Tag Archives: Writing

David’s Book Blurg’s Top Choices for 2019

Ok.. so there’s still time for some last minute gifts so I want to share my top picks! These are just some of the books I’ve read/listened to this year! Click the pictures to head to Amazon to have a look in detail!

  1. Are you an audiobook fan? If so you’ve got to get Lucia by Steven A McKay. It’s a gut wrenching slaves tale set in Roman times.51cHfw39UnL._SX342_
  2. Fancy a delicious new mystery novel? then look no further than No Stone Unturned by Pam Lecky. (Currently at the bargain price of £0.99 on Kindle!)46203408._SY475_
  3. Do you like a police procedural kind of novel and like flawed leads? Well The Silent Dead by Keith Nixon is the book for you.47969376._SY475_
  4. Enjoy a bit of Science Fiction without the word count? Take a look at The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon!415GhUysFtL
  5. Like a bit of a historical read.. ever heard of the Hittites? look no further than Empires of Bronze by Gordon Doherty.51Odsq2iUkL
  6. Not quite sure what you are after? Fancy more than one book? Well why not get a boxset of goodness? Check out forged in Fire, a set which includes books by authors Prue Batten, Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty 5168XFNxseL

 

There’s so many good books out there.. these are just a few of the hundreds i’d happily recommend so do check out my reviews and see if anything takes your fancy.

Do get in touch and let me know what book gifts you give and receive this year 🙂

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

Snowbound (Malykant Mysteries Book 8) by Charlotte E. English – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Snowbound book 8 in the Malykant Mysteries by Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Fantasy.

Detective. Judge. Executioner.

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: the most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

Konrad may be finished with the coven at Divoro — but are they finished with him? Outside the gates of Ekamet, a new ice-palace has arisen, its grisly contents aimed squarely at the Malykant. Its message is clear: interference with the necromancers’ aims will not be tolerated.

Forced to return to Divoro, Konrad does so with trepidation — for murderers tend to run away from the Malykant, not towards. What dark purpose does the coven have in mind, and is he walking straight into a trap?

Review

To say Charlotte E. English has been prolific with the releases would be an understatement so I’m a little behind but catching up fast.

Longevity isn’t something easy to achieve in my opinion.. it takes a fantastic imagination to keep tales fresh and interesting.. Charlotte E. English knows the recipe well and serves up another delicious read.

If you aren’t familiar with the series it follows Konrad Savast.. he’s the Malykant.. he’s one person you hope you’ll never meet..his job is to deliver justice for those murdered.. and if you are unlucky to be on the wrong side of him it’s a lifetime of pain that awaits you.

The series has been developing at pace and Snowbound is linked heavily with the last book in the series The House At Divoro, so please do read the books in order otherwise it won’t make much sense.

Forced to return to Divoro Konrad is set for an out-of-body experience which has you gripping the edge of the seat. This tale shows how vulnerable Konrad really is… his Malykant powers can’t always save him.

For me this books screams character development as Nanda, the inspector and Tasha come to the foreground to save Konrad, this enabled the author to explore relationship dynamics but also have a little bit of fun with Konrad who is quite powerless for once.

Snowbound is another cracking tale. The page length is short at less than 150 pages but the author’s style fits perfectly, effortlessly packing in so much yet keeping the flow natural rather than forced. I’m always surprised how much plot the author can fit in within a few pages.

Dark and humorous is the only way to describe this series and Konrad’s serpents Ootapi and Eetapi epitomise the series, they always put a smile of my face.. the back and forth with Konrad is just a delight to read.

It’s another 5/5 stars for Charlotte E. English.. once again proving she’s the Queen of the short story.

Look out for my review of book 9 in the series The Zolin Conspiracy shortly!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Dystopian

Take a stand. Defy the gods.

Avril was raised salvaging tech in the dead cities left behind after the apocalypse. He was happy, living quietly and avoiding the chosen’s holy wars, but a chance encounter reveals people are coming for him. Whether he wants it or not, he has a role to play in the holy wars and life will never be the same again. Neutrality is not an option for Avril as forces on all sides of the conflict learn who and what he is and set plans in motion to use him to gain the upper hand.

The Bastard Cadre is an ambitious science fantasy saga set in a futuristic dystopia where dragons soar above cities of technological splendor, and what’s left of humanity must choose between kneeling to malevolent gods and risking annihilation to fight them.

Review

I actually read The Bastard Cadre series some time ago and loved it..my only comment to the author was the covers lacked the first impression to make a reader buy the book.. well the author has clearly took that on-board and has released the series with fab new covers..not only that but book 1 in the series has had a rewrite… and to tease me there’s also now a book 5 to the series I’ve yet to read. To do the series justice I thought the best idea was to read the series again from the start to enjoy the ride once again J

What originally caught my eye was the author’s tag line.. epic fantasy without the word count. At 178 pages it’s perfect for a quick read and a great way to test if a series is for you.

The Bastard Cadre is the best series I’ve read and the rewrite for book 1 served only to improve on what I deemed perfection.. as if that was even possible.

The tale follows Avril.. he’s being raised (or rather protected) by Ethan Godkin but why?

After Avril and Ethan are attacked while on the road their life is turned upside down and Ethan does everything in his power to protect Avril… and that means calling someone he’d rather not..he’s stuck in a hard place and there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out.

Set in a futuristic dystopia era where cities are now wasteland you can’t trust anyone as most are struggling to survive… only the rich thrive while the gods play their little games.

A series of events lead Avril to the conclusion he’s not just another lost soul..he’s part of something bigger…but what…. there’s a connection to the gods themselves.. but why was Ethan hiding this truth?  Who can he trust?

I really enjoyed the setting along with the futuristic technology used by Avril to stay alive. I’ll be honest.. the plot was great and the setting perfect.. the detail given in under 200 pages sucks the reader in and leaves so many questions open setting the series up perfectly.

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

War In The Wilderness by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing War In The Wilderness by Adam Lofthouse!

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Thriller

Balomar, King of the Marcomanni and leader of the united army of the tribes, broods and drinks his way through the long winter as his alliance falls apart. He won great fame when he destroyed the Fourteenth legion and brought his army to Italian soil. Rome will not let his victory go unanswered; new legions have been formed, and their spear tips point north.

Elsewhere Albinus braves the harsh weather and tribal hordes as he searches desperately for Licina, his lost fiancé. Once more he must play dice with Fortuna as he launches himself into the iron storm.

For Rome, and his father’s shade…

Review

We are back with Albinus for book 2 in The Centurion’s Son Chronicles.. he’s grown up fast since the death of his farther in the previous instalment…he’s lost so much but things were looking up when he found love with Licina..only for his hopes and dreams to be dashed.

Time has passed but Albinus hasn’t given up on finding Licina…how can he find his love whilst also fulfilling his commitment to the legion though..it’s not going to be easy.

Albinus is pretty lucky as the legion aren’t just comrades..their brothers and he along with a trusted few set out to find Licina.. of course they end up in a bit of bother and the stakes are high.. the cost too much and the guilt will stay will Albinus forever.

Meanwhile we also learn of Licina’s fate.. she’s become rather resourceful and brave in her own right.. the perfect match for Albinus..if only she can get back to him… If anything her tale overshadowed that of Albinus and I would have loved to see her fight more…who doesn’t love a strong female character!

Both Albinus and Licina struggle at times being apart..does the other still care about them..is it worth fighting for? Neither are going to give up easily though.

War in the Wilderness is a great mix of legion comradery mixed with a personal plot you can get invested in, add in a couple of big twists along the way and you’ve got a smashing read.

I won’t lie.. these soldiers aren’t the hard-nosed warriors I’m used too.. they show their emotions..but that makes them more real at the same time.. what would you do for the one you loved? Would you lay your life on the line for a friend?

One bit that really had me hooked was the whole conspiracy angle..there’s a whole section when you are left wondering who are the good guys.. why are certain people associating with those with a not so clean profile? All this plays out with Albinus in the dark and the repercussions will rock his world.

I loved the book, the pace was pretty decent.. if anything I would just have liked the story strung-out a little longer.. More fighting.. less talking..ha.

The author did a great job a tying up the threads of the plot whilst also developing his characters.. Adam Lofthouse is finding his feet as an author and hit the right notes for me. One to watch? I’d say so!

A plot driven tale with fun and interesting characters to boot 4/5 Stars 🙂

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Blog Tour – Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood by Trisha Hughes – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m taking part in the blog tour for Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood by Trisha Hughes!

Victoria to Vikings Full Tour Banner

Here’s the blurb

At the heart of our present are the stories of our past. In ages gone by, many monarchs died while they were still young. There were battles and diseases and many were simply overthrown. But the days of regal engagement in hand-to-hand combat are over and the line of succession has a good ageing prospect these days.

One of the most famous monarchs in history is Queen Victoria and her passing brought an end to an amazing era. She could be demanding, rude and she frequently fled public duties for the solitude of Scotland. But she loved fiercely and her people loved her fiercely in return. Under her reign, England achieved a greatness it had never known before.

Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood spans from this great queen to another one: Queen Elizabeth II. Ours is the era of the longest living monarch in history and her ancestry is incredible. But walking two steps behind her, stalwart and loyal, stands Prince Philip, the strawberry to her champagne, and with him comes his own amazing Viking heritage.

Review

Ever wondered what is was like to be King? Ever wonder what it took to become a Queen in a largely male dominated world? Well look no further. Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood is the 3rd and final book delving into the history of our monarchy.

I’d like to think I know a little about history.. I enjoy the subject that’s for sure but what you get taught at school barely scratches the surface!

Trisha Hughes has a very fun approach to sharing history with the reader, with added little commentary along the way. It’s like being back at school.. the fun teacher who makes you enjoy learning but you try not to admit it since you want to look “cool”.

Without going into massive detail..since I want you to buy the book..simply wow.. there’s so much more to our monarchy than I ever imagined. The stress of trying to keep the crown in your family requiring an heir..high mortality rates..birth defects.. madness.. illness not to mention good old religious and cultural divides.

 

We all know bits and pieces about our monarchy..but there’s just so much that you’ve never learned. Bertie has to be the one who shocked me the most..his early life, how power changed him without really being trained for the role.. it’s no wonder time caught up to him in the end.

The author didn’t disappoint with this one.. if anything I’ve caught the bug again…I need more.

It’s one of those books that just gets the synapses firing..one little mention of Rasputin and I’m already looking for my next history book to read.

The most fascinating point of the book for me was the Jack the Ripper links.. not sure what I’m on about? Ah well, buy the book and find out…fascinating!!

The word to describe this series is simply.. Enlightening.

Not to steal words but they say with great power comes great responsibility.. and they are right.. some don’t choose this power..some have it trust on them..while some thrive..some crash and burn..this is their legacy.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read and review the book.. I’ve bought a copy myself too! it’s worth it!

This is soooo much more than a history book.. it’s more than simply rehashing facts..the author brings everything together and tells the tale in such way to grip you..it’s told the right way.. the fun and riveting way.. get rid of the text books and get these in stock I say!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Author Bio –  

I am an Australian author born in Brisbane, Queensland now living in Hong Kong.  My writing career began 18 years ago with my best-selling autobiography ‘Daughters of Nazareth’ published by Pan MacMillan Australia.  Over the past 8 years, I have been researching and writing a historical fiction trilogy based on British Monarchy throughout the ages beginning with the Vikings. Originally meant to be a single book, as facts accumulated the material gradually filled three books. I call this series my V2V trilogy.

Social Media Links –

Facebook:  Trisha Hughes Author

Twitter:      @TrishaHughes_

Pinterest:   Trisha Hughes

Linkedin:    Trisha Hughes

The Forest Lord Collection by Steven A. McKay. (@SA_McKay)

Any follower of my blog with have heard the name Steven A. McKay, the brilliant author of the fantastic Forest Lord series. The series follows one of my favourite characters ever.. Robin Hood!

What really sucked me into the series is it felt real and fresh and that mainly came from the change in setting for the series, namely Barnsdale. I asked the author about this and this is what he had to say

When I started researching the Robin Hood legend I realised the original ballads were actually set in Yorkshire, not Nottingham. I knew I had to stick pretty closely to the well-known tales, but somehow stand out from all the other modern retellings – moving the setting away from Sherwood was the ideal way to do that while still remaining faithful to the earliest ballads.

McKay continue..

I wanted The Forest Lord series to be familiar to fans of Robin Hood, yet, at the same time, new and fresh and exciting and not just another rehash of the same old story.

I’ve previously reviewed the books separately but now the box set is out I thought it high time to update/combine my reviews 🙂

Here we go..

So we’ve all heard of Robin Hood yes? Of course we have. As a boy Robin Hood was always one of my favourite characters. This was one of my reasons for buying this series and I’m so glad I did! McKay gives us the Robin Hood we never knew we wanted.. and damn it’s good!

McKay has decided to revamp the whole Robin Hood tale, moving the location to Yorkshire when England was under the reign of Edward II. This makes the book quite refreshing as it’s moved away from the well-known tale set in Nottingham. From the authors notes you can see a lot of thought and hard work has went into this series and it shows.

The story starts with Hoods early life and the events that led him to become an outlaw. We see him climb the ranks to eventually lead this band of outlaws.

Along the way we see him deal will conflict not only with the rich people of Yorkshire but also himself and the outlaws where personalities clash.

Even though the setting has changed we still have the heroes we all know and love, Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet & Much.

Chapter after chapter you see the tension grow as McKay takes you from one characters journey to another, friendships are made.. and broken… this isn’t a tale of merry men.. but desperate men who want only to live life or care for their family..it’s a struggle. There’s plenty of humour within the tale but the underlying struggle to stay alive keeps you on the edge of your seat!

We see Robin beaten, men killed, imprisonments, executions the works

The word that springs to mind about this series is “Growth” Not only does each storyline improve on the previous one but McKay has managed to grow his characters superbly throughout the series. You can really tell the author has put a lot of time and energy into his work.

What I really enjoyed about these books is that the author takes risks, the heroes don’t always live, it was gobsmackingly refreshing.

This series is dark, gritty and downright engrossing.. You never know what will happen next and when events play out your heart is in your mouth it’s pumped that fast!

The end of the series is a true highlight. Not only does it do the series justice but it also leaves fate to the reader.. read into that what you will 🙂

I strongly recommend the series..I bought 2 paperbacks of each book just so I could share with my dad who I knew would love it just as much as me.. do yourself a favour and get the 4 book set for £9.99… bargain price!