Still fiddling with the last minute bits and bobs: the map has been sorted, the acknowledgements are done. But the back cover blurb is still being tweaked, as is a ‘teaser’ for Book 2.

Book 2 starts 15 years after Book 1 ends. This is what I have chosen (I think):

The story continues.

Silvana – The Turning 

available 2014

Fabiom travelled on foot, for he could make better speed than with the donkey cart, yet Fairwater had never seemed so far away. It rained incessantly. The two nights it took to make the journey he passed in roadside taverns, pausing only long enough to get some sleep and dry his clothes. He ate on the move; walked, ran, walked, ran. Eventually the river widened into the estuary that led into the sea.

Set atop the highest hill, built all in white marble, the royal palace overlooked the shining city – though Fabiom had neither time nor inclination to be awed by the splendour. He went up to the palace immediately and requested an audience with Prince Ravik, even as he rinsed his hands in the red marble basin of the palace heart room.

Ravik was entertaining a diplomatic delegation from Malandel who had arrived only that day, but he left them and came to meet Fabiom in a small comfortable ante-chamber.

“Fabiom! This is a pleasant surprise. More pleasant than the other surprises I’ve had sprung on me today, for certain! There’s new trouble brewing in Gerik, I fear, or so my sources tell me. But – something’s wrong. What is it, my friend?”

“What sort of trouble?” Fabiom demanded. “I’m sorry, my lord, I forget myself. It’s just . . . no, I must know. What trouble?”

“Rebel forces are massing, even in the towns. Robstrom’s name is being spoken openly once more. There is talk of a new order, even if it must be achieved by civil war. That’s what I have heard. Now, tell me what has brought you here, Fabiom.”

Ravik had sat down and he watched Fabiom pacing towards the window, to stare down onto the city and out to the ocean beyond.

“Lesandor is in Gerik. I can’t believe, no, I don’t believe you sent him there. Yet he was given no option. He sailed from Windwood, with your youngest son.” Fabiom turned to look at his prince. “His mother fears for his safety. Gerik – Gerik could destroy him.”

The colour had drained from Ravik’s face and briefly he covered his eyes. “I know that!” he hissed. “It isn’t even my venture. Norgest has organised it. Larse his son – step-son – is in command. It’s a trading voyage. Believe me, Fabiom, there is no way I would have sent Lesandor to Gerik. He should have been on board the Spikenard, which sailed for Varlass six days ago. Raidan should be with him, I had intended them both to go to Varlass. Raidan was away in Rushford on my behalf. I sent a message to him there to go to Southernport and take ship, I told him they should go together. But why would he think that meant to Gerik?” He muttered the last, almost to himself.

Fabiom slumped down on a settle. “You may not have sent them, but please – bring Lesandor home. My lord, I’ll do anything. . . .”

“No.” Ravik held up his hand. “You need offer me nothing, Fabiom. You’re my friend. Even if you were not, I do know enough about the people of this land not to send such a one as Lesandor to Gerik.” He paused and shook his head. “Just as my sister knows it.”

Sir David Frost

I woke up this morning to the radio announcing that the renowned broadcaster Sir David Frost had died. The odd thing is, I had been thinking about him just yesterday.

I met David Frost in 1989 when he hosted the first Ian St James Awards ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London. I was fortunate enough to be among the twelve finalists and we had all been brought together for the launch of the anthology and the announcement of the overall winners. It was a wonderful lunch and the room was full of literary people and journalists. Sadly, I had no idea what a unique opportunity it was and I didn’t make the most of it. But that’s life. Lots of lessons to learn!

At the meal, I sat beside some journalist from one of the big British papers and we were chatting (or so I thought). I guess journalists, like writers, are never really ‘off-duty’. Anyway, the next day I read in the paper that I ‘obviously hadn’t needed the prize money having just returned from a round-the-world holiday’. This statement was half-true: my mother and I had just come back from a long trip around the globe. The result of which was that we were absolutely broke. The prize money was, in fact, extremely welcome!

Everyone was lovely and David Frost was charming, as I recall.

This had all come back to mind this weekend just gone as I made the final, final revision to Silvana – The Greening and began to ponder a fellow-writer’s suggestion that I could put out a short story as a freebie on Amazon, to introduce readers to the world Silvana is set in. Bronwen’s Dowry, my entry for the Ian St. James Awards all those years ago, is, in fact, set in that same world – though in a different country. However, the copyright belongs to the charitable trust set up to fund and support the awards. The awards ran for several years and, I discovered (as I did some digging), resulted in some successful, indeed award-winning, novels. But they are, sadly, no more. So, I am currently trying to track down who now owns the copyright to my story.

All the papers and details came out and, of course, all the memories were relived: champagne breakfast on the flight between Dublin and Heathrow (thank goodness for the delay in landing – there was no way we could have appreciated the luxury otherwise!) limousines, photo-shoots, autograph signings. It was a heady time. And so it was this weekend I found myself wondering what all those marvellous people – fellow authors, judges, Ian St. James and Sir David Frost – were doing today.

Rest in Peace.