Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Short Story - Progress

The short story has been sent off to the Richard III Society. Apparently they're happy with it so it should appear in the Autumn 2009 Ricardian Bulletin.

Some Ricardians, familiar only with The Adventures of Alianore Audley, will get a shock as it's in a very different style. About the only thing it has in common with Alianore is that it's written first person, something that, for serious work, is usually outside my comfort zone. (Largely because it leads me to measure myself against Robert Graves, the master of first person historicals, and find myself wanting.) So I await the reaction with some unease, albeit with the assurance that all publicity is good publicity.

Now - on with the book!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Sharon Penman's Blog

Sharon Penman's Blog is always worth a read. The latest entry just happens to mention my books among others. Cough, cough...

Thursday, 14 May 2009

A Spooky Coincidence

I have just got hold of a copy of John Ashdown-Hill's book on Eleanor Talbot, Eleanor, the Secret Queen: The Woman Who Put Richard On The Throne. A review will follow in due course either here or at The Yorkist Age probably the latter given that it's on-topic.

I have had a brief thumb through it and one thing has already made me say 'wow!' though it's nothing to do with the main subject matter.

Over the last few years I've written a fair bit of fiction about Elizabeth Talbot, Eleanor's sister. Most of it is doomed to die unseen, as it doesn't really fit into a novel about Richard III. In fact, Elizabeth as a character is a bit like Edmund Mortimer in reverse, envisaged as a major player, she is going to end as a bit part.

Anyway, I tend to focus on characters until I can see them in my mind's eye, and my image of Elizabeth was of her standing in a garden, among lots of borage plants. (I even remember checking when borage flowers so I could get the scene right.)

Guess what her personal flower was, as used on her seal, according to John A-H? Yes, you've got it - borage.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Poetry Corner - Norman and Saxon, Rudyard Kipling

My son," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England, that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

"The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, 'This isn't fair dealing,' my son, leave the Saxon alone.

"You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

"But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
Don't trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they're saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear 'em out if it takes you all day.

They'll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
It's the sport not the rabbits they're after (we've plenty of game in the park).
Don't hang them or cut off their fingers. That's wasteful as well as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man- at-arms you can find.

"Appear with your wife and the children, at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say 'we,' 'us' and 'ours' when you're talking, instead of 'you fellows' and 'I.'
Don't ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell 'em a lie!"

Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

Nice one, Rudyard!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Short Story - Completed!

Yes, in an amazingly short time by my standards, I have finished it. I just need to sort of chew over it a bit and then send it off.

I'd better not say too much about it, except that I wrote it from the POV of someone Richard had taken out.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Short Story

I ahve been asked to write a short story for the Ricardian Bulletin. (Some of you may have seen Sandra Worth's story in the last Bulletin - the request is for something similar, about 2500 words around one of Graham Turner's paintings.)

I have one or two ideas in mind already. It isn't a big piece and once I've settled on an idea it should only really take a few days work, and so not delay the novel writing much. The hard thing is deciding which painting to use. They are all so beautiful.