Read an excerpt HERE.
Click on image to buy CARINA.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Click on image to buy RETALIO.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Click on image to buy INSURRECTIO. INSURRECTIO_sm
Read an excerpt HERE. Click on image to buy PERFIDITAS.

BRAG

Read an excerpt HERE.
Click on image to buy INCEPTIO. Amazon bestseller
BRAG_INCEPTIO

Throwing a sickie

And breathe…!  Or not.

Well, I’ve been having some difficulty doing this over the past fortnight. I flew home from the highly energising Dublin Writers’ Conference with a raging sore throat and feeling like a superannuated wet dishcloth. The tiredness could have been due to the conference (it was fairly intense), but the sore throat was no doubt due to a cold picked up there. But I’d be over it in a couple of days, wouldn’t I?

I had a load of projects in front of me, all neatly scheduled: the next conference talk, editing my Roma Nova short stories for a collection due out later in the summer, my monthly writing column for the local English language magazine, preparing a new box set of the second Roma Nova trilogy, running a couple of joint promotions with colleagues, running my own promotion for INSURRECTIO, preparing to pitch a new series to publishers, writing the June newsletter for my faithful followers, etc.

That all went completely out of the window as I raged with a temperature, overwhelming exhaustion, coughing fits from the depths of Tartarus and sneezing like a plague victim. I lost a kilo and a half in weight in three days. Oh, and did I mention the heatwave of 34C for the whole of the first week?

Now, I’m not looking for sympathy. Really. My overwhelming feeling was one of impotent anger, fuelled by the frustration of only being able to manage to totter to the bathroom and the urge of my body to pull me into sleep the whole time.

Writers have to work hard these days, not just writing: they run small businesses, market, promote, interact with other readers (a true pleasure!) and with other writers, they arrange talks, events, contribute to anthologies, write blogs and short stories as well as office admin and record keeping. We seem to think we have to be superhuman and for the most part we are – juggling and 60 hour weeks a speciality.

 

Then the germs strike…

Now, I can usually keep going on some level in the face of the sniffles, but this virus was a horror, one level down from flu. My favourite sweetie became a Strepsil, my best drink a Lemsip. You’ll realise how grim it was when I report that I went right off chocolate and my daily glass of red wine.

But I learned valuable lessons and ones that all writers can embrace:

  • Germs will always do their thing – resistance is futile
  • Accepting an illness will make you less angry and help you recover faster
  • You can catch up on your reading
  • When you start to recover, you can reschedule your work and at least do some small things which will lift your morale, but don’t rush in too quickly
  • If you relapse, go back to bed and don’t feel guilty
  • Grab any help that’s around

We have to give ourselves a break. If we were employed, we’d phone in sick, especially if we’re contagious. I’ve been able to catch up on 75% of my work by today lunchtime which I don’t think is too bad. I hope by working over the weekend, I’ll get to 95%. As self-employed writers, we have resilience and a strong work ethic, but we are human…

 

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is available now.  Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Fed up with the football world cup? Here's an alternative!

It’s on grass in summer, it can take place indoors, it’s pacey, full of tension, heart-wrenching, breath snatching and an alternative to football… Yes, reading!

And not just reading, but box sets where you get three or more books packaged together. Not only is this convenient, it will also save you money. So let’s escape from the noise and kerfuffle of football and enter the wonderful world of box sets…

The Beatrice Stubbs Box Set – JJ Marsh

For lovers of intelligent crime fiction, this boxset by J J Marsh with three heart-racing European adventures is a must read.

Beatrice Stubbs of Scotland Yard: detective inspector, metaphor mixer and stubborn survivor. Battling crime by day and her own demons by night, the question is always the same: justice or law?

Behind Closed Doors sees Beatrice seconded to Switzerland. Wealthy, powerful men are committing suicide. Or are they? When the same DNA is found at each scene, DI Stubbs suspects someone is dispensing a personal retribution. Beneath the chocolate and charm, Zurich hides many secrets.

In Raw Material, Beatrice is divided. Hunting a sex offender on London Underground while trying to investigate illegal activity on a Welsh beach stretches her to her limits. Her partner and neighbour decide to assist. But amateur detectives and professional criminals make a bad mix.

Tread Softly. Time for a sabbatical. A gourmet trip to the north of Spain is exactly what DI Beatrice Stubbs needs. Until she meets an old acquaintance who lures her into an investigation. Beatrice is up to her neck in missing persons, murder, corruption and Rioja.

Across Oceans – Clare Flynn

Uprooted from their homes and forced to face the challenges and struggles of adapting to a new world.

These three stand-alone full-length novels are from the acclaimed historical fiction author, Clare Flynn. Each novel will transport you across oceans and back in time.

A Greater World takes you to the beautiful Blue Mountains of Australia in the 1920s.

With Kurinji Flowers you travel to the tea plantations of Southern India in the 1930s and 40s – the last years of British colonial rule.

Letters from a Patchwork Quilt carries you to the ugly industrial north of Victorian England and to St Louis, Missouri.

None of the characters go where they have to go by choice, and all face life-changing challenges. Can love make the difference? Will it stand the course?

Second Chapter – Jane Davis

If literary fiction is where you heart is, Second Chapter by award-winning author Jane Davis is a collection of three thought-provoking novels where imaginative ideas are crafted  into beautiful prose.

Says Jane, “Fiction is never going to provide a complete answer, but it does force both writer and reader to walk in another person’s shoes. And, in many ways, it is the exploration and not the answer that is important.”

Like Margaret Atwood, Davis conjures a fresh, new voice and style for every story, be it a man’s rediscovery of his mother through her photographs, the taboo of pupil/teacher relationships outside the classroom or a haunting tale of a young girl and her visions.

In I Stopped Time, there’s an estranged mother.
A Funeral for an Owl considers teenage runaways.
In These Fragile Things mother Elaine is obsessed by the child she lost, almost to the exclusion of the child she has.

A Time and Place –Triskele Box Set

If you are after a selection of genres, but want to read books that still take you somewhere new, the Triskele Box Set is for you. A collection of seven wonderful novels with mystery, literary and historical fiction from Triskele Books is packaged together for your enjoyment.

The box set includes:
Crimson Shore by Gillian Hamer.
Rats by Jane Hicks.
Behind Closed Doors by JJ Marsh
Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat.
Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion by Barbara Scott-Emmett.
The Rise of Zenobia by JD Smith.
Ghost Town by Catriona Troth.

The Bone Angel Trilogy Boxset – Liza Perrat

Liza Perrat writes excellent historical fiction. The Bone Angel Trilogy has three standalone French village stories spanning six hundred years. Three midwife-healer women all linked by the same bone angel talisman. Explore their tragedies and triumphs during the French Revolution (Spirit of Lost Angels), WW2 Nazi-occupied France (Wolfsangel) and the 1348 Black Plague (Blood Rose Angel).

Steeped in French history with vivid, resourceful characters, this trilogy transports us through the past, leaving us feeling that no matter what we are confronted with across time, the human spirit endures.

The Nordic Heart Box Set

A new collection of novels from acclaimed writer Helena Halme – The Nordic Heart Series.

This was love. The stuff she’d read about in books since she was a teenager.

Peter is a British Navy Officer, in love with his career. Kaisa is a Finnish student, engaged to be married to someone else.
They meet under the sparkling chandeliers of the British Embassy in Helsinki.

All the four novels of this bittersweet love story between the Finnish student, Kaisa, and dashing British Navy Officer, Peter, are included in the collection.

  1. The English Heart: Can their love go the distance?
  2. The Faithful Heart: Is there a happy ever after?
  3. The Good Heart: Can they love again?
  4. The True Heart: Can love conquer all?

If you enjoy Nordic fiction, or like books by Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty, you’ll love this stylish romance series spanning ten years and three countries: Finland, Scotland and England.

And of course…

The Roma Nova Box Set

21st century Roma Nova – powered by the Roman mindset, ruled by women.

Praetorian Carina Mitela is courageous, fallible and sassy. She hefts a gladius or assault rifle as required. But can she defeat treachery, conspiracy and a dark nemesis and still keep an enduring love burning?

“My ancestors fought to hold this land sixteen hundred years ago. I’m not letting some throwback destroy it.”

Nearly a thousand pages of action adventure and alternative history thrills in three books with over 150 five star reviews on Amazon between them.

I hope these recommendations help you escape the World Cup. Leave those football fans to their ball games and dive into the wonderful and satisfying world of box set fiction instead! 

Find us on Twitter: #bethere #bereading

(Graphic courtesy of Helena Halme http://www.helenahalme.com)

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIAINSURRECTIO and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is available now. Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter

2018 Dublin Writers' Conference

Back in Dublin! From arriving at the airport, riding into the city from the airport and stepping down from the bus in O’Connell Street, there was something rather familiar.

Once again, I’d been invited by Laurence O’Bryan who heads up the Books Go Social group to speak at this very friendly festival. Although I’m waving CARINA, my latest book, around, and did mention Roma Nova (thank you Catherine pullman for the prompt), my main subject was outline a skills audit for newer authors.

People have more skills than they think and they’re often transferable from their day job or a previous job. (More here: Do you have transferable skills for the business of being an author?)

