Newark Book Festival 2021

 

Recently I had the pleasure of being part of the Newark Book Festival Literature village event, where I had a stall on Saturday July 10th and Sunday July 11th. It is no exaggeration to express, how much I enjoyed being a part of this amazing event. I wish to convey my sincere thanks to Clair Robshaw and Sara Bullimore for their professional organisation of the event.

Located in Newark Market Place, Newark, Nottinghamshire the event was set against the historical backdrop of the castle and surrounding historical buildings of this historical town on the River Trent.

The theme ‘Great British Village Fete’ was embraced by many stall holders, myself included. Flags and bunting fluttered in the light breeze and live music on both days set my feet tapping and my vocal cords tuning in to some well-known popular music.

Meeting the public and chatting to families about a subject close to my heart, lifted my spirit after months of not being able to attend live literary events due to Covid restrictions.

The highlight for me on both days was meeting fellow authors and networking with them to learn new ideas about the promotion and marketing of books in a world where celebrity authors dominate, and big budget publishers take a large share of the market.

I was very fortunate to be located next to two very interesting authors who shared their publishing journey with me.

The author of The Golden Cage, Angela Tub caught my attention the moment I set up my stall. With her dazzling, jewel coloured Sari and the bright display of Indian ornaments and jewellery, it must have been hard to walk by without glancing at this very interesting lady. She shared part of her life story with me, that inspired her to write the memoir that charts her time in Dhaka Bangladesh.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Cage-Angela-Tubb/dp/1907516352

I met the author Angela Wren and her husband on the second day of the festival. My husband who was with me throughout the weekend and claims to be my Roadie enjoyed the banter that men tend to appreciate while the wives talk about writing and publishing experiences.

Having travelled around France for many years, Angela writes what she describes as cosy crime, featuring investigator Jacques Foret. Published by crookedcatbooks, com the whole series is available in print and e-book from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angela-Wren/e/B01924M7DC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

In addition to the cosy crime series Angela has collaborated with a number of authors in an anthology of up-lifting feel good stories ‘Miss Moonshines Emporium series.

 

 

 

 

It is always a pleasure to see families getting together and supporting their loved one in the promotion of their work.

E.A.Purle the author of Firestone a fantasy novel was surrounded by his wife and two children dressed in the black promotional tea shirts with the firestone logo emblazoned on the front.

Very striking. Even the dog came along to join the family.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/firestone-e-a-purle/1139441997

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like myself Charles X Cross the author of The Man Butcher Prize from the Crooked Empire Series is awaiting publication of his second novel The Butcher Night. I understand how frustrating it can be awaiting that special moment for your book to be published after months of hard work.

 

 

My third novel Union Blues is still with the publisher and I eagerly await that moment when I receive the first copies of this family drama which I hope will be the one to draw in interest from the industry.

 

 

 

HAPPY READING TO ALL OF MY FOLLOWERS.

 

 

 

Hands Down

 

See these hands of mine, dear grandchildren?

Not a pretty sight I agree.

Don’t be afraid to compare these ancient large tools of my body

Fear, not the sight of the blue ropes protruding through translucent paper-thin skin

For those very ropes carry a river of life to the tips of my finger and toes.

Take a moment, look at your child-like hands.

Plump, smooth, without blemish. Tiny fingers, tiny pink nails

Together we count – one two-three-four-five.

 

See these hands of mine, dear children

A younger smoother manicured hand held your father.

Together we laughed and loved

We stroked your baby soft skin held your tiny hands.

These hands performed many tasks: created words, music, food

Soothed the sick, nurtured the family.

Working tools attached to our bodily frame

Tools such as these grow weary with time.

 

See these hands of mine, Mum

I place them in yours, hold your hand softly, stroke the bent and twisted knuckles

Feel the crepe skin ripple along the surface like a permeant crease in fine lace

No longer ragged cuticles and broken nails the years of hard work long gone

Yet the dust you carefully removed each day for seventy years from your precious home

Returns each day, while dust motes play in the air looking for a place to stay.

 

 

Warrior of Culloden

Have you ever been inspired to write a poem about a character in a drama who truly became so realistic to your emotions that you felt compelled to put it into words?

Well, this is exactly what I did having watched the whole series of Outlander written by Diana Gabaldon. And here it is today for your enjoyment. I do hope that  Diana Gabaldon @Writer_DG  and     #SamHeughan #GrahamMcTavish enjoy the tribute to their outstanding work.

Warrior of Culloden

 

Imaginary warrior of Culloden

Allow magic to resurrect the sinew and muscle

To the sound of pipes and the shifting hooves.

Come to me my clansman

Across bog and blood-soaked land.

 Flaming heat of my heart using alchemy

Through mist I command my love to warm you.

 

Stretching my mind through time

Bending metaphysical force, I call to you

The Jacobite spear will not suffice

The sword held by rebellious hand

Stand fast my vermillion haired warrior of Scotland

See the strength of my love

Feel the force of my spirit

 

I will rise above, around, and inside of you my love

Strength from within me I give to you

As I search the depths of time

Transport my spirit to your side

Blood and fractured bone I fear not

Pain is but a sign of life

Our love transcends time and place

My love, my warrior of Culloden.

 

Is it really four years since my debut novel ‘Alice’ was published?

Is it really four years since my debut novel ‘Alice’ was published?

How time flies by when life happens at a very fast pace. Not that I am complaining. No! quite the opposite in fact. Since January 2017 when my long-awaited dream of becoming an author was realized, I have evolved from being a wife, mother and nurse into the role of an author and no one is more surprised than me.

Of course, I am still a wife and mother, but more often than not I am a doting grandma to four amazing young grandchildren who are growing up in a very different world than I grew up in.

They are so full of surprises and fill me with pride. All of them understand what a virus is now and can draw or scribble an example of what the coronavirus looks like.

My eldest grandson age eight is so much better than me with his IT skills and has even produced a short video to advertise my third novel ‘Union Blues’. (see below)

 

 

I actually completed this two years ago, but those of you familiar with the process of publication will understand that is only the beginning.

I have returned to ‘Austin Macauley’ the publisher of my debut novel to publish and market this exciting story about how life is sometimes not easy and how others may think you have a perfect life but behind the scenes, it is quite another tale.

This is the third in my social voice series. In the first novel ‘Alice’, I tackled the subject of Alcohol. In light of Covid, this is becoming an increasing problem. Recent research suggests that one in four adults in the UK admit to drinking more in lockdown and one in ten furloughed workers are drinking in secret. Worrying statistics but even worse is that provisional data from January to September 2020 show 5,460 deaths in the UK were alcohol-related. Shocking and upsetting in equal measure,

Love, Secrets, and Absolution my second novel, raises awareness of a different kind. Mental health has been very much in the news this last few years and has been of great concern to the NHS and the government. While this story is fundamentally about mental health, it also tackles undiagnosed autism.

Union Blues my third novel raises a different kind of issue. Watch this space to discover the publication date and to read the synopsis, which I hope will intrigue you into purchasing a pre-order copy.

Happy reading.

 

 

World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day March 21st

Founded by UNESCO in 1999, World Poetry Day is a red-letter day in the literary diary. Set up to recognize the international poetry movement it is a day to celebrate the joy of prose.

Using rhythms and imagery to stimulate imagination and emotions, poetry can be written in many forms. Poetry is in fact all around us. For example, the lyrics used with music and the use of poetry in advertising.

One of my favorites being ‘The currency of kindness’ by Jo Bell.

https://www.nationwide.co.uk/about/why-choose-nationwide/voices/have-a-voice

 

Not only is poetry all around us it is also inclusive. We are introduced to simple poetry during childhood in the form of nursery rhymes. These often date back centuries.

Consider ‘Ring around the Rosie’ an English folksong and playground singing game. This first appeared in print in 1881.

The ring refers to the round, red rash that is the first symptom of the plague.

A pocket full of posies refers to the practice of placing flowers around the infected person.

Sadly, we all fall down refers to the high death rate.

Ashes to Ashes – cremation of the infected person.

This is all very sad. However, not all poetry is sad. There are many uplifting poems of love and devotion, courage and bravery, Joy and hope.

My contribution to World Poetry Day this year is a poem I wrote some time ago while sailing with my husband on our narrowboat down the beautiful Trent and Mersey canal. This is one of a collection of poems I have been working on for a number of years called My Autumn Almanac.

 

   Tiller Girl.  

Hand firmly on the tiller

Reminiscing her maiden voyage.

Time of anticipation, excitement, love.

Making memories – now at risk of destruction

She holds the tiller tight.

 

Creaking solid gates, heavy like her heart

Snap shut, closing out the world

Trapped between a green, fur-lined brick chamber

Twenty – two tons of steel, sink into her abyss

Yet still! The boat floats in the shallows.

