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Monday, 30 March 2015

THE BREAKING DAWN: PUBLICATION DATE (Friday 10 April)

After a year of writing, editing and polishing, THE BREAKING DAWN - the first novel in the Kingdom of Mercia series - is about to be published!

The novel will be available to purchase on Amazon from Friday 10 April.

You will also be able to pre-order the novel on Amazon in a couple of days - so watch this space for more details!

THE BREAKING DAWN is my fourth full-length Historical Romance, set in 7th Century Anglo-Saxon England.

We now leave the Kingdom of the East Angles behind and focus upon the Kingdom of Mercia. This novel also journeys to Wales (named Powys in this period).

The Breaking Dawn tells the love story between Cynddylan, a Welsh prince, and Merwenna, a Mercian village girl.

My novels use real historical figures and events as the backdrop, and this one is no exception. Cynddylan was a 7th Century Welsh ruler and King Penda (the villain my readers love to hate!) also makes a dramatic reappearance in this story.

The Breaking Dawn is an epic tale about love, loyalty and destiny.

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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Inspirational proverb

Now, for a little inspiration...

Here is the proverb that begins THE BREAKING DAWN. A reminder that no matter how hard things get, there's always light at the end of the tunnel.


A haunting poem - The Song of Heledd

Researching a novel is great fun, and often gives me ideas for the plot that I would never have come up with otherwise.

When looking for details about Cynddylan, the 7th Century Welsh prince (and the hero of THE BREAKING DAWN), I came across a poem, translated from Old Welsh: the Canu Heledd – the Song of Heledd. In this poem, Cynddylan's sister, Heledd, laments her brother's death, and the attack and destruction of his hall.

This poem is so hauntingly beautiful that I'd like to share it with you:

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without a bed.
I will weep for a while; then I will be silent.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without candle.
Save God, who will give me sanity?

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without light.
Grief for you comes over me.

The hall of Cynddylan, its roof is dark,
After the blest assembly.
Woe the good that does not come to it.

The hall of Cynddylan, you have become shapeless,
Your shield is in the grave.
While he was alive, there were no breached gates.

The hall of Cynddylan is forlorn tonight,
After the one who owned it.
Alas death, why does it spare me?

The hall of Cynddylan is not comfortable tonight,
On the top of the enduring rock,
Without lord, without host, without protection.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without songs.
My cheeks are worn away by tears.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without a warband.
Abundant my tears where it falls.

The hall of Cynddylan, it wounds me to see it,
Without roof, without fire.
My lord is dead, but I am alive.

The hall of Cynddylan lies waste tonight,
After steadfast warriors,
Elfan, and gold-wearing Cynddylan.

The hall of Cynddylan is desolate tonight,
After the respect which was mine,
Without men, without women who cared for it.

The hall of Cynddylan is quiet tonight,
After losing its lord.
Great merciful God, what shall I do?

The hall of Cynddylan, its roof is dark,
After the English destroyed
Cynddylan and Elfan of Powys.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
After the race of the Cyndrwyn,
Cynon and Gwion and Gwyn.

The hall of Cynddylan, it is a wound to me each hour,
After the great company
That I saw on your hearth.


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Friday, 27 March 2015

THE BREAKING DAWN - sneak preview #1

THE BREAKING DAWN inches closer to publication (the actual date will be out soon). In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of the novel's Amazon description. It's epic!


You cannot fight fate

A historical romance adventure set in 7th Century Anglo-Saxon England – a time when only the strong survived.

A Mercian village girl and a Welsh prince. When two worlds collide, an unforgettable love story unfolds.

It is the summer of 641 A.D., and the Kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria are about to do battle. 

Merwenna of Weyham accepts the hand of a young warrior who is about to march to war. But when her betrothed does not return, she takes matters into her own hands and goes in search of him.

Welsh battle lord, Prince Cynddylan, leads a host of warriors to help Mercia fight Northumbria. In doing so, he forms a fragile alliance with one of Britannia’s most ruthless warlords – King Penda of Mercia. 

In the wake of the Battle of Maes Cogwy, the lives of many will change. 
Merwenna travels to Tamworth, the seat of the Mercian King, in search of Beorn, her betrothed – only to discover the bitter truth.

Cynddylan and Penda return to Tamworth from battle, victorious – but fall out in its aftermath.

From the moment Merwenna and Cynddylan meet in the Great Tower of Tamworth, their paths are entwined. 
  
In a journey from Tamworth, through the green heart of Mercia, and into the woods and mountains of Wales – Merwenna struggles between grief for the man she has lost, and her powerful attraction to this battle lord who appears to love only power and glory. 

Cynddylan is also torn. With each passing day, he finds himself increasingly captivated by this courageous young woman. Merwenna makes him question the world, and his place in it. Suddenly, he is not so sure what is worth living, and dying, for.

Can two lovers from such different worlds, ever be together?

The Breaking Dawn is the first novel in the Kingdom of Mercia series, following the ground-breaking Kingdom of the East Angles novels: Dark Under the Cover of Night, Nightfall till Daybreak and The Deepening Night. Set in 7th Century Anglo-Saxon England, these novels blend epic romance, adventure and rich historical detail.

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Historical background for The Breaking Dawn


The Breaking Dawn is slowly inching further towards publication. The bulk of the editing has been completed and now we're on to polishing and perfecting the novel!

For this story, I've decided to insert some 'Historical Background' notes at the start, in order to give readers an idea of the cultural and political context of the time. 

Something that readers have asked me, is when exactly was the 'Anglo-Saxon' period? Not only that, but what made it different to the rest of the Middle Ages?

In the 7th Century, England was not as we know it today 

The British Isles were named Britannia (a legacy of the Roman colonization) and split into rival kingdoms: the Kingdom of the East Angles, Mercia, Northumbria, Kent and the East, and West Saxons - as well as the Celtic Kingdoms of Powys (Wales) and Wessex.

The Anglo-Saxon period lasted from the departure of the Romans, in around 430 A.D., to the Norman invasion in 1066 A.D.

However, I've focused on just a small window within the period.

I'm particularly fascinated by the period between the departure of the Romans and the first Viking invasion in 793 A.D – a 300 year period in which Anglo-Saxon culture flourished. So far, I've only set my novels in the 7th Century - from 600-700 A.D.

Why the 7th Century?

These were exciting times. The Kingdom of the East Angles was dominant at the beginning of this century, but gradually diminished under the power of Mercia. The 7th Century saw Christianity make inroads into the British Isles. Famous kings: Raedwald, Penda and Offa ruled during these years, leaving a lasting influence.

The Breaking Dawn is set in 641 A.D., at the height of King Penda of Mercia's reign. It is the year of the Battle of Maserfield (Maes Cogwy in Welsh). In the summer of this year, Powys (Wales) and Mercia united against, and defeated, the Northumbrians.

And very soon, you'll be able to read all about it. 

I will be announcing the publication date for The Breaking Dawn soon, so watch this space!

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Sign up to Jayne's monthly newsletter and receive a FREE copy of NIGHT SHADOWS (PDF format). Newsletter subscribers will also get sneak previews of upcoming novels, behind the scenes 'extras', snippets about Anglo-Saxon England, and podcasts from Jayne!