June date

I finally got a publication date for ” More Fish in the Sea.” It is June 15th so I have plenty of time to tell everyone about it. I’ll do a cover reveal in the middle of May if I can hold back that long. It’s not as if many people will be holding their breath, waiting for it.

Not being on facebook I’ll rely on hubby to spread the word but I do think it will be bought on kindle rather than as a paperback. At least there will be some summer left to enjoy if the virus is diminishing and I don’t think I’m the only person who is reading a book a week.

I have been buying women’s magazines to discover their reviewers but some only put in one book a week and those are from the big publishers. If the Daily Mail knew it was their articles on blind dates that inspired the story they might review it. I did find a reader from a letter I wrote to the paper a few years ago so there’s some hope.

Best Wishes to all.

Time for a Review. Star island.

I know being retired means we should be used to organising our own time but even posting on line doesn’t seem so urgent anymore.

I would tell you all about the sparrow hawk that frightened the woodpigeons off the bird feeder but it didn’t stay long enough to get a photo.

Instead, here is a review of Carl Hiaason’s Star Island. He is a new author for me and perhaps I would not have enjoyed it so much if it hadn’t been a change from the gritty crime stories and soppy love novels that I have been reading since I was stuck at home.

All my books were picked up from a charity shop before the lock down and this is the only one I have really enjoyed. I don’t usually go for American novels, except for Koontz and King but it was a relief to find a book written with humour that kept the action going without pages of turgid description. It has been said that all his books are variations of a theme. If I find more I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, if you want a fast paced, snarky jaunt through the social strata of commercial USA with paparazzi and drug taking, fashion and fame try Star Island.

Story developments

I had an email/video today from our granddaughter who was persuaded to say what she thought of the first few pages of the new book.

I could see her calculating as to what she was expected to say, wondering what was required. Oh, the power of the reviewer! Eventually she gave me five out of ten – which I suppose is three stars.

An interesting experiment which said more about her than it did the story. It hasn’t made me stop but it has made me think. I need to try it out on more children before I think of publishing. I envy those writers of the past who had youngsters available that they could tell stories to. If I could find someone who would enjoy the Just So Stories I would love to read them.


Incredible book. Fugitive Pieces.

I should wait until I have completed this story but I am so enthralled by it I want everyone to know about it now. I didn’t realise an author could write with such beauty, such command of language and such heart rending honesty that it actually hurts to read each page. No other book I read will have such a profound effect on me. I’m sorry that it had been made into a film because each word is precious and no two people will imagine it in the same way. I wanted to pluck examples of imagery out of the text and save them. If you can bear the horrifying historical subject matter, read it. You’ll never forget it.

( Written in 1996 by Anne Michaels)

Murder and grammar

I am getting asked if there are murders in my books and have to admit there are none. I wonder if I could write a crime story? It certainly wouldn’t be a police procedural novel, I don’t like doing research and I set up my imprint ” Oldstick Books” for older readers who did not want gore and intimate behaviour. I wanted my readers to be sure they were not going to be shocked but now some are demanding violence!

Having just read “Without a Trace” by Carissa Ann Lynch and enjoyed it, I do recognise the appeal of a good crime mystery, and I do watch them on TV but writing one is something different. I have included death, suicide and arson in my novels but only at a distance, not with all the emotional fallout that ensues when it happens to a main character, and I do like a happy ending!

While I’m complaining about things I must admit I have given up looking for “different from” in books and newspapers. It seems the accepted use is now “different to,” and I ‘ll have to conform.

Book series and reviews

As I review every book I read on Goodreads maybe that’s where this should go, but I do know I have some writer/readers who follow me and I have become aware of a real problem with the books I have been getting out of the library. As I choose books by reading the blurb on the back I don’t often follow one author and I have been picking up random books and finding when I got them home they are part of a series, and usually not the first book.

I have also written a series, although I didn’t realise that’s what it would be when I wrote the first book. I think there should be instructions on how to follow on with the same characters in a new story. Recently I have found the books I am reading either tell me too much about the previous book, going over old ground in a ‘tell not show’ fashion which holds up the action, or tells me too little so I have no idea about the connections between the characters and often cannot identify with the main protagonist because I am expected to have carried over my sympathy from the previous book.

Then the most recent book, by Koontz, ends like one of those programmes on TV when one problem is solved but another looms so you are expected to wait eagerly for the next instalment. Such a shame, as I like his writing style, but I don’t feel I need to continue with the story as I found it rather confusing.

The book I’m reading now, The Silver Stain, by Paul Johnston is the fourth book in an Alex Mavros detective series and it is having a strange effect on me. I am very aware of the author. I almost feel compelled to edit it as I go along. I have never felt like that about a book that I have read for pleasure before. I feel distanced from the plot. I don’t know if I’ll finish it. Anyone else feel like that?bookwormclipart

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.