Resolutions 2021

2021 At last! Thank Goodness 2020 is done.

A new year means a new start, and of course, resolutions about making the new year better than the previous, and I am no different. Last year I allowed events in both my personal life and the world in general distract me and wear me down until I lost my writing mojo. I made an attempt to rally however, I failed there after a couple of good weeks it all went back downhill, but I took a different approach and decided to prepare to make 2021 my best year yet. So here we go with this years writing resolutions…

  1.  I will blog at least five times a week. I previously had quite a good following on here and plenty of interactions, I will work on regaining that audience and rewarding those who have stood by me for whom I have the greatest respect and affection.
  2.  I will publish a minimum of four books this year, I have a couple already well under way and want to get the rest of the Queen Of Ages Trilogy published so I can move on to the two other series that I have floating around in my head.
  3. I will make sure all pries are posted out within two weeks of them being won unless I am waiting for a postal address.
  4. I will get the podcast back up and running and be consistent at that, I will also arrange for interviews with author friends as part of that.
  5. I will get the Raven’s Rest Press website set up to allow readers to order print copies of my books, which can be signed and shipped to them if they cannot attend signings.
  6. Once the trilogy is finished I will look at creating the special hard back trilogy version.

So just half a dozen resolutions to get by backside back on track, let me know in comments, do you make resolutions? If so, what are they?

Happy New Year to all and remember…

Book Reviews

Book Review – Hunter’s Claim (The Alliance Book 1) By S.E. Smith

Jesse Sampson and her two younger sisters have lived a hard life on the streets of Seattle, Washington for the past several years.

Four years before, the Earth received its first visitors from space causing mass fear.

Alone in a world gone mad with just her sisters, she has learned to use the darkness and the remains of the city to survive and keep what was left of her family alive. She has seen the savage side of human nature and finds they are not much different from the aliens who conquered Earth.

The Trivators have taken control of Earth to prevent the humans from destroying it in their fear.

A world of warriors, they are sent out by the Alliance of Star Systems to seek out new worlds. Their mission is first contact. They are to establish communications with the leaders of the new worlds they find and bring them into the Alliance.

Any resistance is to be quickly subdued to prevent unnecessary death of the inhabitants of the new worlds they find. Their payment comes from the success of their mission.

Hunter is what he is called. A hunter, one of the elite clans of the Trivators who seek out those who resist. His abilities to track, capture and eliminate those who try to harm any warrior is renowned.

He finds the tables turned when he becomes the one captured by a group of ruthless humans. Hunter is shocked when a strange human female risks her life to help him escape only to disappear into the ruins of the city.

He now has a new mission, finding the female who saved his life. He is determined to find her before she is damaged by others of her kind.

What he finds is a reward beyond comprehension to a Trivator warrior, a family.

Can he convince Jesse that he can give her and her younger sisters a better life on his world? Or will fear keep her from accepting what he has to offer?

I have really mixed feeling on this book, on the one hand the writing is brilliant and the characters the author has created are engaging and you do find your self pulling for them but, on the other hand I do have a couple of issues with this.

I think the biggest problem I have is the time line of the story, it seems to be that Jesse and her sisters decide to completely trust these aliens far too quickly, I would like to have seem some sort of allusion to a passing of time where they had resisted and protested a little bit more. I do understand wanting to keep the book to a reasonable length but I would have much preferred it to have been split into two books, on the voyage to a new land where the relationship’s between Earthlings and aliens is built up over more time with greater mental and physical conflict, and the second bit starting with their arrival at the new world and a lot more description of the adjustments to arriving in this incredible new place.

However, I have to judge it based on how it is, so I am going to give it a four out of 5 stars, I did enjoy it I just wanted more.

You can get the book here…

Hunter’s Claim: Science Fiction Romance (The Alliance Book 1) eBook: Smith, S.E.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

And find out more about the author here…

SE Smith | Facebook

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Rightful Owner by Hemmie Martin

When a murder occurs in an exclusive swingers’ club, DI Wednesday and DS Lennox find themselves immersed in a murky world of sex and secrets. It doesn’t take long for the members to turn on one another, and for their clandestine affairs to come crashing into their everyday lives. As Wednesday experiences the pressures of work and caring for her mother’s mental illness, and Lennox’s ex-wife has him worrying about the sustainability of his role as a father, their case brings about questions of personal freedom and they begin to wonder if we are all, in fact, owned in one way or another.

This is the second book in this series and I really enjoyed it, each case is different from the last and this one takes the reader behind the curtains of the rich and privileged. The plot takes the detectives into a world where the rich believe they are above the law and that they have the right to do as the please.

This is contrasted with the mundane issues faced by the detectives in their personal lives, how to balance work and home, while maintaining a clear head in order to solve the crimes.

I recommend this book and hope that there will be more to come in the future, I give this five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

You can get the book here…

Rightful Owner eBook: Martin, Hemmie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

And if you want to interact with Hemmie you can find her on FB here…

 Hemmie Martin Author Page | Facebook

 

1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Living a lie, Part One By M.L. Kacy

Because I have so many book reviews to get done I am going to do a second one on a Tuesday until I catch up…

 

In your early adult years, you think that you know it all. Well that’s how I was looking back on my life. Nearly nineteen-years later, it’s true what they say, you always learn by your mistakes, mistakes make you into a stronger person. Boy, did I make a hell of a lot of mistakes. I never thought that my life would turn out the way that it did. There are only four things that I would never regret, my four beautiful children. They were, and still are, my saving grace, my redemption of sorts. When the darkness became too much, thoughts of them would pull me into the light.

This is my story, it’s not a story that is all sweetness and light. It’s a story of love, regret, devastation, darkness and maybe a little redemption.

So here we are, I shall start from the beginning.
Part One

***Disclaimer- Some of the content in this book can cause triggers for some. Also, contains profanity, erotic scenes and only suitable for readers 18+***

This book is biographical of an extraordinary woman who has overcome so much in her life. Reading this as just a reader you cannot help but fell so much empathy for the main ‘character’ Rhea, I don’t want to say too much but she goes through events which are so traumatic and it is so well written that you do feel her pain and empathise with her.

For me reading this as someone who actually knows the author it adds another level of heartbreak and you want to run over to her and give her a big hug. The only issue I have is that I only bought part one, I strongly recommend buying the newer versions with part one and two together.

I give this a heart wrenching five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
1. Monday · Monday Musings

Book Review – The Runaway In Love, the Runaway Trilogy: Book 2 By Helen Bright

With police interviews and an ongoing threat to contend with, Kolya has to work harder than ever to keep his young wife safe. His vow to respect her innocence becomes harder with each passing day, so when an opportunity to create distance presents itself, he doesn’t hesitate to take it.
Tess is in love, though she’s finding it difficult to deal with her husband’s high-handed behaviour. Due to her background and fiery temper, she has little respect for authority, which often leads to potentially volatile situations.
If they want their marriage to survive, both will have to compromise, and give in to the soul-deep feelings which have gripped them since the day they met.

The story continues and if you want to read my review about the first story you can find it here, I love this series, the whole premise of the series fascinates me, I know some people may find it hard to believe what Kolya would take Tess under his wing but the whole thing of being responsible for a person who saves your life and vice versa intrigues me . It also helps that the characters are so well written, there are such a variety and each has been given the same attention even if they are a secondary character or only appear for a brief period in the story.

I confess to being friends with the author but the only way this influences me is in that I can nag her to get the final part of the trilogy out and then move on to telling us more about the other characters.

For me the score on this is so easy, five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
#Nano2020

Nano Update 2 – 08/11/20

The week started off so well, I was writing every day and even though I wasn’t quite hitting the targets I wasn’t far off. The life happened, or more specifically  combination of incidents at the day job, I was left emotionally and physically drained and missed several days, In previous years this would be the point I would have just thrown the towel in, life was against me, what was the point.

But this year is different, this year I am not letting others drain my dreams and destroy my future, today I take control of my life again and get back to the writing. Before it all went wrong I did hit another milestone…

Of course most people have hit that by the end of day three and buy day seven should have doubled it and added some, but for me it is a spur to push me to up those stats and get those words down, so let’s see where my restart is beginning…

5309 / 50000 total words
On average, you write  663 words per day!
At this rate you’ll be done on January 14, 2021!
I guarantee this story will be finished long before that but in order to do so I must not let myself be distracted and let other people determine my actions and my life. Hopefully by Wednesday I will have much better numbers to discuss.
#Nano2020

Nano Update 1 – 4/11/20

I am writing this first thing in the morning before I start Nano for today. So how is it going I hear you ask! Well there are positives and negatives, let’s start with a huge positive…

Yes, I have written three days running, this has been something I have struggled with in the past, last year I set up Nano and I didn’t even start, and this is something I do tell people who think they will fail Nano, I at the end of the month you have written more than you had the month before then it has been a success even if you don’t get a winners badge, speaking of badges I got the next one on the second day rather than the first…

Yes, that is the amount we are supposed to write each day but life gets in the way and the first day I was almost there, but the other two I only wrote about half the required amount so my stats right now are…

3040 / 50000 total words
On average, you write 1,013 words per day!
At this rate you’ll be done on December 20, 2020!
I am happy at this point with my numbers, I am just over a day behind but as well as that three day streak I am in the process of getting myself back into the discipline of knowing I need to write a set amount each day and working out what works best for me.
Previously I wrote most late at night but that is no longer an option, I take tablets at 10 pm and then I am out for the count. I cant really push them back any later because of the time I need to take them on a morning, so everything is about adjusting my life and therefore my writing to fit in with this new routine and with being back at work.
I work in a supermarket so there will be now furlough and staying at home for me to work for me, and I know there are arguments both ways that I am lucky to have a job when others face losing theirs including some of my friends but I will also be honest that the last lockdown here in the UK really damaged my mental health with the stress placed on us.
There will be another Nano Update on Sunday so hopefully by then that finish date will be back down to the official date of 30th November.
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – So You WantTo Own An Art Gallery By Lee Benson

I picked this up at a book signing after talking to the author…

An art gallery is serious business…isn’t it? Not when it involves manic artists and predatory female staff it isn’t.
“The funniest and sexiest of debut novels”

This is a collection of anecdotes rather than short stories, taken from the authors time running an art gallery, in person Lee Benson is charming and witty, something you do get a glance of in his book but I have always promised to be totally honest in these reviews and this book does have a few issues.

The first one being the subject matter, if you have never been a part of the art world you may find some of the characters unbelievable, let me just tell you having attended art college after school for just over a year, these people really do exist,. I am aware every walk of life has its own colourful characters, but there is something about the art world which allows them full rein to express their personality in all its multicoloured facets.

The second issue is that the book is a collection of anecdotes rather than stories, so although occasionally you get a brief set up or a concluding comment you are not going to get to know what happened to the people you meet long term, they appear and are gone again if the fluttering of a few pages.

There is a part of me that wishes the author had written a fictional story about an art gallery owner, weaving a few of these tales together then throughout a storyline that gives us a deeper insight to some of the characters and then he could have told the other tales as was to engage the audience.

Does this mean the book is bad? No, it just means I believe it cold have been so much more, a view, which like art, is subjective., if you want a book you can pick up read a page and drop again then this would work, it is interesting and amusing but it needs more context especially for the non art world people.

I will round this up for Goodreads/Amazon but I am giving this 3.5 stars out of five, I just hope the author forgives me when I next run across him at a signing.

1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Yorkshire Ripper The Secret Murders By Chris Clark And Tim Tate

 

In 1981, Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, was convicted of thirteen murders and seven attempted murders. All his proven victims were women: most were prostitutes.

Astonishingly, however, this is not the whole truth. There is a still-secret story of how Sutcliffe’s terrible reign of terror claimed at least twenty-two more lives and left five other victims with terrible injuries. These crimes – attacks on men as well as women – took place all over England, not just in his known killing fields of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Police and prosecution authorities have long known that Sutcliffe’s reign of terror was far longer and far more widespread than the public has been led to believe. But the evidence has been locked away in the files and archives, ensuring that these murders and attempted murders remain unsolved today.

As a result, the families of at least twenty-two murdered women have been cheated of their right to know how and why their loved ones died: the pain of living with that may diminish over time, but it never fades away completely. Five other victims survived his attacks: their plight, too, has never been officially acknowledged.

Worse still, police blunders and subsequent suppression of evidence ensured that three entirely innocent men were imprisoned for murders committed by the Yorkshire Ripper. They each lost the best parts of their adult lives, locked up and forgotten in stinking cells for more than two decades.

This book, by a former police Intelligence Officer, is the story not just of those long-cold killings, of the forgotten families and of three terrible miscarriages of justice. It also uncovers Peter Sutcliffe’s real motive for murder – and reveals how he manipulated police, prosecutors and psychiatrists to ensure that he serves his sentence in the comfort of a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison cell.

This book was really interesting and if true crime is your thing you should give it a read. The crimes that Peter Sutcliffe were charged with are well discussed and have been written about frequently but this book looks at the geography of his life and the number of similar crimes committed in areas he had links with at times he was likely to be there. Some fit his known pattern, others are slightly different, but all share elements of his modus operandi.

Even before reading this I did wonder how many other victims there were out there, either people who were killed or those who had a near misses. I do understand from a practical point of view why there is nothing to be gained and that it would be expensive to investigate every crime that took place in every area he lived or visited, but you can’t help wondering if there are women out there who never got justice.

I give this book 5 out of five stars.