Sunday, 30 October 2016

Evil in Overdown

After six months away Hilary Long arrives back in the little Cotswold town she calls home,with her new husband. She's looking forward to being herself again and starting work in her City offices. But Hilary finds that new tensions and old jealousies are tearing Overdown apart, and a serial killer is on the loose. Can Hilary stop the murderer's manic trail ? Will Overdown ever be the same again after all the tragic losses?

Just in time for Hallowene - to scare yourself silly, have your heart touched and generally catch up with my Hilary Long mysteries.

My second book this year up on Amazon tomorrow. Bookcover designed and produced by my husband  Andrew Evans. Believe it or not - the face of evil on the book is completely computer generated. I told Andy what I wanted and between us we created it.

I think you can understand now why he was so interested in the 3D Veronica Scanner.

I hope you enjoy it.


Friday, 28 October 2016

The Veronica Scanner

Yesterday we went to Waddesdon where I work to take part in an amazing experiment - the Veronica Scanner. We were both 3D Scanned to then be printed out as a head and shoulders, we won't get our results for a few days so I can't post them up - but take a look at this.
This is Andy sitting in the scanner before it's closed up, around the egg are hundreds of cameras that in 5 seconds will capture a 3D image of him.

This is me inside the scanner with all the flashes going off. It was really bright, but strangely
didn't affect my sight at all - it wasn't like looking in a bright light.

This is the 3D printer printing a face the scanner had taken earlier.

This is a 3D print out of a young girl's head - you can even see her braces!
As Andy works in this area making people for computer games he was discussing possibilities with one of the coders.
Just to show you there is nothing new under the sun, here is a Victorian 3D Scanner!
 This one is even earlier from Albrect Durer around 1508. How amazing is that?

Lastly a real use for this technology - a chocolate head of a guy called Ruben!
 Someone had tested this as chocolate by scraping a bit off his cheek with their nail!

Is it technology or is it art?  You decide - I personally think it's both - have a good weekend everyone.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Edgehill Part Deux

Firstly there were spiders, eeny weeny bitey spiders, hundreds of them hanging off the outside of the caravan, the car, the inside of the caravan, weaving their little webs, how did they get in?  Even the spiders had spiders!

I've always thought of spiders as being lucky, and I quite like most of them, so I felt we were in for a good weekend.

Our new recruit turned up and dressed for the part, others who wanted to join in couldn't get their temporary memberships in time. Had we have known the gate guards were so lax, they could have just walked in!

Dressed and ready for action as a middling sort - the 17th Century equivalent of  yuppies - we made our way down to the crowd line. We stood amongst the crowd at the ropes. There
are two ropes to keep the crowd away from the battle field. Amateur photographers and very small children don't think this applies to them. It does.  That is what the Front of House Knotters are there to do. Keep the public safe and entertained.

Ezra the Ranter was having a good old rant about 20 feet away from us and a woman in the crowd came over and said "Are you - you know - camp followers?"
"We are Goodwyfes." I answered frowning at her "Did you think we were whores?"
"Well, yes - wasn't that true of all the women following the army?"
"No madam," at this point my blood was boiling so loudly I'm sure she could hear it. "We are here to watch our husbands fight for the King."
After she left our new recruit asked, "Do you get asked that a lot?"
"All the time." I smiled, "that's why I wrote my book, to try and show that women had a big part in this war. Some of them are buried under that hill there - who'd been fightiing with the men."
Then another member of the public came up. "Are you Puritan or Royalist ?." He asked.
"We are Royalist ladies come to watch the fight." I answered.
"Where are the Puritan ladies?" He asked.
"They are cowards sir, and will not show their faces here." I snapped.
"Oh I think I'll go now. I don't want to get in the middle of this." He said as he wandered off towards the bar.

Now last year, my husband sold me to the cannon crew for a few pence. Still haven't forgiven him, I was worth a shilling at least!

This year Ezra and I had a good old argument about the rights and wrongs of Edgehill fight.
He was convinced that I had been changed in my opinion by witch-craft to be a Royalist.
I told him I was a Good Christian Goodwyfe, he told me to mend my ways or he'd be back for me. Comely Goodwyfe or no. (I liked that bit!)

Later he did come back with a Parliament officer in tow and they arrested me, and my poor new recruit who was terrified. "I haven't done anything." She screamed.
"Guilty by association." The soldier said taking her arm.
I made a run for it and he came after me and caught me and took us both to the Roundhead camp.
Behind the tents, Ezra said to me "Do you mind working with me again sometime?"
"No, I really enjoyed it. Thanks it was fun!"
So we went off and had a cup of tea in the caravan - my new recruit having had a baptism of fire.

That evening we got dressed in our finery and and went to the Sports Hall for a Celeigh evening with the Irish band from Hell. I was tanked up on Jameisons Whiskey, hubby added beer for good measure. We danced fast and furiously until our legs gave out.

It was a brilliant event, and reminded me why I love the Sealed Knot so much.

Sunday a wreath was laid for the brave men and women who died at Edgehill to give us the democracy we have today. 

We left with a pile of laundry and happy memories, me particularly, covered in spider bites on my arms - but hey - for a brief few moments all the cares of my world were gone- and life was a lot brighter.

Friday, 21 October 2016


We'll be with the Sealed Knot at Edgehill this weekend.
The first battle of the English Civil War is usually our last outing of the season

This is our regiment, The Kings Guard.

By this time we are all a bit tired, looking forward to Traders Fayre and Christmas, but we act as if it is the first time we've fought.  After the battle we have a big party in the Rugby Club. Usually in fancy dress.

So that's it now till Traders and Nantwich, but we're going Medieaval at Ludlow Castle in two weeks time for a bit of a change. Should be fun.

Have a good weekend - I know I will !!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Have you ever had one of those days when????

Today I have been working all day and achieved nothing. My lovely Light Night plans for Shelterbox have disappeared into dust. So many other charities at this time of year are vying for people's money. Oh well, I managed to get about £40 together for new LED lights for disaster areas. 

I have been chasing up publishers for my latest History book, and no-one has the civility to even give me an answer. Just checked my spam filter but nothing.

When I first started writing, I could paper the walls with the amount of rejection letters I received. But sometimes I received letters (though I didn't know it at the time) were from famous writers. Marjorie Proops was one who kindly offered me advice on writing. Another was a famous publisher of the James Bond books, who told me to go out and live life, then write about it. I always thought the Bond books sketchily written by Ian Fleming, but reading his biography I now understand why.

My early contributions were to teen magazines like Jackie, when older I wrote short stories for magazines. I contributed to the BBC staff magazine Ariel, even completing a Script to Screen writing course with the BBC. My first effort, a sitcom, was made with my ideas most of my words, and called something else. Martin Jarvis, then a young man, played the husband.

My husband at the time was tall blond and stupid, and it was about the funny scrapes we got into in the first year of married life. BBC of course STAFF NO FEE. I'm glad to say after 6 episodes it was a flop, because their staff writer took the fun out of it. Along the way there were a few Women's magazine romances. I wrote my first book at the age of 16 and wrote hopefully to the publisher (and embarrasingly) that when they took it I'd like to go and live in America on the proceeds.  When!   ha ha ha!

Little did I know then, that although insulted by their refusal, they said I had some really good parts, and that in their opinion I would be a good writer one day.

Back to today, I am not happy with the new book cover, I've sent it back with how I hoped it would look, but we're changing all the book covers bit by bit to make them more formulaic
to agree with the sort of books we already see on the bookshelves.

I don't understand why our book covers are so challenging to my readers.  Anyway, Evil in Overdown is finished and needs a front so we must get on with it.

Whoever sorts out my stuff after I've gone to the big library in the sky will find reams and reams of paper in plastic boxes, which will then turn into floppy discs, which then turns into memory sticks, then piles of notebooks of ideas and short stories, sketches and drawings, loads of recipes, a few love letters, my day books, in which I write of my chores, the weather, my achievements my failures and life in the 20th century in general.

I hope I shock the socks off whoever has the pleasure of reading some of them. My current
husband knows all my secrets, I told him everything when we got married, only fair. He just smiles and says, that's what makes you who you are, and he loves me for it.

Fingers crossed, and get on the roller coaster of life (with the sick bag), yet again.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Very quick blog!

Latest Hilary being proof read and cover designed should be ready to go in a week or so.
Got a cold.
Got Delhi Belly again - don't know how or why - doctor may send me for a scan.
Oganising a Sparkle night for Shelterbox to raise money for those hit by disasters.
Re-organised house for autumn.
Meeting a friend for a coffee.
Can't stop working, writing, delivering books.
Got to go.
Do a better blog when feeling better.
Now 66 days ill up to today.
Must rush.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Ghosties, goulies and long legged beasties....

Hallowene is around the corner, time for amateurs to scare themselves silly with esoteric magic and spook raising.

I research all my books thoroughly.  This murder mystery at Hallowene even scared me during the research!  Writing horror is difficult. Writiers have to have experienced the feelings of their characters to certain extent and fill in the rest with imagination.

In this book, there is voodoo magic, zombies, ghosts, necromancing, murder, and an encounter with a sexual ghost or two.  One of my readers said she thought I wouldn't be able to get away with this sort of writing but said it made the hairs stand up on the back of her neck - which I took to be a good thing!

As for me, I have never actually seen a ghost materialise. I have seen orbs and photographed them with my ghost camera, it's a strange thing, we bought this little compact camera as ours got broken on holiday, and it often produced photographs of manifestations.

In Cornwall my house was the mine captain's house, built over the tunnels of the Levant Mine. In the 1919s there was a huge collapse inside the mine, killing 31 miners. Periodically they would turn up in our lounge or our next door neighbours. It seemed they didn't realise they had died. One New Years Eve we were all dressed up in Fancy Dress to go to the St Ives New Year Party, and jokingly as I set up the camera I said, "Come on guys, I know you're there - get in the picture."  They did - the picture showed hubby, son and me in our best Pirates of the Caribbean outfits with two orbs shining brightly either side of us, and three at knee level as if they were getting into the picture by crouching down in front of us.

Sue next door often saw half a person (legs and cream trousers)climbing her stairs. She also heard knocking under the floor. Both our houses were built on solid granite so work that one out!

The second book Murder at Overdown Manor is the conclusion and a journey back to normality of some sort.
My character Hilary gets her former high flying life back, it was meant to be the conclusion of the Hilary Long Mysteries for a while, so I could write another history book. But my readers and the characters themselves seemed to want to re-appear. So my next book about the lives of those in Overdown is nearly finished, a serial killer, a loss of several key characters, and Hilary back on the detective trail with a broken heart.

I hope you get to read and enjoy them as much as I enjoyed and scared myself writing them.

On Amazon Kindle now. The Overdown Chronicles with new stories will be out in paperback later this year - hopefully in time for Christmas.