Saturday, 24 October 2015

The drowned Phoenician Sailor by Lesley hayes

Having read and enjoyed a number of Lesley’s short stories, I thought it was high time I read one of her novels and it didn’t disappoint. I gave this 5 stars.
I admire the way Ms Hayes construct a sentence and she has a lightness of touch that stops this work from sinking into melodrama or becoming heavy. Her lightness and sense of humour makes this book very readable and enjoyable despite dealing with serious issues such as loss, abandonment and emotional abuse. I know the writer is a psychotherapist and it show in how she approaches her characters. Her main protagonist Kaya/Fynn we get to know as she finds her own therapist dead when turns up for their regular session. Fynn still has a lot of issues to sort out and maybe this is why the therapist manifests itself as a ghost. I found it at times uncomfortable as we got such an insight into her life. (Like listening at the door of a therapist session in progress) At times the pace dropped a little, but I put that down to relating more to some characters than others. (I think Jack would be someone I would hide from in a pub, for the fear of him dragging me into a deep philosophical discussion.) Lesley Hayes has written a beautiful book that will appeal to most, as the number of emotions explored, are many and I think every reader will recognise themselves at some point. 

In other news:
I'm pleased to announce that Blood Ties Language in the Blood book 2 is now also available on smashwords at $2.99 keeping it at the same price as Amazon.
Book 1 has been free now for a week and without any advertising, 150 copies were downloaded. I hope Amazon will follow suit, but for the time being please feel free to report it to them. (I'm also free on Itunes, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo and Fnac to name but a few.)

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Another day another skill learnt. I now know the difference between a mobi and an epub. I didn't want to know, but in the last few months I've picked up a lot of knowledge unwillingly. The reason I picked up some more skills screaming and kicking is because Amazon refuses to make a book permanently free unless you can prove that it is sold or rather given away at another retailers. I went with Smashwords as many of my writer friends use it and they distribute to many other retailers like Barnes and Noble. Very soon I'll ask people to bombard Amazon with complaints about having seen Language in the Blood for free on another site. Here is the link:

Language in the Blood on Smashwords.

So why give a book away for free?
I often run promotions by giving books away free, but Amazon only lets me do this for 5 days every 90 days. This will allow me to run promotions more often. Some writers have really seen sales of their books take of after making one book perma free. As I have a series, it makes sense to entice people in with book 1 for free.
What did I think of Smashwords?
To set up an account was very easy, as I'm making the book free I didn't need to provide much information. Then when it came to upload the book I opened their style guide. This was one of the most complex and sleep inducing works I've ever had the misfortune to look at. I decided to ignore the thing and upload. It's formatted for Kindle (a mobi) so how bad can it be?
Their previewer promptly came up with some errors, mainly the table of contents. I set to address each one with the 'help' of this guide. I've looked at some e-readers and put it through a epub gizmo and most of it looks fine. All in all an afternoons work. I know it's probably not perfect on all e-formats, but the main focus is the books on Amazon.
Other news:
I jumped the gun a bit and ordered some books before my editor had a look at the proof.
I know this was hasty, but I wanted to give out books to many people that I don't see that often before Christmas. Book 2 Blood Ties is absolutely perfect, but book 1 has an issue that I didn't spot in the e-previewer which meant the pages went a little out of sink. Only a problem if you want your table of content to match with the chapters;)
The plus point is that some people will get a very rare copy of Language in the Blood as we will update this error very soon. If you like your books less than perfect but rare, go to Amazon now before it's too late:

Language in the Blood in Paperback

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Bob is in my Head and Wants Me Dead by IDK Emcee

I liked the title of this book and downloaded it as a freebie. I really would have liked this book but I think the author and I just like very different things. Reading a bit more about the author, he is inspired by beat poetry, not something I'm keen on. So not more than a 3 star from me. If beat poetry does rock your boat you might like this.
Bob is in my Head and Wants Me Dead by IDK Emcee on Amazon

I always appreciate when a writer pushes the boundaries. Sometimes it works; sometimes the world is not yet ready for it. I think I’m not ready for this book; I did not get this. It reads like the ramblings of a deranged serial killer who now has a voice in his head ordering him to kill someone or else become the victim. What I did not get was what the book set out to do. Is it a comedy? It is well written and quite poetic at times, but then is interspersed with pages of the same sentence repeated over and over again. (Which I found very annoying, as we get the point after half a page.) I didn’t mind the swearing as we obviously are dealing with a tortured angry character, but I found it very hard to find any sympathy for the narrator. Could be enjoyed by someone smarter than me, who gets what the author is trying to express.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Dawn of Rebellion by Michelle Lynn

Exercise for today is to just pick up a random book. Don't read the blurb, just start reading. I often download free books and don't look to closely at the blurb. Sometimes I have the wrong idea about a book and it can be a bit disorienting. (Like this one which I thought was about the American war of Independence, but then I read about London and cars etc.and it dawned this was not a historical novel) I always like to be surprised, I think it ads to my reading pleasure. So this one was a surprise, but a good 5 star one.
Dawn of Rebellion by Michelle Lynn

I have a habit of not reading book blurbs carefully and I’m often surprised when I start reading a book. I got all comfortable with my kindle and sat down to what I thought was a novel about the American war of independence. I didn’t mind one bit when I found myself reading a YA novel about two sisters, Dawn and Gabby surviving in a future version of London where a totalitarian regime rules. The former United States is once again a colony of Britain. When Gabby is arrested for shoplifting, she is shipped off to the colonies. Her sister Dawn and Gabby’s boyfriend Drew start a desperate journey into the unknown to find her.
This is a story about young people discovering a strength and bravery within that they didn’t know they possessed. It is also about the power of love making you discover this strength. The book is narrated by Gabby, Dawn and Drew. The chapters are named after the narrator so this doesn’t get confusing at any point. The story has a quick pace due to short chapters, lots of action and narrator changing all the time. All three talk in sort of cockney London accent, that I found very amusing. It made Dawn and Gabby believable as two streetwise London kids.
This is firmly a young adult novel and the budding romances between Dawn and Drew and Gabby and Jeremy will please this group of readers. Also the action is good and there are a number of cliff hanger moments, including the ending. (Got to leg it to Amazon and buy part 2) The book is also laden with symbolism as the group find bits of a former civilisation and inhabitants of a land that used to be the United States. No one knows what destroyed this civilisation, but religion is now banned in Britain. This mix of all destroying war, religion and world powers, makes the book current and interesting to adult readers like myself too. I will be interested to see where Michelle Lynn will take this story next. Promising start to a series.

Thursday, 1 October 2015


People on the Côte d'Azur generally don't expect anything else but glorious sunshine. When things are different they are very ill prepared. I never check the weather forecast; I carry an umbrella and a pair of sunglasses in my bag, what else can possibly happen here? Most people only carry a pair of sunglasses; it never rains, right? So it was no small surprise that cafe owners were again totally caught on the hop when the first storm of the autumn season hit. Work crews were busy, this morning on the beach salvaging decking, chairs and potted palm trees from the beach fronts.
I guess I'm not the only one that doesn't bother with the weather forcast. We repare the damage and promise ourselves we really should be better prepared (Yes these storms cause havoc every year!) but after a few weeks of glorious weather we have lulled ourselves back into a false sense of security; Its the south of France, what's the worst that can happen.
On other news:
I've not progresses much on my novel as with work, book promotion and a trip to Holland, I've not had the time to sit down and write. The promotion on the other hand went well. I had a free book offer on Language in the Blood and used the site:
I've given away an impressive 771 books in two days and having a number of sales and KU borrows too in the days that followed. As it was a free book, the advert might not pay entirely for itself, but it will be interesting to see the next two weeks if it was worth it.
Both the language in the blood books are now also available in paperback via Amazon and createspace(There is even a distributor offering a second hand copy? How? I haven't even received my copies yet!)
Language in the blood, second hand!!! on Amazon
More news:
The Anthologie I'm part of; Holes, has been made available to download for free on Smashwords:
Holes, the anthology
You don't need any devises and can just download as a pdf on your computer. Its a great collection of dark stories with Holes as a central theme.