Categories
Books Reviews

The First Cut

As soon as I saw this title, I thought of this song:

and I couldn’t help singing it as I read the novel.

Beautiful as it is, I’m not here to talk about the song or Rod Stewart, but about the novel, The First Cut by Val Penny, published by Darkstroke Books and officially launched today. Like all Val’s novels, it’s crime fiction and this is the first of a new series. Jane Renwick has appeared in previous novels, but she now has her own series and we discover her roots.

Jane’s unfortunate early years are related so poignantly that the reader can’t help being drawn in and touched by the story. On top of that, there’s a dangerous killer at loose, and the police are working hard to find out who the killer is, but sometimes they’re misled.

There are stages in the process of writing a novel:

  • Formulate ideas.
  • Plot the story.
  • Write the first draft.
  • Write more drafts.
  • Edit.

Each of those stages contains various steps. Clearly, the author put a lot of laborious work into most of them. That’s what made the novel so easy and quick to read. And enjoyable, too. There must have been a lot of thought about how much information to reveal and when to reveal it. The hints at facts unknown to the police make this story a thrilling one to read, as the reader watches the police following the wrong paths.

There’s a lot involved in editing, too, and unfortunately it feels as if, for this novel, that stage was rushed. In particular, I was bothered by one sentence I didn’t understand. I’m not sure whether that was because of a typo, but I didn’t follow why it caused Jane to burst out crying and then decide she had to explain her tears by relating part of her childhood. Very possibly, I’m to blame for that. Also, there were places where I didn’t understand the use of italics, first/third person, tense and repetition.

But I want to stress that most of the novel is excellent, and probably other readers wouldn’t notice these small things. So do read it; it is what it promises: “fast-paced, gripping police procedural…set in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland.”

About the Book

Sometimes it’s hard to escape a brutal past. That’s the case for DS Jane Renwick, who learns via DNA a serial killer could be a family member.

This gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow. A vicious killer is on the loose and victims include an academic and members of Edinburgh’s high society. But Jane is banished to the side-lines of the case and forced to look on impotently when the hunt for the killer ramps up, because the Murder Investigation Team believes the killer is related to her.

Has someone from Jane’s estranged birth family returned to haunt her? Could one of her relatives be involved? Where will the killer strike next?

This exciting novel is the first in Val Penny’s new series of Scottish thrillers.

About the Author

This is the first in the new series of novels, The Jane Renwick Thrillers. Val Penny’s other crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s Secret form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.

Author Links

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Bookbub

Links to Val Penny’s Books

Hunter’s Chase / Hunter’s Revenge / Hunter’s Force / Hunter’s Blood / Hunter’s Secret / Let’s Get Published / Dark Scotland / The First Cut

Categories
Books The Power of Belief

The Power of Belief: Val Penny

Here to start this new series is friend and fellow author: Val Penny. Welcome back to the blog, Val. Where are you taking this theme?

Val Penny, author of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries

I had always wanted to write a novel, and indeed had written a story for my little sister when we were both small children. I still have that book.

However, as I grew up and started work, I spent my time writing opinions and documents to the extent that any ideas of writing fiction had to be put to one side. Interestingly, though, life does not travel in a straight line and after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I took early retirement.

I was lucky, the disease was diagnosed early, my husband was able to attend every chemotherapy appointment with me and a local charity provided drivers to take me to each of my daily radiotherapy appointments. However, the treatment left me exhausted and unable to undertake any of my interests or hobbies. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but day-time television programmes leave a lot to be desired! I was tired, but not too tired to complain.

My husband bought me lots of novels and I read voraciously. Then I started a blog to allow me to review the books I read: www.bookreviewstoday.com but even that didn’t hold my interest.

Eventually, my husband said to me, “If you know so much about what makes a good book, why don’t you write one?”

I doubted that I had the talent or the energy to complete a novel, but my husband encouraged me. He believed in me. He still does and he made me believe in myself. When I sent off my manuscript to two different publishers and was accepted by both, his belief and mine seemed justified.

Without my husband setting me the challenge and having the belief in me to write a book, I never would have done it. Now I have five published novels and a nonfiction book under my belt. If you enjoy crime fiction, read The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries published by darkstroke.

Ah, where would we be without our other halves!

About Val Penny

Val Penny’s crime novels, Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force, Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s Secret form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and two cats.

Val’s Links

Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Bookbub.

Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force, Hunter’s Blood, Hunter’s Secret, Let’s Get Published, Dark Scotland.

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Next Friday, look out for an amazing story of belief by Paula R C Readman.

To post in this series, you don’t have to be an author and the post doesn’t have to be about writing. Tell us about belief making things happen, whether true or fictional, personal or not.

If you want to take part, let me know via Contact above, or through social media.

Categories
Blogging Books Holidays Rhymes SIM Talks with Miriam

Two Months – Where did they Go?

AlmondasJourneyThe last post on this blog was two months ago. Time for a catchup.

November was NaNoWriMo, that month of the year when an ever growing number of people around the world try to write a novel in a month. Those who despise it haven’t got it, I think. The result is only a first draft. It’s not for anyone else to read and definitely not for publication. I didn’t manage to “win” this year, but I had a great time creating thirty-something thousand words that will form a basis for a new novel… when I can find time to work on it.

In Cambodia
Photo by David Drori

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Then we went away, to Vietnam and Cambodia, two countries I never expected to visit, given what I heard about them all through my childhood and beyond. The trip was wonderful.

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What’s happening now? Well, I’ve been featured on a few blogs:

Many thanks to Social Anx, Jess B. Moore, Val Penny and Lizzie Chantree for those.

I’m editing another novel. (Someone else’s novel.)

I’m still working on a novel of mine that I thought I’d finished.

And I’m making plans for 2019. One of those is for a new feature on this blog, called SIM Talks. Watch this space for more about that.

I hope you’re all enjoying life as much as I am and wish you all the best for

2019

Remember my New Year rhyme? Here it is again:

Three Years a Year

I pity the people with only one year,
Who end it all merry, never shedding a tear.
They have to say so many things in one go,
To one year goodbye, to another hello.

They try to reflect on the year that has passed,
While also looking forward to the one that is fast
Approaching… nearly… almost… it’s here!
Resolutions transferred from yesteryear.

In Israel, you see, we celebrate three
And each, in its character, is solitary.
Different, special and unique,
They make us happy, thankful and… meek?

Rosh Hashana is one of those.
With all its rules, it keeps us on our toes,
Requesting forgiveness for our sins.
That’s “our” for humanity; not just kins.

Then we join with the world and celebrate, too,
Although some disagree and think it’s taboo.
Sylvester, it’s called, I used to know why.
It matters not when I’m feeling high.

What, you may ask, is number three?
It’s the one that marks the year of the tree.
Goes under the name of Tu B’Shvat.
We plant more trees, sing songs. That’s that?

Well no, we give presents of nuts and fruit,
And we eat same with much relish to boot.
So whatever New Year is appropriate for you,
I hope it is happy and fulfilling, too!

 

Categories
Books Everyday life Israel Rhymes

Look What They’ve Done

Today, instead of Letters from Elsewhere, here’s a post about me, to catch up with some of the things I’ve done since… whenever.

The other day, I wrote two new verses to an old song. They’re inspired by a strange phenomenon: rain.

Look what they’ve done to my June, Ma

Look what they’ve done to my June, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my June.
Well it’s the only thing they could do half right,
And it’s turning out all wrong, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my June.

Look what they’ve done to my sun, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my sun.
Well, they took some clouds and made them black
And covered up the sun, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my sun.

Yes, it’s been raining heavily in various parts of the country, but not so heavily in Jerusalem. There has been flooding. One of the most afflicted towns was Sderot. You’d think they’ve had enough to contend with without the weather joining in.

It never rains in June in Israel. Don’t they know that?

If you don’t know the original song, I’m sure you can find it on Youtube. “Look what they’ve done to my song.”

I’ve appeared on a few other blogs:

Author

Topic

My Post

C.J. Sutton

Fear

A Fear of People

Carrie-Ann Schless

Diary Entry

Noname’s Diary

Megan Mayfair

Espresso Tales

Coffee with Miriam Drori

Val Penny

My Writing Story

If you’d told me I was going to be a writer

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I’ve hosted two authors on the social anxiety blog: Jo Fenton and Val Penny.

I hosted characters on this blog in Letters from Elsewhere:

Character

From

By

Tina

The Brotherhood

Jo Fenton

DI Hunter Wilson

Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge

Val Penny

Joseph Flynn

Heart of Stone

John Jackson

Anne

The Road to Newgate

Kate Braithwaite

Harriet

Harriet of Hare Street

Angela Rigley

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And I was delighted to receive this from a grateful customer.

Me with Chasing the Case

Yes, I was the editor for this lovely novel: Chasing the Case by Joan Livingston.

And I have lots of new and exciting ideas for my writing. If I stop sleeping, I might be able to put them into practice. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Happy reading! See you next Friday for another Letter from Elsewhere!

Categories
Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Hunter

Letters from Elsewhere

Welcome readers and welcome to my guest today. He’s called DI Hunter Wilson and that sounds to me a fitting name for a detective. Hunter has come all the way from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and he’s told me how much he loves his city and is devoted to solving its crimes. I’ll always remember visiting Edinburgh many years ago and being shown a group of shiny, new, stationary police cars by a tour guide who told us that showed there was no crime in Edinburgh!

Hunter has brought a letter to his daughter, Alison, who lives in Shetland. In it Hunter tells Alison about the death of his friend and his determination to get revenge for this evil act.

Dear Alison,

I hope you are well and that your job is going well. I hope you will manage to visit me in August so that we can go to some events at The Edinburgh International Festival. I have been thinking about you and your brother, Cameron so much because yesterday, I was reminded very clearly how important friends and family are to us all.

I was called to the scene of a murder with that young DC Tim Myerscough. You know what a diverse city Edinburgh is and we had to drive from Fettes in the North passing pretty part known as Dean Village and the high residential tenements in Comely Bank to get to the Gilmerton in the South-East. The area of Gilmerton we had to go to has wide streets and the homes are mostly the four in a block flats that the Edinburgh Council built to rent out. Many of these were sold off in Margaret Thatcher’s era.

Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, with its castle, the palace and the grand St. Giles Cathedral where the tourists join the great and the good to worship. Here the children can swim in an Olympic sized pool, learn in art galleries and museums of International standards, follow the national rugby team and cheer on either of the city’s football teams. It breaks my heart when I witness an evil act. 

You know when I am twittering like this, I am trying to avoid telling you something awful. And that is exactly the case here. 

When Tim and I got to the flat in Gilmerton, I went over to look at the body. Imagine how awful it was to see the corpse of my friend, George Reinbold. He died alone and was clearly scared about something. Alison, I was so shocked! He was such a polite, thoughtful man. Who on earth would want to kill him?

That is what I will find out. Whoever did this must face the full force of the law.
Dad

Hunter is the hero of Hunter’s Chase, by Val Penny and published by Crooked Cat Books, and Hunter’s Revenge, which will be published by Crooked Cat Books in September.

About Hunter’s Chase

Hunter'sChaseCover (Val Penny)Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

You can buy Hunter’s Chase on Amazon.

About Val Penny

Val PennyVal Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Val is available on Twitter, Facebook and on her website.