Information from the History website reads: “Some historians speculate that April Fool’s Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.
“In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.
“People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognise that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools”.
We’ve all learnt something new today.
Hope you enjoyed April Fool’s Day.
If You Liked what You Saw Today ~ Please share to family and friends! Thank you.
Please give a warm welcome to author and friend, Helen Hollick, and her many page-turning books.
About Helen and her writing.
When The Mermaid Sings is a prequel novella to Helen’s Sea Witch Voyages series telling how Jesamiah Acorne fled his home in Virginia because of his bullying elder half-brother. He’s seeking a sailor friend of his father, but instead discovers much more: the ghost of his father, Captain Morgan, a mermaid, and a new life of piracy.
About Jesamiah Acorne
Jesamiah was born in Virginia; son of an English privateer and Spanish mother. Enjoy the following excerpt from Ripples In The Sand: (I have a signed author copy, ahem. Just saying)
The rain had started to lash down as Jesamiah kicked open the door to the Full Moon and negotiated his way through, taking care not to scrape or bump Tiola enfolded in his arms and wrapped in a swathe of blankets.
The landlady, a homely woman in her early thirties, bustled from behind the counter concern bubbling from her as energetically as the wisps of hair escaping beneath her lace cap. “Oh my, the poor maid looks nigh on exhausted.” She shooed away an elderly man sitting before the fire, ushering him to another seat. “Set ‘er down ‘ere Cap’n. The girl’s lighted the vire upstairs an’ put a pan in t’warm the sheets. It be a nice corner room overlookin’ the harbour, it’ll do you cheerily.” She pursed her lips and tutted. “I suggest you keep them shutters closed ‘cross the smaller side winder though, sir. The view o’ the drang oft’n be not respec’able.”
Grumbling beneath his breath the old man, as bald as a coot but with a great bush of a white beard, took his half empty tankard of cider along with his pipe and baccy pouch, and shambled to a settle near the window. He sat, sniffed disdainfully and wiped his nose on the cuff of his coat, which he ostentatiously drew closer around his chest, then turned the collar up against the draught. “It be goin’ t’snow on them moors,” he predicted. “Prob’ly ‘ere an’ all. Vruzzen in us’ll be.”
“Drang?” Jesamiah queried, not recognising the word and struggling to understand the conversation. Tiola had a slight Cornish burr, but his ear was not attuned to this unfamiliar Devon dialect. He shrugged, guessed he would pick it up soon enough.
The old man chuckled. “Nowt wrong with Cock Lane tha’ an ‘ealthy man can’t be makin’ good use ov.”
Getting the gist of the statement Jesamiah raised an eyebrow, was about to repeat his ‘drang’ question, but let it pass.
In On The Account, Jesamiah’s wife, Tiola Oldstagh; a white witch, spends the night on Exmoor:
An hour after dusk had settled into the star-frosted night, Tiola fed another stick into her meagre fire. The wood was damp and it gave off more smoke than heat, but it was better than nothing up here on the windswept openness of Exmoor’s exposed coast. She was sheltered in the hollow behind the magnificent tor of rocks that separated the valley from the sea, three hundred feet below. A place steeped in myth, legend and mystery. It was said that the Devil had resided in a castle of rock with his many wives, but angered at their infidelity he had blasted the eyrie to pieces. All that remained were the bare, jagged bones; the skeleton rocks piled stone upon stone. Nothing but a story, an old tale to explain the strangeness of a natural glacial formation – the Devil did not exist, but Tiola was aware that something was lurking out there in the darkness, watching her.
The stick flared into flame and the light caught the glint of an eye a few yards off. Tucking a loose strand of her black hair behind her ear, Tiola calmly added more wood to the fire and smiled to herself. This was the Valley of the Rocks, known also for the herds of feral goats that thrived on the coarse sea-salt grass. A huffed snort and a stream of misted breath evaporated into the cold air. A wild pony then, not a goat; one of the distinctive two-thousand-year-old Exmoor breed with their thick, weather-resistant, shaggy coats and light-coloured muzzles. Had she borrowed such a pony from the stables at Tawford Barton she would be at her destination by now, but her mission was secret and she wanted to know who had been watching her these past seven days, and had followed her, this night, up on to the moor.
Helen decided to take a change in direction:
A Mirror Murderis a cosy mystery set in 1971 with the lead character, Jan Christopher, working (as Helen did!) as a library assistant.
A Mirror Mystery:
Eighteen-year-old library assistant Jan Christopher’s life is to change on a rainy Friday evening in July 1971, when her legal guardian and uncle, DCI Toby Christopher, gives her a lift home after work. Driving the car, is her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker. It’s love at first sight for the young couple. But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby is taken from its pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, murdered…
Helen’s home – beautiful isn’t it
Helen Hollick and her family moved from London to North Devon in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century farm house. The thirteen-acre property is also home to a variety of animals on the farm, which include hens, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, and beautiful Exmoor ponies.
Will Helen be writing the sixth Sea Witch Voyage? I, for one, hope so. I’ve enjoyed all of Helen’s books, after all who doesn’t enjoy spending time with an ansum pirut (pirate).
More about Helen and her busy life:
Accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 just a week after Helen’s fortieth birthday, she became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend. She also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure-fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages.
As mentioned earlier: Helen is now heading in a different direction. The first in her Jan Christopher Mysteries series, set in the 1970s, is available now. A Mirror Murder includes hilarious memories of her own experiences for over a decade as a library assistant. (All true. And hysterically funny).
Helen is never seen without a gorgeous hat: Not anuff (enough) room for ‘em all on here.
Helen never ceases to amaze me. She has failing eyesight but still keeps churning out page-turning adventures with believable characters. She also helps so many writers. Nothing is too much trouble. I take my hat off to you, dearest Helen. Speaking of hats… Helen has many…always wears a hat…making her easily recognisable down at her local Devon pub! Cheers, Helen!
If You Liked what You Saw Today ~ Please share to family and friends! Thank you.
Brixham residents came up with a great idea: How to raise funds for Shoalstone Seawater Pool.
Here’s what happened next:
Scarecrows started appearing in gardens. Thirty in total (more to be added here later so do drop back and have a look) I spotted several on my dog walk. Including Ironman atop Brixham Theatre! All brilliant. Everyone a Winner.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to help save Brixham’s Seawater Pool (there is a Donate link on their website) or to simply learn more about its history, please click the link: www.shoalstonepool.com
Below: Local Scarecrow David (Kindly agreed to pose for my lens)
My guest on the blog today is international author, business mentor and inventor Lizzie Chantree!
Lizzie is here today to tell us about her new book: Networking for Writers. I’ve already downloaded my copy to my Kindle. Make sure you get yours too.
Hello Caz, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today.
Hello everyone. My name is Lizzie Chantree and I am a romance author of nine novels, who is about to publish my first non-fiction book! I ran my own award winning business for over fifteen years before I began writing books as a way to reduce stress and found a beautiful new career that is full of excitement and fun. My latest book is called Networking for writers and I talk about how to help writers build a support network and hopefully find new readers for their own work. I suggest tips on how not to waste valuable writing time, offer ways to simplify your marketing plan, how to make your marketing more effective, ideas for apps that might help save time in scheduling social media posts. I work as a business mentor and have included simple techniques that can be applied to author branding, book marketing, book signings, media planning and more. I also talk through how I grew my social media platform from scratch and filled it with avid readers and creatives.
International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, Networking for writers, will help you learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!
This book will show you:
How networking can help you sell more books.
Why author branding is important.
How networking hours work.
Specific Facebook groups for writers
How to utilise social media to grow your readership.
How not to waste valuable writing time.
How to make our marketing more effective.
Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more.
There are certain warning signs in nature that may be easy to miss, at least at first. J-Shaped trees are a potential sign of dangerous landslide activity in the area. These trees signify that a landslide is on the way. How do they signify this? Well, before a landslide is fully triggered, the ground begins to shift. As the ground shifts, these trees begin to bow from the movement. If you see trees beginning to bend into a J-shape, it’s time to move!
You might consider yourself a very rational person, but then something as simple as a calendar date or a number makes you feel differently about things. You might think twice about boarding a plane on Friday 13th or taking a flight number 13. I once worked with a fella who was so superstitious he stayed in bed all day…apart from a quick dash to the loo for a pee. Every Friday 13th, I think of Roger; wondering if (a) he’s still alive and (b) if he is (alive) would he be in his pj’s snugly tucked up under the duvet covers. Probably!
I avoid walking beneath ladders whatever the date. Simply because I would feel stupid if a pot of paint fell on my head. Or worse, if heavy scaffolding knocked me out cold on the pavement. Otherwise, no I’m not at all superstitious.
Some people, like my work colleague of yonks ago, Roger, are really scared of the date. He booked every Friday 13th off as holiday in the Office Diary. We were all – well some of us more than others – (well, yes moi especially) made many attempts to book the 13th off before Roger could get his hands on the new diary. You guessed it, it was never going to happen! We (I) tried ringing him on his house phone in an attempt to get him out of bed to answer it. No chance of that either. He confessed once that he always pulled the phone cord from its socket just to make certain it didn’t ring downstairs in his hallway. Had it all covered, did our Roger. A pinned notice on his front door ensured parcels were redelivered the next day.
Such fear has a rather long name: ‘Paraskavedekatriaphobia’ now try and pronounce that after a couple of G & T’s.
Why are we so scared of it?
‘Tis said that the fear is likely rooted to Christianity. Jesus was crucified on the cross on a Friday 13th and ever since, the day has been associated with ‘general ill omen,’ according to Michael Bailey, a history professor at Iowa State University who specialises in the origins of superstitions.
Weddings in the Middle Ages, for instance, were not held on Fridays and it was not a day someone would start a journey. Thinking about that for a moment, I always liked to travel midweek on a Wednesday. Maybe I have hidden superstitions, after all.
Thirteen guests are believed to have attended the Last Supper, the night before Jesus was killed. And, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is considered to have been the 13th guest.
A short story by my youngest Grandson, Ethan, aged 9 ~ soon to be 10.
Southampton: April 1912
The weather was calm at sea as Sailor Robert stood at the helm steering the huge, unsinkable, Titanic on its first sea voyage. The ship, known as the floating palace due to its over-the-top accommodations, and its hundreds of paying passengers, was on its way to New York. As they journeyed across the Atlantic, people below decks were busy getting to know each other in the plush surroundings while eating, drinking, and dancing to the ship’s orchestra. As the ship approached the north-west Atlantic the temperature began to drop. Those on lookout duty received several warnings that icy seas were ahead. However, no one believed that the ship was in any danger and ignored the warnings believing the ship to be unsinkable. They received telegrams from the ship SS Amerika giving warnings of large ice-burgs ahead. SS Amerika had already passed two large icebergs on their journey. Evening approached and sea conditions became very icy, but, the captain chose not to reduce the ship’s speed and ignored the warnings. The crew believed, wrongly, that there would be lots of time to get out of the way of the ice, if necessary. Still, no one saw any dangers ahead. The lookout suddenly spotted an enormous iceberg in the distance. He soon realised it was much bigger than he first thought, and so, he rang the warning bell as Titanic headed straight for the ginormous iceberg. Suddenly, as the bell continued to ring out, confusion, screams, and fear echoed throughout the ship. Passengers only felt a bump, but nothing more than that. There were only four officers on duty on the bridge. The first officer in charge ordered the ship to change direction, but, it was too late to avoid a massive collision. Rocket distress signals were fired into the night sky. The direction change caused the ship to strike the iceberg side-on, causing Titanic to start sinking below the icy waves: where the ship would eventually stay forever on the seabed. Several lifeboats were launched into the cold-as-ice sea. Seven-hundred-and-six lives were saved, but hundreds of passengers sadly drowned that day. It would take several hours before a ship large enough would reach the sinking Titanic, and rescue those who had managed to scramble to safety into lifeboats. The poor souls unable to clamber into a lifeboat due to them being already over-full, perished in the coldest waters.
A short story by Ethan J. Ward aged 9.
Submitted to BBC Competition 500 words. 2020
If You Liked what You Saw Today ~ Please share to family and friends! Thank you.