Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Writer’s Notebook

I am pressing on with the research for my new story. I want to  absorb the feeling of the period I am writing about which is the latter part of the nineteenth century. The story  is steeped in mystery, women’s rights (in this case a women with no rights at all) the goldfields of Ballarat and a small country town in South Australia. I usually don’t discuss the story I am working on but a few words here and there on this blog might lead the curious reader to discover who and what I will be writing about.

A wonderful discovery recently is  The Journals of Mary O’Brien 1828-1838 edited by Audrey Saunders Miller.

The journals (to quote from the inside cover of the book) belongs immediately on the bookshelf alongside the works of Anna Jameson, Susanna Moodie, and Mrs Simcoe as a colourful and fetching portrait of life in early Ontario.

Her journals record the immensely varied life of Upper Canada – visits to Niagara Falls and the bustling town of York, Treaty Day among Indians at Lake Simcoe, household life and friendship.

Excerpts from the journals.

May 26 (Spring 1829) – The apple trees are in blossom. The wheat is six or seven inches high and very promising, and the oats which Bill sowed are quite green. Cucumbers and onions are coming up in the open ground; asparagus in perfection, early potatoes just sprouting. My mosquito bites are still numerous – six active and eight dying away.

June 11 (Spring 1829) – Pleasantly warm again. After dinner I rode with Fanny through some of the most magnificent woods. Our business was to order some butter tubs to be made by a cooper who lives there. Fanny was startled to see a pedlar with his bag of drapery and little mahogony box in so wild a scene, but I believe no inhabited spot is beyond this class of adventure.

A few lines on an excursion to Lake Simcoe, July 1829.

Now Mr O’Brien has got into our canoe and paddled out to get a water lily which is spreading its beauty to be admired by the frogs. Now we get into the lake and make way. The Indians’ canoes cast off and I, casting my eyes on the water, see the whoe verdant carpeting of its bed – every leaf and insect distinct. Now I am attracted by the Indians on the bows who are singing in a rich soft voice a common psalm tune to Indian words.

The best part of any research is to read diaries from the time and while Mary’s journal is not connected to my own research I have enjoyed reading them for the vivid word pictures they paint.

Have a wonderful writing week, Elise x

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A Writer’s Notebook

I have changed the title of my Sunday blog from A Writer’s Journey to A Writer’s Notebook. It occurred for me to do so because many people these days speak of some kind of journey or other. I have borrowed  the title from W. Somerset Maughan’s notebook published in 1949.

Taken from page 57 of WSM’s notebook. 

Picadcadilly before dawn. After the stir and ceaselss traffic of the day, the silence of Piccadilly early in the morning, in the small hours, seems barely credible. It is unnatural and rather ghostly.

Next Sunday will be my first blog for A Writer’s Notebook, I like the new title for my blog.

Cheers, Elise x

 

 

 

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First Family of Biographers

Cheryl Bolen's Regency Ramblings

© Cheryl Bolen

Those of you who read my blogs know I’m a passionate reader of biographies, especially ones about dead Englishmen and women. Quite by accident a few years ago, I realized many of these biographies I’d read were written by three generations of women in a remarkable British family.

These non-fiction titles from my personal shelves were all penned by members of Lady Elizabeth Longford's family.l These non-fiction titles from my personal shelves were all penned by members of Lady Elizabeth Longford’s family.

This dynasty began with the intellectual Elizabeth Longford (1906-2002), a mother of eight and wife of Frank Packenham, later 7th Earl of Longford (a descendant of the 1st Duchess of Wellington). Elizabeth’s firstborn is eminent biographer Antonia Fraser (b. 1932), and Antonia’s daughter Flora (b. 1958) is one of the premiere biographers in England today.

I hung on every line of Elizabeth’s 1986 autobiography, The Pebbled Shore. She and her future husband were in the first wave of Oxford intellectuals following…

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Mythological Book Launch & Goodreads Giveaway!

Wonderful read Ekaterina

Ekaterina's Greek Expectations

Last Saturday I celebrated the launch of my new book Theseus & the Mother-in-Law and other Myths & Legends with a gathering of close friends and family in my hometown of Leigh-on-Sea.

Once again my plate-smashingly brilliant mother did all the hard work and laid on a magnificent Greek feast, which included such Greek culinary delights as moussaka (naturally), spanakopita, galaktoboureko, cherry cheesecake, three kinds of chocolate cake (we cater for all!), two types of flan, dips, salad and lots and lots of ouzo.

Like at my last book launch, I noticed that people were far more interested in the food than my literary endeavours. I think I made a huge mistake by placing the books away from the buffet table. Next time, I will stick them IN the moussaka.

Jokes aside, I was hugely grateful for all the support I received for my new book and very moved by everyone’s encouraging…

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October 19, 2014 · 9:47 am

Mixing fact and fiction in the Wimbledon Guardian

Great news about your new book Ekaterina…

Ekaterina's Greek Expectations

Huge thanks to the Wimbledon Guardian this week for featuring my new book. You can read the original post here. Coincidentally my husband’s family and the family restaurant also featured in the paper this week. Looks like the Greeks are invading!

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My Writing Journey

Finally finished my WIP (work-in-progress)! I have had time away from my blog and now look forward to writing it again each Sunday morning. I have put the finished novel aside and will re-visit it in a week or so. It’s amazing what fresh eyes pick up in the manuscript. The publisher who asked to see the finished novel has resigned from her position and kindly let me know. She is not working in publishing at the moment but I have a feeling she will return to it one day. I have an idea for a new story but not sure if I will pursue it. I have a busy three weeks coming up so time to enjoy the thinking stage of writing. I’ll let you know how it all goes. Have a good writing week, Elise x

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