Free books and To review or not to review – why does it help and what can you do?

It has been nearly 3 months since my debut novel Chained was released and I have been very fortunate to receive a number of reviews for it on amazon and goodreads and a lot of them are down to the wonderful people I have met here through my blog! However, following those initial reviews and despite continuing sales, the ammount of new reviews has dwindled.

 Why does this matter? I hear you cry, well I’ve prepared a little something to explain why…

  
There are lots of books out there, this much is true,

They’re written for readers – people like you! 

If you finish a story and it touched your heart, 

a little review is the easy part,

Just a tap of your finger and a short line of praise, 

can excite an author on the darkest of days!

  
If something you read made you break down and cry, 

Or a there’s a character you just wish would die,

Or perhaps you’re in love with a character you met,

And there’s a follow up book you can’t wait to get,

The author’s done their job in making you care,

You could write a review and leave it somewhere!

  
Now everyone knows it can’t all be good,

If you could please everyone then everyone would,

No author sets out to make you feel bad,

The passion they have should make no one sad,

But if they write something you really enjoy,

Your reviewing skills should be set to deploy!

  
And everyone knows that your time is short,

But tiny reviews can give a great report,

Even three little words like ‘I loved it’ will do,

With a simple star rating which shows that it’s true,

This small act of kindness will go a long way,

To making an author have a great day!

  
We write because we love to read like you,

And reviews can help all our wishes come true,

It’s a sad truth but without good reviews,

Sales come slowly and that’s bad news,

It’s not about begging but just the same,

But a few great reviews can change the whole game!

  
So when it comes down to it, what I’m trying to say,

Is that books gain momentum by reviews going their way,

So I hope this inspired you to help an author out,

Because that’s what this post is really about!

And if more specifically you’d like to help me,

I’m willing to give you my books for free!

  
So here’s the deal – if you like dystopian YA then I’m more than happy to give you a free copy of the books in my Cage of Lies saga which have already been released (Chained and Linked) and all I ask is that you give me a review on Amazon and goodreads (I’m happy with a full review or even just a line that sums up your feelings) all you need to do is email me at susanne3587@hotmail.com and let me know if you’d prefer an ePub or PDF copy of the books 😊

It’s a sad fact that the number of reviews a book has massively affects the sales so the more good reviews I can get, the better it is! I’ll be eternally grateful to anyone who helps me out ☺️xoxo

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Giveaway! Win one of two signed copies of Chained

Just a little reminder to any of you who haven’t entered the giveaway for my book Chained. It ends on December 14th so don’t forget to join 637 others and enter for your chance to win!

IMG_0461-3 Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight. 

Good luck! xoxo

Free editing service! πŸŽ‰

As a lover of all things fiction, it’s my dream to spend all of my time occupied with writing or reading. For years, my sister and I have been pursuing our dreams of becoming authors and along the way we have learnt many skills in editing, proofreading, critiquing etc. As such we have decided to launch our own editing company! So in the lead up to our launch we would like to offer this service to our amazing blog friends for FREE in exchange for a testimonial about our service that we can use on our website. 

  

So why should you trust us???

  • We’ve edited/proofread/critiqued nine completed manuscripts from first draft to polished finish.
  • We are self published authors ourselves and understand the importance of delivering a high standard finish that can sit alongside traditionally published books.
  • We are truly passionate fan-girls and will be taking on work that we feel we will be able to get behind 100% and love as much as you do. 
  • We know what it feels like to have your work criticised and will only ever give constructive feedback that we feel will genuinely help improve your manuscript.

  
So what exactly are we offering?

This will depend on the stage of your manuscript but we will aim to give at least one of the following:

  • Structural editing (first stage editing; looking at the story as a whole to see that the plot hangs together and that the story/character arcs are engaging throughout)
  • Copy editing (final stage editing; a close look at small consistencies such as timelines, plot and logic, word choice, possible rephrasing for clumsy sentences, repetitveness etc)
  • Proofreading (pre-publication stage; we aren’t perfect but we can spot things you may have missed; incorrect grammar, spelling mistakes, punctuation issues or even missing words)

  
So if this sounds like something you could use, we are offering it for FREE for a limited time

  

Criteria for submission:

We are interested in YA sci fi or fantasy (including: paranormal, dystopian, romance, adventure etc) Completed manuscripts: full length novels (up to 100k words) short stories and novellas. OR extracts from your work in progress (please specify which when applying)

Please send us your blurb, word count and the first 1k words for consideration to caroline_peckham@hotmail.co.uk 

We will only be taking on a limited amount of manuscripts as we want to give them our full attention

Why you should take a writing break every now and then! πŸ“šπŸ“

So you may or may not have missed me recently 😳 and I’ve missed you guys too! I decided to take a little break from writing my books because my brain was getting overloaded and somehow that extended into my blog too 😁 but it’s a new month and my writing flow is back in force so here I am with a little post about why I believe taking a break can be important…

1. Brain overload. Sometimes you can get too close to your story, your characters, your world and rather than helping it actually makes it harder to see everything! You become so bogged down in the details that it’s hard to make the big decisions. 

  

2. Internal autocorrect. This is an odd one but I find that if I proofread my work again and again in a short period of time, my brain starts to autocorrect the errors meaning that I don’t pick them out! The work is so familiar to me that I don’t notice minor typos or missing words because my brain autocorrects when I read them 😲 (this meme isn’t really right but it was so funny I had to use it)

  
3. My TBR. This is actually my favourite reason to have a writing break because I can spend that time reading! My TBR is out of control and this month I managed to read the first 3 Game of Thrones books 😍

  

4. You can actually read it like a fan when you go back! One of my favourite parts of writing is when I do a read through and have forgotten something I’ve written! And especially if I love it when I read it!! I’m the biggest fan girl going and there’s nothing better than being a fan of your own work πŸ˜†

  

5. Sometimes not thinking about your work helps you come up with the best ideas. I find that parts I may have found clunky to read will suddenly be easy to resolve when I found them impossible to fix before. Plot holes are  filled, characters are fleshed out, bad guys have made their moves and everything suddenly just falls togetherness!

  

So there you have it – I’m back with a bang and I’m on a crazy writing splurge πŸŽ‰ let me know if any of this works for you too or if you find anything else that helps ☺️xoxo

Halloween book tag πŸŽƒπŸ‘»

  
Thank you so much to imanadventurest for tagging me to do this great new tag which they created! Check out their blog because it’s brilliant!

πŸ‘» Favourite scary read for Halloween:

   This book isn’t out and out scary but it has a creepy feel to it and I just couldn’t put it down so it is definitely my favourite!

πŸŽƒ Scariest book cover. Like ever.

   I love Brandon Sanderson’s covers and this one creeped me out so much before I read the book and probably even more since lol

πŸ‘» If you could pick any author to go trick or treating with, who would you pick?

I want to go trick or treating with J K Rowling and I want to go trick or treating at Hogwarts and I don’t’ think that’s unreasonable!

πŸŽƒ If you could dress up as any bookish character for Halloween, who would you be?

   I think I might even have to do this next year!

πŸ‘» If you could find anything from any book in your trick or treat stash, what would you hope to find?

  Dwayne Johnson, I think it would be more of a trick or treat sack but if I found him in there I’d be pretty pleased ☺️

πŸŽƒ In what fictional world would you like to go trick or treating?

I think you’d get a pretty interesting stash in Middle Earth

πŸ‘» what book villain would you not like to meet alone in a dark alley on Halloween?

  Voldemort would be pretty much the worst person to run in to, he’d just kill you no matter what!

πŸŽƒ would you rather dress up as a vampire, zombie, werewolf or shadowhunter?

  It would be easier to look good as any of the others but if I’m dressing up I think I’d rather go all out as a zombie!
πŸ‘»pick a candy (just one) from Harry Potter that you would love to find in your stash

I’d go with Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans because they are technically every candy anyway!

πŸŽƒWhat is your favourite Halloween candy?

I just like dairy milk chocolate lol I never want anything else’s!


I hope you all had fun reading my answers and I’d like to tag anyone who would like to do this great tag! Don’t forget to link back to Book Adventures if you do as it is their original tag! Xoxo

Free novella for Halloween!

Today my novella Cut Glass will be free on Amazon kindle! You can get you copy here for FREE! Did I mention that it’s free? Lol πŸ‘»πŸŽƒ

Cut Glass introduces some of the characters from my novels Chained and Linked which are out now. It will give you an insight into their dystopian world and a chance to meet some of the terrifying creatures that live there in a nice quick read ☺️ it’s also the very first story in the series so you can read it without worrying about having read the full novels or not!

Crystal’s life ended in the forest when she was a child. She swore an oath to keep fighting but her heart will never be the same again. She craves the love she lost and fears the pain it left her with. The shadows of her past won’t leave her side but there is one person who helps her forget them for a time. Though she knows that she will never feel true happiness again it is a gift she wants to give. To the boy who saved her life when she had lost all hope. Crystal would do anything to see him smile again. She owes him that much, even if he doesn’t agree. 

  

A Halloween short story πŸ‘»πŸŽƒ

We couldn’t run fast enough. There was just no way. Candy slipped, stumbling into the line of lockers on her left. The metal made a great bang of protest and the dark corridor echoed with the sound.  I grabbed her arm, my fingernails digging into her flesh as I dragged her on.  

 Their blood speckled my skin. I still couldn’t believe it had happened but my own eyes couldn’t lie.  

 He was getting closer. I could practically feel his breath on the back of my neck. I wanted to scream, cry, pray, beg but all I could do was run. Run faster. But it wouldn’t be fast enough.

I knew it, the swirling sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach was screaming it at me. I was going to die. We were going to die. 

 Candy’s blonde hair was falling loose from its braid. I could feel my own slipping out too, auburn locks tumbling down to obscure my vision. 

 His footsteps were closing in on us.  

 The change had happened so quickly, he had seemed practically normal an hour ago, but now…

 “Go long!” he bellowed from somewhere behind us. Further back than I’d thought. 

 I glanced over my shoulder despite myself. 

 Kenny stood there, his green football shirt emblazoned with a white number six just like always. It was Kenny. Our Kenny, looking just as he’d looked every day since the start of term and yet completely different at the same time. He’d never been soaked in our friends blood before. 

 He tossed a football between his hands almost lazily. 

 I stumbled, turning away from him as I tried to run faster. Panic burned like bile in my throat.

 We were nearly at the end of the corridor. The huge double doors were just around the corner. They were almost in reach. 

 The football shot through the space between Candy and me so fast that it was a blur. No one should be able to throw that hard. Even if he was the star quarterback. The ball smashed into the lockers in front of us, punching a hole right through them and bending the metal around it.

 Candy screamed. I pulled harder on her arm increasing our speed again. I don’t think I’d ever run so fast before. In fact I was sure I hadn’t. And it wasn’t just the fear and the adrenaline. I was changing too. I could feel it in my veins, something wasn’t right, something was shifting beneath my skin. 

 Fear crept up my spine with fingers of ice as I ran faster still. It couldn’t be happening to me too. I couldn’t become one of them. 

 Candy let out a sob of fear and relief as we finally turned the corner and the exit loomed. Moonlight shone weakly beyond the glass doors. 

 “We can make it,” I panted. 

 My legs were moving so quickly that it barely seemed like I was touching the ground. I was so glad that I’d still been wearing my cheer uniform because I’d never have managed it in my heels. 

 We didn’t slow as we approached the doors. Kenny was coming. I could feel him, I could feel his shadow laying over me. Call it instinct or fear or some kind of twisted version of both but I could feel him all the same. 

 I turned slightly, aiming my shoulder at the glass door just before I collided with it. I hadn’t considered the fact that doors would be locked. The school had been closed for hours. We slammed into the glass but rather than resisting, it shattered. 

 Shards flew out around us as the force of our impact carried us through. 

 I fell, the glass slicing into my palms and knees. I could feel the pain like a far off concern, it was mine and it wasn’t.

 Candy’s nails bit into my skin as she dragged my to my feet and we started running again. 

 The cool fall air twisted around us and my hair-tie finally gave up, long strands falling free around my face. 

 “The trees,” Candy whispered, her voice barely audible incase he heard us. I had no doubt he could. Something had changed in him so much that he seemed more like an animal than a man. 

 We shot across the parking lot, heading straight for the woods on the far side of the street. The trees were thick and it was dark beneath them. It was our best hope at escape. 

 The panic in my chest was thundering its way though my body, right down to my fingertips. My heart thumped erratically, spreading the fear through me like wildfire but all we could do was run. 

 The tarmac was unforgiving beneath the soft soles of my trainers and it was a relief when we leapt onto the grassy bank before the trees. 

 “H-I-D-E!” Kenny chanted behind us.

 I chanced a look back once more. He’d stopped by the ruined doors and was smiling broadly at us. One of our pom-poms was clasped in his hand. I had no idea where he’d gotten it. 

 “You-can’t-get-away-from-me!” he continued his mocking cheer, shaking the pom-pom tauntingly. 

 We stumbled into the darkness beneath the trees and were swallowed by it instantly. We paused behind the first big trunk we reached and looked back again. 

 My heart raced but my breathing was steady. A little faster than usual but not enough for how much running we’d just done. Something was happening to me. Something was happening to all of us. 

 A part of me was afraid. A part of me was exhilarated. 

 “The park’s on the far side of these woods,” Candy breathed. “We can make it, get back to town-”

 “And then what?” I hissed, a little harsher than I’d meant to. 

 “The police or the army or someone must be coming to help. There’s no way they’ll just let this happen-”

 “Unless it’s happening everywhere,” I muttered. 

 “Either way, we have to move.”

 “Agreed.” 

 We slipped further into the trees and ran again. The ground was thick with leaves and we fell more than once on the slippery surface. I could feel his eyes on us. Whether he was really still there or not was impossible to say but it felt like he was. A small part of me hungered to turn and fight him. But that part wasn’t really me. It was new, alien, terrifying. 

 Finally, we spilled out of the trees and into the park. 

 Moonlight bathed everything in tones of silver. The grass, the benches, the swings, everything was somehow ghostly. 

 We stopped in the middle of the green and listened. Everything was silent. There was no sign of Kenny. No sign of anyone at all. 

 “Do you feel that?” Candy asked. 

 She’d gone very still, her breathing was deep from the run and the tightness in her posture gave away her fear. 

 “What?” My own heart was racing, the adrenaline fading slowly.

 “It’s like a pull… A need…”

 I glanced at her and she closed her eyes, breathing in deeply through her nose. 

 “I feel…” My stomach was in knots, I felt something building, churning away in my gut but I didn’t know what it meant. 

 She breathed in again, her nostrils flaring almost as though she were smelling something. 

 “I want to run, to chase,” she said slowly. 

 “Chase what?” My heart leapt at the prospect despite myself. It was almost as though my body was was separate to myself. Making its own mind up without me choosing one way or another. 

 “Them.” Her eyes snapped open and her head turned. I followed her gaze. 

 Across the park, a woman was running. She dragged a child along behind her and carried another in her arms. 

 “Yes.” A smile spread across my face though I didn’t tell it to. 

 Candy took off before I did, her feet hitting the dirt and splattering mud up the front of my bare legs. My cheer uniform was beyond filthy anyway, there would be no saving it. 

 A snarl escaped my lips as I bounded after her. They were mine. Mine

 I ran, sucking a breath in through my teeth as my trainers slammed into the mud. 

 The woman saw us and screamed. She fell to her knees, pushing her children behind her and letting out a string of prayer in Spanish. 

 It was wrong. Something was wrong. The fear in her eyes, the pulse at her throat, the child crying behind her. I wanted to hurt her and I wanted to help her and I wasn’t sure what part of it was truly me anymore-

 I slammed into Candy just before she she could pounce. 

 “No,” I growled as we tumbled through the mud. “Not us.”

 Candy lashed out, propelling herself on top of me and pinning me down. Her eyes had gone black, vacant. She bared her teeth at me, her hands closing around my throat. 

 “Not us too,” I breathed as she started to squeeze.  

 The woman’s prayers stopped as she scrambled to her feet and started backing away, pulling her children with her. 

 Candy’s head snapped around as she released me, turning her attention back to them. A part of me longed to join her, to chase them down again but I stamped it out. 

 “Candy, please, not us too. You can fight it. Fight it with me.” And I was fighting it, tearing myself in two internally as I tried to cling onto my former self. 

 She turned to me slowly, her head tilting as she regarded me. Something flickered in her eyes. Something deep within them.

 She kissed me. 

 I was so surprised that I barely moved. She kissed me and the darkness receded. I didn’t want to chase the woman anymore. I didn’t want to hurt her. I didn’t want anything at all apart from Candy. And Candy wanted me too. 

 “I told you you couldn’t hide,” Kenny cried triumphantly. 

 Before I could even open my eyes, he was on us. 

I didn’t think I’d have time to do a Halloween story but when I woke up this morning this was running around my head and wanted to be set free! I hope you enjoyed it and happy Halloween! Xoxo πŸ‘»πŸŽƒ

  
 

3 quotes 3 days day 3 (round 2)

  
The rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day (I’ve done this before so I won’t be nominating anyone but if you’d like to do it then please do!)

Thank you to Story and Somnomancy for nominating me ☺️ you should check out their blog!!

So here’s my quote for day 3:
  

This was tough because it was impossible to pick a favourite daryl quote because they’re all so good! I love him, I love the show, I love this quote, enough said lol 

If you’d like to do this tag then take this as me tagging you! xoxo

3 quotes 3 days day 2 (round 2)Β 

  
The rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day (I’ve done this before so I won’t be nominating anyone but if you’d like to do it then please do!)

Thank you to Story and Somnomancy for nominating me ☺️ you should check out their blog!!

So here’s my quote for day 2:

  

I love this quote from The Hunger Games; it’s so true!

Count yourself tagged if  you’d like to to do this and I look forward to your quotes 😊xoxo

3 quotes 3 days day 1 (for the 2nd time πŸ˜‹)

  

The rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day (I’ve done this before so I won’t be nominating anyone but if you’d like to do it then please do!)

Thank you to Story and Somnomancy for nominating me ☺️ you should check out their blog!!

So here’s my quote for day 1:

  

There aren’t many books that I can quote from memory but somehow I can think of many, many Harry Potter quotes and they hold as much magic as they did the very first time I read them…

I tag you if you haven’t done this one yet and I’d love to see your quotes too ☺️xoxo