Great Historical Fiction/Fantasy Novels

History is anthroplogy for the past.  Great historical fiction brings you into that past world and makes it accessible.  Would life in thirteenth century Wales chew me up and spit me out?  No doubt.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t spend many happy hours living there.  I am also partial to the fantasy element of historical fiction in part because I acknowledge that past lives are truly inaccessible to me and if I wanted to read about something that was absolutely true, I would get the non-fiction version.  That said Read More…

Happy St. Dwynwen Day (Welsh Valentine’s Day)

Thanks to Americymru for the information! January 25th is Saint Dwynwen’s Day … the Welsh St Valentine. Typically, however, she ends up a nun. Brychan, a legendary 5th-century king of Brycheiniog had 24 daughters, of whom Dwynwen was reputedly the prettiest. She fell in love with a local prince called Maelon Dafodrill. Unfortunately her father, mindful of political advantage, had already arranged a marriage for her. Dwynwen was distraught. She hid in the forest and asked God to help her forget Maelon. She fell asleep and was visited by an Read More…

Christmas and the Winter Solstice

8 December 21st is the winter solstice in 2018. The image is of Stonehenge at the Winter Solstice in 2007. I’m pretty sure a whole bunch of those people have no idea why they’re there … Cultures throughout the world and throughout history have celebrated the winter solstice, carefully calculating it’s date and time for sunrise and sunset, and aligning standing stones, worship sites, and burials in coordination with the sky.  Wikipedia has an excellent catalog of these events:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice “The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination Read More…

Betrayal in the Belfry at Bangor

“And there was effected the betrayal of Llywelyn in the belfry of Bangor by his own men.”—Brut y Tywysogyon, Peniarth manuscript 20. (Chronicle of the Princes) This comment is sandwiched between the description of the defeat of the English at the Menai Strait on November 6th, and the death of Llywelyn on December 11th. It is only found in the manuscript kept at the National Library of Wales, not the incomplete version at Oxford, which ends with the firing of Aberystwyth Castle on Palm Sunday (April, 1282). Here is the Read More…

The Battle of the Menai Strait

“And he sent a fleet of ships to Anglesey, and they gained possession of Arfon. And then was made the bridge over the Menai; but the bridge broke and countless numbers of the English were drowned and others slain.”    –Brut y Twysogion, Peniarth Manuscript 20  (Chronicle of the Princes). On November 6th, 1282, the Welsh achieved an historic victory over the English, who had thought to surprise them by crossing the Menai Strait and driving down the coast to Aber (Garth Ceylyn), Prince Llywelyn’s seat on the Welsh north coast. The Read More…

Mystery Blowout Sale!

Mystery Blowout Sale! Get 12 books for free or 99 cents!Some friends and I got together for a massive 12-book sale on historical mysteries, from medieval times to modern, through Sunday November 4! Scroll down for the links. By Sarah Woodbury (me!) 99 cents! … Medieval to Modern (containing The Bard’s Daughter) FREE! … The Good Knight 99 Cents! … The Uninvited Guest 99 Cents! … The Fourth Horseman By M. Louisa Locke FREE! … Maids of Misfortune FREE! … Pilfered Promises By M. Ruth Myers FREE! … No Game for a Dame 99 Cents! … Maximum Moxie Read More…

Halloween in Wales

As I sit here munching candy corn (which my 14 year old declares ‘the best candy’–even better than chocolate–though he can’t have any because he’s allergic to corn), I’m thinking about the Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery, The Fallen Princess, which takes place at Halloween.  Except that during the Middle Ages, it was called ‘All Hallow’s Eve’, the day before All Saint’s Day, and it was less about candy and more about a belief in actual spirits. All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, has its roots in an older, pagan tradition, Read More…

The After Cilmeri Series Companion releases November 6, 2018!

Open a door to the world of the After Cilmeri series! With chapters on historical context, the Welsh language, characters, places in the books, and the writing process, and including hundreds of photographs, maps, timelines, and family trees, this guide highlights the characters, places, and worlds brought to life by the series’ first fifteen novels. Release date: November 6, 2018 Get in paperback: Amazon US   Amazon UK  Amazon DE Worldwide Amazon Link to digital version: https://www.books2read.com/corneroftime After November 6th, the book will be available in paperback at other Amazon stores as well as Read More…

Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales

Dafydd ap Gruffydd was the younger brother of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales who ruled portions of Wales, to a greater or lesser degree, since the death of his uncle (also named Dafydd) in 1246.  The younger Dafydd was born in 1238, at least a decade after Llywelyn.  This Dafydd spent the majority of his life in England, to which his family was forced to come when his father was imprisoned at the Tower of London by King Henry.  At the time, Llywelyn had refused to leave Wales with Read More…

The Vikings (Danes) in Ireland

Before I learned of the Danish role in the assassination of Anarawd, King of Deheubarth, I had no idea that the Danes had ever conquered parts of Ireland. The Danes, as a group, were part of a vast migration of men of the North to other regions of the world, initially for plunder and eventually for settlement. Coming from regions that now make up Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, these men went a Viking, and created widespread settlements: to the south, in Normandy and Sicily; to the east into Russia; Read More…

My books are available in Audio!

All the books in both the After Cilmeri series and the Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries are available in Audiobook! The After Cilmeri Series:  Amazon  Apple Books  Audible The Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries:  Amazon  Apple Books  Audible If you have never listened to an audiobook or are not an Audible member, you can get any one of my books for FREE by signing up for a free trial (cancel within 30 days). Just click on the link below for the book you want: Daughter of Time Footsteps in Time Winds Read More…

Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd

One of the greatest kings of Gwynedd was Owain Gwynedd, but his father Gruffydd ap Cynan can equally lay stake to such a claim.  His rule was certainly eventful. Gruffydd ruled in Wales on and off since he was a young man, in between his flights to Ireland when the English—or other Welsh barons—ousted him from Gwynedd.  Gruffydd’s grandfather had been the King of Gwynedd once upon a time, and Gruffydd had claimed the throne as its lawful heir. But staking his claim hadn’t been easy.  That first time, Gruffydd Read More…