You can see the full programme here, but some stand-out messages of the weekend were:

  • have a terrific, genre specific cover
  • have your manuscript professionally edited
  • embrace marketing and hone business skills
  • put yourself in the place of your reader and engage with them
  • research your book world thoroughly
  • research the publishing options open to you

With David Gaughran and Susanne O’Leary

But the joy of any conference is the people. Attendees and speakers came from Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, the US, Norway  to my knowledge. I met up with longstanding friends, (Eliza Green, Wendy (H) Jones, Susanne O’Leary, Catherine Kullman, Pam Lecky), admired and chatted to indie icons like David Gaughran, and made many new friends like Alan Gibson and his colleague JoAnn from the US).

With fellow Alliance of Independent Authors member Eliza Green

Laurence O’Bryan looking serious

 

Of course, the convivial atmosphere was enhanced by many chats in the bar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sincere thank you to Laurence and his team, especially Tanja and Elisabeth,  for all their hand work before and during the conference. They were pleasant, practical and patient the whole weekend.

 

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIAINSURRECTIO and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is available now. Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter

Being boringly inclusive 

Lionel Shriver is opinionated. She got into a lot of trouble in some quarters for criticising the  idolisation of diversity’. Mary Beard is similarly opinionated (but has an endearing smile); however, she tries to be balanced. Owen Jones is opinionated – just listen to any debate he takes part in. Diane Abbott raises hackles with her strong words.

Being opinionated is human. People of all classes, education, wealth and ages spout happily. I do myself on occasion. And in response we can all throw something at the radio, chuck the newspaper into the bin or click off a website. But blanket blasting on social media without forethought is like verbal diarrhoea which can have very unfortunate consequences: spreading untruths/’alternative facts’, damaging reputations unnecessarily and causing deep, scarring personal hurt.

People should be able to say what they think or feel, but the reader (or audience) has a responsibility as a human to respond in a sensible and thoughtful way however crazy or unpalatable they consider the original opinion. Equally, we should shrug off the tyranny of always appearing to be perceived as being politically contact or on message. 

Lionel Shriver is not my personal cup of tea, but she is expressing a view held by many people: the categorisation of identity and how difficult it is, whether by race, colour, gender or background. She didn’t even touch on age and religion. Her theme was was that in an effort to reflect current ethnic make-up of the population, especially in publishing, too many labels and sub-categories were being used for people not white, male and middle class. The corollary was that all white-skinned people irrespective of their origin were lumped together as one group. 

Dissecting the ins and outs of that argument is not my objective. I’m just rather sad that I’ve seen the nuances of what she said and her freedom to say it have been shouted down without analysis and thought. But I’ve experienced that over Brexit. As a remainer, I’ve tried to present facts and reasons in the face of wobbly, ill-informed ranting but they are met with the classic brick wall of the closed mind. A great pity.

Me, I don’t care what ethnicity, age or gender an author, publisher or agent is, or anybody else for that matter. It’s irrelevant. I am an unrepentant meritocrat. And I reserve my right to read what interests me and to talk about any subject I like, the latter obviously within the bounds of civility. Oh, and I speak as a white, middle-class, straight 60+ woman of Saxon, Flemish, Brigantes, Irish and Welsh descent with a dash of wrong-side-of-the-blanket aristocrat, educated to masters’ level and living in Europe. 

Oh, was I a bit opinionated?

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIAINSURRECTIO and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is available now. Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter

GDPR and my blogs - keeping a level head

You’ve probably been getting a load of ‘We’re changing our privacy setting/terms of service‘ type emails recently as today, 25 May 2018, is the deadline for the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force. Some organisations ask you to re-subscribe, some ask for confirmation, some advise you of the new regulations and their updated privacy policies. There’s a fair amount of confusion out there, but I conclude that what you have to do as somebody who holds data on other people depends on how you collected the email addresses in the first place.

Now, I approve of these new regulations. I’ve had a privacy policy on my business websites since I started my translation business in 1994. For too long, and especially in today’s universal digital universe, our data have been thrown around willy-nilly, monetised and merchandised by any website we’ve signed up to. Of course, it’s on us to be careful about what we post on social media and what we sign up to, but tightening up regulation was needed.

But it affects the little people like me as well as giants like Facebook, hence this post.

Anybody joining the Roma Nova newsletter/email list (http://eepurl.com/ckNeFL) or subscribing to my two blogsites (https://alison-morton.com and https://alisonmortonauthor.com) has always been asked to confirm by email that they really, really want to subscribe – the ‘double opt-in’ which now has a link to my privacy policy. An ‘Unsubscribe’ link is at the bottom of each blogpost notification email.

If you want to continue following the blogs, you don’t need to do anything, but I want to draw your attention to my revised privacy policy which outlines how I collect your name and email address, how I store it and how I use it.

I know it only applies to subscribers in the EU, but it’s really good business practice to be transparent with your clients, readers, colleagues and anybody you have a business or professional relationship with.

Right, that’s out the way. Let’s get back to Roma Nova!

If you have any questions, email me at hello@alison-morton.com

The Roma Nova thriller series

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIOAURELIAINSURRECTIO and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, is available now. Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter