Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fan Expo Vancouver 2014

Thor and Loki, fighting as usual...

Thor and Loki, fighting as usual…

This was our third visit to FanExpo Vancouver, but only the second year we actually got inside. We’d been planning the day for ages – tickets bought well in advance, Weasels’ costumes worked out – but the last couple of days before were a blur of activity. Somehow, this did not include me getting the adjustments to my own costume done. Next year. Maybe.

Tiny Weasel had settled on a version of Ana from Frozen who is only onscreen for a few moments during the song “Do you want to build a Snowman?” but it came out pretty well, thanks to Mrs Dim’s sewing skills and some decorating on my part.

Tiny Weasel on the right, with a borrowed Olaf, meeting an older version of Ana.

Tiny Weasel on the right, with a borrowed Olaf, meeting an older version of Ana.

Middle Weasel had chosen the slightly more obscure computer game character Juno Eclipse. I built the hat, the gun rig, the rank badge and belt buckle, and Mrs Dim produced an awesome uniform jacket that will see plenty more use in everyday life.

These two members of the 501st made a good honour guard for Middle Weasel's arrival.

These two members of the 501st made a good honour guard for Middle Weasel’s arrival.

Eldest Weasel is usually quite shy and retiring, but she wanted to be a Time Lord, so Mrs Dim produced some fabulous robes, and I put together a headpiece based on the one worn by Timothy Dalton as Rassilon. She walked everywhere with an amazing poise and confidence, even though she was stopped every few feet by people wanting photographs – even at Subway!

This TARDIS cosplayer has used latex to make Gallifreyan writing appear burned into her skin. Amazing job.

This TARDIS cosplayer has used latex to make Gallifreyan writing appear burned into her skin. Amazing job.

This year the venue was larger, and we arrived early on the Sunday, so things were quieter for the first hour or so. We had a good chance to wander the booths and chat to the vendors and exhibitors, and saw some of the big names arriving for their signing sessions – Tom Felton, Charisma Carpenter, Eliza Dushku, Robert Englund…. (No photos of them this year, sorry!)

Attending in costume, even if only through the Weasels, was a very different experience to last year’s plain clothes day. There’s more of a sense of cameraderie with the other cosplayers, and it’s such fun meeting with other groups and taking photos together, or swapping notes on costume choice and construction.

I’m going to end with a photo reel without comments : These pictures have been posted on my Facebook page and my G+ account, so I’m all commented out, but feel free to ask for explanations or identifications!

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10 amazing facts that are completely UNtrue

1. The word “Succubus” wasn’t added to the English language until 1975.

2. The Parthenon in Greece is built to the exact measurements of Noah’s Ark, as described in Genesis.

3. The Guillotine is actually a French corruption of the name of its Irish inventor – Gill O’Teen.

4. In the first edition of “Monopoly”, there were no green properties, and the playing pieces were a top hat, a tram car, a bucket and a fishing rod.

5. Thanks to the internet, it is now possible to order a pizza while aboard the International Space Station. And it’s bound to be free, since delivery will almost certainly take more than half an hour.

6. The Inuit have no word for “Eclectic Dimorphism”.

7. As well as the Game of Thrones saga “A Song of Fire and Ice”, George R R Martin has written 47 children’s books about Riffo, the Kung-Fu bunny.

8. Artichokes were originally cultivated because their leaves were used as felting material for the millinery trade.

9. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was actually restored to the vertical on June 13th, 1910, but after a public outcry, it had its lean returned less than a year later. Attempting to “fix” the tower is now a crime punishable by imprisonment.

10. Hoping to ensure its long-term survival, the American Constitution was first written on bits of broken Roman pottery, since those things have survived both time and volcanoes. Later it was transferred to something even more durable – a rich, old white man’s sense of entitlement.

Hey, Random Citizen….

Citizenship.

When we told folks we were emigrating to Canada, many of them asked us if we were going to get Canadian citizenship. At the time it seemed a ludicrously precipitous question. We needed jobs, schools, houses, short scruffy dogs, that sort of thing. But citizenship? No, not really.

That’s not to say we were opposed to the idea, but it wasn’t something we were really prepared to think about. Like asking a twelve year old about their pension plan. Sure, they’re going to think about it sometime , but right now? Nope.

But over the last year or so, it’s been more of an issue. We’ve been here long enough to apply, we’ve met other ex-pats who DID apply, and the question of electing people we actually WANT in government has become more interesting. To vote, we need to be citizens.

So we underwent the gruelling form-filling and document finding, made all the more gruelling by the fact that we were duplicating a lot of the effort we had to make to renew our Permanent Residents Cards (turns out the “permanent” only applied to our residency status, not the life of the cards themselves, which need renewing every five years…)

We’d been told that processing the papers took a good length of time, so we were very surprised to find an invitation to attend our citizenship exam on April 1st. Surprised and, of course, suspicious. April 1st? Really?

But it was true. I can’t go into details about the exam itself, or I’ll invalidate my own application, but I will say that the booklet “Discovering Canada” is a great source of information. Mrs Dim and I learned a lot about our new home country, as well as discovering that learning new facts has become harder now that we are old and set in our ways (by which I mean “used to Googling stuff we don’t know, so we don’t have to remember it”) I was seriously worried about retaining all this information – Canada’s history, political system, cultural icons…. For a young country, it’s been busy!

On the fateful morning we lined up outside the building with a wonderful variety of folks from all ethnic backgrounds. The test itself went by in a whirl, and then we had a brief interview before our details get passed to an immigration judge. Mrs Dim and I took advantage of our mutual time off to walk through Downtown and admire the city that is our home.

Just a house in Downtown Vancouver...With the most amazing Magnolia tree.

Just a house in Downtown Vancouver…With the most amazing Magnolia tree.

Whatever the final result of the test, I’m happy to be living here, to have the chance to walk through Vancouver, or over Burnaby Mountain. Most of all, I’m happy that my Weasels have the chance to do these things.

Free e-book!

TroubledSouls006

Yesterday I started writing “With this ring”, my new romance novella and the last e-book I’m intending to publish for a while. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Troubled Souls”, my collection of short fiction from the male perspective, for a week starting on the 3rd Feb (Monday!)

Find it at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/17RZzOH
amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/11dk92A
and Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/14bcozq

Still alive…..

I’ve seen a few headlines in the last couple of days about the potential return of the Black Death. If you’d asked me about that last week, I would’ve told you I was patient zero.

The terrible thing about sick leave is having all this time off work and being completely unable to enjoy it. I have several books remaining in my stack of romances that I thought I might read, and I also had some new Script Appraisals to work through. Unfortunately for me (and my customers) I wasn’t able to raise my head off the pillow for the whole of that first week. The doctor did examine me and confirm I’d had some kind of chest infection, but he was reluctant to administer antibiotics, instead giving me some nasal steroids. “A couple of weeks of that,” he said ” and you’ll be fifty percent better…” And have a terrifically muscular nose into the bargain….

So it’s only now, in my second week of leave, that I’m feeling up to sitting in front of the computer and catching up with my workload. Time’s ticking by, so I’m not going to go on with my reading. I’ve learned from the eight books that I’ve read that there is no magic formula. Romance novels are like any other novel, with the exception of the love story being central and irrevocable. The two romantic leads always end up together (something that doesn’t always happen in other novels).

Thanks to Mrs Dim sacrificing some of her time for work, I’ve been able to rest, and I may be able to start the actual writing this week. We have Tiniest Weasel’s birthday coming up, and there are preparations to be made for that, so I don’t have a lot of time, but I do have a story in mind.

