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Monday 25 May 2020

Books set in my city or state

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one. For a while I honestly couldn't think of any book set anywhere near where I live. However, I then remembered that Haworth is within an hour's drive of me, which means only one thing... Bronte Country.

While the Brontes liked to obscure the names of the places in their stories, they famously set them in Yorkshire. "Shirley" is particularly well known for taking place in a Yorkshire mill town dealing with the Luddites, while "Wuthering Heights" is set up on the Yorkshire moors. I've often gone walking around the area to enjoy the moors the Bronte sisters would have enjoyed during their lives.

In my own writing I have often set stories in Yorkshire, but rarely described it to that degree. I did, however, write a short for Smut By The Sea called "I Like It Wet" which was set in Scarborough - a place I would love to visit again now that I'm stuck indoors.

So which books have been set near you?

Monday 18 May 2020

How I'd fare in a zombie apocalypse

I can safely say this topic from Long and Short Reviews was not one I had ever considered. I don't generally watch zombie movies, I don't watch The Walking Dead, and I don't really read zombie novels, either. So I had to really think about what would be required during a zombie apocalypse.

I admit I'm not much use for practical purposes. I'm not a great hand-to-hand fighter, not much good at scavenging or McGyvering equipment, I don't like leading groups and wouldn't know much about building shelter if necessary. So that's not a great start.

On the other hand, if I got the chance to spy on zombies from afar I think I'd be quite good at figuring out their behavioural patterns and ways to defeat them. I'm also a good follower and, having watched many horror movies, have no qualms whatsoever about using weapons - I would quite happily pick up a gun and blow a zombie's head off.

So I'd be the intelligent follower in the group. Whether that would help me survive long is open to question. I can't speak for zombie films, but I do know that in horror films it's often the comic relief that gets killed, so I'd be behind them at any rate.

So how would you fare in a zombie apocalypse?

Monday 11 May 2020

A villain that I wish could be redeemed and why

I struggled a bit with this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because I don't tend to think about redeeming villains. I suppose there was Draco Malfoy of the "Harry Potter" series, but from what I read he was mostly redeemed already by the end of the story.

So the only one I could think of initially was Heathcliff. I love "Wuthering Heights" and Heathcliff's doomed love for Cathy drives the story even as he ruins the lives of everyone else around him. I've read the Clandestine Classic version which shows him living an eternal life in Cathy's arms and definitely found that to be a great ending.

I did, however, come up with one of my own - Reed James.

In my shorts "I Heard Your Voice" and "Tamar Rising" Reed is very much the antagonist - I've had readers tell me they want to slap him. A celebrity medium who secretly uses the sensitives around him to leech their psychic powers, he is an arrogant jerk and I very much enjoyed making him suffer. So I thought when writing the third part of the trilogy, "Spiritwalker", I would try to redeem him.

Sadly for anyone who will read this later this year, I failed. Reed is basically irredeemable.

I did, however, manage to make him suffer a bit more.

So which villain would you like to redeem?

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Favourite holiday of the year and why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one, because for me there is only one real holiday in a year. I don't tend to do anything for Easter (apart from the odd egg), we go out for dinner on Halloween to avoid having to pretend we're not in to trick-or-treaters, and as we're in the UK Thanksgiving doesn't happen - although I do envy Americans for the fantastic Thanksgiving feast.

No, for me it all comes down to Christmas.

I love the build-up, the dark nights lit with fairy lights, the mulled wine and the presents. I love having Christmas dinner with family and cooking beef on Boxing Day. For me it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

So I'm hoping the current circumstances have settled down by then and we can actually spend it with family, because we haven't seen them in weeks.

So what's your favourite holiday?