Real Neat Blog Award Nomination!

The Hall of information blog has been nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Jaycee Lynch of the Thinking Moon Blog!

real neat

In what appears to be my most important year for writing and blogging things just get better and better. It’s an honour that a blogger as renowned as Jaycee would think of an operation like this and so a huge thank you to an awesome fellow blogger and important member of the writing community.

thinking moon

Seeing as one of the only things I am good at is manners I shall take this opportunity to tell y’all a bit more about the blogger who nominated the Hall of information. The Thinking Moon Blog is a plethora of adventure into the written word. From sustainability, to interviews, music and various immersive writings, it’s the pinnacle of what a successful blog should be. Plus we’re both huge fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so it’s safe to say we’re cultured individuals with aligned tastes. Jaycee has been a huge supporter of my work and is one of the helpful few who have allowed me to reach the many.

So what does the Real Neat Blog Award nomination mean? Well there’s some rules which are:

  • Display the Award Logo. 
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  • Answer the questions from the blog who nominated you.
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers.
  • Ask them seven questions.

Ah right, I think I got this… so here are the questions provided by Thinking Moon that I shall try my best to answer in a fun, witty but clever way…

1. If you won a Grammy for any genre of music, what would it be? 

It would most probably be for a musical album, no joke. If I were ever to enter the music industry it would have something to do with my writing getting me there. I’ve always played around with the thought of converting one of my sci-fi stories into a full on musical. Just imagine being in the cinema watching some epic inner city battle between robots and humans; then they break into song!

2. Who is your favourite villain(s) from any universe?

There is a stack of awesome bad guys out there but so many of them are missing that final piece of a nearly complete puzzle – beliveable motive. In the comic book universes especially; a big bad will normally show already being bad and it just feels one dimensional.

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I don’t have a specific bad guy that I am fond of but my favourite in terms of journey, motive and all around reasons for being bad is Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent from the Dark Knight. Here we see a man who is good and wholesome, but the world his character interacts with has turned him into the villain he becomes in the latter stages of the film. He is a creation of the environment around him and actually sees sense in aligning himself with the anarchy of the Joker. This also moves us to a pretty awesome segway into question 3…

3. What was your all-time favourite Halloween costume or cosplay you’ve done? Pictures please! 

I was literally asked the other day by someone; do you remember Heath Ledger’s Joker from the Dark Knight?

joker yeah

Way back when, before the aging process set in, I looked a lot like Heath Ledger (apparently… I didn’t just go around saying this to everyone) but you got to admit; that picture above, I can confirm is me at the London New Years Day parade, does look a bit like Heath’s joker.

nor con

4. What’s the weirdest trend you’ve ever partaken in? 

In the age of the internets there have been a huge amount of flavour of the week fads or trends and in all honesty I don’t usually get myself caught up in such things, I live under a rock most of the time, but even I couldn’t resist the urge to play…

flappy bird

Now considering I am a bit of technophobe/ can’t be bothered to keep up type of person, this game had me hooked!

5. What Movie/ Play/ Game soundtrack is your favourite?

If I want to be consistent with question 1 then I’m going with a musical soundtrack. The Greatest Showman is possibly one of the best modern musicals for a very long time. Nearly every song is catchy and meaningful, plus for Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron reasons.

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An honorable mention must also go to my top Nightshift listen ‘Once more, with feeling’ the album taken from Buffy’s famous groundbreaking musical episode!

once more

6. What was the best thing, before sliced bread?

Although sliced wholemeal does appear frequently in my diet I will have to say the best thing before they decided to sell sliced bread would have to be books! I wasn’t around when they first decided to slice bread but I know for a fact they were slicing pulp into pages way before! Although I am kind of obligated to say books (being an author and all) I have to show my support for the literary industry as a whole…

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7. What is your favourite inspirational quote? 

I actually have two which come to mind. Both from films that have influenced me:

robin quote

Of course I couldn’t just leave a Robin Williams quote without saying how much his work influenced and filled my childhood with awesome memories. Even into to adulthood I learned to appreciate his comedy, energy and presence. Robin Williams was truly a wonderful performer who left us too soon.

doc

Back to the Future is my all time favourite film and the series isn’t far behind. No matter how many times you go back or forward in time to change things and no matter how much time you think you don’t have; you future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one!

