Blurb

I’m getting ready to publish my next e-book, Earthquake; I’ve got another couple of re-reads, plus some last-minute spell-checking… then maybe within a couple of weeks it will be out there! in the world!

one important thing which has to happen is to write a blurb, so when people see it on Amazon they get an idea of what might be in store. It’s difficult to make it intriguing enough without giving too much away.

This is my first draft blurb:

Thomas Radwinter’s life seems settled and content as he juggles working as a free-lance solicitor, genealogist and house husband. However a new arrival in the family puts extra pressure on him as he has to balance looking after them and earning some money. A commission from an elderly gentleman to investigate a mysterious death at a little boarding school in 1931 seems intriguing and harmless; a haunted hotel he’s asked to visit seems just to be over-imaginative guests and maybe a less than honest manager. However, during his investigations he has to confront a violent verger, an unbalanced conchologist and a very strange friend from the past…

Thomas takes on his commissions, little  realising when he begins his investigation that he will be putting his life and that of a friend in serious danger… “I tried to work out what was going on, and what to do, and what might happen to us – trying my hardest to keep my thoughts well away from a terminal conclusion to events… “

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

 

Just, actually…

I’m working on my mainly finished story, the next Radwinter e-novel to be published, doing what I suppose you could call housework, or housekeeping. I’m not changing the structure or reconfiguring the chapters/rooms, but I am dusting the window ledges/sentences and shelves/paragraphs, and hoovering the carpets/ eliminating repetitions.

When I write, I seem to have favourite words which I keep using over and over again – once it was ‘utter’ and ‘utterly’, another time it was ‘wow’, another time people kept sighing… this time, so far it’s the little words, ‘just’ and ‘actually’.

This is where spellchecks are so useful – imagine what it was like for Charles Dickens, or Tolstoy! I  used  search to find every time I used ‘just’… in fact it also called up ‘justified’, ‘justification’, ‘adjust’ and ‘Justyna’. I did keep quite a few ‘justs’, and some I changed to ‘only’ or ‘nearly’ or another word, but over three hundred (yes 300) were eliminated altogether. Although not nearly as tiring as reading the whole thing to find those repeats, it is still time-consuming and wearying – each one has to be weighed and considered before being kept, altered or cut.

I am now going on to ‘actually’…

My Radwinter stories are written as a first person narrative, and Thomas who recounts them does have a particular style of speaking as we all do; I want the reader to ‘hear’ his voice and get a sense of his character, but I don’t want the reader to be come fed-up with him because he does go on at such lengths about things. It is a very difficult balance…

back to actually…

Here is a link to where you can find my novels if you haven’t already read them!

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

By the way, the featured photo is of a knitted balaclava with earflaps

The mumbling has stopped!

I am in the process of editing my next novel, called Earthquake; I just have a summing up sort of chapter to do, the cover, all the bits and pieces, and then I will send it to my proof-reader (my husband) then edit it myself again… and then… and then it might be ready, ready to swim out into the world!

It’s difficult to be objective about something you’ve been writing for so long, and thinking about it, and dreaming about it for even longer! I have different ways of checking and rechecking – and with this book in particular it is really complex, an abandoned child, a ghost story, and maybe a murder with twelve suspects (yes twelve, I must be mad!) I have finished the main body of the novel – just the last chapter when all is explained and all the loose ends tied up.

I have read it through once, and then I have read it through again – out loud! Yes, I sit here in my work room and read the whole story out loud, not murmuring but aloud as if I was reading to an audience. It is a really good way to spot errors and inconsistencies, boring and waffly bits, nonsense bits, and just plain silly or pretentious bits. This story is told in the first person so it is also a good way of making sure the ‘voice’ is consistent too.

My husband is working downstairs, and all he can here is a mumble from me up here. Well, the mumbling has stopped! Now back to work  correcting all the things I noted were wrong as I was reading. Simple spellings or errors I correct as I go, but where there are major mistakes, I just jot them down and come back to them so as not to break the flow.

Mumbling over, now back to work!

Maybe a crime was committed…

Maybe a crime was committed… maybe not… it all happened in 1931… Maybe one of these girls, aged between eleven and sixteen was a victim, maybe one was responsible… They were at the same school in 1931… and it all started with an earthquake:

  1. Cynthia  – Cynthia says she wastes most of her time in class trying to be funny; we think she spends all her time in class being funny! Cynthia is a very kind, helpful girl, and everyone likes her
  2. Florence Eva – little Florence is always trying to be helpful, she likes nothing better than lending a hand!
  3. Rhoda Joyce  – Rhoda’s really good at tennis, everyone wants to be her partner in doubles! Rhoda’s very clever and is always ready to help others with their work.
  4. Lilian Joyce  – Lilian is very independent, she is always ready to go of adventuring on her own
  5. Christiana Myrtle – Christiana is the most beautiful girl in the class, everyone wishes they looked like Christiana!
  6. Freida  – Freida always tries her best! Whatever she does she really tries her hardest
  7. Miriam Blanche  – Miriam is a fighter, she will always strive to do her best and achieve what she wants.
  8. Kathleen Rose – Kathleen  Rose is the strongest girl; she can run faster and farther than any of us; the teachers think she’s ‘cheeky’ we think she’s fun!
  9. Alma Mary – Alma’s motto is ‘if you can’t say something nice about someone then it is better to remain silent’!
  10. Cicely – is the most ambitious girl; the teachers say she will go far!
  11. Bertha Jean – Bertha Jean is the quietest girl; she is the best at keeping secrets!
  12. Frances May– Frances is the bravest girl; she will dive from the top diving board or walk through a field of cows when there is a bull in the field!
  13. Marjorie Violet  – Marjorie is the baby of the girls, and the newest of the girls, we wonder what the future hold for Marjorie!

This is the problem Thomas Radwinter is set in my next book, called ‘Earthquake’ which I hope will be available in May!

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

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

Crossing the ‘i’s and dotting the ‘t’s

Apart from a final finishing off chapter, a sort of postscript, I have finished the first draft of my next novel; now I have the editing to do.

There are the obvious checking for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and peculiar punctuation (I’m an expert in all of these!) and then the more complicated, such as continuity, deleting bits where I (or my main character Thomas who is the narrator) have wandered off into the irrelevant (I blame Thomas), little bits of story line I started which led no-where or might be used in another story. I look for inconsistency, and whether the whole thing makes sense and will carry the reader along. This last one is crucial – even if the events in reality are preposterous, the writer should be able to carry the reader along and make sense of it within the fiction.

‘Earthquake’ is probably the most complex of Thomas’s investigations; It begins in what I hope will be a familiar and comfortable way for the reader, his wife asks him to research her family. Then a client rings him up with a most unusual and seemingly possible commission, to find out what happened at a small private boarding school nearly ninety years ago which resulted in the death of two young girls. A third commission is to do a bit of ghost hunting, an ex-partner asks him to investigate the apparent haunting of a small hotel she has just bought. Interwoven with this is a domestic family problem of his own which Thomas and his wife must come to grips with.

So… Thomas – and I – have worked our way through these different challenges, and all has been resolved, with, I hope an exciting ending – now I am worrying in case the ending seems too far-fetched? But that is the skill of the writer (I hope) to carry the reader along through what in real life would be impossible situations and events, and come through to a satisfactory conclusion.

The ninety year old mystery is a complex story; the way I write is usually just to start at the beginning and work my way through to the end with only a rough idea of where I am going. This might seem horrifying and really stupid to some writers, but for me, I feel that I can properly feel the confusion, surprise, bewilderment, thoughts, ideas, and course of action that my characters will take, just as in real life. We never know what is just around the corner, and nor does Thomas.

Now I have to check on the story lines of the girls from the school, check their names and dates, and relationships with each other, to make sure that when I changed things as the story progressed, the back story is complete and consistent – that, for example, someone’s name doesn’t get inadvertently swapped, that their family background doesn’t alter, and for these girls at school so long ago, that their friendship groups are constant, the ‘houses’ they are in are the same, and that looking back from the conclusion, there is a clear and unmuddled line back to the first event, the Earthquake which seemed to trigger all that followed.

If you haven’t read my other Thomas Radwinter books, or my other novels, here is a link:

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

My featured picture, by the way is our view over Hobart from our hotel room while we were in Tasmania…

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…