LIVE BAIT – Opening Lines

All that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD (Deut 18:12)  Southwark, March, 1379 ‘Do you remember when you jumped into the river in Paris?’ Ferchard asked, suddenly. ‘In the middle of winter. Daft wench.’ ‘Daft? If I hadn’t, the poor girl would have drowned.’ ‘I didn’t mean you, not this time. The…

The Metaphysics of Tarot

Originally posted on Jack of Wands Tarot:
What do you have to believe in order to read Tarot? Well, technically, nothing. Tarot is a practice, not a dogma, and you can learn the interpretive skill without any prerequisite beliefs. But at the same time, the ways in which many readers use Tarot do entail certain…

SUNNGIFU

​ A short story set in the world of Merlin, King Arthur and the Kights of the Round Table. One of the knights, Sir Julian Hautboys, has mislaid his wife. He asks Merlin to locate her. 2,900 words

LIVE BAIT

Mariana de la Mar,  Book 2 Mariana continues her bawdy and frequently catastrophic career as a solver of mysteries, this time in England, where, having been recruited to a network of secret agents specialising in the occult, she takes on two of the Undead which infested the country, especially Essex, not only in the early…

La Fortuna

The frontispiece to the Kindle edition of Of Witches, Whores & Alchemists. I see it as depicting Mariana on the Wheel of Fortune. From teenage sex-slave she rises up to become again her father’s daughter, the Lady Marian MacElpin, but then the Wheel turns once more and through no fault of her own, in Live Bait she…

A POULTICE FOR A HEALER (Book Review)

Spain, 1354-5 They waited until the last man climbed into the last boat and rowed halfway back to the ships. ‘Now,’ said the older boy. ‘As soon as that boat gets far enough away that they can’t see us – ‘When’s that?’ asked the younger‘When you can’t see them. When they’re just a black mark…

Inhuman? No, all too human.

This is what Mariana would have faced if she had actually been acused of witchcraft after she read “the heads and tails and dead man’s hands” for Princess Isabel in Live Bait. One of the reasons I like writing stories set in the Past is that these days, at least in the liberal, politically correct West,…

CHAUCER by Richard West (Book Review)

This biography of Chaucer is as much a portrait of the period as of the man. Perhaps more so, but I will come back to that. In the first three chapters we have a brief background history, always illustrated by quotations from the Canterbury Tales. By the end of the third chapter, we know who…

Una Mora

Manuel García Hispaleto – Una Mora Speaking Arabic, and having been brought up largely by her Moorish grandmother Sebah, Mariana can and frequently does pass as a Moor (una Mora) herself. See especially in the prequel, The Rose of Sharon, where she is sold as a slave in Granada and lives in two very different…

Little Clacton Parish Church

The ancient church of St James in the village of Little Clacton, which features in my novel Live Bait. It has changed hardly at all since Mariana’s time.