Monthly Archives: January 2016

I’m still committing murder

on a daily basis.  As I work through the revision and finishing of ‘The Dry Well,’ I slaughter hundreds of innocent adjectives whose only crime was coming to my mind when I wrote the first draft.


They don’t look dangerous, do they?  But I was born, it seems, with a mind that can’t leave a poor innocent noun alone, or with just one adjective for company.  I blame my history teacher, who about 55 years ago praised me for a description of the retreat from Moscow that included this sequence; ‘Napoleon’s wretched, ragged, starving army.’  But that was long ago, and I am old enough to know better.

Collaboration with Alistair Mcgechie has been a blessing for me, as his style tends more naturally to the Chandleresque/Hemingwayesque terseness that allows the facts to speak for themselves. (Yes, ‘show don’t tell!’)

Joint editing consists to a degree, of Alistair suggesting I remove two out of every group of three adjectives that converges menacingly on an innocent noun, while I implore him it add one adjective per 3 pages, just for fun.  It seems to work as most people say they can’t see the joins.

I don’t appear to have the same need to pile up adverbs.


My character may be small, thin, and terrified all at once, but I don’t force her to run outside quickly, quietly and correctly.

So that’s something to be grateful for.



This week I’ve achieved two goals on WordPress;

Letter Logo     I’ve posted 50 posts

tick      I’ve had 50 likes

Thanks to everyone who ‘Liked’ – keep dropping in!




This is about what people DON’T usually say when you tell them your new book is out.

  • Where can I buy it?
  • Do you have any copies with you to sell?
  • How much is it?


It’s a sad reflection, especially for diffident British self-publishers, that the piles of money do not fall into ones hands – you have to say things like ‘I have some in the car boot so you can buy one right away!’

Break the silence!  No-one else is going to.

Musical harmony and the vagaries of democracy

Musiville, a book for young readers by Nicholas Rossis with illustrations by Dimitris Fousekis, isn’t exactly an allegory, but there are subtle lessons here for the young about the value of co-operation, and the pitfalls (literally) of social disruption. At first sight, what could be nicer than a town whose every inhabitant not only plays a musical instrument, but is a musical instrument. Rossis has created an orchestra and more of hybrid creatures, including the Trumpetoon and the Pink Flassoon, the Hornolion and the Hedgarmonica. Their village home is a peaceful paradise, until a scary intruder starts to pop up from underground, encouraged by the racket that’s caused when the animal/instruments each play their own sound with no concern for anyone else. Houses begin to tumble and the ground shakes beneath their feet. What do they need? A conductor. How to find one? That’s where the plot begins to thicken. Full of fun but with real substance, I’m delighted to recommend this book.

How long did it take you to write it?

This is the second most common question people ask me when I mention I’ve just published a book. (I’m not dealing with, ‘What’s it about?’ My standard answer ‘It’s not about anything, it’s fiction,’ seems to annoy people for some reason.)

This second question is very hard to answer.  ‘I started it thirty years ago’ is not, of course, in any way the same as ‘It’s taken me thirty years to write it.’  Equally, ‘I started it six months ago,’ has no implications for how long it’s taken to ‘write.’

During those thirty years, or during a period of whatever duration before commencing the six-month write-up, there won’t have been any of this;







It’s not impossible that there will have been some of this – it does happen;

Lots of this of course;






and enormous amounts of this;

However, these processes can’t necessarily go on all day every day for thirty years.  Some writers do work like that, but there’s always more to think of besides the written work in hand.  Things like shopping for food, cooking, laundry, gardening, caring for family.  There still seems to be a feeling among people who don’t happen to write, that ‘a writer’ is a different species, and that the writing process is not just work like any other, needing to be combined with everyday life. .  Maybe that will slowly break down now, with self-publishing, the Internet, POD, etc, etc.

But what has been going on in the thirty years?  Probably quite a lot of this;

Thinking is where the writing happens.  You may quote me on that.


and thanks to you nice people who have just started following my blog.  I really appreciate your interest.

Blogging is new venture for me, and I have been known to refer to the Blogosphere as the Blogosfear.

What I want from my blog is to make more people aware of my books, obviously; and I’m quite pleased with the pages I’ve created here to introduce people to them.  But please please let me know of any ideas you have to further that aim – what do you like about the blog so far, what do you think it needs?  I’m swimming around in what feels like this;

empty sea

I write about the books, I reblog fellow-authors’ posts, I write about the cat…. but I get few followers and fewer comments.  Partly this is down to a belief that I don’t have enough techie skills, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  For example, I invited you all yesterday, after months of blogging, because I’d just discovered it was possible to do that.

Comments please, and honest with it! help me see land ahead and swim to it!

Bigbury sky for Rita

‘Milele Friends’ features unleashed!

Jan Hawke INKorporated


Very excited about this new section of the blog! 😀

If you didn’t already know ‘Milele’ is the Swahili word for eternal – or forever. So, this is intended to be a promotional gallery for my Forever Friends, who also happen to be authors, to thank them for their kind (and accurate) reviews of my very first novel.

Support in marketing and promoting a book is really hard work (much harder than writing the book ‘cos that’s too much fun!). However, much more important than touting your work of art around the social networks, is getting people to leave a thorough and unbiased review of your words in places like Amazon, where clicks to buy are literally life-blood for your ‘presence’ on the biggest book shops on the planet. The more people review your book, the more your ratings swell, the more they’ll plug you in the ‘other people who bought…

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