Monday, 25 January 2016

Words-Down-the-Line Haiku Leaflet

The new WDTL leaflet is now at Wivenhoe station, free for anyone to take on their commute.  Produced and edited by Sue Dawes, it features Haiku by local writers and artwork by Charmaine McKissock.  For content see:

Friday, 8 January 2016

New title - free to subscribers

For fans of historical romance!

Advice and exhortations for new self-published authors are certainly plentiful. I find the welter of strategies for marketing books and getting noticed very daunting. However, one approach, namely to offer ‘freebies’, seemed feasible, as I have a clutch of novels festering in drawers and on USB sticks. So recently I set to, with help from generous friends and family, and published The Salvaged Heart, an historical romance.

This book had been hacked about and re-written over several years, but still needed editing, as I discovered when I started preparing the text. The experience of producing the book was revealing and helped me understand first hand more about the processes involved in converting texts into printable and electronic formats.

The novel is available free as an ebook to subscribers via my website and is also available as a print book via Amazon.

Friday, 1 January 2016

A Sense of Place 2 - Iceland for Aliens by Philippa Hawley

At this time of year thoughts often turn to planning holidays. How about giving Iceland a visit? 

Here's a little something I wrote after my trip there in 2013. 


We drove through lava fields, vast as Siberian steppes and I waited to be inspired by the sweeping skirts of mountains covered by moss. Lichenous greenery heaped itself over lumps of lava down at ground level whilst higher up it draped shantung-like over an edge, carved like velvet; fabrics folded, pleated and creased by time.
I envisaged tales of trolls hiding behind waterfalls. Rainbows came into view then faded as the sun crept through mists of rain. Pots of gold must be hidden here as ravens flew overhead and whooper swans perched on the volcanic bed. This surely was a place of folk tales and legends – a raven marrying a swan might give birth to a leprechaun, or a troll could cast a spell on a puffin. As it turned out mystical inspiration passed me by.
The stories that captured me were those of my travel companions in this weird and rugged landscape, battling the elements one cold wet September in the remotest of places.
An elderly South African woman, now living in Toronto was travelling alone, still keen to climb rocks, defying her osteoporotic frame. She told naughty stories of
a life well-lived and was not yet ready for bedroom slippers and a quiet life.
An elderly Englishman, a film-maker forced to retire due to hearing loss, travelled with his caring wife who looked after him too well, made him use a stick lest arthritic knees gave way. He’d been places, knew people, loved life.
A stout, middle-aged geography teacher was travelling with a childhood girlfriend. She’d recently met her third husband at a supermarket deli counter doing Saturday morning shopping. The friend was an expert bird watcher, with high-quality binoculars, able to show us puffins, whooper swans, fulmer, skua and wheatear. An excellent companion, she distracted the troubled teacher who was seeking respite from the worries of an aged mother back home but missing her new man.
A group of ten Hong Kong Chinese tourists who lived in Toronto posed at every photo opportunity with dubious camera etiquette, but charmed us still.
A Professor of History from Cape Town, was having some days to herself before sorting out her late aunt’s estate in London. She’d travelled from far in the Southern Hemisphere to the extremes of the north.

We were all mesmerised by the towering icebergs on glacial lagoons – blue, white, black; liquorice allsorts on a cold white sea. We marvelled at the power of volcanoes and the extent of lava fields. We sighed at the beauty of waterfalls and fleeting rainbows that appeared in the haze of spraying water. We were all aliens in an alien land, two degrees south of the Arctic Circle, far out in the North Atlantic at the junction of the North American and Euro-Asian tectonic plates. We walked across the ancient rift valley together and east met west and north met south – now that was inspiring.