Saturday, January 03, 2009

Birds, books and mysteries

Lord H and I have spent another wonderful birdwatching day, this time at Pulborough Brooks and have added yet more new birds to our list, including a nuthatch, coal tits, marsh tits, a wren and a pintail. This brings us to 63 birds for the year so far, I think, so definitely a third of the way there. Plus we had the most glorious soup and cake for lunch - the Pulborough cafe is one of the best I've ever been to. If only they did cappuccino it would be beyond perfect. And I am hugely excited as Lord H has brought a new pair of super-magnified binoculars, which are fabulous, so are definitely on my own list for buying at the next opportunity. I've also bought a birdwatcher's bumbag (the must-have accessory for every birdwatcher, don't you know ...) which will save me having to carry around my rucksack all the time. And I've also purchased a set of support straps for carrying binoculars - I know it sounds ridiculous, but they're amazing. They take all the weight off your neck and shoulders and spread it around so well that you hardly know you're carrying anything at all. If I'm going to upgrade to the heavier-weight binoculars options, they're a necessity - especially with my neck problems ...

It was bizarre this morning though as there weren't that many sad birdwatchers around on the reserve until quite late - I did wonder if perhaps the rest of them had had to get all their birdwatching activities crammed into Thursday and Friday, in order to give time to the family on a Saturday. Lord H's hugely puzzled response to these musings: "You think they actually have relationships??..." Hmm, possibly he might have a point there.

I've just finished reading the new collection of short stories from the You Write On writers. An eclectic mix, but I have to say there are some utterly outstanding short stories in there, two of which are vying to be on my top favourites list: Jasper Dorgan's A Good War is an astonishing piece of work about a young girl growing up in Regensburg during the second world war. I don't usually like children's points of view in literature, but it was simply incredible, utterly gripping and should be winning awards right, left and centre. Big-time. Along with that, Perry Iles' The Light from Stars could well be something written by Annie Proulx - a first-class and hugely perceptive story about a man's relationship with his father-in-law and absent wife. The ending is full of hope and extremely classy. If either of those two authors produce short story collections of their own, I would probably kill to be at the front of the buying queue. I also enjoyed M J Saxton's The Crystal Queen (a classy and classic ghost story which was very well-written), Danny Gillan's It's Not About You (nice quirky take on a crime story) and, of course, our very own Lexi Revellian's Comforted by Darkness (gripping supernatural tale about the arrival of Death - in every sense!). Well worth a read for sure.

Speaking of writing and mysteries, I'm hugely puzzled about whatever has happened to Mighty Erudite press. It and the lovely Jules, its owner, appear to have vanished from the face of the earth. The website no longer exists and I'm getting queries from current and prospective authors, who are all as confused as I am. As you may remember, I was working as one of the editorial consultants for Mighty Erudite, and enjoying it too. But now it looks like it is no more and I can't get hold of Jules to see if she's okay at all. It's something of a worry - so if anyone out there knows anything, or can put our minds at rest about (a) Jules and (b) the business, do let me know. I'd be very grateful ...

Anyway, this morning's meditation poem is:

Meditation 38

May your heart
hold a table

of acacia and gold.
Strong enough

to offer each hour,
rich enough

to fill your eye
with light.

Know its full measurement;
carry it with you


Tonight, Lord H and I will be glued to the Dr Who programme - as apparently we get to know who the new doctor will be. I must admit (and I pause for you all to arm yourselves here) that I personally feel it's time for Tennant to go (another pause while I duck to avoid your massed weaponry ...). The manic quirkiness of his role interpretation has been getting rather irritating lately and I'd like a more serious take on the character. (Bring back the glorious and dark Christopher Eccleston, please, oh yes ...). Yes, I know that wouldn't appeal to the children, but hey what do I care?... Dr Who is for adults. Because we're worth it ...

I'm also hoping to carry on with the short story I started last night about a woman's relationship with travel. Not sure where it's going (but actually in context that works!) but it will be somewhere. I hope. I've also finished a piece of flash fiction about a man and his father. I rather enjoyed writing it too. Well, that's a relief then.

Oh and my royalty statement came through from PD Publishing for Maloney's Law. In the last quarter I've sold a grand total of 33 books, which is actually not bad going for me, as my literary tradition seems to be that each new book sells fewer copies in total than the one before it. Give me another two or three books and I will sell in minus figures only, you know. However, alongside that, they've very sweetly sent me a Christmas package consisting of a set of pens and a really lovely datastick (great design! - it's purple with the PD logo and the phrase: "I'm hot stuff at PD Publishing!" on it). Though in terms of sales, I suspect that I'm probably distinctly chilly rather than "hot" - but it's the thought that counts. Thank you, Linda & Barb - much appreciated! No doubt I shall be able to write my next ... um ... bestseller on it ...

Today's nice things:

1. Birds
2. Binoculars
3. Books
4. Poems
5. TV
6. Writing.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - the place for a good read (if not necessarily a popular one)


Sarah Hilary said...

I'm with you on the Tennant front, and I don't care who knows it. Sadly the new Who looks about 12, which has mightily cheesed me off. I want an old Who! But this Matt Smith kid does appear to have some stage acting under his belt so maybe he'll tone down the High School Musical gurning and the athletics and treat us to some ACTING (for a change). I don't suppose you caught any of the last season of Spooks with the deliciously tormented Richard Armitage as Lucas North?

Anne Brooke said...

You wild, brave fool, you!! We will duck and dive the missiles together, Sarah!...

And yes - isn't that Matt Smith (is that the right name? I've never heard of him) ridiculously young? I was most disappointed when we were told - but then by the end of the programme I thought well maybe he won't be so bad after all. It depends what he does with it. I shall give him a good chance in 2010 and then see. Mind you, I and Lord H had rather fancied that bloke from My Family for the role - he's done great and serious things in Murder City and also the coffee adds - what is his name??!!?? It escapes me, but he rocks for both serious and quirky stuff. I'm sad it's not him.

Ooh and no, I didn't catch Spooks - was RA an alternative option?



Nik Perring said...

Oh I like The Tennant. The new un looks like he could be okay though...

Anne, I was only thinking about Juli the other day - tell I said hello when you manage to reach her; hope everything's okay wither her. (Love nuthatches btw...)


Sarah Hilary said...

Kris Marshall? I loved him in Murder City (but I loved Edward Woodward's son even more). I thought Julian Rhind-Tutt form Green Wing would make a good Doctor. Still, we're shot of Tennant.

*ducking with you*

Jilly said...

I'm not a fan of Dr Who so can't really comment on the new one - but he does look a bit young to me. William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton were the best in my opinion - I used to watch it then.
Well done on the Maloney's Law front - Do you think America like your books more than the UK?

Anne Brooke said...

I know - it's a worry, Nik! I just wish Juli would let us know to set our minds at rest ...

And thank you, Sarah! Finger on the cultural button as always. Kris Marshall - of course! I do find him strangely sexy, you know ... Should I be rebooking the therapist, do you think?

And I suspect anyone likes my books more than the UK, Jilly! I'm hoping to break into Japan soon, you know. It's my last, best hope ...