In January I planned my working year, as one does, full of enthusiasm. I had an agent who was confident my 'breakthrough book' would sell, and I dreamed about seeing my work in mass market paperback. Now it's autumn, the tag end of the year approaching, my book has not been taken up and I was beginning to feel somewhat downhearted.
Then a friend told me to look at what I had achieved not what I hadn't. Excellent advice, especially for writers. This year four large print books have already appeared plus two My Weekly Pocket Novels and Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley, a Jane Austen-esque retelling. There is another Robert Hale book coming out next month and two further novellas. All my recently published work is available on www.regencyreads.com and every month I receive a satisfying amount of dollars in my PayPal account. Lord Atherton's Ward is the latest of these, although A Mistaken Identity will be up there soon.
The orchard is full of apples and pears, there was a bumper crop of plums and greengages and our vines are dripping with grapes. I've made more than 60 pots of jam, jelly and chutney so far this year. As you can see, I might not have achieved my original goal, but the year has been fruitful.
I came across this 19th century recipe for preserving grapes, it sounds delicious. I'm wondering if I should attempt it.
"Take close bunches, whether white or red, not too ripe, and lay them in a jar. Put to them a quarter of a pound of sugar candy, and fill the jar with common brandy. Tie them up close with a bladder, and set them in a dry place."
I checked my cupboard but am right out of bladders. Also to make candy sugar is incredibly complicated, involving skimmers, bladders, and giving the boiling syrup "a sudden flirt behind, and the sugar will fly off like feathers."
Maybe someone will make wine with the grapes, otherwise they will be left to the hornets.
All my books are in UK libraries.