Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Book Spotlight: Beware the Lizard Lurking (The House of the Red Duke) by Vivienne Brereton


1513. A secret Twelfth Night wedding is about to take place on Saint Michael’s Mount, at the furthermost point of Tudor Cornwall. Far from the glittering Christmas court at Greenwich. Heads will surely roll if Henry VIII discovers the deception!

But there is an unexpected twist to the tale when uninvited guests appear at the Castle.

The King is hellbent on a so-called holy war with France, against the advice of his Lord Treasurer, Thomas Howard. Putting him at odds with his normally affable Scottish brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland.

On the other hand, the King’s almoner, Thomas Wolsey, (who has become a thorn in Thomas’s side) is very much in favour of the war as he contentedly watches his star rising at the Tudor court.


Vivienne Brereton

Born in historic Winchester, England, Vivienne has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in Medieval History and a growing desire to write a historical novel. Words have always played an important part in her life, whether writing, editing, teaching English, or just picking up a good book.

In preparation for her Tudor series, she did an enormous amount of research: reading, visiting historic buildings, art galleries, with the odd joust or two thrown in! She even mastered several Tudor recipes which are included in her novel. Seeing 'A Phoenix Rising', Book One of 'The House of the Red Duke' in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her. She hopes that anyone reading it will enjoy the end result as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Connect with Vivienne

Website   Twitter



Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Book Spotlight: A Phoenix Rising (The House of the Red Duke) by Vivienne Brereton


1497. Daring to defy a Tudor king is pure folly! She’s the daughter of a lord in rebellious Cornwall. He’s the son of a disgraced earl recently released from the Tower of London. Determined to make the Howard family great again. Can their secret love survive against such odds?

And so the story begins….

Meet the Howards. Thomas is the Earl of Surrey. Soldier. Statesman. Courtier. Head of one of the most powerful families in England. A keeper of secrets hidden behind castle walls. Heady places of ambition, intrigue, and lovers’ trysts.

Be dazzled by the dancing, drama, and display in Tudor England, Stewart Scotland, Valois France, and The Habsburg Empire.


Vivienne Brereton

Born in historic Winchester, England, Vivienne has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in Medieval History and a growing desire to write a historical novel. Words have always played an important part in her life, whether writing, editing, teaching English, or just picking up a good book.

In preparation for her Tudor series, she did an enormous amount of research: reading, visiting historic buildings, art galleries, with the odd joust or two thrown in! She even mastered several Tudor recipes which are included in her novel. Seeing 'A Phoenix Rising', Book One of 'The House of the Red Duke' in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her. She hopes that anyone reading it will enjoy the end result as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Connect with Vivienne

Website    Twitter


Friday, December 17, 2021

Smashwords End of Year Sale December 17, 2021 - January 1, 2022 - Exclusive deals on Indie Books

Award-winning author, Mary Ann Bernal, is participating in the Smashwords End of Year Sale
 (December 17, 2021 – January 1, 2022) 

  View Mary Ann's Smashwords profile page  HERE.

 Something for everyone by multi-genre author, Mary Ann Bernal.

The Briton and the Dane series - an action and adventure drama set in Dark Ages England when the Vikings terrorized the civilized world. A historical fiction romance collection featuring Concordia, a coming-of-age escapade, and Timeline, a fantasy time travel love story transcending time.

Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire - a science fiction/fantasy romantic adventure.

Crusader's Path - a historical fiction romance adventure set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Forgiving Nero - a Historical Biographical Fiction novel set in Ancient Rome when Emperor Nero ruled the Roman Empire.

Scribbler Tales - a multi-genre collection of short stories whose genres include the paranormal, action and adventure, mystery and thrillers, fantasy, romance, drama, and suspense. A single-author contemporary fiction anthology.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Forgiving Nero by Mary Ann Bernal featured in Reader Views December Book Giveaway!

Gold Medal
The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year
Historical Fiction Book of the Year
The Ancient World

Playing out much like the Greek tragedies Nero enjoyed acting in! -- Reader Views

Reader Views
Happy December! We're celebrating by giving away 40 copies of books by some amazing indie authors! Show your support - enter for a chance to win one of these fabulous titles!

Click HERE to enter.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Forgiving Nero - Gold Medal - The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year - Historical Fiction Book of the Year - Ancient World


Gold Medal
Historical Fiction Book of the Year
The Ancient World

Rome. The jewel of the civilized world is no longer what it was. Strength has failed the Senate. Her legions are in disarray, and the Empire has fallen into Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero’s hands. His reign begins under a cloud of scrutiny, for he is the depraved Emperor Caligula’s nephew. Nero is determined to overcome that stigma and carve a name of his own. One worthy of Rome’s illustrious history.

Politics and treachery threaten to end Nero’s reign before it begins, forcing him to turn to unexpected sources for friendship and help. Many of the Praetorian Guard have watched over Nero since he was a small child, and it is in Traian that the young Emperor places his trust, despite the inherent threat of reducing his mother’s influence. Traian is the father he never had and the one man who does not judge him.

When Traian secretly marries the hostage Vena, it sets in motion a collision of values as Traian comes to odds with his former charge. The whirlwind that follows will shake the very foundations of the greatest Empire the world has ever known, and survival is far from guaranteed.

Reader Views

Playing out much like the Greek tragedies Nero enjoyed acting in!

The writing flows effortlessly between the viewpoints of each of the characters, telling a clear narrative that is easy to follow and rather difficult to put down.

If you love Roman history, this book should delight you. Although Nero's and his family's wickedness is not sugarcoated, it is not described in a way that is lewd or gratifying.

The author does an excellent job remaining neutral and presenting each viewpoint factually and without bias. Therefore, regardless of your personal beliefs, you should be able to enjoy this book and make your own conclusions without feeling led to view Nero one way or the other.

The Coffee Pot Book Club

“This story demanded all of my attention from beginning to end. The narrative was utterly enthralling, and Bernal told Nero’s story with a keen understanding of what makes history worth reading. Bernal has brought Nero back to life, and she has explored that life with a profound sweep and brilliance…”

Nero is one of the infamous emperors whose history has been dictated by those who wanted to see his downfall. History, after all, is not written by the loser. Bernal does not pretend that Nero was a beloved emperor, but nor does she make him quite as monstrous as we have all been led to believe.


Universal Link

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Sunday, December 5, 2021

NEW RELEASE - Pride, Prejudice, and Peril by Katie Oliver

 Phaedra Brighton is perfectly content with her life of lecturing college students, gossiping with her best friends, and dreaming of Mr. Darcy. As a young, respected (if somewhat peculiar) English professor, her expertise lies in all things Jane Austen—but she knows that the closest she’ll ever get to being a real-life Elizabeth Bennet is in her dreams.

When Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy, a new reality TV show, starts filming at her best friend Charlene’s estate, Phaedra is intrigued. And when the producer asks her to lend her Austenian knowledge as a consultant on the show, she’s over the moon. But on the first day of filming, when Charlene’s new husband is found electrocuted and Charlene herself is accused of the crime, Phaedra comes crashing back to reality.

With murder on the syllabus and her best friend in dire straits, there’s no Mr. Darcy around to help Phaedra—she’ll have to get to the bottom of this mystery herself. 


“Like a modern-day Agatha Christie bestowed with a hefty dollop of Jane Austen.”Laura Childs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jane Austen meets reality TV and murder in this quirky cozy mystery—the first in a new series!

To purchase, click HERE.

Katie Oliver

My name is Katie Oliver. I’ve been writing for several years but I’m brand new to the cozy mystery genre. I’m the author of the Dating Mr. Darcy and Marrying Mr. Darcy series. Last year I decided to switch things up and wrote a cozy mystery. The result, the first book in my Jane Austen Tea Society Mystery series, Pride, Prejudice, and Peril, was published by Berkley in December 2021.

I live in South Florida along with my husband and an ever-growing stack of cozy mysteries waiting to be read.

You can learn more about me and my books at Katie or Penguin Random House, and on Twitter  @Katieoliver01, Instagram,  or Facebook KatieOliverWriter.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: Glass Ornament Christmas by Cheryl A. Hunter

This year, Christmastide will be extra special for glassblower Shayla Toselli who lives in Canterbury Corner, England. The town square will have its first electrically lit tree, and she has been commissioned to create delicate glass ornaments for the new Duke’s Christmas Eve ball. One morning, the Duke’s youngest brother, Adam Preston, finds himself in the Toselli glass factory. He is fascinated with glass blowing and with Shayla. The temperature in the workshop heats up in more ways than one as the unlikely pair works together in the days leading up to the ball. This will certainly be a Christmastide to remember.


Buy Links:

 Available on KindleUnlimited.

 Universal Link

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A half-hour later, Sarah had several packages, and Shayla only had a small bag of candy. “You have not seen anything you like as of yet?” Sarah asked in an exasperated tone.

Shayla shook her head. “Not yet.” They entered the shop that still displayed the lavender gown in the window. She liked the merchandise in that shop, and Shayla tried on a dark navy skirt and a floral silk blouse with long sleeves and a scoop neckline. She stood in front of the cheval glass and looked at her reflection.

“That is a good color for you,” Sarah commented as she turned to look at herself in the glass. She glanced over at Shayla. “The skirt is not very full though.”

“I prefer the newer more streamlined style, but I am not sure I need this outfit.”

Sarah laughed. “Shopping is not about necessity. It is about getting something pretty.”

Shayla could not help but laugh at that. “This is pretty, and Papa said I should get something.”

“I like it, but it is not dance-worthy,” Sarah replied.

Shayla moved back and forth as she looked at her reflection. “I have a birthday next week. I could wear it then, and it is fine for the tree lighting festival.”

Sarah shook her head. “It is not sexy enough for a dance. You need something that shows off your figure and bosom.”

 Sarah!” Shayla laughed.

 “Well, why not? You are thin and have a good figure. You eat everything, and I wish I could eat as much as you and still be thin.”

They made their purchases and were laughing and talking when they exited the shop, turned the corner, and saw Adam and another man. The two men crossed the street and walked toward Shayla and Sarah. Shayla felt her heart beating faster as she watched Adam walking toward her.

Miss Toselli, Miss Williams,” Adam said with a low bow. Shayla sighed. Of course, he would be very formal.

She almost retorted and called him Adam, but she decided to play along. “Captain Preston. So nice to see you.” She and Sarah curtsied.

Adam smiled. He recognized Shayla’s sarcasm. “Miss Toselli, and Miss Williams, may I present Captain Shawn Atkinson.”

Captain Atkinson bowed low. “Ladies, it is indeed a pleasure to meet you both.” They responded by curtsying to him. Sarah giggled softly, and Adam chuckled to himself when he heard Shayla’s sigh of annoyance. He knew she preferred informality, but a little formality was fun and besides necessary and expected on a public street.

“Shopping this fine afternoon?” Adam inquired with a nod to the packages they carried.

“Oh yes,” Sarah replied eagerly in a high pitched excited voice. “Christmastide is approaching. Will you be attending the town’s Christmas tree lighting festival this year, Captains?”

“Regrettably, I must return to London before then,” Captain Atkinson replied.

“And you Captain Preston? The whole town is very excited. Duke Wellshore said the tree will be lit with electric lights this year instead of candles,” Sarah sounded excited.

Adam smiled at Shayla. “Will you be attending the festival, Miss Toselli?”

“I have not yet decided,” she replied quickly.

Adam fixed Shayla with a stare. He wanted to ask her to save him a dance, but they had just pretended to be interested in one another at his sister-in-law’s charity party. She might think this was a continuation of the pact they made. He knew he should tell Shayla how he felt about her. He hoped she felt the same way about him. They got along superbly. They talked while they worked and at lunch. They sometimes took walks, and when they danced, he felt that Shayla enjoyed his company and being held in his arms. But he also saw the turmoil in her eyes. Either she did not know how she felt about him, or she was conflicted in her feelings. He laughed to himself. He was sure it was part attraction and part annoyance.

