Historical Fiction Cover Winner January 2017

Didn’t win but check it out anyway!

Vintage Treasures

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. For me, the cover has to look professional and must convey genre and a hint of what the story is about.

Each month I will be taking a look at historical fiction covers and choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’ for the month. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

My first winner is The White Camellia, by Juliet Greenwood. When this cover landed in my inbox, I knew immediately it would be one of my top picks. The image is beautiful, romantic and delicate. If I saw this in a shop I would…

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Blood of the Wolf now on Audible and an extract from my brand new series!

Audiobook fans rejoice (or just mumble “woohoo” if you prefer)

The fourth and final Forest Lord novel, Blood of the Wolf, is now available as an audiobook from Audible and, I believe, iTunes. Read, as always, by Nick Ellsworth it clocks in at 12 hours, being the longest book so far by a fair margin.

Click on this link to go to your own country’s Amazon page or just use your Audible account to find it in the store.
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On another note, I have finished the first draft of my final Forest Lord novella – The Abbey of Death starring Will Scarlet. Look out for that around March/April with a cover reveal very soon. This will be the last book featuring the Robin Hood characters so it will be an interesting time for me.

Up next is my brand new historical fiction series, set in 5th century Britain, with the first book tentatively titled “The Druid” since it’s about, yes, you guessed it, a druid! I started writing it yesterday and it was so much fun to be creating an entirely new character after four or five years with Robin, John, Tuck etc. Very exciting indeed!
Here’s a short, unedited, extract, I hope you enjoy it. All being well this book will be out this year but I need to make certain it’s perfect as the first book in a series is the all-important foundation the whole thing rests upon. It will be worth it though, I’m sure…

As ever, please comment below and SHARE using the buttons for Facebook, Twitter etc etc!
Cheers!
Steven

Bellicus regained his stool which groaned under his weight as he relaxed, tearing off a piece of bread from the fresh loaf on the trencher before him and chewing thoughtfully as his light-blue eyes scanned the long hall, taking in everything and everyone. He had a special talent for understanding people. For accurately judging a man’s character from just his facial features and the way he carried himself.

His intuition was greatly valued by Coroticus and it had led to the young druid’s newly elevated position as the king’s personal advisor.

“Who better to have at your side,” Coroticus had smiled, “than a giant druid who can read a man’s intentions in an instant and fight like a centurion?”

Bellicus felt a warm glow, from pride at the remembered praise as much as from the beer which he raised now to his lips and sipped appreciatively.

It was true, he was a fine judge of character – a gift from the Gods which he couldn’t really explain himself. His martial prowess though – that was mostly down to hard work and the finest teacher this side of either of the Romans’ ridiculous walls.

Being taller than any other man he’d ever met was also helpful when it came to a fight although, as a druid, he wasn’t expected to form part of his lord’s shieldwall. That hadn’t stopped him trying it a handful of times though. The first time had almost turned his bowels to water but he forced himself to go through it again, and again, until one day he’d found himself nervous, rather than terrified, as he and his comrades faced down the charge of two-dozen Saxon marauders from the south-east.

After that, he’d given up the shieldwall. He’d conquered his fears and it had served its purpose.

Q&A with author Andrew Q. Gordon

I was contacted recently about hosting a guest post by law-enforcement official and writer Andrew Q. Gordon, author of fantasy and paranormal books like Purpose and Kings of Lore and Legend. Below is a Q&A with Andrew, I hope you take a look and enjoy it as much as I did! I’m filling in a similar Q&A that will be hosted on his website so look out for that in the very near future.

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  1. Welcome Andrew. Since this is your first time to the Steven A. McKay blog, tell the audience a bit about yourself.

You’d think doing this since kindergarten I’d have a pat answer at the ready, but it hasn’t gotten any easier in the decades since. My husband and I have been together 22 years and married for 3. Our daughter is 5. During the day I work in law enforcement (think the suit half of Law and Order.) I love baseball and am trying to teach my daughter the game by taking her to see the minor league team in our area. I’m also a life long soccer fan—I’ve played since I was 8, refereed since I was 25 and more recently started to coach.

Fantasy and sci-fi—books, movies, comics etc.—are my genre of choice, but I do like historical entertainment as well. Wine more than beer, whiskey over scotch, and coffee not tea. I’m a bit of a tech junkie but more of a second follower than a first adopter.

  1. How long have you been writing?

    I started writing in college. I gave it up when I went to law school. Started again by taking a writing course when I got my first job. Gave it up again when my husband and I moved. Took it up again about ten years ago by reconnecting with my writing teacher and have been going strong ever since.

  2. What was the first story you wrote?

    It was a dreadful fantasy story back in high school. After several years of English and writing courses in college, I wrote a much better one for a writing class. It was written on yellow legal pads and took forever to type using a correctible type writer.

  1. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Typing “The End.”

Okay, so not really. I enjoy figuring out my characters and what are they like. Sometimes they are Athena, born fully formed from the mind of Zeus, others they are Darwin and take years to evolve. Finding what makes them tick, their quirks, and how they react to things is the fun part of writing. It’s like meeting new people and since I’m immersed in their development and their lives, they take on an almost best friend like quality.

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  1. What is your least favorite part?

I probably should say edits, but that isn’t really true. Rules. Specifically, following them. Use active not passive; don’t use autonomous body parts (I didn’t even know there was such a thing); avoid simultaneous actions; watch out for unintended perspective shifts. Yeah, I get it, doing all that stuff is detrimental to good writing, but why can’t it be easier?

  1. Tell the readers something interesting that isn’t in your bio?

    Not sure if this is interesting or not, but I have a collection of inexpensive yet very old books. My grandfather (for whom I am named after in real life) never went beyond 6th grade. He was the oldest of eight and he had to leave school and go to work in my great grandfather’s bakery to help support them. Despite that, he felt it was very important to keep learning. He used to go to yard sales and buy books so he could read them. He also never threw them out. When he died, he left me his books. Many of them were the equivalent of mass market paperbacks, many are not in good shape, but most are at least a hundred years old. They are in my home office in a hundred year old barrister bookcase.

  2. What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?

    I really like Greenwode, by J Tullos Hennig. It retells the Robin Hood vs. Guy of Gisborne tale with a twist. The old ways – druids and the like – haven’t been entirely stamped out and Robin is the new leader of those who follow the old ways. It’s really a well written and interesting take on the legend.

  3. If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

    Part of me wants to say J. R. R. Tolkein as he was my first favorite author, but I think if I only got one bite, it would be Roger Zelazny. There is a ton of information available on Tolkien, but Zelazny is really only well know among fantasy readers. Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles, specifically the first five that tell Corwin’s story, are wonderful. What I really loved about the entire series is how when they were written affect some of their content. The first five were influenced by the Sixties and Seventies. The second group, that tell Merlin’s story, was started in the Eighties, after the computer age started to take hold. Getting a chance to have coffee or a beer with Roger would be amazing.

  4. What’s a fun – non-writing – day for you?

Spending time with my daughter. It’s a cliché, but kids do grow up fast. Blink and they’ve moved beyond that toy, or phase. I’m trying to create memories for both of us, though I still could do more. I’m sure the day will come soon when she doesn’t want me around so I’m banking my time now to carry me through after she’s become more independent.

  1. Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?

I enjoy watching baseball and soccer. Lately I’ve been more involved in teaching my daughter to play soccer, but I still like going to the games. I live close to a major university so we take her to see the mens and womens soccer matches when we can.

  1. Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.

As geeky as it sounds, I love to talk to other readers about fantasy stories. Which ones they loved or hated. Why they liked or didn’t a particular series. I especially enjoy talking magic. There are as many ‘systems’ as there are readers and its fun to see how different people perceive how magic should work. So feel free to email and we can chat about it if you are so moved.

Thanks for having me today.

Get book one in Andrew’s Champion of the Gods series free here. http://aqgsignups.getresponsepages.com

Andrew’s website – http://www.andrewqgordon.com/

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Footnote – nice little synchronicity I doubt Andrew or his PR people knew about: he has a place called Dumbarten featured in his novels. I grew up in, bought my first house in, and was married in the real, Scottish town, Dumbarton! I even worked as a steward in the castle. 🙂

Blood of the Wolf audio approved!

This morning I have approved all the audio files for the Audible version of Blood of the Wolf and it’s going through the ACX quality control process. All being well it will be available to download within the next couple of weeks!

I proof-listened to it twice, which can be a bit of a chore in a short period of time, but I enjoyed it greatly. Nick Ellsworth really does this final instalment in the Forest Lord series justice with his reading.

I hope you’ll check it out once it hits Audible (I believe it will be on iTunes too) and do let me know what you think of it. If you bought the Kindle version already you will be able to get the audio at a greatly reduced rate so bear that in mind.

 

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Steven A McKay: The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette

A short and sweet review of “The Prisoner” by a histfic expert!

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Robin Hood authorAbout (in his own words)

My name is Steven A. McKay and I’m a writer from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow in Scotland, heavily influenced by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Jackson, Ben Kane et al.

My first book in the Forest Lord series, Wolf’s Head, was set in medieval England and it’s a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. It hit the number 1 spot in the UK “War” chart, reached the overall Kindle top 20 bestsellers list and is available on Kindle, audiobook and paperback from Amazon here:  http://smarturl.it/2636

As I write, in October 2016, I’m just about to publish the fourth and final book in the series, Blood of the Wolf. I think my take on the Robin Hood legend is quite different to anything that’s been done before – check out the reviews to see for yourself.

In total, including my two novellas, Knight of the…

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