25.7.18

Wordy Wednesday - Palindrome by Rae Stoltenkamp

Today I begin with some exciting news. A new book from one of my previously interviewed authors is about to leap into life!

Very soon (maybe even as this blog post is published) you will be able to get your hands and eyes onto the new book by Rae Stoltenkamp 
The book is Palindrome and is a prequel to Six Dead Men.

In my last interview with Rae we chatted about her sci-fi series 'Rainbow Quest' and her favourite character in that world. But what of Detective Robert Deed and his story?

In Six Dead Men we met a detective among the stories and snapshots of the dead. Six lives extinguished in mysterious circumstances. In life they infected what they touched and in death they continued to wreak havoc. But even contemptible men deserve to have their deaths explained, and so in stepped Robert Deed.

We met Madie Bricot. Who just wanted to live the normal life of a twenty-six year old. The last thing she was expecting was to be the main suspect in Detective Inspector Robert Deed's investigation.
But Madie was about to learn some things about herself which terrified her into running. Meanwhile Detective Inspector Deed battles against his attraction for Madie...

In Palindrome we have travelled back into Robert Deed's past. Back to 1975. In Haddington, near Edinburgh, Robert Deed’s 13th birthday approaches. On the cusp of adulthood, this birthday brings more than a coming of age celebration for Robert. He’s about to see the glint of Death’s scythe in the corner of his eye, even touch the honed edge. Travelling the road towards his future, Robert must solve the murder of his first crush, battle his grief, and exonerate a dear friend. Is he willing and able? Can he truly trust in the so called inner wisdom of his instinct?

If you love a detective story, and love a detective with psychic powers, then grab a chair and a copy of Palindrome and settle in for a journey.

You can get copies of all of Rae's books over at Amazon, or check out her website.

Sign up to Rae's email news and get a free copy of Six Dead Men (no excuse not to read it now!)

You can even grab a free e-copy of Six Degrees 
In these Magic Realism vignettes several peripheral characters from Six Dead Men and its upcoming prequel, Palindrome, tell the reader what they think of the Deed family. Sometimes the Deeds get to say their piece too. There are also hints of things to come in Palindrome.


27.6.18

Guest Post - Pride is not for you

Today the blog welcomes Nick (who you may know from twitter) who wanted to share his (strong) feelings about a recent newspaper article about Pride, what it means and what it's for. And straight friends, I have news, it's not for us....

Here's what Nick has to say ...


It’s 2018, LGBTQ+ people have way more rights than ever before. At least in the UK and many parts of the so-called West, elsewhere our existence is still a legal question sometimes punishable by death. Here in the UK homophobic crime is still prevalent. Personally I probably get roared at in the street about once every six months. And I’m lucky, to the untrained eye I can sometimes pass for straight. Our camp brothers, butch sisters and trans comrades often don’t have that luxury, and for them it is far more difficult.

But we’re good right?

No we aren’t, and the need for Pride remains. Pride was born out of a bloody battle for equality, from vilification, chemical castration, ostracisation, the AIDS crisis, lost jobs, lost lives, and more.

Pride is now many things to many many people. From dikes on bikes, to fabulous drag queens, village groups to corporate giants, baby gays slowly making their way from Narnia to aged battle scared queens. This is incredible and I love it.

But Pride is NOT for Liam Payne to say how his son makes him proud and want to be a better person. Bully for you, you utter knob, he should do. That’s your job, you’re a Dad. In the Evening Standard piece that opens with his mug and the headline:

Liam Payne says having son Bear has ‘changed everything’ as he speaks out in support of London Pride: ‘He’s making me a better man’

You actually have to get to paragraph four before any LGBT person is mentioned.  Instead we get a roll call of the great and the good who are also ‘proud’. Get in the sea.

Pride in it’s origin was not about  our children making us want to be better people, doing well at uni, or anything else in the heteronormative world people are proud of. It was saying ‘We’re here, we’re queer and you can get used to it. We are proud of who we are despite the fact you kick the shit out of us.

So Liam, the Evening Standard et al can fuck right off.

Now I’m absolutely in love with my straight ally friends, and I know we would never have achieved equality without them. I also love them because if interviewed about Pride in London and asked what made them proud, they’d say that the people they love can live their best lives now. They’d reference pride. They wouldn’t make it about them. Because they bloody get it.

Anything else is stealing the air and experiences from a large group of people who are on the receiving end of more violent crime and hate than you will ever know. We are more observant of the world around us and vigilant because many of will still double check our surroundings before holding hands with a loved one. Yeah still, and it’s 2018.

Finally giving the headline to a straight-white-rich-able-bodied-man, perpetuates the idea that not being a racist/homophobic/misogynistic/disablist arsehole is something to be lauded. Are you fucking kidding me? Not being these things is human decency 101. It doesn’t deserve a medal. If you can’t manage all of this you have work to do to catch up.

So Liam et al, I appreciate what you’re doing, the campaign you’re supporting, but no one likes the dickhead that rocks up late to a party and then makes it all about them. If you do decide to make it all about you, expect to be shitting glitter and not in a good way. After all, as the overused meme says, anyone who says hell hath no fury like a scorned woman has never met a mildly inconvenienced homosexual, and at pride there’s thousands of us.

As usual I welcome comments. Or pop over to twitter and tell Nick what you thought.

He's not always this angry...

https://www.instagram.com/bainser/

25.6.18

What to look for when buying a new washing machine

At the weekend my washing machine packed up. The drum just stopped going around. Water fill and empty was fine. Just no movement. I took the back off to check it wasn't something simple like the drive belt (did you know a washing machine drum has a drive belt? It's like the one in the vacuum cleaner so I had high hopes of donning a morphsuit and fixing it, but sadly the drive belt was fine). I fear the motor had finally died. It is not really surprising, we use the machine (an Indesit) a lot and have had it for 15 years. It was a replacement for a Hotpoint one that caught fire one Christmas morning...but that's another story...


Anyway, the broken machine led to me looking at new ones. I assumed they would have changed a bit in 15 years so I decided to take a good look at the information available. It made sense to look online as I'm not fit enough to get a washing machine home myself so it would have to be delivered anyway, and online you can usually find more information, often even read the full manual.

Things that were important to us as a family, were
  • Size. The washing machine needed to fit to gap in our breakfast bar. I would love a laundry room, but sadly (Americans should look away now lest they are filled with disgust) we have the washing machine in the kitchen. 
  • Economy, I wanted an energy efficient machine that used the least water to get a clean wash. 
  • Price, we had a budget of £300. Ideally I'd like to get the old machine taken away and a new machine delivered and plumbed in for that budget. As Mr TM is in his 70s and I have some disability issues neither of us is really up for manhandling a washing machine into place or scrabbling about to get all the pipes sorted.
I hadn't reckoned with all the modern stuff that I didn't need! I quickly realised I did not need a wifi enabled machine or one that could be controlled via a smartphone. Since the fire incident we don't leave the washing machine on when we are out, so remote controlled seemed pointless. All machines seemed to also have a delay timer, but as even starting it while we all sleep fills Mr TM with foreboding we didn't really need this option either. One thing we did use a lot on our old machine was the quick wash though. A 15 minute freshen up wash, so that went onto the list.

I looked on a few websites, Curry's, AO and Argos. And started narrowing down my choice. I wasn't especially fussed about brand. Our current drum size is 6kg so while bigger would be nice, that is fine for us.
Most sites let you filter and sort by a few options, so I checked boxes for quick wash and price and top efficiency.
AO were very helpful on social media and suggested a machine that looked really nice, large drum size and a good choice or programs. Sadly it turned out to be too large for our gap, but I thought I'd take a look at the same model with a smaller drum size (and thus a smaller depth) , I had a look at the manual online, which turned out to be a really good idea. Washing machine manufacturers give you information on cycle lengths for a basic 60 degree wash so you can compare. This machine had a basic wash time at 60 degrees of 270 minutes...I paused, and looked again...how long?! 270 minutes (for those without a calculator or maths brain is 4 and a half hours) there was an option to make the wash shorter, reducing it to 267 minutes. Crikey. Basic washing cycle length hadn't been in my essentials list but suddenly it was! (by the way if you don't care about washing cycle length and have space then the Haier range looks absolutely excellent!)

I asked on social media to see if I was odd, did anyone else look at cycle length? was this long time normal? did anyone care?



Various answers came back about economy but on the whole people were shocked! Several said they would always now look in future.
I noticed that few websites mentioned specific cycle lengths except the quick washes, which varied from 30 to 15 minutes depending on machine.  As we don't leave the house with the machine on, 4 and half hours would be a real tie, and imagine trying to get a couple of washes done on a good drying day (we don't have a tumble drier) !

So the search continued until I finally found the (almost) perfect machine...another Indesit! Pretty much the identical one to the one we have now, except with an LED countdown display and a delay timer. The washing cycle for a full load at 60 degrees is 200 minutes, still a long time but the manual says most wash cycles are 45 minutes. (note the full wash at 60 is a standard hot wash for comparison and may not be the actual time a wash takes, but it does give an idea, and as I said, it's good for comparing like with like)

The washing machine is being delivered on Wednesday and being installed by AO. I'll let you know how it goes. And what a basic wash time turns out to be in reality! The total cost of washing machine, delivery, installation and removal of the old one? £264

Do please comment with what you find useful to check when buying a new washing machine! If they all last as well as mine has then it's not something we do often and it's a good idea to refresh yourself on what to look for before you buy!

Not a sponsored post - just a chatty one about washing machines.