#Bookreview – The Wrong Kind of Clouds Amanda Fleet #thriller @amanda_fleet1

The Wrong Kind of Clouds by Amanda Fleet

Genre – Crime / Thriller

Disclaimer – I won a paperback copy of this book during a twitter promo.


Blurb – “Crippled, he watched his attacker glance around briskly; then he was heaved on to his shoulder like a sack of coal.”

In Amanda Fleet’s debut thriller, The Wrong Kind of Clouds, Patrick Forrester is in trouble. Deep trouble. Someone wants him dead. In fact, lots of people want him dead, but one of them has taken him hostage. As he’s being bundled away, he manages to call his ex-lover, Summer Morris, and begs her for help…

Summer Morris, an award-winning photographer with synaesthesia, hasn’t spoken to Patrick for months. With good reason. In fact, she would have been happy never to hear from him again. But, he begged her for help, so she’s trying to help. Along with an off-duty police officer, Detective Sergeant LB Stewart, she gets swept into Patrick’s world of lies and deceit, in a desperate race against time to find him alive.

Trying to unpick the knot of Patrick’s life takes them from an affair that could help bring down a government, to the dust and heat of Malawi, and a whole heap of trouble in between. If only they knew who wanted him dead, they might find him alive. The trouble is, almost everyone wants Patrick dead.


First thoughts – I was really pleased to have won a paperback copy of this book. The blurb intrigued me, and I liked both the book cover and the unusual title. The start of the book takes you straight into the action and draws you in.

Summary – This thriller has plenty of twists and turns. It’s a race against time to find Patrick alive and there are many suspects who could be behind the kidnapping. Patrick really isn’t a good person to be involved with, but he does have some redeeming qualities and I found myself rooting for him to be found in time. This premise and the writing style led to a page turner of a book.

Characters – There were various viewpoint characters in The Wrong Kind of Clouds, but the main characters are Summer and LB. I liked the unusual angle with Summer having synaesthesia (seeing emotions in colour). I didn’t know what this condition was until it was explained in the book, so the first few times Summer saw emotions in colour I was a little confused.

I liked LB the best. He’s a good cop, helping Summer find her ex when he’s on his holidays. I found the budding relationship between Summer and LB sometimes moved a little fast, but it’s always hindered by Patrick and the race against time to find him.

Issues – There was one point where Summer’s actions took me out of the story, it just didn’t seem plausible for anyone to act that way at a crime scene. This was only a small point in the story and as I read on this issue was soon dealt with by LB.

Final thoughts – It was a really good read with all the page turning qualities of a good thriller. I thought I’d guessed who was behind the kidnapping, but after changing my mind several times, I was still proved wrong!

The end did feel a little rushed and there were elements to the story that I would have liked developed or resolved more. But apart from that it was a satisfying conclusion and I’d be interested to read more of Summer and LB’s story.

Recommend to – Thriller readers

Rating – 4 stars

Why not check out the book for yourself on Amazon UK Amazon US or Goodreads.

Weekend wanderings – Hawkstone Park Follies Shropshire

Last month we returned the wonderful Hawkstone Park Follies in Shropshire. It’s an inspiring place to walk around, with caves, ravines and a tower to explore. I would like to share a few of my photos from the day. First the views…



The Monument – a very steep climb with a perfect viewing platform at the top if you’re not scared of heights. I didn’t take up the challenge.


The caves – the first one was pitch black, thank goodness for the torch app on my phone.

I used this shots for one of my blog tour picture quotes.


The ravine (the squeeze) was by far the best place to visit, but my photos just don’t do it justice.


Who doesn’t love a tree sculpture?


Finally, I’d also like to share some close ups.



If you’re ever in Shropshire, take a few hours out to visit this beautiful historic park.

How To Set Up An Amazon Giveaway

I wanted to share this great article I’ve found about setting up Amazon Giveaways. I set my first ever giveaway a few days ago and was shocked to see it end after less than half an hour with only 57 entries. I went into it blind and wish I’d seen this post before I set my figures up. I will be using this as a template when I set up my next giveaway.

Amazon has recently started offering everyone the opportunity to offer a giveaway. What’s interesting about this is that you can run one for pretty much any item in their inventory – in…

Source: How To Set Up An Amazon Giveaway

#Thursdaydoors – Door to nowhere at #Bodiam Castle

This week I’m joining in #Thursdaydoors, hosted by Norm on his blog, with a few doors to nowhere from Bodiam Castle in Sussex. It’s a lovely example of a moated castle, and though in ruins there is still plenty to spark the imagination. I love these doors that open into nothingness. They remind me of the often used cartoon sketches where the character rushes through a door to escape but finds empty space on the other side. Of course, it’s been used in plenty of films too…


Here’s another door to nowhere.


I love old wooden doors and I’m partial to a portcullis too.


I’ve done a weekend wander post of Bodiam Castle before, so I won’t linger here today. If you’d like to see more of this great castle check out the post here.

One last picture of the beautiful castle itself.




#Bookreview Why does my book not sell 20 Simple Fixes – Rayne Hall #writers

Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple fixes

Author – Rayne Hall


First thoughts – I saw a review of this book recently and thought great, this is just what I need to give my book sales a boost. I had high hopes it would show me what I was doing wrong and how I could sell more.

Summary – Each of the 20 stages is relevant to indie authors. The book covers topics like the blurb, know your reader, targeting your readers and social media.

Writing style – It’s very easy to follow, down to earth and not condescending. I especially like the lessons learnt section at the end of each chapter, where Rayne Hall shows us examples of her mistakes.

Issues – It seemed at times as though the book assumed you were already selling some copies, so it was a bit depressing on that front. I’m doing pretty much everything she suggests, so there are no miracle fixes for me. But it’s all still great advice and it doesn’t hurt to go over everything now and then to see how you can improve.

Final thoughts – The book was short and sweet. I read it in an evening and made plenty of notes. For me the best section was probably about the blurb. As she states its the biggest factor when a reader chooses to buy your book.

I’ve picked up a lot of my knowledge over time, but I wish I’d known about this book at the start of my self publishing journey and had read it much sooner.

Recommend to – Every indie author will benefit from this, especially if you are just starting out or preparing to self publish for the first time.

Rating – 4 stars

#WWWblogs – My 2nd KDP Select update on Ads, Giveaways & a review request #indie

I had some great responses to my post a few weeks ago about my experience 1 month into Kindle Select. See original post here. There were many people who were struggling with it like me, and others who had advice to make the experience work better for you.

Here’s a quick update of my findings:

  • Stick with KDP Select – Most people believe KDP is the best place to sell your indie books as Kindle is the highest retailer of ebooks.
  • You still have to do ALL the marketing yourself – I had been naïve enough to think that once you went with Select, they would promote your book to all their unlimited subscribers.
  • Reviews – Once you hit a certain amount of reviews, Amazon does start to help you with promotion. This is one I’ll be looking out for with interest once I hit that magical number, whatever it is!
  • Countdown Deals – You can run them in the UK & US at the same time, but not if you put in different starts dates as I did. You NEED to promote Countdown deals yourself. Pay to advertise your sale on the many different book ad sites out there. I haven’t used any paid ad sites myself, but will be looking into this option. Any one have any recommendations?
  • 5 Free book days per enrolment period – Best to do when you have more than one book published. Others have reported success with lots of downloads on their free days, and if it can help get those sought after reviews, all the better. I may hold off setting up my free days until my next book comes out though. Don’t forget to advertise.
  • Free Copies to reviewers – This one was a real issue for me, but I have since heard back from Amazon who stated a free copy of a physical product is permitted if the author states they welcome positive and negative feedback, and the reviewer states a free copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
  • Other ad options – There are other marketing options to try with KDP Select – I’ve set up several ad campaigns.

Sponsored products – You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, which is shown on the Amazon website when your selected key words are searched for. I’ve had this running a while and according to them I’ve had over 3k impressions but only 3 clicks. So far this hasn’t resulted in sales, but maybe the people who have seen the book cover a few times will get intrigued enough to click on it and find out more.

Product Display – This is where your book will appear on people’s kindles and Amazon.com when they search certain genres. I held off with this as you have to set a minimum budget of $100, but they only start billing you when people start clicking on your ad. Mine only went live today so I don’t know if it will help with sales.

And finally the big news, I’ve just set up my first ever Amazon.com Giveaway. Anyone in the US can enter for a chance to win my paperback. I’ve set it that they have to follow me on Amazon.com so we’ll see if anyone is interested and if this will help me get more coverage in the US.

If you’re in the US and want a chance to win a paperback copy, please check out the link here.

A note of caution for those wanting to set up an amazon giveaway – as per the set up rules the details cannot be changed once submitted. I misunderstood what the Welcome message was, I assumed it was once someone had clicked to enter. But it appears with the ad so would be much better suited as the blurb or tag line of the book. Now I have to plug my giveaway, the whole time feeling like a fool for getting something else wrong. (This indie author learning curve is a steep one, and never seems to end!)

UPDATED 4.40pm 20th Sept 16. I don’t understand the Amazon giveaway. It closed after less than an hour and a winner has been picked after only 57 entrants. I set it up to be 1 winner in 100. The upside is now I can redo it without my mistake on the Welcome message, not allow everyone to share the giveaway, set it up to have a higher amount of entrants. The downside is, I have to pay for another giveaway already, I thought this one would last a week! 

Now over to you – Have I inspired you to try Kindle Select, or put you off trying it altogether? Have you any findings to share or tips on improving sales whether through KDP Select or other means? Maybe you’ve made some mistakes you’d like to share. I’d love to hear your views.


Finally my cheeky request.

I’m looking to reach that magic number of reviews on Amazon, I’ve read that it could be 20. I have 14 great reviews so far, and I’m really hoping to reach 20 reviews by the end of the year. I’ve been researching book reviewers and will be contacting some over the next few days, but I thought I’d also put the request out to you guys. If any of you are book reviewers and are interested in reading Visions of Zarua, please get in touch in the comments or via my ‘contact me’ page.

I’m also willing to take part in Q&A sessions and author interviews if anyone would like to feature an indie author on their blog.

I’ll leave you with the Amazon link here if you want to find out what the book is all about. Obviously its free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited customer (Amazon suggested I tell reviewers that!).

Thanks for reading.

#Thursdaydoors and a visit to Arley Arboretum

I’m joining in #thursdaydoors as hosted by Norm over on his blog. Check the link to see how to join in, and for some great door pictures.

I think there’s something really special about this little door. It has no handle and no key hole, does it take a magic word to open it?


A couple of years ago we visited the beautiful Arley Arboretum in Shropshire. It’s a steep walk up from the village to reach it, but it’s worth the climb. Arley is a stop on the Severn Valley Railway, which is also well worth doing. I’ll post some pictures of that and the railway museum soon.

There are some lovely gateways at the arboretum.



If you’re ever near Arley in Shropshire this is a beautiful place to spend a few hours. And because it’s an arboretum, I had to share a couple of tree pictures even if it doesn’t fit with the Thursday doors theme.

My son has kindly provided a scale to judge the height and girth of the trees. He’s a tree fanatic, so this is a very cool place for him to visit.

First a Lebanese Cedar…


We believe the next two are Sequoia



And selection of trees


And back to the original reason for this post, that cool door…


I liked it so much it even played a small role in my first novel. It wasn’t opened by magic, just an ordinary key, but the key user was a wizard. I’ve also used the picture in my blog tour, in case you recognise it.

Zarua - Shelley - Gate picture post

Sorry for the shameless plug, but I really do love this door.