Possibly the last of my summer reads this one, but it was a good one to finish off with.

Well, it looks like this strange summer of 2020 is slowly coming to a close and autumn will soon by pushing its cooler winds in our direction soon. However, fingers crossed we might be getting a bit of an Indian Summer with a bit of luck so let’s wait and see.

Anyway, we’ve just spent a little bit of time down on the South West coast of England in Cornwall, near to the place where one of my books, The Seeds of Lies is set. I love it down there and I can certainly see why there have been so many books set around this area in the last few years or so. Such a magical place with an astounding coastline just steeped in history and each little village just seems to have many stories to tell. Great for a writer, i should tell you.

Moving on though, I should tell you one of my great enjoyments on whatever type of holiday I go on, whether is camping under the stars or staying in a nice hotel I always seem to find a little time to read a book or two. This year, it was a book called Bridging the Gulf by an author I managed to interview a couple of years back. He’s called Malcolm Hollingdrake and I believe he is a very talented author indeed. Anyway, this is my review I left on Amazon and Goodreads, and if you get a chance to pick up any of his books I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t with this one.

BRIDGING THE GULF by MALCOLM HOLLINGDRAKE.

I picked Bridging the Gulf for my summer holiday read this year, and what a good choice it was. The book itself started off very well and had my attention from the start. But the best part was yet to come as the plot unfolded and moved to Northern Cyprus. I loved how the author used his skill as a writer to take me there as his descriptions were, in my opinion, just about spot on, and I felt as if I had known the place for years. All in all this was excellent work. Getting back to the plot and I will try not to give anything away, but I will tell you it covers the controversial subject of Gulf War Syndrome and how some of our armed forces coped with it. Once again it seems to me that the author has done some extensive research into this subject and I feel as if I have learnt a little more about the subject after reading this book, which was great. But this book isn’t just about that. It’s also a thriller, it’s also a bit of a clever cat and mouse story. It’s also romantic to a touch. All in all I believe the author has got this book down to a tee and I really enjoyed it. So good plot, fantastic settings, some great and very believable characters and a bit of a twist at the end I didn’t see coming makes it a five star read for me.   

Another great read.

If you’re looking for a page turning story with a great plot then look no further than Deceit by who I believe is a talented writer with a great future going of this one. Deceit is a political thriller, which tells the story of how Abi Gillespie, a journalist, along with her friends try to find out who and why a hospital in Syria was destroyed in a bomb attack, killing her brother. As she delves deep into this mystery, she starts to uncover some; let’s just say shocking facts that will leave the reader startled.
Brilliant characters, extremely well written too, and as I said, great plot, as well as being simply an enjoyable read.

Summer read that wasn’t really.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to review a book by Karen Charlton called Death at the Frost Fair. All in all, this was a great little book and I enjoyed it a great deal. The only problem was that it was set in a really hash winter. Of course this should not have been a problem, but I did question as to why this was released in the summer. Anyway, these were just my thoughts at the time, and it’s certainly not for me to question the publishers decision to release a winter’s tale at the start of the summer.

However, saying that, if you do have a couple of hours spare to read a shortish story, please do read this book as it’s really a great read, and very enjoyable. Below is my review, but I’ll tell you know, I will be looking out for more by this author.

Death at the Frost Fair

If you have a couple of hours to spare and want to be entertained by a great little book this one would be a top tip from me. I loved it. Hugely entertaining, great characters, and the setting of the 1814 Frost Fair was certainly different and absolutely fantastic. Although this was a short story the author managed to weave together an intriguing plot with a bit of a mystery thrown in. To be honest I was thinking the story was going to go one way, then all of a sudden a bit of a twist towards the end threw me off corse a little, which I loved by the way. So, all of this together, along with the author’s high level of skill in her writing made a very enjoyable read indeed. 

 

Another Summer Read.

