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Now I know we’re all rather wary of polls, elections and referenda these days, but I’d like to thank the thirty-four of you who overcame your understandable scepticism about democracy to take part in the process to select the title for “Plank 6”.  And the people have spoken and issued a clear mandate: fully 50% of the votes were cast for “Heir Apparent”.  Coming second, with nine votes, was “Dividend of Death”.  I’m delighted – I think it’s an excellent choice.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on what’s going to go behind that title: the book itself.  And (in the spirit of full honesty about the self-published writing life, which is the purpose of this blog) I will confess that I have found this writing retreat harder than the previous ones.  Thanks to a busier working life than usual and some unexpected family illness (all fine now, thank goodness), I came away with less of the book written than I had intended.  To make sure that I head home with a complete first draft, I worked out that I needed to write about 3,000 words each day – with no days off during the seventeen days of the retreat.  And it turns out that that is really tiring.  Who knew that sitting on your bottom all day could be exhausting, but it’s more the mental effort of concentrating and being inventive for hours on end.  So far I have had to take two days off – turns out that the standard weekend pattern (five days on, two days off) is there for a reason!  It’s been a handy lesson for when I – one day – become a full-time author.  Planning to write imaginatively every day is unrealistic; I’ll make sure to create a balance of writing, promotional activities and administrative tasks, and factor in some rest time too.

That said, I am pleased with progress on the days I have been writing.  Gaps in the story are filling themselves in nicely, and today Sam and Wilson are off on a trip to Kent Surrey Suffolk (I keep changing my mind).  Barring unforeseen disasters, “Heir Apparent” will be hitting the shelves in mid October as planned.

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