Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Gillian Walker, author and friend joins me today...

... to talk about her latest book.  Welcome Gill and please tell us about...
Bill & Nora
The Butchers Daughter
Were you to be standing in London on a still late-summer's evening, exactly a century ago, you may well have heard the rumble of artillery fire drifting across the channel from The Somme.  The battle that began at the beginning of July still raged.  The prime of English youth was being slaughtered. There seemed to be no end in sight.
Deep in the Shropshire countryside, the war was casting its long shadow across the village of Eyton. Florence House, a specialist orthopedic hospital, now dealt with the casualties as every day shipments of dreadfully maimed and wounded young men arrived.  The early X-ray machines designed to diagnose deformities in children were now used to locate fragments of shrapnel in injured soldiers.  The womenfolk of the village helped care for them.  Their sons, lovers and husbands had long since gone to fight for king and country; some never to return.
Refused by the army through ill-health, Bill Smith is directed to work at the village post office.  He comes from a traveller family, and their arrival in Eyton is unpopular.  It is at The Methodist Chapel that he first spies Nora Snow, daughter of the local butcher.  John, her father, is a belligerent bully, highly protective of his daughter.  In his mind no man is good enough for her – especially the upstart son of a “no good tinker” like Bill Smith.
Set against the backdrop of WW1, this is the story of how, against the odds, Bill and Nora fall in love and eventually marry.  Despite the turmoil of the early twentieth century their story has a happy ending – a long happy marriage, a son and two granddaughters, one of whom is me!

About the author
When I retired from teaching I resolved that I was going to “write that novel”, and write it I did.  I joined the local writers' group where I met Angela.  She witnessed my early attempts at writing, giving constructive criticism and support all the way.

About the books 
My first book was Ada, the tragic story of a young woman who chooses the wrong man and has to face the consequences.  It has been well received with reviewers saying “Ada exposes an outwardly solid relationship as a betrayal of love and loyalty,” and “A fascinating story putting together the pieces of a puzzle... a vivid picture of how one woman stays true to herself.”
 The Butchers Daughter is my second novel. Based upon the true story of my paternal grandparents, it too has received good reviews.  “I think you write really well Gill- you have a wonderful sense of drama and pace and you evoke the period wonderfully.” ( Luigi Bonomi , LBA publishers, London)

Follow the links to find the books Ada  The Butcher's Daughter

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Please welcome fellow author, Beatrice Fishback...

...who is visiting my blog today.  Beatrice has some interesting family history to share, so thank you for being here and the space is all yours...

My great-grandmother was an Iroquois Indian from upstate New York, and my father’s tales of her high-spirited nature enraptured me as a child.
There are two things I remember the most from his stories about this woman.  She smoked a corncob pipe — yes, just like in Western films; and my dad was often sent to the local store for her medicine, which turned out to be snuff, much to his surprise.
Simple clothing, and a daily routine of defending against animals in the great outdoors must have been a hard way of life.  Would she have carried a bow and arrow?  And, did she fall in love with my great-grandfather, or was their marriage one of convenience, arranged by others.
I often wondered what it would have been like to have met her, and to hear the adventures she had lived.  Like many ancestral stories, I’m sure her life held hard times as well as fascinating moments.
Old hotel in New York
If I could be a time-traveler, I imagine that New York would have been a rugged, bitter-winter landscape during the years my great-grandmother grew up.
Although I grew up in the region, there are many things that have changed in the past hundred years.  If great-grandmother could travel to the future, would she recognize the terrain where she once lived?  Malls and skyscrapers, campers and fifth-wheels traversing along four-lane highways are now the way of life.  Although she was a woman of strength, and apparently held a mean-streak, she probably would run as far away as she could from the noise and activity.
There must be a hint of my great-grandmother’s high-spirited ways residing within me, as I love to travel and explore worlds others only dream about.
Lake in upstate NY
And that is why writing can be so rewarding and I enjoy it so much.  Writers can create new places and entire breeds of people if they allow their minds to wander to unknown territories and pen those ideas for others to enjoy.  I have never been to the moon, or tried magic tricks with a wand.  But others have written about these possibilities and taken their readers to adventures beyond their wildest imaginations. Words are powerful.  We can travel to the past to the days of my great-grandmother, jet set into the future, and consider endless possibilities of other forms of life.
I hope my grandchildren are someday enraptured by the tales of my life and travels — imaginary and real.  Albeit, there will be no tales of a corncob pipe or snuff for them to hear about.

About the author...Beatrice Fishback is a Yankee who has traveled the world as a military spouse and lived in Europe for a total of twenty-years.  She is the author of Loving Your Military Man by FamilyLife Publishing and, with her husband Jim, is the co-author of Defending the Military Marriage and Defending the Military Family.  She has been published in various compilations, magazines and online websites.  Beatrice and Jim currently reside in North Carolina where scones are called biscuits and are topped with gravy, and tea is served over ice.
About her book...Bethal Manor, an inspirational romance, takes place during the Victorian era with engaging characters such as the wealthy Fredrick Shaw and his fiesty daughter, Clare.  Enjoy the rugged countryside as James Winthrop Blackwell travels across England.  Revel in the setting, a place of magnificence and style where servants know secrets and the owner is a man of property and integrity.  James Winthrop comes of age and searches for answers after being abandoned as an infant at Alpheton House Orphanage.  He must come to terms with the reasons for his abandonment and resolve how God can still use someone whose parents chose to cast them aside.  If you like Downton Abbey, you'll love Bethal Manor

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

And now for something completely different...

...today, friend and fellow author, Vasiliki Scurfield is visiting my blog and she has a challenge for you...

Writing at sunset
Well summer’s nearly at an end, holidays are wrapping up and whether we’re relaxed and suntanned or not it’s back to work and routine and, most likely in the not-so-distant-future dark days and cold weather.
Perhaps you’ve been slacking off on your writing?  Or perhaps you’ve been super good and have kept up with the daily word count throughout these summer months.  Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your hand at writing and have never got round to it.  Whichever it is, I’ve got something to help focus you.
It’s a competition.
Yay! I hear you cry. (Well, perhaps I don’t really but I can live in hope.)
If you’ve been busy writing you may have something that is easily adapted which you can enter so why not set your writing free and see how it does?
If, on the other hand, you’ve been a little bit slack in terms of production then why not set yourself a target to enter?  That should get you back on track.
If you’ve never written?  Why not have a go anyway.  As it’s quite a short story it might be a good introduction to writing to a deadline and with a specific purpose.
Here are some things you need to know about the competition :
  • The closing date is the 22nd September.
  • The theme is ‘Olive’.  This can be a name, a fruit, oil, or even an acronym.  It’s up to    you to be as imaginative as possible.
  • It must have a happy ending.
  • The total word count must be between 1200 and 1500 words. Short and sweet in other  words.
  • The cost to enter is £3.50.

So in addition to feeling the satisfaction of finishing a good piece of writing and sending it off, what else do you get?
Well if you win the prize is £50 and £25 for each of two runners up.
Kosta's Olive Tree
The icing on the cake however, is the fact that all the proceeds got to charitable causes. The competition itself is memory of my son Kosta who lost his life trying to help free civilians from ISIS, and the charities and charitable causes I’ve chosen are ones that were close to his heart.  To keep all the proceeds going to the important causes, I’m donating the prize money myself. 
So even if you aren’t successful your entry fee will contribute towards making someone’s life better.
It’s a win-win situation.
Go on…what have you got to lose?
For full details of the conditions, how to enter and the charities and charitable organisations we’re supporting visit: Kosta's Olive Tree
And finally…if you don’t want to enter, you can always donate anyway…