Friday, 17 June 2016

Book Marketing: Opportunities and Fun

One of the biggest challenges that writers face is what happens once the book comes out. Most creatives have little, or even no, understanding of marketing. However, I have found that opportunities abound if you are willing to look for, and grab, them. Guesting on blogs is once such opportunity. I read a lot of blogs and listen to a lot of podcasts. When bloggers are looking for guests I put myself forward. This involves giving a few topics which are suitable for the blog's approach.  Recently I heard that the Book Marketing Tools blog had opportunities for guest posts. I applied and was successful. I was talking about marketing being fun. You can read the post on the link below

The Book Marketing Tools blog is a superb blog for writers and it is well worth subscribing. 

I have been interviewed or a guest on a number of blogs. I also interview and host others on this blog. This is a good example of collaboration. When writers work together the sum is greater than all the parts. Everyone wins. Another example of collaboration is joint book signings or events. These can go with a bang especially if you also make them fun. This is exactly what another couple of crime writers and I plan to do at an event later in they year. Watch this space for details. 

I bid you adieu my Bookaholic friends. Enjoy life, see you soon.  Until then, keep reading and writing 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

What's up World

My fellow Bookaholics, given my lack of posts recently you may be wondering why I'm starting the blog with hooray. There are several awesome hoorays in the post.

Firstly, Hooray, I've actually managed to carve out some time to write a blog and to do admin. Life has been crazy recently with writing my books taking priority. I have also been on holiday and a couple of writing conferences. Add all that in and blogging feel by the wayside. Not much of an excuse I know. I did plan on writing my blog whilst I was on holiday. However, add the WiFi from hell into the mix and the blog went nowhere. Still, I can rejoice that I am now back on track.

The next Hooray is a huge one. As I said in my previous blog, I have signed a contract for a series of Young Adult Mysteries, The Fergus and Flora Mysteries. The first of these, Dagger's Curse, is with the editor and will be released on September 2016. The cover is currently being designed and I am excited to see it when it arrives. I have enjoyed getting to know Fergus and Flora as they have told me more about themselves. They're cracking characters who live life to the max. No sitting around saying "I'm bored," for them.  When I attempted to create them one way, they firmly refused to comply. Okay then, I'm only the writer, I'll do what I'm told. Writing for young adults is a new experience for me. It has been a challenge but also lots of fun. I have joined SCWBI (pronounced Scoobie) and I am learning a great deal from others. Exciting times for this writer.

The final Hooray is that DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries book 5 is coming along nicely. Shona is once more in the midst of a puzzling case with very few clues as to the identity of the killer. I love these books and enjoy writing them. Even I do not know what Shona will get up to next. Go Shona, don't you let anyone change who you are. 

So life is full on, and I have so much to celebrate. I exhort you to enjoy your life. Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly and make the most of it. What have you been up to recently, either with reading or writing?

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Launch of my first fiction book by Heather Flack

Today on the blog we welcome author Heather Flack whose first novel is launched today under her pen name of Fen Flack. It is an honour to have her join us and tell us a bit more about herself and her book. Heather over to you. 

The early 11th century is perhaps an obscure period of history, so why set a novel then? In 1982 I bought a cottage at Ribbesford on the outskirts of Bewdley, Worcestershire. In researching its history I discovered it had been “seized by the Danes” before the Norman Conquest. Intrigued, I began to read about the trouble times of late Anglo-Saxon England and discovered Edmund Ironside. At school I’d learned about Aethelred the Unready and Cnut (in those days Canute) but not the king in between these two. His story was inspiring and the circumstances of his marriage the stuff of novels. However, back in the ’80s and ’90s I was writing other things and Edmund went “into the freezer”.
I was inspired to write a set of novels set in Ribbesford itself beginning with its seizure by the Danes and ending with Harthacnut’s attack on Worcester in 1041. The themes were getting to know God, racial prejudice, healing and forgiveness. But I couldn’t find a publisher.
After 2000 I became more interested in factual local history. I was living in Kings Norton, Birmingham, at the time its buildings won BBC2’s Restoration 2004 and I wrote the guide books and history of the buildings. I still had a house in Bewdley and was contributing to the history of that town too.

I retired in 2007 and did an M.A. in English Local History. Part of my degree was a project on the early history of Bewdley and I succeeded in pushing back its origins some two hundred years. The paper had all the makings of a book, so I bought some ISBNs and got a local printer to produce it. I had the opportunity of speaking to the Bewdley Civic Society on the subject and sold 70 copies on that occasion. I was a published author!
Through some writing classes I built up a portfolio of stories about my local area. I published these as “Pieces of Wyre”, because all the writing concerned places in the Wyre Forest area (north Worcestershire). I found outlets for sales in the local libraries, tourist information centre and also the new Museum of Carpet in Kidderminster.
A more exciting opportunity emerged in 2012 when I was helping in the local secondary school with a project on medieval Bewdley. I worked with the English teacher to help pupils write fictional letters and wills about our town in that period. I wove their material together with mine to make “Bewdley under the White Rose”, which told the story of our town from 1448 to 1485. 

Late in 2014 I was on a writing course and to my surprise, Edmund Ironside’s story came back into my mind and would not go away. I found I could not rest until I had done more reading and worked out a time line. Some books demand to be written and this was one of those. The text was complete in five months. The timing is perfect, as 1016 is a thousand years since Edmund was King.

You can find out more about Heather and her books on her website and on Amazon

Thank you for joining us Heather. Your book sounds fascinating and I am sure readers will be keen to buy.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Book Review: Mission at Nuremberg by Tim Townsend


A different type of book for you today Bookaholics. I will let the review speak for itself.

