First off, some news. The Rules of Gentility won the 2008 HOLT Award for Best Romantic Comedy, woohoo! I have a lovely silver wotsit that I think would look cool on the xmas tree.

Next is that I have sold a novella for an anthology tentatively titled Bespelling Jane, paranormal takes on Jane Austen, with the following Big Girls: Mary Balogh, Susan Krinard, and Colleen Gleason! All I know at the moment is that it will be published by Harlequin sometime in the future, and mine is a contemporary take on Emma. Since I haven’t written it yet, I can’t tell you a whole lot more…

Here are some pics of my visit to England a couple of weeks ago, me with my brother Martin, my nephew Tom and his lovely girlfriend Sam, at a pub overlooking the Avon Gorge and Brunel’s famous Clifton suspension bridge.

And I wondered what everyone was reading these days. I’ve just read two superb books. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin is about a female forensic doctor, set in twelfth century England. Yes, it sounds unlikely but it’s so well done I had very few come on! moments. (Sorry, I still don’t believe that there was a Body Farm in Sicily using pig carcasses when most of the doctors were Jewish.) It’s beautifully written, and the dialogue is amazing–the characters don’t speak in pseudo-medieval talk, but Franklin captures both a believable local dialect and the speech of churchmen and crusaders.

The other one is Saturday by Ian McEwan (who wrote Atonement), about one day–on the eve of the Iraq invasion–in the life of a surgeon and his family. His son is a blues musician and his daughter Daisy a poet, and I liked this passage, which defines the achievement of this wonderful book:

But is there a lifetime’s satisfaction in twelve bars of three obvious chords? Perhaps it’s one of those cases of a microcosm giving you the whole world. Like a Spode dinner plate. Or a single cell. Or, as Daisy says, like a Jane Austen novel.

What have you read and enjoyed recently?