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 ofย  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 UKยฃ4.17 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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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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At last I’ve got the historical characters almost sorted.

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As I’m now on the home stretch when it comes to the historical side of my current WIP Autumn 1066, I now have nearly all of the actual historical characters sorted. There may be one or two minor ones I’ve missed. Only further research on my part will determine that.

The whole story has led to one specific date in the history of my homeland, England. That date is October the fourteenth 1066, and the battle that determined our fate as a nation for many centuries afterwards. As I’ve mentioned previously (that’s if you have been bothering to read my past updates) it actually occurred seven miles northwest of the coastal town. Even so it is still referred to quite incorrectly by historians as the Battle of Hastings.

When I downed tools yesterday morning I had begun to assemble the players on both sides, led by Harold and William respectively, on the site in Sussex where it took place nine hundred and fifty-one years ago. This morning I begin writing about the battle itself, after I’ve posted this for you to read that is…

But what about your fictional characters, I hear the more inquisitive among you ask? You’ll just have to be patient won’t you. In other words wait until you get to read it for yourselves, when I publish it as a paperback.

Am I having fun with this one? Duh – what do you think? Of course I am. I can’t wait to begin the fictional side of the story. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

More later

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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 WIPย 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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How much artistic license do I employ?

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That is my current conundrum

I’m at the stage where I’ve begun writing about the second of the three battles in my latest historical adventure Autumn 1066.

While I have the facts, or should I say what is assumed to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I’ve mention previously, the only account was written by a scribe fifty years after the battle – someone who in no way could ever be classed as a reliable, let alone impartial eyewitness.

At best the facts are sparse. At worst, woefully inadequate. While the fate of the historical figures involved is largely accepted by historians, what isn’t known is the fate of the ordinary participants in the battle. Because of the lack of written documentation, I now have to use artistic licence to give a flavour of what I believe they went through. This is the time where I begin the story within the story. For it to work, both the fictional and the historical stories must now blend into one, yet be separate in my mind as I write.

Surely that is a given I hear you smugly cry. I agree – it is. But, and its a big but, what I must be careful about is that the inner story does not wind up taking over at the expense of the historical. That is not so easy to do, and will require a lot of discipline on my part.

Why did I choose to wait until the second battle? In truth I don’t know. Except, the first battle occurred before my fictional characters enter into the story proper. Maybe once I’ve reached the conclusion of the first draft, that may change.

Well I’ve got a battle to write. More later

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Employing new characters

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To my fellow writers I do apologize for what I’m about to say. But for the sake of the non writers among you it needs to be said, if only to confirm your thoughts (if you had any that is) on the subject of fictional characters.

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If there is one thing all writers love to do, it’s to come up with characters specific to their book’s needs, as and when required. In my latest work in progress, the historical adventure Autumn 1066, I have a mix of characters from the historical events that actually occurred, together with fictional ones.

While once again working my way through what I’ve written so far, the one type of fictional character I didn’t have need of until now was a villain, or in this case a pair of them. So its time to add a scheming priest and a wolf-coat to the mix. If you want to know what a wolf-coat is, I’m not about to explain it to you here. Instead I suggest you look it up. Whether or not you the readers think they are the type of individuals I’m suggesting here, is entirely up to you to decide.

I have yet to decide whether or not either of them will survive. Because they’re fictional, only the storyline will determine their ultimate fate…

What you have to remember is that when writing any story, the author has the ultimate power of life and death over his or her characters. We determine our character’s fate, who they are and their purpose for being. Regarding the two new characters, like all of my other fictional characters in the book, their part will gradually unfold as the story progresses. And before you ask – no I’m not going to reveal what I have in store for either of them, nor for that matter will I divulge anything about any of the other fictional characters. In other words – THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS.

On a more serious note, the one thing I must not change in the book, no matter how tempting it might be, is to alter what actually happened to the historical characters. To do so would be foolish in the extreme.

The time for all of you to find out what happens will be when you purchase a copy and read it for yourselves.

I’ve decided that this book will initially be published as a paperback. Why? Read Derek Haines’ blog post for an explanation of the subject here.

To give any new work of fiction a fighting chance, means that those who normally harshly criticize any book that appears solely in ebook form, must initially be denied the chance. As Derek says, a paperback version of any new book always stands a far better chance of gaining favourable reviews. When the time comes to publish the ebook version, they can always be included as a promotional tool. After that, what the trolls say about the ebook version will be seen as nothing more than sour grapes on their part by the general public.

Well, If you will excuse me, the story won’t write itself you know…

More later

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Research phase over

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At long last I’ve completed my research of all the available sources, both the highly questionable historical accounts as well as the utterly fanciful for my latest adventure story. Because of it, I’ve compiled the background of the story (slightly over four thousand words), in preparation for when I begin writing from the point of view of the characters.

Once again I’m mentally exhausted (brain-fade). So I need to take a break for a couple of days. But very soon I’ll begin writing what at this moment in time I still believe will be a long short story (novelette). However when inspiration inevitability makes it its presence felt, the story may expand to a novella or even a full length novel. I have also decided who the fictional characters will be in the story, not forgetting their nationalities nor their personal traits, their likes and dislikes.

I can now reveal what the story will be about. It concerns the short time period of barely a month in the autumn of 1066, when three decisive battles occurred in quick succession, culminating in the defeat of Saxon England by Duke William of Normandy’s army, and the Saxon king Harold Godwinson’s death, where Battle Abbey now stands, close to the town of Hastings on England’s south-east coast.

PS – I’ve also decided on the story’s title – Autumn 1066, short, sweet and to the point.

More later.

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