Friday, 21 October 2016

Published Again – III

There is no end to the celebration!

About the Book

Brueberon is the loneliest dragon there ever was on Long Upon A Time World.  Vandabar the Wizard is away on holiday and can provide no solution to Brueberon’s problem.  So he’s off to seek help from Kastaspella.  But will Kastaspella’s costly magic really help him?  What if everything goes wrong when he takes her potion?  And how will it affect a dreamer like Clarissa Henry who loves drifting in and out of Brueberon’s world? 

There are consequences to every decision we make in life and Brueberon is about to find out that quick solutions are not always the best option to a problem.

Buy the paperback – get the Kindle version for 0.99p (offer limited to 12 weeks)

Friday, 14 October 2016

Independence & Me

I’m an Indie author!

The very idea of it still makes my mind boggle.  How exactly did I get here?  And why on earth would I choose to be independent when it’s so much damned hard work?

Why this seemingly insatiable desire to self-publish? 

I guess to understand it we have to look at the traits inherent in my family line.  I think stubbornness and single-mindedness spring to the forefront when I consider this.  Then there’s a particularly strong strain of what South Africans call ‘the agitator’ in my gene pool.

My maternal grandmother eloped with my grandfather as they were from very different cultural backgrounds.  Her father and brothers were not best pleased.  To add to this, my grandfather was a member of the ANC so it’s easy to see that the rebellious streak in my family is in fact rebelliousness² on the maternal side at any rate – I don’t think I need to say much more on that score.

The paternal side of my family are made up of Dutchmen and Kalahari tribes-people.  Both these peoples are known to be extremely hard working and resourceful with strong survival instincts.  Some might say I have too much of the Dutch need to diary every event I attend or plan on attending.  Then there’s my rants about fellow drivers not signalling their intent at roundabouts but let’s leave that for another post.

Now, given all this ancestral evidence, surely you’re beginning to understand my leanings towards authorial independence.  But there was a more personal and emotional journey which led me to where I am now.

Uncle Phil & Dad in Oz
In 2006 I made the firm decision to leave teaching and write on a more full time basis.  When I told my dad of my decision he didn’t blink an eye and supported me without a moment’s hesitation.  In 2012 my dad died and my rebellious streak asserted itself in a desire to do something to honour his passing.  I had a completed novel which I was editing whilst sending letters and emails to agents and publishers – getting the usual rejection mail as expected.  His death prompted me to do SOMETHING more concrete with my novel. 

Unbelievably, an opportunity arose to publish in e-book format without any expenditure on my part at all.  At that time e-publishing was a much debated topic and people were convinced it would have no place in the world.  I thought, “Well, what the heck – it’s not costing me a penny.”  Tons of no risk no gain sayings crossed my mind:

  • Nothing ventured nothing gained
  • If you’re not willing to risk the unusual you’ll have to settle for ordinary
  • For who that dare not undertake, by right he shall no profit take

So I forged ahead.

I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing but the e-book went into the world and I told my friends and family all about it.  I made the sum total of £12 in royalties and could not have been prouder.

What I hadn’t counted on was all the other stories in my head just begging to be let out.  So naturally, I had to do something about them.  My first toe dipping experience of self-publishing stirred the desire to write more, learn more, develop as both a writer and independent author.  I realised I’d started something which needed to be taken to the next level and the next thereafter.

“Bring it on!” I thought.

So here I am.

Indie Author - Me!

Thanks Dad!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Published Again – II

Still celebrating! 

Six Dead Men is now available to buy through Amazon

About The Book

First you’ll encounter snapshots of six dead men – their lives steeped in squalor.  Six lives extinguished in mysterious circumstances.  In life they infected what they touched and in death they continue to wreak havoc.  Then you’ll meet Detective Inspector Robert Deed.  Even contemptible men deserve to have their deaths explained.  Don’t they?  So reasons our detective.  And he has a suspect in his sights – Madison Bricot.

But what about Madison?  She just wants to live the normal life of a twenty-six year old.  But now her boyfriend is dead and she’s not quite sure how she feels about it.  Soon she’s about to learn some things about herself which terrify her into running. 

Meanwhile Detective Inspector Deed will have to battle against his attraction for Madison and prove what he already knows - her guilt.

Follow this link in the title to buy Six Dead Men

Buy the paperback – get the Kindle version FREE (offer limited to 12 weeks)

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Published Again - I

I’m celebrating!


Where Rainbows Hide is now available to buy through Amazon

About The Book

It is a Science Fiction novel for young adults with a 19 year old protagonist at odds with her world and struggling to make important life decisions.  Neera Luxquaera still has no clue where her life is going.  Hopelessly drifting from one job to the next she finally applies for a job onboard a shuttle heading out on an expedition beyond her Domed world.   Will this last ditch attempt to find her niche in a fractured world finally help her see the rainbows she’s been searching for so long?

The great news is that I appear to be on schedule with all my republishing plans for this year. I reaped the benefits of joining The Alliance of Independent Authors immediately as I was able to gain valuable advice from members on their Facebook page.  But in particular, massive thanks to Ian Hooper who spent a whole morning on Facebook going through the financial ins and outs of Createspace with me.   He took a very panicked me through the process step by step, ridding me of my initial anxiety and in my opinion is a god amongst men.

Follow this link in the title to buy Where Rainbows Hide

Buy the paperback - get the Kindle version FREE (offer limited to 12 weeks)

Friday, 23 September 2016


Ever since Indie (formerly known as Autharium) closed down in February this year I’ve been trying to sort out the republication of the two books I had published through them.  I found myself hesitant and uncertain of which direction to take.  Should I once more tackle the traditional route or should I persist in my stubbornness and continue to self-publish?

I took the opportunity to rework the books I’d previously published and at the same time continued working on new projects.  But I know that deep down I’ve been dithering and feeling a little unsettled about the whole process.  After all, Indie had sorted out the two things which terrified me:  formatting the text and royalties.  I would now have to tackle these on my own along with front cover design and marketing. 

by Nathan Vidler

I’ve been extremely lucky in the front cover stakes.  For my first novel (Six Dead Men) a friend’s son used an image from his university work which suited the feel of the novel and he designed a brilliant cover for me.  

by San Jaya Prime

When it came to my Sci Fi novel (Where Rainbows Hide) I found a fantastic cover designer through the site Impossible

Artwork by Kids do Art

My children’s book (The Lonely Dragon) could not have been easier.  All I did was use the marvellous drawings the children from the Tooting based group called Kids Do Art and Louise Pearce at Inkhead helped me put the cover together.

Now I’ve finally decided to continue down the self-publishing path and relaunch everything, including a republication of a new and improved version of The Lonely Dragon, through Createspace.  This means that my books previously only available on Kindle will now also be in paperback albeit through print-on-demand.  This leaves me free to focus on learning how to improve my marketing skills while editing and finishing off projects I started last year. 

I finally joined ALLi and am already reaping the benefit of their wonderful experience.  I’m also currently following a publishing course run by Mark Dawson which is giving me vast amounts of insight into how the whole business operates. I can’t claim to understand everything he talks about, particularly when it comes to understanding the graphs on Amazon but I think it’s all taking me to where I want to go for now.

So the major news to take from this post is that there will be staggered launches of the following books in October:

Where Rainbows Hide
Six Dead Men
The Lonely Dragon

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who’ve been unfailingly supportive of my endeavours while I faffed about trying to decide what to do.  First of all, my wonderful writing pal up in Sheffield.  You know who you are.  Also special thanks to my terrific Facebook Street Team and my best London pal who lets me drag her to tango and any other diversion imaginable. 

Before and during the relaunch keep your eyes peeled for special offers both on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Finding Haddington

So, as many of my loyal readers know, I set off to Edinburgh in search of Haddington because I’ve set my prequel Palindrome there.  You will be pleased to know that after a bit of argy bargy (namely exploring the delights of Edinburgh) I did indeed find Haddington.

Along the way I also found Edinburgh Old Town – a place I now love as much as I love parts of Italy.  I vow to return to this part of the world once I’ve learnt how to speak Gallic so that I may more easily commune with the inhabitants of this fair city.  What the heck, I’ll come back even if I don’t master a single syllable of Gallic.

Yes, Arthur's Seat is up there
 in the distance
I pretended to climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat.  Don’t tell anyone please, I don’t want half the world to know this fact.  Urged by Sheffield best buddy, I went on board my first ever city tour bus.  In all my travelling adventures since I first discovered the art of travel in my early twenties, I’ve never done this activity.  But the commentary by the guides was so entertaining that I did it twice and also because the ticket was valid for 24 hours so why the hell not my lovely Sheffield bud and I reasoned.

Tempted by the look of the newly added wing to the Museum of Scotland, we ventured into its dim halls in search of how Scotland began.  There were Picts and Celts and Romans and Vikings. Then there was woodworking and stone working and weaving and…   Well, I think you get the idea.  I very much wished I’d studied archaeology or anthropology at university rather than English literature but only for the very briefest of moments.

Pangs of hunger forced us beyond the new wing to the original museum buildings and here we found a delight of colour and sound and a glass roof one would expect to find on the tropical greenhouse at Kew Gardens and a catacomb brasserie which served a spinach and potato soup worth dying for.

My one regret is that in the Old Town, I haven’t explored as many closes (alley ways) leading to amazing squares or walkways with vistas of the New Town below as I’d have liked to.  I feel this merely gives me the excuse to return in the future.  Best Sheffield bud is very willing in this possible venture so I will not be alone.

But wait, what about Haddington I hear you ask.  Well, the archive department was closed on the day we ventured there but a delightful lady who runs the museum gave me a very useful card with the number and email of a research facility provided by the local history department.  So, if I think of any burning questions I can simply contact them and hey presto, problem solved.  I took some photos of bits of the town but was aching to get back to Edinburgh to explore it further.  So that was exactly what we did.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Hello Holiday

This summer I’m wending my way up to Edinburgh with my best Sheffield buddy for my annual ‘summer’ holiday.  The weather isn’t exactly playing its part in my idea of a summer break, but then choosing to take a holiday in the UK is the price I have to pay for that.  So no bikini or sunblock.

There are two reasons why I’m heading to Scotland.  And no, one of them isn’t my defection north of the border due to Brexit, though I was sorely tempted.  Nor is it because the knuckle-biting good looking redheads up that way are more plentiful.  I have certain friends who would argue this second is exactly why I’m going, but I insist there are two more pressing reasons.  These are:

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Edinburgh and decided after being in the UK for over 20 years it was about time I finally did it.
  2. I need to do some research for my prequel – Palindrome.  The research will take place in and around Haddington but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine a holiday with work.  I believe the common parlance is busman’s holiday.

In the midst of all this literary research I plan on spending time investigating what Edinburgh and the surrounding area has to offer.  Sheffield best bud and I are staying in a venue with stunning views and I cannot wait to get there and experience it in person.  For those of you interested in a blow by blow account of our stay, it will be on Facebook shortly.  This will be my only social media outlet while on hols as I won't be tweeting my comings and goings.

My literary research will cover such questions as:

  • Does Haddington have woods nearby?
  • Is there a house big enough to be considered The Big House and would it be on a sort of hill?
  • Where is the police station in relation to the nearest housing development?

And so forth and so on.

I’m currently wishing I’d visited Haddington before embarking on writing the prequel.  But being the person that I am my impatience and impetuosity intervened so that I wrote the prequel first and then began to consider the wisdom of my chosen location.

After confirming myself a total idiot for my decision to write before exploration I’ll console myself by indulging in all that Edinburgh has to offer. 

Here are my top five must does for my Edinburgh holiday itinerary:

Tartan Weaving Mill – primarily because I hope to purchase a kilt if at all possible.

Day trip to Glasgow for the Rennie Macintosh House – I’ve always loved his designs and even copied some for the stained glass panels of the door of my living room.  This by the way is not my copy but an original.

Edinburgh Castle – because you always have to visit a castle, fort or cathedral on your travels so that you can expound on your meagre knowledge of buttresses.

Arthur’s seat – simply for the view never mind that it’s a volcano or that it has a hill fort dating back 2000 years.  That’s just geology and history crying to be stepped on.

The Museum on The Mound – it’s all about money and how it’s made.  Their gift shop has souvenirs made from recycled bank notes and it’s been endorsed by Ian Rankin so why wouldn’t you want to go?

Hello Holiday!