Friday, 26 October 2012

SFFS snippet

This is my first snippet for SFFS - I hope it is of at least some interest.
This is an extract from Sorrel Snowbound, the sequel to my current published novel, Sorrel in Scarlet. Snowbound is still a long way from completion, but this is a short section from what is currently chapter nine. Our heroine, Sorrel is in a railway yard - and she has heard something moving in the darkness...
Luck is a fickle, untrustworthy lover. Give him half a chance and he'll abandon you for another woman. This had to be a case in point. I had very little doubt just what was groffling along the wall towards me - it was almost certainly shaggy, with big, soulful eyes, four short, rather comical legs, and a head with a long, slightly prehensile snout. Oh, and lots and lots of teeth and hunger. How many stations bother to have a balehound on guard duty? I suppose if your sidings regularly contain wealth and riches then it might be worth it, but that had to be a rarity. Galdoren didn't strike me as an affluent town, where expensive goods might be left in wagons overnight. Which meant that Master Luck had decided to dump me. If I ever got my hands on his new woman, I'd scratch her eyes out.

Comments and thoughts welcomed!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Not the triplane I intended

 Years ago, while writing Sorrel in Scarlet, I joked to Janet that if I ever got published, I should get an author photo taken with a triplane.
As the book progressed, I bought myself a Revell plastic kit of a Sopwith Triplane, and a Poser CGI triplane which was also a Sopwith. These two fixed the image in my mind that Sorrel's aeroplane was of that form.

So, as I prepared to release the book upon an unsuspecting world, I decided to get myself a photo with a Sopwith Tripe. A few moments with Google confirmed that the Shuttleworth Collection, less than an hour's drive away, owned a beautiful example (a replica, but still a perfect specimen). And so, this morning, we had the first free day for us to have a family trip to Shuttleworth.

To my surprise, as we neared the aerodrome, it became clear that today was an Air Day, and that the aeroplanes would be flying. I hadn't looked at the Shuttleworth webpage carefully, and hadn't expected this. Worse still, as we arrived, I saw the Triplane itself being wheeled away into the distance.


I eventually found that it had been parked at the far end of the aerodrome, well away from anywhere that mere mortals could get to. My chances of getting photographed with it had just become approximately nil.

All right, so the compensation was to see the aeroplane flying, but that wasn't the objective.
On the other hand, the aeroplane in the book is simply a triplane. Not expressly a Sopwith one, notwithstanding my mental image. And the Shuttleworth Collection has two triplanes.


The second is an Avro Triplane, originally built in 1911 - again, Shuttleworth's version is a replica, built for the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. It was still in its hangar, almost in solitary state as the other 'planes were being wheeled out - we jumped at the opportunity, and gained a photograph of yours truly.

As we waited for the airshow, Janet spotted a young woman in modern green coveralls... with a badge describing her as a pilot. I managed to snatch a few words with her. She was Clare Tector, and she confirmed she would be flying the Shuttleworth DH60 Moth, in full period pilot garb. The chance of a photograph of a female pilot so attired was too good to miss - she generously agreed to pose for a photo after she had flown.
Her flying was impressive, the aeroplane handling magnificently.The Moth is the predecessor to the Tiger Moth, a two seat trainer still commonly flying and in use - Clare confirmed that the Moth, despite being an older airframe, actually flies better than its descendant.

Afterwards, she kindly let us photograph her, even holding a copy of my book. I think she was rather shocked that the novel begins with an aeroplane crash - she said she was glad she hadn't known that before she flew. I hope I haven't traumatised her, and I am extremely grateful to her for her generosity and willingness to be photographed.

Expect to see more about Shuttleworth, triplanes and pilots in future posts.