Category: Newsletter (Page 1 of 2)

August Newsletter

AUGUST 2020
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com

CHARLY IN SPACE is the third Charly Holmes adventure story from father and daughter writing team, Tim and Cathy Walker – out in e-book and paperback from Amazon on 1st September!
You can pre-order the e-book for a modest £1.77/$1.99 HERE

13-year-old schoolgirl Charly’s inquisitive nature once more gets her into trouble, and leads her to another exciting adventure. But this time it is the ultimate adventure of going into space and visiting the International Space Station. Not only does she go to Space, but she has the opportunity to prove that her theory about alien dogs is true!

This book is suitable reading for children aged 9+ and is the third book in a series, following on from The Adventures of Charly Holmes and Charly & The Superheroes.

This month, I’m delighted to welcome fellow historical author, Allie Cresswell, to Guest Author Focus.

Allie Cresswell began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil. One Christmas she asked her parents for a stack of writing paper as a gift. Not surprisingly, they were happy to oblige.
Allie wrote copiously – but not very legibly – until the gales of laughter at her high-octane thriller based in London’s seedy underground (possibly she meant underworld) sent her into the closet. She was about eight years old. After that time, writing was secret, earnest and angst-ridden.
In 1992 she began her first novel – Game Show. With no encouragement from anyone, it took ten years to finish, its completion impeded by the school-run, the village flower and produce show and the ancient computer that regularly failed to ‘save’ any progress that might have been made.

Nine more novels followed. Allie writes contemporary fiction as well as historical fiction. Her best-selling saga, Tall Chimneys, spanning the twentieth century, tells the story of a woman and her strange, isolated, dilapidated house in Yorkshire. Currently Allie is working on the first of a series of prequels to Tall Chimneys. The first of these, The House in the Hollow, due to be released at Christmas, is set during the years of the Napoleonic war.
This is a period where Allie is comfortably at home. Her Highbury Trilogy is set in the Regency. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma it imagines the little town in Surrey thirty five years before Jane Austen’s fourth novel begins. The first two books follow the fortunes of the Bates family. Then, turning the focus of Emma forty-five degrees, the third book explores the characters of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill whose childhoods and meeting in Weymouth are hinted at but never fully explored in Emma.
Allie’s writing has been compared to Alice Munroe and Barbara Pym as well as to Jane Austen. She is the recipient of two silver medals and an Honourable Mention in the prestigious Readers’ Favourite competition, as well as the coveted One Stop Fiction Five Star award and a Pink Quill award.

MRS BATES OF HIGHBURY

Thirty years before the beginning of Emma Mrs Bates is entirely different from the elderly, silent figure familiar to fans of Jane Austen’s fourth novel. She is comparatively young and beautiful, widowed – but ready to love again. She is the lynch-pin of Highbury society until the appalling Mrs Winwood arrives, very determined to hold sway over that ordered little town.
Miss Bates is as talkative aged twenty nine as she is in her later iteration, with a ghoulish fancy, seeing disaster in every cloud. When young Mr Woodhouse arrives looking for a plot for his new house, the two strike up a relationship characterised by their shared hypochondria, personal chariness and horror of draughts.
Jane, the other Miss Bates, is just seventeen and eager to leave the parochialism of Highbury behind her until handsome Lieutenant Weston comes home on furlough from the militia and sweeps her – quite literally – off her feet.
Book two is The Other Miss Bates
Book three is Dear Jane

TALL CHIMNEYS

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition.
Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder.
Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself.
A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.

Follow Allie on social media – here are the links:
TWITTER 
WEBSITE 
FACEBOOK 

This month, I’ve chosen a summery poem by a well-known author – Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer, most noted for Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child’s Garden of Verses. He lived to the age of 44. Born in Edinburgh in 1850, he moved in London’s literary circle and travelled widely, before living out his last four years in Samoa, where he died from bronchial pneumonia is 1894.

Summer Sun

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
 
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.
 
The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.
 
Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.
 
Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

Newsletter – July 2020

NEWSLETTER – JULY 2020

This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com

SOCIAL MEDIA:
F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M

Author News
After five years of researching, plotting and writing, A Light in the Dark Ages book series is now complete with the publication in June 2020 of book five, Arthur Rex Brittonum.

I feel both a sense of achievement and relief, and hope that those of you who are reading the series will finally reach book five and leave me your thoughts in reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

Most of all, I hope you enjoyed reading my imagined saga of the Pendragon family over three generations, drawn from historical research and the romantic desire to believe that at least some of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s creative ‘history’ is based on real people and events.

They may now be lost in the mists of time, but their folk memory lives on in the realm of legend.

Picture: I imagined that Arthur’s banner would combine his family association with the dragon, and the animal after which he is named – the bear.

The book series can now be found on one page on Amazon and the e-books or paperbacks ordered with ONE CLICK
The e-books are also available on Apple ibooks; Kobo; Nook; 24Symbols; Scribd; Playster; Montadori; Indigo; Overdrive; Tolino; Bibliotecha; Hoopla; Angus & Robertson and now Vivlio  HERE

A Light in the Dark Ages book series

Welcome Amy Maroney…

I grew up in Northern California and have lived in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 20 years. I come from a family of bookworms, of writers and editors, of wanderers who love to travel and explore the natural world. In my childhood home, television was strictly regulated and reading was encouraged instead.
I went on to major in English literature in college and began a career as a writer and editor of nonfiction soon after graduating.

Eventually my husband and I welcomed our first child to the world and my writing career took a back burner to the demands and joys of parenting. I continued to freelance part time and took graduate courses in public policy while we added another child to the mix. Meanwhile, I got involved in various volunteer gigs and began a graduate thesis when disaster struck in the shape of a debilitating stroke shortly after my 40th birthday.

The stroke and its aftermath were a game-changer. I realized that perhaps I didn’t have as much time on this planet as I had imagined. During my recovery, I put aside my thesis and gave myself permission to seriously pursue creative work. I began writing fiction and mapping out plots for a series of pharmaceutical thrillers, the first of which has the intriguing title, The Sunscreen Caper.
Then we had the good fortune to fulfil a long-standing dream: we rented out our house and travelled with our kids for ten months. It was a magical experience. Inspired by our travels, I began researching and writing the first book of The Miramonde Series: The Girl from Oto. Everything in the book draws on our trip, but it is also influenced by my previous stints living in France and Germany. I loved every minute of writing the story. The sequel, Mira’s Way, followed in 2018.

Now Amy writes page-turners about extraordinary women of the medieval and Renaissance eras…

The Promise

This series prequel novella will transport you five hundred years into the past…

It is 1483, and the Pyrenees mountains are a dangerous place for a woman.

Haunted by a childhood tragedy, mountain healer and midwife Elena de Arazas navigates the world like a bird in flight.

An unexpected romance shatters her solitary existence, giving her new hope. But when her dearest friend makes an audacious request, Elena faces an agonizing choice.

Will she be drawn back into the web of violence she’s spent a lifetime trying to escape?

Click here for your free download of The Promise. Learn more at www.amymaroney.com.

Find Amy Maroney on Twitter @wilaroney, on Instagram @amymaroneywrites and on Pinterest @amyloveshistory.

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Innerverse poet, James Linton, to Poet’s Corner. Tell us a bit about yourself, James…

My name is James Linton and writing is what I do.  It’s the only thing I’ve ever really been good at and the only thing that I really enjoy.  I’ve been writing all my life from my silly childhood stories of a talking bird and cat super team, to cringy angst-filled teenage poetry and short stories on all types of topics: tragedy, love, children’s lit, crime and however you would class the Story of Esme Esmerelda.  I’ve also done some freelance student and travel blogging.

In the past six years, I’ve been writing performance poetry and I love it.  I love the accessibility of the medium and I love performing it.  It’s the best high, but my first love will always be prose. I’m editing my first book at the moment – a post-apocalyptic dystopia focussing on humanity trying to start again.  I’m also writing my second book now – The Willow Tree, a fictionalised retelling of my experiences working in a care home.

Writing has certainly taken me on a strange journey throughout my life, but I can’t wait to see where it will take me next. Please read more of my work here.

Size Four Footprints

 “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato

The fire crackles
as she walks through the sand
leaving behind size four footprints
a fighter plane reflects in her brother’s eye

A ringing in her ears,
as she holds her up extra-small hands
the lens looking like a barrel
the ground buzzing beneath her size four footprints

Shards of glass are tucked into the sand,
as she tiptoes over the stone and concrete,
clutching onto her little pony
one last present from her father

Their voices scream freedom
as she peeks from underneath the red-patched door
holding her breath
as the combat boots march past

Stacks of green bulge from Their Gucci and Prada
as she scavenges for copper and brass
dust coating her pigtails
salt sticking to her cheeks The Eye scans the waste
as she claims she’s a friend, she wants no more,
the Eye locks on, the hammer drops,
only the dead have seen the end of war.

Newsletter – June 2020

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com
SOCIAL MEDIA:
F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on T W I T T E R F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M

AUTHOR NEWS

New Book Launched on 1st June – ARTHUR REX BRITTONUM

From the decay of post-Roman Britain, Arthur seeks to unite a troubled land

Arthur Rex Brittonum (‘King of the Britons’) is an action-packed telling of the King Arthur story rooted in historical accounts that predate the familiar Camelot legend.
Britain in the early sixth century has reverted to tribal lands, where chiefs settle old scores with neighbours whilst eyeing with trepidation the invaders who menace the shore in search of plunder and settlement.
Arthur, only son of the late King Uther, has been crowned King of the Britons by the northern chiefs and must now persuade their counterparts in the south and west to embrace him. Will his bid to lead their combined army against the Saxon threat succeed? He arrives in Powys buoyed by popular acclaim at home, a king, husband and father – but can he sustain his efforts in unfamiliar territory? It is a treacherous and winding road that ultimately leads him to a winner-takes-all clash at the citadel of Mount Badon.
Tim Walker’s Arthur Rex Brittonum is book five in the A Light in the Dark Ages series, and picks up the thread from the earlier life of Arthur in 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum.
E-book available on KINDLE and iBOOKS, KOBO, NOOK
Or order the PAPERBACK

This month, I’m delighted to welcome fellow historical fiction author, Mary Ann Bernal, and her thrilling new book, Crusader’s Path.

Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her latest endeavour is Crusader’s Path, a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Connect with Mary Ann: Website • Blog • Whispering Legends Press •  Twitter • Facebook.

Crusader’s Path – Book Blurb…

From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Heeding the call of His Holiness, Urban II, to free the Holy Land from the infidel, Etienne follows Duke Robert of Normandy across the treacherous miles, braving sweltering heat and snow-covered mountain passes while en route to the Byzantine Empire.

Moved by Peter of Amiens’ charismatic rhetoric in the streets of the Holy Roman Empire, Avielle joins the humble army of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Mentz, the peasant Crusaders do the unthinkable, destroying the Jewish Community. Consumed with guilt, Avielle is determined to die fighting for Christ, assuring her place in Heaven.

Etienne and Avielle cross paths in Constantinople, where they commiserate over past misdeeds. A spark becomes a flame, but when Avielle contracts leprosy, Etienne makes a promise to God, offering to take the priest cowl in exchange for ridding Avielle of her affliction.

Will Etienne be true to his word if Avielle is cleansed of the contagion, or will he risk eternal damnation to be with the woman he loves?

BOOK BUY LINKS:  AMAZON.COMAMAZON.CO.UK

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Innerverse poet and wit, Rick Warren, to Poet’s Corner. Tell us a bit about yourself, Rick…

My name is Rick Warren and I enjoy writing stories and poems, mainly for my own enjoyment and as a way of trying to make sense of the world. Having stopped work last year to attempt a thriller, (way harder than I imagined),  I’m now writing and compiling poems and stories, hopefully putting out a book by the end of the year, to follow on from my first collection of poems “The Path to Redemption” which I self-published on Amazon under my pen name Lyrick.
I have always enjoyed the brevity and concise nature of poems, with their ability to distil sometimes complex thoughts and issues into a succinct and manageable format. Sometimes funny, sometimes not, the process of using fewer words to say more is challenging and one I really enjoy. 
You can see some of my work HERE 

So, What did you do in the Pandemic, Grandad?

One day we will look back, and our grandchildren will say,
“What did you do grandad, to make the virus go away?”
We’ll sit them down and in reverent tones speak of our incarceration,
When toilet paper became currency, and panic gripped the nation,
We will speak of all the hardship and of our deprivation,
The lack of pasta alone nearly ended in starvation,
No restaurants, pubs or cinemas, no golf and no football,
Just as well for Arsenal who were not playing well at all,

Well, we watched TV and we tidied our homes,
We washed our hands right down to the bone
We landscaped our gardens, did our shopping online,
We all learnt how to conference call, that helped to pass the time,
Some took up baking and making their own gin,
The most important thing that got us through was all of us stayed in,
Except for those too selfish, or too stupid to realise,
Every unnecessary journey was a chance that someone dies,
Books were read, box-sets streamed, conspiracy theories abounded,
Celebrities (with no scientific knowledge at all), expounded the unfounded,

Boris got sick and went to intensive care,
With the cuts, he was lucky that they had a bed to spare,
The staff, who were working without proper PPE,
Saved our new Prime Minister, and the likes of you and me,
So now you know of the hardships we faced,
Vaccines were created and Trump got replaced, (hopefully)
So now your world is a far better place…

You’re welcome – now go wash your hands.

Newsletter – April 2020

APRIL 2020
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com
SOCIAL MEDIA
F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M
AUTHOR NEWS

NEW BOOK RELEASE
On 1st April I launched Perverse – a collection of short prose and verse. These poems and stories were in the main written over the past two years for delivery at a monthly stand-up event at the Herschel Arms pub in Slough.

However, as it’s my first such collection of miscellaneous verse and flash fiction, I’ve included other bits n’ bobs of unpublished material.

Perverse is available from Amazon in e-book (99p/c) and paperback (£$ 4.99), and is a free read on Kindle Unlimited (KU). Hurry! It’s also FREE on Kindle on 2nd April !!
KINDLE BUY LINK

PAPERBACK BUY LINK

TIPS ON WORKING FROM HOME
During this difficult time when the corona virus pandemic has forced us to cancel or change our plans, many will be experiencing working from home for the first time – school children as well as grown-ups. So, here are some handy tips for working from home – some you will already be doing and seem like common sense. I hope they help!

1) Establish a routine
Now, I know this is difficult, but if you’re working from home, you don’t necessarily need to set the alarm and get up and get to your desk at a certain time. But let me tell you, it’s a lot easier if you do because otherwise, you end up wandering around going, ‘well, what shall I do?’
Then you’ll be checking your phone too much, checking the news, and it will all just fall apart. So I would suggest that you try to follow the same routine as you would do normally. So yes, I’d suggest setting your alarm, having your shower. You don’t need to put on the suit if you do wear a suit to work, but certainly put on some clothes and get out your pyjamas and try to get to your work desk within your home office or your work space at a decent time.

2) Set aside a specific place for your work within your home
Now I know that many people will find it impractical to have a home office, a separate room. If you have a big enough house, then fantastic. Make sure you have an office to go to. But many people won’t be able to do that. The important thing is to set aside a specific place, maybe even just one end of the kitchen table, somewhere where you wouldn’t normally sit.
It’s very important to separate the place where you work from the place where, for example, you watch Netflix or if you do gaming, then where you do gaming. The brain likes to have routine, and if you’re going to be working from home for an extended period, maybe even if you intend to do so, then you need to make sure you have a specific place for that.
So even if it is a chair in a specific corner with a laptop or something, you need to make sure that it is a different place to where you do other things. It just helps your brain separate the different things you’re going to do.

3) Time blocking and timed work periods
Now it can be very difficult when you start working from home because the time seems to stretch on you. The morning starts with, ‘Oh, well I’ve got all day to do this thing.’ But time seems to disappear, especially if you’re checking the news and your Skyping with colleagues or you get text messages or WhatsApp messages, and that can be very distracting. And what you can find is that the hours go past and you haven’t actually done anything.
This is just as hard for writers because you can sit down to do some work and if you just have an open time period, it can feel like you don’t get anything done. So what it would suggest is you set aside a time block that might be 20 minutes. If you’re trying to write something, it might be longer.
If you are trying to achieve a bigger task, I tend to like doing an hour, at least turn off all your phone notifications. You can even unplug from the internet if you want to go hard. Then set a timer. And this is a really important part of it. Set a timer so you know you have a specific time block and then do the work.

This is important because it’s very hard to focus otherwise, especially when things are going a bit nuts in the world around us. So set a timer and then concentrate, turn off notifications, do your work in that different place, and then when the timer goes off, then you can go check social media. You can go check your email, then you can get back online, check the news, etc. But if you don’t have these time blocks, it can be really hard to get anything done.

4) Get out of the house
Now, I realize that as I write this, we are moving into a time of social distancing, and some people may even be in quarantine, but there are ways that you can get out of the house without coming into contact with other people.
Obviously, if you’re sick, you’re not going to do this, but if you can and you’re working from home, then you can go into your garden. Even if it’s raining, get some fresh air, stand there with an umbrella, and actually breathe some air out of your house.
If you can go for a walk, say, for example, I live quite near a canal where I can go for a walk and I don’t have to touch anyone or be near anyone. I can just go for a walk. Being outside and seeing nature is also really important. When things seem a bit crazy, I like to take a break to hear the birds singing, see the trees and flowers and breathe the (not too fresh) air.
Because sometimes if we’re at home and things are going a little crazy, it can feel even more intense. But if you get outside and especially if you have an animal, you walk your dog or whatever, you can still manage to get outside in nature oftentimes without having to be close to other people.
So I find that getting out of the house every day is really important to my mental health. And that is a very important part of our life.

5) Connect with your loved ones and your community online
If you don’t have a way to connect with the community, now is a really good time to sort that out. If you’re a writer, of course, there are lots of groups on Facebook [I recommend the Alliance of Independent Authors which has a private FB group]. There’s Twitter and other social media.
It’s very important to have a community that you can talk to at this time. If you are trying to set up things with family, then help people with Skype and other devices where you can contact people without physically seeing them. This can be a really good idea.
Now, if you work from home for a long time, then you will have your online networks and they are incredibly important to your life as a creator, as well as just a member of society.
So make sure you do your work, get outside in nature, but also check in with your friends and family over time. So those are just some of my tips from working from home.
And remember – stay safe!

Here’s one from my new book of short prose and verse, Perverse.

THE PLAGUE

I walked through Corona though some call it Slough,
Through the wreckage of many lives – I don’t know how,
My blood was boiling, a life beyond care,
Eyes bulging as I inhaled the fetid air,
My pulse quickening as my shuffle became slow,
Passing tumbleweed creepers with nowhere to go,
Past doorway sleepers whose lives forsake pleasure,
Block no one no more, those doors closed forever,
A mangy dog howls and chases its tail,
Side-stepped by droogs and a postman with mail,
I stagger on through gritty drizzling rain,
Oblivious to holes in my shoes and the dull throbbing pain,
MacDonald’s is empty with no one in line,
Beyond, the bright lights of Boots just in time,
My empty back pack I then stuff with loo roll,
Before cleaning out pain killers, juices and Swiss rolls,
I adjusted my mask and make for the tills,
Joined a queue, kept my distance and popped a few pills,
Outside I looked about, jealously guarding my haul,
Made my way to the bus stop passing through the mall,
Then leave the cold drizzle for lightness and warm,
Lowered mask, ignoring stares, embracing the storm
Looking out of the window whilst clutching my wares
At the hunched over shufflers burdened by cares,
Boarded up plots speak of urban decay
A fitting graveyard for those who fall by the way,
The window steams up and it all becomes vague
As I wonder if I’ll also succumbs to the plague.

Newsletter – Feb 2020

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
This is UK author Tim Walker’s monthly newsletter. It can include any of the following: author news, book launches, guest author profiles, book reviews, flash fiction and poetry.
Are you an author or a poet? If so, then please contact me for a guest author or poet’s corner slot in a future newsletter: timwalker1666@gmail.com

Author News
I’ve been busy this winter with writing the follow-up to Arthur Dux Bellorum, part two of my King Arthur story and the LAST book in my A Light in the Dark Ages series, titled Arthur Rex Brittonum.
I’ve set myself a deadline of end of February for the first draft, ready for sending to Beta readers for their critical feedback. Once their feedback has been taken on board and further adjustments made, I will send it for a copy edit. The book cover has already been designed by Cathy Walker (cathysbookcovers) and I will unveil it on 1st May. By mid-May I expect to have advance review copies ready to send out to book reviewers, and will put it up on Amazon for pre-order, ahead of a 1st June launch. I am in the process of approaching book bloggers to request space on their blogs in June, so if you have a book blog and I have not approached you yet, please email me!
Also, email me if you’ve read Arthur Dux Bellorum and would like to review an advanced copy of Arthur Rex. Phew! There is so much to think about.

MAIDENHEAD’S BIG READ (click the title to visit their website and book FREE tickets)
From late February to early March, Maidenhead will be hosting a book festival called Maidenhead’s Big Read. Launched in 2019, this it’s second year, and the programme has grown considerably to include many Berkshire-based authors, covering books from many genres.
I have been invited to take part, and will be giving talks on the following dates and topics:-
Sunday 1st March, 4.00pm, Nicholson Centre – The Adventures of Charly Holmes (children and parents)
Wednesday 4th March, 7.30pm, Cookham Library – The Dark Ages, Where History Meets Legend (adults)
Saturday 7th March, 7.30pm, Maidenhead Heritage Centre – The Dark Ages, Where History Meets Legend (adults)

This month we have two exciting books to tell you about…

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas-theme read with a twist that can be read all year round.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!

When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

Full contents:

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman
Four Seasons by Robert Scragg
The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff
Believe by Mark Brownless
What Can Possibly Go Wrong? by Lucy Cameron
Mountain Dew by Paul T. Campbell
The Art of War and Peace by John Carson
A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton


Free Time by Stewart Giles
Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake
The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen
The Village Hotel by Alex Kane
A Present of Presence by HR Kemp
The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin
Brothers Forever by Paul Moore
Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen
Pivotal Moments by Anna Franklin Osborne
Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli
Time for a Barbeque by Carmen Radtke
Christmas Present by Lexi Rees
Inside Out by KA Richardson
Penance by Jane Risdon
New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg
Family Time by Graham Smith

When Stars Will Shine is available in digital and paperback formats and on Kindle Unlimited.
For more information, please contact Emma Mitchell: emmamitchellfpr@gmail.com

…And we also have a fabulous historical novel by Mary Ann Bernal, The Briton and the Dane: Concordia, to tell you about…

Travel back in time to late Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain where Alfred the Great rules with a benevolent hand while the Danish King rules peacefully within the boundaries of the Danelaw. Trade flourishes, and scholars from throughout the civilized world flock to Britannia’s shores to study at the King’s Court School at Winchester.

Enter Concordia, a beautiful noble woman whose family is favored by the king. Vain, willful, and admired, but ambitious and cunning, Concordia is not willing to accept her fate. She is betrothed to the valiant warrior, Brantson, but sees herself as far too young to lay in the bedchamber of an older suitor. She wants to see the wonders of the world, embracing everything in it; preferably, but dangerously, at the side of Thayer, the exotic Saracen who charms King Alfred’s court and ignites her yearning passions.

Concordia manipulates her besotted husband into taking her to Rome, but her ship is captured by bloodthirsty pirates, and the seafarers protecting her are ruthlessly slain to a man. As she awaits her fate in the Moorish captain’s bed, by sheer chance, she discovers that salvation is at hand in the gilded court of a Saracen nobleman.

While awaiting rescue, Concordia finds herself at the center of intrigue, plots, blackmail, betrayal and the vain desires of two egotistical brothers, each willing to die for her favor. Using only feminine cunning, Concordia must defend her honor while plotting her escape as she awaits deliverance, somewhere inside steamy, unconquered Muslim Hispania.

Poet’s Corner welcomes the multi-talented Claire Buss, who has brought out a book of love poems in time for lovers everywhere in the run-up to Valentine’s Day!

Little Book of Love

Book 6 in the Little Book Series

A poetry collection by Claire Buss

Author Website

Love isn’t just romance and flowers. Sometimes it’s tears and anguish. This collection of twenty-five poems from author and poet Claire Buss take you on a journey of love from delight to heartbreak, including pets, children and those we’ve lost. Love is everywhere and affects everyone but sometimes we can’t say what we feel. Hopefully, these poems will inspire you to spread a little love in your life.

Be My Valentine

Roses are red, violets are blue
But you already know I love you
And I prefer carnations anyway

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
I’ll stop for a moment, if I may
Cos it’s hot and sweaty and I forgot my sun cream

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
You make a pretty decent cuppa, most days
But I wish you could cook dinner from time to time

O my love is like a red, red rose
And even though I cannot touch my toes
I’ll hug you with all my might

Love is a many splendored thing
And one of the reasons I wear your ring
But it’s also important to note

I don’t love your bottom burps
I don’t like the way you slurp
But I’ll be here all year round

Cos I’m yours and you’re mine
And together we get along just fine
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Newsletter – Oct 2019

Author News
I briefly emerged from my cave to take part in Slough Libraries’ Local Author Showcase at The Curve on Wednesday 25th September. Five authors took part (pictured) – Sudhana Singh; Isabel Rogers; Sovel Cunningham; Naima Rashid and myself. It was well attended with over 50 eager book enthusiasts and many questions were answered by the panel after each had introduced themselves and their latest book. More of these please!

Also, I was invited to take part in a Sky  (UK)Television programme called Round Table to discuss the subject of ‘Legends’. I couldn’t make it to the studio so appeared via Skype… here’s the YouTube link… https://youtu.be/qF5CwnLLvVU

Are you up-to-date with my historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages? Book four, Arthur Dux Bellorum, was published in March this year, and I am currently working on its follow-up, part two of my Arthur story, Arthur Rex Britonnum

Tim Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages book series starts with…

Abandoned:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Abandoned

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/Abandoned

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Ambrosius

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/Ambrosius

Uther’s Destiny:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Uther

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/Uther

Arthur Dux Bellorum:-

Kindle/Paperback: http://mybook.to/Arthur

i-books/Kobo/other: https://books2read.com/ArthurDuxBellorum

I’m a member of a FaceBook Group for independent authors around the World called Sparkly Badgers. From time to time the group produce a themed anthology of short stories and poems. As October is the month of Halloween, the group have produced the following collection, Haunted, now available as a FREE download from Amazon Kindle and other online stores… check it out and help them with a review… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XXHRS21

HAUNTED

The Sparkly Badgers’ are a writing group thriving on Facebook made up of an eclectic mixture of writers from all backgrounds, writing in different genres and with different styles. We all have a passion for writing and for sharing our work with others and so I am delighted to be able to bring you this spooky anthology of spine tingling, goosebumpling and hide behind the sofa stories and poems.
 

If you are a writer who needs more sparkle in their lives then please, come join us on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1720960814878512

we’d love to badger you.

Claire Buss, Chief Sparkler & Editor

Newsletter – Sept 2019

AUTHOR NEWS… I have enjoyed my summer break (beneath a wide-brimmed hat) with family and am now poised over the keyboard to plot my next fiction books. During the holidays my daughter Cathy and I discussed the storyline for Charly in Space, and I will devote this month to writing up a first draft of what will be book three in our Adventures of Charly Holmes series.

I have also read two historical novels, both different and excellent in their own way. The first, The Head in the Ice, is a gripping Victorian crime thriller from debut author, Richard James. I attended his book launch in the small bookshop in Cookham some months ago, and am pleased to see from his reviews that the book has been well received.

Richard James (left) with Tim Walker

The second was recommended to me as an example of expert historical fiction writing, and it has not disappointed. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick is sweeping epic set in 12th century when the Norman legacy is splintering through civil wars and family feuds, non more intriguing than in the court of King Henry II and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is the story of English knight, William Marshal, and his rise to royal favour as the guardian of the king-to-be, Henry. The author’s superb grasp of historical detail and expert storytelling, particularly her use of metaphor to conjure up detail in beautifully constructed scenes, is something I hope I can learn from.

My own autumn and winter project will be to plot and write the follow-up to Arthur Dux Bellorum, and hope I can do justice to the second half of my King Arthur story. Working title – Arthur Rex Britonnum (if you have any better suggestions please let me know!)

Also… I’ve been invited by Slough Libraries to take part in their Local Author Showcase at The Curve on Wednesday 25th September from 7.30pm. Come along if you can!

For more information: https://www.slough.gov.uk/libraries

I’m pleased to welcome fellow indie author, Colin Garrow, to my newsletter/blog this month. I have read a couple of Colin’s books and have thoroughly enjoyed his easy style and wry Northern humour. Over to you, Colin – tell us a bit about yourself…

I grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and have worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. I’ve also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. As well as several stage plays, I’ve written eleven novels, all of which are available as eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble etc.

My short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days I live in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where I write novels, stories. poems and the occasional song.

I’ve been interested in murder/mysteries since I was a kid, and grew up reading series like The Hardy Boys, and The Three Investigators, before moving on to grown-up novels by Agatha Christie and Stephen King. Initially, I wrote stage plays but started writing novels for children back in 2013, beginning with my first book The Devil’s Porridge Gang. Since then I’ve penned another five books for middle grade readers and my books for adults include the Watson Letters (a spoof Sherlock Holmes adventure series) and the Terry Bell Mysteries. I’ve just released the second of these, A Long Cool Glass of Murder and the next one, Taxi for a Dead Man should be out by Christmas.

A Long Cool Glass of Murder (The Terry Bell Mysteries Book 2)

When taxi driver and amateur sleuth Terry takes on a new client, he doesn’t expect her to turn up dead. With echoes of his recent past coming back to haunt him, can he work out what’s going on before someone else gets killed?

‘Charis Brown’s elfin-like smile was, like the footsteps on the stairs, noticeably absent. She looked at me, looked at the dead woman and let out the sort of sigh I knew from experience meant it was going to be a long night.’

‘A Long Cool Glass of Murder’ is book #2 in the Terry Bell Mystery series.

If you love mysteries and amateur sleuthing, ski-mask-wearing villains and the occasional bent copper, this’ll be right up your everyday seaside-town street.

You can find my books on Amazon and Smashwords, and links and more info about my writing are on my websites:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colin-Garrow/e/B014Z5DZD4

https://www.smashwords.com/

https://colingarrow.org/ (for Adult readers)

https://colingarrowbooks.com/ (for middle grade, teens and YA)

https://thewatsonletters.com/ (The Watson Letters Blog)

Newsletter – July 2019

Welcome to the monthly newsletter of author Tim Walker. This month he has no news, and so will handover to two excellent guests…

Welcome guest author, Michael Pearcy – Mike has been a fan of George Orwell for many years. He has just completed a play called Mrs Orwell which was long listed for in the Kenneth Branagh Playwriting awards. He is working on a one-man show which will explore significant moments in Orwell’s life.

Mike’s plays have been performed in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Gibraltar and Singapore. There have been many performances in the UK including The Union Theatre in Southwark where The Gatekeeper’s True Religion was described by Time Out magazine as ‘…a unique gem’.

His short stories have won awards in various festivals and competitions including the Berkshire Arts Festival and the Woman’s Own short story competition.

As a journalist Mike has covered many and varied subjects ranging from Charles Dickens living in Slough with his young lover, to the story behind the making of the film The King’s Speech.  In his non-fiction writing he is able to combine his experience as a professional photographer with his writing.  Mike is a member of Slough Writers’ Group – check his WEBSITE for more information.

Nineteen Eight-Four – The Novel That Killed George Orwell

By Michael Pearcy

This year is the seventieth anniversary of Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell’s landmark dystopian novel which hit the bookshops on 8th June 1949 – only seven months before he died from tuberculosis, a disease which had haunted him most of his adult life.

No one can say for sure when he contracted TB but the research he undertook for two of his early books put him in regular contact with the highly infectious disease – tuberculosis killed one in seven people before a successful treatment using streptomycin was developed shortly after Orwell died in 1950.

In fact, Orwell’s close friend David Astor, a friend and editor of The Observer, had the drug flown in from America especially for Orwell, but although he made a temporary recovery, the side effects of this early version of the drug prevented further use.  

Although Orwell went to Eton on a scholarship, when he finished there he was not considered bright enough to justify the cost of Oxford or Cambridge which would have been the usual route for someone from his background.

Instead he signed up as an officer with the Imperial Police and selected a posting to Burma where he had lived for the first year of his life. This decision may have been prompted by his father who had been in the Indian Civil Service in the Opium Department.

He resigned after five years and settled in London where he intended to become a writer. Influenced by the author Jack London he decided to investigate the living conditions of the poor in East London which led to his first published Essay The Spike (New Adelphi magazine 1931).

Following this theme, he lived for periods as a homeless man and claimed to have perfected a working-class accent which, apparently, his new companions accepted. In this way he was able to live with tramps (homeless people) in what were known as Spikes (homeless shelters). He also spent time living rough with a group of tramps on their journey to get paid work picking hops in Kent.

After a further period living on the margins of society in Paris he had collected enough material for his first published book: Down and Out In Paris and London published in 1933 by Victor Gollancz.

This success led to publication of Orwell’s Burmese Days (Harper & Brothers 1934) which gave a frank and critical view of the Empire’s oppression and exploitation of the peoples of Burma. He was beginning to carve out a niche for himself as a young writer.

From his very first night in a Spike, Orwell would have known the risks he was taking in exposing himself to tuberculosis. But the only way he could write the truth was to first live that truth. And perhaps this was also the beginning of his personal journey as a socialist.

His dedication to research continued when he lived with coal miners and their families in North-East England in order to write The Road to Wigan Pier (Victor Gollancz 1937)first published in 1937. The first half of the book documents the bleak living conditions amongst the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the terrible working conditions of the men who essentially provided the fuel which powered the nation – coal.

In the second half of the book Orwell discusses the failures of socialism to rescue workers from the worst forms of exploitation. In this passage he declares himself in favour of socialism. This leads him to question British attitudes towards socialism and attack middle class socialists: ‘In addition to this there is the horrible — the really disquieting — prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words “Socialism” and “Communism” draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, “Nature Cure” quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.’

In 1936 he volunteered to fight with the anti-fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War. As a writer he could have observed the war from a safe hotel in Barcelona with the rest of the press corps. But Orwell went to the front-line trenches and took part in hand to hand combat as a member of the POUM anarchist militia. He meant to join the International Brigade but joined the POUM almost by accident.

This accident was to earn him the experience of living for a period in what he saw as a microcosm of a socialist society where there was no hierarchy, no deference to class and everything was achieved through agreement.

Wanting to be in the thick of it earnt him a fascist bullet in the throat which came within a few millimetres of ending his life. His experiences in Spain equipped him to write Homage to Catalonia (Secker and Warburg) published in 1938.

In Spain he also experienced the dark side of socialism as practised by the communist groups in their suppression of any alternative socialist parties. This reflects what became his major and possibly his over-riding opposition to all forms of totalitarianism expressed through any aspect of political ideology – left, right or centre.

By the beginning of World War Two, at the age of thirty-six, Orwell had established himself as a brave socio/political writer with the publication of four ground-breaking non-fiction books. He had also tried his hand at fiction with three novels – A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935), Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) and Coming Up for Air (1939) all published by Victor Gollancz.

Towards the end of his life Orwell instructed that the first two of these novels should not be reprinted which is harsh self-criticism luckily ignored by his literary executors. But a salient fact of life for Orwell was that his writing, despite growing recognition in literary circles, was not earning a decent living for him. His income came mainly from constant article writing for left-wing magazines and newspapers.

Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy on June 9th 1936 and they lived a frugal life until the publication of Animal Farm (Secker and Warburg)in 1945. This was a thinly disguised critique of Russian communism made at a time when the post-war world was ready for it, especially in America where the novel was a storming success. Orwell had finally earned himself space and time to write and he could afford to put a stop to all the time-consuming political articles and essays.

He turned his attention to what was to become his defining work – Nineteen Eighty-Four (Secker and Warburg). This was to be the full expression of his life-long opposition to any totalitarian regime. If Animal Farm can be said to show the dangers in the Russian communist version of socialism, Nineteen Eighty-Four explores the dangers of world divisions and an extreme totalitarian society.

Although this period was to be the peak of Orwell the writer, it was also a sad time for Orwell personally. In 1945 his wife Eileen died during an operation to remove cancer tumours.

And his constant companion, the old enemy tuberculosis was standing by to claim him as another victim.

Animal Farm had been a struggle to write and a bigger struggle to publish partly because Russia was a wartime ally and the government wanted Orwell silenced. Mainstream publishers were either scared of such a radical project or simply failed to understand it. At one point, Orwell was making plans to self-publish until Secker and Warburg finally took on the challenge.

Now Orwell was ready to tackle Nineteen Eighty-Four. But his health was failing fast. The stress of publishing Animal Farm followed by the loss of Eileen just a few months after they had adopted Richard, their only child, left George weakened and vulnerable.

After several months in a sanatorium he decided to give up his London life and move to a cottage in Scotland – Barnhill on the remote island of Jura, twenty-five miles from the nearest telephone. He felt this would give him fresh air, ward off TB and the solitude he needed to complete Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The original plan was to go to Jura with Eileen and she had done much of the planning that made the move possible. In the event, Orwell was accompanied by his son Richard, then four years old, his sister Avril Blair as housekeeper and Bill Dunn who would run the smallholding that would produce some of their food.

Now Orwell was able to focus on his novel. Life on Jura was hard especially in the post-war era of food shortages. And Orwell would not let the threat of TB stop him from enjoying time with Richard – even to the point where they both nearly drowned on one of their regular fishing outings.

It was a race to finish the manuscript before Orwell was forced to give in to the effects of his TB. He was struggling with the disease as he worked to type up his final manuscript. In the isolation of Jura it was not possible to employ a typist but even if it had been, Orwell was the only person who could interpret his countless corrections, except of course for Eileen.

By the time the MS was with the publisher, Secker and Warburg, George Orwell was exhausted. He went first to a hospital near Glasgow but eventually moved to Cranham Sanatorium in Gloucestershire.

Orwell received his first copy of his novel in June 1949. Shortly after this he was moved to University College Hospital in London where he died at the end of January 1950. Despite his valiant efforts he could do no more than make plans for another book but no notes exist of what this could have been.

George Orwell could not have guessed that his final work would come to be such a world-wide success but maybe something in him knew that writing it was worth risking his life. When he should have been in hospital fighting TB he stayed at his keyboard dedicated to completing his novel. 

Eileen had been a vital contributor to Orwell’s work. During the planning and writing of Animal Farm she collaborated closely and even acquired the nickname Pig presumably after Napoleon the pig who emerges as the leader at Animal Farm after the rebellion; Eileen’s attributes that led to her being associated with a character based on Joseph Stalin can only be guessed.

In her youth, Eileen wrote a poem called 1984 and it has been suggested that her dystopian view of the future resonated with George Orwell and that the book’s title is in memory of Eileen. The original draft title was Last Man In Europe and the general consensus is that the final title is a reversal of 1948 the year when the book was first completed.

Maybe so, but the idea that Eileen as loving wife and collaborator is commemorated in the title of her husband’s greatest work is very appealing.

SOURCES

George Orwell – A life by Bernard Crick (Secker and Warburg)

The Girl From The Fiction Department – A Portrait of Sonia Orwell by Hilary Spurling (Hamish Hamilton)

The Lost Orwell by Peter Davison (Timewell Press)

George Orwell English Rebel by Robert Colls (Oxford University Press)

Churchill and Orwell – The Fight For Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks (Duckworth Overlook).

Welcome to Poet’s Corner, Joseph Campling. – He moved from the New Town of Bracknell to the famous town of Slough to train as a nurse in the mid 1980’s. During that period, he had to mature from one of life’s innocents into the man he is now (whatever that is!!) Having worked initially within an operating theatre as a scrub nurse, he then re-qualified as a mental health nurse and has worked in various roles ranging from older people with dementia to younger people with serious mental health issues. Whilst undertaking his BSc, he was one of three co-authors of an article which was published in a professional journal in 2007.

As a child he was a voracious reader and started writing poems at the age of nine – one about scarecrows and another about a woman being swallowed by a crocodile while still having her handbag on her arm. He developed a love of English language and literature at school and continued to write poems as ideas came to him.

From 2010 he found himself scribbling his thoughts down on bits of paper, envelopes, mobile phone which thanks to ‘new technology’ he was able to keep safe.  At the age of 50, he discovered open mic, but due to having the singing voice of a frog being strangled and the guitar skills to match, he resorted to reading out some of this saved work.               

In May 2017 he self- published “Mild Musings May Mitigate My Mentality” which was his first collection of poems and having learned from the process has published another volume of ‘words’ “Merring or is it Mrs Gren.”  The title came from a conversation which the author had with his daughter about a mnemonic to remember the seven signs of life.

Outside writing and performing, his interests include history, watching live music, trying to play the guitar (still project in progress) and quizzing. He also likes to watch TV; mostly factual documentaries, comedy and quiz shows. He also ‘hangs out’ with members of the local drama club which is his children and wife’s passion, although he has no plans to act .He also needs to read more and swears that he will do so very soon as he has a pile of books to read. He follows rugby and can sometimes be found cheering his team on (London Irish) whether they win or lose.  He also has a passion for Liverpool Football Club.

BUY LINK – Merring or Is it Mrs Gren?

BUY LINK – Mild Musings May Mitigate Mentality

REAL LIFE SOAP

The vast opera of my life explodes

As the prima donna wants to take the stage

She is projected as some blond Valkyrie

Expounding Wagnerian hymns and arias

I mentality hear the words “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings”

Well from now on I’m on a diet

I need to keep away from the slippery slope

That my love is sliding over

The fantasy that I can change is false

I played the role that I was given

I remember the audition the casting couch

Now I feel that I don’t know the words or the actions

No direction no script

I could hide in plain sight like a chameleon

Some know I am there, but I believe that I am invisible

You can walk on by -get on with life

You still do not see it right before your eyes

Even if you looked you would stop caring

You ignore the chaos left like the running of metaphorical bulls

Be careful as the two worlds which you inhabit collide

As you explore all my vocal expressions through the din

Lies you say- lies!!  As the tapestry of my being is ripped to shreds

ADDICT

I need my daily fix- I cannot survive

I don’t know what I’m going to do- it makes me feel alive

I open the foil and inhale the odours

To check on the quality that the guy had sold us

I turn on the heat- get out the spoon

Check the time is opportune

I look around to check I’m alone

As for this transgression I’ll have to atone

The wife says I’ve got no willpower

I’ll not last more than a few hours

It’ll involve trawling the streets

To score some of my favourite treats

I have tried to go cold turkey

Giving up has made my thoughts murky

I think of the positives of being abstinent

From this body contaminant

I set up the paraphernalia

A reminder of my abject failure

To kick the habit of this stuff

I know that I am finding it tough

I had to go to a dealer on a street corner

Was this the produce of some foreign farmer?

It was imported for the British market

Advertised as one of their best harvests

I measure out the right amount

It been so long to do without

Some brown sugar for you and me

The best way to enjoy coffee

Newsletter – November 2018

OK, I’ve changed my mind. I admit it. In March I published book three in my historical series, A Light in the Dark AgesUther’s Destiny – with the announcement that me work was complete. The series was finished. I had intended to join the end of Roman Britannia to the coming of King Arthur. Uther’s Destiny ends with the boy Artorius drawing the sword from the stone in a cunning plan devised by Merlyn.
Well, seven months on, I’ve decided to continue the series and write a fourth book. I had initially baulked at the prospect of writing a King Arthur story (oh no, not another one!) but, having mulled it over and done some further reading around the subject, have found a way in – a glimmer of a storyline. So, I’m heading in – wish me luck! I’ve also decided to follow the same plotting and writing plan that led to Uther’s Destiny last year. This involved researching, writing a plot outline, character lists and a first half chapter plan in October, and then crashing out a first draft (or at least the first 50,000 words) in November, using the framework of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
My novel title is: Arthur Dux Bellorum and I’ve even found a picture I’d like to use for the cover. I found this on a site called DeviantArt and tracked down its owner. I have agreed a fee with him to use it for commercial purposes, and have sent it to my cover designer, Cathy Walker, to see what she can do with it. Here’s the picture…

NaNoWriMo – www.nanowrimo.org
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, about 400,000 participants from all over the World began working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. November is a bit of a nothing month – wedged between the end of summer and the start of the madness of Christmas – so perfect for putting aside the 2-3 hours a day that is required to maintaining an average of 1,666 words a day to hit the 50,000-word target (evenings and weekends take most of strain).
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. Mr. NaNo says: “Our experiences since 1999 show that 50,000 words is a challenging but achievable goal, even for people with full-time jobs and children. This is about the length of The Great Gatsby. We don’t use the word “novella” because it doesn’t seem to impress people the way “novel” does. We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of “novel.” In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.”

Pep Talk From Neil Gaiman

From the NaNo Archives, I’ve found this inspirational Pep Talk from bestselling author, Neil Gaiman…
Dear NaNoWriMo Author,
By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You’re not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You’re in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more—and that even when they do you’re preoccupied and no fun. You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.
Welcome to the club.
That’s how novels get written.
You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.
The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.
The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”
I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”
“You don’t remember?”
“Not really.”
“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”
I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.
So, I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.
One word after another.
That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.
So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.
Pretty soon you’ll be on the downward slide, and it’s not impossible that soon you’ll be at the end. Good luck…
Neil Gaiman

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