Archive for February 2014

Guest Post - Gilli Allan

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome the lovely Gilli Allan to the blog with a fab guest post. Thanks so much Gilli.

Hello JB- thanks for having me.  I am here to talk about my book FLY OR FALL, but before I do, there are two more exciting bits of news I’d like to mention.  

I was lucky enough to have my story, Holiday Romance, accepted for inclusion in the RNA anthology,  Truly, Madly, Deeply, launched on 21 February. 
I am only in the extended digital version, not the paperback, but even so I am delighted.  It was a particular surprise and a thrill to have Holiday Romance included, as it is the first short story I have written since school days!
My story is also available in the slimmed down (and cheaper) e-edition, which I share with Catherine King, Anna Louise Lucia and Rosie Dean - Truly Madly Deeply - Part 9.

You may have heard something about the forthcoming Vikings-Life and Legend exhibition at the British Museum, which opens on March 6. My son, Tom Williams, is project curator.

Early last year Tom decided he would like to write a children’s adventure story to coincide with the opening of the exhibition and he asked me if I would illustrate it. (At this point I should mention that before I started writing seriously, my career was as an illustrator in advertising.)  Tom’s book idea was then put to British Museum Press.  It took them a while to think about it, but at the beginning of September we had their agreement in principle. We produced a sample illustrated chapter... and the rest is history. Now on sale from the British Museum and all the usual online outlets -

 The Tale of King Harald - The Last Viking Adventure

“An illustrated adventure telling the story of King Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, the last king of the Vikings.  Based on a true story, Harald’s adventure takes him from a frightened teenager to wealthy and powerful warrior and finally, to a ruthless and tyrannical king, whose ambition leads him to a futile, yet glorious death at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. In this exciting and action-packed story, Harald journeys across the world from Scandinavia to Russia, Byzantium, Sicily, Turkey, Palestine and finally England. Travelling overland and by sea he gathers wealth, recognition and power, and along the way meets a range of famous and flamboyant historical figures including Cnut the Great, Prince Jaroslav of Kiev, the Empress Zoe and King Harold of England.”

And finally - FLY OR FALL. I spent several months in the summer last year preparing this book for publication onto Kindle.  No sooner had I clicked publish, than King Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, and all his adventures, evicted everything else from my mind.  As a result Fly of Fall had a very quiet entry into the world. Now, however, I have just completed the print publication of this book. I don’t believe it is available quite yet, so I can only provide the link to the e-book, but it will only be a matter of days before the paperback is also available on Amazon. So I am making a bit more noise about it now. 


Nell admits that she doesn’t like change. Married young and kept at home by twin babies and an invalid mother, and dependent on her husband Trevor’s wages, her life has been limited.  But when circumstances change for the better and her husband wants to move away from London, the ground seems to shift beneath her feet. She is gripped by an inexplicable foreboding. 

Now in her early thirties, Nell feels cast adrift, far from her friends and all that is familiar. Trevor is no longer the man she married, and their teenage twins, Jonathan and Juliet, are grumpy and difficult. The new house is unwelcoming and needs modernisation and she’s thrust into a continuing chaos of rubble and renovation.  The women she gets to know - Katherine and Felicity - seem frivolous and hedonistic. They wrongly assume that she’s ‘one of them’, someone who will delight in the knowledge that Patrick, one of the builders working on her house, is a notorious womaniser. At first grateful that he doesn’t make a pass at her, Nell begins to feel resentful that Pat finds her unattractive.   

Nell takes a bar job at the local sports club, but she distances herself from the overheated atmosphere of flirtation and gossip.  She’s not that kind of woman, but....   She can’t help being influenced by her new friends’ attitude of casual infidelity. Secretly Nell begins to fantasise about romantic adventures. When she’s pursued by a beautiful and enigmatic young man, whose name she thinks is Angel, she is tempted. Before she can boast about her conquest to another friend, the quirky, new-age Elizabeth, her world falls apart. The presentiment of disaster, felt as a tremor at the start of the story, rumbles into a full blown earthquake, delivering shock after shock.  When the dust settles nothing is as it seemed, not even the life she left behind in London.  The unlikely love which has blossomed from the wreckage is doomed and she is forced to confront the hair’s breadth between wishful thinking, self-deception and lies, when shocking truths about friends (old and new), her husband, both her teenage twins and even herself, are exposed.

Fly or Fall follows the dismantling of all of Nell’s certainties, her preconceptions and her moral code.  By its conclusion, everything has altered for the ‘woman who dislikes change’, but has Nell been broken or has she transformed herself? 

From March 12-15 the Kindle version of Fly or Fall is on a 99p Countdown.

Guest Post - Robert K Swisher Jnr

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome the extremely interesting Robert K Swisher to the blog. Robert has had a fascinating writing journey and I think when you read his guest post you will agree. Thanks to Robert for taking the time to write the post.........

I started writing in 1967 after discharging from the army.  I served in Vietnam as a radio operator in the 23rd Infantry. Lost and with no set direction I started writing poetry. Over several years I placed hundreds of poems to literary journals and a book of my poetry - Touch ME IF YOU LOVE ME - was published.  It is no longer in print.  I then started writing short stories and placed many in literary journals.  During this time to feed myself I worked on ranches in New Mexico - literary journals pay in copies - if you are lucky you also get a dollar - still true to this day.  After short stories I started writing a novel and did freelance articles for outdoor fishing magazines.  It took me several years to finish the novel - titled - THE LAND - it is the story of a certain section of land in the west and a story of four groups of people that lived on it - Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, to the cowboys.  While sending it out to publishers I started working on another one. 
 THE LAND was rejected 400 times, during which I wrote three other novels, also rejected.  A small press picked up THE LAND and it was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Best Sellers, Library Journal, and many others.  It was also turned into a audio book for the blind.  With the success of THE LAND fourteen of my novels have been traditionally published - eight of these are still in print and three have been turned into e books.  All of my novels revolve around people's need for love.  Over the past several years I have turned indie and released a four book mystery series - Bob Roosevelt and his Snide Guardian Angel - Roosevelt is trying to find the love of his life and his center while all his Guardian Angel wants is to have a good time.  

He thinks Roosevelt is boring and is trying his best to become the guardian angel for a rock star.  There are four books in the series - A BUCKET FULL OF LIES, TROUT FISHING FOR BODIES, DOUBLE BOGEY MURDER, and, FROGS DON'T CROAK IN THE WINTER - they are funny, snide, and a little off center.  So far A BUCKET FULL OF LIES has received many good reviews.  I also released a funny golf book - CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GOLF GOD.  

All of my earlier work is serious and I changed directions for awhile.  Over the past several years I have written three novels - HOPE - the story of an old folks home and how the residents learn how to fly.  THE LONELY COWBOY - the story of an old cowboy riding around a ranch and telling his life story to his horse, and, HOW BRIDGE MCCOY LEARNED HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU - the story of a man that walks two steps forward and then one backward, hates change, vows he will never fall in love, but when he does whenever he tries to tell the lady he loves her he starts to choke and can't get the words out.  I plan on releasing these this year.  HOPE has recently been edited and the other two are off to the editor.  I am also working on a novel titled Vent that is a reader participation book.  I did not go to college but I have taught a college class called THE REALITIES OF WRITING.  With all my years in the game I have seen it all, bad contracts, good contracts, thieves, and on and on.  You may think tell don't show is new, sorry, but I have seen books both ways.  Getting published has never been easy but indie publishing has opened many doors. I can say I made a lot of mistakes when I went indie but I am slowly learning the process.  I have only done my books through KDP, no paper copies.  Amazon has the biggest market share and if one hits I can sign a book deal.  I have also never written for the market and only written what comes into my head - it is a choice a writer has to make.  

During my writing career I have held over 200 jobs, normally working long enough to have enough money to write until I need another job.  If I have any advice to young writers it is simply do it, don't be afraid, any review is a good review, when you are done with one book go on to another, and schedule your time where you write more than you promote - remember it all ends up the same, the grave is always only one step away. Here is the link to my author page if you would like to check out my novels.

I am also on author central and Goodreads.  I wish you all the best with your writing.  If you want to contact me with a question merely message me I will get back to you.  Once again, the best.
Robert K. Swisher Jr.
You can find Robert's books HERE

Review - Dead Gone by Luca Veste

“The young girl you have found isn’t the first experiment I’ve carried out. She won’t be the last.”

In Liverpool, a series of horrible, grisly and downright gory murders have been taking place. All have been based on unethical psychological experiments. The one thing that links them all.............The university. DI David Murphy has been tasked with bringing the killer to justice. But, DI Murphy has a past that continues to haunt him and make him the ridicule of his colleagues. All, except DS Laura Rossi who continues to put her faith in him, hopeful that as a team they can track down the killer.

