*ARC REVIEW* ~Trailblazer (Verdant String #3), by Michelle Diener

#spaceopera #scifiromance #suspense

 

Book Blurb

He’s on a mission . . .
She’s running for her life . . .
And if they get off-planet alive, she’ll have to trust he won’t reveal her darkest secret.

Tally Riva is not what she seems, and even she’s not happy about it. Infected, invaded, she’s not quite sure how to describe it, but on a disastrous mission to a ghost ship, something burrowed its way into her body. Into her mind.

When her commander decides the best cure for what he thinks is Tally’s trauma is to send her on the famous Veltos Trail, Tally goes without revealing what’s really behind her mental anguish. Anything to be seen as normal again, anything to ignore what she’s afraid is happening to her.

But Veltos isn’t the safe place it seems. The chosen military personnel lucky enough to be offered the chance to walk the Trail are supposed to be the only people on Veltos. But Ben Guthrie, a captain in Arkhoran Special Forces, knows they’re not. He and his team have been on Veltos for a month already, tracking suspicious enemy activity, and he’s gone undercover on the Trail in search of a satellite his superiors are sure has been shot down.

When Ben’s worst fears become reality, and they find themselves hunted by a cunning enemy through the thick forests of Veltos, Tally and Ben fight together to survive. And Tally has to decide if accepting the changes inside her will save them both, or be her doom.

TRAILBLAZER is a standalone novel, and the third full length book set in the world of the Verdant String.

Books in the series are: Interference & Insurgency (Two Novellas of the Verdant String), Breakaway, Breakeven, Trailblazer.

My Review – 5 stars

Suspenseful and adventure packed

This is an expertly crafted and suspenseful read with plenty of action and also a romance for the central character Tally. I was so engrossed in the story that after a while I felt as if I was living and breathing alongside Tally and her fellow trail walkers on the planet Veltos where much of the book is set. The story worked well for me as a standalone, although I feel that if I had read the earlier books in the series they would have only added to my enjoyment.

I loved Tally the central character. She is one strong woman despite the trauma she has recently endured of being the sole survivor on a ghost ship, where an alien entity has invaded her body and mind. This makes her vulnerable as she finds herself at war with herself. For although whatever it is that has burrowed inside her is determined to protect her, its host, from harm, she is sometimes compelled to act in ways that are at odds with her free will.

Sent on the Veltos trail to aid her recovery from what was a disastrous mission, she is at pains to conceal what has taken up residence inside her and her oftentimes new abilities. However, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secret from fellow trail members as they find themselves the quarry of an enemy who is stalking them. It is especially difficult to hide the truth from Ben Guthrie, a member of the special forces who is on a mission to find out what really is going on on Veltos. Ben too is a strong character and a worthy mate for Tally.

I found the whole premise of the book, combined with the central characters of Tally and Ben and the secondary characters, made for a cracking scifi adventure. The read has plenty of tension and suspense as the plot develops and truths reveal themselves. I was on pins with how far Tally could control the entity inside her and how others would react when and if its presence was revealed. and also whether they would survive the enemy stalking them.

Thoroughly recommended for lovers of sci-fi and space opera who also love romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC of this book was given t me by the author for a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

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https://www.facebook.com/michelle.diener.author/

*REVIEW* ~ The Militia Man’s Lady (Dreda’s Men Book 2) , by Alexie Bolton

#historicalfiction #historicalromance


Book Blurb

This is the second book in the series ‘Dreda’s Men’ and follows the exploits of the men in the Taylian State Security Bureau and their ladies. A post-Napoleonic war romance about ‘alpha’ militia men and their feisty, strong resourceful ladies.

Taylia is divided by civil war. Lady Helena von Vagna’s brother has gambled most of her family’s fortune away and it is rumoured he has helped the rebels. Her fiancé has deserted her and she toils to save her family farm. She has no desire to be intimate with any man, particularly the irritating, domineering, provoking Militia man Officer Peter Denman who saved her when she was being attacked by bandits.

Officer Denman is intrigued by this woman. He tries to help her when she is accused of murder and follows her to the sordid bowels of the city where she is vulnerable to the attentions of pimps and brothel keepers.

