Reviews and Amazon Rants

It means a lot to get good reviews. It means quite a lot to get a good rating, though slightly less than a well thought out review. It also means a lot when Amazon decides ‘f*** you, we don’t like you having nice things, so we’ll delete your best reviews’. Though it means a lot in a different way.

They’ve been doing this for a while now on Amazon itself, and since taking over Goodreads, they’ve started doing it there. I’m certainly not the only one noticing the reviews disappearing – and only ever 5-star reviews, it seems. I can’t speak for the deleted reviews of others, but the ones that have disappeared from mine have been from review bloggers, writing detailed, unbiased reviews. Not family members raving about how the books are the best things ever.

Amazon has claimed before that they won’t allow authors to post reviews on books in the same genre as they themselves write. Aside from the fact that this is pathetically stupid and is pretty much censorship, it doesn’t seem to be enforced. My best reviews are written by a sci-fi author, and they’re still there.

Other authors have contacted Amazon to demand to know why this is happening, and Amazon claim ignorance. They say that it’s most likely because of the reviewers removing the reviews, accidentally reviewing the book – I can’t quite get my head around that one – or leaving the site (Goodreads). That doesn’t quite allow for the fact that I asked one reviewer if she knew why her review had disappeared from my book on Amazon, she emailed Amazon to ask why, they said they would put it back, and then never bothered. So what the hell are they playing at?

But that’s enough ranting about the somewhat disgraceful Amazon.

I received one such review just the other day, from The Review Hart. I requested the review months ago – just after I published Acts of Violence, in fact. She scheduled me for August, and I forgot about it. With terms like ‘haunting’, ‘spectacular’, ‘gripping’, and ‘fantastic’ dotted throughout, the review turned out to be very much worth the wait. And it’s a 4-star review which means A) people are more likely to pay attention to it than a 5-star, and B) it’s less likely to be deleted by Amazon.

In fact, reading the review kind of made me want to read the book!

In other news, we have a more definite date for the next anthology, Wyrd Worlds II: September 20-21. Mine will be the first story in the book, and is a sequel to Kira.

Shadow Over Avalon – BBB

Shadow Over Avalon


C. N. Lesley

Following two threads of time, CN Lesley’s fresh take on the Arthurian tales of old delivers the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy.

Shadow Over Avalon Cover

Beyond the mists of time, a dying warrior binds his soul to his sword with an oath to protect his people. His shade rides with the Wild Hunt while he waits for the call of greatest need, but when it comes, he doesn’t know it is a lie.

In the undersea city of Avalon, Arthur nears the end of his acolyte training. But he doesn’t want to spend his life serving the Archive, he wants to fight side by side with the air-breathing people to defeat the predators who are determined to ensure their own survival no matter the cost.

Ashira, War Maid princess of the surface-world, is ready to sacrifice her life to defend her kin, but when she is betrayed she must choose whether to die with honor or become one of the creatures her kinsmen fear and loathe. Fortune twists in the strongest hands. This is no repeat; this is what happens next.

Shadow Over Avalon will be released 31 October by Kristell Ink.

About The Author

CN Lesley

Elizabeth Hull, writing under the by line of C.N.Lesley, lives in Alberta with her husband and cats. Her three daughters live close by. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth likes to read and to paint watercolors. She is also a keen gardener (despite the very short summers) and now has a mature shade garden. Once a worker in the communications sector, mostly concentrating on local news and events, she now writes full time, and fusses over her cats. She was senior managing editor of FlashMe Magazine and now is assistant flash fiction editor for Abyss and Apex.


C. N. Lesley’s Website

C. N. Lesley on Amazon (UK and US), (Shadow Over Avalon is available for pre-order)

Abyss And Apex Magazine

Editorial Review

BY JEANNE HASKIN, Author of ‘Love, War and Magic’, Artema Press

Author C.N. Lesley’s second novel, Shadow Over Avalon is an exquisite science-fantasy that portrays a world divided with masterful skill and detail. Undersea is the city of Avalon, a place of technology and manipulative experimentation in psi powers and genetics. It is Arthur’s birthplace and, if he does not defy the Seers who control him, it will be his prison.

Arthur’s hope lies in a woman of the surface world, a Gold Band War Maid named Ashira, who means nothing to her father, but will come to mean everything to her husband and the Earth’s resistance movement. Against creatures in deep space, whose food supply is the human herd, surface-dwellers like Ashira, who are ignorant of their function and unaware of their enemy, stand no chance of survival if they are found to possess psi powers. The sentence for this is unmaking—an assault on one’s very being—a torture so cruel and inhuman that those who survive as Outcasts must bond together for survival.

Except Ashira’s fate is to move between both worlds. Undersea and above-ground, she is the liaison between two powers that together could change Earth’s future. More importantly, her strong will and militant determination are the catalyst for Arthur’s own development much more than he can know.

But unbeknownst to both, there is a third player in this war: a shadow man who haunts Arthur’s dreams, as only one manifestation of who he truly is. It is the secret of this being—and Arthur’s need to unravel its intrigue—that will determine who is left standing and whether Arthur’s long-ago promise to fight mankind’s greatest battle will be foiled or fulfilled.

Inspired by literature’s most-loved King, this novel remains true to his purpose yet breaks every boundary to portray his challenge in the future. In all aspects, from the brilliant characterization to the warriors’ undying courage, this story is a journey like no other. Brought to life with breathtaking prose that is emotive and compelling, this book, like its inspiration, is destined for the halls of legend.

C. N. Lesley’s previous novel, Darkspire Reaches, will be free between 21 October and 8 November.

More Wyrdness

Just a brief update.

Firstly, here’s an interview I did a couple of weeks ago and forgot to tell anyone about. Oops…

Secondly, Wyrd Worlds, the free anthology of which I am part of, is now up on Amazon (UK and US). So that rounds off its availability nicely. Amazon, Smashwords, and many other large online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Sony, WHSmith, Kobo, etc. All for free!

Wyrd Worlds Cover

Yes, I know the cover blends almost perfectly into my background.

Free and Half Price

For the whole of July, all three of my works will be reduced in price on Smashwords. Shadow of the Wraith and Temple of the Sixth will both be 50% off, and Kira will be completely FREE! Yes, that warrants both capital letters and an exclamation mark.

It tells you on the website, but use the code SSW50 at checkout for the two novels, and SSW25 for Kira. And of course, I’d appreciate any reviews!

Shadow of the Wraith, Kindle coverTemple of the Sixth CoverKira Cover

Try Kira For Free!

Kira, my steampunk novella will be free on Smashwords for the rest of the week.

It is available there for any e-reader, in a variety of formats. Even if you don’t particularly like steampunk, you won’t lose anything by trying it! And you might find you like my writing enough to get my sci fi novels…

As a New Year’s gift to help fill up your new Kindle, Nook, Sony reader, iPad or whatever e-reader you have, click through to Smashwords and give Kira a download! It’s rude not to accept a gift, remember.

Kira Cover

Free For The Last Time

Shadow of the Wraith is free again today, tomorrow and Monday. It will be the last time it’s free, as I won’t be enrolling in Select for a second time. So get it now! Or…wait and buy it later. I don’t mind.

Shadow of the Wraith, Kindle cover

‘Harrison expertly throws curve balls at the reader…’ – Tea and Text review blog

‘The best elements of every science fiction story you’ve ever heard of, brought together into one epic adventure!’ – Tea and Text again

‘READ IT! This book is absolutely amazing.’ – Bookishly Devoted review blog

‘…This one I couldn’t put down until I had finished it.’ – Amazon reviewer



To Free Or Not To Free

Ok, I think I may have wasted that ‘clever’ title on this post, but it does seem to be the question on Amazon’s mind every time I want Shadow of the Wraith to be free.

Last weekend, I had Saturday and Sunday scheduled for a free promotion. All went as planned, as far as I was aware. I checked and it was at £0.00 – all good. However, then came 4 or 5pm. ‘Your book isn’t free’, was the simple message from an American who had gone to download it.

Now, we can’t see the price on ebooks on the Amazon sites that we’re not meant to buy from, so I had no way, previously, of knowing if it was free on .com, and no reason to doubt it. Of course, that was still early morning in America – who knows why that American was up at that time, but I’m glad she was. Then again, you people seem to get up ridiculously early compared to us!

Amazon, surprisingly, only took an hour or two to respond to my email, and told me that it was a temporary glitch, and that it had been sorted. Nonetheless, it didn’t become free on until about 9pm here – so afternoon there. Plenty of time for all the Americans and Canadians and Irish – and whoever else has to buy from .com – whom I’d told about its freeness, to go on and discover that I was lying. Or as far as they knew, anyway.

Still, all was well, and I ended up getting 448 free downloads over the two days. Most from the .com site, despite the…hiccough. Amazon promised to make it free on a day of my choosing to make up for it. That day is today.

So I turned on my laptop, checked all the sites I check, panicked unnecessarily when I remembered the book was free and I’d told no one, and had a cup of coffee. I set about posting on every forum I’m on – actually not a huge amount, but with my memory, I can’t afford to be on too many!

Then, as I was about to click ‘post’ on my final thread, it occurred to me that perhaps I should have actually checked Amazon, rather than just naively trusting them.


Yes, they’ve done it again. On this, the day supposed to make up for their screw up last week, they have screwed up. They’ve done the exact same thing, but in reverse. This time, lists it as free, but does not.

Now, I can hardly be too annoyed with Amazon, or complain about them too much. After all, thanks to them, I am now a published author – even if I won’t actually feel like that until the first, say…5000 sales. But it is a little disappointing when one of your most powerful tools to get your book and your name out there is messed up. We only get five free days every ninety days, after all.

Anyway. In short, Shadow of the Wraith is free on – and quite possibly .de and so on, I don’t know – but not on Sorry, but it’s not my fault! We’ll have to see if they offer me another free free day to make up for this time.