Monday, 19 June 2017

Special Book Feature and Guest Post: HEIR OF VENGEANCE by Fiona Tarr

Fiona's 5 Top Tips for Marketing
It’s been three years since I released my first fantasy book and now, as my 4th book Heir of Vengeance is released I can honestly say, I’ve learnt a lot since then. I naively wrote my first book and released it into the wilds of Amazon with high hopes, but quickly discovered there is so much more to publishing, than simply writing a good story.
With an estimated twenty million books for sale on Amazon, how on earth is anyone supposed to find, read and review my novels? I have spoken with authors who have up to seven books published, but have seen little or no sales and no reviews on their hard and heartfelt stories. So what’s the secret?
Marketing! Marketing is the secret. Not that sleazy spammy ‘buy my book’ kind of marketing, but solid long term marketing. There are some exceptionally solid sources of marketing for authors out in the wide world of the internet and I have spent the last three years piecing them together into a strategy I use and have found to be successful.
By success I mean, I am selling books, I am getting reviews and I am building a network of readers and like-minded authors to network with. That doesn’t mean I have a big publishing contract on the horizon, or expect to hit the top seller list any time soon, but I am making progress.
So what are my 5 tips for marketing?
  1. Marketing is a long-term strategy towards long-term readers and sales.
  2. Write more books. It’s very difficult to build a reader database or fan base with only one published book.
  3. Ensure your work is the best it can be. No one wants to read or review a poorly edited book. Get your work professionally edited.
  4. Be prepared to give away short stories, part of your book or all of your first book to gain email addresses and new readers. It’s just like applying for a job. Your work is your resume and you need to get it into as many hands as possible to gain interest and credibility for the long-term.
  5. Network with other authors and work hard to help them as much as they help you.

Heir of Vengeance is the 4th and final book in my current series, although I do have a Novella coming out as a prequel before Christmas. Buy it now for 99 cents – Limited Time Only!
Available on Amazon or all other digital retailers here.

To celebrate the release of Heir of Vengeance I am offering a chance to win the entire series. All 4 e-books to be won.
To enter you can either LIKE my Facebook page here.
Join my Facebook Blog Tour Event here.
Or download my first book Destiny of Kings FREE here.
Or, you can do ‘all of the above’  for 3 chances to win!

Find me on
Twitter: @fionatarr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fionatarr.atime2write/
Website: atime2write.com.au

In case you missed the buy link above. Grab Heir of Vengeance here.


About the Author
My fantasy novels are fast paced, character driven historical stories with strong mystical, spiritual and theological themes mixed with elements of the classic heroic/epic fantasy genre. My writing was first inspired by the heroic fantasy style of David Gemmell, but I have most recently been compared to Traci Harding.
It turns out writing is in the blood. My Great Uncle was George Johnston (My Brother Jack) and although I don't claim to have his renowned literary style, I do write a mean fantasy novel.
I find culture, faith, philosophy and sociology intriguing and these topics are at the heart of my fantasy.
I live in Noosa, Australia with my husband and two sons and I run a small business involving tourism and watersports. Occasionally I dabble in advocacy, mentoring and spend time on my personal entrepreneurial pursuits. When I am not writing I am either kitesurfing, stand up paddle surfing, travelling or volunteering in some capacity. I love cheese, chocolate and living a creative life.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Live in Balance: What do you think?

The last time I blinked it was my brother and sister-in-law's birthday (they were born on the same date), and that was the 21st of May and like yesterday, wasn't it? The next thing there is an email to remind me to register for Camp NaNoWriMo.
My idea for Camp in July
Seriously? But that's in July and a long time to go yet! And yet, the month of July is only another 26 days away.

Winter has arrived in full force in my part of the country. The days are short (just over ten hours of sunlight) and the nights are cold.  While some parts of South Africa have warm days, we are praying for the rains to come in the Western Cape. The province is caught in a severe drought and receives the majority of its rainfall in the short winter months. Their rainy season is really cold and often accompanied by dangerously high winds. Let's hope the weather forecasters have their predictions in a row and the rain will arrive this coming week.
Where summer is a time for action and partaking in the enjoyments of life, winter seems to be a time for reflection and quiet. At least, that is how to experience this time of year. With the email from Camp NaNoWriMo, I was reminded that my Live in Balance goals for the year needs to be reassessed and perhaps adjusted.
Tempted as I am to simply delete one or two from my list, I decided to take a step back and have a good look at myself. These goals are mine. They are choices I made; commitments I made to myself. If I delete just one, what does that say about me and my commitment to myself to live the life I want? To Live in Balance and be a better, healthier version of myself. Should I just delete those goals where my performance was less than stellar, or worse where I have not performed at all?
I don't have an answer yet, but I will need to spend some time to reconsider my list of Live in Balance goals for this year. What you can be sure of is that I won't just give up. This is not a competition with anyone else. This list is about me, and my goals. Giving up because something turned out to be more challenging than I thought, is damn sure not an excuse in my book.
Have I given up on things in the past? Of course, I have as I am sure you have as well. Trying to milk the proverbial dead cow, is a waste of time. Life is way too short to worry about things where I cannot change the outcome, no matter how much effort I put in. Was it a complete waste? I considered it a learning experience that fortunately, did not cost me a lot of time, nor much money.
As we approach the halfway point of this year, I will spend some time to assess my progress towards my goals, and at the same time consider my goals for next year. Call it my first draft of 2018 if you like.
As with all first drafts, it will require time to sit before the editing/updating process gets underway. This is not a book; it is the next year my life we are talking about after all.
Maybe that is the reason so many people fail at their resolutions. They make impulsive choices that are not properly thought through.
What do you think? Do I stand a better chance of success because I spend the time to think about and plan my goals for the next year?

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Book Review: EATING ROBOTS by Stephen Oram

The future is bright…or is it?
Step into a high-tech vision of the future with the author of Quantum Confessions and Fluence, Stephen Oram.
Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, tele-empathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, Eating Robots explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.
Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

A universal booklinker link that detects which country you're in and links to Eating Robots myBook.to/EatingRobots


Linzé's Review
Each and every story surprised me, some in a good way, some not so good. These surprises are purely based on my personal preferences and reactions to reading them. While I liked some stories more than others, each story was well executed. The author manages in every single instance to draw the reader deep into the story line. The characters are formed quickly in the mind of the reader, and it isn't difficult to empathise with them, irrespective of the details of the plot or the outcome of the story.
Some of the stories have a gruesome subplot and yet the innocence with which the characters are portrayed makes it easy to be drawn into their world where they 'live' their realities and beliefs. As the reader, my reactions were purely based on my own world view, and yet the author did an amazing job of tempering any subjective reactions that someone from our time would have towards the activities that the characters engage in. Science fiction lends itself to a wide base of technological developments in various fields, some of which are more palatable to us than others. By exploring these technologies in the stories portrayed here, our eyes are opened to the practicalities of what these technologies may develop into.
Overall the stories have been written in an exceptional style. Science fiction sometimes makes 'showing, not telling' a difficult thing to accomplish in creative writing, but the author has done so with a high level of skill.
Despite my personal reactions (I grew nauseous while reading Real Meat and Eating Robots, and had to stop reading for a few minutes) the compilation is an excellent example of a collection of stories in the genre.
  