Lady Felea Whelani, the heroine in the first book, is now married to Francis Dreda, Commander of the Bureau. Their marriage is still tempestuous as Felea finds it difficult to conform to the expected behaviour of a dutiful nobleman’s wife. Her telepathic qualities are developing and her visions are now becoming clearer. The enemies of her husband are trying to undermine and destroy him. Can she and Helena prevent them destroying all she values and loves?

Can Denman manage to save Helena and claim her for himself? Will she want this ruthless militia officer?

My Review

Tension, adventure and romance – 4 and a half stars

The Militia Man’s Lady, a story of tension and adventure, recounts the romance between Lady Helena von Vagna and the militia man Peter Denman. It is the second book that I have read in the Dreda’s Men series, penned by author Alexie Bolton, the first being The Spymaster’s Redeemer (click on the title for my review).

I felt for Helena from the off as she has been badly treated by men – her brother has gambled away the family fortune and she has since been thrown over by her fiancé. Helena is left to help her mother manage the family estate and works tirelessly to make it pay its way. She not only has to tolerate her brother’s dissolute behaviour but has to put up with rumours that he was involved with rebels, putting her under suspicion.

Peter Denman encounters Helena first by chance and the by design as their lives become increasingly entwined. Denman performs many roles ~ her saviour, accuser and would be confidant and friend. Although attracted to Denman (and he to her) Helena is wary of men, especially those as controlling and domineering as he appears to be, as she values her independence. I loved that she did not fawn over him as did other women of his acquaintance.

As for Denman, he fears that Helena sees him only as a brotherly figure and in any case he tells himself and others that he is not ready for marriage. However, it is clear to all but the couple themselves that they are a perfect match for one another. As the plot progresses Helena manages to get herself into one scrape after another, due to a combination of her independent spirit and the designs of those who would do her harm. There are a number of well recounted dangerous and nail biting scenes where Denman is often on hand to save her.

However, Denman is not always in Helena’s life and I enjoyed the tension filled plot where the couple come together only to be torn apart by their own perceptions of what they as individuals want and what they perceive the other to feel. I was intrigued as to how they could secure their HEA after such an impasse, although at times I wanted to slap them both on account of their stubbornness! Nevertheless I enjoyed how the author resolved their differences. I also enjoyed meeting Francis and Felea, whose romance was featured in the first book in the series.

Readers who enjoy historical romances with strong heroes and characters and a plot full of adventure will enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Connect with the Author

Author’s Facebook Page
Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK
Amazon US

*REVIEW* ~ Lottery Losers, by Lucy Felthouse

#erotic #romance #novella

Adult/18+ read

Book Blurb

Winning the lottery is a dream come true… isn’t it?

Susie Parmenter and her husband of almost 20 years, Peter, are lottery jackpot winners. They’ve been able to do everything they’ve ever dreamed of – quit their jobs, design and build their perfect home, buy expensive cars, travel the world… So why is Susie bored out of her mind? She thought being a lady of leisure would be amazing, but unfortunately the reality is far from amazing. How can she possibly tell anyone that, though?

Climbing the walls, sinking deeper into irritation and misery, Susie can’t see a way forward. But what she’s not betting on is that Peter has noticed his beloved wife isn’t happy. And he’s taken steps – drastic steps – to turn things around. But will they live to tell the tale?
Note: Lottery Losers was previously published in the Love Me Hard boxed set.

My Review – 5 stars

A  sizzling erotic adventure

If you are after a quick, hot and sexy read that will take you by surprise then look no further than this novella by Lucy Felthouse.

The read examines the effect that winning the lottery could have on a couple’s relationship. Having it all can, after a while, be, well, SO boring. Fortunately for Susie, her husband Peter is in tune with her feelings and he comes up with an extremely original idea to encourage her out of her funk. However, things do not quite go as to plan…

This is one hot and entertaining read and although things take an unexpected turn, the love the couple have for each other is never in doubt – cue lots of sizzling scenes! There area also some humorous moments, which made me chuckle at times.

The novella will appeal to fans of erotic romance and erotica who are after a fun and sexy read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter/

 

 

*REVIEW* ~ Paris Ever After: A Novel, by K.S.R. Burns

#literary #romance #paris #france #adventure

Blurb

Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after?

Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.

Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.

