Looe Literary Festival and an authorly-secret

 

‘Welcome to Looe’ the sign said – indeed – welcome to the Looe Literary Festival 2016, no longer a baby – now a three-year-old and growing and learning every year.

I was honoured, once again, to be invited to present my new book at this festival – the places aren’t unlimited, even though the brave organisers, June and Amelia, try to make space for all.

It was great to see Waterstones, led by Lee (who held my launch of Some Kind of Synchrony in the Plymouth, New George Street, branch) getting involved as the Literary Festival’s main book seller – and it was great to have the pop-up Art Gallery and ‘locals’ book shop at Archies once again (after missing out on it last year.)

The venues had almost all changed as well. Us Local Authors were in the very nice space of the upstairs of The Black Swan. So it was there that a goodly number appeared to hear my talk. Now, without an interviewer this year I planted questions to get me on my way. (*if I do this again, and you happen to come along, you might like to know that if you volunteered to ask me a ‘planted’ question you would be entered for an instant draw – the prize for which, this time, was a signed copy of The Angel Bug.*) – but this isn’t my authorly-secret.

This scheme kept me on track with the main bits I wanted to include – but I also left a gap for random questions from the audience. One that I have never had before was concerning the book that will never be published – the first one I ever wrote. I had pointed out that I was glad that it had not been possible to just pop a book up on Amazon back when I started writing – as I might have been tempted and ruined my writing career before it had begun, whereas I could now see that it was full of the worst ‘first-book’ ‘new author’ errors. (no, this isn’t the authorly-secret either) looe-lit-fest-reading

‘What were these errors?’ I was asked … and I had to admit to ‘purple prose’ – too much description, every flower, every petal described on a walk… type of thing. I also admitted to ‘far too much introspection’ as the protagonist contemplated her lot and agonised over decisions. What eluded me at the time, but I recalled when I returned home, was the lack of real driving storyline. Sure she went from one relationship to another – but she did not exactly grow in the transition – and throughout was beset with angst. I’d called this book, eventually, ‘Windmills’ – after the song title ‘Windmills of your mind’ and had each chapter headed with a different line from the song. (seems that, had I actually published this, I might have ended up in trouble for using the lyrics without permission – who knew! – but this isn’t the authorly-secret either)

As it happens this never-to-be-published book found its way into A Respectable Life. It gets a sideways mention as one of the other books that the book group are reading from the ‘Best-Reads’ short list. It amused me to put it in there but, until now, only I knew! – and that IS my authorly-secret! And now you all know and will recognise it when you read that line!  looe-lit-fest-signing

All in all it was a fantastic weekend and it was SO GOOD to meet some of my readers – especially those who have read my other books and came along specially – if that was you – it was great to meet you!!

Thank all of you, both at the book launch and after the Looe Lit Fest reading, who also encouraged me to put my poems out in book form too. I am now considering it…

Back to researching and writing now … and working on fermented foods … and researching natural healing … and sorting poems … and …

What are you all getting up to as the days draw in and the cold weather starts?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

Best – Ann

Please, if you enjoyed a book by an indie-published author, help them gain a wider audience by doing a review on Amazon – doesn’t have to be in depth – just has to be heartfelt. Thank you X

 

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Happy 2014 – and a gift for You…

As I write it is already New Year’s Eve … 2014 is almost upon us.  Along with just about every blogger I know I can’t help but glance back over the year. As an Author it has been a interesting year – with, at last, finishing The Angel Bug and getting it published! This meant that I had to get out there and do what I find difficult – blowing my own trumpet –  and get myself radio interviews and pieces in the local papers.

Then there was the next step of working with Pendown Publishing to get The Angel Bug released as a paperback – this was a whole new learning curve.

In the future we plan to publish each of the other full length novels as paperbacks too – as this has taught me how many people like to own the solid copy – even if they have already bought and read the ebook!!!

So lots to look forward to on the Author front and,  as time and the blog will reveal, also on the home front too…..

THANK YOU ALL for sticking with me and the blog all through 2013! It’s good to know that I am not just writing words into the ether! It has been great to read your comments, to get to know some of you a little better, to explore the things that trigger a memory or ring a bell with people from all over the world.

So as a New Year gift to you, my readers, I’m offering you an ecopy of Some Kind of Synchrony  cover

Just contact me via the contact-ann on annmade.co.uk (you just need to make sure you enter your email address really carefully – so that I have it accurately – and in the message say which version you need for your ereader – mobi for kindles, epub for most of the others, or pdf – if you are going to read on a computer)  That’s it – just ask for your free new year present before the 14th Jan – and I will email it to you – though, of course, when you’ve read it, I’d love a review posted on amazon!!

Here’s wishing You All a Happy, Prosperous and Peaceful 2014 filled with joy and plenty of time to read.

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A Taste of Summer

Well, we haven’t really had much of a summer so far, have we? I am talking UK here – I know some of my US readers have had too much heat! But here, in the land of weather – where the best, easiest and most common topic of conversation is THE WEATHER just because it is so variable – we have had weather in spades! Floods, storms, wet, wet wet, where we had hoped for a July with balmy days, even hot here and there, especially as the school holidays come over the horizon.

So I was delighted when the husband returned from a small trip to France bearing six kilos of Apricots. To me, ripe apricots are summer on a stalk, the scent putting me firmly into a warm summer evening, the taste bursting sunshine on the tongue. We ate quite a few – but the majority I turned into jam. If there is one thing more instantly tasting of summer than a ripe apricot it is warm apricot jam. I love the aroma as the apricots simmer in the microwave, and the taste of the jam, still warm, scavenged from the last vestiges stuck to the the bowl before washing, is heavenly.

Yes, I did say microwave. I have adapted a recipe to make my apricot jam in the microwave, it means my jam is almost pure fruit and sugar, not diluted with lots of water. It also means I don’t have to be standing over the hob stirring, stirring , to prevent sticking or burning.

My recipe to make 5 lbs.  of apricot jam.

3lbs Apricots, 3 lbs sugar (half and half granulated/ jam sugar). 3 tablespoons water.

3lbs apricots – wash then stone. if you are able to find a way – crack about 6 of the stones and remove the kernels, blanch these by immersing in boiling water for a few minutes – when boiled up with the apricots they will enhance the pectin level, otherwise just use half Jam Sugar (with added pectin).  Apricots are a medium level pectin fruit and need a little help one way or another to achieve a set.

Place the apricots in a very large glass MW safe bowl with a lid (mine holds 3 litres). Add 3 tablespoons of water. Cook about 10 mins.

Stir and add 3lb sugar (half and half granulated and jam sugar stir in well) unless kernels used when it can be all granulated.

Remove lid, heat 5 mins on high,Stir well, heat 5 mins on high.

Add a piece of butter (about walnut size) to clear the jam. Simmer for 10 mins – test for set.

If not ready give 5 mins more on simmer – until set achieved. Remove kernels if used.

Pot into hot, sterilized jars and seal – Yum! Potted summer! More details under Recipes from the drop-downs

Talking about summer, I have my fingers well and truly crossed for good weather at the end of this week, as it is the Port Eliot Festival. Not some little Cornish village festival, of which we have many, but a national type festival, big, mad, eclectic and set in the beautiful grounds of Port Eliot castle on the banks of the Lynher in Cornwall. Once the site of a the wild Elephant Fayre the festival, after a long absence,  reinvented itself as a literary festival which has grown organically and shape shifted to a festival of all things, almost as eclectic as my blog – there are literary events a plenty, from serious non-fiction through to chic lit,  many with a less than reverent feel, poetry from humorous to serious, dovegreyreader, the  readers-blogger, is there in her special tent, there’s music of many varieties, food demos, food tents run by celebrity chefs, fashion in a big way with renowned milliners and fashion designers creating with weird and wonderful materials right there for you to parade around in, and absolutely amazing flower show and so much more – wandering musicians, jugglers, singers……

And I will be there, along with the rest of the Liskeard Poets, reading our work on the theme of ‘Dancing with…’ in the Round Room at 5pm on Sunday. So if any of you are lucky enough to be attending this year’s festival – do make yourself known to me then, would be great to meet some people I only know by comments or email addresses.

Lastly, don’t forget to claim your free ecopy of LEAVE TO APPEAL – a Novella as a consolation prize from my Win a Kindle Competition. All details of this and results on last week’s blog  It will come as an ecopy in your chosen format and you don’t need an ereader either – it can be easily read on the computer – I look forward to hearing from you.

What brings back memories of summer for you? Is it a photo, long forgotten, a taste, a scent? Do share – I’d love to hear from you!

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Frogs, Fungus and Fat-balls

NATURE NOTES AT THE END OF JANUARY 2012

Winter still has not really had much of an effect on this little corner of Cornwall, it has been exceptionally mild and pretty wet too. I missed taking a photo of a row of early daffodils blooming against the backdrop of the Ginster’s Christmas tree outside their Pasty factory in Callington  (I didn’t have my camera with me and the next time I passed it was after 12th night)  But I have a shot of our first daffs to bloom – not an early variety but they were blooming by Wednesday of last week (25th Jan) and the snowdrops that line the bottom of the Cornish hedge these grow on were also blooming well.   The first snowdrops however had been those in the new wood, where these (see photo) were out before the end of December. In between I have noticed the usual spring blossoms, the camellias are already putting on a great show and primroses peeking out amongst the grass,  however there are also roses still in bloom in both the front and back gardens.

I couldn’t resist these two examples of fungi – amazingly attractive, one bracket fungus and some toadstools, which I believe to be a honey fungus but must check it out as it was close to one of our apple trees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The frogs have returned to the water-feature (a run of very small shallow ponds going down through the new wood, fed by spring-water that runs into the main pond near the house) I tried to capture these on camera but the vibration of walking, even ever-so carefully, sends them scooting under the leaf-litter debris in the bottom of the pools. The frogs that inhabit here vary in shade and markings, from the usual green and gold, brown and gold to a dark liver red colour.  Their great clumps of frog-spawn, are, however, quite visible and, as they protrude above the shallow water, are also vulnerable to frost if we get one.

In the main pond (which also holds numerous shubunkin type goldfish, ranging from dark brown, through speckled to gold – none of which we have see at all since late November) the newts have reappeared.  I have tried to capture these on camera but being under-water means I always get a ‘light refraction’ shadow – so they are not that clear. If anyone out there can tell me how to take these photos in a clear way (using a simple old digital camera) please do!  Our newts range in shade from a dark olive green to a basic brown, through a russet red to a pale pinkish colour.  As the water warms up I expect to see more of them as they start their mating behaviour – where a female will  be followed around the bottom of the shallow shelf on the pond by a number of suitors.

My father has a new bird-feeder, it looks like a log with holes cut in the sides and you fill it with ‘fat-balls’ which are, much as their name suggests, balls of fat with seeds and grain in them. This has attracted two varieties of woodpecker, the green woodpecker and the greater spotted woodpecker,  to the garden where we can see them from the kitchen window (we often hear them in the area). They have been accompanied by the long-tailed tits, which usually fly in a group of about a dozen and flitter round the trees where the feeders are, feed briefly but then swiftly move on, however the fat-ball log seems to keep them here much longer.

Lastly a picture quiz: What is it? I took this photograph in very late December in our garden. A click on the picture will enlarge it for you. Can you identify the plant these fell from? Answers in the comment please – I’ll give the correct answer next week!

Clue 1: These came off a tree.

Clue 2: This tree belongs on the other side of the world – native of Australia.

Clue 3 This tree has silvery green leaves, round on young stems and elongated and pointed on older.

FIRST PERSON TO POST CORRECT ANSWER IN COMMENTS  WINs AN E-COPY OF  Divining The Line

And if you want to know more about the novels by Ann Foweraker ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf FREE !  Answer and Winner?? – See the comments!

SEE ‘Old Bottle – New Treasures’ post for February Picture Quiz!

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OH my! oh my! Versatile Blogger Award?

Such great thanks to Liv Rancourt  who has nominated me for this award. It sets me wondering if versatile means diverse and unfocused or really multi-faceted, like a diamond. I hope it’s the latter.

If I, in turn, have nominated you, here are the rules to apply:

Rules
1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award
2. Add an image of the Versatile Blogger Award
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself
5. In the same post, include this set of rules
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs
So here goes on the 7 random pieces of information about myself
1, When I’m writing, I play Fleetwood Mac’s album ‘Tusk’, on repeat!
2, I’m often mistaken for someone who is well organised
3, I studied silverfish (the insect – lepisma saccharina) for a year.
4, I never wanted a girl (I have 4 boys… people assumed I was trying for a girl)
5, I won a medal for .22 target shooting when I was 10
6, Jogging makes my head hurt.
7, Love words but have trouble with numbers (this is the last one isn’t it 🙂 )
*******************
At last, after a bit of a delay, sorry folks ……. I nominate the following diamonds!!
3, English Mum http://englishmum.com/
12,SM Nonnemacher http://smnonnemacher.com/
13, Julie Kenner http://juliekenner.com/
14,Ian (the pict – scots history) http://iainthepict.blogspot.com/
15,Another Ian (pict – history) http://lastofthedruids.com/

 

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Inspiration and Some Kind of Synchrony

So I find have omitted to say that the third of my completed novels is now available online from annmade.co.uk and Amazon. Some Kind of Synchrony offers double value for money in a way, as within the novel the main character, Faith, tells another complete story to her friend as they travel everyday from their un-named town suburb up the motorway to the centre of a midlands city  to go to work and back. The story is told to while away the time but this story is a bit special and is integral in the events that follow.

I have dedicated this book to ‘my friends who inspire me’. One of those was a friend who, in passing, told me about a long journey she undertook with another friend and to while away the time they took it in turns to add to a crazy story in a Mills and Boon vein….I can’t even remember the details now, but the idea of telling stories on a car journey did stick in my mind. This, combined with some unusual co-incidences between characters that I had pinned my first (never to be published apprentice piece) novel on and what happened to the real life counterparts or how they went on to achieve in real life, somehow collided and became the germ of an idea for this book.

The story of ‘Some Kind of Synchrony’ borrows nothing from either of these true life scenarios but the ignition of the idea can be traced back to these inspirations, and the rest developed within my subconscious over a number of years, patiently waiting for me to write it all out.

You can read the first three chapters of Some Kind of Synchrony FREE at

http://www.annmade.co.uk/shop/books/novels/some_kind_of_synchrony__pdf_.ann

where it will appear as a PDF file if you click on the orange line that says ‘click here to read the first 3 chapters’

 

Some Kind of Synchrony is available in three eformats, for your kindle, for your Nook or Sony ereader and as aPDF.

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The first Novel now available on AnnMade.co.uk

Now you must understand that this isn’t my first novel, the first will probably never be distributed, but this is the first to be available to the public in many e forms, as Mobi for the Kindle users, in EPUB for the SONY readers and NOOK and as a PDF for anyone else – I guess.

The novel is called Nothing Ever Happens Here and would, (if it was forced to – see my blog about genres) be in the crime and possibly the romance sections. The blurb reads:

Living in London suddenly becomes too uncomfortable for the attractive Jo Smart and her sixteen year-old son, Alex, after he is beaten up, so when they are offered the chance to take an immediate holiday in a peaceful Cornish town they jump at it. But not all is as peaceful as it seems as they become involved in a murder enquiry, drug raid and abduction.

DI Rick Whittington has also escaped from London and the reminders of the death of his wife and child, and through his investigations finds himself meeting Jo and being drawn into the events surrounding her.

This is a love story set in the early 1990s which combines the historic Cornish love of the sea and smuggling with hard faced twentieth century crime and detection.

So take a look – you can read the first three chapters free as a pop-up PDF * HERE *

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‘Between The Tides’ Sand Sculptures

So I have been away, and when I am away I get to do three things more than I do at any other time of the year. Write my novels, body boarding, more about both elsewhere, and sand-sculpt. Now if you were expecting those magnificent semi-permanent structures created by teams of professionals in special sites all over the world then you may be disappointed, my type of sand-sculpture is ‘between the tides’ which means it is made with ordinary beach sand and in the time between tides, usually remaining on the beach only until the next high tide.

Beach sand is not favoured by the professionals, the grains are too round and do not stick together well enough or allow for the crisp outlines they require. The time between tides is also not sufficient for these elaborate structures as each must be built up over time, with formers being filled with the correct mixture of lake sand and water and tamped down until firm, where upon a second former is placed on top and filled and tamped down and only when that is firm and stable enough can the subsequent formers and layers be added. As you can guess this takes quite a long time and, indeed, a team of people. There may be only one named sculptor, though frequently there are the ‘rough sculptors’ who take the blocks of sand away and the finisher who does the fine work.

However, BTT sand sculptures are possible for everyone who has a bucket and spade and a knife (normal cutlery – not necessarily sharp) and a brush or two (the cheapest from the DIY store) and sand that will stick together – if it would make a reasonably firm sand castle tipped from a bucket – it can be used to sculpt. This year my husband and I have been away with family again, our eldest son, wife and two small grandchildren. This has changed the basic repertoire of my sculptures, which were getting more arty and less representational, back to where I started, sand-sculpture for my own children to play in.  So this year I have had to make a series of Thomas the Tank engines, boats and aeroplanes as well as having the lee way to make a stegosaurus, a shark and my trademark mermaid.

 

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More Port Eliot Festival …..

Wow! What a great festival… the weather gave showers for the Friday but they soon cleared, and I ended up leaving my wellies in the car and favouring sandals all day.  So, if you’ve never been to Port Eliot Festival you have to know that most recently it was a Literary Festival with a wild past (known as Elephant Fayre in the 80s) that has now matured into a brilliant all round, family friendly festival, something for everyone, everyone pretty laid back and in such beautiful surroundings.

There is plenty of the literary festival still there with readings, discussions, interviews etc but is combined with music, to suit many tastes, wild swimming, cinema both in the house and at night down by the river, fashion, flower arranging, poetry, food from small Cornish frozen yoghurt business to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, cookery demonstrations, bars, comedy, cabaret, stalls, a whole area just for children to enter into a fantasy land of making  playing play acting, dressing up and doing wonderful stuff, wandering musicians, jugglers and dancers. Dovegreyreader (blog-site) even had a tent where you could sit while she did interviews and you could knit, should you wish to.

What did I notice… well people always dress a little differently when at Port Eliot (especially if they’ve visited the Fashion tent) and the stalls selling weird and wonderful hats, (vintage and modern) and the same in clothes attract a lot of people who obviously arrived and only then realised people treat the place like a big fancy dress event. Me? Well I went wearing one of my belly dance coin belts, over layered skirt and wrap and jingled my way about…. part of my reading included words describing a belly dance and so it was also a prop! Secondly… as I said the weather really didn’t need wellies…yet all through so many people were wearing their wellies (all sorts – multi-coloured to standard green or black)… even on the stage, as did Kate Winslet when she read to the children from Mr Gum … perhaps they didn’t bring any other footwear … it being a festival and all.

Our reading in the round room went well with nearly a capacity audience – everyone in bare or stockinged feet in there as have  to take your boots off at the door …. can’t wait for next year!

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Port Eliot Festival and Poetry

I’ve wanted to write a page on Poetry, but you know it has a funny effect on people. I suppose it is from forced poetry at school or something, but to me poetry has a life of its own. I know it has pursued me from about the age of nine when I realised that you could not only learn poems but you could also write stuff that had rhythm and rhyme. I blame my mother… though that should be praise, she could, and would, recite ‘The Lady of Shallot’, or great swathes of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ off by heart. I learnt large sections of these two and Cargoes and my long time favourite GK Chesterton’s Rolling English Road.

Poetry has got me a free weekend ticket to the Port Eliot festival these last 3 years.. that’s amazing enough. What is even better this is because we perform at this festival and people who are not related to us, nor are our friends, come and listen! How magic is that!

This year we took as our theme Elephants, from the crest of the Lords of St Germans (who own the Port Eliot estate) and Castles.

We perform in the Round room, an acoustic gem where if you stand under the central chandelier there is no need of amplification, and which is painted all round by the late Robert Lenkiewicz in a weird and wonderful montage.

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