Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nuns Fret Not

It's weird how phrases get stuck in your head, like insistent theme tunes, and won't go away. I've had the words "Nuns fret not" surfacing on and off this last while. Nuns fret not. I bet they do. I bet they fret like billyo. I've certainly been fretting something chronic over my writing lately. Maybe I should write a sonnet. I've heard worse advice!

Here's Wordsworth's.

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Loose Ends and the Ravelled Sleeve of Care

In the fine old tradition of those authors who tell you what actually did happen to the third character on the right after the dust settles - INSTEAD OF LEAVING YOU WONDERING LIKE SOME ROTTERS! - I've decided to use this post to tidy up some loose ends from earlier ones.

Here goes:

Slightly Foxed has now become Slightly Jones.

The Blackford Brownies made £283.52 for Book Aid International.

My travellers have come back from South Africa and Papua New Guinea in one piece (well, one piece each, to be accurate) and in spite of the quadrupling of cooking and laundry I am happy and relieved.

I am no further forward in getting myself a pair of glasses like Mma Makutsi.

The Disappearance of Malcolm Grey which I've written for Barrington Stoke, and which is due out next February, is now called The Night of the Kelpies.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but if you're worrying about any unknitted bits raised on this blog, please - don't just hate me. Let me know!

Cheers, Joan.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Unveiling New Wickit Minisite

There is now a fine new minisite, as part of my main website, dedicated to The Wickit Chronicles! One of the things that prompted this somewhat monumental effort is that Witch Bell, Book 4 of the series, has been chosen as part of the Libraries' Summer Reading Challenge 2009. I'll be blogging more about this soon (for one thing, I've been asked to be a Reading Champion in and around Newcastle, so will be dotting back and forth there over the summer.) But for now ...

... click HERE, and enjoy!

Cheers, Joan.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Slightly By Any Other Name

I have a dilemma. A character I have been calling "Slightly Foxed" for about a year, in my mind and on the page, has to have a name change. The magazine Slightly Foxed has been approached and is uncomfortable with "The Slightly Foxed Mysteries" as the overall title for my series and "Slightly Foxed and the Case of ..." as the title for the individual books. Now, I do accept this - I mean, they did get there first, by a lot of years - but it's REALLY, REALLY HARD changing someone's name. The idea of the books STARTED with the words "Slightly Foxed" - what a great name for a character, I thought, probably Victorian, a girl this time, feisty of course, and - hey, why not? - a detective! (I did write about a detective once before, years ago, called Cynthia, but she was a kangaroo ...*) Still, needs must ...

I googled lists of Victorian names, but nothing seemed even remotely right. I tried to remember what Jane Austen called her characters, and Dickens. I looked at my London A-Z for inspiration. I woke up in the middle of the night trying out different possibilities, all disastrous - except one. One seemed brilliant. I must remember this in the morning, I thought to myself, and repeated it over and over to be sure. And I did remember. It was the word "Bread." Terrific. (There are people who think exciting and useful things in their sleep, but I am not one of them.)

There is some hope, though. Apparently the Victorians did sometimes use surnames as Christian names, so I'm hoping to hold on to "Slightly." And I'm starting to lean towards "Frobisher" as a surname. And perhaps I could sandwich in "Bread" (tee-hee) and call her "Slightly Bread Frobisher" ...

Any suggestions? Let me know!

Cheers, Joan.

(* There's a Kangaroo in My Soup! Cricket/Front Street Books)