June 30th 2016 is the 50th anniversary of detective novelist Margery Allingham's death. The last book she completed before she died was The Relay, reflections on the care of the elderly -- specifically her mother, aunt and elderly cousin.
It has never previously been published but here it is -- better late than never -- interwoven with reflections on dementia care now.
Novelist and campaigner Nicci Gerrard has read an advance copy, this is what she says:
"How do we care for and how do we think about people we love as they grow old and frail, perhaps become demented or changed from the self they used to be? And how do we care for and think about ourselves, as we look after those who once looked after us? In Beloved Old Age, Julia Jones looks at the issue of old age with extraordinary lucidity, both close-up and intimate and at the same time, clear-sighted and dispassionate. She manages to make Margaret Allingham into her partner: the dead writer and the living one pass the baton to each other, connecting generations, sharing sore truths. Julia Jones is unsparingly honest but never unkind, tender without ever being sentimental. She creates a patient space for all the turbulent, ragged emotions she has felt as her mother's carer and finds amongst the exhaustion and distress, times of illumination and a kind of gladness. To be a carer is not just a duty but a difficult gift. This slim, careful, beautifully-written book is a shining example of writing that can change the way we think."
Golden Duck comes springing back into life with TWO new publications. We're proud and delighted to have published Claudia Myatt's insightful and charming Keeping a Sketchbook Diary. Publication date was 18th May 2016 but Amazon seems to be slow catching on. Suggest you order directly from Claudia's website www.claudiamyatt.co.uk or via a real bookshop. The book's ISBN is 9781899262311 -- essential information for a bookseller.
And if you want to know more Claudia will be the sofa guest on the Lesley Dolphin show this afternoon (BBS Suffolk) and the East Anglian Daily Times have a big feature article planned.
Do contact us, via this site, if you have any problems getting a copy. Or treat yourself to a visit to Claudia's Waldringfield Boatyard Studio
A combination of family responsibilities, visits to schools and the unexpected activity of John's Campaign has too often pushed Xanthe Ribiero's story to the back of the desk. I'm therefore especially grateful to Claudia Myatt for reading, commenting & illustrating and then to a group of other family and friends for discussion and questioning and then finally to Megan Trudell for putting everything together ready for the printer. A proof arrived yesterday and this morning a flourish of the credit card and Black Waters is GO. Publication date is July 2nd but I hope to have copies next week (Weds 25th June) to take to the Felixstowe Book Festival
Catch up comment - I was so glad to have completed this book. Strong Winds 6 is in my head (partly) but that'll be a 2017 production. This year I have returned to the Allinghams. (Julia Jones)
Lovely review for Cheapjack today by Mike Robbins 'screw donah's groinies' - makes me realise that there are too many boxes of this neglected gem taking space in the Golden Duck caravan.
SO - if anyone sends me £2.50 postage and their address I will pop a copy in a recycled jiffy bag and send it on. Deal? Address is Julia Jones, Golden Duck, Sokens, Green Street, Pleshey, Chelmsford Essex CM3 1HT
and here's the review
(John Crampton is writing a screen play - so your cheapo copy could become Hot Currency!)
It's been an extraordinary couple of months since Nicci Gerrard and I began John's Campaign at the end of November 2014. We have the devoted help of Sean and Francis and also our children but all the same it's been overwhelming. Nothing can entirely stop us writing of course -- Nicci and Sean are busy on the next Nicci French, I've managed a GCSE York notes revision project and a short story (Black Flag) which will be published in the summer issue of the Maritime Quarterly but Strong Winds series 5 is looking at me reproachfully and I suspect Nicci also has projects shoved (temporarily) to the back burner. The campaign feels so hugely worthwhile ... if you'd like to know more please visit its website www.johnscampaign.org.uk or find us on facebook or twitter. Back soon, I hope.
I've just updated the Golden Duck events page. It shows that I've continued with the AE blogs (one of my favourite regular jobs) and reminds me that I've written nothing here about my monthly visits to Harkers Yard to follow the progress of some of their apprentices. Another apoloigy due I think. Meanwhile Nicci and I continue with John's Campaign and I have at least handed in my short story for the forthcoming AE anthology "A Flash in the Pen". I've written some reviews as well. Must collect them togther one day. And, Black Waters, you're not (quite) forgotten.
It was thrilling to listen to three chapters of the Salt-Stained Book being read by translator Alistair Tarwid at the Flensburg Literary Festival. My German is not good but I was able to follow with a print-out in one hand and the English text in the other. Alistair chose chapter 9, 14 and 20 to convey the sailing atmosphere to this maritime audience and I have to say that the rhythym of his sentences worked really well -- especially when villainous Inspector Flint was on the scene. There may be a publisher interested. I hope they'll stick with Tarwid.
Too often reviews of audio books concentrate on the story and forget to mention the skill thathas gone into the narration. Sue Magee, in the Bookbag, doesn't make that mistake.
This is what she says about Anna Bentinck's narration: "the narration is superb. If asked before I listened to the book I would have said that a 'good reader' could narrate a story, but Bentinck moves reading into a different profession. She's - for want of a better term - a voice artist, capturing each individual character perfectly and bringing them to life. I listened as though to a play."
The Salt-Stained Book is available as an audio download via Amazon / Audible / Itunes. None of this would have happened without the enthusiasn and generosity of professional voice actress Anna Bentinck. To see Anna at work was a revelation. I'm planning to write about it in my next Authors Electric blog but meanwhile all you have to do to hear here is go to Amazon (etc) and click the sample button.
My piece was published on the Authors Electric blogspot on August 9th http://www.authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/listening-to-salt-stained-book-by-julia.html
Now Anna Bentinck has posted a response. "I'm an actress andin seven years of narrating audio books there has never been an author present at any time." http://www.authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/should-authors-be-present-at-audiobook.html
I realise how lucky I was. The SSB is now avaialble via Audible. Amazon and iTunes
Proud to announce that Claudia Myatt's Go Green! and Go Inland! have moved into the Golden Duck caravan. Go Inland! - fab if you're taking your children on a canal boat or the Broads. Go Green! a must-have if you want your family or your pupils to care about conserving the blue planet.
Selling at the moment via Amazon market place £4 each (+p&p) Happy to accept payment by cheque and post direct
WILD WOOD is now in stock -- and here's the first review from Sandra Horn http://www.authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/wildwood-by-jan-needle-reviewed-by.html
"There are wonderful touches of laugh-out-loud humour – the rabble-rousing stoat Boddington is ‘peculiarly yellow, a little lacking in body, extremely bitter, but one of the best.’ Toad’s fine wines include Visage de Poisson; Schloss Katzenjammer is a German beer. It is delightful, tongue-in-cheek stuff and the Willie Rushton illustrations complement it perfectly. If your spirits need lifting, this is the book for you. If you’re already uplifted, read it anyway – it’s a gem."
and the author's celebrating already! http://authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/on-toot-with-drum-and-floot-by-jan.html
Nice weather for ducks? Yes rain rain wind and rain but happy to have beautifully illustrated articles in the January issue of Classic Boat magazine and the February issue of History Today. I'm also looking forward to spending a day at Chelmondiston Primary School in Suffolk - heart land of the Strong Winds Trilogy
The Lion of Sole Bay is shaking his mane and roaring with delight at being chosen as one of LoveReading4Kids Books of the Year for the 11+ age group in 2013. He purred rather smugly and licked his chops when the kind people at The Book Bag put him in their Top 10 Self-Published titles for 2013.
But how will he cope when Baxter Ferret and his comrades take over command at the Golden Duck HQ? Our first title for 2014 is a re-publication of Jan Needle's comic masterpiece Wild Wood with the original illustrations by William Rushton. Or is it intended to be funny? The Lion is feeling insecure...
The Lion of Sole Bay is LoveReading4Kids December Book of the Month for the 11+ age group and has a wonderful write-up from Julia Eccleshare "One hell of a thriller", she says. Peter Willis also gives it a generous review in the latest issue of Sam Llewellyn's Marine Quarterly.
A Ravelled Flag will be electronically-cheap over Christmas as part of the Authors Electric promotion.
The Oaken Heart has a lovely appreciation from journalist Veronica Horwell which was posted on the Crime Readers Association website on Dec 15th. The website has been redesigned and re-launched by the CWA and is really very attractive. The quarterly magazine Slightly Foxed also included an article on the OH which I'll post on the news page.
and finally ... Saxmundham Free School have asked me (Julia) to organise a writing workshop on the last day of term - are they mad or am I? Only one way to find out ... 2.1.2014 - well, it was a year ago now but yes, it was fun. We produced a magazine The Winter Spectacular (limited edition only, sorry to disappoint you)
October was a month for primary and secondary school work and visits. Some undertaken on behalf of Essex Book Festival, others for Frinton Literary Festival and a Ghost-writing session at Pakefield High School near Lowestoft because the Kessingland children go there. All enjoyable in many different ways - but the most memorable day by far was with the Y6 children from Wix & Wrabness. I wrote about it afterwards for Authors Electric
The Lion of Sole Bay is the book that turns the Strong Winds trilogy into a series. Its central character is not Donny but the younger, more imaginative, less obviously competent, Luke. Luke has been longing for an adventure of his own ever since Donny told him the story of Treasure Island two years ago in The Salt-Stained Book. Here he has one - for real. Does he like it? I'm not so sure. He's joined by Angel, who needs friends and Helen who simply wants to go home.
Claudia Myatt and I had a happy day deciding on the original cover design for A Ravelled Flag. We were on board Peter Duck and sailing through Harwich harbour in a wind so strong that I even put a reef in before we went out to sea. Anyone who has sailed on dear steady Peter Duck knowns how rarely I do that. We looked across at the 'Hispaniola' lying motionless and sinister off Shotley and said "We must have the flags" on the new book's cover. If you've read The Salt-Stained Book you'll know at once which flags I mean. If not, just look at the cover. So that's what Claudia produced, cursing as she struggled with the intricacy of the double-headed dragon. But for some reason the background turned calm. We were thinking of still, icy, winter days yet the final impression was tranquillity - far away from the turmoil of the story itself. (You can see the old cover on the ARF page). Finally the first edition has sold out and a reprint offered Claudia and designer Megan a chance to rough things up a bit. Oh YES! I'd take a double reef down if I was out in that lot.
The Golden Duck this month looks slightly shocked at the lolling attitudes of Francis, Dottie (spaniel) and Dottie's flattened green familar. However, such superciliousness should be tempered by the knowledge that Francis has been nobly proof-reading The Lion of Sole Bay (as has kind Peter Dowden in New Zealand) and might well be knocked back exhausted after the storm of Facebook controversy (not to mention domestic discord) aroused by his insistence that the word fo'c'sle should have at least two apostrophes...
There were those who wimpily pleaded for one (or none) and there were those who argued that anything less than three would sap the grammatical backbone of the nation. "Backbone" - ah yes - that's why Dottie feels it necessary to come between Francis and the unbending yellow duck - Francis is currently recovering (we hope) from his third spine operation. Meanwhile the offending f- word has been silently deleted and Julia's new novel The Lion of Sole Bay remains on track for publication in October.
For some people the highlight of summer 2013 could be the Ashes series.
For others it might be a trip to Lowestoft in Peter Duck, the hospitality of the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club and the friendship of Y6 pupils from Kessingland Primary School. A memorable day for 28 children and their teachers, began at Ness Point (the 'easternmost point' in A Ravelled Flag) and continued with new words for old shanties, pilotage lessons from Judy and Nicola of the Nancy Blackett Trust, a coat of arms worthy of an old sailor's kitbag (Ransome's 'Peter Duck'), a treasure hunt with teachers turned to goddesses and much happy scrambling on board the boat
Exciting times took a different turn with a meeting of the Crime Writers Association and the Margery Allingham Society - of which more later.
Two long day's sailing north then south across Sole Bay have left Julia eager to get back to work on the final draft of her next adventure story. Illustrator Claudia Myatt has meanwhile been sailing down from Inverness to Ipswich, sketch book in hand.
Children from Frobisher Primary School in Jaywick. Thank you for your 'meet and greet' policy that immediately made me welcome. Thank you Y5 for your hard work and friendliness. I've really enjoyed reading your stories. JJ
Children from Alton Park Junior School. Well done. You are the first to have your work in the children's section. I hope there's more to come and I'm excited to see what you'll produce. JJ
Essex Book Festival. Thank you for sending me to these schools as part of your all-the-year-round activity. JJ
Between the Lines: New Bookshop in Great Bardfield, Essex OPENED JUNE 22nd 2013 CONGRATULATIONS!