Thursday, December 24, 2015

Welcoming the Light

A Merry Yuletide to all my followers and readers! Thank you for being part of my world for the past year. It's been a long and winding journey with plenty of stones to rattle the wheels of my writing cart, but it's been a marvellous experience. Becoming a published author has realised a childhood dream. As my Nan would have said, I'm as 'happy as a pig in muck'. I wish you all a happy holiday - stay safe and warm and have fun - and I hope you find what you are seeking in the new year. I'd also like to thank all of you who purchased a copy of WULFSUNA and to the reviewers who gave their time to read and feedback on my debut in the 'Wolf Spear Saga' series. It is much appreciated. I look forward to sharing more of my work with you all into 2016, as well as no doubt learning a thing or two from some of you in return.

Beat the boredom with a book! We're all familiar with that festive lull once we've eaten all the goodies and watched the classic films. Now's the time to fit in some reading. If you need a last minute gift, or have an early 2016 birthday looming WULFSUNA is available in eBook and paperback from my publisher SilverWood Books as well as other main online retailers such as KoboBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository and Amazon. Grab some Saxon action and join the Wolf Sons as they sail into the east fens of Bryton. Encounter blood, brotherhood, betrayal and a hint of magic and romance.

For more updates about me and my books and what's happening in the world of Historical Fiction and the 'Wolf Spear Saga', why not follow me via my website at E S Moxon Author and Goodreads? See you around!

All that remains is for me to grab a slice of Panettone, a generous glass of mead and say "Wes ðū hāl ealle!".

Image result for green man winter solstice

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pages Bound in Time

I often talk about the importance of research when writing, as well as my enjoyment of it. It is a question that appears frequently at talks and in author interviews. I therefore decided it was time to blog about it, particularly as I have recently acquired a piece of history – an old edition of the 'History of Britain'. As you will tell from the numerous photographs below, it contains integral maps and I am somewhat excited by this new addition to my personal library!

History of England, G. M. Trevelyan
Map: Celtic and Roman Britain
Map: England, Scotland & Ireland at Time of Viking Invasions
 The book itself is a slice of history, its pages bound in time to the spine of thought at the year of imprint. Archaeology is constantly changing and re-educating how we look at the past and so to have such a book, is akin to owning a time capsule. It is not merely the knowledge of what was known historically at the time of the book’s printing that is enlightening, but moreover how society of the time viewed the past. How this book presents its historical evidence can tell us much about academic thoughts of the time. I find this as equally fascinating as the history reported in the book.

After all, throughout history events and the recording of them have relied heavily upon the viewpoint of one or more individuals (often on the winning side of a conflict). This is why extensive research is necessary when approaching historical fiction. As we all know, there is always more than one side to any disagreement. I love to weigh my historical facts, using a wide spread of reading as the scales. My contemplation of the presented so-called ‘evidence’ becomes the weights that decide when the balance is right.

As I considered the breadth of my reading for research purposes, I recalled conversations with other authors and countless ‘shelfie’ photos of writers’ well-stocked bookcases. I emptied my own bookcase of all the books I have ever used for research (and continue to use) and I was shocked. I remember saying once that we are not only writers; we must also be archaeologists, biologists, horticulturalists, chemists, historians, geologists, butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers! The list is endless. Below is a small portion of the books I found.
I'm going to need a bigger bookcase!

 I have amassed quite a selection covering a broad variety of topics, though I know there are gaps I shall fill in due course. It highlights for me the extent to which writers reach to attain accuracy and depth in their novels. For instance, before I begin a scene I check in which season it is set and note what foliage would be around for the time of year and also the period in history. Not all the plants we see today were around in the 5th Century. My characters are next. I must ensure they are appropriately clothed for the season and period, but also within their particular role in society. For my current work in progress I am studying linguistics (Welsh, Cornish and Old Norse) and equine history (horse behaviour, breeding and tack). I could read reams on these subjects over days and weeks, making copious notes, and it could all be for the sake of one scene.

Eventually, having absorbed the research, I have to write my story. Once more I must weigh prose against historical fact, finding the perfect balance. I redraft and edit, mixing and baking until I feel it is right for publication. That is when I hope all my reading and writing has created pages bound in time; a story that captures imaginations in the same way the idea first caught me.

How much historical fact do you like to read in your historical fiction?

What aspects of historical fiction are important to you in terms of learning about history?

~ ~ ~

Blood, betrayal and brotherhood.
An ancient saga is weaving their destiny.
A treacherous rival threatens their fate.
A Seer's magic may be all that can save them.

Wolf Spear Saga: 2 - coming 2016

Friday, October 23, 2015

#luckyseven - excerpt from Wolf Spear Saga: 2

I have been tagged in the #luckyseven meme by Battle Scars series author Charlene Newcomb. She is knee-deep in editing 'For King and Country', but was eager to share a taster and invited 7 of us to join in. Thanks Charlene!

I'm working on my second novel in the 'Wolf Spear Saga' series. It is the sequel to 'WULFSUNA' and set 27 years after Book 1. Life in Wulfgarsaetan has been settled for a few years, but there are stirrings of discontent. Instigated by Hengist's growing kingdom in the south-east, the Wealisc are once more harassing the Wulfsuna and it is rumoured their long-time Angle rivals Tha Eforas are hungry for war. Here, we find the Wulfsuna out on a peace-keeping mission in Wealisc territory, hoping to secure some allies...

