Weekly Round up #3

Well what can I say about this week it sure beat the last one.  In some ways it as been a strange week as I have been laid up still with my back and had a lovely trip to the MRI machine.  My little monster had a visit to the school he will be starting in September and I am looking forward to seeing him continue going from strength to strength overcoming his speech problems.  Today Patch goes to the vets for his second jabs this time next week he will be able to join us on proper walks yay!  I have done some work on my fb like page adding a little exclusive content to encourage people to hit the like button. I have not worked much on the novel this week due to my muse hijacking my brain with the short story for the charity anthology.  When I finished it I was quite excited about it, of course since I have sent it to a couple of people whose judgement I admire I have now decided it is terrible, that I took the wrong angle and that they will hate it (they haven’t had chance to read it yet but my brain is preparing me mentally for the worst.)  So anyway here are the targets I actually set two weeks ago and how I got on with them….

1) Finish first draft of novel

Sadly not but as I did hammer out 15k words this week between that and the short story I forgive myself

2) Finish reading The Hunter Inside

I did and not only reviewed it but post an author interview

3) Publish one book review, one poem, one flash fiction

Well you got two book reviews The Hunter Inside and First Blood, poems were Inside the Machine and although I didn’t post a flash I do have one started which you may get this week

4) Publish a post about the charity comedy evening

I had a brilliant time and posted the review of it here but the also featured it as a guest post on the website

5) Nothing to do with the blog but to work out the logistics of getting to my ghost hunt at Marston Moor

Sadly I have had to accept defeat on this one with my back problems I am really gutted about this and the frustration I am feeling about it would cause a break down if I dwelled on it

 

So now on to this weeks goals…

1) I will finish the novel this week and start editing the first two chapters.

2) The usual promise of one book review, one flash fiction, one poem.

3)  I am going to sort out all my note books and get more organised

4) I have a couple of books by fellow bloggers I want to get stuck into this week am hoping to finish at least two

5)  Tidy up a few things here on the blog make sure all my links are up to date and update the blog roll

 

Right better get ready for the vets have a great weekend everyone!

Book Review; First Blood by M.S. Fowle

4 months have passed since Alex hit the road.  Now surrounded by new team members they once again join forces with the First.  The novel picks up the story at the same fast paced tempo at which First Night.  The chimera swarms have increased leaving death and destruction in their wake. This novel is one of loss and discovery all of which rock the lives of the young woman fighting to save humanity and wiped out the men behind the engineered beasts which have taken away so much she holds dear.  Her relationship with the enigmatic First leader Zeke continues to develop as they fight side by side an alliance of human and vampire but she struggles to keep her feeling for him in check as her life falls apart around her. If you have not read it stop now the next part contains spoilers…..

The story has some very interesting plot twists throughout.  at the end of the last novel we learnt the secret of Alex’s family and her sinister uncle who is the brains behind the Chimera’s existance.  We mourned with Alex when she told of her sisters fate yet now new evidence shows that her grief was premature though given the fate her sister has been dealt death may have been preferable.  We also watch as young Alex has more grief to overcome as members of her team are slaughtered.  We meet the mysterious Yale who we learn has been pulling the strings to direct them in their journeys across the country wiping out the enemy.  However this is also when things start to go horribly wrong.  My own personal opinion there is a spy in the camp and if I were to be ultra picky at thos point I might suggest that this might have occured to Alex as well but the girl is still in grief and has other things on her mind.  Which brings me to her relationship with Zeke.  The sexual tension between these two is a palpable you could cut it with a blade.  Zeke is at the disadvantage despite his immense age to comprehend exactly what these feeling are that plague Alex, could it be her blood flowing through his veins which explains these strange feelings he is having towards her?  I understand resisting falling into thenormal genre conventions which would have meant they had jumped on each other before the end of the first book in the series but seriously the electricity flowing between these two is so highly charged now any spark within a hundred miles could spark an explosion that would wipe out the state.  And more importantly you get the feeling if they do not address their feelings the distraction could cost one or both of them their lives.  I gave this book 5 out of 5 on goodreads and cannot wait to get stuck into the third instalment which she is giving away free this weekend.  I really love these books if you wish the read the interview with the author I published after the review for First Night click here to wander over and check out her blog for yourself click here

Now on a personal note Mel I have read and reviewed both books please can I have the golden key for the secret sanctum I have an appointment there with the Easyondeyes girls to gang up on discuss with  you about Alex and Zeke getting it on .

Inspiration Overload

Last time I mentioned my muse it was to complain she had done a runner Has Anyone Seen My Muse.  Today it is the complete opposite she is bombarding me from all directions.  The deadline for submission on the novel is drawing nearer and should be my main focus but she keeps ramming random thoughts in my head and demanding I stop and consider them.

A few weeks ago Gillian at Black Door Press posted this post I looked, was interested but put it to one side until after the novel was done.  My muse however did not.  She lurked playing with ideas in my mind until a few days ago she started slapping me round the face with it.  I tried to ignore it but finally last night I gave in.  I know have 3000 words of a short story down and I know the rest will pour forth before the weekend.

Idea’s for flash pieces and poems are being scribbled hastily with one hand into one of the various notebooks I keep at hand while the other hand attempts to keep up the tempo on the keyboard.

I realise as I write this that even my notebooks have a life of their own.  I have used a picture of a few of my notebooks as the featured image but the rest have spread their wings and flown around the house.  They hide in bags, by beds, by the bath.  Each one with random scrawlings indelibly etched across their pages only the black and silver one above has it’s own sacred purpose (this is the one that houses ideas , sketches and images related to my novel.)

I realise I need to organise better a book for flash, a book for poetry another perhaps for novel ideas that pring from the end of the one I am working on.  Maybe even one specifically for ideas for blog posts?

I also realised the other day that despite my thousand facebook companions very few visited my like page.  I came to the conclusion they a) love me as a friend but cannot like me as an author until I prove myself worthy b) need a reason to clutter their newsfeeds a little more.  Obviously a) can only be addressed in time and with success but b) I could do something about and have posted a couple of exclusive videos on there including one of my reading one of my poems.  So if you have the time and want to hear my voice feel free to pop over and visit (I don’t like the sound of my voice but it seems others quite like it which is just aswell)

Anyway we have an amazing thunderstorm that has just exploded overhead so I intend to take a notebook and let the storm fire up my muse a little more

Time to Play Tag

The lovely Ms Katykins caught me unawares and slapped me in the middle of the back screaming tag.   Now of course this means I must run round like a lunatic baring yet more of my soul open to you before passing on the tag with a few probings of my own.

First up… The rules for playing blog tag.

You must post the rules
Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post
Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged
Tag (eleven) people with a link to your post
Let them know they’ve been tagged

So rules posted lets see what Me Katykins has lined up for me…

1. What is your favourite ice-cream flavour and why?

Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough why is a little harder…because I like it best lol or maybe because you really have to eat Ben & Jerrys Ice-cream in one sitting if you put it open in the freezer it gets ice crystals in it so it gives me a reason to be greedy and pig the lot 🙂

2. Do blondes really have more fun?

Well given I am blonde at the minute I should say yes but I think I had the most fun as a red head but that could just have been the age I was at the time hehehe

3. What is the weirdest dream that you remembering having? (I’m talking sleepy dream here.)

Hmmm I don’t usually remember a lot of my dreams more just vague flashes, I once had a rather raunch dream about my other half which half way through I realised he was watching throuh the window and I was having sex with the devil if that counts

4. Did you grow to become/do what you always dreamed of as a child? If not, why not?

I wanted to be a ballerina but then I discovered ballerina’s dont have curves and genetically I was fighting a losing battle from the start

5. What is the most annoying fad that you’ve ever succumbed to?

I guess it would be more fashions than fads, thankfully not many photos exist of me from the 80’s or I would never stop cringing.

6. If you could steal someone’s identity for a day, who would you be and what you would you do as them?

Anne Rice, she has just announced she has finished writing a new novel so I would go read the manuscript so I could taunt friends that I knew what it was (pretty sad really lol)

7. Where would you most and least like to visit in the world?

I would love to visit Pompeii while it still exists, I would least like to visit either of the Poles don’t get me wrong I would love to see them its just I am allergic to the cold.

8. What, in your opinion, is one of the best/most useful inventions ever and why?

Has to be the internet otherwise I would never have got to meet so many new people across the globe

9. If you could be any other species, what would you hope to be?

A lizard, as I mentioned I do not do cold so to be a lizard and spend my time laying on a heat mat with a heat lamp over me and dinner served up sounds bliss

10. If you could see one music act dead or alive, back stage, first class treatment, who would it be and where and why?

Hmm well I would love to relive the Duran Duran concert in Birmingham last year with back stage, first class treatment but if I have to pick one i didn’t go to it would have been Oasis live at Knebworth a few years ago I had friends that went and came back and told me how awesome it was a once in a lifetime experience.

11. Do you have any superstitions?

Not really.  I don’t walk under ladders but that is more common sense.

Now eleven questions for my victims…

1) If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be and why?

2) You can have a star named after you what would call it and why?

3) What was your favourite childhood toy?

4) What was your nickname at school and how did you get it?

5) You can go on a dinner date with anyone from past or present who do you take and why?

6) What is the most embarrassing chat up line you have either used or had used on you?

7) Who would you want to play you in a film of your life story?

8) Someone wants to create a cocktail for you what do you call it and what are the three main ingredients?

9) What guilty pleasure tv show do you indulge in?

10) Would you have plastic surgery if so what would you change?

11) Who was your teenage crush?

Now for 11 people to tag…

1) kyle mew

2) M.S. Fowle

3) MIKE IS HAPPY. RELATIVELY.

4) The View Outside

5) Adam Ickes

6) Help Me Rhonda

7) davidmcgowanauthor.com

8) Christopher De Voss

9) brainsnorts inc >.<

10) onlinedatingjournal

11) Hunter’s Writing

Now I do know a couple of you don’t do awards but I hope even if you dont do the tag bit you would still answer the questions even if you do it here in comments instead of a post hehehehe yup I am just that nosy lol

Thanks for making me smile

I just want to say a huge thankyou to all the people who read what a terrible week last week was and decided to put a smile on my face by showering me in awards.

I know I said not to let me do them all in one post again but to be honest if I dont then you would have a full week of nothing but awards posts so here we go…..

First thanks go to Priscilla.  What can I say about her do her blogs shock occasionally…hmmm yup, do I always agree with her…well not always.  But the one thing you are guarenteed is she is honest and shoots straight from the heart, she is also incredibly witty and even in the short time I have been following her blog I have seen her grow and she is the sort of person I can honestly say in real life I would be friends with (infact she actually reminds me at times of my best friend, slighty crazy with a heart of gold). I was sure someone else also nominated me this week for this one but in my highly medicated state I may have deleted the email so if I did then please accpet my apology and let me know so I can add your name.

The rules on this award are:

Give generous thanks to the blogger that nominated you.

Write 7 things about yourself

Make a list of 15 Bloggers you admire and let them know how awesome they are

Next up is the wonderful Vikki who has nominated me for this award

Mrs Sparkly’s Award

Now being the rebel she is Vikki didn’t post me the rules for this one so if you get this one feel free to make up your own unless you know someone who has the rules.  I love Vikki’s blog and really can’t think of anything to say about her which has not been said before she is simply awesome.

Lastly the Lucky 7 MEME has been passed my way again this time from Superphoenix who I admire greatly and have missed while she has been on blogging sabatical

1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your Work in Progress.

2. Go to the 7th line of the page.

3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs. Remember, they must be as they are typed.

