Progress with “Painted Ladies”

Another week gone and a week closer to publication date (1st September or thereabouts) and things are definitely moving forward with Painted Ladies. Last week I sent in the “final” version of the manuscript to the typesetters. Once they’ve done that the e-book people can get to work and so it goes on.

I had to go through the manuscript twice and I just hope that all the little mistakes have now been corrected. Chances are though that there will still be a few lurking ready to leap out when the printed book appears in my hands. However many times you go through a manuscript there is always something to change, a better way of writing a description, action or dialogue. One just has to stop sometime.

The cover has been decided and I now have the first publicity materials – postcards with the cover on the glossy side and some blurb and publication details on the back. Guess what some of my relatives and friends will be receiving in the next few weeks.

Soon we will have to start thinking about events to get the publication off the ground – launch party, signings, talks? It would be great to do some of these things and meet a few people.

So, finally for this weeks’ piece, a little bit about Jasmine Frame.

It’s about thirteen years since I met her. I was looking for a character for a crime-thriller I had decided to write and I wanted a leading character, the detective, with something a bit different about her. That’s certainly the case with Jasmine. With issues about her gender and the ensuing problems of life outside the police service she is a complex personality. I’m still making discoveries about her.

First of all, I used her in a short story which didn’t actually have a crime in it. Mirror Image is on this blog in three parts. I was feeling my way, getting to know her, coming to understand her relationship with her wife, Angela, working out how she reacts to the people around her. Mirror Image is a fairly trivial story but I liked Jasmine and felt that we could get to know each other better.

Next I wrote another short story, Picture This. This time there was a crime although not a serious one. DS Tom Shepherd and DCI Sloane make an appearance and the story explored a little of Jasmine’s relationship with her police colleagues. I will be putting Picture This up over the next two or three weeks.

After that I started the novel. It was intended to be murders around a drugs ring. I got quite a way into it without ever really knowing where it was going. Nevertheless there were some bits that I was pleased with. Then I had my computer nicked and I hadn’t backed up all of it. That gave me the excuse to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

This time I prepared myself. I worked out the plot! Yes as well as a beginning I had an ending, and a middle. The plot was chosen so that I could explore Jasmine’s character and gender issues much more closely. I was really delighted when I thought of the title, Painted Ladies because it seeemed so very apt. The writing took a very long time but this time I knew where it was going. Previously when I’ve started novels with a bright idea but no complete outline, they have faded into dust when I had other things on my mind – like work. Painted Ladies however grew and developed. Bits changed of course, the number of characters increased, but the basic outline remained.

Then it was finished. Well, not finished of course, because I have lost count of the number of times I have been through it making changes. A few people have read it and the response has been good. In the meantime I’ve written other stuff but I have wanted to get Painted Ladies published so I could get on with the sequels – yes, I have plans for four. So, now that I have chosen Troubador as the publishers, things are moving.

Over the years, Jasmine has developed while staying pretty much as I first saw her – blonde (straight hair in a bob); slim (she keeps herself fit and doesn’t bother about food much); wide shoulders and narrow hips (down to her chromosomes); tallish for a girl (5ft 9 in); interested in cosmetics and fashion, despite her lack of cash, because she is concerned about how she looks; and fiercely determined to become the person she wants to be. Sometimes she makes mistakes – her relationship with DCI Sloane is full of those – but she appreciates her friends – Angela and Tom.

We’ll hear more from Jasmine in later blogs and also find out about her place of work, Kintbridge.  Here’s a look at the cover.



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