Author Spotlight – Roger Ley

Here is another insight into the life and work of a Suffolk writer. I have worked with Roger on his Memoir and am hopefully helping him with writing his first fiction novel – a Sci-fi/time travelling alternative history story.

Take it away Roger Ley!

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 Who are you and what do you do? 

My name is Roger Ley. As a young man I worked as an engineer in the N Sea and in N Africa before taking the last refuge of a scoundrel and becaming a lecturer in engineering. I retired five years ago. About two years ago I went to Beijing to visit my son. I found China very interesting and exciting and sent long emails back to my wife describing my adventures and developed a taste for writing. I decided to try to place articles in magazines and have had about half a dozen published.

What is your book about?

I wrote more articles than I could get published mostly they are funny stories from my past, technically memoir. In the end I put them all in chronological order, added some photographs and asked Nikki, who I had met when she ran a creative writing course, to edit them and help me to self publish them.

Why did you choose to write A Horse in the Morning?

Funny stories are little entities that exist only as long as somebody remembers them. I like the idea that my stories will live on and that in the future some of my family might find them interesting.

Who or what was the inspiration behind it?

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I believe that since the internet has been invented we will all leave behind a digital legacy and this will be a lot more interesting than just knowing where you were born, what your job was and when you died. This book is part of my digital legacy.

What kind of research did you?

Mainly scanning all the family photographs and putting the into organised folders.

What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?

I would never publish another book with photos in it because it makes the layout on Kindle and CreateSpace so complicated. Sorry Nikki.

What was the best part of writing your book?

After I had written it I found a particular relief in knowing that the stories were safe and that people I didn’t even know and who have not been born yet might find them funny. I have done my best for them.

What, if anything, have you learned from writing your book?

Since I have started writing my second book, which is a novel, I have realised that writing memoir is much easier than writing fiction. Writing memoir is largely journalistic although you have to be entertaining.

Do you have any advice to give authors who wish to self-publish?

Getting stories and articles placed in magazines is difficult because there is so much competition but when you do place a piece it will be read by an awful lot of people. It is also a validation in that an editor has liked it enough to publish it. I got a travel story published in Reader’s Digest and they claim a readership of 500,000. What a shame they only paid me £50.

Do you have a favourite author? If so, what is it about their work that you like?

I have just re-read the five cold war spy books written by local author Edward Wilson. I like reading his work because I know him and can ‘see up his trouser leg’. I think that Freddy Forsyth writes a ripping yarn, I also like John Le Carre.

What are your future writing plans?

I am working on an alternative future history of the last part of the 20th century and the first half of this one. It was quite a shock to realise just how much I didn’t know about novel writing considering how many novels I have read.

I will be giving a talk about writing magazine articles and self publishing at the Cut theatre in Halesworth on the 16th of August.

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My Facebook page ‘Roger Ley’ has some of my articles on it.

You can purchase a copy of A Horse in the Morning which is on Offer at only $0.99 £0.99!! 

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011ZCDU76

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Horse-Morning-Stories-sometimes-unusual-ebook/dp/B011ZCDU76/

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Author Spotlight – Peter Scott

I have decided to do a series of blogs promoting new authors that live in East Anglia, in particular, Suffolk. Why? Because I live and work in this beautiful part of the country and have come to know a lot of new and established authors that also live here.

I have recently been hosting a series of workshops designed specifically for authors who are either new to publishing or new to marketing and promoting their author profile online. I have had the pleasure to meet several fabulous people who have self-published their books and are in need of some support.

So, to celebrate the varied talent from Suffolk and East Anglia I am proud to present debut Indie author Peter Scott and his novel Pimple.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself Peter:

I have lived through a period of considerable change, particularly social and demographic change. Joining RAF probably saved me from the local borstal, and set me up for a career in aircraft maintenance. This would have been about the time that ‘Bill Hailey and ‘The Comets’ came over to stir up our youth – including me. A first posting to Kenya jump started me into an awareness of a wider world and fascination for wild places which I was able to satisfy via various overseas contracts.  Later, following a period of self study and in a completely different role as a careers advisor it was rewarding to help young people come to rational decisions in a complex educational and working environment.

I suppose my de-fault position is that of a lucky so and so enjoying happy personal circumstances, but with a deep underlying foreboding about the massively growing numbers of our own species, many of which are programmed to inflict horror on each other and the natural world.

ABOUT PIMPLE – THE BOOK

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Pimple is about a very ordinary lad with limited self expression but great sensitivity. Quite unknowingly he is recruited into a hopelessly optimistic scheme to make the world a happier place. The scheme was devised years before his birth, and an extraordinary tune was created to act as a ‘recruiting agent’ tailored to select just the right band capable of creating music so inspirational it would create a global climate of love and co-operation.

As the story unravels Pimple encounters some bizarre situations and characters who are not quite as they first seem. It is of course a ‘tall story’ but during a trip to the USA they make an astounding discovery which could indeed change the world.

WHAT WAS THE BACKGROUND AND INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BOOK?

I used to play traditional jazz in a Lincolnshire pub and on one occasion a lad came up with a trumpet during the first interval and asked if he could ‘sit in’ with the band. Young ‘sitters in’ usually come with loud warning signs, noisy coteries or doting mums, but this one was different. For a start he was alone and wanted to play ‘Poor Mans Blues’ – a slow tune which should really be sung, but he just liked the tune and asked for it to be in Bb because it was his ‘easy key’ and he didn’t want to make too many mistakes. There was something genuine about his approach and something very genuine about his playing. He exactly captured the feel and sadness of the tune without any attempt to show off and I sensed it had been a consoling experience for him. Thanking us for letting him sit in he wandered off some time later and we never saw him again.

He made quite an impression, but no-one asked his name so we remembered him only as ‘Pimple’ because of a prominent pimple on one of his cheeks.

Some time later a particularly nasty incident in war – torn South Sudan started me wondering if a melody could be sufficiently powerful in its emotional impact to modify general nastiness and unkindness. I doubt it, but it developed it a ‘what if?’ fictional possibility, with Pimple as a central character. His limited verbal self-expression coupled with his sensitivity made him an ideal ’sounding board’ for the various characters and happenings around him.

WHAT WERE YOUR LIKES AND DIFFICULTIES WHEN WRITING YOUR BOOK?

Perhaps the most satisfying part of writing was creating believable characters. It was also satisfying to succeed in making commonplace events seem interesting or enhancing a character by describing a simple action.  The most difficult part was producing the manuscript and cover suitable for an ‘e’ book .  Right now it’s marketing it on the web, however, Nikki McDonagh: http://wwwnicolamcdonagh.com  has been really helpful in her training sessions, so hopefully I’ll get there soon.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?

Much of Pimple was written during overseas contracts, and only recently did I think it  ‘had legs’. I didn’t change it much except to make it more succinct and more ‘grown up’. So perhaps writing a book is a maturing process – or I’m just old.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE WRITING PLANS?

I have a few short pieces and rants which I hope to compile.  I also have a monster of a concept which I cannot yet resolve, but which also refuses to go away – hopefully something will go ‘click’ and I’ll move forward soon.

Thank you, Peter for a very interesting insight into your life and your writing process.

Pimple is on offer right now for only $0.99 £0.99.

So grab your copy NOW!

Available on:

Amazon.US: https://www.amazon.com/Pimple-Peter-Scott-ebook/dp/B008CFHDPA

Amazon.UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pimple-Peter-Scott-ebook/dp/B008CFHDPA

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Spotlighting new authors in Suffolk

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be featuring some authors that live in Suffolk, UK. Since I moved to this lovely part of the world over ten years ago I have met and taught a number of writers and have been impressed with the quality of their work.

So, I think it would be a good idea to give them a large shout-out and hopefully get some interest in their work.

From true crime to philosophical humour, there should be a genre to suit the taste of most readers.

Starting tomorrow!

Watch out for Peter Scott and his first novel – Pimple 

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I’ll also be re-blogging an earlier post about another East Anglian non-fiction author Kim Forester and her true crime book – Inside Broadmoor.

Inside Broadmoor Book Cover

Plus, an extra big plug for BigSky Writers, a group of local scribblers I belong to. We are due to publish our third anthology of short stories and poems in October. (Hopefully!)

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You can purchase the first anthology – Beneath a Big Sky on Amazon.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Big-Sky-supernatural-suspense-ebook/dp/B00UC9W3JA?

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beneath-Big-Sky-supernatural-suspense-ebook/dp/B00UC9W3JA

Author Spotlight – Part two – Kim Forester

Here is part two of my author spotlight on Kim Forester who’s independently published non-fiction book Inside Broadmoor (Secrets of the Criminally Insane – Revealed by the Chief Attendant)  about inmates at Broadmoor Prison in the last half of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century, has recently been released. Based on the journals kept by her Great Great Grandfather Charles Bishop Coleman who worked at Broadmoor Prison, it is a truly fascinating account of the plight of inmates interred. Including a section about a prisoner who many believed to be the real Jack the Ripper.

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You can read part one of the interview here: https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/author-spotlight-kim-forester/

Inside Broadmoor Book Cover

I asked Kim what was the best part of writing your book?

The part I enjoyed the most was the research itself. The amateur detective in me enjoyed collating the facts of what happened in each case, bringing them all together and then trying to convey them in a way that was clear, concise and dispassionate. With such evocative events, I did not want my own emotions to cloud the book. Taking a look into the lives of others is always fascinating and often surprising. Everyone has a story, no person is truly alike despite superficial similarities and we all face the same challenges, temptations, and joys. How we deal with those is what gives us the outcome to each story.

What, if anything, have you learned from writing your book?

How lucky I am.
I have a fantastic and loving immediate and extended family; I’ve always been in work and I have a great job and colleagues now; I enjoy good health; I’ve benefitted from an excellent education and I have wonderful friends. I’m generally a positive person and I have been fortunate to have the life and opportunities I have enjoyed so far. The chance to travel and meet so many different people has broadened my outlook and given me empathy towards others. I’m not superhuman, of course, I have my moments, but in the grand scheme of things I really have nothing to moan about and if I had to choose a trait I like best in myself and in others, it would be kindness – the world is cruel enough without unnecessarily hurting those around us.

Do you have any advice to give authors who wish to write non-fiction?

I don’t really think I am qualified to offer advice, but I can offer encouragement – if you want to do something then have a go. You lose nothing in the trying. I originally wrote my book in a completely different format, which didn’t work, but I learned something from that experience and I simply had another crack at it – hopefully more successfully this time. I use a couple of pertinent quotes in my book and I’ll finish my answer here with one of my own favourite quotes from the late Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin….”You are the one who can stretch your own horizon.”

Do you have a favourite author? If so, what is it about their work that you like?

I would struggle to choose just one author. From a small child, I have been an avid reader and enjoy many different genres. I have a deep interest in history, both fiction, and non-fiction and am particularly fascinated by early Welsh history and the Plantagenet era from King Henry II through to Richard III. A few years ago I found American writer Sharon Kay Penman and eagerly anticipate each new release – she writes extremely good novels about the era in which I am most interested. From the classics my favourite book would have to be non-fiction ‘Goodbye to All That’, the autobiography of Robert Graves, a deeply moving book and less well known than ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. More recently I have discovered ‘Indie’ writer Nathan Dylan Goodwin and his genealogical detective stories about Morton Farrier, which I think are getting better and better as the series moves on. However, the story I find completely unforgettable is ‘The House on the Strand’ by Daphne du Maurier. One of her later books, it is an imaginative mix of mental time-travel, murder, addiction, and temptation – the open ending of the tale is haunting, leaving you to reach your own conclusions.

Do you plan to write more non-fiction, or perhaps, fiction?

I am keeping an open mind on further writing. I am tempted. I would like to have a go at something (maybe something different) in the future, but time is the enemy. Charles wrote over 700 entries in his diaries and I may decide to explore more of those. I took his documents along to the Antiques Roadshow at Audley End House in Saffron Walden recently and their expert considered them a ‘find’, so they were filmed and if I don’t end up on the cutting room floor, I hope you may get to see some of his items for yourself in the forthcoming series in the autumn.

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I hope you found Kim’s interview interesting. If you did, you might like to know more and also grab a copy of her book at the contact links below.

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Forester-246195889102951/

Website:     http://www.insidebroadmoor.com

Amazon:

UK                 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1530786428

US                 https://amzn.com/B01F0AY97O

AU                 http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01F0AY97O

Author Spotlight – Kim Forester

In this two-part author spotlight, I would like to introduce Kim Forester who has just independently published her non-fiction book Inside Broadmoor (Secrets of the Criminally Insane – Revealed by the Chief Attendant) based on the journals kept by her Great Great Grandfather Charles Bishop Coleman who worked at Broadmoor Prison for the criminally insane in the last half of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century.

I have read it and it is a very interesting read indeed!

 

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Who are you and what do you do? (Tell us a little bit about yourself)

My name is Kim Forester and I was born in the South East of England, although I now live in East Anglia.  My early years were spent in Berkshire and my teens in the West Country.  As an adult I moved back to Berkshire and amongst other jobs, worked and travelled for an American company in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the USA.  A further move, to West Wales, saw a challenging change of direction for me, working for the Crown Prosecution Service with Dyfed Powys Police in a joint unit assisting victims and witnesses of crime.  For family reasons I recently moved to East Anglia, and continue to work full time at a power station in the renewable energy industry – for me, writing has to fit around the day job!

What is your book about?

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A work of non-fiction, my book ‘Inside Broadmoor (Secrets of the Criminally Insane – Revealed by the Chief Attendant)’ is about the staff, patients and their crimes at the most famous hospital for the criminally insane in the world, between the years of 1873 and 1912.  It has at its core, the starting point of my Great Great Grandfather Charles Bishop Coleman’s notebooks and diaries.  He began as an Assistant Attendant and worked his way up to the top job of Chief Attendant during his 38 years service, during which he wrote about and recorded his time at the Hospital between those years.  Each of the 180 entries I have included in the book is a ‘jumping off point’ for the sad, grisly, and sometimes redemptive tales of individuals who served time at Broadmoor during those years.

Why did you choose to write your book and who or what was the inspiration behind it?

The work did not begin as a book.  I started researching on behalf of my Mother, purely from a shared interest in our family history.  We knew very little about Charles before finding his papers and photographs following the loss of my Grandmother.  We knew that several people in our family had worked at Broadmoor of course, but not what that really entailed.  There is another book on the subject written by Berkshire Records Office Archivist, Mark Stevens, but his book finishes around the time my book begins.   My family and I felt that by publishing, we would be able to open up this shadowy world further for others to explore should they wish.  Sometimes, in genealogical research a small clue can take you in a whole new direction and Broadmoor continues to fascinate today.  My Great Great Grandfather worked there during the crimes of ‘Jack the Ripper’ and today the Hospital holds the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’.  We are endlessly intrigued by the darker side of human nature, probably because it is so alien to the vast majority of us.

What kind of research did you do?

 Researching for this book was time consuming, detailed and required a lot of checking and double checking as you can imagine.  When you are writing about the real lives of people (even those who passed away many years ago), it is important to do your best to try to get the facts as accurately recorded as possible.  Where Charles’ notes helped me in this was because he listed dates, crimes and names.  Once you have this information, you can work backwards and forwards through archives, court proceedings, contemporary newspaper reports, gaol records and any other ‘titbit’ of information you can find before bringing it all together to give a more rounded picture of an individual and their crime whilst not forgetting their victim(s).  This has to be done for each individual and with 180 in the book you can see why it was such a big project and took several years.

What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?

 The biggest challenge was probably to avoid temptation and also to know when to stop.  One of my many research trips was to the Berkshire Records Office in Reading, but not to look at patients records.  I used their files to double check what Charles Bishop Coleman recorded relating to his own service.  I had contemplated asking to see certain individual’s records but ultimately decided that this would move me too far away from the core idea of the book, which was the viewpoint of Charles himself.  The Medical Superintendant and his team of doctors of course recorded their opinions of patients at Broadmoor, but whilst fascinating, it seemed too much of an intrusion for me as a non-medical individual to expand upon this avenue of research.

Thank you Kim for a truly interesting insight into your book and your life.

Watch out for Part two of Kim’s Spotlight where she reveals some exciting news about her Great Great Grandfather’s journals. 

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You can purchase this fascinating book and find out more about Kim at the links below:

Amazon:

UK:   http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1530786428

USA:   https://amzn.com/B01F0AY97O

AU:   http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01F0AY97O

 Website:   http://www.insidebroadmoor.com

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Forester-246195889102951/

 

Have you heard about Women in Horror Month? Author spotlight – Angeline Trevena

To celebrate Women in Horror Month

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I am hosting an author spotlight on Dystopian Horror writer – Angeline Trevena and her book The Bottle Stopper, Book 1 of The Paper Duchess Series.

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I tend to think of myself as one of the unlikeliest horror writers you’ll ever meet. I am terrified of spiders, the dark, the sight of blood. Much of my day is spent creeping round the house investigating sounds that absolutely must be either an intruder or a ghost.

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After all, I once had a nightmare after watching the Eddie Murphy film ‘Coming to America’. Yes, really.

Yet, fate found it funny to make me one of the biggest horror fans going. Ever since my brother introduced me to the classic horrors of the 70s and 80s when I was a teenager, I’ve been hooked.

Despite that, I was a late comer to the likes of Stephen King and Clive Barker, not picking up their books until my 20s. But once I did, I made a pretty quick shift from reading fantasy, to reading the kind of books that had me jumping at every bump in the night.

And that was when I started writing horror too.

I’ve actually been composing stories since before I could even write, and it’s, pretty much, my natural state. If I wasn’t a writer, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. And yes, being such a scaredy-cat, I do scare myself with my own writing. Frequently.

In fact, I would hate to meet my horror-self in a dark alley!

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Because, that’s how I see it; there’s me (favourite colour yellow, watches trashy dating shows, laughs at fart jokes), and then there’s horror me (filled with an uncontrollable darkness, knows several ways to kill a person, truly sadistic). Two very separate people.

But, even when they are filled with an uncontrollable darkness, women can have a very tough time in the horror genre. Sure, we’re allowed to write about romantic vampires, but when it comes to the real horror, the gory horror, the truly terrifying, many see that as a male-only domain.

Though I’ve never experienced it myself, I do know other female horror writers who have been told that ‘women shouldn’t write horror’, or even that they ‘can’t’. This leaves many women using pen names, or gender ambiguous names, knowing that their books will simply sell better if they don’t publicise the fact that they’re female. Sadly, however, the industry will never change if women keep hiding. Not that I blame them, it’s savvy business sense after all.

And that’s where initiatives like Women in Horror Month (WiHM) come in.

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Now in its 7th year, WiHM runs every February worldwide, and seeks to celebrate, promote, and support the work of women in the horror genre. It pulls together a wide variety of events, such as screenings, festivals, readings, blog hops, podcasts, and even blood drives, from all over the world.

You can get more information on WiHM on their website:

www.womeninhorrormonth.com

This year, as part of WiHM, I’m having a week-long sale of my latest book, The Bottle Stopper. This is the first book in The Paper Duchess series, set in a dark future dystopia where women are owned and controlled by the state.

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The Bottle Stopper follows the story of Maeve, a girl left in the care of her abusive uncle after the administration took away her mother. Maeve, lives in the slums, outside of the system, but it’s an existence she’s desperate to escape from. In fact, as her uncle’s violence towards her increases, it becomes a matter of life and death.

Trouble is, to save her own life, she has to sacrifice the lives of others.

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“Too much trouble, and you’ll end up just like your crazy mother.”

Maeve was six when they took her mother away, and left her in the care of her Uncle Lou: a drunk, a misogynist, a fraud.

For eleven years she’s lived with him in Falside’s slums, deep in the silt of the Falwere River. She bottles his miracle medicine, stocks his apothecary shop, and endures his savage temper.

But as his violence escalates, and his lies come undone, she devises a plan to escape him forever. Even if it means people have to die.

If you like stories of oppressive governments, genetic selection, mass murder, and the fight for freedom, if you look for unlikely heroes and always root for the underdog, you’ll love The Bottle Stopper.

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And for a whole week, from February 8th – 14th, you can grab the Kindle edition for just 0.99!!!

From either Amazon.com, or Amazon UK. www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01360P622

If you want to know more about Ageline and her work, please visit her website:

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www.angelinetrevena.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Authors – Free Promotion and Twitter Marketing Guide

Greetings fellow authors.

This is a quick post to share some interesting FREE Book promotion and tips for marketing on Twitter.

Now, I’m not at all savvy when it comes to Twitter. In fact, I don’t have a clue how to use it properly. So, I was quite delighted when I received this email from HubSpot in association with SocialBro, earlier today, offering a FREE guide on how to use Twitter to your advantage.

HubSpot –  “Is an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, converts leads, and close customers.”

SocialBro – “Everything you need to optimise your Twitter strategy.” http://www.socialbro.com/

The Email from HubSpot:

“How do you construct your Tweets? Do you know if you should put the URL at the beginning, middle or end? How many characters does your #hashtag need to get engagement? Is it true what they say about images in Tweets?

HubSpot and SocialBro analysed data from over 200,000 business Tweets to uncover the science behind what makes a successful Tweet for brand building, lead generation, engagement and retention. Download our guide to find out how you can get the most out of every Tweet you send!


<< Get your copy here >> ”

I’ve just downloaded it and will be perusing it avidly as I just happen to have a FREE promotion coming up of my Dystopian/Sci-fi novelette. Part of The Song of Forgetfulness Series:

Changeling Fog will be FREE to download from Amazon on 28th-29th January!!

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US:  http://amzn.to/1ZJAVL5

UK:  http://amzn.to/1PnNPn1

The next exciting FREE thing is for the chance to get some premium newsletter features to promote your books for FREE on BookHearts.com

All you have to do is click below and enter for your chance to win.

http://bookhearts.com/giveaways/win-free-promo-spots-on-bookhearts-com/?lucky=128

I hope this information has been helpful.

Take care.

Oh, and please, could you download my book? It’s FREE.

UK:  http://amzn.to/1PnNPn1

US:   http://amzn.to/1ZJAVL5