Dispatches from the home coffee shop

Greetings from my writing cave

or, Life’s curveballs

I retired in January and expected to be home more. But like many of you, I hadn’t anticipated I would have to stay home. Interesting times, eh?

I miss the coffee shop. I miss seeing the regulars – the baristas, former colleagues and friends – and I miss the ambience of the place. A lot of my writer friends listen to music when they write. Not me. I can’t do it. But I can easily drown out conversations or the whirr of an espresso machine in a coffee shop. I always felt so much more productive there than any other place I wrote. But luckily, I hang out with friends and family virtually, and I have adapted to working from home. The words continue to flow.

Speaking of those words…

I received feedback from my writers group on the last chapter of my sci fi novel about three weeks ago. It’s good to set the manuscript aside for weeks – some say months! – and then approach it with a fresh eye. I’ll be pulling my notes from the last 10 chapters in a day or two, and will finish those revisions, tinker a bit with the opening chapters, and then say ‘it’s done.’ I’m shooting to complete it by the first week of June. I’m still on target to publish Echoes at the end of July. Cover reveal coming soon.

My medieval Robin Hood novel, tentatively called Rogue, is rolling along. I’m past the 50% mark. I’d love to say the rough draft will be done by the end of the summer… Fingers crossed!

Rogue takes place near the end of King John’s reign in August/September 1216. Get ready for adventures in Nottingham, Sherwood Forest, and along the Old North Road from York. The French have invaded and marched as far west as Winchester in the south; and the rebel barons’ troops are just to the north. Newark Castle will have a small role in this novel.

Newark Castle, image by Peter Tarleton CC BY-SA 2.0

Recent Guest Posts – where I’ve been, who I’m talking to

Characters and their occupations – 12 authors introduce
In early May, author and historian Annie Whitehead invited a number of writers to celebrate the UK Labour Day by introducing a character from our novel by their occupation. Rather than write about a main character, I chose to highlight young Allan a Dale, setting the scene a few months before the opening of Men of the Cross. It gives a little background about thirteen-year-old Allan, thief and camp-follower. So I hope you’ll check out the very short piece on Annie’s blog, as well as read about characters from eleven other authors’ books. This story will tie nicely to the Allan short story I plan to send out as a Newsletter exclusive later this summer.

Gripping a lightsabre in a medieval world – Meet Char Newcomb
Author Anna Belfrage wanted to know how someone (me) went from writing Star Wars short fiction to medieval historical novels. So visit Anna’s blog for our chat about lightsabers, indie publishing, inspiration for writing my historical fiction, and more.

Research Snippet

Dover Castle wouldn’t have looked quite like this when knights returned from the Third Crusade in 1193, but the keep, top left, was built during Henry II’s reign.


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