Tag: Newsletter (Page 1 of 2)

Newsletter – May 2020

NEWSLETTER – MAY 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

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AUTHOR NEWS

NEW – Coming 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.

Pre-order the e-book HERE

This month, I’m delighted to welcome TWO top historical fiction authors – Mary Anne Yarde and Mercedes Rochelle – both of whom have new books they’d like to share with us. Also, Mary Anne has written an article on a subject close to my heart – The Arthurian Legend.

Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Britain and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes.

Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed. Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
Connect with Mary Anne here:-
Website  Blog   Twitter   Facebook    Goodreads

God against Gods. King against King. Brother against Brother.
Mordred Pendragon had once said that the sons of Lancelot would eventually destroy each other, it seemed he was right all along.
Garren du Lac knew what the burning pyres meant in his brother’s kingdom — invasion. But who would dare to challenge King Alden of Cerniw for his throne? Only one man was daring enough, arrogant enough, to attempt such a feat — Budic du Lac, their eldest half-brother.
While Merton du Lac struggles to come to terms with the magnitude of Budic’s crime, there is another threat, one that is as ancient as it is powerful. But with the death toll rising and his men deserting who will take up the banner and fight in his name?
Book Buy Links – Amazon UK    Amazon US

Website • Blog • Facebook • Twitter

Mercedes Rochelle was born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Website • Blog • Facebook • Twitter

The King’s Retribution: Book 2 of The Plantagenet Legacy
By Mercedes Rochelle

If you read A KING UNDER SIEGE, you might remember that we left off just as Richard declared his majority at age 22. He was able to rise above the humiliation inflicted on him during the Merciless Parliament, but the fear that it could happen again haunted him the rest of his life.

Ten years was a long time to wait before taking revenge on your enemies, but King Richard II was a patient man. Hiding his antagonism toward the Lords Appellant, once he felt strong enough to wreak his revenge he was swift and merciless. Alas for Richard, he went too far, and in his eagerness to protect his crown Richard underestimated the very man who would take it from him: Henry Bolingbroke.

Buy Links –  Amazon.com    Amazon UK

Extract – The trouble begins

The Duke of Gloucester was not one to give up his principles just because he was out of favor with the king—again. Regardless, as far as Gloucester was concerned, peace and prosperity in England mattered far less than the military glory that could be achieved on the fair fields of France. As he picked up his helm and rubbed away a smudge, the duke wished once again that he could have fought with his father, Edward III, at Crécy. Those were the days people cherished, when the English army stunned the world by trouncing a much larger French force. Though it was only fifty years ago, times had changed so much it felt like ancient history. And then ten years later, Gloucester’s brother Edward the Black Prince achieved a similar victory at Poitiers, capturing the King of France in the process. The ransom was enormous and the benefit to the exchequer incalculable—even though it had never been completely paid off. What did it matter? The prestige was unrivaled. 

The duke replaced his helm on its shelf, straightening the mantle hanging from its crest—a lion with its own crown. And what happened with the Black Prince’s son? He grimaced like he always did when thinking of Richard. The best his nephew could manage was an unprofitable expedition to that backwater Ireland. And what came of that? Nothing. And then he bent his knee to the mad King of France who is totally unfit to sit on the throne. And what came of that? A seven year-old queen! And Richard was twenty-nine! Unheard of! The king’s peace policy was a disgrace. Idle soldiers turned into brigands; armorers fled to the continent to practice their trade, for there was no work in England. And worst of all, instead of attaining glory the dukes and earls had to be satisfied with begging for crumbs dropped by their milksop king.

Something had to be done.

The Dark Ages: The time of King Arthur
By Mary Anne Yarde

In 1846 William John Thoms, a British writer, penned a letter to The Athenaeum, a British Magazine. In this letter, he talked about “popular antiquities.” But instead of calling it by its common name, he used a new term — folklore.

