Posted in 20th Century America Guest Post

guest post: Terrence McCauley on the history behind The Fairfax Incident

I had several reasons for setting THE FAIRFAX INCIDENT in 1933 New York City. The first reason is that I love history in general and New York City history in particular. The thousands of tourists who visit my hometown every year might be shocked to hear that New York doesn’t have much of a history when compared to other world centers, but it’s true. Much of our history is relatively new, from the 1770s at the earliest, whereas London, Paris and Rome have histories that go back a thousand years, maybe more. Very little, if anything, remains of the original Dutch settlers who called New Amsterdam their home. The windmills are gone, so are the tracts of land they farmed and the malaria-filled swamp of…

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Posted in Guest Post New Books

guest post: Who Owns the Stories

Guest post by Hilary Shepherd, author of In a Foreign Country, Animated Baggage, and Albi. “Albi is nine years old when Franco’s soldiers arrive in the village and his life begins to change in confusing ways. It’s not clear quite who should be trusted and who should not. Some neighbours disappear not to be seen again, others are hidden from view in cellars and stables – like his brother, Manolo, who left long ago to join the resistance. Albi is charged with shepherding not just his own sheep, but also those of El Ciego who sends him on errands requiring a good memory and the ability to keep his mouth shut at all times. Alberto, at 88, is haunted by what he did and what…

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Posted in Guest Post

guest post: Navy Blue by Philip K. Allan

Navies throughout the world wear basically the same uniform. Dark blue for temperate and full dress with a white variant for warmer climates. Whichever version is worn, it will be decorated with buttons and badges that feature an anchor. It is so universally true, that it hardly attracts notice. It is only when you stop to think about it that you realise how unusual it is. Consider army uniforms. The advent of the breach loading rifle may have forced all soldiers into some variety of green or brown, but before that the armies of the world wore all the colours of the rainbow. During the Napoleonic wars, for example, the French and Prussians mainly wore blue, the Swiss red, the Russians green, the Austrians white,…

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Posted in Guest Post

guest post: Latitude by Philip K. Allan

Use some mapping software, like Google Earth, centre yourself on the middle of the Pacific Ocean and zoom out. A planet will appear that you can barely recognise. From that angle our world is almost entirely blue, save for a scatter of islands across the face of the deep. The continents of the Americas and Asia appear only as a fringe of land around the edge, and even Australia and New Zealand barely intrude. Yet in 1743 Admiral George Anson, aboard HMS Centurion, set out into this unimaginable vastness to hunt down a single Spanish ship. She was the Nuestra Senora de Convadonga, better known as the Acapulco galleon, and each year she travelled between the Spanish Philippines and Mexico. She was also the richest…

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Posted in Guest Post

guest post: The French Nelson

When British and French fleets met in battle during the 18th century, as a general rule, it was always the British that won. Not every time, granted, and there were plenty of encounters that ended in strategic draws, but overall this is true. But there was a notable exception to this rule. The French admiral who led his nation’s fleet in the Indian Ocean during the American War of Independence fought no less than five fleet actions against the Royal Navy, and never lost any of them. Indeed, he never even lost a ship. His name was Pierre Andre de Suffren. He joined the French Navy in 1743, as a fourteen year old midshipman. Four years later be tasted his first defeat, when the convoy…

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Posted in Guest Post

guest post: Winston Churchill’s Tattoo

Philip K. Allan is back with another intriguing article! At the end of the 18th century, a new craze was sweeping the lower decks of the Royal Navy. The very latest fashion accessory for the well turned out sailor was to have a tattoo. Then, as now, young men found the lure of decorated skin irresistible. The reason for its spread came in the wake of the voyages of exploration that Captain Cook had made twenty years earlier. Tattooing had existed in the islands of the Pacific for centuries before Cook arrived. The word tattoo is Polynesian, and is the sound made by the little wooden hammers that the islanders use to puncture the skin. The dense patterns of lines that adorned the locals impressed…

