Weekly Ramble #159

Consistency. No matter the trends or events happening, Consistency will always rule. And the results might not always be instant or even obvious but those who do keep going will find them.

I don’t consider my writing or work to have any level of finesse but I work hard and I keep going to make that writing my very best. It isn’t really up to me to say whether or not it is any good and perhaps that’s the real beauty and thrill of being a creative in the social media arena. Readers decide and interpret things in their own ways.

For all the things my journey has represented this year, enduring is the word I’ll use to describe it. Through the strange but mostly wonderful social media interactions to the huge numbers of reviews, sales, follows and even royalties. Things have endured, I have endured and I am still standing after whatever forces, good or bad were thrown my way.

The future is a concept I look to with excitement and possibility but I also know the time is actually now. Every day is an opportunity to shape our future and make it a good one.

I am one with the journey and the journey is one with me.

‘Love’s Ragged Claws’ by Gary Gautier – Review

A short read with plenty of literary depth…

It has been fifty years since ‘Gabriel’ last confessed and so when he does there comes a story of confession through literary depth. For a short read, Gary Gautier packs in so much to construct a tale of reflection, feeling and memories.

I’ll admit, I’m not sure if I did grasp everything within the layers of this book as there is plenty of metaphoric or even symbolic moments interwoven with stylistic description, sentences and the overall flow. For only fifty or so pages, I’m definitely urged to maybe go back a few times a read it just to capture everything which is just one of the unique values this book has.

Like many great reading experiences, our individual interpretation and the relationship it has with what the author has laid out makes it and here they work very well together. The reader’s imagination is given room to breathe while also being taken along the path by the author .With some heavier themes and emotion mixed with lighter funnier moments, the journey this book took me on was interesting from the get go. The existential and moral dilemma ‘Gabriel’ explores through his relationships gives this shorter read a great amount of depth with some great writing.

‘Moral knowledge is easy. Moral action is hard.’

4 Stars

‘Of Swans and Stars; Finding my own North Star, one poem at a time’ by E.M. McConnell – Review

A uniquely emotive and descriptive collection of poetry…

E.M. McConnell delivers a fantastic array of poetry that touches on so many subjects and across the four parts there is something that will resonate with anyone who takes on these words.

From the subject of being hopeful to even myth and magic which made for a great way to finish the collection, McConnel’s brand of poetry is strong, brave and consistent throughout. In particular ‘O, My Muse’ spoke to me along with ‘Music’ where the description really shines from the very start.

‘The beat skips and slithers down the cord Dodging errant quavers with amusing grace…’

This collection took me on a unique journey of language, rhyme and magic encapsulated by a British charm. There’s modern references and a power in these words along with the occasional mention of dragons all framed by an excellent looking cover and brilliant formatting.

For anyone looking to take on immersive poetry, I’d highly recommend this one!

5 Stars

Blurb Reveal: Darke Apocalypse

A purge is coming to Darke Heath and the assembled Order of the Following heroes must fight to survive their final chapter. 

After the awakening of a force unparalleled to anything seen before they will face their biggest and deadliest challenge yet. Forces that were once opposed must align whilst the origins of the Order and legendary founder Hudson’s story is revealed along with the revelations, twists and turns that follow the epic conclusion to the series. 

The darkness stretches way beyond anyone could ever comprehend and not everyone will survive as Blake Malone stands at the forefront of what lies beyond the true darkness. 

Darke Apocalypse arrives this month!

Social Media & Book Marketing (Emag 17th Ed)

Hello kind blog followers. I’d like to share with you a very recent appearance I made in an interview via the awesome Scribble’s Worth Book Reviews blog…

For those interested in creative ways to market yourself on social media this is the one for you!

Scribble's Worth Book Reviews

Get your Free E-mag copy now

Book marketing is one of the, if not THE biggest challenge authors of indie books face in their daily lives, and social media is still a great tool to make cheap book marketing, yet many don’t know how to use it. SO! We invited some of the authors we noticed that are using social media to their advantage in creative ways, such as Lee Hall, Tyler Wittkofsky from Tea with Coffee Media, Ashleigh Bonner and the incredible Ryan Cipriani !

Do get your Free E-mag copy now

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Weekly Ramble #154

September is always a marquee month on my author calendar. Its normally the time I realise the year is kind of slipping away whilst also being the anniversary of being published.

Open Evening turns 6 this year and the day before that milestone it will hopefully be elevated to a BookBub size audience as it will be featured by them on that exact day. It can be funny and strange how things work out because there I was looking to launch Book 8 this month quietly with a view to promote later and the advertising deal of my career literally lands in my lap.

Darke Apocalypse has the potential now to be my most successful launch ever as it will be most likely riding the coattails of Open Evening’s Featured Deal just days after. Its part fate, part right time part probably luck but I have always somehow managed to position myself for the right amount of shine.

For all the wonderful things this journey has brought me, the best is probably yet to come.

An Experiment in Flash Fiction – An Excerpt

An Experiment in Flash Fiction by Megan Hinde – an excerpt…

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I chose a few pieces of flash fiction from a random number generator. I organize my flash fiction by number of words per piece. So I took 24 to 545 and generated five random numbers. The following are the corresponding word count (as close as I can get) of each piece of flash fiction. Enjoy and check out the ebook or paperback of An Experiment in Flash Fiction available on Amazon. – Megan

An Experiment in Flash Fiction is for me, all my musing printed in one place. Inspired by Agatha Christie ‘And Then Their Were None’ and Clue, my original take on ‘Mr. Plum, in the Conservatory, with a lead pipe.’ Sometimes twisted, sometimes heartfelt, always a good time regardless of length.

First number drawn 196 closest piece in word count:

Old Relic -198

Old Relic

Out on the northwest side of town, among the rubble from fallen buildings…

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Learn how to enjoy having your work critiqued by Sherry denBoer

via Sherry denBoer Author

Learn how to enjoy having your creative work critiqued might sound like an impossible assignment, but, in my experience, releasing the dislike or fear is about mindset.

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, the value of creating relationships with critique partners, I remember the jitters that came when first handing off a manuscript for critique.

Like most things precious to us, we don’t want to have our work dissected, altered, and criticized. We want it to remain whole, unchanged, and pleasing just as it is. And sometimes, we believe that our creation reflects us; so, critique it, and you critique us. We don’t enjoy hearing about the parts of our creation, and thus about us, the creator, that might need improvement.

But why are we so fragile about this? I can only speak for myself. Maybe you can relate.

When I first received a critique of the first draft of my manuscript, the many red markings in the margin (or wherever they fit) rose from the page like warning signals of personal failure. Even when I told myself I’d be okay with whatever came back to me, those pages of red markings were difficult to digest… at first. The next day, after I’d slept on the comments, interestingly, I felt differently about them. One or two of the comments immediately stood out; their improvement to my work was undeniable. If one or two comments made that much of a positive difference, what might all the rest do?

And just like that, I transformed from a wounded ego to an eager creator once more-more excited about my project than ever.

Instead of fearing failure or personal judgment, I experienced renewed excitement about my manuscript, and deep gratitude for the person who’d taken the time to read it, and the care to comment so generously.

My mindset had changed. The critique experience became thoroughly positive; it became a lesson in which I quickly found great value. I was now excited to contemplate and evaluate each thought or suggestion given to me. I moved through each comment with care and consideration. For each critique provided, one of the following occurred:

  • I accepted a critique suggestion outright;
  • I used the clear misunderstanding of a critique remark to change a manuscript description, plot element, character intention, word choice, or another such manuscript-related component. Each change brought a noticeable improvement;
  • Each change brought a noticeable improvement. I reworked a critique to better suit the intention of my manuscript;
  • I altogether discarded a critique.

Sometimes, well… I’d say, most of the time, we’re too close to our work to see objectively where it needs improvement.

Here are a few examples of errors or omissions we can too easily miss:

  • Words that don’t convey the meaning we intend;
  • Improper use of pronouns;
  • Improper use of tense;
  • Repetition of phrases or words or overused expressions;
  • Use of clichés;
  • Misspelled words;
  • Holes or gaps; the missing bridges that connect the plot or scene structure;
  • Creation of a character who lacks depth or isn’t relatable to the reader;
  • Inconsistencies in the timeline or other details.

In time, handing a manuscript or some other heartfelt creation over to a peer for critique becomes easier. We,

  • Move past worrying about being judged and get back to the business of producing the best creation we can;
  • We see the remarkable value in each critique—even the critiques that at first seem too heavy-handed or harsh;
  • Each remark becomes a path to improvement of creation and craft.

To enjoy having your creative work critiqued might sound like an impossible assignment, but, in my experience, releasing the dislike or fear is about mindset.

This is a guest post by Sherry denBoer and you can read the original version here.

You can also find Sherry on Twitter.

If you would like to publish a guest post on here then please do reach out.

Guest Book Review: ‘Cascade: The Sleep of Reason’ by Rachel A. Rosen

Review by Rohan O’Duill

A generation has passed since climate change brought about the Cascade that transformed the world, smashing the tectonic plates of the political landscape and infesting the wilderness with demons and shriekgrass.

“Jonah knew that holding power always meant drowning, that every second in office meant fighting for oxygen, with one’s enemies baying like hunting dogs on the shore. Ian, with the treacherous sea in his fisherman’s blood, must have been used to drowning.”

The character complexity in Rachel A. Rosen’s debut novel Cascade is fascinating. Ian moved from a working-class fisherman’s family into being a campaigner and protestor. When he developed magical powers and the ability to see into the future, he aligned himself with the new hope in politics. But it turns out that predicting the future doesn’t mean anything in a political system that is just not fit for purpose to deal with the climate crisis. It’s a chilling observation of the struggles in today’s corridors of power. But despite the weightiness of the messaging in this climate-disaster fantasy, there is a whole lot of laugh-out-loud moments and action that keep this 400 page novel careening along.

“You go lookin’ for terrorists, you see every daft kid dreamin’ of his 72 virgins and every chinless loner prick with a case of blueballs that he blames on his ex-girlfriend.”

Ian Mallory is Malcolm Tucker with heart, and the abuse that he dishes out to confuse and divert attention from his actions is priceless. His apprentice, Sujay, is not far behind with the cutting observations, although these start out mostly in her own head before circumstances force her into the open.

What starts out as a political thriller with magic, quickly evolves into a quick-witted action-filled fantasy that explores climate change, activism, corruption, racial profiling, brutality and the chaos inflicted on the world through popular politics. This is all held together superbly through Rachel’s beautiful writing style and storytelling ability.

This is a guest book review by Rohan O’Duill who you can find on Twitter.

Weekly Ramble #149

The social media grind can be just that, a grind. Any type of momentum and sales conversion pretty much disappears the minute you stop. Whilst it was great to recharge and take a step back in the past few weeks, my sales and Twitter engagement has suffered. Getting it back to pre-break numbers has proven to be quite a challenge and has also reminded me how hard it can be no matter the follow count.

Those who know me will know I do not give up and I will do anything within reason to succeed on this path, that’s what has gotten me here and that is why I will always improve from where I stand because I just don’t give in.

Good, bad, indifferent – they are the variables but the constant is me and my resilience.

Passing on my knowledge is starting to bring in results and just yesterday a Patron from my Twitter coaching celebrated a big win driven by something they learned from my resources. My next step is to find more who can vouch for these resources because just advertising them on Twitter is killing my numbers. The algorithms can be difficult sometimes.

Those who do want to get better at social media can check out my resources section.