So I went to a party recently and I had The Book Conversation. There’s always one.
Woman: You’re KJ, you’re the writer, yeah? I’m writing a book too.
KJ: Really, what’s it about?
Woman: Oh…well, I mean, I haven’t actually started it yet. I’m really keen to do it, but I think I need more experience of life before I start the writing.
KJ: Do you think that your stories and ideas might come now if you started actual writing? I find that I need to get down to it to see the ideas and the characters develop—
Woman [cutting that right off]: No. I definitely need to understand life more first. To have deeper experience, do you see?
KJ: Well, to be honest, I write gay paranormal Victorian romance, so I mostly use my imagination.
Woman [with just a smidge of condescension]: My book is rather different to that. A bit more weighty.
KJ [in my head]: And a lot less written.
I have had a lot of variants on this conversation. It’s my fault, of course. 95% of the time, the correct answer to the party statement ‘I’m writing a book,’ is ‘Wonderful, congratulations,’ and then nodding until you’ve finished your drink. (The perfect response is what the late great Peter Cook apparently used to say: ‘Oh, you’re writing a novel? Neither am I.’) But I love talking about writing and I tend to take what people say at face value, so I always say damn fool unwelcome things like ‘How much have you written?’ that presuppose the person is actually writing a book.
There is nothing wrong with not writing a book. Lots of people don’t write books. There’s a great deal to be said for more people not writing books, in fact, especially if I get to choose which ones. And there’s nothing wrong with liking the idea of being an author, or indulging in a bit of fantasy. I clearly spoiled my fellow partygoer’s fun by talking about writing as a thing she could do, rather than a thing that she was prevented from doing by her own artistic dedication. Sorry.
But it is a bit weird how many people seem to go from ‘I’d like to be a writer’ to ‘I’d be a writer if only I wrote’ to ‘I am a writer’. I mean, I occasionally daydream of doing a plumbing qualification and becoming vaguely competent around the house, but that doesn’t mean I tell people I’m a plumber. Still less that I would be a plumber, but I’m waiting for the Plumbing Fairy to magically turn me into a plumber with no effort on my part. (Which is what I am doing, of course.)
The problem is, basically, that people confuse ‘I want to write a book’ with ‘I want to have written a book.’
It’s fabulous if you have written a book. Congratulations! There it is, done, with all the characters worked out and the plot beautifully resolved. A huge great undeniable achievement, ready for the world to buy and read and leave 5* reviews for. Your publisher sells the foreign rights in twenty countries. There’s a movie deal. I think Michael Fassbender would be perfect for the hero, don’t you?
Writing a book, on the other hand, involves typing, swearing, getting the cat off the keyboard, junking 30K words over which you’ve wept blood because you made a stupid plotting error, your family getting annoyed you’re always writing, working for three solid hours at a stretch till your neck is killing you and discovering that you only achieved 800 words, not selling the book, and writing another one. (And a lot of good stuff too, of course—that feeling when the words are singing, the joy of bringing your characters to life, the plot clicking into place—but it is neither quick nor easy to earn the good stuff.)
I have written five published/to be published books. It’s amazing.
I am writing my sixth book now. It sucks.
I read a couple of interesting things on happy endings recently, and Valentine’s Day seemed like an appropriate time to reflect on them in a really negative way.
Romance writers and readers use HEA (‘happy ever after’) and HFN (‘happy for now’) as shorthand for endings. If a book ends with a wedding or similar level of commitment, that tends to be an HEA – obstacles conquered, commitment made. A less definite ending counts as an HFN, and may suggest a sequel might be on the cards to take our heroes/heroines to the ultimate HEA.
But, if you’ve ever actually been to a wedding, you’ll have noticed that the celebrant spends half his or her time explaining that a wedding is a beginning, not an end. It’s worth noting that 42% of marriages in England and Wales now end in divorce. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Charlie Cochrane wrote thoughtfully on whether you can give your characters a HEA with any plausibility at all in gay historical romance. Personally, I think that’s still a valid question if you take the words ‘gay historical’ out .
Basically, in any relationship, you can conquer the misunderstandings, the communication problems, the dragons/warlocks/albino monk terrorists trying to kill you, the issue that he’s a cat shifter and you’re a honey badger, whatever, and get to the point of a serious mutual commitment. But the real work starts after the thank-you notes are written/blood cleared up/novel ends. It starts as you squabble over towel choices, and get irritated, with each other’s parents, and realise that apparently you’ve tied yourself for life to someone who can’t grasp that the bins go out on Wednesday night, so you have to do it every single bloody week. Wednesday. Is that really so hard?
I was struck by an observation in this terrific post on sex scenes by Joanna Chambers.
When I re-read old and much-loved Georgette Heyer novels, I occasionally worry that the whole relationship’s going to go south as soon as the MCs try to consummate it. I loved Friday’s Child when I was 15, but now I can’t imagine Hero and Sherry having sex. (Actually, that is a lie, but I do have a vivid imagination).
I wholeheartedly disagree with this particular example (I’m convinced they’d be at it like rabbits as soon as they worked out what goes where, which in fairness might take some time because they’re both idiots). But it started me thinking about the ‘after the book’ endings, which I’ve written on previously so I’m just going to copy/paste and save effort:
Consider possibly the greatest romance ever written: These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. If you haven’t read this, a) do, and b) spoilers follow.
Avon, a really nasty dissolute 45-year-old rake, falls for Léonie, a 17-year-old spitfire. At last, he vows he will be worthy of her, and we fade out on Léonie dancing on a table, whooping up the newly discovered joys of the marital bed. Happy Ever After.
Then Heyer wrote Devil’s Cub, featuring Avon and Léonie’s grown son Dominic. Dominic is a dissolute disappointment to his parents. They have fought about him. They have been unhappy. And now Avon is an old, old man, and soon Léonie will be a widow, and even when Dominic marries the right woman, Léonie doesn’t like her. And then, even worse, there’s An Infamous Army, where we learn that Dominic’s kids are horrible and he was obviously as rotten a husband as anyone would have guessed.
I wish I’d never read the second two books. Avon and Léonie’s story should end with her dancing on the table while he laughs.
Nobody would read These Old Shades and call it an HFN ending, but it is. Avon and Léonie get their happy ever after only if we close down their story there. And that’s not just because of the two subsequent books; it’s because nobody gets a happy ending once you think beyond the big moment. People get old, and sick. They argue. They die. I don’t just dislike An Infamous Army for the above reasons; I dislike it because in its world Avon and Léonie are long dead and forgotten and nobody cares about them any more.
You know what the most HEA Heyer wrote is? A Civil Contract, where the hero spends most of the book in love with another woman, not his unwanted financial-transaction wife, and finally comes to realise that his wife is the one he wants to live with. Not a fantasy image, not a beautiful goddess, but a quietly contented partnership with the mother of his child, bobbing along. It’s the most plausible HEA she ever wrote, and the least romantic romance.
So: my name is KJ and I’m a romance author who doesn’t believe in happy ever after. I believe in happy for now. I believe in working hard for happy for now, I live in hope that you can sustain ‘now’ for a pretty long time. And I think that’s fine, actually, because ‘now’, the present moment that you’re living in, is all any of us actually have. The rest is hope.
Do you want an HEA and damn the plausibility, or will an HFN do you fine? Have at it in the comments!
I blogged about how it feels to have your first book published (conclusion: pretty cool). Second book is definitely different. Still good, but different. It’s not a novelty now; there are the ‘difficult second album’ worries over how it will compare to the first; and really, I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with blogging for it, planning publicity for my totally different third book, doing cover briefs and copy edits on the fourth book, writing the fifth one…
But there is a big new exciting experience here, and that is that Case of Possession is a sequel, and some people actually want to buy it for that reason. People have actually been waiting, many of them impatiently, to find out what happens to the characters in this book. People want to know more about my characters and be involved in the stories that previously just happened in my head. It is quite hard to convey just how that feels.
(It feels really good. Master wordsmith at work, there.)
I have a third book about those guys to finish, and I have blogged myself and probably everyone else to exhaustion this week, on rodents and romance, writing historical paranormal, secondary characters, the shady side of Victorian London, and whether sex should be real or fictional. So I think we’ll all be relieved that there’ll a bit of radio silence coming up on this blog while I do some actual book stuff. See you on the other side. Read more
(Please note, the giveaway has finished and the winners have been contacted. Thanks to everyone who participated!)
