Thursday 11 July 2024

My friend wrote a fiction novel, Sanguinous

I am super proud of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Allison Glass, for writing a fiction novel. While I write, I write about real people and events and conversations - easy stuff, no imagination required. Creating a fiction story with a strong storyline, convincing characters, interest and intrigue, and lots of conversation is a whole other skill. 

I have just read Allison's book 'Sanguinous' - devouring it in a few days - and I loved it. At its root, it is a vampire story, set in Johannesburg, with a journalist as its main character. The main story is set in the present with intermittent chapters that go back in time from when a key vampire character arrived in South Africa, so there is a wonderful inclusion of South African history and accounting of significant events where he was present.

What does the enigmatic nightclub, Sanguinous, have to do with fatal house robberies in the leafy suburbs of Johannsburg and a 17th century stowaway?
Rory Tate is a young journalist on her first job with a reputable news agency. Her investigations lead her into a bloodthirsty criminal underworld she could never have imagined.

I loved True Blood (tv series) and Twilight (books & movies), Interview with a Vampire (book & movie) so I'm an easy-sell on the vampire genre. That said, there is more that I don't read or watch that is too far fetched. I like my vampires to be believable.

Allison is a doctor but she moved to specialise in HIV and virology many years ago. She now heads up the molecular lab at a big pathology company. She started writing her book some time ago - a big commitment - and she self published 'Sanguinous'.

Allison has breathed life into her characters with descriptions that gave them presence and personality, and that left a clear image of them in my mind. She cleverly wove their interactions and history into the story, maintaining a smooth flow throughout. This book is a fluid read.

The best part of the book, for me, was the way that Allison dealt with the 'being a vampire' reality. As we all know, vampires drink blood but they don't have a beating heart that pumps blood around their bodies. So how do they walk, talk, think and function? Their flesh is essentially dead but they don't decompose. Allison delighted me with her rationale for their undead-ness.

For vampires, it can be risky business to snack on just anyone without knowing whether that person has a disease. In the book, Allison brings in HIV - her area of professional expertise - and its effect on vampires. Allison's outcome is even better than what you can imagine.

The book's ending left the opening for sequel - I hope there will be one in time.

I've had a rough run of books this year with a number that I've struggled to get into or to read to completion this year - even those by well-known authors. Allison's book is just what I needed. It kept me hooked from the start, was smooth and quick reading, and kept me up (or lazing in bed) to read just a little bit more before turning out my light or getting up. 

Sanguinous is a vampire novel with a solid story and characters, and a cleverness in dealing with the essence of what vampires are. It is a good adult read but I can definitely see it in the older teen space too.

Sanguinous by Allison Glass is available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback. You can also message me and I'll connect you to Allison to get a paper copy.

Well done my friend xxx

Tuesday 18 June 2024

48 Days of Running - tick

48 days ago I began my annual pre-birthday challenge. This year it was back to basics with 4km (minimum) per day for the number of consecutive days of the age that I would be turning. This year, the big ol' number is 48.

One of my goals was to do more road running as I really have not run much road for a good 3.5 to 4 years. I quickly settled back into road with around four sessions a week on tar.

I found myself thinking back to my years of growing up, living and running in Joburg suburbs. I loved running in the evenings - in the dark in winter - when the roads were quiet, breathing in the scents of dinners cooking. I have really enjoyed getting back to my roots, which was road, and I'll be keeping this up. 

Early on in the challenge I had some days when I felt pretty tired, especially with running after hard crossfit sessions. The body adapts and this got easier as my fitness improved and my body settled into the load. 

I used running to do errands and for commuting too. I would run to and from crossfit to make best use of my time. This worked really well. I also did a few runs to friends to either meet them or drop-off / pick-up stuff.

The last seven weeks were mostly smooth but there were a few days when it was more difficult to get out. Like the days when I put on rain pants and a rain jacket to run to and from crossfit, the next event when I ran in this rain gear and two nights recently in the Drakensberg when we'd finished with the day's talks, it was dark and cold, and I still needed to get out for a run instead of hanging out with friends.

Going for a run is always the best course of action. I always felt better during and afterwards, and I probably 'missed out' on little over 40 minutes of social hanging out (including a shower), so I did not ever miss much.

Having friends and family that help to enable activity is a treasure, like being able to run somewhere leaving a bag in the car for my mom to take along. Or running to a friend to catch a lift elsewhere. Or running back to camp from a concert, dropping my stuff in the car and have the right type of friends who support what you do and just leave to do and enjoy, transporting your gear and driving off with a wave. 

I was also very fortunate to have company on many of my runs. When I started this challenge, Otto said he was keen to join me on some runs as he was aiming to pick up his running. He ran a good number of sessions with me. The GTR Monday and Thursday runs provided lots of company, the Van Dalens hike was a win, and Talita also joined in for a few runs. I enjoyed a social morning session in the Berg, a run with Jenny the weekend before last, and a run with Carine this past weekend in Cape Town. 
(with my ex foster puppy Snow, a run on the beach in CT with Carine, Snow and Sophie) 

My Rosy dog has been a very faithful, eager and reliable running companion. 

This birthday challenge, as always, reminds me how important daily running is to me, how my body thrives on a heavier load, and how I really can squeeze a run into every day, if I prioritise myself and activity.

Today, Day 48, I had planned to meet up with Otto and Talita for a late afternoon run. Otto was down I'll so it was to be me and Talita, and one or more of their sons. I'd also put it out yesterday on our friend group to invite anyone around at 4pm to join us. 

I met up with Talita and Adam. She innocently said that Jamie, Adam's girlfriend needed the loo and had gone to Zelda's house around the corner.
As we approached, I saw a colourful bunch of friends dressed ready to run.. Sneaky devils. All the ones that had said on the group that they wouldn't be there, were there. We had a lovely run and then hit the Trail Kiosk for tea/coffee.

(these fabulous photos by Zelda) 

Cliffy and Tracey rocked up and then my mom arrived having walked from home with Bella-dog. Mom and I walked home together, looking at houses and flowers.

I've had a super day of messages and catching up with some friends and family. 

A good day to count my blessings. 

I love living in George for its mountains and trails and waterways. I am doubly blessed to have a great group of friends who are kind, caring and supportive, active and adventurous. They make George a home. 

Thursday 16 May 2024

1st birthday adventure outing for Cani

For Cani's first birthday, an adventure outing. 

We had a mission to help Otto find some driftwood. 

Wide open, rocky, tall trees and very beautiful

We didn't make it to the Old George Dam and instead followed a beautiful stream in the forest. I haven't been here for a long time and it is a lot wider than I remembered. And absolutely beautiful. 

Rosy on my right. Cani on my left.

I took Cani and Rosy (Rusty went with granny Liz to the park). My pair of black dogs love water and adventures. For the first time Cani didn't try to nip Otto's leg. She even leapt from rock to rock alongside him. She is learning about having friends. Very proud of this agile adventure birthday girl.

Cani and Rosy

Back home, we rounded off Cani's birthday with doggy dessert. Super delicious home-baked liver treats topped with a dash of mashed potato frosting. Doggy equivalent of a chocolate torte. 

Home baked liver treat with mashed potato frosting for dessert.

And couch cuddles. Happy birthday little girl xxx

Loves for granny

Tired girl snoozing with her head on my arm xxx

Happy 1st birthday to my puppies

 I don't think I've posted about the three puppies that I fostered. The 4.5 months with them in my life, from August last year, was a bit of a blur. I did post about them on Facebook and I'll write about them here at some stage. I've had a post in mind of how one goes from one dog to six and then to four. haha haha

The short version is that I kept one of the puppies, Canada (I call her Cani). She has a bad heart condition and poor prognosis. She isn't expected to make more than two years. She has made her first birthday, and yesterday I celebrated the puppies' assigned birthday of 15 May with this post on FB.