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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #121

Dear Reader,

I’ve received messages asking me when Operation Cameo, book six in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series, will be available. I’m pleased to say that the book will be listed on all major platforms as a pre-order later this month.

The earliest photograph to feature people. The Boulevard du Temple 1838 by Louis Daguerre. Because the exposure lasted for several minutes the moving traffic in the busy street left no trace. Only a shoe polisher and his client remained in place long enough to appear on the printed image. Sam mentions this in my latest Sam Smith mystery, Damaged.

Summer 1915, C Company, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, Number Nine Platoon. This picture includes my 2 x great grandfather Albert Charles Bick. 

On 25 September 1915 the Royal West Surrey Regiment engaged in the Battle of Loos, which resulted in 80% British casualties, including Albert, when the generals gassed their own men.

A State Lottery was recorded in 1569. The tickets were sold at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, pictured c1560.

A poem written in Welsh c1920 about my 2 x great grandfather William Howe. Lines include: ‘He deserves all the praise he receives’. ‘A Christian in his warm home’. ‘William Howe is a godly saint for getting us all to pray again in the chapel with the children’. ‘We will enjoy a big feast at the Sunday School’. ‘We will sing his praises when we meet in heaven’.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 36 of this month’s magazine.

I’ve traced the Bick branch of my family back to the fifteenth century. They settled in Badgeworth, Gloucestershire and lived there for hundreds of years. My branch of the family moved to London in the Victorian era, but you can still find Bicks in numerous numbers in Gloucestershire.

Unfortunately, the records for the Bicks of Badgeworth are not extensive, but I have uncovered a few nuggets of information that add details to my ancestors’ lives.

The surname Bick is of Dutch and German origin. It derives from the Middle Dutch and Middle High German word bicke meaning pickaxe or chisel. The name was associated with stonemasons and people who worked with pickaxes and chisels.

It’s likely that the Bicks arrived in Gloucestershire from the Netherlands or Germany in the early Middle Ages. My branch of the family feature in many land deeds during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These deeds indicate that they farmed land as yeomen. However, they were never described as ‘gentlemen’, which suggests that there was no link with the gentry.

Bick sons married the daughters of the following families: Meek, Fawkes, Spring, Blush, Izod and Netherton. Evocative names. These families were also of the yeomen class. The name Fawkes suggests a link to the infamous Guy Fawkes. However, Guy was from York and it is unlikely that my ancestor, Jane Fawkes, was closely related to him.

From the land, my Bick ancestors became innkeepers, running coaching inns. George was a popular name over four successive generations. George ‘the second’ – 22 October 1668 to 3 June 1738 – was an innkeeper in Badgeworth. Some of the Bicks left wills, but they are difficult to read and those that are legible contain only basic details of modest inheritances for sons and daughters.

The Bick ancestor who captured my attention was Thomas Bick, born 1575 in Badgeworth. He died in 1623 of the ‘pest’, also known as the pestilence or plague. The plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which mainly infects rats and other rodents who become the prime reservoir for the bacteria.

Seventeenth century plague doctor with protective mask and clothing.

The Pestilence was a bubonic plague pandemic that occurred in Afro-Eurasia from 1346 to 1353. The plague created religious, social and economic upheavals with profound effects for the inhabitants of the time. It also drastically altered the course of European history.

Further waves of the plague swept over Europe throughout the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Certain years were more blighted than others, including 1623 the year that Thomas died. That bout of the pestilence lasted until 1640. It reoccurred again in 1644–54 and 1664–67. 

The 1664 to 1667 episode was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England. In 1665-66 it swept through London producing the ‘Great Plague of London’. Then, in September 1666, the ‘Great Fire of London’ destroyed the city. Some people speculated that the fire killed the pestilence, although records suggest that the disease was already on the wane. My London ancestors were caught up in the ‘Great Fire of London’, but more about them in future posts.

London 1665.

As we know to our cost, when we abuse nature and animals we create pandemics. Our ancestors did not have the scientific knowledge to appreciate this, but we do; there is no excuse.

Along with the pestilence, our ancestors died from a range of diseases and illnesses. Here is an example from 1632 with a few definitions.

Cut of the Stone – The surgical removal of a bladder stone

French Pox – Syphilis

Jawfaln – Locked jaw

Impostume – An abscess

King’s Evil – A tuberculous swelling of the lymph glands

Livergrown – Liver disease, possibly caused by alcoholism 

Murthered – Murdered

Planet – To be stricken with terror or affected adversely by the supposed influence of a planet

Purples – Purple blotches on the skin caused by broken blood vessels, indicative of an underlying illness, such as scurvy

Rising of the Lights – A condition of the larynx, trachea or lungs

Tissick – A cough

Tympany – Bloating

The saddest entry on this list, and the largest in number, is chrisomes and infants. Chrisomes refers to a baby less than a month old, which indicates that the start could often be the most dangerous period of a person’s life.

Stay safe. Wishing you well.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 31 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #119

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing author, playwright and journalist Tim Walker for Mom’s Favorite Reads. Meanwhile, Tim’s just published a new book, his thoughts on meeting stars of stage and screen. You can learn more about Tim’s book here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Turns-Secrets-Screen-Legends/dp/1914489004/

Ancestry have updated my DNA result. I’m 65% Welsh. The other 35% is shared between Belgium, the Channel Islands, England, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway.

My main genetic communities are Wales, Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Maryland.

I have cousins in Australia, New Zealand, California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Toronto, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and North Carolina.

I’m sure I have relatives in other countries and territories that this DNA test doesn’t cover, but it’s fascinating to see where my ancestors came from and where they settled as emigrants.

