15 July 2020

Making Good Use of Amazon Editorial Reviews #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

 I’ve been using Amazon KDP for twelve years (it was founded in November 2007) and am still discovering new ways to use it more effectively.

A good example was a post on Jane Friedman’s website about editorial reviews. The facility is a little hidden away, but it easy to use, and with a little thought can help potential book buyers. )You can see the full post here.)

Editorial reviews are written by an editor or expert in the book’s genre or field. You can find them on your book’s sales page, just above the About the Author section.’

Steps for adding Editorial Reviews to Amazon:

  • Log in to Author Central.
  • Click on the Books tab at the top of the page.
  • Go to your Books Page.
  • Click on the title of the book you want to edit.
  • Choose Under Editorial Reviews and click “add” review.
  • Add in some book reviews (a new box appears as you add each one)
  • Click Preview and see how your entry looks.

I’ve started collecting editorial reviews of my books and adding them – but wish I’d thought of this a long time ago!

Tony Riches

If you have any more ideas on how to improve Amazon Pages please comment below

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

11 July 2020

Guest Interview with Martin Lundqvist, Author of The Banker and the Dragon

Available on Amazon UKAmazon US

“When a new virus emerges, one man is set to change the future”.

The Australian agent Jared Pond is sent to investigate the rumours of a new Chinese bioweapon, the Hei Bai virus. During his assignment, Jared meets and falls in love with the Chinese civil rights activist Eileen Lu, the enemy of the CPOC. Together, Jared and Eileen try to uncover the dark secrets of the villainous dictator Chairman Jing Xi, and his assistant Tzi Cheng. But who is Pierre Beaumont, and what is the connection between the spread of the virus, and the World Bank's CEO?

I'm pleased to welcome multi-genre author Martin Lundqvist to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

The Banker and the Dragon is the first instalment of The Banker’s trilogy. The main plotline of this book is focusing on a character by the name of Pierre Beaumont, who also appears in my previous books, The Fall of Martin Orchard and Sabina Saves the Future.

I wrote The Banker and the Dragon during the time of lockdown in April-May. I chose to write this book as a novella as I find that readers prefer to read novellas than reading full-length novels. The time to make novellas is also shorter, I can produce a novella in about a month’s time, including story editing and narrating the audiobook. Producing a novel takes a lot longer time to create, and it may not get my messages through to readers, so by creating trilogies in novella style, I find that readers have something that they can finish reading in an hour or two, and my messages get across to my fellow readers.

The main premise of The Banker and the Dragon is that the Chinese dictator Jing Xi develops a controllable virus in order to assassinate his political adversaries. The CEO of World Bank, Pierre Beaumont then steals the top-secret bioweapon and causes an outbreak to make massive amounts of money from the crashing financial markets.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I tend to write my books in moments of inspirations and epiphanies, as I believe that it is during these moments that great ideas and fascinating narratives can be made.

My preferred writing routine is to first write a chapter in great lengths, then use an editor software called Hemingway to reduce repetitive sentences, passive writing and adverbs. Another software that I use a lot is Grammarly app, which checks for any grammar errors. Once I am done finalising a chapter, I publish it online on my blog and other websites. As I live in Australia, I use a local publishing site called IngramSpark for printed books as it gives me the opportunity to use my own ISBN, over other sites such as Amazon’s proprietary ISBN numbers.

Once I am done with writing the manuscript, I make the audiobook version of my storyline. Making the audiobook is a great way to get followers to listen and appreciate my narratives, amongst their busy lifestyles.

What advice do you have for new writers?

My advice is to ultimately write for your own enjoyment. Writing is a journey, and as it always is the case, your first book is sadly not going to be your best. With that being said, try to keep writing what you love, before searching for world-wide recognition. Since book promotions are most often than not, time and money-consuming, the more books you have written, the more you will gain sales potential. I would also advise you to reach out to your friends and family initially, then to social media. As a side note, you can mention your writing to people you know, but don’t push it too hard as it could drive them away from reading your books instead.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

The easiest way to raise awareness is to make audiobook narrations of your writing and publish the book for free for a couple of months, which will get you a lot of downloads and reviews. Searching for a good speaker, if you could not do it yourself, is also a good way of promoting your books to the mainstream society. As I was able to get a good Spanish narrator to read my books in Spanish, this has surprisingly led to my Spanish audiobooks performing better than my English audiobooks, due to my chosen Spanish narrator having a pleasant voice. I use Findawayvoices for my audiobook distribution, and I would recommend the platform as it is easy to use and they pay royalties monthly.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

The last chapter of The Fall of Martin Orchard was pretty hard to write, as the character is based on my evil alter ego, Martin Orchard, and it was quite difficult to picture his failures and death. It proves to be quite a challenge for me; however, I took this in stride and I am quite happy with the outcome.

What are you planning to write next?

I plan to write the second part of The Banker’s trilogy, The Banker and the Eagle. In that book, the plot converges with the assassination of the US president by Pierre, which is mentioned briefly in a chapter from The Fall of Martin Orchard.

Martin Lundqvist 

# # #

About the Author

Martin Lundqvist is an experienced author, living in Sydney, Australia. Martin lives with his partner Elaine Hidayat who is also featuring as a female narrator in some of his books. Martin has written an array of different genres. Find out more at Martin's website www.martinlundqvist.com and find him on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/martinlundqvistauthor and Twitter @Martinlundqvis1 

10 July 2020

Chasing Butterflies, by Nicole Thorne

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Chasing Butterflies is a story of Hope
It’s the story of a girl who is damaged by life. A story about finding love against all odds. A story of hidden truths and painful lies.

Hope is on the cusp of her fortieth birthday. She has just about got her life together. She adores her husband Ben and has her dream job as an architect.

Everything changes following a devastating twist of fate. Hope’s life starts to spiral out of control, she is troubled by strange and vivid dreams that remind her of the past.

In a bid to find the peace she returns to the idyllic Cornish fishing village of her childhood.

Will she find the answers she is looking for or will she find the truth is more painful than the lie?

# # #

About the Author

Indie author Nicole Thorne has always had a passion for creating stories and developing characters. In her primary school days she won a play writing competition. During high school she brought her English teacher to tears with her story about bullying. Her writing has always focused on the emotions of a situation. Her debut novel Chasing Butterflies is a real emotional rollercoaster and deals with some difficult issues. She is currently working on a prequel to Chasing Butterflies. The China Doll is expected in December 2020.  Nic lives in the UK with her husband and children. She is a former teacher who now owns and runs a tea room. Find out more at her website https://nicolethorneauthor
and follow her on Twitter @NicThorneAuthor

7 July 2020

Book Launch Spotlight: Map of the Impossible (Mapwalkers Book 3) by J.F. Penn

Pre-order now. Available in ebook and print on 21 July 2020

A journey through the realm of the dead.
A threat that will change the world.
A choice that might save everything—or end it all.

As natural disasters sweep Earthside, a mutant army rises in the Borderlands, driven by the dark force behind the Shadow Cartographers. Sienna and the Mapwalker team must use the Map of the Impossible to journey through the realm of the dead and face the nightmare at its heart.

But when one of their number is taken and the team begins to break apart, each Mapwalker must face their greatest challenge.

Can the Mapwalker team reach the Tower of the Winds before the Shadow claims Earthside?
Will Sienna choose Finn — or turn away from the Borderlands forever?

Map of the Impossible is book 3 of the Mapwalker fantasy adventure trilogy

# # #

About the Author

British author J.F.(Jo Frances) Penn has traveled the world in her study of religion and psychology. She brings these obsessions as well as a love for thrillers and an interest in the supernatural to her writing. A New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, you can find more about J.F.Penn as well as articles and research notes, plus a free book, at www.JFPenn.com and find her on Twitter @thecreativepenn

6 July 2020

Book Launch Spotlight ~ 1520: The Field of The Cloth of Gold, By Amy Licence

New from Amazon UK
Pre-order from Amazon US

1520 explores the characters of two larger-than-life kings, whose rivalry and love-hate relations added a feisty edge to European relations in the early sixteenth century. What propelled them to meet, and how did each vie to outdo the other in feats of strength and yards of gold cloth?

Everyone who was anyone in 1520 was there. But why was the flower of England’s nobility transported across the Channel, and how were they catered for? What did this temporary, fairy-tale village erected in a French field look like, feel like and smell like? 

This book explores not only the political dimension of their meeting and the difficult triangle they established with Emperor Charles V, but also the material culture behind the scenes. While the courtiers attended masques, dances, feasts and jousts, an army of servants toiled in the temporary village created specially for that summer. 

Who were the men and women behind the scenes? What made Henry rush back into the arms of the Emperor immediately after the most expensive two weeks of his entire reign? And what was the long-term result of the meeting, of that sea of golden tents and fountains spouting wine? 

This quinquecentenary analysis explores the extraordinary event in unprecedented detail. Based on primary documents, plans, letters and records of provisions and with a new focus on material culture, food, textiles, planning and organisation.

# # #

About the Author

Amy Licence is an historian of women's lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She is also a fan of Modernism and Post-Impressionism, particularly Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Cubism. Amy has written for The Guardian, the BBC Website, The English Review, The London Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman and The Huffington Post. She is frequently interviewed for BBC radio and in a BBC documentary on The White Queen. You can follow Amy on twitter @PrufrocksPeach or like her facebook page In Bed With the Tudors. Her website is www.amylicence.weebly.com

5 July 2020

Book Launch Spotlight ~ Final Chance, by E.B. Roshan

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Three months have passed since Preen learned that her husband, Rama, was captured and killed by a rival militia. 

Now the pieces of her shattered life are falling back into place. It's getting easier to breathe again. Preen finds herself smiling over her daughter's antics. 

She's engaged to her wealthy, handsome cousin, who loved her long before Rama stole her heart. Then, late one night, Rama calls. 

He asks Preen to come back to the dangerous city of Dor, back to the life she thought she'd left behind forever...

# # #

About the Author

E.B. Roshan has enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle for several years, living in the Middle East and Asia, but is now temporarily settled in Missouri with her husband and two sons. When she's not chasing the boys or cleaning the house, she's working on an exciting new Romantic Suspense series. To learn more, visit her website

4 July 2020

Special Guest Post By Cassandra Clark, Author of Hour of the Fox (A Brother Chandler Mystery Book 1)

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Introducing reluctant spy and friar-sleuth Brother Rodric Chandler in the first of a brand-new medieval mystery series.

London. July, 1399. As rumours spread that his ambitious cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, has returned from exile in France, King Richard's grip on the English throne grows ever more precarious. Meanwhile, the body of a young woman is discovered at Dowgate sluice. When it's established that the dead woman was a novice from nearby Barking Abbey, the coroner calls in his friend, Brother Chandler, to investigate.

Why Richard II? 

The background to THE HOUR OF THE FOX, my new series, is the story of the regicide of King Richard II. I’d like to say something about this background because it’s what made me defy fashion (and the Tudors) in preference to the still neglected late fourteenth century.

As a fiction writer I find it intriguing that a story about one person is thrown into relief by a story about someone else. In this case it’s the two Plantagenet cousins, Richard and Henry, who stand like icons of good and bad kingship. They cast their light and shadow over everything that happened at this time.

It goes without saying it was a violent, dangerous and treacherous period of history. The murder of King Richard in Pontefract Castle heralded a massive political crackdown on the country at every level while the usurper, Bolingbroke, the man the French called ‘so-called King Henry,’ established what was no less than a police state.

Henry Bolingbroke. Why has his name not gone down in history as one of the major villains among the motley assortment of monarchs since William the Bastard’s Conquest in 1066?

I have the view that our history is written by the privileged who unthinkingly identify with the winners in this real life Game of Thrones. They prefer war to peace - all that exciting blood (of other people), all that derring-do, and if you’re an unreconstructed ‘girl,’ all that adultery and frocks.

If you go to Westminster Abbey when the lockdown is over, you’ll see a wonderful portrait of King Richard hanging near the west door. It’s the first painting of a living monarch made in this country and has been hanging in the same place ever since 1395.

It commemorates the affection in which he was held and the glorious building works he commissioned for the abbey and elsewhere. He is a mild, blonde, blue-eyed, somewhat wary looking young man, clearly afraid of the enemies who have surrounded him since he inherited the crown from his grandfather at the age of ten. Somehow, despite the threats, he held onto the throne for twenty two years. Yet the black propaganda about him continues.

To set the record straight his peace-making with England’s oldest enemies, the French and the Scots, was remarkable at a time when men would as soon strike you dead as draw breathe. He made serious attempts to end the Hundred Years War and managed to establish a twenty-two year truce.

A civilised young man, therefore, in a barbaric, militaristic realm, he also did his best to bring style and beauty to the English court. He introduced the (outrageous) idea of eating with a fork instead of your fingers, of using a handkerchief instead of your sleeve (ugh!) and he commissioned the first ever cookery book in English, the Forme of Cury. More importantly, he encouraged writers - Chaucer for one - and painters and musicians.

His love match with his young queen, Anne of Bohemia, set a standard of fidelity that gave rise to our celebration of St Valentine’s Day when the court would assemble on a royal pleasure island in the Thames to exchange love tokens.

How very different to many other monarchs who are praised to the skies despite their adulteries, war-mongering and greed. In the Italian or French courts Richard would have been respected as one of the first Renaissance princes. Only a country such as England was at that time could blacken the name of a monarch who preferred a more equal society to one based on bonded labour - slaves in all but name - and peace instead of endless war.

It’s the sheer injustice of how these two royal icons are now viewed that urges me to go back to them in search of truth so far as it can be found.

To be crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey with barons and prelates kneeling before you when you’re ten and not expecting to be king at all, and then to become a hero at fourteen behaving within the great code of chivalry as your grandfather and father had taught you and afterwards to be thwarted and mocked at every turn by your greedy, jealous and ambitious uncles until you finally lose your crown and your life to your vainglorious cousin, is unjust by any standards.

It amazes me that a usurper who had no right to the throne and lied and killed his way to it, seems never to be called to account. As German-Jewish poet Heine said in 1822: ‘Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too.’ This is exactly what Bolingbroke/Henry IV and his advisor (usurping archbishop) Arundel, did. When writing about so-called King Henry this elephant in the room goes unnoticed.

Let me remind you that the first human being to be burned at the stake in England was a fellow called William Sawtrey, a priest who held fast to his belief in his right to read the bible in his own language and not have it presented in a bowdlerised form by the rulers of the pre-reformation church.

Sawtrey was burned alive at Smithfield in 1401, a year after Bolingbroke put the crown of England on his own head, but how many people know the name Sawtry or regard him as a champion of free speech? There’s a memorial to a Scotsman at Smithfield, one who was said to flay his enemies alive (no doubt that’s merely black propaganda) but there is no memorial to Sawtrey, the first Lollard martyr who, as far as I know, never killed anybody, and certainly didn’t indulge in such barbaric customs as the one that killed him. And yet - historians still pour out their slanted view of this usurping king, this barbaric Bolingbroke, as a good bloke.

I might give you the impression that my novels are intensely political but it’s only as I delve deeper into the period, and discover more about ordinary people and the impact the decisions of their rulers had on their lives, that my sense of injustice and dismay grows at the misinformation put out. The authentic voice of ordinary people and how they were forced to live at the bottom of the great chain of being needs to be heard.

The Hour of the Fox is a story about ordinary people in these extraordinary times then, a friar, Rodric Chandler, dedicated to a courageous saint, Serapion, with his own strict code of conduct, a maid, Matilda, working for the ambiguously employed poet Chaucer, and the mercenaries, soothsayers, guildsmen, market traders, shipmen, knights, nuns, duchesses, monks and pardoners and all the riffraff of London they encounter as they navigate the dangerous waters surrounding the doomed young king.

Despite themselves, Brother Chandler and Matilda are both caught in the cross-fire between the factions during that turbulent epoch when a king was murdered for his crown.

Next time St Valentine’s Day comes round I hope you’ll remember who made it popular. Let’s take our eyes off the domestic squabbles of the Tudors for a while and hear it for the turbulent Plantagenets. Let’s hear it for King Richard - Good Queen Anne - and the true Commons.

Cassandra Clark
# # #

About the Author

Cassandra Clark has an M.A. from the University of East Anglia and taught for the Open University on the Humanities Foundation course in subjects as diverse as history, philosophy, music and religion. Since then she has written many plays and contemporary romances as well as the libretti for several chamber operas. The Dragon of Handale is published on 17th March 2015. Find out about Cassandra's other books on her website at www.cassandraclark.co.uk and follow her on Twitter @nunsleuth