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*COVER REVEAL* Heroes Never Fade (A Maxilla Tale) by Rick Haynes

*COVER REVEAL* Heroes Never Fade (A Maxilla Tale) by Rick Haynes

As you can see above; the cover for ‘Heroes Never Fade’ has been revealed *cheers wildly* and i quite like it! It reminds me of the older fantasy books and there’s a slight tinge of nostalgia to it. So, to the book itself, what is it actually about? Well, here’s the blurb…

“In the land of Cpin the Queen has mysteriously disappeared. Discontent is spreading and the threat of civil war looms ever closer, for the Tormented King is marching towards the city.
Tarn obeys a command to enter the world of the magical Souls, for those close to him have been threatened.
The lure of gold seduces Grona to a meeting with Abastor, the leader of the Souls. His options are limited, tell no one, follow instructions or die.
War is inevitable, but can the combined forces of the few, oppose the host from Marathi?
And would any man trust the Gods to prevent the slaughter?”

 ‘Heroes Never Fade’ is the second of the Maxilla Tales, following on from ‘Evil Never Dies’ (my review can be found here). It looks as though Haynes is dealing with the themes of good vs evil, and the juxtaposition of Gods and Humans, something that was excellently explored in Evil Never Dies.

The world of the magical Souls also sounds really cool and I’m hoping Abastor is as bad ass as I think he’ll be, I do love a good ultimatum!

Evil Never Dies was a book that I really enjoyed, the action was lightning quick and the author’s writing style was fluid and easy, something that I love in a book. I am really excited to read Heroes Never Fade, I’m sure it’ll be action packed and fantasy-filled!

Heroes Never Fade will be released on April 11th and can be pre-ordered on Amazon here. Also, join Rick and 4 special guest authors on April 11th for his Heroes Never Fade release event; check out his Facebook profile below for details of the event.

Where to find Rick Haynes;

Website: www.rickhaynesauthor.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rickhaynesauthor/

MY ‘TBR’ (To Be Reviewed) Pile

I like to read, no, scratch that; I LOVE to read! From fantasy to thriller, not much is off limits – although I’ve never been one for romance. I also review the books that I’ve read, as a way of sharing my opinions and hearing those of others. Do we like the same book? Yeah? Cool. No? Cool, tell me why.

There’s nothing better than talking to someone who loves the same book or author that you do, and waxing lyrical about that character or this character. It’s awesome! And this is why I get excited about the books I haven’t read yet; I am about to discover a character that I like, or even better, a character that I absolutely hate!

Below is a list of just some of the books I currently have on my ‘TBR’ pile. Let me know if you’ve read any of them yet, and if so, what did you make of them?

Continue reading “MY ‘TBR’ (To Be Reviewed) Pile”

Book Review – Scavenger: A.I. (Sand Divers #2) by Timothy C. Ward

Book Review – Scavenger: A.I. (Sand Divers #2) by Timothy C Ward

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

The book blurb;

‘Hundreds of years ago a nanotech virus nearly wiped out humanity. The kernel of that technology has been locked in a buried military and guarded from warlords and tyrants by a class of sentries. Divemaster Rushing Stenson and his wife Star thought their journey underground would lead to the discovery of the ancient city of Danvar. Instead, they resurrected a power perfect for the tyrant that put them there. He plans to use this self replicating technology to rebuild America and give life eternal to those loyal to his empire.’

Continue reading “Book Review – Scavenger: A.I. (Sand Divers #2) by Timothy C. Ward”

Book Review – The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King by Michael R. Miller

Book Review – The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King by Michael R. Miller

The book blurb;

‘Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.

Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.

Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging…’

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

The book trailer;

The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King tells the story of Darnuir, the prince of the Dragons as he is ‘reborn’ in order to save his life. Darnuir must lead his people in a war against those of ‘the shadow’, demons and spectres controlled by an evil wizard. The dragons must unite with the fairies and with the humans  in order to protect their world.

I will try to avoid the usual cliches when reviewing this book, but keep in mind the phrases ‘unputdownable’, ‘a real page turner’ and others of that ilk.

The Reborn King is a character-driven story of conflict and intrigue. Darnuir in particular is a character that I really enjoyed reading. He is saved with a rebirthing spell that turns him into an infant and he is then raised among the human population. Darnuir becomes a ‘hunter’, a faction of the human military that specialises in tracking and guerrilla-like warfare. the years pass by and we, the readers, are given little snippets of information that are forming Darnuir’s influences and this makes for intriguing reading. When Darnuir is told of his true position, as king of the dragons, the story starts to really pick up pace.

What i liked most about this is the way that Darnuir’s character becomes increasingly conflicted. He is now wielder of the Dragon’s Blade and is guided by his Guardian, Blaine. Through the rubies on his blade, Darnuir can access his old memories (this part of the book is especially brilliant) and this causes a changing in him. Darnuir’s conflict is something that is portrayed excellently and you can feel almost feel his strife as the ‘old’ Darnuir starts to come through.

The races in Tenalp (read it backwards) are plentiful and are of sure, fantasy stock. There are fairies, humans and frost trolls, as well as the dragon’s themselves. The political ties between these races is super interesting and their history if given in snippets but it is fantastic. One of my favourite features of this book is the battle strategies used by the leaders of the races, it is well thought out and actually has some logic to it, and it isn’t there simply for show.

Summary

This is a world that I want to read more of and the characters will keep me coming back for more. The action is delivered with a quick punch and surprise to it, the battles are fast, furious and enormously deadly. The legendary weapons on show are simply magnificent and add a layer of depth to the story (as well as being super cool).

Recommendation

This is pure, fast-paced fantasy at its finest. The characters are plentiful, the action is real, and the story is wonderful. Fantasy lovers will want to read this book. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fresh story that is set in a fantastical new world.

Rating

4.5/5

*Cover image taken from iamselfpublishing.com*

Where to find Michael R. Miller;

Website: thedragonsblade.com

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Where to find The Dragon’s Balade: The Reborn King;

goodreads logoamazonwaterstones-logobarnes-and-noble-logo

 

Guest post: 5 Useful Principles When Self Publishing (Or The Only One That Matters)

Guest post: 5 Useful Principles When Self Publishing (Or The Only One That Matters)

Hi, my name is Timandra, and I’m a self published writer. Just a few weeks ago I published my debut fantasy novel Touch of Iron which Dan reviewed here. And today he’s being so kind and letting me take over his blog. So, strap up your boots, and let me march you through self publishing; what works, what doesn’t, plus 5 useful principles I learned along the way.

TW picture PotC

So let me get my teacher hat (and chalk) and write on the blackboard of your mind a truism you’re gonna have to deal with when self publishing: a lot of self published books out there are shit. Shit nobody wants to read. So how do you get people to read your awesome book when there’s so much sewage out there?

 

Enter the indie writer gurus. These are the people who have been in the scene for years now, have carved out a living from their writing, and teach others how YOU CAN DO IT TOO. Our heroes. The people we look up to, listen to, want to emulate.

Baseline? Your self publishing strategy should look like this:

  • WRITE, PUBLISH, REPEAT.
  • Write your first book.
  • Publish it. Set the price to zero $.
  • Distribute it as widely as you possibly can.
  • Advertise it over Facebook Ads.
  • Do giveaways to get even more people in front of your book.
  • While doing this, write the next book in that series.
  • Keep doing this for at least five or six books (two trilogies for example).

 

So, last year I was determined to do exactly what my gurus were telling me. Until suddenly, caught up in the middle of publishing, I found I wasn’t. Why?

First up, my credentials: at the time of writing this guest post I’ve been published 6 weeks. In that time I’ve sold 84 ebooks, and 4 print copies. And I’ve given a number of books away for free in exchange for reviews. However, Touch of Iron ranks pretty consistently in the 300/400’s (fluctuates a bit) in the category Dark Fantasy in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com. It has 16 reviews, averaging on 4.4 stars. Is that any good? I dunno really. It’s my first time. I think so. Here’s how I deviated from the Self Publishing Formula™

I started out like all others do: I wrote a book. Only I didn’t write in the preferred money-making genres of Romance or Thriller. Instead, I wrote a fantasy story. Grimdark even. In my defense, it was the story I wanted to read, needed to write. But, sheesh, fantasy? Ain’t no one got time for fantasy. Audience is too busy watching Game of Thrones.

 

So I wrote and tweaked until I was sure I couldn’t improve it anymore on my own. I didn’t publish it, though. Professional authors, the big names you love to read, well, the publishing houses that pay them … they also pay for editing those books. So I got myself an editor and listened to him.

Then I rewrote.

Then I paid for beta readers who weren’t related or befriended to me. At all. I randomly picked a handful of beta readers on Fiverr.com.

Of course Mummy loves your book, sweetie. Here, have some coffee.
Of course Mummy loves your book, sweetie. Here, have some coffee.
Then I rewrote.

 

You know what other service publishing houses pay for? Copyeditors. These are the people who check your manuscript line by line for your grammar errors, typos, and language glitches. Got me one of those, too.

I made changes accordingly.

But see, I still hadn’t hit that publish button. A weird compulsion drove me to diverge from the pattern the gurus had laid out so neatly, and instead adopt a marketing strategy as though my book were traditionally published.

You know who else publishing houses hire? A proofreader. Someone new to the project to read over the entire body of work and check everything. Every-fucking-thing. So I paid for one of those.

I made changes accordingly.

So, I’ll stop here, but I hope you’re seeing the pattern: I paid for quality control. In fact, I’m paying a lot for quality control. On what should be a free, scatter-it-to-the-wind kinda book. Why? Remember that foolproof marketing strategy, Timandra? It really does work, you know.

Yes. It worked three years ago, and probably will work for a bit longer. But not forever.

It’s pointless to follow guidelines when everyone is still making it up as they go along. So maybe you too have to make it up as you go along.

There are two basic ways to market your self published book.

One is quantity.

This is what has become the Self publishing Code. You produce the best book you can as fast as you can. You’re gonna give it away, remember? Besides, you can easily upload an updated, typo free-er version later on. Change the suck-y cover. The point is to get your shit out there fast. Outshit the others, so to speak.

But …

I can’t. I have one demanding day job, two lively, young kiddos to parent, a husband who does occasionally yearn for my attention, and I already sleep less than 5 hours most nights (it’s 00.03 AM and I’m jittering on my 4th cup of coffee as I write this). There’s no way I can outshit the others by writing quantity.

So what else could I do? The gurus had no answer.

I was in the middle of publishing and realized I had to figure it out on my own

Scary, but it boils down to this: quality.

Granted, the product I’m selling won’t appeal to everyone. I don’t want it to. But it is the highest possible quality I could pay for, and I believe there’s an appreciative audience out there waiting for those kind of books. Sure, I’ll have to wait longer for my single book to earn me back the cost. I’ll have to take longer writing the next book in the series, because it too must attain to my set standard of quality. I’ve involved a lot of other professionals in my venture. They each have their own schedules and can’t work faster than they already are. Also, I want to keep this writing business up for a long time, my whole life preferably. There is no (Kindle Gold) rush.

Summing up, I’m not doing it according to the Self Publishing Formula™. I messed up the guidelines. (I’m sorry, guys. It’s not you, it’s me!) I improvised, I binge studied the night before, and frankly, on some days simply bluffed my way through it all. So …

5 Useful Guidelines When Self Publishing:

#1 Write the book you want to read.

#2 Make it the best you can. Get an editor already.

#3 Nothing beats word of mouth. You need reviews. So … hustle with the book bloggers out there. Hustle hard.

#4 Most of all in self publishing: you ALONE are responsible. Take the advice out there, but make things work for you. The industry is ever changing. No one even knows what’ll be the deal next year, let alone in five years time.

#5 Write the next book you want to read. No one will do it for you.

 

Resources:

My gurus:

Sean Platt & Johnny B Truant with Dave Wright: Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) (The Smarter Artist Book 1)

amazon

Nick Stephenson, Supercharge Your Kindle Sales: Simple Strategies to Boost Organic Traffic on Amazon, Sell More Books, and Blow Up Your Author Mailing List (Book Marketing for Authors 2) amazon

Mark Dawson, Facebook Advertising for Authors www.selfpublishingformula.com

 

My beta readers and proofreader: www.fiverr.com

 

My editors:

story: http://harrydewulf.com

copy: http://www.bookflydesign.com/editing/

About Timandra Whitecastle

Tim Whitecastle

Timandra is a self-confessed nerd and a writer of fantasy. She is a mother to two children and balances this with her writing AND a day-job!. Her debut novel Touch of Iron was released recently and is also an entry into the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) hosted by Mark Lawrence. The book has already been voted into second place for best cover by the adjudicating bloggers (it is seriously cool) and it’s easy to see why!

11 random things about Tamara:

  1. Best ISTJ of all times? Batman.
  2. I was born in Germany, but on British ground. (Interesting 1980’s legal technicalities.)
  3. I hate pizza. It is known.
  4. My favorite reading genres are Fantasy and Cook Books.
  5. In my class, I was the geek. (We were over twenty girls and only six boys. No one ever dated.)
  6. I used to play Everquest II online, but then … (wait for it!) I took an arrow to the knee.
  7. I sometimes use the TV as a babysitter AND promise my kids dessert if they eat their dinner.
  8. My goal in life is to leave behind as little as possible that my children have to throw away.
  9. I mostly eat a paleo diet. Except when I’m on the stuff-your-face-with-chocolate-diet. Then I don’t do paleo.
  10. I studied Literature at University. Finally I got to read as much as I wanted. And more. It was great.
  11. Now I’m a teacher for English as a Foreign Language. Basic principle? Message before accuracy!

My book: Touch of Iron (Click the image for the link)

touch of iron cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Tim (in a super non-creepy way. No, you can’t have her address)

Website: http://timandrawhitecastle.com/

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Book Review – Touch of Iron (The Living Blade #1) by Timandra Whitecastle

Touch of Iron (The Living Blade #1) by Timandra Whitecastle

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

The book blurb;

‘Is the Living Blade real or just a legend?

With it… Prince Bashan could win back his kingdom.
Master Telen Diaz can free himself of the burden from his past.
Owen Smith sees a once-in-a-lifetime chance to gain untold knowledge.

… but for Noraya Smith, the Living Blade will bring nothing but suffering and sorrow.’

Continue reading “Book Review – Touch of Iron (The Living Blade #1) by Timandra Whitecastle”

5 signs that you’re a reading addict

Are you addicted to reading? If you recognise any of these features then the chances are you’re a reading addict.

Continue reading “5 signs that you’re a reading addict”

Apologies.

Hi everyone, I hope you are all very well and are geared up for a great Christmas!!

I am writing this as an apology for my lack of presence lately; I have been searching for excuses but came up with; ‘My dog ate it’… In actual fact I have been busy and have not had the time, nor the energy to get around to giving this blog the love and attention that it needs, and that has really galled me!

So I’m back, and I’m reading…HARD. I have a bunch of review requests in my inbox and I will be responding to them throughout this week. So hopefully, over the next few weeks, I will be more active and I’ll be able to add some reviews.

Lastly; I have still been reading the blogs that I am subscribed to, I always love reading Drew’s poems over at thetattooedbookgeek and Suzanne’s posts over on her blog, and I will be buying have bought, her novel, ‘Visions of Zarua’!

Thank you to everyone who has continued to follow the blog, and for those who have recently followed me.

I’ll speak to you all soon 😀

Book Review – Hope and Red by Jon Skovron

Hope and Red (Empire of Storms Trilogy #1) by Jon Skovron

Published June 30th 2016 by Orbit Books

The book blurb;

‘IN A FRACTURING EMPIRE SPREAD ACROSS SAVAGE SEAS, TWO PEOPLE FIND A COMMON CAUSE.

HOPE, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor’s forces, is secretly trained as a warrior and instrument of vengeance.

RED, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.

Together they will take down an empire.’

Click to read the full review

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