Nomination time

Fellow bloggers I would like to nominate and acknowldge for the Real Neat Blogger Award are: 

  1. Debjani – Debjani’s Thoughts
  2. Blair – Feed the Crime
  3. Bookshelf Q Battler – Bookshelf Battle
  4. Irene – Irene Pylypec.com
  5. Christina Engela – The Crow Bar
  6. Sifar – sunilmdabral
  7. Michaeljordahl

Questions for the nominees

  1. From all the books you have read, name one you would have loved to have written and why?
  2. What was the subject of your very first blog post?
  3. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you had any paranormal experiences?
  4. Do you have a go to music album or vocal artist you have always listened to?
  5. In a few sentences how would you define blogging?
  6. Have you ever had a hero you’ve looked up to?
  7. Are you a believer in luck? Tell me about your luckiest moment in life?

 

Thanks for reading and of course thank you to Thinking Moon for thinking of me with the nomination. Rock and roll man!

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The Four Before Me by E. H. Night – Review

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

the 4

Upon picking up this book I was instantly immersed into the words and descriptive style E.H Night brings to what is a chilling and mystery shrouded story. By the 8th chapter I’ll admit I couldn’t put it down. 

The Four Before Me leans a little towards cliche but it works in an original way that keeps readers guessing throughout. It’s the late 80’s and Alice our main character; moves to small town ‘Wintersburg’ in search of a new start from the big city and to perhaps be closer to her now deceased Grandmother’s roots. Soon after her arrival she learns that four women are currently missing and that’s when the chilling coincidences begin. I say coincidence but that’s only if you believe in such things and for Alice this starts to play on her mind which in turn becomes psychological – the true strength of this story. She cannot help but think of the many similarities she and the missing women have, in particular ‘Sarah’ who was in fact the previous tenant in Alice’s new place.

As the story unfolds we meet a cast of three dimensional characters all of which serve purpose and depth to the story such as likable law enforcement officer ‘Blake Darrow’ and neighbor ‘Tiffany’ which Alice befriends. Of course there are the less savory characters such as ‘Benji’ or the town renowned ‘Wonderbread Will’. Can they be trusted when so many people are missing in this small town?

There were some instances that my mind was blown by the amount of twists and turns this story had. With elements of crime, mystery, suspense and even some chilling horror you could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new. Whether it’s the sights or smells, emotions or feelings, this book captures everything including a little nostalgia.

5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #39

Blogging seems to be an art form that is rewarded by effort. Much like writing or creating any type of art, it revolves around content. Even in the very early days of starting out, it may feel like you have a solitary audience of that one person looking back at you in the mirror but all of us start somewhere.

Creating content is something anyone can do, but content that readers find compelling may be the biggest challenge and best talent successful artists have; some of the greatest won’t even create something for a market. Some won’t even be appreciated in their lifetime, those lucky enough to may not even appreciate how much their work has an effect.

This year has been a journey for me, in creating. My sole aim is to use my already created content to put myself on the ‘map’, what map that is; ‘Middle Earth’, ‘Westeros’ or even ‘Narnia’, nope,  just a map where people are able to discover and know that my content exists. I’ve tried to fuse that already existing content with further content creation, this blog specifically, and it seems the more I am putting in the more I am getting out.

Knowledge has been a powerful tool in using this blog, I know what its like to be an indie trying to get reviews, so therefore every book I have reviewed this year has been indie. I’m supporting those like me because we are in the same boat and good stories won’t ever disappear. The following I am building in return is just a side effect of that work. Much like art, it’s true power lies outside the boundaries of its own intentions.

Has your work achieved things you would never dream of? 

 

The Good Audit by C.P Aiden – Review

Enjoyable, clever and original

good audit.JPG

C.P Aiden has put together a story that on the surface appears to be about the trials of auditing and finance but in fact it’s about everything else that comes with the territory. This book is so well written and concise you could argue it’s use as a teaching aid for the profession and I mean that in the highest regard even though I am layman to all things finance I found myself able to follow and enjoy everything that was happening.

It reads and flows like a series of case studies that follow a team as they journey in putting together a financial audit for a company (Widget Maker) with some fun and sometimes absurd moments. The characters are stripped down to their job titles as names; an original concept that pays off and even makes it easier to follow. – of course this choice may be to protect anyone they are based upon giving the book a sense of possible reality.

The ‘everything else’ concept of this story is probably what makes it such an enjoyable read from discussing lunch drinks policies to office sleeping arrangements or being given the gift of finishing early at 7:30pm with a $25 dinner allowance for two . This is without mentioning ‘the fortuitous leak in the audit cave’ after someone eats day old sushi or even finding out how much others earn. All of these goings on convey the pressure and treatment the employees face when putting together an audit.

