18 August 2017

Register for Free: The Tudor Summit on 3rd and 4th September

The Tudor Summit will be hosted on 3rd and 4th September, and you are all invited to attend from the comfort of your own home!

This two day online event brings together Tudor history enthusiasts from all over the world to connect with each other, and listen to interviews and lectures from some of the leading Tudor History historians, bloggers, and podcasters.

With lecture topics ranging from Tudor portraiture, fashion, and music; to Henry's wives, and Mary's relationships with them, we have a jam packed, and engaging agenda!

The event will be broadcast live on September 3 and 4, starting at 4pm UK time, and registration is free to attend live!

A list of historians and authors currently signed up to give talks include;

Rebecca Larson - Tudors Dynasty
Natalie Grueninger - On the Tudor Trail
Melita Thomas - Tudor Times
James Boulton - Queens of England Podcast
Roland Hui - Tudor Faces
Nathen Amin - Author - The Henry Tudor Society

with a keynote by historian Sarah Gristwood, author of Game of Queens

TO REGISTER for FREE, head to

17 August 2017

Special Guest Post by Dave Chesson: Book Copyright - A Matter Of Life And Death?

Book Copyright - A Matter Of Life And Death?

Just as those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it, writers who don’t learn from the mistakes of others are doomed to repeat them.

One of the most valuable sources of information when I started out writing was the advice and ideas of others writers. Whether in-person or online, I gladly sought lessons to inform my own writing career.

Naturally, I still made my fair share of mistakes along the way. One of the most serious was failing to understand the importance of copyright. Whereas most writing mistakes are a matter of style and technique, copyright is something with potentially serious financial implications.

We’ll now explore a brief history of copyright before looking at how you can protect your own work as a writer.

Have you heard the story of St. Columba and St. Finian?  St. Columba was a studious monk who borrowed and copied a Bible from St. Finian without having the proper permission to do so. Of course, ‘copy’ in this era literally meant transcribing by hand.

In spite of the painstaking work of St. Columba, motivated not by financial gain but a desire to share with others, St. Finian demanded that the copy created be handed over to him, as he owned the rights to the original.

The High King of Ireland heard both sides of the story and sided with St. Finian. Despite St. Columba’s protests that no harm had resulted from his copying of the book, the King ruled that St. Finian owned the right to the copy as he owned the original.

This was the start of a chain of events which led to the Battle of Cul Dreimhne, the death of 3000 people, and the exile of St. Columba.

Book Copyright In The Modern Era

While book copyright in this day and age is unlikely to lead to war and exile, it’s still a serious matter worthy of your attention.

If you fail to protect your book properly, you will have a far tougher time if someone plagiarizes your work and sells it on as their own. You will also struggle if a modern day St. Columba decides to share your work freely with others, even if it isn’t for financial gain.

So how exactly do you copyright your work? Thankfully, it’s fairly simple, and there are a few options at your disposal.

The Essential Elements Of Copyright

To create a legally valid copyright page for your book, all you really need are two things -

1. Statement of copyright
2. Statement of ‘all rights reserved’

These two elements vary in complexity but are legally valid even in a very simple form.

At its most basic, your statement of copyright should include either the word copyright itself or the copyright symbol, the year in which your book is published and your name or the name that is valid for copyright purposes.

For example, ‘Copyright 2017 Joe Jones’ is a valid copyright statement. You can use a pen name or company name in lieu of your real name if it is more appropriate to do so.

To state all rights reserved can be as simple as writing “All Rights Reserved”. You will sometimes come across more complex statements expanding on this basic concept and explicitly stating various rights, but this is by no means necessary.

The above is all that you need for your book’s copyright page to be legally valid. However, you will often see other, optional elements listed, which we’ll now explore.

Optional Elements Of Copyright

You will often see, and may wish to include, any or all of the following elements on a copyright page -

Information relating to publisher such as address and contact details
Any trademarks found in the book, such as logos
The edition of the book
Any legal disclaimers

Legal advice related to trademarks and disclaimers is outside of the scope of this article so you should seek qualified, specialist advice if you need to in these areas.

Whether or not you need an ISBN for your work depends upon a number of factors. If you use a service such as Createspace, you will automatically be given an ISBN. If you wish to purchase an ISBN yourself, you can do so here.

Copyright Recap

Putting hours of effort into researching and writing a book is no small labour. Your work therefore deserves to be protected in the best way possible. By following the advice found here, you can ensure that your book is legally protected should the worst happen and someone plagiarizes you.

If you have any other historical anecdotes about book copyright, I’d love to hear them in the comments. Also feel free to share any personal stories or experiences you have had with copyrighting your work.

Dave Chesson

# # #
About the Author

Dave Chesson is a master Jedi at book marketing and the author of Kindlepreneur.  To succeed in today’s competitive kindle business, you need to be part  writer and part marketer.  His website on self-publishing is devoted to  helping you with the latter. Find out more at Kindlepreneur.com and find Dave on Facebook and Twitter @DaveChesson.

16 August 2017

Tips for new writers Part Three - Rules, by Wendy Janes #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writing

The odd thing about grammar and punctuation rules is that they are a bit of a moveable feast. Some change depending on whether you’re using US or UK English and others are flexible depending on context, style and genre. Sounds like a can of worms, if you ask me. But let’s dive in and try and make some sense of it all.

First, I’d like to select the three rules that I see authors breaking most often. These ones are non-negotiable.

Use of it’s and its
it’s = it is (It’s raining)
its = belonging to (The creature protected its young)
The easy way to remember correct use of it’s and its is to say ‘it is’ whenever you come across either version. If the sentence makes sense when you say ‘it is’ then the correct term is it’s.

Use of initial capital when referring to parents
There’s no need for the capital when you’re referring to ‘my mum’ or ‘your dad’. Usually if you can substitute the name for the word ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ then you need a capital letter.
I asked Mum to dinner (I asked Jean to dinner would work fine)
I asked my mum to dinner (I asked my Jean to dinner is not right)

Use of lie/lay/laid
I have a crib sheet, in fact I have more than one crib sheet, to remind me how this works. Here’s one of them:

Present tense: I lie down on the grass and look up at the trees. 
Past tense: Yesterday, I lay down on the grass and looked up at the trees.
Past perfect: Years later I recalled how I had lain down on the grass and looked up at the trees.

Present tense: As I look up at the trees, I lay my book to one side.
Past tense: As I looked up at the trees, I laid my book to one side.
Past perfect: Years later I recalled how I had laid my book to one side.

So, the above are non-negotiable. Now let’s have a look at some of the ones that I think are negotiable.

When I was taught English grammar at school back in the 1970s, the rule was that a hyphen was required in ‘the nineteenth-century monument’, but not in ‘the monument dated from the nineteenth century’. These days, if the meaning is clear and the piece of writing isn’t formal, omitting the hyphen isn’t the sin it once was. However, please note, a hyphen isn’t needed in phrases that contain adverbs that end ‘-ly’. For example, ‘a happily married couple’ and ‘newly made road’.

Some people get very hot under the collar about the comma splice. The rule is that a comma by itself shouldn’t be used to join two main clauses. For example, ‘I enjoy reading, I always have my nose in a book.’ This can be corrected by splitting it into two sentences or by adding a conjunction such as ‘and’ or ‘so’. The comma splice is something I’m actually quite partial to. I rather like the rhythm it can give to a sentence.

If you’re not sure whether to use ‘that’ or ‘which’ in a sentence, the basic rule is as follows: ‘that’ is used when a clause is integral to the sentence, and ‘which’ is used when the sentence would still make sense without the clause.

The teacher always gave gold stars to stories that showed imagination. (Note: no comma before ‘that’.)

The pupil’s latest story, which the teacher had awarded a gold star, was her favourite. (Note: comma before ‘which’.)

However, there is wiggle room, especially when you’re writing in an informal style and when writing dialogue. The same goes for ‘who’ and ‘whom’. I cringe a little when I hear characters say ‘whom’ in everyday speech.

The basic rule is that you use ‘who’ when you’re referring to the subject of a sentence and ‘whom’ when referring to the object.

Test 1
Who is your teacher?
Whom is your teacher?

The correct answer for Test 1 is ‘who’ because the teacher is the subject of the sentence.

Test 2
Who did the teacher praise?
Whom did the teacher praise?

The correct answer for Test 2 is ‘whom’ because the teacher is doing the praising, so the ‘whom’ is referring to the object in that sentence.

I love the substitution test that many people refer to, which runs: if the answer to the question is ‘he’ then you use ‘who’ and if the answer is ‘him’ then you use ‘whom’. So in Test 1, the answer would be, ‘He is my teacher’ and in Test 2, you’d answer, ‘The teacher praised him.’ A quick way to remember the substitution rule is that ‘him’ and ‘whom’ both end with ‘m’.

If all that has whetted your appetite, and you don’t yet have a copy of a style guide, I suggest The Chicago Manual of Style for US English, and the New Oxford Style Manual for UK English.

I recommend that authors learn the rules of punctuation and grammar and then choose to break them if and when they want or need to. If you have a logical or creative reason then I see no problem in breaking a rule or two. However, I think it’s important you have the confidence and professionalism to assure readers that you’re doing it on purpose and not in error.

Wendy Janes 
# # #

About the Author

Wendy Janes is a freelance proofreader for a number of publishers and many individual authors. She is also a caseworker for The National Autistic Society’s Education Rights Service. Author of the novel, What Jennifer Knows and a collection of short stories, What Tim Knows, and other stories, she loves to take real life and turn it into fiction. She lives in London with her husband and youngest son. You can connect with Wendy online and discover more about her via her Facebook author page, her website, Amazon author pages (UK/US) and Twitter @wendyproof.

Do you have some great writing tips you would like to share?
Please feel free to comment

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

15 August 2017

Book Launch Spotlight ~ The House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown, by Nathen Amin

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The Wars of the Roses were a tumultuous period in English history, with family fighting family over the greatest prize in the kingdom – the throne of England. But what gave the eventual victor of these brutal and complex wars, Henry Tudor, the right to claim the crown? What made his Beaufort mother the great heiress of medieval England, and how exactly did an illegitimate line come to challenge the English monarchy?

While the Houses of York and Lancaster fought brutally for the crown, other noble families of the kingdom also played integral roles in the wars; grand and prestigious names like the Howards, Mowbrays, Nevilles and Percys were intimately involved in the conflict, but none symbolised the volatile nature of the period quite like the House of Beaufort. Their rise, fall, and rise again is the story of England during the fifteenth century, a dramatic century of war, intrigue and scandal both at home and abroad. Many books have been written about individual members of the dynasty, but never has the whole family been explored as one.

This book uncovers the rise of the Beauforts from bastard stock of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, to esteemed companions of their cousin Henry V, celebrated victor of Agincourt, and tracks their chastening fall with the House of Lancaster during the 1460s and 1470s. The hopes and fortunes of the family gradually came to rest upon the shoulders of a teenage widow named Margaret Beaufort and her young son Henry. From Margaret would rise the House of Tudor, the most famous of all England’s royal houses and a dynasty that owed its crown to the blood of its forebears, the House of Beaufort. From bastards to princes, the Beauforts are medieval England’s most captivating family.

# # #
About the Author

Nathen Amin grew up in the heart of Carmarthenshire, West Wales, and has long had an interest in Welsh history, the Wars of the Roses and the early Tudor period. His first book Tudor Wales was released in 2014 and was well-received, followed by a second book called York Pubs in 2016. His third book is a full-length biography of the Beaufort family. He is the founder of the Henry Tudor Society and has featured discussing the Tudors on BBC radio and television, as well as in print and online media across the UK. He has a degree in Business and Journalism and now lives in York, where he works as a Technical Writer. Find him on Twitter @NathenAmin.

11 August 2017

Special Guest Post by Melita Thomas, Author of The King's Pearl: Henry VIII and His Daughter Mary

Available for pre-order from 

Mary Tudor has always been known as ‘Bloody Mary’, the name given to her by later Protestant chroniclers who vilified her for attempting to re-impose Roman Catholicism in England. Although a more nuanced picture of the first queen regnant has since emerged, she is still stereotyped, depicted as a tragic and lonely figure, personally and politically isolated after the annulment of her parents’ marriage and rescued from obscurity only through the good offices of Katherine Parr. Although Henry doted on Mary as a child and called her his ‘pearl of the world’, her determination to side with her mother over the annulment both hurt him as a father and damaged perceptions of him as a monarch commanding unhesitating obedience. However, once Mary had finally been pressured into compliance, Henry reverted to being a loving father and Mary played an important role in court life

Hunting for pearls

I have wanted to write about Mary Tudor since watching the BBC series Elizabeth R as a child. Why Mary caught my imagination, rather than the more popular Elizabeth, I don’t know, but she did. Reading more, I concluded that Mary has been unfairly maligned by historians. Nevertheless, I did not want to write a defence of her that would be just as unbalanced as the religious polemics that created the myth of Bloody Mary. What I needed was a new angle, where I could focus my research, and hopefully challenge both my own beliefs and the stereotype. 

I found my hook in an unexpected place – one of C J Sansom’s fabulous Shardlake novels. In a throwaway line, the hero mentions works being undertaken at Whitehall, for the Lady Mary's apartments. Intrigued, I checked it out. Unsurprisingly, the meticulous Sansom proved correct – Henry commissioned a sumptuous apartment block for Mary at his most important palace, completed in early 1543. 

This was a revelation. I had always accepted the narrative that Mary had had a happy childhood, but that there was a complete breakdown in relations between Mary and Henry after the advent of Anne Boleyn, only ameliorated by Kathrine Parr. But if Henry was ordering beautiful apartments for her, whilst Katherine Parr was still married to her second husband, that suggested a different dynamic between father and daughter. Maybe Mary and Henry’s relationship was more nuanced than is generally thought. 

That question gave me the theme for the book. I could start researching, with a cut-off date of Henry’s death. I began with the National Archive on-line catalogue. There were several hundred entries, giving a brief description of items and their locations: examples being a call to arms from Mary to combat Wyatt’s rebellion in 1554, located at Loseley House, and an inventory of Jane Seymour’s jewels in the National Archive itself. I could discard the former, as out of the date frame, whilst tabling the latter for review. 

Next, I turned to the superb www.british-history.ac.uk which has digitised vast numbers of reference works, so instead of going to the British Library and paging through 39 volumes of the Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII (L & P), and Calendars of State Papers, I could read them at my desk, and bookmark relevant entries.

I drafted the narrative based on the contemporaneous chroniclers, Edward Hall and Charles Wriothesley. Then I worked through the calendared information in L & P.  Whenever Mary was mentioned, I would identify the source to review – or, more usually, because my palaeography skills are slim, and original documents often have access restrictions – a transcript in one of the vast collections of documents that the painstaking Victorian antiquarians faithfully copied from almost unreadable originals. 

Some early accounts of Mary’s birth and childhood are from the letters of Sebastian Giustiniani, the Venetian ambassador and much information from the 1540s is from the letters of the French ambassador, Marillac. Sadly, a trip to European archives was impossible, but both letter books have been published. Able to read Italian and French, I could refer to these original transcripts, rather than relying on translations in L & P. 

I was occasionally frustrated by references to Mary’s activities in an article or academic paper for which I could find no proof. An example is the excellent article by W R B Robinson: Princess Mary’s Itinerary in the Marches of Wales 1525 – 1527: Robinson mentions Mary visiting Coventry in 1526, but cites no source, and I could find nothing supporting the statement. I wrote to the Coventry city archives who pointed me in the direction of the Council minute book, but there was no mention of such a visit. I only wanted to include information that I could verify, so I had to leave it out.

Guided by the National Archive list, I visited archives at Taunton, Worcester and Gloucester. At Gloucester, I consulted the Council record of the ceremonial entry of Mary to the city in 1525 – which I compared with the similar visit of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn ten years later. 

Where possible, I went to places Mary lived. One lesser-known residence is Hartlebury castle, where an extremely helpful curator shared her research on Mary's sojourn there. 

Top tip for my next book is to note the details of the source immediately for references. I spent hours going back over my draft, to confirm the origin of quotes and facts from the bewildering array of sources I had reviewed.  

But it has all been worth it – the highlight was holding a British Library manuscript containing Mary’s translation of a prayer, and an affectionate hand-written note to a friend - a moment of connection through the centuries to a living, breathing woman. 

 Melita Thomas
# # #

About the Author

Melita Thomas is the co-founder and editor of Tudor Times, a repository of information about Britain in the period 1485-1625 www.tudortimes.co.uk. Melita has loved history since being mesmerised by the BBC productions of ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ and ‘Elizabeth R’, when she was a little girl. After that, she read everything she could get her hands on about this most fascinating of dynasties. Captivated by the story of the Lady Mary galloping to Framingham to set up her standard and fight for her rights, Melita began her first book about the queen when she was 9. The manuscript is probably still in the attic! Whilst still pursuing a career in business, Melita took a course on writing biography, which led her and her business partner to the idea for Tudor Times, and gave her the inspiration to begin writing about Mary again. ‘The King’s Pearl: Henry VIII and his daughter Mary’ is her first book. She has several ideas for a second project, and hopes to settle on one and begin writing by the end of the year. In her spare time, Melita enjoys long distance walking. She is attempting to walk around the whole coast of Britain. You can follow her progress here. https://mgctblog.com/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @thetudortimes. 

8 August 2017

Guest Post by David Pryce, Author of 1170: The Legend of Prince Madoc

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

300 Years before Columbus…

Native American tradition tells of a brave group of pale skinned explorers who many generations ago crossed a ‘Great Water’ to get to their lands; these people called themselves ‘Welsh’ and this is their story…

Join Prince Madoc and his intrepid band of followers as they turn their backs on treachery and duplicity and undertake a voyage that will test their togetherness, belief and fighting spirit; taking them beyond the known boundaries of civilization to distant lands far to the west. 

Prince Madoc ap Owain was an illegitimate son of the great Prince of Wales, Owain Gwynedd. Destined like many of his siblings to be consigned to historical anonymity, it seems that Madoc had other ideas.  Instead of obscurity, adventure beckoned and trailing in the footsteps of Norse explorer of yore, Madoc and his followers headed across the Atlantic Ocean, making final landfall at Mobile Bay in modern day Alabama; some three hundred years before Signore Colombo. It is hypothesized that from there they eventually headed up river into the interior of the country (remains of stone forts that some attribute to the Welsh explorers can be found in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee). 

My own Prince Madoc adventure began in more modest circumstances, with an e-mail from my brother-in-law back home in North Wales. Had I heard of a Welsh prince who’d discovered America? I hadn’t, but that soon changed as I voraciously researched. 

Initially my ambitions stretched no further than a factual article or two, perhaps a modest blog, but the more I dug the more I felt that Madoc deserved more. Perhaps I was driven on by the fact that I was also a Welshman who had journeyed across the Atlantic - albeit in considerably more comfort and with distinctly less peril - to call this continent home?

Could I really write a book though? I’d dabbled as a child, but nothing since. I scoured the internet for tips and advice and discovered a whole community out there for budding authors. I started a spreadsheet to track my daily and weekly word totals and every day I lost myself in 12th century Wales. My characters took on life and writing allowed me to disappear from the everyday mundane. 

I decided to pen the tale as a trilogy and several months later the first book was finished. Exciting? Well to be honest, I felt a little flat. I started to have withdrawal symptoms; what was I going to do without my daily fix of Madoc, Cynwrig, Fergal, Ioan and the rest of my protagonists? Then there was the editing…Long story short; after completing books two and three, a chance conversation convinced me to combine and re-edit the three books into one, and 1170 was born…or should that be reborn? 

David Pryce
# # #
About the Author

David Pryce was born and bred in North Wales; after graduating with a Mining Engineering degree he spent the next seven years living and working in Southern Africa. He currently resides in Colorado, but returns to North Wales on a regular basis to visit family and rediscover his intrinsic ‘Welshness’. This also affords him the opportunity to eat some decent fish and chips and sink a pint or three of real beer! You can visit David online at www.wales2america.com and connect with him on twitter @Madog1170

7 August 2017

Book Launch ~ Discovering Tudor London: A Journey Back in Time, by Natalie Grueninger

This engaging and practical travel guide takes you on a journey through the best of Tudor London, to sites built and associated with this fascinating dynasty, and to the museums and galleries that house tantalising treasures from this rich period of history.

Join the author as she explores evocative historical sites, including the magnificent great hall of Eltham Palace, the most substantial surviving remnant of the medieval palace where Henry VIII spent time as a child, and the lesser-known delights of St Helen’s Church, dubbed the ‘Westminster Abbey of the City’ for its impressive collection of Tudor monuments.

A range of photographs, maps and visitor information, together with an informative narrative, bring the most intriguing personalities and stories of the thirty plus sites across Greater London vividly to life. This a must have companion for both those planning their own ‘Tudor pilgrimage’ and for the armchair traveller alike.
# # #

About the Author

Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, who lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006. Natalie has been working in public education since 2006 and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children. In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail (www.onthetudortrail.com), a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching this period..Find Natalie on Facebook and on Twitter @OntheTudorTrail