Book Excerpt: The Break (Lars D.H. Hedbor) (Plus Giveaway)

Please see below for information about how you could win a FREE
paperback copy of a Lars Hedbor novel of your choice.

Update: Drawing will be held December 16 (see link here)

The Battle of Bunker Hill was a turning point in the American Revolution, but it’s all too easy to forget that it came at a steep cost—and not just to the Americans, who lost the incomparable Joseph Warren that day, but to the British and their Loyalist allies, who died in their hundreds. In The Break, a Loyalist evacuee learns of one such loss in a letter from a friend who remained in Massachusetts. —Lars D.H. Hedbor

 

Battle of Bunker Hill, by Howard Pyle, c. 1897. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the British, who suffered losses of over a third of their troops, many more in numbers than the Americans incurred, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Twenty-First June, ‘75

My dearest Susannah,

I write to you with a heart utterly Destroyed by the late Events in this Ruined Paradise. The worst News I shall dispense with first—our Friend Ezekiel has been Killed in the course of a brave Action, about which I shall say more when I have gathered my Ability to relate any words at all. You have, I am certain, long been acquainted with the Vicious Events that took place during the Summer past on the Heights overseeing that most admirable of Cities, our fair Boston-Town. The entirety of Charles-Town, which lay close by the hot Action of the summer, has been extinguished by fire promoted by the Evil actions of the rebels who infest the Countryside all about there. A pitched Battle was there fought, with the loss of some hundreds of gallant Souls, among the which was my dear Ezekiel. Oh!  I cannot write anything Sensible, so lost am I in my Grief, but I shall try. The wicked Enemy (for Enemies they now be, to all decent Men of loyal hearts) made bold to attempt a Bombardment of the city of Boston, which was held firm under the Protection of the King’s Men who have long been encamped in that Place. Our Men gave them firm opposition in this Cruel Design, and the battle that resulted was as Terrible as any I have read about in any History. While I was not present, that Place being, as you know, pretty distant from our little Town, I have spoken to those who went there and Assisted to bury those who fell to our enemies’ treacherous Designs. One of the fallen was found to have in his Pocket a letter signed as Ezekiel Mills, and when I described that Dear Man to he who carried the precious Letter, he agreed that the cold corpse answered to Ezekiel’s description. I am unable to imagine my Fate without my friend and Protector, dear Susannah! I am overcome with the loss we have thereby suffered. In the end, as I am sure you have read in your news-papers, the Loyal forces of the King repulsed the cowardly attack of the accursed rebels, but such Victories we cannot afford very often, it is said far and wide. I cannot breathe, I am so consumed with grief, even with Ezekiel these many weeks in his cold Grave. There is not much else to tell that you will not have heard of elsewhere. We labor in the Desolation that is our world after this terrible Battle, and hope only that our Enemies may come to swift and complete Defeat and Ruin, as they have brought so many good Men to ruin. I hope that you are well, and that the Evil of war may not come to visit you at your Wise Remove from this place of Woe. I am,

Your sad but constant Friend,

Emma

 

The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775, by John Trumbull (hover over image at link for individual tags of identification; names there are also hyperlinked for more information on each figure) via Wikimedia Commons

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Lars Hedbor is so graciously gifting a paperback copy to some lucky winner! And that person gets to choose which title! Simply comment below or at this link on our FB blog page—even a simple hello will get you into the drawing, which will take place December 12.

To see information on each book, click here.

You may also wish to have a peek at my previous reviews for Tales From a Revolution—

The Prize (Tales From a Revolution: Vermont)

The Light (Tales From a Revolution: New-Jersey)

The Smoke (Tales From a Revolution: New York)

The Break (Tales From a Revolution: Nova-Scotia) (Coming December 9)

The Wind (Tales From a Revolution: West-Florida)

The Darkness (Tales From a Revolution: Maine)

The Path (Tales From a Revolution: Rhode-Island)

Get your free e-copy of The Declaration!

About the author ….

What made the American Colonists turn their back on their King, and fight for independence? How were they different from us–and how were their hopes and fears familiar to our own hearts?

These are the sorts of questions that I think are important to ask in examining the American Revolution, and in the pages of my novels, I suggest some possible answers.

