Exciting news! Nearly there!

It’s getting to those last few days, weeks of editing, sorting, checking, working on Earthquake, my next Thomas Radwinter story. I’m not completely sure the ending is quite right, those last few paragraphs and sentences are crucial, and it seems a bit flabby somehow… so I’m getting the feeling  I’ll need to think a bit more on how to actually write those last few words.

I’ve come across silly little errors, ‘gate’ instead of ‘gait’, those sort of things as well as words missed out or repeated… just typos really. There are other things I have had to change too. Because this is the fifth novel about Thomas Radwinter, there is a balance between making sure new readers understand the history to the family situation, and why Thomas is as he is, but not boring people who have followed his story from the beginning.  I also have to make sure I don’t give too much away to new readers about previous novels so it won’t spoil the excitement for them when they go back and read them – which I hope they do!

Right from the first book, the plots have been a mixture of Thomas’s personal life, genealogical mysteries, and other story-lines – and that too is a balance. Because I’m writing in the first person as Thomas, in the first drafts there is a lot of detail about his personal and family life, which actually is quite tedious. I need to write it so I have it clear in my head what is going on – but then it needs to be excised and the waffle slashed out, and just the outline of it. Having said that, there is a personal crisis in this story, so there needs to be a proper context for it – a tricky balance!

This may be the last Thomas book, but if it isn’t, I really think his home and family life needs to recede into the background a little – otherwise it will be more of a family saga than a mystery!

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

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

 

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

Farholm, five years on

Five years ago today I published my first book through KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon – it was an e-book, Farholm, a story I had actually written sometime before when I was still at work and not a full-time writer. I was so excited, and it gave me the courage to go on and put other books out into the big wide world –

  • The Stalking of Rosa Czekov came four  months later, another novel I had written while at work
  • Loving Judah in the November
  • Night Vision in 2013
  • and Flipside in the September of that year

All these books I had tried to get published in print, without success, but now, there they were bravely out in public!

At the end of 2013 a different thing happened; I took up the challenge of writing 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November; this was the first new thing I had written in my new life as a writer – and the words just flowed… the result was that in February of 2014 the first of my Radwinter books appeared. I never dreamed I would write a sequel, let alone a series… but look…

  • 2014 Radwinter
  • October 2014 Magick
  • April 2015 Raddy and Syl

I returned to my completed novels in 2016 and worked hard on editing a far tool long story of dark love and betrayal and murder, before returning to the Radwinter family:

  • The Double Act
  • Beyond Hope
  • and then another long novel which needed a lot of work – Lucky Portbraddon

All my life I have wanted to be a writer and now I am!

This is a celebration day for me, but I have to say a lot of thank yous. I have to say a massive thank you to my family, all my family for supporting me and putting up with me! I have to say a great big thank you to all my friends near and far, and those I have never even met in real life but only through social media. And I have to say thank you to all the people I don’t even know who have bought my books. THANK YOU!!!

I hope my next novel, another Radwinter story, Earthquake will be out in May… watch this space!

… and if you haven’t read any of my stories, 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…

A little excerpt

Here is a little excerpt from my next Radwinter novel, ‘Earthquake’… the main character, Thomas, is working at home when he gets a phone call:

I was concentrating completely on the ins and outs of some legal papers for a client and didn’t register my phone was ringing. I answered it rather more loudly than I meant to and there was silence then the sound of laboured breathing…
Good grief, don’t say I’ve got a heavy-breather… Hello? I said rather firmly and sternly ready to finish the call and block the number.
“Good morning… is that Mr. Radwinter….” And the voice, man or woman I couldn’t tell, faded away, then started again. “My name is Shsh Shshsher…”
“I’m sorry, you are?”
“Shsh Shshsher… A friend at the golf club suggested you might be able to help me…”
When I was working as a proper solicitor in a practice in Strand, I had a dear old gentleman who always asked for me to assist in his matters and business, usually changing his will which was a bit of a hobby of his. When our firm amalgamated with another and moved their head office to Castair,  I was effectively given the sack; however my kindly old gentleman insisted that I continue to handle his affairs and more than that, recommended me to a lot of his friends at the golf club. The golf club gang, as I call them, are my best clients, and are nearly all nice people and also quite wealthy.
As well as the usual conveyancing, enduring powers of attorney, wills and even a couple of divorces, they have asked me to help them on several intriguing ‘investigations’, for example a missing woman, a mysterious Moroccan and a sinister Tibetan Lama.
“I will try my best Mr. Shshsher…” I couldn’t ask him again for his name, having tried to work it out three times. “Perhaps we could arrange a time where we could meet, or maybe I could call on you… what sort of business do you wish to conduct?”
There was another yawning pause before Mr. Shshsher replied that he would have to discuss that with me… he wasn’t sure I could help, he wasn’t sure anyone could help, but his friends had recommended me highly… He gave me his address, a place I didn’t know over on the other side of Strand, and we agreed I should call the next day at eleven.

The house was quite gloomy with dark red bricks and dark wooden beams; there was a great big chimney on the tiled roof, almost out of proportion with the size of the house and I remembered reading about Tudorbethan when I was looking up about this area. Something to do with the Arts and Crafts Movement… and as I was thinking this I pulled on the bell which was like a metal rod thing and there was a clang inside. The door was large and studded with nails and had black iron hinges…
It was actually a bit creepy; the bay windows were heavily netted and there seemed to be no lights on to illuminate the dimness… what was I letting myself in for? I expected the door to open with a creak and a wrinkled retainer to be standing there… well, the old chap was certainly wrinkly but I guess he was Mr. Shshsher, because he said ‘Ah, Mr. Radwinter do come mumblemumblemumble…”
We shook hands and I was relieved his skin was normal and not cold and slimy as I’d somehow feared… honestly… I shouldn’t think so much, really I shouldn’t…
He led the way through with a shuffling gate into the back part of the house. The old place was very dusty and a bit untidy, but not in a desperate way; I was led into a study which had French windows leading into the garden. It was a room full of light and it looked like something out of a film set for a mad professor; there were piles of books and papers everywhere and the walls were lined with bookcases containing more books and the occasional odd object. A stuffed owl stared at me.
“I seem to be in a bit of a muddle here, Mr. Radwinter, I’m afraid murmurmurmurmurmur…”
He was a nice old chap and now we were in a room which was a bit brighter I could see him better. He had long white hair flowing down over his collar which looked as if it was velvet. The jacket itself was buttoned up the front and looked really, really old-fashioned. He looked like someone dressed for a part in the latest TV adaptation of a Dickens’ novel.
He found a chair for me to sit on which seemed a little wobbly, I’d have to keep still, I didn’t want to break what appeared to be an antique piece of furniture.  He sat behind the desk and told me he no longer played golf, his legs had given up, but he often went to the club for lunch, and several of his acquaintances had mentioned me when he had told them about his muttermuttermutter… he was looking in a drawer of the desk, and his voice disappeared into it.
I was going to have to invent a hearing problem if he didn’t speak a little more clearly!
He eventually drew out an old box file very battered and worn. He put it on the desk and then began to look through, all the time giving a sort of burbled conversation which I wasn’t sure was addressed to me so I just gave a hmm-hmm sort of noise every so often.
He pulled out a small scrapbook which he passed to me, opened at a page; I thought at first it was a contact sheet of pictures like we used to get at school when the photographer came in and took pictures of us in our uniform.
Mr. Mumble had passed me this book and there were twelve separate pictures of girls in a school uniform. None of the girls was smiling, although some had a sort of happy expression, or at least a pleasant expression, others of them were totally impassive, one looked slightly cross and a couple looked rather sad…  They all looked the same age, probably about fourteen or fifteen, and they all looked very similar… they were all Chinese or Japanese or Korean… I couldn’t tell, and they all had short black hair with a fringe.
“Who are these girls, sir?”
I didn’t like to turn the page to see what was next in the book and I was definitely a little mystified by it all.
“One of them is my mother, can you guess which?”
Crikey! What a question!

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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_rsis_1_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C144