Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Roving Press - December Newsletter

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Roving Press – December Newsletter

This month’s Newsletter has suggestions for stocking fillers, presents and thank-you gifts (don’t forget the postman!), as well as Literary Snippets and Events. Ho, ho, Happy Christmas!
Dorchester Remembers front cover image
Why our books make great presents:
  • all local (Dorset authors, writing about Dorset, published in Dorset)
  • thoughtful and unique for each person
  • delivered free within the UK (no p&p to pay), to any address of your choice
  • longer lasting than wine or chocolates
  • they share a love of reading and knowledge about Dorset
  • affordable!
  • something for everyone – just take a look at our range.
The Portland Chronicles series of books is aimed at children 7+, but even adults are fans of author Carol Hunt‘Carol has the knack of bringing to life the local myths of the island, in such a way that a girl of 66 can enjoy the fantasy of it all. In this story, Suzie even shares my enthusiasm for cats!’ (Barbara aged 66)
    Carol researches Portland’s local history and folklore and uses this as the basis of her stories. For what inspires her to write see interview with Cyderscribes and our latest blog post. Cover designs by local artist Domini Deane.
Fancy a rip-roaring sea adventure? Then try Paul Weston’s Weymouth Bound, set in 1800. Paul has been likened to the next Patrick O’Brian, and his first novel is set locally.
    He has extensive sailing experience, including a trip from New York to Lymington in a home-designed and built 26-ft boat. His book is inspired by his love of the sea and history.
    As a sailor, Paul brings a wealth of sea-faring knowledge and reality to his writing.
Or read about the Roman assault on Maiden Castle, then visit the Dorset County Museum to see some of the artefacts that are woven into David Macpherson’s factional storyDefenders of Mai-dun. It makes any visit to Maiden Castle so much more interesting and alive.

For a post about Roman Dorset see thisblog spot and for a reminder of just how awesome the place is visit-Dorset-TV
Dorset Voices: A Collection of New Prose, Poetry and Photography
Featuring 37 Dorset writers and over 20 unusual shots of Dorset people, places and things to capture our changing modern county, which is still a traditional rural place beloved by so many.

With a Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, it brings together diverse voices and different forms of writing – dark, imaginative and socially aware – with something for everyone.

This is one of the photos from the book (thanks to Jessica Knight from Thomas Hardye School).
Discover the Dorset countryside with Andy Case’s A Dorset Country Calendar. Beautifully illustrated with the author’s own pen-and-ink drawings, farmer and countryman Andy lives near Milton Abbas and describes the countryside month by month.

'That morning there was snow as I went with the milk can to get the milk. The hawthorns lining Birmingham Lane were crowded with 200 fieldfares. They needed their breakfasts and so did I.'

His book is reminiscent of a gentler place and time and would appeal to anyone who loves the countryside.
Incidentally, the Dorset Wildlife Trust is looking for volunteers to help record wildlife.

6 Dec – Kingcombe Centre Xmas Fair, with our books for sale and more!

Plan your next literary year with Literary Festivals, including a first for Dorchester.

Reading and writing events at Dorset Libraries

‘A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people’ (Thomas Mann – German novelist and 1929 Nobel laureate)
Want to Write Better? Start Reading, a Lot [Infographic]
Don’t ignore reading, because it really makes our lives easier. It helps us understand feelings and events, makes us better, teaches us to respect people, broadens our minds, and opens our hearts to everything new.

UK Publishing Pros Ask: “Is Publishing Cool Any More?” : Publishing Perspectives  (precis)
‘We’re not helped by a media that talks the industry down, that is full of stories about the death of the book and fewer stories about how this is an industry full of imaginative people and brilliant ideas that can change the world.
    ... But just as important, the panel agreed, is the nose for a good story. The real challenge is the same as it always was: how to communicate the existence of that good story; how to make it discovered. That’s the same as it was in 1970 and 1980, and will be in 2020 and 2030. The difference of course, is that thanks to digitization and the internet, the tools by which that communication can be made are very different, and are constantly evolving.
    Perhaps the one constant, the never changing aspect, is the desire for a good story, which has remained the same. It’s the medium and the message cliché again. We’re not gathered around campfires anymore listening to the village griot, our faces bathed in light from the flames. The light now is from the tablet or e-reader (and still the bedside anglepoise!). But we still want to be transported, just as much as we ever did.’

Dorset Reading Partners need volunteers.

One-day retreats for writers with The Write Day.

Resources to help you write, publish and market your book at The Creative Penn.

Learn from other authors – see Dorset Writers’ Network.

Creative writing and script writing courses at Arts University Bournemouth.
If you've enjoyed this newsletter, please let your friends know, join us on Facebook andTwitter and subscribe to our blog. We’ll do our best to keep posting interesting things about Dorset people, places and literature. And remember to order your books from us before 18 Dec (last posting date for Xmas).            
Happy Christmas from Roving Press.
© 2014 Roving Press. All rights reserved.
4 Southover Cottages, Frampton, Dorset DT2 9NQ, tel 01300 321531, info@rovingpress.co.uk, www.rovingpress.co.uk
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Adventure stories inspired by Portland and Chesil Beach by Carol Hunt

Chesil Beach is a fantastic place with a history of shipwrecks, sea monsters, smugglers and pirates. This intriguing history inspired The Portland Chronicles, my time-travelling stories for children set on the Isle of Portland, following the adventures of Isabel, her annoying little sister Suzie, a badly behaved sheepdog called Gregor, and Ryder, a local surfer.

Chesil reaches in a giant arc of pebbles from Portland to West Bay. Its bank of jewel-bright stones shields Chiswell and Ferrybridge from the Atlantic storms, but the many shipwrecks that lie within the arc of Chesil are evidence of the deadly power of its waves.

Intriguingly it is home to the Veasta, a mysterious sea monster that inspired my first story, The Portland Sea Dragon. The Veasta was first seen in 1457 and its last recorded sighting was on the day of the solar eclipse in 1999. Flintlock, my 17th-century smuggler, describes it as a fiendish creature that rises from Chesil waves: ‘Some folk see a great fish with a curved tail. Others a giant sea horse.’

Inspired by this strange monster and the ever-changing seas of West Bay, the Portland Sea Dragon is a green and gold sea-weedy creature. In the story, Isabel travels into the past, encountering smugglers, witches and a sinister mermaid, to find this elusive dragon. Lucky Isabel flies with the dragon along Chesil Beach, heading into the mists of Moonfleet country.

The Portland Sea Dragon.
Artist Domini Deane worked closely with Carol to get the dragon just right.
Smugglers and pirates have long been associated with Chesil Beach. Smugglers arriving late at night on the dangerous, sloping bank could tell their exact position from the size of the stones, and pirate ships lie beneath the waves.

One of the 'pirate' headstone in the old graveyard of ruined St Andrew’s Church above Church Ope Cove. Photo taken from Dorset Voices, by photographer Scott Irvine.
In Portland Pirates, while marauding pirates are busy a’piratin’ the Isle, Isabel finds their ghost ship, the Fortune, lurking off Chesil Beach, its honey-coloured wood gleaming in the golden light of the famous Chesil sunset.

          I grew up on Hayling Island, in some ways a similar world to the Isle of Portland. I was often free to roam and explore, to study the sea and its moods, dreaming of ghostly pirate ships, bottles with secret messages and terrifyingly huge waves.

Cave Hole on Portland

About Carol

Carol took a degree in English Literature and History at University College, Chichester, trained as a teacher, and worked in publishing for several years in Petersfield. She left work to bring up her three children and moved to Portland in 2005, then later to Wyke Regis. She has been adviser to young people for Connexions South Central and Waves, Weymouth, and enjoys meeting youngsters and talking to them. She regularly gives talks to school children about her inspiration and writing.

Carol also writes a blog and is on Facebook and Twitter.
For an interview with her see Cyderscribes.

The Portland Chronicles

‘Carol has the knack of bringing to life the local myths of the island, in such a way that a girl of 66 can enjoy the fantasy of it all. In this story, Suzie even shares my enthusiasm for cats!’
(Barbara aged 66)

‘I love spotting the real place names in Portland Pirates. Now I want to go to Portland Bill and look for the mermaid.’
(Madelaine aged 9)

‘I like it that it’s kind of a ghostly pirate ship and crew from the past, but they’re also real, raiding the shops and eating baked beans. The chapter endings are good cliffhangers, you wonder what’s going to happen next.’
(William aged 11)

Her series of four books can be read in any order. And so you can explore some of the places and things she mentions on Portland, each book contains a unique map, designed by local artist Domini Deane, who also drew the beautiful motifs inside the book and painted the stunning covers.

Her books are on sale locally and available from publisher Roving Press

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roving Press - November Newsletter

Roving Press – Remembering Dorset  Newsletter

Some of our local-history books look back at life in Dorset in days gone by, so we've featured them in this month’s ‘Remembering’ Newsletter, along with some literary snippets and events coming up.
Dorchester Remembers front cover image
by Brian Bates

A good read this centenary year and a great social history of the time. Author royalties are being given to charities Sense and Sightsavers.
Brian’s book tells the stories of local individuals and their families, highlighting the large part the military played in the life of the town. It’s hard to imagine Dorchester as a garrison town with regimental buildings (long gone), barracks and Royal Horse Artillery. Not many people know that Dorchester had the largest German PoW camp in Britain – on Poundbury hill-fort.
Helen Hartely, writing in Dorchester Parish Magazine, says: ‘many people are feeling the need to search for local and personal connections to 1914 … The book is an excellent place to start. Brian Bates has traced all those who are commemorated on the WWI memorial in Dorchester, and the result is a fascinating book stuffed full of ordinary and extraordinary local lives.’
Various local events are taking place to commemorate the centenary year. Brian often gives talks and walks exploring this hidden side of Dorchester. Contact us if you’d like to get in touch with him. The other day he was at Puddletown First School talking about the part played by children and animals in the Great War. Brian says, ‘It was a very rewarding experience. The 7–9 year olds were the most enthusiastic bunch; I could have spent another couple of hours with them!’
      Brian has also given some material to use on the cards of a geocache around Dorchester, devised by Dorchester Youth Association.
Fordington Remembered: Growing up in and around Dorchester
by David J. Forrester

Dee Adcock, reviewing the book inBlackmore Vale Magazine, describes it as ‘... a vivid and affectionate look back at the good old bad old days of a post-war childhood ... the fun and freedom of growing up in and around Dorchester ... Sunday School, singing with St George’s Church choir, market days, mischief and memories of characters and places now gone or transformed add up to a delightful account of the county town and its unruly neighbouring parish in the 1940s and 1950s ... full of fine old photographs that will take many a reader down Memory Lane with David as the perfect companion.’
The book has featured much in the Dorset Echo; see Harry Hogger’s write-up, among others. 
Thanks to everyone who bought a copy, David recently presented cheques to the Rotary Foundation and Dorset ME Support Group amounting to £450 from his author royalties.

Interest in his book on Fordington has been so great that David is now working on a second book, incorporating interviews with people, recording their oral histories of the Mill Street area of Dorchester (Thomas Hardy’s Mixen Lane). See our Roving Press blog.

Anyone with memories of Mill Street should call David on 01305 250882, or to help with the project contact Mill Street Housing Society (01305 261622). 
Discover Old Swanage
by David Haysom

Explore Swanage through old photographs, following seven different routes around the town. The 350+ photos, old advertisements and maps depict local people, businesses and buildings, some of whom/which are still around today. It captures the story behind the photos, and the author has really done his homework researching and providing intriguing, detailed captions. It’s a real social history and a great way to explore Swanage.
Purbeck! Journal writes: ‘This qualifies as the surprise book of the decade … it’s an utterly engaging read. … As respected historian and honorary curator of the Swanage Museum, David Haysom is eminently qualified to bring us the story … open at random and you’re hooked. Anyone with even a passing interest in Swanage will find it more than useful as an historical record; it has a genuine ooh-aah factor that is difficult to convey. Time and again I’ve watched as friends pick it up and won’t put it down, delighted by what they’ve discovered – in old Swanage.’

8 Nov - The Art of Travel Writing with Paul Dodgson. A day spent investigating how to turn your travel experiences into sparkling prose. Hear examples of travel writing through the ages and undertake exercises to put what you have learned into practice. Tickets from Bridport Arts Centre: £25.

9–16 Nov – Bridport Literary Festival celebrates its tenth year with a programme of events even more varied and eclectic than before to lighten the days of November.

A new play touring Dorset – Passion: A Story of Love and War – looks at soldiers in WWI up to the present day. As-One Theatre Company’s Jane McKell says: The play at its heart is about the effect of war on families'. Don't miss it.

For Dorset Library events, take a look here.

If you like travel writing, short stories and poetry, see Story Mundo.

South Dorset Ridgeway – join an online discussion blog following the progress of two new reading groups exploring works inspired by and written about the South Dorset Ridgeway. View session notes and discuss the themes explored with other followers online.

Somerset and Dorset Family History Society helps people research their family history. Benefits of membership also include talks, workshops, a quarterly journal, and access to the library and bookshop.

Literary Tourist - a big searchable directory of book stores, literary destinations, activities and events from around the world. It's filled with detailed reviews and information designed to help book-lovers plan their travel.

Literature Live Bulletin lists events, groups, competitions and new publications.
If you have enjoyed this newsletter please share with others and Like/Follow us on social media. All past and present newsletters are now available to view on our blog.

Thanks and regards
Roving Press
© 2014 Roving Press. All rights reserved.
4 Southover Cottages, Frampton, Dorset DT2 9NQ, tel 01300 321531, info@rovingpress.co.uk, www.rovingpress.co.uk
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