Weekly Ramble #162

And so with the final days of a difficult year comes the opportunity for reflection. For everything that has happened this year, 2022 – the year of good, bad and indifferent, it certainly has kept me jumping through hoops but it also represents an enduring journey of ultimately decent outcomes.

This journey as an online creative in the social media age has been rewarding as well as frustrating on occasion but much like life, these things eventually balance themselves out. The constant has been me, a person who has never given up and has taken every opportunity to learn while keeping everything going. On that path I might have found you, wonderful reader and maybe a fellow creative, our type should stick by one another, creativity is better for it.

Let me be proof to anyone out there who is struggling to be seen or get read or even find sales because good things like that are possible for anyone. I’ve found them but it has taken me years to get to where I am today and those years have been well-spent laying the ground for what is to come. Sometimes you’ve just got trust the process and believe in yourself. Through the dark and the light, be the constant, the variables will come and go but you are what matters the most.

As for me, I’m doing fine. 2022 has taught me a lot of things and above all, never giving up matters the most.

‘Of Swans and Stars; Finding my own North Star, one poem at a time’ by E.M. McConnell – Review

A uniquely emotive and descriptive collection of poetry…

E.M. McConnell delivers a fantastic array of poetry that touches on so many subjects and across the four parts there is something that will resonate with anyone who takes on these words.

From the subject of being hopeful to even myth and magic which made for a great way to finish the collection, McConnel’s brand of poetry is strong, brave and consistent throughout. In particular ‘O, My Muse’ spoke to me along with ‘Music’ where the description really shines from the very start.

‘The beat skips and slithers down the cord Dodging errant quavers with amusing grace…’

This collection took me on a unique journey of language, rhyme and magic encapsulated by a British charm. There’s modern references and a power in these words along with the occasional mention of dragons all framed by an excellent looking cover and brilliant formatting.

For anyone looking to take on immersive poetry, I’d highly recommend this one!

5 Stars

‘The Watchmaker: A clock can talk’ by Ellen Khodakivska – Review

An enchanting tale of life, destiny and time…

Ellen Khodakivska tells a unique and enchanting story that follows five generations of watch makers who reside in Campobasso Italy. Their lives much like all of ours is ruled by time and how we manage it – there are a lot of fantastic messages and even some great symbolism throughout that really captures the concept of time. Even though there are many wonderful characters, it feels as if time is a character itself in this wonderful story.

Written with a style that reads like a sophisticated fairy tale, there’s a certain charm this book contains throughout as we meet the different generations of the ‘Donelli’ family and follow their lives. From heart warming moments to some that are sombre or even tragic, all of it is defined by the power of time and as watchmakers, they all follow the footsteps of their previous generation but that is after being told that there may be darkness if certain chains are broken.

On the fringes and always watching are the ‘Gift’ and the ‘Curse’ who are seemingly playing a game against one another and the pawns are those who have the initials ‘DD’. Told with heart and plenty of emotion this original tale has something for everyone and how you see time, may differ from others but the wise message within is universal.

‘Time always shares its wisdom with you if you are a good listener; Time can become your merciless enemy if you neglect it; Time can be your best friend if you manage it smartly; If you respect time, it respects you back…’

5 Stars

Exclusive Excerpt: ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’ by Arianne Nicks

Fellow author Arianne Nicks shares an exclusive promotional excerpt of her novel ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’

I should have done as I was told, but I was curious and kept my eyes open.

In the next moment, I wished I had listened. Kane was looking straight through me, frowning. His gorgeous smile disappeared, and his grip was stronger and steadier. His countenance was almost scary. Around us, huge white light circles were growing and spinning faster and faster. I got dizzy and felt like I was the one reeling. I knew what was happening—relocation spell. How did I not think of that? The dizziness got my mind all foggy, and I lost track of my surroundings. I was seeing multiple faces of Kane, all of them unclear and glimmering. Mercifully, in a few seconds, the circles disappeared. When I got my senses and balance back, I saw the landscape changed. The darkness of the night was gone, and so was the dense forest in Chicago and the shadow of my house.

A slow, warm wind ruffled my long hair from behind my shoulders. It brought a fresh, flowery smell, like a dewy garden in the early morning. Maybe because it was an early morning here, with a hidden, shy sun. We were surrounded by the most splendid and majestic trees I have ever seen in my life. Absolutely huge and thick trunks, with bright yellow leaves forming immense, round crowns, almost competing with the sun. I felt my mouth opening in awe of them. If I had to put an image to the word magic, this would be it. Ironic, wasn’t it?

“Ginkgo trees,” Kane said, smiling. His frown was gone, and he was himself again.

I unwrapped my arms from around him. He let me go but grabbed my hand.

“We’re here,” he added.

“We’re…where?”

“We’re in Japan. Come, my father is waiting for us.”

Oh, there. Yes, that’s where we were going. My thoughts were functioning again, so I could think about what happened. I didn’t know they could relocate with another person, especially with a commoner. It appeared to have taken more focus and more time to cast this on two people; I remembered the other ones disappearing almost instantly. That, or Kane tried to take it easy on me so I didn’t pass out. Still, the reeling sensation was more intense than I was prepared for.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’ by Arianne Nicks. You can find more information here.

Weekly Ramble #156

It’s good to be busy. Having deadlines and things to do keeps me motivated and keeps this machine rolling. Now my 8th book is out there I’m moving back to content creating and even a little editing for a book I plan to query next year. You can also expect a few more indie book reviews.

With the recent BookBub success not slowing down, I’ve noticed a slight dip in the ratings as so many readers are discovering my eldest title. I’m sure it will level off soon and the feedback has been pretty valuable for the most part and the lessons learned here are ones I shall take on for life. Not everyone is going to like my stuff and that’s fine, its good for the ego I suppose. The wonder of being self published is the fact I can instantly amend any potential problems with any of my works – something I am always looking to improve upon. Some of the feedback I’ve received for that has been very much appreciated.

Having a large quantity of readers come in all at once is a slight culture shock but being published means I have to accept the fate of whatever people say about my work. I love my stories, and that’s all that matters sometimes. I also love being a writer and a content creator.

Back to the grind for now.

Weekly Ramble #155

The past week has been a ride. To see my debut book get downloaded several thousand times in 24 hours has been a rollercoaster of emotion. As a proprietor of one’s and two’s in terms of sales, these numbers aren’t exactly a daily occurrence.

Its going to take a while to come down and this result has kind of been everything I have ever wanted on this path and it is even more special because it is my debut book. It might not be my best work, and yes it is of a certain age but to see my book get an opportunity to be thrown in front of just a slice of mainstream readers is awesome.

Of course the reviews will contrast from glowing to obsessively obtuse and weird – I’ve been there before and to see my book after all these years get such numbers is fantastic. In the middle of all that was a hugely successful launch of my 8th book which has outsold every one of my previous releases. Sometimes this whole deal can be awesome.

And now I can retreat back into content creating and even editing of a book that I am going to hopefully query next year. You can expect the results of that recent promotion soon.

Weekly Ramble #151

All the usual festivities of a book release are coming. Book 8 ‘Darke Apocalypse’ is about a month and half away from release and it will be a relief to get this one over the line.

Way back in 2020 I committed to releasing this book next and so that time and work is about to culminate. Social media promotion is a grind but I am ready and now we are in August I’ve got no choice but to ramp up my presence because all of the sales, follows, reviews, interactions and success is built upon presence. When someone does ask me how I get daily book sales I simply tell them it is based on presence but of course a lot of other factors have to align also.

August also marks the anniversary of starting Patreon which has now become quite a success. 10 kind Patrons have signed up and the content is growing – to those who support me there, thank you. I plan on releasing much more soon so for that and my 8th book, I’ll say what I always say, watch this space!

Introducing a new Tier with more rewards!

Are you looking to grow as a creative on social media? Perhaps you want to reach more people or even find yourself a following that grows and invests in you. Maybe you want to sell more books through social media.

Having been around the social media creative scene for nearly 10 years I have the knowhow and experience to show you exactly that. Quite recently I have laid down that experience in the form of audio and text based guides over on my Patreon which now has a brand new tier!

Introducing the Royal Rock Star Patron Tier which offers much more to those who sign up in the form of digital content. Upon signing up for less than $5 a month you’ll receive a free copy of my guide book Consistent Creative Content and then every few months I’ll send you another one of my ebooks!

Either tier are great value and especially so right now because I have a stack of content coming including more episodes of my audio Twitter Coaching Sessions. Sign up today and start your own journey to success!

Guest Book Review: ‘Cascade: The Sleep of Reason’ by Rachel A. Rosen

Review by Rohan O’Duill

A generation has passed since climate change brought about the Cascade that transformed the world, smashing the tectonic plates of the political landscape and infesting the wilderness with demons and shriekgrass.

“Jonah knew that holding power always meant drowning, that every second in office meant fighting for oxygen, with one’s enemies baying like hunting dogs on the shore. Ian, with the treacherous sea in his fisherman’s blood, must have been used to drowning.”

The character complexity in Rachel A. Rosen’s debut novel Cascade is fascinating. Ian moved from a working-class fisherman’s family into being a campaigner and protestor. When he developed magical powers and the ability to see into the future, he aligned himself with the new hope in politics. But it turns out that predicting the future doesn’t mean anything in a political system that is just not fit for purpose to deal with the climate crisis. It’s a chilling observation of the struggles in today’s corridors of power. But despite the weightiness of the messaging in this climate-disaster fantasy, there is a whole lot of laugh-out-loud moments and action that keep this 400 page novel careening along.

“You go lookin’ for terrorists, you see every daft kid dreamin’ of his 72 virgins and every chinless loner prick with a case of blueballs that he blames on his ex-girlfriend.”

Ian Mallory is Malcolm Tucker with heart, and the abuse that he dishes out to confuse and divert attention from his actions is priceless. His apprentice, Sujay, is not far behind with the cutting observations, although these start out mostly in her own head before circumstances force her into the open.

What starts out as a political thriller with magic, quickly evolves into a quick-witted action-filled fantasy that explores climate change, activism, corruption, racial profiling, brutality and the chaos inflicted on the world through popular politics. This is all held together superbly through Rachel’s beautiful writing style and storytelling ability.

This is a guest book review by Rohan O’Duill who you can find on Twitter.