Recommended Reads: Downstream series by Nick Jones

Downstream

The Description

Meet Joseph Bridgeman, a reclusive insomniac with a weakness for ‘The Beatles’ on vinyl and a constant headache. When his annoying accountant suggests hypnotherapy might help him sleep, Joseph accidentally discovers he can time-travel and things get a little complicated.

With the help of Vinny, a local record shop owner, Mark, his old school friend, and Alexia Finch, his hypno-time-travel guru, Joe sets out to change the course of his life. He needs to get back to 1992, the year his world fell apart, the year that Amy, his sister, went missing. The only problem (apart from his clothes disappearing) is that the further back he goes the less time he gets to stay there.
Can Joe master his new-found gift before time catches up with him?

The Review

Joseph Bridgeman has the gift of being able to read the minds of those to whom he’s formed a relationship, but the gift is both a blessing and a curse, causing him to experience their past memories as if they are his own. Troubled by insomnia and with his life a mess, Bridgeman is persuaded to seek help from a hypnotherapist, but rather than cure him of his gift, she somehow opens up a new one, the ability to travel back in time. The question is, can Bridgeman use this gift to help solve the central mystery of his life, to find out what happened to his sister who went missing when he was a child?

The Downstream series is a really enjoyable tale, with plenty of twists and turns I’ve come to expect from Nick Jones. The central concept is an interesting one which gets explored in greater depth as the episodes progress. Jones’s writing style is a pleasure to read and I devoured the first six episodes in just couple of days and couldn’t wait to the end of August for the seventh and final episode of this series.

Time-travel stories are notoriously difficult to get right. The problem comes from the premise itself, how do you add danger and suspense into a story where the protagonist can overcome any problem simply by remembering to time travel at some point in the future to come back to the present with a solution to the issue. Jones manages to overcome this by creating rules and consequences each time our character goes back in time, so even though his control improves as the   consequences, both physically and the impact on reality, become more severe.

This is the first time I’ve read a series as it’s in progress but I found the experience a real pleasure. That said, I’ve seen the whole series is now available in one volume so if paying out per episode is not your idea of fun, you can always buy the lot in one go. If you like thoughtful, fast-paced thrillers with a time-travel twist, this is the series for you. Highly recommended.

 

To get Downstream episode 1 for free from Amazon.co.uk click here

To get Downstream episode 1 for free from from Amazon.com click here

 

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Second Chance is #Free on #Kindle this weekend

Two Covers

I’m delighted to let you know that Second Chance, my near-future thriller is available as a FREE Ebook on Kindle from the 29th – 31st August. You can download it today by clicking on one of the links below.

To get Second Chance FREE from Amazon.com click here

To get Second Chance FREE from Amazon.co.uk click here

To get Second Chance FREE from Amazon.ca click here

To get Second Chance FREE from Amazon.com.au click here

 

And if that isn’t a good enough bargain, you can also buy the sequel, Absent Souls, for just 99p/99c from amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.

To buy Absent Souls for 99c from Amazon.com click here

To buy Absent Souls for 99p from Amazon.co.uk click here

Two great books for just 99p/99c. Happy Friday!

Praise for Second Chance

“Political intrigue, neuroscience, a missing-persons investigation – this well-written novel has it all.” – Carrie Rubin, author of The Seneca Scourge

“a highly entertaining and thought-provoking first novel” – Vaughan Stanger, author of Moondust Memories

“Overall I enjoyed this novel greatly. I recommend it to readers looking for an engaging science-fiction or political thriller.” – Dave Higgins, Davetopia Blog and author of Greenstar Season 1

“This is a slick, well written book with a strong storyline and plenty of narrative tension.” – Sarah J Higby – Brainfluff blog

Praise for Absent Souls

A pacy story with a cast of vividly drawn characters and plenty to keep the reader engaged.” – Julie Lawford, author of Singled Out

Thought-provoking, well-written and very enjoyable.” – Roughseasinthemed blog

“Absent Souls plunges the reader into the action from the first chapter, and the pace doesn’t let up. ” – Katrina Montfort, author of Future Perfect

Toofer one #giveaway: Buy Occasional Soulmates n’ get Yesterday Road for free!

I really enjoyed both of these books and listed them as Recommended Reads, so if you want to great books at an excellent price, why not take advantage of this offer!

WHAT THE HELL

3D cover

Here’s a nifty little deal for the weekend. Tell your amigos and amigas.

Buy a copy of Occasional Soulmates for $3.99 and I’ll shoot you a free copy of Yesterday Road in whatever ebook format you prefer.

Just send a copy of your Amazon receipt to kevinbrennan520(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll reply with your freebie.

I know many regular readers have already bought and read both books, but here’s a chance to deepen the readership pool. Spread the word, or get the pair and give them as gifts to your ebook-reading compadres.

Tweet this post to all your tweetniks so they can take advantage. Two fine novels for under four bucks, but the offer ends Sunday evening.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Summer’s wrapping up in a hurry.

View original post

10 Reasons you stop writing your book and why to ignore them

Writers block copy

There isn’t a writer alive that hasn’t stopped writing, whether as a planned break or simply because they got out of the habit. It’s happened to me in the past and I’m sure it will happen again in the future. When it does, we often come up with excuses as to justify why we’ve stopped writing, but the majority of the time that’s all they are, excuses. The trick is recognising them for the lies they are and dealing with them. Here are the ten most common reasons people stop writing and why you should ignore them.

1 Your writing isn’t very good

You’ve just read back what you’ve been slaving over for the past few weeks/months and are horrified at how poor it is, so much so you’re questioning whether you’re a writer at all. I’ll let you into a little secret, every writer does this. OK, there may be a couple who write perfect prose straight off but we don’t talk to them. The key to being a productive writer is allowing yourself to write badly. We all write lumpen prose and stilted dialogue at times, as well as falling back on clichéd descriptions. This is alright because we know we can fix anything during the edit. So go ahead, stop worrying and get back to your writing.

2 You’re tired

Most of us have other jobs or roles which leave us drained at the end of the day. The most productive writers know this and either change their routine to compensate (by writing first thing in the morning for example) or learn to write tired. Unless you are lucky enough to be a full-time writer you need to find a regular slot you make your own and get into the habit of writing then. It will be hard at first but if you do it on a regular basis you will soon get used to it.

3 You’ve fallen out of love with the story

This can be a tough one. You started out writing your story with a fire and passion for the new but somewhere along the way you’ve fallen out of love with the story, possibly even questioning whether it’s any good. This is a normal reaction. A writer’s emotions vary wildly during the writing process. It’s important to recognise this and work through the down times. When this happens to me I have a number of ways to rekindle the fire. I’ll read back the start of the story to capture some of that initial passion. I’ll also switch to writing a scene I’ve been looking forward to. I’ll also stop writing win the middle of a scene I’ve been enjoying so I can’t wait to get back to it the next day.

4 You’ve written yourself into a hole

This can happen to any writer but especially to those who prefer to free write rather than follow a plan. Finding yourself in a hole can be really deflating because once you’ve written something your brain automatically tells you this is ‘how the story is, how it was and how it will always be.’ This is nonsense. You have full control over your story. You can do anything with it. If you’ve written yourself into a hole, go back to a point where just before it went bad and change it. Throw in something new, something unexpected. Don’t get disheartened, use it as an excuse to play around with things and be creative. You’ll soon find your story moving again.

5 The imposter syndrome

You’ve been writing for a while but you’ve realised you’re not really a writer so you’re giving up. It could be because of a bad review, some feedback you’ve received about your manuscript or just the way your friends smirk when writing is mentioned, but no matter how much encouragement you’ve had from others, there’s this nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you you’re faking it. You aren’t a real writer. Some point soon you’ll get found out for the imposter you are, writers everywhere will point at you and laugh and all the doubters will be proven right.

You aren’t alone.

Nearly all writers suffer from the imposter syndrome, from award-winning novelists to newbies. And it’s a good thing. Rather than let it crush you, harness these doubts about your own ability to fuel the desire to improve, to never settle with where you are but learn and get better.

6 You don’t have the time

When I was younger I thought my day was full. Then I took on evening classes and realised my day hadn’t been full at all, it was just an illusion. I had plenty of time, I just didn’t use it effectively. Then I had children and realised doing evening classes was a breeze in comparison. I’d thought time was tight before but boy was I wrong. Everybody has time to write, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. The question is never if you have time but what are you prepared to give up to free up your writing time.

7 You’ll do it later/tomorrow

You’re going to write, sure you are, but not today. Today you’ll catch up with that boxed-set you’ve been watching, or finish polishing the family silver. Tomorrow will be your writing day. And when tomorrow comes, there’ll be another reason to delay getting back to writing.

You’ll do it tomorrow is one of the most insidious excuses for not writing because you genuinely believe it to be true, yet how often have you said this only to find that two weeks later you’ve still not written a thing. If you can find time to write tomorrow you can find time to write today, it’s a simple as that.

8 It’s a pain

Writing is a real pain, especially when you move from the lovely, free-flowing creative part into the painstaking grind of the edit. If writing was easy, everybody would do it. But you’re not everybody, you’re a writer. You’re don’t do this because it’s easy, you do it because you want to tell your story. The main reason people stop is not because the work is hard but because there is so much to do. They can’t see the finish line, just a seemingly endless pile of work that’s stopped being fun. The thing is, there’s no time limit to writing a book. It takes as long as it takes. Instead of worrying about how much there is to do, simply do. Then look back after a week, a month, and see how much you’ve achieved. You’ll be amazed.

9 The muse isn’t with you

For those of you who have a job other than writing, I dare you to go to your boss/business partner and let them know you won’t be working today because the muse isn’t with you. If you’re lucky, they’ll just laugh in your face. The most productive writers treat writing as a job. They sit down whether they feel creative or not. They learn to grind out words on the bad days and enjoy the rush on the good days. If writing as a hobby by all means sit back and wait but if you want to be a writer you need to treat writing like any other job by turning up and putting in the hours.

10 A fire has destroyed your home and all your belongings

OK, I’ll let you off this time, but you could always borrow a pen and a notepad to record just how you feel and use what you’ve written to fuel your next blockbuster!

