‘Darke Awakening’ the 6th book by Lee Hall; coming this year!

 

Darkness. The blackest of the black. Not being able to see and all that. Yeah some of you have heard that speech before and this isn’t my first venture into the lightless void of the unknown. All of us look into the dark differently but we always see two things. Nothing, and everything. Fear fills the gap between what isn’t there, and what could be. And you’re thinking, how artsy and self-reflective, we all know this story isn’t. Drown someone in shadows and eventually they make their own light to find a way. That’s what I did, Blake Malone, the name I adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stories that inspire us – ‘Dumb and Dumber’

The stories we read, see and hear sometimes leave a lasting effect on our lives. Stories inspire us to be who we are. They shape our own journey and can take the mind anywhere. There are some stories that effect us so much, they even shape our future…

Comedy is often overlooked in this world. The ability to make one laugh is possibly the most human thing someone can do and to me one of the easiest ways to make someone comfortable or uncomfortable. Most of us know there is a very fine margin between comics and depression but laughter can be a vessel out of the darkness.

‘Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?’

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‘Dumb and Dumber’ is a film that many might judge by it’s simplistic title and much of the story is simple but to me it’s a fun and even heartwarming story about friendship. Two friends Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) are going nowhere in life ‘unless you wanna work forty hours a week…’ and set out on a road trip to reunite a briefcase that Lloyd witnessed a woman drop before getting on a flight. It’s the typical road trip buddy story where the pair find themselves in stupid but very funny situations.

‘Why you going to the airport? Flying somewhere?’

Like a lot of cinema in history it has a few non PC moments but for most of the film Dumb and Dumber carries an innocent level of comedy in the realms of stupidity – both on a physical and literal level. Without over analysing it, the script is a juggernaut of quotes that I say to myself quite often. Much of my comedy influence has come from this film over the years where both actors put in considerable performances and today their resumes are decorated.

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Carrey and Daniels are household names

The film appeals to a wide range of ages which is the key to all successful comedy. There are more adult style gags which will go over younger audience’s head’s while the physical and straight up silliness will get everyone laughing. Although this film was released in the early 90’s it still stands up quite well and the soundtrack like all Farrelly brother’s films is golden.

‘You know, Lloyd, just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!’

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For many years and even today this is film that brightens up my day. It’s fun, silly and easy to watch. You can find the influence of Dumb and Dumber in much of my work from my novella ‘The Teleporter’ to the Pantomime plays I have written.

It is my opinion that without comedy the world would be a much darker place. And if you are ever feeling down in any way my advice; find something that makes you laugh – for me that’s Dumb and Dumber.

Do you have a go-to comedy film or series? 

Nocturnal Farm by Villimey Mist – Review

A flawless and fresh vampire tale full of mystery and unexpected twists…

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Although it may appear to begin rather slowly the reader is introduced to a world where main character Leia Walker is still reeling from her previous encounter six months before and it casts a shadow over her life. This slower pace works incredibly well in depicting Leia’s struggle with not only what happened in the past but to also highlight her anxiety and OCD which she is fighting everyday. She is stronger in this story and displays a realistic amount of character development. For readers who haven’t experienced the events of ‘Nocturnal Blood’ or haven’t read it for a while are reminded during this opening which gives this story it’s own stand-alone power.

Most sequels struggle to live up to the first experience while attempting to be bigger where as Nocturnal Farm carves it’s own unique and sometimes unexpected path without just throwing more vampires and action into the mix. It’s grounded and realistic for a story in this genre. There is a genuine original story where the plot is carried by a rescue mission which differs from last time with the two girls on the run concept.

Villimey Mist has found her voice in writing and delivers a story that is well structured well paced. There were portions of this book where I could have easily been reading a high end fiction story about the likes of ‘Jason Bourne’ as he explored a European city looking for answers much like Leia Walker. We get more from characters who perhaps played minor roles last time while also being introduced to some newer fresh faces. In this world of ‘Vampires’, ‘Sangues’, ‘Ghouls’ and ‘Hunters’ is a a lot of potential that is used well in this book. The journey to the ending was carried by several twists and revelations finally closing with a ‘what if’ scenario that has most probably been burning in the back of most readers minds leaving it very much open for another sequel. 

Nocturnal Farm is a book I would highly recommend!

5 Stars –  A fantastic read, thank you to the author for providing an ARC. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads. 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #58

I’m sad but proud. After spending ten consecutive years performing for my community drama club I have hung up my ‘acting’ boots – they were a fine pair of acting boots, very comfortable in fact and the parts I have trod on that stage will stay with me for life. The truth is I thought I would be a lot more upset but I guess the pride and happiness of what has been achieved in those years is shining brighter than anything else. And the real truth is, I’m not leaving for good, I’m just leaving the stage…

Over the past couple of years the Iver Heath Drama Club has entrusted me to write their annual pantomime shows; a leap in its own right and possibly the greatest compliment my writing and myself has ever received. That’s what I am going to continue doing, writing stories which is the dream that was forged out of performing for that wonderful club. I vowed to that family to pledge my pages, my pen and my stories – a deal that I will honour for as long as I write.

As a performer I got the perfect ending on that stage, having adapted our own version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs I was then cast as the Magic Mirror which is apt because ten years ago it was my first role. Sometimes things go full circle. This time around I gave that role more meaning and along with everything I had gained on that stage it became the epitome of all of me. Even though it sounds like this was all about me, it wasn’t and this ending was about passing on the torch, or crown to those who deserve it.

While the high of the most successful IHDC show begins to wear away I shall recede back into writing stories and reading some truly wonderful stories on my TBR list. While one door closes many other will open not just for me but for those who let me belong to what is a fantastic community run club. I have already drafted next years script!

And just remember this;

The greatest stories aren’t the ones we read,

The greatest stories aren’t the ones we write,

The greatest stories are the ones that we live.

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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!

Awesome Indie Book Recommendations

It’s been quite a while since the Hall of Information showcased some awesome indie books. I need views, authors needs sales and you need reads. It’s the triangle of life so here goes…

mindLet’s talk about ‘MIND: Two Short Tales of Horror’ by E.H Night which I found to be a unique and imaginative reading experience. Even with it being a shorter book the descriptive style carried my interest throughout the two tales included.

To quote my review back in December;  ‘it’s almost like these stories simply suggest what is happening and our imagination’s fill in the rest – this is a form of story I hold in the highest regard…’  

This book is a great example of what creative writers can do with a smaller page count – something that authors don’t get enough credit for!

Next up came Indie read number 39 of 2019 which also happened to be an ARC from awesome fantasy author Jimena Novaro who reached out to see if I would be interested in reading her latest release ‘The Relic Spell’. Having read her previous book ‘Blue Rabbit’ I jumped at the opportunity to take on yet another great story.

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I found myself immersed in ‘The Relic Spell’ which is a real world fantasy story featuring sorcery and magic while also being full of originality. My lengthy review pays tribute to what is a wonderful addition to the genre and it’s book 1 of a series which I shall be reading more of!

Here’s just a snippet of my review;  It’s very clear to see Jimena Novaro has spent much time writing a story that feels personal and inviting at the same time. The book contains so much for a reader to enjoy, from a wealth of great characters to a story where something is always happening; if there isn’t action, there’s tension, intrigue or mystery…’

I’m pulling a sneaky one on ya for this next book rec but I’m doing it with the best of intentions…

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Those who tune in regularly will know this year I plan on releasing my 6th book which just happens to be the sequel to ‘Darke Blood’ (and the Open Evening books) so I thought maybe I should promote it in some way.

I could just say ‘hey go and read my vampire novel’ but what I will say is this:

Quite recently and for the first time in some years I have been reading Darke Blood and while slightly flinching I am going to admit it may be my best work. Now I’m not particularly entitled to say that but I will. Check it out and if you like the premise I will send you an e-copy…

My next book rec comes in the form of two stories which cap off one hell of an awesome science fiction series. ‘Prodigal Sun’ and ‘High Steaks’  are two reads I enjoyed over the festive season and make up the final books (so far) of the Quantum Series by Christina Engela. This collection I spent last year and the beginning of 2020 delving into. I am going to be brief because I plan on putting out a separate showcase for the series soon but I urge you to check them out!

Next up on my list is a chilling crime thriller called ‘Dead End’ which is the first of a series known as the ‘Clown Conspiracy’ book series by Mallory Kelly. Yet again this is the type of writing that champions shorter reads and for good reason because in the shorter amount of pages you get everything you want as a reader from a great book.

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To quote my recent review;

‘For a book that I read in just under an hour it sure packs one hell of a chilling punch. From the very beginning this story plays with the imagination while also delivering an ever so well written ride that will have readers turning the pages. The use of description by Mallory Kelly is atmospheric and suits the creepiness that comes with the cornerstones of horror to many, clowns and haunted houses…’ 

 

 

And last but certainly not least let me share with you my latest review ‘The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo which is An engaging immersive tale of relationships and what people will do for love…’

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There’s a lot happening in this story which is about many different things but mainly relationships. And yet again I have chosen to read a shorter book but it manages to contain a lot of back story and important character detail which carries the premise of a couple who are married but don’t seem to want to be anymore. Their individual paths eventually cross and culminate in a dramatic finish.

 

That wraps up my latest book reviewing endeavours. Do you have a recent book recommendation? 

Thanks for reading and catch you in the next one!

 

 

The Seller of Sins by Kristina Gallo – Review

An engaging immersive tale of relationships and what people will do for love…

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Although this is a short read it doesn’t feel like one and I found myself taking my time slowly becoming immersed into a character driven story intertwined with adult themes and at the very core of that relationships.

The writing and delivery adopts a showing as opposed to telling style but it works very well for the story being told and is a good choice for the length that it is – we get a lot of detailed back story making characters Karolina and Filip likable in their own ways even though they are introduced in a rather negative light due to their marriage problems. Their journey throughout this tale carries a deeper moral story about love and what really matters and we realize this at the end.

It’s dramatic and sometimes erotic in places with multiple genres being represented but overall I enjoyed it.

4 – Stars – Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads

The stories that inspire us – ‘Beauty and the Beast’

The stories we read, see and hear sometimes leave a lasting effect on our lives. Stories inspire us to be who we are. They shape our own journey and can take the mind anywhere. There are some stories that effect us so much, they even shape our future…

I was five years old when the theatre bit me and it bit me hard. It wouldn’t be until fifteen years later that I walked through the doors of a drama club and realised my life long dream of becoming a performer. Even though I was and still am introverted on the surface, in 2010 I finally had the confidence to take the plunge onto the stage.

In recent times Disney have boasted their adaptation of Beauty and the Beast to be as old as time. Perhaps it is and the theatre production which bit me hard just happened to be Beauty and the Beast – a tour of the Disney inspired version. Although it was quite a while ago now I still remember being captivated by the colours, the sights, a walking candlestick and of course the spectacle of a Beast overcoming a curse and magically transforming into a Prince. It’s a story that has and always will have a place in my heart. The animation and recent live action film are both spectacular to enjoy as an adult and for children alike and the same can be said for the original fairy tale.

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In fact the original fairy tale is probably the best of all fairy tales and even though that is just my subjective opinion the premise, characters and overall story is pretty solid and you can understand why Disney have had success with it. Even though their version is scaled down in some senses by omitting the sisters they add their own spin on things in their own fashion.

My own story telling and performing have always run in a sort of parallel. For some years they were hand in hand but very separate. I would write science fiction/horror while my performing self would appear in pantomimes based on fairy tales and comedy farces or even some Shakespeare. Being in shows gave me confidence to reveal to the world that I wanted to be a writer – it also helped both socially and even in job interviews. I guess you can say I owe a lot to performing and those two hands which held those separate things – story telling and performing would eventually clasp each other as I put together a short comedy play known as ‘Hotel Doom’. With moderate success for a community drama club production my eyes were set firmly on another sight; a full length pantomime play – a British tradition and the big time annual ‘thing’ that my drama club did to survive.

I began work in adapting my own version of Beauty and the Beast taking influence from the many shows I had been in along with that original tale; of course some minor inspiration came from the ‘mainstream’ versions but all in all, the script is original and my own. My main inspiration came not only from the solid source material but also from when I was a kid myself looking up to that stage and seeing the Beast transform along with those colours and everything else.

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Those who know me closely will know the outcome. The Iver Heath Drama Club took on my script and in a sense took a huge leap; never had anyone in the 70 plus year history of that community club had ever written a full length show. The script was way more expansive and ambitious than anything seen at that club. The cast of 18 performers and chorus ensemble put on a show that sold out all performances and even had standing ovations; even now I get emotional thinking about how that whole show went. All of it was inspired by a story that has lasted the test of time and that is the true dream any writer or creator has – to see their work last that test of time.

Beauty and the Beast is a story that inspired my writing and helped it reach heights I would never imagine. Up until now it is my finest moment in story telling and combines my performing and writing.

It still pays dividends as this year Iver Heath Drama Club have entrusted me again to put on another show inspired by Snow White; which is yet another pinnacle fairy tale.

Do you have a favourite fairy tale? 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller’ by Mallory Kelly – Review

Chilling, immersive and full of tension. Everything you want from a crime thriller…

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For a book that I read in just under an hour it sure packs one hell of a chilling punch. From the very beginning this story plays with the imagination while also delivering an ever so well written ride that will have readers turning the pages. The use of description by Mallory Kelly is atmospheric and suits the creepiness that comes with the cornerstones of horror to many, clowns and haunted houses.

There has been a murder which is shrouded in both mysterious and suspicious circumstances. It’s up to detective duo ‘Shirley’ and ‘Carter’ to get to the bottom of what is going on in this small town where nobody seems to be of any help. With a potential killer still on the loose the owner of the haunted house intends to keep its doors open to the public in what makes for a great conflicting premise.

Exploiting the concept of what is real and what isn’t keeps the story immersive and readable throughout and even though it is short that is just one of the many qualities. In the latter stages there is some real tension as the characters literally fight for their own survival.

5 Stars – Looking forward to picking up the other books in the series. Review left on Goodreads and Amazon UK 

 

 

 

‘Wild Embers’ by Dalia and Sam – Review

A brief but intriguing premise complemented by great art work and a story full of mystery…

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You’ll be wanting more by the time you reach the end of quite a short read but ‘Wild Embers’ makes for an intriguing experience that I imagine will get better as more issues arrive. We are introduced to a world that doesn’t contain a lot of story based detail other than a short passage explaining an organisation that posts cryptic messages online. Who are they and what are their intentions? Are they ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

The story then comes to life with some fast pace chasing in the form of parkour followed by introductions of our heroes who are looking to decipher the latest message. Much of the artwork does the talking which is easy to follow, fun and very well done. I particularly enjoyed the ending which suggests this story could literally go anywhere afterwards. This may be a first in the genre of ‘Googleable fiction’ but I do hope there is more soon!

Having never read a comic book via an e-reader before I was surprised how well this concept works – this is especially so for those who own the more sophisticated devices but I imagine this comic could be read via any device with a screen.

4 Stars – The first ever comic book review for the Hall of Information! Looking forward to reading more. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon UK. 

A thank you to the artists who reached out to me via twitter with their recommendation!