Weekly Ramble #62

Sometimes it’s okay for authors to read more than they write.

That’s my deal right now and it’s kind of addictive and easier than creating. To sit back and immerse yourself into something where another has done the work is not only nice and easy but one of the top reasons I chose this path to begin with. Behind every tenured writer is an equally tenured reader; if you aren’t then you’re not doing this write – puns are the lowest form of humour hence why I exist… You must put in the equal amount of time for both reading and writing if you strive to get better at it. I remember fondly staying up after bedtime reading Roald Dahl and then later on Crichton with the greatest memories of being immersed. The only thing that has changed is that I’ve only read indie books in the past year and half with the quality mostly being equivalent. 

Not only does reading apparently make you smarter, it’s also been linked to reducing the chances of dementia plus its escapism in its finest form. The greatest gift authors give is their words and so readers get to reciprocate by leaving a review; the better ones do anyway but it’s also okay to read something and not publish your thoughts – try and explain that one to indie authors…

February has dragged and most of us know its January in disguise, especially with the whole leap year thing. Soon I shall delve back into editing of Darke Awakening and of course my book promotion efforts are soon going to be set to full force!

Watch this space. Until then tell me what are you reading? 

Weekly Ramble #57

Seeing your own writing come to life and put onto a stage in front of an audience is something I am still getting used to. It’s an incredible and rewarding feeling. As writers, bloggers and creators many of us don’t ever get instant applaud for our work. Books can take years to ever gain any type of gratification so most of you can imagine when an audience member approaches me and say’s that I did a good job, it’s probably the pinnacle of being a story teller. And I wont lie, even after the past weekend which now seems a lifetime away; I’m still rather high from it all and perhaps I should be. 

The truth is I am damn proud of the stories I have created but the plays, they are truly special because they are made by the performances and the production. My writing is a mere first step, or even a suggestion of an idea; the rest is in the hands of everyone else. Those performers and everyone else involved should be proud, not only because they have brought a fantastic show into this world but because there aren’t many good  moments in this life to be proud of. Life can be bitter sometimes and it can bite you hard and bring you down. You must find things to be proud of to cast light over the shadows of hardship and that’s up to you. Taking pride in one’s work is probably more important than any other type of praise or reviews; the fact that you did it and it made a difference; a positive difference in your life is all that matters when it comes to story telling.

Be proud, all of you!

Weekly Ramble #54

I need an agent. That is my conclusion if I want to achieve what I want to achieve. With every book my following goes from strength to strength and without disparaging any of my supporters, it’s not enough. My reach or lack of it belittles what I have achieved in writing. Without sounding high and mighty, my efforts as a story teller are falling on deaf ears. 

As a person who started this at absolute zero I cannot help but look back and be damn proud of where I am. But if this dream of mine was a house I built from the foundations, I’m still siting in the footings of the basement. For the stories I have written and the efforts I have put in, the return if I were to look at this as a business person is lacklustre. The board of directors would have shut me down after book 2’s release.

It’s conflicting because ‘business’ is not what this journey is about. I’ve written 5 books. Every single one them became a huge learning experience in both publishing and the written word. Some incredible folks have helped me get them out there; editors, cover artists and the like. Reviewers have kept my belief alive. For all these efforts in vain I am a story teller and I know what a story is. You can only learn to write stories by finding it within yourself. Anyone can be taught grammar, punctuation, spelling and all of the functions of language, but to be able to pen a story from beginning, middle to end with everything in between, that is what I learned while putting together 5 books.

And now after everything I set out to do, even in creating this blog, I am back where I started – looking for a literary agent. But this time I am armed with experience and the know how of story telling. The times have changed and everything I thought I knew about getting an agent, the last time I queried circa 2013, has changed. Apparently science fiction isn’t looked down on anymore. It just so happens to be the genre I am going to use to find an agent. But I need a book and I’ve got one. This year I drafted ‘Jack Thorn’ a story, the story that got me into writing. It’s funny how things go full circle. And as I said, I need an agent…

Have you queried to agents recently? Any good responses? Let me know via the comments, this is our journey, not just mine… 

5th Book Announcement & Blurb Reveal!!

I can officially announce with great pride that my 5th book is going to be published this December!

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is a paranormal romance due for release in just over a few weeks time.

This might be my most creative and unusual project yet and I’ll tell you why. Last year I drafted this book entirely by hand, away from computers, word counts, the ‘synonyms’ button and any type of release date pressures. It was just me, a pen and some paper and an idea, it always starts with an idea!

