Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bank holiday keyboard tapping

One great thing about a bank holiday weekend is that despite being busy what with seeing some relatives and friends, and going to the cinema to see the Da Vinci Code* the extra day has enabled some hours to be spent at the keyboard and I've tapped out about 1000 words. Hurrah.

The downside of making some progress on the wip seems to be a rise in a level of doubt that the thing is any good. I so hope I'm not wasting my time with this story.

*Well, it had to be done, especially since I'm never going to read the book.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Review from Rakehell

Perfidy and Perfection has been reviewed at Rakehell:

"you are very likely going to enjoy this novel - especially if you are a Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer fan"

"a good story, well written, and had me laughing out loud at parts"
Great! After all, it is supposed to be a comedy. :)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Good news

Offer from Thorpe to publish Perfidy and Perfection in large print for UK/Commonwealth and Canada. I guess this edition will be out in about 12 months time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Elephants in London

May, 2006: You may have seen in the news (or for real) the spectacle of a giant 40ft mechanical elephant parading through the streets of London last weekend. More here at the BBC.

However, what sprung to my mind first was an incident which occured in London 180 years ago - perhaps the last time that an elephant - this one very real - nearly went on the rampage through the West End...

March, 1826: Chunee was undoubtably England's most famous elephant, housed at the Exeter 'Change, London's menagerie of wild beasts from tigers to boa constrictors, operated by a Mr Cross, just off The Strand. When Lord Byron visited the menagerie in 1813 he remarked:

Two nights ago I saw the tigers sup at Exeter ’Change... There was a "hippopotamus," like Lord Liverpool in the face; and the "Ursine Sloth" hath the very voice and manner of my valet--but the tiger talked too much. The elephant [probably Chunee himself] took and gave me my money again--took off my hat--opened a door-- trunked a whip--and behaved so well, that I wish he was my butler.

In March 1826 Chunee became enraged in his cage . He became so violent and it was feared that he would break out of his confinement and endanger the whole menagerie. The guard from nearby Somerset House were sent for and the elephant was shot.

Cartoons following the incident like this one provoked criticism of keeping animals in such small spaces. Cross's menagerie shut its doors in 1829 and most of the animals moved to a purpose built park environment in Walworth, opened to the public in 1831 as the Surrey Zoological Gardens.

Chunee's fame endured. There is a detailed memoir of the incident in Henry Goddard's Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner. His skeleton was still being exhibited at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1850.

I've been researching Cross's menagarie for my current work-in-progress.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Grrrrrr. Just when I set myself a reasonble challenge to kick-start getting back into the wip, and then I go down with a head cold, meaning that over the entire weekend, only managed to scribble about 300 words. Although I did do some research into leopards and also early nineteenth century plasterwork.

(Picture: Two Leopards Playing in the Exeter Change Menagerie, painted by Jacques-Laurent Agasse, 1808)

This recently discovered blog made me laugh: Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.
Thanks to Wenlock for the link.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What happened to the leopard

It's been a struggle this evening. I've had a long day at work and am tired. None the less, I've managed:

Day 4 - 520 words

I *think* I now know what happens to the leopard. But all ideas welcome. We're in Regency London and someone has stolen a leopard. I found out, using Old Bailey Online, that a leopard skin in 1832 was valued at 30s. So a leopard is valuable, but not *that* valuable.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May writing challenge

My challenge for the month of May is to write 500 words per day.

Can I do it?

I hope so. :)

Progress so far:

May 1 - zilch. (So have some catching up to do.)
May 2 - 630 words
May 3 - 600 words

Well, at the moment in the wip, it's 1831 and we're in London and a leopard has been stolen...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Various including Welwyn Garden City

The online party went well - I think. Next thing for me now is to concentrate on writing another book.

In the meantime Fateful Deception the ebook has been published last week on fictionwise and was their 43rd bestseller in romance. Also last week I gave my 'Writing with the Senses' workshop to a college class in Welwyn Garden City. And I've been exploring ancient roads and the Iron and Bronze Ages having been for walks along The Ridgeway and the Icknield Way. And today the large print edition of The Lady Soldier is published by Ulverscroft.