Friday, 23 September 2016

Triskele Literary Festival Highlights

Our first Triskele Lit Fest TLF16 took place last Saturday, 17th September at Lift in Islington. A great success! A free-entry festival, it attracted readers, writers, bookclubs and booksellers: all those who love the adventure of reading.

Triskele Books' Gillian Hamer and Jane Dixon-Smith on the till

JJ Marsh and the Triskele books

We offered a whole afternoon of exciting author panels focusing on Crime and Thrillers, Sci Fi and Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, and Literary Fiction, where trade, indie and small press shared the same platform.

Historical Fiction Panel
Crime and Thrillers Panel
Romance Panel
Sci Fi and Fantasy Panel
Preserving the Unicorn Literary Fiction Panel

Alongside the panels, in the pop-up bookshop, 40 authors showcased a diverse range of books where attendees mingled and chatted with authors, and discovered new books.

Over 40 authors participated in the festival, so we asked them the best thing about TLF16. 
Here are some of their answers…

A.E. Rycart: Meeting other authors. The event was very friendly.

Jon Stenhugg: Chance to speak to other authors.

Lynda Young Spiro: Meet interesting, lovely and helpful people.

Katharine D’Souza: Lovely atmosphere, good to meet people.

Elizabeth Woodcraft: Meeting other authors. Discussing their experiences as indie authors, being able to Tweet, Blog and Facebook about the event.

Helene Halme: Interesting talks; networking.

Anoushka Beazley: The opportunity and idea of it.

Kevin Booth: Networking with other authors; seeing what they are doing; innovation…

 And of course, a Triskele Books' event wouldn’t be the same without an après-fest party…
Gin cupcakes
 If you’d like to hear more about the Lit Fest and Triskele Books, listen to Triskele co-founder, member, JJ Marsh live on BBC radio at 22.51 minutes here.

Also at the festival,we asked the authors to recommend one book, and next Friday we’ll be posting some of their answers … watch this space!

Photos courtesy of Julie Lewis.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A Fleshy Tale

In the rural French village in which I live, late August-September is pêche de vigne (bush peach) season. Traditionally, this flavourful fruit with flesh the color of blood was grown next to the vineyards. Easy to grow, they were susceptible to many of the same diseases as the local vines, but the signs of disease were quicker to develop and more obvious on peach trees than on the vines. Hence vine growers would plant peach trees next to their vineyards to warn them of potential problems.


But even with its questionable history as martyr for the cause that dates back to the 17th century, the humble bush peach can certainly hold its head high as a separate identity.

Jams (one hour cooking time), stewed fruit (40 mins cooking time and don’t peel the fruit, I was warned!), chaussons (slippers or turnovers), pies, nectar, ice-cream, sorbet, wine even, the mouth-watering list goes on…

Vive la pêche de vigne!

Monday, 15 August 2016

#Mont Blanc –– the Cursed Mountain?

Mont Blanc or the “White Mountain", at 4,808.73 m (15,777 ft) above sea level, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe after the Caucasus peaks.

“The Cursed Mountain” or “La Montagne Maudite” legend says that during Roman times, Mont Blanc was far greener than today, with cattle grazing on the hillsides.

However, ice devils invaded the hillsides, gradually gaining more and more land.

Perched on the summit was an enchanted kingdom where the queen of the fairies, the “White Goddess” lived amidst foliage and flowers. This highly-respected White Goddess had the power to decide upon the fate of all people, so it was named “The Cursed Mountain’.

Pic of La Montagne Maudite in the background (me rather than the White Goddess!)...

In Blood Rose Angel, the third standalone novel in my French historical trilogy: The Bone Angel series, set during the Black Plague of 1348, Mont Blanc is still known as La Montagne Maudite.

The book is currently available at the special promotional price of only 99c/p at the following retailers:



Barnes & Noble


Extract from Blood Rose Angel…

The baker was still calling out to anyone there to listen: housewives, chickens and geese, the clouds in the sky, the hills. His happy cries pealed out over the market-place, echoing across field and valley, and to the east a rainbow haloed the Montagne Maudite. Raoul imagined how Héloïse must feel at such heavenly moments: seeing how the birth of a healthy babe brought out the best in everyone. Even in the worst of times.

The baker came striding towards Raoul, holding his new son under an arm like one of his loaves, his grin still wide and silly.

‘A miracle, Raoul Stonemason,’ he said, thumping him on the shoulder. Raoul smiled, but took a step backwards. Sibylle’s husband might be recovered from the pestilence but he was still wary.

The baker carefully laid the baby down on the drawing floor and grabbed Raoul’s hand. He flipped it palm-up and began pouring coins into it from his leather scrip. ‘However can I pay you enough?’ he said. ‘Truly a miracle.’

Raoul kept trying to pull his hand away, but the baker’s grip was, surprisingly, stronger than his own.

‘Stop!’ Raoul said. ‘Why are you paying me? It wasn’t Héloïse who midwifed your Sibylle.’

‘But your young Morgane did just as good a job,’ the baker said. ‘Since that yard-brained Captain

locked up your wife, your girl came instead. And a fine––’

‘Morgane birthed your son?’ Raoul said. ‘But she’s only into her eighth summer. How could she …?’

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

How to Make #socialmedia #book teaser images

Teaser images can be one of the best marketing tools at an author’s disposal. Studies show that Facebook posts and tweets containing images result in at least 87% engagement. Compared to about 4% engagement for posts that are all text, and taking into account how simple the concept, you might wonder why more authors aren’t using them.

