Month: May 2019

Hollywood Could Learn from Romance Novels About Strong Female Characters

By: Simone Scarlet | Posted on May 31, 2019

Hollywood is desperate for ‘strong female characters’ – but romance/adventure author Simone Scarlet believes they’re looking in the wrong place for them. Here is her argument to Hollywood that they would be better served by mining romance novels for examples of strong female characters than continuing to write ‘shared cinematic universes’ using the same tired tropes that haven’t worked for years.  She even ends the post with a few book recommendations of where they can start looking! Warning, this post contains some a spoiler or two about Captain Marvel. The other week, I went to the cinema to watch Avengers: Endgame, which came off the back of Captain Marvel. I’ll have to admit – I loved them both, especially the inaugural outing for Marvel’s newest superhero. With Captain Marvel, it was great to see the 1990s brought to life again, to watch Samuel L. Jackson as I remembered him from… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: CB Samet

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 28, 2019

Today, we continue our series of author interviews by chatting with CB Samet, author of a multitude of romance and suspense novels that combine fiery female protagonists with high adventure and intense thrills. We hope you enjoy this peek into her life, inspirations and motivations.   Whether it’s a firecracker smart Dr. Lillian Whyte, the heroic Avant Champion Abigail Cross, or matriarch super-spy Maxine Rider, you’re always guaranteed to have a tough, capable and achingly human heroine in the lead of CB Samet’s eclectic catalog of suspenseful and romantic novels. According to her author biography, CB Samet is a “writer, mother of two and wife to a caring and supportive husband” – but we wanted to find out more! HG: So, we’ve read your bio – but who are you really? CS: I’m a writer, mother, tennis player, and dog lover. I live in the Southeast US and my daytime… Read More >

Is Amazon taking Author Advertising too far?

By: Ginger | Posted on May 24, 2019

Amazon has been experimenting with their ‘sponsored’ adverts for books – placing them in ever-more prevalent positions throughout a customer’s shopping experience. The question is – have they taken it too far, and have these Amazon advertising spots begun to negatively impact both the success of authors and the reader experience?  Ginger gives his opinion on the issue. What do you think? Recently, I was on Amazon organizing my catalog of books – and like I’ve done a thousand times, I typed my pen name into the search bar expecting to see all the books that come up related to it, independent of my Author Profile page. What did I get instead? Two ‘Sponsored’ books, neither of which were mine. My books were there – but ‘beneath the fold’. This means I actually had to scroll down before I’d even get to see any books relevant to the terms I’d… Read More >

Some of the Top Fantasy Books of Spring 2019

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 21, 2019

Every day, subscribers to Hidden Gems get to pick and choose FREE books from over 15 different genres, including the ever-popular Fantasy category. We’ve checked back on some of the top Fantasy books we’ve shared with subscribers this spring, and here are some of the ‘Hidden Gems’ that our readers loved. The City of Veils by S. Usher Evans S. Usher Evans’ fantasy series Princess Vigilante has been described as “YA Fantasy meets Batman” and that’s a pretty apt description. Instead of a playboy millionaire, we have a dashing princess who ran away from her royal duties to roam the streets of her capital instead – as masked vigilante The Veil. But where does crime-fighting fit in, when Princess Brynna is suddenly expected to take the throne? Top 50 Reviewer H. Bala describes the book as “Batgirl in fantasyland” and writes: “I relished the scenes of a disguised Brynna patrolling the… Read More >

Hiring a Character – Tips on Character Development

By: Peter Gelfan | Posted on May 17, 2019

Proper character development isn’t easy, but when it’s done right your book gets filled with a host of memorable characters that keep readers thinking about your story long after they’ve finished reading it. But how do you produce and pull together this cast of personalities? Here to give you the techniques to do just that is author, editor and writing tutor Peter Gelfan. When creating a new character for a novel, a writer often approaches the task in a utilitarian way, just as we might hire someone. If we need a toilet fixed, we hire a plumber. A character needs a boyfriend, so we write a guy about her age, decent looking but no movie star, employed but not rich, likes wine but no drunk, done. And now the plot has the necessary boyfriend. But have we missed something here? Character development is much more important than simply creating characters… Read More >

Author Spotlight Interview: Kim Petersen

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 14, 2019

In our continuing series of author interviews, we’ve tracked down the intrepid Australian Kim Peterson, USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romances like Millie’s Angel and the post-apocalyptic thrillers of the Stone the Crows series. We bravely figured out the time difference and asked Kim about her inspiration, writing and plans for the future. HG: Kim! Tell me about yourself! Who are you? Where do you live? How do you describe yourself? KP: Who am I? Good question – I’m still trying to figure that out! I can be many things and possess the qualities I need in order to navigate through life and situations, but at the end of the day none of those attributes really define who I am. I guess I’m just a woman trying to work it all out and become the best version of herself – whatever that means! Oh yeah, and I screw up regularly! I live… Read More >

The Hidden Gems Amazon Blurb Tool

By: Craig | Posted on May 10, 2019

When it comes to selling your book, the importance of a strong cover and blurb cannot be overstated, which is why we keep coming back to the topic.  The thumbnail of your cover is the eye candy that will draw readers in to click, and a strong blurb will convert that click into a sale. But merely knowing what to include in your book description isn’t the only step.  Just as a cover needs to draw the reader in from just a thumbnail, your Amazon blurb has only a few lines to grab their attention and make them want to click through and read the whole thing. And if you confront them with a big block of text, you’re much more likely to lose the sale than if your description is a well formatted, easy-to-read masterpiece. Headers, bold type, underlining, italics… …they’re not just for blogs anymore!  Your Amazon blurb… Read More >

The Hidden Gems Best Children’s Books of Spring 2019

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on May 7, 2019

Today, we’re looking at the top Children’s Books shared with subscribers this springtime. Kids love hearing stories, but parents don’t always want to read the same books every night. Hidden Gems gives a wide variety of new children’s books, free, to our subscribers to read and review every month. Soon Kitty by Grant Uchida One of the wonders of self-publishing and independent publication is the diversity and sophistication that has opened up. One perfect example is this wonderful children’s book by Grant Uchida, and illustrated by James Ishizaki and Tiffany Smead. It tells the very simple story of a very complicated issue – one not covered by any traditionally-published children’s book when I was growing up, but a topical and timely subject matter for many kids: Procrastination. Reviewer Katie Tomlinson shared the value of this book’s message: “This was a very cute story with a very poignant message about procrastination…. Read More >

Free Cover Promo Creation Tools

By: Ellen Mint | Posted on May 3, 2019

A professional, eye-catching cover is a key start to getting your book noticed against a sea of competition, but book promotion shouldn’t end there.  Many authors create other imagery for marketing their book in a variety of different places, whether it be on social media or paid advertising spots. While you can usually commission these from designers, if you are comfortable with photo editing and have an eye for putting together compelling imagery, you can save money by doing it yourself.  Today’s guest author, Ellen Mint, gives us a quick primer on some of the free tools out there to get you started. Writers, you’ve got an amazing book, a perfect cover, and can’t wait to tell the world about it. You need a beautiful picture to make ads for facebook, amazon, or blogs. Readers are far more likely to click on a link if an eye-catching infographic entices them…. Read More >