Time flies!

Well, I seem to be averaging two blogs a year at the moment! Not brilliant for a writer. In my defense, we have moved THREE times this year and I’m mindbogglingly shattered. Still, I am writing – plowing on regardless – but it’s slow process. I’m still working through book 1 of the murder mystery series and trying to find new ways to promote the trilogy. If anyone fancies reading and reviewing any of the Eshla books, please let me know. I’m happy to send a free mobi file, for use on kindles, or a pdf.

It hasn’t all been hard work though – got in a few good days at the beach (with best friend in picture below) and an amazing 12 hours on the flying Scotsman in vintage luxury (strictly for historical research you understand!).

Musing on marketing

October will be an exciting month! I’m finally starting to write properly again and have twisted my brain back around to marketing the Eshla series. So, the trilogy will be available free for two whole days on the third and the fourth.

three books

Which means the next two weeks, I’ll be like a headless chicken trying to get all to get all three books advertised as free on as many sites as possible!

I tried a countdown deal before the summer but found it was nowhere near as effective as the free days that Amazon offer. Has anyone had any success with countdown deals, and if so, how did you run them?

It’s tricky, trying to focus your brain on marketing one series, while you’re writing in a completely different genre!

If you do pick up a copy of any of the books free, please help out and leave a review.

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Powering a Planet!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of creating Eshla was deciding what was going to make the world tick! This type of creative writing is quite unique to fantasy/sci-fi writing and I wanted to take full advantage of it.

Firstly, it was important that Eshla was sustainable. I didn’t see it as a smoky industrial world, but I didn’t want something that felt medieval either. The challenge was; how can I create a technologically advanced civilisation without destroying its natural resources? The answer was to create a kingdom where the humans worked alongside the flora, utilising their natural resources in a way that didn’t destroy or over-use them. Here are some of the special plants that Eric came across:

Ignis – The leaves of the Ignis plant, when pulverised, create a tremendous heat which is carried around rooms by pipes under the floor and blasted out into the air via the trumpet. The crushing process releases pollen which is pushed up and out of the castle via the main duct. The wind catches it and carries it back to Jarmuthe where it takes seed and grows more Ignis.

Goleuni flowers – They give off a strong golden glow that can be used in the same way as an electric light

Hedfan – Little blue flowers that are always trying to fly away, unless cold air is blasted on them, in which case they close. These were used by the inventor Drake Owren to power flying ships

Buwun – Legend has it the Buwun tree was the first plant on Eshla. They grow mainly in Cedwigod and supply light and energy throughout the forest region, via luminous green tendrils which stretch out for miles.

Cufithum – A plant with pollen that has a direct impact on a person’s auditory senses, enabling them to hear whatever language is being spoken, translated into their own tongue.

Gats stones – Possibly the most important natural resource on Eshla, thanks to the Bradwar family. Gats is used to stop evil tyrants from controlling people’s minds with Bel-Arayba stones.  It is created when you smelt down Bel-Arayba and mix it with Meddul soil. This scrambles the mind-controlling Mennif rays and makes them completely useless.

Kussgull – A flower which grows in Jarmuthe. In powder form, it sends people to sleep almost instantly for at least eight hours. Great for sneak attacks!

A Busgot – A large see through leaf used in fishing. You hold it in the water and when you see a fish swim under the leaf, pull hard on the stem. The Busgot curls up and traps the fish which you can then pull out.

Gwella – A fantastic healing plant, which sends the patient to sleep while their wounds heal.

There are a lot more plants and natural resources on Eshla to discover – you’ll have to read the books to learn about them all!

Jarmuthe

Mailing list?

I have a quick question for any other indie authors out there: do you keep a list of email addresses for people interested in your book? I keep reading articles that mention the importance of having a mailing list, but how do you develop such a list? And don’t people mind if you keep sending them emails?!

As ever, I’d appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

three books

It’s here!

The sequel to ‘The Lost Heirs’ is available to buy now!

How do you disguise a fluffy blue alien in Victorian England? How do you stop your evil headmaster from ruining your exam grades? How do you live down the humiliation of your whole year group thinking you have a teddy bear in your rucksack? Join Eric as he searches for the answers in the next Eshlan adventure.

The quest continues with Eric, Corbin, Rose and Lydia trying to release the next prince from the Bel-Arayba cave. The four friends have some tough decisions to make while looking for the second stone in 1842, and things are getting pretty tricky in their own time too as Lowick Bradwar, masquerading as their head teacher, steps up his plans to get back to Eshla.

Meanwhile in Eshla itself, things are far from peaceful, as the malicious Galed continues her campaign against the Arwain family.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TDR1YRE

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‘The Second Stone’ is the second book in The Eshla Adventures series. Be sure to read the first: The Lost Heirs – a five star Amazon rated, middle grade/YA steampunk, fantasy adventure! FREE for today only…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NJX2DQY

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Fingers crossed!

Well, over 900 people downloaded my book from Amazon on the day it was free! 15 more people have bought it since. I’m pretty chuffed with that 😁 Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed that some of them like it!

Marketing books is a minefield. There are so many companies offering to ‘tweet thousands of followers’ on your behalf, for $10 – $60. I’m not convinced mass contact works though. I think the best approach has to be targeted. Once the second book is out I’m going to be experimenting with Bookbub and a few others who target readers Interested in your specific genre. Please comment if you’ve found anything that works well for you!

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http://amzn.com/B00NJX2DQY

Two very different books by the same author.

I’ve just been introduced to Lulu – or, more specifically, http://www.lulu.com. I’d almost forgotten there are other online bookshops, besides Amazon! Anita Kovacevic has two books published on there in two contrasting genres.

The first, is Winky’s Colours.

A beautifully illustrated story, which follows Winky, the adorable penguin, on his quest for colour. Along the way he discovers danger, friendship and oodles of cuteness! Younger children will love this book, the illustrations are so appealing – forget Pingu, Winky should have his own TV station!

As a teacher and a parent (albeit of a 17 year old teenager!) this book had several elements I really appreciated. Anita Kovacevic is an educator who really understands how to engage children. The book is punctuated with questions and little tasks that raise this above a basic storybook, for example: Can you describe Winky’s family? Can you draw them? Who is your favourite?

I can imagine a parent and child on a rainy weekend, sat at their dining room table, reading this story and working through the various activities, questioning and exploring together.

This will help children develop reading skills that older children are often lacking. I cannot recommend it enough to parents.

winky

Buy Winky’s Colours here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-kovacevic/winkys-colours/paperback/product-22000468.html

 

The second book was ‘The Threshold.’

Original and gripping from the first page. I wish I’d waited till the next day to start this, I couldn’t really afford the late night! I defy anyone to stop reading, ‘The Threshold’ once they start.

The mysteriously tantalising opening chapter introduces the legend of ‘The House’ and captivates the reader from that point on.

The main character in the first part, Josephus Clarence Thibedeaux III, is elegantly created in a style reminiscent of Charles Dickens: ‘and proceeded to hide his falsehood and ego under smooth eloquence, well-mannered posture and gentlemanly elegance.’ He is responsible for both the building of the house and the mystery that surrounds it. Years later, and a host of fascinating individuals take on the legend.

The story is filled with twists and turns, which culminates in an ultimately satisfying ending.

Anita Kovacevic is a skilled writer with a well-paced plot and beautifully crafted phrases: ‘Mrs Poole’s pride was her most precious possession, and she wasn’t going to roll it out like a rug for ruthless people to walk all over.’

Recommended to anyone who likes mysteries, thrillers, suspense and wonderfully written prose.

threshold

Buy The Threshold here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-kovacevic/the-threshold/ebook/product-21998977.html