Joanne Phillips



Keeping Sam is now available

Drum roll please … my new novel, Keeping Sam, is now available! And as is traditional here on the blog, on launch day I feel perfectly justified in shouting: Buy my book! £1.99 / $2.99

Keeping Sam cover



Okay, two things – first of all yesterday was the official launch day but I was feeling too poorly to summon up the energy to get on with launching and blogging and tweeting etc so I’m actually a day late, and secondly, I can’t shout because my throat is too sore. So I’m kind of croaking ‘Buy my book’ instead :)

The first review is up, and it’s a cracker. “An emotionally complex drama … A well told and unusual story … A most enjoyable read with that all important satisfying ending.” Thanks so much to author Terry Tyler for that fab review. You can read the rest of it here.

Keeping Sam will be coming out in paperback, but probably not until after Christmas. And if you kindly offered to review the book when I blogged about Keeping Sam last month, a copy will be on its way to you this week – I haven’t forgotten :) I’ll be carrying on with the launch over on Facebook this week, with excerpts from the book and other fun stuff, so pop over there and say hello if you haven’t already. Bye for now!

Review for Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

Yesterday we had Jan Ruth on the blog, talking about her indie journey of snakes and ladders; today you can read my review of Silver Rain – the book that prompted me to contact Jan and invite her to share her story with you. Thanks to Rosie Amber and Jan for providing me with a copy to review.

Silver Rain

Blurb: “Alastair Black has revealed a secret to his wife in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage. A return to his childhood family home at Chathill Farm is his only respite, although he is far from welcomed back by brother George. Kate, recently widowed and increasingly put upon by her daughter, sister, and mother, feels her life is over at fifty – until she meets Alastair. He’s everything she isn’t, but he’s a troubled soul with a dark past. When his famous mother leaves an unexpected inheritance, Kate is caught up in the unravelling of his life as Al comes to terms with who he really is.”

My review: I picked up Silver Rain primarily because I know Jan Ruth is a talented author, but I have to confess I hadn’t read the above blurb before I started reading. And now, having read the book, I’m not sure it does it justice. This is an absolutely stunning read. And that is a level of praise I reserve for only the very best books.

First of all you have the main characters, Al and Kate, both of whom positively jump off the page and grab you by the hand, demanding you come along with them on their respective journeys. The writing is beautiful and evocative, but never dull; the plot is tight and paced just right; the dialogue is so believable you almost forget you are reading fiction and not merely listening to conversations. I loved Al, he is a flawed character – flawed in all the right ways, the interesting ways – and from the outset I was rooting for him. Kate is so identifiable, complex and conflicted – the perfect foil for Al.

The story – gripping and satisfying all the way – plays out against the backdrop of a beautiful but unforgiving landscape, one that is always present but never takes over from the characters. What is so outstanding about Jan Ruth’s writing, however, is the depth of emotion contained within these pages. Every single character, even walk-on parts, seemed real to me. Every twist and turn of events, while surprising, felt natural and right for the story. As an author myself I felt humbled reading this book, and also glad that Jan has so many other books for me to get my hands on. Highly recommended – 5 stars. (If I could give it 6 stars I would!)

Buying links:

5 out of 5 stars

Member of Rosie Amber’s book review team


Pandora’s Prophecy – A Guest Post by Julie Ryan

Today I’m delighted to welcome to the blog the very talented Julie Ryan. I asked Julie to write a guest post in the wake of her latest book release, Pandora’s Prophecy. Read on for a sneaky peak at a reader/writer’s bookcase …


“I think my obsession with books began early. I remember lining my books up, on my bookcase that my grandfather made, in size order. Heaven forbid if either of my sisters tried to move them. As the eldest I was fortunate enough to have my own room. Perhaps if I’d been forced to share a room then I wouldn’t have become so obsessive about books. Even when I travelled around the world teaching, my books were with me; a reminder of home and a comfort in an unfamiliar land. At least that’s what I tell my husband!

Unfortunately, being dyslexic, he doesn’t share my passion for books. He did try to curb my enthusiasm by buying me my first Kindle in the hopes that it would stop me buying more books. I love my Kindle but I think the obsession has just spread as I now have hundreds of books on there too just waiting to be read. Even so, I can’t resist the scent and feel of a ‘real’ book so it hasn’t really solved the problem.

Things have now reached crisis point! I have five bookcases full of books with several hundred more still in boxes in the cellar. This was supposed to be a temporary move until we finished doing up the house. Ten years later and there isn’t much sign of me having my very own library. In fact, as I can’t access them easily I’ve probably got several duplicates, as I can’t resist a bargain!

A spot of reorganization was called for and having been invited to write a blog post, I thought I’d try and regroup my books beginning with my favourites set in Greece. I was going to be mega-organised and try to order them alphabetically but that looked too organized for me so… instead I’ve gone for a Greek bookshelf where I can easily locate books set on Greece or with a Greek theme. I must admit to being quite pleased with the result so the next step will be to do the same for all my books set in France, then in Italy and so on. It means that I can take a quick trip around Europe simply by looking at my bookshelf.

Unfortunately it hasn’t solved the problem of what to do with the thousands of other books that are not set in a particular country. Maybe it’s time for me to take a librarian’s course and then I can group them properly. Until then though it seems that my long-suffering husband is just going to have to put up with my books for a little bit longer or at least until I get my very own library.

I’m pleased to have passed something of my passion on to my son as he now has his own bookcase in his bedroom, which is beginning to overflow. I’m thinking it could be time for a house move! Please tell me I’m not alone in this, as I’d love to know how you categorise your books. Now, as long as I live to be around 300 I might just manage to read them all!”

You’re not alone in this, Julie :) I categorize by author if fiction, and then topic for non-fiction, and I have three main bookcases, not including my daughter’s two bookcases! 

Julie's book

Julie’s new book, Pandora’s Prophecy, is the third in the Greek Island mystery series but can be read as a standalone, although some characters from the previous books do make an appearance. Lisa and Mark are going through a rough patch, Vicky is seventeen and has just discovered that the man she thought was her father really isn’t, Ruth is getting over her husband’s betrayal after nearly twenty-five years of marriage. On the surface they have nothing in common except that they are all staying in the same hotel on a Greek Island. As they each come into contact with the mysterious Pandora, their lives will change forever. Bodies begin to pile up as a serial killer is on the loose who might just be targeting the hotel. The Island’s Police Chief, Christos Pavlides, tries to solve the puzzle but he has problems of his own to resolve. It seems that the local celebrity author is the one who holds the key.

Julie RyanAbout Julie:

Julie Ryan was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and two cats, a rescue cat and a dippy cat with half a tail.  She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance, as she can’t bear to get rid of any! They have been attempting to renovate their home for the last ten years.

She is the author of three novels set in Greece, “Jenna’s Journey”, “Sophia’s Secret” and ‘Pandora’s Prophecy.” She considers Greece to be her spiritual home and visits as often as she can. This series was inspired by her desire to return to Crete although there is a strong pull to revisit the Cyclades too.

Purchase links

Jenna’s Journey –

Universal link –

Sophia’s Secret –

Universal link –

Pandora’s Prophecy –

Author links

Twitter – @julieryan18

Facebook –

Blog –

Report From The London Book Fair – An Indie Author’s Perspective

Today I’m delighted to welcome top indie author Anne Allen to the blog to talk about her experience of the London Book Fair, or LBF to those in the know. Over to you, Anne …

Anne Allen - author of
Anne Allen – author of the Guernsey novels

“The London Book Fair – the very title brings a frisson of excitement to an author’s heart. This year it was held at Olympia – a massive structure which can be, and was, overwhelming. It was noisy, busy and held miles of books. But not many authors. Until three years ago, authors did not figure largely at LBF – it was all about publishers, agents and negotiating rights and translations. Then things changed with the advent of self-publishing and in 2013 the Author Lounge really took off, holding seminars for would-be authors and writers, panelled by successful mainstream authors and experts in self-publishing. And at LBF in 2014 the Indie author seemed to be king of their own castle. We were privileged to hear from million-selling authors flown in by Amazon to tell us how they did it and there was a real heady, party atmosphere.


I only caught the tale-end of this year’s LBF and by the time I’d reached the Author’s Lounge I was too late for any seminars but the list looked similar to that of 2014. It was crowded with eager listeners but no familiar faces. Amazon was parked by the entrance and provided a chance to talk to writers like Mel Sherratt and Rachel Abbot – both big names in the Indie world. After quick chats with these lovely ladies I headed for a pre-arranged appointment with a software company and left shortly after.

LBF is definitely worth attending at least once, whether you are already a published author or wish to be. But for me this year was special as I joined in the fun of the Indie Author Fringe Festival, run by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)/IndieRecon and hosted by Triskele Books. This was to be found at Foyles, the largest indie bookstore in London.


The fifth floor of Foyles buzzed with the sound of many excited authors waiting for the sessions to begin. There were few empty seats and it was great to see familiar faces of friends from facebook and blogland. The morning and early afternoon talks formed part of the London Book Fair, aimed specifically at indie authors like me. We were privileged to hear from speakers such as CJ Lyons, a US ex- doctor who has penned books selling in their millions, encouraging us to write books people want to buy – she made it sound so easy ☺ She was kind enough later to advise on my book covers, suggesting tweaks to strengthen my brand. Anything to help sell a million or more …

Other speakers included Debbie Young of ALLi, Nicola Young of The Society of Authors, and John Prebble from the Arts Council, all discussing funding for authors. It was fascinating to hear that grants can be available for indie authors and we are also eligible to join the Society of Authors if we’ve sold 500 ebooks or 300 paperbacks. Nicola certainly sparked my interest in joining – did you know the Society receives the royalties from the estate of George Bernard Shaw?

I was particularly interested to see Katie Donelan, the founder of BookBub, and had a quick word with her later about their move into the UK market. In January I had a particularly rewarding promo with BookBub UK and have just booked another.

Porter Anderson, of The Bookseller and Futurebook, was one of my favourites of the day. A brilliant speaker, he’s come out as a champion of indies and focuses on the world of digital publishing. His talk concerned @LibrarySELF-e, a new programme set up by US libraries that allows indie authors to upload their ebooks to all US libraries even if not US based. Brilliant! I’ve uploaded my first three books and it was easy. Statistics show that library borrowers often go on to buy further books from the author so this has to be a win-win for us writers. And did I say it was free?

Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn and Roz Morris
Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn and Roz Morris

Other discussions continued after lunch until it was time for The Big Event, where Foyles allowed 50+ indie authors to set up stall on the fifth floor and sell their books direct to the willing public pouring through their doors. It looked wonderful, some authors had beautiful posters and banners and everyone’s books looked equal to, if not better than, those downstairs. I was sad not to have my own piece of the action, not having booked a table in time, but Alison Ripley Cubitt kindly allowed me to display a few bookmarks and flyers on her table. I’ll definitely book for the next one. I don’t know how many books were sold all together, but books and money seemed to be constantly changing hands, except when being offered a nibble and a glass of wine from the café staff.”

The very talented Linda Gillard
The very talented Linda Gillard

Thanks, Anne! I also really enjoyed LBF last year, where Anne and I met in real life after being virtual friends for ages. My favourite photo is this one of Linda Gillard, another great friend and brilliant author, and I am very disappointed I didn’t get to Foyles to meet her in person. Maybe next year?

dangerous waters_Sept2014_amends-1


Guernsey Retreat_front_final






Anne Allen –

Twitter: @AnneAllen21


Anne Allen lives in Devon but originates from Rugby. Finding early on in life that she loved the sea she spent most of her adult years moving from one coast to another. Her happiest time was spent in Guernsey where she lived for nearly 14 years and her books are all set on that beautiful island. Until recently Anne was a psychotherapist but has now retired to write full time. So far she has published Dangerous Waters, a romantic mystery, Finding Mother, a romantic family drama and Guernsey Retreat, another romantic mystery, forming the Guernsey Novels series. A fourth, The Family Divided, will be published in June 2015.

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