I don’t get as much time as I would like these days to read and write poetry, which is a shame. After all, it is only because I started attending poetry workshops with Roddy Lumsden that I ended up writing for a living. I suppose that makes Roddy and all the other poets I met in the workshops sort of honorary god-parents to Harriet and Crowther. Now and them though I get tempted back to poetry, normally when I get offered biscuits or the opportunity to write about them.

Amy Key and Charlotte Runcie have but together a pop-up poetry collection of cakes, chocolate chips and baking in general and I’ve got a poem there today. Whatever you think of my contribution, I promise there are lots of sweet treats to be found on their site. Here is the link.



I’ve blogged about one of the inspirations of Circle of Shadows, the remarkable Count Cagliostro, on The History Girls Blog this week.

Not short of news on the writing front either.

On Thursday I’m at the very fancy shindig for the CWA Dagger Awards. I’m on the shortlist for the Dagger in the Library, which is wonderful. I don’t think I’ve much chance of winning it frankly, but it’ll be a great party.

This weekend, 7th July, I’m at the West Meon Festival of Books with Frank Bernard and Seth Hunter talking about Historical Fiction.

Then next weekend I’m talking 18th century murder during the Kelmarsh Festival of History. You can find details of the different talks here.

So now I can settle down to the edits on the latest novel then start my reading for the next which will be another Harriet and Crowther mystery. Only I keep getting distracted when I spot my new wedding ring…


I’ve been having a busy time recently. I finished the draft of my standalone novel in May, then launched into a month of wedding planning. Having claimed for years that if I ever got married, I would elope I ended up with three weddings. Ned and I had our legal marriage on a Friday, then our ring ceremony on a wonderful farm in Sussex on the Saturday, then the following week we had a party in my home town, Darlington, for all our friends and family up North. It was all wonderful. I missed my aunt though, a wonderful woman who died just a fortnight before our celebrations began. She was much in our thoughts. My grandmother also passed away the previous month at the age of 103. I don’t normally write about the personal here, but I owe some explanation for the long silence.

Ned and I managed the wedding at Sussex ourselves and were very touched by the huge amount of work our friends put in to make the day such a success, from our friends who sang and read for us at the ceremony, and conducted it, to the wonderful flowers, to the wine buying trip to France, to the friends who persuaded me into various frocks for the occasion and travelled from far and wide to join us. Then of course there was our family who we kept busy hanging bunting, making salads and shifting huge quantities of wine about the place. We feel very blessed.

Crime Squad

I’m delighted to be author of the month over at Crime Squad at the moment. Lots of stuff about the background to Circle of Shadows and a very generous review too. What charming people.

And here, just because, is a picture from Splendor Solis; and alchemical text in the British Library and one of the books Harriet consults in Circle. Clicking on it will take you to the full record with lots more images.

A rainy publication day today for Circle! We had a launch party at the lovely Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court on Tuesday night and the weather managed to stay dry then, thank goodness. Launch parties are rather like weddings (so I’m told, I’ll have a chance to confirm that later this year), in that you are surrounded by a whole bunch of people you really like from many different stages in your life, and you hardly get a chance to talk to any of them! Still it was great fun, I’m glad Circle got a good welcome into the world and I was left feeling very warm and fuzzy about the whole business of being a writer and getting published. It’s certainly the best way of making a living I’ve discovered so far.

If you’d like a signed first edition of the book , you can order one from Goldsboro. Now it’s time to cross my fingers and hope for friendly reviews while getting on with the next book.

Bells of Hope

Roddy Lumsden had been a friend, teacher and inspiration to me and many others for years now. The Bells of Hope is his new book from the wonderful Penned in the Margins, and there is no better way to spend a Friday evening than in the company of these fantastic poems. Highly recommended.