Where I am Today …

Today I’m over at www.theromaniacgroup.wordpress.com talking about the art of planning a novel – or not planning, as the case may be.

Penny Hike, Map or GPS?

Have a good day everyone, I’m off to bury my head in new WIP which involves a bit of this …

and a bit of this …

so, for now, I had better ‘Shut it!’


Rough Cut – Owen Carey Jones

The Blurb

When a New York dealer in gemstones discovers a number of top quality synthetic diamonds in a batch he has bought, industry watchdog, the Federation of International Diamond Traders calls in Belizean, Carter Jefferson to trace their origin. 
Carter, a synthetic diamond specialist who recently quit working for the FIDT to concentrate on writing but who still works for them on an ad hoc basis, is reluctant to take the case until he finds a reference in the file which takes him back 25 years to the time when he was a geology student at Oxford University.

Old relationships are revived and family secrets emerge as an attractive English girl and a passionate young Frenchman are sucked into the web of deceit and death surrounding the illicit gems.

My Review

Rough Cut is a fast paced thriller/mystery set in the world of diamonds and the glitz and glam of the south of France.

I enjoyed following Carter Jefferson as he worked out who was behind all the going-ons and liked the fact that we got a small glimpse into his personal life too.  This could equally be said of Jacques – a central character to the plot.  He inadvertently found himself in the middle of the shady dealings and, as such, being caught up in a lot of the tense and thrilling action.  At the same time he was battling to deal with personal problems and family secrets that emerged as a result of the criminal activities.

One or two of the scenes were a bit gritty but they were in keeping with the genre of the book.  Other scenes I found myself willing the good guys on, anxious for the right outcome.

The plot is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing all the way. Sometimes I thought I had cracked the plot, only for something else to be thrown in, thwarting my attempts to work it all out.  The surprises kept coming right until the end.

Author website Carey Films: www.careyfilms.com
Rough Cut website:  http://www.roughcut-thenovel.com

Author blog – Living with a creative mind:  www.lwacm.blogspot.com
Facebook page: Owen Carey Jones
Rough Cut The Novel FB page: http://www.facebook.com/roughcut.thenovel
Twitter A/c @owencareyjones: https://twitter.com/#!/owencareyjones

Amazon.co.uk (buy): http://amzn.to/x23HnD
Amazon.com (buy): http://amzn.to/xrRb6o

All in the Name of Research

In the name of research, we (The Romaniacs) used last night’s RNA summer party to gauge how prepared we were for a weekend in Penrith this July.

With varying degrees of fragileness this morning, we came to the conclusion that we either needed to pace ourselves better or build up our stamina.

It was a fun evening, lovely to catch up with Twitter and Facebook friends and to meet some in real life for the first time.  I was delighted that Evonne Wareham won the Joan Hessayon award as her thriller/romance Never Coming Home has been one of my favourite books this year.

Devils With Wings : The Green Devils Assault of Fort Eben Emael by Harvey Black

The Blurb

A military thriller based around the adventures of two young Fallschirmjager paratroopers during the early part of World War II. It is a fictionalised adventure based on the famous assault on the impregnable Belgian Fortress, Eben Emael. Tall, gangly Paul Brand is supported by his junior sergeant, Unterfeldwebel Max Grun, as he experiences his first action as a platoon commander in Poland, September 1939. The mutual respect between the two comrades grows as they experience the sights and smells of battle at close quarters Following their success in Poland, Paul, Max and the platoon are sent to a clandestine camp in the foothills of the Harz Mountains to train for a secret mission. Confined to camp for six months they undergo intensive training for their next mission – the subjugation of the Eben Emael Fortress. Two German secret weapons will assist them to complete their task; the first is the glider, used for the first time to deposit troops directly onto a target, and the second secret weapon is a new Hollow Charge Weapon, capable of blasting through steel or concrete. On completion of their training, nine gliders containing seventy two Fallschirmjager land on top of the fortress, before the troops move in to the depths of the tunnels to finish the job. Over one thousand Belgian troops fail to stop them. This exciting fictionalised retelling of the assault on Eben Emael is written by an author with experience in army intelligence.

