Spirit of the Jaguar

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This book has been a long time in the making. I have, over the last few months, redrafted my plot with what I hope, is a story with huge appeal to lovers of time-shift fiction. My two historical settings and their characters are now woven together, and eventually combine with a dramatic double conclusion.

I am delighted with the result.  Now Spirit of the Jaguar has moved on to publication and will be released this summer in paperback and ebook formats.

The main story is set between 1924 and 1931. Christina Freeman is a Debutante and the daughter of an English Lord. The connection to her past-life character Tlalli, is first established when Christina receives a gift of an ancient piece of Peruvian gold; a pendant in the shape of a jaguar. Without giving the plot away, this pendant had once belonged to Tlalli. Circumstances eventually lead Christina to South America. She becomes obsessed with following the Spirit of the Jaguar hoping to unravel Tlalli’s story.

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Machu Picchu – The Sacred City

This is set in the Inca Empire at the time of the Spanish Conquest. We follow Tlalli Marina, the daughter of one of the Empire’s many tribal leaders. The horror and impact of the Spanish invasion, on a country which was largely self-sufficient in a challenging landscape, is seen through the eyes of this young girl. The story follows her as she is spiritually motivated by ancient Jaguar gods. Tlalli eventually becomes a rebel leader, desperately trying to hold back the treacherous injustices being wrought on her country and her people.
There is a host of colourful characters and settings in both stories. Villains, mythical gods, tribal legends, ardent lovers, treacherous enemies and good friends. Some of my characters were real people, others created to fulfil a special role within their own time slot in this dual story set the sixteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Graf Zeppelin Airship

If you know my previous work, you may be wondering if there is an airship in this story. Well I’m pleased to tell you there is. The Hindenburg’s predecessor, the Graf Zeppelin, made many successful voyages to South America between 1928 and 1937. I could not resist the opportunity to include this glorious mode of travel. Besides, how else would an affluent young lady have travelled across the Atlantic Ocean in 1930 arriving in less than three days?

I hope to give more details on purchase links to Spirit of the Jaguar when these are available.

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P.I.Y. – Publish It Yourself: Publicity, Marketing and Author Brand

Happy to reblog this great post from RochesterLitFest. Very informative for authors working on their own novels and non-fiction books.

Rochester Literature Festival

BookstoreFollowing an exceptionally informative workshop with her last year, the wonderful Truda Thurai very kindly sent us a link to an excellent interview as a follow up. The equally wonderful Christina gathered a few pearls of wisdom from it to help self publishing authors along the way.

Since the dawn of the Internet, Kindle, and e-books, self-publishing has become easier than ever. There are of course many ups and downs with self-publishing. You get more control, more royalties, and you know exactly what is happening with your book. But you also have to take more responsibilities and risks, and do a lot more work yourself.

For emerging writers who are seeking self-publication, the journey to publication can feel like swimming in the middle of the ocean with no idea how to get to the shores. In this interview, Joel Friedlander from thebookdesigner.com talks to Dana Kaye about self-publishing and…

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Location, Location, Location 

Attention all writers – Location, Location, Location.

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Thatched Farmhouse represents my hero’s childhood home, burnt to the ground as the story begins – Lighter Than Air

So you are writing a novel, or perhaps a short story. That’s great and I’m sure you have a well-thought out storyline and some convincing characters. But where is it set? In one place or do your characters inhabit various places: cities, countries, or travel by train, ship or in the air? how much thought have you attached to location or locations?

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A Tornado flying over the Arabian Desert where Johnno’s hallucinations begin.

Lighter Than Air

 

 

If you read best-selling novels you will find authors using stunning locations, exotic or historical, near to home or far away. They use settings almost as additional characters that become part of their story, woven into the narrative and the heart of their plot. A good setting can enhance romance or create a sense of evil. It can be forbidding, challenging or just delightful. The world is your oyster, so choose well and make it part of your story.

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Idyllic river walk at Norwich. Setting for Johnno and Lisa’s first kiss. Lighter Than Air

 

 

In my first novel, Lighter Than Air, I tried to set every scene in a different, interesting location appropriate to the storyline. I wanted readers to absorb the atmosphere surrounding the characters as the plot unfolded.

 

 

I write in time-shift historical, so creating two stories, with different locations was challenging for me. Weaving the two plots together and balancing the various locations, was part of that challenge. Good settings don’t have to be over-descriptive or mask the action, but they should add that extra ingredient to the whole reading experience.  

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Boat cruise on the Rhine River Germany overlooked by historic German Castles.  Part of Johnno’s and Lisa’s story in Lighter Than Air.

We can’t all go globe-trotting when writing our novels and stories, but good photographs can help an author to visually explore a setting they would like to use, or inspire them to use somewhere different that fits perfectly into their storyline. Give yourself permission not just to write about what you know – but to write about what you dream.

 

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The Hindenburg’s final fated voyage to America. An intricate part of Johnno’s past-life story. Lighter Than Air. 

Every event or conversation in your story will convey so much more to your reader if they can visualise where it happens. As the author, you can bring out the realism in your story. Two people may argue, but if it happens on a clifftop, readers will be on tender-hooks to know who might push who over the edge!  If they argue on a busy train journey, who might remember hearing their angry words when a body is found on the line the following day? Strong locations give you scope to open up your storyline to endless possibilities and add richness to every page.

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The old Airship sheds at Carrington, Bedfordshire. Scene of Johnno’s final showdown with his antagonist.

 

 

In my next post I will tell you about some of the locations I have used for my new novel

Spirit of the Jaguar, due out later in the Spring.

Good luck with your writing and let me know the locations you enjoy in the books you read or the stories you write.

Please comment back to me if you enjoyed this post.

If you haven’t read Lighter Than Air, it is currently available on Kindle at only £2.99. Paperback and Audio book versions also available.

http://amzn.to/2gBFROL   –   Your link to buy Lighter Than Air from Amazon books.

 

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Use it or lose it: Support your local library

Just as we thought things were improving the budget cuts are biting harder. It’s up to everyone of us to do what we can to help. Borrow a book from your library TODAY.!

Rochester Literature Festival

library-1856327_960_720Our lovely new volunteer, Christina Lee, makes the case for one of our most important public services.

On Monday, The Guardian published an article on the imminent closure of 340 public libraries in the next five years if funding cuts are implemented.

This is sad news for all of us. Cutting funding for libraries may save some money for the next few years, but in the long run, this will have devastating effects on society as a whole.  We need libraries to stimulate children’s love of reading and engagement in the community, and to give students from low income families, adult learners, and recent immigrants the chance to access the resources they need to improve their skills and opportunities.

I remember fondly the times when I was a thirteen-year-old, scouring through the bookshelves for classics like George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. My…

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Murder at Chatham Grande

Regular follows of this blog may remember that in 2013 I edited and published a paperback version of a crime novel written by my father, Ron Taylor in the 1950s.

Link to paperback:Chatham Grande

http://amzn.to/2gz7ZAT

 I’m pleased to tell you this unique story is now available on Amazon Kindle at only £2.40.

Link to Kindle version:

http://amzn.to/2gyD3AN

 As Ron Taylor came to the end of his 22 years’ service with the Royal Marine Corps, the barracks at Chatham Kent, known as Chatham Grande, was closed down. Dad knew the barracks and the service very well. He had experienced the Royal Marines’ devoted loyalty to the Corps and the Crown. Alongside this, he also witnessed a smouldering hatred that could exist between serving men, and within the ranks of commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

This latter was his premise for the heinous crime of murder, taking place on the very day of the barracks’ closure. You can follow the difficult task set for the civilian police detectives, as they unravel the relationships of the various men and women, who remained on that final day. You can also witness the end of an era as the Medway Towns of 1950 felt the effects of losing another arm of their military history.

I’d like to draw your attention to the cover picture. This shows the Royal Marine Band of Chatham marching through the gates of the  Chatham Grande Barracks into Dock Road. Chatham circa 1910  Reproduced courtesy of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre from the Couchman Collection.

Chatham Grande

This story is atmospheric and intriguing. If you enjoy crime fiction and military history you will love

MURDER AT CHATHAM GRANDE by R. H. TAYLOR

Edited by Susan Pope

 

Link to Kindle version available on Amazon now £2.40 :

http://amzn.to/2gyD3AN

 Did you know you don’t need to own a Kindle reading device to buy Kindle Books?

  Follow the link: ‘Read on any Device’ on the Amazon page.

Here are some Amazon links to other books by Susan Pope:

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups Link (Kindle & Paperback)

 http://amzn.to/2gz5T3J

 Lighter Than Air Link (Kindle, Paperback & Audio book)

 http://amzn.to/2gBFROL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning is a life-time experience

adul-education-clipart-comI’m currently in the middle of an Access to Higher Education course run by the University of Kent and am studying this at the Brompton Academy in Gillingham and The Medway Campus of Kent University in the old Royal Naval Barrack at Chatham.

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I consider it a privilege to be taught by the Universities superb lecturers of diverse subjects, who give up time in their already busy lives, to teach students of all ages who missed out on higher education or wish to refresh their academic abilities.

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One is never too old or too young to learn, not only from the tutors, but also from the other students. It is delightful to mix with people from different generations and cultural backgrounds. To listen to their questions and answers and many points of view.

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In English Literature there are no right or wrong answers. As students we are asked to consider the era in which the chosen book, play or poem was originally written. The time and the history of the various authors shaped what they wrote about and the language they used to write it. So we are learning about social history and cultural  influences alongside the literary styles and work of our great classic authors.

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I hope this second chance at learning in an academic setting, mixing with such a diverse group of friends who share my passion for literature, will grow with my own lifetime experiences and help me to become better acquainted with great literature of the past and a better writer and author myself in the future.

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Time Slips by ……..

………. Yes, it really does.

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There seems to have been a surge in interest in ‘time-slip’ fiction recently, although many of you will have be reading this genre for a long time. Those of you who know my writing history will be familiar with my debut novel Lighter Than Air, first published in 2008. I’m pleased to say that thanks to Amazon, sales are still going strong. The list of reviews on the Amazon pages range in date from 2008 to 2016. Amazon ensures that the ‘shelf-life’ of a book is extended from first publication to eternity. Long may this be so.

Whilst the paperback is no longer in print (until I decide to re-print it) copies of the paperback are still available under second-hand, including under the sub-category ‘collectables’, which are author-signed brand new copies sold by my own distribution source.  Also available through Amazon is the audio-book version on 10 CDs. Over 12 hours listening time for you to sit back and enjoy with your eyes closed, or to listen in your car while taking a long journey.

 

CD front cover only

Then of course the e-book Kindle version which brings this timeless story direct to your hand-held device. The advantage of this is – the price is low (currently £2.29 or free via Amazon Unlimited) and you can begin reading my story within minutes.

Here is the link to the Amazon page taking you to all three options. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will do so and enjoy the Time-Slip experience!

  http://amzn.to/1Ts0lX7

 

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Medway Libraries/Uni of Kent Creative Writing courses

I did this and the follow-on course a few years back. I strongly recommend it to all aspiring local writers. The experience is superb and it is also FREE. So get signed up asap!

Rochester Literature Festival

Following on from taster sessions in September, Medway Libraries and the University of Kent offer beginners the opportunity to develop their writing skills.

Uni Kent Writing Oct 16

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