Newsletter for June 2015

Dear All,

There isn’t a lot to report for this month. I’m working on the last chapter of the new novel, and up against the publisher’s word limit of 100,000. I think I might just be able to bring the story to a conclusion within the limit but I wish I had a bit more leeway. The book has involved a lot of research, particularly the second half in which the hero becomes a merchant plying the Mediterranean in the years just before the First Crusade. There is so much fascinating information about the trade in spices and silk, the origins of which were a mystery to western Europeans at that time; but the political situation in the Middle East was very volatile and confused and I am constantly having to check up on who controlled which area at any particular time – Turks, Byzantines. Egyptians ?? And there is so much technical detail to discover. How many men did it take to row a galley? How long did it take to get from Amalfi to Alexandria? What were conditions like on board? It’s very interesting, but time consuming.

I’m afraid the writing has had to take a back seat in favour of the garden lately. While the weather has been so lovely it seemed a shame to stay indoors and it is looking so beautiful. The roses are glorious at the moment, and so are the peonies. The lupins and foxgloves are going over now, but the herbaceous border has been a blaze of colour for weeks. Now it is the turn of the delphiniums and the penstemons and soon there will be dahlias and cosmos and day lilies. It’s a lot of work, but worth every moment.

I had an enjoyable day last Thursday at the Authors North summer social, run by the northern branch of the Society of Authors. We had a half hour cruise on the River Dee in Chester and then ‘afternoon tea’ at 12.30 in the Town Hall, followed by a very interesting discussion which centred mainly on the problems and advantages of self-publishing. It was good to chat to other writers and share experiences and tips.

I’ve been a bit disappointed by the muted reception given to TWICE ROYAL LADY. There is one really good review on Goodreads and so far nothing on Amazon, or in any of the papers. It hasn’t made the sort of impact I was hoping for. If any of you have read it and can contribute a review I shall be very grateful – and remember, if you want a signed copy you only have to let me know.

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer.

Best wishes