As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

My Review

Enchanting and Quirky Parisian Adventure – ***** 5 stars

I just ADORED this enchanting and quirky novel by K.S.R. Burns. As a self-confessed Francophile – I fell in love with the city, French people and culture during student exchange visits in my teenage years, I inhaled the book with gusto. Once again I was able to soak up the sights, sounds and culinary delights of this great city, which the author describes with such aplomb.  I very much enjoyed accompanying the protagonist Amy on her Parisian adventure, identifying with her quest to define and find herself.

Although I haven’t read the first book in the series, The Paris Effect, I found it fairly straightforward to  get up to speed on Amy’s backstory – how she had left her husband and her stale marriage in the US and jetted off to France, and her current dilemma (and WHAT a dilemma it is)!  Amy has found out that she is expecting her estranged husband’s baby and although her eclectic circle of new friends in Paris know of the forthcoming happy event she (wait for it) has neglected to inform her husband of the news…

When the man himself unexpectedly appears Amy has to decide exactly what she wants out of life. Can she bear to leave Paris, where she feels she has truly regained her joie de vivre? Will she do what many think is ‘the right thing’ and try and make a go of her marriage for the sake of her baby? Has her husband changed from the man he was before she left him? Is  reconciliation on the cards? Can she find romance in the city of Love?

There are some unexpected twists and turns as the very pregnant and hormonal Amy wrestles with this moral dilemma, encouraged and thwarted by events which occur in her close circle of friends. Throw in the appearance of a young woman whose actions may well lead to Amy being rendered homeless and a series of unforeseen events, deception, unexpected home truths and a combination of heartfelt and sometimes hilarious scenes, the novel is a brilliant read. I loved the author’s writing style, which pulled me in to the story and the environs of Paris. The depictions of both the city and its inhabitants are superbly done and I found the characterisations to be top notch – reflecting very real, albeit quirky, characters, all (including Amy) with very real flaws, making them more endearing to the reader.

If you are after a thought provoking, entertaining and quirky read with a real French flavour you will want to get hold of this book now.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of his book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38322706-paris-ever-after?from_search=true

Connect with the Author

http://ksrburns.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KSRBurns

Twitter

*REVIEW* ~ Full Throttle, by Jon Hartless

#youngadult #steampunk #adventure #comingofage

Book Blurb

In an autocratic society that refuses to let her move forward, can Poppy stay ahead of the pack?

As expensive steam-powered automobiles speed across the land, Poppy Orpington is trapped and going nowhere – until her father reveals his secret project, a petrol-fuelled car ready for the race track. But will they even be allowed to compete?

Racing is the preserve of the wealthy elite and few will welcome a working class family onto their hallowed ground. Can Poppy overcome social prejudice and conformity, or will her one and only chance of a better life be crushed before it can even begin?

Full Throttle; book one of a Steampunk motor racing adventure set in a world of division, intolerance and inequality that modern readers may find disturbingly familiar…

My Review – 5 high octane fuelled stars!

I’ve given 5 high octane fuelled stars to Jon Hartless’ Steampunk adventure, Full Throttle, set in an alternate Edwardian reality of  British society. Through the trials and tribulations of the protagonist, Poppy Orpington, the author explores the discrimination and divisions inherent in early twentieth century society, discrimination and divisions which still have resonance today. The novel is a hugely entertaining and thought-provoking read.

At the centre of the tale is Poppy, whose father is on a mission – to produce a petrol-fuelled car fit to compete with and annihilate the steam-powered vehicles which dominate motor racing and wider society. Success will give him and Poppy an escape route from working class poverty and failure is not an option. Poppy’s life and future is inextricably linked to her father’s work and that of the vehicle as her life takes her on a totally unexpected trajectory for a working class girl from the Black Country. Yet will this future be the making or breaking of her and those close to her?

Poppy is an outspoken and strong-willed character whom I greatly admired – as a female with a physical disability her life is far from easy, and I relished how her personality develops throughout the book. I also enjoyed the secondary characters who play an important role in the unfolding drama, namely her best friend Amy (an excellent foil for Poppy) and her father’s backers, the young aristocrat Simeon and his wife Helena, with whom she forms a friendship, despite their social differences. I admired how, through these relationships, the author explored the key themes of the novel. I was entertained throughout by the world building, portraying a Steampunk Edwardian Britain in which the author both encapsulates the excitement and drama inherent in the infancy of motor racing and society’s divisions.

I will not reveal the storyline, as to do so would be a disservice to the author and reader, but the narrative expertly explores discrimination in terms of sex, class and disability. The read also touches on greed and obsession, the abuse of power and the ills of misogyny. The book is a cracking, page-turning read, which deserves to be on the reading list of every teenager and adult.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36157152-full-throttle

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Links

https://www.facebook.com/jonhartlessauthor/

*BLOG TOUR* ~ Mistress of the Air, by S. Nano (includes author post, extract and giveaway)

On Airships

Mistress Of The Air is a comic, Steampunk, erotic adventure. It features Edwardian dominatrix Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester and her airship, ‘The Corseted Domme’. Lady Sally travels across the Empires of Europe having adventures and dropping in on her aristocratic relatives for afternoon tea.

Lady Sally’s airship is a crucial part of the story. I love airships. I think it’s the absurdity of them that appeals to me. Really, you send something up into the sky powered by hundreds of cubic feet of explosive gas – it’s a disaster waiting to happen! But, having said that, airships are so cool and fun that you can see why the Steampunk genre has embraced them. They are also sexy. They are like giant phalluses in the sky, a feature I make use of in my book. They are a god-send to a writer of erotica wanting to have a bit of fun.

Lady Sally’s dirigible (I love that word!) is actually based on a real airship, the R100. Where I used to work (in the local archive) there was a collection of documents and photographs about the R100 which was built in the 1920s at an airship station in Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire close to where I live. I used these as my inspiration for ‘The Corseted Domme’.

In fact, the descriptions of Lady Sally’s airship are pretty realistic. Duralumin was an aluminium alloy used in airship construction. The geodetic frame of ‘The Corseted Domme’ was a type of construction for airships and aircraft that using a form of spirally crossing basket weave to improve load bearings. Airships were vast, their living quarters designed for long distance travel.

The R100 and R101 were part of a programme to develop civil airships for long service routes. The R100 did a test flight taking it to Canada. The programme came to an ignominious end when the R101 crashed in France in 1930 on its maiden test flight.

What a shame! How exciting it would be to have a sky filled with airships like a Steampunk novel.

Of course, ‘The Corseted Domme’ is the largest and fastest dirigible ever to be built, reaching speeds of 120mph. And she needs that, because Lady Sally has a habit of upsetting people and getting into trouble so she has to make a few hurried escapes.

Be warned. Mistress Of The Air contains wild escapades, kinky BDSM, dastardly devices, explosions, nice cups of teas and the sleekest, sexiest airship on earth. I hope you’ll join Lady Sally for the ride!

Book Blurb

Mistress of the Air is a Comic, Steampunk, Erotic Adventure.

Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester owns a brass mine in Zanzibar, a Lapsang Souchong tea plantation in China, a rubber tree farm in Malaysia, trunk loads of corsetry, and the country’s largest collection of antique whips and floggers.

Larger than life, and itching to find new and inventive ways to punish her submissive gentlemen, the Edwardian dominatrix has a vision. Embracing the spirit of the new age of aviation, she embarks on a series of adventures on her own airship, The Corseted Domme, with her transvestite maid, Victoria, her airship pilot, Captain Wyndham, and her automaton sex toy, Borghild.

A select group of submissive gentlemen, consisting of a duke, bishop, lawyer and banker, is invited to join Lady Sally so she can try out her new dastardly devices and sex toys on them. She whips, spanks and punishes her way across the Empires of Europe, dropping off to visit her aristocratic relatives and friends for afternoon tea.

But Lady Sally’s journey is not uneventful. War is threatening to break out and the Ministry of Aviation want to commandeer her airship for the war effort. And when The Corseted Domme has a crash landing, Lady Sally realises there is a stowaway on board intent on sabotaging her airship.

There will be wild escapades, kinky BDSM, dastardly devices, explosions and nice cups of tea.

Buy links

Ebook

Amazon US (Kindle):    Amazon UK (Kindle):    Barnes and Noble:    Kobo:

Print

Amazon US (print):

Amazon UK (print):

Create space/eXcessica (print):

Book extract

“I am thrilled. It’s wonderful to see my project come to its fruition. I take it everything is ready for the maiden flight of my airship.”

“Yes, Lady Sally,” replied Wyndham, “she’s ready. She’s a magnificent machine; I’m convinced your ladyship will be impressed by her.”

“I don’t doubt that, captain, after all the interior fittings have been made to my exacting specification and design.”

“I see you’ve brought your luggage, madam,” said Wyndham, gesturing towards the charabanc laden with trunks.

“Oh, but that is merely one or two trifles, my corsetry and some of my antique whips and canes. I have engaged the services of several horse and carts for the remainder of my wardrobe, and the heavier bondage and domination equipment is already installed. My maid has spent several weeks packing for my escapade, haven’t you Victoria?”

“Oh, yes madam, I certainly have!”

“Come Victoria, don’t pretend it hasn’t been anything but a labour of love for your mistress.”

Victoria’s wistful look conveyed that it had indeed been just that.

“Follow me Lady Sally,” said Wyndham, leading the way. “Barnes-Wallis is going to give you a tour of the airship and explain the technique of its construction. It uses many unique materials and design features, but he’s the expert on that.”

As they entered the shed Lady Sally gasped. She had a vision of how her dirigible might look, of course, but her breath was taken away by the sheer scale and magnificence of her creation. The airship was the size of an ocean liner and dwarfed the diminutive figures as they stood on the ground gazing up in awe at the vast expanse of linen fabric enclosing the gas bags and duralumin frame. Barnes-Wallis led them onto the walkways from which they could view the intricate internal structure.

Now in his element, the normally diffident Barnes-Wallis began his enthusiastic explication of the construction of the airship.

“Each transverse frame consists of a hard girder in the form of a stiff, sixteen-sided polygon with the flats at top and bottom; this massive hard girder is twenty-seven inches deep and up to a hundred and thirty feet in diameter. Sixteen steel cables penetrate the centre of the polygon to the corner points, bracing the polygonal girder against deflections and making it erect….”

“… And, of course, erect girders are essential to the structure, are they not?”

“… One half of the transverse frame is divided by a vertical plane passing though the axis of the ship, consisting of a stiff arched rib with oiled ends that are free to slip towards each other, and this arched rib is braced by eight radial wires, which go flaccid through the deflection of the arched rib under the applied loads. Normally four or five wires remain in tension….

“And how have you calculated the torsional load bearing capacity of my airship?”

“The forces and bending movements in the members are calculated by the solution of a lengthy simultaneous equation containing up to seven unknown quantities.  In the solution, we had to find the correct compression force for the radial wires to achieve the required load bearing. This geodetic type of construction for the airframe makes use of a space frame formed from a spirally crossing basket-weave of load bearing erect members. The principle is that two geodesic arcs can be drawn to intersect on a curving surface in a manner that the torsional load on each, cancels out the other….

“… Well that is simply amazing,” commented Lady Sally, “but perhaps I ought to take a look at the living quarters now…”

“… but I’d love to show you my calculations, your ladyship…” called Barnes-Wallis waving a wad of foolscap sheets with closely pencilled figures at the three receding figures.

“Oh, fascinating I’m sure,” she called back, “but I’ve such a busy day ahead of me and I ought to be moving on.”

Captain Wyndham smiled as Victoria bustled Lady Sally away.

“He’s a genius you know. From my knowledge of aeronautical design, I know the construction of this airship is truly remarkable.”

“Indeed, I chose him for his brilliance in structural engineering, captain, though I must confess the ‘how’ is not always my strong point. I merely tell people what I want and they do it for me… isn’t that so Victoria?”

“Oh yes, madam, indubitably, yes.”

About the author

Nano is an author of erotic stories with dark and exotic content in fantasy, paranormal or historical settings, often drawing on the themes of female supremacy, BDSM and fetish but with a seam of quirky humour running through them as well. His first full-length erotic novel, ‘Adventures in Fetishland’, a BDSM/fetish re-invention of Alice in Wonderland, was published by Xcite Books. His short stories and novellas have been published by Xcite Books, House of Erotica, Forbidden Fiction, Coming Together and Greenwoman Publishing.

His second novel, ‘Mistress Of The Air’ was published by eXcessica on 21st April 2017.

Web site: www.slavenano.co.uk/writing

Blog: www.slavenano.co.uk/blog

Facebook (Nano Vaslen): http://www.facebook.com/nano.vaslen

Mistress Of The Air facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Mistress-Of-The-Air-1671491076492099/

Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/nanovaslen/

Amazon UK author profile:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B005EBU1QI

Amazon US author profile:

https://www.amazon.com/Slave-Nano/e/B005EBU1QI/

Goodreads author profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6828376-slave-nano

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:

http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/s-nano/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog tour organized by

Writer Marketing Services.

 

 

*Interview with Ian Cawley, author of GNOSIS*

#technothriller #thriller #politicalthriller #futuristic #mysticism

Today we are thrilled to welcome Ian Cawley, author of Gnosis, a thriller which blends big business and politics with world events, climate change and ancient mysticism. I was fortunate to meet Ian (pictured above) when he visited Tamworth Literary Festival in March this year and I am very much looking forward to reading Gnosis.

Scroll down to read the interview Ian with and find out about Gnosis. 🙂 

Book Blurb

How far would your conscience take you?

In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe.

His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience.

This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

Q & A

1. Tell us about yourself

Born in the Manchester area, I’ve worked in jobs that have ranged from loading fruit & veg vans to running a film school, but mainly in the graphics and the audio-visual industries. I wrote my first screenplay in 1989, shortly after graduating, which gained the attention of Channel 4, though the project was scuppered with all the others thanks to Lady Thatcher selling off the TV franchises at that time.

Since then, encouraged by a year’s MA of Scriptwriting at Film School, I have endeavoured to continue my writing of unique stories with some success through independent fiction films and documentaries.

Now living in the Midlands, I’m married with two children.

2. Tell us about GNOSIS.

I had become tired of trying to get writing and film projects up and going, so I decided on a different approach to getting my work out there.

The advent of Amazon’s self-publishing option came as an obvious outlet; a relatively easy way in which to get your work out to a wider public and see how it’s received. It was also a fresh challenge since I had never attempted to write in the novel format before.

The idea for GNOSIS came about, I think, after watching Tobias Churton’s documentary series on ‘The Gnostics’ whilst at the same time reading up on some of the ideas of two scientists – Fritjof Capra and James Lovelock. Capra was postulating theories of connectivity of all matter in the universe whilst Lovelock was expounding his Gaia Theory – the earth being a self-regulating organism.

I found myself intrigued by these philosophical ideas and pondered the prospect of weaving them into a fictional story using conventional narrative devices. These creative musings, however, have taken twenty-five years to come to fruition.

The story

Gnosis is the story of Max, a digital engineer who wants to save the world.

How far would your conscience take you? In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe. His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience. This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

3. I understand that one reviewer has called it ‘The Da Vinci Code meets Big Data’?

Yes. I can see why that may have occurred to the reader since it is a traditional mystery plot involving the lust for power and control (information being the asset) whilst having undercurrents of possible supernatural forces at work, the use of codes and mysticism.

4. Lots of people have also said that they can see GNOSIS as a film

Absolutely. GNOSIS is really a movie script hiding in a novel. Given that my first love is cinema and all my previous writing has been for the screen, it was inevitable that that style would surface in the way it came off the page. It is also structured very much like a movie.

5. How long did it take you to write the novel?

The idea for GNOSIS had been kicking around for over 25 years, but I only really started writing it up in anger (as a novel) in 2011 and published it in the summer of 2016.

6. It’s extremely topical, and in that respect I am talking about the political, EU, terrorism, climate change, big data and hacking themes. Readers have called GNOSIS ‘an uncanny prediction”.

Are you psychic?

Well to quote Bob Dylan “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”

7. What kind of research did you do?

As I went through the story, the technical details were served purely though the internet. For example, YouTube showed me the drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  The internet is a wonderful tool for the writer and it can allow you to do neg checks as well before releasing the story.

Characters

8, Which is your favourite character in GNOSIS, and why?

Oh gosh, that’s hard – like saying who is your favourite child. That’s a tough one. If I had a few I’d pick – Max of course, but I do have a soft spot for Brent McGregor. He’s an utter buffoon. I also like the character of Francois because he cares and doesn’t care in the same measure.

9. Are any characters like you?

Of course. Max. In my fantasies. 🙂

10. When you were writing it could you see certain actors as the characters?

It was only towards its completion that we began to fantasise about potential actors. Kevin Spacey I thought would be excellent for Joe Green. Emily Blunt for Georgina.

And for Max…? I never really came up with one for Max. My wife came up with several. 🙂

Clifford? Maybe Derek Jacobi as Clifford…

11. Are any of the characters real life people – politicians for example?

There are elements drawn from people who I have never met but know of, and there are elements of people I know and have known quite well.

12. Your favourite football team has made its way into GNOSIS. You support Manchester City. Tell us more.

It just seemed a fun thing to do for City fans. Some of the in-jokes are a bit obscure and you would have to be a City fan of some long standing to get all of them.  I’ve supported Man City since leaving primary school.

13. You have several films featured in GNOSIS (Night of the Demon etc.) – are they your favourites? Why were they included….

The 30’s horror films tend to be a motif for my childhood. The reference to Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 film ‘Night of the Demon’ has two significant elements to it – firstly, I saw it as a kid and it had me absolutely captivated. Secondly, I saw it when I was older with a group of mates; it being part of a BBC 2 double bill with The Ghoul starring John Hurt.

Night of the Demon is a bizarre collaboration of a European director using American money for a British production. Without going into all the politics behind the film, the mix of the American star Dana Andrews, the perverse American view of what “English countryfolk” are and the types of dwellings they live in, along with a stunning performance by Niall MacGinnis as the evil Dr Karswell, it’s an utter delight to watch. I would suggest the séance where they all sing “Cherry Ripe” together to be a moment of cinema legend.

Some of the motifs throughout the film seemed to marry so well with some of the elements and ideas in the story.  It just seemed fitting to put it in. Also, it might tempt readers to search out the film and watch it.

14. How do you pick character names? Do they have any special meaning to you?

Yes. Because they have need to suit the characters and there is always an opportunity to play an in-joke. For example, Colleen Bell – is one of the major characters to survive into the sequel. Those who can make the link with the other characters in the book will find the entire MCFC 1969 FA Cup winning side appearing here, there and everywhere.

Writing

15. Do you ever surprise yourself with what you’ve written?

Yes. When it’s a good gag and you are the first one to hear it.

16. What’s the best and the worst thing about being an author?

The hardest thing is filling white spaces with words. I don’t think it ever gets any easier. However, once you are through the process having produced what you believe to be a credible novel, there is a sense of achievement and legacy that stays with you. There’s also nothing better than to receive a glowing review from a complete stranger.

17. Where do you most like to do your writing?

In solitude and silence but that is very difficult with a growing family and several pets.

18. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you tackle it?

No. I just get ‘lazy-itus’.

19 What is the best writing tip you have ever been given? How has it influenced you?

Alan Plater, acclaimed writer (who mentored me in the early 90s) corresponded with me frequently. To be honest, I learned more from Alan, in a few sentences amongst the paragraphs, than a whole year studying at film school.

Diana Hawkins, Film Producer. She advised me on the importance of structure. She encouraged me to get my stories into a proper structure and from that point on I understood how important it is to make your story really work.

20. How much of your own life experiences appear in your writing?

I think it’s inevitable that your own daily experience of living will find a way into some aspect of the stories, plots, characters, settings and dialogue. Writers often start writing from a point of something they already know or have an interest in.

21. What’s your usual writing routine?

My usual writing routine is to steal what time I can and promise myself that unless I write at least two paragraphs City will lose at the weekend.

Is that true? – Yes.

Self-publishing

20. You self-published GNOSIS. Why, and how easy did you find it – the process?

As I said earlier, I just wanted my work out there, read and enjoyed.

In retrospect it was fairly easy, but having my own design and computer skills helped the process immeasurably.  Someone who isn’t tech savvy might need to seek help or buy the service in. For example, I designed and created my own book cover using Photoshop and After Effects with some photography. I also handle my own Social Media accounts.

The sequel

21. You are presently writing a sequel. Care to tell us anything?

The sequel picks up the story where GNOSIS left off.  It is a time for justice to be meted out and certain individuals to get their comeuppance.  A lot of readers have already got in touch with me, and asked what’s going to happen to the ‘baddies’… Hopefully soon they will find out, and they might even get a happy ending. 🙂