Historical Novel Society Conference #HNS2014

The last academic year has flown past. The research has progressed with the translations and transcriptions almost completed. My intention over the next two years is to share my progress on this blog as part of my research process. This should be easier now I am on the analysis stage. Previously any posts about my work would probably have said ‘still transcribing’.

But as part of my research this summer I attended the Historical Novel Society’s 2014 conference held in London at the University of Westminster’s Marylebone Campus. My room was on the nineteenth floor with amazing views over London. It made me wish that I had brought my camera but with plans for the conference and a few days in the British Library I had decided to travel light. So the only picture I have is one taken with the iPad and here it is –

View over London


The conference was extremely interesting and of course very useful. It is first and foremost a conference for historical fiction writers at all levels of their career. Lindsay Davis was one of the authors I was particularly eager to meet and her ‘in conversation’ section of the programme was excellent and all based on a good dose of common sense.

Lindsay’s books were required reading on my undergraduate Medieval History degree at Queen Mary College London to remind students that history deals with the lives of real human beings not an abstract concept of ‘medievals’ as strange or other. The same of course applies to other periods of history.

The conference was filled with workshops on aspects of writing specific to the historical novel and took seriously the problems associated with merging fiction with perceived fact. There were also opportunities to pitch ideas to editors and can immediate feedback. I was led to believe it was a nerve-wracking process for those waiting for their turn in the pitch-sessions.

There were plenty of tea and cakes over which to share ideas and plans for that next book and provided me with a number if contacts for participation in my research. The next conference is in the States with more to interest the reader than London managed. I just wish I could be there but I am looking forward to the next London one in 2016.


The Refinery – #55WordChallenge

Below is my entry for Lisa McCourt Hollar’s 55 Word Challenge Week 42. Check out all the stories here.

This is based on a picture of an oil refinery – these is more that intend to do with piece so check back later to see what I add.

Take a photograph, and the oil refinery is captured revealing thousands of lights shimmering and sparkling under a darkening blue sky.

A picture to fire the imagination with images of steampunk inventiveness, and charm.

But photographs lie.

Those living under the refinery’s shadow witness the truth as the monster belches flame and devours the stars.

55 words

The city – FridayFictioneers

This is my 100 word story based a the photograph provided by Lora Mitchell for the Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Red, blue, pink and white; colour burst against the night sky. All along the river explosion thundered after explosion as a cacophony of noise and light chased away the darkness, and the regrets of failed hopes and dreams.

Over the fireworks and laughter the bells rang in the New Year, and for a moment the city stood balanced; caught between one year and the next. Past, present and future met, and for a minute silence fell before the crowd roared out their blessings for the year to come.

For that moment alone the city stood united and celebrated its survival.



The Raven Cries Three Times – #55wordchallenge entry

Below is my entry for Lisa McCourt Hollar’s 55 Word Challenge Week 40. You can find Lisa @jezri1

This particular entry forms part of a larger work in progress. So here goes:

The raven cried, and a door between the worlds opened.

His second cry pierced the battle-slain corpses, and their warrior souls rose up; a rolling wave of mist weaving through the leafless branches, straining for the raven’s warmth and life.

He cried again, summoning a storm that swept them through.

The door slammed shut.


Ashes to ashes – for 55 word challenge

This is my entry for Lisa McCourt Hollar’s 55 Word Challenge Week 39.  You can find Lisa @jezri1

For centuries he drifted, poised between sleeping and waking.  The blast of the last shuttle take-off finally shattered his dreams.

Roaring, he ripped through the earth and once more a great dragon bathed the world in fire.

Firemen stood helpless as buildings collapsed beneath the dancing flames.

The world ended.  Swept clean.  Ashes to ashes…

55 words.    ©EHillson