The measure of success…

Exams aren’t the only way to measure success,

I should know because I’ve faced that stress.

 

It isn’t about where you are now,

More like what’s next and how.

 

Find your passion from politics to art,

All that matters is that you start.

 

So what if you didn’t make the grade,

Over time the bad feelings fade.

 

What happens next and what to do,

Now that is something which is up to you,

I survived that tale and made it through,

So if I could do it, so can you…

 

 

Shout out to those receiving exam results today. No matter the result I always thought it was bullshit to have the apparent weight of the world on your shoulders especially as a mid-teen thinking those results would shape the rest of our lives. As scary as they made it sound, those results didn’t shape my life, everything else that happened afterwards did. Everyone finds their own success in the end… 

 

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The Weekly Ramble #1

I’ve been inclined to start a weekly article called the ‘ramble’,  a place to take my writing and more importantly opinions of stuff that 3 novels and counting just couldn’t contain…

Everyday I find myself scrolling through social media, playing the proverbial game of bingo spotting the usual bullshit that fills up our timelines and stories, yeah I’m in that crowd, but normally I share stuff because it might enrich someone or at least make them aware of my efforts as a writer, it could even make someone happy.

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Us human beings have and always will be on the hunt for instant gratification, hell I’m sure that’s what the ‘gram’ is named after, a basic extension of life invader or Facebook as you all know it. An opportunity to create blatantly planned and set up moments… back to that game of bingo, I see a full plate of food with a pair of sunglasses and maybe a book. The only thing missing is the phone which should be face down, just eat the damn meal and read the book instead, nobody really cares about your average life. People emptily like the picture probably because it’s better than the one below it, of that person telling you how good and full his life is when really deep down that post is aimed at an ex and so again I stamp my bingo card.

You can define the social media user by two crowds, the constant posters and the ones who hide but are always watching. The watchers will say they’ve had enough of Facebook and will probably deactivate their account when they get round to it, or in fact they have just returned from a three month stint of that blank profile picture, you’re not fooling me, you are just the same in nature to the constant posters, you need it, for the gratification and because it’s still there you return.

I mean I am no saint when it comes to social media, of course I probably over use it, I am human after all, and my weird journey as an author wouldn’t be what it is without that. Success as a writer and on social media echo each other in the same bipolar way. Take my latest novel, The Teleporter, a super hero type comedy with a hell of a lot of relation to this modern world, it’s anti Trump, and sometimes pro booze. There are so many things in that book that make it unique, despite that and all my marketing efforts, it sold less that 20 copies. Bipolar right? Or maybe bad timing or maybe nobody is interested unless it’s Marvel or DC, or so many other theories, I think maybe the cover has something to do with it, not that it’s bad, I think it’s wonderful, but is there some kind of primitive dislike for a certain colour or font? Because whenever I put that cover up anywhere on social media, the likes and attention are seriously reduced. Is it the title? Weird huh? and you should see for yourself, it’s probably the most interesting outcome I have had for a book, it has simply been rejected.

Now rejection is something we all need to embrace if we want to use social media, people wont always be there to like your stuff, and people that do without fail, are they liking the content or the person? Rejection may as well be my middle name when I began this journey into the words, I still have the rejection emails in the hundreds via the inbox of a time not so long ago.

I continue to process why the Teleporter has seemingly failed, and I say that in the least dramatic sense, I know some have read it, but not a lot, and it is still very early to really gauge the success of it. How I process this stuff is simple, retreat into writing, keep churning out content across genres, I’m holding hundreds of darts and the target is somewhere ahead. As long as I keep throwing, some day the I’ll make something stick….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Teleporter: World Exclusive Blurb Reveal

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What if there was a power like no other? What if one drunken slouch stumbled where nobody stumbled before and discovered the ability to teleport!

And just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…

Kurt Wiseman spends his days underachieving and his nights quenching a thirst for drink. He doesn’t fit the standard bill of someone looking to battle injustice and certainly has no aspiration for abs. That is until destiny calls upon him to face an all too familiar sounding mega-rich powerful businessman who represents everything wrong with society today.

Wiseman accidentally acquires the power to teleport and realizes he must fight a politically loaded story arc as well as enduring a journey of self-reflection by overcoming his greatest weakness, booze. Even if the path is filled with comic book cliché, inappropriate one liners and genre busting fourth wall action. Kurt must earn the trust of his friends and save the day.  

Not all heroes in this world are the same and with great power comes the possibility to go viral! This is a story that will unite humanity.

 Kurt Wiseman is… The Teleporter!

Out now on amazon in paperback and e-book formats! What are you waiting for? Go…click here… 

 

 

 

Big Book Update 2018

2018 is closing in on the horizon and I find myself asking where did that year go? Time flies when your kicking ass and writing books. But these days blog posts are rare for me due to my procrastination efforts and my philosophy of no news equals no blog.

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Of course I could find something to vent about, like the deteriorating political situation in ‘insert nation here’ or how ‘insert maniacal world leader here’ will get us all into a nuclear war. It’s safe to say I prefer not to debate and voice opinions of such things, I find most news tiresome, especially when most of it is bad, I’m not ignorant, just selective. All bad news aside, I must say 2017 has been incredibly diverse for me in terms of success and writing efforts.

Earlier in the first half of this year we saw the release of my second novel Darke Blood in which sales are still trickling by and even some fresh reviews have made their way in. The feedback overall has been good and my efforts to publish this book have been very much worthwhile.

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Open Evening had further success by reaching Number 1 in its Occult category on amazon and sold over 600 copies in a day (it was free to download at the time!).

Soon after DB’s publication and before I got to work drafting my next next book. I say next next because 2018 is a huge year for me.

 

2018 will see two books of mine grace publication. My back catalogue this time next year will increase to 100%! (that’s just maths…) 

So what are they? Well scrolling down past this post you will see my announcement post for CEMETERY HOUSE; the sequel to Open Evening and also linked to the Darke Blood universe! Exciting huh? Click on the picture below to view the teaser. We are looking at a Halloween release for CH.

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So what’s the other book?

Soon after finishing the inital draft of CH I needed a much needed light hearted break away from horror/thrillers and so I got to work on a comedy novella called, wait for it….

THE TELEPORTER; a super hero comedy type story. I am looking at an early April release date and more importantly over the last week I have been in contact with my awesome book publication team and I can confirm…..

both Satin Publishing and Design for Writers will be on board to publish/edit and create an awesome cover not just for the Teleporter but for Cemetery House also!

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My next step will be to let my loyal readers know official release dates which will turn up sooner than you think! Hashtag creepy wink!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing my next book; The Teleporter

Just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…

My next book’ The Teleporter is officially out now in both paperback and e-book formats. 

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What’s it about?

Some of you will have seen the official announcement via my FB page and you can see a snippet of it below.

This book is predominately a comedy with fourth wall breaking elements and a genre aware story telling style very much seen in Open Evening. But is also a departure from horror and moves my work into a more lighthearted area of reading. Having written comedy only once before for a live action play I am already having a lot fun putting together the pieces that will make up a promising project.

Why ‘super heroes’ ? 

The main character of the Teleporter will tell you very early on that ‘super’ and ‘hero’ are both dirty words in his story and to me they are also. Even though they describe the genre to an extent this book wont be the standard guy trying to save the world. Cinema and television are inundated with comic book hero types and there seems to be no signs of that slowing down anytime soon. Both Marvel and DC are juggernauts in producing these stories which seemed to be unlimited, taking that into account and the success of more comedic swaying stories I have decided to make my own.

The Teleporter is a character I have explored before and it didn’t really get very far. After producing other books I have found some more material and background for this story of a guy who can teleport and that’s about all. Back when I devised this character I did it because there doesn’t seem to be someone who can just teleport, it is a pretty useless super power which will just add to the comedy.

The influences are many in the Teleporter; Deadpool and Hancock come to mind along with Kick Ass and even the Hangover. This is an internet age hero who finds himself no choice but to fight for what is right in a situation.  That is even if he has a slight drinking problem.

