Showing posts from September, 2010

Ghost Tours at Ham House

Ham House on the Thames Riverbank at Richmond is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year.

Built in 1610, and occupied by the Murrays from the 1620's until handed to the National Trust in 1948 by the Tollemache family, William Murray, Gentleman of the Bedchamber and reputed 'whipping boy' to Charles I received the house and grounds as a gift from his Royal master. His wife, Catherine Bruce Murray fought off several attempts by the Sequestration Committee during the Civil War to seize the estate while her husband was in Oxford with the King. The Murrays put Ham in trust for their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband Sir Lionel Tollemache.

Despite this clever manoeuvrings, Lionel and Elizabeth still had to compound the estate - i.e. pay Parliament its full value of £1,300 pounds in the early 1650's.

Elizabeth was a renowned as a political schemer during the Commonwealth, and made herself into a friend of Oliver Cromwell, with whom she is reputed to have used he…

Birthday Blues

Just about now, the title of this blog is particularly appropriate and I'm definitely getting in a mess. This could be author overload, but I have a feeling age has something to do with it!

I am trying to knock a novel into shape ready to present to my agent - she instigated the premise and I am prepared for her to say, 'That isn't quite what I was hoping for', well OK I'm not, but that could explain why I'm stalling and keep re-reading the ms.

I have a book release next year and my editor will want to begin edits soon - very soon - I also have three book reviews due, three blog posts scheduled for the coming weeks as well as a few outstanding critiques and - oh yes - a husband whose feeling neglected - not to mention the house!  'How can you forget where you put the hoover?'

And another thing, it's my birthday on Saturday and the family have organised a small party to take me to this lovely restaurant - and I am too depressed about the impending n…

Crit Groups-Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

Having mentioned online crit groups on my blog in the past, I recently received e-mails from aspiring authors soliciting my opinion about them. Some are wary of subjecting their work to strangers who may tear apart their confidence as well as their manuscript, while others want to know if unbiased feedback will tell them whether or not their work is publishable.

Without my critique groups, I would never have grown as a writer – what they have taught me isn’t something you can learn from textbooks. The groups in which I participate, include writers of varying ages, sexes and nationalities, and the fact we are at different stages of our careers is an advantage - when you line edit a more skilled writer, you learn from their techniques, and by critiquing new writers who have yet to learn the basic rules, it helps you see why those rules are necessary. It's easier to see mistakes in others' work - you're often too close to see the flaws in your own writing.

Feedback can be inspi…

Krakow Waltz by Kate Allan

I attended a booksigning last night for my agent Kate Allan's new book, Krakow Waltz published by Wild Rose Press.

Book Blurb: The Honorable Miss Annabel Wells needs to marry to save her reputation. Yet even in her dire straits she cannot bring herself to accept Mr. Henry Champion, an ordinary English gentleman without property or pedigree, no matter what she feels about him. She marries a Polish count but when her husband is killed in a duel and Henry comes all the way across Europe to her rescue, can there be a second chance for love?Leaving behind the drawing rooms of High Society London where he's feted as a Waterloo hero, Henry Champion finds more danger lurking in the dark streets of the city of Krakow than he bargained for.

We started the evening at a local cafe and then adjourned to a pub adjacent to the bookshop for an hour where the RNA members gathered. We must have looked strange, this bunch of middle-aged women drinking wine and fruit juice amongst a pub full of har…


The second draft of my 17th Century Historical Biographical Novel is finished! – quite a mouthful that doesn’t really say what the book is about does it?
This is not my first novel, therefore I am deprived of the euphoria of having come to the end of a complicated project, because experience tells me now is when the hard work begins.

I have to decide which parts of my masterpiece need to be altered, condensed, or horrors - cut out completely?
What? All those carefully constructed sentences I spent hours agonising over are to be consigned to the recycle bin?
Yup, afraid so – if they don’t move the story forward... yeah, yeah OK I hear you internal editor.

I know the rules, following them isn’t as easy as one might think: As I write, I feel I am creating atmosphere, describing period clothing to give the reader an image, drawing a bygone way of life – but in editorial terms these are ‘backstory’, ‘exposition’, and, ‘laundry lists’

Does the first grab the reader and entice them to want more?

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