Weekly Ramble #65

It gives me a sense of hope that even in these times people are buying my books. Not that the sales or royalties matter, let alone do they even contribute to my salary but the thought that someone has been interested enough in the blurb or cover art to give an essence of my soul and imagination a try. 

Hope can give a person enough to know that maybe they are on the right path no matter how uncertain all of our near futures are, some things will shine through this dark time, like sunshine on a rainy day, feeling that heat just feels better when it’s been cold for so long. People who continue to blog and read this blogging effort I must thank you from the bottom of my heart. We must keep the spirit of what we were alive enough so we don’t lose what we stood for. 

I’m trying, like always to create stuff that will at least take one person away for a while and most of my reduced audience seem to appreciate that while those who appear not to be tuning in are distracted elsewhere – this is a difficult time I know and I hope all of you are holding up.

I’ve started a diary that I hope will capture everything that’s going on right now, from my personal life all the way to current events. This is a fascinating historical time and without a diary to convey the essence of in the moment emotion, I couldn’t possibly relay this in years to come. It’s also a way of coping and a self care practice of reflection. Like stories, once I had laid them to rest on paper they no longer need to reside in my head. This coping strategy is working at the moment.

My plan like I said before is to have a business as usual front to all of this. There is no reason not to carry on especially with all the closures and postponements going on around the world, the Hall of Information hopes to carry on throughout.

Good vibes and health to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exclusive Darke Awakening Excerpt – because we all need a distraction…

As an author and creator with material to give and seeing what we are all currently facing around the world I have decided to share some reading material with you.

This is the opening of Darke Awakening, the 4th book in the Order of the Following Series. I have chosen to share this part because anyone can pick it up and I have something to give (not corona)…

Enjoy and love to you all!

 

 

Darke Awakening

(The Order of the Following Series)

By Lee Hall

Copyright 2020

 

 

 

Prologue: The Skeleton man

Darkness. The blackest of the black. Not being able to see and all that. Yeah some of you have heard that speech before and this isn’t my first venture into the lightless void of the unknown. All of us look to the dark differently but we always see one of two things. Nothing, and everything. Fear fills the gap between what isn’t there and what could be and you’re thinking, how artsy and self-reflective, we all know this story isn’t. Drown someone in shadows and eventually they make their own light to find a way out. That’s what I did, Blake Malone; the name personally adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.

My journey continues right where I left it and now there are others whose stories intertwine with mine. These folks and their past may not fully matter but it’s why they ended up crossing my path and so they matter to me.

I wanted to be clever in how I kicked this tale off, instead of being corny and obvious, like saying ‘strap in, things are about to get wild’. Where we are going will need more than a seat-belt and if you excuse the segway, a seat-belt is something Mitch Hawkins wasn’t wearing as he drove his battered old Ford towards Darke Heath on a cold still night. And let’s face it, around these parts they are all cold still nights but this one has some significance.

the road

Tall old pines straddled both sides of the main forest road, hence the name, but Mitch wasn’t focusing on the lackluster view of mainly black. He had one hand on a peeling steering wheel and the other on a nearly finished cigarette. Something loud and grungy blared out of his speaker system, the most valuable part of the vehicle, the L.E.D display danced to the base. Just as the next song was about to kick in, he heard a dull vibration from behind.

Instinctively he stubbed out the cherry and slipped a hand into his front pocket, except the vibration didn’t come from there, he felt nothing but denim.

“Aww, shit,” he said. The shuddering cell phone sat in his biker style jacket that was laid across the back seat.

He did that thing where you try to turn one-eighty and crush the soft part of your abdomen under the ribs whilst driving. Without buckling up an easy feat, so Mitch grabbed the jacket and pulled out his glowing cell phone without realising the old Ford had veered out of its single lane prompting him to glance up. He corrected the steering with a mind on the caller and failed to focus fully on the dim headlights that shone on an outline in the road.

“Oh, crap,” Mitch shouted in that elongated way where you know you’ve screwed up.

He frantically veered the wheel right and looked to a thin tall figure stood dead in the middle of the road. The image of two hollow eyes and not a lot else burned into Mitch’s head before his car left the asphalt. Rubber skated over loose gravel and to much softer ground. The suspension strained and dipped the shuddering car which crashed at speed into ferns eventually scraping to a stop.

Our driver had blacked out upon impact, and if you were to drive past that uphill spot five minutes later, you would be none the wiser an old Ford left the road.

Mitch came to in a spaced-out daze, the car, dead. Light came from a now full moon revealed itself behind thick clouds. The headlights, smashed along with his side window. Something pinned the sleepy driver into his seat, a strong lifeless type of force that also burned.

Just how long was he out for? The internal compass of awareness inside Mitch wanted to say not long. With a gasp he looked down to see a sizeable branch embedded into his shoulder, there was blood and the wood extended beyond a shattered front windscreen.

“Jesus,” he gasped with a pained breath.

You see Mitch should have worn a seat-belt, let that be lesson one. Then he wouldn’t have found himself restrained out in the Darke Forest at night and alone, another big no around here.

His shaking hand gripped the blood covered branch, the lightest of touches and he was in hurt city. It made him nauseous and kind of panicked at the same time. From the foot well came that familiar vibrating of cell phone. It was frustrating and painful all at once because for the life of him Mitch just couldn’t move to answer it.

“Goddamn it,” he blurted and rested a forearm on the permanently open driver’s side window which must have dropped in the crash; something he didn’t remember happening.

In his mind that image flashed into view of someone stood in the road. He’s heard the stories of the ‘Heath’ and so right then in that helpless state his mind began to wander. Those hollow skeleton-like eyes staring right through him. The Skeleton Man, he named him, perhaps a hitcher who walked from that Glenwood travel interchange place, or just a guy on a night-time walk.

For some strange reason Mitch had a feeling he was no longer alone.

Floating out of the cold air came a presence along with the frightening image of this ghostly face. Those hollow eyes stared down into the car. With a certain fluidity this Skeleton Man dressed in rags lowered to Mitch’s overturned forearm which hung just out of the car. Bony mud encrusted fingers coldly squeezed him.

“Could you lend a hand bro?” Mitch asked. The ghostly figure seemed to just hang there before moving in closer.

A sudden sharp burning sunk into his arm, Mitch desperately tried to scream but something hypnotic stopped anything emerging from his mouth. He could feel his existence floating away as the sound of gulping filled both ears. Soon enough Mitch slipped away into a deep sleep.

 

Part 1: ‘DB’ Continued

1

“Well damn Blake, it’s like you said, you suck at pool,” the man called Twister said. I guess he had the right to say that, especially after potting the black around my partially embarrassing array of red’s. They sat stranded in that after game type of way which just reeked of ‘you suck’.

“I’m more of a social pool player,” I said.

And there we were, in the corner of a busy bar called ‘the Cure’ while the Eagles did their Hotel California guitar riff thing. My grip loosened on a now pointless pool cue and Caitlyn Turner stepped in.

“I guess it’s my turn.” She took the varnished wood and stood ready to challenge this newcomer.

“Well it looks like the lady is up next. You’re giving me those eyes like you’ve kicked the ass of every damn hustler whose come though those doors,” Twister said and gulped down his whisky.

“Yep, and twice on Sundays.” Caitlyn moved to set the next game up.

“It’s wise not to play for anything more than pride I’ll tell you that much Twister,” I said looking at my girl Caitlyn grin from a fond memory.

“That’s code for she wears the pants in their relationship,” a voice said from behind the bar.

“Is that so? Well it is the twenty-first century,” Twister said. He leant on the bar and presented an empty glass as I turned to see the stand-in bar keep, Susie. She shot me that look all siblings give each other when they are in chop busting mode.

“Twenty first century? I’ve been around a lot longer than that,” Caitlyn said and broke.

“Although, a lady should never reveal her true age.” She stood proud of the scattered and still spinning pool balls.

“Ha, lady,” Susie said.

“Watch it biker chick Barbie,” I said to her, but she had another distraction, Twister. Susie did that thing girls do when they know they’ve got a guy interested. Her fingers brushed back smoky blond hair and she poured him another whisky.

“Keep the change.” Twister pushed a twenty her way and headed back to the pool table. Susie winked at me and took it.

“Smooth huh? Considering I’m not employed here. Well smoother than Splint anyway,” she said.

“Yeah, I suppose so, for a vam…”

Her cold hand gripped mine and stopped me from saying any more. For a moment I had forgot we were in the company of a newcomer. Twister wasn’t smartened up to this town’s ‘affliction’ which my sister just happened to have.

“I mean right about now Splint would be frowning at this newcomer bigtime,” I said and looked to see my Caitlyn continue an intrigued stare towards this stranger.

“So, been in town long?” she asked.

“Got in tonight.” Twister took his shot.

“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared.

“Now I like this song just as much as the next cat in here, but I’m pretty certain that’s the fourth consecutive time it’s played,” he added.

the bar

Yep, Twister was right and like that we were back as that damn song began playing again. Things never turn out like you expect and our story starts just a little later than expected or unexpected. Some of you know how I got to be standing at a bar in the middle of Darke Heath whilst I watched my girlfriend exchanging small talk with just a little hint of interrogation towards an intriguing character known as Twister.

She stood in that usual garb of strappy midriff revealing top and ‘pain in the ass’ to take off tight jeans of the red persuasion. Her boots finished at knee height and the heels were just enough to bring her height equal to the man she stood opposite.

This guy took the rugged look to new heights with a wealth of scars up either sleeveless arm. The flannel shirt on him had probably never seen an iron along with the cargo trousers. Twister’s face showed the signs of man who probably saw some shit in his lifetime, especially with the map of scars to go with it.

The two of them could probably have a decent fight. Caitlyn, a former vampire; long story, could still handle herself even if she represented a petite brunette lady. Twister didn’t exactly tower over her, but he carried himself in a ‘don’t mess with me’ kind of way. The visible muscles on both his arms weren’t huge but they were more than what I had.

I took a bar stool while the pool game represented a metaphorical sizing up of two considerable forces. Their exchange of words tested everything they wanted to know about one another. As far as I knew then, Caitlyn, vampirism cured and all, still packed one hell of a feisty punch. But this wouldn’t get to that point, either of them had too much tact.

“So, what’s with this place?” Twister asked. He never let the whisky leave his grasp.

“Well the bar’s owner, Splint, he just felt like a change. Hence the remodel,” Caitlyn said with a game face smile knowing he wasn’t asking about the decor.

He too cracked a ‘game on’ type of grin and probed some more,

“I’m talkin’ about the town. As I rolled in, I saw a stack of places under repair. Looked like fire damage mostly. That apartment block on the main drag in here looked pretty much levelled. I’m just sayin’, this place don’t look like a trouble type of town, on the surface,” he said.

“Then again most small towns aren’t what they seem.” And again, he was right. And again it’s a long story.

“Yep. Small towns, aren’t all their cracked up to be, am I right?” I said to them with nothing more than a ‘let the adults speak’ glare from Caitlyn.

“Swing and a miss,” Susie teased next to me.

“I’ve seen some places in my day, but every time I come through here, there ain’t much going down. Now I thought that was strange until it looked like hell went down here recently.” This time Twister paused and glanced up to Caitlyn before taking another shot. He sunk a red followed by the white.

“And when it comes to strange, I’m used to that rap. You seen the car I drive?” Twister nodded to the yellow classic style taxi parked in the street outside.

“So, let me ask again. What’s the deal with this place?” He asked with a tone that matched his serious look.

Caitlyn placed the white down and kept her equally strong stare on him while she lowered to aim.

“I’m a straight shooter Twister, so here’s the deal.” She drove the cue forward with a harder than usual shot.

“How about you tell me a little bit more about yourself before I answer that question. I think we both know in this world that knowledge is power, but only for the right person,” Caitlyn added.

The tension between them began to simmer a little, but she had this way. Must have been something to with being a creature of the night for the lengthy time she was. Like my sister, Caitlyn could ‘tame’ any alpha male type, she relied less on body language and more on honest words alone.

“Fair enough, Mrs Blake Malone. What do you wanna know?”

“It’s Caitlyn and what’s a fella like you doing in a town like this?”

“I’m just passing through like I do every now and then. I travel around most of the time,” Twister said.

“What do you work in sales or something?” Susie asked from the bar.

“Not exactly, I’m more of an exterminator,” Twister said, he kept both eyes on Susie for a little too long. Being the older brother made me notice that kind of stuff no matter how flirty she acted.

“We’ve had somewhat of a vermin problem around here recently,” Caitlyn said stepping into Twister’s view.

“Is that so? Well I don’t think you’ve seen the type of infestations I’ve dealt with,” he said.

“Try me,” Caitlyn added.

Another conversation trailed towards the bar and I did that thing where you try and tune into both sets of dialogue.

“Jeff, let me introduce you to my kids,” my Father Angus Greene said with his signature country accent. He shuffled a tall flannel shirt wearing frame my way and beside him walked a smaller Korean man. I swivelled on my stool to see Angus take a large hand off this man’s shoulder and stretch it towards me.

“Jeff, meet my son Blake. Son, this is Pam’s father Jeff,” he said.

“Nice to meet you,” I said and held out a hand for Jeff to shake.

“Mr Malone. Pam has spoken highly of you. Very nice to meet you,” Jeff said with a warm grip.

“Now the young lady behind the bar is my youngest Susie.” Angus adjusted the one arm he had in a sling, a partially painful reminder of recent proceedings. He signalled to Susie who leant over the bar.

“Hello Miss Malone,” Jeff said, he nodded, and this time kept the hand to himself. We could see his apparent discomfort.

“Please call me Susie, that whole Malone deal is Blake’s thing.” Susie extended her pale hand.

“And please don’t worry sir, I don’t bite, the good guys,” she whispered as Jeff half-heartedly shook her hand.

“Now, do you fellas want a drink? Splint left me to work the bar.”

