Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why I wrote Cappuccino Heaven and why it's making waves.

'Sit down with a coffee or cappuccino and open your mind.'

That's what one reviewer said on Amazon after reading my latest novel Cappuccino Heaven. This book has been making waves ever since it was published in March of this year and it was meant to. Being a psychic medium I could have penned a book about my life and journey into the psychic world but I decided to create a work of fiction instead.

Elizabeth Walker is my character she is the 38 year old newly arrived spirit in the afterlife and she is the voice of my beliefs and those of millions of others.

She tackles the difficult issues of what happens to us when we die and where we go and she tries to find understanding as to why mankind continues to inflict pain and suffering as does the living.

When she's taken by her Mother in spirit to the special nursery where small children are being healed from their untimely deaths at the hands of parents or strangers she wants to fall on her knees and cry, but she can't as she doesn't want to upset the children who all seem so happy.

Meeting woman and children who reside in a man less village she discovers that they were all victims of domestic violence which resulted in their deaths, still afraid of men they are slowly healing but can only do so in a 'women only' environment. Having never experienced violence Elizabeth finds it hard to come to terms with what she must face that not all is rosy in Heaven.

Her limited beliefs convince her that she's content with her afterlife until she discovers specially trained groups dedicating themselves to rescuing lost and trapped souls in the lower levels. She joins one in the hope of becoming stronger in spirit and helping others unaware of how much it would test her limits and impact her whole way of thinking and believing.

Why do you arrive in the lower levels? Committing heinous crimes, using and abusing others and walking on the dark side of life until the moment of death arriving amongst like-minded spirits, in Elizabeth's words, ''There is no light there only candles and they all seem to be the same.'' The pen ultimate example of like attracting like.

She isn't sure if there is a God, her beliefs in life were never that strong so she doesn't bother to look or question until she begins to progress. Re-incarnation is a subject she avoids at all costs without knowing why and grateful to be in the light she drinks endless cappuccino's remaining in her confines until she discovers there is much more to her afterlife than she could have imagined. 
Slowly she learns to stand on her spiritual feet and let go of things she cannot change.

Was her small world created by her limited beliefs? Yes. Does she have the ability to change and create a more meaningful afterlife? Yes. We will all have that opportunity when we pass over but we will progress much further if we allow our spirit to grow while we are still living.

I have had many heart-warming messages from readers telling me how much comfort they gained from the book and some have had to take a step back and look at their belief systems.

Whatever your beliefs I hope that Cappuccino is food for thought and...... should you think twice of the consequences of harming another? Yes unless you are 100% sure that in your afterlife all will be forgiven.

Cappuccino Heaven is available in Kindle format on Amazon. The sequel Lost is out soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All that is loved is never lost.

Have you lost someone? Please take comfort in these images, your loved ones walk beside you every day, watching over you, guiding you, loving you and helping you overcome your grief.
                               ''All that is loved is never lost, what remains unseen can still be felt.''

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What if you don't go into the light?

                                                      Cappuccino Heaven II the sequel

                                             What if you don't go into the light?

Elizabeth Walker waits patiently in the afterlife for a much awaited reunion with her husband Mike. But the dream becomes a nightmare when he dies of old age and goes straight into the dark lower levels manipulated by evil entities who revel in taking him further away from the light at every turn.
Endless missions with trusted friends to rescue him fail, each time discovering that he’s taken further and lower into the bowels of hell, unaware of her presence and stuck in an abyss of his own creation it appears all is lost. If only Elizabeth can find someone powerful enough to challenge the manipulative game-playing spirit jailers and release her beloved Mike then the nightmare will be over.

Out of the light and into the dark
                      Cappucino Heaven Book I is available on Amazon Kindle edition

Clinging to any shred of hope she refuses to give up, believing as her own strength grows stronger and stronger that the love she has in her heart will be the shining light in what becomes a never ending battle between good and evil.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

KDP Select does it help?

Having just had my novel Cappuccino Heaven free for 3 days on KDP select I am willing to share the experience with you in the hope that the more we know about this new marketing tool from Amazon the better.

I was not interested at all when I first uploaded my book last month, thinking why should I give my book away for free?

I had invested money in a professional cover and paid someone to format the book properly so readers would not be frustrated with blank pages, I had written 88,000 words, a full novel and felt that all that all my hard work deserved some kind of payment no matter how small. Here is the link to my book so you can see I really do have a well-made cover!

Then a month later I changed my mind and decided to give it a try, anything that helps promotion is a good thing and sometimes you have to give something to gain more back, that's business.

Deciding to do the promotion over the Easter vacation was a risk, many people are away and that would mean fewer downloads, but I went ahead with it anyway. The result was that I had just under a 1000 downloads, Easter Monday being the lowest and my book ranked at 1 in the afterlife fiction section for a while then going down to 2. It was pleasant to see that even knowing it wasn't through sales.

I am not going to bore you with Rank figures, I'm sure you can gleam enough of those from other bloggers.

My point is this, with the massive amount of Authors, me included, going for the new KDP select programme could this mean fewer downloads as the programme continues Having conversed with other Authors some of them well-known on Amazon the consensus of opinion is that they are also getting fewer free downloads on their promotion days as well.

KDP select has only been going a few months so it's new but will Amazon offer something else when they see the programme becoming saturated, for example free promotions targeting Genres rather than everything, just an idea...

As of this moment two days after my promotion ended I've had less sales than I had before! I don't see this as a major catastrophe, more people know me now, those who will actually read the book remains to be seen as does the hoped for reviews, but out of a 1000 readers if a quarter of them like the book and tell others then it has been a success.

Will I do it again? Probably, I have a sequel to the first book coming out soon and may just promo the first one again with my last two days.

Will I re-enrol for KDP select again. Probably, whatever the divided opnions it's a marketing tool that can be very powerful in getting your name and work out there.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why I choose E.Publishing.

Many writers have faced the same dilemma as me, having written the book or having a great book idea in the making the next thought is how do I get it out there and which avenue should I choose? Before the magic world of on-line publishing choice was much more limited, it was down to two avenues. Traditional Publishers or Self-Publishers, then along came number three E.publishing.

This avenue has allowed writers to upload their books to numerous sites, the only costs incurred, the writers time and maybe costs for a book cover and formatting, even that will be a lot less than some Self-Publishing packages that can run into thousands and are only for writers who have the cash to spare. The pro and cons to publishing are easy to access from thousands of web and blog posts all offering advice and personal experiences, so no-one need ever be in the dark, although you have to be wary of some opinions.

So, why did i chose e.publishing?

Because I wanted the freedom to choose how to publish and set my own rules, just as many entertainment artists are posting their videos on and doing their own thing without record company involvement. I can fix the price of my book and set it up and down or offer it for free, i can upload short stories, novella's and novels as many as I please 24/7. No-one is telling me what to do!

 I think the issue for me goes back to when I worked as a columnist/journalist for a major newspaper. For 5 years I was on deadlines and direction, luckily most of my work was accepted but every now and again I hit the Editor brick wall, resulting in my story/article being chopped and changed, or worse still shortened at the last minute to make space for the latest blurb, leaving me frazzled as the essence of my work was lost in the editing.

There is a downside to going it alone and here are mine, shared honestly with all new aspiring authors:

A hard slog sometimes no team of publishers behind me pointing me in the right direction for book cover design and marketing.

I am the lone wolf in the department of putting the package all together so it really is 'self' publishing.

Finding someone to design my cover was not too much of a slog, I got lucky with the first person I found on-line and she did a wonderful cover that suited my story perfectly. Formatting, again easy to find as I was not prepared to take the risk to do it myself.

The easy part now over, the biggest hurdle was yet to come. Getting my name and my book out there in cyber space.

Living on Facebook, my blog, twitter, Book Bloggers, Shelfari, and any other form of promotion I could think of while self-editing my second novel taking twice as long as I attended to the net-working.

Watching Amazon's rankings to see my book going up and down like a yo yo, I am not so self-obsessed with rankings anymore, preferring to write more books instead.

Not being nervous about reviews, this can take you down to a whole new stress level, I decided against the stress and so far have 2 great 5 star reviews in less than a month. Even if I had a 1 star review no sleep would be lost over it.

A word of advice.....

Don't pay too much attention to bloggers who all have a handle on how to sell a million e.books in 5 days, or why you should not go with Amazon's KDP select program, or why you should and why you should/should not promote your book for free days, and so on and so on, if you're not careful it will drive you crazy and increase any uncertainty you may have regarding promotion. I prefer to go on what feels right for me and although it's good to get advice from more experienced Authors who have good e.publishing sales it's sometimes best to go with your own instincts and don't take on board everything you read as gospel. We are still in uncharted territory as far as E.publishing is concerned, it's relatively new and like anything new we have to learn along the way, making mistakes as we go along and hopefully learning from them. The greatest thing that has come out of our freedom to publish is that we can experiment which ever way we choose to, including uploading the book we always dreamed of seeing in print. Priceless!