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MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Robin of Sherwood…If I’d known then…

I have amazing news….but let’s start at the beginning of the story…

I’m sat in my corner in the café where I write every day. I have the radio on via my headphones. Bryan Adams is on. He’s singing the theme from the panto-esque Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  It’s a song I have affection for, even if I don’t actually like it that much.

It was, for one thing, the tune that formed the soundtrack my ‘first dance’ after I got married. It was not the song my husband and I picked. It was, however, the song our best man thought such a devoted Robin Hood fan should have playing at such a moment in her life.

If I’d know then…

I first came across the 1980’s television series, Robin of Sherwood, when I was 14 years old. I had been absent from school for some time with one of those boring illnesses that aren’t even worth gracing with typing time, and I was bored out of my mind. My parents, being good folk, decided to surprise me by renting one of those new fangled video recorder things so I could watch television during the day (We’re obviously talking pre-day time TV, Channel 5, the Internet, mobile phones etc). The very first programme my Dad recorded for me to see was the ninth episode of the third series of Robin of Sherwood. An episode entitled, Adam Bell.

Adam Bell

I watched it seven times on the first day. Eight times the day after that. By the following Saturday, when it was time to settle down at exactly 5.35 pm to watch the next episode (The Pretender), I didn’t need to see the pictures that went with Adam Bell anymore. I knew the episode word for word. It was like audio to me by that point. I could see the images so clearly even with my eyes shut.

By the time seven days of non-stop Adam Bell watching had finished, I had also despatched my dad to the library to borrow everything he could find on Robin Hood and medieval outlaws in general.

The obsession had begun.

If I’d known then…

Robin Hood. Anything. Everything. The daft, the serious, the bizarre and the historically sound. I gobbed up all the information about the legend, and the history behind the legend, that I could. I watched every film, every programme. Everything.

My parents thought I’d grow out of it.

I didn’t grow out of it.

Fast forward 30 years.

One PhD on medieval crime, 200 story publications (long and short), a book selling session at the Hooded Man Event 2016, a trip to the Knight’s of the Apocalypse premiere to meet the RoS cast, and a genre diverse writing career later, and I’m sat at my computer- right now- listening to the aforementioned Bryan Adams while contemplating how incredibly lucky I am – because…

I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO WRITE AN AUDIO EPISODE OF ROBIN OF SHERWOOD!!!

ME!! Writing an audio script for Robin of Sherwood.

Not only that , but the gorgeous Judi Trott (Maid Marion for the uninitiated), has narrated it.

Photo credit: Kim Jones

My story is called The Waterford Boy. It features Robert of Huntingdon as Robin, and slots into the action after Knights of the Apocalypse. I won’t tell you anymore, because I don’t want to ruin the story.

Photo credit: Kim Jones

I could say it’s awesome. Unbelievable. Incredible. Mind blowing.

And it is. It’s all of those things. I’m certainly in a state of shock that out of all the possible stories submitted, mine were two of the lucky ones.

It is also humbling, a bit scary, and a huge responsibility. I’ve never written scripts before!

My 14 year old self doesn’t believe this is happening- I keep telling her it’s real. But she thinks I’m dreaming.

If I’d known then…

… when I was a messy haired, fashion hopeless, introverted teenager, that one day I’d be sat writing words for Judi Trott to say, or that I would have the power to make Will Scarlett mumble, “I’m gonna kill ‘im,” – I’d have thought the daydream had got out of hand and I’d read one storybook too many.

By some miracle though, the daydream came true. I really have just written words that involve the Sheriff giving Gisburne a hard time…oh, and Will Scarlett is in a foul mood…

Myself, and many others, have been working quietly on our episodes for months and months to try and get them perfect for you. A HUGE thank you to Barnaby Eaton-Jones and Iain Meadows for giving me this opportunity.

Can you imagine how hard it has been not telling anyone when all I wanted to do was shout yippee!?

Mind you…

I have a horror of letting the loyal RoS fan base, and the memory of the wonderful Richard Carpenter, down. All I can say is on that regard is that I promise I’ve done my best. That’s all I can do.

