Life Signs by Christina Engela – Review

A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…

PHIS#2 Life Signs by Christina Engela - cover

The second entry of Christina Engela’s Panic! Horror in Space series takes the reader on a ride of mystery through three tales of the ghostly, vampiric and even cursed objects; all of which are hazards that come with deep space travel.

Captain Stuart Flane returns to face these perilous situations and has developed a rap for finding trouble of such persuasions. He’s used to dealing with the macabre and that’s what all three of these stories have in common. All of them begin in one place and through the vessel of immersive and readable story telling they end up somewhere completely unexpected.

From poignant to quirky and fun, these stories pretty much cover everything that Engela is known for with a writing style and depth that will draw you in. I particularly enjoyed ‘Lange’s Legacy’ which carried a certain detective vibe while also being full of twists and revelations.

5 stars – A fun read that will appeal to most readers. A thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for a review left on Goodreads and Amazon

Nightjar by Paul Jameson – Review

Pure immersive and original literature that reads much like a classic…

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This is a truly unique read that will whisk you away to a world that sits somewhere between fantasy and folklore. Paul Jameson has crafted and constructed a story that is written in the style of a classic while being highly readable and enjoyable.

Set in a ‘Feudal Future’ where not many will stray from home because of superstition or perhaps because their clan elders say so; two boys ‘Cord’ and ‘Tuppance’ do just that and embark on a journey of adventure. Early in their travels meet a figure of mystery known as ‘Nightjar’. This somewhat magical character goes by many different descriptions, just who he really is will keep readers turning pages but this ‘man in motley’ carries a magical type of presence letting the imagination run wild. He acts as their guide through a world they have never seen, from crossing ford’s to huge old oak trees all the way to abandoned settlements sunken in time. Those back at home whether they are common types and later on the somewhat sinister ‘Brotherhood’ eventually embark on a search for the missing boys which makes for the story.While some believe he is of ‘Daemon’ origin or even a pagan God, the chase is on for what they perceive to be a rescue effort full of page turning drama.

Although the author describes ‘Nightjar’ as a simple tale it has everything from surprises, drama, mystery and even some tragedy all of which is enveloped in a wonderful writing style I haven’t seen in a modern book before. The use of language and description stirs readers imaginations while also giving it room to flow freely much like the story. This is a book I would highly recommend.

5 Stars –  A fantastic read and entirely unique! Glad to have read it!  

 

 

 

The Four Before Me by E. H. Night – Review

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

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Upon picking up this book I was instantly immersed into the words and descriptive style E.H Night brings to what is a chilling and mystery shrouded story. By the 8th chapter I’ll admit I couldn’t put it down. 

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.

As the story unfolds we meet a cast of three dimensional characters all of which serve purpose and depth to the story such as likable law enforcement officer ‘Blake Darrow’ and neighbor ‘Tiffany’ which Alice befriends. Of course there are the less savory characters such as ‘Benji’ or the town renowned ‘Wonderbread Will’. Can they be trusted when so many people are missing in this small town?

There were some instances that my mind was blown by the amount of twists and turns this story had. With elements of crime, mystery, suspense and even some chilling horror you could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new. Whether it’s the sights or smells, emotions or feelings, this book captures everything including a little nostalgia.

5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OITNB: Season 4 Review #nospoilers

The full title of this review post is actually: Orange is the new Black: Season 4 Review #nospoilers so calm your shit but in all honesty you should have finished watching the new season by now as it’s probably the best thing you can buy for a £7 monthly subscription fee.

Unfortunately, that is an inappropriately long title to convert into a URL and then paste onto twitter although short versions are available I’m not that technically gifted. Words are my specialty not computer machines.

OITNB

And so it’s that time of year again where Litchfield opens its heavily barred gates to continue and tell some new stories. A Litchfield that last time we saw, was on the verge of becoming a business and then thrown into chaos with an open perimeter fence. Don’t forget the influx of hundreds of new prisoners and of course Judy King!

A compliment to the writers as they continue to story right were the season before left off. Something which isn’t done enough in TV, even sometimes last season final outings are ignored along with their repercussions and even skipped. Not with OITNB, we as an audience are treated not only with continual stories continuing, but new characters, situations and alliances combined with this continuation.

In most top TV shows there are only third, fourth and fifth stories which swap around depending on the episode. For this show, we see the third, fourth and fifth develop and intertwine throughout whilst still being reminded of the main stories.

Our central character Piper is more of a frequent in this series as opposed to the last but overall the main character has to be the prison itself. Nobody is treated like a side show or event which bolsters this already brilliant formula. Newly arrived characters from previous seasons and even the beginning are given origins stories whilst existing people are built upon. A rich amount of detail is thrown into every one of the 13 episodes, and to me that beats the Walking Dead and Game of thrones.

