#Tuesdaybookblog Book Tag: The Coffee book tag!

Here’s a great book tag challenge for you to have a go at. I must try it out soon, but in the meantime check out Sissy Lu’s take on the challenge. My book features in her list so I’m feeling rather chuffed!


So, I went out and I search for a book tag to do because I was bored and making myself some tea because I’ve already had my cut off amount of coffee for the day [Ugh, it’s sad I have to…

Source: Book Tag: The Coffee book tag!

Are book trailers worth it? Join in the poll #WWWblogs #indieauthors #writers

I have been making my way through my list of marketing ideas, which includes giveaways, blog tours and a book trailer.

I worked out a pitch, found a trailer format I liked on fiver, but then I chickened out. I started to question if it’s worth the £50+ price tag. Will I reach more readers? Is the £50 better spent elsewhere?

Before I take the plunge, I thought I’d open the question up to you guys. Please join in the poll.

I’ll post more about my thoughts on book trailers in a few days, along with the results of the poll.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice on the matter, please get in touch.

#Tuesdaybookblog – Visions of Zarua is available via #KindleUnlimited #fantasy

When I first published Visions of Zarua I wanted to reach as many book markets as possible. So I published with Kindle and Smashwords (which covers markets like Kobo, iTunes, Nook).

However in the months since publication I’ve only sold half a dozen copies through these platforms via Smashwords. Even running various sales, and a half price sale throughout July has not helped. Kindle has produced much better results so I decided to unpublish with Smashwords and try out KDP Select.

Amazon UK Kindle Unlimited

It’s just gone live this morning, so I’ll give a progress report in a few months on how this is working. I’m really hoping it will boost sales and that having access to extra marketing opportunities will allow me to step back from my own efforts and finish my next book – I’m miles behind schedule for publishing this year!

I’m also looking at the option of an audiobook. It would be a very expensive audiobook to buy, but not for readers who are monthly subscribers to audible etc. I’ll update on this as I go along.

Maybe these new platforms will lead to bigger and better things. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

In other news;

Visions of Zarua is still in the running for Mark Lawrence’s #SPFBO 2 (self published fantasy blog off). Some of the reviewers have already whittled down their list to a few, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in my group of 30 authors.

As September draws closer, I’m eagerly awaiting the results of the Creative National Writing competition. Visions of Zarua has been shortlisted and several prizes will be awarded. I have everything crossed hoping it gets placed amongst the winners.


I think I have just about exhausted all the marketing opportunities for indie authors – goodreads giveaways, blog tours etc. As much as I want to let go and focus on other projects, it’s hard to see Visions of Zarua disappear amongst the millions of other books available. Does anyone out there have any other marketing suggestions? Are there any avenues I’ve missed?

July Read-A-Thon book challenge #booksavvyreaders #somethingolde

Sissy Lu is hosting a July Read-A-Thon over on booksavvyreviews.

The idea is to read 5 books in a month and the theme is the wedding rhyme #somethingolde

My books for this July challenge will be;

Somethingold – ‘Children of Hurin – J R R Tolkien’


Somethingnew – ‘The Wedding Proposal – Sue Moorcroft’ desperate to read as I’m going to Malta soon.


Somethingborrowed – ‘The Devil’s Detective – Simon Kurt Unsworth’ Book group’s choice


Somethingblue – ‘The Blue Ridge Project – Neil Rochford’ Review book for Rosie Amber’s book review team.


Sixpenceina shoe – ‘Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer’ a paperback I won recently in a blog tour competition, which happens to be the 6th novel on my shelf.


It’s already day 4 of July and I’ve only just started the challenge. Along with my blog tour, finishing a novel, preparing for the kids to break up from school etc, I may not complete the challenge, but I’ll give it a go.

Why don’t you join us?

Stacking the Shelves 1 – May Summary #Tuesdaybookblog


This is my first time of joining in the Stacking the Shelves meme tynga’s Reviews. I hope to take part at the end of each month and share all the books I have won, bought and downloaded for free. May has been a good month for books;

I’ve won 4 books in competitions!