4. Tag 7 authors.

5. Let them know they’re it!

Now here I have a problem you have had line 7, page7, line 77 and page 77 so what do I do now…..I guess I pick a part at random

He lay back against the pillows; he could not understand his obsession with Jacantha, that she was desirable was obvious, but it was more than that, this need to possess her, to have her submit to him totally, maybe it would be like when he was a child, he had always had strong desires when he wanted something he wanted it immediately, but once he had possession of the object he bored of it, usually destroying it for failing to live up to his expectations of it.  He hoped this would be the case this obsession was beginning to prove a distraction, if it were not for the need to have her people submit he would have taken what he wanted by force and had it done with.

He recalled as a child the city here had been thriving, tradesman of all types had had successful businesses, all that could be needed was made here, then the stranger had come and things had changed. The man had brought magic to the castle, he had loitered in the shadows as his grandfather had learnt the man’s secrets , he quickly realised that if he allowed his grandfather or father to possess this knowledge, his chances of coming to power were slim, action had to be taken, first his father a weak, man had met with an accident while out hunting, it had been easy to manage, after all with his grandfather still in power he had nothing to gain immediately and it was well known his father was not the best horseman.  His grandfather proved a little harder, constantly surrounded by bodyguards there was no chance of removing him without it being known he was the culprit, therefore he decided to begin his reign the way it would continue with a sea of blood.

Now on to nominations well am totally cheating now anyone who clicks like on this post can help themselves to which ever award they would like for their personal collections hehehe. I know I am being lazy but hell right now I am a cripple you gotta forgive me I do have a game of tag to play still and I promise to do that one properly

Inside The Machine

Today I was back inside the MRI machine for those who have never experienced this it is a little like being in your coffin alive but noiser.  I have become quite used to the scans by now infact I find them quite relaxing most of the time if it wasn’t so noisy I might even fall asleep in there although that could be the amount of painkillers required for me to be able to lie still in one position that long.  Today while laying there I got the idea for a few lines for a poem so I thought I would share.

Clinical white,

Sterile steel,

Self induced paralysis.

Eyes closed.

On the move.

Eyes open

Waiting, anticipating

Rapid gunfire,

Floods the senses.

Throbbing, pulsating

Invading every fibre.

Silence, ceasefire

Movement by degrees.

Mind wanders

Panic, confusion, fear.

Breathe, concentrate

Freeze your body

Resist nature

Obey technology

Close your eyes

Wait

Wait

Out again.

Out of curiousity I looked online to see what they were seeing and found this image which is pretty similar to how my spine looks, okay its actually healthier than how mine looks but hell I can still dream

Author Interview with David McGowan

One of the most enjoyable parts of blogging is the interaction with so many talented people and today I get to add yet another great author to the list of those who have been generous enough to spare time from their busy schedules and answer a few questions.  David McGowan is the author of the exhilarating thriller The Hunter Inside the review for which can be found here .

1)    Describe your work environment, are there any special items you must have at hand as you work

I keep a written diary of each scene in my work in progress with the word count. It helps when looking back for a scene or something that has happened. I also keep plot notes, maps, iPad, laptop, iPhone and, most importantly, candy – lots of candy!

 

2)    What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was Duma Key by Stephen King. Very absorbing after a bit of a slow start, but reminiscent of some of his older work like The Shining. I would definitely recommend it!

 

3)    If you could have credit for writing any book in history what would it be and why?

That’s a great question! I guess there are a couple, but my favourite of all time would be Catch 22. The intricacies, humour and downright intelligence of Heller’s writing is mind-boggling! I’d love to have written that novel. Also, I’d quite like to have the sales figures for Harry Potter (I’m not greedy, just one of them will do!)

 

4)    You are based here in the UK but chose to set your book in the States was there a reason for that?

I think setting a novel far from home is more of a challenge, but also it seemed more exotic. My second novel, From the Sky, is set in California, but there’s a very good reason for it this time, and you’ll find out when it is released and you (hopefully) read it!

 

5)    I know you put a lot of research into your novel including bus routes, journey times etc what was the most difficult bit of information to track down?

To be honest, none of the information is difficult to track down. We are the luckiest generation of writers yet, with the advent of the Internet making our life so much easier. We can go to places online that we’d never go to in real life – even other planets! It is harder nowadays to narrow the amount of sources for research from the vast amount out there. I love Youtube for letting me quickly research an actual place and be there, without leaving the comfort of my desk and flying for ten hours to get there!

 

6)    Were you tempted at any point to stay with the more conventional thriller route and keep your killer human?

Paula! You’re giving spoilers away! I think Shimasou being Shimasou makes the novel much more interesting than if it had been a plain old boring human killer, but I don’t want to say too much as I’d prefer people to find out the novel’s secrets as they read it rather than me telling them!

7)    The ‘hunter’ is of ancient origin which seems to leave space for whole series of back stories there have you considered this?

I hadn’t ever really thought about it to be honest. It was such hard work getting The Hunter Inside finished. Now I’m 36,500 words into writing my second novel, From the Sky. It is a very different project. You can read a sample on my website – http://davidmcgowanauthor.com/from-the-sky-exclusive-preview/

8)    At the end of the novel there is quite a profound statement about why the world needs evil does this reflect your thoughts on the subject?

The news is full of evil day in and day out. Without evil we would not be able to define its opposite as we would have nothing to measure it by. A world without evil would be fabulous, but it’s such a hard place to imagine. Maybe on another planet. There’s a novel in there somewhere!

 

9)    The Hunter Inside was self-published and it would appear from your blog you are considering the same route for your next book. Does this mean you have chosen not to try the traditional agent/publisher route?

As I said earlier, we are the luckiest generation of writers yet. We now have the option of self-publishing, but not like it was years ago when you had to pay for hundreds of copies and then hawk your wares anywhere you could think of. We have so many platforms available to us online that the power is shifting into the authors hands. We also get much better royalties this way too, which isn’t the be all and end all obviously, but it helps. It’s hard work, don’t get me wrong, but the rewards are so much more to reap. Every sale is a sale you earned from your hard work. Every good review is about you totally, not publishers or editors. It’s so rewarding!

 

10) What one piece of advice would you give to someone sitting down to start their first novel?

Research, outline a rough plot for the first part of the book, and have at least an hour in your day for writing. Routine breeds confidence and confidence in turn enables you to plough through the tough parts of writing. Remember you’re always learning, and also remember when you think your writing is no good that there is someone out there who wants to read what you are writing. That’s what it’s all about – getting your work to your readers, and there’s no better feeling than seeing a positive review go live or getting a tweet or an email, or even a ‘Like’ on your Facebook page. Most importantly, never give up. Never ever ever give up. Because in ten years time you’ll come back to it and you’ll think ‘I could have done this ten years ago’. Do it, you will never regret it.

 

I would just like to thank David for giving up his time to answer my questions and recommend that anyone who is not already following him pop over and take a look at his site

Book Review – The Hunter Inside by David McGowan

A fast paced thriller with a twist.  This book will drag you along with the characters at break neck speed towards a climax which will decide not only the fate of the characters but the fate of mankind.  The main character Sandy Myers is a strong woman who will face her fears to protect her family.  The reader is taken on her journey from victim to heroine in ways the reader can not anticipate.  A real page turner that is a wrench to put down.

Be warned the next part contains spoilers so if you haven’t read the book yet stop..go get it…read it..then come back!

At first you may be forgiven for thinking this is your standard police procedural thriller but you would be wrong.  The hunter in this case is not of this world.  The beast stalks it’s pray with fervour and an unrelenting desire not only to kill but to evoke the fear which it feds upon.  The hunter does not simply kill its victims it consumes them using their knowledge in its quest to become stronger.

At first it appears the victims have nothing in common yet as the story develops it becomes apparent they all share one thing, their parents shared their fate.   The hunter feeds on generations of victims with the fear it creates its strength grows.

The characters are well written that is not the same as saying you will like them.  Special Agent O’Neill is the old style law enforcement agent whose treatment of one of the victims who seeks help leaves you feeling hostile towards him.  But I have to say this guy grew on me, his vulnerability at being placed in a situation so far beyond his comfort zone, his willingness to accept help from scources his nature would have told him to shun combine with great writing to bring the complexities of human nature to the fore.  The main female character Sandy Myers is wonderful, as a mother I identified with her determination to protect her family no matter what.  I don’t want to say too much about the ending except to say by this point I was so caught up in her emotions a tear or two may have been shed.  The one character I have to hold my hands up and say I really didn’t like strangely enough was Sandy’s husband Joe although not a central character he never the less came across as apathetic, lacking his wifes strength of character.  He failed to elict any symapthy from me despite the fact his life was torn apart almost as much as his wifes.

The hunter himself is a creature from nightmares who feeds on fear.  Of ancient origin only the evocation of his spiritual counterpart can save mankind.  The choice of using the legend of a creature from ancient times is inspired.  In an age where so many writers use the fan favourites of vampires and zombies to choose a monster less familiar may be considered a gamble but certainly one which pays off in this case.  Towards the end there are some very moving and thought provoking suggestions regarding the reason for evil in the world that will leave you pondering the implications of the human spirit.

On the whole I have to say I really enjoyed this book and would have read it a lot quicker if I had had chance.  If I had on slight criticism to make it would be the speed in which Special agent O’Neill comes to accept the explanation of Shimasou, given he admits he is not a spiritual man.  I do however see that this would have affected the pace of the story so on the basis of that it is something I am happy to overlook.

If you haven’t already visited David’s Blog then please visit David McGowan and treat yourselves to an excerpt from his WIP by clicking on his name.

I rated this 5 out 5 on goodreads and liked it so much I posted a short review on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk where his book is available in the kindle store I only wish I had a paper copy for my book shelves.

Another Award and One of My Own Creation

The wonderful Terry1954 has honoured me with the Lovely Blog Award.  I know many of you will already know Terry and the struggles she faces in caring for her sick brother but she is so much more than that.  A writer, a poet and an all round talented lady, she has now managed to get a respite carer to give her a few precious hours of freedom every week and I look forward to reading her journey and to see what creative juices these few hours will inspire.

The rules on this award are:

Give generous thanks to the blogger that nominated you.

Write 7 things about yourself

Make a list of 15 Bloggers you admire and let them know how awesome they are

Now as I know most of you already have this award I thought I would create an alternative….of course it also has to have some rules hehehe

Okay so obviously….

The first rule thank the person who nominated you!

Second rule Tell your followers about either your favourite book or film

Third rule Close your eyes pick a number between 1 – 7 then nominate that number of blogs

So given that Terry nominate me for the Lovely Blog award I shall of course answer the questions for that one then the people I nominate may chose which one they would like..

7 more things about me…this is getting tough

1)  I am the oldest of 5 children meaning I have three sisters and a brother I do not speak to all my sisters.

2)  I would love to own horses I rode every weekend as a child and would love to be able to ride now but my back and finances do not allow it

3)  I would love to say my house is always tidy but the truth is no matter how much I tidy it is always cluttered (it is clean clutter though)

4)  I have a desk upstairs in my bedroom which only ever gets used as storage but I keep swearing I will start using it to write at.

5)  I once had a pet pigeon and I called it Pie

6)  My TBR pile of books is growing out of proportion to the number of books I actually read and I may never see the bottom of it

7)  If I could be any character out of a book it would have to be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice like her I am probably a little willful at times

Nominations am just going to pick a few then they can choose which they would like including the person who nominated me as she can always have the new award if she would like it..

1) Terry1954

2) M.S. Fowle

3) Heidi

4) Jillian

5) Vikki

6) Naomi

7) Superphoenix

8) Ms Katykins

Okay thats the easy bit done now to let you all know hehehe