Scandinavia or Bust

A quick post this week, as I’m busy tidying up loose ends and packing before heading off to Scandinavia! I’m speaking at a conference in the Swedish Naval Museum, Karlskrona, and am ‘bookending’ the trip with overnight stays in Copenhagen, which I’ve never actually visited before. (There’s a possibility that I might never visit it […]

The Top Ten

I’m not tweeting very much at the moment, as I’m largely keeping my head down and working on my new Tudor project, but the other day, I had a bit of a brainwave, and tweeted a ‘top ten’ of the most popular posts ever (in terms of visitor numbers) on this blog. This seemed to […]

Dumb and Dumbnation

Last week, we went to see the new play Queen Anne at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. This proved to be a surprise on several levels, although, as previously flagged in this blog, the casting as John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough (a man of Dorset) of Chu Omambala (not a man of Dorset) proved not to be one […]

Come in Number Thirteen, Your Time Has Come

Last week saw the official publication of my new non-fiction book, Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy, from the wonderful people at Seaforth Publishing. By my reckoning, this is my thirteenth complete book, and my fifth non-fiction title, to add to eight novels to date. But even I’m losing track […]

Gentlemen and Players: Further Thoughts from the State of Maritime Historical Research Conference 2017

One of the issues floating around at the fringes of the Greenwich conference on 9 September, the thrust of which can be found in my previous blogpost, was that of the perceived division in maritime history between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ practitioners. This came up in one form or another in some of the papers, but […]

A Very Palpable Hit: the State of Maritime Historical Research Conference 2017

Greenwich, 0900, Saturday 9 September: will anybody actually come? will the speakers be any good? will the technology work? is this, the first conference that the Society for Nautical Research has ever staged under its own auspices, going to be a success? Greenwich, 1745, Saturday 9 September: yes, they did; yes, they were; yes, it […]

Dead Admirals Society Goes Rogue: Nelson Must What?

I wasn’t going to get involved in the whole ‘Nelson Must Fall’ thing, which seems to me to be no more than a blatant piece of historically illiterate attention seeking by somebody clinging to the coattails of the ‘Confederate statues’ controversy across the pond: and anyway, my old chum Andrew Lambert has demolished this particular […]

Welcome to Llareggubshire County Record Office

[With apologies to Dylan Thomas – I owe you a drink in the Pearly Gates Tavern, my friend.] The silly season, so time for a silly blog… The subject of record offices has cropped up here many times, most notably in the case of the byzantine saga of Carmarthenshire’s archives, and most recently in the […]

Authentic Headless Women Revisited, Now With Extra Tortured Cats

The middle of August, so lots going on, almost none of it seriously work-related – lawns to mow, places to visit, etc. As an ex-teacher of many years’ drudgery service, I still have the mindset that August is pretty sacrosanct, even though that imperative doesn’t really work for writers. Even so, I suspect that many […]

How Not to Write a Tudor Novel

A few months ago, I announced my exciting new project – three linked naval fiction stories, set in the Tudor period, which will eventually combine together to be published as one ‘traditional’ book by the splendid new imprint, Endeavour Ink. Since then, in addition to finishing off other projects, I’ve slowly been getting my research […]