‘Ghost’ is shorter than anything I’ve ever written, I’m talking less than 15,000 words but that doesn’t take anything away from the power and punch this story packs. Of course like all of my writing genre is just a small part of the story and it is about way much more than ghosts and love.

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It’s been one hell of a journey this year and to celebrate the fact that this blog has done so great (with the help of ya’ll) I’ve decided what better way to thank everyone than release a new book. By the end of this year I would have read and reviewed 40 indie published books and that alone has inspired me to keep writing. Other writers writing has inspired this whole deal. Meeting and interacting with fellow creators and bloggers has brought a whole new meaning to this journey.

You shall see the cover reveal very soon but for now here’s the official blurb. I hope you like it and thank you to everyone for your support and inspiration to push me to book number 5!

 

 

“Even in the deepest darkest of voids one can find something truly worth having in life, or death…”

 

The paranormal is a subject that E. Neville holds with the utmost content. Being an introvert by choice, he leads a lonely existence full of torment and anxiety for his affliction of preferred solitude. In this diary account Neville shares much of his woes and while settling into a new living space he begins to encounter a series of night-time disturbances like no other. Soon after he faces a battle of self-doubt and belief that something could be reaching out. Is this all a dream? Or is a soul of the ‘departed’ persuasion trying to make contact for a reason? Eventually they make an acquaintance which becomes much more as the barrier of life and death is broken by the power of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #47

Blog Post 301. Not a bad milestone to reach. I originally put this blog together to display my writing prowess and the ironic thing is my 300th post wasn’t really about my writing as such, it was about sharing my book promotional efforts to help other authors. 

Things only really start to move when a writer decides they are no longer an island. I mean I could go on and on about my books but between me and you and it isn’t the most riveting of subjects. It’s self centered to constantly talk about one’s stuff and the only real way we learn in life is by reaching out and listening to the trials or errors of others. My writing does the talking for me and how the reader interprets what I have to say is down to them.

My default philosophy when I have any writing ‘success’ is not to celebrate and wave it like a flag but to think how I am going to share with others how it happened. There is a historic reason why people help each other and it’s not for the recognition or for the spotlight; people help each other because it makes the individual feel good for doing so; I guess this only applies to the honest amongst us.

And when someone is honest they are representing the truth and the truth is something real and when something real it is something you can feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #44

It’s taken every ounce of my writing strength to reach this moment. Those words, those two words only the real writers will ever know and feel. It’s removal but with satisfaction. It’s acceptance but regret knowing it probably isn’t the best you could do, but nonetheless the track is laid, the motions are in place and the draft is done. Everything else after is yet to come and this is truly the beginning.

The real hard part is done. Getting it out of the thought process and onto pages and into words. Although some elements remain incomplete I am without the strength to carry on. I’ve used it all up creating something only now I was totally ready for. I’ve been on this journey since I was twelve years old, I realized this dream at fifteen and at thirty I finished drafting it. My whole life, my whole purpose as a story teller is to tell one story, everything else is for that, to prepare myself as a writer, to learn my craft, to find my voice, all of it is for that story I first devised over half my life ago.

Dreams have that power, they drive our existence and go deeper than anyone could possibly imagine. They grow as you do, they fight with you and they fight for you. Dreams can be bold, they can be crazy, they can be absurd but they are ours, and nothing will ever take them from us. The characters in my head have carried my dreams with me for as long as I remember and soon, on the horizon compared to the road before me, they will appear for everyone else. I urge you all to dream on, you never know where it will take you…

Jack Thorn and the maverick prophecy is a story that will change science fiction. And I’ll prove a bunch of people wrong along the way… feel that fire inside me yet, its wholly and entirely mine, but you’re invited to help it burn too…

Weekly Ramble #43

And so the final words of Jack Thorn appear on the horizon. What stands before me is still a mountain of a task but behind me is 100,000 plus words drafted of a story that I originally created fifteen years ago; the first attempt came out with 40,000 words, I guess that’s the true reflection of how much I’ve grown over the years much like this book which will change science fiction – I suppose one can dream… 

This book and it’s contents I carry with me, everywhere I go, I have done since I was a teen so why did I decide to write this now?

