I cannot express just how excited and blessed I feel to receive the friendly and enthusiastic direction of perfecting Harry Goodsir‘s dialogue in my latest novel, In Eternity, from none other than The Proclaimers and their wonderful manager, Kenny MacDonald.
Harry Goodsir, the assistant surgeon and naturalist aboard the HMS Erebus during the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, was Scottish, having spent his life in Fife and Edinburgh.
The Proclaimers are Scottish as well. Twins Charlie and Craig Reid were born in Leith and grew up in Edinburgh. They’re often best known for their hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” a song I admit to blasting at every bar with a Touch Tunes, singing along despite the less than enthusiastic reactions of my friends (also on my go to playlist is Africa by Toto) who are too kind to tell me I should sit down and let the bar play their standard pop or country mix (hell no).
I only recently heard more Proclaimers’ music thanks to the ever shuffling songs on Pandora, and quickly fell in love with my current favorite, I’m On My Way. It was this song I was singing along to when my husband stopped, stared at me, then said, “I think you’re the only person I know who knows more than one Proclaimers song.”
And that just would not do. Now, I intend to help share their awesome, catchy music far and wide. My new favorites from their new album include Sometime It’s the Fools, You Make Me Happy, and Streets of Edinburgh.
For In Eternity, set to release in early 2020, Kenny and The Proclaimers have been so wonderful. I’ve been taught how to write Harry’s Edinburgh accent to make his dialogue authentic and as accurate as possible.
My biggest goal with In Eternity has been to stay true to the real life Harry Goodsir. He may have perished during the Franklin Expedition, but thanks to people like Kenny, Craig, and Charlie, I am bringing him back to life as best I can.
I seriously cannot express how delighted I am to work with Kenny MacDonald and The Proclaimers. I am greatly humbled by their kindness and generosity. Their assistance has helped craft Harry’s character better than I thought imaginable, and I can’t wait for you to meet him.
In the meantime, check out their amazing video for a song off The Proclaimers’ latest album, Angry Cyclist, below!
Born in Anstruther Easter, Fife on 3 November 1819, he was just twenty-six years old when he joined the HMSErebus crew as its assistant surgeon and naturalist. He was wicked smart. In addition to being an anatomist, naturalist, and medical practitioner, he also studied cellular theory with his brother, John, adding his findings to publication.
Harry was so intelligent and passionate about his work that he succeeded his brother as Conservator of the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh, a position Harry held until vanishing entirely.
Not only was he brilliant, but he was a genuine guy who lit up a room with his countless fascinations of things everyone else took for granted.
At one point on the expedition, Commander James Fitzjames wrote before the men disappeared that while he himself “started his regular magnetic observations[,] Goodsir continued energetically ‘catching the most extraordinary animals in a net, and is in ecstasies.'”(1)
Fitzjames also wrote of Harry: “As soon as more molluscs, fish, or tiny, butterfly-shaped creatures were dredged up from the sea, the doctor hurried [to] draw and describe them.” (2)
Harry was often overcome with tremendous joy upon finding new creatures or people, and that just added to his engaging personality.
Fitzjames also wrote that Harry had a delightful laugh, and he was very well liked.
Basically, he was the goodest of sirs. 😛
So why am I so interested in Mr. Goodsir that I write a novel about him?
Well, if you’ve seen season one of AMC’s The Terror, you’ll probably remember Paul Ready’s excellent portrayal of Harry. If you haven’t, it has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, hint hint…
Anyway, I quickly took a liking to his portrayal in the show. The more I learned of Harry in my researches, the more I wanted to know more about him as a person.
What kind of person was he outside of his studies and the letters that described his character? If ice and Arctic animals fascinated him so much, how would he react to some of the modern marvels of our world if he were alive now?
To the horrors?
My creative side suddenly took over with fervor. I was, as it is referred to, ‘bitten by the Franklin bug’ already, and now that I had a plot idea, everything took off.
In my newest novel, I bring Harry Goodsir to life.
Helping me along the way is a leading authority on the Franklin Expedition, the surviving member of the illustrious Goodsir family, and even a few Scottish natives to help with dialogue. I cannot tell you how thrilling it is to be working with both of these amazing men, and I am eternally grateful for their assistance.
Together, we are capturing the kind and gentle soul of a man who did not deserve to suffer and die alone, placing him in a story line readers of A Grim Trilogy will recognize.
As always, you do not need to read any of my other works to enjoy this new novel, but boy, will it give you Easter eggs galore if you do.
I’ll be back soon with more updates on the new and long -awaited fourth installment in my Grim universe!
(1): Battersby, W. (n.d.). James Fitzjames: The Mystery Man of the Franklin Expedition. UK: The History Press, p.175.
(2): Watson, P. (2017). Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedtion. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p.35.
There’s more than one reason I’ve continued to praise season one of AMC’s The Terror. Based on the Franklin Expedition, not only is it fascinating, well-shot, and full of some of the best acting I’ve seen in a long time, but it is (almost) all based on fact. No, there (most likely) wasn’t a soul eating monster in real life, but over 130 men did set sail from England in two ships only to completely vanish.
My good friend told me about this show a few months ago, and I slowly found my fascination growing with each episode. So much, in fact, that I not only read the book it’s based off of, but also started perusing the library for books on the actual Franklin Expedition.
To keep it short, Sir John Franklin commanded two British ships on an Arctic exploratory voyage in 1845 to find the then unnavigated Northwest Passage somewhere in the many islands above Canada. This was, if found, to expedite trade route to Asia. They had two repurposed war ships that were reinforced (eight foot thick hulls with iron plating added, for example, and steam engines) to slam through ice and rough waters. They were provisioned for up to three years at minimum.
Shortly after leaving a stop in Greenland, none of the men were ever heard from again. Not even their ships, the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, could be found.
The most that could be discovered from the few artifacts, letters, and eye witness accounts from the Inuit people that came across Franklin’s men was that the ships were trapped in deadly pack ice, locked in place and unable to move for over two years. The pressure was so great with the ice building up that it eventually crushed Erebus.
With hope of rescue dwindling, and their men slowly dying of disease and exposure, the captains had no choice but to leave the ships and try to walk over 800 miles to safety they couldn’t even know was there.
In temperatures that often reached below negative sixty degrees.
With quickly dwindling preserves.
Remains were found, yes, but very few, and the ones that were recovered have told stories of great suffering. Not just scurvy, botulism, TB, pneumonia, starvation, and exposure, either – some of the men had resorted to cannibalism.
Of course, other authors have already written about the doomed Franklin Expedition, the most recognized being The Terror by Dan Simmons, which is the book the AMC show is based off of (season one, at least).
I, however, couldn’t get my mind off of it. This, folks, is known as being bitten by the Franklin bug. It is an incurable obsession, and I’m full within its grasps. So much so that I’ve put my sci-fi on hold to start a brand new book in its place.
I’ve never done so much research for a book before. I’m loving every single minute. Together with my absolutely amazing editor, D.W. Vogel, and a very kind, helpful Franklin Expedition expert, I am weaving my own tale consisting of some happenings in the Arctic in 1848. I’m making preparations to go to London to see the few artifacts recovered with my own eyes, as well as Canada to attempt to set foot where these brave men once walked. This is what the Franklin Bug does, folks. It latches on, filling you with wonder, and refuses to let go – and I hope it doesn’t.
I want to keep these updates short, so I’ll feature who of these men is my main character in another blog post. Until then, if you haven’t seen season one of The Terror on AMC (I believe Hulu and Prime have it streaming, currently), I of course highly recommend it.
Jared Harris gives a hell of a performance as Francis Crozier. Tobias Menzies’ Fitzjames has brilliant character development, and Ciarán Hinds is fantastic as Sir John Franklin.
And then there’s the outstanding Paul Ready, bringing Dr. Goodsir to life with his ever impressive and often heartwarming acting.
Oh, and if anyone out there reading this is a Franklin enthusiast, please do comment below or reach out! Chatting about the Franklin Expedition is my new favorite hobby.
As many of you may know, a few months ago, famed American book review magazine Kirkus Reviews read The Souls of the Lash and put out a positive review of the book, calling it “a gripping sci-fi Western that ends too soon”.
I was thrilled to see that they liked my latest novel, especially since I never actually thought anything I put out would get much further than a self-published status.
And then, weeks later, I got an email from Kirkus and nearly fainted.
What Is Kirkus Reviews?
Before I get to the big news, I want to share just what Kirkus Reviews is and what they do.
You may have picked up a book in any given store and noticed there were a few snippets of reviews about the story and often, it is a direct quote from a Kirkus Review.
Kirkus Reviews is a magazine that is highly respected among industry professionals. Founded in 1933, it gives libraries, bookstores, publishers, and agents a “sneak peek at the most notable books […] giving [them] unbiased, critical recommendations they can trust.” –Kirkus Reviews
The Big News
So, back to that email I mentioned. In it, I was informed that the review of my latest book, The Souls of the Lash, was selected by their editors to be featured in their August 1st edition!
Why is that so amazing?
Well, for starters, less than 10% are chosen for this, making it a very coveted offer. It cannot be bought, and is a very high honor.
This means that I appeared as one of the 35 reviews in my section that was sent to over 5,000 industry professionals. That’s HUGE! 😀
Plus, check out the theme for this issue!
What An Honor
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to not only receive the news that 5,000+ agents, publishers, bookstores, and libraries will be seeing the highly coveted positive review of my book.
