Experiments on the Poor

“I cannot give you an adequate idea of the wretchedness of an hospital…Everything appeared to be conducted for the accommodation of the medical men and their pupils, who came to make experiments on the poor, for the benefit of the rich.” The Wrongs of Woman: or, Maria, A Fragment, Mary Wollstonecraft

In The Butcher’s Block, Dan Foster encounters a gang of body snatchers. Find out why the sick, destitute and poor hated and feared grave robbers in a guest blog I wrote for the delightful Madame Gilflurt’s Covent Garden Salon. Read Experiments on the Poor.

On the radio!

I recently did a couple of radio interviews about the new Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, which are available for a time on catch up. The shows are Silver Sound, BCfm Radio on 5 October, and the Steve Yabsley show on BBC Radio Bristol on 6 October 2017. Follow these links to listen to the catch ups – Silver Sound and the Steve Yabsley show.

Blame it on Charles Dickens

“The opening of A Tale of Two Cities said: people have different viewpoints; there is no single way of looking at things.”

I’m delighted to be the author in the spotlight on Hist Fic Saturday for the JaffaReadsToo blog, musing on why I write historical fiction – and blaming it on Charles Dickens! You can read “Why do I write historical fiction?” here.

Bristol – Suffrage City

Anyone who’s enjoyed the suffragette walk in The Bristol Suffragettes might enjoy a short walk that introduces some of the non-militant Bristol women who campaigned for women’s right to vote. The walk takes you around Clifton and is published in the Autumn 2017 issue of Better Bristol, the Bristol Civic Society Magazine. The walk, which only takes an hour, has an accompanying map. As well as the history, you’ll get some lovely views of Bristol from Royal York Crescent, plenty of opportunities to stop for something to eat and drink in Clifton village, and some enticing shops to browse in.  The Suffrage City walk is on page 22 of the  Autumn issue of Better Bristol magazine in this free download (opens as a PDF document).

Commemorating Votes for Women 100

Next year is the one hundredth anniversary of the enfranchisement of (some) women (full franchise equality was not achieved until 1928). It’s a milestone in women’s history and here in Bristol we are planning lots of events to mark the occasion. I recently wrote an article for Local History News (Summer 2017) outlining some of the events in the pipeline, and making suggestions for anyone who is thinking of getting involved in their own area. You can read the article as a pdf or on the British Association for Local History website.


Read Votes for Women 2018 as a pdf document.

Read Votes for Women 2018 on the BALH website.

The Butcher’s Block: A Dan Foster Mystery

“An officer’s been murdered. Murdered and cut up for sale to the anatomy schools. It was a professional quartering. I want to know who has the skill to do that.”

The Butcher’s Block, the second full-length Dan Foster Mystery, is published on 3 August 2017.

The novel sees Dan on the trail of the killers of a Bow Street officer and pitches him into the murky world of the body snatchers. But the body-snatching racket soon leads to something bigger and much more dangerous. In a treacherous underworld of vicious pugilists, ruthless murderers, British spy masters and French agents, Dan must tread carefully – or meet the same terrible fate as his fellow-officer.


The Butcher’s Block is available now as an ebook and paperback on Amazon UK and Amazon.com, and in iBooks, on the Kobo Store, and at Barnes and Noble

An Honourable Mention for the cover of The Fatal Coin

I am delighted that the cover of The Fatal Coin has been given an honourable mention in Discovering Diamonds’s Cover Award of the Month for July 2017. The Fatal Coin is published by digital publisher SBooks and I think the cover designers excelled themselves with this one! The designs were selected by Cathy Helms of www.avalongraphics.org and Tamian Wood of www.beyonddesigninternational.com. See the stunning cover designs on the winning novel and other books with honourable mentions at Discovering Diamonds.


The Fatal Coin is a Discovered Diamond!

I’m thrilled to announce that The Fatal Coin, an e-book short read and sequel to Bloodie Bones, is a Discovered Diamond. Described as a tale that will “leave you pondering on the plot and characters – and eager for a next adventure”, the Dan Foster series has also been compared to a box of hand-made, luxury chocolates! Well, who doesn’t love chocolates? Actually, Dan Foster – he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth! But he’d be delighted with this review. You can read the full Discovering Diamonds review here.

My Inheritance Book

“There’s no such thing as private property in Nature! The woods and fields belong to the earth, and so do we.”  The Little Grey Men, BB

I’m delighted to be a guest on Rhoda Baxter’s blog talking about my “inheritance book” – that is, a book I’ve inherited from the generation above. I chose one of my favourite childhood reads, The Little Grey Men by BB. It was amazing to revisit the book and realise just how much it has influenced me. It’s definitely due for a re-read! I was also asked to name a book I would leave to future generations, and I chose my copies of William Morris’s The Earthly Paradise which have autograph letters written by the great man himself pasted inside them. Not surprisingly, these are the books that count as my most treasured possessions! You can read My Inheritance Book on Rhoda Baxter’s blog here.

How to Respond When a Reader Claims There’s an Error in Your Books

“One particular example periodically crops up from my Arthurian Trilogy, which is set in the 400s post-Roman Britain…I mention that war horses were ‘corn fed.’ It does become somewhat tedious having to explain that ‘corn fed’ in British – and horsey – terms means fed on oats and barley, not corn on the cob maize, and indicates a wealthy owner of a well-fed horse.” Helen Hollick

It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? Your reader says you’ve made a mistake but you haven’t. How should you respond? I muse on the options in a guest blog for the Alliance of Independent Authors Advice Centre. Read How to Respond When a Reader Claims There’s an Error in Your Books here.

The Little Bookworm Spotlight

“Books and champagne definitely go together well!”

I’m honoured to be featured on Emma Mitchell’s blog, The Little Bookworm, talking about Chill With a Book Award winner Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery. I’m discussing what inspired me to write the book, what I’m currently working on, why I write historical fiction, and revealing the three authors who have most influenced my journey as a writer. And I answer that all-important question: Marmite – yes or no? It’s a controversial issue in our house…read The Little Bookworm Spotlight here.

Bloodie Bones wins Chill With a Book Readers’ Award

Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery has achieved a Chill With a Book Readers’ Award. This means that the novel has been read by a panel of readers and assessed on the following critiera: whether or not it has strong and engaging characters; if it is well written; if it has a page-turning plot; a satisfying ending; and whether readers would recommend it to their friends. You can find out more at the Chill With a Books website.


Jane Eyre: Rebel Woman

“From the opening page of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre you know you are in the company of a rebel female.”

I was invited onto Helen Hollick’s Discovering Diamonds website recently to write about one book that has been a major influence on me as a writer and reader. I chose Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and discussed my view of her as a rebel female with particular reference to her reading. The female reader has long been regarded as a subversive figure, and I’ve always loved Jane for her determination to read and think for herself. You can read Jane Eyre: Rebel Woman here.

War and the Manly Science: Tuesday Talk Guest Blog

” ‘There’s good money in bare-knuckle fighting, honestly earned.’ Dan grinned. ‘More or less.’ ”  Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery.

In fact, as a serving Principal Officer of Bow Street (Bow Street Runner), Dan would have known perfectly well that boxing was illegal. On my guest article for Helen Hollick’s blog, Let us Talk of Many Things, I ponder the reasons why the illegal sport of bare knuckle fighting was tolerated by the authorities in the eighteenth century. You can read War and the Manly Science here.

Bloodie Bones is a Discovered Diamond Book of the Month!

“The story is a thrilling and engrossing page-turner that demands just one more chapter before lights out and sleep – then maybe just one more… perhaps just one more…”

I am excited to announce that Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery has been selected as the Discovered Diamonds Book of the Month, January 2017. All books selected as Book of the Month are automatically short-listed for the Discovered Diamonds Book of the Year Award, to be announced in December 2017.

Discovering Diamonds was inaugurated on 1 January 2017 by author Helen Hollick. Helen writes, “I am passionate about assisting good indie and self-published authors of historical fiction to get noticed”. With the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, Helen aims to showcase good quality historical fiction. Both indie and mainsteam published books will be considered for review. You can read the review of Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery here.

Helen Hollick is a best-selling historical fiction author. Her books include the Sea Witch Voyages series about the adventures of pirate Jesamiah Acorne and his lady-love, Tiola – a white witch; as well as the Saxon Series: Harold the King; A Hollow Crown; and 1066 Turned Upside Down, an anthology of alternative history stories about 1066. You can find out more about Helen’s work on her website.

Talking Books with Suzie Grogan

Suzie Grogan has uploaded some of her Talking Books radio shows onto Soundcloud, including the interview I did on Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery. You can listen to the show here. Find out about Suzie and her books here, and Talking Books (10 Radio) here.

Bloodie Bones is joint winner of the HNS Indie Award 2016!

WinnerI’m absolutely thrilled to announce that Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery is joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016.

The winners were announced at the Historical Novel Society Conference 2016 in Oxford on 3 September. The HNS Indie Review team reviews around 300 books a year, and from these any books selected as Editor’s Choice automatically go on to the long list for the Award. This year there was a long list of 38 novels, from which a short list of nine authors was selected. Three judges selected a list of four finalists, and two further judges selected the winning title from these. Usually there is a winner and a runner-up, but this year the judges decided to make a joint award.

The joint winners were Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery and Fossil Island by Barbara Sjoholm.

Bloodie Bones was also a semi finalist in the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016.