March Reviews

TV and films

The highly recommended

A Very British History (series 2)***** looked at the Birmingham Irish, Bangladeshis, Vietnamese Boat People, and Chinese. Each episode is presented by a member of the community.

Vera Season 1***** Really good police series set in my native Northumberland, with a strong female lead.

The Great Pottery Throwdown***** Exciting, entertaining and educational. The final was nail-biting. I don’t usually follow reality shows but this fascinated me.

Ian Hislop’s Olden Days***** Hislop looked at the way people in UK throughout history have always looked back to, and often glorified, the past. Three episodes.

Contagion: BBC Four Pandemic***** Hannah Fry. Brilliant modelling of contagion using a mobile phone app.

Fisherman’s Friends***** Delightful story, based on true events, centred around a band of Cornish fishermen who are now well known folk singers.

Zoo***** The story of Buster the baby elephant, saved from a cull at Belfast Zoo during the war.

The good

Five Films For Freedom (British Council)**** Interesting mixture of short films. A girl comes out of closet; a boy’s parents accept his wish both to be a girl and to excel at dance; a rural town in Norway has its first Pride Parade which attracts not the expected 100 but 4000 participants and spectators; a boy discovers his dad is gay; a co-operative (predominantly but not exclusively run by people of colour) create an alternative nightclub, Pxssy Palace. Really interesting films but I caught them on their last night on YouTube and was annoyed I couldn’t recommend them to others. The short public showing is why they lost a star. YouTube is still showing interviews with the various directors, with clips of the films.

Dog with an IQ of 102**** 17 dogs and a raccoon competing for title of UK’s brightest pet. The raccoon came second…

The mediocre

The Girl on the Train*** half watched because it was on – nasty but interesting thriller.

Books

The excellent.

Blood and Milk by NR Walker***** Heath/Damu. Set among the Maasai. Heath goes to Africa to immerse himself in another culture. He doesn’t expect to fall in love.

Fault Lines by Shane Morton***** LA stereotypes are turned into really interesting people in this story about a small community.

Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch***** Soren is a selkie and John is a magician. I loved the mix of legend and magic with well developed characters. Soren has been trapped on a Yorkshire estate by his father and John needs to break the curse.

The Two Faces of Religion by N.S.Xavier, M.D. ***** A psychiatrist’s view exploring the spectrum of healthy spirituality and sick religiosity. Fascinating and well written.

Dark Waters by Chris Quinton***** Flein and Donnchadh find each other in this dramatic retelling of the water horse legend. The story is a murder mystery which the protagonists must solve if the Highland villagers are not to blame the water horse. Beautiful writing, world building, and characterisation.

Bitter Pill by Jordan Castillo Price***** (Psycops 11). Vic and Jacob are fighting Kick, a new psyactive drug. Excellent writing, as usual, and it is interesting that even this far on in the series there is always something more to learn about Vic and Jacob.

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni***** This was a re-read and deals with the plague in 17th century Milan. I will review it in more depth in my next post.

Distorted Images by Anne Borrowdale***** (Christian attitudes to Women, Men and Sex.) The author was a Diocesan Social Responsibility Officer writing in 1991. However, her analysis of the attitudes she explores is relevant to all, not just Christians, and is still interesting and immediate today.

The Ghost Slept Over by Marshall Thornton***** Just what I needed immediately after reading The Plague (see below)! A love story with humour, a ghost who’s a stalker, and a happy ending for all (including the ghost). Cal is a struggling actor who meets Dewey, a lawyer, when he unexpectedly inherits an estate. Things keep going pear-shaped then getting back on track with bumps in the night and bumps in the road of romance.

The readable

In the absence of light by Adrienne Wilder *** Grant and Morgan are the subjects of a convoluted FBI investigation. The author has a weird view of autism which she seems to equate with Tourette’s syndrome. The proof reading is less than stellar. Having said that, the story is gripping and the couple are interesting personalities.

Last Day by Luanne Rice*** A murder mystery with a lot of recounting and flashbacks then a weird ending with the dead victim narrating. Also, the world building is poor; street names do not make the reader see a town unless the reader is also a native.

The Plague by Albert Camus***Dr Bernard Rieux works in Oran during an outbreak of plague. I will review this in greater depth alongside The Betrothed in my next post.

The poor

Death in the Lakes by Graham Smith** Beth Young investigates. And hands out advice to her superiors. And nearly gets killed. This all happens with a great deal of repetition, some odd grammar, some very gory descriptions that seem to glamourise nastiness and a not very credible serial killing. It is also set in Cumbria, rather than in the Lake District. Whilst the Lakes are in Cumbria, the story is not set among the Lakes…

Abandoned

The Last Dance (Near Earth Mysteries) by Martin L Shoemaker. Investigation in space (to justify a court martial) where by 20% way through the female investigator was still being told about the subject of the investigation by the captain’s colleagues. Boring.

The Visionary by Charli Coty. A paranormal investigation/romance (mm) which should have appealed but I didn’t like the style.

The Pinch of the Game by Charlie Descoteaux.
This started with a long explicit sex scene between strangers so I closed it.

The Wanderer by Dahlia Donovan (The Sin Bin Book 1). Graham and Boyce were intensely boring and I really didn’t care whether they ever got together. Also, do people ever really say ‘Judas Priest’ to themselves rather than ‘Jesus Christ’?

Short Stories

The very good

As usual with me, no five star recommendations for short stories but the following were all well written and worth reading.

Cookies by Clare London**** Parker, Otis and a computer. Pleasant and well written fluff. I’m not sure if this is published or just for her newsletter readers.

In the Doghouse by Chris Quinton****Mike and Jerry have to rescue a greyhound called Spot from the racing ‘mafia’.

Persistence Pays by Mara Ismine**** Asa, Tan and Asa’s parents (who steal the show)

Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A McKilip**** An anthology of sci fi and fantasy stories. Some excellent, some impenetrable.

The poor

Strangers in the Night by LouisaMae** Dale and Kieron need to spice up their sex life. There was far too much sex for the length of the work. I found it very derivative – from a The West Wing fanfiction I read years ago, and I wondered whether the author wrote that and changed it to make an original piece, or whether she read the original when I did and felt inspired.

Fanfiction

I read fanfic from SGA, Shetland, Bandom and Hansel and Gretel but all the fics, though good, with some extremely clever writing, needed either a good knowledge of canon or an enthusiasm for the original to make sense or hold the reader’s interest. So – no recommendations this month.

Smashwords Sale

I’ve put my most recent books into the Smashwords Sale. That means the last two books in my fae series, Flying Free and On The Edge are currently available at $1.20. So is the fifth volume of The Skilled Investigators, The Road. The short story anthology Beating Hearts is FREE.

So if you need reading matter for your enforced stay at home. go along to Smashwords! The sale lasts till April 20th.

Stay safe, everybody!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Since most of you will be at home rather than at the pub…

 

 

SLÁINTE!

 

An Irish proverb quiz for St. Patrick’s Day.
Here are the first parts of five popular Irish sayings; you have to complete them.

 

1. The older the fiddle…
2. May your home always be too small to hold…
3. You’ll never plough a field by…
4. May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and…
5. If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…

*************************************************************

Answers (don’t cheat):

 

 

 

 

(I only got one right – number 4)

A passion for crime

For a change, for some ‘in-depth’ reviews this month, I looked at crime series I had watched (or re-watched, in the case of the older series) during the last three years. So it’s more an in-depth review of my viewing habits and tastes.

I don’t claim to have watched every episode of everything other than the ones I have starred. I lost some of my boxed sets (e.g. Lewis) in our fire. I haven’t been replacing things – I have all the Brit freeview channels, Amazon Prime and Netflix; however, I do not have all the time in the world!

I wondered what made a series a ‘must watch’ for me and made a kind of spread sheet. Here are my findings and my recommendations!

    The Excellent

It would seem I need a good ensemble cast with some tight relationships e.g. detective team/lead detectives that I can really get to know, interesting locations and gripping plots plus series story arcs that seem believable. I particularly like episode plots that address current issues but leave the viewer to make up their own mind. The following ticked all the boxes and I would watch more if more seasons turn up. Remember – the stars refer to having seen all episodes, and are nothing to do with quality!

Line of Duty* (Brit) – corruption investigation in police force, ensemble with male and female leads
Happy Valley* (Brit) – police and their families in Yorkshire, female lead
Vera (Brit) – police with female lead DCI in Northumberland
Grantchester (Brit) – lead detective paired with parish priest in 50s/60s period drama, male leads
DCI Banks (Brit) – detective team in Yorkshire, male and female leads
Lewis* (Brit) – detectives in Oxford (spin off from Morse), male leads with strong female supporting cast
Shetland (Brit) – detective team on Shetland (Scottish Isles), male lead with strong female supporting cast
Dublin Murders* (Brit) – detective team plus quasi paranormal explanations, in Eire (actually filmed in N. Ireland), male and female leads
Vienna Blood* (Brit) – detective and psychiatrist plus their families in Vienna pre WWI. Male leads
The Professionals (Brit) – CI5 battles anything that might be a type of internal terrorism/organised crime in and around London, Male leads.
Spooks* (Brit) – MI5 deal with terrorism inside Britain, mainly London. Ensemble (changing) cast with male and female leads.

Spiral (Engrenages)* (French)– police and lawyers in Paris. Ensemble with male and female leads. THIS IS MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE
Crimson Rivers* (French) – northern France and hints of the supernatural which are constantly debunked by the detective pair. Male and female leads.

The Bridge* (Swedish/Danish) – autistic female lead detective in Sweden with forays into Denmark

Cagney and Lacey (US) – female detective team in New York
Starsky and Hutch (US )- detective team in fictional Bay City (actually LA). Male leads.
NYPD Blue (US) – detective/police team in New York. Ensemble (changing) cast with male and female leads.
Homicide, Life on the Street (US) – detective/police team in Baltimore. Male leads.
Hill Street Blues (US) – detective/police team in New York. Male leads.

    The Reasonable

I prefer crime series that persuade me to suspend disbelief, even though I know they are often not particularly true to life. I also like to have lead detectives who are in some way personally engaging. These were watchable but I wouldn’t seek out sequels.

Sherlock* (Brit) – started well but seems to be heading towards mystical collapse. Male leads.
Death in Paradise (Brit) – police team set on a fictional Caribbean island. Comfort viewing but can get too silly in quest to inject humour. Ensemble (changing) cast with male and female leads.
Darkness: Those who kill* (Danish) – detective team set in Denmark. Male leads.
Wisting* (Norwegian) – detective and his journalist daughter in Norway. Male and female leads.
STHLM Requiem* (Swedish) – detective team in Stockholm
Beck* (Swedish) – detective team in Sweden. Male and female leads.
The Sinner (US) – detective in northern American states. Male lead.

    The Abandoned

There are a number of reason for abandoning a series. Whilst I appreciate a series plot arc and the stories of the leading characters, I don’t like it when this gets in the way of the episode plots or the tightness of an ensemble cast and when it seems to send the series in a different direction. In some cases I watched a couple of seasons, but in others I only watched a couple of episodes. I may well give Sherlock a miss next time around.

Whitechapel (Brit) – Started well then an unexpected plot-arc spoilt the series and took it into the realms of paranormal horror instead of crime. Male leads.
Ripper Street (Brit) – Started well then deteriorated as the lead detective’s story took over. Male leads.
Bancroft (Brit) – As soon as it became apparent that the lead detective was corrupt, the mystery element vanished and so did my interest. Female lead.
Deadwater Fell (Brit) – police and community in Scotland. This was slow and boring. Male and female leads.
Hidden (Brit) – police in North Wales. Dark, dismal and boring. Female lead.
The Bay (Brit) – police team in Morcambe. Unbelievable characters, especially the lead detective. Female lead.
Killing Eve (Brit) – British spy versus international criminal. I never really got to grips with it and I faintly disliked the main characters. Female leads.
Baghdad Central (Brit) – there was a lot of Arabic and the subtitles were impossible for me to read against the film background. Probably good. Male lead.

Detective Cain (French) – I couldn’t get really interested in the lead detective. Male lead.

Montalbano (Italian) – police team in Sicily. The series started well then after a couple of seasons deteriorated with too much reliance on people reporting to police station rather than the police going anywhere, and too much attempt to inject humour. Male leads.

Baptiste (Netherlands/Belgium) This was a spin-off from another series and I couldn’t get ‘into’ the characters. I also didn’t believe the plot. Male lead.

Black Lake (Swedish/Danish) – I couldn’t get interested in the plot. Male and female leads.

Hawaii 5.O (US) – Started well then deteriorated as the lead detective’s story took over. Male and female leads.
Elementary (US) – I couldn’t work up any interest in the leads, or see them as a Sherlock spin-off. Without the Sherlock connection they might never have caught my interest in the first place. Male and female leads.

You’d think, from the above, that the TV is never off, but actually, weeks go by while I watch nothing, other than the news, and then I find something and binge-watch on catch-up streaming services!

Another free flashfic: Le Manoir

Henri was dubious about accepting the invitation in the first place. The Oyster Festival was not something that appealed to him. Oysters didn’t appeal to him at all, except as the source of pearls, which he had always loved. He had been given some pearl cuff links for his eighteenth birthday but rarely had a chance to wear them. Formal attire was not the fashion among his friends.

He came to Le Manoir in the end, not to enjoy the oysters but to luxuriate in the Lutyens house with its strange chimneys, unexpected windows and rooms that were somehow organic rather than constructed. However, he found himself uncomfortable.

When he saw the festival advertised he immediately thought, not of oysters and revelry, but of architecture and beauty. Now, in the middle of it all, he was not so sure.

The other guests were all paired off, not necessarily with the same partner each afternoon or evening but in a definite, decadent sequence of semi-affaires from which Henri felt excluded. Miranda, he knew, would have included him and made numerous advances. Michael, on the other hand, was apparently not interested. Last night Henri tried to work out from the noises of opening and closing doors just who was where and when. He thought Miranda consoled herself with Michael but was not quite sure of the layout of the bedrooms. He hoped he was wrong. Michael deserved better than Miranda even if those deserts did not include Henri.

He found himself retreating from the house, seeking his own consolation in the garden. Gertrude Jekyll designed it around the building, extending the experience into formal outdoor rooms, constrained by immaculate hedges, presenting intriguing views of the structure from outdoors and in turn providing glimpses of flowers and shrubs from those beautiful window alcoves.

Each garden room had a different theme, the planting focussed on a type of flower or a particular colour. Sometimes there were carefully concealed statues or tiny fountains. Sometimes there was topiary or a glorious bed of trailing roses that echoed the ones climbing the man-made walls. The rooms were alive, too, with lazy insects humming and hidden birds making music.

He found a plain wooden bench placed among sweet lavender and facing the morning sun. His book lay unopened on the dark slats as he closed his eyes and drank in the warmth. The quietness, intense despite the natural sounds, soothed him; he tired quickly of the strident voices speaking English and French and other tongues too loud and too fast. He thought at first that it was just by evening that the strain was almost insupportable but this morning at breakfast he wanted to run out of the room, his head swimming with noise, all languages sounding alien and impossible.

Then he was aware of a shadow falling across him and looked up. Michael was standing there, a hesitant but hopeful expression in his grey eyes.

‘May I join you? Or do you want to be alone here?’

Henri gestured to the other half of the seat and moved his book. He felt tongue-tied; it was one thing to fantasise about Michael, another to share the sunshine with him in the privacy of the lavender and the irises. They sat in silence for a few moments then Michael sighed.

‘I love the garden. I thought I would love the house, but…’

‘Moi aussi.’ Henri’s English deserted him. His understanding was suddenly no longer backed by an ability to speak.

‘Out here,’ Michael continued, ‘I feel at peace.’ He glanced at his companion. ‘I think we have a lot in common, you and I.’ Henri nodded. There didn’t seem to be a need to answer. He listened to the bees buzzing in the flower bed and relaxed for the first time that weekend.

‘We should, of course, go back indoors for lunch,’ Michael pointed out with mock severity.

‘Pour les huitres,’ Henri agreed, solemnly, and then they grinned at each other. ‘Mais nous avons une heure et…’

‘And in any case, the oysters can wait,’ said Michael. ‘But this, I think, can not.’ And he twisted sideways, enabling himself to encircle Henri’s shoulders with a confident arm. ‘I’m glad I found your retreat.’ And after that there was no need for words.

Inspired by Le Bois des Moutiers near Dieppe. House by Edwin Lutyens, and gardens by Gertrude Jekyll.

February Reviews

    Films and TV

A lot to enjoy and recommend this month – some are available on catch-up or on other sites.

The really really good:

Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State***** Thought provoking and timely

Scotland and the Klan with Neil Oliver
***** Interesting look at Scottish emigrants to US and their involvement in the politics of Southern states and especially the rise of the KKK.

Songs of the South with Reginald Hunter***** This was a re-watch and complemented the Neil Oliver programme. I loved the series, not least because I finally got a real idea of the southern USA landscape.

Death in Paradise: Season 9 ***** I really enjoy this series of ‘cosy’ police mysteries set in the Caribbean, though I do agree with some reviewers that it’s time to put either a woman or someone local in charge (and no, the Commissioner doesn’t quite count). They could promote Madeleine and bring in an outsider constable – that would deliver interesting dynamics.

Grandest Designs with Kevin McCloud***** Kevin went back over some of his favourites from past seasons. Delightful, especially his interactions with the people whose houses he features.

Rough Guide to the Future with Kevin McCloud***** Yes, I like this presenter, and I preferred his three episode look at the future to Click, which tends to be frenetic.

Vera***** Most of Season 10 though episode 3 was unaccountably missing from itvHub, plus Season 1 ep 1 and I believe there are more to come. Why had I never come across this? It’s set in ‘my’ part of the world where I was born and brought up, and I like the major character being a middle aged woman with no hints of glamour or sex – just competence.

And the merely good:

Britain’s Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time**** Interesting look at excavations in Cambridgeshire. Available on YouTube. Whilst the subject was intriguing, the presentation was less than stellar and I found my attention wandering.

Baby Chimp Rescue**** Gripping programme about chimp rescue in Liberia. I would have liked some kind of update information at the end.

Spy in the Wild**** (second series) I’m fascinated by the animal robo-cams used to film in the wild but must admit that by now the series is beginning to look a bit formulaic.

Mary Beard’s Shock of the Nude**** Well presented look at the nude in art through the ages. Some reviewers suggest the presenter should hog less of the limelight but I thought her style would attract more people than that of traditional art critics.

STHLM Requiem**** A new Scandinavian drama which was good in many respects but I never quite empathised with any of the main cast.

Followed by the ones I abandoned, which might save you making the same mistake of watching them in the first place.

Baghdad Central – abandoned because I couldn’t read the subtitles against the backgrounds. They knew they were going to use both English and Arabic – couldn’t they have put the subtitles on a plain background band? Husband didn’t seem to mind and was glued to it.

Dr Who – abandoned because I got tired of being preached at every Sunday on subjects I already agreed about. I gather from some of my friends that the finale justified my decision.

Hidden – abandoned because I both know and like Wales and thought this police thriller was far too dark, depressing and predictable

    Books

The excellent:

Herculine Barbin intr. Michel Foucault*****(Being the recently discovered memoirs of a nineteenth century French hermaphrodite, with a dossier of the medical evidence plus a novella, A Scandal in the Convent by Oscar Panizza, based on the story). Fascinating. Now being lent out for reading far and wide.

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire***** I adore the October Daye series (urban fantasy) and am looking forward to the next book, which I have, and the one that’s soon to be published.

Culpepper’s Complete Herbal by Nicolas Culpepper ***** This was a re-read or rather a re-skim though this copy, bought to replace the one I lost in the fire, had an addition with some modern herbs and their uses. (Presumably ones that had not reached England when Culpepper was writing.) I used the book for research when writing my fae saga and was interested to hear JK Rowling, in a BBC interview, say she had three different copies.

Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell ***** (DI Amy Winter Thriller Book 1). Excellent thriller by an ex-policewoman. I will buy sequels.

Amateur Sugar Maker by Noel Perrin***** fascinating account of building a sugar house in modern Vermont, trying to spend as little as possible, in accordance with principles adopted by Thoreau.

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields***** (DI Luc Callanach book 1) Great thriller set in Edinburgh. Another one with sequels to buy.

Magic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price
***** Stage magicians vie for top place in a TV reality show. Fascinating and gripping. The mm romance was almost an afterthought for me but was equally delightful! It was, actually, the device on which the plot hinged, but I was quickly distracted into wondering who would get voted out after each event. I don’t usually enjoy reality TV but this book was wonderful!

Caregiver by Rick Reed***** Dan becomes a ‘buddy’ to Adam who is dying of AIDS. Wonderful look at how AIDS impacted the gay community at the height of the ‘epidemic’.

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May***** Lovely romance (Rosa and Josh) with a mystery to solve – who left Rosa the shop in a Devon village?

The good (I probably won’t re-read, though I may buy the sequels)

Puzzle Me This by Eli Easton**** nice mm romance involving a crossword setter who is in a wheelchair and a video game developer.

Promise by RJ Scott**** (Single dads 3) I will be buying the sequel because I now love the whole community/extended family.

A different light by Morningstar Ashley**** A property repairer meets a geek scientist and they teach each other to look at things differently.

Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford **** Excellent and well written fantasy with fabulous world building but too violent for my tastes.

Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman**** gripping thriller with a strange twist.

Dying to Tell by Keri Beevis **** another gripping thriller but the ending was too violent for me.

The readable:

Strange Gospels by Ruth Tucker*** An interesting summary of the main offshoot sects of Christianity in America. I realised about half way through that the author was coming from the perspective of a mainstream committed Christian which at times made for some odd points of view involving a distinct lack of impartiality.

What You Did by Claire McGowan*** Murder and mystery involving six friends who had met at Oxford. Some had later married each other. Good thriller writing but I disliked all the characters.

And the poor:

Innocent Man by Louisa Mae* I was intrigued by the concept but irritated by the way the prologue told me part of the story then relied on flashbacks and retellings to deal with the rest. The ‘villain’ was predictable and so was the ending.

And three I abandoned, in each case because I couldn’t get on with the writing style. I have no idea whether the plots might appeal to people!

Ghosts of Timeless Cottage by TK Geering
Stephanie Steele: a futuristic sci fi thriller by Gary Moore
Quid Est Veritas: the Tynemouth Werewolves by Martin Clephane

    Short stories

Most of you will know by now that short stories almost never hit five stars for me.

Belling the Cat and other stories by JL Merrow**** Varied and quirky ff shorts.

Nothing Else Matters by Rhys Ford**** I was always going to read about Cole’s wedding to Jae but was seriously irritated by the way it appeared not only in daily instalments but in varied locations in a blog hop, so that I had to dive around all over the place to download and read it all in one piece. Nice story; annoying format. Altogether too reminiscent of a WIP on AO3 and although I trusted Rhys to finish the story I hated the way it was presented.

The Price is Right by Clare London**** Jez and Roman at the ice cream shop. Pleasant but too short. The ice cream shop is a ‘character’ in a number of her stories. A whole volume might be an idea.

    Fanfic

Unstealable (you’ve got the key) by dishonestdreams***** https://archiveofourown.org/works/22527235
I confess to doing the beta/proof read for this (because the author is a RL friend) and I loved it! It’s a Bandom AU where Ryan and Spencer, two of the Bandom musicians, are placed in a world of petty crime. The descriptions of the cars are wonderful, as are the subtle but ‘hot’ references to leather. I think this story shows the value of writing rpf (real person fiction) – any knowledge about the carefully cultivated media personae/looks of the musicians adds immeasurably to the pleasure of the story. The plot is quite brief and apparently simple but has so many references that it involves a huge back story to make up for the lack of length. Needless to say, nobody is accusing any of the musicians (others have minor roles) of any of the behaviour in the tale, either criminal or erotic, just stealing or borrowing their looks and names for an excellent story.

Smashwords’ Read an E-book week.

Every year, Smashwords have a special Read an E-book week and authors are encouraged to offer their books at a discount.

Last year I participated in the Smashwords Read an E-book Week sale. I was startled by the number of downloads of my ‘freebies’ and hoped that might translate into ‘fans’ who’d actually buy some. It didn’t seem to. There were a few sales but not enough to make the whole exercise worthwhile so this year I haven’t bothered.

However, this year’s sale reminded me of something else. Last year, I wanted to show support for other authors – and for Smashwords, for that matter (I find them a great deal easier to deal with than the ‘other’ place) – so I trawled through a few of the sale categories and ended up with far too many free or incredibly cheap books which I have currently left in their own special file on my hard drive, so that I don’t get distracted from my already overloaded tbr list.

While I was going through, I found a fair number of books where the reader was invited to set their own price.

I found I wasn’t willing to do that and after a while I just stopped looking at the info on anything in that category. I didn’t feel able to download them for free as that might have felt insulting to the author. As I knew nothing whatsoever about them I didn’t feel able to ascribe any kind of sensible price. If they were wonderful and I’d paid very little I’d feel guilty – something that wouldn’t happen if the author themselves had set a low price. If they were awful I would feel cheated at having paid anything at all. I would rather an author gave me something free in the hopes that I’d continue with a series (as I did last year) or charged a low price for the first in a series as a lure. So I felt uncomfortable with this set-your-own-price thing.

Has anyone else felt that, or is it just me?

Meanwhile, the sale starts tomorrow and there are plenty of books at very low prices so go and have a look!

…and… I also offered for Fandom Trumps Hate.

https://fth2020offerings.dreamwidth.org

will take you to the main site of the organisation.

It’s basically an American thing but as so much of the hate-speech on social media is generated in America and then goes world-wide I feel it’s a good cause to support. I’d be more than happy to support a similar movement in Europe but so far as I know, there isn’t one!
My creator page is:

https://fth2020offerings.dreamwidth.org/205038.html

And yes, I say between 5-10k but if a prompt really interests me I’m likely to write more, even a lot more! So length is negotiable!

I would also like to mention a friend’s page:

https://fth2020offerings.dreamwidth.org/214071.html

is MistressKat’s page. She’s a brilliant writer (you might remember my rave review of Vlarian Oath). (Totally off topic, last night she managed to fine tune this site of mine to remove an unwanted tag and re-establish my icon for commenting elsewhere. I ought to contribute to something somewhere for that alone but instead, I made dinner…)

As with the Australian site, go browse, and if anything appeals to you (not just our offers) bid!

Fandom For Australia

I write, and I write fanfiction, so when I heard about Fandom For Australia it made sense to sign up. I have a lot of friends in Australia and have been distressed by the recent fires. I’ve donated to a couple of charities and a couple of sponsored events but wanted to do more.

https://fandomforoz.livejournal.com is running a fic auction to benefit Australian charities for the relief of various issues arising from the fires.

I haven’t done this kind of fic auction before, but I’ve made a ‘creator page’ and I’m hoping for bids for me to write a fanfic. And that means, of course, that I’m hoping one of you will bid!

Any of my fandoms would be fine – you can get a full list by looking at my AO3 dashboard https://archiveofourown.org/users/moth2fic and clicking on ‘Expand Fandoms List’. But I’ve mentioned my ‘main’ fandoms.
I’ve promised at least 1000 words but knowing myself, any story is likely to be longer than that. So if you’d like me to write in a particular fandom or even to a specific prompt, bid for my services!
There was a viewing period, which I’ve managed to miss, but bidding starts today and my creator page is:
https://ffoz-offerings.livejournal.com/41619.html

If none of my offerings appeal, you might find others that do! Anything that raises money for the cause is welcome!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I intended to write a story for you. However, the plot bunny grew to stupid proportions and necessitated quite a bit of research so will not be ready for publication for some time. By the time I realised that, it was getting too late to write anything else. So, as I was about to add pdf versions of some of my work to my free fiction page I decided that would have to be my Valentine gift to you this year. People who have been following my posts for some time will be familiar with the works but at least can now download to read at their convenience and on any device. So I’ll post now for the sake of my Australian friends. Click on the free stuff tab and download anything you want to read, re-read or share! Enjoy!