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!

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.

Fact Vs Fiction

31 Overlook Hotel, Interlude & Chapter 5

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-r6f6b-10fef51

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

Book Reviews · Fact Vs Fiction

Wrath (Lavinia Urban’s Seven Deadly Sins Series Book 3) by Lavinia Urban (Goodreads Author), Ava Manello

*All proceeds will go to Lavinia’s family in her memory*

When club enforcer Wrath is asked for help, he is torn between doing what’s right and stirring up a past that still haunts him.

What follows is a journey that forces him to question and re-evaluate everything he thought he already knew.

Decisions have to be made.

Should he continue on the path he’s chosen or is there a chance of becoming the man his mother would have wanted him to be?

Life doesn’t always have a happy ever after, no matter how much you want it.
This is a heart-wrenching tale of heartbreak and loss.

Be warned, it will leave your emotions in tatters.

I first read this when it came out, it the time the pain of Lavinia’s loss was still raw and I was not sure if that played into my reading of the book. Rereading it I now can honestly say it is not just the personal connection in is Ava’s creative talents that will destroy you and have you sat sobbing into your hankie while totally unable to put the book down.

The main character is not likeable, his life choices mean you should not feel empathy for him but as the story unfolds you will find yourself wishing you could reach in to the pages and led the boy down a different path to the one he took. It challenges your conception on good and bad, what is right and what is legal. And while Wrath may represent the stereotypical MC lifestyle you also get to see a balance of the good some clubs choose to do.

I highly recommend this book and cannot give it anything less than 5 out of five stars.

You can get the book here

And you can find out more about the amazing Ava Manello here

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Flat Share By Beth O’Leary

 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast.
Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash.

Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

I confess when my daughter first told me to read this, I resisted. I tend to avoid books where there seems to be lot of hype about it, mainly because they tend to let you down, but this one did the opposite, it far exceeded my expectations.

Yes, it is chick lit. but the characters written are not only realistic but also likeable, you find yourself rooting for them and rooting for that happy ending. I have to admit personally the idea of sharing a flat this way would terrify me in real life, yet in this modern world, where housing costs are increasingly expensive, shared houses and flats are becoming the norm for some people, especially for students and young single professionals. This makes the ideas behind this book even more intriguing, I loved the idea of leaving the hand written notes rather than just text messages, it provides a contrast against the ‘real’ lives of Tiffy and Leon. 

If you haven’t already guessed I totally recommend this book and you can grab your self a copy in your local bookshop or via amazon.

I give this 5 out of five stars along with thousands of others.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review: The Murder Game By Rachel Abbott

That’s the thing about old friends… they never let you forget.

The first time Jemma and Matt were invited to Polskirrin – the imposing ocean-view home belonging to Matt’s childhood friend Lucas Jarrett – it was for an intimate wedding that ended in tragedy. Jemma will never forget the sight of the girl’s pale body floating listlessly towards the rocky shore.

Now, exactly one year later, Jemma and her husband have reluctantly returned at Lucas’s request to honor the anniversary of an event they would do anything to forget.

But what Lucas has in store for his guests is nothing like a candlelight vigil. Someone who was there that night remembers more than they’ll admit to, and Lucas has devised a little game to make them tell the truth.

Jemma believes she and Matt know nothing about what happened to that woman… but what if she’s wrong? Before you play a deadly game, make sure you can pay the price…

From the four-million-copy bestselling author of Sleep Tight comes a psychological thriller that will have you gripped until the last page. Perfect for fans of Something in the Water, The Woman in the Window and The Silent Patient.

I got this book via Bookbub I have a feeling I paid 99p for it, the title and the blurb just caught my attention and I decided to give it a go. Although Amazon and Goodreads list it as the second book in a series it honestly, felt like it could be read as a standalone, I haven’t read the first one and the detective whose series it is part of does not play a major role in this story until the last few chapters.

This book is about secrets, desire, and betrayal, and I loved it. The first part of the book is told from the point of view of the outsider in this group of friends, the one who married into the group and has no idea of their hidden past, a past where it seems everyone has something to hide.

Normally, I get who the murderer is half way through the book, and yes in this I did get one person right but I did not get the whole picture, there are twists and turns aplenty as you unravel what different characters are trying to hide.

I highly recommend this book and it is very reasonably priced so if you want to grab a copy try here.

I give this book five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews

Book Review – Shadows in the Mind by Hemmie Martin

 

 

The death of a patient in a psychiatric unit leads DI Eva Wednesday closer to the world she’s been trying to avoid. Attempting to separate paranoid emotions from reality proves challenging, and having her mother in the unit adds another layer of complication. As Wednesday begins to put the pieces of her case together, she is compelled to hold on tightly to her own sanity as the lives of those around her unravel before her eyes.

The next book in the DI Eva Wednesday series and this one is a little more personal. My grandma had dementia so it really hit home in the way her mum’s deterioration progresses, and the impact this has on all the other family as they fight to come to terms with it and the fact that it may also be waiting in their own future.

The author does a brilliant job of balancing the home/work life balance and how it is impossible for one not to impact on the other, no matter how hard you work to keep them separate. My only grip is that occasionally the intricacies of the different characters issues did lead me to having to flip back a page or two, to double check that I hadn’t missed something but I think that sometimes reading during lockdown my mind does wander,

The only other negative I have is that I wish Hemmie would number the books on Amazon, I know there are a couple more books I need but I want to buy them direct and have them signed like the ones I already have but for the rest of you you can find Hemmie’s books here

I love this series and hope that book signings will resume soon so I can see Hemmie again and complete my collection but in the meantime I give this book 5 out of five stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

 

 

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh

 

The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.

Hollywood actor Robert Soloman stands accused of the brutal stabbings of his wife and her lover, but he is desperately pleading that he had nothing to do with it. This is the trial of the century, and the defence want Eddie Flynn on their team.

The biggest case Eddie has ever tried before, he decides to take it on despite the overwhelming evidence that Robert is guilty. As the trial starts, Eddie becomes sure of Robert’s innocence, but there’s something else he is even more sure of – that there is something sinister going on in the jury box.

Because of this, he is forced to ask: what if the killer isn’t on the stand? What if he’s on the jury?

There are very few crime books where I get to the end before I am sure who did it but this was one.

This was a great read on many levels, you have the dynamics of the crime itself but on top of that there is the complexities of human interactions and emotions within the jury. I have never sat on a jury, and obviously those I know who have cannot talk about it, but I can imagine that on a longer case it might be normal for relationships of one nature or another to develop between jurors, likewise there would be some who would really wind you up. It is the dynamics of these interactions which draw you in to this cleverly crafted book.

As it is a well known book I don’t think I need to say much more but I will give it five out of five star.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

Book Reviews

Book Review – The Hunted And Other Twisted Tales By Paul J Kearns.

The Hunted and other Twisted Tales is an anthology.

The titular story, The Hunted, tells of two young vampires caught in a mortal battle with an ancient werewolf. They will have to use all their abilities to try and outsmart an enemy who is far superior to them in every aspect.

Within the other pages of the book you will find six more short stories crossing genres of horror, action and dark fantasy. They have a running theme of supernatural transformation and supernatural beings beyond the realm human of human understanding.

With elements of gore and dark humour these stories are not intender for the faint of heart.

This is a book that has me divided because I actually enjoyed the stories, my favourite and one I highly recommend is In The Basement, but I have to be honest I hated the actual book itself. So, let’s take this one bit at a time.

The stories themselves are well crafted and had some interesting plot twists, I liked them enough to have a favourite, as mentioned previously, and I would highly recommend this as a book to read on kindle.

Here is where it gets tricky, and I feel bad. I like the cover, black, white, and read classic horror colours and fangs, of course, leave you in no doubt what you are about to get, I did remind me of Hammer House of Horror, and some people might think it looks a little dated and simple but for me it was okay.

The problems start when you open the book and are met by stark white sheets rather than cream (a mistake I made when I first published Disintegration. and one that I have to confess I am stuck with as Amazon does not allow you to change). This is something that is part of the learning curve, the next bit is a personal bugbear of mine, if you are going to publish an anthology or short story collection you need to put in a contents page. I know it is not a long book and I did read it in one session, but it is still something I would expect to see.

Now, the next thing is something that I was also guilty of when I first published but have since gone back and remedied, and that is that the text has not been justified, when you do the copy for Kindle it doesn’t matter their software does it for you, but once you put it into the print form you really should, it just looks so much better and more professional. And again you could say that does not matter but when you are competing against so many other books you have to present your work as best you can, which brings me to the final thing, the editing.

Throughout the book it is just too inconsistent, one paragraph is indented then the next half a dozen are not, speech seems to be indented the majority of the time. I am not going to say it stopped me wanting to read the book but several times when I had to put it down it made it hard to find my place again which annoyed me.

All the issues are so easy to fix (except the white paper he is stuck with that) he just needs to find to find someone to help him with the editing or proofreading just to point things out, something we all needed when beginning our writing journey. I really hope he does find someone to help him because he has real talent with the writing side of things, and that he is not too upset when he reads this.

Because of the issues I have to give this book 3.5 out of five stars if it was edited properly there would be an extra full star there, but please consider reading this on your kindle as I say the stories are actually good.

If you want to find out more about Paul you can find him here.