What with Covid, life has been relatively free of world-shaking events. However, I mentioned I was hoping to make it to a music festival over the summer, and I’m happy to report I succeeded—Latitude festival (Suffolk, here in the UK). It was disconcerting at first, to be crammed in with 40,000 people again, but it soon felt as natural as ever, and that the pandemic may finally be coming to an end.

Vaccines appear to be the way forward. I’ve had both my AstraZeneca Covid jabs, and only a few weeks ago, the, teenage, unvaccinated contingent of our household caught the virus. They only had mild symptoms, but considering how infectious it is, despite constant testing, neither me nor my partner caught it. It felt like Russian roulette, waking each day, not knowing whether the Sword of Damocles would fall. But it didn’t. That’s some great science at work.

In writing news, Servant of the Lesser Good (the official name of my next book) is about to hit the publication trail, release date 2nd December—so not long to wait for another installment from the Feyrlands. This one is a fast-moving escapade set over a few hot summer nights in the southern duchies of Sendal, starring the impeccable Mist. Expect 18th century European style court glamour, intrigue, subtle magic, and plenty of night-time high jinks.

Of course, as with all things in the publishing world, there’s plenty more going on behind the scenes. In particular, I’ve been working on the next two books in the Deliverance series (Kiprik’s story), which I hope will drop at around the same time next year. I’ve also been working on the early stages of a sci-fi thriller called AI Defend Us. This book is set in 2070 in a world where AI, and in particular, automated military defence units, have gone rogue, and the only way to defend yourself is to have your own armed AI unit. I’m also plotting a thriller called Lion’s Den, and thinking in broad strokes about the Nether Light follow-ups. In other words, I definitely have a full schedule.

Some Picks

If you’ve been reading these for a while, you’ll know I like to share what I’ve been enjoying recently. This time I’ve got a podcast, a TV show and a movie for you. As is my preference, they all have a dark comedy edge to them.

A podcast: Brian and Roger

Brian and Roger met at a support meeting for divorced men. Both are starting again. Both are finding it hard. One of them is nice.

The hilarious and cringingly dry answerphone sitcom from Dan Skinner (Angelos Epithemiou) and Harry Peacock (Toast of London). One terrible reprobate (Brian) effectively takes every opportunity to take destroy the sadly comical Roger’s life. Dark humour in podcast form. Episodes are short, 15-20mins, and each a complete story.

Find it on your podcast player or https://play.acast.com/s/brianandroger

A TV show: Back to Life

FROM IMDB: After 18 years behind bars, Miri Matteson returns home and stumbles back into adult life in the claustrophobic coastal town she once knew in this half-hour comedy series.

This is on its second series now. I love this show. It’s so understated, and the characters are beautifully drawn. Very British, so you might enjoy it if you’re from around these parts, and if you’re not, dip in for a taste of real life over here.

Available on BBC

A film: Parasite

Set in Seoul, the struggling Kim family sees an opportunity when the son starts working for the wealthy Park family. Soon, all of them find a way to work within the same household and start living a parasitic life.

This film is from 2019, and won the Oscar, not always a sign I’ll like something (I didn’t get Nomadland), but I loved this film. I can’t usually be bothered to persevere with subtitles, but this little story is so well told, tragically comic and intense—like a play in many ways—that I was instantly drawn in and hooked until the end. Give it five minutes, I almost guarantee you’ll love it too!

Available on Amazon Prime

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