Newsletter July 2008

Well, for once there's no need to apologise for the slowness of the latest newsletter. Owing to having got rid of a pile of work, and of course finishing the latest Medieval Murderers novella, I've got a day or two in hand - before starting work on proofs and book 27, for which the deadline is now looming ominously on my mental horizon.

But for the next couple of days I have some peace and quiet. So what am I going to do? Mainly, go for some long walks on the moors. My old friends Andy and Fred are coming down to stay for three days, and we're hoping to complete the "perambulation" of the medieval boundary of Dartmoor. Should be good fun if the weather holds - and if it doesn't, well, who cares? We'll be on the moors anyway.

Actually, a friend of mine has started her own publishing company. Beckie Tope writes excellent stories, and has found enough time to go back to some classics and republish them for a new audience. The latest, John Herring, by Sabine Baring-Gould, a marvellous recorder of Dartmoor life in the nineteenth century, is not only a wonderful book - the cover photo is mine. So if you can't see the book, go and look at the picture on my flickr site!

This last month has been as busy as any I can remember. Loads of events and talks, not to mention the Daggers evening, at which I was delighted to see Frances Fyfield win a thoroughly deserved CWA Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger for the best crime novel of the year. She's a lovely lady, and it's really good to see friends getting just rewards.

But it has meant little time has been spent in the garden, walking, or even (good heavens) at my desk.

The Death Ship Of Dartmouth

However, there have been a couple of little things happening which merit a short newsletter before I forget.

First, owing to a number of coincidences last year which didn't help authors or booksellers, a few books which were to have been sold - weren't! If you are one of those enormously unlucky people who really, really wanted a copy of The Death Ship Of Dartmouth, the story shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2007, and failed, you can have a special, signed edition straight from the author's desk for a massive 25% discount plus £2.00 postage and packing (UK; foreign is OK too, but I'll have to work out costings separately).

If you are interested, please .


That's the first thing. The next is, my friend the historian Ian Mortimer and I have now formed a loose partnership. It's the kind of thing that tends to involve quantities of wine or beer, together with (usually) a mild authorly hangover the next morning. However, if you have a literary festival near you, it is now possible to have two moderately successful, leading authors come to talk together. We can talk about history, fiction, crime writing, crime, and almost anything else that needs analytical brains - but since most people cannot afford them, they get us instead.

As I say, if you have literary or other events who are looking for a different approach, have them contact me (via the link above), or send me an email with their contact details and I'll do the grubby work myself.

There are times when I forget to give details of different events which I'll be attending. This year is no exception. I forgot to put on the website that I'd be at Chagford tonight. Mind you, with the sudden change in weather to absolutely glorious, vegetable scorching sunshine like tonight, I'm always astonished to find people coming to events anyway. I'd rather be walking, as they say!

The dog would rather be walking, too!

And she would prefer walking, too!

However, in a little while, August 8,9 and 10, I'll be standing (or sitting) at a table at the Dartmoor Folk Festival in South Zeal. If you are around, do come and see me - and more to the point, see the dancing, singing and playing which will be going on all weekend. It's a great celebration of Dartmoor and the folk culture that still exists here. Central government's trying to beat and tax it out of us, but we're still surviving for now. So come and see me and enjoy the weekend, if you can.

Other events are being booked, so do please keep an eye on the website events page for other engagements, in case there are any near you.

Jenny, Annette, me and Rachel at Belhus library

Jenny, Annette, me and Rachel at Belhus Library

My longest travelled fan to date!

My longest travelled fan to date!

And that is all for now. I'll sign off with a little "thank you" to the great staff at Belhus Library, one of the Thurrock libraries in Essex. I was there last night, and not only was I made enormously welcome by all the ladies who run the joint, I was astonished to learn that a couple had booked their tickets to see me all the way from Perth, Western Australia. They saw where I was talking, and sorted their visit to England in order to be able to see me.

To be fair, some authors would be humbled by that sort of dedication. Naturally. Well, I do feel sort of on the humble side of smug, anyway - it's better than nothing!

Thanks to all readers of my books, and I hope you have a great, relaxing and warm summer. I need you refreshed for The King Of Thieves when it comes out late in the autumn!

Best regards
Mike Jecks

Northern Dartmoor
July 2008