Migraine health plan handbook and GIVEAWAY

This book caught my eye as my dad suffers from vertigo. He eats a very “traditional” British home cooked diet with zero fast food and limited sugar anyway, so I was curious what changes he could make.

The Migraine Relief Plan 9781572842090

I found the eight-week transition plan made the shift seem entirely manageable: week one is just assessing the current position, then you have a whole week to sort your fridge and another to sort your freezer. Then you tackle changing breakfasts, then lunches then dinners.

There is a checklist of good/ bad foods, but the best bit is the recipes. These are proper easy meals that my family enjoyed. They are American, but conversions are included, and most of the ingredients are recognisable. In fact my only criticism is, as with all cookbooks, I find them hard to use on a kindle.

To prove just how achievable the recipes are, here’s an example …

SALMON, ASPARAGUS, AND THYME OMELET

Makes 2 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 12–15 minutes

Passive time: N/A

Budget friendly: Very

Per serving: 21g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 21g fat, 5g saturated fat, 129mg sodium, 383mg potassium, 0g fiber

You’ll find that omelets are an easy way to get breakfast or dinner on the table. This simple recipe came about when I had just a small amount of baked salmon left over, and we didn’t eat all the asparagus spears the previous night. I’m lucky to have fresh thyme growing in my garden, which adds lovely flavor, but dried thyme also works perfectly. Asparagus is high in insulin, one of the prebiotic fibers that feeds your good gut bacteria, and is another anti-inflammatory powerhouse.

4 ounces (120g) cooked salmon

3–4 spears fresh or frozen asparagus

12 sprigs fresh thyme, or ¼teaspoon dried thyme (optional)

2 eggs

1–2 tablespoons (15–30mL) heavy cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk

1 tablespoon ghee, organic extra virgin olive oil, or extra virgin coconut oil

  1. Flake the salmon into a bowl.
  2. Cut the asparagus into bite-sized chunks and, if using fresh thyme, strip off the leaves (discard the stems).
  3. Whisk the eggs with the cream and add the thyme leaves or dried thyme. Set aside.
  4. Place a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add the ghee, and swirl the pan to coat. Look for the ghee to start to shimmer before adding the asparagus.
  5. Add the asparagus and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Add the salmon and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes until the pieces start to turn golden.
  7. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook about 5 minutes until nearly set, tilting the pan if necessary to move unset eggs to the edges.
  8. Slide a flexible spatula under the omelet, loosening it, then fold in half.
  9. Cook another 5 minutes, or until completely set. Serve right away.

COOKS’ NOTE: This is the perfect way to use up leftover cooked salmon, which never tastes good microwaved. Canned, unsmoked salmon with no salt added is a fine substitute. Smoked salmon is not included on the migraine diet because smoked and preserved foods contain tyramine, a monoamine compound that triggers migraine attacks in some people. If using leftover pre-cooked asparagus, add it with the salmon during Step 6.

Reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Planby Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, Agate Surrey, 2017

 

Or I bet you can’t resist this …

Happy Book Birthday-all

Giveaway

I’m so excited about this giveaway, I wish I could enter myself as I only had a kindle copy and I really need a paperback for ease of reference.

Exclusive for readers of my Book Blast Blog, you can win either a signed copy of The Migraine Relief Plan for US winners, or an unsigned copy of The Migraine Relief Plan for UK winners. To enter, just follow my blog, and tag @Lexi_Rees and @sweavermph and on a tweet telling us why you would like a copy.

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health

In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.

Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.

The Migraine Relief Planencourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.

Purchase Linkhttp://bit.ly/MRPlan

Author Bio

The Migraine - VerticalBlueDoor

Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/stephanieweavermph

Twitter.com/sweavermph

Instagram.com/sweavermph

 

 

Beach hut escapades

Every time I walk my dog past the cute wooden huts on West Wittering beach, I dream of owning one. I’ve even got a shortlist of my favourites. I chat to the owners of several regularly and they tend to be passed down the generations, and every hut has a story to tell. So fellow Chindi author Angela Petch’s latest book, Mavis & Dot, totally appeals. For the avoidance of doubt – this is a grown up book not a kids book! It was written in memory of a friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, and the icing on the cake is that all profits from Mavis and Dot will go towards cancer research, so I’m adding this to my “to be read pile”. Now I just need the weather to warm up a bit – deck chair and thermos at the ready, since we’re going a bit retro.

