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Rock, Paper, Swords!

Rock, Paper, Swords!

By Matthew Harffy and Steven A. McKay

The Historical Action and Adventure Podcast.

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.
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Currently playing episode

Interview with Bernard Cornwell, the Godfather of historical fiction!

Rock, Paper, Swords!

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Historical research! What resources do we use for our own novels?
Historical research! What resources do we use for our own novels?
Matthew just makes it all up as he goes along.
01:06:55
November 18, 2022
BONUS Episode - Funny (and not so funny!) Amazon reviews of our books
BONUS Episode - Funny (and not so funny!) Amazon reviews of our books
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!
26:05
November 12, 2022
Episode 12 - Interview with Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife!
Episode 12 - Interview with Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife!
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. https://carolcmcgrath.co.uk/
37:25
November 04, 2022
It's Hallowe'en! Join us to get in the spooky spirit...
It's Hallowe'en! Join us to get in the spooky spirit...
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!
01:08:04
October 21, 2022
Episode 10 - Interview with Prue Batten
Episode 10 - 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: http://www.byzantium1200.com/ The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of The Roman World: https://orbis.stanford.edu/ Aeon Timeline: https://timeline.app/
01:00:18
October 07, 2022
Episode 9 - Music and the power it holds....
Episode 9 - Music and the power it holds....
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: https://purplefishband1.weebly.com/  The track is called "Sail On" and was written by Roger Marsh and Matthew Harffy. ENSLAVED - Below The Lights full album: https://youtu.be/z6rA6pXi53g BATHORY - Hammerheart full album: https://youtu.be/dvCHHYwGjfY OPETH - "Black Rose Immortal": https://youtu.be/XLkSFOvhyeI WINTERFYLLETH - "The Shepherd": https://youtu.be/bsAIkI7llBI CRAFT - White Noise and Black Metal full album: https://youtu.be/MiCLnDDZ4w0
01:04:34
September 23, 2022
Interview with Bernard Cornwell, the Godfather of historical fiction!
Interview with Bernard Cornwell, the Godfather of historical fiction!
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 - https://www.bernardcornwell.net/ The Last Kingdom - https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80074249
56:19
September 16, 2022
Episode 7 - Interview with bestselling Viking author Tim Hodkinson
Episode 7 - Interview with bestselling Viking author Tim Hodkinson
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: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/h/tim-hodkinson/ Main theme music for the intro and outro was written, recorded and copyrighted by Steven A. McKay and Matthew Harffy. Background music: Langhus Burning 
01:19:20
September 09, 2022
Bonus Episode! - FIRST LOOK at Rings of Power Episodes 1 and 2 and a review!
Bonus Episode! - FIRST LOOK at Rings of Power Episodes 1 and 2 and a review!
Matthew and Steven have spent the morning watching the first two episodes of Amazon's new show based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - RINGS OF POWER. In this special bonus episode they talk about their first impressions of this highly anticipated (and vilified by people who've never even seen it) new show. Is the casting any good? What about the music? How does it look? Can it compare to the Peter Jackson movies? What the hell is a 'harfoot'?  IS IT ACTUALLY ANY GOOD?  And we also address the burning question so many people had when the trailers started to appear: Is it ruined by being too "woke"?! Join us on Rock, Paper, Swords! to find out the answer to these questions, and much more. And don't forget, we'll be back again next week with another episode as usual. 
53:36
September 02, 2022
Episode 5 - A look at Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies!
Episode 5 - A look at Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies!
Matthew and Steven take a look back at Peter Jackson's trilogy of Lord of the Rings films. Find out what they love about the movies and what they don't like quite as much. Other non-Tolkien penned books mentioned in this episode: The Sword of Shannara - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15575.The_Sword_of_Shannara Journeys of Frodo - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/938210.Journeys_of_Frodo
01:18:54
August 26, 2022
Episode 4 - Interview with Robyn / Erin Young, author of The Fields
Episode 4 - Interview with Robyn / Erin Young, author of The Fields
Author Robyn Young (who also writes modern thrillers as Erin Young) joins Matthew and Steven to discuss writing, pen-names, research and much more, including the forthcoming TV show based on her novel The Fields. 
01:16:05
August 12, 2022
Episode 3 - Great beginnings in novels
Episode 3 - Great beginnings in novels
Matthew and Steven discuss a handful of action and adventure books (including some of their own!) and how their very first lines/paragraphs draw the reader in. Bernard Cornwell's The Lords of the North  David Gemmell's The Swords of Night and Day Steven A. McKay's Lucia and Rise of the Wolf Matthew Harffy's The Serpent Sword and The Wolf of Wessex Theme music, "Rock, Paper, Swords" © Steven A. McKay and Matthew Harffy. Background music in this episode: "Ambient Sinister" "Towards the Mountains" "Where The Brave May Live Forever"
53:47
July 29, 2022
Episode 2 - Historical weapons and....food?!
Episode 2 - Historical weapons and....food?!
In which we chat about anachronisms in historical fiction (food related ones) and general points of interest in the historical culinary field. And then we discuss weapons, including spears, swords, and seaxs. And Steven exclusively reveals the title of his next Warrior Druid of Britain novel! To join in with our giveaway, share our Rock, Paper, Swords! pages on social media and let us know you've done so before the end of July 2022 to be in with a chance of winning the signed books! Links below: Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/RockPaperSwordsPodcast Twitter page - https://twitter.com/rock_swords Stephen Lawhead's Taliesin - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/73906.Taliesin Lindybeige Youtube video "Spears are better than swords" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLLv8E2pWdk&ab_channel=Lindybeige Skallagrim Youtube video "The Spear - Weapon of Kings? Or just a pointy stick?" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVQbSl9vXwA&ab_channel=Skallagrim Scholagladiatoria Youtube video - "Where did they put spears when not fighting?" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2dHETK96jE&ab_channel=scholagladiatoria Art imitating art: The birth of an axe. Blog post about the making of Dunston's axe that appears on the cover of Wolf of Wessex - http://bernicia-chronicles.blogspot.com/2019/06/art-imitating-art-birth-of-axe.html
54:05
July 15, 2022
Episode 1 - Welcome to Rock, Paper, Swords!
Episode 1 - Welcome to Rock, Paper, Swords!
Our first episode! Find out who we are and what our plans are for this new podcast. As the title suggests, we'll be looking at action and adventure from the perspective of historical fiction authors, but we'll also be diving into more general writing questions and, of course, there'll be a little talk about rock music and how it helps us be creative. Please SUBSCRIBE, and join Matthew Harffy and Steven A. McKay every fortnight for chat, tips, and interviews with some of your favourite authors. To join in with our giveaway, share our Rock, Paper, Swords! pages on social media and let us know you've done so before the end of July 2022 to be in with a chance of winning the signed books! Links below: Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/RockPaperSwordsPodcast Twitter page - https://twitter.com/rock_swords
45:54
July 01, 2022
Rock, Paper, Swords! Trailer
Rock, Paper, Swords! Trailer
A very short introduction to Rock, Paper, Swords! Join us on July 1st 2022 for our first full episode.
00:46
June 22, 2022