#tuesdaybookblog The Writer’s Lexicon by @KathySteinemann #bookreview

The Writer’s Lexicon should be on every writer’s desk! Read on to find out why.

Blurb

You’re a writer. You just read your manuscript and discovered your characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter. When they’re not nodding, they’re rolling their eyes.

Oops.

Time to slash the Pinocchio strings and turn them into real live people. Award-winning author Kathy Steinemann will provide the tools. She cuts through the so-called rules and offers simple solutions.

Too many repetitions of “little”? There’s a cure for that. Do you rely on “very” too often? There’s a cure for that too. You’ll find the remedies in this book’s dispensary.

Should you ever use anything other than “said” to attribute dialogue? Are exclamation points taboo? The answers might surprise you.

Learn how to harness body language, cut hackneyed adjectives, and draw on the environment for ambience. No more wooden characters. You’ll transform them into believable personalities your readers will learn to love. Or hate.

Get in the driver’s seat, relax, and enjoy your journey—with Kathy Steinemann’s book as your GPS.

My Review

The author contacted me about reviewing her book and I’m so pleased she did. When I read the line ‘…characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter’, I knew this was a writing resource book I had to read.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m in the process of fine-tuning the second book in my series Silent Sea Chronicles. I know I’m guilty of creating nodding, grinning character who laugh and cry far too much. There are plenty of other examples of words that you may not even realise you are overusing (that being one!), and a multitude of alternatives to try.

Kathy Steinemann uses imaginative examples of how not to write sentences, along with examples of how to improve your work. There are A-Z lists of alternative words, and story prompts throughout. The book gets you thinking about why you have chosen particular words, and she helps you think of ways a few well placed words can bring your story to life. There are also chapters on punctuation, how to include the senses in your writing, and a list of 400 redundant words.

I think it’s a brilliant book for every writer to have on their desk. Unfortunately, I’ve only read The Writer’s Lexicon on kindle (I highly recommend a paperback). I can imagine my paperback copy would have post-it notes stuck all over my favourite chapters. It has certainly got me thinking, and I will be using this as a guide to help me tighten the writing in my books.

5 well deserved stars.

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Goodreads

writerslexicon

The KDP Countdown deal Results are in! #indie #indieauthor

Well, I’m astounded by what a little advertising can do. These aren’t the massive results others have achieved, but it is the BEST I have ever done, and the best Visions of Zarua has ever done. I’m ecstatic, and my self publishing verve has been restored!

So how did Visions of Zarua do during the 99p / 99c countdown deal?

result-2153619_1920

The deal ran 20th to 27th July 2017

Day 1 – My efforts consisted of Tweeting, blogging, Facebook, Instagram – the usual suspects.

COST = MY TIME. SALES = 0

Day 2 – BKnights

COST = $11. SALES = 3

Day 3 – My Facebook Ad: Aimed at 15-30 age group male/female in UK and US with interests in reading, fantasy etc. Total of 9 interests.

COST = £6. SALES = 0

Note – I picked this age group as they had shown the most interest in previous ads. There were 1,169 people reached – 16 likes and 1 link click (to Amazon book page). 12 photo quote clicks were recorded – obviously having the photo quote took away from the amazon link click. (A few days later I invited these people to Like my facebook page.)

Day 4 – Bargain Booksy Ad

COST $40. SALES = 24!

Finally making progress, although I haven’t covered my costs. There were 21 sales in the US and 3 in the UK. 

Day 5 – Facebook Ads attempt 2

This time I ran two ads, 1 US and 1 UK. I upped the age range 16-65+ male/female. I reduced interests to 4.

I also used the Amazon book page as the direct link for the Ad, rather than have the universal link in the wording of the ad as before.

US 14 likes, only 2 link clicks (234 people reached)

UK 2 likes, 21 link clicks. (470 people reached) No idea if these resulted in sales.

COST = £8. SALES = 10 (5 UK / 5 US) – Maybe a result of Bargain Booksy and / or facebook ad?

Day 6 – Booksends

COST $35. SALES = 28

Very happy with these figures!

DAY 7 – Bookrunes.

COST = $25. SALES 9.

I was interested to give Bookrunes a shot as they advertise to UK, US, Australia and India. Even though the deal doesn’t run in all those countries, it’s still very much needed exposure.

And guess what,

Day 8 = 3 sales in Australia!

Extra: Amazon Marketing Services

I also ran an AMS ad throughout the whole KDP countdown deal. The results take a few days to finalise, but so far it looks as though it received 1847 impressions, 1 click and 1 sale. That sale cost so far $0.07. I have a profit WOOHOO! However, that’s the worst an AMS ad has ever performed for me. It was a sponsored product ad with 48 keywords, but they would not let me mention anything to do with the sale or price in the ad so that doesn’t help matters. I also still have an ad running for Visions of Zarua all the time, so the two ads will have been very similar.

The deal has ended, but I have my fingers crossed that more sales will trickle in over the next few days / weeks.

Final Thoughts

Over 8 days Visions of Zarua sold 77 copies. 17 UK 57 US and 3 AU.

I may be out of pocket but it doesn’t matter because 77 new people own my book and countless others have seen it! Even though I haven’t hit any bestseller lists, I’m still happy with the results.

In the past I’ve sold in Canada, Germany and been read in India – so I really can say that Visions of Zarua has been read Worldwide. If I hadn’t had the guts to self publish back in 2015, no one would have seen my work, and no doubt I’d be out in the real world right now trying to find a job that fits in with school hours and term times – boring!

Instead, I’m fully pumped and ready to get on with book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles so I can start this crazy business all over again.

P.S – Thanks to my blogging friends who gave me words of advice and encouragement when I had a wobble a few weeks back.

P.P.S – I’m still desperate to get some reviews for The Lost Sentinel (and Visions of Zarua). I want to try a repeat experiment with countdown deals for The Lost Sentinel soon, but it only has 4/5 reviews on Amazon and some ad sites require 10+ reviews. Can you help?

If you’ve read either books, please consider reviewing them on Amazon. If you would like a reviewers copy, please get in touch.

Now I’m planning a whole week without the internet – well almost. I’ll still be checking my emails, wordpress comments etc, so please add your thoughts and comments. I love to interact, that’s what makes this whole thing worth the effort.

Thanks for reading!

Visions of Zarua Amazon link

The Lost Sentinel Amazon link

My favourite reads of 2016 #amreading #greatreads

I’ve read more in 2016 than I have in years thanks to taking up the Goodreads reading challenge and joining Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Here are some of the books that have stayed with me long after I finished reading them.

Favourite Children’s book – Fire Bed and Bone by Henrietta Bradford

My review & My Family Review

Featured Image -- 3569  I loved this book and shared it with my family. It was an interesting experiment to get the different opinions from a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old and my husband (whose age I’m sure he wouldn’t want me to mention!).

Favourite YA book – The Sapphire Legend by E.L. Tenenbaum

My Review

26248087 This fantasy book took me by surprise and I have been longing to read the sequel. I definitely will in 2017.

Favourite Indie and fantasy – The Crown of Stones by C.L. Schneider

My Review

20319844 I was drawn to the cover of this book from the start and the book didn’t disappoint. A great fantasy, and another trilogy I hope to finish in 2017.

Favourite Thriller – Distress Signals by Catherin Ryan Howard

My review

distress signals cover image This book led to some very late nights! A compelling thriller and I bet you won’t see the twist coming!

Favourite Romance – Late Summer in the Vineyards by Jo Thomas

My Review

51qenardljl I loved this book for the atmosphere and the wonderful feel good factor it had.

Favourite Audio book – Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

My Review

51fbBPM9h9L._SY346_  This was a thriller I just couldn’t stop listening to. It had that all important mystery element, and like the main character I didn’t know who to trust. It reminded me of ‘Before I go to Sleep’. Both truly great reads.

In all I read 33 books during 2016. Now I can’t wait to see what books 2017 has in store.

Have you read any of these books, and if not have I inspired you to add them to your TBR lists?

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Sorcerer’s Garden @Dwallacepeach #RBRT #Fantasy

The Sorcerer’s Garden by D Wallace Peach

Genre – Fantasy

51gfs9ewtl1

Blurb

Recently fired and residing with her sweetly overbearing mother, Madlyn needs a job—bad. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day.

Cody’s older brother, Dustin, and eccentric grandmother aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland, Oregon’s royalty.

Dustin’s a personable guy, bordering on naïve, and overwhelmed by familial corporate duties and cutthroat partners. Grandmother Lillian’s a meddler with an eye for the esoteric, dabbling in Dustin’s life and dealing out wisdom like a card shark. One innocent conversation at a time, she sucks Madlyn into the Lofton story, dubbing her the princess and bestowing on her the responsibility of both grandsons’ destinies.

And all Madlyn wanted was a simple reading job.

Uninspired by her self-imposed stack of literary selections, Madlyn opts for Cody’s work-in-progress. Fantasy isn’t her favorite, but with only four chapters completed, reading The Sorcerer’s Garden should be no sweat, right?

Little does she realize, the story will begin writing itself and, by the hand of destiny, become her own.

***

My Review

Wow, this was a breath-taking adventure that barely stood still.

I was intrigued by the title and the blurb really stood out for me, anything to do with writing and writers and I’m sold! As I started reading, possibilities whirled through my mind…

The start of the story felt a little over the top in the action sense. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but then I realised this was the start of Cody’s story – his tale of slaying the dragon with his brother. I thought this was very cleverly done by the author. This larger than life action helped to distinguish between Madlyn’s real world and Cody’s work in progress. However, as the story developed everything becomes more complicated for Madalyn and soon the two worlds are colliding and you have no idea what is real and what is part of the world within Cody’s story. I was as confused as Madlyn, but that wasn’t an issue, it made the reading experience more exciting. The only complaint I have is that the action was so full on and constant, sometimes I just needed a breather.

I liked Madlyn, but I really liked the two brothers, Cody and Dustin, and their mysterious grandmother, Lillian.

I loved the end. Everything came together and not as I was expecting it too. I was very happy with the conclusion, and the fact this was a standalone novel. But there could easily be more to this story and these characters.

My final thought – The author showed great skill weaving this tale. It was a very enjoyable read, if not a little exhausting!

I recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy and loves a story with relentless pace.

4 stars

Check the book for yourself on Goodreads.

Update – 15/12/16 I reviewed this book as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour Schedule #WWWblogs #fantasy

Last week I put out a call for help to set up my own blog tour. I’m overwhelmed with the support I received and couldn’t be happier to announce that I’ve drawn up a schedule of sites I will be visiting during the 2 week tour.

Visions of Zarua Blog tour Banner

Here are the dates and links to the sites if you want to check out the lovely bloggers who’ve agreed to get involved.

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour

Monday 27th June – betweenthelinesbookblog  Promo Post

Tuesday 28th June – rosieamber  Review

Wednesday 29th June – bookwraiths  Indie Wednesday feature, guest post & giveaway

Thursday 30th June – aliasfaithrivens  Review & Interview

Friday 1st July – TheTattoedBookGeek  Novel extract & guest post

Saturday 2nd July – teripolen  Promo post

Sunday 3rd July – alinefromabook  Review

Monday 4th July – barbedwords  Review & Q&A session

Tuesday 5th July – baubtaub  Review, interview and giveaway

Wednesday 6th July – shelleywilson  Promo post

Thursday 7th July – jenanita01  Review

Friday 8th July – TBC spookymrsgreen  Guest post/promo

Saturday 9th July – thehappymeerkatreviews review/post

Sunday 10th July – To celebrate the last day of the tour I hope to have two posts going out;

color me in Cyanide and Cherry Review/post

Luccigray – TBC

(Helen Jones journeytoambeth hopes to post a review at some point during this two week tour.)

***

Exciting isn’t it! Please feel free to join in and comment, and if you want to post your own review during the blog tour, I’d be very pleased to have you involved.

Note – This is the starting line up and things may change, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for agreeing to help me. It has been a really uplifting experience and I look forward to starting my tour in a few weeks time.