Tag Archives: Music

Dear Reader #43

Dear Reader,

My personal top ten this week with Ann’s War proving popular. This mini series has greatly exceeded my expectations.

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https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E/

April 1st was Sam’s birthday. I write the stories in ‘real time’ so Sam has a real age, thirty-seven, although believe me she still looks twenty-seven and in terms of attitude to life she’ll always be seventeen 😉

I‘ve been writing about Sam for six years and have enjoyed every minute. Sam is a writer’s dream, always full of stories.

At the moment, I’m storyboarding Looking for Rosanna Mee, book seventeen in the series, and have many more stories planned.

Happy Birthday, Sam! 

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Published today, Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine April 2020. As ever, there are some great articles and features included this month. Read or download your copy FREE 🙂

My latest article for the Seaside News

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To date, Imprint Digital have printed all my books. I’m delighted with the quality of their printing and it’s great to see that even in difficult times they are proceeding with the expansion of their printing plant, pictured here.

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My Imprint Digital paperbacks are available from my website at special reduced prices for visitors to my website store.

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

This lyric by Al Stewart could serve as a soundtrack to one of the chapters in my Spanish Civil War Saga, The Olive Tree: Roots.

While traveling northwards on a back country lane

I came on the village where first I grew

And stopped to climb up the hill once again

Looking down from the tracks to the gray slate roofs

I watched the village moving as the day went slowly by

In the fields we lay here, my very first love and I

Under timeless arcadian skies

Under timeless arcadian skies

The old canal lies sleeping under the sky

The barges are gone to a lost decade

On overgrown banks here, lovers’ footsteps went by

Long before ever the roads were made

And in our turn we passed here and carved our names on trees

As the days washed by like waves of an endless sea

Under timeless arcadian skies

Under timeless arcadian skies

Time runs through your fingers

You never hold it at all till it’s gone

Some fragments just linger with you

Like snow in the spring hanging on

I left the village behind in the night

To fade like a sail on the darkening seas

The shifts and changes in the patterns of life

Will weather it more than the centuries

And in another village, in a far off foreign land

The new day breaks out opening up its hand

And the sun has the moon in his eyes

As he wanders the timeless skies

As part of their psychological assessment, the would-be agents at the SOE training school were shown Rorschach‘s inkblots, including card nine, the card featured here. Most of the students interpreted this image as dragons, which coincidentally is my interpretation.

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Harry Rée is one of the inspirations for Guy Samson, my character in Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, therefore I was delighted to see that Harry’s son, Jonathan, has edited his father’s memoirs and published them recently.

I’m looking forward to reading this book 🙂

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This is exciting, for today at least Operation Locksmith is #1 in France, outselling James Patterson 🙂

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Operation Locksmith is now available for pre-order.

“I understand that you wish to return to France,” the man behind the mahogany desk said.

“That’s correct,” I said.

“Your motivation?” he asked, smoothing the corners of his moustache.

“To do my bit for the war effort,” I said, “to defeat the Nazis and to discover what’s happened to my husband.”

“It would be extremely risky,” the officious-looking man said, “suicidal even, for a lone woman to undertake such a venture. However, there is an alternative.”

“Alternative?” I frowned.

“Yes. We’ll parachute you in, as one of our people. Of course, you’d have to undertake training first. Rigorous training. Top secret training. If you fail, I’m afraid it will mean a spell in the cooler, possibly until the war is over.”

“The cooler?”

“But I trust it won’t come to that,” he said, ignoring my question. “When can you start?”

I began immediately. And during my training I met two people who would radically reshape my life – Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp. I also discovered secrets about myself, abilities beyond my imagination. However, as the training heated up so the situations became all too real, until they reached a point where I had to kill, or be killed.

EVE'S WAR OPERATION LOCKSMITH MASTER

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE will continue next week, but this week I present Men of Courage Heroes of SOE 

Harry Alfred Rée was born on 15 October 1914. An educationalist, he was regarded by historian M.R.D. Foot as one of the best male SOE agents.

The son of Dr. Alfred Rée, a chemist who was from a Danish Jewish family, and Lavinia Elisabeth Dimmick, Harry Rée was a conscientious objector, ordered to work for the National Fire Service. However, in 1941 he re-registered for military service and was called up into the army. Later, he volunteered for the SOE. 

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In April 1943, as a Captain, and with the code name César, Harry parachuted into France to join the Acrobat Network. He argued against the RAF bombing targets in France because it turned public opinion against the Allies. Instead, he suggested that SOE agents should organise effective sabotage of factories on the ground. 