Caramel Hearts recipe book – Elizabeth Rose Murray  – ebook


The Wrong Kind of Clouds – Amanda Fleet – signed paperback


Rise of the Sparrows – Sarina Langa – Signed paperback


Eligible – Curtis Sittenfeld – paperback (won via Sun Perks)



I’ve also had a book buying spree on the kindle over the last week or so.

Hills and Valleys Bk3 Ambeth Chronicles – Helen Jones


The Runaway Bridesmaid – Daisy James

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Rise of the Sparrows – Sarina Langer (still happy to have won a signed paperback as well!)


The Sapphire Lengend: Part II – E.L. Tenenbaum (See my review of bk 1 here)


Wildflowerbay: Part One – Rachel Lucas

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Summer at Rose Island (bk 3) – Holly Martin


Distress Signals – Catherine Ryan Howard (See her guest post here)

distress signals cover image

Mud Maid – Sandra Horn & Karen Popham



I downloaded a couple of free ebooks

The Cutting Room – Julliane Hoffman


Flawless – Jan Moran



There is a perfect mix of fantasy, thrillers and romance in this selection. I still have a big TBR pile and don’t know when I’ll get a chance to read all these fantastic books. But I will review them when I can, so watch this space.

Have you read any of these books, would you recommend any of them? Or has my list inspired you to purchase any new books?

Enter to #win #epicfantasy Visions of Zarua in the #Goodreads #Giveaway

Top reviewers say;

‘Thrilling and dark fantasy novel that really keeps you gripped from beginning to end!’

‘The perfect amount of epicness.’

VOZ print book 3d image standing

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

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?


I’ve decided to run another Goodreads Giveaway, though I’m limiting it to the UK. Sorry to everyone else, I just wanted to have a UK winner this time. I will run another giveaway in the future though.

The giveaway runs 10th – 24th March and 1 lucky winner from the UK will receive a signed paperback.

If you are intrigued by the blurb and fancy a bargain, I’m running a price promo on Visions of Zarua. Ebook only 99p / $1.99 available. amazon smashwords nook

Click Goodreads Giveaway to enter now.

Please share and spread the word.

#TuesdayBookBlog #review of Fire, Bed and Bone – Henrietta Branford #childrensbooks

My Rating 5 out of 5.

Pages 136.


Blurb from the front cover, which makes an interesting change.

‘A revolt is brewing. The year is 1381 and unrest is spreading like plague. England’s peasants are ready to rise against their unjust landlords. The violent upheaval will affect everyone – even dogs, like the old hunting bitch through whose eyes, ears and nose these dramatic events are revealed.’

Children’s book – I’d say 9+ but the book doesn’t state. I would be happy for my 9 year old to read it, and I think my son (11) would enjoy it too (in fact my son read ‘White Wolf’ by Henrietta Branford a couple of years ago and said it was one of his favourite books).

My daughter bought Fire, Bed and Bone at her school fair. She said she really liked the cover and the blurb and that’s why she picked it out of loads of other books. I decided to read a page or two just to see if it was suitable, but I couldn’t stop reading. I read the book in a couple of evenings, though around page 100 it almost became too emotional to read (that might just be me as I’m a sucker for an animal story).

This book is brilliantly written. I was immediately drawn into the world of ‘old dog’ as she is affectionately called by her owners. But she is not old and has two litters through the story, proving herself a  fiercely protective and loving mother. She is also devoted to her owners Rufus and Comfort, and their children. I loved her voice and all the little details that she as a dog notices about people and the world around her. I was not surprised to read Henrietta Branford grew up in The New Forest, England (a place close to my heart) and that she learnt a great deal from her father about animals from a shooting and fishing perspective.

It’s a short, wonderful read, and I recommend it to everyone.

I can’t wait for both my children (and my husband) to read it and see what they think. It will be an interesting experiment, something we haven’t had the chance to do as a family before. I look forward to updating this post with their opinions, I only hope they love Fire, Bed and Bone as much as me.


Visions of Zarua – Results of the #Goodreads Giveaway Feb 2016

First of all thanks so much to all those who entered, and to those who have helped me spread the word.

Three winners were picked by Goodreads and the signed books are about to be sent out. Congratulations to the winners, I really hope they enjoy the book.

