Heart of Stone – A Book for You!

Dear Readers and Friends,

A three year quest has reached fruition with the publication of “Heart of Stone”, my historical novel, based on the tragic lives of my 5 x Great Grandparents.

No misery-memoir, this! Two brothers, one with all the advantages of position, as Earl of Bellfield and later Earl of Belvedere, an MP and scion of an old and powerful family. The other brother, younger than him, but blessed with the personal qualities that this elder brother lacked.

Add a beautiful young girl, just sixteen, the belle of the Dublin season, pressured into marriage by her parents. Can any of them find happiness?

Heart of Stone takes the reader through the highs and lows of Ireland in the 1740s and after, through famine and plenty, through prison, jealousy, despair and beyond.

Join our players as their turbulent lives unfold.

Available now on this Universal Book Link in both Paperback and Ebook versions.


This link will take you to your local Amazon supplier.

Published by www.crookedcatbooks.com, Heart of Stone will appeal to ALL lovers of historic fiction, from Robert Louis Stevenson to Georgette Heyer.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.


booksofallkinds rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

HEART OF STONE by John Jackson is a haunting tale of power, greed, and love set in Ireland in the early 18th Century.
A wonderful all-rounder when it comes to readers, HEART OF STONE by John Jackson is an emotional, historical novel about the desperate lengths that some will go to for power and others for love, and I highly recommend it.

Joanna Lambert rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fabulous debut from John Jackson.

Gwessie Tee rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Utterly loved the book, fantastic read and loved it very much. I adore the story John tells; am also intrigued by what John may write next.



Gwessie’s Review

Source: Gwessie’s Review




Blurb :

Dublin, 1730

When young and beautiful Mary Molesworth is forced to marry Robert Rochford, widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield, she finds that her idea of love is not returned. Jealous, cruel and manipulative, Robert ignores her after she has provided him with a male heir, preferring to spend his nights with his mistress. Power-hungry, Robert builds up a reputation that sees him reach for the highest positions in Ireland.


Caught in an unhappy marriage, Mary begins to grow closer to Robert’s younger brother, Arthur. Acknowledging their love for each other, they will risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.

Will Mary and Arthur find a way to escape Robert’s clutches?

Based on real events, Heart of Stone is a tale of power, jealousy, imprisonment, and love, set in 1740s Ireland.

Review :

Goodreads my rating 5*

Naughtiness 2*

Utterly loved the book, fantastic read and loved it very much, like most books I adore the story John tells am also intrigued by what John may write next.


As always I never give spoilers, that would be unfair to John and potential readers. What I can say is that the book has everything history, a roller coaster of emotion a hero and heroine you most definitely can connect with and I love it has a great page count. I am a greedy reader this was perfect length for me. ( though I know majority of the time it’s the publisher giving out strict word or page counts). I loved the twists and turns the passion, was very connected to our heroine from very early on to the point where I wanted to save her myself. I adore how Johns story played out and the connections to history.


All who love history, passion, intrigue and love will adore this book.


Thank you Lord John for writing this book and the honour of reading it x

Writing Historical Romantic Fiction by guest author John Jackson

Source: Writing Historical Romantic Fiction by guest author John Jackson


john'sMy friend John Jackson joins me today to answer the question: What are you doing Here? (A mere Male in a woman’s world)

This is a question I ask myself from time to time. Luckily, the answer comes back the same every time. “Having fun!”

I have never had a typical male “look-down-the-nose” type of attitude towards romantic fiction. I was brought up on Georgette Heyer from an early age, thanks to my father, who got every new book of hers as they came available.

Then, as time passed, I found myself on a ship in some far flung foreign sea with NOTHING to read on board except a few paperbacks – among which was a copy of Mary Stewart’s “Touch Not the Cat!” I enjoyed it – slightly to my surprise, and then she brought out the Merlin books (The Crystal Cave, etc.) and I loved those.john's heart of stone

More time passes, and purely by chance, I met a couple of Romantic Novelists Association members, now both firm friends. They were really, REALLY nice, and through them I got to meet several other members and authors. They, in turn, were, almost to a woman, unbelievably welcoming and friendly! I also found that I enjoyed reading their books. All of a sudden, I found that I was friends with some very talented people.

I was also facing an imminent collision with retirement, and was looking for things to help occupy my time. Writing – something I had tried before in a very minor way – loomed ever larger on the horizon. I was also getting some pressure from my new friends, “Go on, John – you know you want to give it a go.” This was a siren song I was quite willing to listen to.john's street team

Any possible doubts I had evaporated after meeting the much-missed Roger Sanderson at the Festival of Romance in Leighton Buzzard. Roger was famous after being featured in a documentary on Mills & Book on the BBC. He was (then) Mills & Boon’s only male contract author, and wrote almost 50 medical romances under his wife’s name of Gill Sanderson.

Shortly after moving to Yorkshire and joining the RNA I also met the wonderful Jessica Blair. In real life, Jessica Blair is Bill Spence, who, when I met him, had just signed another two-book deal with Piatkus – at the age of 92. Bill used to be a bomb-aimer in Lancaster bombers in WWII, and if HE could write in the romantic genre, then anyone could.

So I knew I wanted to write – but – the eternal writers’ question – What about the story?

As it happened, I had, for many years, been a fan of historical novels, from Robert Louis Stevenson right through to Georgette Heyer, and on to Bernard Cornwell.

I had also long had an interest in genealogy. While Jackson is too common to be traceable, my mother’s maiden name was Dumaresq. This is an old Jersey name, and is as rare as it looks. Back in the day, the Dumaresqs married well. Several married “Peer’s Younger Daughters / Sons” etc. and when this happens, it all gets easier, because of volumes like Debrett’s and Burke’s.

Looking back through the old family details I suddenly realised just how much material there was for any number of books. Most people throughout history have led boring, humdrum and frequently brutally short lives, but on my family tree, there were a good number of real characters. Some were total scumbags, and lots did “interesting things.”john's book

So I hope you enjoy Heart of Stone, and I hope to write at least four more about different “acorns on the tree” over the next few years.

If there is a moral here, it can only be that if you WANT to write, go ahead and write – in any genre you choose. You will get far more support then you could dream of.

Heart of Stone by John Jackson is to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 24th October 2017. It is a story of love, passion, blood, famine, prison and jealousy. A perfect read as the nights grow longer and colder – as cold as a Heart of Stone! Have a look at http://viewbook.at/Heartofgoldlink

John Jackson

Launching a Book on an Unsuspecting World.


Much of this article came about following a round-table discussion with several other writers published by Crooked Cat Books. I saw what I had written, and then thought it would make a good article for my blog.

For those who don’t know, Crooked Cat are a small-but-active publishing house. Several of my fellow RNA members are also published by them. As with all the smaller publishers, (and with many of the larger ones) the writer HAS to undertake his or her own publicity. We are in charge of our own “sales effort” on line and over “Social Media.”

As you will all, I am sure, know if you are reading this, I have my first book out on the 24th of October, with Crooked Cat.

If the hive mind can come up with anything else, then all suggestions would be gratefully received. I will pass any fresh ideas on to my fellow Crooked Cats.

For what it’s worth – this is what I’ve done so far

  1. Built up the Twitter following – moderated Tweeters only (i.e. no one on the list who is not likely to buy a book) currently 3900 following me
  2. Added #heartofstone to the end of all the Friday #ff tweets.
  3. Prepared and loaded in Hootsuite a similar direct sales tweet to go out in the last few days before launch. Note – depending on system, you can only programme in up to 500 tweets in advance. This tweet will go to all 3900 followers.
  4. Organised a Blog tour with Debbie Johnson (Brook Cottage Booktours) This starts on launch day.
  5. Done – so far – 2 guest interviews, and hoping for several more. Hoping to make all these a little bit different from each other.
  6. Joined all the major Author and Reader Facebook Groups – about 90 groups in all. Some have specific posting requirements, many allow you to post freely, some on specific days, and some allow a single post on your launch day. I am posting once per week in each (or as the Group requires) I am also trying to vary the posts a little so it isn’t boring.
  7. Built up the Facebook friends list – now standing at 3000
  8. Reorganised my Blog/Webpage on WordPress at JohnJacksonAuthor.com. Updating it more regularly.
  9. Arranging a Thunderclap campaign (this will start in earnest next week)
  10. Arranged a Facebook On-line Launch party for most of the day on the 24th. This means I cover the main timezones where my friends live.

            On-Line Launch Party for Heart of Stone

  1. Invited as many Facebook friends as allowed (you can only invite 500 people to a Facebook event, I’ve just discovered)
  2. Arranged an Authors Page on Amazon.com so potential readers in the US and similar can see my bio.

John Jackson – Authors Page

  1. Promulgated the Launch-party to all my Goodreads friends. You can link your Facebook event to your Goodreads page, and this doesn’t seem to have the same restrictions re number of invites.
  2. Promulgated the launch party on my Amazon.com page.

Still to do:

  1. Organise a Goodreads Giveaway and an Amazon.com giveaway. (You can’t do giveaways on Amazon.co.uk yet)
  2. Solicit reviews. A couple in the pipeline. More required!!
  3. I could do a bulk e-mail post, but I don’t have a book related email address list. I may send a single post to the address list generated from my e-mail outbox.

Of course, after the launch, the effort has to continue. I will be approaching all the local libraries, and the local independent bookshops. Crooked Cat books can now be supplied by Ingrams, the library services side of Amazon.


So there we are so far. I started work on this some time ago as you can imagine. It would be impossible to do, if given only one week, say.

Corrections, tips, suggestions and comments all welcome!

Come on, tell me! What did I miss?




4 Weeks to Go!

1 Month Today!

Yes – Heart of Stone is officially released in exactly one month’s time! (24th. October) I’ve got my first review, and the reader loved it!

Curiously, it IS available as a paperback already. Apparently, this is something that CreateSpace / Amazon “do”.

Life is getting busier and busier – book-wise. I spent yesterday in Birmingham at the latest Bloggers & Authors Shenanigans, organised by the frighteningly competent Kim Nash. These “dos” are always fun, if exhausting – and well done and thanks to Kim and to Holly Martin for organising it.

I have been selecting and joining all the big Book and Author Facebook groups, and started to post in them. NOT flooding them; there are some that have no restrictions on posting, but my natural diffidence and shyness prevent me from posting more than once per week. I don’t want to find myself posting so often people get tired or bored.

Coming up we have the RNA York Tea on Saturday, with about 80 guests congregating in York. We did it two years ago, and it was a rousing success. Let’s hope this one will be as well. I will be there with the camera!

I am also 25k words into the next book, I am busy trying to arrange a research trip to London for it. I need to spend time at the Public Record Office at Kew checking on the records for the Fleet Prison and the Kings Bench prison for the last twenty years of the 18th C. It’s actually difficult to find the requisite time!

In 3 weeks I am off to Newcastle for anther writers and readers get-together. A new crowd for me, and I’m looking forward to it. There WILL be photos 😊

On launch day, I’ve got an on-line Launch Party. There will be some give-aways, and it will be going on throughout the day. It’ll be fun, free and you can do it from the comfort of your armchair! AND you are all invited!

Away from the book, we had a wonderful holiday in the Lake District, with both our daughters, and DD1s partner. A super cottage and lots of time in pubs Pam and I were in 42 years ago. Some of them haven’t changed a bit.

Mr Snuffles and the rest of the hedgehogs keep us amused – as does Fantastic Mr Fox and Usain Mouse!









The Background to the Book

Many years ago – more than 50 years, to be precise – I started working on the Family Tree. I had a head start, in that my Great Great Grandfather (also called John Jackson) was a Vicar, and Anne, his wife kept and transcribed all his letters, etc. after his death. That gave me a flying start on the Jackson side. I’ve four 4 books full of this sort of stuff!

My father’s family came from poor pieceworkers in the cotton and wool trades, spinning and weaving in their cottages in the area of Pott Shrigley, south of Stockport, and near to Lyme Hall.

The John Jackson above got taken up by the local Squirarchy and sent to Macclesfield School. He stayed on as a teacher, married Anne, who was the daughter of one of the other Masters there and then went to Brazennose College, Oxford, where he read Divinity and became a curate, back in Pott Shrigley, and then vicar of Over, near Winsford in Cheshire.

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When I looked at Mum’s side it really became interesting. Her maiden name was Dumaresq, which is a Jersey name. They were fairly big cheeses in Jersey for several hundred years. They used to own Les Augres Manor, the site of Jersey Zoo, run by the late Gerald Durrell.

Henry Hart Davis Dumaresq was my Great Grandfather. His mother, Elizabeth is the branch that leads back to the Rochforts.(bottom line, middle)
There are none left now in the UK, although there are some in Canada and Australia. (I’ve been in touch with them and met a good few of them), however, it is such an unusual name it is very easy to find.

The Dumaresqs married well – very often to “peer’s younger daughters” etc. and once you do that – it’s easy to connect and trace back.

