Occult or Not To Occult

Recently a friend suggested to me that I should write a short occult detective story.

I, not unnaturally, recoiled in horror. I know I can and do write some weird stuff (See “A Solemn Curfew and Other Dark Tales”), but by and large I write fantasy/scific adventure books laced with rebellious youth, a modicum of soldiers and/or eco-warriors.

The trouble was, having put the idea in my head (I will get you Dave), it wouldn’t go away. I read a lot, I mean a huge amount, some of it is social history, but I do like a good mystery. preferably the cosy sort or the 1930s country house party sort, and my brain went off on one of its side trips and came up with a possible plot for a 1930s Occult Detective Country House Mystery...I really, really will have to cut back on the coffee.

I decide I might as well write a few pages, just to see where it might go and suddenly I am having more writing fun than I have had in ages. If you ever want to make yourself feel tickety boo and full of the joys of spring, fill a respectable English manor house with unsuitable fiancées, mediums, wobbly tables, difficult domestic staff and the occasional reptile. I promise you, it will cheer you up faster than a jug full of Pimms on a hot day.

Research has been great, I have salivated over the most stunning clothes, the fashion at the time was for curvy, but slender women, which means I can only look, because while I can do curvy, slender is a boat which sailed a long time ago and is never going to return to harbour.

I’ve looked at cars as well. Why did the running board go out of style? I’ve given the afore said unsatisfactory fiancée a red 1934 MG Midget, the bounder doesn’t deserve it, but I had to make the sacrifice.

The daughter of the house is Cissie and I think she probably looks very like this young lady, he doesn’t serve her either, but I have plans.

Best of all, a delightful Occult Detective presented herself for my approval and I do very much approve of her. I definitely did not want a Miss Marple or a Miss Silver or a Mrs Bradley and, much as I love him, I didn’t want a Lord Peter Wimsey type, so Mrs Lillicrop was an answer to a prayer. She is tall and elegant, dresses well and is armed with a pince-nez.

I intended the story to run for no more than 7000 words, but I am hitting 10k already and while the end is in sight, I think it may need a little more.

Will I sell it? Who knows, I think it may not be yucky enough for the Occult market, but I don’t really mind, because I have a feeling I will want to write more Mrs Lillicrop stories and one day there may very well be an anthology called “Mrs Lillicrop Investigates”.

Watch this space and check out my Solemn Curfew stories if you need to know where my idea of yucky begins and ends.

 

 

Glass Tulips

After all the stuff about the new book and soldiers and muskets, I thought I would show you a bit more of what I do when I’m not writing.

My husband says I was probably attracted to quilting because of the toys…so many things with sharp blades and steely points where always going to be right up my street.

Ignoring him and moving on… I went to a show on Sunday where the quilters had done a class I had done, Stain Glass Patchwork with Gail Lawther. you can find her and the wonderful things she can do here

http://www.gaillawther.co.uk/v3/workshops/

I wish I could say my skills are up to her standards, but I did my best and I was not displeased with what I produced. Here is my version of Tulips.

The Pipes! The Pipes!

Today I come to a controversial subject and one which divides people like no other…bagpipes.

Once upon a time someone thought “Its a pity to waste this animal’s stomach, why don’t we shove a couple of hollow reeds in it and see if we can make a noise” And so the bagpipe was born and I bet my last chocolate biscuit people have been arguing about the resulting sound ever since.

As far as I can see they come in two types, one where the bag is inflated by pumping and the other by blowing. My eldest goddaughter (Hi Lyndz) playing Northumberland pipes where she inflates the bag by means of some sort of bellows she works under one arm…don’t ask me for details, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I have enormous respect for anyone who can make music.

On the other hand, Scots and Irish pipes are inflated by the pipers blowing into the bag.

Either way, the music comes when the air is squeezed out of the tubes. That the full extent of my grasp of the technical details.

How either of them manage to squeeze, blow and run their fingers up and down the holes in the reeds is a mystery to me, but thank god they can, because I love both versions, it sends shivers down my spine and brings a lump to my throat. I will admit I prefer Northumberland pipes in a confines space as the other sort can make the wax in your ears melt if they are played close by.

My Faran mercenaries love the sound of the pipes with one single exception. Stopping his pipers play is on of Lord Darach’s chief objects in life and as he is the boss, he gets his own way much of the times, but even he can’t stop them all the time.

“The Lord of the Faran Hills”

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R61BJS
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B072R61BJS

Soldiers of Fortune

“The Lord of the Faran Hills” is now live on Amazon.

Huzzah!

The soldiers in the book are mercenaries, but before you recoil in horror, its worth remembering not all soldiers of fortune are without merit.

Our own much loved Brigade of Gurkhas are technically mercenaries, they are foreign nationals we employ to fight for us and they are the pattern of honourable service I used for my troops.

Farans might fight because they are paid to fight, but that is all they do, they don’t turn on the civilian population causing as much or even more misery than the supposed enemy, unlike the many examples who ravaged Europe during the 14th and 15thC.

When fighting is your profession, you obviously take a keen interest in developments in the tools of your trade. At the beginning of the book Lord Darach and his men rely on swords, crossbows and the pike, they know about “gonnes”, they just aren’t convinced about their reliability or flexibility, but when offered the advancement of the musket, they will be among the first of their kind to exploit its potential.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R61BJS

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B072R61BJS

 

 

 

Muskets Are Here

Hi everyone.

I am very pleased to say my next book “The Lord of the Faran Hills” will be available on Amazon Kindle in the next few days (possibly hours).

When Aulay Fitzgellis allowed himself to be talked into rebellion against his brother the king, it never cross his mind he might not win.

Now the only thing keeping his head on his shoulders is the leader of the mercenaries who defeated him.

Lord Darach of the Faran Hills is willing to save Aulay, but he also has a few other things on his mind, there’s the possibilities of a new weapon called a “musket” and there’s also the problem of stopping the bagpipers from assaulting his ears with their so called music.”

I’ve had a lot of fun writing this, loads of research on muskets and how an army works on the march. I also got to play a wargame while I worked out how a siege. I must thank my lovely husband for the loan of his model castle – yes, -I know I moaned like hell when you monopolised the dining room table while you were building it, but I didn’t know then how useful it was going to be.

If you give the book a try, let me know what you think, I love to hear from readers.