Footsteps in the Sand

http://Ty Newydd Creative Writing Centre | Courses & Retreats, Wales https://www.tynewydd.wales/

Ty Newydd Writing Centre. Llanystumdwy, North Wales. Once residence to Prime-Minister; David Lloyd George.

I have long held the ambition to spend quality time at a writing retreat. My thirst for this adventure reinforced after watching the film ‘Love Actually.’ The image of Colin Firth in his writing retreat and the moment his housekeeper removed the mug securing his manuscript was a scene I have stored in the library section of my brain for a very long time.

During a miserable November 2018, I began to research the possibility of making my dream a reality. Thank goodness for the internet which at the touch of a button opened up a number of possibilities.

Eventually, though I must add that it wasn’t a difficult decision. I applied for an extended weekend course at Ty Newydd; the National Writing Centre of Wales.

Established in 1990 the aim of the center is to develop writers of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Many world-famous writers have tutored at the center, sharing years of secrets and techniques.

A team of Literature Wales staff work at Ty Newydd providing a quiet and calm atmosphere that nurtures the perfect atmosphere to engage in creative writing.

My room under the eaves on the second floor of the listed building was delightful with its rustic décor and sloping roof. In fact, I felt privileged with respect to its location. With the kitchen a few steps down and library directly beneath me it was central to the main facilities.

The literature lounge originally David Lloyd George’s reception room houses a large collection of fiction, both in Welsh and English. While the Glyn-Jones Library which was his former study overlooking the extensive gardens contains an extensive collection of poetry. There is also a smaller collection of creative, non-fiction and plays.

We were a moderate-sized group of like-minded aspiring poets. From various parts of the country and backgrounds; with one thing in common. To improve our writing skills and to feed our creativity.

The course tutors Paul Henry and Samantha Wynne Rhydderch were inspirational in their approach to the course. The theme being, Poetry and the Sea.

I was awe-inspired at the diversity of poetry that was produced over the course and came away with inspiration and vigor for the next stage of my writing journey.

We were encouraged to write a poem that reflected the place where the land meets the sea. I would like to share with you a poem that I created in response to this.

I hope you enjoy it.

‘Footsteps in the Sand.’

 

Wet smooth sand, each grain tightly packed

Silica catching the first rays

As the East gives life once more.

Deep indentations, size nine, maybe ten.

Then side by side, two tiny feet

Like water babies, feather-light.

 

Shellac crushed to a grain of sand

Crystals and minerals long dissolved from the rock they formed.

Each sedimentary fragment washed upon the beach.

Igneous rock once deep in the crust, out of reach

Now fired and crushed.

Smoothed, golden and soft

 Parent and child hand in hand.

Leaving their mark in the glistening sand.

 

 

Book Lovers Dream

Book Lovers Dream.

The month of June kicked off with every book lovers dream. A whole month of literary excitement. This year saw the twentieth anniversary of the Lowdham Book Festival and I for one did not want to miss the opportunity to meet at least some of the famous authors who were in the line-up. As per my previous blogs, you will be aware of the ones I met.

The month of literary excitement culminated on Saturday, June 29th.

  As the temperature around the country soared towards thirty degrees I sheltered from the sweltering heat under a marquee along with a number of authors and booksellers at the Lowdham Book Festival. It was an exciting day where I was able to chat with fellow authors and sell signed copies of my books to the public.

Amongst the many authors I met was: Stephen Taylor author of historical fiction and children stories and Maria Dziedzan author of historical fiction. Here I am with Maria and Stephen enjoying a good time at the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event hosted a wide range of activities and interesting stalls, amongst which was a very nice lady dressed in traditional German clothes, promoting ‘Travel without borders a bespoke holiday company. In addition along with her colleagues, they were selling a wide range of cookery and winemaking books. A feast of delights

I highly recommend a visit next year for this annual event. Pop it in your diary in readiness.

All of my books are still available to purchase from Amazon and all good book outlets; available as Ebook and paperback.

 

Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre review.

Amongst my many interests, musical theatre is one that I only occasionally get to enjoy, therefore I relish every second of the performance and squeeze as much pleasure out of the occasion that I possibly can.

