Lost in a Quatrain: Poetry Anthology by Adiela Akoo – Review

An interesting, thoughtful and meaningful array of great poetry…

lost in a quatrianLost in Quatrain is wonderful collection of poetry that covers a vast range of theme and subject matter from race, culture, political and faith with pretty much everything in between.

Through the many poems; all of which range in length and structure the reader is taken on a journey that resonates the sometimes poignant or meaningful recollections and thoughts of Adiela Akoo. Many of them are short but still carry a powerful message while others are longer, from a few lines all the way to a few pages there is pretty much everything a poem should be in this book.

‘Coupling’ is definitely a poem I could relate to as a creative and of course I have to mention ‘Whiplash’ for it’s unique structure. I found the humour in ‘Drunken Man’ along with a great appreciation for ‘Race with the Wind’ amongst many others

For anyone who is a fan of poetry or has an open mind to it I highly recommend this book.

5 Stars – Disclaimer: I was provided with a free e-copy of this title in exchange for a review, thank you to the author for providing that copy!  

9 Reasons why you should read Indie Books!

I’ve read 9 indie books since the last time I did a wrap up post. So consider this a review of my reviews and here at the Hall of information we pride ourselves on promoting authors of all persuasions especially indies! So here goes with 9 reasons why your next read should be indie…

Prophecy Girl by Ravin Tija Maurice reads like a crime mystery, and is mostly a crime mystery but eventually the reader is taken down the rabbit hole and that abyss is shared with Vampires!

prophecy

As quoted from my June review ‘the ideas of realistic crime being fused with magic and vampires is an odd but unique pairing. Author Ravin Tija Maurice has obviously worked hard to execute this and has done so by way of a well written novel…’

The news is that Prophecy Girl has a sequel and so the story of main character ‘Camille Bishop’ continues with ‘Believer’ which is out now!

Next up I took on a series of shorter stories which are all part of ‘The Night Audit’ Series by Bruce Knapp. These quick fire fun tales follow Zach as he takes on a new job as night auditor for a hotel. He finds himself in a range of situations from the straight up gross out hilarious to the baffling and strange. I thorougly enjoyed each one and here are my thoughts on them:

So it begins -A fun and intriguing but very relatable short story…

so it begins

Nights of Hell – Working nights can mess with one’s head…

nights of hell

Guy’s Night out -A hilarious account of one drunken night out…

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The Phantom -Strange happenings in the Stay Over-Nite hotel

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Dirty Lawyers -Fun gross out comedy…

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Next up my reviews of the ‘Quantum Series’ by Christina Engela continued when I read ‘The Time Saving Agency’ which is the second book in the series.

Quantum Series #2 - The Time Saving Agency 2019 - FrontI thoroughly enjoyed this story which fused elements of time travel to the already established quirky futuristic universe that Engela has constructed, referring to my review here’s what I said:

‘Christina Engela has created a story that follows not only a similar concept of the previous entry into the Quantum series but one that fuses those ideas with something completely different and original. Written in a way that sometimes tributes Terry Pratchett, yet again readers will find this story quirky and clever with a style that confides in the reader.’

These stories also take a big step towards positivity for the LGBT community by being unclusive to characters of all persuasions but it’s done in a manner that gives the subject a level of normalcy; something that is needed today! Plus there’s a talking plant, it’s pretty awesome. I shall be reading the next story in the series very soon!

Next up comes a book that probably has one of the most unique premises I have ever seen and read; I am talking about The Good Audit by C.P Aiden.

good auditAs quoted from my review it’s ‘Enjoyable, clever and original’ but what exactly is the Good Audit about?

‘C.P Aiden has put together a story that on the surface appears to be about the trials of auditing and finance but in fact it’s about everything else that comes with the territory. This book is so well written and concise you could argue it’s use as a teaching aid for the profession and I mean that in the highest regard even though I am layman to all things finance I found myself able to follow and enjoy everything that was happening.’

I haven’t read anything like this book ever and you don’t have to be knowledgeable in the subject matter to get it. All you have to do is read it and find out. There’s something in this book that everyone can relate to from the world of work.

My final and 9th read but by no means least comes in the form of a truly addictive and very readable story called ‘The Four Before Me’ by E.H Night.

the 4I took me around 3 days to finish reading this story which follows the new girl in town trope but becomes so much more. My very recent review quotes:

‘The Four Before Me leans a little towards cliche but it works in an original way that keeps readers guessing throughout. It’s the late 80’s and Alice our main character; moves to small town ‘Wintersburg’ in search of a new start from the big city and to perhaps be closer to her now deceased Grandmother’s roots. Soon after her arrival she learns that four women are currently missing and that’s when the chilling coincidences begin. I say coincidence but that’s only if you believe in such things and for Alice this starts to play on her mind which in turn becomes psychological – the true strength of this story. She cannot help but think of the many similarities she and the missing women have, in particular ‘Sarah’ who was in fact the previous tenant in Alice’s new place…’

What unfolds is a page turner of a novel which has chills and thrills that reminded me of Stephen King’s works- yes I thought it was that good! There’s a series of mind blowing twists in the final act which rewards the already immersed reader.

That wraps up my newest review of my book reviews and this one possibly has the best line up so far this year! Thanks for reading and remember to leave a review if you’ve read something recently!

Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support of this Blog, we are near to 300 followers which is awesome because this year I started with less than 200! 

Rock and roll man! 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #39

Blogging seems to be an art form that is rewarded by effort. Much like writing or creating any type of art, it revolves around content. Even in the very early days of starting out, it may feel like you have a solitary audience of that one person looking back at you in the mirror but all of us start somewhere.

Creating content is something anyone can do, but content that readers find compelling may be the biggest challenge and best talent successful artists have; some of the greatest won’t even create something for a market. Some won’t even be appreciated in their lifetime, those lucky enough to may not even appreciate how much their work has an effect.

This year has been a journey for me, in creating. My sole aim is to use my already created content to put myself on the ‘map’, what map that is; ‘Middle Earth’, ‘Westeros’ or even ‘Narnia’, nope,  just a map where people are able to discover and know that my content exists. I’ve tried to fuse that already existing content with further content creation, this blog specifically, and it seems the more I am putting in the more I am getting out.

Knowledge has been a powerful tool in using this blog, I know what its like to be an indie trying to get reviews, so therefore every book I have reviewed this year has been indie. I’m supporting those like me because we are in the same boat and good stories won’t ever disappear. The following I am building in return is just a side effect of that work. Much like art, it’s true power lies outside the boundaries of its own intentions.

Has your work achieved things you would never dream of? 

 

The question of how…

We’re better than any star rating. Our stuff is better than any star rating, good or bad. There isn’t a review out there that really reflects the journey a writer has taken to lay down those words. So many that judge simply do not know and most will never know. A book is more than a collection of words. It’s a journey created by an anthology of feelings that person has gone through in life and in mind.

There is no formal teaching for telling a story. One finds that within and their ability is tracked through the works they give to the world. Those words in that time are a moment but the creator is already several moments into the future.

What you discover in the present could be another writers past. They may have already used those words to better themselves and to grow or to learn. Not many will ever understand that; but as I said they just don’t know. And maybe that is the real difference of creator and reader; one has the real appreciation for the process, the journey, the feeling and the want; the desire to get better and move forward constantly.

Our work will be perceived as good today but we want it to get better tomorrow making our work yesterday open for criticism but maybe just important to the person who created it.

Most artists will never face the question of why but more the question of how. Perhaps that’s something which is overlooked when judging work… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALE ALERT! The Teleporter available to download for a discounted price! TODAY ONLY

Yep you read the title right, my most critically acclaimed book The Teleporter is available to download at a discounted price in the following places!

 

 

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With thanks to BookBub this sale is officially being advertised by you can grab yourself a copy right now for more than half price!

Individual links: Click on the corresponding flag

Amazon Australia

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Amazon Canada

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Amazon India

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Amazon UK

uk

Amazon US

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Of course its also discounted in most other places, but here are some high profile reviews and reasons why you should make the Teleporter your next read! 

 

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I’ve also cobbled together a nifty little post called 5 Reasons why YOU should read The Teleporter

 

Thank you for reading. Thank you to everyone who reviewed The Teleporter and it wouldn’t be an indie book promo post without saying LEAVE A REVIEW; AND THANKS FOR READING

ROCK AND ROLL MAN!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter to Netflix

Dear Netflix,

I write this with hope it reaches someone who can at least entertain my thoughts and ideas for just one moment. Thoughts and ideas is my craft and the industry I represent is made up of them. I’m talking about authors and specifically in my case independently published authors. An indie author is an unpublished writer who never gave up and found their own path towards publication. They never let main stream rejection stop their dreams being achieved and they put their life and soul into their passion; telling stories. This also applies to ‘traditionally published’ authors and there is no deviation between indie and traditional in terms of hard work, passion and quality of work.

Most authors all share the same struggle of telling the world their work exists. The ways I have seen fellow wordsmiths spread the word is indeed creative, insightful and inspirational. But the distribution of our product is only as good as the ‘distributor’ and by that I frankly refer to the one mainstream book distributor who claims to be in everything from ‘A to Z’.

This is no way an attempt to bash or slander such a large scale business, what they have done in recent times to literally provide anyone with content the opportunity to publish is truly wonderful; this also includes me, but a market dominated by one solitary force results in just a single winner; the business. They get to write the rules and by that I mean they take high percentages of small scale authors royalties and overall treat everyone like a number; again not a bash, just an observation and hence comes an opportunity.

Specifically looking at the e-book market in a broad sense, there is no particular large scale competitor who can provide writers and readers with an alternative. Healthy competition in any market will always have an outcome that benefits the customer and the future of e-books is just waiting for the opportunity for it’s market to be opened with genuine competitors.

E-books will only ever go so far with a sole distributor but what if there was another on the same scale? What if someone else stepped in to the market with large scale aspirations who also gave authors and creators not a better opportunity but an alternative opportunity? That is indeed why I have written this letter because e-books are such a fantastic opportunity for a content provider as large as Netflix. This idea is indeed in its conceptual infancy and there is a bunch to think about, but in essence would ‘streaming’ or ‘lending’ e-books be that much of a difficult feat? Sure you’ll probably have to buy a bunch of extra servers but there are hundreds if not thousands of authors who would be more than willing to give out their work for the world to read and at the same time the market will be fairer for everyone involved.

Netflix lending e-books is a future I think we can all agree would be an awesome thing. I can even imagine Netflix original books becoming Netflix original series or films. And whilst Netflix is truly a red hot business right now it would be taking a huge step for producing way more content with e-books.

I look forward to hearing what you think about this concept.

Yours faithfully

Lee Hall

Indie Author, Netflix customer since ’12 and ideasmith.

 

For anyone reading what do you think? All industry thrives upon healthy competition in the market, and if you agree with this concept we need to get this in front of the right eyes. Please share, comment and tweet so we can prove that words and ideas can change the world for the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Headed Book Lover: A warning to Authors

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.

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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. 

So here’s the story… and subsequent investigation… 

On the evening of April 19th 2018 I received an interesting email from someone called ‘Aimee Ann’ if that is ‘her’ real name is neither here or there. But what this person said is as follows… 

aimee

Sounds good right, I thought so, and initial ideas began to stir around my head in how I was to reply in order to sound as professional as possible, that is without sounding desperate for reviews. Because all writers need more reviews and the fact I overlooked where this person got my email from I was ready to bite her hand off for a review… 

I checked out the website, and initially I was impressed. This person is good, damn good. 

weird

You cant deny the About section appears to be innocent and worded in such a tactical way for nobody to call bullshit. It’s all positive and draws attention away from anyone with an ounce of suspicion, that includes me. 

Of course the whole deal is written in a way to draw a level of sympathy, truth or not, and who the hell has 4 kids and still has the time to read, review and keep a damn blog up to date? I have no kids and have barely enough time to brush my hair! 

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And so I scrolled further down her rather wordy and ever so  positively innocent bio, until the ultimate red flag destroyed all perception of me believing this whole deal was genuine… 

 

weird 3

 

Red flag uno… is highlighted in pink above. No pictures personally tells me there is a hell of a lot to hide but this paragraph is very clever in delivery, its almost dastardly, as in evil villain dastardly. And I should know a thing or two about such characters, I’m a writer…

Look how she addresses the red flag and then diverts by involving her family and then even sub diverts by making the reader forget completely about the fact there are no photos of her by mentioning the husband and even diverts that as well. 

Next comes more diversion…

diversion

And let me state here, there is no shame in supporting military charities, but this is just another diversion away from the real facts here. All of this is to give an author a sense of security and trust. 

And that is, red flag numero dos…

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At this point I knew the dream was over. ‘She’ charges for reviews… 

Any type of paid review service is quite simply unethical and viewed in the literary industry as morally wrong. Its cheating, its lying, its false. 

And so I used the google machine for a cold slap of reality to the face.

red

The Alliance of Independent Authors provided me with the above testimony.  

Yes folks that’s 75 big ones for a damn review! And so I poked around the interweb some more and found only a few people have lifted the lid on the Red Headed Book Lover’s blog. 

evide

As you can see this email I screen grabbed from Blank Pages Revealed is identical to the one I got! 

And so my whole premise is simply to lift the lid for future authors who type Red Headed Book Lover into google and tell them simply, its an unethical scam! 

I will never reply to the email, it isn’t worth any more words. All you have to do is actually read some of her reviews; they are complete and utter trash, she clearly reads the blurb and that only. Look how she never comments on style, voice and quality of writing; that’s because she has never read a damn thing!

The problem is, there are so many authors who have fallen for this. Reviews are basically currency for authors, especially indie ones, and so when desperation for reviews meets opportunist, Red Headed Book Lover sits there waiting, and its wrong, so wrong.  

It is never right for an author to pay for reviews! You should ask me instead fellow writer, yes you! I review books for nothing, check out my review section via the menu above.

I can happily say Red Headed Book Lover and Aimee Ann, I call bullshit and by the power vested by me as an author and creator of worlds, you are banished by the realm of genuine writers. We pride ourselves on hard work and the money we spend to give readers an escape. We can do that without paying for reviews! So kindly fu** off!” 

Now you have read this as an author it is your duty to reach out to others and spread the word, together we can stop scams like this one writer at a time…

 

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.