Tips From a Book Blogger to an Author #1: Social Media Edition

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

I have been planning this post for a while and am very glad to finally have the time (ability to ignore other commitments) to write it. Every day I get an email or a Goodreads message from one author or another asking me for tips, it's only natural that authors would want to get a bloggers perspective after all, so I decided to write this series for those who are less keen on directly asking for help. If you do have any questions that I don't manage to answer in my tips then just shoot me and email and I will help! My first post in the author tips series centers around the useful and essential invention that is social media.

Dear authors, 

Social media is your friend!

I'm sorry guys but if you are an author who wants to succeed in the world you need to have some social networking profiles, if you don't have any and still manage to succeed you are the exception rather than the rule. The two platforms I recommend to all authors are Goodreads and Twitter

They are essential, trust me, and not just one or the other - both. It is vital that you implement Goodreads as an author, the majority of book lovers are on that website which makes it worthwhile anyway but also it acts as a catalog of the worlds books. If your book isn't on there no one will find it. Don't believe me? Google your a book and I guarantee one of the top results will be Goodreads. Many authors believe that having their book on Amazon is enough but that is not true. When I search a book that I'm interested in I don't click the Amazon link, that is for if I want to buy it, I never use Amazon for informational purposes, Goodreads is the way forward for that! 

It is not just your book details that should be put on Goodreads though, your author profile is also very important. I personally like to read author bios and they are very useful when I am making up interview questions. If there is nothing or barely anything in your profile then you cannot expect to get anything other than generic questions! Make your profiles personal and relatable, tell us about your hobbies, your influences, even your pets. Be as friendly as possible and, who knows, you may start to get more requests from reviewers - no one wants to email an author who doesn't seem approachable! 

Goodreads is not just about information sharing though, it is a bookish community. By participating in conversations, group reads and supporting other authors you are involving yourself in that community and making friends and contacts. I would say the majority of my contacts come from my involvement in Goodreads. I moderate a group on Goodreads called Books, Blogs, Authors and More that's main purpose is to help build this community between, yes you guessed it, readers, bloggers and authors. This may appear to be shameless advertising but I promise you that is not my aim, I aim to provide a support system which is vital for authors like you..

Speaking of being approachable, you must have means of connecting with your readers. Not all readers write full reviews but almost all post their views on Twitter. If you don't have Twitter you are really missing out, I always tweet my favorite authors with my views and links to my reviews. For all you know there may be a few reviews of your book out there that you have never come across because you don't have Twitter. Unlikely yes but possible. Twitter is a way of communicating and getting the word out about your works. When I tweet that becomes available to all of my followers to look at, if I mention you in a tweet then it is likely my followers will jump from my tweet to your profile and follow you. Suddenly you have more potential fans.

No one gains popularity unless they put themselves out there and social media is the way to do that. The two platforms above are essential but there are a number of others which are also important. Websites and Blogs put all of your information in one place for readers to find which is very useful. Facebook is another platform that can be potentially useful however this one only tends to work well if you already have a large and active fanbase.

I hope you take my advice and it helps you because that is my aim in many of the things I do around here at Confessions of a Bookaholic. Tell me what you thought of this post in the comments and look out for the next installment in my author tips series! 

Remember, if you have any questions in the meantime I am always available to answer them via email or Google Hangouts if you prefer.

Sunday Spotlight: Carys Jones, Author of Dare to Dream

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today’s author is Carys Jones, author of the new YA release Dare to Dream! She has written a guest post for you all to enjoy – although it is not bookish it does discuss some book-to-tv adaptations among other things which is always interesting!

About Carys: 

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader's imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo. When she's not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games. She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favourite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.
To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

Visit Carys’ Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Guest Post: My Favourite TV Shows

I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home full time as a writer. Yes, this does mean that sometimes I sit about in a onesie all day and don’t leave the house. No, I don’t watch TV all day I do actually do (some) work. Saying that, I like to treat myself in the middle of the day to a break watching one of my favourite shows! I can be quite a fan girl about shows I like so allow me to share with you some of the ones I’m currently gushing about;

The Vampire Diaries
I LOVE TVD! I’m unfashionably behind and have only just finished season 5. I did cry. A lot. Some were tears of joy because I’ve been gunning for Alaric to return for AGES! I am most definitely team Damon. I absolutely adore him; he’s the bad guy with the heart of gold and I can’t get enough of him! He’s back in season 6 right? Right?!

American Horror Story Coven
I watched American Horror Story Coven over Christmas and was just blown away by it. It was by far my favourite of the AHS shows so far. I've never been a huge fan of witches when they've appeared in other shows like True Blood and The Originals. I felt like Coven was the first time I actually thought witches were cool and would flirt with wanting to be one! It was also refreshing to see a show crammed full of strong, empowering women. I loved it and recommend it to anyone (so long as you aren't squeamish…)

Grey’s Anatomy
If only doctors in real life were as handsome as they are in Grey’s Anatomy! My life would be a lot more fun! : ) I've loved Grey’s Anatomy for years and feel sad to think back to a time when it wasn't in my life. For me, there is always just the right amount of drama and angst weighed against the interesting medical issues being dealt with. I hope the series never ends though sadly I fear that one day it probably will as nothing lasts forever. Though Grey’s could be the exception, don’t you think??

