The Phantom (A Night Audit Series Book 4) by Bruce Knapp – Review

Strange happenings in the Stay Over-Nite hotel

Picking up right where Part 3 ended we see the resolve of a cliffhanger that centers around main character Zach. After this incident he eventually makes his way back to work at night where things start to get a little strange.

This story was a fun, quick to read departure from the previous comedic accounts of Zach and shows that author Bruce Knapp can also do serious, creepy and psychological thrills very well. Elevators opening by themselves and the printer churning out ‘help me’ messages seem to be plaguing Zach; that is while guests appear to be checking in and then completely disappearing or even a rooster being reported running around on the third floor.  A lot can happen in one hotel overnight and some of it may be inside the mind while other events have an eventual explanation which forms into an unexpected twist at the closing of this story.

Overall I enjoyed this story like the previous ones and it felt a little different with even a ‘twilight zone’ style tone that was complimented by the resolve.

4 Stars 

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Indie Book Sequels: Are they worth it?

The title of this post presents itself as a question I have tried to find an answer to from experience. There are still many pros and cons to it floating around in my head; so in my divine wisdom I have decided to explore this question via a blog post and because my experience from releasing an indie book sequel wasn’t the best…

Background

When I write a story my mind is forever in expansion mode. I am always looking for an opportunity to tell a back story or plant something for later on; this even goes as far as planting stuff for books later on in a series. This may sound visionary and I suppose it is BUT it’s also a curse because while I’m standing over in book three, people haven’t even picked up book one yet! – that’s not a unique problem in indie publishing, our biggest challenge is product distribution…

I very much enjoy the thinking ‘fourth dimensionally’ writing style in fact there isn’t a better satisfaction in writing than seeing a long term plan pull together and that’s what I like to do. But to evolve or even edit the title of this post let me ask this:

Are indies just better off writing stand alone stories? 

Beginners luck

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I present the question above with an intention to answer it with logic as opposed to experience because if we look at it on simple terms, and this doesn’t just extend to indies but books in general, who is going to buy book 3 of a series if nobody really read or knows about 1 and 2…

My writing faced that answer very early on and in 2016 I was set to release my first book ‘Open Evening’ which is now part of the wider ‘Order of the Following’ series (this is the first time I have named that series publicly, consider it an exclusive, thank me in the comments). Due to my writing style the latter stages of Open Evening was set up and left open (no pun intended) so that a sequel could be explored some time in the near future.

The expectation I had in selling this book wasn’t particularly high but it did relatively well and shifted a bunch of paperbacks, did the rounds on social media and in all left me felling pretty darn good. There wasn’t any profits but I had made my official arrival as an author known.

Move on to the next one

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After finishing a book; the best thing an author can do, if they really are an author is to move on and write something else. Enter my vampire caper ‘Darke Blood’ which before Open Evening found it’s final edit became linked to this book by way of some (clever) back story.

So to put this into context, these books are separate but sit in the same universe; so it’s Iron Man and Captain America. If you read both you will see where they are linked, it’s fairly obvious.

Listen to the heart

Unfortunately this is where my thinking fourth dimensionally curse struck. I really wanted to do an Open Evening sequel, there was more story to tell and explain, there was even opportunity to link back to Darke Blood. So I did it, and ‘Cemetery House’ was born.

I knew from the offset that my readership would in fact be very limited, but I did that thing where the urge to tell a story took over everything else, and now I still don’t regret that decision.

It kicked my ass

By the time I had finally got ‘Cemetery House’ released in late October of last year (2018) I was facing being ‘done’ with writing, possibly forever. It hit me that hard. Not the writing process, not the editing process, or even Amazon being fail because their stupid KDP software didn’t like the format of the book for ages so didn’t accept it. All of it hit me hard, to a point where I pretty much faced a level of depression I have never seen or experienced ever.

This sequel ended up being a bad day that just got worse. And so then came the icing of the three tiered cake of shit; pretty much nobody bought the damn thing…

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Facing reality

There are a huge amount of factors as to why ‘Cemetery House’ went the way it did. Mostly because I put my expectation on a pedestal and didn’t accept reality where Open Evening had only been out 2 years when the sequel arrived. My following was nowhere near the amount I have now. The promotional efforts, well they were okay actually but without the following, well there’s the problem.

