Book Review – Attic Of The Mind by Hemmie Martin

This is a book I picked up at #Darker2017 and was looking forward to reading…

As Always we start with the Goodreads blurb…

The time is right for Lilith Fields to seek revenge. Twenty-five years have passed since the sadistic abuser tortured the patients of the psychiatric ward, and now Lily has decided he must meet his final judgment. As her plan unfolds she discovers she is not the only one with a dark secret. Now, only time will tell if Lily’s demons will be vanquished, and just how many people are really involved.

The first thing I need to comment on is the size, and let me state this is not something that I consider as part of the review just personal preference, I print my books as 5 x 8 inches, this book is printed in 6 x 9 inches. I picked up a couple of books this size when I was at #Darker and I think it is partly to do with which formatting and printing services the author uses, while it does not make a great deal of difference and it will not stop me buying a book I really want to read I do find them quite cumbersome to hold. While they are closer in size to a hardback they do not have the rigidity and flap around in your hands, like I say this is personal preference but has also been interesting to me as a writer because I did at one point contemplate printing in this size so I would be interested if anyone has any feedback on that.

So onto the book itself, I loved the story. Every character you meet has their own secrets and flaws, it is hard to really judge any of them morally as this book challenges the reader to judge cause and effect, where the line between retribution and revenge lies. It is hard to feel real empathy with any of these characters, even the enigmatic Lilith is difficult to pity, this does not take away from the enjoyment of the book, it makes them more real, more lifelike.

I like to be careful not to give away spoilers however it becomes apparent very quickly who the main antagonist is, the former charge nurse Finlay Walker, if I had to pick up on one thing to criticise it would be his back story. Part way through we are given a brief insight to his childhood, I think I would like to have seen this avenue developed a little more, while it is not necessary to the plot in some ways the fact it was introduced does raise the question of if there is more to know, there is the potential for a prequel or a spin-off regarding the past and the influence other characters may have had on the overall outcome of this story.

As I have stated before it is hard sometimes judging a book by an author you have met, liked and you respect but in this case it is easy, the book was an excellent read that I have no problem recommending to anyone who is interested in dark, psychological dramas, there are twists and turns and just when you think you know where you are with everyone you can still find yourself falling down another rabbit-hole. I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

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Lazy Sunday #48

Afternoon, you wonderful people.

I am sat here at my desk right now coffee in hand attempting to defrost.

You know I had to get the selfie from Snapchat after all we all love unicorns. Today has been a busy day, I went down to my daughters to bleach her hair ready to attempt a colour tomorrow then when we left there the monster and I headed to a local park Pokemon hunting. First, let me say that the reason he is only just on the Pokemon Go app is that it was not available for my Windows phone so the minute I got a new android phone it was one of the first things he asked me to do. Secondly, let me point out that while this may be a fun thing to do in the Summer chasing imaginary creatures round a park in the cold is not so much fun. My journeys to work and back now involve my being logged into the game to get distance to hatch eggs and to spin discs every time I pass certain buildings to get him balls to catch these creatures with, I don’t really mind that much because it is not as if I have to go out of my way but it is annoying that it is a drain on my battery and I can’t listen to my podcasts at the same time. The good thing is of course that it gets kids outside and exercising and in our case, by default, it means more exercise for me especially on a Sunday when I am prone to be a little sedate. It is also something we can do together though I can only name a handful of the creatures we have caught.

 

It is now evening I am afraid I got distracted chatting to a friend. My #NanoWriMo stats have not changed since last week, a combination of overtime and illness on top of normal work had a detrimental effect on my focus and I now need to write around 2.5k a day to hit target. It is still possible, I have a week off work at the end of the month so I can make up some words there hopefully.

I have quite a few different things going on in my head at the minute to deal with as well as writing so I am struggling to keep my focus on sitting and getting the right thoughts down. Right now writing wise things are going well, but I think sometimes when one aspect of your life is improving it does make you look at other areas that maybe are not doing quite as well, there are aspects of my life I would like to change but for now they will have to wait, I have far too much going on in other areas that I am excited about.

Lest We Forget.

Today at 11am the store I was working in fell silent except for one or two people, one packing a bag one I could hear still opening and closing freezer doors. My initial reaction is anger at the fact the ignored the silence but the I remember those we are taking the time to think of died so people had the freedom to choose their own actions. When I was younger I would get annoyed at people who would say I fought for you, I still do! You see I don’t believe they fought for me, or the person next to me, they fought for themselves and their loved ones, because after all is that not the catalyst that drives people to want to make the world a better place, they do not do it for the faceless masses they do it for their loved ones, for the children they have or long for. I have grandparents who fought in wars and those who stayed behind working in the mines but the eleventh hour of the eleventh day for me will always be about remembering one person.

My dad didn’t want me to look into his family tree he thought there was some dark secret. What I founfwas a tragic tale of a man who went to war and never came back leaving a wife and seven children behind. My grandad never knew his father, my dad recalls only ever once seeing a photo of a tall man, that when he asked who it was he was told it was his grandad, a blond haired, haired blue-eyed Irishman, the photo disappeared and was never seen again. I will never know the answer to why a miner who had no need to fight decided to go to the front, one can only speculate that it was for a better life for him and his children, sadly like so many others he never returned home.

Last year as part of the Somme memorials I got the chance to get the War Diaries for his regiment, and everything became real. You see before he was a name in a list of names but reading these diaries, learning where he travelled and where his life ended made him as real to me as my own grandad had been. The chances are even if he had lived through the war he would have passed away long before I was born but my grandad would have known him, my dad would probably have known him, we would know our lineage and ancestry not just that his parents came from County Galway, a fact scribbled on a census record.

More than that I read the day he died. He died on the 6th there are no casulaties listed for that day but then I realised that it was likely he died at somepoint during the night before and it would not be until the following morning by daylight that the dead and missing would be counted. He was a mere Private, his passing warrented no mention of his name, a number in a tally chart was his diary entry. I want to share with you the day he passed.

Almost every family if they delve deep enough will find someone who went and did not return, regardless of the rights and wrongs of modern politics and wars, we remember those who sacrificed their lives so their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren could have to freedom to live lives they could never have even dreamed of.

#Darker Reflections – Part Three

I had a quick shower and washed my hair then removed the last traces of the days make up, then quickly applied the evening war paint and did my hair, then disaster. I had not tried my dress on with the bra I intended to wear with it and had not allowed for the v being deeper than the bra allowed for. I tried pinning the dress but it just wasn’t possible, luckily in one respect the bra I wore during the day did actually fit in the dress, unfortunately it did not offer a huge amount of support and the dress was a little looser around the chest than I remembered.

At the end of the day I had three choices to hide in my room for the rest of the evening, to wear the outfit I had worn during the day and look completely out of place or to bite the bullet and hope the dress stayed in place.

I reached the bar and was glad to see others totally glammed up as well, I was complemented on my dress numerous times and started to feel more relaxed. There was a photographer there as there was at Leeds last year but these were far better in that they set up a backdrop instead of just a white screen and we all piled in for a group photo.

It seemed like we had barely been to the bar before the doors opened and there was a call for us to be seated, this was where I got really nervous, I had no idea who I would be sat with but I could not have asked for a better group, the whole table chatted, swapped stories and generally laughed our way through a delicious meal.

By the time the food was cleared several people left for and early night, it had been a long day already but I am thrilled I managed to hang on another hour or so and join the others on the dance floor, while carefully ensuring I didn’t fall out of my dress. In truth, there is only this photo that ended up a little risqué taken by the delightful Chris Turnbull, let me say it did cause a few comments when he tagged me in it and it appeared on my FB page and although the photo looks like I am barely in the dress let me assure you it really was angle the photo was taken at.

After hitting the dance floor and a lot of photos where you can see us all becoming increasingly dishevelled by our exploits I decided to call it a night exhilarated but exhausted. The smile still plastered across my face.

The journey home was even worse than the one going, trains cancelled the ones after packed, I was pleased to at least have a travelling companion in one of the lovely ladies, Nadia, who I had met previously at the Leeds ticket launch. When I eventually reached home I was shattered by still on a high from the whole weekend.

The high remained in place as I spent the next couple of days catching up on all the tags and notifications, it remained right up until Wednesday when I was forced to return to reality and the day job, it was a determined crash back down to earth.

For a day or two I really felt quite despondent, but then began to think about the overall experience, the fact is if anything that slump has made me even more determined to be able to quit the day job and make a career from writing. I could not have asked for a better experience for my first signing event, I have made so many new friends and know that I can handle anything thrown at me now. Yes, I made a few mistakes in terms of budgeting for the event, leaving things until the last minute but I have learnt so much from this experience and would highly recommend other authors to take a chance and get involved in these types of events, roll on March when we get to do it all over again in Leeds.

