New non-fiction: Bowls: Making the Most of Your Game by Patrick Hulbert

9780719812972Bowls: Making the Most of Your Game

Bowls: Making the Most of Your Game is a comprehensive one-stop-shop detailing the key technical, psychological, tactical and physical aspects of the sport of bowls, including effective teamwork strategies using new and up-to-date approaches. Fundamentally, bowls is brought into the twenty-first century!

With tips and suggestions from some of the world’s greatest players, the book delves in great depth into how psychology can play an integral role in your performance, as well as the traditionally important aspects – tactics and technique.

From grip to positive talk on a rink, and from limb-loosening exercises to ways to beat your nemesis to casting the jack, Bowls will explore every aspect of your game. Packed with pointers to help you get the most out of yourself while still enjoying the convivial nature of the sport of bowls!

Patrick Hulbert

Patrick Hulbert took up the sport of bowls at the age of nine. A fourth-generation bowler, he represented the England junior team from 2006–2013, amassing twenty-four caps at junior level. He has also represented England in China and America.

Patrick has won numerous county titles out of Leicestershire and is the former editor of Bowls International magazine, the market-leading bowls publication since 1981. He has written for a number of local newspapers, Pitch Care magazine and The Daily Telegraph.

Buy your copy of Bowls: Making the Most of Your Game here

New non-fiction: The British Policewoman by Joan Lock

9780719814228The British Policewoman 

Here, now fully updated for the twenty-first century, is the complex and fascinating history of the formation of the British Women Police. Full of drama, intrigue and humour, it also captures, through well-authenticated primary material, the colour and manner of the times.

Remarkable women abound in this book, from the wealthy and eccentric Margaret Damer Dawson to the excitement-hungry ex-suffragette Mary Allen; and from the alluring but ill-starred Mrs Stanley to the tireless Mrs Peto. A few famous faces like Winston Churchill, Lady Astor and Adolf Hitler also feature, as does the women police’s arch-enemy: the magistrate Frederick Mead.

The pressure for the appointment of women police began well before World War I. Anti-white-slave traffic organizations felt they would help to stem the flow of prostitutes to and from Europe and suffragettes wanted them to ensure fairer treatment for women from the police and courts of law. But it was the Great War that gave them a launching pad for their battle.

Early policewomen fought much public and police prejudice, wondering all the time how far to hold out for their ideals and how much to compromise for the sake of some official recognition; the eternal problem when breaking new ground. Their story, which was played out not only in the streets and courts of Great Britain and the House of Commons but in a defeated Germany and strife-torn 1920s Ireland, as well as in prohibition-era USA, ended in victory with their official integration into the force in the 1970s, but the battle did not end there, as our story shows…

Joan Lock

Ex-nurse and policewoman Joan Lock has written seven Victorian crime fiction titles and eight non-fiction police/crime books, including three on Scotland Yard’s first detectives. She has also written short stories, radio plays and radio documentaries, as well as working as a columnist on the leading police journal, Police Review, and Red Herrings, the magazine of the Crime Writers Association.

Buy your copy of The British Policewoman here

New Fiction Title: A Question of Loyalty by Peter Taylor

Investigating the murders of three men stirs up trouble for DI Alex Graham, causing him to relive a past tragedy. Working with his old lover, DS Best, Graham must delve deep into the men’s military histories to find answers.

Having witnessed one murder, and now hiding out in a safe house, Liz Hunt gets word of the dead men, friends of her husband, Danny, who has isolated himself on the North York Moors to ‘think’. What is Danny hiding? And is it disloyal to share her information with the detectives?

But it’s a sharply-winding path to catch this triple-killer, and DI Graham won’t be resting until he can close this case, and the door to his terrible past.

Peter Taylor was born in Sedgefield, County Durham and has worked as both a teacher and a prison lecturer. A prolific Black Horse Western and crime thriller writer, Taylor’s previous novels include Trails of Fate, Stitched, Stone Cold and Orphans of Chance.

available 31 october

RRP: £19.99

HArdback

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New Historical Fiction: Cardigan Bay by John Kerr

Author of Fell the Angels and Hurricane Hole

Author of Fell the Angels and Hurricane Hole

When Major Charles Davenport is evacuated to England, to recuperate from a battle wound received at Tobruk a letter is awaiting him from his wife in London, informing him that she’s in love with another man and wants a divorce.

