Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published and indie authors market their books. Marketing is possibly the most daunting effort that self-published authors face, and if I can help with that in even a small way, I am happy to do it.
Below are three books that you can pick up free today and they are all the beginnings of wonderful series’.
The Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmichael is the first book in a thrilling YA dystopian series, Juche, set in a concentration camp in North Korea. It is free today and tomorrow on Amazon, and you can pick it up here. My previous review of The Demon of Yodok is here.
Daughter of Time by Sarah Woodbury is the first book in the After Climeri series, about a woman who goes back in time to medieval Wales. There are 20 books in the series. Sarah Woodbury is an amazing success story among self-published authors, having sold over a million books. She has written 40 novels, all independently published.
“No Child of Mine” is a story of a father’s journey to save his child from a totalitarian regime, who is in order to bury the truth prepared to exterminate an entire generation.
57th Year of the true leadership of The Ordained Liberating Party; or Year 2273 by the old calendar. “The Collapse” took millions of lives and most of the country’s farming lands, bringing the surviving population of the island to the brink of starvation.
Out of the aftermath of the chaos and anarchy, a new state had emerged, known as The Federation Britannia, run by the single and unopposed Ordained Liberating Party. The division of the country’s orphanages for children of “the true citizens” and children of “the enemies of the state” began the clearance of the questionable element, and bloody years of the Age of Cleansing had finished the purge, leaving behind a perfectly obedient electorate that marched every year in the Liberation Day parades, praising the Party’s leadership and following the Party’s every directive.
The rule of the Party is absolute. Its tool of compliance, the State Security Unit, is feared.
Tom isn’t a frightened follower, he is a true believer. He loves the Party with all his heart. He trusts in the Party’s wisdom. The Party had raised him, rewarding his devotion and love with a lucrative engineering job, and after the approval for the Procreation licence, it also granted him a family.
But the unexpected midnight visit by the State Security to his flat, questions asked and blood samples collected, unsettles Tom more than he likes to admit, and the following day, whilst investigating the “black uniforms” interest, Tom witnesses the State Security troops, led by the familiar officer, marshalling the children from his daughter’s nursery, packing them into trucks and taking them into the unknown.
At that moment Tom is forced to make a decision: either to follow the Party directive and to surrender his child into its plenary care or to protect what he loves and run.
But there’s nowhere to run. There’s no escape from the island or from the complete control of the Ordained Liberating Party.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olga Gibbs is a mental health expert who has experience of working with disturbance in adolescents and young people. Using her Masters in Creative Writing, she explores taboo topics such as borderline personality and social effective disorder, effects of abuse and insecure attachment in young people and the inner world which is so rarely spoken about. She was born and raised in USSR and now lives in UK. Olga Gibbs is also a creative writing coach and mentor. Please visit author website http://www.OlgaGibbs.com for more information on upcoming books.
This dystopian novel set in the year 2273 in what used to be England describes what happens when a government has too much control and takes away all the freedoms of its citizens. Insert an epidemic into this and life gets even more impossible. Tom is an extreme loyalist, but then things start happening that cause him to question everything. However, he is scared to speak or even think anything that is contrary to what the government tells him. Growing up in the old USSR, the author would have some experience with this and it is well conveyed here. The absolute power the government in this story has over its citizens is well portrayed. The fear that one word, thought, or even a facial expression could cause the government to end the characters lives permeates this book. The themes conveyed in this story are about fighting back against tyranny and sacrifice in the face of evil.
This is not a happy, feel good book, but it does remind me of some regimes that have existed and still do exist in the world. Fans of dystopian and political fiction should give this one a try.
I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Self-published Saturday is my attempt to help Self-Published/Indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing and more. Saturdays are reserved for giving them a little bit of help with the marketing side. This week’s first offering is the third book in Adria Carmichael’s Juche series, The Storm of Storms. This is the story of a young girl and her family who are imprisoned in a concentration camp in the country of Choson, which most will recognize as North Korea. See my review and an insightful Q&A with the author, Adria Carmichael.
After learning Nari’s shocking secret, Areum’s plans change drastically. Her new plan is riskier and more dangerous than ever, but first they must survive a devastating storm that almost eliminates the food supply. Areum struggles to learn who she can trust as she tries to keep herself and Nari alive. Along the way, she begins to learn some things about herself and her family.
This third installment of the Juche series is packed with action, intrigue, and deception. Areum’s growth continues as she very slowly begins to see the truth, guided by Nari. Nari, though she is physically weaker than Areum, can be wiser and more perceptive, and each twin uses their own particular strengths to keep them both alive.
In this heartbreaking but compelling series, we watch the depths of evil to which mankind can sink. At the same time, we see the strength of those who continue to fight against great odds. The characters are well written, and the intrigue between the prisoners and guards is interesting to watch. The devastating storm and its aftereffects are powerfully portrayed. As this heartrending journey continues, you won’t want to miss a moment.
Cover grade is a new feature from me. As part of stressing how important the cover is to getting your book noticed on Amazon, I am putting my opinion of the cover in the form of 1 to 5 stars. This is meant as helpful and not critical. It does not reflect on the overall book review. With the millions of choices readers have while scrolling through books online, your cover needs to stand out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adria Carmichael is a writer of dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH ADRIA CARMICHAEL
Tell us a little more about yourself. Where are you from and where do you live now? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Well, I’m a project manager by day and a writer by night, and in between I have a family with two wonderful children. I also indulge in my passion for long-distance running as often as I can. I live in Europe, but I can’t be more specific than that due to the sensitive topic I’m writing on (North Korea has people who harass those who depict their country in a bad way). I am a summer person and spend most of the summer vacation in the garden or on day trips. Winter I would prefer to just hibernate through (with a short break for Christmas and New Year). But at least I can get a lot of writing done during those long, dark winter months.
I also write what I love, so I consume anything dystopian or post-apocalyptic, whether it is books, movies, TV series, or Playstation games. My favorite in that genre is the TV show “Jericho” because it lets you follow the disintegration of society day by day and not only shows it long after it has happened. I’m thinking of writing something along those lines after Juche.
What inspired you to write the Juche series?
It was about ten years ago now I think. Time flies. I had just read both the Hunger Games trilogy and Escape from Camp 14, which is about the only known person who has escaped that North Korean prison camp. While reading, I noticed there were quite a few similarities, such as one capital where people live in luxury and the rest of the country only works to maintain the capital’s wealth and power. The people there are used as slave labor. The camps/districts are surrounded by high-voltage fences and people are abused by vicious guards. District 12 is mainly used to extract coal, so is camp 14 etc.
So, I came to the conclusion that North Korea is a lot like Panem, if you take away all the sci-fi stuff, and would be a great setting for a story. I could only find one fictional novel that used this concept before me (the Orphan Master’s Son). That was the moment of inception. Then, a few years later, while I was researching, I watched a documentary which included two sisters from North Korea. The older sister had fled and was living a free life in China, but the other one was left in North Korea. With the support of the film crew, they managed to smuggle the younger sister across the border and set up a heartfelt reunion in her apartment in China. However, to my surprise, it didn’t work out like that. The younger sister was still completely indoctrinated and didn’t believe any of the bad things her older sister told her about their country and leaders. In the end, she just hopped on a bus and went back to the border. That encounter really fascinated me, and right then and there I decided I wanted to make the protagonist just as indoctrinated as that girl, and the story would be seen through her eyes as her beliefs are increasingly challenged by the reality around her.
How many books are planned for the series? That is a good question. The thing is that I didn’t write Juche as a series. My original idea was that the story would fit in one novel. When it grew out of that, I thought – trilogy. Then five books. Now, my best guess would be 9-10 books in total, and I split them up where it fits the story and so as not to make them too long. There are however some divisions to be made, so if you think in terms of a TV series, book 1-4 would be the first season.
Areum appears selfish and angry much of the time through the first three books, and her growth seems slow. Her treatment of her parents is horrible. Can you explain Areum’s bad attitude to us and is there any hope for growth?
As I mentioned in the second question, my aim was to create a protagonist who is a victim of indoctrination and to see the world as the story develops through her indoctrinated eyes. She is herself not aware that she’s indoctrinated and thinks it’s the others who “don’t get it”. On top of that, she is a strong-minded fourteen-year-old girl with family issues and everything else that comes with that. So, yes, her behavior in the beginning of the story is appalling, which at first makes the reader dislike her, but as the story progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that she is the greatest victim – the totalitarian regime didn’t only take her freedom, they took her mind as well. In essence, what I try to explore in Juche is how much reality her indoctrination can withstand before breaking… if it breaks at all. You will have to read the books to find out if her mind will be freed or not, but as to the question “is there any hope for growth”, the answer is definitely yes 🙂
Obviously the subject matter of your series is very heavy. How do you provide a glimmer of lightness or hope now and then?
I would say that since Areum starts out hating her family (parents and twin sister) more than anything, the lightness and hope comes from the changes in those relationships over time, even if the situation they’re in becomes increasingly impossible. Also, Areum is an extremely strong character that refuses to give up. She doesn’t take anything lying down, but fights and wins more often than not, and I hope the reader is along for the ride and roots for her. Also, if you have a morbid sense humor like me, there are a few treats here and there as well.
Do you have plans for writing any other series?I have several ideas (one of which I mentioned before), and considering the writing style I have developed, all of them are likely to become series. But I’m not sure if I will start sketching on any of them before I have finished Juche. I’ll see how I feel after the fourth book.
What does your writing day look like?
I really wish I had writing days, but in reality, I have a 9-5 job and a full time family, so I write nights and weekends whenever I have some time and energy to spare. I do like writing, however, so it would be nice to be able to do it full time some day.
What self-publishing lessons or tips have you learned thus far that you can share with new writers?
I have learned a lot these past 2-3 years, but I’m sure I have only started to scratch the surface. One thing I would advise, though, is to focus on the story. Your writing will develop over time, but the story needs to be compelling from the start. The book that helped me understand this was “Story Genius” by Lisa Cron, so would highly recommend that one to start with. Secondly, the end product is not only the text you produce. It’s also the editing and the cover design. It’s important to get those right, and that’s easier with direct communication, so I would recommend using freelancers. If you go with a larger service provider, all communication will go via a coordinator, and then you can’t shoot off random questions, the lead time is longer, and the number of misunderstandings grows ex
Adria, thank you so much for answering my questions and providing us even more insight into your characters, your writing, and this series.
BOOK 1 and BOOK 2 are currently part of a free promotion until the end of the day today(Saturday September 18th). They can also be read free by Kindle Unlimited Subscribers anytime.
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