Weekly Ramble #81

September is finally here. For many, this a month that 2020 has been building to and where some perceived things would return to normal. That old normal is still far away but we’re carrying on through it. To all those going into the unknown this month, good luck and you are not alone.

Right now in all my social media author blogging endeavours I feel like the thrusters are to the max and I’m nearly three quarters down the runway. Take off is apparently imminent and this year from the very start I have pushed and pushed and pushed. From book promotions, to blogging, reviews and even Twitter which is approaching the 4000 follower mark. I have thrown near enough everything at trying to get a bigger better and more engaged following. Of course lock down gave me time to do this which I seized along with some fantastic encouragement from the acquaintances I’ve come to know, old and new. Thanks for the support everyone.

Every ounce of my efforts have been with my 6th book release in mind, that is along with the networking part of social media which is turning out to be mostly fun – connecting with others seems to be more satisfying than selling books and book sales seem to be happening a lot more now. August was my most successful non book promo month for sales pretty much ever. What did I do different? I just blogged more, tweeted more and engaged more. Folks invest in you before they even consider your work. This also led to the best ever month I’ve had on twitter – 500 followers were gained. As I said the whole thing is being turned up to the max. All of this will be relayed in a growing guide book which I plan to put out next year sometime.

September was always going to be important to me. It’s possibly my biggest month ever in authoring so far. Book 6 is a sequel and a 4th book in a series, I’m not expecting a huge amount of sales, 15 on release will be redemption and satisfaction all at once. Either way 2020 has been one hell of journey….

Weekly Writing Inspiration #7

Memes and inspiring things to help get us through the week. That’s the hope anyway so here’s a few things that are either funny, fun or have some level of inspiration…

Mixtusmedia is my go to Instagram account for all things book marketing advice.

It’s nearly the spookiest time of the year – my favourite time of the year also!

Don’t mention Green Day….

That also extends to anyone working within the hospitality or serving industry, although I haven’t been anywhere like that since February… manners are free!

I’ve had some wonderful interactions with fellow authors and bloggers recently and this is one of them! Check out Henry’s book ‘Deceit of the Soul’ here – it’s a thrilling ride about the outbreak of the pandemic….

Yeah, there seems to be a growing group of folks trying to poach their way into the Twitter writing community by just randomly and emptily asking for book recs knowing desperate writers will interact… I mean you could just be more genuine in terms of interaction… Twitter ain’t hard to master…

And we will finish on this subject. Quite recently I’ve been processing my high school experience, maybe because this year I’ve been able to reflect or because it’s 15 years since it ended for me.

For anyone having to face the daunting idea of going back to school, or those who have been through it, I know how it feels and things do get better. Hang in there!

To everyone who reads and continues to support the Hall of Information, thank you! We’re on the path to August being the best month of the year for this blog in terms of reads and views. Rock and roll man!

Review: The Teleporter by Lee Hall — S.D. McKinley – thoughts from an indie author

Shout out to fellow author S.D McKinley for this awesome review of the Teleporter. Make sure you visit his blog and give it a follow!

Summary: ( Extracted from Amazon ) What if there was a power like no other? What if one drunken slouch happened to stumble where nobody has stumbled before and discovered the ability to teleport!Just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…Kurt Wiseman is your average mid-twenties […]

via Review: The Teleporter by Lee Hall — S.D. McKinley – thoughts from an indie author

Hall of Information Interviews: Paul Jameson

The venture of discovery continues and so does the celebration of unique voices with another Hall of Information Interview.  

Paul Jameson has generously taken the time away from penning his immersive, sometimes dark and truly unique tales to answer 10 questions. This has been an honor and a journey to learn the story behind the story teller whose works I urge all of you to consider next in your reading endeavors. Some may remember earlier this year I read and reviewed his fantasy folklore-horror book and so that is where we shall begin…

NightJar_Cover_Banner_Twitter_ZOOM

Q1. I want to start by talking about your novel ‘Nightjar’ which stands out as quite a unique read. The blend of descriptive style and language you used to build a ‘feudal future’ world makes for an experience that felt like turning the pages of a classic while being new at the same time. For a modern book and a modern author like yourself, how did you find the voice and inspiration to tell a story like ‘Nightjar’?

