Sunday 17 December 2023

Back to the story-telling

  After my last housekeeping/marketing post, this one is mainly about the actual story! 

  But I just need to add to my post of November 25th, to say that Amazon have at last put up logical prices, although the three books are not offered as a series unless you search for "The Connection Trilogy" or the ISBNs (see below). However, Book 1 is still at £4.05. This, as I've mentioned before, is because it's a previous edition with a different cover that they need to sell out before they will offer the latest edition (it says there are 14 left!). I have now created my author page in Author Central at Amazon (I hope. It's waiting for verification!) and that should give me the chance to make changes to the listings of my books. We shall see … Enough of that!


  Now, as I'm sure you know, you can download samples of most books from Amazon, even if you aren't buying from their sites. In UK, for my Book 1 the sample is here, Book 2 here, and Book 3 here. (Amazon in other countries also provides samples.) 

  But just to save you the trouble (or perhaps to show you it's worth the trouble ...), here is an edited extract from Chapter 1 in Book 3, describing some of Themistokles’ (Themis) and his wife’s reactions to the first day of their married life … (Frog, as you possibly know, is Themis' personal slave, shrewd partner in many an escapade, and an often under-rated doggerel poet (;-).)

Themistokles opened his eyes …

Birds were calling to greet the dawn. Two green eyes, long-lashed and almond-shaped, gazed at him with unwavering adoration – and was that … triumph? 

His wife! 

His new, beautiful, young, headstrong, unsuitable (according to his mother), perfect (according to him), wife, was finally beside him. 

‘At last,’ she whispered. ‘I’ve been awake for ages. I was watching you sleep. You dribble, you know.’

Themistokles felt he would explode with joy. ‘And you don’t?’ he countered. Their wedding night had all but undone the plaits and decorations of her unruly, chestnut-brown hair. He reached out and stroked her cheek, softer than the breast of a song-thrush.

… The day continues, each of them dealing with different urgent matters elsewhere,  until …

In the courtyard, he saw his bride at the top of the stairs to the women’s rooms, looking down at him. 

He ran up the first few steps to meet her, excited by the thought of her reaction to his next gift. 

But her expression stopped him dead. 

‘What’s this?’ he said, backing down a step. ‘Don’t look at me like that. Tell me what’s wrong. If you need something else, we’ll get it.’

She was clenching her fists to control her temper. ‘I have found something that needs explanation,’ she said deliberately. She turned briskly, her long, married-woman’s robe swishing round her ankles.

He followed her into his workroom. It had once been his mother’s weaving room and now was where he made his colours and stored his painting materials, pictures and sketches. No one except Frog came in here with him. His jaw tensed with anger. ‘What were you doing in here?’ he asked, keeping his voice even. ‘This isn’t one of the women’s rooms anymore.’

She stopped in front of the table where a painting on a thin board was propped up and covered. ‘I thought we’d shown each other everything we’d made,’ she said. ‘But you never showed me this.’ She pulled the flimsy cloth off and stood back.

In the picture, a nymph knelt by a pool among sparse rocks and shrubs, under an empty sky. A twisted tree leant over part of the pool. The nymph was wearing a strange kind of loincloth and a tight bodice that revealed the exact shape of her breasts and waist. The style was not like the vase paintings or murals that Themis did for money. It was more fluid, with subtler colours. The nymph had very short, light brown hair and a child-like profile. She was looking into the mirror-smooth pool at her reflection. But it wasn’t a reflection of her own face that she was gazing at. 

It was the face of Themis himself.

  Some scenes seem to write themselves and others need a long gestation. For the latter, I write and rewrite, leave it for weeks, rewrite again. During this process for the above, I found some relevant photos that helped. These are three of them ...

This pool among rocks and trees is a typical scene from near the source of many Greek rivers. With little rainfall much of the year, the pools have almost no current of water through them and so can be mirror smooth. 

These two photos are of the controversial caryatid at the British Museum and illustrate clothes and hairstyle for a young women on a formal occasion around the time of my story.

There was, then as now, a living to be made by being the best hair plaiter, using the most intricate designs, especially for weddings and other formal occasions.

There's an illustration of how to wear a similar chiton (dress) in my post of November 12th, 2012.

Thanks for reading!

The Connection Trilogy


The Boy in Two Minds trade paperback ISBN 9781838413606

The Girl in Two Worlds trade paperback ISBN 9781838413620

An Ancient Connection trade paperback ISBN 9781838413644


The Boy in Two Minds E-book ISBN 9781838413613

The Girl in Two Worlds E-book ISBN 9781838413637

An Ancient Connection E-book ISBN 9781838413651

All photographs © Julia M Newsome unless otherwise credited.

Saturday 25 November 2023

The whole trilogy at last ... and a request

It’s a year and a half since I posted anything here. And this will be mainly information for potential buyers rather than a blog chat. So unless you are here to learn about buying one or more of these books, I suggest you skip it! There are far more important things in this world at present to focus on.

Meanwhile, in the years it's taken to get all three books written and published, there have been lots of comparatively tiny hiccups and delays in the process. So I felt it was better not to write anything at all, rather than a series of petty complaints! But my beta readers, and Kate, who designed the covers, and Fliss, who proofread and painted the iconic medallions, were always on hand and enthusiastic, seeing me through frustration after frustration, a Book 3 publication date that could not be pinned down, and a launch that could not happen in the end. 
Thank you all.

For now, I would just like to ask any of my readers who is also enthusiastic about “Time travel to Ancient Greece” to buy one or more of the E-books (available at approximately a third of the print price), read it/them, and review it/them if you feel strongly enough. This will help my on-going, rather amateur marketing efforts immeasurably. 

The situation with the print versions at present is that, without any reviews and almost no orders through book shops or Amazon as yet, delivery times in UK are being given by Waterstones and others as up to 5 weeks! However, the print titles do appear on their websites and on those of the wholesalers who supply your local bookshop (as far as I can discover). On other Amazons, like Germany, Canada and Australia, delivery times differ widely, while in the USA Amazon delivery is 3-5 days. 

Meanwhile, I'm encouraged to be told that the trilogy would make a fine gift for fans of 'ancient worlds'. But please see below concerning Book 1 on Amazon UK (only - not other Amazons or UK bookshops), and please note that, in spite of repeatedly being informed, as yet they have not caught up with the fact that the third book of the trilogy is out and connected with the other two. It still describes them as 1 and 2 of 2! But I've set up my Author Central page on Amazon UK and am expecting eventually to be allowed to reorganise their listings of my books.

As for me, in spite of the above, it’s still a great treat to have copies of all three to line up and gloat over! I can order and receive as many print copies as I have space for, with minimal delay. Perhaps I should set up a 'shop' here - if I can work out how ... 

None of which is, of course, a good sales pitch on my part! However, I must admit that this is not how I make my living. I write because I love writing, and the marketing and distribution have never been a priority. Unlike the extremely capable and efficient providers of marketing advice on social media, I don't feel driven to spend huge amounts of time and money setting up email lists, publicising on-line launches, offering freebies and doing blog tours all at once and immediately. I do intend to get round to some of these as time allows, and I certainly mean to keep posting on LinkedIn, the notorious X, and my professional FaceBook page. I am also making it known that I can offer author visits to local schools and bookshops in the New Year. And I want to give value for money, which is why I suggest the E-book at present - "enthralling" content without the costs of paper and printing!

Meanwhile, thank you to all those who have already been sharing my news, including those who have read one or more of the books and have praised them. 

Lastly, I’d like to draw attention to Book 1, The Boy in Two Minds. If you didn't already know, part of its story takes place partly during the 87th ancient Olympics (432 BCE), and therefore may be of particular interest in 2024, with the Paris Olympics (33rd of the modern era) in July. There are some old but complementary reviews of the original 2012 version (titled The Boy with Two Heads) still discoverable on this page on Amazon. That edition is officially out of print and unobtainable now (although it’s almost the same text as the present Book 1). My thanks to those who reviewed it so kindly in those far off days. 

The three incarnations of 
The Boy ...
In fact, Book 1 has been through three incarnations, and Amazon UK are still offering the middle one shown here instead of the latest (it has the same ISBN). So if you only want to buy Book 1, I suggest you do so now, while their price for it is still less than £5! Once Amazon’s old stock is gone, the version with the new cover at the ‘normal’ price will be £13.99 or so. At least this shows that fiction about Ancient Greece and its Olympics is sales-worthy! Meanwhile, the whole trilogy with its coordinated covers, as in the photos above, is only available from a bookshop prepared to order it for you.

Thank you for reading this rather boring blog post. I’m working on a more interesting one next ... and it will be posted in less than 18 months.

The Connection Trilogy


The Boy in Two Minds trade paperback ISBN 9781838413606

The Girl in Two Worlds trade paperback ISBN 9781838413620

An Ancient Connection trade paperback ISBN 9781838413644


The Boy in Two Minds E-book ISBN 9781838413613

The Girl in Two Worlds E-book ISBN 9781838413637

An Ancient Connection E-book ISBN 9781838413651

All photographs © Julia M Newsome unless otherwise credited.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

The Ancients are not forgotten in Corinth

Dear Reader, the outside world seems to continue on its alarming road to self-destruction but, I have to admit, I've had an exciting and at times wonderful few months.  I managed to get both Books 1 and 2 published as e-books on Kindle in early May. Then the rest of May and most of June were spent in Greece with a complex agenda including a family wedding and visits to locations that come into An Ancient Connection. The former was deep in the Mani countryside, the latter around Corinth and the Peloponnese, some of which I have visited before and posted about.

As you may know, the ancient city of Corinth (Korinthos) was a short distance inland on its plain, linked to its two ports of Lechaion to the north on the Gulf of Corinth, and Kenchreai to the south on the Saronic Gulf, by a network of roads. It was much changed by the Romans. Its acropolis, Akrokorinthos, on the high, rocky hill further back from the coast, was always a strong natural fortress. It dominates the skyline and, throughout its history, often contained a small town within its walls. At its highest point, a famous temple to Aphrodite was built in 5th century BCE, now utterly ruined and almost invisible.                                                                                                            
View from the entrance gate to the fortress of Akrokorinthos.
Remains of the Temple to Aphrodite

Modern Corinth is on the sea a little to the east of ancient Lechaion. It has been badly damaged by earthquakes, particularly in the last couple of centuries and has been rebuilt many times. But the Ancients are not forgotten. Pegasus flies above the wide square between the pedestrian shopping area and the wharfs. Aphrodite patrols a broad street of cafes and eateries. Heracles rests after his labours in a seaside carpark. 

As for the actual book in which these places feature, I’m revising the text ready for readers to comment. 

I have also started to send out press releases and put posts on my social media platforms. I find I need to discipline myself to spending just one hour per working day on this. Longer, and the writing doesn't get done!

The paperbacks of Books 1 and 2 are now available for order from all good bookshops, while e-books and paperbacks are available from Amazon. However, at present, Amazon is selling-off very cheaply a previous print edition (The Boy in Two Heads as opposed to The Boy in Two Minds) with the old cover. Getting it withdrawn seems to be impossible, so a buyer who wants paperbacks that look like a set would do better to obtain them from elsewhere. There is no problem with Amazon’s e-books. 

But it's summer!! And with swathes of colourful flowers and wide clear views, friends to meet, and/or walks to take in the long evenings after a day at my desk, it's the very best time of year for me!


I hope it is for you, too, dear reader, however much we fear for the future in so many ways.

All photographs © Julia M Newsome unless otherwise credited.

Saturday 12 March 2022

Sunflowers and snowdrops

Further to my post just before Christmas, The Girl in Two Worlds - Time travel to Ancient Athens, came out on March 1st, 2022, 10 years to the day from the publication date of The Boy with Two Heads, as it was then titled, on February 29th, 2012. 

However, there was no fanfare, partly because the print version still seems to be unavailable from the usual outlets (it will probably take another week or two) and also because the e-book is not ready. But it was one step in my slow progress towards having both print and revised e-books on sale. I've made a start on the necessary text 'translations' of The Boy and The Girl into ePub files for the ebooks and yet another revision of Book 3 is in train.

The covers have been refined, though the Book 3 cover is still a draft. My thanks to Kate (design) and Fliss (art) for creating such gorgeous results!


My present blurb for the whole trilogy is this:
"The precarious connection between Themistokles, son of Kallistos of ancient Athens and Suzanne Short of Penrith in modern Cumbria UK, was the result of freak accidents. It seemed to begin and end in 432 BCE / 2010 CE when Suzanne experienced so much of Themistocles' visit to Olympia. But now, in 418 BCE / 2017 CE, the connection is back. Athens is threatened by Sparta from without and traitors from within. Suzanne, now a student and athlete at Lancaster University, is a fascinated by helpless witness as Themistokles tries to save his city and his family."

But now our own world of 2022 CE has convulsed again - far more violently in the last few weeks than it did with the first Covid-19 lockdown two years ago. Covid isolation was what brought me back to this project, but now I often find it impossible to concentrate on what seems to have become an inconsequential hobby. The horrors of Putin's invasion of non-aggressive Ukraine, and the uncertainty of where the resulting world-wide turmoil will lead, claim my (and most others', it seems) attention as often as I let them.

At present, of course, here in the UK, my life is not directly threatened. In 1944 my father's was, though. He was in southern China with his Red Cross unit, 'walking out' ahead of the Japanese invasion. He wrote in his journal of the need to keep to the usual routines and standards wherever possible, however chaotic things get. So that's what I'm trying to do, whether The Connection Trilogy turns out to be inconsequential or not. 

At least Spring has now arrived with energy and hope. The courage and determination of Ukraine's extraordinary president, Volodymyr Zalenskyy, and his kick-ass compatriots is infectious. They are our buffer against unthinkable destruction and casualties, and their resolve seems to be bringing together other previously, and possibly dangerously, divided nations. Thank you, Ukraine.

All photographs © Julia M Newsome unless otherwise credited