A crannog?

Crooked Cats' Cradle

For CCThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

It’s also a sort of a cheat because I’m doing a ‘reblog’ of the post on my own blog today.(Nancy’s Novels)

If you’ve never heard of a crannog, then you’re in for a treat- historically speaking. There’s an explanation of why this crannog sparked my imagination when writing my Crooked Cat novel  – The Beltane Choice – Book 1 of my Celtic Fervour Series.Image1

For more information on this fabulous structure click HERE.

I do have another reason for posting here and that is because The Beltane Choice has its 2nd anniversary tomorrow- 31st August. To celebrate I’m offering 2 chances to win an ecopy of my novel if you haven’t yet read it!

Pop into my blog tomorrow ( 31st August 2014) to find out how that could be YOU!

You can also by all three novels for less than…

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A Small Twitterverse

This week’s prompt from @fieryverse on Twitter.

#fieryverse prompt ’Say it Slow’

Say goodbye
I don’t

Poetry Map Poem 25: Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull

the StAnza Blog

Metaphorical Distance

Out at farthest focus, drifting, peaceful:
Green ladled with mauve like a healing bruise.
Light lies heavy on the horizon; chooses
To lean its languid body westward. The pull
Of the rolling planet quickens, and the full
Swelling, murmurous mass of the tide looses
The bonds of gravity, dropping the deep, pellucid,
Purpleness of light gracefully into the ocean’s well.

Dipping my toe into the water, gasping
At the cold, desiring to go deeper and far,
I stare outward along the long divide
Of the horizon: the waves on the sand rasping
At the edge of the land, my feet, my heart:
Like this sea-coloured bruise I am trying to hide.

Yvonne Marjot

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map…

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The Calgary Chessman – new book by Yvonne Marjot

Thanks, Angelika, for coming up with a really fun interview – and for hosting me on your blog.

Angelika Rust

Yvonne Marjot, the name rings a bell, doesn’t it? Right, over the past months, she contributed greatly to my little PublicTransport PoeTry project. Today, her book The Calgary Chessman was published. I’ll admit, I haven’t yet finished reading it, but I’ve read the first few chapters when it was still on authonomy, liked it a lot and thus was delighted when she asked me whether I’d be willing to bang a few drums for her.

So let’s move straight on to what she has to say.

WhoY Marjot author pic Aug 2014 are you?

My name is Yvonne Marjot, and that’s also the name under which I’m published. I did think about having a pseudonym, but my surname’s pretty unusual and I hope that means I stand out. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to pronounce it – even my family aren’t entirely sure!

Until now, I thought it’d be with a j as…

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Happy Birthday Robert Plant


Robert Plant is 66 today. Many Happy Returns. You’ve still got it.

Led Zep was another great influence on my writing, and musical tastes. I was 9 when Led Zeppelin IV was released, and I still think Black Dog is one of the best songs the band ever wrote. Here it is from Glastonbury in 2014 – Robert Plant reinventing a classic, and proving that you can’t keep a good dog down!

Berceuse for a Sleeping Mirror: F G Lorca 5 June 1898-19 August 1936.

Como mi corazón
así tú,
espejo mío.

As my heart is,
so you are,
my mirror

On this day in 1936, Spanish poet Federico García Lorca was shot by Franco’s troops after being forced to dig his own grave.

I was introduced to Lorca’s poetry by one of my boyfriends.To grant a poet the gift of another poet’s words, when those words are precisely what is needed in the situation: that is a gift beyond measure. It seems only fitting that today, when things are difficult and my mood is low, I turn to Lorca to commune with a fellow soul and am reminded that this is the anniversary of his death.

Lorca’s a hard man to get to grips with. It’s tempting to try and shoehorn him into categories, which I won’t list here – because he’s not so easily pigeonholed. For me he speaks the silent language of the heart, the words birds make when they swirl past you, the staccato machine-gunned voices of argument, the slow slip of the river into which we are so, so tempted to fall. To my friend he said something entirely different.

Here is a man who spoke a language other than my own, whose life followed a path with which I am unable to fully empathise, whose generation lived and died in a world that now seems so very distant from our own. So very distant. It was, after all, another century. But his words still speak to me. “Is my heart your heart? Who is mirroring my thoughts? Who lends me this unrooted passion?”

Maybe they will speak to you too.

Crooked Cat at Edinburgh Bookfest 2014

My lovely publishers with a great range of books on offer at the Edinburgh Festival Bookfest. Pop down and take a look.

Crooked Cat at Edinburgh Bookfest 2014.edinburghadultfictionshelf

The Calgary Chessman today

My first novel is published today, by Crooked Cat Publishing, Edinburgh. Here’s the release info from the top of my launch page on Facebook:

RELEASED TODAY, the quite individual Scottish tale, Yvonne Marjot‘s THE CALGARY CHESSMAN

Buy in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Calgary-Chessman-Yvonne-Marjot-ebook/dp/B00MLBQ6SG

Buy in the US: http://www.amazon.com/Calgary-Chessman-Yvonne-Marjot-ebook/dp/B00MLBQ6SG

And order yours in all major book stores.

Join us at https://www.facebook.com/events/1445878739001649/ for some good craic, and the chance to win some Calgary Chessman related goodies.TCC cover art front

2014 StAnza Digital Slam Results!

Listen to the winner of the StAnza blog poetry slam, Stephen Watt. A cracking poem.

the StAnza Blog

StAnza 2014 Slam, photo by Helena Fornells Nadal StAnza 2014 Slam, photo by Helena Fornells Nadal

Thanks again to everyone who took part and/or voted in our 2014 Digital Slam, and to this year’s partner, the Badilisha Poetry Exchange. It was a strong shortlist and we received a record number of votes. These have now been counted etc, and we can announce:

In third place: Ama Asantewa Diaka

In second place: Batsirai Chigama

And the WINNER of our 2014 Digital Slam is: Stephen Watt

Congratulations to Stephen! Look out for a special blog about him in a week or so. In the meantime, here’s the winning performance:

4. Stephen Watt (Dumbarton)

And if this has whetted your appetite for slam, don’t forget the heats of this year’s BBC Edinburgh Slam at the Fringe, in which StAnza’s Eleanor Livingstone is again a judge, are currently taking place every evening until Thursday at 8.15pm in the Pink Bubble at Potterrow…

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A New Start

This story came first in last weeks Friday Flash Fiction competition on Authonomy.com. It just fits into the 1000 word limit.

A New Start

The sun was in her eyes. Florrie ducked her head and squinted at the gangway, concentrating on the heavy bags and awkward steps. She turned her head to rub her nose on her shoulder and overbalanced. She teetered on the edge of the deck, but a voice behind her cried, “Watch out, girl!” A hand grabbed her arm and thrust her forward. As she tottered down the slope she wondered again what she had let herself in for.

The advertisement had been short and to-the-point. “Thinking of emigrating?” It said. “A new home in the sun. Able-bodied applicants required for the colonies. No previous experience required.” More importantly, the advertisement did not specify a fare. Florrie hoped that meant the cost of passage would be included in the position. The dirty streets of Glasgow, heaving with people even poorer than herself, held nothing for her. She wanted to go where there was work to do – lots of work. Work that would fill up her empty hours and help her to forget.

The tiny room in the crowded tenement had been a far cry from life on the croft, but it was only the first step along the way. She kept their minuscule home clean and welcoming for Tom at the end of his shift, and prepared for the imminent arrival of the baby. Neither of them was prepared for the arrival of cholera. The disease crept into the close via the pump, everyone’s water supply, and within days had infected half the residents. Tom had been one of the first to succumb.

The baby had hardly lived before he was dead. She tied his tiny body to Tom’s chest with ropes torn from their clothing. It took all her strength to drag their bodies down the stairs to the pile of corpses awaiting removal, and to resist the urge to look at his face one more time. She wanted to lie down with him and die, but her body had been determined to live.

Florrie stumbled off the end of the gangway and dropped the bags onto the quay. Behind her, the man who had steadied her reached for his bag, thrusting a sixpence into her hand. “I don’t know why I’m paying you,” he said, ungratefully, “when you nearly dropped it into the drink.”

Florrie brushed the hair out of her eyes and looked around. She was supposed to be met by her new employer, a Mrs Hargreave. The press of people around the gangway was already lessening, as each passenger made the acquaintance of his or her reception committee. Florrie stood on, until almost all the people had gone. Whoever Mrs Hargreave was, she hadn’t turned up.

Just in front of her stood a large family of children, ranging in age from a boy of around twelve to a snotty, rather grubby baby of indeterminate sex. There were six of them in all, accompanied by a middle-aged man in down-at-heel boots and a brown woollen suit; probably his best, given how uncomfortable he looked in it. He came forward and spoke to the purser, who was striking the last passenger names from his manifest.

“Lizzie Meadows? I’m supposed to meet Lizzie Meadows?”

The purser consulted his list.

“No luck, mate. She died on the way out. Complications of measles. Terrible thing in steerage – carried off three babies and a pregnant woman. And your Lizzie. Sorry.” He turned away, his remorse perfunctory and completely without empathy.

The man’s shoulders slumped. A girl of around nine or ten tapped him on the shoulder.

“What is it, Dada? Is Auntie Lizzie not coming?”

The man turned and looked at the girl. His face wore an expression of hopeless exhaustion, and the lines of recent grief.

“Oh, Netty.” He held out his arms and she nestled into them for a moment. He gazed over her head at the eldest boy, now holding the baby and patting her ineffectually as she cried. “Your Mam’s sister isn’t coming. She died on the voyage. It’s just going to be us. I’m sorry.”

Florrie finished her examination of the dockyards. After travelling halfway round the world she had arrived to exactly the situation that she’d left behind – she knew no-one, she had no job, and she was in a strange place about which she knew virtually nothing. Swiftly, she came to a decision, and addressed the man.

“Pardon me,”

“Yes miss, can I help you?”

“I couldn’t help overhearing. Are you looking for domestic help? My employer seems to be absent, and so I find myself in need of work”

The man took in her slender form, thin face and shabby carpet-bag. Florrie squared her shoulders and held her head high. She was proud of her roots, and there was nothing to be ashamed of in being a farmer’s daughter fallen on hard times.

The baby snuffled, then let out a sudden loud yell. Instinctively, Florrie reached into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out a rag, with which she wiped the baby’s nose. It startled, and looked at her, and she reached out and tickled it under the chin. The baby chortled, and as the boy shifted it from one hip to the other it reached out for her.

Florrie looked at the man. His careworn face regarded hers, his eyes meeting hers with kindness and hope. He nodded as he made up his mind. “Will you come with me, lass?” he asked. “I cannot offer you much pay, for it has been difficult to work these last months since my wife passed. But our home is warm and dry, and you will be among friends.”

The boy exchanged Florrie’s bag for the baby, which nuzzled her chest as she turned her back on the docks and followed in the wake of the father and his brood. She smiled ruefully.” I wished for work”, she said to herself. “I seem to have been given it.”

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