Well, I decided to updated the cover for The Hopfield Tales, as I felt it needed a more arresting image, as well as the title on the front.
Anyway, I found some great stuff on StockFreeImages.com, particularly images with runes. After a bit of deliberation, I decided that an image called Rune of Childhood by an artist called Dimarion would be the one for the book. As well as being an intriguing and striking image, I also liked the association with childhood, which The Hopfield Tales are partly about. Also, the book is aimed at young people, which is another association.
Furthermore, the rune also ties in with the Viking subject matter and plot of the second tale, Campaign of the Gods.
Anyway, I hope you like it.
To celebrate, the book is half price on Amazon - Friday 22nd November to Monday 25th.
Today we are graced with the presence of author MaryAnn Kempher, who writes romantic fiction. As I am writing this, MaryAnn is off plotting something with Princess Ruby. I think they are planning to get rid of me, or something. I certainly hope not!
She also seems to be on first name terms with 'Him' (the Transylvanian one) which also leads me to suspect that things might be afoot.
Anyway, MaryAnn is courteous and charming, and Ruby is insisting that we all download her book for free over the next few days. What a lovely idea.
FREE Kindle Download - Tuesday 11 June to Saturday 15 June
We are extremely pleased you have journeyed to us in the Karkonose. Can you tell us something about the place where you usually dwell and your background?
Hello, I currently live near Tampa Florida, USA. I’ve travelled to a lot of different places, the only place I can say I really regret not being able to visit (yet) is London.
Are you enjoying your visit to the Citadel?
Oh absolutely. I love it here.
Tell us what is happening to you at the moment as a writer.
At the moment, I’m writing my second book.
ML: Hmm...I wonder what it is about?
Do you have anything exciting lined up for the future?
Well, my first book MOCHA, MOONLIGHT, AND MURDER, which is Romantic Suspense was released on 14 April. I’m super excited because....
Tuesday 11 June through Saturday 15 June, my book will be FREE for all Kindle users.
We employ lots of gnomes here at the citadel. They are quite rambunctious and troublesome at times, and often refuse to work. Do you have any tips on looking after them?
Well, I’ve heard that if you feed them biscuits and tea or coffee that tends to calm them down. But, be careful when you hand them their biscuits, they get very excited and might nip you.
ML: The nipping is just about tolerable. It is the cheese rampages I worry about. Cheese and biscuits rampages would be off the scale!
I have a long running feud with Vlad Dracula, who lives over in Transylvania. He thinks I stole his wife and will not let it lie. Do you any recommendations on how I should deal with the grumpy old curmudgeon?
Oh, I’ve heard all about your feud. You just don’t understand Vlad like I do. He’s really a softie, but he has a terrible ulcer. His wife used to rub his belly, now she’s gone and he blames you. Just arrange for a monthly massage, and he’ll soon forgive you.
My wife Ruby says I spend too much time in the local village and not enough time counting turnips for her. How can I keep her happy?
I’ve met Ruby and she always wants what she doesn’t have. This is just another case of her thinking she wants something she really doesn’t. If you give up your trips to the village for a little while, she’ll soon get tired of your constant company and be pushing you out the door.
I failed in my last attempt to unleash chaos on the world.Can you think ofa way I should employ my powers to redeem myself and make the world a better place?
Hmm, that’s a hard one, I’ll have to give that some thought and get back to you.
How can people find you on this Internet thing-a-me-jig? Do you have a web address or other ways that lovely book fans can read more about you?