The Good Audit is a unique account (no pun intended) written in an original accessible way that I guarantee any reader will enjoy.

5 Stars – it really is as good as C.P Aiden says on twitter! 

 

Stranger Things 3 Review

The Duffer Brothers have gradually pieced together a universe that fuses gripping story telling with references from their many childhood influences. Now after three seasons Stranger Things relies less upon the retro callbacks of days gone by and more on its own identity even if they do still tribute pop culture of the 1980’s; the greatest thing that has become of this show is the characters.

Before we start its worth a quick mention that this post contains some spoilers for Stanger Things Season 3….

Character development that falls in favor of the viewer is the real wonder of television. Writers and show runners who listen to their audience give them exactly what they want along with a couple of surprises – exactly what the Stranger Things team have done with season 3 and continuing on with the previous season. There are some formidable groupings of the faces we want to see; Dustin and Steve Harrington continue their friendship and carry a chemistry that is great to watch even if it is berated by new face Robin who finds an original way to slot into the cast. I must also mention Erica for her sometimes sassy but always entertaining swagger.

Of course the original group of kids are center piece and it soon becomes apparent that growing up is probably the main theme of this whole thing and it always has been. They are teenagers now and trying to find your way in this world – now that you are aware of it is daunting and so are relationships. Will, the brunt of two seasons feels held back in moments, he hasn’t been able to have a ‘normal’ childhood and is still catching up; full credit for the writers in giving Will a better purpose than being the missing or possessed kid this time around, perhaps his journey is the most emotional.

Law man Jim Hopper is back and we see him experience first hand the perils of parenthood to a mid teen in Eleven, he attempts to ‘talk’ with his adopted daughter but defaults to his thug ways especially as it’s peace time now. And I say thug because Hopper is but in a totally bad ass way. He teams with Joyce Buyers and together they find a common goal in protecting the kids while having some excellent back and forth dialogue capped off by the returning conspiracy man Murray; who is responsible for creating Jonathan and Nancy – a couple that become an important moving part in the whole duration of this season.

There is something lurking underneath the surface of Hawkins and it makes for an original and perhaps absurd direction for the story, but after all the show is called Stranger Things. The influences come out thick and fast from the Terminator and even the Thing; both of which are done exceptionally. I was happy to see a tribute to 1985’s blockbuster ‘Back to the Future’ which I am sure many were expecting. The music was bang on point as usual along with the synth soundtrack viewers have become used to.

The horror concept of everyone being ‘in’ on it works incredibly well – I should know, one of my books carries the same cliche… Billy becomes a great bad guy; he kind of was anyway and they build upon that while fusing it to the mind flayer,  his story then becomes beautifully explored by Eleven.

Creature feature moves to the central theme later on while we see the Star Court Mall attacked and pretty much destroyed in true 80’s style with the shops, the food places and everything else that makes the awesome production design take everyone back. All of the characters are reunited briefly to fight the threat that is consuming Hawkins; a moment which makes for great watching.

In fact the season is a series of moments; some are fun and laugh out loud, others more emotional and raw; Robin confides in Steve about her sexuality; a step in the right direction for LBGT awareness to a main stream audience- something more shows need to be brave about. Carey Elwes joins the cast as Mayor Kline – although brief, very effective in execution to the main plot.

I found myself quite moved by the ending of Season 3 and came to the realization that this story really is about growing up. People move on and move away; life goes on and friends drift; all of this is the reality of the real world. The performances by everyone throughout might arguably make Stranger Things the best thing out there on television right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I write…

Many of us create to beat the blues,

So don’t blame me for the 2 star reviews.

Something I made way back when,

Words I’ve moved on from since then.

Although it may still be a piece of me,

Publishing it set those words free.

A thousand days of thinking it through,

Just to create something for you.

My stuff may never be your cup of tea,

But it’s not for you, it’s for me…

Bookbub Featured Deal Promo Results

Yes fellow scientists, the results are in! Even though most of us aren’t actually scientists we shall adopt their method of recording the findings of all experiments and these include book promotion efforts. 

As most of you know The Teleporter was selected by book bub to be featured for 1 day and advertised at a discounted price in Canada, UK, India and Australia. Here are the results of that deal.

The figures: 

The Bookbub featured deal cost: $86  

Here are the results: 

teleporter sales

On the day of the promo The Telporter was downloaded 62 times, I also picked up sales for every one of my other books making July 1st 2019 my best ever day in book sales

I even managed to shift 2 paperbacks! 

