I. Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man
ON THE FIRST PAGE of the final book in the Dave Brandstetter mystery series, A Country of Old Men (1991), Joseph Hansen’s eponymous, openly gay detective finds a stranger at his door. His visitor is an old man with ”a white moustache and goatee. His tweed jacket looked new, but it wouldn’t button over his big belly. He wore a red-striped cotton shirt, new blue denims, crepe-soled shoes, and one of those shapeless canvas hats sold in drugstores, cheap, so that if you lost it on a trip you wouldn’t mind too much.”
The stranger at Brandstetter’s door, a mystery writer named Jack Helmers, is none other than Joseph Hansen himself. The initials are the giveaway, but if you’d ever met Joe Hansen in the flesh, you’d have recognized him immediately in the description, down to the tweed coat and striped shirt combo of which the author was so fond.
Today is the re-release of this novel in an edition that incorporates both stories first published separately.
Julie Bozza fancies bright and dark, and this is not only a byline on the author’s blog. I still remember the impact this book had on me. I look forward to reading it again.
Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he’s sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It’s only a matter of duty, though; it can’t be more, because Albert doesn’t do friendship – and he certainly doesn’t do love! Goodreads.
That title, right?
You know that feeling when you laugh, although it stings inside? They say to feign it, until you make it true. By the end of the book I was all ‘That’s the way to do it’ and as pleased as the proverbial Punch.
Blurb: When the sex in Vivien Quarry’s thirty-two-year marriage dwindles to nothing, her husband Geoff finally gives her a reason: ‘Men are hardwired to not find older women attractive’.
This unforgivable statement, uttered by a man long past his Adonis years, prompts Vivien to take drastic action. At sixty-seven, she most definitely doesn’t feel ‘past it’, and so enlists the services of the enigmatic Martin Glover from The Discretion Agency.
Under the sardonic eye of her oldest friend Jules, a world-famous operatic soprano facing the closing years of a brilliant career, Viv embarks on a series of wildly unpredictable, and sometimes hilariously cringeworthy dates – with wholly unexpected consequences.
Told with great humour and heart, the accomplished Virginia Duigan delivers a provocative and profoundly relatable story that proves living is not reserved for the young.
More about this book at Goodreads.
Courage is a gift and other stories by and about transgender, non binary and genderqueer people
Representation is vital. No matter what we identify as, we need role models who resonate. In fiction, we need to read stories about people who are like us, written by people who are like us. In this second My Voice, My Story anthology, Mariëlle S. Smith, Sìne Màiri Ní Ailpín, and Ash Roberts have collected a variety of stories by and about transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer people.
From high school experiences to fantasy adventures, from sci-fi sages to transition tales, Courage is a gift has something for everyone, no matter how they identify as.
Ready to dive in? Get your FREE copy now!
- For Kobo, click here. If that doesn’t work for some reason (technology!), just click here for the Kobo ePub file.
- For Amazon UK, click here.
- For Amazon COM, click here.
Please note that Amazon is not a fan of giving away free stuff, and it might take a while for them to price match. If the book isn’t featured for FREE on their website but you do need a mobi file, please click here.
Not exactly #amreading, but #amwatching: BBC TV Drama on Netflix
London Spy is about fighting to prove your love story was, and remains true through the unfolding spy story your life has suddenly become.
As for those interested more in reading than the visual arts like myself, there’s also the script of the first episode of the miniseries available at the Writers Room on the BBC website. And, of course, there’s also a book with the Complete Scripts, you can read about it on Goodreads.
What did a take from the movie, beyond this haunting image of a bleak London seen through Alex’s eyes and this harrowing mood that is following me even days after watching it? Well, there’s also this quote here, which may be self-insertion or maybe not. This doesn’t make it ring any less true, I think, at least, to some of us.
“Ambition, but no conviction. You skip from short stories to lyrics, poems to sketches, hoping the world will tell you who you are. You must tell the world!”
#amreading. Mirage by Leletha at AO3 here.
This FrostIron Vegas fic is listed on AO3 as AU-canon divergence with assorted original background characters, and, it’s so true, the story can be read as an original work—I haven’t read or watched the source material, either.
This author likes to explore identity themes, so if you like to read about magic, masks, and ultimately about truth in the land of make-believe, this is a great read.
Summary: Given how often Tony Stark’s in Las Vegas, he knows there’s no real magic there. …Except for that one mysterious behind-the-scenes genius, who can’t really be a space alien, because that would be…
Always satisfying, reading a book by this author.
You can find her books free or discounted at Smashwords.
The collection kicks off with a charming fantasy from new writer, and member of our editorial board, Harry Robertson whose hero really does meet ‘The Man of My Dreams’.
Edward Ahern’s ‘Proof of Evil’ brings us a story set in a medieval monastery of love and difference.
In Victoria Zammit ‘s ‘A Hatred of Wednesdays’ romance is just next door, while in Erin Horokova‘s ‘Ubytok –umu pribytok’ we travel to Imperial Russia.
Cheryl Morgan takes us to the Island of Calypso for ‘The Poet’s Daughter’ and Sarah Ash explores the feelings of a naval officer returned from the Napoleonic Wars in ‘Duet for Piano with Four Hands’.
Then we’re whisked away to an English castle with Kathleen Jowitt to spend some time with a civil war ghost in ‘Stronger than Death’ before we take a ship to Mars for Sean Robinson‘s ‘More than Starlight’.
Next we find ourselves on a flight from Australia as Garrick Jones, author of our January title The Seventh of December, follows a young man heading for a new life on a different continent in ‘O, Canada!’ and finally we travel back to Restoration England for an encounter between an actress and her patron from the well known civil war writer MJ Logue.
Release date: 14th February, pre-order using links above. Price will increase from release date. Also available at other Amazon stores worldwide.
…or the story of John Crichton, the hero who spent four seasons on a quest to get back home. Only to realise he’s gone too far out of himself to return, be it to a place or former self.
That sometimes you can’t go home. It is a surprising and radical move for a show which had been framed, up until this point, around Crichton’s quest to get back to Earth—and it comes not as a season-ending gotcha but as a season-midpoint reframing. What if the response to trauma, change, and knowledge of the weight of the world is not, ideally, to return to the place you were before all that happened to you? What if it was instead to acknowledge those changes, and make new choices from the standpoint of living in a world in which you have indeed been hurt? Suddenly a whole new horizon of possibilities opens for the show, and its resolutions are no longer those of the hero’s journey, where eventually the protagonist returns to where they started, having accomplished a great task.
Full article by Arkady Martine on Tor.com here.
Andersen took children seriously. He speaks to them not only about life’s joyous adventures, but about its woes, its miseries, its often undeserved defeats. His fairy tales, peopled with fantastic creatures, are more realistic than whole tons of today’s stories for children, which fret about verisimilitude and avoid wonders like the plague. Andersen had the courage to write stories with unhappy endings. He didn’t believe that you should try to be good because it pays (as today’s moral tales insistently advertise, though it doesn’t necessarily turn out that way in real life), but because evil stems from intellectual and emotional stuntedness and is the one form of poverty that should be shunned.
From the author’s note:
I GOT THE IDEA OF writing Nonrequired Reading from the section called “Books Received” you find in many literary journals. It was easy to see that only a tiny percentage of the books listed later made their way to the reviewer’s desk.
At first I thought I’d be writing real reviews, that is, in each case I’d describe the nature of the book at hand, place it in some larger context, then give the reader to understand that it was better than some and worse than others. But I soon realized that I couldn’t write reviews and didn’t even want to. That basically I am and wish to remain a reader, an amateur, and a fan, unburdened by the weight of ceaseless evaluation. Sometimes the book itself is my main subject; at other times it’s just a pretext for spinning out various loose associations. Anyone who calls these pieces sketches will be correct. Anyone insisting on “reviews” will incur my displeasure. One more comment from the heart: I’m old-fashioned and think that reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised.