It's December, time for all those lovely holidays. Here's an update on what this author person has been up to over the last month and what's in store for 2023.
Rain. And more rain. We got hardly any during the summer and then it was fall and it wouldn't stop raining. In October almost 10" (250mm) and in November we received almost 12" (305mm). Our garden didn't appreciate that and neither do hills and mountains, which can lead to mudslides. We have been lucky, but not everyone in Portugal has been spared. Lisbon and the Algarve (along the southern coast) have had serious flooding. So yeah, it's not been a great autumn for a number of people.
With all the rain I've kept busy. There was writing going on and then the usual round of doctor appointments one must do when one is older. Same for the spouse. Which helped us discover that this part of Portugal has a new bus service to Coimbra (the closest big city).
The Portuguese are fearless drivers and Coimbra is a mix of Old World Europe (narrow streets with cars parked on both sides so there is often mere inches of clearance) as well as modern highways. And roundabouts. Lord, there are a zillion of those which have their own set of traffic rules when entering and leaving those puppies. Rules that our Portuguese neighbors often ignore.
In short, driving in Coimbra is a bit nerve-wracking and finding parking even more so since it's a university town. It was with great rejoicing that we discovered the Metro Mondego bus service from Mirando do Corvo to Coimbra. There used to be train service, but that was discontinued some years back.
When the government realized just how many people actually travel back and forth from the smaller towns to the big one, they came up with a plan: They’ve torn up the train tracks and are putting in a dedicated road strictly for use by these intercity buses, which will be all electric. The completion date is a couple of years down the line, which is always a bit variable. Meanwhile they have regular buses making the journey, some express and others with routes that meander through lots of small towns and villages.
The riders range from older people like us, people who have jobs in Coimbra, and students attending university there. For those of us who prefer mass transit, this is a blessing. And inexpensive. :-)
Since the spouse had a doctor's appointment at 9:30 (we are sooo not morning people) we went up the night before, got ourselves a hotel room, and then wandered around town enjoying the pretty Christmas lights. And some very yummy Indian food at our favorite restaurant. I foresee us doing this a bit more often once we get past our Portuguese language classes. The pictures above and below are from that evening's excursion.
Ah, yes, nothing is quite as astonishing as watching a social media site slowly melt down. No matter if you're a Musk fan or not, sites like Twitter run well because a lot of somebodies are keeping an eye on things. It might not seem that anyone is actually doing anything, but they are. They're ensuring the code is doing what they intend, they look for trends — dangerous or otherwise — bounce out the nasty people, and generally make everything look easy from the outside.
Which is something that bosses often don't understand, especially those without the required software or social media background. Musk is definitely one of those bosses. Having worked for some interesting characters in the years before my writing career, I know how this plays out. You don’t start your management of a new company by sacking the majority of your employees — the ones who actually know how the place works. Doubly so when EU laws don’t allow for the random firing of workers which is going to lead to both legal sanctions and lawsuits. Just because someone is a billionaire doesn’t mean they have a clue.
To be honest, most of my reader interaction is on Facebook, occasionally on Instagram, and then on my website. Twitter is more for me to keep current on various topics: the war in the Ukraine, epidemiology, history and politics. So I will be watching that space carefully over the next few months lest the number of trolls exceeds the number of decent folks. If I move primarily to another platform I'll let you know.
I admit it, I got hooked on a book series. I read urban fantasy, historical romance and mysteries of most sorts. I have often spoken of my love of Ilona Andrews’ various series. I can also speak highly of Grace Burrowes’ works (historical romance with an edge). I now add Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series to this list. There are 24 books and I just spent the last few weeks reading every one. This is not my norm.
I’m a fan of police procedurals, but I also like stories with emotional depth and Rankin’s books tick all the boxes. Set in Scotland, the stories had me digging around on Google Maps refreshing my memories of Edinburgh and other parts of that beautiful country.
Detective Inspector Rebus is a hard-nosed cop who bends the rules and has a personal life that isn't pretty. The supporting characters are equally well written, so much so that I’m eagerly looking forward to the next in the series (which I’m guessing might be the last) sometime late next year.
If gritty police procedurals are your thing, check out Sir Ian's work. I have promised myself a re-read of the entire series late next year, after I get my own work completed. It'll be the ultimate reward, for sure. You can find the author on Facebook and Twitter. He's very good at posting photos of his various travels, including all over Scotland.
Demon Trappers #9
Bitter Magic is putzing along. FINALLY!
The angels are being mysterious (as usual) but I’m starting to see their part of the story. I’m a lot more positive about this book than I was a few months back, so that’s good news. I will share some snippets in future newsletters. I have a cover I love (see a bit of it above). I'll be revealing that closer to pub date. I'm hoping for the book to launch in mid to late 2023.
Stay well and have a very happy holidays!
Until next year,
is an international & multi award-winning author in various genres including young adult, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.