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Dragonwand 1 Bestseller Cover

He Who Seeks Power, Seeks Destruction.

Over 1000 years ago, nearly all the ancient wizards were destroyed after the Wizard Wars. However, the one who started the War still remains, having worked his will in secret. If he can find the last Dragonwand, he will regain his powers as the dark dragon. Unaware of the Dragonwand or the betrayer, sixteen-year-old Markus is looking for a wizard who will give him a letter of recommendation for the College of Wizardry. During his journey, he stumbles upon Tolen the Wise, who sends Markus on a quest to end the darkness and find the Dragonwand before it gets into the wrong hands. As Markus discovers growing powers and makes allies, will he find what he needs to complete Tolen’s task, or will the ancient, dark wizard uncover the Dragonwand and forever change the fate of the land of Gallenor?




Daniel Peyton is a fresh author whose talents includes, writing, sketching and dreaming out adventures in faraway places that he seeks to bring to paper. He lives in East Tennessee where he draws a great deal of inspiration from the unique landscape. He has been featured in short story e-zines as well as flash fiction blogs. Legacy of Dragonwand: Book I is the first book in the Dragonwand Trilogy.

A free ebook

Hi good book readers,

This is a quick post to let you know that one of my books is free on Amazon for five days! So, download your copy now! If you would like to and have time, please leave a review as it helps my book be seen by more people.

Secrets COVER WITH SUBTITLEWhere the Secret Lies – a paranormal romance

A mansion (Haveli). A sealed door. A spirit. And a secret.
Nineteen-year-old Arianna and her family travel from London to India for a lavish wedding. Excitement turns to bewilderment and then curiosity when strange things start happening within the Haveli walls. A sealed door opens and Arianna is given Anjali’s diary, which recounts a romantic adventure that began during the bloody turmoil of partition in 1948.

So begins a paranormal experience that leaves Arianna stunned and demanding answers. Who is Anjali? Why did the door unseal for her? Is there something the spirit wants to show her? What could it possibly be? A haveli. A sealed door. A spirit. And a secret.

Download your copy where you are!

UK Link: Where the Secret Lies

USA Link: Where the Secret Lies

India Link: Where the Secret Lies

Germany link: Where the Secret Lies

France Link: Where the Secret Lies

Australia Link: Where the Secret Lies

Canada Link: Where the Secret Lies

Thank you for downloading!


Guest post by Erika Gardner: Everyday and Not-so Everyday Magic & Miracles

I am a big believer in miracles and magic. Yes, I write about fantabulous things, magical creatures and wondrous sorcery, but I see quieter magic all around us. People can do great things on a daily basis. The power of a hug, the comfort of prayer, and the outcome of a sympathetic ear all have a ripple effect upon the world at large. One person holds a door for another, then that second person picks up something someone dropped, the third subsequently compliments a friend on something and so on. The positive vibes flow, changing each person’s day for the better.

It’s no less special than the stuff in my books though it’s easier to miss the power of a kind word than a dragon appearing in the sky before. And on that note I’d like to share exactly that. This is an excerpt from my new novel The Dragon in The Garden. This is Daisy coming home. Please enjoy.


“Siobhan,” Turel said. The intensity of his tone caught my ear, and I turned to him. He lingered a few feet away from me, his eyes fixed serenely on a point far away.

I joined him, my eyes on the horizon. The setting sun painted the sky a vivid seascape of blues, pinks, violets and oranges. As the sun lowered to the lowest point in the sky, in the instant before its rays spilled over the back of the world, there shone a beam of concentrated light, as precise as a laser. After a second, the light expanded, becoming a brilliant, white ray. It continued to grow, morphing into a tunnel in reverse, but instead of darkness, it blazed a corridor of light. The white light became prismatic, flickering with a rainbow of dancing diamond sparkles, splashing colors of all hues in front of my dazzled eyes.

Turel enclosed one of my hands in his warm grasp. “It is something to see, yes?” His tone reflected true awe.

“Is this your first time seeing this?” I asked in a whisper. The tunnel became larger, dwarfing us. With my free hand I shielded my eyes. Leia sat at my side, gazing in the distance.

“No, I have seen this many times.” He held out his other hand and waved it at the mighty light show. “But a miracle is no less glorious for having previously happened.”

To my left Tim and Alex continued their ridiculous rock throwing competition. Their stones sailed right through the expanding brilliance they could not see. “Guys, are you kidding me?” In the emotion of the moment, my voice growled, low and hoarse.

They stopped and gave me matching blank expressions. “What?” Alex said.

“Hey, what are you guys staring at?” Tim sounded defensive.

Before I could answer their questions, I heard it. A sweet sound, soft at first, barely a whisper, carried on the breeze. Turel’s smile grew even brighter, matching the shining portal. “She comes.” His eyes shone as they met mine.

Alex glanced this way and that. “Does anyone hear that sound?” he asked.

Tim craned his head. “I hear it. It sounds like bells.”

“Wind chimes,” I corrected, still staring straight ahead. “It’s wind chimes.” The air shimmered. Light danced in an intense aurora borealis. Patterns of colors streaked and swooped in a heavenly painting. One hue dominated the others. The deep shade of jade green spread. An enormous form took shape, dressing itself in swathes of color. The huge outline solidified: graceful wings, a serpentine neck, and a curving tail. Two amber lights appeared like jewels in the viridian air. Everything intensified, heightening each of my senses; the lights pulsed. A beautiful, green dragon hovered in the air. With two mighty beats of her massive wings, she crested then landed behind us. I ran forward with a cry. “Daisy.”

“Damn it,” growled Tim. “I can’t see anything even a bit like a dragon.”

“Unless it’s a super little one,” said Alex, his face downcast.

Turel laughed— a big, belly laugh full of joy. “Gwyrdd, you sly minx, show them. Drop the glamour and let our friends see you.”

Daisy twisted her head to one side in a coquettish gesture and in that voice I had never forgotten said, “Certainly, Turiel, dear one.” Suppressed mirth laced her tone. “How’s this, children?”

When she spoke these last words the music of wind chimes came again, louder this time. As their bright notes sounded around us, I saw the precise instant when both my brother and my first love, the two who believed in me all these years, finally saw my dragon.

TheDragoninTheGardenbyErikaGardner-200To purchase The Dragon in The Garden please see:




erikagardnerauthorpicThis post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Quit India – the story behind it.

Quit India – the story behind it.

A thought became a revolution; it took over minds and hearts and it divided a country in two. Once brothers, the people of India turned into enemies when their motherland, India, became India and Pakistan.

But when did the hatred, the resentment begin? When did the British Raj become insufferable?

The British entered India in 1608, concentrating on trading on new land. It was only when the Mughal Empire weakened in 1707 and dissolved that the East India Company took over India in 1764 after the Battle of Buxar.  The East India Company – a British trading company administered power over India and ruled most states aswell as exercising power and control of Indian Military Forces.

There were many battles and disagreements through Indian history, such as the Battle of Buxar but what began the Indian Independence ‘battle’ was the ‘war’ between the British Raj and the Indians in 1857, known as the First War, the Great Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny amongst other such names. This war was a sepoy’s (an Indian soldier) fight that escalated throughout India.

Although this was seen as the catalyst of the First War, other factors contributed to the slow but sure build up of resentment and hate toward the East India Company.

It came to be believed by the sepoys that the East India Company intended to divide faiths and have them convert to Christianity, by force or deception. Land seizure was another British rule, one that forced the fact that if a ruler did not produce a true heir, their land would then be the property of the East India Company. As a result, many kingdoms such as Oudh, Nagpur and Awadh were taken over.

But what started the Mutiny? What was the cause of such an upheaval? The answer – a disregard of the native’s faith.  The beliefs of the Hindu and the Muslim man were ridiculed by the East India Company.

Ignoring the Hindu’s religious devotion and worshipping of the Cow, the ‘mother’ who gives milk, and the Muslim’s revulsion of the Pig, that they see as dirty, lazy and greedy, the East India company ordered their army to manually load ammunition that was greased with the fat of the pig and the cow. Therefore, biting one end of the cartridge before use in a certain rifle was outrageous!

But no one had the nerve to stand up until Mangal Pandey, an infamous sepoy, took lead and braved to voice the injustice of the Company. He brought the cow/pig greased cartridge fact to the forefront to his fellow sepoys.  Anger led to retaliation, with Mangal Pandey leading. He fired the first bullet.

Mangal Pandey with a few others was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging but Pandey was hanged ten days before his sentence date.

After the ‘War’, the East India Company was abolished and the responsibility of India was taken over by the Crown. Many steps were taken later to ensure some peace, some which included the end of attainment of land from stately princes.

After a lull in the Indian subcontinent, in 1915 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived from South Africa, known as Bapu (father) and Mahatma (the Great One). Gandhi travelled throughout India to ‘see’. He observed the rich and the poor, he witnessed ill treatment from the British Goré (white people) directed at the natives. Racial discrimination and prejudice were high on the list of unforgiveness.

