Tuesday, August 4

Medieval. American Colonial. Ancient Egyptian. History! Oh my! 4th August

My Tuesday Talk Guest : S. Copperstone

I’ve been fascinated with all these things in the title for many years and have incorporated these loves and intrigues into some of my books—unpublished, published and soon-to-be-published. Speaking of soon-to-be-published… “Bittersweet Tavern” will be available to the world on August 6, 2015 from Bygone Era Books, LTD. http://www.bygoneerabooks.com/#!bittersweet-tavern/c1hjt

“Bittersweet Tavern” is a cute little story centered around two opposing characters (feisty Jerusha and broody, yet suspicious, Daniel) who found themselves thrown into the middle of a turbulent time in history. The story all began with two characters; an idea sparked by the old ’70s song, “Brandy,” by Looking Glass - I think it may have been their only song; a long-ago trip to Maine, and a short brainstorming session with an online friend or two, many years ago.

 The atmosphere of southeastern Maine, the scenery and the scents, have been in the back of my mind for years. I wanted to incorporate that feel into a story. After some research, I discovered more than a few interesting historical events in that area. One that captured my full attention was the burning of Falmouth  (now called Portland, Maine) in October 1775. I had found my background to throw my two favorite characters in the middle of. Jerusha Lovejoy Frost and Daniel Stanton (named for ancestors in my genealogy), had found a home, many many years later, into a book to come alive in.

Daniel and Jerusha lived in a small town and no doubt ran into each other frequently during their childhood. Daniel, who had mysteriously arrived as a young boy, alone on the docks of Falmouth Neck, had always secretly wanted to find his birth parents and had a deep longing for a more exciting life. Jerusha grew up in the hospitality world of tavern and inn life while working for her parents. Years later, the two would find more excitement than either bargained for.

I hope readers will enjoy Daniel and Jerusha’s story, albeit a vignette, of their lives, as much as I enjoyed writing it. I have book two outlined and I believe Daniel would like to tell more of his life during the years after he left Falmouth Neck for a life at sea. Both Jerusha and Daniel wish to tell their stories after the burning of Falmouth incident. When I find more time, I’ll work on writing their stories.

I would love for the story to become a movie, as I’ve gone back and forth between the story being written in novel and screenplay forms and I believe a movie of Daniel and Jerusha would be icing on the cake, as they say. So, if anyone is up to the challenge, ;-).

—S. Copperstone

S. Copperstone is the pen name for someone who wishes to remain somewhat anonymous. She enjoys writing about unusual subjects and has a ongoing web serial about centaurs in the American Old West, “Two Bits,” available on Jukepop.com  (http://www.jukepop.com/home/read/1345?chapter=1

 She’ll write more chapters when she has the chance, so be sure to check back.

She has another unusual story, a fantasy with a touch of Ancient Egypt in a dystopian world, “The High King’s Embalmer,” available on Amazon and is in the process of being available in print form (when she has the time):

 She has a charming, yet turbulent saga (not published yet) of a knight and his family and adventures and misadventures during the late 1200s to mid-1300s which she hopes to find a home for in the near future, also.

S. Copperstone can be found wandering all over the internet: 
• Twitter: @SCopperstone

S.Copperstone's article was received a couple of weeks ago. While preparing it for publication I paused at the reference to 'Falmouth'. Which Falmouth? Where? I wondered, which prompted me to recall an altercation I'd had with a US author over the term 'Civil War'. What Civil War? The US or the English one? This in turn prompted me to write an article on this very subject - when marketing your book world wide - be specific about the location!
You can read it here 

Sunday, August 2

Another look at King Arthur

Recycling the blog
another look at some old posts

Who was King Arthur? Click here

The Wonder of Rome - my contribution to a Blog Hop:
what has King Arthur to do with Rome?
click here

Tuesday, July 28

A Highwayman Came Riding...

My Tuesday Talk guest this week: author Anthony Anglorus ...

People ask why I write about highwaymen.

They are unfashionable, they were criminals and for the most part, they have been done to death in the past. But if you look closer, you find that the vast majority of tales about highwaymen are just variations on the theme of a fictitious Dick Turpin.

In fact, the highwayman of note until 1834 was one Captain James Hind.

If you were to refer to highwaymen in 1833, your audience would have assumed you were talking about Hind. What changed? William Harrison Ainsworth released his novel “Rookwood” and it caught the public imagination.

In “Rookwood”, he used Dick Turpin as the shell for a large, romantic tale that included all of Hind and Claude Duval’s personal attributes and, most notably, Nevison’s ride to York. Turpin was in fact the worst kind of thug. He once roasted a man over his own fire to persuade him to reveal where he hid his money - then left him there for the fun of it once the location had been revealed. Any robbery by him typically took a very simple route; rob, rape then kill. Rape was obviously only if there was a woman around, but if the whim took him, he would add in a little torture for the pleasure of seeing his victims’ reaction.

