Wednesday, 27 March 2013

"Christine's Odyssey" Launch

Hello! Today I'm handing things over to a very special guest who's here to tell us all about her brand new book. So without further ado - here she is.

Howdy. I’m glad you’ve stopped in. My name is Christine and although I’m only eleven, I’m what some adults might call precocious. A lot has happened in my life, some of it bad, but like my dad used to say, good things can result from the bad stuff that happens to us.

To help me celebrate overcoming my challenges, a great gang of authors have teamed up and will be giving away copies of their books. Sweet, yes?

For a chance to win a pair of the books listed, you can do anything included on the Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. However, for those who’d like to win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Voucher, hop on over to the Jamaican Kid Lit Blog to enter for that.
 Anyway, I tend to talk a lot, so before I carried away, here’s my story:

Raised in a hotbed of arguments and fights, eleven-year-old Christine Simms is the victim of her mother's cruelty. A domestic dispute ends in tragedy, sending the family into a tailspin.

A shocking discovery sends Christine on a quest to find the stranger who left her behind in Jamaica. Determined to unravel the mystery of her birth, Christine uses every tool at her disposal and treads with courage where no child should.

Thanks so much for dropping in! I hope you win the novels of your choice. I should tell you that you get to choose books based on how the Rafflecopter does the drawing of the winners. So, if your name comes up first, you get to say which pack you want.

Available in ebook format at Amazon US

J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican, who is always on the hunt for story-making material.
She writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and young adult novels. She is the also the author of Contraband, Dissolution, Distraction, Don't Get Mad...Get Even, Giving up the Dream, Retribution and Hardware (written under the pen name Jayda McTyson).
Visit her on the web at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 25 March 2013

Two Reviews of Books You MUST Read!

Greetings! Hope that title managed to grab your attention. I had the pleasure recently of reading two superb novels by blogger buddies - both psychological thrillers, both debuts - and as the authors also happen to be CPs and BFFs, I thought it only fitting to review them together.

First up, it's The Mistaken by Nancy S. Thompson


All Tyler Karras wants is to enjoy life with his expectant bride; what he gets instead is a graveside seat at her funeral. With the woman who killed her uncharged and still free, all Ty wants now is revenge.

His brother, Nick, has dangerous connections and suggests a sadistic plan: grab the woman responsible and hand her over to his associates—sex-traffickers in San Francisco’s Russian Mafia. They offer Ty more than he dreamed possible. In exchange for the woman, they’ll finally let his brother leave the business for good—with his debt wiped clean and his heart still beating.

There’s just one problem: Ty kidnaps the wrong woman.

Now he must protect Hannah Maguire from the very enemy he's unleashed, but the Russians are holding Nick as leverage to force Ty to complete their deal. Caught in a no-win situation, Ty must find a way to save himself, his brother, and the woman, but with the Russian Mafia, even two out of three makes for very long odds.

My review:

A stunning debut novel rich in characterisation and twists and turns, Nancy S. Thompson has really created something special here. She examines the consequences of a man who considers himself good being driven mad by grief and revenge. The events in Tyler Karras' life following his wife's death are like a whirlpool leading him down a path of insane destruction; it might seem over the top in the hands of a lesser author, but Thompson does such a good job you wouldn't believe it was her first book. 

The multiple first person narrative allows us to get up close and personal with the characters' emotions and reactions at each step of the way. Thompson lands them in impossibly dangerous situations, leading you to forge on to discover just how they will get out of them. From a relatively slow start, Thompson builds the momentum until it's impossible to put the book down. If you want gripping action sequences and nailbiting twists, the novel delivers in spades, but it also offers a thoughtful look at what someone can do when they're driven over the edge, and the nature of redemption.

Purchase Links:

Author Links:

Publisher’s website

Next up, Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan


Newly divorced and with his career in jeopardy, Detective Connor Parks takes solace in the arms of a beautiful woman he meets at a bar. The next morning, Claire Fletcher is gone, leaving nothing behind but an address and a decade-old mystery. The address leads to the Fletcher family home where Claire's siblings inform Connor that their fifteen-year-old sister was abducted from a city street ten years ago and is presumed dead. During those ten years, Claire endured the cruel torture and depravity of the man who abducted her. Paralyzed by fear and too ashamed to return to her family, Claire is resigned to her life as Lynn, the identity her abductor forced upon her. Every time she attempts escape or betrays him in the smallest way, someone dies. Even now, her clandestine run-in with Connor Parks may have put his life at risk, as well as the lives of her family. Connor is convinced that not only is Claire Fletcher alive, but that she is also the woman he met at the bar. Driven to see her again, he begins his own investigation, off the clock and without the police department's consent. He is determined to find her and unravel the mystery of her abduction and odd reemergence. But finding Claire Fletcher proves more dangerous than he anticipates. In fact, it may be deadly.

My review:

A first-rate thriller that draws you completely into the tortuous existence led by Claire, held captive by a deranged criminal for ten years. This was a completely absorbing read, told so well by Regan that I felt I was right there watching the action unfold. It is brutal at times, but that would be the reality of such a situation. The book drew me in not only from the premise in the blurb, but the conundrum this presents; if Claire has enough freedom to meet Connor in a bar and go home with him, why does she not simply return to her family? The answers are heartbreaking as they become clear, and Regan does a superb job in analysing her protagonist's psychology as a victim. 

I won't say too much about the plot, so as not to give away any spoilers, but I will say that the relationship between Connor and Claire, ignited on that first night, is the driving force that propels the action forwards and I was really rooting for both of them. Claire's seemingly omnipotent abductor is a horrifying and sinister presence, and my jaw dropped at the revelations that unfolded and the tension that ramps up towards the heart-in-your mouth conclusion. This novel has such strong emotions in it that it's hard to describe, making you palpably feel Claire's sadness, but also the hope that exists in the world. 

I felt at the end that the title had a dual nature; there is the literal search for Claire spearheaded by Connor, but also Claire's search for the girl that she was before her gruesome ordeal. A brilliant and thought-provoking debut.

Purchase Links:

This will most likely be my last post until the A-Z Challenge starts in a week. I'll be around a bit, but
plan to do a bit more editing and reading in that time. Can't wait for next Monday!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Top Ten Movie Blogfest and "1305 & 1306 - The Oracle and the Vampire" Cover Reveal!

Double feature day today as I'm participating in the Ninja Captain's fun movie blogfest and unveiling the cover for the next installment of Christine Rains' awesome 13th Floor series. She still has a few surprises up her sleeve!

First up, the top ten movies... well, actually, they're not in any particular order as I suck at choosing favourites of things, so it's simply ten movies I love. Sorry to be lame. Most of these are ones I watched over and over as a kid and still have a soft spot for, so expect a preponderance of 80s-ness!

Ghostbusters - An utter classic, and yes, genuinely terrifying as a kid. Loads of great setpieces in this movie and it had some very fun characters, Slimer included. The theme tune was a staple of school discos throughout my youth.

The Wizard of Oz - One of two musicals on my list, I don't normally like them, but this is so much fun and endearing to watch, proving that super high tech special effects aren't necessary to make a timeless movie.

Life of Brian - This slice of Monty Python genius just pips the also superb "Holy Grail" for me. Endlessly watchable and quotable. "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

Pulp Fiction - At my high school, you were only cool if you'd seen this and "Reservoir Dogs". This is my preferred choice of those two, it's a lot more fun and I like how the storyline rolls out and connects all the elements together.

Oliver! - Might seem an odd choice, but this 1960s musical adaptation of Dickens' classic holds a place in my heart. "Consider Yourself", "Food Glorious Food" and "Pick a Pocket or Two" are earworms that will lodge permanently in your memory once heard. In a good way! Also, my grandpa played flute on the soundtrack. Now to get around to reading the book...

Flight of the Navigator - One of the most underrated of 80s kids' sci-fi movies, this is another one I've watched too many times to count. What little kid doesn't want to navigate a ship through time and space?

Alien - My favourite of this series, due to the spine-chilling suspense. That's often more effectively scary than an all-out gorefest.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Just a great, fun, thrill ride. You know the good guys are going to win but that doesn't stop it being exciting. Still love the runaway mine cart scene.

It's A Wonderful Life - The storyline of seeing a world in which you never existed has been rehashed a lot, but if you want the ultimate feelgood film, you can't go far wrong with this. Nice to get sentimental sometimes!

Back to the Future - If I had to pick a favourite film, this would be up there. I love anything to do with time travel, and there are so many great scenes in this, like the invention of the skateboard. It's also the first film I saw in the cinema, aged four, which made a big impression on me!

Don't forget to hit Alex's blog for the full list of participants!

Now on to Christine's cover reveal... and she's featuring not one, but two tenants this time!

Title: 1305 & 1306 – The Oracle and the Vampire (The 13th Floor series, #5)
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: May 13th, 2013


Having fallen for her gorgeous neighbor might not be so bad if Harriet McKay wasn't in her hideous banshee form every time Kiral saw her. Such is her curse. True, he's a vampire struggling with a drug addiction, but he's a good soul. Yet no one could love a cursed witch, especially one not even her cats respect.

After having a vision of Kiral's death, Harriet makes it her mission to save him. Never before has she attempted to change fate, but so strong is her love.

How can Harriet convince Kiral to see past her vile appearance and return her love? If only she can force him to listen to reason coming from a raving crone, perhaps she can save him from the demons hunting him and from himself.

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has six novellas and twenty short stories published.

In case you're wondering, Christine is taking April off from her epic publishing endeavour to participate in the A-Z Challenge. If you can call that a break! Go, Christine!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Interview about Overcoming Adversity and Andrew's Campaign!

Happy Friday! Fellow blogger Jo Murphey, one of the brilliant contributors to the anthology, was kind enough to offer to interview me over at her blog here. So if you'd like to find out a bit more about Andrew and what else is going on with his campaign, I'd love to see you over there!

Have a great weekend, all. :)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

"1304 - The Harbinger" blog tour

It's time to welcome the wonderful Christine Rains back once again with a tour stop for the latest in her superb 13th Floor series. She's talking demons again, this time of the cosmic variety!


Tricksters, brutes, and evil masterminds. Each villain is frightening in their own way, but it's even more horrifying when the hero must face all of them at once. What can you do when faced with the gods and their wrath? It's like the immortal mafia.

Zeus is the Father of the Gods. The big boss. Though it would be folly to call any of the other gods minions. Each of them are powerful on their own. They have their strengths and flaws, and their own agendas. If you can figure out what each one is after, you might stand a chance of maneuvering yourself in a position to survive whatever they have in store for you.

In The Harbinger, Meira is a harpy in service of Zeus. She fetches souls and other things for him, but most of the time, she's allowed to go about her own life. She has the Thunder God's favor until she asks for him to spare the soul of the man she loves. Zeus has never been good at sharing. When the other gods hear of it, Ares' interest in Meira raises Zeus' ire even more. Hera would just prefer to turn Meira into a poodle and be done with the mess.

At times, being turned into a dog seems like the best option for Meira. Yet she's determined to save her love's soul. So she must play by the gods' rules, skewed as they may be. There's also nothing that says the gods have to be fair. Yet if the gods give their word, they're honor-bound to keep it. It's just a matter of surviving through whatever they've planned.

What sort of tactics do you think would work against the immortal mafia?

Title: 1304 The Harbinger (The 13th Floor series, #4)
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: March 13th, 2013


Meira Harper loves both her jobs: talking about beautiful shoes and fetching souls for Zeus. But the Thunder God threatens the harpy's loyalty to her job when she receives the call to bring the soul of gorgeous Sam Wright. Meira pleads with her boss to let him live. Zeus agrees, but Sam must fight for his life. If Sam can win three challenges, he can keep his soul.

The gods never play fairly, though, so Meira needs to find ways to help Sam with the challenges. She cannot outwardly cross her master, but she refuses to let the man she loves lose his soul. They haven't even had a chance to start a life together.

Sam's soul is on the line. Meira's will be too if she's caught, but that's a risk she's willing to take.

Purchase Links:

B & N 

You can also download the first installment of the series, The Marquis, for FREE right now at Smashwords and Kobo. I highly recommend you do!

Author Bio:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has four novellas and eighteen short stories published.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Indie Life - Tips on Self-Publishing an Anthology

It's time for my second installment in the monthly Indie Life bloghop hosted by The Indelibles. Similar to the IWSG (which I'm joining soon, I promise!), this is a chance for indie authors to post about indie life, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints, and anything else that makes life as an indie author a little easier.

What is Indie Life?

How: Sign up on the Linky at the bottom of this page
When: Post on the second Wednesday of the month
What: Write anything indie related: something that will inspire or help a fellow indie; something that celebrates a release or a milestone; something that talks about the ups and downs, joys and heartaches of Being Indie.
Grab: The banner above to include in your posts!

Last month, I talked a little about the myriad of opportunities available with self-publishing to release not just novels, but collections, anthologies, treatises on the sex life of garden snails (maybe). It's really ours to do with as we see fit. Since that time, I've released my fundraising anthology of contributions from my awesome fellow bloggers, to go towards the fund to send my stepson to a specialist college. The whole process was easy and straightforward (formatting notwithstanding), and it would be cool if this sort of thing happened more often, not least because I've ended up with such an excellent, inspring book that I'm proud to put my name to. So I thought I would put together a few pointers on how to undertake such an endeavour. (NB - this is just how I went about it, so this is merely a set of guidelines. You could ask for contributions privately via email, but I decided to host a blogfest to get more interest and as many people involved as possible.)

At the beginning of January, I announced my blogfest with a date of 4th-5th February and posted a linky list for people to sign up. I thought it prudent to allow around a month for people to prepare, and this was justified as many initially commented saying they had no idea what they were going to write!

On the 4th and 5th of Feb, I posted my own contribution and began making my way through the list to read and thank all other contributors. I also found myself fielding an increasing number of email inquiries on various topics, including those who had missed sign-ups and still wanted to take part.

On Wednesday the 6th, I pruned non-contributors from the list and at this time I began to look into the issue of formatting. I'd like to thank Indie Life host Susan Kaye Quinn for her informative Self-Pubbing Basics series which starts here; through her I discovered the Smashwords Style Guide which told me everything I needed to know on formatting. That weekend, I started to transfer each story from its blog to an individual Word document.

As people were still interested in taking part, I set a deadline of Sunday 17th February for any further entries. Once everything was in and I had all my documents formatted, I then had to decide on a running order for entries (seventy in total). At first this task seemed daunting and unwieldy, but it turned out to be fun! There are different ways you could approach this, obviously depending on the content you have. I started by categorising the entries. My anthology is a mix of flash fiction, true stories, and poetry. I found I had slightly more fiction than real life, and seven or eight poems.

I got a pad of post it notes and wrote the title and author of each piece on them. I was pretty familiar with the contents of each through proofreading, but in a few cases I wrote a couple of key words for reference. I then stuck all the post its to the top of my kitchen table in a square, and simply shuffled them about until I was happy with the order. If you're doing this, allow a bit of time for it. It ended up taking me two hours, but then I had a four-year-old around who kept snatching them off the table, until I gave her and her sister the rest of the pad and let them organise their own game!

After this I compiled all the entries into one "master" document, which would later be converted into three versions for Amazon, Smashwords and CreateSpace. (This is important as you need to make sure any links are only appropriate to that retailer: they are strict about this, and obviously the paperback version had all links stripped out.)

At the same time, I sent out emails to all the authors asking for a short bio to attach to the end of their piece. I added these bios in italics to differentiate from the main text. Most responded quickly, but don't be shy about sending the odd reminder, as writers tend to be very busy. I also put up another linky list for anyone to help with the launch on the 4th of March.

There is also the issue of copyright to consider. Thanks to Kittie Howard for her pertinent advice on this matter. I included an appendix at the front of the book assigning rights to the author of each piece, along with any pictures. Before publication I emailed everyone again asking if they had any objections to me using their story. (No one did!)

So that's about it... it's out there now which leaves the matter of promotion. *cough* please click the image at the top of my sidebar *splutter* I've been fortunate enough to have some great word of mouth from the contributors and others, but I'm wondering what other avenues to pursue. Anyone know of any blogs that would review an anthology?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Moustaches for Maddie and a bit of news

Happy Friday! I just thought I would bring to your attention some things you should be aware of, if you're not already.

First up, a very fun blogfest for an excellent cause. Many of you will know Chad Morris and Shelly Brown. They have something to celebrate because Chad's first book, The Inventor's Secret, has just been released. But right now all their focus is on their daughter Maddie, who last week was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The good news is that she is doing well, recovering from successful surgery, and we can all do our bit to help make her smile! Maddie loves moustaches. Any moustaches. So fellow blogger Shallee McArthur has organised an awesome giveaway whereby we must blog, tweet and Facebook our moustachioed faces to lift Maddie's spirits. Shallee has prizes up for grabs, including Chad's book, but I've already downloaded my copy to help out. It's been tearing up the charts on Amazon!

So, here I am doing my best Mario impression:

It may interest you to learn that this picture was taken, and tache added, by my daughter Eve, using the handy BoothStache app on my stepson's iPad. Why is a four-year-old more tech savvy than I am?! She even did a self-portrait...

And for good measure, here's her big sister Emma (those of you who've bought my anthology, did you catch her story? What did you think?)

I really hope these pictures make Maddie smile! You can view more details and enter the giveaway over at Shallee's blog.

Next, the awesome M. Pax released the third installment of her Backworlds series, Boomtown Craze, on Monday.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe.

To secure his future, Craze must propel his world into a more prosperous era. Only days away from the grand opening of his new and improved tavern, he is confronted by a loony Backworlder intent on mucking up his plans. Gaunt and trembling, she claims her spaceship is possessed. She also has a connection to the underworld that shakes loose the dark past of one of Craze’s closest friends. It all threatens to end Craze’s prosperity before it begins.

Meanwhile off world, Captain Talos works desperately to outwit the mercenary Jixes and lure them away from his and Craze’s budding prospects. The mind-control weapon Talos uses against them is wearing thin, and his next move may be his last.

Will Craze and Talos’s efforts bring about a grand new age of boom or damn them to forever struggle in the dust?

Paperback Available from:

Ebook Available from:

Amazon / AmazonUK / KOBO / BN / Smashwords /OtherOutlets

 iTunes, Sony, and other links coming soon

You can find details of exciting giveaways surrounding the launch at Mary's post here.

Jessica McKendry is also celebrating, with the release of her debut novel, From the Ashes.

Jaina Indera has been preparing her entire life for the chance to prove herself a superior and loyal citizen of the Imperial Alliance. In order to do so, she believes she must win the galaxy-wide competition known as the Trials. With training at her Gifted School progressing swiftly, everything looks like it is on pace for her to achieve her dream…until a boy named Dragon enrolls in her class.
Available from Amazon
Find out more at

C.M. Brown is offering the first two books in her Protector series FREE until tomorrow as part of Read an Ebook Week at Smashwords. See here for details.
AND, my fundraising collection Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew is now available in paperback! For all those who have asked, you can buy it from Amazon US or Amazon UK. To say I appreciate everyone's efforts in spreading the word would be an understatement!
On that note, I'll leave you with something that put a huge smile on all our faces. Elise Fallson, one of the excellent contributors and a great friend of mine, came up with an excellent idea to help spread the word. On Sunday, she did a 10k run near her home in France wearing one of Andrew's campaign t-shirts, and her friends had the ant mascot pinned to them as they ran. You can find more info and pics here. Elise, you went above and beyond the call of duty!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

STRENGTH Release Party

Yes, it's time to celebrate with the awesome Carrie Butler as her debut novel makes it way into the world! Congrats, Carrie!

Title: Strength
Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing   
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013

Available at: AmazonKindleBarnes and Noble, and Nook. More retailers will be added in the coming weeks, i.e. Sony Reader Store, iBookstore, Kobo, etc. Be sure to keep an eye on Carrie's Pinterest "Retailers" board. She updates it whenever STRENGTH pops up somewhere. :)

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.

Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Where to find Carrie:

Where to find Strength:

Giveaway! Win this swag:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 4 March 2013

Overcoming Adversity Launch Day!

It's here! A few short weeks ago, I invited my wonderful friends to contribute a short piece on the theme of Overcoming Adversity for a bloghop, following which I would compile them for an anthology to raise money for my stepson's college fund.

I never could have anticipated the overwhelming response I had, shining a light on the generosity and warmth of spirit of this amazing community. The final tally of flash fiction pieces, real life stories, and poems stands at seventy, and each is inspiring in its own right, adding up to a fabulous and uplifting book that I'm proud to release.

Andrew follows all his fundraising events with great interest and he also wants to extend his thanks. He loves the cover! Huge thanks to two talented ladies, DRC who designed it and Ella Wilson who originated the idea. Soon, I'll be revealing the full story behind the concept.

So, here are all the details for this lovely book...

A collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent.

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Purchase Links:

For those asking about paperbacks, this is in the works, and hopefully they'll be ready in the next couple of days. Watch this space!

All that remains is to once again say THANK YOU (not tired of saying this yet) and please consider spending a few pennies (or cents) on an inspirational book, and make a difference to Andrew's future and that of others with complex specialist needs.