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.

Lazy Sunday

My Year So Far!

I should have started recording episodes for the podcast by now but I am still trying to get my microphone set up again so I thought I would share a few photos from the last week and a half since the start of 2021.

This is the cover to this years journal, the last year I had a rose gold glittery one and given how the year went I decided on this one this year that is a little plainer with a classic feel to the floral enhancement. Let’s hope this year I get to write about a couple of signings.

This has been my life for most of this year so far, either mud or the ground is frozen and every hoof print filled with ice.

Sunday the 3rd we brought Preeya out of the field for the first time, she handled it really well, she is almost as big as mummy now can’t believe she is only nine months old.

Monday I headed to my daughters, I thought I would share these with you so you understand why I usually take photos with my head to one side, if you look at the first photo you can see I have a fat and thin side to my face. Other people can tell you it doesn’t look as bad as you think it looks but one you have it in your head no one will tell you otherwise.

Tuesday saw me back at work, we have these t-shirts, we play messages over the tannoy but guess what people are still not staying back, I get not everyone believes there is a virus, I am not getting into that but even if you don’t believe does it really hurt you to keep your distance from people, I want my life back, I want to see my family and friends, that can only happen if people apply common sense.

Wednesday morning just who ended up sat in the mud while dragging straw down the field to where the horses stand to have their hay. Maybe I should buy waders rather than wellies!!

Thursday morning I was debating what I could share and I thought I would show you the odd random item from my house that I love, this is my dream catcher that hangs above my bed. I normally remember my dream and it is very rare I have a bad one, I have had this for years but lately it is beginning to lose the odd feather.

Coming home from work Friday night it started snowing but it is hard to catch the snow on your mobile camera lol,

I was thankful to have my hat with me though as it was cold.

Saturday we had snow but not enough to really slow the pace of life, helped my friend take two of her horses out for their feet trimming and for a quick walk round the block as the roads were clear.

Saturday night lockdown style and the only affection I was getting was a nose rub from the cat. 

Hope you all are staying safe and making the most of each day in any way you can. 

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 · 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.

Me And Mine · So it's Saturday

Saturday Weekly Round-Up – 3rd October 2020

I did really like this idea previously even though I didn’t! stick to it so I am going to give it another go!

If you follow me anywhere on social media you will have noticed I have been very quiet the last couple of weeks. The Truth is ,y back went last Tuesday night and y sciatic nerve has well and truly gone ping, over a week of lying down and drugged up to the eyeballs I am starting to adjust to the meds, so while I am forced to stay put I  might as well try to be productive, so here we go…

Podcasts

I have been listening to a few this week but the one I am point to shout out is UNobscured. I listened to this a while ago initially but enjoyed the first series on the Salam Witch trials so much I gave it another listen you can find it on Apple or here on their website, if you love history you will love this plus I really appreciated the posting of the full-length interviews after the series was finished.

Music

I put my hands up that I have not listened to any music for a while.

Reading

I am currently reading an anthology am part of. I find it hard to blow my own trumpet but I am really proud of the two anthologies I am currently part of but I will tell your more about them during the week, for now, you can find it here

Watching – TV

It is no secret I would rather curl up with a book or listen to podcasts rather than watch TV most of the time but this last week I have watched quite a lot, I have picked one that is linked to a podcast I also listen to The Forgotten West Memphis Three is directly linked to a season of the podcast but you don’t need to have heard it to find this fascinating, at the minute there have been two episodes, I don’t know if there are more but even if not still a good watch for true crime lovers.

Watching – Film

The film I watched this week could have also been classed as my Netflix pick, however, I am not going to cheat Enola Holmes was a great family adventure romp, but I will say the monster, aged 12 going on 40, got bored after ten minutes, he much prefers the style of the BBC Sherlock series so this, where suddenly, the sister is the youngest (though still arguably the smartest Holmes sibling) rather than an older sibling of Sherlock disconcerted him. I actually really enjoyed it, while remaining light-hearted it also touched on issues that were brought up in the BBC verion in The Abominable Bride, fun easy watch.

Watching – Netflix

 

For my netflix series I will go with Tattoo Fixers, it is just the ealier series on there but in my drugged up state stories like this one had my lauin in a pool of tears rather than my self-pitying ones. I only have the one tattoo, in theory I would love loads but am far too indecisive to commit to them, the artwork that goes into some of these those is amazing, especially with thing as personal as memorial portraits.

That’s it for this week fingers crossed I will keep it up and be back next week.

