Book two – Cover Reveal

If you read my recent post you would have seen that The Soul Guide has had a cover update. My cover designer Charlie, of Sapphire Designs, really got what I was looking for and has also come up with a beautiful new cover for Secrets and Souls (The Soul Guide prequel) and for Tortured Souls (COMING SOON) which is book two of The Soul Guide series. I am delighted with my new covers.

So, without further ado here they are:

948259_secrets_and_souls_paperback_cover2  TSG Finished e-book  Tortured Souls e-book cover

Don’t they look beautiful side-by-side like that? I think so.

If you are interested in checking out my books just click on the image and you’ll be whizzed over to Amazon. Don’t forget if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited then you can read them for FREE too!

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New cover, new look…

Well, I only went and got a new cover done! The Soul Guide has had a major makeover and it is exactly what I wanted! I had the great pleasure of coming across Charlie from Sapphire Designs through one of the Facebook author groups I’m a member of. Charlie was advertising her wares, I liked what I saw and, well, here we are now a few weeks later!

For a while now, I realised that my original front cover just didn’t really suit the genre of urban fantasy and so I decided to bite the bullet and get it updated. Don’t get me wrong the first cover I published with was fine. It just didn’t quite capture the essence of the book. I wanted a ‘silver’ bumble bee (like the one that stings Sybil in the story) but my original cover artist wasn’t able to oblige unfortunately. That’s all been changed now and I am stoked!

Following the process was fascinating, Charlie was able to find the perfect image for Sybil, but the model had blonde hair. This wasn’t an issue, because, hey presto, Charlie turned it brown. She added her own magic and personality and below is the result. I think it is a work of art, would you agree?

So this is my new front cover by the incredibly talented Charlie at Sapphire Designs. 

TSG Finished e-book

I can’t tell you how important the front cover is. People really do judge a book by its cover! I wish I had found Charlie before publishing my book, but hey, you live and learn!

Also, and this is key, once you find a great cover artist keep hold of them and NEVER let go. Sapphire Designs is also updating Secrets and Souls (The Soul Guide – prequel novella) and will be doing the new covers for my second and third in series. I cannot wait to share them with you once they are done!!

For now, here are the previous incarnations of The Soul Guide. The first (blue stars) was done by me in Canva, the second by a gentleman on Fiverr, and the third my latest, most favourite, and frankly the best of them all, by Sapphire Designs.

The Soul Guide Version jpeg    the-soul-guide-kindle-cover_2   TSG Finished e-book

Facebook Takeover – Thursday 20th July

Well, tomorrow my friend Laura Greenwood‘s fabulous book the Awakening is being re- launced (cue clapping and general excited dancing). This is the first book in a dark/paranormal fantasy fairy tale series! Take a look at the front cover it’s gorgeous!!

To this end Laura is having a Facebook launch party to celebrate. All day tomorrow, and through to midday on the 21st July, for an hour a piece, authors will be ‘taking over’ the party.

I will be taking over for an hour between 7pm-8pm tomorrow (Thursday 20th July)… eek! So, If you want to join me, or indeed drop in at any time during the 20th -21st July please click on the link below, log into Facebook and come join the party!

Awakening Release Party – Thursday 20th July

This is the first time I’ve ever done a takeover myself and I am partly excited, but mostly terrified. What if I make a complete arse of myself? What if I bore the pants of people? What if no-one comes??? What then? It’s like this blog…. I write and write but no one appears to read lol! So, whilst I am used to talking to myself, I won’t lie, I’d be horribly disappointed if no-one turned up for my takeover hour!

This really is a wonderful opportunity to promote myself as an author, talk about my books, play some games, do a couple competitions and generally have fun. I’ve been to a couple and thoroughly enjoyed the interaction. A lot of work goes into them and I think that they are a fabulous way of getting to know current and future readers!

I’ve spent the last two days putting together some posts and images etc ready for tomorrow. I feel that this has taken the pressure of somewhat, being prepared in this way. I’m nothing if not organised – well with anything writing related, that is! Life in general, not so much!

My ten-year-old daughter can’t wait, I think she’s way more excited about it than I am…. perhaps I can get her to do a reading for me? Being so young, and growing up in the midst of social media frenzy, this kind of thing is no big deal for her. I mean, one of her friends already has a You Tube show for crying out loud!

