I’m another Wench with a November 1st deadline, and it’s a lethal one, as the book, A Lady’s Secret, has just been moved from June to March 2008. Everyone wants everything yesterday! Plus my publisher’s sending me to a managers’ meeting for Books-a-Million next week and there’s things I want to prepare for that.
There’s lots to do in the garden, too, but most of it’s going to have to wait. It’s definitely fall here now, though, so the Kids are a memory of summer.
But reference books. Always fun. I’m not going to list the books to hand, because though they’re mostly great (some odd ones sneak in there!) they’re classic references and I don’t use them all the time. Instead, I’ve tried to list the ones I’ve used in the past weeks. A different sort of sample.
That’s a very poor quality picture of the shelves to hand, with my Aeron chair — bless it — and the back of my monitor. The big window spoiled the picture. I need to get another one. The facing wall is all bookcases. Happy sight.
Now I’m at the end of the writing of this book. I’ve just done a big read through, which led to some scenes being cut but new ones being required, so these are different books to the ones I might read early in the process. For example, The Empress of Pleasure: The Life and Adventures of Teresa Cornelys, by Judith Summer (Penguin Viking) is one I read months ago but which has affected A Lady’s Secret. Sometimes I like to have books close to hand as if they’re giving off an ambience even when unopened.
Here’s the back copy for A Lady’s Secret. (No cover yet.)
The nun and the rake!<br>
When Robin Fitzvitry, the fun-loving Earl of Huntersdown, encounters a cursing nun in a French inn, he can’t resist the mystery. He offers to help Sister Immaculata reach England, expecting only amusement on the tedious journey home from Versailles. Petra d’Avernio is not exactly a nun, though she has spent years in an Italian convent with her widowed mother. Her mother’s death has left her in danger and she must find the only person who might protect her—her true father, an English lord who does not even know she exists. This gorgeous young aristocrat will be a dangerous ally, but she’s glimpsed her pursuers and must race to the coast. She will resist him, use him, and eventually escape him with virtue and secrets intact. She hopes….
You’ll see it’s not surprising that there are quite a few map books in the list.
Harrap’s Concise French Dictionary. (This gives phrases as well as simple words.)
1976/7 AA Members’ Handbook. This has 10 miles to the inch road maps of Britain, which is useful for a large scale view. It also has sentimental value as it’s the last one we used before emigrating.
1998 AA Large Scale road map of Great Britain. (That’s a picture of a recent edition.) We bought this on a trip there in 2000, cheap because it was an old one, and I keep using it because the one I bought last year is much more poorly designed. This is a big book with 2.4 miles to the inch. It’s great for details, and also for names. It shows little villages and sometimes I get character names that are true to the area that way. Look for these from remainder houses. You can often get last year’s cheap.
Patterson’s Roads, 1829. This is a facsimile of a coaching guide. It’s well past my 1764 book date, but many of the basics about roads are still true.
The County Maps of Old England by Thomas Moule, and Town and City Maps of the British Isles, compiled by Ashley Bainton-Williams, both from Studio Editions. Some of these are Victoria, but I still find them useful. The county maps have topography.
So, too, do the maps in the 1950s edition of Chambers Encyclopedia, which often gives the answer, even in these internet days.
Slang Through The Ages, Jonathon Green.
Hoyles Games. (Many editions of this and related books, of course.)
Oxford Illustrated Dictionary.
The London Rich, Peter Thorold, St. Martin’s Press.
The Connoiseur’s Complete Guides.
(I also look at pictures a lot. This is a photo we took of the south downs in England.)
Argos Global Price Guide, 1995/6 This was a great cheap buy from a remainder place. It’s a huge book of antiques illustrated in full color. When I want inspiration for a pocket watch, ring, glassware, sword, I can generally find examples in this book.
Oh, and there’s also the OED, which my lovely local library makes available on line.
There you go, then. That’s what I’ve been dipping into. If you’ve dipped into any non-fiction books recently, tell me what they are. They don’t have to be research, or even historical.