Mavis and Dot Front Cover in RGB mode for screens jpg

Anyway, I’ve invited Angela onto my blog to chat about the themes and inspiration for her book, so over to her.

Loneliness and Kindness

Mavis and Dot are two very different ladies who retire to the Sussex seaside at about the same time. They forge an unlikely friendship and end up having a few adventures together. I don’t think for a moment that they set out to be kind for a reason, but they end up helping each other through their loneliness. True kindness lies within giving, without expecting a return.

When Mavis— always on a mission to lose the inches— is incapacitated after a strenuous session of an exercise class (Bums and Tums), Dot came over as soon as she could, producing from her shopping bag a huge slab of fruit and nut chocolate.

‘I remember you saying this was your favourite. It was reduced at the Co-op because one end was a little melted, but it should taste fine. And I bought three fruit cakes. Their sell-by-date was last week but that doesn’t matter. It will act like penicillin for you, what?’ she chortled, ‘a little bit of mould will save you from having to take antibiotics.’

Mavis knew that Dot was only being kind but how was she supposed to shed pounds for her ballroom dancing classes with all these goodies wafted under her nose?

Dot needs support from her new friend later, even though she doesn’t realise. She’s a complex, prickly character. Mavis is the first person to whom she pours out her heart, after more than fifty years of keeping a personal tragedy to herself. Afterwards, they put on the kettle (there is a lot of tea drinking in Mavis and Dot).

‘Tea again,’ laughed Dot, ‘we’ll start to look like teapots.’

I loved William books, written by Richmal Crompton and all of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five Adventures when I was little. So, I’ve given Mavis and Dot some grown-up adventures. Dot comes across a couple of illegal immigrants hiding in a beach hut and she decides to rescue them, not without complications. She is determined to help them in their quest for a better life and invites them back to her house.

This act of kindness gains her a family. At the end of the book, after sharing Christmas Day with most of the characters in the book, Dot sits quietly by the fire.

It had been one of the best days, something to bottle for gloomier times. She thought about the unpredictability of life; how bad could be softened by good; how old clichés like “never give up” were so true. Because if anybody had told her this time last year, she would be spending December 25th with strangers who were now like family, she would have laughed in their face.

By the way, I love that her illustrations by Gill Kaye, editor of Sussex magazine, Ingenu/e are simple pencil sketches, like I used in Eternal Seas. Here’s one of Dot staking out the beach hut at night with her dog, because she’s convinced somebody is using it at night.

Stakeout

Blurb

Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot – two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You’ll laugh and cry but probably laugh more.

Biography

AP 20e

Angela Petch lives in the Tuscan Apennines in summer and Sussex in winter.

Her love affair with Italy was born at the age of seven when she moved with her family to Rome. Her father worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he made sure his children learned Italian and soaked up the culture. She studied Italian at the University of Kent at Canterbury and afterwards worked in Sicily where she met her husband. His Italian mother and British father met in Urbino in 1944 and married after a wartime romance.

Her first book, “Tuscan Roots” was written in 2012, for her Italian mother-in-law, Giuseppina, and also to make readers aware of the courage shown by families of her Italian neighbours during WW2. Signed by Bookouture in 2018, this book will be republished in June 2019. Another Tuscan novel has been commissioned for 2020.

“Now and Then in Tuscany”, a sequel, was published in April 2017 and features the same family. The background is the transhumance, a practice that started in Etruscan times and continued until the 1950s. Her research for her Tuscan novels is greatly helped by her knowledge of Italian and conversations with locals.

Although Italy is a passion, her stories are not always set in this country. “Mavis and Dot”, published at the end of 2018 and sold in aid of Cancer Research, tells the story of two fun-loving ladies who retire to the Sussex seaside. They forge an unlikely friendship and fall into a variety of adventures. Ingenu/e Magazine describes it as:“Absolutely Fabulous meets Last of the Summer Wine… a gently hilarious feel-good book that will enchant and delight…”.

A prize-winning author, member of CHINDI authors and the RNA, she also loves to travel and recently returned to Tanzania, where she lived at the start of her marriage. A keen tennis player and walker, she also enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren and inventing stories for their entertainment.

Her short stories are published by PRIMA and The People’s Friend.

Links

Angela’s Website and Blog

Facebook page

Twitter

Mavis & Dot book on Amazon

 

 

 

 

Yummy mummy murder mystery

Today I have two very different mum-investigators on my book blog. Let’s start with Revenge on the Rye by Alice Castle.

Imagine the pressure cooker of mums stressing about getting into the best day school in Dulwich … code-named “Wyatts” … in between yoga classes and chai lattes. Then add a dog walk in the park with a naughty puppy (probably pedigree), and a bored busy-body, and you have the perfect setting for a “yummy mummy” murder mystery.

The lead is rather irritatingly nosy – quite how her police boyfriend put up with her is beyond me, but setting that aside, I liked the mix of characters. My favourite though was Colin, the loyal, depressed, Labrador.

I raced through this in just a few hours. Fluidly written, it’s a fun easy read. Chick lit meets detective story. Although part of a series, it stands on its own. I haven’t read any of the others, but I will now though.

Slip this into your handbag, grab a chai latte and head to your local park …

Giveaway: Win a copy of the book

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494189/

 

The blurb

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Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, thinks she is going for a carefree stroll on Peckham Rye with her best friend, Katie, and her annoying new puppy, Teddy. But before Beth knows it, she is embroiled in her most perplexing mystery yet.

Strange events from her family’s past, present-day skulduggery in the art world, and the pressures of moving school in south London threaten to overwhelm Beth. Will she be able to piece together the puzzle before her son’s crucial interview at Wyatt’s? Or will Beth’s insatiable curiosity finally drag down all her dreams for the future?

Join Beth, her irascible on-off boyfriend, Detective Inspector Harry York of the Metropolitan Police, and the dog walkers of Peckham Rye in a tale of murder, mayhem – and bloody revenge.

Author Bio

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Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, was published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill following in October 2018. Alice is currently working on the sixth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website.

Social Media Links – http://www.alicecastleauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

 

Purchase Links –

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Revenge-London-Murder-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07K6P9X87

US – https://www.amazon.com/Revenge-London-Murder-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07K6P9X87

Where did the children go?

Continuing my series of mum-investigator mystery books, here is The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir. I’ve read all her Janie Juke series and absolutely loved them, but this is different. It’s still got her trade-mark gentle tone and steady pace, but the topic is much more personal, and therefore raw.

I confess I had expected more of the story to be based in Australia so was a bit surprised to find the first road trip was to Anglesey, and more time to be spent on the historical aspects, but this is focussed on Emily’s own search and her own feelings. On this level, it works very well, but if you’re expecting something more closely aligned to Empty Cradles by Margaret Humphreys, or the almost identically titled non-fiction The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and its betrayal of Britains Child Migrants by David Hill, you might be disappointed. That is just the inspiration for the story, not the plot. To be clear, it’s totally my fault – I should have read the blurb more carefully – I think I was influenced by the outback cover photo.

Anyway, the big issues the story really tackles are the narrow-minded UK attitudes towards unmarried mothers and forced adoption. And the scary bit is, this is set not that long ago. The similarities between Emily and her own mother were a surprise (worded carefully to avoid spoilers). And as additional characters are introduced (particularly Walter and Patrick), the story picks up momentum, and I read it in just a few evenings.

The Forgotten Children isn’t part of a series, but I’m really hoping for a fourth Janie Juke book soon!

The blurb

the forgotten children paperback front

A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.

Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

 The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Childrenis a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

Win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494188/

Author Bio

the forgotten isabella muir

Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor/

https://twitter.com/SussexMysteries

https://isabellamuir.com/

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

Lessons from a 9 year old coder

I’m literally bursting with excitement at introducing my guest today. Yeva Patterson is an ultra cool 9 year old coder. She’s a big supporter of girls in tech and STEM, and I reckon she’s probably the youngest VR developer in the world! Today she’s sharing her tips to help get other kids into coding, and a special selection of book recommendations on coding for kids.

 

So over to Yeva …

 

How I Got Into Coding

My parents are developers and they started teaching me how to code when I was 5 years old.

They were developing a mobile educational math app and they let me help. I would build levels for it and they actually put them into the app! I was so excited that people would play what I built so I kept going, learning more about coding and finding out what else I could create.

I realized that learning to code allowed me to be creative in a whole new way. I learned that you can code computers to do just about anything.

I found code.org tutorials particularly fun and helpful and progressed through their curriculum. I enjoyed getting their certification achievements. After I learned some coding basics I got to start using Unity3D game engine and worked on creating some fun apps. Unity now has a free asset called Unity Playground that is a simplified version of the more complex game engine. I’ve been playing with it recently and it’s really good for early programmers to first learn on Unity.

Late in 2017 I got to try virtual reality for the first time. Once I put the headset on, I fell in love! It was so much fun! I could fly! I could ride in Santa’s Sleigh and deliver presents and I could float above earth at the space station. Around the same time I was asking my parents for a rock wall but we didn’t have any space for a real one. So I decided the next best thing would be to climb in virtual reality so I built a climbing experience in VR. I made it into the shape of Google’s logo for their Doodle for Google contest because the theme that year was to doodle what inspires you. I am inspired by VR and the limitless possibilities of what you can do with VR.

What I love about VR is that it is not only really fun, it is also really useful. You can learn things in VR in such a different way. You get to be inside an environment and experience it and interact with it in a whole new way. My parents said that they could see how enriching learning in VR was for us. That’s when they decided to make a VR app to teach computer programming in VR. It’s called vCoder and it is the first virtual reality app that teaches coding in VR. I am helping them build vCoder because it is really entertaining to code in VR and I want other kids to learn how fun programming can be. This is really exciting because kids can enjoy and immerse themselves in an engaging VR world. Along the way they learn a valuable skill and see that they can learn to code too.

There are some great resources for kids to start learning how to code. I recently had a great time presenting to a class of Kindergarteners and First graders and I recommended they can easily get started at Code.org. They have tutorials even for kids that don’t read yet. I also recommend Girls Who Code.

 

I really enjoy teaching other kids about coding and have a passion for supporting and encouraging more kids to learn how to code. So I made some video tutorials on my YouTube channel, Yeva Codes, that helps young kids get started with code.org. I love doing it! I’m making more coding tutorials and will be adding them to my channel.

I hope to inspire other kids, and especially young girls, ​to learn how to code so they can create their dreams too!

 

These are my top books for getting kids into coding:

 

Hello Ruby Adventures in Coding (Journey Inside the Computer and Expedition to the Internet) by Linda Liukas

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World – by ​Reshma Saujani

Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code – by Stacia Deutsch How to Code a Sandcastle – by Joshua Funk

Secret Coders – by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes Dot – by Randi Zuckerberg

 

 

Wow! Thanks very much Yeva.

Readers, you can see why I was so excited! I can’t wait to show my family these books, plus the websites and apps, and see where this journey takes them. I hope this inspires them, and many other kids, to give coding a go.

If you’ve got any questions, I’m sure Yeva would be delighted to answer them! You can even follow her on Twitter on @yevacodes

Local author, with a touch of Tasmanian devil …

I’m really excited to introduce Rosemary Noble to you today. Now, she’s not a kids book author, so I know I risk straying off here, but I just read Sadie’s War, the third book in a historical saga which is based on her own family’s true story of being transported to Australia. She now lives locally to me and we’re in the same writers group, Chindi Authors, so how could I not share! She’s just back from a tour of Australia, all in the name of research – remind me to write a book set in Fiji soon – but skipped Sydney Opera House in favour of convict factories and orphan schools.

Over to Rosemary …

 

I’d like to thank Lexi for inviting me to her blog today. I know Lexi is interested in travel and sailing, so come with me on a journey to the far side of the world. To an island no bigger than Ireland, with a beauty that one would go far to surpass, empty beaches of bone, white sands, topaz seas, stunning mountains and lakes, roads you can drive down without seeing a passing car – a veritable paradise – but one that has a terrible past.

Tasmania, off the southern coast of Australia, was settled by the British in 1802. At that time, it was called Van Diemen’s Land and that name struck terror into the hearts of the thousands of men, women and children who were transported there, often for minor crimes. Take a young Irish girl during the time of the famine. She found an egg in a hedge. She was starving and placed it carefully in her apron pocket. Later she was accosted by a policeman who searched her and finding the egg, he arrested her for stealing it and despite her protestations, she was transported twelve thousand miles from her home and family.

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That’s not to say everyone was innocent. There were plenty of villains too. This was a time when Britain preferred to send their miscreants far away rather than have prisons. They used to send them to America but after America won its battles for independence, Britain needed another prison and they chose Australia. Terra Nullius, James Cook called it – an empty land. Only it wasn’t a land without people, not at all.

It is estimated that there were five hundred or so separate nations of native Australians who had lived there for almost fifty thousand years, each with their own language. Imagine their land invaded and their horror as they were turfed off their native hunting grounds and watched their sacred lands desecrated. On my last visit to Tasmania in October 2018 I came across this sign in the museum in Hobart.

Around that time the aboriginals were attempting to fight back and some of the new settlers were speared. The government responded by hunting down all the native Tasmanians and sending them to a smaller island where they gradually died through disease and neglect. It’s a shameful tale.

But what sparked my interest in Tasmania? It was discovering that my husband’s three times great grandparents were transported. They met there, married and raised a family. For them it was a huge success because they thrived. They had the determination, grit and endurance to survive and they helped populate Australia. It wasn’t always the case. A recent study has discovered that those convicts who had not grown up in a close family unit were the least successful. Now consider what the system did to the children of convict women, still under sentence.

A visit to the ruined Cascades Female Factory in Hobart and watching the performance ‘My story,’ tells the heart-breaking truth. The children were taken from the women to be weaned at six months. If they survived weaning, and many did not, the children were sent to the Orphan School until they could be apprenticed to a master or mistress around the age of ten, if their mothers had not claimed them. Some did, some were not in a position where they could. They may have married, and their new husbands refused to take their children. The matron of the Orphan School was the subject of a very harsh report in the 1840s. Cruelty, starvation, neglect – you get the picture. But this was thought to be better than leaving them with their ‘criminal’ mothers.

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So many stories. Thirteen thousand women were transported to Tasmania, twenty-nine thousand to Australia in all – each have their own story. The wonderful work of the Female Convicts Research Centre volunteers in transcribing the records and following up on all the women, together with so many descendants reaching out to find the truth, is testament to our craving for knowledge of our history.

When I attended the seminar in October at the Orphan School, three separate women told me that their female ancestors had been transported from Sussex, from Boxgrove, from Oving and from Horsham. Did I know these places?

Since returning, I have thought about these three women from Sussex. I knew the story of one because I had researched all the women on her ship some years before for the FCRC. You see I was one of the volunteers. Charlotte Ayling was unusually fifty years of age, a washerwoman, sentenced in Chichester. Why unusually – because mostly they sent out young women able to marry and bear children. Charlotte was too old to take her children with her, but, and this is what strikes me now – at least one of her adult children must have loved their mother so much that they followed her out. Charlotte died only three years after arrival. I hope her son or daughter got to see her before she died.

Bio

Rosemary Noble lives in West Sussex and worked as an education librarian. Books have been her life, ever since she walked into a library at five-years-oldand found a treasure trove. Her other love is social history. She got hooked on family history before retirement and discovered so many stories that deserved tobe told.

Her first book, Search for the Light, tells the story of three young girls transported to Australia in 1824. Friendship sustains them through the horrors of the journey, and their enforced service in Tasmania. The Digger’s Daughter tells of the next generation of gold-diggers and a pioneering woman who lives almost through the first hundred years in Victoria. The third in the trilogy, Sadie’s Wars takes the reader to the fourth generation and into the twentieth century. The trilogy is based on the author’s family. It tells of secrecy and lies, of determination and grit and how all can be done or undone by luck.

Rosemary is a member of CHINDI authors and is involved in literary events in and around Chichester. She also loves to travel, especially to Australia and Europe and not least, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, one of whom is a budding author herself.

Links to Books

Search for the Light myBook.to/SearchFTL

The Digger’s Daughter myBook.to/DiggersD

Sadie’s Wars mybook.to/SadieW

Interview with Robin Bennett

I enjoyed The Hairy Hand so much, I had to have an interview with the author. His catch phrase for the book is …. ‘With great power at your fingertips, comes great trouble.’ I’m pretty sure that applies to writing for children too.

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So here he is sharing his tips …

The five (and a half) rules

  1. Get rid of the parents:

Preferably they are gone for good (eaten by a tiger whilst exploring the jungle is handy because it’s dramatic, implies an adventurous family streak and is a tiny bit funny). If you can’t bear to part with mum and dad in perpetuity, they can just be at the office a lot.

  1. Fantasy needs a lot of reality

The little buggers will believe anything (to paraphrase Roald Dahl) but you have to have rules. If dragons live in space (Space Dragons), if your hero has a magic hand that can point out treasure (The Hairy Hand), if we live alongside vastly talented and immensely powerful creatures without knowing it (Small Vampires), then that’s all well and good, but children need to know what their heroes have for dinner. And(above all), why all this stuff is happening.

  1. Delete the first half of your first chapter

Seventy-seven times out of one hundred, your first thousand words are just you warming up. However much you cherished them that first morning you sat down in the spare room, their work is done. Loving is letting go. You don’t find many ten year-olds reading Faulkner or Flaubert – mainly because forty opening pages with just two full stops or a very detailed description of few streets in Rouen is dull. By way of example, for The Hairy Hand, my editor made me throw away my first two chapters and the story was much better for it. I still moaned about it, mind you.

  1. Children deserve the best of us

At the end of the day, most kids just have to go along with whatever adults decide – and that’s fair enough: we’ve paid our dues, plus we’ve got the car keys. But the one area they are in charge of is their imagination: so make sure that when you write, you write for themand not for you. Also, BE KIND: children are more fragile than they let on and more forgiving than we deserve, books are often their only friends and comfort. If you must make a child suffer in a story, be sure it is for a good reason.

5. Character is king (or queen)

Plots don’t drive a good yarn, people do and children long for interesting characters

5½.

… who they relate to (i.e., are like them)

 

 

Thanks very much for joining me Robin.

PS – Is it just me, or does everyone now want to read the missing first two chapters?? Purely out of curiosity, because the start to The Hairy Hand is brilliant so the editor was clearly right to chuck them away …

PPS – I have an exclusive Q&A with Robin in my next newsletter … if you aren’t already on my mailing list, you know what to do!

 

The Hairy Hand

A scary adventure for 8 -12 year olds, full of jokes, magical familiars and a Dickensian cast. When Septimus inherits a magical, treasure-finding Hairy Hand from his uncle, life suddenly becomes a lot more exciting – and dangerous!

Amazon –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hairy-Hand-Robin-Bennett/dp/1999884442

Author Bio

Robin Bennett is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children, adults, and everything in between. Listed in the Who’s Who of British Business Excellence at 29, his 2016 documentary “Fantastic Britain”, about the British obsession with fantasy and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, and his first book for young adults, Picus the Thief, won the Writer’s News Indie Published Book of the Year Award in 2012.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MonsterBooksRaw

 

And I had to go to Wikipedia to find a picture of Robin Bennett – so apologies in advance if this is NOT what he actually looks like …

 

robin_bennett_author_entrepreneur