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Word Up #1

I made a firm promise to myself that, now the bloomin’ thing was up and running again, I was going to post regularly on this blog from hereon in. Ah, the lies we tell ourselves…

One of the things I wanted to do with the blog was give updates as to where I am with my forthcoming work. I do this in my newsletter, but I only send that out once a quarter and as I don’t want to over pollute anyone’s inbox, I’ll post up further updates here (if you’d like to join my mailing list you’ll find a handy sign-up form on the HOME page – there’s free books, shouts about new stuff and general updatery).

I’d planned (as I continually flagellated myself over not getting this blog done) to give a word count of my latest work and a rough timescale for future publication. However, I’ve managed to somehow get ahead of myself, and finished the first draft of my next novel this week, and in record time too! 90,000 words in 50 days, which, for a sloth like me, is speedy. By way of a comparison, The Future is Promises 130,000 word first draft took a whopping 189 days.

I won’t be publishing this novel until the summer as it still needs a lot of work, not just general editing, but background research too. I usually do research either as I go or beforehand, but this time I wanted to concentrate on getting the story down without any distractions (I’ve lost days down the rabbit hole of 18th century women’s fashion before now), and then “backfill” the background detail. I don’t want to swamp the book with historical detail, but I don’t want to get anything horrendously wrong with the setting either.

The other reason I’m giving myself a generous length of time is I want to get at least one book ahead. As I finish the first draft of a book, I want the final version of the previous one finished and ready to roll. This is what I tried to do with the Rumville books, but, thanks to mixture of Mister Grimm and The Future is Promises both being longer than anticipated and my natural inclination to have a nap on the sofa in preference to working, I ended up with only a couple of weeks between wrapping the final version of The Future is Promises and its already arranged publication date.

This wasn’t exactly bum-squeakingly tight, but I started feeling the weight of that deadline a couple of months out and I think the book suffered because of it. The first draft was ready in plenty of time, but the editing was a slog and, in truth, without a deadline I would have worked longer on it as I think the final third of the book could be better.

Anyway, what is done is done, but I want to learn the lesson and ensure that I have sufficient headroom to rework something if I’m not happy with it in future. Therefore, it’ll be a while before my latest work sees the light of day. But bear with me - it is on its way!

And at some point, between now and then, I might even tell you what it’s about...

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My latest novel is now out The Sorrowsmith is a moody, melancholic gothic horror set (mostly) between the two world wars. Although not a sequel, it does live in the same world as The House of Shells.

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