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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #100

Dear Reader,

Some chart news. Operation Zigzag is #1, my thirtieth #1. Also, Operation Sherlock is a top thirty hot new release. And one for the album, Stormy Weather is a hot new release alongside Raymond Chandler and Lee Child. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible.

My article about SOE heroine Virginia Hall appears on page 36 of the Seaside News 🙂

My latest translation, Operation Broadsword in German. Sandra has translated nine of my books. It’s wonderful to work with someone so talented.

Wales and England in 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Source: Find My Past.

The Noulton branch of my family were season ticket holders at the Old Bailey with several generations of the family in trouble with the law.

I’ve just discovered that my 5 x great grandfather James Noulton, aged twelve, was sent to the Royal Philanthropic Society’s School in 1801. Established by gentlemen in London in 1788, the Philanthropic Society was concerned with the caring of homeless children left to fend for themselves by begging or thieving. Those admitted were children of criminals or those who had been convicted of crimes themselves. The school, pictured, moved to Redhill in 1849.

Many of the children were encouraged to emigrate to Australia, Canada or South Africa, or to join the army or navy. This ties in perfectly with my ancestor James because he joined the navy and served in the Napoleonic wars. More details in a future post.

My store, freshly updated. Bestselling psychological and historical mysteries from £0.99. Paperbacks, brand new in mint condition 🙂
https://hannah-howe.com/store/

Meet my ancestors, my 15 x great grandfather, Sir Rhys ap Thomas (1449 – 1525), the chief Welsh supporter of Henry VII.

Sir Rhys was the third son of Thomas ap Gruffudd ap Nicolas and Elizabeth Gruffydd. Through marriage to Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir John Gruffydd of Abermarlais, Thomas ap Gruffudd ap Nicolas linked his family and thus this branch of my tree to the Welsh princes. 

Sir Rhys ap Thomas

With the Yorkists in the ascendant, as a child Sir Rhys joined his father at the court of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Father and son returned to Wales in 1467. On the death of his father, who had been predeceased by his two elder sons, Sir Rhys succeeded to the family estate. 

Lancastrian by tradition, Sir Rhys’ family opposed Richard III and made overtures to Henry Tudor while the latter was in exile in Brittany. 

Sir Rhys welcomed Henry Tudor when the latter landed at Milford Haven and used his considerable influence to rally support for the future king, recruiting 500 men. Henry and Rhys’ forces marched separately through Wales before meeting at Welshpool and crossing into England. Chroniclers described Rhys’ Welsh force as by far the most powerful being ‘large enough to annihilate the rest of Henry’s army.’

Source: Wikipedia

On 22 August 1485, Henry’s army supported by Rhys’ followers met Richard III’s army at the Battle of Bosworth. Richard launched an attack, which Rhys’ men repelled. In desperation, Richard and his knights charged at Henry. The king was unhorsed, surrounded and killed. Some sources claim that Sir Rhys personally delivered the death blow to Richard III with his poleaxe. Whatever the truth, Henry knighted Rhys on the battlefield.

Grateful for his support, Henry Tudor bestowed more honours on Sir Rhys, including the offices of constable and steward of the lordship of Brecknock, chamberlain of the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, and steward of the lordship of Builth. Through these posts Sir Rhys held all the chief appointments that were in the king’s gift in South Wales. 

Henry Tudor

In support of the new king, Sir Rhys commanded of a troop of horse at the battle of Stoke (16 June 1487), capturing the pretender, Lambert Simnel, and he participated in the expedition against Boulogne in October 1492. 

At the battle of Blackheath (17 June 1497), Sir Rhys took the rebel leader, Lord Audeley, prisoner and was created a knight-banneret. Also, he was present at the surrender of Perkin Warbeck at Beaulieu Abbey in September 1497. For services to the king, he was was made Knight of the Garter on 22 April 1505. 

Carew Castle

Sir Rhys spent his latter years at Carew Castle. There, he held a great tournament to celebrate his admission to the Order of the Garter, inviting all the leading families of Wales. He also updated the castle, adding a gatehouse and windows.

Sir Rhys ap Thomas married twice, first to Eva, daughter of Henri ap Gwilym of Cwrt Henri, and second to Janet, daughter of Thomas Mathew of Radyr and widow of Thomas Stradling of St Donats. He died in 1525 and was buried at Greyfriars church, Carmarthen. 

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Ann's War Eve’s War Sam Smith Mystery Series Saving Grace

Authors Give Back

I’m supporting Smashwords’ Authors Give Back campaign where authors offer readers free or discounted books during this difficult time. All my books are discounted and you will also find the list of free titles here

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/hannahhowe

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #39

Dear Reader,

Another excellent week for Ann in my personal sales top ten.

Published this week, the March issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads!

I’m delighted to be a member of the editorial team. In this issue you will find a number of my articles and interviews plus great contributions from a range of talented writers.

In this issue…

Our authors gaze into their crystal balls and predict the future.

Articles on mental health, physical health, women of courage plus everything you need to know about March.

The story of StreetVet, vets who help the pets of homeless people

Interviews, puzzles, poems, humour, travel, young writers and so much more!

This week, I made a start on Roots, The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga. This mini series offers fresh and interesting challenges for me because the stories are not mysteries. That said, I’ve never regarded myself as a mystery writer in the Agatha Christie tradition.

Although these stories are set in 1937-8 the characters are familiar to me mainly because of their backgrounds.

As I branch out with The Olive Tree and Eve’s War the more I’m drawn to Sam. By exploring various formats and genres I believe it will strengthen my writing of the Sam Smith Mystery Series.

https://books2read.com/u/mgZ1dq

My latest translation, the German version of Saving Grace. Sandra has agreed to translate my forthcoming Eve’s War series. She’s a wonderful translator so I’m looking forward to that project.

While reading Pearl Witherington’s SOE file, I discovered an amazing coincidence. As secretary ‘Genevieve Touzalin‘, Pearl’s false papers and cover story stated that she lived on Rue Paradis, Marseille. Yesterday, I wrote a chapter of Operation Zigzag set on Rue Paradis 🙂

In Operation Zigzag, Eve’s husband, Michel, drives a Talbot Lago T150 SS Teardrop Coupe, like this one, along Rue Paradis.

My updated store, which features Snow in August, my latest Sam Smith mystery for only £2.99 a saving of 66% off the recommended retail price 🙂

https://hannah-howe.com/mystore/

I completed the writing of Operation Zigzag today. The editing and proofreading will follow. Next week I will develop the storyboard for Operation Locksmith. This story introduces Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp to the series. The interplay between Eve, Guy and Mimi will be central to this series so I’m looking forward to writing this story.

Operation Zigzag is receiving excellent pre-order support from Canada, so many thanks to my Canadian readers.

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/operation-zigzag/9781999370992-item.html

The SOE had a team of boffins who designed everything from pen guns, to exploding cow pats to clothes in the latest French fashions. One of the tricks they employed was ageing, for clothing, briefcases and money. To age money the women in the Cover and Documentations department used to wear freshly minted banknotes in their brassieres to soften the notes.

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE

Yvonne Fontaine was born on 8 August 1913. From Troyes, Yvonne witnessed Allied bombing raids and her initial contact with the French Resistance came about through helping Allied airmen, shot down over France, to escape to Spain.

Saint-Girons, France to Esterri d’Aneu, Spain, the Freedom Trail

For the SOE, Yvonne began work for the Tinker network as a courier with organiser Ben Cowburn. When the Gestapo closed in on the network, the SOE recalled Yvonne to Britain on 15 November 1943. At this stage Yvonne was not officially recognised as an SOE agent. Indeed, some sources still do not recognise her, which is a shame given her level of bravery and commitment.

In Britain, Yvonne underwent SOE training. She returned to France by boat landing on the North Breton coast on 25 March 1944 to continue her work as a courier, travelling throughout France, carrying messages and sabotage materials.

Yvonne’s network enjoyed numerous successes, which included destroying railway tracks and engines, sabotaging canals by lowering the water levels and dusting itching powder on to the shirts and singlets of German submarine crews.

When the Nazis arrested the leaders of Yvonne’s network, she stepped up and continued their work helping to organise the Resistance in the lead up to D-Day. In the euphoria post D-Day, she collected information and materials, and collated reports before returning to Britain on 16 September 1944, her mission successful.

After the war, Yvonne settled into married life. She died on 9 May 1996.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #34

Dear Reader,

Some big changes to my top ten this week with Ann at #1 and all five books in my Ann’s War series in the top ten. Saving Grace also features, at #9. Betrayal reached #1 on the Amazon charts this week, for the eighth time. Many thanks to everyone who supports my books.

A lovely review for the Spanish version of Saving Grace. Many thanks to all my translators for their fantastic contributions to my books.

5 out of 5 stars Una novela súper interesante bien narrada.

