Product Review – L’Oreal Brow Artist Genius Kit


Eyebrows are a thing now. I mean, they always were a thing, but now they’re more of a thing than ever. Every woman now has to include brow husbandry into her daily routine. There has always been an accepted ‘best way’ of doing one’s brows. There’s the ‘proper’ places to start and finish, the ‘ideal’ height of arch, and the ‘accepted’ thickness etc. The internet is awash with examples of brows gone horribly, hilariously wrong and those of us of a certain age can look back in horror at brow fashions of the past. Who remembers Angela Rippon and those surprised arches we all dreamed of copying?

Today, the accepted look is a fuller, bushier brow and I, for one, am grateful. I can distinctly remember Brooke Shields being torn apart by the media for her bushy brows but she remained resolute and I bet she’s laughing now.  While the rest of us have to fill in and paint over the bare patches caused by our over eager plucking, hers are naturally healthy and bushy and just need a bit of a tidy up.

I learned how to do mine well for the first time in my life, by following a Youtube video and I’ve been happy with this routine for the past year or so since I learned it. Then I splashed out on semi permanent eyebrow tattoos, which was a mistake I would not recommend anyone repeating. For three days I had beautiful natural looking brushstroke eyebrows that quickly became brown smudges that I still had to fill in just as I did before. Waste of time and money. Learn from me and don’t do it.

Now we have a new kit from our old friend, L’Oreal in the form of the Brow Artist Genius Kit. I purchased this from Boots for £9.99, which is not too much to risk for nice brows.

Inside the metal tin are two square palettes of colour, a teeny pair of tweezers, and a teeny brush. The kit comes in two choices, fair to medium and medium to dark. I got the medium to dark as although I’m 53, I’m still a natural brunette.

The palette on the left is a wax, which goes on first. Brush it on just as you would your normal powder or pencil. This does not colour the brows, it’s just wax.

Next, the palette on the right. This is the actual powder colour which you brush on over the wax. Again, just do it like you would with your normal powder or pencil. The powder sticks to the wax and holds in place better than powder alone.

The other end of the brush is a spooly, which you then use to gently brush through and you’re done. It’s easy to do and lasts all day, which powder alone doesn’t. One thing worth noting is that I find the medium to dark has a distinct red tone to the rich brown. If asked before I purchased, I would not have welcomed this as I’m used to years of black brows, but I’m so glad now I’ve used it. The rich brown is so much more natural than black, which women of my age must unfortunately be more aware of than you pretty young things.

I love this product, and will most definitely be making it a permanent part of my cosmetic bag.

5 stars.

Goodreads giveaway – my experience



Further to this post about my experience using facebook paid ads, I decided to throw caution to the wind and run a giveaway on Goodreads for my last novel, Fetish. This is yet another attempt at raising a little awareness ‘out there’ towards myself as an author and my books.

Goodreads giveaways are free to run, but there are one or two points to remember. First, it’s only for paperbacks. Yep, those of you who publish only in ebook formats can leave the room  now, or why not hop on over here and find something spectacular. For those who, like me, publish in both ebook and paperback, stick around a while. So long as you are prepared to give away an actual, physical book, you can have a Goodreads giveaway. This means purchasing at least one copy of your own book, and then paying to mail it/them to the winner(s). Other than that, there are no additional costs.

Second, it is absolutely forbidden to contact the entrants or winners for any purpose whatsoever. To do so gets you labelled as a spammer. This means you can’t add them to a mailing list, nor even say hello, buy my other other books while you’re waiting to win this one, etc. Many authors are a little trigger happy, so this might be painful for some.

You can choose to give away as many books as you want, or just a single copy, whatever blows your skirt up. I gave away three signed copies. You have control over which countries your giveaway is open to, which I guess is to allow you to control postage costs. Most people go for USA, UK, and Canada, although just about every other country in the world in on the list. Click on as many or as few as you want.

My giveaway ran for a calendar month and in that time, I had 864 entrants. This is amazing when compared to my last attempt at running a facebook giveaway event, which gathered an immense crowd of just two entrants. Some of the other giveaways in the list have thousands of entrants. I suppose it comes down to how well known you are and the genre of the book you are giving away that dictates how many entrants you will attract. That is 864 people who now know I exist and that I write science fiction novels. There is now a chance, albeit slim, that a few might venture to take a look at my books. They might  not, they probably won’t, but there is  now that chance where there was none before.

