Monday 4 December 2023

The Arid Lands and Red Rock promotion update:

Here is my latest update on the various promotional activities I have undertaken to try to spread the word about my self-published books, and how successful or otherwise these activities have been.

1. Social Media

I continued to promote Red Rock and The Arid Lands on Twitter/X, IG, my Facebook/Meta page, Threads and Discord. I did pick up sales of The Arid Lands on preorder and downloads of Red Rock from my free promotions, as well as the occasional sale of both outside of promotion.

2. Red Rock free kindle deals

The first free deal which ran for 3 days to coincide with the ten-year anniversary of Red Rock first being published resulted in a modest number of downloads but at least I was reaching potential new readers. I will have to wait and see how many of these translate into reviews.

The second 2 day free deal for Red Rock was run to coincide with the launch of The Arid Lands and produced a similar result.


This contest (The Self Published SF Competition) will run for a year and the first phase, where I fully expect to get culled judging by the quality of some of the other contestants in my group, will run for 5 months. Initially there was no uptick in sales but it is likely that this is where my new downloads during the free offers came from. However, the contest did enable me to gain more visibility for my writing, which is always a good thing, and may well have contributed to those sales I did gain.

4. Review bloggers

I started approaching reviewers with The Arid Lands as soon as it was live for preorder on Amazon and I had set it up on Goodreads. My first observation was how many are asking for money for reviews. I’m not interested in paying but it’s clearly a lucrative industry. I passed over these guys and pitched the book to anyone who looked as if it would be a good fit. It takes a long time to thoroughly check out each review site so I sent these out in dribs and drabs throughout the preorder period. At launch date I had pitched/submitted to 20 reviewers. It is impossible to tell how many, if any, will result in reviews at this stage.

So in conclusion, of all the activities so far, it looks like free deals and participation in SPSFC3 have been the most worthwhile. I will have to look out for more opportunities like this.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Review: Arkhangelsk by Elizabeth Bonesteel

The Book

Head peace officer Anya Savelova believed her people, living on a hostile planet in the ice-bound city of Novayarkha, were the last of humanity.

Until the day she learned they weren’t.

When a starship from an Earth thought long dead appears in orbit over her world, Anya imagines an explosion of possible futures, offering her people the freedom to transcend the limiting environment of the planet they’d thought was their last refuge. In the starship’s crew, Anya finds creativity, diversity, innovation–all things the colony has had to inhibit to survive.

Seeing her world through the eyes of the starship crew makes Anya look closer at her city’s inconsistencies, oddities she’s always been told to ignore. But the harder she pushes at the pieces that don’t fit, the more her government perceives the strangers as a threat. There are secrets in Novayarkha, hiding in plain sight, that the strangers can’t possibly understand–and Anya’s drive to uncover them risks shredding the fragile web holding together everything she’s ever known and loved.

My Thoughts

Wow. What can I say. I was completely blown away by this book. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. When I finished I felt a
chingly bereft having become invested in these characters and immersed in their turbulent world.

This is space opera at its best. The characters are fascinating, engaging and I felt an immediate connection with Anya. There is a great deal of poignancy in this story and it is beautifully written, this world and its people deftly drawn. There is a gradual unravelling of the history of these people, and a steady reveal of their plight and their struggles. The author has created a truly unique world and is clearly a master of her craft.

All in all, a truly wonderful book. I will be checking out more from this author and strongly recommend this book.

Monday 20 November 2023

Political Thrillers on offer


November bargain books - Political thrillers from Bloodhound Books, including my little book, The Sleepers.

UK Amazon link

Monday 6 November 2023

Review: The Day the Earth Turned: Book 1. Summer by Chantelle Atkins

 The Book

The adults are all dead. Society has collapsed.

Two groups of teenagers emerge on either side of a rural village, traumatised, bereaved and determined to survive.

As tribes form and territorial lines are drawn, can they overcome their differences and find a way to rebuild?

Or will gang warfare end this emerging new world before it’s even begun?

Each of them have their theories about what killed the adults and as the dust settles on the old world, a far bigger, darker, and angrier threat is bursting to life all around them.


My Thoughts

A compelling survival story. This is the first in a series of four books which are clearly going to rotate through the seasons and the challenges that this will present. It’s a well written book with a compelling cast of characters and plenty of mystery and intrigue. Be aware though, that this series functions very much as a whole, rather than a series of standalones, so you will need to commit to reading all of them. There are a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions and I’m looking forward to seeing how this new world Chantelle has created all pans out.


Thursday 19 October 2023

The Arid Lands Launch Day Deal

 Today I am announcing a very special launch Day deal.


To celebrate the launch of The Arid Lands I am making the kindle edition of Red Rock free for two days only, today and tomorrow, so why not grab yourself a copy.

