Weekly Ramble #134

I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm but this year has officially started rolling. What began with some difficult outside of writing endeavours based stress has turned around for me this week and I’m now diving back in to the writing.

Life will always have a way of stepping in front of my creative endeavours, as always its about priorities and of course my best friend; slow, gradual progress. A sentence at a time in an orderly fashion is enough and eventually that’s what books become. The same can be said for other life things too, ticking one task off at a time is key for me. This year I’m currently envisioning two releases – another non-fiction and the final story in my not very well known Order of the Following Series. I’m also involved in an author academy which you can expect some more news from soon.

Book sales have miraculously continued steadily into this month and it is shaping up to be the best January ever. This month is notoriously slow for me usually and so I am buzzing to see so many sales coming though which is hopefully a sign that 2022 is going to be my year no matter what!

Book Reviews XIV

A big thank you to fellow author J.D. Cunegan for sharing some recent reviews including one for Consistent Creative Content

J.D. Cunegan

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

I honestly believe every indie author needs this book on their shelf.

I’ve made no secret on several different platforms my creative problems of late. The reasons for this struggle are numerous, but at least throughConsistent Creative Content, I now have a road map for getting back on the proverbial horse. At the height of my writing powers, I was publishing two novels a year and averaging a blog post a week — and it’s no coincidence that numbers, meager though they were, were much better than they are now.

Lee Hall’s brief how-to not only offers a road map; it’s also inspiration (for things I can do going forward) and validation (that, in some ways, I was on the right track when I was at my best and most productive)…

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Weekly Ramble #133

Let’s do this 2022. New year equals the promise of another chapter on this writing journey and I have so many potential projects to choose from right now that I am kind of standing still. Sometimes having options is a good thing and while I do my best to overcome the urge to just procrastinate I’m ready to dive back into writing very soon.

The truth is, that to-do list will always be there and so I have decided to take my time at the start of this year. I found myself in deep with Twitter all the way up to Christmas day trying to do my best to reach the 20,000 follower milestone which we reached, somehow. Then the 25th came and then it went in a flash and before I knew it I was back at the day job. In between pushing myself on social media and having the pressure of not catching a virus and then actually being able to see family this festive season I am kind of tired – hence the not really starting anything just yet.

For me, rest is imperative for both mind and body. They are irreplaceable assets and so I’ll be picking and choosing projects wisely at the start of this year with that in mind. There are a lot of pressures that no longer exist for me – the struggle for visibility on here and across social media has seemingly dissipated and that’s an achievement in its own right. Good things do eventually happen and the stars do align. For everything I hope this year will be, I just hope it is better than the last. May it be good for you also!

Final Ramble of 2021

What a journey this year has been. Rewarding and difficult in equal parts and a major turning point that signals how much potential this writing journey has.

I came into 2021 with relatively grounded expectations and into a world where the pandemic was continuing to unfold and evolve much like it still is now. I won’t dwell much upon it as my whole philosophy has been to mostly exclude the negativity of the whole subject, instead I’ll dive into the positive aspects of this year and how the last twelve months has served as collective corner that I have turned as a creative. I hope none of this is received as a boast because I always share my results with a hope they are inspiring and helpful to my readers, you. While there are many wonderful things this year has given me, it wasn’t easy.

And without you, this wouldn’t have been possible and without you, none of this would have felt real and for your support I must thank you. From having a book I wrote back in 2018 that I thought nobody liked being downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day to the abundance of followers I befriended over on Twitter; 20,000+ and starting this year with just 5k – that is probably my finest achievement in all of my writing. This all started with convincing one reader at a time and if you can convince just one reader then you can convince thousands – I am living proof that being a creative in this modern age can be a successful endeavour and you can be happy with the results. There are a host of other wonderful moments this year has given me like being recruited to be a part of an author academy for young people, an exciting venture that I look forward to sharing more of soon. The abundance of wonderful reviews I got for my works, many of which have been waiting for a long time to reach readers. The support for the content I have churned out on here and of course my most recent release which has seen paperback sales that far exceeded expectations. My next ambition is to see creatives who have read my guide book finding success with their endeavours, while it is great to write all of these guides, seeing others benefit from them would be the dream for me.

