Tag Archives: health

2018 Review: Annie Doyle

Whether you’re a reader or writer of crime fiction, we have a very strong community in the north-east and that’s how I met the lovely Annie Doyle. Annie is always smiling when I see her and I’m really chuffed to have her on the blog to review her year.

My thanks to Annie for taking the time to answer my questions.

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2018?
I’m delighted to have completed my first short story and submitted it to a competition. Throughout my life I’ve written lots of parts of stories and created lots of plot and character ideas, but this is the first time I’ve finished a story and done something productive with it; it feels like a huge achievement!

And how about a favourite moment from 2018 generally?
Being able to enjoy an autumnal walk with my mam. She’s had a long spell of illness and I didn’t think we’d be able to enjoy a walk together again. However, effective treatment has meant she’s regained the use of her legs and we’re walking together again!


Favourite book in 2018?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith. An American friend gave this to me when I visited Cape Cod in September. In-between days out cycling and evenings out eating, I read it from cover to cover in a few days. A coming of age/rite of passage/family saga story, it’s expertly told through the eyes and thoughts of young Francie Nolan. Francie’s reflections on her family and her personal situation are by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. It left me wanting more and needing to know what became of the adult Francie.

Favourite film in 2018?
Doctor Zhivago. A rotten cold relegated me to the sofa with Lemsip and a hot water bottle one rainy weekend in October so I consoled myself with a movie-fest. I’d never seen Doctor Zhivago before! I was immediately captivated by the music, the story, the romance and oh yes, by Omar Sharif. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I want to get cold again for an excuse to watch it but it’s definitely on the to-be-watched-over-and-over-again list!

Favourite song of the year?
Demons by Robert Vincent. I first saw this talented Liverpudlian singer-songwriter perform at the Sage SummerTyne Americana music festival in July. I was completely captivated by his music and his voice. I can’t compare him to anyone else; his voice is unique. I’ve seen him perform again more recently at the Old Cinema Launderette in Durham. Yes, it used to be a cinema, yes it’s now a launderette and yes, it hosts gigs! Fantastic concept for an event venue, you can have a drink, see a gig and do your washing, all in one evening! Robert Vincent is a talent to watch, in my opinion.

Any downsides for you in 2018?
My mam’s illness. A cancer diagnosis is always devastating for any individual and for that person’s extended family. We’ve had an extremely tough year, watching Mam battle invasive treatments and infections. She’s met each challenge head-on and she is my inspiration in life. The upside to this downside is that she’s currently living well with a chronic cancer and at 86, that’s some achievement!

Are you making resolutions for 2019?
To continue to make progress with my first novel. It’s been waiting to be created my whole life so it’s about time I just got on with it!

What are you hoping for from 2019?
Good health and happiness for my family and friends.

2018 Review: Tess Makovesky

Tess Makovesky is a brilliant writer who I’ve “known” online for many years. I met Tess in person for the first time at Crime and Publishment. Since then, I’ve hosted her at Noir at the Bar Newcastle and am delighted to have her on the blog to review her year. 

Thanks, Tess, I wish you well for 2019.

Vic x


Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2018?
It’s the release of my first novel Gravy Train by All Due Respect. I wasn’t sure I could write a whole novel and only tried after three writer friends (you know who you are…!) pinned me to the wall and threatened me with extreme consequences if I didn’t. And in the end I had so much fun writing it, and I think that shows. It’s steamed into town on Friday 26th November, just in time for Christmas. So, if you want to read about a bunch of losers chasing a bag of dodgy money around the back streets of Birmingham, then please watch this space!

GT v5.jpg

And how about a favourite moment from 2018 generally?
Probably the Crime and Publishment weekend back in March, which was an absolute blast. It’s always lovely catching up with so many old mates, but this year there were plenty of friendly new faces too, and the guest speakers and sessions were really stimulating. I enjoyed it so much I’ve just booked to go back next year!

Favourite book in 2018?
I’m struggling to answer this one a bit. I haven’t had time to read much crime this year, and some of what I have read has been slightly disappointing. I did enjoy Aidan Thorn’s latest, Rival Sons, which is a powerful family drama of the ‘throwing a stone into a pond and watching the ripples spread’ variety, with a real kick in the teeth ending. And I’m hoping to go back to an old favourite, The Saint Vs Scotland Yard by Leslie Charteris, next.

Favourite film in 2018?
Can I cheat and choose a TV series instead? Top of the list would be the wonderfully twisted Get Shorty, which was brilliant, dark, funny and brilliant – even if I did have to watch half of each episode through my fingers! Also worth a mention were Brotherhood, with great performances by Jason Isaacs and Jason Clarke, and Broadchurch series 3. And Bodyguard, of course, and… oh dear, it sounds like I do nothing but watch crime on television…

Favourite song of the year?
I’m cheating horribly by choosing Pink Floyd’s Have a Cigar, which gave me the title for Gravy Train – not to mention more than a few sly references to the lyrics inside the book!

Any downsides for you in 2018?
It’s been a slightly difficult year health-wise – nothing major thank goodness but lots of little annoying things that added up to much less time than usual to write. It was frustrating while it lasted but I’m hoping for better things next year.

