The Dandelion Clock

 

This superb tale by Rebecca Bryn takes the reader beyond the Earl Haig Fund, and the sale of poppies and badges—it truly highlights some reasons for Remembrance.

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is one of two good causes receiving the royalties from sales.

Story Description by Rebecca Bryn

Click graphic for details

The Dandelion Clock is a story of young lovers torn apart by war. While Bill fights in Gallipoli, Egypt, and Palestine and endures the hardships and tragedies of war with his beloved horse, Copper, Florrie fights her own war at home in England and dreams of marriage to Bill.

Florrie’s widowed father is an abusive and violent drunkard, and she is bringing up her six siblings as best she can with rationing, poverty, and the loss of her menfolk – a mirror of my grandmother’s young life.

In times of self-doubt, Florrie turns to her dandelion clocks, ‘He lives; he lives not – he loves me; he loves me not.’ Can Bill survive to keep his promise to Florrie to marry her, and can he bring his old warhorse home safe? Will Bill and Florrie’s love survive five years apart?

 

The Inspiration for this story, by Rebecca Bryn – the author

The Dandelion Clock was inspired by some old photos I found when moving house. My grandparents, Bill and Florrie were a huge influence on my young life and the photos brought back both happy and sad memories. Here was Grandad mounted on his beloved horse—a horse that took him to Egypt and Palestine during the First World War and carried him into battle. His love of horses was something I inherited and which dominated my life for many years, so it was natural, when I began to tell Bill’s story, that his horse would play as important a part as his sweetheart, Florrie.

Researching and writing The Dandelion Clock opened my eyes to the sacrifices my grandparents and those of their generation made. It opened my eyes to the suffering and the hardships endured by both man and horse in the scorching heat of a waterless desert, and the freezing snow of Gallipoli.

The author’s grandfather

“I marched with the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars across the salt flat before Chocolate Hill with no cover and Turkish guns on the hills around them picking them off like shooting fish in a barrel. I watched men and horses die of heat exhaustion in the Sinai Desert and learnt to stab, twist, and pull a bayonet. I watched the light go out of the eyes of men I had no cause to hate for a war I didn’t understand, and I came home to a country I barely recognised with wounded men begging on the streets, poverty, and few jobs, and wondered what I’d fought for.”

War changes people, as it changed my grandfather. The effects are far-reaching, far beyond the 40,000,000 casualties, of whom 20,000,000 of these died, and 11,000,000 of the dead were civilians. That leaves some 9,000,000 military deaths – young men, some volunteers but mostly conscripted who downed tools and marched to war never to return. The Dandelion Clock seeks to honour the men and horses of the Great War and the women who waited at home ‘keeping the home fires burning’ through rationing, poverty, and loss of their menfolk.

Royalties go to two charities:

ABF The Soldiers Charity

I felt the need to honour the courage of the soldiers of The Great War in some more charitable way, so I asked around some ex-military friends and was recommended a charity that supports both serving and veteran soldiers and their families. Half the royalties from pre-orders and sales of The Dandelion Clock up to Remembrance Day Centenary on November 11th 2018 will be donated to ABF The Soldiers Charity, a charity that supports soldiers, military widows, and their families through their darkest times. Their youngest beneficiary is 2-years-old and their oldest 106-years-old. With so many wounded men, some suffering shellshock, and many bereaved families, this is a charity that would have been greatly appreciated in 1918.

A hand up, not a hand out – “In 1944, around 3 million British soldiers were at war, notably in France, Italy and Burma, but with the end in sight, the Army Board realised that the State would not be able to provide for all the needs of those who would soon return to civilian life. The Army Benevolent Fund came into being on 15th August 1944. The “Fund for the Soldier” is, as The Times said, “an object none can question” because the soldier is what it is all about. In its first year, the Charity was ‘pump-primed’ with the huge sum of £1.5m from the NAAFI’s profits, enabling the Charity to make much-needed grants. – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has a well-established and substantial grants programme of support to charities and organisations that provide lifetime support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families. We will normally fund up to 100 charities in a given year which deliver support on behalf of the Army and ourselves.”

Brooke

The other half of my royalties will go to Brooke. It wasn’t until I reached the part in my story where I sought a way to bring Bill’s horse, Copper home, that I discovered the horrific end many of the faithful and courageous warhorses suffered. The Brooke is a charity that now rescues horses, mules, and donkeys in some of the poorest parts of the world.

Every horse remembered – “On arrival in Egypt in 1930, Dorothy Brooke was determined to find the surviving ex-warhorses of the British, Australian and American forces. These brave and noble horses were sold into a life of hard labour in Cairo when the conflict ended.

Searching for them throughout Cairo, Dorothy was appalled to find hundreds of emaciated and worn-out animals desperately in need of help. She wrote a letter to the Morning Post (which later became the Daily Telegraph) exposing their plight.

The public were so moved they sent her the equivalent of £20,000 in today’s money to help end the suffering of these once proud horses.

Within three years, Dorothy Brooke had purchased five thousand ex-warhorses. Most were old, exhausted and had to be humanely put down. But thanks to her compassion, they ended their lives peacefully.

Dorothy Brooke knew thousands of hard-working horses, donkeys and mules still suffered so in 1934 she founded the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo, with the promise of free veterinary care for all the city’s working horses and donkeys. The Brooke Hospital for Animals was born.”

I also donate money to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum each year from sales of Touching the Wire – a story of the women of Auschwitz – to honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Go to https://www.ushmm.org to help further Holocaust education.

It feels wrong to make money from the suffering of others, but in relating their stories, I hope to keep their memories alive, and donating is one way I can give something back to charities that would have been close to their hearts.

About the Author

 

Originally from Kettering, in Northamptonshire, Rebecca Bryn lives in West Wales with her husband and dog where she paints the fabulous coastal scenery and writes historical, mystery, and post-apocalyptic tales with a twist. She believes you shouldn’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins and to date has a 100% success rate at surviving. :

 

 

My personal view of the story

Try if you will, to go without food for a day, or a decent hot drink, or sleep … having worn the same clothes for days on end in a range of temperatures. What could be worse? Place yourself in adverse conditions and introduce a few ground-shaking bombs and an enemy firing at you.

Have you considered the ability to clean and service your rifle and equipment?

How about aiming and firing back at the enemy from a water-filled, muddy trench.

Combine these things with the remorseless ‘duty-bound’ attitude of your leadership—now you have a tiny vision of life in The Great War.

Be rewarded for playing your part

If you’d like to help Rebecca support these charities and get a wonderful book to read, you can pre-order The Dandelion Clock. The eBook is currently available on pre-order at the special price of 99p/99c until September 4th. On release, September 5th it will be priced at £1.99/$2.99.

This book is also available in paperback.

Contact Rebecca Bryn:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/rebeccabryn

Bookbub page: – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rebecca-bryn-5527e97a-146a-49e7-95c7-a30b0f603c80

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/authorshow/8434030.RebeccaBryn

Website: – https://rebeccabrynblog.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rebeccabryn1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.bryn.novels

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/jandrcoulson

Google +: https://plus.google.com/+RebeccaBryn

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmjL99ImZV_TdNpDaOxiVOw

And : http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebecca-bryn

Advertisements

A Time for Courage: and other military stories

A Time for Courage - 2Now available!

*

I’m delighted to report the publication of my fourth anthology of short stories. The primary theme is of course military, but as suggested in the title, ‘courage’ is the underlying feature of this collection.

In some cases how the character deals with adversity is fairly obvious, but in other tales the conflict and solution is more subtle.

*

Here I have created 12 stories using a wide spectrum of scenarios. Military experiences can be funny, heart-breaking and, everything in between.

This anthology is a blend of my personal experience and knowledge, together with specially created pieces to highlight the peaks and troughs of service life.

These tales can be enjoyed equally by those who have served and, those who have never donned a uniform.

Humour, fact, fiction, and fantasy are used to portray service in theatres as varied as Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Ancient Briton, the Persian Gulf, Africa, and elsewhere.

*

Amazon – Universal (Preview / Buy)

Booklinker (if unable to download from Amazon)

*

As any sensible and serious indie author will do, I requested beta readers to cast a critical eye over these stories. Notwithstanding the fact one of the stories was a competition winner, I needed the confidence of more than one set of eyes checking my work. To this end, every story has been seen by at least two beta readers, and in some cases I stretched this to four beta readers.

I would now like to say a public thank you to Martin Ashworth, an ex-colleague from my latter days in the military.

My other readers are all members of the fine Indie Author Support and Discussion group:

Sharon Brownlie, Lucinda E Clarke, Barbara Doran-Rogel, Sylva Fae, Pam Kesterson, Robert Lalonde, Eric Lahti, Penny Luker, Julia Lund, Ian D Moore, and Andy Updegrove

Many thanks guys, one and all. I may not have used every suggestion, but I considered every one, and used a lot of them. Without your help I doubt if I’d have the same confidence in the end product.

***

Making things Beta

A glance at my Work in Progress will give some idea of my intended output for the next few months. I enjoy variety in my writing as I do in my reading, so apart from working on novels this year – I aim to produce two anthologies.

*

A Time for Courage - 1My next anthology of short stories is due for publication at end of March 2016.

I’ve already adjusted the font, and the angle of the plane on the cover for about the fifth time, but I believe the latest version does the job.

A Time for Courage is a collection of 12 stories. There are two which appear in other collections, but they deserve to be included here.

As always I strive to produce a varied selection, even when adhering to a theme, and I’ve worked to develop these stories in each successive draft.

I’m now looking for volunteers to sample the collection. Ideally, I’d like readers to try at least two stories each, but if you’d like to experience variety I can supply a surprise third story based on your two choices.

If I’m fortunate enough to have more than one reader for any of the stories, it will only be a good thing for the final product.

*

What do readers need to know?

Photographic Memory* and Duty Bound* are the two tales which are appear elsewhere, so they don’t require beta reading, but I’ll be happy to send them on if somebody particularly wanted to see them.

I tend to set myself a maximum word target of 3,500 for short stories, but in this list I have one tale which is 4,000 words. There are two which are under 1,000 words.

If you would like to sample any of these and provide me with feedback, please get in touch via email, Facebook, or use a comment here. You don’t have to use the title of the story, (or stories) – the number, (or numbers) will be sufficient.

*

1. A Time for Courage
2. Users Guide: Soldier
3. Thanks Dad
4. *Photographic Memory
5. Special Forces ?
6. The Odd Couple
7. Walking Wounded
8. Brothers in Arms
9. *Duty Bound
10. Roamin’ Soldier
11. Blood Brothers
12. The After Life

*

I’m presently editing a novel for a fellow writer, so I will allocate time in mid-month to revisit this collection for final amendments.

Thank you as always for reading and leaving a comment.

***

A Time for Courage …

 

Yes, courage is a strong word and conjures up a variety of images, but it can also be measured in different ways. For the purpose of this post it will be aimed at:

Free this weekend: 23rd/24th January

1. My latest marketing strategy.
2. My next scheduled collection of short stories.
3. Indie writer attitudes.

*

My latest marketing strategy.

I’ve already published my first book of this year, A Life of Choice: Part One, and I aim to have the second part published by April 2016. All is going to schedule with my other projects.

I said in a post last year that I’d stopped giving things away, but on a recent update of my catalogue I realised a word which carries international appeal is ‘FREE’.

Throughout 2016 I will promote a FREE title every month. On the weekend 16th / 17th January 2016 I set up The Welcome: and other Sci-Fi stories as FREE. My idea behind the move was to promote the title and my six guest authors.

During the weekend 23rd / 24th January 2016 I am offering A Taste of Honey as my first monthly freebie. To make things easier and more tempting to the international readership, I am using the new Amazon ‘preview/buy’ link.

*

My next scheduled anthology.

Collection - A Time for CourageApart from the heading of this post, A Time for Courage is also the title of my next anthology. It will contain my preferred number of short stories (12), in a collection which will be military-themed.

I had intended to open this new collection to guest authors, but with very little interest when I floated the idea last year, I went ahead with a selection of my own ideas. There may be one or two stories borrowed from another anthology, but I believe cross-pollination is good.

At the time of writing this article I have 10 stories completed and two more in the late stages of my editing process, so I’m confident of my target publication date of late March 2016.

*

Indie writer attitudes.

As a member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion (IASD) group, I’ve been instrumental in coaching new writers. No, I’m not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to advice, but sometimes a little nudge is all a new writer needs.

Yes, I’ve been known to suggest that a ‘writer’ either works harder or finds another outlet, but I only do such a thing when I’ve worked hard to read past the first few paragraphs. On odd occasions it stands out when the person in question has an urge best kept to themselves.

We may be known as ‘indie’ but I like to think it stems more from the publishing aspect than the selfish, keep-it-to-myself attitude of some. I’ve only been a writer since 2007. I am not an authority on our craft, but I recognise when somebody’s heart is in the right place, and I will do all in my power to help. If my private offer is refused, I’ll back off – no offence taken.

IASD - globe (2)I’ve noticed at the other end of the scale we have a great number of new authors who have great storytelling skills, but they have little or no confidence in their ability. It may surprise those reading this, but I started like that, before realising the only person who could shout for me with any conviction in the early days – was me.

Authors with several titles are always asked for a piece of advice. I’m always open to take advice, but if I could offer a piece of advice to my peers it would be to lean on the rest of us. Yes, the first and general idea is ‘don’t give up’, but importantly, I believe having your work read, critiqued and read again are essential requirements.

We can’t judge our own writing, and anybody who shouts about how good their own work is will put me off the idea of reading any. Self-promotion is not about how good you think you are, but about letting people know you have titles out there. There is a big difference between self-belief and marketing.

I’m proud to be a member of the IASD, which in my opinion is the best writing group I’ve associated myself with, and I’ve been with a few. An honest opinion is never far away, but by the same token, it has to be sought.

As I said at the outset, this is A Time for Courage. We must work hard to produce a good story, and then edit, edit, and edit, before we ask for another person to give their views.A Taste of Honey

If you haven’t already tried my writing, here is A Taste of Honey, the title which is FREE this weekend.

Click on the cover to preview before downloading – if you like what you see:

As always, thank you for reading.

***

The Art of Letting Go – by Chloe Banks. A word from the author

A foreword from Tom Benson:  Website - Author page

I recently read The Art of Letting Go by Chloe Banks, which I reviewed here on my blog. Prior to reading the book I had already been following Chloe’s blog since 2010. We have shadowed each other’s progress since and we gave mutual support throughout the NaNoWriMo 2011.

Since the outset she was determined to produce her novel using traditional publishing. It was a courageous step, and though it took many months and extra work, she achieved her aim. I am delighted and honoured to publish now, a ‘guest’ post by Chloe.

***

41o0Nt-NySL[1]

Dear Reader,

With the rise of e-mail, text messaging and social media, the art of personal letter writing seems to be in something of a decline. It’s a shame as letters make great records of the everyday and the extraordinary events of our lives. There’s something rather special about receiving a letter in real life, and when it comes to fiction they can be used to great effect.

When I chose to write part of The Art of Letting Go as a series of letters between my main character, Rosemary, and her childhood friend, I was following in the footsteps of a huge number of epistolary novelists. A true epistolary novel contains only documents of some kind – letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, blog posts, e-mails etc. Whereas many novels, including my own, contain these things as part of a wider narrative.

Novels told in this fashion have been around since the 15th-century and have remained prominent to this day. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte), The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins) and Dracula (Bram Stoker) are famous 19th-century examples. Even more recent works range from the horror classic Carrie by Stephen King, to teen favourite The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. But why do authors across so many genres choose to write in letters and other documents instead of in prose?

For me, Rosemary’s letters to Julia served a vital function. Rosemary’s nature – reclusive, blunt, secretive – was key to the plot, and yet I ran the risk of making her difficult to know and therefore difficult to care about, despite the first-person narrative of the book. Her letters showed the less guarded, warmer side to her. It allowed me to reference parts of Rosemary’s past that no other character would know about and gave me a chance to inject some humour into a book that deals with some less-than-funny issues. Letters added character insight and light to the shade.

This style of telling a story is certainly not to everybody’s taste. While I was in discussion with a couple of different agents, one of them questioned how relevant it was to use letters in a modern novel. On the other hand, more than one person has told me how the letters are their favourite part of the book. As with all things, it can come down to personal taste. If you read my book, I’d be glad to know whether you think the letters work. Or if shameless promotion isn’t your thing, how about trying one of these wonderful novels…

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver). One of the best books I have ever read. The one-sided letters draw you in to the relationships between the main character and her husband and son, but make the twists when they come all the more shocking and brilliant.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary-Ann Schaffer is set on the occupied Channel Islands during the second world war and is one of very few books that have made me cry.
  • Or if you are sceptical about letters and like a good laugh, another form of epistolary novel is Diary of a Nobody (George and Weedon Grossmith) – a great piece of Victorian observational comedy.

Let me know how you get on. And if you have another example of great epistolary novels you think I should read, do write back to let me know!

I remain your faithful servant,

Chloe

***

The Art of Letting Go tells the story of Rosemary, whose peaceful seclusion is disrupted by the man who she was involved in a traumatic relationship with decades earlier; only this time he’s lying in a coma and Rosemary must decide whether to let him live, or let him go. In the midst of her secret dilemma  she meets an abstract artist who is used to manipulating shapes and colours to make people see things differently. But what else is he manipulating? And can he help Rosemary see her own situation in a different light?

41o0Nt-NySL[1]The Art of Letting Go is available as a paperback and an e-book here.

 

Chloe Banks

Chloe Banks

 

 

Chloe Banks lives in Devon with her husband, son and an obsession with words. She started writing for a dare and forgot to stop until it was too late. She is a prize-winning short story writer and a first-time novelist, represented by The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.

***