Book Review: Ticker

It is very rare for me to so complete dislike a book within the first few pages.  As an author, I honestly try and give the benefit of the doubt as often as possible.


Assaulted from the first chapter, the level of STEAMPUNK!!! in Ticker is altogether too overwhelming for my tastes.  While I understand world building is important, especially when establishing a new place and time, the amount of detail crammed into each sentence goes above and beyond to be unique and eclectic. This style is far too obvious and clunky for me to want to invest further time in this novel.  Furthermore, with no real connection to the protagonist (don’t get me wrong, I get and respect that she’s different), I am stopping at 13% (very rare for me).  OMG_i_can't_even

I think this book is a valuable lesson in the type of novel I definitely do not want to write or be compared to.  While I appreciate elements of steampunk are necessary in the genre, my alternate history is going to focus less on gadgets, gizmos and stylized naming conventions and more on the story and character development of Queen Juliette, her reign and her friends and family.

And sidebar, I will most definitely NOT be taking a page from Ms. Mantchev, and naming her Penelope (Penny f*cking) Farthing.

Ticker cover
Brilliant cover – wish the novel lived up to it!

Am I missing something?  Have you read and enjoyed this book?  Is it worth trying to go forward?

Next Year… Setting Goals.

I’m a list maker.  I have no less than 4 kinds of To Do lists (yes, this is true).  It will come as no surprise then, that I want to put some goals and timelines in place before my last work day next year (January 28 – can you tell I’m counting down?).  Could I do this in a private venue?  Sure I could.  However, I want to put these goals into the collective – just to see where they go (and to keep myself honest).

kitty music gif
Cute cat for motivational purposes only.

Writing Stuff

  1. Edit 1st draft The Queen of England: Coronation
  2. Edit final draft The Queen of England: Coronation (to be complete at 75-80k)
  3. Publish The Queen of England: Coronation (and all that goes with it!)
  4. Complete rough draft The Queen of England: Grand Tour (60K minimum, 15K complete)
  5. Edit 1st draft Lucky Penny (35-40k)
  6. Complete 1st draft The Queen of England: Grand Tour (pending time, energy and motivation)
  7. Start rough draft A.U. (pending time, energy and motivation)
  8. Update all YA projects with back material
  9. Update Room 702/Life After Joe with back material
  10. Finish the pilot of DINKs (25-30 pages, screenplay)
  11. Drabbles for the Queen trilogy (January 2016)
  12. Maybe come up with a new cover for The Line (celebrating 10 years in February!).
  13. Follow up on the 94176128391 websites, articles and posts I have tagged to follow up as research, etc.

Personal Stuff

  1. 60kgs and under – my new permanent weight class.
  2. Move and set up of new place in Dubai.
  3. Household maintenance (as a stay at home wife/author, I completely accept this responsibility.  My inner feminist is a bit hesitant about not having a regular paycheck, but as a spouse I accepts that this is a good balance – one only made possible by Hubs working full time.)
  4. Online course, better website management and other social media type skills (analytics, SEO and other terminology I shouldn’t be scared of).
  5. 20% increase in ‘new’ traffic and followers across all social media (Pinterest, Twitter, blog, Tumblr).
  6. Regular flossing.
  7. Beating insomnia once and for all.
  8. Do something with the boutique villa hotel idea thing.
  9. New hobby or skill (I’m thinking guitar lessons or getting back into fencing or salsa dancing).

Year of Saying Yes

Of everything I’m planning for next year, I actually think this will be the most difficult.

  1. At least once a week (!) attend something (provided I receive necessary invites).
  2. Write up a blog post about the experience (no matter how random).

And there you go – a fairly involved plan of attack for February 2016 – January 2017.511873829447c8db6ce9083833723977 (1)



Not sure how this happened, but I am ‘accredited press.’

Although part of my master plan for next year is to say ‘Yes’ to some of the random events I am invited to (5-6 invites a week, mainly based in Dubai).  In this instance, I registered and was approved (!) for the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.  Even better?  According to an e-mail I received yesterday, I can request to interview any of the authors.

One of my all time favorite authors, Chris Cleave is one of those who will be in attendance.  Should I sign up?  What would I ask him?

Pretty much how I envision my discussion with Mr. Cleave.

A practical gift guide for the author in your life (especially if that author’s name is Ann Benjamin).

I’ve covered this before, but thought it could use a bit of an update.  Also, in case you wanted buying guides based on either of my books, I’ve got you covered (Room 702 or Life After Joe).  I’m not sure why my inner materialistic consumer loves gift guides so much, but I have so much fun looking through all of them (seriously, I can’t get enough!).  Thus, I wanted to put together a few (completely non-practical) ideas of things I would like.  Results my vary.

  • I don’t have many rules in my life, but I’m a firm believer that there should ALWAYS be champagne in one’s refrigerator.  My bubbles of choice are Veuve, and thus, this mailbox speaks to me on a very specific level.
  • Although mostly impractical, I can’t help but want another pair of Louboutin shoes, preferably these.
  • I read every day of my life.  There are no libraries where I live.  Thus, an unlimited Amazon gift card would go a long way in my life.
  • Moving towards my own office, I think a desktop computer will be in order.
  • Given I’ll be away from a traditional work environment next year, I kind of like the idea of this book.
  • My love of beauty boxes knows no bounds.  PopSugar crushed it last year (thanks Dr. B!), so I would be curious to see what this year was all about.
  • I probably need this bag.

In all honesty…


And you, dear reader?  Are there any gift guides I should know about?  What do you want most this year?