Guest Kasia James on The Milk of Female Kindness

Today, I’m Guest Posting over at the fabulously named “Peanut Butter on the Keyboard”. It’s a blog close to my heart in that it’s run by a group of great women who also manage to juggle writing with motherhood.

So please – pop on over to visit them.Β  πŸ™‚

Guest Kasia James on The Milk of Female Kindness.


Cover reveal! Milk of Female Kindness

Finally, I can reveal to the world the face of all our hard work over the last year! Drum roll please….

Here is the cover of our anthology of honest stories about motherhood – ‘The Milk of Female Kindness’.

MOFK COVER front final

The Anthology is a collection of the work of twenty-eight women from around the world, who have been brave enough to write honestly about their experiences of motherhood. I’d like to extend my most sincere thanks to all the contributors. It has been an honour working with such an inspiring group of people! πŸ™‚

Unlike most other books on the subject, we have a creative focus – there is artwork, poetry, short fiction, essays and interviews.

The collection is deliberately diverse, in all senses. All stages of motherhood are reflected, and really the aim is to broaden the range of stories out there, and allow women to think for themselves what it means to be a mother, rather than relying on the shallow and market focused roles that the media might like to push us into. You may disagree with some of the work: others pieces will resonate with you. Whatever happens, it will make you think more deeply about being a parent.

The book will be released in paperback first, with e-book to follow soon after. Stay tuned for developments!

Guest post at the ‘Writer’s Shack’


Guest post at the ‘Writer’s Shack’

I’m Guest Posting today over at ‘The Writer’s Shack‘ which is Riley Banks’ blog, with a bit of a grumble about Amazon. Riley makes a very pertinent comment on the post, about how non-US authors are treated. If enough people grumble, could it result in some changes to Amazon? You never know the strength of people power….

Avid Reader’s Cafe

PrintJust a quick note to let you know that my novel ‘The Artemis Effect’ is being featured over at Avid Reader’s Cafe at the moment.

The cafe is part of an initiative by the Independent Author’s Network, which I’ve finally joined after all this time. I’m not sure how many people find their books here, but fingers crossed someone will find and enjoy mine!

It’s really rather daunting the huge number of books out there, and many of them are genuinely worth reading. I wonder sometimes, whether the huge explosion in published books will be looked back on as a time of Renaissance – a flourishing of ideas? Will the best ones really rise to the surface, or will only the ones with the best marketing make it? Did Leonardo just have a great agent?

Title reveal! Our new Anthology

A little while ago, I discussed the search for a new name for an Anthology I’m putting together. It’s always a tricky process – finding something which captures the essence of a work, and balancing the temptation of an intriguingly obscure name with one which simply tells you what the book is about!

The Anthology is a collection of work – artwork, poetry, essay, short fiction and interviews – on the subject of honest motherhood. The real experience, in all it’s complexity, addressing the conflicts it raises for women, the changes in our lives, and also the rich variety of experiences that women have as mothers. We feel that the media discusses the issue in a simplistic and dumbed-down way, and we’re trying to expand the conversation about motherhood, and give us some new ways of thinking about it.

The name?

The Milk of Female Kindness – An Anthology of Honest Motherhood

Obscure? Hopefully not too much!

It comes from part of the screenplay of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’, in which Orlando and her lover Shelmerdine are discussing the implications of their gender roles.

Orlando: If I were a man…

Shelmerdine: You?

Orlando: I might choose not to risk my life for an uncertain cause. I might think that freedom won by death is not worth having. In fact…

Shelmerdine: You might choose not to be a real man at all. Say, if I were a woman…

Orlando: You?

Shelmerdine: I might choose not to sacrifice my life caring for my children, nor my children’s children, nor to drown anonymously in the milk of female kindness, but instead, say, to go abroad. Would I then be…

Orlando: A real woman?

Love to hear your thoughts! πŸ™‚


The next big thing

Although I have been sadly remiss in letting this go, I was flattered, chuffed, humbled and generally pretty cheery to be tagged as one of the authors in ‘The Next Big Thing‘ by the very talented Marc Schuster, for my debut novel, ‘The Artemis Effect‘.

It’s a lovely way for us to share some of the books we have really enjoyed. Having spent some of this afternoon in the garden enjoying our gorgeous autumn weather, I can’t help but think of it in terms of the jungle, which my garden is increasingly resembling. Sometimes the big plants shade out the small, which may be especially lovely things, and this is perhaps a way of letting in a bit of light, and bringing them to other’s attention.

As presumably I can’t tag Marc Schuster’s ‘The Grievers’ back, much as I enjoyed it, I’d like to tag the following from my recent reading:

Fires of Justice‘Fires of Justice’ by Sabrina Garie. This is an erotic romance, but with a fun and highly cohesive fantasy element. It is, in short, a romp and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who needs to escape, in te words of Tom Lehrer, ‘their drab, wretched lives.’



‘Rich Pickings for Ravens‘ by Tom Conrad. A truly unusual and funny who-dunnit, starting with the lead character’s death, and his subsequent quest to find out who killed him, and why.


‘Ththe-jpeg-of-graves-3_desolation-ware Prince of Graves’ by W.E. Linde. In the tradition of Tolkien, this fantasy novella is the first part of what will be a truly epic trilogy of books. Amazing battle scenes by an author who obviously loves the genre.



I look forward to seeing their recommendations, and also your opinions of these books if you’ve also been lucky enough to give them a go! πŸ™‚

The Fear of the New

Recently, I was fortunate enough to receive a book voucher for a big bookshop in the city. I love spending these things – book purchasing without guilt! Of course, I do tend to go over my allotted amount, but spread over a few books, that still makes them great value. When I got my haul home, I stacked them up on the table to gloat for a bit, and realised that none of them are by authors that I haven’t read before. They are all books by authors I already adore.Β  As someone who has just released a book (‘The Artemis Effect’), that lead me to some serious soul-searching.

Why would someone try my book, or take a chance on me as a new author?

When I do try a new author, what leads me to do so?

Is the cost of the book important?

Are people with different personalities more likely to take the chance on something new?

Does it make a difference whether the author is Indie or Traditionally published?

When I try a new author, there are certainly a few things which influence my choice.

Often I’ll take a chance on something new because it’s discounted. Most of the books I bought with my voucher were in the $20 plus category, and for me that’s a lot to fork out for something I might not enjoy. However, at the library, second-hand bookshop, or in the $5 pile, and I’m much more likely to give it a go. Once I’ve discovered something I do enjoy, I’m likely to stick with that author, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Curiously, a book being free (as inΒ  Kindle Select Program release) does not make me more likely to try it – I suppose there is something in my head still which still whispers “You get what you pay for…”

I admit that I am shallow enough that a good cover can suck me in. Well, at least to picking it up in the first place, but if the blurb or section I scan don’t entice me, then the cover alone is not enough to make me branch out. A good example is David Michael Lukas’ ‘The Oracle of Stamboul’, which first attracted me because of its gorgeous cover art. Gave it a try, and what a find!

Being in the literary field, I do read a lot of reviews, and some of them have at least prompted me to add those books to be ‘To Read’ list, although to date I don’t think I’ve ever actually read any of them. Maybe that’s just laziness on my part. I sincerely hope that other people are more influenced by reviews than I am, or I feel it will be very hard to get the word out there about the new book. If there is an e-book I’m interested in anyway, then I’ll read the reviews before I buy it. Curiously, those reviews don’t have to be universally positive: one I read recently which stated that it was ‘gritty’ fantasy actually inclined me ion the book’s favour, as I’d probably prefer that to fluffy fantasy.

I have certainly picked up and read books by people I’ve met through blogging – most recently ‘Lupa’ by Marie Marshall, and also the novella ‘Prince of Graves’ by W.E. Linde. I’m only a couple of pages into Lupa, but I can highly recommend ‘Prince of Graves’, even though it is not normally the type of fantasy I read. Give it a go!

As to the question of different personalities – surely this must come into play. There are some people who adore routine, and feel lost without it. Others thrill at being avant-garde and cutting edge. I suppose that it may come down to your risk-taking profile. I’m perhaps best described as a calculated risk-taker. I’m done lots of physically risky things, (like parachuting, white and black water rafting, hang-gliding), and every time I tell my mother that I’m going on holiday, she asks, “Which dangerous place are you going this time?”. On the other hand, large scale public speaking scares the pants off me. However, trying a new author is a much smaller scale risk. It’s really a risk that you’ll be wasting your time, that most precious resource. Picking up (and persisting) with a bad book may take up time which you could have spent doing something much more fulfilling or enjoyable.

This point leads me to one close to my heart. I’ve often read comments from people (and indeed book reviewers) who say that they won’t read an Indie published book, as they’ve been burnt too many times in the past. Bad editing, poor spelling and formatting all detract from a story, and in some cases make it next to unreadable. They say that this dross will sink to the bottom of the ‘Amazon’ flood, but is this true? I’m sure that there must be great Indie books out there, wallowing in the silt at the bottom, who never had a chance because they were new and the authors never managed to break the ice of their anonymity. The trouble is finding them.

I would genuinely love to hear what factors make you more likely to try a new author, and also what makes you cautious! πŸ™‚

Related posts:

Trying Something New – Psychology Today

Every New Author’s Greatest Enemy (and How to Beat It) – Jeff Goins

E-book revolution makes a mess in the library

I found this article the ‘The Age’ today, which discusses the tangle which libraries and publishers are getting themselves into over the rise of ebooks.

I’d encourage you to give it a read:

E-book revolution hinders the shelf life of a library.

It seems that publishers are charging libraries huge amounts for ebooks, which seems a bit mad. However, I can see that if libraries are allowed to loan out a single copy of a book to many readers at once, the publishers are justifiably a bit worried about their profits. I dare say that authors are also a bit concerned about loss of royalties, although personally I’d be pretty happy if some additional people read and enjoyed my work.

Perhaps one way out of the mess is to manage ebooks in libraries the same way that some software is dealt with in an office situation: that is, with a finite number of licenses. That way, libraries could only loan out as many copies as they have at any one time, publishers would be protected, and so would not feel the need to charge libraries exorbitant prices for their books.

Popular books would require more licenses to satisfy demand, but also libraries might be able to take advantage of the generally lower cost of ebooks to make sure that they had a more extensive collection of books. Those works by unknown authors, or with slightly obscure but nonetheless fascinating content to a select few could be more easily available, without even the need to reserve shelf space.

What do you think? Is there an aspect of this issue which I don’t understand? If so, I’m more than happy to chat about it! πŸ™‚

Courtesy of Jeff Koterba at the Omaha World Herald, via

Free the Kindle!

Images courtesy of Felix

It’s been suggested, perhaps rather controversially, that Amazon may make the Kindle viewer free. Check out this article on the subject:

Amazon | Kindle Price Drop Prediction.

I don’t know what you think of this, but in some ways it makes a lot of sense to me. There are many phone plans out there where the phone is tossed in as a freebie, when you sign up for particular deals, and it sounds like this system would work in rather the same way.

A Kindle, after all, generally costs less than a mobile phone, and with a defined yearly subscription cost (like a phone plan) it seems likely that it would be worth Amazon’s time to go down this path. Also, I understand that people with e-readers generally read more (or at least buy more) books. I’m not sure if this is due to an increased interest and ease of reading with a device, or ifΒ  it is just that ebooks are less expensive, and sometimes free.

I imagine that there may be legal implications in terms of anti-competitive behaviour if Amazon decide to provide for free what other companies must charge for, and perhaps this will be the fallen tree on the road to e-readers for all. Personally, I am in two minds about it. The Australian urge to ‘back the underdog’ in me is not entirely comfortable with the idea of Amazon potentially monopolizing in this way. On the other hand, if it allows more people to access my work, then I can’t help be selfishly rather hopeful about it.

What are your thoughts?





As of today, I’ve signed on with Kindlegraph. It’s a slightly strange but nonetheless interesting idea, whereby I can personalize and sign electronic copies of my book, The Artemis Effect.

So if you fancy a signed version before the hard copy comes out, please pop over there and have a look!

Thanks! πŸ™‚