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#Darker Reflections – Part One

I debated writing this post last week but decided I wanted to take the time to reflect upon all my experiences regarding #Darker and my first signing.

First, I have to say I had an amazing time, it was better than I could ever have imagined but I know you want to know a lot more than that so let’s start with a couple of days to go.

I message my friend Deb that is due to go with me checking what time we are meeting on Friday, she is upset, her boss has decided he needs her to fly to the Isle of Man on the Saturday for a big meeting, she goes into the office the next day but can’t change anything. I am gutted, it is too late to get anyone else to come so I put my ball ticket up for grabs on the Darker page, it gets snapped up straight away, I breathe a sigh of relief, at least I will have someone sat with me at the Ball, the relief only lasts twenty-four hours until it turns out she cannot attend either, everyone else either has plans or their own ticket. I am a little worried but don’t want my friend to worry, this was out of her control, and maybe it is like being thrown in at the deep end, after all there might not always be people available to come to these things with me every time.

I repack, originally, I had stuff in two cases but decide it will be easier to handle a case plus a holdall, it was a good job as you will find out shortly, though I do intend to get a bigger case with four wheels rather than the one I have. I will need to look into alternative travel options for future events, whether that is looking into paying someone to drive me or shipping things ahead of time, of course the best solution will be eventually to get a car.

I meet Deb for lunch and have the most ridiculous burger ever, I can’t even begin to get my mouth round it so attack it with a knife and fork, a good catch up later and we get my train tickets and Deb helps me to the train, it is rammed. They have cut the number of trains to Leeds and it seems the number of carriages, every seat is booked and there is barely room to stand and getting on with my luggage is tough but I just about manage, though after she has helped me there is not even room to turn round and wave. I get to Leeds and get the Peterborough train, I am lucky that I was there early and grab a seat but once again the train fill, thankfully the journey is shorter than I expected.

I jump in a taxi and we head out of the city centre and to the hotel. As I check in I see the first familiar face, I meet more people attending the event as I struggle to get my electronic door key to work, apparently there is a knack, I miss proper keys in hotels.

Once in the room I do a live FB video showing my accommodation for the weekend, my daughter points out to me afterwards that I say ermmm a lot during this, lesson learnt, I am okay filming a vlog where I have control over what I am going to say and know I can edit it but not so good at live off the cuff, this is something I need to work on.

I unpack and decide, that given the schedule for the day after, I will iron my clothes now before I go downstairs, it also allows for more chance of people arriving and there being someone I will know downstairs.

I eventually go downstairs around six and head into the bar, relief is overwhelming as I spot a couple of people I know straight away and join them, we spend the next hour chatting as more people join us until we decide to give the poor girls behind the bar orders for about twenty of us eating, dinner was okay nice but nothing special, I think that is the general consensus with one or two issues that are dealt with. Then Rachel and Jo arrive and come over to say hello, they briefly catch up with us we all discuss our journeys to the venue and then they disappear to start working on the room. The rest of us loiter in the bar area chatting and getting to know each other until around 10pm when we call it a night knowing tomorrow will be a long day.

It was so nerve racking meeting people you have only chatted to online but thankfully everyone turned out to be every bit as lovely as they seem in the virtual world.

I climb into bed with a smile on my face exhausted but excitement means that it is a rather restless night.

Lazy Sunday #43 & Vlog Time #103 – Quick Hello!

Everything seems really hectic here at the minute, writing, kids, swag, writing, babies, you get the picture. Part of the reason it is so hectic is I just have not managed to get my head around the time management aspect of my resolutions, I try but get distracted so for the next few weeks I am back to using a timer n the hope I can get back into more of a disciplined routine. The weather here is lovely today just loaded the washing machine again and have a line of clothes already fluttering in the breeze, line dried clothes are a pleasure those in warm countries take for granted, so much fresher than those draped over radiators.

Anyway, we need to get a move on as the tennis is due to start soon and I am hoping to watch Rgerwin another Wimbledon.

  1. First up is a post by a photographer I have featured a few times, I love the photos he takes of the Irish landscape but this I love for another reason, it is the idea of the stories behind ruined buildings, what tales they could tell, even those with mundane histories can become magical places with a little imagination  https://nigelborrington.com/2017/07/14/evening-poem-by-alice-oswald/
  2. The second of today’s posts and the first of the writing themed ones comes from fellow #Darker author Hemmie, who I am looking forward to meeting in just a few weeks. Staring at the blank screen can be incredibly daunting so her advice for those just starting out is well worth making note of https://hemmiemartin.com/2017/07/12/start-small/
  3. The next post is also writing related and I put my hands up that this is something I struggled with the first time I listed a book, it is hard sometimes to work out where your work belongs, to pigeonhole yourself against your own wishes but it has to be done, and if you hope to sell books, done well.   https://susanleighnoble.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/choosing-categories-and-keywords-when-publishing-with-amazon/
  4. Finally a humorous look at the rituals we all create around ourselves, whether it is having a certain playlist on, total silence, sitting in a certain position, https://aviatrixkim.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/on-writing-you-must-perform-the-ritual/

Just four blog shares today as I have a quick vlog for you, confession time I recorded this last week and it has sat waiting to be edited but next week we will be back on track I promise

Lazy Sunday #42

As you are aware this has been a stressful couple of weeks,I am feeling tired at the minute but I also have lots to be thankful for and while I cannot control the things going on with my son I now have to find a way to keep pushing forward with my writing. In an ideal world I will push forward release lots more books and get to a point I can earn enough from writing to give up the day job, write Monday to Friday and then attend a signing event each month, that is the dream and would also allow me much more flexibility in time with my son to take him more places and try to show him more of the world.

  1. This week I needed things to make me smile and this blog always does that, this post in particular made me giggle I like the bath though not sure it would be good to soak in but I really want the piano water feature https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/06/24/just-when-you-think-you-have-seen-everything/
  2. The first blog also gets a second post this week and that is because they posted this earlier today and I love it, I could sit for hours watching the stars https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/07/02/the-new-pillars-of-creation-hubble-image-video-is-amazing/
  3. I love these designs and I hope she can forgive me for messing her about over a cover I wanted when life got in the way and that I can persuade her to work on a series of covers for me later in the year and through next year https://melchelledesigns.com/2017/06/20/new-covers-and-new-gallery/
  4. Okay I picked this post to share because one the rubber ducks are so cute, my son has a Batman one and we have several other cute duckies, but mainly because I love the paisley shark https://markbialczak.com/2017/06/27/we-cant-duck-our-walk-through-chatham-to-meet-the-sharks/
  5.  The final thing for today is a video, you have my daughter to thank for this, she showed me it when I was having a bad day and this guy is my hero now, he is hilarious. So I shall leave you watching this and catch up next week!

May Resolutions 2017

I had said I would return to the normal format for resolutions this month, but the events of last week mean I changed my mind. Right now, so many of them seem trivial, lose weight, exercise more etc. I am sure by next month I shall feel more like my normal self again and go back to the format I started at the beginning of the year but this month it seems more important to talk about the reason we make resolutions and how the terrible event of last Monday, then again this Saturday, make them all the more important.

We make resolutions with the idea of improving our lives, a new year, a new me, a better me etc but when these types of atrocities remind us we need to make the most of every day we have. We have the chance every day to make our lives better in the smallest ways, if like me you want to lose weight and get fitter then ,and this applies to me, all it takes is making the choice to get up and walk a little every day, do a bit more exercise and make better food choices. I know I do not do as I preach in this respect but maybe the time to make changes is now.

I have the chance to make the changes I want to happen, there are people who no longer have that chance. We need to start reconsidering our priorities to an extent, make sure we are working for the life we want not simply working for a paycheck, yes bills need to be paid but if your whole life revolves around paying them then maybe it is time to look at what you can cut back on to give yourself time to enjoy life and to live. Something as simple as cutting a trip to the coffee shop can be an hour less you need to work, I know that is putting it in a simplistic way but it can be that simple, I have a million TV Channels (okay an exaggeration but that’s how it seems) and yet I watch only a few, I am considering my options for reducing my cable bill, though I will be honest not quite worked it out yet as we all like channels in different packages lol.

The most important thing though to take forward from the events of the last two weeks is that we will not be scared, we will still go to plays, concerts, bars. We will not fill our hearts with hate, we will continue to care for people around us, in both attacks, in the face of terror there were those who instead of fleeing ran towards the attacks to help those suffering. There is no such thing as too much love, so instead of hate let us pay it forward with a smile, it costs nothing but can make all the difference to those feeling isolated and alone, maybe if we all said more nice and positive things it would spread like ripples, and that those preaching hate, would find there were no longer ears for their words to find.