Above you see the queue of books currently on my reading list, starting with:
- These happy golden years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The last book in her autobiographical series tracing her fascinating pioneer life in the American west will complete the series of seven books I’ve been reading over the years
- In my Liverpool home by Gerry Jones and John Haines. John is a Facebook friend of mine. I’ve had a quick flick through and oh, the happy memories of my childhood and early adulthood in Liverpool! I’ve always been homesick for my home city, but I think this might tip me over the edge!
- Warleggan by Winston Graham. Book four of the twelve book Poldark series I began reading last Christmas. I love them: there’s humour mixed with poignancy and drama. Better than any soap opera!
- How to be a heroine: or what I’ve learned by reading too much by Samantha Ellis, who studies the heroines of all the novels she has read. Looks like an interesting non-fiction read
- The Stepney doorstep society by Kate Thompson. Like the title above, this was a Christmas present from the in-laws, and again non-fiction. Not coming from Stepney or indeed London I’m not sure how I’ll get on with it, but I’m prepared to give it a go
I wish you all happy reading as well as writing!
A few months ago, I joined Instagram, knowing it to be a growing popular social media platform. The problem was I couldn’t get into it, so I binned it off. I’m on Facebook, but I’ve always preferred Twitter. I actually see Instagram as Twitter in reverse: on Instagram you have to put up a photo and say something about it and I’m a lousy photographer with a real camera and a smart phone, especially at selfies: I’m a point-and-shoot-and-hope-for-the-best-kinda-gal! Preferring words, I feel much more comfortable with Twitter where you can just post without having to put a picture up, and you can post using a PC. Instagram has to use a tablet or a smart phone. It didn’t help that my phone, being a bit old, wasn’t great at taking pictures, either; however, this year Father Christmas brought me a brand new model, and after reading an article about what Instagram can do for authors, I decided to try my hand at it again. After all, it’s another promotional tool and that can only be a good thing, eh?
So I’m there again as traceymoraitauthor and I’m making the effort and building up followers. Other articles mention the use of hashtags, only I keep forgetting about those because I see hashtags as part of Twitter, but I’ll try and remember, and I can use more characters than I can on Twitter, up to 2200. My smart phone is much better quality, too. I’ve had a bit of fun with stickers, but I am sorry to say that my selfies still aren’t great! I need more practice! I’ve also posted screenshots of my Twitter and Facebook accounts and my website and blog pages to show followers where else they can see my stuff.
Oh, I nearly forgot: if you’re one of those people who does New Year, all the best for 2019. I don’t do it. I just don’t want to be another year older! Humbug!
That’s it! I’ve done it! After four gruelling years of angst and strife, I’ve finally finished my sixth book for children, Episode, a fantasy story about 14-year-old Ali, who suffers with epilepsy. On holiday in Cyprus she wakes in the middle of the night to strange singing coming from a half-woman, half-bird creature sitting by the pool below her balcony. Then a beautiful girl with multicoloured hair appears before her, introducing herself as Iris, the Messenger Goddess of the Rainbow, Sea and Sky, who tells Ali that the creature is a Siren with a message from Selene, Goddess of the Moon. Iris has been sent to explain what the message means, that Ali has been chosen to go back to ancient Greece to help Helen, princess of Sparta, to escape her marriage to King Menelaus. Once in Sparta, Ali meets Travis, a time-traveller from the future, whose epilepsy is already powerful enough to transport him through time. Together they’re taken on a journey of adventure as they try to rescue Helen and on the way they have to contend with the Trojan War and meddling gods and goddesses, determined to control the lives of the mortals who believe in them. There’s further confusion when Helen reveals a startling revelation about her relationship with Paris, the prince of Troy. Will the Epic Cycle of poems, including The Iliad and The Odyssey, survive into the future?
Readers will remember Travis from my third book, Epiworld. I’ve reintroduced him to Episode as a sort of mentor to Ali, to help her understand the power of her seizures. He does play an integral part in the plot, but I have tried not to let him take over. I hope I’ve succeeded!
Once the editing is done, and the cover designed, I hope to see Episode published in the New Year, a few months later than planned.
The second book in the Poldark series focuses on the story of Demelza Carne, the scullery maid Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, who is now his wife. Her efforts to prove herself as a gentlewoman and also as a naturally good-natured and well-meaning woman, sensitive to the feelings of others, begin to pay off: society is slowly starting to accept her, although she believes she is always falling short with her husband. She is mindful that he married her on the rebound after he lost Elizabeth to his cousin Francis and fails to appreciate how much he really treasures and loves her, even when she incurs his wrath for interfering in his cousin Verity’s life, causing Francis to unfairly blame Ross. The birth of her and Ross’s daughter Julia adds to her happiness, but Elizabeth’s shadow refused to go away. When Elizabeth, Francis and their son Geoffrey Charles take ill with fever, it is Demelza who comes to their aid. This in some way helps them to appreciate her, but she is about to pay a heavy price for her compassion and her pain is heartily felt by the reader.
I watched the TV series before reading the books and I have to say that so far the adaptation stays as close to the original story as possible, although the drama surrounding the new doctor Dwight Enys is an unexpected surprise. Also at this stage the character of George Warleggan doesn’t seem fully developed, although he makes his present felt, and he isn’t nasty enough yet in my opinion: he comes across as nastier on television!
I found Demelza as enjoyable as the first book and now I’m progressing with book three, Jeremy Poldark.
For four days we had no network because our hub broke down. It was terrible: no catch up telly, no Netflix, no Amazon, no Facebook and even worse – no Twitter or footie forum! How was I going to tweet and moan and groan about the football? I had to resort to 3g on my Samsung without the emojis! It was dire!
Makes you wonder what we used to do without the internet! I think I had a life somewhere before it was invented. Without it, though, the indie author these days probably wouldn’t get as much exposure. Most of us do publish online ourselves and use the internet heavily for marketing with Twitter, Facebook and our blogs. We may dislike Amazon’s ethics, but it’s the Amazon sales we worry most about. In short, we need the internet!
But the broken hub had a magic spell up its sleeve: I could still access Word and my book files: I had nothing else to do but try to finish Episode before my November deadline!
Well, I didn’t quite make it, but I have only one more chapter left! I wrote over 9000 words. Just a few tweaks and more editing and fingers crossed I can think about getting it published around Christmas, if I can get the book cover designed by my designer! If that’s delayed (his cars come first in our house!) then I’ll be happy with the New Year. Considering the journey I’ve had getting this book written – my mum dying and all the aggro trying to get her estate sorted out – I think I’ve done well to get to near the end of the line!
We got a new superhub yesterday and as you can see I’m back online. Can I resist the temptation of dipping into Twitter for a football tweet while I write? I wonder…
- Laptop (that’ll add to your suitcase kg weight and there may not be much room to squeeze in your bikini, but still…)
- Memory stick
- Notepad and pen
- Your brain, should you possess one
- Copious amount of Rusty Nail cocktails
Splash on the Factor 50, put your sun hat on, spend all day by the pool on your sun bed with your laptop, memory stick, notepad and pen, and continue telling the story of Ali’s adventures in Episode. If the laptop battery packs up, use the notepad and pen instead and scribble away.
Rest for a dip in the pool and maybe fifteen minutes lying on the sun bed using your brain to think what to write next, or pick up your copy of Demelza and read that for a bit, before sighing and opening your laptop/notepad again, telling yourself, ‘I must finish this flippin’ book!’
Splash on the Factor 50, put your sun hat on, don your walking boots to explore the Maltese landscape and take plenty of photos, at the same time using your brain to wonder where to take Ali next on her adventures. Make sure you drink plenty of water and try not to moan too much about your feet hurting. Get back to the hotel dusty, exhausted and happy, get changed, eat your dinner, go to the bar for a Rusty Nail or two, get back to the hotel room, tell yourself, ‘I’m too knackered to write anything tonight!’ and fall asleep.
Splash on the Factor 50, get in the car you’ve hired to drive around the island, take more photos (all the time using your brain thinking: ‘So how is Episode going to end?’ Get back in time for dinner and after you’ve eaten go to the bar for a Rusty Nail or two. Have a wander around St Julian’s at night. Get back to the hotel room. Open your laptop, but if the Rusty Nails have ruined your eyesight, scribble in your notepad instead.
When you get home at least you can tell yourself you’ve managed to write something!
Ross Poldark begins the history of the Poldark family from when Ross returns to his native Cornwall after his service in the British Army during the American War of Independence. He comes back to find his father dead, his estate in disarray and his fiancée, Elizabeth Chynoweth, has gone and married his cousin, Francis Poldark. This leads to Ross having to get on with his own life in a way that rocks the society he was born to, and events occur that bring him into conflict with his uncle and also Verity, the cousin he is fond of. It’s all set for a dramatic historical soap opera of the lives and loves of the Poldark family and their acquaintances and the first book doesn’t disappoint.
The Poldark story starts in 1783 and has a twentieth century feel to the writing. Ross Poldark was published in 1945, and although clear references are made to the way of life in the 1700s, the writing is modern to the time in which it was written with no complicated over-blown, flowery adjectives or descriptions; this is not Jane Austen world, it’s a modern classic. Characterisation adds that touch of spice, almost (in a most un-politically correct) wickedly, comical way. The lower classes speak colloquially: Jud and Prudie, Ross’s servants, come across as endearingly funny characters, and Mrs Choake, Dr Choake’s wife, has a pronounced speech impediment where she can’t pronounce the letter ‘s’, so everything she says either begins or ends with ‘th’. All a touch cruel, and by today’s standards, definitely not something to laugh at, but it adds a light-hearted balance to counteract the descriptions of cock fighting (definitely outlawed and nothing to laugh at nowadays!) and to the darkness of Ross’s mood, as well as the strained relationship he now has with his cousin and ex- fiancée.
I received the twelve book box set of the Poldark history for Christmas and my husband believed it would take me years to read all of them; I finished Ross Poldark within a month! It’s a long but easy, interesting read with characters who delight and entice and I didn’t want to put it down. I can’t wait to read Demelza!
This review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon