Tuesday, 29 April 2014

There's Been a Murder

Over the last few days Bookaholic has been immersed in murder and mayhem. Yes, even more than usual. What do you mean that is not possible. I can assure you it most certainly is as I have been to the Cromarty Crime and Thriller Festival. For such a picturesque wee town they seem to do Murder particularly well.


It just goes to show you can't judge a town by its beauty. The weekend kicked off with A murder mystery dinner. This was side splittingly funny with a cast of characters, each more eccentric than the last. Here is a taster and you will get the gist.

Ian Rankin had a guest role as the dead body and that is his chalk outline above. In case you were wondering it was done by Charlotte, the meek and mild librarian. Our table was the only one that got it right. Yeah. Go us. Just goes to show you should never trust a smiling librarian.

Saturday was a tad more serious with a full day at a Crime writers workshop. This was superb and much of what wa done May appear in future DI Shona McKenzie books. Watch this space. An excellent Scottish night, with Scottish all girl bands, Shine and the Shee helped us to recover from a full on day. Girl power Scottish style. 

Sunday was a chance to hear some of my favourite authors talk about crime writing and their books. I am sure you will a agree that Ian Rankin, Anne Cleeves, Lin Anderson, Alex Gray and Stuart MacBride form a formidable bunch. I wouldn't want to be in a room with all of them at once. Oh wait, I was, and I'm still here to tell the tale. Phew.  This was a fairly informal festival so we were able to chat to the writers over lunch etc. I can assure you, as well as being great crime writers, all of the above are genuinely nice people. 

I am sure you will agree that this weekend was a bookaholics paradise. The next event is The Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in Stirling in September. I am looking forward to it already. 



Just a selection of books from the authors who were at the weekend. As I say, all fabulous crime writers and well worth getting their books. That brings us to the end of another bookaholic post. I look forward to seeing you all back here soon. Have a great week and keep reading. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hidden in Christ by James Bryan Smith

Today on Bookaholics I bring you a devotional which is perfect for any time of year, but especially whilst we are still thinking about Easter.

I won a copy of this book in a competition and it is probably one of the best prizes I have ever won. The purpose of the book is to take an in depth look at Colossians 3 and to meditate on, and memorise, the words of this passage. A simple premise you may think, but the passage, and this book, is packed with power.

The book starts by asking you to read Colossians Chapter 3. It then moves on to cover a verse, or part of a verse, each day as a devotional. You are also asked to memorise the words of the passage for that day. This slows the passage down and really makes you think about the words. As you spend the day memorising the passage you will find yourself meditating on, and really absorbing the meaning of the words. Take just the first days devotional

"Since then you have been raised with Christ" Col 3:1

Thinking about the way in which you have been raised with Christ. No matter what happens in your life, Christ is with you. You, and I, have died to your old life and are a new creation in Christ. The old one has gone and a new one has taken it's place. This has particular meaning given that it is Easter. Jesus died and rose again in our place.

This book is both insightful and inspiring. Your bible reading will be changed and become more meaningful.

I could highly recommend this book to all Christians. It will transform the way in which you look at Colossians 3 and perhaps other bible passages. Take the time to slow down and absorb the meaning of God's words to you today.


That brings us to the end of another review for bookaholic's everywhere. See you all back here again soon. Until then, keep reading.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

How do Authors Reach out to Readers

I suscribe to author Kristen Lamb's excellent blog and eagerly await each post. Today's blog gave me food for thought. As authors's we are keen to get our work out there and noticed. We use every social media site and join every group in the hope of reaching new readers. As a writer I can identify with this, and understand why authors would act in this way.

However, as Kristen Lamb so very rightly points out, this can often lead to blasting your followers and readers with repeated posts on social media. I have had experience of this when one author posted 42 tweets or retweets one after the other. I kid you not as I counted. Needless to say I no longer follow them. 

The purpose of social media is to reach out to readers and get to know them. The key is in the word social. If we met someone in person would we then talk to them non stop and then walk off without engaging in any conversation. I am sure no one would do this, yet essentially that is what we are doing when we bombard our readers with social media posts without engaging them in conversation. 

I read somewhere that social media marketing should be 90% social and 10% marketing. This sounds about right to me. Let your readers get to know you. I appreciate that some people may not want to put too much out there, however there are ways of engaging in conversation without giving away all the details of your life right down to shoe size and inside leg measurement. How about the following examples from what I am doing now:

  • What a gorgeous sunny day in Dundee. I'm in my conservatory writing this and watching the ducks in the stream at the end of my garden
  • I really ought to do some weeding. Nah, writing is much more exciting
  • Coffee is very definitely a writers best friend. What do you think
  • DI Shona McKenzie is swimming in dead bodies. The streets of Dundee are not safe
  • Tonight is Chinese night with my 2 oldest friends. Watch out Dundee the women are coming. What are you doing tonight?
  • I think my favourite characters in a book, ever, are Jane Rizolli and Maura Isles. Who are your favourite characters?
  • The picture at the top of this blog is the view at the end of my garden. Beautiful and perfect for a calm writing environment. What is your perfect writing and/or reading environment?
Just some examples of how you can reach out to readers, seem like a human, and still keep your privacy. If people feel like they know you then they are more likely to respond when you put the occasional post saying:

  • So excited about my new book ...  being launched on ...
  • I am so full of emotion that my book ...   has reached number 3 in the Amazon top 100
Still no full on marketing but engaging your readers. 

If anyone has any great ideas for engaging readers please let us know in the comments. This is a chance for us to share and help each other as writers.

