The Road to Hell….

… is paved with good intentions, so someone said. (Actually first reported in Henry G Bohn’s A Hand-book of Proverbs in 1855 according to Wikipedia). And something went wrong somewhere along the line with this blog as well as with my writing. Well not with my writing per se but with how I deal with it. I recently published my latest novel Dressing the Dead after sitting on it for the best part of a year. The editing process is too difficult, I told myself. The requirements of Amazon to wrangle it into a shape acceptable to their software is a nightmare, I told myself. Besides very few people are ever going to read it so why am I bothering?

As it happens the Amazon specifications are very fiddly but nothing that can’t be overcome with a few hours work. It is true that very few people will ever read the book but that’s not why I wrote it. Yes, it would be nice to have the rights optioned for a film starring Tom Cruise or whoever is the current favoured action hero but I don’t lose sleep thinking about such things. So what is that caused such prevarication on my part and why did it go on for so long?

The answer is that I don’t really know. Nor can I tell you whether this blog will pick up where it left off. All I can say is what is likely to happen with Loake and Patel and what’s in store for Alchemists of Time.

Dressing the Dead finishes on a cliff hanger and you’ll have to read it if you want to know what that is. However, I can tell you that book three in the series will reveal more of Jenny Patel’s back story and that the main theme of the book will be agricultural crime. I bet that’s got your pulse racing hasn’t it? I also don’t think we’ve heard the last of Constance Brown, Melissa Anderson or the Antiphony Group (again read the book damn you!)

Part of the reason that it did take me so long to complete the publication of Dressing the Dead was the fact that I’ve been working on the sequel to Alchemists of Time and every day spent fiddling with fonts and gutters on Dead was time not spent with the Victorians. This time Alex is still stuck in the past with Benjamin Strutt and Daisy whilst Maxine is living a life in an alternative 1960s timeline. The story advances to 1869 and 1969. Writing has been going at a furious pace and the novel has passed the 100K words mark and looks like it’s heading for 150K. For anyone still reading this I’ve set my goal to complete and publish by the end of 2020. If I fail, well then you can come back and talk to me about the road to hell.

Where the Light Begins

Although I have called my blog Where the Darkness Begins, to reflect the often dark themes of my writing, the blog is also about photography which is nothing more than painting with light. On flickr I most often post photographs from my ever-growing collection of old photographs rather than my own work. There’s a link as I prefer to work in black and white rather than colour. (That’s not to say I don’t do colour work too). All the photographs in this post are by me, Sam Salt,  and are “all rights reserved.”

For me there’s something much more mysterious and dreamlike about black and white photography than there is with colour photography. The fact that you are painting with light is made all the more obvious in monochrome. I also find that I am more inclined to make actual prints of monochrome photos than I am of colour photos. This is especially true when it comes to A3 prints where a good print will yield far more detail than can be seen in most colour prints and certainly more detail than can be seen on a computer screen.

Portraits always seem to work better in black and white. Have a look at Best Portrait Photographers for instance – there are one or two colour photos but the majority are in black and white. I’d add Robert Mapplethorpe to the list but be careful where you point that browser if you go looking for his work!

Here’s another one of mine, a personal favourite. This is my step-daughter Kate descending the stairs at Caulke Abbey. It’s the contrast between light and dark that makes it for me.

Here’s Kate at Caulke Abbey again but this time I’ve accentuated the light. Most of these photos have had some adjustments made using Nik Silver Efex Pro, the software I consider to be the most essential to have for black and white photography. Unfortunately Nik was acquired by Google in 2012 and development ceased. However whilst writing this post I was excited to see that the Nik Collection was acquired from Google by French software firm DxO in late 2017 and there are plans to continue development.

WIthout darkness there is no light. Without light there is no darkness.