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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Guest Author Interview - Meghan Holloway




Meghan Holloway

Guest Author Meghan Holloway



I am happy to have Meghan Holloway as my guest today. Thank you, Meghan, for joining me on my website. 


Meghan, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?


Thank you so much for having me, Jess.  I found my first Nancy Drew mystery in a sun-dappled attic at the age of eight and subsequently fell in love with the grip and tautness of a well-told mystery. I flew an airplane before I learned how to drive a car, did my undergrad work in Creative Writing in the sweltering south, and finished a Masters of Library and Information Science in the blustery north. I spent a summer and fall in Maine picking peaches and apples, traveled the world for a few years, and did a stint fighting crime in the records section of a police department.​​ I now live in the foothills of the Appalachians with Aidan, my standard poodle, and spend my days as a scientist with the requisite glasses but minus the lab coat.


What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?


I write suspense thrillers, both contemporary and historical. My upcoming May release, "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH", is a historical thriller set in WWII in the wake of the liberation of Paris in 1944. I am thrilled to share this story with everyone. The protagonist is an ordinary man drawn into extraordinary circumstances, and I think the tale will appeal to a wide audience, to fans of historical dramas, literary fiction, war and military fiction, and mystery thrillers.


"Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city's liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

         Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son's trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

         The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son's wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it's too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive."


What prompted you to write what you did? Where do you get your writing inspiration? What message(s) do you want readers to take away?


I have always been fascinated by the WWII era, and one of my goals as a writer has been to write a novel set during the war. Frankly, I did not expect to write the novel so early in my author career, but a friend challenged me to write a piece of flash fiction set in the war. That piece of micro-fiction grew into a novel that I cannot wait to share with you.

I grew up hearing my grandparents’ stories from the war. My great-uncle was a medic in the European theatre, and I made the mistake of asking him for his stories only once. His eyes welled with tears, and he stood up, walked out the front door, and disappeared for the rest of the day. My grandparents’ stories were of hardship and sacrifice and courage. My great-uncle’s silence told of the utter horror of the war—grim, countless tragedies that still resonated in the mind decades later. Those stories, and perhaps even more so my uncle’s silence, inspired me to explore that era in fiction.

But regardless of the era or setting in which I write, I am always exploring the human condition, the labyrinth of the mind, and the grittier side of our existence. "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH" is a tale of war and loss, but also one of family and hope. It is about the love we have for those closest to us, the ease with which we can wound the people we care for the most, and the lengths to which we will go to seek atonement.


Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them? Once More Unto The Breach



I do keep an occasional blog called A Necessary Fiction, and in the months leading up to the release date for "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH", I will be writing articles for some different online media sources. The best place to find notifications of any new content I post on my blog or elsewhere is my Facebook and Twitter page.



What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


I think the most challenging part of writing is the business side of things. Being an author is very much a small business endeavor. The product is my book, but there is a lot of marketing involved in selling that product. I am an introvert by nature, as I think many writers are, and it is hard work putting yourself out there, building a following, and putting in the legwork to sell your product. Comparatively, the easiest part is the writing itself, particularly the editing process. Revising is my favorite part of the writing process. It is where the story becomes a novel. The most rewarding part is certainly the connection with readers that being an author facilitates. I have made so many friends through social media in the reading and writing community, and I am planning on attending some conferences in the next year to carry those friendships over face to face.


What’s next for you after "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH"?


My next novel is already written. I am finishing my personal edits on it before turning the manuscript in to my publisher. I cannot say much about this story yet, but it is entitled "HUNTING GROUND". I can tell you that it is a contemporary thriller set in a fictional town just outside of Yellowstone National Park, and it will be releasing in the spring of 2020 from Polis Books. It is a very different story from "ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH", but I am incredibly excited about this story and hope those who loved my WWII story will follow me into the realm of contemporary thrillers while I work on my next historical novel. I will be sharing more about this story in the latter part of the year.


What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?


