Review: Broadchurch (Spoilers are in this if you haven’t watched it!)

Or should that be Boredchurch? That was the twitter hashtag that was trending apparently.

I loved the first series, it was a brilliant whodunnit that had me on the edge of my seat. At the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival last year I was eager to get a seat near the front and listen to the panel in anticipation of the new series, I even got myself a signed copy of the book.

My copy of the Novel

My copy of the Novel

Lovingly signed by Erin Kelly and Chris Chinbnall

Lovingly signed by Erin Kelly and Chris Chinbnall

So season two started and we tuned in… and we stuck through it, as many left the viewing behind, spurred on by the brilliant first series last year, we persevered. That is eight weeks of viewing I’ll never get back!

Disappointing more than anything else, the only thing that lent any credence to this series was Olivia Colemans fantastic acting and brilliant comebacks, just the way she tells DI Hardy to ‘F’ off is brilliant! Jodie Whitaker was great as an actress in an emotional role and I appreciate her character was grieving the death of her son, but there were times I wanted to shout, “oh bloody cheer up, you just had a new baby girl!”

The plot?

Joe Miller Not Guilty? Even after they managed to get the confession thrown out, never would I, sitting on a Jury, have found him not guilty. The defence case was as preposterous as most soap story lines, especially as the evidence for the financial information was obtained by means of sexual manipulation which I’m pretty sure the prosecution could’ve had thrown out on basis of entrapment or solicitation!

Then of course the Sandbrook murders, urgh, predictable by the end, I guessed they all did it and to be fair completely unnecessarily. There was no need to kill the little girl at all! The whole case just became a bit boring; it would have been more interesting if Lisa had been alive in France and Lee had nothing to with any of it, if they had actually shown that sometimes coppers can get so obsessed with one person that they completely get it wrong. I’d have preferred it if he was totally innocent. It would’ve made a good twist.

Then the weird relationships surrounding Jocelyn, the obsession of her former protege to beat her, no explanation about what her son actually did and why that made her such a vindictive cow. The lost love from years ago turned out to Maggie, which apparently blew the minds of the Daily Mail readers, however whether it was a lesbian love or straight, it just didn’t seem to fit in the story. It seemed like a very unnecessary extra not related to anything that was going on.

Most of the relationships seemed a bit weird and bodged up to be honest, so much so that with half the cast being former Doctor Who or Torchwood stars I was half expecting John Barrowman to show up and sort it all out!

I only really watched it till the end just to put it to bed, to finish it, I wasn’t really that bothered by the outcome at all and very quickly turned it off and nodded off to sleep.

Maybe if it had been its own story it might have held up against the Monday night drama’s, but the first series was so good we were holding it up to a really high expectation and it just didn’t deliver. Shame really.

At the end it declared it would return… to be honest I’m not sure I’ll be a returning viewer, think I’ll curl up with a good crime novel instead!

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Review: How I Lost You

I received this book last year at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime festival. It was tucked in a stack of books I’ve been meaning to get to and seems to be getting bigger. I picked this one out because the tagline grabbed me stronger than the others, it was something different: They told her she killed her baby, She served her time, What if they lied?
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I was intrigued to say the least. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. Fast paced, suspenseful, some great twists and turns through out and not the villain you expect at all.
Recognising many of the places featured as areas I grew up in and around was an added bonus, but by means the only reason to enjoy the story. Near the end of the book I insistently informed my wife that I wouldn’t be going to the gym that evening; I had to finish this book!

The subject matter is a woman who has spent 4 years serving time for killing her baby Dylan in a Post-Natal Depressive state, but she has no memory of it whatsoever. The doctors, the psychiatrists, police even her husband, convinces her she suffocated her son, but on her release she receives a photo of a little boy of 4, and it says it’s Dylan. More secret deliveries and a helpful reported set her on the path to find out the truth of what happened that fateful afternoon. While shadows and conspiracies seem to be trying to keep her believing she is insane, she’s starting to wonder whether she ever was, and if she didn’t kill her son, is he still alive and where is he?

This is Jenny Blackhursts Debut novel and she has hit the ground running!
This is a great story, well written and keeps you hooked and in suspense right from the word go. I look forward to many more to come from Jenny.

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Perspective

So at the beginning of January I wrote how nothing had gone to plan and that I wasn’t really making any plans other than to keep on writing and try and focus on projects still ongoing. I made the point about spending time with family and friends and how sometimes other things have to take a back seat, but it didn’t mean at all that I was quitting.

I took down my website and put up a ‘under construction’ sign as I prepare the overhaul and redesign and I meant with whole heartedness to redesign the blog. I still have this intention. Wedding in Paradise is now in Editing and I’m hoping to be released in the spring.

I’m going to be doing a series of blogs on this as well as reaching out to the wider blogging community, something I should’ve already started really.

I have 7 scripts to complete (to be fair 6 are the same story as I go for a mini series) and two novels, not to mention a new short story for a Summer anthology after the  great success of Boughs of Evergreen over Christmas.

I also have my fantasy novel, which I am going to be doing on WattPad and I even have my awesome new book for the notes and maps etc:

wpid-wp-1422387880217.jpeg

I wanted to start all this, I had the greatest of intentions and more than that I was excited by it. Then three weeks ago we got news that threw all that into chaos and brought home some serious perspective. My cousins son, only five years old, was rushed to Great Ormond Street, what started off as the belief of a simple blockage in his bowel has turned out to be 16 cm tumour that has spread to his kidney and a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Well…what do you say to that? After crying, and praying and crying and praying some more, we rallied as best we could; we have been pooling funds, rallying round, hunting the net for cheap b&b’s, shared commuting routes, anything and everything so his mum and dad can stay with him while he’s so very poorly.

How do you react to something like this? Little children shouldn’t have to deal with something so horrible.

It does however provide you with one hell of a reality slap round the face and major perspective check.

What can I possibly do?

 

It’s not much in the grand scheme of things really, but anyone who has read this blog regularaly in anyway shape or form will know I write poetry, I have done ever since I was a little girl. I thought I might collect together ones from when I was younger, maybe up to the age of sixteen and put together a little eBook or book and donate the proceeds to Great Ormond Street Childrens hospital. They do so much amazing work and what they are doing for this little boy is amazing. We are also raising money for his families accommodation and travel so they can stay with him as much as possible:

http://www.gofundme.com/Aaronjunior?fb_action_ids=775904539154432&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_ref=fb_g_my_t

 

I ‘ll keep you all updated how this project is going and hopefully the book will be available quickly.

 

Other than this, may I ask all and any of you, whomever you put your faith in. Please pray for a very poorly little boy. In fact, please pray for all the poorly little children, they have the most incredible courage.

Quote: Unknown Author...but so very true!

Quote: Unknown Author…but so very true!

 

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The Best Laid Plans

Happy New Year!
Yes it’s been a week since that event and so much longer since my last post.

I am aware that especially towards the end of last year I became  very lax in my posting and blogging, and to an extent, writing. This time last year I had a long list of all the resolutions, plans, ideals and goals I was setting myself for 2014. I accomplished quite frankly…none!
Why?
I made plans!

I have this issue, I think it’s ingrained in me, that as soon as I actually plan and set a goal for myself, it becomes ultimately unachievable. I don’t know why. Maybe I just don’t like being told what to do, even by myself.
However the fact is last year was chaos, I had so much going on in my personal life and my ‘day job’ I was run off my feet and when I did get sat down to write, I found myself falling asleep at the keyboard I was so exhausted. I moved to another city, I started a new job, I trained for two crazy events

Rat Race Dirty Weekend

Rat Race Dirty Weekend

Proof I did it!

Proof I did it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to research and retrain in many things, and then of course I had my personal life. We had an amazing honeymoon in Hawaii. We basically enjoyed our first year as a married couple, which was lovely.
I have read a few resolutions over this week by friends and family; how they need to spend more time with loved ones and concentrate on their families more. One friend, who is leaving the military and starting his own business, so clearly a very busy man, just yesterday declared his apologies at how neglectful he had been to people. His open promise to pay more attention and spend time with the people that matter.
This is why I don’t feel too guilty. I have spent the last six months or so, doing that, and I’ve loved it. I’ve spent time with my beautiful wife and our little dog. We’ve been camping and having days out, we’ve been to visit friends and family all over the country and we’ve had times just the two of us to spend together. We’ve done two crazy fitness events, for which we haven’t just participated together but trained together as well and we loved it. We love spending time together, we love being silly together, we love being crazy together and of course all the serious stuff too.
I’ve fit the writing in around it all instead of making it my prime focus.
Don’t get me wrong,  writing for me is a joy, it’s a pleasure and it’s something I do because I like it, I enjoy it; there’s a thousand worlds in my head and I love getting them down on paper. At the moment, it’s not a full blown career, I would love that, but currently science is my career, and honestly I love that too.
2013 I did neglect people around me, constantly at the computer trying to get into the social networking, trying to boost everything and get ahead, writing blog after blog, trying to juggle work, writing, networking, publishing and Life and it was so exhausting!

2014 I spent writing when I could focus on it and give it the right time, getting back into the science I love and spending time with those people who matter the most to me. I look back on 2014 with a lot more smiles than 2013 (to be fair my dad died in 2013, although we also got married so it was a whirlwind year of emotions.).

This years plans??
I’ll see how it goes. I have some ideas and I have some ambitions. Immediately is my next book, written and going through proof reading stages; Wedding in Paradise. Then I’m working on a book and screenplay of the same story I began last year. I have a hundred other ideas including a fantasy story I already half wrote 7 years ago so there’s a lot to come from me yet. I will not definitely commit to any of it though, that way when the wind changes I can change with it and not stress how things are not going to plan.

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A Christmas Poem

It’s been a while since I put up a poem, but here you go, a Christmas blessing.

Dreams of snowflakes falling from the heavens,

A layer of frost crisp in the morn.

The sun rising on a clear winters day;

To mark the celebration of a babe born.

In the chill and the wind, bitter and brisk,

In joyous anticipation the world wanders in shivers

Childrens eyes all a glow to see what lay under the branches

By the saint and his reindeers delivered.

Twinkling lights of blue and white,

And Yellow and pink and green

Tinsel of silver and gold, reflecting bright;

Laden with the most beautiful adornments to be seen.

Celebrations a plentiful with festive glee,

Bountiful feasts with fellow man to share,

Bestowing of love and thoughtful gifts,

Joined together in peace and heartfelt prayer.

Tis two thousand years since the child arrived

In the poorest of places to birth,

The lamb of the people in a manger lay

Gifted with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Sought by the shepherds herded by angels,

Worshipped by Stargazing Wisened Men,

Hunted by the Brutal king of old,

Loved forever in the eternal amen.

It is joyful to be with the ones you love

The ones from who your love is returned.

But remember to extend your joy and care

To those cold and lost and spurned.

Charitable giving is of course the lesson

Which the babe born brought for us to learn.

Forgiveness, peace, unity and love most of all.

Are the greatest gift to place under the fern.

Love thy neighbour, love thy family, thy friends and thy foe.

Love the people, the creation and all the animals too.

May peace and joy fill your homes and your hearts.

And a very merry Christmas to you.

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Review: Confessions of an Undercover Cop

I came across this book because I was lucky enough back in July to meet Ash Cameron at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. She was fun, lively and very confident in her presence being there; everything I was not. I was a nervous wreck feeling like a fraud to be in such a place amongst other crime writers who seemed to know what they doing! Ash was however, awesome, and whether it was her natural instinct, a maternal act or those years as a cop lending the experience, she seemed to recognise a lost, nervous little bird and quickly took me under her wing.

So of course when I heard she was an ex-undercover cop and had written such a book, as any crime writer wants that kind of insight, I bought the kindle book and started reading the moment I got home.

download

Straight to the point! that is how I would describe it. This is not a crime thriller story, this is a real account and in that sense it can get rather emotional when you keep realising you are very much reading about real people and real lives. It’s an autobiography over 15 years of dealing with cases from robberies, fraud, street crime, sex workers and even organised swinging parties. then it really gets gritty as she moved departments into the Child protection and vulnerable persons unit, dealing with people a lot of crime writers wont write about. The kind of people we see on the news and pray our children will never come across. Sadly the most common children who do come across these monsters, as Cameron explains rather heartbreakingly, are their own children.

In these instances she gives them the time they need, but she doesn’t indulge too much and doesn’t detail what she doesn’t have to. Years of dealing with delicate, vulnerable witnesses and victims has clearly provided her with the ability to get to the point she needs to without going over the top or pushing too much into the horrid details of the crime.

She is also very good at informing the reader of what is to come next and that we may wish to skip over it if we’re not sure we want to read and hear about such things.

Back in July I got talking to Ash about the fact we both want to write more about the female criminal, as I have done in once Upon a Set of Wheels and did a little in Judged by your Peers. having dealt with many female criminals, from prostitutes to the type of mother no-one would ever want, she reinforced what i have believed for many years, through studying forensics, talking with members of the CPS and researching historical cases; women are very underestimated in the criminal world, when in fact they can be the worst kind of criminal. We both spoke how we’d like to produce of strong calibre that put the female criminal out there. I feel from reading this that Ash Cameron is not just going to do it, but she’s going to blow us away with it, and I very much look forward to what she’s going to be coming up with in the future.

Find her links here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AshCameron2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshCameronUndercoverCop

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NaNoWriMo Fail!

So, did anyone else totally fail at NaNo this year?

No?

Just me then?

I very much expect not.

I started it, I planned it, I drafted a plot and I even designed a cover.

possible cover

 

 

However it seems that November was just a bit too crazy. I managed all of 25000 words, so I got half way, but unfortunately it seems that the craziness of the last few months has had a large impact on my writing. But do I feel bad?

 

Well yeah actually I do, but not too bad, especially as the main impact on it was the release of the Anthology in which my short story is in and getting great reviews! Also another impact was my family coming to visit us. Being a military family, we move about a bit and we live some distance from our families so most of the time our communication is technology based, so when we actually get to physically see and interact with each other, it’s a big deal. Especially as this visit was my sister bringing my little niece to visit and she, quite frankly, is awesome!

I’m not however giving up.

I hear a lot of people say how they have folders or memory sticks or discs filled with half written stories from Nano, because as soon as it’s finished, they finish.  I use NaNo to write my story down, then I leave it about two months and go back to edit the living daylights out of it and redraft. Some people actually finish and think that because you can self publish you should straight away; you shouldn’t and please don’t, it gives those of us who rip our work apart with blood sweat, stress and editors a bit of heart failure!

My story is actually a story I’ve kind of already written, in part anyway. At  the beginning of the year I entered the Bafta screen writers competition with a crime drama. it didn’t get shortlisted, but it was a story I had already had in mind for a while and when I was writing the scripts I realised the imagery I wanted in it could be written fabulously in a novel format as well as a script. So I set myself the challenge way back in April that I would sort out my other commitments and NaNo would be for to turn The Blame Lies  from a screen play into a novel.

As I said I got about 25000 words, and I’m barely into chapter 6, so it’s going to be a long slog, a long story and then a long process after I’ve written it. But that’s ok right? that’s how a book should be written. We read over and over the best way to get noticed as a writer is to get more books out there. however I feel that sometimes this can involve too much rushing. We all want everything now! I want nothing more than to be a success at this, and to be honest I don’t have a clue about most of it, the marketing etc, but I can write, and I don’t want what I write to be half as good as it could be because I rushed it.

I could’ve gone crazy in the last 5 days of November and hit 50000 word mark, while ignoring my family, friends and general life, but I didn’t. Waiting for something to be right, even if that means taking our time and that is ourselves who keep us waiting, is ok.

The novel I wrote for last years NaNo is still not out, it’s currently with proof readers and a couple of Beta readers, then I’ll make corrections and notes then it’ll go out again for editing. I’m hoping it will be out in the new year, but if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that this isn’t a quick process and if it is, then it might not be that great.

However please don’t take that negatively, if you succeeded at NaNo and you have in front of you a great story, by all means publish it, but take a time out first. Sit on it for a few weeks, maybe over Christmas then come back to it in the new year and go over it. You’ll see how much editing it needs and then get people to read it and see how readers take to it. Then by all  means take the leap and get it out there.

On the flip side, if you didn’t succeed, like myself, don’t give up just because November’s over! There’s another twelve months before it comes round again, plenty of time to finish that story and get it up to scratch. Take your time and enjoy the way your imagination creates something wonderful that may surprise even you. Most of my stories end up going in completely different directions than I first thought.

 

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