Pretty Little Liars
I got into this show thanks to Netflix when I was searching for something new to watch. As with most of the shows I watch, I’m behind as I don’t watch them on TV. I’m almost at the end of season 4 so no spoilers about season 5 please! The show frustrates me as much as it excites me. Who the hell is A and are we ever going to find out?! Probably not but that’s half the fun! I spend most of the time coveting all the fabulous clothes the girls in it wear. And if you wondered who I identify with most in the show it would probably be Aria as I've secretly always wished I was brave enough to dye my hair pink…

Again, this was another Netflix discovery but oh my, am I glad we met! Reign is thrilling, exciting and full of sumptuous ball gowns which make me wish I wasn't actually locked in the house writing all day so that I could have an excuse to get all dressed up! I’m still deciding between Bash and Francis but leaning towards Bash as he’s the forbidden brother which makes him all the more alluring…

So…yeah, like I said, I’m mostly writing when I’m at home all day. Mostly… *coughs nervously*

About Dare to Dream:

"The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain."

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths. 

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling. 

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

Check out Dare to Dream on Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Carys has also kindly agreed to a giveaway of two copies of her novel Dare to Dream, how exciting! Enter below to be in for a chance of winning her amazing novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Carys and Dare to Dream, don't forget to enter the giveaway to be in for a chance to win! If you are an author and want to be spotlighted drop me an email. Don't forget to share my spotlight posts wherever you can, it's really important to support the lesser known author community! Also if you want to be included in my scheme then you need it to be popular enough for you to have maximum publicity!

If you do share my scheme let me know where and I will post an endorsement of your blog/book/anything in exchange on my Twitter account.

Cover Reveal: The Gatherers by Ashley Ehlers

Saturday, 25 April 2015

This cover reveal was hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

I'm sorry I haven't posted a review in a while guys but because I have been so busy lately I literally don't have the time to read or review. My smaller posts such as Spotlights, discussion posts and cover reveals like this however will stay constant because they're quick and easy. Bear with me guys, the blog will get back to normal soon!

Today's cover reveal is of the prequel to Ashley Ehlers Harvesting series! First here is some information on book one, The Harvesters:

When she finds her boyfriend shackled to a white metal table Ashley fears for the worst.

On a small road trip of dropping off a package for Jason’s father, the young couple never thought they would be running for their lives. Running away from supposedly friends whom in turn to be a family of harvesters. 

Human harvesters and they're looking for something specific. And Ashley just might be the perfect match.

Find out more about book one on Goodreads | Amazon

Doesn't that cover look haunting? The cover I am going to reveal to you today however is debatable even better!


This amazing cover was designed by For the Love of Reading Cover Design and I think they did a great job of it!

Title: The Gatherers 
Series: Harvesting #0.5
Publication date: April 25th 2015 
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Synopsis: Ashley and Jason weren't the only ones to have an encounter with The Harvesters that day.... Coleen hasn’t been the happiest with her father remarrying, especially to the mother that gave birth to her enemy, Virginia. Bleach blonde bimbo as Coleen thought the moment they started high school. But since they’ve graduated, their parents married for a year now, Coleen has seen a whole new side of Virginia and the girls have gotten closer than ever. However the parents don’t see it, as the girls put up a front, so they plan a getaway to the family’s cabin before the girls go off to college.
Being away from the city is exactly what the girls wanted. Virginia even has something special planned for Coleen on this holiday and being out in the woods is the perfect setting for it. Though things get put on hold when their family dog Trudy runs away and Coleen’s step mother insists she goes out and find her. So as Coleen walks into the woods she gets a chilling sign from her step mother, Tori, which starts a domino effect of bloody unforgettable events.

About Ashley:

Newly married Ashley Ehlers now resides in San Diego with her husband who is currently stationed there. There in their cozy two bedroom apartment she finds the peace she’s been looking for. As they settle into the new chapters of their lives Ashley’s Muses are growing stronger than ever as
inspiration is around every corner in her latest adventure.

Check out Ashley's Blog | Twitter | Goodreads 

I hope you enjoyed today's cover reveal! I personally want to read the books just based on those striking covers.
Tell me what you think of them!

Do you want to have me partake/host a cover reveal here on Confessions of a Bookaholic? Just drop me a note at

Sunday Spotlight: Stephen Oram, Author of Quantum Confessions

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today's author is Stephen Oram, author of Quantum Confessions. He has kindly agreed to an interview and giveaway with us here at Confessions of a Bookaholic!

About Stephen:

Like each and every one of us, my perspective of the world has been affected by many people and experiences: as a teenager I was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk; in my early twenties I embraced the squatter scene and then joined a religious cult, briefly; I did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout; and I’m now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism. I really enjoy taking a sideways look at our world and thinking, “what if,” and then writing about it through speculative, usually dystopian, fiction.
I live in Fitzrovia, London and my debut novel, Quantum Confessions, was published by SilverWood Books in August 2014. 

