Morag’s House

For the whole of this month, we’ve been touring Scotland in our small camper van. Our favourite place of all are the islands of Lewis and Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. Here’s an exclusive preview of one of the poems you’ll find in the first volume of Postcards from the Van, which will be released by Wild Pressed Books in November. The house in question is one Phil and I both fell in love with, and discovered we’d been there before when we parked next to it in our old van and stopped to have a cup of tea, in 2014.

Morags house

Morag’s House. Photo (c) Tracey Scott-Townsend

Morag’s House

Empty house at the end of the land, where Morag lived for many years.
They tell us she loved her sheep, kept them with her in the house
Had a parrot cage, especially for the lambs.
She loved her sheep; a few of them still hang around.
We first saw Morag’s house four years ago, she would’ve been in it then.
The post van called while we were there but I don’t think we saw Morag
I wish we had because we’ve heard so much about her since:
Morag was a lovely woman,
Didn’t get on with her cousins,
Never needed a man to fix her roof.
From Morag’s house you can watch sea otters
Rolling, splashing and dipping in
The ever-changing colours of the water
At the foot of her garden –
I wonder if they know that Morag’s gone.

© Tracey Scott-Townsend 2018. All rights reserved.

Lickisto

The sea in front of Morag’s house. Photo (c) Tracey Scott-Townsend

buy a copy of my first poetry collection So Fast Here

and read Linda Hill’s review of it Here

 

#BookReview VOX by Christina (@CVDalcher) #100Words #VOX @HQstories

A great review from Kelly Lacey of a book on a theme that should make us all sit up and take notice in the times in which we live.

Love Books Group

VOX Cover black.jpg

  • Dystopian
  • Comtemporary
  • Fiction
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (21 Aug. 2018)

|Synopsis|

In a world where women are silenced, would you speak up?

Greetings, to all Pure Women.

You should all be fitted with your new wrist counters. A symbol of your purity and devotion to your family. Life is simpler now. Just 100 words a day.

Your role is in the house. Your husband takes care of everything else.

You’re free.

Instead, you should focus on values of modesty, submission, humility and purity. Love, honour and most importantly, obey. You know the rules. Just one word over 100 and your wrist counter will send 1,000 volts through your body. Choose your words carefully.

You have the right to remain silent.

| Review|

Thoughts on the…..cover

I was instantly drawn to the cover and the synopsis of the book. The bold red letters against the black is so stunning…

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Challenge by Dominic Nelson-Ashley

I love this poem about being a father, by Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley. Reblogged from http://www.celebratingchange.blog

Celebrating Change

Guest editor Degna Stone was attracted to this poem because it shows “the ever changing relationship between a parent and child. The challenge of responding to someone who is constantly evolving to find their place within the world.”

I knew she was a girl before she arrived.

Didn’t have to tell me.

A father knows these things.

Don’t let nobody tell you different.

I think the first word she said was ‘Why?’

Not ‘Mummy’ or ‘Daddy’ or ‘Love’

But ‘Why?’

I take her abroad.

She sits,

Amongst the sand dunes

Treads on castles

Watches,

Takes in every moment, every movement

Refuses to rhumba.

Not interested in the festivities,

Celebrating

with the B-team performers

Jovial about nothing more than

we’re on holiday

And they’re getting paid

She looks with side eye

Or over the rim of her glasses

saying the same thing every day

Are you up for the challenge…

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Another Rebecca by Tracey Scott-Townsend

Delighted to receive this wonderful review of Another Rebecca (release date 13th September) from Tracey Ford. Thank you!

The Reading Shed

This is the first book I have read by @authortrace, It’s not my usual genre, but Tracey is a local lady from my hometown and to be honest, the storyline sounded very intriguing.

I was a little confused in parts but it soon came together. This was a very sensitive, emotional, gritty, mysterious and infact amazing book, I started reading and couldn’t wait to find out what was on the next page.

Tracey really is a wonderful writer, she somehow gets under your skin and draws you in, she most certainly drew me in. I really enjoyed this book.

Never stick to your normal genre, get out there, try something different. You might just fall upon a gem like I have in ANOTHER REBECCA.

I give this book 5*

A gripping psychological family drama about Rebecca Grey, a sensitive girl who’s spent her childhood caring for her alcoholic mother, Bex…

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Books for Free?

The writer’s dilemma – from Kathy Sharp

Kathy Sharp

I’ve just read a cri de coeur on social media from yet another writer ready to throw in the towel. Not that she intends to give up writing, you understand – what she is giving up is the unequal struggle to make even a very modest living from it.

When I began writing novels I certainly never expected to earn a living from it – but even I was taken aback by the amount of effort (writing itself, promotion) that I needed to put in to receive even a tiny return. The increasing expectation for the written word to be provided for free, at least over the internet, certainly doesn’t help.

I have long since thrown in the towel myself. The struggle to sell reading material, even at a very low price, became more trouble than it was worth when it began to affect my health. I still have books…

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So Fast by Tracey Scott-Townsend

Linda's Book Bag

So Fast

I first met Tracey Scott-Townsend when I went to Oceans of Words, at which Tracey was speaking and you can see my write up here. I’ll be welcoming Tracey to Linda’s Book Bag on 6th October to stay in with me and tell me about one of her books, but today I’m delighted to share my review of So Fast, Tracey’s collection of poetry and I would like to thank her so much for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.

Published by Wild Pressed Books So Fast is available from Amazon, but Tracey will always send a signed copy if you contact her through her website.

So Fast

So Fast

Motherhood, family, sense of place and reflections on the human condition are at the heart of this collection of poems, mainly written in 2017.

My Review of So Fast

A collection of intimate…

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Paul Marriner: Guest post on Why He Writes

Today I’m welcoming Paul Marriner to my website, talking about WHY he writes (as opposed to how, where or what genre he writes in… Thanks for joining us, Paul.

Paul on holday jpg

When I tell people I write the most common question is, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ not, ‘Why?’ Perhaps they assume it’s for the glory and the money – ha ha. So when I asked myself the question I went back to the beginning.

From an early age I read avidly. Our local library was stuffed with books where I found adventure, excitement, characters I could relate to and wanted to meet, trivia and facts (perhaps a boy thing?) and a place where my imagination could be in jeopardy while I was still in my bedroom. In short, entertainment and education – though many might say much of what I learned has been most useful in pub quizzes and crosswords. And the great news was that as I grew, I found books for each age, including, let’s be honest, a few ‘unsavoury’ tales that were best hidden from my parents (The Mack Bolan Mafia revenge series? Yes, really). Interestingly, I never thought of reading as a form of escapism. I had a busy, active childhood and teenage years and books were not a refuge in any sense, but great entertainment in a world with few tv channels and no internet.

The Godfather jpgCatch 22 jpg

By the middle of my teenage years I had perfected the art of immersing myself in books like ‘The Godfather’, ‘Catch22’, anything by Alastair Maclean or Arthur Hailey, and, dare I say it, ‘Chopper’ and ‘The Run’ (you may need to look up those last two). And I couldn’t understand how not everyone found it so easy to ‘jump’ into a book. I should say that at this stage, though I enjoyed writing stories for my English classes, I had little interest in the academic side of learning why the traditional greats of fiction (eg. Dickens, Austen, Hardy) were so lauded. In my later teenage years I began to think about how wonderful it must be to be able to write stories that pulled the reader in, engaged them and, in some way, educated – even if still in terms of ‘boyish’ facts, like where to get a sniper’s rifle made (‘Day Of The Jackal’). Then my grandmother gave me a copy of ‘Boys And Girls Together’ by William Goldman (I remember to this day her telling me it was a little ‘racy’ for her) and I began to think a little about how stories are structured and characters developed.

something happened jpgcuckoo's nest jpg

I read more of Joseph Heller and William Goldman’s work and started on John Irving. And not only was I being entertained and reading ingenious ways of using the English (American?) language, I was introduced to different-thinking characters that I’d never meet in real life. I was also being subtly asked to think about new ideas (at least, new to me) regarding politics, gender, race, love, hate, life and death. And more and more I was asking myself, ‘What would I have done?’ in response to the conflicts (be they moral or physical) being fought by my favourite protagonists – not all of which were heroes. It was probably about this time I read ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ for the first, but not the last, time. I also read some Sci-fi (‘Dune’ etc.), fantasy (‘Lord Of The Rings’, the Thomas Covenant series), thrillers and crime novels and enjoyed them immensely for the interesting ideas and imagination they brought. They, too, raised important questions but I often struggled to place myself into the story. In case it’s of interest, I also read books by the likes of Tom Sharpe and George MacDonald Fraser both of whom were hugely talented story tellers with a skill for pacey narratives and humour.

I had become a big fan of William Goldman and his ability to write great stories in any genre, not to mention screen plays, and I started to wonder about what it took to be not just a story teller but a writer. In particular a quote from Goldman struck a chord with me (though I don’t think his was the original quote). It went something like, ‘Believe you have secrets to tell.’ From this I inferred that it was ok to have some confidence that you ‘knew’ or ‘saw’ something many others didn’t and finding a way to tell them, in a story, was a worthwhile pursuit.

So I tried to write some stories and it was very, very difficult. By now life, family, work, sport and music was keeping me busy, though I kept reading. All the time I harboured an aspiration to write something that would entertain (that word yet again), might hold up a mirror to the reader, reveal (perceived) secrets and nudge them to ask questions of themselves and others. That was what I’d found in my favourite books and to do all that within a story of my own creation would be an achievement.

Whether I failed or succeeded it would have to be writing the stories I wanted to, in my own style, whatever that might turn out to be… Which is what I’m doing, though it’s not always easy to type with fingers crossed that there’s an audience out there somewhere that will enjoy the engagement, look into the mirror I’m trying to hold up and think about some questions perhaps they hadn’t considered before. Sometimes I write a piece which edges close to achieving those aims (in my view) and occasionally the prose is interesting, perhaps even ‘alive’, in some sense. And on those rare occasions the satisfaction makes the hard work, knock-backs and self-doubt worthwhile – and, boiling it right down, that’s really why I write, for those rare moments.

I should add I also had some small hope that I could write stories which encouraged me to explore and understand some of my own history, background and motivations. To an extent this has been the case but I feel I’m still not clear in my own mind about the success, or otherwise, of that, so perhaps it’s a topic for another time. It may turn out this is the best reason of all for me to write, but it’s early days yet…

I’d like to finish with a big thank you to Tracey for giving me a reason to take a step back and think through some stuff I hadn’t properly considered before.

Paul

Paul on drums

Check out Paul’s novel The Blue Bench here