Posts Tagged ‘12 Days of Christmas’

It’s only 7 days until the charity book for the year is released, yes, the 12 Days of Stickleback Hollow is coming out on 30th September and all the royalties are going to charity!

12 Days of Christmas promo 1“The whole concept of the book started out as simply being 12 blogs that I could do in the run up to Christmas,” said C.S. Woolley, “I got through 8 of the 12 days and ran out of time with all the other Christmas stories I was doing for the other book series. So when it came to deciding what I was going to do as my charity book for the year, finishing this collection off seemed the logical choice.”

If you haven’t read any of the Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow yet (or even if you have), you might not know that most of the characters in the series are named after cricketers.

“I love cricket and as well as following the national side, I am also a member of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. Trent Bridge really is my Disneyland and I spend as much time as I can there. I’ve done some fundraising over the last year for their charity, the Trent Bridge Community Sports Trust, and I thought it was only fitting that the book benefit them in some way.”

But then why the Broad Appeal?

“The Broad Appeal is a charity that was set up by Chris Broad (former cricketer), Stuart Broad (current cricketer and publican) and Gemma Broad (who used to work for the England Cricket Board). As I was fundraising for the TBCST it seemed a good idea to include the Broad Appeal as well – especially considering how much time I spend writing in Stuart’s pub.”

Stickleback HollowTitlesThe 12 Days of Christmas in Stickleback Hollow is based on the song, the 12 Days of Christmas and features 12 short stories that are each set around the 12 verses of the song in some way, shape or form. There are different characters followed in the different stories, it doesn’t keep to a strict timeline and the stories slot in at different points in the series narrative but you don’t need to have read the series to enjoy them. C.S. Woolley has also written them so that they avoid as many spoilers as possible, so you can read them without worrying that you’re going to discover any major plot points.

The 12 Days of Christmas in Stickleback Hollow is currently available for pre-order for £1.99 from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo and Nook in digital format and will be available in paperback from 30th September.

20884784_10159122933990024_721519567_n

Below is some more information about the two charities that the book is supporting. To find out more, please follow the links.

The Trent Bridge Community Sports Trust:

Chaired by Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Lisa Pursehouse, the Trent Bridge Community Trust delivers projects that have a profound and meaningful impact on communities across our county.

This impact is highlighted by statistics, but equally by the personal stories of young people who have prospered having been given the one thing they need, a sporting chance.

The Trust is the charitable arm of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and our fortunes are intrinsically linked. All Trust staff are directly employed by the Club, allowing commercial partners and grant aiding bodies to have confidence that every penny they provide has an impact on frontline community initiatives.

The Broad Appeal for the MND Association:

Few disorders are as devastating as motor neurone disease (MND). Imagine a healthy and alert mind trapped inside a body that can’t move, that’s the devastating reality of MND.

MND attacks the nerve cells (motor neurones) that send messages from the brain to the muscles. As these motor neurones gradually die, the muscles stop working. If affects people in different ways, so no two people will have exactly the same symptoms or experience of MND.

In the majority of cases MND is a rapidly progressive, fatal disease that can affect any adult at any time. The cause of MND is unknown and with NO cure half die within 14 months of diagnosis.

It is impossible to convey in words the overwhelming and devastating nature of a disease which in as little as a year can turn a potent, able parent, partner and employee into someone totally dependent on others for the simplest and most private actions we all take for granted.

 

Advertisements

As promised, here is the second short story from Stickleback Hollow, the 8th Day of Christmas.

8th Day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight maids a milking

Christmas was always a busy time to be an innkeeper. Lots of people came to Stickleback Hollow to visit relatives in the nearby city of Chester and also in the village itself. Some people chose to stay in the inn that Wilson ran because his wife’s cooking was known far and wide as the best in the area. Some people didn’t like staying in the city as it was too busy and full of bustle.

Whatever the reasons that people came to the inn, Wilson and Emma were both every busy. Unlike the staff at the house and many others in the village, they didn’t close, not even on Christmas Day. They went to the house for Christmas dinner after going to church, but they were always the first to leave as they had to get back to the inn. They made sure that all their guests knew that the doors of the inn would be locked from when they went to church until after Christmas dinner had finished, but this never seemed to be a problem as all their guests had prior plans for Christmas Day.

But on Boxing Day things were back to normal. In fact, the inn was often busier on Boxing Day than any other day of the year as people like the blacksmith and Miss Baker were not at work, and so came to the inn to talk and swap seasonal greetings – though they had all seen each other the day before.

Wilson liked running the inn, especially around Christmas. He didn’t really need time off to put his feet up. There was nothing to do when he stopped working, and often found the days when the inn had to be closed to be rather boring. Emma preferred to be busy and even when the kitchen wasn’t open, she could be seen bustling around the inn, making sure that everything was running smoothly.

One of the problems that faced the inn during the busy time of Christmas was the risk of running out of milk. Every day during Christmas, Wilson woke up early to walk out to one of the local dairy farms to get the farmer to buy more milk. When he walked down the path to the dairy farmer’s house, he could hear the milkmaids singing in the small field that lay next to the house. The milkmaids were the daughters of farmers in the local area, but not all of them were the daughters of the dairy farmer. There were eight of them in all and all of them enjoyed singing, though not one of them could carry a tune.

Wilson waved to them as he passed and went about his business with the farmer.

“It’s a sad thing, but today is the last day you’ll see those milkmaids.” the farmer said as the two men walked outside to fetch the pails of milk for the inn.

“Why is that?” Wilson asked.

“They’re all to be married, can’t stay milkmaids forever. There are a bunch of young farmers coming later on today to meet them, then the dates for the weddings  will be set and the girls will be gone.” the farmer sighed.

“Who is going to milk you cows?” Wilson asked.

“Oh, there are more girls coming to do that, the cows won’t mind at all, but you might want to say your goodbyes. My two are going to be going down to Kent, only God knows where the others will end up.” the farmer shrugged.

“Will they be well provided for?” Wilson asked.

“They will. I know all the boys that are coming to meet the girls, some haven’t bought holdings yet, others will be going back to their father’s farms. I’ll miss them, but it’s better than them winding up as old maids.” the farmer shrugged.

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.
card

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Createspace, our Etsy Store and other good retailers.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

Today we are giving you two short stories for the price of one as our New Year gift to you. Yes, we have two short stories from Stickleback Hollow just for you that fall on 7th and 8th day of Christmas. So to begin with here is the 7th day of Christmas.

7th Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, seven swans a swimming

“Are you ready?” Lee asked his brother. The two of them had waited until their mother had gone out to her shop for the day before they made their plans. The two boys had been adopted by Miss Baker when they had been found on the doorstep of her seamstress shop.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Stanley asked as he followed Lee out of the small house that stood on the edge of the village of Stickleback Hollow.

“Of course! We need to go get our boat back.” Lee smiled at him. Both of the boys knew that Miss Baker wasn’t their real mother, but their family was closer than most that were related by blood. Stanley worked as the boy for the butcher and Lee was the boy for the baker. Both boys started working long before their mother rose to go to her shop, but the boys always came back for breakfast before she left.

Christmas was always a quiet and enjoyable affair for the family. They spent Christmas Day at Grangeback and then on Boxing Day they went for a walk around the woods. It had been on Boxing Day that Lee had begun to plan rescuing their boat from the frozen lake. Stanley hadn’t wanted to go back to the lake ever again, but his brother was far more convincing than Stanley liked.

It had taken three days for Lee to talk his brother into his scheme and a day to gather the items that they would need in order to get their boat back. Lee had borrowed some pikes from the blacksmith without the old man knowing; promising Stanley that he would return them once the boat was safely back ashore.

The two boys set out from the house and went around the edge of the village, making sure that no one saw them as they went. They ran as quickly as they could until they reached the safety of the tree line. The two boys paused in the trees to catch their breath before they walked to the edge of the lake.

