Thursday, 30 April 2020

Augustine launches today!

Today is a day for congratulations!

Augustine, by my fellow Ocelot Press author, Vanessa Couchman launches today and the cover is  as beautiful as the story! 

Vanessa writes late 19th/ early 20th century historical fiction set in rural France, and on Corsica. The settings are full of historical accuracy with evocative, atmospheric vocabulary to steep the reader in the life and times of the era. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Marie-Therese in Overture - Book 1 in the L'Alouette Trilogy (others to come) - where the reader is also introduced to Marie-Therese's parents. At the beginning of Overture, the attitude of Augustine and Joseph might seem a bit stern, but today's new launch addresses issues that have shaped their maternal/paternal judgement and decision making. 

Since the story is about Augustine and Joseph, this means that Augustine is set in 1880, a bit earlier than Overture. It gives the reader a wonderful glimpse into the daily norms of south-west rural France and of the strictures that people were under in forming relationships. Many details are such a huge contrast with twenty-first century morals and conduct. 

I've been very honoured to be a beta reader for Augustine and loved the story. I'll be writing a short review later on, once I've dipped back into my brand new Kindle copy of the final version that arrived today via Amazon. My thanks to Vanessa for the privilege of the early rad.
Whatever you might be reading- Enjoy.  

SlĂ inte! 

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

What? No flour?

Good morning - Wednesday! 

Today is my day to post on the Ocelot Press blog. Every week one of the Ocelot Press fellow authors post on our joint blog and it's now my turn.

It might look as though my post is about our current COVID 19 health crisis but, it's actually not. However, since flour has been scarce, of late, it made me think of situations of 2000 years ago in the Roman Britain I write about. 

My post begins like this:

Social distancing has recently been making the process of normal food shopping a much longer one than usual, during the current ‘COVID 19 pandemic’ lockdown situation, though this post isn’t about our current global health crisis. It’s about a very ancient issue of feeding people when the supply chain is either interrupted, or needs to be established.
I bake quite often so my larder generally contains baking supplies, though not a sufficient amount for many months. Re- stocking has become an issue, of late, because flour became scarce almost overnight as a result of panic buying and stock-piling, at the end of March. (And we’ll not talk of toilet rolls! … till maybe later 😉)
Being mindful of waste, quantities for bread making, pizza dough, shortbread – and even my breakfast porridge – have been scrutinised more than normal. And in an odd way, this fits in well with my current fiction writing, since I’m often considering what my characters might be eating some 2,000 years ago in Roman Britain...

But you can hop over and read the rest of my post HERE

Meanwhile, I'm still solving many little glitches in my transfer from my old laptop to my new one. (which included finding access to this Blogger account)

SlĂ inte! 

Friday, 10 April 2020

#Up in the clouds

Getting it all in perspective. Best foot forward!

Boots from Vindolanda Roman Fort
I joined an on-line organisation named 'Academia' a while back to get access to more academic information on Roman Britain, and the world of Celtic Europe. I had been able to download a few articles FREE before then but realised that there were many other possibilities to look at. I can't presently remember exactly how much the annual fee is (~ £50?) but I coughed up the cash since I try to pay for access to information when the price is reasonable.

And now I have a fabulous wee problem... :-)

Once signed up, I was asked to state my main historical interests and although (I think) I plugged in Roman Britain, I might have added Celtic Britain; and The Roman Empire; and The Ancient Roman Army...and probably a lot more? The moment I became a member I received almost daily emails with links to papers that would likely interest me - and they definitely do! I studiously read the first ones, some shorter and many longer beyond a thesis length.  I won't ever use more than the tiniest amount in my roman Britain fiction but I love researching about the eras I write about.

Very soon after signing up, other reading priorities took over and new additions via email from Academia were popped into a file in my email storage system. To read later... as well as my fiction TBR pile.

And the problem now is...
I've around 250 papers/ articles/ books (PDFs) still to read and I want to read them all!!  So, how do I stretch time? I'm currently transferring all manner of files from a limping 6 year-old laptop to a new one that was ordered before the COVID 19 lockdown. The first brand new laptop arrived by mid-March 2020, but had a fault and had to be returned. Unable to send me a replacement new Dell, I got the money back and now have brand new HP - an upgrade of my now 6 year-old HP.

I'm clearly not good at deleting unrequired email and word files from my local laptop disc since I've spent days doing just that. And I've also spent days saving lots of text and image files from my failing laptop to my external hard drive, and some of the most important files also onto a USB stick. (paranoid? Yes, I am terrified I lose important stuff!)

I want to download all of the PDFs from Academia in one fell swoop - but can't. (and... I don't want to lose the email links either when I move to my new lappie). My OH is currently trying to remember how to transfer all of my Mozilla Thunderbird saved emails to the new HP. He managed it when I renewed the current laptop in 2014, but that was a long time ago...AARGH!
Albrecht Durer- goddess Fortuna 
I'm now at that horrible and scary stage of working across 2 different laptops. The new Office 365 package that I bought last Nov 2019, is about to be replaced by the most up to date version on the new laptop which will see me not only working with the 'cloud' but I'll probably be in the 'cloud' - cuckoo land  that is by the time all is up and running on the new.

Technology- don't you just love it?

Just as well I have a techie daughter who is helping me - her at her house and me in mine. True social distancing rules!

Updates to come later, when I'm doing my new WIP writing on the new laptop.

Wishing you a happy Easter Holiday, or just Friday, or whatever. I won't say normal because the whole world isn't normal just now with the current COVID 19 crisis.

SlĂ inte!