Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Friday, June 7, 2019

An exciting new release from @GilliAllan, plus cover reveal

Great news for all fans of author Gilli Allan - her long-awaited, and truly excellent new story BURIED TREASURE is due for release on June 14.  Before revealing the cover, here are a few words about it from the author herself:


In introducing the cover of my new book, I am prompted to ask the question: What is Treasure? 
There’s that magic crock of gold. All you need is rainbow, and some fail-safe method to find the spot where it touches the ground. There’s the cave in the desert, lit by the jewellery, gems and tumble of golden coins and artefacts which fill it.  All you need is a magic lamp. Or there’s always a desert island somewhere, with a chest of pirate gold buried in the sand. To find this you’ll need a parchment map, with a dotted line leading to X marks the spot.
To design my cover, I looked endlessly at images of treasure and of archaeological digs.  Nothing I saw, though interesting and attractive in themselves, really conveyed what BURIED TREASURE is about.
My book is less about material treasure and more about the damage that burying the past can inflict on the present.  It is easier to suppress hurt and humiliation, and erect barriers against the world. It is only by trusting again, and exposing your mistakes to the light, that you can rediscover the best of yourself.


Back cover blurb:
Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems. 
About the author:
Gilli Allan began to write in childhood - a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother. 
Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.
She is published by Accent Press and each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.
Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work, published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’. 

FLY OR FALL:   (@gilliallan)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Guest Blogger Jenny Twist on Dual Language Publications

It's always a pleasure to welcome my friend Jenny Twist to my blog, and especially so when she has something exciting to share with us all.  So let me hand straight over to Jenny to tell you about her latest publishing venture.

Today I am launching a joint venture with Alicia Pérez Alarza.

It was clear to me when I was learning Spanish that there were very few really good dual language books available. Five years ago a friend of mine complained about the same thing,
I did some research and discovered he was right. Most dual language books available on Amazon are very poor quality, either translated by English speakers who are not bilingual, or are completely inappropriate for those wishing to learn modern Spanish. What is the point, for example, of using Don Quixote as background reading? If you were teaching English to a Spaniard, would you  recommend them to read Chaucer?

And there is another point. Something that infuriated and offended me when I was learning Spanish. The stories they choose are so boring. It upset me to spend good money on boring books.

So I published one of my own. I chose Mantequero because it was short, the title was the same in both languages, and I had already had some interest from a school in California where many of the students were Hispanic.  

I felt it was essential that the translation should be done by a native speaker. Good translations are invariably translated into the translator’s native tongue. However good you are at a foreign language you will never be able to speak it like a native. So I paid for a professional translation.
It worked very well. I know of at least two schools which adopted it but the cost of translation was prohibitive. It was too high to make the book viable commercially.

So I reluctantly abandoned my plan to produce a whole series.

Then something happened. An author friend of mine said he had many of his books translated into
foreign languages using a translation site where you split the royalty with the translator. Sadly, the site only does straight translations, not dual language, but in the course of having translations done (mostly in Portuguese) I came across Alicia and we became friends.

I told her about my dream of producing dual language books and she was very enthusiastic. Our first joint effort is out today as an eBook and will be followed shortly by the print book.

We think we can probably produce a new book every six weeks or so.  Once we have, say, half a dozen we can start seriously marketing them for schools.

If, in the meantime, any of you are learning Spanish, I’d be delighted if you read this and tell me what you think.

Here is the blurb for The Children of Hope:

Click on the book cover or the title to find Mantequero on Amazon
Click on the book cover or the title find The Children of Hope on Amazon

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Christmas Gift from Me to You #free brand new short story - Christmas week only

Diane and Roger are "empty-nesters" and the prospect of another dull, quiet Christmas does not exactly fill them with the joys of the festive season, until Roger has an idea to invite a dozen strangers to spend Christmas day with them.  

If you would like to read this short Christmas tale completely free, please visit my website, which contains a link to email me directly, and I will be happy to send it to you.  Don't forget to let me know your preferred e-format.  This story is not available anywhere else.

And hurry.  This free offer will only last during Christmas week.

Happy reading.  I wish all my readers and friends a Joy-filled Christmas and a Happy and Successful New Year.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen

What if today was "lights out?"

Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen
If you knew this was your last day to live, what would you do? Would you face the end with a clear conscience? Would you fight for one more day?
Look for that person you wronged and make it right? Run away? Turn and fight? What would you do?

In Lights Out by Kayelle Allen, the hero knows his end is near. Instead of running, Tornahdo makes a choice. He will face death with a clear conscience and the knowledge that his death will serve mankind. He will join...

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die.

Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die.

When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on Enderium Six.

He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists.

Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see.

To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...

Excerpt, Lights Out by Kayelle Allen

The air reeked of antiseptic and starch stiffened the pillowcase. If only the mind-numbing jabbering would stop.

Tornahdo pried open his eyes. The flattened blood bag above him, stenciled equipment and gray walls screamed military hospital.

He'd died. Again.

Spanish curses slipped out. His abuela would've taken a switch to him. He made the sign of the cross and kissed his fingertips.

After yanking the tube out of his arm, he pressed a thumb over the entry point. Thankfully, this time, he wasn't writhing on the floor in agony. Well, not yet.

A faceless android in a Ghost Corps uniform loomed over a bank of equipment displaying Tornahdo's name and vitals. First impression was right. Military hospital.

The weapons-grade yapping continued.

"Did you hear?" a youthful voice bragged. "He killed six of 'em last night."

"Yeah, but they don't stay dead. They never do."

"If Ultras didn't come back to life, their plasma wouldn't bring our own people back."

The transfusion of enemy blood healed the hole in Tornahdo's arm in seconds. He thumbed off the red smear and rolled over on the gurney.

An open door led to a sink and toilet built to let gravity do its work. Which meant this was a planet. You hadn't lived until you were in space, floating in zero gravity while your body's final twitches sent your corpse spinning.

Notices on the wall confirmed this was San Xavier in the Colonies of Man. Same place he'd bought it the first time.

This was getting old.

Lights Out
part of the Science Fiction/Space Opera anthology
The Expanding Universe Vol 4
edited by Craig Martelle
Available Sept 17, 2018
Exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Peek Inside Lights Out

Go behind the scenes with the world and characters of Lights Out with an exclusive illustrated PDF book. Nothing to sign for or opt in to get. Just click and read:
Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi and Space Opera with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran who's been married so long she's tenured. She is the author of seven books, three novellas, and multiple short stories.

Kayelle's Contact Information

Amazon Author page
Join one of Kayelle's reader groups and get four free books right away
Buy link for Lights Out

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Digital Marketing: An Author's Best Friend? by Guest Blogger Nicole Allen

Many authors have numerous story ideas running through their mind—but they don't know how to market themselves in this day and age. How can an aspiring author rise above the ranks in a digital world? Digital marketing may be an author's new best friend.

The written word remains one of the powerful forms of media until now. Even with the existence of photos, audio, and videos, nothing sends a message across more efficiently than words. This is why the world constantly needs authors of different kinds—authors of books, poems, articles, prose, among many others.

Image courtesy of
The writer's mind is unlike any other--even with the development of artificial intelligence, there's still no skill that can compare to the writer's ability to weave thoughts and feelings and put them into a string of words with such beauty and power. Now, more people discover that they have this talent and wish to share their writings with a bigger audience.

The author's dilemma

Many authors face the same dilemma—they have the desire to launch themselves as self-published writers, but they don't have the foundations to begin with. They don't know how to promote themselves, or find an audience that would appreciate their work. In this scenario, it is important for any author not just to master their craft. It is also essential for them to understand the basics of digital marketing to succeed in getting recognized.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing, explained simply, is a set of techniques that authors can use to promote themselves online. Now that information is best accessed on the internet, businesses and professionals use the power of internet promotion to get more clients, bring in a larger audience, and to rake in more customers.

As an author, you can also utilize digital marketing to find more readers for your work. We will be discussing the two main techniques for digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Image courtesy of
Search engine optimization or SEO is one of the main ways to get readers for your work. Have you ever tried to input a phrase on Google and seen a list of websites that seemed to match the phrase you were looking for? Most likely you clicked on the top three links that you found. These websites have utilized SEO strategies to become the top link during your search. If you're ever wondering what kind of tactics are currently being used and implemented you simply need to look at some highly competitive niches. Take a deeper look into the gold IRA niche, addiction niche or the car insurance niche. These types of businesses have lot of money set aside for research and development and often times are at the cutting edge of SEO R&D.

SEO is comprised of these processes:

      Content creation: This is the process of building content for your website. In order for potential readers to find you, you need to create content that matches the keywords that they might be looking for. An example would be making a blog post about "romance novels" or "children's book about being thankful". It is important to use these keywords as you create your content. As you do this, there is a higher chance that you will get ranked at search engines.

      Link building: This next process is creating links within your website, and creating content that links back to your author website. Link building is important because it helps search engines crawl through your website to understand it better. The better your website is understood, the more chances it will also be ranked in the search engines. To perform link building, you need to link to other articles or content within your website as you make blog posts. You can also ask to guest post in other people's websites and asked to be linked back to your website. This strategy also helps in your ranking.

The continuous process of content creation and link building is essential if you want to promote yourself as a budding author.

Social media marketing

Image courtesy of Green Tornado
Another source of potential readers is through social media. At present, there are 2.62 billion users who are constantly checking their social media. One way to leverage this as an author is to promote yourself using a variety of popular social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Similar to SEO, you can also post useful content in your social media accounts to attract an audience. You can also post links that lead to your website through these social media accounts. When you have a large following in your social media accounts, the likelihood of your audience clicking through your links will be higher. Alternatively, you can also pay for sponsored posts where your ad will appear for with targeted interests in your niche as an author.

Tips for Digital Marketing as an Author

Do proper keyword research.

Image courtesy of
If you are a budding author, it may not be wise to use your name as a keyword to target when you are right keywords will also increase the possibility that people will land in your website.
writing blog posts. It may be best to use popular but low competition keywords to use. There are apps that can help you understand what people are searching for, such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush. Finding the

Post consistently and regularly.

It is also important to have a posting schedule both in your website and social media. Letting your audience know that they can expect you to always be around also keeps them hanging around for more. Search engines can also detect websites that regularly post content. When crawlers notice that you put fresh content consistently, they will rank your websites better.

Be engaging with your audience.

Sure, you may have caught you audience's attention, but it is also essential to keep them interested. As an author, it is important to always engage your audience with interesting content, respond to questions, and to understand what they want. Interacting with your audience gives you a better feel of what direction you should go as an author.

It is possible to succeed

The questions most authors ask when overwhelmed with SEO and social media strategies is "Will I succeed?" The simple answer is "Yes!" as long as authors are always willing to adopt to changing technologies and techniques that affect their profession.

About the Author

Nicole is a freelance writer and educator based in Michigan, and believes that her writing is an extension of her career as a tutor,  since they both encourage learning and discussing new things. When she isn’t writing, you might find Nicole running, hiking, or swimming. She has participated in several 10K races and hopes to compete in a marathon one day.

Disclosure: The author has links to specific organizations/companies in the article ,which are in no way affiliated with this website or its owner.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Congratulations @JennyTwist1 - voted 2018 Top Female Author

Regular readers of my blog will know by now how much I admire the stories of my good friend and fellow author, Jenny Twist, so they will understand me wanting to shout out a few words of congratulations to her on her recent success.  In fact, I shouted so loudly, I managed to rouse her from her beautiful idyll in Spain, and persuade her to come and tell us a bit more about her award-winning book, 'All in the Mind'.  

Welcome Jenny, and many congratulations on your win.  Before we talk about the winning novel, do tell us about the competition, how you came to enter it, and your reaction when you heard the news.

My very good friend, Tara FoxHall, did a radio interview for TheAuthors’ Show and told me that as well as doing interviews, they were running a top female authors competition. You couldn’t enter yourself but had to be nominated and it was FREE. So naturally I wrote to all my friends asking if they would be prepared to nominate one of my books. It turned out they all were (I have some lovely friends) and between them they nominated all my books. I also nominated all my own favourite authors.
So I duly filled in all the forms they sent me and then forgot all about it. On Monday morning Tara emailed me to say I’d won. I thought she was joking. I’ve entered so many competitions and never got further than the shortlist before. So thank you so much, Tara.

What a great friend!  All in the Mind is a beautiful story and a worthy winner.  When I read it, I described it as 'a sweet and haunting feel-good story, which will immerse you totally in its fictional world and leave you feeling deeply satisfied'.  Would you like to outline the story in more detail for us.

All in the Mind is the story of Tilly, who wakes up from a dream of her youth, dancing in the street on VE Day, to discover she is in her 80s and has been suffering from Alzheimers. Miraculously a new treatment has restored her memory and she wonders if it can be applied to her beloved husband, Johnny, who has had a stroke. But the treatment has an interesting side effect. Soon she realises she is gradually getting younger.

It's a fascinating idea.  I'd love to know what inspired you to write this.

Years ago I read about an old folks’ home where they did the experiment of making the resident’s environment like that of their youth. I can’t remember where I read this or what they were attempting to achieve but I do remember that one surprising result was that the subjects’ hair darkened.

I’ve had this idea lurking in the back of my mind ever since. What if you carried the experiment to its logical conclusion?
Spookily only the other night I caught the tail end of a ‘Horizon’ programme. They were doing an experiment with old people – surrounding them with things from their youth and treating them as if they were still young. Result, they became fitter, their cognitive ability improved and, to the amazement of the scientists, even their eyesight and hearing improved! Maybe this isn’t science fiction but science fact.

Will you share an excerpt with us?

“What? This weekend?”
They were in the hospital cafeteria; Tilly leading the way, looking for a free table, Johnny following on behind with a tray of tea and cakes.
“I'm being posted next week and I don't know when I'll get another chance.”
Tilly found a table and sat down, placing her bag carefully between her feet.
Johnny placed the tray on the table and sat opposite.
“I'm supposed to be on duty,” she said.
“Supposed?” Johnny began, taking a mouthful of tea. He spluttered, but managed manfully to swallow it.
“For f – heaven's sake,” he exclaimed, suppressing the more robust army oath which had risen to his lips. “What on earth is this?”
Tilly smiled. “The general consensus amongst the staff is that it's the floor sweepings from the tea warehouse, but some of us think it comes from a less salubrious place – a stable, for example. Of course,” she mused, “its unique flavour is enhanced by making it with lukewarm water and leaving it to stand for at least twenty minutes.”
“Jesus,” Johnny muttered under his breath, afraid the other customers might hear him blaspheming, “It's worse than the stuff they give us in the NAAFI.”
“You should try the cakes,” Tilly said sweetly.
Beneath the merry banter, she was in a terrible stew. She was terrified of meeting Johnny's parents. She saw them in her mind's eye – his father, stern and forbidding with a military bearing and mutton chop sideburns, looking, now she came to think of it, very much like Kaiser Bill - his mother very stiff in bombazine, her grey hair piled on top of her head, a lorgnette held before her piercing grey eyes – both of them scrutinizing her with obvious disapproval.
She found herself tracing the rings on the table left by countless tea cups and wondered how long she could postpone the fateful meeting. Her instinct was to put it off as long as possible. There was no way they could possibly find her acceptable. She had been foolish to even consider it. The minute they met it would be all over for her and Johnny. They would put a stop to it and look around for a more suitable daughter-in-law.
“I can't wait to get home and have some real food for a change.”
“What? Tilly said, startled out of her thoughts.
“Real food, you know. Fresh eggs, proper meat, butter.”
She fixed her eyes on his face, searching to see whether he was joking. He wasn't.
“Fresh eggs,” she repeated in reverential tones.
Suddenly they were sitting in a circle of silence. Tilly realised that the customers at the nearby tables were all looking at them with an identical hungry look. She could feel the same expression on her own face. It wasn't that they were starving exactly, the ration was adequate, but that was all it was and everyone craved more interesting food.
“Yeah.” Johnny seemed entirely unaware of the effect he was having. “I can't wait to get my teeth round a nice pork chop or a leg of chicken.”
Tilly felt her mouth water and was afraid she might begin to dribble.
“How come?” she whispered.
Johnny looked startled for a moment. “Well, the farm, you know.”
“I didn't know your parents were farmers,” Tilly said, the image of Kaiser Bill wavering somewhat.
“No, not at all.” Johnny shook his head. “It's just a home farm, you know. Attached to the house. Just for the family. We don't sell the produce or anything.” He hesitated. “Although I expect my mother does swaps and things. She's very good at organising.”
“So what have you got on the farm?” Tilly's mouth was now very dry and she took a long drink of the odious tea. Johnny put out a hand, too late, to stop her.
“Don't drink that! I'm convinced it's poisonous.”

Wonderful stuff, Jenny.  In fact I'm going to re-read All in the Mind immediately.  As always, it's been a real pleasure to host you on my blog, and thank you so much for taking the time to share your great news with us.

Buy Links for 'All in the Mind' 

About the Author:

Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.

She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dogs  and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
Jenny's published works include: Take One at Bedtime, Domingo's Angel, All in the Mind, An Open Letter to Stephen King, The Mantequero series, The Owl Goddess, For the Love of a Child, Doppelganger, Flipside, Tales from the Dark Side and Six Tales of Christmas.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Released Tuesday: Worth the Risk. A sizzling new title from @JLoweryauthor

Hello peeps, Jennifer here to rock your military romance socks off!  My new release, Worth the Risk, Book #2 in my Wolff Securities Series, is available now for pre-order—Woot! It will release March 20th so get your orders in now! 
If you haven’t read the first two books, no worries, these are standalone as well as part of a series—although I do hope you’ll read them all ;) The Wolff brothers are a tight-lipped bunch but I managed to get them talking long enough to write their books, lol, so the more support the better!

A friend and author asked me why the hero of this book had me falling in love with him. A great question and one I am happy to answer here for all of you. Kell Wolff, the hero of Worth the Risk, was one of the most forth-coming Wolff brothers, even if he didn’t say much, lol. I knew from day one he was running—literally—from his past and the woman who tore his heart out. He was a fun mix of thrill-seeker and loyal, the one you wanted watching your six. He had kind of a warped sense of humor his brothers don’t care for, but Kell gets a kick out of needling them. He was kind of dark, but not in a tall, dark and brooding way. More, haunted. And I’m a sucker for the strong, silent types. He did manage to surprise me at the end of the book—sorry, no spoilers here—and I was so touched I fell for him all over again. I enjoyed watching Kell come to life and I hope you do, too!

If you’d like to read Kell’s story, click on this link: Amazon
If you would like to read the first two books, Maximum Risk and Not Without Risk please go to my website HERE for purchase links.
P.S. The first book in the series, Maximum Risk, is on sale for .99 cents for a limited time!


He’s a risk-taker…
Private security specialist, Kell Wolff, lives life on the edge. Falling for CIA agent, Shea Morrissey, fit his risk-taking lifestyle. Until she walked away without as much as a goodbye. Now, four years later she’s in trouble and needs his help, but the thought of seeing her again risks having his heart ripped out of his chest a second time. But Shea’s agenda coincides with his own so he can’t say no.
She’s the biggest risk of all…
Shea Morrissey has gone off the grid in pursuit of the man responsible for the death of her sister. Determined to take Ramil Diakameli down, she’s given up everything. Including the man she loved. Now, she’s in danger, her mission in jeopardy and the only person she can trust to help her is the man she walked away from. In order to survive, she and Kell must fight side by side and put their past to rest so they can work together.

Copyright ©2018 by Jennifer Lowery

     Suddenly more gunshots rang out. Men started falling around them. Kell pulled his K-Bar out of the chest of one man and let him crumple to the ground. Their saviors in robes and sandals advanced on them, bleeding and battered, but alive.
            He turned to see more villagers behind them. They looked terrified, shocked.
            But it was Shea who he ran to. Blood covered her from head to toe. Or so it seemed to his addled brain. He couldnt think straight. Could barely stand. Something was wrong with his legs.
            He watched Shea crumple to the ground and reached out to catch her. He did, but his strength had sapped away and he dropped to his knees, Shea in his arms. He stared down at her white face, willing her to open her eyes. But, she didn’t.
            Terrified hed lost her he pulled her to his chest and toppled over as everything went black around him.

Author Bio:

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Lowery is a romantic at heart. She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance.
She debuted her first book in 2012 which made her dreams of being a writer come true, followed with her SEAL Team Alpha series and loves her job as much today as she did then. She is delighted to bring you stories from the heart and hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she did writing them.

Connect with Jennifer:

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Thank you for having me today, Manic Scribbler!!  I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldnt be here. My wish is to one-day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 
All my best,