December 4th is my Jesamiah's birthday. There is a scene in Sea Witch
where he finds himself in deep trouble - doesn't he always? - and remarks "Fine way to spend a birthday." To honour the Grand Day, I will be unveiling the cover of Ripples In The Sand
on my Blog
- another fabulous Avalon graphics
design. The book itself is still "in production" but I hope to publish it in the Spring.
To think I started writing Sea Witch
over five years ago! I had the inspiration for it while walking on a drizzly Dorset beach whilst on holiday in late October. Yes I know, don't say it... Came home, started writing, and couldn't stop. I even wrote on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. I was in the middle of the scene where Jesamiah's ship is sinking, so Boxing Day morning I just had to write; I couldn't leave him there, drowning.
Characters are real you see, they are my friends, they exist, albeit in the world of imagination.
I had a wonderful few days in Devon last month. My friend and editor Jo has recently moved into a house which overlooks Appledore. Ripples In The Sand
is mostly set there, so I wanted to investigate. Appledore is a quaint little place, full of narrow twisting alleyways - a smugglers' paradise. My Jesamiah will fit there nicely. I have already written most of the scenes that involve a tavern where Jesamiah is staying. I called it The Full Moon.
One of those 'shiver down the spine' moments: Reading a local guidebook while wandering cobbled streets that date back to the early 1700's, I discovered there really was
a Full Moon tavern. Virtually where I had placed what I had assumed to be my made-up one.
There's another treat if you go to the Sea Witch Trailer. My thanks to Cathy Helms for putting it together and to Bronwen Harrison for the Soundtrack. The lyrics are taken from a song she wrote called "Gallows Wake." More about that next month.
I've just completed a Blog Tour for The Forever Queen
(US edition of A Hollow Crown) culminating in a Blog Chat hosted by Monica on the Bibliophillic Book Blog
. It meant staying up until 2 a.m. UK time, but was worth it because it was so good to "chat" to readers who enjoy my books. Thank you again Monica, for your hard work.
I'm not looking forward to December, although I usually love Christmas. The year before last I had a massive disagreement early in the month with someone who used to be a close friend. I gave up trying to put things right. If a friendship has to be worked at, then I guess it isn't much of a friendship.
Then last year one of Kathy's horses had to be unexpectedly put down - I still can't believe that awful day. I spent most of the month in bed in agony from a damaged muscle in my groin/thigh (I never want to go through pain like that again!) and then my 92 year old Mum was taken into hospital. Waiting seven hours in casualty with nowhere to sit was probably the last straw for my leg injury. I remember hobbling to the car park leaning heavily on my husband's arm after Mum had finally been admitted to a ward. Dawn was not far off and there were several robins and wrens singing. Both birds have such beautiful songs.
Mum passed away at 2 o'clock on Christmas morning. Now I will be honest, I didn't get on with my Mum. Dad was another matter. She could be cantankerous and demanding, and had never shown my sister or I any support or encouragement, so my feelings now that she is no longer here are somewhat mixed emotions.
I'm not too keen on revisiting the memories of those weeks and that morning, but the residue will have to be faced. I think I will feel a lot better once the barrier has been met and negotiated. Maybe Santa will leave me something nice under the tree to compensate?
A small bit of sad news, I had my other old cat put down a few weeks ago. Scrabble was about 19, and starting to get frail. Came as a bit of a blow, though, as we'd had Kitty - almost 20 - put to sleep not long before. I miss the cats; maybe a new kitten come the spring? We'll see. Rum, our dog, is enough company at the moment.
A friend of mine sent me this little story about a cat and the Battle of Hastings site at Battle in Sussex. King Harold's common-law wife, Edith Swanneck, had to identify Harold's body, after he had been decapitated and dismembered. How did that woman find the courage to search for the remains of the man she had loved for over twenty years? My friend Carolyn Schriber, author of Beyond All Price
'Did you know that back in 1998, the pub across the road from Battle Abbey had a calico cat named Edith? They claimed she spent her days prowling the battlefield, still looking for Harold. I was attending a conference at the abbey, and saw what the owner meant - the little cat was prowling around, looking behind fallen logs and under bushes. Sadly she got run over a while later, but we all felt that at last Edith was reunited with her Harold.'
I hate the dark evenings and long nights at this time of year; all I want to do is curl up and wait for spring to come. This will be our fifth Christmas here at number 32 - I hope Kathy chooses a tree that will fit easily into the corner of the living room. I say that every year; she never does!
Well, for all the ups and downs these last months, and the threat of Winter Depression slithering too near for comfort, I'll not let the dark get too close to take hold. After all, When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. And on a cold, crisp, frosty night - wow! Look at those stars!
Brightest Blessings for the Winter Solstice and Yule. May your God walk with you in peace and protection. Waes Hael!
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.