Apart from a couple of short family trips to Harrogate and Porthcawl (where we acquired this rather imposing photograph of Great Uncle Enoch), we’ve spent August at home enjoying the (mostly) fine weather.
A family bicycle outing one afternoon saw me dusting off my old bike which I hadn’t ridden for years and discovering muscles that I didn’t know I possessed.
But the summer is nearly over and the boys will be back at school in a few days’ time. I like this time of year because the start of the new academic year feels like a fresh start, similar to January. Here’s a summary of what I’ve managed to achieve in August.
I achieved my goal of getting a draft of Scarborough Book Two (still no title!) to Steve for him to review. The draft came in at just over 70,000 words, but I know he’ll tell me that some scenes need more in them, because he always does 🙂
I’ve also spent quite a bit of time doing research for possible future projects, so lots of reading and note taking.
I’d finished all the Kindle books I got for my birthday so I popped into Abingdon Library and picked up a handful of crime novels. Straight crime fiction is not something I tend to read much, usually preferring thrillers. If you’re wondering what the difference is between crime fiction and the thriller genre, in my mind it’s this:
- In a crime novel something bad has happened but we don’t know who did it until the end. It’s a puzzle to be worked out.
- In a thriller, we know who the bad guy is and we wait, with bated breath, for him to do his worst whilst rooting for the hero to defeat him.
The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid is the first book of hers that I’ve read and I’ll definitely be going back for more. Whilst it is a crime novel, according to my definition above, there’s so much more to the book. It’s also a poignant love story set against the horrendous backdrop of the Balkan Wars and handles the atrocities of that conflict with sensitivity. The story is structured so as to inject a great deal of suspense into the narrative. The characters are believable and likeable and the story has real emotional depth.
Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard is a comprehensive look at just about every aspect of Victorian life from 1840 to 1870. The author manages to take a vast subject and make it easily digestible and highly entertaining. I highlighted so many passages on my basic Kindle that I was in danger of developing repetitive strain injury from all the clicking, so I’ve had to switch to Steve’s Paperwhite to continue the highlighting process. I’m learning loads.
Blood Dragons by Rosemary A Johns is her debut novel and the first in her Rebel Vampires series. It features the irrepressible Light, a nineteenth-century vampire in 1960’s London. Light has a wry sense of humour and bags of attitude. He wears a studded leather jacket and rides a Triton motorbike. Enough said! There are no love-struck teenagers in this book – these are grown-up vampires for adults. I seriously encourage you to check out this novel. I’ve written a longer review here.
Devices and Desires by P.D. James is another of the books I got from Abingdon Library. It’s quite an old book now, originally published in 1989 and one of its topics is the controversy over nuclear power. It’s set on an imaginary headland in the desolate Norfolk countryside and a feeling of isolation and loneliness pervades the whole book. P.D. James is a very serious writer who creates complex, mature characters who all carry a lot of personal baggage. It’s an absorbing read, but I haven’t quite finished it yet. I still don’t know who “did it” but then I’m not very good at figuring out stuff like that 🙂
I’ve kept The Good Writer website going over the summer and I’m really pleased with how it’s shaping up. I published four posts in August. Please hop over and take a look:
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