Monday, December 31, 2012

A rather vague review of 2012

This year my finances, like the rest of the world's, have been tight. I did manage a holiday in Turkey in September, but only just. Over the Christmas period I received letters from many friends who seemed to go on holidays every other month, stating the joys of retirement. Hmm, yes.

Murder By Magic came out in June, Murder In The Monastery crept out under cover of darkness in ebook format during the week before Christmas. I didn't know until a reader told me, and on checking two days ago discovered it was number 6 in both Amazon's Women Sleuths and British Detectives charts. Print book due next week in time for a big library gig in Maidstone.

Two more are under construction, and thanks to son Miles, as I've said before, for the ideas for the settings of both. Daughter Louise was on television on the 27th December singing on Len Goodman's BBC 4 programme about Dance, Philly is home briefly after singing her way up and down the west coast of America - I say home, but she isn't exactly here in Whitstable - and son Leo is persuing the career of struggling writer and poet in Manchester. They were all here for Christmas and my annual party, and delighted me with an impromptu performance of one of their father's songs.

I lost a much loved cousin in September, and another cousin had a new grandson born two days ago. Life, eh?

I have read a lot of books, as usual, and come to the conclusion that the current boom in the self publishing of ebooks is a double edged sword. I agree that there are some books, Welcome The Pigz included, of course! that deserve self publication after having been through a rigorous editing process but with traditional publishers not knowing quite what to do with it, but in a lot of cases people seem to almost ignore due process and leap in without thinking. Oh, they say they do, but I've read a lot this year, sometimes to support acquaintances from Twitter or the RNA, sometimes to check on books in my own genre, and there are some pretty appalling examples. Strangely, they all have lots of good reviews on Amazon. I get a bit twitchy because it's becoming less and less easy for the reader to discriminate.

What else? Oh, yes, two bessie pressies. Miles had Steve Bramble's painting of Virginia Wolfe and Lytton Strachey reframed for me for Christmas, and Philly is taking me to the O2 to see Paul O'Grady as Widow Twankey on Thursday.

So, a Happy New year to all friends, family, readers et al, and I hope 2013 brings happier times for all of us.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pre-Christmas Panic!

Not really - I've got most of the presents and the turkey (frozen, sorry, but organic bronze), made the pudding (very late) with a small one for my son-in-law and written and posted most of the cards.

However - I have NOT put up the decorations. All right, I have put the wreath on the door and bought the tree and the mistletoe, but the latter are still sitting in the garden. When I was a child, my father always put the decorations up on Christmas Eve. These included paperchains of crepe paper in all colours making a tent from the walls to the light fitting. It was part of the whole Christmas experience, and to put the decorations up any earlier still feels like devaluing the currency. I have relented in later years but I don't like it.

The real panic was getting Murder In the Monastery ready. The revisions came in late, (Dear Editor very overworked!) but I did a 48 hour marathon on them, then proofs arrived and I managed to do those in a day. The covers have already been printed, now there's got to be a heroic effort to get the text inside by the release date of January 3rd. I have a feeling it might be a little late!

I have started the next one, Murder In The Dark, title courtesy of son Miles, who also supplied the setting and took me on a guided tour through rural Kent and to see the Tudor house owned by one of his clients. I went off on my own a few days later and found the exact location for the story, and creeped myself out driving along what started out as a lane but ended up as a track through an impenetrable, fog filled forest. Well, that's what it felt like.

Miles, on form, obviously, also supplied the setting and raison d'ĂȘtre for the book after next. Which I shall keep to myself for now, but suffice it to say he and I will be going on a jolly jaunt next year - for research purposes, of course.

That's it for now. I'm going to cheat and use this blog post for the Rather Random Newsletter, too, so to all friends, family, readers and passers-by a Very Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.