Posts Tagged ‘C.S. Woolley’

Today is the day! Wyrd has finally been released after several delays. Yes, you can now step back in time to the 700s with this Anglo Saxon series, set before the Viking invasion, the Children of Snotingas follows a group of children as King Penda separates from Northumbria and the kingdom of Mercia is born.

Wyrd is the first book in the series and marks the start of the first story arc of 8 books that explore the lives of nobles and slaves alike during the time of the Anglo Saxons. Using historical accounts, C.S. Woolley has pieced together this world and the events that occurred 1300 years ago in order to bring them to life for children and adults alike.

The Children of Snotingas

Book 1:WYRD
Wyrd mock up

Wyrd: Book 1 The Children of Snotingas by C.S. Woolley, artwork by Davy Ross

 

Step back in time to the age of King Penda, when the kingdom of Mercia was born.

Life in Anglo-Saxon England is far from fair. There are strict classes that all people fall into. At the top there are the kings, then the thanes. After the thanes come the warriors, then the ceorls, and at the very bottom are the slaves. Women are not equal to men; and then there are the prisoners.

With Mercia breaking away from Northumbria and war stirring the blood, there are a handful of boys that want to change their lot in life and move from being slaves to warriors. Wayland, Halsey and Channing are the sons of slaves that have the chance to change their stars and train with the sons of the ceorls to become warriors in Snot’s army. Ravinger, the youngest son of Snot, has been put in charge of their training.

But all is not well in Snotingas. Kipp, Morven and Nyle are prisoners of Snot, captured sons of the Thane’s of Northumbria, and they are determined to cause as many problems as they can for their captors. Though the sons of Snotingas are preparing for battle, the sons of Northumbria still have to contend with the daughters of Snotingas.

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March has been a month of holidays for most of us in the offices (trying to get our time away in before the Easter holidays) but there have still been a few books that have been released and we’ve got an exciting month to look forward to in April.

What we’ve published

 The Arm Rings of Yngvar Collection

Arm Rings of Yngvar Mock Up

Welcome to Denmark, home of the Vikings When fate knocks at the door, it doesn’t matter how old you are or whether you want to go on an adventure or not. Join Erland Kabelsen, Christian Andersen, Dalla Ingeborgsdotter, Eva Axeldatter, Riki Andersen and Wifrith the Wolf as they set out on a journey that will change their lives and save their people.

This collection contains the first eight books in the Children of Ribe series that form the Arm Rings of Yngvar story arc. The titles including in the collection are FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT, SKANE, SHIPWRECKED, FEAR and HOME.

Order your copy of the Arm Rings of Yngvar Collection – all 8 stories from the first story arc in the Children of Ribe series by C.S. Woolley. Only £35.99 including free UK delivery in paperback. It is currently unavailable in digital format.

Brothers
brother-front

SOLDIERS ARE THERE TO KILL AND BE KILLED

They see us only as numbers, as less than them, created to be Soldiers made to fight in their war. But we are more than that, we are brothers, we gave ourselves names.

Some of us will live through training, but some of us will die. Soldiers are there to be killed, whether from their tests or because we fail in our mission. Soldiers are there to kill, fighting in a war we didn’t ask for.

But even amongst brothers there are secrets. There is something that they are not telling me. My brothers tell me I’m special, but I just don’t see it. Soldiers are there to kill and be killed, so why am I so important? Brotherhood will be put to the test as we battle to be the best. I am a soldier, I was made to fight their war, I cannot lose.

You can get your copy direct from out Etsy store for £13.99 in paperback and £2.39 in digital format.

All Hallows’ Eve in Stickleback Hollow

Front

When her parents die from fever, Lady Sarah Montgomery Baird Watson-Wentworth has to leave India, a land she was born and raised in, and travel to England for the first time. Finding it almost impossible to adjust to London society, Sarah flees to the county of Cheshire and the country estate of Grangeback that borders the village of Stickleback Hollow. A place filled with oddballs, eccentrics and more suspicious characters than you can shake a stick at, Sarah feels more at home in the sleepy little village than she ever did in the big city, however, even sleepy little villages have mysteries that must be solved.

It’s All Hallows’ Eve in Stickleback Hollow and the annual ball at Tatton Park is being held. It is Sarah’s first formal engagement since leaving London, and she isn’t looking forward to it – especially when the people she thinks of as friends are not invited. The veil between the spirit and living worlds is at its thinnest, and evil forces seem to be lurking everywhere.

This particular book is dedicated to the staff and owners of the Three Crowns in Wymeswold, Leicestershire, where C.S. Woolley spends a lot of her time writing and filling her social media feed with pictures of their food.

Available in paperback from £6.99 and digital format from £1.99.

What we’ve updated

We’ve added new pages and details for the new books we have released, as well as the all new bonus section that will have a variety of different resources to it as time goes on – make sure to check back regularly for updates!

We’ve also added our book an author page, if you are a school, library, community group, festival or something of that ilk, you can now find out how to book an appearance by one of our authors by visiting here.

What we’re looking forward to in April

April sees the launch of the Children of Snotingas by C.S. Woolley with the release of WYRD and the library event in Wilmslow, Cheshire, to mark the release – to find out more about the Wilmslow Library event see here.

WilmslowLibraryFlyer

We should also have an exciting announcement about the not-quite-the-release party for We Do Not Kill Children by Penelope Wallace and news about the sequel, The 10th Province of Jaryar.

Besides WYRD we also have When Darkness Falls, book 7 in The Chronicles of Celadmore series to look forward to and the Lily & Rose Saga, book 4 in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series.

April 2017

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WilmslowLibraryFlyer

If you hadn’t already heard, C.S. Woolley will be appearing at Wilmslow Library in Cheshire during the Easter Holidays as part of the launch for WYRD, book 1 in the all new Children of Snotingas series. Not only will C.S. Woolley be on hand to sign books and pose for photos, she will also be giving a talk on dyslexia, her Viking series, the Children of Ribe and the latest series, the Children of Snotingas.

Comp

You can pre-order books for the event at discounted prices (see below for details), but the best thing is that with every pre-order you also get entered into our fabulous competition! 4 runners up will win free entry into the library event and a signed copy of WYRD and one lucky winner will received free entry to the library event, a signed copy of WYRD and a character named after them or their child in HILD, the second book in the Children of Snotingas series.

Item Cost
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 1: FATE £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 2: WAR £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 3: WIFRITH £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 4: DOUBT £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 5: SKÅNE £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 6: SHIPWRECKED 60p from each sale  goes to the RNLI £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 7: FEAR £5.99
The Children of Ribe: A Viking Saga for Children Book 8: HOME £5.99
The Children of Snotingas: An Anglo Saxon Saga for Children Book 1: WYRD £5.99
FATE Gift Set: Includes paperback book, eBook and A3 poster of the Children of Ribe Map £11.95
Just the Books Gift Set: Includes all 8 paperbacks in the Children of Ribe series as separate books. £4.50 from each sale of this Gift Set goes to the RNLI £45
Children of Ribe Gift Set Framed: Includes all 8 paperback book, 8 eBooks, plus framed A3 posters of the map, FATE cover art, WAR cover art and WIFRITH cover art. £6 from each sale of this gift set goes to the RNLI £75
Children of Ribe Gift Set: Includes all 8 paperback book, 8 eBooks, plus unframed A3 posters of the map, FATE cover art, WAR cover art and WIFRITH cover art. £6 from each sale of this gift set goes to the RNLI £62.50
The Arm Ring of Yngvar: Bronze replicas of the eight arm rings of Yngvar in the Children of Ribe series. Crafted by Jelling Dragon exclusively for C.S. Woolley using the same method that the Vikings used to forge their own arm rings. The arm rings include the following:

Erland Kalebsen (FATE) – Thor’s Hammer Arm Ring – £35 each
Riki Andersen (WAR) – Dragon Head Arm Ring – £40 each
Dalla Ingeborgsdotter (WIFRITH) – Wolf Head Twisted Arm Ring – £35 each
Beatrix Anderdatter (DOUBT) – Danish Bracelet Arm Ring – £40 each
Pieter Mateosen (SKANE) – Raven Head Twisted Arm Ring – £40 each
Camila Anderdatter (SHIPWRECKED) – Ship Bracelet Arm Ring – £35 each
Christian Andersen (FEAR) – Valknut Bracelet Arm Ring – £40 each
Eva Axeldatter (HOME) – Jutland Bracelet Arm Ring – £45 each

 

 

 

£35 – £45 see each item.

The Arm Rings of Yngvar Collection: The 8 books of the first story arc in the Children of Ribe series in one volume. Includes FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT, SKÅNE, SHIPWRECKED, FEAR and HOME £33.99
bt_bronze_bracelets

From left to right: back row – Danish Bracelet Arm Ring, Thor’s Hammer Arm Ring, Valknut Bracelet Arm Ring, and Jutland Bracelet Arm Ring. front row – Raven Head Twisted Arm Ring, Dragon Head Twisted Arm Ring, and Wolf Head Twisted Arm Ring

Payments via Paypal and Card can be made by visiting https://PayPal.Me/mttsuk/ and entering the amount due with the additional comment “Wilmslow Library Event” followed by the name on the order. All book orders must be placed with payment by Monday 10th April 2017 to guarantee the books will be available on 13th April. Any orders received after this can be posted out at no extra cost to any UK postal address or shipped to the library.

You can access a PDF of the order form here: Price List Wilmslow Library Event

All payments must be made via paypal to pre-order books. Cash payments will be accepted on the day, but stock cannot be guaranteed. Please email all completed order forms to office@mightierthanthesworduk.com along with the name of the person the order is for. Alternatively, include the books and merchandise being ordered in the notes on the paypal payment.

Today we are handing over the blog to C.S. Woolley as there is an answer to a question she wishes to provide:

tunnel-vision1

So a brief extract from my latest book has been shared and if you have seen it, you may feel like you recognise it. Yes, I am quoting Star Wars in the paragraph. The chapter the extract is taken from is called “A bad day at the Post Office”. This is what I call Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The reason behind this is that the droid factory scene really does look like someone is having a bad day at the post office. It has stuck and I find it just as amusing now as I did when I first mentioned it to a friend.

As this chapter was given the same name, I decided to have some fun with it.

“In short the Post Office was the most wretched hive of scum and villainy, but it was our only hope.”

This sentence is a merger of Obi Wan’s line to Luke in Episode 4 and Leia’s message to Obi Wan in the same movie. The barman in the Post Office is George, which is an obvious reference to George Lucas who created the Star Wars series – the man who set up and runs the Post Office could hardly be called anything else, but don’t worry there isn’t a Jar Jar Binks in sight.

To give you some context, this is the extract taken from the book:

“The Post Office isn’t actually a post office. It used to be. It was supposedly abandoned now, but the boarded up front did nothing to hide the fact that it was being used as the biggest underground trading network in the city. If you needed information, guns, a new identity, a place to hide from the police or anything even remotely criminal, then the post office was the place to go to find it.

In short the Post Office was the most wretched hive of scum and villainy, but it was our only hope.”

If you want to get your own copy of Sabrina, it’s out now in paperback and digital formats from all good retailers, but you can download it direct from the Mightier Than the Sword UK etsy store for 19p less than on amazon http://etsy.me/2iBjdFt

For our fourth and final day of our Raven Siren extracts is the most recent of the full length stories in the Nicolette Mace universe, the Lily & Rose Saga.

Lily & Rose: an extract

Fred Barlow sighed as he hung his hat and coat behind his door and stared about the immaculate living room. He didn’t spend enough time here. He glanced at his watch, 1.30am; his days at work were getting longer.

He strode across the living room to his bedroom. It too was spotless. He sighed again as he sat upon the corner of his bed.

The bathroom door opened and a silhouetted figure stood leaning against the door frame. The silhouette had legs like a racehorse and the chemise she wore showed them off nicely.

“You’re late.” She said gliding across to him. She straddled his legs and kissed him as Fred grabbed her by the waist.

“Paperwork.” He said throwing her onto her back on the bed. “I hate it; it’s not about catching criminals any more, God it’s changed and not for the better.” He said as she rested her hands upon his shoulders.

“I wish Siren was still around. She at least kept bringing in criminals and was marginally entertaining whilst she did.” He shook his head.

“But she died a long time ago now.” She said as she kissed Fred again.

“Nic, don’t be ridiculous.” Fred smiled slightly, gazing down at his wife. She hadn’t changed in appearance in four years, only her dress sense had.

“If she hadn’t died we wouldn’t be together. I gave it all up for you and I don’t plan on going back…” She said stroking his face.

“God, I wish you would, if only to show the new mayor that at least someone still wants to get criminals off the streets.” There was defeat in his voice. He was tired now, almost too tired to fight against the corruption and restriction he faced every day.

Nicolette rolled Fred onto his side and nuzzled his neck.

“Nic please don’t do that whilst I’m ranting…” He groaned at her, there was still lots that he wanted to get off his chest without really knowing how to.

She nuzzled him more.

“What are you, some kind of cat?” He demanded trying to sound annoyed.

“Miaow.” She and Fred both laughed.

“I don’t know how you do it, but you always make me feel so much better.” He sighed as he looked at her. She was much happier now that she wasn’t a private investigator, much happier now that the two of them were together. Her abrasive and defensive nature had been replaced with joy and a gentle nature he had only hoped lay beneath it all.

“What else is a wife for?” She asked kissing him again. Fred rolled her back on to her back and whispered in her ear.

“To be my equal, to share everything with me, to show the world that I love you above all others and keep you happy. You aren’t just here to cheer me up.” He said lovingly running his fingers through her hair.

She smiled broadly and kissed his forehead.

“Now if you don’t mind, I would like to forget about work.”

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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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.

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Once again we are back today with the Raven Siren in her continuing adventures, this time we’re taking an extract out of book 3 in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series – the Kevin Metis Saga.

Derek Long Saga: an extract

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I was in the hospital but I wasn’t a patient. Granted I had been up until about half an hour ago but I had been discharged, for the first time, and I was still there.

“His condition is stable but he is showing no response to any outside stimuli. The machines are the only things keeping him alive right now.”

“That is just so comforting.” I sneered at the man who had spoken; the brown eyed and brown haired protégé of the comatose Fred Barlow, known to most people as Rick Clegg. I however was not yet ready to address him by any form of name. I had only met him once before today and that was after Fred had just been shot by Derek Long.

“So your reputation is well earned then.” Rick replied leaning against the door frame of Fred’s room.

“And which reputation is that then?” I snapped back as I sat watching the heart monitor.

“For being a bitch.” Rick said shrugging.

I chose to ignore him and reached out to take Fred’s hand.

“So you and he were close?”

Rick seemed to have a really annoying problem of not knowing when conversation wasn’t welcome.

“Is that any of your business?”

“Probably not, so do you mind telling me what happened to result in all the blood, guts and bullets?”

“Maybe I do mind. Maybe I don’t talk to strangers because I’m not a snitch.”

“They prefer the term verbally challenged.”

“Shut the hell up you annoying excuse for human life. There is nothing you can say or do that is going to make me tell you what went on in that house and if you decide to speak to me again, don’t bother, because if you do I’ll just shoot you.”

I was in the foulest mood I’d ever been in. It didn’t take much at the moment to make me want to rip the head off someone for asking me ridiculous questions.

“You may already know this, but threatening a police officer is a punishable offence.”

I drew my revolver and aimed it at Rick’s head.

“You wouldn’t shoot me in a hospital.”

“You really don’t know me very well, do you? Whatever you have heard about me hasn’t been exaggerated. If anything some of the stories have been downplayed for the sake of believability. So step away from the door and let me get on with what I have to do.”

“And what exactly is that?” Rick asked moving to block the doorway.

“Well if you don’t move, then firstly killing you and then finding the man who has so much to pay for.” I stood and walked towards Rick, the gun still aimed at his head.

“And here was me thinking you might want some help.” Rick said raising his eyebrow and slowly smiling.

”I don’t need any help.” I wasn’t exactly in the mood to try and be civil. The only time I ever tried to be civil is when Fred made me.

“If you need it, and I’m not saying you do, then you’ll know where to come to get it. I’ll be watching over Fred whilst you are…erm…busy.” Rick said as he walked past me, ignoring my gun and sat down beside Fred.

“Let’s just make one thing perfectly clear. There aren’t many people I trust and probably the only person I do trust is lying next to you unconscious. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m going to come around to you pretending to be a charming nice guy, because I won’t. I’m not like the women you’ve met before; you have to earn my trust.” I holstered my gun.

“And how do I do that?”

“You don’t ask me stupid questions or try and manipulate me.”

“Well.” Rick leant back in his chair and rested his heels on the edge of the bed. “At least you didn’t shoot me.” He pulled out a packet of cigarettes, took one and lit it. He held it out to me.

“You aren’t supposed to smoke in hospitals.” I replied coldly.

“From what I’ve heard that’s never stopped you before.” Rick shrugged.

“The rules apply to you though. They never seem to have had the nasty habit of applying to me.”

Fred being in the hospital was a slight handicap to what I had to do now. Having him watching my back whether I’d wanted him to or not had always made my life easier; though I would never admit it to his face.

I never had to worry about what was sneaking up behind me because Fred was watching out for me. So I had one extra thing to think about, I couldn’t just tear around town trying to kill Long whilst someone else mopped up behind me and made sure I didn’t get a bullet in my shoulder or worse.

I didn’t like doing things in a low key manner either. It takes longer to do and requires people staying alive long enough to tell you what you need to know without them screaming. I actually don’t mind hearing people scream, it actually has become quite common place in recent years; screaming seems to be an unfortunate side effect of shooting someone during interrogation. What I don’t like is sneaking around, sneaking around makes you no better than – than an assassin.

Assassins are not my favourite people in the world. In fact you could probably go as far to say that of all the people in the world I have ever hated, assassins would come top of that list every time.

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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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.

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We’re staying with Nicolette Mace today for more from her adventures, but this time from the Kevin Metis Saga, book 2 in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series.

Kevin Metis Saga: an extract

It was a dark, dismal afternoon, like they all seem to be these days, when I got this call. I could hear the rain battering the windowpane of my office when the phone rang.

“Nicolette Mace, the Raven Siren.”

“He’s back and you’re marked.” The phone went dead in my hand. Anonymous calls were always trouble; laying traps for the unsuspecting Private Eye, but this time it was more confusing than anything else. It wasn’t hard to believe that someone had painted a bullseye on my back; the hard part was believing that someone was warning me.

Eight years in a business like this and you don’t make any friends, probably why most P.Is have cats. The only social life a P.I has is with the scum of the earth (their clients), who in this burg are no better than those they ask you to catch, and the local police; you can tell dinner parties are always a blast to have. Usually a shotgun blast.

I could have kept my head down and waited for the hit, it would have saved me an awful lot of trouble and a few fingers as well, but that’s the deal with retrospect.

Two minutes after the phone call I had my coat in hand, my guns in their holsters and no cat to wish me luck.

Times have changed in this business from the days of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. The two of them didn’t have the modern world to contend with, the escalation of violent crime, the degeneration of society, in my mind those guys had it easy.

Some things though haven’t changed.

The first thing to do was to try and sniff out a lead, general snippets of news, new guys in town, old faces resurfacing, suspicious activities anywhere in the city.

There was only one guy to go to who’d know what was happening and who would actually talk, Alfie Dennis. Alfie Dennis, still in his early twenties, was the best snitch in the city. He took from both sides and consequently knew more about the city than either side was willing to admit.

He’s a pricey resource if you knew only one way to ask and after double-crossing both sides more than once, he knew how to disappear in the blink of an eye. Luckily enough for me though, he wasn’t immune to female charms.

Alfie wasn’t an easy man to locate and the rain made me irritable when I found him in a down-town pool hall. He wasn’t an attractive man, pug faced with a spot epidemic still clinging on from his teens, though he was never short of women, mainly hookers because even though his looks made any woman want to wretch, the depth of his pockets more than made up for it.

That night he wasn’t alone either, he had two girls hanging on his arms and another two throwing him glances from the bar. When I walked through the door, all eyes turned from their games to the door and back again. That wasn’t unusual, most people in there knew who I was and I knew who they were, if I left them alone, they’d leave me alone.

Simple arrangements like these tend to make life so much simpler, and by “simpler” I mean “longer.”

It wasn’t unlike any other night walking into that hall, but the moment I walked through that door I knew something was different, something about the pool hall was bothering me and the phone call was enough to get me on my guard.

I didn’t like it.

I felt cold like I’d been dropped in a snow bank in the middle of December. It struck me as odd that Alfie hadn’t looked up as I walked in. Normally he would have been watching the door intently, just waiting for business to walk through it. I’d seen him react to the police like a snivelling worm and to the underworld agents in the same way, but he always jumped and headed for the back door if it was me he saw. He hadn’t moved.

Damn.

It was a set up; I could feel it as my flesh crawled. I thought as fast as I could, trying not to give anything away. First thing that came to mind was backing out the door I had just entered through, but it would be being watched.

I stepped away from the door and moved to the bar, the two hookers leaning against it turned and grinned maliciously at me. There was something familiar about them. I was over the counter, guns in hand, before the first shot left its chamber.

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.

The New Year is off to a flying start for all of us here at Mightier Than the Sword UK – some of the more interesting things you’ll all find out about in due course, but we felt that today was a very appropriate day to post an extract from Beginnings, the first book in the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series by C.S. Woolley (you’ll understand why in a few weeks time)

Beginnings: an extract

When I walked into the living room, Louise was sat on the sofa cleaning her favourite rifle. The coffee table was covered with a multitude of other weapons, including six revolvers, a colt that had been a gift from my dad to me, a shotgun and my dad’s favourite assault rifle.

I never thought it was fair for a P.I. to carry an assault rifle, but he mainly used it for intimidation since it had a high tendency to misfire. Most people tend not to argue with someone carrying an assault rifle, but then again there are always exceptions.

I can remember my father being hospitalised for three weeks after he had to use it against a small time gang that seemed immune to intimidation. Any normal person with any amount of sanity would have probably gotten rid of it after that, but honestly, I think it increased his love of the stupid thing.

At least it wasn’t a misfiring shotgun, though there were days when I am sure that Danny had tried to sell him one.

I walked over and sat beside Louise and picked up my colt. It was a beautiful antique six shooter that I lavished more care and attention on than spinsters do on their cats.

Louise always mocked me for it, said a love affair with a gun wasn’t normal – rather rich coming from her considering how much time she spent talking to her rifle.

What it came down to is that our weapons were our greatest friends, the only things we knew we could count on as long as we took care of them. Dad had taught us from a very early age that we couldn’t rely on each other, but if we looked after our guns – we could rely on them.

Louise took this very seriously. She spent more time cleaning and maintaining all our weapons than I have spent sleeping in my fourteen years on the planet. As I sat down next to her I picked up the small brushes and began examining my colt for the smallest specks of dust that could have gotten past my sister’s inspection.

It didn’t take long for my father’s voice to reach decibels that shook the building and caused glass to fall out of the rotting window frames.

“He’s getting worse.” Louise shook her head in despair. She always did think that dad lost his temper too easily, especially when he was on the phone to Danny.

“I don’t think he is, I think you’re getting less tolerant as you get old.”

“You mean older.”

“No, I know what I meant. Definitely old.” I said, staring down the inside of the barrel of the colt.

Louise would have retaliated for a comment like that, normally with some form of excessive violence, but it was this moment that my father chose to throw down the phone and storm into the apartment.

“We’re going out.” He growled in our general direction.

“Why?” I asked, putting down the little brushes. Louise hadn’t missed even the smallest speck of dust.

“Because Danny knows how to push the old man’s buttons and he thinks we have nothing better to do than come along.” Louise sighed as she polished the barrel of her rifle.

“You don’t have anything better to do.”

Dad was never very good at recognising we had our own lives to lead.

“Niccy doesn’t.” Louise shot back.

“And you do?” I always hated it when she called me that.

“I have my own case to work on.” Louise always was more independent than my father liked. After Laura had died, he’d always been very protective of us both – at least that’s what Louise always told me. She said that before mum had died, he’d been different, much more easy going than he was now, not quite so prone to violent outbursts of temper.

He wasn’t a man that doted on his daughters in the same way that I have seen most men dote on them. He didn’t try and buy love because he couldn’t really afford to – there were no ponies or promises of trips to Disneyland, there was no coming home from being on a business trip laden with foreign gifts – there was always the possibility that he would come home from the hospital; bleeding, carrying pizza, but that’s about as far as it went.

The way my father showed his love was teaching us to shoot, teaching us to fight and teaching us how to survive. Louise had learned these lessons very quickly. She had a tougher skin than even my father did, and her ability to shoot straight under pressure was legendary. I, on the other hand, hated the sight of blood, flinched at loud noises and missed every target I shot at.

Arthur said it didn’t matter, that I would get better with practise, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t cut out to be a private detective, but then again, there was nothing at school that interested me either. It’s an odd feeling that you might not have a place in the world. But at fourteen, I hardly let that bother me.

“What case is that?” Arthur growled. He wasn’t very good at hiding when he was angry, or supporting what he disapproved of.

“It’s none of your business.” Louise said bluntly. She never liked sharing really, was always a problem when it came to our toys.

There wasn’t a lot that my father could say to that. He tried to form several sentences several times before he gave up completely. I was glad in a lot of ways that he couldn’t come up with a retort; it meant not having to suffer through the carnage of Louise vs. Arthur, round nine hundred and thirty seven.

Louise didn’t give my father the opportunity to argue back either; she dropped the gun parts on the table, grabbed her coat and headed out of the door. It slammed behind her and caused the walls of the office and apartment to shake like they were made from paper; to this day, I am not entirely convinced that they aren’t.

“Get your coat.” Arthur snapped at me and disappeared back into his office. Louise had gone out unarmed, but she was more than capable of defending herself without the use of weapons. The only thing I could take was my colt.

In the office there were plenty of places that my father had guns hidden that I knew existed but had never had any great success in finding. I realised that I hadn’t eaten yet so threw some of the leftover rabbit stew Louise had made two days before, into the microwave and turned it on.

There was a great crash, a smell of burning and the next thing I knew there was a flash of light, I was lying on my back and the smoke alarm was going off.

Arthur came rushing in to see the remnants of the microwave smouldering on the side, rabbit stew sprayed about the apartment with an assortment of electronics.

Who knew putting rabbit stew in a microwave would make it explode?

My father hauled me to my feet without a word, strode across the apartment, opened the window and threw what was left of the microwave out onto the street below.

“You can clean this up later. We have work to do.” He growled as he picked up my coat and threw it at me. I checked over my arms, legs, torso and face and found only four wounds. None of them were particularly deep, the bleeding mostly superficial and there weren’t any scraps of metal lodged in them.

Walking out of the building, my father was already halfway down the street; he didn’t like to be kept waiting. I stepped over the smoking remains of the microwave on the pavement and ran smack into someone walking the other way.

“Hey, watch it!” I shouted as I nearly fell backwards into the pile of ruined electronics and melted plastic.

“Sorry.” The man I had run into replied. I realised that I wasn’t falling because he had grabbed my arm to keep me on my feet.

I looked up to see a young looking man with blue eyes, dark hair and the shadow of stubble that had been left intentionally unshaven. I felt my cheeks flush as I looked at him.

“Colt!” My father shouted, dragging my attention away from the attractive man. I pulled my arm from his grasp and ran off down the street. I could feel his eyes watching me as I chased after my father and couldn’t put my finger on why him watching me didn’t bother me.

“Stay away from him.” Arthur said gruffly as I caught up to him.

“Why?” I said, frowning and turning my head to look back at the man who still stood by the smouldering remains of the microwave.

“Bacon has never been a very healthy thing for private investigators to associate with.” Arthur grunted. For those of you who suddenly feel offended at the thought that bacon, being possibly the greatest meat product after steak, could be seen as something that private investigators shouldn’t associate with; by bacon what Arthur meant was the police.

I didn’t say anything in response as I looked back at the young man. He didn’t look like he was a cop; he looked like he should have still been in high school, not locking up criminals on the street and getting in the way of the work of a private eye.

I hoped I wouldn’t come across him again, not because I have anything against the police really, it’s just they tend to end up getting shot by my father for interfering and surprisingly I didn’t want to see this nice young man end up with a bullet between his shoulder blades.

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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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.

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Well we’re already six days into advent and it’s back to Siren for another tale for our offering to you today.

This particular story takes a look at the sadder side of Christmas, the loneliness that lots of people suffer from at this time of year, the idea of a perfect Christmas, what they end up doing for Christmas and how they deal with their loneliness is as different as the people who suffer from it. Siren, as a character has had a hard life and copes with it in her own way. She hides her emotions and even lies to herself about how she deals with her past and her present.

 

Christmas

Christmas happens to be one of my most favourite times of year. Not because the run up to Christmas is very busy for me with people wanting people followed to find out where money is being spent and why spouses don’t come home after office Christmas parties, but because there is a certain level of peace and harmony that seems to fall over the city.

Yes, homes get broken into on Christmas eve of the richer element and have their presents stolen, there are drunken brawls and drunken drivers galore and A&E is not where I want to step foot given the number of incredible Christmas related injuries that occur, but none of this seems to have any effect on dampening my spirit.

Even Fred and Harry are less annoying at this time of year. We don’t fight or scream or have any form of exciting adventures, we sit down to a nice meal together with Ryan and spend two days in peace and harmony

That is until I wake up and find the frozen pipes in my apartment, no food in the fridge, Harry has gone out of town with his latest conquest, Ryan has wound up in prison and Fred… Fred is sat with his girlfriend and her family in one of the large townhouses on the other side of the city having the middle class Christmas he loves so much.

Christmas is my favourite time of year because I get to have the peace and quiet of my place all to myself, the phone doesn’t ring, no one bursts in unexpectedly and tries to rescue me for dangers untold and most importantly, no one tries to drink from the bottles I have stored up for the day except for me.

 

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.

On the fourth day of advent, we bring you the 2nd Day of Christmas from Stickleback Hollow.

The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow is a new series from C.S. Woolley and the first book in the series is called A Thief in Stickleback Hollow. It is available in digital and paperback from a wide variety of retailers. We’ve put the links below the story so if you do enjoy it, consider taking a peak at the first book in the series.

2nd Day of Christmas

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves

George Webb-Kneelingroach looked out at the lands of his family estate. His family had spent generations on this land, back before the house of Grangeback had been designed and built. The family crypt was in the grounds of the chapel and held the Kneelingroach line as well as that of the Webbs.

He was sat in the rooms that had once belonged to his daughter, Lucy. She had been a bright girl, enjoyed her life in England and India in equal measure, and Christmas had always been her favourite time of year. She would roam the halls of Grangeback singing Christmas Carols until the whole household couldn’t stop singing them. It brought a great deal of joy to the manor and to Stickleback Hollow. There was hardly a person, from the Grangeback groundskeeper, to the village lamplighter, that wasn’t infected with a cheerful demeanour after Lucy had visited the village around Christmas.

She not only believed in sharing good cheer, but making sure that everyone in the village had all they needed. When the blacksmith burnt his hand and couldn’t use his forge, Lucy sent to Chester for an apprentice to work for him. When the vicar had a fever, Lucy nursed him back to health. There was nothing that was too much trouble for her.

George sat and looked at his beloved Grangeback and thought about the last Christmas that Lucy had spent there. She had been visiting the village three weeks before Christmas when she met a young man from London. He was a well-dressed individual that had no business being in Stickleback Hollow, at least as far as George could see. He was staying at the inn and told everyone that he was there to enjoy walking the countryside.

After Lucy met him, he started to join her walking around the village every day and after two weeks; he invited her to the theatre. It was a performance in Manchester and Lucy went without an escort in her finest clothes. George didn’t know what it was that they saw at the theatre; all he knew was that Lucy didn’t come home that night. It was two days before she returned to the house and declared that she was engaged. The young man hadn’t been to Grangeback or asked for George’s permission to marry his daughter before he had propositioned Lucy.

George had insisted that Lucy bring him to the house to meet the family before anything else was said on the subject of her engagement. The next day Lucy had gone down to the village, only to find the young man was gone. The innkeeper said that he had left the night before and had no intention of returning. Lucy returned to the house and burst into floods of tears.

She was taken ill, and even missed the village’s traditional Christmas dinner. She was in bed for a month and George grew very concerned and sent for the doctor. The doctor had come to visit and gave George the grave news – Lucy was pregnant. It was then that the young man’s intention had become clear and George sent for his solicitor. A search was made of each of the cities under the name that Lucy had been given, but the young man couldn’t be found.

The doctor suggested that Lucy and the family go to Scotland until the baby had been born and return to Stickleback Hollow with the babe in arms, a sibling to Lucy rather than her child. George agreed and had his wife, Helen and her lady’s maid, Emma, pack for the months that they would be absent for the manor. Bosworth was left in charge of Grangeback in their absence and was sworn to secrecy about the whole matter.

The journey to Scotland had begun in the New Year and had not been a comfortable one. The family estate in Scotland belonged to Helen Webb-Kneelingroach and was in the far flung highlands where the only people for miles were those who served the household, and their families had done so for several centuries.

Lucy understood the importance of the child being raised as her sibling and not as her child and seemed to be content enough with the arrangement that her father and the doctor had agreed upon. For months they enjoyed walking across the highlands. Her mother was happy to be at the place she had called home, and even happier that a new life should enter the world there.

But it was not to be. Before her nine months were up, Lucy woke in the night, screaming in pain. There was nothing that could be done to ease her distress or that of the baby. The women of the household did all that they could, the doctor in Stickleback Hollow was sent for, he arrived to find that Lucy had gone into labour two months before she should have. He worked tirelessly to save the mother and child, but he had arrived too late.

Helen shut herself in her rooms and refused to allow anyone in, not even her lady’s maid. The doctor made arrangements to have Lucy and the baby taken back to Stickleback where they could be buried in the family crypt, and George had been left to his misery. There had been no Christmas Carols sung in the halls of Grangeback since that day.

George sighed as he looked out of the windows and wondered what it was that drove young men to callously throw aside the virtue of young women, when he heard the sound of singing coming from the music room.

“Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte, Regem Angelorum;

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
gestant puellae viscera.
Deum verum, genitum non factum;

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

Cantet nunc io chorus Angelorum
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

Ergo qui natus, die hodierna,
Jesu, tibi sit gloria.
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum;

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

En grege relicto, Humiles ad cunas,
vocati pastores approperant.
Et nos ovanti gradu festinemus;

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

Aeterni Parentis splendorem aeternum,
velatum sub carne videbimus.
Deum infantem, pannis involutum;

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

Pro nobis egenum et foeno cubantem,
piis foveamus amplexibus.
Sic nos anamtem quis non redamaret?

Venite adoremus,
venite adoremus,
venite adoremus
Dominum!

Stella duce, Magi, Christum adorantes,
aurum, thus, et myrrham dant munera.”

It was Sarah; she was playing the piano and singing to herself. George rushed down the hall to find Alex was the one playing the piano whilst Sarah sang. Mrs. Bosworth, Bosworth, Cooky, the maids and other servants were all gathered around the doorway listening to the two of them perform. The pair were quite unaware that they had an audience.

“Oh brigadier, it’s been so long since there was music in the house. Doesn’t it feel like Christmas now?” Cooky whispered as she saw George approaching.

“Yes, Cooky, it certainly does.” George replied.

 

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow
card

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For those of you wondering what the carol is that Sarah and Alex are performing, it is O Come, All Ye Faithful in the original Latin.It wasn’t translated into English until the 1850s.