I am particularly passionate about libraries and adult literacy programs. My grandmother was forced to leave school at the age of twelve, and though she never received any further formal education, a love of reading sustained her. The local library provided her with books that her family could not afford, and she always attributed a literacy course she took as an adult to opening the world of books to her even further. I think it is imperative that we support the libraries that provide so much support to society. 


How can we follow or contact you?


I would love for you to join me on social media. My website is www.meghanholloway.com, and you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under the handle @AMeghanHolloway.


Where can readers buy your books?


"ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH" is available for pre-order now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and The Book Depository in paperback with the e-book pre-orders coming soon.


Thank you again for the chance to talk about my writing and my upcoming book on your blog.


Next month, I will be interviewing Author, Tory Gates.


Until then, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




















9:26 pm pdt          Comments

Monday, February 18, 2019

Guest Blog: Lindsay Powell



Guest Author Interview: Lindsay Powell



I am happy to have Lindsay Powell as my guest today. Thank you for joining me on my website.




Guest Author Lindsay Powell

           Author Lindsay Powell




Lindsay, can you tell us about yourself and your background?


Thanks for your invitation, Jess. Starting at the very beginning, I was born in Cardiff, Wales and went to a high school in the city. I studied a range of subjects and found history, economics, Latin, French and German very much to my liking. From there I went to the University of Aston in Birmingham (England, not Alabama!) where I graduated in management and international marketing. Though working full-time in a busy commercial environment, and moving to the USA in 1997, I never lost my interest in ancient history.


As for writing, while I lived in the UK, I joined the world-famous re-enactment society, The Ermine Street Guard, and contributed several articles to its magazine, Exercitus. Only much later did I start writing in earnest, however.


What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?


My genre is non-fiction – that is narrative, fact-based history and biography. I write for a reader who demands more than a superficial treatment of the subject, but who also wants all the details and nuance in a more readable format than found in academic or technical publications. In other words, my goal is to present a meticulously researched book written in an accessible style.


To date I have written seven books.


For Pen and Sword Books:


EAGER FOR GLORY: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror of Germania, with a foreword by Graham Sumner

GERMANICUS: The Magnificent Life and Mysterious Death of Rome’s Most Popular General, with a foreword by Philip Matyszak

MARCUS AGRIPPA: Right-Hand Man of Caesar Augustus, with a foreword by Steven Saylor

AUGUSTUS AT WAR: The Struggle for the Pax Augusta, with a foreword by Karl Galinsky


For Osprey Publishing:


COMBAT: Roman Soldier versus Germanic Warrior, 1st Century AD, illustrated by Peter Dennis

CAMPAIGN: The Bar Kokhba War AD 132–136, the last Jewish revolt against Imperial Rome, illustrated by Peter Dennis


I have also self-published a collection of my blogs as ALL THINGS UNDER THE SUN: How Modern Ideas Are Really Ancient. (It was just as well I did: GoDaddy killed the blogging app I used to publish my articles and they have been offline ever since).


Additionally, I am news editor for both Ancient History and Ancient Warfare magazines, so my reports appear in every issue. Occasionally I also write longer pieces. I contributed an article on the Battle of Idistaviso for issue of AW XII-5, and one on Antinous in AH in issue 20.   



 All Things Under the SunEager for GloryGermanicusMarcus AgrippaAugustus at WarRoman v GermanBar Kokhba War


Lindsay Powell Books



Lindsay Powell Book Trailers



What prompted you to write what you did?


I wrote articles for Exercitus over several years on a variety of subjects – mutiny, record-keeping, religion, among others. It was fun researching the subjects and explaining my findings to fellow guard members – a community of well-informed, well-read people eager for new, fact-based insights – but crucially in an accessible style. Years later I began writing a novel set in the Alpine and German Wars of Nero Claudius Drusus. It was a struggle. There was no history book I could turn to that covered the period (15-9 BC) in the depth I needed to build the timeline, to flesh out the characters and their backstories. In doing the research I found I was laying the ground work for a non-fiction book. I approached several publishers and Pen and Sword offered me a contract. I got my lucky break and haven’t stopped since.



What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


For me the easiest, and most enjoyable part of the process is doing the research. I like becoming the ‘historical detective’, going in search of answers to questions, following the leads, meeting subject matter experts, making sense of the evidence and assembling it into a compelling narrative. The hardest part is knowing when to stop the research and get on with the writing – and then recognising when the project is complete.




Where do you get your writing inspiration?


For me it starts with the people I write about and the times they lived in. They are all fascinating individuals, many of whom have been largely overlooked by historians. Their stories are often unknown to the general reader. There is usually a deeper mystery in their lives, which I try to explain. In the case of Marcus Agrippa, I was drawn by the conundrum of why he sublimated his ambition and copious talents to serve his friend Augustus exclusively – even giving his sons up for adoption while he was still alive. Amazingly, there had not been a biography about him in English in 80 years, which was my opportunity! With Augustus at War I sought to understand how a man given to bouts of sickness during battle, and known to be a second-rate field commander, could beat his opponents and go on to double the size of the dominions of the Roman People. My insight was that modern historians have seriously underestimated Augustus as a military commander and manager of war; that too was my opportunity.




What message do you want readers to take away?


Real history is fun! Truth really is stranger than fiction. (OK, that’s two messages).




What’s next for you after?


Right now, I am writing a new book for Pen and Sword. It explores in much more detail the Bar Kokhba War of AD 132-136, which I first discussed in my short book for Osprey. The titanic struggle between Emperor Hadrian and rebel leader-cum messiah Shim’on ben Koseba is less well known than the Jewish War of AD 66-73. Yet it was, arguably, of greater consequence for both Romans and Jews. The causes of the conflict and the course of the war are utterly fascinating – and hotly debated by scholars. After that I am back with the Julio-Claudian family, writing a new biography of Tiberius Caesar – a man who history has cast as a villain, rightly or wrongly.



How can we follow or contact you?


My website is www.Lindsay-Powell.com. I use social media and can also be found on Twitter as @Lindsay_Powell and on Facebook.




Where can readers buy your books?


The publishers’ own websites sell my books, of course, but they can be ordered where all good books are sold – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwell’s, BookPeople, Foyles, Heffer’s, Powell’s and Waterstones to name a few.




Thank you very much, Lindsay.


You’re most welcome, Jess. And I wish you great success with your own writing.







Teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, OLLI NOVA: Meet the Caesars, Fall 2018.

(Last two attachments, Lindsay Powell Lecturing - Photo credits: John Theodore).





My March guest blogger will be Author, Meghan Holloway.



Until next time,  Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




Jess Steven Hughes




12:09 pm pst          Comments

Sunday, January 20, 2019

January Update




Guest Blog Interviews


During the past several months, I have conducted guest blog interviews with authors writing in a variety of genres. This has proven popular enough that I plan additional interviews, beginning February with guest author and Roman historian, Lindsay Powell. His latest books include, Marcus Agrippa: Right Hand of Caesar Augustus and Augustus at War.




Current Blog Update


For the month of January, it is time to update my status.




The Emperor's Hand Roman London overview

                                          Roman London




The writing of The Emperor's Hand, a sequel to The Sign of the Eagle, has slowed to a snail's pace. I had to return to square one and re-start at the beginning. Although the first three chapters have remained basically the same, more detail was added. Chapters four and five were too plodding. Starting with chapter six, I have changed the basic theme, from murder mystery to rebellion and the abduction of the main character, Macha.


She is kidnapped by rebels, who want her to be their next queen, when they overthrow the Romans, because she was the daughter of Caratacus. She is horrified and wants no part of the plan. The Boudiccan revolt, which was put down the Romans, ten years before, is still a vivid memory in the minds of Britons and Romans alike. She knows any new revolt would be crushed immediately and tries to persuade the rebels to give up their disastrous plan. The story must worked out in greater detail.




Family Medical Problems


What has contributed to the slow progress of the novel has been a series of medical problems, beginning in October 2018, that have struck Liz and I, and have continued to the present time. Hopefully, the end of these problems are in sight. In October, Liz was thrown from her horse, Darby, and broke the Humerus bone in her upper left arm and damaged the rotator cuff. This required surgery and four days in the hospital. For six weeks, I did most of the house work and caring for the horses. Then in December, I was diagnose with pneumonia and was on back for nearly two weeks. I had completely from that when on Monday, January 14th, I had successful cataract surgery to the right eye. That will be followed, Monday, January 28th, with surgery to the left eye. I am already seeing better out of the right eye. I should see better out of the left eye when all is said and done. That will allow me to return to writing The Emperor's Hand, and continue with a new round of book signings this Spring.


Book Signing Update  B&N Northtown Mall Debbie  RomanBrittania2019.jpg      Milford House Logo

                                      B&N Northtown Mall Longtime Reader Debbie,                      The Sign of the Eagle...The Wolf of Brittania,                                   Milford House Publishing                                                            


During the past year, including Fall, 2018, I conducted several successful book signings. Because of Liz's injuries, I had to cancel three signings in October/November, but rescheduled them in December. Overall sales, for the month of December, were particularly successful. Four of my five novels were listed in the top twenty best-sellers for Sunbury Press' Milford House imprint. They were: #2. The Broken Lance; #3 The Sign of the Eagle; #4 The Wolf of Britannia, Part I and #13 The Wolf of Britannia, Part II.


See Book Signing page for the list of Spring 2019 signings.


Facts in Roman History


From time to time, in the future, I will present some interesting facts from Roman history and articles regarding modern day discoveries from the ancient world (this I have done on a fairly regular basis).


The Festival of Juno  Festival of Juno

                                               Festival of Juno




January 18th - The Ludi Palatini, & the Festival of Juno Lucina 


A woman's festival for Juno was held on this date on the Esquiline Hill for Juno Lucina. "Beneath the Esquiline hillside there was a grove, unaxed for years, named after great Juno "(Ovid, Fasti 2.435-436).  The hill had received its name from the many oaks planted on it by King Servius Tullius.


"There stood the grove of the Goddess, dark-shadowed, immemorial - one step inside and you know that some spirit resides within the place. There's a rough old altar, raised by divine hands, where worshippers mutter prayers over incense plumes. Through garland streets, with solemn chanting to the skirl of flutes, and the cheers of bystanders, comes the annual procession, leading snow-white heifers, sleek on Falerian pastures, and young calves, un-bellowing, with yet buds on their foreheads. Humble pigs from the sty come next to placate the God, and whethers with horns curved round their temples. Only the goat is banned, by Juno's command. When She fled from Jove's wedding bed, and sought shelter deep within this forest, the bleat of a goat gave Her away. So to this day little children cast sticks at the tattler, and whoever scores first, by Her law, wins a nanny goat as prize. Ahead of the Goddess walks youths and shy virgins, their hems sweeping the broad streets, the girls hair all entwined with gold and jewels, gilded shoes peering out from underneath embroidered mantles. Veiled, white-robed in Greek fashion, maidens bear the sacred vessels on their heads. The crowd falls into silent reverence as Juno Herself passes on a gilded float drawn by Her priestesses." ~ P. Ovidius Naso, 'Amores' 3.13.7-31


Caesar Augustus  CaesarAugustus.jpg




January 18th. On this day in 27 BC Octavian was granted the title "Augustus" which means "revered" in honor of the great peace and order he had established throughout the empire.




That's all for this month. Don't forget, I will be hosting a guest blog interview with author and Roman historian, Lindsay Powell, in February. Until then, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!






9:15 pm pst          Comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Guest Blog: Author Mike Weatherley



Author Interview


I am happy to have Mike Weatherley as my guest today. Thank you, Mike, for joining me on my website.


Author Mike Weatherley

            Author Mike Weatherley


Mike, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?


I was born in 1964 and grew up in the county of Kent (whose Latin name was Cantium), which was the earliest part of Roman Britain to be conquered by invading Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th c. AD. Born in the Chinese year of the dragon, I always felt an affinity with those mythical creatures, as well as being fascinated with the legends of the mysterious ‘Arthur’, the British hero who fought those first Anglo-Saxon colonists. I’ve always lived in the north-eastern part of Kent, which is the county known as the ‘gateway’ to the Continent. It was here that the Roman landings of both Julius Caesar and Claudius took place, and later the first of the Anglo-Saxon landings.


