Friday Face-Off – 3rd April 2020

Friday Face-Off – 3rd April 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

April brings with it April Fool’s Day and this week’s Friday Face-Off theme – a trick of the eye, or something that isn’t as it seems. For this theme I’ve picked Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman.

Cover A:

Smoke and Mirrors 1

Cover B:

Smoke and Mirrors 2

Cover C:

Smoke and Mirrors 3

Cover D:

Smoke and Mirrors 4

Cover E:

Smoke and Mirrors 5

Cover F:

Smoke and Mirrors 6

Cover G:

Smoke and Mirrors 7

 

And the winner is… COVER D!

Smoke and mirrors – illusion or trick of the eye boiled down into a simple phrase, so that made this book an easy choice. Cover D is a nice, simple cover yet really effectively conveys the concept of smoke and mirrors. Cover E is a close second – I love the design and style of this one.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a moody, atmospheric cover.

Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift

Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift

Determined to escape her old life, misfit and student geologist Hallie packs up her life in England and heads to Paris. She falls in with the eclectic expat community as a bartender at the notorious Millie’s, located next to the Moulin Rouge.

Here she meets Gabriela, a bartender who guides her through this strange nocturnal world, and begins to find a new family. But Millie’s is not all that it seems: a bird warns Hallie to get her feathers in order, a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a chronometrist, and Gabriela is inexplicably unable to leave Paris.

Then Hallie discovers a time portal located in the keg room. Over the next nine months, irate customers will be the least of her concerns, as she navigates time-faring through the city’s turbulent past and future, falling in love, and coming to terms with her own precarious sense of self.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.

Paris Adrift is an interesting story following the excitement Hallie experiences in her break from university while she stays in Paris. She finds herself working at well-known bar, Millies, right next to the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Here she meets an interesting mix of bar staff from all over the world as she enjoys all Clichy, and Paris has to offer. A series of strange happenings pose the idea that there may be more to the bar and its staff than meets the eye.
Paris AdriftA meeting with a bizarre woman enlightens her to the prospect of time travel through something called an anomaly, something only Hallie will be able to travel through. Focussing on a given date or time will send her forward or back throughout the turbulent history of the French city. In her travels, she sees many things, meets a host of characters and alters the path of the city forever.

The time travel plays an integral role in the narrative, something clearly set out in the opening stages of the book. This all ties together the need for Hallie to find her anomaly and travel through it. Unfortunately I found this element of the narrative a bit disjointed. It seemed so important yet little to no reference to it is made as the book goes on. And worse still, at the conclusion there is no return to the original purpose to clarify fully whether things had been a success.

That said, the time travelling elements were really well written. The locales at different times in history felt really well written, filled with life and energy. The characters in these parts of the story are fantastic and vibrant. It’s these parts of the book that for me rescued it.

My rating:
okaybook

An Interview with Richard Dee

An Interview with Richard Dee

It’s been a long time since I last shared a new edition of my An Interview With… series where I interview authors so we can all get to know the person behind the pages. Today I am bringing it back, hoping to make it a slightly more regular feature than it has been. I’m going to keep them pretty simple – there will be ten questions, the first five will be weird and wonderful ice breakers. The next five will be delving into the work of the author.

With the formalities out of the way, let’s get into this edition of An Interview With…! Today’s author is someone I have worked with now for quite some time, when he first requested a review of his cozy sci-fi mystery Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of reading the two follow up books – Andorra Pett on Mars and Andorra Pett and her Sister. I am looking forward to the fourth book that he is working on. I am currently reading one of his most recent sci-fi novels, The Hitman and the Thief due out later this year. Aside from writing he has also become a brilliant supporter of myself as I work on my own first novel. Without further ado, it’s time to welcome Mister Richard Dee!

Author 1200
Books and Beyond Reviews: Thanks for joining me here on Books and Beyond Reviews for an interview, Richard! Here’s your first ice breaker. If you were a wrestler what would be your entrance theme song?

Richard Dee: After 62 years, including the 1960s and 70s; I would need to walk a long way to get all the significant songs in. If I had to choose one, and I’ve agonised over the choice for ages, it would have to be Go your own Way, from the album Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac.

BaBR: What is your favourite magical or mythological animal?

RD: That would be the Dragon, there are so many variations in the way they are represented, in a way we have made them as complex as we are. I had to introduce my own species in my Steampunk novels, calling them Drogans. They are very different from the ones you see in Game of Thrones.

BaBR: Which fictional family would you most like to be a member of?

RD: A few of my acquaintances would suggest the Addams family!!! I would prefer to be part of a family of explorers, like the Swiss Family Robinson or even the family inspired by that book, the Robinsons of Lost in Space. Failing that the Famous Five or the Pevensie’s (of Narnia) would do at a pinch.

BaBR: If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you choose to be and why?

RD: A black Labrador. Having owned, rescued and puppy walked them for Guide dogs, I feel like I know their personalities. They are eternally happy, just how we should all be.

BaBR: One last ice breaker before we move on to your books. If you could see one movie again for the first time, what would it be and why?

RD: The first Star Wars film, which I saw in New York in 1977. For one very simple reason. It showed us a sci-fi future that wasn’t perfect. Up to then, the future had been shown as a better now, where everything was clean and shiny. Star Wars changed all that. The technology was old, used, encrusted with dirt. Sometimes it didn’t work. It was a more relatable future, similar to the present with some new inventions. It changed the way I thought about Science Fiction.

BaBR: With novels written in both the sci-fi and steampunk genres, do you have a personal favourite?

RD: My favourite is whatever I’m writing at the time. Coming from a background in world-wide trade, I have a soft spot for my interplanetary trader Dave Travise and his life. Having worked for an Insurance company, I love writing about corporate misdeeds and conspiracies. And the Victorian era fascinates me so much, with its spirit of innovation and infinite possibilities. Put them (and other inspirations) altogether and I’m happy to create a story in whatever setting. What you have to remember is that, as we move out into the galaxy, we will take all our emotional baggage with us. The same tales will play out, only the setting will be different.

BaBR: Having had a rather varied career path yourself, has this in any way informed the characters in your Andorra Pett series where the leads assume a variety of roles themselves?

RD: I think it must have, although I never realised it at the time, I must have been storing up all the experiences in my mind, ready to adapt them and send them out into a new setting. Being on a ship in the 1970s was like going into space in a way, you were cut off from the world for weeks at a time and visited strange places. Plus, being isolated in a small group, you had to learn to be a jack of all trades. In the same way, the people of the future, colonising a new world, will have to be the same sort of people.

BaBR: Are any of your characters based upon yourself or people close to you?

RD: Andorra Pett is based on my wife and three daughters. Which parts of her relate to which person is up to them to work out. And others are taken from my career at sea, which introduced me to such a wide range of personalities.

BaBR: Do you have clear plots in mind when you start your books or do you start with a base idea and build from there?

RD: I have an idea, it might be prompted from an overheard remark in a coffee shop, or a fact that I’ve discovered on the internet. After that, I just start typing, watching a film in my head of what happens next. I let the characters control the action and just type what I see. In that way, I never know what will happen next. I get to the end at the same time as the reader will, so I share their emotions all the way through the book.

BaBR: As a first time author, I have found the support and advice from other authors has been invaluable in the process of writing my first book. If you could only give an aspiring author one single piece of advice, what would that be?

RD: I have been helped so much, by so many people that I’ll never meet. I try to pay it forward as much as I can. Another author once told me, the best thing to do is just WRITE, as much as you can, as often as you can. It’s the only way to develop your style. Not only that, you can’t edit a blank page. Connected to that, make sure that you get a good editor. You can save money everywhere else, by doing your own covers etc. but you only get one chance to make a first impression. Have your work properly edited, a typo on page one is not the way to go. I guess that’s two things, never mind.

BaBR: Thanks so much for taking some time to share your thoughts with us, Richard. Now’s your chance to promote your current book and any links readers can use to connect with you and your work.

RD: My latest release is a Steampunk adventure, set in a place which is not unlike Victorian England. There’s a mad scientist bent on world domination and a motley band set against him. Featuring the latest devices powered by steam and clockwork, The Sensaurum and the Lexis is, according to one advance reader, “definitely a page-turner where the mundane world as we know it, has been turned quite solidly on its head and presented from a delicious new viewpoint.”

Sens 8x12

Blurb

Is Jackson Thwaite ready to discover the secret of Makewright Orphanage?

Although he doesn’t know it, he has been selected to be part of something vital to the land of his birth.

Norlandia is a country under threat, as never before. The old heroes are but a memory, while evil forces gather, seeking power.  They are armed with the latest devices that perverted science has devised. Control of Norlandia and everyone in it is their ultimate aim.

Who will stand in their way?

Under the command of the mysterious Mortimer Langdon, all that stands between civilisation and anarchy are Jackson and the rest of The Orphan Detectives.

You can find The novel at mybook.to/The_Sensaurum

 

My links

If you’d like to know more about my writing, my website is richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the My Novels and Short Stories tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free short story. Why not join my newsletter and get a free short story, unavailable anywhere else.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi

My Amazon author page is here.  

My Goodreads page is here.

 

Friday Face-Off – 27th March 2020

Friday Face-Off – 27th March 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week is a free pick – a chance to choose a personal favourite book. For this I have gone with the book that started it all – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Cover A:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone1

Cover B:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone2

Cover C:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone3

Cover D:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone4

Cover E:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone5

Cover F:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone6

Cover G:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone7

Cover H:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone8

 

And the winner is… IT’S A DRAW!

Covers F and H stole it for me. Cover F for me is iconic, it’s the cover I remember from back when the book first came out almost 23 years ago. For me this cover is synonimous with the series. Cover H is really eye catching, and as a Gryffindor myself, this one is another winner for me!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover for April Fool’s – a trick of the eye.

Friday Face-Off – 20th March 2020

Friday Face-Off – 20th March 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s theme is a cover that is brown. This one was a tough one, so I twisted it a bit. Rather than the cover being brown, the cover comes from a book written by Brown. Dan Brown, specifically, and his novel Inferno.

Cover A:

brown1

Cover B:

brown2

Cover C:

brown3

Cover D:

brown4

Cover E:

brown5

 

And the winner is… COVER B!

Maybe Dan Brown was a controversial shout. I know many people hate his work, but I am personally a big fan. And I also love Florence as a city, so this was a great read for me. A simple cover with that icon of Florentine architecture, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore with the imposing visage of Dante Alighieri’s death mask. A great cover.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover of my choosing.

Friday Face-Off – 13th March 2020

Friday Face-Off – 13th March 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s theme is a cover that is exotic: “He can come up with the most exotic things I’ve ever seen or heard of every time he blinks his eyes.” For this theme I’ve gone for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Cover A:

exotic1

Cover B:

exotic2

Cover C:

exotic3

Cover D:

exotic4

Cover E:

exotic5

Cover F:

exotic6

Cover G:

exotic7

Cover H:

exotic8

Cover I:

exotic9

 

And the winner is… COVER E!

This week I found the choice a little tougher. The options gave me some real thinking to do. E stole it for me this week, I loved the old style map vibe it exudes, and the way the characters are imposed within it. There are some special mentions though this week – covers A, C and F are very close runners for me.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover that is brown.

Friday Face-Off – 6th March 2020

Friday Face-Off – 6th March 2020

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

And just like that, we’re into March! This week’s theme is a cover featuring a skeleton: “them bones, them bones, them dry bones…”. For this theme I’ve gone for Skeleton Crew by Stephen King.

Cover A:

skeleton1

Cover B:

skeleton2

Cover C:

skeleton3

Cover D:

skeleton4

Cover E:

skeleton5

Cover F:

skeleton6

Cover G:

skeleton7

Cover H:

skeleton8

Cover I:

skeleton9

 

And the winner is… COVER H!

Yet another Stephen King book I’ve yet to read. For such a huge fan of his work, this is something I really need to remedy! I like most of these covers this week, a lot. But H shades it for me – the figure of Death lifted off of the tarot card swinging his scythe – very eye catching.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover that is exotic: “He can come up with the most exotic things I’ve ever seen or heard of every time he blinks his eyes.”