Weekly Ramble #66

Solitude is difficult. Even as an introvert myself human interaction with strangers plays a part in my my life. Just seeing other people gives comfort that none of us are alone in this. For a world that is so well connected there’s a deep sense of loneliness in all of this and some are going to struggle. Those who live alone especially so. 

But even if the most dire of situations you’ll find opportunity. There is only one agreement about this rather mystery illness that’s sweeping the world; it’s contagious. What can you do to fight a contagious disease; stay healthy. Use the time given or lent to you for exercise, catching up on sleep and for cooking good healthy food. All three of these register as self care in my eyes and in times where you cannot physically socialise to feel better, find other ways.

This distancing deal might be around for a while to come. Standing in two meter lines at checkouts and only going out every ten days, my grandparents had it worse and I’m not comparing because I know the impact this is all having. The economy is going to fall to shit, jobs are going to get lost but if you have your health, your body will look after you throughout whatever tough times lay ahead trust me.

The world needs you to take care of yourself so do it by any means necessary. 

 

Scarred by Damien Linnane – Review

A brutal tale of justice blinded by revenge…

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Scarred is exactly what the title suggests and Damien Linnane has carved a unique story telling path by bravely going to some violent and graphic places. It isn’t for the faint of heart but the places readers are taken make for a great story.

You have the historically abused and damaged vigilante in the form of Jason Ennis who leads the story while residing on the fringes of society. He’s the quiet type who could be Batman one day and then in the same breath a cold blooded killer, even though his motives could possibly be justified – the conflict which is genius in this story and that being whether or not Jason’s motives are the right thing to do? He’s complex and haunted by a childhood of abuse, his back story like all of the other principal characters is explored and told through the eyes of whoever is leading the scene. The view even switches in some scenes which is a credit to the author’s execution and work to achieve.

We also follow Howard who is at the other extreme end of life’s scale. He too is haunted by a dark past and uses it as a fuel on others sometimes brutally and graphically. In between the violence and sometimes depravity is a reason to go there, not for the shock factor but for the the greater good of a story which I eventually couldn’t put down.

There are so many messages within the story such as revenge not always being the answer and the true morality of justice. My only real critique comes from the writing style which chooses more often to show as opposed to tell – a rather cliche critique in book reviews and for this book the ‘showing’ works most of the time to immerse one in the depth of backstory and to get into the thoughts of characters.

For those who don’t mind some violence and graphic content, you’ll appreciate a story that goes to places of darkness and scarring to tell it while a few ‘bad guys’ get taken down in the process.

 

5 Stars – I enjoyed this immersive and sometimes brutal tale. Thank you to the author for reaching out! Reviews left on Goodreads and Amazon (UK) 

Weekly Ramble #65

It gives me a sense of hope that even in these times people are buying my books. Not that the sales or royalties matter, let alone do they even contribute to my salary but the thought that someone has been interested enough in the blurb or cover art to give an essence of my soul and imagination a try. 

Hope can give a person enough to know that maybe they are on the right path no matter how uncertain all of our near futures are, some things will shine through this dark time, like sunshine on a rainy day, feeling that heat just feels better when it’s been cold for so long. People who continue to blog and read this blogging effort I must thank you from the bottom of my heart. We must keep the spirit of what we were alive enough so we don’t lose what we stood for. 

I’m trying, like always to create stuff that will at least take one person away for a while and most of my reduced audience seem to appreciate that while those who appear not to be tuning in are distracted elsewhere – this is a difficult time I know and I hope all of you are holding up.

I’ve started a diary that I hope will capture everything that’s going on right now, from my personal life all the way to current events. This is a fascinating historical time and without a diary to convey the essence of in the moment emotion, I couldn’t possibly relay this in years to come. It’s also a way of coping and a self care practice of reflection. Like stories, once I had laid them to rest on paper they no longer need to reside in my head. This coping strategy is working at the moment.

My plan like I said before is to have a business as usual front to all of this. There is no reason not to carry on especially with all the closures and postponements going on around the world, the Hall of Information hopes to carry on throughout.

Good vibes and health to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lock down Survival Binge-watch Recommendations

I love me some good TV and the longer a series is the better. Call me a character development buff because I am, and seeing as many places all around the globe are facing lock down situations this is a perfect opportunity to kick back and watch some good shows!

Here are my binge watching recommendations for surviving lock down!

For a show that started way back in 1993 you would have thought as a 90’s kid I would be down with the X-files but the truth is (no pun intended), I have only just started watching it!

