Sunday, 17 May 2015

Technosis: The kensington Virus by Morgan Bell

The most difficult thing about self publishing a book is the promotion. You have to shout from the rooftops that you have a book to sell. Shouting things from the rooftop is not my style. I like to keep things private and low key. Being asked to do an interview was as frightening as it was flattering. (Fame at last?) Luckily the questions were mostly about the book and not too personal, but the interviewer also wanted a photo. I had kept my face religiously out of the public domain, but here it was. I decided to take the next step in self promotion was to release my picture to the world. In true diva style I pretend to be younger than I am and released a picture that is a few years old:) It was taken against the back drop of one of my favourite places; Monaco.
On to the book review, and it was a goodie that easily deserves it 5 stars.
Technosis:KensingtonVirus by Morgan Bell
 One thing I love about book reviewing is that once in a while you get a book that truly surprises you. Judging by the cover I expected a dark dystopian fantasy, what I didn’t expect was a sharp, witty dystopian fantasy that had me laugh out loud a fair few times. Science fiction isn’t always about the fiction; it is often about society as it stands and the author’s fears or dreams about the future. This is a fast paced, entertaining, well written piece about how technology has become even more ingrained into our everyday lives. Many of us already ‘live’ on social media, and for some their digital lives have become more important than their real ones. So the plot of a virus that infects humans via digital messages is very topical. The victims of the Kensington virus turn into texting and emailing trolls, spreading the disease with obnoxious messages. Braindead, but still frantically keying away on their various devices. (Maybe the virus is already here!)
Dr Jamie Baxter is unaware of the epidemic, but immune to the virus. This brings him to the attention of the military and he gets press ganged into an elite unit that has to deal with the crisis. Jamie soon finds his ethics evaporating as he has to fight for his life. He and the team also learn that nothing is quite as it seems when they pick up the trail of the mysterious Cronos.
The book is at times very violent, but more of the Tarrantino/comic book variety, and I wasn’t shocked or offended by it. (Maybe a little by one unpleasant scene towards the end.) I wasn’t surprised that this story also exists as a graphic novel; I think it will work well as such. Witty, clever and a great read, I would recommend this to Science fiction fans that like a well thought out mystery and some satire. Excellent stuff.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Re-launch Something Short

Something Short came out in 2014 and was used to raise funds to send a volunteer from the Stafford centre in Edinburgh to Belarus. (See previous blogs for the whole story.) Since then this book has been sitting on the virtual shelf, not doing much. I’m currently involved in another book of short stories for MacMillan nurses. This has been expertly organised by the writer Ian Moore (writer of Salby damned-see earlier blog for a review) So I decided to give Something Short a re-launch, but this time involve the charity and do things hopefully a little more professional. I’ve added a new cover:

And a page explaining who the proceeds go to:
All profits from the sale of this book are being donated to the Support in Mind Scotland charity. Support in Mind Scotland, seek to support and empower all those affected by mental illness, including family members, carers and supporters. Details can be found on their website:
Charity N° SC 013649

 Support in Mind is the charity that runs the Stafford centre so we continue with supporting them. If you already bought the book, we would like to thank you and ask if you want to write a review on Amazon. If you haven’t, please do so now as Support in Mind Scotland does some excellent work. Here is the link to Amazon:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Revenge of the Pumpkins by Lacey Lane

This time not a book review but a short story. Read this to the kids at bed time and nightmares will be guaranteed! 

Revenge of the pumpkins is a gruesome tale perfect for Halloween. An unsuspecting family is carving up pumpkins for decoration, little knowing that during the witching hour; the poor mutilated vegetables will come to take their revenge. I think even in this age of desensitised children; there will be enough horror here to give them a restless night. Great stuff and free on kindle just now!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Not What You Thought? And Other Surprises by P.A. Ruddock

One of my favourite books are collections of shorts. It is a great way of discovering new authors, and I certainly discovered a few in this book. It is a combined effort by Mr Ruddock and five guest writers (Lesley Hayes, Tom Benson, Matthew Williams, John M.W. Smith, Peter Nena.) to raise money for the 'Forget-Me-Not' charity. Some of the stories were better than others, but a well deserved four star.

Not What You Thought? And Other Surprises by P.A. Ruddock

I love short stories, there is nothing better than to have a good short to entertain you during a commute or lunch break. No need to remember what was going on, or missing your stop as you were just so engrossed in a thriller. This book certainly entertained me. I can see mister Ruddock took great glee in what is an inspiration to many writers; fictionally murder the people that have gotten on your bad side. There are some excellent contributions from the five guest writers and the overall standard of writing is high. A variety of styles and subjects are used and the changes in pace work well. With such a mix of themes it was obvious that I would like some stories better than others. There is a common thread with many of the stories having a twist at the end. This mostly works well, but sometimes it is a twist too far. Life behind bars was for me a highlight and a low point at the same time. It is a powerful tale about arriving at prison after sentencing and I don’t think the twist was appropriate. I would recommend this book as it is a fine collection of shorts and the proceeds are going to the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ charity for homeless ex-servicemen and those affected by PTSD. Do good and have a great read at the same time; what more do you want!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Angel's Blood by Sallyann Phillips

I'm afraid this was another case of great book, shame about the editing. However, when I started reviewing I promised I would not mark down for spelling etc. I've contacted the author and posted a 5 star review on Amazon. In the age of Kindle, you can upload another version of your book in seconds, so if you're considering this book, maybe give it a few weeks and hopefully an improved version will be uploaded. If you like the werewolf genre, or just a good fantasy book, I'd recommend this one:

Angel's Blood by Sallyann Phillips

Who’s afraid of Octavia wolf? The answer is me. Octavia (Tavi) Johns is a female werewolf not to be messed with. She has been on the run since she was born. Losing her mother young to an evil wolf pack and being trained by her dad to cope with any adversary, she is tough and mistrustful. Sallyann has created in Tavi a wonderful heroine. She is flawed, complex and a very strong female character. What I loved best about the book is the dynamics of the wolf pack. There is order and rules, but also the moral code of protecting the weakest and being there for each other. The author has made her characters unapologetically wolf; they have short fuses and strong emotions which often boil up. Conflicts are often settled in violent fights. After that, the loser cedes rank, hands are shook and respect is often earned rather than resentment lingering on. I also love the romantic story line of a wolf finding her mate. The notion of a wolf mating for life and not being able to live without his mate is beautiful. Love, family and belonging are some of the excellent themes in this book. I did have some issues with editing and I have contacted the writer, but top marks for the plot and characters.