Book Reviews

Please click the following titles to leave a review for DANETHRALL or RISE TO FALL on Amazon. 😀 They will take you directly to the review pages for each book.

Book reviews really help indie authors get their books noticed. The more reviews my books receive, the better placement I will get in Amazon’s algorithm. Not to mention, I’d love to hear what you thought about my books! Who did you love? Who did you hate? What was your favourite part? You can even just leave a picture of you and the books! 🥰

To leave a review on Bookbub or Goodreads, follow the links of my Linktree to get to whichever website you’d like to post on.

Thank you so much!

Long time no see

It’s already the end of June – it’s been over three months since I last posted. I’m sorry for the silence. I’d like to say I’ve been busy typing away put since the world got flipped upside down, I don’t think I’ve managed to type more than a paragraph. I really admire [and am a little bit jealous] of the authors who have been able to use quarantine time to whack out reams of pages – I wish I was one of them. Between homeschooling and entertaining my children, and getting used to this new ‘normal’, I just haven’t been able to write.

I am back, though. I’m aiming to get writing again and finally finish the Danethrall trilogy. The third and final book is still without a name, but there are just a few chapters left to type before it will be ready for the editing process. Cross fingers it will be published this year.

How have you been handling the quarantine? If you’re an author, have you been able to write or have you been at a stalemate like me? If you’ve had problems, how have you overcome them? – GSKT

Another day in the life of an indie author who has no idea what she’s doing.

With this coronavirus craziness going on, I haven’t had that much time to write even though I’ve been cooped up in the house. With the children’s school shut down, I’ve been busy homeschooling and playing with them and by the time evening comes along, I’m too tired to write.

I have been able to snatch moments on my phone to check my email, Facebook, etc, and even a few chances to do some researching. I’ve been looking into promoting and marketing, and one thing that is constantly recommended is starting a mailing list – so I dragged my happy butt over to Mailchimp (the most popular and frequently recommended site on all the indie author webpages and help sites).

How did that go, you ask? Terribly. I signed up for the free account and found myself completely lost. After bumbling through the process and attempting to craft my first email, I gave up and deleted my account. I’m going to try again later this evening.

I’m pretty sure I know where I went wrong – there was a portion of the sign up process where you answer a 60 second questionnaire to give Mailchimp an idea of what you want your account for. I must’ve answered a question wrong or something because the account they set up seemed more fitting for an online store rather than an author website. :/ With that in mind, I’ll be sure to change my answers when I try again.

In other news, I gave away twenty ePub copies of Danethrall today via the website “Voracious Readers Only”. I’m hoping to garner a few readers and possibly even a few reviews. As I’m sure you’ve heard me harp on about before, reviews are really important to indie authors. Don’t worry, I’m not planning on going on another rant as to why. 😉 Haha!

Anyway, now I’ve got that all off my chest, (the Mailchimp thing made me really frustrated – can you tell?), how are you surviving the coronavirus isolation? – GSKT

PS – It was my daughter Romilly’s birthday on Monday. She turned the big 5! Here’s an adorable picture my friend took of her blowing out the candles at her birthday party.

Romilly getting ready to blow out her candles on her birthday cake.

Rise To Fall on Booksprout

I uploaded Rise To Fall onto Booksprout today. There are 20 copies available to read for FREE until 31st March 2020 [since posting, there are now 19 copies available]. The only caveat is that you please leave a review 🙂 That’s it! Simply sign up to Booksprout as a reader (if you aren’t already), and download the ARC. You get a free copy of Rise To Fall and when you’re done reading, please leave an honest review.

Click here to visit the Rise To Fall Booksprout page! Link will open in a new tab.

Rise To Fall has been published for a while, so even though it’s listed as an “ARC” [Advance Review Copy] it really isn’t. I’m hoping to garner some more reviews for it. As I’ve said many times before, reviews are really important to authors – especially us indie-published ones.

  1. Reviews offer more exposure and publicity.
    The book industry is quite a saturated market. A book with plenty of reviews gets noticed by potential readers more than a book with no reviews.
  2. If a book has 50 or more reviews Amazon will list the book in newsletters and other promotions.
    Obviously this is very beneficial to the author. It helps widen the author’s audience and will possibly increase their sales.
  3. A lot of readers rely on reviews to decide whether they will enjoy the book or not.
    Leaving a review not only helps the author, but also the readers. Your review might help someone find their next favourite book or they might decide the book isn’t for them and you’ll save them time and money.

Reviews can be as detailed or as simple as you want, a simple sentence or five paragraphs, it’s all up to you. Regardless of how much you decide to write, the time you spent writing is appreciated. If you have read Danethrall or Rise To Fall, I would LOVE to receive a review from you.

You can leave a review on the following pages (each link opens in new tab):

– GSKT

Rise To Fall eBook & Update

As of 8AM on 14th February until 12AM 21st February, the Rise To Fall eBook will be on sale for only 99 cents/99p on Amazon US and UK. If you’ve read Danethrall but not RTF, now is your chance to get an awesome deal.

Book 3 had been coming along nicely. The first draft is maybe 100 pages away from completion – as long as I don’t change my mind and have to redo/cut a bunch of pages and chapters [again]. Without giving too much away, Aveline made this big decision and by the time I’d written 380 pages, I decided it didn’t make sense/wasn’t realistic for her, so it had to be changed. At least twenty pages were immediately cut, lots of paragraphs were edited/removed/rewritten. This decision Aveline had made affected many of the characters, so going off and changing it affected them as well. Aveline’s current way of handling the situation she’s in feels far more natural and realistic, I’m much happier with it.

Right now the first draft is 376 pages and 125,769 words long. I’m aiming for the book to be a similar size to Rise To Fall, probably a bit larger. It sounds ridiculous, but I find it visually satisfying for novels in a series to be either a consistent thickness or the books grow larger with each additional installment in the series. For example, the Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell – they’re all between 300 and 400 pages – quite consistently sized. The Harry Potter books on the other hand started with a 200-odd page book and each got fatter and fatter – the 7th novel in the series is a whopping 600+ pages. Each example is pleasing to see on a shelf.

Book 3 still has a few more chapters to go, then the editing process begins and that will take a while on it’s own. Book 3 also needs a title. Maybe after it’s finished I’ll have something figured out. 😛 I don’t have an estimate of when the book will be released yet, but fingers crossed it will be within the next six months (maybe … 😛 Haha).

Any who, I need to make breakfast for the kids and me (it’s Saturday, we slept in and have been lolling around all morning, as you should on a weekend. :P). Hopefully I’ll get some typing done today. What are your plans? Whatever they are, I hope they go well.

– GSKT

Rise To Fall Valentine’s Day deal!

8AM on 14th February until 12AM 21st February, Rise To Fall will be only 99 cents on Amazon.com and 99p on Amazon.co.uk! If you’ve already bought Danethrall and haven’t got around to checking out Rise To Fall, this will be your chance to snatch up an awesome deal. If you can’t wait until then, click the image below – it will take you to the RTF page on Amazon US.

– GSKT

Research Question on Aud the Deep-Minded

I’m researching for the third and final installment in the Danethrall Trilogy and I’ve found myself stumped. This happens frequently – being stumped – during research for my novels. -.- When I was writing RTF I literally spent days researching a single bridge in Francia, which ended up resulting in a single sentence, possibly two, in the novel.

I have read through tales of Aud’s life, scoured Google like a mad woman and posted this question on various parts of the internet but I can’t find any results (maybe I’m overlooking it because I’m tired/being blind, I have no idea.). I present to you my question:

Did Aud the Deep-Minded gain women the right to speak at the Thing in Iceland?

I read somewhere that Aud the Deep-Minded, after settling in Iceland after the death of her husband and son, was able to speak on her own behalf at the Thing due to not having any living male relatives. Women were usually not allowed to speak at the Thing, nor could they cast a vote or be a witness, but this article stated that Aud managed to convince the men in charge to change that law and allow widows with no surviving male kin to speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the source to this statement nor the place I read it. I was hoping someone might be able to shine a light on it (otherwise I’ll assume I’m just going crazy, haha.).

In the Laxdaela Saga, it states that Aud went to Iceland where her brothers, Helgi and Bjorn lived. Since she had two living brothers in Iceland that completely contradicts the whole ‘no surviving male kin’ thing, which leads me to believe the article I read was incorrect (whatever and wherever that article is.).

Maybe I really am just going crazy. Bleurgh.

Norsemen landing in Iceland by Oscar Wergeland (1909)

Ramblings

It was by birthday two weeks ago, I turned twenty-eight. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of birthdays, but it was nice. My husband spoiled me with some new house plants, new books, some “Sailor Moon” Luna and Artemis salt shakers (I’ve been obsessed with that anime since I was a little kid) and a wrap skirt – I’m looking forward to summer when I can wear it. 😛 It ended up snowing the day after my birthday – I don’t know the total, but there was a LOT. It’s finally melting away; hopefully we can have a couple more weeks of autumn before winter arrives for real.

Frigg, wife of Odin
Jenny Nyström (1854-1946)

Since my birthday, I have been working steadily on book 3. I have the draft of the first eight chapters done, but rather than continue from there in chronological order, I decided to begin the last part (well, sort of middle to last part) of the book instead. 62 pages and 22,395 words later over three days later, I’m pretty happy, haha! I don’t want to give any spoilers away so I won’t say much as to what the chapters are about, but they are dark and exciting – Aveline is travelling the world and going through a lot in the final book.

I look back over the previous two books and see where Aveline began and how much she has grown since then. As cliche as it sounds, seeing her grow fills my heart but leaves me a little saddened since I know this is it for her. Once the Danethrall trilogy is over, I won’t return to her.

Aveline’s saga began as just a hobby, just a story I was writing to fill time in my day between children and chores, but it became so much more. It became a published book, then two – now a third in the works! It was a dream come true – an item ticked off my bucket list. I always wanted to write a novel, but I could never finish one no matter what I wrote about. Drawn to the idea of Aveline’s life, the life of an Anglo-Saxon in the land of the Danes, I finally found a story I could finish. Indeed, it ended up spanning over three books!

My interest in history (especially that of the Viking age) has been lifelong. As mentioned in my bio, I was born and grew up in East Anglia, Aveline’s homeland of the Kingdom of the East Angles, where the Great Heathen Army attacked in 865. Aveline’s saga opened that entire world to me; I searched for inspiration for the next event in Aveline’s life, scouring sources of the Early Middle Ages, travelling 9th century Europe through the pages of books.

Some of the subject matter in the books is very provocative and unsettling, but in a strange way, I am glad those pieces unnerve my readers. The Middle Ages were a dark time, people did not have the morals and sensibilities we have today and I am not writing about modern people or times. Seeing the atrocities of the past makes you appreciate the time you’re living in, makes you realise how much humankind has improved over the centuries. You might find some parts distasteful or horrific, but such was the normalcy of the time, and I did not and will not water it down. Though there might be a few historical inaccuracies scattered about my books (nothing can be perfect, right?), for the most part, my characters are suited to the period they live in and I pride myself on the realness of them and the situations they go through.

I am proud of my books. The Danethrall Trilogy might not be a bestselling series, and the novels are not traditionally published, but they are mine. I achieved something I’d always wanted to do because of them. Every time I receive a positive review or message from a reader – from a stranger who decided my books interested them – I am filled with happiness. I never thought that one day someone across the globe would personally write me and tell me they enjoyed my book.

Damn, I even enjoy the criticism to a certain extent – it proves that I have done something, that my story has had an effect on someone regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. I must admit, I’m thankful the criticism I have received has never been wholly negative and has been about the shocking nature of certain scenes – though funnily enough, not the scenes I thought I’d get complaints about, haha!

This post is getting long now, so I’ll end it here. 🙂 Thank you for everyone who has bought, borrowed, read, reviewed and reached out to me. – GSKT

A Viking ship is approached by Byzantines at Constantinople.
Michael Hampshire/National Geographic/Getty Images

Booksprout (aaagain)

I’ve been playing around on Booksprout again this evening after watching the Demolition Derby at the Genesee County Fair this evening (it was an incredibly fun night with the family). Unfortunately, I did find out that I can’t add mobi or epub versions of Danethrall for download on the Danethrall review page after publishing the review request, so the only download available is PDF. Sucks, but at least it’s something. 😛 If you would like a mobi or epub version to read, send me an email and I’ll email one over to you in exchange for a review. 😉

I started a review page for Rise To Fall, which you can visit by clicking here. There are mobi, epub and PDF versions to choose from. Again, there are only twenty free copies available to download and review. Rise To Fall reviews are available for an extended time – until 30th October 2019, a whole month longer than Danethrall. If you’d like to download both for FREE and review them, you have time. 😉

Below are the details for each book. Again, if you’ve read the books, please review on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, wherever. For a start-up author like me, reviews are key to getting my name and my novels out there. I appreciate every purchase, download and review left on any and all sites. Another reminder that both e-Books will be available for 99 cents/99p on Amazon US and UK as of tomorrow 24th August 2019 until 31st August 2019.

Danethrall
Link to Booksprout page.
Reviews due 30th September 2019.
19/20 copies available as of this time.
Link to Goodreads page.
Link to Amazon page.

Rise To Fall
Link to Booksprout page.
Reviews due 30th October 2019.
20/20 copies available as of this time.
Link to Goodreads page.
Link to Amazon page.