Posts Tagged ‘Self Published’

Beginning to End

Paul Hughes

The real story of ‘swinging’ London in the wild and crazy 1960’s as seen through the eyes of two New Scotland Yard detectives – D I Andy Spearing and D S Kevin Devlin. (Book 1 in the series) – Drugs and booze flow like rivers resulting in depravity and corruption from the highest levels in the UK establishment down to the common working man. For some the 1960’s were their halcyon days, but for so many others it was the start of a fall into depravity and those were the lucky ones who survived!


An Interview with Paul Hughes

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
It is mostly being able to create characters and mould their lives.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
It started out with Detective Devlin as I had an affinity with him coming from the Glasgow area in Scotland. As I developed the Detective Spearing character I began to like him more as does Detective Devlin in the storyline. Then I began to develop the character of ‘The Fox’ – the assassin and now waver between all three.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
To be honest it started with a glass of wine with lunch as I continued writing into the afternoon, but the glass turned to a few glasses, so nowadays it is usually tea!

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Lots, but the main one is lack of concentration on the immediate story line – usually my mind wanders into how I develop the story and I continually have to pull myself back to the immediate story line.

How do you research your books?
The first three books in the series I used personal experiences in the music business with groups in the 60’s and 70’s, plus friends who worked with New Scotland Yard. I also used my work experience in the defence industry. I also used Google a lot to help with dates and happenings.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
To be honest a bit of both – I usually have a basic plot, but as the plot develops I do play a lot by the seat of my pants!

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
A world without religion or hate. I don’t think I have to say why?

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Detective Bosh from Michael Connelly books – A real character with all the human failings – not a super hero.

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Fire Lines

Cara Thurlbourn

When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
It’s been a while since I last read a fantasy book but when I heard about this one, I was instantly intrigued. It sounded very interesting – and fortunately it was! From the very beginning I found myself quite addicted to this book and found it pretty difficult to move on. Fortunately this book was also an easy read, the descriptions were written so well that images of the world filled my brain. I connected with the characters and could not wait to find out what would happen and where the book would take us. It’s not a truly complex fantasy novel but that was absolutely perfect for me. This made it easier to imagine and read, it allowed the characters to take full control of the story, which is something I absolutely love in books.

Who was your favourite character and why?
This is actually a bit of a tough choice for me but I think my ultimate favourite character was Tsam. I can’t quite put my finger on why except that I was instantly drawn to him and his protective nature. He felt like a safety net in the book. It’s hard to describe but I just felt safe whenever he was there. Second to Tsam would obviously be Emi. She was such a strong, powerful character. She goes through so much in the book and has lived a hellish life but she takes it all in and doesn’t let her weaknesses or her history define her. She is definitely a very interesting and unique character.

Would you recommend this book?
Definitely. I am certain that this book might not be for everyone but if you love fantasy and YA, mystery and adventure then you should definitely make sure that you read this book. It’s vivid and vibrant, taking you on a truly exotic adventure. I loved the lay of the land that Cara has come up with in this book, I loved the different creatures and beings that we meet throughout the book too. So if you’re looking for a book with all of these elements, then don’t miss this one.

One Sentence Summary (Verdict)
A vivid, vibrant, easy and addictive read that will pull you in from the first sentence.

Publisher: Bewick Press
Publication Date: September 2017
Format: eBook
Pages: 300
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by Author
Challenge: None
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Self Published Sunday: Glaze by Kim Curran

We are delighted to welcome author Kim Curran to Self Published Sunday. Not only has Kim taken the time to answer our questions, she has also provided us with an excerpt from Glaze and a fantastic giveaway!
GlazePetri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE…or destroy it.

Glaze is your first self-published novel, was there anything in particular that prompted you to make the decision to self-publish?

Initially, I had hoped Glaze would get your normal, traditional publishing deal. And my agent sent the book out to a handful of publishers with that intent. However, it quickly became apparent that they either had something similar in the pipeline or they had doubts about the market for YASF. Combined with this was my realisation that the topics in Glaze were (sometimes eerily) starting to happen. The social network in GLAZE is accessed via a chip in the brain that creates an optical overlay – and I’d written it before I’d heard a thing about Google Glass. The first chapter features a riot in London – and it was written long before the London riots. And I realised that I was going to have to move super fast to ensure the book stayed topical. And that’s the beauty of self publishing. I was able to move as fast as I liked.

Plus, I really loved the idea of trying a new approach to publishing. And Glaze seemed to be the perfect book to do that with. It’s about disrupting the establishment after all 🙂

Glaze is a truly scary look at social media, where did your initial inspiration come from?

The initial spark came from watching this TED video on the Filter Bubble.

http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

In it, Eli Pariser talks about how the filter through which we experience the internet is so designed around our personal interests that, in an attempt to be totally relevant, it risks cutting us off from the wider scope of topics. This really scared me, as it’s something I do personally: if someone on Twitter tweets something I don’t agree with, I unfollow them; if someone on Facebook bangs on about topics that don’t interest me, I defriend them. I started to wonder how this might work if it was done on a social level. If all of our relationships with each other and with our society was controlled and ‘filtered’. And so the idea for Glaze was born.

Prior to the start of Glaze, Petri is already socially isolated, how important was this to the decisions she made throughout the novel?

For me it’s Petri’s desire to ‘belong’ that is the main thrust behind the whole book. She’s an outsider looking in on a world that feels out of reach. And in my teenage years (and still today) I felt that intently. Even when surrounded by friends, I felt someone how isolated. And all it would take would be one of those days when everyone seems to have ‘in’ jokes that you don’t get and that sense of isolation could become crushing. And so I wanted the network to become a metaphor for that experience. It’s the ultimate ‘in crowd’!

I liked the fact that they had a physical barrier on the use of social media in schools; do you believe that the abundance of teenagers using smart phones affects their education and social interactions?

That’s a really fascinating question. There’s a genuine fear that our ‘always on’ culture is affecting our attention span and our ability for prolonged thought. But then, people said the same thing about books! Of course, smart phones and access to social media is changing the way we consume information and how we interact. However, whether that change is negative is unclear. I think it’s just change. And that’s a neutral thing.

What I really do worry about, however, are the changes that are taking place in our education system. It feels to me that we’re moving to an old fashioned view of what it means to be educated. Which is to have your brain stuffed full of facts and figures. For me, education is so much more than this. It should be about sparking a passion for ideas and encouraging young people to question their world and what has shaped that (whether that’s history or physics). And it’s this attempt to erode that space to ask questions that I think it the real danger in our schools!

Is there one form of social media that you personally cannot live without?

I wouldn’t say live without – as I do often wish someone would save me from myself and ban me from the internet! But I love Twitter so very much. Since going freelance to focus on my writing it’s become my work chat, my social group and my source of news and gossip.

Glaze, as mentioned above, is a little bit terrifying, I admit that while reading Glaze, I felt a little bit uneasy about accessing my own social media; did you experience this while writing it?

Absolutely! I started to question the motives of everyone I interacted with online. And I got the sense that everything I was sharing online was being watched (because IT IS! ☺ )

This paranoia was combined with the fact that as I was writing it, it all seemed to be coming true! I was sitting in an office in East London when the riots broke out. And that was after having written the riot scene at the beginning of the book. Then all the news about GCHQ started to break. And finally, Google Glass was announced and I started to get seriously worried someone was hacking my brain!

Is there one message you’d like readers to take away from reading Glaze?

Question who is in control of your information.

Which five words would you use to persuade someone to read Glaze?

Argh! This is so hard.

Try a twisty, thinky, tech-thriller. 🙂

What have been the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of self-publishing?

The whole process has been incredible! I thought it was going to be so isolating but the truth is it’s been one of the most supportive and collaborative experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve been really lucky that an imprint called Jurassic London got excited about the idea of Glaze and wanted to publish limited edition hardbacks. And so I was able to work with Jared Shurin – the editor there on that. Glaze was also edited by Amy McCulloch at Puffin, plus I had amazing copyeditors and proof readers. And so I had a team of people around me to help make the book better.

And then, when I reached out to bloggers #TeamGlaze was born and I was overwhelmed by the excitement and enthusiasm. It’s been such a humbling experience and I sort of feel that Glaze belongs to everyone who’ve helped me in that journey.

It’s also been really empowering to take control over my career. Ultimately, all the choices made, have been mine. Which is terrifying, but also really rewarding.

Honestly, the only challenging thing was making the decision to do it. Which was a really tough one. I thought people would judge me and think I’d somehow failed. But the support I’ve had has blown me away.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’m just finishing up the final edits on Delete ¬– the final book in my Shifter trilogy. And I’ve started a new book for young adults that I am so exceptionally excited about I can hardly sleep. I can’t tell you much about it, beyond the fact it’s tonally very different from anything I’ve written before. It’s a series of letters between two girls and…actually, that’s all I can say without giving it all away. The working title (exclusive here) is We’ve Only Just Begun. So, watch this space! 🙂

Excerpt

I sit on the least damaged of the seats and start to swing. The rusting chains are damp from the morning’s rain but the seat is dry, which means someone has been here before me. Kiara climbs up on the warped, burnt-out seat and pushes back and forth, her long, dark hair splaying out behind her, then catching her up on the upswing.

We swing in silence for a while.

‘What’s it like?’ she says.

‘What’s what like?’

‘The blank chip. Can you feel it?’

‘Not really. At first, I could see the company logo, floating in my eyes. You know, like when you stare at the sun too long. Three faint triangles drifting around. But I don’t even notice them now.’ I look down. I was hoping that I’d feel something with the chip. Get some kind of feed. The time and date. My location. Something. Anything. But after the logo faded, there was nothing.

‘You know, you’re lucky.’

‘What?’ I look back up at Kiara flying back and forth.

‘Glaze. It’s not all that. I’m thinking of having the chip removed.’

‘What? Why?’

She leaps off mid swing and lands badly. I jump down and try to help her back to her feet. She sits in the mud and laughs.
‘Are you OK?’ I ask, meaning the ankle she’s cradling.

‘No, not really.’ Her smile fades. ‘I mean, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’

I know she’s not talking about her ankle.

‘You remember when I was off school last month?’

‘With glandular fever?’ I say.

‘Yeah, only it wasn’t glandular fever. Unless you can get that from a stomach pump.’

‘What are you on about?’

‘I tried to kill myself.’

She says it like it’s perfectly normal. Like she’d just tried a new nail varnish. Or she has a crush on someone. I find I can’t breathe and slump to the floor next to her.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she says, leaning back on her hands and looking up at the clouds. ‘I did a really crappy job of it. Apparently it’s really hard to OD on ibuprofen. Who knew?’

‘Kiara, I… I… Why?’

She closes her eyes and tilts her head back further, as if she were sunbathing. Only there’s no sun out today. ‘The doctors say I’m depressed.’

‘Well, duh!’ I say. ‘Award for stating the obvious goes to the doctors.’

‘I guess. But I always thought being depressed meant feeling sad all the time and not being able to get out of bed. But I don’t feel sad. I just don’t… feel. Anything.’ She sits up again and rubs her muddy hands on her skirt. ‘I used to care about things so much, you know? My art. Music. But now, it’s all noise. And without it I feel empty. And I didn’t want to go on feeling empty.’

‘I wish I knew what to say.’

‘Don’t worry. No one knows really. Mum says I’ll get better soon. That it’s a phase. Dad’s ignoring it, pretty much, trying to carry on as normal. He can’t cope with the fact I’m not his happy little Kiki any more. My doctor wants me to take some pills. “Happy pills”. He actually called them that. Literally. Happy pills. Can you believe that?’

‘And you don’t want to take them?’

‘I don’t know. I don’t really know anything any more.’

‘Has this got anything to do with Pippa?’

Kiara laughs. ‘No. Poor Pippa. Can you imagine her dealing with this?’

I laugh too. But it comes out as more of a groan. ‘Yeah, she’d make a right drama out of it.’

‘No, it’s not her. I can’t even remember why we were friends in the first place. No, it’s just… life, I guess. My life. It really does suck.’

I turn away and sigh. ‘Tell me about it.’

‘I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch to you lately, Pet. I wanted to tell you, I really did. But…’

‘It’s fine. I get it.’ I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of relived.

We both sit and watch the clouds float past overhead.

‘So, what’s that got to do with having your chip out. I mean, can you even do that?’

‘Apparently there’s a clinic you can go to. It’s not as easy as having it put in. But nothing ever is, right?
‘And you’re going to?’

‘Maybe. It’s weird. Since I got chipped I’ve felt shrunk, somehow. Lost among all those voices. I don’t know what I really think, about anything. You know, what my opinions are.’ She presses her hand to her chest. ‘I’m stretched out in all directions spread too thin. Like a pancake person.’ She laughs again, and this time, it sounds a little more like her real laugh. ‘But it could just be me. Mum did always say I was contrary.’

‘Why don’t you turn it off? Then when you feel better you can go back.’ I can’t get my head around the idea of someone choosing not to be on Glaze. Especially when I know I can’t. Like Ethan.

‘Yeah, but I’d only turn it back on again. I have no willpower.’ She shivers and wraps her arms around herself.

‘You want to come back to mine?’ I say, standing up. ‘Zizi will be there, though. She’s working on some big project.’
‘Won’t she go totally Metro for you bunking off?’

‘Nah, I’ll tell her I’m taking a stand against patriarchal institutions or something.’

‘Your mum’s cool.’

‘Hmm. Too cool.’

‘I have to be home normal time or Mum will call the police.’

‘We still have a couple of hours. And I’ve had enough of the police for a lifetime.’

She takes my hand to get to her feet then tucks it under her arm, linking us together. ‘What was it like? Being arrested?’ Her eyes light up and I realise now it’s the first time I’ve seen them like that in too long.

Kim PicDublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete.
She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project. And lives in London with her husband and too many books.
To find out more about Kim and her work visit www.kimcurran.co.uk
To view the full tour schedule visit A Daydreamers thoughts here

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.
The prizes include;
Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer
Signed copies of Shift & Control
Glaze Bookmarks
Glaze badges
Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Self Published Sunday: My Kindle Romance

Today I’ve decided to make a confession; one, which I’m sure, has the power to divide fellow bloggers and bookworms.

