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30 April 2015

In fact the geese have pretty much stopped doing rain dances, and are now doing ‘please stop the rain’ dances. I’ve recorded precisely 175mls for the month, (7 inches – and no comments required) and even our small plateau which soaks up precipitation is starting to look waterlogged. I’m not complaining, this has balanced the very dry January to March we had, and I won’t complain too much if May continues fairly wet as well. But the hens all went off the lay this week, you should SEE the piglet’s pen, and I am starting to feel as if terminal mold is advancing upon me, so if we could have a week or two of fine windless weather, I wouldn’t complain either.

This isn’t so much a review, more a note to fellow readers. For those younger amongst us, this trilogy was The Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air, and The Armies of Daylight, published in the early 1980s. I have just been told that the trilogy is being republished as ebooks. I bought the print books at the time and still have those. I’ve recently re-read them (for about the 6th time) and loved them as much as ever. They were and are brilliant fantasy, thoughtful, great character developement, and a brilliant setting. They were followed some 15 years later by Mother of Winter and Icefalcon’s Quest – about which everything I’ve said also applies. If you love good well-written fantasy, with equal time for strong female characters, go buy this trilogy, and the other two if/when they appear as ebooks too. More than 30 years later, I can honestly say that my copies were very well worth what I paid.

yes, FAST GUN has sold to Gold Shader Press’ GAME FICTION anthology. This anthology looks to be a new angle and I look forward to reading my copy and having a friend review it when it reaches me.

18 April 2015

And it certainly has. April to date has produced over five inches of rain. This has left me in turn with 5 happy geese, the gaggle having been out wallowing in all the puddles and honking joyfully. Not so happy was a hen I saw on the Tuesday morning last week. I have no idea where she spent the night but it can’t have been in the hay barn or hen house. Possibly the idiot roosted in a shelterbelt tree and it drizzled all night. When I saw her arrive for breakfast she was saturated, and very unhappy about it. In fact it looked as if she epitomised that saying, ‘not enough sense to come in out of the rain.’ Hopefully she’s learned a lesson, and the next night it’s that wet, she’ll find shelter, it isn’t as if there’s none around. Birdbrain!

paperback published Tor January 2015
I started reading this series when the first one came out and have bought every book since, including the short story collection in TPB. I am saddened to hear that the next may be the last in the line as I love Kitty and don’t much enjoy the other series the author has begun. A matter of personal taste I hasten to add.
So, in Low Midnight the book opens with Cormac about to be released from jail and listening to the warden uttering a list of platitudes, saying goodbye and wishing him well. This story is mostly Cormac and his spirit passenger, Amelia. They are on the trail of a diary that may contain sufficient information to allow Kitty, Ben, Cormac and Amelia to successfully defend themselves and even the world against the machinations of Roman the Vampire. All Cormac and Amelia have to do is decode the diary.
Not so simple. Because to persuade a relative of the person who wrote the diary to provide the key to that, they have to find out how a magician was mysteriously killed more than a hundred years ago, work around two groups involved in a number of illegal activities both of which know Cormac, cope with a skinwalker, and Cormac’s old love, and manage these things while Cormac cannot carry or use guns. I found this book a pleasant read, perhaps a little lighter in quality than usual because it is the set-up book for the final volume but still I enjoyed it and as I was reading it as the next in a series of which I have always enjoyed the characters, I didn’t mind. I have Kitty Saves The World on pre-order and look forward to that. The set will stay on my shelf to be re-read again and again over time, and you can’t say much better than that for a book series.

Yup, and Wildside Press brought out Sherlock Holmes: Beastly Mysteries this week. It can be purchased at Wildside Press otherwise it’s also on Amazon. The volume is two shorter books together, one titled MYSTERY AT FOXHUNT HALL and the other titled THE CASE OF THE MUMMIFIED PENGUINS with the allover title of Sherlock Holmes: Beastly Mysteries.

As well, and staying with Sherlock and Watson, MX books is doing a two-volume hardcover of New Sherlock/Watson short stories, and their editor (David Marcum) has accepted my new story A MISTRESS – MISSING for that. If you’re not only a lover of Sherlock and Watson, but also you adore cats, look out for it.

6 April 2015

yes, A P.R.I.M. JOURNEY was accepted last week for WORLDS OF SF, F, AND HORROR, Ed Robert Stephenson. I’m pleased about this, it’s an Aussie anthology and I always enjoy having something here or there, and I’ve sold to Robert before and enjoy his work.

No, not books, I’m left here with an odd question, why do hens run? Looked across nearest paddock yesterday morning around 10am to see two of my hens going down that like racehorses. Came in just now and as I paused to look out of the kitchen window, two hens flashed past heading up the front lawn going like feathered rockets. They don’t seem to be running from anything, or chasing after anything. So why are they hurtling headlong around the place? And there is the other thought on that, if I do find out it may end up as the plot for a story. Odd events with my bathsalts a year or so back produced a tale entitled Bathsalts and Bedlam – which has just appeared in the lastest issue of TALES OF THE TALISMAN.

Hardcover, published Minotaur Books October 2014, 18th in the Meg Langslow series.
The mixture as before and thank heavens for it. Having stopped buying one mystery series that I loved because the author went off at a tangent, and with another much-loved series being on the same brink, I was really happy to find nothing like that had happened to this series. In fact I read this book when it reached me last October, and enjoyed it so much I’ve just re-read it for this quick review. That’s twice in six months which says a lot as to how well it held up. And it’s all on again in Caerphilly when a Christmas-themed Show Home, each room decorated by a different designer showing off their skills and wares, becomes the scene of a murder. Before that there’s in-fighting, sabotage of some of the rooms, and Meg’s mother as one of the twelve designers, right in the thick of it.
Writing a humorous whodunnit is tricky. If the author goes too far over the top it merely becoms silly, if her humour is too vulgar it merely becomes crass, I find that Donna Andrews keeps an excellent balance. Her humour arises from the people and natural situations and events. Much of it, only very slightly tweaked, is the sort of thing that may well have happened or been said to the readers at some time, (leaving them laughing for ages) and I love the feeling at least once in any of this series, of ‘ah ha.’ Yes, something similar once happened/was said to me. It’s that natural progression of amusement that is to my mind, one of the strongest underpinnings of the books. Oh, and by the way, Minotaur books gives her excellent covers as well. Nothing outre, just attractive and relevent. And long may that continue because when I look at the covers provided some other authors, I can only wonder what their publishers were thinking!