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Friday, 2 February 2018

Update on where I've been, why, and what I'm up to.

Somewhere along the line of being made very ill with the blood pressure pills I was given, Enalapril, whose side effects look like an M.E. relapse, I pretty much lost 2017.
So this was a time following my husband's illness, when an M.E. relapse might be expected to happen that I spent with a permanent fluey cold, hacking cough, swollen neck and throat, and sleeping 16 hours a day.
You may begin to understand why my writing productivity has been poor.
However, when I came off the damned drug and it cleared from my system, I wrote the first draught of 'Heiress in Hiding', the sixth Brandon Scandal, in less than a fortnight. I think it was eleven days, which isn't bad going by anyone's standards.  It's now published. 

I've also just released 'The Redemption of Chauvelin' which is a Scarlet Pimpernel sequel.  I've been waiting to publish that for a while, but under British law, Baroness Orczy wasn't out of copyright until January this year. So I have been editing that, and having it edited and so on as well.

I'll shortly also be releasing 'The Ace of Schemes', a sequel to 'The Valiant Viscount' [previously called 'The Pugilist Peer'] which was about the only thing I managed to write during that whole annus horribilis. 

I've been working through the next Felicia and Robin, and need to go through to see what my Editor has said with regards to that.  I am also writing a Jane and Caleb book, in which they must solve three mysteries simultaneously, which have connections to each other, after the fashion of the Chinese detective story - I am a fan of Robert Van Gulik, who is the master, and I, the detective story padawan, sit at his feet.  It's good fun actually but a bit slower and I reduced my cast list to 33.  I'm on chapter 9 and one chapter a day is about all I can manage, though I have just got over the Australian flu, so that might account for it as well.
I haven't forgotten a sequel to the revamped Cousin Prudence, or the Charity School stories and will be working on them.

Future plans
there are 4 more Charity School stories I want to write,  and I'll be going with the suggestion made to me of drawing in the character Stoat from 'Unwilling Viscount' who raised requests to see more of him.
I am thinking of doing series of Brandon Scandals set in other times/places, like the American branch founded by Henry Brandon in 1620 or so; also the children of those I have already covered, and maybe series set in late Victorian times and 1920s.  It has a certain soap opera quality to it which demands spinoffs
I have two other series outlined, the Seven Stepsisters series and the Diaries of a Chaperone for Hire series, both set in the Long Regency.
I have one short story which will hopefully be joined by others; it involves a Regency maiden lady detective. 
I've also been playing with some noir cyberpunk.
I have not abandoned Bess and the Dragons, in which Kit Marlowe's daughter goes to a school to learn about the dragons hatching from the eggs Walter Raleigh found instead of El Dorado. 
I will probably write more Regency and Georgian short stories and eventually put together another anthology to go with Belles and Bucks.
The  Bailiff's Baroness will be another in the Georgian Gambles series, following Ace of Schemes, and will be the third of 4 planned for that series. That one plunges us forward into the French Revolution. 
The muse being a fickle jade plans are made to be overturned, but these are my intentions to date.


  1. O_O annus horribilis sounds about right - I hope you and your husband are better.

    May I say I am in awe of you for writing a whole first draught in 11 days? And a chapter a day? You are a goddess among writers.
    You have all my admiration and a little bit of my envy, too (god, I miss writing)

    So many plans! I hope the muse cooperates. I love all your series, though I’ll always have a soft spot for Jane & Caleb and Felicia & Robin. I will never say no more Brandon scandals - you’re just too good with characters, I always want to learn more.

    Will we see Amelia Hazelgrove again? Or Tiffany Pelham? I imagine the latter found being a divorced woman a lot less comfortable that she imagined.

    About the Charity School series, will they start getting comments in-universe about turning out more wives than governesses? Will there be more pople trying to send their daughters as paying students like Emma Spink?

    Now I am off to read your “The redemption of Chauvelin” - or at least I will be once my kindle finishes charging. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a healthy and happy 2018 to both you and your husband

  2. Many thanks for the good wishes. My husband and I [lud that sounds like Phil de Greek and his old woman] are largely over the flu, we both have ME which makes all recovery slow but we are hoping to be as good as it is possible to be once spring brings longer days and the curtains don't get drawn around 4pm.

    I like to write in a sort of concentrated frenzy, and I work on producing 5-7k a day. The secret is, or so I find, to spend an hour or two listing every character and their personalities - which can change under the exigencies of having 'met' them - and a brief 2 sentence resume of each chapter for 10 chapters at a time. This is not hard and fast, but gives me a 'writing map'. I grew up with maps as my mum was a lousy map reader and I got the job of family navigator at the age of 6, so a map seems a good idea to me .... and I hope you get back to writing!

    I am leaving the first Brandon Scandals for the time being, and I am more than happy if anyone follows up the characters I have left dangling on FanFiction. They deserve more attention, you are right! Will I come back to it? probably. But I want to explore other periods, because I'm afraid of getting too stale in the Regency. Not that I am feeling stale with Jane and Caleb, and they got a chapter and a half today which was the best going I've managed this calendar year.

    Not all the girls in the Charity School were planning on being governesses of course; Daisy was working towards owning a chain of millinery shops with the investments from the loans Elinor was willing to give girls, and Felicia wants to be a modiste. It's worth considering that there might be comments made about the school for governesses getting girls married off, and someone - probably Daisy - giving the person commenting a rather fishy stare and saying "Oh, you have made a mistake. we are educated to be ladies who have the choice of being governesses. The difference might be too subtle for *you* however."
    And yes, I think there may well be more paying students, because the education is good. It might, too, get a reputation for being a place to send girls who are considered untameable. It's probably a series I will keep up and add to from time to time. Unlike the seven stepsisters which has a finite number of books - one per sister - and the planned 6 books for the Chaperone for hire. But then, I only ever planned 6 books for the Charity School series, and ended up with extras like Emma.

    I hope you enjoy 'Redemption', the sequel needs some work as it's only a novella, a pity I couldn't have figured out a way to add the tome to the novella and have two normal length novels, but it didn't work.

    Many thanks again, and I hope to keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks for the good wishes. Writing unfortunately depends a lot on my boss (aka my toddler), let’s hope she will cooperate.

      Thank you for sharing your writing method: I found it fascinating. I used to be a more instinctive writer when I started out as a teen, now I try to do more research and planning. Unfortunately sometimes I get bogged down with over-planning.

      I hadn’t forgotten about the other girls - I am curious to see how they do. I could see Daisy saying something like that! Though the other girls would not take kindly to anyone maligning their school, either.

      As for getting stale with Regency, personally I can’t see it, but I am also very curious to see your take on other historical periods beyong “The pugilist peer” and “Falconburg Divided”. I am sure I will love whatever you write.

      Case in point, “The redemption of Chauvelin.” It’s exactly the sort of book I wish I had back when I was a kid. I keep contrasting it to my great disappointment, “Jolanda, the Black Corsair’s Daughter”, where the main character keeps having to be rescued (it’s entirely possible I’m being unfair toward Emilio Salgari, though considering only one Love Interest survives some time beyond marrying the hero, I am not so sure).
      Back to your book, I loved it! I really loved Peter and I enjoyed your description of Chauvelin as an embittered idealist - it fits. Thank you for all your wonderful works.

    2. ah, toddlers are even more demanding than cats, which is going some, but they do grow up which isn't always necessarily an improvement all the time ....

      I know about getting bogged down with over-planning. I limit myself to 6 pages of longhand notes, and strive for fewer.

      The Pugilist Peer, by popular confusion, was renamed 'The Valiant Viscount' and I'm shortly going to be releasing the first sequel, "The Ace of Schemes' about Toby. 'Falconburg Rising' needs some editing.
      I got a bit sidetracked, having just completer the next Jane and Caleb, because there are love stories in the background which need a novella or so each. This one was an experiment for me, following in the footsteps of the great Robert Van Gulik, whose Chinese detective stories followed the format of Detective stories in China in having the Judge solve 3 cases at once. So Jane and Caleb have 3 cases to solve at once, and I got the cast list down to 61.
      I'm really glad you enjoyed 'Redemption', it has a sequel which is novella length so either another novella or see if it can be given some extra plot twists.

  3. I was so happy to see this posting in my email a couple of days ago. I amazed at how much you have accomplished having had the health year from hell torment you. Keeping my fingers crossed for you to remain steadily on the mend.

    I'm overjoyed to be looking forward to all the new works in the pipeline you mentioned. SOMEWHERE, I thought I saw mentioned that you were working on a William Price sequel and that made me very excited, as it is a definite favorite. It is still under consideration?

    Lastly, (for now) and I understand now why you haven't been up to responding, I messaged you on Pinterest several months ago regarding your William Price book. That message may still be out there, but the gist of it was that I asked if you ever sent your books to review sites as promotion. I referred to a favorite book review site that was at the time discussing the Austen book, Mansfield Park. This is not my favorite Austen work but what prompted the discussion was two works of fan fiction with opposing views of Mary Crawford: Good vs. bad. My comment included a tongue-not-exactly-in-cheek comment of wishing someone should write a sequel where some character pushes Mrs. Norris off a cliff. The other comment I made was that William Price was actually my favorite character from MP. One of the replies said someone should write a continuation with William Price and I said 'They have!' and here's who wrote it.

    If at all possible would you be willing to send a paperback copy to this review site? The site is Austenesque Reviews in the U.S. I would love to see your Austen-related books featured there!!

  4. William Price is still under consideration! I'm sorry I missed the message on Pinterest [I assumed I'd get yahoo notifications, and I never did, so I apologise deeply]. I do appreciate your mentioning of it! I would certainly consider sending a paperback, and I will go check that out, thank you!
    The second one is when Will's captain is 'promoted' to being on a frigate whose crew had mutinied, and he is allowed to take selected officers and steady men. They are going to produce a new map of Scapa Flow, and get tied up with the American captain of a Danish vessel.
    See, I know where I'm going with it! I just lost direction rather... the nautical writing rudder is rather befouled with barnacles

  5. One of the reasons why I reduced the number of posts on my blog was for my health (and to visit my ailing parents more frequently), so I understand why your posts diminished over time. I am developing a blog post about Regency dyes and fabric colours and would love to reference some of your material. Thank you for linking to my site. I will be linking to yours soon! Vic

  6. Hi, Vic, so sorry you and your parents have had poor health. The up-side is having loving family you actually want to see. I would be honoured if you would like to reference my post on dyes and fabric colours. One of the things I found most fascinating was the use of printing with different mordants so that a single dye bath gave such different colours, and i have to say it's something I am really hoping to try for myself at some point! [If I do there will be photos!]

  7. Hi Sarah,

    I am so sorry to read of the series of health problems for you and your husband and wish you both a full and swift (from here on out, anyway) recovery, both physically and from the aftereffects of your annus horribilis.

    You should know that the announcement of a new book of yours is cause for great excitement on my part; you are one of the very few authors whose books I purchase upon release, with NO other information needed. Thank you so very much for your wonderful books; I look forward to reading all the new ones you list as works in progress.

  8. Catherine, now I'm blushing! And thank you so much for your best wishes! The Australian Flu is taking its own sweet time to go physically, but mentally, even with the damaged immune system holding on to it, I'm in a better place than I have been for years. I hope it's going to lead to an improvement as a writer too!

    You will, I hope, be pleased to know that I plan to release Ace of Schemes during the coming week, and I'm going over the edits etc of the Jane and Caleb, Jane and the Sins of Society is the current working title. The spinoff romances haven't been flowing as hoped, but I will persevere and my editor will tell me to take them apart and reassemble them if need be.