Stuff happens all the time, whether that be comedic or down right tragic. Existing conflicts evolve to really bring together the three main ethnic groups inside this now business like prison. The introduction of new guards only stirs the already boiling pot that is going to cook out of control. This season has been building from the very beginning and could only be pulled off after the previous events happened. The tension is somewhat rising dramatically this time out.

From what begins as a series of intrigue eventually finds itself and its own voice with unfortunate and tragic outcomes in some places. At the latter end of episodes, it gets very dark and somewhat emotional, I mean we have seen shock and awe at Litchfield but tragedy, something you can only use in moderation twists everything. Most of the faces from before are back, even with a few decent cameos of ‘departed’ characters. There’s someone in there you can like and relate to.

Much like every episode of Orange is the new black, we get an awesome ending which leaves us all on a cliffs edge. But we are not left dangling, only thinking about what will happen next. If you have Netflix it’s about the only decent original thing out there, so go and see it.

Other news (because soon I will need to sell books)

Ok so July has somehow rolled around which means its around two months until my first book Open Evening comes out via e-book and later on paper back. Just a little shameless plug and a thanks to all who have supported me so far. This book is a new start for me and not about robots in the future. It revolves around the concept of how horrific high school can be, then introduce some actual horror and Open Evening is born.

I’m sure you will all be bored with my constant updates, but stay posted for more book related stuff.

After all this my #yearofwriting

 

 

 

My new Book is complete

Now before I and at least one person who reads this gets carried away, let’s just say those two words are always written ironically the first time around. I know more than most that a writer’s work never really ends.

Yesterday I overcame odds which seemed to pile up around me back in April. Back then my story seemed to have no way out, it felt boring and lacklustre. Amongst the few cool concepts there was just no way I could continue this and get a book out of it. It even made me a tad angry.

Now that’s all in the process of creativity, I have learned. Especially this time around. Ever since I dropped my previous robot crime futuristic project I have tried to write in a way where I am not attached emotionally to the narrative.

Yes, anything I write means a lot to me, but the stuff I am now writing leaves me willing to chuck it all towards the publishing fire and spend it on building a readership. This doesn’t mean the product will lack in quality, there is just less emotion on the line if it fails.

My arrival as an independent author is important and imminent. Tomorrow will see the final performance of my first written and directed play by Iver Heath Drama club. A beta arrival if you say where my work and voice can hopefully be seen, all portrayed by some wonderful performers.

first drafts...

Back track to last year and Open Evening was born, a soon to be published debut novel by me which I am ever so proud to bring out. After finishing that and organisation of the publication I had a great energy to see if I could do another. Not a sequel but another stand-alone book in the genre of mystery and thriller (there will be more about it very soon). By the turn of this year my efforts were well under way for this next story and everything became apparent.

With the balance of shift working and trying to write amongst a social life that tended to decline slightly, my back was firmly against the wall. Consideration must be taken into account as I had very few plot or themes to work with. This book was the child of spontaneity. I planned badly and tried to rely on the Open Evening formula, that being a story which I have seen a thousand times which poured onto the page. This next project not so much, in fact this has been my longest draft to date, just shy of 7 months.

Only my experience and dedication alone got me out of this project in one piece and still my record for starting a project and completing it remains, just about. Next I shall be taking a week or so off writing. Then my attention turns to the final edit of Open Evening, just in time for it to go towards Satin Publishing and then to my readers.

As I said a writer’s work is never done.

Oh and one other thing, my next book is called Darke Blood!

My #YearOfWriting Continues…..

 

 

A thank you to followers

The Hall of information officially opened for business nearly two years ago with a dedication to gaining more followers. With every entry over that time I can happily say that the follows have slowly crept up to 70. Something which two years ago Lee wouldn’t have thought a realistic thing.

My whole premise is to build a loyal following of good tasted people who will buy my book when it first hits the shelves this September. Yes, Open Evening will make its journey over the summer through a professional cover artist and professional edit. Hopefully a wonderfully polished product will come out the other side and will be something I am more than proud to share with you.

This blog is titled a journey to publication and it is during my year of writing that the destination is sitting just before the horizon now. A year so far which has seen me over come a high level of writers block type frustration along with adapting to being a shift worker. Things will just take longer to create from scratch from now on. My latest draft of a new title will hopefully reach completion with in a few weeks and maybe I will divulge some more info on that soon.

In other writing news my first play will make its way to the stage next week. Hotel doom stars an all talented cast of fine actors and actresses who have worn my writing like a glove. Their input has been amazing and we have a great show. It would be a shame if the audience numbers do not match the level of this show so if your in town next week then check it out here.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever supported me on this journey of writing. Whether you have simply liked a status, retweeted or followed me in some capactity I can only do this with your help. Let’s get some new faces out there on the shelves with decent meaningful stories to tell.

editing begins

Year of writing

Reflections of a writer director

I write this current blog entry after what has been a pretty damn disheartening week for me. Before I spend words moaning at life being hard and all I would like to say that this piece isn’t directed at anyone personally other than myself.
Although it would be easy to use social media as a vessel for sending subliminal messages I am very much an adult and won’t do such things. More over I would rather use this blog page as a way of just venting my current feelings and mood towards things.
First off let me just talk about my writing situation, this is a blog so nobody can interrupt, basically shut up and listen.

Since November I switched departments at work in order to chase better opportunities and more money.  Doing so meant that I no longer work Monday to Friday with weekends off. My work pattern is rather sporadic at best and gives no real stable routine. Something which my writing thrives under, or used to anyway. Gone are the days where I could come home and begin writing at six all the way through to half ten at night. Those times where I really learnt my craft and I look back on them as one great lesson in penning words.
Now my time is way more valuable, not only for me to write but to spend time with my nearest and dearest and of course to actually sleep. Saying that my writing in the past five months has reached a rather diabolically slow pace. If I am completely honest the current book I am trying to draft is a complete and utter shambles. Some of you are probably saying really is it that bad? My angle is that I don’t want to sell a shitty book, which is what it currently is.

Maybe I have just taken it a bridge too far especially after the last book I drafted literally flowed like water and in a matter of months it was done. Foolishly I thought maybe I could repeat that again by just going with a few loose plot points and deciding the take it from there. Perhaps an arrogant approach from me.

There seems to be a complete lack of inspiration for me right now which is holding my creativity down below the surface of rather stormy waters. Maybe in the books I have previously written I was just lucky to have the story already there, but with this project is just a brick wall. It’s frustrating as hell because I want this so damn much and there is some awesome points that this story could shine with.

Only if I can unlock the links between these few great moments is becoming an ever such a hard task.
More than once have I almost walked away from this project, but a very deep need to succeed and get it done is holding me onto it. Somewhere my inspiration lies, but where I still haven’t found out.  I don’t watch much tv these days which is one of my many vessels of inspiration for ideas, lets face it, UK Netflix sucks a big dong.

It’s been over a week since I even looked at the book I am trying to write and as that time increases it fills me with zero remorse for walking away. We’ll see.
To add to my already frustration and lack of writing inspiration for the new book, this week I was forced to make a decision which has caused my conscience to remain a little unsettled. Being a first time writer director of a play so far has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in life but saying that, this week I had to make a rather difficult decision. Maybe it has even cut a friendship from my life, I do hope that isn’t the case.

Things were pushed a little too far in my mind and action had to be taken, deep down I feel a little remorse but the in the long run if I want something to be successful sometimes a small sacrifice is worth the reward. I will do anything to ensure my writing isn’t put at jeopardy and the fantastic cast I have, my team which I cannot let down. Making this decision truly is best for business, but where do friends come in business. Only time will take its course for me to know that.

Until then I will try to throw myself back into writing a book which my heart really isn’t in. Maybe that’s a subliminal method approach seeing as it’s about vampires.

My Big Book Announcement

The day is finally here and with great excitement I can happily announce that my first novel ‘Open Evening’ is going to be published!

As some of you may have seen the other day I put up the picture of a date on both the tweet machine and Facebook (or life invader, the name I prefer). And yes and this is actually happening.

On the 29th of September 2016 Open Evening will be available as an e-book initially and then later on in mid-October will see the release of it on paper back.

This blog site has been the very forefront of my publication journey in the past few years and finally there is a destination on the horizon. If you look to the right you can see a countdown of sorts that I had ‘fun’ trying to put up on Tuesday (look I don’t computer well ok).

If you have come from life invader you will have seen my short but sweet announcement video available to watch here. 

The details

As many of you book people will know getting published takes a lot of organisation and firing back and forth of emails. Now you’re probably asking who will be publishing Open Evening.

Well back in December I made contact with Nicky Fitzmaurice of Satin Publishing, an e-pub house I have had my eye on for some time. After sending my work to Nicky she happily accepted and will be editing the book (as well as doing many more things in terms of publishing it).

Open Evening has been recognised as YA (young adult) in genre and will hopefully appeal to a broad range of ages. You can read what it’s all about here.

Now finding success through publishing a book is not something that can be done single handed. Having already organised the services of an editor/publisher I have also been on the lookout for somebody to help promote and publicise the book.

Last week I asked a good friend of mine and fellow blogger Matt Streuli if he would help publicise things?

‘Of course’ he said (in abridged form). Now some of you will already know Matt who does fantastic work, blogging and campaigning for the awareness and stigma that comes with mental health. His journey in the past year can be seen in his many blog posts about the subject of mental health. He has appeared on the radio and even writes for the Huffington post.  I will even mention that every year he finds new and innovative ways to advertise the community drama club we both belong to.

What needs to be done?

So my book team has been organised and ready to assemble, what happens now?

Well there is still a lot to consider before any of you read the first words that begin Open Evening.

Firstly I need to get in contact with a cover artist. I know the saying about never judging a book by its cover but people do so it needs to be good.

Then I will need to get my head around all things that make up the publishing process. After all this is a journey of discovery.

At some point I shall sit down with Matt and discuss all the ways I can annoy people on social media about my book.

Importantly I will be blogging and bringing any updates onto here in order to build up an even bigger following that I already have. That ladies and gentlemen is where you come in.

No writer has ever found success without the support of loyal readers and in this day and age, followers. Quite honestly I need you all to like, share, retweet, re-blog and rewind the VHS before taking it back to blockbuster (what?). Seriously I need you, because on that day of publication I want Open Evening to make a dent in whatever list or chart it finds itself on. My dream is for the world to read my stuff and it’s on the horizon, but only if you help. There may be a signed book or cup of tea for your reward.

I said 2016 will be my #YearOfWriting and it is. So come with me if you want to read…

Thank you all sincerely for reading this and liking my posts on whatever social media platform you find me on. It means everything to me. This journey has been long but its going to get interesting soon.

LH

This new book may actually be quite good…

I say the title of this blog not with the intention of tooting my own horn (who else will?), but to really express pride in the work I have done recently. My latest project ‘Open Evening’ has entered the very much enjoyable next pahse called editing. Reading back and writing additional content along with correcting the old, I am convinced this book will have some appeal.

The narrated text is quick, with our main character being witty and somewhat aware of the genre. This puts an interesting yet original spin on the story. My intention in writing has always been to find some element of originality. Like with many titles, the actual content may not be original, that’s hard to find these days but the actual story delivery is original or different.

Cliché is something every story teller will cling to but in horror fear of the unknown is the greatest tool available. What it could be strikes the imagination into frenzy of reactions we all express in different ways. Jump scares are cheap and quite difficult to put into a book. I very much prefer to use the unexpected in a different way and that’s what turns pages.

editing begins

My plan is looking like its coming together with my work already done being something I am very proud of. Horror is a high selling genre that I very much intend to tap into. By the end of 2015 latest ‘Open evening’ will be ready to move towards a professional edit. Hopefully by summer next year some of you will be holding that book in your hands. But who knows, as I said the unknown is sometimes what keeps us reading.

I would like to take this opportunity to plug another blogger who is a good friend of mine. Matt Streuli has found some success recently with his mental health blogs and has made it on the Huffington post well done to you sir.

My facebook page following has grown in recent times, thanks to all for the likes old and new.

Happy Halloween everyone and remember who really knows what could be lurking in the dark shadows…

New Book: Fully Drafted

Only on a handful of occasions have I ever been able to pen those two words. But last night I stayed up late as the finish line of my latest offering became just visible on the horizon.

‘The end’ but we all know that is the very start of this book’s journey to publication.

Open Evening is a teen survival horror which very much mirrors the situation most young people are thrown into when faced with going to school. In that sense our hero of sorts, the narrator, is faced with the everyday struggles of fitting into a complex social system of people all at very different and mostly difficult stages of development (teenagers) . Combine that with a genuine horror situation and you have my latest book.

For a more detailed synopsis you can scroll onto a later entry when I officially announced this project.

So what happens now you ask? Personally the worst part is over, drafting or plucking ideas out of my head can be a draining and somewhat harrowing experience. Don’t get me wrong I love to write but laying the initial foundations is the hardest part. Maybe why many people start but never finish.

Next will come an extensive edit, addition of detail and formatting of chapters which will see it ready for an official professional edit (I feel sorry for who that may be).

In between this and next year I will be finding time to prepare a nearly ready script for a one act play I intend to bring to life very soon for IHDC. Check them out they are looking for backers on Kickstarter at the moment.

Then in that same year 2016 I will be looking to self publish Open evening and make it my first offering the big wide world of literary things, or amazon as I like to call it.

Watch this space.