What is a new year anyway?

Newyearclock

The celebration of the New Year is a bit odd, isn't it? It'd make more sense to celebrate the solstice, when something does turn, and at one time, the official year didn't begin in January, but in March. If you want to read about all the variations, check out here.

And why do we pin hopes of change to this one day? Why not on our birthdays? That would make more sense. (I've always thought it would make sense if on our birthday we gave presents to our parents for bringing us into the world. Don't you think?)

The New Year doesn't even happen at the same time, as our global community makes clear. Anne celebrated yesterday. Nicola and I are doing it now, and the American Wenches have 5-8 hours to wait. Really, it's time that drives us crazy, isn't it, if we look at it too closely. No wonder Doctor Who is a Time Lord.

My resolution is to seek joy in my daily lives and to appreciate the simple things, and in that spirit, I offer some pictures of Davy, who went with son #2 to Japan in 2009. 

Meditating

Davymeditating

enjoying the sun and scenery
Davyhappy

contemplating different spiritualities
Davysteps

and making new friends.
Davytoys

To start our 2010 pleasures, here's the list of historical TV that people here have enjoyed. Foyle's War
Cranford
Forsyte Saga
Upstairs Downstairs
Wives and Daughters
Cadfael
Lord Peter Wimsey
Deadwood
Robin of Sherwood
Onedin Line
North and South
Sharpe
Horatio Hornblower
Merlin
Joan of Arc
Here Come The Brides
The Last King
The First Churchills
Pallisers
Barchester Chronicles
Mayor of Casterbridge
Mapp and Lucia
Anne of Green Gables
I Claudius
Roar
House of Mirth
The Aristocrats
Flambards
Six Wives of Henry VIII
Crossbow
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Brideshead Revisited
The Tudors
Young Victoria
Blackadder
The First Churchills
Poldark
John Adams
Sherlock Holmes
Into The West
Jeeves and Wooster

Now for the winners. Alas, many of you didn't specify where you are, and I did say one copy of Chalice of Roses would go to North America and one to the rest of the world. However, as it happens, I think it worked out. If not, I'll have to pick again. A promise is a promise.The first pick was Cynthya, and as she was recommending John Adams, I suspect she's from North America.The second was Carol Thompson, and she spelled "favourites" the British way. E-mail me at jo@jobev.com with your addresses. 
Corsm

Chalice of Roses is out officially in a few days, but it's probably on shelves now in some places. We hope it'll start your year of with great reading pleasure,

All best wishes,

Jo


Gothic wonders

Charliedrac  It's Halloween weekend, and in Whitby, Yorkshire, where I now live, that means Goths!

Whitby, you see, is where Dracula was shipwrecked, and Bram Stoker partly wrote the book here, inspired by the ruined abbey on the cliffs. As it happens, some lovely morning light a few days ago let me take this atmospheric picture of the scene. You can click on it to see it enlarged. I am proud of it, but it's mainly that it was all being very photogenic right then.

Wmistymorningpan
I've put this and some other pictures on line here.

Back to Goth weekend. Twice a year, Goths from all over Britain come to Whitby, but of course Halloween is the big event. People of all ages dress up, there are dances and exhibitions and movie marathons. I'm told it's all very good humoured. I'll find out, because this will be my first experience.

There are some pictures part way down this page. And here. I'm hoping to take some pictures myself and if so, I'll add them to this blog.

Tfuk My next UK reissue is Tempting Fortune, and I think they've made Portia somewhat gothic. What do you think?

So what about gothic in romance? What would you say are the great gothic romances? Rebecca? Victoria Holt did some, yes? I confess that gothic has never been a big favourite of mine, though I did enjoy some Victoria Holt, I think. Mauleverer Hall? The Singing Sands? Or was it "shivering?" I'm deliberately not looking these up, just digging into my misty memories.

(Here's a very ungothicky picture of Whitby harbour, taken today. It was a gorgeous warm day.)

I'm told I can edit posts without destroying the blogosphere, so here goes with some pictures from the Goth Weekend. It's great to see so many people of all ages enjoying themselves.

Gothwithbaby Here's a stylish Goth mummy (that's mother, not corpse! Got to make that clear in such  context.

And here's a great Goth pram.Gothpram 

I loved these baby  Goth T-shirts.

Babygoth 

And the hearse.

Hearse2

There's also a huge selection of Goth clothes, including corsets.

Corsetcoloured

There are more images at my photo site

Whitbyfrombridge

When gothics dominated the genre in the '70s I pretty well stopped reading romance. I've been trying to think why the gothic doesn't really appeal. It is based in Victorian times, and I have a deep dislike of nearly everything Victorian except the pre-Raphaelites, who are anything but gothic!

Gothics also tend to lack humor, and I require a thread of humour in a book, not matter how grim everything else is. Anyone know a gothic with humour? (I'm trying to relearn British spelling, but I keep forgetting which is which or what is what!)

Then there is the fact that a gothic almost demands that the heroine do something really stupid.

I think the other killer for me was that the classic gothic romance had two men in it — the nice guy and the dark and dangerous guy, but we knew from the first page that the D&D guy was the hero, and the nice guy was either a useless wimp or the villain. Yawn.

O
h, and I'm not that keen on D&D guys, especially if they're snarly, and especially if they turn violent.

So, what's your opinion of gothic romance, past and present? Can you define what makes a romance a gothic? Any recommendation of one I might enjoy, given what I said above?Lwbnewsm

I'm chatting in the Barnes & Noble book club this week, mostly about Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed (which is selling really well, by the way) but it can be about anything.

Mlnukcrop

Next week I go on my mini book tour in southern England, visiting places that Cyn and Chastity visited during their adventures in My Lady Notorious — or Lady Notorious, as it is in the UK. If you're in England or Wales, check out the final itinerary here, and come along to meet me if you can.

I know I didn't pick a winner from my last blog, so here goes.

Randomly picked. From North America,  TC. From the UK, Larenda. Please contact me at jo@jobev.com with your address.

And talk to me of gothics and goths,

Jo