A common reason – “I don’t know how to make them." Read the rest of this article on how to make social media book teaser images, by Courtney J. Hall, on Words with Jam here.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Huge congratulations to the six shortlisted entries of our ‪#‎Big5‬ Competition: Su Lynch, Linda McLaughlin, Diane Stadhams, Gill Thompson, Janet Wright and Sophie Wellstood. Well done ladies!
Full details on the Triskele Blog.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Happy #Bastille Day! #FrenchRevolution #Bookpromo Celebration

Today, 14th July, France celebrates the storming of the Bastille on 14th July, 1789, an important event in Paris during the revolution that had begun two days beforehand. Celebrations are held all over the country, and it is a public holiday.

Last night, the rural village, at the foot of the Monts du Lyonnais, in which I live, put on an impressive fireworks display. We enjoyed it, but the poor cats were growling and hid under the bed!

For my own celebration, I'm running a limited time promotion of 99c/p on my novel, Spirit of Lost Angels, part of which takes place during the French Revolution.

 Extract from Spirit of Lost Angels...

Empowered by the strength of our numbers, I felt my anguish fade for a brief moment, as we marched into the overcast morning of July 14th.
By six o’clock, our seething arms-hungry crowd had reached Les Invalides, and I was relieved when the French Guards peacefully seized the guns, pikes and sabres, and several pieces of cannon from the arsenal within the old veterans’ hospital. Nobody was hurt.
‘There is no ammunition!’ Aurore shouted, along with several others.
A la Bastille!’ people began chanting. ‘A la Bastille!’
Aurore’s eyes gleamed with that potent combination of resentment, patriotism and the desire for change, as the excited mob propelled us down the rue Saint-Antoine.
‘We want the Bastille!’
While their shouts fuelled and thrilled me, they sent bolts of terror through me too, as I moved with the crowd, like some carousel abandoned to centrifugal force, towards the old fortress.
‘Surrender the prison!’ the people shouted, gathering before the Bastille as early daggers of sunlight sheared the dirty brown underbellies of clouds.
‘Remove the cannons!’
‘Release the gunpowder!’
‘Get the Governor to withdraw the cannons!’
Two men chosen to represent the mob entered the fortress to negotiate.
By mid-afternoon, when nothing had happened and people were pawing the ground like restless horses, the crowd hacked down the drawbridge chains and streamed, unimpeded, into the undefended outer courtyard.


I heard shouts from the roof. The panic rose in my chest.
‘They’re going to fire on us, quick run!’ I grabbed Aurore and tried to push our way back through the crowd, away from the prison, but we were trapped, unable to move any which way.
The garrison began firing. I shut my eyes and held my breath.
I expected, any second, the hot burn of a bullet would throw me to the ground. Flambeaux blazed, fanning the shrieks of terror and pain as more and more bloodied bodies crumpled around us. Clouds of gunpowder smoke burned my eyes, almost blinding me. I clutched Aurore’s dress, whimpering like a child as we crouched and cowered in what were the most terrifying moments of my life.
As much as I had yearned for things to change––for an improvement to the commoners’ lot––never had I wished for that change to wash in on such vast rivers of human blood.
It was over quickly. Our brave French Guards massacred the garrison and the Governor of the Bastille, de Launay surrendered, his face an ivory-pale mask of terror. The crowd tore and spat at de Launay in his grey frock-coat, clubbing and kicking him to the ground.
Faint with horror, my mouth dropped open as a man stepped forward and drove his bayonet into de Launay’s stomach. He withdrew the bayonet and the Governor staggered upright, only to stumble onto the point of another weapon. 

Someone hammered at the back of his head with a lump of wood, another dragged him into the gutter. I glanced around wildly, helpless to stop the grisly attack. I grabbed Aurore’s arm again as a third man fired shots into the Governor’s smashed body, and when he finally stopped twitching, a wild-looking man flicked open his knife, strained the corpse’s head back, and began hacking at his throat. I turned from the gruesome scene, clutching my heaving belly.
I tried again to find a way through the crowd; away from the sickening butchery. It was impossible, and besides, I was certain Aurore would never agree to flee. Her eyes shining, she seemed bewitched, energised, by the bloodthirsty recklessness.
‘The Bastille, symbol of our intolerable regime, has fallen!’ the people shouted, parading the Governor’s head around on a pike.
Our revolution had received its baptism in blood, and I felt too shocked to cry; too stunned to feel anything. I did not even know what I should feel––joy, triumph, sadness? Perhaps a mixture of all of those.

If you would like a copy of Spirit of Lost Angels at this discount price, it is available at the following retailers:

e-Book at all Amazon stores, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Calling all #readers to our #Litfest2016!


adventures in reading

Building on our experience of running two Indie Author Fairs, Triskele Books imagined our ideal Lit Fest. One word sums it up:


Author panels to draw in readers eager to explore the world of books
Indie authors and trade-published authors on an equal footing on the same platform
BAME authors invited to talk about their books, not about diversity
Authors paid a decent fee for their appearance 
True to the founding principles of Triskele Books and Words with Jam, we knew it was up to us to make it happen.
So this year, alongside the trademark pop-up bookshop of our Indie Author Fairs, we will be staging a series of author panels, each focused on a genre popular with readers. The panels will bring together authors to discuss why they work in their chosen genre - what they love about it, what its challenges are, and their own favourite authors. 
Our Preserving the Unicorn panel will explore how editors and authors work together when the text, at first sight, defies conventional wisdom about how a narrative ‘should’ be put together. Ground-breaking novels, by their nature, break the rules. How does an editor work to hone such a text, without destroying the unique magic the author has created?

Supported by Matador Books and Ingram Spark, we bring you the first Triskele Lit Fest.

We look forward to welcoming you to Lift in Islington on Saturday 17th September.

Booking will open SOON for those who want a table in our pop-up bookshop.

Keep an eye on the Triskele Lit Fest blog.