Guest Post by EL Croucher

Today I have EL Croucher, author of Horned, Winged Blessed on the blog. She’s talking about her experience as an indie author and why she chose that as her route rather than waiting for pro publishers.

Take it away Emi Louise!

1. Why did you choose to go indie rather than going for the traditional publishing route?

For me, it’s a matter of being proactive and managing my own project. I’ve always enjoyed that type of management, so working on Horned Winged Blessed and my previous novel as self-published books was part of the fun for me.

The feeling of a random sale, knowing that I created all of this buzz myself… and the time I get back when it’s all done! I enjoy each and every moment of the process, just as much as I do writing and editing.

2. How are you getting your books out there? (Smashwords? Lulu? Createspace? Other sites? Printing & warehousing at home? Etc)

Currently, I’m hosting a large-scale launch party and inviting friends new and old. I will have a “share and pass on” scheme in which I’ll encourage those who bought a book to pass it on after reading it. I also have an Instagram account (@emi13230), on which I have a following that support me as an LGBTQ+ writer.

Finally, I have my website (ELCroucher.com), which is my main hub for information and blog posts.

3. If you went for a print version, why? If you didn’t, why not?

I did, because I am a reader of hard copies myself. Amazon provides the service for minimal effort, so any self-published author going through them would be silly not to!

4. How much of your time do you spend marketing and promoting your book?

Far more than I ever did writing it. I have several PR and Marketing managers, that are all friends as well. They have jumped on board to the project and believe in this book just as much as I do. Together we work on SNS content, blog posts, marketing strategies and press releases.

It’s all part of the fun!

5. Which form of promotion works best for you? Why do you think this is?

For me it’s Instagram, because I naturally gravitate to aesthetics. I promote my life as an author, and transgender woman. That allows my audience to connect and relate with me, eventually leading to a bond that makes them want to invest their time in me and my writing.

I feel that the process is organic and fair. There is no falsehood or “buy buy buy” element to it.

6. Do you spend a great deal of time on Goodreads?

In all honesty… not really. There is something about the website’s UI that I just cannot click with. I’m sure it’s a great site and I’m well aware that many people love it, but it’s just not for me. ?

7. If it’s not too rude to ask, how are you feeling about the progress of your book?

At the end of the day, I’m just a single person. There is only so much I can do. With that in mind, I’m incredibly proud of what Horned Winged Blessed has become. I read the book myself for fun. I still cry at the sad bits and laugh at the jokes. If I have a single fan that says they enjoyed it, then it is all more than worth it.

However, on a more positive note, HWB has now grown into a beast that is no longer just fueled by me. No way. It has eager beta readers, editors, a cover artist, PR managers and actual fans that care about it. That makes my heart melt with joy!

So all-in-all, I’m more than happy with the progress of this book.

8. Would you indie publish again?

Absolutely. Of course, if I was offered a contract I wouldn’t turn it down or anything.

9. If you used a professional editor or cover artist, do you want to use this space to give them a mention, so other writers can find the good ones too?

Definitely!

Thank you to my three beta readers – you know who you are. <3
Jake Ratcliff, my editor, wrote some of the funniest comments to my original transcript that I was belly-laughing while I went through them. He deserves a golden shovel award for the amount of plot holes he filled up!

Dawn M Larder was my cover artist, and I think I must have gone to her with no less than 10 drafts. I’m not kidding. We originally tried a concept that just wasn’t working, so when we gave up with that we moved to the current cover art. However, even that took several attempts to really capture the darkness and the dystopian vibe.

Thank you also to everyone that has helped with the PR side, the marketing, proofreading, samples and general ideas!

We finally got there!

10. What would be a good resource to make your life simpler, as an indie author? What do you wish was out there but just doesn’t seem to be?

In an ideal world, I would love to see the traditional publishing companies wake up to the realisation that the way books are published is changing. Language is changing. Reading habits are changing. I think that a deep modernisation is in order across the board.

That sounds about right. Now, tell us about your book!

About The Book

Follow Joan on her adventure of discovery, as she learns the hard way that her post-apocalyptic utopia isn’t always full of rainbows and Merlot.

Yes, she lives on the nicer side of the settlement, as the daughter of the Mother Founder. But after a life-threatening attack on her home, she soon realises that many out there are against the Silver Party regime.

Horned Winged Blessed is the story of one girl fighting against a tyrannous government, elected to power amidst the unending chaos of World War III. Heavily enriched in their pagan values, the Silver Party are to thank for pulling Broken Britain up from the brink of a depression, but at what cost?

Will Joan decide to take down the Silver Party from the inside…

…or will she go on to fight alongside the rebel faction that allures her so intensely?

Title: Horned Winged Blessed

Author: E L Croucher

Category: LGBTQ+ Dystopian Fiction

Publication Date: 29th November 2019 (Pre-release as of 10th Nov)

Publisher: Amazon

Editor: Jake Ratcliff

Cover Artist: Dawn M Larder

Buy Links

Amazon UKAmazon US

Thanks Emi Louise! Sounds great 🙂

Guest post by Jessica M. Dawn, author of The Paladin’s Path

Today I’m welcoming a new author into the fold. Jessica’s first book, The Paladin’s Path, goes live today. I was lucky enough to be able to read an ARC copy and found it lively and unique, a real page turner.

I know some of you have enjoyed my blend of fantasy and sweet, low-key m/m romance. The Paladin’s Path falls in a very similar niche of the genre 🙂

I sent Jessica my now infamous pick and mix questionnaire so we could get to know her a little more, and now I hand over to her 🙂

How did you come to write The Paladin’s Path? What was your inspiration?

I was inspired to write The Paladin’s Path while binge watching a LOT of kdramas in 2017. The historical dramas all include at least one person who is a martial artist of some kind, and a lot of them have homoerotic subtext – brothers-in-arms, friends-turned-enemies, ride-or-die friends, and the like. So the basis for a group of warriors working to defend a prince/queen came from that. And because I was irritated at the lack of representation in the shows I was watching, I made sure every main character in my book was some form of LGBT.

How you’re feeling on the brink of being a new author?

I’m excited. I got excited once it was edited. I got excited when I gave out my ARC copies. The reviews from those ARC copies have been so amazingly positive so far that just thinking about them turns me into a creature of sunlight and sparkles. I know there won’t be a huge blowout of people reading my book, but getting it out into the world and having anyone read it, and enjoy it, and get something out of it? It’s invigorating.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I like to think I have an amazing imagination, but ironically I have a very hard time fully realizing who my characters are if I can’t pick a face claim. Even if, by the end of writing the book, my mental image of them no longer matches that face claim. So, while they aren’t based on real people in fact, I do base them on real faces. Their personalities, hopes and fears, likes and dislikes, and the rest are from my head.

Do you believe in Happily Ever After?

I love Happily Ever After endings, or at least Happily Ever After For Now. I like when stories end with hope.

What’s the one thing readers can always count on when they pick up a book written by you?

Readers can always count on relationships where characters are supportive of each other. I don’t write couples (or even friendships) where one character is abusive or cruel toward the other.

Which of your characters is your favorite and why?

Of my original characters, I think Kres is my favorite. He tries very hard at everything he does. He is very optimistic and supportive of his friends. He’s a problem solver. He never backs down from a challenge. I love him very much, and he’s not even part of the main couple in The Paladin’s Path.

What’s the funniest scene you’ve ever written?

I think the funniest thing I’ve written is one of my fanfictions for Teen Wolf. It’s based on a tumblr post about really embarrassing attempts at flirting. It’s an AU that covered several years of Stiles attempting to flirt with Derek and absolutely, utterly failing. Reviewers said it gave them lots of secondhand embarrassment but was also hilarious, and every time I reread it myself I laugh.

Do you have a day job?

When I’m not writing on my couch, I am living in my classroom, teaching Ancient World History to 11-year-olds.

Where can your readers find you?

                My twitter

                My tumblr

                My instagram

Thanks, Jessica!

Now for the all important info. Where can we get it? Fortunately you can get hold of whichever format you like at this link here 🙂

Climate Change – what can I do?

Looking at that Greta Thunberg post going around, and yeah, she’s not the only one furious with policy makers and corporations willing to destroy the planet in 10 years to make a profit now.

What can we do to help, as relatively powerless people.

1. is obviously vote for the people who will make good decisions on ecology

But that’s not something we can do this instant, and things need to be done right now. It’s not enough to be angry about it. Lets act!

As individuals, we can change our own habits. God knows I’ve heard enough people on here whining “me giving up plastic won’t make a difference when industry is still churning it out.” But you’ve seen all the “Millenials are killing x industry” articles. If enough people change their individual habits, you have a groundswell. You have a movement that industry cannot and will not ignore. Industries are already trialing plastic substitutes. The minute their bottom line suffers because consumers are switching to greener alternatives, they’ll start getting serious about keeping up with the new demand. 

2. Here are some things we can do

  • Switch to a green energy provider (you’ll have to google to find one in your own country)
  • Go zero waste
  • Make your own cleaning products
  • Make your own deodorant (mix 20mls milk of magnesia with 20mls witch hazel, add 0.5 tsp baking soda and 10 drops essential oil of choice, pour into the last roll-on deodorant bottle you’ll ever have to buy.)
  • Stop using shampoo and conditioner 
  • Buy your food from a shop that uses no packaging. If you can’t find such a shop in your area, consider teaming up with your neighbours and making one.
  • Use less stuff; buy stuff second hand if you can, try not to use tumble-driers or dishwashers, switch your devices off rather than leaving them in standby. Walk, bike or electric bike where you can instead of driving…

It’s true that this stuff doesn’t make a lot of difference when done by one individual, but if it’s done by a million individuals then it makes an impact, and it takes a single pebble to start an avalanche. Maybe you can be the pebble.

So what else can relatively powerless people do when they face a corporation or a government that they can’t do anything about as individuals? 

3. Team up. Find your local eco-organization. (It’ll probably be on Facebook, at least in the UK.) If you can’t find one for your town, you can make one. Now you have a group of people who can collectively run letter-writing campaigns, shame the local supermarkets into changing their ways, band together with the groups in the rest of the state/county and start putting pressure on local politicians, spread ideas and recruit new people who hadn’t thought about this stuff yet.

It’s much easier to change the minds of those in power if there’s a big groundswell of popular opinion with you. And doing something about the environment is an idea whose time has come. You won’t be alone. You’ve just got to look at all the people who turned out for the climate strike to see that.

Found on Tumblr

Icelandic descendants of Vikings singing a hymn in a German train station. They totally need to be on the next Thor soundtrack.

brokenponycutiemark Deactivated

Oh man oh man oh man. 6 guys, and it FILLS THE SPACE. Luck of the architecture – and they know how to pull it off. Nothing is easy making vocal music in a space not built for it. I want to do this kind of thing – randomly perform multipart harmony in public spaces.

And it reminds me of Bjork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiN_YTyaNtI

twintrolldevon Deactivated

My god this is beautiful.

bloodandthunderp Deactivated

Oh my god, the bass voice is superb.

sorceressofwildwood Deactivated

This makes me feel so many things. Gods, it’s gorgeous and so evocative and wow. I need to find out what hymn this is.

euclase Deactivated

It’s Hear, Heavenly Creator (I don’t know how that’s spelled in Icelandic, and I don’t have the characters on my keyboard for the letters anyway haha).

It’s… old as balls. Like 11th century old.

ladytemeraire

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this video and it never fails to give me chills. There’s just something about knowing how old it is, that they’re singing the same words and notes their ancestors did, unchanged over almost a thousand years, that makes my heart and soul ache in the best way.

Also the harmonization is gorgeous, I’m so weak for men’s chorale.

Translated lyrics for the curious (transcribed from this video, I do not speak Icelandic so I can’t judge the accuracy):

Listen, smith of the heavens,
[to] what the poet asks.
May softly come unto me
Your mercy.
So I call on Thee,
for You have created me.
I am Thy slave,
you are my Lord.

God, I call on Thee
to heal me.
Remember me, mild one,
most we need Thee.
Drive out, oh King of Suns,
generous and great,
every human sorrow
from the city of the heart.

Watch over me, mild one,
most we need Thee,
truly every moment
in the world of men.
Send us, Son of the Virgin,
good causes;
all aid is from Thee
in my heart.

I suspect this is a more literal translation, but there’s something incredibly poetic and lovely about “smith of the heavens” as a synonym for “heavenly creator”.

Seeing Red is out today!

I can finally announce that the ebook is out and available today!
 

Bad boys don’t tame easy.

Victor is a bad man. Is there anything he won’t do for power and money? Destroy a local business so he can buy it cheap? Kick out its owners and turn it into a cash cow? He relishes the chance.

Idris is a good man in possession of a renowned tea-house. He’s put his heart and soul into the place. It’s everything he has and wants… Except for Victor. He wants Victor too. Can the love of a compassionate man restore a predator’s withered soul? Or is Idris doomed to lose his life’s work, and his heart with it?

~

A contemporary mm romance, Seeing Red is a long-awaited new installment of the critically acclaimed Trowchester Series. Each book in the series is a standalone, and can be read in any order.
Buy Now

If you get it, and I can beg one last favour, can I ask that you review it on Amazon after you read it?

When I was pro-published it didn’t matter so much whether I got reviews or not, but for an indie author they make a huge difference to how well I can promote and advertise it.

Thank you!


And finally – as a way of saying thank you for putting up with all the chat about Seeing Red recently. I would like to point out that The Reluctant Berserker is currently available for free on Amazon, and will be free until Friday. You could snap them both up together 😉
Free book

Release Day tomorrow

Well, I think I’ve done everything I can to prepare for the release of Seeing Red tomorrow. I’ve still got to write a Newsletter, reminding my list that it’s out – but I can’t really do that until tomorrow.

I’ve engaged Vibrant Promotions to do me a blog tour starting on the 18th and carrying on until the 24th. This is my first experience of using a marketing service to do for me what Riptide used to do. Will it work as well?

I’ll be interested to find out.

I’m not really sure what I’m doing, tbh. But that’s never stopped me before.

On an unrelated note, I’ve also joined the @sunbeam.city instance of mastodon, where I can talk about solarpunk and permaculture gardening all I like. Whether or not I end up being as inactive there as I am everywhere else remains to be seen. But if you’re interested, you can find me here:

Mastodon

Seeing Red – Early reviews are great :)

I’ve had some wonderful pre-publication reviews on Seeing Red. It’s always good knowing that it’s going to go out into the world with a guarantee that actual readers have loved it.

Eagle eyed viewers may spot that I’ve slightly changed the cover again

I’m also both amused and hugely relieved that the reviews are split down the middle with half of the readers loving Idris and the other half loving Victor. That is perfect and exactly how it ought to be.

I loved them both for very different reasons. I like to see they both have folk who will take their sides 🙂

“Quality writing full of depth and detail. Author doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects or morally dubious characters, and addresses the issue of nature vs nurture in a way that damn near broke my heart.
Idris is adorable, if too innocent and trusting, a character that is easy to like and root for. He shines off the page like sunshine, making even the morally dubious Victor glow.”

“Victor’s story is heartbreaking. Page by page, I saw him practically reset all his previous beliefs in order to eventually consider himself a man worthy of being loved and capable of loving in return. …
Seeing Red is a beautiful story of two troubled souls finding each other, bringing hope,color and love into the other’s life. I love it so, so much and I highly recommend it.”

“I was lucky to get an advance copy of this super book, the latest in Alex Beecroft’s Trowchester series of standalone tales. She does the characters so well. … All the Trowchester people are like old friends as they appear in this novel. The only problem now is the wait for the next Trowchester tale! I’ve read this twice already – its a keeper”

Also how lucky am I that I have people all over the world who like my books? Really lucky and delighted!

Ask me anything!

I’m going to be taking over Coffee Time Romance’s blog all day on the 20th of May to help promote Seeing Red.

This seems like a great opportunity for a bit of a Q&A.

Do you have questions you would like to ask me in particular? Or just things you would like to ask any author?

Let me know, and I’ll be sure to answer them on that day.

Seeing Red Release Date

Seeing Red has a release date! And a cover, and a blurb 🙂

As per usual, while I’ve dropped off the internet I’ve been paddling madly under the surface. I’ve finished edits on Seeing Red. I’ve changed the cover art to make sure both main characters were included. I’ve written the blurb. I’ve formatted the paperback and that is going through Amazon’s checks as we speak. I’m busy attempting to arrange some publicity for it.

I will be releasing it on May 15th 2019 – ie next month

BLURB: Bad boys don’t tame easy.

Victor is a bad man. Is there anything he won’t do for power and money?

Destroy a local business so he can buy it cheap? Kick out its owners and turn it into a cash cow? He relishes the chance.

Idris is a good man in possession of a renowned tea-house. He’s put his heart and soul into the place. It’s everything he has and wants…

Except for Victor.

He wants Victor too.

Can the love of a compassionate man restore a predator’s withered soul? Or is Idris doomed to lose his life’s work, and his heart with it?

~

A contemporary mm romance, Seeing Red is a long-awaited new installment of the critically acclaimed Trowchester Series.

Each book in the series is a standalone, and can be read in any order.

Are you dead, Alex?

I am not, in fact.

So what have you been doing? And why are you talking to yourself? Have you finally lost your marbles?

Well, I can’t completely rule that out–I may never have known where my marbles were to begin with. However, I have been working on the first draft of the next Trowchester book, and I now have that completed.

It’s been a struggle switching back to romance after having taken so much time off to write mystery and sci-fi, but I made myself cry a couple of times. So I consider that a good sign.

Now I’m going to let it sit for a week while I wrestle with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Associates, Facebook Ads, setting up a newsletter opt-in bundle and such like. Then I’ll come back and do a second draft. I already know at least three scenes are missing, so they need adding. It’ll be about 75,000 words when it’s done.

Meanwhile I’ve been learning Photoshop and knitting. Not together, though!

Behold my first book cover made entirely in Photoshop (rather than Gimp.) The text options are so much better!

Base image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Oh, there’s another thing for me to do – set up a cover art blog. This year is the year I add Cover Artist to my three-different-flavours-of-author portfolio.

If any cover artists are out there reading, can you give me any advice? Yet again I am starting a thing before I know how to do it.

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