Weekly Ramble #160

Crossing $1000 in book royalties for the first time in a calendar year is a special and pinnacle moment for me. I’ve never been one to chase the money in my writing or content creating but as someone who aspires to do this some day as a primary occupation, it gives me hope. It also gives me a wonderful sense of value.

Running this deal like a functioning business might have once been a distant dream just a few years back but now, it might be a possibility eventually. This year in particular I have done my best to try and run book promotion advertising with a view of making the money back in sales. For the most part I have succeeded and although there are so many other ways to invest or measure success in this journey, getting a positive monetary outcome tells me that I might be on the right path.

Of course like all moments of success I have shared on social media, I have tried to share them with tact and inclusion because quite simply, if I can achieve these things then so can others. For all the things that social media is at the moment, sharing good moments and including others will always have an awesome outcome. People will always be drawn to moments of hope and I guess this is mine.

All I have ever done is kept working and kept going, now the rewards are starting to get bigger so I guess there is one thing I have to do and that is carry on.

‘The Man and The Crow’ by Rebecca Crunden – Review

A short sharp enjoyable tale of magic and the unexpected

Having just read this book in one sitting I found myself enthralled by page 4 where the story unexpectedly flips and takes the reader on a journey of folklore, witchcraft and murder.

With darker tones and a magical theme that merge together well, Rebecca Crunden delivers a well-written tale that might only be twenty four pages long, but it represents hundreds of years of history and lore for the title character. Throughout, the addictive writing style carries a humour that is both fun and perfect for the genre while the imagination is also given plenty of room to work alongside that history and lore suggested here – as the ending promises, that’s the start of the next story!

For anyone looking to be whisked away only for a short time but through some imaginative literature, this is the one for you.

‘Screaming would have been the sensible thing to do; it also proved impossible. Screaming would mean she’d be able to unlock her jaw and at the moment it felt like her jaw had rusted shut…’

5 Stars

‘They Lie Here’ by N.S. Ford – Review

Thrilling and unputdownable with unique themes…

N.S. Ford has masterfully merged the genres of thriller and mystery with the themes of obsession, secrets and music to deliver a layered story I could not put down. There were twists, revelations and even after, there were more unexpected moments in this original and addictive read.

In my first two sittings of reading this I’d already reached the 50% mark and by then I was just as obsessed as main character ‘Kat Green’ who is on a mission to find missing 80’s musician ‘Roskoe Darke’. His band, the aptly named ‘Scorpio Hearts’ have a kind of cult following and through some unique flashbacks/snippets we learn of their history along with the backstory that all has a sinister feel. ‘Kat’ is clever, obsessed and willing to go to extreme lengths for her investigation, even if she does refer to herself in third person often, there’s reasoning behind it and that also reflects the whole story which is cleverly plotted.

During the earlier stages, there is a lot of build as everything is laid out and then the revelations begin. Just like N.S. Ford’s last release, the well-executed twists are becoming a theme or even sub-genre of the author’s work and its definitely something that will keep me coming back. Music is also a key theme that runs throughout the story which serves as a study of how fans and those in the industry are effected by success while also merging with the mystery/thriller elements which makes for a unique unpredictable reading experience.

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.

“Cemetery House” by Lee Hall

Happy Halloween

To celebrate today’s spooky date I am sharing a recent and wonderful review of Cemetery House by Ellen Khodakivska which is a read perfect for the season…

Ellen Khodakivska

If you want to find yourself in the middle of shadows, monsters and foreseers, fire and dictionaries of dreams, creepy creatures, and a rain of ash, this one is what you are looking for.

“In this life you can either love or die; or you can just live…” Lee Hall, “Cemetery House”

The Plot: After an epic survival in “Open Evening,” Luke Hartford opens a new chapter of his life. It appears that “survival is just a beginning,” and pure evil keeps spreading its tentacles to get it done. Together with a new crew led by a man named Twister, they go to their hometown to face creepy creatures hiding in the shadows. “Cemetery House” meets them with mortal danger, demons of the past, and lots of riddles needed to be resolved to survive and see a sunrise again. The only way to get out of the hell is to…

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Guest Book Review: ‘Neglected Merge’ by Eve Koguce

Guest Book Review by Arianne Nicks

“Neglected Merge” is the first book in “The Neglected Merge” trilogy by Eve Koguce. This book is a fantasy utopian romance featuring Tauria, a 32-year-old woman living in what’s supposed to be a “perfect” society. After undergoing a near-apocalyptic experience, “the merge”, people have rebuilt society with no room for conflict, unpleasantness, or unhappiness. Everyone is living their best life, having the most fulfilling jobs and the best relationships.

Tauria’s world is disturbed when a “Winged One” lands in her home, one of his wings injured. The man, Doron, is part of the royal family of the Winged Ones. While he recovers in Tauria’s home, they fall in love.

The challenge they face is that of bringing their worlds together – the Wingless and the Winged Ones. Politics and love are woven into the story. To bring their societies together, Tauria gets a job that allows her to start preparations for contacting the Winged Ones. On the other side of the mountain, Doron actively pleads with his father to initiate a relationship with the Wingless. Will they succeed in creating a world where a relationship between a Winged One and a Wingless is possible?

I have enjoyed the first book in this series. The environment and the worlds created are unique, and the characters are interesting in their overpolite ways. I had issues believing in Tauria and Doron’s relationship at the beginning, as everything happens quickly and with few details. However, as the story evolves, they grew on me, and I was rooting for them in their endeavors. Doron’s love and passion for Tauria are sweet, and the contrast between this and Tauria’s more serious side is sometimes funny. I also liked how the friendship between Tauria and Byrne developed throughout the story. For the next books, I hope to find out more about Abelia (Doron’s sister) and her story.

“Neglected Merge” is definitely a distinctive read!

This is a guest review by Arianne Nicks the author of Soul of Light and Thunder. You can find more information about Arianne via her website here.

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #10

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!

‘The Perfect Athlete’ by Olivier Doleuze

The Perfect overview and resource for the fit and healthy conscious…

Full Review

‘SurReality’ by Matt Doyle

‘Everything that happens in SurReality is entirely real’

Full Review

‘The Mermaid From My Nightmare’ by Kristina Gallo

A thrilling and twisting tale with so much beneath the surface…

Full Review

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday

A unique and immersive vision of survival and life during apocalyptic times…

Full Review

‘The Liar, The Bitch and The Warmonger’ by Morton R Leader

A family affair with darker edges

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!

Spooky Season Sign-Up Special

Time for a special promotion to celebrate the month of October! 

Seeing as I’m supposed to be a horror author and I generally enjoy the season of spookiness I have decided to run a promotion to celebrate. 

If you sign up to either of my Patreon tiers this month, I’ll send you a free digital copy of my spooky paranormal romance The Ghost Beside Me. 

All existing Patrons and those who do sign up to either tier will then all be entered into a draw to receive a signed paperback copy that I’ll happily mail to you wherever you are in the world and if you can provide me with a mailing address. 

Happy Spooky Season!