 

“This is a really good question, one I’ve had to think about;
I think the voice found me…”

“I’d experimented with a number of pieces, short stories and historical pieces over the years, never quite finding my voice. Then I wrote a short story called ‘Magpie’. I think I discovered how to show rather than tell in that piece. Anyway, I was really pleased with it. I liked the voice, and it was a world I could expand on. I fully intended to work on and edit ’76 and the Odd 93’, but started on a new short story instead just to test the voice…”

“And so Nightjar was born.”

“Everything was in place around where I live. On the Greensand Ridge, a Roman Road runs as a footpath between Everton and Sandy, there is an Iron Age hillfort, and a glacial landscape that had once been shallow sea. I looked back in time to define a feudal future, had a physical and geographic anchor in the landscape, and saw two boys run down a hill.”

“Then I heard Nightjar play his flute.
I simply followed.
It really was a case of the characters wrote the story. And it turned into a novel.”

*Weird Fact*

“I chose Nightjar as a character as the bird is at once a strange and ugly thing, fascinating to look at. Anyway, upon publishing the novel – two months later – a pair of nightjars nested on the Greensand Ridge locally after a fifty-year absence. That made me shiver.”

 

This is both fascinating and relatable, it sounds like everything aligned and came together while you also found that voice. Having the path reveal itself like it did for you is the moment of clarity where writers know they’ve got something.

Q2. There is a slight sinister and dark edge to ‘Nightjar’, can readers expect that in your other works?  And please tell us more about them.

 

“All my stories – short and long – tend to have a dark and sinister side to them. This, I think, stems from a physically and emotionally abusive childhood, so I tend never to trust the good in things; being ever wary of the dark and nasty that hides behind a veneer of nice. But also, I’ve learned as an adult that nothing is quite so simple as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, so I enjoy creating characters with a foot in both camps.”

“Conflicted – so to speak.”

“Even my other novel – ‘76 and the Odd 93’ – a contemporary, modern psychological piece I’m nervous of because it is so dark. A cathartic exercise I needed to write to exorcise childhood demons. It took me 25 years to write and publish, features a split timeline, strawberry ice cream, a glass eye and the making of a serial killer. It’s something I hope puts the reader in a conflicted place, seeing evil grow out of innocence.” 

 

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“My other available pieces are all short stories. All dark, bordering on horror and the weird. Early experiments before writing Nightjar.”

 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]Dark Tales by [Paul Jameson]

Q3. You’ve mentioned on twitter a few times about being in your shed. Is this your main writing place? Please describe for us what that space looks like?

“I live in social housing with my wife, two adult children, three dogs, five cats and a hedgehog, so the shed is my safe space. My wife and her mum’s idea, and I love it. Bilbo (black cat) and I retreat to it, and it’s the only place I write.”

“It’s bijous.”

“Blue.”

Shed01
“With pictures on the walls, a decoupaged roof of the twentieth century – up until the ‘60s – a clock that doesn’t work and lots of weird knick-knacks. Books on shelves, Zippo lighters – I love Zippo lighters – my computers, music, a telly, electric fire for winter and fan for summer, hourglasses, lots of candles and a telescope. Hourglasses are always handy, and you never know when you might need a telescope. My daughter thinks it’s weird, so I reckon I’m doing the ‘dad-thing’ right.”

Shed02

Fantastic and the definition of a perfect writers escape.

Q4. Of course Roald Dahl comes to mind here and he is mentioned in your Amazon profile bio, what does Roald Dahl and his works mean to Paul Jameson?

“As a child I loved his work. I think it connected with me because of the type of childhood I enjoyed – or endured – as many of his characters faced similar adversity and challenges. And yet even with all the horrible stuff going on, Roald Dahl understood a child never lets go of a belief in magic and hope.”

“There is always magic.
And there is always hope.”   

Offensiveness' and children's books: censoring 'slut' from a Roald ...

I can only agree. His works make up some of my first reading memories back in the 90’s – there were a few film adaptations that weren’t too bad either.

Q5. Moving away from books and writing; what interests do you have outside of being an author?

“My family and other animals are very important to me. I love folklore and history, telly and films, books – though I struggle with reading since my brain went weird – and I love exploring woodland and ancient places; although I rarely do that these days, being a recluse and all. An old habit I need to reignite.”   

Q6. Tea, coffee, beer or wine?

“Tea in the morning, coffee in the eve;
And Guinness if I can get it.”

“Although – to be honest – I rarely drink alcohol these days;
Not for a lack of wanting, more that being a recluse I prefer to stay in and write.”

Stout Decline: Guinness Slides in Popularity, Status

Q7. Can you name three television shows or films that have inspired you?

“Tales of the Unexpected
Twilight Zone
Westworld (film)”

“They’re if I’m looking at what inspired the weird in the child that became the adult. Lots of other films too, like the Wickerman, and television programmes like the Magic Roundabout, Pipkins and Roobarb. But I think reading inspired me the most. Authors like Du Maurier and Iain Banks, Tolkien, Martin Amis, classics mixed in with historical fiction and SFF.”

“So many inputs.”

“I also love television shows coming out of HBO, like Game of Thrones and the Sopranos, my favourite being the Westworld series, and I often have them on in the background whilst writing.”

Westworld TV Show Air Dates & Track Episodes - Next Episode

Great recommendations, Westworld accompanied by a Guiness makes for an awesome evening… 

Q8. Let’s talk social media; the place where I mainly procrastinate… You have quite an impressive Twitter following of 16,000+, what’s your strategy when it comes to social media? And do you think it plays an important part in modern book marketing?

“I never really had a ‘strategy’ other than to follow and follow back other writers and artists, and to help them if I can, or if they ask. I also don’t entertain anyone with RW, bigoted, or racist beliefs. I didn’t understand Twitter as a platform at first. Then I discovered it was a great place to share my main interests:”

“Folklore and History
Faerie Tales and Magic
Writing
Current affairs”

“And connect with like-minded people.”

“Marketing falls below all of that, but I recognise it is something I have to do. I don’t like doing it – I’m not sure anyone does – but Twitter is the only place I market, and then I try to keep it low-key. It does have to go hand in hand with being a self-published author with no budget, but I see it as a marathon, not a sprint, and personally value good reviews far more than high sales. One day the sales will come.”

Sound advice and proven with such an impressive following.

Q9. Are you currently working on any writing projects? And what can we expect to see in the near future?

“I am.
And I’m struggling.”

“I have this huge WIP (140,000 words) – set in the same world as Nightjar – but I’m worried I’ve strayed too far out of this world and into the Otherworld. I like the concept, but I think it may have become too complex and too much like fantasy. That said, there are also characters and story arcs in it that I love – as would anyone who enjoyed Nightjar; characters really on the edge of things.”

“I also have two historical novels I wrote when I was very ill a few years ago (2014) – first drafts – and I’ve never read them back. Or edited them. Maybe I should. At the end of the day though, it’s the Muse and characters as decide when something’s right. Me, I’m just a helpless scribe…”

Well some of the best things are born through struggle and if your current project is anything like Nightjar then I imagine it will be pretty damn good!

Q10. Finally, a question that I plan on asking all interviewees.

If there is one sentence of advice you would give someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?

 

“Start;
And then finish.”

*And that shows, like all authors, that I need to listen to my own advice *

 

 

Let me take this opportunity to thank you sharing such a great insight into the world behind your words and beyond.

We can all agree that Paul Jameson is an author and a creative with a unique voice.

You can find him on Twitter and that’s not all folks, because for a limited time you can grab his short story ‘Magpie’ for FREE ! 

‘Inspired by real places and echoes of the past, the present and the future…’ 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

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

Books With Unique Voices

If we don’t talk about books, then how is the world going to know they exist? 

In the past few years and even recently I’ve delved into some truly unique stories that deserve a little more than a review. And a little more than a review is simply talking about them. 

With that in mind let’s dive in and look at some books with unique voices…
good audit.JPG

The Good Audit by C.P Aiden (cool pen name) tackles the subject matter of accounting in a funny but very accessible way where pretty much anyone can enjoy it. This book is unique because the delivery style intertwines with a sense of humor that captures every essence of the pressures, the laments and even the eating habits of those who work in accounts. Characters are simply named by their job title which is an original concept as well as a potential protective measure for any type of libel. You don’t need to know about auditing or accounts to enjoy this one!

the 4

The Four Before Me by E.H Night is an 80’s slasher that brings a whole new dimension of intelligence to the genre. It’s unique because of that and over the years literature and cinema have churned out so many stories that follow the same slash, character makes a stupid decision, kill, repeat formula without any depth. This one breaks that mold with a twisting story of suspense and an array of realistic primary and secondary characters that make up the small town vibe where four women have previously gone missing, women who share similarities to the main character. By the end this book becomes more than a slasher trust me…

fated to mee you

Fated to Meet You by Despoina Kemeridou is a modern fairy tale that serves for some unique escapism much like the M.C ‘Nora’ who literally escapes to another world of Kings, Queens and Castles. It’s a quick read that brings a modern twist the the genre that might possibly be as old as time…

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Nightjar by Paul Jameson is truly unique for it’s writing style that reads much like a classic. It’s no easy feat to achieve that and keep it going for the entirety of a book which sits somewhere between fantasy and folklore. Set in a ‘Feudal Future’ two boys stray from the confines of home and embark on a unique journey and come face to face with Nightjar – just who or what that is, read the book and find out…

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American Blasphemer by John Gillen is unique literary fiction like you’ve never seen before and I say fiction but from this book you’ll get biographical vibes from the very beginning. You can probably guess what unfolds by the title and yes to some it might appear Blasphemic or even the anti bible, but to me it serves as a companion to life in the United states while everyone can relate to it. From sex and drugs to family and religion or even Bob Dylan this one is incredibly unique.

LJ and Rom

How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal by S.D. McKinley is the reason I put this list together and it’s not only unique but fun, sometimes random but always enjoyable. To quote my very recent review  ‘Main characters LJ and Rom decide that they are done with rally car racing and decide to make a pilgrimage of sorts across country along the open road to save their close friend. The action picks up quickly and doesn’t let off the gas near enough all the way through page turning chapters where our heroes come across a multitude of ‘out there’ experiences from trashing motel rooms rock and roll style, fixing their vehicle, high speed racing to even the supernatural and everything else in between...’

Is there a unique tale you want to share with the world? 

 

‘Breaking the Darke Crusader’s Code’: The making of a book that almost wasn’t to be…

Some of the best moments come from the most difficult of circumstances in this funny old thing we call life. In early 2017 when I began to embrace the idea of drafting a ‘second book’ I never expected that journey, laced with internal creative difficulty and even physical health obstacles, to end up producing a book which is now my most critically and statistically acclaimed.

Of course I am talking about ‘Darke Blood’ which on the surface appears to be a vampire story, but in truth there is a hell of a lot more going on underneath the surface of just blood sucking creatures of the night. This post is a deep dive into the making of that story, and yes there will be some element of light spoilering with the intent more to advertise and spotlight the qualities of a book’s success that still fills me still with baffling but swelling pride. I’ve never really spoken about the process that goes into writing a book and they sort of get forgotten after being released. But what I went through to write ‘DB’ should be remembered, because it did not come easy and hence the swelling pride… 

Rule one in all writing: always embrace the good things that comes from it, especially the one’s you don’t expect…

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Before the books that now make up my back list (I have a back list? even that baffles me sometimes…) there was a time where I exclusively wrote science fiction with a hope to query agents, get a book deal, get a movie deal and thank the academy for giving me  this here best original screenplay award. Let’s just say the experience of getting nothing more than a few good people’s attention, none of them rhymed with Spielberg was humbling and as a writer and person, I grew up and started again mostly from scratch.

It’s never too late to start again, or even start. Starting is the first step to anything worthwhile…just start okay! 

The feeling of dropping a project that saw zero success was liberating to say the least and even though I left those sci fi books behind they stand as a testament to how I learned to write. Post writing liberation came my first foray into the world of indie publishing with a book known as ‘Open Evening’ which had some ‘success’ but before even sending that manuscript to my editor, like always I was looking to what would come next.

With 6 months until ‘Open Evening’ would see the pen of an editor I decided to get into another story which eventually became ‘Darke Blood’. My divine wisdom told me after writing a creature feature chase story with heaps of action I needed to do vampires next along with a slower more mysterious and fleshed out pace. Like everything I write, it needed to have some differential concept to the last project and the whole vampire thing would also be a tribute to probably my all time favourite character driven show – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

What’s in a name?

