Tag Archives: Wales

The Wheel turns. Everything changes Part 1

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Nothing stays the same. The Wheel turns and all those plans go out the window. On the 14th June, a phone call from my daughter in Essex changed the course of my life for the foreseeable future – she wanted to leave Essex and come and live with us in Wales.

It wasn’t an unpleasant surprise, just an unexpected one, and her arrival that evening, distressed and upset that her relationship in Essex was over, was the beginning of my sleepless nights, but to survive, one must adapt. I’ve always believed being flexible with arrangements and filling life with new adventures is a way to keep young, so we made a plan to renovate a room upstairs in our house for her, and we would collect her from Essex on 3rd August. Somehow, we needed to turn a room from  a barn-like, cobwebby mess into a welcoming room in just over a month.

It was a daunting task, especially as we were still working at our day jobs (my partner lays and sands wood floors, while I was teaching dance and writing my tenth novel), but we set to, clearing the room and sorting boxes and suitcases. My Mum died four years ago, and much of the sorting involved going through boxes from her house, so this wasn’t just a physical task, but an emotional, draining one too.

But looking back, remembering, grieving and looking forward is good for the soul. We were sorting our house for one of our precious children to live with us. It was a good kind of sadness, and we burned a lot of unwanted rubbish on our Midsummer bonfire, thinking of Mum and how happy she would have been that her grandchild was coming to live with us.

While my partner concentrated on getting the insulation, board and plastering fixed to our wobbly ceiling, I started work on the lime mortaring.

There weren’t enough hours in the day, but I made time to make fresh, whole food plant based meals which kept our energy levels up, and gave us a chance of completing our task on time. (We had our son’s wedding on 30th July in Rugby which took up three days – see Part 2 coming soon) Once my partner had plastered the ceiling, I switched tasks often between lime mortaring and painting, and then applying the coats of lime wash to the newly mortared walls. The scaffolding was too wobbly for me but I used steps and step ladders to reach almost to the appex and my partner finished the rest.

The other room upstairs also needed to be cleared,

and my partner was playing a gig at a birthday party, Tribal Unity were dancing at a steampunk weekend in Blaenavon and we were both performing at the Lampeter Food Festival. We worked late into the evenings.

Finally, we arrived at the days before we needed to go and collect our daughter, three cats, a rabbit and all her possessions. We pulled back the old lino to reveal the wooden floor.  

There was only time for one buff and coat on the floor as we needed to furnish the room, but apart from a wobbly board and a few repairs to do, it came up beautifully. I made a curtain from some new sparkly organza that was given to me, and a seat cushion, cover made from a new cream curtain. With the bed and a chair, it was beginning to look more welcoming. The room had a new door, but we ran out of time to finish the panelling and had to put a dustsheet back up. Chests of drawers and a hanging rail were accompanied by rugs and bedding, and the room was finished to the best of our ability in the time allotted.

Our daughter loves her room, the bunny likes her home in the byre and the cats are getting used to being part of a bigger cat family. The angst of the past weeks is over, and we’re all looking ahead to new beginnings.

If we’d still been smoking, I don’t believe we’d have had the capacity to keep working at this pace for so long, and the good, wholesome food really helped too. There were sacrifices (see Part 3 coming soon) but those things in life that are worth working for often require compromise.

We’re all enjoying the sunshine, catching up on outdoor jobs and looking forward to new exciting projects next year.

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Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature & Book Fayre – Meet the author – Nicola Beechsquirrel

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I first met Nicola at my first book fayre in Llandeilo in 2015 when she arrived at my table and proceeded to unload my first three paperbacks from her rucksack for me to sign. Since then, she saw Tribal Unity Wales dancing at the Lampeter Food Festival and is now a valued and much loved member of the dance tribe. She’s beautiful on the inside and out, and I’m blessed to call her friend. Here’s what happened when I interviewed her….