Shayla was the first to break eye contact. “Well, we should continue our shopping, gentlemen.”

Captain Atkinson bowed again. “Lovely to make your acquaintance, Miss Toselli, Miss Williams.”

Adam bowed. “Ladies, enjoy this glorious afternoon.” He looked at Shayla then picked up her hand and kissed it. “Miss Toselli, a great pleasure to see you as always.” Shayla stood staring at him. She was at a loss for words. He smiled at her lack of response and released her hand.

“Good day ladies,” he tipped his hat as he and Shawn walked toward the pub. Shayla stood glued to the spot and watched them walk away. Her hand remained held up in front of her. She still felt the touch of Adam’s lips on her fingers. It sent tingles up her spine. Her eyes were slightly dazed, but then they hardened over. What was his game? she thought to herself.


Cheryl A. Hunter is an author and artist. Her books span multiple genres including historical fiction, contemporary fiction, paranormal fantasy, and nonfiction. Cheryl is also an artist who works in glass, ink and watercolor, and photography. When she is not writing, taking pictures, or creating glass art, she loves to travel. Her interest in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures has taken her to many Archeological sites and museums in several countries.

 Social Media Links:

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: The Castilian Pomegranate (The Castilian Saga, Book 2) by Anna Belfrage


An enraged and grieving queen commands them to retrieve her exquisite jewel and abandon their foundling brat overseas—or never return.

Robert FitzStephan and his wife, Noor, have been temporarily exiled. Officially, they are to travel to the courts of Aragon and Castile as emissaries of Queen Eleanor of England. Unofficially, the queen demands two things: that they abandon Lionel, their foster son, in foreign lands and that they bring back a precious jewel the Castilian Pomegranate.

Noor would rather chop off a foot than leave Lionel in a foreign land—especially as hes been entrusted to her by his dead father, the last true Prince of Wales. And as to the jewel, stealing it would mean immediate execution. . .

Spain in 1285 is a complicated place. France has launched a crusade against Aragon and soon enough Robert is embroiled in the conflict, standing side by side with their Aragonese hosts.

Once in Castile, it is the fearsome Moors that must be fought, with Robert facing weeks separated from his young wife, a wife who is enthralled by the Castilian court—and a particular Castilian gallant.

Jealousy, betrayal, and a thirst for revenge plunge Noor and Robert into life-threatening danger.

Will they emerge unscathed or will savage but beautiful Castile leave them permanently scarred and damaged? 

Trigger Warnings:

Sexual content, violence


Buy Links:


This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited

 Universal Link

 ¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´


In which the proud French are obliged to crawl at the feet of King Pedro of Aragon

Two days later, a company of men came riding towards Pedro’s camp, a white banner flying aloft.

“If it isn’t my favourite nephew himself,” Pedro muttered, his eyes narrowing as he studied the Frenchmen. “As always, dressed to his teeth.”

Philippe was indeed a sight for sore eyes, looking as if he’d recently emerged from a bathhouse, not a war camp. In green and blue silk, a mantle in a darker blue hue edged with ermine, and his long hair loose and adorned with a thin gold circlet, he came striding towards the royal tent at such speed the fabric of his garments billowed around him.

Uncle,” he began, walking towards Pedro with his arms outstretched, but he was rudely interrupted by the man-at-arms who stepped right into his path.

“Do not come here and claim ties of kinship,” Pedro warned, nodding at the man-at-arms to allow Philippe to approach. “I am not your uncle. I am the righteously incensed king come face-to-face with a would-be invader.”

To his credit, Philippe did not argue. Instead, he bowed deeply. “I am here as a representative of King Philippe, third of that name.” As he rose, he surveyed the men present, his gaze snagging on Robert. “You!” he exclaimed.

In response, Robert offered him a formal bow.

“Ah yes,” King Pedro said. “You have already met Robert FitzStephan, emissary and trusted captain of King Edward of England.”

Philippe blanched. “Emissary?” His tongue darted out to lick his lips.

Indeed,” Pedro said drily. “I fear he will not be much impressed by how the French have treated him.”

“I . . . well . . . he didn’t—”

“I did,” Robert interrupted. “I made it quite clear I was here on behalf of my king.”

Pedro tut-tutted. “Really, Philippe, to lay hands on a man travelling with safe-conducts and abuse him so. Foolish, I say. Very foolish.” He sat down in one of the ornate armchairs and tucked a cushion behind his back.

The handsome lad flushed. “I am here to talk of other matters,” he said stiffly.

“Ah yes, your unconditional surrender,” Pedro said.

Surrender?” Philippe straightened up and glared at his uncle. They were remarkably alike, these two men, with reddish-golden hair, light eyes, and cheekbones so defined it gave them both an eerie likeness to a bird of prey. “I come to negotiate a retreat.”

Pedro’s brows rose, but he held his tongue.

Philippe shifted under his weighty stare. “We will leave your lands immediately.”

“I think not.” Pedro gestured for one of his pages to serve him some more wine.

“They’re all ailing!” Philippe exclaimed. “My father, my brother—”

“The little usurper?” Pedro asked. “Well, well. It seems God smites some down immediately, hey?”

“My father,” Philippe began but had to stop when his voice broke. He took a couple of deep breaths. “The king of France hovers at death’s door,” he said. “A compassionate king would give him safe passage to his own lands, away from here.”

“I did not invite him,” Pedro said. “And I cannot help but wonder if he would have offered me the same consideration had our roles been reversed.” He lifted his goblet, took his time sipping at his wine. Philippe remained on his feet—after all, King Pedro had not invited him to sit—and it clearly irked him to stand like a penitent before his uncle, light eyes shooting daggers as the king of Aragon focused on his beverage rather than on him. “What do you think?” Pedro asked, directing himself to Robert.

“Me, my lord?”

“Yes. What would your lord and king do in a situation such as this?”

“Ah.” Robert thought about that. “Well, he would not let an invading army leave without teaching them a lesson.”

“No, I thought as much.” Pedro took another sip, his green eyes never leaving his nephew. “I will grant a safe conduct for your father, your brother, and yourself. After all, we are family—of sorts. But your men . . .” He shook his head. “They stay.”

Philippe blinked. Blinked again. “What is it you are saying? That we abandon our men?”

“Well, you can always choose to stay here with them,” Pedro said. “But if you wish to leave, you do so without them.”

“But . . .” Philippe licked his lips. “It would dishonour us to do so.”

“Dishonour?” Pedro’s voice rose. “I would say you dishonoured yourself the moment you set out to steal my kingdom!” He shrugged. “Besides, as I hear it, they go to meet their maker anyway. I will but hasten their journey.” From Philippe came something that sounded like a croak. Pedro nodded, no more. “Oh yes, either they die of the bloody flux or by our swords, but they will die.” He leaned forward. “And let us not forget who is to blame for all those dead men: you, the French. The innocents in Roussillon, my brave people of Girona and now your soldiers. They die in pain; they die in squalor. A sign of God’s displeasure, would you not agree?”

God?” Philippe’s beautiful mouth twisted. “God has nothing to do with this venture. This is a power-hungry pope whispering seductively in the ear of a king.”

“More fool him to listen,” Pedro said.

“Please,” Philippe said, and to Robert’s surprise, the proud prince knelt before his uncle. “Please let us leave. All of us.”

No.” Pedro stood, towering over his nephew. “I will give your father, your brother, yourself, and a selected group of followers—three score at most—permission to leave. But only if you swear a holy oath that France will never again raise arms against Aragon.”

Philippe had tears in his eyes. “Three score? But that—”

Pedro waved him silent. “That is my only offer. Take it, or prepare to die with your ailing men.”

The French prince bowed his head, studying his hands intently. “I take it,” he finally said. “May God forgive me, but I take it.” He lifted his head, and his eyes blazed. “Never again will a French king be led by his nose by a pope. Never.”

“Sounds wise,” Pedro said. “It is my experience the pope has more interest in expanding his power than he has in caring for the souls of his huge flock.”

Philippe made as if to rise, but Pedro set a hand to his shoulder. “Your oath.”


Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time-traveling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. 

Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.

The Castilian Pomegranate is the second in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain, a world of intrigue and back-stabbing.

Her most recent release prior to The Castilian Pomegranate is The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode!

All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver, and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Spotlight on Helen Hollick, author of A Mystery of Murder (Jan Christopher Mysteries, Episode 2)


‘Had I known what was to happen soon after we arrived at Mr and Mrs Walker’s lovely old West Country house, my apprehension about spending Christmas in Devon would have dwindled to nothing.’

Library Assistant Jan Christopher is to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, DS Laurie Walker, and his family, but when a murder is discovered, followed by a not very accidental accident, the traditional Christmas spirit is somewhat marred...

What happened to Laurie’s ex-girlfriend? Where is the vicar’s wife? Who took those old photographs? And will the farmer up the lane ever mend those broken fences?

Set in 1971, this is the second Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery. Join her (and an owl and a teddy bear) in Devon for a Christmas to remember.

Will the discovery of a murder spoil Christmas for Jan Christopher and her boyfriend DS Laurie Walker – or will it bring them closer together?


 Buy Links:

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Read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.


 ¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´

 Helen Hollick

Fun Facts

(Stuff you may or may not already know!)

 I moved away with my family (and two horses, two cats, and a dog) from London in January 2013 (in a snowstorm!) We had won the UK Lottery Raffle on the opening night of the London 2012 Olympics, so we bought an 18th century North Devon farmhouse. Very much a life-changing win!

We have several ‘guests’ in our old house – by guests I mean ghosts! They are all very friendly and look after the house and us. We’ve a maid, a dairyman the Master, an 18th/19th century equivalent of the postman... a young boy. Oh, and my daughter’s seen a sabre-tooth tiger in our woods!

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Many of the anecdotes that are in the first Jan Christopher Mystery (A Mirror Murder) actually happened, taken from my years of working in a public library. Like the boy who asked for a book about Copper Knickers (no spoilers – you’ll have to read the book to find out what he really meant!)

South Chingford Library Photo © A Morton

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In A Mystery of Murder, my leading lady, Jan Christopher, wears a grey furry hat that looks more like a curled-up cat than a hat. I always wear hats. Apart from the fact that I like hats, I have to wear a hat with a brim because I am visually impaired and a brim helps keep too much light from my eyes. For book-related events, I wear my ‘Facebook’ hat (the one in my picture herewith!) I have, on three occasions now, been recognised because of this hat. It’s a sobering thought when your hat is more famous than you are.

¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´

I was accepted for publication by William Heinemann (Random House UK) back in 1993, a week after my 40th birthday. They wanted Sharon K Penman, but she was contracted elsewhere. My agent back then, who represented us both, mentioned that I was Sharon’s protégé – I was signed up for my Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner trilogy.  Since then, I’ve moved to being an Indie author, it’s good to have personal control over your books.


 Helen Hollick

Helen Hollick and her family moved from northeast London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through being a ‘victim’ on BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show. The thirteen-acre property was the first one she was shown – and it was love at first sight. She enjoys her new rural life and has a variety of animals on the farm, including Exmoor ponies and her daughter’s string of show jumpers.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Despite being impaired by the visual disorder of Glaucoma, she is also branching out into the quick read novella, 'Cosy Mystery' genre with the Jan Christopher Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working for thirteen years as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, a news, and events blog for her village and the Community Shop, assists as ‘secretary for the day’ at her daughter’s regular showjumping shows – and occasionally gets time to write...

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