So what about you? Do you recognise any of these or are there others I’ve missed? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Do you like intelligent thrillers? If so, join my mailing list and get one of my 5-star rated near-future dystopian thrillers absolutely free. The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here. 

WritersLife Wednesday – Blogging to Build an Author Platform

This is a great counter-argument to my post yesterday. I think my central premise still holds, that there are easier ways to sell books than through blogging, but the post offers a number of good points why you shouldn’t write-off blogging as a sales tool entirely.

Author Amie Gibbons

cropped-img_0884.jpg

I ran across a post today on how blogs aren’t as great for building an author platform as they are made out to be.  It’s here: https://authordylanhearn.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/there-are-easier-ways-to-sell-books-than-through-blogging/

I’m here to offer the counterpoint.  Now, this writer is completely correct in saying you should blog because you want to and not just because you are told you are supposed to.  If you don’t want to do it and you’re forcing it, odds are the readers can tell.

But I think he’s underestimating the power of blogging the right way (or at least the way I got from my friend Peter Grant)  

View original post 506 more words

There are easier ways to sell books than through blogging

Girl Scout Cookies

At the recent Bloggers Bash, one of the questions asked was why people started blogging. Many bloggers came up with the same answer, because they’d been told they needed to have a blog as an author platform in order to sell their books. When asked if blogging had helped, the answer from everybody was ‘not really,’ and while the answer wasn’t a ‘no,’ it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

This isn’t my first blog. I started blogging three years ago with another blog all about my writing journey (because nobody had thought of doing that before, right?). Over time I got bored about writing about writing so decided to start this blog where I could write about about anything, and I often did. However, I always had that piece of advice in the back of my mind, an author needs a platform to help promote and sell their books.

Eventually my blogging came full circle and I now blog about writing, or more accurately life as an indie writer as there are many more qualified bloggers out there that can help you with the nuts and bolts of how to actually write. I’ve met many wonderful bloggers, some of whom are novel writers, and I’m sure I’ve sold a handful of books on the back of them getting to know me through this blog.

During this time I’ve also got to know some writers who are making a real success out of self-publishing. I’m not talking about a Hugh Howey level of success but they are selling enough books to either make a living or heavily supplement their income. One thing links all of these writers.

They rarely blog.

Many have blogs but use them as a means to inform of new book launches or as a landing page for their mailing list. Some are active on other forms of social media but many aren’t. I don’t know whether the advice on the importance of an author platform passed them by, or if they chose to ignore it, but very few of them have an interest in building a social media presence. So how on earth did they become successful?

Blogging takes a lot of time and effort. In the two years this blog has been around (I’m ignoring my other one – as most readers did) I’ve written around two hundred posts. Each post varies between 500 and 1000 words in length. Add it all together and it’s the equivalent of nearly two novels worth of words. Then there is the amount of time I’ve spent creating posts, editing posts, replying to comments, not to mention all the time I’ve spent reading and commenting on the many blogs I follow.

I’ve listed below five things I could have been doing instead to sell more books:

1 Set up a stall in my village high street or a local town and harangue passers-by into buying my books

2 Contact all my local libraries and bookshops in an effort to stock or promote my books

3 Work a part-time job to raise money to pay for advertising through book promotion sites, Facebook and Amazon

4 Give them to the Girl Scouts to sell with their cookies for commission

5 WRITE MORE BOOKS

There’s a reason point five is in capitals. While nothing is guaranteed in the self-publishing world, the more books you have published, the more chance you have of your books gaining visibility. I said there was one thing that links the successful authors together but I lied. There are two. All of these writers have released five or more books over the last two or three years. I’ve released two and have a third on the way, but I could have released more if I hadn’t blogged so much.

When these successful writers aren’t actually writing, they work on their marketing instead, either to develop their mailing lists, creating direct promotions through promotional sites or by contacting book reviewers asking for honest reviews in return for a free book. They treat writing as a job rather than a hobby. They don’t wait for inspiration, they work every day regardless of whether they feel like it to not.

Of course, as I’ve said before, doing all of this doesn’t automatically guarantee success, but it increases the chances.

This isn’t to say there aren’t writers who generate sales through blogging. There are a number who do just this, although the majority I know make more money writing books on writing or self-publishing than through their own fiction. There are, however, other ways to increase sales that are less time consuming and with a higher chance of success.

So why should writers blog?

Because it’s a wonderful opportunity to write something different, to let off steam, to connect with like-minded should, to find comfort and community, to help others much earlier in the process than yourself and be helped by those further down the line. It’s a way of making new friends, for discovering excellent books and for improving your craft. It’s a place to be yourself, to be someone else or to be the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Most of all, you should blog because you want to, not because you feel you should. Blogging is a wonderful medium and I don’t regard my time blogging as being a waste, and nor did any of the bloggers I met at the Bloggers Bash. I just wouldn’t recommend it as a way of selling books.

 

Do you like intelligent thrillers? If so, join my mailing list and get one of my 5-star rated near-future dystopian thrillers absolutely free. The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here.