My Top Read of 2017 and Author Spotlight on Mark (C. P) Wilson

Today, I’d like to share my top read of 2017. The book which really stood out for me was Ice Cold Alice by C P Wilson (Mark Wilson.) Mark has kindly offered to share an extract from a work-in-progress, too, which you can find after my review below:

Book Description

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.

This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…

What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?

Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

 

My Review
This is a thriller that stands out from others in the genre. Written in a way that allows the reader to learn about the inner working of Alice’s mind, it gives you plenty to think about as you read. The author doesn’t mess around, and takes you straight into the story to meet Alice and find out what she does.She doesn’t use her real name, but goes by the brilliant pseudonym of Tequila Mockingbird as she kills men who have abused their wives/partners. She then tells people about each kill on her blog.

I really enjoyed this fantastic book, and thought Alice was a brilliant character. I also thought it made a nice change to have someone like Kathy in charge of the murder investigations. Her maturity and personality made a nice change to the male pairings often in charge of such high profile cases. Some parts of the book are graphic and violent, but are included to show Alice’s feelings towards the men she kills.

You’re always told that two wrongs don’t make a right, but with these killings it seems to – I found myself thinking that these men deserved everything they got. And it seems that revenge is a dish best served ice cold by Alice! I can’t speak highly enough of this excellent book, and urge anyone who hasn’t yet read it to go to Amazon and treat themselves.
Find Ice Cold Alice here on Amazon.

 

And now, over to Mark to introduce an extract he’s kindly offered to share with us:

The following excerpt, titled The Tanzanite Ring, comes from a novel I’m working on with a writer I’ve worked with on several projects named Ryan Bracha. Ryan and I work well together, and he’s one of the finest writers I know.
Ryan suggested the concept which is to use the Excuisite Corpse mechanism to tell the story.
I’m writing the main plot narrative (set in the past) and giving Ryan an item with which he will base the present part of the story on.
I’m also doing a couple of present sections. The Tanzanite Ring is one of my contributions,
Hope you enjoy.

 

The Tanzanite Ring

Paris, 2020

 

The high and muddy Seine slid beneath the bridge, hurriedly winding through the city; no care for its residents, its beautiful buildings nor an appreciation of a stunningly crisp winter evening. Sebastian checked the deep pocket in his overcoat for perhaps the seventh time in the last fifteen minutes.

The shape of the box within settled his nerves and caused his eager heart to skip a beat. Eleanor would be here any moment. Memories of their last visit to this spot together simmered to the surface warming Sebastian more thoroughly than the steam venting through the nearby grates.

He and Eleanor, in Paris. Walking the streets, loving the city. Right here on this very bridge they’d locked their love alongside hundreds of other metal declarations, giggling at the cheesiness of the act but brought closer somehow by it. As though a little padlock bought for two Euros from an opportunistic vendor, could deepen their love. But, somehow, it had.

Have three years really passed since last we had been in the city together?

So many other cities and countries explored together since.

Sebastian clutched at the box in his pocket once more as he scanned the padlocks and their messages to pass the time. A rough vibration from his phone shook Sebastian from his reverie. Checking the face, he confirmed the alarm he’d set.

Time to meet Eleanor by Notre Dame.

∞∞∞

I see her long before she notes my presence. Content to watch her for a few moments, I step back, cloaking myself in the deep shadows of a nearby statue. She’s right on time. Continue reading

How authors can make the most out of social media.

If you’ve never had an account on social media, you’re probably wondering what’s the point and how you can make best use of these sites. Some focus on text, some on sharing images, and it can look like a lot of extra work on top of writing your next book. In this post, I’m sharing some articles I’ve found useful when trying to get to grips with author social media – because to ignore social media is to miss the chance to be where the majority of your potential readership is.

One of the best resources for authors, and especially for helping with using social media, is Jane Friedman’s blog. She has written a number of articles, and in So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? she discusses the benefits of testing the water and discovering how useful social media can be for authors. There are also links in this article to other posts about selling books through social media and how to build an author platform. Continue reading

5 Things I’ve Learnt as an Author.

Today I’d like to talk about some of the things I’ve learnt since I’ve been writing. I hope sharing my experiences will help other authors.

Don’t pay for things you don’t need to.
There are many people out there who claim to be miracle workers when it comes to marketing books, or getting more book reviews. Most are not, and should be avoided. I had many people approach me when I started writing trying to market my first book, claiming they could send the book shooting up the Amazon charts with no proof of any previous successes.

Book marketing is a steep learning curve that I’m still on, but much of what is offered by these ‘services’ can be done yourself. Offering your book for free on Amazon, for example – you can set this up yourself and make social media posts telling people about it. Book reviews shouldn’t be paid for – Amazon will remove reviews if they believe they’ve been bought, rather than given by a genuine reader. You can approach book bloggers with your book description and cover and ask if they’d be interested in reviewing it for you. Make sure the bloggers you ask read the same genres you write in, to ensure you get more positive responses.

 

Write your book how YOU want to:
What’s the best way to write your book? On Word? With Scrivener? Plan every detail, or just have a rough idea of the story? It’s all up to you – whatever works best. I write in Word because that’s what I’m used to, and I don’t see any benefit from changing to Scrivener. The most important thing is that you’ve got an idea and you want to write it. Don’t feel as though you need to use everything that is suggested to you. If you’ve read books telling you how to write a book and you get something out of it, then great, but it isn’t necessary to read them. You can help yourself though, by reading a variety of authors and picking out what does and doesn’t work in their writing. Continue reading

This Week in the Blogs (5th-11th December 2016)

Today I’d like to highlight some of the useful, and informative blog posts I’ve read over the past week.

sabotaging-writing-dreamsThe Writer’s Enemy List: Are These People Sabotaging Your Writing Dreams?
Mystery author and top blogger, Anne R Allen discusses the different types of people who can have a negative impact not only on your writing progress, but also your mental and physical well-being. In the post she says:

‘It’s hard enough to live with the constant rejection we have to deal with in this industry.  So when you’re attacked in your personal life, it can feel like a double-whammy.

You need to erect strong boundaries and be fierce in defending them. But if you’re serious about your work, the people who really care about you will learn to treat your time and work with respect.’
Reading this article will help you identify the kind of people in your life your writing could probably do without!

 

 

12-9-16-how-writers-can-improve-their-seo-without-pricey-expertsHow Writers Can Improve their SEO without Pricey Experts.
Frances Caballo discusses all the changes Google et al make to their algorithms and how it can affect all types of blogs and websites, including those run by authors. She suggests a WordPress plug-in called Yoast SEO Primer which can help you check your blog posts readability and SEO. It’s free to download and at first glance looks as if it could be useful – and easy to use. As Frances says ‘I don’t think there’s been a better time for authors to improve their SEO ranking. You, perhaps more than any other blogger on the internet, already know what constitutes good writing and what’s readable and what’s not. You’re in a prime position to do what you know best: write for your readers.’  Continue reading

Self-Publishing Myths

Today, I thought I’d talk about some of the common myths I’ve come across in the self-publishing world.

typewriterYou can write a book by yourself.
Selling platforms such as Amazon and Smashwords have given a large number of people the opportunity to publish their books. This has allowed many more writers the chance to showcase their abilities, but as the old saying goes, ‘no man is an island.’ A writer needs to have a team of beta readers and an editor to point out what needs improving or changing. Extra pairs of eyes may see things you have missed, and they can give an impartial opinion on the plot, flow and character development.

Then there’s making your book look as appealing as possible. The general consensus regarding book covers is unless you are a talented graphic artist, then you should seek help with designing a ‘look’ for your book. The interior appearance of a book is also important. Formatting a book for Kindle can be a complicated and frustrating process. Unless you want your readers getting annoyed with chapters starting half way down the Kindle screen, or too many spaces between words, find some help. JJ Marsh and Jane Davis discuss this myth in their blog post ‘Self Publishing Myths – Busted.’

 

partner_logosYou can upload your book and people will find it.
The majority of indie authors upload their books to Amazon, along with other platforms such as Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. Just uploading your finished book doesn’t mean it will sell. Yes, the occasional reader may come across it and download it, but that won’t lead to many sales. As I found out, you have to do A LOT of research about book publicity and marketing.

Just because someone, or a company, say they are book publicists, doesn’t mean they do the job well. Unfortunately, there are many ‘publicists’ who receive payment from authors for their marketing services, and then deliver very little in return. Again, research is needed. Drill down into what a potential publicist can provide in terms of visits to your Amazon page and book sales before paying for anything. Ask for recommendations from other authors who have had successful promotions. Who did they use and why? You can find some excellent advice about finding a publicist and working with them in Jane Friedman’s blog post ‘How to Find and Work With a Book Publicist – Successfully.’ Continue reading