Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November!

Okay, why am I, an American, referencing Guy Fawkes Night now, at the end of June?  And what does the Halloween-esque English holiday have to do with Sherlock Holmes?

Oh, my goodness, you will not believe this…  It’s tied into the chronology of the Canon.  Seriously, it is.

1887, December: The first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, is published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual.

1888, September: The events of The Sign of the Four take place.

1889, early: John Watson and Mary Morstan are wedded.  I have no concrete evidence for this assumption, but the stories that take place in the months following the wedding (e.g. “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Naval Treaty,” etc.) seem to place the happy event in early 1889 rather than late 1888.  ’89, then, is the first year of Watson’s marriage.

1890, October: “The Red-headed League.”

1890, November: “The Dying Detective.”  Watson places the event “in the second year of my married life,” which would be 1890 if it is true that he and Mary were wedded in ’89 and that the marriage referred to is his first rather than his second.  (No bringing up the 3+ wives, please—I’m sure Doyle meant for Watson to have had only two.)  Also, Mrs. Hudson informs Dr. Watson that Holmes cooped himself up in his room on Wednesday, three days before she came for Watson.

Now, here’s where it gets really cool.

My reason for DYIN being during Watson's marriage to Mary is twofold: one, the story potential of Culverton Smith working with Professor Moriarty is staggering; two (and far more importantly), Holmes would not have pulled such a stunt on Watson after all the consequences of Holmes’s faking his death.  He would not have fooled Watson so a second time.

That being said, can there be a specific date for DYIN?  Well, not actually, because we're never told whether it was early, middle, or late in the month.  Still, there’s no reason why DYIN could not have taken place early in November, no matter the year, and that got me thinking.  There’s a particular British special day that occurs early in November…

I checked out a calendar for the year 1890.  It was a normal year (non-leap year) starting on a Wednesday.  November 1st that year was a Saturday.  Are you doing the math?

Guy Fawkes Night fell on a Wednesday in 1890.

When I saw that, I could have screamed my excitement.

Culverton Smith tried to infect Sherlock Holmes on November 5th.

This is, of course, assuming the year is right and the events took place early in the month.  But what better day could Smith choose to defeat the Great Detective than a special day on the English calendar?  Especially one associated with the words:

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November.

Culverton Smith would have ever after heard that and smiled at his victory over Sherlock Holmes, had the detective not beaten him at his own game.  (And we already know it was in his character to gloat.)  It was perfect timing!

In the end, it really is mostly conjecture with only a little bit of deduction, which naturally goes against Holmes’s grain.  But if it were so, ah! if it were but so…

It’s certainly something neat to think about.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Merged: Comparing Time-Travel Traits

This is not a post glorying about how Merged will be better than any other girl-travels-back-in-time story out there.  It’s simply making some points about how it’s different from other such stories (and why, therefore, you should read it).

1. The Heroine Is a Detective.
Now that’s a pretty big deal.  I’ve only ever seen one other story in which that was the case, and… the plot wasn’t really that similar to mine, which is good.  =)  More specifically, Kathleen Stewart is an independent investigative consultant, a.k.a. private consulting detective.  She is not an official part of law-enforcement, but neither does she choose to identify herself as a P.I.

2. The Novel Uses a Canonical Story.
You don’t see too much of that, though nomdeplume30’s awesome A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Set did actually send Jeremy Brett and David Burke to the events of “The Dancing Men.”  Anyway, Merged uses “The Final Problem” in a very important way—in fact, the modern-day characters go back about a year before the events of FINA.

3. The Method of Time-Travel Is a Machine, And the Government Is Involved.
A crucial plot-point.  Some time-travel stories basically use supernatural means to cross time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But the reason we have an adventure in the first place is because the CIA’s secret superweapon, a time-machine, is stolen by the (fictional) mastermind criminal of our day.

4. The Modern Big Bad Seeks Out Moriarty.
Yesss.  Indeed.

5. Both the Modern Heroine And the Modern Villain Are Sherlockians.
Sometimes the girl is a Sherlockian; sometimes she isn’t (though that doesn’t seem to be often).  But what you’ve never seen before is a modern bad-guy who’s actually a fan of Sherlock Holmes (no, Sherlock!Moriarty doesn’t count—different circumstances).

6. Sherlock Holmes Is the Heroine’s Hero.
Hero, role-model, and longtime fangirl crush—considering that Kathleen grew up with Jeremy Brett as her Holmes, you can’t blame her for that last bit.  The reason she’s a detective in the first place is because of Sherlock.  And despite her determination to make her hero see that she’s fully as capable as he is, she’s also not afraid to let him and Watson know that she’s a hardcore fangirl.

7. The Heroine Has Unique Characteristics.
+A: Heroines in these stories tend to be short, 5’4” or shorter.  Holmes is at least 6’ (commonly written as being taller).  Now, there’s always Han Solo and Princess Leia (6’1” & 5’3”) and Anakin and Padmé Skywalker (6’1” & 5’4”), and shorter females tend to be feistier than their taller counterparts.  But Kathleen Stewart is very Scotch-Irish and tall at 5’10”, which comes to her advantage in her line of work.  There’s less than half a foot in height between her and Sherlock.
+B: Heroines are either beautiful or just plain-looking.  Kathleen is neither—simply nicely attractive (although she can look gorgeous if she really dolls herself up).
+C: Heroines are often blue or green or hazel-eyed—anything but the very common brown.  Kathleen has brown eyes courtesy of her Spanish-Jewish mom, and the color works well.
+D: Time-travel heroines typically don’t have the same IQ as the Great Detective.  Kathleen does.  She’s as good as he is at what they do.  And yet, their personalities remain different…
+E: Heroines don’t usually have very much family and/or friends holding them back from staying in late Victorian London.  Kathleen, on the other hand, has parents she adores, eight brothers and sisters (the youngest of which is a full twenty years her junior), a team in the New York Police Department (NYC) with whom she loves to work, and an overall well-developed life that would be difficult to give up.  The two things she does not have are a husband and children of her own.
+F: Heroines tend to be in their early or mid-20s.  Kathleen is 32, the same age as Sherlock when they meet.

8. The Story Takes Place When Watson Is Married to Mary.
As far as I know, this has never been done before.  The heroine either arrives before Watson’s marriage or after the Great Hiatus.  (And there’s always a third bedroom created at 221B that was never mentioned in the Canon, since it’s now three people sharing rooms.  But in this story, since Watson is married and moved out, Kathleen takes his old bedroom.)

9. The Girl Could Hold Her Own Against Holmes in a One-on-One.
This is not Mary Sue-ism.  This is just being realistic.  Kathleen is a private detective who often gets herself deep in trouble.  Thus, she’s made sure she’s gotten the best combat training a civilian can have.  You’d better believe a person with that kind of training could take on the Great Detective.

10. The Girl’s Got a Gun.
Though she’s determined not to use it often in order to conserve on expensive ammo that can’t be replaced in 1890, Kathleen is a dead shot with her customary Glock 10mm (which is a very powerful handgun).  And she is.  Not.  Afraid.  To Use.  It.  Her view on killing and murder differs from the views of a lot of people today, and she has no moral compunction about killing a person to defend herself or others.

11. More Than Just Holmes & Watson Know.
Mary Watson, Inspector Lestrade (and possibly Gregson and maybe Hopkins), Wiggins, and maybe Mrs. Hudson all know the origin of the individualistic American woman living in 221B.  And, of course, Moriarty finds out.

12. “Just Like a Married Couple.”
Oh snap, I just lost half of you, right?  Well, if you’re willing to keep reading, yes, it’s Sherlock/OC—which, I’m well aware, isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.  But I hope to bring something fresh and new to the concept, partially based on the characters’ ages.  Sherlock is 32, old and mature enough to have learned some lessons about a few of the ideas he formed as a young man, and—contrary to popular belief—he is not a misogynist.  He simply doesn’t understand what makes women tick, and he doesn’t like it.  Kathleen, however, has an intelligence equaling his own, character traits not unlike Watson’s, and an overall mature but fun personality that enjoys sharp, witty banter.  He can be at ease around Kathleen, because she lets him be at ease.

Those are the twelve major points I can think of at the moment.  Now that I’m starting to actually post up experimental vignettes for Merged, you’ll probably be seeing more about it in the future.  (Although the very next post may well be about Deliver Us from Evil.)

And just to remind my readers… At the Mercy of the Mind is now available for purchase, and it's begging to be bought!  At least go check out the page!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This is real, peeps.  This is really IT. 

(Price: 5.99 in USD; 4.26 in GBP.)

I AM SO VERY EXCITED!!!  I've even made my very first sale already!

Now, for certain reasons, my hope is that I can make 20 sales by the end of the month (nine days from now).  Anybody willing to help out?  =)  Pretty please?

A big thanks to my wonderful, wonderful editor Christine for putting up with me, doing such a fantastic job, and supporting me all the way.  Thanks also to all my lovely reviewers!  (If you want to see the rest of my gratitude, though, you'll have to buy the book. ^_^)

Please buy it, do!  You'll love it - I know it.

Upward and Onward!

Friday, June 17, 2011

AMM: Agonizingly Close!

The business aspects are turning out to be so much simpler than I’d originally thought!  Hallelujah!

Oh, wait.  You guys don’t even know yet.



This is not a drill.  This is the Real Thing.

All that remains is to upload it to the eBook manager, then upload it from there to Amazon.  It is done.  All the illustrations, all the edits… complete.

I am practically bouncing off the walls.

It is not only possible, but likely, that the book will be available for purchase next week.  When it is, I’ll post up an announcement here right away!

So!  Just to whet your appetite for this momentous occasion, here are some of the things you can expect from the titles that go beyond number 50:

—More tales involving Cécile Holmes.
—More WWI stories, including a post-war reunion.
—A scene from John and Mary Watsons’ wedding day.
—The introduction of two childhood friends for Sherlock.
—A short piece from Moriarty’s POV.
—Tie-ins to “The Empty House.”
—The continuation of the “Holmes-captured” story-arc.
—Tie-ins to A Study in Scarlet

…and so much more!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

AMM and yet ANOTHER Novel Concept

I’m afraid so.  My muse is an odd, capricious creature, indeed—as I am partly Irish, I suspect some Leprechaun blood runs in her veins.  But first, let’s talk AMM.

At the Mercy of the Mind now possesses a subtitle (which is a surprise I’m saving for the release) and some twenty-odd illustrations, including several pictures of a young Master Sherlock E. Holmes.  ^_^  My beta has been cutting a good clip through the stories; the book is 80% edited.  (Actually, as of last night, it’s 90% edited on my beta’s side—and still 80% on my side. *blushes*)  The foreword and acknowledgments are also typed up!

Can we see the book by the end of the month?  It’s entirely possible!

Now, as to the novel concept.  No working title at this time, just an idea brought about by a couple of supernatural fanfics I’ve read recently: The Light of Pure Reason (one of the best Holmes-in-the-21st-century fics ever!) and Westron Wynde’s duology, The Case of the Dead Detective and The Haunting of Dr. Watson.  All three star Sherlock Holmes as a ghost (the poor dear!).  Of course, my muse would be inspired by this.

The idea?  Holmes is not a ghost, per se.  Rather, he is forced into limbo because a certain mathematical genius tampers with time to ensure that Sherlock Holmes was never born.  However, rather than Holmes’s existence ending altogether, the detective survives in spirit-form, unable to retain his body in a world that no longer knows him.  The workings of time and divine purpose cannot be altered so casually, however; so it is up to Holmes to restore the time-space continuum and return to his physical form.

His helpers?  The only three people in the world who still remember him and don’t understand what’s wrong either with the world or themselves: John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and Geoffrey Lestrade.

And Sherlock Holmes will find that his struggles are not against earthly powers alone…

Sound good to you?  Personally, the idea intrigues me.  However, Deliver Us From Evil and Merged still take priority.

I promise it won’t be so long ‘til my next post this time, and I’m sorry I’ve been silent for so long!