Category Archives: Authors

A Winter’s Romance and Human 76 – Christmas Book Blast

This Christmas season I’m promoting two books
(other than my own Hope Within novels) which are great books to gift.
And as a bonus I have stories in both of them!
Romance and Post-Apocalyptic Adventure…

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Many people love receiving books for Christmas, myself included, and choosing the best book can be tough. However, I’m covering many bases with these two!

If you, or the person you need the perfect gift for, love romance, I have a beautiful book to cosy up with this winter: A Winter’s Romance from BHC Press, and if you prefer adventure, I can heartily recommend the brilliant post-apocalyptic thriller: Human 76 put together by myself and Michael Wombat.

Both are available in paperback for the discerning reader who likes to hold a physical book in their hands, and you can download them onto your device or Kindle for the more progressive type! All buy links will be posted below. A big plus is that you will help a charity when you purchase either of these books. Spread the love!

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A Winter’s Romance – When winter and romance mix, the elements are anything but predictable…

This book gives you 19 beautiful stories from amazing authors. Tales that will enchant you, and stir you and some that will terrify you. You’ll get dragons, music, and thrillers, history, and laughs. You’ll shiver and tingle and giggle and smile. You’ll get a whole variety of short stories and the one thing I can promise you is that you won’t regret reading them!

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A Winter’s Romance features authors: J.S.Bailey, LaDonna Cole, Drea Damara, Sara Daniell, Natalie Gibson, Bibi Hamblin, C.R.Hiatt, Kaite Jennings, S.R.Karfelt, D.M.Kilgore, Alice Lakewood, Elise Manion, Emmie Mears, Melissa Hladik Meyer, Tom Mohan, Patricia Paris, Lisa Shambrook, Hannah Steenbock and A.D.Trosper.

My own tale Between Ice and Fire is a captivating chance meeting on an icy winter’s morning – and you’ll want to know what sends shivers down Laine’s spine…

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You can find A Winter’s Romance in a gorgeous Paperback , Hardback from 9th December 2016 or Kindle on Amazon and on B&N, and Kobo and iBooks. $1.00 from the sale of each book will be donated to Forgotten Harvest (A member of Feeding America).

Human 76, Human 76 An unprecended post-apocalyptic journey, fragments of a fractured world, Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat,

Human 76 – An unprecedented set of stories set in the fragments of a fractured world…

You can read about how this collaboration came to be in two of my blog posts: Human 76 – Ghabrie is on her way… and Human 76 Release as this is a project very close to my heart having been inspired by a photograph of my own daughter on our family post-apocalyptic photoshoot!

What you get is 15 stories from 14 authors written without knowing how they would intertwine. Ghabrie loses her little sister in a raid and sets out to find her. On her journey she discovers eclectic communities, enemies and allies. Ghabrie and her search is the theme that threads through the book, but what you get is a gorgeous vignette of many lives, some struggling and some prospering, in the Post-Blast world. What leads them to Ghabrie? How do they meet her? Does she affect them? How do their stories impact hers? You’ll have to read them to find out.

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Human 76 features authors: Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat, Alex Brightsmith, Denise Callaway, KJ Collard, Alison DeLuca, Michelle Fox, Rebecca Fyfe, Jeff Hollar, Nick Johns, MS Manz, Julia Rios, KR Smith and Steven Paul Watson.

My own tales Leaving the Nest and We Make the Future open and close the book and you’ll need to read it to discover how all the tales entwine in the most amazing way…

Snippet of 'Leaving the Nest' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Snippet of 'We Make the Future' by Lisa Shambrook - Human 76

Human 76 is available in Paperback and Kindle on Amazon and in Paperback and Download on Lulu. All proceeds from this book go to Water is Life (a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide.)

Seriously, you cannot go wrong with either of these book,
so, order a paperback and slip it into a loved one’s Christmas gifts,
let them discover a great read in their Santa Stocking,
or buy it and give yourself a well-deserved treat!

NaNoWriMo and How to Make it Through

November has been National Novel Writing Month for me for a few years now.

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Back in 2011, I was a writing community newbie and heard the word NaNo getting thrown around and I had no idea what it was. Then I began seeing that several of my friends had won NaNoWriMo, and I thought how amazing they were at winning something that was so widely talked about. It must be big! Now, those friends who win or take part in NaNo are still amazing, even though I know what it is and anyone who completes it – wins it!

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It’s not an easy thing, bear in mind.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month on many writers’ calendars and to win it you must write 50,000 words in the month of November. 50K – that’s 1,667 words per day throughout the entire month. In 2012, when I first signed up it felt like a huge mountain, and I had no idea if I was fit enough to climb it!

