Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dare to Believe!

I recently signed a contract with Dare Empire for them to publish my trilogy woldwide as eBooks. Also in print for the Australian market. Things have gone quicker than I imagined possible. The first book Awakening Love is now available in Kindle with other formats being prepared as I write. The whole trilogy will be available from all major on-line stores by the end of January and print versions shortly following.
The whole trilogy is getting a new lift with intriguing covers by a team producing books in Amazon's top ratings.
Could 2011 be a true AWAKENING for my award-winning book?
STOP PRESS! All three are not only available but are presently (early FEB) at 'silly' introductory prices. Visit the Dare Empire Bookstore or Amazon Kindle store.
Go here to see a great video of the latest Dare Empire books, including my trilogy. A Dare Empire Checkmate print book will be available by the end of this month.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Load Of Hot Air!

If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen, or in this case don’t read the book!

Hot Air by Geoff Nelder is an action-packed thriller. Its ingredients include adventure, humour, horror, — all in the first few pages — with a good mix of erotic encounters, violence, torture, hair-raising escapades touched with romance, all skillfully mixed to produce a surprising dénouement. With A Geoff Nelder novel you can be sure to get excellent descriptive scenery, and have all your senses enriched. Feel the passion, sense the hate, smell the scents and aromas, taste the sweet and bitter, see all before you — including into the minds of each character — hear every sound as the story enfolds. All these detailed nuances, served up with a dash of iron in the blood.
Every page swift moving and packed with drama! Geoff Nelder at his best! A literary masterpiece, a meal to gorge yourself on.

Photo: Geoff Nelder at one of his many signings.

A Load of Hot Air!
What should have been an adventurous birthday treat, turns into an horrific nightmare when their hot air balloon passes over the scene of a murder. The balloon is spotted, shot at, and the chase begins… murder and mayhem maybe, but lightened with humour and erotic romance. What a feast! Go on, indulge your senses!
Geoff Nelder’s Blog for reviews:
And Geoff Nelder’s Imagination factory
See Hot Air on You Tube
Then buy it direct from Wuacademia

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ulverston area — sheep, dogs and thieves.

When we moved to Ulverston in 1985, the first people we got to know were our neighbours and dog walkers (followed by friendly shopkeepers and counter assistants). A smile and hello from the doggy people we met while exercising our Golden retriever (followed by our Border Collie) were great blessings as they gave us a sense of belonging. Likewise the cheery 'good morning' of those who served us in the shops, and even the greeting of us by name in the bank and Building Society.
We may not have our roots in this area but are associated through family ties, especially to the land.

The farmers have been through severe times over the years and extra paperwork adds to their burden. Now they have to guard their stock from gangs of thieves who rob them of their livelihood. Whether rare breed or common stock, it does not matter to them. Money is their only god and him only do they serve. Shame has no meaning — getting caught, to them is their only folly!
What happens to the poor animals? Are they slaughtered away from prying eyes, without the benefit of humane methods? Unless they are sold in the usual markets, by one illegal means or another, I can't see an alternative. We have no idea what suffering these animals go through. Well, it's for certain, we keep an eye on the field gates near to us, especially if we see a van parked.

Another matter. I love dogs, I miss the ones we used to have and often pat the friendly ones we meet when out walking. (One lovely old spaniel grins and sits on my feet) I like sheep too, in the spring we delight in the lambs that frisk in the fields. Sadly, dogs and sheep don’t always mix. When dog owners allow their pets freedom to run wild when out walking, sheep are highly vulnerable. This should not happen.
Last month a dog (or dogs) savaged two sheep grazing in a field not far from the town. It looked like the dogs had tried to tear the legs from the sheep. As well as terrified, the poor animals must have been in agony. The wounds were ghastly and yet the dog owner left the sheep to suffer and die. The farmer could have been contacted, even if a name had not been left. Callous? What do you think? At least, when on holiday, when we found a lamb wounded and another with its eyes pecked out, we quickly found the farmer to alleviate the suffering and save further lambs from the crows.
Notices are sometimes around fields warning dog walkers to keep off the land, or keep to footpaths. especially where there is valuable livestock. It is an offence to allow a dog to run loose. On the whole, farmers are pretty good, especially if we stick to footpaths. Or if we keep dogs well under control on common land.
Sheep-worrying does not just take place in the spring. Nor does worrying only involve sheep, it can take place amongst any valuable stock. Best to keep dogs off grazing land and on a leash while walking country footpaths, otherwise the dog owner is more guilty than their pet if an incidence occurs.
To those who think their dog would never attack any person or animal, be assured ‘friendly’ dogs from three months to twelve years will attack sheep for the sheer fun of it. This has been proved by extensive studies carried out in Australia and elsewhere.
Leaving aside, the legal aspect and cost to farmers, dog owners should consider the suffering experienced by sheep when attacked, and the fact that once a dog has tasted the meat it is likely to attack again. Farmers are allowed to protect their livestock — dog owners beware!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

