Tag Archives: novella

Review: ‘The Last Plantagenet?’ by Jennifer C Wilson

 

The Last Plantagenet?‘ begins with a reenactment at Nottingham Castle in 2011. Kate is enjoying the jousting when she is mysteriously transported to 1485 just prior to the Battle of Bosworth.

She quickly catches the eye of a certain Richard III so she not only has to traverse the intricacies of romance in the 15th Century but Kate must navigate this unexpected adventure without giving her peers reason to suspect her of witchcraft. 

The Last Plantagenet?‘ is an interesting take on the time-slip genre merged with historical fiction and romance. Combined with Jennifer C Wilson’s intricate historical knowledge and her passion for Richard III, ‘The Last Plantagenet?‘ is a fascinating romp in many senses of the word. 

The descriptions in the novella are thorough and ensure the reader can imagine a very vivid picture of the action. ‘The Last Plantagenet?‘ certainly gives an alternative depiction of Richard III to the one presented in popular culture, making him an unlikely sex symbol. 

Although not a history buff myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Jennifer C Wilson provides enough information to ensure that the story is accessible to those of us without her level of knowledge. ‘The Last Plantagenet?‘ is a fun and informative read.

Vic x

Guest Post: Jennifer C Wilson on ‘The Last Plantagenet?’

Today, my friend Jennifer C Wilson joins us on the blog to talk about her first foray into self-publishing with her upcoming novella ‘The Last Plantagenet?‘ which is available to pre-order now. 

Having the opportunity to edit this novella, I’ve had a sneak peak and I recommend that you seek it out immediately. 

Vic x

Hi Victoria, thanks for kindly asking me to visit your blog again today, for the launch of ‘The Last Plantagenet?‘, my new time-slip romance novella. As well as being my first foray into time-slip (and romance, for that matter), it’s also the first time I have self-published anything.

It’s been a nerve-racking experience, getting everything ready in time for my self-imposed publication date of 2nd October, to tie in with the birthday of my leading man, Richard III (obviously…). I’m really lucky to have had beautiful artwork, from Soqoqo Design, and of course your good self to review and edit the content, but I’ve still been having nightmarish visions of people opening the ebook on the morning, and finding blank pages, every other word missing: the usual frets!

But it’s still been fun, and definitely an experience I’m not afraid to repeat, if another idea strikes me.

The Last Plantagenet?‘ follows Kate, as she goes out for a relaxing day at a joust re-enactment at Nottingham Castle. All is well, until the rain starts. Here’s the opening scene, to whet your appetite…

2nd July 2011, Nottingham Castle

The fireplace hadn’t looked like a time-portal. Of all the things flying through Kate’s mind as she gazed around the chaos that was the medieval kitchen, that was the one that stood out.

It was meant to be just an ordinary Saturday. A blissful day, enjoying the pounding of hooves cantering around the grounds of Nottingham Castle. Kate had relaxed for once, watching a re-enactment of the Wars of the Roses, celebrating the town’s part in King Richard III’s fateful final few weeks, as he travelled to Leicester to meet Henry Tudor, and his fate at Bosworth. As an avid fan of the period, it was Kate’s perfect Saturday, watching the actors in their armour or fine costumes. She meandered between the stalls, ate her fill of food from the time, and absorbed the atmosphere, enjoying a break from the drudgery of real life. Now, full of roasted chicken and mulled wine, even in the middle of summer, Kate was casually forgetting the accounts she knew she had to settle when she returned to the office on Monday morning. So few of the re-enactments Kate had watched featured Richard III as the hero of their piece, and yet, here he was, taking centre stage, just where he belonged in Kate’s opinion. Too many documentaries, plays and other works cast him as an evil, power-grabbing, child-murdering maniac; today, he was just as she had always pictured him – a man doing his best, no worse than any other medieval monarch, who fell foul of Tudor propaganda. Kate had always supported the underdog, she thought as she wandered around the tents, and Richard was certainly that.

But then the rain started. A summer storm, Kate decided, ignoring the gathering clouds for as long as she could, but once the heavens opened, they refused to close, drenching everyone to the skin as they ran for cover. Ducking inside, Kate found herself standing in front of the former kitchen’s grand fireplace, flickering away with fake, LED flames, fake meat roasting on fake spits. A clap of thunder made Kate jump, causing her bag to slide off her shoulder and in amongst the ‘burning’ logs; she leant in to retrieve it, just at the moment the first bolt of lightning struck.

In a heartbeat, the world went black.

*

It’s been fun spending time with a version of Richard III who’s actually alive for a change, rather than a ghost. I’ll be having an online launch party on the evening of 2nd October to celebrate the release – visit my Facebook page for more details, and to get involved.

And now, it’s back to my ghosts, as I’m working on what I hope will at some point become the third Kindred Spirits novel, exploring the ghostly community of Westminster Abbey. With over three thousand people buried or commemorated in there, there’s a pretty large cast of characters to choose from!

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who spent much of her childhood stalking Mary, Queen of Scots (initially accidentally, but then with intention). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consulting since graduating. Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to develop her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. She is also part of The Next Page, running workshops and other literary events in North Tyneside.

Jennifer’s debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, was released by Crooked Cat Books in October 2015, with Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile following in June 2017. She can be found online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at The Next Page’s website. Her time-slip historical romance, The Last Plantagenet? is available for pre-order, and on sale from 2nd October 2017.

Review of 2015: Aidan Thorn

Aidan Thorn is reviewing his 2015 today. Aidan is getting a lot of kudos in the writing community at the moment so it’s great that he has taken the time to review his year.

Thanks for being involved, Aidan! 

Vic x

Aidan Thorn

2015 was a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

2015 really was a great year for me. It was a breakthrough year that saw me have two books published by two small press publishers that I really admire. In June my second short story collection, Urban Decay, was published by the boys behind Near to the Knuckle. I was delighted to be approached by them about publishing my collection. I always send my work to Darren Sant at NTTK before I submit it anywhere or publish it. Darren’s a safe pair of eyes, a writer I really respect. He went quiet for a while when I sent him the collection and then after a while I got an email asking what I thought about the NTTK boys publishing it… I thought great! At the time NTTK had published one book, the Gloves Off anthology and were about to publish their second anthology, Rogue, I was going to be the first author with his name on the cover that they published – what an honour. NTTK is really important to me, I’ve had loads of stories published on their webzine and I’ve been in both of their anthologies, so being the first author off the blocks with them was fantastic. The collection has been really well received, picking up a bunch of great reviews.

The second book I saw published this year was my novella, When the Music’s Over, by Number 13 Press. I started reading Number 13 Press books almost as soon as they came out and really loved what they were producing. I’ve found I have less and less time to read these days what with the pressures of work and my own writing. What Number 13 Press are producing are great novella length books of real quality. I was inspired, so I dusted off a novel I wrote a few years ago, chopped a load out of it, sharpened it up and now it’s out there and getting a great reaction. It’s been a real spur for me to kick on with my writing, because when I first touted that book around (at novel length) it got roundly rejected. Number 13 Press gave me a reason to revisit it and get it sharp and now it’s sat on Amazon and on people’s bookshelves with a bunch of five star reviews attached. It’s proven to me that I can do this writing thing and to never give up on the dream.

UD_Cover

And how about a favourite moment from 2015 generally?

My favourite moment of 2015 has to be holding that paperback copy of When the Music’s Over in my hand. I’m man enough to admit I shed a tear or two when that happened. I’ve put that book on my shelves right next to my writing hero George Pelecanos, one day I hope to meet him in the real world, but until then at least our books have met, and that’s a great feeling.

When the Music's Over

Favourite book in 2015? 

I’ve read a lot of good books this year, mostly novella’s and short story collections. I know I’m biased because I’m in it but the second NTTK anthology Rogue is a belter. Gareth Spark’s short story collection, Snake Farm is incredible (I was lucky enough to be asked to read an advance copy and give a quote for the inside cover – it’s kind of intimidating as a writer reading something by Gareth, the man is unparalleled in his talent). Novellas: A Killing Kiss by B R Stateham, White Knight by Bracken MacLeod, Knuckleball by Tom Pitts and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Nick Quantrill… Sorry I know that’s more than one book – but they’re all short!

Favourite film of 2015?

Legend – Tom Hardy is incredible as both Kray brothers.

Favourite song of the year?

Just one, um… Summertime Boy by Seasick Steve, I think… I’ll probably change my mind if I think about it too much.

Any downsides in 2015?

I’d have liked to write more, but wouldn’t we all? I can’t complain really. I had two books published and a bunch of shorts published at some of my favourite eZines and anthologies… Downsides? It rained more than I’d have liked.

Are you making resolutions for 2016?

I don’t make resolutions based on years. I don’t like to think of time passing based on years. If I want something to happen I’ll get started, I’m not someone that says, I’ll do this next year or this year. Crack on with what you want now is the way I approach things.

What are you hoping for from 2016?

2016 will be another big year for me. I’m putting together a charity anthology in support of Henrietta Furchtenicht. A lot of the writing community that I write in, the so called ‘gritty’ scene will know Henri, she’s top writer Craig Furchtenicht’s wife and she’s battling Myeloma. I’ve got to know her through Facebook over the past year and she’s an incredible woman, inspirational, funny and interesting. I’ve wanted to put together a collection of stories from some of my favourite writers for a while and so I thought why not make it a charity thing in support of Henri. Originally I’d intended to make it 8 to 10 writers but such is the love for Henri that nearly everyone I approached said yes, and those that didn’t only said no because they have huge commitments elsewhere. So, we’ve now got a book with over 20 writers onboard – great writers too… There’s a lot of work to do, but I can’t wait for the world to see this book, it should be out in the first quarter of 2016.

