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DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAILI’ve just uploaded the 6th ‘Just Woman’ story to Amazon Kindle. This time I used Amazon’s ‘cover creator’ to create a cover reminiscent of the Edgar Wallace hardbacks of the 1930s. (I’m still working on a good 1920s cover …).

Price: the lowest price, as usual.  Book description:

Mirabelle Leicester has always known that her husband Leon Gonsalez is the ‘possessor of innumerable coats of arms, quarterings, family mottoes direct and affiliated’ (in the words of Edgar Wallace), but since their marriage she has  discovered that he also has a real family, including a revolutionary cousin from Barcelona and an aristocratic aunt. When the cousin asks for Leon’s and Mirabelle’s assistance in clearing his name, the investigation takes them to Spain: trailing kidnappers, dodging gunmen and encountering old friends.

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After much tearing of hair and headaches I have at last brought the most recent ‘Just Woman’ story to a conclusion. This one has involved a bit of research as most of the action takes place in Spain, and when I started this story my knowledge of Spain in 1924 was approximately zilch. I now know a bit more about it (not a lot, but a bit).

The story is now on Wattpad, and here’s the blub and the current cover:

The Man from Barcelona 2nd draftMirabelle Leicester has always known that her husband Leon Gonsalez is the ‘possessor of innumerable coats of arms, quarterings, family mottoes direct and affiliated’ (in the words of Edgar Wallace), but since their marriage she has  discovered that he also has a real family, including a revolutionary cousin from Barcelona and an aristocratic aunt. When the cousin asks for Leon’s and Mirabelle’s assistance in clearing his name, the investigation takes them to Spain: trailing kidnappers, dodging gunmen, encountering old friends, and accumulating innumerable pieces of evidence in their battered suitcases. Is the Man from Barcelona innocent, or has he been lying all along?

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Readers may remember that I don’t usually do research when I’m writing fiction, ‘The Star’ and the ‘Gray’ stories don’t need research (much), as they’re fantasy; ‘The Just Woman’ is set in Edgar Wallace’s world so follows the guidelines sent out in his stories as far as possible.

Edgar Wallace’s stories are striking for their timelessness. Although he referred generally to telephones, telegrams, motorbikes, cars, taxis, ships, trains and planes, his stories hardly ever contain any specific description of technology that would fix them to a particular time between 1905 and 1965. I usually try to follow his lead, but as the current ‘Just Woman’ story is set very early in Europe’s airline history, and the characters take a journey by air from Spain to Britain, I had to do a little research. The internet wasn’t much help for the history of Spanish airlines, but various webpages sent me to R.E.G. Davies, A History of the World’s Airlines (London: Oxford University Press, 1964).

So the plane that makes a brief appearance in the current story (working title:  The Man from Barcelona’, set in late 1924) is a Junkers F.13, also known as a Ju 13. These metal-bodied, single –engined planes could carry two crew and four passengers and had a range of 746 miles (1200km) at speeds of up to 106 miles per hour. As it is around 390 miles from Madrid to Toulouse along the most direct viable route (i.e., to Barcelona and then following the already-established route flown by Latécoère and the C.G.E.A via Perpignan) the journey would take around six hours without needing to stop to refuel, but as there would have been no toilet facilities on the plane, it would be necessary to have toilet stops along the way: hence our travellers will stop at Barcelona.

I selected this plane  because in 1925 Union Aerea Espanola was set up with a fleet of Ju 13s: so our pilots is testing these planes.

Wikipedia provides some information and pictures of these planes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F.13

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The Sapphire black and whiteAnd here’s a cover for The Sapphire. Slightly sketchy but the black and white gives it just a touch of appropriate menace — what do you think?

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retrogradus-2Out of 2000, in fact — yes, I wrote it sixteen years ago. Then it languished in various A4 lever arch files for many years while I puzzled over what to do with it, because the criss-crossing plot lines were a mess. Eventually, as readers of this blog know, Adelheide got on to it and she’s transformed it into something like a narrative, although there are still three plots and she admits to having ditched two others. However, I still have the ones she rejected. I’ve even got another A4 lever arch file to keep them tidy.

Now the final book of A Sword, A Star, A Flame … has at last been uploaded to Kindle and is available on Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WVCTM9V ) and Amazon.co.uk (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06WVCTM9V) and all other Amazons available to you, at the minimum permitted price. The Retrogradus has the distinction of being the only book in the series which might be suitable for a more general readership: there is virtually no sex in it.

That said, to work out what’s going on it is probably necessary to read the other stories in the series first.

This book brings us to the end of the story of the Most Holy and Chivalric Order of Our Lady of the Star. As Jan claims that he, Berthol and Karlot cannot die (they are demons, after all — unless they are angels) there may feasibly be further stories, but this is as far as Adelheide’s, Oglive’s and Karlot’s chronicles go.

Should I have a sense of achievement? I don’t — I feel sad to leave them. Having travelled with them for so long, it’s hard to say goodbye.

So this can’t be the end! There has to be more!

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I’ve checked through the text of Retrogradus again. I’ve tidied some inconsistencies and tried to get Adelheide to conclude it cleanly (she hasn’t quite, but it’s better than it was). I’ve uploaded the file to the Kindle publishing page and it’s processing. Just a final check to make on the previewer and it’s ready to launch.

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‘Becoming Karlot’ is now uploaded to Amazon Kindle and should be available shortly. If you wondered how a character with a male name, acting like a male, in an all-male organisation, could be consistently referred to as ‘she’ by his(?) closest friends, this story explains how Charlotte became Karlot and fooled everyone, with a little help from a demon and Brother Jan.

Update on 15th November 2016: Becoming Karlot will be free on Amazon at the end of this week!

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