Thursday, 15 February 2018

Come stroll with me...

Michelin Maps
... and find out more about the fascinating city of Tours


I'm beginning my second journey through the city of Tours here in Place de la Résistance.  A small square with nothing to mark it out, other than the name, as having any significance.  But the city of Tours was occupied from 1940 until liberation on September 1st, 1944.  By then the city had been bombed by both the occupying forces to begin with and then the allied forces in an attempt to route the occupiers.  Many of the old streets were unrecognisable and the rail link to Bordeaux in the south and Angers and Le Mans in the north was broken.

To the southwest of the city was the Ripault Ammunitions factory - see the map.  The D17 runs right beside it and as you travel along you can see the remnants of what was once there.  I can also tell you that, thanks to Robert Gildea's book, Marianne in Chains - my review is here - on October 18th, 1943, the factory was blown apart, killing 72 people and injuring many more.  But I have come to this particular square to acknowledge something else.  In 1948, Tours and St-Pierre-des-Corps, a suburb of the city to the north that runs along the Loire, were awarded the Croix de Guerre in remembrance of the sacrifices made by local people who actively resisted the occupiers.  And if you want to know more then I can recommend the aforementioned book.

Tour Charlemagne
From here I'm taking the rue de Maréchal and then cutting across to rue des Halles to take a step further back in history and visit the Tour Charlemagne.  The tower is the remaining vestige of an ancient basilica, dedicated to St Martin that once stood here.  Charlemagne, then emperor, was residing in Tours, and it was here that his fourth wife, Luitgarde d'Alémanie, died in the year 800.  It is said that Charlemagne had her body entombed in the original church. However, the exact location of the tomb has never been substantiated.  But it's a nice story and I love a good tale!

From here it's an easy walk through Place du Grand Marché to the quais and the river Loire.  The Loire is a fleuve and not a rivière because it flows into the sea.  It is one of the principle rivers of France and, at a length of over a 1000K's - that’s more than 600 miles to us on this side of the channel - it is France's longest river.  In addition, it drains more than a fifth of the land area of the whole of France.  Along with other major rivers such as the Lot, Tarn and the Allier, the Loire rises in the Cévennes in south central France close to Mont Jerbier du Jonc.  A natural spring at that point, it flows virtually due north until it 
River Loire at Tours
reaches Orléans where it meanders westwards to empty into the Bay of Biscay at Sainte-Nazaire.  Here in Tours it is wide and slow but it gives its name to 6 different départements on its journey from source to estuary. Earliest man has lived along the banks of this river from about 90,000 years ago and its waters are swollen by some of the most important rivières in the country, such as the Allier, the Cher, Indre, Nièvre, to name just a few of its tributaries.  So, as a bit of water, I kind of think it quite rightly deserves some attention, don't you?


Next month I'll be in Villefranche and a little later in the year I will be starting a new series of posts, Jottings from the Journals.  Watch this space…

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

For Valentine's Day...





LOVES PHILOSOPHY

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever with a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?

See the mountain kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this work worth
If thou kiss not me?

Percy Bysshe Shelley


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Come stroll with me...

From Michelin Maps
... and find out more about the fascinating city of Tours


I'm beginning my second journey through the city of Tours here in Place de la Résistance.  A small square with nothing to mark it out, other than the name, as having any significance.  But the city of Tours was occupied from 1940 until liberation on September 1st, 1944.  By then the city had been bombed by both the occupying forces to begin with and then the allied forces in an attempt to route the occupiers.  Many of the old streets were unrecognisable and the rail link to Bordeaux in the south and Angers and Le Mans in the north was broken.

To the southwest of the city was the Ripault Ammunitions factory - see the map.  The D17 runs right beside it and as you travel along you can see the remnants of what was once there.  I can also tell you that, thanks to Robert Gildea's book, Marianne in Chains - my review is here - on October 18th, 1943, the factory was blown apart, killing 72 people and injuring many more.  But I have come to this particular square to acknowledge something else.  In 1948, Tours and St-Pierre-des-Corps, a suburb of the city to the north that runs along the Loire, were awarded the Croix de Guerre in remembrance of the sacrifices made by local people who actively resisted the occupiers.  And if you want to know more then I can recommend the aforementioned book.

