Saturday, December 21, 2019

One upon a ten years ago ... I had a dream!

It is not uncommon to 'live' a special moment. I have had quite a few in my near 'average length' life.
However, the one I am about to describe could be a pivotal one for me. No ... I am not talking about the 'Coastal Dream,' that came to me many times; the one about the Thames Coast, with its pebble and rock-strewn beaches; the one that ultimately called to me, to come and live in this beautiful part of New Zealand. Yes, I arrived at the Thames Coast about three and a half years ago. I enjoy a lifestyle that was meant to be retirement. Of course ... it is a very busy one.

The 'other dream-like moment I alluded to earlier, propelled me to a very different journey. I had gone for a drive to the top of the Awhitu Peninsula, a windswept area, facing the prevailing westerlies that sweep across the Manukau Heads,  very close to Auckland City. In the early European history of Auckland, the Heads were the entry to a busy port in Onehunga. Maori had a much longer connection to this special place, seeing the Harbour beyond the heads in a far more spiritual manner.

I stood on the area near the present-day lighthouse, a reconstruction of the original, and looked out to sea, watching the huge breakers as they relentlessly roiled and broke over the treacherous bar at the entrance to the huge Manukau Harbour. I thought of the Orpheus, one of the most modern Corvettes in Great Britain's huge navy. The Orpheus was a hybrid ship ... steam and sail. I knew a little of the history of her being sent to the new Colony of New Zealand. She was sailing/steaming into a cauldron of discontent. On one hand, the new settlers, who wanted land, and on the other ... the Tangata Whenua, who had already experienced the dishonouring of Treaty of Waitangi that should have enshrined the Maori occupation of their land.

The Orpheus was sent to New Zealand to protect the settler in Auckland. My thoughts turned to the crew and other aboard this most modern of ships: Who were they? How had chance played a part in how they came to be aboard the ship. What would happen to them, once they arrived? My mind played with 'fictional characters,' and I turned to my friend and said, "I'm going to write a book about the Orpheus."
I don't remember his reply,  but on the way home, I had flashes of an idea. That night, I stayed awake, finding sleep near impossible. The next day, I arrived at work, very early and I set about writing ... for about thirty minutes. A colleague came into my office and I read the first two pages. And so it began.

Three months later, I had the first draft of a massive seven hundred page Saga. I called it THE SONS OF ORPHEUS. I found an editor, in Wellington and sent it to her, I communicated and had a meeting with. Michelle. There was much wrong with my book. I needed to rewrite, cut and fix and follow her suggestions. It seemed way too much. I sadly lost interest ... but not completely. From time to time, I revisited the text,  but once again shrugged off the thought of attempting the huge task. I 'shelved it,' putting the experience down to 'learning about writing.' In the meantime, I wrote three other books: Coastal Yarns, Roskill and Talk to Me. I self-published, a very expensive exercise.

The years flew by and I followed the dream that I started this blog with. I joined various organizations in my new town, mainly voluntary, and continued to work, part-time as a counsellor, travelling back to Auckland once a week. I joined a local writers group. (The Thames Writers Group) You can find it on FaceBook. The members encourage one another to write. We read our stories and give feedback. It was the support of the members, particularly my new editor, Carolyn MacKenzie, that led me to enter Part One of Sons of Orpheus to a writing competition. I rewrote, shortened and generally refocussed the story. I managed to get into the final ten for the competition, but have yet to hear the final result.

I decided to publish the first book in the trilogy as an ebook, with the possibility of producing hard copy at a later date. Sons of Orpheus, Book 1 - The Arrival, goes live on December 23, 2019. It is available as a preorder, NOW! You can download it to your Kindle or other devices on the above date, but if you preorder, it auto loads when it goes live.
Scroll down in the blog and click on the link provided and the book will preorder and load on the release date. Please share and don't forget to review the book. A link pops up at the end of the book. Reviews draw attention. The more I sell (US$ 2.99) the sooner Part 2 comes out,