The Last Dreamseer blog blast – all about the Superpowers

My friend Katy Haye has a new book out! Yay! To celebrate, I’m taking part in a blog blast on the theme of superpowers. One of the questions Kate asked was: If you had a superpower what would it be?

We-ell, I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. Flight is a good one, but really, with the skies as crowded as they are, you can’t fly very high, so you’d have to stick to somewhere in between the powerlines and the skyscrapers. Plus, you’d be seriously limited in your clothing choices (people in high rise building WILL look up your skirt, you know they will). It’s be pretty cold too, so you’d need some sort out warm jacket, which would be bulky. If you wanted to change your clothes once you got to your destination, you’d have to carry your outfit with you, which brings me to another problem – luggage. How would you carry your stuff? What happens if you’ve got to take something that doesn’t fit in a backpack? So, for practical reasons, maybe not flight.

Next up, invisibility. This is of limited use, really. Quite apart from the issue of what happens to your clothes, it’s just an invitation for people to tread on your feet.  Besides, what would I use it for anyway? If anything, the complete opposite would be more useful – so that I could project my presence into places, without actually having to be there. This would be useful for meetings, or when one of the kids wants me to sit with them while they fall asleep.   Of course, I’d have to be able to occasionally respond as though I really am there, otherwise the kids would notice. So, not invisibility either, then.

Third choice would be telekinesis. I’d love to be able to just will things to come to me across the room, especially if I’ve got a small child sitting on my lap. Accio book.  With practise, I’d be able to fill the kettle, boil the water, make myself a cup of tea and get it to my hand, without having to get up.

Having recently spent 3 hours in the car to travel a distance that should only take 20mins, I have now added teleportation to my list of coveted  super powers – but only if I can carry stuff with me. Just think of all the hours I’d save! On the other hand, I quite like the hours spent on trains. There’s something therapeautic about sitting still while the countryside slides past you.

Then there are all the really virtuous superpowers – the ability to heal (I’d love that one), the ability to keep calm ALL the time (that too), the ability to resist chocolate…

After some serious consideration, I think I’ll go for teleportation (so long as I can take bags) because it’s probably the most practical. Failing that, I’ll take telekinesis, please. *sits back to wait*

While we’re waiting for the superpowers to show up, why not check out Katy’s new book, The Last Dreamseer. You can read the review of the first book in the series here.

The Last Dreamseer Cover MEDIUM WEB

Blurb for The Last Dreamseer

The queen is dead. Long live the queen…

Deena endured her first dreamseer vision at the age of six. Now sixteen and having seen how her mother’s abilities were abused by Fane’s rulers, she would do anything to escape the future that lies ahead when her mother dies and Deena inherits her role.

When she meets Zan, Fane’s last gatekeeper, she sees the chance to escape her fate. But Zan is accompanied by Cal, rebel thorn in the old queen’s side whom she was once forced to betray. Deena can’t risk Cal discovering her secrets – but she needs him if she’s ever to escape.

For launch week only (November 27th – December 4th) the novel is on sale for 99c./99p, after which it will return to a permanent price of $2.99/£2.49 so don’t hang around, get your copy today!

Goodreads Book Review: 25 Ways to Sell More Romance Kindle Books

25 ways to sell more romance kindle books: use these 25 advanced tactics to become a bestselling author on amazon25 ways to sell more romance kindle books: use these 25 advanced tactics to become a bestselling author on amazon by Nina Harrington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book very useful. There are some very well thought out tips and the analysis of the best seller lists (it’s not rocket science, but it does take time to think it all through) is very interesting. It’s aimed at indie publishers who have complete control over their books, but it would be useful for trad/small press authors too – especially if you’re just starting out.

View all my reviews

How to Organise a Blog Tour and how to limit Google searches to recent results

I gave a talk at the Romantic Novelists Association conference this year on ‘Organising a Blog Tour; A Guide For the Terrified’. I promised the people who came to my talk, that I would post my notes on my website. So Ta-dah! You can download them by clicking on the pretty picture below – it should download as a Word document.

Notes from my talk at #RNAConf15 "Organising a Blog Tour; A guide for the terrified"
How to organise a blog tour

I mentioned in my talk that you could limit your Google searches to the most recent results. Here’s how you do it:

Put the name of the author/book/thing you are searching for into Google. If you want to exclude the main site (in this case, I don’t want to see any updates from my own site, I know about those already), then use can use “-site:websitename.com” in the search. This effectively means ‘NOT this site’.

Screen shot of a Google search

Click on the Search Tools button (on the right of the second row down). This will bring up some drop down buttons. Click on ‘any time’ and change this to the time frame you want.

Incidentally, if you already know how to use Boolean search operators, you can use them in Google searches. Or, for ever more bells and whistles, try Google Advanced Search. (Yes, I know. I need to get out more).

Have you got any neat hints and tips ? Please leave a comment below and share!

Finding ‘free’ images for a blog

These are series of notes I wrote for my writing buddy Jen (writer of fast and funny YA fiction –  still unpublished, but it’s only a matter of time!). She was not totally sure how to go about this social media mullarkey, so I wrote her a set of ‘how to’ notes, based on my own experience of setting up an online presence. I’ve posted the notes here in case they’re of use to people. The first of these is  a step by step on how to set up a website using WordPress.

Last year, I wrote a blog post about scientists watching Sherlock. I wanted a picture of Sherlock (or of Benedict Cumberbatch, at least) so I looked for one. Being that sort of a geek (I blame the day job), I looked for the BBC policy on using their images in blogs. The policy isn’t aimed at blogs as such, but the basic gist of it was ‘if you want to use one of our images, ask us. We’ll probably charge you for it’. So the post remains photoless.

So, where can you find copyright free images for use in a blog?

First, a word about copyright. Copyright is an automatic right that exists in any creative work. This includes pictures. The copyright belongs to the person who made the creative work (unless it was created under contract – whole complicated other story; always read your contracts). If you’re into that sort of dry detail, there’s a whole load of info on copyright at the UKIPO. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy.htm

If you reproduce someone’s work without their permission, you are infringing their copyright. Besides, it’s not polite.

There are hundreds of images on the web. Some of them are available under a creative commons licence. The best way to find ‘free’ images is to put your keywords and “creative commons” into a Google image search. Click through to the website and see if you can use it. Flickr has a fair number of images with creative commons licenses.

What is a creative commons licence? There’s a good description here http://creativecommons.org/about

The most permissive type of CC licence is an Attribution Licence. Broadly speaking these are images that people don’t mind you using, so long as you acknowledge whom it belongs to. Attribution is a minimum requirement. If you adapt the image, you should still attribute the initial image to the person who made it.

Some licences specify ‘non-commercial use only’. Does my blog count as commercial use? Arguably, I blog for my own amusement, but eventually I hope my blog is to raise the profile of me as an author and, by extension to sell books. This makes it sort-of commercial. So I tend to steer clear of the non-commercial use only images – which is a shame because some of them are really, really stunning.

Now to find an image to go with this post. How about this one?

If I were a bloke, I'd wear cufflinks. I like cufflinks.
Creative Commons by Kalexanderson

(Actually, I love the rest of the images this person has, but they are for non-commercial use and/or sold through Getty… )

Or this one?

Cartoon Bookstack
Bookstack by Hiking Artist

Or, by now, probably this?

For Goodness sake, make her stop!
CC photo by Pink Sherbert Photography