Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!

It's still 2013 here (just) but the year is slipping away fast. There's still time for me to thank everyone who entered my giveaway on goodreads; all 1026 of you! I was blown away by the interest so thank you. The lucky five winners should be receiving their signed copies in the post very soon. In fact, I was so impressed with the number of entrants that I am going to be hosting another giveaway very soon, right here on my blog. 

 What I've been Reading recently...


 
  The whirlwind in the thorn tree
by S.A.Hunt

I discovered S.A. Hunt, who is based in Georgia USA, while I was searching for a cover designer for my own books. It was the quality of his artwork and his creativity that captured my attention. His novel's cover(s), shown here, are his own work and you can check out more of his designs at his website http://theusualmadman.net
The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is his first completed novel; it is book one of The Outlaw King. He describes it as a dark fantasy, and I have to agree.
Here's my review:
The novel starts with a death... the death of a man called Ed. At this point, I had no point of reference on which to judge this deed. Ed, described only by the thoughts of the assassin who kills him, simply vanishes into thin air when he is shot. I didn't know if Ed's death was a good or bad thing. I didn't know who had killed him. The jump to Ed's point of view, where he lands in a stream mortally wounded, cleared up only a small fraction of the mystery and intrigue. He hadn't been on Earth when he was shot...
... and I was hooked.
S. A. Hunt's writing style is bold and dynamic. Mistakes in grammar or formatting are very few. His use of description and simile throughout the novel is incredible.  Every location, every deeply original facet of the world he has created has been painted in my mind by his ingenious use of language. Some of the language, I should add, would be unsuitable for younger readers... but the more coarse vocabulary was not overused or wasted, in fact it added to the parts of the story it was used in; helping to display the raw emotion and the darkness and depravity of the situations.
Throughout the novel, the writing jumps from 1st to third person. It adds an edge to the story, and enables S.A. Hunt to feed us a little extra information occasionally. In the first person, we are privy to the thoughts and experiences of Ross Brigham, a soldier who has just returned home... to find his wife has left him and his father, Ed Brigham, famous author of the Fiddle and the Fire book series, is dead.
Ross Brigham is a complex character, a soldier, artist and writer struggling with everyday human problems and emotions, like self-doubt and loss, while he takes us on an amazing journey through a fantasy realm of strange creatures and Old West style shootouts. In him, I believe, there is an identifiable reflection of every one of us regardless of whoever or wherever we are. Ross is easy to identify with and easy to love.
I don't like giving away spoilers, so that's all you're getting as far as the content goes. Except I must explain one thing, because I find it incredible and it's what makes the book a winner for me. This novel, the story of a bereaved son and his new friends discovering a fantasy world, has been put together with thought and patience. S.A. Hunt has created a novel inside of a novel, with titbits of the work of (fictional) Ed Brigham interspersed. I think perhaps the excerpts are my favourite detail of the novel, not because of content but because they add another layer to the believability of the world.
I know I've enjoyed a book when I struggle to find a negative point to gripe about, but there's one thing I am happy to moan about in this case... talk about leaving me hanging at the end! I'm perhaps guilty of creating my own cliff-hanger, but come on... gah! I need the next book; Law of the Wolf which is out now on Amazon.
S.A. Hunt is a very talented author and artist. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
 
Happy New Year Everyone! See you in 2014

Friday, 13 December 2013

Last day to enter giveaway on goodreads

Hi Everyone!

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway I have running on goodreads.com right now. It ends tomorrow! There's five signed paperbacks on offer. Want to enter? Click on the link below...



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Aquila by T.L. Searle

Aquila

by T.L. Searle

Giveaway ends December 14, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win



My latest read...

I've been ambitious and started reading two books this week. My reviews for both should be up in the almost near ,but not quite that near, future.

A Thank You
 
I've got to say a thank you too, to H.M Jones author of Monochrome (which I shall be reading next) for her amazing and unexpected review of Aquila; From The Darkness which she blogged recently! Getting any five star review is humbling, but a five star review from a fellow author is just amazing...
 
 
News
 
Life has got busy recently. I am still working on the sequel. I am planning to get some teasers and excerpts on here once I'm ready. I've found an amazing cover designer! So watch out for a cover reveal too... though not for awhile I'm afraid.
 
Don't forget to enter the giveaway above.

 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Review; The Immortal Game by Joannah Miley

This week has been crazy busy, but somehow I've manage to add a chapter to my next novel, Aquila; into the light, and read a fab book which I've reviewed below.   

This week I've read:

18480516 When struggling pre-med student Ruby West beats the unconquerable Ash at chess he becomes fixated on her. Which is great if you like smouldering blue eyes, sculpted features, and afternoons of unexpected adventure, but not so great when she discovers he is a Greek god and his father, Zeus, has forbidden the gods from interacting with humans.

Ruby soon realizes her love for Ash threatens the fragile stability that has kept the gods from meddling in the mortal world.

Before long the two find themselves on a quest to rescue a goddess, save the Earth from unending winter, and secure the right to be together forever.

 

My Review:

This book is better that good, it's pretty awesome. If you're a fan of Greek mythology, chess, romance, reading, coffee... you get the point. The story follows Ruby, a medical student who is struggling through classes. She plans to follow in her late father's footsteps and join Medics for Mercy, working as a doctor in the war. She plays Ash at chess and wins, earning his unwanted attention in return.
Joannah Miley has created a beautiful story, combining modern-day civilisation and humans with the gods of Greek mythology. You don't have to have understanding of the subject to appreciate the characters as she has introduced and developed them well throughout the book. She has really given them different voices and displayed their personalities brilliantly.
I enjoyed reading this book. There is action, suspense and love. The locations and emotions are well written and believable. I look forward to reading the next instalment.
 
I give this book:
 
Connect with Joannah at  http://www.joannahmiley.com/

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Cover Reveal! A Little Too Hot by lisa Desrochers

From USA Today bestselling author Lisa Desrochers, comes the third book in her sizzling New Adult series.
 
If you play with fire…
 
Tossed out of college and cut off by her parents, Samantha West is in pretty dire straits. So when her rocker best friend hooks her up with a job dancing at a gentlemen’s club, who is she to turn it down? Plus, there are rules to dancing at Benny’s: No touching, keep your clothes on at all times, and never get closer than three feet. Unfortunately for Sam, her first private client makes her want to break every single one of them.
 
Harrison Yates is scorching hot, but he’s got a past that involves being left at the altar not too long ago. Sam is determined to make him forget about his ex, but when she makes her move, it flings her life into a spiral of chaos she never saw coming.
Because Harrison Yates isn’t who he seems to be. And his secret will probably get her killed.
 
 
I'm so excited to be participating in the cover reveal for Lisa! So here it is:-

 
 
 

The third book of the series, A Little Too Hot will be available to buy from 21st January 2014.
 
After reading the first book, A Little To Far, and giving it a five star review, I can't wait to see what tantalising story Lisa has created this time.
 
Lisa has an amazing treat for us;  a Rafflecopter giveaway with loads of New Adult Swag to win! Here's the link:-
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway





Review: Of Dreams and Shadow by D.S. McKnight

This week I've been reading:

http://dsmcknight.blogspot.co.uk/
 
 
 

Of Dreams and Shadow is a Young Adult Paranormal novel but you'll find no vampires or werewolves between the pages. No, D.S. McKnight's picture-book town of Parson's Cove is haunted by something else entirely; something as dark as shadow.
 
When sixteen year old Jenna Barton moves into 203 Sandpiper, a little house with a secret, she doesn't just attract the attention of the boy next door. Jenna can't understand why Chase Williams has taken an obvious dislike to her. They're the same age, attend the same school and socialise with the same circle of friends but every time she sets foot in the back garden Chase's attitude sends her back inside.
 
Chase remembers. He remembers the little girl with brown hair, Sarah, who lived next door. He remembers the shadow, rising up and enveloping the little girl by the rock in her back garden. He remembers that no one believed his story.
 
Jenna reminds Chase of Sarah, of what Sarah may have looked like if she'd lived to sixteen; and the shadow feels the same. Silas has lain dormant, waiting and watching, and now Jenna has his full attention.
 
 
My Review:

The title of this book is amazing, completely relevant to the story inside. D. S. McKnight has created an idyllic coastal town, interesting and developed characters and a super-nasty bad guy we could all fear. Silas is evil with a completely warped sense of reality and justice. His vengeful killing spree is the stuff of nightmares.
 
