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These last couple of weeks we've been very aware of the past all around us, still making its presence felt. These stones embedded in the cliff represent the beach surface of 120000 years ago.


And this exhibition on the 1980's shows that things never really change, only the details vary.


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A unique setting and a lovely couple. More at Alpha Book Club.
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And I had a dirt great gobbet of it today. Not sure if the best bit was the soldiers,


or the artefacts


or the touches of real life


or maybe the smalls...

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The school where I'm chair of governors had a visit from Ofsted back in May - delighted to say that we're still rated good. Lots of positive comments from pupils and parents and a real recognition that ours is a school where every child matters, irrespective of background.
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Not Porthkennack, (not even the area it's based on) but very similar geology. It can only be Jersey, especially with that quality of light.



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Just been having a wander up the back of Jersey racecourse. This is le Pinacle, at the base of which are Neolithic and Bronze age banks and the remains of a Roman temple.


Facing this on the cliff across a little gorge is a reminder of starker, more recent times.


And in the gorge, the guns some of these emplacements held before they were disposed of during the liberation.

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I picked up 'The Shell House' in the local Red Cross Shop, simply on the strength of the cover and blurb. I rarely read young adult books, nor do I often read this sort of 'relationship' fiction but this one was a worthwhile exception. It's an interesting exploration of sexuality and faith in two parallel stories set the best part of a hundred years apart.
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What a few weeks I’ve had. Ignore book launches and general elections – not only have I had the Lancaster bomber, and the 617 squadron memorial, I’ve had an unexpected encounter with The Flying Scotsman (see below for evidence). I can’t help liking large, smelly vehicles.


Broke Deep is now out in all the usual places. . The associated blog tour continues apace – you can find all of the stops listed here. If you want a chance to win a goodie bag (and it’s one of my better ones), comment at any of the tour stops for your name to go into the hat. Because I use a random number generator to pick a post and a commenter, the more times you leave a comment, the more chances you have to win.

The first review is up at The Novel Approach. “One of the things I love about this author is that her characters are consummately English, whether she’s writing a historical or contemporary novel, and the dialogue tells the story as much as it reveals about her characters: their thoughts, feelings, and personalities.”

My second contribution to the Porthkennack project – the historical Count The Shells – is at edit stage. One of my editors thinks it’s the best thing I’ve ever written and I suspect I agree with her. It’s awfully grown up.

Here’s a snippet:

Michael stopped by a mound of rocks, where little pools of trapped water promised boyish delights. He reached beneath the surface of one to draw out something green and glistening.
“A bottle of course.” Richard shook his head at such dimwittedness.
“Ah, but is it an ordinary bottle or a magic one? If we rub it will a genie come out and grant us three wishes? And how would we divide them if he did?”
Richard frowned; neither algebra nor grammar held the answer to that. “One each and one for mother,” he stated, at last, and with a conviction that could brook no argument. “None for Lily because she’s too young to use them sensibly.”
“You’re probably right.” Michael wondered if Richard would ever regard his sister as being old enough to act sensibly. “I like that way of dividing them. What would you wish for? All the sweets in the shop?”
Richard giggled, looking just like his mother when she was the same age. “That’s the sort of thing Lily would want. I’d wish for no more algebra or grammar lessons for any boys forever more. What about you?”
“I’m not sure. You’ve taken care of the school stuff, already.”
“I know what mother would wish for,” Richard said, suddenly serious again.
“And what’s that?” Michael asked, attention only half on his nephew, the other half considering what he would do if really presented with the opportunity to make that wish. To have such power—the responsibility would be overwhelming.
“She’d wish for all the soldiers who were hurt in the war to be whole again.”
“Oh.” Michael, unable to say more, kept his gaze straight out at sea. Maybe if he concentrated really hard he could keep at bay the tears that suddenly threatened to unman him.
“Yes, and she’d wish for the dead to come home, too.”
The only safe reply was a simple nod. Michael thought of the shells he’d just counted, the parade of names. How could he trust himself not to break down, to blurt out that roll call, then have to provide a back story to each of them? Richard had the knack of making all his defences too relaxed to work effectively.
“Don’t you think that’s a good idea?”
Michael forced a reply. “I think it’s excellent. What a shame it’s just an empty bottle with nothing in it.”
“Yes. Fairy tales never come true, I suppose.”
“No. That’s one of the sad things you learn in life, alongside the algebra.”
Richard made a disdaining face, although whether that was at the algebra or the fairy tales, Michael couldn’t tell. “It is sad. Otherwise we could have wished home your friend Thomas.”
“Thomas?” Having just recovered his composure, Michael felt unmanned again, the waves beating more violently about him than they’d done previously—or was that just the rushing of blood in his ears? He steadied himself with a hand on his nephew’s shoulder.

