Update

I appreciate that many of my loyal followers lose sleep at nights wondering

One of my fans lying awake desperate to what I’m up to

what I’m up to in my career, so I thought it was high to time bring you up to date on things. The vast majority of authors don’t earn enough income from their books to make a living from writing alone, and so have to have a part-time or even full-time job as well. I’m lucky in a way in that my writing is supplemented by writing-related work such as critiquing of manuscripts for unpublished authors, copy-editing and proofreading. One problem with that is it’s very time consuming for relatively little reward. And because it’s so time consuming and one has to work to deadlines, it tends to leave little time for one’s own writing. I used to have an undemanding little part-time job which gave me plenty of time for working on my own stuff, but since taking up the editorial-type work I now have much less time to spend on my own writing. That wasn’t how it was meant to be! But there you go…

Anyhoo, I’m currently in the final stages of getting my next historical non-fiction book ready for print. I’ve just checked the proofs and sent them back to the editor, and the next stage will be drawing up an index (which I always hate!) and sorting out the pictures to go in it. The book title on the proofs is King Charles II & His Escape into Exile: Capture the King. It isn’t the way I put it on my manuscript and to me they’ve got it back to front. I’ve put in a strong plea to have it changed back to Capture the King: King Charles II & His Escape into Exile. Surely it makes more sense that way? I invite my legions of followers to agree or disagree.

At the same time (everything pretty much has to be at ‘the same time’, which is part of the problem with trying to work this way!) I have made a start on the third of the three books I signed up for with the publishers, Pen and Sword. It’s about heroism and tragedy in the history of the lifeboat service, and in particular focuses on winners of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Gold Medal for Gallantry.

Grace Darling ‘only’ won a silver gallantry medal – but I’m going to make an exception for her because you can’t have a book about saving life at sea without her!

I’ve unearthed some fascinating and poignant stories so far. In the early days, just after the Napoleonic wars, a lot of saving of life off the British coasts was performed by Coastguard vessels, which as well as trying to intercept smugglers also doubled up as a rescue service. I have just come across one poor young man who was a veteran of the Nelson’s navy and was at Trafalgar as a ships’ boy. After the war he became the captain of a Coastguard cutter and deservedly won his gold medal going to the aid of a ship in distress. But very soon afterwards he responded to an alarm about smugglers bringing their goods ashore. He and his men found themselves outnumbered by a huge armed gang, and in the ensuing confrontation he was hit several times during a shoot-out (as were all of his men, most of whom were then savagely beaten where they lay). He was left disabled and unable to work for the rest of his life, having served less than a year with the Coastguard.

My latest find is a sailor from Devon who, after performing his heroics, decided to embark on a circumnavigation of the globe in a small Devon-built ship. He achieved this, but something went wrong in his life (I haven’t uncovered what yet but he was certainly suffering from some illness if nothing else) and he took to drink and laudanum to kill the pain, and was found dead on his little vessel at the age of 50. (But don’t worry – there will be some happy endings as well!)

The good thing about proofreading for a historical/military publisher is that I get paid to read the kind of things that interest me. I’ve just been working on a fascinating diary by an officer fighting in North Africa during WWII, and I’m now embarking on one about the lives of civilian women in Hitler’s Germany.

One of these days I may get back to the several half-finished fiction works I had to leave behind…

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Thought provoking…

…sign at Sutton Hoo, the famous Anglo-Saxon burial ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speakings a Buddhist, I would beg to differ!

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When Reality Bites

Ide Crawford

I recently wrote about the current St Pancras Poet Laureate (and the person who I like to think of as the Rambles of a Writer‘s own laureate) Ide Crawford. Now, don’t get me wrong – her poetry is very impressive, especially in view if her tender years. You can find one of her most recent poems here: https://wordsforthewild.co.uk/?page_id=5738/

However, it has come to my attention that she still has a long way to go.

Carol Ann Duffy is about to end her reign as the ‘real’ poet laureate (though in my view the laureate to St Pancras and Rambles of a Writer outranks the so-called ‘real’ one) and a new one is to be chosen.

During the course of reading about this business, I came across lines by Alfred Austin, the poet laureate at the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. He was inspired to write the following lines regarding the illness of her son and eventual successor Edward – and I’m afraid, Ms Crawford, until your poetry can match the power, grace and ethereal quality of Austin’s work, you will have a long way to go:

Across the wires

The electric message came

He is no better

He is much the same

 

Read it and weep, Ms Crawford.