My ancestor Arthur Iveson was born on 16 June 1772 in Hawes, Yorkshire to Thomas Iveson and Margaret Taylor. Maybe due to complications from the birth Margaret died in October 1772 while Thomas died in 1788. As the youngest child, Arthur followed a tradition common amongst well-to-do families – he entered the Church.

St Margaret’s Church, Hawes. Credit: Wikipedia.

In 1793 the Bishop of Carlisle ordained Arthur as a deacon and a year later he became a priest in York. From York the Church sent Arthur to Nottinghamshire then to Norfolk where he established himself as Rector of East Bradenham.

In Norfolk, on 6 March 1797, Arthur married Martha English. Of course, as a rector Arthur could read and write, and he signed his name. Martha also signed her name, something not many women of the time could do, even women born into wealthy families.

Between 1798 and 1806 the couple produced six children: Ann, Thomas, born 18 March 1799, Arthur, Martha, Martha and Arthur. Martha #1 and Arthur #1 died in infancy.

Apart from the tragic infant deaths, everything was going well for Arthur. Between 1802 and 1817 he appeared on the Electoral Roll in Norfolk, which placed him in a privileged position, one of the elite in the country who could vote. In 1816 his son Thomas became a clerk to William James Murray in Kings Lynn and shortly after that he followed his father into the Church, becoming a vicar.

St Mary’s Church, East Bradenham. Credit: Wikipedia.

Arthur’s wife, Martha, died in 1828, and from that point events took a sinister turn.

At ten o’clock on the evening of 28 May 1832 Thomas entered Arthur’s rooms to talk with his father. The talk developed into an argument and Thomas produced a gun. He fired one shot, which entered Arthur’s heart.

With his father dying, Thomas ran next door to summon Captain Lake. He informed the captain of the shooting and Lake hastened to Arthur’s aid. The captain summoned two medical men, Mr Murlin, a surgeon, and Dr Tweedale, and they tended to Arthur, alas in vain, for he died within twenty minutes of the shooting.

The moment Arthur died, Thomas entered the kitchen and took a considerable amount of laudanum, which Mr Murlin promptly forced from his body. The Officers of Justice arrived and Thomas surrendered to them.

In July 1832 an inquest into the death of Arthur Iveson was held in a local public house, followed by a trial at the Quarter Sessions. During the inquest and trial it emerged that Thomas was ‘intelligent’ and a ‘gentleman’, although his behaviour of late had been eccentric.

The trial established that Thomas entered Arthur’s rooms with intent to shoot his father and that the bullet fired from his gun killed him. However, the jury acquitted Thomas on the grounds of insanity.

After the trial, Thomas entered a local infirmary and died there on 15 February 1836.

A Victorian Inquest

There is a postscript to this remarkable story. On 4 January 1848 in Hawes, Yorkshire, two cousins, John and Arthur Iveson, cousins of Arthur of Norfolk’s offspring, went drinking in a local pub, The Fountain Inn. They got drunk, argued, and engaged in a brawl. The brawl resulted in the death of Arthur Iveson.

The trail that followed delivered a verdict of manslaughter and John was sentenced to two months hard labour. After his prison sentence John resumed his role of local butcher. Twenty-two at the time of the manslaughter, he later married, raised a family and enjoyed a long life.

What to make of the Ivesons? Are they a violent branch of my family? I’m in touch with four first cousins, Iverson sisters, and no one would regard them as violent. Indeed, the opposite is true. It would appear that Thomas killed Arthur when in a troubled state of mind while John killed his cousin Arthur due to excessive alcohol consumption. 

History repeats, so they say, but when it comes to family members killing each other maybe it’s better if it doesn’t. 

To all current and future Ivesons, pax vobiscum – peace be with you.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 31 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #5

Dear Reader,

I’ve decided to retire from eBook promoting. My life away from books is moving in different directions and as I mentioned last week Sam’s Song reaching #1 for the seventh time has changed my attitude to promoting. I’ve achieved my goals. Sales, chart positions, don’t really matter anymore. The fun part is striving for goals, even if it’s a frustrating process. Once you achieve your goals the feeling isn’t hollow exactly, but the motivation isn’t the same.

I intend to keep writing. Less time spent promoting should help my writing. And my commitment to Mom’s Favorite Reads remains the same. Maybe, next week, next month, next year, I will have a new set of goals, but for now I’m content with what I’ve achieved and happy to leave it at that.

My main point is, enjoy the journey you are on because, quite often, it’s more satisfying than the destination 🙂

If you are an author and looking to boost your book sales I highly recommend this offer.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Mom’s Favorite Reads

The Mark Coker Interview

MARK COKER IS THE CEO OF SMASHWORDS, THE LARGEST EBOOK DISTRIBUTOR IN AMERICA. MARK WAS KIND ENOUGH TO OFFER ME AN INTERVIEW, AND HIS ANSWERS ARE TRULY FASCINATING, A MUST READ FOR ALL READERS AND WRITERS.

Smashwords is a wonderful platform for authors and publishers. What sparked the idea for Smashwords?

Smashwords grew out of my personal experience trying to sell a novel my wife and I co-wrote. 

My wife is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine. About 12 years ago we wrote a novel titled Boob Tube that explored the dark underbelly of Hollywood celebrity.

Despite enthusiasm from beta readers and representation from a top New York literary agency, traditional publishers rejected it. Our agent told us that previous novels targeting soap opera fans had performed poorly which made publishers reluctant to take a chance on our book.

Our failure to land a publishing deal opened my eyes to what I perceived as a horribly broken publishing ecosystem that was no longer working for authors and readers.

Read the full answer and interview here

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Mom’s Favorite Reads

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine May 2019

Published today, the May issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads!

In this issue…

An exclusive interview with Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, a must-read for all writers and readers.

Plus, articles, short stories, puzzles, humour, health, travel, interviews and a special promotional offer for authors.

View or download your FREE copy here