Wednesday, April 23, 2008


When I first considered writing professionally, I foresaw my impatience as the greatest problem.

It had been different in my "real" life. There, logical step succeeded logical step, the time-frame fixed and dependable. Obstacles were overcome as they arose, a simple matter of identifying the required steps and then taking them as I rose to the top. I could even chose the point at which I stopped.

Writing is a little different, but I developed strategies to cope with its uncertainties and they work-most of the time.

This is not one of them.

There's no particular reason why. The responses I'm waiting for have potential, but are not life-changing, yet I am struggling to maintain my focus on the work in hand and find excuses to check the inbox and relevant websites obsessively.

Like everything, it will pass and I will settle down again to my working routine, but it would be nice to understand why?

It's a great life (I think)


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Out into the sunshine once more

The approaching release of The Widow-Maker has dragged me out of my writer's cave and I'm blinking owlishly as I consider how to promote it. The failure of Shadowrose imposed a hiatus on my releases and I'm a little our of practice.

Our grandchildren are not happy. I was away a lot when our children were young and compensated by writing an ongoing story with each child the hero of succeeding chapters and their children are old enough now to demand their own chapters and I was in the midst of the latest.

Simply Romance Reviews are reviewing The Widow-Maker and I am guest blogging there on May 28th and there are the opening excerpts at Yahoo's Romance Excerpts Only and The Romance Room. (The latter are runing a membership drive and contest with a swag of downloads etc as a prize)

It's a great life.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


I sent off the final round of emails to all the contact points I had for Shadowrose, setting out a cutoff date for May 1st, 2008 with a heavy heart, not because of my personal disappointment, but because I like Patricia Fuller and wish her well. It was fortunate that we only got to the intent of exchanging contracts and events prevented it from happening, because it makes what follows simpler.

There are other irons in the fire and I'm back to waiting for responses and the advent of The Widow-Maker at Whiskey Creek Press.

In 1802, my four adventurers have encountered a small fleet of dories making their way to the Azores after the sinking of their Portuguese nau (a small vessel of the type that carried the Portuguese to every corner of the world) mother ship by a Right Whale blundering south to breed. (there were still a lot of them in those days)
The Portuguese were challenging two hundred years of Spanish control of the off-shore fishing, so both sides of the encounter were very wary and I've had to brush up on my spattering of Portuguese.

It's a great life


Friday, April 04, 2008

New England Whalers

One of my characters in 1802 is a New England whaler, something of a prodigal, separated from his family by an unhappy love affair. Researching his background has been fascinating, particularly the practice of calling in at the Azores outward bound to pick up a cheap crew of hard-working Portuguese in preference to American seamen. (It seems the philosophy behind Flags of Convenience have been around for a long time.)

Jedediah Pike began life as an example in a writing class I teach in the local adult education system. His first name changed to Zebulon, he was part of an alternate beginning to the infamous "It was a dark and stormy night..." that Snoopy found so addictive. He's grown a lot since then, gained his master's certificate and sailed a blockade-runner through the English Fleet four times. Captured by the British, he's been released to captain the same ship on a voyage to Jamaica, evading if he can, a fleet of privateers turned pirates.

Jed is not the main character, but I've grown to like him and he provides me with an outside perspective of my Half-pay Lieutenant and his Countess-the hero and heroine.

It's a great life.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thoughts on mortality.

I am not naturally morbid, even a heart attack in an isolated location hardly troubled me in that sense, but a memory ambushed me yesterday and made me think on the subject.

My uncle survived the Kamikaze attack on the HMAS Australia at Leyte with a broken neck undiagnosed for several months. He later broke it again diving into shallow water at St Kilda pier and then contracted, and recovered from, tuberculosis. Years later, he told my aunt he was feeling a little off-color in the afternoon and laid down to rest. When she went to wake him for tea, he was dead.

I was feeling a little off-color myself yesterday and decided to give writing away for a while and lie down to rest. Standing by the bed, the memory of my uncle's demise came unbidden--I'd not thought of it for many years--and I paused.

I'm not afraid of death, I disposed of that old bogey many years ago, but it would be damned inconvenient!

It's a great life.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Another one gone into the world

The Widow-Maker galley proof is finished and the Errata sent back to Whiskey Creek Press, with it goes my last chance to change even a single punctuation mark.

I remember reading some comparison between books and children and thinking at the time that the writer must be childless. Ours come back for help and advice continually, but books, once the galley is done, remain immutable. Something I learnt when I started writing seriously and the first one was published.

The first glorious reaction passed quickly and then I started to see the mistakes, partly because they existed and partly because my writing had developed in the twelve months between galley and publication. I found it difficult to read each of them after the first few times and this feeling persisted with each of my books until recently (C.S.Forester wrote of having the same problem, so I was in illustrious company). I can read even the earliest now without having the overpowering urge to correct them as I go.

I'm worming my way back into my current project (it's had more interruptions than most) and will soon be immersed in the world as it was in 1802.

It's a great life.