Category Archives: indie Authors

Narberth Book Fair 2017 – Come and Find Your New Book

Saturday 23rd September 2017 come to the Narberth Book Fair
and find inspiration, authors, and books – lots and lots of books!

Book Fair Special Offer Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Narberth Book Fair 2017I will be part of this lovely Book Fair, which began some years ago as part of the Tenby Arts Festival. The fair has outgrown its home and we can now be found at the Queen’s Hall, 44 High Street, Narberth, SA67 7AS, and you can also visit the Narberth Food Festival on the same weekend, what could be better? Great books and delicious food all in one place!

You will find many authors and their books from 10am to 4pm, and attend a variety of talks and book readings all FREEand with only 13 weeks ‘til Christmas this is your ideal time to start shopping for that bookworm in your life, or just treat yourself!

I will be signing and selling copies of the Hope Within Novels, and my new release this year A Symphony of Dragons, a collection of dragon themed short tales.

The_Hope_Within_novels_Lisa-Shambrook-Low-Res-205kb Book covers x3

The Hope Within novels © Lisa Shambrook

And to make it even better I have a fantastic SPECIAL OFFER for buyers at the Book FairWhen you buy A Symphony of Dragons you will also get a FREE copy of Beneath the Rainbow.

Book Fair Special Offer Today Symphony and Rainbow adI will also be selling items from Amaranth Alchemy perfect book related Stocking Fillers…

All my books cost £5 each at Book Fairs which is a significant discount on Paperback prices online or in stores…and I’d love to see you there!

Check out my Narberth Book Fair Author Page and read an interview with me…

A Symphony of Dragons April 2017

Asher – BHC Press – A Symphony of Dragons

“A Symphony of Dragons is a book of short stories…each one about a dragon, or dragons. The lyrical, descriptive writing conveys both beauty and fear… The author will surprise you with her imagination and intricate detail.”
A Symphony of Dragons review on Amazon ~ Penny

“I was completely caught off guard by this breathtaking story. It is sweet, touching, uplifting, and frankly just beautiful.”
Beneath the Rainbow review
on Amazon ~ Sophie Moss, award-winning author of ‘The Selkie Spell’

“Highly recommend this beautifully woven story! I found myself immersed in this book, wanting to turn the page to find out what happened next!”
Beneath the Old Oak review
on Amazon ~ Bunnygirl

​“…I have compared it to Mitch Albom because this feels like the story he didn’t get around to writing yet. A really wonderful tale. Don’t miss out on this one.”
Beneath the Distant Star review
on Amazon ~ Mr Dead

Book Fairs coming up at which I will be attending…

Carmarthenshire Carmarthen Library Book Fair – Sat 21st October

Carmarthen Book Fair, St Peter’s Civic Hall – Sat 11th November

Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair – Sat 9th December

See you in Narberth!

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For the Love of Books – What’s Your Favourite Genre?

Reading is a true pleasure, and not only do we all have books we love,
stories we adore, but we often have genres that we lean towards
when we’re searching for new books.

So, where’s your heart when it comes to the books you read?

For the Love of Books - What's Your Favourite Genre - The Last Krystallos

These days books are very much pigeon-holed into genres, which when I first began writing didn’t occur to me at all! I just wrote the story inside my head before discovering it really didn’t fit a particular genre. In the end, my first series of books, The Hope Within Novels, actually fit very well into the Young Adult field, and we all know YA can be read and loved by any age at all!

Since my first book, I did learn that to succeed it’s pretty important to know your genre, and through flash fiction and short stories, I discovered my passion is fantasy – moving into steampunk and post-apocalyptic.

I grew up with Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five adventuresexploring ruins, islands, castles, and moved into Narnia, The Hobbit, and my favourite The Dark is Rising Sequence. I was hooked. From there Philip Pullman, Tolkien, Eoin Colfer, and again, my favourite author, Garth Nix and his Old Kingdom series captivated me. I read many genres, but love writing contemporary and fantasy.

So, what do you love?

