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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Bucket List

Most people will be familiar with the term ‘bucket list’; a list of things they want to do before they die.  As a change from a writing-related blog, I thought I’d share mine.

My bucket list isn’t very long (“Hurrah!” I hear you shout), but I do have four ambitions which have grown up with me:

  • Have a novel published.  I achieved that back in 2006 with ‘Andraste’s Blade’.  I’d wanted to have a book published since my teens, but always thought literary success was reserved for ‘clever people’.  I don’t class myself as clever, but I did work hard and being published is something I’m very proud of – even if it hasn’t brought me fame and fortune.  Yet.
  • Seeing Aldershot Town play at Wembley.  There’s not much I can do about this one unless I win the lottery (or write a bestseller) to fund the club.  The club has been close three times: losing in the semi-finals of the Associate Members’ Cup, the Play-offs, and the FA Trophy, are perhaps my greatest disappointments in all my years supporting the team.
  • ‘Spending some time’ with a certain female TV personality.  I’ll mention no names, although family and friends will know who I mean.  It’s unlikely to happen.
  • Climbing Snowdon with my son.  We’ve holidayed in the mountain’s foothills for years, and every year since he was a toddler we’ve looked up to the peak and said, “One day…”.  Various ailments, and my terror of heights, have stopped us so far, but the, “One day…” still stands.  I love the region, which I hope comes across in ‘The Doe and the Dragon,’ much of which was set in Snowdon’s shadow.

So, there’s my bucket list.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Review: ‘The 13th’, by John Everson

John Everson isn’t a writer I’ve come across before.  In fact, I only stumbled across him when I was browsing a list of cheap books for my Kindle.  He’s apparently written half a dozen or so novels and loads of shorts.  He is well regarded, and I can see why.

I don’t want to give away the plot, so as a very brief overview ‘The 13th’ centres around a remote building which has been turned into an asylum.

I prefer my horror supernatural, so this isn’t the sort of story I’d normally choose to pick up (although, in fairness, there is a supernatural element).  However, I was soon drawn in; Everson has an easy way with words and can characterise without description.  He does use a lot of characters, and with most writers there would be a danger they would become indistinguishable.  However, Everson is good enough to give each their own strong and distinctive voice and I found myself caring about each one – even the bad guys.

There is a lot of graphic and sexual violence.  Despite that not really being my thing, this was gripping and the blood was very much in context and part of the plot. 

Perhaps my only major gripe was the plot disappearing into backstory for a chapter there quarters of the way through, which seemed to butt in.  Other than that, I’m trying very hard to think of any negatives, but can’t.  I guess this has to get five out of five, then.

Oh, and I loved the ending.