Author: valeriebiebuyck

HMS Mauritius

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Making the Christmas Pudding 

After World War II, HMS Mauritius was sent to the East Indies Station with the 4th Cruiser Squadron to assist with repatriation of Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees and to give assistance to Colonies in the process of transitioning to Dominion status or Independence.

(Inspiration for the book: The Morning Light)



In computing, it is a known phenomenon that new errors are often introduced when old errors are corrected. Also the more programmers who work on the same program, the more resultant confusion and therefore the greater the risk of introducing errors. Also if a programmer does not appreciate the whole picture of a program someone else wrote, she could add errors instead of fixing them and might even accidentally delete portions of code.

I propose that the same is true in writing and editing a portion of manuscript, a synopsis and a submission letter for a literary agent I am trying to attract.

I find the phenomenon repeatedly occurring that I will correct one error, only to find AFTER I’VE SENT THE EMAIL that I have introduced another error . This happens even when I write a tailor-made submission letter with inserts of perfectly structured prose from previous perfectly composed text. It also occurs as I construct an ever shrinking synopsis as I attempt to squash the ideas expressed on 600 pages of manuscript onto the ‘one page if possible’ synopsis that is required by most agents. I even manage to introduce errors when I copy the first 10 pages or 100,000 words or 3 chapters or 5 chapters to meet the requirements of an agent I am desperately trying to impress.

This is all very distressing especially seeing I am trying to be the most perfect little author in the whole wide world and I hate making the mistakes that all the agents say they abhor. I am so nervous of their threats that they will not consider my manuscript if they find the ‘most common’ mistakes in my submissions to them.

But I’ll keep on trying. I am encouraged to continue by the many well known and well loved authors who received thousands of rejections before getting published.

Or I could just give up and continue to look after my orchard, olive grove, vineyard and vegetable garden and go back to making jam.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): I have tremendous empathy for victims of war: civilian internees, concentration camp victims, prisoners of war,  veterans returning home from war and refugee camps.

No one should suffer the emotional pain of PTSD alone. If you suspect you are suffering from this condition, please seek help. Speak to your doctor and your family. I am pleased that I can assure you that help is now available from informed medical personnel, psychiatrists and psychologists.

From among the many excellent books available today, I recommend these for PTSD sufferers and their families who want to understand the behaviour and anguish of their loved ones:

Courage After Fire by Keith Armstrong, Dr. Suzanne Best and Dr. Paula Domenici

Waking the Tiger Peter A. Levine with Ann Frederick

War And The Soul by Edward Tick.

Click above for more information

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Bountiful Provisions

Bountiful Provisions

What joy there is in harvesting fruit and vegetables from my own land. It all tastes so much better than anything I have tasted before. Such bountiful provision provides a crop that changes throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn. The fruit arrives in sequence: loquots, cherries, plums, soft peaches, apricots, figs, sour cherries, peaches, melons, grapes, apples and pomegranates, and last of all the sour lemons. Now at the end of September the tomato plants, I affectionately called ‘uglies’, have offered a few last fruit and the cherry tomatoes bravely produce a new offering each day. The aubergines and sweet peppers came to life again with the rain and encouraged late pickings. The zucchinis, produced in abundance, far too many fruit for me to keep pace, and have finally given up. The giant sunflowers that faithfully turned their heads to follow the sun each day, now hang their heads and weep black tears that will turn to joy next spring.

What is reality?

What is reality?

The words flow from my fingers unbidden. The story unfolds from event to event, emotion to emotion, and alters my original plans. At times the world I have created in my book is more real than the life I live. I am no longer certain whether my memories are reliable. The characters, events, emotions, locations and relationships created at my hand reveal hidden truths and alter my past.