Song of the Sea Goddess by Chris Hall

Two weeks ago I was celebrating the Song of the Sea Goddess’ first book birthday with a live book launch and signing shared with two other authors.

For those of you too far away to join us, I offered a free download of the ebook over the same weekend. This virtual celebration was quite a success too, with almost 50 downloads over the 3 days. I forgot to look at the Amazon rankings on the first day, but the next day the book had reached #124 in its category. Back to the many thousands now, of course.

A further bonus was that I garnered a couple of new reviews on Goodreads, including this blushingly brilliant review by Chris Nelson on his blog.

chrisnelson61

This is not something that I would normally do (but who knows what the future holds), but I have just finished reading this wonderful book by Chris Hall and wanted to share my thoughts:

Part fantasy, part adventure and part allegory, Song of the Sea Goddess is an imaginative and eloquently told story about the unfolding of the lives of a group of seemingly unconnected characters following one bizarre event.

Chris Hall develops each character through individual chapters that slowly become interwoven and lead towards an unexpected climax. Particularly enjoyable is how seemingly random events show up which give a wonderful insight into the past lives of several of the characters. Indeed each character comes to life as the story unfolds and, as most of the book is written in the present tense, the reader’s connection with them develops in a sort of ‘real time’.

The chapters themselves are relatively…

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The Much-Heralded Book Launch

local authors Paul English, Jill Morsbach and Chris Hall standing behind a table stacked with their books
Paul English, Jill Morsbach and me at Bookworms bookstore

This time last week I was hauling a bag of my novels into Bookworms bookstore in preparation for last Saturday’s book launch event. We’d certainly had a big build up, with Bookworm’s owner, Waldo, inviting folk to come along and ‘rub shoulders with literary geniuses’. Ahem.

Here we are on the big day, posing happily for the paparazzi!

Paul, as some of you know, is my writing buddy. We meet up over coffee and cake and have ‘writerly conversations’ from time to time, email each other when stuck and generally exchange ideas about our current projects. You’ll find Paul over at Backroom Bulletin where he chats about his writing progress each week. Here’s Paul’s take on the event.

I hadn’t come across Jill or her books before, but after chatting on the phone a week or so before the event, I went down to Bookworms to snag a copy of her new book, thus ensuring a sale of one of mine! I’d almost finished reading Noah and his Solar-Powered Ark by the day of the launch, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can read my review on Goodreads here and meet Jill herself at her website here.

Also at the launch were a couple of beginner writers and it was great to offer them encouragement on how to progress their craft. All in all, it was a fun morning, and although sales were quite modest, it was lovely to meet both readers and writers and talk about books.

We also got a super write up in the local newspaper, the Bolander, which is widely distributed in the local area and also online, making it so much easier to share with you: Book launch at Bookworms.

As Waldo says, when quoted in the article: “Our very first book launch went down famously… and I’m looking forward to many more to come.” – I couldn’t agree more!

Now, I must dash. I’m off to meet my beta reader friend Laurette for her feedback on the manuscript of my soonish-to-be-released latest novel. The cover is almost ready and I’ve even finished agonizing over the ‘dreaded blurb’. More about ‘Spirit of the Shell Man’ soon!

Looking forward to a live launch!

Book Launch Event

How cool is this going to be? A ‘real live event’… at last!

My favourite local bookstore, Bookworms has arranged a book launch next Saturday, 15th January, for Cape Town author, Jill Morsbach to introduce her new middle grade novel, Noah and the Solar Powered Ark.

Better still, bookstore owner Waldo extended Jill’s invitation to other local authors to join in the launch. Keen to support any book-related event, and even keener to publicise and, dare I say it, sell our books, fellow Somerset West author, Paul English and I jumped at the chance to join her.

By great good fortune, the author copies of Paul’s latest novel, Scorched Earth: Takeover arrived here just in time.

Although I don’t have a new novel out quite yet, it is at least a happy coincidence that Song of the Sea Goddess has its first book birthday that day. The sequel is ‘still in production’ but it’s not too far away from release. You might even get a sneak peak at the cover soon…

Look out for my freebie e-book offer next weekend to celebrate that special book birthday.

Black Friday Blues

Black Friday Blues by Chris Hall lunasonline

This weekend wasn’t the best time to try an ebook giveaway. I really should have known though, because if I’d checked on what happened this time last year, I wouldn’t have bothered.

So what happened? I hear you ask. Especially after the (northern hemisphere) summer giveaway of The Silver Locket did so well: 292 copies downloaded and up to #7 in the genre hit parade (albeit briefly).

Oh, but how quickly I’d forgotten the November 2018 debacle. A five day giveaway of the same book had resulted in just 20 copies downloaded. Now this year, buoyed up after the happy surprise of last August, disappointment reigned supreme again.

I was all over LinkedIn and more than a little bit on Twitter. I pitched in on Instagram and posted all over my personal Facebook page. Loyal friends locally liked and shared: one more download!

Of course it didn’t help that the Facebook Elves took 6 hours to approve my US ad. Maybe they were busy approving the million other ads (or were they busy giggling naughtily over the slightly racy start to chapter ten?). Or, when I tweaked the UK audience demographic yesterday morning, the edit was still under review 10 hours later, well past the Great British tea-time.

Two days of ‘bigging it up’ and busily checking the KDP reports. All for just 17 bites. Couldn’t I even give these away???

No! No, because everyone’s in a Massmart store filling their shopping carts with improbably-sized flat screen TVs, so huge that they totter precariously over the edge of the super-sized luminous pink trolleys they wheel, dodging and weaving through the slippery-floored over-peopled mall. (Or so my friend Jonathan told me. You don’t think I ventured out that day? Are you mad?).

Still, after a tiny flurry of downloads in Canada, You’ll Never Walk Alone peaked at a heady #47 in Romance Action and Adventure.

All wasn’t lost anyway. I have three free books from other indie authors to read on my Kindle.

Just remind me next year to concentrate on the last few days of NaNoWriMo and give the Black Friday thing a miss.

After all, wouldn’t we all rather be writing?

 

Another conversation with my characters

all 4 books

“Nice review of ‘Sextet’, Ms Hall,” says Connor, as Cynthia hands me a cup of coffee. “Would you like a little something in that?” He waves a hip flask in my direction.

I shake my head. It’s a bit early for me.

Connor pours a liberal slug into his own cup. “Of course, I find a slim volume always has an appeal; like those novellas that Leonardi chap’s written. I must say, I do like his work.”

“Connor did very well with both his poetry collections at the Edinburgh Book Festival.” Cynthia smiles at him proudly.

“Publicity, d’you see.” He takes a mouthful of coffee. “Isn’t it time you gave our book another little push? I mean, we know you’ve only just released ‘The Rabbit’…” he chuckles. “‘Released the rabbit’, rather catchy that, eh?”

I nod in acknowledgement. I have used that, corny as it may be.

“Oh, it’s a lovely story, Ms Hall. Quite charming!” Cynthia interjects. “That nice young woman, Ellie Scott, enjoyed it too, didn’t she? So nice to hear from her.

“Our book’s done well in the ratings, but it doesn’t seem to have achieved quite the sales we might have hoped, does it?” Connor rubs his chin.

“I thought it would’ve sold loads more by now.” Gina drains her coffee.

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you all ab…”

I’m interrupted by an instantly familiar beat coming from the flat upstairs. Gina rolls her eyes. “Not again! I’ve woken up to that song every morning since Bob moved into Lucy’s old room,” she sighs. “Hold on.” Gina gets to her feet and hurries upstairs.

“It has become a little tiresome,” says Cynthia.

“You can always bunk in with me, old thi… Cynth.”

Cynthia looks at him sharply.

The music stops. Moments later Gina returns followed by Gary and Bob who has Fingers perched on his shoulder. The little monkey chirrups when he recognises me, launching himself from Bob’s shoulder, via the back of Cynthia’s couch, onto my lap.

Gina, Gary and Bob squeeze onto the couch and look at me expectantly. I stroke Fingers’s head.

“The thing is, I may have made a misjudgment with the title.”

“How so, Ms Hall? I think it’s a lovely sentiment, using that pretty song from Carousel.” Cynthia beams.

“You mean the Liverpool football team anthem. That’s what it’s properly famous for.” Gary thrusts out his chest which is clad in the latest LFC team shirt. “Best team in the world!”

“That’s just the point, Gary,” I say. “Not everyone would agree.”

“Me Nan wasn’t best pleased with yer title. You know, being an Evertonian, like,” said Bob. “I mean, she did read it, but only ’cos of Fingers being in it.”

Hearing his name, Fingers sits up and chatters.

“Do you think that’s the reason? The title?” asks Gina.

“Quite possibly. Certainly in the UK.” I remember the reaction on Twitter back in July.

“So what would you call it?

“I’m not sure, Gina.”

“How about ‘We are the Champions’,” suggests Gary.

I frown.

“Don’t be daft, Gary,” Gina digs him in the ribs.

“Well, we were all champions in the end, weren’t we?” Gary holds his hands out. “I mean, Connor here…”

I hold up my hand. “Don’t give away the plot!”

“No, well, y’know what I mean.”

Cynthia turns to Connor. “What do you think? You’re so good with titles.”

Connor rubs his hand across his face. “What about ‘The Ruby Necklace’? Pierre giving Lucy that necklace is your inciting incident, isn’t it?”

“That fits in so well with your first book,” Cynthia claps her hands together. “The Silver Locket followed by ‘The Ruby Necklace’. That would be perfect.”

“And after that, ‘The Solitaire Diamond’..?” Gina touches her engagement ring.

I nod slowly. I wonder, maybe I should change the title?


The music referred to is ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order, which my flat-mate played loudly every morning for the whole of our last term at university.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYH8DsU2WCk

 

Book Signing and Sales

Here we are, Friday evening at our Book Launch Party! 

Wonderful local wine and people enjoying the atmosphere.

A few of the pics from the Q and A session after Paul and I had told everyone about our books, with local authors Natasha Anders and Rae Rivers, and cover designers and illustrators Cliff Davies and Theresa Wilds.

The photos were taken by my good friend and photographer, Laurette van der Merwe. Find her here Laurette’s Photography and here Laurette’s Fine Art Photography and Artwork. Our launch was held at Chelsea Cafe who’d stoked up the fire and made us delicious soup to keep us going over the evening.

Paul and I both sold. We didn’t sell out, but we did do well. Our book links are here.

A good night all round, and nicely capped off the following evening by Liverpool Football Club’s victory in the European Cup. I’m sure Bob and Gary would’ve been in the crowd.

They’re singing our song again!

Busy

Sorry-For-The-Delay lunasonline

A Nick in Time” will return next week with Chapter 27.

Sorry about that, but we’re busy with our book launch! Woo-hoo!

Would you buy this book?

liverpool skyline pixabay
Liverpool Skyline, Pixabay

When 23 year old Lucy is given a beautiful ruby necklace by Pierre, a gorgeous man she’s only just met in a Liverpool nightclub, her humdrum life is changed forever. But the ruby is more than just an expensive jewel, and Albie Chan, the sinister Triad boss, is determined to have it for himself, forcing Pierre and Lucy to flee the city.

Meanwhile, Lucy’s best friend and flat mate, Gina, has been tracking down the father whom she never knew. Now Godrell Clark, once a sailor from Jamaica who was part of the Liverpool jazz scene in the sixties, finds his past is catching up with him fast, all the way to Kingston, Jamaica.

But there is an even greater prize than the ruby, and passions run high when a mysterious little jade statue turns up in a pile of boxes belonging to the upstairs tenants in Lucy and Gina’s rented house.

Lucy is snatched by Chan and Pierre faces an impossible choice: obtain the statue for Chan and gain Lucy’s freedom, or hand it over his one-time guardian and employer, the mysterious Aurora, to whom he owes his freedom from his brutal childhood.


So, you know what this is? It’s my long-sweated over first attempt at a blurb for my recently-completed novel. I’m not entirely happy with it, but I’ve stared at it long enough!

Some of you may have read the story (or bits of it) as a work in progress last year, so you’ll have an idea of the story. Others won’t, and you’re coming to it cold.

Would you buy on the strength of the pitch?
Would you at least ‘download it for a dollar’?

Writerly friends, please would you care to give me some feedback? Constructive criticism really is most welcome.

Marketing books to the local community

 


A few weeks ago I told you about a little marketing initiative which I cooked up with my writing buddy, Paul English, involving a donation of the first two published books in his
Fire Angel Universe series to a school library. Giving a Fellow Author a Plug!

Article in Bolander Paul English-page-0Now I’m pleased to say that the article I submitted to our local newspaper, The Bolander, was published yesterday, both online and in print. ‘This is a long established popular community title which is distributed to 31 150 readers’ homes. Readers receive hyper local content with a focus on community news, including local personalities, advice and editorial columns, reader’s letters and sport.’  So it’s a good place in which to be featured!

Here’s the link to the online article, which Paul and I have shared far and wide (so you might even have seen it already): Author Unleashes Fire Angel Series.

We also have print copies of our books out there: Paul has some in a local art gallery and in our favourite local bookstore, Bikini Beach Books.

I have some signed copies of The Silver Locket in our local Mexican Deli, Senor Onion, (thank you,  Karen), they do great food by the way! And yesterday I presented a signed copy of Sextet to my podiatrist who promises to put it on top of the magazine pile in the waiting room after he and his receptionist have finished reading it (thanks, James)!

Wouldn’t these look nice on your bookshelf?