Harry convinced the director of a Peugeot factory at Sochaux to cooperate with the SOE. The director, a member of the Resistance, not only assisted in the sabotage, but also shared tactical information on Wehrmacht projects, including the V1 rocket. Due to this action, the RAF did not bomb the factory, saving many lives.

The Nazis tried to capture Harry. Indeed, he escaped a Feldgendarmerie group after being shot four times, swam across a river and crawled through a forest to reach Switzerland. In May 1944 he returned to Britain. 

Shortly after the war, Harry starred alongside fellow agent Jacqueline Nearne in the film Now it Can be Told (aka School for Danger), produced by the RAF Film Unit, which told the story of SOE’s activities in France.

In 1940, Harry married Hetty Vine. They had three children, the first of whom was born while Harry was in France.

Harry died in 1991.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

P.S. Apologies if the Issuu links do not load and for any formatting errors. This is entirely the fault of WordPress who, once again, have undated their platform at the expense of their customers. WordPress’ ‘improvements’ continue to make blogging and website management more difficult. When I joined them they were excellent, but now they provide a second-rate service.

Dear Reader #33

Dear Reader,

My sales top ten this week. Many thanks to everyone who supports my books.

Some people stand out. If you watch this video you will see what I mean. Currently, I’m reading dozens of books about twenty-one female SOE agents. All these women were remarkable, but some stand out even amongst such illustrious company.

This research will shape my SOE agents, Eve and Mimi. It’s an honour to read about these people, and their stories are gold dust for an author. So many ideas spring from every page. It’s very exciting.

Local views this week, at Sger.

Women of Courage, Heroines of the SOE

More research for my forthcoming Eve’s War series.

Lise Marie Jeanette de Baissac was born on 11 May 1905 in Mauritius, which made her a British subject. Of French descent, she was the youngest of three children.

In 1919 Lise and her family moved to Paris. When the Germans occupied Paris in 1940 Jean, her eldest brother, joined the British Army while Lise and her youngest brother, Claude, travelled for six months through Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar before arriving in Britain.

In Britain, Claude was recruited by the SOE while initially Lise worked at the Daily Sketch newspaper. Soon, Lise joined Claude in the SOE. However, instead of being trained for the usual roles of courier or wireless operator, Lise was instructed to create her own resistance circuit.

Lise de Baissac

Lise trained with Mary Herbert, Jacqueline Nearne and Odette Sansom. She impressed her trainers with her ability and her imperturbable, cool reactions. They regarded her as intelligent, strong-minded and decisive, with a flair for organisation.

On 24 September 1942, Lise and Andrée Borrel were the first female SOE agents to parachute into France. The agents jumped from a Whitley bomber and landed in the village of Boisrenard near the town of Mer. Their mission was to establish a safe house in Poitiers where new agents could settle into their secret lives.

An Armstrong Whitworth Whitley c1940

Lise’s role was to form a new circuit and to establish a centre where agents could go with complete security for material help and information on local details, and to organise the pick-up of arms drops from Britain to assist the French resistance.

Cover stories were vital to SOE agents. For her cover story Lise was Madame Irene Brisse, a poor widow from Paris, seeking refuge in the provinces from the tension of life in the capital. She moved into an apartment on a busy street near the Gestapo HQ, and became acquainted with the Gestapo chief, Herr Grabowski.

Posing as an amateur archeologist, Lise cycled around the countryside to reconnoitre possible parachute drop-zones and landing areas for the RAF. When local networks collapsed and the Gestapo closed in, Lise was flown back to Britain. There, while assisting new recruits in training, she broke her leg.

With her leg healed, on 10 April 1944 Lise returned to France where she rejoined her brother Claude. After D-Day, she gathered information on German dispositions and passed that information on to the Allies. She was bold enough to rent a room in a house occupied by the local commander of the German Forces.

According to Lise, on one occasion, “The Germans arrived and threw me out of my room. I arrived to take my clothes and found they had opened up the parachute I had made into a sleeping bag and were sitting on it. Fortunately they had no idea what it was.”

In the summer of 1944 Lise enjoyed another lucky escape when cycling from Normandy to Paris. She was searched by a young soldier at a German checkpoint while carrying spare parts of radio sets around her waist. Later, Lise said, “He searched me very carefully. I knew he could feel the things I was carrying. But he said nothing. Perhaps he was looking for a weapon like a revolver, maybe he thought it was a belt. I do not know.”

Claude de Baissac

Lise’s colleagues spoke very highly of her. Captain Blackman, the leader of an SAS party in France wrote: “Every day she would cycle sixty or seventy kilometres. She often carried much compromising material on her person and bicycle, such as wireless material and secret documents. If she had been discovered carrying such things she would have been undoubtedly shot on the spot without trial or formal enquiry. Consequently she risked her life daily.”