Hi Nicola! Let’s start with a general one. How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write non-fiction based on family history material, which can involve a lot of research. I don’t usually work to a plan – just have a loose idea of what needs to be done and get on with it. If one line of investigation dries up, I take up another.

I love research! I wanted to be a BBC researcher. Anyway, do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

My writing ritual is unimaginative and basic – switch on the computer, sit down and contemplate my documents to see what needs doing. Tea and biscuits are usually involved somewhere during the process!

Nothing unimaginative about tea and biscuits, in my opinion. Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Ah, that would be telling! I like to keep a certain air of mystery!

Ha ha! I knew you were going to make this tricky! Okay, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My desert island items would probably be a well-stocked sewing kit, some pens and paper, my comfy bed, a bag of clothes, and a guitar so I can practise chords. This is probably cheating though as the overall total of items is a lot more than 5!

Good choices though. On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I would find it hard to take just 5 books – there are so many that I want to read! Anything by Carole Matthews would be good to relax with. I would also take Charmian Hussey’s “The Valley Of Secrets” for the sake of its marvellous descriptions of landscapes and plants, and if I can also take the three volumes of Helen Dunmore’s “Ingo” series which I’ve not yet read, that would be a good mix.

They all sound wonderful. I shall check them out. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

If I’m allowed to travel back a little way in time, I’d like to have dinner with Marija Gimbutas, the archaeologist who wrote all those marvellous inspiring books about Stone Age Goddess cultures in Europe.

That would be fascinating, wouldn’t it? On to your current writing projects, what are you working on?

I am currently researching the historical background to my grandmother’s writings concerning a holiday she took in Burma in the early 1900s. It’s a fascinating task!

Other published work…

My list of published work is growing steadily! Currently it consists of:

“Memoirs of  a Twentieth Century Homesteader” by my grandfather, Lawrence Nowell, for which I compiled a historical background and various accompanying notes; “Grannie’s Own Picture Book” and “Granny’s Own ABC”; both written and drawn by my grandmother, Ivy Hindley; “Tales For Grandchildren”, by my mother, Olive Cole; and “The Old Woman Who Spun Clouds”, a childrens’ story by myself. And most recently, hot off the press, “Tongas, Doongas and Lilac Blossom”, an account by Ivy Hindley of her trip to Kashmir in 1913.

Thanks so much, Nicola, for taking the time to share with us, and thank you for reading this post. You can find Nicola on Facebook if you’re interested in purchasing a book, or come along to the Literature & Book Fayre, part of Lazzmatazz on 2nd June in Llandovery. See you on Sunday!

 

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Colin R Parsons

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Welcome to my blog and an interview with another Welsh author. I’ve met and chatted to Colin at a couple of book fairs, so I’m delighted to have him on my blog today. Colin is from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales and writes books for children and teenagers in a number of genres including Science Fiction, Steampunk and Fantasy. Welcome, Colin…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I literally start with a sentence and go from there – no planning or destination in mind. I did exactly that recently and ended up with a 17k short story, which I’ve just delivered to my publisher along with another seven stories. It’s a bit unorthodox, but I can’t write any other way. Each to their own, I suppose.

Absolutely!  Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

My computer screen or notepad must have something on it – a title, or sentence or even just a word. I can’t start anything with a blank piece of paper or white screen. It’s too daunting. Once I’ve got something then it evolves by itself.

So aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I’m partially colour-blind so that hinders me in some respect. Most people don’t know that about me. I need to walk so that I can set things in motion (literally and figuratively). I used to cut the heads off chocolate Easter bunnies and place them carefully back on, just to see the reaction on my kids faces when picked them up. I hate swimming. I sing the Thunderbirds theme in my head when I pass big trucks on motorways, with over eight wheels.

Brilliant! I might start doing the Thunderbirds one! Moving on, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My specs. A lifetimes supply of notepads and pencils. An indestructible solar panel, to power my fridge. 50 years supply of chocolate and Liquorice toffee.

I’m guessing you’re going to smuggle something else into that fridge;-) On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I am Legend by Richard Matherson. Airbourne by Kenneth Oppel. Lord of the Rings in one edition by J RR Tolkien. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Because I love them.

 

Great choices. Neil Gaiman’s book is a relatively new read for me and I loved it. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

That’s difficult. Maybe, Angie Sage author of the Magyk series.

 

She’d be great fun, agreed. Your current writing projects?

The Gamer, which is with a publisher as I speak.

Wintercode, which I worked on a while ago, but never finished.

A series of adult magical detective books called Killian Spooks Mysteries.

 

Exciting times! Thank you so much for chatting, Colin. Please list any other published work and links to find them and you…

Wizards’ Exile – (Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie due soon).

The Man with the Black Shoebox and Other Strange Stories (Thunderpoint Publishing out 2020)

Amaya’s Imagination (my first picture book) by Haus of Clare. (Amazon since March 2019)

You can find all Colin’s books via his author page here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colin-R.-Parsons/e/B0034Q4XS2

and for our friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Colin-R.-Parsons/e/B0034Q4XS2

And on his website http://www.colinrparsons.com

 

If you’re in mid Wales, it would be lovely to meet you at the Literature and Book Fayre on 2nd June in Llandovery. Come along and check out a host of Welsh authors.

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Lazarus Carpenter

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I met Laz last year at the Llandysul book fair. It was a magical fair in a beautiful setting, and I spent a good chunk of it chilling out with him. He’s far more than an author. He is the creator of Lazzmatazz, but I’ll let him tell you about himself. Welcome, Laz…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I have an idea and it will develop as a picture in my mind. I am a very intuitive writer and tend to narrate my stories as a character and as such am a real part of it (in my mind anyway). Planning is based around, knowing where I may start and indeed end, but the middle has to evolve within my character’s journey. As an example I wanted to write a story about Crach Ffinnant who was a prophet, seer and interestingly a dwarf, riding with Glyndwr. Little is known about him yet much is known about Glyndwr, so some research and a little creative imagination and he became alive after six hundred years. I wanted him to have been an apprentice and serve a prophecy related to Glyndwr. So I created his life. In the Prophecy I created scenes of the Middle Ages and loosely made it fit historical facts and Crach began his magical journey. I do not have any particular time of writing nor pattern, simply I will binge and finish three chapters at a sitting then perhaps nothing for a week or so and so on. The follow up to the Prophecy, Rise of the Dragon took six months to complete from beginning to proofing. Thanks to winning first prize in a writing competition in February 2018, I now have a formal publisher, published two books in my series and contracted for further volumes. I can sit on a rock, look at the sunset and instantly story-tell, it just flows and that is how I write. When I am in the zone, little thinking but a tremendous amount of story flow!

Cool, do you have any writing rituals? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I can write anywhere but I do like my desk with the window to my side and the amazing views of the valley. I tend to use my laptop for everything nowadays but always have a pencil and paper around to jot ideas as I work. A few cups of coffee is helpful but time of day is not important. My only ritual is recognizing my ‘mood to write’

So, aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I am also a musician and singer/songwriter and have been playing for forty years. I have done a bit of acting which I really enjoy and also some performance poetry. I have been qualified as a hypnotherapist for thirty years and occasionally do comedy hypnosis shows. I adore dogs.

You’re a great story teller too, if I may say so. Different questions now, iIf you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

I would want 1. paper 2. pencils 3. Knife 4. Pillow 5. Fishing Rod

I love that authors need pencils and paper! On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

‘Course in Miracles’ because it has always filled me with inspiration and is a source of grand inner thought when quiet.

‘Survival Manual’ because I am going to need it.

‘Christmas Carol’ (Dickens) will remind me of my childhood and father reading it year after year. It would help with any sense of loneliness but, I am quite content with my own company.

‘War and Peace’ because I have never read it and will have plenty of time on a desert Island.

‘Conversations with God’ (Donald Walsh) because if there is a God, then I will have plenty of time to converse and find out why I ended up on the desert island to begin with. As long as I was not responsible for sinking the ship of course!

Fascinating choices, thanks for those. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

This for me is a no brainer, because it has to be Peter Dinklage. We would be discussing his forthcoming role as Crach Ffinnant, now he has finished Game of Thrones. I did not have him in mind at all as I was inventing the character but he would be just the ticket if ever my series hits the screen. It is a dream, but then so was getting a publisher on merit of my work, not my pocket. But I did after over thirty rejections on the manuscript, so anything is possible, even dinner with Peter Dinklage.

Absolutely! Why shouldn’t we see our book as a movie? So what are your current writing projects?

I am half way through writing book three in the Crach Ffinnant series, ‘Ravens and Dragons’. There are plans for further books related to his adventures during the Welsh rebellion of the 1400’s.

Excellent, thanks so much for joining me, Laz. I’ll add below the places where folk can find you and your work.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/LazarusCarpenter?fbclid=IwAR0od5TMDffGpyKCCFs_7mTQtPazTd2rdtOScOveJxBz74gRgp4Rlj0Cr_0

http://www.lazaruscarpenterauthor.com

Crach Ffinnant – The Prophecy  – Words Matter Publishing 2018

Crach Ffinnant – Rise of the Dragon – Words Matter Publishing 2019

Ballad of Penygraig – Self published with LULU 2015

 

Don’t forget, if you’re in Wales, you can find Lazarus and myself at Lazzmatazz 2019 in Llandovery.

 

Lazzmatazz 2019 – Literature and Book Fayre – Meet the author – Angela Fish

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Welcome to the first of my author interviews featuring authors taking part in the Literature and Book Fayre, part of the Lazzmatazz 2019 festival. I first met Angela last year when we both had a table at a book fair in the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. It was a really warm day, and we took turns minding each others tables so we could nip outside for a breath of air! She writes delightful children’s stories, beautifully illustrated, perfect as gifts for boys and girls.

Welcome Angela! Lovely to have you here. Let’s get started

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I generally have a good idea/plan of the overall story, but things always change! With my WIP the characters just will not do what they’re told and keep challenging my plans for them!

It’s always exciting though, isn’t it? Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I’ve never been able to stick to a fixed time for writing, it’s when the mood takes me. I might go days without writing a word, and then suddenly I’ll have a few days where I can write up to ten hours a day. I used to love having my cat on my desk, but sadly she’s no longer with me and her son prefers the garden. Apart from that, the only ‘quirk’ I have is that I only write with a pencil, until it’s time to move on to the computer.

I love a pencil! So, aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Mad about cats – they always seem to know when there’s a vacancy at my place.

Left my blood on the portcullis of Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, when I was about five (lived in the village and often visited. Ran up the drawbridge too quickly, fell and bumped my head.)

Hate flying.

Love gardening and cooking.

Absolutely useless at drawing!

I too have a tendency to acquire cats…we have four at the moment! If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Sunscreen/specs/notebooks/pencils/cats

On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Almost impossible to pick just five (and I’d probably read them too quickly!) but if pushed:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Classic from my childhood

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos-Ruiz-Zafón. A book about books! Fabulous other-worldly mystery.

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. Her last novel. Wonderfully written and thought provoking.

Any of the poetry books of Seamus Heaney. Just love the way he handles words and the pictures he paints with them.

Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolien. What an imagination!

Great choices, though it is hard to pick just five. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

David Attenborough

I’m with you on that one. His eloquence and affinity with the natural world could be the beginning of saving our planet. What are your current writing projects?

I’ve almost completed the first draft of a novel that explores the nature/nurture question through the lives of two girls who have their sons on the same day. Over the course of the next twenty years, their lives follow different paths but intersect occasionally, as do the lives of the boys. The impact of their backgrounds and experiences shapes much of what they do and the decisions they make but how much of a part does fate/luck play?