My love of fantasy arrived with dragons and after Smaug, I fell for some friendlier types in the rather wordy Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea is a classic, as is anything by Tolkien, and I’ve loved current books Orison by Daniel Swensen and the beautiful Quest of the Dreamwalker from Stacy Bennett. I am also entranced by Patrick Rothfuss, and fell in love with The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Are you a romance reader? I went through some steamy romances in my twenties, my bored housewife/young mum years, but my palate grew up and I now love fantasy and contemporary romances. I have been completely enchanted by Sophie Moss and her Seal Island Trilogy, and can’t wait for her latest book in the Wind Chime series… And you’ll love ditsy Katie Button from Lizzie Koch.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Or does horror chill you? I was never a horror fan, preferring movie versions of most horror stories if any, but I did love James Herbert’s Portent, and I’ve read a few Stephen King. J. Whitworth Hazzard blew the zombie genre right out of the water with Dead Sea Games, and I adored the chilling literary tales from Max Power and Darkly Wood.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Do you love the classics? Are you a Bronte fan, or do you go weak at the knees for Mr Darcy? I’ve always loved fairy-tales, stories that chill, enthral, and fascinate bringing us dragons, fae, and much more. I love Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, then there’s The Count of Monte Cristo from Dumas, and so much more. The classics are right there, standing the test of time.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Are your tastes more eclectic? I remember raiding Dad’s bookshelves to read John Wyndham, introduced to Chocky by the BBC TV series on Children’s Television back in 1984 – and I then devoured The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids, The Kraken Wakes and more. Sci-fi is still up there with my favourites, but I tend to watch sci-fi much more than read it.

Autobiographies, Mum and Gran loved reading about people, real people, and my husband enjoys it too, not so much my cup of tea.

Contemporary, is a hit and miss thing for me these days. There are some brilliant books out there like Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep from Joanna Cannon, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, but you can easily hit some real misses.

I also enjoy Thrillers, Harlan Coben being my favourite.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Children’s books, I still read kids’ books, why not? They are what introduced me to reading and inspired me to write myself. The Silver Brumby absolutely entrances me, and I will always love it. I’ve even been known to reread Blyton’s The Castle of Adventure as an adult…

From children’s books to Young Adult…a genre that is a law unto itself. Harry Potter broke the mould with children’s books, bringing them to children and adults simultaneously. Now, you’ll see YA in the hands of all ages. John Green and Meg Rosoff inspire when they pen great stories, and so do some much lesser known authors, like Angela Lynn who had me completely in love with All the What Ifs, and Louise Gornall with an emotional journey through Under Rose Tainted Skies. Another book that made me weep was Loser from Jerry Spinelli, a book I would read again and again, and Anne Holm’s I am David. My books, Beneath the Rainbow, Old Oak, and Distant Star, also inspire through difficult journeys and true to the YA genre have been loved by all ages!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Lastly, I love short story books. I love a book I can pick up while I’m waiting, and I’m often waiting for children, dentists, Drs, and other appointments. Short tales are inspiring, eclectic, a good use of spare time, and they also introduce us to new authors, or an author’s writing style, when you fall in love with their writing, you can search out full-length novels and bury yourself among your favourite words! And, like with Human 76, you can sometimes find a completely original and exciting concept, this time a book of tales by different writers, brought together in the same world, but each telling a unique story.

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© Lisa Shambrook

So, tell me, what books do you love, where is your passion,
and what genre is your ‘go to’ when searching for a new read?   

Read and Review – How to Save an Author

If you read and love books you will appreciate the
time, energy, love, and passion that goes into writing a book.
This is how you can pay it back and forward…

read-and-review-the-last-krystallos How to Thank an Author

Add to that list angst, frustration, low financial reward, and you’ve got what it means to be an author. There’s plenty of love and passion, days of writing with your muse whispering in your ear and the true wonder of watching a story, an adventure, open up beneath your fingertips, but there are days and weeks when your muse goes AWOL, when your fingers bleed (figuratively), and you hate everything you write. Novel writing is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

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Raven says “Review…” © Lisa Shambrook

Writing a review can make all the difference. Reviews not only tell the author that their book has been purchased, read and enjoyed, but it tells others what they can expect, what there is to love about the book, and lots more. On top of that online reviews add to the visibility of a book (and an author). It is said, that once a book receives over 25 reviews on Amazon, Amazon will add your book to its ‘also bought’ and ‘you might like’ lists – thereby increasing your visibility. Once you receive over 50 reviews it is thought that Amazon will highlight, spotlight and include your book in newsletters. Of course, Amazon’s algorithm and marketing strategies change all the time, but the more reviews a book receives the more it helps the author.

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Books I’ve written and contributed to © Lisa Shambrook

It can take from between 6 months and 2 years (or more) to write a book, and the process is tough.  We write the first draft in which we hammer out words and we hope it’s a story that makes some kind of sense. Then we’ll go over said first draft revising and rewriting, in an attempt to find that sense we thought we had first time around. Then will come several further drafts of revising, reading, correcting, cutting huge chunks and adding others, and much more.

We will cry, we will laugh, we will love, and we will think all is lost.

