March 2012

H2U News
(previously, Quarterdeck news)
~ March 2012 ~

March news – posted here by the skin of my teeth…
(where did March go?)
First off, thank you so much for being interested enough in my writing and various ramblings to want to keep up with a regular update. Is it me who is mad or you? #laugh
The most important items for this quarter are the publication of Discovering the Diamond on Kindle, and the forthcoming Historical Novel Conference to be held in London at the end of September.

As a published author of almost eighteen years, and the Historical Novel Society UK Editor for reviewing self-published historical fiction, I enjoy helping other, new, writers achieve their dream of writing a book.

Finding that I was repeatedly being asked for – and providing - the same advice, I decided to put together a few ‘guidelines’ into one, easy to access package. With the aid of my UK freelance editor, Jo Field, who added good advice about the essential process of editing, the initial few pages soon expanded.
Demand for ‘Discovering the Diamond’ proved popular, so I asked Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics to design a cover, and Helen Hart of Silverwood Books to publish it on Kindle in the UK and US.
Eager writers will find some useful tips and suggestions, and a few do’s and don’ts regarding the writing and production of a novel - with the ultimate aim of producing a polished diamond of a read.
get your copy here:

and if you haven't got a Kindle, how about this free download?
~ ~ ~
The Conference will be held at the University of Westminster in London, and is Friday evening 28th September to Sunday 30th September – with lots of big name authors, talks, workshops, a banquet … it promises to be the fiction event of the year (well historical fiction, anyway!)

~ ~ ~ 

I also want to send huge congratulations to Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics
for being offered a freelance contract with my US publisher, Sourcebooks Inc.
As you all know, Cathy designs my UK covers and does most of my marketing design - I am so thrilled for her to achieve the recognition she deserves.

~ ~ ~ 

Ripples In The Sand IS progressing, but I have taken “time out” to do a lot of marketing and networking. There really is no point in me writing books if no one reads them – although the opposite is as true, there is no point in marketing my books if there isn’t a new one for people to read.

The Sea Witch series has been doing very well – thank you to all my readers,  do need to push the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy a bit though.

I would ask a favour? If you enjoyed any or  all of my books, reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are always helpful (especially for the Sea Witch Voyages) and the best way to get known is by word of mouth, so chatter away about my books – chatter away!

~ ~ ~ 

Here's an exclusive for the H2U News page: a short extract from Ripples....

“What the …..?” Jesamiah grabbed at the edge of the table as the sound of an impact boomed through the oak timbers of his ship. Everything slid from the table to the floor, glasses, cups; Jennings’ hat and cloak. The cushions from the locker seats. Even the chair he was sitting in began to slide forward across the square of worn carpet. Sea Witch shuddered, all her carried weight moving as she plunged downward, her stern soaring high, hanging there suspended. Jesamiah grasped an overhead beam, almost toppled forward as he let go, heading towards the door.
Jennings was still seated, hands gripping the arms of the chair, face ash pale, alarm swamping his expression. “My God! We’ve hit something!”
Jesamiah was at the door, his feet skidding on the slope of the wood. The sound of men running up from below to reach the open deck, their voices rising in panic. When a ship hit, she could go down in seconds.
His hands feeding along the bulkheads to steady himself, Jesamiah ran also. On deck everything was confusion; bewildered men clinging to backstays and sheets, peering up the masts, over the rails.  Every stay and shroud was vibrating, humming and quivering as the strain tightened; masts and rigging close to breaking point. The gun trucks strained at their tethers, balls rolled for’ard. Anything that was loose tumbling and toppling. Rue and Roberts together at the helm struggling to hold onto the ship. One man lost his footing. He slid along the deck, frantically attempting to grasp at something to anchor him but there was nothing to stop his fall; the deck was too wet, the angle too steep…. With a cry of terror he was gone. There was nothing they could do to save him, save prey fervently for his soul.
The downward plunge eased, and slowly, slowly, the bow began to come up – there was a half-hearted cheer, hands scrabbled to make ready to lower the boats – their only hope of survival.
“Belay that!” Jesamiah roared as he hurried forward, reaching hand over hand to anything he could hold on to. “We ain’t sinking.”
The sea loomed over the bowsprit seeming to be wanting to swallow his ship whole. The wave hung there a moment, then spray descended in a slow cascade, as slowly, slowly, Sea Witch righted herself, but Jesamiah could see one thing only –Tiola, up ahead, her hands clinging to the rail, sea water swirling about and around her. Claiming her.
How in God’s name had she not already been swept overboard? He shouted her name, desperate, as he clawed his way towards the bow. He was almost there! He stretched out an arm towards her, felt a tingling as if a cold fire were burning through his skin, and he had her! Gripping tight he  hauled her away, enfolding her within the safety of his embrace as Sea Witch shook herself free and surged forward, barely lifting over the next wave, lurching through the next, then settled on to an even keel, excess water gurgling out the scuppers and down the open hatchways and scuttles.
As she righted, a cheer tore through the men, relief coursing as rushed as that water, but short lived as every man hurried to the sides to peer over. What had they hit? Was the hull damaged?

~ ~ ~

I now have a two-day-a-week blog, so call in at
and my monthly journal (and the Cathy Helms Home Page on my website each month) 

Don't forget,
if you would like some signed bookplates for your book, e-mail me your postal address and what books you would like them for.

I don't charge for this, but it would be nice if you would donate £1 or $2 to a charity of your choice.
see you next time!

please feel free to leave a comment 

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