Hetty Avebury’s Eight Essential Travel Tips (whilst sailing on a man-of-war)

I  have a very special visitor today to kick start the blog. hetty blog july

Hetty Avebury, Regency heroine from Only a Hero Will Do has just arrived.

Welcome Hetty , perhaps you could  tell the guests something about yourself  whist I go and see to the tea.

Of course, Susan. Off you go, I will look after the visitors. Oh! Where are my guests precisely?

Trust me, they are out there listening, just talk  – you’re good at that. But don’t give away too much of the plot before I come back. 

Good! She has gone. I really do fear for my author.  I think she has become quite addled brained. Blog !  She told me I would have an audience.  Ah, well, I hope she at least brings back some scones, as I have a weakness for scones. In fact I have a few weaknesses. Gambling is one – luckily I am very good at it. My scheming family do not realize that I am able to gain funds this way. Therefore you might say it is also a strength.

Another weakness is books. I do love books! I can never get enough of the exciting informative kind (if you understand my meaning). The attendant at the library back home always examined my choices, so they were limited to the mundane. However, whilst I was at sea, Dr Withington lent me some books which were very informative.

But I must return our attentions to this umm… blog, where I will share some useful tips about sea travel. I gained this knowledge after I inadvertently found myself sailing from Portsmouth to Gibraltar on board a Man of War.

So here we go .

1. Make sure you know which is the leeward side (the sheltered side) of the ship. It is important to know which way the wind is blowing when you are prone to seasickness. It was a shame about Doctor Withington’s coat-but luckily it was only his second best.

2. Do not stray from the quarterdeck. The stern end is the civilized end of the ship. Although it is a lot more colourful down the pointed end.

3. Prepare for your sleep to be interrupted. The ringing of the ship’s bell and the beating of drums occur at regular and unsociable times.

4. Do not complain of boredom, believe me that is a good sign. If you see a French ship approaching things will get very unpleasant, and you will soon wish to be bored again.

5. If you have a chance to pack for the journey (which I did not) include warm clothing. Also a supply of lemon juice is useful to bathe freckles,which multiply like a plague of insects across your skin once exposed to the sea air.

6. Prepare to be stoic. You will witness the misery and sacrifice of war. Even If you are lucky enough to avoid battle, deaths on board from injury and disease occur frequently.

7 Do remember to knock the weevils from the ships biscuits, and do not try to cut biscuits into delicate pieces; they resist all attempts.

8. If there is a tall, dark, sombre physician around, whose job it is to keep you out of trouble, and looks at you with eyes … Oh, no – Susan is coming back with the tea.

There is much more to tell dear guests, and if you feel like indulging in a romantic adventure and discovering what happened during and after my unscheduled voyage, please take a look at Only a Hero Will Do. ( I haven’t even begun to tell you about Doctor Withington and you need to know about him.)

Here is a little taster.

Hetty Avebury’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can a stuffy ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?.

Marriage to a cruel dandy, is not how Hetty Avebury envisons spending the rest of her life. Determined to avoid the match she raises funds the only way she knows how – gambling .Her plans go astray and she finds herself on board a man-of-war under the care of its high handed physician. But Hetty soon realizes that Doctor Withington is not quite the stuffed shirt she had first imagined.

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

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What it’s Like to Write a Real Person’s Story ?

 Swapping fact for fiction is the theme today. My very welcome guest, author Carol Browne, explains how she took on the challenge. 

What it’s Like to Write a Real Person’s Story – by Carol Browne

When I volunteered to write the life story of local woman, Krystyna Porsz, I was a very reluctant biographer. I did it because no-one else could be found to do it, so I thought, “If I don’t do it, no-one will.” It seemed far too big a responsibility to me but I told Krystyna’s son I’d give it a go, even though I was convinced I wasn’t up to the job. I write fiction. I make stuff up. I assumed non-fiction would be completely different.  But it turned out not to be so different after all. Although I had the facts of Krystyna’s life, they amounted to a few sheets of A4 paper, hardly enough material for a book. So I had to build a structure to hang those facts on, very much like creating a plot for a work of fiction. My friend Agnieszka had visited Krystyna on two occasions and I used her as a narrative device, so we see the story unfold through her eyes. This gave me much more opportunity to pad out the text while still being true to the available facts.

Writers of fiction know that characters are apt to take on a life of their own. They seem real to their creators and as authors we want to portray them in their best light. When you are writing a real person’s story, this becomes vitally important. The sense of responsibility the author feels is magnified. For me, writing about Krystyna, it was off the scale; here was a very old lady whose ability to communicate was seriously hampered by dementia. There wouldn’t be any chance of being able to discuss the book with her. There wouldn’t be any feedback. While I was writing the book, I kept thinking, “If this were my life story, would I be happy with how it’s being handled?” That was my benchmark all the time and I’m confident I kept to it.

Writing a real person’s story seems to provide you with a ready-made plot but you can’t simply make the book a record of the events in someone’s life. That would be dull. You still have a responsibility towards the reader to make it as compelling as possible so they want to keep reading, but you mustn’t sensationalise the facts to do that; this is someone’s life you are dealing with and you have to keep that in mind.
Third-party involvement can cause problems too, and in this case it held up the book for several months. This just doesn’t happen with make-believe characters and so I wasn’t expecting it and it was very frustrating. However, it hasn’t deterred me from tackling anything similar in the future because I now know I must address issues such as these before I commit myself.

Writing a real person’s story is a challenge. It’s hard work. But I recommend it, especially if that person’s life is drastically different from your own. It’s an enlightening experience. It will broaden your mind and test your ability as a writer. It will give you the opportunity to write something that really deserves to be written. I only met Krystyna once but I made a point of  shaking her hand before I left. I needed to physically touch someone who had survived the Holocaust, who had lived a history I had only read about or seen on black and white newsreels. Krystyna Porsz is a truly brave person. A survivor. I’m grateful not only to have met her, but to have had the honour of telling her story.
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Being Krystyna will be published by  Dillie  books  on 11th November

Now available for  pre-order  at  Amazon UK  /Amazon.com

In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.

Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell the story, and, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

 Carol Browne regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. Carol writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover.

Carol lives in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky.Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Halloween – The perfect time for Kindred Spirits.

Absolutely delighted to celebrate Halloween season with best selling author Jennifer C Wilson, who makes us think twice about the notorious Richard III. 

Over to you Jennifer.

Hi Susan, and thanks for hosting me today, as part of Kindred Spirits: Tower of London’s first birthday weekend. It’s amazing, and slightly mad, to think it’s been a whole year since it was released, but to celebrate, it’s currently just 99p/c in e-book form, until the end of Halloween.KS-ToL-kindered spirits blog

The fact that for that whole year (and, of course, some time before the release!) my leading man has been Richard III, makes it even more special. It’s funny to think that ten years ago, I didn’t know a thing about him, and was only vaguely aware of Shakespeare’s version of events. I remember the moment of realisation when it dawned on me that the Princes in the Tower (who I had just about heard of) were Henry VIII’s uncles, as I read one of Philippa Gregory’s books. Having finished most of her Tudor series, I began to go ‘back over’, reading a range of biographies and non-fiction books, finding out more of what went on before the monster took the throne. I wasn’t that interested in his father, Henry VII, but Richard III… Well, what girl can resist a misunderstood bad boy??
Don’t get me wrong, he was no saint, and I’d never try to paint him as such, but several people have pointed out that quite a few famous nephews have disappeared throughout history, whose uncles just ‘happen’ to have taken their place as next in line to power. The delightful King John’s path to the throne was helpfully cleared by Arthur of Brittany ‘vanishing’, and once again, his body was never found. At least Richard III proved to be a decent king, even with only two years to rule; a fact quite often overlooked, with most people looking at the events which book-ended his time in power – the Princes vanishing, and the Battle of Bosworth.
But he did a lot of good for the country, including establishing the Court of Requests, where the poor could seek justice, he banned restrictions on the sale and printing of books, and (in a move close to my heart) cut down on fraudulently selling short measures of alcohol.
You can see why there are definitely two ‘camps’ when it comes to Richard III. Yes, he did some terrible things (the execution of a formerly-close friend William Hastings was particularly deplorable), but to be fair, which medieval monarch can claim they didn’t? The dynasty which took his place after Bosworth was surely even more bloodthirsty, wiping out rivals or enemies without a second thought. Now, with his body having been found, he’s back in the public mind, and it’s nice to see him getting a slightly fairer treatment.
I shall now get down off my soap-box, but hopefully, if you’re willing to give his ghost a chance to tell his side of the story, you’ll enjoy listening to what I would like to imagine he and the others who occupy the Tower of London get up to when we’re not watching (and sometimes, when we are). I know I enjoyed writing it! Happy birthday, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London.
Kindred Spirits: Tower of London
A King, three Queens, a handful of nobles and a host of former courtiers…
In the Tower of London, the dead outnumber the living, with the likes of Tudor Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard rubbing shoulders with one man who has made his way back from his place of death at Bosworth Field to discover the truth about the disappearance of his famous nephews.
Amidst the chaos of daily life, with political and personal tensions running high, Richard III takes control, as each ghostly resident looks for their own peace in the former palace – where privacy was always a limited luxury.
With so many characters haunting the Tower of London, will they all find the calm they crave?

About Jennifer

Jjcw-in-leicester-cathedral3024858ennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.
Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her debut novel Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Publishing in October 2015.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifercwilsonwriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/inkjunkie1984
Blog: https://jennifercwilsonwriter.wordpress.com/
Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, Amazon link: http://authl.it/B016TRKU2A

Four bells ! But it’s the dog watch so we can push off early. The naval clock.

‘Jane put her fingers in her mouth and let out a loud, high-pitched whistle, which caused the whole watch to instantly turn in her direction. A babble of loud, confused voices swept through the lower deck. They responded to bells and hails, but none were too sure what this particular whistle indicated.’  Extract from – Rebellious Cargo. 

I was devastated when my alarm failed to go off at 3.30 am, in order to haul myself out of bed to watch the lunar eclipse. I was determined to witness the red moon, but sadly  I woke up at 4.15 am, just in time to miss the whole show.

Alarm bells and calls to action bombard us these days. I’m  still not sure which particular ring, shudder, whistle or ditty indicates what is happening on my electronic devices.

IMG00094-20120427-1221This would not have been a problem in the days of sail. The whistles and bells  heard on board  were understood by all hands and everyone knew where they should be. And God help them if they weren’t at their posts at the prescribed time. The ring of the ship’s bell was an incessant sound that punctuated the day along with the turning of the glass – a sand filled instrument that measured the half hour intervals.  A bit like an egg  timer. Ah…remember egg timers, such simplicity and yet the egg always  turned out perfect.glaa

The sailor’s  day  was split into  5 x 4 hour watches and 2 x 2 hour watches (the dog-watches). Each watch was punctuated every half hour by  the ringing of the bell and turning of the glass. Half an hour into a watch  there would be one ring of the bell, one  hour into the watch two rings of the bell and so on until eight bells signalled  the end of a 4 hour watch.  The bell ringing  made everyone aboard aware of how much longer they had to work  before they could finish their watch.

The watches consisted of  first watch – 20:00hrs to midnight,  middle watch- midnight to 04:00hrs,  morning watch – 0400 to 08:oohrs, forenoon watch 08:00hrs to noon,  afternoon watch -noon to 16:00hrs,  first dog-watch – 16:00 to 18:00  and the second dog-watch – 18:00 to 20:00. 

The two shorter watches  made  the total shifts an odd number, therefore facilitating  the shift rotation, so  the same crew were not always on  duty  at the same times of the day.  It also ensured that everyone could eat the  evening meal at a reasonable time.

11846566_946751408701989_4918351381284821063_n rebellious cargo

I learnt quite a lot about  life  at sea whist writing  my latest historical novel. Rebellious Cargo.  A tale of passion and intrigue set on a naval frigate  against the backdrop of Nelson’s navy.

Here is a taster Jane Charlesworth, daughter of England’s foremost code breaker, is the only person thought capable of deciphering a vital government document. But when a naval frigate is sent to enlist her services and transport her to Malta, Jane is horrified. Haunted with terrible memories of an earlier voyage, she has no intention of putting herself under the protection of the Admiralty ever again.

Anxious to be at the forefront of the action as the peace with France crumbles, Adam Marston is livid when his ship is diverted to collect a reluctant blue-stocking whose accusing eyes and insolent manner hold nothing but contempt for him and his orders. Sparks fly when captain and code breaker find they have different ideas on how to handle a French attack, a malicious chaplain, and boisterous midshipmen.

Duty and desire collide as they approach Malta, but Jane is determined that her judgment will not be clouded by Adam who, once he has despatched his Rebellious Cargo, will sail out of her life again. But, as the ship docks, Jane’s life becomes a nightmare and she is forced to gamble that Adam is the only person she can trust.

As passion battles with duty, will future orders throw them together or tear them apart?

To read a longer extract  please  click here 

REBELLIOUS CARGO  Available now.  

   amazon_co_ukAmazon_Logo_Vector_Format          https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580397  http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/rebellious-cargo-by-susan-lodge/2940152376579

Pubished  by Crooked Cat Publishing   

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Aurora house Party Celebrations and Eight things a Regency Lady needs to know about traveling at sea.

ar logoWelcome to my blog where we are joining in the Aurora House Party  celebrations. As an Aurora author I am …Picture2

Excuse me, Susan.  If I am not mistaken, you did say I could take over your blog for the night – after all I  am the person who experienced the adventures and romance in Only a Hero Will Do.  Therefore I am more suited to entertain at this Regency house party than you are. Go away and arrange the cake; I will look after  the visitors. Oh! Where are my guests precisely?

Okay,  Hetty,  you carry on. Trust me, they are out there listening, just talk – you’re good at that. But don’t give away too much of the plot before I come back.

Good! She has gone. I really do fear for my author. Did you know, dear guests, Susan’s ambition is to travel into space. Ha! What a strange thought. A coach that takes flight into the sky- without horses! I fear she has become quite addled brained.

I  hope she brings back some scones as  I have a weakness for scones. In fact I have a few weaknesses. Gambling is one – luckily I am very good at it. My scheming family do not realize that I am able to gain funds this way. Therefore you might say it is also a strength.

Another weakness is books. I do love books! I can never get enough of the exciting informative kind (if you understand my meaning). The attendant at the library back home always examined my choices, so they were limited to the mundane. However, whilst I was at sea, Dr Withington  lent me some books which were very informative.

But I must return our attentions to the blog where I will share  some useful tips about sea travel. I gained this knowledge when I inadvertently found myself sailing from Portsmouth to Gibraltar on board a Man of War.

Eight things a Regency Lady  needs to know about travelling (uninvited) on a naval ship.

IMG00094-20120427-1221

1. Make sure you know which is the leeward side (the sheltered side) of the ship. It is important to know which way the wind is blowing when you are prone to seasickness. It was a shame about Doctor Withington’s coat-but luckily it was only his second best.

2. Do not stray from the quarterdeck. The stern end is the civilized end of the ship. Although it is a lot more colorful down the pointed end.

3. Prepare for your sleep to be interrupted. The ringing of the ship’s bell and the beating of drums occur at regular and unsociable times.

4. Do not complain of boredom, believe me that is a good sign. If you see a French ship approaching things will get very unpleasant, and you will soon wish to be bored again.

5. If you have a chance to pack for the journey (which I did not) include warm clothing. Also a supply of lemon juice is useful to bathe freckles,which multiply like a plague of insects across your skin once exposed to the sea air.

6. Prepare to be stoic. You will witness the misery and sacrifice of war. Even If you are lucky enough to avoid battle, deaths on board from injury and disease occur frequently.

7  Do remember to knock the weevils from the ships biscuits, and do not try to cut biscuits into delicate pieces; they resist all attempts.

8. If there is a  tall, dark, sombre physician around, whose job it is to keep you out of trouble, and looks at you with eyes …  Oh, no – Susan is coming back with the cake.

There is much more to tell  dear guests, and if you  feel like indulging in a romantic adventure and discovering what happened during and after my unscheduled voyage, please take a look at Only a Hero Will Do. ( I haven’t even begun to tell you about Doctor Withington and you need to know about him.)

Only_a_Hero_Will_Do-200web

Hetty Avebury’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can a stuffy ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?.       

Marriage to a cruel dandy, is not how Hetty Avebury envisons spending the rest of her life.  Determined to avoid the match she raises funds the only way she knows how – gambling .Her plans go astray and she finds herself on board a man-of-war under the care of its high handed physician. But Hetty soon realizes that Doctor Withington is not quite the stuffed shirt she had first imagined.         

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

Click here to read  excerpt

  See more at  Susan Lodge’s  Amazon page  or visit my website  susanlodge.com  or Musa Publishing   for full details of my books.

Also by Susan Lodge . The Man in the Buff Breeches (out 8th Nov 2013)  and The Man in the Blue Flowered shorts  (published July 2012) . Two contemporary  romantic novellas,  with characters who have a soft spot for the Regency period.

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