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March Hare Welcome to this MARCH edition of Hackwriters . Read us and the amazing archives too. 16 years on-line, 7687 articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on using the share link.

eclipse Editorial: March 2015 - The eclipse came and went this morning, the 20th. Lit a bonfire to illuminate the gloom but although we in Lincolnshire had a perfect blue sky - it was not really very dramatic and yes the gloom spread at around 9.30am but it was not the 95% we were led to believe. Still better than the terrible day I went to Primrose Hill to watch an eclipse and it instantly clouded over the moment the moon started to pass in front of the sun.

This month I was at Lincoln University at the MA in Creative Writing class for an afternoon attempting to explain about applying research to my pandemic novel and my Blitz story The Repercusssions. Then, of course, deciding what information to discard in order to tell a good tale. There is a lot of debate about the usefulness of MA Writing courses on the web at the moment, but as ever you only get out what you put in. Talent helps, but then so does hard work. Glad to report that enthusiasm was found and keen writers met who all have a realistic view of their chances in the 'market'.

Meanwhile I am (still) redecorating. Painting ceilings is hard work not to mention the whole interior. How did Michelangelo do it I wonder. (Only kidding - he would have probably killed for 5 litres of white emulsion though). This will be a year of change at Hackwriters. Plans afoot. Meanwhile the March Issue is pretty lively with political comment, some great travel destinations including dancing horses in Salzburg and other lifestyle moments - not to mention some arresting fiction. Check them out and share.

It’s quite a thing to have a parent die.  I hadn’t realised what an impact upon others it might have besides myself.  My mother Joanna died aged 95 in February after a long period of being bed-bound.  Luckily she had a good 95th birthday in January, but her sister Audrey died the same day and it sort of brought it home to her in a big way ‘I’m the only one left now’ of six sisters and one brother.  By the same token, the older cousins and siblings suddenly realised ‘Ohmigod’ we are now the older generation.  It’s us next!

One person dies and it registers in so many different ways upon others.  My elder sister Jane is greatly impacted as she know the spin of the wheel could strike her first – even though I nearly went myself last year with a heart attack and only her insistence that we called an ambulance which saved my life.  Life it seems is quite precarious. My other sister Sara in Canada feels quite cut off suddenly.

Joanna I reflect here on my mother’s life.

Born in India in 1920 in Ishapore - her father a Colonel in the Army there. She had memories of growing up that were less than happy.  Sent to be schooled by cruel nuns in the mountains she only returned home for three months in the year.  Her happiest memory was a Christmas at the Maharaja’s Palace in 1926 and riding the little train to Simla.  Her worst was having malaria.

In 1929 the family, mother and children were sent to visit relatives in the UK for a three-week holiday.  It seems that her father chose this moment to disappear - completely.  They were abandoned penniless in England – hardly able to cope with the cold and it must have been very hard indeed.  The mother told them that their father had died.  She was totally ill-equipped to bring up so many kids on her own and was keen for the girls to be gone and married off asap. It must have been quite a shock for my mother forty years on, in 1973, when she phoned me in New York to tell me that her father had just died.  Passed away in Australia where he'd started a new life. Worse the two elder sisters knew where he was all this time and had decided to ‘spare’ the others the knowledge.  Cue an Agatha Christie mystery that will never be solved.  My mother was most upset by that – to think she could have been in touch with him at any time and been blocked by ‘caring’ sisters.  She never forgave them.

It was curious at the wake – where only a few of us gathered, as most couldn’t make it, luckily we were swamped with flowers. My elder sister’s memories of growing up are so totally different to my own – it could be a different family.  My cousin informed me that she used to spend every summer at my house and yet I barely recall it.  Or that my mother tried to adopt her.  A wake isn’t the best time to discover secrets but I guess every family has them.

My mother had two unhappy marriages – was widowed at 44 and in discovering her Memory Book she reveals that the happiest time in her life was in her fifties in Cape Town where she started a new life and made new friends that shared her enthusiasm for theatre and living.  I am glad she had some happy years.  Makes me realise that that is a very hard thing to achieve.  The funniest thing is that Jo never intended to live so long. She was always predicting her demise with her dodgy heart and more than once I had to fly from either New York or London to see her ‘before she dies’ to find her bright and chirpy and planning another cruise to South America or some other place.  My sister would deny all knowledge of the urgent phone call and I’d be distinctly poorer once again.

In the end she outlived everyone she ever knew.  Turns out her heart was as strong as an ox.  Even withstanding a terrifying Christmas at Victoria Falls as Mugabe’s freedom fighters shelled the hotel or wrecking her VW and rolling it being flung out the passenger door. (She was pretty ill for a while after that). My happiest memory of her was as she performing the lead in various plays and how she was transformed into a totally different person – confident – strong – glowing. Her home always seemed to have someone in it who'd come to have their cards read and I have to say that her readings were often very accurate. She had a spirit guide too and I wonder if they have now connected. Jo made her way into a lot of the stories I wrote (Grandma Otis in 'Mean Tide' and Genie Magee's grandmother in 'The Repossession Trilogy' and it's funny to think people beleive that it is all fiction - when quite often it is just the crazy truth. She was never dull.

Now I have to make plans to live a new life myself.  Happy that at least a few people are reading my books.  *Thanks to Virana who wrote to me last week after reading 'The Hunting'.  My acquaintances locally can’t understand why I’d want to leave Lincolnshire – but I had only come back to nurse my Ma and it is hard to admit this, but although it is very ‘pleasant’ here living by the beach it just doesn’t hit the spot.  The waves never move. The wind always blows.  My younger sister wants me to return to Vancouver – my nephew to Cape Town.  Staying put would be the easiest option but life must be lived and stories gathered.  I wonder where I will go and what I will do, but with luck I can do some more teaching – that would be good.

Until then Spock RIP Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 to Feb 27, 2015)
Live Long and Prosper, Spock, we shall miss you more than most. Star Trek and Mr Spock in particular seemed to penetrate our consciousness when young and stayed there. Curious but true, as he would no doubt agree.
– enjoy this months Hackwriters - which will grow as new material comes in

© Sam North & Sam Hawksmoor
Your Editors- March 2015 -
as ever Hackwriters is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle we aren't picky. *And thanks for those who do.

download the new novel on Kindle from Sam North
'Life begins somewhere between the fish and the stars’
A mysterious, tragic tale from the wilds of the Lincolnshire coast – a haunting story about a girl who fled the fire into a whole world of trouble. A story about father and daughter and the girl who can read objects...

from the author of Diamonds The Rush of '72 and The Curse of the Nibelung:
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The Repossession

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The Hunting - the thrilling sequel - order yours from Amazon or ibooks or Kindle
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish

Now read the final thrilling conclusion to the series 'The Heaviness' suitable for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity

If you're looking for an exciting YA book set in WW2 - Kindle download
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The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

'Disturbing and very poignant YA novel that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.'
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Another Place To Die

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Q&A interview with the authors here
A city gripped by fear as a lethal virus approaches from the East. No one knows how many are dying. People are petrified of being thrown into quarantine. Best friends Kira and Liz once parted are scared they will never see each other again. Teen lovers, Chris and Rachel, prepare to escape to the islands. Do you stay and hide, or do you flee? And if you flee - how do you know you aren't taking it with you?

Review from the First Edition:
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