Review of the #SelfPublishing Conference hosted by @matadorbooks 

On a beautiful spring day in April, I joined approximately one hundred and twenty fellow delegates at the Stamford Court Conference Centre, the University of Leicester for the 5th Self-Publishing Conference hosted by Troubador Publishing.

Self Pub Conf 1

I had wanted to attend this conference for some years, but life stuff inevitably took over, and the date never worked. However, 2017 was the right fit, and I was eager to dive in and learn as much as I could.

Included in your ticket price you received a goody bag on arrival with a colourful delegate booklet, admission to your choice of four sessions on a wide variety of industry topics, refreshments throughout the day, and a wonderful lunch. I was late buying my ticket, so I missed out on the early bird discount, however, even at full price, it was value for money.

The workshop sessions covered a range of themes, catering to every level of self-publisher. These have to be pre-booked ahead of the conference, however, should you decide on the day that you would prefer to attend an alternative workshop then the staff are on hand to assist. I must just quickly mention the staff here. Throughout the day there were ‘helpers’ on hand for anything you need, whether that was publishing advice, or finding out where the nearest loo was, everyone was incredibly professional, polite, and welcoming. The catering staff at the University also deserve a shout out for their care and attention.

The sessions were broken up into hour slots, and as I mentioned, you got to choose four within your ticket price. I’ve included the 2017 options at the end of the post for anyone who is interested.

There was an amazing choice of workshops, and the only trouble I had was deciding which sessions I wanted to attend. Eventually, I decided on:

Be a PR Star: Making the Most of Media Opportunities

Reaching the Retailers: Selling to Bookshops

Inspiring in Schools: Promoting Your Children’s Book

Non-Fiction Focus: Planning Your Book for Success

Before we broke into the syndicate rooms for our workshops, we heard from keynote speaker, Angus Phillips, Director of Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies. Angus talked about current trends in the industry and how print books are still dominant in the market. He touched on the rise in audio books (£4m sales in 2010 – £10m sales in 2015), as well as the revival of short stories.

He went on to cover the changes in technology with eReader sales slowing significantly as readers now prefer to download books to their smartphones.

It was interesting to hear the issues facing publishing at the moment, the decline in the UK independent bookshops being key. Angus stressed the importance of discoverability, social media and being active in communities. He also talked about the author brand being strong and how important accurate metadata is.

His talk ended with an interesting observation. We all know that Amazon is one of the biggest booksellers. However, it was fascinating to hear the statistics and discover that only 8% of Amazon’s revenue is from books. Angus raised the question – do they still care about books?

My first session was with Ben Cameron from Cameron Publicity and Marketing who works with both traditionally and self-published authors. His message was simple – publicity starts before you write a word. Knowing what message you want to share with your book, and where it fits in the marketplace is key to good publicity. Book buyers begin looking at new releases for their stores at least three months in advance so having a campaign in place is vital for your discoverability.

“Writing your blurb is like writing poetry, every word counts.” Ben Cameron.

Pitching your book to local and national press/radio/television is an important aspect but your pitch should be to the point, including why your book would appeal to them. Ben mentioned perfecting your elevator pitch (a short and snappy description of your book) and practicing it over and over.

He values the option to run giveaways on Goodreads and has seen great success with the use of Facebook ads for some of his clients.

According to Ben, working with a publicity and marketing company would cost in the region of £2200 for a four-week campaign, so if this is something of interest you must factor these costs into your book budget and sales figures.

My second session was with Debbie James from Kibworth Bookshop and from the start it was obvious how passionate Debbie is about her store and books. She shared a few images of the stunning bookshelves, and we laughed at her obsession with the finished size of a paperback. Having the right sized book clearly matters to a bookseller! The largest space in Kibworth Bookshop is the children’s department, and this is reflected in Debbie’s sales. She stocks approximately 26% children’s books, 23% fiction, 16% cards and gift wrap, 6.5% stationery, and the remaining stock is gift books, humour, cookery, travel, and local interest. Debbie and her team are 100% responsible for choosing the stock for the store, and they refer to trade catalogues to help with that choice. They are always looking for stock at least three months in advance.

While Kibworth Bookshop does support self-published authors, Debbie has the final approval. She stressed the importance of building a relationship with your local independent store and supporting them within the community. She is attracted by a passionate writer, an intriguing title, beautiful cover, and a book that will look aesthetically pleasing on her shelves.

“I want to stock your books so write an amazing book, have an amazing cover, and make me want to.” Debbie James.

We broke for lunch which gave everyone a chance to network. I was delighted to see a familiar face in the crowds and got to catch up with award-winning author, Elizabeth Ducie. I spoke to so many authors at varying stages of the writing and publishing process, and it was interesting to hear their opinions of the industry. Amazon, unfortunately, appears to be upsetting quite a few people with many making the switch to alternative self-publishing routes. Marketing and promotion seem to be the main concern for most of the writers’ I spoke with.

After our lunch, we returned to the main hall for a talk by Clive Herbert, Head of Professional Services at Nielsen Books who started his speech with a quote.

“Metadata is totally boring but absolutely vital.” Clive Herbert.

He’s right! Throughout his talk, Clive showed us just how important it is to have accurate metadata for our books and to have the BIC (book industry communication) information, which is the minimum information required by the UK Book Trade, uploaded at least sixteen weeks ahead of your release date.

Discoverability was the key theme and when you realise your book is one of thirty-three million active products, then giving your book the best possible chance of being seen is vital. According to Nielsen, 178,000 new print books were published last year, that’s an average of 500 new titles a day. (That figure is closer to 2.2 million in the US).

Clive advised us to use Nielsen’s Title Editor to provide all our metadata, which provides a free service as well as a subscription feature. For more information, you can visit their website at www.nielsenisbnstore.com. It’s also worth noting that you can now purchase a single ISBN as well as the usual block of ten.

My first afternoon session was Inspiring in Schools with the author, Angela Fish. Although her session was targeted more at younger children and visiting infant and junior schools, I was able to transfer some of her advice to the young adult audience I write for.

She mentioned the benefits of being prepared and planning a variety of activities for the children. Working closely with the teachers will enable you to provide a valuable workshop. Angela doesn’t make much money from doing her school visits. However, she is getting her name known as she returns to the same schools, and she does provide the parents’ with her information. The main reason for running her school sessions is the passion she has for working with children and sharing her story. This is an important aspect of choosing to include school visits into your skill set. Why are you doing it?

Angela also mentioned the importance of a follow-up in the way of a mini questionnaire or competition. Capturing the attention of your audience in such a way that they engage with you and your book in a positive way.

My final session was Planning Your Non-Fiction Book for Success with Ginny Carter. I think this was my favourite session. Ginny is a passionate coach and clearly enjoys working with writers’ at all stages of their journey. Her slides were informative and humourous.

“Writing a book is like a sausage roll. Great when it’s finished, but you don’t want to know what’s gone into it!” Ginny Carter.

Planning is key! That was Ginny’s message for her audience as she shared six essential steps to take before you write a word.

1        Know what you want to achieve.

2        Mind-set.

3        Your ideal reader.

4        Your books message.

5        Outlining your book.

6        Return on Investment

As we all made our way to the closing drinks reception, there was a buzz of motivation among the crowd. We had all come away with some nugget of wisdom, an abundance of networking contacts, and a rekindled passion to return to our keyboards.

I was incredibly impressed with this event, from an organisational aspect as well as a delegate. I will be booking a return trip as soon as the ticket sales are announced for 2018 and if you’re serious about your self-publishing career, I’d suggest you do the same.

Self pub conf 2

Workshop session choices:

Session 1

Avoiding the Vanity Trap by Andrew Lowe (author and editor) and Alysoun Owen (editor at The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook).

Endorsements, Blurbs and Spine Design: Beyond the Cover by Chelsea Taylor (Production Manager at Troubador) and Jonathan White (Sales & Marketing Manager at Troubador).

Be a PR Star: Making the Most of Media Opportunities by Ben Cameron (Cameron Publicity and Marketing).

The Libel Trap: How to Avoid Getting Sued by Rosie Burbridge (Fox Williams LLP, Solicitors).

