To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’ – The Writing Life

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Geraldine Evans has been writing since her twenties, though only began to get novels published halfway through her thirties. As well as her popular Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, she has a second crime series, Casey & Catt and has also had published an historical, a romance and articles on a variety of subjects, including, Historical Biography, Writing, Astrology, Palmistry and other New Age subjects. She has also written a dramatization of Dead Before Morning, the first book in her Rafferty series.

She is a Londoner, but now lives in Norfolk England where she moved with her husband George in 2000.

Deadly Reunion is her eighteenth novel and fourteenth in the humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. She is currently working on the next in the series.

Geraldine Evans
Latest hardback novel: Deadly Reunion A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel
Latest ebooks: Dead Before Morning and Down Among the Dead Men, the first and second novels in the fourteen-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, both available from kindle, iPad, iPhone, iBookstore, nook, kobo, android, etc.

I sometimes start talks in the following way. I peer furtively to the left, then I peer furtively to the right. Then I turn to the audience, lean forward and say ‘Psst. Want a few tips on how to commit the perfect murder?’

That gets their attention and a good laugh. I once had a woman in the front row say ‘Yes, please!’ That got an even louder laugh than my question. If I was her husband I’d watch out. That lady sounded serious. But if you can get them laughing, you’ve got them.

Most of the talks I’ve been booked for have been for me to describe my writing life; how I got started as a writer and how I coped with rejection. The usual things, but each author’s story’s different. Yes, most of these tales have rejection taking the starring role, but they all have happy endings in that the man or woman standing at the front eventually found a publisher or they wouldn’t have been invited to give that talk. Anyway, back to me.

I then go on to describe how I got started writing: with a second hand manual typewriter on which the letter ‘e’ didn’t work. Boy, did I have fun going through afterwards putting all those ‘e’s in by hand! But I couldn’t get rid of the wretched typewriter and get a decent machine as my non-typing husband had bought it for me as a surprise present (we were broke and couldn’t afford new), which was sweet of him. I couldn’t expect him to know about giving ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’ typing test to make sure all the letters worked.

Anyway, I staggered on with the ‘e’less wonder for a while, but then we splashed out and bought an Amstrad. A new one! I don’t know if you had these in America. They were made by Alan (now ‘Sir’ Alan) Sugar. They were word processors only and had no internet connection. This was back in the 1990s. But the Amstrad was ideal for me as I only wanted it for a word processor. I didn’t care that the printer was a bit slow. I had no idea at that time how useful the internet could be to authors. This served me well for quite a few years. It was a regular thing for the printer to go wrong, but my husband’s a mechanic and can fix most things, so this was a doddle to him. But eventually it went to the scrap metal home in the sky and I was bereft once more. But then I struck lucky.

Okay, it might have been a retrograde step in my life as an author because the next machine was also second hand. But I couldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth when the small firm I worked for gave me as a sort of leaving present an old computer they had in the cupboard that didn’t work (!). Luckily, my niece’s husband is a dab hand with computers and had my leaving gift connected up to his machine quicker than you could say Microsoft. He breathed new life into the old thing and I was up and running again.

Another few years and I was computerless again. However, hubby and I pooled our pennies and we bought another second hand computer, from the local computer shop this time as no gifts were in the offing. I was happy enough with this and used the fat old thing through the era of slim model girl computers. But then, I think my computer whiz kid stepson must have taken pity on me. There was another cupboard rake-through and he produced a second hand laptop just for me. A while later he went ‘Abracadabra’ again and produced another one for my husband (who had never been into computers).

But I reckon I must have overloaded the nervous system of my laptop as it got slower and slower over the years and did more and more strange things, which you don’t want when you use the machine in your career. Anyway, fortunately or unfortunately, we managed to burn the innards of my husband’s laptop when we were trying to download some photos from the camera. I suspect we might have used the lead for my camera rather than his. Whatever happened,  his computer wouldn’t work at all.

The insurance company came up trumps and gave us the money for a brand new laptop, which is now mine (we swapped). I must admit, I’m not used to a machine so advanced. It confounds me a lot.

I store a lot of my emails in folders, which, before, I accessed whenever I wanted without difficulty. With this clever new machine I’ve struggled to open the folders and have only just grasped how to do this (of course it might help if I read the manual).

And then there’s word counts. It took me ages to discover how to do that. Who’d have ever thought of clicking on ‘Review’ to do a word count? Not me, anyway.

And then, for some reason I can’t fathom, it keeps turning number lock on. I don’t notice this, of course, not until I try to get to the top of the page by pressing Control and Home.

And then. But you get the picture.

Psst. Can you give me a few tips on murdering the perfect computer? I want to go back to my simple second hand jobs instead. But I don’t want to get caught murdering the wretched thing. It’s probably got some clever, sneaky way of snitching on me after the fact.


Deadly Reunion
A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans
Publication: 24 February 2011 (UK) 1 June 2011 (US)


Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning at a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the Rafferty and Kelly family attendees have grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty had to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.


Deadly Reunion will be published in the US in June 2011 and will be available from bookstores everywhere. Death Dance and earlier titles are available now.

Geraldine Evans’s website:

Geraldine Evans’s blog:


The draw of all the comments throughout the Tour will take place at the end of the Tour (end-Feb). There will only be three winners, each of whom wins one signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback (Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series), one copy each of two ebooks that are the first and second novels in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, that is, one of Dead Before Morning and one of Down Among the Dead Men. They will also receive a subscription to my blog (which they can let lapse when it  runs out).

25 thoughts on “To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’ – The Writing Life

  1. I believe I’ll be looking to pre-order this book if I’m not a lucky winner. Crimes with roots in the past are one of my favorite plot devices, and as a genealogist I love stories about families, so it sounds right up my alley. Thanks to DorothyL for leading me here.


  2. I can so identify! My first computer was such a prima donna and the printer so snarky my mother named the duo Laverne and Surly. I graduated to a laptop that shed keys, and whose touchpad had a nervous breakdown. However the laser printer still works.

    Knock on wood, cross fingers, ignore any bad luck from the black cats I live with/ am slave to, my current laptop is a Sweet dummy-proof machine. If it hides WIP files, it’s out of fear that I’ll keep working on them.

    However, my best writing friend is the Cross mechanical pencil I was gifted in high school. Along with the reams of lined paper I stocked up on for my own daughter’s high school days. (Which is a considerable amount as she is long out of high school, now a college professor. Yes, of Psychology. What else would an Only child do with the rich mine of dysfunction she grew up with?)


  3. Kath,Computers can be wonderful things and I don’t know what I’d do without mine really. It’s just that they can be your greatest enemy as well as your greatest friend. Perhaps I should call mine Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde! Best. Geraldine Evans


  4. Loved traveling with you on the computer trail. I wrote my first short story on an old typewriter right out of the 1930’s. But the ‘e’ worked, and the story sold. Since then I’ve graduated through the ranks to the computer age and my advice would be – don’t murder it. I believe little, sneaky people live in these machines no matter how streamed-lined and ‘they’ will find a way to seek revenge. Did I tell you I love to write sci-fi too?


  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Buried Under Books » To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’ – The Writing Life --

  6. I started on a portable typewriter, then an electric typewriter, on to a computer with two floppy discs, and I don’t know how many more upgrades of computers. Love the one I have now, and oh so much better than having to use carbon paper to have a copy of what I wrote. Life is good.

    Great blog, brings back lots of memories to this old timer. Thank you. Marilyn


  7. I’ve used pencil, typewriter and computers from ancient to fairly new. My vote will always go to the computer. Corrections, moving paragraphs around, spellchek (although not a substitute from proofing) all make the job so much easier.


  8. I have a desktop and a laptop and forget sometimes what’s on which. But I also love my Alpha Smart and that’s what I take when I travel. I once wrote a whole short story waiting for a plane! Ironically enough, using the computer keyboard has ruined my wrists so I can no longer write more than a couple sentences with pen and paper.


  9. The first word processor I used had all the print control
    commands, which came in handy many years later. But it is
    really hard to keep on the subject with all the odd
    characters in the text.


  10. I have a chart on the wall of my office equating how soon you need to have a project done to the chances that the “demon inside your computer” will take over and frustrate you!! smile..


  11. I’m attached at the hip to my computer but I spent many years in the corporate world with green ink pens—loved ’em.

    Geraldine, thank you for being here and sharing your story 😉


  12. What a great post. Loved it. I started with typewriters and went on to a word processor that was big and clunky and made tons of noise but it was easy to make corrections. I love my computer and don’t know what I would do without it.


  13. Oh , yes. The mighty computer. I have to say I absolutely love mine. Five or six years ago I swore I would never have one. I hated them. Now we have three plus an IPAD. Go figure. They can be wonderful. Just like men, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. Sorry, guys; but it is true. 🙂


  14. Eva, You’re right. But I’m just waiting for the day – it has to come – when, as was feared as the year 2000 rolled round, the world’s computers go belly-up. What’ll we all do then? Humans, I mean, rather than just writers.


  15. I have the following on my signature block: Computers Are Your Friend – Until They Are Not

    I’ve been trying very hard to make sure I have a backup on all the pictures I have scanned but am not making adequate progress. Hoping my machine doesn’t die before I do! We had a Trojan virus a couple of years ago & I lucked out – the computer gurus saved all my pictures.


  16. Jody, I know what you mean. My laptop was dying, so we got the local computer shop to transer all my stuff over to my husband’s laptop and the trouble I had afterwards, especially with my website. I wasn’t able to update at all (last thing you want with a new book coming out!). Cost me an arm and a leg, too.


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