Self Publishing Journeys

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Last year, I went to a Society of Authors event and got chatting to a lovely bloke called Paul. We discussed how I drifted from traditional publishing into indie publishing and the advantages of being a hybrid published author. The upshot of that conversation was a longer conversation that happened on his podcast.

You can listen to the whole episode here:

https://self-publishing-journeys.com/episode-101-rhoda-baxter/

We talked about my writing journey. He was most amused by the fact that my pen name is derived from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. I was most amused by the fact that he called me ‘cerebral’. We also discussed some of the self publishing courses I took so that I could learn the necessary skills.

Go listen to the episode.  Sorry if I sound like a precocious ten year old. I need to work on my radio voice.

Oh, while you’re here, do you listen to many podcasts? If I interviewed, say, UK romance authors, would you listen to the interviews?

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Book review: Write to Sell by Andy Maslen

Write To SellWrite To Sell by Andy Maslen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since I have to write a lot of copy now that I’ve got a few indie books out – writing blurbs, writing emails – I figured I should read up a bit on how to write copy. This book is easy to read and concise (which is good, since one of the main pieces of advice is ‘be concise’!).
There are lots of useful pointers here. To be honest, a lot of what he says is what my English teacher taught me at O-level, but it’s good to have it reiterated. It’s also nice to see a book with UK examples.
If you’re looking for a book to help you write book blurbs, How To Write A Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen is better, but this is a pretty good guide to start out with.

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Buy link Amazon UK:Write To Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting by Andy Maslen Second edition (2009)

Buy link Amazon US:Write To Sell

Book review: The Framley Examiner by Robin Halstead

The Framley ExaminerThe Framley Examiner by Robin Halstead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend lent this book to me many years ago and I loved it so much that I bought a copy. It is completely bonkers and fun. There is absolutely NOTHING serious about it.
I like to dip into it every so often when I need cheering up. I love the small ads pages. The ad for ‘Can’t you Breathe Little Bear’ had me in stitches. I love the town names too, especially Effing Sodbury.
This is very British and very, very silly. Sometimes you need that.

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Amazon buy link for The Framley Examiner

Book Review: Max Seventeen: Firebrand by Kate Johnson

Max Seventeen: FirebrandMax Seventeen: Firebrand by Kate Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read the first Max Seventeen book, I raved about it for days. It took me a while to get around to reading this one because… well, it’s a sequel and you know what they say about sequels. On the other hand, I LOVED Max. Plus, Space pirates.
I picked up the book and within the first few pages I was completely sucked back into the world of Max, Riley and the crew of the Eurydice. This second book has the same breakneck pace and energy as the first. There’s a ton of violence, cool space tech, a fair bit of sex (off page) and giant spiders. Max is still Max and in this book you get to see a bit more of her sister Priti and a lot more of Captain Orpheus (hooray!).

It’s a glorious, fast and fun space romp. If you like things like Firefly or Killjoys, you’ll love this.

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Buy link UK:Max Seventeen: Firebrand

Buy link US:Max Seventeen: Firebrand

Book review: The Heights by Juliet Bell

The heightsThe heights by Juliet Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A retelling of Wuthering Heights set in the 1980s during the Miner’s Strike. I studied Wuthering Heights at A-level, so I was curious to see how this went.
It was wonderful. For the first few chapters, I kept trying to link back to the characters in the original – Lockwood is a detective who has a hunch about Heathcliff, ‘Nellie’ Dean is a social worker etc, but after a while I stopped bothering and just got caught up in the story. I stayed up until silly o’clock in the morning to finish it … even though I knew what was coming!

The story retains the dark, compelling feel of the original. The characters are as depressing and horrible as they were, but with slightly more modern sensibilities. The amount of death, which would have been less unusual 200 years ago, is unusual even in 1980s Yorkshire, and DCI Lockwood’s obsession with the family and the unusually high death rate addresses that. As with the original, the setting is an active character in story, with the blue hill always looming in the background in more ways than one.

This is a story of obsession and revenge. It would have been nice for DCI Lockwood to have found Heathcliff guilty of something, but that would change the ending from the original (and I would have been enraged!), so the small resolution at the end was the best there could be. I liked the small lilt of hope at the end too.

Overall, this is a great adaptation of a classic. I loved it.

Disclaimer: I got a a review copy from Netgalley (thank you!). I know the authors as we are all members of the Romantic Novelists Association.

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Buy on Amazon.co.uk The Heights: A gripping modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights

Buy on Amazon.com The Heights: A gripping modern re-telling of Wuthering Heights

Book review: Christmas at the Little Village School by Jane Lovering

Christmas at the Little Village School (Choc Lit)Christmas at the Little Village School by Jane Lovering

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This arrived on my Kindle yesterday and I read it as fast as I could. Jane Lovering’s books are an auto buy for me.
Lydia teaches at a school in a tiny village, alongside her fellow teacher Jake. She’s prickly and sharp edged, especially when it comes to Jake. Jake is big and kind without being a pushover. They’ve been tasked with organising the school play at short notice. Given the kids, Christmas, plaster of Paris decorations, an old people’s home and a mysterious man called Gareth, things take a turn for the interesting.
There’s a twist. You find out why Lydia is so prickly part way through the book. It’s kinda hard to tell you about it without giving things away, so I won’t. You’ll just have to read it and find out.

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Amazon US buy link for Christmas at the Little Village School
Amazon UK buy link for Christmas at the Little Village School (Choc Lit)

Book review: The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft

The Little Village ChristmasThe Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted a nice, Christmassy read and this book delivered exactly that.
Alexia is an interior designer working on a community project in the village. When disaster strikes the project, she rolls up her sleeves and gets on with salvaging what she can.
Ben had been very badly hurt (emotionally) and is going through a messy divorce. He’s been a little reclusive, but has stepped into village life in order to help with the community project. I especially liked Ben because he’s a beta male. Hooray for beta males. He does act like a prat at times, but it’s always understandable in context.

There are lots of animals in this book, including an injured owl called Barney (who is quite a character).
It’s a fabulous way to return to Middledip.

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Amazon buy link for The Little Village Christmas

Book Review: Back To Reality by Mark Stay and Mark Oliver

Back to Reality: The feel-good novel of the year!Back to Reality: The feel-good novel of the year! by Mark Stay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve listened to the Marks’ podcast (The Bestseller Experiment) for a year and I was keen to read the book to see if it was any good. And it was!
It’s a fast and funny time slip type story. 42 year old Jo (with her unhappy life) suddenly finds that she’s swapped bodies with 24 year old Yohanna who is really Jo from an alternate reality. They have to get back into each other’s bodies before their time runs out and one of them dies.

Having listened to the podcast I felt weirdly affectionate towards this book even before I started it, like I’d watched this story grow up, and there are certain bits (like the character names) that popped out as Easter eggs. This added an extra dimension to the story for me.

This is a nice, feel good story with the right balance between fantasy and realism. Also, there is, as promised, a funny bit with a cow.

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Buy link for Back to Reality on Amazon

Book review: Pincers of Death by Toby Frost

Pincers of Death (Space Captain Smith Book 6)Pincers of Death by Toby Frost

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This latest installment of the adventures of Space Captain Smith and the crew of the John Pym is a return to form with battles and jokes and a cracking good yarn. It had me laughing out loud in places.
Best enjoyed with a nice fortifying cup of tea. Jolly good show.

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Buy link for Pincers of Death