Jews

I think I may have been a little two soft on that antisemitic hack Deborah Orr (why is that whenever I say her name I keep thinking I’m dropping my H’s?) .

Her suggestion that Israel showed a lack of  regard for human life because of its monumental concession of releasing over a 1000 terrorists for one Israeli, was not merely antisemitic, it also showed what a vile and repugnant human being she is.   Indeed her views are so loathsome it is hard to understand how any respectable newspaper could employ her.  But then again, no respectable newspaper does.

Professor Alan Johnson wrote a reply to Deborah Orr’s anti-semitic article in the Guardian and offered it to that same publication.  Needless to say the Guardian refused to publish it.  It was posted on “Harry’s Place” but there appears to be a problem linking to that site.  if you cannot follow this link: http://hurryupharry.org/2011/10/24/deborah-orr-should-stop-playing-with-matches/ try the following cached version http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://hurryupharry.org/

Here are some other articles that might interest you:

http://cifwatch.com/2011/10/21/on-the-explicit-antisemitism-of-the-guardians-deborah-orr/

http://cifwatch.com/2011/10/24/jewish-supremacism-revisited-and-deborah-orrs-faulty-memory/

What is really amazing is that Orr makes no  effort to even sound serious.  She makes no effort to discuss the issues pertaining to a country’s commitment to its citizens or the extent thereof.  She makes no effort to analyze what the released prisoners being released did or didn’t do, or the circumstances of their imprisonment or what would have been their fate if there had been no negotiations, or at least no successful negotiations.  She  makes no genuine attempt at an analysis of a nation that is ready to release convicted murderers to obtain the release of a hostage.  She makes no effort to prove her implied thesis that terrorist violence is the only path open to the Palestinians.  She makes no effort to discuss the extent to which the Palestinians (or at least their leaders) are the authors of their own misfortune.  She makes no effort to discuss the fact that Shalit was kidnapped after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza.   All of these are issues that an intelligent and honest journalist could, should and would discuss are conspicuously absent from her article.  But then again Orr has a deeper handicap to her journalistic career than mere antisemitism or ingrained dishonesty: she is is also a very stupid woman.

 

 

It was inevitable that despite Israel releasing over a thousand terrorists (including murderers), the Guardian would find a peg on which to hang its hatred of the Jewish State yet again.  In this case it takes the form of a mendacious article by some one called Deborah Orr.

Disengenuously titled Is an Israeli life really more important than a Palestinian’s? Ms Orr’s article tries to imply that the world reaction to Israel’s willingness to release such a large number of terrorists for one soldier is “an indication of how inured the world has become to the obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives.”  And just to make it clear that she is attacking the Jewish state and not merely the world at large, she adds:  “who is surprised really, to learn that Netanyahu sees one Israeli’s freedom as a fair exchange for the freedom of so many Palestinians? ”

And then to further make it clear that she extends this criticism to the citizens of the State of Israel, as well as its supporters, she then refers to: “what so many Zionists believe – that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.”  She says Zionists.  She means JEWS.

Whilst the word “chosen” is as misleading with regard to Jews as it is to Zionists (the Jews chose to believe in a single deity; the “deity” did not choose them) the fact is that the words “chosen” and “chosen people” have historically been applied to the Jews, not to the Zionists.  Ms Orr, as a woman with at least a modicum of intelligence, certainly knows this – and knows also that her readers will understand the words that way.  She may try to weasel out of this conclusion by claiming that Zionists think they have been chosen to inherit the disputed land.  But then she could have used a word like “privileged” instead of “chosen” with its obvious association with the Jews.

But Jews have lived with antisemitism for so long, that it is now like water off a duck’s back.  It is the brazen dishonesty of Deborah Orr’s article, rather than its thinly-veiled antisemitism, that is the problem.

For a start Ms Orr’s use of the word “life” in the context of the prisoner exchange implies that the lives of the Palestinian prisoners were in jeopardy.  She knows full-well that they were not.  In fact the Palestinian terrorists were safer in Israeli prisons.  Now that they are out, they will either resume their terrorism (risking their own lives in the process) or refuse to continue as terrorists, in which case they will become suspect in the eyes of their Hamas brethren, to the point of risking accusations of treason. Either way, they are in greater danger now than they were when imprisoned in Israel.

For their part, the Israelis knew from the experience with Ron Arad that if they did not negotiate, and if it became clear to the terrorists that they were not going to budge, then Hamas would have murdered Gilad Shalit.  See for example: http://www.qassam.ps/news-748-EQB_Gilad_Shalit_will_face_the_fate_of_Ron_Arad_If_the_Zionist_enemy_continued_its_procrastination.html

In contrast, the only effect of the passage of time for the terrorist prisoners held by Israel  would be that for those not serving life sentences for murder, their release dates would be getting nearer.  Thus while the imbalances take on one guise when one looks at the  number of terrorists Israel released or compares the crimes of those terrorists to the innocence of Gilad Shalit, that imbalance takes on an altogether different guise when one considers the prospective fates of Gilad Shalit and the terrorists respectively.

Now Ms Orr might try to weasel out of it on the other side of the box into which she has locked herself, by claiming that her use of the word “lives” was a reference to the number of people murdered by the terrorists (quite a high number) as opposed to the number of people killed by Gilad Shalit (as in zero).   But then it would show the oppositeof what Ms. Orr is claiming: that Israel does not put a premium on Israeli lives over Palestinian lives. Moreover, such an argument would merely show that Israel shares with other civilized nations that sentiment so eloquently expressed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn: that obligation to the living outweighs duty to the dead.  In other words, punishing those who murdered Israeli citizens in the past was less important than saving an Israeli citizen who was currently in danger.  But to acknowledge that, would refute Ms Orr’s thesis that the Israelis view the lives of their own more highly than those of others.  And of course, such an argument would require a degree of honesty of which Ms Orr is incapable.

Having said that, one could argue that by releasing those who murdered Israelis in the past, Israel has increased the likelihood of other Israelis being murdered in the future.  This is true both because of the likelihood that some of the released terrorists will return to their evil ways and because other Palestinian Arabs will be emboldened by their release.   But this is one criticism that Ms Orr chooses not to make, because whilst it is a criticism of the Israeli government, it is not a criticism of Israeli society, and it therefore falls outside the scope of Ms Orr’s nefarious agenda.

Interestingly Ms Orr does not discuss the conflicted feelings of Israelis regarding the prisoner exchange, or contrast those feelings to the unmitigated joy amongst the Palestinians.  If the Palestinians had genuinely felt that Shalit was a wrongdoer with innocent Palestinian blood on his hands, they too would have had similar mixed feelings about his release.  Yet all she tells us in this regard is that Hamas were “abject in their eagerness to accept” the unequal exchange.  This phraseology brazenly and mendaciously implies that it was Israel that instigated the unequal exchange and that Hamas merely accepted it.  Is the lady incapable of speaking the truth?  Does she really not know that Hamas demanded the large-scale release of their terrorists, whereas Israel reluctantly accepted it?

Of course she could say that what she meant was that by holding out for the release of many, Hamas risked leaving the table empty-handed and that this shows a lack of regard for their own.  In other words, it is not a case of Israel valuing its people more than Palestinians, because – as Deborah Orr well knows – in negotiations each side bargains for its own.  Rather it is a case of Israel valueing its own more than the Palestinians value theirs – a very different matter, and a truth that Deborah Orr is loathe to acknowledge explicitly.

And yes, of course Israel values its citizens very highly – and rightly so.  This is not because they are worth more than other human beings.  It is because any decent state has an inherent sense of obligation and duty towards its citizens – especially its serving soldiers.  But whilst Ms Orr had no qualms about criticizing Hamas, it has to be in terms equally disparaging to the Jewish state.  Consequently, she was, and is, unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel’s action.

But is Deborah Orr really incapable of understanding a nation’s commitment to its serving soldiers ?  Does she really not know that it was not just Gilad Shalit’s liberty that was at stake but also his life?  Is she not aware that Gilad Shalit was held incommunicado for many years, unlike the Palestinian terrorists who were allowed Red Cross visits?  Does she really have no understanding of the concept of national morale or the effect that this prolonged period of solitary detention would have not just on Shalit but on the morale of a nation that does care about its citizens?

Or is she simply indulging her penchant for mendacity in a malicious effort to stir up hostility towards the Jewish state and thus – by implication – the Jewish people?

 

The latest developments in “space archaeology” are looking very promising. They are sure to promote renewed interest in Egypt and Egyptgology. Now all we need is for Zahi Hawass to be replaced by a man with a bit more humility and Egyptology will be able to progress.

 

Check out the new promotional video for the Moses Legacy.

 

I returned from Israel on the 5th of October, refreshed and with a fair amount of the first draft written.   Although it had been principally a holiday, I had taken advantage of the relaxing environment to work.  I actually do my best writing on holiday.  Upon my return, I updated Kate and Diane on my progress, but Diane was snowed under with work after the London Book Fair and it it took a while for her to get back to me.

Meanwhile I plowed on with the book, in-between making marketing suggestions and sending a couple of examples of the snake motif to help the cover designer.  Then I noticed that Amazon had pre-listed the book as The Moses Legacy rather than The Moses Tablet.  I wrote to Kate about this and she realized that she had subconsciously briefed the designer with that name too.  We all thought about it further and Kate and I agreed that in fact The Moses Legacy was actually better.  Diane also agreed and so now the book was back to the original title that I had first thought of when I pitched the idea.

Finally on November the 11th – less than three months after I had started – I submitted the first draft to Kate and Diane.  And this was a book that I was still researching while I was writing it!  And it was a lot of research!  And I had a holiday in between.  Kate and Diane were both impressed and now all I had to do was sit tight while they read it and gave me their feedback.

However, like most writers, I kept re-reading it.  And the more I reread, the more I thought about how I should have done things differently and how I wanted to change it.  But I couldn’t change it now, because Kate was reading it and presumably making editorial notes.  So I wrote an eMail with the subject line “Post-Natal depression” explaining in general terms that I had been thinking about changes and had come up with some ideas.  We agreed that I would make notes of my ideas but wait for her editorial comments before making any changes or even telling Kate my ideas.  That way her editorial notes would be entirely her own and we would be able to see to what extent we agreed about the necessary changes.

On the 29th of November Kate and I talked on the phone.  She was very impressed with the story and some of the set pieces but had found some faults that I hadn’t thought about.  I for my part wanted to make some even more radical changes that would make the ending more focused and dramatic.  Kate agreed that these could work, but they might require other changes earlier in the story and she was concerned that because we were already operating in a tight time-frame that I might be able to make it on time.  However, she left it to my judgement and I know that the ball as in my court and it was up to me to deliver.

 

WesternWall

On 14/04/2010 the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain issued a brazenly dishonest and mendacious ruling following a complaint about an advertisement promoting tourism in Israel.

The advertisement in question had shown the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock (a mosque that Muslim occupiers of Jerusalem built on the Temple Mount – the holiest site in the Jewish religion).  This prompted a complaint from some one of dubious probity who claimed falsely that the advertisement was misleading.

In response to this dishonest complaint, the ASA ruled that:

We understood, however, that the status of the occupied territory of the West Bank was the subject of much international dispute, and because we considered that the ad implied that the part of East Jerusalem featured in the image was part of the state of Israel, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

Now it is certainly not in dispute that the ad implied that the eastern areas of Jerusalem were part of the State of Israel.  But the ASA seems to think that it is empowered to decide whether or not this is the case.  In fact the ASA has no such powers.  To be fair to the ASA, they did in a later ruling held that “Travel Palestine” were equally wrong to imply that Jerusalem was part of “Palestine”.  But they did so in different circumstances.  In the case of “Travel Palestine” it was the words:

From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza … Palestine lies between …

that were misleading. In the case of the Israel Government Tourist Office ad, the mendacious folk at the ASA ruled that a mere picture of the eastern areas of the Israeli city of Jerusalem was misleading.

Furthermore, in upholding the complaint against “Travel Palestine” the ASA disingenuously started off by disputing the (Israeli) complainant’s contention that Jerusalem was part of Israel (which it is) by saying:

We noted that the status of Jerusalem was in dispute but that both the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN did not recognize it as part of Israel and that the UN characterized it as a ‘corpus separatum,’ to be governed by an international administration.

Only then did they add that

We considered, however, that the line ‘From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza … Palestine lies between …’ suggested that the situation and recognition of those cities as being part of Palestine was universally accepted. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

So there we have it.  In the case of the Jewish State, the ASA rejects their claim flatly, citing what the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN do and do not recognize.  In the case of a competing claim by the Palestinians, they do not state explicitly that the UN and UK reject their claim too.  No instead, they soften the impact by saying that the view that it is “universally accepted” is “not the case.”  Double standards as between the Jewish State and the Palestinians, motivated by their obvious antipathy to the Jewish State and its people.  Would they have returned a similarly perverse and obviously erroneous ruling against any state other then the Jewish one?  I think not.

 

On the 19th of August 2010, Diane, my agent, wrote back to me that she personally liked my suggested title Shibboleth, but felt that it was difficult to pronounce.  She said that the title needed to be catchy and memorable.  Although this wasn’t an outright negative, I decided to give it some more thought and not yet put the suggested title to Kate, my editor.  In the meantime got on with writing the book. (I had already written two chapters in four days and felt that the going was good.)

On the 27th of August, I wrote to Diane again, proudly boasting that I was ahead of schedule with the writing and suggesting that maybe we could get HarperCollins to bring out the book in April to coincide with the Jewish festival of Passover.  I thought that as the book was about a conspiracy concerning Moses and the Biblical Exodus of the Israelite slaves from Egypt that this would be particularly appropriate.  But Diane pointed out that the significance of the suggested date had to be balanced against the fact that Summer was a better slot than Spring, although she agreed to run the idea by Kate for a second opinion.

I continued working on the book and then on the 15th of September I got an eMail from Kate that the Avon team had been having discussions on the title and their favourite was The Sacred Sign.  I felt a little put out because it seemed that a decision had been reached before I was given a chance to offer any input.  There was nothing essentially wrong with The Sacred Sign (although I suspect it was an attempt to ride on the coat-tails of The Lost Symbol), but I felt that I should have been given a chance to offer a few suggestions before it got to the group discussion stage.

I wrote back explaining my feelings and offering the title Shibboleth, along with my argument about it being unknown but enigmatic, like The Tesseract.  I also suggested that my non-de-plume for the new project be Abe Phillips.  Kate wrote back promptly that Shibboleth and my other suggestions didn’t really work, but agreed that the nom-de-plume was okay and agreed to put it to the team.

There followed a brief exchange in which I pushed gently for my preference, but Kate held firm.  The gist of Kate’s argument – which in retrospect makes perfect sense – is that the title should be clear and straightforward.  In particular, she pointed out that The Tesseract, which I had offered as an example, was an exception – a word-of-mouth hit in the era before the supermarkets packed such clout in the book retail market.  Furthermore, the Avon list specialized in selling through the supermarkets.  Our discussions spilt over into the question of whether we should be so heavily reliant on the supermarkets, especially as they have little patience for slow-burners.  But as Kate pointed out, we have to operate within the existing market and the supermarkets do pack the most clout.

The exchange was good-natured, but it was clear to all of us that the differences were far from resolved.  Wanting to find some common ground, I suggested a book giveaway on Goodreads before publication, to get some pre-publication reviews and generate some buzz in advance.  Two days later I went to Israel for two weeks, for the Jewish festival of Succot and three days into my visit, after clearing my head in the fresh Jerusalem air, I wrote to Kate again explaining that having thought about it, I was warming to the title The Sacred Sign.  This was partly because I had been thinking about the cover design and I had come up with the idea of a snake coiled around a pole (called “the Rod of Asclepius” by the ancient Greeks, but also associated with Moses and with the pharmaceutical industry).

Imagine my surprise then, when Kate wrote back to tell me that she had been reconsidering and had now decided that the title The Moses Tablet was fine after all!  It seems that we were like ships that pass in the night… never quite meeting.

In paralel with this, the discussions about my pen name were continuing.  In addition to Abe Phillips, I was offering various alternatives like Phil Abrams and Maurice Palmer – the latter a pun on Michael Caine’s real name of Maurice Mickelwhite and the character Harry Palmer whom he played in the films of several Len Deighton books.  They liked the  surname “Palmer” but thought that “Maurice” was a bit weak, suggesting Michael Palmer as an alternative.  I liked this, but a quick web check revealed that there already was a Michael Palmer writing thrillers in America and he was still active.  But as we all liked the surname, I suggested keeping it and using the first name Adam – the Biblical First Man.

Kate agreed and so now – just a few days before I was due to go to Israel for the Jewish festival of Succot – we had a title (The Moses Tablet) an author’s “name” (Adam Palmer) and a cover designer working on some ideas, one of which I had suggested myself.

What we didn’t know was that there already an Adam Palmer and that he had written a critique of the Da Vinci Code – the prime example of the very genre that I was trying to break into.

 

On the weekend after my meeting with my editor Kate, I wrote to Diane, my agent, updating her on the discussions:

I had my meeting with Kate on Thursday and I agreed to change and simplify The Moses Tablets...

My only concern is about the possible loss of the Summer release slot. I firmly believe that the summer slot is ideal, followed by the spring slot.  On the other hand I obviously need more time (guaranteed in writing), given how late we have come to this decision.  Kate was talking about a January 2012 slot, but this is less than ideal.  If it was a hardback, I wouldn’t mind a November 2011 slot.  But it isn’t and as for January (or even February), I see them as little more than graveyards.

The question is what can I do to make a summer slot attainable?  Certainly, I can write a first draft in 6-8 weeks once the plot is finalized and the research done. In fact I am quite far with my research, as much of the old research can still be carried over.  But I still have to finalize the plot.  I reckon I may be able to do that by the end of the week. and then finish the research by the end of September.  This gives me two months to write it by the end of November deadline for a summer release (if I have understood correctly).

I will only know for sure when I have completed a more detailed plot summary.  If I manage that by the end of the week, then I can do the rest, including delivering by the end of November.

Kate said that she would send us a summary of our discussions on Monday, so you may be reading that at the same time as this.

Diana agreed with me that a summer publication slot was desirable and wrote to Kate accordingly, while I got on with the task of writing a two page synopsis based on my discussions with Kate.  I did not yet send it to Kate, as I wanted Diane’s feedback first.  I wanted to be sure that this story really hit the spot. I did however write to Kate, to sound her out on the idea of changing the male Mossad officer into a female.  The reason for this was that I wanted to two strong female characters in addition to the male protagonist, in order to heighten the tension.

Kate for her part sent me the summary of our discussions (our messages crossed over) and this helped me a great deal.  Not all of the things we discussed made it to the final cut.  But certain key elements were there that form the basis of the final story: a female archaeologist make a major find with ancient writing, a young Anglo-Jewish professor Daniel Klein called in to translate, background research into the archives of 19th century explorer William John Bankes, the Mossad, Daniel coming under suspicion of murder, a chase, a ruthless secret society, seeking historical information from the Samaritans.

By mid-day on Tuesday the 10th of August, I had finished my own preliminary draft of the synopsis, incorporating these key elements and sent it to Kate.  By the early evening, Diane wrote to me that she had spoken to Kate and they had agreed on a delivery deadline of the 1st of December, aiming for publication sometime in May or June.  This was perfect for me and it was clear that Diane and Kate shared the excitement.

The title that I had settled upon – The Moses Tablet(s) was a problem however.  Kate felt that it gave away too much too soon.  The other issue was my name.  The publishers felt that as this was a completely different genre to my other books, it should be published under a different name.  This was something I entirely agreed with.  But coming up with a new name could wait.  I had to crack on with polishing the synopsis.  By eight o’clock in the evening on August the 10th, I sent the synopsis to Kate.

Four days later, I wrote to Diane, suggesting that we call the book Shibboleth. Derived from the Hebrew word for an ear of corn, it has been incorporated into the English language as meaning “any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one’s social or regional origin. It usually refers to features of language, and particularly to a word whose pronunciation identifies its speaker as being a member or not a member of a particular group.”  The literal origin goes back to a war between different Israelite tribes when the tribe of Ephraim was defeated.  When fleeing members of the tribe of Ephraim tried to flee, they were challenged to say the word Shibboleth.  If they pronounced it Sibboleth (because of their inability to pronounce the consonant Sh) they were put to death on the spot.

In my story, this conflict did not play a direct part, but the ancestors of the tribe of Israelite tribe of Ephraim and their origins – as well as their inability to pronounce sh – played a major part.  But it was also the modern meaning of Shibboleth – a test of membership and faith – that gave it a pleasing double meaning.  I pointed out that even if most people didn’t  know the meaning, the same could be said of  Tesseract – a title of a very successful book by Alex Garland.

One day later – on the 15th of August 2010 – I commenced the actual writing of the book.

 

For many years I loved YouTube.  As a child of the sixties and a teenager of the seventies I love it as a repositary of nostalgia offering me the sounds of Herman’s Hermits, Manfred Mann, Marmalade, the Hollies, Don McLean, Albert Hammond, Jim Croce, America, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent and many others.

But lately I have seen another face of YouTube.  It has become nothing less than a conscious and willful hosting site for antisemitism.  This applies both to the primary content and the comments.  YouTube supposedly offers an opportunity to flag these hate messages.  But I have reported them on numerous occasions and not once has YouTube acknowledged my flagging, let alone removed the offensive material on the strength of it.

Thus it is clear to me that YouTube is both a conscious and a willing source of antisemitic material on the internet and it is getting progressively worse.  It is almost as if YouTube is inviting antisemites to post their hate-mongering sewage on their site.  This is ironic when you consider that YouTube is owned by Google, whose motto is: Do no evil.

Perhaps Google’s (and YouTube’s) motto should be: do no evil but stand idly on the sidelines and allow others to do evil while you rake in the profits.  (I suspect I know what the antisemites will say in response to this.  But if they do, then just on this occasion, they would be well-advised to do it anonymously – because my patience is running out.)

 

After a flurry of communications following the London Book Fair and my belated return from Israel (courtesy of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud), some two months went by, without any indication of what I was supposed to be doing and now with all the proofreading and corrections done for the second Alex Sedaka book, I was in the uncomfortable position of not having anything to do.  True, I was supposed to be studying for my physics degree with the Open University.  But high blood pressure and dizzy spells – brought about by anxiety – were making that impossible.

No Way Out had gone on sale on the 10th of June and hopes were high because the publishers had got it into Tesco and Asda.  However, whilst it was selling better than Mercy, the question was whether it was selling enough to meet the publishers 20,000 copy target within a reasonable time?

In the absence of any word on the subject, I decided to force the issue. So on the 20th of June, I wrote to Diane telling her that in the absence of any indication from the publishers as to what they wanted I was going to continue writing the third Alex Sedaka book.  But being too cowardly to present this as an ultimatum, I explained my decision in conciliatory terms (or should that be weasel words) to the effect that “I don’t want to be in a position where they decide they want it and I have to start from near the beginning.”

In retrospect it may have been a mistake to force the issue.  Had I not done so, the publishers might have waited longer before deciding.  But the upshot of all this was that on the 27th of June Diane told me that the sales – although better than for Mercy – were not quite good enough and that consequently HarperCollins had decided not to go ahead with the third Alex Sedaka book.  The good news was that they agreed,in principle, to my suggestion that I should do the Moses book rather than the Doomsday Labyrinth.  Of course all this was subject to agreement between me and Kate (my editor) on the plot for the Moses book.  And that had yet to be finalized.

There followed an exchange of eMails in which Kate and I struggled to find a suitable date to meet.  The problem was that Kate was going on holiday for a fortnight starting on August the 20th.  For my part, my sister was coming to visit for a week, taking up a chuck of the time before that.  In the event, we met on Thursday the 5th of August and came up with the rudiments of a plot.

The basically requirement was that there had to be an important discovery at the beginning, the hero trying to work out the full implications (which had to be major), people trying to stop the hero, a chase, an albino monk (only joking – but there did have to be some serious threat to the hero) and of course a final resolution of some sorts with a happy end.  Also one of the pursuers must be extremely vicious with a propensity not just for murder but for brutality.

This last point was something of a problem for me, because one of the things I had learned from my mother’s cousin Clive Donner (a celebrated film director in the sixties and seventies) was that one should always put a bit of good in ones bad characters and a bit of bad in ones good characters.  This Yin and Yang approach had served me in good stead when it came to keeping my characters realistic.  But perhaps it was actually holding me back in the commercial stakes.  So maybe Kate was right.  But it was uncomfortable for me to have to adapt my style to this extent.

However, I rose to the challenge and drew up a synopsis based on our discussions.  The one one remaining problem was the deadline.  Kate wanted to publish the book in January 2011, somewhat earlier than we had previously been talking about and well before the third Alex Sedaka book was due to have been published.  Given that we were already a week into August 2010, this left very little time for the writing of the book – especially as there was still some research to be done.  (I had in fact been reading up on ancient Egypt and especially the 18th Dynasty, but my reading was far from complete.)

The one that was not yet decided was the publication date.   When the third book in the contract was going to be an Alex Sedaka book, the delivery deadline was the end of August 2010 and publication had been scheduled for August 2011.  But now things had changed.  Here we were in the first week of August 2010 and I had yet to write a word of the new book, or even to have a full and detailed plot.