Jackie Parry – author


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Writing Competition

Short Story Writing Competition

I won this month!

June’s travel writing competition, that Robert Fear hosts, attracted many talented writers. This morning I received notification that I won this month.

They are all short stories related to travel – some of the yarns will surprise you, all will delight you.

Here’s a copy of my story, click here to read the others, you won’t be disappointed.

“You’re finally settling down?” Friends are intrigued.
“Well, no. We still travel but on home land, not foreign.” We explain.

I’ve discovered that travel is your mind’s view, not just your eyes’. Our own park-land replaces far-flung cultures. We still explore exotic communities, only this location fits better, like a warm, floppy jumper.

Now, the tender whicker from a happy horse saying g’day replaces the mellow swish of parting ocean waves.

The travel-music of boisterous, hull-pounding seas is usurped by sixteen strong hooves thundering against native grasses, feisty back-legs hurled in the air just for the hell of it! Their hoof-beats are my heart-beats.

Before, when watching thick fog roll over the vast plains of salt water to swallow us into its chilly wisps, my shoulders rose up to my ears as I tensed sensing unseen dangers. Now, as the mist claims our valley I calmly ignore the night-time brisk that nips at my extremities, and I witness the white swirls settle as a waterfall would slide into a river.

There’s no town illumination to dampen the cosmic display. The clear nights reveal mystifying galaxies that hang above us with such clarity that a sharp intake of breath could draw them in. The blackness is so silent we whisper, fearful that the glass stars may shatter.

Fragrant black coffee wafts through our tiny, temporary home, the steam rising in sync with the morning mist. The tang of sweet smelling grass, earthy mud, sun-cream, grainy horse feed, burning logs, damp socks – are the aromas of fulfillment.

The mileage may be limited, but not my journey or freedom. Seventy acres of undulating heaven needs care, as do we. The steep-hill-exercise will keep us fit and strong long into our dotage. We take care of the land, it takes care of us.

As I take in the surroundings, I notice the vibrant bush fights for supremacy along the ridges and tall trees become custodian to flitting birds; a playground of leafy limbs for our feathery friends.

Proud gums come alive with squawks and chirps. Rainbow lorikeets flash by, flapping fire-red, ocean-blue and deep-sea green; in a pause between the cacophony the Kookaburras cut the stillness with a hearty cackle, are they laughing at us?

The creek hums a lullaby as it roams along pink and grey rocks painting them a shiny black. The clear icy water strays along the sandy bed carving new paths after flood rain, pushing at reeds that wave a farewell.

We’re creating our own travel history on romantic moors and enticing peaks. I’m awash with besotted intrigue – what’s around the next corner? Is that a new tree? Beautiful weeds are classed as noxious. I fight for control pulling, bagging, burning the grasses that want to take over but are not permitted. It’s hard labour that keeps my butt tight with effort, just like the constant moving on a sailboat during our sea voyages.

On the land, marauding wombats scratch cavernous holes under the cover of darkness, leading into a labyrinth of tunnels, like giant rabbit warrens. Beneath the scorching sun, wedged-tailed eagles swoop on air currents, their splendid tableau unique to them. Ants scurry within their mounded battlefields ready to take on a giant human at a moment’s notice.

Evening comes too fast, but we greet her with a cool beer and dirt-smudged faces. My hands feel the stretch of dryness and the sting of cracks, sore muscles remind me that I’ve achieved middle-age, my torn, grubby clothes don’t matter because I wear a bright, satisfied smile.

Travel changes you. You change while everything back at home stays the same. Here, at our home, there’s a surprising synchronicity – time, place and people are changing together. Noel and I are in harmony. A perfect choir of love.

But as with each journey, my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again.

I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.

Wonderful view

View for every occasion


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Where in the World do you Write?

I can write anywhere

Over the years of travel I’ve always made time for writing.

At school I wrote, through jobs – I wrote. Then I started writing for myself – there’s much more motivation there!

Here are some of the places where I’ve made camp and tapped away (‘thumped’ Noel says) on the keyboard.

Isla de Cocos - note the wet trousers (from knee down) we were anchored out and dinghied in avoiding the sharks nipping at our feet!

Isla de Cocos – note the wet trousers (from the knee down) we were anchored out and dinghied in avoiding the sharks nipping at our feet and stepped out of the dinghy too early!

 

Magdelana Mexico

Magdelana, Mexico

 

In a TSR (Travelling Stock Reserve) while trekking with our 5 adopted horses - just Noel, me, our 5 boys and the occasional bit of writing!

In a TSR (Travelling Stock Reserve) while trekking with our 5 adopted horses – just Noel, me, our 5 boys and the occasional bit of writing!

 

One of my favourite pictures - sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast. On board our first boat Mariah II

One of my favourite pictures – sailing (and writing) in my slippers along the NSW coast. On board our first boat Mariah II

 

Renovating a 1920 Dutch barge in France. In the background was welding, grinding, hammering etc - it was bedlam and very hard to work/live in the same room as the renovations!

Renovating our 1920 Dutch barge in France. In the background was welding, grinding, hammering etc – it was bedlam and very hard to work/live in the same room as the renovations! (Love the jim-jams!)

 

On board Mariah II again, traversing The Great Loop - a year long adventure through the USA and Canada that I still miss today!

On board Mariah II again, traversing The Great Loop – a year long adventure through the USA and Canada that I still miss today!

 

 

On board our Dutch barge again - with Lily the cat who adopted us! And we're still renovating.

On board our Dutch barge again – with Lily the cat who adopted us! And we’re still renovating.

In NSW, Australia - we are dismantling an American Barn - so part of the way through the process.... I tap away!

In NSW, Australia – we are dismantling an American Barn. Part-way through the process…. I tap away!

Where do you/can you write?

 


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A Christmas Gift

Win a Christmas Gift

If you’d like to win a free audio copy of This Is It – 2 hemispheres, 2 people, and 1 boat, just share this blog post on Twitter or FB and make sure you copy me in:

Twitter @nandjjourneys

FB: Jackie Parry or Noel and Jackies Journeys

On the 11th November I’ll number each share and ask someone to randomly pick a number.

A5 reduced for web

Here’s the blurb:

“We are from Australia, we have cash, and we have jet-lag and a desperate stare in our eye. In short, we are mugs ready to be led down the path of nautical slavery. If you can’t sell us a boat, there is something very wrong.”

The pull of the ocean was too strong to ignore any longer. Four years prior, they’d circumnavigated the globe on their 33-foot boat, Mariah. Now they wanted a new challenge.

So they sold all their belongings and flew to America from New South Wales in search of a boat.

Then Jackie and Noel set sail south, meeting descendants of the Bounty mutineers on Pitcairn, taking in the grand statues of Easter Island (the remotest inhabited island in the world) and making lifelong friends in Suwarrow.

Along the way, they lost a friend and came nail-bitingly close to losing their new boat. But they gained so much more.

This is a story of storms of emotions and oceans, travel, love, and relationships, and two people figuring out life and fulfilling their need to move and be challenged.

©2015 Jackie and Noel Parry (P)2016 New Street Communications, LLC

This Is It - a new cover too!

This Is It – a new cover too!

 

 


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Are Audio Books The Future?

What do you think of audio books?

A great new website has been launched for Audio Books.

Do you listen to books? For me it means I can indulge in stories while driving, sanding, painting or just trying to turn my mind off and visit somewhere else in the world while snuggled in bed.

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Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people have told me that audio books are the future – what do you think?

I have one audio book – “Of Foreign Build-From Corporate Girl to Sea Gypsy Woman“. Another two will follow soon “This Is It” and “A Standard Journey

Amazing Audiobooks is a great website – do take a look.

 


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Horses, Boats, Writers, Travel, and Stories from the Heart

This is a short story on travels, boats and horses from a fellow writer and friend, Alison Alderton.

It’s very special.

To find out why you’ll have to read to the end…  Here’s Alison’s pretty barge ‘Lily’

Dutch barge Lily moored at Mustadfors

Dutch barge Lily moored at Mustadfors

What do horse shoe nails and boating have in common? by Alison Alderton

“Not a lot” I hear you reply. Well at first glance perhaps not but recently I drifted into the small town of Mustadfors on Sweden’s Dalsland Canal and made a discovery as well as a link to a friend.

The horse shoe symbol on the side of the lift bridge

The horse shoe symbol on the side of the lift bridge

On the lift-bridge by the town’s lock is a horse shoe symbol, it reflects the town’s long association with the production of horse shoe nails. In conversation with the Lock Keeper, he told how the company, which no longer works out of the town, once specialised in light weight nails. These were made from aluminium and used in the race horse industry. With a little research of my own I later discovered these are also used with shoes specially designed for trotting horses.

The entrance to the former horse shoe nail manufacturers

The entrance to the former horse shoe nail manufacturers

Mustadfors lift bridge

Mustadfors lift bridge

Mustadfors lock on the Dalslands Canal

Mustadfors lock on the Dalslands Canal

Horse-trotting has a long history in Sweden; people have competed with their horses since the 19th century and at the nearby Amal’s racetrack there are regular events from April through to September each year.

Home, 5 horses nearby and our tents

Home, 5 horses nearby and our tents

Friends
A boating friend, Jackie Parry recently published a book about her amazing adventures with five ex-trotting horses which she and her husband, Noel rescued from an unknown fate. “A Standard Journey” is an exciting read; about how they sold up and set off with their horses to hack Australia’s Bi-centennial National Trail and brings my visit to the pretty little canal-side town of Mustadfors full circle.

I am thankful for this most unusual discovery which triggered thoughts of a dear friend.

jackie p

And why is this so special?

Well, Alison’s publisher is keen for her to finish her book on her life with a rather special companion. Yes, there’s Roger, her lovely husband, but there’s also Buster the Beagle.

Boating with Buster – The life & times of a barge beagle will be a story you’ll want to read. Follow Alison here and/or here and try to be patient, it is a work in progress.

What I can promise you, knowing the ethos behind the story, is that it will be a book that will stay with you forever – I can hardly wait!

Here are more photos to whet your appetite.

And here’s our Dutch Barge (for sale) you can have a good look around here….

Rouge Corsair is for sale!

Rouge Corsair is for sale!


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Interview on WriterStory!

Addicted to travel, adventure, and writing, Jackie doesn’t sit still for long. Originally from the UK she is now an adopted Australian. She’s sailed around the world one-and-a-half times and trekked in the bush with five rescued horses for months. She has trained as a professional maritime captain and teacher. Currently she is exploring the European canals on a 1920s Dutch barge with her Australian husband, Noel. She’s written about her sailing and horse trekking escapades, and is an encourager, ‘there are far too many critics in the world already!’

  1. What inspired you to start writing?

I was first inspired when I was about nine years old – I just loved writing stories. Also, not long after that I remember starting to read adult books and feeling the rush of adrenaline, the prick of tears, the clutch of stomach laughter – all from a book!

That amazed me.

At school I loved English lessons (my friends ribbing me endlessly about being the teacher’s pet!). Then, at work, I joined the team that wrote the bi-monthly company magazine. I progressed to writing destination and technical articles for sailing magazines all over the world as I sailed around the world – to help fund the trip. It felt a natural progression to write books about what I knew – inspirational travel and living life to the full!

  1. What did you like to read when you were a girl?

Ironically, it was mostly the school books that I read. I grew up with horses and being outdoors was more important than anything.

But I enjoyed most of the books I had to read for English lessons. At junior school I could hardly wait for our weekly session of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Later, in senior school Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck really stuck with me. I can’t say I enjoyed Shakespeare’s Macbeth, however, the story and the pictures I conjured in my head by the words (once I had worked out what they meant) were vivid and really got me thinking about how black words on white paper are so powerful.

  1. What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?

Every part is a challenge, but what struck me most was, that on completing my first book, the next challenge commences – getting it seen!

As for ‘writing’ the book – for me it is the sequential part. I tend to jump in here and there within the story when I am drafting. So, to jiggle the contents into a meaningful and true timeline is a task I don’t really enjoy. My brain jumps from subject to subject (often driving my husband nuts!) and that’s how my initial draft of the book is written!

Funnily enough, I enjoy the editing process. Working the bulk of the book into order, initially, is a lot of work – once that is done I feel great pleasure from manipulating and massaging the paragraphs.

  1. How much research do you do before writing the book?

So far my books have been about subjects I am fully acquainted with – non-fiction books (1) “A Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen)” a book with over 1,800 tips, tricks, and, advice on living on board a boat. (2) “Of Foreign Build – From Corporate Girl to Sea Gypsy Woman” a nine-year odyssey sailing around the world (3) “A Standard Journey – 5 horses, 2 people, and 1 tent” we adopted five horses and trained them (they trained us) as one team. We all set out into the Australian bush together for several months – an extraordinary story of 5 horses and 2 people becoming family and relying on each other. (4) “This Is It – 2 hemispheres, 2 people, and 1 boat” Our two-year escapade, buying a boat in San Francisco and sailing back across the Pacific, via Easter Island, Pitcairn, etc, to Australia.

So, I knew my subjects inside out. I am, however, planning a fiction book. The research so far has been immense. For me, the actual writing will not start until I have most of the research completed – several more weeks, maybe months to go! And then I am sure there will be more.

  1. What motivated you to write the book “This Is It: 2 hemispheres, 2 people, and 1 boat”?

It was an extraordinary adventure. We’d previously sailed around the world for almost nine years. So, one would think that a two-year voyage across the Pacific Ocean again (albeit a more southerly route), would be an easier trip.

It wasn’t.

The journey was tough but dappled with extraordinary events. I wanted to show that our life of travel (Noel and I have been travelling most of our 18 years of marriage), is not always fun! It’s okay to have difficult days. I wanted to show my theory on why some ordinary days are so difficult but extremely important.

I worked especially hard on the ending, which is a culmination of the theme throughout the book, which summarises why people do what they do – why we did what we did. What makes a good/happy/successful journey (and it isn’t about good weather and nice people!). How you have to be happy with yourself – that’s the first step in the adventure, no matter what you are doing.

I’ve received many personal letters from all over the world thanking me for highlighting the positive and negatives of a travelling life. My words are ringing true for a lot of people, who couldn’t figure out where they were going wrong, or what was tarring their experiences! I’ve helped them in a little way – so it’s been a complete success!

  1. Can you tell us more about your latest book “This Is It: 2 hemispheres, 2
    people, and 1 boat”? 

This Is It is a story to show that although journeys can be hard, they should still be appreciated – This Is It – right now, we all have to appreciate, more, what we have and make the most of it. That’s the underlying premise and from the letters I regularly receive the story is inspiring people to do what they’ve always dreamed of.

I reveal the marvellous and rarely visited destinations we sailed into (Suwarrow for instance) and how the mind plays tricks at sea, how we dealt with filling with water 2,000 miles away from the nearest land – and a couple of terrifying incidents of wild weather that tested our resolve and fortitude to the limit.

We are two ordinary people living an extraordinary life. Our story shows that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. Living on your terms is within reach and you can ‘survive’ when you make every aspect of your life an adventure – and fun – even the bad bits are important! For we all need those struggles in life because that’s what makes the good bits even better!

It’s about life and the reason we do things. What scares us silly, what makes us feel alive. Deep fears, dynamics of a close relationship – how we turned our lifestyle into our work, so we make a living doing what we love.

It features a bit about sailing, but it’s not a technical book for only those who enjoy the water. It’s a book for adventure seekers, or those who are just happy to live vicariously via others’ adventures. It’s also inspirational, an eye-opener and quite often funny! It’s a real look at life.

  1. How did you come up with the idea of writing adventure fiction genre book?

My books appear (and have been noted for) reading like fiction. But they are non-fiction. Every event in those stories happened, getting run over in Paris, sinking, pirates, whale collisions, man-eating crocodiles, working in a Barbados brothel, muggers….

Initially, I wanted to have a record of our adventures, just for Noel and I. Then my stories started taking shape and my dream of publishing a book became reality with a lot of hard work. Initially, a publisher was interested in my first two books – however, I chose independent publishing to maintain control of my life’s story. Since publishing four books, three have now been picked up by a publisher who is producing audio books for my stories. (Of Foreign Build is already available in audio).

Actually, I am still amazed at the things I’ve witnessed, the places I’ve been and how much my life changed when someone very close to me died. I wanted to show everyone that there are alternatives to the 9-5 trudge – there really is, if you really want it.

  1. Who are your favourite authors?

I read a lot of fiction. My favourite genres are thrillers and historical fiction. Favourite authors are Albert Facey who wrote A Fortunate Life, Dick Francis, Steinbeck.

Also, I have joined a wonderful FB group called We Love Memoirs (WLM). It is a group of both readers and writers – and many of the authors there are becoming firm favourites too. Anyone can join – it is one of the friendliest groups on FB.

  1. How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?

I am not that organised! I travel, almost constantly and most days are unplanned.

Noel and I currently live on a 1920s Dutch barge in France. If we are moving I maybe busy working the lines, or on the helm, in and out of locks, or just watching the world putter by at five knots. If we are in port, we maybe bike riding to the shops, keeping on top of boat maintenance or taking shelter from the rain.

Rainy days can give me time to write, but there is a compromise. Take right now for example, as I write. We thought we’d be moving today, but the rain over-night has added to the flood rains (of two days ago) to cause the canal to rise again. So we are stuck on a floating jetty in the beautiful green countryside near Ypres. It is all very nice, we have everything we need, but little power. Boats are a mini village, with their own power, water, heating etc, but our solar panels do not work very well when it is so overcast. (Actually, they work surprisingly well, but struggle with TV and two laptops and a fridge running!) We can tap away on our laptops but then, at some point, we’ll have to run the engine.

It’s a wonderful life, but with few certainties, (except adventure), which is just the way I like it.

I snatch time to write: Early in the morning, late at night – or when stuck in a port due to weather. It really is as and when for me.

If I have moments of planned days, I will try 1-2 hours per day. But that never works out! I’ve been known to write all day long.

  1. What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Keep going. That sounds over simplistic, but let me explain a bit more.

It’s not until you’ve tried to write a book that you have any inclination how hard it is – it is tough. Most writers start okay, then reach the stage where it becomes tricky and you need to find real resolve and fortitude to continue – most writers stop there.

Those that get over that ‘hump’, acknowledge it – work through it – go on to finish their book. Each day (if possible) work on what you can. Some days you will feel able to tackle the tough parts, other days you won’t. On those days that you can’t face the tough bits, work on something easier – a different chapter, the contents, spelling, front cover, back cover blurb, research, marketing plan – anything – as long as you are moving it forward, somehow, each day.

If you keep going, one way or another, you will get there – I promise. It is tremendously tough, even once you’ve completed your book too, but all so worth it.

Best of luck!

Author blog: www.jackieparry.com

Travel blog: www.noelandjackiesjourneys.com

Horse blog: http://helpinghandforhorses.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackie.parry.7543

Travels: https://www.facebook.com/NoelAndJackiesJourneys

Horses: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-love-of-horses/1048526295173146

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00OT9CWV8

Amazon book links

A Standard Journey: viewBook.at/astandardjourney

Of Foreign Build:  viewBook.at/OfForeignBuild

Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen): viewBook.at/cruisersaa

This Is It: viewBook.at/thisisit

Audio Excerpt Of Foreign Build: http://goo.gl/AnsKRr

Twitter

https://twitter.com/NandJJourneys

https://twitter.com/StandardJourney


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What To Write About

This blog has lost its way a little – so I’ve signed up for some book-blog-tours on books I’ve read that I’d like to share with you. (All via Rukia Publishing).

I’m branching out into some new genres and the authors of those books will share excerpts and their writing experiences.

One tour will be my own story – with fun, hilarious, and scary stories from This Is It. Like “Shark Encounter” – “So This is What Being Kidnapped Feels Like” – “What Travelling The World Taught Me” – “Mexican Dramas” – “‘Where’s that water coming from?’ – a mid-ocean panic!”

That will start soon, in the meantime if you want to know more about my latest – here’s a wonderful (and descriptive) review from a truly great sailing magazine – Afloat.

Three difficult weeks at sea, living on a tilting vessel!

Three difficult weeks at sea, living on a tilting vessel!