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Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Soldier's Death - Excerpt from a Fantasy Book

Guardian Dragons; Book 1; Chapter 4 A Soldier's Death:

The old soldier had already had his turn but needed to rest again. A cold sweat on his brow slithered a wet streak down his cheek. No other complained when he took an extra break, the ranks respected him. Removing his hat, he wiped his bony bald head with a forest-green necktie, and unfastened the top button of his uniformed jacket. He could feel his throat constricting and swelling, as if the gap for breathing was getting smaller. Pulsating cramps continued to squeeze in his stomach. A burning in his throat choked the breath from his lungs. Falling from the chair with numbed legs, a heavy pain throbbed on the insides of his arms, and over the bones of his chest. He burned up, yet shivered uncontrollably. The guard posted nearest to the resting table ran to help him. He found the old man lying on the floor trembling with a grey pallor to his cold clammy skin.
 Guardian Dragons Amazon Worldwide Link

Friday, 26 December 2014

Forces are stirring - new description for fantasy book 1

For the New Year I hope to be renewing all my book covers for the fantasy series set in the fantasy world of Aarabassa.

I'm also rewriting all the book descriptions and have already replaced the "blurb" description of book 1 Guardian Dragons: Here's the new take on it:-

The world of Aarabassa is at peace!

But for how long?

Evil is locked safely in the Darklands, sealed behind a magic wall. Yet behind it, the Wraith Emperor's powers grow, as he rules the Vamplin army.

Mad with grief, the Human King is losing control.

Forces are stirring

Will the Wall remain?

Guardian Dragons Book 1 Amazon Worldwide Link

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Quote - Fantasy Book 1 Guardian Dragons

Book 1 - Guardian Dragons Link to Amazon Sale Page

Chapter 3 The Enchanting Healer

‘What are those words you sing old woman?’ Padray dared to ask her.‘Words that’ll save yer livestock, ye stupid oaf,’ she retorted as if insulted. ‘I work in strange ways. I’ve brought many a young un into this wretched world, so let me get on without all yer interruptions.’ ...The grateful farmer watched his wife take the old woman into their home to welcome her.Rikka had found her village.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Amazing 5* Review for Fantasy Omnibus

I'm so proud and happy to announce the recent 5* review on my latest release of an omnibus of all three fantasy books. These are moments to share:-

5.0 out of 5 stars A great fantasy for young and old!!! December 17, 2014

I had the great pleasure of reading this series in exchange for an honest review. I am so very glad that I agreed! What an exciting fantasy adventure from beginning to end! At first, I kept thinking, hm, where is this going? But then I was completely and entirely immersed in the story. Some characters I came to love and others, not so much. The character development and the plot line were very well written and executed. And as a parent, I would have absolutely no problem allowing my boys to read this series. The fantastical world this series is set in, was wonderfully developed and gave the reader the sense of actually being there. A great imaginative story that will not disappoint! If you are in the market for a new fantasy read or just an all around great story, give the Aarabassa World a try and lose yourself in a great work of art! 

Get your copy now:

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Guardian Dragons, Book 1, the start of a fantasy adventure

Let's meet some new fantasy creatures, created just for the Aarabassa World fantasy series.

These are antoids, called Myeaz.

Go to my website  to learn more about the fantasy world that they live in. Aarabassa World Website

PLUS here's a little teaser from chapter 2, book 1 Guardian Dragons -

A yearning for the kill quivered through his murderous fingers. With the whole moonsleep before him, he set out to satiate his own desires.

Want to read more?  Book 1 Guardian Dragons Amazon Link

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A witch brewing poison

Chapter 1 Preparations - small excerpt

Ah Emperor, I live only to serve you, Rikka conveyed her loyalty. I’ve prepared the poisons as ye instructed me Master. I keep it fresh and await yer command?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

I'd like to introduce you to a dwarf ...

Aarabassa World dedicated website

Latest fantasy character image, to be added to my fantasy website is a dwarf. I can say no more.

Pop in and look around. Read excerpts. Find out who the new character is that I've added. See links for buying my books. Read reviews. But what's really important is you can see other character images I'm building up, and start to get a feel of this wonderful fantasy world.

AARABASSA WORLD ~ Series One 3 fantasy books in 1, Omnibus Edition

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Fantasy World Website

Go to the AARABASSA WORLD WEBSITE to find out more about this fantasy world:-

SEE IMAGES of characters and creatures in the series: 

Fiendrac ~ Vamplin. Darklands. Lord and Leader.

Chapter 2 A Festival Murder:
A yearning for the kill quivered through his murderous fingers. With the whole moonsleep before him, he set out to satiate his own desires.

READ REVIEWS to give you guidance:

BOOK 3, BLOOD BRIDE5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
January 8, 2014 By Carol & or Keith Edholm
Nooooo.....can't believe I have to wait for the next book to see what happens! In this 3rd book of the Aarabassa series, I still Love the dragons, centaurs, and all the other great creatures of Aarabassa! Great description of the evil ones of this world. Well written to make you feel like you are there experiencing events. Waiting (not) patiently for the next book!   

Follow the links to purchase the books from the available sites:

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A Minion of Dark Magic

All 3 of my fantasy books have had a thorough edit overhaul, readying them for the newly released Omnibus edition of the 3 books in 1.

Here's a taster from
Book 1, Chapter 1: Guardian Dragons
Preparations ~

"She was his minion. He owned her. She would never be free. Her soul had become trapped within the labyrinth of his dark magic. Long ago, she had given up being afraid of the unknown. She believed that her soul would never pass on to the Realm of the Dead and find peace; it was tainted with evil. If her Master chose, he could reward her with youth and eternal life. This was her hope."

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Fantasy Book only 99 cents for 3 days

NEW RELEASE ~"Aarabassa World: Series One" by Catherine L. Vickers ON SALE for $0.99.

Books Direct have designed a fantastic article about my latest promotion.

You can save 84% if you buy a kindle version of my book at:- 

Down from $6.13 to just 99 cents, for Thursday, Friday & Saturday this week only.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Creating a whole new fantasy world

This was the original cover on my first fantasy book. The two colours of the dragons represent good and bad. 

I created my fantasy world so long ago that I cannot remember exactly how I did it. What was the magical ignition that started my fantasy story? I'm not a note taker, so nothing was recorded to indicate where my thoughts were going, or coming from. 

I love to read a good old fashioned fantasy adventure with fantasy beings such as dwarves, dragons, elves and vampires. Remembering back, I know I had an itch to write a book. 

The basis for my plot was good versus bad. At that point in time it was quite popular to have a prologue. This is where I started. I wanted this part to be something historical and the rest of the story more up to date. With the good versus bad setting, the idea of dark and light was playing favour in my plotting. Hence was born the world that is half dark and half light. But, how could I keep the evil from the good? Magic, this is where I first introduced the element of magic, with a Magic Barrier dividing the world at the top of mountains, that go around the world like a belt. 

Now my problems were technical, because I had to come up with a feasible explanation of how the planet functions ie night and day. My theories of science are only loosely based on what I thought might work. The planet doesn't spin in the same way as the Earth around the sun. We spin with an axis, so sometimes one half is nearer the sun than the other (Summer) etc. My world spins in the same position, like a wooden top, round and round with no tipping. So the sun actually moves around the horizon but is always shining on the same side of the planet. 

So how would my beings sleep? That's where having two moons came in handy. When the silver moon (Dayloon) is in the sky of the light half (Lightlands), the beings are awake. When the red moon is high in the sky it is sleep time, though not dark. 

I realised I could not have seasons, so months and years were not going to happen on my planet. So I created Suncircles and Quarters. As I mentioned, it's not necessarily water tight science, but it can work if you don't think too hard about it. 

This is only a brief look at how it came together. Next time I'm contemplating upon my fantasy world, I'll tell you about how I created the geographical landscape of countries and different races.  

Sunday, 8 June 2014

FREE ecopy of 3 fantasy books for reviewing purposes


Thanks to another author's very kind assistance Tell Tale Book Covers, I have managed to create a new and much better cover for my latest release of the fantasy Omnibus, Aarabassa World, Series One. it's still only out in kindle version. I'm just awaiting Amazon to approve for paperback.

If you're part of my blog, then the offer still stands of my providing a FREE e-copy for a Review on Amazon. If you have already read Book 1, then you can read books 2 & 3 for free.

Interested? Please contact me on my email address at

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Three fantasy books in one - for FREE

Aarabassa World, Series One (Fantasy)

It's here at last. The omnibus of 3 of my fantasy books.

Aarabassa World, Series One. Includes Book 1, Guardian Dragons, Book 2 Flight of a Changeling, Book 3 Blood Bride.

At present it's only available in Kindle. Shortly it will also be available in paperback.

Purchasing links on Amazon:
(it is available worldwide so see you regional Amazon links)

For a FREE copy ~ I'm seeking Readers willing to do a Review on Amazon. Just contact me at

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Fantasy Epic Website Update

This is Ajarrk ~ Darklands.Vamplin Commander. Good friend to Leader Fiendrac. He doesn't play a big part, just an advisor & friend in one scene. Maybe, he'll come back later in the story, I haven't got that far yet. This is my latest image added to The fantasy World of Aarabassa Website

I haven't showcased this website in a while. So today I'll do a quick update of changes and additions.

Previously I had sectioned the pages so there was a pull down menu for 'Characters & Creatures' and another one for 'the World and Lands'. I have now merged these in alphabetical order, as it was a little confusing.

I am adding a section titled 'Excerpts', which is quite explanatory. There will just be small quotes from each chapter. Hopefully to tease the reader into buying the books.

I'm still adding images. I hope this doesn't spoil it for any readers, as we all have different images in our head of characters we read about. Plus, I am limited by what images I can find on the internet. Times like this I wish I could draw, but alas, no way would I attempt.

Final news - I have just organised the publication of the omnibus which I have titled Series One. This includes Books 1, 2 and 3. Will do an article about this once it is up and ready for sale. I'm really pleased about this stage in my work, as this was always meant to be one large book. I feel it belongs closely together as that is how it was written originally. For books 3, 4 and 5, I can change it slightly so they stand alone better. It is my hope there will be 9 shorter books in total, equaling 3 sets. Series One is  The Beginning of the saga.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Tour of Fantasy author Lyn C Johanson with Till Death and Beyond

TODAY I welcome to my blog, author Lyn C. Johanson. She is touring with her latest book Till Death and Beyond. You can obtain a free copy in her Giveaway (link below)

Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY

Till Death and Beyond

Till Death and Beyond is a sizzling tale of two souls bound by destiny in a cruel plot to separate them forever...
Amira is the strongest witch on the face of the earth, with psychic abilities no others possess. And yet, she is but a slave to the whims of the gods. Forced to be born anew every time she fails in fulfilling an ancient prophecy, Amira is desperate to break the vicious cycle.

Plagued by the memories and guilt over his family’s demise, Raven lives for the sole reason of restoring his younger brother. And kidnapping a witch is only the beginning—for he intends to right the wrongs of his past by any means necessary.

While the gods might have planned for her to be captured, surrender is not something that comes easy to Amira. Yet one glance into her captor’s eyes, and she is swept away by emotions long ago denied to her. She decides to play along. For a while.
Despite the hatred Raven harbors for their kind, he is intrigued by the witch. One taste of her lips, and she becomes his obsession. Soon, he discovers that fighting against the passion they ignite in one another is futile. But as they strip each other’s secrets, a powerful force threatens to destroy them both.
For in this game of gods nothing is simple—the whole universe seems to conspire against them. And no matter how fiercely they fight, or what they are willing to endure to save each other ... the path they travel is paved with loss.
Will they survive the ultimate test, if even their determination—to fight till death—might not be enough?

About the Author:

A computer science major, Lyn C. Johanson decided to leave the cold world of code lines and pursue her passion for writing romance stories. Now, she mostly lives in the world she dreams up. Except when her husband and sons drag her back to reality—where she enjoys photography, dancing, and spending time with her family.

Where can we find you?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

A Long Way To Go, Yet

I'm not one of those writers, who constantly look at the stats that inform me how my sales are going. I don't have a clue where I am on any league chart. Plus, I don't make much in the way of money from sales.

I do however, have faith in myself as a writer. What I do believe, is that I can improve my books. So I have put aside writing anything new, for a few months, whilst I concentrate on editing my existing works. 

I have to say, I find the writing part easy. However, the editing is gruelling, but absolutely necessary. You'll know when I'm finished, because at that point, I'll be publishing an omnibus of my fantasy series books 1, 2 and 3. 

Anyway, here's a little teaser, chosen at random, of Book 1, Guardian Dragons.

~ Prologue ~

The boy ran fast and hard. His throat stinging from the ice cold air that stabbed at the nerves in his teeth. It choked his aching lungs. His blood pumped so fast, he could hear his heart beating, loud in his ears. He feared it would simply burst and stop him dead in his tracks. 
He glanced sideways, looking down from the cliff top, at the wet sands. Sure enough, his image ran and panted, mirroring his own plight.
‘You cheated,’ he shouted, turning his back on his image. ‘Why can’t you play fair? I thought you were going to take the longer path because I had a hill to climb. Why can’t you do as you say you will?’
He dropped onto the soft, grassy embankment and lay on the cool, lush greenery. It chilled his hot skin. Golden curly locks stuck to his neck, with sticky sweat.
His image lay down next to him, still panting.
‘I didn’t cheat,’ his image paused, breathless between words. ‘I won.’ Arms up in the air, and waving a pointed finger to the sky, he yelled, ‘I am triumphant! You can’t deny it,’ he threatened, jumping up ready to defend his place.
His image did not reply. It was not worth an argument. Instead he rubbed at the cramp in his leg muscles, stretching his limbs to shake away the sharp squeezing pain.

Monday, 12 May 2014

GIVEAWAY ebooks and more

I'm HAPPY to announce that I'm donating to a wonderful GIVEAWAY organised by Author Lindsay R Loucks who is celebrating her book 'The Grave Winner' turning one.

ALL 3 of my books from Series 1, of the fantasy adventure set on the world of Aarabassa?
(Book 1 Guardian Dragons; Book 2 Flight of a Changeling; Book 3 Blood Bride).

Then click on the link below, before June 1st, and get your entries in.


I am also donating 4 e-copies of Book 1.

PLUS there are loads of OTHER PRIZES to be won.

Lindsay's latest book, The Grave Winner, has been reduced to $4.99 on Amazon for a limited time



Sunday, 4 May 2014

Social Media and Me

We are advised to do a great many things as self published authors. On my part I do lots of social networking; Blog, Facebook, Twitter and I have a Website.

Today I want to tell you about my Fantasy Website 

I created it, so there would be a place for readers to go, where they could find further information about the World of Aarabassa (a fantasy world I have created for my series).

On the Home page I have icons of each of my books with links to Amazon if you click on them. I also have a link to my SIGN UP for my emails. Recently I started adding images to my characters, so I always show the latest character picture on this page. There is also a link to my BOOK TRAILER for Book 1, Guardian Dragons. Then a comments form and finally my Author Bio.

The next page in my menu leads to each of the books. On these pages, there are links for buying. Also, on the same pull down menu, is a page that includes Reviews from readers.

For me, the next page on the menu is the most exciting. Here we have a pull down menu, in alphabetical order, of characters and places from the World of Aarabassa. It is upon these pages where I'm putting the character images.

There are another couple of pages, and then I finish off with an Excerpts page.

This website is free with Weebly. However, this has it's drawbacks as there are little in the way of extras. Readers cannot sign up to follow, so I have no idea how popular or not this site is. There is little in the way of interacting with viewers of the blog. They can message me, but that's about it. There are some basic stats that I look up occasionally, indicating how many visitors.

I spend the least amount of time on my website, than I do on the other Social Networking platforms. We'll save Facebooking and Tweeting for another time. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Price of Vengeance Kurt Springs Book Tour

Today I welcome author Kurt D Springs, who is visiting my blog on his virtual book tour for his latest book. Don't forget to enter the Giveaway below.


What is the Price of Vengeance? 

One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci. As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents’ deaths, had murdered his beloved foster parents. Will the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance prove to be an even more unbeatable foe?

Price of Vengeance Excerpt...

"Liam! What have you done?" Marcus demanded. "You know our teachings on revenge."

Suddenly, irrationally angry, Liam straightened. "How can you defend him after what he did? To you, to Mom, to my birth parents, to everyone we cared about?"

With a howl of despair and emotional agony, Liam dashed forward, through the shade of his father, blindly running into the sewers.

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam is angry. Orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin, he was adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, and raised with their older son, Randolf, in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, he finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. When Liam discovers that a traitor responsible for his birth parents' deaths has also murdered his beloved foster parents, he might find that the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance will prove to be an even more unbeatable foe.
Barnes & Noble link

About the Author:

Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor of anthropology and archaeology in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a Master of Literature in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the Harvard University Extension School. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland.

Where can we find you?
Twitter Link

Friday, 25 April 2014

How do we Reach the Readers?

How do you get your book seen, and get the attention of those precious readers? The truth is, I don't really know, but here's what I've tried and tested.

For those who can afford to buy advertising space, their marketing methods of their books might be successful. On the flip side, for those who have a shoestring budget, free advertising is the only way. I'm not saying that it is successful, for me it hasn't been, but yet I do it daily.

1 - Reviews = FREE
Initially, I thought the best way to be noticed would be to have lots of good reviews. This meant searching for book reviewing blogs. I requested reviews on them, only to receive promises that my books would be added to their very long lists. For me, this wasn't going to work. Clearly, these type of book reviewers were becoming bogged down with all the new self published authors saturating the market, just like me. Incidentally, I'm always happy to provide a FREE e-copy of any of my books, in return for a review on Amazon. Just contact me.

2 - KDP Promotion Days = FREE. I tried the KDP promotion run by Amazon. If you join KDP for 90 days, you are allocated 5 days promotion, of giving your book away for FREE. At first my downloads numbers were quite high. For books 2 & 3 they were pretty poor. Did I achieve reviews via this method? In short, no. Did I get extra sales - no.

3 - AUTHOR INTERVIEWS = FREE. This involves filling in Interview Forms on blogs and book sites. In return my piece was included within their pages. I can't say this method did anything for my book sales but they all looked nice.   

4 - GROUP COMMUNICATIONS = FREE. Joining groups such as Goodreads and many FB pages. Over time you can weedle out the good groups to remain in. Didn't increase sales, but it did increase reviews. By talking directly to individuals, and giving them free e-copies of my books, those reviews slowly increased. 

6 - BLOG = FREE. Since my very first book being published, I have had a blog (this blog), dedicated to my books. I've tried many different approaches for increasing followers, such as other author interviews,  hosting Book Tours. Nope, didn't do anything for my sales. 

7 - SOCIAL NETWORKING = FREE. Have an author Facebook Page that I have been slowly building up. I have fun on my FB page, talking with other likeminded people, but it doesn't lead to sales. You cannot blitz blogs and FB pages with your own book advertising, you'd soon lose your followers if you did. However, sneak in the occasional post about your  book and have links to your books and sites. I also automatically Tweet from my FB pages, so that's two ways of getting out there.

8 - EMAILING READERS = FREE. I heard from another author that they had some success with  emailing readers directly. So I created an emailing list of about 100 readers. However, as with the social networking, I didn't want to spam readers, so never used it.  I still have an emailing list with Mailchimp, but will save it for when I release something new, or run free promotions. 

9 - WEBSITE = FREE. I enjoy running the website, because here I tell readers all about the world I have created. I've even started to add images of characters. It's great fun, but does it lead to extra sales - Nope. 

10 - BOOK TOURS = NOT free. The only advertising feature I have paid for. Didn't work. Led to no extra sales.

So what am I doing wrong? Well, I say 'NOTHING'. 

I have every confidence in my writing and story telling skills. But, it truly does take time, when you're a one man band. You really do need lots of stamina. Build up that social networking i.e. FB page, Blogs, Websites. Gain the confidence of other readers and other authors. I say other authors because it's a strange world being a writer. We're not in competition, we actually help each other to sell. We've all created something different and unique. If you help them, they will try and help you back. Not always, but most of the time, this seems to be the philosophy of the social networking world. But, are we all just messaging each other?

I do have a Forward Plan, or a Business Plan for 2014. I'm working on it, as I write. If I just achieve the goals I have set, then I will consider this a success. Will it increase sales, probably not, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the ride.  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Author Support on the Social Network

Hmm, life for an Indie Author is not an easy one. We must find readers for our books, our Facebook pages, our blogs, our websites and anything else we care to join on the platform of social networking.

I'm a long way from achieving high numbers of Followers, on any one of these sites, but I constantly put out a hint in the hope of gaining just one more 'Follow' or 'Like' or 'Review', all of which we writers love to receive. Why? All an artiste wishes to do is show off their work for the entertainment of others. It's that simple.

So, anyway, if you don't want to follow any of these, then why not just join my 'Email' sign up. This way I only contact you when I'm about to publish something new OR running a promotion.

FACEBOOK: Please pop in and LIKE my page. I work on it daily.
BLOG: You can JOIN on this page that you are reading. I work on this weekly
WEBSITE: This one's fairly static but explains the fantasy world of my books
EMAIL SIGN UP: I just send you a message when something is about to happen in my publishing world as an author

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Trilogy or Series? That's the Question

So far I have told you about using the incorrect margins in Create on Amazon, which resulted in the first paperback having a very tiny font. 

Then I went on to talk about the difficulties of editing, without money to pay for a professional Editor. 

In my continuing saga of the mega mistakes I have made as a new Indie Author, I want to tell you about why I separated one large book into three smaller ones.

My original plan was to create a trilogy of large thick books. This is how I like to read fantasy, with the knowledge that there are lots of adventures to be had. My first book was going to be approximately 450 pages. I printed it as a paperback and also as an e-book. However, it just didn't get any sales. Upon seeking advice from fellow authors, I discovered that short books are more popular with readers, if it is a new author. This seemed to make sense to me. Hence, I split the large book into three smaller ones.

Sounds like it should have worked, but I feel there were good and bad that came out of doing this:

*The positive things were that the books were shorter, and therefore might appeal more to readers. 
*It now became a series instead of a trilogy, as I had always intended to write more. After all this was only the beginning of the trilogy. This meant I should make more money by selling more, but cheaper, books.
*It should also mean that future books will be easier to write, as each piece will be shorter.

*The more negative things were, that it left my books without any real structure. The original thicker book was written with it's beginning, middle and end. But splitting them lost that structure. 
*Books 1 and 2 didn't really have proper endings. I tried to create new endings, but it just proved impossible. So I had to rely on the fact that the books ended 'in the air', and perhaps that would make readers want to buy the next one. I don't think this really worked very well. Feedback indicated they wanted to see closure to each book. 

For future books I will not have this problem, because they will purposely be written as shorter books. Therefore, the structure should be fine. However, in my mind books 1, 2 & 3 are still the beginning of the tale, so I have called them Series One. Putting them together as an omnibus will help to eliminate some of the problems, as the reader will feel the flow between books by reading them all together. But, for the reader that likes a tale in shorter shots, the smaller books will remain available. 

Presently, I am tidying up each book before I release them as an omnibus, later this year. I have nearly written book 4 (part of Series Two), but need to find an ending for it yet. 

Next time I'll tell you of my experience in marketing, with a shoestring budget. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Editing Problems of an Indie Author on a Shoestring Budget

I promised I would share with you, the hurdles I have jumped, since commencing my days as an Indie Author.

Next mega mistake, as a novice writer, was my editing skills. Whilst I had edited and re-edited and repeated this so many times, prior to publishing my first book, it was still a shambles, I'm ashamed to admit. Spelling was fine and grammar wasn't bad. It was just my style of writing was so immature, and I just couldn't see it.

Whilst at school, English was one of my best subjects. As an adult, it just doesn't come so natural, any more. Plus, now I'm all grown up, there's no teacher to mark it. I have forgotten all the technicalities of the English language. However, I set out to write because I love creating. I have now discovered that writing as an Indie Author isn't really about creating, it's about delivering. The writing is the easy part, and the most enjoyable part. Presenting that writing to the world in exchange for readers' money, is a whole new board game.

So, a million re-edits down the line and I'm still not selling many books. Professional editing is just not an option in my budget. Though you will hear many writers shouting loud enough, 'do not publish without professional editing', I had to ignore their advice. I simply continued to edit and improve, and it was all I could do.

A year down the line, I have finally found the solution. I now edit everything through electronic software. The one I use is the FREE version of and I am so joyous that I have found it. First, let me tell you, it is hard work. Editing is long and laborious, and no where near as much fun as creating. On the good side, it has improved my writing no end. I am now running every chapter, of all three fantasy books, through this programme. It is doing a wonderful job of tidying the grammar and presentation of my works. My writing style is finally improving.

When I have completed the electronic editing, it is my intention to release books 1, 2 and 3 as an omnibus which I have called Series 1. Not long after the release of the omnibus, I will publish book 4. The editing is much easier on my latest works, as I put them straight through the programme.

If you're an impoverished writer like myself, then I highly recommend putting your work through this kind of system. Once you have dragged your work through it, you will find your words flow much better. For me, it's my form of professional editing, and it's just another role I play in the life of an Indie Author.

NEXT TIME; I'm going to tell you why I split my large book into 3 smaller ones. Why this tactic? What were my expectations? Did it work?

Monday, 31 March 2014

Publishing Mistakes of an Indie Author: Print size.

It's now just over a year since I ventured in to the world of becoming an Indie Author. For those not sure what that term means it's 'Independent Author' as in Self Published with no Publishing House backing. Let me tell you, I don't regret a thing.

I made mega mistakes in that first year:-

Paperback no. 1 was printed in such a tiny font, it couldn't even be read with an eyeglass. I'm talking not even no.6 font, it must have been something like no.2 font (if there is such a thing).  I hear you ask, Why didn't Amazon realise this? Well, in this business you are mainly alone. They check for certain things, but that obviously wasn't one of them. I had many headaches trying to work out what the problem was, it seemed alright in the e-version,

SOLUTION: I finally tracked it down. I had let someone else download my book for me, because I was too nervous to do it myself. Turns out I should have had more confidence in my own abilities. After checking all the settings, I realised the margins were totally incorrect on the original downloaded version. It had been downloaded as if it was an A4 sheet. Easy mistake when you have absolutely no publishing experience whatsoever.

LESSON LEARNED:  Now, as I write on my computer, I set the margins so I'm actually working on the same size page as I type. If the e-version proof for my paperback indicates the text has gone over the lines, I simply go back to my computer and alter the margins, usually making them larger. Then download again onto Amazon.

Fortunately, no one but me had purchased the book (400+ pages), so no harm done in the public eye.

In my next post I'll tell you about my Editing issues.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The ongoing work of my fantasy omnibus

Every now and then I do some Forward Planning for my writing and every now and then, I end up changing it. At the beginning of 2014 I planned to produce all three of my fantasy books as an Omnibus. I do still plan to do this in 2014, but in the middle of the year instead of the beginning.

Why did I change my plans?
Well, I set out to do some editing via Prowritingaid electronic editing software. This certainly opened my eyes, wide open. By doing this, it will improve my books no end. So instead of doing a wee bit of editing, I'm now doing chapter by chapter for all three books. No changes to the plots but it is definitely improving my writing. Also, on the plus side, whilst I cannot afford a professional editor, this is the next best thing. It is long and laborious and will take approx. 3 months. Hence my delay. However, it will be worth it. The books will also flow better in the omnibus, as they is how they were written initially, as one book.

If you are interested in purchasing my omnibus then please join my 'Personal e-mail list'  This way you will receive a personal email from me, prior to publication when it will initially be at its cheapest. I don't send out many emails, just to let readers know when I'm running a promotion on my books. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Fantasy Book Review:Succubus Blues-R Mead

BOOK REVIEW: 4/5 stars

Succubus Blues: 1 (Georgina Kincaid 1) [Paperback] 

Richelle Mead

Good all round fantasy story. I found the beginning a bit mundane ie characters going about their everyday lives on Earth such as going to work, coming home etc. Approximately a third of the way through, I really started to enjoy things a bit more as the action started. The plot is based a lot on relationships developing and I'm not a great romantic. However, the author managed to capture me in the web weaving plot of murders, and the main female character soon grew on me. I would have liked to have got to know the vampires better, but they were more background people. Will definitely go on to read the next book in the series

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Fantasy Website Update

Aarabassa World Website Link

Things are happening on my fantasy webpage:
*Making categories easier (bear with me as I'm not quite there yet)
*Added a new character image (visit my site to see who this is)
*Mentioned about the release of my upcoming Omnibus (all 3 books in one), Series One to be published in 2014.
*Added my email 'sign up' link for readers to hear all news about my writing, first hand.

Unfortunately there is not a 'follow' button for this site, but please pop in every now and then to find out what's happening in Aarabassa and use the email 'sign up' for instant updates.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Let's talk about Editing.

I'm not one to write advisory articles on the art of writing, I don't consider myself experienced enough, yet. However, I'm closer to understanding the process than I was a year ago.

So, Editing - everyone will remind you that 'you must must edit', 'don't produce anything without editing', and of course, they are all quite correct. At least two thirds of these people will tell you NOT to publish until your book is 'Professionally Edited'. If you're in the same position as I am, that is a totally unachievable option, financially.

What I'm really here to talk about is 'Self Editing', of which I know plenty about.

I am one of those writers that will sit and write most of the book first. Then I will go back and start the big 'Editing' process. Once I've had all the fun in the writing, it's time to go on to months and months of editing, re-editing etc. In fact, I'm big on editing, it absolutely must be done many, many times and even then, some more. Why? Because as a self editor, it's the only way you're going to iron out the crinkles.

The writing is really what we all want to do, and it's certainly the part I love to do the most. Yet it plays such a small part in the creation of my books. Editing takes up most of my time, by far. I find there are many different stages to editing, and with each stage the book should be improving from its first draft.

1 - When I first read the entire manuscript, I will only do a few obvious changes ie spelling, punctuation.
2 - I'm a lucky gal and now have a beta reader. This will be the draft that I'll send. It would be great to know many beta readers at this stage. Like everything else, it takes time to find these very precious people who will work with you, just for the sheer joy.
3 - At this point in time, I will leave the manuscript to sit for a while. Time out.
4 - Edit all that the beta reader has fed back to me. Not all beta readers will do the editing role and you may not agree with everything they suggest. That's why it would be good with many beta readers, to compare their notes.
5 - Now comes the electronic editing process. I'm presently using Prowritingaid because yes, you guessed it, it's free if you register. This, for me, is a hardest editing stage. I do a chapter at a time, taking many months. If your short of cash, it's worth it's weight in gold. At the moment, that's as near to 'Professional Editing' that I can get. Again, you may not agree with all it's suggestions, so just ignore some of them. But do look at them all.
6 - Before the next stage you will need to put the manuscript down for a couple of weeks if you can. then go back and read the whole manuscript again. This is your last chance to do any major changes ie changes to plot, check your facts, check for those inconsistencies. You could even send it back to a beta reader, if you have many.
7 - Months down the line you are now ready for beginning the publishing stage:-
a - if you haven't already done so, you need that all important title.
b - if you haven't already don so you, need that all important cover.
c - First I download to Createspace on Amazon and just do the paperback. Order a copy to have yet another read. Still time to do changes if necessary.
d - Happy with the hard copy? Time to go over to Amazon Kindle and download a Word copy.  On the one occasion I did my kindle version from Createspace, it was an absolute mess. I always treat these as two different copies. Make sure the two books link, to advertise that it is available in kindle and paperback.
e - Book now officially published, it's time to get 'Marketing'. I would do a bit of marketing before publication, ie informing blogs and sites the date of publication. But, we're not discussing marketing are we.
From hereon you will forever be Marketing and may even go back and do yet more editing. So long as you don't make any major changes, you can still call it edition 1. If you do need to do any major changes, then that's a different tale.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Book Review Sci-fi Romance 4 out of 5 stars

Guild of Empaths: HealerREVIEW: Guild of Empaths: Healer by E. Jaye

4.0 out of 5 stars

Sci-fi romance with a great medical plot

I liked the scifi-fantasy aspect of the plot in this book. The author managed to pull off some pretty complicated theories of otherworldly medical issues. I'm not much of a 'romance' reader, so wasn't a big fan of this side of the tale. However, there was plenty going on in the plot to keep me entertained, and I really wanted to know what was going to happen to the lead female role. The two main characters are very likeable and the story unravels around them. A great sci-fi setting that could lead on to a series quite comfortably. Some small editing problems but nothing major to get worked up about.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Featured Author, D White writes a Paranormal Ghostly Tale

This weeks Featured Author is Dylan White (Goodreads - Paranormal, Fantasy, Dystopia & Romance Readers, Writers & Reviewers) 

goodreads author page

 Crossover: 3 (The Apparition Trilogy) 

Dylan White

The pressures keep piling on for Jade. She has to meet with a mysterious old woman, she has to keep Sean from going Dark, she has to face a swarm of Feeders, and -- on top of all that -- she has to get a job. With Sean’s intentions cast into doubt, Jade also has to do some digging into his past. What she unearths could not only endanger their relationship, but Jade’s life as well. Now Jade has to keep secrets from Sean as much as he’s been keeping them from her. Jade knows, eventually, everything must come to light. And when it does, Jade might have to die to have a love worth living for ...

About the Author

Dylan White has written "The Apparition Trilogy," an award-winning play, this biography, and two others. He doesn’t like coffee is just fine with people thinking he’s weird because of it. He lives in his own little world but makes his home with his wife and two children who amaze and inspire him every day.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Listen to the Readers

E-Book Formatting FairiesI Came across this interesting little survey based on 'Readers Habits & Preferences'.  

I found it on a blog called e-bookformattingfairies.blogspot . I've included the opening paragraph and an example of the 44 questions. 

You can follow the above link to read the questions and answers in full, or look at the summary and conclusion. It really does make interesting reading if you're an author trying to build up your own marketing brand.


The Readers Sound Off! How They Read, What They Like and Where They Find Us

By: Marie Force
New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
I’ve recently concluded the first of what I hope will be a regular reader survey. Putting a finger on the pulse of the customer is always a good idea in business, and our business is no exception. I drafted the questions with the help and input of numerous other authors who took advantage of the opportunity to ask some of their most burning questions.
The survey was conducted from June 1-30, 2013, via Survey Monkey, and as many as 2,951 people replied to most of the 44 questions formulated by myself and more than a dozen other authors.

Example questions:- 
*Do you prefer to read kindle, paperback? 
*Are you more or less likely to buy a self-published book from a known-to-you author? 
*What is your primary source of information about books? with answers such as FB, Goodreads Blogs 
*How often has a free book introduced you to a new author you wouldn't have tried without the free offering?etc.