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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;




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 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 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

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.



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)


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


My beta readers and proofreader:


My editors:



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)


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Minimalist Mondays – Week #2

Good morning and a happy Monday to you 🙂

Minimalist Mondays are all about making things super easy at the beginning of the week (for you anyway, for me, it ain’t so easy). In this feature I will choose a book and give a 50 word review/synopsis of said book. Last week I attempted Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and had some success with that (I think?) and I really enjoyed doing it.

I decided to do Minimalist Mondays for a number of reasons, first of which is, I like rifling through my old books and refreshing myself on what I have read as I find that it can all become a blur after a while. It also gives me a chance to remember some of the finer details that I liked about a book and the characters that I may not have thought about for a while.

My inspiration for Minimalist Mondays was actually from my sister a couple of years ago (before I started my blog). I remember asking her if she wanted to see the film Gravity she grimaced and frowned before replying, “Nah, it’s just a woman floating around in space”. Now, this honestly cracked me up, it was so simple in its description and it got me thinking about other movies that could be summed up in such a simple way. I then migrated to books, and from that, Minimalist Mondays was created 🙂

This week I will attempt to reduce The Da Vinci Code down to 50 words, I know this isn’t going to be easy but I’ll have a good crack at it!

Man found dead in museum. Symbologist Professor Langdon called to solve murder. Meets cryptographer, Sophie Neveu, granddaughter of the dead man. Escape from French police and run from an albino monk. They solve clues, and get betrayed by English professor. Monk gets killed. Neveu is actually a descendent of Jesus.

This gets harder every time! I remember reading The Da Vinci Code when I was younger and it absolutely blew my mind, I thought it the most interesting book I’d ever read, and in truth, it was! I have re-read The Da Vinci Code several times and always enjoy it. I chose this book because I noticed that I actually had three copies of it, and wondered why I kept coming across it in my cupboard!

I found the super cool poster online but did not know who to credit it to so I’ve added a link here if you fancy checking out more cool stuff 🙂 Also, please comment and let me know if you have read The Da Vinci Code and if so, what you thought of it.


Thank you for taking the time out of your super busy Monday and reading ‘Minimalist Mondays – Week #2. I hope you have a great day 🙂


Fantasy Fridays – Week #2

I think I originally planned to have ‘Fantasy Fridays’ every two weeks but I just couldn’t stop myself from typing! As anyone who has ever laid eyes on my blog in the past three months will tell you, I love fantasy!  I love the hundreds thousands of different species and creatures. I love the characters, from the squeaky clean hero to the morally grey anti-hero and even the super evil villains! You know you do too 😉

*Credit for the main image goes to StickyLeaf over at DeviantArt*

In ‘Fantasy Fridays – Week #1‘ I looked at the first fantasy novels I properly sank my teeth into as a child, The Edge Chronicles (the website is here). And because the artwork by Chris Riddell was so popular, I thought I’d share some more of it with you all (you can thank me later).


Thaw Daggerslash - Edge ChroniclesShryke - Edge chronicles

How bloody fantastic are they?! They are so detailed and expertly unique and compliment the novels brilliantly. Again, I thoroughly recommend reading these books!

This week I wanted to focus on another fantasy book that is aimed at the younger readers, the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. For those who haven’t read any of the Artemis Fowl novels, they are great. Artemis Fowl is a young genius from Ireland and a criminal mastermind. Artemis is from an exceedingly rich family and has his own security guard, ‘Butler’ who is just fantastic. Artemis soon learns that there is a whole other world, where other creatures such as fairies and (kleptomaniac) dwarves, and they are invisible (mostly) to human eyes.

The Artemis Fowl series is one that absolutely captured my attention and my imagination. This series has action, otherworldly technology, different fantastical races and a hole secret societal structure. It also has LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Recon) which fairy, Holly Short – a great character alongside Artemis – is a part of. The novels follow Artemis and Holly as they start as enemies and become friends and even partners. These books are just wonderful! here are some of the book covers. I personally think the Fairy runes are great!

Artemis Fowl cover 1Artemis Fowl cover 2

The Artemis Fowl books can be found via the image links below:

Artemis Fowl cover collection amazon waterstones-logo

Thank you for making it all the way through my fantasy ramblings 🙂 I hope you have enjoyed them. Next week I will be looking at one of my favourite fantasy trilogies of all time, ‘The Night Angel Trilogy’ – I can’t wait!!

That’s all from Fantasy Fridays – Week #2, please do comment and let me know if you have ready any of the books mentioned so far in the Fantasy Fridays posts 🙂



TBR Tuesdays

TBR Tuesdays

TBR Tuesdays are all about raking through my pile of books that I am yet to read and making a little ‘feature’ of them. My TBR pile is getting higher and higher and I find myself with less and less time to read them which is a nightmare. Hopefully this series of posts will lessen my guilt of having not read them yet!

#1 Truthwitch (The Withclands #1) by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch cover

There were a few things that drew me to this book, the first of which is the cover, I mean, how bloody awesome is this cover?! Its gorgeous! Wanna know what’s even better?! The alternative covers!

Truthwitch cover US truthwitch alternative

The story behind the novel sounds super intriguing and I have promised myself that I WILL read this book soon!

#2 Those Above (The Empty Throne #1) by Daniel Polansky

Those Above

This book just sounds fantastic! This is the blurb;

‘They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.’

Now tell me that doesn’t sound like the most awesome thing you’re ever going to read! I can’t wait to properly get my teeth into this book and review the hell out of it!

These are just two of the books currently sitting on my TBR pile and there are many more, as you’ll come to see.

Has anyone read these books yet? (I’m guessing it’ll be a resounding ‘YES’) If so, let me know and send me a link to any review you know of 🙂

Thanks for taking time out of your day/night to read ‘TBR Tuesdays’ 🙂 and, as always, please share and share alike 😀



Fantasy Fridays – Week #1

Fantasy Fridays – Week #1

Fantasy Fridays is all about celebrating the wonderful world of fantasy! The fantasy genre has given us LOTR, GOT and a lot of other books/series of books that are now well known acronyms. Fantasy is my go-to genre, it always has been and probably always will be, I started reading Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series when I was young and I haven’t looked back since.

What I love about fantasy is that anything can happen and all imagination can be explored. From orcs to magicians, from kleptomaniac dwarves to dragons, fantasy has it all. It has many sub-genres including epic fantasy, high fantasy and urban fantasy. There are no limitations to the imagination or the written word and fantasy should be championed.

During my Fantasy Fridays, I will talk about the books that brought me to the genre and ensured that I continued to read it.

First up is ‘Beyond the Deepwoods’ (part of the Edge Chronicles) by Paul Stewart and illustrated by Chris Riddell. The Edge Chronicles are a series of books set in the Edge world. They contain various fantastical characters and beautiful illustrations. The stories are rich and varied and contain lots of action and a great deal of morality tales. I love the Edge Chronicles and will be passing my books on to my children for them to enjoy.

The illustrations in the Edge Chronicles are brilliant and here are a few examples:

Sanctaphrax - Edge Skyshipmapgalerider - Edge Undertown - Edge

The Edge world is one that is rich and vibrant, dark and mysterious, but always fun and well worth a read. There is magic, weather-casting and a fantastic industry scene that comes to life as you read on. The characters are really easy to fall for and you find yourself fully immersed in their world.

Here are the links if you’re interested in the books.

amazon waterstones-logobarnes-and-noble-logo

Have you ever read the Edge Chronicles? Let me know? What are your favourite fantasy illustrations?

Thank you for reading, I hope that you enjoyed it in all of its briefness 🙂


Wizarding Wednesdays – Week 1

Wizarding Wednesdays – Week 1

Harry Potter and alliteration (no, that’s not a new book) are two of my loves in this world, geeky right? So I thought, why not create a recurring post that incorporates both of these things?! Done. Wizarding Wednesdays is all about wizards and their worlds, from Harry Potter to Bayaz. Wizarding Wednesdays is also way for me to revisit my favourite wizarding worlds and find little quotes and facts that I find super interesting (and you might too) and put them down in a bi-weekly post. Also, how about a fact thrown in for good measure?! Ok, fine, you can have two facts!

First up, it’s my favourite wizarding world, from the mind of JK Rowling. And here are two little facts for you…

Sanpe fact week 1

classroom fact - week 1

This is a beautiful quote and one of my all-time favourites!

Harry and Dumbledore Quote

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I know I did. Please comment and let me know any of your favourite quotes from the Harry Potter books 🙂

As ever, thank you for reading and using your precious time to lay an eye on my published thoughts. And please, if you could, share this post on your social media channel of choice 🙂 That’s all, from Wizarding Wednesdays – Week 1.




Minimalist Mondays – A 50 Word Book Review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Minimalist Mondays – A 50 word Book Review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

‘Minimalist Mondays’ are exactly what they say on the tin, they are reviews of books that are 50 words or less. Every other Monday (starting today) I will post a micro-review of my favourite books. I decided to do this for a number of reasons; 1) I have loads of books on my ‘read’ pile that I haven’t got the time to go back through and write a full review for and thought that this would be a cool way to review them. 2) it gives me another reason to rake through my library cluttered book closet and find books that I have not picked up in a while. 3) I literally love literary-themed alliteration.

Accompanying every post will be a minimalist poster of the book (or, if I can’t find one, a cool alternative image or fan art of the book) with a link to where I found the image.

These reviews may seem reductive in nature, but hey, that’s the point. I’m not doing this to ‘reduce’ the book per se, it’s just a bit of fun – hopefully, if I manage to review them in only 50 words! With that said, let’s crack on…

50 words start…NOW!

Orphan boy lives in a cupboard under the stairs. Learns he’s a wizard then meets a giant, joins Hogwarts, makes friends and hunts for the Philosopher’s stone. He plays a giant game of chess, Voldemort appears on back of a man’s head, looks in a mirror, the Stone is destroyed.

Phew, that was not easy, but it was fun! I love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and when I found this at the back of the shelf I just had to try and review it.

The Cover

I found this poster on Pinterest and I thought it looked fantastic! This was designed by Craig Anthony Wintin – well done to you sir!

What did you think? Could you do any better? Which book would you most like to try and review in 50 words or less? Let me know. I would also greatly appreciate it if you shared this on any social media channel of your choosing 🙂

As ever, thank you for reading, I appreciate you precious time


Danny 😀




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