Tag Archives: historical fiction

Adventures in Writing – my Western, part one.

Writing during the summer months usually finds me accelerating my output, embarking on new projects, finishing off old ones.

This year is no different, despite soaring temperatures causing the entire process to be an arduous one!

With July barely half way through, I’ve completed the final edits of my novella ‘Fallen Past’, and the first adaptation for a television serial of my book ‘Roadkill’. With both of these out of the way, I can put my energy into writing biographies for famous Vikings, which I’ve been invited to do for an artist friend of mine (more news of that when it is done) and starting a new novel, in a genre I have always wanted to try.

The Western!

I reckon (notice the easy way in which I slip into Western-like parlance!) I should keep a log of my progress, so here it is.

DAY ONE

Writing first few chapters. In a deadbeat town in the Utah of the 1850s, a retired army general is embroiled in a bank robbery and is shot. As he lies bleeding, his daughter is abducted. US Marshalls, summoned to find the daughter as our good general is a hero of the Mexican War, are waylaid and killed, possibly by Indians. The Pinkerton Detective Agency over in Illinois, charged with finding the missing girl, send Officer Simms  out across the Territory to find her. Simms knows the general, served with him in the War. He’s the perfect choice. He’s also a killer, which might help.

But he’s travelling to a violent, unpredictable land. An added terror is the land is gripped by the worst drought in living memory. This does nothing to lighten Simms’s mood. Soon, starving Indians, merciless bounty-hunters and other, even more despicable individuals punctuate his progress. But he can handle it. Simms is tough. The toughest there is. Utah may be about to find itself pitched into all-out war, but none of this matters one jot to Simms. All he cares about is the girl.

But will he find her alive?

Well, okay, I’ve put down 8,000 words so far, which is about a tenth of the way through, which isn’t bad for my first outing. I might have it done in less than two weeks at this rate! More of the same tomorrow, because when a story takes hold, there’s no way I can shrug it off.

I’m not sure if it will be successful. I don’t even know if a publisher will accept it. Westerns aren’t the most popular of genres, but I don’t care. I’m past all that now. I write for myself, what I enjoy. This used to be my benchmark, and so it is again. I’ve discovered in this business, publishers don’t really give a damn. Not many others do either, and I can’t blame them. It is impossible to make yourself known in this business nowadays, so what is the point in killing yourself in trying. That’s my motto now. I write, for me. If someone else likes it, that’s a bonus. The world is awash with books, a lot of them are pure bilge, and authors battle like demented insects around a light bulb, all of them jostling for the best position. I see it and read it all the time; Twitter and Facebook alive with adverts and posts screaming out why you should read such-and-such book. I steer clear of them all. I suspect people do the same with mine, because yes, I do indulge. One of my publishers tells me to, even though it’s all a bunch of crap. Anyway, I digress. This book is going to be great fun. Great fun to write, hopefully to read.

Next time, I’ll detail subsequent chapters.

Stay tuned and thanks for dropping by.

If you are in the least bit curious as to what I do, please visit my website where you can find out a lot more about me, my work and where to buy copies of my book! If you like spies, adventure and Vikings, you’ll like my books. I write thrillers, historical and contemporary ones, and now Westerns! Yeeha!!!

www.stuartgyates.com

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Adventures in Writing … interview with Cat

I’ve recently had the good fortune of being interviewed by one of Rebel-E’s wonderful and successful authors, Cat Connor. (Check them out HERE). She is quirky and great fun and seems to have a healthy obsession with zombies, which is cool. I’m watching ‘The Walking Dead’ a TV series of which Stephen King, no less, is a great fan, and it’s great. Not because it has zombies in it, but because it just a great story. But, I digress. One of her questions was the perennial, ‘why do you write?’

I have trouble answering this question.

I’m a natural rebel (maybe that’s why I submitted to RebelE? Who knows). I hate being told what to do. I don’t follow the crowd, never have. This has sometimes resulted in me getting into hot water, but there’s not a lot I can do; it’s the way I am.

So … not wishing to insult anyone, as far as I can see there are two main reasons.

One, people write to make money;

Two, people write because they love it.

I guess some of us fall into both categories, but if you write because you love it, the monetary gain is a wonderful by product of our desire, our need to tell stories. And it is wonderful to make some money, of course it is. But it’s not my main motivation, not by a long way.