My first novel, The Prize, was published in 2011, followed by The Light in 2013, and The Smoke, The Declaration, and The Break in 2014; The Wind was published in 2015, and The Darkness in 2016.

I’ve also written extensively about this era for the Journal of the American Revolution, and have appeared as a featured guest on an Emmy-nominated Discovery Network program, The American Revolution, which premiered nationally on the American Heroes Channel in late 2014. I am also a series expert on America: Fact vs. Fiction for Discovery Networks, and will be a panelist at the Historical Novel Society’s 2017 North American Conference.

I am an amateur historian, linguist, brewer, fiddler, astronomer and baker. Professionally, I am a technologist, marketer, writer and father. My love of history drives me to share the excitement of understanding the events of long ago, and how those events touch us still today.

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You can follow and learn more about Lars D.H. Hedbor and his books at his website and blog, Twitter and Facebook. The Break may be purchased in paperback (signed copies available upon request), as Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo or at Smashwords. (Paperbacks also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble links.)

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Keep an eye out in these pages for more from Lars Hedbor, including an upcoming giveaway of a signed and personalized paperback copy of a Hedbor novel of the reader’s choice, and my review of The Break.

Photo courtesy Lars D.H. Hedbor

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A Nod to Blōtmōnað

I’m a big fan of ancestors, language and author Annie Whitehead. Today, in my first ever re-blog, all three come together for a really fabulous piece in which this esteemed author talks about Blōtmōnað  – Blood Month, better known to us moderns as November – and a spot of how to read an Anglo-Saxon calendar.

(Click link at bottom for the rest of the article.)

It’s November, or Blōtmōnað as the Anglo-Saxons called it. (the Old English letters ð and þ are represented in modern English by the combination th)So, what’s Blood-Month all about? Unlike the days of the week, where the words are recognisable, the Anglo-Saxon calendar is not so obvious.Days of the WeekSunday: Sunnenday (Middle English translation of Greek Hemera heliou): the sun’s day,Monday: Monan…

via Blōtmōnað – Blood Month — Casting Light upon the Shadow

Book Excerpt: Half Sick of Shadows, Audio/Text (Richard Abbott) (Plus Giveaway)

Half Sick of Shadows – Audio Excerpt
by Richard Abbott 

Like Audio Excerpts A and  B & C, for author Richard Abbott’s second sci-fi novel, Timing,  the excerpt below, from his historical fantasy, Half Sick of Shadows, is powered by Amazon’s Polly software, which is enabled for text-to-speech in multiple accents and intonations. There sometimes are limitations on the range of speech and accents Alexa can produce, but technology is advancing and can be utilized in a number of ways, such as to help produce speech for those on the autism spectrum.

Below you’ll find the next audio excerpt offering, this time from Half Sick of Shadows, Richard Abbott’s historical fantasy based on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s inimitable poem, “The Lady of Shalott.” Take a peek at our review, which pairs well with this particular extract, for its background pertaining to the scene here.  And don’t forget to join in for a chance to win a free copy of the novel!

See below for details about winning a free paperback copy of Half Sick of Shadows

Addendum: Contest extended and drawing will occur on December 2

 

 

Exactly a month after she had first seen the baby, they brought it out to the cairn opposite and held it up to her in the evening. The woman placed an offering on the cairn, and the man threw something metal into the flowing stream. The little one did nothing, unable even to hold up its head, but her heart melted at the scene.

She sang again, breaking her self-imposed fast, and saw their faces light up with awe as they heard her.

Just a few nights later she found herself ravenously hungry, and gorged herself on the food all around. Only at the end of her feasting, when she lay exhausted in her chamber and looked around, did she realise what was happening. Soon she would sleep, and while she slept her body would go through another change.

She gasped with anguish. How many racing years would slip away between sleep and waking?

“But if I sleep, I shall never know what happens to my sister, nor my brother, nor the child I helped them make. I cannot bear this, Mirror. It is cruelty. You must let me be awake for longer. I want to see what happens to them.”

There was no answer, but unquenchable hunger seized her again. She tried not to eat, but the desire was stronger than gravity, irresistible as wind, and she could not deny it. Great helpless tears rolled down her face even as she tore at great strips of leaf and swallowed brimming bowls of sap.

Heavy, and feeling full to bursting, she wallowed on her couch, desperate for nightfall to come. Would she be given even one more day, before the unstoppable urge to sleep overwhelmed her?

They came that evening, and held up the infant so she could see it. She sang again for them, and her song was full of both the beauty and the sorrow of the passing world. She watched the glow of wonder on their faces as they heard her. She knew what they could not, that this would be the last time she would see them, and she sang to bless them as the shortening day eased into night.

Long after they had gone, she lay looking at the riverbank where they had stood. The world was made up of shadows now. When her brother and sister next came, when they held up the infant for her to see, she would no longer be there. She would be lost in her own world of slumber and transformation, and the quick years of the world would roll unseen around her.

How long would they continue to come, she wondered, once the sound of her singing was gone? Would they think that she was lost to them, lost somewhere in the gloaming? She watched herself stuffing food into her body, slithering awkwardly, heavily, into her chamber, and she felt that her heart was breaking.

The Lady of Shalott, by John William Waterhouse via Wikimedia Commons

Would you like to win a free paperback copy of Half Sick of Shadows? Simply comment below – even a quickie hello works! – and you are automatically entered into the drawing, which will occur in mid November.

(This would also make a great gift!!!)

 Alternately, you may comment at the pinned post in the blog’s Facebook page, located here

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

Click titles to read our reviews for Richard Abbott’s Far from the Spaceports or Timing.

For more on “The Lady of Shalott,” please click here.

About the author…

Richard Abbott writes fiction of several varieties, including both historical and speculative fiction. His historical is set in the Middle East at the end of the Bronze Age, around 1200 BC. It explores events in the Egyptian province of Canaan, following events in the life of a priest in the small hill town of Kephrath during a time of considerable change throughout the region.

His heretofore speculative writing is set in a near-future solar system exploring issues of high-tech crime and human-machine relationships.

Far from the Spaceports introduces Mitnash Thakur and his virtual partner Slate as they investigate financial crime in the asteroid belt. Its sequel, Timing, was released in the second half of 2016.

His latest publication, Half Sick of Shadows, a retelling and metamorphosis of Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot,” is now available for purchase, along with his other works, on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Richard lives in London, England and works professionally in IT quality assurance.

When not writing words or computer code, he enjoys spending time with family, walking, and wildlife, ideally combining all three pursuits in the English Lake District.

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You can follow and learn more about Richard Abbott and his books at Facebook and Google–and be sure to check out his brilliant collection of images! The author also has some amazing content at his blog, In a Milk and Honeyed Land, including Polly and Alexa, with space-related and not, his own reviews and reading list, information about his other books, and much more.

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Book Browsing: Excerpt Edition (The Refugee)

Today’s book browsing leads us to an excerpt for The Refugee by S.A. Tameez, who reflected a bit a few weeks before publication.

S.A.Tameez writes … 

With my novel, The Refugee, only four weeks away [at this writing] from its official release, one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is: Why did I choose the refugee topic to base my novel on?

To answer this, I must first tell you about the day I first got the inspiration for the story.

Almost a year ago, on a sultry summer’s night, as I sat in front of my computer writing a science fiction fantasy story called The Seventh Echo, I suddenly found myself unable to type another word. Not another darn word!

“Writer’s block?” I hear you ask. Not at all! The truth is, I have never wrestled with writer’s block in my life. I have more stories in my head than I have time left on this earth, I have no doubt. And those who know me can attest that I am never short of words. I couldn’t write any more of The Seventh Echo, a story that required me to explore the enthralling realms of quantum mechanics, because of something that I heard about earlier that day. Something so disturbing and heart wrenching that I could think of nothing else.

By this point, the media had maximised their newspaper sales, at the expense of washed up, dead bodies of refugee children. The refugee crisis was common knowledge around the globe – successfully turned from tragedy to a circus.

What sparked my interest was a story of a family that came to the refugee camp, escaping from war, only to have their son kidnapped from the camp, in the dead of night. Thankfully, this innocent 10-year-old boy was found alive the next day. He had, however, been savagely raped and then dumped.

Aside from this making me feel physically sick, it made me question what was going on with the thousands of children that were seeking refuge? Who was responsible for them? And the more I dug, the more questions arose, unearthing some distressing facts, like 10,000 unaccounted refugee children disappearing.