Jack Thorn is and always will be home to me, it’s my dream book, the one I have always wanted to read. This year has been hard, I knew that from the onset, and so because I moved into my own place I needed something to make me feel at home, and I’ve decided now to that this attempt is justifiable by the fact I’ve learned how to write and tell stories by simply doing that.

I care so much about this story that I was willing to put it to one side and delve into other worlds so I can hone this craft I now have before me. I wanted to be my very best for this tale and it’s been a long journey and even now I have battled to carve a path I mostly already knew, it just needed to be updated, polished and adapted to today’s standards.

The full title I have now chosen and will reveal in time. Hopefully by the end of the month ‘Jack Thorn’ would have been drafted. I said next year’s plan I would be querying, but I will probably be editing for a long while.

The ultimate question you probably have is what’s the premise of Jack Thorn? Like all of my stuff it appears as one thing but is actually a stack of different things – right?

Jack Thorn is a science fiction epic about robots in the future. But it’s really about; friendship, family, war, prophecy and above all humanity. From what started as quite simple story has spider webbed into a epic mess of a story and journey of darkness, action, fun, emotion and destiny.

After all these years this dream stands strong, every single word of it…

300 Followers Special

There aren’t a lot of folks out there who realise their dream at the age of twelve and then stick to it. Life happens, we grow up, we move away, we get jobs, we build a family, some have their hearts broken, some lose fortunes and others become a success. Throughout my life all of those things have happened to me in some capacity but no matter what has happened I have never ever let go of that dream I had. And like anything worthwhile having in this world it takes work and it takes time.

I’ve never considered myself an academic or clever in any capacity, the daunting task of writing a book is something I taught myself, something I found within because that desire I had, that dream, never ever died. And yeah, it started out awful, maybe a sentence in one hundred actually sounded good, but the story, the story has always been in my heart. I’ve known for a long time I wanted to be a writer, a story teller or whatever you call it. My calling was realised way back when I was reading and found myself immersed in a world to the point where I forgot my own. I was floating in another world and that desire to immerse others like I have been is where all of this stands.

Eventually that solitary good sentence was paired with another, and then another and before I knew it, I had a book’s worth of stuff. After all this is just words or good ideas in an orderly fashion. Long gone are the days when I would come home from work and then my actual work would begin nightly. Four hours a night for four years I toiled and typed, figuring out how the hell I’m gonna get these stories inside me onto a page. But I did it, by hard work and dedication alone.

There is no real science to hard work, you show up, you roll up those sleeves and you get to it. Results don’t happen at the start and they should never be expected on this solitary journey, results are a side effect of that work and those words you put down.

I started this blog to put my words somewhere for others to enjoy. Whether or not they enjoyed them is their choice. What effect our art has on people can be wonderfully unexpected. If you work at it and try to improve eventually you will and eventually something awesome will happen; you’ll gain a following, some people who you may never see in the flesh but they are there because they can feel something in your words, in your art. Some of them will even be immersed. Eventually people will listen to what you have to say but you’ve got to be persistent. 

My number one lesson in blogging is simple: Create content that people want. Have something that people want. And be persistent. 

To have 300 people follow this blog has been an enduring journey of figuring stuff out. I already knew how to write but to find a way to write that reaches and speaks to people, that is the true art of blogging and I am only just realising that. I know this is pretty deep for a blog post but these words are truth, they are real. And when something is real, people listen.

Thank you to everyone who follows this blog. To those who like my stuff without fail and who are always there for me. To those just starting this journey with me and to everyone else. 

 

 

The question of how…

We’re better than any star rating. Our stuff is better than any star rating, good or bad. There isn’t a review out there that really reflects the journey a writer has taken to lay down those words. So many that judge simply do not know and most will never know. A book is more than a collection of words. It’s a journey created by an anthology of feelings that person has gone through in life and in mind.

There is no formal teaching for telling a story. One finds that within and their ability is tracked through the works they give to the world. Those words in that time are a moment but the creator is already several moments into the future.

What you discover in the present could be another writers past. They may have already used those words to better themselves and to grow or to learn. Not many will ever understand that; but as I said they just don’t know. And maybe that is the real difference of creator and reader; one has the real appreciation for the process, the journey, the feeling and the want; the desire to get better and move forward constantly.

Our work will be perceived as good today but we want it to get better tomorrow making our work yesterday open for criticism but maybe just important to the person who created it.

Most artists will never face the question of why but more the question of how. Perhaps that’s something which is overlooked when judging work… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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