I found the writing style smooth and easy. The language was appropriate and varied between characters. What I loved most about the book was the trips into the past; the change of points of view. It was really interesting to see how Silas became what he ended up as... a serial killer.
 
This book would be great for readers interested in mild horror and paranormal novels.
 
My Rating: 

Four Stars

 
 In Other News!

I'm excited to announce that tonight I will be taking part in the cover reveal for USA Today best selling author Lisa Desrochers as she prepares to release the third book in her A Little Too ... series! Her first book, A Little Too Far, received a five star review from me... How about you?

  
 
 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Interview by Matt Ewens

I was recently interviewed by fellow book enthusiast, author and blogger Matt Ewens. Matt is from Plymouth in the UK and writes horror, fantasy, science fiction and children's literature as well as being a very accomplished guitar player.
 
He asked some brilliant questions. Want to know my hints a tips to first time authors? Or about my experience with self-publishing.
 
One of his questions and my answer:-
 
Q. You have a great video introduction for your book, which uses Creative Commons licensed music and images to great effect, what was the idea behind using video to promote your book?
 
A. I felt it was a great creative outlet as well as a way to convey the images and feelings I associate with my novel. I wanted to produce something visual, something more than the written word. I believe every one of us, every individual, associates and relates differently. A video is an added form of media, another type of storytelling device that may help potential readers get a feel for the novel, a feel for the locations; but mainly I just enjoyed making it and wanted to share it with the world.



Find the full interview with him at http://mattrobertewens.wordpress.com/interviews/

I enjoyed answering his thoughtful questions and want to thank Matt for featuring me.


In other news:-

Aquila; From The Darkness - broke into the top #20,000 on Amazon! Ok 20,000 is a lot, but with over 400,000 titles listed I'm pretty happy with that. Thank you everyone who has purchased my novel. Don't be frightened to post your honest reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, AskDavid, or anywhere else you want to!
 
 



A Thank You:-

 

A huge Thank You to Shauls Bakery and CafĂ© in Bridgwater, Somerset for hosting my first book signing! I sold some books (always a bonus) but mainly I got the opportunity to talk to people about my work. They also kept me fuelled with Hot Chocolate and Sausage rolls. Amazing.

I really enjoyed getting out into the public and will definitely be planning another one in a different location in the future.

 
 
 
 
 
My Latest Read:-
 
I've nearly finished Of Dreams and Shadow by D. S. McKnight. Can't wait to share my review with you all. I'll post it in a blog once I'm done.
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I have a new page on my blog dedicated to My Latest Reads

Like many authors, I write because I love to read. And like many, many authors, I decided to self publish when my first manuscript was complete.
 
Self publishing is fun, relatively easy and inexpensive, and gives the author creative control. This enables talented writers to spread their stories to the world without having to secure agents, publishing houses or agree to deadlines. Herein the problem surfaces; Marketing.
 
Once the book, eBook or paperback, is set free into the world - it vanishes beneath the waves of the hundreds of thousands of books before it. Without vast sums of money, or agents with vast sums of money, to spend on marketing the book to the world these literary marvels remain largely invisible.
 
So, each week (hopefully) I will be reading a reviewing one of these author's works. The book I am reading will be listed on My Latest Reads page indefinitely. When the review is complete, I will write it as a blog and feature my star rating which I will add to the book's profile on my Latest Reads page.
 
My first book, Of Dreams and Shadow by D.S. McKnight is up and running. I will blog a full review once I'm done.
 
If you are an author and would like your work featured please contact me. I do not charge for reviews.
 
 
 
In other news...
 
I had an excellent time answering questions about my own novel at a book club meeting in Costa Coffee, Cheddar. I want to thank the book club for inviting me along and being so welcoming.
 
I am pleased to say that their comments were all positive! Of course they could have just been being nice.
 
 
Book Signing
 
My first official book signing is fast approaching. Saturday 16th November I will be in my hometown of Bridgwater, Somerset. Full details are on my events page. Nervous excitement is bubbling.
 
 
There are lots of interesting things happening with my novel and the sequel. I will keep you all informed as and when I have new details.
 
Don't forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win a signed copy.
 
 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Do you judge a book by its cover?

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“I judge books by their cover, because, well, isn't that what they're there for?” L. Kondor

 
 
As an avid lover and reader of all things literary, I have never questioned why I choose a particular book when I’m browsing a shelf. I simply pick up what appeals to me and flip it over to read the blurb... a quick flick through the pages and it’s either in my basket or hastily returned to its previous location. However, as an author I found myself wondering about that magical ingredient; that detail on the outside that makes someone want to look... inside.
 
So I Conducted an experiment; and below are the results.
 
My Question?
 
DO YOU JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER?
 
 
WHAT MAKES YOU PICK UP OR CLICK ON A BOOK TO READ THE SYNOPSIS AND FLICK THROUGH THE PAGES?


I posed this question to an eclectic group of readers and authors, from a multitude of genres, and the majority of them admitted that it's all about the cover.

What was the majority? Take a look...


So, what is it about the covers that drew the reader's eye?  Here are some of their comments:-

"I get put off by the wrong font, or a bad stock photo." D. Winter

"It has to be well done, unique and interesting." L. Lablue

"Striking portraits or colours and abstract textures or designs that call up an emotion in me." R. Davmor

"Bold and unique. Thought provoking and curious." C. Storm

"A good cover should be like a work of art, it should speak to you." S. McFinnigan



K. Brown, a bookseller who has firsthand experience says, “Yes, books are judged by their covers. We sell & promote books that we have vetted through our writing competitions. However, we vet only content, not covers.  The content could be excellent, but if the cover doesn't convey that then it is bypassed by potential readers. Sad, but true.” 

 
So the next question should be why? Why do we, as readers, limit ourselves in such a subjective way? Ultimately, a cover is simply the outer skin of an authors work; so what makes readers shun the 'ugly duckling'?
 
Here readers give their opinion:-

 
 




“I think of books like plates of food. You eat with your eyes first. It's human nature. If I'm browsing a book store, I'm looking for that restaurant quality dish. Beautiful, clean, composed. Of course, it's not always an accurate depiction of what is inside. The cover might snag my attention, but I take a bite first before I walk to the checkout with it.” S. Allton
 
“If the cover looks well-designed, like it's had some care and thought put into it, I usually assume that the text itself has had the same care and attention!” D. Winter
 
“The cover of any book/ebook/report/pitch deck is like an invitation to come inside. Think about how the entrance of your house is perceived by visitors.” J. Sondy
 
“I find different genres tend to have common styles. romance cover images are either real people or landscapes, Fantasy books tend to have digital or painted artwork, or fantastical creatures. Scifi has something futuristic, astrologic or spaceships.” C. Tempest
 
“The cover is your one chance to make a good first impression and is worth attention and investment.” Ken.L

 

This posed another interesting issue:




“I always have the option of more books than I can procure, so looking at the cover is a way to CHOOSE between them.” Mark.H

 

So I asked Mark if he thought a cover is a way for a reader to refine their choices in a superfluous market? Did he mean a bad one may guarantee he doesn't pick it up but a good one may not guarantee he does... He quickly put me right. I wouldn't say that a bad cover guarantees I won't pick it up, but it does lower the chances of taking a closer look quite a bit.” He went on to explain IT’S not just physical factors (in a cover) but mental ones as well - stuff that people subconsciously decide without realising it or being able to articulate it. Is the book too long? Do I feel ‘in the mood’ to read this type of book? Does the author’s name sound cliqued? is the blurb on the back poorly written? Is it related to another series of books that I haven't read?

If we struggle to explain to ourselves why we don't want to pick up a particular book ‘because of a feeling’, then not liking the cover is a convenient excuse, and one that can be rationalised.”

 

So that said, what chance does any author have to impress the masses? It sounds like an impossible task, but all is not lost! A cover may not please all of the people, all of the time, but there are readers out there willing to look past the bruised skin of the fruit.
 
We mustn’t forget the 30% of readers who already have that X-ray vision; the ones who go straight for the synopsis, first page or sample chapters on the internet; the ones who listen to recommendations and read reviews.
 

“I always read the synopsis and then a free chapter.” T. Haas
 

“I am attracted by the title. If someone has the imagination to think of a good title, I reckon the story might be good.” T. Schlesinger
 

“How good a cover is might say something about how much money the author or publisher had to spend on it, but otherwise it doesn't indicate anything at all.” Brian.R
 

“I now am a first paragraph reader, since I learned the first half page is what makes you want to read any book.” Bill.L
 

“A great title is the hint of promise of what's inside.” Rachel.P
 

“I think writing a good synopsis is a skill and one that should be practiced.  It's a difficult line to walk because you want to give them just enough to pique their interest, but not make it overly burdensome with too much detail.” Ken.L

 
 
My conclusion? Yes, a cover is important – but designing a cover that is unique, bold, emotive, though-provoking, not busy, genre related but not clichĂ©, the reader’s favourite font, pretty, without overused and cheap images... is going to be impossible for even the most imaginative individual in such a large and diverse market.
 

“There are plenty of hidden gems that don't even have covers.” Marcy.P
 

My advice... read! That’s what books are for after all. Words need to be read. If you’re in a shop read the back, open it, smell it, read the first chapter – the first paragraph and make your judgement.
 
If you’re on the internet you have no excuse, there are sample chapters available to read online or to download to your e-book device for free. Don’t like it? Delete it. Love it? Buy it for a fraction of the cost of a paper copy.

 
"My task which I am trying to achieve is by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel-it is, before all, to make you see. That-and no more, and it is everything."
- Joseph Conrad





A final thought courtesy of L. E. Christopher:- "If the first few pages have awkward sentences or mistakes, I'm definitely not buying it."



This is not official research. Figures are based on a restricted sample of participants.



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Book Giveaway on goodreads.com


From 1st November until 14th December 2013

WIN ONE OF FIVE SIGNED PAPERBACK COPIES OF AQUILA; FROM THE DARKNESS


YA Fantasy Romance novel by debut author T. L. Searle
 
 

There are five signed paperback copies of this book to giveaway. The author would be grateful for honest reviews to be posted on goodreads, Barnes and Noble and/or Amazon.
 
 
Enter Here

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Aquila by T.L. Searle

Aquila

by T.L. Searle

Giveaway ends December 14, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

"T.L. Searle's imagination is a gift." Dr K. R. Mifsud


"Our world is changing. The future is uncertain... There is a girl. She is different."


Seventeen year old Aqua Vickers lives a secluded life; working on her mother's farm, hanging out with her best friend Aaron at weekends... pretending to be human.

When Aqua meets another being like her, her impulsive nature leads her to follow him. Celthia is like no city Aqua has ever seen. She meets new friends, new allies and new family.

But Aqua's life has been rooted on a bed of lies and deceit. Can Aqua unravel the secrets of her past in order to protect her old life from the dangers of her new?


Friday, 25 October 2013

Aquila; from the darkness goes live on Barnes and Noble

 
 
 
"I never want to feel the intense pain of loss again. That's what it was. Loss and grief, pulling me inside out until all I could do was surrender to it."
 
T.L. Searle - Aquila; from the darkness
 
 
 
 


Aquila; from the darkness is now available for nook from barnesandnoble.com for $3.99/£2.46




 
Book Signings
 
 
The paperback copies for the book signing are being printed at this very moment. I should have details available in regards to the first event in the next few weeks. The first events are planned to take place in my local area - Bridgwater, Cheddar, Bristol are all on the list.
 
I have 10 copies set aside for anyone who wants a signed copy and cannot make an event. You can email me at; tlsearleauthor@gmail.com 
 
 
 
 
Costa Coffee, Cheddar - Cheddar, United Kingdom
 
Costa Coffee - Cheddar
Monday 11th November 2013
 
I will be hosting a chat about Aquila; from the darkness between 10am and 12 noon for Costa Coffee's book club. I am planning to have paperback copies available to sign on request.
 
Like their page on facebook to check for updates:
 
 
 
Details of other events to follow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
News
 
Book Giveaway: www.goodreads.com
 
Goodreads_icon_100x100
 
There will be a book giveaway on goodreads.com in the near future. Five entrants will win a free signed paperback copy of Aquila; from the darkness. Details to follow.
 
 
Aquila; from the darkness is also scheduled for FREE review on 11th January 2014 with the:
ARR Program - We ♥ YA Books!

Sign up with goodreads and join the  We ♥ YA Books! group for a chance to receive a free e-book copy in exchange for an honest review.
 
Check out Aquila; from the darkness on goodreads:
 
 
 
 
Aquila: into the light
 
The final half of Aqua's story is well underway. I will be writing teasers closer to the time of publication and am planning a cover reveal so keep watching.
 
 
 
Remember to follow me on:
twitter @trumslouise