Saturday, 31 December 2011

Cruel Justice

Tell Me A Story - Book Review

Author - Mel Comley
Title - Cruel Justice
Stars - 5

Cruel Justice:
The decapitated remains of a prosperous widow are found decaying in Chelling Forest. Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins and her partner, DS Pete Childs are appointed to find what happened.

A new victim, this time an adolescent girl, is uncovered - Who could the killer possibly be and can there be a link between the victims?
Following a third murder, the killer contacts Detective Inspector Simpkins with a gruesome disclosure. It seems they have a serial killer obsessed with her.

Lorne not only struggles with macabre cases, she muddles through a dying marriage and has to deal with an insensitive chief. As she anguishes over the dearth of evidence, help appears from an improbable resource.

Friday, 30 December 2011

The Detachment

Tell Me A Story - Book Review

Author - Barry Eisler
Title - The Detachment
Stars - 5

The Detachment:
When renowned veteran Colonel Scott Horton traces Jon Rain in Tokyo, Rain can’t refuse his offer of a multi-million dollar fee for the termination of three high-profile targets, who are alarmingly close to initiating a coup in America.

The adversary on this job is going to be too much for Rain to pull off alone. He will need help from former associates, who unfortunately have uncertain motives and conflicting loyalties.
From the backstreets of Tokyo and Vienna, to the ostentation of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Washington, these four lone wolf killers will have to survive hit teams, and a national security obsessed with guarding its own secrets

Monday, 26 December 2011

Locked In

Tell Me A Story - Book Review

Author - Kerry Wilkinson
Title - Locked In
Stars - 3

Locked In
When Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is promoted at work it comes with the realization she is supplanting her mentor, stabbed in a bar fight. She hardly has time to establish herself in the job when a body is found in a locked house with no obvious way in or out.

With a car that junior officers joke about, and an investigation with no leads, Jessica thinks she has enough on her plate, when a second body turns up in identical circumstances to the first.

How can a killer get to quarries in impossible situations and what links the bodies?

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Tell Me A Story - Review

Author - Stieg Larsson
Title  -  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stars  - 4

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:
Blomkvist, a fiscal journalist, observes his professional life disintegrating around him. The outlook is depressing until an unexpected offer to save his reputation is offered by a Swedish company. The drawback is that Blomkvist must devote a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has been unexplained for nearly four decades. He agrees and recruits the assistance of investigator Lisbeth Salander

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Taste of Loneliness

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The Taste of Loneliness
What a great present for me. My latest book, a collection of ten short stories, THE TASTE OF LONELINESS, has just been published on Amazon Kindle, just in time for Christmas. I'm chuffed about it.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Amazon Lending Library Kills the Goose

Tell Me a Story

Is Kindle KDP strangling the goose that lays the golden egg?
Amazon's latest venture is to offer a free lending library to Prime members. Authors supposedly gain from a ratio share from a money 'pot' - those having most books borrowed having the biggest payout - designed to benefit the big players only.

It doesn't end there, Amazon allow each book enrolled in the scheme, to go 'free' for 5 days in each 90 period, this to boost advertising and marketing of their authors.

However, the market is suddenly flooded with free books. The scheme has only been in motion a few days, yet since its inception, I haven't sold a single copy. Contact with other Kindle authors confirms my suspicions, sales have slumped.

Why purchase books when you can get them free?
Readers realise that any book of interest, will probably be free at some point, so why buy? Not only that, there are sufficient free books to more than satisfy any reading habits, so why buy.

If readers no longer purchase, how can it be worth writing in the future?

There are no royalties on free books, so how will Amazon fare when royalties dry up? It seems to me that they have almost killed their golden goose - or are they hoping to solely make money from sales of Kindle?

Whatever, I shall jump on the bandwagon for at least 90 days, because I don't know what the alternative is. It seems to be a case of go with the flow, or die.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Abysmal Book Promotion

Tell Me a Story - Book Promotion

I own to vulnerability. I am terrible at book promotion. I have tried to analyze why I'm so abysmal at it. I should be capable of marketing my stories. I ought to be adept at talking about my books - but it's not that easy.

The first problem is I'm appallingly bad at connecting with people. I am an introvert. I can do shy for the Olympics. My family conditioned me not to boast about achievements; they considered it bad manners to brag, and the idea stuck.

The notion of approaching a stranger fills me with a knot of alarm. To approach someone with the intention of selling a book - aggh.

Some authors on Twitter constantly remind us of the availability of their books, but after a while I’m sure people become blind to it, because I do.

I Tweet links to my articles and blogs but I don't want my Twitter account to become irritating. I admit slipping an odd reference to my books, but I feel awkward constantly feeding followers with commercials.

I guess I’ll have to accept I can’t promote, and pray that occasionally someone will discover one of my books and mention it.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Drop

Tell Me a Story - Book Review

Author - Michael Connelly
Title  - The Drop
Stars - 4

The Drop:
A slipshod DNA test from a rape and murder has been pinned on a convicted rapist, who was only eight years old at the time of the crime.

Harry's inquiries into the incident are disturbed by the ostensible suicide by the son of a former police chief. The former chief demands that Harry investigate his son's death. In search of facts, Bosch and his partner unearth a conspiracy deep within the police department.

Michael Connelly is an exceptional writer and once more, in The Drop, offers a novel full of character complexity and ethical selections.

Bosch steers through difficult choices, now and then blunders, but in the end succeeds. For Bosch, The Drop, is a voyage of growth and self-analysis. Friendships are tried, and trusts broken, but Bosch endures as the detective, fans enjoy.

Michael Connelly's
elderly protagonist is imperfect and disturbed, an overall memorable character

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Guerilla Marketing to Promote Your Book

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Guerilla Marketing to Promote Your Book on the Web
It used to be that promoting a product was an expensive undertaking, one that required excessive amounts of funds for television or radio advertising, or slightly less for publications of the paper variety. And promoting books, in particular, meant making deals with booksellers to get top placement in their stores.

Authors, of course, would have to go on multi-city tours of their home country and even the world in order to give interviews to television, radio, and newspaper/magazine reporters, as well as host signings. This was both an expensive and time-consuming process. But these days things have changed dramatically. Not only can writers publish and sell their own eBooks (or paper books) online; they can also promote them in a number of ways that are far less expensive or even free. Here are a few to try.

1. Build a contact list. Whether you get contacts through your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any number of other social networks, you can use the strength of numbers to promote your book. Post messages with excerpts to drum up interest, offer deals for followers, and encourage "friends" to become brand ambassadors, bringing more people on board to enjoy the same benefits of membership that they do, as well as hyping your book online and in real-world settings.

2. YouTube videos. Videos to promote books have become something of a sensation on YouTube, with offerings for books like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" topping the list for views. Some of these "trailers" have high enough production value to make it look like a movie is actually in the works, while others are student-project level. But it's an innovative and trendy way to promote your book (all you need is a video camera and a few willing friends). Although well-known and high-paid authors often do something similar for television, their ads tend to contain nothing more than some flashy graphic text and the author spouting one-liners. The YouTube versions are more like full-scale movie trailers.

3. Giveaways. While giving away your work for free might not sound very appealing, it is a good way to bring in new readers. So give away a few copies to loyal fans and offer freebies to the first, say 50 new members who sign up at a set time and date. You'll probably get hundreds of new accounts that will hopefully make up for the number you gave away and then some.

4. Contests. There's no better way to get people to give you contact information than to hold a contest. In the publishing arena there are many ways you could go with this. You could ask readers to provide potential names for an upcoming book (with a free copy and a mention in the book going to the winner). Or you could ask them to send in character sketches and then work the winning entry into a future project. You might even hold a contest for a couple of lucky readers to win a trip to join you at a book signing. There are so many possibilities and all of them should net you new readership.

5. Listen and respond. Communication studies have shown that the best way to keep a relationship going is to ensure open channels of dialogue. So when readers comment you need to make an effort to reply. This will endear your fans to you and keep them coming back for more, as well as encouraging them to talk you up to everyone they know.

Guest post by Sarah Danielson. Sarah is a writer for Communication Studies,, the best resource for students, professors, and professionals. In her spare time she enjoys reading and she is currently writing a book on the joys of freelancing.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


Tell Me a Story - Book Review

Author - Robert Bidinotto
Title - Hunter
Stars - 3.5

A man and a woman, in love, each conceal a noxious secret. He, a crusading vigilante on a brutal pursuit for justice, she, tracking this nameless slayer, pledged to stop him. Neither understands the truth about the other, and neither knows that a dangerous predator is hunting both

Robert Bidinotto's writing is pure and defined.

In Hunter he creates convincing and vivid scenes, with characters who become real people with genuine emotions. Hunter is a convoluted arras, perfectly interlaced, leading to a believable and tense read. 

Robert Bidinotto's love scenes leave a little to be desired, but as a thriller, Hunter is an enjoyable book.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Colour of Glitter

Tell Me a Story

As a change, I thought I'd post this poem by my seven-year-old Granddaughter, Sophie, who wrote it this morning over breakfast. We live in Spain, while Sophie and her parents live in the UK. We don't get to see them too often. Little things like this touch me.

Sophie struggles with anything to do with English as a school subject, hates reading etc, so I'm amazed  she even thought to write it.

The Colour of Glitter:
Some red, some black, some blue, 
And some silver too, 
Some pink, 
I hope it doesn't go down your sink, 
Some dark blue, 
I hope it doesn't go in your pooh, 
And some gold, 
As long as you're not too old, 
And some purple, 
As long as you're not friends with Moaning Myrtle, 
Some light green,
It looks like my sun-screen, 
Some white too, 
It looks like my ballet shoe, 
These are all my coloured glitter, 
Now all I need is a cool baby sitter. 

by Sophie
aged 7

Wife By Wednesday

Tell Me a Story - Book Review

Author - Catherine Bybee
Title     - Wife By Wednesday
Stars   - 4

Wife By Wednesday:
Blake, wealthy, and amiable … must have a wife by Wednesday so he turns for help to Sam Elliot of the Alliance matchmaking firm. Sam Elliot is not the businessman he expected. Instead, Blake is confronted by Samantha Elliot, charming and lively with a voice to fall in love with.

Samantha, Owner of Alliance, is not on the matrimonial carte du jour, her role is strictly business... until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. All she is has to do is keep her temptation with her husband to herself and avoid his bed. However, Blake’s kisses and charisma prove too tough to combat. She needs to protect her heart so she can walk away when their one-year mercenary life together is over.

In Wife By Wednesday, Catherine Bybee grabs the regency genre and effectively relocates it into present-day culture. Her style is down-to-earth, and readable, her dialogue accurate.

There is sufficient tension in Wife By Wednesday to make it snap, while the romance brings a slightly steamy indulgence. Catherine Bybee provides entertainment with a feel good factor that makes reading a pleasure.