My #SPFBO book buys during November 2018 promo #fantasy #tbr #amreading

I thought I would do a quick post on the books I bought during November’s SPFBO promo. I’m excited to add these to my Goodreads TBR, but I won’t state when I’ll read them as I still haven’t read the books I purchased during the previous sale. My TBR pile keeps growing and has reached 410. That is one of the reasons I only bought 8 books this time around, the other is I’ve spent all my money on ads. Anyway here they are…

Between the Shade and the Shadow – Coleman Alexander

Phoenix Descending – Dorothy Dreyer

The Dragon Song Saga – J C Lang

Sorcerous Rivalry – Kayleigh Nichol

A Keeper’s Tale – J A Andrews

Song – Jesse Teller

The Fire Eye Refugee – Samuel Gateley

Balam Springs – Travis M Riddle

I’m really excited by this collection. I tried to be guided by the blurbs and the covers rather than be influenced by reviews or what I’ve heard through the SPFBO pages. A couple of these I’ve had my eye on for a while so I was really pleased to find them in the sale and be able to support my fellow indie authors.

I can’t promise when I’ll read them, but I will review them on my blog, Amazon and Goodreads eventually.

I think I may have sold a couple of copies of my own 2016 SPFBO entry – Visions of Zarua but with the birthday blitz and a couple of ads running at the same time, its hard to know what sparked the purchases.

What did you pick up during the sale?

Did you pick up any of the books above? Or have you already read them?

Last reminder to pick up 99p bargain #fantasy books by #SPFBO #indieauthors #IARTG

Reminder

Today is the last day of the sale for 100 (ish) fantasy books from authors who have taken part in Mark Lawrence’s brilliant Self Published Fantasy Blog off competition.

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Travis Riddle has kindly set up a page with book covers, blurbs and to buy links of all the books taking part. Please take a look here and see what you fancy. My book, Visions of Zarua is on the list too!

I’ve been picking up a few bargain books myself and will share those buys and why I chose them tomorrow. For now, take advantage of the sale and help support us indie authors. Thanks very much.

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From 15th – 19th many #SPFBO fantasy authors are reducing their books to 99p

Who is up for some bargain books?

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Check out the Promo page with links to all the books in the 99p sale. The fantasy books on offer span all areas of the genre including dark and urban. The authors taking part have been entrants in Mark Lawrence’s ‘Self Published Fantasy Blog Off’ competition which is now in its 4th year.

A big thank you to Travis M Riddle for organising the giveaway and hosting the promo page.

You will find my debut epic fantasy Visions of Zarua among the books on sale. It was a SPFBO entrant in 2016 and is celebrating its 3rd birthday tomorrow! I will be back then for a special birthday blitz. But while you’re waiting, why not check out all the brilliant books that are on sale today.

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Please share and spread the word about this epic sale!

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh #fantasy

I found The Game Bird during SPFBO 2018 promo sale. The cover initially attracted my attention.

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The blurb from Amazon;

An evil is growing. The Realm is under attack. A leviathan has risen from the depths and is destroying the fleets that feed Stormhaven.

Stuck ashore and drowning in debt, Captain James Faulkner resolves to hunt the sea monster and claim the enormous bounty on the beast.

Sophia Blake’s life looks effortless. But she carries a secret, an occult curse that is capable of destroying both her and her nation. Sophia knows her time is running out.

The Tallowman is a slowly decaying melding of demon and man. This monstrous assassin is desperate to capture Sophia and will let nothing stand between it and its prey.

Since his wife died, the sober lawyer Uriah Blake has wanted nothing more than to live a quiet life and enjoy what time he has left with his daughter, Sophia. When he learns that the Tallowman is pursuing her, he is forced to cast aside his books and his ink and join a shadowy war against a terrible foe.

As these hunts build to their shattering conclusion, Faulkner, Sophia and Uriah will be thrown together and forced to confront malevolent forces beyond their imagining.