I LOVE my Kindle.

LOVE. IT.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still love paper books; the way they smell and the way they feel; the thickness of the paper; embossed text on the cover; the softness of some dust jackets and the comforting weight of a paperback in your handbag. Don’t even get me started about how I fantastic my hardback collection looks on my shelves. I agree whole heartily with the saying “A room without books is like a body without a soul”. But ebooks are fast becoming my favorite reading format.

My relationship with my kindle got off to a shaky start. As an infrequent traveller I didn’t see why I would need one of these new-fangled eReaders. My husband, fed up with our multiplying bookshelves, bought me a kindle in the vague hope that if he couldn’t cure me of my book addiction he could at least physically contain it. Mission accomplished, in the eighteen months since my kindle and I were introduced I haven’t need to buy a new bookcase (I ask you to kindly overlook the fact I have started to double stack my books).

The move of traditional publishers to start issuing eArcs to reviewers and my discovery of Netgalley certainly improved my relationship with my kindle.

Gradually, without really realising it, that friendship developed in to a full-grown love affair. It started with my first experience of the kindle sale. Before long I found myself becoming a savvier shopper, selecting the kindle version when I found it to be cheaper than paper copies.

I found myself rebuying ebook versions of larger (600+ pages) books I already owned as I found them less intimidating and thus more likely to read in ebook form.

I have succumbed, more than once, to the instant gratification (not to mention sleep restricted nights) that only my kindle can provide. It is pure pleasure on reaching the end of one book and to be able to instantly download its sequel.

However where my kindle has comes in to its own, what is fast becoming my favorite feature of my beloved, is the access it grants me to the world of Indy and self-published authors.

Like the rest of the book loving world I have been swept off my feet by the mature YA / “New Adult” books that fantastic, Self published authors like Abbi Glines and Tammara Webber (Click here to read my Easy review) have championed.

These books are so popular among their readers, that traditional publishers are sitting up and taking notice, and more and more of these independent authors are having their work scooped up and placed on bookshop shelves by traditional publishers.

What follows is a selection of my favourite Self and Indy published, contemporary romances. If you are offended by tattooed, motorcycle riding, bad boy musicians with a secret romantic soul, look away now!
All of the books features fall in to the New Adult/Adult category and as such all contain adult content (i.e. bad language, sexual content, drug/alcohol use).

For more information about the featured authors simple click on their name to be taken to their blog or authors page.

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

Fallen Too FarTo want what you’re not supposed to have…
She is only nineteen.
She is his new stepfather’s daughter.
She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.
But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.
Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…
Blaire just may have fallen too far

2012 was an awesome year for Abbi, her Vincent Boys/Brothers books (originally self-published in Oct 2011 and June 2012) took the YA book blogging world by storm. The Vincent Boys series along with Abbi’s equally steamy and no less awesome, Sea Breeze series have been picked up by traditional publishers; Hot Key Books and Simon and Schuster respectively, given glamorous cover makeovers and will be heading in all their papery glory to a book shop near you very soon.

Whether writing for the YA (Breath, Existence, Predestined) or a more mature market, for her contemporary series’ (Vincent Boys , Sea Breeze , Fallen Too Far) or in the paranormal genre (Existence series), Abbi’s work is filled with compelling, interesting characters whose chemistry fizzes off of the page.

Self-published, under her own name, Fallen Too Far is the latest offering from this prolific author and in my opinion the steamiest and the most un-put-down-able of her work so far. I gobbled it up in a single day and I have already managed to re-read this raunchy little number, once more in a single sitting!

Abbi’s writing is absolutely addictive. Like a chain smoker, a soon as I reach the conclusion of one of her books, I find myself compelled to download and read another. Alas, I now have to endure the torturous wait until March for the second installment of Blaire and Rush’s story and because of my gluttonous behavior I don’t even have any of Abbi’s other titles in my TBR to help me pass the time.

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

wallbangerCaroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.
Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.
Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…

Thank you to Amazon recommendation feature for highlighting this little Indy published beauty from title=”Omnific Publishing”>Omnific Publishing

Wow, just wow!

Not nearly as raunchy as the cover and title would lead you to believe, Wallbanger is a lesson in creating and maintaining sexual tension. Underneath the rather provocative cover is a laugh out loud funny, beautifully paced, sweet romance, and when the couple finally get their act together the wait is O so worth it!

While overall all I guiltily enjoyed E L James 50 Shades series, I found the characters references to her “inner goddess” irritating and at times utterly ridiculous, causing me to skip those portions of the book. In Wallbanger, Clayton totally nails it. Funny, insightful and absolutely true to the character, Caroline’s’ internal dialog was one of my favorite features of the book.

Bad Rep by A. Meredith Walters

bad rep“Who gives a damn about their reputation? Oh, that would be me! Especially since mine had gone straight to hell in the span of thirty minutes”.
Maysie Ardin is soaking up the summer before her junior year of college, shopping, hanging by the pool and shopping some more. But when her black belt in spending lands her in trouble with her parents, she is forced to take a second job at a local bar to dig herself out of a deep financial pit.
She thought she’d be miserable. But then Maysie didn’t count on Jordan Levitt, the hot, pierced and tattooed, drum playing bartender who also happens to be very interested in her. And the feelings are totally mutual.
It had the makings of the perfect romantic set up. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy has girlfriend? Okay, maybe not.
But attraction is a hard thing to ignore and soon Jordan and Maysie find themselves in the middle of a gossip induced firestorm. Maysie has to learn whether she can set aside her fear of public disapproval in order to be with the one she wants. Or will she let the opinions of others dictate her life and her heart?

Maysie has met her perfect man. This intelligent, thoughtful, gorgeously talented musician with abs of steel and ink to swoon over has it all, including an equally perfect long-term girlfriend.

There is no denying that these two belong together, their chemistry is off the charts and they have so much in common, including the habit of making frustrating choices.

There were points in this book one or other of the main characters irritated me so much with their stupidity, I wanted to grab them by the scruff of the neck and shake some sense in to them. Then, like a little girl with her Barbie dolls, lay them next to each other and smush their faces together, so that they would have their happy ever after already!

But rather than dislike this book, I found it a compulsive and enjoyable read. It was their questionable choices, completely in keeping with their characters, that created the tension, the will they/won’t they, gut twisting element of the story and what ultimately made the final pay off all the sweeter.

I sat and read Bed Rep in one sitting, as there was absolutely no way I could have gone to sleep not knowing if these two could get their act together.

The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

The secret of Ella and MichaElla and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.
Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now its summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.
Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.
Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

In need of a little steamy contemporary romance to help dampen the withdraw symptoms following my re-read of Easy and having devoured Abbi Glines entire back catalogue, I came across The Secret of Ella and Micha. Priced at just 77p, I couldn’t resist and I immediately set about feeding my addiction.

After eight months, a make-over and a semester of university, Ella know that it is time to head home and face the music for her unexplained departure from her old life. But the preppy good girl façade she has created quickly crumbles in the face of Micha, the boy she tried to leave behind along with her emo eyeliner.

Micha is absolutely swoon worthy. Not only is he gorgeous, clever and talented but also he maintains absolute faith in Ella, even when she had none. Loving the girl he has known his whole life and the woman she has become. I adored Micha’s, honest account of his love, frustration and determination and this book was all the better for allowing us to get to know both characters intimately, through the dual first person narrative.

I loved this book so much that I immediately downloaded, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, in the hope that it would help to sustain me until the publication of The Forever of Ella and Micha.

Devoured by Emily Snow

young couple huggingSienna Jensen had no plans to return home when she graduated college last spring—after all, her dreams lie in California. But when she discovers her grandmother’s Nashville home has been foreclosed, and the new owner has started the eviction process, Sienna has no other choice but go back to Music City. And she comes face to face with the flawed, gorgeous man she never thought she’d see again. The man who now holds the deed to her grandma’s estate.
When millionaire rock star Lucas Wolfe finds the outspoken redhead glaring at him from across a courtroom, he’s both infuriated and intrigued. He still can’t get the night Sienna almost spent with him out of his mind, and the chemistry between them is as undeniable as it was two years ago. He craves Sienna more than ever. And just like everything Lucas hungers for, he’s determined to have her.
Now, Lucas will do whatever it takes to lure Sienna into his bed, even if that means making a deal with her: ten days with him, playing by his rules, and he’ll hand over the deed to her grandmother’s home. Though she agrees to the arrangement, Sienna is conflicted. Because of her duty to her family. Because of promises she’s made to herself and a past that still haunts her. And as Lucas’s game of seduction continues, and Sienna is introduced to his dark, erotic world and even darker background, she realizes that at any moment, she could be devoured.

I have to confess that what first drew me to this book was the cover, which happens to use the same cover models as my favorite contemporary read of 2012, Easyby Tammara Webber.

I know, I know I’m soooo shallow. It was the synopsis however, that held my attention and had me clicking “buy it”.

Devoured was an amazingly quick read, I found myself racing through the pages to discover just how successful Sienna was at resisting Lucas’ “Dark needs” and how far Lucas would go to prevent Sienna slip through his fingers a second time.

Coming to the end, I found myself desperate to learn more about Lucus and Sienna’s relationship. I immediately downloaded and read the prequel novella All Over You, a dual, first person point of view of that first fateful meeting.

I can’t wait to devour the conclusion of Lucas and Sienna’s story when Consumed it is released on the 15th of January.

Other self/Indy-published contemporary romances I have enjoyed include:
Chasing McCree by J. C. Isabella,
Cross My Heart by Katie Klein ,
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye.( an Adult novella)
The Wild Ones by M. Leighton

Happy reading!

Post by Caroline

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Fearless In High Heels- A High Heels Mystery


Gemma Halliday

Morning sickness sucks. Which is why fashion designer turned amateur sleuth Maddie Springer has spent the last six weeks being a couch potato and Moonlight vampire movie devotee. But when Maddie’s best friends finally convince her to venture out, Maddie stumbles on a dead body of a girl who has been bitten on the neck, and life suddenly imitates art in the most deadliest of ways. Now Maddie is smack in the middle of a murder investigation involving a deadly dance club and a coven of Hollywood “vampires”. Not to mention navigating the world of baby showers, diaper genies and Lamaze classes with her LAPD Homicide detective husband who would rather his pregnant wife not continue popping up in his murder investigation. Between the hormones, the homicides, and a flurry of fangs, Maddie and her gang work to track down the deadly truth… before the killer bites again!

Please note that this review contains spoilers for the previous books in this series.

I have been avid follower of this series since I picked the first one for free on my Kindle. The box set followed next and then the novella, so I was excited to see that a new one arrived last year. It has taken me a while to get around to reading it however!
The series centres on Maddie Springer who is, to be frank, a little ditzy. She is a proper girlie girl, into clothes and a shoe designer herself. She has a penchant for junk food, often fails to meet deadlines and would rather be shopping than having a workout. I think she is a fabulous character. She lives in LA and as a Brit she and her friends highlight all those things that you imagine LA would be like with fast cars, celebrities and slightly barmy (in a nice way) Americans! In the first novel Maddie’s boyfriend disappears and is accused of murder. Maddie is determined to clear his name and embarks on a little amateur sleuthing. This leads to her always being in the right place at the wrong time (or the other way around!) and being accidently and peculiarly quite good at solving mysteries. Her theories are wacky and and her methods totally unorthodox, often she goes on off on what seems to be completely the wrong tangent but the ensuing antics are wonderful to behold. Well, that is unless you are local homicide cop Ramierez, who is the hottest cop on the planet and finds Maddie’s interference annoying (to say the least) but possibly in an attractive kind of way…!

So now we are seven books down the line and in spite of everything Maddie has solved a number of cases and won over Ramierez in the process. They are finally happily hitched and in this story Maddie is expecting their first baby. This gives rise to a lot of humour with her crazy Mom trying to prepare Maddie for motherhood; Maddie sticks the baby doll she is supposed to be practicing with in her handbag most of the time.

The mystery is as crazy as ever and as Maddie is pregnant there is a greater need than usual to suspend your disbelief about some of the situations she gets herself into. However the cast of minor characters are as good as ever. Dana, Maddie’s best friend and her boyfriend (a movie star) continue to spur Maddie on. I loved the vampire twist with a little finger pointing at a well-known set of vampire stories.

Verdict:This is not the best of the series however it is still an enjoyable scramble through Maddie’s capers and there are some great moments. It still kept me turning the pages, but more due to Maddie’s scrapes than the mystery this time. I would highly recommend that you start with the first one of the series (Spying in High Heels) to see if it’s for you.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: December 2011
Format: eBook
Pages: 187/311KB
Genre: Chick Lit, Humour, Mystery
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Oldest Book
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Self Published Sunday: The Pyramid Legacy

Two weeks a go we were delighted to interview Clive Eaton about his reading and writing experiences.
Clive has kindly returned to Self Published Sunday to share an excerpt from his debut novel The Pyramid Legacy.

For over four millennia the Great Pyramid of Giza has guarded a secret image; until NOW!
A prominent young Egyptologist is murdered by a colleague, deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The authorities are keen to cover it up, but they know they can’t achieve total closure whilst English robotics engineer, Ben Anderson, remains in possession of a powerful image. An image, which suggests the Great Pyramid at Giza was not built by ancient Egyptians.
What the Egyptian authorities don’t know is that unless the true meaning behind the image can be established, along with other images which will later surface, the future of mankind will face the most serious threat imaginable. Anderson manages to escape Egypt at the earliest opportunity, together with his astrophysicist girlfriend, Samantha Gibson, but the authorities are quickly on their tail when it becomes evident they have arrested the wrong person. Keen to establish who really built the Pyramids, Anderson seeks to gain additional proof to support his theory.
As he and Gibson begin to discover a series of seemingly disparate clues, they soon realise that everything is far from straightforward. Whilst seeking additional resources, Gibson is unwittingly embroiled in the internal politics of the US military, with the result that she becomes a pawn in a vicious power struggle involving a corrupt senior officer. Her path crosses that of an ex-lover and her relationship with Anderson stretches to breaking point. As Anderson begins to see Gibson from a totally different perspective, his focus changes, and he pushes himself well beyond the limits of his comfort zone in an attempt to discover the truth. Gibson is now prepared to do anything to fulfil a lifetime ambition, but as her objective becomes almost within her grasp a virulent virus threatens to stop her . . . and Anderson has the antidote . . . together with a totally different agenda. And so an unprecedented race begins to finally reveal the true legacy of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The Pyramid Legacy is a thriller, but also has a story of love and deceit deeply woven in

Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness . . .’ Genesis 1:2

Prologue

Northeast Africa, 2350BC
They stood in an excited group, evaluating the task they had almost completed. Seven of them, no more, no less, gathered among the last rays of the sun. Silence descended upon the celebration when the leader raised his hand and wrapped a withered arm around his youngest prodigy. His eyes sparkled with warmth.

‘It has been decided that you will be given the honour of positioning the final component,’ he declared, squeezing the young man’s shoulders with pride.

A broad smile swept across the youth’s face as his colleagues cheered.

The sunset painted their creation and its surrounding landscape with a warm orange glow. The leader lifted the corner of a large cloth, allowing the low sunlight to give life to a brightly coloured object trapped beneath. He studied the young man’s expression and read warm respect reflected in his prodigy’s eyes.

‘Carry out this task with the utmost care,’ advised the sage, patting the youth’s shoulder with a paternal touch. A glimmer of a smile and the slightest of nods gave the leader the response he sought.

Twenty minutes later the task was complete. All the equipment was cross-checked against the master inventory and securely packed away.

The leader faced his team and regarded each of them in turn, appreciating the pride in every familiar face. ‘You have all done outstanding work and deserve to be congratulated on your achievement.’
He gazed towards the heavens, watching as dusk drifted into nightfall. The last flicker of sunlight quietly retired beyond the horizon.

He returned his attention to his team and held out his arms, indicating what they had done. ‘Enjoy our creation for one final moment,’ he advised. ‘We may not return for some time.’

They stared, mesmerized until a blinding light shot suddenly from above, encapsulating the entire team. They each held up a hand to protect their eyes. Then they were gone.

Chapter 1

Cairo, 2025AD
A voice rose over the hum of a mobile air-conditioning unit, bright with excitement. ‘Khalfani! Mohammed! Come and see what we’ve found.’

The two men peered over their companion’s shoulder, their attention on his monitor. The trestle table on which it sat was in a small anti-chamber, deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Images blinked on the screen, emanating from a camera which had reached a previously inaccessible chamber and now revealed mysteries unseen by anyone in centuries.
Khalfani Rashid squinted, studying the screen. ‘It’s some form of engraving. What do you think it symbolises?’
‘I’ve no idea,’ replied Sa’eed, his voice still carrying the excitement of his discovery. ‘I’ll do some searches on the computer to see if I can establish exactly what it is. Give me a few minutes.’
Rashid glanced towards Mohammed Acbel. ‘Any ideas?’

Acbel shook his head and continued to stare at the screen. ‘Let’s sit down over there and leave Sa’eed to carry out his search.’
In less than ten minutes Sa’eed called to his colleagues, announcing he had a match. ‘Although the engraving in the chamber is actually the mirror image of what I have here, I can now tell you exactly what we are seeing.’ Sa’eed turned towards the other two, his face drawn with concern. ‘And believe me, you’re not going to like it.’

Rashid scrambled to his feet and made his way to where Sa’eed, perched on an upturned crate, operated both the computer and the remote camera. He glanced over Sa’eed’s shoulder, reading the description on the screen. It took a few moments before he realised the significance of what he was seeing. Then he paled and clung to the side of the table for support, mentally comparing the images he had just seen to what technology he knew had been available to his ancestors.

‘No, no, no,’ he muttered. ‘This is impossible. This can’t be right. There must be a—’ The ground beneath his feet seemed to lurch in that moment. Rashid’s legs buckled and he collapsed onto the floor.

‘Khalfani? Khalfani! What’s wrong with you?’ Acbel tugged at his colleague’s limp body, shifting him into a seated position and tucking his head between his legs. Within seconds, he showed signs of life. ‘Khalfani!’ Acbel repeated. ‘What’s the matter with you?’
Rashid, still disorientated, glanced up and blinked at the other man. ‘Look at the computer. Read the description.’ He shook his head slowly. ‘Please tell me I’m seeing things. It can’t be true. It’s not possible.’

Acbel examined the computer screen and suddenly made the same connection as had his colleague. He shook his head like a dog and placed a hand on the wall of the pyramid to steady himself.

‘It can’t be.’ He refocused on the screen and spun to study the other monitor, comparing the two. ‘How did that get there?’ he managed.

Rashid struggled back onto his feet. ‘More importantly, who did it? It couldn’t have been our predecessors.’ Groaning, he pressed his hands against the sides of his head. ‘This is catastrophic news. Do you realise this discovery puts a huge question mark over the entire origin of this pyramid? This could destroy everything we’ve ever known.’

Sa’eed and Acbel nodded, their expressions anxious. All three scrutinised the images on the screens for several minutes.
Sa’eed finally stood, breaking the silence. ‘Ben should be here by now. I’ll go get him and show him what we’ve found. He might know something we don’t.’

Rashid grabbed Sa’eed’s arm, eyes wide. ‘No! Anderson mustn’t see this under any circumstances. Nobody can see this.’
Sa’eed yanked his arm away, confused by Rashid’s behaviour. ‘Don’t be ridiculous. He’s part of this team. Without his robot we would never have made this discovery. He deserves to know what we’ve found.’

Rashid glanced at his watch. Sa’eed was right; Ben Anderson would be waiting for them outside the pyramid. Rashid shook his head, feeling his hands grow clammy with sweat. He couldn’t allow Sa’eed to share their find with anyone, least of all Anderson. If any of this got into the public eye, he, and everything he had ever worked for, would be ruined. He gripped Sa’eed’s arm tighter.
‘Sa’eed. Listen to me. You know as well as anyone that what we have discovered today has to remain secret from the outside world. Think of the consequences if it becomes public knowledge. The very foundation of our country’s proud history would crumble beneath our feet. It would affect the economy, and—’

Sa’eed pulled away his arm and shook his head. ‘You’re wrong. So wrong. I won’t be part of a cover up. I see it as my duty to present my findings in an accurate manner. If we can understand what the image symbolises, we can—’

‘Your findings?’ roared Rashid. ‘This is my project. Mine! And it would serve you well to remember that.’

‘Again, you’re totally wrong.’ Sa’eed swept his arm around the anti-chamber. ‘This doesn’t belong to you. This represents the history of our country, whatever that history may turn out to be. None of us owns the pyramids, but we can all learn from them. I, for one, want to understand why something which is clearly not the work of our forefathers has been engraved on the ceiling of a chamber. Especially here within this, the greatest of all the pyramids. Think about it! This is a four thousand year old mystery waiting to be solved.’ Sa’eed glared into Rashid’s eyes, daring him to disagree. ‘And I want to solve it. So if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to get Ben.’

Sa’eed turned his back on the other two and headed for the exit.

Rashid stood paralysed for a moment, a sense of desperation sweeping through him. All he could think was that Sa’eed must be stopped. Immediately. He glanced at the toolkit lying on the ground next to the other equipment and picked up a lump-hammer.

Clive Eaton initially trained as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force and worked on Vulcan bombers for a number of years.
He now works as a freelance international trainer in the area of business improvement, and his work has taken him to over 30 countries around the globe.
The Pyramid Legacy is his debut novel and the inspiration came when Egyptian authorities discovered a secret door inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Although nothing was actually found on that occasion it triggered a ‘what if?’ question, and from there the story developed. Clive is now writing the sequel, which will be titled “Operation Stonehenge”.
The Pyramid Legacy was initially published as an e-book, but now is available as a paperback.
Clive lives in a very peaceful setting, with his wife Judy, in the heart of rural Norfolk, England, which he believes is an amazing place for getting in the right mood for writing.
To learn more about Clive and his debut novel The Pyramid Legacy follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

The Pyramid Legacy is available to buy in paper and ebook formats from Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Smashwords and iTunes for books.

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Self Published Sunday: Clive Eaton

Please give a warm welcome to debut novelist Clive Eaton.

Clive Eaton initially trained as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force and worked on Vulcan bombers for a number of years.
He now works as a freelance international trainer in the area of business improvement, and his work has taken him to over 30 countries around the globe.
The Pyramid Legacy is his debut novel and the inspiration came when Egyptian authorities discovered a secret door inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Although nothing was actually found on that occasion it triggered a ‘what if?’ question, and from there the story developed. Clive is now writing the sequel, which will be titled “Operation Stonehenge”.
The Pyramid Legacy was initially published as an e-book, but now is available as a paperback.
Clive lives in a very peaceful setting, with his wife Judy, in the heart of rural Norfolk, England, which he believes is an amazing place for getting in the right mood for writing.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m a freelance business management trainer and have delivered training programmes in over 30 countries across the globe.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I spend a lot of time writing training material, which at times is quite tedious. With all the travelling, and staying in hotels, I wanted to use my time productively, and writing novels, which I get an immense buzz from, started from there.

What was your inspiration for The Pyramid Legacy?
When I was a child I watched a movie (in black and white) which featured the Great Pyramid of Giza. I don’t remember the title of the film, but the images have stayed with me for years. Then, several years ago an attempt was made to see behind a secret door inside Khufu’s pyramid; without success. My mind started to race with ideas of what may lie behind the door – and so ‘The Pyramid Legacy’ was born.

Tell us about your book?
It is set in the near future, and the lead character, Ben Anderson, is a robotics engineer. He’s developed a machine with the capability of peering behind the secret door. What is found is a staggering image that results in murder, and a race to find other pieces of a complex puzzle. The image, which the Great Pyramid of Giza has been protecting for 4,000 years, places a big question mark over who the built the Pyramids in the first place.

What research did you do for The Pyramid Legacy?
I spent hours and hours researching all the different aspects within the book, including a field trip to the Pyramids themselves. Along the way I found more and more aspects linking some of the great monuments of the era, when the Pyramids were allegedly built, which resulted in a plot for the sequel.

Are any elements of your book based on real life experiences/people?
The characters are a composite of many people I have met in my life (e.g. I spent 7 years in the British Forces as an aircraft engineer) and I’ve given the lead character one of my personal phobias – but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is.

If The Pyramid Legacy was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?
My wife, who is a consultant clinical psychologist, and fully understands where I’m coming from with my characters, has a very clear idea of who should play the lead role – Ewan McGregor. I’m inclined to agree.

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
My favourite band is The Who, and Pete Townshend has written some amazing stuff. In 1972 he wrote a song called ‘Relay’ where he envisaged a system for ‘spreading the word’. I guess today that system is the Internet. A sound track penned by a forward thinker like Pete Townshend would be awesome.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing the sequel to The Pyramid Legacy, which is titled Operation Stonehenge. The story developed from discovering a very clear link between the Pyramids and Stonehenge.

What is your writing process?
Once I have a concept for a plot in my head I write a detailed outline. Then I give the key characters 5 or 6 specific characteristics. I try to visualise the story like a film. This helps in both character development and building on the different aspects of the plot. Everything goes straight into a word processor, although I do use the ‘memo’ function within my mobile phone to jot down ideas which occur to me whilst I’m on the move.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
I like to write in silence, without outside interruptions. Living in rural Norfolk helps a lot. Frequent visits to the kitchen to grab a coffee is also part of the process.

What prompted you to self publish The Pyramid Legacy?
Apart from the ‘Dear John’ letters sent out by agents, I found out from my editor that it can take between 18 months and two years to get a book to print. With the Internet offering e-books I believe the industry is going to go through some massive changes. I didn’t want my work sitting on a hard drive waiting endlessly for agents just to dismiss it out of hand. So I took the plunge and self-published, but only after a thorough and professional edit.

Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
The writing was the easy bit, apart from the painstaking editing etc. Publishing is the hard bit. It has been an enormous learning curve, and I still feel I’m probably on the lower slopes. But I feel I’m a fast learner.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Sometimes I get the odd block, but it is more about how to best execute a specific scene/chapter. The story is clear in my head, but the detail can sometimes cause the odd barrier. A break and change of scenery for a short while often overcomes the problem.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself, and don’t take rejection from agents as an indication your work isn’t up to scratch. It is a VERY subjective industry. How many agents must be kicking themselves for passing on the likes of JK Rowling, to name just one very successful author?

Why did you choose to write adult fiction?
I felt the best way to approach writing was to write something that I would like to read. If I don’t like it why would others want to read it? So that left adult fiction as the only option.

How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always tended to gravitate towards books which fall under three broad headings; suspense, thriller and mystery. So I embarked upon the task of trying to cover all three. Many reviewers of the book mention sci-fi, but my intention isn’t to enter the sci-fi market. However, to deliver certain aspects of the story I needed to take a small step into the near future.

How did you get interested in your chosen genre?
I’ve always enjoyed books which are littered with suspense and action, that take twists and turns, and at times make the reader think. The Pyramid Legacy covers a number of topics which can easily be the subject of great debate. My own philosophy is to always keep an open mind and never dismiss any idea, no matter how bizarre it could seem. I wonder if the likes of Henry VIII ever considered man landing on the Moon?

What books have inspired you?
The list is endless, but in recent years I’ve enjoyed reading books by Michael Cordy, Raymond Khoury, Sam Bourne, and the late Paul Sussman. I also read a lot of non-fiction, such as books by Robert Bauval.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
As a child the ‘Biggles’ series by Captain W.E. Johns. Total escapism for a young lad.

What are you currently reading? Raymond Khoury’s ‘The Templar Salvation’.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
‘The Colour of Blood’, by Michael Cordy. I’ve read all his books and not one has disappointed me. Come on Michael, where is your next one?

What/Who inspired you as a reader?
The aforementioned Captain W.E. Johns.

