Weekly Ramble #161

The final month of 2022 is here and I’ve still got a stack of things to do. In all truth, I’m always busy and I kind of function that way. This year has thrown me an abundance of curveballs and also some really awesome unexpected moments. After all that has happened I’m happy with the outcome.

Finding peace in any endeavour is a hard thing to do sometimes and reflection of self is a huge part of that. Knowing that there is plenty left to do this year alone will keep me going all the way until the close of what has been a hugely significant time. There are still so many cool things I intend to achieve sooner or later and so as always I’ll keep going. Through the good, bad or indifferent consistency is the key.

You can expect a plethora of content this month on here and Patreon. Stay tuned.

‘Sex, Violence, Mars: The Ballad of Left and Right’ by Walrus – Review

Sex, Violence, Mars is back and just as entertaining as the first encounter…

The Walrus collective are back yet again tell a short but entertaining tale of Sex, Violence, Mars and much more. This time around we see ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ in this kind of buddy story as they try their best to navigate the dangerous but always interesting Mars of the future. Of course there’s a range of themes here and they are all aligned with the title.

Armed with atmosphere suits and a stack of cash they soon realise the desired tender on the planet is ‘electro’ leaving them with a struggle to pay for pretty much anything and that includes the dilemma to charge their suits. While they try to survive on the fringes of Mars and it’s complex society, they find others enduring their own struggle, or perhaps just looking to earn a fast buck from two desperados down on their luck.

“You’re never gonna get that money back unless you do exactly what I want. And now you’re in the hole to me for charge and supplies…”

Their journey takes them on an adventure of action and chasing along with some revelations as we find out more about this planet. Sometimes its them doing the chasing and vice-versa as they target the aptly named ‘Death Corp’ and their mysterious but powerful leader ‘Keiser’. Every so often the lore and backstory of this rich universe is mentioned giving this short but entertaining read depth and range.

Just like the previous encounter the style is delivered with heavy detail on description and chapters/sections move with pace. Our two main protagonists carry a fun chemistry with one another as they do their best to survive, swindle and try not to be swindled themselves. Just how does this link up with the first book? Well, you’ll find out and importantly so, its left open for yet more shenanigans on Mars.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Ramble #160

Crossing $1000 in book royalties for the first time in a calendar year is a special and pinnacle moment for me. I’ve never been one to chase the money in my writing or content creating but as someone who aspires to do this some day as a primary occupation, it gives me hope. It also gives me a wonderful sense of value.

Running this deal like a functioning business might have once been a distant dream just a few years back but now, it might be a possibility eventually. This year in particular I have done my best to try and run book promotion advertising with a view of making the money back in sales. For the most part I have succeeded and although there are so many other ways to invest or measure success in this journey, getting a positive monetary outcome tells me that I might be on the right path.

Of course like all moments of success I have shared on social media, I have tried to share them with tact and inclusion because quite simply, if I can achieve these things then so can others. For all the things that social media is at the moment, sharing good moments and including others will always have an awesome outcome. People will always be drawn to moments of hope and I guess this is mine.

All I have ever done is kept working and kept going, now the rewards are starting to get bigger so I guess there is one thing I have to do and that is carry on.

“Darke Apocalypse” by Lee Hall

A huge thank you to fellow author Ellen Khodakivska for a wonderful review of my latest book…

Ellen Khodakivska

If you want to ‘go beyond true darkness’ and feel goosebumps running back and forth, this book is definitely what you need.

“The Prophecy of Old states that everything in Life and Death must be balanced.” Lee Hall, “Darke Apocalypse”

The Plot: Blake Malone, Caitlyn Turner, Luke Hartford, and the rest of the crew come back to a ‘ghost town’ Darke Heath to break into a final fight with the true darkness that only pretends to vanish. On the contrary, it becomes more dangerous, darker, and ruthless than ever. The night creatures hide among the shadows, make up their dark-minded plans, and are ready to use the pure souls as bait to entrap those who stay on the bright side into their dark empire. Only time will show the result of the fight between the light and the darkness. Because the creatures living ‘beyond true darkness’ always have a creephole…

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‘The Man and The Crow’ by Rebecca Crunden – Review

A short sharp enjoyable tale of magic and the unexpected

Having just read this book in one sitting I found myself enthralled by page 4 where the story unexpectedly flips and takes the reader on a journey of folklore, witchcraft and murder.

With darker tones and a magical theme that merge together well, Rebecca Crunden delivers a well-written tale that might only be twenty four pages long, but it represents hundreds of years of history and lore for the title character. Throughout, the addictive writing style carries a humour that is both fun and perfect for the genre while the imagination is also given plenty of room to work alongside that history and lore suggested here – as the ending promises, that’s the start of the next story!

For anyone looking to be whisked away only for a short time but through some imaginative literature, this is the one for you.

‘Screaming would have been the sensible thing to do; it also proved impossible. Screaming would mean she’d be able to unlock her jaw and at the moment it felt like her jaw had rusted shut…’

5 Stars

‘They Lie Here’ by N.S. Ford – Review

Thrilling and unputdownable with unique themes…

N.S. Ford has masterfully merged the genres of thriller and mystery with the themes of obsession, secrets and music to deliver a layered story I could not put down. There were twists, revelations and even after, there were more unexpected moments in this original and addictive read.

In my first two sittings of reading this I’d already reached the 50% mark and by then I was just as obsessed as main character ‘Kat Green’ who is on a mission to find missing 80’s musician ‘Roskoe Darke’. His band, the aptly named ‘Scorpio Hearts’ have a kind of cult following and through some unique flashbacks/snippets we learn of their history along with the backstory that all has a sinister feel. ‘Kat’ is clever, obsessed and willing to go to extreme lengths for her investigation, even if she does refer to herself in third person often, there’s reasoning behind it and that also reflects the whole story which is cleverly plotted.

During the earlier stages, there is a lot of build as everything is laid out and then the revelations begin. Just like N.S. Ford’s last release, the well-executed twists are becoming a theme or even sub-genre of the author’s work and its definitely something that will keep me coming back. Music is also a key theme that runs throughout the story which serves as a study of how fans and those in the industry are effected by success while also merging with the mystery/thriller elements which makes for a unique unpredictable reading experience.

5 Stars

Weekly Ramble #159

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

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

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

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

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

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

A short read with plenty of literary depth…

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

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

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

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

4 Stars

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

A uniquely emotive and descriptive collection of poetry…

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

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

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

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

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

5 Stars