‘The Order of the White Boar’

Welcome! To all new members of the Order!

The group of friends who have sworn lifelong loyalty – to each other and to their good lord, King Richard III.

Read about their adventures in The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man (out 26 May 2018). The paperback and ebook can be ordered from Amazon at myBook.to/WhiteBoar and mybook.to/TheKingsMan, from Blurb at http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8167813-the-order-of-the-white-boar and http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8770224-the-king-s-man or by contacting AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.

The Order of the White Boar follows the adventures of Matthew Wansford, 12-year-old page to Duke Richard of Gloucester, at Middleham Castle and in Westminster, from the summer of 1482. The King’s Man picks up the story in the spring of 1483, as the Year of the Three Kings unfolds . . .

 

Order Of The White Boar_3d-book              The book on white background

And don’t forget, if you and/or your young people enjoy the book, please leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads or elsewhere – thank you!

 

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Dotting the ‘I’s … an editor’s role? My latest blog on @AuthorsElectric

Sharing from AuthorsElectric.blogspot.com…

I’ve worked in publishing for a long time now in various capacities. My first job was as desk editor for a small press in Gloucestershire – back in the days when galley proofs were still a thing, and my first job was proofreading medieval city records in Latin (letter by letter…). The company was leading the way in computer typesetting, but overall little had changed since Gutenberg.

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After a spell back in archaeology, I moved briefly into medical, then management publishing – where I learnt numerous buzzwords and reluctantly retailed the bulls**t beloved of that sector. Being pushed towards management didn’t appeal – neither wrangling staff nor overseeing the editing of magazines – so I moved back to what first drew me to the industry – working directly with collections of words that other people had lovingly crafted.

Newly freelance, I targeted academic publishing companies as potential clients – that’s where I’d started and where I felt I could best use my skills. I’ve always written fiction and also briefly flirted with a move into fiction editing (an interview with Walker Books was spurned in favour of a sunny French archaeological dig), but for most of my freelance career I’ve worked for university presses and similar non-fiction publishers. My days are spent wrestling with the minutiae of referencing systems, polishing academics’ prose, spotting missing commas, framing queries and suggested rewordings as diplomatically as possible, and far too often being sidetracked into social media when googling what was a legitimate editorial query….

More recently, with the extension of my career into writing fiction for children, other opportunities are opening up for me, and sometimes I’ve wondered whether to offer my editing skills to fellow independent authors. After all, to an extent these skills are transferable to fiction and might well help to avoid the frequent criticism of some self-published books – that they are littered with silly typos and errors.

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[Two of my favourite typos (both spotted one day in a single project – not by an indie author), are cavalry substituted for Calvary and canons for cannons…]

Yet, while I have on occasion edited fiction over the years, and yes, can spot stray punctuation, incorrect spelling, dodgy formatting and the like, I’m well aware that fiction copyediting is a very different beast from non-fiction. An author’s voice is such a subtle thing, and we all have our own personal ways of telling our stories. I suspect I would struggle to tread that apparently fine line between helpful, light-touch editing and – well, telling an author they’d used too many adverbs, or asking whether they really wanted their characters to do that!

I’ve had a flavour of the potential difficulties recently, having invited some fellow authors to contribute to an anthology of short fiction about our favourite king, Richard III, to sell as a fundraiser for Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). A dozen kindly agreed, and a similar number who heard about it on the grapevine are keen to contribute to any future project. I’ve enjoyed the whole process, from reading the stories as they came in to the satisfaction of seeing everything come together and pressing that button for Amazon pre-order. And yet … here are a disparate group of authors with a wide range of styles and views – all writing about a single man, who has – to say the least – a controversial reputation and a history that has been interpreted in myriad ways over the centuries. We’re all Ricardians – who believe the man was unjustly maligned after his death – but we still have many different approaches to his story.

A clutch of Ricardian authors, plotting an anthology, Alex, Marla Skidmore and J. P. Reedman, Bosworth 2018

I found myself adopting the lightest of light-touch approaches, pulling back from queries or changes that I might have made with hardly a thought in my day job. Afraid of imposing my views or my style. Would the Richard in my stories have said or done this or that? (Answer: it doesn’t matter – this Richard isn’t ‘mine’!) Might that comment be a tad controversial for some of our potential readership? (Hmmm, could be, but it has to stay…) Should I back away from any mention of the arguments over his reburial location? (Eek – the trouble that caused!) Alien abduction – hell, why not? An adverb here or there – no matter…

When all is said and done, these stories belong to the authors who wrote them. I may be named on the title-page as editor, but that just denotes my role as facilitator – doesn’t it? I simply gathered the people and stories together, dotted the ‘I’s and crossed the ‘T’s, checked the headings matched, chased up a well-known historical novelist to write the Foreword (yes! [punches fist in air] – we got her!), uploaded it all for sale. It’s not my job to tell anyone how or what they should write. Their names are on their stories: they’ll take the praise – or the flak.

Have I got the balance right? I hope so. I guess time will tell. My fellow contributors have been appreciative of what I’ve done, and pre-publication buzz is building – as are the pre-orders (currently we’re #4 in Amazon’s historical fiction short stories ranking and 170 in the overall chart – although as we are up against Wolf Hall and all three volumes of Lord of the Rings, I must admit I’m still bemused as to how those rankings work). The book includes a ‘call for contributors’ for a second anthology. If that goes ahead, will my editorial ‘policy’ be the same? Hmmm…..

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

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My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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‘Grant Me the Carving of My Name’ – anthology inspired by #RichardIII sold in support of @SAUK now on pre-order

I’m pleased to say that ‘Grant Me the Carving of My Name’, the anthology inspired by King Richard III to be sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK), is now available for ebook pre-order on Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KDPSQ79/ priced £2.99.

The US site appears to be lagging somewhat with full details, but hopefully you can find it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KDPSQ79/ (the US price will be $2.99, and free to read on Kindle Unlimited worldwide), or at your local Amazon site.

The book will also be available in paperback, priced £5.99 or $7.99 (other markets at local rates).

Final cover Grant me...

The blurb is as follows:


‘A boyhood mishap in York. A ghostly walking tour of Leicester. A deadly snowstorm on the moors above Middleham. Alien abduction in the very heart of the city of London. Loss of a beloved brother, death of an untrue cousin.

Just some of the events recounted in these tales inspired by King Richard III.

Elegiac, mystical, brutal, light-hearted, uplifting. Will you find your favourite Ricardian author within the pages of this anthology?

Sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK) with a Foreword by Philippa Gregory (The White Queen) and edited by Alex Marchant

With contributions from Narrelle M. Harris, Wendy Johnson, Susan Lamb, Joanne R. Larner, Matthew Lewis, Máire Martello, Frances Quinn, J. P. Reedman, Marla Skidmore, Richard Unwin and Jennifer C. Wilson. Cover illustration by Riikka Katajisto.’

Sounds like the ideal Christmas present, doesn’t it?
😃🐗📚📖
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KDPSQ79/

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‘Grant Me the Carving of My Name’ – a #RichardIII anthology – cover reveal

I’m delighted to announce that we now have a full cover for the upcoming anthology of short stories inspired by King Richard III, Grant Me the Carving of My Name, which will be sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). The ebook will also shortly be available for pre-order – watch this space! (The paperback will also be available from 2nd December – if not before…)

The cover has been designed by Dan Rendell using the image of King Richard kindly supplied by Riikka Katajisto. I’d like to send Dan huge thanks for the time and effort spent on the cover – it really is much appreciated.

Final cover Grant me...

The book will be available in both ebook and paperback, for which the blurb is as follows:

‘A boyhood mishap in York. A ghostly walking tour of Leicester. A deadly snowstorm on the moors above Middleham. Alien abduction in the very heart of the city of London. Loss of a beloved brother, death of an untrue cousin.

Just some of the events recounted in these tales inspired by King Richard III.

Elegiac, mystical, brutal, light-hearted, uplifting. Will you find your favourite Ricardian author within the pages of this anthology?

Sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK) with a Foreword by Philippa Gregory (The White Queen) and edited by Alex Marchant

With contributions from Narrelle M. Harris, Wendy Johnson, Susan Lamb, Joanne R. Larner, Matthew Lewis, Máire Martello, Frances Quinn, J. P. Reedman, Marla Skidmore, Richard Unwin and Jennifer C. Wilson. Cover illustration by Riikka Katajisto.’

Sounds like the ideal Christmas present, doesn’t it?

author.to/AlexMarchant

 

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Guest blog for Jaffareadstoo – ‘Northern Writers’

I’m delighted to have been invited to write a guest blog for the fabulous Jo Barton of the Jaffareadstoo blog spot. Jo asked me what it meant to me to be an author based in the north of England – how the landscape and people have shaped my writing,  and what it means to be an author in this region.

You can find the full guest blog at:

https://jaffareadstoo.blogspot.com/2018/11/northern-writer-alex-marchant.html

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mybook.to/WhiteBoar 

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

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Halloween – “when the year too dies”… #RichardIII, #ghosts and #afterlives…

While editing the contributions to ‘Grant Me the Carving of My Name’ I noticed a bit of a theme…

Not to put too fine a point on it – death! Well, several ghosts or spirits (kindred or otherwise), stories set in the afterlife, an execution or two, battles with all that they entail… Even some of the lighter pieces had the same theme running through them! 👻

Trying not to dwell too much on the elegiac, I did my best to mix the stories up, and even added a piece of ‘flash fiction’ that offered a bright moment in King Richard’s life. And, while it’s not perhaps surprising that this theme was so prevalent, given the fact that we tend to view his life very much in hindsight for obvious reasons, I’ve been thinking that, if I assemble another Ricardian anthology in the future, I may opt to give it a more uplifting theme – maybe Christmas, or celebration, just to ring the changes! 

But that’s for the future. Today is, of course, a day when, as Marla Skidmore, one of our contributors, says, the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead was thin, and the souls of the dead perhaps did return to walk among the living…

 

And another of our contributors, Jennifer C. Wilson, also likes nothing better than to stroll about famous  British landmarks in the company of (kindred) spirits, and also it seems cake…. (well, who doesn’t?!)

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“Grant Me the Carving of My Name” will be available from 2nd December 2018 from author.to/AlexMarchant

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“I will be using this as a class novel”: #RichardIII in schools and a #SpecialOffer

Another fabulous 5* Amazon review for ‘The Order of the White Boar’ – and one that highlights how useful it could be in the classroom for primary/early senior school history/literacy. “I will be using this as a class novel as soon as I can plan a half term’s scheme of work around it.” Exactly what I was hoping! Thank you, hshmon
If you’re a teacher or have links with a local school, and would like to introduce them to the real King Richard III, please get in touch with me. I offer a significantly reduced price for supply to schools and libraries (UK and further afield) – you don’t have to pay the Amazon or other retail price!
The full review can be found at mybook.to/WhiteBoar
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‘King Richard’ presenting copies to schoolchildren at Middleham Castle

Important and Engaging
By hshmon 25 October 2018
“I read this book partly because I wanted to see if it would be suitable to teach from (I teach Y4-6) but also because the plot appealed to me as a reader too. I do have an interest in King Richard III and yet at school was only taught about the Tudors and Stuarts. Where are the Plantagenets in school or in children’s literature? I was first introduced to Richard III in Shakespeare’s play and it was only after the 2012 discovery of his grave that I questioned this view of King Richard.
This novel gives children to see an alternative interpretation of his character from a much younger age, from KS2 onwards, and that has really been missing from children’s literature. The writing is high quality and, even as an adult, I really enjoyed reading about Matthew and his friends, looking forward to the next in the series.
If your son or daughter has an interest in historical fiction they will definitely enjoy this, and I guarantee that I will be buying a class set and using this as a class novel as soon as I can plan a half term’s scheme of work around this.”
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Special announcement! Foreword by popular historical novelist #PhilippaGregory

Well, the crossed fingers last week worked their magic and I’m delighted to make a special announcement regarding Grant Me the Carving of My Name.
Philippa Gregory, author of The White Queen and many other well-loved historical novels – and responsible for bringing a likeness of the real King Richard III to very many people through his portrayal by Aneurin Barnard in her popular TV dramatization – has kindly written a Foreword for our anthology.

Image result for philippa gregory

[Photo credit: Waterstones]


Her generosity will very likely help bring ‘Grant Me the Carving’ to the attention of many more readers – and through that help raise more money for Scoliosis UK, and also raise awareness of the true King Richard.
A huge thank you to Philppa for her contribution! 😍

RIK cover cropped

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