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Today's blog tour stop is at MM Good book reviews, where I discuss some of the perils you might not have associated with being published. You know the drill by now - comment at any blog stop to go into the virtual hat for an audio copy of Lessons in Love.
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Unless I have made the most humongous muck up, I've got a print edition of Lessons in Loving they Murderous Neighbour! Only on Amazon at present, but that may change in the future.
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Today I'm at the lovely Elin Gregory's blog, talking about some of the changes and innovations Orlando and Jonty saw either side of WWI. Do drop in (and don't forget to leave a comment to go into the virtual hat for a Cambridge Fellows audio book.)
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Today I'm at Book Reviews and More by Kathy, talking about how the Cambridge Fellows got me out of my 'writing garret'. Comment at any (or all) of the stops to be in with a chance to win an audio book of Lessons in Love.
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And it's a 4.5 star one. "After all these stories, it feels like walking into the drawing room again and seeing old friends. What a joy."

Read more at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
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Comment at any of the blog tour stops to be in with a chance of winning an audio book. If you comment at more than one, you'll have more than one chance in the virtual hat!

Today I'm at My Fiction Nook, talking about my experience of characters stopping talking to their author.  Also at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, pontificating on my obsession with the years either side of 1900.

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When I first started writing it wasn't with the intention of being published, but when the chance came I took it. Very early on I realised that publishing was a volatile business, and I was determined I'd never have all my eggs in one - or even two - baskets. In recent years I decided I should dip my toes in the self publishing world, too.

Self publishing was always for me, at least in part, about learning new skills, and the last year has been - and continues to be - a real adventure. I started with some reissues of older stories I'd got the rights back for, paired up and repackaged, Wild Bells and In the Spotlight. En route I made mistakes, but I learned from them, and moved on, to the point I thought, "Let's try something a bit braver." Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour is my something-a-bit-braver and it's out tomorrow.

And then, as my something-braver-still, I'm on the verge of getting it into print, too. All that for someone who never aimed to be published but who's loving every moment.
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Should be some good news on this very soon. Must stop calling it Lessons in Murdering, etc.

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The Passchendaele commemorations turned up many stories of heroism. I was very taken by the story of Denis Hewitt, from Hampshire. Only 19 when he gave his life, earning the Victoria Cross in the process.

We shall not forget.
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I was so lucky yesterday. The wonderful Joan Moules has invited me to take part in 'Meet the Authors' every August for the last few years but this was the first time I actually made it. What a smashing event. And what was most lovely? That the first two tables om the left had side of the room featured Peter Lovesey, Beryl Kingston, me and Simon Brett. Cor. I've known Peter a few years and, bless him, he'd brought me some vintage newspapers because he's downsizing and knows I collect them. Beryl and Simon I had never met and I have to say they were lovely. Totally charming and very friendly.

Now these three authors have stellar careers, and the sort of sales one can only fantasise about, yet was there any hint of a diva about them? No. They were enthusiastically supporting a relatively small local event, they spent time talking to readers, visitors and other authors, and generally they were nice people to be around.

And if you ever get a chance to hear Peter Lovesey reading out some of the correspondence he's received over the years, take it with both hands.

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Full report on Selsey Authors to follow, but even if I hadn't sold any books (I did!) it would have been worthwhile going because I ended up sitting next to one of my writing heroes, Simon Brett, who was charming and funny. Such larks.
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News will be coming out later today about UK Meet 2018 - if you want to keep up to date, please sign up for our newsletter as we'll have several key mailings over the next couple of months.
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Lovely to be interviewed by my old pal Carol Westron, especially as she asks such perceptive questions, like: I love the adventures of Jonty and Orlando in the Cambridge Fellows mystery and realise that one of the things that draws me in is the sense of community you create. When a new character appears in their investigations, do you know from the beginning exactly what they are like and the role they are going to play, or do you discover it as you write?

Read the answers at Promoting Crime blogspot.

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Do any of you have a bucket list? Or, as we call it, a “non-bucket bucket list” as we’re not intending popping our clogs just yet. We simply decided that with one of us having reached the big six zero, and with me rapidly approaching it, the time had come to jot down what we want to do and get about doing it. Being us, though, it’s not things like “walk the great wall of China” more, “attend a Nigel Owens charity event”. Got that one booked already… 

News 

Everyone loves a giveaway, (at least, I hope they do) and today I come bearing one.

The “Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour” blog tour will be happening next week and to celebrate it, I’ll be giving away a copy of Lessons in Love audio version. You can comment at any of the blog stops, which are listed here – if you comment at more than one stop, you get more than one entry in the virtual hat.

Have you noticed my new banner, at the top of  my Facebook page, and reproduced here? Am very chuffed with it - love all those sepia tones.

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Today I delivered a free story (Shell Shocked) to my newsletter peeps, a shifter story with a difference. If you want exclusive stories, before they appear on my website, make sure you sign up to the newsletter. 

Excerpt from Shell Shocked:

The lights, the recording equipment, the lairy looking rozzer.
I’ve never experienced anything like this before, never been in trouble with the police. Honest Billy, that’s me, always kept my nose clean; I even declare every one of my tips on my tax form. So, what’s Mrs. Zanderson’s best boy doing being formally interviewed under caution?
Doing his best to explain just how he’d got into this mess in the first place, only I can’t tell them the whole truth, for reasons that will become apparent.
“How and when did you meet Jonny Telfer?”
“A couple of months ago, in a bar. The Happy Return.”
“Had you gone there to pick up a fare?”
“No. It was pleasure, not business.” And what a pleasure it had turned out to be, at least at first...

 

 

 
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To celebrate the launch of the Cambridge Fellows novella, Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour, I'll be giving away an audio copy of Lessons in Love. One winner to be drawn from all the comments at blog tour stops:

August 14th My Fiction Nook
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 15th Book Reviews and More

August 16th Elin Gregory's blog

August 17th MM Good Book Reviews

August 19th The Novel Approach

August 23rd Joyfully Jay
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We stopped for coffee at Wareham today, then went for a walk. I saw the Commonwealth war Graves Commission sign...

2017-08-03 10.52.43 2017-08-03 10.55.06

2017-08-03 10.56.33 2017-08-03 10.58.53
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Watching a rerun of the Passchendaele programme, I was very taken with the groundsmen at Tyne Cot when they were interviewed. They spoke of keeping the cemetery as a garden for the soldiers to take their final rest in, a little piece of England in Belgium. They also spoke of feeling close to the men buried there.

That's how I feel about 'my' soldier and his grave. It doesn't look this untidy after today's sprucing up!

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Once upon a time there was an author. A very talented author. Someone who did an awful lot for other people - beta reading, opening her blog to guest posts, jollying folk along, and all the rest. The only thing she didn't do well was blow her own trumpet, although if they made 'Hiding one's light under a bushel' an Olympic event, she'd win gold. That author is my guest Elin Gregory, with her cracking new book, Bones of Our Fathers - which is out today!

Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.

Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?

Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his

Excerpt:

Mal couldn’t remember the last time he’d enjoyed an evening so much. Rob’s frank appreciation, and that it was ignored by the others apart from a few gibes at Rob’s expense, had filled Mal with a sense of confidence he didn’t normally enjoy and he played his pool with a flair that surprised him and made Betty nod approvingly. He had even held his own when the banter became more general.

“I’m not letting you upset Betty,” he’d said after an innocent question about her ‘Peaches’ nickname’ prompted a story about a house party when they were sixteen and Betty’s karaoke performance after a pint of peach flavoured schnapps.

“Knight in shinin’ armour is it?” Sion said.

“No, I have to work with her tomorrow. Besides, don’t some of the rest of you have nicknames? Dirty Rob, isn’t it?”

There was one of those tense and silent moments. It can’t have lasted more than a second, but it felt much longer and quite a lot happened. Rob’s lips thinned, Sion glared at Betty who flushed a very ugly pink and Morris emitted an anxious whine. Mal realised he had said absolutely the wrong thing.

“I—um—was called Rainbow in school,” he said. “Rainbow Brite? Like the cartoon.”

“We used to watch that.” Gary grinned. “Didn’t we, Rob?”

“Dammit, Gary!” Rob’s tone was aggrieved but his lips were easing into a smile. “Never out me as a Rainbow Brite fan, lapsed, when I’m trying to impress an attractive bloke.”

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and has been making stuff up since she learned to talk. Writing has always had to take second place to work and family but, slowly, she is finishing the many novels on her hard drive and actually trying to do something useful with them.
Historical subjects predominate. She has written about ancient Greek sculptors, 18th century seafarers but also about modern men who change shape at will and how echoes of the past can be heard in the present. Heroes tend to be hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow.
There are always new works on the go and she is currently writing more 1930s spies, adding to a series of contemporary romances and doing background reading for stories set in Roman Britain and in WW2.

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When I woke this morning, almost the first thing I thought of was Edgar Mobbs. He died at the third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) one hundred years ago today. "Even as he lay dying, he scribbled out the machine gun post’s map reference for HQ to eliminate it, asked for reinforcements, and finally added: “Am seriously wounded”.

There's still disagreement about how many - on both sides - died in this battle, and while Edgar Mobbs was just one, for me he represents all those aspirations and possibilities  cut off in their prime. Another casualty on this day was Hedd Wyn, the Welsh bard. War does not discriminate.
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Just a smidgeon from my upcoming historical in the Portkennack universe, Count the Shells. Michael and his young nephew Richard are chatting about his baby sister Lily and Alice the nurserymaid.

Michael chuckled. “Maybe Alice will let me come and keep you and Lily company this afternoon.”
Richard sat up beaming, no doubt at the prospect of further time to be spent in male company. “She will if you ask nicely. She likes you.”
“Does she?” Michael had only passed a few words with the girl. “How on earth do you know these things?”
“Oh, I’ve seen the way she looks at you. The same way that Lily looks at a plate of rice pudding.”
The remark left Michael speechless. Richard was going to be an extremely dangerous quantity one day, so long as he learned when to share, and when not to share, the profits of his formidable powers of observation.

More excerpts at Rainbow snippets.

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