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New Website

This last week started with my working on a new website for Beggars Can’t Be Choosier

Here I bring together marketing material as well as excerpts, reviews and the news of the Awards that this novel has won in the short time it has been out.

Please have a glance and let us know what you think. Manipulating art for our backgrounds is becoming easier as the years go by. I chose a blue background wash and perhaps should switch to the brown tones that the RAP books are produced in. For the next site, I was thinking of a red wash, and eventually thought to play across the spectrum, but sticking to one color scheme might be better.

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As we do on Fridays, when we schedule an interview, we take a break from the Regency Personality series. It shall of course return. As early as tomorrow.

Today we are fortunate to have with us us Barbara Gaskell Denvil who writes in the genres of historical fiction and occasional fantasy.

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1)What moved you to become an author?

I come from a family of writers and artists. Almost all my father’s friends were painters, and as a child my evenings were often spent amongst a group of loudly arguing adults, all animated as they discussed the latest book or some specific quality of writing. I grew up thinking that art and books were the most important things in the world, and yearned to be an author myself. My Christmas presents were all books rather than toys, and I accepted that standards of good writing were what ruled the world. I wrote my first daft fairy stories when I was about four years old. (DWW-Is it available in print?)

2) Tell us about your current novel.

Although the next book I publish will be produced in Australia only (my publisher has the ANZ rights) I am at present writing the first of a quartet, which will be available worldwide. This is historical fiction again, and covers the lives, separations and misfortunes of two people through the dramatic years 1471 to 1490. The scale is large – giving me plenty of opportunity to include all the historical events of those times, while also building up the fictional story and the extended romance.

3) How did the story begin to develop in your mind?

Over a couple of years, actually. I have a great fascination for that era, and have been researching it for many years. This covers the monarchs Edward IV, Richard III and the first years of the Tudor dynasty – fantastic material for any book. So I began to plan a series, where my hero and heroine would experience many adventures and disasters against the background of these tumultuous historical events. I often walk those medieval lanes in my dreams – so writing about them seems almost obligatory.

4) What did you find most challenging about this book?

I suppose it is the discipline necessary for turning imagination into actual identity and finding the time to fit everything in. I suffer from failing eyesight and I’m also a technological idiot. I can write a hundred books in my head – but actually producing them on the computer is always inspirational but also sometimes exhausting. It’s so satisfying at the end of each day when I see what I have written and my characters begin to come to life – but it’s challenging in a practical sense.

5) How did you choose your publishing method?

I began a couple of years ago by self-publishing on Amazon. That was a great experience but I needed a lot of help so my daughter took over the formatting and my granddaughter produced my book covers. Both those books, Satin Cinnabar Amazon_com__Satin_Cinnabar_eBook__Barbara_Gaskell_Denvil__Books-2014-02-14-06-00.jpg and Fair Weather Amazon_com__Fair_Weather_eBook__Barbara_Gaskell_Denvil__Books-2014-02-14-06-00.jpg have sold well, but I am not great at publicity or using the internet for self-promotion so I’ve never found self-publishing an easy option. My next book Sumerford’s Autumn PastedGraphic1-2014-02-14-06-00.png has been traditionally published in Australia by Simon & Schuster. (DWW-I’ve done a search for it here in America and can’t find it for sale, but 4 stars on Goodreads!) I have to say, I am now more comfortable leaving the business side and the marketing to the professionals.

6) Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in England and when young I began to develop a career in publishing, journalism, creative editing and short story writing. But I’ve had a somewhat erratic life – and my roots seem spread a little around the world. I am half English and half Australian and I lived many years on a boat cruising the Mediterranean and in half a dozen European countries until my partner became very ill and finally died of cancer. After this emotional devastation, I deeded change and so moved to rural Australia, where I began writing full time. A little late in life, perhaps, to reclaim my original career – but I find it wonderfully fulfilling.

7) What is your next work, and beyond that, what do you want to work on.

I have a long list of books in my head that I’d love to write. Although I have concentrated mainly on writing historical fiction, I also love to write fantasy and aim to delve a little more into that genre at some time in the future. Inspirational ideas arrive too frequently to follow up. My next book is once again a historical novel set in the late 15th century, which will be published in Australia this coming June. Meanwhile I am busy writing the first of the quartet I mentioned – historical adventure again.

8) In the current work, is there an excerpt to share? Your favorite scene, a part of your life that you put into the work and think it came out exceptionally well that you would like to share.

I researched the plague, which was a common threat in the 15th century, for the book I am currently writing (Cornucopia, Book One – Prime) and found the particular horrors of that disease quite appalling. I think many authors who choose to write about this, have failed to realize just how dreadful it was. The myth that the nursery rhyme “Ring a Ring a Roses’ referred to the plague, has distracted many. The truth was far, far worse. A short excerpt from that passage, where my hero contracts this disease – is as follows:-

My hand was cool and Jack’s brow was fire. I thought he opened his eyes and saw me but when I leaned closer I saw he was still in sleep and only the nightmare of delirium moved his lashes. All his skin was slick with sweat which glowed in the moonlight but his face was flushed and his jaw tight as though gripped in pain. Around his nose was caked with dry blood, and where the quilt was pulled right up to his chin, its edging was wet, all dark sour stained with sweat and vomit. I pulled it back a little and Jack moved, fretful, as if disturbed by my touch. But he did not open his eyes and neither did he speak, though his forced breathing gurgled shallow in his throat. I looked around for something to clean his face and soothe his fever. There were pillows on the floorboards around the bed, as if he had thrown them off in tremor or convulsion. I piled them back onto the bed and pushed some behind Jack’s shoulders and over the bolster, supporting him so he would not gag on his own vomit. There was a jug of water and a basin on a chest in front of the window, and I found a tangle of bandages and rags to bathe him, cooling his face and head and then his neck and upper chest. I dried him with my own skirt, and kissed his cheek. He did not wake.

9) Who do you think influenced your writing, this work, and who do you think you write like

I suppose in a way, everything I have ever done, heard or read has influenced my writing a little. However, I’m not actually conscious of any one specific influence and I don’t think my writing actually follows anyone else’s style in particular. Many years ago it was probably the breadth of plot and characterization of Dickens and Dorothy Dunnett Amazon_com__The_Game_of_Kings__First_in_the_Legendary_Lymond_Chronicles__Vintage__eBook__Dorothy_Dunnett__Kindle_Store-2014-02-14-06-00.jpg (DWW-While Dorothy Dunnett has not changed my life as a writer, her books have fascinated me as well, keeping me involved in her heroes who so often act anti-heroically that I recommend these as well to our fellow and future historical novel enthusiasts) which impressed me most, but I have loved so many different authors and read a multitude of memorable books over the years, so I could site anyone from Tolkien, George MacDonald Fraser, S. Fowler Wright – on to Italo Calvino, Mary Stewart, Mary Renault, Shakespeare of course and even the Regency glitter of Georgette Heyer.

10) Who do you read? What are the things that a reader can identify with that you have grounded yourself in.

I read a little less now and I put more effort into writing. However, there are some new young authors who I love, and I very much enjoy the historical fiction I have found amongst the English Historical Fiction group to which I belong online. Apart from that I tend to concentrate on non-fiction, since research is a passion of mine besides being essential for my books. I am painstaking about getting all historical details and backgrounds absolutely accurate.

11) When writing, what is your routine?

Sitting at the computer – probably 9 to 5, and usually 5 or 6 days a week. Of course I’m my own boss so I’m free to change this routine depending on my health, family visits, and a host of other reasons. But I do adore writing in spite of the challenges, so this is a routine I’m usually only too pleased to keep up.

12) Do you think of yourself as an artist, or as a craftsman, a blend of both?

I hope I’m a bit of both. I don’t think anyone can be an artist without a solid grounding in the relevant craft. Perhaps some abstract artists can paint without learning anatomy or technique – but no author can write well without some grammar, vocabulary and serious word-craft. Reading widely is the author’s best schooling in the craft. The artistry cannot be learned – it comes from inspiration and practice.

13) Where should we look for your work.

On Amazon Kindle for the first two published books SATIN CINNABAR and FAIR WEATHER and in all bookshops in Australia as well as online for my third book SUMERFORD’S AUTUMN.

Satin Cinnabar Amazon_com__Satin_Cinnabar_eBook__Barbara_Gaskell_Denvil__Books-2014-02-14-06-00.jpg

Fair Weather Amazon_com__Fair_Weather_eBook__Barbara_Gaskell_Denvil__Books-2014-02-14-06-00.jpg

Link to my bloghttp://www.bgdenvil.com/

Thanks so much, David, for inviting me. I’m not usually very keen to talk about myself, but this has been fun.

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Those who follow this Blog will know that we maintain a Pinterest Board of all the graphics that are shared in our posts. That way Regency Researchers (I know you all are such) can go to the board and find these graphics easily.

There is even a link on the Right Sidebar. But those new to the Blog might not realize that, so here is our periodic reminder that we have such a service for you to avail yourself of.

There are now more than 450 pins of various people, art, drawings of locations, etc. at the board.

Please enjoy.

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We are looking for illustrators and copyeditors:

These last few weeks I have been profiling here at The Things That Catch My Eye, chapters excerpted from Steam and Thunder, and The Prize is Not as Great As You Think. See the sidebar for all the chapters of each book.

I still have another chapter or two of the Prize to impart, but I am stopping midway in each book so that I have whetted your appetites. I also have found that many unscrupulous people will cut and paste my writing and others into one long document and claim that they have written the story I have. Thus it is best to only show half the book to you all.

But the whole story not having been revealed, so to the publishing story.

I want to have these two books be Kickstarter projects but to elevate our normal publication scheme. I want to use a professional cover, and illustrations for each chapter. To do this, I need feedback. One that you would like to see the books done so.

But also I need to work up the budget and need quotes from professionals in the field. Those who would like a gig as an illustrator for the books, or more than one. And copyeditors. Please send me your info in the comments section.

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As with the past few years, I like to go over what was accomplished last year
Word Count
The word count for the year reached just over 718,000
Writing and where we are at, what I have accomplished:

Book Title
Words written in 2012
# of Pages
Sci Fi Short 2 25,417
85
The Crown Impostor
132,802
443
Magician A Mystery
120,806
403
The Heir
103,771
346
Born To Grace III: Crown in Jeopardy
222,783
743
Food and Art
94,324
314
Micawber and Copperfield
14,946
50

Total                        718,634        2,395

Synopsis of the Books Written
Sci Fi Short 2

This is part of a five book short novel series. It explores a civil war in space. In this book the Unity of Man is broken and shooting starts between both sides. As I developed the ideas for this, it came to me that the reasons for a war like this would parallel the reasons for the American Civil War, without the issue of Slavery. States Rights. The reasoning that a great PR campaign used to make this war. But the for this novel is that economics, those who want to profit by a war set up the conditions for a war. And then the battles of the war would parallel those of the ACW. Here we have the fall of Fort Sumter and First Manassas.

The Crown Impostor

This idea has been floating in my head for a decade, along with a second idea, and they merged. Here I saw that a son would conquer while his father was back running the kingdom. To give it a reason, I saw that a path to the sea for our heroes country was needed, but I also saw that the conquering prince was a bit arrogant. Yet he had an identical twin cousin who was not, and the enemy, well they just had to be very bad. So with all that mix of households back in the days of Henry II, why not do the same here. A loyal vassal of our king and country, with a duchy on the very border, somehow is the male heir of the neighboring kingdom.

His wife is past childbearing and has given him only daughters. Our kingdom lets him go to be a king, they want a new Queen and an heir. So the new Queen’s family does its best to take control and even kills the new king/old duke to make way for a regency with the new Queen in control. As that unfolds our country attacks, but assassins kill the Prince, who summons his cousin before any know he is dying and has the cousin switch places. The cousin now must act like the Crown Prince and see to Justice…

Magician: A Mystery

A contemporary murder mystery. A very successful lead magician at the Palace of Magic is killed, shortly after having breakfast with his very unsuccessful friend. Our hero has advised the victim many times on creating great illusions. And though the victim was able to build a multi-million dollar career, our hero eels out a few thousand dollars by playing bar mitzvahs and sweet sixteens. Yet, our hero is a suspect, even at the exact moment that he discovers that magic is not an illusion, but a reality.

The Heir

An Earl has only a daughter and so his estate and title will go to a cousin. The heroine can not accept this, and though the Heir is pleasant and most seem to like him, she can not. Through a series of mishaps, of course, her opinions will change, as will problems arise for the Heir as he tries to decide should he marry the young lady.

Born To Grace III:Crown in Jeopardy

The final part of the sweeping trilogy where magic is a part of the world. Where kingdoms are gigantic, and where evil is not really the choice between a good path and a bad path so much as evil is what your enemies do. All men follow their hearts and when one’s heart is opposed to your path, it is natural to proclaim them evil. In truth, evil is what comes of the battles that sew death and rend families.

Food and Art

This was the project for NaNoWriMo 2012. Another year I successfully finished a whole book, not just 50,000 words. Here I developed a contemporary romance between a widower whose wife was an artist and he a chef. He built a restaurant that was filled with good food and great art to honor that memory, one he has been hard to move on from, even though he knows he married to early. Into his life, in one night comes the sister of his sister’s sister-in-law. He has never met the girl. She also had a relationship based on sex, rather than respect and is an artist. One that can compliment the restaurant. That they realize both needed more mature relationships, and begin to find it in each other is the basis.

Micawber and Copperfield

This is an entry for a SteamPunk short story competition. What would happen if literary characters were caught up in the Steampunk milieu? Here I have the grandsons of Dickens Iconic characters on an adventure as part of the Royal Dirigible Corps in 1879 South Africa.

Books sold in 2012 totals
331 Sales in 2012, down from 501 in 2011
The End of the World                                                9       
The Shattered Mirror                                                21
Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence               264    
A Trolling We Will Go                                             4                                         
Genghis Khan’s Rules for (Warriors) Writers        7
Jane Austen and Ghosts                                6
Two Peas In A Pod                                        16
ECO Agents:Save the Planet                        5

Blog Stats
I have not reported on my Blog before since it was not really much of anything, until this last year.
In 2008 we had 1 visitor. It grew since then. Of Course the change from 2008 to 2009 was the greatest, but that was probably an aberration for 2008. It doubled in 2010, and doubled in 2011, but last year it took off.

Year
# Of Visitors
2008
1
2009
306
2010
621
2011
1301
2012 9031

The month activity shows:

Month Visitors
January
166
February
288
March
235
April
267
May
289
June
639
July
1032
August
808
September
874
October
1203
November
1555
December
1675

Graphs
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Books that were read (reviews can be found at David’s Reading List) :
This year with working for over three months, the upheaval in my life, 53 books read and reviewed.

# Title Cover
1 The Master of Heathcrest Hall by Galen Beckett PastedGraphic-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
2 Gunpowder God by John F. Carr
1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
3 Theft of Sword by Michael J. Sullivan PastedGraphic1-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
4 Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan PastedGraphic3-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
5 Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan PastedGraphic2-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
6 A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs PastedGraphic4-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
7 Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne PastedGraphic5-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
8 The Weapon by David Poyer PastedGraphic6-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
9 The Crisis by David Poyer PastedGraphic7-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
10 The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss PastedGraphic8-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
11 The Crown of the Blood by Gav Thorpe PastedGraphic10-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
12 Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom PastedGraphic9-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
13 The New iPad Portable Genius by Paul McFedries PastedGraphic11-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
14 Madness of March by Burt Golden PastedGraphic13-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
15 The Profession by Steven Pressfield PastedGraphic12-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
16 Attila by William Napier PastedGraphic15-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
17 Assault on Juno by Mark Zuehlke PastedGraphic14-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
18 Raingun by John Blackport PastedGraphic17-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
19 Capitol Offense by Barbara Mikulski PastedGraphic16-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
20 The Affinity Bridge by George Mann PastedGraphic19-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
21 Zulu Hart by Saul David PastedGraphic18-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
22 The Guns of El Kebir by John Wilcox PastedGraphic21-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
23 My New iPad by Wallace Wang PastedGraphic20-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
24 Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky PastedGraphic22-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
25 The New iPad Fully Loaded by Alan Hess PastedGraphic23-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
26 Long Summer Day by R.F. Delderfield PastedGraphic25-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
27 The Kickstarter Handbook by Dan Steinberg PastedGraphic24-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
28 Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick PastedGraphic27-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
29 Siege of Khartoum by John Wilcox PastedGraphic26-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
30 Adobe Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book PastedGraphic30-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
31 Victory by Julian Stockwin PastedGraphic29-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
32 Post of Honour by R.F. Delderfield PastedGraphic28-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
33 The Green Gauntlet by R.F. Delderfield PastedGraphic31-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
34 The Shangani Patrol by John Wilcox PastedGraphic33-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
35 A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham PastedGraphic32-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
36 The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler PastedGraphic34-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
37 The Companion of Lady Holmeshire by Debra Brown PastedGraphic35-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
38 A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham PastedGraphic38-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
39 Elephants in the Distance by Daniel Stashower PastedGraphic37-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
40 Long Live the King by Mary Roberts Rinehart PastedGraphic36-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
41 Merits and Mercenaries by Lady A PastedGraphic40-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
42 The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon PastedGraphic39-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
43 The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith PastedGraphic41-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
44 Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell PastedGraphic43-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
45 Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey PastedGraphic42-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
46 Half Share by Nathan Lowell PastedGraphic44-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
47 Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol PastedGraphic45-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
48 Full Share by Nathan Lowell PastedGraphic46-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
49 Traitor Blade by Richard Crawford PastedGraphic47-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
50 Walls of Jericho by Jonathan Hopkins PastedGraphic48-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
51 The Big Year by Mark Obmascik PastedGraphic49-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
52 We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee PastedGraphic50-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg
53 Ship’s Boy by Phil Geusz PastedGraphic51-2013-01-28-07-39.jpg

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Way back, but not so far way back that you think that I am really old… (Well the big 50 is less than a month away) I wrote for the 1632 Amazon.com_1632%252528TheAssitiShards%252529%2525289780671319724%252529_EricFlint-2012-08-9-09-30.jpg universe of Eric Flint, who way back (there’s a theme here) was one of the TA’s at UCLA while I was an undergraduate. We were both in the history department, and I could have had him as one of my TAs except I actually had a different TA for the course where I could have had Eric.

But that is beside the point. I suppose. If there is a point.

Eric though came up with a good, fun fantasy called 1632 Amazon.com_1632%252528TheAssitiShards%252529%2525289780671319724%252529_EricFlint-2012-08-9-09-30.jpg which I have read many times.

There are even some good books that follow it. But there are some dross as well. One idea was to have many contribute to the universe that he created. I thought of a story idea, one that defines how they got into the stock market which becomes a big deal in their universe, and as this is right around the time of speculation in Tulips, apropos.

So I worked on that story, and I polished that story. I sent it to the submittal website and it was short listed for the first round of one of the books. The editors got it, and they lost it.

Back in the day, way back, you were supposed to give your editors the benefit of the doubt and not bug them. So I didn’t.

And I didn’t, and I didn’t. Well when editors keep track of things they don’t lose them, but these did, and then when I did bother them, they decided that the time line they were shepherding through the universe had already passed my tale by, though since it had gone up to the submittal site for all to read, ideas I developed were being used in other stories.

Today I decided to upload for all to read at the Space Opera Press YoYoafreestory-2012-08-9-09-30.jpg site.

Please come and read Yo-Yo if you would like a peek at some writing from several years ago.

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I am being interviewed!

Over at JA Beard’s website of Unnecessary Musings

Come by and have a look!

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