Gandhi realised that India needed to fight back, to win back her rights and to claim her country back from the ‘foreigners’. One day, Gandhi settled on his decision. The European’s injustices and his tolerance to them went just too far. In 1942, he called for the ‘Quit India Movement’. He wanted the British out of India!

Gandhi advertised the Quit India Movement throughout India and voiced clearly that there must be no violence. India’s people embraced the Movement and embarked upon it with passion. Vallabhai Patel – Indian barrister and statesman, Jawaharlal Nehru – Indian politician (who became the first Indian Prime Minister), and Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Muslim lawyer, politician, statesman (founder of Pakistan), united with Gandhi in the Quit India Movement and participated and argued in heated discussions and speeches.

They were all arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’. But this didn’t stop India, who fought back. Nothing was going to stop them now. During the course of the Movement, many riots started along with the damaging of government buildings, derailment of railway lines (which the British Raj had introduced into the country), boycotting of schools and colleges and the throwing away/setting fire of British goods.

Marches, riots and freedom speeches were a regular occurrence; violence (against Gandhi’s pleas to stop) turned murderous.  Indians were arrested or killed – the lathi, a soldier or policeman’s baton was never far away from the protestors.  Many were jailed for a long time or executed.

In 1946, Jinnah proposed a new country – Pakistan. He wanted a Muslim country, to be ruled by a Muslim man, not Hindu. The other leaders were not happy about this and tried reasoning with Jinnah to no avail. Jinnah was adamant.  He declared 16th August 1946 as Direct Action Day which saw colossal rioting and manslaughter across Calcutta.

Tension, anger and fear grew amongst the Hindu and Muslim communities and during October and November 1946, horrendous numbers of massacres, abductions, rape and forced faith conversions of Hindus,  aswell as loot and arson were seen in Noakhali, actioned by the Muslim community.

Gandhi spent four months in Noakhali trying to restore peace and bring the communities together. But his efforts failed. During this time, Partition of India was accepted by the Congress Party.

14th August 1947 – Pakistan was formed.

15th August 1947 – midnight, India was made a Free country;  she gained her independence. The British flag was lowered and the Indian flag rose.

It was Independence Day and both countries rejoiced in their new found Freedom.

Today, in England and in many other countries, Independence Day is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of August remembering those Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for us and mourning those Indians whose lives were taken away through riots and massacres; a time which changed lives forever and is still fresh in those minds who lived during those horrendous times.Freedom banner
Today, I am giving my book Freedom of the Monsoon away for free. Just click on the link below. I hope you enjoy the book, and I hope you will be encouraged to leave a review. Thank you!

Amazon UK  Freedom of the Monsoon

Amazon USA Freedom of the Monsoon (USA link)

Amazon India Freedom of the Monsoon (India link)

Abstract 1:

Pooja stared back at her reflection. The bruises were deep purple and her mascara had run, leaving black streaks behind. Taking a wet cloth, she wiped away the signs of abuse from the corner of her mouth. She took out a compact from the antique dresser and fought to cover the bruises with her scalded hands, then she brushed through her already knot free hair. It was then that she stopped crying.

Gingerly, Pooja adorned her hair with a butterfly clip, and stood up to examine herself in the full-length mirror. She looked better now; the bruises didn’t show up as much.

“It’s alright, beta, things will get better, I promise,” she whispered, putting her hands on her stomach. “Your Papa didn’t mean to do it. He is a good man.”

Pooja walked from room to room, overlooking the cleaning of the house. The servants were busy today; Amar was expecting guests. She must try and present herself well…

“Meenakshi, how is the dinner coming along?”

“Very well, Memsahib,” Meenakshi, the chef’s wife assured her.

 Pooja was satisfied, and moved on. Everything must be perfect today. Amar must have no complaints. Pooja passed the drawing room – something wasn’t right. The cigars!

“Laxman!” she called.

“Yes, Memsahib.” Laxman, who overlooked the housework, appeared.

“Laxman, the cigars. Fill the cigarette holder and quickly. Saab must have it full.”

The big clock struck seven. The guests would be here soon with Amar. Pooja steadied her breathing, and went to her bedroom to get changed. Maybe a little more powder will be good. She opened the wardrobe, which contained over two hundred saris, and searched for something suitable. She settled on a pink and silver one. She hoped Amar would approve. Glancing in the mirror, she noticed there was something wrong with her hair. It was the hair-clip. Amar didn’t like butterflies…he would be so angry. Pooja changed it to a flower design – yes, that’s better.

Abstract 2:

Since the news of the partition, Pooja began to worry about her mother even more so. She asked Amar, if she and the children could go and stay for a while, until the anger calmed down. Amar thought it was a very good idea. He went a step further, and arranged for their stay himself. He booked the train tickets and Pooja, and the children, were to arrive at Rajkot in a week’s time. She couldn’t wait.

Pooja thought of her husband now, and her love for him overwhelmed her. Tears pricked her eyes; her Amar had really come through for her. Since her arrival back in Bombay, they had slept in separate beds. She began to trust him a few months later and with his compassion, for her and her family, he showed her that he wasn’t selfish anymore. He showed her his love with every opportunity, and her love for him came back. But she was scared, what if he began drinking again? What if he began to bring women home again? She kept her distance but he didn’t falter. He was patient and kept on loving her.

Amar always brought Pooja a hair garland, a white one; it was her favourite after all. He never forgot.  She fingered the one he tied on her just that morning, and smiled. Today, she will ask him to share her room and her bed again. Today, they will be husband and wife once more.

Pooja leaned back into her chair. It was quiet and serene. Radha was asleep, Veer was at the neighbours, and Kamla and Rani were at the theatre, so she was left with little to do.

Suddenly there was a shout.

“Memsahib!” Ram, the help, appeared at the door. “Memsahib,” his voice was barely audible and his face was ghostly pale. “Please come quick!”

Pooja followed him, her heart thumping wildly. Was it Kamla or Rani? Visions of her own rape came back to her.  Or was it Veer? Had something happened to him? Radha…but she was asleep in her room. She should check.

“Memsahib, where are you going? You have to come now, this way!” Ram pulled Pooja away from Radha’s room.

“Ram, please tell me, what’s happened. Is it one of the children?”

“No, Memsahib,” he said. He led her to the front door.


Picking Character Names

Thicker_Than_Water_by_Mary_OSullivan-200Today, we have Mary O’Sullivan who will be talking about picking character names, and about her new novel, Thicker than Water. Welcome, Mary!

There’s a rafflecopter contest too, look out for it!


Picking Character Names

So what’s in a name?   Not a question you would normally think about a lot – until you find yourself having to pick a name for your baby – or character names for your latest story.

I always had the belief that children grow into their names. A traditional name, one that has been in a family for generations, gives a child a place in the family history. It says this child belongs. The problem is, it also imposes obligations, a duty to carry forward history and traditions not of that child’s making.  So Jeremiah Puddleworth the Fifth would most likely be obliged to attend the same school, play the same sport, follow the same career as his ancestors. His other option would be to rebel completely against tradition and take the Puddleworth name to a place it had never been before. Whichever path our Jeremiah the Fifth takes, his given name has a big influence on his future.

Then there is the common name. The run-of-the-mill, every second person name. Mine for instance. Mary. I remember thinking in my teen years that if I had been christened Avril, Jane, Ruth , Hanna – anything but Mary- my life would have been so much more exciting. To compound the solidity and lack of any pretension, my parents chose Brigid as my second name. A Mary Brigid treads carefully through life, not taking too many chances, rarely raising the head above the parapet. Yes, there were and are adventurous and successful Marys. Here in Ireland we have had two inspirational Presidents named Mary; Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese. Marys have excelled in all walks of life ; Mary Quant fashion, Mary Berry cookery, Mary Shelley writing, Mary J Blige singing, Mary Queen Of Scots a powerful monarch , and many more. Yet it is still my belief that these Marys are outstanding individuals despite, and not because of, their given name.

When my writing was first published, I had the option of choosing a pen name. I thought long and hard about that one. Belinda, Amanda, Jacintha, in fact any name ending in ‘a’ appealed to me. Something that would immediately stand out.  In the end the Mary Brigidness of my character won through. How could I hide behind a glamorous name when that would be the antithesis of what I am? In fact why should I hide at all? There is of course, the awful possibility that a newly published book will be slated by critics. The author may even be ridiculed and shamed. But that, said the Mary Brigid in me, is the chance you take when you decide to make your work available to the public. Besides, I suspected then, and know now, that the most likely outcome is that the work you have slaved over for the longest time will barely tickle the public consciousness as it takes its place with the hundreds of thousands of other new publications.

Given my belief about the influence of name, I attach utmost importance to naming my fictional characters. For each of my novels, the main character appears in my imagination, complete with hair and eye colour, height, weight, occupation, history – and name. And so before I put pen to paper , or typed a word, I knew that Claire (Parting Company) would be clever and practical; Robyn(Time And Tide) would be  a successful career woman ; Ella ( Ebb And Flow) would be sensitive and have a tragic history. I get to make the choices for the ancillary characters. I like short names like Zack, Fred, Frank, Martin for the men simply because I have to type them so often over the course of a 120,000 word novel. Laziness if you like. I keep the women’s names short also for the same reason – though if I felt a character needed a long and complicated name with umlauts and acutes, I must of course, allow them to have it. For the most part, I never name a character after someone I know personally. Safer, in case the character turns out to be a nasty piece of work. I am, needless to say, influenced by people in my circle, but I have never deliberately based a character on someone known to me. That is the glory of creative writing. It allows you, in fact it requires you, to use your imagination. To be creative.

Thicker Than Water, my latest novel, is built around the story of Maeve, Jan and Linda, friends for twenty years. Their lives are profoundly affected by a tragic twenty four hours in their home town of Ballyderg. Maeve was the first character to introduce herself to me. I saw her dark curly hair, brown eyes, figure still good but softening into middle age. I felt her vulnerability, understood her love for her husband and children. Yet I felt a strength in her and knew she would do anything to protect her family. The name Maeve, the one she already had, to my mind reflected all those qualities. And so I embarked on teasing out the awful events of the blackest day ever to hit the town of Ballyderg. The friends, Jan, an independent business woman, and Linda, the snobby wife of entrepreneur Gerard, were side by side with Maeve from page one through to the end.  As with real-life characters – which fictional ones have to be for the author during the twelve months it takes to write, rewrite and edit a novel – they grew into their names. It is my hope that people read and enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you to malikagandhi.wordpress for hosting me today and to Lucy Felthouse (Writer Marketing Services) for organising my visit here.

Excerpt from Thicker Than Water

Gerard Shannon felt the tic beneath his left eye begin to beat a rhythm to his impatience. The Town Hall, an impressive granite-stone building from the outside, was a claustrophobic rabbit warren on the inside. To add to the unease of pale green walls, wilting yucca plants and vertical venetian blinds, the Planning Officer’s deep bass bounced off the ceiling and rolled in waves around the room. He spoke in sound bites.  Gerard smiled at him because Phillip Long was an influential man. An essential cog in the slowly turning wheel of commercial life in the rural Irish town of Ballyderg.

“So when do you expect full planning approval through?” Gerard asked.

“Next planning meeting.  Trust me, I’ll have the objectors on-side. Everyone wants to see Ballyderg recover and this development is the way forward.”

Gerard nodded but said nothing. Another block of retail units in the town centre was not, in his opinion, what Ballyderg needed.

“I’ll let you know about the meeting,” Phillip said. “Give you time to work up an ad campaign for letting the units.”

Gerard stood. As the only letting agency in the town his business should automatically get the contract without having to kowtow to councillors but that is not the way things worked.  At this moment he didn’t give a damn about the units or even about Ballyderg. He offered his hand to Phillip Long.

“Thank you. I appreciate you keeping me in the loop.”

“No problem. No problem. We’ll touch base when the planning’s through.”

Gerard made his way as quickly as possible down the once stately staircase. Outside he checked his watch. It was time. Leaving the town he headed towards the hills and the appointment he had to keep.


Blurb for Thicker Than Water :

When local teenager, Keira Shannon and her father, business man Gerard Shannon, go missing, the town of Ballyderg unites to search for them.

 As the search continues rumours of domestic violence, extramarital affairs and criminal behaviour are rife. The crisis causes families and life long friends to doubt each other.

 The only certainty left is that the town has been visited by evil. Or has it? Could it be the evil one has always lived there sharing history, laughter and tears? And if so, who could it be?

 Buy Links

 Amazon buy links :            

Tirgearr   Publishing                 

 Amazon Author Page:              

Author  Biography:

maryosullivanauthorpicMary worked many years as a Laboratory Technician. Her hobby, her passion, has always been writing. Busy with family and career, she grabbed some moments here and there to write poetry and short stories. She also wrote a general interest column in a local newspaper.

As the demands on her time became more manageable she joined a local creative writing class. It was then, with the encouragement of tutor Vincent McDonald, that the idea of writing a novel took shape. She began to expand on a short story she had written some years previously. It was a shock for her to discover that enthusiasm and imagination are not enough. For the first time she learned that writing can be very hard work.

Mary now has six traditionally published novels, nine eBooks and hopefully more to come, inspiration permitting.