Dead Gone is the type of book that I love. It is full of twists and turns that will have  you guessing right up until the very end. Every couple of chapters I kept thinking I knew who the serial killer was. And then I didn't. And then I did again! Its that type of book. The descriptions of the murders are graphic but not overly so. The premise behind the book is very good and really interesting. I love books that give a glimpse into the mind of a killer. This is an excellently written book and I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of psychological thrillers. It will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page! 


Tempus Blog Tour - Guest Post - Holly Lauren

How to get a book published.

Now that my first published novel is out and about (the most terrifying and awesome feeling ever), folks are getting curious.

How long did it take you to write it? (1 year to write, 1 year to edit)

Where did you get the idea? (A dream)

Where did you find the time? (Time isn’t change on the ground that you find, you make time)

Does it come in large print? (Not yet, Grandmother, but you’ll be the first to know)

But the main question people want to know, and one that I wanted to know before I had this opportunity, is how in the world does a person go about getting a book published.

My Story:

2006:  I wrote a book. It was terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2008: I wrote a book. It was slightly less terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2010: I wrote a book. It was bearable. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation.

2011: I wrote TEMPUS. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation. Something in me KNEW this book was worth fighting for. So in …

2012: I spent a year re-dreaming TEMPUS. I sent out manuscripts to people I trusted for feedback. I got a critique partner. I edited, cut down, edited, cut down.

2013: I queried TEMPUS again. This time, Kitty Bullard reached out to me and asked if I’d like her wonderful publishing house, GMTA, to publish TEMPUS. I was in bed. I pressed my face into the pillow and screamed for joy.

2014: TEMPUS was released .

Quick Tips:

-Tailor your queries so you’re sending agents/publishers ONLY what they ask for.

Agents almost always list what they’re currently looking for in their profiles. Do you fit in their niche? Do they already represent someone like you? Do your research and mention these things specifically.  I queried about 25 agents/publishers with TEMPUS, but I knew that each of them were looking for something like it, and believed I added to or complimented their current list.

-Join a good database like Writer’s Market to keep yourself up-to-date on trends and current marketplace needs.

This is also where you can get connected to agents, publishers, and other writers. I got nearly all my agent profiles off this page.

-Read good books to sharpen your usage and mind.

I learned a ton from reading books like WARM BODIES (Isaac Marion), The DIVERGENT Series (Veronica Roth), and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS Series (Cassandra Clare). These people have “made it” so to speak, so watching what they do teaches you what gets published.

 -And, most of all, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.

If I had given up after my first book, that would have been it. Rejection is hard. But I made myself a promise: I would keep writing until someone published my book. I was just crazy enough to believe it. And if you’re a writer, my guess is that you’re a little crazy, too. J

If you’ve been published before, I’d love to hear about your journey.

Available Now
Chapel Ryan isn't crazy. At least, that's what she's been trying to convince herself of for most of her life. But after being hallucination-free for three years, Chapel finds herself facedown on her English classroom’s gritty linoleum floor. When she looks up, everyone around her is suspended in animation. Mouths hang open mid-yawn, feet hover mid-cross, Ms. Freeman’s arm flexes mid-sentence diagram. It's another hallucination. Or, is it?
Chapel prepares to tear herself back to reality when something happens. Something that has never happened before in any of her hallucinations--someone moves. And not just any someone—it’s the new guy with a scar over his lip and a reputation as black as his perfectly styled hair. And all of the sudden Chapel's white-knuckle grip on her life has slipped, and with it, her assurance that what she's experiencing isn't real.
      Genre: New Adult Fantasy
     One Sentence Description: After she learns the true nature of her hallucinations, high school senior Chapel Ryan must decide who she can trust in a world where the rules of genetics do not apply
      Available here: Amazon & Barnes & Nobles

Holly Lauren

Holly was born and raised in a small town in North Georgia. The third of four children, Holly grew up telling stories to get herself out of—and her siblings into—trouble. When she was eight years old, she penned her first publication: a newspaper called Sunny Dayz News. While she didn’t sell any actual copies, her sympathetic grandmother did peruse through the edition at least once.
When Holly isn’t dreaming up new plotlines for her next book, she enjoys breakfasting at Picnic CafĂ© in Dahlonega, Georgia with her (handsome) husband and their two (adorable) daughters.


Want a copy of the book Tempus by Holly Lauren?  Leave a comment with your email address or email me ( your email address and I will pick 5 winners! Yes 5! Competition closes midnight 26th February!

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