This seems to be a question that comes up quite a lot when I'm chatting with fellow authors. How much do you read? What's the last book you read? Would you like to read mine? etc. etc.
I can answer the question simply and easily? YES!
Right, well I guess that's probably the shortest blog in history, so perhaps I should give my personal reasons for reading and see if they correspond to yours.
In the last six months I have read close to forty full-length novels, from a dazzling array of authors and I can honestly say I am richer, wiser and more fulfilled as a person for having done so. To put a why to the YES, authors should be readers too, I will just offer a few words as to why I believe this so vehemently.
1/ Reading other author's works has improved my own writing dramatically. I don't mean by stealing their ideas or anything nefarious like that but what I mean is by exposing myself to so many author's styles, their use of colour in their language and their ability to weave intricate plot scenarios and twists, I have gained immeasurably in my own ability to do the same.
In the same way, I have realised my own failures in grammar, punctuation and style that can be the downfall, especially of a self-published novel. I believe I have grown as a writer by being exposed to so many different works, many written by people just like me - "newbies" trying to make it in the cut-throat publishing world.
2/ Reading and being able to interact, especially on Social Media, with other self-published or small-press authors has been incredibly rewarding for me personally. I have met some outstanding writers, some incredibly talented story-tellers and most important of all some wonderfully, friendly, caring and helpful people. Don't get me wrong - there's still a few arrogant arseholes out there, but in my experience, in the "indie" author world, they are few and far between. I am constantly amazed at the lengths my "author friends" will often go to help out a fellow author with a question. It is both humbling and incredibly satisfying to see.
You can absolutely check out my reviews of all these people's books and many, many more here on my website, just click on the link: http://www.grantleishman.com/book-reviews1.html
I will try to cover four "indie" authors each week, so hope you will check back regularly and follow them up.
Now Hayden is an Aussie (Australian to the more civilised amongst us) and his book Travesty is a delight to read.
If you like fun being poked at the establishment and its institutions, then Travesty is absolutely right up your alley. Politically incorrect and laced with profanity it is not for the faint-hearted, but what it is, is uproariously funny. I haven't belly-laughed so much for years, reading a book, as I did with Travesty. I was drawn to this book by the Author's promise that "I'd laugh so much, I'd wet my pants." Thankfully that didn't quite happen, but he was right, I did laugh - a lot.
Hayden's an interesting character in that he has had a long battle with debilitating depression. As he himself said, when he wrote Travesty he wrote it more than anything else, to make himself laugh. In doing so, he has given us a gem to share, with his incredible humour and satirical insight.
I'm not quite sure what Hayden's next project will be, or when it will be out, but I guarantee, if you have an open mind, you will absolutely love Travesty!
You can purchase Travesty on Amazon in either Kindle format or paperback. Just follow this link and you are there:
While you are there, you can check out his Author page also and find out just a bit more about the man himself:
I first came across Colin on Social Media and to be frank I was intrigued. Here was a man, about my own age, who also had come to writing late, yet he seemed so prolific - he'd already written and published three novels within six months of starting to write seriously. How did he do it?
I'm pleased to say that I've read two of Colin's books now; Never Say Goodbye and Underwood, plus I am really excited to read the sequel to Never Say Goodbye; There Was No Body, in the not too distant future.
Colin is Welsh, and a consummate story-teller. I have no doubt there is a touch of the Celtic in him, which comes through in the richness of his tales.
By no means is Colin a perfect writer - that's a work in progress. Some of his early work was rough around the edges, especially when it came to punctuation and grammar, but I am pleased to say he has worked hard at this aspect of his craft and the improvement is exponential. He was not too proud to seek help and his earlier books have now been re-edited and reissued, making them even more readable and enjoyable. What Colin does do is produce fantastic stories, with intricate plots and a seemingly never-ending series of twists and turns. He is truly a writer who loves what he does and loves telling stories. I can say - I love reading them!
Colin's preferred genre is the paranormal and he sucks the readers into weird and wonderful happenings and events, with ordinary people, that defy the imagination. His novel Underwood is a perfect example of this ability. As a reader I was totally involved in everything he was putting down on paper and the final twist was so far out of left-field, I never saw it coming. A great story!
You can check out Colin Griffiths the author and all his books to date by following this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Colin-Griffiths/e/B00UEQFN0W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1443237675&sr=8-1
Truly an author to watch develop over the next few years.
Amongst the "indie" authors I have met, Rachel stands tall as one of the friendliest, most helpful and most supportive that I have come across. I'm not sure what her "day job" is, but I'm glad she decided to join the ranks of us "indies", at least part-time for now. She is a blessing in many ways.
Her first book was a work of non-fiction, a memoir in fact. It was her own harrowing tale of a period in her life when she and her husband were trying to create a family. Finding The Rainbow is Rachel's own story of the excitement, the fear, the sorrow and the anguish of early miscarriage.
As a reader, and perhaps also as a man, it certainly wasn't something I'd ever given much thought to. My first wife had suffered such a miscarriage, and I'd written it off at the time as "just one of those things". What I learnt from Finding The Rainbow was a very personal insight into how early miscarriages (four in Rachel's case) can totally dominate every living moment of your life. It was a beautifully told story that evoked immense empathy within me as I rode each exciting pregnancy with her, only to be thrust into despair when yet another one miscarried. It is a heart-felt and poignant story that will tug at your heartstrings.
For me anyway, Finding The Rainbow is my non-fiction book of the year. It's beautifully written and wonderfully told. I truly loved it. The great news is that Rachel has followed this debut literary effort with something completely different - a children's book. She has just published a book called Mud on Your Face, which I have no doubt will be a wonderful tale for the younger set.
This young lady (not so young actually) really deserves to succeed on the literary stage and I firmly believe she will. My only hope is that she keeps writing, she has such real talent.
You can check out Finding The Rainbow by following this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Rainbow-Rachel-McGrath/dp/1784650447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443238582&sr=8-1&keywords=Rachel+McGrath
and you can read all about Rachel McGrath Author here:
I first came across Angela when I offered to read one of her books, Angel of the Willows, and review it for her. I can say that Angel of the Willows is still one of my favourite reads of 2015.
I just love the whimsical, almost humorous style that Angela puts into her works. She has written a number of books, both novels and short-story anthologies and it is very much in my plans to read all of them in due course. The gentle, yet fascinating story that she wove around the inhabitants of Willow Close was just endearing and dragged me into the story completely. It was one of those books that you just don't want to put down, because you always know something really exciting is about to happen.
Her characters, even an Angel, are readily believable and easy to fall in love with. I particularly liked the old fellow with a penchant for cross-dressing.
Her latest offering is written under a pen name, but you definitely want to check that one out too. It's called the Caravan of Love - Annie's Journal and is written by Annie Lancaster.
I know Angela has self-doubts about her writing and whether or not she should continue sometimes, but I for one hope she does. She adds immeasurably to the quality "indie" author market.
You can check out Angel of the Willows here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Willows-Angela-Gascoigne-ebook/dp/B00IEHQ316/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1443239990&sr=1-2&keywords=Angel+of+the+Willows
Angela's other works here:
Caravan of Love here:
Four new authors next week, so keep an eye out for that.
Till next week:
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
Have a great life and spread the love!
Changing the world – one reader at a time!