Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Police sex loophole closed

The legal loophole that allowed British undercover police officers to sleep with their targets, or those close to them, is to be closed under a new code of ethics, according to this story on the BBC website.

This is good news for anyone who found themselves on the wrong side of the sheets during an undercover police operation, through very little fault of their own.  However, it's bad news for me because it was this very loophole that formed the basis of the plot in Necessity's Door.  I felt I could get away with using it because it was such a grey area.  Officers who slid into temptation whilst working undercover could always claim it was aiding their cover.  They weren't, technically, breaking the law.  Which meant that although my hero Jake sailed pretty close to the wind, he never became a criminal. 

That won't be the case any more.  I won't be able to use the idea in any follow-ons, sequels, or future stories, because if this new code comes in, it'll be quite clear that officers who sleep with their targets are in breach of the rules.  Of course, the police are as human as the rest of us, and it's always possible one or two will still bend those rules.  But if they do, they'll no longer have immunity from prosecution.   The change in law will clear up that whole grey area.

Less confusing all round, even if it does take away the fodder for future stories...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book launch with a difference

On Sunday we had a rare treat - a trip out to a stately home to celebrate the launch of local author Deborah Swift's latest novel.

Unlike previous events I've attended, this was very much not an official Book Launch (capital B, capital L) with the author 'on duty' and umpteen representatives from the publisher scattered about.  Deborah did read from the book, and a lady from Macmillan came along from the ride, but apart from that it was more a gathering of family and friends, to celebrate an exciting new arrival.  In fact, it had more in common with a christening than a launch!

Deborah writes historical romance, concentrating on everyday folk rather than the kings and queens so beloved of other writers in the genre like Jean Plaidy or Phillipa Gregory.  So it was entirely appropriate that she'd hired a local 'Big House', Leighton Hall, for the afternoon.  The Hall isn't one of those grand stately piles so beloved of the National Trust, where vast echoing spaces are roped off, so the visiting hordes can 'ooh' and 'ahh' from a safe distance.  Instead this is a family home, occupied in one form or other, by one family or another, for over eight hundred years.  The most recent owners are the Gillow family, famous for furniture manufacture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who have turned the place into a comfortable, welcoming home stuffed with interesting examples of their work.  Because of this, and a memorably entertaining guide called Pam, the tour was fascinating.

After that we trooped into the Music Room for a reading from Deborah's novel, A Divided Inheritance, a seventeenth century romp involving feisty heroines and wicked cousins.  Although historical romance isn't really my cup of tea, the reading was light-hearted and entertaining, and felt very much at home in a cosy room with a real log fire blazing on the grate.

And after that, we all trooped off again, this time to the restaurant for a free (and groaningly generous) afternoon tea.  Scones, jam, cream, sandwiches, cake... what more could a girl ask for?

We had to leave early as Dave was heading for Manchester airport later in the evening, to try to beat the incoming Great Storm of St Jude.  (He made it to Manchester okay, but the flight's another story.)  So I missed Deborah's second reading involving wicked Cousin Zachary.

All in all, though, this was a lovely afternoon with friendly people in a beautiful setting, and something I'll be remembering if I ever get to do a book launch of my own.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wet weekend away

We've just got back from a long weekend away in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales - Swaledale, to be precise.

Dave walked through here on his marathon Coast to Coast slog, and liked it so much he wanted to take me back to the area to show me some of the sights.  Which might have worked really well if the weather had been kind enough to let us see the sights...  It started raining the minute we crossed the Yorkshire border, and carried on raining almost without a break until we crossed back over the Cumbrian border on Sunday, coming home.  When it wasn't actually raining, it was thick fog or thunderstorms, sometimes all at once. 

We never did see much of the scenery, but we had a lovely time anyway.  On Saturday morning we sloshed round the quaint old town of Richmond, then in the afternoon it cleared up just long enough to allow a brief walk onto the moors at the back of the village where we were staying.  The terrain is fascinating - full of industrial archaeology from centuries of lead mining, as well as even more ancient features including earthworks and hill forts.  And grouse.  There are lots and lots of grouse, comical birds which flap off into the undergrowth, squawking, at the least sign of danger.

On Saturday evening we ate in a pub in the village of Reeth, unofficial 'capital' of Swaledale, which watching thunderstorms sweep across the hills.

By Sunday it was pouring again, and although we'd hoped to cross over into Wensleydale to have a look at that, there really didn't seem to be much point.  We came home early, and arrived with gritted teeth in glorious sunshine.  The picture above shows the sort of stunning scenery we might have seen if we could have.  We've already decided to go back and have another go some time next year.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Special offers

To celebrate their second anniversary, Riptide Publishing are running all sorts of deals and special offers throughout October, so keep your eyes peeled.

Both my books are included.  Necessity's Door will be available at a massive 40% off catalogue price, for one week only, between 6-12 October, whilst Gleams of a Remoter World will only cost $3.99, also for one week only, between 20-26 October.

I'll post reminders a little nearer the relevant times, but you might want to stick the dates in your diaries if you don't want to miss out on these great discounts.