It hurt. Big time, and I probably did it to myself more than anything. 2018 was a huge year for me. I released The Teleporter half a year previous to ‘CH’ and only now is it getting any type of traction.

This stuff takes time. It takes thought and above all it takes a suit of armour to protect yourself sometimes from yourself. Most of this stuff is on your head. I have always said as an author success is in the eye of the beholder.

But the beauty of this is simple, I can happily talk about it and accept it for what it is. I have 4 books published. I did that in 2 years. Cemetery House has 0 reviews and not a lot of sales but it stands shoulder to shoulder with 3 other books that make up the 4. And they are mine

The drive home

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There was an album I listened to religiously while creating ‘Cemetery House’. In fact its by one of my favorite bands. For near enough half a year after publication of that book I couldn’t face listening to any of those great songs. That was until last night, when I took in the whole album at level 18 volume.

The conclusion I have is simple. If you have more story to tell and your heart is telling you to write it, then write it. We do this because above all it makes us feel something in this rather cold world. We’ve all had bad reviews and good reviews. Sales and no sales. Just do what you wanna do to feel happy in writing and fu** everything else.

Thanks for reading my story about my stories and a little insight to how I got here. It means a bunch to have your support, have you got any sequel gripes? Let me know in the comments. 

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Weekly Ramble #15

November is a shitty month. Its a kind of a between space, like an airport or a station, full of people on different paths; all of which are in my way… okay that’s super pessimistic and people aren’t the problem, they are the solution, but the point I’m trying to make is simple, November sucks, and its not a destination, its a holding space…

I’m not currently reading which is a problem. For a writer it’s almost like a blockage. With no reading there is no producing or creating, no flow, just stifling emptiness. Writing books has taken a step back for now; I’m part way through another stage play script, progress is slow like this month.

Everyday recently I am assessing my options, and without seeming above everything, I feel as if I am too good for the writing platform in which I am sat. I’m a higher class player in a lower division and I know that sounds super ego but it’s true. My ‘success’ feels somewhat held back by my lack of salesman skills. I’m not a seller, I am a creator and I have learned they are two completely separate entities.

I watch or read stories thinking I could have done that better or different; my vision for a story has been enhanced through my journey past four publications and two stage plays. I can never sit and not create, even when the pages are blank, my mind is full of ideas. And it’s okay to create.

What I need is someone to sell that creativity to a bigger wider market. Someone who sells like I can create. Do I dare contemplate trying to get an agent? I know this time the circumstances are different but the goal has always been the same, to create, perhaps someone else can deliver…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demonspawn by Christina Engela – a review

‘In space, not all things were certain… not even death’ demonspawn-2018-cover-front1

Demonspawn is a detailed well-imagined space story, which I found hard to put down, in fact I read the book in just 3 sittings.

Christina Engela has created a believable world of space travel, delivering it in way that seemed to me logical and explained without straying from the main plot.

From the very opening, there is a deliberate psychological vagueness as to what the ‘big bad’ could be. This heightens the mystery giving readers a real urgency and a want to find out, eventually you will.

With that tension steadily building the story follows the somewhat damned crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space. Their captain is found murdered and so it’s up to main character Joe Lofflin to investigate along with a cast full of convincing characters.

Then they discover a derelict ship just floating in space.

This story reminded me of films such as Alien and Event Horizon but Demonspawn could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with them. There were many concepts of the sci-fi genre in this book that were original and put together in a way not seen before anywhere else (this was especially so for the ‘Akx’.)

It’s an enjoyable read that will leave you wanting more.

5 Stars. 

 

If you have book that needs a review, then do get in touch….

Indie Book Reviews available here!

As a wordsmith and independently published author I am a supporter of others like me. We are all in this sometimes turbulent but mostly lonely vessel of discovery together. And so I can officially announce that I have began a new venture of indie book reviews…

 

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You can see via the menu a brand new section arrived very recently, and if you are an author in need of a review then of course reach out.

My hope is to first and foremost read more, I’m an author, we only get better by immersing ourselves in the craft of writing and reading. I’ve met and connected with some wonderful story tellers via social networking and plan to meet more who will hopefully whisk me away to the worlds they have created. Reading is something I have found myself doing a lot of recently so why not make it your book I am reading.

Check out the indie book reviews section and submission guidelines for more details.

5 Reasons why YOU should read The Teleporter

Everyday we face adversity, whether it be from injustice, bad news, the jobs we do or even our inner demons, surviving this world can be a miracle in its own right sometimes.

There’s so much out there in the world today that will get you down, so as humans we need to escape, hence my third book The Teleporter; a not so heroic tale of true life struggles in which modern readers can very much relate to. Here’s 5 reasons why YOU should read it…

1. It’s pretty much real, apart from the fact it’s fiction…

Stay with me here, but the story of the Teleporter and like all of my books contain several elements and plot arcs that are taken from truth/real life scenarios. Kurt Wiseman is probably the closest version of myself reflected in any of my stories. Why is that interesting? Because it makes the struggle our hero faces real, and when something feels real, it’s worth hearing. Strip away all of the words and fancy stuff, you’ll still hear what is a story of just a person trying to make it in life…

2. It’s comedic

Most of you will know by my marketing efforts that the Teleporter is in fact a comedy. If you read it I guarantee it will get you laughing somewhere. Although there is much merriment in this tale, it faces real issues with that comedic touch, making the whole deal light to read and relatable… 

3. The Teleporter isn’t afraid to face the demons of this world head on…

Trust me when I say this, the Teleporter isn’t afraid to call out assholes and problems this world has with assholes. I designed the story to be that way, for a ‘hero’ to lift the lid on stuff such as, money spinning businesses that don’t care, media control, alcoholism, diversity, friendship, abuse of power and even Trump. The whole theme of the Teleporter is to stand up and be listened to, no matter what background you are. Together we all have a voice to change the crap that this world faces, daily. 

4. It’s short, and cheap

The novella length book means it isn’t the standard length of my books. This means you’ll be through with it in no time, what’s not to like about that! The paperback is less that £5 and way less to download, everybody loves their heroes for a bargain price.

5. There are so many morals in the Teleporter’s journey..

Kurt Wiseman’s story is a journey of struggle, realization and friendship. It’s not just a meaningless ‘lets beat up the baddies’ type of deal with a bunch of gags. There is real reasoning and motive behind it. Something I hope people will tap into and appreciate. Every action in this world has a reaction, and that is one of the many lessons this book will highlight. 

6. Bonus: You may see more of the Teleporter!

This is in the basic thought process right now, but if enough people read it and like it, you may see another Teleporter tale in the near future. Everyone loves a sequel! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekly Ramble #2

I want to talk about cliché, a word every blogger and writer clashes with every time they put finger to key board, and in this place it’s okay to talk about it…

Is it cliché to come across as artsy and reflective when talking about being a writer? As much as I like the image of wearing a dark roller neck jumper, cradling a whisky tumbler, staring thorough thick rimmed glasses and reclining in a popular chat show sofa; that image totally isn’t me.

I find myself dancing around the inevitable question when somebody tells me they’ve read my work, it’s almost as if they are waiting for me to ask ‘what did you think?’. Instead I’ll weave around their words and seem disinterested, yet another typical behavior artists have towards their work.

But cliché seems to evolve around everything successful in story telling today, you see it in similar looking book covers, titles and everyone has to have at least two reviews on that cover. As much as we strife to stay away from cliché, we need it for our stories to thrive.

In my writing I like to suggest something typical is about to happen or a certain person has traits that are seemingly familiar only for the reader to discover there is something much deeper within and that is the inner message of all my work. I call back to my latest novel The Teleporter, and the main character Kurt Wiseman. On the surface of this story the whole deal reeks of comic book style cliché with a dusting of comedy, something I meticulously toiled over and decided would probably sell the book, something now I was very wrong about. I wanted people to come for the super hero bit, but stay for what the story is really about (read it and you will find out). In essence I failed to capture the right level of cliché in a super hero comedy, a niche which would seem failure proof.

Unfortunately cliché moments in the book are what sometimes define them, readers want to see the good versus evil battle, the damsel in distress get rescued, the rugged semi handsome guy put in the save, an older paternal/maternal type perhaps die on their valiant sword for their efforts, the guy gets the girl, the nerd is actually a warrior, the monsters came from space, the bad guy is bad for a reason, the dead parents… the list ultimately goes on.

