Tag Archives: historical

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature & Book Fayre – Meet the author – Nicola Beechsquirrel


I first met Nicola at my first book fayre in Llandeilo in 2015 when she arrived at my table and proceeded to unload my first three paperbacks from her rucksack for me to sign. Since then, she saw Tribal Unity Wales dancing at the Lampeter Food Festival and is now a valued and much loved member of the dance tribe. She’s beautiful on the inside and out, and I’m blessed to call her friend. Here’s what happened when I interviewed her….

Hi Nicola! Let’s start with a general one. How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write non-fiction based on family history material, which can involve a lot of research. I don’t usually work to a plan – just have a loose idea of what needs to be done and get on with it. If one line of investigation dries up, I take up another.

I love research! I wanted to be a BBC researcher. Anyway, do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

My writing ritual is unimaginative and basic – switch on the computer, sit down and contemplate my documents to see what needs doing. Tea and biscuits are usually involved somewhere during the process!

Nothing unimaginative about tea and biscuits, in my opinion. Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Ah, that would be telling! I like to keep a certain air of mystery!

Ha ha! I knew you were going to make this tricky! Okay, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My desert island items would probably be a well-stocked sewing kit, some pens and paper, my comfy bed, a bag of clothes, and a guitar so I can practise chords. This is probably cheating though as the overall total of items is a lot more than 5!

Good choices though. On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I would find it hard to take just 5 books – there are so many that I want to read! Anything by Carole Matthews would be good to relax with. I would also take Charmian Hussey’s “The Valley Of Secrets” for the sake of its marvellous descriptions of landscapes and plants, and if I can also take the three volumes of Helen Dunmore’s “Ingo” series which I’ve not yet read, that would be a good mix.

They all sound wonderful. I shall check them out. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

If I’m allowed to travel back a little way in time, I’d like to have dinner with Marija Gimbutas, the archaeologist who wrote all those marvellous inspiring books about Stone Age Goddess cultures in Europe.

That would be fascinating, wouldn’t it? On to your current writing projects, what are you working on?

I am currently researching the historical background to my grandmother’s writings concerning a holiday she took in Burma in the early 1900s. It’s a fascinating task!

Other published work…

My list of published work is growing steadily! Currently it consists of:

“Memoirs of  a Twentieth Century Homesteader” by my grandfather, Lawrence Nowell, for which I compiled a historical background and various accompanying notes; “Grannie’s Own Picture Book” and “Granny’s Own ABC”; both written and drawn by my grandmother, Ivy Hindley; “Tales For Grandchildren”, by my mother, Olive Cole; and “The Old Woman Who Spun Clouds”, a childrens’ story by myself. And most recently, hot off the press, “Tongas, Doongas and Lilac Blossom”, an account by Ivy Hindley of her trip to Kashmir in 1913.

Thanks so much, Nicola, for taking the time to share with us, and thank you for reading this post. You can find Nicola on Facebook if you’re interested in purchasing a book, or come along to the Literature & Book Fayre, part of Lazzmatazz on 2nd June in Llandovery. See you on Sunday!


Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Lazarus Carpenter


I met Laz last year at the Llandysul book fair. It was a magical fair in a beautiful setting, and I spent a good chunk of it chilling out with him. He’s far more than an author. He is the creator of Lazzmatazz, but I’ll let him tell you about himself. Welcome, Laz…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I have an idea and it will develop as a picture in my mind. I am a very intuitive writer and tend to narrate my stories as a character and as such am a real part of it (in my mind anyway). Planning is based around, knowing where I may start and indeed end, but the middle has to evolve within my character’s journey. As an example I wanted to write a story about Crach Ffinnant who was a prophet, seer and interestingly a dwarf, riding with Glyndwr. Little is known about him yet much is known about Glyndwr, so some research and a little creative imagination and he became alive after six hundred years. I wanted him to have been an apprentice and serve a prophecy related to Glyndwr. So I created his life. In the Prophecy I created scenes of the Middle Ages and loosely made it fit historical facts and Crach began his magical journey. I do not have any particular time of writing nor pattern, simply I will binge and finish three chapters at a sitting then perhaps nothing for a week or so and so on. The follow up to the Prophecy, Rise of the Dragon took six months to complete from beginning to proofing. Thanks to winning first prize in a writing competition in February 2018, I now have a formal publisher, published two books in my series and contracted for further volumes. I can sit on a rock, look at the sunset and instantly story-tell, it just flows and that is how I write. When I am in the zone, little thinking but a tremendous amount of story flow!

Cool, do you have any writing rituals? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I can write anywhere but I do like my desk with the window to my side and the amazing views of the valley. I tend to use my laptop for everything nowadays but always have a pencil and paper around to jot ideas as I work. A few cups of coffee is helpful but time of day is not important. My only ritual is recognizing my ‘mood to write’

So, aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I am also a musician and singer/songwriter and have been playing for forty years. I have done a bit of acting which I really enjoy and also some performance poetry. I have been qualified as a hypnotherapist for thirty years and occasionally do comedy hypnosis shows. I adore dogs.

You’re a great story teller too, if I may say so. Different questions now, iIf you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

I would want 1. paper 2. pencils 3. Knife 4. Pillow 5. Fishing Rod

I love that authors need pencils and paper! On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

‘Course in Miracles’ because it has always filled me with inspiration and is a source of grand inner thought when quiet.

‘Survival Manual’ because I am going to need it.

‘Christmas Carol’ (Dickens) will remind me of my childhood and father reading it year after year. It would help with any sense of loneliness but, I am quite content with my own company.

‘War and Peace’ because I have never read it and will have plenty of time on a desert Island.

‘Conversations with God’ (Donald Walsh) because if there is a God, then I will have plenty of time to converse and find out why I ended up on the desert island to begin with. As long as I was not responsible for sinking the ship of course!

Fascinating choices, thanks for those. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

This for me is a no brainer, because it has to be Peter Dinklage. We would be discussing his forthcoming role as Crach Ffinnant, now he has finished Game of Thrones. I did not have him in mind at all as I was inventing the character but he would be just the ticket if ever my series hits the screen. It is a dream, but then so was getting a publisher on merit of my work, not my pocket. But I did after over thirty rejections on the manuscript, so anything is possible, even dinner with Peter Dinklage.

Absolutely! Why shouldn’t we see our book as a movie? So what are your current writing projects?

I am half way through writing book three in the Crach Ffinnant series, ‘Ravens and Dragons’. There are plans for further books related to his adventures during the Welsh rebellion of the 1400’s.

Excellent, thanks so much for joining me, Laz. I’ll add below the places where folk can find you and your work.



Crach Ffinnant – The Prophecy  – Words Matter Publishing 2018

Crach Ffinnant – Rise of the Dragon – Words Matter Publishing 2019

Ballad of Penygraig – Self published with LULU 2015


Don’t forget, if you’re in Wales, you can find Lazarus and myself at Lazzmatazz 2019 in Llandovery.


Why I enjoy historical fiction


I don’t read historical fiction all the time, but when I pick up a book that not only chronicles a specific time in history, but brings me closer to the people, I can’t put it down. I’ve just finished The Wolf’s Banner by Paula Lofting, sequel to Son’s of the Wolf, set ten years before the Norman Conquest when the British Isles were in a state of chaos, as earls and thegns battled to keep hold of their piece of England…

‘I enjoy reading historical fiction for the same reason I enjoy watching Time Team, not just to immerse myself in the historical era, but to get close to the people and Ms Lofting describes her characters and their relationships with skill and an artful touch. Details of clothing and daily tasks help paint a picture of life from 1056AD in Horstede.

Where the first book in the series, Sons of the Wolf, is mainly about Wulfhere, a real thegn from the Doomsday book, The Wolf’s Banner begins and ends with Wulfhere and his family, but chronicles the trials, victories and setbacks of Burghred, son of Afgar, who goes against his father in support of his king. He wishes to uphold his grandfather’s name, rather than gain back his Mercian kingdom at the expense of the English throne.

There’s battles and blood feuds, family disputes and coming of age trials, set against the political maelstrom, ten years before the Norman Conquest. Even though these are violent times, the author doesn’t shirk from describing the outright fear and seeming futility of hacking your opponents to death in a shield wall as they breathe their last breath in your face, before another victim treads over his kinsman to receive the same brutal punishment.

I loved reading of Wulfhere’s children growing up, and the inevitability of the destruction of his relationship with his wife, Ealdgytha made me sad. Burghred’s ambitions and clever use of tactics to end a siege and the coming of age of Winflaed were two highlights of the book for me, and I felt for both of them, living their lives as pawns at a time of chaos and political uproar.

Three tumultuous years take their toll on Wulfhere, but he lives to fight another battle, and there’s hope at end of the book, that he will be restored.’


If you’d like to read historical fiction by Paula Lofting, check out her Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paula-Lofting/e/B007IWFIIM/ref


Blog Swap Interview with Christoph Fischer


Today, I’m swapping blogs with the fabulous author Christoph Fischer. We ‘met’ on Facebook a few years back on Wanda Hartzenberg’s group and we’ve supported each other ever since.  Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. His historical fiction reflects his family background and I loved these particular books. Educated in Hamburg, he now lives in the UK with his partner and three labradoodles.


1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write impulsively. I start with an idea and a vague plan of where the book is meant to go but the stories and characters change and the outcome is usually different from my original idea. Additionally, I go back over the first draft many times and change some more.
For example, my latest book, The Healer, started as a character study and ended up as thriller.
2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I need to walk the dogs first, or else they won’t let me write. I prefer to write at night or early mornings, when the world is quiet and peaceful. I drink a lot of water and camomile tea and prefer total silence.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

1. I used to be scared of dogs, now I have three large Labradoodles.
2. I worked as a DJ in Brighton [cheesy pop ;-)].
3. The only thing I hate about writing is that I don’t get to spend enough time outdoors any more.
4. I would love to be a vegan, but it is a very unsocial thing to be.
5. I once made a burger for Samuel L. Jackson

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

Ipod, Kindle, Running Shoes, Pen & Paper
5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, Satan Hates Me by Robert Irwin, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Maybe not many people know my first choice: Vanessa Feltz. I know she can be difficult but she is highly intelligent and witty and I imagine dinner with her to be quite an experience. (For your American followers: Vanessa is a talk show host and radio presenter.)
To pick a more known celebrity: Hilary Clinton would be the other choice. Or Sarah Palin, for a laugh.

7 Your current writing projects?

“In Search of a Revolution” is in the final stages of proof reading. It is a historical novel about two friends set in Scandinavia between 1918 and 1950. I hope to release it around Easter.

I just completed the first draft for another thriller which was entitled “The Gambler”. Now there is a movie with Mark Wahlberg (also a potential dinner guest) with the same title and so I need to find a new title. I also want to release this new project as part of a charity Box Set with a few other authors. The Set will have an art theme, so I need to re-work the book anyway to make that angle more prominent. My basic story is about a man who rises from rags to riches overnight and needs to come to terms with his wealth and all that comes with it.
I’m also writing the sequel to my mental health drama “Conditions”.
8 Other published work and links….feel free to add as many as you like.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8
On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/OtmyZh4Dmc/?autoplay=1
B&N http://ow.ly/Btvas

Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TNTSeb

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/95jvSpHf5a/
B&N http://ow.ly/Btvbw

The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)
The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen. Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.
Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TBEI

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/mB2JZUuBaI/
Time To Let Go:
Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/BtKtQ
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/BtKs7
When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw
The Healer

healer cover for kindle

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHealerNovelbyChristophFischer?ref=hl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23662030-the-healer
Book-likes: http://booklikes.com/the-healer-christoph-fischer/book,12975746
Rifflebooks: https://read.rifflebooks.com/books/388235

You can link up with Christoph Fischer here:
Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/
Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer
Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl
All Facebook links:

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting one of my favourite Indie authors.