Lovely to meet and connect with the rather wonderful Rebecca Stonehill who has an excellent blog that I was honoured to attend as her guest. Rebecca is a wizard at getting children into reading and writing and is an author herself. I\’ve just bought her book and am very much looking forward to reading it.
Here\’s a little window on Rebecca\’s world, which sounds a lot more glamorous than mine!

 I’m Rebecca Stonehill, author of The Poet’s Wife and creative writing teacher.

I’m from London but currently live in Nairobi with my husband and three children where I teach creative writing to school children. Many years ago, I spent eighteen months living in Granada, completely falling in love with it and being inspired to write The Poet’s Wife. I have also had many short stories published, including in Vintage Script, What The Dickens magazine and Ariadne’s Thread.
The Poet’s Wife is my debut novel and I am currently working on my second book, set in Kenya.

Rebecca\’s a delightful person whom I\’m glad I met – social media is a wonderful thing sometimes!

"Wonderful writing" 5*s for 3 short stories #FREE for #BLACK FRIDAY!

I\’ve been knee deep in research for my new book, The Rose Trail – a complicated ghost story in 3 different time zones, so it was a delight to find a new 5* review for my little collection of short stories, Trio, which will be #FREE for #Black Friday!

Here\’s the link to this little taster of my work: It\’ll be a little while before a another big one arrives! And here\’s the review of Trio:

Three short stories in one book.

The Pond: hardship and adversity versus easy and wealth.

A Tidy Wife: Mike takes early retirement; his wife decides to take a trip

The Wedding Cake: Alice makes and ices a cake for her parents’ ruby anniversary party, her brother and his wife and family have problems.

The writing is very evocative and emotional for such short stories. There is full characterisation of the main characters as well as the peripheral characters. The scenes are set perfectly for each story.
Wonderful writing for short stories.

Daffodils still #FREE for #Remembrance Sunday

Daffodils is now #64 overall in the FREE section of Amazon UK and #214 in the US.
Thank you to everyone who downloaded it. It\’s my tribute to the fallen of WW1. I was very moved when I researched this book by the sacrifice made by an entire generation and I\’ve tried to do it justice. When you discover what they went through and how little they were valued after the war, it is truly shocking.
WW1 had a profound effect on society in Britain. Not only were young men cut down in their prime, women had to take over many of their previous roles and found a new, if bitter, freedom.
The Katherine Wheel trilogy explores this phenomenon and how the effects kept rippling through, even to the 1920\’s. I found it interesting to look at the effects of this global conflict on both the rich and the poor and how it drew us closer to our allies in America.
The art of that time clearly demonstrates the mechanistic nature of this war, the first war to involve the whole world. Those denuded trees naked on the annihilated battlefields speak for themselves.

The Katherine Wheel Series and its readers #amwriting

The Katherine Wheel\'s photo.

I\’m getting some very interesting feedback from readers who\’ve read the whole Katherine Wheel Trilogy. It\’s about Katy\’s character development. Some of them, like me, have struggled to like her at times. I knew it was a dangerous game starting out the whole caboodle with an unsympathetic character but how many of us are totally together and mature in our teenage years? I know I wasn\’t! Katy was very young at the start of Daffodils. She was also pretty foolish, shallow, immature, selfish and naive. It\’s taken her all three books and a world war to really grow up. Even in Speedwell she had to wrestle with her conscience (always a little tardy to arrive) until she finally redeems herself. The other characters, especially Jem, her husband, have to go through hell and high water as the years and events roll by and naturally they have to grow and change and adapt, as we all do.
These perceptive, wonderful readers, have also seen how the theme of change and \’progress\’ are worked into the three books through the points of view of the characters. Cassandra, in particular, finds letting go of the past very difficult and resists the new mechanistic era, clinging to the traditional values she sees rapidly disappearing as the combustion engine drives the modern age, while all the time her husband, Douglas, embraces it wholesale.
But it is Katy who is the, excuse the pun, driver to this series. Faulty, flawed, ambitious and flighty Katy. Clever, resourceful, loyal despite temptations, hardworking and beautiful Katy.

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Daffodils has now notched up over 100 reviews! =4.5*s average

I\’m so pleased that Daffodils has now received its 60th review in the UK but has retained its average of 4.6 *s.

In the States it has had 47 reviews giving an average of 4.5*s overall.
That adds up to an amazing 107 reviews altogether with an average of 4.55*s out of a possible 5*s.
I\’m a bit thrilled!


Transience #amwriting

I\’ve been musing lately on how impermanent we are, as people I mean. The houses, trees, the very earth itself will be here when we\’ve gone and that\’s okay. It lifts the weight of responsibility to realise this, somehow.
I\’ve been reading up about the English Civil War for my current project, The Rose Trail, and lately I\’ve come across the outlaws who lived in the forests and woodlands. Like the myth of Robin Hood they lived amongst the trees, out of sight and governance of the local landlords and tax collectors. They selectively did rob the rich and protected the vulnerable.
It seems many people lived like this before, according to that excellent book, The Death of Nature, capitalism reared its ugly, long lasting, head in the 1300s. Before that, land wasn\’t enclosed or claimed by owners who built boundaries that kept out those who foraged within its leafy embrace. These people, and I don\’t think Carolyn Merchant wore rose coloured specs when she wrote this influential book, lived co-operatively. They shared income, food – deer, rabbits, mushrooms, berries – from the forest, together with their labour. The trees provided both shelter and fuel. I don\’t think it could have been a soft, easy life but it resonated with me in a surprising way. Reared in a family who believe fiercely in material success as a measure of achievement, I bonded with these ancient woodlanders, feeling that, across almost a millennia, I had found my true ancestors, who shared a more gentle set of aspirations about what constitutes a successful life.
These personal discoveries are fuelling some fruitful thoughts about the story. I\’m not committing them to page yet but they are fomenting nicely in the back of my head and I hope the Rose Trail will be all the richer for it.