Holy Franchise Batman! Goes to the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC)

Holy Franchise BatmanThis weekend, Gary Collinson and Robert Hale Ltd staff went to the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) to promote Holy Franchise Batman!, written by Collinson. Batman was certainly a popular costume choice for film and comic fans at the event with many people dressed as the Caped Crusader himself, the Joker, Riddler, Catwoman and even a couple of Banes. One Batman even came to sit with us for a bit.

Batman fans loved stopping by to chat with Collinson about the impending arrival of the final film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, and speculating as to the very best and worst parts of Batman’s screen history.

Check out our photos from the event below and order your copy today!

– The Robert Hale Ltd team

Holy Franchise, Batman! by Gary Collinson is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%.

For more information, follow @holyfranchise on Twitter.

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Jill McDonald-Constable On Writing Westerns and Her Love of the Genre

Crazy Man Cade by Amos CarrUnder the pseudonym of Amos Carr, Jill McDonald-Constable has written numerous westerns for the Robert Hale Ltd Black Horse Western series. A passionate writer for many years, she tells us why she loves the western genre and just how she ended up being given an Indian name herself.

Where did your love of Westerns come from?

I’m an outdoor girl, that’s probably why I like Westerns. I was brought up surrounded by animals, and spent more time with horses than with people, which may just be why I put so many ‘horsey’ details in my books. I loved watching Western films and series, but never read a Western book. I was always really rooting for the Indians though. I have spent all my life writing in various genres, but the way I finally broke into Westerns is a series of strange occurrences.

My husband, Cris, never knew who his real father was, and often expressed a wish to find out. One birthday, I bought him a DNA test – it was eventually published on an ancestry web site. Within a few weeks, we had a match with someone in America, who, it turned out, is Cris’s second cousin, their fathers used to play together! Then, we discovered their great, great-grandfather had been a Chippewa chief! So from being a fan of Indians all my life, I am now married to one, and we have both been bestowed with Indian names!

Then, a little while after that discovery, I had a dream one night, which gave me the title; and almost the whole plot for a Western. I wrote it down, and sent it off to Hale. It was accepted almost immediately. When I told my mother I was at last going to be published, she asked what the book was. When I told her, she paled. Her father had never read anything but Westerns. (He had died before I was old enough to know what he was reading, and Mum had never been ‘bookish’). My second book was written, and accepted, very quickly, and now I can’t seem to stop writing Westerns. Maybe Grandad Harold is guiding my pen? I like to think so, as, somehow, I am able to write them quickly, and directly onto the computer, whereas everything else I write has always, for years, been done in longhand, then entered into the computer.

And the final, spooky coincidence is this – I live in a little place named Clayton-le-Moors, and the actor who played the original Lone Ranger was named Clayton Moore! This sounds more like the Twilight Zone than the Wild West!

What attracts you to writing about the Wild West?

I believe that it is the freedom of the age. There were very few frontiers then, and people were free to roam all the wide open spaces without constraint. I like that.

Westerns are traditionally written by men. What do you think the differences are between those books and your own?

I think that maybe my Westerns are a little ‘softer’ than those written by men, with more of a feminine presence, and dare I say, some romance? Those written by the men tend more towards violence, and for the most part, their women, if any, are still very minor characters.

What are your favourite characters from Western books, films or tv?

As a young girl, my favourite Western character was Little Joe, from Bonanza (just because he looked pretty!) Tonto was a favourite too, because he always saved Lone Ranger’s hide! It really depends what I am watching at the time.

Although there is one older Native American actor, Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves) – he’s a brilliant actor, and always has a twinkle in his eye, and his tongue firmly in his cheek. I find that very attractive.

What’s next for Amos Carr?

Next is my second book Crazy Man Cade, due out in October. Then I have three other Westerns at various stages of production, hoping for at least one or two out next year. (My alter ego is also working on three other books in different genres.)

If you would like to read excerpts, or more about McDonald-Constable, go to www.womanwholeads.webs.com

For more information on Robert Hale Ltd’s Black Horse Western series, check out our website.

Gary Collinson on the New ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer and the Evolution of Batman

Holy Franchise BatmanLast week saw the arrival of the third and presumably final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises – the hugely anticipated final installment in British filmmaker’s Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman movie trilogy. Arriving in cinemas on July 20th, The Dark Knight Rises promises to deliver ‘the epic conclusion’ to Nolan’s Batman saga, with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight star Christian Bale donning the cape and cowl once more, as the Caped Crusader contends with his greatest challenge to date in the terrorist leader Bane, portrayed by Tom Hardy.

With the $250m-budgeted sequel being billed as ‘The Legend Ends’, one question which has dominated fan debate over The Dark Knight Rises is, ‘will Batman survive?’. In Bane, he must face ‘The Man Who Broke The Bat’ – a reputation that stems from the classic Batman comic book story arc ‘KnightFall’, where Bruce Wayne suffered a broken back after a devastating confrontation with the brutal super villain. From the moment that Bane was announced as the antagonist, speculation has been rife that Nolan will transfer this storyline to the screen with The Dark Knight Rises, or perhaps even take things one step further to present a truly definitive end to his Batman story.

Regardless of Batman’s fate, one thing is abundantly clear: rather than being the ‘end’ of the legend, The Dark Knight Rises is but the closing stanza of the latest chapter in the illustrious history of the Dark Knight Detective. Created back in 1939 by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, Gotham’s masked vigilante is one of only two Golden Age heroes to enjoy an unbroken comic book publication run (the other being Superman) and his crime-fighting exploits have entertained generation after generation, resulting in one of the most successful media franchises of all time.

Dark Knight Rises Poster

Just four years after Batman’s comic book debut, actor Lewis Wilson made history by being the first person to bring the Caped Crusader to the screen, taking the lead alongside Douglas Croft’s Robin the Boy Wonder in the fifteen-part low-budget Republic movie serial Batman. Five years later Wilson was succeeded by Robert Lowery for another fifteen-part serial, Batman and Robin, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that ‘Batmania’ first gripped the public consciousness, with Adam West and Burt Ward donning the tights as the Dynamic Duo for the iconic ABC television series Batman – a ratings phenomenon that took West’s Caped Crusader to the cover of Life magazine.

Due to the enormous popularity of the television series, Batman soon fell victim to his own success. In the eyes of the public, the crime-fighter had become synonymous with the camp, tongue-in-cheek approach of the TV show, and it was more than twenty years before ‘Batmania’ resurfaced once more as director Tim Burton and star Michael Keaton took the character back to his roots as a grim avenger of the night in Warner Bros.’ 1989 feature film Batman. A huge hit upon its release, Batman was followed by the 1992 sequel Batman Returns before Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer stepped in for the departing Burton and Keaton on 1995’s Batman Forever, with Kilmer then making way for George Clooney on 1997’s Batman & Robin.

A dismal failure with fans and critics alike, Batman & Robin brought Warner Bros.’ feature film series to its knees and it wasn’t until Christopher Nolan rebooted the franchise in 2005 with Batman Begins that credibility was finally restored. Then of course came 2008’s The Dark Knight – a runaway smash that become one of only a handful of films to gross in excess of $1 billion at the box-office, and the first superhero movie to achieve such a feat. Now, four years later, Christopher Nolan faces the challenge of having to top what is generally regarded as the finest comic book movie of all-time, and with The Dark Knight Rises, he may just succeed.

For more on the screen history of the Dark Knight, be sure to check out my book, Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen, which charts the development of Batman’s many exploits across both live-action and animation, presenting a comprehensive overview of his illustrious screen career. From the classic 1960s television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward to the hugely successful blockbuster feature films from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, as well as early Saturday morning cartoon outings through to the acclaimed ‘DC Animated Universe’, the book explores the evolution of Batman – a journey that has taken him from ‘camp’ crime-fighter to Dark Knight…

Gary Collinson is a writer, lecturer, and the founder and editor of the movie site FlickeringMyth.com.

For more information, you can follow Holy Franchise Batman! on Twitter @holyfranchise

Holy Franchise Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen is available to pre-order now.

Holy Franchise Batman! Another Trailer!

Holy Franchise BatmanThis week saw the release of a gripping and intriguing new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises – which stars Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. The trailer seems to suggest that, even though the poster claims ‘The Legend Ends’, this particular legend is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.

Gary Collinson’s book ‘Holy Franchise Batman! Bring the Caped Crusader to the Screen’ will be published this June by Robert Hale Ltd, a month prior to the film release of The Dark Knight Rises.

ABOUT HOLY FRANCHISE BATMAN! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen

Since the Caped Crusader first made the leap from comics to silver screen in the early 1940s, generations of audiences have been captivated by the screen adventures of Batman, establishing the celebrated comic book hero as a true icon of popular culture. Now, Gary Collinson traces the entire screen history of Bob Kane’s Dark Knight Detective, providing a fascinating insight into one of the most successful media franchises of all time.

Beginning with the early movie serials of the 1940s, Holy Franchise, Batman! charts the development of Batman’s many exploits across both live-action and animation, presenting a comprehensive overview of his illustrious screen career. From the classic 1960s television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward to the hugely successful blockbuster feature films from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, as well as early Saturday morning cartoon outings through to the acclaimed ‘DC Animated Universe’, this book explores the evolution of Batman – a journey that has taken him from ‘camp’ crime-fighter to Dark Knight.

For more information, you can follow Holy Franchise Batman! on Twitter @holyfranchise

Holy Franchise Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen is available to pre-order now.

Robert Hale Ltd’s Sales and Publicity Manager Ruby Bamber on the London Book Fair (LBF)

London Book Fair logoThe 2012 London Book Fair is over, at least for another year. And after a mighty three days spent manning our stand, rushing off to meetings and cramming as many free pens into my beautiful, new Robert Hale Ltd bag as furtively possible I am finally back in the office, getting down to my real life work. Phewf.

London Book Fair, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is the largest annual book trade fair held in the UK.  It has also grown in size, in recent years and is now held in the resplendently large Earls Court exhibition centre. I defy anyone with a love of books to walk in and remain unimpressed by the sheer scale of the place – the enormous, colourful stands and the buzz of the atmosphere really do help to showcase the very best of publishing, and the very best of books and writing.

However, it is most definitely a place for serious business and over the course of the three days I met some extremely interesting people – working in all sectors of the trade – and attended a number of the digital seminars, hosted by the fair.  Here at Hale we have gone down the route of producing our ebook titles through Faber Factory, hosted by the well-established publishers Faber & Faber. Attending the ebook conference run by them, for the publishers they are working with on the digital front, it was breathtaking to see the amount of data analysis that is possible from the digital market.  With ebooks it is easier than ever before to assess readers’ tastes, habits, reading personalities, and hopefully judge releases accurately and accordingly. This was echoed in the Kobo seminar, and the showcasing of their Kobo pulse programme gave an exhilarating glimpse into the possibilities of harnessing readers’ interest and ensuring they are kept up to speed with title that will suit their tastes, and widen their horizons.

Attending the book fair is a genuinely exciting experience, it is thrilling to be surrounded by people who clearly love books, and the writers who produce them, and I thoroughly recommend having a look around if you get the chance, next year. There will always be a cheerful welcome from us all on the Robert Hale Ltd stand, and you might even be able to nab yourself a few pens…

London Book Fair

Carole Llewellyn Launches ‘For the Love of Catherine’ in Devon

Carole Llewellyn was born in Bridgend, South Wales and previously worked in PR and in the theatre before becoming a successful businesswoman. She has written a variety of short stories for national magazines and newspapers including The Daily Telegraph and Woman’s Weekly and is now a full-time writer. Her previous novels, Megan and Rhiannon were also published by Robert Hale Ltd.

Here’s what happened when Llewellyn’s new book For the Love of Catherine was launched at the Torbay Book Shop in Paignton, Devon on 4th April:

My book launch party, held by Matthew Clarke at The Torbay Bookshop, Devon (one of the top independent booksellers), was a resounding success. All were invited to meet me for a glass of wine and a chat. The turn out surpassed all my expectations. The atmosphere in shop was buzzing and my pen was kept busy. A great night! A big thank you to all those who attended.

Carole Llewellwyn

Carole Llewellyn is currently working on her next novel WOMEN OF STRAW

For the Love of Catherine by Carole LlewellynFOR THE LOVE OF CATHERINE OFFICIAL PLOT – SYNOPSIS

14th APRIL, 1912.

RMS Titanic Struck by an Iceberg!

In the chaos of the sinking ship, Mair Parsons is separated from her infant daughter, Catherine, and her travelling companion and future mother-in-law, Ethel Jenkins, the kind woman who has tried to compensate Mair for the mother’s love she has never known.

The disaster changes all their lives. During her repatriation to Britain Mair has time to reassess her life and knows that before she can find true happiness she must find out the truth about her absent mother, even if it means leaving her beloved Wales and the fiancé and family who care for her.

Her search takes her to London where she becomes a Nightingale Nurse at St Thomas’s hospital and meets the exciting doctor, Andrew Baxter. With new love and a new career, can she be truly happy? Or will her heart be forever bound to those she loves in Wales?

Millie Vigor on Sailing Into Publishing

Catherine of Deepdale by Millie VigorAll the nice girls love a sailor, but sailors long for new horizons and tend to sail off to foreign parts and stay away for months.  I was married to a sailor.  One day he said, ‘I’m going aboard a ship.  We’re going Far East.  I shall be away a year and a month.’

It wasn’t the first time I’d been left alone, but never for quite so long.  I would have to find something to occupy me in the winter evenings.  I thought I’d go to night school and learn to type.  It might come in useful some day.   But that would mean a babysitter and a 40 mile round trip to town.  Instead I bought myself a portable typewriter and a Teach Yourself to Type book. I stuck bits of paper on the keys and taught myself to touch type.  Then I wrote Letter From a Home-Based Wife, packed it up and sent it to the editor of the Naval Base Newsletter.  A few days later I received a copy with my piece in it and a request for more.  Wow!  I was a writer.  No, not yet.

I worked hard to improve my writing, joined writer’s groups and courses and thought I was ready to write the novel.  There are three in the drawer which are unpublished but proof that I can stay the course.  A degree of success came in articles published in various magazines, a few short stories read on local radio then an autobiographical book published in 2003.   But still the novel eluded me.

