Monday, 23 October 2017

Competition time

For you or for someone special.

The knight and his horse.

I realise that things have been a little quiet on this blog over the last little while, for which I apologise; I've had my head down while working on the fourth in The Camelot Inheritance series.
It's going well (I'm about half way through), but it does need an awful lot of concentration. However, I've torn myself away long enough to post this competition.

I really enjoy being able to run these. In the past I've sent prizes to winners in England,Wales, Ireland and further afield to the USA.

This time the prize is a signed and dedicated copy of 'The Golden Sword' - the first in The Camelot Inheritance series; a model knight and his horse, and a Cornish bookmark. 


I'm timing it so that with a fair wind behind us, the package should arrive in time for Christmas. That way if you're wanting to give it to someone special, it could be a surprise Christmas present.

Entering is very easy.
Simply put your name and email address in the contact box in the sidebar of this blog (scroll down on this page) by Friday 8th December 2017.
I'll be pulling the winner's name out of the electronic hat on Saturday 9th December. Then I'll contact the winner for their postal address in time to send it off on Monday 11th December.

One other thing. If you have time and you've read any of my books, I would be delighted if you could tell me if there was a particular character (animal or human), or episode that caught your imagination. It gives me immense pleasure to hear from my readers. Each and every letter makes a difference to my day.

In the next few weeks for those of you who are so patiently waiting, I'll post an excerpt from Book 4. Of course it's unlikely to be exactly the same in the final, published story, but at least it will give you a flavour of how things will be for Arthur and his allies!

((The official bit: There's one prize and the draw will be electronic and unbiased. Once drawn it will be final. Entries will be accepted from the UK and Ireland, USA, Canada, and throughout Europe. Last entry 8/12/17.)

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Land of the Vikings and the midnight sun (well, almost) . . .


  Let me introduce you to the Orkneys


Hello!
It’s been a while since the last post, partly due to quite a lot going on here in Cornwall, and also because Pete and I have been travelling to carry out more research.

This time we didn't travel to London but to one of the other settings for Book 4 - the Orkneys; magical, wild and wonderful Scottish islands.

We flew from Newquay in Cornwall to Edinburgh in Scotland, and then on a small plane to Kirkwall on the Mainland, Orkney's largest island.

Our first glimpse and introduction to these
magical islands.


The Orkney islands are right at the top of the map, off the coast of Scotland. They’re about 800 miles from where we live in Cornwall, close to Britain's toe. (I won’t say Britain’s bottom!)
Although Scotland is another Celtic land, and the Orkneys are part of Scotland, the Orcadians are also very proud of their Viking heritage because hundreds of years ago this little group of islands was invaded by the fiery Vikings. 



The Vikings settled here for many centuries before eventually giving the islands back to Scotland.
I particularly liked some of the warriors' names: Thorfinn Skull-splitter, Havard Harvest-Happy, Sigurd the Stout! (If you want to find out more there's an excellent site:http://www.orkneyjar.com/orkney/index.html ).

Interesting fact: The DNA of 60% of the male Orcadians has been discovered to be Scandinavian.

However I wanted to find out about other aspects of see the Orkney's history as well - and to get a feel for the landscape. Top of my list of things to see were the standing stones which combine both the history and the land.
The standing stones on Orkney's Mainland.
Another interesting fact: There are stone circles dotted throughout Britain. (It's thought that the earliest are probably those in the north.) For book purposes I wanted to get a feel of those in Orkney because we've got a stone circle which is just ten minutes drive from our house. The link intrigues me.
These are the Hurlers, a ring of standing stones on Bodmin Moor
close to my home.
I also wanted to get a feel for the landscape. Photographs give you some idea, but you need to go to a place to get under its skin. For me, the setting is an integral and important part of any book. I found that although the Orkney islands are beautiful, they're also windswept (there are few trees) and very wild. The sea and the wind dictate much of how life is lived. Because the islands are so northerly in the summer the sun barely sets. It's still quite light at past 11 in the evening in late June, whereas in the winter the days are very short because the sun barely rises above the horizon. Laurence (see below) told us that by 3pm in winter it's going dark!  
A close-up of a standing stone

Staggeringly high cliffs; home to hundreds of wheeling, screeching birds.
If you like wild and lonely, you'd love it here.
A solitary Pete!


And there was the wildlife! So much of it. Many, many birds. I'm not very good at bird photos, but the blobs in the second photo are seals in Scapa Flow which we spotted on a boat trip with the delightful Laurence of the Dawn Star. ( http://www.orkneyboattrips.co.uk/dawnstar.html )
He took us around Scapa Flow - a site very much linked with both WWI and WWII, and showed us the wrecks of huge ships sunk during the wars on his boat's sonar.



Apart from the standing stones and the birds and seals I wanted to see some of the other ancient sites. So we went here, to the Tomb of the Eagles.


Inside the tomb there were many skulls and skeletons and eagle remains, which explains why the tomb is called the Tomb of the Eagles. Once you get inside the tomb, it's high enough to stand up and big enough to fit several people. A Collie dog, like Lightning in The Camelot Inheritance series and one of my favourite breeds, was in there but it was far from happy. It's ears were flat and it was really keen to get out. It reminded me of the scene in The Golden Sword with Arthur and Lightning outside the Granite House.

And then we visited Skara Brea.
Skara Brae. I took this photo to show what is thought
 to be a sort of dresser like a cupboard.
Skara Brae is a wonderfully preserved neolithic village, thousands of years old.  It shows just how clever our ancient ancestors were! It's not only the ancient Greeks and Egyptians and the Aztecs who were ingenious. (Although I must admit, a pyramid is pretty impressive.) 

However our trip wasn't only lonely windswept cliffs and beaches and ancient monuments - we took in some other sights too.
https://www.facebook.com/kirkwallcitypb
We were treated to a wonderful
display by Kirkwall City Pipe Band.
And then more live music in The Reel.

Then there was the haggis and a trip to a distillery, but Book 4 is waiting for me so I'm going to leave it at that! 
This post is going to be the last for a while, I want to be able to concentrate on the writing. The story is coming along but it needs some quality time without too many distractions. If you've got to this part, thanks for reading my post. Perhaps when you eventually get to read the fourth in The Camelot Inheritance, you'll be able to spot the links between our adventuring and what happens to Gawain.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

And the winner is?

Who is going to be Dragon's owner?

(Apart from Nick Borlase.)

It seems frivolous to be writing this blog post about books and a competition within a few days of the terrible bombing in Manchester - so I thought it right that competition and book news could come further down this particular post.
  
My parents came from Oldham, on Manchester’s outskirts, before moving down to Devon – so I grew up regularly travelling the three hundred miles to visit my grandad. It was a long drive, but it was worth it to see him. (If you live in a country with space and the roads to match it might not seem far, but believe me, it is when you’re driving over here.) I loved going into the bakery for an Eccles cake (look it up!), or the newsagents for a comic and sweets. I was fascinated by the cobbled alleys and the rows of red-bricked houses. It was all so different to where I lived in Plympton.
But the main thing I noticed wasn’t the shops or the houses, it was everyone’s friendliness. You didn’t need to know someone to have a conversation; you just had to be somewhere nearby.
So it was no surprise to hear and read of the kindness and heroism defiantly shown by strangers on Monday night, and the many acts of love and care - the antithesis to such unimaginable cruelty: It was light in the face of darkness.
As has been said by many commentators - Manchester is a big-hearted place.
And it's brim-full of big-hearted people.  

Competition news. 


And now onto the lighter stuff, and the competition:
‘The Camelot Inheritance’ series resolutely features light against dark.
Some of you have been kind enough to write lovely reviews – so it’s wonderful that I can run a competition to say ‘thank you’ to all my readers.

Originally there was going to be just one winner – but in the end I plumped for two; one from Facebook and one from this blog. 

Although it wasn’t compulsory some entrants also went the extra mile and suggested names for Dragon (he will be named by the end of Book 4); one really grabbed my imagination.
I’m not going to tell you what it is because I want it to remain a surprise, but I can tell you that the winning name was suggested by Luke.
So Luke, thank you. Your package will be on its way to you very soon.

The other winner is from Facebook; Amanda entered for her son Tom. Thanks for entering Amanda, and I hope Tom enjoys it!

Book news.   

Book 4 is about five chapters in and features a couple of well-known places in London which Pete and I visited last November. One of the places is the British Museum. It’s a vast area and there is so much to see that really you need more than a mere day, but here are a few photos which have inspired the opening chapter of the book.  

http://www.britishmuseum.org/

I have no idea who this person is, but
he, very usefully, demonstrates the statue's size,


And a tiny excerpt from what might be the beginning of Chapter One of Book 4.

(Nothing is final until the last, fully-edited, copy is sent off!)

Chapter One

Tamar nudged Arthur. ‘Don’t look now … but that statue blinked.’
‘What?’
‘The statue behind you, the one with wings and a human face, it blinked.’
Despite her instruction, Arthur spun around. ‘The one that looks like a lion with wings?’
She nodded. 
‘O-kay.’
Catching a stone statue moving wasn’t new to him, he’d come across one before, but that one had been on his side. He didn’t fancy finding out whether or not this statue was friendly. It was way too big.
He turned and caught hold of Tamar’s arm. ‘Let’s move away.’ He lowered his voice. ‘Slowly.’
‘It can’t do anything … can it?’ Tamar asked uncertainly. ‘I mean, how can an ancient Assyrian statue, in the British Museum in the middle of London, do anything?’
‘I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.’ Arthur said, and began edging away. A memory rumbled. ‘It could listen.’
Tamar examined the statue’s head. A sort of headdress covered any ears it might have.
‘We weren’t saying anything worth listening to, were we?’
‘Just think what we were talking about!’
She did a quick re-run of their conversation and realised that Arthur was right. The stuff they’d been discussing had definitely been worth hearing.
She risked another quick look at the statue. It was massive, probably several metres high. It towered above the tourists and groups of schoolchildren. If it did do anything, there could be carnage.


I hope you enjoyed that piece. I will be posting other excerpts from time to time but until then, best wishes from Cornwall. Rosie X

Monday, 10 April 2017

It's spring, time for a competition.

Competition time -

for you, or someone special.

Spring is here - well almost, and as a bit of a celebration I thought it would be great to run a little competition. It's open to everyone in Europe, Canada, the USA, or here in the UK.

The prize includes a model dragon, a dedicated and signed Time Smugglers (for you or that special someone) and a Celtic bookmark sent to you from me.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Smugglers-Camelot-Inheritance-Book/dp/1500531626/ref=pd_sim_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QXHBZ529DAY66MZEV92K

And the prize is  . . .

Entering is easy.
Just put your name and your email in the contact box in the sidebar. (Always check with an adult if you're under 18, or ask your adult to do it for you.)
The competition runs until May 25th. If you win I'll email you for your postal address - and then you can tell me what you'd like as the dedication.
And whether or not you've read The Time Smugglers, perhaps you could come up with a name for Dragon. If one of you comes up with and inspired suggestion, I may use it in Book 4. It would have to be one that Nick would choose. So remember, Nick's an outdoors sort of person. He likes his food, doesn't particularly like reading and rarely takes life too seriously. Over to you!

(I'm also running this competition on my Facebook page. You can enter there as well. https://www.facebook.com/writingrosie )

That's it - just a short post this time.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Meet Dragon's creator!

Helen - the talent behind the pencil


Too much time has elapsed since Dragon made his entrance in The Time Smugglers; too many months without me introducing you to his creator. 
Helen is one talented person, have a look at these illustrations they speak for themselves - and this is just a hobby! 






Perhaps appropriately, Helen is training in animal psychology - she could start on Dragon, although our cats, Oz and James, could do with a bit of sorting out! 

Yesterday I visited a school not far from where we live. It's a three class village school hidden in the Cornish countryside. (Having taught in village schools, I've experienced the invaluable family-feeling difficult to replicate elsewhere.)

http://www.cardinhamschool.co.uk/

I had a wonderful time with Owl class and its mixture of Year 3 and 4 pupils. Although they're being read the first in The Camelot Inheritance series, I read extracts featuring Dragon from the second in the series . . . and then asked the class to do some writing for me. What a pleasure to listen to the results! 
And then the fun when I asked them to draw a dragon of their own. Inspired by Helen's masterpiece's they set to work and produced dragons of every shape and size, each with their very own dragon personality. 
I haven't space for every drawing, but have a look at this selection. Thank you Owl class for all your work. 😄 And a special thank you to: Abigail, Matilda, May Rose, Oliver, Theo, Blake, Emerald, Paige and Ben.












And Helen's reaction to these Dragon-inspired drawings? Rather pleased I think! Well done Owl Class. 😆


Saturday, 10 December 2016

A writer in the Tower of London.

Researching in London.

Last week your intrepid writer ventured beyond the Cornish border, to a city bursting with culture and history.
In the fourth of 'The Camelot Inheritance' series some of the action takes place beyond Cornwall's borders; specifically in London at the British Museum, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
It was a fascinating experience. I've been to London a few times but, maybe because it's approaching Christmas, it seemed more magical than before.

As I mentioned, Tower Bridge, which spans the river Thames is going to be one of the settings in the book.


There is a walkway above the road on the bridge, which is most definitely worth a visit, whether or not you're going to write about it. The views are tremendous, taking in St Paul's Cathedral in the distance, the Shard and of course, the Tower of London. A glass insert in the walkway enables you to look down on the road many meters below. One of the lovely guides coaxed me onto it but I didn't hang around for long!
During the time we were in London, the bridge was
closed to traffic. This view would usually be far more busy.

The views up and down the river are quite stunning, as is the history behind the bridge's building. If you wish to time a visit to see the bridge lift (to enable particularly tall ships sail beneath it), click here to find out more from the Tower Bridge site.
Spot the Gherkin and the Tower of London. 
Ancient and modern architecture sit side by side.
The Tower of London was built circa 1067 - the Gherkin is
considerably newer.
We managed to fit in a visit to the Tower of London on the same day, but if you're going to see these sites, I would recommend that you allow yourself longer.
The Tower of London is bursting with history and with stories, and of course there are the Beefeaters . . . and the ravens.

A Beefeater, one  of the Tower of London's guards,
chatting to a tourist.
The wall around the Tower of London.




Ravens are extremely intelligent birds -
and are part of the same family as crows. 
There is so much I could write about this visit.
The Beefeaters should really be called the Yeoman of the Guard, they are part of the Royal Bodyguard.
Here's a piece from the Tower of London's site: 'The Beefeaters nickname probably comes from their position in the Royal Bodyguard, which allowed them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king's table.'

Then of course there are the Crown Jewels, here's another piece from the site. (The photograph is taken from the Tower of London's site too. Obviously, no one is allowed to take photos in this area!) 'The solid gold St. Edward’s crown (1661) is the heaviest crown in the collection. One of the smallest and lightest is Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown (1870), which she wore with her widow’s veil, is tiny at only 9.4cm high.

The sapphire of the Imperial State Crown 

Crowns are made with the most expensive materials available at the time.  The Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, made for her coronation in 1937, is the only crown in the collection made of platinum.'

And the ravens . . . 

These birds are huge - and very clever.

There's a legend which says, 'that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress: 'According to the stories, it was Charles II who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.' So now there are seven ravens (so that there's one 'spare') kept at the Tower at all times.
If you want to find out more about these birds, click here to be taken to the Tower of London's site and a video about the birds.
There is so much more to write about our London visit, I haven't touched on the British Museum yet. I think that will have to wait until the next post. But in the meantime I'll finish with a detail taken from the Christmas window in Liberty's department store. The theme this year is 'The Nutcracker Suite'.
Christmas is in a couple of weeks time. I'm blown away by the number of people buying 'The Camelot Inheritance' books for presents. If you happen to be one of the people who bought a book, thank you! And if you're one of those who receives a book, I really hope you enjoy it. Write to me here, or on Facebook (here's the link to my page: Rosie - Facebook), and leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers and will always reply :).
Happy Christmas everyone.