For one as old as me (39, cough cough) I grew up in the days when to use the Internet we had to unplug the telephone line and it took half an hour to even connect. Cue lots of arguments over Internet use vs telephone use. All that waiting my brothers and I used to do…. now everything is so instant! It’s incredible really.

If anyone is reading this (HELLO!) and you fancy supporting myself, Laura and the other fabulous authors please do pop along sometime tomorrow. I, for one, would be glad of the company!

Welcome to the Party

 

 

 

Best of British

In previous blog’s, I’ve talked about all the wonderful self-published authors I’ve met since entering The Soul Guide in the Kindle Scout programme. Even though I didn’t manage to bag a publishing contract, my biggest accomplishment since (apart from publishing two books so far this year) has been the great connections I’ve made along the way. One of whom, is the very talented, fellow Brit author, Laura Greenwood who writes speculative romance fiction.  Click on her name and head over to her website to find out about all her fab books and upcoming writing projects.

Laura, alongside Gina Wynn, another British author have now set up a website called Always Write Club where authors can promote their books and readers can find their next best read! Fantastic eh?!

Coming up next week is July’s Best of British promotion where readers will be able to find some fantastic books by British and Irish authors.  So, from Monday 24th July why not head on over by clicking on the Best of British link and find your next favourite author? Here’s some of the genres available:

  • Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy
  • Contemporary romance
  • Women’s fiction
  • Fantasy,
  • Thriller, Crime and Mystery (as well as Cozy Mystery)
  • Historical Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction

and much, much more!

As the image below states – “Grab a Cuppa and a Book with the Best of British.”  You won’t be disappointed.

BoB Cuppa

 

 

Working hard, working hard (no playing to be had)

Well, it’s been ages. I realise I’ve not posted a blog for a while and there’s a good reason why. I’ve been working hard on book two, working full-time in my day job, being a mum to two under 11’s and generally burning the candle at both ends. 

Don’t get me wrong, no sympathy required here. This is just an honest blog about being a part-time writer…. frankly, a part-time everything. 

Recently, I’ve taken to waking up at 5.30 am every morning to write before my kids get up for school. Most mornings I have to peel my eyes open and give myself a good talking too, “No, you can’t go back to sleep. You’ve got a deadline to meet.” Yep, I even argue with myself. I’m told this is perfectly normal behaviour for authors.

You see I REALLY want to get the second book of The Soul Guide series ready for its (hopefull) release in September. I know I’m cutting it fine, and at some point soon, I may well have to push that deadline back (sob) but I’d rather release an incredible book than a book that everyone will hate for its plot holes and grammar errors. Sigh.

So, cue lots of late night writing, early morning writing, writing on my lunch break. Writing, writing, writing…. Just as well I love it so much, even on the days when I want to throw my laptop out of the window. 

Trouble is, when you aren’t able to write for a living, the other parts of your life tend to go by the wayside. For example, pre writing life I was a clean freak. My house was spotless, you could use my kitchen floor as a mirror it was so shiny (ok, I exaggerate but you catch my drift). I also feel guilty for being absent in terms of spending time with my other half. He is an artist (and also has a day job) so he understands better than most what I’m trying to do. But I still feel guilty about the lack of interaction. The only thing I try to maintain, because I’d feel like a shit mother if I didn’t, is to make sure I spend time with my kids daily. This is hard, at the best of times, when working full-time, let alone when you’re trying to squeeze in writing, promoting, blogging in around that too AND still ensuring that you are the best mother you can be. 

The GUILT is emmense. I feel guilty when I’m working, because I’m not writing, I feel guilt when I’m writing because I’m not spending time with the ones I love. Oh, and a brand new guilt; the guilt of not getting books out quick enough for the (few) readers I have. 

BUT I have to keep reminding myself that this is what I have to do right now if I want to make my books a success. If I want to have a chance at a successful future that will benefit not only me, but more importantly the ones I love. I started doing this in part for my kids, to prove you can achieve your dreams if you work hard enough. I’m continuing on this journey to prove to myself that I CAN be a successful writer. 

For now I’m getting back to work (work work, not writing work). Maybe one day all the hard work will pay off. I sure as hell hope so! 


#SPFBO Reviews – next up

As per my blog post last week, I am reviewing the opening excerpt of the fantasy books in my group (Lynn’s Book Blog) who are partaking in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO competition.

Next up are:

Spark of Defiance: Games of Fire Book 1 by Autumn M Birt

and

Goblin Fruit (Gobbled book one) by S.E Burr

So, without further ado here are my scores and corresponding reviews: Oh, and don’t forget if you want to read an excerpt or download a book yourself just click on the title next to my score and it will whisk you over to Amazon.



Spark of Defiance 8/10

Ok, first things first. I need to get this off my chest. I have a thing about character names, particularly ones that are tricky to pronounce or are out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong I get why unusual names are needed, this is a fantastical world after all, and your bog standard Frank and John just wouldn’t cut it. I’m totally down with that!

The thing is (and this is very personal to me, so hasn’t been reflected in the overall score) I’ve often given up on books when I just can’t seem to get past the name thing. What I mean by that is, I often find myself pondering over whether I’m pronouncing the names correctly rather than getting completely immersed in the story. The only reason I mention this now is to explain why it took me longer to get into this excerpt than it would usually. I found myself distracted by the different names and had to read this excerpt twice to ensure I gave it a fair shot.

That being said, once I’d got used to the various names of the characters, this is a pretty great read. Again, Spark of Defiance has all the hallmarks of a brilliant epic fantasy. I was intrigued enough by the excerpt to want to find out more about the world of Myrrah, it’s inhabitants, and the concept of elemental magic. I wanted to know why some characters appeared to be repressed because of their abilities, why Zhao has returned home to see his sister only to be received coldly, and why her child seemed to be particularly gifted. In chapter two we are introduced to Sinika who is being held prisoner, and by all accounts no longer an elemental.

I got the sense that there was already some history between the characters that I didn’t know about, and I wondered whether this was a follow on series of some sort. When I checked out the other books written by this author I found that I wasn’t far off the mark. The Rise of the Fifth order series appears to set up the world and the characters / politics / history within it and this series, Games of Fire– of which Sparks of Defiance is the first book of- a follow on from that. The author explains that both series can be read as standalones but are a part of the same world and include some of the same characters.

I would go far as to say that I predict the rest of the book will be a pretty impressive read. For now it’s a solid 8/10.

Product Details

Please note the author has changed her cover than previously listed in Lynn’s Book Blog. I think this was a good choice, this cover is a much better representation of the story in my opinion.

Goblin Fruit  7/10

This is a young adult fantasy revolving around two female protagonists Clara and Audrey both of whom have lost a relative to catalepsy caused by taking the ‘goblin fruit’. The excerpt introduces the reader to the two girls, who meet at a medical unit for goblin fruit users. The fruit is a highly addictive drug that can either affect the user immediately, and put them in a catatonic state, or will eventually do so after several uses. Either way, it would appear, if you use goblin fruit you will end up a drooling, mindless mess. Not only that, everyone else is forced to wear gloves so that they do not come into contact with the fruit essence that can seep from a users hands. I love this added little twist, lends a bit of extra danger to the story and prevents the kind of physical contact we take for granted, like holding someone’s hand.

It is, or at least appears to be, a cautionary tale of drug abuse but with a twist. I don’t think they’re called goblin fruit for nothing! I’m assuming the rest of the book will delve into the fantastical world of goblins and, given I am a huge fantasy, young adult book fan, (even though I am WELL past that age group) this book has certainly intrigued me enough to want to see what happens next.

My only gripe, and it is a small one, is the way the author has defined the different protagonists voice. The author moves between Audrey and Clara’s point of view chapter by chapter, and whilst I have no problem with this at all, I was a little thrown that this was denoted by different text, rather than, say, using the character’s name at the beginning of each chapter. It’s not a big thing, and hasn’t affected my score but just a niggle I wanted to point out.

This starts as an easy, well paced young adult read and I give the excerpt a solid 7 /10.

That’s it for this weeks reviews. Up next are:

A Gaze of Flint by Sandy Hyatt-James and The Age of Mages by Ilana Waters.

Until then folks!

 

#travellingbook is on its travels!

You couldn’t be more surprised than me that I got a response from my #travellingbook experiment. Read my blog post about it HERE.

In fact, I was so surprised that I had a little blub in the middle of a children’s park surrounded by parents and their kids. They must have thought I was a little unhinged, my own kids certainly did!

If the truth be known, I thought that there was no way I would get any response, let alone for the finder to tell me about it, take some beautiful photos and then promise to pass my book on!

For those of you who haven’t already read the #travellingbook blog post, here’s a bit of background information.

On Tuesday 30th May I took a trip to Box Hill in Surrey with my mum and two children. We had a wonderful day roaming around, taking in the views, and *almost* getting lost in the forest.

The previous day I had already left two copies of The Soul Guide in two separate places in London as part of my #travellingbook experiment.

Before we left for Box Hill I went to collect my mum, who lives around the corner. She was with me the previous day when I left two copies of The Soul Guide in London. This time, I didn’t take a copy of The Soul Guide when I went to collect her. The day was a bit overcast and rain was forecast. I thought that it was possible if I left the book in the open it would get ruined and no-one wants to read a soggy book right?

BUT, something told me to go back home and pick up a book up anyway. I could decide once I was at Box Hill whether I would leave it behind or not, weather permitting and all that.

Of course, in the end, I did choose to leave a copy of The Soul Guide behind and I’m so glad that I did because the next morning I was updating my Facebook author page feed and was bowled over at receiving the following photos and comments:

Call it fate, call it serendipity, call it chance. All I know is, this lady, Wendy, appeared to be the perfect person to pick up the book and take it home. So, thank you Wendy for picking The Soul Guide up, for taking these beautiful photos, and for agreeing to pass on my book. I hope it has a long, and well-travelled journey. I will certainly be keeping an interested eye out, and keeping you all updated of course!

Out of the three books that I left this is the only response I’ve had so far. Maybe the other two books ended up in the bin, maybe they were picked up and the person who found them just aren’t into posting on social media (which is fair enough). Maybe the person who found it just isn’t into reading. Maybe both books are still waiting to be found? Maybe they are being read and the finder doesn’t want to post but will pass it on and the next person will? Who knows.

Sometimes all it takes is a crazy idea, a dash of chance, a spot of luck and the hand of fate. Whatever it was, I’m grateful for the response I have received so far, and am looking forward to seeing where The Soul Guide ends up next. #travellingbook #thesoulguideseries

#travellingbook 

A little while ago I had an idea. What if I left a copy of my book somewhere for someone else to read, and what if I ask them to pass it on to a friend, a stranger, whoever. And what if that person passed it on and so on…

The idea came about when I was trying to think of fun / different ways to get my book out in the public without constant salesy pitches on Facebook and Twitter. I’d ordered a handful of print books for various competitions I was part of and there were a few spare and so I thought let’s try and do something fun and creative with these books, and bingo, the #travellingbook came about. 

I mean, what’s the worse that could happen? Yes, the person picking it up may just chuck it in the bin…. and my #travellingbook would’ve got no further than the local dump or (and this is what I am counting on) the person could pick it up and actually read it and, hopefully, pass it on!

I plan to leave five books in various locations (three have already been left this week). I left a note in the book each time, explaining who I was  and giving instructions on what I would like them to do… in the hope I could generate some interest / buzz organically. 

I figured that I am a reader and I would love to find a book with a note from the author. I would like to think others would too. I guess there is a danger said book will remain with the first person who finds it,  but hopefully they will take part in the spirit of the #travellingbook and pass it on! 

I’m hoping I’ll get tagged in on people’s reviews, photos and comments of The Soul Guide but, hey, that could be wishful thinking too. I guess it all depends on the reader. 

For now I will wait and see what happens. Will The Soul Guide go on a journey or will it remain on someone’s bookshelf or worse, bin? Only time will tell! 

Here’s some photos of the start of their journey… 

Left on the top of a famous hill in Surrey….


Left in the changing rooms of a well known high street fashion store in London.

The third book was left in a well known high street coffee shop, also in London, but I wasn’t able to take a photo as it was way too obvious (I felt a bit daft and a bit self conscious too be honest).

I’ve two more books to leave somewhere random over the next few days.

Let me know if you are one of the finders! And of course, fingers crossed, where you left it or who you passed it onto. Oh, and don’t forget to tag me in on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or here on my blog #thesoulguideseries #travellingbook

Happy reading! 

So, apparently I’m a plankton!

As a self-published author I have come to learn a great deal. I’ve learnt that you can’t just be a writer, that you need to be a marketer, your own publicist, cover designer, blurb writer, formatter and promoter. You can’t sit back and tap away at your keyboard writing the next bestseller without putting in a lot of hard graft and time, often on things you don’t really know anything about (marketing / promoting for me… actually pretty much all of it).

Gone is the view that I’d release a book and become an overnight success. That just ain’t going to happen! These past few months, since The Soul Guide has been released, my rose-coloured glasses have well and truly come off.

THIS SELF-PUBLISHING LARK IS BLOODY HARD WORK!  It takes commitment, determination, a thick skin, pig-headedness and a little bit of crazy!

But, I’ve found that there are also loads of wonderful, supportive people out there (namely other self-published authors) who will do their best to help guide newbies like me through the brain-frazzling ride of becoming a ‘self-pubber’. These people will pick you up when you’re feeling down, throw you a lifeline when you think your book has finally slipped of the thirty-day cliff and generally give you lots of advice to help you keep on the right track. They will persuade you to keep going when all you want to do is jack it all in. Without these brilliant people I don’t think I’d still be here. I certainly didn’t think I could actually make any money out of it…. but after all the success stories I’ve seen and the discussions I’ve had with other authors, that doesn’t seem such a pipe dream now. I’m not expecting to make 100’s of thousands of pounds from my books, but being able to write for a living doesn’t seem a goal too far out of reach given the journeys of other authors who started out just like me.

To back this up, a group I am part of have a fun way to gauge their success.  It’s a pretty fishy list (no pun intended) It’s simple really, as you sell more books (and make more money) you move up a level or evolve into… yes, you guessed it… a bigger fish. I’m a newbie, and therefore right at the bottom of the scale. In actual fact, I am a ‘plankton’.

Essentially the list goes like this: The goal being that you get the next level.

2 figures a month: plankton
3 figures a month: prawn (500+= lobster)
4 figures a month: trout (5000+= rainbow trout)
5 figures a month: salmon
5 figures over 50k: dolphin
6 figures a month: whale
6 figures over 250K: Kelpie
7 figures a month: Kraken

Believe it or not, there are a few Kraken’s out there in the self-published market. These guys know exactly what they are doing, and are doing it very successfully every month, over and over again. A few of them hang around some Facebook groups sharing their wisdom for free. On these occasions I try not to act like a groupie, and just sit quietly stalking them! Joke! Of course I don’t stalk, I just hang around in the background paying attentionm, scribbling furious notes in the hope that at some point I can put some of their wisdom into action.

All kidding aside, it’s quite useful to have such a list to aspire too. I’ve never wanted to become a prawn as much as I do right now!

Whilst getting to Kraken level would be the ultimate, frankly I’d be happy with a steady Trout! Getting to that point would mean I could do writing full-time.

Still, for now it’s baby steps or fishy swims…. Besides, I’ve always loved prawns.

 

 

⭐️🌟⭐️🌟 Secrets and Souls cover reveal ⭐️🌟⭐️🌟


So, here it is. My Secrets and Souls cover! It’s beautiful don’t you think? I love the pop of yellow in the title to match the flair between the outstretched hands. I debated whether I should maintain the grey colour in the title of Secrets and Souls, but in the end went for the yellow! I’m hoping the colour will draw the eye! 

Below is The Soul Guide cover. I hope the branding is obvious… same font, layout, similar image. I’m hoping this will not only draw readers in, but will be easily recognisable as part of the same series. What do you think?


Secrets and Souls is a 36k novella set forty years before The Soul Guide. It delves a bit deeper into Mellissa’s mindset, Bertram and Mellissa’s relationship and the start of their journey together. There is a twist… I think this is becoming a signature of mine, but there are also some spoilers. If you haven’t already read The Soul Guide you might want to before you read Secrets and Souls. 

I will let you know as soon as it’s up for pre-order, but for now here’s the blurb: 

“You think I don’t know that you’re keeping secrets from me? I am not the only liar here…”

The last thing Bertram expected after his grandfather’s death was to find himself the owner of Clayhill Manor, a decrepit mansion with little going for it other than musty rooms filled with moth-eaten furniture and mice. But at least he gets to maintain the solitary life he’s used to. That is, until red-headed beauty, Mellissa, walks into his home and changes his life forever.  

With one touch of her hand, Bertram finds himself part of world he never knew existed. Where he is the Caretaker, and Mellissa the Soul Guide. Where doors appear out of nowhere and he’s the only one who can see them.  

Together they must face a strange new world hidden just beneath the surface. A world which contains the pure of soul and malevolent creatures that lurk in the dark.  

But Mellissa holds secrets within her, secrets that hurt her heart. With a past that she’s unwilling to share with a man who is falling in love with her, can they put their feelings aside and fulfil their roles or will her secrets tear them apart?  

Apart they are weak, together they are stronger, and the Mephisto are always watching.