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Christmas is Heaven

 

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Christmas is my favourite holiday; a way to banish the darkness, celebrate the sheer excess of life, and remember – with tears and smiles – the times and people past.

Our house fills with memories and memorials at this time of year, and with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg as we sprinkle spice on the final demands before blowtorching them.

It also fills with love and a little sadness as we realise we cant have everyone we love here in one go. Maybe that’s heaven – if it exists: a perpetual week before christmas filled with everyone you love.

YEAR ONE

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2015 was the worst year of my entire life.

I’ve talked, before, about losing my mother. Her absence – approaching and actual – filled my life.

I tried to mask the approaching nightmare by doing things – by keeping busy at work, by burying my head in the sand, by drinking and partying and being almost constantly outraged at everything other than the one looming outrage that deserved my fury, and by slowly, and almost unavoidably, falling apart emotionally and mentally.

“This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you,” my husband said to me one day as I sat, sucked up into myself as though to contain the howls in my head, “But it’s not the only think that’s currently happening to you. There is so much good happening to you. There is so much life to be lived.”

He meant well, but at the time, it was hard to appreciate his words.

And yet – partly to shut him up and allow me to be left alone with my rage and my red wine – I allowed myself to go through the motions of doing things, of living a normal life – I’d do my day job, I’d write, send my books out, wait for the inevitable rejections.

And then something miraculous happened.

Continue reading YEAR ONE

Saturday Sonnet #1

“There’s something wrong with Sandra,” said her mum

As Sandy Sat and hugged a Prada Bag

“She’s quiet nowadays; morose and glum

And has a tendency to lose her rag.

Since Yves, that French boy, left, she’s been this way

Cos she’s a Francophile and he was Male

But like I told her: ‘All French men are gay,

Or short and bald’; but that’s another tale.

Well, since this boy was really rather tall

And had a head of dark and wavy hair

It stood to reason he was gonna fall

For Pete and his 900 meter stare.

A man bag? Check. And cheeks made up rosy?

We’re talking more La Cage less Sarkozy.”

My book Death of a Diva is out now from Fahrenheit Publishing.

To buy it, click here.

“The Grown Up” Reviewed. – Nothing is what it seems…

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As with all Gillian Flynn stories, it’s extremely difficult to discuss the plot of this without giving away spoilers.
Suffice to say that, in this story, nobody and nothing is what they seem.
It purports to be a ghost story, but even that is uncertain.
It purports to be a book, but it’s a short story that’s been bulked out with pages of praise for and previews of Flynn’s earlier full-length novels.
It’s sharply done, whip smart and fun, but the publishers have something approaching a cheek to charge four quid for an hours reading.
Still, fun if pricey.

***

Deadly Election: A Love Story with Murders

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Lindsey Davis first novel was published in 1989, after a historical romance she’d written was rejected. The research she’d done for “The Course of Honour,” the (then) unpublished romance set in the court of Vespasian played on her mind, resulted in her creation of Marcus Didius Falco, informer-at-large, and gave Davis a career and a string of Novels that combined crime, mystery, romance and great amounts of humour and which culminated with Nemesis (2010).

At the time, Davis made no suggestion that Falco was to be retired, but, in hindsight the signs were all there: The book (and particularly its denouement) was one of the darkest in the Falco cannon.

After a standalone novel (“Master and God”), Davis segued her crime series into the Flavia Alba novels. Set a decade after the end of Nemesis, we were introduced to the grown up, widowed single-minded and, in her own way, very British adopted daughter of Falco and Helena.

The character, who narrates in first person, is basically Lindsey Davis, to a certain extent. Her no-nonsense approach to life and to work comes sparklingly to life in a female character.

And so to “Deadly Election.”

Continue reading Deadly Election: A Love Story with Murders