Greek travel: Sifnos, the sparkling gem of the Aegean

Kastro, Sifnos

Pure white like a sundrenched pebble, and full of delights waiting to be found in every corner, the Cycladic island of Sifnos has the power to capture your heart and keep it forever. Then, you simply have no choice but to return again and again, retracing your steps to the same magnificent vistas, alluring beaches of fine sand, and the quaint white-washed yards that are bound to enchant you wherever you go. The same happened to me the first time I visited this island in my early twenties, and today, even though I’ve returned there several times over the years, its pull on me remains simply irresistible.

But don’t just take my word for it: walk with me today and see the beauty of Sifnos through my eyes: I promise you will be amazed, but make no mistake:  Sifnos is neither Mykonos nor Santorini. If Greek islands were women, Sifnos wouldn’t be a cosmopolitan chick, and not much of a socialite either. Sifnos would be shy and demure, yet drop dead gorgeous, an excellent cook, highly religious, and would dabble with pottery as a hobby. Hooked? Righ-y-o! Let the journey begin!

Kamares, Sifnos

As soon as the ferry docks, you’re already in love. Kamares has a ragged beauty that renders you breathless from the ferry’s deck, before you even set foot on the island. White-washed buildings perch on dark rocky soil on the side of the hill, a quaint seafront is lined with tavernas, a golden beach of fine sand stretches beyond and, above all that, an imposing mountain with a church on its very top completes the magnificent vista. The idyllic sight makes you feel small, like you have just shrunk to nothing, which is why I can never arrive at Sifnos and escape that familiar sense of awe that always catches in my throat.

For me, Kamares is the ideal place to stay on Sifnos. You can swim straight after breakfast, then have a leisurely walk around the shops. Shops, tavernas and bars will be just a stone’s throw away from your room. And even a beautiful pottery lab or two to browse through. Don’t miss the chance to visit at least one of many pottery workshops all over the island – seeing it’s an old tradition here and the artifacts are exquisite.

Rent a car or scooter, or take a bus or taxi, and explore the rest of the island from Kamares.

The island capital, Apollonia, takes its name from God Apollo and I find it suitable seeing that Apollo is the God of light and this town is simply dazzling! Apollonia is a pleasure to lose yourself in. Its whitewashed lanes and quaint edifices shine in the sunlight. The splashes of vibrant color, mainly from window shutters and flowers in the yards will find you using your camera fervently.

A short visit to the beautiful, whitewashed Monastery of Panayia Chrysopigi is a must as you drive from the capital towards the beach of Platis Yalos. Legend has it that when the Saracen pirates attempted to invade it, the Virgin Mary made a massive chunk of rock under their feet break away and plummet into the sea, taking them down with it.

A word of warning: Wandering around here in beachwear/shorts is fine but if you plan to go indoors to see the miraculous, ancient icon of the Virgin Mary, have a long skirt handy (for women) or long trousers (for men) as well as a shirt/top that covers your shoulders, otherwise you won’t be allowed entry. This is a strict rule observed in monasteries all over Greece, sometimes in churches too.

If you drive to Platis Yalos afterwards, it will start to reward you for your preference before you even get there – the stunning vista of the bay as you approach will take your breath away. Take your time to enjoy the beach. It has everything you need. Sparkling waters, fine sand, a good selection of tavernas and even more pottery on display if you feel up to it. Regarding the food: the meals you will sample in Sifnos will be exquisite no matter where you go. This is no surprise seeing that the very first famous Greek chef came from this island. His name was Tselemendes and his book, the first comprehensive cookery book that was ever published in Greece, became such a hit when it came out in the 1930s that, to this day, the word ‘tselemendes’ remains a synonym in Greek for ‘cookery book’.

Make sure to visit Kastro in the late afternoon and stay till the sunset as this can be a stunning spectacle from here. Besides, the light at this hour is ideal for taking photographs and, believe me, when you get there you’ll want to use a camera!

Kastro is a fortified cluster of ancient houses that takes you back in time and enchants you with every step you take. It was built high above the sea with walls and archways so the locals could fight off the Saracen pirates back in the day (9th century A.D.)

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom to watch a short video of me showing you around Kastro!

 

Below Kastro, at sea level, the whitewashed church of The Seven Martyrs (Epta Martyron) with its sky-blue dome is perched on the dark rock, a jewel to behold from above. A quaint stone stairway winds itself down to it, the view from the top so enchanting it always makes my heart stop.

