Monday, 28 May 2012

When Dreams Come True Launch Party!

Today is the launch party for Rebecca Emin's new novel When Dreams Come True about a group of thirteen-year-olds: Charlie, Toby, Max and Allie, and their friendship; a very relevant subject for young people who are reassessing their relationships with their friends as they grow up.
Told in a clear and direct style, and in the first person, you're immediately drawn into Charlie's world of school and family problems where she finds that she has very vivid dreams which seem to begin to come true. But what do they really mean and what effect will they have on her life?
I enjoyed it so much that I sat outside in the garden on Saturday, especially to finish it.
So hurry over to Rebecca's Facebook page where the launch and giveaways will take place, or visit her blog where you can find out more about her writing.

I'm actually more likely to dream about an event after it happens! After my daughter's wedding, my dreams were a hazy, lazy, flower-filled paradise; after my trip to Iceland, my dreams took place in a snowy half-twilight, and now after my trip to the Wild West, all the action takes place by rivers meandering through hot, sandy plains surrounded by high mesas. Not surprisingly, I generally dream about journeys, and there's usually a quest, or something to achieve.
I don't often have bad dreams, but in the last one, three secret agents wearing dark glasses, stood around my bed, trying to get me out. I struggled and eventually woke up. Shaking with fear, I asked my husband why he hadn't tried to save me, and he said, 'Oh, I thought you were having a lovely dream, and I didn't want to spoil it!'
Some dream! Let's hope it doesn't come true!
What sort of dreams do you have?

Friday, 25 May 2012

'A Wish for a Baby' online at last!

I'm so pleased that at last my story, A Wish for a Baby, has been published on the Writers Online Competition Showcase! 
I wrote it in 2010, and heard in the December that it had come second, and would therefore be on their website. The thing is that I've had to wait nearly 18 months to see it, and the theme of the story was Impatience!

First of all I thought of all the different ways that someone could be impatient: with their children, parents, work colleagues etc., then I came up with the idea of a mother being impatient for her married daughter to have a baby.
Originally, I had them going on a shopping day out together:

‘Look at that little kiddie sitting on the table! Fancy letting her do that. I wouldn’t if she were my grandchild.’ Barbara whispered.
‘Oh, don’t start that again, Mum!’ Rebecca stirred her tea. ‘Please don’t spoil our day out. I wouldn’t have come if I’d known you were going to go on about babies again.’
‘But darling, you’re not getting any younger.’
‘You know what they say about your biological clock. Tick, tick, tick!’
‘I’m not ready yet, Mum.’

But that didn't seem interesting enough, so I had another brainstorm and thought about where they could be. I was pleased with the idea about a demonstration against hospital cuts because it linked in with the baby theme.
I hope that you enjoy it!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Wild West II - Colorado Railroad Museum and Crazy Horse, South Dakota

Before we left Denver to drive north to South Dakota, we visited the Colorado Railroad Museum. Amongst all the locomotives and passenger cars or coaches, were three of the seven Rio Grande Southern Galloping Geese. As you can see, they were a cross between an automobile and a freight car, and so were cheaper to build and run. They got their name from the waddling action of the rear car on rough mountainous tracks.
As we drove through Wyoming, we could see the wooded Black Hills of South Dakota in the distance, and we were soon amongst them. It reminded us of the Alpine regions of Germany or Switzerland, with pine trees and log cabins.
At Custer, we bought ice creams from The Purple Pie Place: yummy Blueberry Cheesecake and Rocky Road, before arriving at Crazy Horse.
This is a huge monument to Chief Crazy Horse being carved into a mountainside. To give an idea of the scale, the small 'bump' above the hole in the mountain is a large truck!
It was started by Korczak, a Polish immigrant from Boston, in 1948, and after his death in 1982, the work has been carried on by his family. It will eventually feature the Chief on his horse, pointing to the lands where his people are buried.
What vision and faith Korczak must have had to start such a project!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Poke Bonnets, Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota

I may have a poke bonnet* on here, or it may be part of the covered wagon that I'm setting out in over the Prairies. I look quite happy despite the prospect of a bumpy overland trip in all weathers with all my worldly possessions packed inside.
This photo was taken on Wednesday, the last day of my holiday in Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota. We had sneaked into the children's education room at the Old West Museum, Cheyenne, and couldn't resist the photo opportunity! We had travelled over 2,500 miles, but we'd had an amazing time.

Our first stop was Maroon Bells. This is a mountain at the head of a lake on White River about twelve miles from Aspen, Colorado. Steep wooded slopes rise on each side decorated with the remains of winter snow. Copper-coloured water bubbles over boulders and around a beaver's lodge or home, just like in Narnia, and the mountain stands at the end, 14,000 feet high, its layers of rock highlighted with snow. It's been called "Bells" since 1965 when 8 people were killed climbing its slopes, but it was quite safe to walk along the path by the river in the icy wind, taking photos.

 We couldn't visit Colorado without taking John Denver's Greatest Hits to listen to, and we were pleased to find a Memorial Garden to him in Aspen, surrounded with the trees which give the city its name. It was a quiet sunny place, near the water which I'm sure he would've loved.

I'll tell you more about my holiday soon.

*(See Liz Harris's blog) where she asks if terms like 'poke bonnet' and 'buck fencing' should be used in her historical novel, set in Wyoming, or would bonnet and fencing do? I think that the historic terms add flavour and give a real feeling of the setting. What do you think?

Monday, 7 May 2012

Summer's Lease in Tuscany

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! 
Summer's Lease by John Mortimer is one of my all time favourite books, and funnily enough, it's the only one of his books that I've ever read.
I read it because I had enjoyed the BBC television drama in 1989, starring John Gielgud and Leslie Phillips.
It's about a family of five, plus father-in-law, who rent a Tuscan villa for the summer, and who get embroiled in a murder. I don't usually like murder mysteries either, but I think I like this one because it's set in Italy, and I've read it again nearly every year since.

I'd always wanted to visit Siena where some of the action takes place in the book, and a few years ago my dream came true. We weren't able to go on the day of the actual Palio horse race around the shell shaped Piazza del Campo, but we were able to see the horses and riders being drawn. There were crowds of people, goodness knows what it's like on the race days of July 2nd and August 16th.

Have you read Summer's Lease?
Maybe you've been to the Palio?