The city of Edinburgh – a review, part 2

A conclusion of my love letter to Scotland and the city of Edinburgh. And so my second day in the city consisted of two activities…

 

Escape Reality – the No.1 Escape room in the world!

I’m not sure if Escape Reality is the no.1 escape room in the world but it is certainly good!  Located just a few tram stops from the city’s central Princes street we then made the short walk to Fountainbridge.

esca

Our party of 9 were split into two and we were given a choice of two escape rooms out of 6. Of course the crew that I captained chose the ‘Nosferatu’ game, me and Vampires kinda go hand in hand, or hand in stake shall I say. (pause for laughter…) The other crew headed up ‘Machina’ a ‘terminator’ style themed room.

nos

Once inside we were tasked with a game of figuring out vampire families and an eventual way to a ‘cure’ via several rooms that opened upon finding various different clues and cracking  locks. Mind your head when examining some secret cupboard doors because they may fling open into one’s face!

There was even a clever game involving words which a wordsmith like yours truly somehow cracked. Eventually we found our way into ‘Nosferatu’s’ lair and armed with a stake we slayed that motherfu**er! Overall the room was of medium difficulty and our team working together finished just two minutes shy of the time limit. 

Escape rooms are an ever growing popular concept that I highly recommend, and Escape Reality were great hosts! They boast to have game locations in the US, UAE and India!

And so our sights set themselves onto the main event of our short tenure in Edinburgh and it involved beer!

Frankenstein’s – Bier Keller Experience

20190907_193044

‘The world famous’ Frankenstein’s is a three storey themed bar that was pretty damn awesome. We had booked the basement bier keller experience – an Octoberfest style set up in Scotland? Trust me it works and along with an awesome three course meal we all had ourselves a 1 litre stein of beer (we had to pay separate for this) and one stein will set you back around £8 so it isn’t that bad in terms of pricing seeing as a pint in the UK costs north of £4 these days… so it was worth it!

Overall the service was great and we were well looked after. Frankenstein’s is a unique place and even the walk there was quite picturesque via the hill and past the Royal mile. For anyone looking for an interesting themed bar I would highly recommend this place!

 

Final Thoughts on Edinburgh

What a great city with an awesome vibe. Considering the short time we spent there, I guarantee I shall be returning as there is a lot more to explore. The castle would be something I would have loved to of seen but time was of the essence. If you are flying from London, its literally 50 minutes in the air. My top tip would be to watch out for the return flight if you are using Edinburgh airport, it gets busy on a Sunday!

20190906_085258

 

 

Advertisements

IT Chapter 2 – Review

Derry, Maine – 27 Years later – the ‘losers’ club reunite to take on the horrors that haunted them as kids in what is probably the most anticipated film of 2019 and guess what, they didn’t fu** it up! In fact there are several references to not liking endings throughout what is one hell of culmination and personally, enough to cap off one hell of story…. 

it

Pennywise has risen and the film opens with reference to the pact which the loser’s club made to face him if he would ever return. The story then begins in ‘present’ day. Things start off quite brutal and really are a sign of what is to follow. This time the whole deal felt more psychological as opposed to physical horror, I would even hazard to guess everyone’s favourite clown has a severely reduced screen time compared to chapter 1 but his appearances were consistent and carried impact just like the man who plays him Bill Skarsgård.

We are introduced one by one to the ‘club’ who are now adults, and the players they have assembled is probably some of the best casting in modern cinema. They really have put in efforts to find people who not only resemble the kids but their whole personality and chemistry together is something that I found a pleasure to watch. It’s funny and meaningful without being over emotional or even cheesy. These kids went through so much and you feel it as a passenger on this roller coaster ride.

They assemble and a journey begins to find a way to kill Pennywise for good. Each of the now grown up kids has to find a ‘token’ of their past and use it to destroy the threat of the present. It’s a clever way of metaphorically saying ‘we beat it before, so we can beat it for good this time’. Chapter two not only references the masterpiece that was Chapter one but we are taken back many times throughout showing scenes that weren’t in the first. It fills in the gaps while all the more adding a lot more weight to the already detailed story.

It nostalgia and familiarity of the present day rolled into one; a perhaps original concept that makes this film flow and you forget about running times entirely. I’ve kept this review vague because Chapter two really is worth a watch. It’s a compliment to the first and so much more. The characters, the visuals, the jumpiness and everything else. Stephen King is a master story teller and it is films like this that do his work justice. You may even see him make a cameo briefly…

10/10 – Must watch for anyone who has seen the first, if you haven’t go now! 

Weekly Ramble #43

And so the final words of Jack Thorn appear on the horizon. What stands before me is still a mountain of a task but behind me is 100,000 plus words drafted of a story that I originally created fifteen years ago; the first attempt came out with 40,000 words, I guess that’s the true reflection of how much I’ve grown over the years much like this book which will change science fiction – I suppose one can dream… 

This book and it’s contents I carry with me, everywhere I go, I have done since I was a teen so why did I decide to write this now?

Jack Thorn is and always will be home to me, it’s my dream book, the one I have always wanted to read. This year has been hard, I knew that from the onset, and so because I moved into my own place I needed something to make me feel at home, and I’ve decided now to that this attempt is justifiable by the fact I’ve learned how to write and tell stories by simply doing that.

I care so much about this story that I was willing to put it to one side and delve into other worlds so I can hone this craft I now have before me. I wanted to be my very best for this tale and it’s been a long journey and even now I have battled to carve a path I mostly already knew, it just needed to be updated, polished and adapted to today’s standards.

The full title I have now chosen and will reveal in time. Hopefully by the end of the month ‘Jack Thorn’ would have been drafted. I said next year’s plan I would be querying, but I will probably be editing for a long while.

The ultimate question you probably have is what’s the premise of Jack Thorn? Like all of my stuff it appears as one thing but is actually a stack of different things – right?

Jack Thorn is a science fiction epic about robots in the future. But it’s really about; friendship, family, war, prophecy and above all humanity. From what started as quite simple story has spider webbed into a epic mess of a story and journey of darkness, action, fun, emotion and destiny.

After all these years this dream stands strong, every single word of it…

The Windsor & Eton Brewery Tour – Review

Breweries are a popular and ever growing concept in this day and age. Long are the days gone where bars and pubs sold the one ale by one major brewery. Competition fosters quality in any market and this is particularly so in the beer industry.

windsor

“There’s a beer out there for everyone,” and that’s a statement I now believe as said by ‘Willie’ our somewhat personal tour guide of the cosy Windsor and Eton Brewery; a place where new beers and new ideas are in constant supply along with the a flow of the obvious. Located a stone’s throw away from Windsor Castle and even closer to the river Thames; the unassuming building is tucked away amongst terraced housing in what could be any street in the UK; except on this street something special is happening.

Upon walking through the wide doors of what looks like any modern bar which for a Saturday afternoon was quite busy and full of friendly locals watching the Rugby; this could have easily been mistaken for a living room if it wasn’t for the well stocked gift shop area and of course her majesty’s coat of arms as the brewery has very recently been appointed as the official royal brewer.

20190817_171010

Past this welcoming threshold is the brewery itself in what is compared to most industrial units on the smaller side but the space is used effectively, not only is this where the whole process of making beer takes place but an extension of the bar area with wooden tables and actual used barrels for seating. In fact the place where they usually fill the barrels is empty this afternoon as a live band will be setting up for the evening creating a unique atmosphere.

Our group arranged in a horseshoe are treated to an informal and personal account of the process while of course being generously gifted with samples of Windsor and Eton’s finest; this is along with sampling the main ingredients that make up the brew -hops; all of which are in different stages. It’s insightful and interactive with plenty of opportunity to understand the whole process while you also have a chance to taste some great beers.

The Windsor and Eton Brewery have been in operation for 9 plus years and have already made their mark upon the south eastern area of England; their wide array of choice has even attracted the likes of notable celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal who stocks his restaurants with their product. For anyone looking to do something a little different whilst visiting the home of the Queen I would highly recommend you pay a visit for what is a value for money, insightful, informal and fun experience.

windsor brewery

The Lion King – Review

A visual spectacle where the show is stolen once again by two familiar characters…

It’s hard to deny that the Lion King is a tale of epic Shakespearean proportions, after all it’s ‘Hamlet with lions’ but the story has appeal to all ages and Disney continue to do that clever thing where they adapt a previous release into live action. This concept is near enough a solid strategy for selling tickets to the young and old and yet again it’s worked in that respect but a live action adaptation that involves just animals; does it really deliver?

My answer is yes and no, because I can’t deny visually the cinematography and computer generation somewhat merge into an impressive spectacle. Much like when Jurassic Park came out most people found it hard to determine when they had used CGI and not. The same is for the Lion King and although it looks great it feels like a certain dimension of the story is missing with this choice and I am talking about emotion.

Yes these are animals and they express emotion differently and in a cartoon you can make a lion frown or smile but when it’s appearing as ‘real life’ the concept is kind of lost. This is even more so apparent in musical numbers where emotion is the real key to delivery.

I’m not a film critic so that’s the subjective part out of the way because overall I enjoyed the Lion King – I avoided the animation for a many years because its quite sad in parts and the same is for this version but the story is about redemption so I dig it. The voice acting can’t be faulted along with most of the musical numbers – it seems ‘Be prepared’ was mostly omitted disappointingly… but everything good about this new version is what makes it worth seeing. It was pretty rewarding to see some scenes exactly how they were in the animation, a fitting tribute for this new live action way. I really liked how some of the characters were created visually; Scar looked exactly how an outcast lion would – dark and ominous and who wouldn’t mention Timon and Pumbaa – two characters who stole the show yet again and their comedy made the whole thing! Of course full credit to James Earl Jones who reprised his role as Mufasa from the original.

You’ll laugh a lot as well as find some of the film emotional in what is a brave execution for Disney leaving some audience members still unsure, but if you ask me the Lion King gets 8 ‘Hakuna Matata’s’ out of 10 

  

Pilot

It has been 5 years since the Hall of Information opened it’s doors. Here’s a look back at the first ever blog entry. A nod and a thank you to everyone who has supported this; old or new!

Lee's Hall of information

It’s that moment, much like when you watch the first ever episode of a TV show you come to love years later.

Where it all begins, a wild eye medical intern called JD passes through the walls of a daunting hospital known as sacred heart. Or that moment a cartoon layabout and accidental time traveler meets a well-known robot bending unit, unaware he has just stepped into a suicide booth.. Yes I am referencing TV pop culture because apparently it’s appealing. I pity the fool who doesn’t use pop culture to entertain, ok I’ll stop now.

Many of us have those favorite shows we watch over the years but never see the pilot. We will have that eureka moment when we realise why something is the way it is. That is of course if you are lucky enough to be around for the first episode. For you this is that…

View original post 1,201 more words

Red Headed Book Lover: A warning to Authors

An important re-blog and a warning to authors looking for reviews. Seeing as my following is a lot higher and this is my most read post, I thought I would share it again…

Lee's Hall of information

Unfortunately we live in a world that is rife with the dishonest, and this is especially so in the Uber Democracy known as the internet. A place without any real regulation. I intend for this blog entry to act as a service first and foremost to my fellow wordsmiths who have delved into the world of publishing, independent or not, it is with great importance I come to you with this.

warning

I don’t see other writers as competition but as fellows where we are all trying to convince the world our words exist. And it is our responsibility to look out for one another especially when our ultimate integrity is threatened. I use the word threat because what we do takes so much work and only a select will understand what that truly means, but for everyone concerned with writing books I have to do my duty for our industry. 

View original post 779 more words

Real Neat Blog Award Nomination!

The Hall of information blog has been nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Jaycee Lynch of the Thinking Moon Blog!

real neat

In what appears to be my most important year for writing and blogging things just get better and better. It’s an honour that a blogger as renowned as Jaycee would think of an operation like this and so a huge thank you to an awesome fellow blogger and important member of the writing community.

thinking moon

Seeing as one of the only things I am good at is manners I shall take this opportunity to tell y’all a bit more about the blogger who nominated the Hall of information. The Thinking Moon Blog is a plethora of adventure into the written word. From sustainability, to interviews, music and various immersive writings, it’s the pinnacle of what a successful blog should be. Plus we’re both huge fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so it’s safe to say we’re cultured individuals with aligned tastes. Jaycee has been a huge supporter of my work and is one of the helpful few who have allowed me to reach the many.

So what does the Real Neat Blog Award nomination mean? Well there’s some rules which are:

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

Ah right, I think I got this… so here are the questions provided by Thinking Moon that I shall try my best to answer in a fun, witty but clever way…

1. If you won a Grammy for any genre of music, what would it be? 

It would most probably be for a musical album, no joke. If I were ever to enter the music industry it would have something to do with my writing getting me there. I’ve always played around with the thought of converting one of my sci-fi stories into a full on musical. Just imagine being in the cinema watching some epic inner city battle between robots and humans; then they break into song!

2. Who is your favourite villain(s) from any universe?

There is a stack of awesome bad guys out there but so many of them are missing that final piece of a nearly complete puzzle – beliveable motive. In the comic book universes especially; a big bad will normally show already being bad and it just feels one dimensional.

dent.PNG

I don’t have a specific bad guy that I am fond of but my favourite in terms of journey, motive and all around reasons for being bad is Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent from the Dark Knight. Here we see a man who is good and wholesome, but the world his character interacts with has turned him into the villain he becomes in the latter stages of the film. He is a creation of the environment around him and actually sees sense in aligning himself with the anarchy of the Joker. This also moves us to a pretty awesome segway into question 3…

3. What was your all-time favourite Halloween costume or cosplay you’ve done? Pictures please! 

I was literally asked the other day by someone; do you remember Heath Ledger’s Joker from the Dark Knight?

joker yeah

Way back when, before the aging process set in, I looked a lot like Heath Ledger (apparently… I didn’t just go around saying this to everyone) but you got to admit; that picture above, I can confirm is me at the London New Years Day parade, does look a bit like Heath’s joker.

nor con

4. What’s the weirdest trend you’ve ever partaken in? 

In the age of the internets there have been a huge amount of flavour of the week fads or trends and in all honesty I don’t usually get myself caught up in such things, I live under a rock most of the time, but even I couldn’t resist the urge to play…

flappy bird

Now considering I am a bit of technophobe/ can’t be bothered to keep up type of person, this game had me hooked!

5. What Movie/ Play/ Game soundtrack is your favourite?

If I want to be consistent with question 1 then I’m going with a musical soundtrack. The Greatest Showman is possibly one of the best modern musicals for a very long time. Nearly every song is catchy and meaningful, plus for Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron reasons.

showman.PNG

An honorable mention must also go to my top Nightshift listen ‘Once more, with feeling’ the album taken from Buffy’s famous groundbreaking musical episode!

once more

6. What was the best thing, before sliced bread?

Although sliced wholemeal does appear frequently in my diet I will have to say the best thing before they decided to sell sliced bread would have to be books! I wasn’t around when they first decided to slice bread but I know for a fact they were slicing pulp into pages way before! Although I am kind of obligated to say books (being an author and all) I have to show my support for the literary industry as a whole…

cropped-boooks.jpg

7. What is your favourite inspirational quote? 

I actually have two which come to mind. Both from films that have influenced me:

robin quote

Of course I couldn’t just leave a Robin Williams quote without saying how much his work influenced and filled my childhood with awesome memories. Even into to adulthood I learned to appreciate his comedy, energy and presence. Robin Williams was truly a wonderful performer who left us too soon.

doc

Back to the Future is my all time favourite film and the series isn’t far behind. No matter how many times you go back or forward in time to change things and no matter how much time you think you don’t have; you future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one!

