Genghis Khan rides again!

It's been a tough year for many people, and things were pretty tough in publishing even before the dreaded virus and its associated emergency rules locked down half the world. The latest casualty of this summer is the small but passionate UK publisher of historical fiction, Greystones Press, which has sadly now closed its doors, taking my YA Genghis Khan novel Bone Music out of print, along with all the other books published by them. Readers might gain briefly from this, since you can still get these books from third party sellers at a reasonable price - but be quick if you want one, because there won't be any more printed!
As someone whose debut novel was published back in 1999, I'm no stranger to my books going out of print. Books have their season and publishers move on - unless the book happens to be Harry Potter, of course, when publishers cling on to the rights and issue new editions for decades, but unfortunately for my bank manager I didn't write that one. So I&…


Apologies for the lack of recent posts on this blog. I have an excuse. I've been busy finishing a new book... not saying anything else about it yet, except I've just SENT IT OUT TO AN AGENT!!! (The unicorn thinks it's about time we found a new agent and I need to get over my fear of rejection, which is easy for him to say - he knows I would never reject him, because he's my muse and without him there would be no books at all.)Anyway, back in the real world it's been a really strange year. Apparently, we still have last year's Evil Virus lurking in the shadows to worry about, but for some reason I feel like smiling today. So here's an infectious poem usually attributed to Spike Milligan (though it's unclear if he actually wrote it) to cheer you up a bit while you're waiting for that new book to find a home. If it's a choice between the Evil Virus and a smile, I know what I'd rather catch!

The Perils of Proofreading

Or should that be proof-reading? You'll see both, and sometimes also 'proof reading' as two words. My 1984 Oxford dictionary favours the hyphen, though most people these days seem to use 'proofreading' as a single word (I suspect it has become a single word in later editions of many dictionaries). So why does it matter? You all know what it means, right? Or maybe what it used to mean.

My dictionary defines proof-reader as "person employed in reading and correcting proofs". (Proofs being the printer's proofs ready for publication, exactly as the reader will see them - the word comes from a bygone age when printers had to set type before printing.) A better explanation in our digital age might be this from "Proofreading means carefully checking for errors in a text before it is published or shared. It is the very last stage of the writing process, when you fix minor spelling and punctuation mistakes, typos, formatting issues and incons…