I’m also about halfway with a novel for children, which uses myths and legends from around the world, and moves between the ‘real world’ and a magical one. Essentially, it’s about making friends, bullying, the transition from junior to senior school, and the relationship between the heroine and her grandmother, who supports her on her quest.  Oh, and of course, it has cats!

You’ve been busy! They both sound great. To finish, do share your published work.

Ben and the Spider Gate                    (Book Guild)

Ben and the Spider Prince                              “

Ben and the Spider Lake                                “

The Captain’s Favourite Treasure      (Matador)

 

Hard copies via my website: www.angela-fish.com

Ebooks via Troubador bookstore: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/

Thank you so much for joining me, Angela. Been lovely to chat and finding out more about you and your writing. See you in Llandovery on the 2nd!

 

 

 

Zoe Murphy – author and poet

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I met the fabulous Zoe Murphy at the first Llandysul Book Fair, organised by Cheryl Beer of Parlour Press Publishing. A new poetry anthology was being released during the day, and we, authors and public, were treated to poets reading their work.  As another Welsh writer I didn’t know well, I invited her to have a chat, and tell us more about herself…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I am a complete Pantser. I always have a rough idea of plot and characters, but I very much make it up as I go along which isn’t always productive if I’m honest. The book I am writing now has evolved and changed in so many ways and that’s because I am interested in too many things! But, I have finally set my cap with what I am doing, and I’ve adopted a more methodical approach by planning my characterisation and chapters. While I like to feel like I’m free when writing, I have had to concede and have some kind of organised chaos.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 I think I am quite eclectic when it comes to my writing time and rituals and I don’t have a set ritual really. However, one thing I always do, is listen to music. I have specific playlists which get me in the zone and are almost a soundtrack to my book. Music has been my saviour and it really helps and inspires my writing process.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

  1. I am also a performance poet and I was part of a TV programme called ‘Ugly Lovely: Poet on the Estate’ in 2014. Poetry wasn’t a great love of mine but it is now.
  2. I used to be a Street Dance teacher and absolutely love Hip Hop and 90’s R ‘n’ B.
  3. 80’s movies particularly Brat Pack films- Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Teen Witch!
  4. I avidly watch trashy reality TV such as TOWIE, Love Island…(guilty pleasure.)
  5. Gin (especially ones that have flavours or pretty colours.)

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

  1. Pen
  2. Paper
  3. Picture of my children
  4. Mascara
  5. Kindle

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 

This is a hard one!

  1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- I could read this book over and over and over. Evocative and rich in detail. Beautiful story.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- The fact that the majority of the book is from a female perspective and it was a bit of a different approach to the dystopian genre.
  3. Lucky by Jackie Collins- Pure escapism.
  4. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson- This introduced a really cool magical power and an original take on fantasy fiction. Could read it over and over.
  5. My Grimoire

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 

Anjelica Houston- Incredible actress and I’d like to ask about her Dad too as he has directed some of my favourite films.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

 

I am currently on the second book of a fantasy series I am writing set in Wales and involving witches and Welsh/Norse mythology. The first in the series is called Promise: Unearthed and I am to launch the first two instalments in February 2019.

I am also writing a Creative Education book as I am a lecturer and I have a passion for creative teaching techniques and would like to provide some inspiration for fellow teachers.

 

8 Other published work and links….

 

https://zoetryweb.wordpress.com/ My blog

 

https://www.facebook.com/ZoeMAuthor/ FB page for links and news

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404242866503911/ Poets on the Hill FB page.

 

Promise Novels:

 

Promise Unearthed

Seven

Released Feb 2019

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to come and share, Zoe. It’s been lovely having you.

For more author interviews, book reviews, writerly musings, dance, plant based recipes and magic, visit again. Bright blessings xx

Jessie Cahalin – author of ‘You Can’t Go it Alone’ and instigator of Books In Handbag

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Author and blogger, Jessie Cahalin, is visiting my blog today, sharing with you all her writing routine and five things you may not know…

How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?
I plan, I plot and lose the plot to rather assertive characters. At first, they remain quiet when I map out their lives on a large sheet of paper.  As time passes, the characters remove the post-it notes, screw them up and knock on my door.  I do argue with my mischievous characters quite a lot. I only listen to them if they speak nicely and explain why they won’t behave.
Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?
Where do I buy writing trousers?  I read about some power trouser designed to help the elderly to walk (not joking) – my gran would have loved these. Come to think of it, I have bought lots of jogging trousers since I started this writing malarkey, but I don’t think they I powered with words.
I start the day with posts on social media then switch off the Facebook and Twitter to begin writing.  I switch on social media for a couple of minutes at a time as a reward.   Eleven O’clock signals time for tea followed by some stretching exercises.  My aim is to write throughout the day. Blog posts and website updates are completed in the evening.
Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.
Embarking on my writing and blogging journey was not something I planned to do.  My husband published my manuscript on Amazon to force me into action.  I am glad he did this, as it has opened a fabulous new world for me. I am an accidental blogger and author.
My late father worked for Leeds United. Don’t get excited, he wasn’t Billy Bremner.  Many decades ago, Dad manufactured one of the stands at the ground and (pardon the pun) part of it is still standing.
Billy Bremner: not Jessie’s dad. Can you spot her novel?
Ever since I watched Out of Africa and heard the lines, ‘I had a farm in Africa.’ I have longed to own a farm in Africa.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to toil on the land. I want to sit in Blixen’s house and write stories with the pen she received from Denys Finch Hatton.  In truth, I fell in love with the setting.  I know I would be able to write in that vast, golden brown setting where solitary trees present umbrella silhouettes. If I have trouble writing then I say, ‘I need a farm in Africa.’
Right, time to get back down to earth. I ‘ate cream buns!  I mean I hate cream buns because they make me sick. Once, I went on an exciting visit to the Bath Pump Room Restaurant for afternoon tea and it wasn’t pretty. I discovered an intolerance to cream. This was NOT the Jane Austen experience I had imagined. I should have listened to Austen and said, ‘I would rather have nothing but tea.’
Finally, I confess that I do not possess many handbags.  I clear out my wardrobes, in the name of thinking time, when I need to avoid a task.
If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?
Ready for the desert island adventure. I’m Jessie, get me out of here!
I assume I am glamping on this desert island.  Can I stay in a house like the one on the beach in Death in Paradise?  OK. I’m settled and have removed my shoes.  I have my holiday handbag bursting to the seams with some smuggled items. My husband has just asked he if is allowed on the island too.

Firstly, I’d cram my manuscript, which I haven’t written yet, in my handbag.  This would force me to get on with the dreaded editing. I would read the entire thing aloud to exercise my voice. I would take an old-fashioned camera with lots of film because I fear there is no electricity. I’d need the photos for my tweets and memoirs.

I would like to take my tiny radio, if I could get a reception, because the batteries last for years.  I love radio 2 and Radio 4. Alternatively, I would take my guitar, bought when in primary school, and work through the beginner’s guide.

I almost forgot the essentials. Paper! I’d need reams and reams of paper. I would need to learn the art of tiny writing like the Brontës so I could fill every scrap of paper.

On a desert island, I may as well make the most of opportunities. I would take snorkelling gear to I could enjoy the underwater world.  Would I need a shark alarm?

I would have to smuggle an album of photos to remind me of people, favourite places and seasons.  I’d miss the beauty of the seasons on a desert island.

On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I feel I should say the Complete Works of Shakespeare but what about Shakespeare’s sisters?  I love the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women because there is such a range of texts I could enjoy.  An anthology of poetry would also be useful.  A collection of classic novels would place me in good company. I would also take The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer.  I haven’t read the book, but the title intrigues me.  In addition to novels, I would take books about art history.  I am interested in art but would love to study the history in more detail.  I need to have visual material to make me reflect as well as words.

Stranded like a fool, I have my holiday handbag bursting to the seams with some smuggled items.

Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Having read Judith Barrow’s ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’, I researched the suffrage movement in Leeds.  I discovered a woman called Leonora Cohen involved in the campaign, and I’d like to speak to her.  I’d invite Leonora to dinner to get an insight into what happened in Leeds.  I am also interested in how working class women got involved in the campaign.  Perhaps I could also invite my great grandmother to see how she would have viewed the whole situation.

 Your current writing projects?

I never stop blogging about my world and am always writing something. At the moment, I am writing some flash fiction.  I plan to write another book in the Sunflower Series.  Judith Barrow has suggested I write the prequel to You Can’t Go It Alone.  I will need to research into Cardiff back in the forties.  Some plot ideas have been surfacing, but I haven’t written anything down yet.

Other published work

You Can’t Go It Alone, Jessie Cahalin

SAMSUNG CSC

Book links:

UK:                             http://amzn.eu/cz1jQgl 

US:                             http://a.co/iDjcGSH 

 

About Jessie Cahalin

I’m the proud author of ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’ and creator of Books in my Handbag Blog. I’m thrilled to be visiting another blog made in Wales.

I hail from Yorkshire in the north of England but now lives in Wales. I love to travel the world and collect cultural gems. I search for happy endings, where possible.  Great coffee, food and music give me inspiration. I adore books, bags, writing and photography. Having overcome my fear of self-publishing, I am now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling me for decades. My debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society.  The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope.  As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

Contacts

Visit Jessie’s website at http://www.JessieCahalin.com

Connect with her at:

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/people/Jessie-Cahalin/100016975596193

https://www.facebook.com/JessieCahalinAuthor/

Twitter             @BooksInHandbag

Contact her at: jessiecahalin@aol.co.uk

Thanks so much for joining me Jessie! Lovely to find out more about you and your writing.

Follow my blog for more interviews, writerly stuff, dance, tried and tested plant based recipes and magic.

 

 

 

The inspiration behind The Standing Stone Book Series – Home

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Even though our house only had a tin roof, heating was various and I spent sleepless nights wondering if we’d made a huge mistake, within a year I’d written the first in The Standing Stone Book Series, Home for Christmas. Whatever the weather or the living accommodation, the Welsh countryside inspired me to pen a series about the people who had dwelled on the land before me, or who will live here in the future.

We’d holidayed in Wales for fifteen years with and without the children, but finally living here, in a tent, then a caravan and finally a house, I felt I’d returned home.

Each of the books begins with a song and it beautifully sums up the idea of home.

Home

Think of me in this barren landscape

Think of me, on this hill

Far away from love and friendship

Think of me, if you will.

 

Spare a tear for my weighty burden

Digging new this foreign land

Felling trees to build my homestead.

Hearth and home made with this hand.

 

But the earth, it is the same earth

And the sea ‘tween shore and shore

Gives me hope in times of hardship

That I’m coming home once more.

 

Coming home, I’m coming home

Coming home from distant shore.

 

Think of me as I bring in the harvest

Plucking crop from land and tree

Tending flock and growing family

Dry your eyes and think of me.

 

Trees and hilltops, plants and flowers

Glossy stars that light Her dome

Where I live in Nature’s beauty

That to me, is truly home.

 

But the earth, it is the same earth

And the sea ‘tween shore and shore

Gives me hope in times of hardship

That I’m coming home once more.

 

Coming home, I’m coming home

Coming home from distant shore.

Rachel, Candy and Fern make their homes in Wales, dependent on the land, the people and the culture, to help them call it ‘home’.

Today, for a limited time, you can download The Standing Stone Home for Christmas for just 99p/$1.30 and begin a new, exciting series. Discover how Rachel copes in her little cottage, how Candy seeks to escape the Dome and Fern becomes a leader for her people, while immersing yourself in the Welsh landscape. Mabon blessings xx

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Face to face at the Book Fair

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On Saturday 21st July, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales held a storytelling event and book fair called Plant & Plots. I was invited to bring my books along to set up a stand in the Great Glasshouse.

All began well at 8.30am. The plants are amazing and the thought of spending all day with them, and meeting the plant loving public, filled me with excitement.

More authors arrived. I was opposite the fabulous children’s author, Angela Fish and we chatted about the prospects for the day and our books. Her stories are wonderful with glorious illustrations. I was sure every parent and child who walked passed would love one of her books.

I’d recently linked up online with Cheryl Beer, a poet and organiser of a new book fair for September 29th this year in Llandysul, so it was lovely to meet her ‘in real life’ and have a chat. Thorne Moore was there with her clever book stand to keep the drips off her books, and her books of course, psychological mysteries or ‘domestic noir’, exploring the reasons for crimes and their consequences. It was lovely to see Judith Barrow after she interviewed me for Showboat TV, and her wonderful family sagas. Thorne and Judith are the brains and beauty (and damned hard work!) behind the Narberth Book Fair, this year on 22nd September. Check out the fabulous website they have created. http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/

Sarada and John Thompson, organisers of the Carmarthen Book Fair on 11th August, invited me to the event, so it was lovely to catch up with them and their work.

And then the sun came out…. and nost of the public chose not to come in. I didn’t blame them. I love the sun, am very happy in it, but the heat and humidity were unbearable. Angela and I took turns to get fresh air, but it was a struggle returning. After a few hours, we nabbed someone to put an industrial fab on which helped a bit, but by 3pm, I was beginning to feel unwell. A meeting of authors was called. Graham Watkins spoke to those in charge of the event and we were offered a table in the Gallery for the following day, but I chose to leave space for others on this occasion; my broken toe is still mending!

I shall definitely return to the Botanic Gardens and I did meet some lovely people. I talked at length to a wonderful gentleman about the magical landscape of Wiltshire and I danced with a little fairy who called me the purple lady. In this digital age, you just can’t beat chatting about books and inspiration face to face.

Don’t forget my Summer Special Giveaway Be in a Book! In three easy steps, you can be yourself in my next novel!

 

Six months without a fag

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In ten days time, 21st July 2018, it will be six months since I last smoked nicotine.

How’s it been?

In some respects, it is easier. The gnawing, gut churning pangs have lessened which is great, as has the insomnia. Looking back, I might have three good days and nights in a row…but the craving is still there.

I’m like a crazy stalker if a smoker comes towards me in the high street, inhaling deeply as they get close and turning with them to make the most of their smoke.

I’ve seen smokers sitting on a bench and been tempted to ask them to blow smoke my way.

I’ve stuck to walking two thousand steps when I wake in the morning, but I come in exhausted and want a cigarette.

People don’t have to be very mean and I want to cry. If they shout at me, I want a cigarette really badly.

And the benefits?

My physical body is settling down. I’ve lost the weight I put on and the HRT is doing the job. I’m very aware that my body is not the same, however, so the body I’m building will be a different one.

I’m embracing this as a challenge (I didn’t to start with! I cried and shouted and stamped about the unfairness of it all!) because I have to. I refuse to accept that I have to ‘settle’ and that because I’m in my crone stage that I have to put up with aches and pains and tiredness.

My bottom is changing shape, my arms are toning up and though I still get a little out of breath walking up steep hills, I recover much quicker.

Other benefits?

I haven’t noticed any extra money in the coffers, but I suppose there must be. I’m proud of myself, sticking to the promise I made to myself, but there are still days when it isn’t much fun!

Will I be celebrating six months smoke free?

On the 21st July, and the 22nd, I’ve been invited to the Great Glasshouse at The National Botanic Gardens of Wales for a weekend of story telling, ‘Plant Pots’. I shall be there with all my books, including The Flowerpot Witch, so why not arrange a day out of flowers and stories? https://botanicgarden.wales/visit/whats-on/storytelling-weekend/

For more musings, magic, dance and words, sign up for Wendy Woo’s Round Robin here http://wendysteele.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=bd3cc38cba01c2dea4a5f386f&id=6210056252

Bright blessings xx