Leominster Festivalis run by a local volunteer committee since 1978. It holds cultural events from book-signings, live music, film screenings with performances and workshops for all the family. This year it will be held Friday 2nd June – Sunday 11th June.
Some Highlights of this Festival
Anne O’Brien is an Author of Historical novels she lives near Leominster and will be . Her latest novel out in Hardback May 4th 2017 is The Shadow Queen. It is a tale of a woman’s treacherous ascent through the court to command royal power alongside her young son, King Richard II. She will be giving a talk at this Festival on Friday June 9th 7pm. Tickets link.
Fancy a 9 mile walk in the hills east of Leominster? Follow the Rambling Club walkers amidst green pastures, woods and fields. Bache-Camp Walk details here.
Family Fun DaySaturday 10th June 10am – 4pm. Activities like ‘Plant the Town’ allotment with activities, cookie-decorating, bouncy castle, Trevor Hill Animals encounters and there will be various craft plus Big Draw facilitated by Hereford College of Arts. Full details listed here.
Want to learn about the relationship between dance and the music? Steve Player and Hilary Norris will lead a dance workshop for all musicians interested in improving their understanding and performance of music. Read more about Baroque Dancing Stepsevent.
“Call Mr Robeson” is a live show about Paul Robeson an American Bass singer, actor and activist. Robeson is a fascinating figure having been involved in the Civil Rights Movement and Harlem Renaissance. He even met President Harry S. Truman to demand anti-lynching legislation. Paul is best known for his performance in Showboat a romantic comedy-drama musical film. His phenomenal life even inspired a song by Manic Street Preachers called “Let Robeson sing” have a listen here. This show is performed by Tayo Aluko & Friends. Tickets link.
Welcome to the Left Bank Quarter of the county where bohemians roam in the secluded area part Parisian chic meets Dutch-inspired leisure. Overlooking the River Wye it gives you a glorious view of the River Wye and only a 2 minute walk from the high street.
It’s a cosy cafe with a quaint and rustic farmhouse feel inside plus open seating outside. The upstairs is dedicated to the art exhibition of the moment and Friday music nights where local musicians sing and attendees dance along to their music. Arms swaying, gypsy skirts flowing depending on the type of music played. On rare afternoons off locals are found sipping coffee, nibbling cakes or perhaps a Pieminster pie. Some with a book in their hands, others doodle in sketchpads. It’s family friendly and sometimes the pet dog tags along too. A wandering child walks up to the blackboard and notices the pretty handwritten white cursive…
On the blackboard you’ll find the weekly usual of yoga or meditation classes. If you’re lucky a poetry reading night may be on. The first poetry event held there was organised and performed by local poet Catherine Vaughan in March 2016. Nowadays a plethora of cultural activities take place from burlesque dances classes, life drawing as well as the Politics, Ethics & Environment nights and don’t forget the Pub Quiz! Most recently they’ve been one of the venues for the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership which discusses culture ventures in the county as well as Herefordshire’s forthcoming bid to be City of Culture in 2021.
On its footstep is The Left Bank which has it’s Speakeasy Nightclub, comedy nights and formal events. It’s also available for private hire.
So if you’re ever visiting our city pop along to De Koffie Pot cafe, located on Bridge street, hidden behind the Left Bank.
Read Audrina’s Author Q&A for Herefordshire Writershere.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Catherine I’m a Hereford born and based Author & Poet. I’ve had dreams of creating my own Bohemian existence since I was a teenager having my first poem published at 15 in a competition run by Young Writers. A decade on I published my first collection of poems in May 2015 aptly titled The Quarter Life Crisis Poet. I’m currently working on a novel which will be Book 1 of a Bohemian Love story called “Welcome to Wonderland.” I find the Writer’s life very solitary so from that loneliness I launched the site: HerefordshireWriters.co.uk which is how I’ve now managed to connect with the lovely Audrina Lane and showcase thriving literary talent in our county.
What made you start to write poetry?
It was a case of alignment. In Summer 2005 I bought John Mayer’s album Room for Squares. He’s an American singer-songwriter and guitar player. It was the first time in my life I encountered not only meaningful lyrics but words and music composed so beautifully together. I admired the attention to detail and craftsmanship. Around that time, I was doing my GCSE’s and in the English Literature classes we were analysing and studying poems. The juxtaposition of my discovering deep and well-composed song lyrics whilst studying poetry in school ignited an active interest in me to actually write poems.
And would you like to share one of your first poems?
I was actually clearing out the garage and stumbled upon old school books over the summer. I can share this one little poem I wrote in November 2000, at age 10.
Hedgehog at Night
Its spikes look like the thorn of pain
Its eyes glint at the hundred stars
Its beady eyes stare out
Its tiny feet woddle around in the grass
Its little nose has a cute bead and reminds me of a button
It’s a Hedgehog.
Do you have a favourite poet? If so would you like to share your favourite poem by them?
Nowadays I lean more towards the new breed of “instapoets” (poets that post on social media sites like tumblr and Instagram) like Tyler Knott Gregson and Rupi Kaur. I follow Jessica Michelle on Instagram @_Jessica.Michelle_
I like that she has audacity to unleash her true feelings, the feelings that we don’t dare confess but if we had the bravery as she does to confess these emotions we’d see how connected and similar our experiences in life are. That we’re all going through pain…
Do you like to write poems on a particular subject or do you prefer to just grab inspiration when it strikes?
I write poems about the feelings and experiences I cannot disclose. Poetry is my way of saying what happened to me, admitting the pain and telling the painful events in my life without having to reveal the full situation. There’s this unique juxtaposition of openness and vulnerability yet keeping the truth veiled; because the truth is too painful to express fully in prose.
Please share with me your 3 favourite poems that you’ve written and explain your choices?
Lost generation is a pretty self-explanatory poem. I wrote it age 20 after dropping out of Law school and feeling the usual angst against establishments and society as a whole. This poem is also prophetic of my path to my romanticised idea of Bohemia and the literary life. (Which I made happen 5 years later.)
We are the heir
In academia we make our bet
They get into debt.
Fortune is linear?
Starve, charge and never recharge.
Let’s get skinnier.
We are living it up
Naivety of a pup
In the workplace we are like slaves
Then at night we rave.
Our big break will come.
Chase, trace and encase.
To the beat of our drum
But I will not succumb
You are all so dumb
Here I become
And then some…
I escaped to Bohemia
Away from academia
Ran from the curse
In my converse
And then some
Ran away from academia
Away from the curse
In my converse
This poem is my attempt at redefining “luxury” steering it away from what consumer-based society wants us to believe it is. For a long while art, writing etc was out of my life. I couldn’t create as I naturally would have in younger years, things were so horrid that I couldn’t see past the chaos I had been put in. So now having made the switch back to embracing the arts in my life it feels like a luxury like it’s something precious to have back. Given all the sadness and unhappy circumstances that can arise in life I now feel it’s a luxury to have interests in philosophy, illustration whatever else because there was a time in life when it was just about survival and happiness and creativity couldn’t exist, it just didn’t have the chance to.
LUXURY: PART 1
Poetry is a luxury.
Illustration is a luxury.
All I need is my
So long as S & M
does not win.
How I love
to speak in this riddle.
Who is the cat
who is the fiddle?
The sheep that howls….
But now I’m off to bed.
Dreaming of you in my head.
Not that long ago
I wanted to be dead.
But I must go on.
You must go on.
We must go on.
With Simple Living.
Life in The Shire.
I’ve started jotting down these smaller, sharper poems that concisely utter the pain, dichotomy and agony of emotions.
Love me or lie to me
It’s all the same?
What’s the difference?
“By and Bye”
I dream about you
But I wake up without you
Help a poor developing community in Africa get access to clean water
Did you know there is a Herefordshire based non-profit organisation that is dedicated to providing access to clean drinking water? In some parts of Africa, there are small children walking hours everyday to get water. That’s why Hope Springwas set up to help combat this daily plight.
To raise more funds for this not-for-profit organisation there’s a charity marathon that Temi Odurinde will run in Barcelona to drum up donations for this charity. Read details of it here.
Hope Spring helps developing communities in Africa access safe, clean water. Lack of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation in developing communities is one of the major killers of children under 5 years of age. In collaboration with the beneficiary community, they dig wells or boreholes.
“I am running Barcelona Marathon on March the 12th, 2017 to raise money for Hope Spring, a great charity that helps poor communities in Africa access clean drinking water. I could use big impressive statistics to back up the reasons I am raising money for a water charity, but I will not. I will just share a story from one of the past beneficiaries of Hope Spring water project called Amuda.
Amuda is 8 years old. Each morning, she must wake up early, take a plastic container and walk 2 miles to the nearest well. She joins a long queue. When it is eventually her turn, she collect about 10kg of water into her plastic container, carry it on her head, and head back home.”
Temi is passionate about the environment. In his day job, he works as a consultant on various sustainability projects. Some of his spare time is spent volunteering on sustainable development advocacy projects. – TemiOdurinde.uk
Odurinde also runs Marches Houra Twitter networking platform for people, businesses and organisations based in:
Wendy was born in West Sussex, in the south of England. She previously worked in hospitals, general practice and palliative care before starting a family, at which point she made the decision to step back from medical life to concentrate on being a mum and author.
She lives in a little village in Herefordshire with her husband and two boys. Wendy has published 7 books, 3 separate novels that are all about the casualties of love and and the charming, heartwarming and emotional Echoes of Nutt Hill series. Here’s what readers have said about her books in this link.
As it’s February it felt timely to feature our Doctor turned Novelist who writes about love and heartbreak and uncover her uplifting account of how her writing career started with a mysterious dream…
You said that one night changed your life and a dream inspired you to write. Can you share some more details of this experience, what was the spark that inspired you to write?
It’s hard to remember the details all these years later, but it was a dream about a romantic encounter at a glamorous ball. I remember waking up and lying there thinking what would have happened if I’d stayed asleep. It captured my imagination in a way I hadn’t experienced in years. I used to write down my dreams when I awoke as a child and so I can remember many of those, but this one held me captive. I thought of it often from then on. What would have happened? How had she got there? What might have happened in the story before that point? My mind began to obsess about it and in the end I had to write it down just to clear space in my mind to think of more. I wrote every night for 6 months until I had written around 55,000 words.
My dad encouraged me to send it off to agents. As I had nothing to lose I sent it off. I had no luck! It was a first novel and not my best, but it got me inspired and motivated. These days that manuscript lurks in an unmarked grave, but the next novel was a little better and the next, better still. My fourth novelone was the one to get published. And it was all thanks to that mysterious dream and my Dad’s encouragement.
What drives you to write emotional love stories?
I think it is the suffering. There is a beautiful correlation between the amount someone suffers and their potential for growth. Having worked in Medicine, I suppose I have seen more than my fair share of suffering and it is normally in the most emotional times that people’s kindness really shines. I love to be moved. If a story makes me cry, it’s a winner for me. At Medical School, I had an interest in forensic pathology, so you might have thought I’d gravitate towards thrillers, but there is something about falling in love that pulls me back time and again. You could say I’m in love with love. Maybe I am, but it’s the kind of love that’s eternal. I’m devoted to it, and I will never give it up.
Describe where you write.
At my dining room table that looks out onto countryside. I write on my laptop, on my battered old pine kitchen table. When the house is quiet and I’m on my own and free to write, I sit there with the open view of countryside, a pint of water saying ‘sit down and write’ and my notepad of plot and ideas. There is no timetable to it. I write when I can and when I want to. Kids holidays don’t work very well. I need peace and quiet. I most enjoy being able to write my stories and live other lives without ever leaving my home…
Coming up with ideas however, happens elsewhere; usually in bed at night – paper and pen sit close by – or whilst I’m cleaning the house, listening to emotional music. Those are my two main thinking times.
What advice would you give someone writing a debut novel?
They say write what you know, but it was exactly when I didn’t that I got published, so I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that. But if it’s a debut and you are aiming to get published, there are things that can help. You should aim for 80-90,000 words (or whatever your genre requires) and make sure it fits an obvious category. Some publishers will say they consider cross-genre work, but the more mainstream your novels looks, the more likely they will be to sell it.
Tell us about your transition from working in the medical field to entering the creative arena of fiction writing.
I was raising my children for about 8 years between being a doctor and being a novelist. A lot of my medical experiences seep into my work. My family tease me about the amount of people I kill off or admit to hospital in my stories, so in some ways there’s obviously no great leap away from ‘write what you know’ for me. My only struggle was with my editors over medical stuff; when they wanted me to write something that I knew to be medically inaccurate, even though it might have made a better or more saleable story.
Fiction extract from Sun on Sundays… An Echoes of Nutt Hill novel
Thinking back, Carrie-Ann could not remember a time when she hadn’t been in love with Tom. It had always been there, inside her; a private yearning that could never be released. Tom was six years older than her, quietly spoken and kind. He was from a well-to-do family in the village and had never looked at her in any way that would give her reason to hope, but hope she had. Quietly, and without any real expectation, it lingered; like the lazy glow of dying embers at the end of a winter’s night. And in being so, it warmed her dreams and kept her breathing.
From the library window, she watched him, her face half-shielded by the heavy velvet curtains there. He was a farm manager now, working on the Pemberton’s farm, a mere 300 yards away from where she was sitting, but for all the good it had done her, it might as well have been 300 miles.
She had hoped, when she’d started at the hill, that working up there would mean she’d get to see a little more of Tom, but alas, it seemed not. At least Maggie was interesting to spend time with and she had a fascinating collection of books in her library, so as she waited for her heart to be opened, she was bound by obscurity, to take each day as it came.
And now, after months of waiting, at last, here he was, talking to Joe, the gardener, on the far side of the lawn. Quietly, she looked across at Maggie, deeply engrossed in a book in her favourite corner of the room and satisfied of her privacy, turned back. She felt her heart shiver as she allowed herself to bask in the warmth of the sight outside, a few moments spent blissful unobserved.
Tom was standing with one hand in his pocket, a long-standing habit of his she’d often noticed. He was wearing dark grey cargo pants and a cream granddad-collar shirt tucked in at the belt, his sleeves were rolled up to the elbows and his hair had that slightly scruffy look she loved about him; it said, ‘I started out neat enough, but it’s been a long day’.
As she watched, she saw Tom laugh at something Joe said and she smiled. If only there could be more moments like this, she thought and her patient heart blinked at the light. What must it be like to look on this man and have him smiling down at you, she wondered; to have his eyes warm at the sight of you, and to know you were his.
Finding Sarah is an emotionally captivating story of love, life and everything in between.
With her house sold from under her, Sarah finds herself moving to a small cottage in the country in order to make ends meet, but soon befriends, Maggie, the matriarch of Nutt Hill, a Texan and hopeless romantic.
But when Sarah meets a new man, her idyllic new life seems set to fracture.
Two very different souls searching for peace. One entire parish watching. And in a small country village, nothing stays private for long…
Sun on Sundays is an emotionally compelling tale of family, friendship and hope. Carrie-Ann is 19 and in love with Tom; she always has been, yet their worlds only touch every other weekend. She had thought that by agreeing to work on Nutt Hill she would get see him far more. Unfortunately that didn’t seem to be the case. But Maggie is a sucker for young love and despite Carrie-Ann keeping her years of yearning close to her chest, one day Tom turns up on the hill. Will he ever see her the way she wants to be seen? Sometimes these things need a helping hand… The second Echoes of Nutt Hill novel.
A deeply emotional love story from the author of By My Side. Luke is the man with the money, the fast car and the hot woman. There’s no way he would even think about getting serious, but a face he can’t remember soon threatens his calm. Rebecca isn’t interested in a relationship, and definitely not with him. How could she, after all he put her through? She’s spent the last 4 years hiding away from society, a one woman crusade for children’s road safety. Who would have thought one fateful day, it might almost be her … again. As two worlds collide, will opposites attract? Not if she can help it. The third Echoes of Nutt Hill novel.
An Echoes of Nutt Hill novel. Perfect for fans of Joanna Trollope. Exiled to the country for bad behaviour, what did he expect? Certainly not her. Tristan’s mother is planning one last ditch attempt to reform her son. He is removed to the country where he meets Michelle, or tries not to. The woman is not worth the shoes on his feet, or so he believes at first, but Michelle has a great deal she can teach him and she doesn’t wait long to start. ‘You mustn’t fall for his charms,’ they said. ‘You will never fit into his life.’ Can she change him enough to have a shot at the dream? Thrust together, the two spark-up a tenuous friendship, and so the journey begins.
This month is about catering to our readers further afield in neighboring cities and beyond. Take an online glimpse into Herefordshire’s charms and attractions. The county typically appeals to creative people who want to escape from city life. We’re rural yet filled with cultural treasures from Hay Festival to the River Wye. Whether you’re in our neck of the woods to see family, explore historic buildings or en route to a summer festival or nearby City hot spots like Birmingham or Cardiff be sure to make a short and sweet stay in this English county.
It’s so encouraging that HerefordshireWriters.co.uk is building a small but growing readership overseas. Here are some websites about this county plus ideas and links for tourists.
It’s a New Year so why not add a New City on your Travel bucket list.
But first for our readers abroad… Let’s show you Herefordshire on the map. Notably Herefordshire is a county filled with the city of Hereford plus neighboring towns and villages like Ross-on-Wye, Hay-on-Wye, Leominsterand Ledbury(plus too many others to name!)
This site gives you an extensive outlook for attractions and events in the coming year 2017. A helpful tool for planning a future getaway to the county. Whether you’re a local or out-of-towner you will discover a new place to explore like Mortimer Country (in north of the county). Choose where you’ll stay from a Bed & Breakfast or Hotel or why not a cottage? Herefordshire is also a destination spot for Weddings too!
Pick a village or town to visit and find out the best places to visit and where to eat and shop!
Events Guide for Food, Culture, Nightlife and Beyond…
Your quintessential Herefordshire lifestyle guide that brings you a curated cultural highlight of Herefordshire’s Finest in food, art, sport, music and much more. Every Herefordian’s favourite site! It’s hip yet caters to all. Read it for the Hot List! Discover new blossoming talent plus the essential dates for your social diary.
Learn more about the county’s history . This site is a project run by the Herefordshire County Library Service, providing accessible archives for researchers and future generations as well as the curious at heart. There’s a beautiful visual archive online of photos from aerial views, a poignant collection of postcards and Christmas cards from the First World war. The Herefordshire Image Coollection allows you to view online photographs, prints and records of surrounding villages like Peterstow and Abbey Dore plus throwback photos of the Three Choirs and hidden spots. Most sentimental of all is the Herefordshire through a lenssocial history project. The photos are from the Derek Evans studio and will give you a warm nostalgic feel of Hereford through the decades. This four-year long project and oral history has its own website too: HerefordshireLifeThroughaLens.org.uk
The Hereford Cathedral is a cultural landmark that has within it’s ancient walls the Mappa Mundi, 1217 Magna Carta, King John’s Writ and the Chained Library. On top of that there are visiting choirs the most famous The Three Choirs Festival which occurs every three years at Hereford Cathedral.
There’s a wonderful Newsletter called “Out of the Cloisters” that you can view on their site here.
The Historyof the Cathedral.
Church service listings. Opening times of the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition.
There is also a new interactive website about the Mappa Mundi: TheMappaMundi.co.uk
This is your comprehensive A-Z online guide of all churches in Hereford and its county’s villages and towns. Rich in information with highlights of each church’s unique beauty and historical significance.
I have to confess I had not heard nor attended the Fair but it looks exciting and has peaked my curiosity… Alas you’ll have to wait until August but here’s a teaser… Camel racing in The Shire? Yes! Don’t believe me then visit HerefordshireCountryFair.co.uk. There’s terrier racing to pony cluband showjumping on in the afternoons.Alongside clay shooting and other country pursuits. Notably there will be aclassic carsdisplay and the Motor Village where you’ll see a selection of supercars like Aston Martins to Ferrari’s showcased!In between watching equestrian events go shopping in theMarquee where you can browse and purchase country textiles, jewellery, homeware and gifts. This Year’s Cookery Demonstration will be held by Isabel Partridge. Many local producers will be displaying their foodie treats! More listings of who will be on site nearer the time.
Hi there – and Merry Christmas. I’m Georgia Hill and I write historical romance and rom-coms. My books always feature an intriguing man, a believably flawed heroine and a page turning story with romance at its heart.
I love Christmas and adore receiving books as presents. There’s nothing better than disappearing into a great story! Christmas is the perfect time to read. It’s when the usual routines are abandoned and you might even have a bit of time off work. I live in a tiny village in rural Herefordshire and like nothing better than to light the wood-burner, grab a mince-pie and a dog or two and curl up with a good book.
If you’re like me and love reading romance, or are looking for a present for a loved one, I might have the perfect suggestion.
My most recent book, While I Was Waiting is set in Herefordshire – the history, myths and beautiful countryside of my adopted county directly inspired it. Here’s a little of what it’s all about:
Rachel swaps city life for the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage. Tucked away in the attic is an old tin full of letters and a diary. These are the precious memories that tell of Hetty Trenchard-Lewis, a love lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind. Will Rachel learn from Hetty’s story that the man of her dreams isn’t the one she thinks she needs?
It’s ideal for those who like two stories in one and love romance and history.
Purchase a copy of While I Was Waiting here ISBN:978-0008123260
Hello – I’m David J Vaughan. I write mostly non-fiction, my latest book is The Little Book of Herefordshire, which makes the perfect yuletide gift for tourists and visitors alike. This book contains a plethora of entertaining facts about Herefordshire’s literary, artistic and sporting achievements, customs ancient and modern and transport. It’s a wonderful compendium and guide to dip into time and time again. It reveals so much about our county’s heritage, plus secrets and the enduring fascination of Herefordshire. It was also a No.3 Bestseller at Waterstones Hereford bookshop last month.
Did you know?
A Herefordshire Christmas was incomplete without some curious superstitions. As well as Burning the Bush, Wassailing and Blowing the Thorn, you could encounter the gravest misfortune by not bleeding your cattle, on Boxing Day or bringing holly or ivy inside at any other time of the year or allowing a woman who had not swept in the house on Christmas Eve to enter the same on Christmas Day!
I’m a Historian with a background in archaeology. I’ve written for Cotswold Life and for local press and have appeared on BBC television and radio, including Countryfile.
The Little book of Herefordshire is a real gem to have on your bookshelf and a great gift to give for family members who enjoy history. I thought I’d take a moment to share with you my next publication due out next month:
Mad or Bad: Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain
‘In a violent 19th century, desperate attempts by the alienists – a new wave of ‘mad-doctor’ – brought the insanity plea into Victorian courts. Defining psychological conditions in an attempt at acquittal, they faced ridicule, obstruction – even professional ruin – as they strived for acceptance and struggled for change. It left ‘mad’ people hanged for offences they could not remember committing, and ‘bad’ people freed on unscrupulous pleas. Written in accessible language, this book – unlike any before it – retells twenty-five cases, from the renowned to obscure, including an attempt to murder a bemused Queen Victoria; the poisoner Dove and a much-feared magician; the king’s former wet-nurse who slaughtered six children; the worst serial killer in Britain… And more…’
Hi- I’m Wendy Lou Jones, I write emotional love stories. I have 7 books published to date and the one I would recommend for Christmas reading is Chances Are.
Chances Are is the 3rd in a series of rural love stories called the Echoes of Nutt Hill. They are set in the fictional village of Lower Nutton, a farming community in the English countryside. Each book can be read independently, but being such a small village, several characters do pop up in them all, so if you’re a stickler for doing things in the proper order, you may want to read Finding Sarah first. Finding Sarah (Book 1) is the story of a divorced woman moving into the village, disrupting the quiet way of life with her choice of new man. Sun on Sundays comes next (Book 2); the story of a young woman desperate for the attention of the man she has always loved. And after you have read the three, you can finish the series off with my latest release, A Different Life (Book 4). The final tale is of a woman who has had a hard life, being given the task of taming a spoiled young man.
I probably shouldn’t say this, but Chances Are is my personal favourite. It’s the story of a woman immersed in grief, coming to the attention of a rather vain man. They share a history, but not a good one. How then can he hope to win her round? You may well ask. Well, you’ll have to just read and see.
I hope you have a lovely Christmas and read some wonderful books. And after you’ve read all of them, maybe you could read one of mine…
Hi! I’m Audrina – author of the Heart Trilogy series. Let me tell you a bit more about this series as it would make a wonderful gift for the romance lover in your life! The story follows the lives of Stephanie, a 40 year old single mum, and her daughter Charlotte aged 17. With Charlotte suffering from her first heartbreak her Mum hands her the diaries from her own first romance back in 1988 in the hope that it will teach her daughter about both the highs and lows of first love. It will uncover one of her own darkest secrets and the fact that Stephanie has been running from her own heartbreak for over twenty four years.
“Where did your Heart go?” is the first book in the series. It sets the scene and tells the story of Stephanie and James, but what went wrong? Charlotte loves to dance and meets a new love in the form of the handsome dancer Mitchell. Surprises are in store for all of them as their lives parallel much of the past in so many strange ways. Set in the local town of Ross-on-Wye and Hereford, you can imagine the characters amid our glorious local countryside. The whole series is perfect for all ages from 18 to 80 as we all remember our first love, hopefully with fond memories. Some of us may even wonder what would happen if they were given a second chance to be with our first love again? Could it work out Happily Ever After?
Follow the characters of James and Stephanie, Charlotte and Mitchell. You’ll also meet Felicity, a woman who is intent on ruining lives at whatever the cost! There’s nothing better than cosying up to a good read on these cold winter nights so why not tuck into a new trilogy of book for yourself or give it as a gift?
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Blogger review by Roses & Violets Book review found here
Purchase Where Did Your Heart Go? Are here: ISBN: 978-1507732526
This month we are highlighting a new emerging trend in the writing field: Content Creators! These new breed of writers are multi-talented sharing their work in the virtual world (via blogging) and the real world. Hear me out. Media is changing, tastes are broadening and Content Creators are bridging the gap between culture and technology, tweets and events.
The Content Creators of the Hereford Indie Culture website HerefordCityCentric.com are not just blogging about a band they love they’re not just reviewing gigs they are also organizing these events for us and on a voluntary basis. The duo behind Hereford City Centric are Rich Lovell & Michelle Cuardra.
Photo: Nick Vidall-Hall
What inspired you to launch HerefordCityCentric.com (HCC) and The Underground Revolution (UR) in unison?
Michelle:The Underground Revolution was born in my sitting room on a piece of sketch paper and the help of a Thesauraus. Rich & I are really passionate about food, music, art, film and independent businesses in Hereford. We’re also very curious plus wanted to share our passion with others, inspire them and of course give the locals a platform both musically and culturally which is why we launched HerefordCityCentric.com. We also hope that we are helping attract tourists to a city whose economy thrives on tourism.
Rich: I think we just knew it would work–we are both similar characters in that we want to get things done, so no messing, lots of energy and enthusiasm. I can’t sit by and watch as the city struggles to keep its spirit in these tough times. Whether we make a positive difference I don’t know, but we try. The HCC & UR running together just seems to complement each other–after all they are both about the community.
You guys have a plethora of creative folk on your contributing writer’s team like artists, poets and singers- how did you find these creatives?
Rich: I think from our own past efforts, we have got to know many good people around the county. And they are as keen as anyone to see this succeed. Herefordshire does have a vibrant, creative community, it just needs a platform-there are some very clever folk here.
Michelle: Yeah we actually do! Like Rich said, we know a lot of good and very creative people. They needed somewhere to express themselves freely, and we are happy to oblige. We are always looking for volunteer contributors to help us cover art exhibits, review gigs and just generally contribute to our cultural community. It’s great exposure. Our contributors have been on board from the get go and have produced amazing music, art and food reviews. Thank you John Rose, Omar Majeed, Rich Lovell, Claire Perkins, Simon Rogers, Jonathon Paul, Nickie Bates, Raphael La Roche, Nick Vidal-Hall and Ashley Webb.