My new book A Case of Possession comes out on 28 Jan. I am pretty excited about this.
This is the sequel to The Magpie Lord, picking up four months on from the events of that book. It’s surprisingly scary bringing out a sequel (what if everyone who liked the first book thinks this is a horrific travesty of everything they held dear? What if you should have quit while you were ahead? Argh!) but so far people seem to be liking it a fair bit. Which is a relief.
In A Case of Possession, it’s a long hot summer in alt-Victorian London. Magical enforcer Stephen Day is tackling a plague of giant rats, while attempting to keep a lot of secrets, from his employers, his best friends, and his lover. Meanwhile, Lord Crane has a blackmailer to confront, a friend to protect, and a decision to make about any future with Stephen. Also, the thing with giant rats. Did I mention those?
Magic in the blood. Danger in the streets.
Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. True, Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician’s disappearing act bothers Crane more than it should. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, Crane knows a smart man would hop the first ship bound for China. But something unexpectedly stops him. His heart.
Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.
The rats are closing in, and something has to give…
I’m giving away a copy of the ebook here, see below. And I’ll be all over the place this week with guest blogs and more giveaways so here’s where you’ll be able to find me rambling on. (Or avoid me, if you prefer.)
- Interview and review at Sid Love
- Guest blog at Sid Love, 22 Jan, on rodents and romance
- Guest blog and giveaway at Joyfully Jay, 23 Jan, about writing historical paranormal
- Guest blog at The Blogger Girls, 24 Jan, on secondary characters
- Guest blog at UK Gay Romance, 27 Jan, on Victorian London, with lots of lovely pics
- Guest blog at Samhain Publishing, 28 Jan
And while you wait with rabid, barely controllable impatience (or total indifference, whichever) for 28 January, do pick up Interlude with Tattoos, a free short story, which happens between The Magpie Lord and A Case of Possession.
OK, that’s the promo done. Thank you for your patience, and enjoy the book!
I’m giving away an electronic copy of A Case of Possession. Just comment below to enter. (If you’re reading this on Goodreads, please comment on my blog at kjcharleswriter.wordpress.com, or I might miss you.)
- To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest. Contest closes 7 pm GMT on 27 January 2014
- By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number.
- You must leave a valid email address in the “Email” portion of the comment form.
- If you win, please respect my intellectual property and don’t make copies of the ebook for anyone else.
- This contest is open worldwide, ebooks are available in the usual formats (epub, mobi etc).
In honour of my son’s fifth birthday the other day, I present a Parenting Metaphor. (This really is a post about writing, not a kiddy blog. Bear with me.)
My son was born 17 months after my daughter, and as parents of ‘two under two’ will know, this is a bad time. I recall my husband coming home to find me sitting on the floor, crying, holding a crying baby and a crying toddler who had just wet herself copiously over her brother, me, and the floor. (Which is what we were all crying about.) It was not good. So I called my friend Natalie, who speaks wisdom.
KJ [wails about disastrous house, empty cupboards, nappies, failed breastfeeding, unsleeping children] I just don’t know how you’re supposed to DO everything! How do I do it?
Natalie [audible shrug]: Lower your standards.
This is, quite seriously, the best advice I have ever received.
‘Lower your standards’ doesn’t mean ‘leave the child in a dirty nappy while you go to the pub’, of course. It means that you turn ‘playing educationally with your spotless children in an impeccable house while a casserole cooks’ into ‘playing with your children’,
and the hell with the rest. It means you get the important stuff right. The rest of it can always be done later, when you have time – and if you never have time, that’s probably because it wasn’t really important. Pick it up if it starts to smell.
‘Lower your standards’ got me through early parenthood. The house did not fall down, nobody got cholera, the kids survived and so did we. We lowered our standards, and cleared up later, and you know what, it’s worked out pretty well.
And ‘lower your standards’ is also excellent advice for your difficult first draft. (Subject to deciding that it’s worth writing at all.)
- Forget that blasted descriptive passage. If you need it, it will come, later. If you don’t, aren’t you glad you stopped trying to write it now?
- Conversation not working, but you know where it needs to go? Force it. Leave a space if you have to. Don’t get bogged down. If it’s really where the book is going, it’ll come to you, and you’ll probably find out what your characters wanted to get at in fifty pages’ time. It doesn’t have to be perfected now. It will probably change anyway.
- Realised you want to do a thing which requires going back and seeding all the way through the last fifty pages? Make a note, and do it later. Don’t go back and fiddle and overwrite. You can do that forever.
- Your Edwardian heroes are on a train to Berlin and you need to find out the name of a station they stop at on the way? If it’s not plot-shapingly crucial, just put [STATION] in the MS and do it later. Do not break your writing flow to mess about with 1904 Continental railway timetables. (I’m talking to you here, KJ.)
- Your subconscious will work with you, but it needs something to work on. If you just get the full story nailed, I guarantee that the little character notes and pertinent descriptions and seemingly trivial vital details will sing out on second draft. Like careers, manuscripts make most sense with hindsight.
Of course, your standards need to shoot back up in the second draft, when you remove the awkward transitions, and see, in the glorious light of a completed story, why that scene didn’t work and this conversation doesn’t flow. That’s the point where you start to get it all right. And when it comes to editing stage, your standards should be those of the Tiger Mother from Hell. Your finished book should be as perfect as you hope your finished offspring will be. (Hahahaha.)
But in the baby-and-toddler period, sometimes you just need to concentrate on keeping the damn thing alive.
Do you agree? Disagree? Are your standards too low even to engage with this conversation? Let me know!
The Victorians loved magic in their books, so much so that Victorian literature has shaped how we read and think about fantasy and the paranormal today. William Hope Hodgson invented the occult detective and cosmic horror, Bram Stoker brought the modern vampire into being with Dracula, and the massively best-selling The Sorrows of Satan pits the Prince of Darkness against the first and worst Mary Sue in literature. (Spoiler: he loses. I’ve written about this book, the Victorian Twilight, elsewhere, so I will just say here that I’m not taking any responsibility for anyone incautious enough to read it.)
But there’s something very special about Victorian fantasy, which is the way magic exists through – in fact, is – science. Dr Frankenstein births his creature as a scientific experiment. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is based round the discovery of a personality-splitting chemical formula. Trilby, one of the few books to inspire a hat, uses hypnotism as a means of forcing someone into international stardom and sexual thraldom (which is way more interesting than making a student think he’s a chicken).
Arthur C Clarke famously said, ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ In Victorian England, most of the technology must have seemed like that. Trains could go so fast, passengers might suffocate! The air was full of tiny invisible killing machines that caused diseases! You could turn on a switch and make light! Words could fly through empty air, without wires, and come out on paper or even as sound! So why shouldn’t there be other amazing things out there too?
In the Victorian era, ‘animal magnetism’ was widely recognised as a universal principle of something through which everything in the universe is interconnected. The – I’m not sure of the word here, discoverer or inventor or simply ‘guy who made it up’ – was Franz Mesmer (as in mesmerism). He called it a ‘universal fluid’, and a lot of people believed in it. The magnificently named Baron von Reichenbach propounded a similar underlying principle of the universe, a force that a small proportion of individuals could control, with a light side and a dark side. He called it ‘Odic Force’. (If backwards he talked, know I do not.) And Thomas Edison – yes, that Thomas Edison – was sufficiently convinced by his version of a mysterious undetectable force carrying power through the air that he even drafted a patent for an ‘etheric telegraph’.
I went with Edison. In my Victorian England, it’s called etheric force, and it carries magic. I’m sure Baron von Yoda would have approved.
Find out how that works in The Magpie Lord, out now. The sequel A Case of Possession comes out on 28 January and I’ll be running a giveaway in a few days. A free short story, Interlude with Tattoos, set between books 1 and 2, is available now from Smashwords.
Oh, and incidentally, The Magpie Lord got some votes in the Goodreads Members Choice Awards. Thank you if yours was one!
In my last blog I mentioned the editorial definition of ‘tweak’.
Tweak: A change to a book. May be the alteration of a comma to a semi-colon. May involve identifying a huge timeline flaw and swapping scenes according, bringing a character back from the dead, and changing the ending.
However, sometimes tweaking isn’t enough.
- When you decide, after 30,000 words, that you’ve used the wrong main character, and the plot is actually someone else’s story…
- When your plot for book 3 of a series would, you realise, utterly torpedo everything you’ve achieved in books 1 and 2 and/or banjax any hope of a book 4…
- When you realise, after 30,000 words, that you have no idea at all where you’re going with this / you dislike your characters intensely / you’ve used POV that now mean you cannot tell a crucial part of the story except in an extended two-chapter flashback narrated by a minor character…
- When it turns out your carefully worked-out plot that means none of the above will happen is as inert as a fish on a slab…
- When every writing session is like wading through cold treacle and you have so many other things you want to write instead…
If you’re hoping for advice on what to do in these circumstances, you’ve probably come to the wrong shop, because I have no idea what’s wrong with your MS and I have enough trouble with mine. But here’s a few thoughts.
Is it really that bad? ‘Just get on and write it’ is good advice in some circumstances. Sometimes pages carved out of granite by your teeth will end up reading exactly like the sparkling pages that flow effortlessly from your dancing fingers. But if you have a long-lasting sinking feeling that it’s not working, it probably isn’t, and ‘just write’ may mean ‘just waste more time on this dirge’. So you need a brutally honest beta reader or crit partner that you can trust to say, ‘Mate, this is just not that good.’ That way you can believe them in the unlikely event they tell you it’s great. (They won’t. It sucks. Sorry.) It is very hard to be that beta reader, and if you have one, take them out to dinner or something and assure them you still love them. You should.
Is some of the basic structure salvageable? Can you cut it back to chapter three and start again from there? Kill that subplot that’s slowing it down? Drop the whole plot strand that’s taking your characters to a really stupid place and take the book in a totally different direction, from early on? Is this like a badly pruned tree that needs cutting back to the trunk to make it grow properly, or like a child’s self-inflicted haircut that requires a shaved head?
Can you strip it down for spares? It may be that some of those lovely chunks of dialogue and scenes will fit seamlessly into a revised version. Junking 30K words is less painful if 10K of them can be salvaged. However, the key word is seamlessly, not ‘stitched together like a minor villain from Hellraiser’. Be ready to let go.
Is this coyote ugly? Which is to say, do you need to chew off a limb in order to escape? Do you need to jettison the whole damn thing and start again with new story, characters, setting, genre and possibly author name? If this is or may be the case, do not be tempted to fiddle. Don’t tweak, don’t tinker, don’t twerk; don’t strip it down for spare parts; don’t try retelling it from a different perspective with a completely different ya di ya; absolutely don’t be tempted to think that you have to keep writing this one book because you’ve put so much time into it. That’s a sunk cost. Future time is the only time that counts.
KJ Charles has junked much and restructured more, but is finally past the 30K word mark and I swear to God it’s working now. Commiserate or argue in the comments!
Regular readers will know that I am both an editor and a writer. I have spent eighteen years tweaking* people’s manuscripts. (* See Glossary.) However, I am a novice at being edited, and I have just had my first major line-editing experience. Imagine a desolate post-nuclear wasteland of shattered buildings and shambling undead. Then imagine that’s your MS after the copy editor’s comments.
It’s very easy to do things as you write that look ridiculous once pointed out. The following are all real examples (many of them mine but not all, and keeping anonymous to avoid embarrassment), but shouldn’t be taken to suggest a lazy or a sloppy author. People are very quick to call mistakes ‘sloppy’, and sometimes that’s fair, but very often errors are the result of an author concentrating on one element, usually the story or a dramatic effect, and thus simply not noticing another. And because the author’s focus is elsewhere, these things are surprisingly hard to spot…until the book is printed, at which point they become glaringly obvious to everyone.
- If your big dramatic chase scene begins on a Saturday night, your character really won’t be fighting her way through crowds of early office workers as dawn rises the next day, no matter how filmic that is.
- If your character is going to point a gun at someone, it really helps if you give the poor sod a gun in the first place.
- A bald character should not run his hands through his hair, even when upset.
- ‘Good morning’ actually means ‘Good morning’ rather than ‘Standard Greeting’ and thus should not be used by characters who had lunch hours ago.
- If you have an arm round your son at a football match, and you also have your arms in the air, your son needs to put some weight on.
It is possible to feel like a total idiot when the copy editor points these things out (for good reason). It is also a pretty damned hard job for an editor to comment on these things without sounding like a patronising teacher from hell. (‘She appears to have three pairs of shoes and five changes of outfit in a “small handbag”, p.93. Consider revising.’ ‘Unfortunately the character’s name is also the name of a brand of personal lubricant.’ ‘As a brontosaurus femur is quite a lot larger than a human femur, I’m not sure this confusion is likely to arise.’ Etc.)
However, speaking from both sides, as the editor shouting, ‘For God’s sake!’ at the screen and the author curling up and dying at the sea of red, the following are useful touchstones:
- The question is not ‘have I missed anything?’ but ‘what have I missed?’
- There is no shame in making mistakes. The shame lies in being too proud, too touchy or too lazy to fix them.
- An editor should never be soft on the MS, but she should be gentle to the author, because this stuff really stings.
- An author who can’t take editing is an author who will never improve.
- Sometimes the editor is wrong: she doesn’t get the author’s style, or jokes. Sometimes editors make mistakes. Have ‘the editor is probably right’ as your default assumption, but don’t be afraid to discuss or query. You might both learn something.
- Being edited is temporary. Mistakes in a published book are forever.
A quick editing glossary for novices
Tweak: A change to a book. May be the alteration of a comma to a semi-colon. May involve identifying a huge timeline flaw and swapping scenes according, bringing a character back from the dead, and changing the ending.
Echo: Stop using this word. Stop. Using. This. Word.
A little convoluted: Reads like it was translated from the Korean by Babelfish
Rather convoluted: I don’t know what this passage means.
Very convoluted: Nobody knows what this passage means.
The writing is strong enough not to need [ellipses/exclamation marks/adverbs]: Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. Now never do that again.
Comments, thoughts and examples of comedy bloopers are very welcome!
I’m off on my holidays shortly, so normal service will be resumed in mid January, when I’ll be getting all excited about my (impeccably edited) second book A Case of Possession coming out. The first review is in…
I have no words this week due to Extreme Writing of Book, so here are some pictures: a few of my all time favourite book covers, lovingly curated for you.
It’s very hard to make a good book cover, and very easy to mock a bad one. Sometimes a group of talented people with the best intentions can produce a disastrous cover more or less by committee. And then there’s the other reasons covers go wrong…
This one is deservedly famous. Go on, have a look, see if you can spot what’s wrong with it. I’ll leave a space for scrolling:
Count her hands.
This one…I don’t know how this one happened. It looks OK at first glance, but just try to work out how the lion’s leg got there. Then try to find its body:
Sometimes people fail to think through the implications.
Yes, yes, the title probably didn’t mean that to most people back in the day. Although, the impressively phallic lighthouse suggests the cover artist was, at least, channelling Freud.
This is just obviously wrong:
And this is just obviously even wronger:
(Yes, I look at a lot of Tarzan pulp covers. Your point?)
Sometimes the whole project is … poorly conceived.
I really want to do a movie updating of this. We could call it Dude, Where’s My Skull?
The tagline really helps this. ‘The Man They Couldn’t Kill’ plus ‘Lady, That’s My Skull’ adds up to an incredible Clive Barker horror of a revenant PI with an unpleasantly floppy head, determined to retrieve his own cranium before his brain falls out. Sadly, this is not actually the plot.
OK, you need to brace for the next one, this is weird. Assume crash position. Even better, assume foetal position.
And sometimes it was the 70s.
Got any favourite covers to add? Share them in the comments!
I’m slightly stunned to have picked up a few nominations in the Goodreads M/M Romance Members Choice Awards 2013. And when I say a few, I mean that The Magpie Lord has been nominated in eight categories, which has left me completely thrilled. Including this:
…and this, which may be the best award I have ever been nominated for:
It’s also been nominated for the fantastic cover by Lou Harper. As well it might be.
And The Caldwell Ghost and Butterflies have both been nominated for Best Short Story! (You can judge Butterflies for yourself for free.)
Voting is open to anyone, not just group members, so if you fancy voting, either for me (well, duh) or for any of the many terrific books on the list, here’s the link.
Thank you for your patience, we return to our regularly scheduled yattering about books and stuff next time.