Oh gosh, I’m everywhere. If you’d like to download my book for free (11-15 June) go here:
I am sitting on the terrace overlooking the Chasm of Despair with romance author, Helena Fairfax, who has been telling about her brand new novel - The Silk Romance. If thoughts of the chasm are enough to make one feel like leaping over the parapet, I can assure you that Helena is wonderful company and my thoughts are very pleasant ones indeed. I am also very pleased that Helena brought her dog along to the Citadel, too. It is rare thing that we have such fine animals here on the mountain. Helena tells me that she is a 'rescue dog', in that Helena rescued her from previous maltreatment and given her a loving and caring home. However, what we were not expecting was for her to save my butler, Stanislav, from the clutches of a giant spider. The poor man had wandered into one of the old rooms in the East Wing and fallen foul to the ravenous arachnid. We heard his desperate screams and, fearing the worst, rushed over to help him. I had thought him a goner, for sure, as we entered the chamber - but Helena's dog fearlessly pounced on the foul creature and sent it scurrying up to the rafters, hissing and spitting. She is definitely a 'rescue' dog - that is for sure! Anyway, Helena is about to go for a walk in the Jizera Mountains. Here is the interview we did earlier:
are extremely pleased you have journeyed to us in the Karkonose, Helena. Can you tell
us something about the place where you usually dwell and your background?
It’s lovely to be here, o Mountain
Lord!Thanks for inviting me.It’s fabulous to be drinking tea up here in
the citadel.Great view!My home is in the Victorian town of Saltaire,
right next to the Yorkshire moors.
Are you enjoying your visit to the
It’s been brilliant.It’s a bit out of the way, but luckily I’m
used to walking, since I’m out tramping the moors every day with my dog, rain
or snow – which it generally does.Oh,
and I brought my dog with me today.I
hope you don’t mind?She can be quite
aggressive, because she’s a rescue dog and has had a bad time previously.In fact, she doesn’t particularly like
gnomes.I’m wondering if it was a gnome
who caused her a trauma in her previous life.Anyway, if you could warn your gnomes to keep their distance.I wouldn’t like any of them to be set on.
ML: I am wondering if I could clone her as a 'gnome dog'. Legend has it that these magnificent animals existed long ago, but vanished during the Lumpl Epoch.
Tell us what is happening to you at
the moment as a writer.
My very first novel, The Silk Romance,
was published on May 24th by MuseItUp Publishing, and is now
available in e-format.It’s been a
really exciting time for me, and
I’ve had a great response to my book.It’s a sweet romance between a Frenchman and a young English girl, set
in the silk-weaving district of Lyon.It’s an uplifting story, and if you like happy endings, you’ll enjoy
ML: It looks wonderful. Princess Ruby has talked about nothing else all week!
Do you have anything exciting lined up
for the future?
I have a second novel out in September –
The Antique Love – and I’m supposed to be working on my third as we speak, but
the lure of tea and biscuits in the citadel has proved too great to resist!
employ lots of gnomes here at the citadel. They are quite rambunctious and
troublesome at times, and often refuse to work. Do you have any tips on looking
I’ll just let my dog off the lead…
ML: The little creatures are squealing already. What an effect! The giant spider population seems to be getting smaller, too.
have a long running feud with Vlad Dracula, who lives over in Transylvania. He
thinks I stole his wife and will not let it lie. Do you any recommendations on
how I should deal with the grumpy old curmudgeon?
For advice, I would turn to the pages of
my novel, The Silk Romance, and ask myself “What would Jean-Luc do?”Jean-Luc is the hero of my story.I think the answer is, he would keep a
dignified silence.If approached by
Vlad, he would wither him with the lift of a Gallic eyebrow, before giving an
indifferent shrug of his broad shoulders.
ML: This Jean-Luc chap. Is he available for seminars?
wife Ruby says I spend too much time in the local village and not enough time
counting turnips for her. How can I keep her happy?
There are two approaches.Approach one:
You: “I’ve counted the turnips, and there are
42.I’m just off down to the village.”
Ruby:“There’s never 42!There’s at
least a couple of hundred.Go and count
Ten minutes later.You: “I’ve counted again, and there’s
86.Just off down to the village.”
Ruby:“You what?86?Can’t you count?”
You:“Actually, no, I’m no good at counting.You’d better do it yourself.I’m
just off down to the village.”
This may work. I have often found incompetence to be a great
asset.If not, try approach two:
You:“Forget turnips.Turnips are passé.I’ve just finished
The Silk Romance, and it’s all about salade d’epinards and tartes aux
pralines.We need to branch out with a
little French cuisine.”
