The Big Push!

This is a shameless request for advice from indie authors everywhere. Now my first book has a cover I love and is being properly proof-read, and my second book is going through the same process, I’ve started looking seriously at the best ways to market them.

The problem is, I’m drowning in options! Amazon select, Goodreads promotions,, Bookbub, facebook promotions and about 300 twitter promotion offers! Does anyone have any advice about what works and what should be avoided? Most of all, I’d like to know if anyone has tried They sound amazing, but then they all do!

Any feedback gratefully received!

Cress in Waterbee

Another fantastic book by an independent author – those agents and publishers are really missing out! Here’s my review for Amazon and Goodreads:

It’s quite hard not to go over the top when reviewing ‘Cress in Waterbee’ by Joye Johnson. As an English teacher with a literature degree I’ve read a lot of the classics, and this felt from the start like it was in the same category.
Born in America in the days of segregation, Cress – with her dark skin and pale eyes – was never going to have an easy time. It falls to her equally unconventional guardian to carve out a life for them both in the small town of Waterbee. They settle there with a supporting cast of terrible people, terribly kind people and some who are a bit of both. The plot carries you through the seasons of Cress’ life till you almost feel responsible for her yourself!
This story is original and stirring – I can’t remember the last time I was so desperate for two fictional characters to thrive and succeed.
Well written with clever twists and heartfelt descriptions, this is a novel to laugh and cry with and should certainly be around for generations to come.
Now, I have to return to a far more mundane world and wait patiently for the sequel, ‘Cress on the Bay’.

If you are an indie author and would like to read and review my book in exchange for me doing the same, please get in touch!

Buy ‘Cress in Waterbee’ here.


Sequels by Reece Evhans & Karin Boutall

With a grade 2 sprain to my ankle this has been a weekend for reading and very little else! As I’m close to finishing my second book I decided to have a look at the sequels published by a couple of the authors I’ve discovered through WordPress. Here are my thoughts:

‘The Charge of a Star’ is the second book in the Seeker Series by Reece Evhans and picks up perfectly where the last left off. Ally is in Ireland looking for answers regarding her developing psychic powers. However, the sweet old ladies who make up the seer council have a slightly different agenda and Ally heads back to Albuquerque with more to think about than she was bargaining for. It’s not long before her powers plunge Ally headlong into another dangerous adventure and a quest to resolve a past crime.
As with the first book in the series, Ally’s character is superbly drawn – her inner thoughts give the reader insight into a charming quirky teenager struggling to make sense of her situation.
The relationship with Jack (who has his own problems to deal with) continues to evolve and grow in this book too, including all the drama and uncertainty teenage romance brings.
The supporting cast are not just present but developing themselves that little bit more: Grams, Mum (plus new boyfriend), Tara and Megan all add colour to Ally’s world and are much more than just plot drivers.
This is a great story that will be enjoyed by a wide range of readers. Well written, funny, romantic and deeply intriguing.

The second sequel I treated myself too was ‘When Flowers Weep’. The second garden suspense mystery by Karin Boutall returns to Sand Hill Cove where Joan and her friends are trying to solve the mystery of the disappearing bees.
This sequel has all the winning elements of the its predecessor: the relationships between the friends and the hint of romance; the angst of a mother watching her teenage son cope with growing up (and learning the lifelong lesson that if a person doesn’t care for your cat they’re not worth bothering with!) and the strong thread of friendship and community support that makes this series so appealing.
The mystery element of the book kept me guessing and the gradual revealing of the answers was very satisfactory.
This is a lovely series and has seen me nicely through my third immobile day!

A Reverie of Brothers

Well, I’ve had the pleasure of reading another great book by an independent author. Seriously, who needs publishers? Here we go:

A Reverie of Brothers is a powerful first novel by author R.D. Shanks.
Set in the imaginary world of Horizon, this is not a fantasy novel but a story about the subtle struggle for power within relationships and between individuals.
The beautifully crafted descriptions of the royal family and the all important advisors who, “resemble a choir of octogenarian angels”, put me in mind of the Game of Thrones series. However, I would say this novel is less about the political and more about the psychological battles.
Eli is the king in charge and he is struggling against the insolence of his eldest son, Prince Chiron. Meanwhile, the younger son, Acario, has problems of his own dealing with the manipulations of ‘viscous and vengeful’ Ava – his cousin who has a mysterious hold over him.

These are intriguing and relatable characters who keep you reading to the end through several unexpected and expertly crafted twists.

Shanks has done a brilliant job with this novel, which should be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.

I’ll be posting on Amazon now and checking Goodreads. I’ve a mystery to read next, ‘Community Garden’ by Karin Boutall, which looks great. That review should be here very soon thanks to me spraining my ankle yesterday! Nothing to do but read 😁.

Meanwhile, if you’re an independent author and would be interested in exchanging reviews, please send me a message.

A Reverie of Brothers

What a year!

When I pause and think about it 2014 has been fairly epic. It’s been a year of adventures and new starts: marriage, new job, a second book almost complete and the leap into self publishing!
I say leap; it was more of a trip and a stumble followed by a huge learning curve! I naively imagined that I could proof read 65,000 words myself, draw a quick cover, slap it out through Amazon, get some friends to read and review and the thing would sell itself!
The reality is: the cover looks clumsy and has held me back from marketing ‘The Lost Heirs’ (I’m having a professional one done right now); I’m on my sixth reprint of the text and people are still pointing out errors! (As soon as I’m paid next month I’ll be employing a proof reader); and whilst lots of friends have happily bought the book (bless them!) few have reviewed it (one to be exact), people are just busy, that’s all. I’ve found the best way to get honest reviews is to approach other authors on WordPress who are in a similar position to me and offer to buy, read and review their books if they’ll do the same. It’s a slow process but it’s honest and it’s opened me up to some genres that I wouldn’t normally bother with; improving my own writing to boot.
So for 2015 I’ll be focusing on professionalism; investing in the project I’ve poured my heart and soul into these last few years. By Easter the second book should be available (proofread and with a proper cover!); and I’ll be experimenting with various different promotional methods whilst completing the third book in the series. I’ll let you know which ones work!
Have a wonderful 2015 – may it be full of dreams come true.



A deep frost has wrapped the earth this morning; it makes me feel all Christmassy! In my second novel, I’m writing a bit where the main characters are back in time experiencing a Victorian Christmas – it’s wonderful to write about while everything around me in the real world is getting festive and bright!

Writing is proving a real escape at the moment – interesting how having a terrible job can increase literary productivity! If things get any worse at work I’ll have a whole trilogy done before Easter. What are your writing triggers?


Independent authors

One of the best things about WordPress so far has been connecting with other indie authors and experiencing their work. This is something I definitely want to continue doing.

So far, I’ve read the brilliant ‘Tissue of Lies’ by Carole Parkes and am half way through ‘Xoe’ by Sara C. Roethle. I can recommend both books, though both are very different genres. I’ve got Grady P. Brown’s ‘The Young Guardians’ book waiting too – my reading list has never been so packed and I can’t help feeling that my own writing is improving by reading different styles and genres. It’s also been great getting feedback on my own book from another author, I recommend the process to anyone. If any other authors out there want to book swap and review with me please send a message.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a gripping, suspense-filled thriller, try ‘Tissue of Lies’, available here:

or for fantasy/horror, try ‘Xoe: or Vampires, and Werewolves, and Demons, oh my’ – the first half of which has been very enjoyable:

Happy reading!


Disappointing Half Term

Hmmm… With a whole week off I should got so much done! I think that must be the lament of writers everywhere; does time work differently if you’re an author? I really did plan a great week though – writing everyday, exercising, healthy foods – the works! And I achieved practically nothing (although I did read a couple of fantastic books – more about those later). Now I’m wondering if I set my goals too high, it’s a bit all or nothing with me. Is that another writer thing?
Therefore, it didn’t take much to make the whole week seem unachievable – some bad news about a family member… A cold … A few late nights with a bottle of wine! Suddenly it’s Sunday and I’m back at work tomorrow with a feeling of failure hanging in the air.
New goal: just do a tiny bit each day. Even if it’s just a paragraph. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Gadgets, gizmos and contraptions…

In the world of Eshla, the flora and fauna have special properties which are harnessed and used in a similar way to the way we use electricity and chemiacls on earth – but much better! Therefore the inhabited parts of Eshla are covered in shiny copper pipes, cogs, wheels and carefully constructed contraptions to provide heat, light, communication and even translation! One challenge for me is describing and naming these machines and the plants without sounding repetitive or overly technical. I tend to use welsh words a lot, what do other authors do when they have to invent words?


“Quickly checking his shoes for mud, Eric decided to keep to the darker red rug that ran the length of the hall. He was aware of a hum again: a gentle, non-invasive hum that he had heard at the meadow. It warmed him inside and seemed to welcome him into the room whilst remaining in the background. He realised it came from the copper pipes that ran along the walls ending, every now and again, at machines of varying sizes which were nestled into nooks in the wall – whirring, spinning, pumping clusters of cogs, pipes, wheels, tubes and pistons. Eric longed to ask what these fascinating, works of art did but he knew there wasn’t time. Some were obvious – he could see pipes that led at regular intervals to glass bowls held on the walls by brass fixings. They were filled with brilliant golden particles that swirled around in the glass creating a bright but toasty light.

As they proceeded down the hallway Joel followed Eric’s gaze to neat little machine perched on a shelf. It was essentially a wooden box with a large trumpet emerging from the top. Lattice work in the front of the box showed a collection of cogs and pistons working away furiously inside and a fine pink mist occasionally escaped.

‘That’s where our heat comes from,’ Joel explained, ‘the leaves of the Ignis plant, when pulverised, create a tremendous heat which is carried around the room by pipes under the floor and blasted out into the air via the trumpet. The crushing process releases pollen which is pushed up and out of the castle via the main duct. The wind catches it and carries it back to Jarmuthe where it takes seed and grows more Ignis. So we never run out!’”

New followers and Indie authors!

Seven little emails pinged into my inbox yesterday informing me I had some new followers – very exciting. I’ve just spent a pleasant hour looking at the profiles of people who’ve looked at mine! The most interesting part of the process is discovering the blogs of new and new-ish authors, like me, who have self-published and are now trying to find their readers. I now have on my half term ‘to read’ list; ‘The Young Guardians: Genesis Spell’ by Grady P Brown, ‘Tissue of Lies’ by Carole Parkes and ‘Xoe’ by Sara Croethle. I’m going to be busy!

I think the real challenge for all indie authors is how to let the right market know that your book exists? Reviews seem a good way to go, I’m also searching for forums and facebook pages on topics or themes that match my novel (steampunk/time travel/fantasy adventure etc) where I’m trying to politely mention, ‘The lost Heirs’ without spamming or flooding the pages with annoying adverts. I’ll post about how I get on 🙂

In the meantime, if you have found this blog and have the time to read ‘The lost Heirs’ for me I would really appreciate a review on Amazon. I’m happy to gift the kindle edition for free (which I’m assured can be done via a little yellow button) in return for a review. Just email your details to and I’ll figure it out. x