My Dip Into The World of Writing For Children

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With a number of published books for adults under my belt and the eighth book about to come out any time now, a few weeks ago I finally published my first book for children.

‘Robin’s Ring’ was first written four years ago and I took some spiral-bound copies to the school where I used to work to get some children’s opinions on it. A teacher of a class of eight and nine year olds read it to her class and a small group of ten year olds read it as a group assignment. The results were favourable; the children all loved it, both the ones who read it themselves and the class it had been read to.

I had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon in school with these children. I met with the small group and they told me what they liked about the book and also we had a ‘brainstorm’ as to what they would like to read in subsequent stories about Robin. As one, they all adored what Robin did at the end of the book – and that was something my own dad did when he was at school! I think every child who has read the book has told me they loved that bit!

When I went to the class who was having the book read to them, I was given the great pleasure of reading to them myself – and then I answered their questions about the book and how I came to write it. I was also asked if the cave under Stoney Clouds was still there (Stoney Clouds is a local landmark and beauty spot). This was a sticky situation; I could just imagine children dragging their parents to Stoney Clouds to search for the cave!

“Well,” says Mrs Ford, “The cave is probably still there but unfortunately, the entrance was blocked up when they built the motorway so you would not be able to find it now.”

Fortunately, the children accepted this explanation – phew!

Because of the children’s brainstorm, I added a few chapters. The book was now done and ready for editing and publication. The problem was, it needed pictures – and I can’t draw. I tried to persuade my daughter-in-law who is a good artist. She did a cover but the inside pictures never got done. So, Robin and his magic ring were left on the metaphorical shelf and I got on with other things.

And then I eventually had a brainwave! A young woman who lives in the same village as me has learned how to draw and paint. I have known her and her mother for some years. I knew she could paint, in fact, I have one of her painting hanging in my living room. It was when I saw her advertising art classes that it occurred to me. Perhaps I should go to Kathryn and learn to draw. I thought about my writing and all the things I do and then thought, ‘why not ask her to do the drawings for me?’ So that’s what I did, and so began an adventure for both of us and a working relationship that is a delight to both her and me.

Kathryn suffers from ME and is not able to work but she has learned to achieve her goals slowly and determinedly by pacing herself and knowing just how much she can do at a time. Her work is slow but very good. I don’t mind slow, Robin didn’t mind slow, he knew he was going to happen at last. The next Robin book will emerge, slowly but surely and hopefully the children who have and will enjoy Robin’s first adventure will also enjoy the next.

More importantly, the emergence of Robin’s Ring is an achievement – for me and for Kathryn. Through the merging of our talents, we have created something we can both be proud of.

 

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Medieval Misconception: They Didn’t Bathe

Very interesting write. An aspect of history re-thought!

Kim Rendfeld

When I decided to write a novel based on one of the Roland legends, I knew very little about the Middle Ages, but I was certain of one thing: medieval people didn’t bathe. I recall being told by teachers that the folk thought it was unhealthy. As an author, all I needed to decide was whether the characters would notice how bad they smelled.

So imagine my surprise to find a section about bathing in Pierre Riche’s Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne. Carolingian princes took baths and changed their clothes once a week. OK, so that’s not as often as Americans who can’t live without their daily showers, but it’s a lot more frequent than what I was led to believe.

Commoners would have bathed less often than aristocrats because of the time and labor it took to fill a tub, but they would have bathed as…

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A Bit of Confusion and an achievement

This year I achieved something that I’m very proud of. I have finally published the last book in a trilogy I have been writing. I know there are many writers out there who have done that, perhaps they’ve written quite a few trilogies and that’s really great; I admire someone who can do that because I’ll probably not do it again. I can tell you, it’s hard.

I wrote my first book, The Sixpenny Tiger, in 2010. Some of my friends read it and loved it. My writing mentor, David, read it and his verdict was that it was a collection of incidents joined up together. He knew I’d written it ‘out of order’, that is, not starting at the beginning and working through to the end. I wrote the beginning, then a bit in the middle and so on. ‘You must try to keep the metaphor’ he would say. I tried to be intelligent but no matter how much I talked with him about it (after all, I knew what a metaphor was) I didn’t understand what he was getting at. The book was no good, I decided disappointedly, so it was put on one side.

After a ‘barren’ period of writer’s block, I wrote three books in one year. Then I wrote another. Eventually, after a lot of thought, I decided to publish with CreateSpace, or Amazon. I started with ‘Rosa’ the third book I wrote and I followed it up with Bell of Warning and The Hiraeth.

‘Yes, yes,’ said David, ‘they are all good, but when are you going to publish Tiger, it’s your best work.’

