Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Meet debut author Jen Corkhill

I am delighted to welcome Jen Corkill to my blog today. Jen describes herself as a stay at home geek in rural Nevada where she gardens, sews,paints, and weaves magic into the daily lives of her three beautiful children and amazing husband. Every day is a blessing. Sometimes, she even finds enough calm moments to write…sometimes. Her interests include Star Wars, Victorian Literature, Bioware, power metal, and enough coffee to float her to Helstone. You can find out more about Jen on her webpage: JenCorkill.com

Her new book, Seasons of Mist, is out very soon. Below is a blurb and an excerpt.

Justine Holloway prepares for her debut into society, compliments of her 
godparents, while the underworld of London groans with unfettered abhorrence. 
The Varius are refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while 
others channel the forces of magic, an element that once flowed freely between 
both worlds. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily 
forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry. It is the job of the 
Council, created for the protection of humanity, to step in and eliminate the 
What Justine does not realize is her godfather runs the Council right under the 
nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. Justine 
suspects something mysterious is brewing when the handsome Egyptian Ambassador 
heals before her eyes. It’s an image she can forget and a mystery she wants to 
When a deadly vampire makes his devious intentions known, her survival might 
depend on this strange Egyptian. Unfortunately, he can’t figure out why he’s so 
drawn to her, or whether he must kill her to save humanity. 
Scroll down to read an excerpt.
A lanky man wearing the livery of a deckhand strode to the side of the captain’s 
cabin and peered into one of the portholes. He licked his lips and dug inside 
his pockets. At first, Justine contemplated going to her cabin but his gaze did 
not alter as he stood, eyes fixated on the room she’d just left.
            “Excuse me…can I help you?” Justine ventured. “Is there someone 
inside you wish to speak to? The captain perhaps?”
            The man did not respond. He acted as if she was invisible. Whatever 
drew him to the cabin smothered any sense of life or breath. Without looking 
down to see what he brought out of his pocket, Justine noticed a metal necklace, 
a medallion of sorts, clutched in his grasp. He brought the trinket to his face 
near the porthole glass, hot breath fogging the glass. His long fingers rubbed 
the shiny metal, twisting it this way and that as if ready to smash it through 
the window.
            “The Master said this’d find him…” His words came out in an elated 
whisper. The young man’s attention darted from the necklace to the window and 
back. He licked his lips again and finally blinked in rapid succession. Then, he 
smiled. The expression of delight brought a childlike innocence to his intense 
errand but it did not last. As before, he twitched, his hands trembling. “Why is 
it not working?”
Justine stepped back, fearing he’d throw the necklace to the floor in a rage. 
Snarling, saliva seething from his mouth, he beat the medallion. Was the man 
            “Excuse me?” Justine repeated. “Are you alright?”
            Whatever haze clouding the deckhands mind cleared. He jumped and 
stared at her, no doubt startled at her appearance. There was nothing between 
her and his pale eyes, so empty and devoid of color. It was as if she looked 
through a window into an empty room where nothing lived. Something vile animated 
his corpse, legs and arms moving towards her like a marionette. The railing was 
the only thing separating her from the frozen water below. Cold metal burned 
through her gloves. Justine shivered wishing she’d had run away when she had the 
chance. His breath brushed against her exposed skin, a putrid smell that made 
Justine feel compromised, unclean.
            “Stop…you’re frightening me,” Justine whined. Nothing wanted to 
move. Her legs turned to stone beneath her. All she could do was stand there, 
desperately wanting to get away, to put as much distance between herself and the 
vile creature as she could. He was close enough to reach out and wrap his hands 
around her throat.
            Oh God, please, let this not be Jack the Ripper. Justine had read 
the headlines of the murder stalking London.
            The deckhand never touched her, yet she still felt his body. “Tell 
him to fear me for I know his secret.”
            “Wh…what? What secret?”
            Raised voices echoed from the cabin. Shoving whatever necklace he 
held back into his jacket, the deckhand ran down the length of the deck and 
            Justine wasn’t quite sure what just happened. Had the man been 
speaking about someone in the cabin? Mr. Tinnen or the captain? Of course the 
easiest answer could easily have been the man was mad, but that did little to 
ease the panic. Her hands trembled and not from the cold. Justine grabbed the 
ends of her shawl and wrapped them tight around her. Every time she blinked, she 
saw his eyes burning into hers. She fled to her cabin and locked the door behind 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

One Lovely Blog Award


I was nominated by fellow writer Janet Wertman for the One Lovely Blog Award. The award recognizes newer or up-and-coming bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a “lovely” manner, giving them recognition and helping them reach more viewers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines. I have these guidelines listed below.

The Rules for accepting the Award(s):

    1. Thank and link back to the awesome person who nominated you.
    2. Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog.
    3. Share 7 things about yourself.
    4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know.

So, first, thank you Janet Wertman for this wonderful compliment and opportunity. I love your blog and am sure others will too. janetwertman.com

Now then, seven things about me. It is quite difficult to think of seven interesting things about myself, so do forgive me:

I once knitted a jumper for Ed the Duck of Children’s BBC fame and he wore it on live television.


When I was at university I was selected to represent my year and meet Prince Charles. In this photograph he looks delighted at the prospect.

 I am very shy, hate crowds and enclosed spaces. I always position myself in a room so I can see the sky from the window.

Since I live in a secluded smallholding with no distractions, I am at liberty to write all day, every day and I very often do. This is the view from my desk.

I am going to be a grandmother in March (very excited).

 I am currently working on my seventh historical novel A Song of Sixpence, about Elizabeth of York and Perkin Warbeck. Look for it in the New Year.

I have a large family, four children of my own, three step-children, two step-grandchildren and a grandchild on the way. Here are some of us enjoying a raggedy day in the country. Christmas is very expensive (please buy more of my books). Ha ha!

 Perhaps I should add that I am hopeless at making myself sound interesting.

And finally, 15 bloggers and their blogs that deserve the same kind of recognition.

Rachael Thomas, Mills and Boon author, follow her journey to publication. http://rachael-thomas.blogspot.co.uk/
Kate Murray, author and artist writing and drawing her way out of dyslexia. http://kate0murray.wordpress.com/
Wendy Steele, Author, Wisewoman, gossip http://wendysteele.com/blog/
Karen Aminadra, keeping Jane Austen alive. http://kaminadra.blogspot.co.uk/
Elizabeth Ashworth, author of historical fiction and non-fiction. http://elizabethashworth.com/
Catherine Curzon, tireless provision of historical information.http://www.madamegilflurt.com/
Jackie Buxton, Agenthood and submissionville http://jackiebuxton.blogspot.co.uk/
Anna Belfrage, eclectic mix of wonderful stuff. http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com/
E.M. Powell, historical medieval fiction author and blogger. http://empowell.blogspot.co.uk/
Linda Root, Indie writer and historian. http://lindaroot.blogspot.co.uk/
Paula Lofting, Historical fiction author. http://www.paulalofting.com/
Louise Rule, Trials and tribulations of an indie author.http://louiseeruleauthor.blogspot.co.uk
Ann Swinfen, a mine of historical knowledge. http://annswinfen.com/blog/
Beth Elliot, writing the regency.  http://regencytales.blogspot.co.uk/
Stephanie Moore Hopkins, Author interviews of the best by the best. http://layeredpages.com/

I hope  you enjoy these wonderful  blogs as much as I do.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Meet My Main Characters - Judith Arnopp

Meet My Main Characters - Judith Arnopp

Today I’m taking part in a blog hop about my main characters.
Thank you to Rachael Thomas for tagging me in 
Meet My Main Character Blog hop. You can 
read all about Rachael's main character here.
For next week I am tagging Wendy Steele to tell us about her main character.

What is the name of your character?

There are two main characters in A Song of Sixpence, is that cheating? The first is Elizabeth of York,
Elizabeth of York Wikimedia commons
the second Perkin Warbeck. Historically of course, we don’t know Perkin’s real identity but in my book he is one of her brothers, Richard of York, escaped from the Tower of London after Richard III ascension to the throne.

When and where is the story set?

A Song of Sixpence is a historical novel set in England during the reign of Henry VII, the father of the Tudor dynasty.

What should we know about the character?

Elizabeth is the daughter of King Edward IV of York. After his death, her brother’s claim is overturned and her uncle Richard III takes the throne. After the Battle of Bosworth where Richard is slain, she is married for dynastic reasons to her old enemy Henry VII. Her life as queen is full of uncertainty; in the beginning she doesn’t love or trust her husband, she doesn’t like her mother-in-law and doesn’t know if her brothers are alive or dead. When Perkin Warbeck claims to be Richard of York Elizabeth is unsure of his real identity but her quandary is that, if put the test, should she side with her brother or fight against him to ensure her son inherits his father’s throne?

Perkin knows who he is; he knows what he wants, and nothing will stand in his way of attaining it. He matures from a small boy with a few friends into a formidable enemy of the Tudor king and severely shakes Henry VII’s grasp on the crown.

Henry VII - wikimedia commons
What is the character’s goal?

Elizabeth longs to return to the peace she enjoyed as a princess during her father’s reign. She craves stability for England. She needs Henry to open up to her, to allow her to take her proper role but he is suspicious of all surviving Yorkists, even his wife, and ensures her power as queen remains minimal.  Hemmed in by suspicion, malice and uncertainty, her fight to be recognised as a woman of influence  is sustained and desperate.

Perkin (Richard of York)'s only goal is to win back his crown and exact justice on those who disempowered him.

What is screwing up your character’s life (the main conflict)?

Elizabeth needs to discover the real identity of the man claiming to be her brother but her husband,
Perkin Warbeck -wikimedia commons
King Henry VII, who is suspicious of everyone including his wife, forbids her to meet or even look upon the usurper (Richard of York). Elizabeth is queen of England with no power, no authority, and no influence on either her own life or that of her children. She is a strong woman deprived of the key to unlock the truth and to destroy the barriers between her and her husband.

Perkin (or Richard of York) is fighting to regain his rightful throne. With the might of Europe behind him, his quest is to vanquish the English king but in doing so he knows he must destroy his sister and her children

When is the book to be published?
I am about three quarters though the first draft  - hopefully it will be available before Christmas but perhaps, more realistically, it will be early next year. All my books are available in paperback and on Kindle. For information on my other historical novels please visit my official webpage: www.juditharnopp.com

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Margaret Beaufort - The King's Mother

Judith Arnopp
Henry Tudor Tower Pembroke Castle

During a recent visit to Pembroke castle I was struck by the warren of rooms where, so history tells us, the birth of Henry Tudor took place. A long, low dimly lit corridor leads to a circular chamber with a great fireplace and thick stone walls. The room was cold even in September and, even with the benefit of a large fire, tapestries and cushions to exclude drafts, I could imagine the unenviable discomfort of a child confronted with the terror of giving birth there on the bleakest of mid-winter nights.

28 January 1457 – Pembroke Castle

 A maid hurries along a dark passageway, the chilblains on her fingers smarting from the cold jug she carries. When she opens the door to the chamber, the draught hurtles along the frigid corridor behind her, lifts her petticoats and hastens her entry into the room. The door slams behind her, the torches flicker, plunging the company into gloom.
The ill-lit chamber stinks of sweat and wood smoke, lightened only by the fragrance of tangy aromatic herbs said to aid a birthing. As the maid approaches the bed and places the jug on a table, the girl on the mattress flings out a hand and grabs at the midwife’s arm.
The light from the fire accentuates her shadowed eyes, the drained white face. There is blood on her chin where she has bitten through her lip in her efforts to stem her screams.
“She is too young,” the maid whispers to the midwife. “She cannot survive.”
As the older woman stands up to press a hand to her aching back she casts a warning glare in the maid’s direction.
“Rubbish,” she says loudly for the benefit of the girl on the bed. “She is young and strong; I’ve seen weaker women than this survive it.”
Her words are for the benefit of the patient. The maid has assisted in many births and knows that this one has little chance of success. Lady Margaret is only just turned thirteen, she has the build of a child; her great pregnant belly is obscene against her stick thin limbs and undeveloped chest. If the mother survives the child won’t; and if the child does manage to breathe at all, it will undoubtedly be motherless.
The maid turns away and pours a cup of wine, leans over the bed to try to coax the girl to drink.
“Try just a sip, my lady. It will fortify you.”
The cup moves closer to Lady Margaret’s mouth but, before she can drink, another
Pembroke Castle photo- Judith Arnopp
spasm takes her. She grabs the maid’s wrist, making her drop the cup, slopping wine that soaks and spreads as fast as a plague across her shift.
Bulging eyes fix upon the maid, sweat emerges on the noble brow as her childish mouth opens in a grimace of furious pain. The maid tries not to mind the nails that bite like tiny knives into her skin.
“It’s all right, my lady. You are doing fine; women are built for childbirth.”
A turn of her head reveals the midwife burrowing beneath the girl’s shift, her deft hands palpating her great distended belly. At another assault Lady Margaret jerks up her knees and, with a twist of pity, the maid notices they are knobbly as a child’s and patterned with small blue bruises.
“That’s it, my lady, you can push now.” She speaks loudly, fighting to sound authoritative.
Margaret ducks her chin into her chest, the veins on her forehead standing out like blue rope as she grits her teeth and growls like a wild animal. The maid’s eyes sweep across the scene. Blood is smeared upon her ladyship’s thigh and there is more on the sheets, a steady flow puddling on to the floor.
From her seat between Lady Margaret’s knees the midwife runs her forearm across her brow, leaving a crimson streak. Her eyes meet the maid’s and with a brief shake of her head she admits the cause is lost.
The maid swallows, sends up a prayer before bending over her mistress again.
“Come on, my lady, you are a fighter. Fight now for your son.” She shifts on the mattress, looking up into Margaret’s face, forcing her to maintain eye contact. “I will tell you when; I will push with you.”
For another hour they battle on, only strength of will keeping Margaret from giving up, from letting go. Each time she begins to drift away she is dragged relentlessly back to the nightmare that her life has become. Pain washes in, receding too briefly before it floods back in again but then, just when she feels she can push no more, something shifts, and a light appears in her darkness.
“Get on the floor and squat.” At a signal from the midwife the maid thrusts her hands beneath Margaret’s armpits, supports her as she slides from the mattress to squat on the floor. When the next pain comes, oblivious of the blood and the birth fluid that soaks the rushes around her, Margaret bears down with what strength she has left.
This time something happens and with each effort her son makes progress, thrusting and slashing his way into the world.
Pembroke Castle - photo-Judith Arnopp


Rowland Lockey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Margaret Beaufort was just thirteen when she gave birth to her only child, Henry, later to become the father of the Royal Tudor dynasty. Margaret, a wealthy heiress and valuable asset to the Lancastrian cause, was married as an infant to John de la Pole. That marriage was dissolved and later, aged just twelve, she became the wife of the twenty two year old Edmund Tudor. When he succumbed to plague and died in Carmarthen just six months later, Margaret was already heavily pregnant.
In the middle ages it was normal for marriage to take place at a very young age but consummation did not usually take place until the wife was physically fully developed. Margaret’s body was underdeveloped even for a twelve year old and the immediate consummation caused some indignation among their contemporaries. Edmund’s eagerness to bed his wife was due, not to passion, but rather to his impatience to get his hands on her vast estates which would only be his on the birth of their first child.

Henry Tudor Michael Sittow (circa 1469-1525) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In her widowhood Margaret turned for support to Edmund’s brother, Jasper, and took up residence at Pembroke Castle where she gave birth to Henry. The physical damage caused by his birth made it impossible for Margaret to bear any further children but that did not stop her from marrying again. Margaret, despite setbacks, ultimately triumphed. Married four times for political gain she proved herself to be a wise and politically astute woman. She is often labelled as being overly pious and domineering but her devotion to her son is unquestioned.
Raglan Castle -photo Judith Arnopp
While York was in power Margaret and Henry were separated. While she, with little hope, doggedly and quietly worked on his behalf he spent his early years in the custody of Yorkist adherents, the Herberts at Raglan Castle.
Henry’s youth was spent in exile in the courts of Europe. But Margaret never lost hope and worked untiringly for her son’s cause; her determined and single mined battle for what she saw as Henry’s birth right can only be admired.


I am the author of seven historical novels, the three most recent being set in the Tudor period. Although the Tudor family have been written of time and time again I find them endlessly fascinating. I like to burrow beneath their ostentatious clothes and jewels to try to access the minds beneath – How did it feel? How did it smell? What did they think?

The Kiss of the Concubine US Link UK Link
 Intractable Heart US Link.
                                    UK Link

 The Winchester Goose US Link UK Link

 The Forest Dwellers US Link UK Link

 The Song of Heledd US Link UK Link

 Peaceweaver US Link UK Link

You can find more information on my webpage: www.juditharnopp.com
And my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Judith-Arnopp/e/B003CGLWLA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1411465196&sr=1-1