After these twelve months I can happily say that I am at peace with so many aspects that were once struggles. Hard work and wanting to be successful go hand in hand. Now I look towards a new year as a more opportunity to build upon the foundations this year has laid. All of what I have achieved is very much possible for you too, remember that.

I’d like to take this moment to wish all of you a happy new year and let us hope that 2022 will be the start of some better days for all of us. Rock and roll man!

The Best Books I Have Read in 2021

As the year draws to a close I have saved the best until last. Although I appreciate every author and their wonderful works that got me through 2021 this post is dedicated to the books that stood out to me.

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Having read this memoir all the way back in February it has remained with me since for being a brave, candid and incredibly well written account by Danielle Larsen. Mental health and escaping abuse are the central themes while also being subjects that might not be talked about as much as they should – this book isn’t afraid to go there with the path it carves in order to get that point across. Its ultimately inspiring and gives hope even to those who seemingly have so much stacked against them.

Quote from my review:no matter how many chips are down you can always come back, there’s always hope and survival is probably the greatest gift we have.

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist 

Part 3 of the ‘Nocturnal’ vampire series is both the concluding pay off and a display of how far Villimey Mist has come as an author. Her craft unfolds throughout the series and much like the story peaks in this one. If you are looking for a modern and sometimes gory take on vampires, then this book and wider series is for you.

Quote from my review: ‘There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.’

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska

This story comes from a unique perspective and that being a writer’s cat. Its a brilliantly executed tale of one cat’s journey and how he see’s the world while also being a reminder of how important animals and pets are in the family. Ellen Khodakivska delivers a book that will appeal to many different ages and especially those who write.

Quote from my review: ‘We do sometimes take things for granted in life and this story reminds us that pets are such an instrumental part of it while they also have a life too.’

‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson

Paul Jameson delivers another masterful vision of literature through a unique style that favours deep description and classic style language. This book is very much laid out like lyrics from a song in what is a story about the end of time and told through the eyes of ‘Maggot’ as chaos unfolds. This is escapism in its finest possible form.

Quote from my review: ‘No matter what bad is happening there is always hope and ultimately there is some light to be found somewhere.’

‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins

Charming, funny and full of variety, Maurice Perkins or Moz as he is known tells a wonderful life story of childhood antics and then joining the navy. In between there are some great moments that bring a lot of enjoyment to an awesome candid memoir.

Quote from my review: ‘From a youth spent being a ‘scallywag’ getting into all kinds of trouble to finding success in the Royal Navy – his journey is both inspiring and full of lessons that are valuable for anyone…’

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon

Dan McKeon delivers an awesome tale of one teen assassin that has always followed orders and fulfilled her mission no matter what name she is given and then events make her think about the morality of everything she stands for. What follows is a coming of age morality check journey that is both enjoyable and easy to read.

Quote from my review: ‘You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human.’

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Emma Jean has combined two concepts that I have a lot of time and passion for, that being STEM and Fairy Tales. All Fairy Tales have a deeper important message and this one carries that while also encouraging younger readers to take an interest in STEM subjects. Sleeping Beauty is brought into the 21st century and this adaptation excellent.

Quote from my review: ‘With some fun moments along the way and plenty of awesome tech, magic, original concepts and a good old fashioned good versus evil story this one is guaranteed to bring enjoyment to younger and older readers.’

‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan

It can be hard to find a really good slow burning romance and while that’s just my taste in love stories Emma Jordan hits all the right notes in this one. With a little drama and plenty of feel-good vibes along with a little cosiness, I really enjoyed this tale.

Quote from my review: ‘A well-executed story about two people and their lives that are made better for finding each other and the way in which they discover a love for each other…’

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford

With dark tones and missing person vibes, N.S. Ford tells a tale that takes readers down the rabbit hole of the unexpected as three friends try to decipher a mystery that consumes their lives. The journey is eventful and culminates after a multi-layered puzzle for a plot that pulled me in all the way to an unpredictable perhaps even haunting ending.

Quote from my review: ‘The darker moments carry impact and overall there is some real power in this story that continually goes to unexpected places and even strange places.’

‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox

Having enjoyed the first ‘Deceit’ book by Henry Cox I was intrigued to see where he would go next and with this story I was immersed into the world of rare earth metals and how they dictate the future of our technology while also being a bargaining chip in military politics. This thoughtful story takes readers back in time and fuses fact to fiction flawlessly. If you like Crichton or Dan Brown then you’ll enjoy this one.

Quote from my review: ‘From military aircraft to world geography, the delivery of his knowledge and imagination merging makes everything believable and the final verdict may even be out of this world.’  

‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

Kelsey Kupitz tells a page-turning easy-to-read story about a past trauma that finds itself returning for ‘Astrid’ who has struggled with it for most of her adult life. Now she must face that past and what follows are chilling mysterious tones with a little dose of the unexpected.

Quote from my review: ‘Atmosphere, originality and intrigue take the reader to the depths of the unexpected with some great twists at the end because ‘everyone has a secret’.’

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Futuristic world building combined with societal concepts that echo our own reality are two things that are right up my alley and so when I saw Rebecca Crunden had made this free to download I jumped at the opportunity. You may know Rebecca and the awesome support she shows authors via her Indie Book Spotlight account on Twitter and I really enjoyed this thrilling spy type story that takes readers across worlds.

Quote from my review: ‘There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.’

Thank you for supporting me this year

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you kind reader for supporting me in what has been my most successful year as a creative. Whether you are a regular blog follower or from Twitter where yesterday I hit the absurd but incredible milestone of 20,000 followers. In celebration, 3 of my books are free to download today as a thank you for such wonderful support. That support has given me reason to carry on, it has shone light over the dark of doubt and kept me motivated to keep going. Along the way I have made some great connections and of course friends. Above all, reaching such a wonderful milestone is proof that our words can cross continents and make a difference. I guess you could even say those words and ideas can change the world.

If you are celebrating today or not I wish for you to have a wonderful time and stay safe. Hopefully things are going to get better for all of us soon.

The First 3 Books in my Order of the Following Series are FREE today. Links below.

US LINK

UK LINK

CANADA LINK

INDIA LINK

2021 in Review: Indie Books, Author Interviews & More!

A huge thank you to Indie Book Spotlight for the wonderful support of my work and many other creatives. Check out this huge list of reviews, interviews and much more!

a writer's blog.

a man holding a sparkler, text reads '2021 in review, indie book spotlight'

I started Indie Book Spotlightabout a year ago in an effort to find other authors and connect with them, and the result has been wonderful! I’m stunned by the reception of the page, and so utterly grateful to everyone who’s helped boost the reviews and writer’s lifts and pinned reposts, etc. There is such lovely community spirit in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, so for anyone hesitating joining, I definitely recommend it.

It’s fabulous to be able to boost indie voices in a way that’s actually getting noticed and I’ve met so many amazing authors and read some seriously fabulous books. From short stories to poetry to kid’s books to fantastical novels with epic world-building, the indie world has such a plethora of wonder on offer! Really, a great group to be part of!

For my part, I didn’t write as much this year as I’d hoped/planned, but I did…

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Every Book I have read in 2021 Pt1

2021 has been a year of variety in terms of reads for me. 43 in total and all of them indie or self published. I’m a big believer of supporting the industry that I’m apart of and so here is a break down of the first 21 books I read and reviewed in 2021…

‘Civil Blood: The Vampire Rights Case That Changed a Nation’ by Chris Hepler

An alternative but realistic take on vampires with sharp political and biological edges…

4 Stars Full Review

‘The Word of the Rock God’ by Brooklynn Dean

An intimately descriptive fable that merges rock and roll with a powerful message…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Husband for Rent’ by Kristina Gallo

A tale full of twisting suspense about those on the fringes of society…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

He’s in deep with the big fishes and the odds are hardly in his favour…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Moojag and the Auticode Secret’ by N.E. McMorran

Colourful and imaginative with a positive message about being different…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Snag’ by Dylan Burroughs

A well-paced horror that puts story first and the finer details perhaps second…

3 Stars Full Review

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Candid, brave and ultimately inspirational…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Judd’ by J.D Toombs and Erika Schulze

A ‘high school for heroes’ tale about the power of accepting who you are paired with some unique world building…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean

The intimate description and deep prose will consume you long before the apocalypse…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

There were many things the people of Warrentown didn’t know about Raven…”

4 Stars Full Review

‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley

A well-thought-out pacey tale of the times from a promising British author…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Sex, Violence, Mars’ by Walrus

A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist

The Nocturnal series has returned and is better than ever…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ by Dave Williams

A twisted, haunting and enjoyable read that dives deep into the shadowy depths of one man’s mind…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Hearts and Spears’ by Somto Jefferson Uwazie

A unique and thought provoking collection of emotion-resonating poetry…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Operation: Palmetto’ by R.T. Breach

The chase is on for one man on a mission to prove his worth and the stakes are high…

3 Stars Full Review

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska

A heart-warming and fun story told from a unique perspective…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson

A masterfully written vision and song about the end of time…

5 Stars Full Review

‘King of the Wicked’ by T.R. Hamby

An immersive imaginative take on Angels, humanity and immortality…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins

An entertaining and gritty series of real life tales told with charm…

4 Stars Full Review

‘ARIA: Book 1 of the Scintillance Theory’ by Gyorgy Henyei Neto

Immersive science fiction with some mystery and time travel elements…

4 Stars Full Review

And so that wraps up part 1. You can read part 2 here! Thanks for reading and make sure you check out some of these awesome books. Remember to leave a review if you buy any! Peace out readers.

Weekly Ramble #131

One week until my final author act of 2021 unfolds. Consistent Creative Content is coming to paperback and will signify the end of what has been an incredible year. Although much of this path has been difficult, yet again the good outweighs the bad mostly and so we’re rolling on towards new heights.

The truth is, I’m a selfish writer, I tell stories I want to read for me but Consistent Creative Content is the first book I wrote for everyone else. Using all the things I learned while being a selfish creative serve as something that can help others and this era of self published social media authors are climbing ladders over gates previously kept for years. It seems that in order to succeed in art, you had to be someone, but now all you need is for your art to do the talking or at least that’s a battle we are now contending in. We’ve come a long way and gatekeeping is slowly being beaten by the happenings of self made self published creators who deserve for their work to be seen. We have a platform, we have social media and we have our dreams.

Only a few years ago did I notice that people paying attention to my guides and so I had the idea of putting a book together with all of my best advice, learning situations and methods – its called Consistent Creative Content and it is coming to paperback next week, I might have already mentioned that. The act of sharing our results and experiences as creators will only bring us closer. That whole keeping things secret so your competition doesn’t find out, that stuff deserves extinction because in art there is no competition. Our creativity unites us.

Top 5 Guides of 2021

Writing guides that help fellow authors, bloggers and social media-ers has become a vital pillar of my content in recent times. There’s a reason why this here blog is followed by over 900 good souls. Helping others also feels good and then seeing them succeed via some of my advice is even better. This post is dedicated to the top 5 guides I have put together this year, most of which are centered around book promotion, selling and social media.

5. Let’s talk about… why your book isn’t selling…

Viewed an impressive 400+ times this year, this post is dedicated to helping authors find all kinds of ideas to sell their books before and after publication. You can read the whole thing here.

4. How I landed another deal with Bookbub

Those who have been around a while will know that this year a major turning point came for me in the form of a BookBub Featured Deal for my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’. 10,000+ people downloaded it in a single day. Shortly before the promo run I put together this detailed guide on how I got the featured deal. And for those asking, a BookBub featured deal really is worthwhile.

3. Book Promotion Results: April 2021

April 2021 serves as a record holder for so many things. It was my first $100 royalty month, it was also the month where my highest amount of paid sales happened in a single day. This guide highlights how I did it.

This one always gets a lot of attention and you might have seen me sharing the link for it on Twitter rather ironically. Link dropping is a rather interesting subject on Twitter and this guide shares how to sell books without dropping a link. With a viewership of over 500 its one of my best performing posts of the year and probably will be for some time. You can read it here.

1. A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

Any my most viewed guide of 2021 is a list that many authors including myself use as reference, hence the fact it will probably be evergreen. I update it regularly too and book promo sites are a wonderful way of advertising your books. Check it out here.

And if you are looking for more guidance on authoring, blogging and social media-ing I have a guide book which is coming to paperback in the next few weeks.You can find more information here.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!