Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Fate of Kings


I like historical books but picked this up in a bookshop on a whim. The cover attracted me as did the storyline so decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did. 

1793. As the Terror begins to cast a great shadow over France, Thomas Pryce, the new Vicar of Deal, crosses the Channel to find the missing parents of his beautiful French wife. Facing grave dangers, he makes his way to Brittany where he not only discovers the fate of his in-laws but also uncovers a plot which threatens to topple the British monarchy. Fighting against a sinister secret society in a race against time, Pryce battles to thwart the plans of a Parisian spymaster and his agents in London.
The Fate of Kings is the first in a series of gripping spy thrillers that will engross readers of C.J. Sansom, Dan Brown, as well as the many avid watchers of Poldark and Grantchester. In the first years of the British Secret Service, Thomas Pryce truly is the original James Bond.

From the first word to the last I couldn’t put this book down. The attention to historical detail is outstanding and makes the book fascinating. Yet it is woven into a story so gripping it does not overwhelm. The story moves along at a fast pace. At times my pulse was pounding, at others it felt like it had slowed right down. The characters are well developed and believable and I found myself caring what happened to them. Thomas Pryce is a strong main character who carries the story, yet all other characters are both realisticall and necessary. It is said that books are either character or plot driven, but each is equally important in this book. I believe, but am not sure, that this is Mark Stibbe’s first foray into fiction. If so, he has played a blinder. I cannot wait for the next one.








Friday, 18 May 2018

Holding Out for a Hero



Today on the blog I welcome Ian Nathaniel Cohen. Welcome Ian and thank you for this super helpful; post. I love the sound of the book.

There’s nothing like completing your first novel to dispel any illusions you have about how easy writing a book actually is. No matter how experienced of a writer you are, no matter how fluent in your chosen genre you’ve become, the process of turning a book from a mere idea into a ready-for-publication reality is most likely going to be harder than you expect. I certainly went through that with my first novel, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, and it was quite the reality check. Sure, some parts of writing the book went more smoothly than others, but looking back, I don’t recall finding any of it easy.

That being said, no aspect of writing Black Flag was more difficult than coming up with my protagonist, Michael McNamara.

The Brotherhood of the Black Flag is a tribute to the classic Hollywood swashbucklers I grew up on, and a story like that requires a certain kind of hero. Rather than invoking the villain protagonist trope, I wanted my main character to actually be heroic, committed to doing the right thing. I already had my villain and their scheme in place, as well as some key supporting characters, so all that was missing was a hero to save the day.

Unfortunately, said hero was a complete blank slate for a long time. Even race, ethnicity, nationality, and gender were up in the air, only decided on when I “cast” James McAvoy (who I’m a big fan of) as my protagonist. Heck, I stumbled upon the name “McNamara” while looking for good names for my villain. Even worse, I had no idea how to answer the all-important question of what my main character wanted. I had no idea what would drive them to oppose the aforementioned villains and save said day. Every idea I tossed around seemed stale and uninspired. Revenge? Overdone. Anti-hero learns compassion? Overdone. Duty? Too confining.

Then, somehow, I had a “eureka moment” – one of several that enabled Black Flag’s eventual completion – when a question popped into my head from out of nowhere.

“What if he doesn’t know what he wants?”

Now I had something!

I’ve known people who, for one reason or another, weren’t able to get into certain careers they’d imagined they would when they were younger, or who’d lost their jobs and couldn’t find work in that same field. They all found themselves asking “well…now what?” Not only did it seem like an interesting character arc to play with, but also something readers could relate to and empathize with, either having gone through it themselves or knowing people who had.

Of course, I still had to come up with something for McNamara to want and achieve by story’s end. I also needed to piece together what he’d been doing previously (history cooperated beautifully in this regard). But at least I had a starting point, a foundation to build on. And the rest, as they say, is history.

***

Ian Nathaniel Cohen is a native of Miami, Florida, where he grew up immersing himself in swashbuckler literature and film. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2003 with a BA in Radio/Television Production and a Minor's Certificate in Applied Computer Science. He also received his MA in Asian Studies from Florida International University in 2006, where he teaches the course Asia Through Film as an adjunct lecturer. In 2010, his essay "Heroes & Villains of the East", analyzing the evolving depiction of the Japanese in Chinese and Hong Kong martial arts cinema, was published in FIU's Japan Studies Journal. He also writes a guest blog, the INCspotlight, on the website Channel Awesome, reviewing classic films, comic books, and video games. He made his debut as a novelist with The Brotherhood of the Black Flag in September 2017.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

11 Quick Marketing Strategies to use Before Breakfast

As writers, or indeed in any industry, the biggest challenge today is getting our books seen. Yet, mention the word Marketing in any group of writers and a collective groan will go up. Marketing is seen as both a necessary evil and a time suck. I can fully understand why you feel that way. So today's blog brings you quick and easy ideas you can use to get you started.

1. Write 5 tweets. Schedule them to go out at optimum times throughout the day. You can use a social media scheduler such as Hootsuite or Buffer to do this. You can use this handy article to check the best times 

2. Set Buffer or Hootsuite to post to Instagram and Facebook. One caveat, if you post the same content to all your social media accounts at once people will know you are autoposting. This might annoy some of your readers. However, you need to make your own decision about this.

3. Change your Facebook Business Page to a Shop Page. Details of how to do this can be found here 

4. Write a facebook post for your Facebook Page. Make it unique, funny, helpful, an article about some aspect of your book. In fact anything that doesn't say buy my book. What? Yes, that's right don't sell your book. However, if you have made your Page a Shop then you will be able to link to your books on any post. See point three on how to do this.

5. Start a Facebook Readers Group for your books. Many authors are now doing this as it gets around the throttling of posts on pages.

6. Write a blog post. Again don't make this specifically about your books. However, provide pictures of your books and links

7. Write a newsletter to your mailing list. Again, not specifically about your books, but add a section saying if you haven't read them all yet then now's the time or whatever variation of this you would like to use.

8. If you haven't got a newsletter then start one. Use an email service provider such as Mailchimp,  AWeber or ConvertKit

9. Jot down 30 ideas for blog posts. This will speed up the process when you want to write a post. Your brain will also percolate the ideas and will be ready to produce when you sit down at the keyboard.

10. Join a Facebook Copromote Tweet Group. Use this to get retweets for your posts. Retweet others in the group to provide helpful content to your followers

11. Join a Facebook Marketing Group to get more ideas and to collaborate in marketing each others groups I have one on Facebook called Killer Marketing Techniques for Writers 

12. yes, I know I said 11 but there's always a bonus tip. Go to twitter or Facebook and share for three of your friends. Being nice to people is free and usually everyone will be nice back

I hope these help. Tune in soon for more Killer Marketing Ideas

About the Author

Wendy H. Jones is the bestselling author of the Award Winning DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries and the Fergus and Flora Mysteries. She lives and writes in Scotland. She is also the author of 'Power Packed Book Marketing'. You can find out more and get a free ebook on her website

Power Packed Book Marketing


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Sunday, 15 April 2018

London Book Fair 2018, or It's a Mad, Mad, World

LBF18
London Book Fair, the highlight of the UK Publishing calendar, is frenetic, exhausting and absolutely fabulous. Last year I was like a rabbit in headlights. This year I was much more prepared. I had arranged to meet up with others and spent mote time chatting and discussing all things bookish.

The highlight of the Fair is meeting up with friends old and new, all immersed in the book world, and all willing to help, support and advise. There are wall to wall events covering writing, editing, translation, book selling, foreign rights and any other subject you could mention. These are by subject experts and are usually cutting edge. One example is the use of Blockchain presented by Orna Ross and several Alliance of Independent Authors members.

Talking of ALLi, I spent some time helping out on their stand chatting to visitors who wanted to know how joining ALLI could help their careers. This was a joy to do as there are so many ways that this happens. ALLi is an outstanding organisation which works tirelessly on behalf of Independent authors.

On the ALLi stand
On the ALLi Stand
It was also lovely to meet with Robin Cutler the Director of Ingram Content Group. I have heard so much about her. What a dynamic, delightful and genuinely supportive lady, which pretty much sums up Ingram Spark which she is now leading into the future. It was fabulous to meet up with Nick, Andy and Saskia from the company. If you are looking for a someone to print and distribute your book then I can highly recommend Ingram Spark. They re highly professional and genuinely helpful. Nothing is too much trouble. 

The highlight had to be speaking on the panel on the Agony and Ecstasy of Self Publishing alongside Robin Cutler, Orna Ross. Porter Anderson and David Penny all experts in their field. 


I also managed to have my picture taken in the Oval Office. This was a genius marketing ploy by the publishers of a  book called The President is Missing, but so much fun.




So, to conclude, I had an exhilarating time and, although exhausted, am looking forward to LBF19. I can highly recommend it. 

About the Author

Wendy H Jones, President of the Scottish Association of Writers is the Amazon Number 1 best-selling author of the award winning DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. Her Young Adult Mystery, The Dagger’s Curse was a finalist in the Woman Alive Readers Choice Award. She is also an international public speaker, and runs conferences and workshops on writing, Motivation and marketing. Wendy is the founder of Crime at the Castle, Scotland’s newest Crime Festival. She has just edited a Lent Book, published by the Association of Christian Writers.

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

The story behind Earth to Centauri by Kumar L



I am delighted to welcome fellow author Kumar L to Bookaholic blog today. Buckle up Bookaholics because you're in for the ride of your life. Find out about the science behind the book and how fact and fiction are woven together to bring  a cracking series to fruition.

Alpha Centauri the nearest star system to Earth has always fascinated astronomers, scientists and fiction readers. The system holds a certain mystery because despite it is being our nearest neighbour we know very little about it. The current technology limits our understanding of the twin stars. Some probes launched in the last century will still take decades to travel outside our system. They may conceivably never reach Alpha Centauri. None of the SETI programmes have as yet found evidence of intelligence life. So the question of whether we are alone in the universe may still remain unanswered for many decades to come.

Breaking a bit from traditional dystopian Science Fiction this book takes a realistic look at how first contact may happen. A signal is finally received and decoded. Building a ship capable of travelling faster than light takes years with gl oval efforts. But finally a task force led by Captain Anara embark on the long journey to Alpha Centauri which is expected to take many months.

But what they find on Proxima B will raise more questions than give solutions. What was the secret which was hidden on Voyager 1 in 1977? Can we send unarmed & unprotected ships into interstellar space to explore the unknown? Isn’t it always that decisions taken by politicians and back-office boys affect those in the field?

Using a bit of science and engineering, the reader is taken through the journey from Earth to Proxima B on board space ship Antariksh. We explore the making of the ship, the technology used and how it could possibly work. It delves into ethical and moral dilemmas. What if artificial intelligence can be manipulated and we’d never know? It looks at xenophobia in a larger context. Would it be possible for us to let go of our fear of those who are not like us?

This book will take you on a journey like none other. Explore technology and space in an authentic and refreshing way, while dodging lasers and aliens, solving mysteries on the way.

Thank you Kumar. It's been a pleasure having you on the blog.

Author Bio 

Kumar is an engineer by education and passionate about manufacturing. He has spent decades in a full time corporate role.

He is a tech enthusiast and social media newbie. He loves travelling and is fluent in 7 languages. With a utopian outlook on the future and a desire to make science fiction a bit more realistic, he has brought out his first book ‘Earth to Centauri’.

Surprisingly, his books on science fiction are simple and easy to read & understand for a wide range of age groups. They are based on themes of adventure, thrill and drama with a positive outlook at what the future may hold for humanity.

He is currently working on the second book of the series 7 and translation of his first book has just been released.

He can be reached on Twitter @Captain_Anara, www.facebook.com/AntarikshAnara or Instagram at KumarLAuthor.






Monday, 30 October 2017

Undivided Heart


Having read Mill's Forgetful Heart I was very much looking forward to the release of this one. My excitement and anticipation were both well rewarded with this thoughtful and inspiring book.

The author's passion for the topic shines through and this results in a deeply satisfying read. When I say read, I don't mean it in the sense of reading from one end to the other without stopping. I found myself having to stop on numerous occasions and think about a verse or the implications of what has been said. 

I found myself examining my own heart and my relationship with God, which I am sure was the author's intent. In this she succeeded. At the end of each chapter is guided reflection, and these supported the discussion well. Mills is open and honest about her own journey and I found this too, to be helpful. 

The poems, written by the author herself, which are included in the book are prayers in their won right. I found myself using them as such. 

The blurb says that the book is written to help us examine our motivation and purpose, and it certainly does this. Each chapter takes a different topic. It certainly made me reach deep down inside myself and re-examine the reasons why I act the way I do. 

At the core of the book is God himself, just the way it should be. Our relationship tip God, and finding a deeper relationship is what this book is all about.

I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that all Christians should read this book. It will make you take stock and examine your purposes in your daily life. 

     
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Thank you for joining me Bookaholics. It's  cold frosty morning here in Dundee so I'm off to find another book to read. Wherever you are, and whatever the weather, remember it's always a perfect time to read. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

50 Instagram Hashtags for Writers


For the past few weeks I have been exploring how to use Instagram more effectively as an author. I've learnt a lot and put the ideas into practice. However, I discovered that there are a humongous amount of #Hashtags out there which writers can use. As I'm in a caring, sharing sort of mood I thought I would put some of these together in one place. I'm hoping this will help you as a writer. So without further ado we have:

#WritersofInstagram
#creativewriting
#wordsofwisdom
#writingtips
#handwriting
#write
#words
#writerscorner
#writingcommunity
#WriterWednesday
#writerslife
#writersofig
#writing
#blogger
#bookblogger
#spilledink
#nanowrimo
#amediting
#authorlife
#writerscorner
#Ilovewriting

#read
#FridayReads
#Reading
#literature
#bibliophile
#Bookworm
#booklove
#bookwormforlife
#prose

#wordstoliveby
#livebywords
#writingquotes
#Inspiration
#quotes
#quoteof the day

#poetry
#poet
#poem
#poetsofinstagram
#poetsofig
#instapoem

#fiction
#nonfiction
#crimefiction
#readcrimefiction
#autobiogrphy
#chiclit
#romanticfcition
#romantic suspense

Hope this has helped. If you know of any more then please add them in the comments so we can all learn and develop. If you would like more help with marketing your books then check out Power Packed Book Marketing

Wendy H. Jones is the author of the best selling and award winning DI Shona Mckenzie Mystery series of crime books. Her first Young Adult book was a finalist in the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award. She also runs Equipped to Write, a writing and marketing training and consultancy, along with Andrew J. Chamberlain.

You can find out more on her Website