Five Things I Read This Week

I didn't get to do one of these last week - I was away camping and celebrating achieving Black Belt in my Shotokan Karate club!

We went to a campsite in Winchester highlighted to us by a book Susan got for Christmas: The Cool Camping Britain guide. We had a good read through of this prior to picking out that campsite, and it wasn't lying: Abbotstone Wood campsite in Arlesford really is cool. Glorious countryside, a lovely forest plot for us to camp in, and for the first time a real fire. Not only where we allowed a fire, but the site manager even provided logs and kindling, for a small cost. And I finally learned what the point of marshmallows is.

 The sites listed in the book have all sorts of info about them available: whether they allow fires, are eco-friendly and, most importantly, allow campervans onsite. Otherwise we would be totally stuck with our beloved fire-truck Nina.

Bookwise, I've also been re-reading Garth Nix's Sabriel. I read it a long time ago, back when I was starting to write, having asked a friend for a recommendation of books that were set in the future, but far enough away that it was fantasy. Elements of our world, now, would be part of a fantastical past. I think that Peter V Brett's Demon Cycle is aiming for this as a more recent take on it, as motorways were straight-up mentioned in the fourth book.

Although I think I have remembered Sabriel with rose-tinted spectacles, I do like how fast-paced it is. Garth Nix fits a lot in, and the main character herself is very believable which adds to the immersion. As the book goes on, the narrative shifts from establishing exposition to the deeper plot and becomes more interesting. I've not quite finished it yet, and I have the other two books in the series to read immediately after, and I'm hoping that it's a trend that will continue.

A little over a week ago, Sarah McIntyre posted this incredibly helpful guide on how to / how not to hire an illustrator. I've started to think about publicising Claws of the Chimera, and part of that has included considering commissioning illustrations. As a general guide on the pitfalls of hiring someone to create artwork for your story, the article pretty much says it all - I highly recommend you read it!

If you're from the UK (or maybe not!) it's been pretty impossible to miss the big news event of the last fortnight. By which I mean, of course, the naming of the RSS David Attenborough (aha, you thought perhaps it would be the new mayor in London? Well, no.) In a wonderful lack of foresight, the National Environment Research Council decided that they would launch an internet poll to name their new research vessel, and of course the Internet rose to the challenge. When the poll ended, by far the most popular name was Boaty McBoatface, and so we waited with bated breath.

Image: Cammell Laird / BAS

Image: Cammell Laird / BAS

Unfortunately, the poll was non-binding, and the second place name was chosen instead. In a wonderful PR stunt, though, they're naming one of the submarines on the vessel Boaty instead. Which leads me to the final thing I read this week that I would like to share with you...