Top Reads of 2020 To Help While Under Lockdown

Read a Book

Here at the Author Academy Bookstore we are pleased to share with you the top reads of 2020 as selected by our readers.

By J.B May

More than four centuries have passed since the fae drew a line in the sand. The Seelie and Unseelie have managed to uphold the treaty but an ancient prophecy threatens to break the fragile alliance.

Hidden in the shadows on the fringe of humanity Seth has lived more than one lifetime shrouded in darkness. A willing participant in iniquity he has everything he could ever have wanted. Bloodlust and depravity comforts his immortal existence and he answers to no one, but one girl is going to challenge everything he thought he knew…

Adaline Thomas has lived an uneventful human life, at seventeen the unthinkable happens and she loses the only parent she has ever known. If only her crippling grief was her sole concern. With her mother dead, the cloaking spell has been broken and the secrets of Adaline’s past are coming back to haunt her. Thrust into a mysterious world of magic, monarchs and murder, will she be strong enough to embrace the life she’s destined for or the monsters who live within it?

The future of the fae hangs in the balance, there will be losses and betrayals, can a forbidden love save them both?

Riding the Rainbow
By Jennifer Navin

My story of Danica’s six years of life is based purely on our personal experiences and in no way reflect the experiences of other persons.

In reflection, I hope that this book will help those families of newly diagnosed children who have a disability. Your world will feel as though it has collapsed and will wonder; Why me? Why us? Is it worth it?

Believe me, it is worth it and then some. The journey does take time, love and a lot of patience to make it through each day but with the dawn there is always a new day.

Gerome the Great!
By Joesy Knibbs

When it comes to playing Rugby League, Gerome is a great team member. He is tough and ready to tackle. He plays the game showing his sportsmanship and courage. Learning to be fair at all times. It is important for Gerome and his teammates to play the game with fairness while encouraging other teams to do the same.

It is game day! Gerome and his teammates are looking forward to play their game of Rugby league. Gerome’s running, tackling and kicking skills demonstrate how tough he really is. Come and have fun with Gerome and his teammates.

My Poetic Journey
By Sonia Young

Be inspired by first time writer Sonia Young as she takes you through her inspirational journey of grief, love and humor.

In the beginning her pain and grief can be felt in the poems “My Son Alistair James Young” and “It’s the first ANZAC day”. Poems written about the loss of her first born baby and her father.

By the end of the book your spirits will be uplifted and a smile will emerge.

Reading these poems, hopefully you can relate to the poet and be inspired to let your emotions flow as she has done through her writings.

Hidden Treasures
By Sonia Young

Come on a playful day out as two children go on a hunt to find the hidden treasures that God has placed inside of them.

They could be from the heart - love kindness and respect or from the mind - learning how to play cricket or dancing.

When they find them, they have fun sharing them with somebody new, helping them to see that they too have hidden treasures in them that they can discover.

A North Shore Buddhist
By Millie Jackson

Jacquie knows all about challenges. The young country girl living in the 'red brick house' in the far west of NSW, turns away from the notion that God will fix everything. She then moves on to boys as her next possible fix.

After a devastating loss, as a young adult she moves to Sydney or 'the big smoke' as her father calls it. She develops a passion for money and men, whilst a spiritual quest for the meaning of life sits in the back of her mind occasionally making its presence known.

The right guy seems to be an illusion, as she battles through relationships and life altering traumas. Her friends and family together with her irrepressible sense of humour, keep her moving forward, even amongst the darkness threatening to unravel her world.

Walk with Jacquie as she experiences a myriad of emotions, from the joyous heights of happiness to the depths of sadness testing her will to battle on.

Why not grab one or all of these top reads for 2020 and relax with an enjoyable read, especially in these uncertain times it’s important to keep positive and treat yourself.

For more information about our online bookstore and other great reads, visit

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Tips for Writer’s Block

Tips for Writer's Block

Is writer’s block something you suffer from? Some people don’t have any problems at all, however, even the best writer’s still have an occasional block where they are stuck and not sure how or where to go from that particular point.

Following are 15 helpful hints to help you with writer’s block:

  1. Identify your creative time – is it early a.m., late night, or the middle of the day. That’s when to attack your work.
  2. Study what’s working and, if possible, what’s not working.
  3. Research, research, research. Read promotions and immerse yourself in the product, whether it’s intellectual (written material) or physical (vitamins, gold coins, air filters, whatever). Google everything that’s related to your subject.
  4. Identify the “point of maximum anxiety” of your prospect: what keeps your prospect up at night.
  5. Identify the USP (unique selling proposition), the big idea of the main promise of your product.
  6. Make an outline and begin filling it in.
  7. Start ANYWHERE! If you can nail the headline and lead first, great! If not, write anything – the offer, the reply, the back cover, the close (think of the last thing you’d say to someone to get them to buy this book, then start working your way toward that line), sidebars, centrefolds, flyers, bios, premium copy, ANYTHING!
  8. Set some reasonable goals for what you want to achieve each day in your writing.
  9. “Almost cheating”: Type the name of the project, the date, and your name in the upper left corner. Then type a page, something like a memo to yourself and other readers. Describe what you see as the core message of what you’re about to write. Include a rough idea of how you expect it to look when it’s done.
  10. “Cheating”: Jot down notes and ideas as you prepare. Then transfer them to your computer, punching them up as you go. Guess what? You’re already past the “blank page.”
  11. “Advanced cheating”: If you know you always tend to have a problem with empty pages, record your first conversations about your topic or story. You can use a little handheld recorder to do this. Transcribe the recording, and delete any fluff and irrelevant material. Start organising any useful material into notes and/or sections of your project.

If You Get Stuck Anywhere Along the Way

  1. Take a break. Run, walk, meditate, go bicycling, listen to music … then come back to it.
  2. If that doesn’t work, you need to do more work. Go back to your research and dig some more. Go back to your outline and see if some part doesn’t jump out at you as ready to go.
  3. Brainstorm with another writer.
  4. Do a writing challenge. Here is a great 30-day Free writing challenge to help you.

If you use these 15 techniques, you should have banished writer’s block. If it persists, put your work away and get a good night’s sleep. Start fresh in the morning and, in all likelihood, you’ll nail it, otherwise, below is another technique that I find very useful.

Free Writing

A great way to stimulate your creativity and come up with ideas is free writing. This means sitting down with a notebook and scrawling whatever pops into your head. With free writing, you don’t worry about whether it’s any good or even has a point at all. Just write. This is an especially good technique for clearing writer’s block.

Why Free Write?

Free writing is a great activity to enhance creativity for a few reasons. One reason is that it trains you to silence your inner critic and just create. It teaches you to let the ideas flow, which is important for any kind of creative activity. It’s a kind of drill you can go through to train your mind.

It can also be great for brainstorming ideas. Your free writing may not yield anything you can use. It may just help you get the flow started. But it also might bring forth a great idea. You may hit upon the idea you’ve been looking for as you ‘free associate’. After writing, go back over what you’ve written and highlight any good ideas you find there.

How to Free Write

Start by giving yourself a time limit. Set a limit of, for example, ten minutes. Set a timer so that you don’t have to pay attention to the time. Start the timer and write. Don’t stop writing until the ten minutes is finished. It’s a great idea to find a special location or place to write like your bedroom, lounge room, garden etc.

While you’re writing, don’t edit. Just put the words down and tell yourself you’ll go back later. Even typos, misspellings and grammar errors are okay. Even if what you’re writing isn’t usable, free writing is still serving its purpose by helping to get your idea flow going.

Coming up Blank

What if you don’t know what to write? Especially when you’re free writing for the first time, this can happen. You may get stuck wondering where to go next.

When this happens, keep writing the same word or phrase over and over until you’re unstuck. As you rewrite the word or phrase, your brain is still working, which means it isn’t really stuck at all. Something new will come. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing.

Once you get into the habit of free writing, you won’t get stuck so often and more ideas will spring forth.

Your Free Writing Topic

Most writers myself included recommend choosing a topic for your free writing. Write down this topic at the top of the page or find an image on anything and paste that to the top of your page. Don’t ‘try’ to write about it or explain it. Let it be the starting point for your flow of words.

For example, if you’re brainstorming a product idea that addresses a problem people have, you can write this problem at the top of your page. Write something like ‘weight loss’ and then free associate for ten minutes. At best, you’ll come up with something in your writing. At least, you’ll get yourself started thinking about weight loss.

However, you don’t have to have a topic for your free writing. You can simply sit down with the pen, paper and timer, and see where your mind goes. In fact, this is a good way to get started when you’re not really sure what to work on. Your mind will naturally draw you into whatever is most interesting to you at the time, or something you’re particularly passionate about, or maybe something that’s been at the back of your mind. Free writing can be a great self-discovery technique.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Free writing may seem awkward or strange at first, but it’s something that gets better with practice. Devote just five or ten minutes to it each day and you’ll see improvements in your creativity. You may even find you can come up with some innovative ideas in just a few minutes that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Here is a great way to practice your free writing to help with writer’s block. This is a free 30-day writing challenge:

The Benefits of Reading a Good Book

The benefits of reading a good book

Have you ever wondered why so many people read books? There are a significant number of benefits for reading a good book. These benefits range from improving your mental and physical health, to creating good healthy habits. Books have been around for so many years and they are not about to go away (thankfully).

Let’s take a look at the benefits of reading where you will definitely be inspired to pick up a book and start reading:

  1. Mental Stimulation and Brain Exercising

There have been countless studies done around this and it has shown that by staying mentally stimulated it can slow down the progress of (or maybe even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the reason for this is that if you keep your brain active and engaged it prevents you from losing power.

Your brain, like any other muscle in your body requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy. As the saying goes “use it or lose it” is especially relevant when it comes to your mind.

  1. Knowledge

When you read a book, you are learning new pieces of information that your brain retains and you never know when this one piece of information will become handy! Knowledge can never be taken away from you.

Each time you read a book you will come across a word that you may have not heard of or perhaps you don’t quite understand what it means. Always keep a dictionary handy to look these words up. This will help your vocabulary expand over time, these words that you learn will begin to integrate themselves into your everyday vocabulary.

  1. Expanding your Vocabulary

The one way you can do this is by reading more, it will expose you to new words and these new words will end up in your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is very helpful in any profession, and it will boost your confidence and self-esteem.

  1. Helpful for Depression and Dysthymia

Reading helps to lower your stress levels which also stimulates the part of your brain that deals with depression. By reading, you are actually focusing on the present story and not on the things that cause you to be depressed.

  1. Strengthens your Writing Ability

People that write understand how important it is to read. No matter what kind of writing you do, doing lots of reading will improve your writing skills and abilities. Many writers are big readers, when you concentrate on the way a book is written, you can take on these styles which will improve your writing skills.

  1. Sleep Boosting

Reading is a great way to help you have a good night’s sleep. You may not fall asleep instantly, however, it will improve your overall sleep pattern and restfulness. Reading is a great way to relax and unwind. Reading at the end of your day is a great way to relax and ensure that you will get a good night’s sleep. It will help you to de-stress from all the things that happened to you during the day, allowing for you to completely unwind and help you have a restful sleep.

  1. Improve your Memory and Focus

Reading a little bit each day will improve your focus and memory function. It allows you to stimulate your brain, especially the part of your brain that helps with memory and attention. When you are reading, your brain retains information about what you are reading about. This means that the part of your brain that controls your memory is being stimulated which results in improved memory.

Your focus improves because it is strengthened when you read as it requires focus. Each time to exercise this part of your brain you are improving the overall function of your memory and focus.

  1. Relieve Tension and Lower your Stress

As we know, reading can be a way to entertain yourself, however, it is also very good to help you lower your stress levels. The reason this happens is because you are focusing on the story and not what is going on around you. It immediately pulls you into another world and new characters. You are allowing yourself to be taken into their story where you can stop, breathe and relax. Reading will lower your stress levels and make you feel much better mentally as well as physically.

  1. Increase your Imagination and Empathy

Your imagination is a very powerful tool that can be helpful in all aspects of life. Having a good imagination allows us to be more empathetic to people. Reading often will increase your imagination, because when we get lost in a good book our imagination is stimulated by seeing all the places and people in the book just by reading the words.

  1. Broaden your Mind

Reading about different cultures will allow you to see how others live and differ from how you live. Books allow you to see life from a completely different perspective. Books can also give great ideas, and they are very educational on so many different levels.

The benefits of reading a good book is not just entertaining, it is also beneficial both mentally and physically. Reading is a tool towards a healthy lifestyle, so what are you waiting for?

What are you reading currently and how is it of benefit to you?

The Benefits of Being an Author

Is this your book?

Writing and publishing your book has many benefits that you may or may not realise. I will share some of these below in the hope that you may find something on this list that you have not ventured into as yet.

Let’s first look at the unexpected rewards you receive when you become a published author:

  • A sense of achievement
  • Self-expression
  • Experience a sense of heightened self-worth
  • The feeling of personal satisfaction of writing your book
  • Increase your writing skills
  • A huge tick off your bucket list
  • Being able to share your unique experiences with others

Now let’s take a look at the marketing benefits of being an author:

  • An overnight sensation – It’s true, you do become an accredited expert practically overnight. Being a published author will provide you with a major shortcut in building your reputation and it will boost your credibility in your industry
  • Promotional opportunities – this is for both online and offline opportunities that you will receive unlike before you were a published author. Launching and publishing your book will give you instant opportunities
  • Local book signings – Check out local bookstores that will happily do book signings for you
  • Run workshops – create a workshop around your book and then run a workshop, making sure you sell copies of your book at the workshop
  • Guest author – become a guest author for your local paper, magazine, TV or radio station
  • Boost Branding – boost your business branding by becoming an instant expert by allowing others to see your branding that includes your website, logo, photo, colours and graphics as a published author. People remember brands and you want them to know what yours is so that you become the go to person in your industry
  • Confidence booster – Many people don’t feel like they are qualified in their field even though they know it inside and out. Remember that most of the people in your industry are lucky if they have written an article, so be proud and confident in your amazing achievement
  • Seeking attention – Your book will get the attention of pre-qualified customers, clients or people that need your book. Your book will get you more visibility and these pre-qualified people are much more like to take you up on your offers as they are already interested in what you have to help them
  • Book awards – There are many local, national, international and online book awards that you can enter. Having an award under your belt will strengthen your reputation and allow people to see you as the leader in your field
  • Social Media – Go Viral! Make sure you get your book going crazy on social media, you want to be the latest sensation by appearing everywhere. You want to make sure that people are recommending your book to their audience
  • Getting an endorsement – Think of ways you can get a celebrity or person of authority endorsement, this will propel you to all kinds of success
  • List your book online – if you want a greater return on your book investment then why not list your book online

Think about what you want to achieve with your book and then look at the information in this article to see how you can start to develop a marketing and promotional plan for your book.

What benefits have you received by being an author?