Thursday, 30 August 2012

Borthwick Inklings

At the moment, I’m typing at York Rail Station, waiting for my train.  It’s a good thing, I think, that all the stores close at 5:30, museums are locked, and I’m given a chance to do some more work.  I’ve just finished chapter 2 of my Women in Asylum book and I’m excited about delving deeper into my notes to write up more.  Although, I am limited on time as the staff here won’t let me plug in as the plugs are ‘untested’.  I’ve about half an hour of juice left in the machine!

It was good meeting up with a friend last night (when I was supposed to be writing) and having a pub dinner was especially tasty!  So, with the request made to me on the night, I’m ‘blogging more frequently’.  Michelle, this is for you :-)

So I may not have mentioned the non-fiction book I’ve been working on.  To be fair, I’m not sure how far I’m going to take it.  I was bewitched by the photographs of Victorian patients in the North Riding Mental Asylum about 12 years ago and now I’m finally following up on the research I’ve always intended on doing.  I spent all of today and half of yesterday in the Borthwick Institute, looking up case files from 1887-1889 of some of the female patients. 

I wanted to focus on post-natal depression, and I think I found a few, but as it was all labelled either ‘melancholia’ or ‘mania’ it’s difficult to tell even when the put the ‘supposed cause’ on the file.  The case notes have given clues into the lives of these women, but my favourite must be the woman from Whitby who was convinced her husband was lost at sea (he wasn’t, but she was looking after three children, the youngest being only three months).  She made a full recovery in a matter of months and also learned some fine needlepoint on the journey. 

Not all the entries were so uplifting.  One girl was in for ‘loss in love’ and ended up dying in the asylum having spent every day absolutely listless and in despair.  It’s hard not to feel an attachment to each woman in the case books – reading each entry from the point of admission to the point of release, death, or relocation ends in either jubilation at a full recovery or extreme melancholia when they don’t.

On other projects, here is a brief update.  Blood Tide is halfway re-edited.  I’ll pick it up again after the move and it WILL be ready by Christmas on Kindle.  I’m still writing for Knowonder and they’ve been fabulous.  My Cornwall tales seem to be going over well, and some of my other stories are rejected so I don’t always get it right, but I’m getting the hang of what works and what doesn’t.  Lillia and Rose is still going but slowly – I don’t want to rush this one and I’m working on writing it out by hand so I can really savour it.  Again, jewellery work is on hold until the move is finished and I can prep my new workshop.


More later…

Saturday, 4 August 2012

some random updates is my latest children's story for knowonder, and my favourite so far :)

Ah, the baby is out with husband shopping for food, the cinnamon rolls are rising in the oven, I’ve done the washing up, put on the laundry, managed to brush my  hair and pour a coffee.  I’ve not drunk the coffee… it’s now stone cold, and I expect I’ll have the baby and husband come in any second, put a stop to my writing, and any chance of updating my blog (until baby has afternoon nap in which I’m actually meant to be tidying up the allotment).

Things have been manic.  As my friend Kirsty says, “Yes, it has everything to do with having children.”  So it’s not just me being disorganised (is that me relieved or worried?)  But I just can’t help myself.  I’ve been doing more writing now, having given Wyvern Publications a limited amount of time while I focus on my own work (after three years of helping other authors, editing other manuscripts, and learning things about PDF that I never knew I’d need to know, I’m now looking at getting my own work out and about).

We’re also mid-move.  Still waiting on one mortgage (or re-mortgage) but the company changed the rules half way through our application and have asked us to re-apply and pay more fees (which I am assured by our financial advisor he’ll get back for us).  I’m sure everything will pan out fine, but home isn’t home anymore, it’s become a building site.  Not to mention, I can’t get over how much builders make.  On a per-hour basis, it’s looking mighty fine – I think doctors get less!  So, maybe I’ll stop this writing lark and pick up some tiling equipment (as that seems to need less start up items than the rest of the building choices, lol).

Oops, rolls out of the oven now (nearly missed it!) and coffee still stone cold but now half finished. 

Right, where was I?  Ah, just a writing update (curses, the door is opening and I’m needed for baby-pushchair retrieval)…

Okay, now, where was I.  Writing.  That’s it.  I’m halfway done with the latest edit of Blood Tide (followers will know I’ve been reworking this novel for the past two years) and I’m hoping to (truly) get it up on kindle before Christmas.  It will be my first time using the kindle upload pages, although I’d like to do the same with The Faerie Conspiracies.  I’m not even going to look for an agent for Blood Tide – it has dialect and therefore is risky.  Agents aren’t taking any risks.  Main publishers aren’t either.  There is a revolution in the publishing industry and it’s been easier than ever to self-publish.  Agents are in dire straights, but still need authors, who no longer need them.  The average self-published author makes $10,000 a year from their writing (this is an average, about half will not, according to recent survey, make more than $500, many won’t make their money back if they’ve paid someone to do it for them).  But have a look at the kindle book Memory of Snow by Kirsty Ferry – you’ll find some excellent fiction just at a click of a button.

Aside from editing Blood Tide, it’s been all about keeping up with the quota of stories needed for, who’ve been amazing to work for.  It may have taken a few months longer for the re-launch, but the wait was well worth it.  Lillia and Rose, my latest children’s novel is going more slowly than I’d anticipated, but I don’t mind.  I’m enjoying taking my time over it.  I’ve also been sending some submissions out to various paying anthologies.

With the house move on hold, most of my jewellery making has been on hold too.  But I have got a workbench sourced (second hand kitchen top) and some more tools for cutting and soldering.  I’m keen on working with some traditional techniques for a set of medieval rings that I can take to the next Oyster Fayre.