Sunday 3 December 2017

Discovering a Few Diamonds! By Helen Hollick #bookreview #historicalfiction #Christmas @HelenHollick

Discovering a Few Diamonds!
By Helen Hollick


Please give a warm welcome to Helen Hollick, who is an author and founder of

For several years I was Managing Editor of a review section for an association for historical novels, my particular contribution being to review indie authors. Unfortunately things went unexpectedly pear-shaped so we parted company. I still wanted to be involved with the sort of review site that openly supported indie writers, however, so I decided to set up my own historical fiction review blog as the best way forward …While thinking to myself: ‘What on earth are you doing Helen? Where are you going to find the time?” (add in several question and exclamation marks here!) My aim was to show that indie writers could be just as good as (in some cases even better than!) traditional authors and to support good writers in getting the attention they deserve.

Now, I can hear a few indie writers grumbling here: yes I agree, indies should be treated the same as traditional authors, no there should not be any distinction on review sites… but my view is indie and self-published writers do still get a raw deal in many respects, plus, unfortunately, there are indies who really shouldn’t be producing what they produce. (And before you shout even louder, I totally agree, the same applies to traditional authors at times!) The advantage traditional mainstream authors have over indies, however, is the huge marketing machine they can have access to – especially for authors lucky enough to be with one of the big publishing houses. Indies have to do everything, from editing, to production to marketing – and believe me, Social Media Marketing is not as easy as it seems! It can be a hard slog to promote a book if you are an indie writer.

So, I wanted to open a blog where good books worth reading could be shouted about. I had a fabulous team of reviewers behind me (they came with me when I departed the other place) and plenty of books to review. I run several blogs, so creating the template was easy, my graphics designer for my website and UK books, Cathy Helms of provided the (very attractive) graphics – and, although I admit with some initial trepidation, off we went.

We opened officially on January 1st 2017, so our first anniversary is approaching. In the time between we have reviewed a few hundred books, awarded our Discovering Diamonds logo to some brilliant novels and are going from strength to strength – thanks to those fabulous reviewers and admin people who are also on board. Together we have created a dedicated and energetic team, and I am delighted to be working with such wonderful people. Add to this, to date, we have had over 110,000 page views, so we are being noticed!

But there is one thing I was also determined to do when I set out on this venture. I had no intention of distinguishing indie novels from traditionally published ones. Our ‘criteria’ is that we review a book on the grounds of it being a good book worth reading, and value for money for the person buying it. A good book is a good book, regardless of how it is published. Therefore, we do not print the publisher’s name, just a link to Amazon .com, and CA. I also ensure that a comment is left on Amazon and Goodreads once the review has gone ‘live’, plus we work in conjunction with Indie BRAG  and Chill With A Book


Yes, most novels submitted to us are indies, but now that Discovering Diamonds has established itself as a worthy site for readers, writers and publishers, my aim for 2018 is to expand and attract in the traditional publishing houses as well. (And hopefully some more keen reviewers!)

My other intention was to create a place of interest for readers and a site where authors could showcase their talents. After all, the reader is the most important person. If we do not have readers there is little point in writing the book in the first place. We therefore have a Guest Spot and Reader’s Voice page, published once a month and the occasional item of interest… but I wanted something different for December, so I came up with a series of fabulous short stories or excerpts from a host of fantastic and diverse authors which will be published on the blog every day from 3rd December until the 23rd.

Each contribution has a common theme: something connected to Diamonds, and I am delighted to say that every story is brilliant – a couple even made me cry they are so packed with emotion! So do tune in to Discovering Diamonds on 3rd December for our first story, and then every day until Christmas.

I promise you, you will not be disappointed!

Follow the Tales…and Discover some Diamonds

3rd December         Richard Tearle Diamonds
4th December         Helen Hollick  When ex-lovers have their uses
5th December         Antoine Vanner  Britannia’s Diamonds
6th December         Nicky Galliers  Diamond Windows
7th December         Denise Barnes  The Lost Diamond
8th December         Elizabeth Jane Corbett A Soul Above Diamonds
9th December         Lucienne Boyce Murder In Silks
10th December       Julia Brannan The Curious Case of the Disappearing Diamond
11th December       Pauline Barclay Sometimes It Happens
12th December       Annie Whitehead Hearts, Home and a Precious Stone
13th December       Inge H. Borg  Edward, Con Extraordinaire
14th December       J.G. Harlond The Empress Emerald
15th December       Charlene Newcomb Diamonds in the Desert
16th December       Susan Grossey  A Suitable  Gift
17th December       Alison  Morton Three Thousand Years to Saturnalia
18th December       Nancy Jardine   Illicit Familial Diamonds
19th December       Elizabeth St John The Stolen Diamonds
20th December       Barbara Gaskell Denvil Discovering the Diamond
21st December        Anna Belfrage   Diamonds in the Mud
22nd December       Cryssa Bazos    The Diamonds of Sint-Nicholaas
23rd December        Diamonds … In Sound & Song

If you would like to submit your historical novel to us for review read our guidelines here or contact me, Helen Hollick at Please note that we prefer e-files (mobi or e-pub) and we decide which books to review – so not every book submitted will get a review.

My thanks to Mary Anne for inviting me on to her blog!

Helen Hollick
Author and founder of Discovering Diamonds

You can find Helen's books on Amazon!

About Helen

Helen Hollick moved with her family from London in 2013 to North Devon and an eighteenth century farmhouse surrounded by fields and woodland. A variety of pets include horses, Exmoor ponies, a donkey, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and geese.

First published in 1994, her passion now, is her pirate character Captain Jesamiah Acorne of the nautical adventure series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) – the story of Saxon Queen, Emma of Normandy. Her novel Harold the King (titled I Am The Chosen King in the US) explores the events that led to the 1066 Battle of Hastings. While her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, set in the fifth century, is a more historical version of the Arthurian legend.

She has written three non-fiction books, Pirate - Truth and Tales; a book about smuggling (due to be published 2018) and co-wrote Discovering the Diamond with her editor, Jo Field, a short advice guide for new writers interested in self-publishing.

Helen is published in various languages including Turkish and Italian.

Helen loves to connect with readers, you can find her...


 A Note From Mary Anne

Helen is truly an inspiration.  I am sure Discovering Diamonds will go from strength to strength in the coming years. Thank you!! 


  1. What an exciting line up you have on your blog this month. I can't wait!!

    1. Thank you Mary Anne - I am awed by some of the stories we have scheduled (one or two even brought a few tears!) My thanks to you for posting this article, and to the various authors who took part in Diamond Tales.

  2. Thank you Mary Anne for inviting me - and Discovering Diamonds - onto your blog

  3. A great post Helen. I’ll let my publisher know about Discovering Diamonds!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx