Monday, April 15, 2024

Book of the Week: Covered in Flour by Charles Presti


* Book of the Week *


Covered in Flour

by Charles Presti



It's 1968 in Whisper Haven, and 8-year-old Carl Pozzi’s world is about to change.

For eight-year-old Carl Pozzi, 1968 begins like any other year—playing kickball with friends and enjoying the comforting aroma of Mom's pasta dinners in their predominantly white suburban Whisper Haven home. But when Carl's teacher introduces lessons about racial prejudice and injustice, his worldview cracks wide open.

How far can innocence stretch before it snaps?

As Carl flips through the pages of his 3-ring binder, each lesson serves as a gateway to a journey of self-discovery and understanding. It's an expedition that not only changes him but reshapes his whole concept of family and justice—especially as he watches his father put on a police uniform during one of the most fraught periods in American history.

"Covered in Flour" is not just a heartfelt stroll down memory lane. It's a captivating coming-of-age saga that digs deep beneath the surface of suburban tranquility. It beckons you to reconsider long-held family values and confront the societal norms you've taken for granted.

Written with genuine love, humor, and a tinge of sorrow, this story blends the nostalgia of tradition with the inevitability of change, offering a stirring mix that leaves you pondering long after the last page is turned. This book isn't just a delightful read; it's a catalyst for introspection, freshly baked and served for your soul.


Praise for Covered in Flour:

“If you're craving pure nostalgia, then this novel is definitely for you. With its entertaining narrative, this story really does tick all the boxes.”
Mary Anne Yarde, The Coffee Pot Book Club

“... a delightful read filled with exquisite descriptions and hidden gems of wisdom.”
Lisa B. Schwartz, Amazon reviewer

Friday, April 12, 2024

General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms by David Bush


General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms

by David Bush




Not all was bright in the Garden of Eden until a mysterious sixteen-year-old traveller, Jack, arrives to shake up the animal world with the help of a neurotic cat, Miaow, universally despised because of his cowardice and duplicity. Miaow finds himself unwittingly drawn into leading an improbable uprising against King Roar and the fierce feline overlords—a conflict that can free or doom his world forever. The odds of victory are unfavourable because the clueless cat is racked by doubts and insecurities, accustomed to being taunted and bullied by his aggressive peers. Besides, the constant bungling by his equally unwise but oppressed “allies” undermines the stuttering resistance campaign because of their ingrained unreliability, impetuousness, and treachery. But, in this primordially wild upside-down world where inter-racial tensions reign and only the strong survive, nothing is what it seems. This second edition of the multi-award-winning book will appeal to fans of “The Hobbit” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”



Praise:


"Transcending many genres, the book uplifts readers and reminds them that simple values and determination can change our dire circumstances"
~ Newsnet


"This fast-paced page-turner possesses a kind of cinematographic feel—providing an uplifting escape from mundane day-to-day reality."
~ USA Today






Thursday, April 11, 2024

Join us as bestselling author Helen Hollick explores the Minefield of Book Marketing #HistoricalFiction #BookPromotion #Authors @HelenHollick @cathiedunn


The Minefield of Marketing

by Helen Hollick


For many indie writers sales have plummeted. The difficult financial situation is partly to blame: the increased cost of living in general, the global unrest adding to recessions and high interest rates. When a pay packet has to be juggled between sorting the high energy bills or buying food, purchasing books is, naturally, going to take a very back seat. I read a recent report which stated that the average person in the USA reads only 4-5 books a year. I suppose given the population of the US that amounts to quite a few million books in all, BUT, there are many, many millions of books out there waiting to be noticed let alone bought and read.

I have been a published author for over thirty years now, originally with William Heinemann, an imprint of Random House UK, then I went indie in 2006 when my (ex) agent unexpectedly dropped me – simultaneously, so did Random House. (I am still suspicious about the co-incidence.) However, sales, even in the early 2000s were poor, partly because historical fiction, as I was writing then, had fallen out of fashion and partly because the publisher’s marketing was, well in a nutshell, useless.



The 1990s and early 2000s were pre-social media days. Book – fiction – marketing relied on the publishers seeking professional reviews in prestigious magazines and newspapers. My first adult novel The Kingmaking, part one of a trilogy about King Arthur, came out in 1994 and I was featured on prime time UK TV, was a guest of several top local and national radio programmes, and reviews appeared in many respected magazines. The book did well and I thought I had ‘made it’ as a writer. Then the publisher hit financial difficulties. Book Two of the trilogy received very little marketing. “We’ll go all out with book three,” I was promised.

Nothing happened. 

I wrote Harold the King (titled I Am The Chosen King in the US). It had a fabulous marketing editor who really did me proud. Sadly, after a few months she mysteriously disappeared. (I have a feeling that she was head-hunted by a different publisher.) By my fifth book the publishing house had lost interest in historical fiction, the ex-agent had lost interest in me and I thought my career was over, but then self-publishing ‘indie’ began to open new opportunities and I grabbed them with both hands.

The internet was also opening up and Amazon was in its infancy, which was, despite our moans about Amazon, a good thing because the indie supportive bookstores were also on the way out, being swallowed up by the Big Guys, who rather sneered at self-published writers and wouldn’t stock our books. (Many still won’t!)



Sad to say, I now regard my writing as a hobby, not a career. (On the plus side, now that I am 71, and ‘retired’, I only have my pension incomes, so I no longer earn enough to need to pay tax. ‘Every Cloud...’, as they say!) I wish I could sell more of my books, though. Not for the hope of profit, but because I dearly want to share my stories and characters with others and, for practicality, to cover the cost of being an indie writer. There’s the cover design to pay for, the editing, the proof reading, the formatting. And the marketing.

The problem with being self-published / indie is the marketing, no matter how professional a writer you are, if readers do not know that your books are out there, they are not going to buy them.

Who remembers My Space? I admit it, I loved My Space, but then Facebook overtook it, and Twitter appeared. Amazon erupted into the huge conglomerate that it has become today, and now there is Instagram, Tik Tok, What’s App and a host of others. Yet still marketing our books is depressingly difficult.

There remains the same problem: all these platforms are open to millions of writers. We like to think of ourselves as large whales in a small pond, but in truth we are tiny tadpoles in a vast ocean. Without useful marketing, potential readers have no idea that we exist.



So what can we, as indie writers, do to tip the balance in our favour? The answer, alas, fluctuates between ‘not a lot’ and ‘nothing at all.’  Which is pretty depressing, but I maintain that if we all help each other out where we can, and really apply ourselves then perhaps things can become a little brighter? Marketing can cost money, but not always. It does, however, take up time.


So here are some tips. Maybe some, or none, are for you, but try one or two out?

1. Produce quality books. That means good writing, professional editing, professional cover design and professional level production.

2. Try one or more of the professionally run Book Tour companies (e.g. the Coffee Pot Book Club). Yes, they cost money, but they reach many potential outlets.

3. Blogging and blogs are making a comeback. (Mainly because you are in charge of your own blog and not at the mercy of some rich idiot who couldn’t care less about anything except his own interests.) So run a personal blog and be a host for the above. This involves organising what books you are to host, posting the information sent, and reliably promoting the posts on social media. In this way you are promoting other writers but you are also promoting yourself and your books for free. (See my blog: https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/ )

4. Post articles of your own on your blog – and remember to advertise your latest article on social media.

5. Host other authors’ articles on your blog – and ditto, post the link on social media.

6. Ask if other authors would host your articles – or even just a book spotlight –  on their blogs. Be polite, ask first, if accepted send something in good time, with all the relevant information – book details, buying links (worldwide not just US or UK!) a brief biography, book cover image, an image of yourself.

7. Think about producing a monthly newsletter and start building a subscribers’ list.

8. Show your support: sign up for other authors’ newsletters.

9. Share. Retweet (hmm re-X doesn’t sound the same does it). Help promote other authors where and when you can.

10. RECIPROCATE and say THANK YOU


Good luck!




The Kingmaking

The Pendragon Banner Trilogy

by Helen Hollick



The Boy Who became a Man:
Who became a King: 
Who became a Legend... KING ARTHUR
There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot.
Instead, the man who became our most enduring hero.

All knew the oath of allegiance:
‘To you, lord, I give my sword and shield, my heart and soul. To you, my Lord Pendragon, I give my life, to command as you will.’

This is the tale of Arthur made flesh and bone. Of the shaping of the man who became the legendary king; a man with dreams, ambitions and human flaws.
A man, a warlord, who united the collapsing province of post-Roman Britain,
who held the heart of the love of his life, Gwenhwyfar
- and who emerged as the most enduring hero of all time.

A different telling of the later Medieval tales. 
This is the story of King Arthur as it might have really happened...



"If only all historical fiction could be this good." Historical Novels Review

"... Juggles a large cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill." Publishers Weekly

"Hollick's writing is one of the best I've come across - her descriptions are so vivid it seems as if there's a movie screen in front of you, playing out the scenes." Passages To The Past

"Hollick adds her own unique twists and turns to the familiar mythology." Booklist

"Uniquely compelling... bound to have a lasting and resounding impact on Arthurian literature." Books Magazine

The Kingmaking: Book One
Pendragon’s Banner: Book Two
Shadow of the King: Book Three

(contains scenes of an adult nature)



This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.




Helen Hollick


First accepted for traditional publication in 1993, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. 

Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She has also branched out into the quick read novella, 'Cosy Mystery' genre with her Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives with her family in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon, enjoys hosting guests on her own blog ‘Let Us Talk Of Many Things’ and occasionally gets time to write...

Connect with Helen:



Minotaur's Lair by Luciana Cavallaro #AwardWinning #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalFantasy #RecommendedReads



Minotaur's Lair

Servant of the Gods, Book #3

by Luciana Cavallaro




The Minotaur stirs. Evan is drugged to forget the gods’ quest.

Evan and his companions are entrapped by the Amazon Queen Antioche and her warriors. Memories and allegiances are tested. The Dark Master’s victorious revenge over the gods is almost complete. The plight of the High Priestess is precarious, her health ailing, and unable to rescue her brother and fellow Atlanteans.

The last sacred relic, secreted in the lair of the Minotaur, must be recovered or the Dark Master’s succession plans of a new god are complete. The mystical lands of Krete, the final stage of Evan’s journey, are within his grasp. He must succeed so his father, Zeus, fulfills his promise. Then there is Queen Antioche, and the precious gifts she presents him.

Will Evan return home, and what will become of his future?

Minotaur’s Lair is the third and final book in the action-packed Servant of the Gods historical fiction series. If you enjoy well-researched landscapes, historic characters, excitement, mythical creatures and unique settings, then you’ll love Luciana Cavallaro’s heroic odyssey.



Praise:


"A fantastical, myth-filled adventure packed full of strong, memorable characters. Highly recommended!"
~ Wishing Shelf Book Review


"The author does a fantastic job of creating an intricate world with layers of fascinating developments and characters that keep the reader moving from one chapter to the next. Minotaur's Lair - Servant of the Gods - Book Three by Luciana Cavallaro is an excellent read for science fiction and fantasy fans. I recommend the trilogy and look forward to more books from this author."
~ Literary Titan Book Review