Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scorched Skies: Teaser #6

" Flames exploded behind her sending Ari careening into the mirror in shock.  Acid burned in the back of her throat from fear as her father, The White King, stepped out of the Peripatos. She blinked, not quite sure it was real, that he was really there behind her and not her wicked imagination playing tricks on her. His implacable eyes met hers in the mirror and reality slammed into her with the force of a shotgun bullet. No, not here. "


Sam x

Friday, February 24, 2012

Giveaway: Tale of Lunarmorte Signed Paperbacks

As I did with the reformatted proof copies of the Warriors of Ankh series, I'm giving away signed proof copies of The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy with the new cover art.



To Enter:

*You must be 16 years or older
*Giveaway is international
*One winner will win a signed copy of Moon Spell, River Cast and Blood Solstice
*One Entry per person
*There is no requirement to follow my blog or any of my other social pages
*Giveaway will end Midnight (GM) Friday 17th March and the winner will be announced Saturday 18th March.

Fill in the form below to enter:

UPDATE : The giveaway is now closed. Winner will be announced Monday 19th March.

Tale of Lunarmorte Paperbacks


The new paperbacks are now available on amazon.com







Sam x

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Indie Novels that have Rocked my Week

While Scorched Skies (Fire Spirits #2) is with the editor I've found myself in a predicament. You see I don't generally like to work on two full-length projects at once so if I can't work on Scorched Skies I putter about restlessly chewing on ideas for other books but not really doing anything about it because I don't want to get lost in another world while I'm technically still in Ari, Jai and Charlie's. So... I decided to get caught up on my reading. My reading pile has gotten out of control recently because I haven't been able to get through it. It's been amazing to be able to pick up book after book these last few days and I decided to start with a few indies. Technically I was in the middle of one and I got to finish it at last and then blasted my way through two more.

Here's three indie novels that I've thoroughly enjoyed over the last few days...

by Susan Ee

Book Description

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

My Thoughts

I loved this book so much I've actually ordered the paperback edition from the US. This is only £0.77 in the UK in kindle and $0.99 in the US. This is a whole lot of fantabulous novel for this price and genuinely gives traditionally published dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels a run for their money.

Macabre, raw, thrilling and suspenseful, Angelfall by Susan Ee is a truly exceptional and unique read. A dystopian supernatural novel and the first part in a new series, Angelfall starts with a bang and ends with a hook. I was pulled in from the very start with Angelfall by not only the intriguing and action-packed opening sequences, but by Penryn - the narrator and heroine - and her no-nonsense attitude. A compelling mixture of hardass ruthlessness and loyal compassion, Penryn is definitely up there with some of my favourite kickass YA heroines. Together, Raffe and Penryn are a hypnotic team, driving us through a dark, violent and mysterious new landscape with pure depth and brilliant characterization. For all those who like romance with their YA Ee does hint at it with a passionate subtlety that makes me eager for more. I simply cannot wait for book two. There is nothing else like Angelfall on my bookshelf!
Explosive stuff.




by Maddy Edwards


Book Description

 Sixteen-year-old Autumn goes to stay with her friend Carley in Castleton, Maine, for the summer. All she’s expecting is a normal couple of months hanging out at the beach with friends. Nothing out of the ordinary was supposed to happen.

But as soon as she arrives she meets Holt Roth. Holt is unlike anyone she’s ever met before – and her reaction to him is even more unexpected.

Then she meets his friend, Samuel Cheshire. If her reaction to Holt was strong, her reaction to Samuel is shocking. The only problem is that he seems to hate her for no reason at all.

Not being able to choose between two guys is only the beginning of Autumn’s problems, because both Samuel and Holt are Fairy Princes, and Autumn is caught between her own desires and the Fairy Courts, who might cause her immeasurable pain if she makes the wrong choice.


My Thoughts

Like stepping into a modern, urban fairy tale, One Black Rose, is charming, enchanting and utterly romantic. With vivid depictions of Maine and the two families of the Winter and Summer Courts, I was instantly pulled into Maddy Edwards lush story. Easy, smooth, addictive prose, entertaining and authentic dialogue and a plot that transports the classic fairytale into modern teen fiction, I happily spent the day within the world of One Black Rose. As well as the awesome action-packed and glittering final chapters, my favourite element of the story was the aptly named heroine Autumn. Fiesty, stubborn, brave and fiercely independent it was excellent and refreshing to come across a YA heroine who continues to remain strong despite her supernatural bond to the two male protagonists. Speaking of which… I find myself in the unusual position of being completely on the fence: Holt or Samuel?! I don’t know! They’re both yummy. Mmm.

Great Read! Highly Recommended!
Already downloaded the next installment!




By M. Leighton


Book Description

Love is irresistible. Gravity is undeniable.

Holy men have foretold their birth for thousands of years. Supernatural creatures have awaited it for thousands more. Now, in the presence of an eclipse, three souls mature for a single purpose—to fight. They must fight for their lives, for their freedom and for the liberation of everyone possessed of a second nature.

********

Peyton Giles’s world is turned upside down when she learns that everyone in her life and in her school is much more than they appear, she most of all. Peyton is the one person in all of time and history powerful enough to bring peace to the darkness and to the light. Not knowing that her powers could kill her, however, Peyton nearly loses her life only to have her brother’s best friend save it. Drawn to him in ways she can’t explain, Trace is the one person that she literally can’t live without. Her soul is tethered to her world through her connection to him. Without it, she will die.

For the most part, Trace Kramer has always steered clear of his best friend’s sister. Until now. He never would’ve expected that Peyton would hold his life and his future in her hands the way she’s always held his heart. But she does.

Peyton and Trace soon learn that love and fate aren’t easier than duty and destiny, at least not when you’re being hunted. Together, they are more powerful than any other creature on the planet—and more valuable—but apart, neither can survive to fight for freedom, for the only life they’ve ever known and for the lives of everyone they’ve ever met.

Their need for one another is undeniable. Their love for one another is irresistible. But can it endure all that they must suffer?
 


My Thoughts

Fast-paced, intriguing, romantic and epically supernatural Gravity is the thrilling first part in M. Leighton’s brand new duology. Narrated by the funny, warm and incredibly likeable Peyton, Gravity grips the reader, propelling us forward through a mystery that continues to intrigue until the very last page.
I loved the sun and moon mythology and how creepy and insular the small town became as the truth of its purpose was brought to light. And of course my favourite element of the story was the characters - in particular Peyton and Trace. Leighton created chemistry between the two characters from literally the first page which is an incredibly difficult thing to do - it was fantastic to read! The two of them fairly sizzled throughout the entire novel.

With Peyton on the cusp of an epic battle with some truly wickedly cool powers I cannot wait to read book two!

Brilliant stuff!





Sam x 
 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath (Everneath #1)
by Brodi Ashton

My Copy - Hardcover edition from the US - amazon.com $12.23
Is now available in the UK in paperback - amazon.co.uk £4.49 & Kindle £5.99


Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


My Thoughts
Stunning Read!


*side note - One of my favourite covers ever.


Wow. Breaking it down: over and above I absolutely loved this book. It’s one of my favourite reads of 2012 so far and definitely one of my favourite YA books ever. I picked it up a few hours ago and I literally couldn’t put it down until I finished, the story and the writing was so compelling and addictive. At the same time I found Everneath a really difficult read because my chest ached the entire time; the narration was so heartbreaking and the premise so bittersweet and dark. Brodi Ashton’s mythology is pure genius, I was captivated by her take on the Hades and Persephone myth and the underworld called ‘Everneath’ and the creatures that live there ‘Everlings’. It was just stunning and unique and so refreshingly wonderful to read. Narrator and heroine, Nikki, is exactly that - she’s courageous and pure of heart as is the love of her life, Jack. That sounds cheesy and perhaps a tad overdramatic but I assure they are anything but. In fact the love story was authentic, gripping and utterly heartbreaking. It’s one of the most real for me of all the love stories I’ve read in YA. I was actually choking back the tears a little at the end of this book. Not sure it’s one I could re-read over and over again but I am definitely desperate to read book two.

Beautifully dark and sweetly haunting. A must read!







Sam x

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Scorched Skies: Teaser #5

I found a teaser between Ari and Charlie with no spoilers! Enjoy...



"A knock at the door startled her and her heart started pounding fast against her ribs. Was that him? Oh God, oh God, oh God.
“Come in!” she called, trembling fingers smoothing down the front of her dress.
To her surprise it was Charlie who walked into the room. He was wearing a plain t-shirt and black pants instead of a ratty slogan shirt and knee-bitten jeans, and with his hair so short he looked older. Stronger. More appealing. Jerk.
“Whoa.” He drew to an abrupt halt, his dark eyes wide as they soaked in the sight of her. When his gaze finally returned to her face Ari was sure she was blushing like crazy. Charlie had never looked at her with such blatant interest before.
“Don’t look at me like that.” She squirmed uncomfortably.
“Then poke my eyes out because I can’t look at you any other way.” His eyes darkened with melancholy. “You look amazing.” "



Sam x

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My TBR Pile - Indie Books

My bookshelves (physical and digital) are just overflowing with unread novels because I haven't had the time lately to finish even one novel a week when before I was reading three to four a week. I've got some gems awaiting me as well. 
I have a lot of awesome-sounding indie books on my shelves. Here are just a few I can't wait to get around to reading...

 Gravity by M. Leighton
£1.96 kindle edition

  Wrecked by Elle Casey
£0.77


Sacred Bloodlines by Wendy Owens
£1.96

One Black Rose by Maddy Edwards
Free on kindle at the moment


I've read a few of M. Leighton's other novels and am a firm fan, so totally excited to read Gravity. I haven't read anything by Elle Casey, Wendy Owens or Maddy Edwards  but their books sound great. Can't wait to read them!

Sam x

Friday, February 17, 2012

From Pauper to... Less So. Sharing is Scary but it can help!




I’ve already mentioned on the blog that I was unemployed when my books started earning me enough that I could begin writing full time. Anyone who has been unemployed knows how soul crushing the experience is. It batters your self-esteem and it can batter your motivation. Writing was my saving grace. 

It’s difficult for anyone to be in that dreaded unemployment status and with unemployment levels at an all-time high no one knows that better than folks right now. For me, being unemployed made me feel all kinds of a failure. Mostly I felt disillusioned and disenchanted. 

My parents are extraordinary folks living ordinary lives. My dad is a tanker driver and my mum works in retail. We didn’t have fancy holidays or fancy cars growing up but my parents gave us everything they had and more, including genuine interest in our lives. From the moment I could say the word school my mum and dad drilled it into me that I was going to university. I would be the first on either side of our immediate family to go to university.
I did everything I was supposed to. I worked my ass off in school, got great grades. I jumped into university as soon as I graduated high school and everything about it felt all wrong. Wrong degree, wrong classes, wrong university. So I left and this was the first time I found myself unemployed. It was crushing. After months of struggling to find a job (no one wanted to hire an inexperienced high school graduate who had only ever worked in a bakery and a supermarket) I was smiled upon by one of my best friend’s relatives who gave me a good job in administration with a big Scottish financial company. I was taken on with the understanding that I would be leaving in a year to attend the University of Edinburgh. 

I loved my first year in uni. I moved into student housing, met loads of great people (particularly some awesome American and Canadian friends I lived with that year), let my hair down for the first time, and met a friend for life - hey Kate McJ! It was all fun and games until I realized I’d spent all my student loans and still had no job to support living expenses in one of the most extortionate cities in the UK. Second year was… bad.  I don’t come from a well-off family who could support my living in the city. They would have loved to have been in a position to do that (and believe me they went without when I phoned home saying I had no money for food that week - my parents are AMAZING) but they weren't. I moved into a flat with my best mate and that was all hunky dory except it was expensive and I still had all my school books to buy. Thankfully I managed to get a job with a cab company that year but by the end of the year I was in hell. I was working 25 hours a week on backshifts, taking abuse from drunken callers every weekend, and hiding how utterly miserable I was. During the week I studied, went to class, wrote essays, and at the weekend I worked nights and slept during the day. I had no life and still not enough money to eat. Beans on toast became the staple diet. Or falafel. Mmm falafel.

For my third year, after having a bit of a breakdown during a trip home, we realized I had to move back home to Stirlingshire and commute to uni. Third year was horrible for a number of reasons that I won’t get into it. But uni-wise it was very difficult to have much of a social life when you don’t live there anymore (and I’d already isolated myself in second year - not from Kate McJ though - Hey Kate McJ!) and I was still working at the cab company too (although on reduced hours).  But… being home in a peaceful village did something for me. That story about Greek mythology and werewolves I’d been working on a little here and there for the past few years started to form into an actual book. So when I graduated I decided to finish it. Still working part time at the cab company, trying to find a full time job, I had extra time on my hands and the Lunarmorte trilogy just spilled out of me page by page, day by day. By the time I found a job with the police I had been published by a small press. I organized school visits, talking to students from high schools in my area, and book groups at libraries. It was nerve wracking for someone who’s shy of public speaking but I got used to it and it was really fun. It took my mind off the mountain of debt I’d accumulated as a student and the bad choices I’d made that made me feel like an utter failure. It felt like all that hard work at school for years hadn’t gotten me anywhere. My friend who I’d worked with as an administrator before leaving for Edinburgh Uni was making more money than I was -my thought process of course was ‘if I hadn’t gone to uni I wouldn’t have all that debt and I’d be making good money and be living in a home of my own’.

But then…. I’d probably have never written the Lunarmorte trilogy.

At the end of 2010 I discovered Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath. I researched everything they’d done to make a success of self-publishing and I thought… ‘I can do that’. Or at least I can try. I bought my rights back to Lunarmorte Book One -retitled it Moon Spell, finished Book #3, edited them all and started self-publishing at the end Feb 2011. By then budget cuts had come into play at the police and I’d been let go. After a temping job ended I was once again without employ.
 And I seriously don’t know how I would have gotten through those months without writing. My parents kept a roof over my head, I had red letters in the post that made me sick to my stomach, and I was on benefits. I went to interviews that seemed to go well but only ended in disappointment and I couldn’t believe that the girl who used to make my parents so proud with A’s and educational awards was such a complete mess.
I think I fuelled the anger I felt into my writing, churning out dreamworlds that helped me escape it all. 

As an avid reader I suppose I found it easier to approach bloggers I’d already been following and ask them if they’d consider reviewing my book or doing a guest post. Without their wonderful help I don’t think my sales would have increased as quickly as they did.

What is the point of this huge window into my world? Because to be honest I’m not really that good at opening up to people - sure it’s easier in writing but this is out for the all the world to see. Why then? Because Joe Konrath said something on his blog recently that really resonated with me. He said he started the trend of sharing his sales numbers and earnings but he’d only done so to show other authors how possible it was to make a living from self-publishing… it wasn’t to brag and it wasn’t to compete with other writers. And that’s exactly why I’ve shared my figures in the past. I literally had nothing before I self-published. Nothing but a pile of strangulating debt. There are so many people in that position and some of them are writers too.

So… what is possible?

I now have eight novels out and one novella. So nine titles. Five are priced $0.99, two at $2.99 and two at $3.99. Before December I was averaging between 12000 - 15000 sales a month. Money - £7000 to £9500 a month. In December I joined amazon’s KDP Select and with the Christmas spenders and the free promotional tool I made 23000 sales (and 16000 free downloads) and over all made roughly £17000. I’ve just gotten my sales report in for January. I sold 25000 copies of my books (75000 free downloads) and made $31000 in the US and £4500 in the UK. That’s roughly earnings of £23000 in January alone.
I can’t get my head around that. And like Konrath says, I’m not telling you to brag, I’m sharing to explain what is possible through amazon self-publishing when you work really hard and comport yourself professionally.  As Konrath said there are indie authors out there hitting the NYT list but that’s not what this is about for me. *shakes head vigorously* I can write full time doing something I love! I’ve paid off my debt. I’m holidaying to the Caribbean in July (my first holiday in 6 and a half years and I’ve never been anywhere like the Caribbean before!) And I just bought a brand new car. I had the thing growling like mad at first because I’m so used to driving cheap wee bangers that should have been proclaimed  un-roadworthy that I didn’t realize I just needed to tap the accelerator and the thing starts! I also don’t have to sit at junctions forever waiting for a gap big enough for my slow wee thing to pull out into. This car just goes weeeee! I was literally hooting with laughter the first time I did it! *clears throat sheepishly* ( such a sad person lol).Also, I’m saving up for my own home and I’m helping my parents out in ways I never could before.
And one of the best things is… I no longer feel like a failure. And that is really important for me.

To reiterate how much I’m just trying to inspire people who want to make writing their full time career, or at least have writing help pay the bills, I can tell you I’m terrible at talking about this stuff. I can’t speak about it face to face. When people ask me what I do for a living I get all mumbly and self-conscious and when my dad brags to people about how well I’m doing I get so mortified I just want to melt into a puddle in the floor (thanks Dad!). It may be easier in writing but it’s still hard for me to share at this kind of level but if it helps then I’m good with it.

You see a lovely author emailed me this morning asking for inspiration and she inspired me to write this blog. I remember reading Amanda Hocking's figures and Konraths and how much they inspired me to do this. So.... I hope this post inspires and I hope it does help even if in some tiny way.

Sam x 

P.S. A massive thank you to all my readers. Love you lots. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

FREE ebook: Drip Drop Teardrop, a novella

 Drip Drop Teardrop, a novella - a Paranormal Romance

Inspired entirely by the song 'Overload' by The Cardigans, Drip Drop is quite different from anything I've ever written before. Lyrical, dream-like, and short coming in at around 25,000 words which is a fairly decent length for a novella.

For two days only Drip Drop is FREE to download from amazon. Here are the links:

amazon UK - HERE 
amazon US - HERE


Sam x

Monday, February 13, 2012

Teaser #4 - Scorched Skies

I really wanted to give you a Charlie and Ari teaser but I can't seem to find an interaction between them that doesn't give away a major spoiler :-p So... here's another Jai and Ari teaser...




" Picking up a photograph of Derek that she’d placed on the dresser Jai seemed to relax again, as if he’d remembered what he was doing there and what it was he was supposed to say. He put the photo down carefully and turned to her. His vivid eyes held her in place, her heart pounding as she waited for him to say something. Anything. “Trey told me you don’t trust me anymore.”
Trey has a big mouth. Wrapping self-possession around her like armor, Ari sauntered by him to put her hairdryer away. “I trust you to do your job.” "


Sam x