I’ve also decided that, success or not, this will be my last e-book for a while. I think I’ve spent somewhere near two years publishing e-books, and while it’s been fun (and I won’t withdraw the books from sale) it’s proved that selling books is not my strongpoint. Writing the book is only the beginning – you need to package it well, and then you need to sell the book, and keep on selling it, over and over again. That’s not a process that happens by itself, even in this age of social media and mass-communication. The answer is not having a blog, or a certain number of Facebook friends, or reading a particular book. The marketing needs to be well thought out and continuous. Mine hasn’t been.

TLC have started the year with a video conference and agreed we have some ground to make up. Plans are being laid for two pantomimes and other projects have been raised as well. I’m sure there are some plays I can write if I try hard enough, too, and those already have an outlet in the form of Lazy Bee Scripts.

Almost time to try being a playwright again.

The January Lazy Bee Newsletter

I’m working on a new post, but in the meantime, Happy New Year! And here’s the latest news from my publisher, Lazy Bee Scripts:

Miscellaneous Musings

Receipts

When we were able to access the web site again after the January 4th interruption, we finally implemented the “receipts” function (under the Customer menu).  That means that you can get copies of receipts for past orders.  It also does an approximate currency conversion for customers in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Euro zone (particularly useful for teachers who have bought scripts by card and need to claim back from schools who are not familiar with the British Pound).
 

Stitched-up!

We’ve been selling custom-embroidered clothing for a couple of years, and now we’ve finally ordered our own with a stitched version of the Lazy Bee Scripts logo.  (We like it so much we’ve put a picture on the front page of the web site and more on the beewaxing blog.)
 

What’s in a name?

Occasionally authors make changes to scripts after we’ve published them.  We grizzle about this, but we do make changes.  In the case of Giles Black’s murder mystery A Legendary Death we thought it was rather important.  One of his characters is the host of a television archaeology show.  Giles found that he had accidentally used the name of the host of a television history show.  Given that this is a murder mystery, the character is less than wholesome, and we felt that his namesake might consider this libellous.
 

Break a leg?  Be careful what you wish for!

A few months ago, I went to see the opening of Terry Hammond’s black comedy Ten Rods, a show set on an allotment, littered with spades, forks and a wheelbarrow.  Terry popped in to the Lazy Bee Scripts office a couple of days ago to discuss his next projects, and, in passing, told me that during the fight scene, the actor playing Shadbolt, the villain, fell onto the wheelbarrow and cracked a rib.  (Terry had to take over the role for the remaining performances.)
 

What’s a performance?

From time to time, I get into discussions with customers who say “we’re not performing the show, we’re just doing a presentation to parents and friends”.  That’s a performance.  Any show performed in the presence of an audience (people who were not a directly involved in producing the show) other than members of the same class or workshop, counts as a performance for copyright purposes.  So, for example, if you invite an audience to watch your dress rehearsal, then that’s a performance.  For every performance, you need to obtain performance rights from the rights holder.  This is a general point, it applies to all (copyrighted) shows, not just to those licensed by Lazy Bee Scripts.
 

Making Changes

Another cautionary note with respect to copyright is the matter of making changes.  In theory, you cannot make any changes to a script without the permission of the copyright holder (usually the rights agent on behalf of the author).  Making changes without permission is a violation of the author’s copyright.
We take a practical view, and give blanket permission for some minor changes as part of our copyright notice.  (There’s a detailed explanation in the Help section of the web site.)  However, changes that affect plot, character or dialogue need the permission of the author.  If in doubt, ask!
Whilst we were in the process of granting permission for changes to Switched by Frances A Lewis for use in the Scottish Community Drama Association one-act play festivals, David from Carbost Village Drama Group (who used to be David from Selbourne Players) pointed out that last year one group was disqualified from the SCDA finals because they had altered a script and did not have written permission from the rights holder.
 

First Spanish Script

Most of our scripts are written in a recognisable form of English.  However, we have made forays into Latin, French, German and Afrikaans.  We’ve now ventured into Spanish – see below for more about Entre las Lineas.

And now on to the new material which, of course, can be found via the Lazy Bee Scripts web site (from the home page, “What’s New” is a good place to start.)

 

Musicals

  • The Frinton Fryer by Jim Pinnock is really a one-act play, but there are several solo songs that are integral to the piece, hence the musical classification.  Brenda is going for the ‘Silver Star Show’ audition, but Doris thinks she should try a more modern look, name, and song.  Her singing has surprising consequences for her workplace – a Fish ‘n’ Chip shop!
  • We have billed Luke Reilly’s version of Rapunzel as our Version 2.  It’s a full-length family show (rather than a full-blown pantomime treatment).  The original story is embellished, notably with a villain in the form of the evil Dr Grimm.
  • The Spanish script, mentioned above, is Entre las Líneas by Sofía Kin & Pilar Muerza with music by Erica Glenn.  Comedia musical para los niños en un Acto. It’s a translation of Erica Glenn’s ‘Between the Lines’, originally created for a production in Argentina.
  • Richard Cowling’s Zechariah And Elizabeth is a one-act musical based on the story from the first chapter of Luke’s gospel.
  • Working Man by Peter Nuttall was inspired by the paintings of Alexander Millar, set on Tyneside in the heyday of the shipyards.  In addition to backing and vocal CDs, we offer a CD of images of Millar’s paintings, licensed by his publisher, for projection during each scene.  (There’s an example on the script page – well worth a look.)

 

Plays With Music – in this case, all for Children

  • The Alphabet Trip by Sherrill S Cannon does what you’d expect – it takes a trip through every letter of the alphabet in a rhyming script punctuated by (suggested) songs.  Aimed at very young children and very flexible presentation (in principle, 26 characters – for the obvious reason – but they can be shared out in many ways).
  • Debbie Chalmers takes slightly older actors into science fiction territory with A Cloud In Space, a full-length fantasy space adventure for a cast of 20.  (Again, the songs are suggested rather than supplied.)
  • Looking for the Rainbow by Philip Bird (music Isabelle Michalakis) is a fantastical adventure about the meeting of two groups of children living on opposite sides of a mountain.

 

Kids Plays

  • Aliens is a collection of seven short plays for youth theatre by 10 x 10 Writers.  We announced publication of three of the individual plays in our previous newsletter.  Since then, we’ve completed the collection (so you can buy the whole set at a discount) and published the remaining individual scripts.  These are The Landing Party, by Karen Fitzsimmons, Activity Day – Inclusive of Aliens by Dian Donovan, Aliens v Aliens by Sarah Reilly and Tales from the Seventh Galaxy by Mike Plumbley.
  • Nicholas Richards has adapted the Pardoner’s Tale from the Canterbury Tales into a short rhyming play, Hunting Death
  • We’re into a strange dystopia for The Nobodies by Jon Boustead, a twenty-minute play for junior school children.  A place where there are no stories, no reading and no dreaming.
  • Paul Roostercroft – that’s not his name, but his actual name gets his e-mails consigned to my spam folder, so I’m trying to avoid that possibility here – has written Not Another Nativity, a play set in the rehearsals for a more conventional nativity play, and giving the subject a refreshing new slant.  (Written for a cast of 26.)
  • Missing by Sue Bevan is a gritty small-cast one act play for youth theatre, in which Tom has run away from home.
  • Deanna Alisa Ableser also takes us into the world of the homeless (this time with a US setting) for StreetBox, a one act drama.
  • Josh’s Wall is a thought-provoking short play by Ian Elmslie (aimed at GCSE-level students, a comment which will tell you that it’s set in England).  Three boys meet up on Christmas Day to discuss the recent death of their friend.
  • Jeremy Tyburn’s Rhyming Macbeth was originally written as a Reader’s Theatre piece (as an educational introduction to Shakespeare’s play) – on the grounds that the writer wondered whether such a short telling of Shakespeare’s story could be staged.  (It could, but it runs at quite a pace.)
  • For younger children, there’s A Too Naughty Cinderella, by Olivia Arieti.  A short telling of the tale, and not quite the Cinderella we are used to, as this one is so petulant and shallow that her Fairy Godmother has disowned her.

