June 1, 2013 • 2 Comments
I recall my undergraduate days in the manner I suspect most people do: fondly, with exasperation, and accompanied by many lingering questions. Will I ever voluntarily read anything by Dryden again? What was I thinking when I specialized in the Romantic poets? And what was in that orange stuff they served in the cafeteria? Did it emerge from the applied sciences or fine arts department to quiver upon our plates?
However, at least I—though a lowly female—got to go to university and get a bachelor’s degree of my choice. I was able to compete on equal terms for whatever fame and fortune accrue to undergrad English lit students (ha!). In other words, when it comes to education, women are very lucky to live here and now.
In researching A Study in Ashes, I had a look at the world of co-education in the Victorian era, both in the US and UK. Though my protagonist is in London, I set up my fictional collegiate university with features from several historical examples. Even though the school is only one setting in the book, it’s worth taking advantage of real life insanity.
Overall, the circumstances of women’s education were pretty much what one would expect: not every place offered the full meal deal to the girls. They got shorted on science and engineering and were offered floriculture and elocution instead. Academic terms were shorter, they couldn’t always access the same classes, and not every institution awarded them equivalent bachelor degrees. It goes on and on with the sort of hair-curling examples that make me realize just how far we’ve come in the last century and a half.
I would like to say that female education eventually came to be on equal footing with male schooling through the inexorable forces of social enlightenment. Um, well, I’m sure that had some effect but, as always, economic practicalities had a role to play as well. At first, many courses were segregated and professors had to teach the male students in one location and then trek out to another site to give their lecture (or a diluted version thereof) to the female class. Needless to say, efficiency won out and bit by bit the two groups became amalgamated. Another factor was, of course, the lure of commerce. Women were paying customers, and the revenue stream from their tuition was nothing to sneeze at, especially for the up-and-coming universities in America.
My source for much of this is University Coeducation in the Victorian Era by Christine D. Myers, which goes into detail about both the educational and social aspects of early co-education. It’s an academic study, but it’s good reading for anyone interested in the realities of the period.
May 20, 2013 • No Comments
Subscribing to the boomerang theory of manuscript submission – book 3 went in and came back again, landing on my desk with a wet plop. Revision time! But at least the page proofs for book 2 are done, waiting like an eager puppy for the courier to take them back to New York. I’m rather glad to be focussed on the third volume now–I knew it needed more attention, and now I have the clear desk to give it the attention it needs.
The primary objective: more battle scenes. I think I need some of those toy armies, except maybe with giant steam-powered armadillos. Or dinosaurs.
May 8, 2013 • No Comments
One may ask why I have been so desultory in terms of social media over the last few months. The answer is simple, dear reader. Before gamboling about the aether talking about my projects, there were dues to be paid, pages to be covered, and words to be slung. In other words, book first, schmooze later. Plus, I can’t think of anything an editor would find more annoying than hearing from me how I couldn’t possibly make my deadline while it was clearly evident that I’d been all over Facebook.
But turning in book 3 means that I’ve touched the end of this trilogy, even if it was just a brief brush with finality prior to editing. After plunging headlong into this writing project, it felt strange and terrible to think of coming up for air. I got up from the computer for a breather and found myself feeling terribly solemn about the whole thing.
May 7, 2013 • No Comments
Turned in the first iteration of book 3 in one of those last moment, race to the finish scenarios. Thanks go to the Beta Crew, Captain Cat in particular for the real-time editing.
I know there is a lot more work to come, but I love the ending, if I do say so myself.
Project round-up is:
- Book 1 – done
- Book 2 – waiting for page proofs
- Book 3 – waiting for round 1 edits
February 24, 2013 • No Comments
So much to do, so much to do. The cover copy for all 3 books is up now (yay!). Plus, I’ve been getting some very nice blurbs in from other authors. To say that I am so very grateful is a vast understatement, and I’ll be unrolling those as things go along.
Here is where we are:
Book One: in the page proofs stage. That is, me proofreading the typesetter’s work. They’ve done a few interesting things with the interior design, which is cool.
Book Two: in the second round of edits, which must be done today Or Else.
Book Three: on the workbench. I am loving the opening which, of course, may or may not end up as the actual opening.
There are also related shorts coming out, and three out of four are complete. Only one is what I would legitimately call short, though. I write long, and short stories always end up like puppies with big feet–they keep growing and growing in the most alarming way.
December 18, 2012 • No Comments
There is nothing quite so motivating as a goal post, and now I have actual release dates for the books. Yippee! and Yikes!
In other news, my second short story is accepted and the third begun. These are meant to be promo pieces for ebook extras, but they’re turning into actual incidents in the overall plot arc, so we’ll see how that works out. This is the down side of having a lot of interesting secondary characters…given half a chance, they seize the limelight. I thought the short story idea was perfect for giving them their fifteen minutes, but noooooo–they have to take over the whole freaking storyline and then hand it back all rumpled when they’re done.
December 12, 2012 • No Comments
The series will be called: The Baskerville Affair
The individual books will be titled:
Book One: A Study in Silks
Book Two: A Study in Darkness
Book Three: A Study in Ashes
I’m very, very happy with these titles. For one thing, now I get to curse the manuscripts in much more specific terms.
December 5, 2012 • No Comments
And in record time. The box was waiting for me when I got home with my manuscript inside – and a lot of work to do!
I go through what must be a fairly typical cycle when I read the editorial comments. At first, outrage at being so egregiously misunderstood, and then I calm down enough to actually read the notes properly. Then they’re either not as bad as I thought, or not as good as I thought. This results in tea, self-pity, resignation, gloom. Then comes resignation, hope, determination and–after many tiny violins–actual work.
Of course, once I actually do the edits and realize the editor was right, then I wonder what all the fuss was about. Writers are such odd beasts!