Wednesday, 30 November 2016

NaNoWrMo Winner!

I'm still in a little bit of shock about this one! I seriously doubted that I'd be able to do it. I've never written a book this quickly before, the last two have taken me more than three months each to write (and one of those was a novella). Plus at day 20 I was only at 12,000 words! 

The book I've just finished (still can't believe I'm typing that!) is tentatively called Siren's Storm, and is the first book I'll be releasing in the Dragon Orb Chronicles (again, the name is tentative for now!) It is a standalone, but it's interconnected with the other books I plan on writing in the series. 

In's actually more interconnected than I ever expected it to be! I was originally only going to have one or two links (same world and magic system) but my characters definitely had other ideas!

Monday, 28 November 2016

NEW RELEASE: The Newcomer Anthology

I am very excited to announce the release of The Newcomer, a sci-fi anthology that I feel very privileged to be included in! This is my first journey into sci-fi (though I have a couple of projects lined up for various sci-fi subgenres!) but the crew of the Humra really called to me, and there will be more to come from them! 

The Newcomer is just 99 cents so make sure to grab your copy today! 

From a young couple struggling to look after their baby to a new captain's reluctance to take command of her ship, and from a sun-addled stranger's appearance in town to the emergence of a sentient AI, the twelve tales presented here explore the central theme of an arrival by someone or something new. 
There's even an alien puppy. 

The stories are: 
Tithe by Griffin Carmichael 
Exodus by Alec Hutson 
First Bonding by Tom Germann 
Ice Dreamer by J J Green 
The Nanny by Cindy Carroll 
Right Hand by Jonathan C Gillespie 
What Make is Your Cat? by Richard Crawford 
Kaxian Duty by Cherise Kelley 
Lessons Learned by J Naomi Ay 
The Humra by Laura Greenwood 
The Hawk of Destiny’s Fist by James S Aaron 
Repulse by Alasdair Shaw

Friday, 25 November 2016

Characters: What Lies Beneath the Mask (Susan)

This is a fun post! Just a little bit about a seemingly minor character and why she's important to me!

What Lies Beneath the Mask releases on December 1st! It'll be just $0.99 (or £0.99!) until 1st January! 

So Susan is basically an incredibly minor character in What Lies Beneath the Mask, she doesn't even scrape secondary character status like David (Hayley's love interest), Merry (Annabelle's "nemesis") and John (the director) do, never mind main character status like Annabelle, Jack and Hayley (the latter is in that character because to me her relationship with Annabelle is as important as Annabelle's relationship with Jack). In fact, Susan appears 3 times during the book, and I don't think I ever even described her beyond "one of the stage hands". 

However, Susan is an important character for another reason. I wrote this book after a lot of encouragement from my best friend, and as such, there are little bits written into it that are just for her, and Susan is one of them! For some reason (and neither of us actually remember why) we started jokingly blaming Susan when something went wrong. Thus the phrase "Dammit Susan" was born as an in-joke. Amazingly we don't seem to be the only people blaming Susan, as we've both found references of Susan on Facebook, though this is a recent thing!

So there we are! A seemingly insignificant character for most people, but for me, this small character has real meaning!

What Lies Beneath the Mask releases on December 1st! It'll be just $0.99 (or £0.99!) until 1st January! 

3 years ago, assistant director and aspiring concept artist Annabelle escaped from an abusive relationship, and now the past is back to haunt her. Feeling drawn to the handsome and charming star of her amateur theatre group’s production of the Phantom of the Opera, Annabelle has to fight her demons if she’s to follow her heart. But is Jack enough to free her from her memories, or has her ex-boyfriend still got her in his grasp?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

COMING SOON: The Newcomer

I'm super excited to announce that The Newcomer is on it's way! This is a sci-fi anthology that I'm very excited to be a part of, especially as sci-fi is a genre I love but have only had plans for before this story (and now those plans have become full blown..I fell a little bit in love with the characters in this short story and I'm hoping to revisit them very soon!) If you want to know exactly when The Newcomer is released then sign up here!

You can find out more about The Newcomer on the Website here! And enjoy the first teaser! 

The Newcomer is an anthology of science fiction short stories. All are based around the theme of a newcomer.
Tithe by Griffin Carmichael
When the world is nothing but a dry husk of itself, a man must chose between a thriving town with its own dark secrets, or to keep walking.
Jacob Heinlein is a man without hope. He’s lost his home, everyone he knew, and hope. He is on a journey to the ocean, which he believes is a myth. But he has nowhere else to go, so he keeps walking under an unforgiving sun. Jacob stumbles into a mirage, and finds himself in a town with a source of fresh, clean water.
He’s welcomed and given the opportunity to become a productive member of the community, but everything comes with a price. For Jacob, it will call upon everything he believed about himself to make a decision, and either stay under the obligation to give of himself, or to be put outside the walls.
Exodus by Alec Hutson
The orphaned children of Old Earth are scattered across the solar system, protected from the darkness by near god-like beings fashioned from lost technologies.
But something has changed. Ancient rules have been broken, and after centuries one of these beings approaches Mars for the first time. A defence must be marshalled, and the coming conflagration could result in the destruction of one of the last bastions of man.
Ice Dreamer by J J Green
All her life, lab technician Prussis has dreamed of reviving someone from the past. In her latest attempt, what happens is the last thing she expects.
The Nanny by Cindy Carroll
Terrified of giving birth, Cardea has second thoughts about turning her back on modern medicine when her water breaks. Thanks to artificial wombs no one has given birth in over 200 years. Complications could kill her. Despite the risks to herself and their way of life she and her husband are determined to raise a family the old fashioned way. But old habits die hard.
Right Hand by Jonathan C. Gillespie
The war with a forgotten conqueror has been over for decades, but that doesn’t mean the Earth has recovered, and life in the American Midwest is only getting more dangerous. His town besieged by hunter-killer drones left over from the conflict, gifted high school senior Daniel Bell is determined to make the Army believe that the machines are somehow not being harmed by their operations.
But to do that, he won’t just have to deal with his cautious family, nervous friends, and sceptical officers. He’s going to have to take a secret journey outside the town’s walls, into the teeth of a wilderness both alluring and deadly. And the most important season of his life might also be his last.
What Make is Your Cat? by Richard Crawford
Welcome to London Atlantis where, after the tsunami, your cat has higher social status and earning power than you do, and evolution is an elite, designer trend you can't afford to join.
Kaxian Duty by Cherise Kelley
At three months old, Clem faces his first day of Kaxian duty with anxiety. What will his assignment be? His tail has a mind of its own, which doesn't help matters any.
Lessons Learned by J. Naomi Ay
Since Ary's first memory, he knew he was destined to be a starship captain. After all, he was the son of Captain Sandy, and the guy who was supposed to be Fleet Admiral, but bailed instead. However, the prospect of attending the Spaceforce Academy was daunting, enough to make Ary question his future. Would an awkward teenager with way too much ginger hair ever measure up to the impossible standards set by his esteemed parentage?
The Humra by Laura Greenwood
When Bounty Hunter Braillen takes a new job on the Humra, captained by a man who isn’t all that he seems. Braillen may just find more than she ever imagined among the space ship’s crew.
The Hawk of Destiny’s Fist by James S. Aaron
Asarik Leah is sent to replace ShipLord Till and lead his InquiryShip on a dangerous new mission. Tradition demands she proves herself fit to take his place.
Repulse by Alasdair Shaw
Newly-promoted Commander Olivia Johnson is posted to the destroyer Repulse. Most of the officers are dead and the remaining crew are exhausted. Johnson must step up to the mark and lead them back into battle despite her personal misgivings.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

My Kindle Scout Experience

The following was written pre-end of campaign (my view point may change!)

The Book

For anyone that doesn't know, I entered my book What Lies Beneath the Mask into Kindle Scout. It's a contemporary romance follow the main character, Annabelle's, budding relationship with Jack, while she's haunted by her past relationship. There are ties to the Phantom of the Opera, originally it was going to be an all out retelling but somewhere along the way the book changed shape, but the characters are all members of an amateur theatre troupe putting on Phantom for a new reality TV Show.

Phantom is one of my all time favourite musicals, and that, along with my best friend, was one of my main sources of inspiration. It's a first person narrative (Annabelle's POV) and the other two main(ish) characters are Jack (the love interest) and Hayley (Annabelle's best friend) who I put on an even level when it comes to importance in the story.

The Process

Kindle Scout is a reader powered imprint of Kindle Press. You submit a book that is ready to be published (i.e. edited and with a cover) and is approx 50,000 words. So long as it passes the preliminary test (which could be just about anything, we have no way of knowing) then a campaign starts. For the next month, readers can read an extended extract from your book and choose to "nominate" it. As the author you have no way of knowing how many nominations you have.

The Stats

You can see selected stats for the previous day after about 5:15am EST (or about 9:15am if you're in the UK like me!) and they tell you how many hours (if any!) your book was in Hot & Trending, how many page views you got, and where the page views come from. The dashboard looks like this;

As far as I can tell, my stats are okay. They're nothing like the highest that I've heard about, nor are they close to the lowest. What I wasn't prepared for during my campaign was how much I would stress about these stats! As you can see, there's no way of knowing how many nominations I actually got, which probably doesn't help! It was also hard to know what worked with so many of my external traffic sources being considered "direct". 

The Campaign I Ran

Before I started an author who'd already (successfully) been through the process suggested that I ensure my social media was all ready to go before I started. I used Facebook, twitter and tumblr for the most part, though I did try Pinterest for a small while there didn't seem to be much happening from it. Facebook was one of my major traffic sources and I'm still not sure what it was that had the impact. I ran a Facebook ad campaign (with a budget of £20) as a bit of an experiment. According to the results I only gained 4 link clicks from my ad campaign, however my stats did dip a bit once my Facebook ad ended. 

One of the major tools that I used, and I believe that it was one of the most effective, was Copromote. The idea is that you share other people's posts and gain "reach" which is then used to share your own posts of choice. I've been using this to promote Facebook posts, tweets and tumblr blogs and it seems to work well on top of expanding my audience. I currently only use the free option, which limits my shares, but do hope that I can switch to the pro version once I'm making some money from some of my writing!


This is my biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to submit their book to Kindle Scout; join Kboards and join in on the Kindle Scout Experiences & Nomination Requests thread, it is invaluable. Everyone is helpful (and super supportive) and there is a lot of talk about what the actual selection process for Kindle Scout could be. I felt that the support given by those other authors has been invaluable, and will continue to be so.

The Stress

I wasn't expecting it, but the stress levels of a campaign are definitely high. You're constantly asking yourself what you could do better or more of to get the word out there, and after it's finished you find that the waiting is even worse! Every time I have an email I'm opening it up very nervously! 


I don't know if I'll be selected at this stage (fingers crossed still though!) but even if I don't I do think that this has been a valuable experience from me. Not only have I found a supportive community, but it's also meant that I've pulled my socks up in other ways. For a start I now actually have a fancy new domain! I've also written a lot more in the past month than I had the previous one. Plus now more people have heard of me, so that's a win right?