Monday, January 21, 2013

January news - and a new excerpt

II’ve been languishing in bed with the flu. Nasty viruses going about, but since I was prescribed for an  infection shortly after Christmas and given antibiotics, it was a given that I’d get the cold that’s been roaring around the country! Never mind, very soon I can get back to some real work. Already I’m getting itchy that I haven’t written for a few days.

Do you make resolutions? I don’t, not really, but I do review what I’ve done in the last year, what I’ve done that worked, what didn’t, and where I should go next. I do try to be businesslike, but the writing part of me cries out for me to do something.

This time it seems to be historicals. I have an idea. I haven’t written one for a while. I’ve polished one book until it shines, and it’s currently out on query at a few places, so I have to let it ride. But I do want to do some more. And I’ve had a series on ice for years, because I haven’t found the time to write it. It’s hard-core history, and it involves the Jacobite wars, but lashings of romance.

I had two books out in December! It’s a rewrite of “The Haunting,” called "The Haunting of Belle Sauvage" and I’ve incorporated it into the Hosts to Ghosts series. It’s the story of how the company comes to be. It’s a real pleasure to see the book out. Ghosts, vampires, and hidden treasure. What’s not to love?
you can see it here.

This month sees the release of my version of “Tom Jones.” This project was a real challenge, as I had to get into another person’s style. I want to put extracts of that, and “The Haunting of Belle Sauvage” up, so I’ll do “Tom Jones” now, so you can get a flavour for it, then, maybe, the other book later, so as not to clutter up your mailboxes. I was astonished at how many scenes there were to do, and where Fielding left opportunities, almost as if he’d censored the book himself.

Let’s all have a great new year, and may all our wishes come true! (well nearly all!)

The Classics Exposed...

Part One of The History of Tom Jones

A motley history of bastardism, fornication, and adultery.
Returning home from a very satisfactory visit to London, the wealthy Squire Allworthy discovers a baby—in his bed!
He knows the baby isn’t his, but once he discovers the mother he believes responsible, he undertakes to bring up the boy as his own, alongside his relative and heir. Tom Jones, as the baby is named, grows up utterly loveable, sexy, gorgeous and a bit of a scamp. Well, a lot of a scamp. While the Squire pleasures mistresses and schools maids in enjoyable discipline sessions, Tom learns how to live and love, with able help from the local populace. And makes enemies in the process, who plot their revenge on the bold boy who has captured the neighbourhood’s hearts.
Not a word is altered in this classic novel—only added to. Lynne Connolly adds the parts that Fielding skimps on, and who knows but Fielding wanted to put them in?
Tom Jones is a bawdy romp through one of the most enjoyable eras in British history. Follow Tom, the Squire, the local round-heeled girl Molly and a cast of unforgettable characters as Tom grows to manhood in an English countryside of Hogarthian splendour.

An odd accident which befell Mr Allworthy at his return home. The decent behaviour of Mrs Deborah Wilkins, with some proper animadversions on bastards

