Tag Archives: Authors

Athour Spotlight – Steven. A. McKay plus review!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a little author spotlight..lets rectify that now as I welcome author Steven A. McKay to my blog. Keep reading for my lastest review as well!!

Steven is author of the brilliant Forest Lord series and now The Warrior Druid of Britain series. Not to forget if you are a fan of Audible you should check out his Roman slave tale Lucia!

Let’s get on with the Q&A.. Welcome!!

So I’ve a few questions I hope you won’t mind answering.

After the success of the Forest Lord series it must have been quite daunting starting a fresh new series. Did you worry at all and how has the new series been received?

Yes, it was a bit of a wrench to leave behind my Forest Lord series. Not just because I had really grown to know and love the characters, but because it had done so well for me in terms of sales and reviews. There’s always a chance any new series won’t garner as much interest so, yeah, I was a bit apprehensive of starting a new book with all new characters. But then I began writing The Druid and I realised I was enjoying it immensely – that’s always a good sign! If a book is fun to write, and the characters really entertain you as the author, well, readers might enjoy it too.

I’d say most of my readers like the druid books even more than they did the Forest Lord ones, although some, like you I believe, prefer the latter. As a writer you always want to improve, and create better stories, but it’s also nice to know your previous work has also really touched someone and given them a few hours of entertainment.

N.b – I love them both for very different reasons but without the Firest Lord series we may never have seen you develop and produce The Druid… 5* books every last one!

 

For those who don’t know about your latest series what would you say to entice them to pick up a copy?

I think it’s set in a period of history that isn’t really that well covered in fiction – post-Roman Britain. It was called the “dark ages” for a long time, but people are now beginning to realise that civilisation didn’t just completely collapse when the Romans left this island. Things changed, of course, and quite drastically, but everyone didn’t become a mad savage overnight – they still had culture and religion and so on and it’s interesting to explore all that. Then of course you add in my main characters like the giant warrior druid Bellicus, little princess Catia, the former centurion Duro, dangerous Saxons Horsa and Hengist, and all the various kings of the time (even Arthur makes a small appearance in the first book) and, well, they’re the perfect guides to Britain in the fifth century.

Apart from all that, the books are free on Kindle Unlimited so if you have a membership why not check them out? They are a great way to escape all the lockdown bleakness just now.

 

Now I can’t ignore the obvious going on around us. The dreaded COVID19. How are things for you? Many may think this is an ideal time for writing but I know you’ve an important day job.

Important day job? It depends on what you mean by important. It pays my mortgage, but even in these times when so-called “unskilled” workers are finally gaining recognition, I don’t know if a part-time gas and electric meter reader would be classed as that important, ha! But my company told us we weren’t to go out working about 5 weeks ago now, so me and the family have been staying home. Yeah, there’s lots of free time to write, but when there’s so much fear and uncertainty going around, it’s extremely hard to get into the right frame of mind to sit down and work on a novel.

Last week, I decided to write a new Warrior Druid of Britain short story to give away to my email list subscribers and, honestly, that was great. There was no real pressure, I just had to write something fun and entertaining with the specific idea of entertaining myself and my subscribers and the result was “Over The Wall”. My readers enjoyed it and I thought it was good too, so I’ve expanded and polished it and since it was set at Beltane, I’ve decided to make it available on Kindle this May 1st  – Beltane! Complete with a professional new cover.

It was really enjoyable to write and kinda focused my mind so I’ve been able to get back onto the novel writing again this week and book 3 in the druid series is coming along nicely.

N.b – All jobs are important if they pay the bills! Ha and look out for my review of Over The Wall… Keep scrolling!!!

over the wall medium

Giving the current situation I’ve seen authors have release dates pushed back by their publishers. What’s your take? Me personally I’ve been looking for more books than ever and really do see these luxuries a way to keep us indoors safe.. Ebooks even more so.

Yeah, I agree, it seems a bit strange NOT to publish a new book if it’s all ready to go. Personally, I’ve had a Kindle Unlimited subscription for a long time but I’ve only started to really use it in the last month. I’ve read lots of books on things like ghosts and the unexplained, purely to take my mind off all the scary stuff in real life just now. So, when everyone is stuck at home, looking to be entertained, why not give them new books to read? It seems like publishers are shooting themselves in the foot in that regard, but then hardly any of my sales come from actual print books. About 95% of my readers do it via Kindle so I’m thinking of it in that sense – maybe the big publishers would lose out on a lot of business if they couldn’t have a launch party for a hardback? I don’t know. I suppose, if there’s less books coming out, there’s more chance people will find my back catalog so…

Whats your plans for the next book.. Will we see Bellicus return? he’s got plenty fight left in him?

He’s still in his twenties, so I think he has many years left to kick ass. Duro is older, although, sadly, even though he’s the veteran centurion, he’s a few years younger than me! But yes, Bellicus and Duro are both back in the next book and they’re facing a very tough time. I don’t want to give away too much, but the plot so far has been influenced by what’s happening in the real world just now so it’s pretty bleak in places. But, as anyone who’s read my previous books will know, I always like my characters to live in hopes of prevailing, no matter how dark their circumstances. So, I’m about a third finished and I don’t know how it will end, but I’m sure the gods won’t abandon our heroes!

N.B – I’ve always felt Bellius as a little older… I guess it’s the respect he commands and his presence…certainly he’s far wiser than I was in my twenties! ha

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Any chance of any more Robin Hood themed short tales? You have quite a talent for the novella I must say?

Thank you! Yes, I like writing the shorter things as there’s not so much to keep track of, it can all be a bit more linear. My last one, Faces of Darkness was really well received – I think it has the highest average rating of any of my books on Amazon UK, so, although novellas and novelettes never sell as well as novels, it’s great to know that readers appreciate them. It spurs me on to create more in a similar vein so yes, there will be more Forest Lord novellas. I already have a basic outline for another Friar Tuck/Little John mystery, again, like Faces of Darkness based on a real criminal case which I heard about on a podcast. I would expect it to be published in the autumn or winter, all being well with the next druid novel coming out before it in the summer.

If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ve not had much downtime since lockdown but what have you been doing to keep yourself and the family busy? I know you like your guitars? I’ve never learned to play… I really should.

Oh yes, my guitars have been a really good way for me to escape reality. There’s been a few times, particularly at the start of the lockdown, when I started to feel quite stressed and fearful, and I’d pick up one of my guitars and just start playing along to Metallica or some old death metal song and I’d completely lose myself in the music. Not for very long, but enough to let me relax and really chill out. I’d recommend you start learning an instrument given all this free time we have!
Other than that, my family keep me busy – there’s always another meal to cook, or clothes to be washed, or stories to be read, and there’s the home-schooling thing too just now. I’ve actually never been bored at all, which is pretty incredible. Any time I do feel like quiet time, like I say I’ve been reading stuff on Kindle or browsing the creepy  r/unresolvedmsyteries pages on Reddit.

This post is of course a way for me to highlight your awesome books but if you had to pick someone who you think is on fire at the moment in the book world who would it be?

Well, I don’t read much fiction anymore since I have to spend most of my reading time on research for my own books – even in lockdown I’ve been mostly reading non-fiction. I have been really impressed, and pleased, with Matthew Harffy’s rise though. His newest book, Wolf of Wessex, was a cracking read which I was happy to endorse and now he’s even got a TV series in the works which is probably every writer’s dream. I won’t deny I’m jealous of that success, but not in a bad way – he’s a good guy and supports other authors and he likes Iron Maiden so good luck to him!

 

Lastly, If Bellicus was here today.. would he have any words of wisdom?

I tend to think of Bellicus and Friar Tuck in a similar way, since they’re both hard, fighting men who represent a higher power. I think Tuck’s wise words to Robin in my second novel, The Wolf and the Raven are particularly appropriate for all of us in these frightening times. I wrote that book when I was going through a very tough period in my own life since our second child had just been stillborn, and this particular line of Tuck’s was as much for me as it was for Robin, who’d been beaten, imprisoned and was very close to breaking point:

His eyes welled up, but he angrily wiped them, not giving in to the self-pity that threatened to overwhelm him and he remembered Tuck’s words from not so long ago: “Never give up hope!”

He clenched his fists and forced a smile into the oppressive darkness. It would take more than this to break Robin Hood.

Never give up hope everyone, and stay safe.

If you’d like to sign up for my email list and receive a FREE Forest Lord short story, “The Rescue”, along with regular chances to win signed books, posters, mugs and Audible downloads click here: http://eepurl.com/bqatb5


 

I’d like to give a big thank you to Steven for appearing on my blog today and what better way can I do that then with a review for his lastest book Over The Wall..

Here’s the blurb

Beltane, AD425
Northern Britain

Midnight approaches and in Dun Breatann’s great hall the Beltane feasting continues, with stories and songs and as much meat and ale as anyone could wish for.
On the western side of the towering fortress however, ten small figures make their way up the shadowy rock. Armed to the teeth, and hand-picked for their particular, deadly skills, these warriors have travelled far across the sea from Dalriada and are utterly focused on their mission, despite the fact most – perhaps all – of them will die this night.
High above, guards patrol the fortress walls as usual, but they expect yet another quiet shift for, as everyone knows, Dun Breatann is impregnable.
Isn’t it?

Review

Over The Wall is a 31 page novella, part of the author’s Warrior Druid series. Written during the lockdown of 2020.

As night falls and drink is flowing King Coroticus’s enemies approach..

Will these dark assassins manage to carry out their plan? it’s almost certain death for them.

What they don’t know is that Bellicus and his trusty hound Eolas are in attendance in the great hall.

31 pages isn’t a lot to fit a story in to but McKay manged it perfectly leaving me eager for the next book in the series to come out.

The plot was fun and the story linking with the Trojan horse fit perfectly.

McKay always manages to give life to characters, even in such a short space of time and I loved the interactions with Gavo, the captain of the guard.. I love that guy.

A fun novella which any fan will be excited to read.. and if you are anything like me it will have you rereading the series.. I need another Bellicus fix and fast.

5* Novella!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Hunting Ground by L J Morris – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Hunting Ground by L J Morris. This is part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of the book which is  out today!!!!

BLOG TOUR

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Thriller.

Freed from prison and back in Europe, Ali Sinclair has one job… find Frank McGill.

The information he has is vital if they are to end the conspiracy that threatens to bring down the Government and push NATO to the brink of war.

With terrorist attacks increasing and a mole at the top of the establishment, Sinclair and McGill will need to use all their skills to follow the clues across the continent in a deadly treasure hunt that drags them back towards London.

But when you’re being hunted by assassins and the authorities… going home isn’t always the safest option.

Review

We are back Ali Sinclair and Frank McGill.. a fantastic duo who have a talent for getting mixed up in trouble that could really end up getting them killed.

Frank McGill has gone missing.. the only one who can find him is Ali Sinclair but she’s been banged up in prison.. her reward for the last time she helped the government out.

Sinclair has a break of sorts.. but it’s not going to be smooth sailing… she’s freed from prison to track down McGill to bring in him and his asset in from the cold.

There’s a conspiracy afoot and the asset may be able to shed some light on the matter.. Unfortunately Vadim the mole who escape the clutches of Sinclair in their last meeting reappears ready to cause trouble…and this time he’s in the endgame.. time is ticking.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the fact the author not only added new characters to the mix which complemented Ali and Frank but we also see the relationship between Frank and Ali explored. After their last adventure that’s the only thing I really felt was missing but the author hits all the right notes this time and gives me that connection I was craving.

Have I grown to love Ali and Frank since this instalment.. yes.. oh I’m not one for verbal displays of connection.. I like to feel the connection.. see it grow.. but the author managed to keep on the right side of things quite well.. it’s a fine line in a thriller.. I prefer the silent and deadly type ha.

I like to bang on about development a lot.. I know… but it’s important.. Hunting Ground is an important book for L J Morris as not only does it give real development in the characters and plot but shows development for the author themselves.. no holes to pick at… just well paced adrenaline fuelled action that keeps you gripped!

It’s an easy read but it flows perfectly.. (I hate when the suspense is over too quickly!) and it’s written in such a way so you can’t help but be hooked in.

Overall 5*.. I loved the previous offering but Hunting Ground offers sooooo much more and ticked the box left blank for me last time.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the author and Book On The Bright Side Publicity for having me on the blog tour!

Author Bio:
Profile 1_LJM
 

L J Morris is an author with a lifelong love of books and storytelling that he developed as a child. He spent most of the 80s and 90s serving in the Royal Navy as a Weapons Engineer and now lives in Cumbria, with his family. He currently works within the defence industry and continues to write at every opportunity.

His short stories have appeared in several anthologies including Volumes 1 & 2 of Best-selling author Matt Hilton’s anthology series ‘ACTION: Pulse Pounding Tales’.

Other anthologies he has appeared in include ‘Happily Never After’, ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’, and ‘Liminal Time, Liminal Space’ where one reader described his tale ‘True Colours’ as “Riveting and powerful

His first novel ‘Desperate Ground’ was published in May 2018 and attracted good reviews.

The Many Blessings of Rejection as a Writer – Guest Post by Ike Pius

I arrived at the bridge but couldn’t find the strength to jump. How did I get there?  

Let me tell you my story.

Inspiration struck in 2015, and so I wrote a short story. I wrote to several online journals,  and then I finally got a chance with a British based online magazine to publish my story serially. The first episode was a hit and so I discovered that I might have made an error. Bomber Boy deserved to be more than a chapter in another person’s book. After some thinking, I decided to publish it online as an eBook. A very interesting story, it was loosely based on the true events of December 25, 2008, in which a young Nigerian man had boarded a plane bound for the United States of America with a bomb in his underwear. His intentions were clear:  blow up the plane, send the 300 people on board to hell.

I was sure that it would become a hit, just as it was well accepted in the British magazine.  I excitedly  hit the publish button expecting to see my book become a best seller, and my name rise to fame. I thought maybe I could win the Pulitzer!

I was wrong! I quickly learned that if you are going to make any sales you need to do a lot of publicity, and one way to do so is to have good reviews on your book.  I started the process of requesting for reviews. That was how my problems started.

The World Loves to Hate

In my searching, I came across a certain American woman who owns a popular blog. Her name is Karen. As the stars would have it she works at the particular Airline where my story was taken from. As a matter of fact it seems that she was quite involved in the sad event from which my story is derived. She had first-hand information about it. I was very happy that she agreed to read my book, and write a review.

It was a disaster! She hated my book so much that she spent all her time calling out even the slightest spelling and punctuation errors. The review was so one sided that it did not see a single positive side in the book it was all about. This woman bashed everything about my book; from the disclaimer I put at the beginning to the way I ended the story. Even though the book was clearly marked ‘Fiction,’  she said my work did not tally with the details of the original event, and put up the ONLY 2 star review on my book page till date.  (Just google Bomber Boy: Ike Pius her review is quite prominent. ) She made it quite clear that she considered me and my book a nuisance.

At about the same time another American woman reviewer from whom I requested a review wrote that my book was just an attempt to humanize a extremist. She said that I had no talent, and that I was sympathetic to extremists and  their actions. She said this even though I included an Afterword at the back of my book, in which I condemned violence in all forms, and called for more sense from Africa which has become a battleground. I do not believe she even got to the Afterword. She probably saw an African writing a book, and decided to put him in his place. If you google Bomber Boy: Ike Pius you can find her damning review.

Those two reviews have probably killed  my chances of successfully marketing that book.

I was Knocked out Cold 

Bashing an Author’s writing work is an act of evil. It brings feelings of frustration, dejection, and can even bring extreme depression. In my particular case I stopped promoting my book on twitter and facebook, and I did not even write as little as an essay for months at a stretch. To put it simply I stopped being an Author. I stopped being alive.  I wanted to die.  That was how I got to rock bottom as I stated at the beginning of this article.

But something happened that brought me back to life.

Karen, the first  reviewer I mentioned at the beginning, basking in her success in killing my chances on Amazon, then came back to another book marketing website (GoodReads) to repeat the patriotic action. SHE DID  THIS AFTER THE PERIOD OF ABOUT 2 LONG YEARS. I did not ask her to do this, and neither did she ask or notify me. Apparently, she just searched for my book on Goodreads, and said to her self: ‘shoot it down again.’

What Hit the Reset Button on my Brain?

To be honest it was pure rage! I was so angry when I saw her peddling her hate again on goodreads that I did not even realize that I was up and doing again. As electric shock therapy can revive a comatose brain, so was I resuscitated.  I saw that I could fight back if I really wanted to, and so here I am- fighting!

Their words have not only sparked my brain into activity, but they have unwittingly given me a story to tell. The rocks that have been thrown at me have now become the steps upon which I climb to become a better writer-a greater writer.

To add icing on the cake, I now consider myself qualified to give words of encouragement to younger ones who might have experienced the pain of rejection for the first time. I do exactly that in the next paragraph.

Keep Pushing, don’t Let them Win

To tell you the truth, I think it takes a lot to become successful as a Black person in almost any field of endeavor. You have to work extra hard! You have to put in the extra effort just to get a chance to show your abilities.

This could sometimes mean writing more job applications, submitting more contract proposals, going to more casting auditions, attending more dress rehearsals, and doing more practice sessions. But the extra work can make you better.

I tell people that I have written more review requests than I can count, and that I have been ignored or rejected well over 100 times-to be modest. This has made me more sensitive to the few opportunities that I have got, and I have been able to build solid working relationships with the few people who have been responsive.

I can confidently tell you that chances will come, and if you seize your moment, you can make it. There is nothing in this world that you cannot achieve if you do not give up.

The Most Important Part of My Story 

If I had given up then you would not be reading this post now. I firmly believe that the information contained here will be useful to somebody somewhere. Who knows, it could even save someone’s career.

Furthermore, by not giving up I have met many kind Authors and Reviewers, some  of whom have taken a stand with me basically because they have been disgusted by the actions of my detractors.

I have received many words of encouragement from many fine people all around the world, and now I have recovered my dignity and refueled my ambition.

A Summary of my Story

How has rejection been a positive thing for me?

It has inspired me, no, forced me to become a better writer. As a result writing has become for me a real, and profitable venture.

It has forced me to reach out, and to network more with readers and reviewers and now I better understand what readers appreciate.

It has made me more socially aware, more conscious of what is going on in the world.

About the Author : Ike Pius is an Author who wants to feature on every blog in the world. I ask that you read the most touching story I have ever written: When I Went to Hell https://onelovespace.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/when-i-went-to-hell/

Twitter – @IkePius

10 Questions with….Ike Pius (@IkePius)

Today I bring to you a little Q&A with Ike Pius. I reviewed Ike’s book Bomber Boy back in 2016! so a Q&A is long overdue! ha.


Question 1 –   For readers who haven’t yet read your work can you give us a little bit of an insight as to what the book is about?

First let me say a big thank you for having me here on your blog, David. You have been very helpful in getting my book Bomber Boy out there in front of people.

Bomber Boy: Rise of the Underwear Bomber is more than just a story about Terrorism; this is a project for change. This is social activism… this is my lifeswork. The lead character is a terrorist or a suicide bomber who is sent to blow up a plane loaded with passengers bound for the United States.

That is exactly the point- He was sent. By whom? Why?

I try not only to make the reader laugh, but also to see that Terrorism goes a lot deeper than the folks at CNN are willing to let us see.

Question 2   Where did the idea for the story stem from?

The Underwear Bomber. The son of my country’s richest banker, is a very real person. Hence the idea for the book is inspired by real events. However, I labelled the book as fiction so as to dodge any legal issues.

Question 3  What motivated you to write the story?

Nigeria my country is always in the news for the wrong reasons. We are always looking for excuses to kill each other, but honestly religion seems to be the most effective reason we have.

I wrote a book titled Paradise That Was. This book was a story about the futility of Religious madness, particularly in the Nigerian setting.

Bomber Boy was supposed to be a radio skit to raise awareness about the book. somehow I saw more potetial in Bomber Boy and so decided to make it a book of its own.

Question 4    I enjoyed the book and quite honestly say for me it’s unique, how has it been received and how have you handled the feedback?

Well, for a guy like me with no background in literature, and no connections to the big publishing houses out there I really have no right to complain.

I just have to mention that many reviewers have refused to give me a chance just because of the colour of my skin. One American woman attempted to shoot me down in flames via a review on amazon… and then 2 years later she posted an even worse rating on goodreads. A man from Canada was moved to write about her “racism takes many forms.”

How I have handled the feedback? Difficulties have only made me stronger. I have improved the quality of the text and I am determined to keep pushing on.

Question 5  Do you plan to keep writing?

Interesting that you should ask this. Several times I have started a new draft, only to tear all up. I guess I don’t want to write anything less significant or meaningful than Bomber Boy. That would be like walking backwards. But when inspiration comes, I will be sure to write again.

Question 6  Do you have a day job? If so how do you balance this with day to day life

I run a small business which involves photography, graphics, and printing. My attitude towards life is: ‘stuff won’t get done by it’self.’

Question 7   I know you’ve worked hard to get bloggers like myself to read your work. Have you found the community as a whole supportive?

I believe that the future of publishing is not big presses or PR firms- it is bloggers. I therefore try as hard as I can to work with them. A lot of work still has to be done, like fishing out racists and scammers who don’t care about books but just want to take money from authors.

But yes, there have been a few supportive bloggers whom I have had the joy of meeting.

Question  8  What are your hopes for the next five years, personal and professional?

I would like to meet a nice girl. I would also like to see that my book Bomber Boy has gained acceptance. I don’t even know what that means, but I believe I’ll know when I get there.

Question  9  Tell me more about Ike. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy watching TV. I think my favorite show is Only Fools and Horses. I also enjoy reading. My favorite book is Gaius Julius Caesar: The Conquest of Gaul. I like to eat too..hahaha

Question 10    What would you say to convince readers to give your work a read?

Please read my book… hahahahaha

Thank you Ike!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Need to keep the adrenaline rush going?

I don’t know about you but I’m riding high after England’s latest win in the world cup!

If like me you want to keep the excitement going then what I’m about to tell you will blow your mind! If it doesn’t then you really need to get involved and see what all the fuss is about.

Gordon Doherty is releasing Legionary book 7, titled The Blood Road on Tuesday! that’s this Tuesday 10th July!

Here’s the blurb –

381 AD: The Gothic War draws to a brutal climax, and the victor’s name will be written in blood…

The great struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Gothic Horde rumbles into its fifth year. It seems that there can be no end to the conflict, for although the Goths are masters of the land, they cannot topple the last of the imperial cities. But heralds bring news that might change it all: Emperor Gratian readies to lead his Western legions into the fray, to turn matters on their head, to crush the horde and save the East!

The men of the XI Claudia legion long for their homeland’s salvation, but Tribunus Pavo knows these hopes drip with danger. For he and his soldiers are Gratian’s quarry as much as any Goth. The road ahead will be fraught with broken oaths, enemy blades… and tides of blood.

Now why am I telling you this you might ask..,quite honestly I just love the author’s work.. I’m getting nothing from this post..I just want to share word of a release I’m excited about and I feel you should be too.

Gordon has a great talent for storytelling, you get the full package from his work and so much story for your money.

Please do check out the series! If you are disappointed with my recommendation I’ll even buy you a pint!

To find out more about the new release click here – The Blood Road

If you want to know more about the series head to the authors site – https://sites.google.com/a/gordondoherty.co.uk/gordon-doherty—writer/legionary

Legionary: The Scourge of Thracia by Gordon Doherty – Review

Title – Legionary: The Scourge of Thracia (Legionary #4)
Author – Gordon Doherty
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 396 pages
Publication – 5th February 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The legions are in tatters, and the Gothic hordes are gathering beyond the mountains . . .

377 AD: Thracia’s legions are few and broken in the wake of the Battle of Ad Salices. But the scattered centuries and cohorts rally in an effort to blockade the Haemus Mountain passes and hold back the relentless attacks of Fritigern’s swelling Gothic armies. These passes must endure until Eastern Emperor Valens and Western Emperor Gratian can muster and bring their Praesental Armies in relief.

Numerius Vitellius Pavo and the men of the XI Claudia return to Constantinople from their brutal Persian sortie to hear widespread tales of Thracia’s plight and the precarious mountain blockades. Each of them knows what is at stake should those passes fall: the heartland of the Eastern Empire would face the wrath of the barbarians and loved ones would be at the mercy of their savage blades. When the Claudia are despatched to aid the effort at the mountains, Pavo can think only of two souls wandering in the jaws of the Gothic threat: his beloved Felicia and his lost half-brother, Dexion. So he and his comrades march at haste, headlong into the storm that awaits them . .

Review

After the battle of Ad Salices the legions are in tatters but the Goth’s will be back soon..The forces of Emperor Valens and Emperor Gratian must combine if they have any chance of stopping the Gothic horde.

Pavo and the XI Claudia were assumed dead by most. Including Felicia who happens to Pavo’s beloved. He doesn’t have much time to rest as every man is needed to man the mountain passes. He gets his chance at a reunion with Felicia but also gets closer to his half-brother Dexion..it’s not going to be smooth sailing though that’s for sure!

Haunted by the past Pavo travels blindly on until he finds Dexion and no one could be happier for the pair than Gallus the fearless XI Claudia centurion. This book really made Gallus stand out and I couldn’t love the character more. His dealings with the speculatores are explored and it really adds to an already exciting plot.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the build up, it’s not just a simple tale of Roman’s vs Goth’s fighting to the death.. smash..smash..smash..there’s so much more, the plot goes deeper and when we get towards the end of the book the author hits you dead between the eyes with some revelations you just don’t see coming.

Gordon Doherty stands out for me as one of only a few authors I’ve read that truly know how to mix plot and descriptiveness. It’s too easy to add information that just isn’t needed for the reader to pad the word count out a bit but not with Gordon, every bit of detail feels important to the tale. I’ve read too many books that have paragraphs that leave me wondering why it was even included but not Gordon Doherty!

The author also stands out for me as one who can really engage a reader. Usually I find myself burning through a book or sometimes losing a little bit of interest (staring into space type of moment) but not with Gordon Doherty’s work. He makes me take my time.. Makes me truly appreciate the time and effort heput in to writing what I can only describe as a masterpiece! (That’s the first time I’ve ever used the word (“masterpiece” in a review)

Super plot, super twists and I’m just left with that excited/nervous feeling for more. So much so I’ve already finished books 5 & 6 ready for book 7 of the series which is released on July 10th!

Look out tomorrow for a little post about the release of book 7 and a review of book 5! I hope you are as excited for it as me!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Guest Post – Maria Mellins – How important is setting to an author?

So over the past few weeks I’ve started watching a series called Sirens. Have you seen it? if not you should. It’s about mermaids..not Disney style.. these mermaids have teeth and they do use them!

Well after watching an episode it reminded me of a book I’ve read. Returning Eden by author Maria Mellins. Well I just had to drop the author a line to see about a guest post while it was fresh in my mind.

Click the image below to see my review of Returning Eden

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Thankfully for me Maria was very happy to oblige and shared her views on how important setting is to an author.

Here’s what Maria had to say –


 

I am very keen to ponder the idea of just how important setting is to an author. I have heard authors, much more experienced than I, talk about the process of writing a novel and how at times the characters begin to make decisions above and beyond the author’s original intentions. Before you know it, these domineering, unruly characters have got you into all kinds of strife through no (conscious) fault of your own. Well in my story, I did certainly get a sense of this, but it was actually the setting and the overall world-building, that really seemed to exemplify what I can only term as a Frankenstein effect. Locations, architecture, weather, all seemed to take on a life of their own.

My novel is set in the fictional island of Cantillon. The island itself is heavily influenced, appearance wise anyway, by the American prison Alcatraz and a visit I had to San Francisco in my twenties. There isn’t anything new about a story, tinged with horror, being set on an island. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is testament to how creepy and atmospheric such a setting can be. Islands are ideal. The beasties can be unleashed and the characters escape routes are very limited. There is also something primeval about islands, they are as old as the earth and who knows what creatures lurk there. Like the ocean, islands present an uncanny element of the unknown.  They make chilling settings. I guess my spin on the island setting that appears so ancient and almost magical, was to introduce characters who are thoroughly modern.

A theme in Returning Eden and in many novels and films that I loved growing up, is the clash between old and new. I have never been too keen on period fiction, tending to prefer my novels and movies to straddle ancient and modern worlds both thematically and visually. I love the idea of college kids, dressed in the latest fashion, wandering around labyrinthine architectures from the eighteenth century, or being dwarfed by gargantuan stone fountains in the shape of mythical sea gods. The Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris contain this lovely blend of ancient history, vampirism (that is archaic) but with contemporary characters. Films like Wes Craven’s Scream from the nineties contain beautiful, overbearing landscapes, with a teenage girl running around in corridors in the dark. I wanted to recapture this theme of anachronism in Cantillon Island, and create a world that is looking backwards and forwards simultaneously. So at the centre of the island is Cantillon College, an eighteenth century castle that oozes over the entire grounds, but its student body are a bunch of contemporary British teenagers.

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Cantillon College is the main focal point of the novel, both in terms of action and atmosphere. It is a gothic castle that I can’t fully separate out from my own experiences studying and now lecturing at St Mary’s University, home of Strawberry Hill House. Many a stormy night I’ve spent walking the hallways after lectures, thinking how lucky I am to be able to dwell in such a beautiful, gothic environment, and especially one that is so steeped in history of the gothic novel. Strawberry Hill House and gothic writing go hand-in-hand. Horace Walpole transformed the site in Strawberry Hill into his ‘little gothic castle’ in 1747. It was on these premises that he wrote A Castle of Otranto, which is commonly regarded to be the first gothic novel and an influence for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Needless to say inspiration comes easily when you are surrounded by such a place.

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(Above) The Oceanides, York House, Twickenham. A direct influence on the fountain scene in my novel.

Alongside the architecture and the gothic tone of the novel (it rains a lot!) I have to say that the ocean is the most inspiring of settings. I think part of the reason that I wrote Returning Eden, and this will become more apparent as I continue with the series, was in attempt to recreate my experience of watching films like Jaws for the first time. I love horror stories and these sea-baddies have always given me the heebie-jeebies, especially as a kid. Even now, any film that includes underwater footage immediately piques my interest. Taking Jaws as an example, the story includes that ancient sense of creation, of the prehistoric, in the form of a man-eating shark. Jaws doesn’t present an actual real-life shark that should be respected and protected, It presents a fantasy man-eating sea monster (hell-bent on revenge if you watch all the Jaws movies) that can legitimately threaten any given number of modern scenarios, as we can wonder – what if? It is just within the realms of reality. If 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored then what can be lurking out there? I wanted to write something that addressed this question and made me feel terrified and excited all at once.

To find out more about Returning Eden head to Goodreads or Amazon

Beg For Mercy (Detective Solomon Gray #3) by Keith Nixon – Review

Title – Beg For Mercy (Detective Solomon Gray #3)
Author – Keith Nixon
Genre – Crime Fiction
Length – 199 Pages
Publication – 12th June 2018
My Rating –  5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Fifteen years ago Duncan Usher was sent to prison for killing his wife, Valerie. Young Detective Solomon Gray was first at the scene. His biggest case yet.

But Duncan Usher didn’t kill Valerie. While someone was strangling Val, Usher had another man’s blood on his hands. Usher took the fall for Val’s death, but now he’s out. Released on a technicality. He’s held a grudge all this time, and he won’t stop until he gets revenge on the dirty cop who framed him. Usher sets his sights on DS Solomon Gray.

And he has no qualms about using Gray’s son, Tom, as a pawn to get what he wants.

Beg for Mercy is the third book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

Review

You’ve no idea how glad I am to be back in the world of Solomon Gray!

If you’ve not read the first two books in the series you should!

Click below to read my reviews –

Dig Two Graves

Burn The Evidence

So we are back with Sol and this has to be one of the best openings to a book I’ve ever read. Sure Sol is flawed but surely he’s not capable of murder or corruption!

As with previous tales we change perspectives and time periods throughout the book jumping from the past to the present. This style of writing really makes it an interesting read and builds the suspense up as the author reveals little by little the truth behind the case until all becomes clear.

This case has links to Sol’s past and his son Tim who was kidnapped many years ago and it appears a so-called friend might not be who Sol thought they were. But how does Duncan Usher fit in and what lengths will Grey go to in order to find out the truth.

There’s a few twists in this one that you don’t see coming and you can see relationships are starting to wear down. Gray doesn’t have many friends left to rely on. Who will he call in his time of need?

Beg For Mercy has to be the best in the series so far, which goes from strength to strength and the development of story just has me gagging for more. Will we ever know truth about what happened to Tom and is he alive? Oh I do hope the author lets us know one day but I’m happy to live with the suspense killing me if we get tales like this.

This is a suspenseful, thought-provoking crime thriller. I could give you the normal words I like to use like dark and gritty but the only way I can describe the book honestly is exciting! I just want to keep going!! More more more! The book has that WOW moment for me when things start to fit together and left me with that tingling feeling a great book does when you replay the events in your head to imagine what it must feel like.

I’m a big fan of the authors work and he never fails to deliver a cracking read!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

Virgin to Victoria by Trisha Hughes – Review

Title – Virgin to Victoria
Author – Trisha Hughes
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 308 Pages
Publication – 25th April 2018
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Virgin to Victoria is a powerful retelling of the history of the British monarchy, beginning with Henry VIII’s daughter, Elizabeth I, as she comes to the throne. Charting Elizabeth’s incredible journey, Virgin to Victoria travels in time through the confusion of the Stuart dynasty, the devastation of a Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell, horrific battles for the throne and the turbulent Hanover dynasty with its intricate family squabbles. Despite her amazing legacy, Elizabeth failed England in one vital area. She never married, nor did she leave an heir to the Tudor family. In making this one fateful decision, the Virgin Queen left the path open for a take-over and life would never be the same. Victoria did not ask to be Queen. It was thrust upon her by a series of events that removed all others who stood in line for the throne. She assumed it reluctantly and, at first, incompetently. Parliament was sure that the 18-year-old could be relied upon to leave the job of running the country to the professionals. Couldn’t she?

Review

Virgin to Victoria is the follow-up to Vikings to Virgin: The Hazards of Being King by Trisha Hughes. You don’t need to have read the previous book to enjoy this one but I highly recommend it simply because it’s one hell of a read.

So Virgin to Victoria..another history book you might think.. no not just a history book. What the author gets spot on for me is the way she writes, it’s like she’s talking to you one on one..rather than just regurgitating information in a text-book style you get a fact filled educational ride that quite honestly makes history fun and interesting.

What I particularly like is the way the author keeps things clear for the reader..If I’ve learnt anything it’s that King’s and Queen’s have a habit of naming their children after themselves or relatives so the same names pop up time and time again so it would be easy to get confused.. Trisha Hughes manages to keep things on track well by reminding you of key facts as and when to jog your memory.

Something that really stuck me is the high death rate of not only commoners at the time due to disease but that fact the royals did not escape it. Disease wasn’t the only thing that royals had to worry about..the act of child-birth posed its own dangers to not only the mother but the child also and mortality rates were shockingly high. This really shows you how much of a business being a King or Queen is..as soon as they come to the throne they need to produce an heir and the pressure must have been immense to say the least and even after a miscarriage you’d be expected to continue and try again..I can’t even imagine what this must have felt like but it did help me connect with the characters from history and made them more real for me… you really feel for them at times.

Being a relative of a King or Queen wasn’t good either..everyone is a pawn in the big game and marriages were made to build connections rather than love and because of this overwhelming need to strengthen their hold on the throne it’s very apparent becuase there was a limtied nubmer of royal families inbreeding occurred leading to many life limiting medical conditions..it’s quite scary when you read it.

The book flows well and I loved that key events are repeated so you can easily put the book down and come back to it later to read about the next ruler and have your memory refreshed.

Some of the most interesting bits about this book have to be the theories around Queen Elizabeth I (I’ll not spoil that if you’ve never read about it) .. The fact 3rd September seemed to be a very important date in history and how a man named Buckingham seemed to have the worst luck ever!

Overall the book is well written and sets out the facts in a fun and easy to read way. I can’t recommend the book enough.

My thanks go to the author and The Book Guild for the chance to read and review the book! This is most certainly one book I’ll be buying my dad (if you follow my blog you’ll know that’s only something I do when the book is simply amazing) because he’s not getting my copy 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Cover Reveal – Past Imperfect: A Collection of Short Stories by Pam Lecky – (@pamlecky )

Today I bring to you a cover reveal for Past Imperfect a series of short stories by author Pam Lecky.

You should know the name if you follow my blog as she Is the author of  The Bowes Inheritance and In Three-Quarter Time both of which earned 5* ratings from me.

Whats the new book about I hear you ask..here’s the blurb –

You can never escape the past …

Included in this anthology, by Irish historical fiction author, Pam Lecky, are short stories, a childhood memoir and a Victorian novelette.

With settings as diverse as WW1 era Dublin, the sinking of the Luisitania, and a lonely haunted lighthouse, romance, tragedy and the supernatural await you.

Now to the cover…

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My thoughts.. I like it. I feel it fits Pam’s style of writing and gives the reader an easy indication of the type of story you will be reading.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The books is available now for pre-order for release 6th April here 

I’ve pre-ordered my copy and look forward to reviewing the book on my blog shortly!