Flights of Fancy · Tuesday Reflections

My Sims 4 Challenge – Starting up!

Years ago my daughter got me into playing Sims, it is something I play every now and again but never seem to stick to the challenges but now I have decided to set myself a new one and I will be sharing it with you. I got the idea after watching this video…

So my plan is to redevelop the lots basing the Sims on the characters in my books. It will obviously be a slow project as I don’t have a lot of time to play but I will set aside one or two hours per week to do this then share with you how it is progressing.

If you have read the books then feel free to throw in lots of feedback, the first lots will be based on the first Queen of Ages trilogy book and feature the characters from there. I will start off with two households, Celdwady and Brawd, as father and son, then  Jacantha and Trywn as a married couple.

I don’t have the cheats so it will be based on the base game and the packs we have. if any of my author friends have SIms 4 and fancy taking up this challenge or readers if you wish to create a world based on characters from your favourite books share with me on social media what you create.

So let’s begin…

I have started with the Celdwady/Brawd household and I decided that instead of one big house I would create a collection of huts for them…

The photos are not brilliant, I must have removed the screen recording app I used before for screenshot so had to take it on my phone, I will remedy that before next week. There is a fourth hut to add as I intend having one as a kitchen-living area, one as a study, a bathroom and then finally one for the bedroom. They have both got followed the conservation path in terms of career, this fits in best with a Druidic lifestyle from the choices available.

As you can see the interiors are quite sparse at the minute because you really don’t get a lot of funds to start a house from scratch on a vacant lot but I will come back and play this a couple of times to get all the basics in before I start building the next household.

The interiors will take a little more work and moving things around but it is a work in progress, the worst thing was trying to create the actual sims themselves, although I have made Celdwady an elder no way does he look anywhere near old enough. The sim you can see in the photos is Brawd, I will do some pictures of the sims and how I set them up at a later date if anyone is interested.

I decided to set up the Queen of Ages Characters in The Magic Realm expansion pack but as I think there are only four or five lots it will mean trying to keep as many characters from each book constrained within the lots, maybe one for each book, then, one for the bad guy/guys.

Do you, or have you ever played Sims? Or any of the other games where you recreate life such as Second Life, I joined that to go to the Duran Duran Universe there and attend club night where the actual band members were online being the DJ. If you do or have let me know your experiences in comments and if you do a post showing off yours ping those links to me.

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

His Garden: Conversations With A Serial Killer by Anne K. Howard

This week something a little different with some true crime…

 

You want to know what happened? Ask Anne.”—serial killer William Devin Howell

A monster was on a killing spree. In just nine months, seven people went missing; all of their bodies eventually discovered in a wooded lot behind a suburban strip mall. But the investigation that led law enforcement to their suspect, William Devin Howell, is only part of the story behind HIS GARDEN: Conversations With A Serial Killer.

A practicing attorney, author Anne K. Howard first contacted Howell while he was serving a fifteen-year sentence for the murder of one of his seven victims. He was about to be charged for the remaining six murders. A unique and disturbing friendship between the two began, comprised of written correspondence, face-to-face prison visits and recorded phone calls. Howell, who had been unwilling to speak to any members of the media, came to trust Howard.

In the years that follow, the suspect shared his troubled history with Howard but refused to discuss the charges against him, promising only to tell her everything when the case was over.

That time has come.

HIS GARDEN probes the complicated and conflicted mind of William Devin Howell–Connecticut’s most prolific serial killer. Both sacred and profane in its narrative style, the story on these pages explores the eternal question of human evil and its impact on others, including the woman he chose to hear his horrific confession.

William Devlin Howell was not a serial killer that I was acquainted with, then I heard Anne Howard on a podcast discussing her book and decided to give it a read. I am fascinated by true crime, what makes a serial killer into the monster, could things have been different, was there a different path the could have taken. this book looks at all those traditional true-crime elements as you would expect but it also gives you a very different and unique insight into the world of true crime writing.

Anne Howard talks candidly about the role of the author in these types of books, about the conflicts raised within her by the act of interacting with the serial killer and finding that it is not always that easy to reconcile the man and his actions. I think that is, of course, one of the most intriguing aspects, so many times when someone is arrested for the most horrific crimes we hear friends and neighbours speak to what a lovely man he was, how polite, how quiet, but it makes sense, the victims would be more wary of a freak, of someone outwardly strange or aggressive but the nice guy can get victims alone so much easier.

In an age where journalists are often criticised for the lengths they will go to for a story, it is nice to read about the fact that the decisions to go down certain routes, is not always as easy as it may seem, and also that while dealing with someone who saw his victims as less than human, she was able to show them as the vulnerable flawed people they were and give their families some, albeit painful, answers.

This is not an easy read, at times it does seem to drag a little however, I would say it is worth pushing through it, the book is not as sensationally told as some other true crime books but it is one of the most thought provoking I have read.

I give this book 4 out of five stars.

Book Reviews

Book Review – The Cottage By Lavinia Urban

 

Lydia is left reeling as she discovers that for the past eight years there has been a block on her memories.
Not only is she a shapeshifting witch but she is also a Gatekeeper to the Dark Realms.
Giving up the only life she knows Lydia travels back to her home town of Mystic Valley where things become heated when she meets her soulmate in her dreams.
Follow Lydia as she discovers who she really is as she tries to unlock all of her memories.

As those of you who have been around for a while know, Lavinia was a dear friend who passed away last year, that being said I always review book straight down the line and this one will be no different.

This book is a quick read, it is aimed at YA and I read it in a day, but that is not to say that it does not have substance. Although this was intended to be the start of a series it can be read alone, it is a paranormal coming of age story and while I will not deny that some readers may find it frustrating that we never learn everything there is to know, I do think it is a good enough start to make it worth reading nevertheless.

There are a few typos but nothing that can distract you from the story and as Lavinia is not around to fix them I feel it unfair to hold those against her. Part of me wished she had written this as an adult series but that was not her preferred genre and I have to judge this book for what it is and know if I have come across this age 12-13 I would have absolutely raved about it.

So I am giving my score based upon how it would relate to it’s intended audience, I have no qualms about giving this a 5 out of five stars, and remember that sales of this book help Lavinia’s family continue without her and show she is not forgotten.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Fact Vs Fiction

Thoughts On Thursday: If you could bring back one musician from the dead, who would it be and why?

Thoughts on Thursday is undergoing a slight change, previously I have used it to talk about world issues or something that has annoyed me, something on my mind. This year it will be a chance for you to know me better, each day over on FB, Twitter and Instagram I will be doing my question of the day but each week here I will answer a question in more depth.

There are a few people that came to mind when I considered this but in the end, there could only be one person I would pick, David Bowie!

Like a million other girls I fell in love with the goblin king, it was not the first time that I had heard of David Bowie but it was Jareth who captured my heart, years later on the sad day of his passing I woke to a text from my daughter, it stated simply ‘The Goblin King is dead!’ And I admit I cried a little.

What Bowie was so good at, as well as the lyrics was, was allowing the imagination full reign, there were no limits, no boundaries. He immersed himself in his creations but he also allowed others to believe that anything was possible for them. I, like many others I know, am still waiting for the dream masquerade ball, somewhere on the other side of the mirror where our younger self still dwells, where we will let him keep our younger siblings to carry on the dance.

There are so many different songs that I could choose, so many that have a special place in my heart or bring back memories of my childhood, Let’s Dance, Dancing in Street, Heroes, just too many classics to pick from all of which attest to his creative genius.

Absolute Beginners was one of the films of my teens, slated by many I have to say the words of the title track always resonated with me, as I write this post I realise that it is impossible to think of the 80’s when I was a teenager without Bowie occupying some part of it.

The thing is that Bowie was not just and 80’s artist he shaped every decade he lived and performed through, even when at times he was out of the public eye, his influence continued with those inspired by him and those who he collaborated with. I do not even claim to have come close to seeing every performance from his career, this next video was new to me even now as I searched for the others.

The final video is a tribute to his work ethic, that despite battling cancer, knowing that his days were numbered, he still finished yet another masterpiece. It is hard to watch this video, knowing the truth about how ill he was but it is also a tribute that the man could face his battles and turn them into something that transcends life and death.

We can only imagine, given another two or three decades, just how many more seminal pieces Bowie could have created, but with modern technology we have the power to resurrect Bowie over and over again each time we listen to his songs, watch his videos or share them with generations to come.

Answers in the comments for which musician you would bring back even if only for just one more song.

Fact Vs Fiction

Day For Resolutions

Every year I make a dozen or so resolutions, if I am lucky I might keep one of two for most of the year.

Last year was a disaster in some ways, but a success in others, I met someone care about very much, I did a few signings including visiting new places, and of course I met new friends. But my writing stagnated, half finished projects abound on my computer and for the second half of the year I struggled mentally and physically.

This year I am still making resolutions but they are taking a different form.

This year I am starting afresh, beginning a new decade with the into making changes not just for a year but to gain the life I want.

This will be the year where I step up both my writing and marketing, I am setting up Raven’s Rest Press, this will give me an option for creating special edition books and hardback of certain books.

I will be completing the Queen of Ages Trilogy and hopefully there will be more news regarding the tie in game that a friend has conceived and I am working on.

There will be more anthology contributions alongside the books, and I will get better organised to stay on top of the blog, and the websites.

This is the year I want to get my Patreon set up.and running properly, I want to reach a point where my writing at least pays for itself and preferably pays the bills also.

I am signed up to UK signings  through 2020, 2021, and 2022, my dream is to work towards US signings in 2023, and to tie those in with visiting friends over there.

The usual one of losing weight of course is added into the mix this year I have a specific target and incentive.

Ruby came into.my life about seven weeks ago, at a time where I was mentally exhausted, I was struggling to keep the brave face on and tired and in pain. Exercising the demented spaniel is easy you walk to the field andd he runs round like a lunatic, but the horse requires you to give your time and to do exercise without it feeling like a workout.

She is my therapy,  she calms me, I am learning new skills, learning about subjects that I never considered before, and these do actually feed into my writing. Previously I wrote describing a journey of several days riding without considering so many factors, now I gaining a better knowledge of the realities of the equine world. I also learnt to make the map first.

The fact is that before I can even think about riding her I need to lose weight. Of course there is no guarantee I will be able to even then but I will be able to make that decision knowing I tried my best.

This year I am taking control of my destiny and focussing on what I want from my life.

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Pride (Lavinia Urban’s Seven Deadly Sins Series Book 2) by Lavinia Urban & Stacy McWilliams

There were three things Hunter Sinclair cared about: his club, his Harley and his family.

Being the poster boy for the Atlanta Angels didn’t last long and soon Hunter was forced to flee to Florida with a shattered family and broken dreams.

On the outside Savannah Simmons has it all: good grades, the perfect family and amazing friends, but appearances can be deceptive. Beneath the surface, things are far from perfect.

She was everything he craved but he knew she could never be his for fear that his past would destroy her.

Could Hunter swallow his pride and admit how much he wanted her or would the repercussions from his past tear them apart?

This is the second of the books in the series completed in honour of Lavinia Urban, you can find the review for the first book, Lust, here. Again I approached this with mixed feelings, luckily I still do not have to worry about what will happen if I do not enjoy one of these books.

I had not read anything by Stacy previous to this, so I was not sure what to expect but I did feel that this was a book I could have imagined Lavinia writing. It certainly has more of a YA/New Adult feel than the first book, and is, in many ways a coming of age story, a trope frequently exhibited in Lavinia’s other series. The whole teenage forbidden love, and moving on despite feelings remaining, resonated with me and I can imagine this could be the start of something more.

The characters are well written and believable, likewise the situations that are covered in the book including the way that the parents ‘good boy’ is really the predator while the ‘bad influence’ is the hero.

I am so happy to be able to give this five out of 5 stars without any hesitation and recommend that if you have not already read these books them find them on KU, not only are you helping a family mourning the loss of their wonder woman but you will also get to read some new authors.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews

Book Review – Wicked Wish (Wicked Horse Vegas #2) By Sawyer Bennett

I am the most sought after man in The Wicked Horse. Sex is nothing but a game to me and I’m the type that will leave at the end of the night without looking back. Tonight, there is no way I can walk away from the mysterious green-eyed beauty behind the mask of sapphire feathers at the club’s masquerade event.

Clearly looking to walk on the wild side, she’s the escape I’m looking for. Unfortunately, I realize too late that I know exactly who she is. And now I’m left to reconcile the fact that I just experienced the greatest pleasure of my life with Jorinda Pearce.

My best friend’s little sister.
And there is not another woman in the world who is more off limits.

I confess I was a little annoyed when I realised that this book was not the first in the series, however, I don’t think I really missed out on anything important by not having read the first one. The book’s plot plays on the fine lines of friendship, siblings, and bonds between people not based on shared blood.

At first, I was a little unsure about the plot, I don’t really read a lot of erotica, and the pacing where the main character goes from being ‘vanilla’ and questioning her sexual failings to being fully immersed into the idea of sexual exhibitionism seemed a little too quick for me and a little too easy. The fact I found the characters interesting made it easier to keep reading and I did enjoy the book but I would just like to have seen more of an internal struggle from the main character regarding her choices.

The book is well written and I get that the length fits the genre but I was left feeling like I would have liked a little bit more, however,  accept that is probably more my failing than the book, and it is only fair I scale the book based on its genre rather than how much more could have been added.

I did enjoy this book and did read it in a day so I am going to give it 4 out of five stars, for me the only thing I can’t get past is that there would not have been any internal turmoil with Jorinda after the first visit to the club.