Session 2

Reaching the Retailers: Selling to Bookshops by Debbie James (The Kibworth Bookshop)

Doing It Differently: Crowdfunding and Partnership Publishing by Cressida Downing (The Book Analyst), Alice Jolly (author) and Jeremy Thompson (The Book Guild).

Building an Audience: Practical Ways to Get Your Book Known by Marion Molteno (novelist and indie publisher).

Copyright Clearance – The Easy Way by Jonathan Griffin (Publishers Licensing Society).

Session 3

Inspiring in Schools: Promoting Your Children’s Book by Angela Fish (independent author).

Making Money from Library Lending by Julia Eccleshare (Public Lending Rights).

Boost Your Ebook’s Earnings: Maximising Sales by Rachel Gregory (Ebook Programme Manager at Troubador).

Is Your Writing Ready: Before You Self-Publish by Alysoun Owen (Editor at The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook).

Session 4

Do Judge a Book by its Cover by Andy Vosper (Deputy Chief Executive at TJ international Ltd) and Chelsea Taylor (Production Manager at Troubador).

Non-Fiction Focus: Planning Your Book for Success by Ginny Carter (The Author Maker).

Get Your Book Heard: Radio Plays and Audio Books by James Peak (Essential Music).

Words and Picture: Creating Illustrated Children’s Fiction by Louise Jordan (Writers’ Advice Centre for Children’s Books).

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

 

Guest Post by @RSinclairAuthor #BlogTour @Bloodhoundbook

I’m delighted to host a guest post by popular author, Rob Sinclair as he tours the blog-o-sphere with his latest release, The Red Cobra.

Rob Sinclair Blog Tour

A typical writing day

When I was given the idea of writing a blog about what constitutes a typical writing day for me – about three weeks ago now – I was in a good run of form drafting my latest book. At that point I thought I new exactly what I’d write about; the process I go through to draft a new book. Now, though, three weeks later, I’m struggling a bit because I’m just not sure that ‘typical’ is really the right word to describe what I was going to say.

The answer I’d intended to give, and the one I often give to people when they ask about how I write a book, is this: Quite a long time ago I decided on setting myself a word target each day. 4,000 was the number I chose. I really can’t remember why now, perhaps it was from my first couple of drafts, a daily average I’d noticed emerging. Wherever it came from it stuck, and I’m still using that target now, in the middle on my eighth draft. Targets like that aren’t for everyone, but for me it’s a great motivator. When I hit the target it always give me a real sense of satisfaction, and it really helps to break down the writing process into manageable chunks. Starting on day one with 80,000 words left to write is really daunting, so just taking it one day at a time helps a lot. 4,000 words a day might sound a lot, but I’ve found it easily achievable when I’m in the zone, usually taking me 4-5 hours of solid writing, followed by 1-2 hours of read through.

You might compute, therefore, that if I write 4,000 words a day, for five days each week, aiming for a draft of 80,000 words, that I could write thirteen books a year!!? So why am I only planning on writing two this year? Well, firstly because of editing. 4,000 words a day is just my drafting stage. Before publication I’ll go back through a book maybe as many as ten times, editing and re-editing and sometimes re-writing. Each of those read throughs can take anywhere from a week to a month. Still, that should equate to more than two books, surely? Maybe three or four at least?

But then you need to factor in that BIG missing ingredient; life. And by that I don’t mean playing golf and watching movies (well, not just those two things, anyway)…

The thing is, I’m not just a writer, I’m a stay at home dad as well. I have two sons, six and four, and my wife works full time. I (usually happily) pick up virtually all the childcare duties during the working week, whether it be breakfast, school runs, dinner, bedtimes, school holidays, sick days, teacher training days etc etc. That right there is a big chunk of my available time in the working week gone. When there’s no pre or post school club for the kids to go to my working hours are immediately cut to 9am-3pm. Suddenly 4,000 words a day becomes a bit more of a challenge.

Then there’s everything else that comes with being in the house all day, everyday. Cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening. That’s just the usual stuff. Oh, last week we were burgled, so I spent a whole day the day after organising new locks and security upgrades and talking to insurance and the police. The week before we had a carpenter putting in some new doors so I spent three days afterwards painting and finishing everything off. Today I’m writing blogs for the blog tour of my upcoming release of The Red Cobra. I do my own taxes, and keep my own business records, which takes time all the time. We’re in the process of remortgaging, which I always think will be simple, but which never is, and I’ve lost count of how much time I’ve lost, sat listening to the same music on hold to the bank the last couple of weeks. My phone broke the other day, cue 3 hours trying to get the new phone I bought to take the iPhone back-up without any hitches. We had leaking pipes outside. I’ve tried my best to fix it all – still monitoring as to whether or not I managed it. Today we’ve got a leaking toilet! Guess that needs sorting tomorrow. Plus please don’t forget the very important ‘me’ time I allow myself every now and then; exercise, reading a book, watching a movie. Oh yeah, and it’s a lovely sunny day today, I think spring has arrived. I’m expecting the annual list of the jobs that need doing in the jungle… I mean garden, to come from my wife any day now. Walls will need to be built, or repointed. Patios slabs cleaned – probably grouted too. Paint will be needed out there somewhere. Trees and hedges cut. Lawns mowed. And there’s always LOTS of digging involved.

But please, don’t think I’m complaining about any of this. It’s the life I’ve chosen. I really enjoy being a writer, setting my own rules, and writing when I want to (and can), but at the same time keeping the house and family together, and having the time to do all of those odd jobs in and around the house to make sure weekends are still free for the wife and kids. Plus, at least I’m not stuck in an office all day, like I used to be, working to someone else’s agenda. I never got along with that.

Coming back to the main point, then, is that when I think about the question at hand here: What does my typical writing day look like? The best answer I can give is that there’s no such thing as a typical day for me. And that’s perhaps the thing I love about being a writer the most.

Rob Sinclair

Author Bio:

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan, with over 200,000 copies sold to date. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob’s fourth book, the pulsating psychological thriller Dark Fragments, released by Bloodhound Books in November 2016, has been described as ‘clever’ and ‘chilling’ and an ‘expertly crafted’ story, and became an Amazon UK top 50 bestseller soon after its release.

Rob’s forthcoming James Ryker series follows on from the Enemy books, with the first novel, The Red Cobra, being released in April 2017.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Rob Sinclair Red Cobra final
Amazon UK | US

Book Description:

Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identify of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit.

It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idle is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra.

A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …

So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?

The Red Cobra is a fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns and intrigue that will appeal to readers of big-hitting thrillers by the likes of Lee Child and David Baldacci, and with echoes in its plotting and breadth of the globe-trotting spy thriller I Am Pilgrim.

You can find out more about Rob and his books on Facebook, Twitter, or via his website.

 

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

#TuesdayBookBlog Inspirations behind the Reading Group by @DellaGalton #GuestPost #Romance

I first discovered my next guest between the pages of Writers’ Forum magazine many years ago, and her sound advice has helped shape my writing ever since. As well as teaching me so much about the skill of penning a novel, short story, or article, I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading her fiction work.

So, I was delighted when my stalking paid off, and she agreed to write a guest post about her latest release, the next instalment in her series the Reading Group. It is my pleasure to introduce author, Della Galton.

Della PArker

One of the Inspirations behind the Reading Group

I really enjoy writing about friendship.  It’s a theme that runs through many of my books.  In the Reading Group series the focus is on female friendship. I have some amazing female (and male) friends. Some of them have been in my life for over forty years and some are newer, but they are all very important to me.  Although I don’t ever transport real people lock, stock and barrel into fiction I do use elements of them and I do write about the issues that affect them.

            Serena, the Main Character of The Reading Group April is a lady who struggles because she doesn’t fit into her family – she has always felt that she is not quite good enough.  I have one or two friends who feel like this – in fact it’s surprisingly common.

            And of course if your family aren’t supportive it makes friendship massively important. So Serena needs her friends more than most.

            The Reading Group is about a group of friends who meet to discuss a classic novel each month and discover that – spookily – one of their lives mirrors the plot.          

            In April they are reading Jane Eyre and Serena, who’s headmistress of Poppins Private School, is half hoping that reality will echo fiction, as it has before, and she will meet her own Mr Rochester.

This doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with Mr Winchester, the father of a troubled pupil.

It would appear that Mr Winchester has an ex wife who is also rather troubled (or possibly completely deranged!). To add to the drama there is turbulence (as there usually is) in Serena’s own family too. Serena begins to wonder if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be

trg-april

The Reading Group April is out on 30 March.

The Reading Group Summer Holiday is out 27 April. 

You can pre order both now.

You can find Della on her website www.dellagalton.co.uk or on Twitter, or you can find her on Facebook.

You can read my #review of The Reading Group: December HERE

Reading Group - Bookends 2

 Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

 

Does Everyone Have a Book in Them? #selfpublishing

ss-conference-2017-136

At the beginning of March, I attended the Women In Business Conference in Coventry hosted by the team at Socially Shared. I wrote about the day over on my motivational blog; you can read that post HERE.

As well as attending this empowering event, I was also honoured to run a couple of the afternoon workshop sessions on the topic of self-publishing. Getting me to talk about writing, publishing, or books, in general, is an easy thing to do, but trying to shut me up can be quite a challenge. As it happens, I had forty-five minutes per session to share my knowledge, experience, and tips with my audience, so keeping it brief was a necessity.

Normally, when I attend various fairs and author talks throughout the year, I am inundated with people telling me how they would love to write a book. Some people are still shaping an idea, others have begun getting their story down on paper, and a few have reached the stage where publication is the next step. At the self-publishing workshops, there were only two ladies who were thinking about or had started to write. I was initially surprised by this feedback, but the more we got into the session, the more I realised how difficult it could be for people to know how or where to start.

ss-conference-2017-131

As I write non-fiction, it was easy to base my talk on writing to enhance your business. My first two books were based on personal development classes I ran as part of my holistic health business; Meditation for Beginners and Vision Boards for Beginners.

Choosing a section of your business and turning this into a guidebook, a how-to book, or even a memoir can add another income stream to your company. It also works the other way too, as I am now asked to run talks and workshops based on my book How I Changed My Life in a Year.

Talking through the process of publishing via platforms such as KDP, Smashwords, Lulu, and Createspace showed my attendees how easy the procedure could be. We didn’t discuss dominating the best seller lists, or hitting huge sales targets; this workshop concentrated more on writing a book to use as a promotional funnel, sales tool, or a corporate giveaway.

I was delighted at the end of my sessions, to hear the majority of the ladies tell me how inspired they were to write. I was equally excited about the ideas they had unlocked throughout the forty-five minutes I’d been talking.

ss-conference-2017-137

Does everyone have a book in them? Yes, I believe that’s true. I’m also fully aware that not everyone has the skill, time, or desire to write. However, it only takes one idea. A concept that can be cultivated into something wonderful, even if it means employing a ghost writer to pen a book with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed running both workshops and received incredible feedback during and after the event. I hope to continue to support the ladies who were inspired, and hopefully, in the future, run more self-publishing and writing workshops.

The photographs included in this post were taken by the event photographer, Faye Green. You can find Faye on Facebook HERE.

Let me leave you with a couple of questions. For the authors – is there a book you long to write but haven’t started yet? For the novice writers – do you believe you have a book in you, and if so what genre would you like to write for?

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

#Author Interview – Mike Russell #TuesdayBookBlog @strangebookseye

I’m delighted to welcome author, Mike Russell to have a chat about his books, writing life, and being an astronaut…maybe…one day! Over to Mike.

Mike Russell Author

The Fun Stuff

What part of the world do you come from?

The south of England in the UK. I currently live in Brighton with my girlfriend and two cats.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

First an astronaut, then a pig-farmer, then a writer. I am very happy to be fulfilling the writing dream. I am now a vegetarian so I won’t be fulfilling the pig-farming dream any time soon, though a pet pig might be nice. As far as being an astronaut… there’s still time.

List three words to describe yourself.

Alive, creative, hopeful.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Hmmm… I don’t know but it would have to be a comedy.

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

Tea and toast.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Used with caution.

