Published…in Nature!

This is what Jeremy, my son, managed to accomplish in the last few weeks. Not bad at all!

Jeremy Szal's Galaxy Blog

Well. This is a little late. Half a week, to be exact. But as they say, better late than never, eh?

Anyway, a few days ago my first professional story was published by Nature magazine over on their Physics subdivision. There’s a link there, but I’ll give you another one here, because I’m awesome like that.

This is my first professional level, SWFA-level publication, and so far the results have been incredible. Getting a pro sale at 19 is cool enough, but the amount of work and effort my editors and publicists have gone to has been incredible. I’ve had tweets all week, cover art, blog posts on the story behind the story, and even excerpts posted.

I’ve had bad editors. I’ve had good editors. And then there are these guys – the sort that extend the hand and take incredibly good care of you. I can’t thank Colin…

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Reading History……

I can never learn it all, but here are the books I’m currently reading, underlining and summarising all at once….

1. A Short History of England by Cyril Ransome, printed in 1897

2. The Story Of Britain – A People’s History, by Roy Strong

3. A People’s History of Britain, by R. Fraser and R. Fitzgerald

4. History of the World, by DK Publishing

5. Checkpoint 1, by Pryce and Anderson

6. Elinor of Aquitane, by Alison Weir

7. The Six Wives of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir

Now, what I do is read them each, chapter by chapter, underline the relevant parts, then collect that information onto a record of my own, which at the moment is a 10 metre long time line of dozens of A4 sheets of paper, so that I can keep a track of it all in my head {am up to Henry VIII] This time line I peg to the wall and use as a reference to teach my daughter with, who is 15 and loves Medieval history, so I guess, while I knew a lot of the details to, I didn’t know the dates, miniscule tidbits and the long line of succession that is the British royal family history.

Of course, added to this are other facets of history, from other countries and subsequent people, who impacted British history, ie.. the Romans, Barbarians, Angles and Jutes, Attila the Hun, Mohammad, the Crusades, The French, The Spanish, the various popes, etc etc

While this is exhausting, I find it fascinating and now other family members are afraid to ask a leading question as they feel fairly certain I will launch into my own brief history of Britain…. and never come up for air…..

Any questions out there?????

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The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson

My considerate son borrowed a book from the library the other day, simply because he thought I might like it…’The Sultan’s Wife’ by Jane Johnson.

My first thought was….’I’ve just ordered 4 books online and bought two more in a shop down the road..how will I read this book as well???

I opened it up and couldn’t put it down.

I knew nothing about Moroccan history, except that the language  spoken there was/ is Arabic.

The story is set in the year 1677 and narrated firstly by Nus Nus [pronounced Noos-Noos] an African eunuch slave. He works closely by the side of one of Morocco’s cruelest Sultan’s in history; Moulay Ismail.

The second narrator is Alys Swann, an English woman captured at sea by pirates and given to the sultan as a gift, against her wishes.

The story is one of survival as Nus Nus and Alys form a bond and friendship that helps each endure their difficult life under the roof of the Sultan, amid intrigue, slavery, racism, prejudice and love.

A brief time spent in visiting the English court of Charles II gives a distinct comparison between the two royal houses, as seen through the intelligent and perceptive eyes of Nus Nus.

Jane Johnson’s writing is fluent and flowing. Her descriptions are alive with emotion and honesty. You feel, see, hear and taste the things she describes so vividly.Even the descriptions of  drastic violence are told honestly and clearly, making you read on, even while you wince at the depiction of cruelty.  Yet it’s completely an honest portrayal of life at the time, in that place.

The plot is hard to predict and I have to say the outcome was not what I thought it would be..it was better. This novel is one of those that would make a relevant addition to any personal library and I am eager to read more of Jane Johnson’s writing simply because she is a great story teller and this makes ‘The Sultan’s Wife’ both thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable

.the-sultans-wife

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NURSERY RHYMES….

Who knew they had such dastardly beginnings…..

Check it out here.

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My Latest Podcast…..

Recently I was happy to narrate a story by Cat Rambo, for StarShipSofa online magazine….

You can check it out here!

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Victorian Times and a Contested Will!

What on earth am I writing about?
Two books, the latest two I’m reading [at the same time, so I’ll write about them at the same time too.]
The first is a new release by Ruth Goodman, ‘How to be a Victorian.’ based on her utter immersion in the Victorian life-syle of the mid-late 1800’s as she devoted a year to living on a Victorian farm and lived as though the twentieth century was 100 years away!
What Victorians ate, drank, wore, believed was healthy, how they slept, moved, worked, dressed. All while wearing whalebone corsets and doing laundry by hand and leaning over copper wash tubs.
The book is fascinating reading and I can only be grateful that we no longer give our babies a product commonly used called ‘Godfrey’s Cordial’ which was a ‘tonic’ for restless babies and worked like a charm because it was made with a mixture of pure opium, alcohol and morphine.
The book is so well researched and written it’s hard to put down even while it documents in fine detail the life style of our English forebears! {Amazing that they survived childhood!}
I highly recommend it.

The other book is titled ‘Contested Will – Who wrote Shakespeare?’ by James Shapiro
Now, we’ve all heard theories about whether Shakespeare wrote his plays or not..did he have help? A co-author? Did he even have the education and therefore the language and vocabulary to write as prolifically and complexly as he did? Consider too that the English language attributes thousands of new words added to it, by Will Shakespeare. Are they his words?
The author Shapiro, attempts quite vigorously to establish both sides of the argument, proving or disproving every theory as he raises it, very efficiently.
But why did no-one ask Will Shakespeare himself, at the time? Why did no-one interview him or the his relatives after he died?
And quite astonishingly – why did Will Shakespeare not even mention any of his writings in his legal will? Who did he leave his work with? Where are the documents?
All these questions and more are discussed and explained logically in this book and once again, it’s well researched, logically handled and fascinating reading….
I’d love the opportunity to have that last chat with old Will, wouldn’t you?

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2014: A summary

Sounds like a busy and successful year, son!

Jeremy Szal's Galaxy Blog

Well, this might be a tad late, but it’s better late than never, eh? You might think that being on holiday gives you more time, but in reality it just frees up the time to do things you’ve been putting off.

Anyway, I’m doing it now. And 2014 was a HUGE year for me. It’s the year I became a published author and sold my first short story to a paying market. I did a lot of things, but it’s best summarized. I managed to do a ton of writing, selling over fifteen short stories, seven reviews, three audio podcasts, four interviews, and was nominated for two awards. I produced two short films and watched over 200 feature length ones. I read 50+ books and wrote one of my own. I’ve had my work stolen and translated into Korean behind my back. Yes, that actually did happen.
I started…

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