Linzé's rating: 💜💜💜💜

Book Feature: The N Days by John Murray McKay

Synopsis:
Charlotte Corday, an eighteen-year-old junkie, trying to survive on the crime-ridden streets of 1980s New York has a chance encounter with a group of five thugs beating a man to death behind a deli in Brooklyn. Through ways unknown to her yet, she manages to subdue the gang members using unheralded skills in combat and weaponry, killing three in the process. The man whose life she saved turns out to be a low-level enforcer for the New York Mafia. Impressed with her skills, Vince takes care of the injured Charlotte and slowly starts dragging her into a life of crime. He recognizes her potential as an assassin for the mob, digging his claws ever deeper into her. To keep her safe, Vince sends her to live with her two cross-dressing uncles in The Village (who also happens to run a clandestine gun-running operation above their salon.) She tries to live a normal life but her demons would not let her go, the blood on her hands a constant reminder of what she really is: a weapon.
Charlotte eventually goes looking into her past and discovers that she was part of a secret government-sponsored enhanced soldier program called Venom. She is imbued with the powers of legendary female warriors of history, giving her enhanced strength, recovery time and the fighting prowess of generations of deadly women. Unfortunately, this warps her mind and sends her life spiralling out of control in her quest for vengeance.


Determined to find the creators of Venom, Charlotte goes on a blood-soaked journey to find her origins, tearing New York City apart in the process. With the FBI and NYPD closing in on her after drug-fuelled massacre of thirty innocents, Vince offers Charlotte a tantalising proposition: A rooftop meeting between the creator of Venom and the head of the New York Mafia. With her finger on the sniper trigger, Charlotte has to make a decision: end the life of the man that ruined her entire existence or put a bullet through the most powerful Mafioso on the East Coast. She makes her choice but accidentally kills the mafia boss as he runs in front of her bullet. With Vince swearing a blood oath of vengeance on her, Charlotte goes on the run. Book one ends where her uncles smuggle Charlotte out of the country in a shipping container. Destination: Northern Ireland in the middle of the sectarian wars. With the knowledge that she can never go home, Charlotte Corday must forge a new path, one that runs straight through the blood-soaked streets of Belfast.


Story behind the story: 

I originally started a normal road trip novel across America from New York to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it neversaw the light of day but a little spark was born that eventually became The N Days. I took the concept of a road trip across the USA and married it with the genre of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. The final inspiration was remembering a scene from the TV series' Once upon a time'. I originally planned for only a single volume but when I looked again, a 5 book beast was written. The rest is history.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520228759 


Author Bio: 
I am a Pretoria, South Africa based writer of historical fiction and science fiction. I am currently a teacher in a local primary school. My previous publishing credits include “The N Days” through Night Chaser Ink Publishing in Australia. My second series 'The Venom Protocols' is a Summer Indie awards winner in 2016.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - Z is for...

Zero is not just a number...

Have you ever wished for a few minutes of silence? Or an hour or two of solitude? Few people actually want these things and the reasons vary from one person to the next. But why would you never want to be alone?

When zero is not the hero

Many people feel happy, in fact, they are at their happiest, when they are surrounded by people. People are noisy, to I guess the silence and the solitude go together in most cases. Is it even possible to be with other people 24/7? In our modern era of social media, it is. Different time zones, different times of the day. It doesn't matter where you are, the internet never sleeps. Then again...

Solitude will be inevitable at some point

What do you do when the power is down and with it all means to be online? Everything connected to our way of life is driven by technology and technology requires electricity. No power, no social media. It is a bad time to visit other people, now what? Do you freak out? Panic? Or do you shrug and go finish that painting you started last week? Or grab that book you have been threatening to read? Or search for a candle and catch up on your meditation or mindfulness practice?
The problem comes in when you are alone, even if the power is not the problem. Many people face that situation after a divorce, or children leaving home, or relocation to a new home. We can never completely avoid it.

Zero can be the hero

woman writing in a notebook
The best way to learn to deal with being alone is to control your time, your activities and your mind when you are. You can learn how to do that by choosing to be alone even for a short time. Find something to keep you occupied. An activity that you like, that could make you happy even though there is no one else around.
If you don't know what that is, take the time to find it. Explore new things. Take a moment to remember what you liked as a child, and translate that to the adult version.
Remember to record your journey and experiences in your journal. It is your time to be alone, isn't it?
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This is the last post of this series of Finding your Happiness through Journal Writing in the A to Z Challenge. This is, however, not the last word on this subject and I encourage you to read more books and explore online articles on the subjects of journal writing and personal happiness. You will be doing it for yourself after all.
Until next time!
Linzé