Guest Author: Anne Barwell!

Please help me welcome Anne Barwell! She’s here to talk about her latest release, On Wings of Song, and some of the history behind it.

Thanks for visiting, Anne!

Thanks, Charley, for hosting me today 🙂

Although On Wings of Song begins with the 1914 Christmas Truce, most of the story takes place six years later in 1920. People were still coming to terms with their experiences during the war. Those who hadn’t fought had still lost someone they cared about, or had them return either maimed or a very different person than had left to fight at the Front. Toward the end of the war, in 1918, the influenza epidemic struck, killing more people than the war.

In Germany people were starving. Inflation coupled with the debt incurred by the Treaty of Versailles, was also taking its toll. In Britain the war had begun to break down some of the class barriers, at least for some, although for others it wasn’t about to change anytime soon, if ever. It was also time of growth and relative prosperity, as the economy broke down later there, in the late 1920s.

So how to get Jochen—a German—to Britain in 1920? One of my betas and I were discussing this over tea break at work one day, and a colleague suggested the solution. Enter his great-aunt Wilhelmina, the black sheep of the Weber family who had married a British man and settled there. She dies and leaves Jochen an inheritance.

But anti-German feeling is running high, and while Jochen’s English is excellent, his accent gives away his origins. Dealing with that on top of post war trauma is not easy—it’s not meant to be. Aiden’s injuries might be physical as well as psychological but that does not mean that Jochen has escaped the war unscathed.

One of the reasons I wrote On Wings of Song is that I wanted to show both sides of the war, rather than take sides one way or the other. No one truly wins a war and huge costs are paid by both sides. The 1914 truce reminded each side of a shared humanity. This story brings together two men who find they have a lot in common despite having fought a war on opposite sides.

 

 

On Wings of Song by Anne Barwell

Six years after meeting British soldier Aiden Foster during the Christmas Truce of 1914, Jochen Weber still finds himself thinking about Aiden, their shared conversation about literature, and Aiden’s beautiful singing voice. A visit to London gives Jochen the opportunity to search for Aiden, but he’s shocked at what he finds.

The uniform button Jochen gave him is the only thing Aiden has left of the past he’s lost. The war and its aftermath ripped everything away from him, including his family and his music. When Jochen reappears in his life, Aiden enjoys their growing friendship but knows he has nothing to offer. Not anymore.

 

Excerpt:

“I’ve seen it,” Aiden said quietly. “I wish to God I hadn’t.” He looked directly at Jochen. Jochen met Aiden’s gaze. He’d seen an echo of Conrad’s fire in Aiden when he’d talked about his music earlier that afternoon.

“Don’t die on the wire, Aiden.”

“I’ll try not to.” Aiden’s words were an empty promise. They both knew it, but what else was he going to say?

The red-haired man Aiden had spoken to about arranging the burials walked over to him. He too held a shovel, and he wiped perspiration from his brow despite the cold. “There’s going to be a combined service for the dead,” he told them. “In about ten minutes in no man’s land in front of the French trenches.”

As they made their way over, men were already beginning to gather, soldiers from opposite sides sitting together, conversation dwindling to a respectful silence. A British chaplain stood in front of them, a Bible in his hand, a German beside him. Jochen recognized him, although he didn’t know his name. The young man was only a few years older than Jochen and was studying for the ministry—would he ever get the chance to complete those studies?

Jochen and Aiden found somewhere to sit a few rows back from the front and joined the company of men. The German spoke first. “Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel. Geheiligt werde dein Name.”

The British chaplain repeated the words in English. “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.”

They then spoke a few words each, some from the Bible, the rest from their hearts. Their congregation was silent apart from a few quiet “amens.” Jochen saw a couple of men wipe tears away. He was close to it himself.

Finally the chaplain bowed his head in prayer. When he’d finished, he spoke quietly to the man who had come to stand next to him. It was Captain Williams. He nodded and looked over the crowd, his gaze fixing on Aiden.

Aiden must have guessed what Williams wanted. He inclined his head in response and then stood. Jochen glanced between the two men, confused. What did Williams expect Aiden to do?

“Aiden?” Jochen asked softly.

Aiden smiled at him and began to sing. “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining….” He lifted his head, his voice strong and clear, each note building on the last to create something truly beautiful, something angelic. Aiden’s eyes shone; his body swayed slightly in time with the music. He was the music.

His audience sat in awe. Jochen could feel the emotion rippling through the men around him, tangible, as though he could reach out and touch it. He felt something inside himself reach out, wanting to be a part of it, to be carried along the wave of pure music, to grab it and never let go.

Buy On Wings of Song:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5869

 

About Anne:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

 

Contact Anne:

Blog: http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com/

Website: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Coffee Unicorns: http://coffeeunicorns.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell

Dreamspinner Press Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_426

 

DsP logo

Cover Reveal: On Wings of Song by Anne Barwell!

This cover is amazing… and have tissues handy when you get to the excerpt.

Thanks for sharing, Anne!

 

Thank you for hosting my cover reveal for On Wings of Song 🙂

TL Bland has done a great job in capturing the story and essence of On Wings of Song. It’s not only a great cover, but fits perfectly as part my growing collecting of covers I have framed on my wall.

You can see more of TL Bland’s work at her website: http://www.thruterryseyes.com/

 

Buy On Wings of Song:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5869

 

Blurb:

Six years after meeting British soldier Aiden Foster during the Christmas Truce of 1914, Jochen Weber still finds himself thinking about Aiden, their shared conversation about literature, and Aiden’s beautiful singing voice. A visit to London gives Jochen the opportunity to search for Aiden, but he’s shocked at what he finds.

The uniform button Jochen gave him is the only thing Aiden has left of the past he’s lost. The war and its aftermath ripped everything away from him, including his family and his music. When Jochen reappears in his life, Aiden enjoys their growing friendship but knows he has nothing to offer. Not anymore.

 

Excerpt

“I’ve seen it,” Aiden said quietly. “I wish to God I hadn’t.” He looked directly at Jochen. Jochen met Aiden’s gaze. He’d seen an echo of Conrad’s fire in Aiden when he’d talked about his music earlier that afternoon.

“Don’t die on the wire, Aiden.”

“I’ll try not to.” Aiden’s words were an empty promise. They both knew it, but what else was he going to say?

The red-haired man Aiden had spoken to about arranging the burials walked over to him. He too held a shovel, and he wiped perspiration from his brow despite the cold. “There’s going to be a combined service for the dead,” he told them. “In about ten minutes in no man’s land in front of the French trenches.”

As they made their way over, men were already beginning to gather, soldiers from opposite sides sitting together, conversation dwindling to a respectful silence. A British chaplain stood in front of them, a Bible in his hand, a German beside him. Jochen recognized him, although he didn’t know his name. The young man was only a few years older than Jochen and was studying for the ministry—would he ever get the chance to complete those studies?

Jochen and Aiden found somewhere to sit a few rows back from the front and joined the company of men. The German spoke first. “Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel. Geheiligt werde dein Name.”

The British chaplain repeated the words in English. “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.”

They then spoke a few words each, some from the Bible, the rest from their hearts. Their congregation was silent apart from a few quiet “amens.” Jochen saw a couple of men wipe tears away. He was close to it himself.

Finally the chaplain bowed his head in prayer. When he’d finished, he spoke quietly to the man who had come to stand next to him. It was Captain Williams. He nodded and looked over the crowd, his gaze fixing on Aiden.

Aiden must have guessed what Williams wanted. He inclined his head in response and then stood. Jochen glanced between the two men, confused. What did Williams expect Aiden to do?

“Aiden?” Jochen asked softly.

Aiden smiled at him and began to sing. “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining….” He lifted his head, his voice strong and clear, each note building on the last to create something truly beautiful, something angelic. Aiden’s eyes shone; his body swayed slightly in time with the music. He was the music

His audience sat in awe. Jochen could feel the emotion rippling through the men around him, tangible, as though he could reach out and touch it. He felt something inside himself reach out, wanting to be a part of it, to be carried along the wave of pure music, to grab it and never let go.

 

About Anne:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

 

Contact Anne:

Blog: http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com/

Website: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Coffee Unicorns: http://coffeeunicorns.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1

Dreamspinner Press Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_426

DsP logo

Guest Author: Anne Barwell!

I’m thrilled to host another Dreamspinner author today, Anne Barwell! I brought you a little tease of her latest release last week, and here’s a little more. Her latest is a fantasy with everything you’d expect to find–magic, quests, dragons . . . and more to look forward to.

Here be series…

A big thanks to Charley for hosting me today! 🙂

One comment I’ve had about this book, apart from love for dragons, is “is this another series?”  Umm yes. But in my defence, it wasn’t supposed to be. My plan was to write a fun fantasy one shot about dragons because I’d got this nagging little bunny after being asked what fairytale I’d like to rewrite. St George and the Dragon isn’t exactly a fairy story, per se, and you’d have to squint to see the resemblance to this story, but the thought is there, and it’s why Aric’s sister is called Georgia and there are dragons.

The trouble with inviting characters in is that they then get comfortable and want to stay. I suspect it’s one of the reasons I can’t write one shots to save my life, and why this particular story is now a three book story. It wouldn’t have snuck in and queue jumped if I’d known it was going to do that as I still have other series I need to finish. I clung to the illusion that this was a one shot right to the end until it was shot down in flames by two of my beta readers.  One told me the epilogue felt like it was the beginning of a new adventure for Aric and Denys, while the other agreed and then pointed out how it could be very easily two more books.  Those books already have plots and titles: A Mage to Forget, and A Sword to Rule.

The characters, of course, are extremely smug, that not only have they snuck in a series on me, but they’ve jumped up the queue to get them written. World War II first, and more vampires, and then they’ll get their shot.  Sorry, Liam and Cal, (characters from a Psi Powers series I’m setting in Wellington), you’ll have to wait.

A Knight to Remember, by Anne Barwell

“The last of your line will be in the embrace of a dragon.”

Aric, Crown Prince of Astria, has been brought up to believe that all dragons are evil. But when he speaks with one, he finds himself questioning those beliefs. The dragon tells him to find a sword in Sherwin Forest to save not only his kingdom but also his sister, Georgia, who must otherwise wed the prince of a neighboring kingdom.

At the start of his quest, Aric dons a disguise and meets Denys, an archer and herbalist who lives alone at the edge of the forest. Denys agrees to guide Aric into the forest, but then Georgia appears, revealing Aric’s true identity.

However Aric learns he is not the only one keeping secrets. Denys has a few of his own that could change both of their lives forever.

Excerpt:

“You said you had something to tell me.” Aric cleared his throat, not wishing to reminiscence about such things, at least not now. He was losing his mind, he must be. This was a dream, it had to be. Yet why did it feel so real? “And my name is not Brandric. It’s Aric. Brandric is what my father calls me.”

“Aric, then.” The dragon inclined its head again, lowering its voice. “Your sister is to marry the prince of a neighboring kingdom. This must not be allowed to happen. It will not unite your kingdoms, but is merely a ploy to gain your father’s trust.”

“I already know that.” Aric had heard two of King Malachite’s men talking. Once the marriage had taken place, King Malachite planned to invade Astria and claim it in the name of Logan, his own kingdom. “He… they talked about using magic.” Aric had told his father about what he’d overheard, but he hadn’t been believed. King Malachite, King Brandr assured his son, would not attempt to betray Astria by using the evil that was magic. Nor would he use their children’s marriage to gain control over Astria. He was an honorable man who had stood by Astria and its people many times, their armies united against a common foe. Together they had triumphed over those who might use magic against them, and worked to rid both their lands of the threat of dragons.

Aric had never trusted King Malachite. There was something about the man that made his skin crawl, but if asked to explain, he couldn’t. Only two people had ever believed him: Georgia and Aunt Hannah.

“The only way to fight magic is with magic.” The dragon looked around, then cocked its head to the side as though listening to something Aric could not hear. “You must seek the Sword of Sherwin, Aric. The quest will not only save your kingdom, but also your sister.”

“I….” Aric stared at the dragon. He’d heard of the sword, of course he had. It was an old tale told to him by both his aunt and his mother. The sword was a thing of power. “It doesn’t exist. It’s just a story. Or if it did, it was lost generations ago.” He shook his head. Surely the dragon couldn’t be serious?

“Then it is time it was found again, isn’t it?”

“You make it sound simple. It’s not.” Aric looked up at the dragon. Its eyes were the same color as its scales. They seemed to bore into his own, searching his heart, and his soul. There was something ageless about it, powerful yet lonely. He shivered, and averted his gaze.

“You see what others don’t, young Aric.” The dragon opened its wings. Aric gasped. They were the length of several men, black cobwebs of fine leather and scale. “Follow your heart, and trust your instincts.”

“But I don’t know where to look.” Aric wanted to believe the dragon, he truly did. Georgia couldn’t be allowed to marry Prince Thorold, and Aric could not stand by and let his kingdom fall. Killing dragons had only been part of the oath he’d taken. He might not intend to keep that part of it, but he certainly would keep the other.

The dragon had already begun to flap its wings. It was preparing to leave, and Aric knew once it took flight he’d never be able to stop it. “Follow your heart, Aric. Do what is right.”

Aric stumbled back, his sword falling to the ground. He couldn’t kill the dragon, but more than that, he didn’t want to. “I don’t know where to look,” he yelled after it. The dragon did not reply but instead took to the air, gliding, hovering above him, its movement graceful, majestic. Something about it called to him, touched him.

He wiped at his eyes. They were wet.

When he looked up again, the dragon was gone.

Buy A Knight to Remember:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3954&cPath=426

Bio:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Links:

http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com/

http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

http://coffeeunicorns.wordpress.com/

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_426