Other projects for 2016… I’m currently 13,000 words into a new novel (I’ve taken a break to write this blog piece) called, Killing in the Name of (I like my song titles as book titles). I’m also collaborating with a friend on a couple of children’s book ideas that we’re aiming to get out as soon as possible, but you’re unlikely to know that they’re from me as I’m not putting my name on the cover.

Kevin Bufton reviews his 2013.

By the power of the mighty Facebook, I’ve been introduced to lots more lovely people this year. Kevin Bufton is one of those people. I’ve invited him to review his 2013. So, sit back, eat some leftover turkey and sweets (not together, obviously) and see how 2013 has been for Kevin.

Vic x

Kevin Bufton

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

Without question, seeing the first reviews roll in for my debut novella ‘Cake‘, and my first short story collection, ‘Six of the Best: A Hellish Half-Dozen‘. It was great to have the books released, but to find out that people read them, and actually enjoyed them, well – it makes the long and lonely nights in front of the laptop worth it.

Cake

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

I think it’s safe to say that the Royal baby was barely a blip on my personal radar. That meteor exploding over Chelyabinsk in Russia was certainly an impressive spectacle, mostly because it looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I feel bad calling it a favourite moment when so many people were injured as a result, but it was a remarkable thing to see.

Favourite book in 2013?

This may seem like nepotism, as I’ve been pimping this one a lot on my blog, and on Facebook, but ‘Spirit Houses‘ by my good buddy Die Booth is easily my favourite read of 2013. It’s so unlike anything I’ve read before – it’s part Gothic, part fantasy, part weird fiction and part something else. It’s almost like a novel of a bygone age, and I mean that in the best possible sense. There’s something refreshing, yet wonderfully familiar in Die’s telling of the tale and, while I may have read books that were technically better written, none of them excited me the way ‘Spirit Houses’ did.

Favourite film of 2013?

You’re kidding, right? I’ve got two small kids – I don’t get to see films anymore. That said, I did pick up ‘Mama’ on DVD, and that was 2013. It was really good. I like films that try to creep me out, rather than just go for the jump scare. Last year’s ‘The Woman in Black’ was another fine example of that.

Favourite song of the year?

‘Bang Bang’ by will.i.am – not my usual cup of tea, I must admit, but I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I love the video too.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Reluctantly, I had to make the decision to close down my publishing house, Cruentus Libri Press, through whom I had released thirteen themed anthologies over the last eighteen months or so. The place will properly close its doors in February 2014, but the decision was made this year. Let anybody who thinks that publishing is an easy business to get into, in these days of ebooks and Print on Demand services take note, it’s not. It is hard. It takes over your whole life, and for very little financial return. There are perks, of course – I’ve made so many very good friends through the imprint that it more than makes up for the general drain of the work itself. In the end, I wasn’t put on this earth to be a publisher or an editor. I’m here to write – and the sacrifice had to be made.

Six of the best

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

No – I never do. Sure, I could stand to lose some weight, pack in smoking and get more reading done, but I know that if I make a resolution to do any of those things from January 1st, then I’d only end up giving them up again by two weeks into the New Year.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

That my writing career is a bit further along than it is at the end of 2013, just like this year I’m a bit further along than I was in 2012. My plan for the New Year is breathtaking in its simplicity. I am going to finish my first novel ‘Mr Twist’, I’m going to get it professionally proofread and edited, and then I’m going to submit it to an agent and, from there, to a publisher. No strings, no half measures and no fannying about – old school, baby.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

World peace… No, wait – a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and ‘Doctor Sleep’ by Stephen King.

Kevin G. Bufton is a father, husband and horror writer, in that approximate order, from Birkenhead on the Wirral. He has been writing short dark fiction since January 2009 and is currently working on his debut novel. He hopes, one day, to be able to scare people for a living. Check out his blog and Amazon Author Page.

Since Christmas is a time for giving, Kevin’s playing the role of Jolly Old St. Nick and giving away his debut novella ‘Cake’ and debut short fiction collection ‘Six of the Best: A Hellish-Half Dozen’ for free on Smashwords. Simply use the links below, copy-and-paste the relevant coupon code when you reach the checkout and BOOM – freebies for all. This offer is only good until New Year’s Day, when Kevin returns to his grumpy, curmudgeonly self (his words, not mine) but, in the meantime – Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘CAKE’ can be downloaded for free, with the following coupon code – ZH74Q https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328255 ‘SIX OF THE BEST: A HELLISH HALF-DOZEN’ can be downloaded for free, with the following coupon code – TZ97Z https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3625