Wednesday, 31 October 2012

E-Book Giveaway - Chasing Pavements & More

For a chance to win a free Kindle copy of my book Chasing Pavements, follow/attend the e-launch party of my friend Susan Buchanan's new book The Dating Game, released Friday, November 2nd.  Sooz is giving away 50+ e-books in total by various authors, so make sure you enter!

Here's where to enter the raffle on her blog:
http://susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012_11_01_archive.html

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Book Review - Poison Blood Series (Book 1-2)

The following book reviews were posted on Smashwords


Book: Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation
Author: Neha Yazmin
Reviewer: Smashwords Customer
Rating: 5 stars
Download for Free: Apple iBookstore US and UK, B&N Nook Store, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Diesel and Smashwords


"I don't know what blood tastes like to a human.  I'd never even licked a tiny drop of it from a pricked finger, let alone suck on a bleeding cut.  The shedding of blood, my own, or anyone else's, always made me scream or panic in fear and revulsion.  Now it's my only food source." 

Elisia Dalton, more commonly known as Ellie, is not a typical teenaged vampire.  She still has her humanity and conscience.  Her human memories and growing pains.  And the same distaste for blood.

Still reeling from the secrets she uncovered before she was turned into a vampire by the mysterious immortal Christian, Ellie is also finding it hard to come to terms with what she has become.  And the revelations keep coming.

Book one of the Poison Blood series reveals why Ellie is not like others of her kind.



I've now read Poison Blood 1 and 2 – both of which I loved and read each in less than 24 hours.  I was gripped and Neha had me turning the e-pages!  I am definitely hooked on the Poison Blood Series and now eagerly awaiting Book 3!

So let's start with Poison Blood 1 – I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had read Neha's first novel Chasing Pavements which I loved so I thought I'd give Poison Blood a try even though part of me was unsure whether yet another vampire story was worth telling...  It definitely was!

Yes like another reviewer has mentioned, Neha takes some inspiration from the Twilight saga in terms of vampire mythology – Neha unashamedly embraces this and I knew what to expect as I has read it in her Author Q&A – yet that's really where the similarity ends.

Let’s be clear: this is not fan fiction.  There is so much more to the vampire world that she creates, and she really does create a 'world' – with its own rules and justice system.  Obviously this is a world that (unknowingly to most humans) co-exists with our world – that becomes important later on, and I'm sure it will further develop in the Poison Blood Series, as the two worlds, human and vampire, inevitably collide – but really this is a character driven story.  In fact this is where the similarity to Chasing Pavements arises – of course the story is entirely different – but Neha's characters’ depths are what drive her stories, each with their hidden secrets of course.

This is the story of Ellie, a seemingly ordinary teenage girl – who fights with her parents and hangs out with her friends – until one day she is created as a vampire. Ellie is not a typical vampire – she hates the taste of blood and abhors the thought of harming human life.  There is more to Ellie than even she knows…

Book 1 of the Poison Blood Series really is about the ‘Revelation’ (it’s good!).



~~~

Book: Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution
Author: Neha Yazmin
Reviewer: Smashwords Customer
Rating: 5 stars
Download for Free: Apple iBookstore US and UK, B&N Nook Store, Diesel, Sony Reader Store, Kobo and  Smashwords  


“I don’t know what being in love is like for humans. It never happened to me, not really. I only thought it did. Thought it for a long time. Almost half a century. But it feels as though I’ve known for longer that I’d been wrong." 

Being a senior official at The System, the vampire world’s governing body, Christian routinely assigns secret missions to his agents. As The System’s most powerful immortal, he also takes responsibility for some of the trickier tasks himself.

When he stumbles upon a project that was kept secret from him, Christian decides to investigate. Why was he not told about this vampire that his employer wants to recruit? Why can’t he get anywhere near this elusive immortal?

Soon, he discovers that this is no ordinary vampire that he is hunting. And when he is suddenly overwhelmed by a rush of strange emotions, Christian is left even more perplexed. Is any of this related to Ellie?

Book two of the Poison Blood series answers some of the questions raised in book one while asking many more.



I’ve been waiting for PB2 and it did not disappoint!  This time the narrative is from the point of view of Christian.  He is the vampire that created Ellie, but there isn’t much more to him… or is there?

I was surprised to find how much I liked reading things from Christian’s point of view.  It suddenly brings a whole new perspective to the events of PB1 and you get to learn a lot more about the way the vampire world works.  There were times when I hated him.  He enjoys the blood-lust of his kind and has no remorse for killing his victims.  But there were also times when I found myself empathising with him.  It appears that Ellie had affected him in a big way, long before he drank her blood.  Possibly he has been changed forever.  There is big problem now though – Christian’s way of ‘helping’ Ellie is likely to do more harm than good...

I’m eagerly awaiting PB3 to find out what will happen next!  I’m really hoping Christian does not get his way – but then I don’t want Ellie to get her way either!  Oh the dilemma!  Cannot wait for PB3!!!


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Book Review - Rae Wilder Novels


Today's book review was written by me.

Book: Rae Wilder Novels #1-3 (Glamour, Compel, Enchant)
Author: Penelope Fletcher
Rating: 4 stars
Available via: All major e-book retailers and also author's website

Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. 

Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. 

Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.


Confession 1: The first three Rae Wilder novels were the first independently published e-books I'd ever read.

Confession 2: Up until then, I was pretty much oblivious to the rise in the indie e-book market.  As an aspiring author, working on my book
Chasing Pavements, I should have been hyper-aware of this new trend in the market.  Even worse is the fact that it was a friend of mine, one who hardly reads books (well, most of my friends hardly read books!), that alerted me to this exciting avenue available to unsigned writers.  Very poor form on my part!

I won't be too harsh on myself though -
Chasing Pavements wasn't a planned project and until I started writing it, I hadn't been in author-mode for years. 

Anyway, the year was 2012, the month March, my manuscript for
Chasing Pavements constantly being edited and re-edited, when I became aware of how easy it had become to self-publish our writing.  After some Google searches, I came across e-book distributor Smashwords.  I can't remember exactly, but I think I stumbled upon Demon Girl (now renamed Glamour) by indie author Penelope Fletcher through one of the searches on the site - perhaps on the first page of the highest-rated free e-books chart?  The cover and synopsis grabbed me and the favourable reviews on the book page enticed me to download the book.

From the very first chapter, the book had me hooked!  And after the introduction of the vampire, I knew there was no turning back - I was going to read the entire series!  The author creates the kind of world you want to jump into, and introduces characters that you instantly develop a connection to.  I finished it in two and half days and wished it was longer!  I would have liked to have spent a bit more time with Rae at Temple, learned more about her day-to-day life as a Disciple before discovering her real identity and destiny.

The story continues in book two, Compel (previously Demon Day), and is probably my favourite out of the first three novels.  With so many supernatural creatures, we really were spoiled!  The author explores these intriguing species in detail and doesn’t brush past them in order to focus on the main characters, so you are not left wondering about their roots and origins.  When I finished the third book Enchant, (previously Demon Dark), I couldn’t believe that I had to wait for another book to find out how Rae's story ends.  At the same time, Rae is one of those characters, and this is one of those series where you don’t mind having the story extended.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A "Bad Review" - or is it?


It was bound to happen eventually.  I’ve been waiting for the day.  Preparing for it.  Training.  Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long.  Even the greatest of authors, bestsellers, get their fair share of bad reviews, so who am I to get left out?  Having read a few blog posts by successful authors about their own unfavourable review experiences, I knew that my run of 5-star reviews would come to an end.

And what better way for it to end but with a… 1-star review.  Ouch.

Well, the rating of 1-star hurt the average score for the book more than the actual review hurt me personally - you’ll see why once you read the below comment on Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation posted on Smashwords on October 5, 2012.  Seen as I have responded to all the reviews I’ve spotted so far, I really shouldn’t shy away from discussing my first negative review:

“The author can write. She has a good flow with words. BUT, I couldn't get past the 2nd chapter. As soon as she talked about her diamond skin that glitters in the sunlight, that was a big turn off. OK the Twilights were good books, but do all vampires have to have that skin now. I love Twilight but I don't like the skin attributes. I think it is as far fetched as a vampire should be. My opinion but when other authors copy that... Maybe I will pick it up at another time but for now, sorry.”

The part of the review that refers to me and my writing (the first two sentences) is actually favourable - I’m very happy with that.  The reviewer is a fellow indie author herself, so it’s nice to have your peers tell you that you can write.  It’s also a relief that it wasn’t my writing, the story, or how it was executed (i.e. poor grammar, spelling mistakes, poorly edited etc.), that caused the reader to give up on the book after the first chapter. 

I won’t comment on the rest of the review as it is referring more to the reader’s personal disapproval and dislike of a particular skin attribute of the main character in the novel, Ellie, rather than the quality of my writing, the strength of the plot or even the likeability of the protagonist.  Just her skin.  It is a shame that some readers will judge our characters and books because of his or her skin or physical appearance.  But that is one of the realities we have to face as authors. 

A recruitment consultant once told me that he doesn’t look for reasons to put your CV through - he looks for reasons to not put it through.  This might not be the case exactly with books and readers, but some of the same principles still apply.  Readers will not be patient.  They will not make allowances for us - why should they, who are we to them?  Their time is precious, their minds in need of entertainment.  You have to grab them from the first paragraph and give them plenty of reasons to read on.  Give them one reason not to persist, and they will put it down and give it a low rating.  Be ready for this. 

As for authors conforming to the rules of the vampire mythology explored in my beloved Twilight series, why not?  I think it's their decision.  This reader happened to fall within the faction of the vampire-fiction fans that do not like sparkling vampires and so understandably did not support my decision of copying that.  She doesn't seem to have an issue with writers copying any of the other characteristics, just the skin-type, the one attribute of the Twilight vampires that she does not like or agree with.  

Personally, I love the sparkling in the sunlight - to me, this seems far more feasible than skin that suddenly becomes flammable in direct sunlight.  More than that though, I love the fact that Ellie is more than just a vampire and I hope other readers can give her a chance to tell her story.  There’s more to her than her skin, trust me!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution

My new book is out now.  Details below:

“I don’t know what being in love is like for humans. It never happened to me, not really. I only thought it did. Thought it for a long time. Almost half a century. But it feels as though I’ve known for longer that I’d been wrong."

Being a senior official at The System, the vampire world’s governing body, Christian routinely assigns secret missions to his agents. As The System’s most powerful immortal, he also takes responsibility for some of the trickier tasks himself.

When he stumbles upon a project that was kept secret from him, Christian decides to investigate. Why was he not told about this vampire that his employer wants to recruit? Why can’t he get anywhere near this elusive immortal?

Soon, he discovers that this is no ordinary vampire that he is hunting. And when he is suddenly overwhelmed by a rush of strange emotions, Christian is left even more perplexed. Is any of this related to Ellie?

Book two of the Poison Blood series answers some of the questions raised in book one while asking many more.

*** Download this e-book for free from Smashwords. ***