Tag Archives: Books

My Writing Process – Blog Hop

I was tagged by author Joanne Hall – www.hierath.wordpress.com – to partake in My Writing Process Blog Hop! Here’s my effort!

 

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m trying to complete the first draft of The Sinner’s Daughter, which is a follow on story from The Reluctant Prophet. It’s nearly finished, maybe another 20 – 30k and that draft will finally be complete. I’m also starting to draw up a draft of the third book in the series, as well as tinkering with a post-apocalyptic work set in Ireland. I wish there were more hours in the day for writing! (Sigh)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s a difficult one because some of its themes you would see in other books, though I hope my own take on these themes are different. My works, though fantasy based, don’t draw heavily on magic or wonderful and imaginative creatures. My stories are character based and focus a lot on the inner workings and development, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t have the other themes in my books. The books I’m currently working on are based in first-person and from a female perspective. I’m hoping I am able to portray they characters as strong women, despite the fact they are not warriors who can kiss ass. Hopefully that makes my books differ from other works of its genre.   

Why do I write what I write?

I tend to write stories that capture my own imagination and for the most part, fantasy had been the strongest influence on my own writing. I also have a lot of ideas that aren’t related to the fantasy genre, but for the most part, fantasy based books encourage my own imagination the most and I like losing myself in different worlds and places when I write.

How does your writing process work?

I am not a person who organises their writing with plans, although I have tried very unsuccessfully to do that. I like letting my mind roam and see where the story goes. When I’m writing I might have some ideas fleshed out in my head, but I have no idea what journey might be involved in the characters getting to that point. So I guess I’m a pantser in that respect.

I also spend a lot of time re-reading my draft as I go along, especially if I’m feeling stuck at a certain point. It gives me time to think over the story and link the threads together. One thing I love to plan is the map for the book, as imagining the scenes and places grounds a lot of the ideas for me as I’m drawing it up.

I wish I could say that I’m strict with myself and can write a certain amount of words a day, but I tend to have 0k days and then a 5k splurge another. A true pantser then! 🙂

 

And as a finale, I get to tag a few authors now to hop along this blog! Good luck!

 

Dean Lombardo – http://authordeanlombardo.wordpress.com/

C.N Lesley – http://cnlesley.com/

Emma L Clapperton – http://emmalclapperton.wordpress.com/

Jane Dougherty – http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ 

 

 

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Giveaway on Goodreads

To mark the fact that I have a book published and that I’m still in a celebratory mode, I am running a GIVEAWAY on Goodreads! Three signed copies of my fantasy novel, The Reluctant Prophet, are available for three lucky readers! The competition is running until the 8th of December, which I hope gives me plenty of time to get the books posted out the to winners before Christmas. It might be a nice read if you happen to have some time off over the holidays. To whet your appetite, I’ve posted the blurb below and links to the Giveaway on the Goodreads site. Good Luck everyone!

GIVEAWAY LINK

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/71626-the-reluctant-prophet

THE RELUCTANT PROPHET

There’s none so blind as she who can see . . .
 
Esther is blessed, and cursed, with a rare gift: the ability to see the fates of those around her. But when she escapes her peasant upbringing to become a priestess of the Order, she begins to realise how valuable her ability is among the power-hungry nobility, and what they are willing to do to possess it.
 
Haunted by the dark man of her father’s warnings, and unable to see her own destiny, Esther is betrayed by those sworn to protect her. With eyes newly open to the harsh realities of her world, she embarks on a path that diverges from the plan the Gods have laid out. Now she must choose between sacrificing her own heart’s blood, and risking a future that will turn the lands against each other in bloody war.
 
The Reluctant Prophet is the story of one woman who holds the fate of the world in her hands, when all she wishes for is a glimpse of her own happiness.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reluctant-Prophet-Gillian-ORourke-ebook/dp/B00EX6BC5O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385226264&sr=8-1&keywords=the+reluctant+prophet

Book Launch Party

Friday 4th October was a very exciting day. The evening heralded the launch party for my book, The Reluctant Prophet (despite the fact its been released a month). To be honest, I was a nervous wreck, with the typical thoughts of, ‘Oh God, no one’s going to turn up’ to ‘No one will buy the book.’ I forgot that I have fabulous family and friends and they quickly reminded me that everything was going to be just fine! The party was held in Cunningham’s Bar, in Kildare in their lovely upstairs room. A big thank you to Rachel and the staff of Cunningham’s for having set the room up so thoughtfully, with the table and stage for the book signings. And a big thank you to family who popped over from Scotland, as well as friends who attended. Especially, Mary, Charlotte and Karen, for the decorations and the wonderful cake!

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1 – The room set up for the launch. 2 – Karen of Love Sew Much (and great friend) sitting with the cake she made.

3 – The amazing cake. One layer chocolate, one lemon and one choc/biscuit cake. Yum Yum!

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1 – Me and the books!  2 – Friend Mary modelling the tote bag! 3 – Friends Charlotte and Peter getting their books signed.

 

 

Month of Reads – August

This months reviews are again a little thin on the ground, but I read a couple of beauties and I am delighted to share my thoughts on them with you! Happy reading folks!

The Reapers Are the Angels (Reapers, #1)

The Reapers are the Angels – Alden Bell

Plot – Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

Review – I admit that I am partial to the post apocalyptic novels, though I don’t often read zombie ones. This book caught my eye as I was browsing the old Kindle section on Amazon and thought it looked like a fairly decent read. That said, I couldn’t put it down.

Temple is only a young woman, still in her teens. She’s a special sort of person, more an old wise soul than a teenager, and a fascinating character at that. She’s strong and independent, well able to look after herself despite the United States being infested with zombies. (Meatskins as Temple calls them, or slugs).

Travelling, she finds a colony of survivors living in a couple of office blocks. She catches the eye of the distasteful Abraham. Of course, a situation arises where they don’t meet eye to eye and Temple comes out the better for it. However, it brings the unwanted attention of Moses Todd, Abraham’s brother, who is seeking vengeance. The play between these two very similar personalities is intense and a strange sort of respect forms between them during the cat and mouse play that then ensues.

This fascinating book might contain zombies and other horrid creatures, but it really focuses on the characters and the dynamics between them. Really enjoyed this book and there are a few surprises along the way I certainly did not expect.

A couple of things people might find odd in this book are the lack of quotation marks for speech and it takes a little while to get used to that and imagining a southern type drawl to the voices.

Rating – Ya’ll deserve 4 outta 5 stars

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Guardians of Evion – Evelinn Enoksen

Plot – “…cantankerous dragons, evil, ambitious immortals and heroic telepaths who
will sacrifice everything to save their loved ones and their volcanic world …
a romantic, adventurous science fiction saga that begs for a sequel.”
Kirkus
Review

Numak believes his destiny is to be a Rider; but when his life is turned upside down by a beautiful young woman and a mysterious ancient, he learns he is far more extraordinary than he could have imagined.

On the harsh world of Evion, a wild place of storms and earthquakes, Numak Teorenn, a young telepath, is sent to study at the Tarei Waystation in the mountains of Suli. All
Numak wants, other than to become one of the revered Dragonriders, is to find
answers regarding the mysterious death of his twin sister.

He soon learns that his life has a greater purpose, for which nothing has prepared him, and his understanding of reality and of his own being is transformed. When he discovers
the truth of his destiny should he fight it or embrace it? Will he have any
choice at all?

A strange and compelling narrative which encompasses philosophy, adventure and romance within a richly imagined world, embellished with the author’s own extraordinary art.

Review – This fast paced adventure encompasses everything that is good in fantasy and from the very first page, I knew I was going to like this very much. By the end, I loved it . . . And who doesn’t love dragons?

Numak Teorenn is a telepath who wants to become a Dragonrider and discover the truth surrounding his missing twin sister. Sent to study at the Tarei waystation, it isn’t long before the naïve Numak is drawn into trouble and discovers that his destiny is greater than he could have imagined.

The world Enoksen has created is so beautifully wrought, every detail imagined minutely. The book contains some of the authors own amazing artwork, and really adds some lovely touches to the whole story, giving you a visualisation of the world you never though possible. Along with this, there are other characters along with Numak, who add depth and emotion to the story, by bringing their own pasts and emotions with them. The dynamic mix of adventure, imagination, hints of romance and the discoveries the main protagonist faces while he searches for the truth make this a multi-layered and exciting read.

All the while, the characters must face some painful truths while they try to fight an enemy who seems far stronger than they are. And the evil Ilya . . . She spices up an already heady cocktail of fantasy and I can only imagine the fun the author had in creating her bad self. The subtle blending of the science fiction elements work very well within the story, but I have to admit, the surprising and cranky dragons occasionally steal the show!

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars (mind that one in the sky…)

Excerpt from The Reluctant Prophet

Things are getting very exciting now and it won’t be long until my debut novel is available! Just to whet the appetite, I’ve posted an excerpt from the first chapter for everyone to look at. Hopefully it captures your imagination and interest. Press the link below to read the excerpt.

The Reluctant Prophet – Excerpt from Chapter One

THE COVER TRP  Esther

Month of Reads… JULY

It’s been a very busy month! I have been working on my novel with my lovely editor at Grimbold Books, Zoe Harris, so I’ve been a little bit slow on the reading front this month. However, I have a few books under my belt and although this one is short and sweet (also blame the very fine Irish weather for once), I will continue the reviews as normal!

Torque TORQUE – Glenn Muller

Genre – Action, Mystery, Thriller

Plot – After nine years on the road, driving instructor Chas Fenn knows how to avoid accidental death – it’s the intentional kind that gives him trouble.

The intentional kind is the seductive Brittany Reis who plans to carve a niche in the street drug trade with a new hallucinogen. When her lab technician suddenly dies, Reis is forced to partner with an aging con man who sees the opportunity as a last chance for a big payoff.

There is dishonour among thieves, and the formula is misdirected to Fenn who’s main ambitions are to win at darts, and get a raise. And maybe get laid. Now, with Reis and her thugs hot on his tail, Fenn’s life takes a dangerous detour where the normal rules no longer apply.

In the background are Detective Inspector Evan Lareault, Sergeant Frank Bloomfield, and Coroner Dr. Dennis Collier. Their investigations of a fatal overdose, two homicides, and a fraudulent funeral home appear unrelated until Fenn discovers a family connection to the formula, and turns from hunted to hunter.

Review – Torque starts as it means to go on by being fast paced and action packed.  The beginning of the story opens with the anonymous characters playing out a scene, where one is selling a new street drug to some young men. The intriguing beginning ends in a death, but it opens up the tale for a myriad of other characters and plots.

The main character, Chas Fenn, is quite the innocent bystander, but quickly becomes embroiled in the story when his father sends him an important and dangerous package. Fenn’s resourceful, clever and completely likeable and despite his father being a con-man, he is only tainted by the association for the package that was sent to him. He is the man who can do what the cops seem to be failing to do, find links between the many plots and he gives the bad guys a hell of a time! There are a host of interesting deaths, action scenes, car chases, humour and characters that make this an entertaining read – the mysterious Brittany Reis, whose hairclip I wouldn’t won’t to be accidently poked with, Fenn’s tongue-in-cheek friends and a load of good and bad guys.

The story keeps its dramatic pace throughout and the twists and turns never stop.  Even when you reach the end, there are still surprises to be had. A highly recommended read, thoroughly entertaining and very worthy of its rating.

Rating – A horse-powered 4 out of 5 stars.

The Shadow Ryana The Shadow Ryana – C.R. Daems & J.R Tomlin

Genre – Fantasy

Plot – Ryana, a worthless girl-child, is sold to a mysterious woman who takes her to the home of the Shadow Sisters who are prized for their abilities as spies and assassins. She survives years of training in spite of being unconventional: adopting poisonous bats as familiars–something no one else would dare to do; choosing the blow dart as her weapon of choice–a weapon the Sisters don’t teach; and relying on intuition rather than logic.

As she completes her training, the Shadow Sisters are under attack. The senior Sister selects Ryana to find out who is killing Sisters and why–because her intuitive approach has proved effective, even though her youth and inexperience makes it unlikely she will survive.

As she travels through the kingdom as a member of a gypsy clan, she finds the only way she can protect the Sisters and hope to discover the underlying plot is through ever more violence and killing. As she proceeds through the provinces, her secret enemies come to call her the Sister of Death and become desperate to find and kill her. But in her fight to protect the Sisterhood and the kingdom, Ryana fears that she has destroyed herself and the only life she ever wanted.

Review – The Shadow Ryana is the first book I’ve read from the writing duo and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! The story goes through, briefly, Ryana’s childhood and her training to become a shadow sister and spy/assassin. From early on, the reader understands she is different because instead of using cold logic, she uses intuition as her strength.

There are a lot of great points about this book, the pacing, imagination and unique world are very well etched. I thought having bats as familiar was a stroke of genius, because it wasn’t the usual cat or dog familiar. My only gripe is at times, I felt like the action, especially the fights with the magicians were a little repetitive. Overall though, I liked the story, the mystery involved in her search to find who is killing her sister shadows, and the MC’s contrasting surety in her abilities and her growing sense of being lost because of all the killing she has to do.  Very worth reading. Will take a look at the second in the series.

Rating – A sneaky 3.5 (leaning to 4) stars out of 5.

Girl in The GlassGirl in the Glass – Zoe Brooks

Genre – Fantasy

Plot – “I will have to say it: ‘I am Anya and I am nothing’. I will look down at the floor as I say it, so that I don’t see the smile on my aunt’s face, so she won’t see the defiance in my eyes. She will get her victory. She always wins these battles. I know it, she knows it. But one day, one day she will not.”

This Cinderella story for adults, set in an unnamed world, has no fairy godmother and no handsome prince, just a girl of spirit and her strange companion.

Orphaned at the age of 10 in circumstances that she refuses to explain, Anya grows up trapped in the house of her abusive aunt where she and Eva, her Shadow, are treated as slaves. As her aunt tries to break her and the punishments become increasingly life-threatening, Anya struggles to find affection and self-esteem. When the inevitable showdown arrives, where will Anya find the strength to survive and escape? And if she does escape, what then? An arduous walk across an unforgiving desert to a city where an even worse danger lies.

Review – The story sounded intriguing when I read the blurb and I have to admit I was fairly intrigued for a good chunk of the story. Zoe Brooks Anya’s story is poetic and poignant to begin with and as a reader I was sympathetic for her MC, whose tragic beginnings are nothing but cruel.  I found the idea of her friend Eva interesting – her Shadow as she is known, is not quite human and doesn’t have the same emotions as humans, and she acts a lot like a maid.  So I’m not sure exactly what she is, but as a character, you warm to her. A lot of the time these Shadows are misunderstood in the world Brooks has created.

I found the world a strange one. It begins in a desert like realm, but then moves onto a city after Anya and Eva run away from the abusive household. The city felt too much like what we live in today and with the MC changing her identity – I lost a lot of compassion and patience for the stupid mistakes she makes over and over again. I found myself more sympathetic towards Eva than Anya in the end, though I’m not entirely sure if that was the author’s intentions. There is a second book in the series, and having thought over how I feel about the first one, I’m still not sure how to proceed.

Rating – 2.5 frustrated stars.

Month of Reads – June

It’s that time of the month again (no – not that time) when I go through some of the books I’ve read and give them a mini-review.  There’s so many talented authors and great books, but so little time to read their works!  But I endeavour to do my best.  Here’s my reads for June!

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)  Life as we knew it Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre – YA, Apocalyptic Sci-fi

Plot – Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Review – This book is the first in a series, and is written in journal form as it states above.  I thought it might take me a while to get used to the diary format, but it did not hinder me whatsoever.  I thought this was a very clever, well thought out and researched piece.

After the moon is hit by a meteor and knocked off kilter, all sorts of horrors face the planet.  The MC – Miranda, describes these events and how her family – her  mother and two brothers attempt to survive. Each wave of horror that arrives; tidal waves, earthquakes, eruptions and climate change – all happen because of the influence the moon has on our rock.  The most devastating change follows after volcanos erupt, blanketing the sky in an ash that brings on a long winter.  It kills all crops – leaving the surviving populations trying to live and scavenge through starvation and illness.

It’s a coming of age story, but in no way would anyone want to be shaped and matured by such devastation.  I couldn’t put it down. Great book.

Rating – undiminished by volcanic ash, a bright 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Space Games   Space GamesDean Lombardo

Genre – Sci-fi

Plot – Say hello to Robin and Joe—contestants in 2034’s “Space Games,” a high-stakes reality TV show from Hollywood producer Sheldon J. Zimmer that is set aboard next-generation space station, ISS 2. The winner takes home a multimillion-dollar jackpot and a chance at stardom, while the loser faces the ultimate in public humiliation. Only former NASA astronaut Vince, acting as the station’s commander and the games’ sole referee, can separate sexy spitfire and martial artist, Robin Miller, from her brutal opponent, “Big Joe” O’Donnell, as the pair compete inside the cramped zero-g environs. Watched by millions of people back on Earth, the reality show rapidly degenerates into a deadly spectacle.

Space Games is a compelling story and a biting satire about reality television: those who make and participate in it – and those who watch it.

Review – Space Games lives up to the hype.  It is a brutal free for all, a fast paced, violent and yet a satirical look at human nature and the nature of reality television gone too far.  The two main protagonists, feisty Robin and tough Joe, go head to head in an ultimate battle of the sexes show, which quickly descends into chaos.  Morality blurs and hard hitting questions start being asked: how far should one go for television?  For fame/infamy? Money? To prove a point?

The funny thing is, Robin and Joe don’t really ask these questions.  They’re more interested is getting one up on each other.  But as a reader, you do.  The MC’s aren’t the most loveable characters, redeeming qualities are thin on the ground, but that, I think, might be part of the fun of Space Games.  It’s keeps you wondering what God-awful thing they are going to do to each other next…  And the ballsy ending – it is as brutal in its ending as it is in its beginning.  Very well written, entertaining, and asks a few uncomfortable questions about our sometimes voyeuristic natures.  Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Rating – 4.5 ass kicking stars out of 5

Slated (Slated, #1)  SlatedTeri Terry

Genre – YA, Sci fi

Plot – Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Review – Slating is a process of memory erasing, a thing you quickly realise the MS, Kyla has suffered.  Generally, it is done for people with criminal type back grounds, but as the novel goes on, you discover that occasionally an overly traumatic might see someone volunteer for the process.  After being Slated, the person must wear a watch-like device, called a levo, which monitors mood levels.

Kyla returns to the ‘normal’ world, a future UK living under the thumb of a stringent government and with fears of rebels/terrorists and bombings.  Moving in with a new family, Kyla tries to build the pieces of her life, realising quickly that she is unusual for a Slated person, because she will ask questions and endeavours to discover more about the world and herself and who she was in the past.  It quickly becomes apparent that if you speak out at all, you will soon be taken away – it is something constantly on the periphery and it created an air of paranoia in the book.

Really enjoyed this book, thought it cleverly plotted, strongly written with good characterisations.  Original and different and will definitely read the next book in the series.

Rating – 3.5 unique stars out of 5

Branded (Fall of Angels #1)  BrandedKeary Taylor

Genre – Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance

Plot – Jessica had the nightmares for as long as she can remember.  Nightmares of being judged by people who have died, of being branded by the angels.  Her friends and family think she’s crazy because of it all.  Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.

But when two men she can’t ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares.  The two of them couldn’t be more different.  She will do anything to be with one of them.  Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck.  But one of the two has set events into motion that will pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.

Review – I thought the premise an interesting one when I read it.  Having to sit and be judged for dead people and to suffer a branding, to be exalted or condemned – it all sounded like a read great.  There’s even some good atmosphere in this book and overall it is an enjoyable enough read.

However…

There’s something not quite right about this for me.  I don’t know if it is the fact the romantic lead is all too perfect and stilted, if the relationship progresses supernaturally fast, or that it was a little too predictable – you could see the bad guy coming a mile off and I felt the vast potential and idea of this book kinda fell flat.  It’s so frustrating to feel that way when you finish a book. (Sigh)

Rating – An anticlimactic 3 out of 5 stars.

Magic of Thieves (Legends of Dimmingwood, #1)  Magic of ThievesC. Greenwood

Genre – YA, Fantasy

Plot – In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.

But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall?

Review – After losing her parents and on her way to the safety of her own people, Ilan finds herself caught up with a troupe of thieves living in the Dimmingwood.  Lead by ruthless Rideon the Red Hand, Ilan grows from girl into young woman.  She learns all her best lessons from the thieves, some kind, some not.  It is a coming of age story and at times, Ilan can be brutish, ignorant and mean, especially to peaceful Terrac, who is meant to be her friend.

I enjoyed the fact Ilan wasn’t completely likeable and her growth of character is well handled, but hard learned.  My only real gripe with this is that it ended all too quickly! There’s good characterisation, plenty of action and a Robin Hood type of magic to this book.  Looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Rating – 3.5/4 thieving stars out of 5