The fact that this was not of any huge concern made me realise that people had become desensitised to the catastrophic loss of life and “mysterious” vanishings of children. Refugees seemed almost less human than everyone else.

With this, I was unable to continue writing Seventh Echo. I stopped at 15,000 words and began writing The Refugee. A story inspired by the atrocious circumstances that the refugees are facing. Although no words can justly describe the horror that they are facing and there simply isn’t enough ink in this world to produce published accounts of all their tribulations, I hope the story’s message is clear.

The Refugee – Excerpt
by S.A. Tameez

“There!” Ahmed quietly cheered as he saw a ghostly silhouette of a large boat in the distance. “Come on…” They could see a few men with guns surrounding the boat. The guns raised higher as they got closer. “Please…we don’t want any trouble,” Ahmed said, his arms high.

“Paperwork!” one of the men demanded. His face was covered, except his menacing eyes, which sent chills running through Ahmed, forcing him to shiver as he handed over the papers that were in the black leather bag.

The man looked through the papers, then looked at Ahmed, then at Malik and Maryam. A second man now had the paperwork, he nodded, as if to say that they check out ok. The first man looked down at Maryam’s foot and noticed the blood. “Wait here…” He went back, and the men started murmuring among themselves in a language that Ahmed didn’t recognise.

“What is going on?” Maryam asked. Ahmed was getting paranoid, worried that paperwork was not okay. He began to question that everything was all right.

The first man strolled back. “You and boy go, but woman stay.”

“What?” Ahmed said, looking perplexed. “What do you mean? We have the correct paperwork for all of us, right?”

“You have paperwork…but woman cannot travel because of foot.”

“Why? She is fine. It’s just a cut…please, we need to get on that boat, all of us,” Ahmed pleaded.

“She not getting on. You have two minutes, or you stay, too,” the man said robotically.

Maryam began to cry as the man walked away. “Just go…take our son and save his life, I can’t bear to see him live like this,” she sobbed. Ahmed’s head began to spin.

“Ahmed…please, you don’t have much time, you have to go now. Think of our son.” She hugged Malik tightly, and her tears began to soak his shirt, triggering his own tears.

“I love you,” she whispered to Ahmed. His watery eyes filled with anger.

“I am not leaving you here!” He grabbed the leather bag and ran towards the men.

“Please…help us…I have money.” Money, a language that everyone understood. Ahmed reached into the bag and grabbed a handful of the euros, “Here!” He held out the notes. “Please let us all on that boat…please.” The man looked at Ahmed and then at Malik and Maryam. He pushed Ahmed’s hand back, “She will not make it. You have more chance if you leave her.” The man looked at them with a hint of compassion in his machine-like eyes.

“I’ll take my chances…please.” Ahmed begged, “please…let us all on.” Ahmed offered the money again. “Keep money…you will need it.” The man nodded. “Get on – all of you.”

“Thank you…thank you.” Ahmed ran back to Maryam and Malik.

“Come on, let’s go.”

They rushed onto the boat as fast as they could, Ahmed hoping, praying, that the man didn’t change his mind.

Maryam was, as usual, as paranoid as ever, any minute now…any minute, he is going to say stop, and they would all stand there laughing – this was a cruel joke that they were playing. Her legs were wobbly, or maybe it will be worse, perhaps they will just open fire and compete against each other on who had the most accurate shot…

“Stop!” one of the men with guns yelled. I knew it Maryam thought. She closed her eyes and shielded Malik with her body.

S.A. Tameez will appear for book signing at
High Wycombe Library
on November 25, 2017  from 2:00 – 3:00 (p.m.)

About the author ….

Sajjad Tameez was born in Buckinghamshire, England. He gained a profound interest in writing from a young age, particularly in the field of science fiction fantasy. After completing his BA honours degree in network security and management, and also artificial intelligence, he began work on his first novel, Lehthra

After successfully publishing his sci-fi novel and promoting it in Waterstones, he went on to write many short stories.

You can keep up with Sajjad Tameez on Facebook, Twitter or his Amazon author page.

The Refugee may be purchased at Amazon and Amazon UK.

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