Monday, 17 September 2012

$10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway - from Author J.R. Tomlin

Original Title: Freedom's Sword
Author: J.R. Tomlin
Release Date: March 11th, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction

Before William Wallace, before Robert the Bruce, there was another Scottish hero...

In 1296, newly knighted by the King of the Scots, Andrew de Moray fights to defend his country against the forces of the ruthless invader, King Edward Longshanks of England. After a bloody defeat in battle, he is dragged in chains to an English dungeon.

Soon the young knight escapes. He returns to find Scotland under the heel of a conqueror and his betrothed sheltering in the hills of the Black Isle. Seizing his own castle from the English, he raises the banner of Scottish freedom. Now he must lead the north of Scotland to rebellion in hope of defeating the English army sent to crush them.


- Guest post by J.R. Tomlin

There are all kinds of research to write historical fiction or fiction. You have to read books, dozens of them. Or hundreds. You need to know everything from how they dressed to how they bathed to what weapons they used, and if you get it wrong, boy do you hear about it. But there are some things you can’t get from a book.

For that you have to visit the country you’re writing about.

Almost all of Freedom’s Sword is set in the north of Scotland in an area called The Black Isle. Now don’t ask me why it’s called that since it’s neither an isle nor black. It’s beautiful, edging on an arm of the North Sea called the Firth of Forth. Hill and even today somewhat remote, it is where the fight for Scottish independence began at Avoch Castle. The Castle is not even a ruin now. Only a stone cairn and a Saltire flies to commemorate the day Andrew de Moray raised the flag of Scottish defiance over his father’s castle.

Avoch Castle

But it’s easy to romanticize it. Instead I want to bring it alive for the reader. Only walking over the hills where they marched and fought, could I feel the things that they did. The spicy smell of the gorse and the scratch of its leaves.The stinging bite of the midges that swarm your neck. The scent of the sea air as it blows in from the firth. The stink of fish brought in from the sea. The frigid water of the River Spey as you splash across. Heather turning a blood red on gray cliffs in the cold autumn rain.

Few of the castles that Andrew de Moray took back from the conquering English stand as they did in his day. The Scots destroyed them to keep them from enemy hands. Even the ruins of Castle Duffus are ruins of a later age after it was re-built. But climbing the hill to where the ruins stand gives an idea of what the battle must have been like to take it back. And then Andrew de Moray burned it.

Duffus Castle, Scotland

And there I turn to imagination. Duffus Castle was built his family and what must if have felt like to burn it? To destroy your own lands and castles?To have been driven to such desperation?

Writing historical fiction is fun for exactly that reason. No other genre gives such a mix of things to work with. You study the history. You study the land. You mix it with your own dreams. And hopefully, you share them with readers.


The author is giving away one $10 Amazon Gift Card to the winner of the below Rafflecopter giveaway, specially for "Books Are Magic" (Thank you, J.R. Tomlin).  The winner will be chosen by

Giveaway open INTERNATIONALLY and ends October 8th, 2012!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the great giveaway :) x

  2. Thank you for an interesting post to read. It is nice to know your method for writing your stories.

  3. Great post. I agree that you can learn many things through books and such, but actually going to the countries and researching first hand would be so much better. Lovely pictures too.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  4. Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release!

  5. I love history and this sounds fascinating. Thanks Carin

  6. I like that you visit the places you write about. I think it comes out in someone's writing if they are just taking others view of a town or place. Standing on a hill in Scotland sounds infinitely more fun than my random musings of the people in my neighborhood that I make up stories about on my walks.

  7. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Sounds like an interesting book, I love Scotland! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I love the scottish setting. I am looking forward to reading the story

  10. Thanks for the great giveaway. It's really interesting to hear how you research for writing.


  11. I wanted to let you know that Freedom's Sword is now free on Amazon!

  12. Love the post. Thanks for the giveaway.

  13. I think I would just love researching especially History. That is one of my favorite subjects.


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