In general, I manage to visit the theatre a couple of times a year.

This June was one such occasion when I went with my husband to The Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham to see the international award-winning musical ‘The Bodyguard’.

This smash hit- musical based on the film of the same name proved to be everything I had hoped for.

Alexander Burke was magnificent in her role as ‘Rachel Marron’ a world-famous performer who falls in love with her bodyguard, Frank Farmer.

This was musical theatre at its best, enhanced by the set design and state of the heart lighting. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole production. Karen Bruce did a sterling job with the choreography and the sixteen strong soundtrack was everything I could have hoped for.

I will always love you, Queen of the night and I’m every woman are just a few of the featured hit songs in the show.

Along with the rest of the audience, I was blown away.

 

The Strawberry Thief

What an extraordinary month I am having!  It has to be said that June has been the creative focus of my literary year.  Well, so far anyway.

Having made such a bold statement, perhaps I should consider the fact that we are only half way into 2019.

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me personally, the year seems to be galloping on like a horse competing in the Grand National. Not that I am owning up to jumping over a number of hurdles you understand although if marketing and promoting my books can be considered a hurdle then perhaps I need further training.

Always willing to learn and take inspiration from others I have been embracing the local Book Festival at Lowdham.

From my previous blog, you will remember that I enjoyed an afternoon at Southwell Library with Victoria Hislop and Anne Zouroudi.

Friday, June 21st, I had the great pleasure and privilege of an evening with Joanne Harris as she promoted her new book. ‘The Strawberry Thief.’ This event was held at Lowdham Village Hall.

What a wonderful unpretentious author she is. Her honest and open replies during the Q & A  session was a credit to her. I came away from the event feeling much more confident and inspired.

I am returning to the village of Lowdham on Saturday 29th June where I will be promoting my contemporary works of fiction and my book of poetry.

The All Day Bookfair and Café are open from10 am – 5 pm.

The Bookfair is spread over the Village Hall; there will be a marquee and assorted gazebos featuring booksellers, publishers charities and displays of printing equipment.

FREE ENTRY, SO PLEASE POP ALONG AND SAY HELLO.

Lowdham Book Festival

Lowdham Book Festival.

Excuse me for feeling happy and spreading my joy around but I have just got to share with you the news that I have met with a number one bestselling author.

Yes, my friends, the one and only Victoria Hislop who has sold over ten million books.

On Thursday, June 6th as part of the Lowdham Book Festival, Victoria Hislop was welcomed back to The Southwell Library, Nottingham, UK, to entertain the audience about her new novel,

 Those who are loved.

Set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece in WW11 she was in conversation with fellow grecophile Anne Zouroudini; author of the bestselling Greek Detective series. Together they entertained and educated the large audience of book lovers.

It was such a treat, made all the more special for me, when I was invited to ask a question about her writing process. In addition, I had the opportunity for a brief chat with Victoria and a signed copy of her new novel.

Such a lovely sincere lady.

Book Review.

When Breath Becomes Air.    Written by Paul Kalanithi.

Book Review.

The honesty and openness of Paul Kalanithi are astonishing. He turned his tragic circumstances into a study of how a patient-doctor relationship has a profound effect on the psychological aspect of a terminal illness.
I guess that the writing process in some small way was therapeutic for him and allowed his pain to be transferred into words of wisdom for others to take comfort from.

Although some might be put off by the blurb if they have suffered loss themselves, it is written so well that the reader will forget the diagnosis and read into the much deeper messages about life and death that he succinctly puts across.

*****  Five star GoodReads review from me.

 

Authors work is never done.

    Authors work is never done.

Writing can be a solitary pastime, it is also a period of reflection. However, for myself, it is an opportunity to be creative, to give birth to fictionalized characters and create a world for them to live in.

Imagination is a wonderful gift, enabling freedom of thought. Did you know that the process of reality and imagination follows different paths?

Researchers have discovered that visual information from real events travels upwards towards the parietal lobe in the brain from the occipital lobe. It appears that the opposite is true for imagined images. These travel along synapses from the parietal lobe towards the occipital. Fascinating is it not?

