All on Board at the AsparaWriting Festival, Evesham

Heather Wastie, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn & Fergus McGonigal

Heather Wastie, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn & Fergus McGonigal

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of reading at the Aspara Writing Festival in Evesham, as part of the Open Mic event.

It was a great afternoon, with an eclectic mix of poetry and prose, with readings ranging from sad to humorous and everything in between.

Polly Robinson

Polly Robinson

Readers included J J Franklin, Debbie Young, David Penny, Alan Durham, Polly Robinson and many more. Here are a few images to give you a taste of the event and the great line up.

As well as a selection of excellent pieces we were lucky to enjoy fantastic work from Worcestershire’s poet laureates – incoming and outgoing, Heather Wastie and Fergus McGonigal.

David Penny

David Penny

Thanks to all for a wonderful time, and especially to coordinator, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn – I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Jenny Heap

Jenny Heap

Ellie Stevenson

Ellie Stevenson

Alan Durham

Alan Durham

Debbie Young

Debbie Young

Tim Stavert

Tim Stavert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article written by Ellie Stevenson, author.
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Ghosts and Shadows at Hawkesbury Upton: 23 April 2015

Iford Manor Cloisters, Bradford-on-AvonI’m thrilled to be reading at the Hawkesbury Upton Literary Festival,  on World Book Night, 23 April. I’ll be joining romantic novelist Katie Fforde, novelist and poet Orna Ross, author Debbie Young and many other ALLi friends for a night of readings, discussions and fun. And it’s all free!

See the full speaker line up here

There will be talks, readings and an exhibition, and a chance to meet speakers and view a display by children’s reading charity Readathon, sharing the benefits of books.

Do come along, if you can. Doors open at 6pm.

And in the meantime, here are some ghostly and mysterious stories, from places not far from Hawkesbury Upton (well, relatively speaking).

Owlpen Manor, near Uley in the Cotswolds

One of the most haunted houses in Gloucestershire, with at least four resident ghosts, guests Owlpen Manor, Uleyhave traditionally avoided parts of Owlpen, preferring to stay in ‘safe’ but cramped rooms. One of the ghosts who haunts the building is a little girl, who likes to run up and down the stairs, and was once photographed in the ‘empty’ house.

Some living children, evacuated there during WW2, told the owner, Barbara Bray, they’d seen a ‘visitor; a beautiful lady in a long-sleeved dress and a funny peaked hat with a long veil draped behind her. The woman is thought to be Queen Margaret of Anjou, who reputedly stayed there on her way to the tragic Battle of Tewkesbury (May 1471). In the aftermath of the above battle, Queen Margaret lost both her husband and son, and was exiled to France for the rest of her life.

Chavenage House, TetburyChavenage House, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire

 This house was rebuilt in the 16th century, but parts of it date from the early medieval period, when a community of monks was established in the area. A monk has been seen several times since then; at least twice in the chapel: once in 1945 and again more recently when a party of spiritualists explored the house. They made contact with a monk, Brother Charles, who told the group he was happy at Chavenage, presumably true as he’d been there since 1945! Or perhaps even longer…

Iford ManorIford Manor cloisters, Bradford-on-Avon, Bradford-on-Avon

Chavenage doesn’t have a monopoly on monks. When Elisabeth Cartwright-Hignett first visited Iford in the 1960s, she became aware of a strong smell of incense. The then owner, clearly embarrassed, passed the smell off as one of the plants, but the scent has been noticed frequently since, both inside and out, and often in the garden. There’s a possible connection with Roman Catholicism as, in the 1300s, Iford, or part of it, was owned by a Carthusian monastry, situated less than a mile away. The figure of a monk has been seen several times, including once in the 1970s, by one of Mrs Cartwright-Hignett’s guests. He only told her ten years later that he’d seen the monk at the top of the stairs in Iford Mill; the man was dressed in a white habit and had an expression of great joy. The guest felt the vision was benevolent and associated him with a smell of incense.

For great stories and a night of entertainment, and not a little fun, remember to visit Hawkesbury Upton. It’s free to all.

Source: British Tourist Authority (2007) Stately Ghosts: haunting tales from Britain’s historic houses, VisitBritain Publishing

Sources – Images

Article written by Ellie Stevenson, author.Ellie Stevenson, author

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Books and More: at the Indie Author Fair at the Chorleywood LitFest

Books at the Indie Author FairThe last few weeks have been so busy, this blog has taken a bit of a back seat. But at last, I can talk a bit about my book. And Chorleywood Lit Fest.

Last weekend, I visited Chorleywood, not that I saw that much of the place, I was at the Indie Author Fair at the Chorleywood LitFest. Forty or so indie authors gathered together in a very small room, to share our work, with displays and readings, talking to readers, and also to each other. The room had a definite buzz, a life. At the end of the day we’d made new friends, and got to meet fellow ALLi* members, people we’d spoken to on Facebook or Twitter but never actually met in person. And a few we already knew.

Indie Authors at the Indie Author Fair, Chorleywood Nov. 2014

It was great fun, and here I’ve shared a few photos of the day. Of people and books. Because that’s what ALLi’s all about – helping each other, sharing professional expertise, and building a platform to showcase our work. The range of titles there was amazing, as was the enthusiasm – thanks ALLi, for being such a great professional network.

Books at the Indie Author Fair

And now to the book. My latest, partly historical novel, with a supernatural edge, is now out in print as well as in ebook. Shadows of the Lost Child - a novel and ghost storyIt’s set in a fictional city called Curdizan, in the present day, and also in the past, and centres on the story of a house. Which was once a school. In the present day, Aleph Jones, a troubled man with a dark secret he’s desperate to hide, is introduced to a girl called Alice, who won’t speak. Alice has a very special gift, she can cross time, and when she steps into the nineteenth century she meets a boy from the slums called Tom, and mystery, mayhem and death follow. There might even be a ghost or two in the story…

But let Tom tell you his story himself.

I should have been helping Miranda in the pub, but instead I went up to Curdizan High, to look for Louise. The High’s the part where the abbey is, as well as my school, although nothing about the place is high. I walked past the school and finally came to Pearson’s Tenements, that’s where she lives, but Louise wasn’t there, surprise, surprise. I wasn’t surprised, the place was a dump, but all the same, I had to look. The tenement building was tall and grim, tiny spaces joined by a stairway and open landings, the black of the open night in between. I thought they were more like rooms than landings, people’s possessions scattered about, rooms on the outside. I thought of escape.

I once saw a woman jump from a landing, far too high from the ground to be safe, but almost worse, too low to be dead, and gone in a flash. They patched her up, as best as they could, and she even went back to her room for a bit, but she never walked the same after that and not long after, finally died. I didn’t know it at the time, but her name was May, and she was also Louise’s ma. I never did learn which room she came from.

I shivered, scared in the black of the stairway, I knew I ought to go back, and soon. Miranda would be wondering where I was. But I’d promised old Pike I’d find Louise.

‘He’s Mister Pike,’ my ma would say, but she didn’t know Pike the way I knew him, he didn’t deserve to be called Mister. He was cold, indifferent and sometimes cruel; he’d said if I didn’t find Louise, he’d throw her out of the school for good, and she’d end up lost, like Miranda’s ma. I didn’t know what he meant by that, but I didn’t much like the way he’d said it, and I liked Louise, she wasn’t rough like most of the kids, and she lived in a flea pit, storeys high. If I had to live in Pearson’s Tenements, in amongst all the privy smells, I’m sure I’d forget to go to school. School would be just a dream or something.

I reached a landing, the fourth or fifth, I didn’t know which, so I tossed a huge stone over the edge, and counted until I heard it land. Although I’d looked, I hadn’t found her. I’d even tried a few of the doors, but nobody seemed to know her name. A shadow slunk by and I held my breath, you’re never alone in a place like this. I turned around, got ready to run, but a hand shot out and grabbed my collar, pulling me back, very sharply. Somebody’s hand against my mouth. The somebody spoke.

Shadows of the Lost Child, available on Amazon – a great present, or a treat for yourself, available in ebook, or in print.

http://tinyurl.com/ks3ksng (US) and http://tinyurl.com/nbofbnv (UK)

If you’ve read the book, or after you have, I’d love to hear your comments here. And as you may know from a previous post, the book was inspired by historic York, so if you’ve ever lived in York, or know the city, you might particularly enjoy the story.

Article written by Ellie Stevenson, author. Ellie Stevenson, author

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