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Look what they've done to my book, Ma.

This’ll date me, but the other night I found myself singing an old Melanie Safka song — Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma.” If you don’t know it, there’s a recording here of her singing it . It goes:
Look what they’ve done to my song, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my song,
It was the only thing I could do half right
And it’s turning out all wrong, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my song.

And not that I’ve written any songs to be ruined, but I’ve just seen the new cover HarperCollins have given to the republication of my very first book — Gallant Waif. Here it is.

The thing is, that book is about a young woman who has returned from following the army with her father and brothers—all now dead—and she’s got no money and no home, and is in a desperate way. 

She’s given a position in a rundown old house where a wounded former soldier has holed up to hide from the world. 

This is a ‘sweet” book with only a few kisses. It was a RITA finalist for “Best First Book” too.

So they’ve made her look like a courtesan.

This was the original cover. So much more fitting to the story, don’t you think? 



I would write to the publisher and ask them to change it, only this whole thing was done without any attempt to inform me, and I have no idea who to contact. My original editor left the publisher long ago.

So now, all I can do is feel sad about the inappropriate cover.

Happy Anniversary to me

It’s exactly two years now since I left my old home and moved into my new one, and I couldn’t be happier. It was a real wrench leaving my dear little house — I’d lived there since I was a young teacher — but it was in dire need of renovation. And after waiting for more than three years for the work to start, and finally realizing the builder wasn’t interested I changed my mindset of years—that I didn’t want to move, that I liked the location and the neighborhood and the neighbors—and in five days I’d found and bought this house.

Apart from being very happy in this new house, I realize I dodged a bullet. The builder who had been going to renovate my old house, started work the very morning after I moved, working for my next-door neighbor who’d bought my place. Ironic, isn’t it? They’re even using the same architectural draftsman who prepared the renovation plan for me.

I drove past the old house the other day and the renovations still aren’t finished. It could have been me, waiting for two plus years . . . 

Although I’ve settled in nicely, I still haven’t finished unpacking. It’s the books. I still have loads of books to go through and sort and cull, and that’s so hard. But bit by bit, box by box, I’ll get there. There’s no rush, after all.

Riding Habits

My current heroine is going horse riding for the first time in years.

She was prevented from doing it for reasons I won’t go into (it would be a spoiler) and has had to borrow a riding habit. It’s an old habit, a little out of date but of course she doesn’t care at all about that: she used to love riding.

If you want to know more about riding habits, go to Candice Hern’s excellent site,  which is where I got this picture from. She goes into quite a lot of detail and she shows some wonderful pictures from the fashion magazines of the time. But beware, her site is a rabbit hole that’s very easy to fall down.

So (she says, dragging herself out of the rabbit hole) my heroine is getting dressed, and to refresh my memory, and to think my way into the scene, I’ve turned to a couple of YouTube videos. There are quite a few about historical women dressing. Here’s one.

Or if it doesn’t show up, click on this link.