Es una muy interesante historia, narrada de forma que te atrapa rápidamente, se nota que la autora investigó bien la temática antes de escribir. Lo recomiendo 100%

Mom has been publishing monthly magazines since October 2018. As editor, I’m delighted to announce that you can now catch up with all our back issues. Simply visit Mom’s website for hundreds of pages of articles, stories, recipes, puzzles, big name interviews and so much more 🙂

I am reading over forty books as I research Eve’s War. All of these books tell remarkable stories. However, the stand-out book so far is Moondrop to Gascony by Anne-Marie Walters. Anne-Marie, only twenty when she arrived in France as an SOE agent, had a way with words. Indeed, after the war she became a translator and editor, and created her own literary agency.

It’s interesting to note the difference in the covers from the first edition to a recent edition. Writers have also added an introduction and notes to the recent edition.

Quite rightly, Moondrop to Gascony won the John Llewellyn-Rhys prize in 1947.

Women of Courage – Heroines of the SOE

Anne-Marie Walters was born in Switzerland on 16 March 1923. Under the code name Colette she served the Wheelwright network as a courier. Twenty years old when she arrived in France she was, after Sonya Butt, the youngest female agent of the SOE.

Anne-Marie was born in Geneva. Her mother was French while her father was F.P. Walters, Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Nations. The family left Switzerland for Britain after the outbreak of the war and Anne-Marie joined the WAAF in 1941.

The SOE recruited Anne-Marie on 6 July 1943 and after a period of training she joined the Wheelwright network in France arriving on 4 January 1944.

On 16 March 1944, Anne-Marie celebrated her twenty-first birthday. Her hosts provided a beautifully decorated birthday cake with twenty-one lighted candles. However, the candles soon emptied the room for they were pieces of detonating fuse painted pink by the group’s explosives expert!

After D-Day the French Resistance became bolder and the Nazis more brutal in suppressing any opposition. On 21 June 1944 an estimated 2,000 soldiers of the German army attacked a pocket of the Resistance led by Lt. Colonel George Starr. During the battle, Anne-Marie distributed hand-grenades to the Resistance and buried incriminating documents in a cave under a church. She also collected SOE money and took it with her when she and the Resistance withdrew from the village. 

During her time in the SOE, Anne-Marie clashed with section leader George Starr. Of him she later said, “He is strictly an agent and neither a politician nor a military strategist…the guerrilla action he commanded was most unsuccessful.” In turn, Starr criticised Anne-Marie. He said, “She wore high Paris fashion,” thus violating his principle that couriers should be inconspicuous. He ordered her to leave France adding that she was “undisciplined, indiscreet, very ‘man-mad’ and disobedient.”

However, Starr, a controversial character who faced a court of enquiry when he returned to Britain, acknowledged Anne-Marie’s courage and willingness to undertake any mission. 

Anne-Marie left France in August 1944 and travelled through Spain en route to Algiers. In Britain she wrote a report. In her report she claimed that Starr accused her of having an affair with a fellow agent and of spreading rumours that he was having an affair with a female SOE agent. 

In 1946, Anne-Marie published a book, Moondrop to Gascony, detailing her experiences in the SOE. Her book, beautifully written, won the John Llewellyn-Rhys prize in 1947.

Later, under her married name, Anne-Marie Comert, she established herself as an editor, translator and literary agent. She died in France in 1998, aged 75.

Local views around Ogmore this misty, moisty morning.

Meet Eve Beringar, narrator of Eve’s War https://hannah-howe.com/eves-war/eve-beringar-background/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Recommended Reading

Buy a Book, Save a Dog

One of the joys of being an author is interacting with fellow authors in our vibrant online community. Around five years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Paulette Mahurin and reading her books. Paulette writes in a number of genres, but her main focus is historical fiction and stories based on intolerance. In novels such as To Live Out Loud, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, The Day I Saw the Hummingbird,  The Seven Year Dress, Irma’s Endgame and A Different Kind of Angel she has tackled a range of topics including: homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and women’s abuse.

Paulette’s books are immaculately researched, beautifully written and highlight the true soul of humanity. A native of Southern California, where she lives with her husband and two dogs, she has a Master’s Degree in Science from UCLA.  

Paulette’s books are a great read. However, added to that she donates all her profits to rescue dogs from kill shelters. To date, Paulette has rescued well over 2,200 dogs. A remarkable achievement. So, if you are looking for a great read this summer and would like to rescue a dog into the bargain, please check out Paulette Mahurin’s books. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO