Friday, 26 October 2012

Riding high in the Kindle Charts

What an amazing week it's been.

We've been settling in to our new temporary accommodation (whilst our log home is being built), which I have to admit is proving to be no great hardship. Having sold our house, we're now staying with our son, his wife, and our two little granddaughters. (You know, the ones I'm always bragging about on Twitter!). They've been out of the country on holiday for the week and due back tomorrow.

The best news is that my husband has improved immensely and continues to do so. Thing is, if he improves any more he'll be a damn nuisance!

And the next best news is that Language of Thieves, my debut novel, reached the dizzy heights of  #2 in the Kindle charts! Thank you to all those who bought it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

That emotional high was equal to when my novel was accepted for publication last year. I cannot believe my good fortune after what I can only describe as one of the most difficult years in my entire life. Of course, these highs are short-lived and hold little substance. It was great while it lasted.

Somebody once said: "Don't take life too seriously. None of us is going to get out out of it alive."

Good advice.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Five months down the road less traveled

I feel a need to move on from 'Lost in February.' It's nearing the end of June and we're five months down the road now. Rather than resent time lost - I'm looking more to lessons learned. The first one being, gratitude. Gratitude for many things: having a car, able to afford petrol to travel to the hospital & back every day for two months, a loving supporting family, two loving sons - wonderful, caring step children and good friends. But mainly, I'm truly grateful for the life of my husband.

The second important thing I've learned, is patience. Patience only came after much frustration. And when patience arrived, it was quite sudden, and almost tangible - like a precious gift placed upon me. Suddenly,  I was no longer desperately trying to speed up his recovery, which I couldn't anyway. But when patience appeared, recovery accompanied it. Now it's just a matter of time... and.... patience.

He's certainly much tougher than I ever thought; and much braver than the fictional hero's that live in my head. He's regained his voice, good looks, and also a little weight. 

Yesterday he had his fist cup of tea in five months. This morning we shared tea together - it was sheer delight. 

I'm all gushing but he's very reserved. He thinks before he speaks - I don't. He takes everything in his stride, while I battle all the way.  

I've learned to love, accept, let go, play, laugh, cry, and not to take myself too seriously. But above everything else, I believe I've learned a little more about the importance of prayer and how much I need to incorporate it into my daily life.  

Thank you, dear Twitter pals, for your support and friendship, and making me laugh when I felt like crying.  

Friday, 9 March 2012

Lost in February

This is just a very brief outline of what’s been happening these last few weeks and explains my absence from Twitter. Of course it would be impossible to include a blow by blow account of all the traumatic events that took place. But what I can say quite categorically is this. Without a belief in the God of my understanding I would have fallen at the first hurdle.

Thank you to my wonderful friends who have supported me through what I can only describe as a living nightmare. They know who they are.

The weather was cold and bleak as we headed north up the A19 to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough on the 6th February. My husband’s operation for a triple bypass and aortic valve graft had been cancelled for the 17thJanuary and rescheduled for the 7th Feb.
The operation was vital. He was a heart attack waiting to happen, said the consultant.  At the pre-assessment we were told he’d be in hospital between five and fifteen days, and knowing E, he’d be out in the five.

The operation was cancelled again on the 7th because of an emergency that had cropped up at 4am. Don’t know a lot about surgery – but you don’t want a tired surgeon slicing open your chest & decoking your ticker! I asked E did he wanted me to fetch him home and take him back the next day? He said no, they’re going to operate the following day, so I’ll stay.

The day of the operation was a tense one for me. I telephoned to see if he was back from theatre, having been told at the pre-assessment how long the op would take. They said no, he’s not back yet. I knew instinctively something was wrong just by the length of time he’s been down in theatre. Later that evening they said, yes he’s back in the recovery room, telephone in the morning.

The next morning I rang. “Your husband had complications, excessive bleeding and oozy connections. He’s still on a ventilator – we’ll try again soon; see if he’ll breathe on his own.”  This went on for three attempts over thirty six hours. By now I was going out of my mind; unable to think straight, sleep, eat, or function on any normal level.

I was by his bedside in intensive care – talking to him, willing him to breathe. I knew he was there... somewhere... floating beneath the surface; able to hear my every word. I begged, willed, and prayed for him to breathe. Eventually, he did. There were tears of joy from me and his children.

Three days later his heart went out of rhythm – they had to restart his heart with those electric clamp-type things - and once again he was back on a ventilator. I remember saying. “I love you, darling, if you can hear me squeeze my hand." he squeezed it!
My husband spent two whole weeks in intensive care. While there he was prayed over and wept over, by me and his six children. There cannot be a man more loved than he was during that time. 

The day I rang (as I did every morning at 6am & every night at midnight) and they said he’s been moved to high dependency, the relief was enormous.

At the moment he's fed by an NG tube. Yes, I know all the medical terms now – wish the hell I didn’t! These last five weeks I’ve learned how to read those heart monitors that you see on TV.  I can read blood pressure charts, pulse rates, oxygen levels, artificial feeding, calorie & nutritional value. I know the James Cook Hospital like the back of my hand.  Believe me, when E comes home, I don’t want to see inside another one for a long time!

I travel the 50 mile round trip every day as I have done every day for almost five weeks. Patients & staff now know my face; smile and say hello as I make my way to Ward 28. I get home about 7.45 in the evening, heat up a ready meal; food I’ve never eaten in my life, but I can’t be bothered to prepare a meal for myself. Everything’s usually homemade. My husband is waiting for a transfer to a hospital eight miles away. He’s waiting for a bed.

The stroke he sustained has left him with a paralysed left vocal chord and unable to speak, and the inability to swallow. I’m expecting him to make a full recovery in the next few months - I refuse to buy into doctor’s negativity. They always paint the worst picture for some reason, a reason I’m not particularly interested in. I’ve learned over the years, they don’t know everything; much less so of the human spirit, from whence recovery springs.

Three days ago, E was waiting eagerly for me when I arrived at visiting time. He had a pen paper ready. He wrote: what is the day? Date? How long have I been here? I said four weeks, he wrote, I’ve lost February.  I’m hoping for a soft landing, he wrote, and smiled. He'd have had a softer landing jumping out of an aircraft without a parachute!

I’m so looking forward to my darling E coming home soon. We’ve had 37 years together and there’s many more to be had. We’ve a life to live – and believe me, we’ll not waste one a precious minute of it. The house is on the market tomorrow – our cabin will soon become a reality, and the campervan is ready for the road.

Apart from that - I miss my cup of tea in bed every morning. 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Another great review for Language of Thieves

5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous, compelling read, November 3, 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves. Elizabeth Jackson (Hardcover)

The author Elizabeth Jackson is a retired psychotherapist, and the knowledge of mental issues comes through in this book. Mrs Jackson is descended from gypsies, and her book is set in Westmoreland, and Appleby Fair, places which she was immersed in as a child. Elizabeth herself is feisty, intelligent, down to earth, and her voice comes through well in this book. I chuckled in many places. The woman tells it like it is, and that is a great trait to possess.

In this book we met Daisy Latimer, a beautiful, headstrong, feisty girl, proud of her roots and not afraid to get her hands dirty. She loves nothing more than riding her horse Chase and helping her father, Samboy with fair work and selling horses. She does all this good Yorkshire graft turning mens' heads along the way, and looking buxom and beautiful throughout. Two of the heads turned could not be any different, Tobias Flint is a wealthy, kind man with a manor and a crazy mother to boot, whilst Roulson Adams is a gypsy, and not a very nice one at that. The word blaggard springs to mind, and I am being nice! I love a good, complex baddie in a novel and this character delivers and then some.

While these men try to weave their way into Daisy's heart, Samboy is determined to watch out for his daughter and fend off their advances.

When Roulson sets a chain of events in action one night, none of their lives will ever be the same....

Lydia Flint, Tobias's mother, grew up dirt poor, scraping a living any way she could, till she landed a job at the manor and set her hat at Richard Flint.

Years on, with Richard dead, a son lost to the war and Tobias mixing with the gypsies she despises, her mind crumbles daily and she does everything in her twisted power to control the Manor and her one surviving son, once and for all....

This book is amazing. It is Wuthering Heights; think broody Heathcliff stalking the moors, looking muscular and moody, it is Austenesque, think Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, class divides, sexy men with floppy hair, outstanding morals and large......estates....and with Lydia Flint, we have met our very own new Yorkshire Mrs Rochester, Bronte's original crazy lady locked away, plotting and sneering....

I devoured this book in 5 hours and could have read more.

Elizabeth Jackson's use of the English language is spellbinding, she weaves a tale so well, you can almost smell the lavender and whisper into the horses' manes.......

As a Yorkshire lass, I could not be prouder of this book. Elizabeth lives in Thirsk, and has a FREE book signing event (with wine) in Thirsk on 25th November 2011. Here is the link to her blog and amazing life story..


Elizabeth is currently working on her second book.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Review for Language of Thieves. A RUSTIC ROLLERCOASTER says The Travellers' Times.

Language of Thieves
by Elizabeth Jackson

Published by Robert Hale, London.

'Language of Thieves' is a novel set largely in Cumbria at the end of the 1940s. It follows the story of young Daisy Latimer, a spirited Travelling girl. Her widower father Samboy does his best to protect Daisy from the two men who love her, local squire Tobias Flint, and bad boy Gypsy Roulson Adams. The main action takes place around Appleby, during and after the fair.

Elizabeth Jackson has a gift for conjuring up very English places, whether it's the country manors and villages we're used to hearing about, or the horse fairs that we're not. 'Language of Thieves' is a vivid, sweeping novel, a fine book for the fireside when the winter wind is up outside.

Jackson transports you from the politics of the present to a rural past that many of us can't help longing for, whether we're Travellers or not. You can really breathe in the atmosphere, from the straw Samboy sleeps on under his wagon to the hops and 'baccer of the old pubs when they still served proper beer.

The characters are largely wholesome and likable, but there are a few bad apples: especially the young, wild and dark-eyed Gypsy Roylson. When Daisy's heart is stolen by the dashing by the dashing landowner Tobias, Roulson goes off the rails in his quest for revenge against the rich Gorjia who stole the best looking girl at the fair.

Meanwhile, Samboy rediscovers his youth when he falls for the lovely Lavinia, a warm-hearted Gypsy lady who married Sam's best pal before he died in an accident, so love is definitely in the air.

The trouble is I ended up cheering for Roulson, in spite of his unhinged ways and love of the demon drink. The dear chavvy has to watch yet another wealthy, interfering rai-mush chore the kushty dikkin' rakli he loves. Of course, like everyone's all-time Romany villain, Heathcliff, he's not too happy about it, but you'll have to read the book to find out what happens.

'Language of Thieves' is a rustic roller-coaster tale with scary scenes and a few steamy ones as well so this one's for the grown-ups. It's definitely worth a read.

Damian Le Bas

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Another excerpt from Language of Thieves

The spell was broken when an unexpected thunderous clattering of hooves resounded on the bridge. Daisy whirled round to come face to face with Roulson Adam’s horse. The animal was biting the bit and frothing at the mouth whilst prancing about wildly. Alarmed looks on the faces of those standing close prompted the rider to rein his horse back a few paces allowing people to retreat to a safer distance.
     “Hello, Roulson,” Daisy said taking hold of the horse’s bridle. “I thought it was you in the water below. Cushty gelding you’ve got; are you thinking of selling him on at the fair?”
     He didn’t reply but jumped down from his horse and stood very close to her. She could feel his warm sweet breath on her face, and the familiar aroma of horses mingled with his body sweat excited her. His shirt was slung carelessly round his neck exposing his broad chest where droplets of water trickled a pathway through the dark hairs; spellbound, she followed their descent to where the dark hair tapered below his bellybutton.
      “I knew it was you up on the bridge. I’d spot you a mile off, Daisy.” He spoke softly and reached out gently tucking a wisp of hair that had escaped back behind her ear. “No mistaking that beautiful hair of yours,” he murmured, stroking it with the back of his hand.
     She flushed hotly and bowed her head. Her heart quickened when he placed a finger beneath her chin raising her face to look at him. She stared into the darkest eyes she’d ever seen. He was the handsomest man around.
     And Roulson Adams knew it.
     “I’d better be going,” Daisy said, stepping back a couple of paces to disengage from his magnetic charm. “Dad will be wondering where I’ve got to.” 
     “Are you walking back up the hill?”
     “Er, yes, yes I am.”
     “Well, come on then, I’ll give you a ride.”
     He took the parcel she clasped to her chest and climbed on to his horse. He held out his arm. “Come on, grab a hold,” he said, winking mischievously at her, “You’ll be safe enough, I promise,” he added, laughing.
     She looked about her where a crowd had gathered. Roulson, unable to resist an audience, burst into song.
   “Daisy….Daisy….give me your answer do…
   I’m half crazy…all for the love of you…I can’t afford…a”
     “Roulson! Stop it! Stop it now!” She pleaded.
     “Well, come with me or I promise you, it’ll get worse,” he laughed, taunting her.
     A moment later a figure stepped out from amongst the crowd and a silence ensued.
     “Is this man bothering you, madam?” A distinguished voice asked.
     They both turned to see a smartly dressed man standing before them. It was the same man she’d met down by the river. Daisy recognised him immediately.
     “And what the hell’s it to do with you?” Roulson blared, jumping down from his horse. Bugger off and mind your own bloody business, if yer know what’s good fer yer!”
     Daisy stepped between them with her back to Roulson. She looked at Tobias, perceiving his every detail in an instant while wondering what he was doing here. 
    “No, this man isn’t bothering me,” Daisy said coolly, dismissing him with a glance.
     She turned to Roulson who was glaring challengingly at Tobias Flint. “Come on Roulson, let’s go can we, please?”
     Roulson leapt on to his horse and held out a bronzed muscled arm for Daisy to grasp and climb up behind him. But first she turned to face the man who’d so readily insulted her people. “I hardly recognised you cleaned up. You’d better watch you don’t get yourself mistaken for one of us, specially dressed like that!” she added curtly.
    Tobias grinned and looked on with envy as she grasped the strong arm that hoisted her up in one easy movement. They rode off but Daisy couldn’t resist a furtive glance back over her shoulder. Tobias Flint stood in the centre of the bridge, watching them. He smiled at her and waved before giving an elaborate, exaggerated bow.
     She didn’t smile back.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Reviews for Language of Thieves.

Date: 14 / May / 2011
A compelling story
This book is a compelling read and once started we will all want to know what happens to the attractive gypsy heroine, Daisy. Elizabeth Jackson has given us an insight into the gypsy way of life which few of us really understand. Her descriptions of the Northern countryside and strong feelings of loyalty among the characters make this one of the most enjoyable stories which has recently come my way.

5.0 out of 5 stars Language of Thieves, 9 May 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves
I found "Language of Thieves" by Elizabeth Jackson to be a compelling read and not easy to put down. It is a beautifully structured story that effortlessly holds the different strands of the plot together and the reader is carried through the text at a smooth and rhythmic pace that compliments its subject matter! Elizabeth has an uncanny ability to write dialect that reads both naturally and easily without becoming stereotypical and "Northern", her descriptions beautifully create a sense of place, but above all she portrays the Romany people, their culture and way of life, vividly, honestly, and with humanity and warmth. The story is as varied and colourful as the characters in it and neatly avoids being pigeonholed and labelled. This is as much a tale for men as it is women with a potent mix of action, romance, intrigue, class and racial tension that resolves in a nailbiting climax that will have you on the edge of your seat. Congratulations to the author of this excellent book which is both challenging and immensely entertaining. I thoroughly recommend it.

5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant story, 13 May 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves
I loved this book. It’s got everything to hold your interest from start to finish. Very exciting, I couldn’t put it down. The characters held my interest all the way through. Wonderful descriptions of places I feel I want to visit. A fantastic read to take on holiday and thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to your next book Elizabeth.

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read can't wait for the next book, 11 July 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves

I loved this book from the start. I could not hurry it as I didn’t want it to end.
I think it would make a brilliant travellers saga.
A TV Sunday winter’s saga, what more could we wish for. A glass of wine or beer, supper on our knees, chestnuts cooking on our fires watching the next episode enfold.

5.0 out of 5 stars Language of Thieves, 7 July 2011
This review is from: Language of Thieves
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of gypsies in Yorkshire. The descriptions of people and places are evocative and enchanting. The carefree mood the young gypsy girl, Daisy is captured with sinister overtones, as the plot draws the reader further on. The characters are brought to life with enigmatic and endearing qualities, easily planting pictures in the reader's mind.

The regions of Yorkshire were very well depicted, with accuracy and thoughtfulness. It was easy to imagine the setting and the atmosphere was tangible.

I would recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

5.0 out of 5 stars "Language of Thieves" by Elizabeth Jackson, 24 May 2011
BY Bob Burns
This review is from: Language of Thieves
"Language of Thieves" by Elizabeth Jackson is the most enthralling novel I have read in years!
This unique insight into the gypsy way of life gives us beautifully sculptured characters set against equally stunning backdrops of the Northern landscape.
Jackson is a superb wordsmith who skillfully takes us on this journey of life in and around the Romany camp sites and annual horse fairs.
This intriguing story of love, hate, jelousy and revenge will keep you glued to each page. You will instantly fall for Daisy and her father whilst at the same time never quite sure what to make of gypsy heart-throb Roulson.

This is certainly one not to be missed!