Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Score for Amazon! Improvements to customer ratings system.

Everyone knows the customer ratings system is flawed. You can review anything without ever buying the product or reading the book, buy reviews on tap, rate a book 1* because your Kindle stopped working, and unfortunately there's a minor industry in trolling as well. That's merely the tip of the iceberg.

So it was with great interest that I read today that Amazon is trying to introduce changes to the review system to provide a better overall experience for the customer - and hopefully, for me, as an author - by flagging up more helpful or verified reviews and controlling the ocean of trash out there.

Amazon Taps Machine-Learning System To Keep Customer Reviews In Check: Here Are The Changes : PERSONAL TECH : Tech Times

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Marking milestones as a writer

Every so often you have a lovely milestone as a writer - about an hour ago, I received my 100th review on Amazon for The Pygmy Dragon. It's entitled, "Spellbinding" and says, "I fell in love with Pip and all the other characters. Suspenseful. Anyone who loves fantasy and dragons will fall in love with this book." Thank you Patricia Wilson! You rock!

75 of the 100 reviews for The Pgymy Dragon are 5*, making it one of the 3 best-rated fantasy books in
its bestseller category on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.com/…/7006…/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_kstore_1_6_last - where Pygmy Dragon is #26) - a category that Aranya (#19), Shadow Dragon (#20) and The Girl who Sang with Whales (#79) also appear in, and where I'm privileged to share space with big-name writers like Christopher Paolini (Eragon - #2, #4), Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass - #4, also #23 and #25) and lesser-known but excellent authors like Krista Wayment (Trusted - Dragon's Trust Book #1) and Jess E. Owen - I am reading her Song of the Summer King at the moment. It's awesome.

I love to celebrate milestones like this - because there are also milestones which are not so enjoyable, along the way. So grab the moments while you can and savour them, and thank you to all the fans who have read and enjoyed The Pygmy Dragon so far! Thanks to 100 awesome reviewers who have made this milestone possible. I hope to have the sequel out late in the summer / early autumn 2015 so look out for that one!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Win a free audiobook - Aranya!

Over on Audio-fantasy.com I'm looking for your feedback in exchange for a free audiobook code from Audible.com or Audible UK! Come and visit this great site for carefully curated new releases in audiobook fantasy!

This is the place to enter for a chance to win!

About Audio-fantasy.com:
"We offer interactive ‘best of’ lists such as Best Sci-Fi SeriesBest Fantasy Series and Best Young Adult Series: The order of the titles are voted on by you and the website will be updated to reflect your votes. Log in via your favourite social media to get the most from Audio Fantasy."

About Aranya:
Aranya is a fantasy bestseller in the US, Canada and UK.

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly? 

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia. 

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ian Martyn - Ancestral Dreams: The Return (Review)

Elves and centaurs in space? Bring it on!

When I had the opportunity to read Ian Martyn's "Project Noah" I discovered a writer with a rare ability
to build deep, utterly believable characters. While this story is not strong on action, it is strong on suspense, speculation and plot. In the distant future as Humankind expand into the depths of space they discover that the mythical creatures of Earth's past are not quite so mythical after all, and that dangers abound.

This story is essentially a search-and-rescue mission which turns into the discovery of a new and formidable enemy. There is much exploration of technology and inter-species relationships (the story is clean, but rated PG for swear words), moving from planet to planet, and a particularly beautifully described visit to the home planet of the Elves. The narration is told through Danjay, a jaded, long-lived soldier with a good heart, a complex and fascinating character who is not all that he seems!

On the negative side there are a few typos and formatting issues with the MSS. However the storytelling is commendable and compelling, with an excellent level of suspense maintained throughout. Very difficult to put down as the different plot elements come together. Recommended for fans of the tried-and-true brand of Sci-Fi, who like sweeping, Asimov-style stories which are full of substance and surprises.

I rate this book 4/5 stars. Purchase here! Also on Goodreads.

Dragonfriend print edition - available

Dragonfriend is available in print, for those who've asked - looks like Amazon haven't managed to
link the Kindle and Print editions as yet.


If you haven't already, please consider leaving a review on Amazon! Every little bit helps, even just a few short words. Much appreciated!

Other projects coming online:
1. The Fiuri Realms (Shioni of Sheba Book 5) should be available in print within a few days.
2. The Pygmy Dragon will be coming in audiobook!
3. The sequel to Dragonfriend is well underway with over 75,000 words drafted and a fair amount of editing completed as well. Working on the cover art - I hope it will be as awesome as this dragon here! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

El Shashi - awesome new cover!

The Legend of El Shashi is an epic fantasy which explores the impact of extraordinary power on a
man's life. When a selfish man betrays the man who has been father to him, he is cursed by a sorceress with the power to heal with a touch. El Shashi is catapulted into a powerful, redemptive adventure that spans generations. Each healing feeds the sorceress' power. Each act of selfishness raises the Wurm, which chases him for twice as long as the time before.

"I wondered, of the myriad lives I touched in passing, how many concealed such a wounding grief as mine?"

The Legend of El Shashi is the most literary of my works, a deep exploration of the depths and glories of the human condition, seen through the eyes of a man cursed with long life and great power.

The central concept of the story is loosely based on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ - the healing at the touch of his robe, the pool of Siloam, the healing of the blind man, and the casting out of demons, for example. El Shashi must confront both his inner, personal demons, and the demonic power of the shape-changing sorceress Jyla. He must choose what to do with his power and face the soul-destroying realisation that even with the ultimate power, he is still only a man and can only heal those he can touch. Should he travel in one direction, he leaves the sick and the needy behind him.

Now this book has a magnificent new cover by the talented Joemel Requeza. I invite you to experience the powerful, thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting and redemptive story that is The Legend of El Shashi.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Fiuri Realms - Shioni of Sheba Book 5 - Published!

Today I am pleased to announce the release of the 5th volume in my bestselling African historical
The Fiuri Realms
fiction series, Shioni of Sheba. The Fiuri Realms picks up the story from where Shioni is just about to receive her freedom from the King of West Sheba, and Mama Nomuula will receive the surprise of her life.

But Kalcha has sent a cunning assassin to Castle Hiwot. When Shioni in intervenes to protect her best friend Annakiya, she and Azurelle are unwittingly catapulted into an out-of-this-world adventure, set in the beautiful and deadly tunnels of Fiuriel.

Experience gripping adventure, learn about Shioni's past and encounter the unique dragons of Fiuriel. Available now on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

The Fiuri Realms is the 5th book in the Shioni of Sheba series, which is suitable for readers of 9 years and up. The other books are, in reading order:
The Enchanted Castle - just $0.99
The King's Horse - $2.99
The Mad Giant - $2.99
The Sacred Lake - $2.99