My Review of African Ways by Valerie Poore #memoir #TuesdayBookBlog

 

african

 

Book Description:

This is the story of a young woman’s first encounters with rural South Africa. Coming from the all-mod-cons society of Britain at the beginning of the 1980’s, the author is literally transplanted to a farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains in what is now Kwazulu Natal.

Once there, she finds her feet in the ways of Africa
with the help of a charming, elderly Dutch couple, 
an appealing but wily African farm hand, his practical and motherly daughter and a wise and fascinating neighbour who has a fund of local knowledge.

These are tales of a different kind of life, which
include living without electricity, hand-milking cows, drought, veld fires and mad-cap adventures into the unknown.

They are stories told with deep affection and respect, and above all a liberal dose of tongue-in-cheek humour.

 

My Review: I gave  African Ways 5*out of 5*

Valerie Poore’s African Ways is a brilliant memoir that draws the reader in from the first page.

It is obvious from the beginning how much this author opens herself to people, places…and adventures that most of us would back away from.

I was enthralled throughout by her wonderful descriptions of the land where she made her home with her husband and two young children for three years in the 1980s ( a farm in Natal, South Africa). The love she has for the country and for the neighbours and friends that surrounded her (some with such fabulous names!) shines through in  her writing.

Despite everything: the droughts the families endured, the fires ( I was riveted by her portrayal of the unbelievably brave way she, her husband and friends battled against one fire and then, though exhausted, continued their BBQ), the venomous snakes, the swarm of bees that invaded her home and the lack of electricity, it is obvious she embraced the whole experience. 

And, threaded throughout the author reveals her superb  sense of humour; there are some great ‘laugh out loud’ stories and even some chuckles, despite the dangers, recollections.

African Ways is a memoir I can thoroughly recommend. In fact I would say, you should…really you should…read this book. 

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2mYreIN

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2mWSp6Y

 

Valerie Poore

 

Val Poore was born in London, England, and grew up in both north London and the west of Dorset. After completing her degree in English, History and French at Bournemouth, she took a further course in the conservation and restoration of museum artefacts at Lincoln College of Art which qualified her for nothing at all really. She then spent two years doing furniture restoration before going to South Africa in 1981 with her husband and small children. 

Valerie left South Africa permanently in 2001 and has settled in the Netherlands, where she shares her time between a liveaboard barge in Rotterdam and a cottage in Zeeland. She teaches academic and business English on a freelance basis and still writes in her spare time, although she admits there’s not enough of that at the moment. In fact, she has been writing since childhood and wrote stories, articles and radio plays for years before embarking on her first book in 2005. Val loves travelling especially when it involves roughing it a bit. She feels that she has better adventures and more interesting experiences that way. 

She has written six books altogether: the Skipper’s Child (teen/kidult fiction), How to Breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics (sort of grown-up, humorous fiction), Watery Ways and Harbour Ways (memoirs of her first years of living on a barge in Holland), Walloon Ways (three years as a weekend Belgian) and African Ways (a memoir her life on a farm in South Africa). Her seventh book (another novel) is in progress but is taking rather longer than she had hoped. This is simply due to real life getting in the way.

 

Advertisements

The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza #TuesdayBookBlog #MiddleGrade Children’s books #FireflyPress

the jewelled jaguar

 

Book Description:

‘When a hole in the ground opened up and swallowed my mum, my life changed forever…’ With his mother in hospital in a coma, Griffin has to stay with the uncle and aunt he hasn’t seen in years. His cousin Cinnamon doesn’t want him there. What s going on? Is it something to do with the fabulous Aztec knife about to go on display in the museum? Is it really cursed? Griffin and Cinnamon will have to find a way to work together to survive when they are lured down into the secret tunnels…

My Review:

The Jewelled Jaguar has a brilliant plot,  wonderful characters that stay with you long after you have read the last page and has descriptions that give a real sense of place.

