Jihad and Unheard paperback

Now we could be embarrassed by the total lack of promotion on my part.  In the complete silence of book news when, let’s face it, I’ve clearly written and released a second book.  We could even be embarrassed at the fact that I stated in a blog back in November of 2013 that I was going to be writing said book in one month for National Novel Writing Month, but all that sounds exceptionally boring.  Shall we cut to the good bit?  The fact that said book is now available as a paperback along with the book it sequels.

Two-booksThe proof copy of Jihad and Unheard arrived in the post this morning and after a quick review to ensure the cover looks right (the cover for Hudud and Escape originally arrived far too dark) and the typefaces used are correct (as representing text on phone, terminal and blog requires a different look to that of the main novel text), I have deemed this proof copy perfect.  I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.

I know this will make some people very happy.  As I learned with Hudud and Escape, some people, quite simply, struggle with the act of reading a book on an electronic device.  And even so, there’s nothing quite like seeing these books so beautifully printed.  I’m very proud of the covers, which I designed myself.

Both books are available to buy now.  There are a few ways to buy them.

  • Buy from Create Space
    • Buying directly from the printers allows for the highest level of royalties paid to me though this method has the slowest delivery time. Please understand, I don’t make a lot of money from these books no matter who you buy from and I’m more interested in more people reading them.  As such, please read on.
  • Buy from Amazon
    • Amazon actually owns Create Space.  This being the case, they give the second best profits (except when buying from the robot sellers in the Amazon marketplace that sell them for a few pence less).  You can also share the Amazon link with your friends (who are more likely to accept it as a trust-worthy site) and write a review of the book on Amazon too (you can do this even if you don’t buy from Amazon, though Amazon will show a proof of purchase next to your review if you do).
  • Order from your local bookshop
    • This gives me the lowest amount of royalties, however, gets my book into stores.  This would actually be my preference.  Not always, but often, book shop owners will order more than one copy of a book when you order a copy.  This means you will get a copy and they will put the other on their book shelves to sell to others.  Of course, if you’re feeling especially fan like, you could go in singing the praises of these books and recommend they sell it to others.

So in case you hadn’t realised.  Jihad and Unheard is the second in the trilogy, which I am now calling The Hudud Trilogy.  I have started writing the third book (though at the moment it is just a prologue).  I’m taking this one slow.  Hudud and Escape was written in 23 days.  I had thought Jihad and Unheard would be done within another month, but I thought wrong.  The complexity of this book was much greater, involving narrative hopping back and forth not just around time, but the globe.  Indeed, a great amount of this book takes place in countries and times I only know from reading news accounts and other novels.  This no doubt means that I have written inaccuracies that only an author with a globe-trotting bank account could have afforded to prevent.  Alas, I am still a no-budget writer.  In the end, this novel took 1 year and 33 days to complete its first draft.  I finished not at the end of NaNoWriMo 2013 but a few days after NaNoWriMo 2014.  A few months of review and editing later, it was published on Kindle and Kobo and Google Play and now, finally, I have got off my arse and published it as a paperback.

I have learned a lot from my last novel and the time since writing it.  In truth, this has come from reading a lot more.  It’s not that I didn’t read before, it’s just that now I seem to be reading all the time.  I always have some book on the go and reading from the point of view of an author is, well to be honest, it’s very different.  I’m no longer just reading stories and enjoying them, but I’m noticing much more, how a story is written.  It can be as high level as seeing the way a narrative is ordered and as low level as how dialogue is formatted,something I very much struggled with in Hudud and Escape and have finally sorted properly in Jihad and Unheard.  Those who have read this book already have agreed that the quality of my writing seems to have improved greatly and I hope this improvement continues into the third and final book in this trilogy.

My aim is to complete this trilogy and then move onto something entirely new.  I have many ideas of what I’d like to do but have not settled on something yet.  My hope is that after the learning of this series, I will be ready to write something for actual publish.  We will see.

NaNoWriMo 2013 and a New Paperback

Hudud and Escape is now available as a Paperback and on Kobo, Amazon and Google Play.
Hudud and Escape is now available as a Paperback and on Kobo, Amazon and Google Play.

Hi guys, first of all, a quick announcement.  My first novel, Hudud and Escape, is now available as a paperback which can be found on Amazon.  It will also be available on Kobo and the Google Play store in about a week’s time, pre-orders are already open, why the wait?  Because Amazon locked me into a 90 day exclusivity agreement that I later regretted, a story for another post.

But the next announcement is that the sequel to Hudud and Escape has begun.  Some of you may know that Hudud and Escape was a NaNoWriMo novel and being November, it’s once again National Novel Writing Month.  I’ve spent the last year editing Hudud and Escape, publishing it and also, thinking and researching about its sequel.  I plan for this to be a trilogy and had planned to write one a year however, I suspect I may not have the patience to wait until next November to write the third, what with its plot floating around in my head already.  We’ll see how it goes.

The current working title for Hudud and Escape’s title is Jihad and Unheard and of course, as is the nature of NaNoWriMo, I should have my first draft finished by the end of the month, shortly before writing this, I’ve finished the first three chapters.  I’ll try and post more updates here as they come.

Review – Murder Begets Murder by D. M. Nelson

Click to view on Amazon.com
Click to view on Amazon.com

I found myself on the forum for Kindle Direct Publishing scrolling through the list of other authors self publishing.  I remember reading descriptions out loud to Heather and laughing as we went.  I’d start a sentence, “Jenna is found dead and Bill has to find who murdered her, soon the evil magic of her high school…” we’d look at each other, “No!”  Scroll to the next novel.  It was amusing not because we’d find such silly sounding book descriptions but because they were all like that.  And it wasn’t just magical, teen, vampire, nonsense, it was the fact that even in the descriptions they were creating plot holes.  I understand why it’s so difficult for publishers to find good books to put out, there’s an awful lot of nonsense out there.

