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!

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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

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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…)

SO, WHY THE CAT?

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So, Why the Cat? by Jan Edwards

One of the most frequently asked questions from people who first see my Fables and Fabrications collection is ‘why the cat?’ Title and covers are frequently  the hardest part of writing, or in the case of Fables and Fabrications  compiling a book. It could be seen as something of a chicken and egg process.  Is the cover suggested by the title? Or does the cover dictate the title?

With a collection such as Fables and Fabrications that process was made harder because the stories contained within are so diverse within that broad spectrum that is Fantasy. It is not a book of horror (though many of the stories are admittedly dark). It is not a book of fairy tales,  fantasy,  steam punk, myths or science fiction, though all are touched upon in various forms. (more…)

Dramatis Personae

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Many novels, particularly the lengthier multi-volumes in the fantasy field, are packed with characters, some major, some minor, others appearing so intermittently that they can be easily forgotten. Many readers will remember a full cast list with no problem; they simply go with the flow and, especially with a well-written story that has an engaging narrative, hardly ever need to check the list of characters, or dramatis personae. Nevertheless, having something that can be referred to when you’re unsure just who is who can be invaluable. Think Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and you can see what I mean. Or you may be reading mainstream or crime or any other genre: the arguments for the dramatis personae may still apply.

Read more in our Tips and Advice section on how the dramatis personae may help the writer.

 

Water Spaniels?

Penkhull Press author frequently includes dogs in her fiction. Here, she writes about a particular breed — Water Spaniels.

“For those of you that don’t know, an Irish Water Spaniel is quite a rare creature. It looks a little like a poodle, with a brown curly coat. Unlike poodles, however, they have a bare chest and a thin whip like tail, which they wag with great enthusiasm. It is best not be anywhere near striking rage of these because they can really hurt. They also have a silky fringe which covers their eyes. Eyes which can be as melting as chocolate, or as evil as a large puddle of stinking mud.”

Misha Herwin

water-spaniel

Yesterday I was at a dog show. It was an open show for Irish Water Spaniels and it set me thinking about the breed and the part these dogs play in  my books.

For those of you that don’t know, an Irish Water Spaniel is quite a rare creature. It looks a little like a poodle, with a brown curly coat. Unlike poodles, however, they have a bare chest and a thin whip like tail, which they wag with great enthusiasm. It is best not be anywhere near striking rage of these because they can really hurt. They also have a silky fringe which covers their eyes. Eyes which can be as melting as chocolate, or as evil as a large puddle of stinking mud.

Even the most loving and devoted of owners admit that these dogs have “character” which is, in the dog world, an euphemism for being bloody…

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