MY SHORT STORY COLLECTION IS OUT! PAPERBACK OR EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!

It’s taken hard work, many hours writing, editing and preparing for publication, and I loved every minute, well almost!

MY SHORT STORY COLLECTION IS OUT! PAPERBACK OR EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!

Hi, how about having a coffee with me? Too far to travel, well how about spending the coffee coins on my new short story collection instead?

My book ‘Knickers and Other Bitesize Flashes’ is on Amazon, and I’d love it if you bought a copy.

IT’S A BARGAIN!

It’s taken hard work, many hours writing, editing and preparing for publication, and I loved every minute, well almost!

I’d love to get your opinions, hopefully in the form of good reviews! Like actors, writers rely on good reviews to feed their business, and nourish their art.

OK, so basically it feels good to know all those hours poring over a keyboard at midnight were worth the effort.


Want to know more about my short story collection?

Continue reading “MY SHORT STORY COLLECTION IS OUT! PAPERBACK OR EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!”

Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit

Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

Blurb:

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

Ebook – CLICK HERE TO BUY!

Subject:

I realised as I was working on one of my novels, that it would be much better suited as a TV show or even film. I visualised it so much whilst working on it I decided I should investigate the possibility of editing it into a screenplay.
It was at this point that I realised my study hadn’t included a huge amount about it, and so many people just ended conversations about screenwriting by saying things like, ‘Why bother, it’s all about who you know, not what you know.’
Whilst this could be true, the six steps from Kevin Bacon do seem to cover the whole of Hollywood and beyond, I don’t like being fobbed off or deterred so I decided to learn a bit more about before writing it off (sorry really rubbish unintentional pun)

Continue reading “Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder”

No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks

I imagined him in a slightly mucky rain coat, hair a bit unbrushed, a bit of dandruff on his collar. In his youth, an army uniform well pressed but also well worn.

No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks

Title: where my heart used to beat

Author: Sebastian Faulks

Copyright: Sebastian Faulks 2015

Ebook

Audio Book

Blurb:

On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks – an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer – is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.

The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

This moving novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.

Plot:

This story follows the life, as told by the main character to another, so very much from his view point.

Continue reading “No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks”

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram

It reads like an epic, maybe one day we’ll see it transformed into film, it has that cinematic feel.

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram

Title: Part Star Part Dust 

Author: L M Valiram

Copyright: L M Valiram 2017

Ebook

Blurb:

A millionaire, a widow and a monk. A plane crash. In Part Star, Part Dust, the poignant and unforgettable debut novel by L.M. Valiram, three destinies are linked for eternity in a tale narrated by Time.

Meet Radha. She was left in a dumpster on the side streets of Mumbai to die as she was born; premature and undernourished. Meet Mira. At sixteen she is to marry a man she has never met before. On her wedding day, she carries a knife. And Gaurav. People say love is more important than money. But what happens when having one means you can’t have the other?

Scattered across India, these three are intertwined in unlikely ways: the flower shop owned by Mira’s husband employs Radha’s boyfriend, Mira and Gaurav become partners in business and most importantly, an ill-fated trip to Delhi links them all in death and life. Set in the sensuous worlds of Bombay and Delhi, Valiram’s dazzling novel explores the deep meanings of love, family, and time.

Plot:

The blurb just about covers this, it’s a literary novel, following various well drawn characters through their lives. It is a fairly short book (the frustration with ebooks is that you can’t ‘feel’ it’s weight)

Continue reading “No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram”

No Spoiler Book Review – Autobiography – The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara

You will learn so much about this iconic figure from 20th century history I don’t want to spoil it for you, but wow it’s worth the read.

No Spoiler Book Review – Autobiography – The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara

Title: The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Author: Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Translation: Alexandra Keeble

Copyright: Che Guevara Studies Center & Aleida March

Ebook: 

Audio Book: 

Blurb: In January 1952, two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore South America on a 500cc Norton. One of them was the twenty-three-year-old Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

Written eight years before the Cuban Revolution, these are the diaries of Che Guevara, full of disasters and discoveries, high drama and laddish improvisations. Touring through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, his greatest concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found and who might be around to share it.

Within a decade Che Guevara would be a household name. His trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime – had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.

More recently made into an Oscar-winning film starring Gael Garcia Bernal, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ is an extraordinary account of a hero in the making.

Continue reading “No Spoiler Book Review – Autobiography – The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara”

Is An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

Audible on an ipad with Beats headphonesIs An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

Summary

Product Name: Audible UK – an Amazon Company

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K of the best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Price:

UK £7.99 per month subscription, or one off payments as you buy (Free one month trial is on offer, as at January 2017)

Pros:

Easy to use

High quality audio

Makes the best audio books accessible to your mobile device

Cons:

The Audible app is getting some poor reviews, hopefully this is a short term problem

If you don’t read very many books, you may not benefit from the subscription.

It isn’t your local library.

Summary:

If you have an Amazon account signing up is ridiculously easy. The book choice is vast, the best audio books with high quality audio, often by the author brings the stories alive. You can even listen to a free sample before deciding. Search easily filtered virtual bookshelves, sample and download your book choice in minutes. The whole process is smooth and customer focussed, recommended.

Buy Now

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

————————————————

Product Name:

Audible – an Amazon Company

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Audible is a part of Amazon if, like me, you steer away from the huge companies, be reassured on this occasion it’s a good thing. OK, so it isn’t your local library where you may be able to obtain free audio books. However Amazon has the buying power and the technology to do their job well. The choice of books you can download is vast, up to date and as far as the ones I’ve sampled so far, with excellent audio, often by the author themselves.

The Audible app is ideal for anyone who uses a smart phone or mobile device. Sadly at the time of writing the app had been through an update and is receiving poor reviews. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. Amazon want happy customers to return to them again and again.

If you don’t fancy the Audible app, you can use your Kindle / Android etc.

I recently signed up for the free trial at Audible UK. I’d been asked by Audible to review the process

(For transparency this post does include Affiliate links, but I am not being paid to write this post)

So how did the sign up go? Easy!

  • I signed in as suggested using my Amazon ID. It auto-populated a payment option for the potential subscription cost to be paid on my chosen card. It had brought this information through from my Amazon account. Don’t worry you have an option to use a different payment method.
  • The sign up process immediately accepted me. I was auto-redirected to the ‘shopping’ page, my account already given ‘1 Credit.’ You get a credit a month, which you can spend as you choose.
  • The best value is box sets or anything over the cost of your subscription, but I guess you will work that out all on your own. My free trial has resulted in me being the proud owner of a £23 Stephen King audio book, so no complaints there.
  • The prices are shown in cash money prices or credit prices, so it’s easy to see what you can afford.
  • As with Amazon the search is quick and easy, filters apply for best sellers, genres, authors etc.
  • If you are community minded you can join up and follow other readers, see what they are reading etc.
  • If not, just click and buy, then sit with a brew and listen to your book. Job done.
  • My wi-fi is quite quick anyway so my new 10 hour listening book downloaded within moments. I’d recommend doing it on wi-fi when possible, if you are on a limited data package, just in case.
  • From start to finish it took me less than five minutes. If you don’t have an Amazon account allow a bit longer to add all your payment and account information.

Price:

Current UK price £7.99 a month, starting with a free month’s trial. Drop it in your calendar so you don’t pay after the first month, if you want to avoid payments going out after the free trial.

Pros:

If you haven’t discovered audio books yet, try it or maybe give a gift of a subscription to someone. They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

The audio format is ideal when out on a walk or on the treadmill. I’d be reluctant to recommend listening in a car or whilst driving as I think it can be distracting, but maybe it depends what book you are ‘reading.’ I’ve recently got into baking again and use that time to listen to both podcasts and audio books.

How about downloading a children’s book and listening with your kids? There are free books on there too, ideal for bedtime.

Cons:

It’s not your local library and it’s not paper books. But get over it. It makes books accessible, you can read many more books and currently it really is great value. You can still snuggle up with a paperback when the mood takes you.

The subscription could become onerous if you don’t read enough, so don’t allow it to be like your gym membership, paid out but ignored, OK? In fact, listen to the books at the gym you’re already paying for but not using, exercising brain and body all at once. Result!

It’s part of a big machine, Amazon so I encourage you to drop in to your local charity or book shop and buy the odd paperback.

Summary:

The audio book will not be going away any time soon, it won’t replace a paper book, just yet anyway, but it can help you to ‘read’ many more books.

It’s quick and easy to sign up, the best audio books are immediately available and the ‘credit’ each month, if you subscribe, can be a real bargain.

I’d recommend listening to the free sample, you may be listening to that voice for a LONG time, so make sure it doesn’t grate on your nerves.

Buy Now:

Want to know more?

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King

We may not all end up with a back list as long as your arm, but if you want to write it’s a great place to get advice from someone who knows. He truly does have the t-shirt.

Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King

Stephen King On Writing Book Cover

Book Review

Title: On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft

Author: Stephen King

Copyright: 2000 Stephen King

Ebook 

Blurb:

On Writing – Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

Subject:

This book was high on my list of recommended books as a resource. I’d been told it’s essential reading to anyone who writes, or wants to. I wish to improve, hone my skill, I’m committed to ongoing learning. As I queued up to buy it at least half a dozen other writers encouraged my purchase with promises that I’d chosen well.

As the blurb states, it is a book on how to write told through the experiences of Mr King. It isn’t just for his fans, he does explain how he came up with numerous ideas so it will appeal to them.

I’m always amazed how many so called ‘expert’ writers criticise popular writer’s for their lack of style or excellence. Whilst I admittedly have veered away from best sellers in the past, how can anyone doubt the skill of someone who has such a wide variety of successful books out there.

This book is a great read, that’s all I want from a book. It teaches in a positive way, without criticism of others. Mr K even adds a generous reading list at the end of books he liked. Good lad!

Continue reading “Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King”

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful, Curious, Booker Prize Winning – The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Before I watch any movie or TV adaptations I try to read the book. This frees me to immerse myself in the writer’s original work and, importantly, my own imagination.

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful, Curious, Booker Prize Winning – The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Book Review

Title: The English Patient

Author: Michael Ondaatje

Copyright: 1992 Michael Ondaatje

Ebook

Blurb: The final curtain is closing on the Second World War, and Hana, a nurse, stays behind in an abandoned Italian villa to tend to her only remaining patient. Rescued by Bedouins from a burning plane, he is English, anonymous, damaged beyond recognition and haunted by his memories of passion and betrayal.

The only clue Hana has to his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire – a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes describing a painful and ultimately tragic love affair.

Plot – fiction book:

This book has been on my reading list for a while, once I started reading it rang a bell. I think I must have read it years ago, but I’m not surprised I’d forgotten.

Before I watch any movie or TV adaptations I try to read the book. This frees me to immerse myself in the writer’s original work and, importantly, my own imagination. This is a story of deception, memory, old loves, friendships and romances interlink in a confusion of gorgeous phrases, chapters and scenes. It’s a beautifully written lyrical book. The words evoke images of a damaged hot dry landscape, horrors of war and historic damaged architecture. Each page holds another joy.

How lovely is this ‘…The book lay on her lap. She realised that for more thanfive minutes she had been looking at the porousness of the paper, the crease at the corner of page 17 which someone had folded over as a mark. She brushed her hand over its skin. A scurry in her mind like a mouse in the ceiling, a moth on the night window.’

Or how about ‘…Bluebottles stumble in the air and bang into humans as if slamming into a wall, then retreat unconcerned.’

Amongst so many, I think my favourite extract is a view of how lovers and friends can experience deja vu, imagined or real previous meetings. How the time has to be right for things to ‘click’ even though you may have met or nearly met at another time and place.

I smiled at a mention of Pelmanism. I hadn’t realised the memory game I play was so ancient. You know the one, you scatter cards over the table,face down, you turn over two cards and try to find a match. I was brilliant in my youth but somehow I always get beaten by my grandbabies just as I was by their mum.

Characters:

Hana – a nurse with a past, hiding from life

Caravaggio – the author gives a clever reference to a Caravaggio painting, as part of a character profile. I’ve not seen this done before and it worked really well. I may even steal the idea, ideas after all are not copyrighted.

Kip – a Indian serving in the British Army

The English Patient – a twist halfway through the book brings everything you read into a different light

Conclusion: 

Any of you out there who aspire to write, must read, alot. I include classics, both modern and ancient, in my reading list on Goodreads.

Why had I forgotten reading this book? I’m guessing it’s because it is so confusing. The short breaks, the book includes names of long chapters broken into multiple unnamed chapters. I didn’t always follow who was the narrator, whose point of view I was following.

Once I left the book for a couple of days and it took a while to re-immerse myself in its style.

Recommended books:

Yes, it’s wonderful, if deep and bewildering. It’s a must read on the bucket list of books. However I’d definitely try to read it quickly so you keep track.

Let me know how you get on.

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/book-review-of-the-brilliant-his-bloody-project-graeme-macrae-burnet/

Book Review – Hunger Games

You can study this book in depth with Spark Notes. WARNING! SPOILERS IN THIS LINK!

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/englishpatient/ canalysis.html

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Book Review of THE BRILLIANT – His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet

A small town murder occurs, in true ‘TV detective Columbo’ style you know who did it, but you are still drawn into the tale. Brutal moments, hidden undercurrents and stubborn survival instincts all described simply and in deserved prize-winning ways.

HIs Bloody Project Book Cover

Book Review – His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet

Book Review

Title: His Bloody Project

Author: Graeme Macrae Burnet

Copyright: Graeme Macrae Burnet 2015

Ebook

Blurb: The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Plot (or subject if non fiction): This aspect is confusing. Is it fiction, or non-fiction. It’s brilliant and I’m guessing it’s fiction compiled around fact. That’s what it says it is.

Isn’t all fact just one person’s version of events? History is after all, HIS STORY, yes some feminists did want to change the word.

A small town murder occurs, in true ‘TV detective Columbo’ style you know who did it, but you are still drawn into the tale. Brutal moments, hidden undercurrents and stubborn survival instincts all described simply and in deserved prize-winning ways.

You must read the whole book, don’t do what I confess I often do, which is to skip the preface.

I’m looking into my own heritage. If I can uncover a long lost relative like Roddy and put together a compulsive and heart wrending story around the facts as Graeme has I’ll be thrilled.

OR is it totally fiction, all made up in Mr Macrae’s imagination? I’m still not sure!

Characters: Roderick Macrae – a descendant of the author, a grieving son of a, now deceased, loving mother Una

Roderick’s father John Macrae – recently widowed, hard man of the hills, struggling to keep afloat

Lachlan Mackenzie aka Lachlan Broad – not a nice chap, but did he deserve what he got?

Conclusion:  The ‘story’ is funny, heart breaking and educational. It will make you glad you’re alive now and not in the time or place of the events at the heart of the book. 

I love an underdog so it really broke my heart.

The court scene has discussions that brought to mind the old skulls you can find in museums when they studied phrenology as a science. The so called experts of a view that there was a ‘criminal class’ you could spot by their physical attributes.

I guess in some ways we haven’t come that far, you still hear people saying ‘he looked dodgy.’ Maybe we are hard wired to judge by appearance.

Recommended: YES YES and YES. I don’t usually like or always understand the Booker prize choices but this is one I whole heartedly agree with. It has become one of my FAVOURITE books.

Pick it up, devour it and let me know if you agree, I’m sure you will.

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/forensics-the-anatomy-of-crime-val-mcdermid/

Book Review – The Missing, C L Taylor

https://www.waterstones.com/author/graeme-macrae-burnet/1886613

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I hope I’ve inspired you to buy a book and read more. Tweet me from your next coffee stop! If you are busy out and about and you’d like my posts to your email inbox directly, please sign up for the newsletter.

Book Review – The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

If you wish to analyse it further rather than just see it as a piece of fiction you can see a political tone to the novel.

Book Review – The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Mockingjay

Book Review

Title: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

Copyright Suzanne Collins 2010

Ebook

Blurb extract: Katniss Everdean has survived the Hunger Games twice. But she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans…

Plot: Instead of being exploited and used by the Capitol, Katniss now wonders if she is being manipulated and used by the rebellion.

The last in the trilogy. It starts with the protagonist in her old home town, now a pile of rubble and dust. Destroyed by the Capitol, as a perceived personal attack on Katniss and those things, and people, she loves.

Once again the Capitol has invented numerous horrendous ways to kill people. The anonymous means of destruction is a clever method of creating a violent world without attaching personal responsibility to the characters.

The journey is a physical one across a wide landscape, above and below ground, as well as an emotional one for an ever more cynical survivor. Barrier after challenge faced, each leaving a mark on the bodies and emotions of those on the journey.

Katniss is spending time with Gale, her first love, although this story does not fade into a romance. Indeed their closeness makes Katniss question her relationships with both Peeta and Gale. She doesn’t think too deeply about long term prospects as cleverly Ms Collins ensures Katniss see her future as a journey to her own death. She is not suicidal, just decides she can’t have a long happy life. She knows if she achieves her goals she will not survive.

Characters:

Katniss, independent girl, skilled archer and hunter. Her back story told with snippets of childhood memories. By this third story she is quite self-centred, hardened and cynical. I guess if you have faced assassination, seen friends killed, your hometown destroyed and finally realised things may not be as clear cut as you had initially thought, that is acceptable.

Peeta, the boy chosen along side Katniss for the original Hunger Games. A complex character, he features less in this book and when he does appear his ‘sickness’ explains his absence from the storyline allowing others to come to the fore.

Gale, a lifelong friend. Survivor, hunter, Katniss first love.

As with Harry Potter stories, the baddie, President Snow, is present in the story very rarely. He is a constant but absent dark presence.

Various other characters include old opponents from the Games alongside Games stylists now expelled or rescued from the Capitol. In Star Trek style the minor characters soon meet their doom, quite often in grim circumstance.

Conclusion: 

This young adult (YA) novel leads the reader to question loyalties. Not to judge people by their actions, or at least not until you understand their motives. The minor plot lines touching on mental illness, trauma and grief give the book a deeper aspect.

There is only one moment in the whole book, involving Prim, Katniss’ sister which I felt was too contrived and ‘far fetched’ in the overall scheme of things but I’ll forgive that.

If you wish to analyse it further rather than just see it as a piece of fiction you can see a political tone to the novel. It shows the leader of the rebellion may have her own agenda, as leaders often do.

There is use of ‘morphling’ a drug that causes drug induced haze. Another hint at our own society problem of drug abuse.

Oh, and don’t let me forget the cat! Yes in true Alien style, a cat sits firmly at the side of the family throughout. As you’ll know if you read my reviews I try not to post spoilers, so I won’t tell you who survives and who doesn’t.

Recommended:

Yes, it’s one of my recommended fiction books. It neatly ties up the trilogy. It does end. I won’t spoil it by saying if it’s happy or not, I’m just glad to know there isn’t a need for further games or adventures.

I think the first is the strongest of the three books in the Hunger Games trilogy, but if you read that one, I’d suggest it’s worth you reading all three. A best seller for a good reason.

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/book-review-the-hunger-games-suzanne-collins/

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire

Suzanne Collins

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I hope I’ve inspired you to buy a book and read more. Tweet me from your next coffee stop! If you are busy out and about and you’d like my posts to your email inbox directly, please sign up for the newsletter.