Saturday, 24 January 2015

Come along to the 42nd "42" Worcester!

42 image
On the 28th of January 2015, we celebrate the 42nd occurence of the genre fiction event 42 Worcester, and I'll be performing! 42 is one of the best spoken word events in the world, and is the longest continuously running spoken word event in Worcestershire, encompassing performance, poetry and prose. It's focused on genre pieces, encompassing Gothic, science fiction, fantasy, and beyond. It was the first event I performed at, and I am proud to say that it is the spoken word venue that I truly consider home.

It's been an interesting journey through the years since it started in March 2011, and has changed hands a few times, beginning with shining lights Glenn and Angela James, who started it all, then with the wonderful John Taylor, and is currently being helmed by the talented Andrew Owens and Polly Robinson. We have also changed location a few times, starting in the cellar of the Worcester Arts Centre, then to a local cafe (with a unfortunately memorable noisy fridge!), then to the friendly Lunar Bar in New Street, before finally outgrowing the venue and going downstairs to the much larger welcoming Drummonds in New Street.

All the way through, quality has been consistently high (apart from the puppets, which was... interesting...). It's probably one of the best nights out in Worcester, and I'll be performing there! I sincerely hope to see you all there on 28th, when doors open at 7pm, starting at 7:30pm, at Drummonds, New Street, Worcester!

More info on Facebook here.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Exploring the Anglo-Saxons

This year, I'll be focusing a lot with my writing on Anglo-Saxon history.

Why? Let me explain.

It's a period that greatly interests me, ever since learning about it at school. Well, (sigh), I say I learned about it at school. If anything, I learned of it at school, and then learned about it in my own time. It was quite curious in a way, as we had done the Romans the year before in quite some depth. When it came to the Anglo-Saxons, the teacher spoke to us of the Dark Ages, the period between the departure of the Romans and 1066, and the times were apparently “dark” for the reason that we didn't know a lot about them. To be honest, all I took away from classes before 1066 was that the Angles, Jutes and Saxons came over because the Romans had left, and a bit about crop rotation. I do not mean to say that crop rotation was unimportant, but there was no mention of Alfred the Great or Aethelstan, or any other major historical events or persons. They focused on a three-field system, instead all the possibilities such as the legend of Alfred burning the cakes, or investigating whether King Canute really sat on the beach, and told the waves "stay out of reach". It was clear the teacher had dumbed down the period to teach a group of 12-year-olds who clearly were not going to need university-level lectures, but it would have been nice to have been given a bit more detail.

And there's the thing about bias with history. We learned a little bit about 1066 in class, thanks to the Bayeux Tapestry. Perhaps our teacher was trying to instil in us a Norman bias for the period. History is all open to interpretation, depending on which source you use, and every source either consciously or unconsciously can often harbour a particular bias, angle or perspective. They say history is written by the victors, and it is often through a Norman lens that we view the period, looking back. Our main source in the class for the events of 1066 was what the Bayeux Tapestry, a Norman source, told us.

King Harold's coronation, 1066
What did we learn? In a nutshell: in 1066 the pious Edward the Confessor died, Harold became King, William invaded from Normandy to claim his crown which he had been promised, and Harold died with an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings. William was rightly crowned on Christmas Day, 1066. And after that we moved on, to find out all about motte and bailey castles, and how great the Normans were in bringing order to England, and they could build a castle in a day. Thanks to the guidance of our teacher in high school, I was left with the impression that Harold was an opportunist usurper who grabbed the English crown that justly belonged to William.

It was about this time that I obtained for myself a copy of  “1066: Year of the Conquest” by David Howarth. It changed my view about things. It told the same events, but from an Anglo-Saxon perspective. It presented things that disagreed with our teacher's seemingly infallible knowledgeof history. I told my teacher that I was reading it, but I was discouraged from reading it, as it would be “too hard” for me to read. Looking back, I suspect the real reason I was discouraged was that I might find out more about the period than the teacher (who was far more interested in the Tudors to be honest). I read it anyway and I highly recommend it even today. I lost that copy years ago, but recently obtained a replacement. Seriously, if you only ever read one book about the events of 1066, make it that one. The book told the events fairly, in my opinion, and made it quite clear when the original sources had a bias one way or the other.

Around this time, during a summer holiday, I visited Hastings and Battle itself. The local newspaper office just down the street from the flat where we stayed had a special 1066 edition evidently aimed at tourists (my copy sadly also now lost), which was a reprint of an edition they had originally printed in 1966. It was curious to wander around the ruined abbey; it was a bright summer's day, green fields and trees nearby, and it was quite solemn and calming to stand at the spot where it was believed Harold had fallen (although this location too has been up for debate recently).

We also studied at this time, completely separately, a modern rendering of “Beowulf” for English class. We were told this was an old English legend. We were not told that the original text was in Anglo-Saxon/Old English. How I would have loved to have learned about the word “Hwæt!” and all the subsequent text. The original Beowulf text is invaluable to Anglo-Saxon linguists, as it contains 10% of all extant Anglo-Saxon text.

So began my love for the Anglo-Saxon period. After being told in school that we didn't know much about it, and being discouraged from finding out more, I naturally sought to do the opposite. Guess what? It turns out that lots can be found out.

That was then. Moving forward more than twenty years, I've just renewed my membership for another year with Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions), an academic society I joined last year, dedicated to exploring the history, culture and language of the Anglo-Saxon period. I greatly enjoy their quarterly magazine “Wiþowinde”, and I plan to submit an article for the magazine this year.

I am also happy to announce that I have begun work (after a year of planning) on a series of historical novels set in the period leading up to the events of 1066. After being given such a pro-Norman start on the topic, I am decidedly approaching these from an Anglo-Saxon perspective.

Keep watching this space for more information as my books develop.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Free Kindle ebook giveaway today!

Rise from the Fire
Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Yuletide/whatever you celebrate!

As a festive gift from me to you, my second poetry collection, Rise from the Fire, is free today and tomorrow (25-26 Dcember 2014) on Amazon Kindle!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Happy Hallowe'en! COMPETITION TIME. WIN SIGNED COPIES OF MY BOOKS!

Today has been a great day. My book Rise from the Fire launched today, 31 October 2014, in Kindle  format, and Sathan Graymalkin the Witch's Cat has also proved popular in print format. Many thanks to those who bought Rise from the Fire pre-release.

As a special gift for you, the reader, to say thank you for your support, Enigma in the Darkness is free today and tomorrow on Amazon Kindle! Be sure to click here to get yourself a copy.

And so to the competition. The witching hour is almost upon us. Would you like to win for free the collection of all three of my books in paperback, signed?

Yes? You would?

Let me remind you of the titles:


All will be signed, and shipped to wherever the winner may be (apart from North Korea; I don't think the government there would allow my books or any books from the West).

How do you qualify to win this amazing prize?

Simple: head on over to my Facebook page, by clicking here.

Like the page, and like and/or comment on the specific thread here.

Competition closes at 23:59 GMT on 5 November. One lucky person will have their name drawn at random, and will be contacted via Facebook to receive the prize. In the event the winner does not respond within 5 days of the close of the competition, another winner will be selected. The competition is not endorsed or run by Facebook in any way.

ADDENDUM: 6 NOVEMBER 2014

Winners have now been announced here!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

COVER REVEAL: "Sathan Graymalkin the Witch's Cat: Poems for Hallowe'en"

"Sathan Graymalkin
the Witch's Cat:
Poems for Hallowe'en"
by Damon Lord
Cover artist: SelfPubBookCovers.com/CherylCCR
This week my two new books will be launched at 42 Worcester on Wednesday. My new seasonal poetry collection "Sathan Graymalkin the Witch's Cat: Poems for Hallowe'en" is now already available from Amazon in Kindle format, and if you come along to 42 Worcester, you can buy a signed paperback copy! 42 Worcester held at Drummonds, New Street, Worcester on Wednesday, 7:30pm start.

Buy it online here.

Please be sure to keep checking back to this site to get the latest information on book releases, and to find out how to take part in a special Hallowe'en competition to win signed paperback copies!

COVER REVEAL: "Rise from the Fire"

"Rise from the Fire"
by Damon Lord
Cover artist: SelfPubBookCovers.com/Howard

This week my two new books will be launched at 42 Worcester on Wednesday. My new poetry collection "Rise from the Fire" is available to pre-order from Amazon in Kindle format, with a release date of 31 October, and if you come along to 42 Worcester, for one night only you can buy a paperback copy in advance, before it's even released on Kindle!

42 Worcester held at Drummonds, New Street, Worcester on Wednesday, 7:30pm start.

Buy it online here.

What about the other book? Come back here, at 6:16pm UTC, to find out more.....