Excerpt: A HERO BORN by Jin Yong (MacLehose Press)

yongj-1-aherobornukToday, we have an excerpt from A Hero Born, the first novel in Jin Yong’s Legends of the Condor Heroes. The second novel in the series, A Bond Undone is also out now in the UK, published by MacLehose Press. Here’s the synopsis for A Hero Born:

China: 1200 A.D.

The Song Empire has been invaded by its warlike Jurchen neighbours from the north. Half its territory and its historic capital lie in enemy hands; the peasants toil under the burden of the annual tribute demanded by the victors. Meanwhile, on the Mongolian steppe, a disparate nation of great warriors is about to be united by a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan.

Guo Jing, son of a murdered Song patriot, grew up with Genghis Khan’s army. He is humble, loyal, perhaps not altogether wise, and is fated from birth to one day confront an opponent who is the opposite of him in every way: privileged, cunning and flawlessly trained in the martial arts.

Guided by his faithful shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing must return to China — to the Garden of the Drunken Immortals in Jiaxing — to fulfil his destiny. But in a divided land riven by war and betrayal, his courage and his loyalties will be tested at every turn.

This extract opens near the beginning of the volume with the Song patriots, Ironheart Yang and Skyfury Guo, and their wives exchanging the latest troubles of the Imperial Court by the fire. The dynamics of their simple gathering change, however, when Yang and Guo spot a mysterious passerby and invite him in for a drink.

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Guest Post: “Spreading the Revolution” by Stephanie Saulter

SaulterS-AuthorPicThere are three books on my desk as I write this, stacked neatly one atop the other. They’re to the left of my laptop, just in my eyeline. I placed them there yesterday in a moment of pride, as well as expectation that they would be a useful prompt for the writing I need to do today; but I’m beginning to suspect that their presence may not be entirely helpful. There’s a tension about them I didn’t expect, a suspensefulness despite their familiarity. They are the books of the ®Evolution: Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration. They’re my books: I wrote them, and these are my precious first edition trade copies, with which I will never part. Continue reading

Guest Post: “On Writing – I do it My Way” by Sue Tingey

TingeyS-AuthorPicI would imagine if you ask half a dozen writers about how they get their ideas and how they go about putting them down on paper you would get a half a dozen different answers. For me, it changes from project to project. On the whole though, there are certain definites to my writing regime and process.

I try to be disciplined about my writing as that’s the only way it works for me. I write every weekday morning without fail from 7 a.m. until 8.30 a.m., and sometimes later when I’ve got caught up in a scene and forgotten the time. Fortunately I have a very supportive boss – at least he hasn’t sacked me yet! In these one and a half hours I re-read and edit the work I wrote the previous day to get me back into the flow and then I aim for a count of between 700 and 1000 words. If I manage more, I’m happy. If I write less than 700 – well, let’s not go there. Meeting the daily word count keeps me focused and if I wasn’t so strict on myself I would probably flounder and not get anything finished. Continue reading

Cover Reveal and Q&A: THE WATCHERS by Neil Spring (Quercus)

watchers.inddOn September 24th, Quercus Books will publish Neil Spring’s THE WATCHERS. To the right you can see the rather excellent cover. Here’s the synopsis:

At the height of the Cold War, officials at the Ministry of Defence conducted a highly secret investigation into unusual events that occurred along a strip of rugged coastline within the Pembrokeshire National Park nicknamed ‘The Broad Haven Triangle’.

The events made national headlines: lights and objects hovering in the sky, ghostly figures peering into farmhouse windows, cowering animals, and poltergeists plaguing a terrified family of witnesses.

Thirty years later, official files pertaining to these occurrences were finally released for public scrutiny at the National Archives. The disclosure prompted a new witness to come forward to speak of what he knew. His testimony rocked the very foundations of the British Government.

This is his story.

As a bonus, JFB have provided a quick Q&A with Neil. Read on for more about the novel, Neil’s writing and more… Continue reading