Thursday, 7 August 2014

Golf, Dragons and A Howling Wind

As usual, it's been an interesting last couple of weeks since my last post, with book reviews, interviews, the cricket incident, pre-season football and of course, book writing!

So the first news is that my books are now being featured on a new promotional website called "Heibooks".  As well as featuring the cover, blurbs and of course, purchase links, I was also interviewed for the site.  So if you want to have a quick mosey on over, the first part of the interview can be found here.  All you need to d to see the second part is click on the link at the end of the first, as it is split across both "For The Lost Soul" and "Under A Blood Moon".

As for the cricket, ten days ago, the media were baying for Alistair Cook's blood, demanding that he steps down as England captain, and even that he should be dropped completely.  I was so happy to see him make them eat their words after a magnificent 266 run victory in the third test against India, and not only that, Cooky himself hit 95 in the first innings and was 70 not out in the second.

With the fourth test starting this morning, there is still the rumblings over the Jimmy Anderson / Ravindra Jadeja incident from the first test.  The ICC has decided not to appeal over the decision to clear him of the level three charge that had been bought against the England bowler, which should be a relief for him.

Talking of sporting events that start today, it's the final major of the Golf season with the PGA Championship in Valhalla.  Tiger Woods has managed to complete a practice 9 hole round with no pain, which is fantastic news as any major without Tiger is surely devalued.  It's hard to look past Rory McIlroy at the moment as the favourite, but with Sergio Garcia hitting some of the best form of his career, it would be great to see him finally win his first major.  You then have Ricky Fowler prowling around and I would definitely expect him to be there or there abouts as he has finished in the top 5 in all three majors this year.

This tournament is also going to have a major impact on the Ryder Cup teams, as it is only FIFTY days away.  The final qualification is the 31st August so there are only a handful of tournaments left for players to make their way into the team, or hold on to their places.  At the moment, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald are all outside the team and for me, would be the three captain picks, although with Gleneagles playing so long, Luke's lack of power could come under pressure.  With Francesco Molinari, Stephen Gallagher and Miguel Angel Jimenez also outside the placings, there is certainly a lot for captain Paul McGinlay to think about.

As for books, I had the pleasure of reading a new shapeshifter fantasy called Aranya, by South African author Marc Secchia.  Currently priced at £2.44 as an ebook, you can get it on Amazon UK.  Here is my five star review.

‘Aranya’, the first book in the Shapeshifter Dragons series is an imaginative tale, full of battle and heroism, romance and betrayal. Set on a world of Sky Islands, it tells the story of a princess given up as hostage in surrender. Sent to the Sylakian prison tower, she meets Zip, a Remoyan princess who is also a prison hostage. The two forge a friendship that transforms themselves and the world around them.

I found the story to be well written and conceived, with enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing where the author is going with the story. Aranya and Zip are enthralling as main characters and the dialogue between them, which forms a large part of the story, is excellent, witty and intelligent as the author explores how two former enemies can become the best of friends.
Throw in the minor characters who help them along the way, the main villain in the plot who is suitably evil and the romantic interest for Aranya, who is a commander in the Sylakian army but is torn between his duty and his honour.

Overall, I found this difficult to put down, wanting to carry on reading even when I had prior engagements to go to and I will certainly be putting book two on my wish list.

As for my own projects, I finally got finished laying the background work down for the next in the Alex Hayden Chronicles.  So with a lot of nervous excitement, I fired up Word and wrote the words CHAPTER ONE.  Before I knew it, it was three hours later and I was fully involved in the world of vampires, witches and werewolves (yes werewolves feature in this one!!) and "The Howling Wind" is now officially listed as a Work In Progress.  2600 words are already on paper as old friends and characters are re-introduced to the world and of course, there will be the usual twists and turns along the way.
The great news for me is that Debbie, who proofed "Under A Blood Moon" has signed on once again to the project as have Lucy and Dave who did such a great job on the front cover.  With a Christmas deadline, I have certainly put pressure on myself, but if I can have writing sessions like I did yesterday, I will comfortably achieve this.

So, that's all from me for now.  Enjoy the cricket, golf, and if you support a Football League team, hope your team gets off to a great start this weekend.  It's going to be weird for me, as my team have been promoted back to the Premier League after a ten year absence so I need to change my Sky Planner to record Match of the Day rather than the Football League Show.