Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ by A.L. Martin

Introducing author A.L. Martin who shares an excerpt from her book ‘Dancing With a Stranger’.

“Remember to act normal.”
“That’s easy for you to say. My whole life as I knew it changed in a matter of minutes yesterday.”
“The more you act normal, the less he will become suspicious that something is wrong. Therefore, he won’t hound you about what’s bothering you.”
I didn’t want to admit it, but Wyatt was right. Gavin would never leave me alone if he knew something was troubling me. He would keep asking me to the point I would give in and tell him.
“Hey, Sunshine. How are you this morning?” Gavin smiled, wrapping his arms around me in a big hug.
“Morning, Gavin. I’m doing okay.” I smiled, glancing at Wyatt, then turning back to Gavin. “Want to come over after school today?”
“Sure. Want me to bring anything over?” Gavin asked, looking down at his phone.
“I can’t think of anything you need to bring. I will text Mom later to let her know that you will be coming over after school. Maybe I can talk her into making spaghetti and meatballs.” I winked.
Gavin went back to looking at his phone while I opened my locker. In the back of my locker, hanging up, was a necklace. It was a silver crescent moon with a circle dangling from the top of the moon. I leaned back away from my locker, peeking around my locker door at Gavin, who was still scrolling through videos on his phone.
“Did you put this in my locker?” I questioned.
“Put what in your locker?” he asked, not taking his eyes off his phone.
I reached into my locker, unhooking the necklace from a hook that wasn’t there before either. “This necklace,” I said as I closed my locker door.
“Where did that come from? I didn’t put it in there. It’s cool looking.” Gavin took the necklace from my hand to get a better look at it.
“What are you two looking at?” Wyatt asked, moving closer to me. “Where did that come from?” His eyes fixated on the necklace in Gavin’s hand.
“Londyn found it in her locker,” Gavin said, holding the necklace up.
Wyatt moved me over a couple of steps closer to Gavin, then slowly opened my locker door and stared inside. I had no idea what he was looking for, and I couldn’t ask him with Gavin standing right next to me.
“Where did you find it?” Wyatt asked, moving things around in my locker.
“It was hanging up in the back on that hanger,” I said, walking around to the other side of him. I leaned in closer to him and whispered. “What’s going on, Wyatt?”
Wyatt leaned back, glancing at Gavin to make sure he was still looking at the necklace. He put his mouth right next to my ear. “It’s a witch’s necklace.”
I leaned away from him, staring into his emotionless eyes. He backed away from the front of my locker, his eyes shifting from side to side.
“Can I see the necklace, Gavin?” Wyatt asked.
“Sure. Did you give it to Londyn?” Gavin asked, handing the necklace over to him.
“Yeah,” Wyatt said, giving me a quick nod. He unhooked the clasp, then walked behind me, lifting the necklace over my head. As he hooked the clasp, he whispered in my ear, instructing me to play along. I lifted the necklace up as I looked down to get a better look at it. I noticed that the circle had two tiny crescent moons facing the opposite direction.
“It looks good on you,” Gavin said, putting his phone in his pocket.
I lowered the necklace back down. “Thanks.”
“If Sam is here, we have to invite her too,” Gavin said, closing my locker door for me.

This is an excerpt from ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ which is part of the Londyn Carter series by A.L Martin. The next book in the series will be released very soon!

You can find more information from A.L Martin on Twitter , Instagram and Facebook.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.

‘Sex, Violence, Mars’ by Walrus

A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…

Ginger is a care free bounty hunter on a mission to Mars where he finds himself getting into more trouble than good and his story is exactly what the title suggests. Even if this tale feels a little brief the science fiction world building stands out and the themes are captured well in this setting. Life is cheap, there’s sex and violence on the surface of this red planet and our cynical hero sees it first hand near enough everywhere.

The setting is paired with a writing style that I found to be executed very well – its a very easy read with some fun comedic elements. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and along with everything else this short book makes for a good read. For what starts out as a slowly paced introduction of this well imagined world soon picks up and is constantly moving forward much like the pages which turn; I was able to read this one in just a sitting.

Ginger is likeable and makes for a different type of hero. It would appear trouble and unpredictability follow him no matter where he goes. His final destination, we’ll have to find out next time as the story ends on a cliff-hanger.

Anyone who enjoys space sci fi with some adult themes will enjoy this one.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Ramble #103

The stats are the greatest they have ever been for this blog. This month for the first time we broke the 2000 view barrier. Driven by consistent creative content and a loyal readership (you) this Hall of Information is reaching greater and greater heights by the day. Its almost like things are aligning all of a sudden although it has taken a long time to reach this point.

Any worthwhile venture takes time and this blog’s eventual success has proven that. From the initial launch all the way back in 2014 to the many different steps its taken. All of this has been governed by innovation and by that I mean the sheer will to find new ideas that work in reaching readers. Offering book reviews turned a corner although that took at least a year to establish any level of notoriety – only recently have I had to close submissions. And now the next step is upon us.

You can expect even more diverse content as a new era unfolds for this Hall of Information because more and more guest writers are submitting excerpts and articles. We are at a point now where the next two weeks of guest spots are fully booked which tells me we are doing something right. The best way a blog can grow is to produce more content and content that is diverse. I am now outsourcing some of it because only one man can write so much. In the next few weeks you’ll be seeing posts that will hopefully elevate the creators and keep you entertained. My aspiration for the future is to create a network of blogging where more and more writers contribute while also benefiting from the exposure of this blog’s following which is constantly growing. This has been further galvanised by an engaged and responsive Twitter following and I hoping to bring that here.

At the very forefront of this blog is book reviews and author support. That will continue because it is the centre pillar of everything to me only now it will be accompanied by a lot more content that hopes to help others further and inspire readers. We are always looking for new ways to entertain and inform the awesome supporters of this blog and so that next step beckons!

Submissions are still open for guest posts which has now been extended to sharing excerpts of books. Got an awesome first page or a memorable scene? We are happy to feature it here in front of an awesome growing audience. Head on over to the submissions page for more information.

Question of the Hour Presents: Author Neil Christiansen

Hello friends, today I present an awesome ‘Question of the Hour’ interview by a fellow author and blogger.

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I present you with the latest victim of my random questions author Neil Christiansen.

‘Neil Christiansen has a way with words and imagery that pulls you into the gritty underworld of Chicago, in his modern noir thriller Dark White. Dynamic characters finding their way through the gray landscape of morality. Hold on it’s quiet the ride.’ -My Review of Dark White

Why do you write?
Everyone asks this question and I don’t really understand it. I don’t think people ask singers why they sing or bricklayers why they lay bricks. I write because I’m compelled to. I have stories in my head and they belong on paper. I hope people read them and like them, but even if they don’t I still have to write them.

What do you get out of it?
At the moment I get pride and my own satisfaction. I also get grief from my family…

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Weekly Ramble #80

Hello friends, today I am re-blogging some reflective thoughts I had last year after realising they were going to demolish my old high school. The difficult years I spent there made for inspiration for my debut novel Open Evening which will be FREE to download next weekend!

Lee's Hall of information

They are going to knock down my old high school. This is a fact that I have recently learned which is both bitter and sweet at the same time for me. This year has presented many opportunities for deep reflection, time on our hands will do that and it’s sometimes important to revisit things with the eyes and mind you’ve grown into.

Many people over the years have relayed or recalled their school days as either mostly positive or straight up terrible while others stand somewhere in between. I’m still processing today that the school I went to and the experiences I had may have been of the worst possible persuasion.

The truth is, that place took years for me to fully recover from. During those years after, I came to realize that there were normal people in this world that you could mostly trust, share real conversations with…

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‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley – Review

A well-thought-out pacey tale of the times from a promising British author…

Pestilence is an extremely well thought out story with an accurate outlook on the events that lead to the collapse of society through a pandemic. For some and in recent times that might feel a little close to home but this book carves a new and different path while acting as a social commentary. The vessel in this scenario is the emergence of a fungus which is the resultant of a warmer climate – a reaction to how we treat this planet. Every major moment that unfolds is covered by Susie Kearley who tells this story with a unique overview style that keeps the events moving and homes in on the reactive details even if things move quickly – this pace works for the genre giving it a page turning flow.

The emergence of a wonder drug ultimately leads humanity on a downward path of addiction and excessive consumption with eventual side effects that become incurable. Its humanity not learning from the past on repeat over and over again as we see the medical system downplaying this emerging threat through lack of knowledge and then being overwhelmed. There’s a theme throughout of vicious cycles where the government or even society fails to take note of a very real threat all caused by our species.

a toxic culture of unhealthy living, a reliance on pharmaceutical drugs rather than health living, destroying the planet and allowing the pathogenic fungus to thrive…”

The story is told via a wide array of characters and from the very beginning they live their way through a well imagined and ultimately important case study about our nature. We see the elite taking from the less fortunate and with force – more social themes that ring true and echo to our reality. This world we live in is fragile and our attitudes will be probably be our undoing. A threat emerges and those who survive it perhaps leave further generations doomed to live through something similar and that’s probably the most powerful message of all.

5 Stars – A rollercoaster of a read with a powerful message. Reviews left via Amazon, Goodreads and BookBub.

Weekly Ramble #102

I’m starting to enjoy the whole author social media thing. Twitter engagement has really come into its own over the past few months and my audience seems to be growing by the day. Books are selling and reviews are coming in, not just for The Teleporter but other titles as well. I’m tempting fate by acknowledging my success especially because I said at the very start of this year it was going to be brutal.

I guess if you stick at something and get some experience it eventually pays off. Got to keep going, keep chasing and keep creating – that’s my mantra in recent times and its paying dividends. People are drawn to success and much of this is in the eye of the beholder. I guess perception is part reality although I cannot ignore the statistics which are glaringly phenomenal right now. 2020 was the first full year I had 5 books to promote and they say things turn a corner after 5. While taking the pandemic demand for content in my stride I’ll say that things turned a corner and now the bar is continually rising. A year after that stride, things are going from strength to strength. I’m in a place I wanted to be.

People seem to listen to what I have to say now. That tweeting into the void of invisibility has fallen away. Now my tweets get like by several people, sometimes over a hundred. From where I once stood that’s an incredible feat on its own. I’ve carved this ‘success’ out of helping others and continually producing content while never giving up.

This was always a long game and after a while if you turn around there’s a whole bunch of road that has been travelled. I guess time flies when your kicking ass, especially when you don’t realise you are doing it.

Binge-worthy Netflix Documentaries

The truth is, I watch a lot of documentaries. And Netflix seems to be churning them out these days. Most of us are still staying in mostly so now is the perfect time to spend an evening engrossed in true life stories of crime and even murder. Here’s what I’ve been binging recently…

‘Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer’

Apart from being truly terrifying, the ‘Night Stalker’ is an engrossing and ultimately chilling story of one police force and their race against time to find a murderer, burglar, kidnapper and rapist who will just not stop. While I would love to spill the beans on the who and what, I’ll leave the spoilers to one side because this account that features interviews, archive footage and of course re-enactments that place you in the San Francisco Bay area during the mid 80’s. You’ll live through the ups and downs of an investigation campaign that was hampered by politics and press.

‘Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’

If you like more tangents than high school trigonometry then this is the documentary for you! This one focuses eventually on the shady past and present of a downtown Los Angeles hotel while also trying to get to the bottom of one woman’s disappearance and then resulting investigation that goes into it. There’s a bigger picture based on the impact of do it yourself investigators online basically interfering and figuring stuff out for themselves. It’s not a smooth watch as I said it goes off on various random tangents to fill time seemingly. This all could have been done in an hour max – but saying that I still binged it in one sitting. I didn’t like the former manager either.

‘Challenger: The Final Flight’

What does NASA stand for? Not A Straight Answer… truthfully space travel captivates me and this doc I zipped through in one sitting. Here we see the story of the fateful Challenger disaster where a crew of astronauts, some civilian, killed in what probably could have been avoided. The production value is through the roof (just watch the intro) along with the effort to tell a story that will probably make you a little angry and thinking NASA are probably dirtbags. It’s worth a look.

‘Murder Among the Mormons’

Ah the state of Utah, home of the church of the latter day saints – that’s Mormons to the less knowledgeable and this very recently released documentary is kind of about them while also being about someone who ultimately exploited them. That’s all the spoiler I can muster but after some high stakes exploits and even some bombing, you’ll be surprised at who was behind it all in what I perceived as a genius but wholly evil attempt at trying to make money. The interviews are the true gem in this one as their accounts take you back to the 80’s and tell all in a series I watched all in a sitting. It’s only 3 parts so don’t sweat it and I thought it was worth a look!

Well that wraps up my recent watches on Netflix, what have you been binging recently?

International Paperback Giveaway – The Teleporter

In celebration of The Teleporter reaching 100 Amazon Reviews I am giving away 2 signed paperback copies!

To enter: All you need to do is head on over to Twitter and comment, like and retweet my pinned tweet to officially secure your place in the running!

If you are chosen as a winner, you’ll need to provide a mailing address. This is an international giveaway which means I’m happy to send these books basically anywhere. The winners will be announced on Twitter next Saturday ( 27th March 2021)

Thank you for the support over the years and what an incredible achievement it is to reach 100 Amazon reviews!

Weekly Writing Inspiration #32

Its Friday and we’re back for some more meme related fun. Let’s dive in!

The most 2021 Meme so far…

Why aren’t we funding this?

I was there, in the 90s also…

Spotify, every damn time….

Ha, this is so accurate

He was the man!

I’ve never felt so truth bombed…

Even as a writer I used Excel. It rules all…

Well that wraps things up this week. Thanks for the support as always loyal followers and casual scrollers. See you in the next one!