 

 

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More Enlightening Amazon Reviews

It normally takes me a while to compile a list of indispensable reviews, but recently I was lucky enough to stumble upon a one-person reviewing phenomenon. It started with:

Arrived safely, but haven’t read it yet !! (5 stars)

Intrigued, I checked other reviews by the same person:

Ok for fun but too small (Aimerfeel Men’s sexy fashion G-string Purple, Red, Black, Pink Pouch Thong, 4 stars) Hmmm. As long as it’s okay for fun…

As my mouth gets very dry , this gel is great for keeping the moisture in my mouth (Biogenesis dry mouth gel, 5 stars)

Always use this cream on a daily basis to sooth my feet (Daktarin Dual Action Cream, 5 stars)

Love this spray as it’s easy to apply and feels great on your skin. Also you can control how much to put on (Nivea protect and Bronze spray 30, 5 stars)

Useful item if you have wax in your ears (Earex advances Wax removal, 4 stars).

Just about got all body parts covered there. Well, all the ones I want to hear about anyway. Onwards!

Got this DVD just before Christmas but won’t play it until next December. (André Rieu, 5 stars)

Arrived ok (book, 5 stars )

All ok but disappointed with the tracks (Darlene Love CD, 5 stars) so 5 stars for a disappointing CD arriving on time?

Arrived safely. Not read it yet!! (book, 5 stars )

Arrived ok. Haven’t watched it yet. (dvd, 5 stars )

Arrived ok, but not yet played until Easter. (5 stars)

have yet to read (3 stars)

Great bok. Truth is most defiantly stranger than fiction (4 stars)

There we have it, readers. I’ve decided to send this person a copy of my next bok, in the hope that they’ll give it a 5 star review before they read it at Christmas, or possibly Easter. I don’t mind which, frankly – I just need to make sure it arrives OK and/or safely, and those stars are in the bag as far as I can see.

As far as Amazon reviews go, the truth is most defiantly stranger than fiction!

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Watch This Space!

It’s always nice to see someone you have had dealings with get the break they deserve (not enough have!) so I’m pleased to alert my blog followers to a children’s novel called Zinc, by Sue Klauber, which will be coming out later this year.

It’s something I copy-edited for Sue some time back, and I remembered it because it was an original and unusual story about two young brothers fighting back after being displaced from their homeland during the Second World War.

I won’t give any more away yet, because there’s some interesting background to the story and I’m planning to do an interview with Sue when the book is published by Troika in a few months’ time.

Well done, Sue!

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Another Rule Bites the Dust

 

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Finally – Proof that I move in exalted circles

I was chatting to the Poet Laureate the other day, as you do… Okay I’ll fess up, I didn’t even realise until recently that my young writer friend Ide Crawford was a poet laureate – she was probably too modest to tell me. But I did know she had won a prestigious poetry prize towards the end of last year and I was so pleased for her that I did a posting about it on here. It is the annual Betjeman Poetry Prize which is held at St Pancras Station and marks National Poetry Day (which as we all know is 4 November) and you can read more about it here (but not much more, since I’ve pinched most of their article for this posting). As well as her winning poem, selected from out of 3,000 entries, her role as the St Pancras laureate means she is commissioned to write three more poems during the course of her year-long tenure. I look forward to seeing them!

Her winning poem is called The Moors:

These hills that rise and roll and ripple

Like a dream or a tune or a turning-tide

These hundreds and thousands of burring bees

These thousands and millions and billions of bells

These honey clouds of pollen and scent

All rolled by the land to an imperial robe

Of purple, slow and sweet and sweeping

Purple like sundown summer skies

Purple like a peacock butterfly’s eye

Purple like dye from a murex shell

A robe for the high-throned sun-crowned summer hills

Whose bee-filled bell-rung empire cannot fall

These purple bells that peal together

From sky to moor and moor to sky

They ring and echo and tremble and sing

Not for one or two or twelve’o clock

But they ring for all time

For never and forever

They ring for the rise and the roll and the ripple

Of tens and hundreds and thousands of years

They ring for the heather heavy hills

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