In a low voice Beortgar said theatrically, “Deep into the land of the Silures...” As he chuckled at his own humour, Wulfsieg glared at him, for now was not the time for revelry. Beortgar rubbed a forearm across his mouth and whispered, “Sorry. I heard old Heahstan say that once in the Great Hall.”

            As Wulfsieg turned back to review their situation, he caught Ianbert beside him, grinning. His thegn leaned over, winking.

“Bit of his father coming through.”

“Give your name!”

            The call from behind the gates sent a hush through the Wolf Sons. Ianbert shook his head at Wulfsieg, who chose to ignore him and gestured to Ealdorman Osmund.


So, now it's time to name a few more of you. Here are the rules:-
  • Go to a page ending in a 7 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post the next 7 lines or sentences - as they are - on your blog or on Facebook
  • Tag 7 other people to do the same!
I nominate: Wendy PercivalS J A TurneyA A AbbottDeborah FoulkesLucienne BoyceAnnie Whitehead and Stephen Oram

~ ~ ~

Blood, betrayal and brotherhood.
An ancient saga is weaving their destiny.
A treacherous rival threatens their fate.
A Seer's magic may be all that can save them.

Wolf Spear Saga: 2 - coming 2016

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Inward Spiral

Autumn, for me, is about turning inwards. We coil from the cold, withdrawing inside for longer periods to escape the weather and the ever-increasing darkness. Longer evenings, curled in the warmth of our homes provide ample opportunity for reflection. Hence the introspection. There is time to contemplate our life path, to make promises to ourselves for things we wish to achieve in the coming new year, when the spiral begins anew. Since the spring the spiral of life has lurched outwards, flinging light and inspiration into the world until the fullness of summer. Replete from the bounty, the spiral began its inward turn and is now leading us towards winter.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Woman Behind the Wolves

This post follows on from my last blog entry 'Folklore of the Nix', which you can read here.


WULFSUNA is a book about battles: physical battles of blood and carnage, mental battles against pride and fear and emotional battles of torn responsibility, love and betrayal. It is also a book mostly about men. The Seaxen (Saxon) tribe of the ‘Wolf Sons’, whose name is the book’s title, is a war-band of viking warriors. Many of the women they knew are either deceased, too infirm to travel or have chosen to remain in Germania.

The book opens with the tribe’s arrival in the east fens of Bryton (Britain) and follows their journey inland, to a long-destined meeting between two halves of a tribe, separated by sea and some twenty years apart. However, amid all the sweating oarsmen, helmeted nobles and axe-wielding warriors is one who is stronger than all of them; she is a Seer and her name is Morwyneth. Who is she? Well, so far she has been shadowed by her more muscular counterparts and so I felt it was time for her to emerge; for the world (who have not yet read my book) to know the woman behind the wolves of the WULFSUNA.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Folklore of the 'Nix'

In my novel, the Saxon tribe of the Wolf Sons (who give their name to the book’s title - WULFSUNA) face a terrifying entity. What, you wonder, could put the fear into the hearts of several scores of burly Saxon warriors? Mortal enemies with swords and spears can be vanquished. Those foes do not frighten them. Even death, though often gruesome, is a fate greeted bravely, for it means acceptance to Woden’s great hall and a feast before the last great battle of the world. It is something far more sinister and foreboding that grips these men’s hearts with ice.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writing Historical Dialogue

At a recent library book club engagement I chose to openly explore the subject of writing dialogue in historical novels. As you can imagine, this is an area of the writing process fraught with difficulties posed by which period of history you have chosen and the availability (or lack of) detail about language during that age. My audience found it fascinating, evident from their own eager input during my talk, which became more of a group discussion. (I love it when that happens, don’t you?) I decided, therefore, to expand on it and share it here.

I have found historical dialogue to be a fine balance between staying true to a period and not alienating readers. Whilst there are those whose excitement mounts at every historical term used for armour, weaponry, clothing or day-to-day utensils, not everyone is after a language lesson. The majority of readers are in search of intriguing story and larger-than-life characters. One of the ways in which we authors can move the story forward and enhance the image of our characters is through the exchange of speech. We can immediately gain a sense of character when they open their mouth.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Hand Axe & Early Saxon Warfare

Hand axes have been with us for millennia, through the Stone and Bronze Ages, since man first crafted a tool. The precursor to the modern steel axe, flinted objects were used in everyday life for killing prey on the hunt, stripping meat from a carcass and for carving bone into tools or amulets. Revered for their functionality and the reliance early man had on them, they became worthy of decoration. A postgraduate study at the University of Southampton revealed the existence of two distinct Neanderthal cultures in Europe, based on the designs of their axe heads. The Neanderthals inhabited a western and eastern region, now France and Germany. The western Neanderthal culture made symmetrical, triangular and heart-shaped hand axes. During the same period, the eastern Neanderthal culture created asymmetrical bifacial blades. Furthermore, groups from both tribes living near their borders in modern day Belgium, crafted axes using a combination of both the western and eastern designs. Dr Karen Ruebens, of the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO), believes this suggests “distinct ways of making a hand axe (that) were passed on from generation to generation”. To my mind, this also shows an interest in defining weapons and territory through art, and that they were open to accepting influences from neighbouring civilisations.