The snow was still thick on the ground and the lake was frozen solid. The two boys walked gingerly across the ice until they reached their boat and climbed over the side of it. When they were both settled in the bottom of the boat Lee handed Stanley one of the iron pikes he had stolen from the blacksmith. The two boys hit the ice around the boat until the boat was freed from the ice. Stanley took up the oars and started to manoeuvre the boat back towards the shore. Lee leaned over the side of the boat and kept breaking the ice in front of the boat until they reached the bank.

It was hard and slow work, but by the time they had finished, both of the boys felt proud of what they had accomplished.

“You know that if your mother finds out about this, you’ll not be able to sit down for a week.” Alex said. The two boys froze in the boat as they looked up at the hunter who stood on the shore, leaning against one of the trees.

“You’re not going to tell her, are you?” Stanley asked as Lee jumped out of the boat and started to pull it onto the bank. Stanley followed his brother to help him get the boat out of the water.

“I won’t need to; did you even think about what you are going to tell her when she sees that the boat isn’t stuck in the lake anymore?” Alex asked with amusement.

“No.” Lee said slowly.

“You told me that you’d thought of everything!” Stanley cried.

“I wouldn’t worry about it too much.” Alex smiled at the two boys.

“Why not?” Lee frowned.

“Leave the boat here and I’ll tell her I got it out for you.” Alex said with a shrug.

“Why would you do that?” Stanley asked.

“Because you’re going to need to put those pikes back before the blacksmith notices they are missing and because you haven’t noticed what breaking the ice did for the lake.” Alex grinned.

“What are you talking about?” Lee asked.

“Just look at the water.” Alex said. Lee and Stanley both turned around and looked out at the lake. A group of seven swans had come out of the forest and was moving across the ice to the open water. The two boys watched as the swans slipped into the cold water and started swimming around.

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.
card

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Createspace, our Etsy Store and other good retailers.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

Having had a few days of extracts from our fantasy books, we’re now heading back to our short stories with a little offering from Victorian England and Stickleback Hollow.

6th Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, six geese a laying

Mrs. Bosworth was not a woman that liked to do very much, aside from work. She hated to sit down and waste time; after all there was always something better that she could be doing, especially around Christmas. Mr. and Mrs. Bosworth had no children of their own, three had been born and all died before they had reached the age of five.

For Mrs. Bosworth, it made Christmas a rather difficult time of year. Mr. Bosworth had borne the loss of two sons and a daughter with remarkable fortitude, and had buried himself in his duties at Grangeback. Mrs. Bosworth had looked on Lucy Kneelingroach as a surrogate daughter, satisfying her maternal instincts by mothering the young lady. When she had died, it had caused Mrs. Bosworth to become even more fastidious than she had been before.

Every Boxing Day, when she and Mr. Bosworth were not working, Mrs. Bosworth would sink into a quiet depression. She didn’t speak a word to Mr. Bosworth for the whole day, but sat in their room, holding an armful of old knitted geese. When Mrs. Bosworth was pregnant she spent her evenings knitting things for the baby she was expecting. She wasn’t very adept at knitting, but had skill enough to create blankets and toy geese. Each pregnancy she had done the same thing – knitted two blankets and two geese. The blankets had been put to good use when Lucy had been a baby, but Mrs. Bosworth couldn’t bring herself to give the geese to the young lady of the house. Instead she kept them for herself, a reminder of the children she had once had and the short time she had to cradle them before they were taken from her.

Mr. Bosworth never tried to take the geese from his wife, nor did he offer any word of comfort. He knew that there was nothing that he could say that would make the loss of their children any better. When their daughter had died, Mrs. Bosworth had told her husband that she couldn’t take losing another child and the two had agreed that there would be no more children. Mr. Bosworth was a man that kept his feelings to himself, he had his own pain over the loss of his children, but he didn’t want to burden his wife when he knew of the pain she was suffering. He consoled himself every year by watching his wife as she cuddled the six geese and gazed out of the window at the lake.

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.
card

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Createspace, our Etsy Store and other good retailers.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

Well for 5th Day of Christmas we are sticking with the fantasy genre, but we are switching authors to Penelope Wallace and an extract from her debut novel, We Do Not Kill Children.

