White Dog review.

I came across this Jack Irish thriller in the library and didn’t realise it was the fourth in a series and possibly the last book Peter Temple wrote. I was blown away by the writing style and have vowed to try all his other books. The setting is Australia but the plot is so neat and fast with original descriptions and a vein of sharp humour written in short pacey sentences I read it in two days. Apparently the first Jack Irish story is Bad Debts and another of his prize winning novels is The Broken Shore. He could be my favourite author. Watch out for more reviews in future.

The blurb tells of an investigation into a murder which is ‘far from swift and painless.’ Try one of his books and let me know if you agree with me.


SWWJ meeting

The local meeting of the SWWJ in Chichester was a very enjoyable and constructive day. We began with refreshments and then discussed venue options with some folk supporting the status quo while others suggested Liphook or the Yacht Club in Chichester. It all depends whether we want to change the activities and find a free venue with lunches or keep to the options of packed lunch or finding somewhere else to eat. We do need to be close to public transport as not everyone is a driver.

We moved on to the programme for meetings and, while it was suggested we bring work in progress to read the general consensus was that we enjoyed having a speaker, as long as there were enough people to support the cost and we could revert to the half day workshops that we used to have a few years back.

In the afternoon Margaret Mounsdon told us how she became a successful author of Pocket Novels, with examples, and fired our enthusiasm for the genre.

It was great to meet up with members from all over the South East and, hopefully, we shall look forward to more such meetings in the future, wherever they are.

Seeing is believing

Two different thoughts – one, a review of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths, a creepy tale about murdered schoolteachers in Sussex which had me entranced to the end and second, a feeling of relief as at last I can see properly after months of struggling with poly-chromatic spectacles. I use varifocals but my last three prescriptions have had coating on that went dark in daylight. It got so bad that I was pushing them down my nose and looking over the top.

Today I got some without the coating and the whole world looks brighter.I treated myself to some makeup to celebrate. I can’t guarantee I’ll use it all the time but when I see my wrinkles in the mirror I might feel forced to!

I have added Elly Griffiths to my talk about Sussex in Fiction. However folk are still asking for ” My Life and Works.” Giving talks is very enjoyable, especially as it usually results in a few sales.

It used to be fun

So, it’s valentine’s week, is it? It must be, as hubby has bought two great big bunches of daffodils. He knows they are my favourite flowers. It must be because they look like golden trumpets and jazz always makes me happy.

Goodreads had suggestions for romantic reads but I didn’t suggest my novel. ” A Lesson for the Teacher” as, although I intended it to be a romance, it turned out to be more a ‘coming of age/adult tale.’ Naturally it included loves and losses but they were only part of the story and the man who was the main romantic interest wasn’t at all like the ’50 shades’ type of man. Setting it in the 1960’s helped me to include that odd mixture of innocence and daring that marked out the ‘ Swinging sixties.’ It seems so long ago.

I doubt if I’ll write an eighth novel, especially after reading “The Light Years” by Elizabeth Jane Howard. What an eye opener, and only the first of a collection! I say I don’t like historical novels but this was such a fine book I felt overwhelmed. Of course it has been dramatised and I would probably never see it but it isn’t only the story, it is also the quality of the writing that made me feel like a real amateur.


A lesson for the Teacher cover

Never mind, I’ve ordered a book on editing so should be learning more of my craft soon!

Writing Crime

Wow – how difficult is that! I’ve been reading a lot of crime stories recently and am amazed at the plots. I love watching Vera on TV and find police shows interesting but I’m not so keen on police procedural novels. I think I need to identify with the detective and when it’s a grumpy old man I’m not always on his side. It’s different if it is a maverick rebel. Robert Goddard is good at writing those.

I am really trying to watch which posts get the most views as I would like to connect with a few more people. I think giving the posts a good title is probably key. I’ll see if this one works. meanwhile, I’ve done the short story for the competition. That’s two this month.

I use the bookworm picture when I’m posting about books or writing. Is this a good idea?bookwormclipart

Buying books

I never used to purchase books. I always used the library, and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to read the same book more than once. Then I began to write reviews and found if I did not write them as soon as I finished a novel I forgot what it was about and if I had already taken it back to the library I could not give it a fair review.

Of course, there are some writers whose stories stay with you for ever, but not many, especially as I read about two books a week.

So I started to buy books. not from bookshops but from amazon and not when they were full price but second hand. There are books I mean to buy but they are too new and too expensive at present. I am happy that my books are still available as used copies, although ” A Lesson for the Teacher” ( the 1960’s romance) and ” Never Run Away” are also on kindle. I can see that the rarer they are the more the price goes up and I no longer post( as the publisher) to America.

I’ll try to ration my purchases this year as there is no more room on our bookshelves. I am now about to start thinning out all the magazines I have collected over the years to make a space. Wish me luck!img_0244

Book Review. A Portrait of Rosanna.

I have always enjoyed books by Elaine Hankin but this one gripped me more than most. It was fascinating to read how Rosanna interacted with the men in her life and how the whereabouts of the portrait was a constant mystery throughout. The descriptions of Italy were fascinating and the characterisations excellent. A thoroughly good read.

I did begin to wonder whether folk gave up on purchasing paperbacks when the book they required was on kindle. Knowing that my first book, Lane’s End is no longer available as a new book and was never an e book I checked on amazon to see if it was there. Happily there are second hand copies for sale, which is how I buy my paperbacks.

Since my kindle stopped working I have gone back to getting most books out of the library unless, like A Portrait of Rosanna, I want to keep them to read again.bookwormclipart