Category Archives: Jan Edwards

Call of the Duvet :Authors Electric #authorselectric #drwho

My latest blog now up on Authors Electric:

Call of the Duvet by Jan Edwards

It is that time of year when some of us would much prefer to hibernate. Once new year celebrations are over (in the UK at least) there are two months of cold and damp to look forward to – and I am a summer girl. …

To read the rest go to Authors Electric  HERE

 

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Ash Wednesday (extract from Sussex Tales (c) )

Ash Wednesday  by Jan Edwards

I slowed by the small shaw that separated our lane from the main farm road,  dropped my bike on the verge and surveyed the woodland’s edge. Fortunately for me this section of frith[1] had yet to be cleared and there were plenty of saplings to be raided. I jumped across the ditch and grabbed onto a young ash standing proud from the mass. It took only a moment or two to select a couple of growing tips; slender and smooth and grey, their foliage still encased in cool black buds that looked for all the world like the hooves of tiny goats.

I tucked both sprigs into my bag and knotted the string carefully. Losing them was not an option. It was Ash Wednesday, when every Sussex school child would arrive at the gates armed with the Ash. These short lengths of twig were transient in extreme but essential for surviving the day. Those lacking Ash could expect to suffer pinched arms and stamped-on feet by all that noticed their error. And with playgrounds being what they were that would be every student on the premises before the first bell rang. Like an injured wildebeest they would become prey to the pack and it had been known for the ashless to scaddle[2] off rather than suffer their fate. A few short hours after this the Ash would become unlucky sticks that needed to be discarded as close to midday as lessons allowed. To be caught with Ash by the dinner break would result in a fresh orgy of violence. Being opposed to pain, on the whole, I went to great lengths to prove my solidarity with tradition.

I arrived at Sawyers Common to Haltwood Primary School fifteen minutes before the bell and made for the cloakroom to change my welly boots for school browns. The cloakroom smelled, as it always did, of old socks and wet coats, with a faint undertone of farmyard, but it was warm and I lingered for a few minutes, taking extra care over my shoelaces before retrieving my precious ash twigs.

I tucked one into the top of my sock, making sure it was both well secured and prominently displayed. Thievery was not unknown, either by stealth or overt mugging. The wise and windy would always carry a spare and I shoved into my pocket as an emergency backup and headed for the playground.

Voices raised in chanting, accompanied by the rhythmic slap of rope against tarmac, told me that Angie Cartwright’s skipping corner was already up and running. I considered joining in, except for the fact that Angie was a villager, and though we bore no personal grudges, each of us knew that Villagers and Commoners did not mix. It was an ancient rule; never voiced but always obeyed. Nobody quite knew why.

Half way down the steps when Bobby Fuller issued me the challenge.

‘Ash,’ he called. ‘Ash or bash!’

I turned my leg awkwardly to display the twig. ‘Got mine,’ I said loudly. ‘Have you?’

‘’Course,’ He replied. ‘Peter Marshall hasn’t though. Adam Garton dead legged ‘im.’ He grinned at me. ‘Got yer marbles?’

I shook my head. Marbles season always saw the boys in a frenzy. Marbles were a serious business but I hadn’t the stomach for their fierce tournaments that would carry on until Easter and which were the basis for many a grazed knee, bruised arm or worse. Bobby shrugged and moved off to join the kneeling gaggle of gamers.

I looked around for a sign of the unfortunate Peter. I would add my time-honoured blow to Ash if a victim was under my nose but I didn’t seek them out. Bobby was a real bully, as was Adam. I was glad that both kept contact with me down to taunts about my size. They left me alone because Len was a Scout patrol leader, and Len was a lot bigger than either of them. It was small change as bullying went. I ignored them and they ignored me and all was good.

‘’llo Sue.’

I turned to see my best friend, Linda, crouching half way down the steps. ‘H’lo Lin. You got yours then?’ I said, striding up to her and pointing at my ash twig.

Linda glanced about her nervously. ‘Fer’got,’ she whispered.

I drew an exaggerated breath, slapped my left hand over my mouth in mock horror, and reached my right hand into my pocket to tweak the spare ash tip into her palm. It was the same smooth grey, starkly marked with far fewer matt-black buds and far smaller than the piece I had kept myself, but was Ash, nevertheless.

She curled her fingers over it like a slow gin trap. ‘Ooh, thanks, Sue.’ She bent quickly and slid the twig into her sock before flinging both arms around me. ‘I was thinkin’ I were a deader there, then.’

‘S’alright,’ I said. ‘Got yer rope?’

‘Yer ‘tis.’ Linda shook out her tangle of clothes line, tied one end to the fence and played the rest out across the tarmac. ‘You first,’ she said, a sure sign of her gratitude when the owner always had first dibs. She began to turn the rope, slowly at first with exaggerated wind-milling of her right arm. The cord billowed into a flowing arc, and slapped the ground, lightly at first, steadily building to the air-cracking rhythm required for serious play.

Another Commoner wandered across to stand expectantly next to Linda. ‘Can I join?’ she asked.

‘If’n you turn first, Mags.’ Linda handed over the cord-end without further comment and went to stand opposite me. As if by arrangement three more girls drifted up. One untied the tethered end and the rope suddenly turned easier for being guided by human hands. The lines of waiting girls swelled to four a side, all watching the rope, each gauging the speed with a practised eye, each one a paid-up expert on the unwritten physics of the skipping-rope.

I bent down to push my ash twig further into my sock, and grinned as Linda mirrored my movement.

‘Teddy bear on three,’ I shouted, ‘One… Two…  THREE!’

We leapt into the rope’s blurred ellipse and began to skip and mime, whilst the assembled girls chanted.

[1] Frith – young undergrowth
[2] Scaddle – To play truant

Extract from Sussex Tales (c)  available in paper and kindle formats

 

2018 Plans and Resolutions: Patricia M Osborne and Jan Edwards. @PMOsborne @Jancoledwards

On Writing for 2018 #books #crimefiction #janedwards  (my piece comes up after Pat Osbourne’s thoughts)

BookLoverWorm

Today I am thrilled to have posts from Patricia M Osborne and Jan Edwards. Both have written quite different, but unique posts that I hope you’ll enjoy.

What does 2018 have in store for me? – Patricia M Osborne

As 2017 comes to an end, what lies ahead for me as a writer in 2018?
On March 4th, I shall attend my first book fair in Worthing at the UK Southern Book Show. Here I’ll be joined by many other writers of varied genres. I expect the day to be more about networking with other authors than selling books but of course I hope to sell a few of them too.

Around late spring, early summer, my plan is to release my work in progress, The Coal Miners Son, the next book in line to my debut novel, House of Grace, A Family Saga. The Coal Miners Son may be…

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Misha Herwin’s Shadows on the Grass

via Shadows On The Grass by @MishaHerwin #LaunchDay #BookReview @penkhullpress

2017 Round-up

Here we are with the usual round-up for the year.

winter-downs-cover-by-jan-edwardsMoving house took up a great deal of 2017 so my output was not what it might have been but by far the biggest event was the launch of my crime novel, Winter Downs. My maiden voyage into crime fiction at novel length.  Winter Downs is a golden age crime set in January of 1940 where a body is found on the snow-covered Sussex Downs.

In the realms of short fiction ‘Taste of Culture’,  was reprinted in In the Footsteps of Dracula, Pegasus publishing. ISBN 978-1681775340 (First appeared in The Mammoth Book of Dracula 1997.)

I was lucky enough to have two Sherlock Holmes stories in print this year,

‘Curious Case of the Sweating Horse’, MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories VII: Eliminate the Impossible: 1880-1891, MX Publishing, ISBN: 978-1787052024

‘The Curious Case of Mr Marconi’, MX Sherlock Holmes VI, MX Publishing,  ISBN 978-1787050877

Also this year, after many delays and problems, saw the production and publication of Dr Who script, which I wrote along with Sam Stone, Debbie Bennett, Raven Dane, Suzanne Barbieri and David Howe.  The Daemons of Devil’s End, DVD, Reel Time Pictures 2017 ASIN: B06XPHPZG6

This is a 3 disc set. One disc has the film itself, a reprise of the White Witch, Olive Hawthorne character from the 1970s Dr Who story arc of The Daemons; played then and now by the inimitable Damaris Hayman. The other discs are interviews and extras. A must for any Whovian!

Also out this year is the anthology written by myself, Sam Stone, Debbie Bennett, Raven Dane, Suzanne Barbieri and David Howe which retell the DVD action as short stories.

There are two editions:

‘The Poppet’, The Daemons of Devil’s End, Telos Press, 2017,  ISBN: 978-1845839703
which is available from all the usual retailers, and  ‘The Poppet’, Olive Hawthorne and the Daemons of Devil’s End, Special edition 2017, ISBN: 978-1845839697 which is only available from  Telos Press . The special edition has been produced in the same style as the old Target books of the 1970s and contains stills from the original Dr Who sets not previously available.

That is about it for this year. 2018 will see the arrival of the second Bunch Courtney crime novel provisionally titled In Her Defence, plus a few projects that are still too hush-hush to mention as yet! Also with an editing hat on the much awaited weird/horror anthology from Alchemy Press.

Until then it just remains for me to wish you all a Happy Solstice, Good Yule, Merry Christmas and a truly prosperous New Year!

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Good Yule!

xmas card

Authors Electric December blog – Resolutions

My Authors Electric blog for December is up!

“As this is the last of my AE blogs for 2017, I have been casting around for a suitable topic to sum up the past 12 months.  New year resolutions sprang to mind but they can be such a mine field when you make your own choice a matter of public record.”

Read the rest of this blog at Authors Electric.