Tag Archives: Jake

Jake Savage – Character Profile – a man and his demons

Hell has its DemonsIf you have read my latest novel, Hell has its Demons, then you might be interested to find out more about one of the main characters: Jake Savage.

Here’s the character history I wrote for him while I was planning the novel. Hope you enjoy it! The cover of the book might be Jake – you never no – it’s not only hell that has demons – Jake does too.

Jake’s family moved to St Brett’s when he was 11, a year after the Plague first struck in 1348. His young sister died, but otherwise his family was relatively unharmed. The village where they lived all but disappeared though. His father sold the small plot of land they held and left the village before their lord could demand the fine payable for villains leaving his manor. They arrived in St Brett’s and found that they were able to get a burgess plot on the cheap – the abbey desperate for money with half the town’s tenants having died.

As a child Jake was entranced by stories of knights and seeing them go past in their armour, with their fancy ladies – visiting the abbey for instance or coming into town for the fairs that happened three times a year. He was taken in by the romance of these stories and the pageantry of the knights he saw. He would later bitterly resent the wealth of these nobles and his own foolish hope that he might become a knight too.

His father earns a living through a variety of enterprises, becoming most successful at brewing and running a tavern. John is a shrewd businessman and also sees opportunities for speculating on the trade of cloth manufactured in the town. He encourages others to invest capital into ventures, thereby avoiding risk, but takes a good share of the profits. He uses his son, Jake, to ensure the shipments reach their destination safely – Jake is physically intimidating and also John trusts him. Jake is party to occasional deception of John’s business clients. Jake travels to London and ports in East Anglia on business.

From the age of 16 to 17 John is able to send his boy Jake to the grammar school briefly. Jake learns quickly but can’t stand the discipline of study and the hypocrisy of the monks. He is expelled for a prank on the teacher – who will later be an obedientary or abbot?

The Abbey observes the success of the cloth exports from St Brett’s and the lack of income it derives and seeks to impose levies on St Brett’s merchants – whereas previously it could tax merchants coming to fairs at St Brett’s to buy produce.

These taxes affect John and his associates – a group of wealthier burgesses who control the cloth trade and regularly drink in his tavern. In 1361 when the abbey imposes these tolls the burgesses rebel and the abbey’s tax-collector is murdered.

His Mother died during second coming of the Black Death in 1362.

In 1363 when the abbey bring in local gentry to support their collection of the tolls there is street-warfare. The abbey is briefly besieged. The Abbot promises to withdraw the new tolls, but asks instead for increased tolls for use of the Abbey mills. John is happy with that – he has organized house fulling mills in the workshops of his suppliers.

Jake is supportive of all this activity and helps his father – they are always seen together and effectively control what happens in the town.

Jake is a keen sportsman, football, archery and poaching in the Abbey’s forest.

Jake has some of his own money now and plans to set-up on his own. He buys his own tavern.

Jake marries in 1365 a girl called Edith. She died in childbirth as did the child. Jake has given up on being a father now. Is it worth bringing a child into such a world?

Jake’s tavern is struggling to make a profit. He has become more distant from his father. He no longer represents him on business trips – he doesn’t have time – he is running his own business now, but also morning his dead wife and child.

The conflict with the abbey has died down. The abbey still demands its rights and seems to exert more control – but only over the lesser people of the town – John and his cronies have come to an arrangement. In 1367 they form a new fraternity and pay for an endowment to the abbey. Jake has offended his father by going off on his own and rejecting his advice – his father is quietly cutting him out of his dealings and making him suffer for going against him.

Jake finds Margery and her mother camped out on his doorstep one cold morning early in 1369. He is ready to turn away the two beggars who have appeared from nowhere, but something stops him. He lets them in and cooks them some hot food. His housekeeper, who has taken a shine to him which he hasn’t realized, immediately takes a dislike to them – witch she calls the old woman, who mutters superstitiously under her breath. Jake allows them to board at his house. The old woman does not last the winter. Jake and Margery become lovers, the housekeeper is sacked and Margery lives with Jake (in sin). She has a hold over him.

His father is jealous of Jake’s romantic success and plots against him, first having others accuse him in the abbey’s canon court of fornication. Jake promises to marry. John tries something else, pointing out Jake’s poverty to Margery.

Jake leaves St Brett’s in 1369 (when he was 31) after his father marries Margery (when she was 27). Jake tried to kill his father and Margery shortly before he left in an angry confrontation.

Jake joins a retinue being assembled to support the Black Prince’s forces in Aquitaine. From 1370 to 1374 involved in chevauchées, sieges and skirmishes in various parts of Western France. Involved in war crimes – but this is part and parcel of being a soldier? Jake has become cynical – life has dealt him a cruel hand so he feels it is alright for him to take it out on others. He has realised that only get what you can take in this world.

In 1374 effectively becomes an outlaw in France with a gang of other unpaid soldiers. They capture Roger and some other clerks on their return from Avignon. They plan to ransom the priests for money. But for Roger their plan fails, the other priests are worth something, but not Roger. The other soldiers plan to kill Roger and take his stuff. Jake protects him and saves him. They part. Jake returns to England, but ends up in gaol. Roger hears that he is in gaol and helps secure his release if he will become his servant. Roger is on his way to Oxford to take up a post as Master of Astronomy at the University.

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Hell has its Demons – my latest novel published in Print and eBook formats

My most recent novel, Hell has its Demons, is now available from all major retailers

Hell has its Demons coverHell has its Demons by Mark Lord

Volume 1 of The Sotil and Savage Adventures

Available as an eBook and in Print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, see Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble

Available as an eBook from Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords


Plunge Into A Nail Biting Historical Fantasy Novel That Will Leave You Breathless

Set in the Middle Ages, Mark Lord’s novel tells a gripping story where demons and necromancers engage in a power game with the adventurous protagonists Jake, Roger and the beautiful Isabel, who is accused of witchcraft.

Investigating an infestation of demons in the town of St Brett’s is the last thing that Jake Savage wants to do this summer. But for his master, the controversial Oxford scholar Roger Sotil, it is a chance to prove his theories about demons and avoid charges of heresy.

The Abbot of St Brett’s has called for Roger’s help to rid his town of demons. Jake owes Roger a massive debt, but St Brett’s is a town that holds dark memories for him. Who is behind this plot and what is the ultimate prize?

An Electrifying Plot That Merges Skillfully Actual Historical Events With Fantastical Elements

In Hell has its Demons a plot unfolds to use demons to take the ultimate prize of all – the crown of Edward III, King of England.

“With ‘Hell Has Its Demons’, Jake Savage finally gets a novel and it’s a good one.” – SFcrowsnest

“What I enjoy most about Mark Lord’s writing is that he manages to convey a sense of period without knocking the reader over the head with detail. His settings feel authentic without being manufactured.” – SFcrowsnest

Hell has its Demons is the first novel in a trilogy.

Click here to read Chapter 1 for free!

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Bring on the Night published – a New Short Story and Sequel to Chivalry

Bring on the Night Front Cover copyIf you have read and enjoyed my short story Chivalry, then hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that there is now a sequel available: Bring on the Night.

Bring on the Night tells the story of what happened after the events of Chivalry – what happened to Jake and to the boy, all set against the backdrop of the Hundred Years War and with a dash of horror and paranormal fantasy thrown in.

You can get the story in eBook format here:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Smashwords | Kobo | Nook | iBooks

You can also read a brief extract and the blurb for the story at the page for it on in this site. Go here to check that out now!

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Hell has its Demons – Free on Kindle this weekend

Hell has its DemonsMy new novel, Hell has its Demons, will be free on the Kindle this weekend.

The promotion should be starting today, Friday, 28th June, and will last until Saturday.

Get it while you can at Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | and their other stores!

Here’s a bit more about the book:

What if the demons portrayed in the Middle Ages were real and could be conjured by necromancers?

And what if those seeking power decided to use demons to get what they wanted? In Hell has its Demons a plot unfolds to use demons to take the ultimate prize of all – the crown of Edward III, King of England.

Investigating an infestation of demons in the town of St Brett’s is the last thing that Jake Savage wants to do this summer. But for his master, the controversial Oxford scholar Roger Sotil, it is a chance to prove that demons can be conjured and avoid charges of heresy.

In St Brett’s Roger sees demons possessing the townspeople. Jake thinks they are just acting very strangely. The people are scared and want answers fast. A beautiful woman, Isabel Haukwake, is accused of witchcraft. Roger feels sure that she isn’t guilty. Jake knows she isn’t. He was once engaged to marry her, until his father took her from him.

Hell has its Demons is the first novel in a trilogy.

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Writing Plans: Jake Savage Adventures and Hell has its Demons

I have been mulling over what to write next. Currently I have a novel that’s a Work In Progress, with the first draft nearly completed – Hell has its Demons. I broke off this to put the finishing touches to Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure and also to work on some ideas about how a series might develop involving the two principal characters of Hell has its Demons – Jake Savage and Roger Sotil.

I now have a good idea on paper for a follow-up tale to Chivalry, involving Jake Savage. It will be a dark fantasy tale again based in war torn Medieval France. My plan is to write the first draft of this story and another story with the same setting and Jake as a central character during the month of November. These will then get sent out for critiquing and I’ll turn once again to finishing off Hell has its Demons.

Hell has its Demons is my first novel and the task of creating characters that will work across such a large piece of work is one that I have been grappling with – indeed the characters have changed during the course of the book more than I expected. So once the first draft is nailed down, I’ll need to go back and re-evaluate the characters and determine what is going on, what stays and what goes, and what needs to be added in. I can see that taking the first part of 2012.

However, its also likely that there will be two new Jake Savage Adventures out early next year!

And hopefully with any luck I’ll find a publisher for Hell has its Demons sometime later in 2012 – that’s the plan anyway!

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Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure Published

I have published my short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure as an eBook via Amazon and Smashwords.

The story tells of an incident in the early career of Jake Savage, one of the main characters from Hell has its Demons. For Jake War is Hell and not the chivalric adventure that he thought it would be.

Here’s the blurb for the story and a brief extract to whet your appetite:

Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure

Published 30 August 2011, 4698 words, Fantasy (historical) short story

A single silent knight armoured in black plate defends a narrow bridge in the hills of Auvergne, blocking the path of a band of desperate English soldiers. On the bank defended by the knight is a pavilion where sits a French noble-woman, who taunts the English. Cold, wet and hungry, Jake and his comrades have seen a tower high in the hills beyond the bridge, which they hope will provide food, drink and shelter and even a little loot. But the knight and the lady prove more difficult opponents than they imagined.

Magic mingles with the harsh realities of war in this medieval fantasy short story set during the Hundred Years War.

Nothing moved on this side of the densely vegetated ravine, but they could see a strange sight on the far side. Not twenty paces away across the narrow wooden bridge was a colourful pavilion of alternating broad blue and red silk stripes, wet with the rain, but still of fine appearance. Under the pavilion’s entrance canopy sat a lady, also dressed in silks, with a conical headpiece and veil of fine gauze covering the dark hair that flowed down her neck to her shoulders. She was preoccupied with some sort of detail work in her hands, embroidery perhaps.

But in front of her, blocking the far exit of the bridge, and dressed in dull black plate armour, stood a tall man-at-arms, in full jousting helm. He stood motionless with arms crossed in front of him. Behind him was a tethered warhorse, also black, and a rack of weapons: lance, swords, pole-arms, maces and axes. Neither the knight nor the lady gave any indication that they had seen the English soldiers.

By the Saints!’ said Burnell. ‘Look at all that kit, worth a fair bit.’

Whoever beats him gets his equipment,’ hissed the other man-at-arms, Clifford, peeping over his shield, ‘and I know I can have him.’

Just leave some of his wench to the rest of us, your highnesses,’ said Edmund, grinning as he knocked an arrow. ‘I think I could get a bodkin through him from here.’

Sir Robert called the archers round him. ‘Let him have it now before he gets his shield. At this range you should be able to stick him like a pig.’

Jake shook his head, but as ordered readied his great longbow. Six feet of straining yew flexed and in a moment his iron tipped arrow shot across the clearing and over the ravine and hit the black armoured knight in the chest.

All six arrows had hit the knight, yet he stood perfectly still.

But, the lady jumped in surprise as if woken from a deep sleep. She stood up and went to stand beside the motionless knight. She addressed them in French, but her dialect was clear enough for them to all understand. ‘Cowards! Are you English of so low honour that you use the weapons of serfs to fight your battles! My lord offers any who will fight him glory one against one.’

Sir Robert ignored her words and ordered his men to fire another volley. And again there was no effect. Arrows seemed to stick in the mail or bounce of the plate, but Jake could have sworn he saw his arrow go straight through a gap and out the other side.

That bastard has good armour,’ said Burnell. ‘You’re going to have to fight for it if you want it, Clifford.’

It was like a tale of Arthur’s knights, thought Jake, where both the hero and his opponent should fight for honour. He wondered if hunger was making him dream what was happening, but the cold, and the pain of his knotted stomach felt real enough.

Available as an eBook via Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Smashwords for just $0.99.

What I have been doing (and why no recent posts!)

Apologies for no recent posts, but I have been rather busy on the following:

  • On holiday!
  • Typesetting Alt Hist magazine
  • Editing the first two chapters of Hell has its Demons and trying to work out what happens next while overcoming writers block with my laptop on the train. I seemed to spend most of the time looking out of the window, before realising that chapter three should probably have a gory or violently sexual theme to it given the subject matter it was going to cover – a nightmare sequence where Jake relives finding his wife in bed with his father! I then thought I felt a bit perturbed about writing such things next to my fellow commuters! Silly I know, but it’s a bit odd to be writing things, with someone else sitting two centimetres away from you.
  • Found that my short story Bisclavret (The Werewolf) has sold its first copy on the Kindle!
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From Bird Talk to Hell has its Demons: the evolution of short story to novel

I am currently working on a novel called Hell has its Demons. This is based on story called Bird Talk, which was recently published in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. I have been aiming to write a few posts to talk about Bird Talk and promote the story, and this lead me to consider how much the story has changed going into the longer novel format. The plot of course is much expanded, but I have also developed the characters and setting considerably too.

Firstly the character names change: Roger stayed as Roger, but his surname changed from Draper to Sotil. My thoughts being that as Jake emerged as his partner in crime, I wanted to use their surnames to allude to their very different characters, so Jake is Jake Savage, and Roger is Roger Sotil. My hope is that they will be a demon fighting duo, whose characteristics complement each other, thus I would like to have a subtitle for each book of A Savage and Sotil Aventure (sic). “Aventure” is a Chaucerian style spelling of Adventure to add to the fourteenth century of the books.

Another name that changed was the name of the town, from St. Dunstan’s to St. Brett’s. St. Dunstan was an actual saint and I was concerned that using that name might bring with it too much baggage. Also by creating a fictional saint, I could then weave elements of that saint’s fictional history into the story. St. Brett felt like a good English name to me, and also there’s a link with the Angl0-Saxon term Brett Walden (meaning King of Britain), which would also add further to the saint’s mythology.

But more than that the actual character’s have developed quite a bit.  The weak, foolish, lovestruck Roger Draper, a chantry priest in “Bird Talk” becomes a more esoteric character. Still obsessed about magic and still not very realistic about the world. but on another level entirely. I decided that he needed to be more of an outsider and also to have more knowledge and authority. In effect he is called in to solve a problem by the Abbot of St. Brett’s, so he must have some experience or knowledge that helps. So instead he is an Oxford don with knowledge of astrology and magic, well-known for his unusual views. As well as being an expert on magic, you could say he’s also slightly insane.

Jake started off as a veteran of the French wars who had fallen on hard times in St. Dunstan’s and become a beggar. In “Bird Talk” he is a character who knows a lot more than one would expect and is actually more intelligent than Roger, in fact he gets them all out of the mess they’re in. We don’t get to know much about what makes him tick though.

What happened to Jake when I expanded the story for the novel? Like Roger he had to come from outside, but I wanted to have one of my main character’s having a real emotional investment in the town and people of St. Brett’s. They have to care about what’s happening there. Jake was my man and this brought about the major change to the lead female character Margery.

Margery became Isabel because the name Margery was much too un-sexy. And she stopped being the spoilt daughter of the town’s leading merchant. Instead she became the one-time lover of Jake and now wife of Jake’s father John, having rejected Jake. So providing lashings of emotional baggage for Jake and her to work through. She’s still into magic though and this time her life will hang in the balance as she’s accused of witchcraft.


“Bird Talk” is also now available to purchase as a separate story via Smashwords and Amazon.

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Hell has its Demons: Nearly Finished Character Dossiers

I am currently working on my character dossiers for Hell has its Demons. These documents are really everything I need to know as a writer about the major character of my novel. I use a template from Nancy Kress‘s Creating Dynamic Characters, and find it very useful for considering all angles of my most important characters.

In Hell has its Demons I have seven major characters, and I have 2 and a bit left to do. Jake, Isabel, Bifrons and John of Gaunt are complete, while I have nearly finished the dossier for the main baddie, Edmund Hope. Then I need to move onto Jake’s father John Haukwake.

I wasn’t initially sure whether to do a whole dossier for him as he isn’t in the story all the way through. But he is quite significant, as Jake has major issues with him and he is also the husband of my main female character Isabel.

Lastly there is Roger, my Oxford academic and astrologer. Roger is one of the main viewpoint characters along with Jake, so he’ll need quite a bit of work.

Once I have finished these off I am planning to work on my scene summaries, which will detail what happens in each scene, how the characters’ arcs are developed, and also make note of any settings and minor characters that I need to flesh out. By way of variation I did one of these today. It was harder than I thought it would be. Partly I think because I had already started writing the first part of it – so perhaps too many preconceived ideas!

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Nearly finished Jake and the Knight

Just one more scene to write I think – the climax of the story. I found that I haven’t included quite as much detail in the last bit, I just felt that I was getting into too much detail in some of the fight scenes and getting away from the real point of the story.

I am excited about finishing it soon and then going through the editing process. Hopefully will have a version ready for Critters or OWW by the end of 2009!