Tuesday, 14 January 2014

My big news

I have mentioned that I got amazing news at the end of 2013 and that I'd give you details as soon I could and now I can.

I have a new publisher: Accent Press.

Accent Press are an independent publisher but with a high profile and some well-known authors. Unlike JMS Books (my old publisher) who are based in the USA, Accent Press are based in Wales. People who have been following my blog for a while will know that Wales is a place very close to my heart and having a Welsh publisher has to be a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

Accent Press will be publishing my next novel, His Majesty's Confidential Agent, a story of spying and skulduggery set largely in Argentina around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. I am also contracted to write another John Williamson story.

JMS Books has been very good to me, but they have developed to concentrate on LGBT romances and the John Williamson books, although the leading character is gay, did not fit that well with their other titles. His Majesty's Confidential Agent has no gay characters, so that didn't fit there at all. It therefore seemed best for everyone concerned if my books went to another home. JMS will no longer be publishing The White Rajah or Cawnpore after the end of February but Accent Press will republish them under their own imprint.

I am very excited about this move, which will mean that my South American adventure will finally meet its public and that my existing books will have the chance to find a new audience. There are also plans for further novels, of which more news later.

It's early days but the contracts are signed and things are slowly beginning to move. I'll let you all know more as details get worked out.

I know some of you have been reading this for a while and I have had lovely support from people I have never met but who I know through this blog. Thank you all so much for helping me get to this point.

Now I'll shut up and get on with working. I have books to write and a publisher waiting to publish them!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2013: a year in blog posts

I try to blog here about once a week. 2013 saw 58 posts, so I seem to be more or less on target. I am sceptical of Google's analytics, but they do give me a rough idea of what gets read and what does not. So here, for those of you who may have missed them, are the top blog posts of 2013. They're an odd collection. (Click the headings for the full stories.)

Looking at the post on the war in Borneo, I'm still astonished that if you wanted to read about this in the Western media, my blog seems to have been your best source of information. I guess this might explain why quite a few people read it. It still seems strange to me that you can have a war (even a small one) and be utterly ignored by the press in the UK.

I'm a huge fan of Argentine tango and I indulged myself by writing about dancing in Buenos Aires. To my astonishment, posts about the dance halls of Argentina have been some of the most popular I've written. My next book (stay tuned for details) is set in Argentina. There's no tango in it, but I hope people will still share my fascination with that country.

In Cawnpore John Williamson, the narrator, disguises himself as an Indian. Several people have said this is not credible. This blog post discusses true life cases where this happened. I was pleased that so many people seemed interested in it.

About 230 apparently.

There are plans afoot to make a film of The White Rajah. Not, sadly, based on my novel. Anything that raises interest in James Brooke has to be a good thing, though. And, judging from the number of people reading this post, films generate a lot of interest.

So that was 2013 as seen through my blog posts. I'll try to keep posting on a range of subjects more or less related to my books. Let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to read about.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year

2013 seems to have been a year of transitions. Here in the UK, it has seen us moving from economic misery to something that may be economic happiness (at least until next time). Less seriously (or more seriously, depending on how you look at life) Dr Who regenerated. The Pope regenerated too and we're all looking forward to seeing how the new pontiff leads his church forward. Hopefully he will only have to face a deeply conservative Vatican establishment, rather than the Daleks - though he might well find the Daleks less scary.

Thanks to Edward Snowden I now know that this blog has even more readers than I thought (*waves to nice man in the NSA*) and we can expect the after-shocks of those revelations to rumble on for a while.

In Afghanistan, UK and US troops continued to pack up, ready for a withdrawal that should see fewer UK soldiers come home in coffins in 2014. I wish I could say that this transition will finally come to an end in 2014, but it won't. UK and US military involvement (aka "training" and "support" of local forces) will continue, but hopefully on a scale that will keep the number of our deaths down. I'd love to say that 2013 was a transition year to something better for Afghans too, but it wasn't. It was a transition to something far worse. I'm writing this here in the hope that you can all laugh at me and say how wrong I was at the end of the year, but I really, really doubt that.

Nelson Mandela's death was also a transition moment. Its impact may have been purely symbolic, but it marked the passing of an era. We do not know what the future holds for South Africa but it will be different from its past and Mandela's legacy is that we can all hope its future will be brighter than anyone could have imagined before his presidency.

This started as a quick 'Hello and Happy New Year' because the laws of the blogosphere seem to suggest that I have to write that. Then it somehow got much more serious than it was meant to. But that's the good thing about new years: they make you look back and think about the twelve months that led up to them. And I still think that 2013 was not, in itself, a great year, but it's one that offers some hope that 2014 could be special.

Part of the reason for my optimistic mood is some good news that I got at the very end of 2013. It's news that I'll share with everyone as soon it's all confirmed. Keep reading the blog and I'll let you know as soon as I can. I'm thinking that, for one author, 2014 could be a very good year indeed.

Happy New Year, everyone.