Just for fun…
Paper, Audio or eBook?

I’m still ‘old school’ and love the feel of book in my hands.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee first thing, tea in the afternoon. When arriving back from an overseas trip it has to be a cup of tea.

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot

Shower or Bath?
Shower

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Yuk! Enough said?

Email or postcard?
Do postcards still exist?

For over four millennia the Great Pyramid of Giza has guarded a secret image; until NOW!
A prominent young Egyptologist is murdered by a colleague, deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The authorities are keen to cover it up, but they know they can’t achieve total closure whilst English robotics engineer, Ben Anderson, remains in possession of a powerful image. An image, which suggests the Great Pyramid at Giza was not built by ancient Egyptians.
What the Egyptian authorities don’t know is that unless the true meaning behind the image can be established, along with other images which will later surface, the future of mankind will face the most serious threat imaginable. Anderson manages to escape Egypt at the earliest opportunity, together with his astrophysicist girlfriend, Samantha Gibson, but the authorities are quickly on their tail when it becomes evident they have arrested the wrong person. Keen to establish who really built the Pyramids, Anderson seeks to gain additional proof to support his theory.
As he and Gibson begin to discover a series of seemingly disparate clues, they soon realise that everything is far from straightforward. Whilst seeking additional resources, Gibson is unwittingly embroiled in the internal politics of the US military, with the result that she becomes a pawn in a vicious power struggle involving a corrupt senior officer. Her path crosses that of an ex-lover and her relationship with Anderson stretches to breaking point. As Anderson begins to see Gibson from a totally different perspective, his focus changes, and he pushes himself well beyond the limits of his comfort zone in an attempt to discover the truth. Gibson is now prepared to do anything to fulfil a lifetime ambition, but as her objective becomes almost within her grasp a virulent virus threatens to stop her . . . and Anderson has the antidote . . . together with a totally different agenda. And so an unprecedented race begins to finally reveal the true legacy of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The Pyramid Legacy is a thriller, but also has a story of love and deceit deeply woven in

To learn more about Clive and his debut novel The Pyramid Legacy follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

The Pyramid Legacy is available to buy in paper and ebook formats from Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Smashwords and iTunes for books.

Posted on:

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: www.bengalley.com 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: Ben Galley

We are delighted to welcome Ben Galley to Big Book Little Book. Not only is Ben the author of the Emaneska series, he is also the creator of Shelf Help, a site offering advice on the entire self publication process.

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. You can also find him lurking on several social media sites including Twitter and Facebook

What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m usually asking myself the question: Why am I not writing? But aside from that, I’m an avid reader, amateur cook, I enjoy running, and like to pretend I can surf.

What inspired you to become a writer?
Originally, it was the influence of my parents, and the great books they let me read as a child. Books like Lord of The Rings, Iliad and the Odyssey, the Redwall series, and a huge number of others. It instilled a strong sense of imagination in me, and it was hard to ignore it, so it wasn’t long before I was attempting to write instead of read. I wrote my first book at age 12, and haven’t looked back since.

What was your inspiration for the Emaneska series?
Fantasy has always been a big part of my life and of my bookshelf, so it was a genre I’ve always wanted to delve into, with a bold and epic series. I had recently got back into fantasy and weird fiction, so it was partly that, and the desire to write something gritty and dark too, thanks to getting irritated by the watershed subject matter of a certain BBC series about a certain Arthurian wizard…Aside from that, the idea of Farden, my main character, literally came crashing into my head.

Why did you choose to write fantasy?
From my deep love of everything fantastical and out of this world. It’s a genre with no bounds.

How did you get interested in the fantasy genre?
Thanks to being introduced to Lord of The Rings by my parents and at a very young age. It’s an obvious choice for fantasy lovers, but for me it is the birth of the genre as I know it, and the birth of a love.

Tell us more about your books?
My books – The Written and Pale Kings are books 1 and 2 of the Emaneska Series, an epic fantasy trilogy that follows the cold and pseudo-nordic world of Emaneska and its troubled inhabitants. It’s a land caught in the middle of a vicious winter and an uneasy peace. They’re primarily about Farden, a dark character who is a powerful mage and soldier for his people the Arka, but a man with a great many problems. The books follow him as he is dragged into a malicious plot to not only destroy him, but Emaneska as a whole.

What research did you do for this series
Only a little. The beauty of fantasy is that the author is the world-builder, and therefore is responsible for its history, its people, and its aspects. However, as I wanted to include a lot of Nordic tones, I went back to a lot of the Scandinavian myths I had read as a child.

Are any elements of your books based on real life experiences/people?
Again, very little. Once again, with fantasy, it’s hard to transfer real life experiences directly, but they do percolate through and transmute into the concepts that I use, and also to power certain scenes. Love, loss, anger, greed, and all the others I may have experienced. In regards to real life people, I use that a lot for describing appearances, but I can’t name any names 😉

What are you currently working on?
The third and final book in the Series – Dead Stars.

What is your writing process ?
I write every day, without fail. It’s a habit I think you have to get into to keep your book moving along, to keep your writing sharp, and to make sure you stay on track with plots. I write on my laptop or on my phone, and if I’m not writing at home, I like to go find a river or a beach or a hill for inspiration.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
It used to be coffee, but now it’s just water and a little music every now and again. And plenty of exercise.

What prompted you to self publish?
The fact that I knew I could publish my book once I finished it. No questions asked. On my terms. Without having to face rejection or a lengthy wait.

Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
The first challenge was writing it whilst working full time at bars, clubs, and restaurants. I had to write most of the first novel on my mobile phone. Once I finished it, the second challenge was getting it edited, and that took even longer! In publishing, I researched extensively before going ahead, so I avoided a few pitfalls but not all. The main challenge for me there was sourcing a great cover and formatting for eBooks.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block, just writer’s uphill struggle. I think you have to go for a jog, make some lunch, or just work on something else, like another chapter, or leave a note and move on.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
It takes hard work and time to write and publish novels. Whatever happens, just keep going 🙂

What books have inspired you?
Lord of The Rings, once again. All of Neil Gaiman’s books. Mythology as a whole. Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, and also John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Charles Dickens’s entire collection.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
Any of the Redwall series.

What are you currently reading?
A rather non-fiction book called UXB. It’s a WW2 book.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
Way of Kings Part 1 and 2, by Brandon Sanderson.

What/Who inspired you as a reader?
Neil Gaiman.

Just for Fun

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
Many a raucous one, due to its fast-paced nature and action. But I have quite a varied music taste, so I think the Series would reflect that too. Audioslave, Incubus, Killswitch Engage, but also Helios, Thomas Newman, Sigur Ros.

Paper, Audio or eBook?
Paper.

Tea or Coffee?
Neither. Doctor’s orders 😉

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot.

Shower or Bath?
Shower.

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Despise it.

Email or postcard?
Can’t put an email on your fridge. Save the fridge magnet.

His name is Farden.
They whisper that he’s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.

Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options. Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await. Breathtakingly vast, chillingly dark, brooding and dangerous, The Written will leave you impatiently waiting for the next adventure Welcome to Emaneska.

A huge thank you to Ben for taking part in our Self Published Sunday feature. Check out Ben’s Guest post So Now Everyones Is An Author? where Ben provides us with the benefit of his self publishing experience.

The Written and Pale Kings, the first two instalments of the Emaneska trilogy, are available to buy from Amazon.

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Author Interview: J D Thompson

A few weeks ago we reviewed Silver and Stone a paranormal romance from self published, debut author J.D Thompson. A busy working mother awaiting the immanent arrival of her second child, Jennifer took some time out of her busy (makes me tired just hearing about it) schedule to answer a few of our questions.

Welcome to high school high society hell.
As if senior year at Weatherford Preparatory School wasn’t hard enough, sixteen year old Alexis Bardolph had to add school outcast to the curriculum.A new found notoriety following a family scandal, her lacrosse star boy-friend dumping her for a former BFF and a string of perpetually bad hair days were among the many things going wrong in her already turbulent teenage life.
But when the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood begin to take an eerily tangible form and several Holler Creek residents are reported missing, Alexis can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to her hellish dreams than meets the eye.
The unexpected arrival of a mysterious and dangerously handsome new student ultimately leads Alexis to troubling truths that not even her wildest imagination could have conjured.

Please describe Silver and Stone

My favorite description for Silver and Stone thus far came from a fellow book blogger who said it was like Gossip Girl meets Twilight. Those being huge shoes to fill I find the comparison quite intimidating, but I get where they are coming from. Alexis went from being a popular teenage girl at the prestigious Weatherford Preparatory School to becoming a social outcast after a tragic family scandal. To make things worse, terrifying dreams have begun haunting her every slumber. Dreams so vivid that Alexis is often left wondering if they were really dreams at all. To complicate matters further, Alexis meets her new dark and mysterious neighbor Lucas who ultimately makes her question everything she once thought she knew about her life.

What research did you do for this book?

The bulk of the research I did was for the character of Lucas. Without giving too much away, I wanted some historical aspects to come into play on his end. As for the rest, I can’t say very much research was done.

Are there any elements of  Silver and Stone which are based on real life experiences or people?

Holler Creek is loosely based on my hometown. From the mountainous scenery to the quaint Main Street, it’s a lot like where I grew up. Weatherford Preparatory School was inspired by Bishop’s Univeristy located in Lennoxville, Quebec. The campus is beautiful and it definitely had that historical feel I was going for. Apart from that, Silver and Stone is entirely a work of fiction.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m working on completing the Bloodlines series. I’m hoping to have Blood and Champagne available early spring 2012.

Why did you choose to write YA fiction?

YA is the genre I identify the most with. It just wouldn’t feel natural to write anything else.

How did you get interested in YA?

I read a variety of genres, but YA is the one I have the most fun reading.

What inspired you to become a writer?

Writing has been a closet passion of mine for a very long time, though I didn’t “officially” start writing until I went on maternity leave for my oldest daughter. It was something that was always put on the back burner so to speak. Once on maternity leave, I had a lot more free time on my hands than I was used to and I filled the gap with reading. I went on a paranormal binge so to speak and was becoming increasingly disappointed with what I had in hand. It wasn’t so much that the books were bad, it’s that they were all the same. I like vampires. I get the appeal. But I can only take so much of them. So I started to think of what else could be interesting to read about and how I could make that happen. From there, Silver and Stone was born.

Describe your writing process.

Most of my writing is done on my laptop, though I do sometime use the PC. Since my life is pretty chaotic at times, it’s hard to have a routine. I do however try to write every night. I often find myself jotting down random ideas in the middle of the night though I must admit that the next morning my notes are sometimes gibberish.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?

All of the above! Music is a key player in my writing. The right play list can set the mood for an entire chapter. I’ve found myself listening to the same song/band on repeat at times while writing, much to my husband’s annoyance. 

What prompted you to self publish Silver and Stone?

The whole publication process was so much more complicated than I had ever imagined. I had this notion that all I needed to do was print off a copy of my manuscript, send it off to a publication agency and like magic it would be on bookshelves. I was so naive. I had no idea what a query letter was, or the fact that it can take months before an agency ever gets back to you. I did come close on a handful of occasions, where an agent would go as far as requesting the full manuscript, but in the end I was still left sans-agent. I sat on it for some time before deciding to self publish. I didn’t realize how much merit there was in self publishing until reading about YA author Amanda Hocking. She is truly an inspiration to me. She managed to sell millions of copies, all on her own.

Can you tell us about the challenges of writing and publishing your first novel?

The worst for me was editing. It was a major challenge. I wish I had realized how terrible I was at it from the beginning and had paid someone right off the bat. I will definitely keep that in mind with the next one!

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?

I think every writing at one point or another experiences writers block. Personally, I try not to stress over it too much. If it’s not happening one day, I try again the next. I think the trick above all is to keep writing every day, whether it be a chapter or just one sentence. Every bit counts.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the best advice I can give. The publishing world is a hard one. It takes time and patience and a tough skin to make it. Every writer has had a rejection letter. It’s about taking everything in stride and moving forward.

What do you do when you are not writing?

What don’t I do when I’m not writing! I have a full time job as well as a business to manage, so working a 60 hour week isn’t unusual for me. I am also the mother of a very active toddler who always has a way of keeping me on my toes. My guilty pleasure is reading and any time I can fit that into my day I’m happy.

What books have inspired you?

There are so many books and authors that have inspired me throughout the years. I love Wurthering Heights. My paperback edition is so used the papers are literally falling out. I’m a big fan of James Patterson, and his Maximum Ride series is a must read. The pace of his novels is excellent and I have yet to pick one up that wasn’t a page turner. The romantic in me loves all that is Nicholas Sparks. I’ve reread The Notebook more times than I like to admit.

What was your favourite book as a teenager?

I was a twisted child. I was the crazy kid that aired The Exorcist at her sixth grade birthday party. So my favorite books as a teenager reflected that. I had a lengthy Stephen King phase during which time I read almost everything he ever wrote, my favorite being The Shinning.

What are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and I’m totally loving it. It had been on my to-read list for some time but being so busy it took a while before I was able to pick it up. I’m really happy I did!< What was the last book you recommended to a friend?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Absolutely loved it.

And just for fun…
Paper, Audio or eBook?

Paper is my preference, though I’m starting to enjoy the convenience of eBooks.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee, hands down. I’ve tried to acquire the taste for tea for years now and just can’t do it. Nothing beats a latte.

Slippers or barefoot?
I’m always barefoot, even in the dead of winter. I only wear socks when I need to leave the house and don’t even own a pair of slippers. It’s a weird pet peeve of mine.

Shower or Bath?
I think I have a touch of OCD, but there’s something totally unappealing about the thought of bathing in my own filth. I don’t do baths. It’s strange and I can’t explain it.

Email or postcard?
Though postcards have a great romantic feel, in today’s world I couldn’t get by without email. Between my PC, laptop and iPhone, I’m sure I check my email 100 times a day.

Big thanks to Jennifer for sparing us some of her very precious time. Silver and Stone, the first book in The Bloodlines Series, is available to buy now from the Kindle store for the amazing price of just 86p!

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