What did Thoms mean by this new word? Well, let’s break it down. The word folk referred to the rural poor who were, for the most part, illiterate. Lore means instruction. So, folklore means to instruct the poor. But we understand it as verbal storytelling. Forget the wheel 
— I think storytelling is what sets us apart. We need stories, we always have and we always will.

The Dark Ages is, I think, one of the most fascinating eras in history. However, it does not come without challenges. This was an era of the lost manuscripts. They were lost due to various reasons. Firstly, the Viking raiders destroyed many written primary sources. Henry VIII did not help matters when he ordered The Dissolution of the Monasteries. More were lost due to the English Civil War and indeed, The French Revolution, and of course the tragic Cotton Library Fire in 1731.Therefore, there are only a handful of primary written sources. Unfortunately, these sources are not very reliable. They talk of great kings and terrible battles, but something is missing from them. Something important. And that something is authenticity. The Dark Ages is the time of the bards. It is the time of myths and legends. It is a period like no other. If the Dark Ages had a welcoming sign, it would say this:

“Welcome to the land of folklore. Welcome to the land of King Arthur.”

Throughout the years, there have been many arguments put forward as to who King Arthur was, what he did, and how he died. England, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and France claim Arthur as their own. Even The Roman Empire had a famous military commander who went by the name of Lucius Artorius Castus. There are so many possibilities. There are so many Arthurs. Over time, these different Arthurs became one. The Roman Artorious gave us the knights. The other countries who have claimed Arthur as their own, gave us the legend.

We are told that Arthur and his knights cared, for the most part, about the people they represented. Arthur was a good king, the like of which has never been seen before or after. He was the perfect tool for spreading a type of patriotic propaganda and was used to great effect in the centuries that were to follow. Arthur was someone you would want to fight by your side. However, he also gave ordinary people a sense of belonging and hope. He is, after all, as T.H. White so elegantly put it, The Once and Future King. If we believe in the legend, then we are assured that if Britain’s sovereignty is ever threatened, Arthur and his knights will ride again. A wonderful and heartfelt promise. A beautiful prophecy. However, there is another side to these heroic stories. A darker side. Some stories paint Arthur in an altogether different light. Arthur is no hero. He is no friend of the Church. He is no friend to anyone apart from himself. He is arrogant and cruel. Likewise, history tells us that the Roman military commander, Lucius Artorius Castus, chose Rome over his Sarmatian Knights. He betrayed them and watched as Rome slaughtered them all. It is not quite the picture one has in mind when we think of Arthur, is it? It is an interesting paradox and one I find incredibly fascinating.

King Arthur and Edward III

But putting that aside, Arthur, to many people, is a hero. Someone to inspire to. This was undoubtedly true for Edward III. Edward was determined that his reign was going to be as spectacular as Arthur’s was. He believed in the stories of Arthur and his Knights. He had even started to have his very own Round Table built at Windsor Castle.

He also founded The Order of the Garter— which is still the highest order of chivalry that the Queen can bestow. Arthur, whether fictional or not, influenced kings.

So how do we separate fact from fiction?

In our search for Arthur, we are digging up folklore, and that is not the same as excavating relics. We have the same problem now as Geoffrey of Monmouth did back in the 12th Century when he compiled The History of the Kings of Briton. His book is now considered a ‘national myth,’ but for centuries his book was considered to be factually correct. So, where did Monmouth get these facts? He borrowed from the works of Gildas, Nennuis, Bede, and The Annals of Wales. There was also that mysterious ancient manuscript that he borrowed from Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford. Monmouth then borrowed from the bardic oral tradition. In other words, he listened to the stories of the bards. Add to the mix his own imagination and Monmouth was onto a winner. Those who were critical of his work were brushed aside and ignored. Monmouth made Britain glorious, and he gave us not Arthur the general, but Arthur the King. And what a king he was.

So is Arthur a great lie that for over a thousand years, we have all believed in? Should we be taking the Arthurian history books from the historical section and moving them to sit next to George R. R. Martin’s, Game of Thrones? No. I don’t think so. In this instance, folklore has shaped our nation. We should not dismiss folklore out of hand just because it is not an exact science. We should embrace it because when you do, it becomes easier to see the influence these ‘stories’ have had on historical events.

References: 

(Author Unknown) — The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (J. M. Dent, New edition, 1972)
Bede — Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2012)
Geoffrey of Monmouth — The History of the Kings of Britain (Penguin Books Ltd, 1966)
Gildas — On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain (Serenity Publishers, LLC, 2009)
Matthews, John, Caitlín — The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero (Inner Traditions, 2017)
Nennius — The History of the Britons (Dodo Press, July 2007)
Pryor, Francis — Britain AD: A Quest for Arthur, England and the Anglo-Saxons (HarperCollins Publisher, 2005)
Wood, Michael — In Search of the Dark Ages (BBC Books, 2005)

Images:

1) Stonehenge — TheDigitalArtist / 5052 images, Pixabay
2) The King Arthur statue at Tintagel. The statue is called Gallos, which is Cornish for power. The sculpture is by Rubin Eynon.
3) Edward III — Scanned from the book The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings and Queens of England by David Williamson, ISBN 1855142287. Reproduction of a painting that is in the public domain because of its age.

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 jan 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
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
Happy new year to you all. The highlight of my 2019 was launching book four in my A Light in the Dark Ages series, Arthur Dux Bellorum, on 1st March. It was with some trepidation that I approached writing my version of the King Arthur story, aware that I was treading a well-worn road, and that my offering might be rubbished or shot down in flames by the legion of Arthurian fans. As it happened, it was well received, even in hardcore Arthurian Legend Facebook groups.

Since September I have been researching and writing the follow-up, Arthur Rex Brittonum, and hope to have it ready launch by May 2020 (progress has been hampered by illness that has negatively impacted momentum).

However, I’d like to sign off for the year and by thanking all those who read and reviewed Arthur Dux, and I’ll leave you with a handful of glowing review comments…
• I really loved this book. The characters come alive with Tim’s very descriptive writing. I really felt like I was there with Arthur and part of his life and events.
• The author has certainly done his research with this book as it covers all the old legends along with all the new information that has been found recently to make this the most up to date story based on Arthur that I have ever read.
As with the previous books the story flows brilliantly and the fight scenes are really well written along with the locations and characters.
• I enjoyed it – historical fiction with a smattering of magic – a really good read.
• An exciting journey. Into a wee world of sorcery, knights, battles and of course fair maidens. A great read, brilliant storytelling of the rise of Arthur as a warrior wielding his legendary sword Excalibur.
• Great storytelling, excellent battle scenes, interesting new ideas about the legendary Arthur and his impact on Britain in the Dark Ages. Looking forward to reading the next instalment in this series!
• Tim Walker doesn’t just begin this story with a boy and end it with a man. Arthur’s right of passage wasn’t served on a plate, he earned every man’s respect and grew with age into a legend that is still talked about. The story is mesmerizing, brutal and stunning. Loving this series.
• Arthur, Dux Bellorum is the sort of engaging historical fiction I’m always delighted to discover; this is described as book four of four but I hope there is more to come as I will definitely be reading any future books in the series and look forward to catching up with the previous novels.

Arthur Dux Bellorum buy links:- Kindle/Paperback  i-books/Kobo/other       

Dying to be Born’ is the third installment in Jane Jago and EM Swift-Hook’s entralling book series based on the Dai and Julia characters.

You see… In a modern-day Britain where the Roman Empire never left, Dai and Julia find themselves pitted against their most dangerous and implacable enemy yet, whilst still having to manage the inevitable family, friendship and domestic crises.  The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus includes the three novellas ‘Dying on the Streets’, ‘Dying to be Innocent’ and ‘Dying to Find Proof’ plus several exclusive short stories.

Here’s one of the exclusive bonus short stories The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook

            “And what do you think Llewellyn?”
            The voice of the Magistratus cut into Dai’s thoughts. He had been attending a meeting on the monthly crime figures for Demetae and Cornovii, a meeting which he usually came to armed to the teeth with relevant figures and ready to make a strong case for increasing the hours allocated to the crimes which affected the ordinary people and not those which impacted only the Roman elite. But this time he had turned up empty-handed and with only the vaguest idea of the figures which he had read through on his palmtop in the few minutes that elapsed between his arrival at his office in the Basilica Viriconia and the start of this meeting.
            “I ..uh…”
            He became painfully aware of the over-sharp look he received from the other individual in the room, his opposite number and fellow Submagistratus, Agrippina Julius Valerius Apollinara. It felt like he had Divine disapproval since she was of the great reforming Emperor’s bloodline even only if a distant and forgotten cul-de-sac of that.
            The Magistratus tapped a finger on the print-out in front of him.
            “I am not so surprised you have no opinion, these figures are a little troubling. Whereas the team under Submagistratus Julius Valerius has been making great strides and inroads into crime on all fronts, your own teams seem to be failing badly. Especially that of Senior Investigator Cartimel, his clear-up rate has bottomed out at an all-time low. How would you explain that Llewellyn?”
            It was hard to be sure from the perturbed frown on his face whether Magistratus Sextus Catus Bestia was genuinely more concerned about the poor figures or about there being some underlying problem which might explain them. Dai decided to try for the truth – tactfully.
            “The cases we have been assigned are…”
“Ones I feel are best suited to your skillset – local knowledge, British crimes.”
It was hard to disagree with that. Bryn Cartivel stood far more chance of making headway with those on the lowest rungs of the social ladder than the man shipped in from the provincial capital to cover, on a temporary basis, the Senior Investigator role for Agrippina Julius. That had needed to happen following the tragic death in action of her previous SI. A death she still seemed to place somehow at Dai’s door. It was an eternal elephant in the room every time they were forced into professional contact.
The one person Dai knew who might have been able to resolve it all was Julia, his Roman born wife, but Julia…
He jerked his thoughts away with a near-physical reaction. He couldn’t let himself go there. Not here. Not now.
“Cartivel is doing a solid job,” he said quickly, “but the cases you are assign – I mean the cases he is being assigned are those which take a lot of investigation. They are anything but open and shut.”
“Really?” Bestia frowned down his nose at a line his finger had come to rest on. “So the fact that a spate of robberies that just happened to coincide with the return to the area of a known criminal from a sentence of three years hard labour for petty theft took a lot of investigation?”
“Gillie had an alibi for each occasion – rock-solid ones. The man has only just got back to his wife and children he’s not about to…”
“These people will always alibi each other, they can’t be trusted. No. Just tell Carnival to arrest the man and we’ll let the courts decide. See how many of his low-life alibis are willing to speak up for him under oath before the face of the Divine Diocletian.”
And that was the problem. Whilst most might be willing to speak to Bryn and tell him what they knew, none would have the courage to step into a Roman court with the knowledge that their evidence if dismissed, could result in a charge against them for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
“SI Cartivel has a strong line of enquiry…”
“Just do what I suggested, eh?” the Magistratus dropped an odd avuncular wink. “And then your SI can get on with something else a bit more important. His dithering around with these open and shut cases does make me wonder if he’s not really up to the speed of modern Vigiles work. He must be close to retirement now.”
“He has another five years before…”
“Exactly. This is a younger man’s job. Now tell him to make the arrest, it really is for the best. Then we can close the case, improve the figures and move on.”

