Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Dusty Pages Review: Fortune

If you received a fortune cookie that said you were going to die, what would you do? Unlucky Sarah goes on a hunt to find out who gave her the fortune and why. What she discovers will change her forever.
This is a short story of 11,000 words that I devoured in the space of an hour. I loved the premise that the main character, Sarah, received a death threat in a fortune cookie. However, the little bit I found weird was the whole bit about their being an extra day every 3000 years that created a December the 32nd. I wasn't sure why the author needed to do this as it held no real relevance to the story. The fortune could have read any day and it would have been just as creepy.

I sympathized very much with Sarah who is not a terribly social animal and stuck in a group of friends, dragged their by a best friend who just wants to be popular, where she is the butt of their jokes, lead by the a-typical mean girl and her toadie yes man. Razel was instantly unlikable - which was I suppose the point - and although nothing in the story made me want to put it down, it was very easy to discern where it was going, but with only 11,000 words I knew it wasn't going far anyway.

With a couple of continuity errors, I knock a star off. A writer really should be able to get her characters name correct throughout such a short piece.

I give it

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dusty Pages Review: The Mist in the Mirror

One dark and rainy night, Sir James Monmouth returns to London after years spent travelling alone.

Intent on uncovering the secrets of his childhood hero, the mysterious Conrad Vane, he begins to investigate Vane’s life, but he finds himself warned off at every turn.

Before long he realises he is being followed too. A pale, thin boy is haunting his every step but every time he tries to confront the boy he disappears. And what of the chilling scream and desperate sobbing only he can hear?

His quest leads him eventually to the old lady of Kittiscar Hall, where he discovers something far more terrible at work than he could ever have imagined.
I've read my way through quite a few Susan Hill "ghost stories" and have to say that this one falls pretty much in line with the rest of them.

It's a beautifully described tale, with a certain creep factor but although the cover quotes that it is a frightening tale, I wasn't really ever frightened while reading it. I don't know whether that was just because the story wasn't frightening or because I am not easily frightened - especially when reading safely tucked up in bed for example.

I enjoyed the story, although I could see where it was heading and couldn't help but imagine it might have more impact, make me jump more, if it had been a film I was watching rather than a book I was reading. It certainly held the potential for some great cinematography.  Its also a period piece, which some what removes it slightly from my frame of reference, though I do profess to enjoying a good costume drama now and again, some of the story was lost to me because of this. I found it difficult to translate the words on page into the scene inside my head. There was one word the character used several times that I didn't understand and really must look up.

I did like the idea that the tale was being told by another reading the memoirs as it were of the main character James Monmouth, putting it entirely in the first person. A lot of people don't like first person, but I enjoy it because it pulls you in closer to the character, trying to be in their place in the story. With James Monmouth, I felt like I was sitting on his shoulder, still a little removed from the character and his experiences thus I suppose lessening their impact.

Its not a long book at just short of 200 pages but very enjoyable for a few hours immersion.

I give it

Monday, 19 November 2018

Meet a Writer Monday Presents...

...Jeff Messick

1. Tell me about your book, Magehunter, and where you got your inspiration for it?

I’ve been a fantasy fan since I learned to read, but most fantasy seems to shy away from throwing magic around. I aim to change that, so I throw some magic!

2. Mountains or the beach?

Gah! Tough question! I think I’d have to go mountains though. The beach has soothing sound, but mountains can be so majestic.

3. What do you think Victoria’s secret is?

That the majority of their customers are paying premium prices for less material than it takes to print their logo on.

4. You’ve just been kidnapped and the people from the last TV Show/Movie you watched have to save you. Who is it?

Oh crap, I need to be saved by VENOM??? I’m doomed.

5. If you could bring one musician back from the dead, who would it be and why?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was a musical savant.

6. How would you survive a Zombie apocalypse?

Get with a good group and move into the deep country. Hunting and farming become the way to survive.

7. What makes you cry?

Up. The beginning gets me EVERY time.

8. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?

Fantasy/Sci-fi/Paranormal/Thriller…really any genre besides Romance. Writing allows me to create, which is the sole reason I do it.

9. Have you ever considered collaborating with another writer? If Yes who, if no why not?

I have put the idea out with several authors from Pandamoon. We’re a family of authors and they’re brilliant, so I want to be a bigger part of that family. I love to see how other people’s minds work, so collaboration is a great window to that.

10. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Most definitely. A strong cover sells. A book is artistry of the author, wrapped in the artwork of a visual artist.

11. Do you think giving away books for free works and why?

It works. Most people would argue giving away a free thing is bad for business, but they fail to see how giving something away can generate more business because of the nature of humans being a social animal.

12. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I know what the general idea is, but my characters tell me the story. I just record it. Sometime it feels like cheating, but sometimes, they ARGUE with me!


In a world where Magehunters track and kill rogue mages, the lives of those who can manipulate the Power are often cut brutally short. When these hunters find the young Jace, they discover that he is a child gifted with tremendous and uncontrolled abilities. Jace quickly learns that his magic means he will join the Academy—and become a Magehunter himself—or he will die. In the moments before he’s ripped from his home, he promises his father that he will survive no matter the cost.