This is a story  of mystery and adventure written in such a way to keep the reader on the edge of their seat; there are so many bizarre and strange events threaded through the book. Wonderful! I love this author’s style of writing, it’s almost as if Sharon Tregenza is telling the story aloud.

Love the wonderful cover, by the way; the images and colours are so striking!

This is a novel for Middle Grade readers but, believe me, this is one book anyone will enjoy. I can thoroughly recommend The Jewelled Jaguar.

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2oLcRf5

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2yYdIJ9

About the Author:

Sharon Tregenza

 

Sharon Tregenza was born and grew up in Penzance, Cornwall

She travelled widely with her husband and two children living for many years in Cyprus, Dubai and Sharjah, where she worked in the library of the American School of Dubai. Later she taught conversational English to local Arabic girls before returning to the UK to study at the University of Bristol.

After moving to Pembrokeshire she completed her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Wales – Trinity St David. More recently, she acquired a second MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University.

Sharon wrote for children’s magazines worldwide for several years. Her debut children’s novel TARANTULA TIDE won the Kelpies award and the Heart of Hawick Prize. Her second book, THE SHIVER STONE, published by Firefly Press, was shortlisted for the Welsh Book Council’s children’s book award and for the CWG teacher’s award. Her new book THE JEWELLED JAGUAR is now available on Amazon and in all good bookshops.

She is a member of The Society of Authors, The Scattered Authors Society and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Sharon’s Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/2yZsmjw

The Jewelled Jaguar is published by http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/

 

Firefly Press

 

 

My Last Saturday Round-Up Of the Brilliant Authors #authors & Poets #poets at the Narberth Book Fair #BookFair

Titleband for Narberth Book Fair

Gathering the last of those authors and poets who joined in with the interviews to  help to show what a treat is in store at our book fair. Do please drop in to our website:   Narberth Book Fair, cleverly put together by the brilliant Thorne Moore.

There are forty authors, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults: workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children; Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire. Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

There is still time to  enter the poetry competition: competition Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter and, hopefully, will be with us at the fair), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

The line up so far:

Judith Barrow

Thorne Moore

Juliet Greenwood

Graham Watkins

Rebecca Bryn

Helen Williams

Sally Spedding

Katy Whateva

Sara Gethin

Cheryl Rees-Price

Jackie Biggs

Judith Arnopp

Colin R Parsons

Kate Murray

Hugh Roberts

Carol Lovekin

Catherine Marshall

Tracey Warr

Steve Thorpe

Wendy Steele

I must say I’ve enjoyed interviewing all the poets and authors and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. There will still be plenty of news about the book fair over the next few weeks. In the meantime, do think about entering the competition and don’t forget to put your name down for any of the workshops; numbers are limited.
Titleband for Narberth Book Fair

My Series of Authors & Poets Interviews #author #poet Narberth Book Fair#BookFair. Today with Sharon Tregenza #MondayBlogs

Titleband for Narberth Book Fair

Throughout this months I ’ll be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair:  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.

There are forty authors, so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults  workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children  Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.  Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition:  competition . Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

Our author today is my great friend and children’s writer, Sharon Tregenza

Sharon Tregenza

Tell us, Sharon, why do you write?

I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I didn’t write, I’ve been doing it for so long now.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

I can’t honestly say there’s been a book that has influenced my life – that sounds a bit grand. There have been a few books that may have influenced my writing.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

‘Holes’ by Louis Sacher. It’s a master class in layering and stitching together bits of myth and magic to create a fascinating whole.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I get something to physically embody the story. For instance, I’m writing another children’s mystery – this time about the trapping of songbirds so I bought myself a pretty glass greenfinch to hang in my study.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Work schedule? Ha. Haha. Hahaha. 

Stop laughing, Hahahaha…  I’m only asking the questions!! 

Tarantula Tide 2008 (Kelpies)

 How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written five. Three are published one seems to be going by the wayside and the fifth I’m tweaking now. My favourite? Probably ‘The Jewelled Jaguar’ as it’s the most recently published.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

My books are for Middle Grade (8-12). I’m working on a couple of picture books though and if I chose another genre it would be cosy murders – you know, Miss Marple kind of thing. They seem like they’d be fun to write.

 In three words, can you describe your latest book?

Children’s – adventure – mystery.

What is your favourite part of the book?

The ending. I’ve must have read and rewritten it umpteen times but it still makes me well up. How sad is that. Haha.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I’d spend time with Rhodri Tudor because he’s a dude. He’s smart and kind and funny and plays folk guitar.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do. Because they’re kids they say the sweetest things and it always lifts my heart. They’re the harshest critics too mind. You don’t want to short change them, trust me. 

The Shiver Stone

 Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

If they’re hidden it’s because I want ‘em to stay that way.  😉

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I like to secretly connect words or characters in some way just for my own entertainment. Often I don’t mention the connections to anyone. For instance in the book I’m working on now (which will be called The Black Peacock) I’ve given all the characters names related to birds (Damn – I’ve told you that secret now. J)

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Socialise (preferably with wine) read and listen to stories, exercise.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing?

Oh, good grief. How long have you got? If I had to pick one quickly it might be when I visited Egyptian friends in Cairo and was given a bowl of melted ice cream as the Muezzin called the faithful to prayer from the Minaret outside and Benny Hill blasted out of their TV set.

 Give us a random fact about yourself.

I LOVE quirky properties. I’ve lived in part of a church, an old Mill House and am now in a converted chapel. I’m about to downsize so who knows what’s next? Windmill?

 Sharon’s Links:

 website
Facebook
Twitter

 

 

My Fifth Saturday Round-Up Of All the Brilliant Authors #authors & Poets #poets at the Narberth Book Fair #BookFair

Titleband for Narberth Book FairGathering even more of us all together this week to show what a treat is in store at our book fair. Do please drop in to our website:   Narberth Book Fair, cleverly put together by the brilliant Thorne Moore.

Will be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair for some weeks to come.

There are forty authors, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults: workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children; Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire. Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition: competition Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter and, hopefully, will be with us at the fair), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

The line up so far:

Judith Barrow

Thorne Moore

Juliet Greenwood

Graham Watkins

Rebecca Bryn

Helen Williams

Sally Spedding

Katy Whateva

Sara Gethin

Cheryl Rees-Price

Jackie Biggs

Judith Arnopp

Colin R Parsons

Kate Murray

Hugh Roberts

Carol Lovekin

Catherine Marshall

Tracey Warr

Steve Thorpe

Wendy Steele

My Fourth Saturday Round-Up Of All the Brilliant Authors #authors & Poets #poets at the Narberth Book Fair #BookFair

Just gathering more of us all together to show what a treat is in store at our book fair. Do please drop in to our website:   Narberth Book Fair, cleverly put together by the brilliant Thorne Moore.

Will be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair for some weeks to come.

There are forty authors, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults: workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children; Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire. Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition: competition Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter and, hopefully, will be with us at the fair), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

The line up so far:

Judith Barrow

Thorne Moore

Juliet Greenwood

Graham Watkins

Rebecca Bryn

Helen Williams

Sally Spedding

Katy Whateva

Sara Gethin

Cheryl Rees-Price

Jackie Biggs

Judith Arnopp

Colin R Parsons

Kate Murray

Hugh Roberts

Carol Lovekin

My Series of Author & Poet Interviews at Narberth Book Fair #MondayBlogs. Today with Colin R Parsons.

Over the next few weeks I ’ll be posting interviews with the authors who will be taking part in our Book Fair:  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.

There are forty authors, so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults  workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children  Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.  Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition:  competition . Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

BOOKS AND READING.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

Colin Parsons

Our author today is Colin R Parson who writes Children’s and Young Adult fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Hi Colin, Please tell us first, why you write?

Because it makes me happy, and that is precious.

What do you love most about the writing process?

That moment… the part of writing, that lights you up like a firework. Nothing else quite compares. It’s when you’re in a writing frenzy, and nothing else matters.

What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

To be recognised and appreciated for what I do. Everyone wants to be famous – and… so do I, but, I want to make a mark too. I don’t know if I am supposed to do this, but I enjoy it and want to get as high, as I possibly can in this field.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. And, because it got me reading when I was a kid. I think it was ingenious of someone to write about a piece of furniture that became a time portal. Also, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Just because of chapter 5 Danse Macabre: where humans and ghosts danced together in the town square – that… blew me away.

Who is your favourite author?

Kenneth Oppel, a Canadian children’s author, but hold on Neil Gaiman, oops, Derek Landy, sorry, there are so many.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

A bit of both I think. Recently, from people I know, but in the past my imagination.

Have you thought about joining with another author to write a book?

I almost did once, but it never came to fruition. There are obvious artistic problems that can pop up, so not sure if I’d actually do it.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

I think JRR Tolkien. He eventually took the world by storm with his amazing series. No one was doing it, and he took the bull by the horns, and never looked back.

If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction who would you write about?

I don’t know who he is, but the guy who invented the fridge. That appliance changed the world. As a guy, he must have been really cool!

Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes, I have to have a writing pad in my bag, and a gel pen. Batteries die, but paper and pen don’t, and they don’t glitch out either. Also, when starting a novel – I will set up twenty or thirty word files, with a title, and then fill them up, with a 1000 words each. I also never know where I’m going in a plot.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

It varies. I run a lot of school visits, and can only write, when and where I am on that particular day. When I’m not doing schools, I’ll walk to my local library and spend the morning writing there. Or, pop into my study and try and keep off Facebook, and just write.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I don’t think so. I’ve always written stuff as a kid, but didn’t get into being an author until my early thirties.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think something that grabs your attention, right from the start. Plenty of fast-paced action, with a large dollop of danger, and situations that are almost impossible to escape, but you just manage to get out of.

  How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Eleven books to date. None are my favourites, as each one was as exciting to write as the next.

Killian Spooks and the Ghosted Children

 

 

 

 

 

Wizards' KingdomProduct Details

 

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

D.I.S.C. Direct Interface Shadow Control is about Joseph Lanes. He’s bright, funny and scared. He leaves school at the end of each day, only to be bullied by the Mackenzie Brothers. They beat him up, and throw him in the mud. Lying in the mud one sunny day, he discovers a disk. This changes him forever. It takes him to Ether World where he meets other emotionally and physically bullied kids. They have to save the earth, and he has to confront the bullies in the end. This book has everything you need to enjoy a good adventure.

D.I.S.C.: Direct-Interface-Shadow-Control

 

In three words, can you describe your latest book?

Warriors, robots and friendships.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

The characters define the story. They take over me. I write the story around them. I could have an idea for a character, but the protagonist will reveal how he or she will behave.

 If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Zade – from House of Darke. He’s really cool, but also vulnerable. I think we’d explore deep in the depths of somewhere, battling wild creatures and menacing robots.

House of Darke

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I get emails sometimes, and messages from excited readers. They tell me how much my work, makes them happy, and inspires them to write themselves. I get tons of feedback after a workshop in a school. They are enthused.

 Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I can make myself invisible when its time to do the garden.

 Hahahaha!! I bet! What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I always use my Fisher Space Pen (manufactured by NASA) to sign books.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love walking. I love watching movies, and go to the cinema whenever I can. Also, tennis and rugby and formula one are my favourite sports.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing

I went up the mountain and built a house out of ferns, when I was a kid. Not actually realising that when it started to pour down with rain, that my friends and I would get wet (we thought the ferns were water proof). We all ran down the mountain, laughing out heads off, until mam saw us soaking wet, and made us have a bath, while she washed our clothes.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

I don’t like the furry outside of peaches. It goes through me when I eat them, so I don’t.

 Links to Colin:

Website
Facebook