Tour Charlemagne
From here I'm taking the rue de Maréchal and then cutting across to rue des Halles to take a step further back in history and visit the Tour Charlemagne.  The tower is the remaining vestige of an ancient basilica, dedicated to St Martin that once stood here.  Charlemagne, then emperor, was residing in Tours, and it was here that his fourth wife, Luitgarde d'Alémanie, died in the year 800.  It is said that Charlemagne had her body entombed in the original church. However, the exact location of the tomb has never been substantiated.  But it's a nice story and I love a good tale!

From here it's an easy walk through Place du Grand Marché to the quais and the river Loire.  The Loire is a fleuve and not a rivière because it flows into the sea.  It is one of the principle rivers of France and, at a length of over a 1000K's - that’s more than 600 miles to us on this side of the channel - it is France's longest river.  In addition, it drains more than a fifth of the land area of the whole of France.  Along with other major rivers such as the Lot, Tarn and the Allier, the Loire rises in the Cévennes in south central France close to Mont Jerbier du Jonc.  A natural spring at that point, it flows virtually due north until it
River Loire at Tours
reaches Orléans where it meanders westwards to empty into the Bay of Biscay at Sainte-Nazaire.  Here in Tours it is wide and slow but it gives its name to 6 different départements on its journey from source to estuary. Earliest man has lived along the banks of this river from about 90,000 years ago and its waters are swollen by some of the most important rivières in the country, such as the Allier, the Cher, Indre, Nièvre, to name just a few of its tributaries.  So, as a bit of water, I kind of think it quite rightly deserves some attention, don't you?


Next month I'll be in Villefranche and a little later in the year I will be starting a new series of posts, Jottings from the Journals.  Watch this space…

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Please welcome friend and author...

... Val penny to my blog today.  Hello Val...

Author, Val Penny
VP  Thank you for having me on your blog today, Angela.
AW  You are very welcome.  Now, I know your time is precious so what are we talking about today?
VP   Plotting.  I think that plotting is central to writing a novel, but it is a highly individual process.  No two authors plot in the same way.  Some plot organically while others plot in a very orderly fashion.
AW  And that last one is me.  I'm boringly organised!  But I'm interrupting so carry on.
VP  Many writers even plot differently from one book to another.  Some write scenes: hundreds of scenes that interest and excite them and then they stitch the scenes together to from the novel.  While others visualise the way the book will take shape using dozens of bits of paper laid out on their desk or even on the floor.  It must be important to make sure the windows are closed if you plot this way!  Some authors use tree diagrams, spreadsheets or mind-maps to plot and there is software available to download on line for this.
However you plot your novel, the goal is the same, to allow the journey it is about take that will last several months on the road with a novel.  It is important that you, as an author, choose between the 'organic' and 'orderly' methods of plotting so that you are comfortable that your choice works best for you and the book you are setting out to write.  I plotted my first novel 'Hunter's Chase' organically but, after attending a course run by Sue Moorcroft at last years' Swanwick Writers' Summer School, I plotted the sequel 'Hunter's Revenge' using diagrams and spreadsheets. Neither is wrong.  Both have strength and weaknesses and either can be successful for crafting a novel.
Writers who follow an organic way of plotting, approach the outline largely as a form of awareness of the story, rather than as an actual document to be followed strictly.  Many view the outline not so much as a planning device but more of an analytical tool that helps strengthen the final draft by indicating the flaws in the story-line.
Some authors begin with an idea and just jump in to tell the story.  They write steadily and regularly until they have written tens of thousands of words.  Then they go through the organic draft and delete large chunks and add other pieces until the final manuscript is complete.
Other authors, like Sue Moorcroft, plot meticulously and there is no doubt that plotting an outline is hard work.  However, having undertaken an outline on 'Hunter's Revenge', I found myself into writing my novel with confidence.  I was happy that one chapter followed another in a sensible sequence.  My characters retained their identities.  Of course at the end of the first draft, there were flaws, but I found I was able to repair those readily.
Whether you plot organically or in an orderly fashion, the important issue is that you can tell the story to your readers and that you, and they, are satisfied by your novel.

about the book... DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman's life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter's perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.  

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

about the author... Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland.  She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats.  She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University.  She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.  However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store.  Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.  

Hunter's Chase  set in Edinburgh, Scotland is now available.  The sequel, Hunter's Revenge is in creation and you can follow Val on her Website or on Facebook or at  Friends of Hunter's Chase and on Twitter