The Sheriff's Catch

By James Vella-Bardon

A man forced to join the Spanish Armada must flee fatal capture in 16th Century Ireland

Monday, 18 September 2017




Hi all

Caught up with my old mate today, that most shadowy and peripheral of figures who calls himself 'Slum Lord'. We were lunching away at our favourite wayside inn, when he asked me a question that I've also heard from a few others of late:

'So where's the novel at mate?'

Slum Lord is, after all, also a generous patron. He was happy to hear the latest, and I then wondered aloud whether the update was noteworthy enough to share with everyone else. He nodded solemnly and said 'yeah, go ahead.'

So in a nutshell, on 8 September I got back to editorial with a few questions about the next steps. They replied to me on the very same day, and I thought I might as well update you with words straight from the horse's mouth:


Our normal schedule allows four weeks for the copy edit and three for proofing, though ideally we'll need less time than that.

What will happen with the copy edit is that your copy editor will comb through the MS in detail and then present you with a marked up copy to look through. You'll then have about a week to review and respond accordingly, before we resolve any issues and then move things on to typesetting and proofing.

Hope that helps! Once structural edit has given the sign-off on your MS, I'll be back in touch.

All the best!



In the meantime I made a few last changes to the manuscript as further advised by the structural editor, then shot it back to the UK on 10 September. Copy-edit then got back to me on 12 September, with the following message:


So, we normally allow four weeks for the copy edit - three for the copy editor, then one for you to review the suggested edits, which will primarily be for house style, inconsistencies, errors and sometimes stylistic comments. We'll get a marked-up  file to you. 

After that it'll be typesetting and a final proofread. I'll keep you posted, and let you know if I have any queries.



So there you have it. Dare I say that we're on the downward-ish slope now, and won't be long before we're finally in print.

Also thought I'd let you know that today I shared an excerpt of chapter three with my 'bro from another mo' Nicky Valenzia. Over the years I have often chosen Nick as a volunteer to read my stuff, even though he loves nothing more than to burst my bubble and kick me down whenever he feels that my feet are undeservedly leaving the ground.

Good to have mates who help you to keep it real! And Nicky delights in this duty, since he feels it's his calling in life to make sure I don't get too far ahead of myself. His praise of my drafts to date has always been sparing, with all criticism delivered directly and brusingly upon the nose. Today, however, he was clamouring for me to send him more, so I guess I must be doing something right!

I just can't wait for you all to receive a copy of my debut. To send you charging through Flemish forests and racing along Sevillan back streets, which is to say nothing of the shenanigans aboard the Armada's decks as well as a desperate manhunt across the wilds of Ireland!

Hang in there everyone, we're so close now I can hardly believe it.

Go Santiago!






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