University Fees For English Students

This is not the usual thing I put on here but it does not fit my other blogs either. I hope those interested in the subject will find their way here. This is important.
There is an urgent need to settle the student fees issue. Justice must be done.

I have given serious consideration to the matter regarding University fees as applied to English students. Wales and Scotland who, to those not aware of the situation in the UK, get their huge grant to run their internal matters such as Education, Health and Social Services from Westminster, pay the fees for their students (and are generous with other social services too). Hardly surprising that English students feel hard done by. Hardly surprising if some English tax payers feel somewhat annoyed too. But that is another issue.
I can see a certain logic in students paying back the costs of their university education but I believe it to be deeply flawed. At least, the cost of student fees should have been left as they were. But maybe the whole business of higher education needs looking at and trimming done. I would question why the school leaving age has been raised.

Like many of the older generation, we were brought up never to be in debt. We saved for all our needs. There were no credit cards (thank goodness). A mortgage was a necessity due to shortage of rented accommodation and long waiting lists for Council houses. We were in a bed-sit for three years and still at the bottom of the housing list because we had no children. We would not have children until we had our own home. It is somewhat ironic that we, along with others who know the value of thrift, are now having to pay for debts not of our own making. And for excesses in handouts that have made it cruel for many who work to be worse off than many who don’t and have no intention of doing.

With this in mind, I believe it to be totally unjust that today’s young people will have the burden of paying back University fees for their own education (at least at this higher rate), at a time while paying taxes to help subsidise the final-pay pensions of the more fortunate, the cost of supporting the ever-increasing elderly at home or in care, and credit handouts for this, that, and the other, not to mention the escalating sums for the NHS as new drugs and procedures are discovered to lengthen life and ease pain, while many are living lives as if to test how long their heart, liver, and lungs will last. PLUS the graduates, on starting work, putting aside a large chunk of their salary for their own future pension. What a burden!

Youngsters seem to have little say about their education. When I taught it was child-centred learning. Now they are pushed into exams as though passing them is all that education is about. Money would be better spent getting youngsters into apprenticeships and continue, where appropriate, studies through Evening classes and a day release. A University education was once held in high esteem, that honour seems to have diminished. Surely with realistic opportunities for those who are not University inclined the way could be paved for a better future.

Education is lifelong and enters every aspect of life. But, at least, each citizen should have the right, at some time in their lives, for two or three years of free higher education, if appropriate, at University level.

(I speak as someone who had to give up a college design course at the age of sixteen so as to earn my own living, my father having become seriously incapacitated — benefits in 1949 were almost non-existent. I was fortunate enough to realise my ambition through sheer hard work and luck. Later I trained to be a teacher. I gained all my qualifications, then and later, as a mature student. I know of others who gained all of their qualifications through evening classes and rose to high levels of management or engineering.)

Already, there are cutbacks for care of the elderly, cutbacks in other major and important departments. At this time, perhaps it would be appropriate to raise part of the shortfall by putting a tax on top of VAT for those luxury goods that only the truly well off can afford?

As for the marching students, those who simply mouth slogans without knowledge should get to know the facts. Marching is fine, protesting is fine when orderly, but following 'the crowd' in ignorance of the true facts, makes the public wonder if they are ready for mature learning.

NOTE: Photograph of Nottingham University. My brother was a student here in the late 1940's at a time when 'boys like him' did not go to University. (There were few Universities then). He left school at fourteen, gained an apprenticeship with Rolls Royce and attended night classes. He went on to study for higher degrees and gained a scholarship to study in the USA for his PhD. When he died, he had 54 patents in his name and was acknowledged as a specialist in his field. He was also involved with athletics and gained various awards and prizes. Determination is needed to get on, in all walks of life.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Any Old Iron?

So what’s a photo of an iron doing here?
This isn’t just any iron, it’s MY iron. A Morphy Richard’s electric iron bought at the beginning of 1953. So, is it a museum piece? Certainly not! It has been in constant use since the day it was bought. True, bits have had to be replaced from time to time but I would not swap it for anything new in the market place. I bought a new steam iron a few years ago. But I rarely plug it in. My Morphy Richard’s is part of me — an extension of my arm worked through my brain. The weight is perfect, the smoothness of it’s action without compare. It has served me very many years, it is an old friend — familiar, true — that does not let me down.
Yes, I have other old equipment — why get new when the old does the job?
Ah, maybe that is another aspect of the iron — my husband bought it for me just before we married. We are still together — the three of us, and all in working condition!

Magpies Nest Publishing
My worldwide Books
Lake District Saga
Wrinkly Writers

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Driving around Windermere over to Broughton

We had a pleasant drive in winter sunshine yesterday, stopping for a simple lunch at Booths supermarket cafe in the town of Windermere. We drove along the east side of the lake, taking photographs from the car, mostly as we were moving. The road is narrow, winding and undulating with few places to stop. We took the road back home that goes through Coniston but we found it closed when we got to Torver so came a long way home over a hill above Broughton with great views of the glittering sea.

For more photographs of Cumbria go to Lake District Saga
For a more literary blog, go to my Wrinkly Writers
To read about my author activities go to my books blog
Magpies Nest Publishing is my publishing site.
AGPress (USA) has a special deal coming up on the books I have published there. A good place to go for those interested in hand-crafted books (a rarity these days?)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter Reflections

Winter is almost upon us. Snow has fallen on high places around the country. I have to admit to getting very tired as the sun goes down, but then, we are entering the winter of our lives. But winter CAN be enjoyed as much as the other seasons. Time to take stock and enjoy what we have and what we are. To see the beauty, love and joy within and without. To appreciate and be thankful.

For those who are still unpublished authors or simply enjoy reading:
Just in case one or two of you have thought of getting one of my books, or have been wondering about publishing their own book through AGPress and would like to know what a handcrafted book looks and feels like, there is a special offer on that might be of interest to you. I have just had this Email from Grover Pillsbury:

I want to let you know that we will be holding a sale from Black Friday (11/26) to Cyber Monday (11/29) all books will be 50% off all books plus shipping. If you want to put this up for people to see we hope that it will sell some books. I am still working on a box set for the trilogy and hope to have it ready soon (I will let you know when it is available) with a sale price of $29.95.

For more about self-publishing — especially warnings — see my Wrinkly Writer post

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whinlatter Forest Park — The English Lake District

For a birthday treat (as good an excuse for a run out as any!) we drove up to Whinlatter Forest Park on Monday.
It was a glorious drive there: through woods and by lakes, autumn colours glowing in brilliant sun, water sparkling on water — lakes, streams and waterfalls.
Whinatter as wonderful as ever: majestic trees, fantastic views and birdlife, and, of course, the Siskin cafe — good homemade food and great views from the windows.
A short walk, my problem knee preventing more than about thirty or forty minutes. No one counting!
A delightful piece of metal sculpture is close to the entrance. Great craftsmanship and design. We just had to take a picture of it — yes, it is the grey metal thing, not that old bird next to it!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fantasy — Witch of the Woods?

(Story begins at Wrinkly Writer)

Even as I look, the creature turns towards me.
Darkness falls.
A face begins to take shape.
A voice says, “I am the Witch of the Woods.”
Ugly? Grotesque? Who am I to judge?
The face turns and looks me in the eye. Though I cannot see the lips, I know the Witch has a smile.
She speaks. “There is a bit of a witch in all of us. Amazing things are achieved by those who believe in themselves.”
The face fades and the darkness becomes light once more.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Sunday Walk

A Sunday Circular Walk from Canal Foot to Plumpton via the coast path returning across the inland footpath.
This was to be a gentle walk for me, having had a cortisone injection in my knee a few days before and so nothing strenuous advised so as to give healing a chance.
It was a pleasant day in spite of a chilly breeze. Actually when we were inland it was quite sheltered and very warm.
We left the car parked close to the canal, I said hello to a sweet little pony and we started off. The sea was coming in and we were walking the path close to it, so no messing around. The path being soft with standing water, we tended to walk over the rocks — maybe not the best thing with my problem knee but we soon reached slightly higher ground where the path is smooth. We stopped to look across the bay with the sun shining on the railway viaduct. We saw an old boat which looked as if it had been brought in with the tide. Now there is a prop for a short story!
Onwards and we reached Plumpton Hall, a very old building of unusual design. Years ago when we had only been in the area a short time, the hall was for sale. I think it was £9,000. Sounds cheap now but that was a lot of money then. If we had had the money, I would loved to have bought it — such a romantic building and in a wonderful almost isolated spot close to the sea.
Up the lane we spotted a group of horses and I said another hello! Further along and over the stile steps into a field. Following the path we came close to the railway line. We were soon in sight of Ulverston's Hoad Monument, gleaming white in a ray of sun.
Further along and over a stile under the shade of overhanging trees. There is a fence running by the footpath now, likely because the farmer has a bull in the field. I was actually glad to see the fence, as last time we took that walk a whole herd of young bullocks were gathered around the stile. On that occasion we diverted to a field and after much walking found ourselves getting over a fence and back on the footpath by the sea. So we continued by the barbed wire fence turning to the left by an old quarry — Nother good setting for a short story with nefarious deeds! Over another style and we were among some delightful 'architect' build houses overlooking the bay. Down the slope and back to the footpath start. We walked along where once sea-going vessels entered and left Ulverston Canal. We looked back to where we had walked and saw that the sea had covered most of the path. The other direction, the bright sun had turned part of the sea to a sparkling diamond.
A short walk but truly delightful!

Monday, October 11, 2010

What a Splash!

On our Sunday walk, we arrived at Canal Foot (Ulverston) to find the ducks going nuts. Were they trying to send off unwelcome groups, fighting for territory or just playing about? What ever it was, water sparkled in the sunlight as splashing churned up the water, ducks were lifting themselves up onto their feet and much quacking was going on. What fun!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book Publicity

I have been working on posters to advertise my latest book ready for its release. I hope to put them up in the local libraries to start with. I am not completely happy with the two I have done. What do others think?
Too cluttered?

Visit some of my other sites:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chatsworth — Country Park, Family Playground!

Chatsworth — Country Park, Family Playground!

We arrived at Chatsworth on Saturday to find the car parks already filling up and whole families teaming excitedly out of their vehicles. I asked one of the stewards if something was ‘on’ that weekend. He said no, it was just the fine weather and that they expected far more to arrive. Wonderful, I thought.

Here is a ‘playground’ safe for children to run and play. In fact there is a Farmyard with animals and children’s adventure play area, which is very popular.

There are some people who are against aristocracy and would like the state to take over their estates. But Chatsworth is an example of a well-run estate that benefits millions of people. My mum-in-law (she died ten years ago) loved to be taken around Chatsworth’s remarkable garden in a borrowed wheelchair. We enjoy visits there every year, mostly to walk in the extensive grounds but also to have a light meal at one of the eating places around the huge estate (especially the farm shop café or the garden centre café. And not forgetting the old stables). Chatsworth is a place for peace and tranquillity as well as being a remarkable house, a huge park and a playground for all complete with deer, river and acres of woods and grassland. (Photographs taken while walking through the Woods.)

Visit my Wrinkly Writers for my latest post — revisiting Nottingham University Park