My review of The Errant Flock by Jana Petken

Jana Petken’s The Errant Flock is set in Sagrat, Valencia, in the late fifteenth century. After his wife has lost three babies, Luis, Duke of Sagrat, is desperate for a son to succeed him. What is a man to do? The duke’s remedy is to force young David Sanz, one of his militiamen, to steal a newborn from among the townsfolk. Since secrecy is vital, David is also ordered to kill the parents and any other family members in the house. If he does not carry out this dreadful mission, the duke will destroy his own family.

This repugnant crime is the basis of the plot. Add the Inquisition, a corrupt town official, a band of murdering marauders, family members and a friend who cannot understand the change in David. Spice it up with a little love interest in the form of a Jewish girl, and what you have is a delicious soup of treachery, betrayal, guilt, and suspense that will make you want to keep on reading long after bedtime.

Alternating points of view help carry the story along at a fast but not hurried pace. On the whole, the characters are believable. It’s impossible not to sympathise with David for the terrible dilemma he finds himself in. I would, however, have liked to have seen just a dash of goodness in the duke. He is a little too evil.

When you come to the end of the book, you will be happy to know there are other Jana Petken titles available. (I’m looking forward to reading more.) The Errant Flock is the first book in The Flock Trilogy. I highly recommend it.

Making a living as a writer: how social media can be a long-term investment for your career

Opportunities you never thought of.

Nail Your Novel

Last weekend I was speaking at the PowWow Festival of Writing in Moseley, Birmingham, and they were interested to hear how a writer of 2017 makes a living.

The first thing to say is that not many writers make a living from their books these days – whether they publish themselves or have book deals.

This is often a surprise to aspiring authors – and not a tad disappointing. It’s not that they expect to be earning like the headline grabbers, but they usually hope their book earnings will become a reliable replacement for other income. It usually doesn’t.

Of course, you’re far more likely to make quantities of £££ if you write prolifically in a popular genre – if that’s you, you might find this post by cosy mystery writer Elizabeth S Craig has useful strategies. You might also have made a serious study of hardass marketing techniques…

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