Red Dead Redemption 2 – Review

A stunning visual spectacle with a truly beautiful story…

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I don’t play many video games these days. My time is valuable and so if I am going to pick up my playstation controller it has to be for a good reason and this year Red Dead Redemption 2 has been just that.

Rockstar have put together a game that is not only a spectacle visually with a stunning looking backdrop of emerging America but they have constructed arguably the best story a game has ever had. The ballad of main character Arthur Morgan is one of a man trying to find his way in a world becoming more and more civilized by the day. Gunslingers and outlaws are becoming a thing of the past and the group Morgan belongs to are looking for that final payday. He’s a real character in a sense that he has a detailed history, believable flaws and even health problems all of which that just add to the realism of a story that is both emotional and beautifully tragic at the same time. The old west can be a brutal place and it spits you out as a player sometimes while also being an immensely rich and a fun environment to play in. GTA of the wild west it is not, although some will say it is, RDR2 is more complex in a lot of ways.

I spent much time doing everything but main story line stuff and even side story line stuff, much like GTA but with less intentions to commit criminal acts, in this game being wanted is a pain in the ass. You can turn your attention to pretty much everything that is interactive in the world. You can craft, fish, hunt and generally just live in the world. Your choice to be honorable or not is always held in account. There are only a few real drawbacks, as a player you have to ride horses quite often and the mechanics of combat can be clunky.

There are some points in the game where this is a truly cinematic experience which is complimented by the rich soundtrack. Galloping along with seven or so fellow outlaws by your side will make it as authentic as the Magnificent Seven or the many Clint Eastwood forays into the genre.

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The characters that join you are one of the strengths that help carry a main story so rich with drama, action, deception and so much more.

For everything RDR2 the one thing it isn’t is a disappointment. I spent five months gradually playing out what is an incredible and sometimes poignant story that at moments brought a tear to my eye. Games are becoming more and more cinematic while also retaining the charm of being a solo experience although many times my better half would happily watch. There is no medium out there like a video game and the satisfaction that comes with it is hard to recreate elsewhere. If anything this sort of thing is an escape from our own world, like all good story telling RDR2 is very effective at it!

9.5/10  – stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Fallout, Skyrim and of course GTA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghost Beside Me Official Book Launch!

Yeah I don’t do lavish book launches… you’re over there and I’m here so unless we do some kind of Skype/LAN party this is as good as it gets!

My 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is officially launched today, with the paperback going live which you can grab on Amazon for less than $5

The e version is less than $2!

I am more than happy to send you a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

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I think we can all agree that Design For Writers have put together an incredible cover! 

Already some well read and well cultured types have downloaded it when it became available a few days previous – shout out to those awesome people! Within hours of being added to Goodreads we already got a review! Thank you to awesome author E.H Night for the rating! 

Review

2019 has been a damn important year for me in terms of interaction. I’ve been acquainted with so many awesome fellow authors and bloggers whom I am proud to call my friend. This book launch is dedicated to all of you who have proven to me that this whole writing journey is worth sticking with!

For those who do grab a copy, remember to leave a review! Peace out, rock and roll man! 

Book links: (I should probably include them somewhere) 

UK PAPERBACK LINK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/171328829X

UK E- BOOK LINK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0825DY6VB

INTERNATIONAL PAPERBACK LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/171328829X

INTERNATIONAL E-BOOK LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0825DY6VB

 If you aren’t UK or Amazon.COM this book should still be available wherever you are! 

I can send you a free e-copy in exchange for a review! Hit me up in the comments! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Sleep – Movie Review

A perfect combination of homage to both Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick…

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Apparently this film isn’t doing well at the box office, that doesn’t mean a damn thing other than that most people probably haven’t read what is easily in my top 5 books of all time.

The movie translates rather well even if the book is of the typical Stephen King epic persuasion; there is only so much you can fit into a two and half hour run time and in all honesty they did a great job with this!

Ewan McGregor/ Obi Wan is perfect as an adult ‘Dan Torrance’ who has spent his life shrouded by the demons that haunted the Overlook Hotel while trying to control his extrasensory gift related to it known as the shining. That is while battling alcoholism; eventually he starts fresh in a new town and that’s when he starts getting messages from another who carries the same ability; enter ‘Abra’ played by Kyliegh Currann who may have actually stolen the show – like she does in the book but in this film more for her performance.

The world of the Shining is expanded via an organisation known as the ‘True Knot’. They feed on folks who ‘shine’ and so it’s up to ‘Abra’ and ‘Dan’ to team up and stop them because the ‘Knot’ are bad guys. This is essentially the plot but we get so much more, Rebecca Ferguson puts in an incredible depiction of ‘Rose the Hat’ and the ‘Knot’ are everything I imagined and pictured.

The last half hour of this film was a pure and wonderful homage to Kubrick’s masterpiece while also being wrapped up in the world Stephen King established. It’s a great sequel full of atmosphere, gripping performances, cinematography and dark imagination. Those who are into horror will enjoy this whether you have read or watched the first story; it doesn’t matter, this one will get ya!

4.5 Stars or 4.5 Here’s Johnny’s….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

400 Followers/ 5th Book Announcement

It’s been nearly a year since I seriously considered walking away from writing and blogging for good. We all have those moments where we question the path that we are on and whether or not it’s ‘worth’ continuing.

The real honest truth is I wasn’t happy with where this journey of writing was heading. You could say it was down to lack of ‘sales’, reviews, followers and even readers; this was especially so after churning out 4 books in 2 years and not having much to show for it. That story telling fire inside of me began to fade.

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Even now I still don’t know what I really want from writing and maybe I’ll never know. All I actually know is that I want to tell stories and that is something I love doing. Even back last year when that fire in me almost died I never stopped writing, even during my most darkest of hours last year, whether it was my next stage play or a book, the truth is, it put me back together in a sense and I did a lot of soul searching. I eventually accepted that my ‘success’ as a writer isn’t actually down to me, it’s down to everyone else, and then came the ultimate realisation;

It doesn’t matter if I ever reach a pinnacle moment of success in writing, I do this because I love it,

and 

If I can’t help myself as an author then why not help others? 

And so I got to work. What started out as an initial plan to review a few indie books in order to get some reviews for my own stuff exploded before my eyes.

People, good people, bloggers, writers, reviewers and everyone else in between started to take note of my efforts. It turns out the answer to all my writing success woes stood right in front of me, don’t be an island and my actual success doesn’t matter. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the creating and now above everything enjoy the words of others! I couldn’t list the sheer amount I have learned from reading fellow indie books!

My motives for reviewing indie books changed from a vain attempt to get more book sales to an unconditional act in supporting story tellers who deserve to be read. On that journey I have found all of you, loyal wonderful followers who are now 400 strong.

To get an appreciation for how much this has quickly exploded, I celebrated 200 followers for this Hall of Information back in March! In that time that following has doubled.

My whole faith in this and all of my creative fire has been restored this year because of people like you. And so it is with that in mind I would like to officially announce my next book release will happen this December. I’ve decided to do this super last minute for a few reasons but the only reason you need to know is that I am releasing book number 5 for all of you; followers, readers, supporters and everyone during this journey that has become my friend. It is you guys that put my faith in this back together. 

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is a totally unique paranormal romance written in the style of a diary that see’s a paranormal sceptic convinced to believe in not only the forces that aren’t of this mortal world but in love also, that is in order to no longer be alone. Whether or not you find companionship in a ghost or a physical being isn’t the point, love doesn’t discriminate, even in mortality. Even if people are ‘gone’ they never leave us. 

It’s kind of a Christmas story as well and in a sense I think Christmas ghost stories are far better than Halloween ones, there’s more of a meaning to them. Although I think it has potential to be incredibly powerful it is quite short, I’m talking less than 15,000 words in length but it’s still a book.  

I promise you’ll be hearing a lot more about ‘Ghost’ soon; this is a completely solo project apart from Design for Writers who will providing the awesome cover art. I am soon going to reach out to a few people for a beta reading opportunity.

To everyone who follows this blog, all 400 plus of you, thank you, rock and roll man! 

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Real Neat Blog Award Nomination II (+ tags)

The Hall of information has received it’s fourth award nomination of 2019!

It truly is an honor to be noticed as a blogger and I would like to thank big time blog-star Megan from A Geeky Gal for the nod. Let me take this opportunity to tell you about what a great blogger she is!

geeky galMegan is the epitome of blogging and without doubt one of the benchmarks that I follow for inspiration . Not only does she blog about all things geek but she also blogs about some very important subjects in the field of self care and mental health in the geek community. Very recently Megan completed a 30 Day Geek out Challenge which not only shows how dedicated she is to blogging but also how similar our tastes are in so many different things! So thank you to Megan for the nomination! 

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The Rules:

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

Questions from Megan: 

1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

That depends of how self assured you want me to be… If things continue the way they are going now then the dreamer in me would like to think things would be pretty good. I’m certain the next decade will probably be the most important of my life as a writer and of course the person outside of those efforts. There’s a big motherfu**ing world of opportunity out there that I intend to go after and that includes seizing every moment I get. A couple more amazon reviews wouldn’t be a bad thing either…

2. Who or what is your spirit animal?

The cliche answer would be Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters but I’ve heard at least two people say the same. I like to be different because I am so I’m gonna say my spirit animal would be the wind. Fierce sometimes and gentle on other occasions. You can’t see it like most spirits but it’s there, always (deep right).

3. What is one thing on your bucket list?

Above all I would love to see my writing make its way to the big screen and then be a success. Most of my stuff is written in a cinematic style and to even see the trailer of something I wrote would be enough to convince me this was all worth it (plus there would probably be tears…).

4. What is your strategy for the zombie apocalypse?

Well I can’t shoot, I don’t like to run (even though I can) and I’ve never really been one to fight so my efforts would sway towards hiding out of sight most probably above ground with some beer and just let the whole thing play out…

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5. What movie/book character are you most like?

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Great question! And right now I have the perfect answer although I may appear to be reaching here but at this point in time I see myself as being mostly like Charles Dickens from the 2017 film ‘the man who invented Christmas’. The film highlights Dickens struggle to pen his most famous, the most famous Christmas story.

Now people are probably thinking how dare you compare to such a literary master and if I told you the true reason why I see myself as him I would be giving all my cards away – let’s just say this year and the festive season coming may have a quite a surprise in store… For anyone who is a fan of Dickens, literature and of course ‘a Christmas Carol’ I highly recommend taking a look at this film!

6. If you could do anything you want for a living, what would it be?

The older I get the more I have come to appreciate the English language. Now I don’t see myself as an academic but if money was no option I would seriously consider being an English literature teacher. There’s a lot of great literature out there that just isn’t reaching the generations of kids in a way it deserves to be recognised, teaching stuff like that needs someone relatively hip and with it; I am both of those things, plus I’ve written books and plays… #morethanqualified – and I mean that without any course to put down any teachers currently out there – you guys rock!

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7. If we were all forced to wear a warning label,  what would yours say?

‘Warning: This writer will use what you say, do or think in a future project. Speak, act or think at your own risk’…

or more realistically ‘keep away from booze’ 

A huge thanks to Megan for the nomination and now it’s my turn to nominate the following for the real neat blog award: 

  1. LillBlu1981
  2. Mullen Crafts
  3. Stoner on a Rollercoaster
  4.  Debjani’s Thoughts
  5.  Christina Engela
  6. The Alchemist’s Studio
  7. Book Steff’s Bookish Blog

And here are the questions for the nominees: 

  1.  If you were to give a TED talk, what would be your specialist subject?
  2.  What is your favourite season of the year and why?
  3.  If you could time travel, where are you going? The past or the future? And why?
  4.  (Stolen from Megan because it’s a good question) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  5.  Name a book, a tv show or a film that you could watch or read over and over again?
  6.  Are you superstitious?
  7.  What do you think is the most important invention of the past 20 years?

 

Of course anyone who hasn’t been nominated is free to participate and those that do remember to link me in the post so I can see those answers! Rock and roll man! Peace out….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Stairs’- a paranormal account

The events relayed in this account are true.

 

There are unexplained moments that happen in our lives. Some remain that way forever in the back of our minds and on the fringes of belief. For the majority, these ‘events’ are far and few between but then again there are some exceptions. My second paranormal experience was just that; an exception to the rule. It also happened to take place in the vicinity of where my previous one happened. I don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to the paranormal simply because of this…   

In the summer of 2017 I joined my significant other, her family and friends on what had become the annual two week trip to the south of France. For those who read my previous account  you’ll know the setting; a picturesque converted farm sitting on the hills of beautiful countryside. It’s remote and peaceful. The weather hot nearly everyday although this year the presence of bugs was way reduced due to a late frost.

Our particular digs like the other years a ‘gite’ which could hold up to 12 and on this trip 10 of us were about to become 12 at the midway point of the holiday when my S.O’s sister and her other half would be joining us. Their room sat opposite ours and my S.O’s in the right hand wing of the place. We had a bathroom between us and little stretch of narrow corridor which then flowed out to the main staircase. This staircase was fashioned out of dark red varnished wood and the steps were separately slotted into the wall. Like I mentioned previously when someone would climb these steps it’s would be difficult to miss with the distinctive wooden ‘drumming’ and vibrations which resonated against the wall whenever they were stepped upon.

On the night before our new arrivals were due I had already gone to bed when I had the rather strong urge to pee. I eventually gave in to those urges and decided to get up, I put the bedside lamp on and made my way to the door which I unlocked and headed out into the dark corridor. At this time the whole place was dead quiet, everyone was in bed by now and so it was dark but the little light from behind me showed the way and so I went into the bathroom, before I walked in I noticed the open bedroom door in front of me where our new arrivals would be staying the next night. The room sat in the shadows and in my grogginess I shuffled into the bathroom and closed the door.

Being half asleep I took the decision to sit on the toilet and during so I heard the distinctive sound of footsteps drumming up the stairs. Was someone up at this hour? The steps pattered on wood as they continued from what I presumed was the ground until they reached our level. I had the distinct feeling someone was rushing into our wing of the gite and flowing past the door I was behind and into the vacant bedroom. What followed was a loud echoing slamming which sounded like what could have been a heavy door closing.

I finished my business and headed out into the corridor. Immediately I put the light on to see nobody in sight. I walked to the stairs to see nobody around. My inspection of the situation pointed towards nobody I knew being around at the same time. That slamming sound, so distinct and even harrowing, I am swaying towards belief that it was something not of this mortal coil.

Some encounters remain unexplained…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Door’ – a paranormal account

The events relayed in this account are true.

 

There have only been a handful of times in my life when something has happened that cannot be explained. Many of us have experienced the same; from the cliche odd bump in the night or the feeling of being watched to even something lurking in the corner of your eye. I’m a sceptic and even after this encounter and another after that, I still am. But to this day it still remains unexplained, so let me take you back to the summer of 2013…

Like the year previous I had joined my significant other and her family on the annual summer trip to the south of France; a beautiful place all year around; in the summer the weather is a hot as Spain and this is accompanied with the forest backdrop that could be England but way more rural.

Our road journey was around 10 hours plus and on this year my S.O and I were joined by some close friends. The accommodation and our home for two weeks would be on a former farm converted into ‘gite’s’ – barns which now serve as self catering holiday homes. Of course with our larger party we were in the 12 berth gite. Located on forest surrounded hills and farms, this place truly is picturesque and remote. All roads leading there are single track and you can even hear how quiet it is; bliss. This is without mentioning the stunning Jurassic Park like views.

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Our rooms were decided upon arrival and so myself and my S.O took the top left area. You can see from the pic above the window in which our bedroom was and this was the left hand wing of the gite. Up wooden stairs and a left hand turn into an alcove half way up would bring you to a narrow corridor which then faces another corridor leading left and right with a bathroom between a pair of rooms. If you were to go further up the stairs instead of turning left it would take you up to a living room area and then moving right would take you to the higher section of the gite and to more bedrooms on the right wing – this is where a pair of our friends took a room each. It is worth noting the stairs which were varnished wood had been installed by way of slotting into the wall; you would have to literally tip toe not to be heard and they made a distinctive ‘drumming’ when anyone walked on them.

After what was a long travelling day, we had eaten dinner and the general mood amongst our camp was good and fun; we were in the usual spirits of exchanging stories, jokes and generally messed around like we always did in each others company. We were on holiday and things were good.

Eventually it was bed time and so myself and my S.O went back to our room and began to unpack our stuff. At this time everyone else was probably doing the same or going to sleep and so silence ruled over the gite for the night.

Whilst I decided not to fully unpack I got myself into bed and as my S.O was considering joining me our bedroom door softly opened. The door was previously closed with a handle that requires pulling to open.

At that moment neither of us were startled and I thought about perhaps yelling an expletive at probably a prankster in the night. Instead I walked up to the door and behind it was nothing but the darkness. Now there was probably enough distance for whoever decided to play this prank to be easily discovered and still I didn’t see a soul in sight. Upon walking out and even getting to the stairs I expected the culprit to be huddling somewhere but there was nothing. Being one of rationale I shrugged my shoulders and returned to bed, this time locking the door.

The next day I quizzed those who I consider to be behind such activities to no avail. To this day nobody has admitted to opening that door. It’s worth mentioning on that night the window in our room was not open and as far as I can remember there was no strong winds or even a breeze outside.

My answer wouldn’t point towards the paranormal until the owner of the place mentioned in passing to one of our party about this particular gite being ‘haunted’; not a lot of sleep was lost as this was mentioned on our final day. The story even developed to be one of a little girl who can be seen around the extensive forest surrounded site.

Because there are so many variables, I spent some time being very sceptical on the matter. We had even returned the next year to the same place and nothing had happened for the whole duration of that trip.

Even though I was slightly wary that next year it wouldn’t be until 2017 when something else happened involving ‘The Stairs’...

 

 

Is Facebook dead?

Who here actually uses Facebook as their number 1 social media platform?

I’ll admit that good ol’ life invader is probably number 4 in terms of social media platforms I exist on. Just last year I spent the majority of December with the Facebook app deleted and the revelation was, I felt so much better for being without it…

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It’s not news that ‘FB’ have been involved in a bunch of ‘unsavory’ activities when it comes to data, our data. Cambridge Analytica happened and this is without mentioning many more speculative activities the social media giant have been linked to all of which links back to our data. Both Trump and Brexit are could be suggested here…

From all of these revelations, I just get this feeling that things are no longer the same. Yes Facebook boasts a huge amount of users but do they use it as much these days? Is the social network just a reanimated corpse walking around with users who seemingly latch on because there isn’t an alternative? Most of us know their history of less than reputable dealings but I take a look around and long gone are the days where most of the people I know put up statuses on a daily basis. It feels like a ghost town, or a mining town where the gold ran dry.

I’ve boasted for a long time that my usage of ‘FB’ is limited to messenger and events planning. That’s probably the same for most of you. My author page sits idle a lot of the time and I probably post something every other week. The real truth is I don’t know anybody who’s Facebook page is their go-to platform anymore.

Out of all the super businesses in the world Facebook doesn’t actually produce anything. They earn money from advertising and they also take a shit ton of our information on a daily basis. Most of the people who will read this right now will be logged in to Facebook and not bat an eye about it. Much like our devices, Facebook is listening, it’s a harrowing sinister thought that for some reason nobody seems to challenge. You ever talk to someone about a particular subject and then that subject appears in a pop up ad on your browser? I suppose that’s the answer when you ask what they are doing with out data.

Fu**ed up isn’t it? And that’s without mentioning the repercussions social media is having on our mental health. The instant gratification and mining for likes generation are soft and vulnerable by their own means. And the generation just before were brought up on the Simpsons, South Park, Little Britain and the Office and they are just as afraid to say their mind because it could offend. This really is a world trying to figure itself out.

Social media has given birth to that new world and I could go deeper but the world Facebook has created could ultimately be its undoing. It’s already began. This is without even mentioning some of the fantastic positives social media has. Most of you reading this wouldn’t be doing so without social media. Some of the people I have come to know at the other end of a keyboard are probably the reason I haven’t given up. It’s a strange old world.

 

What do you think of Facebook? Have we changed or has Facebook? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets talk about the Darke Blood sequel…

I don’t like talking about my books. I tend to go on and on and on… until people change the subject. This post does exactly that but without you changing the subject.

I am ready to talk about the Darke Blood sequel

Introductory ramblings… 

When I decided to seriously pursue my dream of being a story teller I never let anything hold that vision back. You could argue I still haven’t because even after releasing my first book back in 2016 I charged forward and put out three more in two years.

There were a bunch of things I learned; after all I built this whole thing from zero.

Some lessons were painful, arduous and frustrating. But it wasn’t all bad, I’ve seen some real reward which is only coming to fruition this year – my biggest learning curve above all is that things take time and so does success in writing and blogging. I now have some awesome fellow writers and bloggers in my corner. And my audience is the biggest it’s ever been.

Only a small portion of this publishing journey has ever really struck me enough to properly hurt and even then it was during the process of getting book 4 published. Book 4 also happened to be the first sequel I delved into. 

Unfortunately or fortunately for my readers one of the natural core values of my writing is complication. I would even boast to say all of my stories probably apart from The Teleporter are hugely complex. I cannot help but plant stuff in narratives for future story arcs and pay offs which will come further down the line. You could even say I am serial plotter when it comes to writing. Much of the time I live in my own mind putting together massively complicated stories full of detail, history and futures. It’s actually incredible knowing everything or at least the main details of what is going to happen in a story sometimes years before they ever see release. By the time you’ve read one of my books I’m already in the sequel or another world entirely. 

And so here comes the theme of this post. When I essentially started again in 2016 with Open Evening (my debut novel), I drafted that book with a sequel in mind. But before  Open Evening got published I delved into another stand alone book called Darke Blood.

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I had quite a terrible time drafting Darke Blood for a number of reasons.

  1. I couldn’t make the story work
  2. I had bad sciatica
  3. I still couldn’t make the story work…
  4. I had just began a new job which involved shift work…

I now realize this is probably why it turned out so damn good…. The second book is where authors become authors… the struggle is reflected in some pretty epic twists and turns – this was literally me not knowing wtf I was doing…

After almost angrily sending what was probably a quarter of Darke Blood draft 1 into the recycling bin – I give credit to a particular angry gym session for convincing me not to – I had a big time epiphany.

What if Darke Blood; a world where vampires exist, shared the same universe as Open Evening; a world where monsters exist? 

It makes sense and I’m talking big time epiphany style so it was time to get complicated – my comfort zone in writing.

Immediately I began to plot like a motherfu**er. And although Darke Blood is a stand alone story; and stands alone  impressively well (Caitlyn is a pure badass, Blake Malone is a great MC and not to mention Angus and Splint) it also works as an incredible addition to the universe which Open Evening shares.

Are ya still with me? Well let me explain via bullet points:

  • 2015 – Open Evening Drafted – to be sent to my editor in summer 2016
  • 2016 – Darke Blood Drafted – I decide a quarter of the way through it shares a universe with Open Evening. This makes the ‘story’ work…
  • Summer 2016 – I confirm they share the same universe by referencing Darke Blood in Open Evening by way of the final edit
  • Autumn 2016 – Open Evening released – Darke Blood edited
  • 2017 – Darke Blood released – I then draft the Sequel to Open Evening – Cemetery House – I also drafted the Teleporter…  busy times…
  • 2018 – Cemetery House is released

I have left out one major detail from the above timeline: 

2018 – I drafted the Darke Blood sequel – ‘Darke Awakening’ and it sits idle awaiting the day it may see an editor. 

So if you are still here and have trawled through the above stuff I will now finally talk about this post’s subject matter and it’s quite simple:

Just why have I held back in releasing Darke Awakening?

Darke Blood is set in the same universe as Open Evening and Cemetery House. I know of less than 5 people who have read all 3 of these books. 

But, but, but, before I say anything further, there are some awesome folks who have read these books and put out some wonderful reviews and support for them! Seriously thank you.

Darke Awakening is not only a direct sequel to Darke Blood but it is also a crossover and a sequel to Cemetery House. Yep it’s pretty fuckin complex, but it doesn’t mean the whole thing isn’t epic because it really is. The first half of Darke Awakening serves as the sequel to Darke Blood and then it becomes a crossover with Open Evening and Cemetery House later on.

You have to read all three of these books before reading Darke Awakening. 

  1. Open Evening
  2. Cemetery House

 

3. Darke Blood

Notice the gap because as long as you read Open Evening before Cemetery House you are all good in terms of overall order. It doesn’t actually matter when you read Darke Blood…

The problem is, it’s hard convincing people to read one book let alone three..

Reasoning…

The main trouble with all of this is that I decided to make these worlds share the same universe before anyone really read them or even thought they were any good. Now if you ask me, Open Evening; although it is my debut novel; it isn’t my finest hour – younger readers enjoy it more and it is targeted at school age readers – not to take anything away from their taste, they just appreciate it more, it appeals to them more, its based in a high school. It may not be my greatest but I stand by the fact the story is good. It has also been newly edited this year.

I also stand by the fact Cemetery House’s story is good along with Darke Blood’s which is probably aimed at slightly older readers. Without these books I would not be the author I am today. 

So here’s the conclusion. I want to see Darke Awakening get published. And so back to my first sentence of this post, I’ve never let anything hold me back and just because less than 5 people have read all three books in the same series doesn’t really matter. I do this because I enjoy it, I live for the worlds I build and the characters that reside in them.

Anyone who wants to see Darke Awakening happen then I implore you to reach out and tell others about my stuff. I started this in 2016 from zero.

For those who haven’t read any of these three books which are part of the ‘Order of the Following’ series I will happily send you e copies for free. 

Darke Blood will be free to download tomorrow until Friday. My hope is that more demand for the sequel will appear from this promo.

If this all goes to plan, you can expect Darke Awakening to be released this time next year…

 

 

 and even then it was during the process of getting book 4 published. Book 4 also happened to be the first sequel I delved into. Unfortunately   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Edinburgh – a review, part 1

Having recently returned from my travels to Scotland I felt compelled to share with you my experience of visiting a truly wonderful city.

The premise of this trip; to celebrate the fact my brother is tying the knot later this year and so I was in fine company best described as the ‘lads and Dad’s’. In our two night’s residence we made the best of what was a fantastic weekend in possibly the nicest city I’ve ever visited. Here’s a brief highlight style review of some things to do in Scotland’s capital.

After an early start (pre 5am) the majority of our group assembled at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for a 07:45 departure to Edinburgh Airport.

Side note: There is a whole British Airways saga that almost threatened to hamper our efforts for this trip, you shall hopefully see a very scathing review of their very below par customer service of what is not a bad airline or even flying experience; if you can get on a damn flight) 

Terminal 5 of Heathrow is the flagship home of British Airways and although it looks shiny and relatively new, it was busy and overall Airports have no way of looking particularly fancy for what they are. For the first twenty years of my life I did reside a stone’s throw away from the place so my bias is what it is. The terminal’s Wetherspoon’s (A budget chain of UK pub’s or the Walmart of UK pubs) was busy with some travelers beginning their trip with an early 6am beer. Me, I chose a cup of tea and not a lot else. I’m a nervous flyer so I’ll eat if I survive…

With a flight time of less than 60 minutes our time in the air I found to be relatively comfortable and short. We were on the ground again just before 9am, making what would be an 8 hour car journey from London seem a no brainer. Internal UK flights for the win!

Edinburgh Airport to the city Center via tram – 30 min or less

Located only half an hour from Edinburgh city center we made the short walk to the airport tram station and got ourselves a reasonably priced  return ticket (for our way back on the Sunday) for £8 – probably better than any taxi fare it’s as direct as a railway and more frequent (every 15 mins). An unlimited day ticket excluding airport travel is just £4.

tram

The tram system in Edinburgh is new and a spacious relaxing way to travel right into the very heart of this Victorian version of a smaller New York. Cobble side streets accompanied by wide avenues make this city a spacious and spread out gem. It feels like a regional town but has a certain charm, the hustle and bustle doesn’t seem overcrowded. There are large park sized gardens spread out amongst a city which was designed with some real thought.

Princes Street to the Hotel – 6 min walk 

After a thirty minute tram ride we had made our way into the very heart of Edinburgh, with the high placed castle to our right and the main drag known as Princes street amongst us. It has the usual shops and places all high streets do but just on a grander Scottish scale with that picturesque castle overlooking it all.

We made our way towards the newer side of town and only a few blocks over did we find Queen street and our digs for the weekend; a travelodge – cheap and cheerful no nonsense accommodation. Looking over some quaint gardens and a part of Victorian terraced street the hotel is a room only kind of deal but there is no need for a restaurant or a bar because they surround us. The rooms were spacious, clean and simple.

Brunch – ‘Browns’ located on George Street

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Our ‘lad’s and Dad’s’ tour started off relatively civilized and that made for the theme of the entire weekend. ‘Browns’ is pleasant ‘high end’ looking  bar and restaurant that happily took our table for 9 on both this day and the next for an extensive brunch menu that boasts not only eggs Florentine, Benedict and Royale, but there’s also a host of smoothies, vegetarian options and of course steak and eggs!

The service both times we visited was spectacular and we were even given a semi private table tucked away at the back of the place. Located just minutes from our hotel, it was a welcome treat after an already long day.

 

Afternoon drinks – ‘The Alexander Graham Bell’ – Wetherspoons 

Our second Wetherspoons of day consisted literally across the cobbles to this not to large and not too small watering hole where we had a handful of beers. The atmosphere was good, most of the punters were locals in rugby shirts laying in wait or preparation for the day’s game later on and overall this pub was on the better scale of Whetherspoons out there.

Whisky Tasting Experience – ‘The Royal McGregor’ – Located on the ‘Royal Mile’ 

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As Ron Burgundy once said ‘when in Rome’ and the same goes for Edinburgh when referencing to whisky. We found ourselves (as part of my best man organizing endeavors) booked in a quaint compact pub which not only offered a unique whisky tasting experience but they also provided great value for money food. Located in the older part of town and up a partially steep hill (non walkers may struggle) known as the ‘Royal Mile’.

Our evening passed tremendously quick after tasting three types of whisky initially, all from different areas of Scotland. With reference to the map, the tastes and styles vary depending on where they are distilled and created. We then treated ourselves to another three rounds because as Rob Burgundy said…

I  highly recommend this place for anyone looking to get the full Scottish culture experience along with perhaps getting slightly merry for their efforts. Our hosts at the pub were fantastic and hospitable throughout.

And so that wrapped up our first day in Edinburgh, stay tuned for part two where I review a German bier keller experience! 

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