Michelle grew up in LA during the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. She was exposed to a variety of music scenes as LA was the place to break into music in America. Having been surrounded by so many unique individuals and music was inspiring and fed her hunger for counter-culture. Notably she indulges in many cultural styles. As Michelle would put it “Limiting oneself is a tragedy.”
What has been the highlight of your Music Promotion and Blogging venture this year?
It has all happened so quickly. Gigs that have been memorable include Cherryshoes, Ramonas, Under a Banner and our charity punk festival A Crisis of Conscience. We also have the support from the Rebellion and Surprise Attacks promoters… Like I said… Karma. Ask me this at the end of November though when the Subhumans and Steve Ignorant have played. I don’t want to exclude local bands-some have really rocked my world. I am a huge fan of Black Boxes, Teddy’s Leg, Freeborn Rising and well so many good ones really!
We receive plenty of support from the local press and now Slap Mag has allowed us an opportunity to write about our gigs and the local music scene in Hereford. I have been a fan of Slap Mag pretty much since it launched so I was over the moon. Maybe we are just lucky but really I believe it is all about Karma.
I also was fortunate to review some films for the French Film Festival UK courtesy of the Courtyard. Talk about jumping into the deep end. It is pretty complex but I loved it. I was also given the opportunity to review an indie film by Irish director Graham Jones.
What local websites do you enjoy reading?
I am a big fan of the Hereford Heckler, although it is more of an Anarchist online publication. I think they are winding down a bit but they are fearless writers-you have to admire that. Nothing wrong with telling it like it is… If that makes someone an anarchist then so be it.
I really love what Herefordshire Live are doing as well. It’s an online magazine that also started up around the time I did and has really taken off. It is a fantastic source for culture, they also have some great writers and have developed a loyal readership.
Rich is from Wolverhampton and is the front man of local punk band Terminal Rage who is made up of London transplant Raphael La Roche and Bob Griffin (whose brother is the late Dale Griffin of Mott the Hoople.) As Michelle describes, “Rich grew up in Wolverhampton and witnessed the evolution of an amazing music scene that pushed creative and socio-political boundaries,” all fantastic experience that some could say culminated into the inevitable manifestation of The Underground Revolution which Rich is determined to possess“no cliques, no mainstream, just cool music played with passion.” This is apparent from their mix of punk bands they’ve embraced and promoted for their music nights at The Booth Hall from the young band The Delinquentsto Bromyard band Teddy’s Leg.
How does Hereford’s Indie music scene vary from other cities in the UK?
The Booth Hall are really making a difference, as are others like the Victory & Plough pubs. But this is quite recent. The lack of suitable venues in the past has meant people are out of the habit of going to gigs, seeing bands that are unknown, having that adventure. The downside is that we struggle for venues that will invest in anything other than covers bands. On the plus side, there are some ridiculously talented people here and that makes it all so exciting and rewarding. We are lucky to have some great colleges here–the student music nights are amazing.
Can you share some favourite memories of your work for Hereford City Centric, The Underground Revolution and your band Terminal Rage?
Our first gig, Attila The Stockbrokerwas a great occasion – not only was it our first, but it was spoken word AND it was Attila–a legend! It was great to have TV Smith play for us for our charity gig in September–meeting your heroes IS a good thing, Tim Smith is such a great, unassuming, caring person. From the band’s perspective, Terminal Rage playing at Cloggerfest (Staffordshire) was a highlight-the bill was all acoustic and folk or folk punk acts, so we thought our loud, angry set might be a step too far, but the crowd went mad, we loved it, such a good time was had and we got 3 festival slots for next year from it. It’s one of the friendliest festivals you will find. I recommend it to anyone.
What is Hereford City Centric & The Underground Revolution’s vision & hopes for 2017?
Rich: On the music front, keep looking for new acts to showcase, help them start on their journey and bring a few touring bands to town, too. We’re mainly aimed at the alternative genres, as they are the acts that struggle to find venues that will take a risk. We have venues like the Booth Hall to thank for playing a large part in this – they are on this journey with the Underground Revolution too. It’s important to us that the acts know we are unpaid volunteers, we are not trying to fool them or make money from their art – credibility is essential to this project.
Michelle: Rich said it beautifully regarding the Underground Revolution, it’s all about selflessly bringing music to the city. People don’t know how many amazing bands are tucked away in little ol’ Hereford. The bonus is that we are having a good time enjoying what we love: Music! You just have to keep an eye out for our shows by joining The Underground Revolution Hereford Facebook or our Twitterto see what is on the horizon. All good I assure you.
Hereford City Centric has formed itself along the way and still doing so. Even the majority of our marketing is organic. We like to think of it as a platform for creative contributors and a way to support the independents in our city. I have some bigger ideas but they are under lock and key. Ssshhh! We both are quite busy so sometimes the blog is overshadowed by the music side and the overload of projects I have taken on, but it is still going strong.
The duo are also featured in more online articles:
We’re so honoured to have Adam Horovitz as our October feature during his Herefordshire Poet Residency. It was a series of fortunate events when our Editor Catherine Vaughan was reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival for Community Segments and Horovitz was in attendance of the event to support and watch new talent in the county plus host his own readings for the festival.
Adam Horovitz was born in London in 1971. He is the son of poets Michael and Frances Horovitz. After his parents separated, he lived with his mother and stepfather Roger Garfitt in Sunderland and Herefordshire. With poetry in his blood he has been writing poems since childhood.
Having started out in the performance poetry scene in the early 1990s, Horovitz slowly moved towards balancing his work between page and stage. Before his first collection, Turning, came out in 2011, he released two pamphlets and worked as poet in residence for the Borkowski PR agency and as poet in residence for the Glastonbury Festival’s official website in 2009. He was a Versopolis poet for Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2015. Currently Horovitz is Herefordshire’s Poet in Residence 2015-2016.
Tell us about your time as Poet in Residence for our county?
One splendid highlight was when I was commissioned to write a poem about The Master’s House during it’s inaugural year. (The Master’s House is one of the oldest buildings in the market town of Ledbury, it now houses Ledbury’s library alongside the Archives of revered former Poet Laureate John Masefield.)
I became so fired up by the subject matter after discovering an article about old Herefordshire dialect words suddenly all the dots connected and I fused the interviews with Friends of the Master’s House, my research into John Masefield and the time I had spent looking at the restoration work in that stunning building into something workable in my head. In the end, I tried stuffing800 years of certain aspects of the town’s history into eight poems, using quotes from Masefield, the records of Master Edward Cowper, dialect and interviews. I wrote a sequence of eight poems, in the space of a weekend , which have been collected into a pamphlet called Wattle & Daub. I am delighted to say that the residency has forced me to be more ambitious, and it has certainly rekindled my love of the county.
How did you decide that poetry was a path you too would follow as your parents were poets?
I grew up surrounded by poetry and poets, so the rhythms were a natural part of my upbringing. That said, I might not have gone on to write as an adult had my mother not died when I was 12. I spent my teenage years writing poems as a way of keeping up a correspondence with her and by the time I reached adulthood, it was the thing I cared most about doing and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
What advice would you give a new budding poet?
Write. Write more. Read everything you can get your hands on, ancient and modern. Read outside your comfort zone. Listen to other poets reading aloud when you can. Read their work aloud to yourself, or to others if they’ll let you. Read your own work aloud. Taste the sound of words. Write. Write more. But also make sure you spend time living outside the world of poetry and letting the rhythms of life filter in. Do not expect a career out of poetry, just keep on careering through life trying to write more effectively.
How significant is the spoken word platform in a digital age?
Social media and YouTube is to poetry in performance what pamphleteering was to poetry 200 years ago – an ideal way of getting a point across in the hope that it will lead to further interest. It is an essential tool, and I have discovered a lot of poetry through it. It is also particularly good for hearing poetry in other languages, something that I find very useful, even if I don’t have the translations in front of me – I love listening to the different music and sounds of foreign language poetry.
He stands at the school gate
hunched and trembling
like a tree at winter’s rise.
The air is glue. I wade to him, each step
taking all of my twelve years.
He is grey as the rope we found in Orkney,
coiled and faded on the cliffs of Ronaldsay,
worn out with hoping for the rescue
that would never come.
The car is waiting. We must go to London now, he says.
Death waits in the car, unspeaking.
I too am silent. The blood rushing
in my ears like howling trees
is noise enough for me.
I do not grasp the journey.
It is over in moments.
I am contracting time to reach my mother
in her sad bed in the stale ward
where my two plastic Star Wars toys
stand against the coming dark.
Too long I have waited in the deathly quiet
of the Vicar’s house, unspeaking, ungrateful,
mapping out how I will run away to London
Do you have a favourite word?
I do. I believe, however, that if you aspire to write, you shouldn’t announce your favourite word. You should, like a good parent with many children, attempt to love all words equally, in public at least.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m in the midst of rereading Middlemarch, which is even more glorious than I had remembered – I last read it when I was a teenager. I’m interspersing this with poems from Alice Oswald’s Falling Awake. It’s quite a potent combination.
Horovitz has released several works since 2011, notably A Thousand Laurie Lees, a poetically charged memoir of growing up in the Slad Valley, to coincide with Laurie Lee’s centenary year in 2014, and Little Metropolis, a CD of poetry and music, originally commissioned as a show for the 2015 Stroud Fringe Festival. He is currently working on a second full collection of poetry and a lyrical study of pasture farming in Britain.