Monday, 29 July 2013

'Striker' kicks-off with a brand new cover!

So, this week sees the - I suppose you could call it a re-launch, if you like - of my very steamy, sexy soccer romance, Striker. But this time it has a brand new cover! Why?


Well, it was actually my husband's idea to change it. He thought the image of a football/soccer ball on the original cover might just be putting people off actually giving the book a chance, because it could be sending out the wrong signals. It may have been leading people into thinking that the book was more to do with football than it really was. And that wasn't the message I wanted to send out. I know how much a lot of people - women especially - loathe football/soccer, and therefore being faced with a book that has the image of a football on the cover is surely enough to put anyone with a dislike of the sport right off buying it. 


New cover... Better?
But one thing women do (sometimes) like is a sexy footballer. And you don't have to like the sport or watch the game to admire one of those now, do you? Think David Beckham, Jamie Redknapp, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa... I could go on. But then I'll just get horribly distracted...

Anyway, that is what Striker is actually about - it's about Ryan Fisher, a hot, young, sexy footballer with a cocky attitude and an ego bigger than he can handle. But the women love him! It's about the relationships between the people who are involved in the sport; but it's most definitely more about the sex than the soccer! And that was the message I wanted the cover of the book to get across. It's a story set against the backdrop of professional football - it isn't a book about football. Far from it. And I hope that's what this new cover does. I hope it lets people know what the book is really about, and that football is just a backdrop. It's not the subject matter. 

The original cover.
Striker is a story of secrets, sex, power and fame involving hot men and beautiful women - it's a little bit of edgy, erotic escapism, pure and simple. A "bonkbuster", if you like. A cross between Footballers' Wives and Jackie Collins, I call it "Fifty Shades of Football", and it does have its moments, if you get my drift... There's off-pitch action in there you'll never see on Match of the Day, believe me...

So, if you hate football, that really doesn't matter. If you love a sexy story that draws you into another world for a few hours, and you don't blush easily, then you might just like Striker, because, you really don't have to like football to like this book. I promise! 


Striker is available to download HERE.



Right, well, I'd better get back to putting the finishing touches to the second installment of the Striker Trilogy. So, if you've already read Striker, and you're waiting to see how the story continues, 'Extra Time' "kicks off" in September!

Have a great day!



Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Kobo Update! More books added...

Just a little update on the Kobo situation - I now have 6 of my 7 books available to download from the Kobo site. 'Too Much Trouble in Paradise' is still available only from Amazon, but it will be added to Kobo later in the year. 


So, No Matter What, Illusions of Love, See You At The Show, Striker, Bon Voyage and Christmas Without Icing can all be found HERE at the Kobo store. 

And they are, of course, all still available to download from Amazon, too.
So, whether it's rock star romance, a sexy Hollywood saga, or a light-hearted dose of chick lit you're after, my books are now available on more platforms, and from more places. 


Happy reading! :)  



Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Indie Author roller coaster ride continues...

As an unknown indie author - well, that writing journey isn't an easy one. As JK Rowling has already proved this week, if nobody knows your name then the chances of anyone picking up your book and taking a look at it is fairly low. Very low, actually. When she released a crime novel under a pseudonym it only (only???) sold around 1500 copies, but now she's been revealed as the real author it's suddenly shot up that bestseller's list faster than the proverbial rat up a drainpipe, for want of a better phrase. So, this proves once again that, quite frankly, if your name is known then you could probably release anything and people would buy it, just because they're familiar with you. And I find that kind of sad, really. But not surprising. That's the world of publishing for you, and that appears to be what readers want - a name. Someone they recognise. Does that mean a lot of readers are missing out on a lot of great books from authors they've never heard of before? Yeah, it does. But that's their choice.

Anyway, as far as my own personal writing journey is concerned, I appear to have hit a brick wall. This time last year I was selling pretty well. All my books across the board were doing okay, some were even doing great. But I was always, always nervous that that bubble would burst at some point. But it didn't actually burst completely, it just tailed off a bit as Amazon made changes to their algorithms, making it harder for unknown authors to get their books seen. It didn't spell disaster, though. Things just levelled out a bit, and I began to see a steady pattern of sales emerging that wasn't brilliant, but it was good. And for an indie author I was happy. Things were ticking along. And then came July...

Now, I know we here in the UK are currently experiencing a long spell of extremely hot weather (and I personally wish it would bugger off - I'm actually dreaming about snow!) and that can sometimes lead to a drop in sales across the board, for some reason. But I don't think that's the case, not really, not when other people are still selling quite steadily.
I mentioned that I'd noticed a sales pattern emerging over the past few months, and that was a pattern that had stayed pretty steady with not a lot of change. Until July. When it just died on its arse! In the first few days of the month I sold a good handful of books, and things looked like they were going to continue as normal. But then, all of a sudden, sales just stopped. Dead. Nothing, for days. Not one sale. Now, I'm fully aware that this could just be because nobody wants to buy my books at the minute, it happens. I'm not saying I have a God given right to have my books sell. I'm just saying that it feels odd, for everything to just suddenly stop dead. And it's hard, to watch your books fall back into where they were in the beginning, with rankings well below 150,000 - somewhere they haven't been in years. Because I know how hard it is to get them back up those rankings once they fall that far.

I tried lowering the price of two of my books - Striker and See You At The Show - to 99p. They didn't sell one copy between them in days. So I lowered the price again to 77p. Still no sales. Not one. So I'm putting the price back up. Maybe people just don't want steamy sex in this heat, I don't know... Is it disheartening? Yes, it is, I'm not going to lie. But, nobody said this was going to be easy. As an unknown author we have to work a lot harder to get our name out there and our books noticed, and maybe I just haven't been as visible as I should have been. But it's difficult to juggle that writing time with marketing/blogging, etc. It's hard. And I'm not a natural salesperson. Or someone who likes blowing my own trumpet, even though I'm proud of each and every one of my books. Very proud.

So, I'm having a rubbish sales period. Do I sit in a corner crying, eating endless Bounty Bars feeling sorry for myself? Don't think I haven't thought about it. The idea of doing nothing but sitting in a darkened room (to keep the heat out, mainly...) watching old episodes of 'Knots Landing' and repeats of Comedy Central's 'Threesome' (Emun Elliot ... Yes please!!! Now he'd cheer me right up, he would...) seemed a much better option than continually flogging what feels like a dead horse. However, I've come way too far to give up now. I'm experiencing a lull in sales - so what? So are thousands of other unknown authors just like me. I'm nothing special - I'm just an extremely small fish in a bloody huge pond and if I want to get noticed then I have to work at it. It's just a bit hot at the minute...

Seriously, though, if anything, this lean spell has made me sit up and realise just how much of a roller coaster ride this really can be. An indie author takes nothing for granted. We celebrate the good times when they happen, and when that little bubble bursts we have a moan, then we get right back on that horse, so to speak, and get on with things. I love writing, it's as simple as that. So, I've done the self-pity, the "I must be useless at this because nobody wants to read my books anymore" bout of moaning, and I'm over it now. It is what it is. Things might change, they might not, who knows? All I know is that I love writing - it's all I've ever wanted to do, and it's what I hope to continue doing for many more years to come. It's my dream. And if I want to keep going then I just have to ride this roller coaster and take the ups with the downs. I've experienced both, and I suspect that's one pattern that will never change.

On a positive note, though, I seem to have lost a tiny bit of weight since I gave up the weeknight glasses of wine. Every cloud and all that...

And I'd also like to say that, sometimes, when low periods like this are experienced, it reminds me of how amazing some of my fellow authors can be. I'll never take their support for granted. Thank you, guys...

And as for JK Rowling... well, now that she's had a (very small) taste of what it's like for the majority of writers out there, she should sit back and realise how extremely lucky she, and others like her, are. The rest of us can only dream...



Right, I'm off to open another window, and pray for rain...




Wednesday, 10 July 2013

'Striker' - my ultimate fantasy cast list...

As someone who spends most of her life living in a fantasy world, it's no surprise that what I love doing best when I write my books is picturing my characters in my head as though they were real people - and what I love doing even more is going into full-on fantasy mode by then taking that one step further and imagining who would play those characters should that particular book be made into a movie/TV series. I do that a lot. It actually helps with the writing, in a strange kind of way. 

Anyway, as I gear up for the release of ' Extra Time', the follow-up to Striker and Book #2 in my sexy soccer trilogy, I thought that, even though I've probably done this to death, I'd take you through who I think would be perfect to play the characters from Striker, when it's made into that fabulous TV series I think it would make... ;)

And I think, first of all, we should tackle (see what I did there?) the main character, Striker himself - bad boy footballer Ryan Fisher. Who would I love to play him? Threesome and The Paradise actor Emun Elliot.


Emun Elliot as Richie Valentine in Comedy Central's 'Threesome'
Now, even though he has the most gorgeous Scottish accent (I could listen to him speak all day...), Ryan Fisher is actually a Geordie, but I'm absolutely positive Mr. Elliot could do a cracking job of my native north east dialect. In fact, just imagining him with that Newcastle twang is actually quite a turn-on... as though the man himself wouldn't be enough of one!! 

He just fits how I imagine Ryan Fisher to look perfectly. He's handsome, hot, and... well, that just about covers it, really... I couldn't imagine anyone else playing him. 'Nuff said, I think...


 Emun Elliot
Right. Who's next? Let's move onto the character of Amber Sullivan - a beautiful, feisty, female sports reporter. At first I imagined her being played by one of my favourite actresses, Sarah Parish. But because she's actually slightly older than Amber is I had a few second thoughts about that one. But another brilliant British actress sprung to mind that could play Amber perfectly - Suranne Jones


Suranne Jones

She's played some strong, feisty characters in her time, and I think she'd be great as Amber. We might have to dye her hair dark red, though... 

Okay. Next character for the casting couch would be that of manager of the fictional football team in the book, Newcastle Red Star - Jim Allen.
Jim Allen is handsome, charasmatic, and American. An ex-player turned manager he's back on Tyneside to head-up the club he used to play for, bringing with him a secret from the past, and a whole lot of trouble... 

Who would be the perfect man for this character? Those of you who know me well already know the answer to this one - it's Person of Interest star Jim Caviezel.

Jim Caviezel as John Reese in 'Person of Interest'
His character of John Reese in that show is very similar to how I imagine Jim Allen to be - quite guarded, a little enigmatic, but with a low, sexy voice that makes him darkly attractive.  And as the character of Jim, along with Ryan, gets quite a few of the more steamy scenes in the book, he has to be hot! Or those scenes just wouldn't work. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it...

More Jim Caviezel... Look! He even looks like a football manager in this photo!

So, there's no arguments with this one - it's Jim Caviezel or nobody!!

The final main character in the book is that of Ronnie White - an ex-player-turned-TV pundit and Amber's best friend. And for this character I'd be pinning my hopes on a bloke who isn't actually an actor, but who would be perfect for the part so I'm sure we could train him up. Jamie Redknapp! Who is, coincidentally, an ex-player-turned-TV pundit himself... Perfect, eh? ;)


Jamie Redknapp
Couldn't have cast that one better...

Anyway, that's the main characters sorted, but what about the others who play a part in Striker?

There's Amber's boss, Kevin Russell. He's the producer at the Newcastle-based news station she works for, and I'm going local for this one and saying that the lovely Robson Green would be great as Kevin! He'd bring the dry humour that Kevin has into the role, and I think he'd be just perfect to play that character. I'm quite pleased with that choice... And he's a northern boy! I mean, I've got to have at least one north east actor in this, haven't I? Seeing as it's set mainly in Newcastle.


