We are now a quarter of the way into 2018 and I’ve had a surprisingly good reading year so far, which I chalk up to the fact I haven’t watched any television since last summer, giving me more free time for books. At present, I have read a total of 17 books this year (almost double the goal I set myself) and I’m currently half way through the science fiction classic, Dune. I hope to be done with Frank Herbert’s novel before the end of the week, allowing me to move on to the five books I’ve chosen to read this month―those five titles being:
If you cast your mind back to the beginning of the year, you may recall that personal problems caused me to postpone all my 2018 publishing plans until further notice; the main casualty being the second edition of my debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, which I had intended to release in time for the first anniversary of the original publication. I also promised to keep you updated on the status of the book if and when the situation changed. Well, that day has arrived, and today is that day.
A Woman Scorned
(The Sam Beckett Mysteries, Book 2)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 284 Pages
Date: 17th December 2017
I received an advanced copy of this book from the author; obviously this hasn’t influenced the review below, which is my honest assessment of the novel.
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As she continues her recovery after the traumatic events of her first foray into working as P.I., Sam Beckett is compelled to go through therapy as a pre-condition for continuing her association with the Criminal Investigation Department of the local police. The shocking outcome of what should have been a simple case has not only left physical scars, but also psychological scars brought on by the guilt she feels over the death of the person closest to her. Reluctantly, Sam agrees to seeing the designated therapist only to find herself embroiled in a new investigation when she arrives for her first session to discover the shrink, Dr. Weiss, has been brutally murdered.
The Game Begins
(The Sam Beckett Mysteries, Book 1)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 284 Pages
Date: 2nd October 2017 (First Published 2016)
Samantha Beckett may appear to be the typical, aimless teenage schoolgirl who doesn’t know what to do with her life, but there is more going on in her life than meets the eye. Not only does she have a troubled home life with her mother and stepfather, she also has to contend with the traumatic baggage―both psychological and physical―of having survived the car crash that claimed the life of her father; a car crash that she knows wasn’t really an accident. This conviction eventually inspires Sam to pursue her true calling in life. After she is persuaded by her best friend to complete a private investigators course, to become a qualified P.I., Sam is roped into taking on a seemingly innocuous case, little suspecting there is a greater conspiracy at play―one that will not only lead her to the truth about her father, but also put her life, and the lives of those around her, in danger.
While I may not have done much in the way of writing during January, I was able to do more reading than usual. Enough reading, in fact, to help me successfully complete my Goodreads reading challenge, for the first time ever, by the end of the month. And this was despite losing a week of reading time to the flu. Admittedly, the target of ten books I set myself is miniscule compared to the goals of many other Goodreads users, but given how many obstacles life typically throws in front of me it still represented a challenge, albeit a modest one.
Hey, I’m back. I wish I could say that my life is completely out of the doldrums but it’s not. Nonetheless, I can’t just sit about waiting for things to change for the better. It is the start of a brand new month and time to kick on with the writing gig. So, as of this week I’m resuming work on the second draft of my “untitled sequel” to The Exercise Of Vital Powers. I don’t currently have plans to publish it (or anything else) this year so I feel no pressure to finish writing it ASAP, though I do hope to have it wrapped up this summer then immediately starting work on Book Three.
To say that life hasn’t always been kind to me would be an understatement. At the risk of sounding like someone suffering from a persecution complex, my life has been tormenting me mercilessly for the past quarter of a century. What kept me going through all the tribulations was convincing myself there was nothing I could do about the crap life throws my way, and that these things happened to test me. Inevitably, this coping mechanism couldn’t continue to work forever. Sadly, I am only human; I can only endure so much before I eventually break, and by the end of last November I had reached my breaking point. I struggled on as best as I could into early December, because I had commitments I needed to honour. But once I’d done so, I had to admit defeat; life had finally got the better of me and I couldn’t cope with things as they were.
Interview number two with indie author Rebecca Howie as part of
the blog tour for her second novel, A Woman Scorned.
If you cast your minds back to July you may recall that I interviewed a young indie author from Scotland called Rebecca Howie. Still a teenager at the time, Rebecca had one published YA mystery novel to her name, The Game Begins, which made it as high as 16th position in its category on Amazon’s charts. This week I have the pleasure of hosting her once again as a stop on her blog tour for the imminent release of her second novel, A Woman Scorned, book two of the Sam Beckett Mysteries series.
Rebecca is a very talented young writer with a bright future ahead of her. If you enjoy reading young adult and crime fiction you should definitely add her to your reading list; you won’t be disappointed.
Something a little bit different from me this morning. My Aussie BFF, Kim, is taking a well-earned break from her weekly Monday morning poetry posts. She very recently completed the first draft of her debut novel, so her focus is on that, as well as her beta reading commitments and family/parental responsibilities. Today I’ve decided to take on the poem writing duties with a few impromptu verses about a lesson I’ve learned in recent weeks: to let go of the past, and not allow it to wreck the present and future.
I’m not usually the kind of person who makes plans for the future―principally because in year’s gone by I’ve learned through bitter experience that if I make plans for my future someone or something will pull the rug out from underneath me, and ruin everything. As a result, I’ve spent the last two decades of my life simply existing in the moment without a view to the future. However, in recent weeks my mindset has shifted, dramatically. Not only am I much happier about life in general, I’m also (much to my surprise) greatly looking forward to what the future may bring, particularly with regard to my continuing adventure as an indie author. It is for this reason I’ve been happily making exciting (to me at least) plans for next year.