If you’re observant, you may have noticed that a lot of my posts have the same date on them. That’s not because I wrote them all on the same day. They’ve just been waiting in the digital out-box for me to dedicate time to the blog. My website is a time-glutton. When I indulge it, it consumes most of my day.

I flew to London last month to attend the London Book Fair. I wish that I had something brilliant to write about that experience, but apart from being impossibly jammed with people and overwhelming for a first-timer, nothing brilliant occurred to me. I did not meet as many people as I had hoped. I made the rounds with a friend who is a very accomplished naval history author, and I think he may have made at least one contact/possible contract, but by mid-afternoon we couldn’t wait to get out of there and find a Pret-a-Manger where we could actually sit down! Still, it was wonderful to see all those thousands of people who still care about producing good books! I don’t know about all of them, but I’m certainly not doing this for the money…

I got an invitation this morning in an email to an event about how to use your reading to improve your writing. Assuming this means reading the same kind of books you write… well, yes, of course!

I didn’t study fiction writing. I taught myself to write by reading other writers’ books. And I still read extensively, as you may have guessed from the kinds of things I post on my blog. My family and friends watch Netflix and TikTok and Hulu and ask me if I’ve seen such-and-such, and I always have to say, ‘No’. Because if I have downtime, I am usually reading. 

I never intended this blog to be like my own brand of GoodReads. But when I don’t have anything interesting to say about what I’m writing (and writing about process is a waste of good writing time, in my opinion), I tend to share what I’ve been reading.  What do you think about that… do you read reviews? As authors we put a huge amount of emphasis on reviews. Do reviews influence what you choose to read?

I personally don’t read extensive reviews when I’m choosing a book. I might read a few, to see if a book seems like a good fit, but it’s the first few pages of text that tell me whether that book and I will have a relationship.

Or not.

Here’s a book that did capture my imagination in the first few pages. Given what I just wrote, maybe that should be ‘nuf said. But I like words, so I’ll use a few more.

Cover of Maude Horton's Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pool

This is a relatively a new title, just released in January. Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pook is one of those books in which the writing grabs you immediately, and it keeps you hooked as the story progresses.

When the Franklin Expedition, which set off to discover the Northwest Passage, disappeared in the Arctic ice in 1846, numerous rescue expeditions were launched in the following years. In Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge, Maude’s adventuresome sister Constance disguises herself to join the crew of a ship setting off for the Arctic as a cabin-boy.

Constance does not come back.

When Maude receives a letter informing her of Constance’s death aboard HMS Makepeace, she confronts the Admiralty, demanding what is meant by this word ‘misadventure’. Needless to say, she is stonewalled, and determines to discover the truth herself.

Maude always thought of herself as the meek, obedient sister.  As Maude pursues the man she suspects of her sister’s murder, she will learn that she and Constance have sprung from the same branch.

The story alternates between the experiences of ‘Jack Aldridge’, Constance’s male persona, through the words of her diary; Maude, in her avenging role; and Edison Stowe, who is perhaps the only person who knows what happened to Constance.

Amidst the Victorian preoccupation with dead things, true crime, and execution tourism, Maude is a lively avenger, possessed of steely determination. You will be pulling for her from Chapter 1.

2 thoughts on “Uploading the backlog: on trade fairs, writing tips, and reviews. And Maude Horton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>