Season’s Greetings

Best wishes from all the Penkhull writers.

Have a successful 2018 — and read lots of books.

 

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Winter Downs reviewed

A page-turning read from the start, this is a wonderful murder mystery set in a fascinating time. Bunch Courtney and her sister Dodo are engaging, interesting sleuths, as is Chief Inspector Wright, the enigmatic detective seconded from Scotland Yard for the duration. Jan Edwards’s characters are very real and you sense they’re full of hidden depths to be gradually revealed through the series. A satisfying mystery, puzzling and unpredictable with – like the times – an edgy sense of urgency and danger. The atmospheric setting is superb with the snow-bound Sussex Downs as central to the story as Morse’s Oxford. I love the way the author depicted a newly changed rural community with all its sense of loss and intrusion. The period detail is effortlessly done, absorbing the reader into Bunch’s world. A great treat.

— John Bainbridge on Amazon . There are several more, equally good reviews on their website.

 

 

Picking Up the Pieces: book review

Picking Up the Pieces by Misha Herwin has received an excellent review on the Chat About Books website:

 This is a lovely story of friendship which I am sure many readers will relate to. With very real characters, who I easily warmed to, I soon found myself immersed in their story, almost as if I was a fourth friend sharing their troubles with them and cheering them on as they moved on to happier times and a successful future ahead of them.

Read the full review here.

 

New Title: Winter Downs by Jan Edwards

Book launch!

We are delighted to announce the launch of  Winter Downs by Jan Edwards!

3rd June 2017

ISBN 978-0-9930008-6-7 / paperback £7.99 tbc  | ebook £2.99 tbc

The Winter Downs launch party will be held in the Tolkien Room at the City Central Library, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on 3rd June at 11.30 am with plenty of  1940’s styled fun – tea & cakes and of course a reading and Q&A session from Jan herself as well as some guest readings (tba).

Be there to get your signed copy of Winter Downs!

***

In the January of 1940 a small rural community on the Sussex Downs, already preparing for invasion from across the Channel, finds itself deep in the grip of a snowy landscape, with an ice-cold killer on the loose.

Bunch Courtney stumbles upon the body of Jonathan Frampton in a woodland clearing. Is this a case of suicide, or is it murder? Bunch is determined to discover the truth but can she persuade the dour Chief Inspector Wright to take her seriously?

Winter Downs is first in the Bunch Courtney Investigates series.

Published in paper and e formats.

 

 

Changing History by Jem Shaw

red-pencil

I was reminded the other day of an axiom that applies to research for writing: We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s a constant problem, especially when you’re writing a period piece. We have to check constantly that we’re not building in anachronisms that will jar the reader out of the illusion.

But how deep do you go? How do you know when to stop? It’s easy to think you’ve verified a fact but, with the best will in the world, you weren’t there at the time. And the unchecked error is always there, waiting, like a rake in the grass.

Misha Herwin, my fellow Penkhull author and great friend, was kindly editing my upcoming short story collection when she questioned a reference to ballet at Sadler’s Wells in 1914. I confidently pointed out that the theatre was opened in the 17th century by Richard Sadler.

“Ah, but were they doing ballet then?”

No, they weren’t. More thorough investigation revealed that ballet didn’t come to the Wells until long after WW1.

The lesson, apart from learning an unsuspected dislike of Misha, was that we don’t know what we don’t know, and we have to deepen our research to find and fill the gaps.

And, especially, once you’ve written a story, don’t show it to anyone.

There’s more about this sad event on my blog here.

 

Six Day Eventing by Jan Edwards

The cliched image of a starving author is of a shy and tortured creature huddled in a freezing garret dressed in tattered, dusty overcoat and fingerless gloves, scribbling furiously with a tattered quill pen by guttering candle light…

Well… okay. Maybe we aren’t starving, though when you consider how advances have vanished in recent years it’s a fair bet most of us can’t afford to be without a day job; and maybe that overcoat is a favourite ancient woolly jumper; and maybe its not so much tattered as well-washed and the garret is your centrally heated back bedroom…  But the general theory is sound – isn’t it?

Writing is acknowledged to be a lonely occupation even by the most gregarious among us.  A great many of the writers of my acquaintance are shy flowers, at least when it comes to presenting their babies to the general public for inspection. It is a hard thing to proffer the words that you have sweated buckets to produce. (more…)