Archive | October 2019

A feast of Christmas stories

Christmas Short Stories CHINDI

This book of short stories is published today, neatly in time for Christmas. Edited by local CHINDI writers Julia MacfarlaneRosemary Noble, Patricia Feinberg Stoner and Angela Petch and contains stories by Angela Petch, Carol Thomas and other exciting local writers and me! 

I think and hope you will enjoy them.

They are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Feast-Christmas-Stories-Unwrap-Sussex-ebook/dp/B07WSGPKMP

Happy Christmas!

christmasimage

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The return of the Gremlins

gremlin

Sad to report that the gremlins are back in my house in force, grinning in the corners with their little pointy ears twitching, plotting nasty tricks. I think someone had tipped them the wink that I can’t see quite as well as I used to or hear for that matter, so they are free to snatch things away from under my nose and to plot without fear of being found out. Consequently the house is falling apart.

This morning20191018_103805 I came out of the shower and tried to hang my towel on the towel ring and the entire thing, towel and all, fell on the floor. I didn’t have my hearing aids in so I couldn’t hear the sniggering. But sniggers there undoubtedly were. I’m a student of gremlin behaviour and of course the sneaky tricks have been going on for ages.

tomato soup

Tomato soup that I was entirely sure I was pouring into the soup dishes, fell on to the tablecloth. A glass of wine being raised to my lips, was nudged on to my trousers. I went down to the compost heap with an elderly colander full of peelings and the Garotta mixture I also add to the compost from time to time ended up on my yellow jersey. Very decorative, but not quite what I wanted. 

A pair of socks I searched for in my bedroom, turned up on the windowsill in the conservatory, this time I could hear the cackles.

socks

dixie new

Dixie wishes it to be known that all this is nothing whatever to do with him, he has quite enough to do catching all the birds, mice and frogs that are thumbing their noses at him in the garden.

If any of you know of any competent ‘anti-gremlin’ devices, I would love to hear from you!

 

This entry was posted on October 18, 2019. 1 Comment

I seem to be flooding the market with books!

kissesandhapennies

My latest publisher Agora has now put up my first two books. Kisses and Ha’pennies, which is out today, is the sequel to Hearts and Farthings which was originally published in 1985 – I should be so old!

I promised my friends and fans in Tooting that I’d let you know when they were both in print and on Kindle and here they are. Tooting as it was at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.

Click here for Kisses and Ha’pennies

Click here for Hearts and Farthings

But I think there may be other friends and fans who follow this blog who would like them too, although I offer them with some apology, because I seem to have been publicizing my books ad nauseum and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you were getting a bit sick of it.

Something daft next time!

Hearts and Farthings eBook Cover

This entry was posted on October 17, 2019. 1 Comment

Book reviews – Good, Bad and Phenomenal

Citizen Armies Coffee Pot award

I’ve had a lot of reviews of my thirty books over the years and they’ve varied a great deal but last Saturday I had a review for Citizen Armies that was so extraordinarily good I wanted to sit down and cry. I didn’t of course because I had a coffee morning planned for Macmillan Cancer Support and there was a lot to do before my guests arrived, but I felt as though I was flying.

I have to say I’ve had some very peculiar reviews in the past. One started off by saying she didn’t like a book written in the first person and that that had put her off this particular book, which struck me as a little odd because the thing was written in the third person in the old fashioned way. It wasn’t until I went back to the book and started reading a bit of it that I understood what had happened. It was written in the third person but I had written a preamble on the first page by way of introduction and that was in the first person. My reviewer had read the first page and given up on it. Hmmm.

Another one took exception to my hero because he wasn’t macho and she preferred macho heroes. The whole point of this hero was that he was gentle. But she gave me a three even so.

Others of course enjoyed the book and said so, but no-one until Mary AnneCA FINAL COVER AUGUST Yarde has understood what I was endeavoring to do with the book and approved of the way I had done it. She’s a treasure and it doesn’t surprise me that she has such a good reputation and is thought so highly of by the trade. Respec’

As well as an excellent review and a five star grading, she gave me ‘The Coffee Pot Book Club’ book award. Well wow! 

So here is the link to her review and a little quotation from it.  http://trbr.io/bpn8Sxx

 

“Kingston demonstrates what life was like for an ambulance driver during World War II in great detail — from the long gruelling shifts to the horrors that they witnessed on a daily basis. As the war progresses, Rosie struggles with her mental health. The end of the war seems so far away, and Rosie feels trapped in a nightmare which won’t end. However, with help Rosie continues to help others, and like Britain, Rosie would not surrender. It did strike me, though, through the course of this novel, how the bombing became almost a normal part of everyday life, much like the weather. There is almost a desensitising of what was going on — Kingston demonstrated this beautifully with Rosie, who after her shift would fall into an exhausted sleep in the shelter, regardless of the bombs dropping on her city.” 

“There is nothing in this book that is not to be liked — a real treat for lovers of quality historical fiction.”

This entry was posted on October 16, 2019. 4 Comments

A book signing in an Ice Cream parlour!

I have to say this is making me giggle, because I have never signed books in an ice cream parlour before! In book stores, supermarkets and a whole variety of halls some very big and some very small, but never an ice cream parlour! But there’s always a first. I think I should explain how this came about..

When my new book Citizen Armies first came out I approached the only bookstore left in Bognor to see if the owner would be prepared to host a signing, he would and told me so, but then when he started looking at the size of the shop and how very packed it was, it became clear that there wouldn’t be room in it for a lot of people. So as he knew that the owners of Pinks Ice Cream Parlour had been hosting various literary events, he suggested that they might like to consider mine, which they did because they were already fans, so it looks like being a happy event, if a rather unusual one!

If you are local, do put the date in your calendar. It will be on Monday the 4th of November at 10.30am to 12pm and the address is Pinks Ice Cream Parlour, 18 Waterloo Square, Bognor Regis, PO21 1SU.

Way to go! See you there!

pinksposter

 

 

Macmillan Coffee Morning

macmillan coffee 2

Two firsts for me this week and this is the first first if you know what I mean! I’m opening the house tomorrow morning for friends and neighbours to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

To be serious for once, I am well aware that people with cancer need all the support they can get. It’s extremely tough to have to face the fact that you have cancer. So anything I can do is worth doing.

My family and neighbours are already invited and involved, but I would welcome any of you if you’re in the area, it’s a good cause.

Baking this afternoon!

The Silenced Remainers.

I don’t know about you but I am getting heartily sick of politicians claiming that they are pushing Brexit through because it is ‘the will of the people’, as though those of us who voted remain no longer exist.  So I’m going to start this blog by quoting a few statistics. I will try not to make them too boring. Promise.

The total electorate in 2016 was 46.5 million, according to official statistics. 17 million voted Leave, 16 million voted Remain and 13.5 million didn’t vote. Or to put this another way, 17 million voted Leave and 29.5 million did not. That’s democracy. But in the three years since the vote, those of us in the 29.5 million have been forced into invisibility and silence. The Brexiteers, on the other hand have grown steadily louder and more dominant – bawling and bullying out on the streets; all over the media, which, with two honourable exceptions in the Guardian and Channel 4, support them and give them frequent opportunities to spout their ugly propaganda; and even  – God help us! – in the House of Commons, And, as they are never checked, their behaviour has got worse and worse and their language uglier and more inflammatory.  Boris Johnson claimed in the  House that the best way to avenge Jo Cox’s death was to get Brexit over and done and dismissed what a Labour MP said about it as ‘Humbug‘. The odious Farage, sweating and shouting, told his followers that ‘once Brexit’s done we will take a knife to them‘ the ‘them’ being civil servants.  Absolutely appalling but he was cheered for it by his excited followers. On a lower but equally disturbing level, the language on the social media from the furious right wing has grown steadily more ugly, more obscene and more threatening. And as George Monbiot puts it,  ‘violent language licenses violence’. So what can those of us who care about democracy do about it?

Well, for a start, there are now a series of protest marches being organised all over the country, under the slogan ‘People’s Vote. Let us be heard.’ culminating in a final march in London on Saturday 19th (details below). But before we march, I think we have to plan what we will do in several eventualities and particularly if we come under verbal or physical attack from the Fascists. And yes, these bully boys ARE Fascists. They’re exactly the same as Moseley’s black shirts in the British Union of Fascists.  It might help if I can pass on some information about the amygdala hijack, Gandhi’s satyagraha and the battle of Cable Street.

I’ll start with the amygdala hijack as that is the youngest idea and no, I didn’t know what it was either until I read Thursday’s Guardian, but I think it could be helpful for determined protesters – or anybody who gets bullied and shouted at – to know about it.  Apparently, according to two neuroscientists called Stephen Porges and Gregory Lewis, when we feel threatened we cannot hear calm conversational voices. ‘When we feel safe, the muscles in the middle ear contract, with an effect like the tightening of the skin of a drum. This shuts out deep background sounds and allows us  to tune into the frequencies used in ordinary speech. But when we feel threatened it is the deep background sounds we need to hear, so the muscles in the middle ear relax cutting out conversational frequencies.’ And we shout back in order to be heard. Add to that the fact that when we feel very threatened and or frightened and angry, the flight-or-fight response is triggered by the amygdala, which is part of our brain, and then we can’t make rational decisions and tend to lash out and shout back or run away. Psychologists call that the amygdala hijack. So what is the best thing to do in that situation?

Mahatma Gandhi told his followers to sit in the road, in silence, not to shout back or offer any violence and to endure whatever their opponents did to them. He called it non violent resistance or satygraha, and it was used successfully, although with terrible casualties, at the end of the great salt march, when the protesters sat in the road and were beaten unconscious, line after line, by the state troops. It went on until the troops were too exhausted to continue and the whole thing was reported in the world press. In our time, used in Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’, which many of you may well remember. It can and does work. I used it with about a thousand others – could have been more – on a Committee of 100 sit down in Whitehall.

And what about Cable Street? That is being remembered now because it took place on Sunday 4th October 1936 so there should be quite a bit about in the papers. Oswald Moseley’s Fascists, who were backed and admired by Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail, (nothing changes!) were out on the streets of the East End, determined to beat up the Jews who lived in the area. But despite police protection they didn’t get away with it because the locals came out in force to protect their neighbours. They built a barricade across the entrance to the street, fought with any weapon they could lay their hands on, threw mattresses out of the bedroom window and emptied pisspots on the heads of the police and the marchers, and eventually, after a brutal battle, beat them off.

So what can we learn from all this.

Firstly that all our demonstrations and protests should be massively attended. Numbers are important. A handful of people can be pushed aside and ignored. Ten thousand, twenty thousand, a million are a different matter.

Secondly that we should make our minds up that we will not shout back, or fight our attackers. no matter how loud and aggressive they are and despite the success of the fighters of Cable Street,  If you do talk, do it reasonably and quietly. Or sing. It’s comforting to sing among like minded people. ‘We shall overcome’ can work wonders. And it stops you from being and looking as bad as your attackers.

Thirdly don’t shout slogans. Let your placards speak for you and make sure you keep them reasonable, memorable and witty.

And success to us all.

You will find details of the march at ‘People’s Vote. Let us be heard.’

The London march is on Saturday 19th October, starting at twelve noon at Park Lane and marching to Parliament Square.

See http://www.peoples-vote.uk

 

This entry was posted on October 5, 2019. 9 Comments