Monthly Archives: August 2016

Review for “Betrayal” by Sharon Brownlie

***** out of *****



I had the pleasure of reading this book recently and am glad to say I finally got it finished.  I was reading other books in between as I had promised some reviews to other authors, but nothing grabbed me quite like this one, although many of them were great as well. 

We’re introduced to the main character Helen immediately.  Helen is incredibly flawed following a lifetime of abuse at the hands of various people that she has trusted or should have been able to trust.  Falling upon a chance encounter with one of the people who she feels let her down, she travels to Edinburgh to exact a brutal revenge. 

Helen was my favourite character.  Not because she was nice, but because she was brutally honest.  I have known people like her who have behaved in the way she behaves and can justify it because they’ve been so badly abused.  It’s easy to say “She’s bad.”  That’s not strictly true, because this book is so layered that you have to go between the lines and find out what motivates her.  I also enjoyed DI Brennan who was so snippy and sarcastic that I wanted to take her out for a night on the lash.  Then, there’s ‘Toofy’, who you can’t help but like, even though you want to slap some sense into him. 

It’s difficult to surprise readers, particularly when the book reveals so many of its motivations so early on, yet Sharon Brownlie manages to do just that.  The writing and the dialogue is so often authentic that I could hear every character’s voice.  I also loved some of the very Scottish barbs.  That gave the book even more authenticity. 

My favourite part of the book was when Brennan spends the whole weekend on it and turns up on the Monday morning like a roasted couch.  That was so funny to me because I know so many who have done it.  There were far more engaging parts of the book and more intense scenario’s, and they were all excellently written, but this one really made me laugh. 

All in all, it was an emotionally charged and complex book that kept me guessing up until the end.  There is a follow up to this book which I will read shortly and will resolve anything that I believe wasn’t resolved here.  I have read other reviews where people found Helen unsympathetic and simply evil.  For me, I saw more to her.  She’s not a good person, but she has no reason to be a good person and has had nobody to guide her into one. 

I’d recommend this book to anybody who has a liking for the grimier side of life.  It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but what it does do very well is create a fictional world and immerse it with characters and plots that you might read in one of those real life childhood memoirs.  To create intensity out of that is very difficult.  Absolutely loved loved loved it!  Download it now from amazon or you’re really missing out.    


New title artwork

So I took the plunge and got my new book cover done by somebody professional.  I did my first three covers and felt I had done as much with my limited knowledge as I could. 

I am thrilled with the result and have had a good reaction from everybody who has seen it.  

I’m keeping this one under wraps for a while though as well as the title and the blurb for the book.  My biggest regret with the last one is that I revealed everything too early and wasn’t keen to make the changes I would liked to have in terms of the cover and the synopsis.  That was available for pre-order for nearly three months. I got a massive pull on the first day and then it dwindled off. 

This one is remaining under lock and key, which might be a clue, until much closer to the time.  I will reveal the title very soon and then the artwork.   Very excited to share it with you all. 

A big thank you to Sharon Brownlie who did the artwork and who provides you with an amazing service whilst doing so.  Check out her blog.

Lost Girl

So It’s been three months since the release of my debut novel Lost Girl.  I had dipped my toe in a little with Invisible, a novelette, a couple of months earlier and I’m still getting a terrific response to that.  

So writings the hard part,huh?  Not a chance. Writing that book was a dream.  The hard part came with the promotion. Every indie author will tell you what a task getting your new book seen can be.  

Once the friends and family get it on their kindle, your instant hit is over. Sales are likely to flatline.  Thankfully I got a little help.  The Facebook page Crime Book Club has been invaluable in assisting with reviews and promoting publication dates.  Thanks to them I wasn’t sitting on zero reviews.  Family and friends are great but they will rarely review for you without harassment and many will even say they’ll download or buy your book but won’t.  

I also used various other Facebook pages that allow free advertising. Want to know why they rarely work?   Because everybody else using the pages are also indie writers. They’re rarely interested in discovering your book as much as they are getting their own discovered.  You’re basically locked in a room with dozens of other writers where you’re all throwing your books up into the air and hoping one of your comrades will catch one.  They’re all too busy rescuing their floundering book from the floor so that they can throw it in the air again. 

Want to know what else hardly worked?  Facebook boosts. I spent the equivalent of my book profits in setting them up. I marketed them at my genre readers in areas of the U.K. that I suspected would read my type of book. I also marketed heavily at my home city who are usually supportive of homegrown work but that hardly got a response.  Facebook boosts are probably not the way to go unless you’ve previously had sure fire success. 

So the thing that did work for me was KDP select days and countdowns. In the lead up to my most recent book I set my first short story Invisible to FREE for five days.  I also put the first two chapters of Lost Girl at the end and then put that book on Amazon countdown the following week for 99p/c.  The following week saw the release of In The Wake Of Death.  Invisible downloads trebled and got to number 6 in the free charts.  Lost Girl sold more in that weekend than its entire three month release.  Once again the key is too let everybody know your books are on offer. They won’t just find them without prompting.  

I’m also using the promotional services of booksgosocial. The Twitter service didn’t really gain me sales as far as I can see but there was no quick success offered. What has been given though is invaluable guidance and great support. 

In conclusion the masses are correct.  The real way to get your book seen is to write more. I’m currently writing my fourth (third full length) and it’s the only way to really get your books seen. Also; tweet. But tweet for others. Nobody is interested in you if you’re only interested in yourself. I’m still finding the balance and learning what works and what doesn’t. 

Happy writing and reading guys xx