Thursday, 24 January 2013

Dreaded marketing, ICT and social media

Google page? Google community, circles, hangouts...all new to me and as incomprehensible as Stephen Hawking's theory of everything!However you can't say I don't try...despite my age and lack of skill in these matters. I pride my self in being an erudite facebooker and tweeter and I am even Linkedin...but I must say Google+ is a mystery! I can't seem to see who is on there or how one extends the reach... but I do feel I should have a go! I have therefore set up a page Out of Time;Gill do please visit it!

As I have often said before I hate marketing and constantly put off that which must be done in the name of self promotion-after all if I don't do it who will? It takes me away from writing...the real writing...not blogging etc and I am never clear how much difference it actually makes. I am still waiting for something to g viral and I am in awe of the authors who cleverly have a full catalogue of bookings, constant and massive sales and mentions in despatches in significant publications! I am doing quite nicely thank you, but I feel I'm not reaching the parts other authors seem to reach. Or are they just even better at presenting a positive image than I am?

I have a great following of kids and adults alike who wait for the next book and stay connected, I can find myself on google for at least 26 pages, I have had no negative reviews, I go into schools regularly so I guess it must be ok. However, I am an impatient soul and would like to take things to the next level...viral at least! I am not sure what more to do... whether it is because I am placed in the northwest and am therefore isolated geographically and certainly disposable income here is not what it is down south! I have mused over this issue for a while but I am still unsure how effective social networking actually is... did Beatrix Potter have the same self doubt I wonder?  And she wasn't even on Facebook! 

On the positive side..I actually finished another chapter of The Cistercian Conspiracy last night!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Massaging the curriculum

Well they have done it again-those incredible Tories and their shape-shifter friends the Lib-Dems! Using education to re-engineer society and promulgate their medieval ideology! I am incandescent with rage this evening...annoying because I had had a good day today! What I am furious about is the leaked information about the new history curriculum!

Unbelievably, Gove in his infinite wisdom is decreeing that such female icons as Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole are removed in preference for heroic male leaders like Winston Churchill and Horatio Nelson! While I have no problem with either of those esteemed gents...both iconic in their own way.Nelson was an innovative sailor, tactician and military leader-who refined some practices in the brutal navy and was by all accounts an excellent admiral (albeit that he suffered from chronic sea sickness). Churchill-an excellent and innovative wartime leader, tactician, historian and writer (we must overlook his Tory politics-though he did start out as a liberal-not to be confused with the current toady, vacillating turncoats we have today. So in my book-both worthy of historical attention and a place in school history books-BUT...not at the expense of the few female role models in there!

Nightingale was a revolutionary-even though she came from a privileged background, she was remarkable because she refused to accept the role assigned to her by the Victorian white male society and kicked over the traces to make nursing respectable, reform hospital conditions, introduce hygiene and sanitation (despite missing a water source riddled with cholera in Scutari hospital) introduce the "profession" and training for nurses. She worked tirelessly and died at a grand old age after setting up the first nursing school in ST Thomas' hospital...she dedicated her life to nursing, when she could have instead had a life of leisure. She was NOT perfect-as her treatment of Mary Seacole showed, but her sensibilities were honed by the society she was brought up in, but she presents a better role model for girls than many on display in Celebrity-jungle-Xfactor-on ice and the like!

Mary Seacole is a perfect example of tenacity, drive and overcoming adversity-challenging the role assigned to her by white Victorian male society (seeing the pattern here?) She was a mixed race Jamaican woman, sired by a Scottish soldier. Her mother was a Jamaican woman who practised herbal medicine-she taught Mary how to nurse. Mary volunteered (after paying her own passage to England) to work with Florence Nightingale's nurses in the Crimea. She was rejected as unsuitable-because of her race and class-Florence must accept some responsibility for this-though the male army Doctors will have have had the casting vote! This would deter most people but not Mary-she packed her bag put on her red bonnet and under her own steam took herself to the front in the Crimea. She organised makeshift rest centres-staffed them, nursed soldiers...and actually risked life and limb by taking help to the injured and dying-in the midst of battle! All this was done freely and at her own expense-she set up the British Hotel to fund bandages and medicine etc. She almost died in penury-but supported by some of of the very soldiers she helped to save she ended her life comfortably. She was eventually recognised and given similar acclaim to Florence.

We need more females from history who have made a difference...Emmeline Pankhurst, Annie Kenney et al...and many others! I imagine that Gove believes a woman's place is in the home and that his role models will principally be men! This government seems intent in returning us to the past in more ways than one! What better way to do it than to skew the historical teaching in schools? We can have little boys turning into chauvinists all over again! What a Brave New World we will have!

Friday, 4 January 2013

New year, new start, new challenge

2013 Hopefully the connotations of the number 13 will not set the tone for this year! I am busy writing and re-organising as well as attempting to be more organised in the marketing department-a tall order! I have a number of bookings for the next few months which is heartening, but need to work on reaching a much wider audience. If only this side of things was a easy and enjoyable as the writing process.

I am also in negotiation with English Heritage over a number of issues, including the disastrous effects of the recent flooding. Whatever the rights and wrongs-opinions vary massively-urgency/frequency/damage etc we do need to assess what can be undertaken to improve the situation because a soggy, messy abbey will attract no new visitors and could even put off future guests. Furness Abbey Fellowship have some exciting ideas and are planning events for the spring and summer, as well as looking for some funding to support these. Our membership scheme will be launched later this month and we are applying for charitable status which will hopefully be completed soon. The task of rehabilitating the abbey is a huge one and is going to take considerable effort and time to facilitate-but we are all committed to seeing this through. You can join our Facebook Group and Fan Page  below

or follow us on Twitter @FAFellowship

 However, back to the writing! I am still endeavouring to acquire more reviews for the online sites like Waterstones, Google Books and Amazon and of course Troubador Publishing. I have none for Raven's Hoard and would welcome any reviews posted or sent to me. I hope to travel farther and wider this year in order to develop the reader base and I am available for a variety of events-just let me know if you would like me to visit.

Lastly, do follow me on Twitter-@gilljep and visit my facebook page and click Like on - 

and take a look at the updated website-

and take a peek at this great blog too

Hopefully, it will be a busy and productive year...all the best for 2013

Iron Shepherds re-enactment and living history group