Lise continued her SOE activities until the liberation, organising several groups and providing the Allies with information. She was also involved in sabotage missions, setting tyre bursters and mines on roads used by the military, cutting telephone wires, underground cables and railway lines. On at least one occasion she took part in an attack on an enemy column.

After the war Lise married Gustave Villameur, an artist and interior designer living in Marseille. She died on 29 March 2004, aged 98.

In 2008, Lise’s life was recaptured in the highly fictionalised French film Female Agents (Les Femmes de l’ombre).

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #27

Dear Reader,

I’m writing chapter twenty-five of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. Thomas Johnes gets a mention in this chapter. Born in 1748, Thomas Johnes was an MP, printer, writer, landscape architect and farmer. He owned the Hafod Estate where between 1796 and 1801 he planted 2,065,000 trees. In total he planted over three million trees, half a million of them in 1801. We could do with his like today.

Pictured: the Hafod Estate

Snow in August, will be available for pre-order soon. All forthcoming editions of my books will contain a charity page and that page will include this excellent organisation. Please check them out.

https://www.facebook.com/streetvet/

Delighted that Adriana has agreed to continue her translations of my Ann’s War Mystery Series. She’s an excellent translator and I’m honoured that she is associated with my books 🙂 Here is Invasion. Blackmail will follow soon, then Escape.

My personal top ten this week. Nice to see Stardust in there because that was a fun book to write.

This song seems appropriate this week…

Now they’re planning the crime of the century

Well, what will it be?

Read all about their schemes and adventuring

Yes, it’s well worth the fee

So roll up and see

How they rape the universe

How they’ve gone from bad to worse

Who are these men of lust, greed and glory?

Rip off their masks and let’s see

But that’s not right, oh, no, what’s the story?

Look, there’s you and there’s me

That can’t be right?!

Viva la revolución

Week one of Boris Johnson’s new regime and everything is going well so far…

Johnson, in the near future, quoting Kipling.

‘I could not dig: I dared not rob: 

Therefore I lied to please the mob. 

Now all my lies are proved untrue 

And I must face the men I slew. 

What tale shall serve me here among 

Mine angry and defrauded young?’

A friend went for a job interview. The interviewer said, “Describe yourself in three words.” She said, “Not good at maths.” She got the job 😉

Local views this morning.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #4

Dear Reader,

For me, it’s been an eventful week. A very eventful week. I have experienced great distress and great joy. The joy centred on Sam’s Song. On Wednesday, Sam’s Song reached #1 for the seventh time. For the past two years this has been an ambition. You could argue that there is no difference between six times #1 and seven times #1, and you would be right. For a reason I can’t really explain reaching #1 for the seventh time was important and now that that landmark has been achieved the desire to reach new readers isn’t as great. I wouldn’t say that I don’t want to reach new readers, but if it doesn’t happen it no longer matters. In terms of eBooks on Amazon, I have achieved my goals.

I still have goals in other areas of publishing, with audiobooks, translations, paperbacks and secondary rights. I also want to write many more books, develop Mom’s Favorite Reads and her projects, and help authors find more readers. 

I do believe in the concept of setting clear, obtainable goals and plans to achieve those goals. My main aims with writing are: to entertain my readers and to prove certain things to myself. On a personal level, Sam at #1 this week proved something to myself, and that’s all that matters. Now I feel ready to move on.

A great moving on song…

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #2

Dear Reader,

The editing of Victory, Ann’s War book five, has gone well this week and now I’m at the ‘polishing’ stage, tidying the occasional word and phrase. This is the last story in my Ann’s War series, so it’s sad to part company with the characters. That said, it’s encouraging that the pre-order sales for this book are the best in the series and that I’ve received emails from my local library informing me that readers are keen to know when the book will be published. When the book is available, from 20th July, I will donate a copy to my local library. Copies will also be sent to all the major libraries in Britain and Ireland. I’m delighted to say that all my books are featured in these libraries.

This week, I’ve been storyboarding The Fifth Man, a novel set in 1948. During the storyboarding I had an interesting experience when one of the characters, Laura Lewis, ‘disagreed’ with my intentions for her. These author v character clashes sometimes occur and I think they are a good thing because it shows you have created a strong character. When these clashes occur the character always wins. This will mean more work for me as I redraft the storyboard, but I don’t mind because ultimately it will mean a stronger story.

From this weekend, I will step up my book promoting. To be honest, I don’t enjoy this aspect of the business, but it’s all part of publishing. I’m an author, a storyteller, and that’s what I love doing. However, if you want readers to discover your books you have to promote them. It’s amazing to think that Sam’s Song has been in the top fifty of Amazon’s private detective chart for four years. The book has reached #1 on six occasions, which is beyond my wildest dreams. As time moves on, chart positions become less important to an author. The real satisfaction comes when someone says they have enjoyed your book, or they are looking forward to reading the next one.

It’s been an indifferent summer so far, but today I’m planning a barbecue. I’m a vegetarian, so veggie burgers for me. My family are meat eaters, and I have no problem with that. Sam is also a vegetarian. Sam shares many of my traits, but she is not me. Maybe the best way to phrase that is to say Sam isn’t me, but maybe I’m Sam 😉

I always find that music is the perfect accompaniment to any barbecue, and here’s the track that’s playing on my jukebox at the moment.

As ever, many thanks for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #1

Dear Reader,

This week I’ve been editing Victory, the final story in my Ann’s War Mystery Series. I used to find editing the hardest part of writing, but after publishing twenty books I think I’m getting the hang of it 😉

I’ve also been outlining ideas for two Sam Smith novels, Snow in August and Stormy Weather. Climate Change will be the theme of Stormy Weather. These will be books sixteen and seventeen in the series, with more planned. 

Storyboarding is one of my favourite parts of writing and currently I’m storyboarding The Fifth Man, a spin-off from my Ann’s War series, a novel set in 1948. The National Health Service will be central to this novel because 1948 saw its birth. With talks of privatising the National Health Service gathering momentum it seems appropriate to write about this subject. Pictured, Aneurin Bevan, the ‘father’ of the National Health Service.

Reading the political columns of The Guardian and Independent newspapers brought to mind the concept of civil war, when friends, family and neighbours become enemies over political, ideological or religious beliefs. This is fertile ground for a novelist, so I played with some ideas.

I don’t know enough about the American Civil War to write about that subject and the English Civil War of 1642–1651 does not appeal to me because neither Cromwell and his Puritans nor Charles and his Royalists are heroic figures. So my thoughts turned to the Spanish Civil War. This period of history resonates with today and already characters are filling my notebooks. I might develop this idea into a novel, or a mini series, depending on where my characters take me.

Away from writing, I love listening to music. In particular, I’m a big fan of Apple Music. I have thousands of songs on my personal jukebox and I play them on random. This song popped up first this morning.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Recommended Reading #4

Spike, the Not So Nice Dinosaur by Denise McCabe

Spike the dinosaur had not always been so nice. In fact, not too long ago, Spike was a bit of a mean dinosaur. He didn’t like to share, didn’t understand honesty and didn’t know how to say he was sorry. He loved eating the other dinosaur’s sandwiches. But that was before Mike, the microraptor, showed him what kindness was and how he too could learn to get along and be the good dinosaur friend. Activities included.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Pearseus Bundle: The Complete Pearseus Sci-fi/Fantasy Series by Nicholas C. Rossis
Ancient Greece—in space

Could you save the woman who killed your son?

Combining fantasy with science fiction, Pearseus is filled with passion, warfare, and betrayal. Described as “ancient Greece in space,” it gives readers who want a different kind of fantasy an exciting new series to devour.

Terrified of an ominous prophecy and spurred on by a shadowy advisor, a cruel ruler sends the young son of her favorite General to be executed. Soon, however, she must beg the grieving father to save the country from an invading army. Now, the General faces a stark choice between revenge and honoring his vows, unaware that his son’s fate and that of the entire planet are inextricably linked.

This bundle includes all books from the best-selling sci-fi fantasy series, voted as one of the 100 Indie books you should read before you die, plus bonus material.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

He is a record collector -a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others. Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording on behalf of an extremely wealthy, yet shadowy, client. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

So, You Say I Can’t Vote! Frances Connelly: The working-class woman’s route to the vote by Sheena Macleod

Women were granted the legal right to vote in Parliamentary elections in the UK in 1918. This right, however, extended only to property-owning, renting or university educated women over the age of thirty.

Seven years before this, Frances Connelly, a working woman walked past suffragists protesting outside the polling station in Yeovil, England, to cast her vote in an election. Her vote, and others like it, helped to keep the question in people’s minds — If one woman can vote, why not all?

Frances Connelly’s name is now largely unknown or forgotten. Her story is told here within the context of other women who voted in England before 1918, the struggles and complexities of the times in which these people lived and the contributions made by working-class women to women’s suffrage.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

Crafting With Lacey by Lacey Lane

Want to create crafts but need ideas and a plan? Do you have ten thumbs? Let Lacey guide you to crafting success. Learn how to make candle holders, jewellery, childrens’ play things, storage solutions, decorations for your house and much more. Simple, beautiful, and practical crafts are just one click away.

Discover more in my Amazon store

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7