Thanks to those who have done this work before/ I can go back to Edward 1st. (it’s no big deal – 33% of the UK can, too – including Danny Dyer) BUT – along the way, I came across some really juicy ancestors.

The story that leapt out, as a tale to be told, was the story in Heart of Stone.

There’s plenty more to come!

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A Cover – and a Publishing Date!

I’m delighted to announce that I have both a cover AND a publication date!

“Heart of Stone” will be published by Crooked Cat, on October 24th.

I’m loving the cover – it’s exactly what I wanted. The figure is one of the main protagonists in the story.

For those who haven’t heard, it’s a historical novel, and is based on my 5-great Grandparents, set in Ireland in the years after 1740.

Cover - Front


The picture is of one of the main protagonists in Heart of Stone. It hangs in Belvedere, one of the main sites used in the book, and very much a real place. Although very striking, there is no photo around of a sufficient density (300 dpi) to allow it to be used for a cover. Luckily, I found a photographer in Mullingar who was delighted to go and take a pic, for a very reasonable sum.

The Managing Board of Belvedere were most welcoming, and happy for me to use the pic, asking only for a mention.


A New Site for the Blog

Yes, I’ve moved across to WordPress. It seems a little more ubiquitous than Blogger.

I also hope to update it a little more frequently. I hope any readers will forgive me for the occasional screw-ups as I get used to WordPress’s own vagaries.

First, and most important – the writing!

A Heart of Stone

A Heart of Stone has been accepted for publication by Crooked Cat Books and will be out in October / November. I am waiting to start the edits with a keen sense of trepidation.

For new readers of this blog, it’s a historical novel of 90k words, set mainly in Ireland in the 1740s, and concerns the terrible events surrounding my Great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (really!)

It’s the story of the Belle of the Dublin season, married at 16 to suit her parents, and who falls in love with her brother-in-law.

Her husband, a man of great power, does not take this well.

A Heart of Stone is the story of what SHOULD have happened to them.

Strange Bedfellows

Strange Bedfellows is the working title for Book 2. I am 30k words in but have been having some terrible plot problems, which can be summarised as a simple “Why am I writing this book?”

A Heart of Stone is now on hold, pending Crooked Cat’s appointing an editor, and them starting on a cover design. However, time, tide and publishers wait for no man, so Book 2 calls.

Another historical, this time concerning Jane, the daughter of A Heart of Stone’s protagonists, and a right rackety person by all accounts. Family History truly IS the “gift that keeps on giving”.

I have good protagonists, a good opening, some good subplots and minor characters, and it is pretty sound historically, but I was really getting lost in terms of direction.

Along comes Liz Fenwick to the rescue, who recommended Dara Marks “Inside Stories – the Power of the Transformational Arc”. Not an easy read, but well worth it. It told me what I needed to do, and showed me how to fit it into my story. Excellent.


I also found John Yorke’s “Into the Woods: How Stories Work” helpful.


I’ve used some spare time on holiday to map out the story arc, and to shorten the time span, and I reckon that, at last, I know where I am going with this.

In the meantime, Books 3 and 4 are taking shape in my mind……..

Oh, there IS a moral to all this. When you get stuck, ASK FOR HELP. It will always be forthcoming.

The RNA Summer Party.

This year’s Summer Party was another, and all too rare, chance to meet up in person with my wonderful RNA friends. As always, I had a great time, talked incessantly, took a load of photos and STILL didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone.

A highlight was the presentation to Kate Field of the Joan Hessayon Award, for the best first novel published in the last year from a member of the RNA’s New Writers Scheme. This was The Magic of Ramblings (Accent Press). Many congratulations!

Both Kate and Clare Harvey, last year’s winner. spoke amusingly in their speeches.

A very few of my best pics.

Emily Kerr – my fellow Crooked Cat Author
Nicola Cornick, Kate Field, Katie Fforde and Alison May.
Clare Harvey (rocking the hat) and Kate Field who really CAN smile, honestly.
Sue Moorcroft, holding her “Just For the Holidays”, released on Party Day!

Our holiday in Cornwall was wonderful; some great gardens, some new friends, a lovely cottage and we will be back to Cornwall again next year. I feel a Cornish story coming on, somewhere.

And….. when we got back, the hedgehogs were soon coming round for their food.

All or any comments are more than welcome.


Bosahan (6)
Bosahan Gardens, looking out of the Helford River
Mr Snuffles – always hungry.