The Game Bird is a swashbuckling black powder fantasy, wrapped around a spine of darkness.
Goodreads link

My Review

The story starts with immediate action and thrusts you straight into Captain Faulker’s life as he attempts to escape bailiffs. Stormhaven comes alive as a place I wouldn’t particularly like to live and I enjoyed the adventure right from the first page. The scenes on the ships are especially well written.

The ‘swashbuckling black powder fantasy’ was quite a new and unique reading experience. I got swept along with the tale and liked all the characters especially James Faulkner and Sophia. The mention of their childhood lives together and hints of a possible romance were a big plus for me. There are also creatures of legend – a leviathan and pegasus to add plenty of excitement.

I have to mention the Tallowman who is evil and gruesome, everything you want from an antagonist. I admit that I love an assassin story, but the Tallowman is genuinely terrifying.

I’m really pleased the self published fantasy blog off led me to this story, and I hope it goes far in the competition.

I rate The Game Bird 4 stars and urge you to read it.

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Exercise of Vital Powers Ian Gregoire @lonelyboy1977 #selfpubfantasymonth #fantasy

Here’s my short review of The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. But first the all important blurb;

Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way

Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realise.

Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.

Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organisation, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.

If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?

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The Exercise of Vital Powers was entered into SPFBO in 2017 and was a semi finalist in it’s group, which is a very big deal in my opinion. Having followed the author for a while (and appearing on his blog last year) I know he made the brave decision to unpublish the book in order to re-edit it and source a professional cover.

It was re-released in July 2018 and I was quick to snap up a copy. If the cover is anything to go by, I’d say Mr Gregoire made the right choice. I adore this cover and having just finished the book I feel it depicts the main character, Kayden, perfectly.

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I enjoyed this novel very much. It takes place over a few days in Kayden’s life when so many things change and she learns much about herself. The Order and the magic system are well thought out, and the world brought to life with descriptive writing. I really liked Kayden’s mentors Fay and Ari, and Kayden is pretty cool once you get past her arrogant front. At points I just couldn’t stop reading and stayed up way past bedtime because I had to know what happened next.

I felt there was a little too much information at times, which slowed the story down. However, there was a lot of historical battles and background to get across, and you need these slower passages to understand the current situation in the Nine Kingdoms. I think it also sets up possible ideas of the troubles to come in future books.

I can’t believe the author managed to fit so much in over so little time. I feel this is the start of a great adventure and I am very much looking forward to the second instalment of what I believe will be a 5 part series.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend to those who love detailed world building and love being transported into magical worlds.

Why not check it out for yourself on Goodreads.

SPFBO #Fantasy books to add to your TBR. Free to read with #KindleUnlimited

Many people in the self publishing world will be aware of the annual ‘Self Published Fantasy Blog Off’ competition set up by Mark Lawrence. 300 hundred books are whittled down to just 1 winner.

A great community has sprung up around this competition. Part of that has been authors coming together to share news of their books, price promos and today I’m sharing the page set up to showcase some SPFBO authors, past and present, whose books are free to read with Kindle Unlimited.

J Elizabeth Vincent has kindly put this together, please take a look here.

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Both of my books, Visions of Zarua (entered 2016) and The Lost Sentinel (current entry), are on the list.

Talking of The Lost Sentinel I just found out at the weekend that Lynn, the judge with my book in her group of 30 books has picked The Lost Sentinel as one of her second batch reads this month! That means in a few weeks time I will hopefully know if The Lost Sentinel is still in the running. Check out Lynn’s post about her latest choices over on Lynns book blog.

I have everything crossed, but the competition is very strong. I know I would make a useless judge, but thankfully I only have to read for the pleasure of it and don’t have to pick any winners.

I have purchased a number of titles thanks to this competition. Here is a link to my post about the books I’ve bought and why.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to be back tomorrow with my first book review in a while.

My thoughts on #SPFBO promo sale and my purchases of #indieauthors #fantasy books #tbr

The 5 day book promo is over and I couldn’t resist picking up some books at the bargain price whilst also helping to support my fellow indie authors.

I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to read them as I’ve already set myself a reading challenge for the summer, see the post here, but I will read them all and review them when I can.

There will be lots of reviews going up for the 300 books in this year’s SPFBO. You can keep in touch with these by searching #SPFBO on twitter and facebook, and by checking Mark Lawrence’s dedicated SPFBO page where he shares links to the judges reviews, relevant blog posts and has a counter that shows how many books are left in the competition.

I thought it would be fun to share the books that caught my eye during the sale and to say why I bought them. And of course it doesn’t hurt to give these authors a little extra exposure. So here is my list.

Starting with those already purchased

Magic Price – C.L Schneider reviewed here. A 5 star read, I loved the cover the premise and when I read it, I loved the story too!

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Melokai – Rosalyn Kelly

I was interested in this one having followed some of Rosalyn’s blog posts and then reading the prequel The Sand Scuttler which I reviewed here.

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The Exercise of Vital Power – Ian Gregorie (last year’s entry in SPFBO)

I love the revised cover of Ian’s book and was quick to buy it when it went on pre-order.

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New purchases

The Game Bird – Aidan R Walsh

I loved the cover and just had to buy it! Plus it has ships and sea monsters. Who can resist?

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A Wizard’s Forge – A.M Justice

The cover was a semi finalist in my group’s cover competition, and I can see why! From the blurb I think I’m going to enjoy this book. Plus it has some very positive reviews.

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Symphony of the Wind – Steven McKinnon

The cover is a draw for me and I was also impressed by the blurb. I don’t come across many books set in the desert and I haven’t read much steampunk so I’ll look forward to trying this one out.

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We Ride the Storm – Devin Madson

My son spotted this one on the list and said the cover looked really good. I had seen a few reviews on goodreads and thought why not try it out and see what I think.

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Crossfire – Andrea Domanski

Andrea did a lot of hard work setting up the giveaway so of course I was going to support her by buying her book. But the book cover and the blurb also did a good job of selling the book to me. I haven’t read much in the way of Urban fantasy, so this sounds like a great place to see what I think of the genre.

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The Blighted City – Scott Kaelen

I like covers with cities and the blurb sounds intriguing. I’ve also seen reviews for this book and knew I wanted to read it.

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High Barrens – Alice Sabo

This one is in my group of 30. I like the cover and the blurb so I thought why not see what its about. I’m intrigued to find out about Flint and how she can see into souls. This sounds like just my sort of story.

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Fire’s Song – J.E. Mueller

I loved the cover but wasn’t so taken with the blurb at first. But when I checked the book again another day, because I still just loved the cover, I thought actually this sounds pretty good.

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The Shadows Are Stirring – Hannah Sullivan

A one for younger readers, this really caught my attention. I love the idea of talking horses. And the cover is brilliant.

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Kingshold – D.P. Woolliscroft

I like the cover and the blurb, and have seen some good reviews knocking around. So this was an easy purchase.

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Liath Luachra: The Swallowed – Brian O’Sullivan

It sounded like something a bit different and I like the idea of Druids and spectral forests, so I’m hoping to enjoy this one. It does say book 2, but also that it can standalone, so I’ll have to see how that goes.

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Blade and Rose – Miranda Honfleur

I was drawn in by the premise of this book, and I was interested to read a fantasy with more romance at its heart.

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There were so many books that I would like to have bought, but alas I don’t have the money to buy them all. I look forward to reading the above books and reviewing them in the future. I wish everyone in the competition luck and look forward to seeing the judges reviews as they come in.

My thoughts on the SPFBO sale…

The Lost Sentinel didn’t fair as well as I’d hoped throughout the sale, but looking at the competition I can understand why. When faced with so many books, a reader must really be dragged in by the cover, the tag line and the blurb – I know as I looked at most of the books on the list and I probably wouldn’t have bought The Lost Sentinel either. I had to be so selective as my budget is non-existent, and I’m sure this will have been the same for many of those checking through the books for new reads.

Although I still love my cover and won’t consider changing it yet, when I saw it against the others I knew it didn’t have the same instant appeal.

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Book 2 would have stood out better and someone did purchase it during the sale, so that was an added bonus!

The Sentinel's Reign book cover

I’ve been trying to improve the blurb of The Lost Sentinel, and it’s something I want to keep working on. My experience of looking through the list of books showed how a long winded blurb can put off a potential reader rather than entice them to click Buy Now.

