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Posts Tagged ‘midnight flit’

I don’t have a for certain cover or blurb yet but I’m delighted, and very anxious, to say that Midnight Flit, the sequel to Eleventh Hour, is due to be released on March 14th this year. This, of course, is assuming there are no meteorite strikes and that the editor doesn’t point out an enormous plot hole that demands a rewrite.

It is set in 1931, Miles and Briers have continued their relationship at long distance, which isn’t particularly satisfying for anyone, and their reunion is complicated by the presence of Miles’s mother and that she has come into possession of information that puts her life at risk. Full steam ahead to get back to London before the bad guys do her in! Millie is back too. I do enjoy writing Miles as Millie.

And while I wait to hear what needs to be done to Midnight Flit I am playing around with the 30k words I have so far of Close Shave, the sequel to The Bones of our Fathers.

This one is set a few months after the end of Bones and, while Mal and Rob are very much in it, follows the activities of a different character, Terry Skidmore the barber, his large and rather unruly family and the little gang of lads who meet on Fridays at the White Horse.

Writing Pemberland and its satellite villages is like going home. Relaxing and comfortable but oh so easy to be self indulgent!

But anyway, here’s a snippet from Close Shave, because I like sharing snippets:

Phil Rother’s plans to convert the gentle curtain twitching members of Pemberland’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme into a legally armed fighting force was the talk of the White Horse on Friday evening. Terry settled in his usual seat with a pint and joined in the bitch fest with delight.
“While one has to admire the fighting spirit that manned the decks at Trafalgar and stood firm in the lines at Balaclava to further our abhorrent colonial practices all over the globe, there’s a time and a place for everything.” Rodney Merrick, ex-Major, RE, raised his g&t and took a sip. “Fighting crime is a young man’s game. Or at least a trained man’s game. When you get to my age, you must be aware of your limitations. Keeping my eyes open and having a cell phone to hand is about the limit of my usefulness.”
They all made the appropriate rubbishing noises and Rodney smoothed his pale pink cashmere sweater over his belly and gave them an approving nod.
“Not sure I want to be in the same county as Phil Rother with a taser,” Dai Beynon said.
“Hear hear!” Harry Farriner’s well-bred yelp caused Dai to eye him with suspicion. “What? I can agree with you, can’t I?” Tonight Harry was wearing pink too, was sporting the world’s curliest man bun and had big silver hoops in both ears. Dai was leaning away from him in case some of the fabulous transferred.
Rob Escley waved his pint glass to draw attention to its emptiness. “Phil’s always wanted to be Action Man. He’s got about the same amount going on in his pants too.”
“Oh, that’s harsh. None of us can help how we’re made.” Mal Bright got up, reaching for his wallet. “My round. Terry, Rodney? Leo, can I put another slice of lemon in your tonic?”
“No, this is fine, thank you.” Once Mal was at the bar Leo picked up his almost full glass and nodded to Rob. “I hope the security at the museum is good.”
“It is but Mal said Brian told him that all the robberies have been after cash, jewellry, phones — stuff you can sell down the pub, or booze and fags. One place they took a pack of chocolate digestives.”
“Kids then?” Terry scowled. “So even if we caught ’em there’d be nothing much that would happen to them.”
“If they are kids, you’re probably right.” Leo frowned. “Someone must know who they are. They’ll be caught out eventually.”
“Better we did and gave the little buggers a hiding,” Rob said, “than they get caught by the police and get a record and decide it’s not worth trying to go straight any more.” That was pretty much what had happened to Kevin, and Terry suspected that Rob blamed himself. Terry blamed other people far more. When you came right down to it, it was usually the parents’ fault.
“Even so,” Leo spoke softly but with authority, “being tased by some wannabe vigilante isn’t going to get anyone back on the straight and narrow.”
“Hear hear,” Rodney said.
“Swipe me.” Harry made big eyes. “Leo said “wannabe”. The man can be taught.”
“Who can?” Mal put a tray on the table and began to distribute the drinks.
“Leo said ‘wannabe’. Right context and everything. I’m so proud.”
“Stop teasing Leo.” Mal sat down again. “Are we still destroying Phil Rother’s reputation?”
“Yes,” Harry said. “He was giving your apprentice a hard time yesterday, Terry.”
“Adrian? What the fuck?”
“I think Adrian must have bumped into him or something and he was shouting at him. I had Grandpa with me and we “accidentally” walked between them. Phil couldn’t do anything without looking bad and it gave Adrian a chance to make a break for it. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. And the things Phil was saying. Okay, Ade probably shouldn’t wear those skinny jeans with those legs. He looks like a croquet hoop. But all the same…”
“I saw that, but was on the other side of the street.” Mal scowled. “Rother is such a shit. Surely I heard Adrian’s got a girlfriend?”
“He has,” Terry said. “Nice little thing, lives over by the church. Name’s Sarah and she’s doing her A Levels. I’ll have a word with Ade and if necessary I’ll have a word with Phil. I kicked his arse when we were twenty and he knows I can still do it.”
“I’ll hold your coat,” Rob promised.
“And I’ll defend you in court,” Leo added, “when you’re arrested for assault.”

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Snippet!

I’m ping ponging between tasks today, because I have a child unexpectedly returning to the nest for a couple of days before he goes to see a friend. I’ll have to feed him up so he can build up his strength before the two of them spend 72 hours straight playing Skyrim, or whatever the cool kids are playing now.

Anyhow, though he’s most welcome, my mind isn’t really on my work. But I am trying so, to show good faith, here’s a little bit of Midnight Flit:

“Have you a light?” Falk leaned against the window at Briers side. He withdrew a cigarette from his silver case and tapped the end on the edge of it. Briers grinned at the familiar affectation and offered a box of matches.
“Thank you,” Falk said and lit the gasper then continued in smooth unaccented Serbian. “I hope your young lady has taken no harm from her experience?”
“None at all,” Briers said. “Though I believe she may be a little more wary about whom she allows into the compartment in future.”
“That’s hardly fair,” Falk’s protest was quiet but earnestly meant. “He was lying in wait for them. I’d heard someone enter the compartment before they did and I thought it was you.”
“Ah, yes, well.” Briers grimaced. “Possibly I’m being a little over-protective.”
“You?” Falk snorted. “I don’t believe it. No truly.” He snorted again. “And your companion is chafing at your concern? I can imagine how galling it might be to be with someone who treats one as a child.”
“That’s not fair!” Briers scowled at him, then whispered, “And she’s already given me a right ear-bashing about it. Bless her. And how are you getting on with the other people in your compartment?”
Falk grinned. “The young Russian reminds me of a weimaraner I had when I was a child. The least graceful creature I have ever met but filled with boundless and genuine goodwill. The musician … interests me.”
“I what way? Professional or personal?”
Falk met his eyes with the smallest of smiles. “In every way. He is wary, I feel he has something to hide. I would like to find out whether it is the same secret we share or something more reprehensible.”
“And what do you plan to do?”
“Cultivate an aquaintance, of course. ” Falk blew smoke towards the window.

It’s nice spending time with old friends.

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Communication

 

They say communication is key but all too often in daily life our communication skills let us down. We can’t find quite the right words to express ourselves, or we find we’re talking at cross purposes with the other person or the emotional barometer of the other person suggests that we’d best go along with what they want because, at that moment, their needs are more important than ours. Language doesn’t help. I remember my feeling of the world turned on its ear when I discovered that in America a frown is this facial expression:

Whereas for us frowns happen above the nose and can signify anything from extreme displeasure to puzzlement to concentration. It’s perfectly feasible for someone to frown and smile at the same time, on this side of the pond. Put this in a book and Brits will understand but you’ll have loads of confused American readers. Now I understand about American frowns when I see it in a book rather than a dignified little crease forming between the eyebrows I’m imagining this sort of expression:

 

Probably not what the writer intends, but how do I know? Human interaction makes misunderstanding inevitable and it’s a very useful weapon in the writer’s arsenal.

How many books have you seen that have, as the major crisis, a miscommunication between the protagonists? Perhaps due to a misunderstanding or just, as one reviewer put it, “because they just can’t talk to each other like fucking adults”. I like my characters to communicate like fucking adults, maybe because it’s such a hard thing to achieve in real life, but it can be fun to let themselves wind themselves up a lot first. I’ve been winding up Briers and Miles like nobody’s business and, while they are prone to talk through their problems, conditions aren’t ideal for a heart to heart. Eventually,they have to grab their moment:

Briers expression was tense and there was a crease between his brows that made Miles frown in response. He didn’t feel any need to ask what Briers was talking about but this was a bad place and a bad time.
“I don’t feel it’s appropriate in present company,” he whispered with a nod towards his sleeping mother.
“No,” Briers shook his head. “We need to clear the air and this is probably the only opportunity we’ll have. Miles, I love you like a rat loves Cheddar but I’ve got an inkling that, right at this moment, the feeling isn’t reciprocated. What have I done to upset you.”
“Done? Nothing,” Miles drew a deep breath. “Nothing in particular. I’m horribly on edge. This whole situation is very uncomfortable, and frankly I’m worried sick. So when you talk over me, or patronise me or – in short – behave like most men do with their wives – it is a little … irking.”
Miles became aware that Briers jaw had dropped. “Talk over – I don’t.”
“Yes, you do. Think about it. When we were at dinner–”
“That’s just playing a role!”
“See! You did it then.”
Briers rocked back in his seat. “Oh heck. So I did!”

See I used frown there. >:| Lets turn one upside down

 

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Snippet!!

It’s a while since I’ve posted one of these.

I’m just finished a rewrite of The Lunar Imperative, which first appeared in the Foolish Encounters anthology, making it a LOT longer and adding back in all the fun world-building stuff I thought people wouldn’t want. That’s with my betas and there will be snippets of that another time.

 

But for now I’m trying to get my head back into the 1930s with Miles Siward and his mother, Emily, wife of the British Ambassador to Bucharest. Miles is visiting the Embassy:

“Since you are without dear Pritchard,” she said, “I thought I would come to see how you are getting on. I see you are having problems with your cuffs. Please allow me.”

“You’re a life saver, Ma.” Miles offered her the box with the cufflinks.

“Platinum?” Ma said. “And dark nacre. I don’t remember these, dear?”

“A gift from a friend,” Miles said, and couldn’t help smiling. Briers had presented him with the small package after a fleeting but mutually satisfying meeting in Paris. Miles hoped that Briers had been equally pleased with the gift he had hidden in his bag before they had left their hotel.

“A friend?” Mother raised her artfully darkened eyebrows – odd how Miles had never noticed the little tricks used by females to enhance their beauty until he had to master them. “I must hear more about this friend at some time. Such good taste Now, give me your hands.”

After so many years helping his father achieve the effortless elegance required of members of His Majesty’s diplomatic service, it was the work of a moment for Ma to fit the links through the stiff linen cuffs.

“Thank you.” Miles shot his cuffs and inspected himself in the mirror. “Will I do, Ma?”

“Beautifully.” Ma linked her arm through his and guided him towards the door. “I don’t know what I did to be blessed with two such handsome sons.”

“We don’t know what we did to be blessed with such good genes.” Miles squeezed her arm gently and opened the door for her.

More later 🙂

 

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