England After WW1 with Liz Treacher

In my mind, there’s the First World War, then there’s the Roaring Twenties. But there must have been a transition period, where people were caught betwixt (Ha, love that word) the horrors of war and the possibilities of a new decade. Liz Treacher’s new novel, The Wrong Envelope, captures that complicated time.

Liz, tell us about you. What’s your deal?

When I was just four years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but it took me years to get going! In the meantime, I did lots of different things – researcher, alternative therapist, teacher and art photographer. I think all those different jobs gave me the life-experience I needed to finally put pen to paper. I live in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of sea and seals from my window and glimpses of the Northern Lights in the winter.

What’s The Wrong Envelope about?

Set in England in 1920, The Wrong Envelope is a light, witty tale of a romance between a flamboyant London artist and a Devon post lady. It uses humour and irony to explore the years just after the First World War. Life was trying to return to normal but the shadow of the conflict still hung over everyone.

What is it about that time period or story that got you so intrigued? It was a complicated time, to be sure…

A few years ago, I stumbled across a tiny suitcase that belonged to my grandmother. It was full of letters written to her by a soldier during and after the First World War. I was fascinated by the language used – the cheerfulness and bravado of a soldier trying to woo a young lady. I wanted to recreate the thoughts and feelings of the time, but I didn’t want to set a novel during the war itself. 1920 seemed a good year. Although the fighting was well and truly over, the effects were still being felt. Women found themselves in a very difficult position. They had possibly lost brothers or sweethearts at the front. Added to this, the jobs they had so competently covered during the war were being taken away again and given back to returning soldiers. I wanted to expose the problems people faced.

A lot of historical fiction writers began their journey with old letters. Wonder if future writers will be trying to decode old text conversations. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

I really like the first scene of the book which takes place in a rattling railway carriage and which gives a snap-shot of the time. There’s an octogenarian, dressed from head to toe in Victorian black lace, a ticket inspector with a pronounced limp from a war injury, two young ladies, one with cropped hair and short skirt, the other, our heroine post lady, old-fashioned in dress but modern in outlook. And there’s an artist, loud and eccentric, yet full of guilt about not having made it to the trenches. He does something outrageous in the first few pages which starts the story off in a lively manner…

Where can people learn more about your book?

There’s my website https://www.liztreacher.com/

I’m on GoodReads  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36695464-the-wrong-envelope

Of course, it’s available as an ebook on Amazon 

And also here.  https://books2read.com/thewrongenvelope

I”m on Twitter @LizTreacher

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

A Hall of Fame Western Author- Robert Vaughan

Just when I begin to think I’m pretty hot stuff, I come across someone whose body of work is both impressive and intimidating. Such is the case with today’s interview. Robert Vaughan, as you’ll see, has been around a while. His publisher, Mike Bray at Wolfpack Publishing was hanging out at the Las Vegas Book Fest. I asked if he had any historical fiction authors I should talk to, and he couldn’t connect me with Robert fast enough. Here’s the deal on his (I’m estimating) 8 millionth book, The Town Marshal.

So for the uninitiated, tell us about yourself.

I was nineteen years old when I sold my first book.  That was 61 years ago, and since that time I’ve sold somewhere around 400 books under my own name, and 42 pseudonyms.  I wrote the novelization for the mini-series Andersonville, and wrote, produced, and appeared in the History Channel documentary Vietnam Homecoming.   As of this writing, (9 November, 2018) I have five books in the top ten of Amazon Western novels: #1, #2, #3, #4, and #7.

I have hit the NYT bestseller list eight times. I’m the recipient of the Spur Award, (SURVIVAL, writing as K.C. McKenna) the PORGIE Award (Best Paperback Original), the Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award, I received the Readwest President’s Award for Excellence in Western Fiction, and I am a member of the American Writers Hall of Fame.

I am also a retired army Chief Warrant Officer with three tours in Vietnam. I now live with my wife and my dog on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. (Editor’s note: See? What’d I tell you?)

What’s the story behind The Town Marshal?

The book , THE TOWN MARSHAL is a look at some authentic Western History. Its two main participants, James Cooper, and Henry Newton Brown, form a close friendship when, along with Billy the Kid, they fight in the Lincoln County War. After that, James and Henry move on, their bond of friendship growing even stronger as James becomes a crusading newspaper editor and Henry, a town marshal feared by outlaws and lauded by his peers and the towns he served.
But something goes wrong, and in an emotive moment, the two best friends find themselves face to face in a dramatic and poignant confrontation.

What is it about that time period that intrigued you enough to focus a book on it?

