Wednesday, 31 August 2011

'Back to the Books' Giveaway Hop'!

        Welcome to the 'Back to the Books' Giveaway Hop'!

I am based in the UK, so as usual have posted this up earlier than the majority of blogs that are taking part in this hop, which are mainly based in the United States of America/Canada. They are about six hours behind me time wise, so their link blog hop posts will not go up until 00.01 am on 1st September in their specific time zones.

This is a seven day blog hop taking place from Friday 1st September, until Thursday 7th September 2011.Thanks to 'I am a Reader'  and 'Buried in Books' for hosting this awesome hop! There are 300+ blogs signed up to offer a book related giveaway, so you have a great chance of winning something!

To enter just join as a GFC Follower of my blog in order to leave a comment to this post, ( also include your e-mail address with your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner!), you will then be entered into the draw for one of the following great books:

'The Street' by Kay Brellend
'East of the Sun' by Julia Gregson
'Blindsighted' by Karen Slaughter
'The Hand that First Held Mine' by Maggie O'Farrell

Only one book can be won by each draw winner. There will be four winners from this draw. Each entrant will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Thursday 7th September 2011 at 23.59GMT), the winning numbers entered for this draw will be chosen by This is an International Giveaway!

As I have already said earlier, there are over two hundred blogs taking part in this giveaway! When you have entered this draw, click on the 'linky' links at the very bottom of this web page, to move onto the other participating blogs to see what prizes they have on offer once their links are up, according to their specific time zones!

Good Luck Everyone! 

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

'1066 The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry' by Andrew Bridgeford

Release date: 29th July 2011
Published by: Harper Press
ISBN No: 978 1 84115 041 3 

A brilliant new reading of the Bayeux Tapestry that radically alters our understanding of the events of 1066 and reveals the astonishing story of the survival of early medieval Europe’s greatest treasure.

The Bayeux Tapestry was embroidered (it’s not really a tapestry) in the late eleventh century. As an artefact, it is priceless, incomparable – nothing of it’s delicacy and texture, let alone wit, survives from the period. As a pictorial story it is delightful: the first feature-length cartoon. As history it is essential: it represents the moment of Britain’s last conquest by a foreign army and celebrates the Norman victory over the blinded Saxon Harold. Or does it? In this brilliant piece of detective interpretation, Andrew Bridgeford looks at the narrative contained within the tapestry and has discovered a wealth of new information. Who commissioned it? Who made it? Who is the singular dwarf named as Turold? Why, in a work that celebrates a Norman conquest is the defeated Harold treated so nobly? Is Harold indeed the victim of the arrow from the sky? And who is the figure depicted in the tapestry who, at the moment of crisis for the Normans rallies the army just at the point when it mistakenly believes William is dead and it will be defeated? Using the tapestry, the book retells with vivid characterisation the story of the remaking of England in and after 1066. It is a compelling story, as is the tale of the extraordinary survival of the tapestry itself: history has rarely been writ so large, with such fine detail and yet been so veiled in mystery.

'Liberty' by Lucy Moore

Released on: 26th August 2011
Published by: Harper Press
ISBN No: 978 0 00 720602 5 

The bestselling author of ‘Maharanis’ recreates the lives of six remarkable women who, in a time of violent revolution, leapt at the chance to exercise their considerable charm, intelligence and acumen, and make their mark on history.

Germaine de Stael was an intellectual and an aristocrat, equally obsessed by politics and love affairs, who is said to have helped write the 1791 Constitution. Her fellow salonnière, Mme Roland, was a bourgeois housewife who became a fervent and influential revolutionary, until Robespierre’s regime sent her to the guillotine. While female intellectuals sipped wine in their salons, their working class counterparts patrolled the streets of Paris with pistols in their belts. Theroigne de Mericourt was an ill-treated mistress when she fell in love with revolutionary ideals and became an ardent anti-royalist until a mob beating by ‘sans-culottes’ ended her activism. The mob in question was made up of members of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, whose founder, Pauline Leon, agitated for women's rights. After the sans-culottes came the 'sans-chemises' – the glamorous (often skimpily clad) merveilleuses. Decadent Theresia Tallien combined sexual license with the secular amorality of the new Republic and reportedly helped engineer Robespierre's downfall. Her only rival for beauty was Juliette Recamier, whose elegance made her salons the most sought-after in Paris. When she refused Napoleon’s advances she was exiled from the city until his fall. Writing with vigour and passion, Lucy Moore reanimates these witty salonnières, fervent citoyennes and glittering merveilleuses to illuminate the brief, hopeful period in which the Revolution seemed to offer them the freedom they craved – and the ways in which it failed.

'The Street' by Kay Brellend

Released on: 3rd February 2011
Published by: Harper Fiction
ISBN No: 978 0 00 735863 2 

'Campbell Road was home to the most notorious criminals, thieves, prostitutes, fraudsters – every sort of rogue and vagabond drifted through this slum.’

Life was tough … but so were they. Alice Keiver is a sensitive girl, growing up in one of the roughest parts of North London. As the daughter of an alcoholic mother, and niece of an abusive uncle, she dreams that one day she and her baby sister will escape their rotten surroundings. Alice’s father, Jack Keiver, works day and night to provide for his family. But his hopes for a better life are dashed each time he returns home to find the money-jar raided and his feisty wife Tilly collapsed drunk in the corner. In the room below, Alice's downtrodden Aunt Fran spends most of her days nursing the injuries inflicted on her by her cruel husband Jimmy – but this time he's pushed the family too far and they're not going to let him get away with it. Revenge is going to be sweet.

Monday, 29 August 2011

New Release Coming Soon! 'The Time of my Life' by Cecelia Ahern

Release date: 13th October 2011
Published by: Harper Fiction
ISBN No: 978 0 00 735043 8 

The stunning and magical new novel from the Number One best selling author Cecelia Ahern.

Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she's been ignoring it and it needs to meet with her face to face. It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s heard of this before. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, lying to her friends and avoiding her family. It turns out that Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, some of these stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her. From a big family dinner to an extraordinary work crisis, from chasing after a long-lost boyfriend to learning what home really is, Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it. Touching, warm, funny and poignant, Cecelia Ahern's new novel explores what happens when you ignore your life.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

New Release! 'The Egyptian' by Layton Green

Format: e-book
Publication date: 27th August 2011

At a mausoleum in Cairo's most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis. 

An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment.

A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory.

These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company's new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued.

From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech - before that truth kills them.

THE EGYPTIAN by Layton Green can be categorised as a Suspense/Thriller.    

The Egyptian can be purchased on-line at  Amazon for 0.99 cents, or on Amazon UK website for 0.86 pence. This offer stands for today only (Sunday 28th August 2011). The Amazon UK link to THE EGYPTIAN is detailed below:

Winners of my Free Book International Draw!

The Winners!
I would like to say a great big thank-you to everyone who joined my blog as a follower or were already a follower and entered the draw and posted a comment, during this great event! Again I wish that I could send everyone who entered this draw a book, but within the rules, there were to be only three lucky winners! For those of you who have not won this time, there are plenty more giveaway draws to come. Please keep visiting this blog and entering the Giveaways. You never know your luck, you could be one of our next winners!

I visited earlier today and the winners of this draw are, drum roll!!!

Marybelle - The Sandalwood Tree

Jessica - Incubus

Laura - Postcard Killers

Congratulations to you all !

I will contact the winners for their mailing details. If I have not been able to make contact with a winner within 48 hours of this post, another winner will then be drawn. Thanks again to everyone who entered this draw and who follow my blog. Happy reading!

There will be another great Book Giveaway Draw running here on 'The Secret Writer' site from the 1st - 7th September 2011, when I'm taking part in the huge 'Back to the 
Books Giveaway Blog Hop!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

'Heart of Wisdom, Mind of Calm' by Christina Feldman

Released date: 4th July 2011
Published by: Harper
ISBN No: 978 0 00 717524 6 

An introductory handbook and accompanying CD for anyone interested in meditation. Discover the different forms and benefits of this most universal of spiritual practices.

• The practice of meditation improves both mind and body, allowing you to let go of stress and anxiety. This ancient method of achieving calm and tranquility is now practised both by those on a spiritual path and by those who simply want to reap the many documented health benefits. • This in-depth guide is an invaluable source of guidance and inspiration, exploring and explaining a broad range of meditation practices, from breath meditation to the use of mantras. Also includes a free CD, on which Christina Feldman personally leads you through the five main types of meditation, from mindfulness to visualisation. Using examples from a variety of traditions, she will help you develop your own meditation practice and bring a sense of calm to your busy modern life. • For the beginner and the more experienced practitioner, Meditation for Beginners will deepen your meditative practice and enhance your life, helping you to develop inner peace, still your mind and focus on what you really want.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

'Storyteller The Life of Roald Dahl' by Donald Sturrock

Release date: 1st September 2011
Published by: Harper Press
ISBN No: 978 0 00 725477 4 

The authorised biography of one of the greatest storytellers of all time, written with complete access to the archives stored in the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.

Roald Dahl is one of the greatest storytellers of all time. He pushed children's literature into uncharted territory and almost twenty years after his death his popularity continues to grow – worldwide sales of his books have now topped 100 million. The man behind the stories, however, remains an enigma. Dahl was a single-minded adventurer, an eternal child, and his public persona was often controversial. To his readers, though, Dahl was always a hero and his stories have had an impact on the lives and imaginations of generations of children. Since his death his reputation has been transformed. Critics too now celebrate his wild imagination, quirky humour and linguistic elegance; figures like Willy Wonka, the BFG and the Grand High Witch are immortal literary creations. In this masterly biography, Donald Sturrock reveals many hitherto hidden aspects of Roald Dahl's life: his terrifying experiences as a fighter pilot; the mental anguish caused by the death of his seven-year-old daughter; his work for military intelligence at the end of the war and more. Written with exclusive access to his private papers and manuscripts as well as with reference to hundreds of newly-discovered letters, Dahl lives on every page of this utterly compelling book, which reveals the man as we've never seen him before.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Three Great Titles - Free International Book Giveaway Draw!

I haven't had a Book Giveaway Draw here for quite a while, so to make up for this, I now have three great books up for grabs!

To enter this free International Draw just join my blog as a GFC Follower in order to leave a comment to this post, ( also include your e-mail address with your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner!), You will then be entered into the draw for one of the following great titles:

'The Sandalwood Tree' by Elle Newmark
'Postcard Killers' by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
'Incubus' by Carol Goodman

Only one book can be won by each draw winner. There will be three winners from this draw. Each entrant will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Saturday 27th August 2011 at 23.59GMT), the winning numbers entered for this draw will be chosen by This is an International Giveaway!

Good Luck Everyone!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

'The Night Eternal' by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Release date: 13th October 2011
Published by: Harper Fiction
ISBN No:  978 0 00 731952 7 

The nail-biting conclusion to The Strain Trilogy, from the world-famous director of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy.

The night belongs to them, and it will be a night eternal… After the blasts, it was all over. Nuclear Winter has settled upon the earth. Except for one hour of sunlight a day, the whole world is plunged into darkness. It is a near-perfect environment for vampires. They have won. It is their time. Almost every single man, woman and child has been enslaved in vast camps across the globe. Like animals, they are farmed, harvested for the sick pleasure of the Master Race. Almost, but not all. Somewhere out there, hiding for their lives, is a desperate network of free humans, continuing the seemingly hopeless resistance. Everyday people, with no other options – among them Dr Ephraim Goodweather, his son Zack, the veteran exterminator Vasily, and former gangbanger Gus. To be free, they need a miracle, they need divine intervention. But Salvation can be a twisted game – one in which they may be played like pawns in a battle of Good and Evil. And at what cost…?

'the go-away bird' by Warren FitzGerald

Release date: 29th September 2011
Published by: Blue Door
ISBN No: 978 0 00 731738 7 

A powerful, heart-wrenching story of friendship and love

‘This is a story about me, Clementine, and my friends: a panther called Levi, a pelican called Lola and a turtle called Jimmy. It is about dragons and goblins, my Daddy the King, my Mummy the Queen and Prince Pio my brother. At least that is the way I tell it sometimes when thoughts of the blood, the machetes, the swamp and the fear of Uncle Leonard become too hard to describe. But that was all before I met Ashley, wonderful Ashley. Not that he would ever call himself wonderful in a million years. When he tells you his story you will see what I mean…’ Ashley Bolt – A middle-aged, loner for whom teaching singing is the only escape from his London life. In an attempt to forget a violent past he turns to self-harming but this provides little comfort. Clementine Habimana – A Rwandan child refugee who witnesses the 1994 genocide at first-hand and lives to tell her story. Delivered into the hands of an abusive uncle in the UK, Clementine remains undeterred in her hope for a brighter future. When their two worlds collide, nothing is ever the same again…

'The Lion Wakes' by Robert Low

Release date: 29th September 2011
Published by: Harper Fiction
ISBN No: 978 0 00 733788 0 

The first novel in a major new series as Robert Low moves from the Vikings to the making of Scotland.

It is 1296 and Scotland is in turmoil. The old king, Alexander III, has died after falling off his horse one dark and stormy night. Scotland’s future is in peril. Edward I of England, desperate to keep control of his northern borders, arranges for John Baliol, a weak man who Edward knows he can manipulate, to take leadership of Scotland. But unrest is rife and many are determined to throw off the shackles of England. Among those men is Robert the Bruce, darkly handsome, young, angry and obsessed by his desire to win Scotland's throne. He will fight for the freedom of the Scots until the end. But there are many rival factions and the English are a strong and fearsome opponent. The Lion Wakes culminates in the Battle of Falkirk which proves to be the beginning of a rivalry that will last for decades…

'The Drowning Pool' by Syd Moore

Release date: 29th September 2011
Published by: Avon Harper Collins
ISBN No: 978 1 84756 266 1 

After her world is shaken by a series of unexplained events, young widow Sarah Grey soon comes to realise that she is the victim of a terrifying haunting by her 19th century namesake…A classic ghost story with a modern twist by a talented new writer in the genre.

Relocated to a coastal town, widowed teacher Sarah Grey is slowly rebuilding her life, along with her young son Alfie. But after an inadvertent séance one drunken night, her world is shaken when she starts to experience frightening visions. She tries to explain them as But Alfie sees them too and Sarah believes that they have become the targets of a terrifying haunting. Convinced that the ghost is that of a 19th Century local witch and namesake, Sarah delves into local folklore and learns that the witch was thought to have been evil incarnate. When a series of old letters surface, Sarah discovers that nothing and no-one is as it seems, maybe not even the ghost of Sarah Grey…

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

'Crucible of Secrets' by Shona Maclean

Release date: 4th August 2011
Published by: Quercus
ISBN No: 978 1849163149

Long time followers of this site may remember that Shona Maclean previously visited 'The Secret Writer Blog' for an author interview. Fans of Shona Maclean will now be delighted to hear that her third book in the Alexander Seaton Series has now been published!

 It is Midsummer, 1631. While Alexander Seaton and his fellow masters enjoy the holiday with their students, Robert Sim, librarian of Marischal College, is murdered in a dark alley way in town. While the university and town authorities investigate the murder, Seaton is asked by the college principal to look into Sim's private life. In the course of an investigation in which his personal feelings threaten to cloud his judgement and endanger his young marriage to Sarah, he discovers a side to the librarian he could never have guessed at. It is only when a second, apparently unrelated murder comes to light that Seaton begins to piece together the connections between a young weaver, a consignment of books, and events in a college in the Low Countries in order to unmask the perpetrator of the years'-old deception that led to the two deaths.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

New Release Coming Soon! 'A Stitch in Time' by Penelope Lively

Release date: 1st September 2011
Published by: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN No: 978 0 00 744327 7

Maria is always getting lost in the secret world of her imagination… A ghostly mystery and winner of the Whitbread Award, newly republished in the Essential Modern Classics range.

Maria likes to be alone with her thoughts. She talks to animals and objects, and generally prefers them to people. But whilst on holiday she begins to hear things that aren’t there – a swing creaking, a dog barking – and when she sees a Victorian embroidered picture, Maria feels a strange connection with the ten-year-old, Harriet, who stitched it. But what happened to her? As Maria becomes more lost in Harriet’s world, she grows convinced that something tragic occurred… Perfect for fans of ghostly mysteries like ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’.

New Release Coming Soon! 'Paranormal Diversions Enthralled'

Release date: 1st September 2011
Published by: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN No: 978 0 00 744246 1

A collection of fourteen original teen paranormal short stories from some of today’s bestselling YA talent, united with the common theme of road trips, and edited by bestselling authors Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong.

Contributors include: Melissa Marr , Kelley Armstrong ,Claudia Gray , Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (NYT Bestselling authors of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, Little, Brown) Rachel Caine (NYT bestselling author of Morganville Vampire series, Penguin) Carrie Ryan (NYT Bestselling author of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, Delacourt) Jessica Verday (NYT bestselling author of THE HAUNTED and THE HOLLOW, S&S) Rachel Vincent (bestselling adult mass market author and Harlequin YA author) Jennifer Lynn Barnes (RAISED BY WOLVES, Egmont) Jerri Smith-Ready (bestselling adult mass market author w/ YA debut, SHADE, S&S) Sarah Rees Brennan (THE DEMON’S LEXICON, THE DEMON’S CONVENANT, S&S) Kimberley Derting (debut: THE BODY FINDER, 2010 HCCB) Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED–Little Brown, AS YOU WISH–HCCB) Ally Condie (debut: MATCHED, 11/2010 Dutton)

Future Release: 'Master of Rome' by John Stack

Release date: 1st December 2011
Published by: Harper Fiction
ISBN No: 987 0 00 742622 5

A stirring adventure novel set amid the tumultuous clashes between the Roman and Carthaginian empires, battling for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa and Rome itself.

Atticus, the young Greek captain, is now a commander of the growing Roman navy, blockading a port near Tunis, when the Roman legions suffer terrible defeat by the triumphant Carthaginian army, spearheaded by the elephant charges. He and his ships escape together with the main body of the Roman fleet out manoeuvred by the more skilful Carthaginians and then caught and almost completely annihilated by a terrible storm. Atticus and his crew are among the handful of survivors and being the messenger of this news to the Senate in Rome brings Atticus into political troubles, almost as stormy as the sea. He begins to feel not only that a Greek will never be accepted by the Romans but also that the behaviour of many, both politicians and soldiers, is such that he is not sure that he wants to be a Roman. Full of dramatic battles by land and sea, led by tremendous characters on both sides, MASTER OF ROME is a powerful novel, the third in this bestselling series by a born storyteller.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Winner of Maria Savva's International Book Giveaway Draw!

After visiting earlier today, the lucky winner of the copy of Maria Savva's latest novel 'The Dream' is,


Congratulations Cristina! I will contact you shortly to obtain your mailing details so that we can forward on your prize. Thank-you to everyone else who entered this draw. Better luck next time. Please keep on entering the draws on this site. You never know your luck, you could be the winner of my next draw here on 'The Secret Writer'!

Friday, 12 August 2011

'Electronic Publishing Hits Its Stride' by author Vella Munn

Back in the dark ages when I started writing, the Internet didn't exist. As a result I wrote in a vacuum with no idea that countless other writers were huddled in their own dark caves. Oh, I had a vague idea I wasn't the only one with the same dream but had no way to connect with them.

The Internet has changed SO much. Now when I have a concern, question, news to share, or just want to chat, I warm up my fingers and attack my keyboard. I live in the U.S. but consider among my friends people I’ve never met in England, Brazil, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and France.  I  'met' Calum via a Facebook page we were both poking around in, and the other day he answered a question about U.K. publishing I’d asked him for a friend. Small world indeed says it.

Some six or seven years ago I attended an EPIC (electronic publishing) conference with a dear friend and boy was that an education! Back then only a handful of small and obscure electronic publishers were releasing work, not in paper, but to be read on an electronic device such as the computer. I was skeptical. What was the excitement with something that wasn’t a blip on the radarscope in the States let alone the rest of the world? Another friend who was at the conference opened my eyes about what was then at the forefront of e-publishing—erotica. She was one of Ellora’s Cave’s ( ) launch writers and making more money there than I was with my traditional publisher. After gulping a few times I started writing for the newly-minted genre.

It’s been and still is a wild ride. I have a contract with Kensington which is the U.S.’s only remaining major independent publisher, but I’m also publishing with three e-publishers and that’s paying the bills. Years ago I wrote for Harlequin and recently got the rights back to more than a dozen of my category romances. I also did the same with the nine Native American historicals Tor published. I took the leap because others and I are discovering that there’s electronic life in those old stories.

The massive online bookseller Amazon has Kindle, the world’s most popular electronic reader. Barnes and Noble has Nook which now comes with colour and there are a number of other devices. Three of my historicals are available on Kindle as are two stories I wrote specifically for e-readers. Right now I’m working with a German artist who is designing covers for a number of my romances.

The interest in e-publishing particularly in the States means anyone with a computer and the ability to get to 'The End' can put their baby out there with the hope that a lot of someones will buy. Because I know how hard it is for any one book to stand out, I’ve banded with other print published writers at a site/service called  What we offer are books that originally saw the light of day via traditional publishers. In other words, they were good enough to be published once and are again available.

Don’t have an e-reader? Not a problem., the brainchild of one man, has released over 40,000 books, all of them available for downloading to a computer from the site. In addition, Mark Coker’s operation is also designed to feed manuscripts and accompanying covers to a variety of outlets such as Kindle and Noble. I don’t know about Noble but not only can I read on my Kindle, I can download what I’ve bought onto my computer and read it there.

While I’m on the subject of Kindle, one of my favorite features is the ability to download a free sample. No more buying a book only to discover it isn’t my thing. I’m reading much more than I used to, sampling all over the place genre-wise.

Some writers are making impressive money with their e-published work as witness by the information and stats at:  Joe Konrath might be the most ‘vocal’. He makes no bones about his reasons for embracing electronic publishing and can back them up. None less than JK Rowling is set to e-publish her Harry Potter books via a one of a kind programme 

In five months John Locke sold a million copies of his electronic mysteries at 99 cents each. A personal friend who has only been selling electronically for three months has seen all four of her romance e-books reach the Top 100 Paid Kindle list and are on contemporary romance bestsellers lists.

That’s not to say everyone jumping onboard the electronic publishing bandwagon is getting rich. Hardly. Print books still outsell e-books but the difference between them is shrinking. E-publishing has yet to truly catch fire beyond the U.S. but I have no doubt that will change. (As I understand, U.K. residents are experiencing problems downloading Amazon titles onto their Kindles). A friend caught the eye of a British publisher because her electronic sales were so strong. The publisher offered her a three-book contract and is gearing up to bring out print editions. I keep telling her that’s going to change because ten years ago e-publishing barely existed in the States. Today all major U.S. publishers are bringing out e-editions, and last year none less than Harlequin launched an e-only publishing venture which is exceeding expectations in sales.

Thank-you Vella for visiting 'The Secret Writer'  and for providing us with this really interesting and thought provoking post! 

 If you’re a follower or a member of this site reading this post and have your own opinions about e-publishing, please feel free to start a conversation about this in the comments section below.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A Message from Author Trisha Ashley!

I can’t believe that it is a year since I was one of the first guests on Calum’s blog!  Since then he has deservedly gained hundreds of new followers and interviewed some very interesting authors – and I have had a major bestselling novel with Twelve Days of Christmas!  (Over 155,000copies sold to date.)  My new novel, The Magic of Christmas, comes out in late October (and no, they are not all Christmas novels, because I have another coming out early next summer, which I am currently writing) and I hope Calum will invite me back later in the year to talk about that and some more general writerly topics.  Meanwhile, you can catch up with me via my website at or follow me on twitter, where I am trishaashley. I look forward to seeing Calum’s blog go on from strength to strength in the next year.
        Trisha x

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Guest Post with Author Maria Savva and International Book Giveaway Draw!

First of all I would like to thank Calum for inviting me here to his wonderful blog.  Calum asked me if I would like to write a guest post about the trials and tribulations of being an independent author.  ‘Trials and tribulations’ definitely sums up a lot of what us indie authors go through.  I've been writing for over 15 years and started off starry eyed as most writers do, believing that all I had to do was write a novel and I would be on my way to leaving the rat race behind.  Many years later, I'm still writing because I love writing, still hopeful, because anything is possible, but let’s just say I've learnt quite a few things on my journey.

I think I will set out a few of the more common myths behind writing and try to explain how much truth lies behind them.

Myth #1 All writers are rich
Unfortunately, this is absolutely untrue.  Of course, some writers are rich, but they are very few and far between.  Most of us are working in day jobs and burning the midnight oil to keep up with our writing habit.  Most of us put much more money into producing our books than we ever get back.  Writing is a labour of love and we will carry on doing it even if we get no financial gain.

Myth #2 Traditionally published books are better than indie books
Not true at all.  Of course, I’m not saying that traditionally published books are not as good as indie books, either.  What I am saying is that writing is an art form.  The reader’s opinion on a book will be subjective, and depending on what their reading tastes are, they are just as likely to find a good book to read by an independent author as they are by a mainstream author.  The advantage a mainstream author has over an indie author is that there will most likely be lots of promotion paid for by the advertising department of the publishing company, and lots of marketing by the company.  Indie authors have to advertise and market on their own.  Think about indie music... some people love Justin Beiber, but a lot of other people like music by underground bands.  It’s a similar type of thing.

Myth #3 If an ebook is priced cheaply, it is of inferior quality
This is not true.  You will find many indie authors promoting their work by giving a book away free or pricing it at $0.99.  This is for marketing purposes because indie authors are less likely to have an opportunity to appear on an Amazon best-seller list.  When we promote our books cheaply, it is so that we can hopefully sell more and appear on a couple of best-seller lists so that people will find out about our books.

Myth #4  It is easy to write a novel
I can hear authors around the globe laughing maniacally at this.  Whether you are traditionally published or an indie author, it is not easy to write a book.  It is very time consuming, emotionally draining, painstaking and lots of other words ending with ‘ing’!

A writer not only has to write a story and tell it in a way that people will understand, they must also make sure that the characters are realistic, believable and consistent throughout the book; they must come up with enough twists and turns in the story to keep a reader interested; they must make sure that all dates and details are consistent.  Hair colours, eye colours, names of characters, need to be checked.  When you’re writing a novel, you will often write it over the course of a few months or years, so you may well forget if one of your characters used to go to college or whether they were married to an accountant.  In chapter 29 they could suddenly find themselves married to a farmer instead of an accountant, and his eyes may now be blue instead of brown.  He may also have changed his surname for some inexplicable reason that is not mentioned anywhere in the text if you are not careful.  Writers will understand what I mean...  Writing a novel requires attention to detail, you must literally be in love with the written word.  You must have an obsession with words and sentence structure, grammatical expressions etc. etc.  

In essence, writing is a solitary vocation and if you’re not the type of person who can spend hours and days on your own inside your mind then you cannot write a book.  And as I am writing this guest post on the trials and tribulations of being an indie author, rather than a traditionally published author, I MUST mention EDITING.  The word that most indie authors loathe.  We spend weeks, if not months, poring over the same book, over and over again, re-reading rewriting... editing, re-editing.  There is not an editorial department in the world of an indie author; we are the writer and the editor, the proof-reader, and the publisher, the marketing department and the promoter.  We wear many hats!  

This brings me on nicely to... 
Myth #5 Indie books are full of typos and grammatical errors
This is one of those myths that can be true, but for the most part is not.
You may find a few more typos in an indie novel, yes.  That’s because for the most part we do the majority of the editing ourselves and it is so much harder to spot errors in your own writing than in someone else’s writing.  The reason behind this is that we have written the work, but we have also revised it a few times changing a few minor parts, and often it’s hard for our brain to recall which parts have been changed and which have remained as in the original draft.  Where someone who has never read the story picks it up, they will spot these types of errors quite easily.  But I must point out at this stage that I have read many indie novels over the past 3 years and over 90% of the books I have read contain hardly any errors.  This is because as indie authors we work very hard to make sure that our books are the best they can be before they are published.  Most of us can’t afford professional editors, but indie authors are usually also lovers of books and will often help each other out by proof-reading and offering editing suggestions.  

For my latest novel, ‘The Dream’, I was lucky enough to find four fellow indie authors who read the final draft and offered me editing tips, and I had two lovely proof-readers (Calum being one of them) who were happy to read a pre-release copy and let me know if they spotted any typos.  I will add here that I have spotted many a grammatical error and typo in books published by traditional publishers.  I will also add here that as a reader, I don’t mind a few editorial errors in books that I read, as long as the story keeps me interested.  Books are about entertainment.  What use is it to read a book that is perfectly edited but boring?

To sum up, the life of an indie author is not an easy one, but I really do enjoy it and wouldn’t give it up for the world. 

Here’s a plug for my latest book: ‘The Dream’.  Out now on where I have applied  a special promotional discount  In a few weeks time you’ll also be able to order it from Amazon, B&N, and other on-line retailers.  You can also quote the ISBN 978-0-9564101-5-3 to order from bricks and mortar stores and also your local public libraries.

‘The Dream’ is a fantasy novel.  My first paranormal book. The story contains a time slip, a bit of romance, some comedy, and it’s also a bit spooky.  I enjoyed writing it and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.  If you do, please tell all your friends about it and write a review on Amazon if you get a spare moment.

Here’s the blurb: 
“Lynne cannot shake her feelings of dread; her dreams tell her she is making a terrible mistake, she must not marry Adam.... But, how can she believe the dream? Lynne and Adam have shared their lives for three years now. She is certain she loves him.

It is not that love, which her dream warns against.

It doesn't matter that she loves this man she will soon marry. If she marries him, the voice in her dream says her soul mate will die. Her true love will perish.

Soon, Lynne's world is transformed and becomes almost unrecognisable, except for the déjà vu. Time doesn't seem to mean much anymore, and things are not quite as they seem. As her world spins out of control, Lynne must sort out what's real and what isn't to fulfill her destiny.”

Here’s a link to the trailer on YouTube, to give you a bit of a taster:

If you’re an indie author reading this and can think of any other common myths about writing, please feel free to add those in the comments below.

Thanks again to Calum for inviting me here.

Maria has very kindly offered to supply a paper backed copy of her new book 'The Dream', for an International Book Giveaway Draw to go with this Guest Post!

All you have to do to enter this International Book Draw, is to be a GFC Follower of 'The Secret Writer Blog' and to leave a comment to this post with your e-mail address so that we can contact the winner of the draw. Entry to this draw will close at 12 midnight (GMT) on Saturday 13th August 2011.

Good luck everyone!