Monthly Reads – March 2018

20180315_112716.jpgDespite it being a busy month getting my novels prepped to turn them into paperbacks, and getting slightly addicted to playing the SIMS 4 Mobile, I managed to do some reading.

It took (literally) an entire month, but I eventually got through the coffee-table book Blue Planet II. It was a good read, certainly not the usual action-packed fiction fare I’m used to, but it was an interesting one nonetheless. As you may have guessed from the title, it covers the recent Blue Planet II TV series, and the book is full of glossy images of marine life, with short pieces on their intriguing behaviours.

There were new snippets of information provided too, at least I think they’re new, as I don’t remember hearing them being mentioned on the show. If that is the case, this book both compliments and expands on the aired shows, so it’s definitely worth getting if you were a fan of the series.

I wasn’t sure what I’d be reading next, but as it happened, I got my next Kindle freebie from IHG Rewards Club. Disappointingly, they hadn’t changed their book line-up, so I had to choose the fantasy novel I didn’t choose last time, namely Golden Age (The Shifting Tides Book 1) by James Maxwell. If the IHG Rewards Club is going to carry on sticking to the limited choice of books, come next time, I’ll either have to pick something out of my usual go-to genre, or give it a miss. Time will tell.

Anyway, the rest of the month has/will be me catching up on graphic novels and magazines. Yep, I’m one of these people who buys a magazine, flips through it, but never really reads the articles. So to save waste, I’m making sure I don’t leave them collecting dust on my floor. And once I’ve made a space, I can start on Golden Age.


Big News!

Books Twitter image - paperback.png

I can finally reveal why I’ve been silent here for so long, and the reason is, I’ve been hard at work prepping my novels for release in paperback form. All you old skool book lovers (and in all honesty, I don’t blame you if you are) can now get your hands on a physical copy of my first two novels! Woo-hoo!!

And boy, has it been a labour of love…or should that just be ‘been a labour’…to get them ready. First, I updated the ebook editions, giving them another thorough once-over with various grammar/spell-checkers, plus giving in, and introducing the Oxford comma to the text.

Next was the preparing of the covers for Amazon CreateSpace. The cover for Warriors Made of Glass wasn’t too much of an issue, as I’d saved it with excessively high dpi for the ebook. It was A Candle Amongst the Stars which was the bugger, as its size and dpi was the minimum for an Amazon ebook; therefore, too low for the cover, so I had to go about manipulating it in GIMP to try and up the count without distorting the image noticeably. Hopefully, it’ll come out alright in print.

Then there was the formatting of the manuscripts themselves, and I used Amazon’s Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word to automate the process. The app is in Beta, and though it streamlines the process nicely, it crashed A LOT, so if you’re thinking of using it for your own books, save your work regularly! Again Warriors Made of Glass behaved itself, and I got it exported as a pdf pretty quickly. A Candle Amongst the Stars, not so much. For some reason it wouldn’t behave when it came to page numbering, choosing to start at page 2 instead of 1. After several hours of swearing, I found a simple (typical!) solution (I manipulated the footer by hand) and managed to export the pdf before it changed its mind.

So there we have it. My novels are now in printed format. You can find them on Amazon here: A Candle Amongst the Stars and here: Warriors Made of Glass. The links take you to Amazon UK, but they’ll be available from your national site too.

Also, I’m planning to do a freebie offer on the ebook versions soon in celebration, so stay tuned for that!

Monthly Reads – February 2018


I found something dangerous out the other day, which is, Amazon’s ComiXology app is free!

1398542416For the uninitiated, ComiXology lets you read comics and graphic novels on your smartphone/tablet. I vaguely knew about the app a while ago, but for some reason I thought it was a paid-for app. Turns out, no (though you do have to pay for the comics you want to read using it).

This could be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I can get comics cheaper on my tablet than in physical form, and I’m already eyeing up some Ghost in the Shell Manga. Conversely, it could lead me to buy more comics…and I’m already eyeing up some Ghost in the Shell Manga!

Indeed, I’ve already downloaded an X-man comic I just had to have. As you may know, I read the Essential X-Men comics, which bring together a collection of various X-men storylines into one distribution, but I had missed out on the very first comic in this most recent series. A lightbulb moment, and a quick search, and I found it on Amazon, and subsequently downloaded it. However, I don’t think I’ll be doing that for all the Essential X-Men stories from now on, as buying them in the collection magazine works out a hell of a lot cheaper. I did, however, download some free Doctor Who comics that were released during the previous years’ Free Comic Book days. Roll on May 5th when hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on some more goodies!

I also finished off What A Fish Knows, by Jonathan Balcombe, this month, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite providing a wealth of information on fish behaviour, it wasn’t at all ‘text-booky’, and Balcombe writes about fishy facts and anecdotes in a conversational manner that’s easy to take in, and more importantly, interesting to read. To quote some of the book blurb:

“What a Fish Knows draws on the latest science to present a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. Fishes conduct elaborate courtship rituals and develop lifelong bonds with shoalmates. They also plan, hunt cooperatively, use tools, curry favor, deceive one another, and punish wrongdoers. We may imagine that fishes lead simple, fleeting lives—a mode of existence that boils down to a place on the food chain, rote spawning, and lots of aimless swimming. But, as Balcombe demonstrates, the truth is far richer and more complex, worthy of the grandest social novel.”

Really, the lives of fish are way more complex and deep than perhaps a lot of people realise. If you’re one of the many people who unthinkingly wolfs down fish on a regular basis, then you should read this book to find out more about the WHO you’re eating…and the pain they suffered to get on to your dinner plate. For those who forgo fish, then you too should read this, as it’ll confirm why you’re right not to eat fish, and maybe arm you with some more knowledge on the mental and physical complexity of these animals.


Just a heads-up; blog posts are going to be a bit thin on the ground for the next month or so as I’m working on something important to do with my novel. All will be revealed at a later date!

Marketing Misery


The biggest suck-fest about being a self-published author is having to do your own marketing. Of course, if you have a publisher, there’s no guarantee of help, but as an indie author, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have to go it alone. What’s more, it’s usually a huge time-sink with very few (if any) returns.

Unsurprisingly, I have neglected marketing my novels in favour of writing a third instalment, plus university study, and volunteering. Given that I’ve only sold a grand total of 10 copies, this needs to change. Trouble is, how?

Smashwords provides a free ebook with marketing tips and advice, and I followed a lot of these when I released my first novel, but to be honest, it didn’t do much. However, with us having just landed in a new year, I’m going to give the tips another shot and see if anything helps. I’ve already covered some of the easy ones from way back when, like having a Twitter account, publishing more than one book, having a blog, and updating my email signature. Conversely, some will be impossible to do, like a book tour, because if no one’s buying my book, no one’s gonna want to see me have an anxiety attack in the back room of a bookstore (or maybe they will; there’s no accounting for people’s sensibilities!).

There has been one doable addition to the list since I last perused it, and that’s the ability to publish an in-depth Q&A interview at Smashwords. The site generates some pre-programmed questions and I write my own answers. Therefore, the crux of this post is me inviting you to go read it (here), then comment on this post and suggest additional questions you’d like to see answered in my interview. If I get any, and as long as they aren’t trolly, I’ll answer them too.

Additionally, you can go ask me questions over on my Goodreads author profile. I’ve already answered some pre-generated questions, but I would love to get some interesting Qs to A. And while you’re there, you can also friend me!

5 Reasons to Fall in Love With Self-Publishing

Why self-publish? Outskirts Press has some answers….

Self-Publishing News for Self Publishing Authors

Times have changed, haven’t they? And self-publishing has changed the world … and the publishing industry right along with it. There are so many reasons why authors, including those who may have previously been traditionally published, are eschewing the old ways and trying something new, and February is the perfect month to try it out yourself. Once you learn more about self-publishing, you may even find that you love this option, too! Here are five reasons why publishing in the lead up to and in the immediate aftermath of Valentine’s Day might just be exactly what your year needs to kick into gear.

1. Timing

It’s a new year, yes, but it’s also not quite brand new anymore. Which is to say, the hectic holidays are past, and the doldrums of spring are opening up before you. What better time of year to knock out that project you’ve always wanted…

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Monthly Reads – January 2018

20180118_123659.jpgSo I managed to finish off Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles, #1) just before the New Year, and I have to say, I enjoyed it immensely. The narrative switches between early fifteenth-century France and modern-day London as we learn about warlock Nathan Garrett’s past, as he tries to remember it in the present to save the lives of himself, and his friends, after a job he takes to steal a scientist’s laptop goes monumentally awry.

The story itself is full of action, is well written, and the characters are all fleshed out. The genre is urban fantasy, but even though it contains vampires, werewolves and gargoyles, they don’t seem at odds with the setting of today’s London.

Steve McHugh’s Hellequin Chronicles has quite a few more books to it, so I may well read more of them in the future. I hope there’s more on Thomas the werewolf, as out of all of the side characters, he seemed the most interesting to me.

That done, I worked on my comic and manga backlog. I’m still enjoying the Deathnote series, although L’s asides do leave me a little lost as he second guesses second guesses that second guess second guesses. But confusion aside, I’ll continue to buy instalments anytime I need to make up a free delivery on Amazon.

January now sees me doing a complete change of pace, thanks to one of the books I got for Xmas, namely ‘What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins
by Jonathan Balcombe. It’s all about intelligence and behaviour in fish, and why they’re not just dumb, unfeeling things only suitable for being overfished for the dinner table (vegan rant over). Interestingly, the author is on the advisory panel of one of the charities I volunteer for; The Aquarium Welfare Association. Given that it’s quite long, it’ll probably take me at least until the middle of next month to read, but just a couple of chapters in and I’m already enjoying it, so that bodes well.


the-1865639_1280.jpgNot hard to guess what this post is about! Yep, after the false start, where I ended up watching Star Wars due to a packed screening, I finally managed to catch my originally intended film, Jumanji.

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie, with some laugh-out-loud moments (though tbh if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen most of them). Despite it being a fun film, I still don’t get why it was more packed out than Star Wars, but each to their own I guess.

What always amazes me though is just how good an actor Dwayne Johnson is, especially when it comes to comedy. Compared to other wrestlers (or muscle-bound hulks) who have gone into acting, with varying degrees of success, he has a remarkable natural talent for it. Hopefully, he won’t quit Hollywood for a try at the White House.

Now I’m just counting down the days till Black Panther.