Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #12

The road to reviewing awesome indie books continues and so here’s what I’ve read and reviewed recently…

‘Split Personality’ by David Noë

Assassin’s linked by their minds seeking redemption through the ChaosNova Universe

Full Review

‘Gravenham’ by Christopher Walker

British Horror with psychological and atmospheric tones that twist into surreal revelations…

Full Review

‘Deceit of the Mind: Quantum Evolution’ by – Henry Cox Review

A sophisticated deep-dive into the world of quantum mechanics with original concepts

Full Review

Underground Movement (Quantum Series Book 7) by Christina Engela 

The Quantum series returns and with it the resistance grows

Full Review

‘The Troubles at Austen House’ by Joan I. Wendland

A fun tribute to a legend of literature with a sci-fi twist

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of awesome recommended indie reads, thanks for stopping by! Peace out, rock and roll and reading!

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #11

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend and were awesome!

‘The Insatiable Hunger of Trees’ by Samantha Eaton

‘I’ve done something unforgivable, and it followed me here…’

Full Review

‘NO ROAD HOME Book One: Echoes’ by John Prescott

A quick-to-read and fun post-apocalyptic action adventure...

Full Review

‘The Guard of Woestynn’ by E.M. McConnell

Unique, descriptive and original

Full Review

‘Catching Up’ by Mary Lay

Wonderfully written tale of life and adventure in the 1920’s

Full Review

‘The Re-Emergence: An Augment Saga Novella’ by Alan K. Dell

Well-written imaginative and original space sci-fi

Full Review

‘The White’ by Matt Micheli

The uninvited and unwelcomed turns in to the unexpected as a blizzard brings much more than the cold…

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of awesome recommended indie reads, thanks for stopping by! Peace out, rock and roll and reading!

Weekly Ramble #174

45,000 Twitter followers is a huge achievement. For me personally, it represents endurance on a journey that is sometimes challenging but always busy and my philosophy in the past few years is to always be doing something to help that growth.

I have no secrets to my success on the platform – I’ve just kept going and showed up everyday no matter the results. From zeros to hundreds to then thousands, it has been a ride, but to carry on and be consistent – that’s everything. The conclusion is simple, I want to be a success, I really want this and over the years it has driven me beyond any type of expectation. There is a process to all of this and I trust it beyond everything. Showing up matters, trust me.

To have so many people make a connection enough to choose to follow me is special and kind of a dream come true. No matter what the social trends are or what the platforms are going through, to find good results right now means a lot to me. From my content to the daily tweets and any other reason why so many have chosen to follow me, thank you.

Anyway, back to the grind…

‘The Troubles at Austen House’ by Joan I. Wendland – Review

A fun tribute to a legend of literature with a sci-fi twist

Imagine a theme park in the near future based upon the works of Jane Austen, combine that with a science fiction edge and you get this fun blend of tribute and sci-fi. Think ‘Westworld’ meets ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with some cool references to literature.

When androids in the park start to act strange and glitchy it is up to technician ‘Jennette Clayton’ to fix them. Events take a turn for the weird as certain robot characters start wandering from their usual places and some even start crying – even if they don’t have that function built in. For a short read, Joan I. Wendland manages to tell a fun story that kept me turning pages until the end. Robots and theme parks are a great combination and with a little Austen, you can’t got wrong.

5 Stars

Back to the Future The Musical – Review

Some stories, no matter the way they are delivered just work. Back to the Future is an iconic piece of cinema that combines character driven narrative, original story and big-time visuals with an atmospheric orchestral soundtrack. Place all of that in a theatre and it works incredibly well.

As a child there weren’t many films that captivated me as much as Back to the Future so when I did take a seat in the packed out Adelphi theatre in London on a busy Friday evening, I had both expectations and a desire in wanting this musical to work. And to me it does. To translate an icon of cinema to the stage takes some adaptation – a little story adjustment here and there as well as some performances that tribute those in the film and even some that go their own way. Even the memorable time machine has been made for theatre and who could forget the DeLorean kitted out in the way Doc Brown did so – here it is no different and up close, a spectacle. The effects used are modern and the best theatre can offer. All of the memorable characters from the film are present also from Marty McFly to even the lady who yells ‘Save the Clocktower’ and of course George McFly who you could argue is the central role in the story.

Back to the Future is a film full of moments that captivate, immerse and even warm the heart – for the musical they are all there mostly. My only real critique would be the original songs may not carry any memorable qualities but everything else outweighs this true moment in theatre. I’ll admit this is the best show I have seen in some years. For anyone who enjoyed Back to the Future on any level will get something wonderful out of this performance. We may never get a 4th film in the series, but there has always been some debate about the need for it and for now a musical satisfies that big-time!

Underground Movement (Quantum Series Book 7) by Christina Engela – Review

The Quantum series returns and with it the resistance grows

It has been a while since I last read a book in the Quantum series and I’m glad to see Christina Engela is on form yet again to deliver an immersive brand of sci-fi. With the usual humour and occasional stab at the forces who chose not to embrace inclusivity there’s a relevant and meaningful social commentary here. Much like most of Engela’s stories they contain heroes of all backgrounds – a positive and modern choice while also being quite enjoyable.

‘On Deanna, a seed had been planted, a sinister, malevolent seed…’

These heroes are spread around the planet of Deanna which has been taken over by a totalitarian regime who have supressed the diverse inhabitants. This story lays out their movements in creating a force for resistance and they’ll do everything they can to fight back from this suppressive regime. From dealing with local mobsters to gain equipment to even meddling with the concept of the time space continuum – time travel in this series is a focal point and a vessel that will hopefully guide Deanna to freedom. There are even vampires so all of the cool story bases are covered here.

Underground Movement is an appropriate title for a book which recaps the series so far with some returning faces like ‘Fred the Arborian’ and ‘Gary Beck the Badfeller’ plus many more while also paving a way for what is to come. Enjoyable and immersive.

4 Stars

Is Twitter Blue Worth it?

This post lays out in detail my experiences with Twitter Blue. Using the analytics available to me alongside everything I have experienced, my hope is to put together a balanced report of my findings with a view to help others decide if Twitter blue could be for them. My motivations will be explained ahead along with everything else so let us dive in and see if Twitter Blue is worth it…

My Motivations

For those who aren’t familiar with me, I’m a mutli-genre author where much of my marketing efforts are driven by social media and blogging. I’m active on Twitter everyday and have been for several years. The results over time have been quite good – from reaching 40,000 Followers at the close of 2022 to selling books regularly just from my presence on the platform. To put things into some perspective, back in 2020 I started that year with 3,000 Twitter followers so the numbers kind of speak for themselves in terms of what I figured out to become semi-successful with the tweet machine.

Numerous times has it been mentioned by others that soon enough I’d have a verified Twitter account during my rise to 40k follows so it was on the cards although this was before Twitter blue became what it is today. I’d looked into becoming a verified content creator a few times to simply see that the process was not easy and kind of gate kept. In order to be verified I would need to be mentioned in multiple articles or places of prominence by those already verified. I’m not of the elite persuasion and you won’t be seeing me getting mentioned in vogue anytime soon so it was kind of a door in the face. Then Twitter was taken over. The old verification system was out and a newer easy access one was in.

Having pondered for a few months after Blue launched, I eventually decided to take the plunge after reaching that 40k milestone. My motivations were and still are to simply see if there is any real differences or anything better than just having regular Twitter. This was a business decision for me and a serious one because I have always taken my endeavours seriously which is the first step to serious results. Right now I stand somewhere between writing as a hobby and it soon potentially being more. Reaching more people to sell more books is pinnacle to that.

The Financials

A huge factor in my decision to sign up for Blue was in my ability to pay for it without actually being out of pocket so to say. Each month I sell enough books to cover the cost of Blue and so with that in mind, I consider this an experiment that kind of pays for itself. As long as I continue to remain active online and on Twitter to the point where I can sell enough books to pay for this subscription, I’ll keep it.

There are those out there who flat out refuse to put money into the pocket of Twitter’s latest owner but to me, I’m above all that opinionated stuff and I don’t even see it that way. It’s okay to have an opinion about whoever or whatever billionaire is in the driving seat but I’m signed up with Blue for productivity based results so my energy remains elsewhere. Basically for this to be financially viable, I need to sell books or get page reads.

As a resident of the UK, Twitter Blue costs £9.60 a month. My monthly book royalties are on average around £50 and as long as those sales don’t slow down, this whole deal will be viable financially. But this isn’t always about the money and there are plenty of other analytical/observational measures to see if this whole thing has been worthwhile.

Analytics Before Blue

Twitter Analytics is something I have a nerdy obsession with and every day I use it to see what needs work on. These numbers include daily organic impressions (blue bar graph) which is my first port of call when looking at analytics. As you can see for this period of December 2022 and before Twitter Blue it ranged from nearly 40,000 down to 7,000 on any given day. The higher end of 40k is really good in terms of reach and if you can reach people organically with a number similar to your follow count or more, you are doing really well. 583.8K total impressions for the month is also great.

(You can find your own Twitter analytics via the browser version)

I also keep track of my engagement rate which was rather erratic but also good. For me this moves quite a lot but anything around 5% engagement is good. All of these numbers are worth keeping an eye on and they are also live which means they move in real time. Link clicks (purple bars) are particularly relevant as they are the rate in which readers visit my blog and those who potentially by my books.

Analytics with Blue

As you can see from this analytics graph of April 2023, the results are a little divisive. The major observation here is the total impressions are lower than December 2022 but with Twitter blue my daily organic impressions did not slip below 10,000 for the entire month. Twitter Blue seems to give a better level of stable consistency in terms of organic reach. (Ignore the grey bars – this amount of tweets but for some reason it didn’t show up for December 2022 – the analytics can be unreliable sometimes…)

The link click’s number below is much higher suggesting Blue supports links a little more as opposed to regular Twitter. The engagement rate average is also higher but day to day it seems the same for the most part.

Conclusion of Analytics

Using the nifty slider for a fun closer comparison shows there isn’t much difference other than the improved tendency of consistent but overall lower numbers with Blue and the improved link click rate. So in conclusion, Twitter Blue seems to offer improvement in these places:

More consistent with organic impressions every day (10,000 or more for me)

Better link click rates

For someone who has spent much time in the author social media trenches, I know that consistency is the key to success sometimes and having consistent numbers for a month will lead to book sales. Link clicks are also vital as it has always been suspected that Twitter seem to reduce visibility with them but having Blue suggests the opposite.

Other Measures

So we have looked at the analytics Twitter provide, but what else can we look at to determine whether Blue is worthwhile.

Follower Count

Follower Count is an obvious and very visible way of tracking Twitter progress and on the day before my Blue subscription began January 14th 2023 my Twitter following was:


My current Twitter Follower Count at the time of writing this post is:


Which means since signing up to Blue and in the time I have been subscribed (just over 5 months) my Follower Count has risen by:


Book Sales

The important driving factor for Blue is book sales for me and so, has Blue helped with sales? Let us look at December 2022’s sales. This was a month without any paid advertising so most sales are driven by Twitter/social media:

16 Sales for a month without any paid advertising is great. And drove around £54 in royalties which would have been more than enough to cover the cost of Blue. Now let us look at a month where I did have Blue:

Divisive results yet again as the number of sales remained the same but the royalties were a little less at £39 which is still enough to cover the cost of Blue but not as great as December 2022.

So using this information we can partially conclude that not much seems to change with Twitter Blue or we can at least see there are no real vast improvements across the board apart from the link clicks and overall consistency in organic views. But as an online content creator, there are still more places to measure and with improved link clicks in mind, let us take a look at my Patreon growth:

For those who do rely on link clicks from Twitter and have content out there, this graphic is promising in that regard and I’m quite proud of it. Finding paying Patrons to sign up is a huge deal for me and the numbers since signing up for Blue have risen. Of course there are cancellations but that is offset by the arrival of new sign-ups. This is kind of a big deal for me.


From my experience with Twitter Blue, the lesser known features are what make it worthwhile. Those who do have that blue tick, seem to be given priority and better visibility when commenting on a popular thread. Quite recently, I simply dropped this GIF on a thread and the numbers speak for themselves…

I wouldn’t have experienced great numbers like this without Blue. 45.5k impressions for a single reply is several days worth of impressions.

The edit a tweet feature is just okay and kind of clunky but also quite useful on occasion.

John Cena follows me also… something I imagine wouldn’t happen without Blue.

Final Conclusion

Twitter has always been an enigma and I have a feeling no matter who runs it, that’s how they want it to be. My Twitter Blue experience hasn’t been negative and my numbers haven’t decreased noticeably, they also haven’t risen sharply but perhaps just steadily on a consistent basis.

Consistency and priority in tweet threads along with a good number of link clicks are what I seem have gotten out of the service mostly. For someone who relies on finding people to read my content online and buy my books, this has been quite valuable. Right now, enough money is coming in to pay for Blue and so I’m going to keep it for the time being. If I am to keep going with it, I’ll most probably hit 50,000 Twitter followers by December of this year – something I’d consider a worthwhile achievement. If things go really well then I can also expect a few more Patrons also.

Blue has features that aren’t particularly obvious but can help with visibility and ultimately keep the numbers ticking along consistently. To have an average of 10,000 organic impressions daily is just a shy of a 25% of my following, but still great in my eyes. Twitter is busy and noisy so to get that kind of daily number is an achievement. Having Blue feels like I have to try less to reach people and so my focus or worries can be somewhere else like on writing or procrastinating or thinking about procrastinating.

For Twitter to work on any level for anyone, you have to be present on the platform and learn what works for you and your following.

Thank you for reading what I hope will be useful to a fellow Tweeter. You shall find some further resources and reading below.

My journey to over 40,000 Twitter followers is laid out in detail via my Patreon in a series of Twitter Coaching Sessions. There are also several analytical guides much like this one that are exclusive if you sign up. From finding more book reviews to selling and marketing books – you’ll find a stack of content over there that isn’t available anywhere else. Soon I shall also be releasing a new series all about my querying journey.

Of course for a more concise experience, Consistent Creative Content is a book that lays out everything I’ve done to find success.

Weekly Ramble #173

The process of querying has a lot of moving parts. Right now I’m arranging my pieces to begin playing what might be an enduring game of chess with patience and foresight being the attributes needed to survive.

If you don’t try, you’ll never know – that’s my philosophy as I look over my drafted synopsis and query letter. The truth is, I can follow as much guidance one can find online to perfect them but this is always going to be leap of faith. These days, it is a lot easier to find ways to connect with others online and I’m hoping social media and wider online world can be used to my advantage. Finding the right person to enjoy and then embrace my work is a game I’ve been playing for many years now. Being an indie author to me is convincing one person at a time to have faith in my stuff.

My very own chess board already contains some distinguished pieces and so I’m hopeful they can help with the process. Right now ideas are forming in my mind about putting together a specific query diary series to share with my closest and best followers. Afterall this is going to be a journey of learning.

Weekly Ramble #172

With social media comes discord amongst those who use it and that’s nothing new. No matter your beliefs or what you follow, support and embrace, someone will have a polar opposite stance. Patience really is a virtue when it comes to being exposed to those who may not have the same beliefs as you and so many times do I see needless arguments boil over into personal and unnecessary attacks.

Having spent much time online, I’ve learned what to say and what not to say in order to mostly avoid this crap. I understand things are changing along with the times but as a creative my focus is on that creativity while also doing my best to use my time productively. Every day some drama will unfold that I chose not to be a part of. Why? Because I simply don’t have the energy. Social media is tiring enough to try and make work.

Image is everything online and those who get themselves in random arguments with random people probably won’t succeed in their endeavours. You are best spending time elsewhere. There are so many wonderful opportunities just waiting online and most them begin with supporting or embracing others.

‘Deceit of the Mind: Quantum Evolution’ by – Henry Cox Review

A sophisticated deep-dive into the world of quantum mechanics with original concepts

Henry Cox has delivered his most sophisticated story yet and tackles the world of quantum mechanics by way of clever and original story telling. This really is a deep dive into the theory of all things quantum partnered with concepts I’ve not seen explored in fiction before.

The ‘Deceit’ series continues to grow with this latest edition that fuses history, memory, time and genetics while also retaining a thrilling spy theme as ‘Benjamin Oliver’ a retired lawyer returns to his spy roots in what becomes a rescue mission. He isn’t the only recurring character back as this series starts to become a genre in its own right with previous ‘Deceit’ stories intermingling. How the reader gets there is a journey of clever scientific theory combined with Cox’s brand of thriller that reads very much like high end fiction. We’re taken through different eras of time as ancestors and how their story relates to the present day characters unfolds with a blend of language and events delivered in a unique way.

The quantum concepts explored within have a lot of depth and theory which gives a feeling of sophistication and this is exactly what stories like this should be – clever and also thought provoking. Technology and data is out there and in certain hands can be dangerous or even wild – especially so when big business is involved. This is definitely a story that lives up to the title by having a way of playing with the reader’s mind into thinking one way but then taking you on another unexpected path.

‘From ancient times to the present, despite its pure definition, science has always been the prisoner of politics, religion, and even the created dogma of academics, in the name of science – often influenced by the purse. The theory of human evolution has become an academic theology, despite its provable inconsistences.’

A great third book by Henry Cox – I feel cleverer for reading it and that’s a feeling I haven’t had for many years and that’s exactly what this book should do.

5 Stars