I would like to thank Kristen lamb for her post Social Media, Book Signings and Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales  which was full of advice and inspired this post. This is well worth looking at and Kirsten Lamb is well worth following.

See you all again soon on Bookaholic. This book writing bookaholic is signing off and leaving you to read a good book. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Lonely Graves by Britta Bolt

WE are off to Amsterdam today in Bookaholic. You can't say we don't get around. My reviews are a whistle stop tour around the world.

Lonely Graves is the first book in a new and exciting trilogy. Pieter Posthumus is in charge of the lonely funerals team. This department looks into the deaths and life of the recently deceased. He then ensures that they do not get buried unmourned. Taking his job seriously he looks into the death of a Moroccan immigrant and finds himself caught up in a suspected terror plot.

The author, Britta Bolt, has a great writing style. The characters are brought to life, quirks and all, making them jump from the page. The seedy underbelly of Amsterdam is exposed. One thing I did particularly enjoy was the way in which both sides of Islam are examined. It shows decent families who live good lives and get on well with their neighbours. Often this is missing in thrillers where only the terrorist aspect is portrayed.

Whilst this is not a page turner, it is a great book with some instances of real tension. The book finishes well, with an excellent set up for the next book in the trilogy. My only disappointment is that the second book is not yet out. I look forward to its publication.


This book is not yet published but is well worth pre-ordering. For my US readers. Sorry but I am unable to post the link for US as yet. Well worth looking up though

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Freya (aged almost 10) Guest blogging again

Hello it's Freya  again. Right now I'm sitting in the Toby carvery and I have just had a roast dinner and it was very nice. The manager just spilt a drink all over the lady at the next table.  We are going to tesco's next. I hate tesco's. 

It's my bitrtday soon and I am having a bouncy castle party and going to the cinema. I want a pony for my birthday. Auntie Wendy says I have no chance. Granny says it's not Auntie Wendy's decision. I'm having another birthday party the next day for just me, daddy, my sister, granny and grandad and Aunty Wendy.  

I have to go now as we are leaving. Bye for now. Thank you Auntie Wendy for letting me blog again. 

I am adding this. I have just been to Tesco and Auntie Wendy bought me a club penguin magazine and a quiz book. I am going to do the quiz book now. Auntie Wendy bought herself a magazine too.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Book Review: Small Business Marketing for Dummies

We are back to practical books on the blog today. The one I am bridging you is a cracker.

I have read a lot of marketing books, many of which are truly brilliant. This one is up there with the best. It is so choc full of advice I do not know where to start. This is a comprehensive book, the 24 chapters of which cover every aspect of marketing for small business.

These are broken into six key areas:

1. Getting started with small business marketing

2. Laying the foundation for marketing success

3. marketing in a screen connected world

4. Getting the word out with ads, mailers, promotion and publicity

5. Winning and keep in customers

6. The rule of tens

Within these areas lies a wealth of advice and hints and tips. As with all Dummies books they use icons to reinforce key things which are particularly important. In this case the icon for Remember, highlights key rules for small business marketers. There is also an icon for example, demonstrating the ideas in practice in real life situations. The warning icon highlights areas which should be evaluated cautiously. One warning is setting your prices too low. Unless you are aiming at the bargain basement end of the market then you should aim for quality and set your prices accordingly.

I am looking at this book through the lens of a writer. The advice on pricing particularly resonated with me. In many cases authors are selling themselves short when it comes to pricing their books and many are giving ebooks away for free. Whilst I appreciate why many writers are doing this I cannot help thinking that they are undervaluing themselves and their work. It is certainly an area I need to consider.

On top of the physical book there are also number of online cheat sheets which can be sued with the book. The link to these is included within the book.

This is not a book to read from cover to cover in one sitting. It is one to read over a period whilst putting the advice into practice. Using the book properly should put any small business in a good position in the market. As a writer, and therefore a small business woman, I have found the advice in this book to be invaluable. It is certainly one I can highly recommend.


Although I have provided the links for the kindle version you can also navigate to the paperback version and buy that. I feel this book would be better read in paperback as it is one which you will want to access frequently

So that's us for another day bookaholics. I hope all of you who are involved in running a small business find this book invaluable. See you next time and keep reading.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Case of the Black Pearl by Lin Anderson

Today on Bookaholic we are back to reading mystery and I bring you a book by Lin Anderson which is a superb introduction to a brand new series.

I am new to Lin Anderson's books but having read this one I can assure you I will be reading more. This, the first in a new series, introduces Patrick De Courvoisier, an enigmatic Englishman living in Cannes. Patrick is a character who is somewhat aloof but this fit his role in the book perfectly. You get glimpses of the softer side of his character in the way he interacts with one of the female characters, and also his very loveable dog. The remaining characters in the book are an eclectic bunch who are well drawn. I could picture them perfectly.

Anderson, an obviously accomplished writer, has set the scene perfectly in this book. The setting is vividly described. Having, myself, been to Cannes on numerous occasions, I can say she has captured the essence of the City and the way in which the people live and work. As I say, this is the first in a series, so much of the book is taken up with setting the characters, and the setting in place. This means that the suspense is somewhat less in the book. However, I found this to be necessary and the suspense was also gripping and of a high quality.

I would highly recommend Lin Anderson as a writer, and this new series. I will certainly be looking out for the next book.


I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. I was at no point asked to provide a positive review, and my review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book.

That's us for another day my bookaholic friends. Whatever you are reading, sit down, pour a drink, relax and enjoy. See you all again very soon