Tag: Toil Under the Sun

Book One Released

This is one of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill about writing a book:

 

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” – Winston Churchill

Well, I’ve flung that baby to the public.  November 1, Toil Under the Sun hit the marketplace in eBook.  It’s also available in print.  You can purchase copies at these links.  Below is the synopsis:

Described as hell on earth, Manchester in 1866 was the hub of industrialization in England. Its chimneys rose high above the landscape, spewing out smoke from the factories. While men, women, and children spun cotton in the mills, bricklayers built the workhouses, warehouses, and terraced residences of the city. They were skilled in their craft but also experts in enforcing the rules of their union demands, hoping to escape the bondage of serfdom to gain a better life.

Born into obscurity and a descendant of men who slung mortar from their trowels as a trade, William Leighton, swore that one day he would rise above his poverty-ridden class. The means in which he chose to climb out the slums differed from his brother, who believed that violence was the only way to bring about change and close the gap between laborers and masters.

The clash of siblings in Toil Under the Sun creates the foundation of family and is the first book in a saga that spans three generations.

Research for Book One

I’ve been searching my family history for well over twenty years, amassing information and books from the early 1800’s to 1930’s.  Book One, Toil Under the Sun, is really a compilation of much of my research.  What you are going to read upon release November 1, are historical accounts gleaned from this group of material.

This particular book was a good resource regarding the building of the town hall. The planning started in 1863 but the Town Hall wasn’t completed and opened until September of 1877.  The construction was plagued by multiple worker strikes.  To read more about it, you can visit Wikipedia. 

On one of my trips to Manchester, I did visit the impressive building and interior.

What shocked me the most regarding this discovery was that my third great-grandfather, wife, and child lived two blocks from the area that was known as Angel Meadow.  I’m sure being two blocks from these notorious slums still placed the family in the middle of the worse areas of Manchester during the mid-1860s.  This book is an eye-opening experience for the author who also discovered his ancestors lived at this location.

My introduction to this court proceeding was discovered from searching articles about unions on the British Newspaper Archives.  By the way, if you’re into ancestry research in England, this is a great source. I found numerous articles regarding my second great uncle, as well as the testimony when these proceedings took place.

It is a fascinating read into the incidents of that time. You might think twice about mild-manner bricklayers. These men were often violent in their pursuits to protect their trade and became known as terrorists and despots of their class. Of course, that is how history has recorded them, but they were working folks protecting a trade that kept roofs over their heads and food on the table. Most of their actions are driven by desperation to survive. It’s an interesting read from 1867.

These two references were of great help. Broughton and Cheetham Hill especially helped me to set the scene for the location.

Radical Salford focuses much on the political landscape and the growing socialist movements of the time, which will be weaved into Book Two.

Let it not be said that I didn’t read about the craft, although I’ve never laid a brick myself. I did, however, take home a piece of brick from my second great uncle’s twelve bedroom home still standing in Higher Broughton as a memento from one of my trips. Thank goodness it made it back to the USA.

To add to the fun of research, you need historical maps. There are plenty to find online which helps immensely in visualizing the area while writing. The University of Manchester has a wonderful collection online at Maps Collection. Manchester Libraries, Information, and Archives, Manchester City Council are the rights holder but they do allow you to share, embed, print, and download the maps.

One of the most disparaging reviews an author receives is when readers don’t find your books believable. I’ve done my best to do my homework in historical romances and family sagas. Some of what you may read will sound outrageous and shocking, but in reality, such times existed. I’m sure the majority of ladies would rather focus on the titled aristocrats and cushy way of life with a 10,000 pounds a year or more income. However, that lifestyle only accounted for a very small majority of the English population. However, it doesn’t, in my opinion, make the lives of the working class any less interesting in their pursuits.

All my best,

Vicki

 

 

Pre-Order Ready!

Book One_edited-1Available now on Amazon for pre-order!

November 1, 2018 release

Described as hell on earth, Manchester in 1866 was the hub of industrialization in England. Its chimneys rose high above the landscape, spewing out smoke from the factories. While men, women, and children spun cotton in the mills, bricklayers built the workhouses, warehouses, and terraced residences of the city. They were skilled in their craft but also experts in enforcing the rules of their union demands, hoping to escape the bondage of serfdom to gain a better life.

Born into obscurity and a descendant of men who slung mortar from their trowels as a trade, William Leighton, swore that one day he would rise above his poverty-ridden class. The means in which he chose to climb out the slums differed from his brother, who believed that violence was the only way to bring about change and close the gap between laborers and masters.

The clash of siblings in Toil Under the Sun creates the foundation of family and is the first book in a saga that spans three generations.

Editing Updates on “Toil Under the Sun” – I’m Toiling

writing2 I discovered this quote while surfing the Internet about the pain of editing. Recently, I’ve experienced an increase in headaches and this could explain why!

In all seriousness, I’ve been doing my due diligence on the text and story and feel semi-satisfied that I may be getting close to sending it to Victory Editing.  I’ve run the program through ProWriting Aid, which is by far the best on the market.  It has this wonderful MS Word add-on that integrates and creates a menu (part of which can be seen below). You click on what you want to be analyzed and viola! You swear you’re the worst writer in the world when the results are returned in the text.

menu
Presently, the book consists of twenty-six chapters and 56,003 words, but that could change before release.  When I am done fiddling with it, I’ll send it off to my regular editor and it should be back within three weeks.  I’m going to shoot for October 1 as the release date but it’s subject to change.  When I get closer, I will go up for pre-order.

In the meantime, I’m writing down plot points for book two and hope to start soon.

I’ll admit that I had toyed with the idea of sending my manuscript to a U.K. publisher to see if I could get the four-book saga picked up since it’s so heavily based on Manchester history.  After researching quite a few publishing houses that take direct submissions, reviewing the timelines to hear back on “yes” or “no” and the horrible payout of 10% royalties, I quickly threw that idea into the circular can.

As an independent publisher, I will admit I have always wanted the validation of being picked up by a traditional publishing house. However, when you consider it takes three to six months to get an answer (and usually if you don’t hear back by three to six months you can assume a rejection), and then having to wait another year or more to see the book published, it sours my quest.  I’ll let my readers validate me instead as you have so kindly done in the past. My patience to travel the road to traditional publishing is non-existent at my age.

All my best,

Vicki

Patented Brickmaking Machines  

The fear of men losing their jobs because of automation has continued since the dawn of the industrial revolution.  Even in our lifetime, robotic counterparts are replacing human workers and jobs are being lost.

Can you imagine the fear this must have instilled in the man of 1860 who made his life hand-molding bricks?  An inventor comes along and makes this huge monster machine that threatens his usefulness and income as a laborer in Victorian England.  No wonder he hates it — no wonder he wants it destroyed.

Progress, however, continues whether humans like it or not, and such was the case during these turbulent years when the union fought against industrialization in brickmaking.  Attacks were regularly made on master brickmakers who purchased these devices.  Owning one meant it took jobs away from other able-bodied men who once worked in the clay fields and hand-molded bricks like craftsmen. There were various patented machines from different inventors introduced throughout the years as early as 1859 and many newer versions introduced in the subsequent decades.

Owning one of these contraptions is a point of contention in Toil Under the Sun.   In 1865, the Manchester Bricklayer’s Union would not allow machine-made bricks to be used in the district.  It wasn’t until many years later that they changed the ruling, but even afterward there were instances where union members would attack businesses and attempt to destroy the machines out of anger.

How many more jobs will be lost in the decades ahead from machines being invented to take our place?  I dare say many more, which will have the same effect on the human counterpart–loss of income and a sense of uselessness.  Like the brickmakers of the past, workers learn to adapt or starve.  Sometimes it’s a hard lesson.


From: The Mechanics’ Magazine: Journal of  Engineering, Agricultural Machinery, Manufactures, and Shipbuilding, Vol. 2, No. 50, Dec. 9, 1859.  Source: Clayton’s Patent Brickmaking Machine (Thanks to the Brickfrog Blog for posting this article information. https://brickfrog.wordpress.com/)  Excerpt below:

The Production of solid bricks has of late received much of the attention of engineers and architects, with a view of their being produced more economically, of a better quality, and with greater facility, than by the time-honored means known as “hand-moulding;” and although many mechanical contrivances for making bricks have been introduced, not one has realised the requirement practically, or been considered worthy of adoption, until Mr. Henry Clayton, of the Atlas Works, London, produced and patented his brickmaking machine. On an average 20,000 to 25,000 good bricks are made daily by each of Clayton’s large machines with the attention of two men and four boys.

Your latest historical tidbit!
Vicki

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