Monday, 31 August 2015

#Monday Moments with Catalyst by Nik Morton.

My #Monday Moments are about Catalyst by Nik Morton.

I recently read this amusing novel and I've added my thoughts on it today. Nik Morton is a prolific author who has many novels in different fiction sub genres, published over more than a decade. Nik's BLOG is constantly busy with lots of different 'writerly' information and is well worth a visit.

Catalyst, a person that precipitates events.
That's Catherine Vibrissae. Orphan. Chemist. Model. Avenging Cat. She seeks revenge against Loup Malefice, the man responsible for the takeover of her father's company. An accomplished climber, Cat is not averse to breaking and entering to confound her enemies.

Ranging from south of England to the north-east, Wales and Barcelona, Cat's quest for vengeance is implacable. But with the NCA hot on her tail, can she escape the clutches of sinister Zabala and whip-wielding Profesora Quesada?

Buy from AMAZON 

 About Nik Morton...

Nik served for over twenty years in the Royal Navy, appropriately as a Writer, then went into IT. He has sold many short stories andedited several books and magazines. In 2003 he and his wife Jennifer moved to Spain. In February 2011 he was hired as the editor-in-chief of the US publisher, Solstice Publishing. Blood of the Dragon Trees is Nik’s 18th book to be published – since 2007.
Also, this year his books Write a Western in 30 Days and Wings of the Overlord, a fantasy quest jointly written with Gordon Faulkner, will be published.
Nik’s thriller, Blood of the Dragon Trees and the short story collection, Spanish Eye and Sudden Vengeance are all available now.
Follow Nik:
Blog / Blog 2

My thoughts about Catalyst...

This was an amusing read from start to finish. Vengeance takes many forms but it doesn’t necessarily leave a good taste in the mouth for Catherine Vibrissae- there are some recurring regrets. Catherine has a grand plan and not much is going to deflect her from fully carrying it through, yet reading of such important deeds doesn’t have to be a serious business as we find out in Catalyst! Her skills are numerous, but I loved that the author, Nik Morton, manages to inject her competence with a degree of quiet dignity. Preconceived notions about the past aren’t always entirely accurate and Cat has much to learn as the adventure unfolds.
In the throes of her daring exploits, it’s easy to follow her inner thoughts. The use of italics for these thoughts, I personally find a little distracting though they do allow me to get to know Catherine, in her different guises, a bit better.
Rick Barnes is a character who is easy to like and I particularly found his physiological talents quite funny. To say more might spoil things for the potential reader but if you’re looking for a quick and satisfying read, I can thoroughly recommend Catalyst. I’m definitely looking forward to Book 2 in the series.

I really wanted to give this novel 4 and 1/2 stars on Amazon but they don't do halves! (the above is a reblogged review)


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Preparation is the key!

Happy Saturday wishes to you! 

As well as doing a spot of lawn grass cutting today, I'm also writing. I've already published my every second Saturday post at Writing Wranglers and Warriors where my title is "An author talking…and a conundrum" 

Since I've posed a question there I'm REBLOGGING the post here in the hopes that some reader of this blog might come up with good solutions.
"An author talking…and a conundrum

That makes a change from an author writing but actually, there’s still a lot of writing and thinking involved. As some readers of this blog may have guessed, I’m a bit obsessed by the Ancient Roman Invasion of Caledonia, and in particular their temporary occupation of Aberdeenshire, the part of Scotland where I currently live.

For almost a year, I’ve been going forth to sell my books at local Craft Fairs and larger local events with historical significance like the Aboyne Highland Games and theatrical spectaculars at local Scottish Castles. Selling books is prime but part of my strategy in going out into the public arena has also been to advertise myself as available for ‘Author Talks’, the aim for more public awareness of me as an author, and to physically promote my writing. I’ve had some fantastic conversations with people over the selling table about the Romans in Scotland, some of whom have bought my historical novels and some who haven’t. Partial success there!  However, one-to-one conversations aren’t quite the same as public speaking.

Since first being published in 2011, I’ve done quite a few informal talks to small audiences about my own pathway to writing and about my books. These audiences have mainly been in local public libraries and at clubs predominantly attended by women, the audience size typically around 10-20 attendees. Now, as a result of my bookselling endeavours, I’ve been asked to do talks to larger audiences. For these I’ve been asked to focus more on my historical research of the Ancient Roman Invasion, with just a tad inserted about my historically based novels. My preparation for these needs a fresh new approach.

Here’s where the thinking comes in and a first conundrum!

I’m really interested in the history but how to enthuse a larger audience is a fine challenge. In my head, I can easily imagine ten thousand Roman soldiers tramping through the countryside but making others see those images is something else.

The typical length of talk is around 40 minutes with a question/ answer part taking the event to around an hour.

Conundrum again. What to include and what TO LEAVE OUT!

As a practising teacher, I created PowerPoint presentations but that’s not happened since around 2008. I’m not at all familiar with the technology people use now and my current laptop doesn’t have PowerPoint loaded on it. I’ll be able to get around the issue of illustrative material for the smaller venues by creating a ‘flip chart’ set of illustrations—but that won’t work for the audience of near 50 attendees. I’m not sure yet how much of a fee might be paid and for the library ones I know I’m not expecting any payment art all, so cost should be a factor in what I prepare.

What should I do?
  • Should I create a basic talk built around 2 different sets of illustrative material using-
 1 - physical illustrations which will work with a small seated group
 2 – use overhead projector images?
  • Should I spend time creating something like a PowerPoint presentation and hope that the technology in each ‘new’ venue can be made to work properly?
  • Should I just talk with no illustrations? 
I know what I’m aiming to prepare but I’m also thinking that some of you who have ventured into the larger ‘talk’ situation might be able to advise me.

What do you think you would aim for if you were at the planning stage of a set of talks to different audience sizes? What technology does the current public speaker use?

If you have any suggestions, your comments will be welcome.

Friday, 28 August 2015

#Familiarise Friday meets ...Alex O'Hara from THE CASE OF THE BYGONE BROTHER

For my #Familiarise Friday slot I'm welcoming back my friend, Diane Burton, with a different sub-genre from her recent visit. Today, Diane is featuring her contemporary mystery suspense novel THE CASE OF THE BYGONE BROTHER.  

To make things a little different, Diane's here today along with someone special and make sure you read to the end of the post where you can enter Diane's Rafflecopter Giveaway to WIN a $15 Gift Card.

Diane Burton

Welcome again, Diane. It's lovely of you to bring someone else.
Diane: Thanks for having us. I’ll let my “friend” here answer the questions.

Okay, mystery guest. Please introduce yourself.
I’m Alex O’Hara. Diane writes about me in her PI mystery The Case of the Bygone Brother. You see, I’m a private investigator in Fair Haven, Michigan. I’ve always lived there, unlike Nick Palzetti who couldn’t wait to shake Lake Michigan dune dust off his deck shoes and head for the big city.

Tell us about your family.
As you can tell from my name, I’m Irish. I grew up in Fair Haven where my dad and Nick’s (we call them The Pops) had a detective agency. Our moms worked in the office and took us to work with them when we were little. When she was pregnant with me, Mom was reading Robert Massey’s book about the last tsars of Russia. Since Nick’s mom had named him Nicolas and she and my mom had hopes for the two of us, she named me Alexandra. (Good thing she wasn’t reading Gone With The Wind.) Mom died from cancer eight years ago when I was twenty-two. I still miss her.

How did your upbringing influence who you are today?
Hard work pays off. Family comes first. Great marriages consist of two strong people who complement each other. I want that kind of marriage. But first I have to establish my business. I don’t have time to think about marriage and family. Still, my folks made it work.

What was your first thought when you met Nick.
Since he’s older, I think he met me first. We played together as little kids. In high school, I had the world’s biggest crush on him. Now he’s back and I’m not sure how I feel about him.

What does he think of you?
Good question. He keeps things close to the vest. When we were growing up, he treated me like a pesky kid sister. After he left for the University of Michigan (where he majored in seduction), he acted like I barely existed. To repeat from above, now that he’s back I see glimpses of heat in his dark chocolate brown eyes.

Why did you choose your occupation?
I worked with The Pops ever since I was in high school. They showed me the ropes and had enough confidence in me to sell me the agency, retire and move to Arizona. I love being a PI. Since Nick works in Washington, DC, it’s obvious he doesn’t want the business. That’s a big relief. I like being in charge.

Research comes easy for me. I love to dig through layers of data to find answers. I want to know why people do what they do. Since I run background checks for small companies, I like proving that people are trustworthy. And if they’re not, keeping the company that pays me safe from deadbeats. What I really want is a meaty case. I might have one with the Bygone Brother.

What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
Dogged determination and independence. I think those might be weaknesses, too. According to some people (Nick, for instance) I don’t know when to quit. That’s gotten me into trouble a few times. Being independent means I don’t like to rely on anyone.

What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
Prejudice. Despite all the advances in women’s rights, there are still men who think women don’t belong in the field. Old-timers (like two former employees) don’t like working for or with a “little girl.” The chief of police acts like he has to be a surrogate father and “protect” me. Thank goodness, The Pops were/are more enlightened.

Do you have any hobbies?
I love old movies. Pop and I used to watch all the old 40’s and 50’s movies—especially film noire detective movies. Pop would poke holes in the plot or explain how things are done differently today until I wanted to muzzle him. But I can recite movie quotes until the cows come home. If we had cows around Fair Haven. We have some, of course, but you’ll find more blueberry bushes and fruit trees in our part of Michigan.

What’s the meaning of the title?
A damsel in distress begs the hard-boiled PI to find her long lost brother. Only she wasn’t a damsel—more like the downhill side of 50—and according to The Pops I have to toughen up my bleeding heart. She chose me over all the other PIs in the nearby area because I’m a woman and she thought I’d be more sympathetic to her cause. Bleeding heart. Listen, I’d better get back to work. See ya.

Diane: Thanks for having us. Since I drove, I’d better go, too. I hope your readers enjoy Alex’s adventures.

More like fly home to Michigan, Diane. Thanks for letting us get to know Alex. 

 The Case of the Bygone Brother (An Alex O'Hara Novel)
by Diane Burton
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | Smashwords
Genre: Humorous Romantic Suspense
Release Date: October 29, 2014
Length: 281 Pages

Alex O’Hara finally gets a case that will give her bottom line a much needed boost. She might even be able to change her diet from ramen noodles to prime rib. All she has to do is track down a man who’s been missing for over ten years. Piece of cake . . . until an old flame arrives and a mugger roughs her up with orders to back off.

Here's a little about Diane: 
I grew up in the Detroit-area and have lived in Portage (MI), Sedalia (MO) as well as a brief stint in Chicago-land.  I've been a Parks & Recreation supervisor, an inventory clerk for a flute store, and a long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts. My last job was for an oil and gas exploration company where I discovered the cure for insomnia—reading oil and gas leases.  My longest-running gig was as a teacher where I taught elementary kids for over 10 years.  I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the Mid-Michigan and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapters of RWA. I met my own hero on a blind date. It was love at first sight--for me. It took him a little longer. We currently reside in West Michigan and have two grown children and three delightful grandchildren.
I’ve been a reader all my life, and I love movies, especially action adventure, mysteries, science fiction, and romantic comedy. CastleFirefly, and NCIS are my favorite TV shows. So is it any wonder that I write science fiction romance and romantic suspense, both with comedic elements? 

You can find Diane at these place: 

Diane- thank you popping back and best wishes with THE CASE OF THE BYEGONE BROTHER.   

a Rafflecopter giveaway Slainthe!