‘Magpie’ by Paul Jameson – Review

A quaint wonderfully written short.. 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

Magpie is a quaint and wonderfully written short by Paul Jameson who immerses readers from the get go with his unique folklore style. Having read it in just one sitting this story serves as just a snippet of the authors ability to tell stories that fuses classic and modern style description and composition. Having read his other work ‘Nightjar’ this book carries the same feeling and of course just an edge of darkness so readers who enjoy one will certainly enjoy the other.

From the note at the end it’s clear to see this story found the author in some sense while he was exploring a real place which heightens the immersive element of the setting. There’s a level of mystique about near enough everything including the history of what happened in this world and our own imaginations are given the scope to follow a story the author first followed. This is a story and reading experience that I highly recommend.

5 Stars – Magpie is currently Free to download and you can grab a copy here for a very limited time.

If you interested in reading more about Paul Jameson check out a very recent Hall of Information Interview I did with the him here; it’s a must read insight!

Hall of Information Interviews: Despoina Kemeridou

And so a new venture of discovery begins. With the aim to celebrate unique voices in writing and eventually the wider creative world, let me welcome you all to the first ever Hall of Information Interview. 

We’ve got 9 questions with multi-genre author Despoina Kemeridou who hails from Greece and is days away from releasing her second book. A huge amount of people have already pre-ordered it and we’ll get into that as well as plenty of other writer related stuff.

Those who have been tuning in for a while will know we reviewed her first title a little over a year ago and that’s where we shall start… 

Q1. First and foremost, let’s talk about fairy tales. Your first book ‘Fated to Meet You’ sits quite well within that genre while also having a modern edge. Is there a classic fairy tale that sticks out as your favorite?

“My all-time favorite fairytale has to be Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. I love all the different versions of this beautiful story (Disney, Barbie, manga and book retellings etc.). The original story is supposed to be much darker than other versions, but I still enjoy it and am glad it has a happy ending.”

 

Indeed Rapunzel is a truly wonderful story about hope and family.

Q2. Social media plays quite a big role in modern book marketing; your Twitter following is over 19,000 which is rather incredible. What’s even more impressive is the short time you took to achieve that. For anyone looking to grow their following, what is your twitter success strategy?

“I would recommend having an active social media presence. Commenting on other’s posts, tweeting daily, and answering to people who comment on your posts. Hosting a #ShamelessSelfPromoSaturday is also an amazing idea to discover new reads, and authors. Also, a good bio and a pinned tweet on Twitter are really important to have in your profile, since they are what a potential follower/reader will see first.”

Solid advice and proven by such an impressive following!

Q3. Where did writing stories begin for Despoina Kemeridou?

“I started writing when I was thirteen. I loved reading since I was a small child, and that spiked my imagination a lot. I remember daydreaming about different stories, and at one point I decided to sit down and write. I used to write by hand back then, even though my handwriting was terrible. One of the first books I’ve read was Jane Eyre and The Magician’s Nephew. I don’t believe there’s a particular book or author that influenced my writing – maybe unconsciously, but I’m not sure.”

Q4. On Twitter you recently shared quite an interesting yet wonderful story about the village where your Grandparents live, please do tell us more (Princess…) and how much of an influence is family to you and your writing?

“I was having second thoughts about sharing that story, mostly because I was a bit embarrassed, but in the end, I’m glad I did. So, my Grandparents live in a village that’s located in the woods, called Chorouda. Anyone can find it by searching on Google Maps, and take a look at what kind of village it is. It’s pretty small, and lately there are only three permanent residents. There used to be more, but since they are mostly elderly people, most of them stopped coming, or visit once in a while. I love that village for the beautiful and breath-taking views it offers. There are many trails one can follow, if they’re looking for a small adventure in the woods! I have lots of photos from that place on my photography account on Instagram.”

We’re glad you shared this story too, some of the best stories are the real ones!

Q5. For just a few moments, let’s move away from writing. What interests do you have outside of being an author?

“I love drawing, even though I’m not really good at it. I usually draw characters in manga style. When I have some spare time, I like going out and taking photos with my camera. Is reading too mainstream to mention? Yeah, I love reading, too. It’s a part of me.”

Art By Despoina Kemeridou

Instagram @dkemeridou

Looks pretty good to me!

Q6. Tea, coffee, beer or wine?

“Wine. God, I love a glass of wine when I’m writing! However, in winter I prefer a hot cup of tea.”

wine

Excellent choice!

Q7. You have a new book which drops in a matter of days. A paranormal romance short story; what can you tell us about it?

“Indeed. My upcoming book is titled “Mark of a Demon”. I was mostly inspired by a manga I’ve read a thousand times since I was a teenager called “Hanatsukihime””.

mark of a demon

Available for Pre Order now!

 “Torn between the world of the living and the dead, Heather tries to live a normal life. With a demon to protect her, and weird creatures lurking all around her, that seems almost impossible. What is the meaning behind the mark on her chest, and what secret is her aunt keeping from her?”

It sounds awesome and we will be adding it to the TBR list! The cover looks exceptional and so see speaking of covers…

Q8. Both of your books have great covers. Even though some say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, they do. How important is an effective and eye-catching book cover to you? And who designs yours?

“I don’t want to sound harsh, but I do judge books by their covers. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t usually read the blurb. If I see a book with an eye-catching cover, I’m most likely to buy it without checking it’s contents. It’s mostly the reason I always pay much attention to my covers. In my newest one, the mark in the middle is drawn by me. I wanted it to be unique.”

“Both my covers were designed by my boyfriend, Evan Dimu. He is also in charge of formatting my books in both ebook and paperback format. I don’t know what I’d do without his help and support.”

 

 

 

 

I’m with you on that one. Covers are such an important part of the book marketing process.

Q9. And finally if there is one sentence of advice you would give to someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?

“Don’t give up, and never listen to anyone who tries to interfere with your dream of becoming what you want.”

Despoina Kemeridou; an author with a unique voice we would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions in this first ever Hall of Information interview!

‘Mark of a Demon’ is available now! 

Check out my review here…

For more information and an exclusive excerpt check out Despoina’s Instagram here. 

And of course I highly recommend you follow her on Twitter if you don’t already. You can also find her on Facebook. 

Readers old and new, I appreciate you taking the time to read this Hall of Information Interview, hopefully see you in the next one!

 

American Blasphemer by By John Gillen – Reedsy Discovery Review

A masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life… 

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John Gillen has put together a series of life encounters; his own bible you could say or even a modern companion to it. Of course that could be classed as blasphemy through the eyes of some but the many references to God and religion is but a metaphoric vessel used to tell these candid stories. That being said, through all the events that take place its also about his relationship with religion and not once did I find it preachy or overbearing in that sense.

From the title you can probably guess it’s going to take readers to places of a sordid nature and it does, but that’s not for the sake of just telling a story or for the shock factor, its for a deeper meaning that each reader might grasp differently – only a true artist can achieve that. Past the drug taking, the sex and the chaos in these accounts you’ll find the real meaning behind it all and an honesty, a pure and raw poetic honesty. This is a modern reflection of America that highlights violence and a historic thirst for war, it doesn’t sugar coat anything and even touches themes that are happening right now in the world.

I found myself unable to look away right from a beginning that introduces John among a dysfunctional family, he knows them well although he isn’t like them, he isn’t like a lot of people. The many stories might even represent an ‘anti bible’ because like that text they include similar themes such as charity but with a hope of self gain and even a captivating encounter with temptation and bargaining that leads to something much more sinister.

For everything that is laid out on the surface, the trials, the tribulations and the misadventures all of which could be even be classed as ‘total cinema’, it’s what you’ll find underneath that makes this book well worth taking the time to read.

4 Stars – Here’s the link to my Review which premiered on Reedsy Discovery , thank you to them for providing a copy in exchange for this review. This may be one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. You need to check this one out trust me! 

Swimming in the sea of self published books…

With the emergence of self publishing or indie publishing the world isn’t short of books right now. Writers everywhere are all looking for the same thing and so the marketing techniques are quickly becoming tired.

The ‘Free to download’ promotion has a shelf life and if everyone is doing it then there’s no value to such a deal. Readers might even see more value in priced books and so the marketing situation spins.

The Boy On The Sea Of Books

Reviews don’t actually carry much value. I have a liberal amount and even with few reviews my books still sell as much as those with more reviews. Its all about reach.

I’ve been public with most of my marketing efforts but even major companies omit recipes or ingredients. So yes there are few cards I hold to my chest, this ain’t charity. you know…  Many writers come to me and my resource page. They use the info and move forward, sometimes rinsing and repeating. That’s fine for a time but everyone with content must find their own ways of reaching their own market eventually. Find your own tribe.

Much of my advice adopts a ‘help all’ style but this will only take one so far; trust me I’m the first to use this stuff so I know.

Finding new ways to create reach is called innovation. And in the social media world which is rammed full of writers all looking for the same thing it does feel like we are swimming in the sea of self published stuff. My marketing strategy has always remained for as long as I am an indie author and that is to focus on selling one book at a time to one person at at time.

Eventually some of those ones return for another book and another – my next pillar of marketing – create more content which is then galvanised by me being active in the writing arena by reviewing books and giving back. Those three marketing strategies may not sell large amounts of books but they sell a satisfying amount and the circle of books is complete in my eyes.

I read a lot because I want to be able to write well. Professional athletes probably watch their own sport as much as they play it -the ones who want to get better do anyway….

This is an eye of the beholder situation and always has been…. Don’t be disheartened for single figure sales, they all count.

Do you have any unique book selling ideas other than just making your book free to download? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #59

I am fully immersed into book editing mode. Delving back into the pages and words I laid down nearly two years ago has lifted me. It’s surprising how well polished I left what I thought to be a first draft of ‘Darke Awakening’. Over the books and years my style of drafting has evolved into an edit and go process which pays off when you return to a project. 

This book will have it’s challenges but the most difficult part of the writing process has already been figured out. It’s a masterpiece, an intricate complicated shitstorm of fun intertwined with several story arcs combined to tell one great mess of a book which I personally adore. It may well be a tad ambitious but what I have edited so far has restored my faith in a story told over three books; Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood – three books readers must take on to enjoy this next one and hence the real challenge in all of this; marketing the whole thing.

Personally and it might sound indulgent and egotistical but I’ve said this before; I actually don’t care if people don’t like what I write, I do it for the story telling and not the reaction of mass audiences.

Yeah we get bruised as creators when someone gives us a scathing review but that isn’t why we are in this game. We do this because we want to create and to contribute towards art and literature. We do this because it fulfills us and shines a light into this dark void of life. Opinions and audiences are variable, the story we tell is the constant.

To reach the summit of those two sacred words ‘the end’ is to truly live as a writer. And to create something from the imagination entirely from scratch is to be free. All of us live to be free. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Wild Embers’ by Dalia and Sam – Review

A brief but intriguing premise complemented by great art work and a story full of mystery…

wild embers.PNG

You’ll be wanting more by the time you reach the end of quite a short read but ‘Wild Embers’ makes for an intriguing experience that I imagine will get better as more issues arrive. We are introduced to a world that doesn’t contain a lot of story based detail other than a short passage explaining an organisation that posts cryptic messages online. Who are they and what are their intentions? Are they ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

The story then comes to life with some fast pace chasing in the form of parkour followed by introductions of our heroes who are looking to decipher the latest message. Much of the artwork does the talking which is easy to follow, fun and very well done. I particularly enjoyed the ending which suggests this story could literally go anywhere afterwards. This may be a first in the genre of ‘Googleable fiction’ but I do hope there is more soon!

Having never read a comic book via an e-reader before I was surprised how well this concept works – this is especially so for those who own the more sophisticated devices but I imagine this comic could be read via any device with a screen.

4 Stars – The first ever comic book review for the Hall of Information! Looking forward to reading more. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon UK. 

A thank you to the artists who reached out to me via twitter with their recommendation! 

Weekly Ramble #51

As Avril Lavigne once sung; ‘things are trying to settle down’… and for me they are. This year in all truth has kicked my ass, but things are all good after what has been a journey and a half.

My 5th book is going to be released next month. I’ve deliberately kept my cards close to my chest for this one. My last release ‘Cemetery House’ burned me big time. I set too high of an expectation and the funny thing is about this year’s release is that I don’t have an expectation other than to publish it without a hitch.

There are still a few spaces for BETA readers if your interested in looking at something different and short so it won’t take up too much time. I’m proud of it and what it represents. You’ll see the blurb soon and then the cover by the end of the month. I think as bloggers, story tellers and content creators its pretty damn important to be proud of what we do. If there weren’t creatives in this world it would be one hell of a dull place.

I know I cannot live without having an outlet for my art. I hope that lasts my whole life because I got a lot of stories that need telling and there are a lot of stories that I need to read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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? 

 

The question of how…

We’re better than any star rating. Our stuff is better than any star rating, good or bad. There isn’t a review out there that really reflects the journey a writer has taken to lay down those words. So many that judge simply do not know and most will never know. A book is more than a collection of words. It’s a journey created by an anthology of feelings that person has gone through in life and in mind.

There is no formal teaching for telling a story. One finds that within and their ability is tracked through the works they give to the world. Those words in that time are a moment but the creator is already several moments into the future.

What you discover in the present could be another writers past. They may have already used those words to better themselves and to grow or to learn. Not many will ever understand that; but as I said they just don’t know. And maybe that is the real difference of creator and reader; one has the real appreciation for the process, the journey, the feeling and the want; the desire to get better and move forward constantly.

Our work will be perceived as good today but we want it to get better tomorrow making our work yesterday open for criticism but maybe just important to the person who created it.

Most artists will never face the question of why but more the question of how. Perhaps that’s something which is overlooked when judging work… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.