So in all I didn’t gain that many sales, but I did gain extra insight into the competition my book is up against for a reader’s attention, and I’ve realised my blurb is in need of work. This experience has also led me to make a decision that I will stop obsessing over the sales and reviews for now and instead focus on book 3. Once the series is complete I can work on my sales tactics, but if I carry on as I am book 3 will never be finished!

Another quick thank you to Andrea Domanski for hosting the sales page and for her tips regarding my blurb.

And thank you to those who purchased The Lost Sentinel, I appreciate every sale.

And finally this is a cheeky reminder that The Lost Sentinel is still only 99p / 99c until the 8th August. I have also reduced the price in Canada (if it has worked) as that is where my Ad with EbookSoda is posted today. Check out the EbookSoda website if you want to place an ad for your future book sales and kindle countdown deals.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone in the SPFBO 4 competition.

#SPFBO 2018 Starts today and 120+ #fantasy authors have discounted their books to 99c / 99p! #indieauthor

This is the day 300 indie fantasy authors have been waiting for. The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition starts now 1st August 2018.

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To celebrate SPFBO 4 over 120 fantasy authors have discounted their books to only 99c / 99p. This is the dedicated page listing all the books in the sale. Please head over to see their wonderful book covers, teasers and links to buy. We all appreciate your support.

With fantasy sub genres of epic, romance, urban and many more there will be something to suit every taste.

And of course The Lost Sentinel is on the list under epic/high fantasy.

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Good luck to all my fellow SPFBO contestants and happy reading to everyone!

And a big thank you to Andrea Domanski for organising everything!

Here’s the link again to the dedicated fantasy book sale page. Thanks for reading,

A quick round up for The Lost Sentinel #Netgalley #fantasy

The Lost Sentinel has a few things going on at the moment and I thought I’d do a quick round-up for you.

It’s available to request on Netgalley for the next few days only. Please check it out here and request an ARC if it sounds like your kind of fantasy.

Tomorrow begins a new 99p Kindle Countdown Deal. So if you aren’t on Netgalley, you can pick it up for the bargain price of 99p 1st – 8th August. This is to coincide with the start of ‘Self Published Fantasy Blog Off’ as detailed below…

On the 1 year anniversary of publication (16th June) I entered The Lost Sentinel into the very popular SPFBO competition, set up by the great Mark Lawrence. In it’s forth year, the competition for 300 authors was full within 48 hours, so I was lucky to grab the opportunity when I did. The judging rounds open tomorrow, meaning reviewers will start posting their reviews and a winner from each group (30 authors to 1 reviewer/review team) will eventually be chosen and put into the final 10. There have been some huge success stories because of this competition, so it’ll be exciting to find out who wins big this year.

Another really exciting thing for me is that a whole group of authors who are entered into SPFBO will be reducing their books to 99p for 5 days. At last count there were well over 100 authors taking part. I shall post more about this tomorrow along with the links on where to buy etc. If you are a fantasy reader, this could be your chance to pick up some great bargains. I can’t wait to get some discounted books myself and help my fellow indie authors get some sales!

The last piece of news I’ll share is that I’ve requested a Book Bub placement for The Lost Sentinel. It was a last minute decision and I don’t expect to get anywhere this time but the good thing is I know how easy it is to send a request now. Hopefully over the next few months I’ll get some more reviews and one day I might get lucky enough to be accepted on Book Bub. It is a huge cost I can’t really afford, but sometimes you have to invest in yourself if you want to succeed.

Don’t forget to check out the big sale tomorrow.

And here’s the link to my Goodreads book page if you wanted to find out more about The Lost Sentinel and see some reviews. As always a free sample is available on Amazon and it is free to read if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

 

Belated mid-year review #amwriting #amreading

My big news is of course that The Sentinel’s Reign – Silent Sea Chronicles Book 2 is now published.

It’s available here in ebook (99p for a few more days only), paperback and free to read on kindle unlimited.

That’s the sales bit out the way.

In other news, The Lost Sentinel (Book 1) is entered into SPFBO 2018 competition and has been given to Lynn’s Books to judge, which is funny as I had planned to contact her to review the book this year. There is also a cover competition going on right now. Of course I love my cover, but there are lots of great covers in the running from my group of 30 so it will be interesting to see which ones get put through to the next stage.

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2018 has seen some major steps forward for me – landing a publishing contract with a Czech publisher for Visions of Zarua and having a full manuscript request from a UK agent for the same book. These are milestones I’ve been dreaming of, but we’ll have to see where they lead. I’m learning that everything takes time in the publishing world and you need to have a lot of patience!

 

My 2018 goals in review.

At the beginning of the year I set myself some goals (post here). Today I am revisiting them to see how I’ve done.

Writing

Publish book 2 The Sentinel’s Reign = Achieved.

Finish first draft of book 3 The Sentinel’s Alliance = Nope, but I have planned 2/3’s in a rough draft.

Look at WIP to see if I want to send to agents = Still to do. I have a draft almost finished that I would love to edit and polish and send to agents. I am also thinking on an idea I would like to try out on Wattpad. I have no idea how to go about this so I need to research it more.

Writing in general

Attend more writing events = I’ve attended 1 this year.

Contact book reviewers = I have done very well with this so far and have a new batch of reviewers to contact very soon. If you are a blogger interested in reviewing my books please use this contact form.

Learn more about marketing and get my books in front of more readers = I entered SPFBO (self published fantasy blog off) along with 299 other entrants, which will hopefully give The Lost Sentinel some much needed exposure. If you have read The Lost Sentinel, please consider leaving a review on Amazon / Goodreads, it helps with the ranking of the book though won’t have any affect on how far the book gets in the competition, that’s down to the judge of each group. I’ve run a mildly successful kindle countdown deal for The Lost Sentinel and it will go on Netgalley for a month starting 9th July.

Blogging

Tidy up blog, create banner and landing page = The blog is better but could still do with a tidy up, and I have a cool new banner. The landing page is something I still need to look into.

Blog more and focus on books about writing = I have reviewed a few writing books.

Feature more guest posts and get involved in more blog tours = I have featured Susan Leigh Noble and Ari Mehlen, but there is always room for more.

Lifestyle

Healthier diet and walk more = I lost almost 2 stone with Slimming World in 4 months, so that was a great success at the start of the year and I have been maintaining my target weight. I bought a treadmill and used that through winter but now it’s gathering dust.

Get more sleep = No chance! The hot weather and the book release don’t add up to a good night’s sleep. Maybe one day I’ll catch up on my beauty sleep.

Be more positive = I’m trying to be positive and take things as they come. For me being proactive helps, but when nothing comes of all the hard work I’ve invested it’s difficult to keep upbeat.

Reading

Read more fantasy = Yes.

Post more book reviews = Nope, I am way behind and have given up keeping my book review page up to date.

Read at least 35 books in 2018 = I’m trying but I’m behind schedule, total to date is 16.

My reading has been very slow. Editing and promotion has taken all my spare time and I’ve even struggled to find any audio books that hold my attention. My tbr pile grows almost daily and I am not making a dent in it.

I am still reading my book group choice Senlin Ascends (a previous SPFBO contestant, now traditionally published) even though I missed the group meeting last week due to a mix up with the day on my calendar! I believe it was enjoyed by all.

I did have a list of books I wanted to read and a couple of trilogies I wanted to finish, but for now I’m just going to wait and see what books take my fancy.

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What’s to come…

I hope to feature on a few blogs over the coming weeks and see some more reviews go up for The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign. Then I plan to throw myself into writing and make lots of progress. Fingers crossed anyway.

Because of this I will probably take the summer holidays off from blogging to focus on writing book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance. It worked well last year, though hopefully I can keep my hand in with a book review or two.

 

How’s your year shaping up?

 

Last plug for The Sentinel’s Reign – don’t forget to pick it up for 99p as I will be putting the price up at the end of the week. And add it to your Goodreads shelf.

publicity ebook and paperback