Showing posts from March, 2016

Historical Romance or Historical Novel?

Contemplating sending my wip QUEEN'S COURIER off to agents, I have been thinking about how to introduce it. There is a range of books set in a historical period that are easily recognised and acknowledged by all, but it is the section in the middle where things blend. On the far left we have category romance, where the romance is the only thing the author and the reader, presumably, is interested in. Category romance specifically does not want sub-plots and sub-characters running off and doing interesting things, taking interest away from the hero and heroine. The author must focus on the couple in question. These days, interest does not stop at the bedroom door. More and more blow-by-blow encounters are detailed inside the bedroom - or the equivalent. The other extreme is of course the literary end. These books are often three and four times longer and detail all sorts of other things beside the central romance - if there is one. C J Sansom manages to write almost 450 pages wi

Final check.

Easter has come and gone and the cul de sac is quiet. So many people have gone on holiday it is amazing. We stagger on, weeding the garden if it is sunny, hiding indoors if it is not. DH contemplates mowing the front lawn but no decision has been made as yet. Grocery shopping has been accomplished, so the fridge/freezer are stocked again. We shall not starve! True to form, one of my teeth began to ache as soon as it was certain the dentist would have locked up and gone home for a well-earned rest. I begin to think this toothache is psychosomatic as it always acts up when I can't reach any help - Christmas, hols in France, now Easter. Editing is just about done. I'm thinking about THE QUEEN'S COURIER as a title, but am still trying to dream up a better one. This is the second story about Matho and his adventures as newly established courier. I suppose technically it is the third story about him, because he first figured in FAIR BORDER BRIDE alongside Harry and Alina, t

Easter already

Amazing that it is Easter this weekend. I've heard very little about it  - also surprised to see the clocks change this weekend as well. So that means schools and colleges are finished for a while, and universities have sent everyone home. The knock on effect of this is that the Metrocentre  and town will be chockablock with people mooching around with (quite often!) glum faces as they do a little retail therapy. Those of us who are retired probably shy away from these busy places - oh and that includes National Trust, English heritage sites and the like - and postpone our visits until things are calmer and everything is back to normal. I know dh takes one look at the calendar and shakes his head when I suggest we go out anywhere during these times. Let's wait, he says. Car parks will be full, the roads congested and there'll be kids running about screaming everywhere. It isn't that we don't like kids, we do; but en masse and often high on sugary drinks, they

First day of Spring

Blogger is still being funny about recording stats backwards. I hope it cures itself soon, because it makes me wonder what else is going wrong in Bloggerland. It came home to me over the weekend that writing is a very solitary world and in real life often no one else is interested in it. Which is why, I suppose, there are so many writing groups on the internet. We need to share with someone and finding people who are interested in the same thing is often only possible electronically. Which is quite sad, in a way, and a blessing in others. It was the first day of spring yesterday. The daffodils and snowdrops are flowering and finally, finally, the land is drying up and wellies are not the only option on walks. Strangely enough, though we've had so much wet weather over the last three months, the streams and the river are running quite low. It is easy to see where huge chunks of the river bank have been washed away and there is as much sand deposited on the grass down by the riv

Glitches all round

The last week has been a struggle. Not only did I have a cold but my other half was diagnosed with something quite painful that causes inflammation of the muscles. Thankfully the weather wasn't too bad, in fact it was warm and sunny, which made walking Tim easier than it might have been. He hasn't had the long runs he is used to, but at least he got to stretch himself on open ground and use up some of that boundless energy. Some problems with IT, too. Blogger's stats counter seems to have gone haywire. I check every morning to see if anyone is reading, and for the last three mornings the counter has a recorded a number that is a hundred or so LESS than the previous day. Looks like someone has set the thing to count backwards! I've been trying to use curly quotes rather than the straight marks intended for use as dialogue quotation marks in my software, (Microsoft Word 2010) but don't seem able to manage it. I suppose the software is considered old by now, so per

The Woodville Curse

Croaky voice this morning. This cold has been brewing for a day or two and now its here. The sad thing is I cannot lie in bed like I used to! I'm more comfortable up and about. The paracetomol has lifted the worst of the symptoms so I'm doing some work before the effects wear off. I'm reading The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory and finding it a depressing tale. One thing I had not realised before opening this book was how many Plantagenets were still around in Tudor times. A vast family, and most of them healthy, unlike the Tudors, who were the absolute opposite. Poor genes, or was it the curse? Gregory has taken up the rumour that Elizabeth Woodville and her daughter Elizabeth spun a curse on learning of the death of the young Plantagenet princes in the tower - whoever killed them would fail to rear sons and grandsons of their own. I first read this in the White Queen, and thought what a stroke of genius it was. When daughter Elizabeth married Henry Tudor she beca

False Figures

I picked up my new glasses yesterday and wore them this morning from first waking up. Every blade of glass was crystal clear during Tim's walk, and I saw two white tails bouncing up and down as deer escaped through the bracken and trees. Only saw their tails, but I was pleased, because deer bones have been found in the last couple of weeks. A hind leg has made the rounds of the field as different dogs found it and trophy-carried it around for a while. Another dog-walker tells me he's seen a couple of heads in a different part of the wood. Coupled with the tyre tracks across the grass I've seen  recently, it looks very much as if poachers have been at work. I was relieved to know that there are still some of the wary creatures around. Came back and checked my blog stats and was truly amazed to find that today's total was less than yesterday's total. Very odd. I can only assume I misread Friday's total, so perhaps it's just as well I've got new glasses!

Amazon and Editing

There have been rumours around the internet these last weeks which claim Amazon will penalise poorly edited books. I dug around to see what the story is and discovered that specific complaints from readers will trigger an e-book being examined. If you want to read the entire article, and it is well worth doing so, then go Amazon staff are to review the complaints. The process is not automated. If it is decided that your book has problems, then you will have the chance to question the complaint or simply correct it. For errors prominent or numerous enough to detract from the reader’s enjoyment, Amazon will place a warning banner on the product’s page alerting customers that the item is under review. Authors and publishers will then have an opportunity to correct the issue and promptly remove the warning banner. (Amazon has already been doing this for years; they’re just expanding the conditions that can trigger an alert

Third Edit

I'm well on the way with editing The Queen's Courier for the third time. The end is in sight, which gives me the energy to carry on, because editing takes so much more energy than writing.  Instead of enjoying getting the story down the best way I can, my critical sense has to work overtime and spending too much time at it makes my brain hurt! It is demanding, tiresome and so necessary. Have I weeded out all those unnecessary words like "almost, just, felt," and the rest? Yes. The book is at least 500 words shorter because of that exercise. Have I checked for formatting errors, like repeated chapters - I don't know how that happens, but it has, occasionally - indentation slip ups, font size changes, or even worse - heaven forbid -  Font changes. Yes, and many more. I have to be extra careful about a missing v - my keyboard refuses to print a v unless I hit it really hard, so every now and then I get eery instead of every.  Most annoying. (And yes, I've trie

Darkest Hour.

Just finished reading Barbara Erskine's Darkest Hour. It is set in the present and the 1940s, the latter a period that has never appealled to me. Still doesn't, but it didn't stop me enjoying the book. The last Erskine I read I grabbed with eager anticipation because it featured ghostly Viking ships on the River Debden, but found it a sad let down. Not this one. Darkest Hour has a good vengeful ghost and some secrets to discover before the last page. My only quibble is that I'm surprised that Evie didn't go and see a lawyer about retaining the rights on her own work long before she did, but I suppose in the 1940s women were not so confident about launching out on their own. Modern perceptions sometimes overlay those of the last and earlier generations. It has been commented many times that lighter romances have heroines who do all sorts of things that no self-respecting female of the times would have dared to do, A friend explained recently that she thought the