We then do another round or two of revising and editing. Then our beloved beta readers will get the draft, the one that makes sense, to read through. They will return it with corrections, notes, errors they’ve found, and plot holes they’ve discovered, and they’ll tell you what they loved. The author will then bite their tongue, ‘til it probably bleeds, and try desperately not to take the critique personally while they, again, think, all is lost.

When they’ve picked themselves up, they will resume revisions, edits, line edits, and more until they send it to their editor, who will pick more holes that no one else noticed, and return it for further work. In the end the writer will, hopefully, have a polished manuscript ready for publication. It doesn’t matter if you’re being traditionally published or independently published at this point, we’ve been through the same things and now we will await cover art and formatting, or do it ourselves, and finally publish.

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Independent and Traditionally Published books – we all need reviews © Lisa Shambrook

It’s not over at that point either. Most authors market their own books, even those published by the Big Five. Those of us without outside help will market, advertise and publicise, even though authors are in general, introverts! And then we wait…

An eBook generally costs about the same as a cup of coffee, or a hot chocolate, yet it takes two minutes to make a coffee and about two years to write a book…Books are great value!

When sales come through we celebrate, even the pennies that come in are welcome and embraced!

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The difference between a book and a hot chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

This is where you, the reader, come in. If you buy the book, and you read it, and you love it, then the best way you can thank us for those months of hard work is to write a review. Let the world know that the book is out there, that you loved it, and why you loved it.

You don’t have to write much, literally, just a sentence or two is worth everything to an author. Just award your stars and say “I loved it!” That works. Or you can write a paragraph or an essay, it’s up to you!

Of course, we want truthful reviews, and we’re big girls and boys, we can handle that our book might not be your thing, feel free to say so, as long as you’re honest and not rude. Don’t be nasty about a book you didn’t like, not every book will suit every reader. And try to judge the book and not the author. On the other hand, we love it if you spread the word when you found a book delightful, or rewarding, or helpful, or fun, or inspirational… Tell everyone.

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I always leave reviews for the wonderful things I find on Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

You can leave reviews anywhere these days. Most people when planning to travel will check out Trip Advisor, a very valuable site for companies within the industry. It exists to help. Many will search reviews for technology, cars, movies, etc. We are a society who wants to know what we’re buying and if it’s worth it. I also sell on Etsy with Amaranth Alchemy, and reviews of my products help others to see what quality they are getting. I always check the reviews on Etsy and Ebay before buying anything. Books are the same.

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Amaranth Alchemy Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

You can leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, on Facebook, Twitter, your Blog, anywhere you wish. We share our opinions on politics, TV, and everything else on social media, why not tell people about that book you just read and loved?

I’ve just finished reading Stacy Bennett’s Quest of the Dreamwalker and have left a review on both Amazon and Goodreads. I have been completely enchanted by it and adore the writing. If that’s all I wrote the review would be worthwhile, however, I wrote more than that because I was completely bewtiched! Here’s my Review…

And I have to ask, if you’ve read and loved my books and you haven’t reviewed them, please do… You’ll make me very happy and will help me to further my writing career! ❤

Share your last favourite book with us here…
Why did you love it so much?

The Hope Within Novels and Review Quotes Lisa Shambrook

The Hope Within Novels and Review Quotes © Lisa Shambrook

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 Release Special Offer: Free eBook Download

Ghabrie and Human 76 is finally here! 
And available as a free ePub eBook for two weeks to celebrate its release. 

Human 76 - An Unprecendted collection of Post Apocalyptic  Stories - Ghabrie

Join a new Fandom and Like our Human 76  Facebook Page to keep up to date with blogposts, links, fun stuff, and information you won’t find anywhere else!

FB banner

Please also find us and list us in your Want To Read on Goodreads
and when you’re done, please review Human 76.

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

Snippet of ‘Leaving the Nest’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

We are supporting Water Is Life and all profit from book sales will go
to this deserving charity – helping to provide water where people need it.
A charity that helps people who struggle within this world.

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

Snippet of ‘We Make the Future’ by Lisa Shambrook – Human 76

FREE Download from Lulu until 1st July
(ePub version of the book which can easily be converted to Kindle using Calibre.) 

Buy Links: Lulu Paperback

Amazon Paperback UK and US

Other buy sites will soon be available – Amazon Kindle etc –
once the Distribution avenues are open.

Enjoy, and please review and let us know what you think! 

Llandeilo Book Fair – Finding Books

Last Saturday I took part in my first book fair 
and the Llandeilo Book Fair was a lovely experience!
I found my next book, did you?

Llandeilo Book Fair april 2016, Lisa Shambrook and authors,

I arrived at Llandeilo Civic Hall and let my nerves settle as I found my table and set up. I was actually very happy to be at the rear of the hall, a position that suited my anxiety as I could see all about me from a favourite place of mine – the corner at the back!

Lisa Shambrook Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 table

My book fair table

We were open from 10.30 to 4.30 and my daughter, Bekah, accompanied me. We learned much from the fair and the other authors, all of whom were so friendly, and most I recognised from social media. So much fun meeting people I’d only chatted online with before!

Lisa Shambrook Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

photo by Graham Watkins

Having never done a book fair before, I wondered if I was doing it right. My table set up was good, but I think I’ll be looking for a more professional table cover, one that reaches the floor. I got lots of marketing ideas from observing other stalls, but I think I did okay. I had decided to set each of my books at £5, but I think most other sellers were selling at cover prices, so maybe next time I’ll stick with £5.99 and £6.99 prices as on my books and maybe an offer for multiple sales. My banner was cool and I had both Hope Within bookmarks and business cards to offer for free.

 

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

My books and Amaranth Alchemy bookmarks

In addition to my books, Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star, Bekah and I brought Amaranth Alchemy bookpage and bookspine bookmarks to sell. It was really sweet to sell one bookspine bookmark to a lovely lady who recognised a title that her Grandmother had once owned!
Memories are powerful.

I won’t list all the attending authors, you can find them in my website news posts, but it was so much fun to make new friends! And to meet another BHC author who was visiting from Norway, Shane K P O’Neill. It’s a small world when you realise you share contacts, and it was also a lovely surprise to find Lizzy approach me and tell me her friend had encouraged her to come to the fair, and we discovered we had Michael Wombat in common! It’s so funny when you need to trade Twitter names to recognise each other! So many new Facebook friends…

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 photo by Graham Watkins

Llandeilo Book Fair – photo by Graham Watkins

The day was great; I sold a good number of books for my first event and loved discovering new books, ideas, and friends. I learned lots of things. I learned to chat with prospective customers, compliment them, say hello and make conversation – not an easy thing for a true introvert, but well worth doing. We were quick to see that people didn’t always pick up freebie bookmarks, so handing them out with a comment and a smile is well-received.  I discovered, when looking back at photos of my set up, the reason that most people picked up Beneath the Old Oak to peruse first was probably because it was the only one of the three books standing upright. I also found out that I grin a lot – see photos – I really enjoyed myself! And I realised my nerves were unfounded.

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 with Carol Lovekin and Rebecca Bryn

With Carol Lovekin, Jane, and Rebecca Bryn

Llandeilo Book Fair 2016 Lisa Shambrook and Christoph Fischer

With Christoph Fischer

I am very much looking forward to attending more book fairs in the future. Thank you so much, Christoph, Judith and all those involved for a great day!

Don’t forget that if you didn’t make it to the book fair, or if you just live too far away – I mean, oceans separate me from many of you – all my books and other books I’ve contributed to are available online.

My website has all the links you need. Signed paperbacks are also available from my Etsy shop, Amaranth Alchemy, so you haven’t missed out!

And I mentioned I’d found my next book – Carol Lovekin’s Ghostbird

See you next time!

Lisa Shambrook The Hope Within Novels Twitter Ad

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.

website-lisa-shambrook

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.

The-hope-within-business-cards-lisa-shambrook-books-2015

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?

Author Feature – Angela Lynn

I like to read raw stories, tales that sweep me up and tug at my emotions,
and though I’m not generally a fan of High School YA,
All The What Ifs from Angela Lynn did all that and more.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,
Angela Lynn radiates an exuberance that will beguile you, that’s for sure! She is a sensitive writer and her words are able to pull you right inside her stories. I met her on the Flash Fiction circuit and she immediately became someone I wanted to know. Do yourself a favour, follow her quirky brand of humour and her love of life and you won’t go wrong. In her own words she lives in the desert with her mister and their four awesome kids, and if you ask me you should engage with her on Twitter and have some fun! After reading her debut novel I was keen to interview her. You can read my review of All The What Ifs on Goodreads.

Angela Lynn, All The What Ifs, YA novel,

Angela Lynn

Angela Lynn

One of the things that struck me in All The What Ifs is the authenticity of your writing and the way you easily got inside the head of a young adult. Your dialogue is brilliant and every word, quip and comment is how I imagine a group of teens chatting. Did you find it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind to write and did you enjoy your teens or were they difficult years? 

Oh man…where to begin!

First off, thank you SO much for having me on your lovely site and for reading All The What Ifs. I’m beyond grateful and thrilled you enjoyed it!

On finding it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind, I’m often mistaken for one which is basically part of my master plan to never EVER grow up. 😉

As far as approaching the dialogue in All The What Ifs, I’ve been asked this question before and have yet to come up with a good response that doesn’t sound like a bunch of hot air. Ashley and her friends—Natalie, Kendra, Emma, Tyler, and Lucas—felt like close, personal friends of mine. From day one, I could hear them. Some nights they kept me up far too late with their chatter until I got it all written down. From time to time, I still hear them and I hope they’ll never leave me. We had such a good time together and I learned a lot from them.

Lastly on my experience being a teen, like most young adults, I faced many challenges as a teen. Being a young adult is terrifying and painful and beautiful in its newness and discovery. I think adults often forget that wrapped up in all that insecurity and impulsiveness is so much stinking promise. So while I can’t say my teenage years were easy or that I’d go back to them, I do try to weed through my experiences and look for the good that made me—ultimately—me.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

There is a real honesty in the novel. What inspired Ashely’s character and situation, and do you fondly or awkwardly recall your own first love?

Ashley and I are two different people. Where Ashley is quiet and withdrawn, I’m loud and easily upset. Where Ashley is methodical in her overthinking, I’m a hot mess of panic attacks. But something we both share is a deep seeded desire to please the people around us and do right by them. Ultimately, Ashley wants to be loved and accepted by her father for who she is, not what he wants her to be. And when that doesn’t work for him, she tries to change for him. What I find complex about her situation is what her father is demanding she follow through with seems perfect for Ashley, but in the end, no matter how perfect the fit might seem, it’s up to Ashley to decide. At the heart of this is a universal problem we all face, do we bow down to the seemingly oh so perfect fit or do we make ourselves uncomfortable and reach for something more?

And I do remember my first love. His name was Michael Shower and I sang “True Love” by Madonna from across the playground to him. Sadly, it was an unrequited love since I had to move the next day. And yes, I’m being serious. I loved that seven-year-old boy with all the love my own seven-year-old heart could muster.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

Your Nevada backdrop is evocative and I could feel the heat as I read, as someone from rainy Wales it’s always fun to drop into another location. You mention the Grand Canyon in the book too, have you ever been and where would you like to visit most?

Shockingly enough, though I live a four hour drive away from the Grand Canyon, I’ve never been! It’s most definitely on my must visit list. And right about now, I’m wishing for some rain, so how about I hop on a plane and visit you in a completely non-creepy kind of way!

I loved the scene where Ashley recalled Lucas’s visit and what she’d have said (I won’t add any spoilers) because I’ve had a similar experience in my own life. It really hit home. What was your favourite part of writing All The What Ifs?

This is a big question and I really, really suck at picking favorites.

But if I MUST, I’d say my favorite part about writing All The What Ifs was having my best friends alongside me. I dedicated the book to the two people who pushed me to follow through and believed in me and Ashley more than either of us ever could. Writing this story was a five year long journey, during which I pushed myself to not only be a better writer, but follow through and believe in my ability. My friends—from my mister and my bestie to my editor and my beta readers—made that a reality for me, which is the best part. It’s a beyond corny answer, but I’m learning to embrace that I’m a sappy soul.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn and Buttons/Badges

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing helps me escape and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I started writing during a time in my life when I felt like I was losing myself in the mundane everyday responsibilities that had started to rule me. It took all the energy and passion I had stored up in me and released it onto a page. At first, I did it for fun, but soon it became something I wanted to grow and mature in. There’s always a new story just around the bend and there’s always something new to learn to stretch myself as a person, a reader, and a writer.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,Thank you, Ang, you’re most welcome to come to rainy Wales and swap your hot, golden desert for cool, green, rolling hills and valleys! Like I said I don’t generally read High School YA since Sweet Valley High in my teens, but this gave me something new and exciting in the genre. I loved Ashley’s vulnerability and Angela’s beautiful writing. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

You can find All The What Ifs on Amazon UK and US and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. You can find out about Angela Lynn on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Angela’s Facebook Author Page and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads and you should also stop by her Blog Ang Writes.

Beneath the Rainbow, Oak and Stars…find Hope

Stand beneath the old oak’s boughs,
staring up at a late evening rainbow as its colours arc across the sky
and early stars begin to shimmer…
This is how the rainbows, oak and stars entwine.

The Hope Within Novels BLOG post

I’m so happy that all three Hope Within novels are now out and available. I thought it was time to show how they interweave and why the major themes are so important to me.

Beneath the Rainbow is an enchanting story of tragedy and the hope that rises from it. It introduces the theme of hope, the running melody through all three books.

Beneath the Rainbow AD with public reviews“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”
Freya won’t let anything stand in her way. Not even death.
A heart-breaking event leaves Freya’s family devastated, but Freya has left clues to her secrets and her family need to uncover them before it’s too late.
As she watches from beyond, hope and stories of love prevail.  Her united family help, however, as final yearned for wishes remain unfulfilled, time begins to run out.
Freya is certain she’s the only one who can help as precious life hangs in the balance.

When loss hits a family, grief is the strongest emotion and as hearts break human nature struggles to find something to cling to. Hope is the emotion we clutch and pull into our souls to help rescue us from the despair and pain.

Freya’s family needs hope and Freya has it in abundance. She is the only one who can help when life reaches crisis point.

The subtheme of Beneath the Rainbow is dreams…as quoted by the tag line “It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.” Sometimes we need dreams to give us hope and sometimes they keep us alive!

Beneath the Old Oak is a beautifully woven tale that follows Freya’s story with her best friend, Meg.  Meg has grown up with loss in her life from the young age when she lost her best friend, Freya. She’s desperate to know where she fits in and the subtheme of her story is courage to face adversity.

Beneath the Old Oak AD with public reviews“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too?
Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her mother’s erratic behaviour she’s terrified she’ll inherit her sins.
Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. Life seems as transient as leaves upon the tree and as the seasons change the timeworn oak shares its treasured memories with her.
Meg wants to run away, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.

Meg has no idea how her life will play out when it spirals out of control and she has to face mental illness and a tragic past within her family. All she wants to do is escape, but her mother beats her to it.

She needs to change her dreams of escape (there we are again: dreams, linking with Rainbow) and turn them into hope. Meg’s challenge is not to lose hope when all seems lost.

Beneath the Distant Star is a turbulent story which takes us right back to Freya’s family. Her sister, Jasmine, was only a toddler when she lost Freya and cannot remember her at all. She fights her sister’s memory determined to become her own person and not Freya’s ghost.

Beneath the Distant Star AD with public reviews“Discover what you already have.”
Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember.
Her existence reminds her mother she has something her sister never will—life—and their fragile relationship shatters.
Jasmine craves love and acceptance but refuses to be her sister, Freya, and fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and resolves to live her life to the fullest.
Jasmine’s reckless abandon threatens to destroy the very thing she needs most. 

Like Meg, Jasmine wants to fit in, but her battles alienate her from those who love her, and she loses hope of ever being the daughter her parents want. Jasmine craves acceptance and love and needs her mother to come to terms with her grief. Bringing us the subtheme of gratitude for what you already have. We sometimes disregard, or just miss, the beauty of what we have for what we’ve lost.

It brings the novels full circle fourteen years after Freya’s death as hope becomes the one force they can all cling to and build upon. Freya, Meg and Jasmine all need to find Hope Within.

The Hope Within Twitter AD JPEG

So, if you’re looking for books that will inspire and lift your spirit and steal your heart the Hope Within series will do just that.

Rainbow Stars Times New Yorker

Each theme means a great deal to me and has touched me personally. Though I haven’t lost anyone in my life, we have all felt grief at some point, it universally unites us as humankind. Dreams are what inspire me…the reasons I keep moving and working to achieve. Courage is something we all fight for and it grows with us, and gratitude is a constant, something that keeps us grounded.

Hope embodies all of these and inspires us to keep reaching for those distant stars…

Add these books to your reading list and feel inspired!

Buy here: Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star.

Great Books – Buy Indie this Christmas…

With Christmas coming, I’m sharing my favourite Indie reads…
So if you want to share the love and read some amazing books –
take your choice from a great mix of genres.
There’s something for everyone!

indie-support-the-last-krystallos-titleThe most important thing you can do to help an indie author or creative, is to support them by buying and reviewing their product, and then sharing and spreading the word as much as you can. I’m not asking you to shout about every book you read, but if you love it, then share the love and tell people – we’ll love you forever!

My_Name_Is_RowanMy Name is Rowan – Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Young Adult

This three-in-one book compiles all three Rowan Slone novels, so you get great value and a fantastic YA story.
This book has a depth and raw edge that many YA novels don’t, dealing with real teen issues and no sugar coating. Tracy Hewitt Meyer‘s writing is authentic and her words draw you right into Rowan’s life. The characters are so well drawn that I was still considering their arcs days after finishing each book.  It’s a story of damage and abuse, loss and despair, but ultimately of absolution and trust, hope and strength.
This book is a real page-turner and its heartfelt beauty will draw you in as you find out if Rowan can get her life back on track…

Dead_Sea_Games_J_HazzardDead Sea Games – Zombies – J. Whitworth Hazzard
Horror/Zombie

If you like stories about survival, about beating the odds against the flesh-eating hordes, then ‘Dead Sea Games’ is the book for you! J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Deathwish will keep you biting your nails as you urge him to outlive the forces against him…
I was gripped from the very first page of this harsh tale of life in a post-apocalyptic world, where the city’s surviving inhabitants live in tower blocks and stay away from the streets below. As the stakes rise, the characters are thrown into life and death situations, and this brilliantly disturbing series will stay with you…and you won’t want to put it down!
*Includes adult language

Wind Chime Cover_5Wind Chime Café – Sophie Moss
Romance

Whenever I visit Heron Island, I feel like the wind whispers through my hair, and I can taste salt on my lips, and hear the ocean lapping at my feet… If you love romance then Sophie Moss is the writer for you – she has a way with words that will draw you deep into life on the island and connect you with her characters. Gorgeous detail and imagery bring her stories to life setting you right there making you twirl like a butterfly as the tale infuses your senses. Taste the ocean, see the colours and inhale the aroma of sweet cinnamon rolls. You’ll hear crashing waves and the story will touch you, leaving you wanting more…

Orison-Cover-daniel-swensenOrison – Daniel Swensen
Fantasy

Captivating, riveting, fast-paced fantasy – ‘Orison’ enchanted me. Daniel Swensen is an intelligent and delightful writer, and if you haven’t read ‘Orison’ yet, you absolutely should.
From the beginning I was caught up in Story’s tale, as she leapt from rooftop to rooftop and several times, thanks to the author’s superior description, my heart was in my mouth. Swensen intertwines his characters and their individual tales so well, you won’t predict the plot, but you’ll be waiting for them to overlap, and you won’t be sorry when they do! Each character, from the quietly rebellious Story, worn-down Wrynn and loyal Ashen, weaves through the background of Calushain and an epic tale unfolds…you will be bookmarking this author for more.

cover front04 mainYou’re Not Alone – An Anthology
Mix of Genres

This anthology was put together by Ian D Moore and a group of authors who wanted to make a difference, all proceeds go to Macmillan Nurses as they help in the battle against cancer. Many of the authors have first-hand experience of cancer or know someone close who’s suffering, and were delighted to contribute to this book.
You will be whisked into a magical world of remembrance with Sylva Fae’s gorgeous tale ‘Lilies for the Mantel’, enchanted by my own fairytale ‘Love’s Silent Ache’, have your heart stolen byNico Laeser’s ‘No Longer Broken’ and stirred with ‘A Year Afterwards’ by Lesley Hayes. Throw in a great mix of stories including Max Power’s ‘Babes’, ‘Last Goodbye’ by Paul Ruddock, ‘If the Shoe Fits’ by Katharine E. Hamilton and ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ by Rebecca Bryn, and you’re onto a winner. These are just some of my favourites and there are plenty more!
The tales are a wonderful mix of genres and beautiful writing from great authors.

228148_417400521642905_511546514_nOceanswept – Lara Hays
Historical Romance

Swashbuckling pirates and romance on the high seas… I got caught up and swept along in this period pirate romance. I enjoyed Lara Hays‘ intricate and beautiful description and very much felt as if I was there on the ocean myself.
Tessa Monroe is lost at sea and rescued by pirates. On the ship, she finds herself in all kinds of trouble with only one protector, the dashing and mysterious Nicholas. She finds herself falling for this dark and enigmatic man in a way that she tries to fight, but as he consistently defends her honour he earns her respect and admiration. Tessa is a feisty lead and is a good match for Nicholas, but can they find happiness aboard a pirate ship?

EW-Cover-for-eboo-nEdgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire – Paul Ramey
Young Adult

This story held my attention and delighted me with its wonderful description and characters. This is a tale of gothic fantasy and contemporary relationships which will intrigue you.
Edgar is a teenager with an obsession for graveyards and history. He very soon finds himself in direct competition with the local society of ladies hunting down the fabled lost grimoire. Some fabulous characters emerge, one of my favourites being Corinthian, the cemetery attendant, who helps Edgar in his search. Edgar enlists the help of fellow teen Shelby and they get wrapped up in a beautifully described relationship and detective work.
You will love the history intertwined with the contemporary setting and a tale that will both delight and enchant you. I am looking forward to reading much more from Paul Ramey and Edgar Wilde!
*Includes adult language

lizzie-koch-adventures-of-katie-button-2015The Adventures of Katie Button – Lizzie Koch
Chick Lit

If you’re looking for a fun read, you’ll have just that with Katie!
Katie has a dilemma, two brothers, both vying for her attention…and her choice is made all the more difficult as she’s dreaming about one of them. As her dreams begin to collide with reality, scatty Katie must make a decision, but will it be the right one? Katie’s dreams begin to affect her work and she needs to find an answer…
Lizzie Koch writes with a sassy and fun attitude and Katie will warm your heart as she struggles to make her way through the day without making a faux pas. Katie Button is a character you’ll relate to and  and this chick lit book will both delight you and make you laugh.

MinstrelMinstrel – Marissa Ames
Historical Fantasy

A riveting tale of medieval intrigue. A powerful and captivating story set in medieval Tir Athair. Strong, fully-fleshed characters drive this tale, drawing you into a world where everything is about to change. Subterfuge and mistaken identities abound and you will be enthralled as you begin to follow frustrated Liam, feisty Molly, and formidable royal twins amid an intense power struggle.
The strength of Marissa Ames’ writing lies within beautifully realised characters, well-developed world building, tightly drawn politics and authenticity. This is a delightful and intriguing story that will keep you reading, and leave you wanting more from Tir Athair.

10898273_1521902424750674_3752184837970645176_nSkin Cage – Nico Laeser
Contemporary Fiction

An intriguing and enchanting read… The stylish cover piqued my curiosity, along with the idea of being trapped within one’s own body, and I knew I wanted to read this story. It’s an absorbing tale of a young man imprisoned inside his paralysed body, and his struggle to be heard. It’s one of those taboo subjects, and something that horrifies us, to be caught still totally lucid and alive, but frozen and unable to be heard.
Nico Laeser takes us through the inner workings of Danny’s mind with such fluidity and believability; it’s hard not to believe the author’s already been there himself. His language and writing and imagination creates an authenticity that drew me right in.
The beauty of Laeser’s writing kept me reading, particularly at the end, where it brought me to tears, leaving me wanting more and keen to read further works from this talented author.

12140898_1912278298997938_6642693972730892579_oThe Drowned Phoenician Sailor – Lesley Hayes
Contemporary Drama

I’m only 20% through this book, but it’s written with such beautiful prose and style that it has to be included… I’m hooked and intrigued and keen to see where the author is taking me. This is a character driven story and the protagonist is both flawed and fascinating. One of the best things about a story is the ability the author has to take me on a journey, and this one is exhibiting twists and turns, and a title that just makes me want to read on… Fynn is in therapy, but right at the start, her sessions are rudely interrupted by fate. You will want to know more, and as I know several readers who rate this book, and its author, incredibly highly, I know I’m going to enjoy it!

Final-Front-CoverThe Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur
Autobiographical

There are stories in life that should be told, that need to be told, and this is one of them. Alice is alive with the fire of life, a yearning to be who she is and to be accepted, and my heart ached for both Alice and for her family. Teenage years are stormy for most, but for a transgender teen, life can be almost impossible. However, this book presents an honest portrayal of a family trying to cope through times of helplessness with humour, love and compassion.
The tears I shed for Alice and her family were genuine and heartfelt, as were the words tying this story together. Alice’s mother shares her story and writes with raw emotion, truth and grit. This story is a tough read, but one of the most rewarding you’ll find. I hope you will come away, like I did, with both greater understanding and compassion.
*Includes adult language

Cutthroats and Curses - An Anthology of PiratesCutthroats and Curses – A Piratical Anthology
Pirate

Ahoy there shipmates! If you’re looking for a swashbuckling, piratical tale…you need look no further…for ‘Cutthroats and Curses – An Anthology of Pirates’. Featuring eleven great writers: Michael Wombat, Lisa Shambrook, Boyd Miles, Marissa Ames, Bryan Taylor, Beth Avery, Matt Jameson, Eric Martell, Michael Walker, Stephen Coltrane, and Alex Brightsmith, there will be something for everyone!
My tale is a Steampunk tale of Captain Jericha Blacklocke’s bid to survive both catch twenty-two and a vengeful dragon to save her crew aboard The Paroxysm. A story thick with emotion and tension, corsets and longing, goggles and jewels, and a desire to survive and atone…
However, you’re going to love the eclectic mix of fantastic writing from some amazing authors.

There’s definitely something for everyone here! 

Click on the book or the title and find the Amazon.co.uk link…
to find your local Amazon replace the .co.uk with your own country link eg: .com .fr