Here’s another read I’ve really enjoyed this summer so far. TheSoul Killer by Ross Greenwood. Following on from  his first book in this series called The Snow Killer, which was great by the way, and tells the story about a detective John Barton and his hunt for a killer, who let’s say is somewhat characteristic.

It’s a great story if you like crime novels, and this is what I had to say about it.

the soul killer

After reading The Snow Killer by the same author, which I loved, I’ve been so looking forward to reading this one as a follow up, and I’ll tell you what, I loved this one too.

The story itself follows the team of DI Barton trying to catch a very clever killer who throws them more than their share of leads while at the same time throwing them right off the scent. All in all, by doing this the author has managed to weave a great plot from the start, right to the end of a very dramatic conclusion. Full of great characters, excellent scenes, well written which shows the reader that this author has a great knowledge of the subjects he is writing about. A very good book indeed and highly recommended.

 

Summer Reads: Who did you tell.

It’s often said, to be a writer you have to be a reader too. I agree, so every now and again I’m going to tell you some of the books I’ve been reading and enjoyed.

Here’s the first one. Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara.

Who did you tell

And this was my review.

What a great book this has turned out to be.

After reading the Rumour by the same author, and very much enjoyed, I was eagerly awaiting the release of this one. And I’ll tell you now, it was worth the wait, because it’s a fantastic read especially if you are like me and into psychological thrillers. 

At the start of the book we are introduced to Astrid, who is a recovering alcoholic, and despite her problems she is a character you really get attached to simply because of the extremely clever way the author has written her into the story. And as the story moves along, I was really rooting for her.

Getting onto the story itself and the plot, I would say for the first few chapters the author lays the seeds to many questions that I was asking myself about how the story was going to unfold. Once these seeds were in my head, then suddenly I was turning the pages right until the final page. Obviously I won’t give the ending away, but let me just tell you, it’s a good one.

 

Here we go again

Hi Everyone. Well, it’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog, so long some have thought it was so long it had come to a sad end. Anyway, that is true to a certain extent as I have neglected it somewhat for a long time. Saying that, I have been extremely busy with getting my new book out there, The Silhouette of a Broken Man.

However, I am pleased to say that from last week it is now available via Amazon, and so far it has been well received, which has come to a great relief. (Apparently that’s normal for a writer.) Anyway, moving on, I’ve got some great plans for the blog, which I can’t wait to share with you over the next few day and weeks. These blogs will hopefully take the shape of telling you what else I’ve been up to, plans for the future, as well as things like what books I’ve been reading and reviews of what books I’ve enjoyed. So stick around, and watch this space, as they say because my new blogs will be coming very soon.

All the very best. Peter.

Book of the year so far.

Survivors

I think I’ve just found my book of the year so far. The Survivors by Kate Furnivall. What a brilliant read this has turned out to be. First of all I want to congratulate the author on writing a story that had me thinking one way by rooting for the main characters, then other times I wasn’t sure if I should be or not because of some of the things she did during the story. I’m sure in many people’s eyes, these would be unforgivable. But then again, during the second world war and the aftermath in a displayed persons came were desperate times, especially as she was desperately trying to look after her daughter. In addition to this, as the story moved on, I wasn’t even sure if the antagonist was even the antagonist, so well written was the plot. And what an ending!

As for the characterisers in the book, each and every one of them was written to perfection. All very different to each other, but somehow they all blended together to make them all very believable fitting very well into the story.

So what else can I say apart from it being a fantastic story, great characters, a very interesting setting of a displaced persons camp as well as fantastic writing. A definite five star read. 

It’s been ages.

 

Well, it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything on my blog. I guess this has been down to one sad reason. This being, I had stopped writing for a little while and had nothing much to say. Well not in public anyway.

However, things have changed and I started to write again about this time last year, and pleased to say I’ve managed to complete two new novels. With a bit of luck I will be publishing them sometime over the next few months or so along with an updated version of The Burden of Truth.

But in the meantime, I’m going to keep somewhat quiet about myself apart from bits and bobs along the way. Instead, I’ll be telling you what I’ve been reading. The first one is, The Sinclair Betrayal by M.J. Lee. This is what I have to say about it.

Lucky for me I was given an advanced copy of this book for an honest review. I have read a number of books by this author, and to be honest, none of them have disappointed me. This one is no exception. Once again the author has captivated me into an intriguing plot that had me wanting to read on until the final page. The only niggle I had with this book, and trust me it’s only a slight niggle, is that it started off just a little too slowly for my liking. However, as I read on the plot suddenly became alive as Jayne Sinclair started to look into her own family’s past, and what had happened during the time of the second world war. Then what a great story it turned out to be once it kicked off. Brilliant.

As for the characters; well I love how the author has penned Jayne Sinclair as the protagonist, and I also love how he has done this in such a way as you get to know her more and more as each book in the series continues. (By the way, although this is a series, this can be very much enjoyed as a standalone.) As for the other characters, again the author has a knack of getting them spot on.

So all in all. A great plot, excellent characters, very well written, and as for my personal enjoyment, I loved it.

Sinclair betrayal

Are there only two types of writers?

I was asked a great question from a wonderful lady to go on her own blog. She asked me about how some authors seem to set off to write a story, then somehow during the process the story can take on a whole new personality somewhat different to what the author had in mind. She asked me what my take on this was when I write? This was my reply.

Oh and by the way check out her blog it’s really good. It’s http://www.lindasbookbag.com

To me there are two types of writers. No matter what genre a writer may choose, whether it’s romance, a crime novel or even fantasy most novelists chose to write in two different ways. The first group could be described as the ones who simply sit down and write by the seat of their pants until their novel is complete.

Now I must admit I’m completely in awe of these authors. I believe Ian Rankin is one of these types. I’m sure I read somewhere that he goes off to his house on the north east coast of Scotland, sits down and simply writes until he has his first draft complete. No planning ahead, nothing. Apparently he doesn’t even know how the story is going to end or even who the guilty party is until he gets to the big reveal. This, he says, keeps the story exciting and it also lets the creativity of the writer flow.

So all in all I’m not going to disagree with the man. I mean let’s face it he’s one of the biggest and most successful writers around with millions of fans, so really he can’t be wrong, can he?

Anyhow, I’m going to put my hand up and say I have tried this approach to writing a number of times and failed miserably. The problem is for me I just to get into a story only to find I just grind to a halt as my story runs out of steam.

Because of this I have made the decision to join the ranks of the second group of writers. This second group being the ones who plan their work from start to finish trying to keep within the so-called narrative ark.

So this leads onto my book, The Burden of Truth and how I planed it. I will also tell you how, quite often my best-laid plans do not work.

When I first sat down and decided to write my novel I asked myself, What do I want from all of this?

The answer I gave to myself was probably what many authors would answer anyhow. Interesting characters, great settings, and a good strong plot with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. So really no surprises there.

With this in mind I started on planning my novel and after two months of hard plotting I finally had a good idea of what I wanted to put into my book. Everything was worked out from the layout of the chapters to what the characters were going to do and even how they were to interact with each other. Everything was sorted from page one right to the end.

Now, with this plan all laid out I sat myself down and started to write, and all in all I was quite happy on how it was going at the start. Now I can’t really say how far into the book I was when I realised this happiness was somewhat dissipating rather quickly. Deep down I knew the book was not working. It needed more; as a matter of fact it needed a lot more. I knew deep down this story did not have a heart never mind a message.

So once again I looked at the plan. I also started to think again. Why was it not working and how was I going to add that little extra and make this story work and give it the heart it needed?

Then it came to me; the protagonist Brent. He wasn’t developing as a person. He was not moving on with his life in the slightest. Perhaps he was just going through the motions of life but not moving on with it. Now I knew where I could give the book some heart but the question was, how?

So there I was once again with my thinking cap on. Where can I get this heart? Then it came to me; Shantie! She’s one of the characters who Brent meets just after he has caused a bit of trouble so to say. Now let me tell you a little about Shantie. She’s a beautiful half English, half Indian lady who was brought up in the town of Bodhgaya in India. The town where the Buddha gained enlightenment. It was here where she learnt many Buddhist teachings from the monks around her.

Now I had an idea. Perhaps she could somehow pass some of these teachings over to Brent. With this he would have the chance to build and develop as a character.

Now I was happy again. Now I could move on and finish the story and give it the heart it deserves. However, to finish the story, I had to start again right from the beginning. Because I had made these changes to Brent’s character the original plot fell apart. Anyhow, I knew it was going to be a lot of extra work but I didn’t mind though because it was what I wanted and so it was, a year and a half later I had my first draft copy and obviously nothing like the first plan.

However, all in all I’m quite happy of the end result and I think my readers are too, even though the story took on a totally different identity as I expected.

Take care all and don’t forget. Live, laugh and love.

 

 

 

What reviews mean to me.

Ok, hands up this time. In all honesty I can’t say this question was asked of me directly but more of a general question put to the authors of a Facebook group I belong to.(TBC. The Book Club.)

Anyhow the question was. Why does every review matter to an author?

So, after a bit of thought here is my answer.

Ok the first thing that came to mind was. What is the purpose for a review?

And I guess the answer to this, is to inform the general reading public what the reviewer actually thought of the book. Generally it is for the review to inform the reader if they thought it was good read, or in some cases not so and then to recommend it or not. That really is it in a nutshell and if it is not a personal attack on the author I would say this really is quite fair.

However, this is the purpose of a review but the question was. What to reviews mean to an author?

Now let’s have a think. Ok the obvious answer to this question has been mentioned many times before and that is they help boost book sales. Of course this is correct and the more reviews you get it is better because Amazon and others will help push your book through E- Mail advertising and the rest of it.
Then stating the obvious, the book goes higher in the rankings and at the end of it all, that’s great.

However, I must say not every author said this as you will see if you do read the Facebook post. Many authors did say they read the reviews for feedback about their work. Others have said they help them keep in touch with their readers and help to understand them more. To be honest I agree with all of this and many other answers of the authors gave out.

However, what does a review me to me personally? A review to me means all the the above and much, much more that that and I’ll tell you why.
We all know that every now and again book sales dwindle and rankings plummet. More so for the indie author and of course this happens to me as it does to every other author no matter what their status as an author may be. By the way I should point out that there is no way I would consider my status to be anywhere near high.

Anyhow, in my opinion the problem is that some sales dwindle way before their time is due. Especially for some indie authors and when this happens doubt about your work starts creeping in. You start to think your work is rubbish and only a few people are reading what you have spent years and years to cultivate.
Then of course many authors then ask themselves the questions. Has it all been worth it? Shall I carry on? Theses and other negative questions really do creep into your head.
Of course this is where frustration starts and when this happens it does bring you down a bit. By the way I know about this, also I have spoken to many other authors who admit to suffering from these feelings.
So what do I do when this happens to me? Well, sometimes I go and read some of my reviews and I’ll tell you it not half gives me a massive boost.
I guess I’m blessed in a small way that quite a few people have read my book and enjoyed it and have left some cracking five star reviews.
However, there are many authors out there who have written some great stuff, and because of this their work has deservedly sold quite well.
Now the problem is because some of these authors have just started out, many of them have very few reviews to look back on. As I said its not because their work is not up to standard, quite the opposite, it’s very good. It’s just that their readers, even though they have enjoyed the book still haven’t left a review stating they have.
So what I’m saying is if you have read a book and enjoyed it, the best present you can give that author is to leave a review. It needn’t be a lengthy review, perhaps just a few sentences will suffice.
Not only will it help the author get more deserved sales it will also give him or her just that little boost, just to let them know it’s all been worth it.

And that is what a review means to an author.

So go on, leave a review and make an author happy.

That’s all for now folks. Take care until the next time.