Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Woman before Me…

I’m not sure what attracted me to this book, and for once it couldn’t have been the cover. An indistinct, mysterious image that didn’t convey anything about the story at all.

But the book had won many awards and was highly recommended. Reviews said it was a ‘chilling psychological thriller with a shocking twist.’

The beginning of the book was more like a na├»ve memoir, almost childishly written in a matter of fact manner, but with just enough intrigue to get you thinking.  I nearly gave up on it several times, but an interesting cast of characters with in-depth stories of their own, plus the childhood history made me carry on reading.

The introduction of the “Black Book Entries” was a revealing part of the story. This is something mentally disturbed patients are encouraged to do to help their recovery. This gave the story an unexpected depth too. The pace picks up considerably, making the tension almost palpable.

So, after an agonisingly slow, deliberate start, the story escalates, building unbearably to its conclusion. A conclusion I really didn’t see coming. There were so many twists and turns, but nothing prepared me for the final chapter. It hit me like a truck.   
A brilliantly executed, grippingly original  story.

About the Author
Ruth Dugdall worked as a Probation Officer for almost a decade, working in high security prisons with numerous high-risk criminals. Ruth's writing is heavily influenced by her professional background, providing authenticity and credibility to the crime genre. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Reasons to be cheerful, anyone?

Today started badly.

It started at 2am really, and I should have heard the warning bells, but was too busy trying to ignore the din our geriatric cat was making with his latest rodent acquisition. He has never learned that none of them will sit and wait where he drops them while he gets his breath back, so then he has to turn the house upside down searching for it.
As for me searching for it, I gave that up last time. Far too many hiding places, not to mention my lack of agility. I probably share my office with an assortment of night visitors; for I swear when it’s quiet I can hear them moving around. As long as they don’t chew anything important, they’re welcome to stay!

Just been informed that the new rotary washing line I installed in the back garden last week is too wobbly. I thought at the time it needed a better anchor system. Guess what I will be doing later today?

I leaped at the chance to visit the coast at the weekend. It was in the evening, so should be cooler. And it was, in fact the wind was rather chilly. For some reason, the short journey (10 miles) triggered a touch of travel sickness, which totally ruined the treat. Two days later and it hasn’t quite left me, adding to my growing list of misery rants.

Adding to the pile is a general disappointment with my lack of progress as a writer AND as a marketer/promoter. I have not touched the WIP for several days and feel terrible about that. I can usually manage to squeeze in a thousand words or so, no matter what’s going on. Also, the number of nominations for Anita’s book on KindleScout seems to have slowed right down, so not much hope there either.

Behind all the other rants, lurks the big one. We have a very important family wedding coming up, and I hate what I have chosen to wear. I always hate what I wear, unless it’s my old tatty jeans and t-shirt, but I can’t turn up in them. More’s the pity, for I’m a much nicer person when I’m comfortable.

Not really being one to dwell on the bad stuff, I shall find ways to work through the shit, hopefully coming out the other side smelling of roses. Might take a shot or two of Rescue Remedy and a handful of Stressless tablets, but who’s counting?
 I like me a hell of a lot better when I’m mellow…

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A Following Wind…

I recently wrote a very smug post about how clever  productive I think I am being, but have since come to realise that although I have learnt so much more than I ever thought I could, along comes another truckload of stuff that I would love to be able to do. 

So much more to learn about book promotion, for a start.

This is on top of a workday crammed with so many things; I doubt I could fit anything else in. And if I thought my brain lacked something before, this is nothing compared to the state of it now.

I am talking about all the times I come to a standstill in the middle of the room, without a clue as to what I was doing or about to do. Could be either! And the times I catch myself doing something crazy, like trying to shove the kettle into the fridge!

Writing is becoming a bit of a problem too. If it wasn’t for the existing outline, storyboard and a pile of post-it notes, I don’t think my work would be coherent these days, unless my muse’s brain is in a better state than mine. I pray that it is.

I can manage to work on the PC efficiently enough; as I have an extensive filing system of all the lessons I have learnt at my fingertips, without which I could not function. Adding to these problems is the cataract in my left eye. Even on a good day, my vision is reduced; leading to feverish cleaning of the glasses, convinced the fault is there.

The rest of my body is starting to convey dubious messages also. Messages I try to ignore, but refuse to go away. After my tussle with cancer earlier this year, I feel remarkably well, but something still seems to be wrong and the state of euphoria has gradually faded, leaving me with more questions than answers.

Basically, all things considered, I know I am fighting a slowly losing battle on all fronts. It all seems to be downhill from here, and I had no idea how steep the incline would be. When did I get this old? 

I still get good days, and not about to hang up my pencil just yet, though. Despite everything, I am still having fun, loving every confusing minute, even those annoying head banging ones. All the wonderful people we have met have made the journey worthwhile, and with a benevolent God and a following wind, the journey isn’t over yet!