Category Archives: Memoirs

The Healing Paths of Fife by Diana Jackson

coverThe Healing Paths of Fife – a personal Memoir – Fantasy, will be released on Kindle on 20th April 2017.

It can be pre-ordered here in the UK or on Amazon.com.

Part 1 From Redundancy to Rejuvenation has been available in paperback form, but this is the first time that it will be released on Kindle together with

Part 2 Letting Go and Moving On  – released for the first time – both parts as a combined novel:
The Healing Paths of Fife

Here is a description:

Diana walked along the Fife Coastal Path from North Queensferry – beneath the famous Forth Rail Bridge – to St Andrews. While on her way she trod in the footprints of a multitude of pilgrims and famous people through the ages, but she also followed in the steps of ordinary folks of Fife. She ‘met’ some fascinating characters – from St Margaret in Dunfermline to the real Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, in Lower Largo.

Diana was enamoured by her beautiful surroundings along these healing paths. As she paused to have a ‘wee blether’ with those she ‘met,’ she learnt a new way of looking at her world, finding values which gave her a blueprint for the next stage in her life and she was fortunate to discover a sense of peace.

The further Diana travelled the more she became absorbed in the history of Fife and her affinity for the area grew.

As you read on you may find yourself ‘walking beside Diana.’ Her experiences might help you with some of the challenges you face in your own life, or they may inspire you to visit the region of Fife and have adventures of your own. Some would call this an allegory but it is certainly a memoir with elements of fantasy. Diana leaves the reader to judge which is which.

Part 1: From Redundancy to Rejuvenation

Serendipity! Diana’s husband’s job temporarily located them to Fife, at the same time as Diana was made redundant from a life time of teaching.

Part 2: Letting Go and Moving on

In order to live her new life to the full, Diana needed to truly let go of much of her old life. That did not mean forgetting her friends and family but finding a new and deeper relationship with them, even at a distance. As she and her husband threw themselves into a community life in Fife, deep down Diana was still searching for her true purpose and with the encouragement of new and old friends alike she ….

ISBN 9780993260834

The Healing Paths of Fife will be available as a paperback through Amazon by the end of April.

 

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Filed under Book Cover, Events, Fife, Fife Fantasy, Memoirs, My books, Writing

We will remember them

DSCN3304[1]For anyone who has family members who fought in The Somme I can recommend a trip to northern France at this time, the 100th anniversary, to show respect and give thanks for the contribution of so many men who gave their lives to try to keep us free from tyranny.

Having walked along small country tracks, treading in the footprints of those men  who lost their lives so tragically, we eventually  reached The Thiepval Memorial, parked and visited the small but informative museum. We made slow progress as we read the many plaques which lined the pathway leading to the memorial arch. Finally we climbed the steps, pausing in the gentle breeze. Gazing upwards, in unity with fellow visitors, we were aware of a silent incomprehensible sense of awe, verging on disbelief, as our eyes scanned the 72,000 or more names of the ‘missing’.DSCN3305[1]

We had done our homework and were able to locate the record of my husband’s great uncle among the dead from The Bedfordshire Regiment on pier and face 2C. His name, already familiar to us from war memorials in Clophill and Ampthill in Bedfordshire, seemed almost insignificant. A life lost. A man taken at the age of only nineteen years in 1916, with a whole life ahead of him cut short. So sad.

DSCN3309[1]I’m not sure how long we paused to reflect. A timeless period when ‘then and now’ seemed one and it was difficult to keep vivid imaginings of battle and bloodshed from disrupting the view of the calm and gentle Normandy countryside.

Our next search, before returning to Arras where we would stay the night, was to find the Adanac Cemetery ~ Canada spelt backwards. It took a while to locate the gravestone of my husband’s other great uncle who lost his life in The Somme. Family have letters from him saying that he is looking forward to coming home. That was just before he died in 1918, aged twenty  seven. It was all the moreDSCN3315[1] poignant to stand beside his actual burial site and we were so aware of how far he was away from his home village of Clophill, which before that time he had never left in his short life.

Then, taking a deep breath we headed to Arras. The squares were full of celebrations for Bastille Day, one with a makeshift beach and games for the children and the other square with tables for alfresco dining with neighbours, friends and family. We ate in our favourite restaurant in the caves under the street, had a good night’s sleep in a local hotel, before awaking to the tragic news of the carnage in Nice. Our hearts were heavy as we headed home.

As we reached Calais, we passed huge barbed wire fences between us and the large immigrant camp. It was difficult not to be filled with despair. Have we learnt nothing in last 100 year that people’s cannot live in harmony and safety even today in our so called civilised society?

DSCN3316[1]

Nevertheless I’m glad we made the trip. It was educational and opened our eyes to the futility of war ~ although without a doubt it was a relief to be home again too.

(Diana Jackson has written two books partly set during The Great War.

‘Ancasta ~ Guide me Swiftly Home’ is historical fiction, a family saga set between 1910 and 1920 which also reflects the story of early flying boats and sea planes.

‘Murder, Now and Then’ is a mystery of two murders set 100 years apart.)

 

 

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Family History, Memoirs, The Great War, WW1

Multi Genre ~ Who on earth is the target audience?

Writing a multi genre book caused a few challenges and I’m still not sure whether I chose the best path. Having said that, of all my books, it was most fun to write!

The Genre I chose were Memoir, Travel, History and Fantasy. This list was not exhaustive. I could have added ‘Motivational and Inspirational,’ and certainly added ‘Self Help’ when looking at BIC categories on Amazon and Nielsens.

Now I needed to think of  the target audience for my new book ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation.

The book – I call it that because it’s not really a novel – is multi layered too because the book is a bit quirky. These are the following themes running through and thus the possible target audience:

  • a smattering of poetry ~ this would appeal to those who enjoy exploring senses and feelings in words. I could describe the sensation of being made redundant after a life time teaching but somehow I found poetry so much more dynamic. The places I loved leant themselves to verse so well too – just looking about me made my heart sing, if you’ll excuse the cliche.
  • snippets of history ~ It seemed right to add paragraphs, almost asides, of the facts and people who inspired me, and I wrote them as if I was writing a short news item.
  • memoir ~ I wrote about  what really happened to me; where I explored and how the experiences changed my perceptions along the way.
  • travel ~ The book tells of a journey, almost a pilgrimage, as I walked along The Fife Coastal Path; not all at once but in easy chunks. I like to think that my descriptions transport my readers so that they are walking along side me for a wee while. Walkers would love this book, immerse themselves in the scenery and hopefully be inspired to follow in my footsteps.
  • fantasy ~This was the more light hearted theme, making ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation’ an allegory for life – almost a parable. As I walked I met all kinds of strangers in my imagination; real characters from the past. We walked and talked; sometimes we went on a journey together but on each occasion I learnt a little more about myself.
  • a writer’s life ~  a theme running through the book is how to become a better writer through many of these conversations and so it would certainly appeal to authors too.
  • letting go ~ This one underlies almost every chapter. What is holding us back in life to to reach our potential? Do we sometimes have to let go of the most precious things in our own lives to be free to be what ‘God’ intended? Although the purpose of this book is not to be overtly religious, it is certainly spiritual and I hope that my grapple with faith seeps through the fabric of my words to the very end.

And so I have a multi genre book which is also multi layered in style. It won’t appeal to everyone but to readers looking for something a bit different; those who might be searching for answer themselves; those who have been through some kind of huge change in their lives; authors finding their way; those who love to find new and wonderful places to walk but also to those who like to see and feel a sense of history in the places they visit. If you enjoy fact, facts and more facts then it might irritate, since I explored the essence of The Fife Coastal Path and its people, rather than an in depth study.

Since the cover is so special it would make a lovely gift too, for anyone who appreciated the beauty in the world around them!

It was a bit of a gamble – a risk many would say – but it has also been a lot of fun.

‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation ~ A Writer’s Fantasy Walk Along The Fife Coastal Path’ can be ordered from all good book shops. It is also available on line at:9780993260803

Waterstones.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com (where you can see the first five star review from across the pond!

 

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Filed under Book reviews, From redundancy to Rejuvenation, Memoirs, My books, plans, publishing, Writing