Are you making resolutions for 2019?
Nope! I never make resolutions because I can never keep them beyond about the 9th January…

What are you hoping for from 2019?
I’m about nine tenths of the way through the first draft of Embers of Bridges, another crime caper set around Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and canals. I’d love to get that finished and offer it to All Due Respect. And a bit less divisiveness in the country might be nice…

2018 Review: Dave Sivers

Today’s writer is Dave Sivers. I had the pleasure of spending more time with Dave this year at Harrogate. Dave has been very kind to me and I’m delighted he’s here to share his 2018 with us. 
Vic x
Noir at the bar reading
Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2018? 
So many, but I’d have to choose reading at Noir in the Bar, Harrogate. To play a little part in the festival scene, having been going for so many years, and in such fabulous company, gave me the greatest buzz!
And how about a favourite moment from 2018 generally?
We’ve been lucky enough too do some great traveling this year, and it’s not easy to choose one – but I fell in love with Shanghai, and seeing it by night on a river cruise was just amazing.
Favourite book in 2018? 
I’d have to go for White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht. It’s about the ‘comfort women’ forced into brothels by the Japanese in WW2, and isn’t an easy read. But it’s a brilliant, very important novel on a shocking subject that’s been swept under the carpet of history.
Mary Lynn Bracht White Chrysanthemum
Favourite film in 2018? 
Not a new one, but I saw Brooklyn, starring  Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, and Julie Walters on TV this year. An Irish girl gets a chance to start a new life in America, but then gets torn between two countries and two loves. It’s a small story beautifully told.
Favourite song of the year?
I’m choosing Irene by Courtney Marie Andrews. Not new, but since I discovered her on the music selection on a plane, she’s become a firm favourite, and I finally managed to see her live this year.
Any downsides for you in 2018?
I’m disappointed that for a whole lot of reasons (some more my fault than others) my next book hasn’t emerged this year.
Are you making resolutions for 2019?
To be more disciplned and focused with my writing and try to be a bit more plotter than pantser. And to get my guitars out at least once a week and play them!
What are you hoping for from 2019?
Good health and happiness for me and the ones I love. It’s what really counts.

Review of 2017: Sarah Stovell

Today we have Sarah Stovell, the author of ‘Exquisite’, to review her 2017 in brief. 

Pop back later for a special blog tour post for Leigh Russell’s ‘Class Murder’. Ooh, I am spoiling you today! 

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
The moment my agent phoned me to say my novel had gone to auction in France and Sweden was a good one.

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
Seeing my new payslip and then moving to our beautiful big house in the country. It has taken many, many years to get here.

Favourite book in 2017?
The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan.

Favourite film in 2017?
Ethel and Ernest – it was on TV in 2016, but I didn’t get round to watching it till 2017.

Favourite song of the year?
I’m a bit crap with music.

Any downsides for you in 2017?
No. 2017 has been my best year yet.

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
To keep writing, but also to keep doing other things that fulfil me in ways that writing can’t.

What are you hoping for from 2018?
The continued good health and happiness of my family and me.

Jenni Eden reviews her 2013.

Today we have the wonderful Jenni Eden on the blog to share her highs and lows of 2013.

Vic x

Jenni Eden

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

Professionally it would have to be my exhibition: ‘For the Love of Rainbows’. It has been two years in the making and a whole new body of work. I have been totally fascinated with the theme of rainbows, black and white. The idea that white light can be refracted into rainbows and rainbow paint can be mixed into grays and blacks. It makes me feel rainbows are at the heart of white and black. This  led to the thoughts about humanity having rainbow light that can become too black if we follow our fears, but can be white if we follow our dreams. This has led to my dance ‘The Awakening’ and many of the paintings from the dance are in the exhibition.

The Awakening

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

Favourite moment from 2013, I think possibly my birthday because I always see my birthdays as whole new starts and I had two pieces of good news, one was gaining my Diploma with Distinction in Life Coaching and the other was getting benign results so I was euphoric, and the birthday seemed special as a result.

Favourite book in 2013?

I have made it my mission to read more this year, fiction books rather than self help books and I have several on my Kindle to read! But I did read ‘The Lost Symbol‘ and loved it.

Favourite film of 2013?

I have seen a few because I love films, but not many from 2013. I did see ‘Oz: the Great and Powerful‘ but I really enjoyed ‘Iron man 3‘ in 3D that was awesome. However, as I type this I am waiting for the next Hunger Games, I think that will be awesome.


Favourite song of the year?

My favourite song this year has been ‘A Thousand Years Part Two‘ by Christina Perri. I know it’s not 2013 as such but it’s been 2013 where I’ve listened to it most.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

Downsides would be my health. I had to have a knee operation in June, that took me longer than I expected to recover from, I feel almost always like I am about to get a cold and then another health scare in September which led to a flight back to UK for a biopsy but thankfully all benign.

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

I am making plans for 2014! One is to take things at a much more relaxed pace! I decided all these health things were the universe’s way of saying take it easier so I intend to.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

In 2014 I want for my Planting Positivity column pieces in the Oman Observer weekend magazine, to increase in popularity and to give me credibility so that when I launch my book on positivity, it will gain in popularity and then I want to be able to get ‘The Awakening’ dance in production.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

The one thing Santa could bring me is a bucket full of happiness, 🙂 I am putting in place all the things that will ensure that! But hey I won’t say no to diamonds in any form lol.

contemporary camel