Tag Archives: Wales

Dear Reader #24

Dear Reader,

This week saw record-breaking sales for my Ann’s War Mystery Series with Betrayal placed at #1 for the seventh time. Many thanks to everyone who has supported this series.

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Delighted to see that the Spanish edition of Saving Grace has entered the top ten of my personal bestseller chart 🙂

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Eton, the source of all Britain’s problems…

“A characteristic of the schooling of many senior Tories (I should know, because I went through the system) is extreme competition. Your worth is constantly assessed by whether or not you come out on top. You can’t succeed unless others fail. It embeds a win-at-all-costs mentality.

Virtue is unrewarded, unless it is the kind that can be measured by tests and marks and athletic competitions. Kindness, empathy, attendance to the needs of others, count for nothing. In fact they count against you, as they might prevent you from elbowing your way to the top.

This encourages a ruthless disregard for anything but winning. Honesty, decency, other people’s lives: anything that might stand in your way is swept aside. You win or you have no self-worth. It’s a really toxic way to bring up children, and we see the results in public life.” – George Monbiot, author and journalist

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Margam, my local park

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt that a smile or a handshake is sufficient…

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Somewhere in Britain, in the near future…

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Winter is approaching. Cold, frosty nights. Snow. I love the frost and snow. It feels good under my feet and it looks beautiful. However, the cold weather is an enemy for many people, especially the homeless within our society.

Four homeless people in Britain died last night. An estimated 726 homeless people have died over the past year. These deaths are the direct result of austerity. These deaths are the direct result of Tory policies. A report in the Independent newspaper called them murder by government.

So, while you sit snug and warm beside your fireplace with your family tonight, enjoy your surroundings. And spare a thought for the man who will lay his head on a park bench for the last time. Spare a thought for the man who will bid this world goodbye.

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While writing chapter seventeen of Snow in August the subject of the Rorschach test cropped up. Named after Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, the Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation. This card, nine of ten, produces the most varied answers. What do you see here?

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #21

Dear Reader,

A year ago, we launched Mom’s Favorite Reads and I’m delighted to say we are still going strong 🙂

It’s been an exciting challenge to produce a magazine on a monthly basis and a great pleasure to work with so many loyal, talented and creative people.

We have featured some big names over the past year – check out our back issues for the full list – along with many exceptional newcomers. We have also showcased a number of young authors and their contributions have been a pleasure to read.

Stay tuned for our exciting Christmas and New Year plans. Meanwhile, here’s our Fall issue.

In our Fall issue…

Articles, short stories, recipes, travel, interviews, poetry, young writers, activities and book reviews. There is something for everyone in Mom’s Favorite Reads. Enjoy your copy, FREE, today!

https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/vol-2_iss-10_momsfavoritereads

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Delighted to be featured on the Bendideia website 🙂 Check out the website, particularly if you love mythology, folklore and culture.

https://bendideia183292355.wordpress.com/cultural-awareness/europe/

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In Britain we are facing a General Election in December. Meanwhile, this week in the House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, wore a green tie as a mark of respect for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy where 72 men, women and children died. With the relatives of the victims looking on from the public gallery the Conservative MPs laughed and mocked him and his tie. Make of that what you will.

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Thanks to Suzan, we are making excellent progress with the audiobook version of Victory. This story is based on a remarkable top secret assignment conducted during the Second World War.

https://hannah-howe.com/anns-war/

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Of course, it was Halloween this week. An amazing picture, the sun with its Halloween face, produced by active regions as seen in ultraviolet light.

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Local views this week.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #20

Dear Reader,

This week, I stumbled across a link for the Humanists on Twitter. Out of interest, I completed their questionnaire and discovered that I am “100% Humanist”. This did not come as a surprise because Dr Alan Storey, one of the main characters in my Sam Smith Mystery Series, follows Humanist principles as a psychologist. I believe in Humanist principles because I think they are good for the world. Equally, I have no problem if people choose to follow a religion. As the late, great comedian Dave Allen used to say, “May your god go with you.”

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Many thanks to readers in France, Germany and Italy for supporting my Sam Smith Mystery Series with more sales in those countries this week. Also, many thanks to readers in Germany for placing my Ann’s War Mystery Series in the top thirty 🙂

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Views of Llanmadoc, a location featured in my Sam Smith Mystery Series.

More thanks, this time to Adriana for her wonderful translation of Invasion. I’m delighted that she’s now working on Blackmail, book three in my Ann’s War Mystery Series 🙂

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Authors I admire: Ronesa Aveela. Ronesa writes about mythology, in particular Bulgarian and East European mythology. I am fortunate to have a number of Bulgarian friends so Ronesa’s books are of great interest to me. I am also fortunate to count Ronesa amongst my friends, but I say without any bias that her books are truly excellent. Here are some examples. Please check them out.

Evidence of autumn. Our liquid amber, now a teenager, has held on to its green leaves longer this year.

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #19

Dear Reader,

Why do authors write? Apart from the elite 1% there is no money in writing, so unless you are in that 1% or churning out words to order money isn’t a motivation. Fame? Fame is shallow and does more harm than good. Some authors want to be famous, and good luck to them, but fame isn’t for me. Praise? It is rewarding when readers appreciate your books, look forward to them and write nice comments. Kind words mean a lot. That said, writing isn’t the best occupation if you are looking for praise. Even if you are a mega-bestseller the majority of people will ignore you or dislike your work. So, why do writers write? I believe it’s because we are blessed, or cursed, with story ideas and we need to express those ideas to find a level of contentment and peace of mind. We need to release our creative energy through writing. Of course, finding readers is rewarding and satisfying, but the main motivation and enjoyment comes from turning a blank manuscript into a story. There is something magical about creating a story that is unique.

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Chapter one of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen is complete. Here’s a clue…

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Caerau Hillfort and the ruins of St Mary’s church, pictured, get a mention in chapter two of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. These landmarks are on the road Sam takes to her office houseboat.

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Chapter three of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen, sees Sam at Caswell Bay where she meets her new client.

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Five more translations published this week, three in Spanish, one in German and another in Portuguese. Many thanks to my talented team of translators for all their hard work and for sharing my stories with the world.

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #17

Dear Reader,

This week, I completed the first draft of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. Snow in August is set in a small coastal village in wild West Wales, a new location for Sam.

Readers of the series might be in for a surprise when they start this story. I won‘t give the details away now, but the book will be available for pre-order later this month.

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Over the past year I have had the honour of being editor-in-chief of Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine. With twelve magazines published I would like to thank our talented group of contributors and the skill and dedication of our editorial staff. I’m very proud of our achievements with Mom’s Favorite Reads and look forward to scaling even great heights in our second year.

Here’s the blurb for the latest issue.

The September issue of our popular eMagazine!

In this Back to School issue:

Young Writers, Humour, Poetry, Travel, Short Stories, Puzzles and Articles including:

What is Adoption?

Power Animals

What is Happiness and How Can We Find It?

Read or download your copy FREE!

https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/vol-2_iss-9_momsfavoritereads

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Delighted that Sandra, who translated the five books in my Ann’s War series, has offered to translate Saving Grace into German 🙂

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A lovely quote from screenwriter Ernest Lehman when discussing writing the script for North By Northwest. I am sure most authors will identify with this.

”Typical of a writer, I was stalling, losing myself in yet more research.”

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Sam’s Song is moving towards the top of the Amazon charts again this weekend , but I have mixed feelings about that in light of continued reports of workers being mistreated by the company. There is a brutally about Amazon that makes me feel increasingly uneasy about contributing to its profits.

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Photo by Tobias Dziuba on Pexels.com

“Clear as the dew it kindles on the spray

Across the shadows of each shelving lawn,

The rising sun, with low and level ray

Scatters the cold, grey phantoms of the dawn.

Like ghosts, they flee, like dreams expire

Within the elemental fire

Of our first calm October day.”

John Jay Chapman

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #9

Dear Reader,

This week, my writing has focused on research for The Olive Tree, my Spanish Civil War Saga. I have created a number of pages on my website chronicling some amazing stories of bravery and courage. You are invited to read these stories.

https://hannah-howe.com/the-olive-tree/esperanza-careaga/

https://hannah-howe.com/the-olive-tree/fifi-roberts/

https://hannah-howe.com/the-olive-tree/nurses/

https://hannah-howe.com/the-olive-tree/wales-and-spain/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #8

Dear Reader,

Another busy week with translations. We published the Spanish version of Saving Grace, started the German version of Victory and I’m delighted to say that Jill has offered to translate The Big Chill into Swedish. This will be our third project after Sam’s Song and Love and Bullets and it’s exciting to see my books reaching Swedish readers in their own language 🙂

While researching material for a future Sam Smith novel, I discovered that the British government’s health assessment programme for disabled people has resulted in 21,000 deaths. These deaths are based on the government’s own figures, so it is certain that the real figure is a lot higher. This raises the question: what is the difference between death by bureaucracy and death by cold-blooded murder? None. It all results in death. This is a tragedy for disabled people and their families, and it is a subject I am determined to explore.

The Olive Tree, my Spanish Civil War Saga, will be based on true events and real people. For example, Thora Silverthorne of Blaenafon, Wales.

In 1936, Thora volunteered to go to Spain as a nurse. There, she became a matron in a hospital established in a primitive farmhouse.

“I had done a lot of operations before,” Thora said, “but in Spain it was quite different. We dealt with seriously injured people. Once we treated 700 people over five days. We were under fire. We had a Red Cross on the roof, but were warned, ‘take it down – it’s the first thing the fascists will aim for.’”

On her return to Britain, Thora helped to establish the first union for nurses, the National Association of Nurses, in 1937.


This week, I’ve been scanning my reference books looking for names for my Spanish Civil War Saga. It’s an international story featuring characters from America, France, Ireland, Spain and Wales. The right name is important and often it can suggest facets of a character. For example, one character, a nurse, was going to be docile and a support character. However, when I found her name, Adele Lazard, she stepped forward. Now, she’s going to Spain as a nurse, but really she wants to fight at the front.

Pictured: Two women and a man at the Siege of the Alcázar in Toledo, 1936.


During the Spanish Civil War, Wales welcomed many refugees, including Esperanza Careaga, pictured here in 1939. Espe, her name means hope, left Spain in April 1937, eight days before her sixth birthday. Her brother, Alberto, was transported to Russia and it took 50 years before Espe saw him again. Meanwhile, Espe settled in Barry, Wales.

At the end of the war, most of the refugees returned to Spain. However, 35 children remained in Wales, including Espe. She married in 1958, had two sons and four granddaughters.

From tragic beginnings, Espe lived up to her name, and through her courage we can draw belief, strength and hope.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx