Monthly Archives: November 2011
On November 1st 2011, I wrote about starting my novel again from scratch and taking up the National Novel Writing Month challenge – where the objective was to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November.
I’m pleased to be able to say that I reached the 50,000 word mark yesterday, and so became an official NaNoWriMo winner! This is a great achievement for me as I’ve been procrastinating BIG time over the last year or so, trying to write my second ever novel (I never got to publish the first one, written many years ago).
Although this one isn’t finished, it’s not far off. So I am going to continue with the challenge until November 30th (although I’ve raised it to 60,000 words) which gives me another five days to get the first draft finished completely.
After that, it will be a process of reviewing what’s been written and hopefully I will still like it, although no doubt I’ll have to change a lot of things. Then it’s onto editing and after that? Well, we’ll have to wait and see what happens after that…
So, nearly there….!
Congratulations, Harry Smith, on the publication of the historical account of his life The Barley Hole Chronicles.
“Barley Hole was for my great-grandfather Canaan, the land of milk and honey. For my father, it was paradise lost and for my mother, Barley Hole was a curse. It was a place that haunted her spirit and her soul throughout her life. To me, Barley Hole is a name forever etched on the map of my family’s heart; it is where betrayal and injustice nearly thrust us into oblivion.
The Barley Hole Chronicles are an odyssey of the human spirit that stretch across time and geography to incorporate, diverse personalities, personal hardships, World Wars and the struggle for peace and love, in a society fallen from grace. These Chronicles document one Yorkshire family’s decent into the wilderness of poverty and hunger. It is a personal record of one young man’s struggle to survive the great depression, the Second World War and the hazards and wonders of life in post war Germany. The Barley Hole Chronicles are a summation of two memoirs by Harry Leslie Smith 1923 and Hamburg 1947. The Barley Hole Chronicles are a true account of a time and place when life, full of raw emotion, was never so real. It is also a social history of the 20th century at its bloodiest and deadliest time.”
Not only is this a vivid and poignant memoir of Harry Leslie Smith’s life but it forms a very interesting historical account of times after the First World War through to post Second World War.
Good Luck, Harry!
Also available in two separate editions:
1923: A Memoir (click here to read my review)
Hamburg 1947: A Place For The Heart To Kip
- 1923 A Memoir by Harry Leslie Smith (laydilejur.com)
I’ve been a fan of Peter James ever since reading my first Roy Grace novel and I’ve enjoyed reading them all, but I personally think Peter James excels at the standalone thrillers. Perfect People is the first full length standalone since Faith was published in 2000. Over ten years in the making, Perfect People is well worth the wait.
Scientist Dr John Klaesson and his wife Naomi have never got over the heartbreaking loss of their beloved son to a rare genetic disorder. They consult with a geneticist and discover they are both carriers of the fatal genes and that their chances of ever conceiving a healthy child are practically non-existent. But Dr Leo Dettore offers them hope and despite the controversy surrounding his work, they embark on a program of genetic modification which will practically guarantee their next child does not have to suffer the same fate as their first.
They have, in fact, taken part in designing their own baby. Naomi suffers a difficult pregnancy, but it’s not until after the birth that their nightmares really begin.
Had Perfect People been released the year after Peter James began the project, over ten years ago, as a reader I might have thought some of the storyline to be a bit far-fetched. But in today’s world where the scientific capability to select things like eye colour, height and intelligence in a baby is now an actual reality, this makes Perfect People all the more scary and believable.
The characters of John and Naomi are well-developed and come across as a likable couple so you can empathise with them as they go through some horrendous experiences as parents. The pace of the novel is steady to begin with and there’s lots of interesting information about the science and ethics behind designer babies but it’s all threaded really well into the storyline, totally comprehensible and not at all out-of-place in this perfect of thrillers.
Perfect People is written in true Peter James style with short, tense chapters that leave the reader hanging on a cliff wanting to know more, so it’ll be no surprise when you look up and find you’ve been reading for hours without realising.
The tension steps up even more in the second half of the book as John and Naomi’s fears are driven in a completely different direction and one I was not expecting. As I read the last quarter of the book I did wonder how it was all going to end and was taken aback when I got there. It totally surprised me but I thought it was very cleverly done and afterwards, I was left with the impression that it was the only really satisfying way it could have ended.
A brilliant novel that informs, thrills, delights and leaves you wondering…
Perfect People was purchased from Amazon UK
The 11th second of the 11th minute, past the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th year in the 2nd millennium:
In remembrance of all our heroes everywhere….
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, first president of the republic of Turkey, wrote a tribute to all the foreign soldiers killed in the battle of Gallipoli in 1915, on the straits of the Dardanelles in Turkey:
“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.”
One of my regrets has always been that I never got to meet my mother-in-law, a fine and admirable lady. Married at a young age, she had a wonderful marriage and held such pride in every one of her eight children. She was a very caring mother, an amazing cook and a talented needleworker and knitter amongst other things.
Sadly, she died in her forties through illness, when her youngest child was not quite sixteen. Not only did she leave behind some treasured memories for her family but she also left some sentimental pieces of craftwork. Here are just three samples of her amazing skill, which must be at least sixty years old and yet still look as fresh as the day they were completed – even though they’ve been used on a daily basis.
So, this is it – I’m restarting my novel again from scratch and have joined in with hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers all over the world to participate in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo.
The aim is to produce the first draft of a 50,000 word novel between 1st and 30th November 2011 and I’m tracking my progress in the cartoon on the right hand side (as well as my current mood).
The novel is called Placeholder (for now, as I couldn’t think of a name) and this is the outline:
Bon Richards inevitably falls for the gorgeous Anna Carter. What he doesn’t realise though, is that he’s being set up to become the main suspect for fraud and murder. Will he realise before it’s too late, that Anna is also a victim and not the enemy?
So, here I go….
- National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo 2011 (laydilejur.com)