Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Marjorie DeLuca's Storyworld: THE SEAHAM PROJECT: a great link to the past

Marjorie DeLuca's Storyworld: THE SEAHAM PROJECT: a great link to the past: For my historical novel, UNNATURAL (still out for submission to publishers) and for my upcoming Amazon release THE PITMAN'S DAUGHT...

THE SEAHAM PROJECT: a great link to the past

For my historical novel, UNNATURAL (still out for submission to publishers) and for my upcoming Amazon release THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER,  I relied a great deal on some amazing sources for inspiring pictures and details about daily life in the 19th and 20th century in the East Durham (UK) area.
One great resource I'd like to mention is THE SEAHAM PROJECT , an amazing collection of photographs, oral history, articles and other cultural artifacts.

Here's a small excerpt directly from the section on Children Working in the Mines.  It makes you realize how lucky we all are nowadays.
The little trapper boy

Children as young as three or four were employed, with both sexes contributing to the workThe younger ones often worked in small teams, with those pushing the corf from the rear being known as thrusters. The thrusters often had to push the corf using their heads, leading to the hair on their crown being worn away and the child becoming bald.
Some children were employed as coal trappers, particularly those not yet strong enough to pull or push the corf. This job saw the child sit in a small cutting waiting for the hurriers to approach. They would then open the trapdoors to allow the hurrier and his cargo through. The trappers also opened the trapdoors to provide ventilation in some locations.
As mines grew larger the volume of coal extracted increased beyond the pulling capabilities of children. Instead horses guided by coal drivers were used to pull the corves. These drivers were usually older children between the ages of 10 and 14
This is one of the toughest jobs for anybody, let alone a child, to carry out. Hurriers are all about six to eight years old. You'll be equipped with a wide leather 'gurl' belt with a swivel chain attached. After harnessing yourself into this, you'll attach the free end of the chain to a sled. Then, for over a mile underground, you'll make your way through the small tight passages of the mine, so small that you can't stand up.  Once you reach the coal face, you'll have to fend for yourself among the adult miners as these tough men load your sled with chunks and slabs of coal. Then you'll have to scrabble and crawl back to the surface pulling your load. This must be completed many times during a 12-hour shift. If you're lucky, you might get an even younger child to act as your 'thruster' and shove the sled from behind

Thankfully in 1842 an Act of Parliament introduced a minimum age for working in the mines and banned the employment of women and girls entirely.  It wasn't until 1870, however, that all children between the ages of 5 and 13 had to attend school and the children of the ones could experience some freedom in their childhood years.

The book is getting more attention.  Check out these excerpts from a recent review
I found the book's main question very compelling: Is it better to live forever? Youth becomes a currency in The Forever Ones. Throughout the story, the reader sees both the pros and cons of remaining 19 forever. It's an interesting discussion that I thought Ms. DeLuca handled well and I'm interested to see how it plays out in the second book... DeLuca made no apologies for her antagonists, presenting them in all their creepified glory. I applaud that she didn’t back down from describing the disturbing workings of the society she created. 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

WWW Wednesdays!!What are you reading?

WWW Wednesdays comes  from MizB over at Should Be Reading and was passed onto me by +Brandy Graves from her A Little of the Book Life blogspot.  There are all these terrific sites out there promoting books and encouraging people to READ READ READ!  You should check them out.  Anyway WWW Wednesdays is all about your reading habits.  To join in with it simply answer the following questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you'll read next?
Here's my three answers:


This is a debut novel by UK author Jane Casey- a tense thriller with an interesting female detective named Maeve.


From the author of "Gone Girl", another gritty, brilliant suspenseful story.


SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn
OK I'm hooked on Gillian Flynn's "visceral" style.  This was her debut novel!

FOREVER ONES update:  Reviews coming out this week on Indie Author News and other blogs.  It's also been independently reviewed on Amazon and received 5 stars*****

Check out this YouTube video of Tess Beighton if you have a moment.  Just heard about her yesterday.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Marjorie DeLuca's Storyworld: The Pitman's Daughter: The Story That Started it A...

Marjorie DeLuca's Storyworld: The Pitman's Daughter: The Story That Started it A...: " They put Rita's da's house into a museum" Setting of THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER A coalmine in the North-Eas...

The Pitman's Daughter: The Story That Started it All

"They put Rita's da's house into a museum"


A coalmine in the North-East
Pictures courtesy of the Seaham Online Project
The very first novel I wrote is set in a small mining village in North Eastern England on a street of colliery houses.  It's a love story but it's also the story of a way of life that only exists now in museums. It's a story of love, survival and ambition all told against the backdrop of the coal mines that dominated the North-East for at least two hundred years.  Thankfully now the destruction left by the mines has disappeared and nature has covered the old scars but the memories still linger.  The Pitman's Daughter is the story of Rita and you can read it very soon on Amazon.
This novel, written in 2000 has a bit of a history also.  Back in the days when a writer could contact publishers directly I had some high profile editors respond very favourably to it.  Here's a sample of what they had to say:
HarperCollins Canada: "One of the most engrossing submissions I have read since coming to Harper Collins.
"It is literary in its way but with a gloss of hardy and hearty commercialism that makes it genuinely compelling"
It was also one of the top 10 finalists for the Chapters Roberston Davies first novel in Canada award in 2001.
OK - enough of blowing my own trumpet!  Watch out for further news on this book which will be out very soon in paperback and Kindle!

The novel is now available in paperback from Amazon.  
Get your copy now!  
It's getting some attention from independent reviewers who will be posting reviews later this week.  There will also be a feature on Indie Author News this Saturday 27th July.
Meanwhile I'm busily at work on Volume 2 of the Iduna Project Trilogy.  Visit my Paige's World blog to find out more!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

THE FOREVER ONES available in print now!

Great news!! The Forever Ones is now available in print for those of you who don't have Kindles.  Check it out at this link here.  It's also available in Canada, Europe and the UK.  I'm waiting for some reviews!!

Click here to locate my Amazon page

And for all of you lovers of historical novels, I'll soon be publishing an earlier novel of mine called The Pitman's Daughter on Amazon.  I'll tell you more in upcoming blogs about this epic novel about a street of colliery houses  in the North-East of England.
UPDATE ON UNNATURAL, my historical novel about Mary Ann Cotton:  It's still doing the rounds of US publishers courtesy of my agent, Emily Sylvan Kim of Prospect Agency.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Marjorie DeLuca's Storyworld: You Can Write Too.

Marjorie DeLuca's Storyworld: You Can Write Too.: I know lots of you love to read but how many of you have a secret wish to write?  And how many of those are afraid to make a start becau...

You Can Write Too.

I know lots of you love to read but how many of you have a secret wish to write?  And how many of those are afraid to make a start because they're afraid they have nothing to say?  My answer to this is TRY IT! You have to start somewhere and in my many years experience of helping high school students become better creative writers, the first step that gets the whole process going is to start a DAILY FREE WRITE JOURNAL!.  Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to your favourite bookstore and buy the most beautiful, appealing writing journal.  Make sure it's one that you love to look at, handle and - yes - smell! 
  2. Buy the craziest, sleekest or silliest pen.  One that takes you out of your comfort zone.
  3. Purchase the above items and head straight to the coffee shop where you'll treat yourself to a decadent, expensive and complicated drink as well as the yummiest pastry.
  4.  Sit down and admire your journal as you sip your frosty frappucino.  Handle the pen and empty your mind until you're completely relaxed.
  5. Open the first page of the journal and feel that unfamiliar thrill as you think, "I could be a writer!"
  6. Write the following on the first page. Today I open my eyes and ears and let my senses lead the way.
  7. Look around you.  Notice details that wouldn't normally register with you.  Listen to snippets of conversations. (Be discreet - I've been in trouble more than once for staring!).  Notice smells, textures, the taste of your drink.
  8. Try writing: Today I see....   I hear...... I smell.... I taste... I feel....
  9. Silence your inner editor.  Just let the words flow even if they don't make sense. And let them take you wherever they want to go.  You'll be shocked.   It's called freeing your "wild mind".  It takes a bit of practice but it's the first step in becoming a writer.
  10. Try to do this every day in different places.  The workings of your wild mind will surprise you!
Check out this interesting site about the journals of famous people:

In the future I'll be including more posts like this about writing  but I 'D LOVE TO GET YOUR FEEDBACK!! You can comment on any of my posts or even email me. Check my profile for contact info.  I'll read all your comments and I will respond to them!

Sales are beginning to trickle in but I've heard from people having trouble getting the book on  If you're having problems go to  It's so much easier to buy from there.  Write a review of it!!
 I'm working on more books to put on Amazon but  details will follow in later blogs! In the meantime check out my author profile!

 Also, for all you readers out there, try +Sherry Thompson  at

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Beauty At Any Cost

I wanted to share some fascinating info I discovered while researching my novel-in-progress, A Proper Lady.  It seems that women's age-old quest for beauty took an interesting turn in the mid-Victorian era.  The use of cosmetics and any artificial potions, lotions and concoctions was frowned upon by the staid Victorians who believed a woman's beauty lay in her natural God-given charms. Washing in clean water was the only thing necessary to preserve the natural bloom of her cheeks.

Since most young, eligible well-to-do women relied on physical beauty to catch a husband there was a major problem if you happened to be sallow, pimpled, swarthy or an aging spinster or widow looking for a last chance at marriage.  Or if you were married and had a husband with a wandering eye for the younger women.  Women such as these were preyed upon by unscrupulous "cosmeticians" offering all manner of exotic processes imported "from the harems of the Turkish Sultans" or "the depths of Arabia" that promised instant beauty!  These came at a staggering cost.  Some procedures costing from 250 to 1000 guineas for a course of treatments (hundreds of thousands of dollars in present day money).    
There was also a social cost.  Frequenting such salons was considered scandalous and "loose behaviour" and made a woman susceptible to all types of extortionists!
The enamelling salon

One increasingly popular procedure was "enamelling".  Check out this description from the late Victorian era:
The lady is first carefully examined with a microscope, and any rough hairs or fuzz which exist upon the cheek or bust are at once removed with liniment or plaster, medicated soap, scissors or tweezers. The skin is then prepared by an alkaline wash, after which all wrinkles and depressions are filled with a yielding paste. Then the face is simply painted, and artists in this line generally prefer to use the poisonous salts of lead for the purpose, as they produce more striking effects than any other pigment. 
 The cheeks or bust are then coated with a fine enamel, which is composed of arsenic or white lead and other ingredients made into a semi-paste. After the white layer is applied, the red tinting is done. Ordinary coating will last for a day or two, but to render the operation of permanent value, the process must be repeated once or twice a week.
During the early 1900's Queen Alexandra's use of cosmetics, wigs and yes - enamelling - to preserve her legendary beauty in her golden years, made their use more respectable for the older woman.
Queen Alexandra in her later years

The Forever Ones, my new Kindle book, takes this whole idea into the future when we'll probably have the option to reverse our age whenever we want.  Sound too incredible?  Not really.  Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have already mapped telomerase, an enzyme that has a rejuvenating effect on aging cells.  Check out this article:

Trouble is who will control it?  Who will have access to it? And what effect will it have on humanity when we could possibly live forever.  It changes everything!  These are some of the questions considered in the novel The Forever Ones.  You can buy my novel using the following link:
And don't worry if you don't have a Kindle.  Just download the free Kindle app for your phone, laptop or desktop and then you can buy my book!  It's available on Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon US as well as many other Amazon stores.  Check it out and write a review on Amazon!  C'mon - you'll like it.  I promise.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

New week, new book!

After years of hard work I'm happy to announce you can find one of my novels on Amazon Kindle e-books !  It's my sci-fi novel The Forever Ones, which is the first of a trilogy called The Iduna Project.  If you liked The Hunger Games you'll like this one.  It has drama, action, adventure and - yes - romance!  You can access the book at my Amazon author page.  It's available in all countries but only on Kindle right now.  Read it, review it and let me know how you like it.  You can send messages to me at the Amazon author page.
For all you history buffs interested in my novel Unnatural -  my agent has finally submitted it to US publishers so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  I'll let you know what happens!


NEW BOOK COMING DECEMBER 2023!! I'm so excited to tell you about my upcoming new novel from Severn House Publishers (a division of Canon...