The last couple of weeks have been busy. We had about $2000 in maintenance work done on the main family car somewhere around a month ago, and just over two weeks later, a young man in a pick-up truck pulled out in front of us at an intersection and there was a collision. Granted, he couldn't see us, because another SUV blocked us from sight until it was far too late. I'm thinking it was his first major collision. You don't have that deer in the headlights look when you've been in a wreck before--you're too busy stepping on the gas pedal trying to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
The young man had no insurance, something that just astounded my father, who came out to pick us up because our car was undrivable after the wreck. 'How could he get his car licensed without insurance?' he wondered. Insurance companies call such people 'taggers', because they buy insurance just so they can get the tags on their car, then cancel the policy. The police officer who handled the report of the wreck had a nice stack of tickets for him when all was said and done. Just the ticket for failure to have insurance is $500, according to our insurance agency. Fortunately, we keep comprehensive coverage on the family car, and our insurance company has been wonderful through the whole process.
There's an unmistakable roar of Fall in the air. It's Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue week. For the uninitiated, it's rapidly becoming one of the bigger biker rallies in the US. I've heard the number 400,000 tossed around in the attendance area. Lots of free concerts, some barbecue competitions, a few not-so-free concerts. Motorcycles everywhere. Next week's going to seem very, very quiet after this one.
I'll be happy to have that peace and quiet, as next week is the Muse Online Writers Conference, an entirely online conference where instructors and students from around the world can gather at times convenient to them. The workshop 'rooms' are open 24/7, and assignments can be posted whenever, and graded when the teacher is up and ready to work on them. I'll be teaching our Suspense workshop again this year, though I will be doing it solo, because my workshop partner is unable to attend this year. Hopefully everyone will be patient with me.
Gigi Ann of Ann's Reading Corner has posted her thoughts on Reef Runner. Thank you, ma'am!
So far this fall, the weather's been pretty nice. I guess we're getting a break before winter hits us. Definitely not complaining.
A Pale Horse
A Matter of Justice
both by Charles Todd
These books have a darkness to them that comes from the protagonist's state of mind. A shell-shocked WWI veteran, he has recovered enough to function in his job as a Scotland Yard detective, but never knows when it will catch him at a bad moment during an investigation. Because of that, each book carries a certain level of depression with them, but are worth reading if you space them out with other books in between.
Billy Boyle by James R. Benn
This one was read in a listserv I'm on, but it wasn't until recently I had the chance to read it. Billy Boyle is a newly-minted detective on the Boston police force, just at the beginning of the US's entry to the Second World War. Family connections bring him to the attention of a distant uncle, General Eisenhower, who snaps him up fresh out of Officer Candidate School and has him shipped to London to serve as his own personal investigator. I had a little trouble connecting with the character right at first, but as both author and character grew comfortable with their surroundings, Billy became someone whose adventures I'm interested in following.
On the Nook:
The Black Mountain, by Rex Stout.
The death of Nero Wolfe's friend sets in motion events that not only see him leave the Brownstone, but send him to his birthplace in Montenegro (then part of Yugoslavia) to find the killer. Right-hand man Archie Goodwin spends most of the book waiting for Wolfe to translate for him, since he doesn't speak Serbo-Croatian.
On the Nook:
Plot It Yourself, by Rex Stout.
Am enjoying this, not only for the usual antics, but because of the fact that Wolfe's clients in this one are authors and publishers.
Heat Rises, by 'Richard Castle'.
Book 3 of the series purportedly being written by the character Richard Castle from the TV series 'Castle'. These things are fun. Not outstanding literature, but a neat way of making viewers of the series feel 'connected' to the characters and as if they're participants in a way.
Enough for now. I need to do some prep work for the conference.