To say I was stunned would be accurate; ‘but, you don’t like Tiger, you said so.’

‘I never said that; I said make sure you keep the metaphor. It’s great; it’s my favourite of all your stories.’

Well!!

So, The Sixpenny Tiger was next. In the meantime, I’d decided, having written The Hiraeth, that the story should continue so I wrote ‘Bronwen’s Revenge’ and now I have done book 3, ‘Yr Aberth’ (The Sacrifice) which is the first book I have written that David has not seen because he died in February. It seems strange that I can’t send it to him so he can read it but I know he would be proud of me for doing it.

I feel that if I never wrote another book, I have achieved in completing a trilogy, something that, as far as I’m aware, nobody else in my family has done so far. So, even if no one else sees fit to give me a pat on my back for it, I give myself a pat. It just goes to show that even if a person doesn’t achieve much at school, all is not lost.

In finishing with Shelly and family and the beautiful ‘Castell Glas’ I thought I would feel bereft because they have been with me for so long. But I think, because they have been with me a long time and finally their story is told, I have done my best by them and now it’s time to leave them in peace and move on. Now, I can hold all three books in my hand, or set them side by side and admire them; not only am I proud of my achievement, I am also proud and very grateful to Jezz Lewis, photographer, who has produced the beautiful covers.

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Are we OK, you and I, after you voted to destroy my dreams?

My thoughts exactly. As I see the worries that our son has for their future business and the worries of our other children and also for my fears of losing allies in an unstable world.

Andrew Reid Wildman, Scottish Artist living in France

I feel like someone has taken something dear to me, my identity, my connection to my continent, and they have killed it. If you voted Leave, I hope you are prepared to take responsibility for what you have done, and that you do not regret it. It is over to you now, to sort out. Some friends view my reaction as an affront. That I am ‘dissing” them. It is not. It is just that you have killed something that was precious to me. You have created a country around me that I do not recognise, which feels broken and insular. That was your right to do that, you voted the way you thought was best. And you won and I lost. But in so doing you destroyed something. Many of you are now regretting your vote. Save your tears, I do not want to hear them lest I scream…

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Fourth Book in the Series

Angel Rigley writes lovely books. She has the same attitude as me; if someone says they have enjoyed a book, she keeps on trying. Why not give her a try?

Authory Antics

If I heard that an author had had the fourth book in a series published – besides 3 different novels – I would be very impressed, and want to read the whole lot.

I have many super friends and a marvelous family who buy all my books, love them, and pass them on to their families and friends.One friend said, when I told her that Choices for Jamie had been published, “Oo, my mum will be so thrilled. She keeps asking me when the next book will be out.” This sort of comment spurs me on to continue writing when I feel defeated, and wonder why I bother, when I hardly sell any on the internet. But if I can make at least one person happy, then I’ll keep trying.

Book number 4

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Choices-Jamie-Angela-Rigley-ebook/dp/B01F8RKD8I?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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Review of ‘Love’s Long Road’ by G.D. Harper

Final cover design

This is a story which has elements with which many of us can identify. The main character Bobby Sinclair, a talented actress just out of University, is devastated by the suicide of her boyfriend, Joe. She had just finished the relationship and felt his terrible end was her fault. She imagines everyone is blaming her and she also can’t come to terms with the guilt she feels so she decides that never again will she get so involved with anyone to any depth and sets out to be a ‘good time girl’, only having ‘one night stands’ and leaving them, however attracted to them she might be. The only thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was her constant ‘one nighters’ throughout most of the story which covered a few years, although this did get less as the story got closer to the end. However, I do realise that sex with lots of different partners can become addictive.

This rather mercenary attitude leads her into disaster when she becomes involved with a fascinating and compelling character called Michael and she realises eventually that he is actually very dangerous. However, she is now deeply involved and knows she is up to her ears in trouble. She has to get away, but how?

I don’t want to spoil anything for the readers by telling any more of the story. However, I must say that I found it riveting and very hard to put down. I loved that it was set in the 1970s as that was when I was in my twenties; I was able to enjoy the reminders of certain pop stars and other things that pertained to that era.

The author is obviously familiar with both Glasgow and London and describes those places with confidence and ease, helping the reader to ‘see’ the scenes without going into too much heavy description, which I like; I can’t bear large descriptive paragraphs when a story is so interesting – I want to get on with it! I loved Bobbie and understood her; I am sure that most of us have done some pretty stupid stuff when we have made wrong choices or something has happened that was beyond our control although hopefully most of us never found a ‘Michael’.

I also loved that Bobbie had a devoted male friend who did not judge her but was always there to do what he could, in spite of his own relationships.

This has a fast moving storyline and is an absorbing book; I thoroughly recommend it.