Mission at Nuremberg covers an aspect of war which is rarely discussed or even considered. The spiritual needs of War Criminals. It tells the story of Henry Gerecke an incredible man of faith who was called to do a job no one would envy. This was ministering to the the Nazi War Criminals who were waiting for execution. Henry could have turned the post down but he wanted to be obedient to the calling of f God. Many may query how he could do this job, but he did what God asked of him and reached out to these men. These men were men who were close to Hitler, including Hermann Goering.

This is not an easy read. There are a lot of facts and Christianity is discussed extensively. I found this to be a necessary part of the narrative, as the book would not be complete without it. To understand how Gerecke could do such a job, one first needs to understand his faith. Townsend does a good job of discussing this in a way which supports the book and yet allows for questioning.

This is a book which I feel all Christians would want to read. In fact many non-Christians may want to read it. It is difficult to say enjoy, but they would certainly find they would engage with it on a number of levels. Tim Townsend has certainly done Gerecke and his task justice. The book is eminently readable and one can follow the narrative and the discussions easily. It is a book which I would highly recommend.

As I say, a different book today bookaholics. However, I always promised you an eclectic reading experience. You can buy the book by clicking on the links below. 


I was given a copy of this book from the publishers for review purposes. I was not, at any point, asked to provide a positive review. My review is based on my reading of the book. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Life and New Beginnings

Good morning my Bookaholic friends, and a beautiful morning it is too. The sun is shining in Bonnie Dundee and I am going to spend the day reading. I want to start by apologising for the lack of blogs recently. Life has been frantically busy. I hope you will forgive me when you find out why.

Firstly I have been doing the final edits to KIller's Cut. I am excited about this book and I absolutely love the cover. I am sure you will agree that Cathy Helms of Avalon graphics has done a cracking job. As with all my books the bottom picture is of Dundee where the books are set. The top picture is indicative of the theme of the book. This will be released on 18th April at 6.30 pm in Waterstones, Dundee. Dundee in Scotland that is. If you are nearby then you are more than welcome to come along and help the book to get off to an explosive and fun filled start. 

I have also been all over the country giving talks, attending conferences and even a few days holiday. During this holiday I even managed to spend time in a Jail. Before everyone thinks I am some sort of criminal mastermind, it was a tourist attraction. Inveraray Jail. So I am sure you can see that I haven't had a second to think about blogging. 

So on to those new beginnings. As a crime writer I am usually thinking about endings - ending someones life. But April is a month of new beginnings for me. It's spring and that always makes me think about new life. My first new beginning is this blog. I will be back to bringing it out more regularly. That;s my promise to you. Another new beginning is the next book in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. I have already started this and am enjoying spending more time with Shona and her disparate team. I love these books and it is truly a pleasure to write them. The final new beginning is that I have signed a publishing contract to write a series of mystery books for Young Adults. These will be called the Fergus and Flora Mysteries, and they will also be set in Dundee. I am thrilled to be writing these and look forward to writing Young Adult books. 

So, as you can see it has been an exciting few months for this author and Bookaholic. What new beginnings have you had in your life recently? I am sure there are many. It would be great if you could share some of these in the comments below. 

Now, I am off to do some reading. I will be finishing off a cracking mystery and starting a biography. I certainly have eclectic tastes in reading. That's it for now Bookaholics. See you all back here soon. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Your Guide to Selling More Books

A couple of months ago I gave a talk at the ACW Writers Day in Bath. This was on book marketing and promotion. I will also be running a day of workshops at the First Page Courses residential course, Getting Away With Murder. What a fabulous tie in, murder and promotion. Not that I am suggesting you kill people to promote your book of course.

I had the idea to write a book to accompany the talk and Power Packed Book Marketing: Sell More Books, was born and launched into the world.  I learned a lot about marketing whilst researching for the book and it has helped me to move my own marketing forward exponentially. It is jam packed full with hints and tips on how to develop your own marketing strategies. You can use the ideas in the book as they are, or use them as a springboard for your own ideas. Either way it will help you to get started with, or move forward the marketing of your book. I have used most of the strategies in the book and I can guarantee that they have worked for me. My books are selling well in several countries and are growing every month. New countries are being added each month with the latest being Mexico. Exciting times for a writer.

If you put one of these strategies into place once a week for the next year you will have carried out fifty two activities to help move your book sales forward. Just think how much impact this could have on the numbers of books you are selling.

The time to start marketing your book is right now. You can grab the book right now from Amazon by clicking on the link on the side of the blog. It is also available on iBooks and kobo. This is the time for you to develop your own Power Packed Marketing plan and sell more books.

I wish you all the best with your own books.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Book Review: A Parallel Trust by James Stoddah

Firstly please accept my apologies for the lack of blog posts this year. I have been head down writing and editing, so perhaps you will forgive me. I am back in the drivers seat now and ready to catch up. Today I bring you a review of a brilliant book by new author, to me, James Stoddah.

The book starts of with the story of 17 year old Aril who is sent a geocaching puzzle to solve. He sets off on his new motorbike to solve the puzzle. Each time he solves it he is given another clue. This part of the book itself is thrilling but about a third of the way through, a shocking twist takes the game off in a more deadly direction. The tension is ramped up and the action never stops. The book is well written with a tight plot and believable characters. I love the way the characters interact and are realistic in the way they are portrayed. I do not read YA books but the plot of this one appealed to me.

Stoddah is an excellent writer and he uses words to brilliant effect. The surprises never stop coming, almost up to the last page. I was genuinely sad when the book finished as I wanted to keep reading.

This is the first book I have read by this author. I am now off to download his other one. This is a book, and and author I can highly recommend.


That's it for another day. This is a book I recommend you download now as it is so good. The links above will take you to Amazon UK and Amazon USA. I will earn a small affiliate fee if you use these links.

See you all back here soon my Bookaholic friends with a review of another great book. Until then keep reading or writing