A goonie…and a broonie!

Nancy Jardine bringing you another update from a sunny North-East Scotland. On Friday last, the 29th May 2020, I was scheduled to board a train for York, England. I love walking the wall and wandering the Shambles. I adore visiting the museums, and doing general tourist pursuits. Five years ago, I had a wonderful seminar weekend with some of my co-authors at Ocelot Press, in York. Though, back then, we were published authors with Crooked Cat Books.

York Museum grounds- c. Nancy Jardine

My visit this time was to join the fun at the 2020 Eboracum Roman Festival, organised in the main by York Museums. Loads of Roman themed events and activities were organised – some indoors, though many of them outdoors in the streets of central York. I had planned to fill my camera with amazing photos, but the highlight of the ‘Friday through Sunday’ event was joining a lovely line-up of authors in a ‘pop-up’ bookstore, all of us selling our Roman themed historical novels. I imagined lots of impromptu information being shared with customers, and me getting to know the authors I’ve only met ‘virtually’ via Facebook. In 2019, the author tables were set up in the ‘Hospitium’ in the grounds of the York Museum and I was hoping for the same venue this year. Sadly, COVID 19, changed the plans. Like other major events, it was cancelled.

Though not compulsory to wear re-enactment outfits, I had noticed that a number of the authors got into the swing in 2019. I’ve always meant to make myself a Late Iron Age outfit, so going to York was a brilliant excuse.

In January (2020), I researched possible cloth. The ‘Celts’ used standing looms to weave their cloth which is thought to have been either plain, or with fairly sizeable checks (though not Tartan). Textiles do not survive well in the ground, but there are a few excavated examples that have been found across the Ancient Roman Empire. The fragments found indicate an open weaving technique was used, and they also give an idea of what might have been used to dye the wool. 

Dark green commercial dye.

I fancied a mid-green colour for the long dress and a checked material for a bratt (shawl). York in late May can be pretty warm, so a pure woollen cloth sounded very hot and scratchy. I wanted to be as authentic as possible but suitable green cloth eluded me. I opted for light grey which, I imagined, could be dyed to my preferred colour. The cloth arrived but it wasn’t the open weave I expected from the little photograph. (It must have been a very high magnification)

And it didn’t dye. Not at all!

I tried a deep green commercial hand dye which dulled down the checked material I had bought for the shawl, but the grey for the dress was still grey.

I then thought maybe if the suiting material (supposedly 55% wool) had a mordant process done to it, it would accept a natural dye. Using beetroot might make it a pale dusky pink – which I could live with, instead of green. Beetroot is a more recent variety of the Beta Vulgaris species, but 2000 years ago the Iron Age Tribes would probably have eaten a variety more like chard. However, it’s also possible that the Ancient Romans introduced to Britain the forerunner of the modern sugar beet that we grow and eat today, since Ancient Romans ate a number of Beta V. varieties.

The Beetroot Broonies!

The mordant treatment, a boiling in (vinegar and salt) for an hour was pretty stinky, but the soaking in the cooked beetroot juice was even more so. 24 hours later, the indestructible cloth was STILL grey but a machine wash, thankfully, got rid of the pong. The dyeing processes were useless, but all was not lost – I used some of the boiled beetroot to make beetroot brownies, which were yummy, and the remainder is pickled.

My ‘goonie’ is a bit boring so I used some of the shawl material to give it a lift. Is it authentic for Northern Romano Britain? Since we don’t really know what styles they wore, I can only imagine that any embellishment to dresses was of a practical nature!

What do you think of it? It’s surprisingly comfortable and I will wear it when selling my paperback novels, or for author talks etc.

I’ll be putting my name on the 2021 list of authors selling at the next Eboracum Roman Festival…and who knows what I’ll be wearing.

p.s. I’m thinking that when the COVID 19 situation eases and I can shop again, I might look out for some more exciting cloth that I don’t need to dye!

My stock for the Festival, available in paperback and kindle formats from: Amazon Author Page

If you’re quick, you’ll find that Books 1 and 2 are at #99p/99c across Amazon for a limited time in early June!

Book 1 The Beltane Choice

Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn

Celtic Fervour Saga Series

Chapter 1 of Augustine

Have a sneak peak at Chapter 1 of Vanessa Couchman’s Augustine, coming soon!

Vanessa Couchman

Augustine is a bitter-sweet romance set against the rolling landscape and hilltop villages of southern France in the late 19th century. This novella is a prequel to the Alouette Trilogy and is currently on pre-order on Amazon Kindle for publication on 30th April 2020. Read Chapter 1 below.

Belcastel, one of the beautiful villages of Southwest France

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Augustine: Cover Reveal and Launch Details

We’re thrilled to announce Vanessa Couchman’s latest book, Augustine, a prequel novella to the Alouette trilogy.

Vanessa Couchman

On 30th April, I’m publishing a prequel to the Alouette trilogy, Augustine. This is a novella (about half the length of a standard novel), set in rural Southwest France in the 1880s. It tells the story of Augustine and Joseph, who appear in Book 1 of the trilogy, Overture.

My fab cover designer, JD Smith, has come up with the goods yet again. The cover fits the story really well and is just what I wanted.

Here’s the blurb:

Love conquers all. Or does it?

Rural France 1880. Augustine is not conventionally pretty and fears that she may never marry. Joseph rents his land and dreams of owning a farm one day. But without a wife and children, he lacks the help he needs.

When Joseph saves Augustine from a drunkard at a dance, they are immediately attracted to each other. They meet again, and the attraction…

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After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks By Nancy Jardine Blog Tour with Review & Giveaway (Win x1 signed paperback of After Whorl: Double Cloaks to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide)

Another stunning 5 * review for After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks!

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks

By Nancy Jardine

About the Book:

AD 73 Northern Roman Britain


Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.
Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.


The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at BeinnnaCiche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…




Christie’s Review

 5 STARS

This is another well-researched and thrilling historical novel written by Nancy Jardine!

The book begins not long after the last book ended. Brennus is now back with his family…

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Cathie Dunn’s eagerly awaited ‘Love Lost in Time’ launches today!

Ocelot author Cathie Dunn’s latest novel is out today and is available in ebook and paperback formats from Amazon.

This dual timeline historical romance is set in the present-day Languedoc region in southern France and in its predecessor, Septimania, in the 8th century. Cathie lives in that area of France and has been able to do a lot of research in situ. Read on for more details of the story.

A tale of love, death and redemption…

AD 2018
Languedoc, south-west France

Madeleine Winters must live in her late mother’s old stone house in south-west France for one hear before she can claim her inheritance – and sell it! Reluctantly leaving her life in England, she begins to renovate the house. But she’s not prepared for all the discoveries…

Is it her imagination when she hears a woman’s voice? Or when the ground shakes?

When ancient human bones belonging to a female are found beneath the kitchen floor, the mystery deepens. How did the woman end up buried, without a sarcophagus and all alone, in that particular spot in the Cabardès hills?

And why were her bones broken?

AD 777
Septimania, on the western coast of the Mediterranean Sea

17-year-old Nanthild attends Charlemagne’s court with her father, where she is introduced to Bellon of Carcassonne. Unimpressed by the blustering young warrior, Nanthild is shocked when Charlemagne and her father arrange their wedding as a gesture of ensuring Bellon’s support in the king’s conquest of the volatile southern region of Septimania.

Despite his Visigoth origins, Bellon is installed as Count of Carcassonne, and he soon has to face challenges to Frankish rule that often keep him away from home – and his family.

Bellon’s absences make it easy for Nanthild to keep her calling as a healer and wise-woman from him, and she continues to visit those in need of her help.

But dangers lurk on her journey…

Readers of Kate Mosse and Barbara Erskine might enjoy the story of Love Lost in Time.

Book Blog Tour Rewards!

This post is by Nancy Jardine

In September 2019, I booked the services of a Book Blog Tour organiser for the first time, any previous tours for launches of my novels having been organised myself. Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources came highly recommended and I am delighted with what she has achieved.

The tours I’ve booked include potential reviews, though these can never be guaranteed because the bloggers and not paid for any services rendered. The bloggers give up their own time and effort which I greatly appreciate – whether it’s a simple promo post, an author interview, an author guest post or a promo and review. I’m absolutely delighted to have had 21 bloggers do some kind of feature, a whopping 12 of them having done a review for Book 1 The Beltane Choice (Sept 2019) and 12 reviews also garnered for Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn. These reviews have not all come from the same bloggers, though many of the 12 wanted to read further into the series.

The comments on the reviews are so varied which is fabulous because it gives me as the author an insight into which aspects have appealed to particular readers and why. This helps for creating future novels.

Here are some of the comments from the November After Whorl: Bran Reborn reviews:

  1. “The narrative is bursting with facts and the author’s attention to detail is admirable. All this, wrapped around an intriguing narrative with fascinating characters.”
  2. “I am really enjoying reading about a new era of British History. There is a lot of detail is being put into the progress of the Roman invasion and what is being done by the early Celtic tribes to try to repel them! I haven’t read anything like it before, so I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series pans out!”
  3. The events, plot twists, world-building … Everything was awesome as the first book if not more.
  4. “I’ve already said it in my review of the first book and I will say it again Nancy Jardine Writing style is different; her words are amazing and you should read her books.”
  5. “As with the first book, the author gives readers a map with locations in the book and a list of characters which helps understand the book and the timeline better. I always love the historical context she includes at the end of the book. It really put things in perspective for me. I will anxiously be awaiting the next book to see where Jardine takes us next.”

Tours have been organised for Books 3 & 4 and the bloggers and readers can look forward to these in December 2019 and January 2020. I’ll be keen to see what my new ‘fans’ think of the rest of the series.

Don’t forget to look out for the newest Ocelot Press novels that are launching this November 2019. They are fabulous stories!
Wishing you very Happy Reading.

Click HERE to buy After Whorl Bran Reborn – http://viewbook.at/heritis

Meet the Ocelots – An interview with Bran from Bran Reborn

The Ocelot Press blog hop continues! Today Jennifer C. Wilson interviews the rather wonderful Bran from Nancy Jardine’s Bran Reborn.

Jennifer C. Wilson

Have you been following the Ocelot Press Blog Hop? Last week, Tom got to have his say, over on Sue Barnard’s blog, and today, right here, I get to interview Brennus, from Bran Reborn, by Nancy Jardine, which I recently reviewed as part of Nancy’s blog tour. 

Looking forward to hearing from you, Bran… 

After Whorl Bran Reborn - Nancy JardineWhat did you think when Lorcan arrived at Garrigill with Nara, and when he announced his grand plan?

That’s an interesting question! Like the rest of my fellow warriors at Garrigill any female newcomer arouses some interest and I confess I found Nara to be a lust worthy woman. I had no knowledge of her background, apart from her being an enemy Selgovae, but there was a huge amount of curiosity due to my brother Lorcan having the audacity in bringing her into our Brigante hillfort. The Selgovae have been our traditional enemies for time…

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