 

This is where she is. In the shallows, holding back her tears.

Though her heart weeps, her eyes are dry

The sun tries hard to please her

Drying the salty sweat from her palms.

She holds the tiller tight.

 

Overhead the yellow body of a cargo plane

Cuts the blue and white

Disturbed clouds will not release their tears

Searching for her white amongst her blue

Makes for weariness of bone

 

Above the noise of creaking gate

She hears a distant sound

Children’s laughter igniting the air

Her babies spring to mind.

When she herself, once young and free

Was not enslaved by doubt

 

Like curtains in the opening scene

The gates slowly part.

Out she breathes then inhales

As blood pumps through her racing heart

 

Once more her spirit rises as the phoenix from the fire

Boys on bikes race above on the bridge of hope

Laughter, screaming abandonment, joy.

The tiller in her hand stays strong

She controls the rudder, her direction her journey

Once more she enters the light

A future of possibilities on the river of life.

 

 

Welcome to spring.

Welcome to the month of March my friends.

A month of new beginnings. I can’t help but think about the words of Wordsworth and his fields of golden daffodils when I see my wall calendar with its image of spring flowers and the number of circles around prominent March dates. Sadly for me, one very important date will take on a different meaning this year. March the twenty-eighth will be the first birthday following my beautiful mum’s death last year.

As a young child of the fifties, a time of post-war change when everything seemed possible, my mum used to recite the following poem to me. This holds special memories from my childhood.

Written by Sara Coleridge, daughter of the famous English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, it evokes a connection to our ever-changing seasons. Below is a short extract for your enjoyment.

 

‘March brings breezes loud and shrill,

stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,

scatters daisies at our feet.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses.

Fills the children’s hand with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers.

apricots and gillyflowers.

 

Second hand Katie

Second hand Katie.

It may surprise my readers to see this article promoting second-hand books.

Hold that thought, for even though I should be promoting my own works of fiction and poetry I am a great advocate of purchasing second-hand books. In addition, I get great pleasure from promoting other author’s work.  This I do in my monthly column called Mansfield Bookshelf a regular feature of The Mansfield and Ashfield News Journal. In addition, I promote authors on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Second-hand books are a great way to discover books from all over the world. The choice is massive Classics, biographies, memoirs, in fact, every genre is available.

Some second–hand booksellers specialize in rare and antique books. How exciting to own such a copy? What about a first edition, can you imagine the joy of that. The only first editions I can lay claim to are my own published books: Alice, Love, Secrets and Absolution and my collection of poetry ‘Chameleon Days.’ Very soon my long-awaited third contemporary fiction novel ‘Union Blues’ will be going to print. Another first edition for my collection.

Do any of you own a signed copy? It can be such a thrill to personally speak to the author and get a signed copy. I have a number of signed copies from literary events and promotional tours. These books I treasure and selfishly keep for myself as I learned the hard way when I was a student and loaned my books to never see them again.

Over lockdown, I have done a fair amount of reminiscing and traveling down memory lane. Thinking about the books I studied for GCSE and A-Levels it occurred to me that I don’t have one single copy of the books I studied. I guess I must have passed them on to other students. One book in particular I felt sad about not having a copy.

Before the day was out my second-hand copy of Seventeenth-Century Poetry edited by Hugh Kenner was winging its way to me via the courtesy of my google search.

It arrived well-thumbed with lots of penciled notes in the margins. Printed in the United States by Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston and cataloged at the library of Congress. The owner’s name or at least one of the owners is not very clear but looks like Viv Moorhouse. How wonderfully intriguing.

How I was transported back in time as I read Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Crashaw, Townshend, Marvell, and others.

Such joy.

BOOK REVIEW.

 

The Little Bookshop of Love Stories

Written by Jaimie Admans.

Take a good look at the title. How can any book-lover resist? I for one could not possibly pass by this or even just give it a second glance. Everything about the title screams ‘buy me, buy me now.’

However, my friends, it is now confession time. This was one of three books that my like-minded daughter Anna-Lisa gave me as part of my Xmas gift this year. The year of the lockdown, World war three brought about by microscopic organisms we cannot reason with.

Such a perfect time to lose oneself in a beautiful fantasy world of a country village with a bookshop filled with fascinating second-hand books that contain heartfelt messages.

The village in question has the delightful name of Buntingorden and just to get my imagination firing on all four cylinders, it is in The Cotswolds: a picturesque English location that conjures up everything quaint and perfect about my favorite country in the whole world.

In my mind’s eye, I see a village with colourful bunting gently swaying in the summer breeze, a quaint bookshop, which of course I would find hard to resist and wait for this. The most perfect name for this bookshop ‘Once-Upon-A-Page.

Oh! This is the stuff that my dreams are made of. Owning such a bookshop and winning it in a raffle gets my heart racing that little bit faster.

This is exactly what happened to the protagonist Hallie in this well-crafted magical story. Though as with all good story-lines, everything is not rosy in the garden. For one thing, the shop is in financial difficulties and the sharks are at the door. This particular shark is called Drake who we later discover is not just a shark, but has a little more significance in the story. (No spoilers.)

I will come to the love stories in a moment, for now, can I say that the author has created the most delightful man I have ever met on a page. Simply my perfect guy. Kind, bookish, talented, and simply gorgeous, Dimitri is the perfect match for me, whoops I mean Hallie.

When they find hidden messages of love inside some old books, they begin to investigate and discover some very intriguing information.

If you are a romantic and a lover of books, then this is one I recommend.

HAPPY READING.

The Other People.

Book Review.  The other people by C. J. Tudor.

My attention was first drawn to this author when I learned that she lives in Nottinghamshire like myself. At the time, I was researching local authors to write an article in the monthly column I write for The Mansfield And Ashfield News Journal, titled Mansfield Bookshelf.

In the 2019 spring edition, I featured The Chalk Man and, in the Autumn edition, I featured The Taking of Annie Thorne. Both of these are five-star reads of the highest quality.

This brings me to my review of the third book written by C.J.Tudor

I was unable to put this down. Cliché I know, but the truth no less. I devoured this book over two afternoons, completing it in the early hours of the morning with gritty tired eyes.

This is a story of grief, loss, hope, and intrigue. I love the fact that the main character Gabe is determined to find his daughter, no matter what he has to suffer in his quest for the truth.

There is a lot going on in this story, each character is well developed and integral to the outcome of this intense story which kept me tense and on edge throughout. There was never a point, where the writing did not grab my attention.

Here is a taster from the blurb.

Driving home one night, Gabe sees the face of a little girl he knows in the rear of the car in front. She mouths – ‘Daddy’. He never sees his five – year old daughter again.

The police believe she’s dead. But three years later, Gabe still drives the roads, searching for the car that took Izzy.

Intriguing! Yes, I think so too.

 

The things I learn from playing Trivial Pursuit

The things I learn from playing Trivial  Pursuit.

During a recent game of trivia with my husband (a bonus to our lockdown situation I might add). A particular question involving literature caught my attention.

Aimed at me, for a pie no less this was the question.

‘What is Widseth, written in the 6th century, England’s first known version of?

  

Well, I had no idea at all and as my husband smugly announced the answer, ‘A Poem’, I vowed to myself that this was one piece of trivia that I was going to investigate.

As a lover of poetry and the author of my own collection, how could I not be intrigued about Widseth.

The following day my old friend and teacher Google directed me to a mass of information which it is my pleasure to share with those who are interested.

I soon discovered the true spelling is Widsith.

Apparently, it is the title of an old English poem probably from the 7th century, although the trivia answer says the 6th. Whoever wrote this answer was probably playing safe because the content of the poem suggests the protagonist, a minstrel makes a number of claims pertaining to have occurred between the 4th and 6th century.

Interestingly the modern English meaning of Widsith is far traveler.

Could this minstrel have traveled in the Tardis?

Even more fascinating is that this poem is preserved in the oldest book of English Literature in the world. The Exeter Book.

Now have I got your attention, my fellow book lovers?

Widsith is a wanderer of far and wide. He tells of his travels and speaks of the feudal halls he sings in. He tells of how the men loved his songs and gave him gifts. He sings of war and of the art of telling stories through his songs.

 

 The Exeter Book a 10th-century anthology of poetry is a literary manuscript of international importance secured in the Exeter Cathedral Library.

Also known as the Exeter Dean and Chapter Manuscript 3501 what adds to this remarkable story is that it was written down by a single scribe, most likely a Monk. Even more fascinating is the fact, that this monk chose to scribe in Anglo – Saxon (Old English) as opposed to the more traditional Latin.

So now I have learned a little more poetic knowledge I can go forward with confidence that in the unlikely event that this question will pop up when I sit in the millionaire chair and answer that final question. I won’t have to worry about selling any more books.