Returning to the statement ‘An author’s work is never done.’ I refer to the promotion and marketing of a book once completed. In actual fact, the promotion often begins prior to the first books being printed. For example, the teaser statements on social platforms such as book cover reveal. The many social platforms for promoting books are brilliant in terms of reaching large amounts of would be readers. However, in our multi-media world, one needs to be seen and heard as well as read.

It is the public appearances no matter how small a gathering that genuinely connects the writer with the reader. With this in mind, I try to attend a variety of local events in order to promote my books.

 

 

 

 

Recently I attended ‘The Lowdham Book and Ephemera fair which was held at The Village Hall, Lowdham. Having met a number of other book enthusiasts it was brought to my attention that there is soon to be a Book Festival to be held there between June 2nd– 29th

The line-up looks incredible and includes many award-winning authors: Victoria Hislop, C J Tudor, Joanne Harris, and Miranda Seymour Karen Bailey.

Children’s author Michael Rosen will be chatting about his own remarkable story and local poets Jane Wyles and Fiona Theokritoff will be sharing their poetry.

Tickets for these events are available from The Bookcase, Lowdham. Notts. 0115 966 3219

Hope to see you there.

Renaissance – Florence

Recently while away on holiday, staying on the beautiful Island of Vir Croatia, I found myself in the unusual situation of having no book to read. My daughter was attempting to read this herself, but with two active children to care for and a number of projects on already, she kindly suggested that we share this masterpiece of work.

‘My story begins not with my birth but a murder; committed the year before I was born.’

Wow! what a brilliant hook. How could I not be intrigued?

Painting Mona Lisa was written by Jeanne Kalogridis published in 2006 by St Martin’s Press.

The story begins in the heart of Florence, April 1478 – The Renaissance Period. It is a tale of historical fiction and mystery.

The monk Savanarola was preaching of hell, fire, and brimstone against the Borgia pope with his evil decadence and lustful behavior. He preached that the rich citizens of Florence would suffer greatly if they did not repent.

The handsome Giuliano de Medica is brutally assassinated in the magnificent Duomo of Florence. This leads to the unfolding of events amongst which is the tale of turmoil for the family of Lisa Di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo. Known simply as Madonna Lisa. Her beauty is captured by the famous artist Leonardo from Divinci. However, there is more to his desire for the painting of Madonna.

This is a tale of love, passion and the worst kind of betrayal.

 

Book Review

 

 

I am willing to put my hands up and admit that from time to time I check out my own books on the Amazon Book Store.

Having said that! It is purely for professional purposes you understand.

As is the case with Amazon searches, a number of books appear on the screen and from what I gather of the process the books with the most reviews or sales tend to pop up on the screen first. As is the case when I search for my debut novel ‘Alice’

‘Still, Alice’ written by Lisa Genova is always the first book to catch my eye. Recently while visiting my local library, I came across the said book and decided to review it using the Goodreads platform.

See below my Goodreads review.
I chose this amazing book from my local library where I am a member of The Book Club. The title of the book caught my attention due to my own debut novel having the title of ‘Alice.’ Both books about true to life events. One written by a neuroscientist and the other a nurse with a BSC in Biological Science.

‘Still Alice’ is a compelling account of the newly diagnosed world about the main character Alice Howland a cognitive psychology professor. Married with three children at the age of fifty she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The story follows her journey through a rapid downward spiral of disease progression.
Written in the first person Lisa Genova gives a well-written insight into the world of Alice. Having worked with dementia patients myself and conducted some of the cognitive tests, I was impressed by the way the author weaved these tests into the story without making it too medical.
Although heart-breaking, there are moments of humor within the story and realistic family dynamics.
I gave four stars because if I am honest. I was a little disappointed with the ending.
In terms of truthful fiction with accurate accounts of moving downwards through a spiraling health-related condition. ‘Alice’ written by myself and published by Austin Macauley publishers is still available to purchase from Amazon and other book retailers.
Alice by K.L Loveley