Turpin, then, was in reality a thoroughly unsavoury character, one who would almost certainly be serving a ‘life means life’ sentence were he around today. But what of the others? Claude Duval was, as his name suggests, a Frenchman of some considerable charm and it was reported at the time that it was actually a social cachet for a woman to be able to say ‘I was robbed by Claude Duval’.
But the first of the noble thieves was Captain James Hind.

Born in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire in 1616, James rebelled when his father sent him to train with a butcher who was noted for his brutality. Instead, he borrowed two pounds from his mother and made his way to London.

As always, of course, he was mainly interested in the drink and the wild women. On one occasion, his female drinking partner was arrested on suspicion of theft, and James was taken with her. He was released next morning, but not before he had made friends with Thomas Allen, notorious leader of a highway gang. Allen was released at the same time, and had clearly taken to James for he offered him the chance to join his gang - but he had to pass a test first.
The test turned out to be a robbery on Shooters Hill. James courteously robbed a passing horseman, but to the anger of the rest of the gang, gave the man back some of his plunder ‘that you may return home safely’.

Thomas, however, was hugely amused by this and James became a member of the band of robbers. Over the next few years, they successfully ruled the roads, but James became their planner. He was always careful that they had routes of escape laid out and available to them, and although Thomas was the uncontested leader, all of them took heed of James’s schemes.
When the Civil War reared its’ ugly head, as a man they all volunteered for the Royalist side. In James’s case, he joined his old acquaintance William Compton (who had been a customer of his father’s saddlery business) in Oxford and was instrumental in their success; mindful of his previous occupation, Compton made James a Captain and sent him out to rob Parliamentarian supply wagons.
Once the war was lost, James returned to the open road with Thomas Allen and his gang. The following years were the most fruitful of all, but as I start my narrative within this period, I shall stop at this point.

James Hind was always polite, always mischievous, as demonstrated by the following excerpt from the book. 
As we open, he has just walked into an inn.

“Looking around the room, he observed the landlord taking an order to a traveller seated in the window. It was a little early for the evening influx and the tables were all polished and empty, awaiting occupation.
“Harold!” called James, “When you’re ready.”
The landlord turned. Distinctly rotund, he smiled as he recognised his latest customer.
“James! Indeed, sir, we have missed you.”
“Ah, I have been busy around London. But I’m taking some time to revisit my old haunts.”
He turned towards the well-dressed traveller, who was watching. “John Hind at your service, sir.”
“Francis Cooper, sir. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“May I join you?”
“Of course, sir. It has been a long journey without convivial conversation.”
James sat beside the man, and then observed his companion critically for a moment. A thick blue cloak lay astride an adjacent chair and he was dressed in a fine linen shirt beneath a dour but still high quality waistcoat. “I believe you to be a person of some importance in London, judging by your attire.”
“’Tis true enough; I am a lawyer. The new government is keeping us all busy, and it is many months since I was able to visit my parents up in Burton. But anxious as I am to meet them again, a man must eat!”
James raised his glass. “To good food, good ale, good family and convivial company.” As if on cue, the food arrived at the table and the lawyer tucked in with gusto.
The lawyer reached for his watch, and then frowned.
“I was sure that I had a watch when I sat down.” He checked his other pockets, and then stopped as James laid the watch on the table in front of him. 
“I trust you can offer a suitable explanation, sir!” exclaimed the lawyer.
“A watch in a tavern lost, oh that’s a crime.” Recited James with a smile. 
“See how in drinking men do lose their time. 
The string hung out, and you forgot to lock it,
 and so the watch did slip out of your pocket. 
If you would keep your watch, this you must do, 
pocket your watch but watch your pocket too!”
For a moment, Cooper studied James’ face, and then burst out laughing. “Well, I have no idea what your profession might be, young man, but I feel that you have taught me a valuable lesson this day. Thank you.”
“It is my pleasure, sir,” responded James with a smile.”

He was also reluctant to kill or injure - he is perhaps unique in being able to say that he never killed anyone during a robbery. So for me, this was a tale worth the telling, and I chose to start the book just before the end of the second civil war -so much happened in this period!

Midwest Book Review were the first to publish a review, and I was delighted to read it as my book was described as a “Rollicking Good Read” - which is what I wanted it to be.

“The Prince of Prigs” is published by Bygone Era Books and is available from all normal outlets as paperback for £13.95/$19.95. 
E-book prices are £4.68/$6.99.

I shall be at Decatur book festival 4-6 September - in full highwayman attire!

[Helen] Thank you Anthony - wishing you all the best with your book 

Here's my favourite song as a contribution to this topic! 

Previous article by Helen: The startof piracy in the Caribbean