Welcome to By the Letter for July 2021 and thank you for reading.
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Summer Reading Challenge for primary school age
I'm thrilled to be visiting local libraries over the summer to talk about trees and read from Guardians of the Forest. The trilogy was inspired by the people's fight in 2010 to save our public forests from being sold off, and here in the Dean we led the charge with our high profile (The Guardian front page) successful campaign. Most of my audience won't have been born then, so it will be good to chat about this piece of history.
To celebrate the start of the Reading Challenge, Guardians is free on kindle this weekend - from 9-12 July.
Hop on over here to grab the set! (The link will take you to your country's Amazon page for The Wild Army, Book One, and from there you can find the other two books.) (And if you/your young reader enjoys them, please leave a review. Thank you.)
Word keeps spreading, and the word is good! Thank you to those who have purchased Keepers and double thanks to those who have reviewed it. An author's life is not an easy road, and any wisp of encouragement is gold. So if you enjoyed the book, do review it and do tell your friends and relations, your hairdresser (mine loved it and has passed it on to a friend, love that), postman etc. Here's the link to my books page with all the buying (and reviewing) options.
And other writing
The small collection of short stories I talked about last time is about ready to go, under the title Dragon Gift - look for a special surprise next newsletter, where one of the words in the title will be relevant ...
The High Alps of Asfarlon, the Guardians prequel, is moving along with the enthusiastic help of my two US-based critique partners, Jodi and Paula. Fun to be back writing fantasy again, although the siren call of my other project, working title, Meadowsweet, is getting strong.
The 'Olden Days'
Too good not to share the cover of the anthology Dean Scribblers produced for a local school project. When Years 5 and 6 interviewed Nan and Grancher, they had their eyes opened to life in the Forest of Dean in the Olden Days. Did you know people had to stand up and walk to the TV to change a programme? If they had a TV.
While outdoor toilets were a thing of wonder, what really enthralled them was the idea of being caned at school!
Not only did the children learn, they also found new bonds with their elderly relatives, who of course loved being asked about their childhoods. We've printed enough anthologies for the interviewees to have their own copies, which I'm sure will be treasured.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW - DB Carter
D.B. Carter lives with his family on the edge of a small town nestled amongst the rolling hills of rural Devon, England.
A lifelong bibliophile, he is firmly of the opinion that there is no such thing as too many books, only insufficient shelf space; it was his love of classical literature, of Dickens and Brontë, that led to the creation of The Cherries. Since then he has penned three further novels. In each, D.B. shows how he can get inside the skin of ordinary, struggling people and bring the reader into their world.
Forget Hamnet, which I loved. This earlier novel of O’Farrell’s is a beast of a very different nature and why it took me eleven years to discover it, I have no idea. Talk about how to keep the tension high, and such wonderful, alive characters. Read my thoughts here.
.... an uplifting tale!
Inspired by someone very dear to me who complained one hot summer about the new trees outside her apartment block not being watered. That's the only real life moment in the story though. Do enjoy.
They sneak into our writing all the time. They bulk it out and drag it down. They slow the pace and make us sound less than professional. How do we recognise verbal tics and 'weasel' words, and how do we boot them out for good?
Take a look at this blog post and download the starter list to help you out.
In August, it's all about the surprise mentioned above. Something for the remainder of the holiday season. And an interview with an author whose debut release is launched at the end of this month.
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Thank you for reading!
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