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© Lisa Shambrook

I’d already written several manuscripts and one published book and would be rereleasing my first novel, Beneath the Rainbow, a year later, so I knew it was possible, but I had never ever written a book in one month… Could I do it?

I had a sequel in my head for Rainbow and I spent October planning Beneath the Old Oak. I took advice from other writers: cancel all your plans for November, plan easy meals, keep your family informed (their support is vital), stay positive, and keep writing.

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© Lisa Shambrook

NaNo is not about writing a book, or at least not a full, polished, finished book. NaNo is about writing your first draft, and we all know first drafts are all about getting words on the page, letting the story flow from your fingers, and allowing your imagination complete freedom.

The months after November will be for rewrites, editing, deleting, pulling your hair out, worrying about plotlines that don’t work, honing the words, adding, altering, and fixing… November is for getting words into a draft.

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My secret weapon – Hot Chocolate – © Lisa Shambrook

So, how do you do it?

Simply, by writing.

Some days you won’t feel like it, but write if you can.

Don’t worry if you fall behind, you can catch up on a good day.

Don’t worry if you don’t complete 50,000 words, any words, any words at all are positive and moving forward.

See it as a personal goal, don’t compare. My first year was tough, I didn’t think I’d do it, especially as I watched friends zooming through, but I made it, just.

Treat yourself, chocolate works.

Have a great support network. Your family needs to know what you are doing, it will pull you away at times as you let your muse inspire and flow. If dinner doesn’t arrive on time, or the bins haven’t got put out, it’s not the end of the world…order takeaway, beg someone else to do the rubbish, or catch it next week. Writing Community friends are also magic. Their words, commitment and progress can help fuel and enthuse you.

Take time out… go out, leave the house, take a walk (November is full of autumn goodness and crunchy leaves!), watch a movie, read a book. Sometimes your muse will overwhelm you with words, and sometimes you will struggle to find her!

But, the best advice, just write.

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Take a break from writing – © Lisa Shambrook

In 2013 I wrote Beneath the Distant Star during NaNo then took a break for a couple of years. This year, 2016, I was raring to go with a project I’d held up for years, and this time my words exploded out of my fingers, completing my 50,000 words in just 19 days, and I’m still writing…this is a longer book than my others and I’m loving writing.

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Get family support, and cats! – © Lisa Shambrook

I believe my success this year is down to the fact that I originally wrote this book way back in the early 2000’s and then left it alone. I know the story inside out, but I had to throw out the old manuscript and completely rewrite from scratch. An old framework, but a brand new concept and one that excited me immensely to write!

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NaNo win – © Lisa Shambrook

The discipline of NaNo inspires me and works so well for me. I’m a writer who gets distracted – a lot. So, keeping a timetable, turning off apps, ignoring the internet, and just writing is something that works and I hope this year I can continue the habit over the following months. I have two more books planned in this series, and have already spent months world-building, restructuring plotlines, characters, and backgrounds, and I can’t wait to write.

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Keep Writing! – © Lisa Shambrook

If you’re still writing, keep it up and let your muse stay close…

Keep those words flowing!

Have you taken part in NaNoWriMo, how did you do?

Would you love to have a go?

What are your tips for getting through a month of intense writing?

Bucket Lists and Dreams – Just Do It

Just recently I looked back at the things I’ve been doing for fun,
and it made me search out the Bucket List I made a few years ago!
What have I done since writing it?

Bucket Lists and Dreams - Just Do It - The Last Krystallos

Eleven years ago, back in 2005, I wrote a list. I realised as I came out of a long period of depression that I just wasn’t happy, we weren’t having fun – and I wanted that to change! The list included some easy, simple ideas, and some bigger, more out of reach dreams. Some of the simple things: meal out with the family, go swimming, paddle along the shore, swim in the sea, kick autumn leaves, play football on the beach, build a sandcastle, have a barbeque, write a poem, build a snowman, do a big jigsaw and more… The bigger things included: fly in a helicopter, romantic evening with Vince, night away with Vince, learn Welsh, paint a dragon, take a family holiday, outline a new story, take a maths GCSE, fly in an aeroplane, do Vertigo, buy a Suburu with rally decals…

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Family Portraits © Lisa Shambrook

We did some – as you, and your family, get older there is often a little more money available and we managed a surprise trip to Edinburgh on an aeroplane. We bundled the children into the car at 4am and took them on a mystery tour ending up at Cardiff airport and spending the day in Scotland! We went up in a helicopter for Bekah’s 16th birthday as Vince had a client who flew a helicopter and he was paid in kind with a ride up in the sky! Beaches were easy and we had barbeques, including getting pushed off the beach by the rising tide and finishing the barbeque at home in the back yard, in the rain! I swam in the Blue Lagoon at Aberieddy, a 90’ deep lagoon, loved it! Vince and I have had some nights away. Ice skating on the Isle of Wight, bought a real Christmas tree, family holidays to Butlins, got a dog, I passed my motorbike test, decorated some amazing cakes, took some awesome family portraits. I began a whole new career as an author and published three books. Vince flew a plane, and I got air sick.

