Sunday, 24 December 2017

Hello and Thanks for dropping by :)

I'm currently on maternity leave, with little or no time to blog, Tweet or Instagram. At least not on a regular basis, anyway.

So, instead of you landing on a post that's a few weeks (or months) old, I thought I'd use this out of office-type message to point out that your visit to this page can still be worthwhile. Have a look around; I'm sure you'll find something interesting :)

If you'd like to know a little more about me, I've written some articles on my personal experiences and how they've influenced my writing and publishing journey. Check out the 'Confessions of an #IndieAuthor' tab for these posts.

For authors/writers:
I have a group of posts aimed at you, with tips and advice on writing, publishing and marketing. You'll find these under the 'For Authors' tab.

For readers:
I write both contemporary romance and urban fantasy. I have two complete series ready for you to check out, which I will list below. Click on the book titles if you're interested in learning more about my books.

1. Contemporary Romance:
Soulmates Saga




2. Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance:
Poison Blood Series

The first two books in this series are free to download from your favourite e-book store!



I also have another contemporary romance novel, If I Say Yes (Love & Alternatives #1), so check that out for FREE:

Kindle US|   Kindle UK  |   iBooks US UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords





Sign up to my Mailing List for a Free eBook!

By signing up, you will receive e-mails when I run free or discounted book promotions. I won't bombard you with e-mails otherwise.



Chasing Pavements Book Details:
Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction
Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


Poison Blood, Book 1 Details:
Length: 29,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Vampire Romance / Paranormal Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction & Fantasy
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult

Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!


If I Say Yes Book Details:
Length: A 100,000-word contemporary romance novel with added bonus content
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Light Hearted Romance / Modern Day Love Story / Chick-Lit / Contemporary Women’s Fiction / Wedding Fiction
Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Funny
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy novels by Cecilia Ahern, Jojo Moyes, Giovanna Fletcher etc., and books such as the Wedding Pact Series.

Monday, 18 December 2017

2017: A Year of Surprises

In 2016, I published three books: Someone Like You (Soulmates Saga, Book 3), Poison Blood, Book 3: Prophecy and Book 4: Apocalypse, and reached a number of other milestones (as highlighted in this post: 2016: A Year in Review).

I'd planned to release a further three books in 2017, taking my tally to 10 books in market. One of the planned releases was If I Say Yes (Love & Alternatives #1), which I did manage to get out there, but the other two (the first two books in a new urban fantasy series) remain unpublished.




So, what went wrong? Was there another family tragedy, like the one in 2012, which led to me putting the brakes on my writing and publishing journey again? Did I need another major operation, like the brain surgery in early 2016? Thankfully, the answer to those questions is no. There was no crisis, no medical setback. It was in fact some good news. Good, but unexpected. A pleasant surprise.

I found out in April 2017 that I was going to become a mother for the first time!

The pregnancy wasn't an accident or unplanned. Actually, my husband and I had decided to start trying as soon as my neurosurgeon told me that I wouldn't need any more MRI scans. We just didn't expect to get pregnant as soon as we started trying. We knew how hard it can be for a lot of couples, and doctors had told me that the average time for me to get pregnant could be between 12 and 18 months. As a result, I plotted out several books to write in the coming 18 months or so.



Why should pregnancy lead to completing fewer books? you ask. Well, it wouldn't for many writers, I suppose, and it didn't prevent me from finishing and releasing my latest contemporary romance novel If I Say Yes, but it did slow down the writing of my other WIPs. This is because I suffer from chronic and severe lower back pain, which increases tenfold when I sit or stand for 30 minutes or so. And if I can't sit at my laptop....

I'd written the majority of If I Say Yes by lying down in bed, on my stomach, which didn't have an adverse effect on my back, and I hoped to write my other books in the same way. But when you have a little person developing inside your growing bump, you can't, and shouldn't, lie on your stomach. As a first time mum, I was incredibly anxious about the pregnancy, anyway.







What I ended up doing throughout the course of the pregnancy was spending an hour or two each week at my desk to write what I could, though some weeks, I didn't write at all, as the pregnancy was adding to the back pain and I didn't feel comfortable sitting down at all. Plus, with all the hormones and other pregnancy symptoms, I wasn't always in the mood to write.

Things could have been a lot worse, though. I know because things have been worse for me and my family in recent years, and I've heard horror stories about some women and their pregnancies, so I feel very lucky that I was healthy enough and so was the baby. I hadn't expected to be as active and healthy (aside from the back pain, that is) during pregnancy because I'm one of those people that ends up bedridden due to the cold and flu ~ it really takes its toll on me. So that was a nice surprise.



Another thing that took me by surprise was how maternal I felt towards the end of my pregnancy. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I love kids. Love playing with them, working with them and being a fun aunt or cousin to them. But I was never one of those people that always wanted children. There was a long period of time when I didn't want to have kids at all. Ever. I didn't get all gooey-eyed when I saw a newborn or toddler. And early on in my pregnancy, I didn't feel all that maternal. Didn't feel like a mum-to-be. 

Yes, I felt responsible for the baby and was anxious to make sure it was healthy. I did everything the midwife and doctors advised me to do. But I didn't feel connected to the baby. Not even when I had my first scan and saw the baby jumping around in my womb (yes, jumping!). It felt real, then, of course, and I shed a few tears of relief to see it moving around happily in my uterus ~ until then, I had no idea how the baby was doing since I couldn't feel it yet ~ but I didn't feel an emotional attachment to it.

Not until I started feeling the baby kick and punch me. That's when I felt a bond forming between us. Because the baby mainly moved when I sat down or lay down, it felt like it was communicating with me. Like it was saying, "Get up, mummy, it's boring when you're not moving." And I'd say, "Sorry, baby, but I need a little rest" or "I have to sit down to eat lunch."




And so I wonder whether the bonding between mother and child sort of starts before the birth, when the baby makes itself felt and known.

As my due date approached, I found myself loving my unborn child as though I'd already met him. I hadn't anticipated that at all.

Therefore, 2017 really was a year of surprises, and I'm sure 2018 will bring plenty more.

Now, I just want to take the opportunity to thank you all for reading my blog in 2017 (it reached 100,000 page views in mid-June!), for sharing and retweeting and commenting. Thanks for all your support and have a great 2018.


Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1) click here to learn more about it.


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 


Book Details
Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon US|  Amazon UK|   iBooks US UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords






PB1 Book Details
Length: 29,000 words
GenreYA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things related to the Chosen One, vampires, slayers and witches!



By signing up to my mailing list, you will receive e-mails when I run free or discounted book offers and news on any new/upcoming releases. I won't bombard you with e-mails otherwise.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Best Books of 2017



It's been a lot easier to decide which books I loved best in 2017 than it has been in previous years, because of my monthly #BookHaul and Wrap-Up posts, and also because I've assigned fewer 5-star ratings to books this year. I think with the more books I read, the easier it becomes for me to judge the okay-ish books from the really good and excellent ones, and the harder it becomes for books to impress me, and I find myself awarding fewer 5-stars.

I've been very strict with my 5-star ratings this year, giving them out only when I truly love a book and it leaves me moved.

So, without further ado, let's talk best books of 2017!

I thought I'd start off by listing my 4- and 5-star reads from each month, if any that month, by referring back to my book review/monthly wrap-up posts, and then go on to compile a overall top 7 list. (Click on the month for that month's  wrap-up post)

January
The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey 4-stars
The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey 5-stars
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas 4-stars


March
Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare 4-stars
Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins 4-stars
Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben 4-stars


April
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare 4-stars
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor 4-stars


May
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin 4-stars
Witness The Night by Kishwar Desai 4-stars
Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver 4-stars


July
To All The Boys I've Loved Before (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han 4-stars
PS. I Still Love You (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han 4-stars
Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han 4-stars


August
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas 4-stars
Dragon Marked (Supernatural Prison #1) by Jaymin Eve 4-stars


September
Home (Myron Bolitar #11) by Harlan Coben 5-stars
Found (Mickey Bolitar #3) by Harlan Coben 4-stars
Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver 4-stars
Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare 5-stars

Were you counting the number of book titles I made bold to make the 5-star reads from each month stand out? Not many at all, right? But the books that I rated 5-stars were truly good and I can't recommend them highly enough.

So, we have the titles that will be in my Top 3 Books of 2017 now:

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey 
Home (Myron Bolitar #11) by Harlan Coben
Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare





I'll get around to ranking these three later on. But my favourite read of the year is among these three ~ can you guess which one it might be?

The tricky part comes next; trying to pick 4 books from all the 4-star reads.

Well, the Lara Jean books narrowly missed out on a top 3 spot ~ they're so readable, and re-readable. I've read the first two books in the series three times now, the third novel two times. But my favourite out of the series is Book 1, and it makes it into the top 7 books of 2017 list:

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass#5) by Sarah J. Maas missed out on a 5-star rating by a tiny margin, too, so that's the next book to add to the list.

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver has to go in there, too; it was such a refreshing change from a lot of the YA books I've read recently.

And finally, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin.  It was weird ~ and I love a bit of weird! ~ and lovely and creepy and mysterious and clever.



So, that's it. All 7 of my favourite reads from 2017!

How to rank them all, though... I know which one tops the list, and the second and third placed books equally deserve the second spot, but the next four...? I'm going to try. Here goes.

No.7: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

No.6: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

No.5: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

No.4: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


No.3: Home by Harlan Coben

No.2 The Last Star by Rick Yancey

No.1: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Yes, Lord of Shadows was my favourite read of 2017 and it wasn't hard to make this choice. It was just amazing. Read my review of this book in my September Wrap-Up postHome and The Last Star were so different from each other, and from LoS, and I give them joint second place.

What were your best reads of 2017? If you've read any of my top 7 books, let me know if you liked them as much as I did.


Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1) click here to learn more about it.


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details
Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon US|  Amazon UK|   iBooks US UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords






PB1 Book Details
Length: 29,000 words
GenreYA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things related to the Chosen One, vampires, slayers and witches!



By signing up to my mailing list, you will receive e-mails when I run free or discounted book offers and news on any new/upcoming releases. I won't bombard you with e-mails otherwise.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

My Bookish Pet Peeves (Part II)

In Part I of this post, I talked about my book-specific pet peeves, but there are a few other things that annoy me when it comes to books and reading, like other peoples' bookish pet peeves :) Again, I mean no offence to anyone; these are just things that peeve me off as a reader. Everyone is entitled to their own pet peeves, but its okay for people to find those thoughts annoying. As with Part I, I'm writing this post as a reader, a bookworm, not as an author.

So here they are, in no particular order of annoying-ness:

"I hate insta-love; it's just not possible. But shape-shifting werewolves are completely realistic!"

When readers say they hate insta-love (love at first sight between two characters) "because it's just not possible", I think to myself, "Because immortal vampires and shape-shifting werewolves are possible, right?" I find it funny that some readers will believe in mythical beings when they're reading fantasy, but not believe that these supernatural creatures can fall in love at first sight, too, that it's unrealistic for them to do so.

Personally, I don't have an issue with insta-love ~ I think it would be quite boring if characters in books only fell in love in just a limited number of ways, like friends first, then lovers, or bickering rivals first then lovers ~ and I don't think insta-love plot lines are as common as some readers think. Sometimes, people are so ready to say, "That's insta-love and I hate insta-love" that they miss the bit where the author is trying to convey that the character hasn't fallen in love at first sight, but they've instantly found someone physically attractive.

Insta-attraction happens all the time in real life. Who hasn't passed some hot guy or girl in the street and thought, "Wow, they're really cute!"? Does that mean we've fallen in love at first sight? No. Because we have indeed passed them on the street. We didn't spin in the opposite direction to where we were heading to run after them. But if this were someone you came into regular contact with, like if you were attracted to someone at work, then you might get all flustered and shy or whatever each time you saw them. It still doesn't mean it's love. Just attraction.

There's a book (I won't name it, so not to spoil it for you) where a vampire girl meets a human and finds him attractive, but because she's a vampire and all her reactions and emotions are magnified and intensified in her immortal life and body, the crush feels bigger than it actually is. She even goes on to say that she probably thinks he's simply cute but because everything is more intense for her, it feels epic, when in reality, it's just a little crush. That still didn't stop one reader from labelling that as insta-love. This review was the first that I noticed for this book where a reader thought insta-love was in play.

Wait. That's probably another pet peeve of mine ~ when readers label an interaction between two characters as insta-love when it's not that at all. :)




"I hate love triangles, but I loved the love triangle in Book X."

I don't have anything against love triangles in books or films; in fact, I love a good love triangle if it's done well. But a lot of readers hate love triangles and think it's over-done, esp. in YA fantasy/paranormal romance. That's fine. We don't all have to like the same thing.

But when readers say that authors only go with love triangles because "they can't think of anything else to add drama and conflict to their novel"... that assumption peeves me off. Because, unless we know the author and have asked them about the inclusion of a love triangle, we don't know why they wrote their story the way they did. Sorry, I do get a little sensitive when Stephenie Meyer gets criticised, don't I? :)

What annoys me even more is when readers say that they hate love triangles in general but loved it in only one book/series because it was "believable" and "made sense". Well, perhaps the issue isn't love triangles themselves, but the fact that most of the love triangles you've read about didn't make sense to you, or you didn't think they were well-executed? Or maybe, you just loved that one book so much that even the much hated love-triangle trope couldn't put you off?




"I'd have given this book 5-stars but Jane didn't end up with John like I'd 'shipped', so... 3.5-stars!"


This is linked to love triangles ~ despite readers' protests, authors/publishers are still churning out books with love triangles in them! When there are multiple love interests for a protagonist, it's now very common for camps to form amongst fans. Readers will 'ship' the lead character with the love interest that they like the best. Remember Team Edward vs. Team Jacob from the Twilight Saga? It's fun and gets readers talking about books. That's great!

But I get irritated when I see reviews where readers specifically rate a book down because their 'ship' didn't work out in the end. Even if it made sense for the protagonist or for the series as a whole. If it makes sense and makes for a good ending, the book shouldn't be rated down only because you didn't 'ship' the couple that was 'endgame'. Everyone is different, and we're attracted to different things, so it's natural that we might not prefer the love interest that the lead character chooses, because, well, their tastes in men/women are different to ours.

And so what if the protagonist chose the person that wasn't best for them? It's their decision to make, and the author makes it for them based on what they believe the protagonist will do. Besides, do we humans always make the right choices when it comes to love, partners and relationships? No. Do we always love the people that are good for us? No. We love who we love.

In books, however, the protagonists usually end up choosing the person they love most and want most ~ and that person may not always be, on paper, right for them or the best person for them, but it's the person they think will make them happiest. So, I don't think it's fair to rate down an otherwise 4- or 5-star read just because you didn't fancy the same guy/girl as the hero/heroine.




"I'd have given this book 5-stars but John died in the end, so... 3.5-stars!"

When readers rate down a book only because a beloved character died towards the end of the novel or a series, it just peeves me off. Readers hate it even more if it's the love interest that dies. Don't get me wrong, I hated it when three of my favourite characters in Harry Potter were killed off by the end of the series, but I didn't mark the books down because of those deaths. Everything that happens in a book is for a reason and it's there for our reading experience. I think it's unfair to knock points off simply and only because you didn't agree/like it when the author did something they thought was necessary for the book.

At the same time, some readers criticise authors for not killing off characters when they think the author should have done so, because "it's a dangerous world and it's unrealistic for every important character to survive".

Apparently, Stephenie Meyer said she doesn't want to write a sequel(s) to her sci-fi novel The Host because it's set in a dangerous world and important, beloved characters would have to die to make it realistic and she didn't want to kill her darlings. So, she decided not to write a sequel (yet). And readers have criticised her for that, saying that she should be brave enough to do what's necessary. Yes, she has to be really brave, seen as there are some who will unfairly rate her sequels down if one of the characters she kills off is a favourite of theirs. As far as I'm concerned, Stephenie can decide not to write a sequel for whatever reason. It's her choice. Obviously, I'm Team Stephenie all the way :)

So, that's it from me for now. Here are some popular BookTubers sharing their bookish pet peeves if you're interested in watching:

Katytastic
Jesse The Reader
PeruseProject

Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1) click here to learn more about it.


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details
Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon US|  Amazon UK|   iBooks US UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords






PB1 Book Details
Length: 29,000 words
GenreYA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things related to the Chosen One, vampires, slayers and witches!



By signing up to my mailing list, you will receive e-mails when I run free or discounted book offers and news on any new/upcoming releases. I won't bombard you with e-mails otherwise.