I ran my giveaway of Visions of Zarua for 2 months, not having put much research into what is a good timescale beforehand. Others have suggested that a shorter period is better, but maybe for a new indie author the longer the giveaway runs, the better.

2070 people entered the competition and of those 835 marked it as to read on their bookshelves. I’ve also managed to pick up some new followers. These are people that would never have heard of Visions of Zarua without Goodreads, so I see the competition as a great success. I really enjoyed running the giveaway and I may run another competition again soon.

I have also considered doing a Rafflecopter giveaway, but know even less about this than I did Goodreads. Can anyone offer any advice?

A bit cheeky I know, but if you were intrigued by the giveaway and fancied picking up a copy, Visions of Zarua is available for only £2.99 on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and Smashwords for other formats.

For any authors out there considering a giveaway, I say go for it.


UPDATE – 17th February 2016

A small note of caution. Running the giveaway is free, but the costs can still add up. My lucky winners were from Romania, India and USA. In all, the postage has cost me £27.45. Add to this the cost of the books which I brought direct from createspace and had to pay shipping on as well. I’d say I’m around £50.00 out of pocket.

However, as far as advertising costs go, that’s a bargain.

I know 2070 people (plus their friends on Goodreads) have now seen my book. Being in the fantasy section of the giveaway ensures I have done all I can to target my ideal audience. So although the giveaway hasn’t had much impact on sales yet, I’m hopeful it will help spread the word about Visions of Zarua. I read somewhere that consumers need to see a product a lot (something like 7 – 10 times) before they buy. So I shall just keep plugging away and keep dreaming of those sales and reviews rolling in.

My top 4 blog posts for #newwriters and #IndieAuthors

As 2015 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about my New Years Resolutions. Apart from the usual eat healthy, drink less and exercise more, my top resolutions have to be to write more and blog regularly.

With that in mind, I decided to look through my posts of 2015. I have only been blogging for about 6 months and amongst my 40 odd posts I wanted to share my favourites aimed at aspiring writers and indie authors. Click the links to read the posts in full.

I summarised my Top Tips for New Writers, ranging from attending evening classes, using beta readers and professional services in My Top Ten Tips for New Writers

Ready to proof read your novel? Use my Proof Read Top 10 checklist to give you a head start.

For those who plan to self publish in 2016, I’ve shared my tips on How to Survive Publication Day and The things I wish I’d done before Publication Day to help your publishing experience go smoothly.

For me 2015 has been a year of learning lots of new skills, of frustration when things haven’t gone to plan, but ultimately I’m left with a great deal of satisfaction knowing I’ve achieved one of my biggest dreams – publishing my first novel as an ebook and paperback.

I hope to publish my second novel next year and to continue building my author profile as well as reaching new readers and writers. I’m planning a blog tour in early 2016 and my Goodreads Giveaway (which closes 14th Feb 2016) is already attracting attention.

The world of indie publishing is full of opportunities and I look forward to the new challenges 2016 throws my way.

Bring on January 2016, I’m ready for you!

My pre-publishing checklist

I can’t believe how close I am to actually publishing my first fantasy novel, Visions of Zarua. This has been my dream since junior school when I first discovered the magic of creating my own stories. Now I am about to accomplish that dream, and it’s exciting but also terrifying.

Items ticked off my checklist

The proofread is done.

The final changes are done – I managed to lose another 1,100 words. The final word count is now down to just over 152K.

The cover is paid for, proofed and on its way.

The table of contents is inserted with all its bookmarks and hyperlinks, and seems to be working. It was actually very easy, just tedious – why do I have 48 chapters?

I’ve saved the novel as a HTML web page file and checked the formatting looks as it should.

Still to do;

Once I have the cover, I can download to Kindle and check for any formatting errors. Then I’ll need to do the same with Smashwords.

In a few days I hope to get my press release out there with the cover reveal and a link to pre-order – something else I need to learn how to do. 

Finally, I just have a few more decisions to make about setting the price, how long to have it on pre-order, my actual launch date and how to reach potential readers.

Anyone have any marketing tips and tricks?