I live in Shetland and was told the story of a girl from a city in the south of England who married a Shetland man and came to live with him in an isolated croft house.  It was 1946 and life on the islands at that time was very hard.  But she stayed.  I thought about her often and she stuck in my head.  I began to weave stories around her and realised I had a story to write.

After much planning and hours spent at the keyboard of my computer I thought the book I had written was as good as I could get it, so I packed it up and sent it off to a publisher.  It came back with the regulation rejection slip so I sent it out again . . . and again.  Each time it came home I looked to see where I could improve it.

Eventually my submission landed on the desk of someone at Robert Hale Ltd and a few days later I received an email asking for the whole typescript.  A brand new copy was sent off and, fingers crossed, I waited.  Imagine my delight when they said they would like to publish.  I was ecstatic.  Publication of my book, Catherine of Deepdale, had been my dream, but dreams need help to make them come true and I am grateful to all at Robert Hale who have help me do that.

Millie Vigor

Catherine of Deepdale by Millie Vigor is available now to pre-order with a 30% discount for a limited time only. It will be published by Robert Hale Ltd. on 30 April 2012

The Legend of Psycho Continues with New Film

In 1959, Robert Hale Ltd published Psycho by Robert Bloch. Bloch himself won the prestigious SF Hugo award in the same year. The psychological horror followed Marion Crane as she stole money from her boss and fled to a motel and encountered the brilliantly creepy Norman Bates, who ran the now infamous Bates Motel. Bloch would later follow up Psycho with Psycho II and Psycho House, as well as numerous other books.

In 1960, only one year after Psycho was first published, Director Alfred Hitchcock released one of the most popular and successful films of his career – the film adaptation of Psycho. The film, which starred Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, shocked audiences the world over and went on to gross an estimated $50 million worldwide.

The film spawned a remake in 1998 starring Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Julianne Moore and numerous sequels including Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).

Now, it seems, a new film has begun to take form in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho – a film, as the title suggests, about what went into making the 1960 adaptation and Hitchcock’s struggle to get funding for the picture. So far, Anthony Hopkins has been cast as Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins. Jessica Biel has recently been added to the cast list and is set to play Vera Miles. The film is rumoured to be released in 2013.More than fifty years after its initial release, people are still talking about Psychoa book The New York Times called “Icily terrifying”. Who knows what it will have become in another fifty years…

Source: Collider

Flickering Myth Reviews Holy Franchise Batman! by Gary Collinson

Holy Franchise Batman

The Dark Knight Rises hits cinemas worldwide in July. To commemorate the hotly anticipated film, Robert Hale Ltd will be publishing Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen in June. Flickering Myth called it “indispensable reading material” for Batman fans.

Read the full review and find out more about the book over at Flickering Myth

ABOUT HOLY FRANCHISE BATMAN! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen

Since the Caped Crusader first made the leap from comics to silver screen in the early 1940s, generations of audiences have been captivated by the screen adventures of Batman, establishing the celebrated comic book hero as a true icon of popular culture. Now, Gary Collinson traces the entire screen history of Bob Kane’s Dark Knight Detective, providing a fascinating insight into one of the most successful media franchises of all time.

Beginning with the early movie serials of the 1940s, Holy Franchise, Batman! charts the development of Batman’s many exploits across both live-action and animation, presenting a comprehensive overview of his illustrious screen career. From the classic 1960s television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward to the hugely successful blockbuster feature films from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan, as well as early Saturday morning cartoon outings through to the acclaimed ‘DC Animated Universe’, this book explores the evolution of Batman – a journey that has taken him from ‘camp’ crime-fighter to Dark Knight.

Welcome from Robert Hale Ltd Managing Director, Gill Jackson

Welcome to all book lovers, our established authors, would-be authors, and those just interested in the world of publishing, to our new Robert Hale Ltd blog.

Robert Hale Ltd is a small, independent, family-owned publishing company and has been in business for over seventy-five years. In that time we have issued novels here by some notable authors, not least amongst them Berthold Brecht, Robert Goddard’s very first book  Past Caring, Harold Robbins, Robert Bloch’s Psycho,Wendy Perriam, E.V. Thompson and, of course, Jean Plaidy. We are adding to our list of new books every year and trust that this blog will bring to your attention stories to please you and new authors whose names will, I hope, rise to the same heights as those of the writers just mentioned. Our wide-ranging non-fiction lists of general books, horological and jewellery books, and the country’s foremost equestrian list of J A Allen, are second to none and contain something to interest and please every reader.

If you are looking at our blog then I imagine you are as passionate about books in all forms as I am. Thank you for reading thus far and enjoy the rest of the blog.

Gill Jackson

Managing Director