Monday, 24 March 2014

A Darker Shade of Black by Ken Magee

Madrick, Tung and Michael, two wizards and one computer wizard, are back for the third part of the trilogy.

As soon as I settled down to read this story, I was engrossed with the story again.  These are great, funny characters.

As the characters were split up at the start, each person's story was told separately.  Some books would have swapped back and fore, a bit at a time, but this one was told in nice big chunks, which was satisfying to read.

I've really enjoyed the other stories in this trilogy and this one doesn't disappoint.  There are some wonderful new characters, some shocking moments and lots of laughs.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00J6CBQCE/?tag=jookuf-21


Monday, 10 March 2014

Pigeonwings by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

This is the sequel to the fantastic Clovenhoof, but this time Jeremy aka Clovenhoof, aka Satan is joined by the Archangel Michael.  Michael, being Mr Goody Two Shoes is easily led astray by Clovenhoof as he tries to adapt to living in Birmingham.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and, after a slowish start, this book develops into a great successor to it.  Again, the characters get into trouble with the fingers pointed firmly at Clovenhoof's door.  This was truly a laugh out loud book for me.  Looking at the desctiption, the book is over 400 pages.  I could have read 400 more about Clovenhoof.  He is a character that could run and run, and get into trouble wherever he goes.  There is great characterisation in all the main characters.

A thoroughly fun read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EGP9UNS/?tag=jookuf-21



Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bittersweet by Matthew Drzymala

Venetia comes across a photo of her grandfather and recalls his tales of the shop in the village of Bumpkinton he worked in when he was a young man.  She gets the idea that she wants to run the long forgotten shop and sets off to find it and get it.

This was a short but sweet tale.  We are introduced to characters of Bumpkinton and understand why Venetia wants to live there.  The story is very well written and I'm sure I could read more stories from this village.  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HFRRJ50/?tag=jookuf-21


Monday, 3 March 2014

Interrogating Tony James Slater

Here's a guy I don't think I'd like to hang out with.  I don't fancy rock climbing, 1,000km strolls,  or sleeping in a campervan.



How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

Well, I don’t have much choice at the moment – being a memoirist can be tough on the creativity! Luckily, there are people out there who want to read about the crazy sh*t I get up to, so I’m writing about that. I have to admit though, I’m yearning to write a bit of fiction – something where I don’t have to tell the truth all the time! And of course, writing fiction probably won’t require me to injure myself quite as much…


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I love that I’m writing the stories of my life – people reading my books aren’t discovering new worlds I’ve visualised, they’re reading directly about me! That can be a little nerve-wracking, as any negative impressions they get are also directed at me – and I have to admit to every short-coming, every embarrassing action or habit… Sometimes my readers know more about me than my closest family and friends. And more than they’d ever want to know… This is the only genre that legitimately allows me write about my testicles. I’m told I take advantage of this fact way too much.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

Because I’m always traveling, I have drawers full of notebooks on both sides of the world. Sod’s Law works well here; the ones I need most always tend to be the furthest away…
I quite often get a flash of inspiration while I’m out and about, so I make urgent notes on whatever comes to hand. I never transfer them, and often completely forget about them, which leads to me discovering bus tickets with cryptic messages and snatches of dialogue on them in jackets I haven’t worn since last winter… Yeah. I should probably get a better system!


How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?

Rather than plot bunnies, I get story bunnies – ideas for fiction stories I’d love to write, but can’t until I’m done with my memoirs. I haven’t the time to devote to them, but I have a sneaky habit – I indulge them at night, when I’m laying awake, my mind racing. I’m an insomniac, and often get only three or four hours sleep, but my wife hates it if I don’t come to bed – so I lay there, staring at the ceiling, constructing plots for epic sci-fi novels – most of which vanish with the first light of morning. I still feel a bit guilty though, about wasting all that precious writing time! But I draw the line at bringing the laptop into the bedroom. Well, my wife does…


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

My characters ARE me! Well, except the ones that aren’t. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else… because then, someone else would have to be me. And that’s not fair on anyone!


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

I DO get wrapped up in my writing – to the point where my wife often has to send me text messages reminding me to eat! She does this roughly three times a day – otherwise, I wouldn’t. As for being married to my characters… conveniently enough, I am! The downside of this is, after I reveal a particularly intimate or embarrassing part of our journey together, I have to a) let her proofread the offending chapter, and b) live with the fall-out…
I still suffer daily for writing that she ‘gave a snotty burble’ – according to her, this is completely untrue and was ‘accidentally’ deleted from my manuscript several times before I managed to publish it…


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

No, not at all. I love reading sci-fi and fantasy, something with lots of ass-kicking and noble sacrifices! I DO read a lot of memoirs, however, mostly out of loyalty to other authors in a similar position to me – and I also read them for, ah, comparison purposes… Of course, if someone else’s new book is better than mine, I have to know about it! I’m only human J


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Normally, I try to let people discover that for themselves. I’m a terrible publicist – I hate pushing my work on other people and trying to convince them to read it. More often than not, I direct people to the free samples on Amazon, in the hope they’ll read those, and suddenly become addicted – and so far, that seems to work quite well. I think it’s the ‘idiot factor’, rather than the x-factor, that appeals to people – everyone loves to laugh at other people, whether they admit it or not!


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

I decapitate them. No! Joke! I love that readers pay enough attention to my work that they spot mistakes. I thank them profusely, and correct the mistake right away, often uploading a new version within the hour. I want my work to look as professional as possible, and readers are helping me to do that – it’s invaluable, really. Several of my keenest readers are now my beta-readers, as well as becoming close friends.


What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?

It’s weird, really – I never have any idea what to say on forums! I don’t want to plug my book, because that’s rude, and I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to give people critique. So, I mostly just read what everyone else writes, and try to pick up tips for marketing and promotion. What I love most though, is when people get in touch with me through the messages, to let me know they’ve enjoyed my books. It gives me a nice warm glow, and it’s cheaper than buying wine…


What is on your near horizon?

A big-assed metal fence! I’m house-sitting in Perth, Australia, looking after three gigantic dogs. So I’m kind of glad of that fence, or neighbourhood children would start going missing… After this, I’m planning another epic adventure – this time to the States! I have a Secret Plan about what I’ll be doing when I get there… but suffice to say, there’ll be a book about it! In the meantime, I’m writing about my six-month trip around Asia – where I got kidnapped by a mafia taxi-driver, received death-threats from a tour company boss, and nearly blew up a hotel in Mongolia. NOT MY FAULT!


Where can we find you for more information?

You can find me in all the usual places – often with a glass of wine in my hand! I hang out on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/TonyJamesSlater) and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/TonyJamesSlater) most of all.
Oh, and I blog occasionally, about the crazy stuff that keeps happening to me – that’s over at www.AdventureWithoutEnd.com


Sunday, 2 March 2014

My Granny Writes Erotica 2 by Rosen Trevithick

This is the sequel to My Granny Writes Erotica, where granny, Betty Berry, writes an extremely successful erotica novel.  Betty is a middle class housewife who had to write the book as she's down on money, having kicked her errant husband out.

In this installment, Betty has to face up to being famous and also being kicked out of the country club, her "friends" having rejected her new-found notoriety. 

As with the first story, whatever Betty does innocently, bites her in the bum (pun intended).  Now Betty's back on the market, she dabbles with a bit of romance, rather than rumpy pumpy, but her reputation precedes her.

I re-read the first story and went straight into this and I think it is better to have read the first story.  Certainly if you smiled at the first one, you'll enjoy this one.  I finished it with my mouth aching from smiling so much.  Yes, the story can get a bit juvenile at times and some things you can see coming a mile off and that is part of the fun.  My eyebrows even got a workout in these bits as my eyes got wider and wider, waiting for Betty to realise what she's got into.

Another great book by Rosen Trevithick.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HNAYJZW/?tag=jookuf-21

http://mygrannywriteserotica.co.uk/




Monday, 24 February 2014

Off The KUF Volume 3

Off the KUF 3 is a collection of 6 novellas by some of my favourite authors

Adventure on the Scotch Express by Cecilia Peartree
This was a nice mystery set on the Scotch Express set amongst the suffrage movement and involving a little bit of cross dressing.
I enjoyed the gentleness of this story.  Even the ruffians weren't too rough.

Bernard and the Bibble by Carl Ashmore
This is a children's story about Bernard meeting a Bibble and going into his world.  It was a little young for me, but an enjoyable story, nonetheless.

The Rocks Below by Nigel Bird
I'd not read any Nigel Bird stories previously and was very impressed with this one.  It seems to start as a collection of short stories, then I noticed they were set in the same area and then I realised they were all part of the same story as the people met up.  It was very well written and very enjoyable.  I think this might have been my favourite of the collection.

