Thursday, 1 December 2016

This #December ~ CHASING PAVEMENTS #Giveaway

Almost every year, I give away free copies of my debut novel, Chasing Pavements. There's no limit to the number of books I give away, no multiple-choice question that you have to answer to be entered into a prize draw and winners aren't selected at random.

Everybody that wants to win, will win.

This is because I make Chasing Pavements free at the below retailers for the whole of December and anyone and everyone that wants to download a copy can do so:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | B&N Nook | Kobo | Smashwords 

So, don't miss out on this chance to get your (digital) hands on the first book of the Soulmates Saga. Chasing Pavements introduces you to troubled soulmates Mukti and Jamie and sets the scene wonderfully for the next two instalments in the series, Make You Feel My Love and Someone Like You.

This year, I've also decided to slash the prices of the other two books in the series ~ Make You Feel My Love is down from $2.99 to $1.99 and Someone Like You is down from $2.99 to $2.49.

That's three books for only $4.48.

It's my chance to say thank you to the lovely people that follow and support me on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and Blogger. I really appreciate every re-tweet, every like, every time a post of mine is shared, spreading the word for my books - so Thank You!

And by giving away free copies of my books, I increase the chances of being read.

In saying that, the likelihood of my free book being read is still pretty low. Readers that download free ebooks and also purchase books with their hard-earned cash, are more likely to read the books they buy than the ones given away for free. In fact, some free books just sit in readers' digital shelves and never get read. I have a few of those on my Kindle and iPhone! Therefore, it's a good idea to give away free books quite frequently, if not making them perma-free. And a good cover goes a long way in getting people to read the free books they download.

If you would like to read the blurb and a spoiler-free Q&A on Chasing Pavements, click here.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Tip for Writers: Book Cover Design

I'm writing this post because of three reasons. First, ever since I revealed the rose motif covers of books 3 and 4 of my Poison Blood Series, comments have been flooding in about how cool they are. It reminded me that the covers for books 1 and 2 also received similar praise when they were first revealed in 2012.

I have a confession to make about these covers: Although I really like them, this design was not what I had in mind for these books. What I really wanted wasn't possible though. Not at that time. But I promised myself that I'd update the covers one day, with something that was close to what I'd initially hoped for. Of course life got in the way, and updating the covers to my vampire romance/paranormal romance/urban fantasy series had to wait. Wait a long time. Four years, to be precise.

Luckily, the simple covers didn't hinder downloads too badly (books 1 and 2 were downloaded over 30,000 with minimal promotion on my part - a few readers even purchased them with actual money from the Kindle store because I had been unable to make them free there), but I wonder if they would've been even more successful had the covers been better. Well, I'll find out soon enough because I finally updated the covers earlier this month. This is what they look like now:

Second reason for this post: I have experience of making my own book covers and using professionally produced ones (the below cover for Chasing Pavements, Soulmates Saga, Book 1 was designed by Peter at, so I think I can offer a tip or two about the processes:

And third... You'll have to read to the end of this post to find out :) 

Funnily enough, the covers I made myself are the ones that seem to have grabbed everyone's attention (I didn't get any comments when I revealed the professionally designed cover for Chasing Pavements).

Anyway, book covers. DIY or hire a pro? If you have the funds - and are willing to spend those funds on professionally designed covers - then by all means hire a designer. They will do all the hard work for you, they have the software and experience, and you'll end up with a nice-looking cover

But choose your designer wisely. Shop around. Do your research. Read about their processes and look through their galleries on their websites. Make sure to read the small-print and see how many revisions/drafts they offer after first showing you what they've created. Some firms will only change the cover only one or two times. So, be careful there.

Now, the most important tips about the design of the cover:




IT SHOULD MAKE CLEAR THE GENRE OF THE BOOK, but it's not supposed to tell the story (that's a job for your blurb).

The cover should do the hard work and take readers to the next segment of the sales pitch - the blurb. The cover is the most important part of the pitch, because if it doesn't do its job - grab the attention of the browsing customer - then you don't have anyone looking at the blurb. You might have a really good novel, an excellent blurb, but who'll know about it if your cover doesn't stop readers and entice them to learn more about your book?

So, when you approach designers to make you a cover, I'd advise you to NOT ASK THEM TO MAKE THE COVER OF YOUR DREAMS, the cover you've always pictured in your head. Because, let's face it, we think about the cover of our book while writing/editing them, and we usually picture a specific scene from the book on the cover, almost like a film poster. But to an unsuspecting reader, scenes from the story mean little to them, because THEY HAVEN'T READ YOUR BOOK YET. They won't get it. They don't need to get it. They just have to like your cover enough to go on and read the blurb.

And KEEP CHANGING THE COVER UNTIL IT STARTS WORKING FOR YOU. I don't mean change it every day/week/month, but every few months if it seems like its not atttracting readers.

That might be a bit pricey though, if you're hiring a designer to continually create new cover art for you. Luckily, there are plenty of sites that have very reasonably priced ready-made covers for you to choose from. You just pick the one you like (PICK THE MOST EYE-CATCHING OF ALL, PROVIDED IT SUITS THE GENRE), e-mail them the text you want on the cover (i.e. book name, author name, series name, tag-line etc.) and they make the quick edits and send you the finished product. You might end up with your brand-spanking new cover within a few hours. How awesome is that?

Whatever avenue you take, remember one thing:


Now, some more tips on book cover design, these slightly more specific.

Cover Concept ~ Keep it Simple

For my first vampire romance/urban fantasy book, Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation, I chose the image of a black rose, which represents death and re-birth. 

Vampires are humans that die and are re-born as immortals, and this book looks at how the main character Ellie became a vampire, so the black rose symbolism was perfect

I also wanted some blood on the cover. So I added a spot of blood dripping from the rose. And that was my simple cover concept.

TIP: If you go with flowers, butterflies, trees, things that vary in size and colour, you can continue with those in your covers for the sequels, changing the variety, colour etc. each time. Which is exactly what I did for the Poison Blood covers!

The Right Font for The Genre

The title of the book should fit in with the whole cover, and it shouldn't take the focus away from the key image in the cover. More than anything, it should communicate to readers the genre of the book. Finding the right font is tricky (for me anyway) and it really depends on how it looks with the cover as a whole. 

In my rose motif PB covers, I used two different types of fonts, which isn't uncommon. Usually, the author name will be a different, simpler, cleaner font to the book title. I used the same font (a slightly fancy one, but not too over the top) for author name and book sub-title, and a simpler, bolder font for the main part of the title. Ideally, the author name should be simpler and different to the font used in the book title, but I think I just about got away with it there :)

And the BIG Reveal...

The third reason I decided to write this post on book covers is.... drum-roll please....

I've given the Soulmates Saga book covers a make-over! Again. Why? Many reasons, mainly I just want to try something new and take the advice that I've given on book cover design in this post. I've done the whole 'film poster' design for this series and it's out of my system. Now, I just want a simple design that makes clear the genre of the books and fits in with covers in this genre. So here they are:


I hope this post has been useful in some way or another. Good luck with getting your covers right, whether they're DIY or pro.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Spoiler-Free Q&A on #PoisonBloodSeries Book 4: Apocalypse

In celebration of the release of the final two books in the Poison Blood series, below is a (spoiler-free) Q&A on Book 4: Apocalypse.

Q: This is the final book in the Poison Blood series and Book 3 of your contemporary romance series, the Soulmates Saga, was published in summer 2016. What new projects do you have in the pipeline?

A: Yes, Apocalypse is the conclusion to Ellie’s story. She’s done her thing. While writing Book 3 and 4 however, I really enjoyed writing about Amber. She became a bigger part of the story than I’d expected, and I’m glad she did.

I want to write a spin-off series about her. It won’t be the Poison Blood books from her perspective, but a continuation of Amber’s story.

Or rather, letting her story truly begin.

What does she do after the events of PB4?

I for one want to find out.

Let’s hope there are others that do too!

In my Someone Like You (The Soulmates Saga, Book 3) Q&A, I said that it’s not necessarily the last book in the series – otherwise I would’ve called/renamed the series The Soulmates Trilogy – because I hope to write other books about these characters.

As I write this, I have ideas for at least two new books!

I’m really warming to the idea of writing, not a prequel per se, but continuing on from the events of Someone Like You, but also going back in time to Jamie’s childhood and exploring his life back then. It was in his childhood that he met Sarah, so she will play a big part in this book.

The – potential – instalment after that will be a true continuation of Mukti’s story after Someone Like You finished.

However, I want my mind to work on these ideas and develop them into something brilliant before committing to writing them. I want both these novels to have the same drama, romance and twist-and-turns as their predecessors.

So SLY is the last book in the Soulmates Saga for a while. In the interim, I want to work on something new, letting Mukti and co. have some peace for a while.

Q: Apart from the spin-off to the Poison Blood series, do you have any other new projects to work on?

A: Luckily, I do. I have an unfinished paranormal romance novel to complete (which has the potential to turn into a trilogy, we’ll see) and I have planned a new contemporary romance series too. I don’t want to say too much about this series, but I’m hoping it’ll be a little more light-hearted than the Soulmates Saga, not as dark. I want this series to have a slightly different feel to the Soulmates Saga – just so readers don’t feel like they’re reading about the same characters packaged up in different bodies – so I’ll make a conscious effort to ensure the main characters aren’t as troubled or tormented as Mukti, Jamie and Jonny.

Once I start writing however, who knows what direction the characters will take me? They tend to have a life of their own and usually get their way!

Also, I had this idea years and years ago about a ‘mystery’ novel. I’d like to revisit that and mould into something I can really get my teeth into. Now, just because I read more crime novels than any other genre, doesn’t mean I’m clever enough to write a detective novel. I won’t do that to myself. This old idea I had in my teens has potential though, and I’d like to put it in a format in which I am capable of writing.

Fingers crossed I can complete all my projects in good time. Wish me luck!

Q: Do you have any strange writing rituals?

A: No. Well, I don’t think they’re strange…

But I do believe in sticking to tradition when it comes to the first people that get sent my completed manuscripts.

The person that read the earliest, roughest draft of my debut novel Chasing Pavements (The Soulmates Saga, Book 1), was my friend Char. Since then, I’ve made sure to send her the first rough draft of all the books in that series. “As per tradition” is always the subject in the e-mail I send her.

When Poison Blood, Book 1 was ready for someone else’s eyes, my friend was busy and I was on a tight schedule, so I didn’t send it to her. As a result, I’ve refrained from sending her unpublished manuscripts from that series. Strange I know, but that’s me. 

Poison Blood, Book 3: Prophecy and Book 4: Apocalypse are available to download via the links below:

PB3: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks UK | B&N Nook | Kobo

PB4: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks UK | B&N Nook | Kobo

Books 1 and 2 are still FREE:

Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation ~ Free at these retailers:

Kindle US & UK | iBooks US & UK | B&N Nook Store | Smashwords
Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution ~ Free at these retailers:

Monday, 14 November 2016

Spoiler-Free Q&A on #PoisonBloodSeries Book 3: Prophecy

In celebration of the release of the final two books in the Poison Blood series, below is a (spoiler-free) Q&A on Book 3: Prophecy.

Q: Why did it take you so long to release Poison Blood, Books 3 and 4?

A: I published the first two books in 2012 – it’s the year the series is set in. At this time, I’d written parts of Book 3 and had an outline for Book 4. I knew how the story was going to end and how I was going to get there. I’d planned to publish the third and fourth instalments as and when they were ready.

By the end of 2012 however, my personal life had taken a turn for the worse and continuing my writing journey was the last thing on my mind. I’ve written several blog posts on what led to my 3-4 year hiatus from the publishing industry so you can read about it by clicking these links:

Q: Since there was such a big gap between writing the first two books and Book 3, did you end up changing a lot of things that you’d initially planned?

A: Plot-wise, nothing changed. Back in 2012 however, I’d expected there to be more romance, and more of Christian. I guess, what was supposed to be a paranormal romance series has turned into more of an urban fantasy series.

Q: Could the Poison Blood Series have been just one novel?

A: Yes, I could have published one big novel instead of splitting the story into smaller books. If I’d done it that way, I would have priced it at $2.99, like my full-length contemporary novels, Chasing Pavements, Make You Feel My Love and Someone Like You. The combined price of the Poison Blood books is less than $2.99, and we get to have a few pretty book covers instead of just the one!

Q: How does Ellie compare to other heroines of paranormal/urban fantasy books?

A: Readers will be able to answer that question better than me.

Usually, the female leads in this genre have one characteristic in common: they have a tendency to get themselves and/or their friends into avoidable danger/trouble by making rash, irrational decisions. Decisions I wouldn’t have made in that situation. Choices that didn’t make sense. Reasoning that didn’t add up and felt a bit forced, presumably to add a bit of drama and action.

As a result, I found the heroines rather annoying and felt like throwing things at them. I hope Ellie isn’t irritating in that way – well, not too often, anyway!

Q: What are the best and worst things about writing about vampires?

A: The best: vampires in this series are really fast, strong and can have special supernatural powers. So when it comes to action sequences, the possibilities are endless. I can get really creative.

The worst: I really love writing dream sequences. All my books – apart from the Poison Blood Series – have dream/nightmare sequences. But if your main characters don’t sleep, they can’t dream. Therefore, I didn’t get to explore what goes on in Ellie and Christian’s unconscious minds.

Q: Which series did you enjoy writing the most, the Soulmates Saga or the Poison Blood series? Which would you enjoy most as a reader?

A: I know this is a boring answer, but I truly enjoyed writing both series, and writing one series helped make the other better. Editing the Soulmates Saga was harder though, and I enjoyed that less, whereas the re-writing process for the Poison Blood books was less laborious.

As a reader, I’m always looking for contemporary romance novels like Chasing Pavements and its sequels, but never succeed in finding anything like them. So I think my favourite series out of the two would be the Soulmates Saga.

Q: What about your friends and family, which of your books do they prefer?

A: Apart from my 13-year-old niece, I’m the only one in my family that enjoys reading fiction. My siblings are always glued to their SmartPhones and iPads, but not to read books. My husband isn’t into books either – he knows what happens in my novels, but hasn’t read a single line. So, none of my relatives have read my books. Yet. I know that once my niece is old enough, she’ll give my books a go. I’m really nervous as to what she’ll think of my work though. She’s a very talented writer herself and I have great hopes for her writing!

As for my friends, only two of them have read my work. I’m so grateful that they took time out of their incredibly busy lives and careers to do so, and for writing reviews on the books that they read. They were thankfully very honest in their reviews, stating both what they disliked and liked about the novels, so it’s not easy picking out which reviews were left by these two friends and which were written by strangers.

My other friends are very busy with their personal lives and their careers – I remember when my life was like that; I just wanted to sleep if I had a spare few hours – and they don’t have the same passion for reading that I do to squeeze in half-an-hour of reading into every day, which is what I started doing in the last couple of years. And I’m glad I did, because that 30-minute read during my lunch break helped me rediscover my love for reading and went a long way in improving my writing.

Who knows, if I make it big one day, maybe everyone I know will read my books – or at least own a copy – but until then, I’m happy to settle for the show of love from the strangers that were kind enough to message me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and on my blog, telling me how much they enjoyed my work. Thank you, it means so much to me!

Poison Blood, Book 3: Prophecy and Book 4: Apocalypse are available to download via the links below:

PB3: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks UK | B&N Nook | Kobo

PB4: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks UK | B&N Nook | Kobo

Books 1 and 2 are still FREE:

Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation ~ Free at these retailers:

Kindle US & UK | iBooks US & UK | B&N Nook Store | Smashwords
Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution ~ Free at these retailers:

Monday, 7 November 2016

Spoiler-Free Q&A on #PoisonBloodSeries Books 1 & 2

Now that the final two parts of the Poison Blood series are out, I thought I'd go back to the series openers and talk about how it all began. Below is a mostly spoiler-free Q&A on books 1 and 2. [Covers, blurbs, links to buy and review snippets at the end of the post]

Q:  What was the main inspiration behind the Poison Blood series?

A:  Short answer:  Ellie.

Long answer:  I’d wanted to write a vampire romance for a while, and I considered the idea of writing a series of short stories about vampires living on the London Underground. These characters wouldn’t necessarily be friends or hang out together, but have their own tale to tell.  One of the characters I thought up was Ellie.

However, I didn’t start writing anything until I woke up one morning with Ellie talking me through her life. This was a few days after I listened to the band Linkin Park for the first time in years so I think it was their songs that triggered the instinct to write Ellie’s story. Music has that effect on me!

Interestingly, Chapter 1 is almost identical to the monologue that roused me that first morning! Quickly, it became clear that Ellie’s story wasn’t as short and sweet as I initially planned. She had a lot more potential than I expected, which was great, though it meant I had to put my Vampires on the Underground collection on the backburner.

Q:  Why did you publish a paranormal romance so soon after publishing contemporary romance novel Chasing Pavements?

A:  It’s usually the characters and how strongly they present themselves to me, how clearly I hear their voices in my head that determine when and what I write. Even if I plan to write something, like a compilation of short stories about vampires making the underground transport system their home, unless I can see that world, hear the characters speak to me, the narrative doesn’t flow as well. I tend not to commit to a project unless I find myself immersed in the story. And when a character beckons to me, lets me into her mind and the world she lives in, I try not to ignore her.

But why follow-up Chasing Pavements with a vampire romance? Well, why not? If we enjoy reading an eclectic mix of books, I see no harm in exploring different genres when we write, provided we apply the same level of dedication, effort and enthusiasm for each story. As authors, we should do that for every book we write.

Growing up, my favourite genre to read was paranormal/fantasy and I was a huge fan of TV shows such as Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately, like so many others I knew, I stopped reading when I was at college and Uni. Upon rediscovering my love for books, I found myself reading contemporary fiction, crime, comedy/satire; the only fantasy novels I’d read in recent years were the Twilight and Harry Potter books. These I loved so much that I wanted to write for this genre, particularly about vampires. But I didn’t venture into this area until Ellie came to me.

Q:  The vampires in Poison Blood are extremely similar to the Twilight vampires. Was this intentional?

A:  Yes.

There are a range of vampire myths – from those that burn to ashes in sunlight and can be slain by driving a stake through their hearts, to immortals that sleep like the dead during the day and hunt by night – but my favourite is of course the one explored in the Twilight saga.  I knew that if I was going to write about vampires, I would conform to most of the rules set out in these books.

I wasn’t going to set my books in the Twilight world though. So I invented my own vampire government (The System), one which has modernised over the years and now operates like an institution the humans would be proud of. A few restrictions needed to be in place though (such as vampires not being able to enter a house without invitation), so that these indestructible creatures didn’t go around slaughtering an entire council estate in one night.  And of course there had to those that would try to stop these demons from doing what they liked.

The other certainty was that the stories would be set in contemporary society, specifically London. Although it’s exciting creating a whole new world, one in the future or in another dimension altogether, what appeals to me more is the idea that the world we live in now could be full of magic and mystery, amazing creatures with supernatural abilities, and the kind of love that we don’t dare to dream about achieving ourselves.

Q:  Did you plan to end Book 1 on a cliff-hanger?

A:  Absolutely. Every novel needs as many loose-ends tied-up by the end of it, and the same goes for each book in a trilogy or a saga, but there’s nothing wrong with leaving the reader with a question at the end, one which entices them to read the next book for the answer.

It’s also a good idea to have an unresolved issue that continues throughout a book series, or if it’s resolved in book 2 or 3, a new plot thread can be introduced to run into the next instalments. You need to give the audience plenty of reasons to read the next book and the next and the next.

Cliff-hangers like the one at the end of Book 1 work well if many of the main themes explored in the novel come to some sort of conclusion. Such as Ellie finally realising who she is, making sense of the life she had before she was changed and discovering why she became the vampire she is.

Q:  Why did you write book 2 - it's pretty much book 1 from another character's POV?

A:  Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution is supposed to “answer the questions raised in Book 1 while raising many more.” Initially, I hadn't planned on writing this book, but I realised that I did want the readers to be aware of a lot of things that Ellie isn't aware of. As book 1 is written entirely from her POV (in the first person), the reader only knows what she knows, and I thought it would be good for them to see things from Christian's perspective. It would also save long paragraphs where he'd have to tell her everything she needs to know (I always find those parts boring in novels where it's from one character's POV).

I know a lot of readers didn't appreciate this when the books first released - they wanted the story to continue and see what happens next, rather than reading another book with the same events (and a few extra scenes). But they didn't know what I had in store for the next few books, and once they do, they'll realise book 2 wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Below are the covers, blurbs and some of the nice things readers have said about books 1 and 2:

"I don't know what blood tastes like to a human.  I'd never even licked a tiny drop of it from a pricked finger, let alone suck on a bleeding cut.  The shedding of blood, my own, or anyone else's, always made me scream or panic in fear and revulsion.  Now it's my only food source."

Elisia Dalton, more commonly known as Ellie, is not a typical teenaged vampire.  She still has her humanity and conscience.  

Her human memories and growing pains.  

And the same distaste for blood.

Still reeling from the secrets she uncovered before she was turned into a vampire by the mysterious immortal Christian, Ellie is also finding it hard to come to terms with what she has become.  And the revelations keep coming.

Book 1 of the Poison Blood series reveals why Ellie is not like others of her kind.

Download this e-book for FREE from  Kindle US & UK, Apple iBookstore US & UKB&N Nook Store, and Smashwords

~ What Others Have Said About Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation ~

“This is definitely not a soppy vampire romance!  As usual with Neha Yazmin’s novels, things are never as they seem.  Just as you think you have a grip on what’s happening, Neha drops more bombshells to keep you guessing (and the pages turning!).  I have a taste for blood – Poison Blood that is!  Please publish the next book soon!” *****
“I am definitely hooked on the Poison Blood series.  Part of me was unsure as to whether another vampire story was worth telling... It definitely was!  There is so much more to the vampire world that Neha creates - and she really does create a world... but really, this is a character-driven story.  Neha's characters' depths are what drive her stories, each with their hidden secrets.  Book 1 of the Poison Blood series really is about the 'Revelation'. *****
“It's more like poison love. *****
“Awesome.  This was great, couldn't put it down.  I would love to see a third book! *****
A great book. *****
What a great book to read. *****


“I don’t know what being in love is like for humans. It never happened to me, not really. I only thought it did. Thought it for a long time. Almost half a century. But it feels as though I’ve known for longer that I’d been wrong."

Being a senior official at The System, the vampire world’s governing body, Christian routinely assigns secret missions to his agents. As The System’s most powerful immortal, he also takes responsibility for some of the trickier tasks himself.

When he stumbles upon a project that was kept secret from him, Christian decides to investigate. Why was he not told about this vampire that his employer wants to recruit? Why can’t he get anywhere near this elusive immortal?

Soon, he discovers that this is no ordinary vampire that he is hunting. And when he is suddenly overwhelmed by a rush of strange emotions, Christian is left even more perplexed. Is any of this related to Ellie?

Book two of the Poison Blood series answers some of the questions raised in book one while asking many more.

Download this e-book for FREE from Kindle US & UK, Apple iBookstore US & UK, B&N Nook Store, and Smashwords.

~ What Others Have Said About Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution ~

"I've been waiting for PB2 and it did not disappoint!  It suddenly brings a whole new perspective to the events of PB1 and you get to learn a lot more about how the vampire world works.  Cannot wait for PB3!" *****
"I loved this book." *****
"This book is so good, along with the other book in the series.  It's not completely romancing, it's for everyone male or female!  Amazingly interesting." *****
"Really good." *****

Poison Blood, Book 3: Prophecy and Book 4: Apocalypse are available to download via the links below:

PB3: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks UK | B&N Nook | Kobo

PB4: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks UK | B&N Nook | Kobo