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.
Fact Vs Fiction

NanoWrimo 2020- Time To Begin…

It is half past seven, on Sunday morning the 1st of November and I am about to start my Nano campaign for this year, now to be honest every time start this something happens, but this year everything has happened already.

I have actually planned ahead, I have two projects I intend to get finished during Nano. one only needs a couple of thousand words, the other is a project I am really excited about though I have set myself really strict timelines.

I had picked the start of November for a mental reboot, I have bought myself a nice new productivity planner, bought some Slimfast to replace the toast dripping in best butter that I had been having since my back went. The first couple of weeks after my sciatic nerve went with a ping I lost weight, to be fair I was barely conscious and drugged up on morphine, then of course being unable to move tends to lend to self pity and also eating a lot of crap, especially when you have no appetite but have to eat to take the painkillers to get you moving again.

I know a lot of people wait for new year to make a fresh start but this is more getting back into habits that I have settled into on and off the last year, now is the time to pull it all together and get some books out.

I will update you on my progress twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays, Wednesdays I will talk about the projects themselves and Sunday will be more about the numbers. Right I need to go, I have the family coming for Sunday Dinner before we go back into lockdown as I need some furniture moving, and I need to get some words down first!

Book Reviews

Book Review – The Vintage Coat By Chris Turnbull

This book has been sitting on my desk waiting to be reviewed for a while but here it finally is…

 

So first up the Goodreads blurb…

Joseph Michaels is 25 and an accidental time traveller.

After losing his job Joe finds himself working at the local second-hand shop. One day whilst unpacking new stock Joe comes across an old military coat that he just can’t resist trying on.

Excited by the powers of the coat, Joe quickly takes it home where he discovers it allows him to travel between present day Alston, Cumbria and the same area during WWII

Joe soon finds himself in the midst of living a double life.

However, one night an unexpected air raid hits town and everybody is thrown into disarray; and Joe is faced with standing up for the ones he loves, even if it could cost him everything.

When I read the blurb for this book I was reminded of the TV programme where Nicholas Lyndhurst finds a way to walk through an alley way to start a second life in war torn London, but this is so much more. While the Tv series does touch on the realities of life it was a sitcom but this book takes you into the real lives of people trying to survive the best they can.

You are automatically invested in these characters and their stories, The plot is a delicately crafted web that draws you in until you cannot put the book down, but be warned there should be a warning on the cover that tissues will be required while reading this book, The dynamics of the time travel are well dealt with, the coat is of course the method of travel but that Joseph quickly gets to grip with how the passing of time in each dimension relates to the other is pleasing and because it is kept simple it does not require the reader to struggle with complex timelines that can take you out of the story.

I could not put this book down when I started it, and even now looking at it, I am tempted to go for a reread, which I must resist as I have so any others to read. So to the mark it’s an easy 5 out of five

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

Book Review – Frozen In Time Alimanti Series, Book 1 By Lavinia Urban

At the age of 14, Kasey-Ray Thompson lost her mother to cervical cancer. Her father, the one person she needed to be there for her, was spiralling into the depths of depression. Just when she thought her life couldn’t get any worse, he died a year later.
Kasey-Ray’s whole world has come crashing down around her leaving her an orphan. The only relative she knows is her gran who is in a care home with Alzheimer’s. Her hopes of staying in Scotland with her best friend Lauren and her family are quickly dashed when a woman from social services announces that she is going to stay with a grandfather she had never met. Even worse, he lives in a small town called Alimanti, thousands of miles away in another country.
Her grandfather’s cabin is in the middle of nowhere. They have no electricity, no internet, or any other modern technologies. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her new school is almost two hours away.
Kasey-Ray has lots of questions and her grandfather is refusing to answer them. He has clocks everywhere that go off at the same time every day, 4:30am, and Kasey-Ray can’t figure out why.
She sees a man in the woods who tells her that he shouldn’t have brought her here because they will take what is hers. What does he mean?
Kasey-Ray needs answers before time runs out.

I have avoided this review for so long, I have to be honest that writing it breaks my heart despite the fact that a year has passed since Lavinia lost her own fight against cancer leaving her own children to  navigate the world without her shining light. I am privileged to have bought a signed print copy of this book.

This is a YA book so not my usual genre but it was an easy captivating read with well written characters and an intriguing plot, the obvious problem is that this was intended as a series, and although there are three books available, I cannot say whether the story is really ended as I have not read those.

I did notice a few typos in this book but nothing to distract you from the story. if you have a pre-teen I would recommend this book as a good read am even more a chance to discuss different ways of life where the modern comforts are unknown not taken for granted.

I have to give this book 5 out of five stars despite the few editing issues.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

6. Saturday · Me And Mine · So it's Saturday

Saturday Weekly Round-Up -10th October 2020

This week I have been able to start moving around a little more I have even managed to do a little writing, fingers crossed another week or two I will be good to go.

Podcasts

This week I have been catching up on saved episodes of Welcome To Night Vale, it is a weird podcast/play and it does require being able to keep track of a number of threads but once you get a grip on it then you will love it you can find our more here https://www.welcometonightvale.com/

Music

I still haven’t listened to any music this week but I have started listening to the audiobook Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza you can find it here some of you may remember Robert from the days he was an Indie Author blogging here on WordPress and publishing his romcoms about Coco Pinchard, it is so nice to know that someone you know made it big with patience and perseverance.

Reading

I just finished reading Love Ever After the anthology I have been part of, if you haven’t grabbed a copy go get one http://mybook.to/LoveEverAfterDandelion

Watching – TV

This week I have found myself watching a couple of shows but the main one has been Pit Bulls & Parolees’, now I confess that especially with the meds I cry at anything at the minute both through sadness and joy but watching the story about these two pups definitely had me sobbing.

The fact that the shelter owner gives both pups and people the chance for a fresh start is heart warming but I have to be honest I much prefer the four-legged cast members even though some of their stories are heartbreaking.

Watching – Film

I finally got round to watching a film that I was nervous about watching and I was right to avoid it.

I am sorry, for me David Suchet is Poirot but I also love the verison with Albert Finney

The cast of big stars overwhelms the story and they do not fit the original characters the way I have them in my head thanks in part to the pervious productions, but to remove the touch of ridiculousness which makes people underestimate Poirot is a step to far, there was a reason Agatha Christie wrote him the way she did and a reason she made the books about him so successful/

Watching – Netflix

I did watch this once before, I was about to start watching the second series when I realised I couldn’t remember who had won.

The thing I love about this show is they are all so over the top, I have to be honest as well there was one contestant in this first series I really could not stand and was willing to fail at every step which always makes things more interesting.

 

Well that’s it for this week see you back here next week for more TV and podcasts.

Resolutions 2018

Resolutions 2018

The start of a new year means one thing! Yes, it is time to make a load of resolutions that I will fail at during the year! To be fair last year we a strange year and though I failed to meet my goals for the year I did learn a lot about myself, I also learnt not to dwell on the failures so rather than rounding up last year I shall focus on the positives, things like I did my first book signing and I became a grandma, those two things meant more to me than anything else that happened last year so let’s get straight on with our new goals and look to the future.

1.  Release Queen Of Ages Book Two; Reawakening

I have already begun work on this book and am hoping to get it finished quickly, I did get distracted at the end of last year by the arrival of my grandson but now I need to focus on getting back into a set writing routine and meet my aim of three books per year, I am really excited to get this series out there especially after the reviews and feedback I have been getting from the first book.

2.  Lose four stone in weight

I know I said this last year and while I did not lose weight last year I didn’t put any more on. I need to start doing this not for how I look but for my health I am getting older and obviously the more weight you carry the greater the strain on your bones and organs, I am aiming to take it slowly and yes, I need to lose more than the four I have stated but I want to do it at a rate where not only does it have a better chance of staying off but it also reduces the risk of ending up with baggy skin after. Plus I bought some awesome suits   in the next couple of sizes down that I want to be able to get some wear out of 😀

3.  Blog at least four times a week consistantly

I tend to either blog every day or not blog at all so for this next year I am going to take the pressure off myself a little, Mondays will still be book/audiobook/dvd reviews, I hope to get back to throwing some author interviews in there as well once more. Tuesdays will be the posts about events and my experiences with the writing/publishing experiences, these will also include my personal feelings about my writing journey. Wednesdays will be WIP in progress and my book promotion days, I will share reviews on the books I have already published as well as discussing the books I am working on and my ideas for future works. Fridays will still be vlog day though I am looking to make changes there as will be discussed later. Sundays will be lazy sunday posts where I will just chat with you fill you in on my week and a little more or my personal life, of course if you want to know more of my day to day goings on my Faceook page or Instagram are probably the best places to keep up with me.

4.  Release Queen of Ages Book Three: Redemption

As with the first resolution I am determined to up my output this year and get into a pattern of two to three releases each year, this year I am aiming to get the remaining parts of this trilogy out and possibly look into a hard back ominbus edition for the festive period next year however that ties in with other resolutions so it remains to be seen what the options are.

5.  Walk 50k steps per week

Previously I had the target of 10k steps a day totalling 70k for a week however I am now being more realisitic, I struggle on work days to fit in all my steps at times so by giving myself more leeway I believe that this goal is more achievable I am also determined to use the apps on my phone, xbox and my cross trainer more to increase the amount of exercise I am doing and try to add in doing one of my dance/exercise videos once a week.

6.  Publish four Quarterly newsletters

I swapped from monthly to quarterly because I was struggling to get the content worth sending out, now I have changed to quarlerly I just need to iron out the timing for the newsletters in terms of tying in with live events which I may wish to utilise in terns of the giveaways be that either collecting things to put in the prizes or offering chances to win tickets.

7.  Release Dragon’s Mark, Book One of the Raven Seer Chronicles

This would be the third release of the year and to be fair it is a quarter done already. I had initially intended to do this as a stand alone book however as I worked on it I realied the potiential for this to be an on going fantasy series.

8.  Vlog once a week

Like the blogging I have been hit and miss with the vlogs so my goal is this year to not only produce one a week but to also include more footage from my week and make them more interesting, not just me sat talking at a screen for five minutes unprepared. I also want to increase the production quality of the vlogs and make them more exciting for those who supoprt me by watching them.

9.  Write 1k fiction every day

This year I attempted NanoWriMo and failed miserably, yes there were other things which affected my writing time but if I want to make this my living then I need to focus and make it happen. By writing just 1k per day I could easily write three books a year, the only person stopping me is me.

10.  Fix Office hours for my writing and stick to them

I tend to get distracted, I turn FB on or stop to get up and go do other things so the answer is simple I need to set up my office hours and stick to them, now to be fair they cannot be the same every day as I work different shifts and have other commitments, and once my daughter goes back to work I will also have extra childcare considerations but I have a timer I use which uses the Pomodoro method, work thirty minutes on and then a fifteen minute break so when I have blocks of time I can sit at the computer I will use the timer and only look at FB etc during the fifteen minute breaks, I will also use that time as well to get up from my desk and move around trying to fit in a few extra steps each hour.

11.  Work on reducing the minus balance in my accounts

Right now if I were trying to exist purely on my writing as a business I would be bancrupt, thankfully the day job is still there to pay the bills but I need now to step up my writing game. As I increase the number of signing events I wish to attended the greater the expense so it becomes all the more important to start making them pay, this means more books to sell, more swag for sale and working out better ways to do giveaways and swag etc. I am realistic enough to know this does not happen over night, I am just over a year into a five year plan, I might not be in as good a shape as I would like but I have learnt lessons and am working on it, I am still positive my long term goal is possible.

12.  Set up Ravens Rest Press

Using Createspace has many positive and negative points, one of the harder pills to swallow is the cost of shipping books from the US I have no idea why they cannot print them in the UK as they print the books bought via amazon here on demand, the main thing about using other outlets is the fact you buy your own ISBN numbers  which means you can set up your own print imprint and get your books into libraries and book shops easier. You can also get expanded distribution networks for the books you have with them, I believe there is also the possibility of hardback issues which I would love to be able to do for the trilogy and maybe special editions of other books.

13.  Update all published works edits and biograhies regularly

I have got into the habit of updating all my social media posts to match, what I have failed to do is go back and update the also by this other sections of my previous books, alter the odd typo that I find and update the images in the books, this is something that I need to get into the habit of doing more often so that when I have a new book come out I know that the others will only require the minimum of alteration.

14.  Meet someone special

So this one is one I cannot actually make come true, and at the minute I am not really in a position to actively seek someone but rather this is more about allowing myself to be open to the idea of meeting someone, to not send out negative vibes when approached and to be open to the idea that a relationship does not have to be negative. I finally feel like I have shed the emotional baggage from my previous relationship, and while it will still take someone very special to make me invest my emotions in them I am not totally averse to that idea any longer, for me that is already a huge step.

Book Reviews

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.

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #47

Hello, been a while since we sat and had a chat like this but got to be honest things have been crazy here the last month. First, I had an amazing weekend at #Darker in Peterborough, which I have told you all about, then we had a two week delay awaiting the delivery of my grandson, he certainly made hard work of coming into the world. Family, obviously, came first for the next couple of weeks trying to help out my daughter and her partner as much as possible.

We arrive at the first of November and I start #NanoWriMo. I write for one day, yes, you heard me right, one day, before my grandson caused more drama and had a day in hospital. I am not going to go into details too much but let’s just say that a swollen head is enough to give parents and grandparents alike near nervous breakdowns.

So today I take up my #NanoWriMo baton once more and need to play catch up so here are my current stats…

Words written – 1667

Words that should be written by the end of today – 8,335

Words in deficit – 6668

Number of words needed daily to finish on target  – 1880

As you can see not a total disaster as such yet, I am going to update you twice a week, once on a Wednesday, from a purely writing standpoint, and this post on a Sunday, about the actual issues or benefits of fitting this into everyday life. I had signed up for #NanoWriMo once before, but then other things got in the way and I never even started, as I have been struggling to get back into work mode I thought this year was the perfect time to give it a go as a means to getting back to daily writing. I can already see certain days will be easier than others for me, I am probably better off on days where I can work during the day rather than evenings. I have realised if I come home tired that I find it harder to write, and if I am foolish enough to have a bath to unwind after a stressful day, well I can write off any writing at all for that evening, because the most stressful thing I am likely to do is turn the page of a book or hit play on the remote control.

The one piece of advice I would give anyone doing Nano is, don’t get too hung up comparing the number of words you have written to anyone elses. I know people who post their word counts every day, people who hit the target well before anyone else, the thing is everyone works at their own pace. I could sit and type out the menu for our local chinese over and over again and hit a word count target, the fact is, that does not make a book. You aim to hit the targets to help yourself become more productive in terms of writing daily and  to improve your own writing habits but the thing that really matters is the quality of the story you are telling. The grammar etc, yes that will all be sorted in the editing but while people can generally overlook a stray comma or two, they will not forgive a weak plot or storyline. Focus on your own story and though of course we all look at others word counts (let’s face it I just shared mine) the thing is to remember that as long as you are doing the bet you can working in your life then you don’t need to worry about anything else.

Are you doing #NanoWriMo this year? How do you feel seeing the word counts posted all over social media?