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Smorgasbord Invitation to an end of Summer House Party – Saturday 26th to Monday 28th August

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

In a few weeks we shall be coming to the end of the summer holidays and I thought that as I am also approaching my fourth blogging anniversary, it was time to have a party.

I have already begun to prepare my guest list with those wonderful writers who have supported me throughout those four years. They will be appearing automatically with their details and links over the three days.

However, as with any good party there is also an opportunity to mingle and share contact details with others to promote your blog, books and social media connections.

There will be some music, personal recollections of my special guests and something to eat and drink…virtually of course.

This is a celebration of a community that never fails to warm my heart with its kindness and generosity of spirit. I hope that you will be a part of it..

I will…

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The Beaufort Woman

51edeut2dml-_uy250_Title of Book: The Beaufort Woman: Book Two of The Beaufort Chronicles

By: Judith Arnopp

Genre: Historical Fiction


Book Excerpt:

March 1461 – Margaret’s husband, Henry Stafford prepares to ride out to fight for the King.

“You cannot go, Harry. You are too sick.”

“I have to go. There is no …”

He sways on his feet, closes his eyes and grips the bedpost.

“There, you see. Just as I said. Now, lie back down and let me tend you. A sick man will only be a hindrance to the cause, not a help.”

As easily as if he were a child, I push him down and try to tug the blankets to his chin. He pushes my hand away. His face is as white as the linen he lies upon, but he hauls himself up again.

“Bring me something to stop the dizziness.”

“No, I won’t; and the king wouldn’t ask me to.”

By all accounts, the king is too far gone in madness to care one way or the other who rides with him into battle. It is the queen we heed now.
Despite London and most of England having turned against her in support of the Yorkist king, she refuses to surrender her cause. It is for her son, of course, and if I were in her position, I would do the same. But by all accounts, many of my fellow Lancastrian supporters are wary of young Edward of Lancaster. They whisper of cruelty and the mistreatment and bullying of his servants. He is also accused of hiding behind his mother’s skirts, manipulating her love for him.

After the battle at St Albans, when his father the king was discovered in the company of two Yorkist knights, Margaret let Edward decide how the men, who had done no more than follow York’s orders, should die. The boy could have chosen to show them mercy, yet instead, he chose beheading. I suppose battle hardens the best of us, and in his short life, Edward of Lancaster has known nothing but war. Yet I would hope that in similar circumstances, my own son would show mercy.

Now, refusing to give up the fight, the queen is summoning supporters for yet another battle. Everyone is sick of war. Our men are depleted and sickening, our women have been tested to the utmost. We live on a knife’s edge, afraid that each day will bring new disasters. More than anything, England needs peace. Sometimes, I think, for the sake of peace, perhaps it might be better if York wore the crown. But I do not speak that thought aloud; it is a brief and fleeting thing.

I close my eyes, send up an earnest prayer to atone for even contemplating such treason, and turn back to my husband, who is trying to struggle out of his nightshirt.

“No, no, no! Harry, you are sick. Let me at least fetch you a remedy to bring down the fever. Perhaps you will be fit to ride out by morning.”

“It will be too late by then.”

“Then you will have to ride harder and faster to make up for it. You will not set one foot from this house until you are fit enough to do so.”

His capitulation illustrates just how ill he really feels. He crawls back into bed.

“Very well, Margaret. I am beaten. Do your worst.”

I spin on my heel and hurry to the still-room to prepare a posset. Sending my serving girl away, I take down an old book of recipes, drawing the candle closer so that I can read the close-written text. I run my index finger down the page, carefully noting the correct ingredient. It will not do to give him too much.

With great care, I pour an infusion of cherry bark and coriander to treat his recurrent fevers, but after some hesitation and soul searching, I add three drops of poppy juice. I stare for a long moment at the innocuous looking cup before hastily crossing myself and hurrying back with it to his chamber.
He tips it back, drains the cup and hands it to me. I kiss his brow.
He slides down the bed, turns onto his side and hauls the covers over his shoulder.

“See they make my horse ready. I will leave at dawn. Tell them to … wake me …”

Harry will not wake at dawn. If my calculations are correct, he will not wake until the battle is done and the fate of York and Lancaster decided.

“Harry, NO!” I break out of the daydream. He pauses, the cup half way to his mouth. I snatch it away.

“I am sorry. I made a mistake. I will mix you another.”

“Margaret.” He struggles from the bed, his voice halting me in my tracks. I pause and wait for him to confront me at the hearth. He narrows his eyes, twitches his head, silently questioning.

“What do you mean … a mistake? You never make mistakes. I have seen you myself, double checking, making sure before you even dose the dogs for worms. What are you up to?”

“Nothing.” I make to move away, but his hand snakes out and pinions me. He takes the cup, waves it beneath his nose.

“What is in it?”

I swallow, turn my face away.

“Cherry bark, coriander, and something to sweeten it.”

“What else? Have you tried to poison me?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. As if I would ever dream of doing such a thing.”

I am facing him now, hating the suspicion, the disappointment in his eye.

“What then? Tell me.”

He forces me back to the bed, grabs my wrists and makes me sit.

In my mind, I invent a hundred reasons for wanting to prevent him leaving. To me, each one is a viable excuse but I know he will hate me for it. I have spoiled our perfect marriage, possibly forever. A sob is bottled up in my chest; suddenly it releases, an ugly noise marking an ugly deed.

The mattress dips as he sits beside me. Gentle now, he picks up my hand.

“What was in it?”

I sniff and wipe a tear away. “A little poppy juice to make you sleep.”

The hammer of his condemnation hovers just above my head. His voice when it comes is thick with suppressed anger.

“So I would be spared the battle? You think I am not man enough?”

Shame floods me. I let my head fall backward and look upon the smoke-blackened timbers of the roof. They are stark and threatening, hanging over us like a curse.

“No, don’t be silly. You are ill, Harry. My instinct was to protect you.”

“At whatever cost?”

“At whatever cost.”

A long silence. Only the rapid sound of my breath, the rasp of Harry’s congested chest. I feel I am waiting on God’s judgement. I probably am. At last, Harry emits a long breath.

“You are headstrong and … and … devious, Margaret. I feel I hardly know you, as if I have lived these last years with a stranger. How could you do that to me? Have you no care for the king, for the country?”

I sit ramrod straight, enveloped in shame, my hands clenched in my lap. I know my expression is mulish. I know I have done a terrible thing. I wish I could say I am sorry, but I am not. I am only sorry I lacked the courage to carry it through. I will never make him understand.

How can I describe the terror of my last weeks with Edmund, my fear of reliving them? His face blurs beneath my tears. He gets up and strides about the room. I have never seen him lose his temper before. He has always been calm and mild – mistakenly, I also thought him meek … and manageable. Perhaps he is right and we have never really known each other.

“Well? Explain yourself. Why did you do it?”

“You were sick, Harry. I was afraid …”

“Afraid I would die? What of all the men, our friends, our allies, who also risk their lives for our king? Did you think of them?”

I shake my head, remorse and misery washing over me.

“I am sorry, Harry. I thought only of you … of myself. I cannot bear the thought of losing you. I didn’t think, until the last moment. Can you not forgive an action I did not carry through?”

“What hour is it?”

“It must be a little after three.”

“Call for my horse to be made ready.”

“Yes, Harry.”

Miserably, I get up and cross the room to do my husband’s bidding. This battle will be a test. If Harry comes safely home and Lancaster has the victory, I will know God forgives me, but if we lose, I will know that I am by Heaven condemned.

Author Bio:

When Judith Arnopp began to write professionally there was no question as to which genre to choose. A lifelong history enthusiast and avid reader, Judith holds an honours degree in English and Creative writing, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Wales, Lampeter. Judith writes both fiction and non-fiction, working full-time from her home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales where she crafts novels based in the Medieval and Tudor period. Her main focus is on the perspective of historical women from all roles of life, prostitutes to queens.
Her novels include: The Beaufort Bride, The Beaufort Woman (Book One and Two of The Beaufort Chronicles); A Song of Sixpence; Intractable Heart; The Kiss of the Concubine; The Winchester Goose; The Song of Heledd; The Forest Dwellers, and Peaceweaver. She is currently working on Book Three of The Beaufort Chronicles: The King’s Mother.
Her non-fiction articles feature in various historical anthologies and magazines.

Author Contact Links:


Where to purchase the book:
or signed copies available from the author

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Romance is in the Air

Throughout the month of February, I am featuring romance books here on Cindy’s Notebook.

If you have a romance book you would like me to feature, please visit the feature calendar page and fill out the form.  No Charge!  This is my way of paying it forward for

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Black Lilac Kitty names For King and Country Book of the Year!

Charlene Newcomb

2016-book-awardI am thrilled that Cindy Harris has named For King and Country as her very first Book of the Year. Woo-hoo!!

Cindy has been talking about books, writing books, and working with books for years. (Or maybe her work deals more with manuscripts since she works in a university archives.)

Book bloggers like Cindy help spread the word through their reviews, Facebook posts, tweets, and author promotions. I can’t thank her enough for singling out For King and Country with this award. I am honored!

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of Battle Scars, 12th century historical fiction filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Newsletter. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first…

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Writing Medieval Lincoln – Lincoln Castle

Reblogging from Charlene Newcomb’s site. Beautiful scenery!

Charlene Newcomb

A_view_of_the_observatory_tower_of_Lincoln_Castle The Observatory Tower

I wish I lived closer to Lincoln or could have the Enterprise transporter take me the 4000+ miles in a few seconds. While I am wishing for the transporter, I might as well add a time machine to the mix. Where is the TARDIS when you need it?


I didn’t have a chance to visit Lincoln until after I published Book II of Battle Scars. Lincoln’s 12th century history is background for my novel, but only two scenes from the 579 page book actually take place there.

Photos on image sites are great for seeing what a place looks like, but as I mentioned in previous posts on Lincoln Cathedral and  Nottingham Castle, those pictures only capture a snapshot of a place in a specific time. If I hadn’t dug deeper, I might have assumed the Castle’s Observatory Tower existed in the 1190s, but it wasn’t added until the 19th century…

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November 17, 2016 · 9:46 am

Election Day in the USA

images-1Today is Election Day here in the United States.

I encourage everyone to get out and vote.

I am tired of all the mud slinging (trying to make the opponent look bad by saying negative things about them), lies, corruption, etc.  Will it be over after a President is declared?  Probably not.




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Traveling Interstate 70 – Abilene, KS

When traveling across Kansas on Interstate 70, get off the Interstate and tour Eisenhower’s home town, Abilene, KS.  There is lots to see!


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Get Off Interstate 70 – Oz Museum, Wamego, Kansas

When traveling Interstate 70 across the state of Kansas in the United States, get off the interstate to see the Oz Museum at Wamego, Kansas.

The wind began to switch: (Photo copyright: Joe H. Harris, 2016)


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Frank Caldwell Hershberger Papers available for researchers

smith-studios_major-veterinary-corps_national-army_hershberger_1918Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, is pleased to announce that the Frank Caldwell Hershberger papers have been processed and are now available to researchers. The collection would be especially relevant to those who are interested in equine medicine, the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, and global food security matters.

 Frank Caldwell Hershberger Papers [2015-16.044]

 The papers were assembled by Colonel Frank Caldwell Hershberger (1888-1965) over a long international career as a veterinary medicine specialist. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs and postcards gathered into three scrapbooks dating from 1908-circa 1955.  Additional loose photographs date from circa 1905. Augmenting the visual materials are articles, diplomatic papers, typescripts, some correspondence and a diary related to Hershberger’s work for the Chinese government (1914-1918).

 Frank Caldwell Hershberger was born in Veedersburg, Indiana on 20 May 1888. An accomplished horseback rider from an early age, he spent time at George D. Rainsford’s Diamond Ranch near Chugwater, Wyoming. He received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Kansas City Veterinary College in 1913. Shortly thereafter, the Chinese government hired Hershberger as a veterinary surgeon specializing in horses and cattle. He traveled to Manchuria and Siberia to investigate an anthrax outbreak. He remained in the employ of the Chinese government until 1918.

 His enlistment in the Veterinary Corps during World War I led to a long career with the United States Army. He underwent cavalry training at Camp Marfa, Texas in 1919-20. He graduated from Medical Field Service School in 1923, from Army Veterinary School in 1924. From 1930-31 he attended Fort Riley’s Cavalry School, where he completed the Troop Officers’ Course. Sent to the Philippines, he inspected abattoirs for Fort Mills in Corregidor.

 A European trip in 1936-37 took Hershberger through Marseille, Berlin and Amsterdam. He gathered postcards and mementos from hotels, clubs and other sites. An assignment with the Veterinary Corps at Fort Hamilton, New York quickly led to a reappointment by the Order of the Secretary of War in February 1938. Hershberger was given the task of inspecting food shipments through the New York Port of Embarkation in Brooklyn. When the United States entered World War II, the port handled inspections for food shipments to troops overseas. Hershberger established and operated a school to provide intensive training to newly commissioned Veterinary Corps officers.

 Upon his death, Dr. Hershberger donated the bulk of his estate to Kansas State University. His relationship with the school began when his alma mater closed in 1918 and transferred its graduate records to Kansas State Agricultural College’s Division of Veterinary Medicine.

Smith Studios, Gallatin, Missouri. Frank Caldwell Hershberger, Major, Veterinary Corps, U.S. National Army. 1918.
Courtesy Frank Caldwell Hershberger Papers, Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, K-State Libraries.

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Merit Press

Merrit Press Books was founded to publish intensely readable, highly suspenseful novels with protagonists who usually are young adults over the age of fourteen. These stories will happen in the real world, featuring young female (and sometimes male) heroes rising to meet the challenges of a complex contemporary time and place.

We do accept direct submissions as well as submissions from literary agents.

We don’t accept submissions in hard copy.

Send full or partial manuscripts 65,000 to 100,000 words and queries to



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