Universal Book Link
EM’s author page
Jane’s author page
EM’s twitter
Jane’s Twitter

No poem actually, just a drabble.
What is a drabble? I hear you shout. Let me tell you…
It is a short story of no more than 100 words in length, a form at which the aforementioned Jane Jago is a master (or mistress, perhaps).
This one was written by me shortly after the apocalyptic images of Notre Dame Cathedral burning in April 2019 flashed across my television screen. I intend to put this and other short prose, together with odd verse, into a collection I shall call ‘Perverse’ and hope to publish in early 2020.

Morte de Notre Dame

The hoot of a barn owl was met by the stony glare of a gargoyle, fashioned by medieval masons to guard the holy building from evil. But tonight, they have failed.
A wraith-like figure danced down the aisle, glowing in the cavernous darkness, revenge on her mind.
Orange and yellow flames licked the inside of the monstrous granite cathedral, feeding off rows of wooden pews, torching tapestries and melting lead in stained glass windows that popped colourful shards.
Esmerelda smiled as she skipped barefoot through the barred oak doors, out into the silent square, past the scene of her murder.

NEWSLETTER – DEC 2019

AUTHOR NEWS
Arthur Dux Bellorum is a finalist in The Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year in the following category: Historical Fiction Book of the Year, Early Medieval Period.
Results out in early December!
Arthur Dux Bellorum buy links:- Kindle/Paperback   i-books/Kobo/other

Books make great Christmas gifts! I’ve finally got around to formatting The Adventures of Charly Holmes for paperback. It’s now available in both ebook and print-on-demand from Amazon, together with book two in the series, Charly & The Superheroes. Each paperback is now just £4.99/$5.99 so treat a child this Christmas! (suitable for children aged 9+, parents and teachers).

Adventures of Charly Holmes – paperback UK paperback USA

Charly & The Superheroes – paperback UK paperback USA

This month we welcome Claire Buss who has a new book out. Claire is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.

Claire’s new book is – The Gaia Solution, book 3 of The Gaia Collection

BUY LINK TO YOUR FAVOURITE RETAILER

The Blurb:

Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.

More about The Gaia Collection series

The Gaia Collection is Claire’s hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons. In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.

In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.

Book Buy Links:

The Gaia Effect    The Gaia Project    The Gaia Solution

What Readers Say…

Praise for The Gaia Effect, winner of the 2017 Raven Award for best sci-fi/fantasy book

‘A story filled with emotion, angst & hope’

‘Brilliant post-apocalyptic science fantasy’

‘Wonderfully written, with a warm friendship at its heart’

‘A fantastic debut novel’

Praise for The Gaia Project…

‘A fantastic read from start to end’

‘Great book, thought-provoking read’

‘Mums are the heroes of the story and it’s the relationships that make it all work’

Sovel Cunningham
Poet & Speaker

The Postwoman, Human Resources Professional and Poet, how are they all connected? 
Give up? 
Well, they are all parts of Sovel, who now uses her skills for writing, spoken word and five decades of life experience to support others in communicating their truth through prose and poetry.
She explores and unpicks the meaning of being human and “its” interaction with the world and others.
Sovel has shared her poetry from Slough to Findhorn. 
Her debut book, Marshalled in Ranks –The Rearrangement of Words, is based on an observational discernment of the world. It includes illustrations, and each poem is prefaced with the spark of its creation.  

For those who have a love for listening, Marshalled in Ranks – The Audio Selection is a professional recording of twelve poems, all taken from the book.
Marshalled in Ranks – The Podcast, will be available post book release. In these podcasts a special guest discusses a poem topic from the book.
Robert Holden, author of Loveability and Life Loves You, co-written with Louise Hay said, “Sovel’s poems are meditations for the soul. They help me to be more open and more present in my life.”
If you would like to connect to Sovel, please email her through – the website

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5abcf569-7164-488f-89a0-a328a00c2893.jpg

The Manual for Being Human 

I’ve found the manual for being human

to give you direction

and remove any confusion
 

A manual detailing 0 – 100 years

with frequently asked questions listed in the back

the perfect solution for keeping you on track

I’ve found the manual for being human

To give you direction

and remove any confusion

Sections

Paragraphs

all neatly aligned

the complete companion to accompany you through a life-time

A manual detailing 0 – 100 years

with every description of anyone you’ll ever meet

unanimously inscribed to save you from defeat

With frequently asked questions listed in the back

the perfect solution for keeping you on track

© 2019 All Rights Reserved Sovel Cunningham

Newsletter – Nov 2019

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2019

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

NANOWRIMO 2019
I am once again taking advantage of November being National Novel Writing Month to motivate me to get on with writing the follow-up to this year’s novel, Arthur Dux Bellorum, published in March. The working title of part two of my Arthur story is Arthur Rex Britonnum…although I’m not settled on this title. The story will chart the second half of King Arthur’s life, leading up to his final battle at Camlann (around the year 537, as certain Welsh Chroniclers have dated it, although location remains in the realms of speculation). A possible alternative title could be, Arthur – The Road to Camlann.  What do you think?

National Novel Writing Month is an annual Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. Well-known authors write “pep-talks” to keep them motivated throughout the process. The website provides participants, called “Wrimos”, with tips for writer’s block, information on where local participants are meeting, and an online community of support. Focusing on the length of a work rather than the quality, writers are encouraged to finish their first draft quickly so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion. The project started in July 1999 with 21 participants. By the 2010 event, over 200,000 people took part and wrote a total of over 2.8 billion words. If you’re having a go, then send me a writing buddy request – timwalker1666.  Website: https://nanonwrimo.org

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

Abandoned:- Kindle/Paperback     i-books/Kobo/other 

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans:- Kindle/Paperback     i-books/Kobo/other 

Uther’s Destiny:- Kindle/Paperback    i-books/Kobo/other

Arthur Dux Bellorum:- Kindle/Paperback      i-books/Kobo/other

No guest this month, so here’s my Halloween 2019 poem, written for the Spoken Word Poetry Night at the Innerverse, Wednesday 30th October, at the Herschel Arms Pub in Slough…

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 – June 2019

AUTHOR NEWS…. Arthur Dux Bellorum e-book price promotion is running from 1st – 5th June – download your copy now!

Kindle & Paperback Link i-books, kobo, nook, other link
Welcome to Poet’s Corner… ANNA JONES

A founder member of the Herschel Arms Writers, Anna Jones is a creative producer, writer and theatre maker – connecting words & images, places & people to create art, ideas & change. 

Her place-based work explores heritage and how people respond and resonate with their local history today. She discovers, celebrates and shares stories from her home & work place of Slough & surrounds and her heart & roots place of Dartmoor & Devon.

Please see a selection of Anna’s poetry on The Innerverse YouTube channel. Please check out her website

Caroline charts the story of 18th century Slough based astronomer Caroline Herschel. The piece featured in an Arts Council commissioned play written by Anna and performed in her house in Upton Road where the Herschel family once lived. It was selected to be performed at the opening of The Curve theatre venue and to celebrate International Women’s Day.  

Our Special Relationship was written in response to The New York Times call for poems in reaction to the 2017 election of Trump and was published on the New York Times website.

Anna Jones at the Innerverse

Join in at The Innerverse every last Wednesday of the month at The Herschel Arms in Slough. This poetry, spoken word & comedy night has just marked its first year Innerversary and these films were made as part of these celebrations. This regular open mic night is a welcoming community of poets/lyricists /MCees/wordsmiths/spokenword artists/comics

The Innerverse is especially encouraging of first-time performers as we know the nerves and courage it takes to perform.

Anna is currently directing and producing an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate and mark the 80th anniversary of Windsor Theatre Guild.

Celebrate 80 years of Windsor Theatre Guild this summer with our outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s most enduring and enchanting play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. BOOK TICKETS

Bring family and friends, food and fizz to the beautiful private settings of Foxleigh Grove where we will be conjuring up midsummer mystery and mayhem.

Join fairies, lovers and our passionate players so that, like Bottom the Weaver, you can be moved, maybe even transformed, by the magic of theatre.

Picnics from 6.30pm, show starts at 8pm July 4th, 5th, 6th & 11th, 12th, 13th.


Lady Howard of Tavistock
 
I’m Mary with a story, which many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who condemn us all to hell.
 
My own tale is a cursed one, that’s told from days of yore
Five hundred long years I’ve travelled, across the wild Dartmoor
In a ghostly ghastly carriage made from the bones of six dead men
It carries me nightly and forever to Oakhampton and home again
Betwixt the strike of midnight and the dawn’s first cock’rel crow
From Fitzford House near Tavistock to Oak Castle I must go
To carry out my penance and fetch forth one blade of grass
Until the lush green mound is bare, my curse will never pass.
 
I’ll begin at the beginning, with the bones of him who died first
John Fitz once lord of Fitzford House, our home now with me cursed
Daddy John inherited a vast fortune, but our fortune was brief
It drove him insane and set my path: an eternity of grief
The Fitzford wealth it earnt him, more enemies than silver groats
He killed friend and foe, his craz’d mind hooked on slitting rivals’ throats
Those who spill it they soon come to learn, blood can’t be washed with gold
I found him slashed by his own hand, I’m an orphan, nine years old.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who send us all to hell.
 
Alone, young, rich and female, I need protecting from false claims
How naïve to think my earthly saviour could ever be righteous King James
Pious bastard sold me like a chattel to the Earl of Northumberland
Was only a child when he tired of me and gave his brother my wedded hand
As abused and trapped and frightened as the poor creatures he hunted for glory
I beseeched mother earth and all of her beasts to remove him from my story
Nature is red in tooth and claw, soon horn and hoof his gizzards gore
Hunter is hunted and dead man two, I’m your prey no more.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who drive us all to hell.
 
I ran away with my sweetheart, married in secret to fair Thomas
My life it finally felt full of hope, future brimming with such promise
But you’ve guessed by now that this isn’t a tale where happiness will last
Just a few months of joy ‘til tragedy when my one true love he passed
The pain and grieving will never stop for my dead man who went third
Was still in black weeds and just sixteen when forced to wed John Howard
Hid from him my every penny: “Sir do you not love me poor?”
This stayed as unknown as the causes of death of this dead man number four.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who take us all to hell.
 
I rue the day I met my final husband Sir Richard Grenville
Used fire and fists to harm me, locked me up against my will
Star chamber found him vile and violent sent him straight to Lydford Gaol
On escaping he revelled in torment and terror on a far much larger scale
When brother turned against brother and England she was bleeding
‘Twas turncoat rich warred for both sides as general and was leading
Parliament ‘gainst royals and vice versa ’til no troops were left alive
This traitor, Skellum, Gren-villain is the bones of dead man five.
 
I’m Mary with a story that many a girl could tell,
Of the men you love, and those you don’t, who doom us all to hell.
 
I’m way past the point of white weddings now, I’ll only take a lover
Although as a wife I’ve truly failed, I try and be a better mother
Head home to Tavistock with George my boy, but me and luck don’t mix
The fates they deal my last mortal blow and make him dead man six
My heart and earthly body breaks, soul taken, no longer my own
I’m cast as a black widow, with a black dog to match, in a carriage made from bone.
 
Betwixt the strike of midnight and the dawn’s first cock’rel crow
From Fitzford House near Tavistock to Oak Castle I must go
To carry out my penance and fetch forth one blade of grass
Until the lush green mound is bare, my curse will never pass.
 
Legend is not kind to females, especially when bold, brave and beautiful
It warns all girls throughout all time to be decent, dull and dutiful
I’m a woman with a story, but aren’t all our sex damned as well?
Leave those men and your life behind you my dear, come and ride with me to hell…
 
Anna jones ©2017

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