Friday, 30 November 2012

How to Defeat a Dragon

Do you know Smaug the dragon's one weakness? Well, his other weakness then? It's reviews.

Smaug absolutely loathes reviews, hates them with a fiery passion (especially positive ones). So much so, they make him bang his head against walls and tear his armoured scales off!

What's the up shot of this? If you want to help Thorin, Bilbo and company defeat Smaug the dragon, please leave me a review!

Okay, so I may have a slight case of Hobbit fever. Sue me! ;)

If the rest of this post doesn't interest you, please skip to the gratuitous Hobbit pic spam below.

Seriously though, reviews are one of a writers best selling tools, but the biggest and best site for reviews (Amazon) appears to have put a rather overzealous commuter program to use, trying to weed out untrue reviews. A few examples are the ones authors (such as John Locke) pay to be written, those left by friends, family and (as hit the newspapers headlines his year) author sock-puppet accounts. Quite how this program works, no one knows because Amazon won't tell. I can't even begin to fathom how you can tell which reviews were paid for and which weren't. From what I can gather though, reviews from people who live in the same genera zipcode/postcode area as the author, seem to be classified as friends of the author and bahleted with prejudice.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Exclusive Preview! 3 chapters of Degrees of Hope

In preparation for it's release on Wednesday the28th of November, this #SampleSunday brings you an exclusive sneak peek at the first three chapters of my new novel, Degrees of Hope.
What's the book about?

At 23 years old, Lady Hope Beaumont's wild and independent ways, make her quite unladylike in the opinion of many people. However her beauty, the fact that she is the daughter of the Earl of Marchwood, not to mention her fortune, still makes her an appealing marriage prospect for some.
Newlyweds, Honoria and Malcolm Arundell, have just moved to Marchwood and quickly befriend the Beaumonts but it soon becomes clear to most that their marriage is a far from happy one and when the true extent of Malcolm's cruelty is revealed, Hope helps Honoria to escape. Her disappearance however, has unforeseen and far reaching consequences for everyone at Marchwood Hall.
When Honoria's brother discovers the truth about his sister's marriage, he goads Malcolm into an illegal duel. Before events are settled there will be a murder trial, unlikely friendships will be forged and amidst this chaotic backdrop, new love will blossom.
With a perfect mix of romance, suspense and sumptuous Victorian elegance, Degrees of Hope will keep you turning pages and leave you wanting more.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Fantastic Freebies!

In a very special event, all of my digital books are free on Amazon on the 13th, 14th and 15th of November! 

Happy Dog is very Happy about this
If you don't have a kindle, Amazon do free kindle apps for apple products, android devices and PC's, so you don't have to miss out.

All  my books are rated 4 stars or above on Amazon UK. The easiest way is to go to my author page on Amazon, which links to all my books.

Click here for my Amazon UK author page, or here for my Amazon US  author page. If you aren't in the US or UK, they should be free on all Amazon sites, just search for Catherine Winchester in Kindle Books. 

So what's on offer?

Historical Novels

Hope for Tomorrow  (Amazon rating 4.8/5)
When housemaid Martha began an affair with her Master's son, Lucien, the future Earl of Marchwood, it was always destined to end badly.
Single, pregnant and unemployed, Martha struggles to forge a new life for herself and her daughter, only for Lucien to inadvertently destroy it.
She and her daughter are homeless and starving when they come to the aid of a man who proves to be their salvation.
Lucien is still obsessed with his lost love, the only woman who has ever rejected him.
A chance meeting seven years later could spell disaster but can they put their pain and pride behind them and seize this opportunity, or will old ghosts ruin their last chance at happiness?

Northern Light (Amazon rating 4.3/5)
Sometimes described as the female Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell's classic novel, North and South, dealt with issues of class, feminism, social reform and the plight of the working classes, entwining those themes seamlessly with a timeless romance between Margaret Hale and John Thornton. Northern Light is a continuation of that novel which sees John and Margaret embarking on their lives together whilst working to improve the lives of their work force.
With the threat of another strike, a series of bad mill accidents, a lethal fire and failed speculation, life in Milton is not easy for anyone and it won't be long before the mill masters and their workers clash once more, with devastating consequences.
Getting married and starting a family is difficult enough at the best of times but for John and Margaret, married life will present unique challenges and despite the reforms they are making, even they will not escape Milton's troubles unscathed.
 (No knowledge of North and South is necessary to read this book)

What You Wish For (Amazon rating 4/5)
Carrie Preston is desperately trying to stand up to her pushy family and failing badly. When her favourite aunt dies she retreats into her favourite book, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, only to find herself suddenly stuck in that story and seriously messing with her favourite romance of all time!
When Carrie's kooky aunt bequeaths her a pair of amethyst earrings in her will and says that they will grant her her hearts desire, she has no idea that she will end up in the middle of the 19th century, slap bang in the middle of her favourite book. With nothing but the clothes on her back and her rucksack, she is taken in by the Hale family and soon finds herself living in the dirty, smoky industrial town of Milton.
The only bright spot on the horizon is that she gets to meet the romantic hero of the story, John Thornton but it's not long before he starts setting his sights on her rather than Margaret Hale! Far from living her dream, she is appalled to realise that she is about to destroy the greatest romance since Elizabeth Bennett met Mr Darcy!

A Merry Little Christmas (Amazon rating 4.3/5)
(Short Story - companion story to Northern Light)
The story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale's first Christmas together as a married couple.
Starved of time on their own, when Hannah Thornton announces that she is spending Christmas with John's sister, Fanny, John and Margaret decide to make the most of what little time they have together.

Urban Fantasy/Speculative Fiction

How to Train Your Zombie  (Amazon rating 4.5/5)
The zombie apocalypse, which has devastated the world, is in its final throes when Meg's husband is bitten. She has lost so much already that she simply can't face losing him too, so when it becomes apparent that he is about to join the ranks of the walking dead, she decides to employ her skills as a dog trainer and takes it upon herself to train him.
Not only must she face the dangers inherent in close contact with a zombie, she must also protect him from outside forces that mean him harm. Can she convince the handsome yet stern Colonel MacDonald that he deserves a chance? Can she stop him being used for vivisection? What about those who want to use him as bait for other zombies?
Join Meg during the final few months of the Zombie war, as she shares her, at times, gruesome, sad and darkly humorous story.

Bemused  (Amazon rating 4.5/5)
When self-made property developer, Niall, is attacked by vampires on his way home, his neat and ordered life soon begins to fall apart. His rescuer, the effervescent Mel, declares herself to be his Muse - better known in modern times as a Guardian Angel - and offers him a business proposition; she wants them to go into business as supernatural detectives.
Slightly sceptical to say the least, Niall eventually agrees to work one case with her - helped in no small part by his rather strong attraction to Mel.
Mrs Hart's house has been plagued by a series of deadly and inexplicable events, culminating in the death of a local boy. As they look into possible causes, Niall finds himself growing even more fond of Mel, although she seems determined to keep him at arm's length.
He discovers why she she is so reticent but that is soon overshadowed by the cause of Mrs Hart's problems; a foe so powerful that even the immortal Mel seems terrified!

The Past series

Past Due - Book One  (Amazon rating 5/5)
Francis 'Frankie' Wright thought she was an old hat at dealing with the supernatural, until she was reassigned to Edinburgh, the most haunted city in the world.
Her latest case soon takes a deadly turn. Young women are being slain in satanic rituals and it's up to Frankie to find the murderer before he kills again.
Frankie must juggle vampires, shapeshifters, witches and zombies, all the while trying to keep the truth from her sceptical ex-boyfriend, Will Campbell, who just happens to be heading up the police investigation.
The clock is ticking and she soon finds herself forced to team up with the vampires and shapeshifters in order to stop the killer before he can literally unleash hell on earth.

Half Past - Book Two  (Amazon rating 4.3/5)
Simon Hamm was a run of the mill con man, lying, cheating and stealing his way through life until met Marilyn, a vampire. Enthralled by her power, he courted her and made her fall in love with him, whereupon Hamm was reborn as a child of the night and Marilyn was dead by his hand.
Unwilling to play by the rules, Hamm turned rogue and cut a bloody trail across Britain in his quest to build himself a private army of vampires, courting the wrath of the vampire council in the process.
Employed by MI5 to police the supernatural community, Frankie Wright's life is far from normal but when Joshua asks for her help in tracking Hamm down, her life quickly begins to spiral out of control.
Forced to stay away from her boyfriend, Frankie begins to realise just how important Alex is to her but deceived and betrayed, she soon finds herself fighting not only to bring down Hamm but for the right to even exist.

Past Life - Book Three  (Amazon rating 5/5)
For once, Frankie Wright's life is relatively calm. She's settled into her new role, working for the Vampire Council, she's getting used to being single again and she's reaffirmed her friendship with Will Campbell.
She should have known that it was too good to last.
First Will learns about the existence of vampires, then her parents turn up unannounced, expecting to stay with her. Frankie must juggle her friend and her family, all the while hunting for the psycho who is murdering young women and killing family pets.
To top it all off, Dante is kidnapped and Frankie must race to find him before he becomes the next victim...

Please download, enjoy and if you like it/them, tell your friends. If you dont like them, lets never speak of this again, m'kay?