Thursday, 20 July 2017

Guest post from Megan Cutler - the author of The Island of Lost Forevers

I am very pleased to host Megan Cutler on her Blog Tour!
Megan is the author of the Island of Lost Forevers, and a paperback version is now available. I've got my copy and I'll be reviewing it soon.  

Welcome Megan.


When I first decided to self-publish, my budget was extremely limited. My husband was new to his teaching career, we had a mortgage to pay and, since I wrote full time, I wasn't making any money. I knew I needed to find a way to create a cover, and I did have some artistic friends. But (and it's a big one), I didn't want to ask for free art. I know how important it is for artists to make money off their work, whether or not we're friends.

Luckily, one of said artistic friends was looking for help with her own self-publishing tasks in the form of editing and we were able to devise a trade. I described the concept I had in mind - a floating island featuring the book's iconic bathhouse perched atop it, based on old vector-style artwork. And my cover artist Beth created a gorgeous piece of artwork that expressed the idea far better than I even described. I adored it and happily showed it off.

One of the hardest lessons I learned in the early years of my self-publishing journey is that a book's cover is massively important - more than anyone probably wants to admit. People are going to judge your book by its cover, no matter how fantastic the story and its blurb are. And when I imagined the initial Island of Lost Forevers cover, I made a lot of rookie mistakes.

First and foremost was that the cover didn't fit my genre. I had chosen a faded, illustrated look in a genre that favors bright colors and vivid images. Strike one. Most fantasy covers on the market right now either feature extremely detailed paintings or photo manipulations rather than simple, stylistic artwork. Strike two. And most fantasy covers also include characters on the cover. Three strikes. Bad me.

None of this was Beth's fault, of course, because she was simply doing what I asked. By the time I finished writing all three books in the trilogy, it was obvious I was going to need to rebrand the covers. After a lot of feedback from more knowledgeable authors, and a lot of sifting through the covers of popular books in the fantasy genre, I came up with a new concept. Having recently discovered stock photo sites that could be used to create commercial images, I was ready to create the book's new look.

But I will admit that I don't have as much photoshop skill as I would like. In swooped Beth to my rescue, once again executing my concept on a level that I never could have reached on my own. I probably owe her the soul of my first born, at this point. Especially after a discussion in which I asked for brightness when I actually wanted saturation - because I am a real design dummy. But after some stern lessons on stress points and text movement, Beth created the masterpiece you see here and I couldn't love it more!


Is the island paradise or does a nightmare lurk beneath the surface?

When a mysterious island appears off the coast of San Francisco, two intrepid academics risk everything to discover its secrets. Catilen Taylor has struggled all her life with the ability to sense others' emotions. Damian Cooke studies an ancient art he calls 'magic.'

The island boasts an idyllic retreat, ruled by the enigmatic Sentomoru, who invites them to share the wonders of his bathhouse. But as the travelers strive to unravel the island's secrets, Catilen senses danger stalking their steps.

Neither Catilen nor Damian know how long the island will remain on Earth. If they can't solve its riddles quickly, they may be trapped wherever it goes when it vanishes.

Would you like the chance to win a free signed copy of the Island of Lost Forevers? 
Follow the link to enter - Giveaway

Megan grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania where books offered an easy escape from the mundane life of a rural highway town. In 2003 she married the love of her life and moved to Canada. Megan started writing full-time in 2011 and has since published four novels and several short stories, including the Mystical Island Trilogy. Her characters keep her up late and wake her up early, but she loves them anyway. 
Learn more at megancutler.net, or connect to Megan via Facebook and Twitter 


Monday, 17 July 2017

And another great giveaway/sale! Free and 99c books.

This is the month of Summer Giveaways - or Winter Giveaways if you live in the southern hemisphere!

Follow the link to get some great books from lots of different genres. This is a different giveaway to the one I blogged about a couple of days ago. Enjoy!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Super Summer Reads Giveaway!

The Super Summer Reads Giveaway is now live!

Book Hub is offering you the chance to download a stack of free books (some from Amazon and others directly from the author) plus free chapters and discounted books.
If you decide to enter - Good Luck!


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Beansprout, my fantastic heroine!

Beansprout is one of my favourite characters. She's Tom's 14 year old cousin, and we meet her at the beginning of Tom's Inheritance, when she helps Tom search for his granddad and ends up in the Other with him. In fact it's Beansprout's curiosity that mean they cross to the Other in the first place. Her real name is Rebecca, but she's never called that, instead called Beansprout on account of her lean and lanky frame, and her pale red hair.

Beansprout loves the Other, and is excited to learn all about it and the fey who live there. Consequently she gets frustrated with Tom who finds the whole experience underwhelming at times. But she also knows Tom well, and always manages to pull him out of his moments!

She's brave, resourceful, kind and funny, and her character grows and changes as they journey through the Other. For her, the Other is a place of wonder. When Tom wants to go home, she wants to stay.


In Twice Born, Beansprout becomes interested in magic, and is impressed with Nimue's powers. She helps Nerian, a shaman, to resurrect Merlin, and is amazed by the feeling that magic gives her. By the end of Twice Born she's decided on a new path.

In book three there's a lot more happening for Beansprout, and I'm enjoying developing her character even more. I'm still working on a title for the new book, but it will be released in February 2018.

Interested in reading more? Tom's Inheritance is free through Instafreebie, and Twice Born is available now in ebook or paperback through Amazon.

And all sign-ups to my newsletter get a free short story of how Tom's granddad Jack met Fahey and started the whole adventure.

Next week I'll talk about Woodsmoke, Tom's hunter friend from the Other.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Who is Tom, my captivating lead in Tom's Inheritance and Twice Born?

I thought it was about time that I wrote about my main characters, other than the Arthurian ones! I'll start with my leading man, Tom.

Tom is 16 years old (15 when we first meet him in Tom's Inheritance), and is a descendant of King Arthur.
Obviously he has no idea he's related to King Arthur until he's summoned to the Other and the Lady of the Lake springs it on him, along with the news he has to wake Arthur up from his long sleep on the Isle of Avalon.
It's fair to say that Tom's a bit grumpy when we first meet him. His parents have split up and his granddad has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He has a younger sister, Amy, who lives with his mother, and he lives with his dad in his granddad's cottage.
He sets out to find his granddad with his cousin Rebecca, more commonly known as Beansprout. I have no idea where that name came from, it just popped into my head! But more on Beansprout next time.

Tom, despite his grumpiness, is a very determined character who does not like to be defeated. His stubborn attitude gets him into trouble, but also gets him out of it. He's also very loyal to his friends, and amused to find out about his link to King Arthur.

And he's brave, so he plunges headlong into things before thinking of the consequences. His need to help Brenna sees him stuck inside an Under Palace, trapped with murderous Woods Sprites.

Like a lot of teens, he's confused about his future and what he should be doing, and his stubborn streak doesn't help his decision making.

The heart of my books is about friendships, so his friendships with Beansprout, Woodsmoke, Brenna and Arthur, are important. He looks up to Arthur, but is also a bit awestruck by him, and doesn't want to disappoint him. This leads to trouble!

Tom grows and learns by his mistakes, and Twice Born sees lots of changes in Tom. In fact Twice Born is about change for all the characters. They test each other's strengths and weaknesses.

I'm currently writing book 3, and Tom keeps growing and maturing.

Book 3 teaser - we learn a lot more about the Forger of Light who made Excalibur, and find out the true history of Galatine, Tom's sword that used to belong to Gawain. For more info on book 3 subscribe to my newsletter here for advance news. You also get a free short story on what happened when Tom's granddad, Jack, first met Fahey.

And to finish, what else about Tom?
He's a big reader, and loves history and maps, which helps in Twice Born. 
He plays chess, and is pretty good at it.
He does not like horse riding.
He learns to sword fight, and shoot a bow and arrow.
He does not like magic, or trust it.

Currently Tom's Inheritance is free through Instafreebie