I have told my reader, in the preceding chapter, that Mr Allworthy inherited a large fortune, that he had a good heart, and no family. Hence, doubtless, it will be concluded by many that he lived like an honest man—owed no one a shilling, took nothing but what was his own, kept a good house, entertained his neighbours with a hearty welcome at his table, and was charitable to the poor, i.e. to those who had rather beg than work, by giving them the offals from it—that he died immensely rich and built an hospital. Always considerate of his health and the people around him, the squire conducted his more interesting business away from home, where his reputation should not be sullied by any rumour that he was less than upright at all times. Indeed, according to the ladies, his uprightness was never in doubt.
And true it is that he did many of these things, but had he done nothing more I should have left him to have recorded his own merit on some fair freestone over the door of that hospital. Matters of a much more extraordinary kind are to be the subject of this history, or I should grossly misspend my time in writing so voluminous a work, and you, my sagacious friend, might with equal profit and pleasure travel through some pages which certain droll authors have been facetiously pleased to call The History of England.
Mr Allworthy had been absent a full quarter of a year in London, on some very particular business, though I know not what it was, but judge of its importance by its having detained him so long from home, whence he had not been absent a month at a time during the space of many years.
This enabled him to pay attention to a lady he had been acquainted with for a long time, but had sadly neglected of late, business having kept him in the country.
Mrs Dickinson was the relict of a city businessman and had a very fine sort of lodging in Red Lion Square, so good that when she invited Mr Allworthy to save the cost of an inn and stay with her in comfort, he accepted with a grateful heart and voluminous thanks.
So pleased was the estimable lady to see him that she found great difficulty in keeping her fichu in place, a matter the squire was only too pleased to assist her with, and, the fichu disposed of, a great expanse of cleavage came into view, something Mr Allworthy took advantage of with both hands.
On tumbling her back onto the sopha, the squire animadverted on the size of her breasts, which had become bountiful in his absence. “Mr Allworthy, I have had nothing to do but eat and visit the establishments that cater to my requirements,” the lady said. “I have long been in need of more vigorous exercise.”
A gleam came into the good squire’s eyes when the lady announced that fact. “I believe I can help you with that ambition, my dear madam.”
So saying, he swept up her skirts, finding the lady, having anticipated his visit, had little more than a hooped petticoat and a shift between her decency and her total exposure to the squire’s appreciative eyes. “My word, madam, you have spent a long time without a man,” he said, gratefully fingering her slit, which had gathered copious moisture to guide his way. Not that he needed such guidance, his experience having given him much knowledge in the matter of women and what they required.
“I’m a respectable woman, sir, and I do not lift my petticoats for a man unless I can also enjoy his company out of the bedroom. I have a reputation to consider.”
The squire glanced up from his absorbing pursuit. “I hope I have not sullied your reputation. I would not wish to damage what you have taken so long to develop.” But he was gratified by the widow’s words and appreciated her welcome.
Taking some of her welcome, he tasted it and found it good. Having done so, he hungered for more and bent his head to her welcoming amplitude. At the first application of his tongue, the lady shuddered and begged him not to stop this side of Christmas. While he doubted he could accomplish that feat, being comparable to the marathon races accomplished by the ancient Greeks, he assured himself that he was capable of achieving the lady’s good favour.
Mr Allworthy was proved correct in his assumptions, and applied himself assiduously to his self-imposed task, reflecting that he had not tasted a woman in a considerable time, being too taken up with matters of work and his duties in the country. A clean, respectable woman could produce a nectar a man could appreciate, even incorporate into his daily absorption, and Mrs Dickinson proved extremely generous in her offering, as she was in every aspect of her life.
Mr Allworthy tasted, and found good enough to continue until the lady’s screams and gratified murmurs gave him permission to expose his desire for her, which he did without further discussion.
His spear proving adequate to the occasion, he plunged deep inside her, mingling their essences with a satisfaction that nearly overcame his vow to bring her to the gates of heaven more than once. Burying his face in her breasts, which she generously gathered in her own hands to offer him, he thought it only good manners to accept and make himself at home in her warm welcome.
His roaring was enough to provide entertainment for the populace passing outside, but they remained hidden to the world at large, as Mrs Dickinson had received him in her first floor salon, using the ground floor of her snug house mainly for business. He had completely omitted to take the servants into his consideration, but fortunately the lady was a good mistress, and he would also see they did not go out of pocket.
Plunging inside the lady’s sweet quim, he did not ask for permission, taking the lady’s sighs as abundant invitation. Only then did the good squire realise how much he had imperilled his health by leaving such exercise too long, for he had a strong belief in the power of good fresh country air and vigorous exercise to prolong a man’s health and happiness.
The lady seemed of similar mind, because she applied herself to the course of physical prowess with great enthusiasm and abandon, having a mind to contest the squire’s ability to keep his course for more than a short span of time.