Okay, so I’m doing vampires, that means the setting would need to be dark and shadowy, perhaps almost black like the night. This would tie in with the title and be both catchy and unique, something only someone searching for your work would find; and that’s a pro tip when coming to deciding title’s, make it stand out

There would be some kind of forest, one with trees where the leaves don’t fall and a town that’s small enough to realistically host vampires. In 2017 I was spending a lot of time in a place known as Iver Heath which is a neighbourhood surrounded by mostly trees and farmers fields. They have two country parks nearby one of them called ‘Black Park’ so in the beginning I just merged ‘Black’ and ‘Heath’ but it turns out Black Heath is an actual place – back to the drawing board but I was set on using ‘the Heath’ I just needed a word to put before it. Next came Dark, but as the history of the town began to spiderweb in my head, perhaps when it was established back in colonial times it would be spelled oldy worldy style and so ‘Darke Heath’ was born. Put the concept of vampires, blood and all that along side Darke, you have ‘Darke Blood’. Trust me this process sounded prettier in my head…

Black Park

Black Park in Buckinghamshire near Iver Heath in the UK

So we have a forest, it’s going to be shadowy and there’s a colonial history to the place. By the time I had reached this point, the Prologue had already been drafted. A page turning chase in the shadows where some not so happy campers are split up, they first find an old cemetery and then a house – the haunted house trope always, always has a place in my heart, it just does. At the very end of that sequence we are introduced to the perhaps slightly condescending main narrator. Open Evening had more of a pessimistic trope busting narration style, this one, straight up insulting, trust me those differences are important…

What’s in their names?

That narrator just happens to be named Blake Malone. The Blake I can’t recall settling on,  it came after I decided to use Malone which is tribute to the narrator ‘Edward Malone’ from Conan Doyle’s Lost World – a book I first read when I was 12 and then proceeded to get bitten by the literature bug. Blake Malone also shares a light Irish heritage like Edward as they both have a pale complexion and they both are recalling their account of an experience in going into the unknown.

blake quote

The second billed character and creature of the night/ bad ass ‘Caitlyn Turner’ came next. Her inspiration came from the world of video games. One of Fallout 4’s popular and bad ass companion’s is an Irish lady known as ‘Cait’. I gave her a full name and a backstory of depth and history which spans back to those colonial days and is inspired by the many episodes of ‘Angel’ that see’s a younger version of the title character in the past. She has a history of love, deception and fighting along with links to witchcraft. Her story serves as the second part of the first act and by that point should hook most readers in.

caitlyn quote

Another popular face in the lore of ‘Darke’ is the older gentleman known as ‘Angus Greene’ who is a pick up truck driving, helpful and kind country fella who’s family have been taken by the vampire threat in the Heath. His inspiration and name is tributed loosely to ‘Hershel’ from when it was popular TV show The Walking Dead. Although Angus is more of a fighter and perhaps a little more cynical. He becomes more and more of a leader in later books.

The Darke Crusader’s code

Blake Malone has arrived in Darke Heath for a ‘new start’ or so he says but after confiding in the reader only, he is actually in the Heath to investigate the findings of someone known only as the ‘Darke Crusader’ which is in fact an anonymous internet handle who has reported some weird things going on in the Heath before disappearing. This is the central motive as to why Blake has come to town but worryingly his recollection of anything before arriving is blank, and this works as the conflict our MC would overcome later on in the narrative. It also adds a unique psychological edge to the whole deal – so we’re already better than Twilight…

Much of the time during my writing process I will just throw open ended ideas into the mix, and originally what brought Blake to town was most likely going to be dealt with much later on. The Darke Crusader was originally in fact someone external from outside the character loop who would arrive and lift the dramatic lid later on, sort of like a murder mystery reveal. Unfortunately this concept didn’t really line up or work. Bearing in mind I was already 40,00 words into the book at this point and in April/May of 2017 I was suffering badly with sciatica – to the point where sitting, laying and standing hurt. Writing is still painful by the way… always.

The concept of this mysterious internet persona held everything together. After all it’s why Blake is in the town and why the story is happening. The magic word there is motive, which all stories must have, the why.

I just couldn’t find a way to link it all together to reveal this external character and break the Darke Crusader’s code and it started to piss me off.

The recycling bin beckoned…

Frustration loomed, and anger, lots of it. This was my second foray into writing an original story from scratch and I’m stuck. After an angry gym session (is that sweat or tears?) I seriously considered putting that many words into the recycling bin but then, inspiration hit me. Like always while in the car on the open road a solution appeared.

Never underestimate a good drive to clear the mind and find thoughts… sorry environment I need to think!

What if this Darke Crusader was actually already an existing character? What if Blake had no recollection of the past because it was removed in some way? Maybe he was already from Darke Heath in some capacity and then sent out by the evil forces to shut down this crusader. The whole plot began to turn back on itself and unfold into the series of twists and revelations that followed. I’ll admit I put Blake Malone through a Shutter Island level of mind melt hell. But it worked; just about… I was already going down the psychological route anyway so it lined up. There is also just a slice of the Shining in there too.

Big reveals turned into twisting revelations as the Darke Crusader’s code had been cracked in front of my own eyes and imagination. The characters figure out themselves as the story unfolds. Placing this character into an already introduced persona made for a justified twist that the vampiric powers were willing to go to in order to find out who this crusader was because after all they had control of Blake. He also found out where he had come from and it was much closer than he thought. Doing this aligned him with the forces to fight back and so the final act emerged out of such struggle.

Keeping it in the Heath…

Deciding to keep the Darke Crusader inside the confines of just the town made for the feeling of no escape. The world was just limited to that town between the trees. There is an alternative ending to ‘Back to the Future’ where instead of harnessing lightning from the clock tower in Hill Valley, they go to a nuclear power plant instead, out of town and away from where the story takes place. Comparing my stuff to that masterpiece is a little indulgent but keeping everything in the Hill Valley/ the Heath rounded the story perfectly.

Back To The Future Review | Movie - Empire

Overcoming it all to tell one heck of a tale…

The struggle I went through in both back pain related and story related issues may have made for the reason why Darke Blood stands out as probably my better books. The whole tying together in the penultimate act either turns people away or grips them more. It’s decisive and carries weight. And this is before the awesome editing and cover art work that tops off the whole deal. It didn’t come easy, and much like those difficult second albums, it felt like an uphill fight to tell a story that I desperately wanted to be different from Open Evening and so it was, but they are connected…

The Open Evening Connection…

Open Evening banner with DB and ch

In order for the past elements in Darke Blood to work (Cait’s story and the main antagonist), it made sense for the creatures seen in Open Evening to exist in the same universe. And so after all of that struggle and part of it was making the whole deal fit, I managed to tie it into a wider universe which is still growing today.

the order symbol (weathered with title)

Final witchy thoughts…

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This deep dive is in fact just more of a shallow swim into the complex but satisfying tale that is Darke Blood: You’ve never known true darkness. There is a whole segment of the book that is probably best described as ‘Light Witchcraft’ which I haven’t really mentioned here but later on becomes ever so important. This is also galvanised by the Sisterhood theme that runs beside the second billed character of Caitlyn Turner who turned out to be way popular than I thought. Her journey continues in the next Darke coming this September.

Looking toward the wider ‘Darke Series’

In what is hopefully going to define my work as an indie author Darke Blood works as a stand alone but can also be delved deeper into a trilogy which will continue this September but the Open Evening side arc is very important to that. They are tied together and will culminate together.

Have you read Darke Blood? Not many have but those who left reviews, thank you. 

Darke Blood banner with OE and ch

Let’s talk about… Bad Reviews

It’s a fantasy to think everyone is going to like your writing and as soon as you become active in the social media arena or have achieved publication, that work no longer belongs to you.

SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! How to Handle Bad Book Reviews (Hint: Do ...

Dealing with reviews of all types is a letting go exercise trust me and this relates to the coping mechanism I have in place when someone calls bullshit on my work or fixates on something arbitrary that spoiled their reading experience and totally didn’t grasp what I tried to achieve in writing…

I could go on, but you have to accept that firstly be proud of your work but remember it’s up to everyone else to interpret the words, so to cope you must let it go man… 

There isn’t much you can do to stop bad reviews and how exactly does one define ‘bad’?

Again we mustn’t dwell on content of the review but look past it towards coping because this stuff like most publishing ‘success’ is in the eye of the beholder and you’ve gained that review because someone took the time to read your work and perhaps even found it via their own accord.

Criticism is a sign you are a known entity in your field and so let’s look at why someone could have left a scathing review by analyzing the type of review it is… (I may or may not have received some on these…) while also sourcing a solution or at least a way to cope.

The Revenge /Retaliation Review 

This type of review is most probably a direct response to something you’ve possibly reviewed or called out as bad in the past. The person has taken it very personally and so they’ve taken that and converted it into a short but very insulting review. It could even be borderline abusive and compulsive and is highly unlikely that they’ve actually read your work. There’s probably nothing in the review that relates to the story.

Solution: Oh boy, integrity is the word here. That investigative blog post you wrote has backfired a little… or that review for a book you didn’t like has opened a can of worms…

Look at it like this; you have work published which is just a vulnerable outlet for someone to retaliate. Stand strong, take a breath and know the person just left these words to be spiteful. If it is abusive and on Amazon, you can always report it or if you have the tact, maybe take down whatever triggered the review. But as I say, have some integrity, this type of review will stick out like a sore thumb and most likely not be taken into account by readers. Let it be.

 The ‘Fixation Excuse’ review

Every now and then someone will take on your work and deliberately go looking for something they can use to bash it. They will fixate on something that happens in the story and won’t be able to look past it. Maybe you’ve used a slang word or god forbid even a swear word that they just cannot forgive. Did your character do something out of character? How dare they… Even in this world of adults writing books, some reviewers will lower themselves to childish levels just to not like something.

Whatever they’ve fixated their excuse upon means they probably haven’t grasped the story you wrote – they most probably know fuck all about writing either…

Solution: That book bloggstagrammer you gave a free e copy to has backfired big time! But use it to your advantage. Console in your twitter following and watch people come swooping in to put in the save because for every two star review I’ve got and bunch of better reviews came after. These type of reviews make great material to use for marketing trust me…

I even responded to such a review via one of my weekly ramble posts which got a serious amount of views. Of course you want to see that now don’t you? It’s here...

The ‘wannabe columnist/scholar’ review

Who Gets to be Called "Scholar of Islam"? | The Muslim Skeptic

this picture makes me laugh

There’s a special place in reviewer hell for people who want to ultra analyse stories and find every possible flaw while also trying to be a scholar when comparing your work to others. They would have read your work in its entirety but would have also dissected it like it were a final dissertation or essay about the themes of an avocado…

Trust me when I say there are people out there who try to out write and even try to look more intelligent than the writer by being rather overindulgent in their words. They might even use the phrase ‘diablo ex machina’ to describe your debut novel – whatever the fuck that means… other words that frequent are: archetype, participles, and apathetic.

Solution: Sit back and laugh at how much effort they’ve put in to try and appear like a scholarly critic. I will say this once and once only THEY ARE JUST BOOKS!

But seriously you will need to look at the star rating to tell if they liked it. Treat it like a one off…

The ‘Did they like it or not?’ Review

Okay so we’re moving into the realms of comedy now which means these types of review are a lot easier to swallow. This review may appear in many types of form but will include an introductory compliment before a ‘not my cup of tea’ type insult before more compliments along the lines of ‘I didn’t like this one, but I will be sure to check out his other works although he’s a pig…’

You’re left thinking ‘did they like it or not’ and well the solution is this…

Solution: At this point who gives a shit if they liked it or not, they left a review which will contribute to your Goodreads stats. Thank you kind or unkind stranger…

Final Thought and The ‘Dont’s’ of bad reviews

It’s cliche to say but don’t respond to any type of review directly. Good or bad stay away. If you are particularly bothered by it then do blog, tweet and shout about it. Reviews are the pipeline to publicity for your work. Embrace them even the ‘diablo ex machina’ whatever that means ones, even the bad ones and remember like a balloon filled with helium, letting it go means it will disappear. 

You just need to find a way to cope and then all reviews will have a positive outcome,

Thank you for reading. How do you face ‘bad reviews’?

No ‘diablo ex machinas’ were harmed in the making of this blog post… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darke Blood 3 year ‘Book-iversaire’

It’s been three years since Darke Blood was released. The reason I acknowledge this milestone is because during the writing process of that book I firmly believe I hit the point of no return on the road to becoming a writer. And plus in life, you should celebrate the little things… image

Now I firmly believe a true writer isn’t just someone who puts together one story and a bunch of concepts to then throw into the world. A writer is someone who can fashion a story from very little to create a lot multiple times. One book isn’t enough to find yourself as a story teller, but two, means it was no fluke.

I could lather it up with this artistic talk but I’ll just admit ‘Darke Blood’ was a pain in my ass to write and put together. 2016 – the year I drafted it was a tough year, I had bad sciatica, I was getting used to working shifts (albeit badly) and all around the writing stuff didn’t seem to be flowing. A few times I almost dragged DB to the recycling bin but now I don’t regret persevering once. Digging deep in times of struggle comes with reward and that’s what I got with ‘DB’.

It has become my most successful and most critically acclaimed book. Yes there a few moments where the story is a bit ‘out there’ and trust me I know it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to immerse a reader and that’s what story telling sometimes needs to be. As book it must have worked and this one fashioned and shaped my tenure as a pensmith while also shaping the Order of the Following Series which it is now a part of.

You can expect more from the ‘Darke’ series this September as the follow up and sequel ‘Darke Awakening’ arrives which is also a crossover to Open Evening and Cemetery House. Currently I am drafting the third and final ‘Darke’ book which will cap the pentalogy that is the Order of the Following.

Happy ‘Darke’ Day! 

Weekly Ramble #72

I’ve been watching the news less and writing more. Sometimes you just have to play the adult card and choose to not have certain things in your life, the news is one of them… 

We are 8 or so weeks into this whole deal. A deal where are all home more often and can appreciate our own patch alongside those we share it with. There are some who haven’t stopped working (from home or out there) and those who are on vacation right now (me, most of the time). Technology allows us to see relatives, friends and colleagues easily through a screen. In this big wide world of connectivity, none of us are truly alone anymore.

While I struggle more than ever to blog or at least find subjects to blog about – I’ve taken a break from indie reads right now . I’m still here, trying to be active in the arena and trying to contribute. Last week I ran a giveaway over on Facebook, where my page nearly has 500 likes, only it seems to be the most difficult thing in the world to achieve right now…

The numbers don’t lie and people are still coming to the Hall of information for just that; information. Whether it’s my post about a scammer book reviewer or the many many indie book rec’s you find here, to even my weekly ramblings, writer, blogger or reader, you’ll find something here. And so for as long as those numbers trickle in, so will these words, no matter what is happening out there – right now the sun is shining, guess I better grab my shades…

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Short Recommended Reads…

When it comes to reading, it’s not always about length…

Shorter books frequent on my shelf and there’s nothing that beats the feeling of getting to the end of another read. Not only does it give you the satisfaction of having achieved something, but reading apparently makes you smarter, so the more books you read…

Either way here’s a bunch of shorter reads I recommend…. and guess what, they are all Indie books!

seller of sins

‘The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo

Genre: Romance

Page Count: 84

The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo didn’t feel like a shorter read. It carries a depth and style that will make you think you are reading something much longer and detailed.

To quote my review: ‘this tale carries a deeper moral story about love and what really matters and we realize this at the end…’

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‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou

Genre: Fairy tale/ Romance 

Page Count: 49

‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou is a feel good story that begins like a YA novel which quickly spins into a fairy tale. It’s a page turner which I managed to finish in just over an hour. Here’s what I said in my review from last year:

‘You’ll find there’s a lot more to the story other than happy every after including a curse and even prophecy in what is a short but fun read…’

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‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao

Genre: New Age (Self-help)

Page Count: 65

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao is a break the mold mind opening book designed to get you thinking. It’s unique and looks at how to overcome our ‘phenotypes’ (ego, ambition) in order to be more productive.

‘Well written and structured this is a book that may provide readers with insight to some answers you never thought could be out there!’

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‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 70

‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza is a personal collection of poetry that is deep and incredibly brave to present to the world. You may know the author as awesome blogger ‘Stoner on a Roller Coaster’and I urge you to check this one out!

Recent review quote:

‘For anyone who is a fan of immersive poetry and for those looking to take on a read that is different but also very honest, I recommend this book. It tells a story while also being inspiring.’

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‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller’ by Mallory Kelly

Genre: Horror

Page Count: 48

‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1) by Mallory Kelly is the first of 4 chilling shorts that read like episodes of a crime horror TV show. Two agents are in pursuit of a killer clown which then turns out to be two clowns which then becomes a whole conspiracy.  I’ve been diving into the series every so often this year and I highly recommend the series..

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Memories of Mars: a Novella (Custodian Library Archives Book 1) by Colin Yeoman

Genre: Science Fiction/Space Exploration

Page Count:  68

‘Memories of Mars’ by Colin Yeoman took me by complete surprise. For what started out as one story going one place became the rabbit hole of perhaps our existence. This one got me, and managed to do it in 68 pages. To quote my very recent review:

‘Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original.’

 

And so that brings us to the end of some awesome short book rec’s. Have you got a short book that you would recommend?

Thanks for reading!

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