I had to post it really early for me, as in just after midnight and just into the new day of the 20th. This was because I was currently still baby sitting but more because I was heading out around 8.45 a.m. to go to the FOCUS Craft and Design Fair at Inverurie to sell/sign my novels and knew I'd be too tired to publish my 'Wranglers' post at that time.
The Fair at Inverurie was excellent, a steady stream of browsers and some were buyers. There is no way I can predict how many novels I might sell at any of my 'Fairs', or which of my titles will be popular, but yesterday it was a tie between Topaz Eyes and The Taexali Game - though I'm delighted to have sold 15 novels in all.
One of the best moments was when a return customer came to my table with a friend and immediately thanked me for the excellent reads she'd bought on another occasion. She declared she'd enjoyed them so much she was buying the third of my mysteries because she loved my writing. Her declaration was encouragingly loud enough that I do believe she 'sold' a book to my next customer. I thank that lady very much for her faith in my writing!
Today is a writing day, along with many other domestic tasks, so I'll just add a tiny snippet that's presently in my 'out-takes' but might find itself somehow resurrected in the final draft of this WIP that is destined to eventually be a family saga.
What is below is unedited. At this point the main character, Margaret, is in Aberdeen, Scotland and it's the year 1850.
|Frank Holl- Slaves of the Needle "The Seamstresses"|
The few coins that jingled in her pocket were just enough. Jamie desperately needed better nourishment, but a simple fish stew was the best she would manage till Mrs. Milne paid her the next day.
Her forefinger rubbed mindlessly against her thumb. The harsh soap she’d used to clean her laundry pile had roughened her skin so much a rasp would not have been sharper. The lanolin she’d worked in after the laundry tasks had done very little, yet, and there was only the tiniest slither still left in the pot. Just one more thing that needed refilling. It was a vicious circle. The only lanolin preparation she could afford stank to high heaven, but it was the best she knew of for softening skin quickly. When she got back to the tiny room she shared with Maisie and her two little girls she’d work in some more. After they’d eaten the meagre supper she was about to provide her hands would have softened out a bit for the fine sewing that lay in her work basket. Rough skin was an abomination when stitching silk underclothing.
Her delicate stitching was what earned the most money. Her rough work for the drapery was the bread and butter, the laundry Maisie took in supplemented their meagre fare but Margaret’s wages for Mrs. Milne’s delicate work paid their rent.
Her fingers drew out her few coins, savouring the feel of them before she handed over the cash in exchange for fish. Not even complete fish. She saved a little each time by asking for the poorly filleted fish-bits rather than whole pieces. It took longer to prepare the meal, bone picking a tedious job, but the stockpile of farthings she’d secreted away was her ticket on that train out of Aberdeen.
Two more days and she’d be gone.
“Nobody makes a meal out of nothing like you do, Margaret.”
Maisie was going to miss her cooking, she knew it, but her mind was made up. Home was calling her, if Fife could even be called that.
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay on in Aberdeen a bit longer?”
Maisie’s plea was thready, her voice constricted as she hefted her five month old daughter into her arms from the box bed that was the sleeping cot for five of them. Maisie slept at one end with her two girls, while Margaret top-to-toed with her son at the other end.
Margaret was truly grateful that she’d met Maisie soon after she’d arrived at the Aberdeen Joint Railway station from Peterhead.
She’d only been in Aberdeen once before on her arrival from Dundee, with her brand new husband Alex, but those circumstances had been quite different.
After their marriage, she and Alex had stayed in Dundee for a few months. Back then, Alex had been working for his uncle, a tailor who had only daughters. That had worked fine for him till he’d brought her to live in his uncle’s house. She was already pregnant.
Untenable. They’d had to leave after a great fall out between uncle and nephew. Their destination was Peterhead though they’d had to stay overnight in the city of Aberdeen. Trailing alongside Alexander as he wended their way to the lodging house he knew about, having frequented it a few times before, was entirely different from arriving unaccompanied, with a fractious not quite two year old.