The Story Wars YouTube Channel has Launched!

The greatest writers from around the world are gathering virtually in front of live audiences to tell true stories from their real lives

And now you can watch/listen to these stories as Story Wars now has a on official YouTube Channel.

Check it out via the link here where you can listen to me talking about my disaster story and you can also listen to the first winning story by Roni Keller.

Click Subscribe for more updates and for information on how to participate in Story Wars, check out the site here.

Free Twitter Coaching Session – Out Now

Are you looking to get better results on Twitter as a creative? Maybe you’re even thinking about starting up on the platform but have no idea where to begin. Twitter is a great place to find an audience of potentially millions so follow my words as my latest Twitter Coaching Session lays out the basics of what everyone needs to succeed on the platform.

Back in 2020 my Twitter following was 3,000 and today it is nearly 35,000. I regularly sell books from Twitter and last year over 5,000 people came from the platform to read this blog, so how?

Well good friends, I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out Twitter and have put all of that know-how into several audio coaching sessions. So now you can figure out the platform like me but in just way less time.

My latest coaching session talks all about what to tweet for success by way of five elements that are a must for all. You can listen to this session for FREE and to exclusively access the rest of the growing series it will cost less than a takeout coffee a month! And the just launched Royal Rock Star Tier offers free e books to anyone who does sign up. Everyone also gets regualr shout-outs on Twitter in front my 30,000+ following!

Start your Twitter success story today by clicking on the banner below.

Twitter Coaching Sessions 1 to 10 – Out Now

Twitter can be a strange and weird platform to figure out. But it is also a fantastic opportunity to connect with millions of others who could potentially be your next follower, reader and even customer.

Leveraging that following can be difficult but I’ve spent nearly 10 years on the platform and now with over 32,000 followers, I am living proof that the knowledge I’ve gained works to increase my growth, marketing reach, engagement and sales. Now I have the means to pass on this experience so anyone can achieve what I have.

If you are not sure where to start and are looking for better results to achieve awesome things like me then look no further than my Twitter Coaching Sessions. You’ll learn everything I have in just a few hours as opposed to the many years I spent carving a following that regularly buys my books.

These 10 audio classes are a crash course in everything I have learned to get good results on Twitter – from constructing the ideal profile and presence to even the finer details of increasing engagement to get those all important sales. There is even a session dedicated to staying safe.

Start your journey to better Tweet Machine Results today. Coaching Sessions 1 and 2 are free to listen and then it costs less than $2 to access the rest.

More sessions are coming that will lay out everything I have learned to give you the best chance of social media success!

Book Sales I’ve leveraged from Twitter this year!

Own your Twitter success by signing up to my Patreon today!

Weekly Ramble #140

Sometimes its good to get away from the grind and just spend a weekend away. That’s what I did this past weekend and my energy levels have been replenished from being alongside some good company. It might have been an action packed few days but one can always rest at work I guess, and being tired from weekend things is a different type of tired from work things…

My numbers are governed by a constant social media presence. Take that presence away even for just a day or so and it drops to near enough zero. The fun thing is that I know exactly what it takes to get those numbers back up, I’ve spent long enough figuring it out. The concept of social media algorithms being against the smaller person has always driven me to prove that we can defy them to get our message out there. The platforms might be the hosts, but our content drives them and that makes us needed just as much as we need them.

With March nearly being halfway done I’m looking towards some big plans for the next few months in terms of content and of course a book release. Watch this space!

Introducing The I’m An Author Academy

Hello friends, awesome news alert. I am proud to announce that I am going to be a Professor for the ‘I’m An Author Academy’ – an exciting new venture alongside some wonderful creatives that will guide the authors of tomorrow by sharing our wisdom and lessons learned over the years.

Together we are going to be there for those who want to evolve from from just saying they are an aspiring author to I’m An Author!

So what is the I’m An Author Academy all about and where did this come from? Well, last year and through social media I connected with fellow author and Instagram Royalty Emma Jean who approached me and two fellow authors with this incredible idea. That idea being to pass on everything we have learned on our journey and as a collective our skills range from writing, publishing, marketing, blogging, social media-ing to even podcasting.

Right now, we are working behind the scenes to put together content while Emma Jean is putting in a huge amount of work and effort to bring this academy to life. For those who frequent this blog will probably recognize her name as the author who wrote Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code which I reviewed last year.

And here is some more information about the fellow authors who will be joining me as Professors.

Kelsey Kupitz is the author of The Right Thing which was also reviewed on here last year. You can also catch her over on Twitter being awesome.

Emma G. Rose is a multi-published author who also hosts the brilliant Indie Book Talk Podcast which I highly recommend you listen to especially if you are a supporter of indie authors!

To be included in this wonderful group is probably one of the biggest compliments I’ve received on this writer journey and also a testament to how effective indie publishing and social media can be for connecting with others. This generation of social media creatives is incredibly important for the future of books and publishing so it’s imperative we pass on as much as we can to help it grow and evolve. Our combined efforts make us quite a team.

You can expect to hear a lot more soon as the full website for the I’m An Author Academy will be launching but here’s the landing page. Be sure to check out the Academy’s Instagram page and make sure you give it a follow – your support is very much needed and of course, appreciated.

Stay tuned for more news soon!

Dealing With Bad Reviews

Let’s face it, eventually every author is going to have to swallow the medicine that is a bad review. Whether it be a low rating without an explanation to a full on dismantling of a book someone probably should have just put down. Over many years I’ve experienced every kind of review, from the ‘abandoned’ to the snarky ‘let’s try and be funnier than the book’ to even scathing borderline abuse. I have even received constructive criticism that I’ve then used to correct a typo or potential error so its not all bad and ‘bad’ may just be a stance.

Disclaimer: I will say now first and foremost that any reviewer no matter their opinion, as long as it is not abusive, is entitled to say what they feel about a book freely. This post is not an attempt to bash anyone that has left a less than favourable review for my work or anyone else’s. This post is designed to help fellow authors cope with bad reviews. I have to include this disclaimer because this subject might be perceived as ‘spicy’ and if I don’t, my Goodreads ratings will go even lower…

Its not a nice feeling when someone leaves a bad review for our work. It can straight up hurt and that’s more than okay because our books are a labour of love, time and effort. For someone to say negative things about it can feel like a personal attack and leave an author spinning for days while also questioning themselves. Feeling bad and every other emotion that comes with a bad review is totally normal. Remember that.

Ahead are hopefully some pointers and a few truths that will help any wordsmith deal with the inevitable because for every author receiving a glowing review, there will be another receiving the opposite.

1. Be Aware…

This is aimed for newer authors and has a bunch of inputs, but after publishing that book, your writing is no longer just a hobby and your presence on social media is now one of a public figure. Whether you like that or not is kind of irrelevant because being published puts you in the public domain. This means that as an author you now stand in the spotlight inside a glass house. Anyone can throw stones at you, and if you give them a reason to, they will, trust me. You see that disclaimer up there, yeah I put that in to cover my ass in case someone gets precious and decides to defend anyone who has ever left a bad review – your actions online can draw unwanted negativity sometimes, even if your intentions were good.

What do I mean by this? Social media and the internet can be a volatile place and now you have a book out there, it is vulnerable also. Because of that, its time to consider your conduct online. Me; I have a pretty comfortable seat on the fence in most of my social media endeavours and I make every effort to be inclusive, decent and supportive. This will go a long way to preventing certain stones being thrown and I would even go as far as saying some negative reviews are simply a reaction to something you may have said online. That’s why I have that comfortable seat and I tend not to react to any major news subjects or any polarising political situations – these things will always be happening and providing an escape from them works for me.

Of course there are many great causes out there that authors have every right to stand for but remember social media can be a volatile place where someone might not agree with you all the time so be mindful and be aware.

2. They are Inevitable…

While being aware and conducting yourself in a certain way are great preventative measures, bad reviews unfortunately are inevitable. If your work sells enough it will be discovered by someone who doesn’t like it. Any author who has been around a while and sold a bunch of books will tell you this. So think of it as a baptism. Your writing has done enough to at least stir a reaction, even if it is not so great and you are now part of the club!

3. Is it Worth the Time?

Time for me is valuable. I can get a lot done with my time, from social media posts, blog posts, editing to even exercise so ask yourself if the review is worth your time? Those star ratings without an explanation – there isn’t really much to digest there so why spend time thinking about it?

I’m quite selective when it comes to where I read the reviews I receive. Goodreads is a place where I only focus on the statistics and not really the content of the reviews. Amazon is way more important to me so I tend to read the reviews I get on there. Even then if the review is negative with zero constructive feedback I’ll tend to just move on.

4. Is it Constructive?

Speaking of feedback, does the review help you in any way? Anyone can claim to be an editor if they spot a simple typo or even a spelling error. Even pro published books have those. US and UK spelling does differ sometimes and some reviewers won’t be aware of that. If there is something constructive you can get from the review then to me its really a positive one in disguise – remember sometimes the truth can hurt and we are all human so mistakes happen.

5. What’s the Value?

I’m going to confide in you here while also stating that I appreciate everyone who has made the effort to review my work but I can count on just one hand the amount of reviews that shaped my future works or had any real constructive feedback and for this I consider myself lucky. This is the case with positive reviews also and while we all love a compliment, what does that actually provide us with? Speaking truthfully, there is normally zero personal value in a review – good or bad they help sell future books and sometimes they need to be looked at just that way because…

6. A Rating is a Rating…

Above all, even if the review is down right insulting, a rating is a rating and proof of readership. Someone out there in that vast busy world of constant content found your book. Good or bad if they were thoughtful enough to rate it, then somewhere deep down there was something in that book which meant something to them.

Side note: If the review is abusive or even a personal attack, you might have grounds to report it and get it taken down. I’ve done this before.

If you were to purchase my self help guide book for indie authors and bloggers you’ll find there is a whole section dedicated to reviews and dealing with them.

7. Can You Spin it?

Some years ago, one of my newly released books received a low rating that kind of came out of nowhere. I forget the name of the book blogger but I confided in my social media following and managed to spin that review into a bunch of sales and positive reviews from some friends in the writing community. As long as you are decent, it’s okay to confide in your following, they might swing in to help you.

Final Thought

It will feel better tomorrow and much like that struggle for reviews you feel sometimes, the best thing to do in order to cope is to focus your energy elsewhere. Of course its okay to vent but do it with tact and confide in others because you’ll be surprised by how many bad review stories authors have. Use this post as a reference to when the inevitable happens and of course vent below if you wish because this will always be a safe space for creatives. How do you deal with bad reviews?

Thanks for reading. This post originally premiered on Patreon where all of my guides are available to Patrons first before they make their way onto here. For information on my Patreon which aims to guide and help fellow creatives click here.

Weekly Ramble #117

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while and now I feel ready to let it out because over the years of being a published author, on my own back, I have come to realise there is nothing worse than gate keeping. As my profile has grown on social media a certain portion of folks in the same industry as me have very obviously not appreciated that growth or successthere aren’t that many of them because the mute button is a wonderful thing but as a reader of tenure and a writer who knows dialogue, I can tell through those words and interactions you have on social media that your stance is of old bullshit gatekeeping. Old words as I call them and I call myself New words. This isn’t an age thing but more of a ‘I’ve been around longer than you so I am entitled’ type of deal.

Anyone who works hard and keeps going deserves success that should not be governed by anything other than that work and yes that may sound naïve to an extent but that is how I have got to this point along with wonderful support on here and across social media. I’m loud and proud about all the good things I have achieved because there have been more crap days than good. I have always tried to embrace the good and block out the bad with my ‘carry on regardless attitude’ and for it I have reached that success.

When I do share that success with an aim to help or at least inspire, there are normally two reactions.

‘That’s awesome, thanks for sharing, I’m glad to see someone doing better than they were yesterday’

Or and looking at me down their nose ‘How did you do that? I tried all the things you do and get nowhere near the success you’ve had.’

That’s because you’re an asshole and I’m not. Sometimes on here I will just lay it out plainly. This is my patch and I’ll treat it that way. My core philosophy is to support and help others on their writing journey while trying to carve my own path to some success. More importantly I am open to anyone being successful in writing regardless of who they are as long as they work hard and have manners. It sometimes isn’t what you do or say it is how you do or say it – execution.

In the arts and in many other places, gatekeeping is unfortunately rife. For some weird reason it has always been who you are that defines your success and not what you produce – something I will always try to fight. In the literary world particularly I near enough every day see some snooty literary wannabe type looking down their nose at those who might not appear to fit within their ‘standards’ or the ‘standards’ that have been around since the dinosaurs ruled the earth. Art is supposed to be interpreted by the individual so let that interpretation happen.

You can tell by my tone that this is quite an emotionally charged subject but it hasn’t been motivated by anything in particular I just see quite often folks appear to look down on me or have to question things – whether it is jealousy or the fact I am more successful than them without a single literary qualification, although I have nothing against anyone who has studied in the field of English/Literature or anyone who has been around longer than me. Perhaps it just ruffles their feathers but you cannot beat a good attitude and hard work over time – that will always always win. I don’t sit within any group or clique in particular, I’m a lone wolf just doing my own thing just comparing myself to yesterday’s version of me. You’ll find me supporting books and art that gatekeepers try to shoot down because if I can find something in that art which I enjoy, then that is enough. Those that do follow me on here and around the socials are mostly decent and none of this is aimed at you. I write one spicy ramble a year and this is that one.

I long for a day where the art and the art alone will do the talking. Being ‘someone’ should not be the sole reason why an artist has success.

Don’t take this personally but I probably won’t be approving any comments on this post, as I said, my patch.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Dating in the Shadows’ by Rianne Burnett

Introducing author Rianne Burnett who shares an excerpt of vampire romance erotica book ‘Dating in the Shadows’.

The restaurant’s cosy atmosphere wasn’t enough to quell the alarm bells going off in Vynette’s head. There was something creepy about this guy. Even his hazel eyes seemed cold.
“Is everything okay?”
Timothy asked the question but not an ounce of concern creased his seamless dark skin. Vynette forced a smile and nodded.
“Sure. I just need to use the little girl’s room.”
She was out of her seat before he could budge. Her strides were slow but steady. The restroom had never felt so far away. Once she was inside a stall, she grabbed her cell phone from her handbag. Debbie answered on the first ring.
“He’s a serial killer, isn’t he? I told you not to meet up with him.”
Vynette didn’t want to humour her friend’s paranoia but Timothy was a hard sell.
“He just might be. I need an out.”
“As in an excuse or do I need to come and get you?”
She folded her bottom lip between her teeth as she thought. Timothy was good on paper but Vynette knew better than to ignore her gut.
“Come get me, now.”
Taking a deep breath, she examined her reflection in the mirror. It was hard to miss the unease shining in her eyes. She sighed.
An ex had once told her that she carried all her emotions in her eyes. It was one of the few truths he’d ever told. She fluffed her shoulder-length curls and dragged a few strands over her face. Chuckling, she flipped them back in place.
Timothy might be weird but even he would have questions if she dumped her hair over her face.
“Maybe I should give him something else to look at.”
Vynette pulled down the zipper on her blouse a bit. Her cleavage wasn’t one of her standout qualities but they got the job done. Reaching into her blouse, she adjusted her pert breasts in the push-up bra. When the rounded flesh became more visible, she appraised the results in the mirror.
“It’s worth a shot.”
Timothy looked up when she approached and his eyes brightened.
“Everything all right? I was just about to come looking for you.”
Somehow, she believed him. Vynette gave him a tight smile, slid into her seat, and placed her cell phone face down on the table. She bought time by taking a sip of her drink.
“Uhm…I think I’m coming down with something.”
He frowned and for a brief moment, his mask slipped. She looked away and stretched her shoulders in an exaggerated movement. It wasn’t her proudest moment but she wanted to keep him calm.
There were only a few other patrons in the restaurant and she doubted anyone would come to her rescue if things became physical.
Her distraction didn’t work. He still stared at her with an intensity that could bore through metal.
“Do you want me to take you home?” he asked while leaning forward.
“No!”
Her response was more abrupt than she’d planned. Timothy raised an eyebrow. Vynette swallowed and tried to smile.
“I already called my friend. She should be here at any moment.”
He slumped back in his chair. The smile was gone. She clutched the handbag in her lap. With the flap open, all she had to do was reach in and grab her pepper spray. As her hand inched toward the bag, her cell phone rang.
Vynette grabbed it from the table. The sight of Debbie’s name was an instant balm.
“Deb, I’m on my way.”
To Timothy, she said, “Sorry, she’s here. Thank you for dinner.”
She fled before he could answer.

Debbie pushed the passenger side door open and Vynette jumped in, slamming it behind her. She didn’t breathe properly until the car had pulled away. As her friend took different side roads as a precaution, Vynette kept quiet.
For once, Debbie’s paranoia was appreciated. Thank God she had met Timothy at the restaurant and he didn’t have her phone number.
“So that’s a ‘no’ on a second date?” Debbie quipped.
Vynette sucked her teeth and searched for the dating app on her phone. It had several notifications but she wasn’t interested. Clearly, her match wasn’t in this database. She quickly deleted her profile and uninstalled the app.
“It’s a ‘no’ to the entire damn app.”
“Wow. Wasn’t that the last one?”
Vynette groaned and scrunched her eyes closed.
“Yeah, I’ve officially run out of dating app options.”
“Well, not entirely.”
Looking across at Debbie, Vynette tilted her head to the side.
“What did you do?”
“Remember that exclusive dating app I told you about?”
“Yeah. Night-something? Didn’t it need a password or code?”
Debbie nodded.
“Nightgrind. There’s a code. Which I hacked. For you. You’re welcome.”
Vynette’s jaw dropped. Pulling into their assigned parking spot, Debbie hopped out of the car. She stood at the bonnet and beckoned Vynette out. Sighing, Vynette complied.
“Wasn’t it hard to get into?”
Debbie skipped up the steps effortlessly. Her waist-length braids swayed.
“Nah. The protections were pretty basic. It was like they didn’t think anyone would want to hack it.”
When they were in the safety of their apartment, Vynette plopped down on the couch and handed her phone to Debbie. She was wary after her near-miss with Timothy, but her dry spell wasn’t going to break itself.
“Fine, I’ll check it out in the morning. I guess one more dating app couldn’t hurt.”
Debbie grinned and got to work. Her dark brown eyes shone with glee.

This is an excerpt of ‘Dating in the Shadows’ by Rianne Burnett which is available now.

You can find the author over on the Tweet machine here.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse’ by K.R.R. Lockhaven

Introducing author K.R.R. Lockhaven who shares an exclusive excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse.’

The sun couldn’t have possibly cared less that its light was scattered into wondrous brushstrokes of oranges and violets across the heavens. It didn’t give a flaming shit if a deep, fiery crimson along the horizon made chests swell at its splendor. Indifferent to the majesty of its radiant brilliance, which spoke of a vast infinity of possibilities, it continued to carelessly produce heat and light through nuclear fusion. It didn’t give a floating fuck whether or not the glory of its rising made anyone come to believe that magic was real, or that life was, in fact, beautiful and worth living.
Harris Reed, unmindful of the sun’s apathy, was thoroughly impressed by the lovely sunrise as he headed to his first day at his new job.
Harris knew for a fact that magic was real.
He was headed to the Site.
The gravel road he had been instructed to take meandered through a still forest and up a gentle incline. He drove his barely running car with a song in his heart and a whistle on his lips, bursting with excitement at the prospect of finally arriving…

This title is available now in audio, ebook and paperback formats and can be found here. You can find K.R.R Lockhaven on the Tweet Machine.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ by S.S. Frankowska

Introducing author S.S. Frankowska who shares an excerpt of epic fantasy novel ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’.

“INDEABINITO WAS A VERY OLD WORLD. It has existed for millions of years. Over the first centuries, new races were born. After all, the kingdom was inhabited by twelve different races, one being the human race. The other eleven races were characterized by abilities which humans were unable to possess. Still, the position of people in this world was extremely privileged. They have been treated as a race that everyone else should watch out for. A race that others have to look after, with no one allowed to hurt them.
At the head of the kingdom were always human queens and kings. They held meetings in which all races took part. The king and queen were always ready to hear the voices of other races, but ultimately it was up to them to make decisions.
There came a moment in the history of this world when the last ruling couple made a mistake. Worrying about the future of their children, putting their good above the good of the kingdom, they mislaid their trust and irreversibly changed the course of Indeabinito history. With their actions, they introduced into this world something that had never been there before. Magic. A force that allowed humans to measure themselves with the abilities of other races.
Of course, at first no one dared to oppose humans. Everyone knew that their firstborn son embraced to seek the power that did not come from this world, but they remained silent. The second son of the royal couple grew into a wonderful man. Nobody doubted that he would be a worthy successor to his parents. Therefore, after the unexpected death of the king and queen, when their ship sunk because of a storm, all races were glad to welcome the nineteen-year-old king. The second son. Nobody knew what was happening to the eldest son of the royal couple. They were worried about his disappearance, but nobody was eager to find him. The whole kingdom celebrated the coronation.”

This is an excerpt of epic fantasy ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ (Chapter 16: Victor’s Story) by S.S. Frankowska which is available now.

You can find more information from S.S. Frankowska on Twitter and via the Heroes of the Shadow website.