Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

So I just got a 1 star review on Amazon ...

So I just got a 1 star review on Amazon for The Avebury Legacy from someone who gave the person I beat on Cover Wars a 5* review.

The review is one line and there is no verified purchase to go with it. People are welcome to their opinion, but I think this (and this is the whole review):

Not worth reading. Nothing but lies and negative horror.

seems to be nothing about the book. I'm not sure how there can be lies in a fiction book anyway - I mean, I made it up, it's all fictitious, but then I don't expect to walk down the road and meet a vampire and am not trying to tell people they will, so no lies.

Does anyone fancy helping me out and giving me some honest reviews in exchange for a free copy of the book. It's only 99c anyway until the 21st, but I would very much appreciate some reviewers and am happy to give you a copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion. The other reviews are 4 and 5 * BTW in case you were wondering what other people thought of it, there just aren't that many of them.

The book is contemporary fantasy with some elements of paranormal and horror. Nasty vampires, a quest, magic etc.

The Avebury Legacy - book blurb

Love your vampires nasty and your fantasy with elements of paranormal horror? "The Avebury Legacy" is the contemporary novel for you.

Nate was hunting a vampire when he first bumped into Lexie, a witch infected by a vampire bite. When Lexie used blood magic to save him from certain death, she passed on the infection to Nate. For a time Lexie's magic has been able to keep them both partially human as they continue to protect ignorant humanity from the vampire threat, but that magic is now starting to fail.

There are legends that the ancient Avebury ritual designed to destroy Morigan of Leyland, the most powerful vampire ever known, may hold the key to the cure they need, but to perform it Nate and Lexie require the four relics from the original ritual. Enlisting the help of veteran hunter, Brian Hawker, who has his own reasons for finding the relics, they must search across continents before it is too late.

In their way are vampire nuns, a crystal cave, shape changers, a labyrinthine catacomb, mummified monks and even librarians. However, their greatest foe is Dahlia, undead sister of Morigan, who will stop at nothing to retrieve the relics for herself and to claim Morigan's power. If Dahlia reaches any of the relics before them, Nate and Lexie face a fate worse than death, losing their humanity to the blood lust.

Exciting contemporary paranormal fantasy. "Tomb Raider meets vampires" with fast paced action and engaging characters.


The Avebury Legacy by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Monday, 15 December 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Meet Ruby - new kitty


So this is Ruby. She's an F2 Savannah like Amber and she is actually Amber's cousin (they both have the same grandfather). We weren't going to try another kitty with Amber, but Ruby needs a good home and she's quite large and hence not easy to re-home. We have her on a trail period to see if Amber will come round.

So far it's looking better than with Fi. For a start Ruby thinks Rob is completely awesome and so is bonding more with him than me, which should please Amber. Ruby is also much more laid back. They actually seem to speak the same language. Amber is growling and being offish, but she isn't hiding and Ruby keeps simply flopping into the floor trying to make friends. If we can convince Amber that this is a good idea we might be able to get somewhere.


Ruby is incredibly friendly, but she's doesn't like children. She's actually larger than Amber and she talks lots like Amber does, but in an entirely different way. She's very sweet and I do hope they get along or come to some sort of understanding.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Great Review for The Avebury Legacy and Link to Vampire Archetypes blog post

I've just had an awesome review for The Avebury Legacy at A Creative Mind, which is a great blog with great reviews. I recommend it thoroughly. She was also wonderful and posted it on Amazon where it translates as 5 star :).

The Avebury Legacy (Vampires: The New Age #1) by Natasha Duncan-Drake Review @ A Creative Mind



Since I'm on something of a vampire kick at the moment I was also thinking about all the different types of vampire that show up in various forms of fiction so I wrote a blog post about them. The genre really is a lot more diverse than many media outlets would like us to believe.

Vampire Archetypes and The Characters They Spawn @ Wittegen Press

There is a question at the bottom of the above blog post and I would love to chat.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Avebury Legacy and why I wrote it.


I love vampires, there are no two ways about it, that is a simple fact. I love vampire movies and vampire books and I love writing vampires. I own nearly 200 vampire films and have a shelf full of vampire novels so I'm not kidding :).

Now I know lots of people think vampires are over done and passé, but I have to disagree. The thing about the vampire genre is there are so many ways to go with it and so many possibilities. I saw a vampire film just last night that was fresh and new and I hadn't seen done in quite that way before (I'm going to review it shortly :)).

The Avebury Legacy is not your romantic vampire seducing the heroine/hero (be they evil or not) kind of story. I have written those, in fact my best selling book is kind of along those lines, but Avebury's vampires are more of the rip your head off than wine and dine you types.

When I set out to write this novel I knew from the get go that these vampires were not sympathetic in any way. They're also not overly civilised.
  • They are driven by powerful urges and kill and take what they want when they want. 
  • They live in a kind of hive like structure where the queen bee, or alpha, has a brood of workers known as spawn that are subject to her/his every whim. 
  • An alpha is the brains of the operation and spawn have any intelligence they may have once possessed suppressed by the will of their alpha. 
  • Only if an alpha dies or abandons their brood will one of the spawn rise to the level of alpha, regaining their faculties. 
  • A more powerful alpha might have more intelligent spawn, their will being strong enough to deal with more creative minions, but no alpha allows rebellion.
Most people don't know vampires even exist and the vampires live on the edges of society, hidden away. The people who do come across them tend to not live very long or become hunters. The world church is united about one thing even if they disagree about every other doctrine; vampires need to be destroyed. Most vampire hunters are affiliated with a religious organisation in some way, but there are independents, like Nate, my main protagonist.

In this universe, becoming a vampire is a fate worse than death.

Which is the whole premise behind the plot.

Another thing I love to read and write is a character stuck between two world. My entry drug to vampire movies was The Lost Boys and I think Michael had a great effect on my psyche :). My two main protagonists, Nate and Lexie are both infected with vampirism, but Lexie's magic is keeping them partially human using a ritual she invented.

They would have made wonderful characters just like that, but, of course, they needed an impetus to do something, hence they are running out of time. Lexie's magic is bringing them back to further away from human each time and sooner or later they will lose the battle and become full vampires. Something neither of them want. They need a cure.

The cure is offered by the legendary Avebury ritual, designed many centuries ago by a pagan/Christian coalition to destroy the most powerful vampire who ever lived: Morigan of Leyland.

This is where yet another of my favourite things comes in: the quest. I've been a fantasy fan since reading The Hobbit as a pre-teen (or rather at the time having it read to me), so quests are awesome as far as I am concerned.

Nate and Lexie's quest is to find the four relics from the Avebury ritual and the scolls which explain how to use them.

Their big problem is Dahlia, Morigan's undead sister, who is also after the relics because they can give her Morigan's power. That and the fact that if any hunter realises they are infected they are likely to end up staked on principle. Which is why enlisting the help of the most renown vampire hunter alive, Brian Hawker, is something of a risky strategy, but he is also researching the relics and has a head start.

So, basically, I put a whole load of things I love to read in a book that I hope others will love to read too.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my twisted mind :).

Are you a vampire fan? If so what kind of vampires do you like best, romantic leads, evil bastards or something in between? If not, what don't you like about them?

Buy Links
The Avebury Legacy is on sale for 99c ($2.99) until the 21st Dec, so get it while it's on offer.

Amazon US | Amazon (non-US) | Smashwords | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Inktera | txtr

The bunny is in danger!


Keep the bunny safe! Vote for The Avebury Legacy over at Cover wars or the vicious kitty will attack!

I'm in second place, but I'm 30 or so votes behind. If I win my book becomes book of the week so all their visitors see it in the side bar of their blog.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Avebury Legacy in Cover Wars and 99c SALE


This week The Avebury Legacy is up in Cover Wars over at Author Shout and I would be really grateful for a little help with the voting please :).

All you have to do is click here to go to the post, tick a radio box next to The Avebury Legacy and then click submit. You can vote once a day until Sunday.

Many Thanks

99c eBook SALE - The Avebury Legacy

The book is also ON SALE for a limited time only for 99c ($2.99) (everywhere except Nook at the moment).


Amazon US | Amazon (non-US) | Smashwords | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Inktera | txtr

Nate was hunting a vampire when he first bumped into Lexie, a witch infected by a vampire bite. When Lexie used blood magic to save him from certain death, she passed on the infection to Nate. For a time Lexie’s magic has been able to keep them both partially human as they continue to protect ignorant humanity from the vampire threat, but that magic is now starting to fail.
There are legends that the ancient Avebury ritual designed to destroy Morigan of Leyland, the most powerful vampire ever known, may hold the key to the cure they need, but to perform it Nate and Lexie require the four relics from the original ritual. Enlisting the help of veteran hunter, Brian Hawker, who has his own reasons for finding the relics, they must search across continents before it is too late.
In their way are vampire nuns, a crystal cave, shape changers, a labyrinthine catacomb, mummified monks and even librarians. However, their greatest foe is Dahlia, undead sister of Morigan, who will stop at nothing to retrieve the relics for herself and to claim Morigan’s power. If Dahlia reaches any of the relics before them, Nate and Lexie face a fate worse than death, losing their humanity to the blood lust.

Monday, 1 December 2014

NaNo Win! and the study is almost complete :)


So first we have this *points up*. There were times this month when I really didn't think I was going to finish. It was right down to the wire.

  1. I had a really nasty cold, which, I kid you not, turned me into a zombie for about a week. I barely managed to write a couple of thousand words.
  2. Last Thursday, just when I was trying to get back on track I fell over in the shower and bruised and jarred my left side which made sitting still and writing somewhat fun for 2 days.
  3. My parents-in-law rang up and asked if they could come for the weekend. Don't get me wrong, they're lovely, but that meant most of the weekend was spent with family rather than deep in novel land.
Hence by Friday evening I was pretty sure I wasn't going to reach 50K and I almost gave up, but then I decided to give it one last go. It's funny, my stats on the site make it look as if I wrote almost 20K yesterday, but it was actually just that I was so disappointed that I might not finish I stopped filling it in until I was almost there :).

I'm pretty sure half the stuff I wrote yesterday is crap and is coming straight back out again or being heavily reworked, but at least it's in the machine :).

Well done to everyone else who finished too.

The Study
Our study is very nearly finished. The only things left to do are the hearth in front of the fire, for which we have all the bits, Rob just needs to work his magic, and half the door frame which had to be filled so didn't get painted at the same time as the other half.
This is a panoramic view of the end wall and the right side. You can see how it lays out, but unfortunately Rob's phone couldn't get the whole walls in :). Click to see it bigger.

This is of the end wall so you can see the cupboard, which was the final part we put in. We have always had a cupboard on that wall, but it was old fashioned and too shallow to be of any use, so we have extended it outwards using the same system as the shelves (they have an amazing catalogue).
This is what it looks like in daylight and looking at the end and left wall.
This is standing in front of the bookcase looking back at the doorway. That stylish picture on the wall came from Range - was £12.99 ;).
And finally for the room, this is the view of the corner along from the door. As you can see we need to put something on the walls :) It's the exercise corner.

Of course it wasn't quite complete so we also bought a rug and a bean bag chair (which is remarkably comfortable :)). We just need to get some anti-slip for the rug because it tends to move, although we could not have found a better size if we had custom ordered it.

All that was left was something for me to be able to reach the top shelves and Rob found these on eBay :)
The steps are made of yew and the frame is made of pine and they were hand made in the east end of London 40 years ago. They have been living in a dry cellar ever since. As you can see Rob has cleaned the top step just to see what colour it would come out, but the rest still need doing. I have tried them out and they are awesome - just high enough, but not too high so that unstable me can fall off and do some damage :).

This has now become my favourite room in the house. Book! :)

So who else has finished NaNo? How do you store you books these days?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Herbal sleep aid - Rescue Night - it's awesome

Over the years I have been pretty good at sleeping (touch wood), especially since I had to give up caffeinated tea and coffee. However, just recently I was having some trouble - tossing and turning a lot, not being able to relax properly.

Now my husband has had the same problem every now and then and took herbal pills to help him through a bad patch. It worked really well for him. My problem - I can't swallow pills. I thought I was out of luck, but then I discovered Rescue Night.

I was a bit sceptical to begin with - four drops on the tongue and it's made from flowers. However I willing to give it a go.

It's wonderful stuff. I can't honestly say how it does what it does, but it allows me to relax and drift off with far more success than lying there and hoping my brain will shut up.

I've been using it on and off for a about six weeks now and it's brilliant. If I can't sleep I put the drops on my tongue (it's just sugary to taste) and I drift right off. I know several of you out there suffer from sleeping issues, so I thought I would share how well this has helped me.

At first I used it every night, but now my sleep schedule had worked itself back into a normal routine I use it only if I can feel the tossing and turning coming on. Rob has tried it too and it works for him as well.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fantastic Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Had to share this because it's so easy and it's a Nigella Express recipe. I made it last night for the second time and it really is to die for.

The full amount will serve ~3 as a main dish and 4 as a side. I made it and then froze half and we had it as a side dish with some chicken - it was lovely.

Ingredients

  • 250g macaroni (it says that's 4 cups cooked on this site)
  • 250g strong cheese (2 cups grated) - I used mature cheddar
  • 250ml/1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • grating of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni until tender as instructed on the packet.
  2. Mix the cheese, milk, eggs and nutmeg together in a bowl. If you didn't buy the cheese pre-grated (I know, pre-grated is lazy, but so easy) then you can pop everything in the food processor and whizz it all up together. No need for hand grating unless you have to.
  3. Drain the pasta and put it back in the saucepan.
  4. Add the other ingredients and mix, add salt and pepper to taste (be aware the cheese is relatively salty so you won't need much of that).
  5. Now I let mine cool down now because I made it in advance (and pasta is better for you reheated or cold)
  6. When ready to eat, pre-heat the oven to 220C/428F/7Gas or 210C/410F Fan assisted
  7. Put the mixture into a shallow, oven proof dish.
  8. Cook the macaroni cheese for 10-15 mins until browning slightly (it only took mine 10 mins). If you cook it too long it will go dry, so ere on the side of caution. Mine was nowhere near as browned as the image above, but it was colouring gently.
  9. Eat :D
I know most of my US friends are probably used to making macaroni cheese all the time, but I'd never made it before I found this recipe. Now I am never eating it out of a can again! The longest part was waiting for the pasta to cook and then waiting for the oven - so very, very easy. This is soft and fluffy and basically, heaven :).

Anyone have any recipes for mac and cheese that are a must have, or other pasta favourites?