Thursday, 27 November 2014

Snatchers by Shaun Whittington - Book Review

Hi again guys

A quick review of Snatchers a novel by Shaun Whittington.  For the last two months I have been reading this novel on my tablet Kindle app whilst travelling to and from work on the train and what a great companion it has been.  I will miss reading Snatchers on my journey but think will eventually get the three sequels.  Need to read some of my paperbacks first including Wizards First Rule.!

Snatchers is an excellent fast paced Zombie novel although the Z word isn't mentioned and the Undead are referred to as Snatchers.  It reminds me of my Zombie short story based in the pub I posted a few months ago - Dead Drunk - as it is littered with dark humour and most importantly gore and blood.

It's definitely not for kids with graphic gore and violence including a baby ripped apart for lunch, an attempted rape, heads and limbs exploding galore and swearing but it is a fast romp with well rounded characters.

There are quite a few characters the story follows including prison officers and inmates (Shaun used to be a prison officer), as they come to terms with the new world they are thrust into when a virus turns the affected into undead munchers.

Have to admit I haven't enjoyed a book so much in ages and as mentioned before will be reading the sequels and more of Shauns novels.

The only problem with the novel is that there are so many Zombie genre books out there and obviously some will be similar but it stands out though will need to read more of the genre to find out.  All genres are the same really only so many vampire novels can write for example before some become similar.

Also slightly dissapointed in the ending thought would be a big shoot out but now I know there are sequels I'm happy and can't wait to catch up with the characters that survived and meet new ones.

Overall - great fast paced gory novel - be good for Walking Dead fans - caution - not for the faint hearted.
Score  -  9/10


Hello Peeps

How you all?  Hope your busy either reading or writing or both.

I've done some writing for Nano but not much hope to write 6000 words by end of November 44000 words less than target - oops!

Managed to send 2500 words off to the start a bestseller competition that This Morning was holding - think the winner was announced today.

If I get over 10 comments asking to see the serial killer thriller I'm writing and sent to the competition then will post piece of it on here.

After some feedback from the CWG team which I went to Monday I need to tweak it but will carry on and edit after I've written the first draft - past experience of me editing as I write shows that doesn't work for me - that's why the most I've written on a novel is 3 chapters so far - with bits of other novels started and abandoned!
This time determined to finish a first draft of Blood Shores.

Well keep well my followers - blog soon x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Birthday/CWG Meeting 10/11/14


Another quick post to say had a great birthday weekend - spent most with my daughter and mum.  Then a top unexpected night out on Sunday.
Then on Monday a pub lunch followed by Writers Group Meeting in Cleckheaton.

Briefly -  the meeting was good and I met new members Keeley and Mandy - hi ladies.
Karen wasn't there so we went off the rails a little although we did try once we found an agenda - it must have been the chocolate I had brought in.

We went round each other telling about our  WIP - Andy had done the most with his Nano novel Val-Allan which he is also entering in the This Morning Novel Competition which has a deadline of this Friday!
I don't think will make it although only need to write about 2500 words and a page synopsis - which I was meant to do on my days off work - grrr.

Pauline had done more work for Harry an author she types work up for and the struggles it involves.

Pauline wrote the minutes in shorthand which she shared with us - writing our names in shorthand and telling us about how she was trained in it.

I'm not so sure - the shorthand symbols looked too much like the chevrons they have on Stargate - see below:

So that's why no minutes from Pauline yet - lol.

We also discussed dialogue structure and where to put full stops or commas which I will probably forget.

A very good meeting although no one has said who will send out work for feedback - If I get writing I will e-mail my WIP to the team.

See you folks.  PS. Stargate Atlantis was my favourite of all the series.

Remembrance Day

Hi guys

Hope your all well - long time no post.
Anyway in remembrance to the brave souls who died for us since World War 1 thought would re-post my WW2 short story in honour of those who lost their lives and for those who haven't read it before.

Photographic Memories

The man staggered to the rock, swivelled and slumped,  slowly sliding down it.  He sat there dazed and disorientated  not knowing where he was and he couldn’t hear anything except a constant loud ringing noise.  He was scared and cold.

The young man patted his breast pocket and with shaking fingers pulled out  a black and white photo.  Examining it he stared lovingly at his family in the photo.  His father was on the end standing tall and thin.  Next to him was the mans 18 month son crawling, facing the camera looking as cute as can be in a baby romper suit with his long black hair over his face.  He had a big radiant smile on his face. 
Finally in the photo was the man’s young wife with her long black hair swept to the side exposing her dark eyes and full lips. 

He missed his family dearly then realised his mother wasn’t there in the photo.  She had died when he was a boy.  This made him think back to his earliest memory of his mother.  He was about  5 year’s old.  He was sobbing holding up his knee as his mother washed a cut, smiling at him as she did so.  He remembered her plump face with her rosy red cheeks and her curly black hair.
“You’ll be fine Henry”, she reassured him, “There all better.” She said in her soothing soft voice.  She kissed his knee and he felt better immediately.  They both gave a little chuckle to each other.

Returning to his present situation,  Henry wished his mother was there with him right now reassuring him that everything would be alright in her soft soothing voice.  Henry sighed as his thoughts went back in time again.  This time to the last memory of his mother when he was 12.  He was  standing by her bed as her now pale thinner face looked up at him.  The twinkle she once had in her eyes had gone and she coughed violently.

“Love you.” She called over to him as his father ushered him out of the room. 
“Come on now Henry.  Your mother needs her rest” advised Henry’s father.  His father was tall and much broader back then and he seemed to fill most of the room.  Henry reluctantly left his mother’s side and didn’t see her alive again.  She had died of pneumonia.

Henry noticed tears splattering onto the photo he was holding.  Still shaking and with his ears still ringing  he stared at his father.  Age had not been kind to him as he was still tall but now his stout broad figure was thin and weak.  His hair had almost totally gone.  He had never been the same since mother’s death and had taken to drinking heavily.   Henry then realised he had never been close to his father.  When he was younger his father was away in the army so would only visit when he could.  He even missed a few of Henry’s birthdays and Christmases.   His father only really lived with them once he left the war.  This was due to bad shrapnel wound to the leg.  When his father was there they hardly spoke and there were quite a lot of silences.  Although Henry loved his father he never really knew him and the only memories of him he could muster were ones where he was shouting and ordering him and his mother around.  It must have been the military upbringing he had had.  Thinking about it more clearly Henry realised he had always been fearful of his father.

A sudden movement and shadow falling over Henry’s family photo awakened him to his present situation.  Henry looked up at the source of the shadow and gasped.  An English soldier from Henry’s regiment was stood in front of Henry.  He was covered in blood, mud and sand and to Henry he looked to be shouting at him but Henry could hear no words only the constant ring in his ears.  The man was as young as Henry and was pale and frightened.  He had lost his helmet and his blond hair was matted to his head with sweat and mud.   Henry noticed the soldier was holding something in his hand which was bloody and disfigured then realised it was the soldier’s foot which had been blown off by a mine.  Henry looked at the man’s injured leg and saw blood gushing from a mangled stump which was just below the knee.  The soldier limped closer to Henry with a mixture of shock and fear on his face.  Suddenly a bullet hit the soldier in the forehead.  There was just a tiny hole but the back of the soldiers head had been blown away.  The soldier fell backwards and lifeless to the sand and mud.

Henry retreated back to his family photo now intently staring at his wife.  She was beautiful and he wondered if he would see her again.  His memory went back to the town dance where he had met her.  He was stood near the exit of the dance hall ready to leave after losing his friends.  Then out the corner of his eye he saw her on the opposite side of the hall watching him.  Henry noticed her hair first.  It shimmered in the light and was black as night and long with curls.  She reminded him of the actress Veronica Lake which he had seen on bill boards in town.  She wore a short black velvet dress and considering the rationing it was in good condition.

Henry wasn’t sure what he was wearing that night as he just remembered buying two ginger beers and walking across the floor to her.  The trip he made as reached her made him embarrassed as he had nearly spilt the drinks over her, yet soon they were embraced and dancing to the music.  They also talked about themselves long into the night.  Her name was Elizabeth, she was 17 and her father had died in the war.  Her mother was well off as she had inherited a small publishing business printing magazines and romance novels.

Henry explained about his mother’s death and that he too was 17 and worked in the local tobacco factory.  He also mentioned his father’s injury in the same war which had claimed Elizabeth’s father’s life.  They both shared a long kiss at the end of the night.

Three months later and Henry had married Elizabeth and they were living with Elizabeth’s mother.  To them both it was a whirlwind fairy tale romance and they knew they loved each other dearly.  A month after their marriage and Elizabeth fell pregnant.
Henry remembered vividly the birth of his son as though it happened only yesterday.  It was one of the best days of his live.
“What shall we call him?” asked Elizabeth.
“How about we name him after your father,” replied Henry.
Elizabeth smiled up at him “That’s perfect.  Welcome to the world Charlie.  We love you.” She kissed the baby on the head.
Henry realised just how much Charlie looked like his mother with his long black hair, strong cheek bones and rosy cheeks.  He was perfect and Henry loved looking after him and playing games.

Charlie was 11 months old when Henry was drafted into the army to join the war and was starting to walk.  He pulled himself up and stumbled along the furniture to where his daddy was sitting.  Henry had his head in his hands as he looked up at his son and smiled.  He picked him up and sat him on his lap.
“I can’t believe I will have to leave and fight in the war.  It’s not fair.  Everything in life is perfect.” He exclaimed looking up at Elizabeth.
“We don’t want you to leave either.  I’m scared for you but it’s the law.  It’s compulsory.” Replied Elizabeth.

Again tears splashed onto his family photo as Henry remembered hugging and kissing his wife and son goodbye and boarding the bus to his barracks.  He watched them and waved and blew kisses as the bus slowly pulled out and speeded up down the road.  Would he ever see them again he thought.

There was suddenly a loud popping noise in Henry’s ears and they suddenly hurt.  He felt himself coming round and shockingly was back in his present situation, sat behind a boulder on Sword beach on D Day.  He kissed his photo and put it safely back into his top pocket.

Unfortunately he could now hear everything going on around him.  Everything was so loud, and in amongst the explosions and artillery gun fire he could make out the screams of his comrades shouting out in pain and anguish.  He looked to his left to see a tank going slowly past him and could hear the ricochet of machine gun fire bouncing off the side.  Not so far away were the bodies of fallen comrades who had either been shot or blown up and the sand was covered in blood and guts.

The sight of what he saw was so powerful and disgusting it made Henry sick.  He spat on the ground and glanced up to see the second wave of landing ships arrive.  A couple of the landing ships hit mines and exploded sending bodies and metal flying out into the sea and at other soldiers.  Some of the soldiers that came off the successful landing ships were gunned down as soon as they hit the sand.  The sea had turned a dark crimson colour.

Some soldiers that made it came running up towards Henry.  A few were shouting orders and a few were firing their weapons at the German machine gunners.
“Are you alright?” asked a tall lean soldier who had somehow managed to get to Henry within seconds.
“Yes, Yes. I should be ok.” Replied Henry using the boulder to push himself up.
The soldier picked up and passed Henry his rifle and Henry looked into his dark sparkly eyes.  He looked like the sergeant who had given him his orders on the landing ship.
“To victory, for England” was his last words to him before a mine had gone off near him and sent him stumbling to the boulder.  He was lucky he hadn’t got shot.

The soldier with Henry ran past him after he had seen that Henry was fine.  Henry took in a few deep breathes as his heart pounded wildly in his chest.  “This is it.” He thought.  “I’ll go down fighting though”.

Henry gently patted at his family photo in his breast pocket then ran around the boulder to face his enemy head on.  He saw many small gun turrets and some Germans behind machine guns.  As Henry ran towards them over the sand and the dead he fired at the nearest machine gunner and somehow managed to hit him.  The German soldier fell back from his position.
“That was lucky,” thought Henry as he carried on with gun fire whistling past him and explosions going off around him on the beach.

Suddenly he was hit on his left arm and cried out in pain but he realised it was just a flesh wound and carried on.  The adrenaline of the moment made him fearless and the pain subsided.  As he got closer to his target the only thing that was in his mind were the words of his sergeant and the faces of his family.
“To Victory, for England”

“For Family.”. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Better Late than Never

Hi Everyone

Sorry not blogged for a week or more - been busy with daughter - Trick or Treating and going to Bonfires.

Plus to be honest not much has happened in just over a week.

I have been making notes for my NanoWrimo novel which I haven't started yet even though we are now into November - hence the title of this blog.  So will be starting it tomorrow.
Although saying that not sure whether to enter it as thinking of entering the story in This Morning novel competition which has a deadline of 14th November.

Only other news I have regarding writing/reading is that on Saturday I went to Halifax library which had a book sale - a full bag of books for just £1 - bargain.  Ended up with ten novels including an Andy Mcnab book, a couple of fantasy novels and books for daughter.

Well I best get writing my novel for Nano/ competition.  Will update on this as and when.

Cheers guys