Posts Tagged ‘Author Guest Post’

Why I Chose to Set My Novel on Nantucket

We are delighted to host the latest stop on Leila Howland‘s blog tour for her debut novel, Nantucket Blue.

NantucketBlue-HighResFor Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.
Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.
When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.
But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.
A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

As soon as I decided to set my Young Adult novel on Nantucket, I knew it was the perfect choice. Despite what it looks like on a map, Nantucket is actually the easternmost point of the United States (next stop: the Azores), and you can actually feel that you are on the edge of a vast expanse. You feel that you are away; the word Nantucket means “the far away island.” I wanted my protagonist Cricket to feel far away from all that was familiar to her. I wanted her to feel far away from her old self so that she could find a new self.

Nantucket is also an awesome place to be a teenager. Teenagers are free! They can walk into town and let the evening take them where it will, and adults, trusting this place, let them go (while they have their own fun). Even though there are plenty of vices on Nantucket, there’s also an abundance of simple pleasures. Just to sit on a bench by the harbor and watch the boats rock gently beneath the moon turns a Monday night into poetry. Now add a chocolate ice-cream cone and a cute boy and forget it. Heaven! And an evening dip in the Nantucket sound? Paradise! All you have to do to get there is walk a half a mile and descend a staircase to the sand. I wanted to give Cricket that Nantucket-in-the-summertime freedom as she falls in love for the first time and teeters on the cusp of adulthood.

Also, the past feels alive on Nantucket. The cobblestoned streets, the stately old whaling captain’s homes, and the lack of chain stores and traffic lights evoke another era so consistently that the past is a living breathing being. This made it the perfect place for Cricket to reconnect with her mother, who in the present is lost in sadness, but who in the past was a wild spirit with whom Cricket would have had so much fun. Though no actual ghosts appear, Cricket and a younger version of her mom meet in their own way and are able to be together for the first time in ages.

Nantucket is the perfect setting for the story I wanted to tell. Forty miles out to sea with pristine beaches, whispers of ghosts, and sunsets so alarming you can’t help but stare at the sky in a kind of blissful, wide-eyed stupor, it lit my imagination on fire. If you can’t get there this summer by ferry or plane, hopefully NANTUCKET BLUE will transport you.

Guest post by Leila Howland

Leila Howland author pictureLEILA HOWLAND loves to read, explore L.A., and engage in funny and meaningful conversations with her friends and family, especially her brother who calls from Washington D.C. whenever he’s waiting for the bus. A lot gets discussed in those phone calls, but they tend to end abruptly when the bus shows up. She can really cut the rug, but wishes she could sing without people covering their ears. A graduate of Georgetown University, Leila spent five years acting in New York where she was a company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. It was a lot of fun and she often talks about “getting back into it.” The closest she has come was a stint as an extra on The Young and the Restless in 2010. Leila now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs. She teaches high school English and blogs for HelloGiggles. NANTUCKET BLUE is her first novel.
To learn more about Leila and her work you can her on Tumblr(here) or converse with her on Twitter (here)

Nantucket Blue was published on the 7th of May 2013 by Disney Hyperion and is available to buy in hardback from (here) and (click here)

Those lovely people at Disney Hyperion are giving US readers a chance to win a finished copy of Nantucket Blue. Simply fill in the rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Day In The Life Of Ned Vizzini

house of secretsWhen Brendan, Cordelia and Nell move to Kristoff House they have no idea that they are about to unleash the dark magic locked within.
Now the Walker kids must battle against deadly pirates, bloodthirsty warriors and a bone-crunching giant. If they fail they will never see their parents again and a crazed witch will take over the world.
No pressure then…
House of Secrets is the first book in a major new series.
It’s going to be epic.

This is probably a cliché, but there is no ordinary day in the life of a writer.

The advantages of being a writer are many:

  1. you get to make your own hours
  2. you get messages from people who appreciate what you do, or hate it — both should be a source of pride
  3. people think you are interesting, unless those people are also writers
  4. almost anything you do can be justified as research
  5. as long as you have a pen and paper, you can do what you need to do

The disadvantage of being a writer is that there is no ordinary day.

For example, today, I am flying to New York City. HarperCollins just published a book that I co-wrote called House of Secrets.

My co-author is the filmmaker Chris Columbus. You might know him from The Goonies, which he wrote, or the first two Harry Potter movies, which he directed. The book is the first in a planned trilogy; we have been working on it for two years and now it’s out! So this isn’t an ordinary day.

Then again, what about yesterday? Yesterday I had a meeting to go to. I work in Los Angeles in television so I go to a lot of meetings. These meetings are like job interviews where you have to prove your compatibility as a human to people who like you as a writer. So that’s not ordinary.

And tomorrow, I’ll be speaking with Chris at Barnes & Noble in New York City. So that’s not normal.

The only normal thing I can do is make myself write.

I find it works best in the morning. 05:00am is ideal. Then the world is still asleep and I can get started without checking my email. I wrap up in a blanket and write on the couch, or I make myself sit at my chair in my office. I drink coffee. Time goes slow when you’re actually writing. I try to get seven pages done before my family wakes up.

So when you talk about a day in the life of a writer, the only thing it really needs to include is writing. And today I was busy telling people that House of Secrets is out, so didn’t even get that done.

But that’s another advantage of being a writer. You break rules.

Guest Post by Ned Vizzini

Ned Vizzini is the bestselling author of the acclaimed young-adult books The Other Normals, It’s Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah…. In television, he has written for ABC’s Last Resort and MTV’s Teen Wolf. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast,and Salon. He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

House Of Secrets is published in the UK on the 25th of April by Harper Collins Children’s Books.
House of secrets is available in ebook, paper and hardback formats from
For US purchasing links click on the book titles in the bio above.

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Picture Books- Where Inspiration Meets Craft

To say that we are excited to host Jez Alborough on todays blog would be an understatement. Jez’s humorous, rhyming tales with their colourful, expressive and engaging illustrations have delighted and entertained during many a Big Book Little Book bedtime routine. His fabulous picture books, Some Dogs Do (read Jane’s review here) and Where’s My Teddy, are among our little ones favourites. We can’t wait to explore his latest offering, Nat The Cat’s Sunny Smile.

Nat the catNat the Cat jumps out of bed with a smile spread halfway round his head.
He’s packed a delicious picnic to share with his friends, Billy Goat and Hugo Hare.
But Billy and Hugo are both feeling down. They are just not in a picnicky mood.
Nat carries on alone, but he soon finds that his smile is gone. Luckily, he’s passed on his smile to his friends and they soon come along to cheer him right back up again!
Another gorgeous rhyming treat from the glorious Jez Alborough

It’s easy to write for children, anyone could do it! Some people actually believe this, I suppose their reasoning is that you’re writing for undeveloped minds, there aren’t many pages and you don’t even have to use many words. Anyone who loves children’s books or indeed who has tried to write one knows that this is simply not true. ‘Less’ is certainly ‘more’ but how to write ‘less’ and make it ‘more’ is not an easy thing to achieve. So what actually goes into the making of a picture book? Put simply my aim is to capture some aspect of life within 32 pages of words and pictures and make it relevant, engaging and fun for children. If I manage to say something true about my chosen subject then there’s every possibility that the parent reading the book will enjoy it as well as the child. In my latest book Nat the Cat’s Sunny Smile I explore the subject of feelings. In particular what happens when Nat, who is happy, meets with his friends, one of whom is grumpy while the other is sad. You can see how, even though it is a children’s story I have entered into the world of psychology and for the book to be ‘true’ then the psychology has to be authentic. What effect does a negative feeling have on a positive one? If I sugar coat this or make it unrealistic then the story won’t work; however I also have to convey the information about feelings in a way that is understandable to a child. There is a knack to this and for me it involves being in touch with a childlike place of innocence within myself; this affords me the ability to communicate with children on their terms. Without this knack it is possible to fall into the trap of ‘writing down’ to children and portraying what an adult mind thinks that their world is like. This is not the same thing at all. When I write a children’s book part of me is tuned into what the five year old me would enjoy in a story while the other adult part is providing the craft which tells me how best to tell the story. The process then is a mixture of the innocence of the child’s perspective and the experience of the adults.

Craft in storytelling is every bit as important as inspiration. If you described a day in your life in which extraordinary events took place it wouldn’t necessarily make a great story. The storyteller pulls events together in a structure which sets off the emotional journey of the story to its best advantage. In basic terms storytelling is all about the releasing of information; this has to be done at exactly the right time and in the most appropriate and entertaining way. Nat the Cat’s story is quite simple: she wakes up with a smile, loses it, then finds it again. The interest comes from the craft of telling how and why she loses it and how and why she finds it again. The heart of the story is how her smile gets passed on to her less than happy friends.

One of the best things about picture books is that they are created to be read out loud, to be shared. This means that they are very much an interactive art form, they require someone to read them out to bring them to life. The reader of the book is the last link in the chain which began with me having the original inspiration for the story. When I write a story I have quite a strong idea of how I feel my story should be read. I have a theory that if the book is written with this mind then it directs the reader in their performance of the story. The rhythm and rhyme along with the punctuation all act as signposts as to how to deliver the words. This is important because however well a story is written a poor delivery can always sabotage it’s chances of engaging with an audience. The more the reader puts into a performance the more the book can come alive. The book is like a sleeping beauty, the story is all there but it needs the reader to kiss it into life.

I have been creating picture books since 1984 and although I have developed my craft over the years each time I start a new book I feel like a beginner all over again. For this reason I have a great respect for picture books and I never take for granted the process that goes into making them. I recently received my first finished copy of Nat the Cat’s Sunny Smile in the post and I was humbled to feel that my one tiny idea had turned into this physical book which parents, teachers and librarians will be sharing with the children in their lives. I hope you will become one of those readers and Nat the Cat’s Sunny Smile is passed on to you. If that happens, if my story and pictures makes you smile, you will have tasted the magic of picture books.

Guest post by Jez Alborough

Jez Alborough is the author-illustrator of the picture-book charmer HUG, his first book about Bobo. He has also created many other celebrated books for children, including SOME DOGS DO — a story about a dog who can fly — and the best-selling Eddie and the Bear books: WHERE’S MY TEDDY?, IT’S THE BEAR!, and MY FRIEND BEAR. Of TALL, he says, “Bobo experiences feeling small as well as feeling tall, but in the end he learns that whatever size you are is the size you’re meant to be.” Jez Alborough lives with his wife in London. ( Biography via Netgalley’s).
To learn more about Jez’s work visit him (here) on Facebook and follow him on Twitter

Nat the Cat is published on March 7th.

Find out how the book was created from idea to publication visit Nat The Cat’s Blog (here).

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Guest Post: Rachel’s Writing Tips

We are delighted to welcome author Rachel Roberts as she shares her story telling expertise.

Since so many of you have asked for tips to create your own stories, Attila, Raider, and I thought we’d share some writing secrets! Whether you’re a writer starting with a blank page, a painter staring at a canvass or a sculptor shaping a lump of clay, creating is a process. It takes time, practice, and patience to bring your vision to life. Creativity can be hard work but it’s always worth the effort. The important thing is to have fun!

WAIT! Don’t write – yet: You have to prepare first. Make some decisions about what kind of story you want to tell – action, adventure, fantasy, mystery – and who your characters are. But where do you get ideas?

You need input to get output: 
To get your imagination flowing, start by doing something you like. Read a book, watch a movie, listen to music, walk in the forest – any experience that makes you feel inspired and ready to create.

Be open to ideas: 
As a writer, part of your job to observe. Ideas- big and small- will come if you pay attention to the world around you. Maybe your cat did something so amazing that it gives you an idea for a magical creature, or your BFF had an interesting comment that made you think, or a ray of sunlight shining through a maple tree looked like a cloud of golden fairy dust. The more you study the real world, the truer and realer your own world and characters will feel.

Be ready to catch ideas: 
If you don’t grab that idea when it pops into your mind it, it might get lost. Carry a notebook so you’re always prepared to jot things down. Soon you’ll have a lot of cool stuff to help create your story. Some ideas you’ll love and others you won’t, but that’s okay. You never know what will help build your story. Plus, when you feel stuck during writing, you can always go back to your notebook and find ideas to get you moving again.

The Big Idea: 
You’ve immersed yourself in great stories, you have a collection of cool ideas, you’re inspired, excited – now what? Here’s what I do:

1. Write A Story Summary: 
A story summary helps you answer the question, “Hey, what’s your story about?” This will help you keep the big picture in mind as you start designing the beginning, middle, and end to your story. You can also use this summary for sales copy when you are ready to post your book online or print it. Here’s some examples of the Avalon book summaries:

Circles in the Stream:
Three very different teenage girls are all drawn to a secret place deep in the woods. There they discover a portal to another world through which strange and wondrous animals have emerged, searching desperately for the magic that will keep them alive. The animals are peaceful and good, but what follows them through the portal is pure evil. Emily, Adriane, and Kara have been chosen by magical beings called Fairimentals to protect the magical animals, though they don’t know why. To save them and their world, the three girls must begin a quest to find the lost home of legendary magic, Avalon…or to perish trying.

Secret of the Unicorn:
The problems in the magical world of Aldenmor are getting worse. Many new creatures are arriving in Ravenswood through the portal and they report that the Fairy Glen, home of the Fairimentals, has vanished. A frightened and terribly wounded unicorn is among the new refugees to Ravenswood. Can Emily communicate with her to offer help? The future of the magic web depends upon the dark secret the unicorn carries.

2. Create Character Bios: 
Write a short bio for each of your lead characters, including stats like age, hair color, eyes, height, likes and dislikes. Don’t worry about selecting names. I always use placeholders (any name I can think of) until the perfect name comes to me.

3. Build Your World: 
Write a short description of the places in your story. Is it a fantasy world? Is it a zoo? Is it a mall? An old, spooky house? Know your environments to make your world feel real.
Keep your notes handy because as you start to write your story, you might want to update, expand or change these 3 things.

Okay, now that you have the basics it’s time to start writing and start creating your own world.

Your fellow writer mage,

Three very different young teens, Emily, the shy one, Adriane, the outsider, and Kara, the power shopper, are all drawn to a secret place deep in the woods where they discover a portal to another world. Wondrous animals have emerged from the portal, desperately seeking the magic that will keep them alive. Though the animals are peaceful and good, what follows them through the portal is twisted and evil and bent on destroying them all.
The Fairimentals have chosen these three fourteen-year-olds to protect the magical animals. To save them and their world, the girls must overcome their differences and band together. They begin a perilous quest to discover Avalon, the lost, legendary home of magic, little knowing the terrible dangers they will face along the way.

To find out more about the series and to read Rachel’s blog visit the Avalon website(here).
The Avalon series is available now as a Kindle download from Amazon.

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Self Published Sunday: The Serpent’s Ring

H B Bolton has joined us today to share a tasty morsel from her latest book, The Serpent’s Ring.
A middle grade fantasy adventure,The Serpent’s Ring, features fantastical creatures and elements of norse mythology.
Although an established self published author this is H B Bolton’s first book for children.
Check out the other stops on The Serpent’s Ring blog tour via Candace’s Book Blog.
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum…that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.
Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

Popping Out and Dropping Down
Book Excerpt

“It won’t take long for Aegir to figure out how to use the Serpent’s Ring,” Vor continued, but he’d already lost Evan’s attention.

Dunkle and Barfel were far more amusing, as they were attacking treats with a vengeance. Their movements so fast, they were a blur. They were loading up their arms with puffed pastries and other goodies, and stuffing their faces with rainbow-colored tarts. Crumbs flew everywhere, landing across the room on a shaggy, white rug. Evan was transfixed by the spectacle and had trouble looking away.

He grabbed a round puffed pastry. Unlike the imps, he wasn’t going to gobble up the whole thing in one bite; he wanted to enjoy his treat. After all, he wasn’t sure how long it would be before he could eat again. Besides, he felt manners were in order while in the company of a Norse goddess and an ancient professor.

“Excuse me,” Evan interrupted. “What’s this called?”

“A Poppin-Droppin,” Vor said and continued with her tale.

With a strange name like Poppin-Droppin, Evan wasn’t sure what to expect. The soft pastry smelled like sweet-cream butter, so he knew it must be good. He shrugged his shoulders and bit it in half. To his delight, the Poppin-Droppin’s layers flaked apart, melting in his mouth. Its center was filled with whipped chocolate, delivering the most incredible sensation Evan had ever experienced. That was until the remaining bite in his hand sprouted out another pastry, and then another and another. Poppin-Droppins multiplied, popping out and dropping down so rapidly that Evan couldn’t catch them. It didn’t take long for him to realize how the Poppin-Droppins came by their name.

Dunkle stopped devouring food long enough to say, “You must eat that particular pastry all in one bite; do not leave even a crumb. Otherwise, it will multiply and make a mess.”

Evan stuffed Poppin-Droppins in his mouth as quickly as he could. Dunkle and Barfel helped by shoveling in bouncing pastries. Thank goodness the professor and Vor were too busy talking with Claire to pay much attention to the spectacle.
Evan hoped Claire was listening to Vor’s advice closely, because at that moment, he was preoccupied.

Currently, Barbara Brooke resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write spellbinding, heart-pounding women’s fiction, she also writes books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young adult fantasy story. These particular books are written under the name H.B. Bolton, but that is another story altogether.

Magic and exotic treats are sprinkled throughout The Serpent’s Ring. Like most boys, Evan is on the constant lookout for something to help ease the rumbling in his stomach. While in Asgard, he discovers there isn’t a food or drink he isn’t willing to try: Poppin-Droppins, Fizzy Whizzles, Woof-Out Bars…thank goodness, not all of them cause bizarre side effects.

Food is comfort. Food is familiar. Food is something people have in common.
And although few people have eaten pastries with magical properties, who couldn’t relate to sinking one’s teeth into soft, buttery pastry? By bringing Poppin-Droppins to life, Evan is able to not only share his experience, but to heighten the readers senses and bring the reader into the room with him. The reader can smell the doughy goodness, feel the moist layers, and taste the gooey chocolate.

Sure, it’s important for a novel to have a strong sense of plot, realistic and interesting characters, and believable dialogue, but what about the extras? such as Harry Potter’s butterbeer, Alice’s “eat me” cakes, and Bilbo’s ale bring life to a story.
Extras like Dorothy’s sparkling shoes, Snow White’s poisoned apple, and Tinker Bell’s pixie dust bring richness to a scene. Many readers yearn to be a part of a world where enchanted items exist —have a replica of Dumbledore’s wand and a chocolate frog to prove it.

What item do you wish had magical properties? What food or drink from a movie would you like to try?

Guest post by H B Bolton

Photo Credits
1 Rainbow Pastries
photo credit: starbooze via photopin cc

2 Puffed Pastry
Photocredit: Minette Layne via photopin cc bochallavia photopin cc

4 Honeydukes
photocredit: Orihimehimex3 via photopin cc

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Self Published Sunday: So Now Everybody Is An Author?

At 24, Ben Galley is a young author from sunny England, and a writer of fantasy and tall tales. Author of the epic and dark Emaneska Series, he has two books to his name, and there is soon to be a third. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge and know-how with other hopeful authors, and is keen to help them turn their passion into their profession. Ben regularly tours the country signing books, pestering bookshops, and searching for dragons. He is a regular speaker, and blogger on everything fantasy and Self-Publishing, and has just launched a Self-Publishing, Writing, and Marketing site called SHELF HElP.
We’re living in an amazing time. A time of explosive change and great leaps of technology. A time where anybody can publish anything within minutes, and sell it to the world at the click of a button. A time of self-publishing. A time of opportunity.

But is that true? That anybody can self-publish a book in minutes and make it available to the world? Yes indeed. 100%. Absolutely. Without a doubt. All you need is a book, a little know-how, and the drive to push yourself.

Self-publishing may not be a new concept – after all Mark Twain was self-published, and so was Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, Alexander Dumas, Benjamin Franklin, and Rudyard Kipling… the list goes on. But until now, we haven’t had the infrastructure and the technology to facilitate the affordable, simple, quality, and fast self-publishing that we have today, and it’s turned the industry on its head.

In 2009 alone, 76% of all books were self-published. That’s an incredible statistic. Lulu, one of the big three POD companies, report that they publish something like 20,000 new titles a month. Never before in history has there been so many books and so many authors writing them. I think it’s safe to say that we authors have joined the fray en masse!

But because of this, we self-published authors are now experiencing a new challenge. The problem is this: with self-publishing being so easy, the market has now been flooded with authors, bringing both good and bad books with them. Everybody seems to be an author these days. The new challenge is not the publishing of our books, but rather making them, and us along with them, stand out from the others. We still live in an amazing time, it’s just a rather noisy one.

There are several things that I believe you can do to make sure you stand out of the crowd, and to set yourself above this flood:

Aim for quality:
The main complaint from the industry at the moment is the average quality of self-published books. Due to the ease and speed of the process, many authors feel like they don’t need to make the effort, and often publish without having edited, proofread, or even sourced a decent cover. The sheer number of these poor books can make life hard for us, but what we can do is stand out by aiming high. We need to make sure our books are of the highest quality, and comparable with the books of the traditional houses. This means getting a professional cover made, and making sure your book is error-free and edited to its utmost! Easiness is not an excuse for laziness.

Get physical:
Some people confuse self-publishing with simple e-publishing, ie: simply publishing ebooks and them alone. Well, you don’t have to stop there. Thanks once again to the wonder of technology, we now have the ability to print quality books and distribute them all over the world with a bit of formatting and the click of a mouse. Having this extra string to your bow not only helps you stand apart from the e-publishing horde, but also provides another revenue stream too!

Build a friend base:
Those of you who are already on Twitter and Facebook might have seen them. The authors and writers who incessantly tweet links to their books and nothing else? Yes, them. Personally, I find it irritating and boring, and marketing deserves a little more though than just clogging up Twitter feeds with links to books. I’m keen to push the idea of the friendbase; like a fanbase, but more personal, engaging, and interesting. People are more responsive if you speak to them on a personal level, as you would if you met them at a book fair, or in the street. Be interested in them first, and they will in turn by curious about you, and therefore more likely to invest their time, money, and pass the message on. Good rule of thumb here is to speak to ten new people a day on Twitter of Facebook, be it a retweet, a like, or a reply, simply get engaging.

Get sharing:
Despite the relative ease of self-publishing, it can be somewhat tough going it alone. One of the best things about self-publishing, however, is that we’re all very eager to share and to grow. By forging links with other, similar authors you can grow together by sharing eachother’s blogs and books to your respective friendbases. That way, both parties win and your fans will also be richer for it. As the old saying goes – united we stand, divided we fall.

Be creative:
This new self-publishing boom is nothing if not open to change. With the sudden influx of new authors and new technology, the industry is still trying to find its new feet. What this means for us new authors is the chance to find marketing niches that others may not have found yet. This could be anything from new technology, new companies, new mediums, anything. It’s the gift of such an amazing time. Find these niches, and exploit them! Above all, standing out takes a bit of hard work and some determination. It’s a noisy world out there. All you have to do is shout louder and longer.

Good luck.
Post by Ben Galley
You can find Ben lurking on several social media sites. It’s wise not to encourage him.
Twitter: @BenGalley
Facebook: Ben Galley Author
Websites: and Shelf Help

Emaneska is crying out for a saviour
The only question is: Can they kill a child to save a world?
Emaneska’s Long Winter remains as bitter as a blade between the ribs. War is fast approaching. Gods and daemons are hovering on the horizon. Long-lost revelations arrive to haunt the lives of three men.
The Pale Kings are rising.
While Farden busies himself digging up his past in the strange deserts of Paraia, the storm-clouds begin to gather for Durnus, Elessi, Cheska, and Modren.
Together with Farfallen and his Sirens, they must fight to survive against the Long Winter, the vicious machinations of the new Arkmage, and the arrival of something much deadlier than both combined. War, deception, and murder are quickly becoming the only paths to salvation…

The first two books in Ben’s Emenska Series The Written and Pale Kings are available to buy from amazon.

Read our interview with Ben here!

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Self Published Sunday: Trisha Leigh

The Big Book Little Book team is very grateful to the self published community for giving us an opportunity to read and review their work. As victims of our own success, we have found that we have less and less time to devote to discovering independently published gems, and sharing them with a wider audience.

Although the BBLB team had been discussing the development of a self-published showcase for some weeks, it was the receipt of Trisha Leigh’swell written and researched review request that augmented it’s development.

Totally impressed with Trisha professional approach, intrigued by her synopsis and gripped by the Whispers in Autumn trailer, we knew that we wanted to share her voice with our readers. But with our full review schedule it looked as though we were going to be disappointed or at the least, very patient! Prompted in to action, we created Self Published Sunday and we were delighted when Trisha agreed to signed up for our very first Self Published Sunday feature.

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.
Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.
The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes.
Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.
It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.
And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

I’ve been pretty much immersed in the publishing world since mid-2009, and even though only three years have elapsed, I’ve watched it slip and change and question itself endlessly. When I began my quest to become a published author, self-publishing wasn’t even on my radar. It wasn’t talked about, I didn’t know anyone who was doing it—and you certainly couldn’t have convinced me there would be a time when I considered it a viable option.

I’m not going to go over my specific reasons for deciding to self-publish Whispers in Autumn and the rest of The Last Year series (if you’re curious,). The fact is, there is no longer a clear path, no one right way to get your work in front of readers. There are a multitude of options. Some will be right for you, others won’t. I personally don’t understand the mud slinging that happens between traditional and self-publishing, because we all love books. Bottom line.

What I’d really love to see change is the term SELF-publishing. Because guys? I could never in a million years put out a quality product ON MY OWN. Choosing to publish your book without going through the agent and/or publishing house doesn’t mean you don’t need help in order to make it the best it can possibly be. No one can see all of the flaws in their own work. We all need critique partners and developmental editors. I must have read Whispers in Autumn over a hundred times, but the copy editor I hired found a multitude of items—word repetition, comma usage, word choice, inconsistencies—that needed to be corrected.

And after she read it, four proofreaders unearthed even more mistakes.

I don’t know about y’all, but it’s important to me that the product (my book) reflects commitment and hard work, along with creativity. Sure, not every reader is going to enjoy your story. People’s tastes differ, their genre preference changes, or perhaps your main character bites her nails and they just hate that. Whatever it is, you can’t write a story that appeals to 100% of readers.
But I can produce a book that’s free of glaring grammatical, spelling, structural, and consistency errors—one that you read and can’t tell at a glance whether it’s released by a publishing house or not. Choosing to use a professional cover designer also helps, because a graphic artist I am not. And she did a wonderful job; her artwork grabbed my story more attention that I ever dreamed or could have drummed up on my own.

Now that Whispers in Autumn is about to release (July 24th!), I’m going to depend on even more people to make it a success. If the book is going to sell, I’m going to owe the fabulous book blogging community, who are embracing the chance to read and review, a huge thank you. Along with them, anyone who picks up my book, reads, reviews, tells a friend, etc. Not only can I not write a saleable book on my own, there’s no way to earn success without help.

Like raising a child, producing a quality product takes a community effort. So it shouldn’t be termed SELF-publishing.
Not if you do it right.

Post by Trisha Leigh

Raised by a family of ex-farmers and/or almost rocks stars from Southeastern Iowa, Trisha Leigh has a film degree from Texas Christian University. She currently lives in Kansas City, MO. Whispers in Autumn is her first novel, and she’s hard at work on the remainder of the series. Her spare time is spent reviewing television and movies, relaxing with her loud, loving family, reading any book that falls into her hands, and being dragged into the fresh air by her dogs Yoda and Jilly.

To discover more about Trisha and her writing you can visit her at her website, follow her on Twitter and befriend her on Goodreads and/or Facebook.
You will also find The Last Year fan page on Facebook.

Whispers in Autumn is available in ebook and paperback from and ebook from

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