Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Download Chasing Pavements for Free this July



I do this every summer and every Christmas.  Let readers download my debut novel Chasing Pavements for free.  Every summer to celebrate the anniversary of its launch, and every Christmas because… because it’s Christmas, and because it was Christmas time when I completed the first rough draft of the manuscript, and because the story starts once upon a Christmas...

But it’s not Christmas now, it’s summer, so join me in celebrating the book’s second year in market and download your free copy now via:







And also at these retailers:



Chasing Pavements

It was very stupid but it was also very true. Mukti was in love with him and she didn’t even know his name.

To introverted and socially withdrawn singer and songwriter Jamie, life has no meaning unless childhood love Sarah returns to him.  Roaming through life without living it, shutting the world out, he has long since given up on a potential career in music.

It is only when he meets the unexpectedly inspirational Mukti, who instantly falls in love with him, that Jamie is lured out of the black hole he has banished himself to for years.  Suddenly, his creativity knows no bounds and he feels torn - he has to see her, but what will she make of his tortured soul? Little does he know that Mukti has her own secrets and is just as troubled a soul as he is.  Her name translates as ‘freedom’ in her native tongue Bengali, but she is anything but free.

Torn between his unconditional love for Sarah, and his undeniable need for Mukti, Jamie’s life is in far more chaos than ever before.  And when his estranged mother Tanya becomes intent on sabotaging his relationship with Mukti, Jamie stands to lose the two women he cannot live without.

Set in contemporary London, Chasing Pavements is a unique love story between two unique characters who will stay with you after you have turned the last page.


~ What Others Have Said About Chasing Pavements ~

"Neha Yazmin's novel grips you from start to finish.  There are so many things I love about this novel.  Jamie's creativity.  Mukti's determination.  Twists and turns with every chapter.  But most of all, I love that you see the characters grow and develop.  When you reach the last page, it feels like you've been on a long journey with them - yet it's a journey that you want to do all over again!" *****

~~~

"This is not your typical chic lit book.  There is no sloppy romance and no mushy words.  This is truly a one of a kind book.  Little by little the story was told to me and it was told perfectly.  I cannot believe this is Neha’s first book.  It is perfect.  This is definitely a must read." *****

~~~

"Chasing Pavements is like one of a kind.  I loved the book.  It touched me in such a way that I felt lost for a while without having Jamie and Mukti in my life.   I can't believe that this is the author's first book; the way it's written is excellent.  I was captured from the beginning of the story.  A must read." *****

~~~

"Unputdownable.  I loved the London setting. The story is well told.  Neha has a way with descriptions that make the scenes really vivid.  The songs were a great mechanism to add to the story telling.  I look forward to reading Neha's other work but I hope I don't have to wait too long!" *****

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Soulmates Saga Cover Reveal

So, here they are, the results of the book cover makeover.  Hope you like them as much as I do....

First up, Chasing Pavements (Soulmates Saga, Book 1):




And now, Make You Feel My Love (Soulmates Saga, Book 2):



And finally, farewell to the old covers, I will miss you, but not too much because the new covers are AMAZING!



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Soulmates Saga Makeover



The Soulmates Saga is getting a makeover!  Well, the book covers are. 

I always knew what I wanted on the covers of the books in the Soulmates Saga.   I also knew that the movie poster-style covers I constantly daydreamed about was not something that I could achieve.  Not without forking out a lot of money.  And that wasn’t something I wanted to do when I had no idea whether I would be able to sell my books in the first place.

So I had to limit my design ideas to concepts I could actually put together on my personal laptop.  I didn’t know much about royalty-free stock images back when I was readying my debut romance novel Chasing Pavements for self-publishing, let alone aware of the fact that had I hired a book cover designer instead of doing it myself, they would have used stock imagery to create a cover for me.

I only learned about some of the processes involved in professional book cover design in the beginning of this year, when I was forced to acknowledge the fact that, though I loved the existing covers (why wouldn’t I, I created them?), they didn’t reflect the books’ themes, plot twists and turns, and quite frankly weren’t as eye-catching as e-book covers must be in order to attract readers.

So the search began for a designer to update the cover of Chasing Pavements.  The majority of the designers in the search results were US-based, understandably due to the bigger e-book market in the US.  I decided it made better sense to work with someone in the UK and not have to deal with the time difference, and apart from two, all the UK-based designers I contacted were fully-booked for the next few months.  Ultimately, it was Peter from BespokeBookCovers.com that I went with.  It was double the budget I had in mind, but I decided it would be worth it if we accomplished the perfect cover.

From just a few e-mail exchanges, Peter was able to gauge the look and feel I wanted.  I was pleasantly surprised by how he used the colours and tones in which I always pictured the scenes in my book, without me communicating this.  Unfortunately, it was impossible to find the right stock images to create the cover I had fantasized about since the moment I decided to self-publish the book, but Peter made several changes until he created a design I was happy with.  What was most helpful was that towards the end of the process, Peter would show me how the next draft was coming along, so that I could see the direction the design was heading and give my thoughts.  This is something that really speeds up the process and helps achieve a design that both designer and author will be pleased with.

Then I was left with a problem.  Though my new cover for Chasing Pavements was a 100 times better than the old one, it also couldn’t have been more dissimilar to the cover of the book’s sequel Make You Feel My Love, and they just didn’t look right together.  This meant that I needed to update the cover for the sequel and upload both new versions together.  Peter offered to create a cover for Make You Feel My Love, but unfortunately he was going away on holiday during the period that I needed the new cover (I didn’t want to wait too long before showing off the new cover of my debut novel).

So the search was on again.  This time I contacted a mix of UK and US-based designers, and I knew to ask first whether they would be able to create the design I had in mind.  I liaised with a couple of talented designers (Brandi from ebook-coverdesigns.com and GX of graphiczxdesigns.zenfolio.com), but together we struggled to find the right stock images to compose my ideal cover for Make You Feel My Love.  I was prepared for this disappointment however, so prepared that I had a plan B, one which I knew I would be able to create myself by spending only a fraction of what I paid for the first cover.  Provided I found the right stock images.

Thankfully, I did.  And they were perfect, exactly what I needed for plan B.  Very lucky indeed.  It took me just one evening after work to download those images from Shutterstock.com, another evening to play around with them to see how best to put them together, and then one last evening to pull it all together and put the final touches.  So, while I spent a couple of months and 100s of pounds on the first cover, I spent less than a week creating the second one myself and shelled out only £35 for it (well, I didn’t use all 12 images I can download via the On Deman subscription I purchased from Shutterstock.com, so it works out much cheaper actually!).

Just goes to show, there is a learning curve with everything, and that if you have a little patience and know-how, you don’t have to spend a lot to produce something special.  The new covers will be revealed on Saturday 15th March, 2014.  Exciting times!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Book Review - Chasing Pavements

This review was posted on the book's Smashwords page.

Book: Chasing Pavements
Author: Neha Yazmin
Reviewer: Smashwords customer


"It was very stupid but it was also very true. Mukti was in love with him and she didn't even know his name." 


To introverted and socially withdrawn singer and songwriter Jamie, life has no meaning unless childhood love Sarah returns to him. Roaming through life without living it, shutting the world out, he has long since given up on a potential career in music.

It is only when he meets the unexpectedly inspirational Mukti, who instantly falls in love with him, that Jamie is lured out of the black hole he has banished himself to for years. Suddenly, his creativity knows no bounds and he feels torn - he has to see her, but what will she make of his tortured soul? Little does he know that Mukti has her own secrets and is just as troubled as he is. Her name translates as 'freedom' in her native tongue Bengali, but she is anything but free.

Torn between his unconditional love for Sarah, and his undeniable need for Mukti, Jamie's life is in more chaos than ever before. And when his estranged mother Tanya becomes intent on sabotaging his relationship with Mukti, Jamie stands to lose the two women he cannot live without.

Set in contemporary London, 'Chasing Pavements' is a unique love story between two unique characters.

~~~ 

Opening with the lines “It was awfully quiet in his head”, Neha Yazmin’s novel grips you from start to finish. Who is he, you ask? Jamie York, an aspiring singer-songwriter from East London. Suffering with a severe case of writer’s block, he has become introverted and cuts himself off from the world. That is, until one day he sees Mukti by the needle sculpture. He senses her watching him and is surprised to discover that song lyrics flood his mind. The silence is broken and he just has to find out why.

But this isn’t your typical love story. His writer’s block might be gone, but Jamie is still haunted by the shadows of his past. And Mukti Khan, a research analyst starting a new job in the city, has a troubled past of her own. Together will they find the strength to come to terms with the past and make a fresh start in life? Or are some problems just too big to overcome?

There are so many things I love about this novel. Jamie’s creativity. Mukti’s determination. Twists and turns with every chapter. But most of all, I love that you get to see the characters grow and develop. When you reach the last page, it feels like you’ve been a long journey with them- but yet it’s a journey that you want to do all over again!

Another thing that I should mention is that there is a playlist! It’s something that many authors are now doing - including Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series - where they share the playlist of songs that inspired the chapters in the book. I think it’s a really cool idea and it adds another dimension to the novel. You get an insight into how Adele’s ‘Chasing Pavements’ and other songs from other artists inspired Neha Yazmin in her writing.

I can’t wait to see what other novels (and playlists!) are to come from Neha Yazmin. I recently found out that her second novel is out - ‘Poision Blood’ – so looking forward to reading that next! 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Chasing Pavements, Arabian Nights-Style (Part II)

Astonishingly, my husband insists he had no idea that I was a writer of the story he listened to every night as part of our own Arabian Nights, even after it became clear that the author had a very similar background to me.  Even more hilarious was how I ended up telling him the truth.  It was during a fight one night.  He was accusing me of trying to be like the heroines in all the love stories I’d read, to which I said, “I never read love stories, they were all crime novels and mysteries.  Twilight was the first love story I’d read.” It was true.  “What about Chasing Pavements?” he retorted and said that I wanted to be like Mukti.  “I don’t want to be like Mukti,” I fired back.  “Why would I?  I control her.  I created her!”

Maybe it was the heat of the moment, or maybe I married someone really dim (just joking!), but he still didn’t get it.  The next day, I showed him the book cover and muttered how much time it took me to produce it, that it took a while to come up with the concept.  Finally, the penny dropped.  “You wrote Mukti’s story?” he asked, uncertain.  “And the Poison Blood books I once mentioned,” I replied and showed him the covers of the vampire series.  He was very impressed with those - everyone likes the Poison Blood covers more!  “And they’re published?” he asked, already excited.  “Only in e-book format.  But they’re available to download from all the major retailers, including Amazon.”  That’s the store he knows and I smiled as he became even more impressed.

Since then, he has started acting like my number one fan and his fondness of Mukti has grown.  When I went through the sequel Make You Feel My Love, I could see how caught up he was in the story, sometimes accusing me of being really cruel to Mukti.  “Why do you have to put her through so much?” he once complained.  He was never been judgemental of her, he understood why she did what she did in the second book and seemed to care about Mukti in the same way I did.

He doesn’t want me to tell him what happens next, in the third book of the Soulmates Saga, because I will apparently “put Mukti through hell” and he doesn’t think he can take much more.  I don’t know if I believe him but he said he almost cried when I read one of the chapters from the third book to him, but it was one of the hardest chapters to write, so perhaps he wasn’t exaggerating. 

I feel so lucky that I now know five people (two friends, two book reviewers and my husband) who have been genuinely touched by Mukti’s story, by a character I created.  This is one of the reasons I want to start writing again, one of the reasons I know that when my life eventually settles down, when I have some spare time, I will write like there is no tomorrow.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Chasing Pavements, Arabian Nights-Style (Part I)

My husband doesn’t read books.  Like most men in my family, he’d rather watch a film or play on his SmartPhone.  To this day, he still hasn’t read any of my books. 

Ours was an arranged marriage, so he didn’t know I was a writer (or an aspiring one at the least), he had no idea that I had self-published a few e-books (at the time I’d published Chasing Pavements and PoisonBlood, Book 1: Revelation and PoisonBlood, Book 2: Absolution).  And I didn’t know how to tell him.  Since so few people in my life (and the whole world in general) knew Neha Yazmin, the indie author, it was extremely difficult bringing the topic up in everyday conversation with a man who I was just getting to know. 

Deep down, I didn’t want to tell him.  Not yet.  Not until I had a bit more recognition for my work.  Yet, I still wanted him to know about the books, read them, be a part of that piece of my life that was still secret from him.  So I encouraged him to read Chasing Pavements.  “I don’t have the time,” he replied.  He wasn’t joking.  I didn’t have much of that either.  Between my full-time job, spending time with my mum in hospital following her brain surgery and partial paralysis (see previous posts When Life Becomes Stranger ThanFiction - An author’s story, Part I & II for more detail), my responsibilities to my family and new in-laws, my husband and I hardly had time for each other, for our new life together, let alone to huddle around my Kindle.

Since we didn’t have any time together during the day, we stayed up late every night, talked and laughed into the early hours of the morning, even though I had to get up at 7am to get ready for work each day.  The late nights worsened the effects of the stresses of work, hospital visits, getting home late and trying to please every single member of my new family, but I was determined to make time for my life partner, so we could get to know each other, make a connection.  Time didn’t exist for me anymore.  Every second of the day I was doing something, very little for myself, but I was super-busy everyday and sleeping at night seemed to be wasting the only time I could give my new husband.

It was during one of our late night talks that I found myself telling him about how Mukti and Jamie met and before I knew it, I was telling their story.  He seemed genuinely intrigued, and soon, engrossed by the tale of the two soulmates.  When I got really sleepy and insisted we call it a night, he made me promise to continue the story the next night.  I thought he was joking.  I promised I would pick up from where I left off nonetheless.

What ensued was our very own, very short, version of Arabian Nights - each night, I would run through a few chapters of the book.  This one time we were on the sofa in the living and he said, “Let’s go to bed, I want to know what happens after X event in the book.”  He didn’t know I’d written it and so I knew his interest wasn't fake.  What surprised me was how much he cared about the characters, Mukti in particular, feeling both sympathy and empathy for the tragic heroine.  He visited the Needle In Tension (the iconic sculpture referenced throughout the book) and took pictures with it.  I took him to Arnold Circus (a park featured in the book) and he muttered, “The author must have lived around here.”  A part of me thought he had figured out that I was the writer but didn’t want to say it because I hadn’t admitted it yet.  Another part of me wondered whether he was that slow. 

This post continues here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Book Review - Make You Feel My Love

Today's guest book review was written by a customer of Smashwords.com

Book: Make You Feel My Love
Author: Neha Yazmin
Reviewer: Smashwords customer

"Love isn't simple, and definitely not easy.  Life is very powerful and destructive.  And the Universe has its plans for all of us, some we would never imagine in a million years." 

After a tumultuous year, star-crossed lovers Mukti and Jamie have finally resolved their personal issues and are starting a new life together in New York City. Mukti has found her calling in life and Jamie’s music career is taking off.

But as all this brings new obligations and responsibilities, their love is once again put to the test.  The sequel to Chasing Pavements unravels even more secrets and lies which threaten to split them apart forever.


You didn’t think it finished there did you?  How wrong you were - that was merely book 1!  The Soulmate Saga continues! 

When I first read ‘Chasing Pavements’ (the first book of ‘The Soulmates Saga’), I remember thinking that it seemed to have the perfect ending; how could the story possibly continue?  But as I started to turn the pages of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ (the sequel), suddenly it felt like just the opposite.  How could I have thought that the story was over, when in fact the story had just begun!

Starting a new life together in New York, Mukti feels very much in love with Jamie.  But how long will this happiness last?  And what happens when others become entangled in Mukti’s life?

The plot of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ is a refreshing change to the typical narratives of romantic fiction.  True to real life, what might seem like ‘happily ever after’ can change in an instant.  Sometimes love can evolve over time, changing for the better or for the worse.  And sometimes you might think that love is forgotten, to later find that it never really left you at all… 

I enjoyed the various plot twists and the way the narrative flits between the points of view of the different characters involved.  But most of all, I loved the characters themselves.  Neha has a unique way of writing where you really empathise with the characters.  You might not always agree with the choices they make (!), but you are able to understand their points of view and you care about them all the same.  

At times, I found myself laughing out loud at their humorous conversations.  At other times, I found myself crying over their heart-wrenching sadness (yes I admit it, it made me cry!).  This story really does take you through a whole rollercoaster of emotions.

And, like the first book, ‘Make you Feel My Love’ also has its own soundtrack that you can enjoy - plus a Q&A from the author herself.  Again this helps to add an extra dimension to the novel, as you are able to gain an insight into Neha’s inspiration and how the novel came about.  Check out Neha’s blog for more info: http://nehayazmin.blogspot.co.uk/ 

All in all, I would thoroughly recommend this book!  Now to wait for the third part of ‘The Soulmates Saga’ (hurry up Neha!).