“Well honey, he did ask if you could skip to another song on his new sound system,” Angus said.

“Uh, I already tried. Maybe I’m not doing it right.” Susie placed a remote control on the counter.

I looked past the several occupied seats to a booth near the back. The man known as Splint sat with his shaven head back facing and beside him, Pam, his girlfriend. He sharply turned to see Angus and Susie trying to work out the remote control.

“That’s for the TV that I no longer have. You gotta push the button on the player,” Splint called from his seated position.

“Okay. Great, thanks Splint,” Susie said back through the several people sat around.

“Where is the button?” She turned three-sixty on her feet and looked down under the counter.

“Bottom left,” Splint shouted. I could see him then turn to Pam as they appeared to argue about something.

“I’m not seeing it Splint,” Susie said over everyone.

“He probably means his left,” Twister said from the pool table.

“My left Susie-Q!” Splint began to get up. He started to climb over the table as his girlfriend sat in the way. She pulled his hand down.

“Let me just go and show her,” he said.

You see Splint and the Korean girl known as Pam were the ultimate odd couple. She turned out to be strong in the ways of witchcraft, Earth-witchcraft to be specific. Pam was also into geek stuff like D and D amongst other quest style games. Splint was pretty much the opposite, he was a jump first, deal later guy who listened to loud music like the Offspring and had a ‘loose’ kind of thinking in life. I didn’t want to say Splint was crazy, but he stood somewhere near it, and he couldn’t defend himself in a fight either.

Anyway, these two got together in the final act of our last story, Pam got sired by a vampire over lord type known as Alexis and his Death-witch partner called the Mistress who also turned out to be my mother. In that final battle Splint marched right up to her with a syringe full of vampire curing goodness and put in the save. They’ve been together since.

I watched them have one of those mini arguments couples have when they are still trying to figure one another out. Splint hopped over the table and Pam, leaving her with who I presumed was her mother.

“He probably means your right, or stage right,” Twister said, again from the pool table.

Splint rushed to the bar and nodded,

“Yeah see, the new guy gets the drift. It’s down there,” he pointed as Susie lowered.

“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared, again.

“Did you push skip?” Splint asked.

“I’m pushing it Splint. New sound system my ass,” Susie said.

Splint hopped over the bar and disappeared along with my sister.

“On a dark desert highway…”

“Damn it, it’s just the same song over and over again,” Susie said.

“Maybe it’s the cd?” Twister said, he leant over the bar whilst Caitlyn sunk another ball.

“Yeah, maybe it’s the cd Splint. If you get his drift?” Susie added and appeared again. Her eyes met Twister’s in that flirty kind of way that I wasn’t sure about.

“Your shot Stretch, save the flirting for after I win,” Caitlyn said.

My eyes kept their focus on Susie who turned. Something in her stance changed just then, like an animalistic sense that kicked in. Two ‘shifty’ looking types, shifted themselves in through the doors and over to me. The first guy, unshaven and walking with purpose reached into a jacket pocket.

I double took between him and Susie, then her face began to frown. The muscles around her eyes firmed and from her lipstick covered lips came two white fangs. Her pupils dilated and became something which represented more of a predator than my annoying younger sister. They stared into another set of similar eyes and I saw fangs coming from this approaching intruder.

“Alexis may be gone, but we still own this town,” the other guy said.

Everything moved too damn fast and I sat with a dumb looking face on a bar stool. My Father Angus swivelled to the side and held up his only available hand to defend himself against a glinting blade. Even in his recovering condition he had the strength to swipe the threat away only for the intruding vamp to follow through and drive the weapon into Pam’s father, Jeff.

Susie vaulted over the bar with a growl, she collided into the knifeman and down they went. The other guy smiled and backed toward the doors. I stepped in to protect my father who he tried to catch Jeff from falling. I lowered to see a river of red.

“Dad!” Pam screamed.

She coursed from her seated position and past several onlookers. Her outstretched hands clenched, and an aura of purple began to surround her body.

Susie laid in a punch and her target let go of the blood covered knife. Before she could do anymore the other intruder threw out a kick and pulled his companion to. They stumbled away and rushed out the doors.

Caitlyn watched with a front row view. She sharply raised a knee and snapped her pool cue in two, then her eyes met Susie’s and they charged for the doors.

“Dad, no!” Pam cried.

She dropped to the struggling Jeff with her purple aura fading, and she tried to help.

“Somebody call for a damn ambulance!” Angus shouted, and I saw Splint appearing from behind the bar.

“Blake, get out there son. Make sure those girls are alright,” Angus commanded as his hand gripped my open shirt.

They could handle themselves, but I breezed out of the double doors anyway. Out into the cold night air I went to the partial darkness of main street had where Caitlyn and Susie stood with their backs facing me. Opposite, the two intruders both in full vampire mode.

“It’s a shame you won’t be able to tell your friends there are new Slayer Sisters in town,” Caitlyn barked, she handed half a pool cue to Susie.

“That’s funny because last time we checked both the Slayer Sisters are now mortal,” vampire enemy one said.

“The original line up has changed.” Susie stepped into her target.

In my peripheral to the left I saw movement. The metallic sound of creaking echoed out into the mostly desolate street.

Vampire enemy two swiped out and struck Susie, she shook it off and retaliated. Caitlyn swung out her pool cue stake, the target stepped aside, and sucker punched her. She yelped in her now mortal pain.

“Aint what you used to be are you?”

She angrily threw out a connecting elbow.

This time I looked when that metallic creaking came again. It was the taxi, Twister’s yellow taxi, and a figure closed the trunk, Twister. He stepped out into the street with something long and curved in hand, not once did he look up.

“Now now, gentlemen, is that anyway to treat a lady?” He said while Caitlyn’s foe broke away and dove forward.

Twister had no time to react as the vamp pounced and they went down. A feeling I knew all too well. He held that curved weapon in defence to stop salivating teeth getting any closer.

“What, the shit, are you?” He casually asked and impressively hauled the attacking vamp over and away.

Twister jumped up, he stepped into street light and I got a better look at what looked like a sabre blade. Attached to the handle in his grip appeared to be a canister of some sort. Before he could step in the other vampire breezed past Susie. This time Twister lived to his namesake and manoeuvred out of pursuit.

He swung the curved blade up and down and then stepped in with a lightning quick swipe of the weapon’s handle. It cracked into the nearest vamp, but he wasn’t done.

Before I could step off the sidewalk my instincts told me to stay put and saved me from a mass of black which abruptly trotted past me. The cold breeze of a black horse in full gallop stepped out into the street between Twister and the ‘new’ Slayer Sisters Caitlyn and Susie.

Riding this silky coated steed was a hooded figure, I saw the outline of what looked like a bow with an arrow primed. The two vamps looked up in terror toward this horseback arrival. They began to bumble away when the hooded shadow let the arrow fly.

A brief whistle careened toward the pair. It entered vamp one at chest level and into the other close by. A brilliant flash of glowing orange filled the street and the two of them were nothing but dust in the wind.

“Uh, thanks, I guess…” Twister spun and we all watched the horse rear and bolt away.

horse

“Who is that?” I asked stepping out to Caitlyn and Susie.

“Let’s find out.” Caitlyn had already begun to jog in pursuit.

“Guess we’ll race ya,” Susie said and after a few strides caught up with Caitlyn. They ran toward this shadowy horseback slayer.

I began to stride after them when I heard the turning of old motor. Wheels spun, and soft headlights flashed in the street.

“You wanna ride Blake?” Twister asked from inside the taxi. He was already at the wheel and had turned the car around.

I pulled open a yellow door and got in…

 

End of Part 1 – To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #61

The editing process of book number 6 has gone well. ‘Darke Awakening’ is a bold and somewhat incredible feat – if I’m allowed to say so. The work we do must give us some sense of pride and as I reached the summit of what was a second draft, I feel a little more relaxed about it. 

When it comes to my own stuff, my main concerns when penning any story are:

1. Is this thing going to work?

2. How the hell am I going to market it?

Luckily when I drafted ‘Darke 2’ I put in a huge amount of effort in answering question 1. First drafts serve that purpose and now comes the probable difficulty in all of this – getting people to read it!

My marketing endeavours have historically worked to an extent and this time around I shall be looking at previous methods while also trying to find new ones. My audience is in a constant state of gradual growth which helps immensely.

Those in the loop will realise I have subtly prefixed ‘The Order of the Following’ on the end of Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood’s amazon page titles. And in order for Darke Awakening to be fully appreciated they need to be read first as it is all linked together in what is an ambitious crossover. You can expect to hear more about ‘The Order’ soon.

dfw-lh-3dx2The hardest challenge an indie author faces is brand awareness and distribution. Translation- telling people your works exist and that they have appeal. That’s what I shall be doing in the coming months so watch this space!

For a while I can let it sit and go back to reading some awesome indie books. My current read is a book called ‘NightJar’ – its a wonderful foray into the English language, I urge you to check it out.

Those of the author persuasion how do you tell people about your works? 

 

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook

 

 

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao – Review

A unique mind opening insight into breaking the shells that govern our existence…

48720608. sy475

This book is entirely unique and I’ll admit I’ve never read anything like it. The best way to describe it would be spiritually and consciously intelligent. ‘Break them all’ refers to the phenotypes of our existence that seem to rule us such as ego and ambition and this is guide to breaking away from them in a positive sense.

As a complete layman to the subject matter of this book I was able to follow it from the very beginning while finding it an insightful read. It’s intelligent but easy to take in and highlights how to see things differently and perhaps not the way we usually see them.

Well written and structured this is a book that may provide readers with insight to some answers you never thought could be out there!

4 stars – an interesting short spiritual read

Nocturnal Farm by Villimey Mist – Review

A flawless and fresh vampire tale full of mystery and unexpected twists…

nocturnal farm

Although it may appear to begin rather slowly the reader is introduced to a world where main character Leia Walker is still reeling from her previous encounter six months before and it casts a shadow over her life. This slower pace works incredibly well in depicting Leia’s struggle with not only what happened in the past but to also highlight her anxiety and OCD which she is fighting everyday. She is stronger in this story and displays a realistic amount of character development. For readers who haven’t experienced the events of ‘Nocturnal Blood’ or haven’t read it for a while are reminded during this opening which gives this story it’s own stand-alone power.

Most sequels struggle to live up to the first experience while attempting to be bigger where as Nocturnal Farm carves it’s own unique and sometimes unexpected path without just throwing more vampires and action into the mix. It’s grounded and realistic for a story in this genre. There is a genuine original story where the plot is carried by a rescue mission which differs from last time with the two girls on the run concept.

Villimey Mist has found her voice in writing and delivers a story that is well structured well paced. There were portions of this book where I could have easily been reading a high end fiction story about the likes of ‘Jason Bourne’ as he explored a European city looking for answers much like Leia Walker. We get more from characters who perhaps played minor roles last time while also being introduced to some newer fresh faces. In this world of ‘Vampires’, ‘Sangues’, ‘Ghouls’ and ‘Hunters’ is a a lot of potential that is used well in this book. The journey to the ending was carried by several twists and revelations finally closing with a ‘what if’ scenario that has most probably been burning in the back of most readers minds leaving it very much open for another sequel. 

Nocturnal Farm is a book I would highly recommend!

5 Stars –  A fantastic read, thank you to the author for providing an ARC. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads. 

 

 

 

The Seller of Sins by Kristina Gallo – Review

An engaging immersive tale of relationships and what people will do for love…

seller of sins

Although this is a short read it doesn’t feel like one and I found myself taking my time slowly becoming immersed into a character driven story intertwined with adult themes and at the very core of that relationships.

The writing and delivery adopts a showing as opposed to telling style but it works very well for the story being told and is a good choice for the length that it is – we get a lot of detailed back story making characters Karolina and Filip likable in their own ways even though they are introduced in a rather negative light due to their marriage problems. Their journey throughout this tale carries a deeper moral story about love and what really matters and we realize this at the end.

It’s dramatic and sometimes erotic in places with multiple genres being represented but overall I enjoyed it.

4 – Stars – Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads

Weekly Ramble #54

I need an agent. That is my conclusion if I want to achieve what I want to achieve. With every book my following goes from strength to strength and without disparaging any of my supporters, it’s not enough. My reach or lack of it belittles what I have achieved in writing. Without sounding high and mighty, my efforts as a story teller are falling on deaf ears. 

As a person who started this at absolute zero I cannot help but look back and be damn proud of where I am. But if this dream of mine was a house I built from the foundations, I’m still siting in the footings of the basement. For the stories I have written and the efforts I have put in, the return if I were to look at this as a business person is lacklustre. The board of directors would have shut me down after book 2’s release.

It’s conflicting because ‘business’ is not what this journey is about. I’ve written 5 books. Every single one them became a huge learning experience in both publishing and the written word. Some incredible folks have helped me get them out there; editors, cover artists and the like. Reviewers have kept my belief alive. For all these efforts in vain I am a story teller and I know what a story is. You can only learn to write stories by finding it within yourself. Anyone can be taught grammar, punctuation, spelling and all of the functions of language, but to be able to pen a story from beginning, middle to end with everything in between, that is what I learned while putting together 5 books.

And now after everything I set out to do, even in creating this blog, I am back where I started – looking for a literary agent. But this time I am armed with experience and the know how of story telling. The times have changed and everything I thought I knew about getting an agent, the last time I queried circa 2013, has changed. Apparently science fiction isn’t looked down on anymore. It just so happens to be the genre I am going to use to find an agent. But I need a book and I’ve got one. This year I drafted ‘Jack Thorn’ a story, the story that got me into writing. It’s funny how things go full circle. And as I said, I need an agent…

Have you queried to agents recently? Any good responses? Let me know via the comments, this is our journey, not just mine… 

MIND: Two Short Tales of Horror by E.H Night – Review

Two deep descriptive accounts that play with the imagination…

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For two quite short tales E.H Night has proven that sometimes less can be more, especially in this capacity for this is a reading experience that is unique and imaginative. The descriptive and deep style of writing has a way of surrounding the reader while also giving plenty of room for the imagination to run wild. It’s almost like these stories simply suggest what is happening and our imagination’s fill in the rest – this is a form of story I hold in the highest regard.

Although both of these stories are very different they are linked by their sensibility to the environment of the earthy surroundings. I managed to read both in thirty minutes and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something different, descriptive and on the darker side.

5 Stars – Reviews via Goodreads and Amazon UK 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT1

Yes I know this is an end of the year review type post and we are in late November but… I’ve read a stack of awesome books in the past twelve months and by that I am talking from the end of last November all the way up to the end of this November so that’s a year right? Anyway I’ve got a lot to get through because I’ve read a lot of good books and all of them are independently published. This is part 1 of hopefully 2 posts; we’ll see how many I can cram into one entry… so here goes!

 

last driver

On this day exactly a year ago I posted a review of ‘The Last Driver’ – Episode 1 – Old Dogs by Bookshelf Q. Battler a fellow blogger who has put together a story of the future which is realistic in a kind of sinister but fun way… for what is a shorter book it’s an enjoyable story about one man who is looking to relive his glory days of when you could actually drive a car instead of having a computer do it for you. The ending was left open for a potential sequel which I would be interested in reading. 

undertown

For this next book I was taken back in time to the prohibition /crime wave era of Chicago in what is a clever fusing of history and horror/ the paranormal. To quote my review of Undertown: A novella by K.Noel Moore  it’s a ‘perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.’  

sitch

Blood of the Sixth By K. R. Rowe is about a lot of different things. This well structured story is both brutally graphic in some parts while also managing to make the reader genuinely laugh during other portions. It’s an easy to read story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft’ that I couldn’t put down in the latter stages!

alien diraries

I thoroughly enjoyed The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin – a clever and original story with a rather unique premise. The book unfolds with a back and forth style via diary entries from 1700’s which are then complimented by the main narrative which is set in present day. To quote my review it’s a ‘gripping original tale that nods to some important history as well as taking the reader on a journey through time. I even found there to be some great references to writing and reading in general all of which tells me the author has spent a great amount of time and effort constructing a story that everyone will find enjoyable.’

Nocturnal blood

Let’s talk about Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist which isn’t just a vampire story, it’s so much more. The main character suffers from anxiety and OCD which is not only brave for the author to include but very important also – issues like this must be talked about more. To quote my review Nocturnal Blood is a ‘highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist.’  * This is part of a series with part 2 coming soon! 

51

Now if I could choose a genre to call home it would be horror and Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place is right up my alley… so let me tell you why. This book is a cross between urban exploration, tension filled horror and just a dusting of truth because it is set in a real place. Building 51 see’s a group of friends who go to check out an old mostly abandoned hospital and things start to get just a tad harrowing. It’s cinematic and immersive so I recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of story!

blue rabbit

“I’m going to save the world. Who’s with me?” of course I am quoting Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro which is the first real fantasy book I have read. With a multitude of great characters this story unique and later on becomes pretty epic. A group of friends have discovered a gateway to another world where someone follows and goes missing. It’s fun, colourful and immersive. After reading it I would happily say that this is my type of fantasy! * This author has a new release coming in December which I am currently reading an advanced copy of, it’s just as enjoyable… 

kali

Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh may appear to be just another fantasy/teen novel but it is so much more! This is a story of warriors, heritage and demons with plenty of action. What starts out as in introduction to just an ordinary world follows into the rabbit hole of magic and mythology which is also cleverly linked to the Hindu faith. *  Part one of a series, having already read part two I shall be looking to read the final part next year! 

Quantum Series #1 - Black Sunrise 2019 - front

Black Sunrise by Christina Engela is not only a fun, quirky and imaginative foray into science fiction, it’s also part 1 of the ‘Quantum’ series which I have delved into over the past 6 or so months – I still have 2 left to read hopefully before the end of this year. All of Christina Engela’s books promote positive and modern messages about being inclusive while also being fun. Black Sunrise is just the beginning of that and if you like sci fi you will love this!

kau d'varza

Keeping with the sci-fi theme this next book I was given an advanced review copy of which certainly didn’t dissapoint. Kau D’varza: A story in the ChaosNova universe by David Noë is high-end space travel sci-fi of the finest persuasion. It’s one of the longer stories I have read this year but don’t let that put you off, longer reads mean more immersion and this one certainly draws you in. The story centres around a space station in the very depths of the stars where something is always happening. There is a multitude of characters, drama and mystery in what is a well thought out story set in a detailed world.

squatter in ldn

Last and by no means least is a book that is probably one of the most unique reads I have ever experienced. I say this because A Squatter in London by Irene Pylypec is an autobiographical diary style account of one young lady’s time spent in London after travelling from Canada during the 1970’s. To quote my review ‘the sights, the sounds, the tastes and the people are captured perfectly in what is a fantastic story of highs and lows for a young person trying to survive and figure out life.’ 

So that wraps up Part 1 of Awesome Indie Books I have read this year. Shout out to the awesome authors of these titles which I recommend highly! If you do buy one, remember to leave a review!

HERE’S PART 2!

 

 

Weekly Ramble #52

Anxiety, depression and loneliness are all things we should talk about way more. Even in this modern age where we appear to be more connected than ever before, we still face these issues on a pandemic scale. You would think the concept of social media would help to battle such issues but from my experiences it can foster depression and possibly make it worse. Perhaps the original intention of social media – if it ever was good, has been overlooked and overshadowed.

2010 – you’ve got to get a Facebook profile picture..

2019 – you’ve got to get off Facebook…

It’s strange how time can turn things around, or in this sense nearly a decade .The same generation (folks like me) who knew a life before being internet reliant and then embracing it is now choosing to come away. Perhaps the old saying too much of anything is bad for you turned out to be pretty accurate.

The reason I link mental health and social media together is because last year these two subjects culminated in what I recall as a particularly dark time for me personally. I know many people who have been on their own mental health journeys; many of them blog or post about it (the good guys!), and well I’ve been quite vague until now because it is still fresh and context along with timing has urged me to share it only now – plus compared to last year right now I am probably in one of the best places I’ve been for a long while, as I said it’s funny how time can turn things around.

Off the heels of my 4th book release and the 2nd one of last year which didn’t go particularly smoothly and subsequently didn’t turn out how I envisioned. I’ve only learned all of my ‘book stuff’ by doing/ trial and error and well the release of Cemetery House was indeed just another day at the learning factory – sequels are a specialist thing in indie publishing, and while I did put the whole thing on a pedestal with a long running social media campaign and a whole bunch of expectation, let’s just say in my head I didn’t exactly get a hole in one. By this time I had already drafted the Darke Blood sequel and immediately I pulled the plug on releasing that this year – it wasn’t ready and neither was I.

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There was also a bunch of other stuff going on at the time; that whole year had been building up towards me moving into my own place with my more than better half. Moving places is naturally stressful even if it went quite well – there is more paperwork than any book I’ve ever written… So by the end of November and with my mind trying to crawl towards a better place I took the huge dive into deleting the Facebook app off my phone – for those who know I was always on Facebook; that’s my secret captain… I even decided to go dark across all platforms probably apart from this place. This may have been the best health decision I have ever made in my entire life –  arguably probably better than no carb Thursday or no meat Monday… Immediately my mind and focus turned towards other things, of course the move was coming but very quickly and after being burned by book 4’s ‘debacle’ I wanted to write again!

For those who have read my books will know they are about more than genre and even the main plot. In everything I have created there is an underlying message within. I took on a new writing project and with my crusade against staying off social media I went a further step creatively and decided to hand write my next project. My vision was to take away page counts, word counts, windows updates and the temptation of logging on to Life Invader as well as finding my writing routes. This was just Lee, his pen, some paper and words. At this time I was still healing and so I got writing and subconsciously put together a story that reflected how I was feeling in a sense.

That recollection of feelings reflected via a story ended up becoming a book called ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ which is due for release this December. Because it was handwritten and had a sole focus on just telling a story it turned out to be quite short but it could arguably be my most powerful and important project. And so we go back to the start of this entry… Anxiety, depression and loneliness are all things we should talk about way more, you’ll find these subjects in my next book and they are talked about. That is something we need to do so much more. There are some creators I know that also talk about self care – this is just as important, finding away to get through stuff is a vital part of talking about it!

Now I’m not just using this as an opportunity to sell some books, this has never been about that, it’s an opportunity to use my writing for something more than just telling stories. 

By the end of December last year I had mostly recovered and dove into Indie Book Reviews which has probably been a lifeline for me. Connecting with other authors and bloggers who face what I face gives me a great sense of not being alone in the huge overpopulated world of social media. Even now I am weary of Facebook, it’s #4 or #5 on my platforms for author stuff, this place  is numero uno followed closely by the tweet machine.

For what is my 52nd ramble post – a year of rambles, although I started this series little over a year ago – I would like to take this opportunity to everyone who reads this and say thank you! This blog and your support has given my writing a new lease of life and very soon ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ will be my redemption, whether or not it is a success actually doesn’t matter, it’s the journey of creation that truly matters. 

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