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!

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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: 

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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!

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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..

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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? 

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Darke Blood – FREE To Download Right Now!

Book Promo Activated!

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Darke Blood is FREE to download today and tomorrow! The sequel drops this September check out the trailer here…

Grab yourself a copy of Darke Blood here…

Blurb:

The Order of the Following Series.

“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”

Blake Malone is in search of a new start and arrives in the remote forest town of Darke Heath. The memory of his past mysteriously becomes a blur as he discovers this place isn’t what it seems.

Malone shares a romantic encounter with a woman named Caitlyn and she reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’. He learns of her story which intertwines with the history of the ‘Heath’. Together they must face the evil forces of vampirism and witchcraft that await them in the Darke forest.

But just who is Blake Malone? That’s something even he must fight to discover. Because ‘you’ve never known true darkness…’ 

 

the order symbol (weathered with title)

 

Other books in the series: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Order of the Following Series by Lee Hall

They live on the fringes of society chasing and fighting the horror of what lurks just beneath the surface…

Their symbol opposes evil.

There are five corners to a pentagram.

Five corners.

Five stories.

This Pentalogy is governed and connected by those who look to expel evil from this world.

They are The Order of the Following.

These stories stand on their own but they are also linked….

the order symbol (weathered with title)

1. OPEN EVENING

Embrace the unexpected….

A story of survival of what lurks underneath the fringes of small town America. The sole follower arrives and leads an unlikely group…

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‘Twister pointed to a small pentagram tattoo on her inner arm. Over the top was a more prominent tattoo of a crucifix. He then revealed the exact same mark on his arm…’

2. DARKE BLOOD

You’ve never known true darkness…

Vampires and the occult world; two pillars which are linked to the story of Open Evening while also cutting its own path through the lightless void…

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‘Our following could benefit with more like you two. I shall give you a day to think about the choices you make. If no, then the sun’s power awaits you.’

– a man named ‘Hudson’ (Mayor of Darke Heath township) 

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3. CEMETERY HOUSE

Survival was just the beginning…

The lone Follower Twister is no longer a solo Warrior. His newly assembled group look to find answers about the evil that lurks below. Their story becomes aligned with the occult. They learn of Twister’s origins and the ‘book’…

‘Dreads gently took out a large leather-bound book from the felt bag. That was the first time I saw the symbol. You know, the pentagram with a crucifix over it…’

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“If I can see you. They can see you…”

4. DARKE AWAKENING

Embrace the true darkness…

Everything you thought about these stories is going to change. There has been an awakening in Darke Heath and so the fourth corner appears….

The characters of these stories will collide in an epic cross over full of revelations, action and the occult. 

Creatures, witches and vampires will collide!

It’s time to embrace the true darkness! 

COMING SEPTEMBER 2020

The order symbol with books lightning

 

 

 

 

 

 

3000 Tweet Machine Followers Special!

Celebrate the small victories in life, or in this case quite probably a big one because my tweet machine following just surpassed 3000 and that’s an achievement!

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This special post is two things:

A thank you, a huge tip of the cap sized thank you. Seriously if it wasn’t for the Writing Community and Blogging Community this wouldn’t have happened, and everyone else who has joined me since 2013 – cheers…

And…

How the hell did I do it? 

(A self help seminar that will help you get more tweet machine followers…)

Pull up a chair my friend and let me tell you how I did it. Now some of ya’ll might have way bigger followings than 3k but even if you have more this is some solid and proof tested advice for tweet machine success.

Apart from stumbling my way through a series of trials and errors there is a formula to getting people to support you even if it is ‘just a follow’. These ‘just follows’ eventually total up to something much more and so here’s what you got to do…

  1. Get yourself a human looking profile picture. People like real people. It’s genuine and honesty is probably the key to all of this. Don’t hide that pretty face of yours…
  2. Bio – Be honest, be friendly, tell the world what you are about and what you stand for. Be inviting and convince folks you are likely to follow them back just out of politeness…
  3. Pinned Tweet – You must have one of these. Again it needs to show what your jam is and what you stand for. My current pinned tweet is asking the writing community for book recommendations and so it’s a celebration of what I stand for. It’s also okay to have your blog link, or your own book link – celebrate yourself!
  4. Engage productively. Every day I consistently comment on other folks posts with something friendly and productive or something I can contribute with. I also Like and Retweet that post – trust me this is huge for engagement and people will follow you for it!  
  5. It’s okay to unfollow. You want to keep who you are following and people who follow you in the same ballpark. Try and keep it even and folks that aren’t relevant, just unfollow them…

Everything else, is up to the tweet machine God’s to decide.

But just be genuine and friendly – that’s what social media should be used for.

Profile Picture, Bio, Pinned Tweet, Engage, Consistency and it’s okay to unfollow. Remember these steps and you’ll be on your way to Tweet Machine success! 

 

Peace out, thanks for following, rock and roll man!

The stories that inspire us – PlayStation 2

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…

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It is the most successful gaming console to date and this week twenty years ago it was released; apart from the wave of some readers probably muttering ‘Oh god I am old’ this is a fantastic piece of history to celebrate in gaming and I was lucky enough to be a kid at the time… 

158 Million people owned a PS2 with the original release coming out in Japan on the 4th of March 2000 – the rest of the world would have to wait until later on in the year and me, I got hold of one after spending all of my 13th birthday money in 2002. To this day I still remember shopping around finding the best deal which came from the now extinct (in the UK) Woolworths.

Having been very lucky to own its predecessor PlayStation, like all kids I wanted the new thing and so that fresh plastic smell dominated the living room as I opened the packaging and set it up. The very first game I played was Medal of Honor: Frontline – which was a tribute to history itself while also nodding to the Spielberg epic ‘Saving Private Ryan’. A group of us crowded around the living room television while it took us away to artillery fire and allied soldiers on a beach in France. I have always embraced the imagination of where a game takes you and this was history.

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PlayStation 2 had a lasting influence on my life and even now as a writer its still inspires my stories. Back then I had all the time in the world to play but not a lot of income so new games would be sparse and arrive via birthdays and Christmas. I could always rely on a service which doesn’t exist anymore: Blockbuster video game rentals… The race would be on to complete a rented game in the handful of days I owned it and many many times I succeeded but again with a small crowd around the screen.

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Red Faction shaped my science fiction writing….

Not only did the games of PlayStation 2 shape my writing influence they also played a huge part in introducing me to the music I would come to align myself with.

These were still the days when parents overlooked age ratings on games and by Christmas 2002 my uncle gifted me possibly the greatest PS2 game ever and not for the reasons you think.

Yes the story was great and the whole production was amazing and Grand Theft Auto Vice City is indeed an incredible playing experience but for me it was a gateway to rock music.

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Bands like Twisted Sister, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Megadeath, Motley Crue and Tesla would blare out of my room while I cruised along Vice Beach – this was my safe haven and back then rock music was bullying material at school. That music paved my interest into the bands I listen to today and without out it there would be no Rock and Roll man!

Looking back on this era of gaming, it truly was a golden age and I’ve only mentioned the tip of what is a huge iceberg of games, so check out my favourites below….

Do you have any PlayStation 2 memories?

Image result for gta san andreas Image result for half life  ps2 Image result for spiderman 2 ps2 

Image result for wwe smackdown shut your mouth Image result for metal gear sons of liberty Image result for dead to rights ps2

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The Band Director’s Lessons About Life: Volume 1 – 50 Parables on Life’s Performance Cycle by Donald Lee – Review

An inspiring array of modern life lessons told from experience with a spiritual outlook…  

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From the opening pages its clear to see that Donald Lee is a tenured teacher and has used his many experiences to create what is a gem of a book about so much in life with music/performance teaching being the theme.

It consists of short parables that present readers with insightful lessons on many different subjects ranging from time management, knowledge, belief, having fun, performing, forgiveness, failure and so much more (50 in total) – all of which come from the authors time spent teaching band. Every parable begins with a quote from an inspirational figure and closes with a reflection that galvanizes the lesson and an overall insight on each subject. The main insight is spiritual growth and this book will help you look towards being happier, peaceful and successful in whatever you tackle.

There are a heap of self help and spiritual type books out there that cater to certain subjects but this one you’ll find has mass appeal across ages, beliefs and walks of life to provide spiritual insight on ourselves and others. It’s inclusive to anyone much like music and teaching. Everyone will find something to relate to in this book that has meaning and inspiration because we are all in the big band of life together!

‘What you seek is within you, not without you…’

5 Stars – I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you to the author for reaching out and providing a copy in exchange for a review – all thoughts are my own! Reviews left via amazon and Goodreads… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘I Am Not Okay With This’ – Mini Netflix Review

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This was an exceptional mini series! So much so I felt compelled to pen a pint sized review just after watching the dramatic finale episode and trust me it was both dramatic and a little graphic!  

On the surface ‘ I Am Not Okay with This’ looks like a ‘Carrie’ parody but think of it more as a sophisticated, funny, slick and modern version of it with the volume turned all the way up.

Led by Sophia Lillis of IT 2017 fame is fantastic and carries what is a great diary style story of a young high school girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers amongst her struggle with the many problems of recently loosing a parent. The whole deal unfolds in short manageable episodes leaving you wanting more – this one has got classic Netflix binge-ability written all over it. Another familiar face from ‘IT’ Wyatt Oleff brings the sometimes laugh out loud but endearing comedy of the MC’s love interest as they journey through teenage angst of not fitting in and discovering themselves.

From detention shenanigans to the typical teenage parties this short series manages to pack in one hell of an image that modern kids have of school and their individual struggles. It’s fun, powerful and immersive!

For anyone looking to watch something a little different, check it out! The soundtrack is great also!

 

Do you have a Netflix rec?