the psychic’s tale

The Psychic’s Tale can now be told! This first part of The Fitzwarren Inheritance is ready for purchase and download from Silver’s site today!



Mark chose to try for lunch at the Red Lion, it being the oldest by several centuries, and more likely to have ghostly happenings that might be useful fodder for Waldron’s TV show. The structure was from the fifteenth century, while the other had a Georgian facade. Inside, the main saloon lived up to its promise of age. Black timbers stretched across the ceilings, patterned the pale yellow walls and framed the crooked windows. The only level line in the place was formed by the bar itself, a Victorian affair in rich mahogany. Even the massive stone mantel over the huge hearth had a slight angle. Though still summer-warm outside, a faint smell of wood smoke drifted over the scents of beer and furniture polish, and he could easily imagine logs burning in the wide grate during autumn and winter.


Mark leaned on the bar and inspected the menu, finally opting for chicken and chips, then retreated with his beer to a table by the window. At the next table along sat a man of about his own age, poring over large photographs spread across his table. His long black hair hung forward, partially screening his profile, and he hummed quietly to himself as he scribbled in a dog-eared shorthand notebook. Incurably curious, Mark craned his neck to see what the photos were, but could make nothing of them. They looked like something downloaded from Google Earth.


Then the man glanced around, and Mark found himself caught by silver eyes with a dark ring around the edge of their irises, eyes that crinkled at the corners and were set in a lean, deeply tanned face with a mischievous smile. That smile and the light in the man’s gaze sank deep into Mark’s consciousness and resonated through his blood. That the stranger had wide shoulders and powerful arms, both displayed well by his blue tee-shirt, was an added bonus. Not even the white logo Archaeologists do it in trenches dampened Mark’s interest. If they were in the bar of the Chartreuse Room, one of the gathering places for gays in Bristol, he would have done his damnedest to connect with him.


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Starfall is released as a paperback today!


A Real Book! I love ebooks and desperately want a Kindle, but there’s something about holding a solid chunk of paper – complete with gorgeous cover – in my paws that cannot be beaten *g*.



Ash took another quick look at the couple in the corner on his way to the door. The woman was watching him with unhidden interest. He knew most of the people he’d met here thought of him as handsome—and that had taken some getting used to, after years of his family and friends teasing him about his height, his heavy-set body, and coarse features. Then her companion looked up and for the first time since he’d landed on this planet, Ash’s shades provided no barrier. The man locked eyes with him and Ash swore under his breath. A slow fire began in his blood. Yes, there was no possibility he was imagining it. He had never experienced the sensation before but it was hard-wired into his psyche. Every Vyan knew what to expect when they met their true-bond. The connection was real and unless he was very careful, it would only strengthen from now on. At least, it would as far as he, Ash, was concerned. What the Douryan felt—if anything—was another matter entirely. Either way, it meant he was effectively shafted.


Ash found he’d come to a halt, transfixed. The smolder abruptly flared toward a conflagration and his flesh was stirring, hardening. No. With another curse he strode for the door, letting it slam shut behind him.


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Stokesay Castle from the south

There are places that just demand a story. When RJ Scott tossed the premise of what would become the Fitzwarren Inheritance Trilogy to me, Stokesay Castle sprang immediately to mind, and it became Westford Castle, the erstwhile home of the Fitzwarren family. With a few alterations necessary to the story. Westford has a porch to the door of the Great Hall, and second tower where Stokesay has later rooms built onto the north end of the range. Strictly speaking, Stokesay isn’t a castle, but an early medieval fortifed manor house. The huge windown in the Great Hall make it virtually undefendable.


Stokesay Castle from beyond the boundary

The Fitzwarrens live in the 17th century gatehouse to the castle, and theirs is larger that Stokesay’s, but probably just as ramshackle. On my latest visit to Stokesay this May, the Gatehouse was closed under the Health and Safety Act, and even though I begged, they wouldn’t let me in to explore *g*. The photos on this page are my own – for more, official, photos click on the link


I borrowed some of Stokesay’s history as well as its appearance. and I’m quoting Wikipedia in full because not only does the entry agree with the English Heritage Guidebook, the surviving structures are minor miracles in themselves, given the turbulent history that beset the whole area.


The Gatehouse, Stokesay Castle

… “From the Norman Conquest until 1241, the area was held by the Lacy family, a powerful dynasty with lands in the Welsh Marches. On the death of the last male heir, Walter de Lacy, it was left to the husbands of his two granddaughters to divide the family estates. The manor of Stokesay went to John de Verdon. He went on crusade, leaving his property in the hands of a tenant. This tenant sold the manor in 1281 to Laurence of Ludlow. The main construction of Stokesay Castle was undertaken by Laurence of Ludlow, based in Shrewsbury, the richest local wool

merchant of his generation.


Door to the Great Hall

Extensive tree-ring dating of structural timbers shows that virtually all of the present structure was completed before 1291, the date of Edward I’s license to fortify the place, which stands in the Welsh Marches, the western borderland of the Norman domain at that time. The oldest parts of the building are the lower two storeys of the north tower, begun about 1240. The great slate-roofed hall, thirty-four feet high, with four cross-gables, was added in the 1280s and is a very rare survival, having been virtually untouched since; there is no fireplace, just the central open octagonal hearth. The roof’s double collar-beams and curved collar braces rest on masonry corbels in the walling, an early example of innovation in roofing larger buildings. The original wooden staircase round two sides of the walls, giving access to the north tower, also remains to this day. The solar, an upper living room in the cross-wing, which gave a more private space in which to withdraw from the company in the hall, is accessible from an exterior timber stair sheltered by its own roof and contains Elizabethan oak panelling and a sumptuous fireplace. The South Tower has no direct access from any other structure: its use was purely defensive. The castle’s most unusual feature is a timber-framed residence built onto the outside of the walls. The Elizabethan gatehouse, added in the 16th century, is also half-timbered and is decorated with carvings.


During King Charles I reign it came into the ownership of the Craven family and was used as a supply base for the King’s forces in the area, based in strength at nearby Ludlow Castle in the early stages of the English Civil War.


A skirmish took place at the castle during the English Civil War, in which Stokesay was handed over to the Parliamentarians after a short siege without a pitched battle (in which it surely would have been severely damaged).


Stokesay was lived in as a farmhouse and barn until the early 19th century. In 1869 it was purchased by John Derby Allcroft, a Worcester glove manufacturer and Member of Parliament, who recognising the value of the building’s history and architectural features set about restoring and maintaining it while he also had Stokesay Court built nearby. Since 1992 the monument has been in the care of English Heritage.”



Finally, meet Tink. He doesn’t live at Stokesay, but is a frequent attendee and when he isn’t seducing picnickers, or snoozing,  has been known to escort visitors around the castle.

This is a wonderful site to visit – it has a small tearoom, a gift shop, and civilized toilets *g*. If you are ever in that part of Shropshire, UK, take the chance to go there. You won’t be disappointed.

PS. I did ask the staff there, but no one knows of any ghostly happenings at Stokesay — unlike Westford Castle!


Starfall - Chris QuintonI’ve just learned that STARFALL will be released as a print book on June 4th, the same day that THE PSYCHIC’S TALE goes live at Silver!


I am very pleased, to put it mildly. Being published in e-book format is great, but to actually hold a Real Paper Book in my sticky paws is the ultimate high.


In other news, I’m back home after a couple of weeks in the Welsh Marches, South and North Wales. I’ve got lots of hotos to sort through, and a blog to write on Stokesay Castle, the inspiration for Westford Castle in The Psychic’s Tale.

In the giddy euphoria induced by my Starfall cover, I forgot about The Psychic’s Tale, recently accepted by Silver Publishing and to be released June 2011.

TPT is the first novella in a trilogy, ‘The Fitzwarren Inheritance’. Each novella is written by a different author – me [Chris Quinton], Rj Scott and Sue Brown. It was Rj’s idea, and I got roped in toward the end when another author dropped out.

…“I curse you and your children’s children, that you shall all live out your allotted years, and that those years shall be filled with grief and loss and betrayal, even as you have betrayed and bereaved me.”

Four hundred years ago in rural England, a mob burned two man to death, but not before one of them, Jonathan Curtess, hurled a dreadful curse at the mob’s leader, Sir Belvedere Fitzwarren. The curse has followed the family through the centuries, bringing grief and loss to each generation.

Mark Renfrew is a closeted psychic and openly gay. When his grandmother discovers a family link to a 17th century feud and a still-potent curse, she insists he investigates and do his best to end it. When he travels to the village of Steeple Westford, he meets and falls for Jack Faulkner, an archaeologist. He also meets the Fitzwarrens, who are facing yet another tragedy.

Then Mark learns that the man who cursed them had twisted the knife by leaving three cryptic conditions that would lift the curse, and he knows he has to try to break the curse his ancestor had set…

Rj Scott has just had the second story – The Soldier’s Tale – accepted for release a couple of weeks after TPT, and Sue Brown is starting on the third and final story.

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