NOTHINGISSTRANGE

The Sensible Side

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

When I was 12 years old I began writing a novel called ‘Imagine Infinity’. I designed the book cover and wrote about twenty pages before deciding that I needed more life experience and abandoned it. I thought this early attempt was lost until my parents found it in their loft a couple of years ago. I still like the title. Years later, I began writing again. Then one day a friend was putting together a spoken-word event. Knowing that I wrote things, she asked me to contribute. This led to many years of regularly performing my stories in clubs, bars, galleries and various other strange venues. Happily, I just kept being invited to do more. This proved to me that there was an audience for my writing. I then began publishing my stories.

Where did the inspiration for Nothing is Strange come from?

Inspiration for me is exactly that. I have moments of inspiration that come at odd times. It is always something new to me, giving a certain insight beyond what I already know and it comes with a small euphoria. Where it comes from is a mystery. I love inspiration. I love exploring the places that inspiration reveals to me and I have a huge desire to share what I discover. We are all mysteries surrounded by mystery and filled with mystery! I like to explore that mystery.

What do you like the most about writing short stories?

I like to be able to create many different, sometimes even contradictory, worlds. Short stories enable this. I see the nature of life as paradoxical. As soon as someone says ‘this is the way things are’ you can be sure that something will happen to prove them wrong. Writing stories can show that the truth can take many forms.

Can you give us a brief excerpt from Nothing is Strange?

From the short story ‘Dunce’ from ‘Nothing Is Strange’:

The lights dimmed to darkness. Kitty Malone, the beautiful star of the show, was stood centre stage. A shot was heard. Dunce jumped right out of his seat.

‘What was that?’ he said.

The lights came back on and Kitty was lying in a pool of blood. Dunce let out a scream then shouted:

‘Someone call for an ambulance! And the police!’

The audience thought that Dunce was an actor, that the play was being cleverly extended beyond the stage, questioning the boundaries of theatre.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ Dunce shouted at the audience. ‘How can you carry on as if nothing has happened?’

‘This is wonderful, just wonderful,’ I heard someone say behind me.

Kitty was stoically sticking to her role, thinking that the show must go on, but Dunce was clambering up onto the stage, crying, stroking Kitty’s hair and checking her pulse.

‘She’s alive!’ he shouted with relief.

‘No I’m not!’ Kitty hissed at him through clenched teeth.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Discovering strange and magical things!

What can we expect from you in the future?

I currently have three books published, all available from Amazon (please see below for link). I am currently working on more stories and also novels, which will be published in good time. If you follow my website www.strangebooks.com you will receive an email when each new book is published.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Author Website: https://strangebooks.com

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Facebook

Author Bio

AuthorMike

Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.

Book Blurbs

‘Nothing Is Strange’ is a collection of 20 mind-expanding short stories.

“A unique collection of short stories that takes readers to bizarre places and lets them experience dreamlike situations that I have yet to read in other books.” Readers’ Favourite

Buy it HERE

‘Strange Medicine’ is a fantastic collection of extraordinary tales of transformation.

“Full of meaning and emotion, with an awesome front cover to go with it. Great Stuff.” Always Trust In Books

Buy it HERE

STRANGEMEDICINE

 ‘Strungballs’ is a surreal, science-fiction/fantasy novella.

“This is like nothing I have ever read before… a highly unique, weird and perhaps even mind-altering reading experience.” Fantasy Book Review

Buy it HERE

STRUNGBALLS

Mike Russell’s books have been described as Strange Fiction, Weird Fiction, Weird Lit, Surrealism, Fantasy Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Metaphysical Fiction… but we just like to call them StrangeBooks.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

#BookReview The Bridge of the Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand #RBRT

Book Review #RBRT

Book Title: The Bridge of the Golden Wood

Author: Karl Beckstrand

Category: Children’s Fiction/Business/

My Rating: 4 Star

 

The Bridge of the Golden Wood
Amazon UK | US

 

My Review:

The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a delightful tale about a young Chinese boy who helps some hungry fish but learns a valuable life lesson along the way. According to the blurb, this illustrated folktale teaches the reader how to spot opportunities to help others and make money. After the story, there are money-making activities included, together with a valuable resource section.

The illustrations are beautiful, and the words are in a dyslexic font making this book accessible to a wide audience.

It’s aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 18 and has a business/non-fiction element to the story. However, I’m not sure my three teenagers would read it, even though two of them are studying business, and my young nephew would not grasp the business element, but I’m sure he would enjoy the story. The author is a bestselling and award-winning author of 18 multicultural books, so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing.

I loved the inspirational message of the picture book and enjoyed reading it.

I received a copy of The Bridge of the Golden Wood from the author as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:

A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure.

Illustrated folktale teaches how to spot opportunities to help others and make money. Comes with ideas for businesses; money-making activities; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, and moving up in an organization (for ages 5 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn.

Teach someone to fish: a how-to book on careers, small business, and learning how to serve/earn money. Soon available in hard and soft cover—Asian characters, Chinese boy, red panda, 26-page picture book, 530 words in dyslexic font by Karl Beckstrand

About the Author:

Karl Beckstrand

Karl Beckstrand is the bestselling and award-winning author of 18 multicultural books and more than 40 e-book titles (reviews by Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book blog, ForeWord Reviews).

Raised in San Jose, CA, he has a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a broadcast & film certificate from Film A. Academy. Since 2004 he has run Premio Publishing. A college media instructor, Beckstrand contrasts traditional with digital book publishing. He has presented to Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, city and state governments, festivals, and schools. Beckstrand’s nationally lauded Y.A. stories, e-book mysteries, ESL/ELL Spanish/bilingual books, nonfiction, and wordless books feature ethnically diverse characters—and usually end with a twist.

His work has appeared in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Border’s Books, Costco, Deseret Book, iBooks, The Children’s Miracle Network, LDS Film Festival, the U.S. Congressional Record, Papercrafts Magazine, and various broadcasts. FB, Twitter, http://KarlBeckstrand.com, http://PremioBooks.com

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There’s Something About Cornwall #TuesdayBookBlog #GuestPost by @daisyjamesbooks

First of all, a huge thank you for featuring my brand new release – There’s Something About Cornwall – on your blog. My pleasure, Daisy 🙂

 

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Amazon UK | US

 

Location is always very important to me when I’m writing. It’s almost as though it’s another character that requires just as much attention, just as much crafting, as any other. My first novel – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was set in New York. I enjoyed an amazing trip there a couple of years ago, for a milestone birthday, except, instead of spending five exhilarating days taking in the sights, because of Hurricane Sandy we ended up being there for eleven. Everywhere was closed, even the Broadway shows, so I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing and my first published novel was born.

When I began researching my fourth book, I wanted my characters to have a fabulous backdrop for their story, so it had to be Cornwall. The scenery is so beautiful and diverse, not to mention the fact that the sun always seems to be shining. There’s Something About Cornwall follows Emilie Roberts, a food photographer, who takes a culinary road trip around the whole county as she works on a photoshoot for a celebrity TV chef working on her next cookery book.

Emilie’s epic journey starts in Padstow where she meets Matt at a beach party. He becomes a last-minute replacement driver for an orange-and-cream vintage campervan they’ve nicknamed The Satsuma Splittie. There’s plenty of stops along the way and lots of baking and tasting of the delicious Cornish food that is being photographed.

I wanted to showcase not only the local recipes, but also the wide array of artisan beverages that Cornwall is famous for. So, in Truro, they visit an apple orchard where Emilie photographs the Cornish Cyder Cake and Apple and Caramel Loaf, but they also indulge in a few pints of the local Scrumpy.

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Apple & Caramel Loaf

During my research, I was amazed to find that vineyards flourish on south-facing slopes and fabulous white and rosé wine is produced in Cornwall. The county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea – it offers a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea!

I also came across the Southwestern Distillery, run by Tarquin Leadbetter, which produces not only Cornish Gin but also Cornish Pastis. The pastis is a modern take on the classic French aperitif and the first of its kind created in the UK. It is made with gorse flowers foraged from the Atlantic clifftops and fresh orange zest finished off with a touch of liquorice root. Tarquin also grows his own Devon violets for use in his Tarquin’s Gin.

I hope readers will enjoy escaping to our southernmost county when they read There’s Something About Cornwall.

For a chance to win a book on the history of the much-loved, iconic camper van, a mug and a coaster, just follow Daisy James and retweet the pinned tweet. The prize will be drawn on 31st March 2017 (UK only).

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WIN these goodies!

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest