Weekly Ramble #146

Just a few years back the concept of reaching 30,000 Twitter followers is something I would have laughed out loud at. Not anymore. And this journey has known zeros often but not today because I’ve reached that once impossible seeming milestone on the platform.

Of course and above all, this has not been a solo effort or journey. Much like all of my successes, they have been governed by others. And the help of others is what has pushed me to go further and dream bigger. I am nothing without the fantastic support of you and the now 30,000 followers who give me reason to keep going. This creative journey has been hard and every now and then it does bite me on the rear end but, the rewards are huge and this is a defining turning point.

But how? And what advice would I give to anyone looking to grow on social media as a creative? Just be open and do your best to build conversational bridges. My agenda has never really been to make money – I suppose that’s what has driven me to try and find something else and I have, conversation, support and consistency, they are just three of the many elements that make up the factors of my Twitter success. If you can offer something, someone out there will probably be motivated to take it. That and the sheer will to never ever give in, no matter what adversities I’ve faced internally and externally. Rewards come to those who work and keep going.

There is a hell of a lot more to come from me and you can expect a lot more content based on my Twitter experiences soon. For now, be sure to check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here.

Thank you for the support!

Weekly Ramble #144

2022 has been an incredibly busy year but also quite rewarding. Last weekend saw the final performances of my 4th play which was very well received. While it is wonderful to receive great feedback it is just as wonderful seeing performers take on my writing and have a great experience with it. Some of them doing this for the first time, will probably never look back.

Not so long ago, it was me up on that stage and after choosing writing as my primary thing it gives me wonderful satisfaction to see performers enjoying themselves and even having that all-important moment when they know that performing is for them. Its even like they have found their calling and that is the resultant of art sometimes. Most creatives eventually have a positive experience which draws them back to creating and over the years I’ve had my fill.

My journey has been a series of chance encounters with creativity with each one building towards my love for writing and telling stories. Long may it continue because this writing machine never stops.

Weekly Ramble #142

Its okay to do nothing sometimes. In this world where being busy is pretty much the norm, taking time away from that hustle and bustle is good for you. That’s what I’m doing my best to convince myself with right now because I am currently between projects and its quite nice.

This year I’ve been running hot with social media stuff or content stuff and now things have found themselves wound down for the time being. Many of us pride ourselves on producing stuff all the time but stopping and taking a look around is a healthy way to recharge. I’ve got seven books published and they are all assets that are serving me well. I could easily take a step away from putting out anything new for a while and still be able to feel the benefits of a backlist.

The engine room of all my efforts and presence is Twitter where right now new followers are coming in at around a hundred a day, that’s a huge amount and something I find incredibly rewarding. With that many new eyes on my work there’s opportunity in those numbers. While I say I’m between projects right now, I am still working towards my Patreon Twitter coaching audio sessions where something should appear rather soon. And of course I’m moving towards my 8th book but right now I’m enjoying the quiet.

Weekly Ramble #139

The truth is and this might not be a revelation, I’m constantly busy with something. Whether it is blogging or writing, social media or day job stuff, there is always an abundance on my to-do list. I’ve partially concluded that I might only be able to function effectively as a busy person which is great, but that also means I cannot stop…

On my usual social media scrolling travels I often see writers who are in the querying trenches. It seems to be a borderline obsession for some and that finding an agent or publisher is the only route to success in writing. While I applaud and admire anyone taking the dive into querying their work, I am simply too busy to be doing that. Especially when there isn’t a guarantee of an actual end result. I could be waiting half a year for a response and so everything I am busy with, ends with an actual result. From social media posting to writing on this blog, I’m getting sales and I’m getting views. Although slowly, things are moving in the right direction which is all governed by me doing the work.

This week I reached out to my following to offer Twitter coaching, a new venture and also something I have built a lot of specialist knowledge with. Just by looking at a fellow Tweeters profile page I can tell what they need to do in order to get more traction on the platform. While my guides have all tried to capture mass appeal, I think I would be way more effective on an individual basis. Of course, new ventures always start slowly, but for this one, I am optimistic.

Weekly Ramble #138

Variety really is the spice of life and being a social media author the same thinking generally applies for me. As long as you have a multitude of ideas and can lay them down in an orderly fashion, eventually you’ll succeed. The algorithms might change and so will the platforms but those who do continue to seek fresh ways to get their content out there will also have their content consumed by the end user.

Peaks and plateaus, that’s what this journey has been for me and while today’s numbers might seem low, they are still ten times better than a few years ago. No matter what valley or shadow banned state my social media engagement is currently in, it will spin back towards momentum soon. That needle, it can’t always be in constant motion but my drive and desire is. Everyday is an opportunity to find better results, reach new people and of course convince existing followers to stick around.

My conclusion is swaying towards a realisation that I might be a functioning serial busy person – by that I mean constantly having a challenging amount to do keeps me motivated and keeps me working. They do say busy people get things done and so here I am getting things done.

Weekly Ramble #136

February has started rather brightly, almost positively if there is such a thing. This is going to be my year and right now its looking good. Books are selling and followers are finding me not just on social media but on here. We are nearly up to 1000 word press followers which to me is a phenomenal achievement that has taken many years to carve.

This month I have taken strides to try and lead the charge in promoting the works of fellow indie authors by launching a hashtag over on Twitter. You might have seen it via my most recent indie book recommendations post published just the other day. While my following and influence is quite something to behold on Twitter at least I think there is still more work to do before I can get something like a hashtag trending, we’ll see and either way its an exciting prospect considering only a few years ago I was reverting to zero most days.

You can expect a lot more indie book love from me this month and we’ll lets face it, that’s every month because not only am I an indie author but I firmly believe that supporting my industry makes it a better place to be. Just got to keep going.

Weekly Ramble #135

January is a long month. This is handy because it is also a busy month and in between outside of non writing things and writing things, I’ve got a lot of things done, but there’s still a way to go.

The truth is, I am always doing something, I’m like that bunny with the batteries, I just keep going and that’s because there is always something to achieve on this journey. It might be a carousel in some aspects but the ride becomes all the more rewarding as it spins while also going up and down. Twitter appears to be growing stronger and stronger by the day. Tonight I will be a guest on an indie book podcast talking about my efforts which in very recent times have become the best ever on the platform. You’ll be hearing more about that soon.

Time has been my friend on this path and whether it is the nine year anniversary of being on Twitter which I just crossed to the many years I have held onto this writing dream. Things do get better for those who do keep moving forward eventually. New content and even old content serves as a pillar that can hold your presence up online. Like I always say, just got to keep going.

Excerpt of ‘Nowonderland’ by M.C. Gladd

Billy soon ran out of tunnel, er rather hallway, and entered a room about twice the size of the living room in his and his mom’s small house. Purple tiles still lined the floor and wood paneling the walls. There was a lopsided vaguely trapezoidal shaped door on the far side of the room. Two crooked looking sofas and two armchairs of grey leather or horribly patterned fabric lined the walls, all scaled down for people of a rather small stature. He walked nearer to a sofa that had a dotted fabric on it only to realize that the small dots were in fact, insects. The bugs on one of the cushions scrambled out of the way, giving him room to sit down, but not before spelling out ‘sit here please’ in all caps and then crawling off to the side, still in formation, like a marching band halftime show. He didn’t sit down. As he backed away from the sofa, he could have sworn he heard a thousand tiny sighs of disappointment coming from it.

Between each of the chairs and sofas was an end table of some sort, each supporting some of the ugliest lamps Billy had ever seen. The tables themselves had been crafted with all the loving care of a nearsighted carpenter who didn’t own a tape measure, a square, or a level, and had never held a hammer in his life, and who was working with his feet instead of his hands. In the center of the room was a dining table with four mismatched chairs. On the table was a pitcher full of water and four cups, none of which was perfectly round. There wasn’t a single right angle, level surface, or straight line in the whole room.

The water reminded Billy he was thirsty. As he looked closer to the pitcher, he noticed little fish swimming around inside. Weird looking fish that were subject to the same laws of dimension and proportion that affected the rest of the room. As he looked closely at the fish, one of them took notice of him, swam up to the glass and said, “what?” in a voice both too deep for such a tiny fish and muted like you would imagine someone speaking underwater would sound like. He also sounded a bit irritated.

“Nothing,” he replied, backing away. He pulled his backpack off his shoulders and grabbed his own water bottle. He froze before opening it when the door opened and in walked the strangest creature Billy had ever seen. It didn’t see him though, it was staring at the floor as it walked, mumbling to itself. Its mumbles were interspersed with strange whistling and popping sounds.

“Hello,” Billy said, announcing his presence and startling the creature badly.

“Oh my! Oh my,” it said, waving its arms around and jumping back. “You scared me half to death.”

Billy studied the creature while he, (it sounded male Billy decided), calmed himself down. He was about three and a half feet tall and was just as unsymmetrical as everything else in this strange place. He had ten fingers at least, six on one hand, four on the other. One of his lower teeth was a fang that stuck out over his top lip and was so long that when his mouth was closed the tooth in question rested perfectly, deep within his left nostril. This is what caused the whistling sound every time he exhaled with his mouth closed. The popping sound was that same fang overcoming suction every time it left his nostril when he opened his mouth. He had dark curly hair on the right side of his head and straight red hair on the left. His eyes were different in size and color. Every time they fell on Billy, the creature winced and turned away. The clothes he wore were almost normal all things considered, a bright red, button down short sleeve shirt with what looked like yellow two-headed lizards on it and brown slacks with rough looking, different sized, boots on his feet. Billy was pretty sure the lizards were moving around a little.

Presently it said, “(Pop) I assume you came from the…uh…Outside? (whistle)” It met his eyes again and quickly looked away and grimaced, although that may have just been his normal expression.

“What do you mean by Outside?” Billy said, confused. “I came down the tunnel at the end of that hallway he said turning toward the end of the room he had come from. The arch over the hallway opening had a sign above that read “The Gallery” in crooked uneven lettering.

“(Pop) I know that. I live here. You came through the entrance from the Outside,” the creature said, a tad impatient. Like this should be obvious, which Billy supposed it might be in a place like this. “(Pop) They told me when I bought this house that this might happen, (whistle pop) but that it was very unlikely,” he added, more to himself.

“Well, I’m here,” Billy said. “If you could just tell me where here is, I’ll be happy to return to the…uh Outside and get out your house.”

“(Pop) That would be great actually,” the creature answered. (Whistle pop) “You’re quite ugly and hard to look at to be honest. But you can’t go back that way. As I said, it’s an entrance. To go back you need an exit.” Again, his tone was that of a parent explaining something obvious to a particularly dense child.

“What do mean I’m ugly?” Billy said. “And why can’t I leave through the way I came in? It’s a tunnel, isn’t it?”

“(Pop) Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude, but your face is rather…. symmetrical.” At this, he shuddered as though the thought repulsed him immensely. “And as I said, it’s an entrance, not a tunnel. One is one-way and the other is not. Is that not how things work in the Outside? Go look for yourself if you don’t believe me. (whistle)”

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Nowonderland’ by M.C. Gladd which you can find here. More information about the author can be found via Twitter , Facebook and his website.

Excerpt of ‘The Big Cinch’ by Kathy L. Brown

The Big Cinch, Chapter One: Goodwill


I tapped the Judge’s office door, once, then twice more. At his beck and call day and night, I was. “That must be him now,” Judge Dolan rumbled through the oak panel. “Come on in, Joye.” He was behind his desk, and a swell doll in a smart black dress sat across from him. He gave me a nod and a wink and said, “Mrs. Humphrey, please meet my assistant, Mr. Sean Joye.”

The lady stopped rooting through a beaded bag on her lap and looked up. Pale blue eyes behind a short net veil met mine. They gave me the once-over. A high-society doll and not a bad looker at that. She hadn’t bobbed her hair yet, like half the women in the city. It was all pinned up, mysterious-like, under her wide-brimmed purple hat. Whatever this job was, it couldn’t be all bad.

“Sean, this is Mrs. Taylor Humphrey,” said the Judge. “She brings me an interesting problem.”

“Mr. Joye,” she said, extending a small hand with long, slim fingers. “Please call me Violet.”

I didn’t think she meant it. I shook her sweaty palm, which smelled of Shalimar and jumpy nerves. “Mrs. Humphrey, an unexpected pleasure. This fine morning is now brighter, indeed.”

Her look told me, “Cut the blarney, paddy,” but she said, “The old woman in the lobby predicts snow. The ghost from the elevator shaft told her so.”

I didn’t know which old woman she meant but pretended I did, doubling down on the brogue. It seldom failed me. With American women, anyway. Gents? Not so much. “Pulling your leg was she?”

At that time, I didn’t know any better than old granny tales, that ghosts were merely folks carried off to Faerie, come to pay a bit of a visit to our mortal realm. Not that I’d ever seen any of the fae, including ghosts. At least, not in the courthouse lift. Other places perhaps? I’d just as soon not dwell on that.

Violet returned to the bag and fished out a photograph. The Judge took it, gave it a glance, and handed it back to her. “Why don’t you explain your problem to Mr. Joye?” He folded his hands across his tweed waistcoat, leaned back in the chair, and smiled. I’d never seen him more pleased with himself. “Of course.” She took a deep breath. “This is difficult.” I dumped my coat and fedora on the coat rack and pulled up a chair. “It’s about my sister, Lillian. Lillian Arwald.” She indicated the photograph in her hand and handed it to me.

A pretty young woman—a child, really—in a white, high-collared dress that hung near her ankles, smiled out of the sepia-toned picture while her eyes challenged the world. She looked about sixteen years old. Long blonde hair was pulled back from her face with a fancy comb and hung in loose curls down her back.

“We had a small family squabble, and now Lillian’s run off.” Violet looked down at her lap. She bit her lip, like she was about to cry or something.

I didn’t buy it. Something had spooked her, but it wasn’t the need to discuss her sister’s indiscretions with a circuit court judge. “Do you think she’s in danger?” I leaned in closer. “Sounds like a job for the cops.”

“No, no. Nothing like that. Her debut is this weekend at the Piasa Lodge Ball.”

“Debut?”

“A party. Where young ladies are presented to society.”

I nodded like I understood. I didn’t understand. “And it’s in a piazza? Somewhere on the Hill, I guess.” I tried with difficulty to picture which courtyard in the tidy Italian neighborhood, not far from where I stayed, could hold a fancy society party—in February, to boot.

“No. Piasa. Pie-uh-saw,” Violet said as she crossed her arms. “The American Indian mythological figure? The painting on the river bluffs discovered by the first French explorers?”

The Judge looked embarrassed at my ignorance. “At least a dozen businesses in St. Louis and even more across the river in Alton are named for it,” he said, smiling at her. “And, of course, the premier civic booster organization of the city.”

Well, la-de-da. “So, nothing else for her to hide from?”

“She’s been a bit wild.” Tapped the picture in my hand, Violet said, “That’s from a few years ago. Now her hair’s cut short. Skirts too.”

I liked the twinkle in Lillian’s eyes and something about the smile. The girl had a secret or two, just waiting for the right moment to bust loose.

“She’s just in a phase,” Violet continued. “She’s engaged to be married to a respectable attorney.”

“Trouble with the boyfriend?”

“Perhaps.” But from the look on her face, the boyfriend had nothing to do with it.

Kathy L. Brown’s The Big Cinch is a Dashiell-Hammett-style supernatural noir mystery novel featuring wizards and Mississippian mythology, available now from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Weekly Ramble #132

In 2021 over 20,000 readers visited this blog. A record that stands as the best ever for Lee’s Hall of Information and proof that your words can eventually find an audience no matter how long you have been trying. And to me, trying is all you ever have to do in any vocation to find results.

Good things take time, work and patience and if you are willing to endure the journey of facing zero and the general graft of it all then someday that reward will present itself. That may sound easier said than done, especially now as I sit here with such a great number but those who have been around a while will know this journey has not been easy. From reverting to zero to dealing with the general snooty gatekeepers who I share this literary industry with. I have also found a wonderful and giving audience, you guys, who keep me blogging.

The future of this blog is incredibly bright and after so many years, ups and downs and work, this whole deal is starting to pay off! Thank you for reading and joining me. 2021 is coming to a close but there are just a few more tricks up my sleeve before the sun goes down on it.