ML: You have made me lose count, Helena. Gah!
can people find you on this Internet thing-a-me-jig? Do you have a web address
or other ways that lovely book fans can read more about you?
Silk Romance is available from MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Kobo and other
Thanks for having me on your blog,
Mountain Lord.Sorry about the havoc
wreaked by my dog.I have insurance, if
your gnomes want to claim.Throwing her
some of Ruby’s meat and turnip pasty was a brainwave.Her jaws have been welded shut for hours.
ML: Is that Mme Petruszka's recipe? Those pasty things originally date from the dark ages. We used to hurl them from the battlements at invading barbarians, some of who were even foolish enough to try eating them.
Anyway, you are most welcome, Helena. We hope you visit again.
P.S. I am not sure the giant spiders would be keen to see your lovely dog again, but they will just have to get over it.
The Silk Romance
Jean-Luc Olivier is a courageous racing driver with the
world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is
unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend
together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairy tale—a
Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her
dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in
London. One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She
runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.
Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed
in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she
reckons without Jean-Luc. He is determined to find out why she left him,
and intrigued to discover the real Sophie. He engineers a student
placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in
France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.
Thrown together for a
few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to
grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s
happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes
at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world
with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she
made her mother.
We have just got back from a rather interesting few days. It is the last time I am going anywhere by sea, I can tell you! We were bound for a gnome keepers' convention in Russia when our ship was boarded and taken by pirates.
Poor Findl is still recovering from the ordeal, and I fear he may never be the same again.
Capt. Flint'sparrot has a whiff of Lady Fury's 96% proof rum
Follow the link to read about the fascinating encounter:
The Citadel is just SO busy with interesting and charming guests right now. Alan S. Blood is no exception. Okay, I will admit that when I first saw his name, I thought he had been brazenly sent by Dracula to come and stir dissent among my minions, however nothing could be further from the truth.
Alan has entranced us all with entertaining tales and stories, and has even helped unlock some of the mysteries of 'English 'Morris Dancing'. He gave us an expert demonstration in the village tavern, and blew the local clog dancers off the stage with his fancy footwork. The only downside was his knocking the wild boar's head off the wall with his Morris Stick and his chatting up of the mayor's wife (the less said about this the better).
Alan is about to tell us another story, so I had best be off...
We are extremely
pleased you have journeyed to us in the Karkonose. Can you tell us
something about the place where you usually dwell and your
live and work in a rambling (1873) Victorian house in Mid-Wales. My
office window, next to my desk, gives me a spectacular view of the
foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, unless they are obscured by
cloud – which is sometimes the case ! Depending upon the
variable, seasonal weather – it is a constantly changing scene and
a most stimulating, wonderful place to write.
ML: This is probably why you are appreciating the view from the Citadel. You are clearly a man who enjoys the majesty of nature.
you enjoying your visit to the Citadel?
Citadel relates well to my own writing whereby some of my books
feature the supernatural/paranormal genre and, as such, also border
upon the realms of fantasy.
ML: You do have something of an affinity with the gnomes. Just make sure you avoid anything Grundl gives you in a bottle.
us what is happening to you at the moment as a writer.
interview question on my recent 'Blog Tour' was : “Have you ever
written anything that you think might never see the light of day ?”
about this, I remembered my novel “Jackson's Lane', that I wrote
about ten years ago, which I had almost forgotten about. It is a
complex psychological crime thriller that switches back and forth
between a school and a psychiatric hospital and centres upon a
teacher who suffers from the onset of schizophrenia with tragic,
violent results as the situation deteriorates.
became aware of this and will be publishing the book in the near
Do you have
anything exciting lined up for the future?
am writing a major Historical novel, entitled 'Rogue And Royal', set
Century Britain based upon one of the greatest events in English
history which has never been fictionalised. However, I
am keeping the details ‘under wrap’ for the time being! (It will eventually be published by GMTA).