We Do Not Kill Children – An extract

Dorac had always hated being stared at.  He stood, flanked by guards, in the centre of the White Hall in Stonehill Castle.  Around three sides crammed men, women and children.  Most though not all he knew, and every eye was fixed on him.

Fifteen years ago, he had sworn his oath to King Arrion’s mother in this hall.  Since then, he had received orders here, and delivered reports, and greeted new brothers and sisters.  It was the centre of the life of the King’s Thirty.

The long whitewashed walls glared in on him.

Before him on the left was a table with the holy gospel, on which the witnesses swore.  The priest, a short scowling woman, stood by, and the King’s Questioner, Lady Kara.  On the right, another table with that cloak, his cloak, stiff with blood.  The witnesses sat behind.  Cremdar looked troubled, Arvill looked distraught, and Braf looked like nothing.

The eyes burned into him, and raised sweat.

He answered what turned out to be the last question, and was told to step forward and take the oath.  His right hand on the open book, hearing himself stumble over the words, he swore that the evidence he had given was true.  He knew that no one believed him.

The eyes shifted away, and he was cold.  Everyone looked – Dorac looked – at the man sitting on the dais at the north end.  King Arrion, his lord for nine years.  His lord, his friend, his brother.  Everyone else had been staring at him because they believed him guilty.  The King looked away for the same reason.

“Your Grace, do you wish to retire to consider?” asked Lady Kara.

“No.  But he may sit down.”  So someone brought him a stool, but he ignored it.  He waited.  Fought the knowledge of doom coming.  All around the walls, a hiss of talk.   Dorac could not hear words.  He could guess.

(“He murdered three children, and thought the King would approve.  One of the Thirty!  Why is it taking so long?  What is there to decide?”)

The King stood up.  Silence beyond imagining.

“Dorac Kingsbrother, I find you guilty of the murders of Ilda aged twelve years, Gascor aged nine years, and Filana aged five years.”

It still seemed impossible.

Hands on his shoulders, pushing him to his knees.  Blood pounded behind his face.  Possible and actual.  At least he would soon be dead.

“You have served my mother and me and this land with great loyalty for many years.  I do not doubt that you thought what you did was for the best.  Words were spoken at Council that may have helped you to believe this.  But whatever your motives, it was an abominable act.

“From this day, and forever, you are exiled from this land, and from the fellowship of the Thirty.   If you are still within the realm one week from today, or if you ever return without the King’s word, your life is forfeit.

“I take back your companionship, I take back your land and your gold to comfort the bereaved, I take back your horse and your armour.”  He paused.  “Your sword you may retain.  Go from here, make a better life, and may God forgive you.”

We Do Not Kill Children

front“We do not kill children; we do not commit rape; we do not take pleasure in torment.”

Dorac Kingsbrother was one of the King’s Thirty in the kingdom of Marod. That was before he was found guilty of the murder of Lord Gahran’s three children. Though Gahran was a traitor, his children were innocent. The code of the King’s Thirty leaves no room for such a barbaric act, and for this heinous crime Dorac faces a life in exile.

The shame of such a sentence is something that Dorac can’t brook, and so he sets off on a journey to the Old Stones, the place where those that seek death meet their end. Followed by Gormad, a child in search of adventure, Dorac is not alone on his final journey.

But not everyone believes that Dorac is guilty. Gemara Kingsister, head of the Six, investigates the murder of Gahran’s children; though there is more at stake than the life of a lone warrior in this, the first of the Tales from Ragaris.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

As a special treat on the 4th day of Christmas, we at Mightier Than the Sword UK are bringing you an extract from book 7 in the Chronicles of Celadmore – When Darkness Falls. This particular title hasn’t been released yet and also contains the winners of the 2015 Murder in March competitions. When Darkness Falls is due for release on 10th January 2017

WDF Coming

When Darkness Falls – An extract

The fires of war have left the realm of Celadmore burnt and barren. There is little to hope for. Lives were ruined by the marching army of Aksoth.

Five years have passed since the invader and his army were defeated. There are still whispers of their presence that haunt the waking dreams of those that now stand watch over the realm.

The war torn land has become a realm of opportunity. The country boundaries still stand, but old alliances are under threat. There is little love lost between neighbours.

Profiteers have taken advantage of many, stealing what little people still had to hold. There are those that speak of hope and peace, but work to serve their own greed.

The Order stands ever vigilant, but has retreated into its own bastions of power to rebuild, leaving those outside their people to find their own way.

Resentment is building and those with hearts of stone and a talent for survival are gaining favour and power.

Though Aksoth’s army has been defeated, dark days have fallen for the people of Celadmore and their beacon of fire and hope that was lost in the final battle may never be rekindled.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

On the third day of Christmas we are bringing you an extract from the sixth book in the Chronicles of Celadmore – End of Days.

End of Days – An extract

The City of Grashindorph. The oldest of the great cities of Celadmore. The first city to be built. Built by the Anaguras and Queterians and given to the line of Tutesk to govern the land of Nosfa and then Nesca and stabilise the uniting lands of Celadmore. Built to be the seat of power for the line of Kings and Queens for the new nations and to hide the realm’s greatest secret.

The site of the most bloody and vicious battles in the history of Celadmore. The city that suffered tyrants and revolution, the city that has seen the sun rise and fall over some of the greatest rulers that the land has ever known.

The city of hope that was destroyed and humbled by the monster that now seeks the destruction of the entire world. Blood ran through the streets, bones were left to turn to dust and no one came to its rescue.

The city where the war began is where it will end. There is much to rebuild and prepare as the destruction of the rest of Celadmore continues.

In the city where hope died so many years ago, it is now the only chance for victory; a forlorn hope, almost lost.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

Yes, it’s Christmas Eve! Only one more sleep until it’s Christmas morning – but if you’ve been enjoying these festive themed short stories, we’ve got a few more to come yet – 16 to be precise and none of them are themed around the 12 days of Christmas. So the last of the 12 days of Christmas posts for this year, we proudly present the final reprise of Siren’s 12 Days of Christmas (I found Harry Lee this time) and hope that none of you end up like Harry over your own 12 days of Christmas.

If you want to find out more about the Siren books – you can do so here.

12 Days of Christmas (I found Harry Lee)

On the first day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the second day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the third day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with eleven girls’ phone numbers, a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, whistling twelve tuneless bars, with eleven girls’ phone numbers, a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

This is what happens when Fred goes out of town and leaves Harry to fend for himself – and somehow I will still get blamed! What I really want to know though is why those teenagers weren’t at home and asleep at 6am!

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

We’re a little late in getting today’s advent calendar to you – we have been slightly distracted by the cricket and having to watch the highlights from the Ashes at Trent Bridge in 2005 to raise our spirits. Today is our last day in the office before the festive break so we are making sure that the rest of the advent calendar is set up and ready to go out so you don’t miss out.

With today being 19th day of Advent we’re going back to Victorian England and our new favourite place of Stickleback Hollow.

5th Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five gold rings

The sun was bright in the sky as Sarah awoke on Christmas morning. She could hear the sounds of the household bustling through the white marble corridors. She rolled over and closed her eyes. She waited until she heard the door to the room open and her ayah walk in.

“Still abed on Christmas morning?” ayah asked as she pulled back the sheets and Sarah buried her head under the pillow.

“It’s too early.” Sarah’s moan was muffled by the pillow.

“When you and your mother were little girls, both of you used to jump out of bed before most of the household had woken up to see if there were any gifts for you.” ayah said shaking her head and pulling the pillows off the bed.

“I’m not a little girl anymore, ayah.” Sarah whined and tried to grab the pillow back from her nanny.

“No, now you’re a young lady and should start acting like it. At your age, your mother was married to your father. Nearly all girls your age are married and expecting families.” ayah clucked as she disappeared into Sarah’s dressing room to get out her clothes for the day.

Sarah sighed and sprawled out on her bed before she rolled out of her bed and traipsed over to her dressing room. Ayah had taken out a white muslin dress and a long white lace shawl that was pinned over her shoulder. Sarah stood with her arms out as ayah washed and dressed her.

“You’ll do.” ayah said finally and Sarah left her room to go enjoy breakfast.

Her mother and father were both sat out on the veranda enjoying their breakfast whilst looking out at the Indian countryside that lay around their home.

“Merry Christmas.” Sarah said as she walked out onto the patio.

“Merry Christmas, my love.” Colonel Montgomery Baird said without looking up from the book he was reading.

“Merry Christmas, there are some visitors waiting to see you.” Lady Watson-Wentworth said and led Sarah away from the breakfast. Sarah glanced at the breakfast table with longing as she was led back into the house to a sitting room where five young men were waiting.

Each of them were dressed in the uniforms of lieutenants and all seemed to be very nervous. Sarah looked at her mother with a raised eyebrow as she saw the five lieutenants.

“Gentlemen, please place the rings on the table on your calling card and then address my daughter as my lady. When she is finished talking to you, you will be escorted out by the butler. An answer will be returned with your calling card. If she rejects your proposal, then the ring will also be returned with your card.” Lady Cynthia Watson-Wentworth said in a clear voice.

“Mother.” Sarah said in protest as her mother turned to leave the room.

“Good luck, dear.” Lady Cynthia said as she patted her daughter’s arm and kissed her cheek.

Sarah turned back to face the five lieutenants and looked down at the five gold rings that lay on the table on the velvet pillow that had the five calling cards on.

“This is not what I wanted for Christmas.” she said under her breath as the first lieutenant approached her.

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.
card

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Createspace, our Etsy Store and other good retailers.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

We’ve only got twelve days left until Christmas! If you haven’t finished shopping yet, time is running out! Today we are back in Victorian England for another of the 12 Days of Christmas in Stickleback Hollow.

4th Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four colly birds

Doctor Jack Hales sat in his house sipping on a glass of sherry in front of a large fire. The doctor had done well in his life. He lived in a village that was an interesting place to live and was much more pleasant than any city he had ever visited.

He had spent the day visiting the Manchester Royal Infirmary to help the doctors with an influx of people suffering from chest infections.There had been so many this year that the doctors had been struggling to cope before Jack had arrived.

“Father, you’re back.” his son, Richard said as he walked into the library where the doctor sat.

“Yes, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would.” the doctor yawned and took another sip from his glass.

“Well, that’s very nice, but we weren’t expecting you back until tomorrow.” Richard said looking furtive.

“What are you up to?” the doctor frowned at his oldest son.

“Nothing.” Richard said, trying to sound off-hand.

“Where is your brother?” the doctor asked as he put down his sherry and leaned forward on his knees.

“Nowhere.” Richard replied too quickly.

“You always were a terrible liar.” the doctor tutted.

“Please, don’t ruin things, father. Promise me you won’t ask any questions and that you will stay here until we come and get you.” Richard begged.

“Fine, but if whatever the two of you are up to gets Constable Evans coming to visit us again, your lives won’t be worth living.” the doctor warned.

Richard disappeared from the room quickly and the doctor picked up his sherry again. He loved his sons dearly. He had raised them alone as his wife had died giving birth to his youngest son, Gordon. Richard was almost thirty in age and was training to be a doctor. He had tried a few different career paths before deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps. Gordon was in his mid-twenties and training to be a lawyer. Both boys had applied themselves to their studies and the doctor was proud of them, though he rarely expressed such emotion.

The two boys, though studious, also had a knack for getting into trouble. They often argued over the same girls, and though neither seemed inclined to marry, they were in and out of love as often as the moon changed.

In the next room, the doctor could hear shuffling and the odd expletive being uttered as his two sons worked on whatever surprise it was that they had in store. The doctor had an uneasy feeling about it all, but he was a man of his word, so he waited patiently until Gordon and Richard came to fetch him.

The two boys were grinning as they led their father into the next room where there was a coup of four blackbirds sat by the windows.

“What is this?” the doctor asked.

“Well, you said that you always waiting birds to send messages with to the hospital to save on sending messengers from the village. So we went into Chester and found these.” Gordon smiled.

“We thought they’d be less likely to be shot at that pigeons. Not many people like colly bird pie round here.” Richard grinned.

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.
card

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Createspace, our Etsy Store and other good retailers.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.