Wednesday 10 May 2023

Book News! The Devil Snar'd ~ George R. Preedy

I'm very pleased to announce that The Devil Snar'd by George R. Preedy, the author best known as Marjorie Bowen, is available in a new edition, and it includes a long introduction written by me. It was originally published as a small paperback ‘ninepenny novel’ by Ernest Benn Ltd. in June 1932. It appeared again a year later, this time published by Cassell, in Dr. Chaos and The Devil Snar’d. But it's been out of print and largely forgotten since then, which is a terrible shame as it's a superbly unsettling story.

Nezu Press, 1 April 2023. 
ISBN-13: 978-1-7393921-1-6.  
Case laminate hardback, 164 pp.

Here's the publisher blurb:

George R. Preedy is one of the pen names of Margaret Gabrielle Vere Campbell, the writer best known as Marjorie Bowen. First published in 1932, The Devil Snar’d is an eerie tale of supernatural influence; it was described by the Daily Herald as a ‘ghost story fit to stand beside The Turn of the Screw.’ Grace Fielding and her unfaithful husband, Philip, have taken Medlar's Farm, in a remote spot in Northumberland, to get away from London and repair their broken marriage. Philip, a well-known author, intends to use the dark history of Medlar’s Farm—a tale of adultery, jealousy and murder—to write his next book, but Grace, already unwell due to the strain caused by her husband's affair, begins to see parallels between her own story and that of the murdered woman, who she believes is guiding her actions. As Philip works on his manuscript, his behaviour becomes more and more suspicious, and as Grace’s mental state deteriorates, a tale of adultery and marital discord soon becomes one of jealousy, obsession and murderous revenge. This edition includes an introduction by Gina R. Collia: 'The Many Masks of Margaret Campbell'.

Above: the new edition alongside the 1932 first edition.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

As a Matter of Fact, Research Matters to Everyone

Research isn’t just for academics. It isn’t something that’s only relevant to students, professors, writers and scientists. It informs choices we all make in our normal everyday lives, whether we realise it or not. Research enables us to make evidence-based decisions, and, whether we are professionals, stay-at-home parents, students or simply very curious, we all carry out research on a daily basis.

But these days, there is so much information available to us, especially online, and not all of it is accurate, up-to-date or written with our best interests at heart. There’s a lot of misinformation, stale information and simple nonsense out there, and sifting through it all can be time consuming and frustrating.

It might be tempting, when putting together information for a blog post, press release or brochure, to simply include any information that you’ve seen repeated online several times already; after all, if it was in the Guardian, on a well-known supplier’s website, and quoted by a hundred other people who seem to know what they’re talking about, it must be accurate, right?

Working on that line, how many times does information have to be repeated before it’s accepted as a ‘fact’? There is no magic number! Information is factual simply because it is; it has nothing to do with how many times it’s reported in a newspaper, or talked about at a conference, or passed on from your great aunt Maud.

There is no safety in numbers. Nonsense doesn’t become sensible because a hundred people repeated it. There is never any replacement for good, honest research.

I carry out research every day for my work at Word Ferret, and countless times during each of those days I encounter the same thing: identical/very similar statements made on multiple websites with no supporting evidence whatsoever. Mr A copied Mrs B, who copied C & co., who got some information from D & E Ltd., and so it goes on. If nobody has included a reference to the primary source, it’s often difficult to find out where a piece of information originated. Then add in all the problems caused by misquotes, clumsy rewording, simple typing errors and deliberately misleading interpretations of an earlier version of whatever was said or written, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking of putting information out there without getting your facts straight first:

  • Customers/readers may not be quite as willing to swallow nonsense as companies/writers are to inflict it upon them.
  • You may pass on someone else’s misinformation in error, but it is still misinformation, and you’re still responsible for passing it on.
  • Sameness won’t make you stand out. Repeating the same thing that every man and his dog has already said or written will result in you becoming one small voice in a large (potentially misinformed) crowd.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to step out of it. Do the research, or hire someone to do it for you, and present it in a manner that enables your customers/audience to verify at least some of what you’re claiming.

If you need factual, well-researched content, Word Ferret is always here to help.