Maureen and the Big One by Jonathan Hill
This is the third of the Maureen "adventures".  Maureen has a bit more heart in this one compared to her previous outings.  I enjoyed it knowing her past, but I believe the story is good as a stand-alone and you don't really need to have any past story to enjoy it.

Copy by David Wailing
I've read all the stories in the Auto series by David Wailing, and this is one of my favourites.  It is quite an intense thriller and as all the Auto stories, the story just ramps up and up and up.  

The Devine Legacy by Jennifer Hanning
This is quite a sweet tale of an older lady getting an unexpected inheritance and setting out to retrace the steps of her first romance.

So a mixture of stories, with nothing in common except I enjoyed them all.  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ILC9XAW/?tag=jookuf-21

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Undertaker's Cabinet by David Haynes

This story is a little different to the author's recently released books in that it is mostly set in the present.  Bobby Moreton's family undertaker business is going down the pan and he's fed up and wants out.  But there's history and it wants to rear its ugly head.

Part of the story is set where the first Moreton is setting up the business.  The chapters switch back and fore giving hints of what happened and why the new undertaker is in town and wants Moreton for himself.

The story starts off not too creepy.  There are quite a few descriptions of what undertakers do behind closed doors and it probably wasn't a good idea for me to read those over lunch.  The story ramps up and up and since you know you are reading a David Haynes horror book, you certainly aren't disappointed. 

This author has a way with words and the language of the time and is a delight to read in a dastardly way.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IIT1FDG/?tag=jookuf-21


Thursday, 20 February 2014

A Tasteful Crime by Cecilia Peartree

This is the seventh episode of the wonderful Pitkirtly series.  I can't believe it's up to number 7 and Cecilia's stories are still fresh.  By now most of the core characters are just so familiar, you know what they are thinking and feeling.

This episode's murder mystery happens when a TV cookery show comes to town.  And we find out Christopher has an ex-wife!!!!  I don't know if I'm like Amaryllis and a little bit jealous. 

Again, as with all the other stories, this is a most delightful and delicious read. 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IGZL48S/?tag=jookuf-21


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Kamikaze Kangaroos! by Tony James Slater

Tony's back and this time he has kangaroos to contend with.  And falling in luuuurrve.  I'm not sure what's more scary for him.

This book does exactly what it says on the cover.  It's the tale of Tony, his sister Gill and Gill's best friend, Roo.  Roo is Australian, so Gill goes to stay with her and Tony tags along.  Problem is, Tony is 3 months late, so there's a bit of a rush for them to get some agricultural work done so they can extend their visas.  

Rusty the van is the 4th character in this book and I'm sure he'll be a popular one. I manged to track down some photos of him on facebook and he was even brighter than I imagined.

I think Tony's books should be read in the right order as I feel this one was more "for the fans".  There's less madcap animal antics, and a whole lot more of Tony "the man".  I did think at times the book was a bit long, although there was nothing I'd not want to read, nor did I want it to end.  The good thing about Tony is that he always has a story and so you know it won't end.

This book is Tony's time in Australia, from picking fruit, to laying paving slabs via setting up exhibition halls.  From living in and by the side of Rusty, to dorms to bedsits.  From walking the Bibbulmun trail (100km!!!) to just travelling because they wanted to. Armed with just a few clothes, unsuitable boots and trail mix, this is the life you think you might want to live if you just up sticks and go. At times I felt jealous of them, most of the time I was happy with my warm soft bed and large choice of food.

I feel I know Tony and Gill and Roo more than I should.  As I said, this is much more personal story of the trio.  Tony has a magic way of writing that is very readable and he is not afraid of telling the truth.  This was another very very enjoyable read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IF8QFRG/?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones

This starts off as what seems to be a run of the mill 70s Glasgow police procedural.  It is John's first week in CID, where the other officers make Gene Hunt look like a by the book type of policeman.  A lad has been murdered on the street by a gang of yobs and the cops think it's an easy case.

Whilst the language in the scenes at the police station is the worst you can read, this story moves away from there.  The basis of the story is a boy's death, but the heart of the story is John's developing relationship with the boy's father, Francis.  In fact the story spans decades and becomes gentler as it goes on and John's career develops.

When I first looked at this book I wasn't sure I fancied it, but I was recommended it and as I read more and more, I didn't want to put it down.  The relationship between John and Francis as Francis teaches John to be an expert craftsman was very heartwarming.  I really enjoyed this story, it had heart in a cruel world and was well told.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F0WWVYQ/?tag=jookuf-21


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Infested by Mark Faulkner

I started reading this without paying attention to the blurb as I like this author and will read whatever he writes.  The title is Infested and he writes horror.  That was all the information I had.

The story starts off quite slow and meandering as the storyteller relates his canoe trip.  I did think this went on a bit, but that just lulled me into a false sense of security as when the action started, bam, there was no stopping it.  I was practically reading this behind a cushion.  If it was a film, I'd be peeking through my fingers.

I thought this was a great little story, set in an idyllic English countryside that you just don't want to visit any more.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I82YGPW/?tag=jookuf-21



Monday, 3 February 2014

Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow by Andrew Fish

Erasmus, a physics and history teacher, has designed himself a time machine.  He goes back in time to meet Robin Hood just because he can. But history back then is not the same as the stories nowadays.

This is a crackingly good romp.  Robin Hood is a bit of a twonk and it is Maid Marian who wears the trousers.  Erasmus keeps getting into trouble as he tries to find out the truth about Robin and undo the changes he's probably made to history.

This book has some gentle humour to it and is a nice easy entertaining read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00A61ZTWW/?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Beyond Belief by Helen Smith

Beyond belief is the second outing for Emily Castles.  This time she is invited to attend a conference of psychics and the like and report on it in a scientific matter.

This is a cosy mystery with some over the top characters and unlikely murders.  

I enjoyed this story but it wasn't unputdownable as I put it down and read a few books in between, although I did get back into it and then didn't put it back down until I finished it.

I like this type of story, gently comedic, with murders that aren't bloody or full of gore.  I didn't quite get why Emily was there or what she was doing or even what was in her report, but that wasn't important, she was the voice bringing things together.

This was an enjoyable gentle read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DWIGB50/?tag=jookuf-21


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Chatting with Helen

Here is my friend Helen.  One of the biggest lover of reading (apart from me) that I know, although I haven't got her into indies yet as she doesn't own a Kindle!!



If you could live in the age and setting of a book, which book, and why?

This is tough, but I think I would have to say that The Darling Buds of May would be my choice. Ma and Pa Larkin live a thoroughly carefree life, if slightly illegal on the tax evasion front. It is perpetual summer in their glorious English landscape. 


Does it annoy you the book finishes well before 100% because the author mentions their other works at the back of the novel. Do you mind if the author includes a synopsis or even an excerpt?

No, I don’t mind at all. In fact I quite like seeing what other ideas the author has up their sleeves. 


Are you put off if you see a book is part of a series? Or does that entice you, knowing that if you like it there are more books to enjoy?

Nope, I love a good series. I have started a lot of series and I want to finish them, but of course this does mean that I may not read other authors, so I try hard not to get caught in a trap of only reading a couple of series and limiting the breadth of authors I read. I am reading all the Agatha Christie stories in order of publication, which has been an interesting exercise in seeing how social norms change. One series that I haven’t started yet, but would like to read is the Culture series by Iain M Banks. These are Sci-Fi books that he wrote, and I love his other writing, which he published as Iain Banks, so I think I would probably enjoy them.

Do you read the Look Inside before purchasing? Always? Sometimes, depending on the reviews? Never?

I always do, with both physical and online purchases. I can normally tell within the first page or so if something is going to grab me or not.


Do you read for hours at a time, or in short bursts, or a mixture of the two?

I can easily sit for hours and read if I am not interrupted. I used to commute to work on the train and always read then. Now I drive so don’t have that option. I do read for a couple of hours every evening before bed. There is something very decadent about lying under the duvet, all snug and warm with a good book.

If I know I only have a few shorter periods of time to read then I choose short stories as you can get a nice literary hit quickly. David Gaffney’s Sawn Off Tales are wonderful flash fiction, perfectly formed short stories in just a few words. I also like Chekov for his wonderful observation of the human condition.


How important are reviews of a book to you? Would they influence your choice to buy it?

Reviews do influence me, but I only take note of the reviewers I trust. These can be professional reviewers, bloggers, or friends. There are a few bloggers out there who have almost the same reading tastes as me, and so their recommendation means a lot.


Do you think you remain unbiased when reviewing books by people you know or interact with on the internet?

I try although I don’t know many authors. I do find it hard when an author I have always enjoyed produces a complete turkey of a book. It is very disappointing and can put me off reading any more of them.


How do you feel about leaving negative reviews?

I have a rule that I only review books I have enjoyed on Fennell Books. In the side bar you will see books I am currently reading, if you see it there, but then never hear of it again on the blog, you will know I didn’t like it!


Are you more lenient with regards mistakes if you know a book is self published, or do you believe the authors should have hired an editor to make sure it's the best it can be?

I hate mistakes, they ruin the flow of my reading and so I can get very annoyed. Is it me, or does there seem to be a higher number of mistakes in professionally edited books now?


If something an author did upset or bothered you, would it stop you reading more of their work, even if you've read their stuff before and enjoyed it? 

I have stopped reading one particularly famous author because of some comments he made which utterly disgusted me. It is a shame as his writing is outstanding, but now when I read his work, I have his rather unpleasant views ringing in my ears.



Helen's opinions can be found at http://fennellbooks.co.uk/

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Butterfly by Elle Harper

It's a year after Grace was raped by her (now ex) boyfriend and she still can't cope.  A chance meeting with Ben, a councellor, makes her want to make the effort to get her life back.

This has adult themes, but is not too gritty.  It is boy meets girl, etc, but it has an underlying message of how to get help if this has happened to you and that you can survive.  In saying that, it is not preachy at all.  The basic is, this is a really good, well written story.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HW7B3Q4/?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Interrogating Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey has taken time out his extremely busy schedule to go under my spotlight.  Hugh is the author of the Silo series of books which starts with Wool.


How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I write the things I want to read. And it never fails that there are thousands of people out there with the same tastes as me.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

My goal is to write in every genre. I read all sorts of books, and I don't want to get trapped writing the same story over and over. So I'm working on a children's picture book right now and a romance novel. I enjoy jumping around.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I have a file on my laptop where I keep book ideas. And I save all the big chunks of my drafts in a file rather than delete them. I'll never use them again, but it feels nice to quarantine them rather than kill them. 


How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?

If I have them, I'm not aware of them. So they're like ninja bunnies.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

A lot. We write what we know, and we know ourselves better than anyone else. If I could be any of my characters, I would pick Cole from my Molly Fyde series. If I could be with any of them, I would pick Molly. I just love their relationship. It's based on mutual respect and admiration. 


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Not really. My wife loves it when I write. I get quiet.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I mostly read non-fiction. Science, history, philosophy, psychology. The stuff I'm not smart enough to write. 


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

I don't know that I do. I just write what appeals to me. I want to be moved by books. I want to learn from them. So that's what I aim for. 


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

I love it! I thank them, and then I fix it.


What do you like most about visiting forums?

The sense of community. Learning from peers and from readers. They are great places to unwind. 


What is on your near horizon?

I can barely see two days ahead. I just flew back from Seattle, where I gave a few talks, and now I'm at the airport to rush up to NY to record an audiobook. And then I'm off to Taiwan for a book fair. I get back, have one night at home, and then it's the Savannah Book Fair. That's just my next few weeks. 


Where can we find you for more information?

www.hughhowey.com. But I'm hard to avoid. I get around.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Vagabond Sky by Mark David Welsh

Wow, what a corker of an epic quest.  Conner, an IT consultant from East Anglia, is running a bar in some strange world of dwarves and elves and no sanitary facilities.  We don't know why or how he is there.  He goes off on a quest with his mate Prince Hieronymus just because he feels like going on holiday.  Of course, it's not going to be a picnic.

What can I say, I loved this book.  It's gently comedic with some laugh out loud moments.  We get hints as to Connor's past.  The book is told in first person POV in short chapters.  With most of them ending on mini cliffhangers and the chapter titles announcing what's going to happen, such as "Chapter 18, It was a Time for Heroes. Unfortunately, I was there too" this felt like Saturday morning episodic television.  I kept thinking "just one more chapter".  I had the time left in chapter mode switched on on my paperwhite, just so I could see how many minutes each one was and thinking "only 3 minutes, I'll read one more"

This is a big chunk of a book, over 400 pages and it didn't seem a chore.  Each adventure the gang had followed on nicely.  The characters were well rounded, even the lesser ones.

This is definitely my favourite book this year so far :)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HKGNA72/?tag=jookuf-21


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Interrogating Kath Middleton

From reader to reviewer to drabbler to author, what's next for Kath?


How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

As a new author, I never even considered that I was writing for an audience.  I’m sure that will change!  I have one book published at the moment, one in the editing stage and another still being written.  I’m afraid I still haven’t got into that author mind-set of writing what I think people will want to read.  I’m still writing what I want to say.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I’m not sure I have a genre.  I write about people faced with unthinkable things.  Then I see how they react – how they survive.  I’m an optimist and I think there’s something admirable in people’s ability to overcome horrible things.  The first book is set in early mediaeval times and the next two in modern times, so I don’t think you could categorise them together at all.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

No.  I have a big echoing skull though, and I just rake stuff out of there!  For each story, I have an outline plan on my computer but I don’t always follow it all that closely.


How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?

My first venture into ‘authorship’ (as against submitting the occasional short story to anthologies) was with Jonathan Hill.  I contributed some drabbles (100 word stories) to his second book, Beyond 100 Drabbles.  This is a wonderful thing to do with a bunny – turn it into a tiny, stand-alone story!  It makes use of the idea and ties it up and gets it out of your current book!


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

That’s a bit difficult to judge.  I’m sure there’s some of me in Maude from Ravenfold.  There’s a character in my next book that I’m very fond of – but it wouldn’t work out!


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

I do realise when I’m answering my husband and I stop mid-sentence, that I’ve actually been trying to think of two things at once.  We’ve been married a long time, though.  He copes with my obsessions!


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

For reading, I’ll have a go at most things.  I really don’t like ‘icky’ romance though.  Sweet stuff with improbably happy endings.  As I’ve said, I’m not sure I write in a genre myself.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Haha!  As someone who never expected to write, let alone to be read, I am rubbish at this.  I sent a link to a good friend recently, as she’s shown an interest in what I was doing, but I said, ‘I don’t think it’s your kind of book, though.’  As a marketing ploy, that has a long way to go!

I’m not sure an author can convince people, other than making the best job you can of the book, and writing a short but enticing blurb.  Shoving your book up people’s noses and telling them how brilliant you are is probably counter-productive.  People have to discover for themselves if it’s their kind of book.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

You know what they say, ‘Pobody’s Nerfect!’   Chastened, and grateful – and in a rush to correct it!


What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?

Goodreads UK Amazon Kindle Forum has been my home from home for a couple of years, and I’ve been a member of KUF for just about a year. I’ve been there as a reader and have found some fantastic authors and lots of keen fellow readers to swap recommendations with.  Nobody was more surprised than I was to discover I was writing a book.  However, I now have a network of friends there who will tell me the truth!


What is on your near horizon?

My second novella, shorter than Ravenfold – and I here exclusively reveal the title – Message in a Bottle.  I’m also writing a third and until I finish it, I have no idea how long that will be.


Where can we find you for more information?

I doubt that there is more information!  What you see is what you get – but I have an Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kath-Middleton/e/B00H1WWW2E and there’ll be more about my own writing as it’s published, on my blog.  http://www.ignitebooks.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Ravenfold by Kath Middleton

At first look this seems to be a story about a young girl called Romelda, however this book turns into a lot more.

Set in ye olden days where women are nobodies, Romelda is married off to the Lord of the land and her life as a happy child is over.

This story is quite sad and miserable, but is very well written.  There's not much happiness, so the few happy moments stand out.

I liked the way the story was written.  I've not read the book of Princess Bride, but I "heard" the grandfather's voice telling the story as Peter Falk's voice in that film.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HPBC0NM/?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 5 January 2014

War and Piste by Alex Thomas

War and Piste is the fictional(?) tale of Poppy's season as a ski rep at an Austrian resort.  From the minute she arrives, she's thrown in at the deep end as rep after rep leaves.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot.  In fact I was sad to get to the end as I felt I was saying goodbye to friends I'd grown to like a lot.

I liked the background stuff to being a rep.  As a holidaymaker, changeover day is tiresome, as a rep, it must be ten times worse.  The author, whilst not going into too much boring detail, gets over these long days with humour.

I liked the friendships and the romances that happened in this story.  Most characters were well rounded in their descriptions and had depths to them.

For me this was a thoroughly enjoyable story and I'd like to know what Poppy did next.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005VUU0YU/?tag=jookuf-21