Weekly Ramble #39

Blogging seems to be an art form that is rewarded by effort. Much like writing or creating any type of art, it revolves around content. Even in the very early days of starting out, it may feel like you have a solitary audience of that one person looking back at you in the mirror but all of us start somewhere.

Creating content is something anyone can do, but content that readers find compelling may be the biggest challenge and best talent successful artists have; some of the greatest won’t even create something for a market. Some won’t even be appreciated in their lifetime, those lucky enough to may not even appreciate how much their work has an effect.

This year has been a journey for me, in creating. My sole aim is to use my already created content to put myself on the ‘map’, what map that is; ‘Middle Earth’, ‘Westeros’ or even ‘Narnia’, nope,  just a map where people are able to discover and know that my content exists. I’ve tried to fuse that already existing content with further content creation, this blog specifically, and it seems the more I am putting in the more I am getting out.

Knowledge has been a powerful tool in using this blog, I know what its like to be an indie trying to get reviews, so therefore every book I have reviewed this year has been indie. I’m supporting those like me because we are in the same boat and good stories won’t ever disappear. The following I am building in return is just a side effect of that work. Much like art, it’s true power lies outside the boundaries of its own intentions.

Has your work achieved things you would never dream of? 

 

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Weekly Ramble #38

I’m setting my sights on another no drinking booze record. Last time I got to 37 days and now I’m eyeing 50 days which will bring me in line for my 30th birthday.

For context I am now the lightest I’ve been this year and probably the healthiest; these two achievements alone isn’t why I’ve chosen to abstain from booze; I hate the fact I sometimes act like the way I do after a drink and of course the hangover but I probably won’t ever give it up completely, I am a writer after all. Zero percent beer has been a life saver and although it’s a kind of a weird feeling to taste something that is associated with ‘easin’ the pain’ it does do enough the replace the thirst, for the time being anyway.

In the past three months I have also changed my eating lifestyle; I haven’t eaten a ready meal in 3 months! Everything I cook now is from fresh. Frozen veg and meat also counts these days because the quality is so much better now and this also means they don’t perish as quickly. There are a stack of great meals out there that can be made healthy. The vegan stuff is also so much better now and has more options; the days of one vegetable/quorn quesadilla being the only vegan/veggie choice on a menu is disappearing, and although I am not a full vegan, I have meals and days where I am inspired by it. Ben and Jerry’s vegan non dairy ice cream is my pro dieting tip! 

Exercise has always been a pillar of my lifestyle and right now like the past few years I am a big advocate of yoga – DDP Yoga to be specific. I’ve put up some reviews of the program up on here before and I cannot stress how good yoga is for not only the body but mind as well. This year I have also got back into running and can now do up to 5k in distance!

My advice for anyone looking to battle stress, depression and injury – three things I have been through; is to take up more of an active lifestyle even if it’s just a little more than before – go for a walk, start making fresh meals, do a little yoga; all of this stuff keeps my mind in check and looks after the body also. And I say this a lot, as a writer and person YOU CAN DO IT! Because I did and continue to do so! 

Thanks for reading. Hello to new followers. Those who have been tuning in and are part of the writing community, I shall be putting up my Bookbub promo results this week! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #37

Things never turn out how you expect them to. I guess the perception of one person can be clouded by the situation they find themselves in. Kind of like the sound of your voice, it seems different on film or recordings compared to hearing it out loud, either way its cringe. 

Writers lay in wait to find out if their stuff is well received, sometimes they never truly know but a live performer gets feedback almost instantly. An audience will react immediately with an applause or just a gasp or even worse silence which can be deafening. Some of the best gags may even go ‘unlaughed’ straight away but have a way of burning into one’s mind even days later. We’ve all laughed at something out of the moment.

The true power of performance or art in general is how it makes an audience member feel long afterwards. It’s a special feeling to reminisce about a show or story you were a part of some time ago. To be remembered is probably the highest of accolades for anyone in the arts. Then again they only saw or read that story on their side of the fence, I guess it all leads back to perception. Others will even argue that having their work move someone in any kind of way is the greatest of rewards.

 

Weekly Ramble #36

 

38 Days. That’s how long I managed to stay away from alcohol. A personal best. A rather proud statistic. Even though I’ve never considered my consumption to be problematic, I decided to abstain to improve my overall health and even lose some weight. The weight loss thing is hard, damn hard, but I’m exercising regular and mostly injury free (back pain has plagued me for some years). 

Even though the next morning I had that all too familiar feeling of not having an interest in drinking for a while I had no remorse this time around. Those couple of mojitos and some number of ales quenched a thirst for a while and I had a fun night which is always my aim.

Now my aim is to stay on the sober path for longer; until my 30th birthday this August. Eventually I can see myself scaling back the alcohol consumption to near enough zero, but I am a writer so bare with me. Plus the social factor is huge, put those two things together and the cocktail of being a boozer appears. As I get older I am trying to be at the very forefront of a healthy lifestyle. Folks are living longer now, medical care is better and that means life expectancy is going up, my Father always said to look after yourself when your young and your body will look after you in older age. Wise words.

Happy health all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #35

It’s been a month since I last touched any alcohol. I’ve never seen drink as a problem for myself, one can even joke it’s the solution, but I’m on a quest for better health and a better mind. Booze can be awesome, it makes you feel great, you become more confident, funnier and sometimes even more creative; not that I have ever drunk and wrote (I tried once albeit with dire consequences). Some of my fondest memories have been while sharing a drink of two with fine company. But the problem with something that makes you feel good or better about life is simple; you always want more until eventually one day you turn around and realise you have become the drunk in the room; something I cannot handle being named as.

I’ve learned this past month that there are two ways to completely stop drinking alcohol. Firstly you have to understand drinking is something I’ve come to enjoy in life so you must find something to replace that enjoyment, this in most instances has to be better than what you are replacing. My muse for booze replacement is simple and what I have always done; writing. In the past month I have torn into ‘Jack Thorn’ with 1000’s of words drafted. I also count reading and blogging under the writing umbrella; something I do all of the time now.

Secondly and this compliments the fist: Stay busy. I’m a shift worker and much of the time my hours are constant, working and having a job is great. Nobody can really drink on the job or on the commute home (unless you have a big time problem). The theory is that alcoholism has no cure and neither does addiction; even though I am not addicted or have a problem, I found a way to stop doing something that I overall enjoy but in long game terms is destructive. The remorse of the next morning is another huge factor which has turned me from getting drunk. The problem is I have a good memory of my antics the evening before and so I sometimes spend up to a week after reliving and cringing at my conduct. I said to myself ‘this is not me’ and it isn’t because 28 days without something you enjoy proves it isn’t needed and it also proves I am in control.

 

Weekly Ramble #34

I’m done with book bloggers. I know that statement may tarnish a hell of a lot of people with one brush including myself but I will say it again with more context; I’m done with asking book bloggers to review my books. Now there are many awesome book bloggers out there and particularly the one’s I follow including the few that have done good to me and support this blog, you guys will always rock and of course I do not mean I’m done with you, and please don’t think this is just an angry response post to someone who gave out a 1 star review, I’m past doing responses, but this is a serious conclusion I have come to.

Why? Because near enough every dealing I have had with book bloggers has resulted in a negative review. But negative reviews is also not the reason because I don’t expect everyone to like my stuff. There is a caliber of reviewer out there that very recently reviewed my first book Open Evening; it came out in 2016, it’s not perfect, I gave it an edit a few weeks back, but overall it isn’t terrible. There’s even a sequel if writers want some further reading. You can read the review here

This review has entirely killed my desire to reach out to book reviewers and even consider them a target market. I am still completely baffled by the pretentiousness of it, I mean there’s a star rating in there somewhere I think? And this caliber of reviewer has done an unnecessary amount of dismantling of my work while comparing to other books unnecessarily (that word again) ,and again that’s not what I’m mad about? But what the fuck can I take from this review to use as a learning curve to improve? Absolutely nothing because the guy, clearly knowing in books and stuff has spent too much time writing a review that just tries to be over intelligent and almost upstages the author in a smarmy want to be clever way. And this guy to me just comes across as a wanna be author who never published a damn thing in his life – like much of the book blogger community you just don’t know what its like… so how can he give any critical advice, he cant…

Authors live and die by reviews, indie authors even more so, and these people have no clue what it’s like. They just take someone’s book and seem to just set out to find reason’s not to like it! I’m not saying this as a high a mighty author, because I am not, I’ve reviewed nearly 20 indie books this year, I haven’t bashed a single one and I’ve given critical usable advice where needed, not in a smarmy wanna be author way, but in a way that helps writers. Isn’t that what reviews from book people are supposed to be?

My target market has always been everyone outside the writing community, the everydayers who enjoy a good story and will take it for what it is and enjoy it, not compare it to Mary Fucking Shelly. Then they will put that book on the shelf and not sell it on ebay a year later – not that I have sent many physical copies out there, maybe that’s the reason for these reviews…

Either way, I’m not mad, and I appreciate all the support I get from book bloggers, but there are some out there who just don’t have any real respect for story telling and they don’t have any appreciation for the journey we go on as authors.

Weekly Ramble #33

Let’s talk about Game of Thrones; I want to talk about what a lot of folks have on their mind and like me I wholeheartedly agree with the fact GOT resolved itself in a pretty shitty way.

I don’t think a petition to redo will make it any better and when we’re removed from it in ten years time will it be that bad? Some of the stuff that happened fit, the good guys kind of prevailed and the evil Lanister regime fell. Overall GOT became a coming of age story for the Stark kids, looking back at S1 it always was about them so why would anything different happen?

John Snow returning north did kind of leave me a little deflated. Not every loose end was tied and above all this thing felt like a quick cash grab wrap up. Or is this just the complaining culture we live in these days? One person says something sucks; gives zero real reason other than they didn’t like something and then all of a sudden a twitter group is 200,000 strong and putting petitions together.

GOT and it’s final season may be the first time the internet horde generation has faced something like this. Maybe because of the availability of instant opinion means maybe it was always destined to fuck a lot of people off, or am I trying to rationalise the fact it was a shitty ending? But it isn’t ruined, it’s just not the way you fantasized it, grow up. At the end of the day you watched it, so they won.

From a writers perspective it seems the story was put together in a rushed kind of way. It’s almost as if the show writers/runners were offered some kind of lucrative deal from someone like Disney and they got distracted. This sounds like the case and in my opinion if so they have broken the golden rule of story telling – tell the current story you are working on, in an orderly fashion with all of your upmost effort. One project at a time, tell what is in front of you, not in the future or shall we say in this case a galaxy far far away. Above all that’s just unprofessional and bad form; hence GOT’s downfall… 

Another huge factor to the show’s somewhat disappointing culmination is the fact it always had to end. Most shows run until they get cancelled; the show runners then move to an endgame. In this case there was always going to be an end but it just wasn’t very good. It’s not as melodramatic as some people were trying to debate online; quite honestly I don’t have time to discuss a TV show. It is what it is and we can now all move on. The pandemic of bad story telling in the final act is alive and well, I guess they can’t all be Breaking Bad…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #32

As an author do you want to know what’s worse than a one star review?

A one star rating with no review, words, explanation or even evidence said ‘reader’ has taken on your work. Not to mention the mindfu** it will give an author for a long time constituting to the round in circles question; why didn’t they like it?

One of my previous ramble post’s was half rant and half response to a one star review that had an actual explanation which I tried my best to debunk and move on from. This is different and it appears a particular book of mine keeps getting ‘pot shot’ with these random ratings (Open Evening) via Goodreads. In fact you can compare the reviews on Amazon (UK) to Goodreads to see the inconsistencies which just leaves me flapping my arms as to why?

I don’t want it to appear as if it’s getting to me, but it is, because we’re only human right? As authors we live and die by the currency that is reviews and as a reader if there was something I thought deserved a one star review I probably wouldn’t have finished reading it and then would have just moved on (and I have done that very recently). We’re all entitled to an opinion, that’s fine and I am not contesting that, what I am contesting is conduct towards writers. Leaving that one star might turn someone away from the craft forever.

Another huge factor is Open Evening like all my books was funded entirely by me including the sequel and the other book it is linked to Darke Blood; there is plans for further sequels but thoughts of that turn me away from it.

The question that remains in my head; Is Open Evening that bad? Does it justify someone swooping in to leave a one star rating and think nothing of the consequences? Maybe some like minded writer folks should swoop in and help an author in need…

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #31

Writing is home for me. But right now I feel far from home. Things are busy, damn busy and although it’s the fashion these days to have loads going on, it’s relentless right now. I just can’t catch a free moment, and I know if one want’s to write, one will write, but time is something I don’t have and inside it’s partially killing me not to be sat at the keyboard creating.

I’m an adult now, perhaps that’s the problem because I have responsibilities and stuff, that’s something I have to learn to live with whilst also feeding the need to write. 2019 is proving to be one of those important season finale type of deals with loads of plot arcs wrapping up and people rushing to resolve their stories whilst I’m jumping from one turning carousel to another. Many of the things I’m wrapped up in this year are more significant to others while I play the passenger and it’s tiring.

But the most important thing above all for me is that I am not alone and I haven’t been for seven years to the day. Today I celebrate walking my significant other home on a rainy late April night and asking her to be my girlfriend, it sounds like some next level sitcom romance stuff, and back then it was, and still is. I can only function while being happy, all of this circles around the concept of having someone and I do. Somebody said once that all you need is love, and beneath the shroud of busy and hectic life I have right now is just that. Don’t ever understimate the power of having someone and that makes me feel at home more than anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #30

I find myself resisting the urge to react to a negative review of The Teleporter. I know the ‘rule’ is to ignore and move on but this format here is my yard and I’ll use it however I like. First of all I don’t wan’t to appear to ‘retaliate’ in anyway but everyone whom I have spoken to about this has deemed the situation a little unjust and that’s something The Teleporter fights for…

You can find the review on Goodreads and if you ask me; like others have pointed out, it’s contradictory. And should I even be doing this? Right now, yeah, as I’ve said this is my motherfu**ing yard’ll say what I like.

The main gripe focuses on the reviewer not appreciating name calling of a certain character. In fact this reviewer clocked up the precise amount of times this character was called a certain name or referred to it as that name, which tells me there was more counting going on than reading and delving into the words. I just feel as if this book reviewer has rushed through my work and not actually read it properly. Maybe we’re just looking to add another number to the goodreads list…

The focus on this name calling which I wont fully explain because I don’t need to, can be defined with this statement:

 If you don’t get it, you don’t get it, but the whole name calling thing of this character is a part of her journey. Plus this book is a comedy of the comic book persuasion, sometimes people and places are named quite literally. It’s never said in an abusive or bullying type of manner. Her journey which includes this name she is called comes to a culmination with her winning and then choosing to embrace the name everyone calls her, how can’t you see that? 

This reviewer has totally misinterpreted The Teleporter by basically concentrating on finding something that could be deemed as offensive. Maybe we were looking to slam a book because we haven’t given a bad review before… Unfortunately the world is full of name calling, sometimes it can be considered as banter or fun and sometimes it’s part of wider story that the reviewer didn’t quite grasp.

We live in a world where if one person gets offended by something arbitrary then all of a sudden everybody grabs a pitch fork and torch; this is my one fear in the outcome of this review. I’m not against anyone having an opinion, that’s allowed, but make sure you execute what you have to say in a less contradictory manner.

I don’t give shit if it got one star and it wasn’t somebodies cup of tea, try tequila instead and grow the fuck up.