Monthly Archives: March 2021

Ever get angry at a book?

Ever get angry at a book?

Well, I have. I did yesterday and, to be honest, 24 hrs after finishing it, I’m still pretty pissed off.

And yes, I know that I don’t usually have a rant on here.

Indulge me, please.

Now, I am well aware that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” but as an author, I sincerely hope I never leave any of my readers as frustrated and disappointed as I was late yesterday afternoon.

And before any of you ask – no, I’m not naming the book or the author as that would be unfair. I am sure that there are countless readers, more than have ever read my own efforts, who have loved every book in the series.

However, I do know from checking the reviews on Amazon and Good Reads that I’m not alone in my feelings of frustration and disappointment here,

The series in question here runs to five books. Books one through to three had me gripped, totally invested in the central characters’ relationship. I was well and truly hooked! I needed to know where they ended up. Would they get their “happily ever after” by the end of book 5?

From the start, book 4 felt a bit “different”. It felt cold. It felt rushed. It was lacking in description. Scenes that in the earlier books would have been fuelled by emotions were almost glossed over or were missing altogether. Key points from the threads of the storyline from book 3 were all but forgotten, much to my annoyance.

In all of the books I had overlooked some of the UK/US inconsistencies.  If you are resident in one or other, I get that it’s difficult if not impossible to get the vernacular totally accurate for the other. I have faced the same challenge while writing but from the opposite side of the equation.

As I read voraciously through book 4 the % read rose steadily but the storyline stalled out….

Suddenly, totally out of character of the style in the first 95% of the book and the others in the series, the reader was propelled “six months later” then “two years after that” then “ten years on” …. then it ended.

But there was still book 5…. or was there? I actually went back to my Amazon account to check that I had read them in the correct order!

Initially, swallowing some of my bitter disappointment, I dived straight into book 5 and immediately pulled up short.

Now, I’m fairly sure that, if I had kept reading, I would have gained some fresh insights into tales already told in books one to four but I’m sorry the author lost me forever when reference was made to racoons ransacking the trash cans in a burgh in London. 

Reality check moment… a simple Google search by the author or their editor could have saved the day and pointed out that London is pretty much out of racoons in the wild, but it didn’t.

Kindle closed.

I am so annoyed that this author has let her characters down here. She sold their story short, and I’d love to know why? Did she fall out of love with them? Was it a deadline that was looming and time ran out? Was it a word count issue? If so, why not stretch the telling of the couple’s tale into book 5 and spare us the flawed retrospective? Was it a case of writer’s block? Was she just bored by them?

I am so frustrated that these strong characters were short-changed in this way! (You might have figured that out already.)

So, here’s my plea to you, my readers, if you get any sense that I’ve sold my characters short please tell me!

Most of you already know that I too have written a five-book series (For those who didn’t know, it’s called the Silver Lake series and you can find it on Amazon), but I feel I stayed true to my characters to the very end. Yes, not all of them made it through all five books. People come and go in books as in real life. I wrote the Silver Lake series over a period of seven years and these fictitious characters became like old friends and I knew they deserved the best storyline that I could create for them.

I ended the Silver Lake series with a definitive ending before I could be accused of running out of ideas and of repetition. It was a tough decision to reach but I feel strongly that it was the right one.

Will my characters be back one day? Yes quite a few of them will. Will some of the sub-plots from the Silver Lake series be explored further in future? Yes, I certainly hope so. Will some of them get their own books? Most definitely!

As an author, I learned a valuable lesson from reading the four books of that unnamed five book series. It showed me the importance of being true to your characters and in delivering for your readers. I certainly have no intention of “cheating” my readers out of their “happily ever after.”

Rant over…. two-star review left online.

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

Once Upon A Time (a Covid fairy tale)

While I was doing my ironing on Sunday morning, I was watching Once Upon A Time on Netflix. I don’t watch a huge amount of TV but I do have a weakness for that show. I love a good fairy tale!

For those that have never seen it, it’s a fantasy drama spanning 7 series that alternates between a fictional coastal town in Maine called Storybrooke and various fantasy kingdoms. In the “real world” of Storybrooke the characters have all been cursed and have forgotten their fairy tale roots. None of them can leave Storybrooke. They are all trapped there by a curse that was cast by Regina, the Evil Queen.

In the episode (OK 3 episodes) I watched (it was a big pile of ironing) one of the characters said there would always be a place in the world for fairy tales as fairy tales brought one thing to people – Hope.

That resonated with me…….

Once upon a time, a very long time ago (OK it was 23 March 2020 but it feels like a lifetime ago) a horrible curse was spreading like wildfire through all of the lands. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister appeared on national television to read a proclamation (link to the transcript is below) and told all his subjects, loyal or otherwise, that he was placing the entire realm into Lockdown. Everyone was ordered to “stay at home”. All the shops were told to close, apart from those selling essential items like food and medical supplies. All the schools were closed indefinitely. Workers were told to work from their homes where possible.  Within a few short days, everything was closed down, locked down.

The people across the land were told that they could only leave their homes for one hour a day to exercise locally. They were allowed to leave to buy food or seek medical attention.

Meeting friends and families was outlawed.

Social distancing was introduced but no one was allowed within 2m of each other if they met in the street or in a shop.

The people were scared. Their lives had been turned upside down. They panicked! Terrified that this curse was going to scare the shit out them, they bought up all the toilet rolls for miles around (and the pasta, rice, flour, eggs, sugar and pretty much everything else!) The shelves in the supermarkets were empty.

Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. The hourly news bulletins were dominated with horror stories of how many subjects had been affected by the curse and how many had died from it.

Hospitals struggled to cope. Doctors and nurses were working to the point of exhaustion trying to care for those who fell ill.  In an effort to thank these unsung heroes, people stood on their doorsteps at 8pm on a Thursday evening to clap their hands. Week after week, come rain or shine, they clapped.

Children were encouraged to draw rainbows to display in their windows as a sign of hope.

During the summer months, some of the restrictions were slackened off a little. The schools and the “non-essential” shops were allowed to re-open (everyone could now buy new socks and knickers!) Restaurants and cafes could open for a few hours a day too. But while this was going on, the wearing of masks became mandatory in shops and indoor spaces. Social distancing was still being enforced and people could only meet in small socially distanced groups.

Hugs were still outlawed.

Understandably some of the subjects had become restless after all these long months of Lockdown and not all of the obeyed all of the rules all of the time.

The curse continued to spread and to mutate and to kill thousands of innocent people.

Scientists worked furiously in their towers to develop an antidote to break the curse. It became a race to see who could develop the most effective vaccine first.

As Christmas, a time for feasting with friends and family, approached there were promises that the Lockdown restrictions would be slackened for four days. There was joy among the weary subjects as they began to sense some hope for the Festive Season. They began to plan for reunions with their friends and families. But just days before Christmas, these hopes were dashed as the government proclaimed that the rules would only be relaxed for one day instead of four. The people were devastated. And in a second hefty blow to their already low morale, from Boxing Day the entire country was place back into full Lockdown and told to “stay at home” once more. Schools and shops closed. Cafes and restaurants closed. Meeting friends and family was once again banned regardless of whether it was indoors or outdoors.

But the scientists struck gold! A vaccine was created to help beat the curse. By January there were four different vaccines licenced for use in the land. These “magic potions” promised protection from the dreadful curse.

A plan was devised and the mass vaccination of all the subjects in the kingdom began.

At last, there was some real hope for people. Real hope that someday they might be able to return to their lives, their jobs and be able to meet up with friends and family. There was finally hope that hugs would once more be allowed.

To be continued….

It’s too soon to say when or if we’ll get our “and they all lived happily ever after.” For too many families across the land, life will never be the same again but for now we can hold onto that grain of hope that some sense of normal life is on the horizon.

As for me, well, I’m just looking forward to hugging my friends and family. It’s been a long year…..

The proclamation read out on 23 March 2020:-

Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 23 March 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Long Shadows – have you got your copy yet?

Walking into Garrett’s guest room with Todd following behind, Jake wrestled with how he was going to broach the subject with his guitar tech and former protégé. The bedroom looked like a teenager’s and Jake was momentarily embarrassed by the mess.

“Looks like a tour hotel room,” joked Jake sheepishly. “Can you sort out my guitars till I round up my clothes?”

“Yes, boss,” said Todd. “What was that all about with Jethro? Something going on I should know about?”

“Sort of,” replied Jake. “We had a meeting on Thursday about the future of Silver Lake.”

“Am I out of a job?” interrupted Todd, an edge of panic in his voice. “I’ve rent to pay and bills. I need to know what’s going on here!”

“No, you’re not out of a job but I’d like to talk to you about a different job.”

Want to know more?  Then check out Long Shadows today-

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

A month post partum Book Baby 6….

Scary to think that it’s been over a month since the launch of Book Baby 6 aka Long Shadows.

The Silver Lake fans have welcomed it with open arms and showered it with love and I’m delighted that it’s sitting on Amazon.co.uk with no less than 12 five star reviews already. It’s also earned 2 five star reviews on Amazon.com which to me is HUGE plus 5 five star reviews on Good Reads. I honestly couldn’t have asked for more so thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review.

I’ve said it before that these kind words and twinkling stars fuel the fires of creativity and I genuinely mean it. The kind words this time have made me question if I made the right decision to end the Silver Lake series after five books.

Yes. Yes, I did make the right decision but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss those characters. They’ll be back at some point in the not too distant future I’m sure.

So, what happens now? What happens once your book baby is set free and you’re waiting and watching as the world reads it?

Well, if you’re like me, you start thinking about the next one.

Actually, I started Book Baby 7 a couple of weeks before Long Shadows was published. I bought 5 new matching notebooks and started to write but I didn’t truly connect with it for a good three weeks or more. For once I have the storyline mapped out in my head. (No, I don’t plot these books out. I kind of go with the flow here.)

I think I had a mild case of post-partum book baby blues. Almost a year of living in lockdown has taken its toll on a lot of writers’ creativity and it would appear I’m no exception, but I’ve worked my way through it and have found my way into my own storyline. I just hope I can stay there!

I’m not jinxing my progress by revealing too many details of the focus of Book Baby 7 but will say this – I’m giving myself a generous window of time here. Please don’t expect this one to be ready before summer 2022 at the earliest.

In the meantime, if you’ve not met Jake and Lori and the rest of Silver Lake, you can still catch up with them on Amazon. You’ll also find Ellen hanging out there too.

Silver Lake series

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Ellen

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

The Silver Lake series – have you met Jake yet?

Introducing the Silver Lake series. From their first encounter on the beach in Rehoboth Beach, DE, Jake Power and Lori Hyde form a strong bond. Stronger Within (the first song Jake writes for Lori) sees their friendship and relationship blossom as well as the career of rock band Silver Lake taking off. There are tears and heartbreak forJake and Lori and the Silver Lake family in Impossible Depths (named after Silver Lake’s second album) before there are tears of joy and happiness in Bonded Souls (another beautiful Jake Power ballad). Emotions and relationships share a roller coaster ride in Shattered Hearts (the title track from Silver Lake’s fifth album) This emotional tale reaches its climax in Long Shadows ( a song that’s a work in progress for Jake – could there be a solo record in the offing?)

If you want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Tangled Emotions

Yesterday while I was out walking, I was reflecting on a few things…. ok I was over thinking and was rapidly becoming over-emotional. I run on emotions. We all do. We’re human beings not robots.

Emotions are natural. They’re part of what makes us “us”.

But what are they?

According to Wikipedia :-

Emotions are biological states associated with all of the nerve systems brought on by neurophysiological changes variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or displeasure. There is currently no scientific consensus on a definition. Emotions are often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, creativity, and motivation.

Leaving neurophysiological changes aside, I felt like my own emotions weren’t so much intertwined but were more like a tangled mess!

At that point, the trees to my left caught my attention.

That was it!

That was how my emotions felt!

 All tangled and twisted and knotted and just like the vines growing up and around the tree’s trunk. So, here’s my photographic interpretation of tangled emotions.

Missing the Beach? Missing live concerts? Looking for a good book?……

Need a day at the beach? Fancy a date with a hot rock star? Missing attending concerts?

If you answered YES to any of these, check out the Silver Lake series today

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Silently Watching During The Aftermath Of The Hunger Moon

Two long days and nights had passed and there was no sign of Trine returning. He had scoured the local area searching everywhere he thought she could possibly be but had found no trace of her. Exhausted, he’d returned to the hut each day at dawn then slept fitfully until the sun went down. Where was she?

In desperation, he’d risked a daylight excursion on foot into the woodland where the dark angel’s mausoleum stood hidden among the dense trees. A quarter of a century had passed since he had last been there, but he found it easily. The tomb was deserted but the footprints around the doorway suggested that she had been there recently.

Safely back at the beach hut, he picked up a small white pebble. If he left it on the bench in the graveyard, would she still come? Deep in thought, the runner slipped the small stone into his jeans’ pocket.

Breathing heavily, Trine crouched down low in a shadowy corner of the small ancient church. She was unsure of exactly where she was, but she guessed she was some two hundred miles north of the beach hut. It felt like a long way from home. It had been a fraught couple of days to say the least. She was in agony.

As soon as she’d left the safety of the beach hut, she had realised that she was being followed. Hunted.  Her years of study at the Court of the Elders had stood her in good stead. Using her skills, she had flown high, using the low-lying clouds for cover, looping back to circle her stalker. It had taken several hours, and the sun was starting to rise but finally Trine had caught her first glimpse of the dark angel. She was everything she had imagined and more. The dark angel was the most breathtaking vampire that Trine had ever seen. She was beautiful.

With the sun creeping over the horizon, Trine had initially turned for home but eventually she had been forced to seek shelter in a ruined stone cottage high on a remote hillside. When she’d emerged at dusk, there was no sign of the dark angel. With a sigh of relief, she had soared into the night sky to fly home to the runner. Within minutes, the sense of being followed had returned.

The dark angel was tracking her once more.

Part of her wanted to continue to head for the sanctuary of the beach hut. The runner was meant to be seeking out the angel to kill her as agreed and she could easily lead her straight to him. Or was he? Was he too stalling for time here? If she led the dark angel back to him, he’d be forced to uphold his deal with her father then she’d be summoned back to the castle. She wasn’t ready to go back there.

The only alternative was to keep heading away and try to lure the dark angel into danger.

As she flew further north, Trine flew over several small remote islands. Some looked inhabited; others looked to only be home to flocks of seabirds. There was a storm brewing and the Ice Maiden prayed that she could find shelter before the storm struck or the dark angel did.

Suddenly, she became aware that dark angel was close – very close. As thunder peeled overhead, she felt a sharp pain in her calf. Glancing round Trine saw the dark angel within arms’ reach, a dagger in her hand. Swooping round, the Ice Maiden made a grab for the dark angel’s wrist. She wasn’t swift enough. The dark vampiress caught her by the arm, burying the knife deep into her shoulder. Screaming in agony, Trine kicked out hard and fast, managing to knock the blade from her assailant’s grasp. Kicking out for a second time, she connected with the angel’s shoulder and heard a crack.

With a howl, the dark angel flew at her reaching for her injured shoulder. Trine was too quick for her and soared up and away out of reach. Within seconds the dark angel was on her tail.

Their eyes locked as they stared at each other.

“He’s mine,” hissed the dark angel as she pulled a second dagger from her waistband. “Mine! Not yours! Mine!”

Before she could use the knife, Trine had whipped it from her hand and plunged it into her back between her majestic wings, twisting it as she drove it in. Fighting to remain conscious, the dark angel lashed out, her long nails raking down the Ice Maiden’s pale cheek.

“Looks like he’s mine now,” stated Trine, trying to sound calm and in control.

“You don’t know how to care for him, little girl. You don’t know what he truly is.

“And what is he?” demanded Trine, the roaring wind making it difficult for her to be heard.

“He’s unique! One of a kind. He’s pure!”

“Pure?”

“Yes. Pure,” spat the dark angel. “Even he doesn’t know what he’s capable of yet.”

Lightning cracked across the sky to the northwest of them.

“You’re nothing to him,” declared Trine icily. “Let him be.”

“Why? So he can do your father’s bidding and kill me?” laughed the dark angel through her pain. “Yes, I can guess the deal he struck with the court. Even if he does choose to kill me, Stefan won’t be able to uphold his end of the deal. Fate will see to that.”

Around them the storm was closing in.

“What do you mean?” screamed Trine, trying to make herself heard over the howling wind.

“You’ll find out, Ice Maiden.”

Another crack of lightning lit up the sky above them. Trine felt the air crackle and when she looked again the dark angel was gone.

Realising the danger she was in, she swooped down in search of somewhere to shelter for the night. As the storm hit, she crawled into the sanctuary of an old church. Finding a dark alcove deep in shadow, Trine had finally collapsed in a heap on the cold stone floor.

Crouched in the shadows, pain shot through her shoulder and her calf. Biting down on the edge of her cloak to prevent herself from crying out, Trine listened. She could hear male voices approaching. She had to escape.

Injured as she was, she knew she couldn’t fly back to the beach hut. She would have to try to transport herself there, but she was weak. Regardless she had to try, and she needed to act fast.

Just as the two men opened the church door, Trine stood up unsteadily, balancing on her good leg, wrapped her wings around herself and vanished.

Dusk had settled on the beach hut marking the third night since Trine’s disappearance. Flames were dancing in the wood burning stove. With a heavy heart, the runner sat staring in through the glass panel on the stove’s door. He had his hand in his pocket, playing with the smooth white pebble. If Trine wasn’t home by dawn, he’d visit the graveyard and summon the dark angel. He was ready to confront her. Part of him was worried that he’d waited too long already.

A loud clatter from Trine’s room made him jump to his feet. He was across the room with inhuman speed, his feet barely touching the floor. Drawing back the curtain, the runner let out a cry, “Shit!”

Trine lay in a bloodied crumpled heap on the pale cream rug.