Work In Progress: 5.03 The Larkspur Legacy


I am up and running on ‘The Larkspur Legacy’, the seventh and last Larkspur Mystery, due out in spring 2023.

I’ve been working on this for some time, making notes and plotting plots while writing ‘Starting with Secrets’, so I am already up to 40,000 words. The title of ‘Starting with Secrets’ refers to the start of a great adventure, Lord Clearwater’s hunt for his mother and godmother’s great ‘treasure’ and ‘secret’, and although the story starts in book six, it is left unfinished and continues in book seven.

As usual, I’ll give away no spoilers, but I can tell you I am currently in a Falmouth shipyard inspecting a schooner barque. For my research, I have been reading books about merchant schooners, studying rigging plans, and looking up all kinds of interesting facts about sailing ships of the late 19th century. It’s a whole new world, and, more exciting for me, a whole new language. I’m also looking up what I call ‘sailor speak’ to get the terminology the sailors in my story would have used, while also looking into mysteries of the past, European travel of the time, Thomas Cook escorted tours, and other related matters.

Falmouth Harbour

Talking of spoilers, I used to outline my plots to Neil, as it is always useful to have someone to bounce ideas off. However, there is such a big twist at the end of ‘The Larkspur Legacy’, I must throw around my ideas in code, so I don’t spoil his reading for the first draft. He won’t get to see it until next year, but if I can continue at the pace I am, I should have it ready for him to beta read around February. Having said that, comparing the current word count to the basic plot outline, I am only about one-fifth of the way through. Either I will end up with a novel at 200,000 words, or I will have to cut some ideas and slash the draft when completed. ‘The Clearwater Inheritance’ came in at 150,000 words, and I am aiming for the same for ‘the Larkspur Legacy.’

You will note, perhaps, a similarity in the titles (Inheritance and Legacy). Both end a series, and both involve something left behind for another. There is always a double meaning in my titles.

I will say no more, except to remind you to take part in with my Advent quiz via my Facebook page. 26 books, 25 days, 25 chances to win a special prize soon to be announced (and it won’t be a book, but a one-off… something that only the winner will receive).

WIP Blog Seven: Towards the Last Reel

Towards the Last Reel

(And a Christmas competition)

I’m heading towards the last reel of ‘Agents of the Truth’, with the word count now at 72,000 words (draft one). Because of one thing or another, I’ve not been able to set aside as many hours per day for writing as I would like. As you might know, I also freelance for a living, and recently, a job I’d been working for several years suddenly came to an end. Not only has this left a gaping hole in the income stream, but it’s also left me looking around for a replacement job. I’ve been working up some proposals for Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, offering creative writing developmental services, and have a couple of other feelers out, but until things are back on track, I have to concentrate on finding work, while balancing the novel-writing with promotions.

So, instead of writing up to five or six thousand words per day, recently I have only been able to manage two thousand. What this has done, strangely, is make me write more slowly. I am correcting as I go. Rather than correcting a sea of red underlines at the end of a three-hour sprint, I am writing a paragraph, rereading it and making corrections and changes, and then moving on. Odd, I’ve not worked this way before.

It may be because I have the story planned in my head. I am already a few scenes in advance of myself, and, mentally, putting in the details. These often change when the fingers get to work on the keyboard, but at least I have the structure, hurdles, complications and ‘hit points’ ready for when I need them.

On which note, it’s five in the morning and I’m up early so I can do my job-hunting before I settle down to grapple with a guest appearance by a character from the Clearwater Mysteries. After that, my agent of the truth, Dalston Blaze, has another hurdle to overcome before he can move on emotionally and within what’s turning out to be a slowly building climax to a double mystery.

Talking of Dalston…

Christmas Competition with Giveaway

I’m planning to feature Dalston Blaze on the cover of a future book, but what does he look like? We already have Joe Tanner on the ‘Guardians’ cover, but how do you imagine Dalston? We know he’s six-foot, and there are a few other descriptions of him in ‘Guardians’ and ‘Keepers’, but who do you see when you read about him?

Tomorrow I will be the featured author on the fabulous M/M Euro Book Banter Facebook Page. Come over and join me and have your chance to share your image of anyone you’ve seen online who you thinks looks like Dalston.*

Do that, and you’ll be in the draw for a free eBook giveaway of ‘Agents of the Truth’ when it’s published. (Kindle or ePub version.)

Check my FaceBook page for more details.

* This may not be the person I use. I will have to license a photo/model for the cover, but it will be a bit of fun and give me a good idea of the kind of guy you’d like to see on the cover.