Book Reviews

Current Read!

I never seem to keep up with book reviews on here so instead I am going to just talk about a current read and then do the reviews straight to kindle/Goodreads as I finish them. I am currently at 38% and I am really enjoying it.

So first the blurb…

Romance under Aquarius is book 1# of the Stargazing series, a 12-book series of standalones.

What would you do for your dying brother?
Would you travel the world and swim to the deepest depths?
If I told you Greek mythology speaks of a water healer under the zodiac sign of Aquarius, would you consider going after it?

What would you do if you found out your fiancé was cheating on you?
Would you fight your father’s decision to have you marry him?
If I told you your opinion wouldn’t change a thing, would you fight to be heard or maybe run away?

What would you do if the only person you loved was intended for your best friend?
Would you sacrifice your own happiness for theirs?
If I told you your future following others’ rules would make you miserable, would you step in line?

What would you do if you found out you could be king but you’d have to marry someone you didn’t love?
Would you try to make it work?
If I told you the princess is destined for more than you can offer, would you help her?

I am going to start this off by saying something that might come across as strange but although I am enjoying the book I don’t like any of the main characters at the minute. They are all well written and the plot is captivating but at the minute each of the characters is quite self-centred and each has their own dubious reasons for getting involved in this plot. At this point their is plenty of time for one or more of them to redeem themselves and the way the story is developing may allow for that.

At the minute I would say that this book would be good for YA or New Adult, if you are looking for steamy then this is not for you, it is more of a fade to black but does allude to sex and other adult content but not overly. There is enough in there for it to be a good read for adults but as I say if you are looking for mermaid porn you won’t find it here.

The book is available in Kindle Unlimited and you can find it here. Should you wish to learn more about the author Danielle Jacks you can find her on Facebook here.

I haven’t read as much as normal this week as I have been busy writing but I will tell you about that on Wednesday.

Fact Vs Fiction

What Am I Reading?

This week I have two books on the go still. In paperback I am reading the book from my Romance Readers Christmas box…

I am over half way through and really enjoying it, the only reason I haven’t finished this yet is that it is too chunky to fit in my handbag lol. Anyway if you are interested in checking out the boxes you can join this group here, I highly recommend the Christmas boxes for the blankets, that is besides all the other cool stuff you get.

So on my kindle I am currently reading this…

I am enjoying it, however I will confess there are a few places I find it hard to accept a few of the plot points. I get that the whole point of this is that the girl has to submit to the main character and learn to trust him completely but things like taking her out to the opera and making her remain blindfolded in public is weird. I am only at 40% so I am hoping that there will not be much more that pushes me out of the story.

I will be back on Wednesday with the pre-order details for Bourbon & Bullets.

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – Week 1 2022

This week I am writing mafia, sex, and violence! One of those things is new to me, yes the mafia part lol. I am in the process of finishing up a piece for an anthology. The problem with short stories is that as you create them, you find they take on a life of their own demanding they become a full fledged novel at the very least. So while the short story will be complete in it’s arc these characters will most likely be back at some point in the future.

To research this story I have to say google has been my friend and my enemy, do you know how many hours you can lose doing a google search for gang tattoos…

I can’t show you all the images I saved for inspiration, you will learn about some of them at a later date, if the story makes it to a full book or more.

I also have harassed my friend Jakab for knowledge of his homeland, and I won’t lie his voice inspired my main character Cezar, I swear he sounds just like an 80’s Bond villain. When deciding to write a mafia story I was determined I didn’t want to do Italian Mafia or Russian Bratva, so instead I decided to go with Romanian.

Straight away I hit a snag as most Romanian gangs tended to be more street gangs without a larger infrastructure, however, I got around this by Cezar having being trained and having links to the Bratva. His life, upbringing and parentage are all things that will come into play if the story makes it to a full book or series.

The anthology is available to pre-order on Amazon and I will be back with more details about that next Wednesday!

Fact Vs Fiction

31 Overlook Hotel, Interlude & Chapter 6

Happy New Year! I recorded this but never got around to posting it so let’s get back in the groove. This is Interlude and chapter 6 of 31 Overlook Hotel on the Coffee & Dark Reads podcast, you can find the book at // and all my social media links at //

Fact Vs Fiction

New Year’s Day = Resolutions!

It is January the first and of course that means that it is time to make a load of resolutions in the hope that we will at least keep one or two. This year however I am doing things a little differently and breaking the year down into three month blocks, basically quarters.

The last few months of last year I switched from using my yearly planning ststem to using a three month Legend planner, this is the one I am using though I am sure others are available…

The link for this one is here. I did begin to find that slowly I was becoming more productive in the last few months so I am going to try this method again this year. So rather than a year of resolutions in one go you will get five at a time, some will continue through the year with smaller milestones.

Resolution One – Write every day!

This seems self explanatory, but previously I have set myself targets and then knowing that I cant hit it I have got disheartened, so this time around the target is only 500 words per day. I really do want to write a lot more than that each day, and to get everything out I want to this year I will need to average out 1500 to 2000 a day but by allowing myself those day where 500 words counts I won’t feel like a failure if I don’t manage more on a busy day.

Resolution Two – Publish Rosie

This book is a third written, it is planned, outlined and complete in my head I just need to get the words on paper and get it out. I have an anthology out next month that needs to be finished in the next week, then it is all systems blazing for this project. I am hoping this book will be out in time to take print copies to Telford in March and the exciting this is this will be my first full length romance.

Resolution Three – Publish Role Of The Dice

Like Rosie this book is planned, outlined and a third written, it even has chapters laid out for the rest of the book it just needs me to focus and get it done. While I would love to get this out for Telford I doubt I will get to a point where I have print copies available for both books. My only hope would be possibly to create a book plate so anyone who wants to buy it from Amazon when it comes out, the ones that can’t get to see my later in the year, can add it. The thing to remember is that you can always order print copies of my books, signed and personalised from Raven’s Rest Press which is the name I have given my print imprint.

Resolution Four – Keep up to date with all scheduled posts.

I pay for a service that allows me to schedule posts to FB, Twitter, Instagram etc and when I first got it I was really good at making sure I arranged for a few posts per day so that even on busy days I had a presence. Then after a while, I became disheartened with my writing, as a result I only posted sporadically. This year I am determined to keep on track. Just 30 minutes each day will enable me to keep up with it all and allow me to share more with my readers.

Resolution Five – Lose Weight

Instead of setting a goal for the year I am aiming to divide it up into more manageable sections. So first this first quarter I am aiming to lose 24lbs, this should be easier as you do tend to lose weight quite quickly at the start. I wasn’t sure if I should share my starting weight but I guess it will make me more accountable to myself if no one else. So my starting weight is 283lbs. I will check in on the first of each month as far as my resolutions go and let you know how it is going.

Getting started…

Now, you know my plans for the next three months I would also like to assure you that you will be seeing me more here more as well and I will be posting at least twice a week plus getting the podcast running again. 2022, watch this space.

Fact Vs Fiction

Merry Christmas!

This year has been rather disappointing for me in many ways but mostly I feel I have let myself and my readers down with my lack of productivity. The good news is that a switch in my head seems to have flipped and the ideas are flowing again.

I am not going to say too much in this post about my plans for next year but I will simply wish you all a wonderful holiday however you celebrate it. For those on their own please reach out, there are thousands of others out there in the same position and and even if you can’t be physically with someone we live in an age where technology brings us together.

I have thought about that a lot the last few month, if the pandemic had happened when I was a child it would have been so much worse, no internet, mobile phones, in fact many people, my family included still used the phone box at the end of the street. Today we can, call, email, message, text and FaceTime, so many ways we can reach out and keep in touch with others if we make the effort.

It is also a time where if you have an elderly neighbour, or someone who you know lives alone, you can make a real difference. You might not want to invite them round for dinner but when you have all those leftovers you can think about whether they might welcome a plate for their dinner the next day, or that spare slice of cheesecake might just be a treat they would not have bought themselves.

Christmas is for giving but that doesn’t have to mean expensive gifts, some times a kind word is enough to make a change to someone’s day, and making memories is the most precious thing you can do with those nearest and dearest to you.

So I have rambled enough, I will simply wish you all a merry Christmas and will be here next week to talk about the future.

My Thought on Writing

Losing An Idol.

The thing about getting older is the people who inspired you, that shaped your dreams start to pass away, and not only can you feel this on a personal level but it also makes you question what your own legacy will be.

On the 11th of December 2021 Anne Rice, the woman who taught me to create whole worlds in my head passed away. She wasn’t the first ‘grown up’ author I read, like so many of my generation Stephen King was the natural progression from teenage books and Tolkien, but Anne Rice took it to a whole new level for me.

When I first read Interview With a Vampire I feel in love with the characters but more than that I became totally immersed in the world. Anne had a gift for bringing history to life in a way which was visceral, you could close your eyes and smell the odour from the Mississippi, hear the sounds of New Orleans. She was the one who made me want to be a writer and to be able to create those same emotions in my readers.

Amongst my most treasured possessions are signed book plates that I sent off to receive from her, it was an example of her generosity to her fans. She knew there was no way that every person would ever get to meet her to get a book signed so she arranged for her fans to be able to send a SAE and in return each was supposed to get two signed book plates but I know many like myself received more.

It is hard to accept I will never get a chance to meet her, never get one of those books I love so much personalised. It is even harder to accept that there is a good chance I will never have that thrill of excitement knowing a new instalment of The Vampire Chronicles is on its way.

There is a slim chance that there may be books she has written, that her son Christopher may complete, but it will not be the same. And if there is a full book somewhere I think it will probably be a little like when Terry Pratchett passed, reading that final book makes it just that, final.

But that leads me to the final thought of what do I leave behind, while I am proud of the books I have written I have so many more in my head, so much more I want to share. I will probably never have to sort of following Anne had, in fact that will only ever happen in my dreams lol, but I do have the chance to leave behind a body of work that I can be proud of.

The only person holding me back right now is me, and ironically the loss of my first ever muse is the kick up the backside I need.


It’s November 1st! That can only mean one thing…Here we go again!

Yes, its Nano time again and this year I am determined to finally beat it. I have a short story to finish then my first romance novel Rosie which has been stalled over the last few months and I had been hoping to release today. Instead plan B write like a lunatic this month, cover release when I hit 70k in the document (not Nano obviously), set a pre-order date for just before Christmas when I finish the first draft then edit like a lunatic.

Can I do it? The answer is yes, should I attempt to do it probably not but I have been stuck in this rut so long and I will be damned if another year finishes without at least one release. Going forward I intend to release between three and four books a year, a lot of this year has been about working out how to make myself more productive and I am finally getting there. Last week I got back on track with scheduling social media posts, I also got some writing done, and some housework. These things are not a big deal for some but for me they honest are at the minute.

I am breaking down everything into 30 minute section, then breaking that up with twenty minute breaks. The breaks are needed for my physical health more than my mental, if I am sat at my desk in that twenty minutes I need to get up an move about. The same is true in the other direction if I have been doing housework for half an hour I need to sit down and relax before switching to the next task even if that one involves sitting down.

My plan for Nano is to fit in four 30 minute writing slots per day each aimed at just 500 words. It is an amount I can easily type in that time (I am not as quick as I used to be lol) but also by the time I sit down I should have had time to decide where the story is going next. Right now in my short story a woman is tied up in someone’s cellar, for her, at this moment things actually can’t get any worse (I am not allowed to have really bad things happen to her while she is there or they would lol) but she is shortly going to be given hope.

And really when it comes to Nano, that it what it gives us. Hope we can write that novel, hope we will write everyday and hope that even if we don’t we will find a way to get back in the saddle after falling off.

Will I ‘win’ at Nano this year? Yes! Because even if I don’t write 50k in 30 days, all it takes is to write more than the 5k I have written in the last 30 days to be a winner.

Fact Vs Fiction

31 Overlook Hotel, Interlude & Chapter 5

This is Interlude and chapter 5 of 31 Overlook Hotel on the Coffee & Dark Reads podcast, you can find the book at // and all my social media links at //