Friday, November 19, 2021

What We're Writing--Debs Does the Little Details

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Yep, I am still plodding along on A KILLING OF INNOCENTS, Duncan and Gemma #19, but I am getting there! I have a cover, too, which is now approved by the sales and marketing crew (the really important people!) at my publisher's, but I can't share it quite yet. I'm so excited about it, however, that I have to give you a little teaser.

The background photo is a pub, so perfect for this book. And not just any pub, but this iconic pub!!

It's the Bloomsbury Tavern, one of London's most historic pubs, reputed to have been the last watering hole for the condemned en route to the hangman's noose a few miles to the west at Marble Arch. Tucked away where Shaftsbury Avenue meets Oxford Street, you could say it sits between Bloomsbury and Soho, the two London areas where most of this book is set. And look at those windows! Are they not gorgeous?

I think this cover is perfect!! Fingers crossed that by the next time WHAT WE'RE WRITING rolls around, I can show it to you. (And that I will have actually typed THE END.) 

In the meantime, as I get further into the book it becomes more and more challenging to find little excerpts that don't contain plot spoilers. But here's a snippet I especially like because it's such fun to write Duncan and Gemma "off camera", so to speak. And it's not that this happens to be a bedroom scene, but rather that one of the things I love most about reading and writing is seeing the little details of people's lives, whether it's how they dunk their teabags or what time their central heating comes on.

A faint rattling sound gradually penetrated Kincaid’s consciousness. Blearily, he forced open one eye. The room was dark except for the faint glow of the night light in the bathroom. Gemma lay with her bare back pressed against his side like a human furnace, her shoulder bare where the duvet had fallen away.

He lay, listening to her breathing, which was deep and regular but a bit more wheezy than usual. It came back to him then in little fragments, her outing with Sidana, and the aftermath. Gemma had been tipsy—well, maybe more than tipsy—and he hadn’t objected to her lowered inhibitions. At all.

Smiling at the memory, he rested one hand on the curve of her hip and with the other adjusted the duvet so that it covered her again. With a sigh, he sank back towards contented sleep.

Then the rattling began again. No, not rattling, buzzing, like an angry insect. This time he came fully awake, eyes wide. His mobile, left face down on the bedside table in his haste to get undressed, was vibrating against the hard surface.

Swearing under his breath, he grabbed the offending phone and eased out of the bed, trying not to wake Gemma. He swore again as the cold air in the bedroom hit his nakedness, puckering his skin in a wave of gooseflesh. Reaching the bathroom in two strides, he pulled the door closed and slipped, shivering, into his dressing gown.

Only then did Kincaid peer at the phone screen, checking the time and the missed call log. Half past six. And every call said Simon Gikas, Simon Gikas, Simon Gikas. His heart sank. An early morning call from his case manager was never a good thing.

The radiator clanked as the central heating switched on. Sitting on the edge of tub, he rang Simon back.

Simon picked up on the first ring. “Boss. Sorry to wake you at such an ungodly hour on a Sunday morning.”

“What’s happened?” Kincaid asked.

Well, dear readers, you will have to wait and see!




82 comments:

  1. Oh, dear, a cliffhanger . . . . now I’m more-than-anxious to read the book to find out what’s happened!

    The picture of the Bloomsbury Pub is amazing . . . . I’m looking forward to seeing the cover for “A Killing of Innocents” . . . .

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    1. Me, too, Joan! I'm keeping the cover up on my computer to inspire me. It really helps to imagine the finished book!

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  2. Cannot wait to read! Looking forward to seeing the cover! Love the picture of the bar!

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    1. I really think this cover is going to be stunning. I hope the book will leap off the shelf!

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  3. So exciting for just a little glimpse or even a mention of #19! The pub is gorgeous! When the wait gets unbearable I start reading old books to get through. The current one - In a Dark House. My bucket list is just go to the UK, but I am 61 with a lot of new health problems and likely will never fulfill that life-long dream, not to mention the cost. So reading a book like this takes me there and makes me happy because the writing is so vivid I really feel like I am there! So thankful you stuck to the same family this whole time instead of starting new series, even though I'm sure I would love those books too!

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    1. Jan, I hope you do get to visit, even for a short time. I would be happy to recommend a list of pubs to try:-)

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  4. DEBS: I agree the photo of the Bloomsbury Tavern is gorgeous so I look forward to the next time when you can reveal the cover for book #19!

    And yes, one of the many things that I love about your series are the NON-police investigation moments. The everyday family scenes with Duncan, Gemma and the kids/pets are lovely. This more (intimate) scene with Duncan and Gemma again shows us another personal side until police work intrudes with that phone call.

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    1. I love writing Duncan and Gemma at home. It's a treat for me to work those scenes into the investigation--although there does have to be something to move the plot along, too.

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  5. such a tease. Love the photo of the pub.

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    1. I hope this scene will keep people reading when they get to this point in the book!

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  6. I have all the previous books in the series and have been busy re reading them in order. I, too, enjoy all the non police moments in Gemma and Duncan's lives, with the children and the pets. I feel as if they are neighbors. Soooo looking forward to the new book!

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  7. Aww, I love this scene so much. And really, nobody wants to read about sex in the act - but the sweet aftermath? Bring it.

    The pub is gorgeous and the cover will be too. I'm delighted to have another Duncan and Gemma to look forward to.

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  8. Debs, that ws just cruel and unusual punishment. Need I remind you how long it's been since we had the opportunity to curl up with Gemma and Duncan? Oops, that's not meant to be a double entendre.

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  9. Perfect! I'm glad Gemma and Duncan can have some alone time after dealing with jobs, kids, and pets.

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  10. What a tease! I can't wait to read the completed book. I love this series!

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  11. Debs, you are masterful at writing those little details. I savor those moments that you describe in the lives of your characters.

    Like many others who have responded this morning, I too am rereading the series but collecting and listening to the Audible versions this time through. It's such a great way to revisit favorite books.

    Love the snippet and eagerly await the cover reveal.

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    1. Thanks, Judy! I think it must be fun to listen to the series in order. I should probably do that myself. Maybe when I finish this book. I find it difficult to listen to my books when I'm writing because my brain will switch into the other story.

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  12. This picture Debs is a WOW. I understand that you are glad to have it in the background of your cover.
    And this snippet only enhances my desire to reconnect with Gemma, Duncan and all…

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    1. Thank you, Danielle. We wanted something that would draw you in. There is just a hint of light inside.

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  13. Ooo, I like it! And what a lovely pub!

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  14. My heart literally lept at the news that #19 was on its way (having no doubt at all that you will indeed soon write THE END). And your clip gave the word "tease" new meaning ;)

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  15. I cannot wait to read this book! What an intriguing excerpt to tease us with, Deborah.

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  16. I love this scene, showing us Duncan's more tender side--and I don't mean his goosebump-covered arse. Too often work has these two quick-kissing as they pass in the doorway--one going in, the other on the way out. It's nice to see them together when the bodies they're dealing with aren't dead.

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    1. I love the next part of this scene, where Gemma is awake as Duncan is getting dressed to go out, but spoilers, spoilers...

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    2. Not to mention the beautiful, gradual description of dawn in . . . well, a particular part of London. Lovely writing all through this chapter but spoilers, too.

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    3. I actually had pulled up a photo of "that place" and was going to excerpt from that scene, but too many spoilers, alas.

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  17. I always love these snippets--then when the book comes out, reading and coming across them in context--it's like an aha! moment--now I see where this fits!

    The cover is going to be brilliant--and I wouldn't mind a visit to that pub on a gray day like today!

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    1. I feel the same way about reading the snipped again in the released book, Flora!

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  18. The cover photo is absolutely wonderful! It is so Debs! And I continue to be swept away by our different voices. I just love how your writing is so distinctive, and distinct, and so completely you!

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    1. It is so interesting, isn't it? I'll bet readers could identify each of us from one sentence. Oh, didn't we do that in one of our Jungle Red quizzes? Such fun!

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  19. Absolutely cannot wait until this book hits THE END and we can get our hands on it! Thanks for the teaser...

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  20. Leaving us like that might just be considered a hanging offense!

    Love the cover. Cannot wait to have this book in my hands!

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  21. OMG
    I have a photo of the Bloomsbury Tavern I took years ago, in daylight,framed over my desk.
    Can't wait for # 19, have loved your books since the first Duncan.

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    1. Now I'm envious! I hope it was summer with beautiful hanging baskets!

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    2. Yes, many hanging baskets and outdoor seating.But,sadly,I never ventured inside for a pint!

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  22. A moment we can all recognize, Debs: the tender aftermath. Your characters are so real in their interactions with one another, and you are masterful at this kind of scene.

    I had something else written and Blogger ate it. But I do remember saying that we should all meet at the gorgeous pub!

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    1. It's a date, Karen. We'll do a Duncan and Gemma London tour:-)

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    2. That's what I've been thinking about lately, a Gemma and Duncan tour of London. Wouldn't it be loverly?

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    3. We would have such fun!

      Let's get this stupid virus wrestled to the ground so we can do this.

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  23. I love that picture and can’t wait for the cover to show up on my preorder. I’m loving the little snippets. Although I’m not a patient person and June 7 is a very long time from now. I do like the idea of a road trip to the Bloomsbury Tavern.

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    1. I thought I should double-check but it still shows "no image available." Soon!

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  24. Marvelous excerpt! I want to keep reading, but that's the point. Well done and looking forward to release the release date. Soon, please.

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  25. It’s going to be a long wait to get to read that book! I’ve just been telling someone about this series, as she likes books set in England.

    DebRo

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    1. Thanks for recommending, DebRo. Love those new readers!

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  26. I've been to the Bloomsbury! My friends and I used to go after visiting the British Museum. That whole area is one of the best places to walk around in London. This is going to make a glorious book cover.

    And I also recognize the rattle and clank of the heat coming on and waking briefly in the middle of the night. It's like the last echoing vestige of a time when people would rouse for a moment when the town watchman came by.

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    1. We don't have radiators and boilers in Texas, so that was a new experience for me when I lived in Scotland and England. Not that we had a boiler in our Edinburgh flat--only an electric fire (as they say) in the sitting room and a little convection heater that we dragged from room to room in the rest of the flat. It was so cold!

      I don't know if American readers will realize that in the UK the heating is shut off during the night and is usually set to come on around six or seven in the morning.

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    2. We turn down the thermostat in this house for overnight; I manually turn it up in the morning for the furnace to kick in. That opening blast of warm air through the vents is always welcome. Though, if I had a choice, I would definitely choose hot-water heat via those old fashioned radiators.

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    3. We do the same thing, Amanda. We turn the heat way down to 58 degrees F at night and up in the morning to 65 F.

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    4. Oh, you hardy souls! I can't even sleep if the room temperature gets down into the 60s. I blame some of my insomnia on getting too cold in the pre-dawn hours.

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    5. We used to manually turn down the heat at night, and then when our kids gave us a Nest thermostat it was programmed to do so. Now that we are older we both get too cold for that unless our heat-intolerant daughters are visiting.

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    6. We always turn it down to 55 at night. I can't sleep if the room is hot - we are still cracking the window at night in our bedroom!

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    7. We turn ours down at night, but we don't turn it OFF. I'm a night owl, especially with jet lag, so when I stay in London flats and the heat goes off at ten, it's not fun. But you quickly learn why down comforters are ubiquitous in the UK!

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    8. YES, I remember staying in some flats in England and had to put in coin (money) to start the heat again.

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  27. I was so tickled to find a photo of the Bloomsbury on the photo site I subscribe to! Funnily enough, I've never actually been in the Bloomsbury, although I know where it is and have walked by it any number of times. I don't know how I missed it when I was doing the great "perfect pub hunt" around Bloomsbury/Holborn when I was writing Garden of Lamentations. A pub crawl failure that must be remedied next trip!!

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  28. I love how the door is set into the corner of the pub and the corner is rounded, not a sharp angle. I know doors set into corners of buildings still happens but there is something about those rounded corners with the rounded window above, love it. Can't wait it for number 19.

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    1. It dates from the 1850s. Really lovely architecture and details!

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  29. Deborah, I want to thank you for getting me through the Covid pandemic. Seriously, when it first hit, I couldn't think, focus or worse, read. And even worse, I couldn't write. All work on my WIP went out the window. I sunk into a deep depression. I missed England. I missed going there. So I thought if I tried to go vicariously that might help. I learned about your books from the Jungle Red posts. So I started with the first one. OMG I could read! Book One was fun and amazing. I got Book Two . . . and then I read my way through every book you've written. I've read a lot of mysteries and police procedurals in my time and yours are absolutly exceptional! And not just because they are set in England LOL. After reading all your books, a freakin' miracle happened. I could write again. I'm now finished and my agent is pitching it. So THANK YOU, Deborah! You saved my sanity (and maybe my career as a writer). P.S. That pub is amazing. I loved the excerpt and I'm sure I'll love the book. I can't wait.

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    1. Lorraine, you have absolutely made my day. I think that is the nicest thing that one writer can say to another. I'm so glad my books helped you through those long months, and if they jump started your writing, that is a huge compliment! Congratulations on your completed manuscript, and best of luck finding a home for it!!

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  30. Loved it. Poor Duncan. There's nothing as cruel as getting out of a warm bed to a cold house. At least there wasn't a dog there to stick his cold nose on his rear to hurry him along.

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    1. I thought it was nice that the dogs, cats, and kids let them have a little "alone time."

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  31. Here's a fun little bit on the pub. https://buyoya.com/the-bloomsbury-tavern/

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  32. I've been perusing the pub menu, which is simple and very traditional British food. Now I'm starving!!

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  33. Not FAAAAAIR! How long is the wait to read the rest of this suspenseful scene? Well done! <3

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  34. Oh Debs, I want more, more, more! I love those sweet moments with Duncan and Gemma. You can feel the love floating in the air. And, I always enjoy the moments with the whole family, too, the people and the animals.

    The Bloomsbury Pub picture is gorgeous. I can't wait to see the book cover with a pub featured. I have a friend who is a manager at the Hoop and Grapes Pub on Aldgate High Street in London. (This friend is also one of the two owners/creators of the new SpellBound Publishing in London) The Hoop and Grapes was one of the few timber framed buildings to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666. The fire stopped just 50 yards from the pub.

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    1. Kathy, I looked up the Hoop and Grapes. What a great story and so wonderful that it's still standing!

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  35. Oh, I love this scene! I have missed Gemma and Duncan sorely and can't wait for their return. Bravo, Debs!

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