Sunday, 1 May 2011

TP's World is officially moving...

Yup, that's right, I'm on the move again...

It doesn't seem all that long since I shifted over here from Weebly, but I've packed up most of my pages and I'll be closing and deleting this blog down at the end of May.

So those of you who have followed me on here, you'll need to transfer yourself to -

I don't have anything against Blogger - far from it, it's a nice simple system. I just prefer the Wordpress set up.

Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Review: Blood Tears by Raven Dane

When a foreign child is abandoned by her family in Isolann's wolf-ridden forests, she is taken to live under Azrar's protection as his ward. The strange ability that the girl possesses, a power that so terrified her own people, could be the only hope for Prince Azrar's survival.

The Dark Kind is an ancient species, the top of the Primate food chain, slowly dying out as ever-present Humanity expands.

A powerful Dark Kind Warlord brings up a Human Girl, Khari, for she holds special powers. When the Human world inevitably intrudes upon her peaceful world, her Guardian sends her out to learn about her own kind, while he fights the menace that threatens the health and well-being of every living thing.

This is a Vampire story. That much is certain, but despite the obligatory vampiric introduction of Jendar Azrar in the first chapter, full of the joys of the hunt and his feeding, “Blood Tears” is certainly not your usual type of Vampire story. “Blood Tears” is a Dark Fantasy and Raven Dane knows how to construct a realistic tale, drawing the reader into the world without them noticing. She has woven the fantastic elements of the story through the backdrop of the Second World War in such a way that it is a seriously plausible accounting of the war.

This is not a story for those who want the emotional “I’ve lived for a hundred years and I’m sooo lonely” type of Vampire; there is no teenage angst here. The horror doesn’t come from the Dark Kind, but the various human monsters both in military uniform and civilian guise… and I don’t just mean the Nazis. All the usual Vampire clichés are here; however, Raven’s writing style makes the whole book original and new, with reasonable explanations for all the cliches from being Nocturnal to needing Human Blood to survive.

I’ve read many different ways of presenting Vampires (except Twilight – don’t ask) and this is very much my favourite one. I feel that “Blood Tears” is on par with “Interview with a Vampire” and in many ways surpasses it. The characters are created in such a way that it is a real wrench to leave them at the end of the book and you are left wondering what happens next. I fell in love with Jazriel from the moment he was introduced and hated Prof. Parrish with a similar passion and this is why I love the book!

If you like the Vampire / Gothic Romance Genre then this is one book you are going to love!

Praise for Blood Tears

Vampirism at a deliciously literary level, dark fantasy at its best!’ - Gary Power, Author

Taut, pacey and beautifully written, a refreshingly different vampire novel. I cannot praise Blood Tears enough. -  Karen Stevens for The British Fantasy Society

“The story is compelling and intriguing - a must to read.” - Helen Hollick, author of Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, Harold the King and A Hollow Crown

“Sexy, subversive and beautifully written” - Rachel Cropper, TFC 

“Raven continually manages to use clichés of this romantic gothic genre and
twist them into something new. Incredibly refreshing” - Alix Ali, Bucks Free Press

To pick up a copy of this wonderful book in both Print and Digital format, click through the link below:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Tower and The Eye - A Novella Series

Yes, that's right, I'm going to burble on about my baby now... I feel entitled to considering that it was my hard work (and writing is hard work, no matter how much you enjoy it) that put the story out there for you to read.

Just to remind you of what I am rabbiting on about, here's the Blurb again, and I'll make it the short one!

Cover by Noelle Pierce

The stories of the Black Tower War keep the children of the four kingdoms in check. Adults consider them to be only stories, but stories are sometimes true and they always go around in cycles…
 A mad King rules in Galivor. His sons vie for the right to become his official heir. While the youngest, Korin, chases the bandits plaguing the land, Loric sets out to plunder an abandoned dungeon.
 If you like “The Dragonlance Chronicles” or “Conan the Barbarian” then you’ll love “The Tower and The Eye” Novella Series.

* * * 

I've been keeping an eye on this little one - promoting it here and there, hoping and praying that people like it. I certainly enjoyed writing it, so hopefully, people will enjoy reading it. I thought you might like to see the reviews it's getting as well -

“A very enjoyable work of sword and sorcery with well defined characters and a great sense of fun.
If you like Dungeons and Dragons style stories this will be ideal for you. For the rest of us it's rollicking fun.
Well worth the price of entry”  
John Booth, Author via Smashwords – 5 Stars 

"If you're a 'Dungeons and Dragons' fan, and if you like fantasy of the 'traditional' sword and sorcery type, then this is for you. Fast paced, with vivid imagery and a nicely developed plot opening the way for more stories in the series.

It is very clearly derived from Dungeons and Dragons (and other games of the same type). This is entirely intentional, as the Author makes clear in her postscript, and all the elements of these sorts of games are woven into the story, to good effect."

Paul Trembling, Writer and Poet via  Amazon UK – 4 stars
"This is a fun read employing all the stereotypes we have come to know and love from Dungeons and Dragons and the sword and sorcery fantasy world. Axe-wielding dwarves, ethereal, pointy eared elves, a bumbling hero, a buxom barmaid and an evil lord bent on re-conquering the world. But it certainly isn't all predictable.

Some of the characters are a tad unexpected, like the talking jar who acts as the Evil Overlord's aide de camp. Although the author says it isn't a spoof, I suspect she's telling at least a little bit of a porky. The Tower and the Eye? No reverberations from Mordor? I suspended judgement and went along for the ride and got a little bit more than I bargained for. Some of the outcomes I expected didn't come to pass. Some parts are downright funny, like the skeletal hand that holds the hero's torch while he tries to break down the dungeon door. 
Recommended as a piece of light entertainment."

Greta Van Der Rol, Author via Amazon US - 4 stars 

I'm really pleased with the way things are going - I've sold a total of 10 eBooks now. This is fine, I'll build up my following slowly and surely.

 * * * 

So, onto the second book in the series. Again the cover has been produced by the gifted Ms. Pierce - Not just a pretty face or a supremely talented Romance Writer!

Cover by Noelle Pierce
The world of Quargard is at peace. The Heart Kingdoms of Galivor, Jinran, Franier, Valdir, Reldheim and Alethdariel co-exist harmoniously, but it was not always so.
 The stories of the Black Tower War keep the children of the four kingdoms in check. Parents ensure that they eat their greens and go to bed on time by passing on the tales of the Dungeons of Doom, ruled over by The Eye of The Overlord. Adults consider them to be only stories, but stories are sometimes true and they always go around in cycles...
From each land comes a tale of derring-do, a Hero or Heroine stepping up to take on the job of Dungeon Destroyer, whether they know it or not.
Can the peace of the Heart Kingdoms survive the re-awakening of the Overlord and his horde of Creatures? Will those who venture into the dungeons return alive? Who knows? 

Venture into the World of Quargard and find out for yourself.

Book Two: A Party at Castle Grof

Castle Grof has claimed the lives of many already, but Lord Harnaz of Valdez is determined to clear the menace of the dungeon underneath completely.
 Drawn into the quest with a barbarian warrior, a monk of Tyr and an old friend, Aranok and his half sister, Ariana, begin to wonder if they will actually return to their home in the elven realm of Alethdariel alive…

 This is the book that is under production. I'm about a third of the way through the third or fourth edit and I'm hoping that this one will be out by the end of the month, so keep your eyes open!

While you're waiting, you can pick up the first book "A Beginning" for free from Smashwords by using this code at the checkout - JS78V - all I ask is that once you've read it,  leave a review either on Smashwords or Amazon.

Here are the links:

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The World of The Tiger Princess Presents... Jake Barton!

Sexy Deep Voiced Announcer: Put your hands together for our lovely literary Lady, she of the smooth white fur, glistening fangs and diamond tipped claws… The Tiger Princess!


Tiger Princess: Why sir, you say such wonderful things!


Tiger Princess: Today’s guest is a successful e-Book author. His first novel, “Burn, Baby, Burn” is currently at number 16 on the Amazon Bestsellers chart and has been in the top 100 for 53 days! Google “Jake Barton Author” and “Burn Baby Burn” is the number 1 result. He has released another two books recently; “Blood” which is the sequel to his first book and “Heat” in which some familiar characters find themselves on holiday.


Tiger Princess: Please welcome, Jake Barton!

Just look at that 'Tache! Wonderful!


Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee

If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you


Tiger Princess: Welcome to the Show, Jake!

Jake: I’m pleased to be here.

Tiger Princess: What age did you start writing? Why?

Jake: I started early, writing mostly poetry, short stories and plays. Mercifully, very little survives from this period. I wrote several stage plays, a couple of which were performed in public by professional theatre companies. I suspect the decline of regional theatre dates from this period – reparatory companies failing as a result of unwisely backing unknown young playwrights! I was at school, sixth form, when my last play received a public airing. Fabulous reviews and public apathy – the opposite combination would have been preferable.

I took a short break for about thirty years, started writing again while in exile abroad. An ‘Englishman Abroad’ account, a few articles for magazines and, about nine tears ago, decided writing a novel was simply a matter of sitting down and writing away for a month or two when a masterpiece would appear. A misguided concept, as I soon discovered.

“Why” is easy. I wrote, then and now, to give expression to a head over-full with images. I don’t crave attention, despite appearances, as the vast majority of everything I’ve ever written is discarded, torn up or abandoned. My long-suffering wife may read a tiny sample occasionally. If she says ‘yes’ I write more.

Tiger Princess: You come across as a bit of a Mystery man, is this deliberate or are you just shy?

Jake: I’m the least shy person I know. ‘Mystery’ – that’s from choice. I had a strange job for twenty-odd years requiring a ludicrously convoluted lifestyle. It was a fascinating, worthy and complicated job; it was also very dangerous. It ended in acrimonious fashion and life has been very different ever since. I’m not allowed to give details and would not even if I could. I feel safe for the first time in a long time and have no wish to change that.

Tiger Princess: How did you choose to use your Pen Name? Have you had more than one?

Jake: Jake Barton – what a strong, manly name. I chose it on a whim. Had I taken the trouble to ‘Google’ it first, I would have found I was sharing a name with Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson, a prominent drug dealer.

I have had a number of identities, too many to count, but as regards writing my early efforts were penned under the name Malachi Hagthorpe. I treasure a newspaper drama critic’s headline, ‘Hagthorpe hits the Spot.’ True. Embarrassing, but true!

Tiger Princess: How much writing do you do on a daily basis?

Jake: I’m not an organised person. I write every day, but often to no purpose. I try and write a daily piece for my blog, but when I’m in ‘novel’ mode I usually write at inconvenient times, when ideas pop into my head. I scribble notes, snippets of dialogue, at 03.00 am, discard them at daylight.

Tiger Princess: If you could meet any writer (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Jake: I've met a few writers. Boring lot, aren’t they? I’d have liked the opportunity to meet John Kennedy Toole, the author of A Confederacy of Dunces. After suffering from paranoia and depression due in part to repeated rejections of his masterpiece, he committed suicide at the age of 31. I love the book and having discovered it several years before it became a cult classic and championed it relentlessly, I’d like to have had the opportunity to engage a remarkable mind in conversation. 

Tiger Princess: How do you prefer to read – Kindle or Print? Why?

Jake: Without question, print. I have a Kindle, read from it every day, still prefer the feel of a traditional book. I prefer the A5 size paperback to the smaller variety.

Tiger Princess: Where do you see the publishing industry going in the next five years?

Jake: My local bookshop closes at the end of the month. Sign of the times. The immediacy of an e-book, from an author’s perspective, is obvious. I have had contacts with agents and publishers and the nature of the traditional industry is of slow, creeping lethargy. A friend signed by a member of the big six well over a year ago is still deep in the editing stage. Choosing a cover, still unresolved, has taken three months. He tells me the launch date will be ‘not before mid-2012.’ I find that unacceptable.

Downloads changed the music business for ever. Very rapidly. E-books will have a more leisurely effect, but the involvement of the biggest book-seller, Amazon, is crucial. The Kindle is an excellent product, as is the iPad, both ideally placed to drive future sales of e-books. Five years from now, I suspect the two methods, print and e-book, to be running side-by-side. Accepted alternatives for each new book. Traditional publishing has to pull its socks up or risk being left behind. Paper books will continue, of course, but the pace of change is relentless.

Tiger Princess: Why do you think you’ve been so successful on Kindle recently?

Jake: No idea. A complete shock, to me as well as everyone else who knows me. A good cover, carefully worded pitches the right choice of genre, that helped, of course. I changed the name of my novel, together with my author name, which removed at a stroke any legacy support from people who’d known the book in the past. Not the wisest decision.

I deliberately chose to write crime fiction. It sells books. I’d have preferred to write a Historical novel, indulged my inclination to write rambling descriptions at a leisurely pace, enjoyed the research process immensely, but I’d also wanted to write a ‘commercial’ book. All that work – may as well write a book people would want to read.

Otherwise, I looked at who was selling the most e-books. Specifically, their price point. I settled on offering my books at minimum price level, 99 cents ‘71 pence. If established authors were happy to do this, why shouldn’t I? There’s no mystique to kindle books, but there are indicators for success. Getting a ‘chart listing’ is a great help. When a book gets into a chart it is seen by those vast numbers of readers who want to see what’s popular; they check the charts. Once there, to an extent, it’s a self-perpetuating process.

I know nothing about marketing, have no publicity strategy. Being both lazy and incompetent, I have no secrets to impart. Success was not instant. For six weeks I sold a few books a day. Then, the figures jumped to one hundred a day and stayed there. I’m not making a fortune, not even a living, but that was never my intention. I’ve been contacted by two agents and two publishers since I ‘Kindled’ - plus an agent who ‘liked but not loved’ my book a few months back and now wants to reconsider. Meanwhile, thousands of total strangers have read my books. Priceless!

Tiger Princess: And finally – if you won the Booker Prize, how would you celebrate?

Jake: Celebration takes many forms. I don’t write out of necessity. I’ve done many things in my life, lived in different countries, experienced more than the vast majority of people. That gives a different outlook to life. I like travelling, experiencing different cultures. I don’t crave luxury, am ridiculously lacking in materialism, enjoy life to the full.

Not the usual response to this question, I suspect, but in the unlikely event of winning a literary prize (ha!) I’d evade all aspects of fame and disappear off on my travels again. With the sole exception of company of the love of my life, I require nothing. I don’t make plans, have not done so for many years, but insofar as a plan exists, it is to go off wandering the world again. Hopefully, very soon.

Tiger Princess: I can understand that one! Thank you again for answering my questions.

Jake: You’re welcome.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Self Publishing thoughts...

I've come to the conclusion that Self Publishing is difficult.

Yes, in today's digital print market it's very easy to publish yourself - You just sign up for Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing and they convert your word file into a digital one and off you go. 

The difficult bit is actually getting someone to buy your book from you.

Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't go into this with my eyes shut. I knew it was going to be tricky! For a start, people buying your book have to know it's out there. That means promoting it in the right places... 
But you have to know where those places are!

Social Networking is an obvious one. 

Facebook, Myspace, Twitter are the ones that stick in everyone's head and I'm on there.  Come and find me...

Anyway, I just thought I would wave my tiny author's credentials over my head and went back to Myspace. I started a brand new profile blogged on there about my book, the webzine and this blog. I tweet about all sorts of stuff, yet I feel uncomfortable with the idea of promoting myself by constantly twittering about the single book I have published.

I don't want to annoy people, I don't want to upset anyone so they have a go at me and my work... yes that's right, I have all the backbone of a jellyfish when it comes to promoting my work - it's one of the reasons that never jumped into Self Pub before...

But here I am floundering around and wondering what on earth I do next...

Do me a favour please? Throw me a lifeline and blog about my book a little please? I'll give a free PDF copy to anyone who wants to review it and give me a hand...

And if you're a reader wondering about where you can buy a copy (possibly using that handy little code I provided a couple of blog posts ago), look no further. I have a page where all my published works will end up being displayed in all their sparkliness...

Enjoy! Now where's that towel...

Friday, 1 April 2011

Strangers on a Bus is the story of what happened when Robb’s romantic relationship broke up and he found himself on a bus from New York to Canada.

Originally written into several spiral bound notebooks during the journey, the story is heart-warming as well as soul-searching and combines Robb’s wacky sense of humour with the true life story of the journey.  This is very definitely an adult book with some very adult references… do not allow impressionable teenagers or younger to read it! If you do, be ready to answer some strange questions, things like –

“Mum, why does coffee keep you awake at night?”

or be bombarded with strangely believable semi-facts –

“Did you know a baby kangaroo can TKO a full grown alligator nine times out of ten, and eats twenty-five times its own body weight per day, and baby kangari have both sex organs until they are fully grown, then they decide which sex they’d like to be and the extra bits just fall off?”

You find yourself reading and re-reading. All the best human emotions are contained in Robb’s second book and he puts them across perfectly. I found myself laughing, tearing up and smiling through the tears as he and Gertrude make their way toward Canada.

I think that this one will be bigger than the first one was, so watch this space!

In the meantime, you can pick up his first book “Don’t Go There! A Robblogger look at Travel” at Amazon. It’s funny and well worth the money spent over and over again as you find yourself deciding not to go somewhere because Robb told you not to…

Happily Ever After?

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Fun has arrived... with a free book token.

...Yes, that's right, I get to bite my nails and check my stats nervously with all the other Indie Authors/Publishers, because as of this afternoon, I held my nose, closed my eyes and jumped into the Publisher's Pool!

The first book of "The Tower and The Eye" Novella series is available to buy through Smashwords! Ain't that just grand? I'm bouncing up and down with excitement and I feel all fluttery at the thought of people finally being able to download and read the words that I had so much fun putting together. 

So you know what on earth I am wittering on about, here's the details - 

Cover by Noelle Pierce

The world of Quargard is at peace. The Heart Kingdoms of Galivor, Jinran, Franier, Valdir, Reldheim and Alethdariel co-exist harmoniously, but it was not always so.

The stories of the Black Tower War keep the children of the four kingdoms in check. Parents ensure that they eat their greens and go to bed on time by passing on the tales of the Dungeons of Doom, ruled over by The Eye of The Overlord. Adults consider them to be only stories, but stories are sometimes true and they always go around in cycles...

From each land comes a tale of daring do, a Hero or Heroine stepping up to take on the job of Dungeon Destroyer, whether they know it or not.

Can the peace of the Heart Kingdoms survive the re-awakening of the Overlord and his horde of Creatures? Will those who venture into the dungeons return alive? Who knows?

Venture into the World of Quargard and find out for yourself.

Book One: A Beginning.

A mad King rules in Galivor. His sons vie for the right to become his official heir. While the youngest, Korin, chases the bandits plaguing the land, Loric sets out to plunder an abandoned dungeon.

With his dwarven bodyguard Grimhelm Drakesplitter; the elven mage Lord Silvertree; Cleric of Espilieth, Lady Kalytia and the thief, Thiert of Galindren; Loric enters the ruins of a Dungeon of Doom on the outskirts of Pleasemore Village.

Little do they know they are being watched…


So, what do you think? Is it intriguing you? Would you like to read it? Yes?

Well all you have to do is click on the link below. There are a couple of different ways you can get it. 

  1. You can buy a copy for the tiny sum of  $0.99
  2. Or you can get a free copy of the novella with this code - JS78V - just enter it into the appropriate place when you get to the checkout!

Be warned though - this coupon code is for a limited time only - so use it fast!