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Friday, 31 August 2012

The Telling Thump Of It. Writing Magazine April 2012

Woken at 8 am by the telling thump of my manuscript as it landed on my doormat.  

The Telling Thump  Of It
Madalyn Morgan

I was woken by the Postman this morning. Not directly by the Postman, but by a dull thump as something heavy landed on the hall mat. Now what could that be I thought, a telephone directory? Or maybe it’s a clothes catalogue. A telephone directory wouldn’t go through the letterbox and I don’t buy clothes from catalogues. No, I knew by the telling thump of it what it was. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, to prepare myself for the standard rejection letter that begins, Thank you for your recent letter, which in my case was a synopsis, the first three chapters of my novel, proposal and CV – seventy pages, which I sent in August 2011, it is now January 2012.
To delay the inevitable, I spent as long as I could in the bathroom, vacating it only when I couldn’t stand the cold any longer. Two outside walls and a large window, brrrrrrr – I ran into the bedroom and dressed. From the top of the stairs I saw an A4 envelope. Not any old A4 envelope – but a heavy duty, expandable, light manila, self-seal, A4 envelope – the type you can only afford to buy two of, at any one time. One to send your dreams off and one to bring them back, if you’re not lucky. Anyway, it had to be opened, so I ran down stairs, picked the envelope up and took it into the kitchen. I laid it on the table face up and noticed the stamps didn’t have any black marks on them. Bonus! I can use them again I thought while I made a jug of coffee.
After two cups of my morning kick-me-up, which was strong enough to put a zing into a rhinoceros, I opened the envelope and took out my baby. I read the apology for responding with a standard letter, which is standard, as is the excuse of ‘a small client base’, which is why they are not taking on any new clients. I Googled their client base and it is anything but small, but I digress. The third paragraph said (forgive the paraphrasing), if you would like our book on how to present your work and get a literary agent please send a cheque, etc., etc. Their self-help book, which was once my writing bible, has been gathering dust on my bookshelf for five years. I wondered about writing to them and telling them this, but then I realised that the book suggestion was also standard. So, the standard letter ended with the standard phrase, Good luck finding the right agent for your work.
Bless! Well, to wish someone good luck in their endeavour is better than wishing them bad luck – even if it is standard. Anyway, enough of my cynicism. If anyone reads this short story, please know that after I had written it, after I had vented my anger in words, which is the best way to vent anger – the pen is mightier, and all that – my disappointment had waned, and I felt more determined than ever to get my novel out there. So, as soon as I can afford two more heavy duty, expandable, light manila, self-seal, A4 envelopes... Only joking.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Foxden Acres Book Cover

Synopsis of Foxden Acres 

 On the eve of 1939, twenty-year-old Bess Dudley leaves the library at Foxden Hall and encounters James Foxden.

     James is the heir to the Foxden Estate, Bess the daughter of the head groom.  Bess is a scholarship girl, lodging at Mrs McAllister’s boarding house while training in London to become a teacher.  She has the brains, the determination and the ambition to transcend barriers of class and gender.

     With offers of a teaching job in London and Lowarth in Leicestershire, Bess opts for Lowarth in order to be near James who has joined the RAF and is stationed locally.  When she learns that James is engaged to Annabel Hadleigh, (who is his social equal) Bess returns to London, to her first teaching post and to good friends.  Within a few weeks an encounter with a rapist changes her life, and takes away hopes of love forever.

     War breaks out and London’s schoolchildren are evacuated.  Bess leaves her job and returns to Foxden, at James’s request.  While James trains to be an RAF bomber pilot at a nearby airfield, Bess turns Foxden Acres into arable land with the help of an Army of Land Girls.

     Soon the Blitz is setting London aflame.  The Midlands too is scarred by war: conflict in the air increases and Polish airmen crash land in a Foxden field.  Bess’s brother escapes from Dunkirk.  While he recovers in a hospital in Kent, he meets and falls in love with Annabel Hadleigh.  

     On a visit to London Bess finds her old lodgings blitzed to rubble and Mrs McAllister missing.  Bess persuades her homeless housemates, and the children of Jewish friends, to leave London for the safety of Foxden. 

Traditional social barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess.  Before he embarks on a dangerous mission over Germany, he asks Bess to marry him on his return, but he is killed.

     Bess is distraught but the war has taught her that there are many kinds of love.  When the war has ended and her work on the Foxden estate is done, she knows she must let go of the past and move on.  She opens her heart to an old friend who has loved her for many years.

100th Anniversary of The Sinking of The Titanic

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