Mary Kennedy is a young Irish-American who has moved to her grandparent’s cottage in Ireland to mourn the loss of her husband and infant daughter. Participating in a Red Cross morale-building effort, she corresponds with a young British soldier, but his letters cease abrubtly following the fall of Tobruk. Determined to learn what has become of him she makes her way to the army hospital in Sussex where his commanding officer, Major Davenport, kindly explains the young soldier’s fate.

Thus begins a love story, carried out almost entirely by letter, crystallized by distance and heightened by the intimacy of the private written word set against the dramatic events of WWII and culminating in the landings on D-Day at Sword Beach.

John Kerr’s writing draws on many years’ study of European and American history. Kerr received a J.D. from the University of Texas and a B.A. from Stanford University, where he studied history, literature, and poetry. He lives in San Antonio, Texas. Cardigan Bay is his third novel published by Robert Hale.

Available 31 October

RRP: £19.99

Hardback

 

New non-fiction: Yummy Discoveries: Worry-Free Weaning by Felicity Bertin and Dr Anna Walton

Most parents know what their children should be eating but getting them to eat it is often a challenge. Fussy eating is a massive problem in Western society and British children are the fussiest in Europe, but it doesn’t have to be like this. Research has shown that eating patterns are established by the age of two, and how a child is weaned and parented around food in their early years significantly shapes their lifelong habits.

9780719813078With 1 in 4 under-fives now overweight or obese, the UK has a generation facing chronic health conditions including diabetes. Worry-Free Weaning will empower parents to help their child to establish a healthy relationship with food: giving the facts and dispelling the myths so that they can make an informed decision about the best way to introduce solids to their child.

Drawing on their clinical expertise and insight, as well as their own parenting experience, the authors offer practical advice, recipes and menu ideas. Worry-Free Weaning gives parents and children the tools and the confidence to experiment with mealtimes and to develop a lifelong healthy attitude to eating.

Worry-free Weaning is published this week. Download a free tipsheet from the authors at www.yummydiscoveries.com/weaningtips.

Baly-led weaning recipe bookYummy Discoveries: The Baby-Led Weaning Book, by Felicity Bertin and Emma Ogden-Hooper published in 2013. The book features over 150 healthy, flavoursome recipes suitable for weaning babies and offers a step-by-step guide to help parents through the process.

‘Packed with information, recipes and ideas to help you’ – Baby London on The Baby-Led Weaning Book.

New fiction: Love and Freindship (sic): And Other Delusions by Beth Andrews

9780719813856Love and Freindship was written when Jane Austen was just 14, and foreshadows the conflict between moral obligation and individual desire which animates Austen’s mature comedic efforts such as Sense and Sensibility. Now updated in this sparkling satire by Beth Andrews, the story follows Isabel and her daughter Marianne when they attend the theatre in Bury St Edmunds and encounter Isabel’s old friend, Laura Lindsay, who gives her journal to Marianne to read. It is a revelation to the younger woman as she reads of one hilarious madcap romantic escapade after another.

There is love at first sight, marriage the same day, the befriending of another young woman as romantic as Laura herself, exaggerated sentiment and complete disregard for the feelings of others. Havoc inevitably ensues. This is Jane Austen retold but retaining her huge capacity for laughter and enjoyment of the absurd. The book includes the Jane Austen’s version of Love and Freindship
– complete with uncorrected spelling.

Love and Freindship is published on October 31st. Author Beth Andrews discusses how she updated Austen’s original text:

“Re-writing Jane Austen seems a bit like attempting ‘to gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet.’  Still, fools and writers (surely members of the same species) tend to rush in where angels would hesitate to set foot.  The variations on Pride and Prejudice, and Austen’s five other adult novels, are Legion.  Nobody seemed to think that Love and Freindship was worthy of similar mistreatment, but I was determined to rectify this glaring omission.

Although the heroine of this novella is unique in the Austen canon, in that she has learned absolutely nothing at the end of her story, I felt that even a third-rate novelist like myself could improve things by introducing a sub-plot in which a minor character does actually learn a thing or two.  I also recklessly abandoned the creaky epistolary style of the original, threw in references to other Austen works and even a mild joke borrowed from one of my own books, added a host of anachronisms, and committed various other atrocities such as inventing a very different ending.   The kitchen sink may be missing, but not much else.

At this point, I considered my work accomplished.  It may lack the classic melodrama of Jane Eyrehead, with its delectable madwoman in the attic (though Laura might well have evolved into such a character); nor is it explicit enough to be mistaken for a more modern masterpiece like 500 Shades of Puce.  However, in its own small way, I feel it has made a considerable contribution to the moral and intellectual decline of the present generation, and may well serve as a prime example of the nadir of artistic achievement at which Western Civilization has finally arrived.  This may seem like an idle boast to many, but the current trend in self-promotion makes outrageous hyperbole a virtual necessity (please note that I have deliberately changed the names of the last two novels mentioned above, for the simple reason that I felt like it.).”

Historical fiction, and why it grips us so…

By Sandra Heath Wilson

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that . . . . Well, the famous Jane Austen opening line is one of the most memorable of all time, and not only in historical fiction, which is what Pride and Prejudice has now become. It was, of course, current when written.

To me, it is a truth universally acknowledged that once an author becomes enthralled by the past, whether a person, famous event or quarrel, or something as fascinatingly complicated as the Wars of the Roses and the machinations in Renaissance Florence, it’s very difficult indeed to change genre.

The past beguiles us, and leaves us with so many intriguing puzzles that weaving one’s fictional plot through the known facts can be very rewarding. Whether you’re a gifted writer of thought-provoking books, as is Hilary Mantel, or a teller of tales, like me, the passion is the same. I am entranced by the Plantagenets. The thought of all that pageantry, bloodshed, dangerous love, wicked plotting and heinous treason fires me with interest. I’m alight with it. The colour, fashions and romance join in, and everything melds into a wonderful microcosm that is contained within the pages of a novel. Begin to read, and you’re carried back into those hazardous times, you meet the kings, queens and nobles, you accompany them on their adventures, into battle . . . and into love.

Richard III's skeletal remains discovered under a car park inspired a wave of Plantagenet fiction.

The discovery of Richard III’s remains inspired a wave of Plantagenet fiction.

I do not suggest for a moment that Hilary Mantel approaches her works in the same way, but this is how I write, and my Cicely trilogy is the result of that imagined time-travelling excitement. My characters—both real and fictional—are there, in the thick of it. I’m there too, and so are my readers, being part of everything. We can’t possibly know what those real people said and did in private, so when they slip away secretly from the floodlit stage into the novel’s shadows, it will be for purposes that the author has invented.

This is where fiction blends with fact. The imagined events are woven intricately through the cloth of truth by the storyteller, and the result is a tale of what might have happened. Not what did. Provided the author makes sure the reader is never deceived into thinking the book tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then the world of imagination awaits.

The discovery of Richard III’s remains in Leicester has made him the most talked-of King of England, at once notorious and tragic, and the TV serialization of Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen sparked a lot more interest in his life. An antidote to Shakespeare’s monster. I first became fascinated by Richard back in the very early 1970s, when I read a little detective novel called The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Tey was clearly convinced Richard had been lied about throughout history, and her detective hero set about getting to the truth. His conclusion was that Richard was a good man and king who had been betrayed at the Battle of Bosworth.

There has been a huge increase in fiction and non-fiction about this last Plantagenet monarch, and judging by reviews at Amazon and similar sites, the trend is set to continue. The market is there, and publishers have responded, although whether individual publishers are presenting their fiction titles in the most advantageous way is another matter. Some do, some don’t.

6a010536b33b69970b01a73dbf3ee3970d-400wi  The Dance of Love  9781910208069  9781910208052

Historical fiction from Buried River Press

In these days of increasing self-publishing, traditional publishers need to be one step ahead. Their clout is their distribution, marketing, production, well-honed editing and, of course, their reputation. Their authors expect their support and advertising, but with the Internet and social media, have to do a lot of self-publicizing as well. It’s up to all concerned to tap into the growing, hungry market, which does await its next meal! Thus it is even more incumbent upon publishers to do all they can to see their books do as well as possible.

Richard III and the Wars of the Roses may be almost fashionable now, but other figures and periods have just as strong a grip on the imagination of writers and readers alike. The Tudors, the Romans, Roundheads and Cavaliers, the Regency, the Victorians, Edwardians, the Roaring Twenties and the two World Wars. I’m sure I’ve missed many more that cry out to be mentioned, but the point is that the past — even the recent past— bewitches us.

This Victorian novel by Michael Faber (2002, Canongate) was adapted as a BBC series in 2011.

Will this continue? Mediaeval storytellers entertained with tales of King Arthur and his knights, who inhabited a glorious, golden age that should be emulated in the mediaeval present, and since then every age has produced stories that look back longingly at what has been lost. So yes, historical fiction is going to continue to be popular. It may ebb occasionally, but the tide always comes in again and often stays high for a long time. Richard III may be the man of the moment, but if the remains of King Harold are discovered, as is expected, then there could be a trend towards Saxon/Norman-set novels. Ditto King Alfred, or even King John, should his lost treasure be found in the Wash. Publishers have to be ready to second-guess what will take off next—as will authors—and those with this prescience will steal a march on the rest.

A time machine is something for which many of us long, to go back to witness it all. But in the meantime, there are novels, where our imagination, not the skills of a film or TV director, or even Shakespeare, gets to work and recreates it all. For writer and reader alike, historical fiction is a wonderful escape from present woes.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that writers and the reading public are enthralled by centuries gone by, and I for one do not think it will ever change. Authors and publishers need to be on their toes to satisfy demand.

Launch of Cherry’s Model Engines

DSC_0293On Tuesday evening we launched Cherry’s Model Engines in the Manufacturing Room of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Overlooking St. James’ Park, the building houses several of Cherry Hill’s models and she is one of only two fellows of the institution, so this was a fitting location for the event.

The attendees included prestigious figures from the model engineering world, with some having travelled from as far afield as Cumbria to be there. Of course, Cherry herself was there (before flying back to Florida the next day!) and very much in demand – everybody wanted her to sign their copy of the book. Two of the smaller models were on display in the room, and a video played in the background showing Cherry not only making the models, but also the models running once completed.9780719814211

David gave a wonderful speech about his admiration for Cherry’s work and how he came to write the book, including some lovely words about the process of publishing with Robert Hale Ltd.

Cherry’s Model Engines: The Story of the Remarkable Cherry Hill, by David Carpenter, is out now and available to buy from all good booksellers.

OUT NOW: Random Targets by James Raven

9780719813665Random Targets

A sniper launches a series of deadly attacks on Britain’s motorways, striking in the dark during rush hour and causing total carnage. No one knows who he is, or why he’s doing it, but, as the death toll rises, fear grips the entire nation.

It’s up to DCI Jeff Temple of the Major Investigations Team to bring the killing spree to an end but, as he closes in on the sniper, Temple makes a shocking discovery about the motive behind the attacks.

A ghastly precedent has been set and Temple soon realizes that in future anyone who drives on Britain’s motorways risks becoming a random target.

James Raven

James Raven was a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into television in 1982 as a news scriptwriter with TVS television where he then worked his way up to become Director of News across Meridian, Anglia and HTV. When Granada took over most of ITV he became Managing Director of Granada Sport before setting up his own production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling and also performs magic at various venues across the country. James has previously published five novels with Robert Hale, including Rollover and Urban Myth.

Buy your copy of Random Targets here.

OUT NOW: The Money Tree Murders by Roger Silverwood

The Money Tree Murders

Detective Inspector Michael Angel and his team are sent to investigate the murder of a young woman, and inquiries indicate that she had discovered the operation of a Money Tree swindle at Zenith Television.

Angel begins his interviews and is faced with a cast of eccentric characters amongst whom are the peculiar Abercrombie, who tows a boxcar and scavenges for fuel to heat his cottage, and a recently middle aged couple who believe their house to be haunted by the ghost of an alcoholic dentist and his family who died in 1760.

As the investigations become more mystifying and dangerous, Angel races to solve the puzzle and stop more mayhem and murder.

This is the 22nd in the highly successful Inspector Angel series.

9780719813610

Roger Silverwood

Son of a Yorkshire businessman, Roger Silverwood was educated in Gloucestershire before National Service. He later worked in the toy trade and as a copywriter in an advertising agency. Roger went into business with his wife as an antiques dealer before retiring in 1997.

Buy The Money Tree Murders here.