 

Pantomimes

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (our Version 2 of the story) by Julie Petrucci and Chris Shinn comes complete with a camel called Carmel.  A full action show with a ‘modern take’.
  • Dawn Cairns offers two tales for the price of one in Aladdin and Alisha Baba.  We have all the expected pantomime ingredients, plus differences – including two Dames as the mothers of Aladdin and Alisha Baba, as well as Gordon the camp genie, who helps thwart the evil Abanaza, and Mustafa with his four thieves.
  • There are two new pantos from Luke Reilly.  The first is a very modern Puss in Boots (Version 5 in our canon), the second is A Postmodern Pantomime (going beyond the normal panto convention of breaking the fourth wall and into explorations of the boundaries between story, play, characters, cast and audience.)
  • Our next new version of Puss in Boots (our Version 6) comes from Bob Heather, and takes a much more traditional, family audience, approach to the tale of the magical cat who comes to the aid of the poor Miller’s son.
  • Jillian Riches and Lesley Penketh also take a traditional pantomime subject, but give it a twist to create Snow White and the Eccleston Seven where the dwarves are replaced by an Irish gang of rogues.
  • Venturing onto new ground, Matthew Harper brings us Figaro – The Pantomime.  Like the rest of the new pantos listed here, it’s a full-length show for a large cast, but with a very definite renaissance Spanish setting (give or take a guest appearance from Tesco.)

 

Full-Length Plays

  • For Life Imitating Art, Joan Greening takes us to an art gallery, where Dorothy surprises Pete by mistaking him for her tour guide, an experience that ends up enriching them both.  (A cast of 1M, 1F)
  • Frances A.  Lewis has written two one-act plays, Switched and AKA Charlie (of which more below) with (largely) the same characters.  Whilst they function independently, they are also available (at a discount) as a full-length play, Between Appointments (4M, 4F and optionally two others).
  • How do we describe Chicks and Dogs by Clive Renton?  We’ve got it listed as a full-length comedy drama, with bawdy overtones.  Clashes of views, personality and experience – and, indeed, costume. (3M, 3F)
  • Hilary Mackelden presents The Snow Queen (listed as our Version 4) as a family show, rather than the pantomime treatments we have elsewhere.  A new look at the Hans Christian Andersen tale, with 40 roles, but playable by a cast of 28.
  • The Killing Of Richard by Roger Mathewson is set during the casting of Richard III, a process that begins to mirror Shakespeare’s play.  (6M, 3F)

 

One-Act Plays

  • The Melting Sands by Jim Pinnock is a thriller set in a beach house.  Tables are turned as two seemingly innocent and unconnected women seek revenge.  (4M, 3F)
  • Karen Ankers offers us the rather odd mixture of Red Wine And Ice Cream in a powerful, serious play with a simple single set.  Louise is having a lousy night out, she’s abandoned by her date, and now who’s this in the alley behind the theatre?  (2M, 1F)
  • Fancy making an exhibition of yourself?  Try Joan Greening’s Museum Pieces a comedy in which the museum volunteers are dismayed by the prospect of closure and salvation arrives in a most surprising way.  (6F)
  • We’ve got a (non-matching) pair of new plays from Allan Williams in the form of The Last Visitor (for 2M, 1F, in which a retirement-home resident is surprised by a caller who seems to know a lot about him) and Gerald’s Bench (also for 2M, 1F, in which three visitors to a park are tangled in the same story).
  • As mentioned under full-length plays, Frances A Lewis’s new play AKA Charlie uses several characters from her previous Switched.  It also has the same set, split between a living room and a dentist’s surgery where Veronica has to cope with in her job as Dental Assistant and the arrival of her jailbird brother.  (4M, 3F)
  • We’ve published four new plays by Robin Wilson.  There’s Mrs Noah (1M, 3F) in which the building of the Ark is not helped by Noah’s less-than-understanding wife.  All Washed Up (2M, 2F) has the survivors of a plane crash stranded on a tiny island.  A Dummy Run (1M, 3F) is set in a doctor’s waiting room.  Finally, Alright On The Night? (3M, 4F) has a village hall drama group face a fraught dress rehearsal.
  • In Gentlemen Callers, Pam Mackenzie shows how the elderly Lavinia and her friends spend their afternoons.  (A comedy for 3M, 3F)
  • James P Brosnahan & Joseph S Kubu say It’s About Time, and indeed it is – two different times for the same person, and an exploration of choice.  (2M, 1F)
  • A Stitch In Time by Mark Green is also about time – and much more directly, since Alastair, inspired by his late father, is convinced that he has invented a time machine.  (2M, 2F)
  • The title of Dave Walklett’s Custom Shrunk comes from Measure for Measure, the play that his characters have just been performing in this back-stage drama of manipulation.  (3M, 2F)
  • I probably think too much about theatrical genres.  I see No Occasion To by David Weir as somewhere between a drama and a thriller.  Anyway, a play for a cast of 4M set in a bar where a planned celebration is confronted by a gatecrasher.
  • Bob Tucker presents two new plays.  The first, B & B, is a frantic farce, set in a small guest house whose acceptance of pets is challenged by some of the guests.  (5M, 5F)  The second is The Interview (for 2M, 3F and one either), taking an unusual modern view of a scene from David Copperfield.
  • British people of a certain age will be sent in the wrong direction by the title of Bill & Ben by Richard James.  In this case, the Ben in question is Ben Jonson, and he’s in prison on a murder charge, where he receives a visit from a fellow playwright.  As Richard put it, they do what playwrights do best – they bicker.  (2M)
  • Despite the title, the cast of David Pemberton’s An Indecent Exposure remain clothed throughout.  It’s a comedy drama or, just possibly, a surreal thriller!  (3M, 3F, plus 2 to four more)
  • Cell Mates by Mark Seaman takes place, as one would expect in a prison cell.  The question is what will young Terry learn from the resident old lag, the murderer George?  (3M)

 

Sketches, Skits and Short Plays

  • Lorraine Forrest-Turner seems to be making a bid for the longest title award with her sketch Bank Holiday Mondays and Other Ways to Kill a Marriage (a title that needs more explanation for people outside the British Isles than it is going to get!)  It’s one man and one woman and they’re stuck in a car.
  • Grandmother Rita is reminiscing about her life as she looks through her old photographs in Lynda Bray’s monologue A Thousand Words Speak A Picture
  • There are two new short pieces with religious overtones from Howard Lipson in the form of A Cautionary Tale (for a cast of 3M), retelling the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, and Utopian Rhapsody, with a meeting between Charles Dickens and Washington Irving (2M).

 

Interactive Murder Mysteries

  • In A Shotgun Wedding by Andrew Hull, the bride and groom have got as far as the reception before their first major argument.  The assmbled company don’t help, and, later, a shot rings out.  It’s up to the audience to find out whodunnit!  (Ten characters, of which at least 5M and 4F.)
  • Jos Biggs hints at motives from the start of her mystery The Hadleigh Hall Inheritance, but again, it’s up to the audience to sort the clues from the red herrings.  (Nine characters, of which at least 2M and 4F.)

 

Other Things

We are gradually adding to our range of recordings to go with the musical scripts.  In particular, we’re adding a number of vocal recordings (because some people learn songs more easily by singing along!)
As we do this, we’re also putting more recording samples on-line so that you can listen to a snippet before buying.

 

When they are not writing…

…  Some of our writers are writers.  That is to say, people who write plays also write other things – including criticism, blogs, poetry, magazine articles and shopping lists.  Some of them write books.  Recent publications include Bill Siviter’s The Dark Men of Biddulph Moor (summarising Bill’s summary, Dan Brown meets Staffordshire history), Eddie and the Kingdom by Damian Trasler (who seems to be concerned with zombies.  Aren’t we all?)  Julia Lee Dean has recently completed And I Shall Be Healed (about the First World War).  I have no idea what Jim Pinnock’s Sparrows With Vertigo is about.
Other novelists in our ranks include Nigel Holloway (whose sixth should be available soon), John Peel, whose output includes One Man And His Shed and Giles Scott, whose Hook and Peter Pan is a novel for children based on his script for the musical Hook and Peter Pan – How it All Began (which you can find on the Lazy Bee Scripts web site).
(There are many more, but the output is so large that I have lost track!)

 

That’s all for now, but as ever there will be more along soon. 
(Follow us on Twitter – @LazyBeeScripts – to receive updates whenever we publish new scripts.)

The Books of December and the year’s roundup

December is almost over, so I’m publishing the last of my monthly book reviews and totting up how many books got read this year. I won’t be doing this again next year, as I have other projects lined up, but it’s been fun for me to do. What was YOUR book of the year?

Let’s start with the few books of December – the Festive Season meant travel to relatives, and that reduced the reading time (which is a fair trade, to be honest!)

Hard Contact – Karen Traviss

I’ve read all of the clone commandos series by Karen Traviss, and despite her definite anti-Jedi stance, I like them. This is my attempt to make sure I read the whole series in order.

Miss Buncle’s Book – D.E.Stephenson

I picked this from the paperback section of the library, assuming it to be a modern book written in a classic style. The story is light and fun, with the eponymous Miss Buncle writing a book to earn some money when things get tight. An unimaginative lady, she writes honestly about the people she sees around her in the village where she lives, and when the book is published the outraged villagers are out for the blood of the author “John Smith”. I was amazed to discover this book was actually written in 1934.

Death Comes to Pemberley – P.D.James

Reading the book in advance of seeing the tv show, I was pleasantly surprised by the authentic voice of the author. I read “Pride and Prejudice” not too long ago, and thought the writing elegant but still engaging and PD James has done a creditable imitation while bringing her own expertise in matters of murder mystery to bear. Captain Denny has been killed in the grounds of Pemberley, and the dastardly Wickham has been found with bloodstained hands, crouching over the body, Can his guilt be in doubt? How should Darcy proceed? A worthwhile murder mystery, even without the Austen angle.

Hellgoing – Lynn Coady

It’s easy to see how this collection of short stories won a significant award. They’re tight, well written tales that draw the reader in, but stop before the story reaches a resolution. At first I was angry that each tales cut short, but then I realised the genius of it – providing the ending  brings out the differences in readers. Some want an upbeat ending, some a realistic outcome. Few will agree with the writer’s view. By leaving the ending to the reader’s imagination, all are satisfied. Not a trick you can play twice, but the quality of the writing and characterisation proves this author knows her craft.

The Reading Year Roundup:

November

Books read – 16

Favourite book: The 100 Year old man who climbed out of the window

October

Books read – 16

Favourite book: The Purloined number

September

Books read – 8

Favourite book: How to tame an out of control writing project in 20 steps

August

Books read – 11

Favourite book: The Android’s Dream – John Scalzi

July

Books read – 14

Favourite book: Joyland – Stephen King

June

Books read – 9

Favourite book: Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

May

Books read – 13

Favourite book: Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe – Stuart Maclean

April

Books read – 11

Favourite book: Shada - Gareth Roberts

March

Books read – 11

Favourite book: Zombies V Unicorns

February

Books read – 7

Favourite book: The Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi

January

Books read – 10

Favourite book: I shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

GRAND TOTAL: 131 books read.