4. Thursday · Highs and Lows · The Learning Curve · Thoughts on thursday

Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part Two

If you missed out on the first part of this new series you can catch it here. I know this should have gone out yesterday but technical problems left me frustrated and on the verge of throwing the computer through the window yesterday lol.

So, you finally have an idea for a story, you sit at the computer and begin writing so far so good but then you find the next thing that people say to you.

Well, anyone can write a book, it’s just words.

Now, to an extent this is true. anyone can write a book but let’s look at what actually goes into writing a book that people really don’t understand. First the time! I don’t know about most of you reading this but my WPM (words per minute) have dropped significantly since I learnt to type at school. On a good day, I can type 250 words every fifteen minutes, that means 1000 words per hour assuming the ideas are flowing and I don’t need to stop to think or consult notes. The average fantasy book is 95,000 – 120,000 words this means to write one book you are looking at 95 – 100 hours. Now, there will be people who will look at that and say, well that’s okay you can write a book a month, and yes if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home and make a living writing you might, but most of us still have day jobs to accommodate to fund our writing. Personally, I am lucky to write 5 – 10 k words per week, that means if nothing else happens to slow me down or distract me that the first draft will take three to four months.

It’s only writing down words in sentences, it can’t be that hard!

Yes, I have actually had that said to me, and to an extent it is true, or should that be it is true for the first draft. What a lot of people fail to realise is just how many different edits you do on books, you don’t just write the perfect book, hit send and it is out there in the world. Generally, I edit a book around four times more in some places if it needs it, there are read throughs checking for continuity, and any holes in the plot, there are general grammar and spelling checks. I also use an automated voice reader programme to let me hear it back with helps me pick on things spell check misses, those silly errors where you type on instead of no.

If you are lucky you can afford to pay proofreaders to pick up on some issues, pay editors to fix them, oh, and remember to check what your editor offers, because you may need to hire more than one. If one only does general edits then you need a second to do line edits.  Now, if like me you don’t make enough to pay for all these things, then there is help out there. I use the free version of Grammarly to pick up on some of my mistakes but be advised that it often wants to change things that you want to write for creative effect. Use the word checker on your computer and check the settings to see what you can turn on to help you.

All these edits take time so the chances are if you are doing it all yourself you will be doing well to get out one or two books a year, if you have editors you can maybe get a couple more out, but just words, I don’t think so.

Next week we will look at what happens once, you have a story more or less ready to go.

The Learning Curve · Thoughts on thursday

Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part One

I just want to state categorically that I had been thinking about this series before I read the brilliant post over on Samantha The Reader’s blog you can read her post here.  Her post is aimed at the advice writers receive about their craft mine is about the things we hear when we mention we have published a book and the realities of being an indie author.

Everyone Tells Me I Should Write a Book/I Always Wanted To Write A Book

I have lost track of the times I have had this response from people when you mention that you have written a book. First, let me say I firmly believe anyone can write a book, I don’t think you need a certain educational level, you don’t need a degree and you don’t need to have taken creative writing course but there are some things you do need to have. While I do think anyone can write a book, however, I dont believe everyone should try to write books or that everyone is capable of writing a good book.

There are so many aspects of the writing process people simply do not understand or do not want to see and this series is about that who process, the misconceprtions and overall the hard work that is involved with producing a half decent novel.

Where do you start?

There is a good chance if you are asking that question it means one of two things, you are either not ready or you are over thinking it.

If you do not have an idea for a story you want to tell then you are not ready to write, most stories start with an idea, a persistant nagging idea in your head which plagues you at random moments demanding you take notice of it. This is the first part of writing and it is the one that cannot be taught you either, have this type of creative imagination or you don’t and without it no matter how much you might like the idea of writing a book your really will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong you can put word on paper, write cohesive sentnces but if you do not have those ‘voices’ in your head that demand you listen to the totally weird and wonderful offerings they decide to throw at you as you are trying to get to sleep then the chances of writing something original and captivating are very slim.

The second group of people are the over thinkers, these are the ones who believe you must know every element of the story, and have everything completely planned, organised, and  ready before they start writing their masterpiece. In some cases they boos they could produce might indeed by pieces of litarary brilliance but we will never know because much like having children there is never a ‘right’ moment. There are times when it may be better, finacially, healthwise , timewise, fitting in with a day job wise but if you are waiting for all the starts to align it is probably not going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it happen then the problem comes that stories are organic, they grown on their own and refuse to be constrained by our plot outlines. If you have an idea by all means outline if you need to before you start writing but don’t let the idea fester in your head.

If anyone has enjoyed this then let me know in comments and next week we will talk about actually putting pen to paper.