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NaNoWriMo 2015: Update 1

I know I’m only a few days into NaNoWriMo but here’s an update of where I’m at so far.

Somehow in only two days I’ve managed to get about a third of the way into Mycroft 5. Still not a clue what the title is but I’ll probably figure that out soon.

As often happens my character’s keep surprising me and even themselves. Amelia turned out to be claustraphobic and it turns out Mycroft and Sherlock can sort of work together, but there’s evidently some history there I don’t know about yet. Daniels, the chauffeur, is also even more awesome than even Mycroft realised, and I even discovered that Mycroft does have a sense of humour! Who knew!

Research wise I plotted one heck of a route thanks to google maps. One of the most amazing tools as a quick way to be able to explain places. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have access to such a detailed map of pretty much everywhere in the world. Here’s a link for those interested. Yup Russia is involved.

Over the next week I want to get this novella finished so I can take a day off to plot the next one, as I have no idea what happens except for a few series related scenes. It does sorta need its own plot as well. After that we’ll see. I’d like to be about this far into the next one in two weeks time, maybe a little further. It all depends exactly what trouble Amelia gets herself into between now and then!

Something in the Air: A Review

This is a short story in the Something series by Ben Starling, and was given to me in return for my review.

Something in the airWhile quite short this story is very sweet. It’s a fairly typical romance story but there was just something so gentle yet poignant about this one, that I found myself really routing for the couple after only a few pages.

The characterisation is definitely the strong point of this story, something that always makes a book good for me. If I can understand the characters and find a way to like them then I can read pretty much any genre out there and Ben doesn’t waste his words when it comes to making you adore his characters.

I was left feeling a little disappointed by the end but with a short that often happens. A good short is always far too short. It may have been a little rushed with the ending and not quite finished, but given that this is meant to be an introduction to a series and a short to boot that could just be because of the style. I’m definitely not going to knock it down any stars because of it.

I really can’t wait to read more by this author.

Two New Pre-orders: Fantasy boxset and Mycroft 3

So today I’ve got some very exciting news because there’s not one, but two more publications up for pre-order.

Legacy promoLegacy is out on Nov 12th as the very pretty picture says! That’s just over two weeks away. Not only is Wandering to Belong one of the favourite fantasy stories I’ve written but it’s also with 9 other great stories and all of them for only 99c/99p! You can pre-order in the US here and in the UK here. There are some really awesome stories in this set, including a full trilogy so don’t miss out on the bargain.

TheInvisibleAmateur_mediumAlso available to pre-order and being released a month today is the third ebook in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series.

You can pre-order the ebook on Amazon here. If you haven’t yet read the first book in the series, that’s also on offer at the moment and is only 99c/99p! You can pick up a copy of that one here, and the second book is available here.

The Song of the Jubilee: A Review

This was an ebook I was given by the author, Raeden Zen, in return for my review, and is the first book in the Phantom of the Earth series.

Song of the JubileeThis is a science fiction sort of story with strong dystopian elements which unfortunately the cover and title don’t make obvious. I’m quite a science fan so found I enjoyed the book but there was a lot of science and complicated genetics type stuff. The book also had quite a few statistics pictures and tables to help the reader try and get immersed in the story with plenty of information which was an interesting way to handle backstory without actually giving any backstory.

For the most part this worked but I must admit at a few points I found myself confused with who was who and what motivated them and why. I liked the characters once I actually got to know them but it took a while and did make me a little frustrated. Motivations and character backstory was very lacking.

This did mean the book was very fast paced, which is something I prefer. There wasn’t a lack of action and plot within this book for sure and it was an interesting story. There were several things hinted at about the scoiety and I got to the end with plenty of questions and desire to keep reading despite the few flaws, so there’s something awesome in this book for sure.

I’ll keep reading the series (there are 5 books in the series out as of today). I just hope the later stories explain a bit more and I can properly get to know the characters.

People Watching

I have to admit that this is one of my favourite past-times. I love watching other people, especially people I don’t know. There’s this great café near where I live that has loads of really antique special mirrors on the walls, all over the place. I always try and sit on table 13, mostly because it’s the best table to view the rest of the café, but I also quite like the number.

This is often where I write but I also do a lot of people watching. I watch the two mums with their new babies and how they do a lot of multitasking, talking almost constantly while they feed, burp and rock their precious bundles to sleep.

I watch the students having a debate on some philosophical issue. Occasionally it seems to get heated and the two guys at one end of the table start using their hands to gesticulate. One of them shakes his head a lot when he’s frustrated, the other interrupts a lot (which is probably the source of frustration) and the poor girl with them can barely get a word in.

People come and go and I soon find myself wondering about them. There’s this one middle-aged guy, with a beard, who’s sat and read a paper for ten minutes then got up and walked out, leaving an almost full drink, and I find myself wondering why he might have done that. He didn’t check his phone so there was no message from a shopping wife to summon him to her side.

When another similarly aged and attired man sits at the same seat and picks up the abandoned paper I can’t help myself from wondering if something was passed on. Did the first guy leave a message tucked in the folds of news-stories, and time the exchange to make it perfectly anonymous?

This is the place where quirks that add to the depth of a character are discovered. Where innocent people become the backdrop for convoluted plots. And where I get to learn about total strangers.

The Unexpected Coincidence: New Release

It’s only three days until the second book in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series is released and it’s already up for pre-order here.

TheUnexpectedCoincidence_mediumHere’s the blurb for this shiny new book (please don’t read if you’ve not read the first one, instead go grab that here while it’s free):

Amelia Jones has turned Mycroft’s world upside down but he’s oddly satisfied. For a woman she’s in control of her emotions and eager enough to learn that he finds enjoyment in teaching her, but she’s not perfect and Mycroft isn’t used to people making mistakes.

Spending time with the Holmes brothers came with a threat Amelia expected, but when the danger comes from her own line of work, she doesn’t know where to turn. Can she keep Mycroft happy with her progress, while also keeping herself safe?

To celebrate the launch there’s a facebook event on Friday with plenty of opportunities to win prizes, including having a character named after you in the fourth book of the series and you can check that out here.

A Legacy of Light: A Review

This is a fantasy ebook by Daniel Arenson that I picked up as part of a seven book fantasy collection for only 77p. I know, a total bargain!

Legacy of LightFor starters, this book has dragons. Usually this is a sign of a good book, but this one goes a whole step better. It had people who can turn into dragons! I totally loved the premise for this book with a proper fantasy dictatorship kind of start where a couple of young dragons end up caught up in things bigger than both of them.

Did I also mention that these people could turn into dragons? Right yeah, I think I might have. The plot was pretty fast paced and had me reading along without wanting to put the book down and bounced between quite a few really interesting points of view.

The bad guys were a little on the two dimensional side but the book felt like it was aimed at a younger adult, mature teenager sort of age so this wouldn’t be too much of a problem for the target audience I don’t think.

It is part of a series and I felt like it was a bit of a cliff-hanger ending but not as bad as it could have been, and it tore my heart apart with what happened to the characters. Thankfully the rest of the series does seem to be out there so there’s no danger of getting to a point where you are desparate for more and can’t get it.

All in all I loved this book (people can turn into dragons!) and I will be reading the rest of this series, and probably everything else this author has ever written.

Why Amelia Price?

I’ve had quite a few people ask me recently why the new Mycroft series is all under the new pen name, Amelia Price, especially given that it says on all the covers ‘Jess Mountifield writing as’.

I’ll start with the first part of that question that’s sort of implied. Why am I using a pen name? It all comes down to one thing really. Up until recently, I only wrote books that I thought Christians would be comfortable reading. This didn’t mean the books I wrote fit into the Christian genre, absolutley none of them do, not even the Sherdan series, although that comes closest, but they were lacking any serious swearing and have no described sex scenes.  A few of them have some praying and generally are about character’s bettering themselves.

Recently I realised I didn’t always want/feel like I ought to write books that fit that mold, and from the fan mail I get about the Sherdan series, it is quite evident that fans are already very particular about what they expect from books (expectations is probably a topic for another day but every single message I have ever had about the Sherdan series has included a section about how I did it ‘wrong’ because it doesn’t match up with their expectations of a Christian person).

Writing the Mycroft series under my pen name, Amelia Price is simply me saying, ‘whatever your expectations of my work are, check you’re going to like this new stuff’. You probably will. It’s still me writing it, it’s still mostly my voice, but the characters aren’t Christians. They’re trying to be good people, I think pretty much everyone in this world is, but they’re going to be different and if that’s not okay with you then no worries, I’ll still be writing under Jess Mountifield too.

So why the name Amelia Price? This was simply that I have a character called Amelia Jones in the Mycroft series and she’s one of my favourites. I also totally adore Anya Price in the Sherdan series. They’re like two halves of what I feel like I ought to be writing, so I smooshed their names together and thought Amelia Price sounded better than Anya Jones (I literally put that little thought into it, so please don’t read anything more into it).

Finally, why am I making it obvious it’s me on the Amelia Price covers? Because I think a good chunk of you won’t care that it’s different, or at least you won’t if you give it a try. It might not be quite what you expect, but when is anything really ever? And because I don’t want to pretend I write all clean happy Christian stuff and that there isn’t another side to what I write. I don’t view anything I’ve written as any more or less ‘right’ than anything else. Each book has characters learning about life in them. All of them make mistakes, all of them learn something and all of them begin in different places. I learnt something about life and how to live it writing all of them and in that respect they all have the same merit.

So in short, because they’re me, but a different side to me and you might like it, but you might not.

The Professor: A Review

This was another book on my classics list.

ProfessorI decided to try this because it was another offering by the Bronte sisters, this one from Charlotte. I adored Jane Eyre and wanted to see what else the wonderful author had penned.

This is her first published offering and it does show a little. The book dragged a little more and seemed to have less feeling in it but it was still a wonderful classic romance. Having a book evidently written by a woman with a male lead is not an easy sell even now, back then I can understand why the Bronte sisters published under a male pseudonym.

Not the easiest classic to read (I maintain Jane Austen is still one of the easiest) but not the worst either (Dickens, definitely Dickens), but it has the all important happy ending and plenty of witty lines.

All in all, another reasonable classic I’m very glad I read.

Digital Heretic: A Review

This is the second story in The Game is Life series by Terry Schott. I reviewed the first book here.

On TopThis book starts off pretty much where the first one left off, following the characters both in the game and outwide of it. It has the same sort of feel to the first although I think the writing is a little improved and it flows better than the first in the series.

As I loved in the first one the chapters in this open with snippets of information written by fictional people as well. Something that helps the world outside the game feel real and reactive to the events in the book. I still have lots of questions though and feel like very very few of the ones I had from before were answered. Mostly I just have a bunch of fresh new ones that I want answering.

My favourite character is still Danielle, although I really quite liked Carl in this one too. The book felt like it was heading a bit in the vein of the Matrix but that might be inevitable given the setting. It did make things feel a teensy bit predictable in the sense that there was always some sudden extra something that meant the character could survive everything thrown at them, which took away from the suspense a little.

All in all another good book in the series, if not quite as good as the first, but also ends on a cliff-hangar.