Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ragnarok Blog Tour

Another new release check out this amazing book from Nicki J Markus. I’ve got a great extract for you as well as a chance to win the book too!

For Ragnarok will be completed….

Nothing marks Cassandra out—except her visions. She’s only ever seen small, insignificant things. That is until the strange frost arrives.

With her normal life turned upside down, Cassandra is plunged into an extraordinary and terrifying world of Norse gods and rampaging giants, ancient feuds and broken prophecies.

A handsome stranger offers aid. But can Cassandra really trust him? More importantly, can she trust her own judgment when his slightest touch sets her heart and her body aflame?


When the frost came, clinging murderously to every leaf and blade of grass, Cassandra was not surprised. Others viewed the carnage and bewailed the death of their summer gardens, muttering about climate change, but she knew better. For days now she had felt it coming. Her joints ached and she saw ice in her mind’s eye; glittering stalactites dripped into her field of vision, growing more persistent as the days passed. Ignoring the scoffing glances of her neighbours, she had carried the few potted plants she had not already killed off indoors where they would be protected from the coming chill.

Cassandra gazed out of the window at the frost-bitten world beyond her ground-floor flat. The summer sun had reached its peak, its rays warm even through the glass, yet strangely it was not enough. The frost gripped its victims still, refusing to budge, refusing to surrender. It stayed within her mind too, bringing a vague, pulsing chill to her bones. She crossed her arms and retreated to her reading chair, flopping down onto the cushions and hugging one tightly to her chest. It will pass, she told herself over and over.

For as long as she could remember she had had an uncanny ability to sense things before they happened. As a child, she would announce suddenly at dinner that it would rain in the morning, even though the weather report had just predicted a fine day. Or she would inform her frantic mother that the missing mobile phone was in the glove box and not in the house at all. It had freaked out her parents when she was small, but her grandmother had always winked at her and called it a gift, before launching into another of her famous tales of fairies and magic, gods and giants. Usually the message Cassandra received was fleeting—a flash of an image or a vague sensation in her mind, gone as quickly as it had arrived—but not this time. No, this time it lingered, icy tentacles wrapping around her, passing back and forth before her eyes. Tomorrow I’ll be fine again. Tomorrow when the frost clears.


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Prizes: 3 x eCopy of The Ragnarok Chronicles and Swag signed by Nicki J. Markus

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About the author

Nicki J Markus was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist. Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works. Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of Asta Idonea and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing. Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader and in her spare time enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.

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Walking on Custard

I have a new release coming up. Walking on Custard by Neil Hughes will be released on 31 March 2015 but you can pre-order it now here

Inner critic: I can’t believe you’re doing this…


Inner critic: I mean, it’s bad enough you WROTE this damn book, now you’re TELLING everyone about it as well? You do realise how embarrassing this is going to be, right? You’re like a chimp driving a stolen car. You have no IDEA of the consequences. Just stop already!

My inner critic has some reservations about this article, it seems. But then he had a number of reservations about the book, too.

He reckoned that a comedy book about anxiety was a guaranteed disaster.

Inner critic: In fairness, that’s mostly because it was an idiot like YOU writing it. The idea is fine.

But I went ahead and wrote it anyway. Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life explains how I learned to be less anxious, mostly by telling embarrassing personal stories… mixed with flights of outright fantasy, badly-drawn graphs and philosophical discussion of anxiety and happiness.

Inner critic: I’m in it too! I’m the best bit. Tell them about me!

Sigh. Yes, my inner critic is in it too. But don’t let that put you off. It’s still a fun read. And even a helpful one for those struggling with anxiety, or who want to get to know themselves better.

Or, I suppose, for those curious enough to want to know the Meaning of Life. But who would be interested in that…?

Inner critic: Really? THAT’S your attempt at a hook? Pretty obvious and lame, Neil. Lucky your book is better than that, or –

Aha! I knew you liked it really! And you just admitted it publicly!

Inner critic: Aw, nuts.

If your inner critic is as annoying as mine – or if you’re anxious, self-critical, unsure, in need of a laugh or confused – then check out Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life: A Guide for Anxious Humans.

AN EXCERPT FROM Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life (999 words!)

It was late 2010 and I was sitting at my desk at work. My life was broadly satisfying. I was settled into a new job, and my social life in a new city was budding. I was writing a book (I wrote one, it was rubbish), and had just done my first stand-up comedy gig, to mostly universal acclaim (of the people who’d been there, which was more than enough for me). And I was dating a girl I’d secretly liked for months. All was well.

Yet, on this day, suddenly, I felt awful. I had noticed a slight unease earlier, but now my head was spinning and my heart was pounding. I was terrified. I imagined the embarrassment of falling apart in front of my colleagues, and forced myself to sit still, hoping that no-one had noticed what was going on. Whatever it was.

I went to the little office kitchen and looked outside at some trees. Possibly somewhere in the back of my mind I thought this would help me connect with nature and make me feel better.

It didn’t.

In fact, the normality of everything outside contrasted with my spinning sense of falling apart, and I felt worse still.

I returned to my desk. At lunchtime I liked to watch a comedy show, a treat I usually looked forward to all morning. As the familiar sound of the theme tune started up in my headphones I put my fingers to my neck to feel my heartbeat thumping. What is that… like… 120 beats per minute? Am I dying?

I couldn’t concentrate. I closed the browser tab. I wasn’t even in the mood for laughter. Something was seriously, seriously wrong.

I left work early and went to the doctor convinced I must be ill. Something was wrong with my stomach, perhaps. In the back of my mind was an insistent thought that I was severely sick. I could not shake the thought.

This non-event began a lengthy anxious period. Every day I woke up feeling a heavy dread, my chest tight and my heart pounding. I couldn’t concentrate, only pretending to engage while my inner monologue desperately screamed about how awful everything was. I said no to social engagements in case I fell apart and embarrassed myself and everyone would know what a fraud I was.

I dreaded everything. Mostly, I dreaded continuing to feel like this. But I couldn’t see how it would stop, so I sought to explain how it started.

I was certain there must be a physical cause. I had stomach aches, headaches, bowel problems, racing heart, dizziness and shortness of breath. Surely these must point to the underlying cause. I simply had to find what was wrong and then all would be fixed. Or so I hoped.

I searched online. I diagnosed myself with every disease humans can catch, and probably some that they can’t. I saw multiple doctors, and signed up for blood tests, urine tests, fecal tests, scans, allergy tests, reaction tests and the bar exam.

(Well, maybe not the bar exam. But I would have, if I thought it might help.)

One day I even had a surprise endoscopy.

I should probably explain the endoscopy. It wasn’t exactly a surprise. Obviously I knew I was having an endoscopy. A certain amount of co-operation is required, after all.

The surprise was that, somehow, I hadn’t really considered what an endoscopy meant.

If you don’t know, it involves a scope going, er… in your end. Pleasingly, the word describes itself: End-o-scope-y.

I optimistically believed it would be a quick in-and-out procedure, so to speak. I’d nip to the hospital, there’d be a momentary discomfort, and I’d soon be on my way, finally armed with the answer to what’s wrong with me.

Five minutes, at most.

Two hours later, as I lay in a hospital bed, naked but for a backless gown (having reluctantly been forced to hand in my clothes, my mobile phone and my wallet), I wondered if perhaps I should have told my colleagues – or in fact, anyone at all – that I was going to the hospital for a procedure and that I might be late to work.

Several hours later, I uncomfortably boarded the bus home. I never made it to work that day. But I did have a story that greatly amused my housemates that evening.

Some days I’d feel better, some worse. But every day I feared that today would be the day I’d “lose control” or “lose my ability to cope”. I wasn’t sure what I was failing to cope with, exactly, but it was clearly something. I became terrified of driving, of getting trapped in traffic, or being on a train, or in a crowded place like a theatre. I was afraid that there was something deeply and irretrievably wrong with me.

And every day I searched for more possible causes, figuring that if I could just understand why then I’d finally be able to fix everything.

Maybe it’s subconscious trauma. Or delayed grief for the death of my father. Maybe it’s carbon monoxide poisoning. Or brain cancer. Or an allergy. Am I getting enough exercise? Or doing too much? It could be my environment. My life choices. Did I say brain cancer already?

Even – finally – accepting that there was nothing physically wrong with me didn’t help. Now I couldn’t understand how to fix myself mentally. My frightening online research indicated I had several anxiety disorders. At least.

I was afraid of the feelings. I was afraid they’d never stop.

This book is the story of how I came to understand and handle these feelings. Maybe you’re in a similar situation. If so, you have my sympathy. At the risk of getting uncomfortably poetical, this is a pilgrimage I’ve travelled myself, and I understand how arduous it is to pass.

But before we talk about exactly how, I’m afraid that there are things we must discuss regarding custard and physics…


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Edge of Hope Blog Tour


Title: The Edge of Hope

Series: Bad Blood, Book 1

Genre: paranormal, supernatural, urban fantasy, romance, vampires

Length: novel


Everyone she loved betrayed her. She felt lost and broken. Getting away from the pain and embracing a new path, Alexa decided to leave her old life behind and chase a long forgotten dream in Malta. There she met a gorgeous man, bearing the scent of fresh love. He led her to a new city to explore, Amsterdam. Is the tall, dark, and delicious man a dream come true or just a risky gamble?

badblood cover blog promo

Alexa chose hope and new beginnings over fear and warning signs only to be brutally dragged into a world she never really thought existed. Vampires, their feuds, and her future held tightly in their hands.

Trapped in a mysterious world, Alexa gives love chance after chance. Following her quest of self-discovery in a blood bound world, will she survive the journey?



“Hello, I am Hesrah. Nice to meet you.”

Polite and stiff, no facial expression, no smile, no unnecessary movement, only her dark brown eyes showed some life, some slow fire that kept her going.

“Hello, I am Louis and this is Alexa. We will be your hosts during your stay on earth.” Louis smiled and extended his hand, which she shook after a few awkward moments.

“I look forward to it. May I be shown to my room now?” she said with no inflexion in her tone.

It took me a second to react as I was analyzing her outfit…jeans and a plain t-shirt, sport shoes and denim jacket. It seemed completely wrong for her attitude and behavior.

“Sure, I’ll take you to your room,” I eventually said. “It’s right next to mine.”


She did not sound like she meant it. She sounded more like cyborgs from a sci-fi movie. She wasn’t as captivating as Anukh or Louis, or even Anthony. She was just formal and…uptight. Oh, brother, I said to myself. This will definitely be tons of fun.

When she entered the room, I finally noticed her backpack. She took some more clothes out of it, all plain and simple. She asked where she could put them and I pointed to the closet.

“What is it?” she asked. “Why are you frowning like that?”

I hadn’t realized I was. I had been warned before that my face and eyes give away what I was struggling to keep from saying but, apparently, I never learned.

“Umm, dunno, you are just not what I expected,” I confessed.

“And what did you expect?” She cocked her head and waited.

“I guess someone similar to Anukh, but more impressive and graceful?”

“Are you asking me?”

“No, just turning it into a question till I figure out how offensive my statement is.” I shrugged.

“You are very blunt, aren’t you?”

It did not sound like a compliment.

“Yeah, maybe. Anyway, I can atone for that by kindly inviting you to use any of my makeup and raid my closet whenever you feel like wearing something less…”

“Less what?” she demanded, raising an eyebrow.

“Less plain.”

“I am on a mission and I have comfortable clothes for it,” she answered, quickly. She was just staring at me and I thought I should put an end to kicking the hornet’s nest.

“I should go now. Catch you later.”

I finally allowed myself to enjoy a refreshing sigh the moment I got on the other side of the door. I also added yet another note to self. Whenever I find myself talking to a deadly creature who can kill me in under five seconds, maybe, just maybe, watching my tongue would be smart.


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***Celebrate a year of The Edge of Hope with the Amazon Countdown Deal – March 29 – April 5. Discounted price starts at 99c.


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Coming Soon: The Breaking of Bonds, Bad Blood #2

The Breaking of Bonds, book 2 of the Bad Blood Trilogy will be released on May 28th, 2015

A human sacrifice has forced vampires, trueborn and baseborn alike, into an escalating conflict with one side pushing for revenge, the other for freedom. The hunt for Anthony and Louis is the trueborns’ main objective, driven by Hesrah’s desire to get even with the two baseborns and avenge her best friend, Alexa. The baseborns are rattled and divided between rallying around the rebels and obeying the rules imposed by Ankhsis.

What emerges from the portal from Earth to Ankhsis in the middle of the turmoil rocking both worlds is more dead than alive. Not human and not baseborn. Certainly not trueborn. This new being will either damn them all or be their race’s most powerful weapon. Will they trust it not to destroy them, or will Ankhsis decide putting it down is the only solution?

In the end, who is guilty? Who will pay? Will anyone survive its wrath?

Teaser 2


Prizes: 1 signed copy of The Edge of Hope and 3 Ebooks

Prizes: 1 signed copy of The Edge of Hope and 3 Ebooks

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and even won awards in local competitions. She has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm, which explains her deep love for vampires and is also to blame for this trilogy.

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Unelmoija: Paradox

Another new release this month – time for an urban fantasy from Ella Boca. This book is out tomorrow but you can pre-order it today.


Amy and her friends uncover the cause of the disappearance of New Lyon, only to face their greatest challenge. Altering the past could mean the end of all humanity, while doing nothing could have dire consequences for those they love. Forced to risk everything and choose between the familiar and the unknown, even the Unelmoija may not be strong enough to evade the paradox.


“Boca’s final installment in her Unelmoija series is her best book so far. Full of her unique blend of suspenseful action and all-too-human moments (especially enjoyable by this foodie), it wraps up the story in a perfect way that manages to both surprise the reader and offer us the expected closure.

Indeed, seemingly random events mentioned in the previous books find their explanation in this one in various little twists that provide readers with unexpectedly fulfilling ‘aha!’ moments. If you have followed Boca’s excellent series so far, be sure to read Paradox for the perfect conclusion to the series.”

Nicholas C. Rossis, author, Amazon best-selling epic fantasy series Pearseus

The Running Game Audio Book

I’ve been so lucky to work with a wonderful narrator and producer Mil Nicholson, she has transformed my book The Running Game and it’s available now from Audible, Amazon and I-tunes.

If you sign up to Audible you can download the book for free and get access to thousands of other books too.

Listen to an audio sample.


Information for authors

Last year Nicole Delacroix let me share some fantastic article she had written about social networking for authors and I’ve just heard she’s put it out as an ebook free for download. If you haven’t caught up with it yet then I strongly recommend you pick it up now.





And you can find out more about Nicole Here

Blood Of The Eternal Moon

New release time. Today I want to share with you a great author I was very lucky to meet at my first ever book fair last Saturday, Simon Okill. Simon was great fun and I know you’ll love his work so please go and check out his latest release Blood of the Eternal Moon.


A lurid tale of blood lust, decadence and eroticism set in Paris 1925 where a young woman is nearing her Eternal Vampire state. To accomplish this she must escape the smothering grasp of a cruel hybrid vampire, Lucien, who is addicted to her pure blood. A fleeting chance reveals itself but he follows her scent and massacres all who dare protect his supply of Eternal blood.

She awakens in a tiny room, trapped and defenceless with amnesia. Something buried deep within her yearns to be set free by the next full moon – her Eternal Birthday. Her true self, Eternal, emerges in brief flashes of awareness to protect her from the demonic horrors of this terrifying asylum.

Desperate, she forges an alliance with her true love, Edouard, a handsome young doctor treating her. Lucien’s evil persona draws closer by the second. With little time remaining, Edouard must unravel Eternal’s vampiric past and make good their escape.

With the Eternal Hour at hand and the forces of darkness converging, Edouard and Eternal must fight to rid the world of this evil. If they lose, Lucien will reign supreme and unleash the dogs of war and chaos upon the world. Let the final battle begin.

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The Ultimate Guide to Consulting in the Networked Age

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Title: The Ultimate Guide to Consulting in the Networked Age

Author: John Watson

Paperback: 238 pages

Genre: Business Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback/Kindle

ISBN-10: 1507578210
ISBN-13: 978-1507578216


John Watson is a highly experienced investment management professional and founder of Margate Financial Research Solutions, providing cost-effective third party research, marketing, and business development services to leading financial market businesses.

John has a strong reputation for delivering consistent first quartile investment performance and substantially increasing funds under management. His clients include Morgij Analytics and BlueSky Alternative Investments. John also offers business coaching; sales training; strategic planning consulting; project evaluation; presentation skills and design training; social media strategies; and mentoring for small and medium sized businesses across all industries.



The Ultimate Guide to Consulting in the Networked Age by John Watson is a step by step guide to starting your own consulting practice with proven strategies to build a consulting practice with global reach by capitalizing on technological innovation including the latest in social media marketing trends.

“Many people have the operational skills to strike out on their own as a consultant either in the B2B or B2C space, yet hesitate to take the leap into establishing their own consulting practice. This step-by-step guide will assist prospective entrepreneurs turn their dreams of establishing successful consulting practices into reality.” – John Watson

The Ultimate Guide to Consulting in the Networked Age features articles contributed by leading business, marketing and sales authorities including: Kendra Lee, bestselling author of The Sales Magnet; Robert Klaric, CEO of The Property Expert; Richard DiPilla, Market Development Expert at Berkshire Hathaway Media Group; Steve Klaric, Principal Engineering Consultant in Chicago; James Fredric, Specialist Consultant at What’s Your Plan?; and Jamie Cawley, Publisher at

“I want to share the knowledge I have built up over my two decade long business analysis career to assist emerging entrepreneurs apply world class business success strategies to their own small and medium sized businesses. With rapid technological change including the rise of social media, disrupter technologies including new payments systems , global e-commerce platforms, and advances in website design and development transforming websites from e-brochures into automated, interactive lead generating sales funnels; it is now becoming commonplace for small businesses –even ones initially run out of home offices – to have global reach not just in terms of sourcing supplies but also in terms of servicing international clients – both firms and individuals.” – John Watson


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John Smith the Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars

Here’s an exclusive from author Roland Hughes who is talking about his book John Smith the Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars.

Why Did I Write “John Smith”?

We are the sum of what came before. Even if every person was an identical infant clone at birth, placing them in different environments and giving them 30+ years of different life experiences will yield individuals with varying, sometimes dramatic, uniquenesses.

There were few things school-wise I found enjoyable in high school. I’m not claiming to having had some horrible school age period, just that it took quite a while to figure out what I liked. While I enjoyed the coming up with stories part of English and Lit classes, my handwriting was (and still is) horrible. My inability to spell and construct grammatically correct sentences would probably still shock English teachers. Let us not forget the manual typewriters of the day were a lot of work.

Prior to my senior year that left the various history classes as my favorite thing. I liked the teacher and actually took an interest in many of the topics. I also didn’t mind reading. I rather enjoyed it. Even read quite a bit of mythology then.

Everything changed my senior year in high school. It was the year the school got its first three computers. Commodore Super PETs with dual floppy drives. I was in the first class to work on them. Here was a keyboard which was easy to type on. Rudimentary (although high end for its day) word processing with spell checking (not on the fly, but checking none-the-less.) You could save this work to disk and if you needed to change a paragraph or word it was a simple thing to print another copy.

Forgive the “barefoot in the snow up hill both ways” sound of this, but that was life changing. I went to college to become a computer programmer and eventually an IT consultant. That career path allowed me to work in a wide range of industries and absorb a lot of different information and helps provide unique perspectives when solving problems today. Contrary to what many might think, the most important part of any system architecture isn’t the “happy path” of when everything works, but the “very unhappy path” when things go horribly wrong. If there is a chance human life could be damaged or lost the “very unhappy path” gets an immense amount of work.

At the time John Smith started talking there was great hubbub about the end of the Mayan calendar and the new “Battlestar Galactica” had re-interpreted the opening line of “Peter Pan.” (For those who don’t remember “All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”) I believe those questions you find on the back cover are the first questions John Smith asked over the days he was attempting to form in my mind. “What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it before?” “What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant?” There are others, but, you get the gist of it.

One question, above all others, the one I asked, or at least believe I asked, really set him off on a tither. “What if that opening line from Peter Pan is the only thing which has survived across the cycles?” I mean, what if it is some kind of genetic memory or subconscious recognition of a message or signal from the past? I have met people raised in cultures where they claimed “Peter Pan” did not exist or at least never existed as part of their childhood, yet, their culture has such a phrase. Once that question was posed there was no turning him off.

Anyone who was even half awake during world history class has to have realized human civilization gets wiped out on a rather frequent basis. Well, frequent in terms of the galaxy. It’s almost as if the universe periodically hits the reset button. The length of the period may be different, but there can be little doubt the reset button gets hit. Take your pick: the Ice Age, Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire,

Egyptian Empire, Black Death during the Middle Ages, others. I mean, doesn’t the name Middle Ages imply that there has been a Beginning Ages and must be an Ending Ages?

The Great Pyramids are a wonder of the world quite simply because humans lost the ability to build them using nothing but hand tools and animals. It obviously took hundreds, if not thousands, of people so how to cut and move those stones had to be widely known at the time. That twenty story high-rise you walk or drive past on your way to work without even thinking about will be a wonder of the next world if it happens to still be standing and humans no longer have any idea how to build it. Just how many people do you think it took to build the thing?

John Smith kept chattering in the back of my mind. He kept insisting that the cycle itself could not be prevented but the catastrophic loss of knowledge could. There-in lied the rub. If we are the sum of what came before, what are we when nothing came before?

Hurricane Sandy proved there is no existing disaster recovery plan in place anywhere which does not rely on the bulk of civilized infrastructure surviving. Generators flooded in basements, generators on roofs without a functioning fueling infrastructure, you saw the news reports. Imagine that globally. Imagine every disaster recovery plan on the planet relying on some place else coming in to save them and living in a time where no place is in better shape to offer help. Once you begin to imagine that you begin asking the most important question of all:

How do you reboot humanity?

We are all the sum of what came before. Unlike John Smith though, we are not desperately trying to pass on the entirety of human

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