What if all of the above is justification to say there are no more original stories?

Something which I half agree with, but what if you can get over that statement by being different, perhaps delivering the story in a different way that distracts the reader enough not to think this was the same old stuff. If can call back to another one of my works; Open Evening, the not so typical high school horror with so much more waiting underneath the surface. Yes you’ve got the typicality of such a story, but the way it is delivered, the struggle, the uncertainty, the ultimate resolve all have a different and a cliché busting way of providing the story which is totally different to those in it’s genre. Just read the reviews, not one bad word goes against the actual story.

If I’m going to plug my books it is not complete without Darke Blood; a not so ‘vampirey’ type vampire story… again the whole deal begins with your typical horror affair but what comes out the other end is a bunch of things done before, but not like they have been done in Darke Blood.

All of my work is example enough to say cliché can be embraced and avoided. There are ways as writers and bloggers that we can deliver our products and words differently. Then again if we are all going to be different, then aren’t we actually the same? I guess that’s cliché to say…

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons why YOU should read Open Evening

Shameless self promotion alert and as an indie author most of the time if I’m not shouting about my books, nobody else is apart from a very selective well read and cultured few. So here’s some top reasons why you should invest your money, imagination and hopes into the literature I have brought into this world, we’re gonna start where it all began…. Open Evening

1. This book is different…

Okay, you’re probably thinking everyone says that about their stuff but stay with me here. Open Evening initially reads like a typical high school horror but spends most of the book being anti-genre and even turns certain horror cliches back on itself. Our nerdy sometimes socially struggling narrator has to overcome so much more than a lack of confidence to survive what becomes a night of running and trying to live.

For those who have read it, their initial feedback has described ‘OE’ to read more like a film than a book with a bunch of clever and fun twists along the way…

2. It represents the struggles all of us have been through as a teen, even though it’s based in the early 2000’s..

Everyone who has ever been a teenager will know what I mean by the struggle of what high school is, and that is one of the main themes captured in Open Evening. I took the idea of this book from a bunch of notes I wrote when I was at school and could easily tell this theme ran throughout so I had to translate that to Open Evening.

Whether you’re the bully, the jock, class clown or anything in between, there is something everyone can relate to in the whole psyche of high school and that is present in Open Evening. There are elements of ‘breakfast club’ and who doesn’t like 80’s films or nostalgia?

Sometimes it feels the teachers are against you and sometimes it feels like the world is against you and in Open Evening there is something else was lurking underneath it all….

I will even admit there are some elements which are taken from my own personal experiences, so you could say it’s semi autobiographical. In all of my works you’ll probably learn more about me than in anything else I do.

3. It’s extremely action packed…

This book goes! Yes there’s running and screaming, but there is also a lot of sequences that involve fighting and even explosions (yes there was budget for pyro…).

If Open Evening could be compared to a film it would sit somewhere between Alien, Aliens, Blade and Jurassic Park. The short punchy chapters are designed to keep pages being turned and there is never a dull moment, and if it goes quiet, be scared, be very scared…

4. Open Evening is practically free to read..

So here’s the deal, outside of writing I have a job which pays my bills and I love it therefore I do not need to make money from selling books which means I care more about producing something worthwhile that will enrich a reader. 

Technically if you have kindle unlimited you can download the e-book for free but if not the price is well below most books and if you’re like me and prefer holding a book in your own hands then you can find it via amazon for £6.99 or some dollars…

5. Open Evening is part of a wider franchise….

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Open Evening is indeed just the beginning of a wider franchise which looks deeper into the occult world. By the time you have finished Open Evening there will be a bunch of head spinning questions in which the wider franchise will answer for you. This includes my second novel Darke Blood which is set in the same world as Open Evening!

You can check out 5 reasons why you should read Darke Blood right here…

Just last year Cemetery House was released, the direct sequel to Open Evening. The story will then move towards the world of Darke Blood in a cross over story planned for the near future. So there will be a plethora of books and stories to invest your imagination in, which all started with Open Evening….

6. Special bonus reason… Cemetery House (the sequel is out now)

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My 3rd book The Teleporter is released!

Let’s face it, the internet works in weird and wonderful ways. My last two book release posts had zero views and zero likes so I could be saying anything right now, like Zuckerberg is actually one of those lizard folk, or cheese is in fact political propaganda to keep us lactose intolerant…

But for those inclined, my third book THE TELEPORTER is officially available via amazon. Click here to check it out…

This time I have written what appears to a super hero comedy on the surface but has actually turned out to be something way more than the genre it’s identified by. Although yes it is still funny (I really hope!) the story faces many different modern issues in this world we live. From low self esteem and self reflection to corruption in politics and business, this one I hope will result in giving the reader something to think about all with a healthy dose of haha! But these serious issues are never treated as a joke, that’s what makes it compelling.

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So what’s the story? 

Our main character Kurt Wiseman is serial ‘drinksmith’ (cool word huh?) and a general layabout/ graphic novelist. That is until he accidentally discovers the ability to Teleport whilst investigating his corrupt millionaire media controlling Trump… I mean boss.

What follows is a story of triumph, struggle, friendship and even mild addiction as Kurt becomes the Teleporter and looks to fight injustice, not because he should, but because he chooses to. The whole morality of good vs bad is highlighted throughout the narrative as our comedy guy fights the forces laid against him.

Above all this story is about honesty and power. In these words lay the most truth I have ever told as a writer, and as long as fiction contains some element of realism then the reader can relate. 

 

I have to take this opportunity to thank my heroic book team for helping me put this together. My editor and publisher Nicky of Satin Publishing has been truly wonderful throughout the process and always contactable when needed. Her work has enhanced my story by tenfold.

Design for Writers have provided another fantastic cover managing to set a tone I could only visualize by words and they have been brilliant throughout.

My final nod is to the loyal people who have already got themselves a copy, the following I have is small but unconditional loyal and for that I must thank you a million times. This whole deal is to prove my passion is worth pursuing and my readers do that every time without fail. Thank you. 

For people old and new who are following me and reading my stuff I must implore you to leave a review via amazon, goodreads, a blog or even Facebook (Lizardberg wont mind), and remember Selfies sell books

The Teleporter is out now! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Book Update 2018

2018 is closing in on the horizon and I find myself asking where did that year go? Time flies when your kicking ass and writing books. But these days blog posts are rare for me due to my procrastination efforts and my philosophy of no news equals no blog.

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Of course I could find something to vent about, like the deteriorating political situation in ‘insert nation here’ or how ‘insert maniacal world leader here’ will get us all into a nuclear war. It’s safe to say I prefer not to debate and voice opinions of such things, I find most news tiresome, especially when most of it is bad, I’m not ignorant, just selective. All bad news aside, I must say 2017 has been incredibly diverse for me in terms of success and writing efforts.

Earlier in the first half of this year we saw the release of my second novel Darke Blood in which sales are still trickling by and even some fresh reviews have made their way in. The feedback overall has been good and my efforts to publish this book have been very much worthwhile.

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Open Evening had further success by reaching Number 1 in its Occult category on amazon and sold over 600 copies in a day (it was free to download at the time!).

Soon after DB’s publication and before I got to work drafting my next next book. I say next next because 2018 is a huge year for me.

 

2018 will see two books of mine grace publication. My back catalogue this time next year will increase to 100%! (that’s just maths…) 

So what are they? Well scrolling down past this post you will see my announcement post for CEMETERY HOUSE; the sequel to Open Evening and also linked to the Darke Blood universe! Exciting huh? Click on the picture below to view the teaser. We are looking at a Halloween release for CH.

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So what’s the other book?

Soon after finishing the inital draft of CH I needed a much needed light hearted break away from horror/thrillers and so I got to work on a comedy novella called, wait for it….

THE TELEPORTER; a super hero comedy type story. I am looking at an early April release date and more importantly over the last week I have been in contact with my awesome book publication team and I can confirm…..

both Satin Publishing and Design for Writers will be on board to publish/edit and create an awesome cover not just for the Teleporter but for Cemetery House also!

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My next step will be to let my loyal readers know official release dates which will turn up sooner than you think! Hashtag creepy wink!