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Thicker_Than_Water_by_Mary_OSullivan-200 GIVEAWAY!

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To or not to self-publish?

10353184_10204372130369223_1878311095685583151_n (2)Today, I have the marvellous Mary Wood on my blog today. She will be talking about self-publishing and traditional publishing. Over to you, Mary!

Hello Malika, nice to be here, thank you for asking me.

To introduce myself, I am Mary Wood. I am a published saga author of Pan Macmillan Publishing House. I began my career as an Indie author and I hope my blog about my different experiences is interesting to you.

Let me explain the terms of the title: An Indie author is a term given to an independent author who publishes themselves, mostly on ebook outlets. A traditionally published author is one who is published by a publishing house and their books are in paperback and hardback in the shops as well as on ebook outlets.

  • Of course there are some things that are the same for authors in both fields: Firstly, however we are published we are all authors.
  • Secondly, we all have to work extremely hard to become successful.
  • Thirdly, we all have a readership, something that amazes us and pleases us all.

As an indie author: I was on my own. I wrote my books on what subject I wanted to. I wrote them in my own time. I had my own style, length and chose location. I paid to have my books edited. I designed, or when I could afford it, paid to have a cover designed for me, and promoted myself and my books with limited outlets and no help (I’m not talking about the wonderful support other authors, family, friends, or indeed my amazing readers were, but about practical and financial help.) And, lastly, financially; I did really well as an indie author, and my royalties came in every month, which was very nice. All of this can be summed up in one word, freedom – freedom to make all my own decisions. Freedom to determine my own success.

As a traditionally published author, I find every process that I have mentioned above very different. It took me a while to get used to some of them, but I can say that though I loved being solely an Indie author, I wouldn’t want to go back despite losing the freedoms above. For me I have swapped freedom for verification. I had this from my readers, but now I have it from the most respected professionals in the publishing industry as well. I still pinch myself every time I wake up. It is a dream come true. All of this I say with fingers crossed as not being in charge of my own fate, I rely on being offered a new contract every time one comes to an end and that isn’t guaranteed. When authors were dropped by publishing houses in the past, that was it. Now I have the security of knowing I can go back to being a full time Indie author.

The differences outlined: I will list each process that I have mentioned above and explain how each is different in the trad pub world to the Indie pub world.

  • Being on my own: As a traditionally published author, I am not on my own. I have an agent, who does so much for me and is in my corner. It is sometimes like having my own union rep as all of my interests are taken care of. Financial matters are in her hands. The correctness of contract. The fighting for new contracts and making them as flexible as she can to fit me. Also as lucrative as she can. She is concerned for my welfare and often telephones me if something is going to change to make sure I am alright. When I have to go to London she will meet me at the station and make sure I don’t get lost. She advises on plot if she thinks I am not on the right track. She checks that my statements are correct. And, she is a friend. She is paid 15% of all I earn but is well worth it. Besides her, I have a whole team of people in the publishing house, my own Editor, who works closely with me. She commissions my work – or could reject it – not happened so far, thank goodness. She guides and advises me and also supports me in any way needed. And is also a friend. I also have a dedicated publicist and both she and my editor have a team who are there to support help and advise me as well as to do all they can to further my career.
  • Subject: There is quite a leeway with this, but within a framework. For instance, at the moment, my novels are set in wartime and I have two world ones to choose from. This gives me a massive scope as I have chosen to write about women’s roles in the war and the family and personal toll on those who stayed behind and those who went to fight, or took up war work.
  • Timeframe: I have a stipulated deadline now and have to meet it. Mine is in November for a book that will be published the following November.
  • Style: Every publishing house will have their own style. Mine uses the ‘z’ spelling as in realize etc… Chapters are presented in a certain way and layout is special to the house too.
  • Length: For a saga, such as I write, there is a stipulation of minimum of 100.000 words. And this is a figure they would really like you to keep as near to as possible. Most of my indie books, which are gradually being published traditionally, are at least 20.000 words longer than that and I often find myself writing an epilogue in my new books to tie all the ends rather than give everything wordage. It is a process that I rather like as all my sub stories are drawn into it and it gives a lovely rounding off to the novel.
  • Location: I have been given a main setting for my books. This is because we authors cannot be all writing about the same things and the same area. We need an identity. Our readers need to know that Mary Wood books will be set in London and the North, and may take you to other countries. Whereas, Diane Allen books will be set in the Yorkshire Dales, and Annie Murray books in Birmingham etc: I found this particularly difficult to adapt to as I knew very little about London and had thus far had set all but one of my indie books around Leeds. It was the one that I didn’t, venturing out from the North to London and back, that won me the publishing contract and set the seal on my location. However, my subject helps with this as people travelled all over during the wars. Londoners went north, west, and east to become Land Girls, Special Agents went to France. Factory girls went to cities, so I can still have London based characters, but can mix them with Northerners.
  • Editing: This is a very difficult discipline for authors in traditional publishing as your editor and her/his team strive to give your work its very best face and to keep the pride of the publishing house standard too. A book can have several edits before it is ready to go. A structural edit is the first and the most painful. A first chapter may have to be moved to 4th (all authors will know what disruption this could cause!) Scenes can be cut, or elaborated on. Detail is scrutinised – in the sense of giving a grounding to where the characters are, what time of day it is, are they sitting or standing, and all has to be subtly written in so it doesn’t appear that you are stage managing your characters. Next will come a line edit, when punctuation is looked at and correct use of words etc… Next will be an edit that picks up on research, and if names are spelt the same throughout, and situations that couldn’t happen, or that deny something that has already happened. And finally there is the proofread edit. This is the last chance to put anything right that is wrong, and usually done by an independent reader followed by the author giving it a last sweep. A long process that often has you thinking that you cannot possibly read your words through again! But a very worthwhile one that makes your work sing off the page.
  • Cover: The author does have some input, but not the final say on the design of the cover. Portfolio pictures of models who might fit the bill are sent to me and I choose the one I think looks most like my imagined main character. Next there is a photo shoot in whatever costume has been decided upon. I am sent the photos and I get to pick the one I like best. The background, font and colour are the editor’s choice. Though there was one of them that I thought too light and said so, and this was changed. So, all in all very much a partnership choice.
  • Promotion: This is where I have felt an amazing change. Yes, there is still social media for me, but beyond that, I have been featured in a national magazine twice (People’s Friend). For each book I have an expenses paid book launch party and book tour. There are opportunities to have your name on other author’s books in the form of a comment about the book. I am featured on Margaret Dickinson’s next release The Buffer Girls. My books are visual as physical copies in supermarkets and leading bookshops. Local papers want to feature me. Papers from other areas review my book. I am suggested to bloggers as someone to feature.  I co-authored a book of Christmas short stories with four other very famous authors. And I’m featured in and often write a piece for Pan Macmillan’s own publication Tales from the Heart, an annual publication which gives news from Pan MacMillan saga authors, and showcases their next publications. Most of this is exposure I could not get as an Indie author.
  • Finance: I think this is where the biggest difference is between the two modes of publishing. I loved knowing exactly how many books I had sold and being able to see my royalties growing on an hourly basis. I also loved having a good payday every month. And with the kindle books I still have published, I do get this, only on a much smaller scale than I used to earn as the number of books that I own the publishing rights to gets less and less. Also they have been up for a long time and their popularity is diminishing. In traditional publishing finances work in a very different way and I have to wait six months before I receive a statement of sales and any money due to me.

I welcome your comments, and if there are any authors reading this who would like further information on any of the aspects I have talked about above, please ask the questions, I don’t mind sharing with you more about the finance for instance as that was always a mystery to me.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell, but just before I go a quick note on ‘Tales from the Heart’ magazine. Besides the features I have mention above, there are also competitions to enter and special offers on books. If you would like to receive this free magazine write to: Pan Macmillan, Saga Newsletter, 20 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RR give your name and address and tell them you read about it in a guest blog written by Mary Wood, on Malika Gandhi’s Inspiration blog.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I have very much enjoyed exploring this subject with you. Much love to all, Mary x

Thank you, Mary, for a brilliant in-depth explanation of the ins and outs of traditional and self-publishing. It surely is an eye-opener, and I am sure, it will be very beneficial to my readers.

Author Spotlight: Caroline Bell Foster

Author Image - Caroline Bell Foster (2)Today, in the Author Spotlight is Caroline Bell, a successful East Midlands (UK)  author of many novels, including her recent book Feline Fix. Let us find out more about her, and her inspirational success!

  1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your books

Firstly, thank you so much for having me. I live in Nottingham, England, with my husband, two children and lady of the house a cat called Naomi.
In my early teens my family went on what should have been a six holiday to Jamaica, but we ended up staying. It took me almost 18 years for me to return to England, with long diversions through Canada and Kenya.
I like romancing and exploring different cultures. I write contemporary romantic fiction and my work reflects all that I am and my many travels.


  1. Can you tell us something quirky about yourself?

Hmm, hard one. I look forward to one day being called ‘The mad Cat lady down the street.’ I can belly dance? Is that considered a quirk? I love wine gums, Jamaican and Moroccan food and always always have music playing in my house.


  1. What is the name of your recent release, and can you tell us a little about it?

The Feline Fix, is my latest novella. It is part of the Valentine Pets & Kisses boxed set, alongside 13 other
The Feline Fix Book Cover
The Feline Fix
authors from around the world and is available to pre-order right now.
I loved writing it as it combined two of my favourite things. Romance and cats and although it wasn’t planned, it followed on from The Cat Café, although it is a stand alone novella.


  1. What new releases are you planning this year?

Aside from The Feline Fix, I have two full length novels.
Distracting Ace (Spring) and the follow up novel Convincing Kyle (Autumn) Both are set primarily in Derbyshire and then go over to different parts of the world. In both, I’m exploring disabilities and how people manage and are treated by others, although still very romantic.


  1. This blog is all about inspiration. Where do you find your inspiration from to write?

Someone once said, whatever you were doing before the age of 10 is what your were destined to be, before the noise of the world intrudes. I have two distinct memories.

The first, was seeing my name in print. It was under a photograph of myself in the Derby Telegraph celebrating Victorian Week when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I remember looking at my name, seeing the black fuzzy script and liking the feeling.
The second memory, was when I was around 11 years old. I had this crush on a boy and wrote him a love letter. In that cruel way of kids, he’d posted it on the blackboard for everyone to see! But to me, I was really proud my romantic words were actually being read! Unofficially, that love letter was my first ‘public’ works.
But I’ve always written in some capacity and inspiration is all around. I’ve learned to look at everything and everyone with a writers eye. I’ll be out shopping and see someone with an interesting face, and then match them with someone else, give them a history, and thus, a story is born. My characters are diverse and I like that I have an international fan base.


  1. Are you a self-published or traditionally published author? What do you like and dislike about it?

I’m what is called a Hybrid Author. I’m contracted to a publisher and I also self publish some of my own titles. I have the best of both world’s. My publisher is like family and we discuss titles and time frames and see what works for both of us.
I do like self publishing though and have a lot of fun doing it. Call me a control freak, but there is something very satisfying about being in charge of an entire project, right up to release day and beyond.


  1. In the current publishing era, it is known that all authors, new and established, have to do a lot of their own legwork to get their books out there to the readers. What is your best marketing strategy you have used, and did it bring in the results you wanted to see?

 Be yourself. I’m very personable online, well I hope I am (smile). I don’t spread myself too thinly across social media, and concentrate on my Facebook pages, as well as Twitter and Pinterest to ensure I have enough time to interact with people online and of course have time to write. I have found that my fans like when I do a Facebook page for a single title and when I host online parties. But mainly, I’m just me.


  1. Now let’s find out about some fun facts about you. What is your all time favourite novel and why?

Not a fair question as I love and cherish practically every book I’ve ever read, too many to name and most of the authors’ are now my friends.
Although, as a little girl I read the Milly Molly Mandy series and loved them and also a series about an old man who had a black and white cat. I don’t remember the name of that series but I do remember one story where he picked up the glue instead of toothpaste and glued his mouth shut. He couldn’t talk to his cat and started crying. His tears dissolved the glue and he and the cat lived happily ever after! Ah so sweet. I must have been around 6 years old when I read that.
As an adult, whenever I want time to myself I usually read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I’ve read it countless times and still find it fascinating and entertaining.


  1. Who is your all time favourite author and why?

I have two answers to this. The first is longevity and who I will always read. Throughout my teen years I read every novel by Johanna Lindsey. I loved her writing style and the way she could write in various genres from historical romance, to futuristic and everything in-between. Her writing has always inspired me.
The second answer, includes all the various authors who champion diversity in not only romantic fiction, but all fiction. For years an entire demographic had been ignored by publishers and agents. I am so proud of the likes of Delaney Diamond, Brenda Jackson, Harper Miller and JL Campbell to name but a few. These ladies ignored the rules and like me, defied convention to ensure readers have a choice.


  1. Any last inspirational words from you?

 Find the time to do what you are passionate about. New writers always say they don’t have time to write. They are in school, have full time jobs, a family and say there just isn’t enough hours in the day.
I write in the wee hours of the morning, for a few hours everyday and when I’m not writing I’m doing something writer relate, to ensure I’m always moving forward and following my bliss. Always make time to follow your bliss.


  1. How can we find you?

Amazon Author Page:
Available to Pre-Order from Amazon!