Exciting news tomorrow!!!

I’m just getting ready now, preparing for a very exciting announcement tomorrow! I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I will tell you it is something about my novels, something about my Radwinter series. Like all my published novels, the series is available as e-books on Amazon.

When I wrote the original ‘Radwinter’ it was as a stand alone novel; I had never wanted or been tempted to write sequels to any of my books, although readers had asked me to – particularly with ‘Farholm’. ‘Radwinter‘ had several story-lines but the main one was about Thomas Radwinter exploring his family history, following the Radwinters back to 1841 in Essex, and beyond to the first Warsaw uprising which started in 1830. However, once I had finished the book, it struck me that Thomas only knew about his paternal line, so a second novel emerged tracing back the maternal line, following the name of Magick, which was also the title of the novel. Thomas’s story didn’t end… ‘Raddy and Syl’, ‘Beyond Hope‘ and ‘Earthquake‘ have followed his life.

So that is the hint… my exciting announcement tomorrow will be something about ‘Radwinter’!

In season

My character Thomas Radwinter has just visited a local Bed and Breakfast hotel as part of his latest commission – he hesitates to say ‘case’, but he actually is undertaking an investigation. Who has commissioned him? Strangely it is a local police inspector – and what is the commission? Not on this occasion to find a missing person, but to discover who a found person is. A young woman was found washed up on the local beach with no memory of how she got there, where she is from, or even who she is! The young woman is now living with the person who found her, Sylvie the hotel owner and her dog, Busby.

Thomas visits, ostensibly to discuss organic fruit and vegetables – his brother John has an organic allotment and sells his spare produce to supplement his income. The hotel owner is hoping to start serving evening meals as well as breakfasts and light lunches, but she wants everything she cooks and serves to be organic, ethically produced, locally sourced and in season.

I was investigating myself, to see what might be available to my fictitious landlady, and came across the vegetarian Society’s page, listing seasonal fruit and vegetables:

vegetables which John might grow:

  • asparagus
  • beetroot
  • broad beans
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • chicory
  • courgettes
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • marrow
  • new potatoes
  • peas
  •  radishes
  • rocket
  • runner beans
  • spring greens
  • spring onions
  • summer squash
  • swiss chard
  • turnips

fruit which John might grow:

  • blackcurrants
  • gooseberries
  • cherries
  • raspberries
  • redcurrants
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries
  • tayberries

items which Sylvie might forage:

  • elderflowers
  • samphire
  • sorrel
  • watercress

All these things are in season right now! I’m not sure which of these John is actually growing, this will be revealed when Thomas goes back to meet him!

Here is a link to the Vegetarian Society:

https://www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=525

and her is a link to my Thomas Radwinter series, and my other e-books:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

Piecing it together

I guess each writer has their own way of working, and what seems the most obvious and straightforward and sensible thing to do for one person, seems eccentric to say the least for someone else. Some people like lists  and flow charts, tick sheets and filing cards and have planned the whole thing meticulously before they even start writing the introduction, others just plunge in completely randomly and make it up as they go along… I am not exactly a plunge right in at random person – but neither am I a plans and lists person.

I guess I do a lot of planning before I actually start (most of the time – but there have been stories which I just randomly started writing!)  but my planning is mental, I spend car journeys, or waiting in queues, or pondering as I drift into sleep, I think of characters, and situations, and puzzles and coincidences, and weird things which happen to ordinary people. During this period I might do a little bit of prospective writing, maybe a few pages, maybe a few chapters; usually these embryonic starts are abandoned, sometimes they get rewritten, sometimes they become something else completely, sometimes they are included almost as they were first written.

As my writing proceeds I do occasionally do jottings on paper – when I wrote my first Radwinter novel I had huge sheets of paper with family trees, because it was so complicated – for me, not the reader, I hope! I had tried to follow the pattern of a lot of families, with recurring names – names from parents, grandparents, ancestral and maternal surnames included, but I had to make sure it was clear in my mind, in order for it to be clear to the reader!

In the sequel to ‘Radwinter’, ‘Magick’ – the maternal line of the family, I also had mighty sheets of paper with family trees, because at one point a family changed its name, there were several branches of the family which interwove, there were all sorts of complications – for me – once again, I hoped the story was clear and uncomplicated for people reading it!

In the new, as yet untitled Radwinter novel, which I’m getting into, there is a genealogical investigation, but it is quite linear and so not too complicated (although there are mysteries, of course!) but I have another task which needs to be sorted out before I get full-on with the actual writing. You see, in my previous book in the series, ‘Earthquake’, there were as usual several story lines – but a couple too many! I had done a lot of writing, so, with the wonders of modern technology, I was able to cut out the extra storylines, and save them for another time.

This is what Earthquake was originally:

  • a family tree/history/genealogy
  • the mystery of a school girl who died in 1931, and her twelve classmates
  • an earthquake (of course, since it’s the title of the novel!)
  • a new arrival in the Radwinter family, a new arrival who has an unhappy history
  • two of the four Radwinter brothers struggling in different ways with what I guess you could call ‘personal issues’
  • a young woman with amnesia
  • a haunted hotel
  • the everyday story of Thomas Radwinter and his family
  • an old cake-making gentleman

… so you can see it would have been far too long and far too complicated! The main stories I cut out were the family history  story, and the girl who had lost her memory. I had written nearly forty thousand words on these, so you can see it would have been a very long book indeed.

Now, in my new Radwinter story, there is plenty of room, to use these story-lines, much slimmed down I have to say, but there are also other new ‘adventures’ too!

  • one, if not two stalkers (of different characters)
  • house-hunting
  • obsessive jealousy/possessiveness

Because most of my stories are set in the small imaginary seaside town of Easthope, it has struck me that characters from different novels must ‘know’ each other. The manager of the bookshop (owned by a character from ‘The Double Act’) in the town, must know or at least know of, the most famous local writer who was a main character in my 2016 novel, ‘Lucky Portbraddon’… and somehow in this new novel, characters from ‘Night Vision’ have started to appear! I don’t know how they sneaked in!!

So… back to my weaving!

Here are links to my books:

Radwinter:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-Lois-Elsden-ebook/dp/B00IFG1SNO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1496132827&sr=8-3&keywords=lois+elsden

Magick:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00OHV4MR0/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

night vision:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/night-vision-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B00BMZ6UWY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1496132827&sr=8-5&keywords=lois+elsden

The Double Act

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Double-Act-think-romance-story-ebook/dp/B01349UBHA/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1496132827&sr=8-7&keywords=lois+elsden

Lucky Portbraddon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LUCKY-PORTBRADDON-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B01LWTVURP/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=H7BX6ANG1G2CJJHPG62N

…and all my stories:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

 

 

More weaving

I often think about what I’m going to be writing here when I am doing something else; I see something, hear something, get inspired by something, and then ponder on what I’m actually going to write. I was thinking a bout material – fabric, for some reason (I’ve forgotten why now) and looking at the woven pattern, I thought how like creating a story it is, and I decided when I got home I would write a piece about weaving…

I got home and came here… and found that three years ago, I wrote something along the same lines, even titled ‘Weaving’!

Here it is:

When I was at junior school I was lucky to be in the education system at a time when it seemed important to educate the whole child as a complete person, not to narrowly channel them into a career before they even knew what they were really good at or had any aptitude for. I have friends who struggled academically in their early life, but were given this broad background, learning how to learn, strong foundations for whatever future might present themselves… and a couple who had struggled at junior school, not only went on to university but went on to Oxford and Cambridge Universities…
Not only did my junior school education arm me with a wide general knowledge so useful in pub quizzes, but it taught skills and crafts too… and country dancing! We had craft lessons… knitting, sewing, making things out of balsa wood… and I’m sure we all did it, boys and girls. I made a skirt… good heavens I remember struggling over the placket… what a complicated thing for an eleven year old to have to do! We did embroidery, and I still have the needle case I made… typical me, I didn’t have roses or a pretty pattern, I had an elephant on one side and a blue whale on the other, the largest land and marine animals…
I think we had a student teacher come in and teach us weaving… I though this was exciting and different, and in the stories and fairy tales I read there were often weavers so I was very interested. I made a little mat, using purples and pinks and white and black I remember… I was very pleased with the effect and I think it was put under a plant pot on the sideboard…
My woven mat has disappeared but I thought about it today as I was writing, because now I do a different sort of weaving; I have a main plot and in this story it is my main character Thomas Radwinter trying to find out what happened between the two people who brought him up, Edward ‘Raddy’ Radwinter and Sylvia Magick, which led to such a catastrophic and difficult childhood for him… difficulties which went back to when the got married and maybe before, and only ended when Raddy left home. On her own, Sylvia descended into alcoholism and died prematurely…. Thomas wants to find out what happened and why.
So the story of Sylvia and Raddy is the main thread, but running along side it is Thomas’s story of his marriage to his second wife, adoption of her son and the prospects of his own child being born in the spring. Then there are other stories, which I have to weave through, the woman accused of trying to steal a baby who is not believed when she says a friend of hers has disappeared, a client of Thomas who is an elderly lady who seems to be under the influence of a mysterious Moroccan called Badruddin, an Armenian cookery book that Thomas is helping his friend to write, difficulties his nephew Otis is having with his relationships… and more…
Just as in our real lives different strands weave through, so I want these other story-lines to be threaded through the main story, not as a distraction, but because sometimes what happens in one area of life affects or enlightens something somewhere else… and also I want to intrigue and entertain without readers feeling that there are great chunks of sub-plot dumped carelessly into the body of the story…
I must get weaving…

Since I wrote this, there have been more Thomas Radwinter stories – you can find them, and my other books here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alois+elsden&keywords=lois+elsden&ie=UTF8&qid=1495315918

Covering it

It’s so nearly got to the time I can be thinking about a publication date for my next book, Earthquake, that it is about now that I should begin to seriously think about a cover for it… I don’t want to give too much away, except to say that although an earthquake does feature in my new Thomas Radwinter novel, it is as much about a metaphorical earthquake as a real one.

I did once experience an earthquake – a very minor one; I was teaching in Oldham, head of department and I had a student teacher. He was a very nice lad but really he was not that good – I can’t remember why now. I took him to my office to review his lessons and he was sitting rather dispiritedly as I – as gently as I could, went through what had gone wrong. Suddenly there was a most curious sensation, as if I was on a giant jelly and being wobbled. It was an earthquake!! Good grief! as Thomas Radwinter would say.

So trying to think of an image for the cover of my book, I’m wondering about fallen masonry, tumbled bricks and blocks, maybe in a faded sort of colour, with perhaps another picture on top. This other picture would have a relevance once the book has been read – I hope.

Even when I have the images I have to think of the font, and then whether to add anything else apart from title and author…

I’ll keep you up to date!

Meanwhile, if you haven’t read any of my Thomas Radwinter novels, or any of my other e-books, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

 

A haunted hotel?

In my next Radwinter novel, Earthquake, which I am just editing now, there are several threads of storyline… and one is about a hotel which is supposedly haunted… My main character, Thomas is asked to investigate.

This is what some of the guests have reported:

Thomas writes “I’d made a little list with the salient points… salient… not sure I’ve ever used that before…

  • My wife and I were reading in bed when she said to me in a whisper that the mirror on the dressing table was shaking… we both saw this, and there was no reason for it to be moving because we were the only people in this part of the hotel… it disturbed my wife a great deal and we had to sleep with the light on, but had a very poor night… we didn’t feel the management dealt with this very satisfactorily
  • My boyfriend and I could hardly sleep after we were woken in the night with a lot of noise from the next room in the end my boyfriend went and knocked on the door, and then he went downstairs, but they said no-one was in that room we kept hearing noises though and the next day asked for another room
  • The wardrobe door kept opening by itself, no matter how many times I shut it and there was a knocking in the night
  • I saw an actual ghost standing by my bed staring at me… I screamed so loud the man from the next room came and checked if I was alright. I kept my light on all night and checked out early the next day
  • We are convinced our room was haunted. The wardrobe door kept opening on its own, and when I shut it and stood waiting it was quite secure until I got back in bed.
  • my son woke me up and said there was a woman in his room he said she sat on his bed and watched him
  • There was a ghostly old man with grey hair and a light coloured jacket on
  • I turned out the light and got in bed, no reason to feel any alarm. Then suddenly the speaker button on the room phone turned on and a dial tone filled the room. I immediately felt afraid and turned on the light. I turned the phone off and turned the lights off and it happened again. I prayed out loud for God’s help and then it was alright.
  • I was on my own in a twin room and In the middle of the night, I heard someone in the other bed. I looked over and saw the shadow of a head on the pillow.
  • I was in a double bed and I heard something; I put my hand out on the other pillow and it was as cold as ice. I manged to get to sleep but then I heard footsteps in the bathroom.

If you haven’t read any of Thomas’s other adventures or my other novels, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+elsde%2Caps%2C154&crid=28OZLWZM96PWW

Exciting news! I’m nearly there!

It has been a long struggle… a much longer struggle than I expected, but I am delighted to share the news, that apart from a summing up sort of chapter when everything is explained – at a tea party in a Tudorbethan house, the first draft of my next novel Earthquake is finished! Yay! Hurrah!

I first wrote about the Radwinter family in 2013, published as an e-book for Kindle in February 2014; I had intended it as a stand alone novel about a family of four brothers. All my other books are without sequels, and I had no intention of writing one for any of my stories… however the Radwinter tales turned out somewhat differently.

The first novel, the eponymous ‘Radwinter’ followed a genealogical investigation into the paternal line of the Radwinter family and having come to a satisfactory conclusion with the main character tracing their roots back to the beginning of the nineteenth century in what is now the Ukraine, I thought that was the end of that…

Except there was a maternal line… and so it seemed necessary to have follow-up to the story, but this time an exploration of their maternal line, the Magicks. The main character Thomas, was asked by a friend to help find her missing daughter… he had some success in his mission – he found all about the history of the Magick family, and helped his friend too… ‘Magick’ was published in the autumn of 2014 so surely that was it now…

Well it would have been… except Thomas had found all about the distant family, the Radwinters in eastern Europe, the Magicks in Cornwall and Australia but there was a bit of a puzzle about the more recent generations… his friend’s missing daughter had still not been found, other people needed his help to solve odd little non-criminal mysteries… and so ‘Raddy and Syl’ got written and published in spring 2015.

The final part of the Radwinter story, Beyond Hope completed what had been discovered about Raddy and Syl – Edward and Sylvia and that came out in January last year. The final story…

I did a lot of writing last year and completed and published other things, but the Radwinters were still very active… and the next (I daren’t say final) story of their lives has taken up my time for the last few months. I have been very busy with all sorts of other things, including being away in Tasmania and Australia for over six weeks, but now, tonight, I can finally say… the first draft is done! Yes, there is the summing up chapter and the tea party, but I have to go through the rest of the story before I write that. If I am honest, then I think publication day will be in April… possibly before… watch this space!

I hope to have some other exciting news about my books soon too… just looking at the details of a new venture!

If you have missed my Radwinter stories, or any of my others, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

… oh and now I have to think about a cover…