I was still laughing as I got to another one and still laughing I read it aloud:

Seattle defense attorney, Mac Brodie, has a beautiful wife, two young children, and lives in tony Mercer Island on Lake Washington. He made a fortune back east so now has the luxury of picking his clients by their need, not their paycheck. His wife wants Mac to use his looks and charm to run for congress, but he loves what he does and with whom he does it. His investigator, Seth Ivarsson is a 6’7” pony-tailed behemoth ex-cop who lives on a houseboat, and describes himself as more loyal than moral. The third and last member of Brodie’s team is a thirty year-old legal assistant, Brooke Fletcher who’s in her third year of law school. Though immensely attracted to her, Mac values his family too much to mess around – and she doesn’t seem interested.

Mac’s latest client, Earl Richards, is on death row and guilty as sin. But Mac doesn’t believe in the death penalty and will do whatever it takes to get the sentence commuted. Little could he predict the nightmare that leaves everyone he loves in imminent danger and his life forever changed.

“Huh,” I said, no longer laughing, that didn’t sound too bad and it was a thriller.  I thought it’d be nice to read another self published thriller so the one click purchase button was hit and I forgot about it.  The next morning I got on the bus and began.  The first chapter was short and in need of  editing, grammar mistakes mainly.  I also found it frustrating to read that a software developer of course works for Microsoft and of course thinks in binary.  I also found it odd that they would have a car phone and not a mobile and it seemed like an obvious plot device.  I stupidly had not realised that the opening chapter was based a few decades ago and so all of this made perfect sense.  I got to the end of the chapter and to be honest, didn’t see it going anywhere.

Then I remembered my fear that no one would reach chapter 4 in my own book so I kept going despite the irritating spelling/grammar mistakes.  I got into chapter 2 and missed my stop for work, oh wow, what a start.  Justin the son of a conservative Christian family, is raped and murdered at a rest stop on a winter night, we jump ahead after chapter 3 and meet Mac Brodie, the lawyer defending the man who has been on death row for decades.  Mac is against capital punishment but like Mac I was pulled into insanity, desperate for the death of this evil man.  I could not stop reading this book.  The spelling and grammar became less noticeable once the story got going, leading me to think that perhaps the first couple of chapters were relatively new revisions compared to the rest of the book.

I was completely sucked in, the book was clearly very well researched and it was nice to read a view of Washington state that was not filled with sparkly vampires.  I felt myself feeling the same anger Mac felt, the same horror upon reflecting on his actions, the same hatred and hopelessness as he found himself trapped in the world of an insane man using him as his puppet.

I recommend this book so much, if you can put up with a few typos and grammar issues from time to time, you’ll not regret downloading this novel.  Do it now.

Yasmin Cover Square
You can download my debut novel, Hudud and Escape, now on Amazon. Click here to go to the Amazon store for your country.

My First Novel, Hudud and Escape, Available Now!

Click for Hudud and Escape in your country's Amazon store.
Click for Hudud and Escape in your country’s Amazon store.

Well, it’s happened, my first novel is available on Amazon right this second and what’s better?  It’s Free for the first 3 days.  Go download yourself a free book, you’ve nothing to lose!  Except for maybe your time in this dark Edinburgh crime novel for the 21st century.

After escaping the ultra conservative and cruel upbringing of her father in Pakistan, Yasmin flees to hope of a better life in the United Kingdom, only to find herself forced into slavery by human trafficker Lachlan, whose skill as a computer hacker means he can hide his victims within the country under supposed legal working status.

Forced into a world of rape, murder and slavery, Yasmin’s only strength comes from her faith but it is Adam, whose stolen phone holds the key to Lachlan’s technological empire who must find strength after an attack that has left him traumatised and fearing the outside world.

Hudud and Escape, a novel by Andy Barratt

On the 4th of November, I spotted a strange term trending on Google+, “#nanowrimo2012”.  I had no idea what it was or how much I would find myself tagging posts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ with #nanowrimo after I found out exactly what was going on.

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge?  Write or begin a novel with 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’ve wanted to write a novel several times, I’ve even tried.  Particularly stalkerish readers may even remember posts on this blog from years ago where I stated that I was writing one.  They all failed and, after going back to them, they were all awful.  30 days and 50,000 words?  I thought that was doable.  I’d had an idea for a story floating in my mind for a few days, just a single opening scene, so I wrote it and had my first 4,387 words already done.

I found myself wanting to write more but with work during the day, I couldn’t write until evening.  This turned out to be a blessing as the ideas I had during the day were able to form into full chapters, ready to write in the evenings.  Then these day dreamed chapters became collections of chapters.  After about a week, I knew the entire story.  I actually had a full story, from beginning to end, in my head.  That’s something I’d never been successful with in the past.

On the 26th day of NaNoWriMo, I’d finished my first draft, I’d started late and finished early.  51,723 words written in 22 days!  By the 29th, I had my 2nd draft and so I took a break.  I saw people saying I should claim the domain name for the title of my book so I did that too.  I also wrote a site which I’m quite proud of, put on your headphones and head over to www.hududandescape.com where you can read the first chapter.

I’m now working on my third draft and soon, I hope, I’ll be looking for people to represent it, to see if it’s something people think is worth publishing.  I believe it is but then, I expect many bad writers think what they write is a masterpiece.  I know the feedback from those who have read it so far has been good though and I hope they’re not just being nice to me.

Check out www.hududandescape.com and if you know of someone who you think might be interested in publishing it, please show them the site too.