Recently I was introduced to M.C.Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books. The first I tried was a disaster for me. I then borrowed another one from the library, and was more impressed. But people on Facebook, etc. said you should try Hamish Macbeth books by the same author. So I did.
A couple of years or so ago, I started an experiment. I wanted to write a novel in a place I had never visited, and about people I have never been, and never will be.
The result was Balance of Powers – which came out much better than I expected, to my mind, anyway. I am sure there are some flaws in it, though – but no-one has pointed them out to me yet. Perhaps you can help me here.
After my review of one of M.C.Beaton’s books, in which I basically trashed the story, the editing, and the characterisation, I read other reviews of the book on Amazon and discovered that Dead Ringer was atypical. So, being the generous soul that I am, I decided to try again.
We recently visited Guernsey, and most of the touristy shops made a big thing out of selling the book (often marketed as “the book of the film”) or the DVD. Of course the book came out first, and on our return when a friend offered to lend me either the book or the DVD or both, I chose the book.
…that is, if you live in or near Sutton Coldfield. I went to Waterstone’s today with some books, and talked to the manager about the possibility of doing a signing or reading event there. He seemed quite interested, and I left him with the Adventures of Sherlock Ferret, a Lichfield Murder, and two of Jim McGrath’s Collins and Clark Mysteries: A Death in Winter: 1963 and A Death in Summer: 1965.
If anything happens before Christmas, it’s likely to be ferret-related, but Jim and I may get a shot at a joint presentation in the New Year.
Watch this space.
At our writing group, the Lichfield Writers, one of our members mentioned how much she enjoyed M.C.Beaton’s books. As we were going out of the library where we meet, I noticed the latest Beaton, Dead Ringer, on the Rapid Reads shelf (books which have just come in and you must get through them in a week because other people want to get hold of them). So I picked it up, and…
Oh, the thrill of being a writer and editor. Just walked into the local undertaker’s to ask where the nearest mortuary is. Asking for a friend, you understand.
As someone who has been asked to provide reviews of others’ books (and has sometimes failed to provide them – mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa), and also as someone who writes books and welcomes reviews, this is a subject about which I have opinions.
When I published my first book, Beneath Gray Skies, I was convinced, as are all new authors, that I had written a masterpiece, and that the hundreds of positive four- and five-star reviews it would garner would send it to the top of the best-seller lists.
By the way, this old promotional video uses an old URL – this site is now the place to be!
Continue reading “Do reviews matter?”
John Linwood Grant and I have been friends on Facebook for some time now. We share a love of books, of the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras, and a sense of the surreal and absurd, and he has interviewed me on the subject of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and been kind enough to write things about another of my books. He, however, has lurchers and a beard, as the biography at the end of his latest book, The Assassin’s Coin, reveals – I have neither.
I was going to buy the ebook edition of this book, but since the only ebook edition appears to be in Kindle format, and I don’t own a Kindle, I went for the printed paperback, and I’m glad I did. It’s a nicely produced slim volume, with no glaring typos or other print-based infelicities, and it’s of a length to be read in one sitting. However, I took a couple of evenings to finish it – it was a book that made me put it down, think, and then take it up again.
Two years ago I was invited to talk in London about science and literature. Being someone who lives in the past (at least in a literary sense), I decided to talk about Jules Verne and H.G.Wells, and if possible to bring in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
It seemed a fairly straightforward sort of thing to be talking about, but in the end, it turned out to be a little more complex than I had imagined.
In 2008, I was living in Japan, and making my living as a freelance writer. One of the assignments that came my way was the editing of an investment bank’s English-language marketing materials, prior to their translation into Japanese. However, something got in the way… Continue reading “Here we go again (and what the last time did for my writing?)…”
Anyone who knows anything about the booky side of me knows that I love fonts. I try not to be too gimmicky about them and I avoid a lot of the “script” and “brush” fonts, as I’m not really a graphic designer doing posters, but I do try to find a font for a book body that suits the content.