Thursday, 27 September 2012

What book should I read next? How about one that earns you free ebooks?

Nothing beats the pleasure of reading a really good book, but it’s so hard to choose one - there is so much choice. “What book should I read next?” is a common question asked on Twitter and Facebook.

We are guided by reviews, adverts and word of mouth and this can be obtained relatively quickly by large publishing houses with big marketing budgets. But there is a growing army of high quality indie writers who are creeping onto e-readers across the world.

All a good book needs to become a true bestseller (e.g. not invading the charts for a few hours on launch day) is for enough people to enjoy it and then recommend it to other people.

This is harder than you might imagine. When I launched my novel Working from home: Mixing business with pleasure? I ran a competition to give away a Kindle and over 12,000 people entered. However, a tiny fraction of these actually bought my book.

There are also many competitions on Twitter or Facebook that create lots of activity by people who have very little chance of winning the prize.

Your next book could earn you a free ebook!

Indie writers need readers. Readers need good books, and people want the opportunity to earn good quality free ebooks.

A new web site for book lovers has come up with a win-win solution. They have shortlisted some quality e-books and they are attracting people who love books and who love talking about books.

Libboo reward people (called buzzers) who spread the word about their favourite books with free books when they help to promote their favourite books.

So we have people being rewarded for promoting high quality books to their friends and networks. They also get to interact with the authors and receive special editions and other goodies. If they are really active they can win e-readers.

If there’s one thing an indie writer likes more than sales is hearing from people who have read and enjoyed their work - so it’s really a win-win-win.

How do I join in the fun on Libboo?

It’s easy, fun and free. Click here and shock-horror you’ll land on the page for my FUNNY novel Working from home. If you’ve read my book you can leave a review or comment. If you haven’t you can read a big sample of it and maybe buy it.

You can also explore all the other books and meet other authors. They are a fun bunch of people and I’m busy chatting with them and reading their books when I should be writing my next novel!

P.S. Yes, the traffic from this link provides me with some benefits such as free ebooks to give to my followers and extra exposure for my novel. But you’d worked that out already hadn’t you?

P.P.S. I know. You’re asking what’s with the photo of the foxy lady in the kayak? The answer is very little. I’m really bored of finding interesting photos of people reading so I put ‘excited’ into the search field and chose one at random - sort of... If you want to send me a photo of yourself reading I’d be happy to post it!

Libboo - the home of the next digital bestseller. Get free ebooks for telling your friends about your favourite books!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Why chick lit sex scenes scare the pants off me

Sex scenes, who’d have ‘em? My next book is going to be raunchier than Working from home, purely because of character development - it’s true! So I’ve been reading some books that are just a tad on the racy side as well as some more mainstream contemporary romance.

This random selection of books had a disturbing pattern of behaviour.In amongst the passionate kisses, animal-like groans and pebbling nipples (who knew?) it became obvious that author's view of men was a little bit short of realistic.

These men can bring their ladies close to their orgasmic plateau just by kissing them for the first time. Their tongues are weapons of mass seduction. They have ‘expert’ fingers that somehow know just how to tease and turn their new lover on with minimum effort - strictly no fumbling allowed.

When it comes to intercourse there is no trace of a wham-bam thank you ma’am. They have endless endurance, are well-equipped and never climax before their partner. In fact, a couple of foreplay orgasms seems to be mandatory before these men would ever consider introducing his penis to her ‘sex’.

So why am I complaining?

I know it is a just story but if anything seems too far-fetched I ‘fall out’ of the story. In this case it makes the sex scene less compelling or erotic.

But do people want to read a more honest account of the first time a couple have sex? The fumbles, the spare arm syndrome and little insecurities that lie under that wonderful tide of passion. The fact that despite his best efforts the man is almost certainly destined to come first. Or maybe that if he does exactly what drove his previous partner wild it will probably not work at all with this new lady.

It doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom though. The first sex of a relationship has lots of comic possibilities. However, is it possible to mix laugh-out-loud comedy with the necessary release of sexual tension that the sex scene provides?

The characters in my new book seem to think so. I let them take me where they wanted to go and this was the end result. I’m just not sure how readers who might be expecting confident Casanovas will react if they find themselves laughing rather than melting into second-hand sexual pleasure.

My challenge is to allow the sexual tension to build and be released without being compromised by the humour in the situation.

What do you think?

Answers on this blog post (below), or if Blogger is being an arse again and won’t let you leave a comment, you can leave wise words on my Twitter account @Russwrites or on the Working from home Facebook page. Thank you!

As has been pointed out by Julie Cohen in the comments below these observations should not be applied to chick lit in general!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

20,000 words in three days to create the ultimate femme fatale!

The school holidays have finished and I’m back to having three mornings a week to myself, plus a couple of evenings a week, for my writing. The holidays have been busy and challenging at times and I have to admit to being more than a little frazzled.

What better way to unwind than a long weekend away in a posh hotel? Only for this trip I am not talking my gorgeous wife but a very foxy and dangerous femme fatale. To be more accurate it will be just me, my laptop and my iPod as I churn out a major section of my next book Three lovers, two bullets.

I’m sure there will be a time when I will agonise over the correct grammar for the title, but this weekend will be all about pouring all out the details that have accumulated in my head and on scraps of paper over the course of the school holidays.

I’m aiming to complete 20,000 words of the book in three days - technically two and a half as I’ll be chucked out of the hotel at midday so I’ll come home with sore hands and bleary eyes. Strangely enough I should also be completely chilled and rested. I think you have be a writer to understand this.

The plot for Three lovers, two bullets started with a dream on a wintry night in Scotland and came into being last year on a scorching hot Barcelona beach where my femme fatale appeared in front of me. I’ve been in love with this character for ages and I’m still not sure whether she is going to give me a happy ending.

It’s no surprise then that the plot starts in Glasgow and heads to Barcelona where it becomes embroiled in Catalan secrets and grudges. It is different to my last novel Working from home being edgier and full of danger. While Working from home has a bohemian edge, this book is the full absinthe-guzzling monty and explores the dark side of love. Of course, there will still be lots of humour, but you’ll be wondering who gets the last laugh.

Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will know!

If you want to be on the waiting list for this book just email me and you’ll be the first to know when the novel is ready for publication. The current plan is to self-publish as an e-book only but this may change with time.


It took about 25 hours of writing but I did just about reach my 20,000 word target on my weekend away. The official word count was 18,000 but I re-wrote various sections of the 9,000 words I had already written so I think it was really over 20,000 words.

The book seems to be working really well although I'm still not 100% sure if my femme fatale is going to come up trumps with a happy ending. She’s got me wrapped around her little finger so I think I’ll leave it up to her.