Contents:

What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Friday, 17 November 2017

All the latest news....

It's been so long since I last added any news. Apologies. Current projects are something like this: 'Sherlock Holmes and the Scarborough Affair' is still a work in progress, but we will get there, the 'we' being myself and collaborator Gill Stammers. I am also adapting my first novel 'Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror' for the stage which is going fairly well and nearing completion of 'Watson: My Life' which purports to be an autobiography of Watson as dictated by the man himself into a recording device in 1936. Watch this space! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Monmouth: Fear Nothing but God
After the success of last year's The Tempest of Lyme, this year's community play will be Monmouth: A West Country Rebellion.
How can you help? We need in excess of £5,000 to stage this production. To that end there is Crowdfunding in place. To read more about the play and make your pledge, click HERE



Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Another appeal.

Tales from The Stranger's Room Volume 3 is coming along nicely, but there is still some space available for anyone who wishes to contribute. I am looking for short Holmesian fiction, poetry, quizzes, art work or non-fiction. Pleasde feel free to email me on Ruffleholmes@aol.com if you have any ideas or indeed contributions. Thank you.



Thursday, 24 November 2016

WRITERS

CALLING ALL SHERLOCK HOLMES WRITERS. 

As some of you may know I am an author of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. A few years ago I compiled and edited Tales From The Stranger's Room in two volumes with mostly work from unpublished writers. I am now looking to create a new volume. The two volumes featured short pieces, quirky pieces and poetry etc. If you wish to take part feel free to contact me here or email me at Ruffleholmes@aol.com Thanks all!!!!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

HOLMES AWAY FROM HOME: Richard Paolinelli

Richard Paolinelli : iBorn in Turlock, California in 1964, Richard began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 in Odessa, TX and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon.He won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story while at the Turlock Journal and a CNAE award for pagination in 2005 while serving as Sports Editor at the Merced Sun-Star. He was named a Player of the Year in 2002 by the CCMR Racing Series for his coverage of auto racing while at the Merced Sun-Star. aHe won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story while at the Turlock Journal and a CNAE award for pagination in 2005 while serving as Sports Editor at the Merced Sun-Star. In 2016, Richard was one of a dozen authors selected to participate in, Beyond Watson, an anthology of original Sherlock Holmes stories. Perfection's Arbiter, a biography of National League Umpire, Babe Pinelli, was released on October 8th. W & B Books acquired the rights to the Jack Del Rio Series and will release, Betrayals, the sequel to Reservations, in November. In December, Richard's second Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The Woman Returns, will be released by Belanger Books as part of the Holmes Away From Home Anthology. 

You are contributing a story, ‘The Woman Returns’ to the forthcoming anthology ‘Holmes Away From Home’. How did this involvement come about?                   

 
I actually became a part of this by way of a very long, strange path.
 
I was getting ready to retire from sports writing back in 2013 and was wondering what to do next when I discovered the books written by Jack McDevitt. I found out he was the same age when he began writing his first book as I was at the time I was retiring. I figured if he could start writing at that age and be successful at it, so could I and I decided to give fiction writing another shot. (I had written two issues of Seadragon back in 1986)
 
Jack mentioned that he was writing a Sherlock Holmes pastiche for an anthology, Beyond Watson, with the premise that it be a story told by someone other than Dr. Watson.
 
I had just finished doing some research on Winston Churchill and had the idea that a Holmes adventure involving Churchill would be fun to write. So I reached out to Derrick Belanger to see if it wasn’t too late to submit to the anthology. It wasn’t, and I sent in “A Lesson In Mercy” which is part of the Beyond Watson anthology.
 
Derrick encouraged me to submit another pastiche for Holmes Away From Home, which I gladly did and I was thrilled that it was included in this upcoming anthology.
 
 
Have you been a Holmes devotee for long?
 
I discovered Holmes at an early age. We moved around a lot when I was young because of my father’s business and the libraries at each new school and town were my reliable friends. I read all of Doyle’s original stories by age 10 and watched all of the films and televised episodes whenever I could. Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Holmes remains my personal favorite.
 
 
Your series of books detailing the cases of FBI Agent Jack Del Rio have been received well by the public. Will the series run and run?        
            
 
You never want to say never, so there could be more Del Rio adventures. But the series was originally laid out to be just four books and I really think that I will have told all of Jack’s story that can be told by the time we get to the end of the fourth book.
 
So at this time, I don’t think there will be a fifth book or more, But, then again, eighteen months ago I never thought I’d be writing original Sherlock Holmes stories either and look where I’m at now.
 
 
You spent many years as a sports writer, do you miss that?
 
Sometimes, especially as toward the end of my career I was also doing sports photography, which was both fun and challenging.
 
During football season I do a daily On This Date tie-in with my book, From The Fields, with a look back on something that happened in the past involving a Turlock high school team and I run a Facebook page with updates on the current season and updated all-time stats.
 
But I don’t miss the late nights, the traveling and the inclement weather at all.
 
 
What constitutes a typical day for you, if there is such a thing?
 
Organized chaos, to be honest.
 
Some days it seems like the day just started and its already 10 o’clock at night. The one constant, of course, is making sure I spend at least three hours either writing or working on something related to writing (promotions, interviews, etc.) each day.
 
 
Is there likely to be a full length Sherlock Holmes tale from you in the future?        
 
Well, now that you mention it…
 
Actually, I mentioned to Derrick a few months back that I had an idea for a third Holmes story that I might be able to develop into a full-length story. It would have an element of science fiction to it (I’m always scrambling my genres together) and maybe even a little steampunk for good measure. But it would definitely have the feel of a true Holmes story and I think Doyle would have enjoyed reading it.  
 
 
And....the million dollar question; your favourite Holmes story is?
 
Ugh, you’re asking me to pick my favorite child here.
 
As much as I love Hound of the Baskervilles, I’m going to have to say my absolute favorite has to be A Scandal in Bohemia, which explains why I wrote The Woman Returns.  I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between Holmes and Irene Adler.
 
Thanks Richard! Visit Richard's website HERE

For news of Holmes Away From Home, click HERE!


Monday, 21 November 2016

MONMOUTH!!!

The dream team of writer, Andy Rattenbury and director, Clemmie Reynolds who gave us The Tempest of Lyme last year (with a bit of help from Shakespeare) are combining to create: Monmouth The West Country Rebellion as next year's community play. Expect a large cast of local performers and musicians giving their all to entertain and delight. The Duke of Monmouth would have been delighted to have so many willing volunteers. Who knows, Sedgemoor may have turned out differently. Lyme Regis could have been the capital of the West Country and been a city as Monmouth promised! Anyway, enough rambling. Set aside a weekend or two next July for this theatrical feast.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

DAVID MARCUM: AN INTERVIEW


David Marcum first discovered Sherlock Holmes in 1975, at the age of ten, when he received an abridged version of The Adventures during a trade. He is the author of "The Papers of Sherlock Holmes" Vol.'s I and II (2011, 2013), "Sherlock Holmes and A Quantity of Debt" (2013) and "Sherlock Holmes - Tangled Skeins" (2015). Additionally, he is the editor of the three-volume set "Sherlock Holmes in Montague Street" (2014, recasting Arthur Morrison's Martin Hewitt stories as early Holmes adventures,) and the massive three-volume "The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories" (2015). he is the editor of the forthcoming anthology; Holmes Away From Home.   




You are busy acquiring a reputation as a fine editor of various Sherlock Holmes anthologies, how did that come about?

Thank you for those kind words. I’m still an amateur editor, but I’m learning more and more as I go along.

I’ve edited my own works and various engineering papers for myself and others for years. I think that if you read a lot, you learn how to write and see things that do or don’t work. I had never thought about editing Holmes books as a goal, but one morning in early 2015, I woke up early from a vivid dream about a Holmes anthology that I’d edited. Instead of going back to sleep and forgetting about it, I emailed a few friends and publisher Steve Emecz, and everyone was positive, so I started asking a few other people if they’d like to participate. Eventually interest grew and grew until it turned into the three-volume hardcover set, The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories. It was the biggest collection of new traditional Holmes stories in one place ever, over sixty stories, and all the authors’ royalties go to support the Stepping Stones School for special needs students at Undershaw, one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former homes.

After those initial three volumes, the system was still in place, the school still needed funds, and there can never be enough traditional Holmes stories. So we charged ahead, and since then there have been two more MX anthologies this year, Part IV – 2016 Annual, and Part V – Christmas Adventures, and two more are already in the works for next year.

As if that editing wasn’t enough, I’ve also just finished the two-volume set for Belanger Books, Holmes Away From Home, with stories from The Great Hiatus. And I already have almost all of the stories for next year’s Belanger Books anthology, Before Watson, with tales set before Holmes and Watson’s meeting at Barts on January 1st, 1881.

What do you look for in a Holmes story? What for you, makes it work?       


I’ve been reading and collecting traditional Holmes pastiches since I was ten years old, in 1975, and since then I’ve accumulated several thousand of them. I organize them into a Chronology of both Canon and pastiche. Doing that, I play The Game with deadly seriousness, treating Holmes and Watson as historical individuals. As such, first and foremost, I only read and include stories that fit within The Game. No ghosts, vampires, or time travel. No modern day settings, and absolutely no “Sherlock” and “John”. Holmes is not Van Helsing or Dr. Who, but he does need to be a hero, and not some damaged loser who is so broken that, without Watson’s help, he cannot function – I don’t want to read about that guy. When editing, that’s how I judge a story.

What advice would give to budding pastiche writers?

One very important thing is to go ahead and write – don’t be overwhelmed by a blank screen. Start putting something – anything – down. It may not work, it may have to be completely scrapped at some point, but you have something that you can build upon and tie to something else, and if you keep chipping away at it, you’ll be amazed at how a thing that wasn’t there before now exists.

When I went to school to be a civil engineer, they taught us the “Engineering Method”, which is not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Rather, pick pieces you can work on, and if you hit an impasse at one place, move on to some other piece. If you’re stuck on a difficult part of a story, jump ahead to somewhere after that part and start the next piece. Sew them all up when you’re done.

Do your editing duties impinge on your own writing?

Since I’m an amateur writer, my writing method is to find some quite time, usually early on a Saturday morning, and sit down and start typing. I don’t outline at all. Rather, I just listen to Watson telling the story and race to stay caught up while I transcribe it. For a normal 8,000 word story, it takes about two of these sessions, three-to-four hours each, to get the basic story in place. I’m not really aware of the passage of time when I’m writing – I come back and have a big chunk of story in front of me, and all of my coffee has disappeared.

Editing, on the other hand, is an ongoing process. People send me stories steadily, and I read them pretty much as they arrive. When I receive them, I immediately format them as if they were going to be accepted and dropped into the book template. I fix and unify all sorts of things, such as punctuation, layout, etc., for consistency. Only then do I actually read and edit the story and either accept or reject it outright, or send it back comments regarding loose plot threads or holes, or things that don’t fit with The Canon. It has to fit with The Canon!

Away from editing, writing, and work, what do you enjoy doing?               


I’ve always enjoyed reading, and I read a LOT of stuff besides Holmes. Additionally, I love music. When I went to college for my first degree back when I was eighteen, I started as a piano performance major on scholarship, performing in recitals and accompanying vocal performance majors. However, a couple of years of that convinced me that I wanted to retain my amateur status, and I finished up with a degree in Business Management – which helped a lot when I went back to school years later to be a civil engineer. Music is still very important to me, and I usually can’t walk through the house without stopping and playing something on the piano. I just wish that I could sing better, like my musical hero, Mr. Billy Joel.

Of course, I’ll take any chance that I can get to spend time with my wife and son, even if we’re just hanging out at home. And the older I get, the more I want to be outside, even if it’s just for a good long walk, or sitting on the deck and reading.


If you could visit on Holmesian location you have not yet been to, what would it be?

Excellent question. Since childhood, I’d dreamed of visiting London and England, all because of Holmes. I wanted to start in Baker Street and spread out from there. I was finally able to take my trip-of-a-lifetime Holmes Pilgrimage in 2013, visiting hundreds of Holmes-related sites, based on years of research in the two-dozen-plus Holmes travel books in my collection. I was able to return for Holmes Pilgrimages II and III in 2015 and 2016, both in connection with the MX anthologies.

Having now been so many Holmes-related places in England, some of them more than once, I think that I’d like to get to the Reichenbach Falls. After that, I really don’t have much interest in the rest of the Continent – I’d hurry back to Baker Street and do that all over again.

Aside from the editing, what are you currently working on?

I’ve been writing a number of stories for the anthologies that I edit, as well as a few that have been requested for other people’s anthologies. I’m also working on stories for a super-secret Holmes-related project that I hope will come to fruition soon – you’ll either hear about that, or you won’t. And I really need to write some other Holmes stories for another of my own books for MX. I now have enough accumulated stories from previous anthologies to make another collection, but I want to write some more new stuff too.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity, and also thanks to the many authors – now nearly 100 of you! – who have participated in the various anthologies that keep the memory green for the true Sherlock Holmes!


Thanks David. For news on Holmes Away From Home, click HERE

Friday, 11 November 2016

HOLMES AWAY FROM HOME: AN INTERVIEW WITH SONIA FETHERSTON


For more than 15 years Sonia was a successful advertising and public relations executive in her native Pacific Northwest. She’s now an extremely busy freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications and on websites world-wide. Her current project is a book about the silent film appearances of legendary stage/screen actor John Barrymore.
Sonia has published a dozen scholarly articles in THE BAKER STREET JOURNAL, the preeminent quarterly of Sherlockiana. For her research and writing excellence, she was honored with the prestigious Morley-Montgomery Award (2012), as well as with an Eddie Award (2013) from The Baker Street Irregulars. Sonia was the author of the BSI’s (2012) Christmas Annual, BARRYMORE IN BAKER STREET. Her book, PRINCE OF THE REALM: THE IRREGULAR LIFE OF JAMES BLISS AUSTIN (2014) is about an early member of the BSI. She was a contributing author for two titles of Calabash Press’s distinguished CASEFILES series. Sonia’s byline has appeared in Sherlockian publications from Italy to Australia, Japan to Canada, Sweden to the United States. She’s an active member of four scion societies.
Sonia Fetherston received her BSI Investiture, The Solitary Cyclist, in 2014.


When did your love affair with Sherlock Holmes begin?

I was probably five years old.  My dad wrote college textbooks, and he insisted that our house had to be completely silent when he was working.  So I’d crouch in front of our old black-and-white television and watch movies with the sound turned off.  In those days one of the TV stations in town showed nothing but old movies.  Without fail, once a week they’d broadcast all of the Rathbone/Bruce films back to back.  Those were glorious, goggle-eyed hours.  I thought Basil Rathbone was the most magnificent creature I’d ever seen.  He moved like a dancer, but there was always this dangerous undercurrent in his Holmes.  Later, probably around age eleven, I began to read Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.  The first one was “The Speckled Band.”  I can still remember my heart thudding at the notion of a s-s-snake slithering over its slumbering victim.

Do your family share your interest in the Great Detective?    
             

My daughter married a Sherlockian.  I tell her she has good taste! 

How did your involvement in Holmes Away From Home come about?

Everybody knows the names Derrick Belanger and David Marcum.  What a winning team!  Derrick advertised for Sherlockian writers to propose short story ideas for the Great Hiatus years.  Purely as a lark, I sent him something.  How astonishing to learn mine was selected.  As it happens, some of my childhood was spent in Switzerland not far from the Reichenbach Falls.  I thought I might combine my very real memories of the terrain and the people with Sherlock Holmes’s flight from Moriarty’s gang.  That’s how I came to invent a little Alpine family who sheltered Holmes in the crucial hours after the incident at the falls.  The title of my story, “Over the Mountains in the Darkness” is taken directly from Holmes’s own description of his run to safety.

How much time do you spend writing?

I try to research, write, or edit nearly every day.  For years I would rise with the sun and work through the morning, but nowadays I’m more of an afternoon person.  Except for rare dips in the fiction pool, most of my writing is non-fiction – essays and commentary, biography, Sherlockian scholarship, book reviews and so on.  I’ve been a frequent contributor to magazines such as The Baker Street Journal, The Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual, Canadian Holmes, The Journal of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, The Sydney Passengers’ Log, The Sherlock Holmes Journal, The Musgrave Papers and others.  My commentary has appeared in several anthologies, like Calabash Press’s Case Files series. 

On small screen or large screen, who do you think has most successfully portrayed Holmes? And Watson?

Call me crazy, or mired in my childhood, but I’m loyal to Rathbone and Bruce.  Rathbone nailed the sleek, aesthetic look and clipped speech.  His is the “voice” I always hear in my head when I read the Canon.  But I’m honest enough to giggle at the opinion of the great John Barrymore (himself a Holmes of the silent screen) who said that Rathbone played The Great Detective rather like a rolled up umbrella that had taken elocution lessons!  As for the oft-maligned Bruce….one must consider him from the perspective of a film director of the 1940s.  His obtuse, lumpy Watson is the perfect visual and intellectual foil to Rathbone’s thinking whippet. 

How often do you read the original stories?                                      

I reach into them almost every day.  I use three different editions of the Canon – the Oxford Annotated, Baring-Gould’s Annotated and Morley’s Doubleday.  The Doubleday is my old workhorse.  There are so many colored highlights and notes scribbled in its margins, there are places where it’s difficult to see Conan Doyle’s original words!  On Twitter I’m known as “@221blonde.”  There I post daily quotes directly from the Sherlock Holmes Canon, sometimes accompanied by photos of my gewgaws: a Holmes teapot, Holmes and Watson salt and pepper shakers, vintage Sherlockian Valentine cards, an autographed picture of William Gillette, the new Basil of Baker Street Christmas ornament from Disney, and more.  My great hope is that others will feel a connection and be inspired to check out the original stories themselves.

What is your current project?

This year I wrote about a half-dozen magazine articles, all accepted for publication in 2017.  I’m just completing a book-length project for an upcoming Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual, with my friend and co-author Julie McKuras.  She and I work so well together, I hope to do other projects with her.  By the end of the week I will finish an essay for a book someone’s compiling about the quirky lives of real Sherlockians – that will be released next year.  It’s always something!

Thanks Sonia!

For more about Holmes Away From Home, click HERE!!

    

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

(Holmes Away From Home) Katie Magnusson: An Interview


Katie Magnusson has been published in the anthology An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and writes reviews for the news site I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere. Her favorite hobbies are the weird ones. She is also the author of The RX Problem, set in a futuristic city detailing the adventures of characters named Watts and Sherlock. She has contributed A Murder on Mount Athos to the upcoming Holmes anthology: Holmes Away From Home.  


1.      Could you tell us about your story in the upcoming Holmes from Home collection, without giving too much away of course?

A pilgrim is found murdered one morning in one of the monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece. The monks would prefer their sacred home not be trampled by a police force, but they can’t just stand there and do nothing. Fortunately, another visitor to the monastery seems particularly skilled at detective work and agrees to help find the murderer before he can escape.

2.      How and when did your love of Sherlock Holmes first appear?

I found a copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes for obscenely cheap at a used books store and picked it up on a whim. That was seven or eight years ago, I think. I was vaguely familiar with him before that through pop culture references and The Great Mouse Detective, but I hadn’t read any of the stories (apart from a failed attempt at reading The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was maybe ten.) So, I thought I’d give it a go and try the stories out. I was instantly hooked. I devoured that book and acquired a sudden voracious enthusiasm for all things Sherlockian.

3.      Your novel, The RX Problem places characters called Watts and Sherlock in a cybernetic future. Sound as though it was fun to write...was it?

Immensely! Shortly after reading the Sherlockian Canon, I switched gears and read William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the two sort of converged in my head, though my world is much less dystopian than his. My characters take a lot from Holmes and Watson, and there are Sherlockian references throughout the stories, but they’re not Holmes and Watson. It’s been a lot of fun watching them become their own people.

4.      What are the different challenges involved in writing a traditional Holmes tale as say compared to a steampunk version?

In both cases, the biggest challenge is preserving the characters. In order to do justice to the character, the author has to consider how he would react and make certain that they're writing Holmes, not just a popular culture stereotype version. I will read Sherlock Holmes in whatever world an author puts him in, and the biggest problem I’ve seen is the author becoming distracted by the setting or relying on stereotype, instead of really considering how Holmes would make his living and act in a world with airships, or magic, or whatever you like. That being said, when Holmes is still Holmes, it is so much fun to watch how he would respond to anything thrown at him. I think, for me, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between writing a historical story and a fantastical one. I’m probably going to do the same amount of planning and/or research for either, trying to envision the setting as best I can before I drop the Great Detective in the middle of it all, adapting him to the new situation.

5.      Your favourite Conan Doyle Holmes tale?

Oh, heck. Choosing one is hard. “The Adventure of the Three Garridebs” is probably one of the top five, simply because it has that amazing moment when we get a glimpse of the great heart along with the great mind. “The Six Napoleons” makes me melt every time I read Lestrade telling Holmes he’s proud of him. “The Blue Carbuncle” is just a lot of fun, and “The Speckled Band” has one of my favorite encounters between Holmes and a villain… but I could go on like this for ages.

6.      Do you have a structured writing routine and you are a bookseller...dream job?

I wish I had a structured writing routine. As it is, I write on break at work, and I write when I have an hour or two at home after my son’s in bed, and I constantly jot down ideas whenever I’m out and about running errands. It’s not ideal, but it’s what I have to work with. I never planned on being a bookseller, it just sort of happened that way, but I enjoy it. I do struggle with not spending my paycheck at my workplace, though.

7.      Your husband is a philosopher...does that make for cosy fireside chats?

Ha! Sometimes? Now that I think about it, discussions on the nature of mankind typically occur while doing dishes. Nights are most often spent watching movies or tv, or playing board games.

Thanks Katie!!


For more on Holmes Away From Home, Click HERE!!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

HOLMES FROM HOME


Sherlock Holmes! The Great Hiatus!

Check out this incredible upcoming collection of traditional Holmes stories, exploring those mysterious years between 1891 and 1894, when Holmes was thought to have died at the Reichanbach Falls. Instead, he survived and travelled all across the world. Find out more about where he went and what he did there.

Contribute now - Perfect for Christmas!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306925656/holmes-away-from-home-adventures-from-the-great-hi?token=33c45862