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Rock, Paper, Swords!

Rock, Paper, Swords!

Author: Matthew Harffy & Steven A. McKay

Subscribed: 14Played: 178


The Historical Action and Adventure Podcast - making history come alive!

Bestselling authors Matthew Harffy and Steven A. McKay chat about writing action and adventure stories, diving into some of the more quirky and unusual aspects of history, with a detour through music and its role in their process.

Each episode covers different exciting themes, often with brilliant guests who help shed light on what Matthew and Steven have decided to talk about that week.
27 Episodes
During the 90s Giles Kristian was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records! As a singer-songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world. Giles is half-Norwegian and his family history inspired him to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling RAVEN Viking trilogy. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion. In The Rise of Sigurd novels he returned to the world of the Vikings. His Sunday Times bestseller, Lancelot, is currently in development for TV. He followed Lancelot with Camelot, and now, Where Blood Runs Cold is his debut contemporary thriller. Welcome to Rock, Paper, Swords, Giles Kristian!
We recently posted on Twitter and Facebook asking for listener questions. Today we're going to answer some of those questions and they really provoked some interesting responses from Matthew and Steven! We’ll be answering more in a future episode and it might well become a regular thing, so if you have any questions you’d like us to answer, post them in our social media. We checked after the recording, and the last Aurochs was killed in the 17th century!
Another bonus episode! We chat about the brand new FULL theme song and how it came about, and we also have a couple of pretty BIG announcements, so tune in, and don't drop out!
So many people have told us they really enjoy the short intro/outro music we recorded for the podcast so...We've written a full four minute theme song complete with daft cheesy lyrics, full-on rock vocals, and searing guitar solos (two of the buggers!). It's just a bit of fun, we hope you like it... Look out for another bonus episode tomorrow with some news about the podcast! Dio, Maiden, Queen, And everything in between, If you like your rock, Come hear us talk, And we'll keep it (mostly) clean We chat about writing scenes, And native British greens, Adventure and action, Get your book traction, It's the podcast of your dreams RPS chorus History comes to life, With a wicked Saxon knife, Lord of the Rings, And other things, Enjoy it with your wife From cowboys to ancient celts, We'll tell you just how it smelt, With special guests, We're druid blessed, We're gonna make faces melt! Guitar solos Chorus
Dan Jones is a bestselling historian, TV presenter and award-winning journalist. His books, which have sold more than a million copies worldwide, include THE PLANTAGENETS, THE TEMPLARS, THE HOLLOW CROWN. His book CRUSADERS was published in autumn 2019. He co-authored the Sunday Times bestseller THE COLOUR OF TIME and THE WORLD AFLAME, published in March 2020, with Marina Amaral. Dan has also written and presented numerous TV series including 'Secrets of Great British Castles' (Netflix, Channel 5), 'Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty: The Plantagenets' and 'London: 2000 Years of History'. Most recently Dan's historical fiction debut, ESSEX DOGS, the first installment in a trilogy set during the Hundred Years War, was published by Head of Zeus on 15 September 2022. Welcome to Rock, Paper, Swords, Dan Jones!
Slaine from 2000AD. Sherlock Holmes. Dr Who. Primeval. Stargate. Return of the Jedi. Ghost-writing for genuine legends of the rap and hip-hop scene.... Our guest today is probably the most prolific and best-selling author you've never heard of! And he also writes for games, including the major Xbox/Playstation hit, Battlefield 3!   Not only that, he used to write the odd story for classic "top-shelf" magazines like Fiesta and Escort, and no, those were NOT about 80's motor cars, they were FAR sexier than an RS2000 or XR2...   Join us today, as we chat with Steven Savile!
That's right! We interview one of THE best loved historical fiction authors of the past twenty years today - Simon Scarrow! Join us as we chat about his writing, his upcoming musical (yep, you read that right), Romans, and loads more. First ever image on the internet -
Matthew and Steven chat this week with a musician for a change! Dr Mark Deeks is a choirmaster, as well as the piano player for one of Steven's favourite black metal bands, Winterfylleth, and also has his own "monastic doom metal" project called Ard. Ard put out a concept album which is kind of a historical novel in musical form so we were really happy to get Mark on the podcast and discuss a broad range of topics.  Mark also gives piano lessons online HERE Ard Bandcamp page Winterfylleth Bandcamp page Ard Lindisfarne Mead bundles Youtube video of Winterfylleth performing "The Hallowing of Heirdom", one of their most beautiful songs.  Theme music by Steven and Matthew. The short piece of music at the outro is Steven's attempt at doom metal!
Just a very short message to wish our listeners all the best for the coming year. Thank you ALL for joining us in 2022, hope to see you again in 2023!
Another fantastic guest this week, as Christian (also known as Miles) Cameron joins Steven and Matthew to chat about his books, research, re-enactments, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, being a member of US Intelligence, and loads more!  Christian's website -
Christmas a humbug?! Join the boys as they look at all sorts of winter traditions, ancient and modern, from Saturnalia shenanigans to Yule logs to "old" movies. If you like Christmas stories, check out Steven's brand new novelette, The Pedlar's Promise,  and Matthew has a new novel out too, Forest of Foes! Burning a Yule log - Christmas Past podcast   Total Christmas podcast  (from which I stole the terrible joke....) Santa or Father Christmas had been pictured with a red coat on hundreds of years before Coca-Cola, but the modern image of Santa is clearly based on the 1930's Coke adverts IMO (Steven).
Matthew and Steven are chatting this week with Jean Gill. The interview covered a lot of really interesting subjects so we're sure you'll enjoy the episode! Look out for our Christmas special next, and then we'll have our first interview with a musician early in 2023, with lots more fantastic guests lined up for the coming year! LINKS to things mentioned in the chat: Here is the jet ski guy on Youtube: This was also nice: I'm assuming you've found the Draken Harald Hårfagre channel: This was useful too: website Youtube The Making of a Knife Named Silk-Splitter Viking music: Eolya: the Hávamál Album Danheim Dr Jackson Crawford The voyage of the Sea Stallion Books to read Secrets of the Viking Navigators - Leif K Karlsen Fantasy novel - The World Breaker's Requiem - Luke Tarzian The annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off #SPFBO8
Matthew just makes it all up as he goes along.
Since last week's interview with Carol McGrath had some audio issues that forced us to shorten it somewhat we thought we'd put out this little bonus episode as a bit of fun - a freebie if you will! We read out some funny or just odd reviews of our own books. This was something Steven suggested because he thought it would be a right laugh but, in fact, as we started putting together the material for the episode it became clear reading 1 star reviews of our stuff wasn't as hilarious as we'd expected - it was actually a bit depressing! So this is a short bonus rather than a full length episode. Enjoy! ;-) We'll have a regular episode next week as usual, and we'll be discussing what we use to research our novels. Books, websites, podcasts....Make sure you're subscribed so you never miss an episode, and please do leave a 5 star rating if you enjoy what we're doing!
Today we are chatting with bestselling author Carol McGrath. She's written books like The Handfasted Wife and Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England. We had a good long discussion with Carol but there were some audio issues which forced us to cut down the episode. Hopefully you still enjoy the interview! To make up for the slightly shorter episode, we'll be dropping an extra BONUS episode next week in which we read out some dodgy reviews of our own books, so look out for that, it's just a bit of fun... Carol McGrath - Following a first degree in English and History, Carol McGrath completed an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast, followed by an MPhil in English from University of London The Handfasted Wife, first in a trilogy about the royal women of 1066 was shortlisted for the RoNAS in 2014. The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister complete this highly acclaimed trilogy.
The boys discuss the history of Hallowe'en! Includes some chat on Steven's spooky novella Knight of the Cross, and Matthew's short tale, Kin of Cain. Sleep paralysis, black eyed kids, folklore, Beowulf, pumpkin and turnip carving, and loads more... Turn out the lights and lock the doors for this fun look at everyone's favourite spooky night of the year!
Interview with Prue Batten

Interview with Prue Batten


Farming, historical fiction, and, of course, music are all discussed in this exciting new episode. Check it out and don't forget to SUBSCRIBE and give us a 5 star rating if you're enjoying what we're doing! Links to websites/software mentioned: Byzantium 1200: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of The Roman World: Aeon Timeline:
Matthew and Steven discuss the music they listen to while writing and just enjoy in general. Rock, classical, black metal, it's all over the place here! Join us to find out how music affects our writing process...  Even includes a song Matthew recorded a few years ago with a band - it's awesome, you need to hear it! The band can be found here:  The track is called "Sail On" and was written by Roger Marsh and Matthew Harffy. ENSLAVED - Below The Lights full album: BATHORY - Hammerheart full album: OPETH - "Black Rose Immortal": WINTERFYLLETH - "The Shepherd": CRAFT - White Noise and Black Metal full album:
Another BONUS EPISODE this week, as Matthew and Steven got to chat with their literary hero, Bernard Cornwell, for this episode of the podcast. We found out some big news about his forthcoming book, Sharpe's Command, talked about his love of acting, The Last Kingdom series, the King Arthur books and new TV show, Merlin's 'magic', and even picked up some great writing tips. We loved speaking with the man who inspired us both to write and we're sure you'll enjoy listening to him! Bernard mentioned that he had been reading the Pacific War Trilogy by Ian W. Toll and recommended them to anyone interested in that history. The trilogy is made up of: Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944  Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945 Bernard's website - The Last Kingdom -
Matthew and Steven chat with Irish author Tim Hodkinson. Includes a rather amusing anecdote about one of the extras in Game of Thrones! Find out more about Tim's books - Vikings, Templars and more - here: Main theme music for the intro and outro was written, recorded and copyrighted by Steven A. McKay and Matthew Harffy. Background music: Langhus Burning 
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