Red Rock and The Arid Lands have a lot in common. They are both what might loosely be referred to as Climate Fiction although the themes involved are very different, and they may also both be referred to as SciFi thrillers with a dystopian setting.

The Arid Lands was originally written as my second book after Red Rock. However it went out on sub just as the market for YA dystopian fiction collapsed, and because it has a somewhat dystopian feel to it nobody wanted it.

So it sat on my hard drive, but I still loved it. I’ve reworked it to age it up, although it will still appeal to a YA audience. And I’m so happy to make it available at last.

Dystopian fiction is still popular among readers if not among publishers. All I need to do is find those readers.

So if you have read and enjoyed Red Rock, then why not give The Arid Lands a try. And if you enjoy it please take a moment to leave a review, however brief.

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Review: Ironheart by Allan Boroughs

The Book

First comes the iron and then comes the snow. And then comes the winter when nothing will grow.

A hundred years after the catastrophic Great Rains, a shattered world cries out for salvation. Haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her father, India Bentley, embarks on an extraordinary adventure to unlock the secrets of a bygone era. Teaming up with the seasoned Tech-Hunter, Verity Brown and an enigmatic military android, India sets out to discover the secrets of Ironheart— a mythical fortress that holds the power to either save or annihilate humanity.

Driven by the urgency of her father's unfinished mission, India ventures into the remote depths of Siberia, braving treacherous landscapes and ruthless outlaws led by notorious oil baron, Lucifer Stone. But as the race to find Ironheart intensifies, the truth that awaits them beneath the icy wasteland proves far more sinister and perilous than they ever anticipated.

In this gripping tale of resilience and sacrifice, failure is not an option. If India falters, the fate of the world will hang in the balance. Prepare to be enthralled as you join India on a journey that will test her limits and ignite a battle for survival against insurmountable odds.


My Thoughts

This is an excellent book, pacy and well written. India is an engaging character, but in fact all the characters we meet are well rounded and authentic. I particularly enjoyed the worldbuilding, from the desolation of a ravaged London to the icy Arctic bleakness of Siberia. The book is aimed at a younger audience, but all ages will enjoy this exciting adventure. It is a fabulous romp and I enjoyed it immensely.


Thursday 28 September 2023

Review: The Runesong Trilogy Books 1 and 2

The Books:

Hammer of Fate

“No surrender. No retreat.” With twenty enemy swords at their backs and a broken bridge ahead, the last knights of an outlaw order turn to fight. A young woman with forbidden magic joins their final stand. And as blade meets blade, she starts to sing…

Adelais was raised in the far north, learning stories of the old gods and the skill of weaving runes into magic. Now, she is locked in a convent far from home, forced to kneel to a foreign god.

When inquisitors arrive with plans to torture an innocent man, Adelais cannot stand by. She aids an attack to free the prisoner and joins the raiders as they flee into the night.

Her new companions are the last of the Guardians—once a powerful holy order, now ragged fugitives, hunted almost to extinction.

The knights carry a secret treasure, precious and powerful enough to shape kingdoms. Their pursuers, desperate to possess it, will crush any who stand in their way.

Nowhere is safe—in city or chateau, on the road or in the wilds. And even disguised as a boy, Adelais draws attention wherever she goes. Is she angel or demon, priestess or witch?

Adelais must summon all her courage and all her memories of the old gods’ magic as the noose tightens around her and a thunderous final reckoning approaches.


Runes of Battle

 Adelais is on the run.

And the kingdom of Galmandie has never been more dangerous.

In every town square, people whisper of a girl who brought down lightning on her enemies. The king has placed a huge price on Adelais’s head and sent troops to hunt her down.

Adelais flees high into the mountains. But winter is closing in and she cannot hide for ever.

Far to the north, there is a chance of escape. Her homeland has risen in rebellion against Galmandie. To reach freedom and safety, Adelais must cross many miles of hostile territory with inquisitors and royal soldiers always close behind.

If she is captured, Adelais will be burned as a witch. But if she learns to control the storm of magic within her, she could be the spark that sets the whole country aflame.

My Thoughts

Quality historical fantasy. I fell instantly in love with the world in which this is set. It’s loosely based on Medieval Europe and the conflicts and strife that affected the Medieval world. But it is also unique in all sorts of clever and fascinating ways. One thing I will say is that the author’s knowledge of this period of history shines through in all the telling detail that he gives.

But no fantasy can be without a good dollop of magic and this is where this story really shines. I absolutely loved the magic lore that the author has created. It’s subtle and yet fascinating. It grows and develops in a beautifully organic way and I think this is what makes this story truly unique. I also loved the characters, especially the lead, Adelais. She is wonderfully written and truly compelling. Then to cap it all are the wonderful descriptions of the countryside and the cities through which they travel.

So far I’ve read the first two. I can’t wait to get my hands on the third. Strongly recommended.