So where did the first five months of the year go? I cannot believe that we will soon be seeing Midsummer Day - I’m not even sure Summer has started, let alone reached its mid-way point! However, June is apparently ‘bustin’ out all over’, and the quote refers to a song in the musical Carousel
, not the famous Barbara Windsor losing her bikini-top scene in Carry On Camping
The garden is looking nice-ish, although we are somewhat be-jungled with what are, technically, weeds, but I take the view that if it has a pretty flower and the bees like it, then it can stay. Dandelions are a good example. We tend to pull them up because they are (supposedly) untidy weeds, but the bees love them, the birds eat the seeds and personally, I like their yellow cheerfulness. I have waged war on nettles and brambles though, because I can’t see them and when I walk into them they hurt.
We had the most peculiar phenomenon the other night, quite scary in fact. An electric storm, although I think some areas got the full works of lightning, thunder and torrential rain. We just saw the amazing light display set as a panoramic view all round the house for over two hours.
To give you an idea, about 2 a.m. after watching the lightning move up steadily from the south we decided this was going to be a big storm, maybe it would be a good idea to get the ponies and donkey in from the field before it reached us. The lightning colouring the sky a vivid purple was enough in intensity for us not to need torches! With the lightning growing brighter, and thunder coming nearer, we retreated indoors, ponies safely tucked up in their stables, jugs of water set aside, candles and matches to hand in case of power cuts, then back to bed to watch The Menace approach.
Only, it didn’t. Instead of coming straight on the storm veered north-westward and completely by-passed us, except for a light smattering of rain. So it was a non-event of a direct storm, but incredible to watch all the same. Expect to see something similar in a future novel.
Talking of which, I have recently signed a contract to write a non-fiction book about smuggling. Similar to my Pirates Truth and Tales
it will be a light-hearted but interesting look at smuggling, with short, dip-in-and-out chapters. I have to get it written by mid-October, with a hopeful publication date mid-2018. Published by Pen and Sword, I am delighted to have joined their excellent library of authors.
Pirates Truth and Tales
is doing well, thank goodness, despite a predatory Proof Reading Professor attempting to sabotage it, and my name and reputation, by posting a detrimental comment on Amazon. This person approaches authors offering his proof reading services then posts a negative review when his unsolicited spam is rejected. Supposedly he "found" over 200 typos and errors.
Yes there are a couple of bloopers, there are some missed spelling errors and typos, but on another read-through I found only a small handful. There might be some additional grammar and syntax and vocabulary-type boo-boos that I did not spot, but I wrote the book in my familiar "chatty" grade B+ O-level English (1969) secondary school education standard. A work of B.Ed. academia it is not, nor was ever intended to be.
Even so, this person’s 249 (supposed) errors were not littered on every page, but "found" dotted within 110,000 words, which, when you think about it, is an almost negligible percentage, so the 35 I have found are insignificant. Readers will spot them as obviously missed, pedantic and petty errors. I hope.
Please, buy the book or order it from your local library, chuckle at the bloopers but enjoy the overall entertainment that it was meant to be. Oh, and please, could you leave a positive comment on Amazon for me? I would very much appreciate it, as would my damaged pride and self-confidence. I’ll have a more in-depth article about this on my blog
Another project I have just completed is a novelette story When the Mermaid Sings
, a prequel to Sea Witch
. In Mermaid
we meet Jesamiah when he is fourteen-and-a-half, too old to be a boy, too young to be a man. As Sea Witch
followers, you will know that this was when Jesamiah left his home on a Virginia tobacco plantation and became a seaman and pirate. But I’m saying no more about the story and his early life aboard the Mermaid - shhh, secret.
The offshoot of writing this story has been that I have re-read the Sea Witch Voyages
in order to ensure I have, more-or-less, conformed to continuity. And I know I say so myself but I have thoroughly enjoyed these revisits. OK self-promotion, and said not with big-headedness but self-belief - they are good. Very good, in fact.
Bring It Close
, the third Voyage, I particularly enjoyed because it reminded me of my two visits to Colonial Williamsburg. Except, I found an enormous blooper in the story. I’m not saying what it is, but immediately my mind went to "ah, I can use this as a part of the plot for a future Voyage!" So I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to re-read and enjoy, and do drop me an email if you spot that - now deliberate - boob!
That detrimental comment by the insidious Proof Reader Prof on Amazon did, I am loathe but honest enough to admit, severely dent my confidence as a writer. I was so proud of Pirates Truth and Tales
, proud and delighted to have been approached by a mainstream publisher to write a book that I had, for many years, wanted to write. Then along came Mr P.P. and p*sses on my parade. Disappointment and embarrassment followed. How could I be proud of, let alone promote a book which, according to him, was littered with abhorrent typos? How could I expect people to buy something which was way below sub-standard in quality? How could I think of myself as a good, experienced, confident writer?
Fortunately things are now back in perspective. I am a good writer. The book is a very good book - even with its silly errors. I have loved books ever since I was around four or five years old. The dream of being good enough to write them has been with me since I was about thirteen. I am now sixty-four and no damned touting for business hack charlatan is going to take the pleasure of writing away from me! So there!
Whatever you are most passionate about when you are five, is what you should do for the rest of your life.