I also write Living in your dystopia, which is the online diary of a visitor to our universe who is trying to decide whether we’re worth saving or not.

See his full bio on Goodreads


Hi Stephen! Thank you for agreeing to be spotlighted on Confessions of a Bookaholic.
My first question is the one you probably expect from all interviewers, tell us about Quantum Confessions!
I’m fascinated by the concept of trust and that’s what Quantum Confessions is about. It’s the story of Aled and Grey and what happens to them in a world where all trust is destroyed. I’m often struck by how much we choose to trust as we go about our everyday lives; society doesn’t descend into chaos mainly because we trust its structures – family, police and so on. Things tend to go wrong when people can’t talk to each other, either because they’re so entrenched or so wishy washy it’s impossible to have any meaningful conversations. Aled and Grey live in a world on the verge of collapse - he’s an absolutist and she’s a liberalist. And when you bring quantum physics and multiple realities into the mix, things start to get really interesting.

You say that you write a lot of contemporary dystopian fiction, what does that entail?
I use the phrase contemporary dystopian fiction as shorthand for stories based in a recognisable near-future that’s gone bad. It’s fiction that takes a sideways look and asks what if?

I often base the story a few years into the future so I can have some fun with technology and politics but keep it plausible. I start by imagining how our world might go wrong. I tend to mull it over for quite a while, trying to see it from a fresh perspective. Then I focus in on a couple of things that seem weird and weave them into my imaginary world – that’s the sideways look. The inhabitants of the story then grow out of the things I imagine about people I meet as I’m mulling things over and once I’ve got a good sense of the main characters I start to work on the story. For example, in my next novel Fluence I started wondering what it would be like if government was run by corporations and if social media popularity was used rather than money to determine your place in society. Throw in an aspirational young woman and a struggling older man and the story’s born.

Where did your interest in dystopian fiction stem from?
I’m not sure, but I find it great fun and exceedingly cathartic. Something about it resonates deep inside of me, whether it’s classics such as Orwell’s 1984 or the more recent Charlie Brooker TV series, Black Mirror. I’m a big fan of being slightly out of sync with my surroundings which I think many of us do by travelling to different cultures or by being tipsy during the day (neither of which I do that often by the way).  Along with satire, it’s my preferred vehicle for social comment.

What authors do you think have influenced you the most?
There’s a long list of authors who have influenced me. I’ve mentioned Orwell and Brooker already and when I was younger I was enthralled by the twisted worlds of Jeff Noon and Iain Banks. I’m also influenced by the great page turning stories of Minette Walters and the dark lyrics that come out of the On-U Sound music label.

What is the most helpful piece of writing advice you have ever received?
Use everyday language and cut out unnecessary words.

What advice would you give new writers that you wish you received back then?
It’s a marathon not a sprint. I read that loads of times after I’d written my first book, but it didn’t really sink in for ages. It’s hard to bring a novel into being and the sense of euphoria once you’ve completed it is amazing, but it’s only the beginning. Then you need to let people know it exists. That’s hard work and takes longer than writing the book, unless you’re already well known and people are queuing to get their hands on it. The flip side and just as important, even though I sometimes forget, is to enjoy the experience and to keep reminding yourself that you’re writing a novel, you’re writing a novel, you’re writing a novel – how brilliant is that!

Tell us about ‘Living in your dystopia’.
You’ve probably realised by now that I’m a great fan of the short intense burst that triggers a shift in the way we view things. That’s why I love writing flash fiction. Living in your dystopia is a collection of short observations by a visitor to our universe. It has the intense burst but with some dry dark humour thrown in every now and again. I published it on my blog because I wanted to give readers a chance to sample my work for free; here’s one to whet the appetite: you smell, which is a shame because I like you.

In your works so far, who would you say is the most interesting character you have created and why?
Grey is the most interesting because she’s a strong woman – intelligent and driven and yet vulnerable at the same time. I know that could sound as if she’s a bit of a stereotype so let me explain. She’s brought up by two powerful role models - her mum and her aunt. She’s a scientist and yet she believes in a supreme consciousness. On the downside, she can be arrogant and she’s rubbish at relationships. Here’s how she describes herself… These two powerful women were shaping me, helping me form my own wonderful uniqueness of two strong and sometime opposing sides to my personality. A side that thrives on detail and gets totally engrossed and a side that is wildly imaginative…

What should we look forward to from you in the future?
More and more and more! Fluence comes out in June this year and I’ll keep writing the flash fiction and the little teaser thoughts called what if?  I’ve started thinking about the sequel to Fluence, but there’s nothing written down yet so it’s very early days. If any of this sounds interesting to your readers, they can sign up for more news and stuff at my website -

Finally, I read that you are British (like me!). Do you think your place of birth influenced your writing in any way? In a world that is really quite dominated by American authors it would be interesting to hear about that.
I think being British has a huge influence on me, but then I’ve never been anything else so it’s a bit of a guess. Britain is a country that’s very sure of itself in some ways and very lost in others. I’m sure the confusion in our psyche between the fading muscle of an ex-empire and the desire to be a quirky creative nation does some strange things to us. In terms of how it influenced my writing it’s hard to say, but I do love the gritty slice of life of Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Jimmy Govern as they lovingly open up their stories by letting normal characters react to abnormal circumstances. I think Britain, especially London, is a fantastic place, but don’t get me wrong there are plenty of others - New York and Marrakesh being two of them.

Is there any bonus info you want my readers at Confessions of a Bookaholic to know?
I really appreciate honest reviews and I’d love more; my new website allows comments on each piece of flash fiction and it’d be great to hear your readers’ views.
There’s a few signed copies of Quantum Confessions still available from my publisher SilverWood Books here.

And, I’d like to say a huge thank you to you for interviewing me and giving me the chance to spread the word about my work.

Visit Stephen's Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About Quantum Confessions:

"A veritable head trip; yet rooted in a believable and sometimes visceral near-future.”
Grey is a high performing student with attitude. Aled is torn between his morals and his desires. They live in a world where those who believe in absolute truth are on a collision course with those who don’t. Society is becoming dangerously polarized and despite a thread of history that binds Aled and Grey together they take opposite sides in the conflict; Grey is recruited by The Project and Aled is given custody of The Proof of Existence.
Against the backdrop of a failing society and experiments to find the link between quantum physics and a supreme being, the real question that unfolds is...

"Who chooses your reality?”

Check out Quantum Confessions on Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

As I said before, Stephen kindly agreed to a giveaway which is below - please leave a comment after you enter with your opinion on this post!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Stephen and Quantum Confessions, don't forget to enter the giveaway to be in for a chance to win! If you are an author and want to be spotlighted drop me an email. Don't forget to share my spotlight posts wherever you can, it's really important to support the lesser known author community! Also if you want to be included in my scheme then you need it to be popular enough for you to have maximum publicity!

If you do share my scheme let me know where and I will post an endorsement of your blog/book/anything in exchange on my Twitter account.

Actual Confession of a Bookaholic

Saturday, 18 April 2015

When I named my blog I thought I was being witty, I never thought I would have to post any actual confessions, however I do have one to make:

I don't like Harry Potter.

Just let that sink in for a little while. I am in a real-life book club that maintain that no one who doesn't like Harry Potter can be a good judge of books and I seek to challenge this notion! It's not even that I haven't read Harry Potter, I got through the first three books, I just couldn't like them. I thought it was because I was too old when I read them but I have been informed everyone from 0-1000 likes them so that can't be it. It is the language that is used, I believe, that I dislike. It is child-like for the very understandable reason that it was written for children. If any of you ever wonder why I state that I will not accept children's literature in my review policy, this is why. I know Harry Potter is amazing really, I just can't appreciate it at my age.

But the films. they are based at an older audience, does that mean I like them? No, no it doesn't. But I do very much prefer them to the books, Like really prefer them, The casting is amazing (I love Alan Rickman and Emma Watson ridiculous amounts) but I just can't enjoy the films fully. This may be due to the ever-overshadowing prospect of me accidentally telling someone that I prefer them to the books - something which I would likely be stoned for - or it may just be the lack of background knowledge. I've known of many people who didn't read the Hunger Games before watching it who just didn't get it and I may have that problem with Harry Potter.

I do hope that this one confession of dislike for a very mainstreamly adored book will not reduce your opinions of me. I posted this in order to prove that you shouldn't judge a reviewer on the books they don't like because that is just not a fair assessment. 

Guys, just because I don't like Harry Potter does not mean I'm a bad judge of books - it means I am a unique one and I pride myself on this.

I've been getting lots of requests for children's literature and this is partly an explanation for why I have had to reject them all. It is also partly my curious mind wondering what other really really adored books people dislike. 

Tell me about a well loved book you dislike in the comments!

Top Ten Book Bloggers to Watch (Part Two: 6-10)

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Two weeks ago I asked you guys to put forward blogs you thought deserved to be in my top ten bloggers to watch list, be they yours or others, and you certainly complied! I have put together a list of my top ten but if you are not included, don’t worry, there were a lot of others to contend with. I will be tweeting endorsements of the blogs I don’t include (@EmilyBookaholic) so watch out for yours! This list is in no particular order, sorry number one but you’re equal to number ten but you can pretend to be extra special if you like. I posted the first five last week, here are numbers 6-10!

6. Book Mouse

This is one of my favorite book blogs on the internet and that's not only because it is adorably named after a cute furry creature! I really enjoyed reading the reviews, even if I didn't agree with the four star review of Wuthering Height, I would have barely given it one star! I really loved the latest post on getting children to read, I'd really recommend you check it out!

7. Forever Obsession

Forever Obsession is a book blog with a really great design, it's simple but still attractive. A very positive point in Forever Obsession's favour is the 5 star review of Mortal Heart, book three in Robin LaFever's His Fair Assassin series which is AMAZING by the way. I hope to review book two and three soon but for now here is my review of book one: Grave Mercy.

8.  Leaf on the Breeze

Leaf on the Breeze is an unusual book blog run by Killian who you might recognise from his perceptive comments here at Confessions of a Bookaholic! Why is this blog unusual you ask? Because it integrates both books and music into reviews which I personally find impressive. I recently read and enjoyed the post shown in the screenshot above.

9.  Daniela Ark's Blog

This is a blog that I really love and am glad to have discovered through this blogger scheme. Daniela's blog caters not only to readers, with numerous reviews and giveaways, but also authors, with tips, tools and competitions, and bloggers. Obviously this is a very diverse blog and I really enjoyed visiting the different corners of it. I loved her post on how to write a book review, I plan on writing a book on a similar theme in the future!

10. Bookworms in Dresses 

Bookworms in Dresses is run by a blogging trio and though it is not strictly a review blog, though it does have some, it still has a focus on books and mixes that with fashion which I like. I love their posts on Bookworm's style - it's really good to get an idea about my fellow bookaholics fashion sense!

Couldn't find your blog on my list? If you I haven't featured you then I will still publicise for you in the twitterverse as I promised. For now, please share, repost and tell your friends about my blogger spotlight, it's always great to help out our fellow bloggers after all!

If you have been featured today I recommend sharing my post on your own blog to show your followers that you've been chosen as well as letting them know about the others who were picked - you can take the whole post if you like, just make sure to link back and credit it to me.

Sunday Spotlight: Massimo Marino, Author of the Daimones Trilogy

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today's author is Massimo Marino, author of the Daimones Trilogy, a work of post-apocalyptic, alien sci-fi. The concept of Massimo's trilogy is quite complex but don't fret because he kindly agreed to an interview in which everything will become clear!

Firstly, I'm sure you want to know what Daimones is actually about:

Dan Amenta woke up one morning to discover the world had changed...the Apocalypse had arrived. Death, destruction, and disaster were wreaking havoc across the globe. Yet Dan and his family remained untouched and he sensed some sort of supernatural power had left them the only three people alive on Earth. They were not. The efforts to survive and find others brought Dan to discover the disturbing truth about the human extermination. He met Laura, who brought revelations about the catastrophe, and her presence - a young, sexy, disruptive girl - raised questions about what was moral and ethical in the new reality. Other survivors reported what they had seen, forcing Dan to seek explanations from his own past. Ancient hallucinations strike Dan with the force of a sledgehammer and bring him face-to-face with his new role in a scenario with roots millions-of-years old. Planet Earth was now in the hands of an older power but not the one Dan had ever envisioned.


Hi Massimo! 
Hello, Emily. Thanks for the chat.

Your Daimones Trilogy has a really complex concept! Would you mind explaining in a few words to our readers what that entails? 
Thank you. Its complexity came to birth and grew while I was working on the first novel. At first, the story found me and introduced itself as a single, complete, independent story. Then, it revealed it had other grandiose plans for me. It all started when I discovered in TIME magazine, and then searched in countless online articles from various newspapers around the world, about inexplicable deaths of scores of animals. They all have in common a peculiar element: the death occurs one species at the time; all others, even when they share the same ecosystem, are not affected. It doesn't look like what we’d expect from a natural cause. So, the ‘what if’ started.

I read that you have won or been nominated for a lot of awards for your work, did you ever expect it to go so far? 
I’m the first to be amazed and marveled. It’s another of those ‘what if’. I sent my novels (the first and the second, not yet tried with the third) to literary awards opened to all authors from all publishing paths. The response from the juries has been beyond expectation, but also the response from readers, I have to say.

I also read that you consider yourself a scientist envisioning science fiction, how do you think your scientific background has influenced your work? 
A lot. As a scientist, you need to have a prolific imagination. Fundamental research has a lot in common with reasoning and dreaming about ‘what ifs’ in the Universe. In addition to that, my scientific background allowed me to imagine future technology that are actually a possible evolution of our proven knowledge, or our yet-unproven edge science theories. I imagine today’s technology obstacles to prove them (or disprove them) as being solved, and envision what kind of impact will they have in our society, and what struggles they might cause.

Do you think people without that scientific background can still appreciate your work?
Depends on what work you are referring to. If you’re thinking of my academic works then the answer is probably ‘nope’ as they are rather specialistic writings, but my novels are accessible to all public. Being scientifically correct does not mean spending sterile pages of describing new technology… boring for the readers (and for the writer). Those are the pages readers skip. So no scientific background barrier in my novels. Actually, I have received private comments from readers who discovered science fiction through my books and thanked me: they didn’t expect science fiction to be as entertaining as other genres they liked. Science Fiction not just for geeks, and science fiction is not just laser swords, spaceships, aliens, and outwordly situations. It also is about emotional struggles, love, passion, doubts, fears, and all that make us humans resonate and be excited when we read a book.

You have a number of other books out, tell us about those. 
I wrote a small collection of five short stories, crime dramas, where I do explore the theme of tortured loves: they can lead to the most heinous and hateful crimes. Currently, I’m working of my fourth novel, “The Law”, a NA urban sci-fi that takes place in the same galactic order that emerged from the events narrated in the “Daimones Trilogy”. It is not a sequel per-se, though, and readers don’t need to have read the trilogy to appreciate “The Law”. “The Law” is about the reasons of the heart versus the diktats of the brain. The struggle between what you *feel* you must do, and what you *must* do because of how you feel. In “The Law”, I cover the themes of "Law and Order", racial tensions, repression for security, and love between two young members of different races who believe they can change the world. The events show how the suffering, violence, and hatred have their roots in the ignorance of the other.

What is the most difficult part of writing science fiction? 
It is about writing “science fiction”. Science Fiction is a story where the scientific element is crucial for the story to even exist. Without it, there’s no story. Some believe that writing science fiction means just putting their characters in the future, add aliens and techno-babble, describe spaceships and stars, and voilà, a science fiction story. Not so. If you can write the same story, have the same plot in contemporary times, without any real need of the scientific element in your story, then you’ve not written science fiction. This Occam Razor does not come from me, by the way, but from giants in the genre.
To make it more understandable: you may take a western story. Cowboys vs Indians, horses, guns and arrows, immense prairies and battles. Now change the horses into spaceships and X-Wing fighters units, cowboys into space troopers, indians into aliens, guns into death-ray guns and arrows into anti-matter blasters, immense prairies into the interstellar deep space, and battles… well battles will always be battles. Have you written a science fiction story? Some believe they did. Giants in science fiction, and I agree with them, say no, that you have just ‘dressed up’ a cowboy-indians western story with a space-suit. To those writer giants, and to the discerning science fiction readers it’s still cowboys vs indians. It’s the equivalent of B-series, low-budget movies. At best, you smile at the naivety.

What advice would you give new writers, particularly of sci-fi, out there? 
A bit along the lines of the above answer. Science Fiction is about exploring the human conditions facing struggles and life/death situations (not just physical death, but moral, and professional as well) that takes place in a world where the science evolution and extrapolation have made so that those struggles and life and death situations could arise. Then, they need to read, read a lot, in the genre but also in others. Read with a writer's eye, take notes of what prose triggers what reaction in you, and study the craft. Then, after you’ve read a lot, you might start dreaming about writing.

You told me that you have refused to sign contracts with traditional publishers and opted for self-publishing. Can you tell my readers more about that and perhaps give some advice for their own publishing endeavors? 
We are the witness of a (r)evolution in the publishing industry triggered by Amazon and the like. Jeff Bezos has opened the gates and the gatekeepers are looking at each other unsure of what to do. Self-publishing has created a marvelous thing: everyone can publish a book, and establish a one-to-many direct relationship with readers who buy and enjoy the new voices. There’s a terrible monster that haunts the publishing valleys, too: everyone can publish a book, and readers are exposed to the slush pile for the first time visible to the many. The advent of cheaper and cheaper flash printers, together with higher and higher print quality, makes so that printing books in advance hoping to sell them later is bound to disappear as a business model.
Books are already in online catalogues available to all bookstores. These last will have their own POD printers in the back office, and customer will access loads of online information about the authors and their listed works. A reader will be able to pay and download to a device with RFID (a short distance wi-fi service, think of bluetooth), and/or click to buy the printed edition. Get a coffee or a latte at the embedded BookStop Café and be served latte, cake, AND a freshly baked book, right on the spot.
No more distribution costs, no more returns. Every single printed book is printed because it has been bought. Bookstores will have a never ending catalogue and be able to sell any physical book.
Dinosaurs that will disappear are those publishers who still believe that their service and added value to writers is just to get published, and writers need to put up with everything else for that privilege. This business model is no more sustainable because the basis for it is no more. It will disappear, and those who don't change business plan will be soon forgotten and crumble faster than IBM did when the clone PC and the primitive Windows operating system made through to the market.
Don’t pay in order to be published (run from Vanity Press: they are the plague) but at the same time don’t jump with joy only because a publisher wants to print your story. Read the details of the contract, talk to other writers, ask for advices and you’ll discover that today writers receive, in general, contract terms as if digital publishing hadn’t happened yet, and expert freelancers in the publishing process to allow an Author to do what any publishing house does were nowhere to be found. The times have changed, and also agents and some publishers are starting to notice that. In those cases, the only answer available to a serious writer is “Thanks, but no thanks."

Have you any more ideas for books that we can look out for in the future? 
Of course. I wouldn’t call myself a writer or an author if I hadn’t. “The Law”, my WIP or work-in-progress, is the start of a new series, and more ideas and stories are lining up at the doors of my mind just because I’m writing it. In addition to that, I’ve co-founded a start-up, BookGarage, that will deal a lot with the publishing (r)evolution we are witness of and address, based on my experience, the needs of everyone involved in the creation and fruition of a book, and the reading pleasure that derives from it.

Finally, do you believe your books will inspire young people to get involved with science? 
Today’s science already flirts with science fiction. The work conducted at CERN, and its implications, opens the doors to a possible future that rivals with the best science fiction inventions from the greatest writers. The study of black holes and wormholes, space-time bending, instant communication, dark matter, and the understanding of the law of the Universe that would come from that are breathtaking. You can read some of those in my blog, or come with me in my writing journey.

Thank you for visiting us over at Confessions of a Bookaholic!
Thank *you*, Emily. I enjoyed every moment of it. All the best.

Follow Massimo on Twitter and check out his website
Check out Daimones on GoodreadsBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Amazon

I very much enjoyed hosting Massimo here at COAB, if you wish to partake just drop me an email. Next week's author will be Stephen Oram, author of Quantum Confessions

Top Ten Book Bloggers to Watch (Part One: 1-5)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A week ago I asked you guys to put forward blogs you though deserved to be in my top ten bloggers to watch list, be they yours or others, and you certainly complied! I have put together a list of my top ten but if you are not included, don’t worry, there were a lot of others to contend with. I will be tweeting endorsements of the blogs I don’t include (@EmilyBookaholic) so watch out for yours! This list is in no particular order, sorry number one but you’re equal to number ten but you can pretend to be extra special if you like. Here are the first five!
1.  Lesser-Known Gems

Everyone who follows me at Confessions of a Bookaholic knows that I love classics so of course I'm going to love a blog that highlights the more obscure classics out there and Marcelle's blog, Lesser-Known Gems does just that. I am a huge fan of Charlotte Bronte, I despise Emily Bronte and I have read nothing of Anne Bronte therefore Marcelle's focus upon the lesser known sister really interests me! Anyone who loves classics and obscure books like me should definitely.

2. Chick Lit Chickadees

Chick Lit Chickadees is an adorable blog that is run by Elizabeth and Lindsey, they review a great variety of books from chick lit to YA, I recently read their review of Poison Study and discovered that I have very similar tastes to Lindsey which was great! Check out their blog if you like well written and interesting reviews.

3. One Curvy Blogger

One Curvy Blogger is a book blog run by Sarah. We don't have that many books in common, however, I LOVED her blog design - look at that header! - and also found out that there is a sequel to This is not a Test by Courtney Summers through her review of the first book. Anyone who can give me such exciting news has to be featured in my top ten!

4. Kookie Krysp Reads
Kookie Krysp Reads is run by Krystle and was nominated for this list by two of her fans so this feature may come as a surprise to her! My preferred genre's match very well with Krystle's therefore I really enjoyed stalking around her blog for a while, I am very glad to have been introduced to it! Go check out her blog for loads of fantastic reviews and giveaways! Or even just to read the sneaky George R.R. Martin quote in the corner.

5. Living for the Books
Living for the Books is run by Erika and I really enjoyed going through all of her great reviews and posts! I love finding bloggers who are similar to myself and I found that here certainly, I even discovered Erika and I have lots of TV programs in common through stalking her about page. You should definitely check out her blog if you like my blog, or even just for the lovely blog scheme!

Couldn't find your blog on my list? Maybe you will be one of the five who will be featured next time! Remember if you don't get featured I will still publicise for you in the twitterverse. For now, please share, repost and tell your friends about my blogger spotlight, it's always great to help out our fellow bloggers after all!

If you have been featured today I recommend sharing my post on your own blog to show your followers that you've been chosen as well as letting them know about the others who were picked - you can take the whole post if you like, just make sure to link back and credit it to me. 

Sunday Spotlight: Alice Poon, Author of Fated and Fateless

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today's author to be spotlighted is Alice Poon, author of Fated and Fateless, a novel set in colonial Hong Kong.

Here is some more about it:

This is a tale of love, corruption and greed set in a past era in colonial Hong Kong, spanning four decades from the late 1940s – a period marked by patriarchal bigotry, gender discrimination and Western ideals beginning to clash with Chinese conservatism. Wendy, the self-made corporate executive, has strong faith in free will and conscientious choices, but has a hard time living up to her principles. Diana, the spoiled and selfish daughter of a property tycoon, prefers to find refuge in superstition and self-delusion. Their lives cross each other in fiery episodes. Prior to October 1987, Wendy has her fill of bad experiences in her childhood and youth until she meets Tony, a Macanese magnate, and becomes his protégé. Despite her ascending career, her romance with Edward, her childhood playmate and Diana’s kid brother, suffers constant sabotage by Diana, who is also Wendy's archrival by design. Meanwhile, Diana breezes through life and covets the throne of her father’s property empire, but her heiress dream proves elusive. She and the love of her life get involved in a fraud deal involving corrupt police money, which turns out to be her cruelest life lesson. In October 1987 (when world stock markets crashed on Black Monday), Wendy and Diana finally come to a face-off which ultimately leads to a shocking epiphany for both characters. 

Alice kindly agreed to do an interview here at Confessions of a Bookaholic about her life and works! Read it below, I hope it inspires you to pick up her book!

Hi Alice! Thank you for joining us at Confessions of a Bookaholic.
First, tell my readers about what inspired the title Fated and Fateless!

I was inspired by this quote of the French writer and philosopher Albert Camus: “There’s no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” The quote is from his philosophical essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”. His idea is that the life struggle itself should be sufficient to make one happy no matter how dreary one’s fate is. This concept is widely accepted by Western educated people. In the Chinese society however, there is a fatalistic tendency to believe in one’s destiny and in fetish-like materialism. In this respect, it can be said that there is a big cultural difference between East and West, which was in actuality a prevalent phenomenon in colonial Hong Kong. So I thought it would be interesting to set the story in Hong Kong in the recent past and create two main characters with such opposing worldviews.

What is it about colonial Hong Kong that interests you and where did this come from?

It is the East vs West cultural differences that arose from the access of some of the younger populace to Western education and ideas, which were a challenge to the entrenched Chinese traditions and mentality. I myself was one of those young people who were lucky enough to have been educated at a Western high school, which made me start questioning the values that the older generation used to set great store by.

What authors do you think have influenced you the most?

I think Albert Camus’s theory of absurdism and revolt has had an impact on me, as well as Simone de Beauvoir’s views in “The Second Sex” regarding sexism. I am also partial to their existentialist belief that one must answer to oneself for one’s conduct without being influenced by external forces. 

What is the most helpful piece of writing advice you have ever received?

This saying of Graham Greene’s: “If you let the reins loose the horse will find its way home. The shape was something which grew of itself inside the essay, during the revision – you didn’t have to think it out beforehand.”

What advice would you give new writers that you wish you received back then?

I don’t know if I am in a position to offer new writers advice. But perhaps this might be useful. It was only after I had written my first novel that I read Milan Kundera’s “The Art of the Novel”, in which he gives a piece of valuable advice: “I’ve always constructed them (novels) on two levels: on the first, I compose the novel’s story; over that, I develop the themes. The themes are worked out steadily within and by the story. Whenever a novel abandons its themes and settles for just telling the story, it goes flat.” I wish I had had this advice before embarking on my first writing attempt, because then I would have had, while telling the story, a firmer handle on the important messages that I wanted to put across to readers.

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?

For me, writing is a dream that I could only begin to realize after retirement, for reasons of financial practicality. I was only able to indulge in this passion of mine at a late stage in life. So, while I’m having the thrill of a life time, being able to immerse myself in a “virtual world” of my own creation every time my fingers fly across the keyboard, by design it will be a relatively short stint unless I live to an exceptionally advanced age.

In your works so far, who would you say is the most interesting character you have created and why?

I would say Tony da Silva in “Fated and Fateless” is the most interesting character I’ve created. He is like a lover of my dreams, gentle, loving, big-hearted, uncorrupted by wealth with a keen sense of justice.

I read that you enjoy French classics, is there anything we might have heard of that you would recommend?

“Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo is my all-time favourite French classic. I would highly recommend it to those who love classics and who haven’t read it yet.

Have you any books planned that we should look forward to from you in the future?

I am in the middle of writing my second novel, which is a historical novel about the life and times of the first Empress Dowager of the Qing Dynasty in China, who was one of the most influential historical figures (she was the grandmother of the great Kangxi Emperor). She lived through the transition from the Ming to the Qing Dynasty and, being born a free-spirited Mongolian Princess, she left her mark on the reigns of the first three Qing Emperors.

Is there any bonus info you want my readers at Confessions of a Bookaholic to know?

During my research into dynastic Chinese history, I came across an interesting bit of historic information and would like to share. It is that the Forbidden City in China had its origin in as early as the Kublai Khan era in Yuan Dynasty. The Mongolian rulers wished to preserve their way of life and their habit of living in gers (which are domed tents built on a latticed framework) away from the sight of the Han Chinese subjects and so they cordoned off a district that was heavily guarded and made inaccessible to all except the Mongolian imperial tribesmen and their families. That was how the name “Forbidden City” came about. 

Finally, I read that you were a fan of the literary genius Oscar Wilde, which of his works would you call your favourite?

I loved his play “The Importance of Being Earnest” and also his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.
That’s all for now, thank you for joining us her at Confessions of a Bookaholic Alice!

WWW Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

There are two really good book blogger events that happen on a Wednesday.

WWW Wednesdays used to be hosted over at Should Be Reading but it got cancelled, I however still really like the idea so will continue with it. If any of you still continue it then leave me a link and I will check yours out. To play along you answer these three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?
Currently, I am reading Darkest Light by Alex Taylor. This book was sent to me by the author himself, all beautifully wrapped and signed, in exchange for a honest review. I am currently around 6 chapters in and I am very intrigued so far. There appears to be a multicoloured dog-type-creature and now I really really want one! My dogs are boring normal colours.
What did I recently finish reading?
I recently finished reading Saying Goodbye to Warsaw by Michael Cargill. This book was also given to me in exchange for a honest review and review it I did. This emotional wartime book managed to get 4 stars from me and I would recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and amusing, realistic characters. Read my review!

What do I think I'll read next?
I have genuinely no idea! I may reread Frankenstein or the Odyssey as both have been calling to me from my book shelf or perhaps I will read something completely different. Who knows?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and aims to spotlight upcoming books which we are really excited about! One book that I'm very very excited about is Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder, I absolutely loved the Study series and to find out that it was being continued with a fourth book was so great! I miss Yelena and Valek and I'm so happy to be able to see more of them. I know what you're all thinking - this book is already out! However it is not out in any of the shops where I've lived so to me it's still upcoming. I shall get my hands on it soon though!

Here's some more about it:
Once, only her own life hung in the balance… When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek. Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

I don't normally like fantasy but this series is just great. 

Tell me about your WWW Wednesdays or Waiting on Wednesdays in the comments!

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