Spotlight: The Player’s Craft, by Kell Cowley

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The Player’s Craft

The Timony Trilogy Book 2

by Kell Cowley

Genre: YA LGBTQ Historical Adventure

 

The Borders, Scotland, 1601

Timony may have embraced his damsel in distress roles in Makaydees’ theatre, but at the close of their autumn season, the strolling players are thrust into a fresh unforeseen drama. On the run from the law once more, they flee into the deadly Scottish borders, where reiver gangs and rumours of witches have stirred up suspicion in all who dwell there. Astray in a lonely valley under the shadow of Quarm Castle, the vagrant actors are drawn to the gentry within its walls, seeing a chance to raise their theatre out of the mud.

Flitting between the role of lad and lady, Timony sets about wooing the castle’s inhabitants, determined to gain a writ of patronage for his company. But with his master, Makaydees angered by this reckless quest and his relationship with Rum fracturing due to a new fondness for Lavern, Timony risks becoming an outcast in his troupe, rather than their saviour. And that’s just one of the perils surrounding him, as wise women and mercenary men recruit the young player into plots of their own. Can Timony weave a web of deception around all of them? Or will he become tied up in a tragedy he can’t escape?

The Player’s Craft propels the reader through the next turbulent chapter in the life of this wayward Elizabethan actor after the events of The Vagabond Stage. With an extra pinch of magic and mystery, our gender fluid thespian will take on their most daring performance yet.

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The Vagabond Stage

The Timony Trilogy Book 1

 

The West Country, England, 1599

Timony is a born actor before he even knows the meaning of the word. A restless farmhand with a yearning for the wider world, he is already seeking escape when he catches his first glimpse of a band of travelling players. His dramatic temperament makes an impression on the playwright, Makaydees, who takes him on as his new apprentice to enact the female roles. And Timony soon learns there will be worse things to brave than stepping on stage in a frock and wig.

At a time when the law considers unlicensed actors to be no better than criminals, the players live in constant threat of arrest and are forced to travel in the same channels as more dangerous outlaws. While Timony is still struggling with his role as the girl in the player’s gang, he finds himself propelled on a journey through the Elizabethan underworld. After the troupe becomes embroiled with one of the most wanted highwayman in the land, Timony must learn to act for his life on a precarious road where disguise and deception may be his only means of survival.

The Vagabond Stage is a queer picaresque adventure novel exploring transgender identities in Tudor times, aimed at ages fourteen and up.

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Chester author Kell Cowley wrote and illustrated her first novel at age eight, telling the story of a runaway radish escaping from a salad bowl to explore the far reaches of the garden. She has been perplexing her friends and family with her weird stories ever since. She holds a BA in Performance Writing from the wildly experimental Dartington College of Arts, won a novelist’s apprenticeship with the Adventures in Fiction development scheme and is the co-founder of ‘Odd Voice Out’ press. When she occasionally closes her laptop or latest reading obsession to spend time in the real world, she will likely be found shambolically running a school library, attempting to act in local plays or eco-warrioring her way towards the apocalypse.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Clothilde + Giveaway

clothilde

 

Clothilde
Book 3 in The Comet Trilogy

by Miriam Newman

Historical Romance, Fantasy Romance, Historical Adventure

Date Published: May 7, 2021

Publisher: DCL Publications

Daughter of Norman aristocrats, Clothilde du Flaumier is hopelessly in love with the illegitimate son of a nobleman. Her father will never countenance their marriage, nor does the object of her affections want one. But who else is there for such a stubborn, reckless girl?

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Excerpt

She was pointing at her nemesis, thirsting to see him extinguished before her eyes. God would have to forgive her later. Guie’s horse, trained to a fine art, jumped a prone body on the ground—Dain—and landed at a full stop just ahead of the fleeing kidnapper, allowing Guie to land on the backstroke. It was over in seconds. She heard his sword in the air, the thud as it met flesh, and then she didn’t want to see any more.

The others were running for their lives, but the second knight rode them down like chasing mice, leaning from his horse at a full gallop, hewing them down. Within moments, justice had been administered. Nothing but dead bodies lay in the road except for Clothilde and Dain.

Clothilde lay retching and heaving in the dust, gasping for air. She saw a horse’s forefeet in front of her, then felt hands on her shoulders. Her sister’s husband jerked her to her feet in a single motion and then had to hold her up.

Are you hurt?” he asked, one mailed arm around her like iron. “Clothilde, are you hurt?”

She shook her head. “Just winded.” She spared a glance for Dain, who was still sprawled at the roadside with the second knight simply standing in front of him, dismounted. But he had left him his head.

What the fuck is this?” Guie demanded furiously.

I…went over the cliffs,” Clothilde gasped. “He found me. He was bringing me home.”

From here?”

He took me to his home first. They took care of me. Please, Guie, don’t kill him.”

That is not a likely story,” the second knight put in. She glanced up at him long enough to know she didn’t know him. He was young, dark haired, with piercing blue eyes, and speaking with assurance. “I found where you went down and it was right on your own land. You didn’t fall, you were taken down. Then this turd grabbed you for a little ransom, which now is a reward, so he was returning you. Isn’t that the way it went?”

She saw Dain watching, not trying to defend himself. There was no point. They were aristocrats, he was a peasant. They would do with him as they wished, law or no law. But he knew now she was no lady’s maid.

You’ve taken Lord Hugo’s daughter, you idiot.” The unknown knight spat into the bushes—more disgust than dust. By her count, he had killed three men in mere seconds and his attitude clearly conveyed he wouldn’t mind one more.

Please don’t kill him, he doesn’t deserve it,” Clothilde begged.

That will be for Hugo to judge.” Guie was steadying her on her feet, but she could tell he was still furious. Well, let her father judge, then. There were no witnesses left alive. They were lying in bloodied heaps on the road. She turned aside, retching.

He will not be back for some time,” Guie said when she had finished. “Harold is defeated but they are harrying his remnant to the north. I’ve come back for Cecile’s confinement, no more, then I must return. But you…”

He looked at her with a dire shake of the head.

All I did was to go fishing,” Clothilde protested.

Alone. On an unguarded beach with everyone gone to war. Tilde, I do not know what to do with you.” He looked over at the second knight. “Estman, are you not in need of a wife?”


About The Author


Hailing from Pennsylvania, Miriam Newman has developed a prolific writing career that began in her twenties, although she published her very first novel some time later in 2009. She was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been her passion for as long as she can remember and she brings that background to her writing, along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services, and many trips to Ireland, where she nurtures her muse. Her published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. It was in Ireland that she wrote The King’s Daughter. Ireland is her favorite place in this world. “I connect there with something I can’t even explain,” she says fondly.

Miriam spent many years working in Social Services, and after retirement, she found herself working part-time in local government. Currently, she lives in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. Her passion for animal rescue and fostering has included a number of fur babies, from horses to dogs to a pig that appeared on her porch one morning. Also a lover of great books, the one that she finds most responsible for her venture into fantasy and recommends is The Once and Future King by T.H. White.

Fans of Ms. Newman can follow her online at the following locations:

Website

Blog 1

Blog 2

Amazon Author Central

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads

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