Endings

Since “Day 1” I have known broadly how Conventions would end. Back on Friday, I summoned up the courage and wrote it in detail – the final chapter. While writing one always also surprises oneself, too: as I worked on it I realized I could toss in an unexpected (and in my humble opinion, great) last twist.

After the dust had settled, re-reading it in its entirety, I found the chapter to be – accidentally – a combination of happy and sad (and poignant). That’s striking a bit of “lucky” balance. I’d “signed off” for the weekend well-pleased with what I’d managed.

Rainbows over Hertfordshire, England, spotted earlier this morning looking out from our kitchen. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Rainbows over Hertfordshire, England, spotted earlier this morning looking out from our kitchen. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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From Our Forebears

If you write historical fiction, this sort of stuff is great to encounter. It gets you thinking. How our world continues to evolve:

Screen capture of the Guardian.
Screen capture of the Guardian.

Objectively, that’s essentially true: our norms are “male.” However, it is also true that such is due to our social heritage. It hasn’t come about in an historical vacuum.

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Noticed By A Poet

A couple of months ago a mutual friend put me in touch with a poet in Cambridge. Tracey, the poet, is also a self-confessed “techno-phobe.” Nonetheless, she is hoping to see her work in e-book form (it’s already in print) and our shared friend had thought of me, and I offered to help.

In the interim, however, we have had our house move here to Hertfordshire, so I haven’t been able to be much help yet. But recently she wrote me that she wanted to read some of what I’d written. Well, I found out yesterday: she texted me that she now has Passports:

Screen capture of a text message to me yesterday.
Screen capture of a text message to me yesterday.

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Shaw’s Corner

I’d posted a few weeks ago that we’d found George Bernard Shaw’s house, known as “Shaw’s Corner,” in neighboring Ayot St Lawrence. The other day – Sunday – with my nephew, who was visiting us for the weekend, we walked back there again and actually went in to see it. Admission is 拢7.50 per adult, and worth it.

Street sign, sending you in the right direction. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Street sign, sending you in the right direction. [Photo by me, 2016.]
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The Gallery Is Open

Having some “artistic” fun this morning messing around with the Prisma app. A photographer friend on Instagram loves it. I thought I’d give it a play myself.

I’ve run a few photos through it. These first two may (I hope!) look familiar to you. I used the app to “artwork” the original front and back cover photographs for Distances:

Front cover of "Distances," in Prisma.
Front cover of “Distances,” in Prisma.

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From 2013 To The Now

I thought I would use this post this morning to pause and simply say “thank you.”

For starters, I say “thanks” because I’ve gone from of course virtually no one reading this blog in its infancy in December 2013, to a LOT more of you now, many of you on a regular basis. Over the years quite a few of you have been buying my books also – a fact which, when I think about it, truly humbles me. That you do always drives me on to make the next novel better than the last one.

Hertfordshire, England countryside. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Hertfordshire, England countryside. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Avec La France

We’re going to Bordeaux, France, in a couple of weeks’ time for a one week getaway. We’ve rented a holiday house on the coast. I am looking forward to it immensely partly because I’ve already decided the city will feature in the new book…. and getting details on the ground there is a bit like “location scouting” for a film.馃槈

France has been a major part of the backdrop – in case you have somehow missed this – for what I’ve written and write about thus far. I make no claim to being an “expert” on it; but I’ve visited various parts of the country and spent quite a bit of time there over the last nearly thirty years. (OMG, did I just write THIRTY?!) All told, it is by far where I’ve spent the most time in my life after here in Britain.

H么tel des Invalides, Paris. [Photo by me, 1994.]
H么tel des Invalides, Paris. [Photo by me, 1994.]

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Richard And Janet

Richard Montgomery was born in 1738 in County Dublin, British Ireland. He attended Trinity College, Dublin, for two years, until his father, insisting on a military career for him (as had been common for men in the family for generations before), bought him a commission in the army. (One did not achieve officer status in the British – or French or Spanish – army in that era unless one was both gentry and usually well-enough off to be able to “buy” an officer’s commission.) He became a junior officer in an Irish Regiment.

"General Richard Montgomery and the American Revolution: From Redcoat to Rebel," by Hal Shelton. [Photo by me, 2016.]
“General Richard Montgomery and the American Revolution: From Redcoat to Rebel,” by Hal Shelton. [Photo by me, 2016.]

He fought against the French in America between 1758-1763. After the end of that war, his unit was sent to the frontier (what is today Michigan), and on his way through the Hudson Valley in 1765 he briefly met his future wife, a just out of her teens Janet Livingston. It seemed a cordial encounter, with no romantic overtones.

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Bed Of Roses

Conventions will eventually be my fourth novel, and it’s a decidedly different creature when compared to the first three. What isn’t different, though, is in looking at it overall from where I am now – at just over 50,000 words, but nowhere near finished. This hit me again last night, and if you write (fiction) you probably find you feel much the same thing at times as well.

It’s remarkable to start from nothing but a blank screen, and within months have suddenly created a new world on a PC canvas.

We have no television yet in the new house. It has taken ages to get an appointment to have cable installed. My wife is in Lisbon again, so last night, rather than sitting in front of the DVD player by myself, or just browsing social media, I ventured back up to the office post-dinner to finish off a section I had been working on during the day.

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