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Talks here and there to Women's Institutes. This year it seems to be mainly Fell pony talks that are wanted. A few poems have gone out and found homes in journals. Between commentating for the Fell Pony Society's Display Team, editing its web site and producing its Magazines, I also work for Harps North West and its regular Harp Festival, and update clients' web sites, so Fresh Start is only making slow progress.
Is it that time already? ...
Already planning talks to local groups :)
If you can't decide which book to buy them for Christmas then our Gift vouchers are the perfect answer.
NaNoWriMo has been interrupted by two deaths in the family but the sequel to Against the Odds (Fresh Start) will be available as soon as I can manage it.
I'm working on an updated digital edition of Hoofprints in Eden for Kindle, and I now hold most of the remaining stock of the paperback (and a solid little box-full it is, too).
I gave a talk at the Wordsworth Bookshop in Penrith on 24th October, about Researching a Historical Novel. Lots of interesting questions afterwards and I signed quite a few books, mostly Coachman and Ash Tree. @WordsworthBook
Fab review of Ash Tree in London Grip, from Robert Nisbet.
31st - Taking part in Eden Arts' "Lost Tree" project at Brough Castle, Brough, Cumbria. "Missing", one of the poems from ASH TREE, is expected to feature. 31st August would have been Naomi's 8th birthday so I will go along that afternoon with copies of ASH TREE. I would be very happy to see you there. I'll read some of the poems, if there is anyone to listen.
13th-17th - COACHMAN is on offer, free to download for Kindle.
13th - We're expecting ASH TREE from the printers!
I talked to the Cumbrian Literary Group about "Researching a Historical Novel" on 13th July, 2-30pm at the Quaker Meeting House in Keswick.
19th - Equestrian resources for Historians - see the Blog.
16th - Cover ideas being discussed for Ash Tree poetry pamphlet, with Prole Books.
6th - Books placed for sale and reader copies donated to the lovely couple at Wordsworth Bookshop and Coffee House in St Andrew's Churchyard, Penrith. They make super coffee and food (including veggie options and gluten-free) as well as selling local books.
3rd-7th Jackdaw E Books joins the Summer Banquet Blog Hop.
5th - first discussion of suggested edits of "Ash Tree" with Prole Books
3rd-6th - Jackdaw E Books joins in the Heroes and Villains Blog Hop
12th-15th - Jackdaw E Books joins in the Historical Novelists' Book Fair
7th - donated some reading-copy books to Joff Gainey's Bookstop Cafe in Lincoln, due to open 4th May 2013. And sent some Sale or Return, of course!
4th - I performed at Words By The Water at Keswick - I can hardly call it a poem, more like a verse or ditty - but I thoroughly enjoyed helping to launch issue 2 of The Fire Crane from New Writing Cumbria with "The Farmer's Rainbow."
2nd - Prole Books emailed to say they look forward to bringing out "Ash Tree" as a pamphlet in August this year.
29th - New Writing Cumbria features "Missing", one of the Naomi poems from the pamphlet "Ash Tree" as a NWC Weekly Poem.
28th - Dragon Bait managed to get to #12 in Fairy Tales etc on Amazon USA during its free promotion 27/28 October.
Coachman and The Forthright Saga join Dragon Bait arrive in the world of real, handle-able books - with matt covers that make people fondle them and go "Ooh!" Preview brochures go out to indie bookshops in October. If anyone feels like irritating their local chain bookstore, feel free to order copies via them too!
The Forthright Saga was downloaded over 300 times in the 3 days of its freebie Kindle promotion 14th-16th September 2012. Now to see whether it will continue to be downloaded at full price...
The Galloway Gate poetry film was shown at Shap on 14th June as part of the Landmark arts exhibition "A Sense of Place" and later at Show Case, Devonshire Arcade, Penrith, on 13th and 14th July 2012.
My current writing project is a historical novel. (See my Blog.) It was sparked off about fifteen years ago, when I couldn't have written it successfully because I didn't have access to the necessary historical sources. Today, with so many out of print books digitised by Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive, and much material available from organizations such as the British Postal Museum & Archive and British History Online, it's relatively simple to do the research from the office.
BBC's Inside Out found the Foot and Mouth Diary in 2011 and bravely spent two hours in a perishing east wind recording what turned out to be roughly a minute of chat and one reading. I must stress that although they introduced me as "a retired horse trainer," I'm not retired yet and have never been a horse trainer.
My talk about the history of the Fell Pony to the Upper Eden History Society is reported in the Herald: http://www.cwherald.com/a/archive/exploring-the-history-of-the-fell-pony-in-eden.341936.html
25 years ago I was in the BBC's "black chair" at York Railway Museum so the Herald dragged this report out of the archives.
The Herald reports on my talk about Fell ponies and the founding of the Fell Pony Society to the Bampton and District Local History Society.
One of my first talks about Fell ponies, to share the information I gathered while researching Hoofprints in Eden: to Tebay and Orton History Society. Reported in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald.
...and older stuff
In 2005 I was partly responsible for the poet Ian Macmillan having to walk up High Street (the mountain) instead of the High Street (Barnsley), while discussing the history of trotting races alongside Bob Orrell and two Fell ponies who were sure he could go faster than THAT. However, neither I nor his producer take any responsibility for the accompanying "liquid sunshine ", AKA a howling gale and rain.
Dylan Winter was made of sterner stuff when recording Rare Steeds, and thoroughly enjoyed driving out with Ruby and me on a frosty December morning in 2005.
I am a panel judge for the Fell Pony Society. I serve on the FPS Council, editing its Magazine and its web site and chairing its Overseas Sub-Committee.
I appeared on the BBC TV quiz "Mastermind" in February 1984 when it was fronted by the late, great Magnus Magnusson - who chain smoked and walked the corridors before the recordings. Who would have guessed? "It's only a bloody game."
At various times I've been Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the North West Driving Club and served on its committee until 2013 (I am still a Vice President).
I own a clever bay Fell mare called Ruby and a laid-back gelding known to his friends as Mr T, who returned from a rest cure on loan to fellow writer Jackie Moffatt, cheerfully helped us teach people to drive a pony and carriage and is now on loan again near Millom (and getting younger every day by the sound of it). The thing about Fell ponies is - they are funny and they attract very funny people!
In 2002 I achieved "with distinction" the degree of MSc in Multimedia Computing. For 12 years until the end of January 2009 I worked as a technician/instructor and then a Computing lecturer at the University of Cumbria. All that training to teach must have stuck in spite of me.