You can catch the Teleporter on Facebook and even like his page for support, so check it out.

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Author Self Interview: Lee Hall pt2

Hello and welcome to the second part of my author self interview series. Today we cover book reviews, the ten year anniversary of the Christ Benoit murder suicide tragedy and a whole host of indie author questions…

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How important do you think book reviews are for an indie author?

Reviews are a doubled edged sword when it comes to books. They are very unique to any other product available on amazon simply because most of the reviews critique or praise the writers efforts. Clothes, electronics or even medications are reviewed for whether they fit or even work. Books really are unique to review as a product.

So do you think people have read a review of Open Evening and then decided to buy it? 

I would like to think so, even though a very small percentage of the people who did buy my first book left a review. So even though I am thankful for the praise and kind words I don’t take reviews massively seriously.

What are you currently reading? and is it important that a writer must also find time to read? 

Dragon Teeth by Michael Critchton and god yes! If you ever want to get better at every element of story telling you must read and then read some more. Our minds are constantly growing and books feed that growth. With reading you take something in as opposed to writing which works the opposite way!

How are you marketing yourself as a writer currently? 

I like to stay relatively active on social media and do try not to just talk about my books. When possible and if I have some material I like to blog. If I have watched a new film or TV show I may review it or maybe even whatever political situation is going on in the world right now. The first rule of selling books is not talking about selling books…

Being an indie writer means that I probably doesn’t pay the bills. So what do you do for a living? 

I work at the very forefront of cutting edge experimental science. My job involves working in the control room of a particle accelerator in Oxfordshire for the STFC. It’s a pretty cool place and there’s always something interesting happening or another challenge arising from science. I started out as an electrician and then moved into engineering which now nods towards physics, pretty cool right?

Feature Question: Lastly this week has seen the 10 year anniversary of the suicide murder case involving WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, what are your thoughts?

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Benoit (right) with his signature flying headbutt

Well where do I start? Back then I was a huge huge WWE fan! I was still a stupid 17 year old kid but even back then wrestling was everything to me. Chris Benoit was and still is to me the pinnacle of what a successful wrestler should be. He worked his way up for years and only really got rewarded later on in his career. I related to the guy because like me he was only 5’8 but he was tougher than anyone in that ring. Seeing him win in the main event of wrestlemania 20 was pretty special then some years later all of that went away.

Back then I used to record the WWE shows on a small vhs combo TV I used to plonk down next to our actual TV. So I had already watched and recorded the Sunday event where Benoit was scheduled to show up and face CM Punk in a championship match. Of course this never happened and obviously the events that unfolded at Benoit’s residence were tragic and horrific. He took his wife and son’s life before committing suicide himself.

The news broke initially with WWE officials not really sure what to do as the truth was still unfolding. So I put in the tape of Monday night Raw to see an empty arena and even stranger a tearful Vince McMahon. The context is previously McMahon died on screen in a story line which due to the events just got dropped. He spoke about what had happened with Chris but not to any detail. At that moment my heart sunk and everything felt distant for some time,  I was even numb perhaps. I knew back then wrestler deaths were common but a top guy like Benoit was a deep wound to the industry.

The three hour show that night displayed Chris Benoit’s best moments and it even contained some interviews of current WWE talent. Some of which were cagey and may could have actually known the circumstances, I remember both John Cena and William Regal holding their cards close to their chests. Little did anyone know this would be the last mention of Chris Benoit on WWE TV ever! They literally deleted him from the history of their company but for good reason.

It’s scary how quick time can go and I cant believe it has been ten years since the Chris Benoit tragedy. WWE changed that day. The investigation revealed Benoit used a lot of steroids, had some bad brain damage and had domestic issues with his wife Nancy. I guess we will never really know what happened over that weekend but my guess is the combination of lots of things caused this.

Soon after in WWE a new drug wellness policy got phased in. The next year they went PG and never looked back, they look after their talent a little more now but that doesn’t ever change what happened 10 years ago.

 

 

Author self interview: Lee Hall

Today see’s the beginning of a new series of posts called ‘Ask the author’. I will be interviewing myself about all things books, writing and being an indie author…

 

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Lee Hall 

How long have you been writing for? 

Since around the age of twelve I started putting together stories on an old window’s 98 computer. Seeing as I’m in my mid to late twenties that’s quite a while…

So it sounds like you’ve known for some time this is what you have always wanted to do. How successful have you been as an indie author? 

Well success as an author or success at anything in life is in the eye of the beholder. In terms of statistics I have sold around 100 copies of my books combined. In terms of money, I haven’t made anything near what people perceive. But then again I am not in this for the money. To have a few people take a selfie of my book and leave a few reviews is enough for me to grant a project successful.

What are you in writing for? 

To immerse people into worlds as I have been as a reader. There is no greater theater than the human mind. Books really do rule and they help the human imagination grow.

You currently have two books published, could you describe the both of them in three words? 

Open Evening – Teenage Terror Chase

Darke Blood – Vampires Witches Identity

What are you currently working on? 

I have been drafting two projects so far this year. The first was just a bit of fun and can be best described as a vanity project, whenever I am in between books I delve into it but I’m not telling you what it is just yet.

The second project I am currently drafting is the sequel to Open Evening! I am 80% through draft one of Cemetery House with a view to publish in 2018! For those who follow me via email I will be looking to send out sample stuff to followers!

Both Open Evening and Darke Blood can both be considered as horror or at least thriller in genre. Is there any other genre’s you would consider writing in the future? 

Hell yeah! I am currently putting together initial plans (in my mind) for a comic book style super hero comedy. This would be a novella or at least a shorter novel, so watch this space!

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Darke Blood and Open Evening by Lee Hall 

 

What advice would you give an aspiring author in terms of marketing a book? 

Start talking about your book now! Tweet, Facebook status and blog the hell out of it. Of course don’t shove it down people’s throats, be cool and subtle. The greatest way to sell a book is via networking and word of mouth. Get people talking online and sharing stuff, a good support network of friends will help to kick things off. You can read more on marketing in my resources section here

 

And that’s the first part of my self interview, thank you for reading and of course if you have a burning question get in contact and I will feature it along with an answer next time!  

What’s next for Lee Hall…

I agree the title of this month’s final blog entry is a little self centered but you have to be that in order to write a blog. It’s all about the me apparently and so my second book release has been and gone, sales are still trickling in bringing it to around 20 units sold so far.

My conclusion right now is yes Darke Blood has been a success for an independent author like me but right now I have done all I can to market the book. Much like Open Evening or any book; real success takes investment of time and along the way I have learned a hell of a lot. And now I even have a back catalogue, groovy right?

So what is next for me? Well as an independent author I mostly have control over what I plan to release and what I want to work on next. The turn around time from finishing a draft to publication is around a year or maybe less depending on the quality of the story and availability of editor/publisher/cover artists.

 “Good ol’ ‘CH'”

Yes for those who are aware of the ending of my first book Open Evening (I wont spoil it, that much), it ended with a nod towards where the story was going to go next. The word Cemetery House in all it’s damning glory was mentioned in the final pages and yes that is what I am currently drafting at the moment! I guess that’s an exclusive scoop, of course I will announce that officially when I am ready. But let’s just say I am around 30,000 words in.

Darke Blood 2?

All I can say is read the first one, then we’ll talk about a sequel! Review it and let people know about it. And yes Darke Blood and Open Evening are connected in a way or two.

A super hero comedy book!

Back in 2015 when I decided to drop the series of books about robots in the future I came to a proverbial fork in the road, I was either going to write Open Evening or try having a go at a comic book style hero story. At the time I had more story to go on with Open Evening and so I wrote it, over the last few years I have gathered some ideas of how to make this potential super hero book work, so watch this space.

Acting? No I was just asleep..

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I have been taking a break as of lately in terms of all things stage, and by that I mean all things Iver Heath Drama Club. My efforts were needed towards Darke Blood and IHDC’s current production nodded heavily towards giving their youthful demographic a chance with some big roles for their up and coming show Peter Pan! So naturally I thought it was appropriate to step back for a while and maybe recharge a little.

