Reading in Bed (podcast 4)

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This month’s books on the Reading in Bed podcast are:

Anything you do Say by Gillian Mcallister

The Weeping Price by Alice VL

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Crash by Keith Houghton

I have Learnt by Jaqueline Woods

 

We talked about strong female characters, whether bad characters need to have something to attract the reader and small details that can potentially make the reader question the plot. For all this and more, listen to the podcast below.

 We also have a Twitter page and Facebook group so that you can follow us and find out what we’re currently reading.

https://twitter.com/Reading_In_Bed_

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/readinginbed/

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Reading In Bed 3

The third podcast is now online.

I really enjoyed recording this one, and between me and Andy we had five books to review, so this is a much longer podcast than the first two.

We discussed whether sequels of successful books were just milking their success, if being solely in the protagonist’s head for an entire book can work and Andy talked about the read a book he read, which was published pre Benjamin Button, but contained a lot of similarities.

To hear all of the above and more, please have a listen and let us know what you think. Also, if you think either one of us might enjoy your book, please get in touch and we might be able to review it on a future podcast.

 

The books we reviewed this month are:

Still me by Jojo Moyes

If I Die Before I wake by Emily Koch

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust 1) by Philip Pullman

I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying For a While by Taichi Yamada

 

 

 

A new podcast and free or discounted books

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First of all I’ve started a new podcast with my partner. We review and discuss books which we’ve read. This month we read Nightmare Realities by Amanda J Evans, Queen and Country by Greg Rucka and Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander.

To find out what we thought of them, check out the podcast.

https://readinginbed.bandcamp.com/album/podcast-1-january-2018

My other piece of news is that I’m planning to unpublish my novels and novellas (or at least start the process) at the end of this month (January 2018).

That means these books may never see the light of day again, or they may get taken on by a publisher.

I’m running various offers before then. The Kindle versions of some of my books will be free or reduced.

I’ll be posting these offers on my Facebook and Twitter, so like/follow me to find out more.

https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSteelWriter/

https://twitter.com/Amanda_S_Writer

Kindle Scout update

THE DESTINY INITIATIVE

 

I Posted on my blog at the start of my Kindle Scout campaign. That post can be found HERE. Unfortunately, Kindle Scout didn’t choose my book as one of the lucky few to publish. So for anyone who is considering trying Kindle Scout in the hope of publishing their book, I’ll tell you what I tried as part of my campaign. Although they don’t seem to select books just on votes alone, I’m guessing it plays a part in their decision. So you’ll probably need to do more than I did to stand a chance.

I started off well by tagging everyone I thought might vote for me in a Facebook post, as well as posting to Twitter and my Facebook author page. This got me in the hot and trending category for five hours.

The few days following that I was short on ideas, other than reposting on social. I didn’t want to sound like I thought I was the next JK Rowling by contacting newspapers and the media in general and saying the should interview me/write about me etc.

I did contact a local newspaper hoping they could help, but they ignored me. After that I asked two people I know from local radio stations and they were kind enough to give my book a plug three times between the two of them. One of them even read out an extract of the book. I read out an extract myself at two different spoken word events in an attempt to get votes.

I was also interviewed by a podcaster and had a handful of people who shared my requests for votes.

So the bottom line is, you probably need a large following and/or lots of contacts who can publicise your Kindle Scout campaign for you, or maybe just a more supportive local newspaper.

Despite Kindle Scout not picking my book, I will be self publishing it and the release date is 15th May. Follow the links below if you want to pre-order it.

Alternatively, I will be running a competition to win PDF copies and possibly even a paperback copy. More details on that to follow at a later date.

US link

UK link

The Hunted and other twisted tales

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“The Hunted and other twisted tales” is written by Paul J Kearns

The book consists of seven short stories featuring werewolves. vampires and other paranormal creatures.

Horror is one of my favourite genres, especially when it’s good horror. I enjoyed reading this. Anyone who knows me will know how much I love my gore. So this won me over from the blender moment which involves certain body parts being put in a blender, then the owner or more specifically, the previous owner of those body parts is forced to drink them.

Another story I really enjoyed in this collection was a vampire story called The Hunted. This has the potential to extend to a full novel or at least a novella, with a little more back story and a few more characters thrown in and storylines expanded on.

I was also impressed with the fact that this is the authors first published work. The last book I wrote about on my blog was The Loney. Considering that The Hunted is self-published and doesn’t have the money spent on it that The Loney would have, I preferred The Hunted. I think, with a bit more editing it has a lot of potential.

Kindle scout campaign – day 3 update

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I’m now into day three of my Kindle Scout campaign and already beginning to wonder why I ever though this would be a good idea. I had ideas for who to ask for votes. Unfortunately, I used up the majority of those ideas on day one. The excitement of been “hot and trending” for an entire five hours has now gone. My book slipped back down into obscurity.

So, what now? I could contact a local radio station and try not to sound too big-headed as I ask them if they would like to interview me. If I do that, I should probably do it soon, as there’s only 27 days of my campaign left. I could have contacted them earlier but there was no way of knowing if my book would be approved. For anyone considering Kindle Scout, you should know that they give you two days notice before your campaign goes live, if it is approved.

I have more things to try on social media and I will writing my progress of lack of it on here.

For anyone who might want to vote for me, I’ll tell you a little about the book and my inspiration for it.

I’ve written and self-published before, but like many writers I want to be able to say I’ve been published. I was trying to have a lie in one Sunday morning, back in October 2016 and the idea came to me for my book, First Charge, the first is a three part series of YA books.. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any sleep and I had to start writing down the ideas as they came into my head. I had other projects I was working on and told myself I would start it in the new years. I started it in November instead, it just kept nagging me to write it.

Meredith (the main character) is descended from Mermaids, although she’s not a mermaid (or at least not at the start of the story) and Theo is descended from shape shifters. The two of them and others who are also descendants of mythical creatures are either destined to be part of the Destiny Initiative or The Destroyers. The prologue explains a little about what each side does. The short version is one side protects people with important destinies. The other side tries to stop them.

I enjoyed writing the book and exploring both sides, because each side had some valid points. Though as Meredith hints towards further in the book, if you’re saving the world, what kind of world do you want it to be? I definitely lean more towards her viewpoint that there has to be something worth saving.

Here’s the link if you want to read more and maybe vote while you’re there.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3LNFS6YEHHYC9

 

The Loney (my thoughts)

Last Christmas I asked for and received a copy of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley. This book was the 2015 Costa first novel winner. The other thing that interested me about the book is it was originally published through an independent publisher.

As a writer trying to achieve success, I was curious to read and maybe see if there was some kind of winning formula to writing a book that could be taken on by a big publisher and then go on to win awards.

The first few pages are taken up with positive reviews and praise from the likes of Stephen King, SFX Magazine and The Guardian.

Maybe that’s why I was expecting great things and possibly even some kind of inspiration for what I could do in my own writing to achieve success. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. For me, the first 100 pages contained very little plot or action, rather than being suspenseful or building up tension as some reviewers on Goodreads stated. Obviously Stephen King knows what he’s doing with his own writing and his review inside the book states that this is an amazing piece of fiction.

I just didn’t think the same way. It was readable and I didn’t have to force myself too much to keep on reading like I had to with a few of the self-published books I had tried to get through before reading The Loney, but it didn’t excite me. I’ve read books that I know I’ve enjoyed because I’ve looked forward to reading more. This wasn’t like that for me. I thought there was a lot of religion and that bored me in places. I can see the author either knows a lot about the subject or did a lot of research. The only thing I can really take from it is research is important because it was convincing. It wasn’t of interest to me though.

I was also confused by the ending and wasn’t sure what had even happened. That could just be me. Maybe I prefer a simpler read. I think whether you write something clever or more basic, there’s a market for both. As for gaining recognition and winning awards it’s probably more complex than that. There’s no guaranteed winning formula. There might be things that make a book more likely to win an award, but it depends if you want to write something you choose and enjoy writing or try to copy books that have been successful, but you might not enjoy writing as much.

I’d still recommend the book, especially to other writers just to have a read and see what they think.

The blurb for The Loney is

Two brothers. One mute, the other his lifelong protector.

Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure.

In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. And they cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end . . .

Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother’s care.

But then the child’s body is found.

And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end.