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Wednesday, 7 April 2021

THE LEWIS CHESSMEN - A guest post by Yvonne Marjot


Today I'm delighted to welcome my friend and fellow-author Yvonne Marjot, whose amazing novel The Calgary Chessman is the Ocelot Press Book of the Month for April.  She's here to talk about the real-life discovery of The Lewis Chessmen, which provided the inspiration for the story.  

Welcome, Yvonne!  Please tell us more.

The Lewis Chessmen


Central to the plot of The Calgary Chessman is the discovery of a mysterious object buried in the sand at Calgary Bay – an object that resembles one of the famous Lewis Chessmen. So, what do we know about the Lewis Chessmen?

Where and when were they found?

Factual information provided here came from several books, Archaeology magazines and websites including isleoflewischessset.co.uk. Although the Calgary chess piece is of course pure speculation, the Lewis chess pieces themselves are full of mystery, as almost nothing is known for sure about their origins, who they were made for, or how they came to be where they were found.

At some point before April 1831, at Uig* in the Isle of Lewis (Leòdhas), in the Outer Hebrides, a cache of just under 100 carved figures was found. The exact number and the circumstances of their finding remain clouded, though local legends name Malcolm MacLeod of Penny Donald (Peighinn Dòmhnall) in Uig as the finder. *Gaelic ‘Uig’ from Norse ‘Vik’ meaning a bay.

In 1831 Roderick Ririe from Stornoway (Steòrnabhagh on Lewis brought 93 ivory objects, most readily recognised as chess pieces, to a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in Edinburgh. He sold some to a local dealer, but 10 had already been sold to Charles Sharpe. These (and one other) eventually ended up in the care of National Museums, Scotland. Later that year the British Museum purchased 83 pieces. The British Museum display is a highlight of any visit, and the pieces have real character and presence. I never visit the museum without paying them my respects.

It’s easy to imagine a lone man digging in dunes, perhaps where a storm has shifted the sand, and spotting something interesting. But Sharpe’s description (by this point at least third-hand) suggests the pieces were in some kind of stone-lined chamber or vaulted room, which became exposed by erosion. This was said to be associated with a nearby nunnery (although no evidence of the nunnery remains) but might instead have been a souterrain, an Iron Age underground storage structure, common in this part of Scotland.

There is speculation, with some justification, that the find spot was in fact not Penny Donald but an abandoned township called Mèalasta, near Uig Strand, where there was a medieval church and a quite substantial and wealthy township, the kind that might well have been able to afford expensive luxuries such as gaming tokens. It is also believed that rather than being a single chance find, some of the chessmen could have been discovered as early as the 1780s, and may have been displayed in a local house until an antiquarian (perhaps Ririe himself)  happened to see them and realise they must be ancient (and possibly valuable).

In The Calgary Chessman I’ve stuck with the idea of a chance find, dug out of beach sand. Calgary Bay, with its wild north-western outlook and scattering of homes, bears a strong resemblance to Uig strand today: white shell-sand dancing across empty beaches backed by machair and rising sand dunes. It’s easy to walk there today and imagine that treasure could be hidden beneath the sand, just waiting to be discovered. 

How old are they, and where did they come from?

The age of the chessmen (calculated by a range of means, including details of their decoration) suggests they were made during the ascendancy of the Lords of the Isles. Their design harkens back to Viking times, but they are not believed to originate from that era, despite the some of the ‘warders’ (the equivalent of rooks in the modern game) being depicted as berserkers, biting their shields in rage. More is said about this in The Calgary Chessman, but amongst other evidence is the fact that these are amongst the earliest chess figures ever found that have the bishop pieces wearing their mitre (hat) sideways, as bishops do today.


 

It’s generally agreed that they date from the period 1150-1200A.D. This includes the period where the Archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway. was given authority over all the bishops of the Isles. This might prove important, as there is strong evidence the chess pieces originated in Scandinavia, perhaps even at Trondheim itself.

Two chess pieces similar to the Lewis hoard were found in digs at Trondheim, and that seems too big a coincidence to ignore. On the other hand, it looks likely that the walrus ivory from which most of the pieces were made came through the Icelandic trade, and an argument can be made for a craft workshop based in Iceland itself. These days, Scandinavia seems very remote from Scotland, but during the early Middle Ages there was a strong trade presence right down the west coast of Scotland and through the Isles, and also between Norway, Iceland, Shetland and the Orkneys. There’s every reason to expect Norse traders to be working in the Inner and Outer Hebrides at the time.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of the tale of the Lewis Chessmen (utterly real and solid and sitting in museums waiting to greet you when we are once again allowed to visit), and that it whets your appetite to read more about my imaginary chess piece, and the role it comes to play in the life of my protagonist, Cas Longmore, in The Calgary Chessman.



Yvonne Marjot is a lost kiwi, now living in the Inner Hebrides. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember, and once won a case of port in a poetry competition. Her archaeological romances, beginning with The Calgary Chessman, are published with Ocelot Press, along with her paranormal romance, Walking on Wild Air.

 She lives on the Isle of Mull where she is volunteering during the Covid19 pandemic, but normally runs the local public library. She has three grown-up children and a very naughty cat. 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheCalgaryChessman/ and group https://www.facebook.com/groups/613652062059888/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Alayanabeth

Blog https://yvonnemarjot.wordpress.com/

 


Monday, 14 December 2020

CHRISTMAS BOOK FLOOD - a special Christmas giveaway


Have you come across Jolabokaflod?  At first glance it might look a bit like the result of an explosion in a Scrabble factory, but in fact it's the Icelandic tradition of giving books as gifts on Christmas Eve.  In English, it means "Christmas Book Flood". 

This December, members of the Historical Writers' Forum are celebrating this lovely tradition by offering free or discounted copies of our books.  Make sure you're following our Facebook page to keep up to date with all the offers and giveaways - or click here to see a complete day-by-day list.

Today it's my turn, and here's my gift to you.  

Heathcliff (from Emily Bronte's classic Wuthering Heights) must surely be one of literature's most famous and most mysterious anti-heroes.  But have you ever wondered what might have happened to him during the three years when he disappeared from the original story?  

Here's your chance to find out.  For today only, the Kindle edition of my novel Heathcliff: The Missing Years is available to download COMPLETELY FREE.  


Click on the link above, or go to Amazon and search for "Heathcliff: The Missing Years." In the meantime, here is a short snippet.

The following scene takes place shortly after Heathcliff returns to Yorkshire, and a few months after his beloved Cathy has married his despised rival Edgar Linton.  John Burgess and (Matthew) Trelawney, who are mentioned during the extract, are characters Heathcliff had met during his three-year absence.


December 1783

It is now almost three months since I returned to The Heights, and Christmas is upon us.  The weather has been cold, wet and windy, and I heard from Nelly that Cathy has been quite unwell.  As a result, I have not been to The Grange for several weeks.  But Cathy and Linton have invited both Hindley and myself to join them for Christmas luncheon.  I am sure that in both our cases, the invitations were more her doing than his.  Linton has almost as low an opinion of Hindley as he has of me, but he would hardly be in a position to refuse hospitality to his own brother-in-law.  I have no idea what kind of ruse Cathy would have employed in order to have the invitation also extended to me.  Maybe she just did it without telling her husband.  That would not have surprised me in the least.

When we arrived at The Grange and Nelly bade us enter, I took the opportunity to enquire after Cathy's health.

"She is much improved, thank you, Mr Heathcliff, considering her condition," Nelly answered - though I could not help but think she appeared a little embarrassed.

Her condition?  What could Nelly mean?  I was puzzled, but my question was soon answered.  As Cathy threw herself into my arms and I held her close, I could not fail to notice the gentle swelling of her belly as it pressed against me.

Recalling what I had learned from John Burgess, I was consumed with jealousy.  Here was real proof, if any were needed, that my darling had given Linton what by rights should have been mine.  And I wanted that child to be mine.  I wanted to watch her grow, month by month, with the fruits of what we've always been to each other.

But as she drew back and looked into my face, I read the message in her eyes.  Then I knew I could take some small comfort from the knowledge that, although Linton might have possessed her body, he would never have her heart, her soul or her spirit.  Those would remain mine for ever - not merely in this life, but also in whatever might lie beyond.

In the meantime, I must harden my heart yet again.  Trelawney's rule has served me well during the past three years.  I had hoped I would not need to call upon it again, but it seems that fate has conspired otherwise.

Revenge, I believe, is a dish which is best served cold...


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

WHAT'S MINE, I KEEP - an interview with Alison Knight

Today sees the publication of Alison Knight's novel Mine.  I had the pleasure of working with Alison as editor of this story, and she joins me today to talk about this truly amazing tale.

Welcome, Alison! 



Mine is a very moving and powerful story, based on real events from the late 1960s.  What first prompted you to write it?

There are a number of reasons why I felt compelled to write Mine:

Firstly, I was a very young child at the time and my memories are those of a ten-year-old – filled with confusion and with no understanding of what had led my ordinary family into this extraordinary situation. I wanted to write about it to help me understand it from an adult’s perspective. In that context, it was excellent therapy and helped me to come to terms with things I’d previously never understood.

Another reason I wanted to write about it was that I wanted to show the people involved – people that I loved – as I remembered them. It’s too easy for people to look at the stark facts of an incident and assume that someone must be fundamentally bad. These weren’t bad people. They were like you or me – human, with faults. But they were basically good people, and I wanted to show that.

Finally, after my sister died a few years ago, I realised I was the only person left who could tell this story. I wanted to write it for my children and my nieces and nephew so that they would have a chance to get to know the people they never got a chance to meet.

How much of the story is based on your own memories?

The scenes featuring Caroline are my memories. Some of the dialogue, particularly between Jack and his brother Fred, is made up from snippets of conversations I overheard as a child (including the swearing). It’s amazing how adults sometimes forget that little ears are around!

The reason that Mine is offered as fiction is that there are so many gaps in the story, and the people who could fill those gaps are no longer around to tell us what happened. It’s therefore my imagining of what might have happened, based on memory, research and pure speculation.

What other sources did you use?

I put together pieces of the story from conversations with aunts and uncles, my sister and cousins. However, although they were all supportive of me writing this book, it was difficult to get some of the family to talk about it as they found it quite upsetting, even decades later, so I had to be sensitive to that.

I spent some time at the British Library’s Newspaper Archive, as there were several reports in national and local newspapers. As well as looking at specific articles about what happened, I was fascinated by what else was in those papers, from news reports to adverts and the personal columns. It all gave me a flavour of the time.

I was also given access to inquest files that are usually closed for seventy-five years. That was one of the hardest things to do, but it gave me information that I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else.

All this still left me with a lot of gaps in the story, so then I decided to look more closely at the culture of the time – attitudes to women, the class system, the fashions and music and things that were happening in those days. This gave me an insight into how people might have reacted to different situations and what society expected of them.

Did you find any aspects of the writing process difficult or upsetting?

Yes. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever written about. While some of it made me laugh out loud as I remembered happier moments, at other times I could barely see my computer screen through my tears.

On a lighter note, I found it very difficult to imagine and write about my parents having sex!

Now that the book is published and “out there”, how do you feel?

I have mixed feelings. I’m proud and pleased that my publisher loved the book so much. I’m excited because I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. But then I’m slightly terrified. I’m exposing my family to the world.

I remember having a discussion with my sister about our mother years ago. It quickly became clear that we each had very different view of her. It seemed as though we were talking about two completely different people rather than one woman.  I realised then that we each have our own truth about another person or a particular situation. Once I began my research, I realised that even witnesses who were standing next to each other gave differing accounts of the same scene. Each was sincere, and their statement was their own truth about the matter. As a result, Mine can only be described as my truth. My worry therefore, is that some of my relatives may have different memories of that time and may have a different truth about it. I’ve tried to make it clear to everyone that this is my imagining of what happened – a mix of memory, research and pure fiction – and that I haven’t set out to change anyone else’s truth.

Thank you for asking such interesting questions!

Thank you for giving such interesting answers!  I wish you every success with Mine.  It deserves to do well.

 


MINE by Alison Knight:

"What's mine, I keep."

London, 1968.

Lily's dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give up her illegitimate child.  It doesn't help that Lily's husband, Jack, takes their daughter's side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily's growing feelings for her married boss soon provide a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation?  Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them down an extraordinarly path that could destroy them all?

Mine - a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.


Kit de Waal, award-winning author of My Name is Leon, said this about Mine:

"A heartbreaking account of love and loss told by a great storyteller.  Alison takes you into the heart of the tragedy with compassion, wit and even humour.  A beautiful story."

BUY LINK: mybook.to/mineknight

INVITATION TO AN ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: On Saturday 28th November 2020, Alison will be joining four other authors for a joint event via Zoom called Darkstroke Defined.  The five writers will talk about their new books, read extracts and answer questions.  The event starts at 8pm UK time.  For your free ticket, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/darkstroke-defined-tickets-125793372363


Sincere thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour.



Monday, 26 October 2020

STAIRWELL TO HEAVEN - an interview with Dean Bryant

My guest today is my friend and fellow-author Dean Bryant, whose novel The Stairwell will be published by Darkstroke Books this coming Friday (30th October 2020).


Welcome, Dean!  What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I've always loved to write.  I had a very inspiring English teacher when I was in primary school (about ten years old).  He always read anything I wrote, whether it was homework or just for fun.  I still remember when he wrote "Another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant" at the end of one of my stories.  He also prompted me to enter a nationwide poetry competition.  One poem from each school would be published in a compilation book.  I never thought it would happen, but I won, and still have a copy of the book.  Thanks, Mr Casson, wherever you are!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

The Stairwell is a horror/paranormal thriller, following two characters as they both begin to experience nightmarish visions that bleed into reality.

What was the inspiration for this book?

Mainly the work of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  They both have such a unique writing voice, and it inspired me to find my own with The Stairwell. 


Did you do any research for the book?

Honestly, not much. I did research some procedural things regarding emergency services work, but I feel horror and paranormal fiction allows the writer such freedom. Each writer, when trying to scare their readers, will come up with their own unique way to do so. 

What does a typical writing day involve for you? 

Most of The Stairwell was written with my father.  He lives on the other side of the country, so once every other month we'd get together for a few days.  We'd get up in the morning, have a nice English breakfast, then get to writing.  By the end of the day we'd realise we'd each written thousands of words.  Without him it would have been harder to stay motivated.

How do you decide on the names for your characters? 

There are a couple that are named after people I know.  The others are completely made up.  I tried to stay clear of names I've read in some of my favourite books, to keep them separate in my mind and help me to flesh out their character.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?  

A bit of both.  I planned out how many chapters there would be, plus the main event and the ending.  I wanted each chapter to end on a cliffhanger.  My intent was that the reader would finish reading a chapter about Brandon, then when the chapter about Alice came up they'd be dying to find out what happened to Brandon next - and vice versa.  But the rest of the writing wasn't planned, and flowed onto the page as I wrote it. 

Which writers have influenced your own writing?  

Mainly Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Mark Edwards.  I think that anyone who reads one of their books would be able to tell that they had written it without their name being on it.  Their writing styles are so brilliant and unique.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst? 

The best parts were spending more time with my dad, and exercising my creative muscles.  I'm not creative in any other way - I can't draw, sing or play an instrument, so it's good to have an outlet.  I'm not sure that there are any processes that I dislike, but perfecting the ending was probably the most challenging.  I always knew how I wanted The Stairwell to end, but putting it together can be tricky.

Now the book is about to be published and ‘out there’, how do you feel? 

I'm still quite surprised.  I mainly wrote it for the enjoyment, and didn't expect to get published.  But now, it feels like a dream come true.  I feel that somehow I've been working up to this ever since I was that little ten-year-old boy who'd rather spend his free time writing than playing football.

Is there a message for the reader? 

Firstly - thank you for reading.  I'm incredibly excited to hear what you think, and I'd love to listen to what readers have to say about the ending.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

I would say write what you love to read. Some genres might be more popular, or easier to write, but if you are passionate for your genre it'l show in your writing.  Also, to begin with don't worry too much about editing, a cover, or anything other than writing.  Write the story you want to write, and the rest can wait.

I'm with you there!  My first novel was written in response to the prompt "Write the book you want to read".  What can we expect from you in the future?

I'm currently working on an as yet untitled paranormal thriller, which will be the first in a new series.  It follows a detective in the London Metropolitan Police as he uncovers, and hunts, supernatural creatures.

OOH, that sounds like a great project!  Good luck!


Dean has always loved writing, ever since his primary school teacher wrote "Another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant" on his English homework.  He loves writing horror and dark thrillers as they allow him to be as imaginative as possible.  He won a nationwide poetry competition when he was 11, and went on to never write another poem.

He's a huge fan of the classic horror authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with Midnight being his favourite book of all time.  He studied Psychology at university, which made him the friend everyone goes to for advice.

Dean lives in London with his partner of ten years, who also doubles as a beta-reader and critic.  He is a Type 1 diabetic, which hasn't stopped him eating cake - he just has to do a lot of mental arithmetic first.

Find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Monday, 19 October 2020

WHEREFORE THE BARD?


Today it's my turn on the Historical Writers' Forum blog hop, in which we talk about our favourite historical characters and the reason for our choice.  For those of you who know me at all well, it will come as no surprise that my chosen subject is William Shakespeare - the Bard of Avon.


William Shakespeare, the eldest surviving son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, was born in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in April 1564.  Information about his early life is sketchy at best (even the exact date of his birth is not known for certain), but he probably attended the local grammar school, and in November 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years his senior and three months pregnant.  Their daughter Susanna was born in May 1583, followed in 1595 by twins Hamnet and Judith.  Hamnet died of plague just eleven years later.

From this point onwards, nothing is known about Shakespeare until 1592, when he appeared in London and joined a company of actors called The Lord Chamberlain's Men.  He became the company's principal playwright, producing on average two plays per year for nearly twenty years.  His total works include 38 plays, 154 sonnets and and 2 lengthy narrative poems.  He died aged 52 on 23 April 1616, and is buried in Holy Trinity Church in his native Stratford-upon-Avon.

My first encounter with Shakespeare was at secondary school.  Then, as now, studying his works was a non-negotiable part of the English Literature curriculum.  Like most stroppy teenagers I found it very hard to understand the plays, and even harder to understand why anyone in their right mind would ever want to read them.  Faced with a few hundred pages of solid text written more than three centuries earlier, and in a near-incomprehensible style into the bargain, the class's collective response was “What on earth is the point of all this?”  (That, at any rate, was the gist of our collective response…)

What we stroppy teenagers had totally failed to appreciate, at least at first, is that the plays were never meant to be read in the same way that one would read novels.  They were written for performance.  It’s only when the text is translated into speech and action (on stage, screen or radio) that it really comes alive – and nowhere is this more apparent than in works which consist entirely of dialogue.

In an attempt to keep us interested, our wonderful English teacher allocated the main parts in the play to members of the class, and the key scenes were acted out at the front of the classroom.   Our efforts were hardly RSC standard, but they did serve as an early lesson in the basic principle of “show-don’t-tell”. And after this, Shakespeare did begin to make some kind of sense.

Whatever their original contexts or settings might be, the themes of many of his plays (love, power, war, rivalry, jealousy and betrayal) are still relevant today, and some of his works have formed the basis for modern theatre, musical and film productions.  West Side Story is an updated version of Romeo & Juliet, Kiss Me Kate and Ten Things I Hate About You are both based on The Taming of the Shrew, and The Lion King owes much of its basic plot to Hamlet.



Shakespeare has also contributed a huge amount to the everyday English language. A surprisingly large number of words and phrases in common use today were first penned by the Bard himself.  If you're on a wild goose chase and find yourself neither here nor there, feeling faint-hearted (having not slept one wink), waiting with bated breath for the naked truth, and all of a sudden find yourself saying "Good riddance" as those who have eaten you out of house and home whilst playing "Knock, knock, who's there?" vanish into thin air - you are quoting Shakespeare. The world is [your] oyster, but for goodness sake, don't wear your heart on your sleeve and end up looking a sorry sight in a fool's paradise.  Truth will out, and it's a foregone conclusion that you can still have too much of a good thing.  Click here to see the lovely Rob Brydon telling us more about this.

The Bard of Avon has certainly inspired much of my own writing.  One of my first successes as a poet was winning a limerick competition, in which I summed up the plot of Macbeth in five lines:

On the strength of a witches' conjection 
a regicide's planned to perfection, 
but revenge is prepared 
by a tree-moving laird 
who'd been born by Caesarean section.

One of my long-term projects is to produce a limerick for each of the plays.  That's still very much a work in progress, but in the meantime, two of Shakespeare's other plays - Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar - have formed the basis of two of my novels.


The Ghostly Father takes a new look at Romeo & Juliet, and asks the question "What might have happened if the events of the story had taken a different turn?"  If, like me, you love the original story but wish it didn't end so tragically, here is your chance to read an alternative version - one with a few new twists and a whole new outcome.



The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, during an amateur dramatic society's performance of Julius Caesar, the play I studied for O-Level (the equivalent of modern-day GCSE). What really happened to the actor playing the title role, during the final performance on the infamous Ides of March?

So if you were put off Shakespeare by less-than-perfect experiences during your formative years, do consider giving him another try.  You might be pleasantly surprised!


To find out more about the other fascinating historical characters featured in this amazing blog tour, check out the sites listed below:




Thursday, 15 October 2020

FREE FOR TODAY ONLY - BEATHAN THE BRIGANTE by Nancy Jardine

 


My dear friend and fellow-Ocelot author Nancy Jardine is delighted to announce that Beathan The Brigante, the latest addition to her highly-interlinked Celtic Fervour Series, is *FREE* on the 15th October 2020 across the Amazon network!

(Psst! And if you’re quick, you should find that some of the other books in the series have a reduced price during this special promotion.)

Book 5, Beathan The Brigante, features young Beathan of Garrigill, but it also depicts the interlinking of his life and that of the Ancient Roman General –  Gnaeus Iulius Agricola who is a main character in Books 4 & 5.

Having been captured by the Ancient Roman legions, after the battle at Beinn na Ciche in north-east Caledonia, we pick up Beathan’s story in AD 85 at Trimontium Roman Fort where he is used as a menial fort slave. General Agricola, having been summoned back to Rome by Emperor Domitian, collects Beathan and some other high-ranking hostages at Trimontium Fort and drags them all off in chains.

During the long trek to Rome, Beathan learns surprising things about General Agricola. In turn, Agricola finds aspects to grudgingly admire in young warrior Beathan. Escape from, and revenge against, his captors doesn’t come quickly for Beathan. However, by AD 89 he is back in Brigantia – the land of his birth – where revenge blazes for him at Vindolanda Roman Fort. It’s gratifying that by then he is closer to a reunion with his much-missed Garrigill kin ,and it’s even better that romance with a young Brigante warrior-woman named Torrin has lightened his eventful life, even though he is still only seventeen.

Moving from place to place is a regular feature for the Garrigill Brigantes in the Celtic Fervour Series novels, especially as they become refugees fleeing from Brigantia to Caledonia, but young warrior Beathan can truly say that he is the most widely-travelled across the Roman Empire!

It’s a reasonable assumption that youths matured into men much faster in 1st Century AD, especially if they were subjected to the treatment that’s meted out to Beathan of Garrigill!

Look forward to that **FREE** copy on the 15th October 2020 and enjoy reading about young Beathan of Garrigill!

Link for Beathan The Brigante getbook.at/BeathanTBrigantehere

You can find out more about the Celtic Fervour Series   HERE

 

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction, time travel historical adventure and contemporary mysteries. Research, grandchildren, gardening and reading novels all take up non-writing time. Interacting with readers is a joy at Craft Fairs and larger venues where she signs/sells paperback versions of her novels. She enjoys giving author presentations on her books and Ancient Roman Scotland, though these activities are presently curtailed due to Covid 19!

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

BOOK REVIEW: 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE by Mariëlle S Smith

 


"Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk." (Rumi)

Being grateful is easy - when everything goes according to plan.  But how do you keep at it, no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Marielle S Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your coy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

  

Purchase Links 

https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude/  

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. 

Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysof gratitude 

or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 

to claim your copy.


https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FV15CJN

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FV15CJN


My thoughts:

This 365-day journal is therapeutic, uplifting and easy to use.  The pages are undated (so the journal can be started at any time of the year), and there are prompts for each day, week and month, with a three-monthly overview at the end of each quarter.  Each page prompts the readers to focus on the positive aspects of their lives – something which, in the current climate, we all need more than ever.

I found that taking just a few minutes each day to reflect on the prompts made me realise that a glass which might have appeared half-empty was indeed half-full.  As an added bonus, there are regular inspirational quotations such as the one above.

Highly recommended.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariëlle S Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early in 2019 she moved to Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writers’ retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mswordsmith

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariellessmith/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnYOpjmj83mvMM2L348F1w


There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)

Sincere thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour.