A Busy Week

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Some weeks are a little chaotic, aren’t they? Last week, several of my deadlines fell due at the same time so that  I felt as if I was juggling plates!

My regular blog post, for Authors Electric, comes round once a month on the 21st., so that was one of my deadlines. If you don’t know AE, here ‘s the link: http://authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/.

We’re an eclectic mix of writers, with all sorts of books out for both adults and children. Today, you can read Lev Butt’s post on his Top Ten Books. No. 1 is Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’.

What’s your no.1 book?  I have so many favourites, but I think I’d go for ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot, which confirmed what I’d always suspected, that human beings are bound to each other, by a common thread. Love that idea.

Yesterday, was Ali Bacon’s take on the Hilary Mantel books, especially Wolf Hall and the current TV adaptation, starring amazing actor, Mark Rylance, as Thomas Cromwell. Love all three, the books, the drama and the Mark R’s performance. Tremendous.

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Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall.’

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My own blog on the 21st, was on our lovely silly words. Here it is!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Our lovely silly words..Pauline Chandler

(1-A. 2-A. 3-B. 4-B. 5-B. 6-A. 7-A. 8-A. 9-A. 10- A. I’ll explain later).

Did you catch Stephen Fry on Radio 2 recently, talking about words?

He’s something of an expert having worked on a series of programmes about plain English. His main point this time was that, unlike more regimented languages, English is constantly evolving, to embrace how people actually use words. I hadn’t really thought about it, that dictionaries record usage rather than dictating the rules. What a great example of honouring creativity! How sensible!

Fry pointed out this aspect of our beautiful language, when he was asked if he really was the creator of the term ‘luvvie’ for an actor sort of person. The OED lists him as the first person to use the word.  Fry quoted another example of his creating a word that has entered common usage, with his friend Hugh Laurie. The word was ‘spoffle’, to described the muffler spongy bit which is placed on the end of a microphone during recording. He was thrilled when, on a separate occasion, he heard a technician ask for one.

‘Spoffle’ and ‘luvvie’; they’re such lovely silly words, aren’t they? When my children were small, I had affectionate nicknames for them, ‘Spodger’, ‘Billy Bodget’ or, sometimes, ‘Fanackerpan’, though, I’m not sure I actually made that one up. When you go into it, there are plenty of lovely silly words in English. We’ve been making them up for centuries. Hooray, I say! Callooh Callay!

Quiz: Here are ten super silly words in English. All you have to do is decide which is the correct meaning.  Answers above!

  1. Mugwump –        A. Politician           B. Mythical bog monster
  1. Taradiddle –        A. Fib.                  B. Feather
  1. Pottle –              A. Small stain.        B.  A container for strawberries
  1. Firkin –               A. Small keg.         B. Large barrel
  1. Skedaddle –       A. Small side saddle for a child. B. To leave, guiltily, in a
    hurry.
  1. Blunderbuss –    A.  Old weapon.       B. Clumsy kiss
  1. Flibbertigibbet – A.  Flighty person.    B. Hastily erected gallows
  1. Whiffler –          A. Attendant who cleared the way for the monarch.
  2. Fictional creature mentioned in ‘The Jabberwocky’.
  1. Wuffler –           A.  Haymaking machine to fluff up the hay. B. Dog’s scarf.10.  Boggler –           A. Mystifying puzzle.  B. Small swamp-dwelling mammal.

Before I leave you for this month, I looked up the OED’s list of new words for 2014.

bae n. used as a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner.

budtender n. a person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.

contactless adj. relating to or involving technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc. to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, typically in order to make a payment.

indyref, n. an abbreviation of ‘independence referendum’, in reference to the referendum on Scottish independence, held in Scotland on 18 September 2014, in which voters were asked to answer yes or no to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’

normcore n. a trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement.

slacktivism, n., informal actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website; a blend of slacker and activism.

The winner was ‘Vape’= ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device’, while both the device and the action can also be known as a vape.

Mmm, I’m not sure ‘vape’ has any staying power. Last year’s was ‘selfie’. That seems to have caught on.

Stephen Fry, word master.

Another date was last Tuesday, with the Open Book Writers’ Group in Chesterfield, who were kind enough to invite me to talk to them about the new edition of  ‘Warrior Girl’, my story about Joan of Arc. I always love meeting other readers and writers, all of us sharing a passion for stories.

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Here I am with some members of the Open Book Writers’ Group, Chesterfield. We had a great time!

Today you can also read a review I’ve posted on another exciting website about books, the Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Livi Michael’s book, ‘Succession’, is set during the tumultuous Wars of the Roses and features  two powerful Tudor women, Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and Margaret d’Anjou, wife to Henry VI. It’s a challenging read, with a host of characters with similar names and different allegiances, but the characters and their stories are enthralling. I ended up knowing much more about this complex period.

Here’s the link. http://awfullybigreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

And, saving the best for last: my grandson’s 1st birthday party!

Nanny P with Lucas on his first birthday. That’s a Spanish Apple Cake! Yummy!

That was a busy few days – phew! – but I think I managed it all!

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Spring Cleaning!

This post was first published on the Authors Electric website, where I blog every month on the 21st. Just in case you missed it, here it is!

120px-Prolećno_cveće_3 If no one had said it was spring, if I’d not been able to see the primroses and hear the birds shouting at each other, I think I’d have known. Spring! What a good word for it!  Today I sprang out of bed at 6am, sprang through my ablutions and into my clothes, eschewing the usual lazing about in my pjs until after the post’s arrived.

‘What’s got into you?’ asked my partner. ‘Are you going somewhere?’

‘No,’ I replied. ‘It’s just that I want to be ready. I don’t know what for, I just do.’  Deep in the limbic Neanderthal recesses of my brain, something stirred, a blood impulsion to clean out my nest, and my thoughts and my life, to make all clean, bright and fresh again.

Do you suffer from the winter blues? I bet diamonds that everyone did at one time. We’ve tried to evolve out of it, that impulse to rest and hibernate, in winter, before the stirring of spring.

Neanderthal

Did he know something we don’t?

If winter ‘depresses’ us, maybe that’s because it should do. Maybe we should acknowledge our instinct to cocoon during the dark days. Do you need more rest? How many of us can honestly answer ‘No!’

Modern life militates against rest. It’s become boring to say that you’re tired, have no energy and want to go to bed early. We don’t ‘convalesce’ after illness any more, either. Just keep flogging ourselves through the rush and whirl of the days, looking askance at those who are not ‘up for it.’ ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’ Mmm.

Your impulse to hibernate can even be ‘diagnosed’ as a disorder. You’re ‘suffering’ from SAD, which is unhealthy, so you need to exercise, get hobbies, socialise, get out and about. Sit in front of a daylight machine. For heaven’s sake. That’s the last thing you should do. You need the dark. Maybe we should have a new campaign, in support of hibernators, we celebrators of rest, with our wonderful stone age inclinations. Yeah!

So, today, my own ‘hibernation’ came to an end and stirred by the return of warmth and light (pace the solar eclipse!) I began to spring clean. First comes the de-cluttering and I began with my books. I’ll tell you what survived the purge and what didn’t, next time.

Happy Spring!

‘Warrior Girl’- A New Edition!

wgcyberI’m thrilled to announce a new edition of ‘Warrior Girl’, my Joan of Arc story, from Cybermouse Multimedia. Isn’t it an exciting cover? I love the way Emma Graham, the talented cover artist, has wound Joan’s banner around her figure. It’s really different from the other ‘Warrior Girl’ covers. Which one do you prefer? I like all of them!

‘Warrior Girl’ – A New Edition

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It’s wonderful when a book finds a new lease of life! I’m thrilled to announce a new edition of ‘Warrior Girl’, a story set in the time of Joan of Arc, that follows events in the lives of Joan and her cousin, Mariane. Bill Allerton, Emma Graham and the rest of the team at http://www.cybermouse-multimedia.com have done a terrific job with this new edition. It’s available on Kindle now and coming soon in paperback!

Signing Books at Crich Tramway Village – Hallowe’en Starlight Event Oct 2014

When I was asked to do book signings at Crich Tramway Village, I jumped at the chance to visit such a special place, full of history. Crich houses the national collection of trams, lovingly restored and maintained by a core group of dedicated engineers. One entrance fee gives you free access to the village all year, with any number of free tram rides. No wonder it’s a popular venue for visitors. On the mile long site, there’s lots to do and see, and plenty of child-friendly activities. I loved meeting lots of new readers, chatting about history, writing and reading. James’s mum was kind enough to take this picture for me, when James came to buy his book.

Lovely to meet new readers!

The Starlight Event was during Hallowe’en week, with a reduced entrance fee for anyone who came in fancy dress. There were so many witches, skeletons and ghouls in one place. Dr Who and his friends were there too!  Crich Tramway Museum Starlight Event Oct 2014 022Thank you Crich for inviting me to such a fab event! Hope to see you and your amazing trams again, before long. Crich Tramway Museum Starlight Event Oct 2014 003

Historical Fiction for Grown-Ups:The Shardlake series by CJ Sansom

I enjoyed every one of these books, set in Henry VIII’s reign. Do you like Tudor history? Do try these wonderful novels by CJ Sansom. You might like to follow this link to read my review of ‘Heartstone’. If you read these books, let me know what you think. I just love all the detail of Tudor life!  http://awfullybigreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/heartstone-by-cjsansom-reviewed-by.html

The power of names

Every week I post antique china to places all over the world, it’s my hobby.  I love my china, but I also love reading the names of the places I ship to,  and wondering how their names were chosen. Who decided to call a place Lake Harmony, or Placid or Peaceful? Rough Close, Rocky Road, Batty Lane? Wouldn’t it be lovely to think that the inhabitants of Harmony, Placid and Peaceful lived there harmoniously, placidly and peacefully?  A wish too far, I think,considering our frail human nature! But I’d rather live there than in Cold Harbour, Deadwood or Batty Lane. Or Wuthering Heights!

I’m sure the people who named their home towns with such lovely names, also named their children in a similar way. Do you think your name affects your personality? If you’re named Patience, Prudence, Constance, Verity, do you always behave very well? Ha ha! Writer shakes her head!

Where do you live? Do you like the name of your home town? Is your name Grace or Faith? Honesty? Modesty?  If so, do you like your name or not? Let me know!