Saving Grace (Katie & Annalise Book 1)

This was my first book from Bookbub and it didn’t disappoint. Saving Grace is set in the Caribbean and features an attorney named Katie who likes to drink. It’s romantic mystery, but there actually isn’t a lot of romance in this first book. At least not reciprocated romance. Katie is hung up on Nick, a private detective she works with, but he’s going through a divorce and isn’t forthcoming with his feelings towards our heroine.

After several issues at work, Katie heads to Saint Marcos and puts an offer in on a beautiful old mansion complete with jumbie (or ghost for those who don’t know Caribbean lingo).

I absolutely loved the author’s ‘voice’ and her clever way with words. This was a very funny book, despite dealing with the serious issues of death and loss.

The supernatural aspect might not appeal to everyone, but I think it worked well mixed in with the ‘voodoo’ vibe of the story. I haven’t been to the Caribbean, but I found myself reminiscing about a trip I went on to Vanuatu a few years ago and its wild tropical beauty. The setting is a character all on its own, and it carried the story when the plot slowed down a bit mid-book.

Not all loose ends are tied up by the end, so of course I had to get the second one straight away. I think I would have preferred one of the major plot lines to be wound up in the first book, but I was going to buy the second one anyway.

It’s been a while since I’ve read something that I couldn’t put down. And while I’ve enjoyed the last few ‘straight’ romance books I’ve read, the funny stuff is much more up my alley.

Highly recommend :)

Bookbub

I don’t know if it’s just me, but sometimes I struggle to find something new (and good) to read on Amazon. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me to use my writer’s knowledge to solve this problem. While searching for ways to promote Dismissed, I came across Bookbub. It is the one site that I hear spoken of highly (consistently) amongst independent authors. As a writer, you apply to have your book advertised with them when you are running a special or a freebie, and they promote it on their site and through a daily e-mail to their subscribers. This almost always translates into higher Amazon rankings and more paid sales afterwards.

The reason this site is so successful is because they only advertise a small percentage of the books that are submitted. Only the decent ones make the cut.

While I haven’t yet applied to have my book listed, I decided to sign up as a reader and see what kind of stuff is on there.

So far, it’s been really good. I’ve received four of the daily e-mails and downloaded four books already – a couple of them free and a couple discounted to 99c. I’m part way through my first one and loving it (review to come). Some of these books have insane numbers of positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, which makes me wonder why they need more exposure, but I’m not complaining.

So next time you’re looking for something new to read, check out Bookbub. And let me know if you find an awesome story that you’d like to recommend!

 

What Janie Wants


This was a fun and easy escapist read. Set in a Mexican resort with a nudist beach out the front, I was actually expecting a quirky and funny story. This turned out not to be the case, but it was still an enjoyable book.

The plot itself was pleasant enough – older woman meets younger man for a holiday fling that has potential to go beyond the holiday – and it was definitely written and paced well.

There was a lot of sex, which I am not normally used to reading (although it seems to be all the rage these days!) but it was done pretty well. For some reason, I did feel a bit detached in parts, but that might just be because from the handful of erotic fiction novels I have read, the sex, while imaginative, seems to read the same after a while.

That is probably just my bias, so I haven’t marked the story down because of this.

I quite liked Zade and Janie together, although I got frustrated that Zade kept reverting to caveman speak every time they were in the bedroom. I understand the whole attempt to be primal and passionate, but for me he just ended up sounding like Encino Man. I did quite like his physical description though!

And really, the only other thing that I was disappointed by goes back to the blurb talking about a nudist beach, which is barely mentioned in the story. I had assumed there would be some climatic scene (pun intended) featuring some exhibitionism on the beach. But it never eventuated.

Overall though, I think romance readers (who enjoy a little spice in their books) will be quite happy with this offering.

Take Off Your Pants…


No, this is not the name of a new erotic fiction novel. It’s a great little book by Libbie Hawker about outlining a novel. I’m in the process of reworking my latest project using this formula, so I’ll let you know if it does in fact make the whole writing task easier. But I’m pretty happy with what I’ve read so far. If you want to grab a copy, click here!

Rematch by Rachael Slate – Mini Review


This is my second Rachael Slate book, and I loved revisiting the world she created in Trancing The Tiger. It is a much shorter story, so faster paced, but it still has depth and awesome characters. Wen and Li were great leads, the storyline was fun to read, and it was nice to see a cameo from Sheng and Lucy from the first book. I wasn’t sure if I would be a permanent convert to this genre, but I think I’ve changed my mind, and I look forward to the next installment!

Review copies of Dismissed available!

Hi all!

Xpress Book Tours are currently accepting registrations for readers who would like to receive a review copy of Dismissed. If you feel like a fun afternoon read featuring a gorgeous teacher who moonlights as a rockstar, and his trouble-making, dreadlocked twin brother, sign up here!

Wattpad

I found this interesting article about an author who had great success with Wattpad: http://kobowritinglife.com/2014/11/13/wattpad-a-powerful-tool-for-book-marketing/ (for those who have never heard of Wattpad, the article explains that too).

She makes an interesting point about writing the whole story first and then releasing it a chapter at a time, but reminding readers that they can buy the full version if they can’t wait for the next chapter for free. *Sigh* I have so much still to learn!

Earlier in the year I opened a Wattpad account, but I wasn’t really sure how to use it effectively. I also got a bit burnt out using Tablo and SwoonReads at the same time. But it might be time to revisit it and see if I can actually become a properly functioning community member!

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Romance Writing Structure

Even though I’ve written two novels, I still feel a bit clueless when it comes to structuring one. I find the middle particularly hard to deal with, especially when trying to incorporate a romantic relationship into the story. So I went hunting and found this cool post about the seven story beats in a romance novel: http://kayedacus.com/2008/04/28/writing-the-romance-novel-the-seven-story-beats/

Hopefully it will inspire you and help you develop a stronger and more consistent story.

Indie Aussie Authors…

I recently started a website that was designed to support independent Aussie authors on their writing journey. I did this because I had no idea where to meet others that were doing the same thing as me – wanting to self-publish and learn the right way to go about it in 2015.

So I launched the site, but around the same time, I had a few other commitments that meant I wasn’t able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to the concept.

But even when I was able to focus back on it, I struggled to figure out what it was that I was trying to achieve. I wondered why I was attempting to help people when I had no idea what I was doing myself. I had finished my second book, but I didn’t have a strategy for it, so I decided to release it and just ‘see what happened’.

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