If the three winners actually read the book and like it, they might buy some of my others, or tell their friends how they enjoyed it, review it even. It is all maybe and what if’s but it’s something, a chance I never had before. It’s a step along the marketing road, a road I seldom travel.

Now for the figures. I had to purchase three copies of my paperback, which cost me £15.24. Postage costs for the 3 books to the winners, all USA residents, was £22.35

This means the entire cost of this promo experiment was £37.59. To get that back I need to sell five paperbacks or twenty ebooks.

The point of this experiment was not entirely to make sales though. What I’m trying to do is build my brand permanently rather than make a quick sales spike that lasts a day then flatlines again. I’m trying to get myself into the public’s awareness, get my books onto their radar, as a permanent fixture and not just a flash in the pan.

With so many marketing and promo opportunities out there that cost a whole wedge of cash, this seems to be one of the cheaper ways to get my books into readers’ hands, even if it is just a couple of raffle winners.

4 days left to win a signed paperback

There are just 4 days left for you to enter the giveaway and win one of 3 signed paperbacks of my novel Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M.

Yes, that’s a signed paperback, delivered to your door. Only 1 person in the entire world has a signed copy of Fetish. When I’m rich and famous, just think how long you’ll be able to dine out on having one of only 4 signed copies.

To enter, click below and good luck.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fetish by Merita King


by Merita King

Giveaway ends September 12, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

How one reader buys her books


I have a good friend with whom spend a couple of hours every Friday morning. She knows I write science fiction novels but has never read any of them. She is a reader, although she admits to being a very slow reader. Last Friday, she asked me how my writing was going and I told her I had begun editing my next release. There followed a little back and forth, with her asking questions about the process and me answering. She seemed genuinely interested. She’s an intelligent woman with a very well paid job and lives in a large house in the countryside. She’s successful and has the kind of lifestyle I dream about and envy. I’m telling you this so you can get a true picture of her. She’s educated, respected in her field, worldly wise, and wealthy. She’s not some ill educated untermensch.

At some point during the conversation, she asked me, “how are they selling?” I was truthful and told her, “they’re not.” We then discussed the problem of trying to get our brand ‘out there,’ in an over saturated market and I asked her a very important question. I said, “as a reader, how do you approach buying a book when you want to read?”

She told me that she tends to stick to authors she knows she likes, or she’ll listen to recommendations from friends, then she reads reviews. She admitted that she is so overwhelmed with choice and said that she finds searching on sites like Amazon, difficult and time consuming, so she tends not to bother. She said she is so busy that she doesn’t have the time to spend searching online for books she doesn’t know whether she will enjoy. It is much easier and quicker for her to stick to what she knows, or walk into a book shop and browse the shelves.

This was very interesting information and confirmed what I’ve always said. The good stuff is buried under a mountain of trash so huge that readers are put off trying to wade through it to find the good stuff to read. Unless you have a lot of money to spend on advertising experts who can get your name ‘out there,’ you’re wasting your time trying to make money from writing novels.

We talked about the impossibility of getting reviews and I told her about sites like Bookbub, where you can pay a large amount of money to have your book advertised, so long as it has a large number of reviews at 4 star or higher. I asked her, “as a reader who is just looking for a book to read, have you ever heard of Bookbub or similar online sites?”

No, she’s never heard of it, nor any other similar site and I suspect the vast majority of ordinary people haven’t either. This part of the conversation confirmed something else I’ve always believed, that much of what is considered by authors as ‘the right thing to do,’ is done to impress other authors and not readers. Attracting other authors and attracting readers are two totally different worlds and some people get too caught up in the wrong one.

The salient points are that she is a busy working woman with a family, a successful business to run, and a large home to keep. She has neither the time nor the inclination to wade through a mountain of trash to try to find something she might enjoy reading. She is  not aware of advertising tricks, and uses past experience and reviews to influence what she reads.

Another important thing to consider here is that modern life is different to how it was a few decades ago. We don’t read as much now as we did when I was a child. I used to clean houses for a living and of all the homes I went into, no more than 2 out of 10 had any books at all, let alone the shelves of books I remember everyone having in their homes when I was young. People might take a book on holiday to occupy them on the flight or while sitting by the pool, but those two weeks per year are probably the only time they will read anything other than a newspaper, a magazine article about a celebrity scandal, or a facebook meme.

So where does this leave us, as authors?

