Sunday, 29 November 2015

Crooked Cats, The Mousetrap, RNA Winter Party and an Epic Yarn set in Egypt

I’m only just getting my breath back after an action packed November. You’ll be able to read about some of it on the RNA blog soon as I tell Elaine Everest all that goes into arranging the RNA Parties.

So to my big news regarding my writing. I had two acceptances in November. One was from exciting and well-respected publisher, Crooked Cat, who have accepted my crime novel, The Secret of Lakeham Abbey. It is an unofficial sequel to The Dark Marshes, but set about a hundred years later, just after World War II. It will be published some time in 2016 so more details when I have them.

I also had another acceptance from the wonderful Maggie Swinburne at My Weekly Pocket Novels for what Maggie calls an ‘epic yarn’, Eye of the Storm, which is set in Egypt at the dawn of World War II (yes, I know I obviously have a thing about World War II...) and inspired partly by the Saturday matinees I used to watch at the pictures as a child and partly by the Indiana Jones films (with a hero called Lancaster Smith, how could they not be?). I’ll give more details of that nearer to publication time..

On the 17th November I travelled to London for the RNA Winter Party, which was held on the 18th. As I’d sold some other books not long ago, I decided I would treat myself to a ticket to go and see The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre. It was one of the few Agatha Christie stories I didn’t know, and I wanted to complete my AC education! (You all know she’s my absolute heroine in writerly terms, right?) It was such a joy to see it ‘in the flesh’ so to speak, and its cosy setting went well with the cold November air. I wasn’t so keen on the perpendicular seats way up in the gods, but I soon forgot about the nosebleed and thinner air as I got into the story… I do wish they would televise it, but I suppose that would stop people from going to see it. It’s been on over 60 years, and long may it continue! As is asked at the end of every performance, I won’t give away the ending and I ask that anyone commenting on this post doesn’t do so either.

L-R Sally and Elaine Everest at the RNA Winter Party.
Photograph reproduced by kind permission of Nikki Moore

The Winter Party was a huge success. It had the highest attendance of any party since I started organising them two years ago, and sadly I had to refuse some people tickets, which I hated doing. But the party itself was great, and we had the inaugural Industry Awards which added a great buzz to the evening (mainly I think because we were all wishing that Aiden Turner would arrive to collect the prize for best romantic television/film adaptation!) He didn’t, which is his loss as now he’ll never know how good the mini cream scones are at the Royal Over Seas League.

I was lucky enough to have a chat to Maggie Swinburne, my My Weekly Pocket Novels editor, and Liz Smith, My Weekly editor who is retiring soon. It’s always lovely to see them both and great that they travel all the way from Dundee to see us all. DC Thomson always has a family atmosphere and that shows in the lovely, warm people they employ. 

Everyone said nice things about the fact I’ve lost weight (you wouldn't know it from the picture above!). I have now lost nearly two and a half stone, with only 8lbs to go to the weight I need to be for them to finally do my hernia operation. I return to the hospital on 5th February 2016 and hope to have a date soon after that. I also hope to have lost a bit more than 3st so will have to be a bit careful over Christmas. I’ve already had a mince pie or two (or three!) but have counted them in my calories so hopefully I’ll be okay. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies!

I’m now in that strange void between novels, and it’s a place I hate being no matter how productive I’ve been all year. I have two more Bobbie Blandford books to complete, but as the publication of the third has been put back to 2016, there’s no rush at the moment. I do have a couple of ideas brewing. One Christmas story and one Western romance but the best ideas are those that keep me awake at night and/or arrive in my brain fully formed, as The Dark Marshes did last Christmas Eve. I’m guessing it’s the traditional Christmas Eve Baileys at work, so will be breaking the diet to have some in the hopes of coming up with another story that just won’t go away.


  1. It sounds as if you had a fun evening at the party, Sally. I was so sorry not to be able to join you. Congratulations on your weight loss - that's amazing! I'm green with envy. :-)

    1. Likewise, Liz, because you always look fantastic!

  2. What a great blog post, Sally - well done on all your weight loss and writing success! Lovely to see you join the Crooked Cat authors. I'm still hoping to see The Mousetrap one of these days.

    1. It's well worth it, Rosemary. I could only get the cheap seats, but it was still a joy to see a play that has become such a legend!


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