Right now I have every intention to return to the stage for auditions in the late summer for the next IHDC pantomine show; I hope I still have something relevant to offer in my forever hopefulness of getting a larger role this year, we shall see.

Iver Heath Drama Club presents Peter Pan tickets available now online! Support local live entertainment! 

 

And remember every writer needs reviews for their work, if you have read either of my books, be cool and leave a review!

And here are a few highlights of social media from the week… Click on them and they take you places!

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My New Book: A Retrospective

May has arrived, and for me this is the biggest month of my writing life! Darke Blood arrives in a mere few weeks so this entry is a dedicated retrospective of all things Darke. I will be talking about the story, the inspiration behind it and of course my extensive attack based marketing plan which is already in full swing! This is Darke Blood, a retrospective look.

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 My first real television hero in life was female. Many of you will know whom I am referring to but before the days of the Avengers and the seemingly endless tirade of cape wearing redemption seekers there was Buffy Summers. One of the very first female leads in television that was perceived as strong and later on independent. This might not appear a big deal today but we still have a very long way to go in terms of diversity in all forms of storytelling,  although cliché does have a big factor to play in that but so does society.

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Joss Whedon created Buffy with a view to flip cliché and embrace the quirky differences many of us have. The real horror in a world of vampire slaying wasn’t the demons coming out of the hell mouth below the high school, it was the high school (something I used in Open Evening). A clever and different story followed from this premise with the introduction of a character orientated story and the ever important humour that brings it away from any real darkness. As the high school in Buffy crumbled so did the change of horror, now it was surviving college and struggling to date someone who’s actually mortal. Eventually it shifted again with adulthood becoming the real theme of Buffy, either way the characters had each other to deal with whatever life faced them and that is above all what inspired me to write stories, the resolve.

After finishing my first published novel Open Evening, there came a decision I needed to make. What next? Very quickly the genre of vampires and witches came to mind, but there were two reasons for this. Firstly I had always wanted to do vampires just to pay homage to my favourite television hero and secondly, these stories still sell and are arguably more popular than ever. If you look at TV and literature, in the last decade there has been more than one big time vampire or witch story . So to me this seemed like the perfect idea to step into.

I’ve already shared the somewhat painful drafting process Darke Blood I went through so I wont dwell on it but there was the question of what exactly does it pay homage to? Well, stories speak to people in different ways, go ahead and read a book you’ve read before, give it a few years and your perception, mood and current lifestyle all come to play in how you perceive it, sometimes it will even change.

As I have read through Darke Blood after the several edits and of course the back and forth with my editor, I think I have finally grasped what it’s about and what it really pays homage to. That being strong female lead characters and our need for them even more so today.

Hence I have come full circle in life, from sitting in front of the TV as a 12 year old kid on a Thursday night, to writing my own take on Buffy. And if you ask me Darke Blood is so much more than homage to a TV show which broke boundaries back in the day.

But isn’t the main character in Darke Blood male?

In essence there are two lead characters in Darke Blood one is male and the other is female. But throughout the narrative our female is the stronger and somewhat a leader, but it isn’t about breaking down those boundaries because Buffy did that, this is about that concept working alongside with the other.

What set’s Darke Blood aside from other stories of the same genre?

Well this book doesn’t spend the whole time paying homage to Buffy, it has an independent identity and my own take on vampires. We are all led to believe that vampire stories have to fit into a certain set of rules, rules which have just been there since the Van Helsing days. You know, using garlic and having to invite a vampire in. Instead of these tales of folklore, why not add a little science to vampires? Maybe even define vampirism as a disease which in fact could one day be cured. What if there was a blood substitute, after all it’s a chemical right?

Same goes for my take on witchcraft. If you break that word down, you are left with ‘craft’, so what if there were different particular crafts? Again I used the science route to redefine and somewhat invent my own version of magic but strictly keeping it close to a reality where this stuff could actually be possible.

Both vampirism and witchcraft are just sub-themes, as much as they are unique selling points that give the book it’s rounded appeal, the main theme of Darke Blood is identity. Main character Blake Malone soon finds conflict within himself as the realization comes apparent that his memory seems to be blocked. Along the way of trying to resolve this conflict he discovers the forces of vampirism and witchcraft accompanied by some very special nods towards Open Evening. I will say no more.

How are you going to implement Darke Marketing?

My first book was always going to be a trial and error experience. Many lessons were learned and a lot of stuff came up that I probably should have done but wouldn’t have been aware of unless I took the plunge into publishing (if you get what I mean?).

In terms of marketing as an independent author I am pretty much the General or architect of my own success. But social media is the king of book sales and so my efforts towards it have gone up tenfold this time.

What I have already done

Teaser Trailer

This was my first experience of making something like this and to be fully honest it looks okay. The whole idea of this trailer was to get the name out there and of course the release date. Over 700 people have viewed it so far, and if I can convert even a small percentage of that figure into sales then we shall be off to a good start. I even had some good people share it which is always fantastic so thanks to those that did.

Emailed my subscribers/ people I know who would like the book/people whose email I have

Yep if you’re lucky you may have an email from me in your junk box. This sort of thing is imperative to get the word out early. Loyal friends are great way to get in early reviews and get the ball rolling. Sign up now by following this blog with your email address to receive future stuff for free.

What will you be doing?

Book cover reveal blog post

Book cover reveal FB post

Book cover trailer (Maybe)

Facebook online launch event – invite people to share the link

Going live on FB- Maybe a Q and A if anyone actually cares (maybe)

Facebook Advertising

Goodreads exclusive UK giveaway

Ask some peeps to guest blog on my site

Incite people to take a book selfie – this really sold books last time

Press release to local and national press

Instagram posts (something that is book related and not just booze or food)

Email my loyal followers – sign up on this site today to receive future news first and even exclusive pre sale content.

So as you can see I have a huge list of stuff planned. This month there will be all hands on deck from me to give Darke Blood the best chance it has of being a success. I do hope you can join me, this story isn’t just about vampires, witches and identity. It isn’t just about a homage to Buffy or female lead characters. It’s about all of them and so much more!

Next Book Release Date Confirmed…

Yes you read the title of this post correctly! I officially have a release date for my next book Darke Blood.

Things are getting pretty busy around stately Hall manor right about now and most of my efforts are now pointing towards the official release date of Darke Blood which is….

Thursday May 25th

Of course this hasn’t been a journey of solitude and again I have a wonderful book team; both Nicky Fitzmaurice of Satin Publishing and Design For Writers will be reprising their roles in helping me bring an awesome book to you.

Another huge member of my book team is you, my valued reader whom I do this for. Open Evening was a huge learning curve and somewhat a success, none of what I have achieved in writing would be possible without my readers. Thank you all for the support, likes and follows. Together we are a successful unit of independent publishing.

There were many times throughout the drafting of Darke Blood where I thought it wouldn’t make it as a book. Truth is this one was hard, really really hard. But I got through, mainly due to the support of my wonderful readers and people of Facebook and twitter. So here I stand just under a month away from another book release.

I have just put together a short trailer for the book which can be seen via my Facebook page, something which I didn’t do last year, even though I probably should of. My marketing strategy for this one will indeed be more detailed with giveaways planned and of course another book selling selfie movement which I will be forever thankful for.

So what’s Darke Blood about you ask? And is it a sequel to Open Evening?

My short answer to the sequel question is no, sort of. This is a standalone story set in the same universe as Open Evening. If you read either when they are both available you will see they are linked with the view of an eventual crossover of stories. Darke Blood explores the occult and witchcraft along with one of my all time favorite things, Vampires, which seem to never go out of fashion. This is my own take on the above and is a little different.

So what’s it about, well here’s the blurb….

‘There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.’

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

Malone shares a romantic encounter with someone who reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’ and 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 lay 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…’

 

Darke Blood arrives on the 25th of May in both paperback and e-book formats!!!