August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews

On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams.

The idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!). You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time. The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.

Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book. No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used. Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!

Why should you write a review?

They help book buyers make decisions. Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use? Book reviews are no different.

If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand.

The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly). If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen.

It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes!

Off we go, then! A few more pointers:

If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.

A review can be as short as one word. The shortest one I have is just two 🙂

You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.

No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review? If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you! I will do one blog post a week featuring these links: The #AugustReviews Hall of Fame (thank you, Barb!).

If you have a blog and would like to spread the word about #AugustReviews, please feel free to copy and paste this blog post, provide the link to it, re-blog it, or whatever ~ many thanks, and I hope you will join in to make this idea a success 🙂

David Gemmell – 10 year anniversary of my writing hero’s death #fantasy

This is just a brief post to highlight the wonderful work of David Gemmell. He was my inspiration to start writing fantasy and I’ve loved all of his books, without exception!

Whenever I’m asked who my favourite author is, the answer will always be David Gemmell.

I remember when I learnt of his death. I’d just found out I was pregnant with my second child and was contemplating the impossible task of typing up the scribbled first draft of Visions of Zarua before the baby’s arrival. David Gemmell’s death really affected me. No more Druss, Waylander, Skilgannon, Connavar or Jon Shannow… the list of wonderfully flawed heroes goes on and on.

I was so pleased to hear that his wife, Stella Gemmell, had agreed to finish the book he was working on when he died. The last book in the Troy Trilogy – Fall of Kings. I read the book with tears in my eyes for the great story teller that was lost, but also because that last book was brilliant and I knew I would never get to read any more of his work.

I read that he died at his desk. I don’t know if it’s true, but I like the romantic notion of dying whilst doing one of the things you love best.

I have a long list of books on my TBR pile, but to honour the great man I shall make this my next read.

lord of the silver bow

If you want to read a heroic fantasy story you could pick up any one of Gemmell’s books. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Visions of Zarua in a picture montage #epicfantasy #fantasy

I had such fun putting these photo quotes together for my blog tour. It took hours and lots of reworking to get them right.

cathy - pyre picture quoteDrew - Tree tunnel picture quoteTeri - Hawthorn picture quoteJennifer - Leyoch tunnel picture quoteVarnia & gate scene for blog tourvarnia and elderflower scene for blog tourhappymeerkatreview - tunnel picture quote

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little recap from my blog tour. Links to all the reviews and interviews etc are on the Blog Tour page.

As always, here are the links to pick up your copy of Visions of Zarua, or to see what other reviewers have been saying.

Amazon UK         Amazon US            Goodreads


5 days left to buy Visions of Zarua $2.00 #Smashwords #fantasy

For the whole month of July I’ve been running a 50% sale with Smashwords. 1000’s of books are discounted so it’s worth having a look at the sales page.

Here’s Visions book page. You just enter the code SSW50 and the discount will be applied. Smashwords is good for buying ebooks from different retailers / different formats i.e. kobo, nook, iTunes and of course kindle (mobi, pdf etc.).

squrriel sees a good deal

For me, this is a last attempt to drum up some interest in Smashwords before I enrol in KDP Select. It will be interesting to see if the KDP scheme has any impact on sales, so I’ll keep you informed of my findings.

In the mean time, here’s the blurb…

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Also available via

Amazon UK

Amazon US

There are some brilliant reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. If you are intrigued, why not check those reviews and see what you think.


A quick question for all you indie authors out there, have you switched to KDP select and what do you think? Would you recommend it?

#WWWblogs – Goodreads Giveaway #Indie #Writers take advantage of free advertising

Are you self published? Have you tried a free goodreads giveaway?

Ok, it’s not free in the sense that you need to supply the paperback and pay the postage, but it is one of the best ways to reach people that actually read books.

I’ve run 3 giveaways for my novel Visions of Zarua. One over Christmas, one over Easter and this last one at the end of my first ever blog tour (see the blog tour page here in case you missed it).

This morning at 8am the competition closed and a winner was selected by Goodreads. I’m pleased to see the winner reads and reviews books, and I really hope they will enjoy Visions enough to consider reviewing it at some point in the future.

I was amazed that 1658 people entered in just two weeks. That’s 1658 people that have seen my book and wanted to win it! That’s my reason why the goodreads giveaways are so good for Indie authors.

Visions of Zarua is also marked as to-read by 1221 people.

I know these are just numbers and don’t equate to sales, but it’s really exciting to think that all these people have seen my book.

Poppy is ecstatic with the results.


(Note to the winner – Poppy’s cuddling my copy. Don’t worry, you have a brand new book being sent to you.)

My experience

Of my 3 giveaways, one winner did drop off of Goodreads completely and I don’t know if they even received the book. When postage costs more than £10, plus the cost of the book, it’s frustrating but that’s just the way it goes. I think it’s still worth the risk to get the book noticed by more people. I have yet to receive any reviews because of the giveaways, but maybe the winners will get around to it one day.

The only thing I would have done differently with this giveaway is the timing. I should have had the giveaway running throughout the blog tour, all that extra publicity missed! But marketing is a learning process and I hope my mistakes will help others as they begin their journey into self-publishing.

Do you have any tips to share?

Have you tried the goodreads giveaways and what did you think?


On another note – I won my first ever goodreads giveaway at the same time as someone won mine. I can’t wait to receive my free book ‘Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas’  and you can be sure I will review it. Watch this space.


#WWWBlogs – 2 Easy Steps To A Massive #Blog Tour

Do you want to run a blog tour? This is how I did it, as explained by Dan on his blog. Please let us know what you think.


My friend Suzanne Rogerson was able to create weeks’ worth of blog tours (aka publicity for her new book) by doing….something. What, though? I had to know. For you, or course, because I love you gu…

Source: 2 Easy Steps To A Massive Blog Tour

#SundayBlogShare – Less than 24 hours to win a paperback copy of Visions of Zarua #fantasy

There is less than 24 hours to go in this worldwide giveaway on goodreads. Almost 1300 people have entered so far and I’m gratified to see Visions on over 1000 people’s bookshelves!

If you’re not sure whether to enter, why not take a look at the reviews on Goodreads – average rating 4.42 (12 ratings / 11 reviews).

Enter the giveaway here.

goodreads giveaway - river scene Luccia.G

There are also some great reviews on Amazon UK  (average rating 4.5stars) & US (average rating 4.4 stars).

Plus the Smashwords discount is still running for 50% off ebook / kindle.

You may also want to check out my recent blog tour for Visions of Zarua. Reviews, Q&A and some picture quotes like this…

cathy - pyre picture quote


On a personal note, the kids have just broken up for the summer hols. It was a busy & emotional time, especially with my son leaving junior school, but he has taken it in his stride and can’t wait for Seniors in September.

I plan to be quite busy with them for the next few weeks, plus I’m still trying to finish my next book. I have a couple of posts lined up but then things may go quiet at my end. Please still leave comments and I will check back when I can.

Happy summer everyone.




Did you guess right? #Photo challenge

Thanks to those who made guesses yesterday on this strange close up shot for my #wordlesswednesday post. It was inspired by my brilliant camera phone that has been wowing me with its macro abilities.

I asked who can guess what this is?

DSC_0382 (4)

I had some great guesses and the answer is…





2016-07-05 12.40.16

And with a little help from one of these busy little fellows…

P1150434 (5)

It became this…

2016-07-19 11.11.43

Nothing tastes quite as good as home grown cucumber, but watch out for those prickles! Seeing them close up for the first time really did freak me out. They remind me of the sting on a wasps bottom, and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of those again!

Thanks for all your guesses, and of course congratulations to those of you who got it right. Hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of fun. I’ll be posting some more veg inspired pictures next week.