Arrived back in the UK late on Wednesday night - in fact, very early Thursday morning! We came back a day early, for the weather was not too good in France during the time we were away.

So now I am slowly getting to grips with the backlog of posts, critiques and all the usual hodge-podge of mail blocking the front door, bags of holiday clothes all needing to be washed, ironed but this time not put away, as we fully intend to enjoy the English summer for the next couple of months. We've re-stocked on food, cut the lawns....but I'll be back on-stream in a day or two.

The picture shows me relaxing in normal fashion after dinner on the evenings when it did not rain - glass of wine to hand, though you'll have to look very closely to see it! I'll sort out some better pictures in a day or two. A rejection from HM& B awaited me, but also a very nice review for Dark Pool from Road to Romance -

"Dark Pool is the sequel to Jen Black's Scottish tale Banners of Alba. In this edition, Black takes you from medieval Scotland to medieval Ireland with the spirited Eba of Bundalloch, whose life takes an adventurous turn following her brother's cattle raid on neighboring territory. The newly crowned king of Alba, Finlay, and his faithful vassal Hareth mac Enna are dragged willy-nilly to rescue Eba, kidnapped by the Vikings and taken to the dark pool—Dublin.

This sequel chronicles the many problems the fourteen-year-old Gael faces in the heart of Dublin, which is ruled by the hardy Vikings. The teen, who craves adventure and suitors, finds more than she bargained for in this new land. First a captive, nearly a slave, betrothed to a vicious young man and bewildered by the customs of the neighboring kingdom, Eba matures at the face of grave setbacks in her quest to just go home.

As a romance, this tale is a bit too harsh to handle, but as a historical and a believable portrayal of the ancient times of transition where Celts, Gaels, Picts, and Vikings lived together in the isles I give this book a 100 percent. The snapshot of life in those unsettled times, especially the life of an unprotected young maid makes for a great read. An informative and interesting tale set in a troubled time in history.
Reviewed by Raakhee Suryaprakash for The Road to Romance
May 27, 2007"

The reviewer caught the feeling of the book very well, I think. I knew it was not a straight romance, not in the boy meets girl mode, certainly not in HM&B style. Although the book came out autumn 2006, this is the first review I've received for it. Life is so-o-o hard when you're an unknown name among so many established writers!


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