Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Thursday 29 March 2012

A lovely day

Thanks, everyone - I've made it to 78 in the top 100 of Amazon's historical fiction! My word.

And the bus arrived at the bus stop just as I did - maybe it's going to be a good day!

Thursday 22 March 2012

Am I a proper writer now?

Flicking through my Amazon dashboard, I find I have sold my first three books in Italy. Does this make me a proper international author?! And if so, what's wrong with France, Germany and Spain?

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Spring definitely here!

What a rash thing to say. But the seed potatoes have arrived and I now have to divvy them up and distribute them around our compost bins - which are used as storage on our little plots - for the various other plotters who've ordered them. Another plotter is, I hope, doing onion sets.

Two excellent weekends, one down in Edinburgh again partly dog-walking, partly visiting the newly-refurbished museum in Chambers Street. This time I brought home a litre lemonade bottle full of D's good mixed berry wine (I've finally bottled my over-active coffee and elderflower wines, and took them a bottle of the coffee), two large handfuls of potent wild garlic and half of a large and elderly bracket fungus, found on the ground in an almost fossilised condition. Absolutely no research achieved, but the wild garlic pesto is brilliant. The next weekend in glorious sunshine I dug over Allotment Minor and spent most of the rest of the day helping to plant a variety of community fruit trees in our local park - apples, plums, cherries and amelanchier. May they thrive! The weekend also involved a ceilidh including the lethal helicopter dance, but as far as I know no ambulances were required this time ...

Yesterday I took my students for a walk to see a couple of things round the university - they were so excited! Ten minutes fresh air and that has made their lecture. Anything to break the monotony, clearly. Today I sang to one of my classes - this was perhaps a step too far.

Ah, well, meetings and visitors this week, lots of preparation and minutes and reports and things, not to mention the teaching (now halfway through, hoorah, and the last week of term, hoorah, hoorah!), but maybe next week in amongst the seed potatoes I'll get down to some typing. Working title at present: An Abandoned Woman (or The Abandoned Woman? Definite or indefinite? Decisions, decisions.

Friday 9 March 2012

Fizzing head

I can feel when the time is coming near to write something new. My blood seems to fizz, to sparkle, slowly at first, like a pot put on to boil, my head too starts to spin, to fill up, and shadows of stories flit past me, completely unrecognisable but completely thrilling. If I'm unlucky, it builds up and builds up and I just finish in a week with a headache, a night of strange dreams, a fit of depression and nothing whatever to show for it. But if I'm lucky, and focussed, and have the time to channel it at the right moment, into a new idea or into the development of something already thought of, then it can mean a week of excitement, scribbling at every opportunity, a breathless rush, and a new plot or a new episode or a new person is there, alive on the page, almost illegible in places with the sheer speed of writing but the best, the best feeling in your head that you can ever have.

Broad beans planted in the kitchen. Five percent of the next novel (whatever it's going to be called) typed. Allotments calling to me, seed potatoes ordered or chitting. Currants badly needing pruning, raspberries too. But a lecture to do in an hour ...

Friday 2 March 2012

Print on Demand!

A damp day after a few days of virtually June-like, shirt sleeves weather, but finally Death in a Scarlet Gown can be printed on demand! It's available from Amazon.com, not .co.uk, which seems a bit strange from my perspective but works for Amazon. Sales of the e-books continue to rise, thanks everyone! and thanks for the kind reviews for Death in a Scarlet Gown.

I've finished reading the next book - its original title was An Unkenspeckle Woman but someone has said in no uncertain terms that no-one's going to understand that! It's the Scots word for inconspicuous, not well known, and I rather like it. However, the title is now under debate. 'An Inconspicuous Woman' seems odd, somehow. The story is set in Fife, mostly around Letho, the village where Murray has his country home: there's a hot summer, an unwelcome visitor, a charming stranger, a swimming accident, a quarrel over a manse, some reflection on young women who fall from grace, and an architectural disaster - and of course a murder. Now to type it up.

But then there's teaching to do. I've just submitted my exam papers for the external examiner to examine (what they're best at), and have just been reminded that they need resit papers as well. Oh, blow. I struggled a bit to write them in the first place, and then lost a memory stick with the first version of one of them. However, I suspect that second time round won't be as bad now I have a good idea what I'm doing. And after all, I have - oh, five days? - to do them, along with a lengthy meeting tomorrow out of town, two more meetings on Sunday, and two days' teaching and a hospital appointment in between - no problem! Who needs sleep? (well, I do, and probably more than average!).

So having said that, I'd better get on!