Got up today - very, very slowly ... - expecting a day of dull weather and novel trogging, but was bumped out of my personal twilight zone by a very lovely email from reader, Jill Weekes, who'd really enjoyed Pink Champagne and Apple Juice and who was kind enough to put this review on Amazon:
"The story is as sparkling as its title. I was gripped from the first page and had to know what the history was behind the mysterious Uncle John. This book is so full of larger than life characters - Uncle John himself, Derek the bouncer, Heinrich the chef and Philippe the waiter. Not to mention Angie herself who shows how stubborn she is when it comes to achieving her goals. A brilliant read. I can just see it as a film or a tv drama."
and this review on her blog:
"I have just finished reading Anne Brooke's novel Pink Champagne and Apple Juice. It is really good. Angie runs away from home and descends unannounced on Uncle John - the black sheep of the family. He turns out to be a transvestite running his own club for like-minded people in Muswell Hill. How Uncle John welcomes her into his home and yet manages not to “corrupt” (her mother's word) her in the process makes for an amusing story. There are serious aspects to it though and Angie has to come to terms with John's role in the break up of her own family before the end of the story. As might be expected, the book is full of colourful and yet believable characters: Derek the doorman, Malcolm - Uncle John's lover - Philippe the French waiter and Heinrich the German chef who always cooks mushrooms. Thrown into the mix is Lisa - Angie's friend from university - who turns out to be less of a friend than might be expected. This is a brilliant story and it would make a good film or TV drama. Why it hasn't been snapped up by a mainstream publisher I don't know. It deserves to become a classic like John Hadfield's “Love on a Branch Line”. It doesn't fit into any particular category and will still be readable in 20 years’ time. Go out and buy it!"
Thank you so much, Jill - your enthusiasm has really made my day! And it means all the more as I sell so few books of anything I produce - it's nice to know that there are readers out there who like my stuff, even if publishers don't! Not only that but Jill has been inspired enough to buy two more Goldenford books - ie The Gawain Quest and Sold to the Lady with the Lime-Green Laptop - so I do hope you enjoy both of those, Jill. And she's also bought a copy of A Dangerous Man and even persuaded me to part with a copy of my least favourite novel, The Hit List (only available in printed copy from me now, thankfully ...), so, Jill, I hope you enjoy the former and survive the experience of the latter ...!
All this has encouraged me to crack on with The Bones of Summer and I've now done another 827 words to it - which brings me to a grand total of 42,005. So over halfway then. And I'm even doing a plot now - good Lord indeed! It would be nice to get to 50,000 by Christmas, but I'll have to see. These mid-novel blues are so long drawn-out and exhausting, and they happen every bloody time. Honestly, I should be used to them by now. If I hit 60,000 words, I'll feel better. I hope! And I might even know what the plot is by then. You never know.
While I've been hitting the keyboard (and staring in astonishment at what comes up on the screen), Lord H has been out in the wind and the rain and the cold to look at more birds. This time on Thursley Common. He came back just before (a very late) lunch, soaking wet and reporting that the best birds turned up while he was in the car changing into his walking shoes: a heron and a great-spotted woodpecker. By the time he actually did the walk, it was pouring and any sensible bird was lying low in its nest and waiting for better days. Ah well.
Anyway, I have cheered him up by managing (pause for amazed gasps ...) to cook a reasonable Sunday lunch and even made a plum and nectarine crumble. This time with proper crumble mix instead of the suet pudding mix disaster of last week. Or was it the week before? How the year flies by. Hell, I even made my grandmother proud and did custard - so my Wife Points must be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore by now. I wonder if I should have a Wife Card where I can store my points? If I did, I shall be sure to make it less complex than the ruddy Boot's card.
Today's moment of terror: as I was getting Craig across the room and into his very important appointment, a wasp flew in the window and landed right on my hand. Bloody hell! A wasp! At this time of year - it's ridiculous. Frankly, I blame Gordon Brown. This sort of thing didn't happen in the Blair Years, you know ... Anyway, my shrieks of terror brought the noble Lord H running and together the two of us managed to flap around enough to scare the enemy out of the other window. Phew. Another crisis averted, by George.
Tonight, I will be glued to the "Strictly Come Dancing" results and I must ring Mother and not tell her what they are afterwards - as she always videos it to watch later. Talking of which, I must catch up on last week's episode of "Heroes" before this week's comes upon me. And later there's Elizabeth Gaskell's "Cranford", which may possibly be ideal Sunday night TV - at last!
This week's haiku (well, I do hate going up to London and it was soooo cold!):
London's inner chill
scrapes my commuter skin clean
of hope, mercy, life.
Today's nice things:
1. Jill Weekes' lovely review of Champers
2. And Jill being enthusiastic enough to buy more books