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Author Spotlight: Michelle Conner

A local YA author is releasing her new book on 21st March, which will be free via Kindle Unlimited. Michelle Conner is a published poet and painter, as well as a writer of YA fantasy and she designs e-book covers for other authors. She is married with three children and a dog, and writes around her family life.

Her author Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/Authormichelleconnor.

Her website is: michelleconnorauthor.co.uk

Her cover design page is: www.facebook.com/michelle.ebookcoversonline/

The website for this is: http://ebookcovers.online/

She is also a personal friend; the first time we met, in December 2015, we talked for four hours almost constantly about books. I read some of the early drafts, so naturally I am biased.

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Review: Zombie Nation book 1: Zombie Juice, by Samantha Warren

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Publication Date: 5th October 2016

Available from Amazon: UK, US

Ebook received in return for an honest review. 

The Kin twins, Kinley and Kincaid have lived in White Willows all their lives, almost sixteen years. They can just about remember the time before the zombie apocalypse. They live with their grandmother and help her run the town diner around their schooling. Soon they’ll finish school and become adults with more responsibility.

Then a convoy comes to town, bringing with it a new and deadly drug. And and new future for the twins.
This is a short book, only 80 pages long, but it was very enjoyable and certainly more original than some of the zombie apocalypse books I’ve read in the last year or so. The Kin twins are likeable characters and well-written, plot is well thought out and easy to read, and I like where it’s going. This book is a prologue to the series and we must wait to see where the author takes her characters.
There were a few editing errors, in word choice or grammar, which I’m sure will be ironed out before publication, but other than that I liked this YA novel.

Review: Monstrous Little Voices

Monstrous Little Voices

New Tales From Shakespeare’s Fantasy World

by Jonathan Barnes, Emma Newman, Kate Heartfield, Foz Meadows, Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Published by: Abaddon

Publication Date: 8th March 2016

ISBN: 9781781083949

Price: Anywhere from £7.00 for paper back

Edition: Paper back

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Review: ‘Witches Protection Program’ by Michael Phillip Cash

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Chelshire Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles                                                                                                                                                                      Published: 14th May 2015                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Paperback                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ISBN:9781511411349  
Blurb
 Witches Protection Program is filled with adventure & suspense Michael Phillip Cash creates a tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern day New York City.

Michael Phillip Cash is an award winning and best selling author of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels. Michael currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.

My Review

Firstly, the plot; it has a great deal of potential and could be extended from this novella in to a full novel or even a series. I was disappointed with certain aspects – such as the explanation for Bernadette’s great conspiracy, and the reason Wes lost his original position. They just weren’t ambitious enough. If that was all I wouldn’t be too bothered but the insistent and weakly developed romantic plot irritated me.

Secondly the writing: not bad, although tension would drop in all the wrong places.

Characters: All the men are heroes of one sort or another, and all the women are horrible (either physically or psychologically) or weak. Returning to Bernadette, all her actions are predicated on the assumption that the romantic rejection by her sister’s husband would make her hate all men and want to lock them up in internment camps. Or Scarlett, who’s jealousy of Morgan should somehow drive her mad with power lust. It all tickled at something, and then I realised what it was. Straw-feminist arguments advanced by misogynists include ‘feminists hate men’, ‘women hate each other’, and ‘women compete for male attention’; I’m sure the author isn’t a misogynist, but his book read like an MRA fantasy, complete with the handsome white man coming in to save the day and get the, equally white, younger, pretty girl.

I really hope that is the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ aspect of the book.

Overall, I was underwhelmed by this book, although the idea itself has a lot of potential.

2/5

14th December 2015 general rambling

Evening all, how are you all? I have a cold, I also have Netflix now. That will become relevant later.

 

Writing Update

I’m working on my novel again, or trying to write every day. The dogs don’t like it, my knee is for their heads to rest on and my hands are for stroking them, according to the Hell Hounds, not for tapping away at my laptop trying to get a novel finished this year. I’m still studying my writing course, but I haven’t been well so I haven’t been working on the current assignment for a few months. The assignment is to write a piece for a travel magazine and to outline another on the same subject from a different angle. I haven’t travelled much so I’ll have to write something about Lincolnshire.

 

‘Netflix’ and other televisual things

Now I have ‘Netflix’ I can watch a few things that I like or wanted to see. I’ve been working on my ‘A Christmas Carol’ watching mission – how many versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ can I see in December; I’ve managed two so far. I started watching ‘Jessica Jones’ and a few episodes of ‘Grimm’. I’ve also started watching ‘From Dusk ’til Dawn’, the series. I saw the film that the series is based on years ago, and while the story was good, the character played by Quentin Tarantino squicked me out with his sick rape fantasies. I thought the character of Richie Gecko was going to be the same in the series. Luckily, Zane Holt’s ‘Richie’ is a lot less vile (I honestly think that has to do with the actor rather than the character), and the longer format of a series rather than a film allows for better character and plot development. I’ve just finished watching series one, and am moving on to series two this evening.

I’ve been watching ‘The Last Kingdom’, the BBC series based on Bernard Cornwall’s Uhtred of Bebbanberg books. I really enjoyed it, and luckily so did my dad, so I had someone to discuss it with yesterday now that we’ve both seen all eight episodes. We’ve both read the first half dozen books too. I’ve tried to find my copy of ‘The Last Kingdom’ so that I can compare the books with the series, but I can’t find it. It has to be around somewhere but I still haven’t got all my books shelved and organised after moving more than 15 months ago. I still need at least one more set of book shelves; when I get them I’ll be able to arrange my books by author and series the way I want to. As it is I’m wracking my brains trying to remember the plot and characters. I like Brida much better in the series than in the books, as far as I remember, and Alfred is still as sanctimonious as ever. I really can’t stand Odda the Younger, but then I couldn’t stand him in the books either. If I remember correctly he was the same age as Uhtred in the books, and a large man. Seeing him played by a younger, smaller man who looks barely out of his teens grated slightly. It was nice to see him finally die though, the little scum bag traitor. I don’t like Asser either, but then I didn’t like him in the books either. Leofric was also one of my favourite characters in the series. Uhtred is a really good character and I think Alexander Dreymon is a really good actor.

The series is based on books, which mix history and fiction, and the series does the same thing. The distinctive styles of English and Danish dress and hairstyles, the tattoos and make-up, are deliberate constructs designed to separate the two visually. It’s something I noticed in ‘Vikings’ as well. There’s a distinct preference for the Danes in both series; they get all the best storylines, character (Brida vs. Mildreth), clothes and make up. Both also suggest the English didn’t know how to fight until some Dane came along and taught them too. Clearly neither production team know anything about early Anglo-Saxon history. Shields, contrary to ‘The Last Kingdom’ were circular, wooden and covered in leather, sometimes with decorative fittings. They were fairly successful in warfare if the available sources are to be believed. I do wish television and films would stop messing with history; if you’re going to make a film set in a specific period at least get the details right.

If they make a second series I hope they don’t screw up Æthelflæd, Alfred’s daughter, known as Lady of the Mercians (seriously, look her up, she’s cool. The Danes were going to surrender to her, but she died in the early tenth century just a few weeks two soon). Bernard Cornwall admitted in his books that he made the character of her husband, Athelred of Mercia, in to a much nastier character than he was in reality (again if the sources can be trusted).

Mental Health

It has been a funny month so far. I haven’t been great, to be honest. My brain has been more than a little bit scrambled. When someone says they’ll do something for me then backs out it makes me feel worthless and unwanted, like I’m a massive inconvenience to everyone. Rationally, I know that isn’t the case, but my brain isn’t being rational at that point. It took a few days to get over and I’ve had the odd off day since, but I’m not too bad at the minute. I keep getting tired and need to go to bed really early. But if I go to bed too soon I end up waking up at stupid o’clock in the morning. At which point I get up, wander round the house for a while, maybe do some cleaning then go back to bed and sleep until mid-morning. It’s really messing with my reading/writing/sewing schedule.

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