I’m a story-teller. I simply love conjuring up new tales to write. I don’t know how I do it. I sit down and write. There’s no mystery, as far as I’m concerned, but I am aware that this something of a thin, possibly unsatisfactory explanation.

I’ve tried to analyse why I do it. It causes all sorts of problems for those around me. It impacts on my social life (of which I have none), and it makes me seem self-centred, selfish, even boring. Whilst others – colleagues, friends, loved-ones – go about their lives, all I do is sit down at my desk and bash away at the keyboard. If you’re not a writer, how can you possibly understand? It’s the downside, I guess, to writing. BUT, if you are creative, you have no choice. If I do not write, I am tetchy, unfulfilled, short-tempered, I stomp around like a big bear brought out of hibernation too soon. More than anything, I feel guilty.

I’m not sure if those who write for money have the same emotional response. And what happens if they don’t make any money? They stop, give up, and latch onto something else. Writers who do it because they have no choice write another book. Then another.

Well, to help me answer Cat’s question, I turned to others for some inspiration. George Orwell put down four reasons why, and his words rang so true for me. I won’t go into all of what he said, but the idea of us longing to have our opinions heard has a lot to be said for it. All too often, I am ignored, not listened to. My opinions don’t count for much. Those around me are far more vociferous than I. I’m not good in social gatherings. I’m too self-conscious, too shy. I’d rather sit in silence, than air my own thoughts. And we are surrounded by so many armchair experts who spout off constantly about what they know. The internet, Wikipedia, the Discovery Channel, have made everyone an expert. It’s also closed people’s minds to the possibilities of formulating one’s own judgements. Sheep.

I’m not a sheep.

I get into trouble because I do not believe the BS.

But I write. And that’s me, my way to give voice to what burns inside.

Perhaps I should have said that in answer to Cat’s question. I’m not sure if I did. Ho hum…

 

I’m working on my website!  Woohoo! I’m adding all sorts of things to flesh out my stories. I’ve already put in some background interest, and extended extracts, so why not call in and have a look HERE. It’s all building to the release of the second in my Varangian series, which should be available very soon.

It’s all very exciting! So keep reading.

 

 

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Adventures in Writing – Hardrada novels

VARANGIAN – the background story to the greatest Viking of them all, is the first in my Harald Hardrada series. novels.

Very soon, the second in my proposed five volume series of historical novels based around the life of Harald Sigurdsson, the last and greatest Viking of them all, published by Rebel-e, will be available.

The first volume, entitled ‘Varangian’ is receiving very good reviews. It is available from Barnes and noble, Smashwords and HERE, on Amazon.

The cover for my historical novel 'Varangian'.

The cover for my historical novel ‘Varangian’.

I thought it might be of interest to many readers to give some background to this amazing man, a living legend in his own time, a man who is still honoured and celebrated in Norway even to this day.

We all know the Vikings, or at least we think we do. The recent television series ‘The Vikings’ has used the historical figure of Ragnor Luthbrok as its vehicle to launch a re-telling of this amazing man’s journey across the sea to England.

Luthbrok was a real figure. It is to him that history has forever linked the terrible atrocities perpetrated at Lindisfarne in 793 AD, when the defenceless monks in that isolated monastery were put to the sword and their holy relics and treasures looted. The Vikings had arrived, and for the next 360 years they raided, settled and ruled the land we now know as England.

Ragnor Lodbrok, one of the first Vikings to raid Britain

Hardrada’s story is similar.

Born in Norway, around 1014, he was the half-brother to King Olaf II, who was canonised a saint soon after his bloody death. My fictional series begins with Harald languishing in a prison cell, in the great city of Constantinople. How he got there is the subject of my thirds volume. The in-betweens are dealt with it the previous two volumes. ‘Varangian’ sets out how he manages to make good his release. Already a commander of the fabled Varangian guard, he is employed by the holy patriarch Alexius to help the great city defend itself against the excesses of its own emperor, Michael V. Depraved, drunk with power, Michael attempted to usurp power for himself, ignoring the army and his adopted mother, the magnificent, beautiful and sensual Empress Zoe, whom Hardrada was once a lover. Well, all that is over now. Zoe found our hero in a clinch with a young girl and has taken her revenge by throwing him in prison. But the patriarch wants him free, to muster the Varangians, stationed in the north. Without them, the entire empire will fall under the clutches of the mad, perverted young emperor.

That’s the plan at least.

The problem is, there are others who want the throne for themselves. Top of the tree is General George Maniakes, the greatest Byzantine general ever. He has fought alongside the ferocious Hardrada in Sicily. He knows what the man is like, and he will do his utmost to undermine him at every opportunity.

And so the story continues, the palace intrigues, deceptions, murders, all contributing to make for a fast-paced and exciting series of books.

Of course, Hardrada was to fall at Stamford Bridge in 1066, a victim of his own ambition. Not content to be honoured as the greatest Viking who has ever lived, he strove to succeed in one last, great achievement – to be king of England. He destroyed the Army of the North at Fulford Gate, but fell at Stamford a few days later, not expecting Harold Godwinson to react so quickly.

The Battle of Stamford Bridge, September 25th, 1066

 

Two hundred and fifty ships brought the Vikings to England, only twenty were needed to take the survivors home. It was the last roll of the dice, the Vikings never again gaining a foothold in England.

Hardrada was an amazing man. His adventures and sheer force of will to have his named stamped in the annals of history, set him towering over his contemporaries. Poet, lover, warrior, read of his exploits in my books and get to know the greatest Viking of them all – Harald the hard ruler, king of Norway and man of legend.

You can learn more about my books and what I do by visiting my website, www.stuartgyates.com.

Here you can read some extracts of my books and find about current and future projects.

The images used in this blog are supplied under license from ‘Look and Learn’, and apologies for the Vikings wearing horns on their helmets – something they never did!

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Adventures in writing … some news so far

Wow, what a difference a month makes!

This month everything has changed quite dramatically, in terms of forthcoming publications, etc.

For a long time, 2014 has been somewhat dormant. I’ve been writing, editing, planning, all the usual stuff that a writer is required to indulge in, but for a very long time none of my work has appeared in print or on e-book.

Well, all that has changed!

My agent sent me some good news. It seems that the revised and extended version of ‘Ogre’s Lament – a Don Luis Story’ has been accepted for publication! This is great news for me, as I think this is a good story. I’m already well into the second book, so I’m extremely excited about the whole thing! For those of you who don’t know, the novel is a historical murder/adventure, set in the mid’17th century. All of the stories involve a young man named Luis who is something of a celebrity – he can read! He lives in a remote Spanish village and the first story sees him maturing into a resourceful and fearless young man as he faces down a bunch of blood-thirsty mercenaries on the hunt for gold! The ogre is a legend, developed by the mercenaries to keep the curious out of the mountains where the gold is buried … or is it a legend? As the story develops we soon realise that not everything is at it first appears.

I wrote a story some time ago entitled ‘Fallen Past’. It was a smaller book, one which I found very moving to write as it is so very personal. It languished on my memory-drive as I wasn’t at all sure what genre I could place it in. So, I went back to it, developed it, changed a lot and added a lot more. What I ended up with was an even more moving tale! Then I came across a publisher who wanted to publish ‘feel-good books’! Well … I couldn’t resist, so I submitted ‘Fallen Past’, and it was accepted! It should be out in the spring of 2015. Quite a wait, but I think it will be worth it. A young boy is on a collision course with an old, embittered man … but the more they meet, the more a grudging respect develops between them. In the end, they become friends. They have a shared sense of guilt over what they have done in totally unconnected acts in the past. This is their link. Their bond. I won’t tell you about the end, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

Further to the above, ‘Whipped Up’, the 2nd in the Paul Chaise series will be out soon. And following that ‘King of the Norse’ will be published, which takes Harald Hardrada’s story to the next level. Of course, I have to write the 3rd volumes for both. I’m about 32,000 words into Hardrada’s story, but poor old Chaise only has the first chapter.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve submitted a contemporary thriller entitled ‘Overstretched’ and I’m working on an extended version of ‘Sallowed Blood’ which will be in two parts so that Daniel’s story is developed into the most spine-tingling direction imaginable.

All very busy and all very exciting. A writer should never stop writing. One project should lead onto the next in a never-ending stream. This is what it means to be a writer. As if to underline the point, as is typical with me, I’ve had an idea for a story and it will not leave my head. So, I might be putting all my efforts into that!

All details are on my web-site (which is about to be extended, to include more news and more extracts) so please pop along and have a look.

www.stuartgyates.com

Thanks for visiting this blog and remember, carry on reading!

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Adventures in Writing… a slight deviation from the usual

Hi, I thought this month I’d do something a little different.

You may have followed my tale, of not so many months ago, of the problems I was experiencing with a publisher. The sequel to Burnt Offerings was written, but the publisher decided British writers were not selling in the USA, so ‘goodbye’. Not sure if he’d ever heard of J.K.Rowling, but never mind. Well, to cut a long story short, my other publisher, Rebel-E, who have published my most successful book to date, ‘VARANGIAN’, offered to send it out into the world. ‘Whipped Up’, a contemporary thriller featuring Paul Chaise, who first appeared in Burnt Offerings, will appear sometime this summer/autumn, which is wonderful news for me as I think it’s a good story.

Well, to help you all decide, here is an exceprt. Chapter One. The opening you can read at the end of Burnt Offerings, so here’s what happens next …

.varangian and burnt

CHAPTER ONE

He stood at the top of the aircraft steps and took a moment to look around. The grey sky matched his mood, and the fine drizzle didn’t help either. Not for the first time he wondered about the rightness of his actions. Coming back home. There was Linny, of course. She figured large in the decision. Even more so than the coercion perhaps. Being told what to do was not something that came easily to Paul Chaise.
The air stewardess touched his arm and smiled. She beckoned him to continue; some disgruntled passengers wanted to disembark as quickly as possible. Lost in his thoughts, he hadn’t noticed. He gave a nod of apology and descended. Overhead a plane soared into the sky, all around the noise of jet engines and the smell of kerosene invaded his senses. The steel steps clanged under his shoes, each one sounding like a death knell. Back home. Blighty. He sucked in a breath, hating it as much now as he ever did.
He’d been in the Costa del Sol for a long time, building up a comfortable little niche for himself selling real estate to the ex-pats. He’d done well, managed to earn enough to buy a lovely villa, which Linny loved. Life was good, at first. Everything came tumbling down when he became involved with gangsters and drugs. None of it of his own making, but that didn’t prevent Linny from leaving him.
She was sick of the lies, she’d told him. Sick of the way he kept his past so secret. She’d never understood, how could she? He’d created a protective layer of deceit, and for a few years it had remained intact, with no hint of who he really was.
Nothing about his life as a covert killer in Iraq, the follow-up operations in Bahrain, Kosovo, Pakistan. He couldn’t reveal anything. He’d signed the papers, and the men in grey suits had him under their thumbs.
The shit hit the fan in Spain, when he’d killed one of their own. Since then he had become an undesirable, a threat. They’d recalled him, leaving few options other than to acquiesce. The alternative meant death – his own.
He went through the various exits and down an endless stream of corridors. When he finally arrived at the check-in – or should that be check-out, he wondered – he felt tired and hot. Some idiot had put the heating on.
A smiling security guard in navy blue uniform guided him towards one of the queues. Hundreds of people milled about. Britain, gripped with paranoia over terrorist activity, had up-graded its passport controls. Chaise couldn’t work out whether it had more to do with illegal immigrants rather than bomb threats.
The politicians vied to hit the right nerves; preventing anyone not ‘British’ from trying to enter the country was always worth a few votes. Eastern Europeans in particular blamed for the nation’s ills. Strange how all the hotheads kept quiet when a ‘white Anglo-Saxon’ committed an outrage. None of them grasped the simple truth that good and bad resided in everyone, regardless of colour or creed.
He took a breath, sick to the back teeth of such thoughts. He’d never been able to get inside the heads of racists, nor did he wish to. His own troubles monopolised his time now, chief amongst them being how to get in touch with Linny.
Finally, his turn arrived and he stepped up to the little cubicle. Chaise presented his passport and the customs officer scanned it. She stopped, pulled a face and studied her monitor. He knew what was coming next. He watched her turn to a colleague standing with arms folded some way behind her. She motioned him to approach. An exchange of whispered comments, followed by a quick glance towards Chaise. The colleague stepped away and pulled out his mobile.
Chaise stood and waited, his breathing shallow and controlled. This was what he’d expected, but it irked him nevertheless.
After a short while, two more uniformed men arrived. These were a different species. They were big, serious looking, with automatic rifles strapped across their chests. Another brief exchange and they came up to him, one on either side. “Can you come with us, sir?”
Stupid question. Chaise shrugged, accepting there was little gain in taking the men apart. He nodded to the customs clerk, and went wherever the men with guns wanted to take him.

He didn’t know how long he sat in the tiny, clinically-clean room in which they’d deposited him. Before leaving, they’d taken his watch, trouser belt, wallet and passport. He wore slip-on shoes, otherwise he felt sure they would have taken the laces from them as well. Now, alone, he sat and waited. There was no window, the room claustrophobic, with nothing but a small table and the strip light for company. In the corner, high up, a security camera. A little green light blinked underneath the lens. Did that mean it was operating, or not? Chaise didn’t really care. He closed his eyes and slept.
When the door flew open, he woke with a start, turned around. Two men came in, one of them moving behind the opposite side of the desk. He sat down, dropped a manila file on the top and leaned forward on his knuckles. He didn’t look happy. “My name is Commander Mellor,” he said.
If this revelation was meant to impress Chaise, it failed. He merely gave Mellor a blank stare.
The Commander scowled, somewhat put-out by Chaise’s lack of reaction. “I have a message,” he said. “From London.”
“Where are my things?”
Mellor blinked. “What?”
“My things. My passport, my watch. Why did you take my watch?”
Mellor shook his head. “Didn’t you hear what I said? I have a message for you, from Control.”
A heavy silence descended. Chaise looked from Mellor to the other man and back again. “And?”
“You’re a surly sod,” said the man positioned against the wall. Chaise gauged the distance and knew he could be at his throat before anyone could react fast enough to stop him. He noticed the man had a gun in a hip holster, and he filed it for later. It might be needed.
“Don’t waste your breath, Simms,” said Mellor, his eyes narrow. “Our Mr Chaise doesn’t like authority, do you Mr Chaise?”
“Why don’t you just tell me what the message is, then give me back my things.”
“We keep the passport.”
“Like fuck you do.”
“Listen, Chaise, you’re here on the behest of Her Majesty’s Government. You don’t make the rules, Chaise – we do.”
“So tell me what the rules are.”
“We have a flat for you. Simms here will take you, help you settle in. Someone will be in touch. Until such time, you stay quiet, keep your nose clean. You crossed the line over in sunny Spain, now it’s time for you to toe it.”
“Jesus, where the hell did they find you?”
“I told you, Chaise. I’m a Commander in the Royal Navy. You’d do best to remember that.”
“And you’d do best to remember that I am also a commander … at least I was, last time I checked.”
“London wants you to stay at your flat, keep low. They will want to talk to you about a few things. In particular, why you killed Embleton.”
“He was about to rape my girlfriend.”
“Well, that’s as maybe, but London will need to get it all straight, with no misunderstandings on either side. Until then you do as you’re told.”
“I need to find her. Linny. My girlfriend. She left. That’s the only reason I’m here, not to answer questions or kiss the arse of anyone from Control.” He stood up. “Now, if you’ll give me my passport, I’ll be on my way.”
“Sit down, Chaise,” said Simms, sounding bored. “You heard what the Commander said; you’re coming with me to your new flat.”
“No,” said Chaise and looked deep into Mellor’s eyes. “Tell London that I’ll be in touch, when I’m ready, not before.”
Mellor straightened and tapped his finger on the cover of the manila file. “It says in here you can be difficult.”
“Did it really. Where’s my passport?”
Mellor reached inside his jacket. Chaise spotted the gun.
The passport fell to the desktop. “I’ll do a deal,” said Mellor. “You can keep the passport, if you go to the flat.”
“I’m going up to Liverpool,” Paul said quietly. “Find Linny.”
“London won’t allow that.”
“London can kiss my arse.”
Simms moved, reached for the gun at his hip. He probably thought it would intimidate Chaise, cause him to rethink his approach, but he thought wrong.
The elbow hit Simms under the chin, snapping his head back, stunning him. In one easy movement, Chaise twisted behind him, locking Simms’ arm, wrenched the gun free, and pointed it directly at Mellor, who sat and gaped, everything happening too fast for him to react.
“Now,” said Chaise, applying more pressure on Simms’ wrist. The man squealed, Mellor closed his eyes and sighed. “I want you to put all my things on the table, then take off your trousers and shoes, whilst Mr Simms and I go for a little drive.”
“You’re being bloody stupid, Chaise.”
“It’s in my nature. So is killing people who don’t do what I ask.”
It only took a few moments for Mellor to comply. With his few belongings secured, Chaise left the airport with Simms. In one hand he held his suitcase and Mellor’s bundled up clothes, in the other the trim Walther automatic relieved from Simms. Simms himself didn’t appear too happy and spent most of the stroll across the car park rubbing his swollen looking wrist.
When they reached the car, Simms handed over the keys and Chaise hit him very hard in the solar plexus. The man folded and fell to his knees, groaning loudly. Chaise pushed him aside, opened the car door, threw his bag in the rear seat and slid in behind the wheel.
On the way out, he saw Simms in the rear-view mirror, still down on his knees, taking time to recover. For a moment, Chaise thought that perhaps he should have killed him. The man would almost certainly come looking for him. But it had been a bad start to the day. Chaise didn’t really want it to become so much worse.

Unfortunately, as Mellor later discovered when he phoned in to Control to tell them what had happened, it already had.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this opening chapter. Keep an eye out for when the book is released, which shouldn’t be too long I hope. But the publishing world is slow, slow, slow, so we all have to be patient. Keep visiting my webpage, http://www.stuartgyates.com where I shall post more information.

Thanks for dropping by and…keep reading!

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Adventures in Writing … praising, and agreeing with Michael

I was listening to the wonderful Michael Jecks the other day. His series of videos on being a writer are a needs must for anyone out there contemplating putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard. He is such a nice guy, very down to earth, with no ‘side’ to him at all. Not only that, but his books are pretty darn good too! But the reason I’m writing is not simply to praise Michael, but to think about some of his comments and try to add my own thoughts to the mix.


More than anything, Michael is a writer. He often talks about the work ethic, that aspect of being disciplined. He writes for about ten hours every day, with a break in between, as he sees this as his job. I absolutely echo this. To be a writer, you have to treat it as a job. It is not a hobby or a pastime. You must, if you want to achieve anything in this business, be prepared to make sacrifices. And, above all else, if you have a family, they have to understand this is just like going out every morning to the office. It’s work. End of. So treat it as such. Be disciplined. Make your timetable – especially if, like me, you have another job – in order to manage your time. Often I come home totally drained of energy and the last thing I want to do is write. Usually, especially in the late summer, I have masses of reports to write. Being a teacher everything accelerates as the end of term draws nearer. There is no getting away from it, but if you do not time-manage, your writing will suffer. And that, for me, is a total no-no.
So, get yourself sorted.
I write best at the weekend. I get up early, have some breakfast, then write. I have a break at around 11 for a coffee, then it is back to writing until around 2pm. Time for lunch, but I have what is termed a ‘working lunch’, as I’m going over what I’ve previously written, adding, editing, all the usual stuff. The afternoon is not so manic for me, but come the mid-part of the evening, I’m at it again. I edit each chapter as I finish it, looking for repeated words and phrases mainly, over-used and filler words. I do the best I can and, when I’m satisfied, I put it away until tomorrow. I never used to do this. I followed the Elmore Leonard approach of simply writing. But I then found going over an 80,000 word manuscript so incredibly time consuming and, I have to admit, boring, I have abandoned this approach for the one just described. And, you know what, it works. I can finish my novels so much more quickly now. I have written two full-blown novels in 4 months. That’s pretty good going I feel. From now on, this will be the approach I use.
Michael was also asked the inevitable ‘do you suffer from writer’s block?’ And his answer, thank fully, was the same as mine. No. Neither of us know what this is. We write. There is no secret, we have an idea and we develop it. Michael’s research and knowledge of the medieval period is exceptional. Me, I’m just a dabbler, but I do love researching. For my Viking novel ‘Varangian’ (and the second in the series, ‘To be King of the Norse’, to be published later this year by Rebel-E) I devoted a great deal of time and effort in researching, but I loved every minute.

http://www.amazon.com/Varangian-Byzantine-Histories-Stuart-Yates-ebook/dp/B00FEJDF3G/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401553775&sr=1-1&keywords=stuart+g+yates

My library is growing and I feel good about that. Yes, I do use Wikipedia, because it is quick and simple and can lead you to all sorts of wonderful places you may not have previously thought about, but my mainstay is well written books.
So, there we are. Just two subjects I’m sure will be of interest to many aspiring novelists. But always remember, writing fiction is not about writing a book – it’s all about writing books. When you’ve finished the first one, you get right down to the second and you continue doing so.
Enjoy!
Keep reading, and thanks for dropping by.
Please, if you have a moment, drop by to visit my website: http://www.stuartgyates.com. Here you can find out more about my work, together with some excerpts from my books.

 

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Adventures in Writing … the month so far!

An exciting time for me so far this month, and we’re not even half-way through!
It began with the tussle I had with one of my publishers over the publication of ‘Whipped Up’, the second of my Paul Chaise thrillers. They said they were reluctant to accept anymore work from European writers, which I found bizarre to say the least, but my other publisher thought differently and they accepted it. Whipped Up will be published sometime soon. Here’s some background to the story:
‘Paul Chaise is a former operative in the SBS – the Special Boat Service – but has been ‘retired’ for over ten years, living a quiet life in Spain, following a career as an estate agent, selling villas to the ex-pats seeking a new life in a new country. Everything is going very well until he inadvertently gives a hitchhiker a ride and his life begins to spiral out of control. This is the premise for the first book ‘Burnt Offerings’. At the end of the book, with his girlfriend fleeing to the UK, and his former employers incensed that he has emerged from his ‘cover’, he too is summoned to return.
‘Whipped Up’ sees Chaise trying his level best to make something of a life in the UK, taking up employment in an East Anglian estate agents. His old ‘employers’ are not convinced and they have him followed. He becomes embroiled with the problems of a customer who is being harassed by some particularly nasty Eastern European types who want to take over the running of this man’s houses. It all spirals out of control when this man is murdered and his wife tortured, her mutilated body left in Chaise’s flat as a warning to back off. Naturally, this has the opposite effect and the body count soon begins to mount up as Chaise goes on a one-man crusade to bring these Europeans down.
When the S.I.S in London gets wind of this, they decide to rein Chaise in, and that’s when it becomes really nasty!
A contemporary thriller set in the sordid world of human trafficking; this second in the series pulls no punches and will appeal to anybody who likes their thrillers violent, fast moving and with lots of twists.’
The first book, ‘Burnt Offerings’ is available through Amazon, on the Kindle and in paperback:
http://www.amazon.com/Burnt-Offerings-Paul-Chaise-Adventure-ebook/dp/B009HX2IYC/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399706827&sr=1-3&keywords=stuart+g+yates
I really enjoyed writing ‘Whipped Up’, and as soon as it was done, I turned my attention to another thriller entitled ‘Overstretched’, and I’ll give more details about this next time. Of course I had other concerns too. The second in my Harald Hardrada series was completed, and I was working feverishly on the re-writes. Entitled ‘To Be King of the Norse’, it too has gone to the publisher. I am hopeful it will be released sometime in the autumn. ‘Varangian’, the first in the series, has been receiving some amazing reviews lately on Amazon. Here’s a sample:
‘This was one of my favourite historical-based books that I’ve read in ages, mainly because it blended reality and fiction so perfectly. Fictional characters mixed with actual figures from this time period, and I found myself flipping back and forth between search engines and my reader to try to decipher which parts were based on fact and which were just the creations of Yates’ imagination. It was a seamless and well-thought out story that had everything someone who loves 300, Rome, Game of Thrones, and dozens of other historical/fantasy/intrigue sources of entertainment. There was violence and sex and betrayal and power-hungry madmen who would stop at nothing to retain their control.’ Such wonderful words from somebody I do not know. This is what writing is all about, for me. Creating a world in which strangers can visit and enjoy.
See other great reviews, and the details of how to buy Varangian here:
http://www.amazon.com/Varangian-Byzantine-Histories-Stuart-Yates-ebook/dp/B00FEJDF3G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399706827&sr=1-1&keywords=stuart+g+yates
So, it has certainly been busy, as I said at the start. Soon I shall turn my mind to the third in the Paul Chaise series (I have some ideas, of course) but as for Hardrada, well, I am already 25,000 words into the third part. I envisage it going to at least four volumes, possibly five. His is such a fascinating story. Some have compared it to Game of Thrones, but apart from the intrigue and the killing – oh, and the sex – there really is little to compare. George R.R. Martin’s word is episodic and brilliant in its breadth, an awesome achievement from a superb writer. I am humbled to be compared to his majestic talent, but Hardrada is no fantasy figure. What he did was real. A giant in Viking history and a man who, for far too long, has been buried away under the piles of literature written about William, Duke of Normandy. Everybody feared Hardrada, including the Duke. I wonder what would have happened if Hardrada had prevailed at Stamford Bridge…? Now, there’s fuel for thought … and possibly a damn good book too!
Thanks for dropping by, and keep reading!

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