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Easter weekend means more writing time!

I'm just coming to the end of a novel I began towards the end of last year. It's only 42,000 words so it's not like it's a doorstopper or anything. A little bit more editing and then I'll be sending out. It's called Duty Bound and focuses on the life of Judy Western, a 67 year old, her recently deceased husband, Howard, who has left her with a load of gambling debts, and her neurotic pot-smoking US ex-pat son who blames her for everything. Yet at the centre are passions and desires that have been repressed under the veil of duty. I'm quite pleased with it, I don't mind saying. And it's very different from A Clockwork Apple, about as different as you can get, really. That aside, I have also been busy with my Victorian novel, which I have renamed 'Mary Burns - Manchester Muse' - I haven't decided yet whether or not it sounds too frumpy and saga-ish, but it's an improvement on just 'Mary Burns'. Or is it? There's still quite a way to go on that one so there's plenty of time to think about titles. I also write the odd article - here's the latest - for Society Today magazine. The lastest copy can be ordered here. Just scroll down a bit on the right and click on 'Order a Copy'.

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Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

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