And here that train is, with a fine head of steam.

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BrokeDeep_200x300Have been musing on the joys of working with other authors on the Porthkennack project. Drop in to Fangirl Moments and More to see some thoughts about how there's strength in numbers.
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And other related topics - am discussing them over at The Novel Approach as part of the Broke Deep blog tour. Do pop over and give me your two penn'orth on the subject. And don't forget to comment at any of the stops to go into the hat for the goodies.

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Am sharing some further memories of Cornwall - but a touch more south and west this time - over at Book Reviews and More. Then you can drop by On Top Down Under and find out exactly why Broke Deep had a storyline before it ever had a location and how the Porthkennack project came along just at the right time.
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Making my first ever stop at Dog-eared daydreams and I'm talking about the perils (and joys) of public speaking and public panel moderating.
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Delighted with the review at The Novel Approach: "there’s a lot to like about this installment in the Porthkennack series, thanks to Charlie Cochrane’s proficiency at telling a solid story with likeable characters, and setting the stage with plenty of local flavour."

I'm not very good at coming up with book titles, but 'Broke Deep; broke the mould. I'm revealing the inspiration behind the name over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

Comment at any of the blog tour stops to go into the hat for the goodie bag prize.
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Have been fondly reminiscing about the 'Porthkennack' area of Cornwall, over at Love Byte Reviews. Do drop in there and share the magic.
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The pleasure of release day never grows old, with the same butterflies and "But will people like it?" moments.

Broke Deep hits the shelves today, and the blog tour gets on the road. Loads of stops, some of which are simply fly-by appearances, but I'll flag up the eight places where you'll get a substantial post. And every single post has the same chance for you to win, so comment at any of the stops (or at all of them to increase the chance of winning) and I'll use the random number generator to decide who gets a bag of goodies.
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I bet that when our Stone Age ancestors sat knapping their flints they related tall tales about the terrible doings of their rival tribe, and exaggerating their own exploits in the latest dust-up. People have always demonised the enemy and doctored the news to put themselves in a better light.

Plenty of this went on during WWI, and not just in the media, which clearly was going to manipulate news to its and the government of the day's purposes. Urban myths quickly developed (as they always have, before they were called urban myths), including stories of Russian soldiers being transported through England. You could tell they were Russian from the snow still on their boots - think about that for a moment and you'll see why the story doesn't even get out of the plausibility gate. Myths and Legends of the First World War isn't a bad place to discover more on the subject, including how works of fiction became 'true history' in the form of the Angel of Mons or the legend of the English Bowmen.

We could do with paying heed to these examples of 'truth' turning out to be anything but. Before we retell or repost a news item we should check and double check that it's reliably sourced, or else we'll be just as guilty of spreading lies.
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Today's snippet is from Broke Deep, which is out on Monday (although you can get it from Riptide right now.) There's also a Broke Deep related question at The Romance Reviews event where one lucky winner will get something from my backlist.

“It isn’t you, Morgan, it’s me.”

Trust James to have ended things with a cliché. Maybe he’d typed Dear John letters into Google, cut and pasted what he’d found, changed the name John for the name Morgan and copied out the resulting text longhand.

“It’s been great, all of it, but people change. We’ve grown, and not in the same direction.”

The James he’d spent so long with wouldn’t have been able to create such eloquent prose, not without his secretary taking his rough notes to make them into something impressive, as she’d done for him in the past. Please God she hadn’t been allowed anywhere near this.

More excerpts at The Rainbow Snippets Group
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So we dropped into Romsey station yesterday to get coffee and cakes and the lovely Lou informed us that the Flying Scotsman would be passing through today. If only I could get the smell of the engine into this post...

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In preparation for the Lion's tour of New Zealand have begun re-reading "The Victorious Lions" by John Reason, an excellent account of the only winning tour to the land of the long white cloud. It's extremely poignant given the recent revelations about the anguish coach Carwyn James suffered because of his sexuality.
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I make it 23 stops (count 'em!) all of which are listed here. I'll be offering a bag of goodies to one lucky commenter; so far said bag includes seaside mint rock, notepad, postcards and a tea towel - all in a lovely bag from the Fitzwilliam Museum - and no doubt there's more to be shoved in.


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