By Bitter Sterkarm...

          This will be a short post, as I have taken an oath.  By Oak and Ash, and Bitter Thorn, I will finish Sterkarm 3 and have it ready to send to my agent - or will have sent it - by September 1st.
          I know I said it was almost finished, but...
          I had to round up those loose hounds... Well, it turned out, they weren't as hard to round up as I'd feared.  But while I was looking for them, I found a lengthy passage that needed rewriting.  I'd brought in two minor characters to do something that - I suddenly saw - would be much better done by one of the more important characters.  But that means rewriting that scene and surrounding scenes...
          And the ending.  Endings, of course, are a beach.  I am feeling my way through this scene by my fingertips.  There are several characters.  The revelations of the scene must be made bit by bit - but every character must behave in character, and speak like themselves - and it all means going back and forth, rewriting, scrapping, moving lines about...  It's slow and head-nipping.
          And so much of my time is being taken up by other things - e-publishing my back-list, blogging, tweeting...  I could see it all going on for months.
          But I'm a member of an on-line writers' group called Flatcap. We 'meet up' on line most days, to report to each other on what we've managed to get done, and encourage each other.
The Ghost Wife
          I was grumbling on Flatcap about how it was all taking such an age, when another Flatcapper, the witty Joan Lennon, told me to take, myself, the same advice I would give to a novice writer in the same situation.

          Why don't you, Joan sagely asked, set yourself a deadline?
          Well, this is just what Flatcap is for.  So I am taking Joan's advice and setting myself a deadline.  September 1st - no later!
The Wolf Sisters by Susan Price
    I am also coming round to the idea of A Sterkarm Embrace as the title - though I may have to write in an explanation of what a Sterkarm embrace is.
          I have two more e-books out - Wolf Sisters and The Ghost Wife.  Another is pending, but it will just have to pend until the Sterkarms are done.
            Nor have I forgotten the Green Man.  I have got as far as buying a mask for a former, and cutting the side off a large cardboard box to make a working surface.  I've covered the cardboard in clingfilm, so the papier-mache (when I get to that stage) won't stick to it.  When I have finished the Sterkarms - by September 1st! - I will allow myself, as a reward, to have a go at the Green Man.  My brother suggests using cardboard tubes, like toilet roll and kitchen roll innards, to help with the curl of leaves.
          But, on with the Sterkarms...
And Blott, of course...