When I was young one of the books I most enjoyed reading was “Hilda a New Zealand Schoolgirl.” I thought she was just the greatest as she rode to school each day on a horse. Oh, if only I could do that. OK, it wouldn’t be quite as glamorous riding through the suburbs avoiding the traffic. She rode through the bush, enjoying nature. Somehow I didn’t think my mother would re-locate down under just so I could ride a horse to school. There was another thing about Hilda which I much admired and that was her motto (and apologies to any Latin scholars reading this) Equatamor in Ardeus – appalling spelling I’m sure, and Google translate does not give me the same meaning at all, but in the book it was quoted as ‘Calm in Hardship.’  I’ve tried to follow this and it’s rare that I dissolve into a huddled heap when things go wrong. I’m much more likely to go away and think things through and then work out plan A followed by plan B and, just in case plan C – I have been known to work my way down to plan Z. Then I can quietly face a situation or problem and make the best of it.

Which is a long introduction to the parapet. The moment you join any social media and post, or, you write a book and put it out there for people to read, you poke your head above the parapet. Basically you are asking for trouble if you think everyone is going to like what you say and/or write.

All writers need reviews, they are like oxygen to a drowning man, and like many other writers I read books with an eye to writing a review to post on Amazon. Most of them I enjoy but sometimes I don’t like a book for all sorts of reasons and this week, I nervously sent a message to a writer to say that their work was not really for me. I felt so guilty and I hoped they wouldn’t hate me forever.

This morning when I checked my messages there was one from a reader who gently and politely told me that ‘Amie’ was not for her, not the kind of thing that appealed to her at all. I read it almost with a sense of relief. While we are all thrilled to get 5 star reviews from readers, we are aware that a long list of perfect reviews may seem more than a little suspicious.

So, was I upset? No. Years of working for a variety of clients has prepared me for the fact that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. It’s normal, it’s natural and if we were not all different we would all be reading the same book, watching the same film, listening to the same music and new artists would never get off the ground.

I must add here that the comments this morning as to why she didn’t get past chapter 2, were fair and constructive. She made a valid point and I shall take it to heart and hopefully it will help to improve my writing.

Now, I am not now talking about ‘trolls’. No, I didn’t know what they were either until I got chatting to other authors. Apparently there are people who write reviews that viciously attack the author rather than the book. I’ve been told they roam the internet in packs and trash a certain book possibly resulting in falling sales. I find it hard to believe as I just could not deliberately hurt anyone and a couple of decades ago I adopted a new motto ‘Do No Harm,’ I liked the sound of that one and I don’t have to worry about lousy Latin translations either! Any review I write will be honest, but hopefully constructive, or at least a reason why I didn’t like a book or product. If your work / post has been criticized, take comfort in knowing that at least someone has noticed you and has taken the time to acknowledge it. There will be millions out there who will love what you have to say, it’s just getting the word out.

Enough of me on my soap box and lets go back in time to…. THE TUDORS! My favourites.

Yes they were the Welsh kings who the people decided they wanted next on the throne and the first of these Tudor kings was Henry VII who defeated all the other POSSIBLE kings at the battle of Bosworth Field and took away all their roses. After the battle the crown was found hanging up in a hawthorn tree at the top of the hill, the first time this had EVER happened.

CROWN BRIANWith thanks to Brian for the cartoon.

Henry VII was a miser and very good at statecraft and EXTREMELY good at exhorting money from his subjects especially the very poor ones. At the same time, there were pretenders to the throne who had to be executed to prove they were only pretending they should be king.

HENRY VIA portrait of Henry VII looking thoughtful.

One of these pretenders was Warbek Jerkin, who refused to have his photograph taken in case they noticed he did not look anything like the little prince who had apparently been substituted for the other little pretend prince who was murdered in the Tower by nasty Uncle Richard, or maybe not. I do hope that is all quite clear and you understand it as I have no idea what I am talking about.

Next time we move on to the Irish question, which I believe has still to be answered.

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