Yes, I know, nothing may come of it. But to be among such a narrowed down group and praised by an esteemed book reviewing company has nonetheless brought great pride and a feeling of accomplishment that no words can describe.
Thank you, everyone at Kirkus Reviews.
A HUGE thank you to my editor, D.W. Vogel. Without you, this wouldn’t have been possible. Not only would Souls and A Grim Trilogy not be, well, anything without you, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for you.
And of course, I continue to write, now with renewed vigor, in my dad’s honor. The man who taught me to love books as much as he did, to find the greatest comfort while surrounded by the written word.
So what’s first? Well, Adam and I brought a full page script together from Grim Ambition, the first novel in the trilogy. Once that was finalized, he began what is called character turnarounds. This helps him view each character at different angles for future reference while he pens each page.
Check out vigilante Grim below as that son of a bitch Alex we all love to hate.
Once those have been completed, Adam will begin drafting each panel of each page. This helps him figure out where characters are standing, what their surroundings will be, and where to place all narrative and dialogue text.
That’s where the Grim graphic novel is right now, but there will be many more updates – and way more promo art – so stay tuned!
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Many people think of a pushy car salesmen or those that occupy kiosks in the middle of the mall when they hear the word “salesperson”. They tend to be outgoing, high-energy people who try their hardest to not take ‘no’ for an answer.
Honestly, they scare the crap out of me, an introvert with some social anxiety to boot. In fact, I’ve been known to fake phone calls just so I can walk past those mall kiosks to give me a lower chance of being approached about trying their latest hand lotion or their three for one customized toilet bowl coverings or some other crap I don’t need and definitely don’t want to talk about.
Extrovert vs. Introvert – What’s the Difference?
Most people are not strictly extrovert or introvert; we all have traits of both, it’s just how much of each that defines which we associate with more.
The main thing to focus on is what do you draw your energy from more, social situations or being alone? If you answer social situations, you are most likely an extrovert. Working better in groups, being able to bust out some wicked charm and persuasion, and feeling like you need to go out to another party just to have people surrounding you all night (my worst nightmare) are other traits of extrovertists. Your social networks are huge, and you tend to talk loudly.
Introverts quite literally need time to themselves over going out in groups. Many introverts are able to overcome this urge and still go out, but I am definitely not one of them. Sure, I go out, but then I need hours and hours to myself to recharge or I will become withdrawn – more than I already am!
As an introvert, you don’t often crave to have attention on you. Introverts tend to be more shy and are often talked over in conversations. That last one is from experience only, I’m not sure if it is fully true. I’ve gotten used to it. Heck, if someone actually hears what I say over others, I’m genuinely shocked…but because introverts tend to also be more creative people, I’m quick to recover and come up with something to say next. Even though I pretty much fear small talk. It’s a problem. I don’t meet many people. And I’m completely okay with that!
How I Manage to Pitch My Product Without Anxiety Attacks
There have been times – too many – when salespeople were too quick for me, and eye contact was made – and we all know what that means. They zeroed in so fast it was like they teleported right in front of me, their sales pitch already half out of their mouth before I could take a startled step back.
My anxiety peaks, I start to stutter as my brain flies to different ways to get out of the conversation without being rude, and I fail every single time. I politely listen to them and eventually end up finding some excuse that works, finally able to get the stranger out of my personal bubble only to find it’s been almost fifteen minutes and all I want is some ice cream, a book, and nice, peaceful silence.
So how is it that me, such an introvert that I need hours of “recharge time” after any social interaction, can attend a convention to sell my novels to complete strangers?
If you’re passionate about what you’re selling, be it your books or the latest purse that somehow doubles as a hat, it will come naturally through your excitement.
Do I want to go up to complete strangers who have never heard of my book and pitch it to them all while fearing I’ll stumble over my words or start sweating profusely or lapse into a made up language out of sheer anxiety? God, no.
But the second I start talking about the plot of A Grim Trilogy, or how my latest book, The Souls of the Lash, is set in the Wild West but happens at the same time as Grim in a different plane of existence…well, hell…I can’t shut up! Because that is the same passion I had when writing it, and it shines through me whenever I realize just how happy the story and its characters – and the fact that I even wrote and published novels – makes me feel. And even better: it’s addictive excitement shows so much, strangers I don’t even know get drawn in.
And there’s the sale.
You’re Not Alone
I’m a pretty big introvert and have had more success selling my stories to strangers in person in a single convention than I have online since my first book released in 2016. If I can do it, you can, my other introverted pals. You’ve got this. Draw upon the passion that fuels you, use that excitment your product gives you and pass it along to customers. You won’t get every single sale, but I promise you this: you at least won’t feel like running away and hiding in the bathroom (or closet, or car, or just leaving all together and going home – yes I’ve done them all) and will have the ability to at least pitch your product with a bit more ease than before.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a way to get out of some dinner plans so I can stay home and watch Star Trek instead.