ML: Hmm? You have piqued my interest. We shall eagerly wait to see what it is about.
We employ lots of
gnomes here at the citadel. They are quite rambunctious and
troublesome at times, and often refuse to work. Do you have any tips
on looking after them?
them compulsory, difficult maths 'gnomework' task, each evening, to
be handed in the next day!
I have a long
running feud with Vlad Dracula, who lives over in Transylvania. He
thinks I stole his wife and will not let it lie. Do you any
recommendations on how I should deal with the grumpy old curmudgeon?
him to watch the 'X Factor' and/or 'Strictly Come Dancing' and deny
him the use of 'anti-boredom pills' !
ML: You are not the first person who has suggested using Simon Cowell as a method of subduing him. There is surely some truth in it!
My wife Ruby says
I spend too much time in the local village and not enough time
counting turnips for her. How can I keep her happy?
a court Order to force her to take part in 'The Great British Bake
ML: Interesting?I wonder what the British bake nowadays. I once tried a pie with four and twenty blackbirds in it. It was quite revolting!
I failed in my
last attempt to unleash chaos on the world. Can you think of a way
I should employ my powers to redeem myself and make the world a
all politicians to wash up filthy dishes and clean disgusting loos
for the rest of their miserable lives.
How can people
find you on this Internet thing-a-me-jig? Do you have a web address
or other ways that lovely book fans can read more about you?
qualifying from Reading University and enjoying a distinguished
Teaching career, Alan S. Blood worked in Advertising and the Civil
Service. He writes novels, plays and poetry and has widely travelled
the world, especially undertaking research in Chile where some of his
novel 'Cry Of The Machi' A Suffolk Murder Mystery' is set. His
previous novel was 'Once Upon A Castle'.
was a Cotswold Morris Dancer with two different, 'sides'. Alan is a
keen wildlife photographer, in the Welsh countryside, and lives in a
rambling (1873) Victorian house. He also enjoys painting and
Toby had said that there would be castles to explore, with ghosts and
things. This helps to cheer up the glum twelve-year old Lovell twins,
Tom and Mary, leaving their schools and loving parents to be
evacuated to wild Northumbria during World War II. Then the adventure
begins. They live with their Aunt Victoria and Uncle Leslie, meet the
loveable ‘Mrs. M’, a strange dog called ‘Scamp’ and, worst,
the terrible private tutor, Miss Urquart, from whom they run away to
find a mysterious castle seen through an old telescope. Now they are
drawn into bizarre supernatural events of a time-warp between the war
itself and ancient warfare. They encounter dark forces, as the story
twists and turns, and are even rescued by the Royal Navy. Yet, this
is only the beginning of more unexpected tragedies before the twins
begin to escape from it all.
published in the UK (1997) ’ONCE UPON A CASTLE’ was republished
(2012) in the USA by GMTA PUBLISHING
available, worldwide on AMAZON & online retailers.
all English villages, the quiet and charming Thorpe Amberley in the
heart of the Suffolk countryside has its secrets, its mysteries and
its legends. It also has its traditions, such as the Tamberley Morris
Men, a dysfunctional band of ‘blow-ins’, mainly professionals,
who rehearse every Thursday and drink in the local pub.
much has served to disturb the tranquillity of Thorpe Amberley for
centuries. Until now. A stunningly beautiful American woman comes
to the village to teach at a nearby school, and her arrival coincides
with the resurrection of deadly seeds of jealousy, evil and murder.
the village is rocked by a series of gruesome and apparently
ritualistic killings, it soon becomes clear that the local police are
up against dark forces which they are wholly unequipped to deal with.
Unlikely help comes from the shamanistic connection with a Patagonian
‘Machi’ through the Morris Men’s ‘Squire’ and the
unexpected assistance of an ex-NYPD policeman.
hunt for not one, but two serial killers, is on, and Thorpe Amberley
will never be the same again.
from bookshops and online retailers
Thank you for coming, Alan. You are most welcome to come and entertain us again.