Monthly Archives: June 2016

(Never mind the football) What Has Iceland Ever Done for the English?

Iceland is a small island on the edge of the frozen north with a population of around 323,000. It is the home of the viking, the long boat, and the Norse god sagas. It is an ideal place to view the northern lights and everybody there speaks perfect English, because nobody else in the Icelandworld speaks Icelandic, and Icelanders love travelling. And they have a fantastic football ream.

All those statements are true. But they are not the whole story in regard to their language because, without really knowing it, English speakers also use Icelandic / old Norse terms every day. Here’s a word for (almost) each letter of the alphabet, together with a definition, or the original Old Nose meaning if the word has evolved a little over time.

  • Auk – (an arctic seabird)
  • bylaw  – village law
  • cake
  • dregs
  • eider – (a  type of duck)
  • fog – spray/shower
  • geyser – to gush
  • husband – master of the house
  • ill – bad
  • jolly – mid winter feast
  • kid – young goat
  • lad – young man
  • muck – cow dung
  • Norman – north man
  • ombudsman – steward
  • plough
  • reindeer
  • saga
  • Thursday – (the god) Thor’s day
  • ugly – repulsive
  • viking
  • window – wind-eye

I couldn’t find any words to go with x, y, or z, but there are plenty of other words – like egg, and a surprisingly large number beginning with the letter s, that derive from old Norse but are in everyday use in English.

There are however some words in modern Icelandic for which we have no exact translation:

  • Gluggavedur – it’s much colder outside, than it looks from inside.
  • Solarfri – an unexpected day off work because it is sunny.
  • Betta reddant – [despite appearances to the contrary] it will all work out OK. (Brexit perhaps? Though at the moment, maybe ‘gluggavedur’ feels more apt.)

If you enjoy reading my blog, you may like to read more of my novels and short stories that are available on Amazon via my author pages:


Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday!

Welcome to everybody reads YA  #SundayblogShare.

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my contemporary YA novel Girl Friends.


Courtney doesn’t think she’ll ever get a proper boyfriend, even though her best friend Grace has a new special love interest who is willing to find someone for her too. Courtney is doubtful – does he have Grace’s best interests in mind? Is Courtney right to be worried? Or is she just jealous? Welcome (?) to the world of sex trafficking.


If  Grace had told her social worker she was meeting me and nothing else, they obviously don’t know about Kal. So Grace won’t thank me for telling them—she might never speak to me again. “Where, Courtney? Where did she go when she left you?” “I don’t know.” Louise looks at me doubtfully, but I really don’t know where she went. “So she didn’t say anything? She just upped and left you? Did you have an argument?” “No. Her phone went, and she said she had to go.” I immediately regret the last comment—what are they going to make of it? Sure enough Louise pounces. “Someone rang her? Who?” “No, it didn’t ring. She got a text message. She read it and she said she had to go.”

Girl Friends - cover 

Does Courtney manage to find Grace? Or does she too get drawn into a dangerous world?

Find out more by going to:


Summer Solstice Anthology is out!

The sun shines longer on this day—the Summer Solstice. People gather for picnics, fun in the sun, and all kinds of celebrations. What can be more fun than checking out the fabulous stories in Let’s Have Fun Volume 3!lets have fun 3-001

Ten Solstice Publishing authors present to you stories of events that happened on the Summer Solstice. A May/December romance, angels versus demons, and a plus sized woman who discovers love along with other great tales of the Summer Solstice discover new authors who have a multitude of books available for your pleasure.

Let’s Have Fun Volume 3 features A.A. Schenna, Alex Pilalis, J. Wayne Williams, Jillian Chantal, Maighread MacKay, Margaret Egrot, Rachael Tamayo, Susan Lynn Solomon, Tevis Shkoda, and Virginia Babcock with stories all about what happens one summer solstice day.

Check out our authors and their stories with Let’s Have Volume 3 on June 21, 2016!

In praise of anthologies.

Not so long ago, an anthology was a bit like volume of poetry – loads of people wanted to contribute, but few wanted to read other writer’s efforts, let alone buy a copy they hadn’t contributed to. Only a few authors, such as the Canadian Nobel prize winner, Alice Munro, made their name primarily as a short story writer.

However, thanks to people like her, there seems to be a bit of a change going on, and short stories, often collected into anthologies, are starting to sell.

There are, maybe, three reasons for this:

  • Some short stories are actually brilliant and represent a thoroughly satisfying read in their own right.
  • Many readers are busy people and don’t feel they have time to settle down to a full length novel, especially some of the 500 plus page tomes now being published. A short story on the other hand can be read on the train on the way to work, or on the beach, or (my favourite) in the bath whilst my hair conditioner works its magic.
  • A short story by an unknown author, allows a reader a taster of their style and subject matter. Later the reader may be tempted to splash out on one of that author’s full length novels.

I have hCoventry Tales 1ad a number of short stories published in anthologies, including Living with Lady G  which appeared in Coventry Tales (an anthology that, by the way, won a prize as the best anthology produced by a writers’ group, and has been an Amazon best seller).




lets have fun 3-001


I also have a short story  – A Midsummer Day’s Dream – appearing in Lets Have Fun, an anthology to be released on June 21st by Summer Solstice publishing.

Other short stories that have appeared in other anthologies are also available as stand alone short downloads. These include Love in Waiting, Chains of Magic, Sleeping Beauty and Journey to the Fair Mountain.



Who knGirl Friends - coverows, if you like these short stories, you may want to purchase my latest novel Girl Friends, which, at under 200 pages, is still a relatively short read!

All these stories are available from Amazon Books.


Meet author Anne E Summers

Ann Summers


Anne is an Australian writer whose latest book is being published by the American based Solstice Publishing. Here she takes over my blog to tell you a bit more about herself and, of course, her latest book.




HEIRS AND GRACES is the title of my second novel. It’s a play on words of course and Heirs and Gracesnothing to do with the proverbial ‘airs and graces’.

The story revolves around a young woman facing the culture shock which was colonial Western Australia in 1900. It began as a short story which kept nagging at me to enlarge. Once I agreed, the tale took on its own life and the characters led me through the challenges and deceptions which complicate the story.

Edwina often travels with her surveyor husband into the desert. On one fateful trip he is delayed and she gives birth alone. Thomas returns to find her at death’s door and twin boys in a crib. Edwina is never able to recall the events of that night and in later years when the question arises, which boy is the elder and therefore heir to rich estates in England, it becomes an issue which threatens the foundations of the family. This is a tale of love, friendship and family loyalties tangled in a web of secrets and lies.

I have been writing most of my life, but it was not until retirement years that I decided to tackle the larger world of novel writing. It has been a joy for me to experience how a character can lead the writer and even more so, how a secondary one can push and push until she/he actually dominates the story.

The only challenges in writing, for me, is juggling life and responsibilities, when really all I want to do is be with my story. Although I have to confess that writing is the easy part of novel writing – the editing and promoting give me some trouble.

However, the Solstice team are very helpful and patient. Today I received the first printed copies of HEIRS AND GRACES and I am extremely grateful and proud.

I belong to a number of writing organisations in Australia and often present lectures on the art and craft of writing: my advice to budding writers is never be afraid of the blank page. Just write and allow the Muse to guide you.

White Horse


Writing HEIRS AND GRACES was a complete change of direction for me and has surprised some of my readers.

THE SINGING MOUNTAIN – first novel – is a fantasy/mythology/adventure story with lots of magic and mystery involved. So no one was more surprised than I, when I was drawn to 1900 and all the research needed to make the story authentic.



Thank you Anne. If you want to find out more about Anne and her work, please try the links below.

Social Media Links – Website  Facebook     Author Central Literati/WA writers centre.




Happy ‘everybody reads YA’ Sunday. Today I am sharing an excerpt from my contemporary YA novel AND ALEX STILL HAS ACNE.


The spotty, clever, and chronically hungry, Alex is stumped as to how he can help his best friend, Sam, who is starting to miss school and steal food from shops (which Alex eats, albeit with a bad conscience). Meanwhile is sister, Nicky, won’t eat anything at all as she thinks she is too fat. Alex tries to help them both, but when they go missing Alex feels responsible. Maybe some things are more important than food…


“Well you could find out who was sending me those horrid texts about being so fat for starters” said Nicky.

Sam looked at her in surprise. “But you’re not fat. You must be the best looking girl in your class.” He nudged Alex before adding: “Certainly the best looker in the Stevens family.”

“Oh well, we’ll think about it.” Alex cut in quickly, not liking the way the conversation seemed to be going. “But first things first, what did you say about food and your place? I’m …”

“Starving!” All three chorused together.And Alex -cover

Want to read more?


Keeping the reader reading.

Authors have many different ways of keeping their readers reading rather than cleaning the house, walking the dog, or switching off the bedside light and settling down for a healthy eight hours of beauty sleep.

Dan Brown’s (Da Vinci Code etc.) plots may be implausible, his character development wooden, and his prose lumpen, but he keeps his readers up at night by ending each chapter on a cliff hanger. You simply have to turn the page to find out what happens next.

At the other extreme, you have the supreme wordsmith, Shakespeare, who practices a much more subtle art. Today I’m going to illustrate just one technique he uses to keep his readers / audiences engaged and alert: the surprise change of tack within a sentence which captures your attention, just as you were being lulled into anticipating a more predictable turn of phrase.  It’s not as simple to do as it looks, but it is certainly an effective way of keeping your reader on their toes and eager for more.

Here are a few examples from the great master:

He thinks too much; such men are dangerous. Julius Caesar

He is a tried and valiant soldier; so is my horse. Julius Caesar

One may smile and smile and be a villain. Hamlet

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it. Macbeth

[You] only are reputed wise for saying nothing. Merchant of Venice.

lets have fun 3-001And so… from the sublime to the mundane.

At the moment I am working on a project to create back stories for a number of Shakespeare’s female characters – and along the way I am filling in gaps in my knowledge of his plays. I am approaching the plays with more maturity (quite a lot more in fact) than I had when I studied him at school and university, and I am thoroughly enjoying the new learning experience. My latest short story, based on one of the lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will appear in an anthology published by Summer Solstice on June 21st. Can’t promise much in the way of irresistible cliff hangers or breath-taking word play, but I’ve had fun re-reading the play and writing the story.