 

Sea view from Artemonas, Sifnos at the old windmill (the site is now a tourist resort)

At a close distance From Kastro, you will find the village of Artemonas. Drive uphill to the old windmill (O Mylos tou Spitha). The view from up here is just as spectacular.

If you have several days to explore, other beautiful beaches worth visiting beside Platis Yalos are Faros and Heronissos and the one at Kastro.

I’ve already mentioned the pottery, which is a traditional profession on the island. If you visit any pottery workshops you’ll probably feel compelled to get a little souvenir. Go for a tiny quaint vase with a lid, or a proper cooking pot, if only for making the fabulous chickpea soup the Sifnos way (Revithada). It is a notorious dish in Greece, not just for being extremely tasty, but also for the unusual way in which it is cooked: The people of Sifnos make it in wood ovens, cooking the meal overnight in a ceramic pot that’s been sealed with dough around its lid. Of course, urban housewives all over Greece make it in their ovens in a similar way, baking it for about 3-4 hours only – and it does get the consistency right. Get the recipe HERE

Other than pottery, there are many other types of local produce you can buy, such as: local cheeses, sweets & pastries, organic thyme honey, capers, wine, herbs, handmade jewellery, and hand-woven blankets and rugs that are made on traditional looms. 

Sifnos is a small island, which means a stay of 3-4 days is enough to adequately explore all the places of interest mentioned here. Wander around, as far and wide as you wish, and you will be rewarded with enchanting beauty in every corner. For one, everywhere you look, the hedges glint under the sunlight thanks to a stone from the local quarries used heavily for building purposes here. It is this endearing sight of the sparkling stone that has caused me to pick the name ‘Asimi’ (silver) for the fictitious Sifnos village where I set my romance, The Amulet.

Another endearing sight around the island involves the traditional pigeon houses that are stunning to behold and can be found everywhere, sometimes standing on their own in the middle of fields. See here for more info:

http://www.wondergreece.gr/v1/en/Regions/Sifnos/Culture/Monuments_sights/2872-Pigeon_Houses

Before you go: Watch the below short video and let my hubby, Andy, and me show you around Kastro (well, down one lane mostly, but it’s a super-pretty one!)

Excuse the evident sunburn on my back – it’s owed to the long bike rides I had on the island that time sans suntan lotion! Yeah, I know. Live and learn 😛

For further travel info & hotel bookings on Sifnos, visit:

http://www.greektravel.com/sifnos/

 

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New release: A Kilo of String by Rob Johnson

Today I have a treat for you that will bring a whirlwind of enjoyment to your daily lives. I met Rob Johnson online very recently and was hooked onto his work immediately for two reasons:

First, for his delightful, out-of-the-box Amazon bio that had me in stitches: (click below image to enlarge)

 

Secondly, for the hilarious podcasts about his life in Greece that I found on his website. Just hit play on the first one. I dare you to listen to it and not laugh out loud! GO HERE for the ultimate test on your funny bone!

Rob Johnson, a Brit who has long decided to leave the cold chill of British winter to settle down in Greece with his wife, has a wicked sense of humor that I found irresistible. This is why I didn’t stop at his delightful podcasts but also added to my TBR list his brand new book, A Kilo of String, that has me howling with laughter at bedtime these days. Rob Johnson’s awesome sense of humor is evident throughout his work. I mean, the man has written a book called Quest for the Holey Snail! (and yes, it’s reminiscent of Monty Python too!) Not to mention he has convinced his dog Buster to blog about their life in the Peloponnese! You don’t believe me? Here’s Buster’s Dog Blog.

I digress, I know, but I just couldn’t help it. I am so excited to have found this wonderful author that I had to share with you my journey as I discovered him step-by-step.

And now, for the main reason that I am writing this today – to share Rob’s delightful new release. A Kilo of String is an unmissable memoir from Rob’s life in the Peloponnese in the past 13 years. Grab it while it’s still on offer!

 

99c / 99p for a limited time!

Everything you never realized you wanted to know about Greece or didn’t dare to ask.

After living in Greece for thirteen years, writer and reluctant olive farmer Rob Johnson has got used to most of the things that he and his partner Penny found so bizarre at the beginning. Most, but not all. A Kilo of String is the story-so-far of this not-particularly-plucky couple’s often bewildering experiences among the descendants of Sophocles, Plato and Nana Mouskouri with occasional digressions into total irrelevances. This is a book which is almost guaranteed not to change your life, but what it will do is answer many of the fundamental questions about life in Greece, such as:

How do you avoid ordering a double tomato for your pine marten when booking a hotel room?

Should olive harvesting be registered with the Dangerous Sports Association?

Why are chicken livers useful (other than to the chickens themselves)?

Why is it a good idea to wear your underwear inside-out?

Why is playing the bassoon bad for your health?

Oh yes, and there are some serious bits too about how life in Greece has changed since the beginning of the economic crisis. A Kilo of String is loosely based on Rob Johnson’s podcast series of the same name, which is free to listen to and download at https://rob-johnson.org.uk/podcasts/a-kilo-of-string/

 

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Also, make sure to check out:

Greek myths and time travel!

“Not just another book about serial-killing monks who travel through time and wear Union Jack flip-flops.” – Unusual Footwear Monthly

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Author, participate in a huge event and get paid!

 

Thrilled to spread the word today about a huge event that I am participating in and, for the first time ever, expecting to be paid for my time and trouble. You, what? I hear you say. You see, this is not your average authors event. As you may have heard in my recent post FREE AUTHOR RESOURCES AND A NEW MINDSET FOR SUCCESS (and if you haven’t, I strongly recommend you check it out), I have recently got into affiliate marketing. I made that decision as part of my plan to grow my budding (and struggling) business in a dedicated manner from now on. As I’m excited to try this new angle, I feel compelled to write and tell you all about it. And I am excited, because:

a) The prospect of expanding my business with a new source of income for little work feels like a bonus, whether it trickles or flows for a while!

b) I have been following the person behind this event for almost a year now – that’s Matt Stone (AKA Buck Flogging) and I believe in him. I know he knows his onions. The fact he earns 6 figures per month is a proof of that, if anything. His past events have been huge successes so I know this one will be too. My decision to join forces with him when he invited me to was both an honor and a no brainer.

Matt Stone is the mastermind behind BuckBooks, ArchangelInk, Digital Freedom Academy and many other successful sites, including the one I recently signed up with as an affiliate, which is QuitN6 (Quit your job in 6 months). The site is dedicated to teaching online entrepreneurs everything they need to know so they can build their business from scratch, then grow their mailing list so they can start earning some serious $$$. But don’t let the sound of $$$ set off any scammer alerts in your head. I can assure you that Matt’s methods involve nothing but hard work and dedication, as well as a burning desire to help others succeed.

 

But I digress. Back to the specific event. As you can see, it involves a freebie. This is the incentive for the online entrepreneurs (authors included, of course!) to sign up to Matt’s mailing list.

Matt has got an army of dedicated affiliates ready to spread the word about the book.

So what is the incentive for me to sign up as an affiliate too, I hear you say?

Simple.

Matt will pitch a paid product to the new subscribers in July, and every affiliate will be earning a commission for purchases made by the people they’d brought to the landing page. The traffic each affiliate brings will have been tracked automatically.

As I said, this is new to me and I am very excited. Seeing that I don’t have many entrepreneurs but mostly fiction readers on my mailing list, I cannot blast out an announcement about the event via my newsletter. So instead, just before the event starts I will blog it here, then tweet the living daylights out of it to get entrepreneurs to sign up during the four days that the event will run (June 26-29). This is all I will have to do. Then I’ll sit back and wait for July when hopefully I will be receiving a nice little sum that I wouldn’t have earned otherwise.

Here’s the truth: Over and over again, I have been working my butt off doing promo for days, and 9 out of 10 my ROI is negative. And this leaves me feeling bummed every time. But not this time. Even if a single $ comes in for half an hour’s work to join forces with an entrepreneur as phenomenal as Matt Stone I’ll be sitting pretty.

So there you go. This entails zero cost, half an hour’s work, if that, and you’ll be in with a chance to win Paypal cash without any risk involved. I am sure you will agree this is a non brainer.

Consider this post my cordial invitation to you to sign up as an affiliate today. Added bonus: As an affiliate, you will be able to email the author directly and get a copy of the book for your own reading pleasure too!

If you choose not to go down the affiliate marketing route, you can still get your hands on the freebie.  I have read it and it has some gems in it, especially towards the end! To get your copy, just sign up for Matt’s mailing list when the event is live.

I will be blogging about it near the time so this will serve as a reminder for you. See, I got you covered either way 😉

However,  if you have a strong point to use to your advantage, I hope you will choose to participate as an affiliate. When I say strong point I mean either or both of these things:

a) A mailing list that contains only indie authors or entrepreneurs of any niche

b) A large Twitter following so you can blast the message out continuously. As I said, this is my only option and I got nothing to lose to try it!

CLICK HERE NOW TO SIGN UP AS AN AFFILIATE FOR THE EVENT

 

PLEASE NOTE!

Upon signing up, you will receive the link to your affiliate dashboard and your sign on details. When you get to your dashboard, make sure to change the tab to the FREE IBI BOOK. This page will show your affiliate links for the specific event. One is for the landing page you will be promoting, the other is to refer other affiliates to the event (the way I am doing now to spread the word!). These two links are unique to each person as you realize, so make sure to use your own and not mine, otherwise you’ll be giving me your precious commission and that won’t do 😉

Before I go: If you are an author, you may want to sign up to my mailing list just for indies, HERE. Every time I publish a post for authors I email it to this list. There are other benefits to sign up and you can find out all the details on the same page. Believe me, you do not want to miss a thing!

CLICK HERE NOW TO SIGN UP AS AN AFFILIATE FOR THE EVENT

 

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&nb

Summer giveaway prizes – part 2 of 2

Hello! We are in mid June and the giveaway is going strong. But it ends soon so you’d better enter while you still can. Hey, don’t say I didn’t warn ya 😉

For those who’ve only now heard: Two winners will get a bundle of 12 ebooks each! Dozens more will receive individual ebooks, as well as paperbacks. One lucky reader will get a set of my romantic comedy The Amulet (ebook) and a novelty bookmark. Last week I presented 6 of the prizes. You can see the post HERE. Today I am delighted to present the remaining 7. That’s 6 ebooks and 1 paperback. Feast your eyes, folks!

 

The body discovered in a remote cove on the Greek island of Liteos turns out to be an entrepreneur who was planning a new future for the island’s fishermen. But though the fabulous golden-scaled fish Liteos was famed for have long since vanished, not everyone welcomed the dead man’s vision. As the islanders sizzle in the summer heat, Hermes Diaktoros enters a world of lively red herrings, where the ties of blood are strong and the truth is painstakingly obscured.

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Celia Langford lost her perfect life in the ultimate betrayal—not only was her late husband a cheat, he left her with a mountain of debt and no self-confidence. She poured her grief into cooking, determined to start anew and heal by the sea. She meets Dax Smith, a local dive shop owner, and pure-bred South Florida native. The wrong city girl once left a bad taste in his mouth, so he’s stayed clear of all matters of the heart. Yet, their irresistible attraction toward one another makes anything seem possible.

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Eve Watkins is in her early forties and has two teenage kids, a loving husband and a career of her own. Her life seems fairly uneventful. Yet, when her mother passes away Eve discovers things about her own past that come as a shock and compel her to visit a small village in mainland Greece. There, the developments cause her life to deconstruct before her very eyes.

Ought she to have let sleeping dogs lie? Yet she knows she has to find out. She has to know who she really is. Whatever the cost.

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Miranda, a strong-minded yet lovable woman, splurges her inheritance on the old Miranda Bay Sanatorium in the sub-tropical Bay of Islands, New Zealand, simply because it bears her name. She knows little about running a business and, as if that’s not enough, Hamilton, her lascivious financial advisor, seizes the opportunity to undermine her. Things don’t go as well as she’d hoped and, at the brink of despair, Miranda experiences deepening depression and manic behavior. Terror ensues, and a roller coaster of emotions in the face of financial ruin.

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Will Scottish leisure tycoon help Chloe save her family’s crumbling theatre? Can she resist his notorious charms? And just how much exposure will satisfy the paparazzi’s lust for headlines?

Chloe is about to find out…

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One heartbroken winter, Jennifer decides to act on her dream of moving to a tiny Greek island – because life is too short not to reach out for what makes us happy.

Funny, romantic and full of surprising twists, Falling in Honey is a story about relationships, tzatziki, adventures, swimming, Greek dancing, starfish… and a bumpy but beautiful journey into Mediterranean sunshine.

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*OUR PAPERBACK PRIZE!*

Betrayed and jilted, Jennifer Dewitt finds solace in a new job and new city. Men and marriage are not on her radar. Adrien Merrill’s divorce leaves him bitter and jaded. In Cajun custom, pride rules. Yet Adrien aches for a woman to fill his days with laughter, his nights with passion, and his house with children. He sets his sights on Jennifer and runs right into stubborn, mouthy and independent. He soon discovers the line between pride and love is as whisper thin as a fine silk thread.

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Sign up for my newsletter today to receive the exclusive list for the giveaway! My subscribers get to receive very sparse emails from me but enjoy awesome benefits! And it’s all FREE!

Tell me more!

 

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Planning to visit Greece? Check out our FREE guide to Corfu! For delicious Greek recipes, go here. For our news, free books & exclusive giveaways join our newsletter! Sample Effrosyni’s work for FREE here! Are you an author? Check out our FREE promo tips & resources here.

 

FREE author resources and a new mindset for success

I am thrilled today to share wonderful FREE resources for authors that will make your head spin! In the past four months, thanks to a pretty nasty frozen shoulder I have had no choice but to say goodbye to my hectic 10-hour work days. Since I couldn’t type with both hands, writing a book has been impossible, and any kind of writing has been hard, so I decided to spend time on my computer educating myself instead.

Since February, I’ve done a couple of courses, watched several educational videos, read a bunch of entrepreneurial books and boy, has the journey been fantastic!

Some of them are FREE on the internet for everybody (seek and you shall find!) and others have been made available to me via my subscriptions to Digital Freedom Academy and QuitN6, both brainchildren of the mind-blowing entrepreneur Matt Stone (more on Matt, later on.)

I (virtually) stand before you today feeling like a brand new person, having acquired a new mindset that truly opened my eyes. For the first time since becoming an indie I’ve taken a few steps back, which allowed me to clear my mind and to see the big picture. And once you’ve done that, you get to see beyond the daily strife in front of the blinking screen as you plan your next FREE/KCD promo or write your next blog post – as if  promoting on Amazon and blogging are the best ways to get people to buy your books. Yeah, right.

Don’t get me wrong. I love blogging, and I can see the merit in it too. But thanks to the online resources I’ve been blessed to come across, I now see there are easier and more profitable ways to make it as an author.

Which brings me back to the FREE resources I have for you today, starting from a FREE 4-video course that will blow you away!

The FREE book, Reader Magnets, by awesome entrepreneur Nick Stephenson came highly recommended by an author friend. I can vouch for the fact that it has wonderful, fresh advice for indies, but the gem here is the emails you will receive as a subscriber, which contain links to Nick’s FREE 4-video course. This course involves groundbreaking stuff that will blow your mind!

Start by downloading the FREE book, Reader Magnets, on Nick Stephenson’s site, Your First 10,000 readers

You will receive the video links for the FREE course by email.

Nick’s course is all about the big picture I mentioned earlier. It will show you that your mailing list is more important than all the blogposts and Amazon promos you’ve ever done put together. Having listened to Nick Stephenson’s story, and his groundbreaking, easy to understand advice, this truly makes sense to me now.

But that’s not all for today. Here are some more FREE resources that have wowed me since February and I highly recommend you check out:

Don’t be fooled by the generic title. This FREE book series by the awesome Buck Flogging does apply to authors and it will help you spread your wings. I promise it will give you such a big picture you won’t know where you’re at for a while but it’s overwhelming and really powerful a feeling, and it will make your mind whirl like a spinning top!

I also recommend you read Buck’s FREE books after you’ve done Nick Stephenson’s course. Those rusty old cogs in your mind will have started turning by then so you’ll reap the full benefit of Buck Flogging’s advice in these books. Oh. And in case you’re mystified by the weirdness of the name ‘Buck Flogging’, swap around the first letters of the words and at least you’ll be able to guess how Buck feels about blogging. The real person behind the alias is Matt Stone of Buck Books, ArchangelInk and many other successful sites. Matt is an awesome entrepreneur like no other that you’ll do well to give your full attention to.

A word of warning: Matt Stone is a real sweetheart but Buck Flogging (his alter ego) is not a good boy. Other than being so vain that he puts the ‘N’ on Narcissus, he also loves sexual innuendoes and generally loves mentioning private body parts. Personally, I take the smooth with the rough (Buck, if you’re listening, please don’t turn this last statement into another of your sexy jokes!)

Proceed at your own peril and download your FREE copies HERE

 

Here’s one more gem for you! I mentioned earlier that growing your mailing list is more profitable than blogging. Guess what else is? Running AMS campaigns! Dave Chesson has made a FREE course on the subject that imparts a wealth of information and will give you the most A-HA moments possible since the days of “The Sun Always Shines on TV” (sorry, I am a huge fan of the band and couldn’t help the silly joke!) Check our Dave’s course in detail HERE

As I stated earlier, I’ve been reading a lot online… but the three aforementioned resources are by far the best, hence feeling compelled to share. Miss out on them at your own risk!

Kindly note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn commission from any resulting sales. Of course, you are under no obligation to buy any products and you can enjoy these awesome resources I share today absolutely free.

Before I go: If you are an author, you may want to sign up to my mailing list just for indies, HERE. Every time I publish a post for authors I email it to this list. There are other benefits to sign up and you can find out all the details on the same page. Believe me, you do not want to miss a thing!

 

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Book review: The Embroiderer by Kathryn Gauci

I love historical fiction set in Greece and Asia Minor, and this book was not just a fine specimen in my opinion, but one of the best and most memorable books I’ve ever read in this genre. If you loved ‘Birds Without Wings’ by Louis de Bernières, this is unmissable! I was amazed by the intricate detail in the author’s descriptions of all different eras and places. I can only imagine the kind of thorough research this feat must have taken. The story was both compelling and enchanting, and I particularly enjoyed the parts in Smyrna and Constantinople. The atrocities of war chilled my blood and the drama the main characters were constantly faced with was heart-wrenching. By the end of the book I felt overwhelmed by the journey and also felt that I’d been given a wonderful gift: the chance to experience in vivid detail life in Constantinople and Smyrna during precious times for Hellenism that came to pass long before I was born. It was therefore enthralling for me to experience all that so vividly. For example, I could almost feel the sea spray on my face as the characters walked along the Smyrna seafront! This is a truly unforgettable book and I urge all lovers of historical fiction to read it. Gauci’s story still stays with me vividly, and it’s been over a week since I finished it. Well done, to this amazing author with a uniquely lyrical style. I can’t wait to read her next book!

 

My rating

5-stars

A lyrical, enthralling journey in Greek history

 

Do you enjoy historical fiction set in Greece or Asia Minor? Trust me, you do not want to miss this gem of a book!

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The paperback is also available in Greek! Visit the site of Okeanos Publications, HERE

 

 

Read my interview with Kathryn on this blog and find out all about her amazing artistic skills!

 

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Summer giveaway prizes – Part 1 of 2

Hello! The entries keep rolling in for the Summer Giveaway and I believe it’s time to present to you some of the prizes! Two winners will get a bundle of 12 ebooks each! Dozens more will receive individual ebooks, as well as paperbacks. One lucky reader will get a set of my romantic comedy The Amulet (ebook) and a novelty bookmark.

Today, I am pleased to present to you some photos of the bookmark as well as half of the books on offer. Next week I will blog the remaining prizes in equal detail, so watch this space!

 

 

A Handful of Pebbles follows Sarah who travels to the village in Greece for the wedding of her youngest son. But Sarah’s own marriage is strained, and now that her children have grown up and left home she finds herself questioning her role of wife and mother.

Meeting up with her best friend Liz, who is also over for the wedding, and whom she has not seen for years, adds a further unsettling dimension. And why does Sarah feel so perturbed in the presence of Nicolaos, the shepherd who she seems to keep bumping into ..?

If you enjoyed ‘The Pact’ or ‘The Story Teller’ by Jodi Picoult, ‘Necessary Lies’ by Diane Chamberlain, ‘The Thread’ or ‘The Island’ by Victoria Hislop or ‘The Husband’s Secret’ by Liane Moriarty you’ll love this book…

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(Both covers are of the same book)

 

 

Sara Carson is a 30-something widow with a busy life. Two fun-loving best friends, a caring mom who needs her, and a thriving sweet shop. What more could a woman want? But when the ancient plumbing in her shop springs a leak and a gorgeous, dark-eyed stranger rushes to her rescue, hilarity unfolds—and Sara quickly sees exactly what she’s been missing.

Something most peculiar draws Landon Richards to Ocean City, Maryland—and to the lovely Sara. This woman touches his heart like no other, and the two of them explore the heady attraction that pulses between them. But haunting dreams have a way of encroaching on reality, and the strange phenomenon that brings these two together will also threaten to tear them apart.

VISIT AMAZON  US   UK

 

 

Stunning Natalie Asimakis returns to Atlanta from a trip to find an anonymous letter that tore her peaceful life apart—her husband, reporter James Cassidy, has been kidnapped.

Danger, betrayal and deadly secrets of her husband’s now revealed double life place Natalie’s life in jeopardy. The only one she can turn to for help is Daniel McKenzie—a prominent attorney with powerful connections. But there is a problem… Natalie and Daniel once had a stormy love affair that left indelible scars on her body and soul.

The non-stop action unfolds in Atlanta, Georgia and on the amazing Greek island of Skiathos—a paradise with lush pine forests and crystal-clear sapphire waters.

VISIT AMAZON US   UK

 

 

Alex Argiros looks like he owns the board room, yet he’d trade his bespoke suits for scrubs in the blink of an eye. But he’ll be damned if he plays into the hands of his nemesis before securing his late father’s legacy. About to seal the deal that will finally set him free, the last thing he needs is a new, fresh-out-of-college PA. Especially one that feeds his associates with home-made pies and his mind with inappropriate thoughts.

Monica Mitchell has come to Athens, Greece, with a single goal: to prove to her childhood crush that her adult self has grown out of the habit of flashing her underwear and looking like a zombie flick castoff…in public.

The catch? She has to hide who she is. Easy as pie. The demure PA looks nothing like the red-haired disaster magnet Alex once knew. Still, their explosive chemistry soon leads to bone-melting passion. But when her family pulls the rug from under Alex’s feet again, she knows she has to come clean or face his devastating wrath. She knows but needs just a little longer to savor his searing kisses…

VISIT AMAZON – CLEAN VERSION  US   UK 

VISIT AMAZON – SPICY VERSION  US   UK

 

 

When Catriona spots a plaid posterior passed out on the Hollywood movie lot where she works, she doesn’t know her life fixing problems for Hollywood’s spoiled elite is about to grow more complicated. She wants to write-off the ridiculously sexy, kilt-wearing Brochan as a con artist, but her adopted father seems strangely comfortable with a man claiming to have no memory of his past or knowledge of the modern world.

A red-bearded thug, an old picture and a three hundred year-old vendetta soon have Catriona worried she could lose everything – including her mysterious time traveling Scotsman.

A Highlander followed her home…Can she keep him?

VISIT AMAZON  US   UK

 

 

Katie has a guardian angel . . . she just doesn’t know it

When Katie loses her Athens office job, a gypsy woman hands her an amulet for good luck. Next, she gets hired as hotel receptionist on the Greek island of Sifnos and everything seems perfect, except for the overbearing hotel owner, Mrs. Matina. One of the guests, heart-stoppingly handsome Aggelos, keeps saving the day whenever Katie needs help. As she falls in love, she grows all the more intrigued by him and his quirky friends, including a little girl who keeps turning up on her own. Add a psychic, half-mad elderly woman into the mix and you’re in for a few laughs. Things are not what they seem in this small, family hotel and get even more complicated when the gypsy woman shows up again.

Will Katie ever work out that Aggelos is a guardian angel that came with the amulet? And if she does, will she be able to keep him? It may take a miracle. But on an island as magical as Sifnos, anything is possible!

VISIT AMAZON  US   UK

 

And that was it for today! Talk again next week when I’ll present the 6 remaining ebooks and 1 paperback up for grabs!

UPDATE: See the remaining book prizes HERE

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Everything you need to know about AMS campaigns

Thrilled to post this awesome tip for authors today! Those who follow my blog have often heard me rave here about Dave Chesson aka The Kindlepreneur for his indispensable blog and his out-of-the-box thinking.

Dave has created a fantastic tool for authors called KDP Rocket which has worked wonders for my keyword research, increasing remarkably my books’ visibility in Amazon searches. Now, Dave has gone and done it again by creating a 100% FREE online course where he reveals to authors a step-by-step guide to master AMS campaigns!

Any indie author worth his salt knows that AMS campaigns are currently the best way to increase book sales on Amazon. But if you’re anything like me you’ve been trying again and again to make money with these campaigns to no avail. “Yeah, why is that?” I hear you say.

This is simply because the hidden knowledge bestselling authors have been applying to make money on Amazon have been evading the rest of us.

Well, that was then… and this is NOW!

Last week I followed Dave’s FREE course which took me 2-3 hours to do, but don’t let that put you off! I did it effortlessly, and in my own time, as the course allows you to stop and pick up another time from where you’ve left off.

The course presumes you’re an absolute beginner so it starts from square one by explaining AMS campaigns and how to set them up. Even if you feel you could start at a later point, I strongly advise you don’t skip the early parts. I found a pearl of wisdom or two there myself!

 

The FREE course includes mentions to Dave’s app, KDP Rocket, simply because it is the Alpha and the Omega of indispensable tools for keyword research on Amazon for your 7 keywords per book on KDP, and now also for keyword research for your AMS campaigns. Dave added the AMS campaigns component on KDP Rocket only recently.

Please note:

You do not need KDP Rocket to apply Dave’s pearls of wisdom and to increase your sales with AMS campaigns, however, using KDP Rocket WILL save you hours and hours of time. The app can and will produce hundreds of suitable keywords for your book in a matter of minutes, including the titles of the bestselling books similar to yours!

“But… it’s not allowed to use other authors’ names and books,” some of you may say. Well, did you know that the rules that apply in AMS campaigns are different to those in KDP? And yes, it is allowed and advisable to use the competition as keywords in your AMS campaigns!

Dave recommends to start with 5-7 basic keywords that best describe your book. They must be popular but not too competitive.

From there, with the FREE course you will be able to expand your keyword list, finding hundreds more for your AMS campaigns that can attract the right readers to your product page. The course will tell you exactly where to go to Amazon to get them!

I hope you will check out Dave’s FREE course and give it the attention it well deserves! With it, I am sure you will experience firsthand all the WOW and the A-HA moments I had while taking it. June is a hectic month for me but as soon as things calm down I will apply the knowledge I gained and share my experience here. I will also blog the features of KDP Rocket on a separate post at first opportunity.

Before I go: If you are an author, you may want to sign up to my mail list just for indies, HERE. From now on, every time I blog a tip I will email it to this list. There are other benefits to sign up and you can find out all the details on the same page. Believe me, you do not want to miss a thing!

If you haven’t already, check out Dave Chesson’s awesome FREE course now!

Yes! I want to increase my sales!

Please note: KDP Rocket has left me so enthused that I recently decided to become an  affiliate for this app. This post, which I hope you’ve found useful, contains my affiliate links that allow me to earn advertising fees from any resulting sales of KDP Rocket.

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A summer giveaway for you! Win ebooks and more!

Yay! Thrilled to announce today my new giveaway. The stunning, exotic locations in these prizes will take you twice around the world!

2 winners will win a bundle of 12 ebooks!

Dozens more will win individual copies of the ebooks.

ALSO:

1 lucky reader will get a stylish novelty bookmark and an ebook of The Amulet by yours truly.

3 winners from USA/Canada will receive in the post a paperback of Count the Roses by Jackie Weger.

I will soon be blogging all the prizes in detail in two separate posts, so watch this space!

My giveaways are exclusive to my email subscribers who enjoy even more special benefits. You are welcome to sign up today and join the fun!

This is from the heart: I hate spam as much as you do. I send emails very sparsely and promise to  reward your trust by respecting both your privacy and your precious time.

All details and the sign up form are just a click away! Are you ready?

Yes! I am a bookworm and I feel lucky!

Are you an existing subscriber? Our newsletter with the giveaway link should hit your mailbox by June 3rd. If you cannot find it, look in your junk/spam folder and also in your Promotions tab if you use Gmail. For any problems, let me know. Just comment below or use the contact form!

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Summer giveaway! #Win #ebooks and more! #kindlelovers Click To Tweet

 

Did you enjoy this post? Type your email on the ‘follow this blog’ window on the right sidebar and get to see all our future posts!

 

Planning to visit Greece? Check out our FREE guide to Corfu! For delicious Greek recipes, go here. For our news, free books & exclusive giveaways join our newsletter! Sample Effrosyni’s work for FREE here! Are you an author? Check out our FREE promo tips & resources here.

 

Book review: The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy by Colleen Chesebro

This is not my usual cup of tea, but I knew Colleen Chesebro’s excellent work as a blogger for a couple years and was curious about her debut novel. I am glad I decided to read it! This was a wonderful fairy tale, and in terms of the protagonist’s social relations, it was also a sweet, utterly believable YA novel that really tugged at my heartstrings. I loved Abigail’s relationship with her aunt in particular – it was terribly moving in places and the author’s vivid descriptions and excellent prose made it so lifelike for me, as if it all took place before my eyes. It was all very human, very easy to relate to, what they had to go through as they got to know and trust each other, and I loved this in the story more than anything else. Abigail’s relations with the local youngsters and the horse racing were a delight to explore and, of course, I found the fairies enchanting! I expect young teenage girls will most certainly lap up the whimsical fantasy elements in this story. The antagonist is a scary villain that I believe bordered on madness. His malice balances out perfectly the sweetness and innocence that surrounds Abigail in her world, other than that. I am really surprised this is a debut novel! It’s very well-structured and told beautifully, a real feat for an emerging author. I am already looking forward to the next installment in this delightful tale! (I received a free copy and chose voluntarily to review it.)

 

My rating:

5 stars

A heart-rending, enchanting YA fantasy I couldn’t put down!

 

Do you enjoy YA fantasy? Stories of fairy visitations, or orphaned children who make a fresh start in life in a new home? Check out this delightful book, I think you’ll love it!

AMAZON  US  UK

 

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