Of the two main characters, James Cooper is fictional, and I use him to propel the book, and to be a foil for Henry Newton Brown.  Brown is an authentic character with one of the most fascinating, and ultimately tragic life stories.  It was the authenticity of Brown’s story that drew me to the book.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

One of my favorite scenes would be the defense of the McSween House in Lincoln. Alexander McSween was a much-respected attorney in Lincoln,  and during the Lincoln County War, his house came under siege.  McSween, James Cooper, Henry Newton Brown, and Billy the Kid occupied the house.  In addition there were three women and a young girl trapped in the house: McSween’s wife, Susan, his sister-in-law Elizabeth Shields, Elizabeth’s ten-year-old daughter, Minnie, and Katherine Gates, the local school teacher.

Where can people learn more about your impressive collection of work?

You can find the 9 Westerns I’ve done for Wolfpack Publishing on their website here.

You can also find me on my Amazon author page.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Ancient Rome and China Meet – Lewis McIntyre

Whenever I hear people freaked out by other cultures (and you see it all the time) I think about what it must have been like when someone would literally see a different colored face or hear a different language for the first time. I’m not alone in this, I presume, because Lewis McIntyre has written a novel about a literal clash of cultures: Ancient Rome crossing paths with the Chinese for the first time in his novel The Eagle and the Dragon.

So what’s the Lew McIntyre story?

Hello to all.  My name is Lew McIntyre. I have done a little bit of everything, it seems. I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1970 and spent my career in Naval Aviation flying special-mission C-130 Hercules aircraft. I retired in 1990 and continued to support my aviation community to this day as an engineer, though the “Herc” has long since been replaced by the “Merc,” the E-6B Mercury.

I am an odd character, an engineer that seems to have mastered the art of writing.  Over the past twenty years I have done a lot of technical writing that people actually seem to enjoy reading.  About twenty years ago, I began The Eagle and the Dragon, and now here we are, two books out, three in the oven, and my wife Karen has published two, with a third in work. We seem to have found our third careers!

Besides writing, I enjoy biking, amateur radio (call sign KB6IC) and deer hunting.

OH, he tries to sound all normal-guy and non-engineery, then he goes and gives us his HAM sign. Probably not helping your cause any, but I digress. What’s The Eagle and the Dragon about?

The Eagle and the Dragon is a fictional account of the first Roman mission to China, set in 100AD, and modeled loosely around an actual Roman mission to China in 166AD.  Like most first missions, nothing goes according to plan:  Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba, tapped by Trajan to lead the envoy, expects an easy path to fame and fortune.  But the Fates have other plans for him and his unlikely companions.  From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent court of Han China, from the grassy steppes north of China with the wild Xiongnu nomads, to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains guarding Central Asia, they will fight for their lives, looking for the road leading back to Rome. It’s quite an epic adventure, with a few love stories thrown in for good measure.

Writing it was a lot like watching a TV series, I had to go write the next chapter to find out what happened next!

Fun. That’s how I felt writing Acre’s Orphans. What intrigued you about this time period enough to invest the time writing a novel?

What intrigued me most about the era was the extensive contact the Romans had with “The Distant East”, the Oriens Repositus as they called it. Every year for over two centuries, 120 ships a year sailed from the Red Sea ports over the open Indian Ocean for India, loaded with gold, silver and Mediterranean wine to purchase silks, peppers and spices, and artwork.  Even tortoise-shell, from which they made a plastic-like, decorative waterproof finishing for wood furniture. The scale of trade was almost modern in scope, about a half billion dollars in gold going out each year to purchase goods that would be marked up ten, twenty, thirty-fold and taxed at 25%.  There were Roman interest sections, today we would call them consulates, in dozens of Indian cities, along with Roman temples.  Buddhism made its way to Rome as a popular, philosophical religion… things we never heard of.  Roman coins of the era have been found in Nagasaki, Roman shipping jugs have been found in Vietnam, and they even got as far east as Kattigat, somewhere in Borneo. Outside London, two Chinese skeletons were found in a Roman grave across the Thames two years ago… I know their names, they figure in my sequel!

I just had to capture this wholly unknown side of ancient Rome, the big ships they used, how they would have defended their lucrative cargo against pirates, what they thought of the world of the East, so different from their own.  I had to experience for myself what it was like to make that trip, and bring that experience to my readers.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

I have two, I think.(Editors note: why does everyone always have two?)  One is a violent storm that blows up while the Europa is transiting the Indian Ocean.  I think it was a tropical cyclone, the time of year was right, but I believe they just grazed the fringes of it, otherwise, I might not have been able to finish the book.  The Europa was a big ship, a three-master of about 200 feet, but the seas were bigger, and they fought through the night to keep the ship afloat and facing into the forty-foot waves, wind gusting to perhaps eighty or more knots.  And the next day, de-watering the ship, surveying and repairing the damage, tending the injured.