Robson Green
Next we have Amber's father, ex-footballer-turned manager of a lower league local club, Freddie Sullivan.
I had to think about this one for a while, but all of a sudden the name Sam Neill popped into my head. He's always been a favourite actor of mine, and I actually think he'd be great as Freddie. 


Sam Neill
So, there we have it - my ideal cast list for that yet-to-be-devised TV series Striker - the north east of England's answer to Footballers Wives! I can knock out a script in a couple of days if anyone's interested... 'Fifty Shades of Football' has quite a ring to it, don't you think... ;)

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this, and if you yourself have got a fantasy cast list in mind for one of your books - or you're a reader who'd like to devise their own fantasy cast list for a book you've loved - let me know, and I'll feature it here on my blog. Could make a new regular fun feature out of that idea, actually... 


In the meantime, if you've read Striker, please let me know what you think of my choices for those main characters in the book, and if you disagree with any of them, who do you think would have fitted the character better? 

Striker is available to download HERE from Amazon, and it's also now available HERE for Kobo.

And you can read the first chapter of Striker HERE for free. 


And don't forget, Extra Time, the second book in the Striker Trilogy, is due for release in September 2013! Watch this space...








Thursday, 4 July 2013

Big Brother UK, The Apprentice, and a little mid-week wrting catch-up...

Now, I'm going to admit that I'm really enjoying Big Brother this year. I think there are a few housemates in there that are vaguely entertaining, some that are downright annoying and irritating, and some that should get off the fence before those splinters penetrate their boring arses! Floaters are the worst kind of housemate in my opinion, but they always end up being the ones we're left with at the end because no bugger ever nominates them, which in turn means that we - the public - don't get the chance to boot their pointless backsides out of that house faster than you can say "diary room"!


However, this week those crafty people over at BB Headquarters have decided to spring a bit of a surprise on us - except, it's not really a surprise, is it? It's not really a new idea, or a twist that shocked any of us who've sat through years of Big Brothers. (I'm not proud of it.) No. This "safe house" fake eviction twist they're embarking on has already been done before - twice before, if my memory serves me correctly. But it was first done in spectacular fashion back in Big Brother 5 when they "fake evicted" Emma and Michelle and stuck them in the "bed sit", only to see them re-enter a week later after watching and listening to everything the other housemates had said and done. In fact, it was their return after a week in the "bed sit" that kicked off the now infamous "fight night", and after that (highly entertaining, it has to be said) debacle no other "fake eviction into secret room" twist could ever match up. Ever. So I'm not exactly sitting here overcome with excitement about Friday's "fake eviction" show, because, after BB5, it couldn't ever be anywhere near as exciting to watch.


Having said that, though, I'm still curious as to how it'll go this year, as, like I said before, we do have some potentially interesting situations that could ensue with this twist, depending on who the public see fit to put into the "Safe House". Personally, I'm going with Dexter and Gina, for a couple of reasons - I've gone right off Wolfy in the past week or so, and I don't particularly want her to be immune from nominations next week, (as those who go into the "safe house" will be), and my second reason is because I think Dexter and Gina will make the most out of "spying" on everyone else. Their return to the house will also have the biggest impact on the house (and probably have the show's psychologists on permanent standby, given what happened back in BB5...) because the majority of housemates seem to want them out - well, they want Dexter out, anyway. Although I don't know why. I think he's slowly morphing into Alan Partridge so you can leave him where he is for me. And anyway, anyone who irritates everyone in the house as much as Dexter does has to be better entertainment than watching Sam or Sophie wanting everyone to be nice to each other. How interesting is that?

Anyway, if they think Dexter's been evicted, only to have him rock up back inside the house a few days later, armed with information they had no idea he was privy to, well... all I can say is, keep those butter knives hidden (you won't know what the hell I mean by that, unless you're familiar with "fight night"...) and get ready for fireworks. Actually, I'm quite warming to this twist now...

However - and this is a big however - a number of the housemates in there this year aren't stupid. And it really wouldn't surprise me if more than a couple of them twig what's going on on Friday. This twist has been done before, and always when a double eviction is sprung on them, so, any real fans of the show could quite easily put two-and-two together and guess what's happening. Which would ruin everything. But that's what you get when you start recycling old twists.... Just saying...

Anyway, onto another of my favourite "reality" shows - The Apprentice - (UK version). I was glad to see Myles go last night, because, in my opinion, he should have been fired last week after that dreadful ready meals task. But instead we lost the last of the comedy element from this year's show, the wonderful Alex. Both him and Jason have been a great miss in the past couple of weeks, and as far as I'm concerned the pair of them should go down as Apprentice Legends. They both provided some of the most hilarious, entertaining moments from this series. Having said that, though, it's the interviews next week, and that's always good for a laugh. Especially when someone's outed as having written a complete load of crap on their CV...


The Apprentice, cast of 2013... Brilliant stuff...
My husband thinks Luisa has it in the bag - but not because he wants her to win, far from it - which is just as well, because I can't bear the woman. Her voice drives me mad, I'm not entirely sure she's the incredible businesswoman she claims to be (although I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one - I'm probably judging her unfairly from all those stories about her in The Sun...) and I still can't forgive her for getting Jason fired. Sorry, but I still blame her. That poor bloke did not "abdicate" from his position as project manager, he was overthrown! It was a bloody coup! Headed by Luisa. And I can't forgive her for that. I was a little bit in love with Jason...

Mind you, despite me not wanting her to win, I still think it'll be a female winner this year. After last night's task, and rather entertaining boardroom debacle with Myles, Neil and Jordan (4 hours to buy candles???? I could have been in and out in 20 minutes...), I'm not sure Lord Sugar wants to go into business with either of the remaining two blokes. But, we'll see. Only two weeks to go and then we'll know who's won the chance to go into business with Lord Sugar. Only two weeks to go before one of the most entertaining shows on TV is off our screens. :( Loving it this year...

Okay. Enough of my reality TV ramblings, and onto my brief, mid-week writing catch-up. At the beginning of this week I took the decision to take July off, so to speak. And that didn't mean a month off to watch multiple episodes of Knots Landing, bake cup cakes and go shopping. Oh no. What I meant was I'm taking the month off from everything else, apart from writing. I'm weaning myself off social media for a while, not allowing myself to be distracted by Facebook/Twitter/YouTube (although, the latter will be allowed for "research" purposes...), and my foot is well and truly off the marketing peddle. Now, this could mean a drop in book sales over the next few weeks, or it might make no difference at all, I don't know. All I know is that it's working. My mind is so much clearer, and I've now drafted out the final few chapters of Extra Time, including an ending I'm more than happy with, and one that will lead us perfectly into the final book in the Striker Trilogy. My writing is just flowing like you wouldn't believe! I was never the biggest fan of faffing about on Facebook anyway, mainly because, most of the time, I have absolutely nothing to say. My life is incredibly boring, and I'm almost certain that nobody really wants to know that I'm knocking up a quiche whilst watching repeats of Comedy Central's Threesome, so I doubt I'll be a huge miss. Nothing is really going on, except me throwing myself completely into this new book, so, I just thought it better and more productive if I actually finished writing the book, rather than writing about writing the book. Do you get my drift?

Anyway. like I said, I may have cut myself off from the world of social networking for a while, to what effect I have yet to find out, but I'm actually enjoying it. Yes, it does get a bit lonely at times, especially around mid-afternoon when you could really do with someone dropping you a humorous text or just asking how you are, you know, something to make you realise you really aren't completely on your own. But, I'm getting on with it, pushing forward, and if I continue in this way then the first draft of Extra Time will be finished by - if not before - the end of July!


I want these boots...
So, there we have it. That's what I've been up to lately. And tomorrow it's a rare day off to actually go and do some shopping, even though I said that wasn't what I was using this month off for. But, there comes a time when we all need just a little bit of retail therapy, and if I spot those cowboy boots I've been after I'm coming home with them... 


Speak to you all soon! :)