New book on the horizon?

The twin evils of lockdown and bad weather come with one silver lining – lots of time to sit at the computer and write.

This is probably bad for my overall fitness levels, but good for producing new stuff. And the good news is that after a couple of months of hard graft, I’ve just finished the first draft of what I hope will be my next book. Trench Warfare is a sweet little m/m romance set on an archaeological dig which started life as a short story. Now I’ve rewritten it, expanded it mightily and added a whole extra sub-plot involving a ghost and something unexpected hidden under the cloisters, to add to the mysterious gold cross and the dastardly businessman!

I started on the editing process yesterday. So far it’s slow progress (good grief, do I really use the word ‘just’ that much?) but I’m hoping to get some momentum next week when there’s yet more bad weather forecast. If so, I might have a working manuscript by the end of the month, and an actual book by early summer. I’ll obviously report back on progress (good, bad or indifferent) over the coming weeks, but in the meantime here’s a teaser of the cover and a tiny snippet to whet your appetites.

I was on my knees in the garderobe trench teasing out a medieval bead with the very tip of my trowel when my mobile phone went off, drilling thirty decibels of Beethoven’s Fifth straight down my ear. I jumped so hard I nearly scratched the bead. Yanking the phone off my belt I prodded the ‘reply’ button and held it to my ear – the one I hadn’t just been deafened in. ‛Steve Saunders here.’

‛Steve, it’s Jonathan. Sorry to disturb you but Paul Merchant has just turned up again and he’s insisting on speaking to you.’

Jon Eaton’s my second in command, and a whizz at spotting medieval walls amongst a ragged heap of stones in a pit. As a diplomat he’s rather less convincing. I hoped to God he’d waited until Paul was out of earshot before making the call, but knowing Jon I wasn’t so sure. This could get interesting.

‛On my way.’ I hauled myself, grunting, to my feet. Not that I’m in bad shape – I go jogging twice a week – but you try kneeling in a damp hole for three hours and see what it does to your legs. I glanced at the bead. It seemed a shame to put it back, but this was Paul Merchant we were talking about. ‛Looks like you’re going to have to wait. Don’t go rolling off, now.’ And I placed it carefully back in the exact hollow I’d just picked it out of, chucked my trowel down next to it, and vaulted out of the trench.

The interruption was frustrating. One bead might not sound like much but it made my fingers twitch. A necklace seemed unlikely in a priory, but a rosary was very much possible. I was itching to get back down there and find the rest of it; stopping now was like abandoning half a dinosaur bone sticking out of a cliff. Added to that this was the first dry day we’d had in weeks. The summer had been a washout with one storm after another rolling in from the coast. And judging by both the forecast and the state of the sky, by tomorrow it could be hammering down again.

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