Yes, the Romans had ships of that size.  I modeled the Europa, Asia and Africa off the Mediterranean grain freighters, which were of that size, perhaps 800 to 1200 tons displacement, for you nautical types. You can read about one such ship, besides my own, caught in a Mediterranean storm with St Paul on board, in the Acts of the Apostles.  It was a very detailed contemporary description of a prolonged storm at sea, accurate enough for a detailed reconstruction of the incident.

The second involves my heroine, Marcia Lucia, Chinese name Si Huar, who begins as an abused concubine of a mid-level Chinese official.  She rises throughout the story, coming to leave that life behind and find love with the grizzled centurion Antonius, for whom love is also a new experience. She learns to fight, much to his disgruntlement, taught by Hina, a warrior woman of the Xiongnu nomads.  Hina is a hard taskmaster and Marcia masters everything Hina sets her to do.  But when she faces her first real fight, a fight with her former consort that must be to the death if she is not to return to the life she left behind, she hesitates… almost fatally.  The doubt, the fear, the uncertainty of that first real fight, the agonizing pain of a serious wound that must be ignored.  Then sitting beside the dead body of the man she has known for ten years, the man she has just killed.

That’s intense. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

You can find my book at Amazon, in Kindle or paperback. Or email me at mcintyrel@verizon.net and I will send you signed copy for just $20, shipping included at no extra charge.

https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Dragon-Novel-Rome-China-ebook/dp/B01MSEAC3I/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

I have a second book out, a short story, Come,Follow Me, a Story of Pilate and Jesus, that first Easter weekend told from the point of view of that most reluctant executioner, Pontius Pilate.  Also on Amazon.

 

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you’ve noticed a slow-down in my interviews and blogging ( and blessings upon your house and camels for caring) it’s because there’s a lot going on. Here’s just a sample of what’s been going on in this writer’s life:

  • We are moving to Las Vegas. After 17 years of Chicago winters, The Duchess has declared, “no mas.” Since I’d have to sell a butt-load more books than I have to live in California,  Vegas it is. Between househunting and packing, until October 1, my literary efforts are taking a back seat. There have been some other changes since then too…
  • Byron the cockatiel has a new home. For 8 years, I have shared my office and writing with a very cranky room-mate. Byron doesn’t take well to change, and the logistics of moving across the country, and the increased travel I’ll be doing, made re-homing him the right answer. It was hard to do, and the first person who says “he’s just a bird” gets punched in the throat.
  • The day job and “The Long-Distance Leader” require mental bandwidth. I usually keep my business and personal life separate. That’s why readers here probably don’t pay much attention to my non-fiction work. Still, “The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership,” is actually doing very well. It’s far outsold any of my other work and continues to drive business, which helps pay the rent in the new city, and keeps me fed. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a big seller in airports. Seriously, we’re a Hudson Best-Seller three months running. I have actually published 10 books with the new one coming out, my Amazon Author Page is here if you care.

 

  • I’ve been doing more short-story writing, which doesn’t usually show up here. Between novels and my non-fiction writing, I like to do short stories. One of these, “The Clairtangentist” was just published on Storgy.com July 31, and another will be coming out October 8. I will also have a story in this year’s Rivulets, the annual anthology of the Naperville Writers Group. “Dien Bien Phu, 1954”  If you’re interested, you can find either the stories or links to them on the “Short stories and other pieces” link on this site. Enjoy.
  • I’m getting fewer interview opportunities. Maybe because I’ve been spending less time pimping myself out on Goodreads, but I’m getting fewer contacts from authors who want me to help spread the news about their books. If you know a historical fiction writer who’s looking to get the word out, have them drop me a line.
  • I’m working on Acre’s Orphans for a January release. Just because you can self-pubish with one push of a button doesn’t mean you should. I”m doing everything I can to make sure the book looks good, gets publicity and out-sells my other fiction. That takes time.

All of this is my way of saying things will be slow here until mid-October. I have a couple of interviews planned, but will resurface with an update after we’ve settled into Sin City.

I’ll tell you more when I come up for air. Don’t let the weasels get you down.

Acre’s Orphans is Done. When Will it See Daylight?

At 7:58 last night I typed the last words of the final rewrite on Acre’s Orphans. The sucker’s done. Now it’s off to proofing, design and whatever. Here’s proof:

Thanks to everyone who helped get it this far. Of course, now there’s proofing, layout, cover design and the rest of the stuff that goes with birthing a book. I am going to be asking you, my readers, for help on this. Your feedback will be most helpful. Help a brother out, will ya?

At this point, I”m not sure of the launch date. With the move to Las Vegas coming up and then Christmas, it will likely be January of 2019–two years after Acre’s Bastard, which is a helluva long time between installments. Hopefully the third (and final, I swear) Lucca story won’t take so long coming into the world.

So, as is traditional with every finished draft of a book, or sale of a short story, it’s time for this:

AT long last, it’s time to celebrate the completion of a final draft. Acre’s Orphan is a’birthing.

If you’re interested in getting one of the first copies, or getting on the list for an advanced copy for reviews (and if you know anyone who reviews books I’d like to do a better job of getting the word out in advance,) please sign up for my newsletter by clicking the link on the right side menu or the Contact Me button. No spam, but you’ll get a heads up on free offers and when the book is ready for the light of day.

My undying gratitude to all of you.

WWT

 

The First Draft of Acre’s Orphans is Born–Be Very Afraid

If you’re one of the many people who enjoyed Acre’s Bastard, you’ve probably figured out that there’s at least one more book to come. Well, I’ve finally finished the first draft. Here’s photographic proof.

The first draft of Acre’s Orphans does exist

That said, it’s a first draft. Here’s what that feels like in my head…

A first draft is like giving birth… even if it is an ugly, demonic little darling

If you’ve seen David Cronenburg’s  1979 movie, The Brood, this makes a lot more sense. It’s a deformed, demonic little creature but mama loves it. That’s how I feel about the first version of Acre’s Orphans. (Yes, that makes me Samantha Eggar in this story. Don’t read too much into that.)  I am hopeful to have this revised and beta-read in time for a late fall launch.

If you’re a fan of Lucca the Louse, be prepared. You can drop me a line or join the newsletter using the link on this page to be the first to know when Acre’s Orphans is ready for the world.

Subscribe to my  newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look in the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just periodic updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Big-ass plans for 2018

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate New Years Eve. Always have. The week between Christmas and New Years is traditionally a time of self-flagellating reflection, semi-soul-numbing-regrets and non-clinical depression. That generally comes complete with a lot of whining and binge-eating the remaining butter tarts. With the Duchess working retail, and my customers inconsiderately on vacation, I have too much time to think about stuff. Nothing good happens when Wayne starts a sentence with, “I’ve been thinking.”

This year is (slightly, ever-so-slightly) different.

By the way, this is not a request for “attaboy” Facebook messages or offers of assistance or your therapists’ contact information. I go through this every year and come out the other side. It’s just a way of setting up what I have to say next.

As I look forward to 2018, there are three things to look forward to.

  1. In May, the release of “The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.” Co-written with my boss and friend, Kevin Eikenberry, this is a very real book from a real publisher and the hope is that it will kick-start the whole “paying the rent” thing. It’s available for Pre-Order now. Just saying.
  2. This summer will see the release of “Acre’s Orphans”, the second story in the Lucca series. I’m guessing August?  I had hoped to have it out by now, but hubris is a terrible thing. “How hard could it be to do a world-class business book AND the next novel in the same year?” I can now answer that: way more than I thought. For those of you awaiting the next adventure. It’s coming. By the way, I killed off someone major in Chapter 15. Can’t wait to hear the complaining…..
  3. After 17 years in Chicago, the Duchess and I are planning to leave Chicago for Las Vegas. Now, I’m well aware that if you want to hear God laugh, tell Her your plans, and nothing is set in stone. Still, that’s the plan. No more frigid winters (it’s -5 Fahrenheit this Boxing Day morning as Iwrite this. I think it was either Mark Twain or Simone de Beauvoir who famously said, “F#@*! this”.) And it’s time to start the next chapter of our lives. Of course, if anyone wants to buy a few copies of my books to help fund the move, we’d appreciate it. While I love Chicago,  and Her Serene Highness will be staying behind, it’s either move or be murdered in my sleep by a woman raised in Miami and still pining for  Los Angeles after all these years. I’m already packing boxes.

You never really know what a year holds, but I am excited for the challenges I know I (and we as a family) will face.

My own self-absorbed whinging aside, I wish for you an exciting 2018 of chasing your dreams and fighting the weasels to at least a draw.