Nomination time

Fellow bloggers I would like to nominate and acknowldge for the Real Neat Blogger Award are: 

  1. Debjani – Debjani’s Thoughts
  2. Blair – Feed the Crime
  3. Bookshelf Q Battler – Bookshelf Battle
  4. Irene – Irene Pylypec.com
  5. Christina Engela – The Crow Bar
  6. Sifar – sunilmdabral
  7. Michaeljordahl

Questions for the nominees

  1. From all the books you have read, name one you would have loved to have written and why?
  2. What was the subject of your very first blog post?
  3. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you had any paranormal experiences?
  4. Do you have a go to music album or vocal artist you have always listened to?
  5. In a few sentences how would you define blogging?
  6. Have you ever had a hero you’ve looked up to?
  7. Are you a believer in luck? Tell me about your luckiest moment in life?

 

Thanks for reading and of course thank you to Thinking Moon for thinking of me with the nomination. Rock and roll man!

Bookbub Featured Deal Promo Results

Yes fellow scientists, the results are in! Even though most of us aren’t actually scientists we shall adopt their method of recording the findings of all experiments and these include book promotion efforts. 

As most of you know The Teleporter was selected by book bub to be featured for 1 day and advertised at a discounted price in Canada, UK, India and Australia. Here are the results of that deal.

The figures: 

The Bookbub featured deal cost: $86  

Here are the results: 

teleporter sales

On the day of the promo The Telporter was downloaded 62 times, I also picked up sales for every one of my other books making July 1st 2019 my best ever day in book sales

I even managed to shift 2 paperbacks! 

Outlook for the future: 

Even though the figures were high they weren’t enough to tip the profit scale, but that’s okay, I an indie author, profit is a rare thing and I’m in the business of getting my stuff out there, money will come later…. And it’s still early because here are the KENP reading figures

kenp

This graphic shows people reading the Teleporter for 7 days straight, another groundbreaking record! 

numero 2.PNG

Over in the Canadian charts The Teleporter peaked at Number 2 only being bested by the audio book of Good Omens! If there were a few more sales at that time it probably would have reached numero uno but I’m taking second to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett!  

Final thought:

Was it worth it?

A resounding yes. Next time and I hope there will be a next time I am going to ‘stack’ my promotional efforts by using other book promo sites at the same time. You can check out a list of those here in my nifty book promotion 2019 guide

Either way The Teleporter which 2019 is becoming the year of, got out there in all 4 of the countries it was advertised. Of course these are the results only a week after the promotion, so the long term results are yet to be apparent. I’m hoping to see a few more reviews and hopefully some more sales.

Tip of the cap to everyone who grabbed a copy of the booziest hero out there!

 

 

Toy Story 4 – Review

A fun, emotional and sometimes laugh out loud film that finds the true meaning of purpose and life…

ts

There are many sequels out there that never live up to the heights of their original, many try to recapture the magic of the first and there are even some that just re tell an old story.

Toy Story 4 achieves way more than any of it’s previous installments in what is a true masterpiece of storytelling. Now some of you are probably wondering what else is there left to tell other than just remapping of old ground. Well in this film the word purpose is explored in a deep and somewhat emotional fashion. Toy Story 4 is not just a fun action packed adventure, it’s a deep look at the purpose of life and its beautifully done.

Just what happens to a toy when its owner no longer wants to play with it? You can find out by watching this film. Its a combination of nostalgia and something new; a concept many sequels barely achieve. Woody embarks on a journey of reflection while doing what he does best; caring for other toys and trying to be there for his kid; along the way he finds the truth and although its sad, it’s kind of liberating and heroic.

The concept of Toy Story is such an original and fun thing. It has captivated generations of kids including me who saw the first one at aged five, I was blown away then and I am now by the fourth. On more than one occasion I will happily admit I was moved to tears during this film; the triumphs, the drama, the comedy and the reality of purpose this film conveys caps of what is a wonderful series of imaginative stories.

The animation looks real, something I noticed straight away. Pixar have done an awesome job in putting together the epitome of emotional story and childhood all rolled into a fun film!

You’ve got a friend in me….

5 Stars –  A must watch for everyone who likes the series…