I’ve been busy with these works recently. Finished up and setting them up for publication. Colonel Fitzwilliam was taking the most of my time. My Aunt Miriam had been asked by my mother and then myself to proof read it for the copy editing portion. Sales are not so wonderful that I can afford to have the books proofread professionally.
I had edited the draft once, of course. And now she edited it. It took well over an hour per chapter to enter her corrections and suggestions into the work. After which I went and did another draft.
Writing the draft of each chapter, and then again entering it into the manuscript was about 4 hours per chapter. Last was the typesetting, checking that each page was aligned at the bottom. Using the OED to make sure I was not making up any new words. Finally, finished. The Proof copy has been printed and is on its way even now.
The newest project, for I finished all 5 Trolling novels, though must edit the last 3, is an Edwardian romance. I have to admit to being very much influenced by Julian Fellowes (who is now Baron Fellowes, how great is that) and Downton Abbey.
The working title is Lord and Key.
As is my custom, here is the first few paragraphs of chapter 1
“Really Harry, you have to take this seriously.” Harry’s mother, Patricia Gumstock had said that for near the entire month. He did not know why he had to take things seriously though. Since he had been made a peer, shouldn’t he decide what was serious and not she?
“Mother, truly, it is to be the new year. 1910. Isn’t that more important then all this lording that has been going on. I am heartily sick of it all. Really and truly.” King Edward had made a few new peers at the end of November. He had been one of them. It followed since he had been awarded a Nobel prize in physics. The king was playing catch up. At least the Novel came with money. Not that Harry needed it. The title came with a few perks, he would have to admit.
Certainly a few people looked at him as if he was no longer just an engineer. They actually thought he might now be a somebody. Especially when he entered a room and someone introduced him as Lord Gumstock. He had not been creative and chosen any special title then his name. There were no other Gumstocks in the peerage.
Harry though had not introduced himself in the month since being ennobled as the lord he now was. He was a little self conscious about it.
“You must take this as a chance to change who you are. I know you value your friends greatly but they are holding you back.”
He wanted to shout, he was so torn about what all was happening. “Mother, this is the last I shall see of Fred and Max for a long time. We move in a few days and they shall of course remain here.” They were doing important research, at least to them it was important, at the university. They each were working hard in the field of chemical engineering at the Tech. Fred and Max both saw things a little differently then he, but then he had applied himself in adding some other directions and perfecting a device that aided the development of Marconi’s radio. Without the innards that Harry worked on, Marconi’s device surely would not have seen the light of day.
Without the pieces that Harry had made and now was selling and making a fortune doing so there wouldn’t have been Marconi’s radio. Harry also would not have been awarded the Nobel, or have been made a baron. The factory outside of Manchester was filled with people and machinery to make his parts, and a second factory nearby as well. But the industrialization of the city and its environs had meant that there was not a great deal of land to make a factory complex that was congruous.
When he had received a letter from the Palace that the King desired to bestow honors on him, he had took that as the need to stop and think what he was doing. Still young, he would not see his thirtieth birthday until later in the coming year, he knew that their was something to be made with these parts that he manufactured. The telephone also saw a great need for small parts and there was a similarity between the devices that allowed him to invent for each, and manufacture parts for each.
He had been a good engineer, but he found that thinking how to make many of the items that were needed, and to do so with costs managed was where his skill lay. The two factory buildings he had were inefficient and he needed new buildings and new procedures to not only make what he currently was selling, but also other items that he wanted to manufacture and sell as well.
Harry was drafting plans for factory buildings that took up more than twice the space he already had when he knelt in front of the King. “So, Baron Gumstock, I am told that you are going to change the world as we know it. Is that so?”
“Yes your majesty,” he had said. “I am going to do my best.” He had been advised to be quick and try and make Edward smile or laugh. That was the best way to do things. Not that he had any acquaintances who had met the King, but he had acquaintances who knew of such and Lord Sudsman came forward to speak to Harry and coach him. Sudsman at least travelled in circles that Edward VII also was in. His clubs as well as social set. Sudsman was not a close intimate of the king, but the king knew Sudsman by name.
Sudsman had taken Harry under his wing the week he was in London for his award. He had taken Harry to some social events, and Mrs. Gumstock as well. Harry knew that London was too much for him. Especially when he knew so few people who really wanted to know him. Mrs. Gumstock however loved it and was sure to tell all that she was the mother of the noted industrialist, Nobel winner and new Baron.
While Harry finalized plans for the factory space he needed at the moment, he also thought of two other acquisitions, a house in London, and one where he was going to build his new factory buildings. He knew that his mother would think that she had arrived when she moved into their new residence on The Strand. He had surprised her with that for her Christmas present. He did not tell her that he would maintain a room there, but live at his house in the country by the factories he was building in Hampshire.
These plans had consumed him since Edward had made him Lord Gumstock. They were ready to break ground in the new year and he would be journeying away. The end of 1909 was his chance to say goodbye to his friends. And he was going to do just that. Despite his also being invited to a party by Lord Canphor, he had sent his regrets. Lord Canphor had no use for Harry until he had won the Nobel, and then only to acknowledge that Canphor’s son had married a niece of Mrs. Gumstock. When Edward made Harry a peer, Canphor was sending his card up and inviting he and Mrs. Gumstock to every party he had. Canphor’s money had been in textiles of course but his father had sold out, and now he tried to live off the interest.
Harry was sure that the son was going to have to seek real work once the Lord was gone. Harry however had started to make money a few short years before and in the half dozen years since he had left the Tech, he had gone from working in his mother’s kitchen to the two factory’s full of workers.
“Mother, soon enough we are off to London and the new house. Fred and Max are mates that I have known more than ten years now. Surely you can see that we won’t have a chance to go to the pub for an ale for a long time. Do you begrudge me this? Next year I shall be in the south and all will only know me as this Lord Gumstock. None will know me as Harry. It will be something that I am sure to miss.”
She clucked her tongue. “Your father was the same. A good man, and if there were no patients, then going to the pub for a drink was something he would relish as well. Be off with you, and if you should be drinking all night to toast the new year, be sure to rest a but for I will not have the stink of drink in my house.”
Not that Mrs. Gumstock was a teetotaler. She loved her sherry and once he had been able to afford good sherry, she loved it even more.
“Yes mother, I shall be fine.” Which meant that he might indeed drink to excess, but he would not let her see that. They had a cook who helped his mother with the cleaning in the house as well. He had no man to help him dress or take care of his needs. He was competent to see to that himself, though knew that he ad to make a change there as well. He could not have a house in Parkesfeld without a some servants but did not want to overdo the pretense of being a baron.
Parkesfeld was just outside of Lymington and this was going to be a perfect spot for his new set of factories. The old ones would be changed to manufacture and prepare the base materials needed in the fine construction in the south. Here in Manchester they would not need as many workers, but he had talked to some other industrialists who were looking for good workers and he had arranged that most could have jobs. Maybe not as great wages, or the same conditions, though some might find better. But he would take others south. Those he knew would excel, and could afford to move south. Those who had skills with his processes that he wanted.