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Helicopter, motorbike, planes, Blue Lagoon and Vertigo © Lisa Shambrook

I even did some things not on the list: I started a business – Amaranth Alchemy. I got my first high heels, got my first Dr Martens too. I didn’t paint, but I did create art and many stories.  I went to the ballet and saw Giselle. We went to Harry Potter Studios, saw Les Miserables in the West End, wrote a book in 30 days doing NaNoWriMo – twice, and I’ve dived from a 10ft diving board and lots more!

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Bucket List and Boots © Lisa Shambrook

Some things will be crossed off the list because they are no longer important to me: I have lost the desire to skydive but my daughter did a couple of weeks ago – and it wasn’t as big a thrill as she’d hoped! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford piano lessons or a piano, I don’t want a rally car anymore, and I don’t feel the need to complete a maths GCSE, I’m at peace with my F grade!

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Theatre, Bekah’s Skydive, wild camping, London © Lisa Shambrook

So what is there now? I’ve flown in that helicopter, I’ve done Vertigo at Oakwood Park, I passed my bike test, and taken the kids on a surprise holiday, and we even slept out in the wild in a tent on Dartmoor when we went wild camping, and began a pottery class.

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Cosplay © Lisa Shambrook

There’s a lot more to come!

My new/current Bucket List contains more dreams
and some I haven’t ticked off my last list.

Build a big, old fashioned sandcastle on the beach.
Go to a Spa.
Visit the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
Ride a gondola in Venice.
Climb the Eiffel Tower.
Go up in a hot air balloon.
Climb mount Snowdon.
Ride a long zip wire.
Rewrite my dragon books and publish.
Paint a dragon!
Stand out in heavy rain and get soaked.
Swim in a tidal swimming pool.
Learn sign language – I did once, but have forgotten it.
Travel with Vince on our motorbikes.
Get a professional massage.
Go on a Norwegian Fjord Cruise.
Drive a rally car – but not own one!
Do NaNoWriMo again.
Have a gardener fix my wild garden so I can redesign it.
Achieve consistent book sales.
Write a best seller.
Visit Canada.
Visit Iceland.
Bathe in hot springs in Iceland.
Walk on a glacier.

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Decorating Cakes © Lisa Shambrook

In my debut novel Beneath the Rainbow, Freya leaves a list behind and her family vow to do the things she’d wanted to do… One of her dreams is one I share – to build a big sandcastle, on the beach complete with turrets and a moat! 

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Author, art and Amaranth Alchemy © Lisa Shambrook

What about you, what’s at the top of your Bucket List?

What have you already ticked off your list?

Get out there and have fun!

7 Tactics to Kickstart Your Muse

Where I drag my Muse when I need a nudge with my writing…

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With NaNoWriMo right around the corner (you can find me here as Last Krystallos)writing a book in only 30 days across November, you might benefit from a couple of ideas to help keep your muse around!

I don’t often get writer’s block, it’s more like, plot fogwhere my Muse gets a bit disoriented and lost amid swirling mists and confusion. So what do I do to combat her inattention or bewilderment?

I have several things that help inspire me and refocus my Muse:

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© Lisa Shambrook

My first go to is write some Flash Fiction. There are lots of Flash Fiction sites online and you can find a prompt, a picture, or a word, or a piece of music, and you write a short story or snippet based on the prompt. If there’s nothing online, peruse your photos or your own music and find something to kickstart your imagination. Set yourself 100 words and see what you can write, you’ll be surprised and often impressed with your short tales!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Cloud Watching. Have you ever gazed up at the sky and watched the clouds pass by? What do you see? I see whales, dolphins, dragons and all sorts of mythical creatures. Clouds can form castles, beaches, mountain vistas and sunlit scenes. Out with my daughter recently, we gazed up at what was definitely the Starship Enterprise, I only wish I hadn’t been driving and could have taken a picture! Write about what you see.

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© Lisa Shambrook

If I need inspiration I go for A Walk. It helps that I have a dog so walks are frequent anyway! It doesn’t always matter where you go; the act of walking and allowing your mind to scroll through whatever it wants often conjures up inspiration, storylines and fills plot holes!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Nature, connecting with clouds and walking, not only do you have time to think while you’re out absorbing nature, but maybe what you see will inspire your Muse? I love bluebells and our local woods were full of them during April and May. Trees have also inspired me; my second book is Beneath the Old Oak, so literally inspired by a poem about an old oak! Let the wind whispering in the trees lower your guard, let the grass tickle your feet, and let the flowers fill you with hope.

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© Lisa Shambrook

The Ocean needs its own place on this list. It’s vast, and can change in an instant, just like your Muse! Not much beats walking on the seashore to inspire me. Waves can be calm and as still as a millpond, and they can rage like a tempest. The ocean ebbs and flows and ideas do the same. Imagine a battle between pirates out on the sea, or selkies bobbing in the still water, or a contemporary romance beneath the sunset on the sand… The ocean drifts with a million stories…

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© Lisa Shambrook

Be Creative. Make something. Play with clay, draw, get out your paints, do anything that requires physical creativity. See what you can shape and how it inspires you.

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© Lisa Shambrook

My last piece of advice is to Go And Do Something Else instead. Top of the list, go for a drive – you must have experienced that plot reconstruction that came to you while you were driving, and you panicked to hold onto it until you could pull over and add it to your memo app or write it down? Go to sleep – did you not know that your mind will give you your best genius plots as you fall asleep? Note them down too, as you’ll never remember them in the morning… Start a mundane task and see how quick your Muse decides vacuuming isn’t much fun and you’d much prefer to write!

There are many more ways to redirect your Muse, what are your favourite ways?

The Soul of the Universe is Music…

Hitting you up with another extra post and OFFER this week…
and you can’t afford to miss it.
If you want a stunning set of stories based on pieces of music…
you can’t go wrong with this beautiful and intelligent book!

soul-of-the-universe-edited-michael-wombat-short-stories-anthology-clubAnd this week it’s FREE to download from Amazon Kindle. FREE from September 2nd to 6th – you don’t want to miss this one.

This is the first book from The Anthology Club. I have a story in their second book…

Stories by Marissa Ames, Michael Walker, Michael Wombat, and Michael S. Manz will captivate you. Each story is accompanied by a song, and you get a brief explanation of its inspiration. An eclectic mix of genres and something to inspire everyone.

“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Now go and pick up your FREE copy between 2nd and 6th September:

Amazon UK and Amazon US.

This is my Amazon review – if you love reading the book too please leave your own review.

Soul of the Universe: An anthology of music-inspired stories

Six strong tales, inspired by music…

I’ve read several of the authors in this anthology before, so I knew the stories would be of a high calibre, and I wasn’t disappointed.

To Ride the Wind Dancing: This story, from Michael S. Manz, held its secret well as it began and I was delighted as realisation gathered momentum. I found my intrigue piqued and a tale of an unusual relationship blossomed, leaving me wanting more, much more!

Blood on the ground: Michael Wombat’s humour is familiar to me, and he gives us a rocking good tale with a real chancer who took one too many! Great description took me right out into the American wilds and the dark night of terror…

Stella: Michael A. Walker made me weep. The issues within this story resonated and touch my own life deeply, and the raw beauty and honesty in this tale took me to a fragile place. Written both assuredly and compassionately, it’s a story that will stay with you.

Darrion: Already a fan of Marissa Ames, meant I’d reviewed Darrion before…and it’s a tale that hits you in the gut and will enthral you right from the very first sentence. The author shows fantastic world building and description in such a short and haunting tale.

Light On: Another heartfelt piece from an author, Michael A. Walker, from whom I want to read more.

Moth Girl vs the Bats: Michael Wombat’s writing is evocative and definitely brings out a comic book feel, think Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Powerful and fantastical description will pull you into Moth Girl’s predicament, and you’ll be wincing in pain as Steampunk creatures and critters show up…

This is a superior collection of stories and I urge you to read them!

You can find out more on my blog post about Cutthroats and Curses…

Human 76 – Ghabrie is on her way…

Just over a year ago my family and I stood in the freezing cold in Pembrey Park,
our fingers pale and cold gripping weapons in our hands.
You might ask why?

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We’ve had some fascinating family photoshoots over the last few years and with our son going overseas, to Canada, for two years, we wanted to push the boat out and do something really different. So, we went dystopian for a post-apocalyptic family portrait.

Shambrook Post Apocalyptic Photo Shoot and Ghabrie - Bekah

© Lisa Shambrook – Our family Post-Apocalyptic photoshoot and Bekah/Ghabrie

Human 76 Post Apocalyptic Anthology planning June 2015

© Lisa Shambrook – Planning Ghabrie’s world…

We had no idea what chaos and beauty our photoshoot would bring…

Bekah’s picture gained many comments and my amazing writing community wanted to write about her. The character in the picture became real. Ghabrie arrived in our lives.

We ended up with a group of fourteen talented writers (Michael Wombat, myself, Alex Brightsmith, Denise Callaway, KJ Collard, Alison DeLuca, Michelle Fox, Rebecca Fyfe, Jeff Hollar, Nick Johns, MS Manz, Julia Rios, KR Smith, Steven Paul Watson), creating a book chronicling Ghabrie’s search for her lost sister.

Bekah and I sat down and created a world in a post-apocalyptic landscape, and instructed our authors to write, the only necessity was that their characters had to meet Ghabrie at some point in their story. Ghabrie and her search is the theme that threads through the book, but what you get is a gorgeous vignette of many lives, some struggling and some prospering, in the Post-Blast world.
What leads them to Ghabrie? How do they meet her? Does she affect them? How do their stories impact hers?
You’ll have to read them to find out.

Human 76 Ghabrie Intro Piece

© Lisa Shambrook

An unprecedented set of stories set in the fragments of a fractured world.

This book has turned into a project of passion for myself and all its authors, and you’re getting a full length book of tales that will delight you, shock you, and disturb you (just a little). You’ll need to read Ghabrie’s story, and Glint’s story, and Planck’s story, and Ash and Hum’s story, and – there are so many more! And maybe you’ll find out what happened to Nahria…

Human 76, post-apocalyptic stories,

Human 76 – Coming soon…

We are on the cusp of releasing this book
out into the wild world – so keep your eyes wide open.
I’ll let you know when!

All proceeds from this book will go to Water is Life, a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. Our book is about those displaced and struggling to survive in a dangerous world and this charity fits perfectly with our stories. So when you buy the book you will be helping those in need.

Also, for a period of two weeks the eBook will be FREE – be ready!

And check out Michael Wombat’s blog post for even more background on how we put this book together…  

And our FACEBOOK page is here! 
So you can keep up to date with everything, release date, offers,
fun stuff, and extras you won’t find anywhere else! 

Come and Visit Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

I’m taking part in my first Book Fair on Saturday 30th April
in the picturesque town of Llandeilo in beautiful West Wales

llandeilo book fair 2016

Llandeilo is a gorgeous setting close to Aberglasney Gardens and Gelli Aur in the pretty Tywi Valley. So if you’re local or at a loose end this Saturday and fancy finding some new books by some great authors, then pop along and meet us. We’ll be very pleased to see you!

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I’ve spent some time planning my table and set up, especially as I haven’t done this before, and I think I’m ready!

llandeilo book fair 2016, lisa shambrook, bookmarks, banner, business cards, the hope within novels,

I’ll be there with paperback copies of my Hope Within series. Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star. There will be free bookmarks and business cards for the Hope Within novels and you can see some props from Beneath the Rainbow too.

lisa shambrook books, hope within novels, amaranth alchemy, bookspine bookmarks, bookpage bookmarks,

We’ll also be selling bookspine and bookpage bookmarks from my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy, where we rescue old, unwanted and damaged books and breathe new life into their pages.

llandeilo book fair 2016, carmarthen journal, posters and leaflets on Morris Travel,

Article with Christoph Fischer in the Carmarthen Journal Twyi Valley, and leaflets and posters on Morris Travel buses across Carmarthen

We’ve had leaflets and posters up for a while and had some great interest in our competitions and talks and fun! Check out our Time Table of Events.

llandeilo book fair 2016 poster,

Llandeilo Book Fair will be open on Saturday 30th April 2016 from 10.30am to 4.30pm, free entry, and refreshments are by Caffi Iechyd Da from Carmarthen. There will be competitions, prizes, readings, workshops and lots and lots of books for all ages.

Come join us and find your next read!

You won’t regret it!

The Slow Regard of Silent Things – My Love for Extraordinary Stories

Rarely does a book move me to the point that I truly don’t want it to end,
but this one touched me deeply.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - My Love of Extraordinary Stories and Review - The Last Krystallos

This is a book that has divided its audience – much like Marmite – you will either love it or hate it, and it appears there is no middle ground. Patrick Rothfuss is a highly regarded fantasy author and his Kingkiller Chronicles ‘The Name of the Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ are much loved, and his third book hugely anticipated. In between, he’s written ‘The Slow Regard of Silent Things’ and he was very nervous to release it.

auri-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewIf you want a book with a story, with a beginning, middle and end – this is not the book for you. If you want to learn Auri’s back story, or any story, this is not where you’ll find it. But if you want a book that will make you feel, that will entrance you, that will make your emotions tingle with love, sadness, fear, anger, delight, beauty and so much more – this is your book.

This is a snippet of Auri’s life, just a few days, and you won’t learn where she comes from, or why, or how, or anything, except you’ll get a glimpse into the most evocative world, a world that doesn’t make sense, but makes all the sense in the world.

The book’s back blurb reads: ‘Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.’

auri-illustration-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewThis story covers only a few days and leads you, twisting and turning, through Auri’s world. It is not a story, like I said, there really is no beginning or end, it just is.

Rothfuss warns readers right at the start not to read the book without reading ‘In The Name of The Wind’ and ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’, and explains that it’s unlike other books, so reader’s already know they are about to dip into something strange and surreal. Contrary to the author’s request, I have not yet read his prior books, but I will, because his writing has bewitched and enthralled me, and I want more.

Rothfuss writes both a foreward and an endnote to be sure that readers are aware of what this book contains – maybe some people need to understand that books are not always written for the mass market. Read what you love, this book is not trying to fool you under any guise. It is a thing of beauty, but that thing might not be your thing…though, it is mine!

I have seen this book slammed to pieces online, and quite simply if it’s not your thing that’s cool, but then as Rothfuss rightly points out in his endnote ‘This is a book for all the slightly broken people out there’ and if that’s not you, then move along – there are plenty of books written for you. This book was written for people like me. I have heard Auri described as whimsical and that her quirks are detrimental to mental health issues, believe me her pain is very present in this book and does not dull whatever she’s been through to find herself within the underthing.

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To love this book, like I did, you need empathy and you have to understand what it means to be full of ‘broken glass and burrs’… You have to know that an everyday item just might be ‘full of love and answers, so full she felt them spilling out at just the briefest touch.’ and you have to believe in wonder and moonlight. This is me, if it’s not you, try another book and let me relish mine.

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I felt my way through this book, and my emotions travelled Auri’s path with her. I recognised myself and related to her tendencies and to her joy and her pain.

oerfect-leaf-treasures-snippet-the-slow-regard-of-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss-the-last-krystallos-reviewMy own shelves are homage to my treasures, from scattered acorn cups to lost crystals, and missing buttons to ancient bottles of scent that can’t yet be parted with. So like Auri…

I feel the world about me, when it’s off kilter, so am I.

This vignette – Rothfuss’ words – is to me a moment, a delving into my own mind, a tale that encapsulates my own psyche and something that tells me that I’m not alone. It’s a testament to the beauty that lives within my soul and rises above the mundane.

This book put butterflies in my stomach, waves of anger in my head, falling tears on my cheek, and enveloped me in a blanket joy that hugged my heart.

This pretty much sums up this tale for me…sheer beauty for those who love the unusual and surreal.

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Copper Bookmark from Earth Balance Craft on Etsy

I have lost myself and found myself within Auri’s tale.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your opinion?

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You can find my review here…but it’s pretty much a smaller version of this post!

Do you love quirky, original stories, or ones with beginnings, middles and ends?

What do you think of books that polarise their readers?

Have you read another love or hate book, which one and what did you think?

How to Create a Strong Author Platform that Works for You

How do you create a positive and visible author platform?
How do you bring readers to you instead of having to search them out?

How to Create a Strong Author Platform that Works for You - The Last Krystallos
Having published, with or without the help of Traditional Publishing, you will need a platform. The book market is saturated and if you publish and sit back waiting for people to find you and your books, you may be waiting interminably. Even traditional publishers require a huge amount of author input and rely on you having a good social media platform to begin with. So where do you start?

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I began with Facebook. I had a personal account with strong privacy settings, but that won’t inform the world about your books beyond your friends and family. So, you’ll need a Facebook Page. There’s a lot of debate about whether Facebook’s algorithms make Pages worthwhile, but it’s still a good place to start and build up a following. It’s important to note that unless you and your followers/likers interact it’s unlikely your posts will be seen, so make an effort to interact and post regularly.

Facebook allows you to add several great functions to your Page. The Call to Action button allows you to add a link to your shop/Amazon, so people can immediately find your product. Add the Author Marketing App so you can add your books either manually or via their ISBN and have easy access to all your books from your Facebook page.   

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Then there’s Twitter. I cut my teeth on Twitter before anything else. I wanted everyone to know about my book so joined Twitter – I will be forever grateful, though, that I never crammed my twitter feed with my books above interacting. There it is again that word – interact – the most important word on social media. Even if you’re only using social media for marketing, you are building relationships first and foremost. Don’t underestimate the value of friends and relationships online.

Make sure your Twitter Bio is strong, a brief introduction to you and your audience. Add a link directly to your books or website or blog whichever is your primary source for information and sales. And Twitter is the Queen of Hashtags so use them – in your bio and in your tweets – to help people find you and your content.

Some Twitter etiquette advice:
Don’t be the person who Tweets endlessly about your books and nothing else – and don’t RT endlessly everyone else’s books. People will tire of a stream of book ads and will either turn off your RT’s or unfollow you.
Don’t use DM (Direct Messages) unless you are actually contacting someone for a reason, and not to advertise yourself. If you DM me as soon as I follow you with ‘Thanks for following you can find my books (here) and my FB page (here) and please buy my books – because I’m getting desperate…’ then I will unfollow you. Direct Messages are almost sacred and should be used sparingly, as such. By all means when you’re followed tweet the new follower with a welcome message and interact with them, but don’t use DM’s unless you are asking them something that can’t be shared publicly.
I will also unfollow those who Tweet ‘I’ve had 26 unfollowers today – I know who you are…’  Nobody cares who follows or unfollows you and if I see you using this app when I check out your feed before following, you’ll have lost me straight away.
Some people believe Twitter is all about numbers and how many followers you have. Maybe that works. However, I follow someone because I’m interested in what they might have to say not because I just might, and might is the operative word, sell you something. If I had hundreds of thousands of people to follow I’d never be able to interact and to create friendships and relationships, and for me Twitter gave me friends and a writing community which I adore.

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Google+ is important, more because its content is indexed and it helps you raise your profile and online rankings. I don’t understand a lot about SEO, but I do know that if someone shares your content on Google+ that post will rank higher and can be found within the hugeness of the web much more easily. I find Google+ difficult to work with, but persevere and benefit from it. Create your Brand Page or personal page in a similar way to Facebook and interact.

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Your Amazon Author Page is of utmost importance when you’re starting out. It shows up with your books on their sale pages on Amazon and adds dimension and interest. Think about when you search for a book on Amazon – when it comes up you read the blurb and scroll to check out the author. This is their Amazon Author Page. Go to Amazon Author Central (and there are several: .com, .co.uk and other countries) and fill it out. Link up your blog on the .com site and add your author photo and books. People can also follow you and get updates when you release a book.

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The next few social media sites are more optional, but worth signing up to and using. Of these Pinterest is the most useful and fun. Pinterest is a giant online noticeboard, you can pin pictures and return to them whenever you wish! Each picture should link to an article or blog post from whence the picture came. Many links are broken on Pinterest, but you can utilise Pinterest by adding great pictures to your own blog posts and adding a ‘Pin It’ tag. Make sure any pictures you use are yours to use and don’t fall foul of copyrights.

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Other useful sites are Flipboard, Stumbleupon, Snapchat and Tumblr. I also love Instagram. Instagram is becoming more useful for marketing as you can post your own ads and personal interest pictures for your followers. Who doesn’t like knowing more about their favourite author’s personal life and what makes them tick or what inspires them? You can share your Instagram pictures on most other social media and spread the love!

Blogs are the best way to get your writing out there and to find new readers. I began blogging on Blogspot, posting my Flash Fiction to a number of sites I followed: Five Sentence Fiction, Visual Dare, Mid Week Blues Buster to name but a few. These sites and exercises helped me to hone my writing and my skills and made me a far better writer than I was. Slowly, my own writing took over my time and my flash fiction decreased.

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I re-evaluated my blog and transferred it to WordPress, a site I find much more writer friendly. I had no idea what to post, but blogging is an important way to keep a presence on the internet and to keep my writing public. Often, we writers sit at home and churn out the words, but until a book is released no one sees us and blogging can keep you in the public eye. I decided to pick a few subjects that I loved and wanted to write about, and that fit well with the books I had or was writing. I chose to write about Nature; Mental and Emotional Health; Positivity and Dreams; and writing and reading. Mixed in would be fun posts about whatever took my fancy and flash fiction! I adore nature, the outdoors and its beauty, and nature inspires my writing a great amount, and it meant I could add my own photographs and pictures of flowers and trees! Mental health and reducing its stigma is personally important and I would be able to share my own issues and helps. Dreams and fighting for what you believe is another passion of mine, and all three of these subjects are paramount in my ‘Hope Within’ books, so I love writing and sharing about them!

It’s up to you what you blog, the most important thing is to choose what you love, what’s important to you, and not to get bogged down. You need to love what you’re writing about.

A few tips on blogging:
Love what you write.
Know what you write.
Link back to great sources.
Get and be guest bloggers.
Use your own photographs and pictures to avoid copyright issues, or find free image sites.
Be consistent, in both posting and how you post. Your blog will become part of your brand.

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Your website is a first stop for most of those searching for you online. They might have seen your business cards, ads, or just heard about you. They need to be able to find you.

Your website might be your blog too. Make sure it’s clean, strong, and consistent with your brand.
I choose to have a Weebly website and a WordPress blog, both link easily to each other via one click. Be sure they do, like me your blog may be named differently to your personal brand, and it needs to be linked. People may find you via your website or blog, so make sure all your social media are linked on both sites. Links to your other media are imperative. Keep them clean and easy to find.

I have several pages on my website: a home page with ads and my author picture; an about page; a book page with links to all my publications; a page of reviews – you can see what readers have thought about my books; a news page; an extras page with downloadables, gallery, fun facts about me, and a few snippets of my flash fiction – try before you buy; and a contact me page with my media kit. I then have direct links to my Blog and Etsy shop!  Make your website fun, informative and accessible.

Once you’ve decided what platforms are important to you, stick with them. You may start using Pinterest and decided it’s not for you. There are no right or wrong answers. No one will force you to interact on Twitter if you hate Twitter! Many people will tell you they sell enough books purely by blogging, or whichever social media suits them. Many will tell you they can’t sell any books despite having every social media set up they can find. You need to learn what works for you. Unfortunately to sell books, you need to market and unless you have a great deal with a publisher right behind you, that job is going to be yours.

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My last tips are:
Consistency is vital. Use the same author photo across the board on your public platforms. I have a different personal profile pic for my own Facebook, but that’s mine, not my author profile.

On the same note, use the same name. I used to call myself LastKrystallos on Twitter, and you’ll still find The Last Krystallos as my blog name, but changing all my social media to Lisa Shambrook means that I’m much more easily searchable and discoverable. Though my blog is still called The Last Krystallos, you will see that my name and author picture are very visible.

Intersperse your links to your books/blog posts/ads etc with genuine conversation and interaction especially on Twitter and Facebook. You are a person, not a repetitive bot, let people get to know you. If I like someone I’m 100% more likely to buy their writing than if they bombard me with ads and links. Interact.

I hope some of this will be useful to you and will help you create your online presence.
I hope that you’ll interact and discover friends and supporters like I have,
who will delight in both your words and in you yourself!

Let me know if you have any further platform building tips?

Between Ice and Fire – A Winter’s Romance

When winter and romance mix,
the elements are anything but predictable…

Between Ice and Fire - A Winter's Romance Anthology Snippet - Lisa Shambrook - BHC Press

BHC Press recently released an anthology which discovers what happens when passion and winter collide… You get 19 stories from some amazing authors. Tales that will enchant you, and stir you and some that will terrify you. You’ll get dragons, music, and thrillers, history, and laughs. You’ll shiver and tingle and giggle and smile. You’ll get a whole variety of short stories and the one thing I can promise you is that you won’t regret reading them!

Between Ice and Fire - Lisa Shambrook - A Winter's Romance an Anthology - BHC PressMy own tale is a captivating chance meeting on an icy winter’s morning – and you’ll want to know what sends shivers down Laine’s spine…

This is a beautiful book, which will be a delightful addition to any reader’s library, whether Kindle or physical. Treat yourself and enjoy the pleasures of A Winter’s Romance.

$1.00 from the sale of each book will be donated to Forgotten Harvest (A member of Feeding America).

Inside you will find stories by these very talented authors: J.S.Bailey, LaDonna Cole, Drea Damara, Sara Daniell, Natalie Gibson, Bibi Hamblin, C.R.Hiatt, Kaite Jennings, S.R.Karfelt, D.M.Kilgore, Alice Lakewood, Elise Manion, Emmie Mears, Melissa Hladik Meyer, Tom Mohan, Patricia Paris, Lisa Shambrook, Hannah Steenbock and A.D.Trosper.

Blue Harvest Creative the mind behind BHC Press is offering the book in a giveaway from 10th through 14th February…see here for details and how to WIN

Don’t miss out!

If you read the book and love it, and you will, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

You can purchase A Winter’s Romance – an Anthology from your local Amazon or from BHC/Amazon Store