At last I have some time to continue with The Famous Novel!  Hoooray!!! I seem to have been writing it for about a hundred years, and there are those who probably believe that it’s actually a myth and that I’m just playing at being a writer.  I can’t say I blame them because it’s been several months now since I put down my pen – first I was travelling  then I had a commission to write 10 poems, then I was in hospital, and then life kind of got in the way and I had to do some ‘day job’ work to pay the rent.  All this conspired to prevent me from finishing the master work.


But now, finally, I’ve got the Christmas holidays to devote myself to getting my heroine out of the terrible mess she’s in.  As some of you may know, it’s a historical novel – provisional title ‘The Book of Betrayals’ – set in the 12th Century between the 2nd and 3rd Crusades…a turbulent enough period by any standards.  My heroine is a woman soldier (yes, there women soldiers!) who has fought in the regular army of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenus in Constantinople.  But to make life even harder, when the book opens, she regains consciousness in a forest in the south of England, and she’s lost her memory…not a good position for her to be in, especially not with the church’s attitude to women in the 12th Century, and her covered in blood with a jewelled sword in her hand and no idea who she is or what has happened before.


If you want to know more, you’ll have to wait until I’ve finished the book and see it on the book-shelves.  I’ve only got another 30,000 words to write before the first draft is finished, and I’m hoping to break the back of that before I return to work on the 7th January.




As you can imagine, there’s an awful lot of research that goes into writing something historical, and I’ve come across some seriously weird and wonderful facts in my research on life and habits in the 1100’s.  For example – and believe me once you’ve read this, you’ll never ever forget it…promise! – a suggested method of contraception for women was to (wait for it!!) to tie the testicles of a dead weasel round their neck.  I promise you this is true!!!  It’d certainly do the trick, I think…no block would want to come near you once he saw the weasel testicle necklace, and that’s for sure.  Watch this space for more weird and wonderful facts in the weeks to come and things hot up novel-wise.


But, writing frenzy notwithstanding, I’m not forgetting the next Loose Muse is on February 13th featuring novelist Kate Fox and playwright poet Nandita Ghose.  AND don’t forget to send in your submissions for the next Loose Muse Anthology by 31ST  January for the third anthology, to be launched early March.





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