Truthfully? I think the time of the traditional length novel is dying fast. I think the way forward is 25-35 thousand word novellas, short story collections, 10 thousand word novelettes perhaps. Modern humans don’t have the capacity to stick with an 80 thousand word novel any more. They need instant gratification that they can grab, consume, and discard in a couple of hours. Everything about our modern life is instant, freeze dried, reconstituted, pre packaged, and disposable. From the clothes that fill our closets, the food in our superfast microwave ovens, to the ultra short bland porridge on their digital e-readers.

Those of us who write full length novels with twisting plots, group dynamics, and twists at the end are catering for a dying market. The new breed of weirdo geeky nerds who live in the dark and read science fiction epics of 80 thousand words and more are our customers now. They are few, they are the new ethnic minority, and they are a dying breed.

Update and reminder

Editing has begun on my next release, Dreamspinner, which I hope to have ready for release by the end of October, maybe a little earlier. I’m very excited about the concept of this novel and proud to have been able to bring the story out in a form that I hope will excite and hold readers. I will keep updating as progress continues.

Just a reminder that you can still enter my Goodreads giveaway for the chance to win one of three signed paperback copies of my novel, Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M.

We all have dirty little secrets, don’t we? 

When Sam Sinclair is called home to help solve the murder of a fellow law enforcer, he assumes the motive was revenge. Within hours, this case quickly becomes everything but straightforward. As the evidence points to deviance of the most horrific kind, they realise that a new breed of killer is stalking the streets of Sam’s home city. Fear grips the people of Alimenika and even the most hardened of criminals are terrified into silence.

A fetish is just harmless fun, until someone dies of course and as more victims come to light, Sam and his team must delve into the darkest side of man’s nature before they can hope to stop this monster’s reign of terror. Swept along by the most unsettling case of his career, the killer’s insidious influence makes Sam doubt himself as never before.

As his personal life is turned upside down, he suddenly becomes the killer’s latest plaything. Unable to free himself and battling the rising panic, the accusation of his own deviance forces him to examine his actions during those terrible four hours, almost twenty years ago.

To enter the giveaway, click below. Good luck.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fetish by Merita King


by Merita King

Giveaway ends September 12, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Pay to enter competitions – just why?


Maybe it’s just me but I have never been able to understand the whole concept of pay-to-enter competitions. I view the winning of such a competition as being less desirable than a competition I did not have to pay to enter. The money thing takes the edge off, know what I mean?

Some of these pay-to-enter things are quite high profile, with big name companies running them, big companies who want you to pay big bucks for the pleasure of entering your work into a competition you most likely won’t win. It wouldn’t be so bad if you got your money back if you didn’t win but just losing the money and getting nothing seems a bit nutso to me.

If you want to throw money away, throw it at me. I’ll post on my blog that you’ve won a competition and I’ll even design and send you an E-certificate as a prize which, along with the considerable kudos of course, will make you feel all fuzzy inside. No?  Why ever the fuck not? It’s exactly what you’re doing when entering all those other pay-to-enter competitions so why not pay me to enter mine?

Seriously though, why are authors so desperate to get rid of their money? Have they no discernment? No common sense?

I seriously doubt whether winning such a competition actually translates into real lasting sales increases. Oh you might get a spike for a day or so until something else on facebook catches people’s attention, but will that increase continue for years into the future? I don’t think so. The other thing I wonder about is whether normal everyday readers actually give a shit whether you’ve won this or that competition when they’re wondering whether to shell out their hard earned on your book or not.

Maybe these competitions are more for authors to promenade and display to other authors, rather than to impress readers.

Creation inspiration tool – random word inspired story.



I like to constantly challenge myself, to exercise my creative ability so that it remains strong and capable. I treat it like a muscle and assume it will respond positively to regular exercise and will keep functioning for me as a demanding user.

One of the ways I do this is what I call, The Random Word Inspired Story. I close my eyes and open a book, any book will do. Flip the pages and stop anywhere. Then I skim a finger over the page and stop anywhere. I open my eyes and whatever word my finger points to is my Random Word. Obviously, if I get words such as, him, her, and, it, etc I have another go.

This word then becomes the inspiration for a paragraph story.

Today’s word is, GLANDULAR

Troy thought back to when this all began. Six months, is that really all it was? It seemed like years since the first of the sick began to trickle into the local hospitals, all with identical symptoms which were at first diagnosed as Glandular Fever. That was before the death rate became apparent. Once it did, the medical profession realised that whatever they were dealing with here, it was not a simple case of Glandular Fever. Since those first news broadcasts announcing the outbreak had been aired, Troy had seen all but seven people in his local community perish, most of them within the first month. He and the other six quickly banded together, hoping to find strength and mutual support as a team and it was with an admirable but evidently doomed optimism that they set out to seek other survivors in neighbouring cities. One bus driver, a single mother with toddler, a liquor store manager, an overweight company director, a used car salesman, and Troy, a wheelchair bound veteran with fresh nightmares of world war three still keeping him awake at nights. Not the kind of group to inspire hope in times of trouble but it was all they had and Troy hoped their skill base would grow before they died of hunger, or worse.


Hope you all enjoyed it and if anyone finds it inspires them, feel free to use it. To those here in the UK, have a wonderful Bank Holiday tomorrow. Be safe if you’re on the roads.

The self publishing tornado


Am I the only one who finds the whole self publishing thing  a bit of a hassle?

No, I can’t be the only one. I refuse to believe no one else feels this way. There has to be more people out there like me.

I’ve only been self publishing since 2011 so I’m a relative noob to this whole thing, but even in the time I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed the whole thing become less of a joy and more of a chore. I’m talking about publishing here, not writing. That’s a whole different thing.

When I published my first novel, Redemption, back in October 2011, it was exciting to go through the whole process and come out the other end feeling like I was finally a ‘Writer.’ Now though, it feels like I’m walking into a black cloud that will eat me up, throw me around a bit and chuck me out miles from where I started and nowhere near where I wanted to be.

Advertising is a constant source of anguish. The hassle of actually finding effective advertising/promo space that doesn’t cost a fortune aside, the sheer volume of other authors all screaming their heads off about their books is enough to make anyone feel as though you’re trying to swim upstream. What readers must feel when trying to find a book to buy, I dread to think. There are those who react to this feeling of being overwhelmed by resorting to nasty practices to try and give themselves a leg up and although we all know it goes on, no one seems to be tackling it effectively. Is it even possible to tackle it effectively? Has anyone tried just telling them that it’s not a competition? There really is room for everyone’s book out there.

There are many who, when faced with yet another day of trying to get our name out there, look at the enormity of the task and think, “oh fuck, I’m wasting my time here.” Many days dawn finding me amongst them. On such days I go and do something else, hoping that with some time spent doing other things, the spark for the fight will return to me. I’m still waiting.

The lack of any feeling of ‘community’ among the author crowd doesn’t help either. Although they always declare themselves to be willing to help out and encourage other authors, try finding a comment by one of them on your blog or facebook author page. Try finding them among attendees at your giveaway event. Try finding them having bought your book. Try finding them having reviewed it. Yes of course there will be one or two lovely folks who genuinely care and try to help and we all give thanks for them, but there really are only one or two.

Self publishing today is something of an all-in wrestling match without a referee. It’s a dog eat dog world when you’re a self publisher, and you must be always on your guard or you’ll find someone chewing on your ankles. The lack of any real legislation is partly to blame, in my humble opinion, as is Amazon’s well known and continuing dirty tricks campaign, (that itself is a blog for another day). We all know that to get ahead, we must fight our way to the sunlight like creepers in the jungle, and just like them, the most successful are the strangler vines.

If like me you’re not the confrontational type, you will struggle as I struggle. I do not have the energy or drive to fight with other authors who are all convinced that it is imperative Merita King be kept out of the limelight as much as possible in order for the Earth to continue to revolve. Dramatic perhaps but you get my meaning here? Everyone is fighting everyone else and I’m not a fighter. Not because I don’t care about my work, I do, but because I’m not that desperate. It would be lovely to make money from writing, but that is not why I write. I think that is the difference between those who screech the loudest and those who don’t screech at all. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you which is which.

I’m like that seed that stays underground for years waiting for sunlight to hit the ground. When it does, the seed sprouts quickly and reaches for the sky. I’m just hoping that while I’m underground, writing and quietly self publishing, the sunlight hits my bit of earth before I shuffle off this mortal coil, never to return. I’ll be happy to bet my life savings that I’m one of those authors who will be extremely famous – fifty years after they’re dead!

Common themes for your protagonist and antagonist

A rather tongue in cheek checklist of the most often used characteristics for leading characters in novels.

Feel free to add more in the comments.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M by Merita King

Fetish ~ Sinclair V-Log BY915/M

by Merita King

Giveaway ends September 12, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway