'Tom Fleck', a new novel.

Harry Nicholson
19th March 2011, 20:44
Ex Sparks, Marconi and Brocklebanks - keeping out of mischief.

I've been a bit quiet on here for a couple of years. It has taken four years of research and revision to finish this historical novel. But now it is done. Random House and Orion both made very positive comments but no publishing contract emerged. So - not getting any younger (being a bit older than J K Rowling) I've been through the self publishing door.

I floated the opening chapters on a writer/publisher site called YouWriteOn.com where it was critiqued by other new writers. The experience taught me much about story construction and the work improved to the point where it was placed first out of about 100 for a month - that's when the Random House review appeared.

The story is set in the North East of England in 1513. If anyone has crossed the Tees on the A19 they will know where the odyssey of 'Tom Fleck' begins - but it was long before Middlesbrough would be built across those marshes.

Tom Fleck is a humble peasant lad who gets pulled into great events on the Scottish border.

Now the story is finished and on Amazon - I'll need to think what I'll do next with my retirement. Mind you, in the process of taking creative writing courses - I've had to learn to use a website/blog, and that keeps me busy enough. It is a Wordpress.com blog - they are pretty good and are free.

Here is the brief synopsis of 'Tom Fleck':

‘Sharp as quivering hares are the Flecks. We've eyes and ears for things other folk miss.'
Much later, in the aftermath of Flodden, a young man finally understands his father’s words.

The year: 1513. The place: North-East England.
Tom Fleck, a downtrodden farm worker but gifted archer, yearns to escape his masters. He unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torque of ancient gold and a Tudor seal ring. He cannot know how these finds will determine his future.
Rachel Coronel craves an end to her Jewish wanderings. When the torque comes to rest around the neck of this mysterious woman, an odyssey begins which draws Tom Fleck into borderlands of belief and race.
The seal ring propels Tom on a journey of self-knowledge that can only climax in another borderland, among the ‘flowers of the forest’ on Flodden Field.

ddraigmor
27th March 2011, 21:56
God luck with the novel! I am also glad you linked to the site as I have some non fiction I was thinking of adapting to semi fiction - and it looks like you have given me a lead to have it critiqued. Thank you!

Jonty

Harry Nicholson
27th March 2011, 22:47
Good luck with the novel! I am also glad you linked to the site as I have some non fiction I was thinking of adapting to semi fiction - and it looks like you have given me a lead to have it critiqued. Thank you!

Jonty

Hello Jonty. The YouWriteOn site is one of the best of its kind. The writers are a diverse crowd - and it is possible to learn a great deal if you take it steady.

Harry

skymaster
27th March 2011, 23:15
Have ordered book locally.Thanks for greeting,still working,still flying!

skymaster

Harry Nicholson
27th March 2011, 23:36
Have ordered book locally.Thanks for greeting,still working,still flying!

skymaster

Still working! Wonderful to hear from you, Mike. I still recall the pre-sailing night out you and I had in New Brighton, and some weeks later looking over the side with you - watching the brown, greasy waters of Sandheads go by. Was that the day we saw a huge manta ray leap out of the sea and come down with a booming belly flop?

You might be the second person in Canada with the novel - there is a fellow in Newfoundland who seems to have enjoyed reading 'Tom Fleck'.

skymaster
28th March 2011, 14:01
So manny happy memories Harry!

Supergoods
4th April 2011, 04:56
I got my copy from Amazon.com on Friday and couldn't put it down until finished today.
The detail is superb and really puts the reader into North East England 500 years ago.
I didn't have trouble with the dialect, but Debbie who is reading it now has a fair number of questions, although to me the context usually gives a pretty good idea of the meaning.
Perhaps a glossary of the words in dialect would be benificial to readers from strange lands in the West.
Ian

Harry Nicholson
4th April 2011, 15:32
I got my copy from Amazon.com on Friday and couldn't put it down until finished today.
The detail is superb and really puts the reader into North East England 500 years ago.
I didn't have trouble with the dialect, but Debbie who is reading it now has a fair number of questions, although to me the context usually gives a pretty good idea of the meaning.
Perhaps a glossary of the words in dialect would be benificial to readers from strange lands in the West.
Ian

Hello, Ian. I'm 'over the moon' that you've read 'Tom Fleck' and that the pace of the story kept you going. It was interesting finding a balance with dialect that would be 'believable'. Although we can't be sure of how they spoke - there are phonetic hints in the spellings of names in parish papers of the time that point the way. Even so, I kept it light otherwise it would be hard going for the reader.
Debbie has a good point though; I wish I had included a glossary of local terms. One reader wishes I'd listed my research sources. If there is a second edition, I will include both.
The dialect is just about light enough, I think. I'm readin Sir Walter Scott's short stories of the Borders just now - and a glossary would help.
If there is to be a sequel, it will be about the sea and the next generation.

Harry Nicholson
20th April 2011, 20:12
Meanwhile, up on the Tweed:

Tom Fleck has made the Berwick Advertiser!

Flodden novel tells archer’s fascinating story – Lifestyle & Leisure – Berwick Advertiser

http://www.berwick-advertiser.co.uk/life…

the fortunes of an English archer who stood alongside the Earl of Surrey at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 is told in the first historical fiction novel written by Harry Nicholson.
etc…etc…

Includes fetching mug-shot.

Harry Nicholson
17th May 2011, 14:12
This morning I managed to place copies of ‘Tom Fleck’ in our local garden centre. I’ve arranged to take payment not in cash but in bags of compost and fruit bushes. Now where else . . .?

Oh . . . and the story in now an eBook on Kindle.

Meanwhile I've just finished reading 'The Fish Road To Constantinople', a brave story of Saxon and Danish refugees fleeing England in long-ships after the Battle of Hastings. They have sea adventures along the Coast of Barbary before finally finding refuge as mercenaries in Byzantium.

It sounds incredible - but the tale is based on fact. The emperor of Byzantium rewarded them with lands in The Crimea where Genoese merchants found english speakers as late as the 16th C.

Harry Nicholson
11th February 2013, 12:09
My little book: 'Green Linnet', is free today and until 15 Feb . Humorous and sober short stories of the sea and of Yorkshire, interleaved with verse.


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-Linnet-ebook/dp/B00AX98UAK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359626369&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=green+linnet%20%20%20%20

Erimus
12th February 2013, 19:33
Harry,,,will look at this new book,however, my cousin staying here had recommended Tom Fleck in view of your connection with our family history....

Many moons ago you had a family tree of the Horsley family drawn-up following your research and this is my late Mothers family, my cousin,Lorraine has just brought that tree up to date as it refers to our grandparents and their issue....


geoff

Harry Nicholson
12th February 2013, 20:03
Harry,,,will look at this new book,however, my cousin staying here had recommended Tom Fleck in view of your connection with our family history....

Many moons ago you had a family tree of the Horsley family drawn-up following your research and this is my late Mothers family, my cousin,Lorraine has just brought that tree up to date as it refers to our grandparents and their issue....


geoff
Hello Geoff, I still work on the Horsley tree when I need a break from writing stories. I have not proven anything earlier than 'possible' parents for Lancelot Horsley - so we are still at around 1560. It was the mystery of the genealogical lines petering out in lack of records of the 16thC and earlier that encouraged me to write historical fiction. I took it up so that I would research into the possible lives of those forgotten people. 'Tom Fleck' is set in 1513, the year of the Battle of Flodden. I'm working on a sequel - set in 1536.
I've used surnames from the Durham and North Yorkshire coast and woven a story in which those people might have at least a fictional life. It can be fascinating.

Erimus
13th February 2013, 09:06
Lorraine went into Northallerton yesterday looking for your 'Swan Inn', Harry....most disappointed she couldn't find one!..........told her there easily could have been one here in 1513!


geoff

Robert Hilton
13th February 2013, 09:34
Congratulations! I have only ventured into bits of verse, but with some pleasing results.

However I'm rather bemused to find serious writers using the migrant verb "critiqued." What's wrong with "appraised?" Am I too much of a purist?

Harry Nicholson
23rd February 2013, 23:05
Congratulations! I have only ventured into bits of verse, but with some pleasing results.

However I'm rather bemused to find serious writers using the migrant verb "critiqued." What's wrong with "appraised?" Am I too much of a purist?

Hello Robert; I've no idea how that verb migrated to the point of common usage in writing circles. English is forever flexing and stretching, and seems impossible to pin to a board like a dried out butterfly.

Harry Nicholson
23rd February 2013, 23:08
Lorraine went into Northallerton yesterday looking for your 'Swan Inn', Harry....most disappointed she couldn't find one!..........told her there easily could have been one here in 1513!


geoff

I did have a good lunchtime inspecting Northallerton pubs for great age. I ended up in the County Archives, breathing beer and doing research. There was in fact a 'Swan' recorded in Tudor times, and so it went into the story.

Erimus
23rd February 2013, 23:43
[QUOTE=Harry Nicholson;657913]I did have a good lunchtime inspecting Northallerton pubs for great age. I ended up in the County Archives, breathing beer and doing research. There was in fact a 'Swan' recorded in Tudor times, and so it went into the story.[/QUOTE

Thanks Harry will let Lorraine know!!

geoff

Robert Hilton
24th February 2013, 09:12
Hello Robert; I've no idea how that verb migrated to the point of common usage in writing circles. English is forever flexing and stretching, and seems impossible to pin to a board like a dried out butterfly.

Agreed, but this progress drags me along behind, screaming and kicking.

lakercapt
24th February 2013, 13:04
Hi Harry
Enjoyed the book I purchased for my e-reader.
Is there going to be a sequel??

Harry Nicholson
24th February 2013, 14:24
Hi Harry
Enjoyed the book I purchased for my e-reader.
Is there going to be a sequel??

You've cheered my day, Lakercapt. Thank you.
I've made a start on a sequel, though when it will be completed I'm uncertain. There are 15k words so far - 90k seems a long way off.
It's set in 1536 (23 years after 'Tom Fleck'). Tom's sons are at sea. At the present the rough draft opens thus:

The ship gave out quiet clicks and creaks, as though of contentment, as she swayed without strain on an oily sea. Her mast, yard, and shrouds dripped condensed mist onto the shoulders of the crew at their breakfast, squatting with backs against the rails. Somewhere to starboard, muffled in the gloom, mournful cries pealed out like a distant bell.
Far below the dangling boots of the lookouts, the deck was wreathed in grey. A door creaked open, followed by a shout: 'Keep yer eyes wide, and them lugs pricked. The seals bleat as if they're ashore.' The speaker pulled his great head back into the shelter of the sterncastle and slammed the door shut.
Isaac Fleck was chilled and his backside ached, he'd been astride the fat timber for an hour; oh for the warm back of a pony. He wiped his soft black beard and glanced at his fellow lookout who straddled the yard on the other side of the mast. Apart from an occasional flap, as though from the tail of a weary dog, the mainsail hung wet and limp beneath them.
..............

And a bit deeper into chapter 1, we have:

Ben Hood heaved his thick limbs up the rope ladder of the shrouds. At the mainsail yard, he shoved Francis aside and slung a beefy thigh across the sea-bleached timber. His breath rasped as he stared about and wiped a mass of silver droplets from his whiskers. He muttered, 'We drift too far south. Blasted sea fret. Sun, where are thee? Show thyself.'
As though in response, a breeze flicked at his beard and the fret parted. To starboard and larboard, and mere inches above water, acres of level sand glistened in diffuse sunlight. Lines of black and white birds stood in ranks, like soldiers, as they preened. The sand bars stretched on either side until buried at the foot of mist walls. He gave a full-throated yell, 'We're among the Goodwins! It's the Ship Swallower!' He swung his bulk onto the shrouds as the mainsail slapped hard against the mast. As his boots thudded to the deck, he bellowed, 'Rouse the mate!'
................

An alternate beginning is the present chapter2 which opens amid the sand dunes behind Tudor Hartlepool . . .

As one American writer said: Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

So it encourages me that there's some interest from you gentlemen.

Harry Nicholson
10th March 2013, 11:46
My historical novel, Tom Fleck, is free for the Kindle reader until Tuesday. I'd like it to be better known - this year is the 500th anniversary of Flodden (remember the lament: Flowers of the Forest?). Please help yourselves - and post a review if you feel inclined.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-Fleck-eb...mm_kin_title_0

http://www.amazon.com/Tom-Fleck-eboo...6513506&sr=1-1