The highest point of the year for me came in August, when I was accepted as a reviewer for Crimesquad.com after meeting up Chris Simmons, the man behind it all in July. Crimesquad is a cracking website with regular reviews of all your favourite new books, and a huge archive of previous reviews so if you’re looking for a worthwhile opinion on a book it’s a great place to look. If you’ve never seen the site head here to check it out, and if you’re interested in my reviews, you can find some of them here.
Other highlights of my year were all mainly travel related, there was a week roaming round The Highlands of Scotland and Northern England staying with good friends, and even spending time at the Inaugural Crime & Publishment weekend in Gretna Green. Of course Crime and Publishment wasn’t the only inaugural event that I got to attend this year, being in on the first ever IcelandNoir was also something I would never have missed for the world, and it left me with some wonderful memories.
The Harrogate book haul.
Finally there were the usual annual trips to both CrimeFest and the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, which always bring with them happy days, and my favourite thing of all free books. This year was a record haul with just five books purchased, but twenty five brought home.
The year started off badly with the loss of my beloved 94 year old Grandmother, a little over a week in. She was a wonderful woman, the most remarkably positive person I ever knew. Sadly the trauma was made a little harder to bear due to an uncooperative work colleague of the Boyfriends meaning I had to attend the funeral alone.
A beautiful soul
I’ve had a fair few lows as the year has gone on but I’ve come back from most of them relatively unscathed, and I have a plan in place for 2014 to try and avoid getting into the dark places in the beginning.
Of all the long running bad things, this rant was possibly the best. The catalogue of errors faced when I bought my car was shocking and irritating, but the response to Rant the Fifth being published on the interchoobs and posted on twitter was great. 17 minutes from tweet, to initial phone call, rant resolved the next day.
The Just Plain Ridiculous
Doing this journey.
Twice. In the same day.
a 1,027 mile round trip just so I could have a specific breed of pedigree cat.
The haunting book before Black Skies and Outrage, that sets Erlendur off on the journey that is to be told in Strange Shores. You might as well skip the next two books and go straight to Strange Shores from this one as they add nothing to the story that is to unfold after while both Hypothermia and Strange Shores will stay with you for some time to come.
The Blue Lagoon is one of the strangest most surreal experiences you can ever have.
When I was there a few days ago and took this picture, the temperature was 2 degrees C, the rain was lashing down, the winds were howling across the waters which were of the brightest blue hue you can imagine.
It was magnificent. I first went to the Blue Lagoon back in 2001 and I never thought I would get the chance to go back there. A fortunate turn of life events however meant that this year I would.
The whole experience was even better this time for several reasons.
Firstly I got to visit with my other half. He is a great person to travel with. He is someone with boundless enthusiasm for everything and who wants to see and make the most of every possible opportunity.
Secondly I got to visit with some really good friends. Friends I only get to see a handful of times a year, whose company always lifts my spirits and reminds me of how blessed I am in life.
Finally I got to enjoy what I missed out on last time. Last time I didn’t appreciate where I was, or how fortunate I was to be there due to reasons that at that time meant a lot to me. I’m glad to say those reasons aren’t there now, and I truly got to appreciate how lucky I am to be somewhere so beautiful with the people I care about.
MY lovely nan, who passed away at the beginning of this year. I’ve been having a difficult time in my private life of late, and could have done with her wisdom and hugs an awful lot in the last few weeks.