Monday, August 27, 2012

8 award winning books

Readers! Eight award winners in the 2012 eFestival of Words "Best of the Independent eBook Awards" have grouped together to offer you an amazing opportunity. They've reduced the prices of their award-winning novels to 99 cents for August 27 and 28th!

Whether you like to read mysteries, romance, horror, young adult, women's fiction, or fantasy, this group has it. Are you a writer yourself? Do you want to learn all about digitally publishing your next masterpiece? They've got you covered there too.

Get all eight award-winning ebooks for the price of one single paperback!

Award Winners

Best Mystery/Suspense: Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Best Non-Fiction: DIY/Self-Help: Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran
Best Horror: 61 A.D. by David McAfee
Best Romance: Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne
Best Young Adult: The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto
Best Fantasy/Urban Fantasy and Best NovelThe Black God's War by Moses Siregar III
Best Chick Lit/Women's LitCarpe Bead'em by Tonya Kappes
Award for Best Twist ("I've Been Shyamalaned"): The Survival of Thomas Ford by John A.A. Logan

Here's a one-stop shopping link for your convenience:

Book Blurbs

Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Laura Carnegie gave up on the man of her dreams a long time ago. He's fashion designer Jeremy St. James, and not only is he her boss, everyone knows he's gay.

When the woman who holds the company purse strings is found dead in the office, and Jeremy's arrested for the murder, everything changes. If Laura can just solve this crime, keep the cops off her tail, break up a counterfeiting ring, and get the show on the runway by Friday, she might stop being Seventh Avenue's perpetual loser.

If you love Project Runway, or enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada, try Dead Is the New Black.

Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran
This guide contains over 60,000 words of essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 33 bestselling indie authors including J Carson Black, Bob Mayer, Victorine Lieske, Mark Edwards, and many more.

It covers everything from how the disruptive power of the internet has changed the publishing business forever to the opportunities this has created for writers. It gives you practical advice on editing, cover design, formatting, and pricing. And it reveals marketing tips from blogging and social networking right through to competitions, discounts, reviews, and giveaways.

If you are considering self-publishing, if you need to breathe life into your flagging sales, or if you want to understand why it's a great time to be a writer, Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should will explain it all.

61 A.D. by David McAfee
61 A.D. For ten years, Taras has lived in the young city of Londinium, feeding off the city’s underbelly. But now Theron, his old enemy, has come looking for revenge, and Taras’ nights of living in relative peace are about to end.

Yet not even Theron can slip into town unnoticed, and the Council of Thirteen sends Ramah to deal with the two renegades once and for all. But unknown to the Council, a much older enemy is also in Londinium, and this time even the great Ramah might not be safe.

Set against the backdrop of the Iceni uprising in Roman-era Britannia, 61 A.D. continues the story of Taras, Theron, and Ramah, as they fight their way through history.

Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne
Nic Lamoureux's perfect movie star life is shattered by a stalker who threatens any woman close to him. When he meets photographer Lauren James, the attraction is instant--and mutual. She's exactly the sort of woman he craves, but the stalker makes deadly clear Lauren is the competition.
And the competition must be eliminated.

"Stock up on ice cubes because this is definitely one sizzling debut. Readers will be hooked from the first sentence- on the book and on Nic! As rich as a white chocolate cheesecake, Cayne's entrance into the suspense genre is invigorating, explosive and simply intoxicating." ~ RT Book Reviews Top Pick

The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto
When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Worse, someone has used an evil spell book to bring back two of history's most nefarious killers.

Ivy's got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But first, she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits: the school’s hotter-than-brimstone demon bad boy, Nick Marcelli. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and Ivy soon discovers it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end

The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One.

Her father-king wants war.
Her messianic brother wants peace.
The black god wants his due.
She suffers all the consequences.

"Moses is a fine writer deserving of success, and I think that it will follow ... I really enjoyed Moses's work." - David Farland, NYT Bestselling Author of The Runelords

Carpe Bead'em by Tonya Kappes
Hallie Mediate was raised by her (slightly) crazy Great Aunt Grace on the wrong side of the tracks in Cincinnati. Hallie escapes her hometown and never looks back.

That is, until she’s transferred back to the hometown. Not wanting her past to cross paths with her future, Hallie puts her life on hold.

Aunt Grace is still up to her old tricks, but Hallie finds some sanity at a local jewelry-making class where she uncovers a hidden talent for beading.

Will she keep searching for the happiness she may already have found?

The Survival of Thomas Ford by John A.A. Logan

Thomas Ford is the only survivor of the car crash which killed his wife. He is also the only witness who would be willing to identify the young, reckless driver who caused the crash. But the driver would sooner see Thomas Ford dead than ever let that happen.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book review: Aielund Saga, books 1 & 2

The Aielund Saga

The Aielund Saga is a series of books written by author and artist Stephen Nowland.  I first learned of him through a computer game called Neverwinter Nights.  It has a toolset that allows us to tell our stories through game modules using their game engine.  The Aielund Saga is a high-rated, award winning series of modules made by Stephen.  He's turned them into books that are even better.

One of my favorite things about these books is that the author paints his covers.  Beautiful artistry. :)

Book 1, Nature Abhors a Vacuum

For Aiden Wainwright, a short trip to the nearby town of Bracksfordshire was supposed to be an opportunity for continuing his research into the arcane. But unfortunate circumstances see the town gates closed for weeks, and with supplies running low, Aiden finds himself thrust into the role of town saviour. Together with an old friend of dubious character, a drunken ranger on the edge, and a church acolyte out of her depth, he sets out to fill the vacuum of power left by the absent King’s army, and deal with a rapidly escalating situation that threatens the security of the entire land, while uncovering the mysteries behind his own past.           
You can get it at Amazon
Or Smashwords
NWN module


Have you ever read one of those books where you're instantly interested in the main character?  Yeah.  This is it.  It starts with a prologue of an incident in the Aiden Wainwright's youth.  Chapter 1 begins with him as an adult who has been defined by that incident.  The city they're in has been shut down and someone has to get through for supplies.

A number of characters join him along the way.  Each one of these people have their own personality and are given the time to develop to the point where the reader is invested in what happens to each and every one.  My favorite is the cleric, Nellise.  (I have a thing for beautiful clerics, but . . . )  Actually, my biggest complaint about these books is that Nellise's life is going to suck.  I'm certain it will end badly.  *sigh*

The dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense, and the characters make you like or hate them.  For the first time in a long while, I found myself staying up late, not wanting to put the book down.

I truly recommend this to anyone who likes high fantasy.  At over 200,000 words, it's a tale of epic proportions that reads fast.

Book 2, In Defense of the Crown

From the peril of the high seas to the urban landscape of Fairloch, capital of Aielund, Aiden Wainwright and his companions are charged with protecting the only heir to the throne whilst seeking out the conspirators that plot her capture, and who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

Out of his depth in the largest city in the land, Aiden recruits the aid of the few allies he can find and trust; a sailor with a criminal past, an old knight close to retirement, a savage exiled from her home and a druid banished from her lands, her order falling toward darkness.

Combining their forces, they spearhead the investigation to track down the enemies of the crown and the powerful interests that support them, but while investigating the real reason behind the war in the west, Aiden discovers an enemy far more sinister than the petty villains who seek to seize power.

You can get it at Amazon
or Smashwords
NWN Module


"In Defense of the Crown" is even faster paced than the first novel.  The strengths of these books are the action, the banter in the dialogue, the suspense of the plot and the variety of characters.  Like the first, it's hard to put this book down.

A couple of characters that were in the first book are no longer with the party, but new ones come in to fill the void.  Each character is introduced to the reader and given time to develop.  They have their own distinct personalities that either blend or clash, making the relationships very dynamic.

My favorite character is Nellise . . . at the moment anyway.  Nellise is the type of character that led me to write my own books.  She goes through moral dilemmas.  People are mean to her.  Others try to sway her opinion for their own needs.  Nellise suffers and will continue to do so.  I don't know what's going to happen in the next books, but I know for certain that whatever happens to Nellise is going to piss me off.  The women in my books tend to be anti-Nellises.  By now, she would have killed Pacian.  At the very least, she would have distanced herself from him.  Just sayin'.

I like the princess too, except that she started out as tough, but then became a bit useless.  I'd like her to find some gumption along with keeping her flair.

Speaking of moral dilemmas, the author has great fun with them.  The characters constantly argue about right and wrong, each making good points about their position.  The reader tends to side with certain characters, or at least I did.  Random banter between the characters leads to laugh out loud moments.

Every step of the adventure is perilous and exciting, from on board the ship, through the city and into the castle.  I highly recommend these books and am looking forward to the rest . . . even if I'm going to get pissed off at the fate of Nellise.

About the Author

I am often astonished by the sheer amount of ideas that go through my head. I have tasked myself to grab hold of as many as I can, weave them into stories, shaping them to my will, and like, writing them down, because people can't read thoughts.

I spent over fifteen years dealing with poor health, including chronic fatigue syndrome (a symptom of other stuff, but annoying nonetheless) which gave me ample time for thinking, but slowed me down in the way of actually writing.

My first novel was actually done back in aught three, but I didn't care for that sort of thing at the time, so I scrapped it and started writing a new story for Neverwinter Nights, that RPG video game thing you may or may not have heard of.

The story was so successful (filled with rich, creamy character development) that I lamented that only people playing the game would ever see it. In 2009, with my health improving, I resolved to novelize the stories I'd written, in addition to developing the world in which they exist, for fun and profit.

Thus was my first novel conceived, and lo, it was published online, for the enjoyment of all! The saga will be five books in total, with another 4-5 books after that as a second saga that's in the pipeline.

Oh, I also paint. Expect to see more cover art with each title, probably becoming more technically sophisticated each time.


I have decided to review books that I enjoy. I am an avid reader of fantasy, so most of them will be in that genre. I'm not taking any requests, just reading what catches my eyes. You'll find that most of these are from Indie Authors. The way I figure it, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Alan Dean Foster and Piers Anthony (my favorite authors) already have enough reviews, but Indies could always use a few more.
It is important to note here that while I am a writer, I am doing these reviews as a reader. I also know a number of the authors I will be reviewing. This is not an exchange of reviews, nor have I been solicited by those authors to write the review. At no time will I ever accept any form of payment for a review. When I say that I'm am doing this as a reader, I mean it. I get nothing in exchange.

All my best,

John H. Carroll

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Should you publish an omnibus?

What in the world is an omnibus?  One of those funny looking road vehicles designed to carry passengers that has rounded corners and a eee,eee sounding horn?

That's not the sort of thing I'm talking about.  I'm talking about a book comprising of related works often called an omnibus edition, or simply an omnibus  For instance, with my Willden Trilogy, the omnibus consists of three books wrapped into one.

May or may not be an omnibus

What is the plural of omnibus?

I don't know!  omnibi?  omnibuses? omni . . . oh, quit distracting me.  Sheesh.

Well, should I publish one?  Get to the point.

Maybe yes, maybe no.  It's complicated.

That's not an answer.

Quit interrupting me!  Egads.

An omnibus can be an effective tool to revive interest in a series after sales have begun to decrease.  I would not recommend creating one right away.  My opinion in this comes from experimenting.

Reeeeaaaalllyyyy . . .

No!  Not that kind of experimenting!  Egads!  I mean that I published my first trilogy in omnibus form about a month after publishing the third book in the trilogy.  I've come to the conclusion that it was a grave mistake that may have cost me in the long run.

Here's the key:  It splits up your rankings.  I've sold about a thousand copies of my omnibus.  I've sold about six hundred pairs of Anilyia and Kethril.  Every time I get a sale, my ranking goes up.  If it goes high enough, I get onto bestseller lists and my books become more visible, resulting in more sales.
By publishing an omnibus, I've prevented my books from achieving high enough rankings to get me noticed.

Another issue is that it splits reviews.  Book two has 5 reviews, book three had 4 reviews and the omnibus has 7 reviews.  Reviews are important to get noticed.  Those seven reviews from the omnibus would have helped greatly on the other two books.
Why are you telling us this?

I've decided to unpublish "The Complete Willden Trilogy", which is the omnibus of the Willden Trilogy.  I apologize to my fans for removing this option, but it's necessary if I want to grow a large enough readership to be able to make a living with the writing.  It's my intention to bring the omnibus back in a few years.

The secondary reason is because I want other authors to understand the biggest consequence of publishing an omnibus right away.

People are going to think something's wrong with you if you keep talking to yourself like this.

Whatever.  Here are the books of the Willden Trilogy.  Rojuun is free. :) (click on the picture for Smashwords)


Amazon editions:

All my best,

John H. Carroll