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Now my Mrs finds the show’s theme a little eerie and vividly remembers being scared by the Simpsons X-files episode (which was awesome too) but I will admit this show is great and even for something on the more retro scale it holds up quite well.

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s my upshot…

‘Fox Mulder’ (A young David Duchovny) plays a ‘believer’ of a Special Agent in the FBI who spends his time investigating the macabre to the paranormal and everything else in between. These investigations are known as the X-files and Agent ‘Dana Scully’ (an even younger Gillian Anderson) is tasked with finding out if the x-files is a viable resource in the FBI while inadvertently being swept up in the storm of belief.

Their on screen chemistry works incredibly well and very early on they become good friends, their partnership carries the show in what follows a monster of the week formula (anything and everything in sci-fi) while also delving into a longer ‘the man is always watching’ type story arc.

The main selling point is that the X-files is available on at least one platform wherever you are in the world and the amount of episodes (8 series worth) is a sure fire way to spend lock down and survive it! 

We’re going to continue with the Sci-fi theme and look at what I consider to be the best ever Robot fiction show and possibly story…

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Westworld ticks nearly every damn box available for a show with such a high quality. I was blown away by the first season which introduces us to a distant future world with a living, breathing and gun toting amusement park; hence the name of the show.

Guests pay money to basically live and stay in a Red Dead Redemption type world; they can befriend people, go on quests and pretty much do what they like. The world is populated by ‘people’ who are in fact very real looking robots and this is where the performances grip you.

Evan Rachel Wood is exceptional in this as ‘Dolores’ and for television it’s an all star cast including James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris and the one and only Anthony Hopkins who brings a master class level of acting to this show that explores the morality of robots in confinement who are forced to do everything over and over again.

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Evan Rachel Wood

The first season is just the tip of an incredible underbelly with twists and turns but most importantly, revelations! Even for those who think sci fi isn’t their cup of tea, the performances and story will grip you, trust me! 

There are currently 2 seasons available with the 3rd currently being broadcast over the next few weeks!

We’re going to take an almost swerve in another direction now and head into true crime which is a genre if done well that I cannot look away from.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes sheds a brand new murderous light over one of the most infamous serial killers of the 20th century. This show also introduces it to a brand new generation of folks like me who was born the year (spoiler alert) Ted Bundy was executed…

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The tapes consist of interviews Bundy did while on death row as he reflects on a life that involved brutally murdering many many women. For a 4 part series it manages to cover in detail his chronology in doing what he did. It’s stylishly cut and put together with archive footage and interviews that make it a chilling but ever so addictive binge watch!

Available on Netflix this one will distract you for a while! 

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Continuing with the Netflix documentary theme this one you’ll find to be absurd and a little bit harrowing because the Devil Next Door is like something from a film but it actually happened. Quoting the google (because this pretty much covers it), a Cleveland Grandfather is brought to Trial in Israel, accused of being the infamous Nazi death camp guard Ivan the Terrible…

Trust me when I say this one is addictive, gripping and of course it pays homage to the so many people who faced atrocities during WW2 who still deserve to be remembered for what they went through. Here’s my full review… 

It’s not all Netflix originals or HBO because here at the Hall of Information we have to give credit where credit is due and AMC have put together some awesome shows over the years. Even if it has fallen out of favor from me The Walking Dead is a binge watch institution and I am going out on a limb to say, just watch the first 5 seasons…

 

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The characters, the setting, the special effects, the story and hell the theme song along with everything else cannot be faulted with the first 5 season of TWD. Considering what’s happening just outside our windows this one will capture your imagination and heart.

Seeing as the amount of time we’re all going to be in lock down may change, you shall probably be seeing more television rec’s quite soon! 

Have you got a binge watching recommendation for lock down?

 

 

 

 

Exclusive Darke Awakening Excerpt – because we all need a distraction…

As an author and creator with material to give and seeing what we are all currently facing around the world I have decided to share some reading material with you.

This is the opening of Darke Awakening, the 4th book in the Order of the Following Series. I have chosen to share this part because anyone can pick it up and I have something to give (not corona)…

Enjoy and love to you all!

 

 

Darke Awakening

(The Order of the Following Series)

By Lee Hall

Copyright 2020

 

 

 

Prologue: The Skeleton man

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 to the dark differently but we always see one of 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 out. That’s what I did, Blake Malone; the name personally adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.

My journey continues right where I left it and now there are others whose stories intertwine with mine. These folks and their past may not fully matter but it’s why they ended up crossing my path and so they matter to me.

I wanted to be clever in how I kicked this tale off, instead of being corny and obvious, like saying ‘strap in, things are about to get wild’. Where we are going will need more than a seat-belt and if you excuse the segway, a seat-belt is something Mitch Hawkins wasn’t wearing as he drove his battered old Ford towards Darke Heath on a cold still night. And let’s face it, around these parts they are all cold still nights but this one has some significance.

the road

Tall old pines straddled both sides of the main forest road, hence the name, but Mitch wasn’t focusing on the lackluster view of mainly black. He had one hand on a peeling steering wheel and the other on a nearly finished cigarette. Something loud and grungy blared out of his speaker system, the most valuable part of the vehicle, the L.E.D display danced to the base. Just as the next song was about to kick in, he heard a dull vibration from behind.

Instinctively he stubbed out the cherry and slipped a hand into his front pocket, except the vibration didn’t come from there, he felt nothing but denim.

“Aww, shit,” he said. The shuddering cell phone sat in his biker style jacket that was laid across the back seat.

He did that thing where you try to turn one-eighty and crush the soft part of your abdomen under the ribs whilst driving. Without buckling up an easy feat, so Mitch grabbed the jacket and pulled out his glowing cell phone without realising the old Ford had veered out of its single lane prompting him to glance up. He corrected the steering with a mind on the caller and failed to focus fully on the dim headlights that shone on an outline in the road.

“Oh, crap,” Mitch shouted in that elongated way where you know you’ve screwed up.

He frantically veered the wheel right and looked to a thin tall figure stood dead in the middle of the road. The image of two hollow eyes and not a lot else burned into Mitch’s head before his car left the asphalt. Rubber skated over loose gravel and to much softer ground. The suspension strained and dipped the shuddering car which crashed at speed into ferns eventually scraping to a stop.

Our driver had blacked out upon impact, and if you were to drive past that uphill spot five minutes later, you would be none the wiser an old Ford left the road.

Mitch came to in a spaced-out daze, the car, dead. Light came from a now full moon revealed itself behind thick clouds. The headlights, smashed along with his side window. Something pinned the sleepy driver into his seat, a strong lifeless type of force that also burned.

Just how long was he out for? The internal compass of awareness inside Mitch wanted to say not long. With a gasp he looked down to see a sizeable branch embedded into his shoulder, there was blood and the wood extended beyond a shattered front windscreen.

“Jesus,” he gasped with a pained breath.

You see Mitch should have worn a seat-belt, let that be lesson one. Then he wouldn’t have found himself restrained out in the Darke Forest at night and alone, another big no around here.

His shaking hand gripped the blood covered branch, the lightest of touches and he was in hurt city. It made him nauseous and kind of panicked at the same time. From the foot well came that familiar vibrating of cell phone. It was frustrating and painful all at once because for the life of him Mitch just couldn’t move to answer it.

“Goddamn it,” he blurted and rested a forearm on the permanently open driver’s side window which must have dropped in the crash; something he didn’t remember happening.

In his mind that image flashed into view of someone stood in the road. He’s heard the stories of the ‘Heath’ and so right then in that helpless state his mind began to wander. Those hollow skeleton-like eyes staring right through him. The Skeleton Man, he named him, perhaps a hitcher who walked from that Glenwood travel interchange place, or just a guy on a night-time walk.

For some strange reason Mitch had a feeling he was no longer alone.

Floating out of the cold air came a presence along with the frightening image of this ghostly face. Those hollow eyes stared down into the car. With a certain fluidity this Skeleton Man dressed in rags lowered to Mitch’s overturned forearm which hung just out of the car. Bony mud encrusted fingers coldly squeezed him.

“Could you lend a hand bro?” Mitch asked. The ghostly figure seemed to just hang there before moving in closer.

A sudden sharp burning sunk into his arm, Mitch desperately tried to scream but something hypnotic stopped anything emerging from his mouth. He could feel his existence floating away as the sound of gulping filled both ears. Soon enough Mitch slipped away into a deep sleep.

 

Part 1: ‘DB’ Continued

1

“Well damn Blake, it’s like you said, you suck at pool,” the man called Twister said. I guess he had the right to say that, especially after potting the black around my partially embarrassing array of red’s. They sat stranded in that after game type of way which just reeked of ‘you suck’.

“I’m more of a social pool player,” I said.

And there we were, in the corner of a busy bar called ‘the Cure’ while the Eagles did their Hotel California guitar riff thing. My grip loosened on a now pointless pool cue and Caitlyn Turner stepped in.

“I guess it’s my turn.” She took the varnished wood and stood ready to challenge this newcomer.

“Well it looks like the lady is up next. You’re giving me those eyes like you’ve kicked the ass of every damn hustler whose come though those doors,” Twister said and gulped down his whisky.

“Yep, and twice on Sundays.” Caitlyn moved to set the next game up.

“It’s wise not to play for anything more than pride I’ll tell you that much Twister,” I said looking at my girl Caitlyn grin from a fond memory.

“That’s code for she wears the pants in their relationship,” a voice said from behind the bar.

“Is that so? Well it is the twenty-first century,” Twister said. He leant on the bar and presented an empty glass as I turned to see the stand-in bar keep, Susie. She shot me that look all siblings give each other when they are in chop busting mode.

“Twenty first century? I’ve been around a lot longer than that,” Caitlyn said and broke.

“Although, a lady should never reveal her true age.” She stood proud of the scattered and still spinning pool balls.

“Ha, lady,” Susie said.

“Watch it biker chick Barbie,” I said to her, but she had another distraction, Twister. Susie did that thing girls do when they know they’ve got a guy interested. Her fingers brushed back smoky blond hair and she poured him another whisky.

“Keep the change.” Twister pushed a twenty her way and headed back to the pool table. Susie winked at me and took it.

“Smooth huh? Considering I’m not employed here. Well smoother than Splint anyway,” she said.

“Yeah, I suppose so, for a vam…”

Her cold hand gripped mine and stopped me from saying any more. For a moment I had forgot we were in the company of a newcomer. Twister wasn’t smartened up to this town’s ‘affliction’ which my sister just happened to have.

“I mean right about now Splint would be frowning at this newcomer bigtime,” I said and looked to see my Caitlyn continue an intrigued stare towards this stranger.

“So, been in town long?” she asked.

“Got in tonight.” Twister took his shot.

“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared.

“Now I like this song just as much as the next cat in here, but I’m pretty certain that’s the fourth consecutive time it’s played,” he added.

the bar

Yep, Twister was right and like that we were back as that damn song began playing again. Things never turn out like you expect and our story starts just a little later than expected or unexpected. Some of you know how I got to be standing at a bar in the middle of Darke Heath whilst I watched my girlfriend exchanging small talk with just a little hint of interrogation towards an intriguing character known as Twister.

She stood in that usual garb of strappy midriff revealing top and ‘pain in the ass’ to take off tight jeans of the red persuasion. Her boots finished at knee height and the heels were just enough to bring her height equal to the man she stood opposite.

This guy took the rugged look to new heights with a wealth of scars up either sleeveless arm. The flannel shirt on him had probably never seen an iron along with the cargo trousers. Twister’s face showed the signs of man who probably saw some shit in his lifetime, especially with the map of scars to go with it.

The two of them could probably have a decent fight. Caitlyn, a former vampire; long story, could still handle herself even if she represented a petite brunette lady. Twister didn’t exactly tower over her, but he carried himself in a ‘don’t mess with me’ kind of way. The visible muscles on both his arms weren’t huge but they were more than what I had.

I took a bar stool while the pool game represented a metaphorical sizing up of two considerable forces. Their exchange of words tested everything they wanted to know about one another. As far as I knew then, Caitlyn, vampirism cured and all, still packed one hell of a feisty punch. But this wouldn’t get to that point, either of them had too much tact.

“So, what’s with this place?” Twister asked. He never let the whisky leave his grasp.

“Well the bar’s owner, Splint, he just felt like a change. Hence the remodel,” Caitlyn said with a game face smile knowing he wasn’t asking about the decor.

He too cracked a ‘game on’ type of grin and probed some more,

“I’m talkin’ about the town. As I rolled in, I saw a stack of places under repair. Looked like fire damage mostly. That apartment block on the main drag in here looked pretty much levelled. I’m just sayin’, this place don’t look like a trouble type of town, on the surface,” he said.

“Then again most small towns aren’t what they seem.” And again, he was right. And again it’s a long story.

“Yep. Small towns, aren’t all their cracked up to be, am I right?” I said to them with nothing more than a ‘let the adults speak’ glare from Caitlyn.

“Swing and a miss,” Susie teased next to me.