My Thoughts

Although I have tended to review gentler books on here, I do actually enjoy reading a good action/thriller type of novel, so when Devils With Wings came to my attention it was definitely one to go on my ‘to be read’ pile.

The novel starts off right in the thick of the action and introduces you to the main characters, Paul Brand and Max Grun. After reading the first chapter, I knew I was going to enjoy it.

I liked finding out about the characters’ back stories and how they came to become part of the elite Fallschirmjager. Likewise, it was really interesting seeing what they had to endure throughout their training and I enjoyed getting to know Paul and Max more as they embarked on their highly secretive and daring operation.  The bond between the two men really came through.

The assault of Fort Eben Emael followed each glider’s mission and then the final attack on the fortress. The battle scenes were sometimes graphic but in no way gratuitous and only added to the atmosphere of the book.

Prior to reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about the Fallschirmjager paratroopers and now I’m quite fascinated by them.  Afterwards I spent time flicking around the web and YouTube looking at photos and documentaries about the real event.  It was good being able to see exactly what the Fallschirmajager were up against and how it had been translated onto paper by the author.

So in summary – fast paced with action and tension – obviously well researched and backed up by the author’s own personal knowledge.  I shall look forward to reading the next book in this series.

(P.S. I think I have a crush on Paul)

Links for Harvey Black

Blog – http://harveyblackauthor.wordpress.com/

Website –  http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/ 

Twitter – @Black_Author  http://twitter.com/#!/Black_Author

Facebook – Harvey Black  http://www.facebook.com/HarveyBlackAuthor

Harvey is also a member of the Author/Reader group




An Audience with an Author – Mandy Baggot talks about her latest novel Taking Charge

Mandy Baggot is with me today to talk about her latest novel, Taking Charge. My review of which can be found here. Although this is Mandy’s fifth novel to be released, it is her first with American publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing.   Today, I wanted to ask Mandy a bit about the American influence of Taking Charge.

Hi Mandy, first of all many congratulations on your publishing deal with Sapphire Star Publishing, it’s great news.  How do you feel, now you’ve had time to get used to the idea?

Taking Charge is set in Portage, Michigan – what made you choose that town?

Portage is the town where my Dad lives! He moved there in 2000 and we went to visit him for the first time in 2010. It was my first trip to America and I just fell in love with the area and the people that live there. We were supposed to stay for ten nights but when that volcano in Iceland erupted the day we were meant to return, it meant we couldn’t get home for another eleven nights. When we got back to England I spent a long time pining for Portage. I had the idea for Taking Charge about three days into the holiday and it started to grow from there.

Is the roadhouse in Taking charge based on a real one in Portage and do they have an ice hockey team?

Eddie’s Roadhouse in the book is very loosely based on a roadhouse I went to in Portage called Logan’s Roadhouse on Shaver Road, Portage. Mr Big and I went there and LOVED it! It was a traditional roadhouse like you see in the films with beer, food, sports on the TV and bands. We saw two great bands while we were there called Special Guest (who are featured in the book) and LTD (Living the Dream).

Logan’s doesn’t have an ice hockey team connected with it but Kalamazoo (the county Portage is in) does have an ice hockey team. They are called the Kalamazoo Wings (K Wings).

Did you ever go to any ice hockey games when you were over in the States?

Of course! It would have been rude not to! Lots of hot men, going really fast on skates, smashing into each other and scoring goals – it’s Lady Baggot’s idea of Heaven! We went to watch the K Wings as the stadium was just down the road from my dad’s house. The atmosphere there was amazing! I loved it – the thrill of the game, the music they play (a mix of strange fairground style organ and Van Halen), the fights and the fluorescent green duck called Slappy who is the mascot! I think he’s a duck!

Was it difficult for you to give your characters an American voice?

I thought I’d done an excellent job with that until Sapphire Star Publishing took me on. Then I realised how little I knew about American terminology. I had some of it down but it’s those little UK expressions we take for granted that kept sneaking in there! There must have been something realistic about the setting and my writing to make them take me on though!

Have you got any plans to write more novels set in America?

Ooo that’s a toughy. I don’t know and in a way I guess it depends on the success of Taking Charge. I have a few books at the beginnings of their lives at the moment and I’m just weighing up my options to decide which one to concentrate my efforts on. One is set predominately in the UK with flashbacks to France, the other is set in the UK and then moves to Cyprus and the third one is set in Spain so, who knows? Maybe I should have another America based novel on the backburner!

Do you think you’ll do a book signing in Portage?

I would love to do a book signing in Portage. There is a big Barnes & Noble store just down the road from my dad’s house. How cool would it be to sign there? HELLO! Barnes & Noble? Want to host Lady Baggot?

Thanks for dropping by Mandy, as always, it’s a pleasure chatting to you.  Very best of luck with Taking Charge.

Mandy has her own website and blog at http://mandybaggot.webs.com/

Mandy is on Twitter @MandyBaggot and Facebook

Taking Charge – Mandy Baggot

The Blurb : Is going back Robyn’s only way forward?

American-born Robyn Matthers is going home. With her dad in hospital, his roadhouse in ruins and the ice hockey team slipping down the league, she needs to take charge. But does she have the strength to do it? 

Cole Ryan is a hockey player on a personal mission. He’s tall, dark, hot and Robyn’s noticed! But can she trust her feelings – or his? And what will Cole do when he finds out the truth about her?

Robyn returns to Michigan and things aren’t quite the same. Her best friend has grown up and is thinking about marriage and babies, the ice hockey team is no longer the life blood of the community and her father is engaged!

When Robyn’s twin cousins drag up past events that hold painful memories for her, she and Cole are forced together. But are either of them ready to start something new?

With an ill father, a trailer trash almost step-mom and ex-boyfriend Brad desperate for another chance, does Robyn have time to contemplate a relationship? Does she really want one? And is it physically possible for two people to fall in love in just three days?

My Thoughts

Taking Charge storms along from the word go – the characters are up and at you from page one and stay there right until the final word.

There are some really fun and eccentric characters that make you smile and the author has captured the lively banter and spirit of an all male team, in this case an ice hockey team. My favourite team mate was Mickey – he made me laugh a lot.

The key characters, Robyn and Cole have a sparkly relationship although both have issues from the past that they haven’t yet resolved.  The exact nature of these problems are gradually revealed as the story progresses and you can’t but help try to guess and re-guess what these demons are.  The book touches on some more serious issues and there are a couple of emotional scenes but these are handled in an easy to read way, with a light touch that is in keeping with the genre.

It’s a dynamic, pocket rocket of a book so hold on to your hats and enjoy the ride!

Links for author Mandy Baggot

Twitter @mandybaggot: http://bit.ly/lTo8Xa

Sapphire Star Publishing:http://sapphirestarpublishing.com/ssp/

The Wind Weeps – Anneli Purchase


Andrea leaves big-city boredom in Ontario to search for love and adventure on B.C.’s rugged coast. The love of two men and a woman leads her into the world of commercial fishing. She is drawn into a rough life alternating between savage beauty and serenity.

But when adventure turns to terror, and Andrea’s survival is threatened, will her newly acquired wilderness skills be enough to save her life?

The Wind Weeps is a pure Canadian tale of love, betrayal, and triumph, told with gusto, humour, and bold insight.

My Thoughts

An enjoyable and gripping read which gives a fascinating insight into something I knew nothing about before – fishing off the coast of British Columbia.

The author has an impressive knowledge of the fishing scene and the workings of a boat which is clearly revealed throughout the novel. However,  this knowledge is slipped easily into the writing and blends in effortlessly with the plot.

Initially, I was a bit irritated with the heroine for rushing into a life changing decision, but I forgave her for that and, for a time, I even wondered whether she had made the right choice.  However, the more I read, the more I began to worry for her.

The tension built up slowly, bit by bit, and almost crept up on you, kind of like the danger that crept up on Andrea.  At times I was on the edge of my seat, almost willing things to happen, or not.  I found myself sympathising with all four main characters for various reasons and, surprisingly, even the real villain at times who clearly had psychological problems.

I found the style of writing easy to read and quickly became engrossed in the story line.

As I said before, an enjoyable and gripping read.

Links for Anneli

Blog – http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com/

Website – http://www.anneli-purchase.com/

Twitter – @anneli33

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000521578640#!/profile.php?id=100002204857671