So? How do you order The Waterford Boy? Well – keep an eye on this link…it will be available soon!

https://www.spitefulpuppet.com/shopp.php

Jenny x

 


10 REASONS TO GO ON AN IMAGINE WRITING RETREAT

Alison Knight and I are proud to present our very first “Imagine” writing retreat…

10 reasons to go on an Imagine Writing Retreat…

1                    Writers need writers! No one understands writing and a writer’s life like another writer. Mutual support is the name of the game!

2                    Located in the stunning Victorian manor, Northmoor House, Imagine’s retreat gives you the chance to stay in a home untouched by time (But don’t panic, there is Wi-Fi). You can even indulge in the waters of an original Victorian bathtub…don’t forget your bubble bath!

3                    With so many of the manor’s period features still in place, Northmoor is the ideal location for sparking inspiration and dreaming up new plotlines.

4                    On the edge of Exmoor, near the popular village of Dulverton, there are plenty of beautiful places to explore should you, or any non-writing friends or partners, wish to. There are miles of good walking land on hand. The pre-historic Tarr Steps are but minutes away, and the cafes in Dulverton are excellent. I can personally recommend the poached eggs on crumpets in The Copper Kettle.

Tarr Steps

5                    However, you might not want to stray into the village for food because we have employed an excellent local caterer, who is providing a delicious menu that will cater for all dietary requirements. All food is locally sourced.

6                    Come along for a confidence boost! At Imagine we pride ourselves on helping everyone to get their words onto the page. We are here for beginners and experts alike.

Kate Griffin

7                    Meet Kate Griffin! One of Faber and Faber’s most successful crime writers. Kate Griffin is the author of the brilliant Kitty Peck Mysteries. An expert on Victorian London, Kate will be our guest speaker on the Wednesday evening.

8                    Find your inner writer’s peace of mind. Let mentor and fellow writer, Trina Stacey, help you” Set Your Sails for Writing Success”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9                    Let’s face it – Monday to Friday in a beautiful Victorian Manor, with time to write, all food provided, plus three optional workshops, a chance to meet Kate Griffin and Trina Stacey, and the opportunity to share writing ideas over a glass of wine (or two) – for only £450  is a BARGAIN.

10             It would make a BRILLIANT Christmas present for the write in your life.

***

Full details are available at https://www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk/writing-retreats 

If you have any queries please email Alison or myself at imaginecreativewritng@gmail.com

Now is the time to drop heavy hints about wanting a writing retreat for Christmas… 

Happy writing everyone,

Jenny xx


End of the month with Nell Peters: There goes October!

Somehow we’re here again. The end of the month- and that only means one thing…

Over to you Nell…

Hi, y’all – and happy Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Samhain if you prefer. Like the proverbial bad penny, I’m back again – well, at least I hope I am. Let me explain:

I’m writing this blog even more in advance than usual because we are away from 22nd October to 30th – flying back then from a late break in the sun (hopefully!) That’s assuming the OH is still in one piece after his flight to Monaco on Friday 13th (cue spooky music!) – he’s due back practically minutes before we set off. Could be worse; I’ve had to meet him at the airport before now. With all the shenanigans going on with air travel recently – so glad we are booked on BA and not Monarch or Ryanair – I have fingers and toes crossed that our flight isn’t delayed until the 31st, because historically that has been a very bad day for plane crashes.

Exactly a hundred years ago during WWI, a Fokker (careful how you say that) piloted by a Lt. Pastor suffered structural failure and crashed – it was the second such accident in three days, and needless to say, all those aircraft had to be grounded until the design fault could be identified and rectified. Pastor was under the command of infamous fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, aka as the Red Baron, because he held the hereditary title of Freiherr (free lord) and painted his plane red – all the unit’s planes were brightly coloured, hence their epithet, The Flying Circus.

I’ve mentioned before that my grandfather was a youthful pilot with the Royal Flying Corps – a sepia photograph of him sitting in his flimsy plane hangs on one of our landings. As I drift past and glance his way, it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly brave those young airmen (of whatever nationality) were, when their life expectancy was a mere seventeen flying hours – they were indeed ‘Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines’. Unlike my grandfather, the Red Baron didn’t survive to see peace declared despite his eighty air combat victories; his luck ran out in April 1918. Drat – I have that song rattling around my head now … they go up tiddly up up, they go down tiddly down down.

 

Coincidentally, The Battle of Britain ended on this day in 1940 – since 10th July, nearly three thousand RAF pilots, including many from what was then the British Empire plus refugees from Nazi-occupied countries in Europe, had been defending British air space over southern England against the Luftwaffe’s relentless attempt to wipe out airborne defences. Flushed with his successful infiltration of much of Europe, this was the prelude to Hitler’s ultimate plan to invade and conquer this ‘Sceptred Isle’. The pilots of Fighter Command, dubbed ‘The Few’ by Churchill, had an average age of just twenty and were paid £264 pa (a little over £30,000 in today’s money). Sadly, during ‘Our Finest Hour’ (Churchill again) five hundred and forty-four fliers were killed and over a thousand aircraft lost – but (fortunately for us) they were victorious and Adolf backed off to lick his wounds.

In 1949 a pilot conducting secret tests of a prototype aircraft died when he crashed into houses in Yeovil, also killing two victims on the ground – and the following year a British European Airways (now part of BA) Viking failed to make it off the runway at Heathrow (then London Airport) in foggy conditions. Of the thirty people on board, only a stewardess and one passenger lived to tell the tale. Fast forward to 1964, when NASA astronaut Theodore Freeman perished after a goose smashed through the cockpit canopy of his Northrop Talon jet trainer in Texas, causing shards of Plexiglas to enter the engine, which caught fire. Although Freeman ejected, he was too close to the ground for his parachute to open properly. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

More Halloween air disasters in 1979, 1994, 1996 and 1999, and in 2000 there were two – in total, hundreds of passengers and crew lost their lives. Most recently, in 2015, on the day that New Zealand beat Australia 34-17 during the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham, a Russian airliner came to grief in Egypt and two hundred and twenty four people died. So you see my point? Maybe not a good day to fly, if you have a choice. There have been some good aeronautically-associated events on 31st October, however – like Rear Admiral George J Dufek becoming the first American to land an airplane at the South Pole in 1956, and BA taking on its first female pilots in 1987. Shall we move along, feet firmly planted on terra firma?

George Dufek

No more cheerfully, Indira Gandhi was assassinated on this day in 1984 (very George Orwell) by two of her security guards – you can’t trust anyone, can you? Both men were in turn shot by other guards, and although one survived, he was executed when found guilty of murder. In a speech given on the day before her death, Mrs G declared prophetically, ‘I am alive today, I may not be there tomorrow…I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it. Even if I died in the service of the nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood will contribute to the growth of this nation and make it strong and dynamic.

Indira Gandhi

Indira (no relation to Mahatma) was India’s first and so far only woman PM. Politics were obviously in the genes, because her dad was India’s first PM, Jawaharal Nehru. She had two sons – Sanjay, the younger, had been her chosen successor politically, but died in a flying accident in 1980, leaving Rajiv (a pilot) to take up the reins following her death. He was himself assassinated in 1991.

Dangerous stuff, politics, as Italian fascist PM Benito Mussolini may have noticed in 1926, when an assassination attempt was made on his life – not a brilliant way for him to celebrate his fourth anniversary of taking office. Fifteen year-old schoolboy, Anteo Zamboni tried to shoot the leader in Bologna during a parade, but the unfortunate youth missed and was immediately set upon by squadistri (fascist squads) who didn’t ask any questions and lynched him.

This was the second unsuccessful attempt on Il Duce’s life that year – in April, middle-aged Irish woman, The Honourable (but not very) Violet Gibson, daughter of Lord Ashbourne, shot him as he walked among the crowds in Rome after delivering a speech. Armed with a revolver disguised by her shawl, she fired once, but Mussolini moved his head at that moment and she hit his nose (no ‘on the nose’ jokes, please); when she tried again, the gun misfired. Poor old Vi was almost lynched (what is it with Italians and lynching?) by an angry mob, but police intervened and escorted her away for questioning. Mussolini’s wound was slight, and after being patched up, he and his bandaged nose continued walkabout. Violet was deported to Britain and spent the rest of her life in a mental asylum.

This was the day in 1959 when ex-marine and accomplished marksman Lee Harvey Oswald decided to visit the US Embassy in Moscow and declare he wanted to renounce his American citizenship. It was a Saturday, so perhaps he was at a loose end. Officer Richard Snyder accepted Oswald’s passport and a written note, but told him that further paperwork would need to be completed. Oswald didn’t follow through with the process and when he became disaffected with life in Russia (not too many burger joints there at that time, I imagine) returned to the United States in 1962. News of the defection made the front pages of American newspapers, four years before he would be reviled globally as the alleged assassin of JFK. Speaking of the late President, he held his last meeting with FBI Director, J Edgar Hoover this day in 1963.

Lee Harvey Oswald

31st October falls within the zodiac sign of Scorpio (23/10 to 21/11). Honesty and fairness are two qualities that make Scorpios a good friend to have – they are dedicated and loyal, but if they feel let down, it’s curtains. Quick-witted and intelligent, they are full of surprises but also very emotional. Ideal careers for Scorpios include scientist, physician, researcher, sailor, detective, business manager and psychologist.

 

I can think of only four Scorpios I’ve known – although I’m sure there are probably many others – one being super-blogger and lovely lady, Anne Williams (23/10) of Being Anne, a great supporter of writers and thoroughly good egg (whatever that means?) Then there’s a sister-in-law (10/11) who is mad as a box of frogs … seriously.

She’s the sort of person that if you pick up the phone and hear her voice on the other end, you really, really want to pretend nobody is in and you are the answering machine. Another I haven’t been in touch with for many years now – he (7/11) was a member of the Bomb Squad and worked in all sorts of hairy situations worldwide. I don’t know if it’s true, but he told me that a group of them were drinking in a bar (are the military allowed to drink in uniform off-base?) and someone asked what the bomb insignia on their sleeves stood for – they told him they were the Army darts team. The third (21/11) is a lecturer in Sociology, has OCD by the bucket load and is tattooed almost everywhere on his body (he tells me!) Typical Scorpios? You decide – I know who I’m voting for.

Boston Custer was born on 31st October 1848 – one of the younger brothers of Lt Colonel George, of Little Big Horn fame, or infamy. Boston – unlike brothers George and Thomas – was unable to officially join the army due to ill health and so became a civilian contractor. In this capacity he was a guide, forager, packer and scout for the regiment on the 1876 expedition against the Lakota Indian tribe. On June 25th, along with his teenage nephew Henry Armstrong (Autie) Reed, Boston was with the pack train at the rear of George’s troops when a messenger reported that his big bro had requested ammunition for an impending fight. Boston and Autie left the train to take the ammo forward and joined the main column, as it moved into position to attack a sprawling Indian village along the Little Big Horn River. If they had stayed put, they might have survived the battle that became known as Custer’s Last Stand. But they didn’t, and perished along with George and Thomas. A fourth brother, Nevin, became a farmer because he suffered from asthma and rheumatism and was not fit for the military, even as a civilian contractor – strangely lucky for him.

A century after Boston Custer, English actor Michael Kitchen was born in Leicester – although he’s been in many TV and film dramas, he’s perhaps best know now as DCS Christopher Foyle in Foyle’s War, who is driven around by the splendidly-named Honeysuckle Weeks and always gets his man.

Continuing the parts of a house name theme, American soap actress Deidre Hall was born a year before Michael, so Happy 70th today! – her twin sister, Andrea, is also an actress. In sharp contrast to MK’s prolific and varied career, Deidre has played the role of Dr Marlena Evans in Days of Our Lives for forty years – wow! She won her first award for the part in 1982 – the year another set of twins, aka the Cheeky Girls, were born on Halloween. I’m sure Monica and Gabriela Irimia have heard all the jokes, so I’ll leave it there.

Thanks again for having me, Jenny – and no, I am not wearing a horror mask, I always look like this.

Toodles.

NP

Nell Peters writes mainly Crime. Her two Accent Press novels can be found here: www.myBook.to/hostilewitness and www.myBook.to/BAON and other books are on Amazon KDP.

***

Thank you ever so much Nell. Another stunning blog. Loved it.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


Bampton Charter Fair

Next week, on 26th October, I’m delighted to say I will be at the Bampton Charter Fair, selling my books, reading, and giving talks to adults and children about my work, and the joy of playing with words.

I will be with my fellow authors from the Exeter Author Association- you’ll be able to find us in the Community Hall on Station Road, conveniently next to a café and a nonstop supply of coffee!

The Devonshire Bampton Charter Fair has been an established tradition for centuries. here’s what the official Charter Website has to say-

Bampton Fair existed even before King Henry III granted it a Royal Charter in 1258 and it is always held on the last Thursday of October. It is one of the oldest surviving Charter Fairs in the country.

For centuries, the fair mainly sold sheep and cattle and was the largest sheep fair in the South West of England. During the 1880’s to the 1980’s it evolved to become the famous Bampton Pony Fair trading in Exmoor ponies.
Today this traditional Devon fair continues to attract local producers of foods and livestock, crafts and traditional skills from Exmoor and its surrounding villages. The streets, church, pubs and venues of Bampton are filled to over flowing with around 100 stalls, entertainments  including craft and music workshops, demonstrations and concerts, and funfair.

Opening from 9am, the Charter Fair regularly attracts in the region of 10,000 visitors- so why not come along and join the fun, pick up a few early Christmas presents, and hear a story or two along the way.

Hope to see you there!

Jenny xx


10 REASONS TO GO ON AN IMAGINE WRITING RETREAT

Alison Knight and I are proud to present our very first “Imagine” writing retreat…

10 reasons to go on an Imagine Writing Retreat…

1                    Writers need writers! No one understands writing and a writer’s life like another writer. Mutual support is the name of the game!

2                    Located in the stunning Victorian manor, Northmoor House, Imagine’s retreat gives you the chance to stay in a home untouched by time (But don’t panic, there is Wi-Fi). You can even indulge in the waters of an original Victorian bathtub…don’t forget your bubble bath!

3                    With so many of the manor’s period features still in place, Northmoor is the ideal location for sparking inspiration and dreaming up new plotlines.

4                    On the edge of Exmoor, near the popular village of Dulverton, there are plenty of beautiful places to explore should you, or any non-writing friends or partners, wish to. There are miles of good walking land on hand. The pre-historic Tarr Steps are but minutes away, and the cafes in Dulverton are excellent. I can personally recommend the poached eggs on crumpets in The Copper Kettle.

Tarr Steps

 

5                    However, you might not want to stray into the village for food because we have employed an excellent local caterer, who is providing a delicious menu that will cater for all dietary requirements. All food is locally sourced.

6                    Come along for a confidence boost! At Imagine we pride ourselves on helping everyone to get their words onto the page. We are here for beginners and experts alike.

Kate Griffin

7                    Meet Kate Griffin! One of Faber and Faber’s most successful crime writers. Kate Griffin is the author of the brilliant Kitty Peck Mysteries. An expert on Victorian London, Kate will be our guest speaker on the Wednesday evening.

8                    Find your inner writer’s peace of mind. We all know that authors suffer from imposter syndrome: “Why am I writing? I’m not good enough!” We all say it! Local happiness mentor and fellow writer, Trina Stacey, will be available for optional one-to-one conversations about how to believe in your abilities, and convince you that you are allowed to do what makes you happy.

9                    Let’s face it – Monday to Friday in a beautiful Victorian Manor, with time to write, all food provided, plus three optional workshops, a chance to meet Kate Griffin, and the opportunity to share writing ideas over a glass of wine (or two) – for only £450 (10% less if you book before 31st October) is a BARGAIN.

10               IT WILL BE A LOT OF FUN!

***

Full details are available at https://www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk/writing-retreats 

If you have any queries please email Alison or myself at imaginecreativewritng@gmail.com

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT ENDS ON 31ST OCTOBER

Now is the time to drop heavy hints about wanting a writing retreat for Christmas… 

Happy writing everyone,

Jenny xx


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