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

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Creation tapestries

Latest project completed, thank goodness - Creation tapestries for church. I only did the first one and sewed them all together. Beautiful designs by Alex Beattie for Ehrman.

Meanwhile the spooky autumn book, Out of a Dark Reflection, continues - I'm on Chapter Five, in fits and starts as I have a good deal of other work on at the moment, not to mention fighting the weeds on Allotment Major. Enjoyed the blog hop - thanks for all the lovely comments, and well done to those who won the giveaway! The books went your way yesterday - hope you enjoy them!

Sunday 12 July 2015

Blog hop for International Authors' Day!

I'm participating in a Blog Hop for International Author's Day, so look out below for comments on favourite authors, links to the organiser, and a giveaway!

In addition to the giveaway (which is real, papery books) here's a code for a free ebook on Smashwords - HU35S. The book is The Tender Herb: A Murder in Mughal India

http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/ ] Debdetta Dasgupta Sahay, the organiser - check out the blog!
We've been asked to write a bit about our favourite authors - but picking an absolute favourite is completely impossible, of course. I've cheated a little and picked two, one mainstream and one indie, both crime writers as that's my own chosen genre.

The mainstream author is Kate Atkinson. Yes, she's a literary author too, and I love her debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum and others, but I particularly relish her series featuring Jackson Brodie, starting with Case Histories. Set in various cities and in between, these books are full of wit both in the sense of humour and the sense of quick intelligence. The plots are intricately woven, festooned with tricks and surprises and things that turn round on themselves and meet you coming back, and instead of feeling stupid you simply laugh with delight at what it's done to you and your expectations (all right, so you might occasionally kick yourself. But Reggie is a man's name!). Though she doesn't give, to me at least, a strong sense of physical appearances (when the BBC serialised Case Histories I had none of my usual 'But that doesn't look like ...!'), her characters are immensely powerful and memorable. And her titles are great - Started Early, Took my Dog (and the dog is brilliant, too).

The indie author I've chosen is my current favourite, Cecilia Peartree. Cecilia (apparently a pen name) sets her cosy crime novels in a fictional village on the coast of Fife, in Scotland, which she populates with all kinds of difficult people who are just a stage worse, and funnier, than when you meet them in real life. The heroine is the dashing Amaryllis Peebles, retired from her career as a secret agent, who has palled up with Christopher, a dull archivist whose life was very quiet (apart from the challenges of his family) until Amaryllis chose to join his worthy but inactive local improvement group. Along with a small gang of pensioners, they tackle crime in their community with stoicism and vim. The characters develop from book to book, and the plots frequently make me laugh out loud. They're also pretty clearly labelled so you know which one to read first!

Hm, now I look at these I wonder if what I'm really interested in is humour, not crime!

Now,  the giveaway is for three signed paperback copies (tricky to sign e-books) of Death of an Officer's Lady, and I'm doing it via Goodreads giveaways. It's open to some surprising countries apart from the usual ones, so if you're interested take a look and see if you qualify - it's very annoying when you just happen to live in the wrong country, isn't it?

Linky code below:

Monday 6 July 2015

Windhorse Burning now out!

‘I’m not mad, for a start, and I’m about as far from violent as you can get.’
When Toby's mother, Tibet activist Susan Hepplewhite, dies, he is determined to honour her memory. He finds her diaries and decides to have them translated into English. But his mother had a secret, and she was not the only one: Toby's decision will lead to obsession and murder.

Out now on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords (or at least in the next hour or so!). Shortly to follow as print-on-demand. 

Oh, and all the Murray of Letho books are now re-available (if there is such a word) on Kobo and Smashwords as well as Kindle.


Wednesday 1 July 2015

The voles have gone too far!

The view from my window (in my nicer dreams).

It is rapidly becoming apparent that those charming voles on Allotment Major are making themselves far too much at home. Last year I met one, a delightful creature (though as the co-owner of degus my first instinct was to think 'Oh, no, it's got out!' and had to restrain myself from making a grab for it). Then I was clearing a neglected corner of the plot, where other people's litter snags in the wind, and found a cut off plastic cola bottle full of grass. I tipped out the grass for the compost and tossed the bottle to the rubbish pile, only to realise the grass was squeaking. In it was a vole nest, full of somewhat distressed and rather bald baby voles, making a tremendous noise for their size. I covered them and backed off rapidly, to allow the mother thus being summoned to come and deal with the situation. Later in the year I found they had worked their way along a line of sown sunflower seeds, neatly removed each seed from its husk, and left the husks. Well, I can live with that: the sunflowers were only intended to be ornamental. But now the blighters have taken my tatties! Of a whole bed of potatoes sown as is my wont with broad beans, there is one potato plant nervously breaking the surface, and even the beans are depleted. I wouldn't have minded so much but the self-seeded potatoes in the adjacent bed, interfering with my squashes, are untouched!

Scorching today on the plot, though now the rain has broken through a little. I'm trying to get my head round starting the next Murray of Letho book, Out of a Dark Reflection, and have indeed scribbled down the first hundred words or so, but it's set in late October - it's far too hot to think myself into late October!

The stand-alone book, Windhorse Burning, is still due out next week as an e-book (print to follow but the proof hasn't turned up yet).