you will agree…

Buying from CreateSpace is a no-brainer in my book!!!

Of course if money is no object, you can always order it from your nearest Amazon outlet. Here are the links for Amazon’s two main outlets:-

AmazonUS

AmazonUK

Unfortunately, the one thing you cannot do on CreateSpace is post a review. That can only be done at Amazon sites. Here’s hoping that you enjoy reading the novella. If that is the case, do please post a review on Amazon.

PS – Are you one of those strange individuals who do not believe in ordering anything online? In that case, write down the title and the above ISBN number together with CreateSpace’s link – https://www.createspace.com/. Then head off to your local bookshop armed with all the information, and tell them (don’t ask) to order a copy for you…

Enjoy…

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I just had to share this with you…

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Autumn 1066 isn’t even ready for publishing quite yet. But that didn’t stop one of its beta-readers Martin Bradley from feeling he had to not only write the pre-publication 10 – 12 word advertising review I asked for, but also a full length one.

Here is what he said:-

In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamours with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more.
~~~
If Martin’s reaction is any indication of how history buffs in general will hopefully receive it once its published. then maybe Autumn 1066 will become my magnum opus. Who knows?
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Here are all three of the pre-publication advertising reviews that will appear on the rear cover:-

The events are insightfully brought to life. Prepare to enter Dark Ages Britain . Andrew French, author of the Michael Prentiss series

A new look at a series of battles that changed Britain forever. Colin Noel-Johnson

Great sense of ‘place’. The reader is ‘there’, in that poignant year. Martin Bradley

 

I’ve just added the final elements to my historical novella before I sent it off to be professionally formatted, prior to publishing. Hopefully by the time the bill for the service arrives, PayPal will have stopped playing silly beggars. Some moron in Djakarta tried to gain entry into my account with them. Because I no longer have a telephone I had to email them. Nothing ever goes to plan does it? If it’s not one damned thing, it’s another.

PS – Grrr! It’s the following day and I’ve still heard nothing back from PayPal!!!

More later

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Now I wait…

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The weapons traditionally used by the Anglo-Saxons – the shield, the hafted axe, the double-edged Sweord, the single edged Scramasax and the spear

Well, I sent the text for my novella Autumn 1066 off to its beta-readers a couple of days ago.

In the process I picked up a third one – Martin Bradley, via ‘Writer’s Group’ on Facebook. When I told him that I was only planning to publish it as a paperback, he informed me that in that case he would not be able to read it. He has had books he bought and paid for, sent to him via the Royal Mail, go missing in the past. As a consequence he now only reads books in e-book form on his tablet. As I’m not publishing this one as an e-book, I decided to send him a read only .pdf copy of the text. That way, at least he could read it…

Now I wait to hear back from Martin, and Colin, not only for their comments, criticisms and suggestions, but also for their pre-publication reviews which I will insert inside the end product. Andrew got back to me yesterday in the affirmative. Now all I need from him is his 10-12 word pre-publication review. So, one almost down, two to go…

Chris The Story Reading Ape, bless his heart, sent me a link yesterday for an article in a historical magazine concerning the three battles in my book – Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings.

The day before yesterday, my mate Jamie came round to mow my lawns for me. After he had done, I gave him the text to read through. His reaction was also in the affirmative.

Yesterday I received an email from a chancer in the US of A (no names, no packdrill), purporting to offer his services as a beta-reader. Needless to say, if I smell a rat, in other words I don’t trust the individual concerned, he won’t become one, end of story…

More later

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I’m in a bit of a quandary at the moment…

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As far as I’m aware until I wrote Autumn1066 in 2017 no one else had ever written a book encompassing the three final battles, two of which were fought between the Anglo-Saxon nation and the Viking invasion force, led by Harald Sigurdsson, alias Hardradå – the battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge. Then just over a week later, the battle of Hastings when the force led by Duke William of Normandy, (also of Viking descent), finally ended Anglo-Saxon rule in 1066.

My extremely short novella Autumn 1066, is in essence a historical account of the last few weeks of England in the hands of the Anglo-Saxons. I compiled it from second-hand accounts written fifty years later in 1116 – chiefly The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, which at best can only be regarded as political spin by the religious community of the time, in an attempt to curry favour with the new masters of Britain, the Normans. Unfortunately there are no creditable eyewitness accounts to be had.

Now here’s my question – did I treat it as purely historical or not?

In several places I added small details to flesh out what I believe may have taken place from inferences made by those responsible for writing the accounts. When you read it, you can decide if I’ve taken liberties or not.

Meanwhile, I’m busy adding the involvement of the few fictional characters I’ve employed where relevant, as their involvement throughout is minimal.

When I hand it over to the two gentlemen who offered to be my beta-readers – Colin Noel-johnson and Andrew French, I’ve no doubt they will have something to say about whether or not they consider the fictional characters as being relevant. At the moment, I’m in two minds on the subject of their inclusion…

If anyone does know of any such book, apart from the one I’m currently writing, I would be most grateful if you could give me the title, and the name of its author. So far I only know of one extremely badly written book from back in the nineteen nineties. But that one only ever concerned the battle at Stamford Bridge…

More later

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Phase one ends. Now for phase two…

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A reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon hall

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Yesterday I completed the historical phase of my current WIP Autumn 1066. As I said earlier, I will now walk away from it for a week before I begin phase two, the fictional side of the story. As I also stated earlier, this will be a novella. Or to put it another way, an extremely short book. Having written the historical side of things, means that the first phase stands at slightly over 6,300, or thirty pages in the standard 5×8 paperback size.

Once I have completed phase two, I will offer its text to my beta readers, either as a read only .pdf, epub or .mobi file, for them to offer their thoughts and undoubted criticisms (everybody is a critic – right?) But, only on the condition that they agree to write a pre-publication review, which I will add to the finished product when I publish it as a paperback, always providing its favourable and short – ten words or less.

If any of you wish to become one of my beta readers, partaking in the privilege of being able to read it long before the general public, please email me at jackeason5@gmail.com after reading this post.

When I have completed the story I will then email a copy to anyone who has requested to be a beta-reader for this my latest WIP. Think of it as your one chance to not only read it for nothing, but also to participate in a new book’s evolution. Definitely something to brag about to your circle of family and friends.

PSPotential beta-readers please note that as its as historically accurate as is currently possible, given the paucity of actual facts available, means that phase one leaves no room for expansion, unlike the fictional side.

Remember this also – all favourable pre-publishing reviews accompanying any book, providing they bear the actual name of the person responsible for them and not a pseudonym, are what always convince others to read any book these days.

I hope to hear from some of you in the next few weeks while I’m busy writing phase two…

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Shock horror probe! I haven’t written anything for a whole…

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…until today that is.

Do I feel guilty? Not a bit of it! What I have been doing is more research into what happened on the journey south from Stamford in the East Riding of Yorkshire, first to London and then to Senlac hill for the Saxon’s final battle as England’s dominant nation. The battle later became known as the Battle of Hastings, even though it took place approximately seven miles northwest of the coastal town. It’s a sobering thought when you realise that the 13th of October 1066 was Saxon England’s last day. The following day, England had new Viking masters.

The ultimate irony is that after the battle, the British Isles were ruled by French speaking descendants of yet more Viking invaders, hell bent on taking our islands. They ruled for almost two centuries after the battle, starting with William, Duke of Normandy (William the bastard), descended from the first Viking ruler of Normandy – Rollo, from 1066 – 1087, through to Stephen of Blois 1135 – 1154.

So when will I write the third phase of my WIP Autumn 1066? I’ll begin on Monday morning, all things being equal. Once I’ve arrived at the end of the historical background story, I’ll take another short break before I begin to write the fictional one woven throughout the whole. The reason I’m taking my time with the historical background is simply to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. If I don’t, the slightest inaccuracy will stick out like a sore thumb to the anoraks, pedants and armchair critics of this world!

More later…

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