Outlook for the future: 

Even though the figures were high they weren’t enough to tip the profit scale, but that’s okay, I an indie author, profit is a rare thing and I’m in the business of getting my stuff out there, money will come later…. And it’s still early because here are the KENP reading figures

kenp

This graphic shows people reading the Teleporter for 7 days straight, another groundbreaking record! 

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Over in the Canadian charts The Teleporter peaked at Number 2 only being bested by the audio book of Good Omens! If there were a few more sales at that time it probably would have reached numero uno but I’m taking second to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett!  

Final thought:

Was it worth it?

A resounding yes. Next time and I hope there will be a next time I am going to ‘stack’ my promotional efforts by using other book promo sites at the same time. You can check out a list of those here in my nifty book promotion 2019 guide

Either way The Teleporter which 2019 is becoming the year of, got out there in all 4 of the countries it was advertised. Of course these are the results only a week after the promotion, so the long term results are yet to be apparent. I’m hoping to see a few more reviews and hopefully some more sales.

Tip of the cap to everyone who grabbed a copy of the booziest hero out there!

 

 

Weekly Ramble #38

I’m setting my sights on another no drinking booze record. Last time I got to 37 days and now I’m eyeing 50 days which will bring me in line for my 30th birthday.

For context I am now the lightest I’ve been this year and probably the healthiest; these two achievements alone isn’t why I’ve chosen to abstain from booze; I hate the fact I sometimes act like the way I do after a drink and of course the hangover but I probably won’t ever give it up completely, I am a writer after all. Zero percent beer has been a life saver and although it’s a kind of a weird feeling to taste something that is associated with ‘easin’ the pain’ it does do enough the replace the thirst, for the time being anyway.

In the past three months I have also changed my eating lifestyle; I haven’t eaten a ready meal in 3 months! Everything I cook now is from fresh. Frozen veg and meat also counts these days because the quality is so much better now and this also means they don’t perish as quickly. There are a stack of great meals out there that can be made healthy. The vegan stuff is also so much better now and has more options; the days of one vegetable/quorn quesadilla being the only vegan/veggie choice on a menu is disappearing, and although I am not a full vegan, I have meals and days where I am inspired by it. Ben and Jerry’s vegan non dairy ice cream is my pro dieting tip! 

Exercise has always been a pillar of my lifestyle and right now like the past few years I am a big advocate of yoga – DDP Yoga to be specific. I’ve put up some reviews of the program up on here before and I cannot stress how good yoga is for not only the body but mind as well. This year I have also got back into running and can now do up to 5k in distance!

My advice for anyone looking to battle stress, depression and injury – three things I have been through; is to take up more of an active lifestyle even if it’s just a little more than before – go for a walk, start making fresh meals, do a little yoga; all of this stuff keeps my mind in check and looks after the body also. And I say this a lot, as a writer and person YOU CAN DO IT! Because I did and continue to do so! 

Thanks for reading. Hello to new followers. Those who have been tuning in and are part of the writing community, I shall be putting up my Bookbub promo results this week! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Time Saving Agency by Christina Engela – Review

A highly enjoyable time travel caper…

Quantum Series #2 - The Time Saving Agency 2019 - Front

Only two months previous were the citizens of Deanna dealing with the threat of an alien attack but now another threat of perhaps greater proportions emerges from the fabric of time, quite literally.

Christina Engela has created a story that follows not only a similar concept of the previous entry into the Quantum series but one that fuses those ideas with something completely different and original. Written in a way that sometimes tributes Terry Pratchett, yet again readers will find this story quirky and clever with a style that confides in the reader.

Familiar faces Gary Beck the ‘badfella’ and Cindy Mei Winter return as their story together continues and while that is happening the main story arc begins to unfold from an unexpected place; the fabric of time where there are Time Agents and Time Terrorists. What ensues is a cat and mouse time travel story seeing ‘Agent Scrooby’ trying to track down the evil genius and escaped terrorist known as Brad Xyl who has dastardly universe destroying aspirations. Scrooby enlists the help of Bounty hunter Gary Beck and together they set out to to put Brad Xyl’s plans to a halt.

Although Cindy Mei Winter takes more of a cameo role along with ‘Fred the Arborian’, in this story Cindy’s journey and life as a trans-woman is briefly touched upon giving an important and positive modern spotlight on the subject.

Overall the Time Saving Agency is a fun read which see’s the ‘Quantum Series’ taken on an unexpected journey of time travel while also continuing the journey of it’s characters seen in the previous book in the series. The narrative is delivered with a sophisticated level of humor and sometimes sarcastic wit that never allows for a dull moment.

4 Stars