“I’ve seen some places in my day, but every time I come through here, there ain’t much going down. Now I thought that was strange until it looked like hell went down here recently.” This time Twister paused and glanced up to Caitlyn before taking another shot. He sunk a red followed by the white.

“And when it comes to strange, I’m used to that rap. You seen the car I drive?” Twister nodded to the yellow classic style taxi parked in the street outside.

“So, let me ask again. What’s the deal with this place?” He asked with a tone that matched his serious look.

Caitlyn placed the white down and kept her equally strong stare on him while she lowered to aim.

“I’m a straight shooter Twister, so here’s the deal.” She drove the cue forward with a harder than usual shot.

“How about you tell me a little bit more about yourself before I answer that question. I think we both know in this world that knowledge is power, but only for the right person,” Caitlyn added.

The tension between them began to simmer a little, but she had this way. Must have been something to with being a creature of the night for the lengthy time she was. Like my sister, Caitlyn could ‘tame’ any alpha male type, she relied less on body language and more on honest words alone.

“Fair enough, Mrs Blake Malone. What do you wanna know?”

“It’s Caitlyn and what’s a fella like you doing in a town like this?”

“I’m just passing through like I do every now and then. I travel around most of the time,” Twister said.

“What do you work in sales or something?” Susie asked from the bar.

“Not exactly, I’m more of an exterminator,” Twister said, he kept both eyes on Susie for a little too long. Being the older brother made me notice that kind of stuff no matter how flirty she acted.

“We’ve had somewhat of a vermin problem around here recently,” Caitlyn said stepping into Twister’s view.

“Is that so? Well I don’t think you’ve seen the type of infestations I’ve dealt with,” he said.

“Try me,” Caitlyn added.

Another conversation trailed towards the bar and I did that thing where you try and tune into both sets of dialogue.

“Jeff, let me introduce you to my kids,” my Father Angus Greene said with his signature country accent. He shuffled a tall flannel shirt wearing frame my way and beside him walked a smaller Korean man. I swivelled on my stool to see Angus take a large hand off this man’s shoulder and stretch it towards me.

“Jeff, meet my son Blake. Son, this is Pam’s father Jeff,” he said.

“Nice to meet you,” I said and held out a hand for Jeff to shake.

“Mr Malone. Pam has spoken highly of you. Very nice to meet you,” Jeff said with a warm grip.

“Now the young lady behind the bar is my youngest Susie.” Angus adjusted the one arm he had in a sling, a partially painful reminder of recent proceedings. He signalled to Susie who leant over the bar.

“Hello Miss Malone,” Jeff said, he nodded, and this time kept the hand to himself. We could see his apparent discomfort.

“Please call me Susie, that whole Malone deal is Blake’s thing.” Susie extended her pale hand.

“And please don’t worry sir, I don’t bite, the good guys,” she whispered as Jeff half-heartedly shook her hand.

“Now, do you fellas want a drink? Splint left me to work the bar.”

“Well honey, he did ask if you could skip to another song on his new sound system,” Angus said.

“Uh, I already tried. Maybe I’m not doing it right.” Susie placed a remote control on the counter.

I looked past the several occupied seats to a booth near the back. The man known as Splint sat with his shaven head back facing and beside him, Pam, his girlfriend. He sharply turned to see Angus and Susie trying to work out the remote control.

“That’s for the TV that I no longer have. You gotta push the button on the player,” Splint called from his seated position.

“Okay. Great, thanks Splint,” Susie said back through the several people sat around.

“Where is the button?” She turned three-sixty on her feet and looked down under the counter.

“Bottom left,” Splint shouted. I could see him then turn to Pam as they appeared to argue about something.

“I’m not seeing it Splint,” Susie said over everyone.

“He probably means his left,” Twister said from the pool table.

“My left Susie-Q!” Splint began to get up. He started to climb over the table as his girlfriend sat in the way. She pulled his hand down.

“Let me just go and show her,” he said.

You see Splint and the Korean girl known as Pam were the ultimate odd couple. She turned out to be strong in the ways of witchcraft, Earth-witchcraft to be specific. Pam was also into geek stuff like D and D amongst other quest style games. Splint was pretty much the opposite, he was a jump first, deal later guy who listened to loud music like the Offspring and had a ‘loose’ kind of thinking in life. I didn’t want to say Splint was crazy, but he stood somewhere near it, and he couldn’t defend himself in a fight either.

Anyway, these two got together in the final act of our last story, Pam got sired by a vampire over lord type known as Alexis and his Death-witch partner called the Mistress who also turned out to be my mother. In that final battle Splint marched right up to her with a syringe full of vampire curing goodness and put in the save. They’ve been together since.

I watched them have one of those mini arguments couples have when they are still trying to figure one another out. Splint hopped over the table and Pam, leaving her with who I presumed was her mother.

“He probably means your right, or stage right,” Twister said, again from the pool table.

Splint rushed to the bar and nodded,

“Yeah see, the new guy gets the drift. It’s down there,” he pointed as Susie lowered.

“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared, again.

“Did you push skip?” Splint asked.

“I’m pushing it Splint. New sound system my ass,” Susie said.

Splint hopped over the bar and disappeared along with my sister.

“On a dark desert highway…”

“Damn it, it’s just the same song over and over again,” Susie said.

“Maybe it’s the cd?” Twister said, he leant over the bar whilst Caitlyn sunk another ball.

“Yeah, maybe it’s the cd Splint. If you get his drift?” Susie added and appeared again. Her eyes met Twister’s in that flirty kind of way that I wasn’t sure about.

“Your shot Stretch, save the flirting for after I win,” Caitlyn said.

My eyes kept their focus on Susie who turned. Something in her stance changed just then, like an animalistic sense that kicked in. Two ‘shifty’ looking types, shifted themselves in through the doors and over to me. The first guy, unshaven and walking with purpose reached into a jacket pocket.

I double took between him and Susie, then her face began to frown. The muscles around her eyes firmed and from her lipstick covered lips came two white fangs. Her pupils dilated and became something which represented more of a predator than my annoying younger sister. They stared into another set of similar eyes and I saw fangs coming from this approaching intruder.

“Alexis may be gone, but we still own this town,” the other guy said.

Everything moved too damn fast and I sat with a dumb looking face on a bar stool. My Father Angus swivelled to the side and held up his only available hand to defend himself against a glinting blade. Even in his recovering condition he had the strength to swipe the threat away only for the intruding vamp to follow through and drive the weapon into Pam’s father, Jeff.

Susie vaulted over the bar with a growl, she collided into the knifeman and down they went. The other guy smiled and backed toward the doors. I stepped in to protect my father who he tried to catch Jeff from falling. I lowered to see a river of red.

“Dad!” Pam screamed.

She coursed from her seated position and past several onlookers. Her outstretched hands clenched, and an aura of purple began to surround her body.

Susie laid in a punch and her target let go of the blood covered knife. Before she could do anymore the other intruder threw out a kick and pulled his companion to. They stumbled away and rushed out the doors.

Caitlyn watched with a front row view. She sharply raised a knee and snapped her pool cue in two, then her eyes met Susie’s and they charged for the doors.

“Dad, no!” Pam cried.

She dropped to the struggling Jeff with her purple aura fading, and she tried to help.

“Somebody call for a damn ambulance!” Angus shouted, and I saw Splint appearing from behind the bar.

“Blake, get out there son. Make sure those girls are alright,” Angus commanded as his hand gripped my open shirt.

They could handle themselves, but I breezed out of the double doors anyway. Out into the cold night air I went to the partial darkness of main street had where Caitlyn and Susie stood with their backs facing me. Opposite, the two intruders both in full vampire mode.

“It’s a shame you won’t be able to tell your friends there are new Slayer Sisters in town,” Caitlyn barked, she handed half a pool cue to Susie.

“That’s funny because last time we checked both the Slayer Sisters are now mortal,” vampire enemy one said.

“The original line up has changed.” Susie stepped into her target.

In my peripheral to the left I saw movement. The metallic sound of creaking echoed out into the mostly desolate street.

Vampire enemy two swiped out and struck Susie, she shook it off and retaliated. Caitlyn swung out her pool cue stake, the target stepped aside, and sucker punched her. She yelped in her now mortal pain.

“Aint what you used to be are you?”

She angrily threw out a connecting elbow.

This time I looked when that metallic creaking came again. It was the taxi, Twister’s yellow taxi, and a figure closed the trunk, Twister. He stepped out into the street with something long and curved in hand, not once did he look up.

“Now now, gentlemen, is that anyway to treat a lady?” He said while Caitlyn’s foe broke away and dove forward.

Twister had no time to react as the vamp pounced and they went down. A feeling I knew all too well. He held that curved weapon in defence to stop salivating teeth getting any closer.

“What, the shit, are you?” He casually asked and impressively hauled the attacking vamp over and away.

Twister jumped up, he stepped into street light and I got a better look at what looked like a sabre blade. Attached to the handle in his grip appeared to be a canister of some sort. Before he could step in the other vampire breezed past Susie. This time Twister lived to his namesake and manoeuvred out of pursuit.

He swung the curved blade up and down and then stepped in with a lightning quick swipe of the weapon’s handle. It cracked into the nearest vamp, but he wasn’t done.

Before I could step off the sidewalk my instincts told me to stay put and saved me from a mass of black which abruptly trotted past me. The cold breeze of a black horse in full gallop stepped out into the street between Twister and the ‘new’ Slayer Sisters Caitlyn and Susie.

Riding this silky coated steed was a hooded figure, I saw the outline of what looked like a bow with an arrow primed. The two vamps looked up in terror toward this horseback arrival. They began to bumble away when the hooded shadow let the arrow fly.

A brief whistle careened toward the pair. It entered vamp one at chest level and into the other close by. A brilliant flash of glowing orange filled the street and the two of them were nothing but dust in the wind.

“Uh, thanks, I guess…” Twister spun and we all watched the horse rear and bolt away.

horse

“Who is that?” I asked stepping out to Caitlyn and Susie.

“Let’s find out.” Caitlyn had already begun to jog in pursuit.

“Guess we’ll race ya,” Susie said and after a few strides caught up with Caitlyn. They ran toward this shadowy horseback slayer.

I began to stride after them when I heard the turning of old motor. Wheels spun, and soft headlights flashed in the street.

“You wanna ride Blake?” Twister asked from inside the taxi. He was already at the wheel and had turned the car around.

I pulled open a yellow door and got in…

 

End of Part 1 – To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its going to be alright…

Watching the news before bed isn’t a good idea,

The media and their tactics will fill you with fear.

This whole covid deal might take quite a while

So dig deep and find a reason or anything to smile.

Play games, read books even connect online,

Reach out to others and we will all be fine.

Some folks are going out hoarding more and more,

Too ignorant to realise this is our own world war.

It’s up to us to protect the generations of old,

Because as kids it was our hands they would hold.

To survive we’re gonna need to fight,

Then I think, it’s going to be alright.

 

 

Weekly Ramble #64

Nobody could have predicted that a pandemic would cause so much fucking stupidity amongst the masses. I want to think that it’s the few that have spread this dumb hysteria to stockpile food. This post was never intended to slam people or the ‘masses’ and first and foremost it’s a check in with all of you because I’m fine, and I hope you are too!

Empty shelves in 2020. What are we doing? Starvation is going to kill us long before some potentially lethal but possibly not flu – anyone else think what the fuck? While everyone seems to be panic buying for the apocalypse, where are the answers to any of this? Why don’t we know anything? To take Ibuprofen or not? Hot weather apparently kills it… Other vaccines or medications could work in helping fight it? I mean are there a bunch of old wives in charge of this thing? At this point I would prefer that; at least we would be comfortable and rational right?

Now that I’ve got my swearing out and vented just a little, I feel semi okay but this is quickly becoming a fight of a generation. People are still not listening. Stay inside unless you’ve got to work or get food. The whole lock down thing, that is a final final resort because it will kill the economy. Countries who have imposed it have done for the better of their people as opposed to GDP’s. The people running the show are probably just as miffed as we are about it all.

Over here in the UK a lock down would probably be pretty difficult to enforce. The schools close today – a sad realisation that there are some kids who won’t take their final exams this summer and finish school like they deserve. Teachers taken away from their calling. So so many jobs rely on places being open. This whole damn deal is such a mess but in this trying time, we’ve got to be strong, we must look out for one another, the older generation who are apparently susceptible to this thing need protecting; they raised us after all so now it’s our turn to help them. To those working in all walks of medical; they will be the real heroes in all of this,

I’m trying desperately to carry on with my normal schedule. Somehow I finished reading a book earlier this week and put up a review. Editing is 75% done of Darke Awakening and I fully intend to publish it this September. This is going to be the new normal for a while and so I will be checking in regularly via this ramble series from now on.

Wherever you are in the world, tell me about what’s going on? We have to be together in this no matter where we are. What’s happening?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Signs by Christina Engela – Review

A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…

PHIS#2 Life Signs by Christina Engela - cover

The second entry of Christina Engela’s Panic! Horror in Space series takes the reader on a ride of mystery through three tales of the ghostly, vampiric and even cursed objects; all of which are hazards that come with deep space travel.

Captain Stuart Flane returns to face these perilous situations and has developed a rap for finding trouble of such persuasions. He’s used to dealing with the macabre and that’s what all three of these stories have in common. All of them begin in one place and through the vessel of immersive and readable story telling they end up somewhere completely unexpected.

From poignant to quirky and fun, these stories pretty much cover everything that Engela is known for with a writing style and depth that will draw you in. I particularly enjoyed ‘Lange’s Legacy’ which carried a certain detective vibe while also being full of twists and revelations.

5 stars – A fun read that will appeal to most readers. A thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for a review left on Goodreads and Amazon

Weekly Ramble #63

It’s getting more and more difficult not to get caught up in the storm that has seemed to encapsulate the modern civilized world.

This whole corona deal is becoming more and more absurd by the day. Is this really it or is this just hysteria? The internet age is not helping and that’s ironic for an information super highway – there just isn’t any of the right information at the moment and this thing is at all of our doorsteps.

Uncertainty is an uneasy thing and that’s what is forcing a reaction. That reaction vessel being toilet paper of all things. Events are shutting down and everything is getting cancelled but still there isn’t panic on the streets, nothing has gone to hell. Where are all the fires or bodies? Someone coming out of a coma right now will think that this is a now dystopian future but it isn’t.

Carrying on has it’s risks while isolation does too. You remove yourself from the world, eventually you’ll need to go back sometime. My line of work involves having to attend, it’s a must. A particle accelerator control room doesn’t fall under the ‘work from home’ umbrella. Our crew are shift workers, I arrive to relieve the next guy from his duties and he will do the same 8 or 12 hours later. It’s a radioactive site, it must be protected.

Writing involves staying in anyway and the show will go on. The blog will keep running and I shall do everything in my power to remain normal. I’m healthy, happy and semi muscular. I’m ready to step in and help those who can’t help themselves. My hands are cleaner than ever.

Social distancing does seem to be working. You should try it for a while. Not for others but for yourself. Even if you don’t stand beside what ever clown is in power, listen to their advice and watch the news.

Stay safe and stay healthy. We’ve got this. There has been worse… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Promo Results March 2020

The numbers and results are in! Even though we live in a world that appears to grow rather uncertain by the day, here at the Hall of Information it is business as usual!

Image result for book sales

One of the core values that I pride myself with as an indie author is to help fellow wordsmiths and hopefully guide them to some level of book promotional enlightenment. Let’s face it, every author charges towards their dream starry eyed and is then demoralised by the promotion part – telling people your book exists is the single greatest struggle we have as creators. 

So here are the facts and figures: 

Darke Blood was scheduled to be free to download on both Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th of March – you can do this is in KDP if you enrol your title in KDP select and clicking on the ‘promote and advertise’ button next to your title on your book shelf (google it if you are unsure)

 Total downloads of that two day run: 

book promo march 20

Total: 

db numbers

We reached countries and territories never reached before like Italy, Spain and even Japan!

But wait there’s more: 

During this run, I also sold copies of my other books Open Evening and Cemetery House at full price and which are in the same ‘Order of the Following’ Series…. This now confirms the readership know that they are set in the same world – a huge challenge I currently face!

dfw-lh-3dx2

When the promo ended people were still buying Darke Blood at the full price and so here’s a break down of those sales and the for the one’s above..

organic sale

During the free promo Darke Blood went to #1 in all three of it’s charts on Amazon and has got it some much needed visibility.

How did I get these results? 

Book Promo sites:

My philosophy for higher reach is to pay for some of it. There are a great number of book promo sites out there who specialise in reaching readers. Over the years I have compiled a list of those who have worked well and those who haven’t. This time around I only used two major book promo sites and paid a little more than I usually would.

On previous promos I have used many different sites at once for smaller fees, this is known as ‘stacking’ but for this one I used:

Freebooksy ‘Thriller Promotion’ – for the 12th, this cost £72 

E Reader News Today ‘Thriller and Suspense Promo’ – for the 13th, this cost £32

For the money I spent I consider this promo run a success. It’s isn’t a record breaker but it’s enough!

Other factors: 

Recently my Twitter following reaching 3000 – here’s how I did it

My blog following nearing 500 – I put out a post on the day!

Weekdays work well for promos….

People are staying in – for obvious reasons they will want something to read and everyone loves a bargain…

Darke Blood is pretty looking book. Trust me, people do judge them by their covers!

That wraps up another book promo results, have you done any promo work recently? 

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook