Tag Archive: Not a Review

House Keeping 8/21/18

Things are a bit chaotic lately. I’m rolling with it, but some times it feels like I can’t get my feet back under me. Lot’s of plans percolating for the future and not a ton I can do just yet to actively prepare for them just yet. It’ll be awesome though.

Fun stuff though. I’ve got a guest post for you all coming up on Friday for A. M. Bochnak’s first Fortitude Rising novel. It covers a bit of her path to being an author.

On another subject entirely, I’m thinking of moving this to later in the week in the near future. Just at the moment I feel like I’m saying the same thing, more or less, every week. It would probably be the same if I did this on Thursday or something, but at least then I’d be reacting to the week rather than just throwing out projections on what I was planning/hoping to accomplish. That would sort of result in my announcing anything that was going to be important either as its own thing apart from this or a week or more in advance. Neither of which seems like a terrible thing.

As usual, I’m planning on having the review up tomorrow. That said, we’ve seen how that’s turned out the last couple of weeks. There shouldn’t be any problem and I think I’ve got it in hand, so fingers crossed there.

Standard stuff. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Telling me that you like something lets me know to keep an eye out for more opportunities to work it in. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Any money from that is currently going towards buying a replacement video camera to get the ball rolling on box opening stuff and videos just talking about books or genre stuff. In any case, have great rest of the week!


So, I’m running super late this week. I’ve been sick for a good chunk of it, admittedly, but that’s still no good. I swear, we’re getting fall pollen and summer heat around here.

I should have a review for you all tomorrow. It’s about half way done now, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what I’m actually trying to say with it, getting that down, and polishing it a bit. Nothing big. Right?

That aside, I’m really excited to have won an advance copy of Amy Rose Capetta’s The Brilliant Death through BookishFirst. So that’s a review that’s going to be headed your way in the near future. I’ve read the first few chapters and look forward to seeing where it goes from there.

Beyond that, I’ve got something coming up next month that should be entertaining. A couple of things that should be entertaining if I play it right. That’s for then, though I’m hoping to pull some fun into what’s left of this month too.

Standard closer. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I thrive on encouragement. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Anything from the ko-fi fund is currently going towards a replacement video camera so that I can try getting the ball rolling on video ideas. In any case, have a great rest of the week!

House Keeping 7/17/18

This is late and I’m late and it feels a touch like everything is sliding out of control again. That’s life though, right? Not sure what my excuse of the week is but, trust me, it’s a good one.

While I missed the review for last week I am planning on having one up this week. I should be able to get things leveled out a bit soon.

That said, as soon as I can reasonably make time I’m going to grab a copy of Seanan McGuire’s The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. As much as I enjoyed Sparrow Hill Road I’ve been super excited to get my hands on the sequel and it just came out today.

I’m also thinking of going ahead and finishing and posting some of the comparison work ideas I’ve been bouncing around here. Since I can’t do anything with videos yet and I don’t want them to get stale.

For now though, that’s about it. It’s been a busy, weirdly stressful past few weeks, and I’m hoping that this is where I start climbing out of that.

Standard stuff at the end here. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. If you really like what I’m doing here, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Anything from that is going towards replacing my video camera. So, that’s that, have a good week and enjoy!

House Keeping 7/10/18

I was so late getting that up last week. It’s funny now, because the review is up and I’m not worried about it any more, but that was a mess. I can’t say I won’t be late again this week, but I have a better grasp on what I want to say this time so it shouldn’t be nearly as bad.

Still behind on reading, but I’m slowly making progress there. I’ve hit a book that reads like eating pop corn, so I’ve wound up half way through without really realizing. So that’s been a lot of fun.

I’ve also got a guest post coming up later in the week. It’s an excerpt this time, so you’ll get a taste of the book in question.

Non standard for me here, but today Amazon employees in Spain will be on strike for better working conditions. In addition to reaching out to other Amazon employees across Europe, they’re asking that customers not shop with Amazon or it’s partners today in solidarity. With today being Amazon’s “Prime Day” that could be a really great way to hit the company in the wallet and make them take notice. If you’ve got a minute you can also shoot Amazon a tweet mentioning why you aren’t buying from them today.

And that’s it for this one.

Standard stuff. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Or, if you really like what I’m doing here, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a kofi. Anything from that will be going to the fund for a new video camera. In any case, enjoy!

House Keeping 7/3/18

Not sure what I’m doing this week. Words haven’t been flowing super well, but that might be more down to the book I’ve been reading and residual stress from car stuff. Which feels silly, but these things happen.

I’m behind on my reading, what’s new. Some of that is down to the books I’ve been reading, I’m able to read a lot more ebooks than hard copy books lately. I’m finding that ebooks are weirdly easy to jump from one to the next, so I find myself reading a lot but then not reviewing them as I finish them. It’s getting to be more of an issue than I had figured on. As always, I’m working on a solution to that. Someday I might even have one.

As far as all that goes, if I can manage it, I might have a few weeks where there are two reviews a week instead of one. That’s somewhat contingent on my getting some that I’ve had on the back burner finished in the next few days, but I think it’s worth giving a shot. Plus, I’ll need to double up if I’m ever going to get caught up. I really don’t want to have to blank slate my reading list again any time soon. I think I can do better than that.

Also still working on things for potential videos. I might have an idea of something I could do between now and when I have a new video camera. So I’m going to see if that’s workable.

That’s about it, not a ton going on lately.

As always, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I feed on attention and knowing what people think allows me to adjust things as I go. If you really like what I’m doing here, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Anything I get from that is going directly into the new camera fund. More importantly than all that though, enjoy!

House Keeping 6/26/18

Hey all! Running a bit late this week. Things have gone a bit sideways, as they do, and I’m working on getting them back on track.

I’m still planning on having a review up tomorrow, but it might be a little late. It might wind up going live Thursday.

Continuing saga of planned things is as much on going as it ever is, though I’m a bit stuck for getting anything finished. So, that’s basically in a holding pattern.

That’s about it. Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. And, if you really like what I’m doing, you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi.

Mad Cat Franz and the Bomb cover

For me there has always been something a little weird about books. That someone you’ve never met, who may even be long dead, had an idea for a character, a place, a scene, a story form in their mind and translated it into lines of squiggles on pieces of paper. Years later you come along and pick up those pieces of paper and decipher the squiggles and in your mind the images re-form. You may say, well duh-huh stupid, that’s writing and reading! This I know, but there still seems a little magic involved.

Personally, an idea for a novel can quite literally trigger from anything at all. Something seen, heard, read, an event, a feeling experienced, a comment, a joke, an injustice particularly, a silly fact, a conversation overheard. There’s no end to the list really. Also this trigger can provide the missing links to let you chain together any number of ideas you’ve been carrying around for some time into a workable synopsis.

The idea-spark for my latest novel Mad Cat, Franz and the Bomb came from a quip, too vulgar to repeat here, made by a good friend of mine when he deranged a line from the musical Oklahoma. For some bizarre reason it combined with an image I’d had in my head for years that goes like this.

It’s a beautiful summer day and you’re sat at the beach gazing at a calm sea when you notice something moving in the water close in front of you. As you watch, the surface of the water is broken by the top of a blond head, a forehead appears, eyes, a face, shoulders until the figure of a German World War Two pilot in uniform steadily walks up out of the water bone dry. The beach is crowded but no one else sees him. Only you.

In the novel the ‘you’ concerned is a teenage girl, Catherine McEvoy, also known to one and all in the small seaside town as Mad Cat because as a young child she insisted she had three invisible friends who tormented her horribly. Franz is the German pilot and the Bomb in question, which maybe real or not, is used as a metaphor for what is happening to Cat.

The other main characters are two retired gay actors, Teddy and Perry, who are as good as family to Cat. Perry is calm and loving while Teddy is profane and raucous and also, in the story, dying. That these characters are polar opposites allows for the injection of humour at regular intervals to prevent the story becoming too sad or introverted. This wasn’t a conscious, contrived device on my part as the two characters occurred naturally alongside the initial idea, but I did find I enjoyed them as I wrote their scenes and so their interjections became more frequent as the story unfolded.

The world building for the novel was relatively easy given the geographical setting of the story. We’re all familiar with such small, seaside towns and the one I describe is an amalgam of a few I am familiar with. The houses and rooms are imagined to reflect the characters who live in them and are assembled with as much of an eye for detail as possible to try to bring them alive. It wasn’t as if I had to envisage a dystopian future world and I admire writers who are capable of that type of imagination.

I read somewhere Stephen King will sometimes begin writing a novel or short story with no idea how it will end and just let it continue not knowing where it will take him. Just writes. Amazing. Being a mere mortal and old school in comparison, as soon as I get the initial story idea I pretty much know most of the beginning and always the ending and much of the arc leading from one to the other, though as the story develops it can go off at tangents I hadn’t originally thought of at all.

This being in many ways three stories woven and linked together around the central character Cat, made keeping the events and scenes in the arc fluent a little complicated, rather like juggling at times. Also there was quite a bit of historical research involved which can be laborious but it does sometimes uncover unthought-of pearls that enrich the story. I shouldn’t say this but it also looks like you know what you’re talking about!

And as for characters, well, they can cause a real problem. I’m lucky in that they mostly come fully formed right down to the sound of their voice and their clothes  and once they are realised they are fixed as firmly as something ghastly you’ve seen and can’t un-see. Some very occasionally require a little polishing to make them, hopefully, memorable for the reader.

The problem being invariably when writing, other characters will appear which are great but ultimately not right for the particular story and so you have to, as Faulkner says, “…kill all your darlings.” That can be a tough call sometimes to know if it is the right decision or not and the upshot is you end up with a disgruntled mob in the back of your mind grumpily waiting to be employed in their own yarn. Likewise a scene you’ve written can be really on the money but it jars in the context of the overall story. You read and re-read looking for any excuse to include it but eventually and however reluctantly, you admit it just has to go.

Mad Cat, Franz and the Bomb is in essence a ghost story and the three invisible friends who torment Cat as a child I saw as perhaps, the horrid spirits of Victorian children who once inhabited the house where she lives. The concept of invisible friends is interesting to me too in that, in young children they are tolerated but in adults it’s labelled as delusionary or schizophrenia, which is something I explore in the story too. So are they real or is Cat indeed going mad as everyone believes?

Author Picture

Bio of Tony McAndrew:

Having what little education thrashed into him by nuns at the convent caned out of him by grammar school, Tony kept a promise to himself to begin writing when he finished doing tedious stuff like working full time. After a wander through psychiatric nursing, the Met Police and almost thirty years as a frontline paramedic the time seemed about right. He still works now and again in Primary Care somewhere in Wales and lives happily on the Gower indulging in writing, reading, talking with friends, drinking beer and floating in the sea with his wife.

House Keeping 6/12/18

Hey all, sorry I’m late with this. Odd couple days at work, so I wound up taking a nap once I got home.

Good news, the review is going live tomorrow as planned and I’ve got a guest post coming up for you all on Friday.

Bad news is I’m still working on the Crossing Over and Ghostbusters Annual reviews and I’ve also just tonight discovered that my video camera is not compatible with Windows 10, so I’m going to need to get a newer one before I can do any of the videos I’d planned. It also means that the unboxing video I’d filmed is unusable. Probably should have checked that earlier.

Of course, with that temporarily off the table, I’m going to let myself just sort of jot out ideas for things and work on polishing them up as I have the time instead of attempting to juggle the reviews and work and that. It’s a bit of a relief even if I am a bit disappointed.

That’s about it for this week. Standard things, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. And if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a Ko-fi. For until I’ve saved enough to cover it, any Ko-fis I receive will go towards buying a new camera. More content’s incoming but, for now, enjoy!


House Keeping 6/5/18

I’m continuing to pick away at my To Be Read pile. I am vastly no longer caught up and more than a little worried on that. It is, as ever, my own fault but I’m still having a good time. So I’ll count it as not a loss.

The June Second Star Books box should be here before the weekend. Funny thing on that, I was telling myself earlier that there was no way that, even with them having posted about packing all weekend, it would be out this early in the week. I got the email about it right as I was leaving work, complete with tracking number. That’s pretty awesome.

Depending on when it arrives I should be able to do the box opening before the week is out. Looking forward to trying that again.

Other than that, I have a couple of ideas for non review writing. I’ll just have to make time to actually write it. Always the problem, but one I’ve been working on with some success.

I’m hoping to finally have reviews up for the Ghostbusters annual and Crossing Over issues one and two some time this week. I’m thinking of doing all three of those in one day, possibly in one big post. That said, I’m not going to be able to pick up my copy of the third issue of Crossing Over until next week or maybe the week after. So that’ll get posted whenever I get the chance to pick it up.

And, of course, standard stuff. If you like what I’m doing feel free to leave a comment or a like. And, if you really like what I’m doing, consider enabling my caffeine addiction and buy me a Ko-fi. Either way, I’ll have a review up tomorrow and in the meantime, enjoy!

House Keeping 5/29/18

It feels like May has gone by way too fast. The holiday weekend and people getting ready for school to be out probably helped with that. Not a lot happening at work, but just enough to stay busy. The weekend did let me get started on a number of things though, I’m not ahead on anything by any means, but started is better than nothing. It feels a lot better too.

As to the month having seemed really short, I’m still trying to figure out how to make that Second Star Books unboxing video work. But I’m planning on keeping tinkering with it. I’ve got the footage done but no idea what to do with the editing software I’ve got. Even if I don’t get it done though I’m going to have the review of the box up by midnight Thursday. That way I’ll have it up in time to do the whole thing over with June’s box.

There’s going to be a lot of graphic novel reviews coming up in the next few weeks. I got several from First Second not too long ago and also found some that had been set to the side for later. That was more than a little while ago, but they’re nifty books and I’m excited to share them.

I’m also hoping to get a little more work done on the reviews for some of the novels I’ve been sent. I keep planning on scheduling daily time on this and then it all goes to reading instead of working on reviews or other things I had planned. It’s brilliant. But, I figure that if I keep aware of it I should be able to work on it better.

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a like or a comment. And, if you really like what I’m doing here you can enable my caffeine addiction and buy me a Ko-fi.