Since graduating in Chemistry, I worked for 25 years in the drugs industry, helping to manufacture – among other things – Viagra (which was discovered at the Pfizer research laboratories here in Kent). Despite a career as a scientist (as that was the best way to pay the bills), I always harboured the dream of being a writer, and had a flair for creative writing. That took the form of poetry and song-lyrics printed in biology magazines at university, and later in palaeontology magazines on the subject of fossils (another hobby). Like most people growing up, I was fascinated by dinosaurs, and have found the odd dinosaur bones here in the UK, though we have nothing like the remains that can be seen in the USA. I did visit the Museum of the Rockies, while on holiday in America years ago, and was very envious of some of the specimens on display. Indeed, it’s very likely that the dinosaur fossils of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia were the origin of the Chinese legends of dragons, as they have their own species of Tyrannosaur, called Tarbosaurus. And it seems that the trade route of the Silk Road brought those Chinese stories about dragons to Europe – ultimately combining them with the legends of the historical Arthur, as I explain in my book: ‘Pendragon’.


Away from writing, I’m passionate about preserving our modern native mammals here in the UK. I’m campaigning to see the garden pesticides that are implicated in poisoning our wild hedgehogs banned, as the species has crashed from ~50 million to ~1 million during my lifetime. I’d hate to live in a land where our native hedgehogs had become extinct due to Human activity and ignorance. My other hobbies include classical music, gardening and tennis.


What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?


Pendragon the Arthur Chronicles

      Pendragon: The Arthur Chronicles: 1



My current book, Pendragon: The Arthur Chronicles: 1, is the first of a trilogy of historical novels explaining the documentary, linguistic & archaeological evidence for the historical Arthur who was the 5th c. British hero that has always been behind the much later 12th-16th c. fictionalised version. The authors of those later centuries were not historians – as we are, today – and were only capable of depicting an Arthur suitable for their own times, as anachronistic as he turned out to be in their hands. My book contains a mini text-book at the end of the novel (including a list of scholarly references) to explain to the reader where the story evolved from. I incorporated this because my version of Arthur’s story is so different to the one most people are familiar with that I knew they would not believe it unless I presented them with the evidence. It’s very important to read both the short Historical Note at the start of the book and the much longer Author’s Note (the mini text-book) at the end of the story, if you want to understand where my version of Arthur’s story comes from.


The story is aimed at anybody of any age, so long as they have an enquiring mind, and are (like me) not satisfied with the traditional (but heavily fictionalised) medieval version of Arthur’s story. Indeed, it seems a pity to me that it is the fantasy medieval version that we are all brought up with, and that’s the only version most people are aware of. The fact is, the original version (which can be deduced by going back to the earliest evidence about Arthur) is far more interesting and true-to-life.  


What prompted you to write what you did? [or Where do you get your writing inspiration?] What message(s) do you want readers to take away?


As well as a fascination for Roman Britain, I’ve always had a love of the historical Arthur, and the evidence shows us that the two seem to be inextricably linked. Although I love the movie musical Camelot, with its courtly romance, that story (and most other versions of Arthur’s story that we are familiar with) was largely invented from the 12th c. onwards, and bears little relation to reality. It’s a medieval fiction, portraying Arthur as a pseudo-Norman/Plantagenet king and does not represent the origins of Arthur in Roman/post-Roman Britain, where he was only ever described as a soldier. We have to go right back to the earliest sources that mention Arthur’s name (and even further back than that), to the real-life armoured cavalry on whom the much later ‘Knights of the Round Table’ were based.


As soon as I realised that there was a more true-to-life version of Arthur than the fictional version most of us have been brought up with, I knew that I (along with the scholars who have worked so hard to reveal him) had to try to promote him. More than anything else I’ve written, I always harboured the dream of writing a definitive version of Arthur’s story. How appropriate, then, that 15 years of research on the subject revealed just how closely intertwined the worlds of the historical Arthur and the legends about dragons (ultimately originating from China) actually were. But the historical sources and the archaeology combine to show that there was not just one Arthur. We know of at least two men of that name, living 300 years apart (with perhaps other, unrecorded versions in between). There was the famous 5th c. British soldier who defeated the invading Anglo-Saxons, of course. But there was also an even earlier 2nd c. Roman soldier, recorded with the family name of Artorius on his grave-stone as having led a cavalry unit in Britain.


If readers take anything away, I hope it is that truth – as is often the case – is even stranger than fiction. And they shouldn’t be too surprised that armoured lancers existed in the Roman cavalry (and among the other peoples they encountered) for a thousand years before the Normans under William the Conqueror (who are usually – wrongly – assumed to have invented lancing/jousting on horseback). There are even bigger surprises than that in the story, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for the reader. Suffice to say that I hope I‘ve given back to the British people their greatest cultural icon, who was previously stolen from history by writers of medieval fiction and Norman/Plantagenet propaganda.


In addition to the true origins about Arthur, I hope that my story also educates the reader about Roman Britain. The truth is – as many historians and archaeologists know – that Roman Britain did not end in 410 AD. That date only comes from a scribal error in a work that wasn’t even describing Britain at all, but a province in southern Italy. We also have no contemporary written sources that describe any Roman troops being removed from Britain in the 5th c. And the latest archaeology confirms how many Roman towns and forts were still occupied through the 5th c. But all of this (and much more) is explained in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. So I hope the story is of as much interest to those who like Roman Britain in general as those who have a particular fascination with the historical Arthur. 


Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them?


I do have a website: http://www.pendragonbooks.net/


I don’t write a regular blog, but here is an example of something similar. As it’s nearly Christmas, to be seasonal, I’ve included one of the kind of parodies I used to compose - based on famous poems and song lyrics - for my fellow Arthurian scholars on Arthurnet.







‘Twas the night before Christmas, when, all through the fort, Not a creature was stirring (or, so it was thought). 


                       The lances were stacked in the arsenal in rows,  While the watch-tower fires dimmed to pale orange glows. 


The cavalry troopers lay snug in their beds,  While visions of battlefields danced in their heads.  With each in their tunic or thick woolen vest,               


                      They’d all settled down for a long winter’s rest. When, out of the shadows, a figure passed by,                                                           

And his long purple cloak, from my bed, I did spy. 


              Peeping out from my blankets, the better to see,  I wondered just who this intruder might be. The moon, through the window, gave just enough light,  To                                           

 show to my eyes such a wondrous sight.  For, pulling his hood down, appeared our warlord:   

                 Ambrosius Aurelianus... with his sword! Then, drawing Excalibur silently out, out,                                                                        

                    He held it before him – a Christian devout.  And with this, at first, quite perplexing behavior,       

                           He transformed the hilt to the sign of our saviour.

    Thus, clutching the sword out in front of his face, He was the embodiment of holy grace.

                 Then through the whole barrack-room he made his way, And whispering under his breath he did pray:


             “Sleep Galahad, Gawain, sleep Dagonet, Bors,  Sleep Bedivere, Tristan, and dream not of wars.                                                     

                         You’ve fulfilled your duties and conquered them all, From the wild Saxon Shore to the Picts o’er the Wall.”

               “As dry leaves, before the wild hurricane, fly,   Our enemies, scattered, in graves now do lie.                                                        


             In many a charge have I, all of you, led,  With the howl of the dragon high over our head.”       

                    Then with his free hand, in his tunic he felt,  For the pouch that was hanging just under his belt.                                                       

           And drawing a handful of coins of the realm,  He dropped one gold solidus into each helm.

                   He re-sheathed Excalibur, quiet as he could,   And withdrew is features back under his hood.                                                         

      Though I just heard him whisper, ‘ere out of my sight:  “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a: ‘Good Knight’!”




What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


The easiest thing about writing is deciding on the beginning & the ending of the story, as they are the fixed reference points. For me, the ending comes first, as that’s the most important part of any story. Then I decide on where the story should begin, in order to justify the ending. Lastly, comes the hard work of joining those two dots. That’s where the 99% perspiration gets added to the 1% inspiration.


What’s next for you after [Your Book]?


Waiting to see how well this first book sells, before trying to get the next two books in the trilogy (which are already written) published as well. In the meantime, I’ve written a children’s book about hedgehogs which I’m also trying to find a publisher for. I’m also running a petition to have the most toxic garden pesticides banned here in the UK, to prevent our wild hedgehogs from going extinct. It’s currently up to 12,000 signatures, but we need a lot more to get government action. A link to the petition is here:


Save our Hedgehogs



What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?


Don’t, for one minute, imagine that the Arthur in my story is in any way based on me. I only wish I could be as brave, resourceful & well-organised as he is.


How can we follow or contact you?


You can email me at my website: author@pendragonbooks.net


My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Mike-Weatherley-140451796685908/


I also have an author’s page on Amazon at ‘Amazon: Mike Weatherley’


Where can readers buy your books?


In the UK from: Amazon UK/Pendragon Arthur Chronicles  


In the US from:  Amazon US Pendragon Arthur Chronicles                        


Also, directly from my publisher:   http://www.pendragonbooks.net/


I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas/Happy New Year/Happy Holidays and to my Roman History friends, Io Saturnalia!


Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!



-Jess Steven Hughes











































9:17 pm pst          Comments

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Guest Blog: Wylie Graham McLallen



Author Interview




I am happy to have Wylie Graham McLallen as my guest today. Thank you, Wylie, for joining me on my website.



McLallen portrait

 Author, Wylie Graham McLallen




Wylie, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?




My father was a businessman who was an avid reader of history and so there were always interesting books around the house to read and absorb. I grew up a reader, and as a reader, naturally became a fluid and interested writer. I received a BA in History at the University of Tennessee and worked for various corporations in various positions, but always I read and wrote. My wife and I have been living in Vancouver, British Columbia for thirty years and have raised two now grown children. Even though I have now reached the status of “senior citizen” I still consider myself to be in growth mode, maybe more than ever, and am interested in, if not all things, most things.




What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?


Tigers by the River

Book Cover: "Tigers by the River"



Although "Tigers by the River" was written to appeal to anybody, the genre is definitely Sports History, and I realize that sports fans, particularly football fans, and history buffs would be more interested in reading it. The audience is for all ages.  I have provided a link to the book: Tigers by the River




What prompted you to write what you did?  Where do you get your writing inspiration? What message do you want readers to take away?


I was writing a novel about a young man who is such a complete football fanatic that his mood and temper is determined by how well his favorite professional team does on the field each week. I felt I needed more historical background and knew of an old pro team in Memphis that my father watched growing up and said were the best in the nation. So I went to the library and could find nothing about them in the stacks, not even an article in a magazine. It was suggested that I go through microfilm of old newspapers. This is what I did, and as I scanned the old newspapers a great story was being told as it happened fifty years before and I knew it had to be shared. What I would like readers to take away from Tigers by The River is a better sense of the beginning of professional football, how different it was, and the extraordinary effort many people made back then in the struggle to achieve something lasting in sports for both players and spectators.




Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them?



I have written dozens of short stories and a couple have been accepted by publications. Below is a link for one of them.


Short Stories




What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?



When writing becomes a true and elemental expression of the world as you see it, then you are achieving something that is very difficult to do because it takes much deep thought and discipline. There’s nothing easy about writing, just like there’s nothing easy about living.



What’s next for you after your book?



I am working on a book about a literary icon as a young writer before he becomes famous.


What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?



That hope springs eternal and life gets better the longer you live it.




How can we follow or contact you?


WGMcLallen on Wordpress.com




Where can readers buy your books?



Amazon.com and Sunbury Press.com




Thank you for an insightful interview into the life of a writer.



I wish everyone a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving.

For now, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




Jess Steven Hughes



3:50 pm pst          Comments

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