Archive for » December, 2015 «

The Martian: A Review

I’d been seeing trailers for the film for a while and happened to notice it was based on an Indie book. When my bookclub peeps suggested we read it I was all for giving it a chance.

MartianIf you’re offended by strong language then I want to start by saying this book isn’t for you. The F word features on the first page and it and several other words like it are used throughout the book, but to be honest, I think if I was stuck, alone on Mars, and already aware I’m likely to starve to death because no one knows to come rescue me I’d not be too picky about my language either.

That’s pretty much where this book starts. Guy, on Mars, pretty sure he’s going to die but trying not to anyway. There’s a lot of science as our hero is a botanist and an engineer, but for the most part it’s well explained even if I did find myself skim reading a few bits so I could actually find out if he survived.

Martian-Matt-DamonIt had me unsure whether he was going to live pretty much throughout the book, which is pretty good going for this sort of book. Usually the writer makes it too obvious one way or another. And for a book that’s mostly held up by one character it’s a great one character and I love the idea that Matt Damon played him in the film. I think that’s likely to have been perfect casting.

The downside of the book for me was the other characters. They really were just there to support the main character and in a lot of cases were the same sort of person. They all joked in the same way (regardless of gender) and although the writer evidently tried to give them some differences they were almost identical people with different names. It was probably a good thing all the other characters had very small parts.

All in all I really enjoyed the book, even if I was a little disappointed by the secondary cast. I couldn’t put it down and loved the main character.

Celebrating 5 Years Published

I guess today is a bit like a birthday. It’s With Proud Humility’s fifth birthday for sure, but it’s also the birthday of my author hat. Five years has flown by in a haze of words, characters, action, adventure, struggle and happy endings, and I’m definitely not complaining. It’s been a wild ride.

For those who like numbers (I admit, I love them), I now have 25 seperate publications to my three pen names. 14 of these are under my actual name, Jess Mountifield (made up of 13 unique stories), 5 are under Amelia Price (4 of which are unique), and there are 6 under a pen name I keep secret. Of these two are historical adventure novels. Three are novels in the Sherdan series with one short story. There are 6 novellas, two in my fantasy world, one stand-alone Sci-fi and the remaining three are Mycroft Holmes stories. The rest are all short stories in anthologies, my fantasy world, or under the third pen name. All in all it comes to well over 600,000 words, with another 400,000 or so written and on its way in one stage or another.

The books between them have been downloaded, printed and bought a total of over 18,500 times. A little shy of half of these are copies of Sherdan’s Prophecy, making it by far my most widely read book, although The Hundred Year Wait has been catching up lately. Chains of Freedom and Wandering to belong are the other two major players with all four books in the four figures.

More importantly than all these stats I’ve made some amazing new friends in some of the readers who reached out to me and have some great fan mail. Hearing from fans has been hands down the best part of the last five years, even though I love the journeys I’ve been on with my characters.

Story wise, I’ve declared an independent country in a chunk of Bristol, and defended it and the people in it with everything I’ve got, I’ve adventured through the Caribbean and even in the waters off New Zealand, I’ve saved a tribe of Maori people, foiled a terrorist plot to destroy London, rescued a village from goblins (with a little help from a dragon), fought through unknown space to get needed supplies to a planet in desperation and brought the right people together to birth the woman who will, once she’s of age, unite an entire fantasy world in less than a decade.

I’ve cried, laughed, felt my heart pound in my chest, flinched, barely been able to look, slogged and fallen in love alongside every single one of my characters as they’ve gone through their stories. When they were in pain I often felt it too. I grieved for their loved ones as they did. I cheered encouragement when they were in their darkest moments and I knew that dawn was coming. There were even times when I couldn’t stop writing and go to bed because I simply couldn’t leave them in the situation they were in.

The last five years have been a rollercoaster, but I wouldn’t have skipped one second of it, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next five.