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I have books coming out!

In fact, I have three books due out this year. All are young adult fiction.

Two books in the Pointe Perfect series – which has six books in total – will be out in 2018. One in August and the other in November. The series follows a student, Jessica Hamilton, through her final three years at an elite ballet school.

Additionally, a sweet young adult romance involving a male Irish dancer who’s keeping his dancing secret from everyone at school will be out in October. (I’m going to be travelling throughout September, so I had to move some dates around)

The first book in my Pointe Perfect series has a page up here, and will go up for preorder across many ebook stores (and will be available in print on Amazon) in a few weeks. The release date is the 22nd of August.

Here’s the cover. The blurb is beneath it.

Cool Competition (Pointe Perfect Jessica Hamilton Book #1) by Natalia Heaney

 

Cool Competition (Pointe Perfect #1)

 

‘The new girl is called Sarah. And she’s better than me.’

 

Jessica Hamilton has two goals for the year 1997:

#1 Get promoted to the advanced ballet class.

#2 Dance the Winter Fairy solo in Cinderella.

Everything is going well, and it looks like she might earn both her dreams – and then a new girl arrives at the ballet school and changes everything.

Extra competition is the last thing Jessica needs, and just like that her goals seem far out of reach. No matter what she does, Sarah Webster does it better.

And right when things couldn’t get any worse at ballet, disaster strikes at school, too.

Suddenly it seems like it’ll be hard enough simply surviving the year. However, maybe, just maybe… luck will turn back on Jessica’s side.

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Book Spotlight: The Loneliest Robot

The Loneliest Robot by Andrew Glennon (Author) and Matt Dixon (Illustrator)

I saw this book in my Twitter feed recently, and something about the title and the poor robot on the cover made me want to read it!

This is listed as a book for teens.

The Loneliest Robot by Andrew Glennon (Author) and Matt Dixon (Illustrator)

At last, a story for the fast-moving modern technology age that reminds us all to stay HUMAN!

 

A lonely boy discovers an incredible Robot in his garden shed. A silent and highly gifted girl chooses to be alone in her attic bedroom. The richest man in the world mysteriously disappears.

It all waits to be discovered in THE LONELIEST ROBOT, a brilliant new novel for the modern technological age which features original illustrations from acclaimed robot artist, Matt Dixon.

Join a group of unlikely best friends, on a journey of self-discovery as they all transform through life. We can get so lost; we can forget what it’s truly like to feel HUMAN. Many things distract us all – smartphones, buying more and more stuff, technology, TV, everyone working longer and harder…. It’s so easy to get lost in modern life.

 

An imaginative new book for teens, young adults and anyone with a human heart, which explores and challenges modern life. A thought-provoking dark comedy – this uplifting tale is told with warmth and humour, making it highly digestible for young and curious minds. Also very suitable for adult readers (especially frustrated parents of technology-addicted children!)

 

Discover The Loneliest Robot. Discover yourself!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

This is a nice little book that covers the space of a day. (American) heroine and (English) hero end up sitting together on a flight from the United States to England, both ducking across the pond for family events.

Heroine Hadley’s family was torn to pieces when her father fell in love with an Englishwoman and abandoned them, and now she’s expected to attend the London wedding. This story is as much about family as romance.

As for the romance, I think the author managed the culture clash aspects well, and didn’t push things too far over such a short timeframe.

A sweet little book overall, though I’m not sure the father deserved to be so easily forgiven!

Cheating in Kindle Unlimited

There’s been a lot of drama in the publishing world recently, and one of the biggest stories at the moment is about the authors in the Kindle Unlimited program who are cheating the system to take money from honest authors.

In order to make MUCH more money than they’ve actually earned these people manipulate unsuspecting readers into helping them, and very few people seem to be aware what is going on.

Here’s how it works:

#1 Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service. Customers pay a fee each month and have access to numerous ebooks that are exclusively on Amazon.

#2 Authors aren’t paid by book borrows, but by how many pages are read. That means they only get paid for twenty pages if the reader goes no further than that, as long as the reader doesn’t click through to the end (e.g. to rate the book).

algorithms-1641857_1920 pie chart book stuffing kindle unlimited cheating scammers

In theory, authors are paid for equal work.

#3 Scammers try every trick there is to make their readers go to the end of the book. This includes adding links at the front to make readers jump to the end.

pie-36268_1280 pie chart book stuffing kindle unlimited cheating scammers

In reality, it looks more like this.

#4 The more pages readers skip over, the more the “authors” are paid. And so they “stuff” many other, previously-released books and other random content into the one book. It doesn’t matter if it ever gets read; it just matters that people click through it so they can make more money from it.

#5 This is 100% against the Kindle Unlimited Terms of Service. There is not meant to be more than 10% of bonus material in a Kindle Unlimited book, but some of these cheaters have extra stuffing in there that makes up 80 or 90% of the book.

And it is SO bad because:

#6 All authors are paid out of the same pot of money. They get paid based on the % of page reads, and so authors who’ve tricked people into flicking through literally thousands of extra pages are taking income away from authors who don’t cheat.

#7 Very few authors in this world make much money, but some of these book stuffers are making a fortune by scamming everyone.

#8 Now, finally – because people have started reporting the scammers – some of the worst offenders have been removed from Amazon in recent days, and they’re complaining loudly, all over the internet. They have their fan club members out complaining, too.

#9 At the moment, these scammers are playing the victim in the situation. THEY’RE NOT. They are complaining about loss of income, and saying ridiculous things like, ‘How will I feed my family now?!’

What they don’t mention is that they’ve been STEALING from other authors for years. Not once did they care how other authors would feed their families.

Don’t fall for the sob stories.

 

How you can help stop these unethical authors:

#1 DO NOT, under any circumstances, skip through to the end of a stuffed book.

#2 And DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on suspicious links within the contents or the book’s text.

#3 And… DO NOT, under any circumstances, click to the end of the book in order to rate or report it. Even if you intend to stop the scammers by reviewing or reporting, if you’ve gone to the end, you’ve just paid the thieves and stolen from honest authors anyway.

If you want to review etc., go to your computer or tablet and log on to Amazon there.

#4 And – finally –  nothing will change unless these people are REPORTED.

At the moment the worst of the book stuffing is taking place in the romance genre because it’s so big and lucrative. However, some of these so-called authors are listing their books in every category under the sun in order to trick more readers.

Manga Romeo and Juliet

A manga version of Romeo and Juliet was released a few days ago, if manga is your sort of thing. The book can be bought from a number of places, including Amazon.

Manga Classics Romeo and Juliet by Crystal S. Chan (Adapter) and William Shakespeare and Julien Choy (Artist) Cover

Library Cats Dress

This dress, with a books-and-cats theme, can be bought from Australian shop Pipka Designs on Etsy. Unlike some Etsy shops, this one will let you order more than one dress.

Library Cats Princess Puff-Sleeve Dress by PipkaDesigns on Etsy.

This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley

This is a squirrel . . . “Hey, I may be a squirrel, but my name is Taco! And I don’t eat nuts and tree bark—blech—I prefer tacos!” The natural predator of squirrels is . . . “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who is writing this book? I do not like where this is going.” This hilarious send-up of a children’s nature primer teaches kids that the most important story is the one you write yourself.

This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley

I’m always drawn to the ridiculous, and this sort of book can be just as entertaining for adult readers as for younger readers. This Is a Taco! is a fun book about making your own story.

 

Review copy from NetGalley.

Discover Dogs (Level 2 Reader) by Amanda Trane

Discover Dogs (Level 2 Reader) by Amanda Trane

Discover Dogs in this Beginning Reader

Do you like dogs? There are lots of different dog breeds and each dog has different things to know about it. Beginning readers will learn all about dogs in this short, leveled reader.

Here is an example of the text level:
The world is full of dogs. Some dogs make great pets. This pug wants to go on a walk.

Discover Reading series books from Xist Publishing are created with digital and print reading in mind. Each page features a photograph with descriptive text leveled for early readers.

 

Discover Dogs (Level 2 Reader) by Amanda Trane

I must admit: I downloaded this review book to look at pictures of dogs!

This is a reader for younger kids, helping with vocabulary.

Two points:

* The book is written in American English. For example, a handbag is referred to as a “purse” (a purse means something different to the rest of us). Also, the troublesome “off of” makes an appearance.

* I would have liked a reference to a guide dog, as other working dogs are mentioned.

A quick read.

 

Review copy from NetGalley.

Trademark Drama

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I was debating whether to mention the recent drama in the publishing world on this blog, as I wanted to keep it away from adult fiction genres.

However, I will mention this: in recent days an author managed to trademark the word “cocky”, and then proceeded to send threatening emails to authors using that word in their book titles. She managed to convince Amazon to pull other authors’ books, eliminating her competition.

There are multiple reports websites were even pulling *reviews* that had the trademarked word in them.

What’s happened since then has been a long and complicated – and melodramatic – mess spreading over more than a week, culminating in the author having a very public 1 3/4 hour meltdown on Facebook Live.

Trademarks exist for a reason, but too many people in this world use them for selfish purposes, to wipe out competition. Family businesses, for example, have come under legal and financial attack by international corporations who’ve trademarked the family’s name.

This author was 100% in the wrong, and I’m appalled by the rude and threatening language in the correspondence she had with other authors.

No matter what genre this happened in, it’s something everyone in a creative field should be concerned about. If one person is willing to go to these lengths to harm others in her field, many more people in many more areas will be willing to do the same.

Read off your library debt?

Want to read off your debt for late fees at the library? If you’re under twenty-one and in Los Angeles, you’re in luck. For one hour of reading you can eliminate $5 of fees.

Libraries in Los Angeles are letting kids read off their debt.