Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.

Present: Adele, Harry, Jenny, Karen, Kaz, Lesley, MichelePipIan (chair).

Apologies: Gill, John.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Adele reminded members of the Fish and Ships Festival next weekend (20-21 May).

Michele reported attending an Authors’ Self-Publishing Conference in Leicester on 22 April 2023, run by Matador.

Members’ Readings

Ian — read a poem: Nazgul, an allegory on compromised politicians. This prompted the discussion on the use of character names protected by copyright or (as in the case of JRR Tolkien’s works) trademarked by the publisher.

Harry — read a further instalment of his 4th seagoing memoir: Chapter 3 Foreign Parts, for which he distributed copies for reading-along.
Newly-wed and promoted to 1st Radio Officer, the author is allowed by the company to bring his wife Beryl on board for the voyage. The Marhonda puts-in at Bremen and they go ashore to see the sights and sample real frankfurters.

The ensuing discussion touched on the topic of punctuation. Harry recommended Strunk & White – a venerable publication which has gone through several editions. Others mentioned the more modern Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss, which is somewhat more entertaining.

Michele —  read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902.
Anna has started work in the newly-opened hospital as a trainee nurse. Speaking both Afrikaans and English, she is much in demand to translate for the medical staff. She is impressed by the new doctor, Dr Milne. He needs to visit the nearby concentration camp for blacks, and takes Anna with him to translate.

Adele — read a further instalment from her Covid Diary. It is 28 December 2021 and Health Minister Sajid Javid has announced there will be no more social distancing restrictions. But people are being urged to self-administer a lateral flow test (LFT) if they plan to attend parties.
Whitby has run out of LFTs, which puts the burden on individuals’ conscience to decide whether to stay at home if they have come into contact with someone with covid. The author is shocked at some people’s inconsistency, even members of her own family.
The new Omicron variant is much more virulent. It is now accounting for 90% of all new cases. Sufferers are much less likely to be hospitalised however, so maybe this is good news for the country.

Lesley — read a ghost story of muted subtlety. Jane and Andy check-in to the Castle Hotel for the annual jolly laid-on for sales reps by Andy’s firm. Jane is thrilled to be staying in a real castle. But after a series of uncanny incidents involving the chilling en-suite bathroom, her enthusiasm for castle stays evaporates.

Jenny — continued reading from her period novel in-progress based on the historical figure of Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heiress of a vast fortune from the Durham coalfields. 
Following her father’s death, 16 year-old Mary has moved to London with her mother, becoming a familiar face at society parties. At one of these she accepts a proposal of marriage from John Lyon, the Earl of Strathmore. Riding down to visit Mrs Bowes to ask for her daughter’s hand, John is shocked to be flatly refused, on the grounds, he believes, of his family’s suspected Jacobite sympathies. He rides away mortified. On hearing of this, Mary is furious and confronts her mother in an bitter scene, vowing to stay a spinster till she dies.

The meeting closed at 1.00 PM.