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Posted in 18th Century Guest Post

guest post: The Real Blackbeard

Who, Truly, Was Blackbeard, And From Whence Did He Come? Will The Real Pirate Commodore Please Stand Up? by Samuel Marquis In Blackbeard: The Birth of America, Historical Fiction Author Samuel Marquis, the ninth great-grandson of Captain William Kidd, chronicles the legendary Edward Thache—former British Navy seaman and notorious privateer-turned-pirate, who lorded over the Atlantic seaboard and Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. A Robin-Hood-like American patriot and the most famous freebooter of all time, Blackbeard was illegally hunted down by Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood, the British Crown’s man in Williamsburg obsessed with his capture. This year marks the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s death. In becoming the Blackbeard of legend, Edward Thache of Spanish Town, Jamaica, has represented many different things to many different…

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Posted in 18th Century Guest Post

guest post: Why Did Ships Have Figureheads?

Please welcome back author Philip K. Allen with another article relating to his new novel! Figureheads are magnificent things. Stroll along the ranks of huge, colourfully painted ones in the naval museums at Greenwich or Portsmouth, and you cannot help but be impressed by the skill and effort that went into carving them. All of which begs the question why ship builders went to the effort and expense of commissioning such elaborate works of art to adorn the front of their vessels? They have no apparent function for the ship other than decoration. With the rise of modernity and corporate accountancy in the late nineteenth century, the figurehead quickly disappeared. The recently launched aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth may be the latest and largest ship…

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Posted in 18th Century Guest Post

guest post: Google and the Death of the Historical Novel

Please welcome author Philip K. Allan today with his take on the pros and cons of writing in the digital age. Don’t get me wrong, I love Google. As a writer of historical novels, it is the search engine that I have open on my PC as I work, ready to be dipped into to check a fact or study an image. It once provided me with a moment of pure serendipity. I needed to find some plants native to Barbados to add colour to a scene on a sugar plantation. Through Google I learnt of the Cannonball Tree, which fitted perfectly into a passage of dialogue that included some naval officers. The following day my wife and I took our daughters to visit Kew…

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Posted in 17th Century Guest Post

Tony Morgan: Remember, Remember the Gunpowder Plot

A big welcome from Historical-Fiction.com to UK author Tony Morgan as he introduces his novels set in early Seventeenth Century England. It all started with the Gunpowder Plot… Religious tensions, terrorists on the streets of London, conflict with Europe and concerns over increasing levels of government surveillance – does this sound familiar? 1605 was a time more like our own than we usually imagine. Following Queen Elizabeth I’s death in 1603, King James VI of Scotland was crowned King James I of England. Despite his mother Mary Queen of Scot’s Catholicism, James was raised a Protestant. In Scotland and England, he shared his palaces and bed, although the latter less frequently, with his Queen, Anne of Denmark. Anne was the mother of their children and…

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Posted in 13th Century Guest Post

A. E. Chandler on The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood

Historical-FIction.com welcomes author A. E. Chandler with an article on her novel based on the story of Robin Hood, The Scarlet Forest. Fans of the legend shouldn’t miss this retelling! Read on for more details. Chandler: At four years old, I first saw the Disney cartoon movie of Robin Hood, and since then he has been one of my heroes. As a Medieval Studies grad student at the University of Nottingham, I took history and archaeology, as well as Middle English language and literature courses, with the goal of writing a well-rounded dissertation on the social history behind an early to mid-thirteenth century Robin Hood figure. Studying at Nottingham was an amazing opportunity to pick the brains of a number of expert medievalists, gain access…

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Posted in Biblical Guest Post

guest post & giveaway: Obedience by V. G. Kilgore

Attention biblical fiction fans: You’ll not want to miss this guest post and giveaway on V. G. Kilgore’s debut novel, Obedience. This is a story of Noah’s Ark based on Noah’s son, Ham. See the giveaway details at the bottom of the post. Biblical fiction has intrigued me from the time I was a good, church-going teenager, to my current lapsed state. The Bible and other holy books have affected all of us for centuries, regardless of our beliefs. Our bodies might not be much changed from the Bronze Age, but thankfully, our cultural evolution continues. It’s important to consider these ancient stories with a more enlightened perspective. With Noah’s Ark, on which Obedience is based, Noah’s son Ham has been accused of everything from…

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