Enrolled in the Academy by his new mentor, Jace struggles to learn to protect himself and master his abilities while also trying to remain true to the Academy’s strict charter or risk being hunted once more. Survival, however, takes its toll on him, the cost mounting as he tries to keep himself and his new friends alive. When the cost becomes too great, he must choose between doing what he must to survive and doing what he knows is right.

About Jeff

A Dad, Husband and Author living in south Texas. He writes across almost any genre, excluding romance, while enjoying taking a splash of paranormal into a generic situation or genre to add a little spice, as you will be able to see easily with his first published novel: Knights of the Shield.

He has completed the Magehunter draft, book one of a five book fantasy series of the same name. Now, currently editing Magehunter, writing Priesthunter, plotting Roguehunter, Kinghunter, and Godhunter while working on Lifeblood, a paranormal drama.

Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Dusty Pages Review: The Couple Next Door

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?
I read this book quite quickly, over the space of a couple of days, only because the need to sleep forced me to put the book down. Its fast paced, taking you on the roller-coaster of emotions that is the kidnapping of an infant. Anne and Marco were very relatable characters, both struggling with the changes in their lives and their relationship since the birth of their daughter.

I was particularly please with the detective, although he had some preconceived ideas about what had happened, he was open to the possibility that there was more going on behind this tragedy that he didn't yet know, but he would find it. As did I as a reader. The tail twisted and turned until I wasn't entirely sure who was the real bad guy. It turned into a tale of manipulation and greed as well as a tragic kidnapping gone wrong.

I was waiting for the ending. After a while, with several pieces of information the writer wove into the story, I could see what was going to happen and was just waiting for it. I wanted to happen because I thoroughly believed that the character involved deserved it. I will state for the record that I only condone it because its fictional ;)

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will be reading more by this author. In fact I am pretty sure I have a copy of Stranger in the House sitting in my TBR pile.

I give it

Monday, 12 November 2018

Perils of A Writers Mind

Sometimes I find myself thinking more about writing than actually doing the writing. I get lost in the many ideas inside my head, some old, some current, and lots of new ones that mean focusing on any one thought can be hard. Thinking about my stories can sometimes also lead to forgetting about other things - what day it is, whether or not I've eaten in the last six hours, or sometimes if I've left food in the oven too long.

Even more distracting than this is when the thoughts don't come. When its completely quiet in my head, no characters are yammering - which alone is suspicious - and I have no idea what to do next.

One exercise I've been engaging in recently is writing character histories. I have a little notepad for each set of characters for series I am working on and have been filing them up with details about what happened in their life to make them who they are. This can create its own problem because the histories become very detailed, almost like their own story and once again the writers mind is on a side track heading away from doing anything productive.

I am currently in the process of finishing the last book in one series and contemplating the second in another two, as well as relaunching the 10th anniversary editions of my original series next year. Anyone who tells you writing isn't a full time job is lying. I still work a normal job as well to pay my bills but writing takes up a great deal of my free time.

I don't think I would have it any other way though. I enjoy telling my stories and I hope that people enjoy reading them.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Dusty Pages Review: Wildthorn

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labelled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key . . .

 I enjoyed this story. Its very easy to follow and perfect for a teen reader who may be struggling to get into books. The main character was easy to relate to as a woman in a difficult era fighting to just be who she is. I've read other books by this author and have liked the writers style.

The one thing that disappointed me about this story was that although it was as I said enjoyable it was very easy to see where it was going early on. The romance came in a little late to the story and again given the options around her, very easy to work out where that was going too - making Louisa even more out of her time.

There was a lot of potential for more with this story. I think there could have been a little more action involved, just to make the pace of the story a bit more exciting. Also I was left somewhat confused as to what Louisa actually looked like. I found her hard to imagine - apart from that she must have had a somewhat oddly shaped nose. The plot behind her incarceration was a little convoluted and felt like it could have been stronger. I also got a little tired of the plot jumping back and forth in time. I was thankful however that each jump backwards was clearly marked so at least you could follow the progression.

I give it

Monday, 5 November 2018

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

... Holly Stockport

1. Tell me about your book, The Ascension of Melanie Winters, and where you got your inspiration for it?

My book is a science fiction novel and is about a girl who has the power of telekinesis, but she doesn’t know how she got it; it’s something she’s just lived with her whole life. The story shows her getting into strange and unfortunate circumstances that begin to unravel the mystery behind her powers. My inspiration came from a lot of different places; daydreams in my head about having powers to get revenge on bullies, modern science fiction, anime...there were definitely lots of different factors that helped me create the world.

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it?

Professional editors are a godsend. Rowanvale Books (the team I went with) were super helpful in refining my story. There were some major changes made to the story which have definitely helped it in the long run and I feel slightly sick knowing I was once going to just publish it as it was without anyone besides me overseeing it!

3. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to see play the lead?

Sophie Turner, without a single doubt. I think she’s a brilliant actress and she is how I envision Melanie would look in my head.

4. In what ways do you hold yourself back?

Too many ways to list here! Mainly the fact that I don’t think I’m a good writer stops me from actually writing; I have moments of doubt where I think that what I’m doing is ridiculous and something that’s all going to go downhill eventually but then I remember the fact that I made my childhood dream come true by myself and that usually gets me back in a good mindset.

5. What is the longest you’ve gone without writing?

About 3 years. It was during my final years at secondary school and through university where I wanted to go into the film industry. It wasn’t until I began working full time and that I rediscovered NaNoWriMo that I realised writing was something I wanted to pursue and I started up again.

6. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?

Getting all my story ideas out of my head once and for all! Honestly. I have so many ideas that I want to share with the world and writing them all down is a big motivator for me. I suppose now that I’ve gone and published my first book the fact that people actually enjoy what I’ve written also helps as a motivator as it makes me happy knowing that people don’t think I’ve written a load of rubbish!

7. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?

If we’re going off my published work, science fiction but I’ve dabbled in many different genres over the years. I mostly find myself being drawn to science fiction and supernatural as those were the types of books I enjoyed reading the most when I was a kid and they take up a lot of my favourite movies too.

8. Have you ever considered collaborating with another writer? If Yes who, if no why not?

I’m actually in talks to collaborate with two...sort of. One of the writers is a very close friend of mine who’s currently working on her own book and we’d discussed the idea of doing something together but we’re not quite sure what yet. And the other one is funnily enough, my dad! He mentioned to me that he had a story idea of his own when he was younger and that he needed someone to take his ideas and put them into book form. He’s a very avid reader like myself and now that I’ve written my own work, he wants me to take his idea and turn it into something. He was slightly drunk when he told me this so whether there’s any truth to it, I’m not sure!

9. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I used to aim for at least 3000 words a day when I was working on Ascension which I managed to meet rather well when I was writing it. Right now, I’ve got some other projects in the pipeline but because I’ve got a very busy personal life it’s been really difficult to get back in the saddle and write. I’m hoping that when things settle, I can hop back into the mindset!

10. Do you let a book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I have done in the past, yes. I’ve written four stories that I’ve left and gone back to in the past, Ascension being one of them! However when I first wrote Ascension it was back in 2014 and I revisited the idea in 2017; that period of time wasn’t intentional but I’m glad it worked out that way since I found a lot of influences during that time period that helped me develop it even more.

11. What part of your writing time do you dedicate to marketing your book?

It’s difficult to give an exact timeframe, but I’d say probably 70% of my writing time is spent marketing my work. When I was writing Ascension I was also setting up my writing website, researching into print on demand services, looking for possible people to review my book, talking about it on my YouTube channel so it was really easy for me to pour my time into doing it alongside the book. Now I don’t have the stress of writing something and I usually do some form of marketing every evening.

12. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

I do! When I was writing Ascension I worked in Marketing for a local company and there was one person I worked with who made my life there hell. Me actually writing and marketing Ascension came about as a way for me to distract myself from the fact I was in a very unhappy job and how that person made me feel on a daily basis. Thankfully, I changed jobs not long after I published Ascension and I now work for a family run business selling shoes although whether they know about my work as an author I’m not quite sure!

13. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

I would say it’s a 50/50 split. There are some characters that have elements of being from my head and inspired by people and then here’s some that are simply just one or the other. There’s two particular characters in Ascension who are both very heavily inspired by two horrible people I’ve come across in my life but Melanie and a few of the supporting characters have just come from my head. I’ve also got a character in Ascension who is named as a homage to one of my favourite film characters too as the film they come from was a massive inspiration for Ascension.

14. Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you intend to publish them?

Yes! I’ve got lots of books that are currently sitting on my Google Drive or in folders in my study. I do plan to publish them at some point, it’s just a matter of when the time is right for me to revisit them. I think I will probably take some of the work I’ve done for NaNoWriMo and have those done as they’re fully fledged novels that I can just tinker with.

15. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you so so much for supporting my dive into being an author. All of the tweets, photos and reviews mean so much to me and I hope that I can continue being the best author possible for you all!


Melanie Winters is struggling with university life just as much as everyone else. Exams, lectures, the power to move thing with her mind, the usual worries.

After a freak accident that she caused, Melanie is forced to return to her home in the Welsh countryside with her mother to start again.

But when strange events begin to occur upon her arrival, Melanie begins to realise that she, and the powers she fought so hard to keep hidden all these years, might be part of something a lot more sinister.


About Holly

Holly Stockport is a 24 year old author & youtuber based in Wales, UK. After a lifelong love affair with creating stories, Holly has begun to pursue her passions with sharing her stories with the world. Her stories revolve around various genres, including science fiction, fantasy, the supernatural & taboo topics. As well as writing stories, she also runs a youtube channel where she posts regularly, alongside her full time job in the E-Commerce industry. She currently resides in Wales with Morgan (her boyfriend), Patch (their dog) and Bonnie (their fish).

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