23 April 2011

It's nice to be loved.

Or at the very least, appreciated for something you've worked very hard to achieve.

My first novel, Icy Pavements has been reviewed on the "Speak Its Name" weblog. Of course I am prejudiced, but it really is such a 'pleased reader's' review that I was both overwhelmed and delighted at once.

The review is here.

04 February 2011

Since all that ys in question ys out of their bookes....

The last few months have been rather chaotic -- personally and professionally, and it is possible that the less said about them the better. On to better things this year, it can only be hoped, starting with access to a new archive which will hopefully help with style and content both of legal documents and of letter-writing when not intended for the public eye.

There is a great deal of difference between a letter written in the full knowledge and confidence that it will only be seen by its intended recipient, and ones which the writer knows may well be read by many eyes before it reaches its destination -- it gives a sense of dislocation and distance between two parties at times that I suspect is not only caused by physical separation, but a disparity in perception of the world around them.

In many ways, it is sadder to read the more formal letters, the ones that speak of being content in honour, of the glory of the moment, of the firmness of the writer's faith, than it is to read the more homely, loving ones that look forward to seeing the recipient again, and are filled with small news of home. The world has changed beneath the letters as they pass, and even if survival comes, there is now an almost insuperable chasm between what has been written in hope and thought in private.

It is frightening to realise that while I craft characters from history, history crafted men and women into characters they might never have been intended to become.

A sobering thought, and a good one to remember.

15 August 2010

"Defending Walls" release

At last, the second novel in the Herrick Quartet, "Defending Walls", has been released and is available on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Waterstones (among others).

The cover design is by Grazyna Nowottka and is absolutely brilliant; Carcassonne in all its glory and darkness. I can not give her enough thanks and gratitude for her fine work. She has really made this release something to be proud of.

Also, much thanks go to Joe, of New Generation Publishing, whose e-mails and hand-holding did much to ease the long wait.

And, of course, thanks to Richard, the dearest and most frustrating editor alive, for his demands and prodding and more demands. He is the cause of much torn hair and rewrites, and the reason for many things that were, honestly, improvements.

28 April 2010


...truly, it is the most soul-destroying of times.

Although the manuscript is safely proof-read and in the hands of the publishers, it is not yet printed, and this means a daily checking of mail and a developing tic.

In other news, research is finished for the third book of the Herrick Quartet, and well under way for the fourth, which is a source of some surprise given the number of other projects that have been undertaken in the past three months - it is essential to while away those tedious hours of longing with something constructive, and a new modern-day idea seemed the solution.

Not so much a solution, it turned out, as a new addiction, and a desperate need for the thirty-six hour day so that writing might be done continuously with no need to find the hours for sleep and food.

The characters which inhabit the Herrick Quartet have of course taken this opportunity to refuel their persistent and almost admirable ability to find themselves in scalding hot water emotionally and physically, and drive on the story with most unloving whips and accusations of neglect (wholly unfounded!)

And now, back to checking the mail....

02 March 2010

Oh proof readers

You wonderful, wonderful people.

I cannot say more in praise for them than this (which was written to a friend, but -)

TO M[R]. T. W.

by John Donne

PREGNANT again with th' old twins, Hope and Fear,
Oft have I asked for thee, both how and where
Thou wert ; and what my hopes of letters were ;

As in our streets sly beggars narrowly
Watch motions of the giver's hand or eye,
And evermore conceive some hope thereby.

And now thy alms is given, thy letter's read,
The body risen again, the which was dead,
And thy poor starveling bountifully fed.

After this banquet my soul doth say grace,
And praise thee for 't, and zealously embrace
Thy love, though I think thy love in this case
To be as gluttons, which say 'midst their meat,
They love that best of which they most do eat.

18 November 2009

When good research...

...does not so much go bad as become interminable. Defending Walls is enduring the wait for the galleys, which is unnerving at the best of times, while the research needed for the third book seems to be a self-seeding process. The more that is done, the more details are uncovered that need to be at least known if not covered in depth. It never ceases to astonish me how much work is needed to verify a throwaway comment by an extremely secondary character.

Fascinating though it all is, the slow speed of the process never fails to be somewhat alarming - two weeks researching produces less than 500 words at times.

(And then of course the Dread Editor will doubtlessly demand their removal, but I choose not to think about this.)

A happier thought is that the galleys and proofing and rechecking may - may - be in time for a Christmas release. Which would be an astounding thing all on its own...

24 September 2009

Deadline ahead

"Defending Walls" is due to the publisher before October 31st - that's everything, including the cover art. So now for a bit of last minute panic on my end as I try to figure out exactly what I have written and if it says what I want it to say at every point. *s* That's always the case, that last minute feeling that I've obfuscated rather than made things clear. I'm not sure if this is a common fear of writers in general or if it's just me, but it happens every time.

I'm also convinced that although I wrote all the dates down and have corresponded as precisely as is humanly possible, someone is going to come along and tell me that something is absolutely inaccurate and along the lines of what gives historical fiction writers everywhere a bad name. It's amazing how much that thought can contribute to obsessive twitching and re-reading.

Then, of course, there is also the wonderful feeling of relief when it's gone...and you can move on to the next thing. In this case, the third book, which I am not quite sure counts as moving on, but certainly counts as moving forward - and possibly just 'getting on with it.'

21 August 2009

Research, research, research

Because naturally, I have nothing better to do with my time than check the precise date when a document which is largely fictional may or may not have been legitimately written. And although I understand the importance of validation, I do sometimes wish that once something has been fictionalised, it could stay like that.

An editor contented in his private life is a very dangerous man indeed...

I can, however, quite 'legitimately' say that my editor is making certain that one book (possibly a murder mystery) written in the not-so-distant future will certainly have a character, if not a title, which can be summed up by 'Annoyed Writer'.

02 August 2009

What's in a name - Take two...

The name of book two is now officially changed to Defending Walls. There. Are you happy, Oh Editor Mine?

So now we have: Icy Pavements, Defending Walls, Basilisk Stare and Shivered Glass.


29 July 2009

Hello, World!

Thanks to my little counter, I can get a picture of who is visiting my blog. *waves to visitors* It's been very interesting seeing who is peeking. I've had visitors from home but also from Egypt, Australia and France.

Peter and Guyon would be thrilled (Yes, I'm one of those crazy authors who actually imbues their characters with real life personalities. *s*) to be so far read. I know I'm thrilled at the idea.

So to all of you reading this blog and, hopefully, my book as well - It's wonderful to have you visit!