I tapped the Judge’s office door, once, then twice more. At his beck and call day and night, I was. “That must be him now,” Judge Dolan rumbled through the oak panel. “Come on in, Joye.” He was behind his desk, and a swell doll in a smart black dress sat across from him. He gave me a nod and a wink and said, “Mrs. Humphrey, please meet my assistant, Mr. Sean Joye.”
The lady stopped rooting through a beaded bag on her lap and looked up. Pale blue eyes behind a short net veil met mine. They gave me the once-over. A high-society doll and not a bad looker at that. She hadn’t bobbed her hair yet, like half the women in the city. It was all pinned up, mysterious-like, under her wide-brimmed purple hat. Whatever this job was, it couldn’t be all bad.
“Sean, this is Mrs. Taylor Humphrey,” said the Judge. “She brings me an interesting problem.”
“Mr. Joye,” she said, extending a small hand with long, slim fingers. “Please call me Violet.”
I didn’t think she meant it. I shook her sweaty palm, which smelled of Shalimar and jumpy nerves. “Mrs. Humphrey, an unexpected pleasure. This fine morning is now brighter, indeed.”
Her look told me, “Cut the blarney, paddy,” but she said, “The old woman in the lobby predicts snow. The ghost from the elevator shaft told her so.”
I didn’t know which old woman she meant but pretended I did, doubling down on the brogue. It seldom failed me. With American women, anyway. Gents? Not so much. “Pulling your leg was she?”
At that time, I didn’t know any better than old granny tales, that ghosts were merely folks carried off to Faerie, come to pay a bit of a visit to our mortal realm. Not that I’d ever seen any of the fae, including ghosts. At least, not in the courthouse lift. Other places perhaps? I’d just as soon not dwell on that.
Violet returned to the bag and fished out a photograph. The Judge took it, gave it a glance, and handed it back to her. “Why don’t you explain your problem to Mr. Joye?” He folded his hands across his tweed waistcoat, leaned back in the chair, and smiled. I’d never seen him more pleased with himself. “Of course.” She took a deep breath. “This is difficult.” I dumped my coat and fedora on the coat rack and pulled up a chair. “It’s about my sister, Lillian. Lillian Arwald.” She indicated the photograph in her hand and handed it to me.
A pretty young woman—a child, really—in a white, high-collared dress that hung near her ankles, smiled out of the sepia-toned picture while her eyes challenged the world. She looked about sixteen years old. Long blonde hair was pulled back from her face with a fancy comb and hung in loose curls down her back.
“We had a small family squabble, and now Lillian’s run off.” Violet looked down at her lap. She bit her lip, like she was about to cry or something.
I didn’t buy it. Something had spooked her, but it wasn’t the need to discuss her sister’s indiscretions with a circuit court judge. “Do you think she’s in danger?” I leaned in closer. “Sounds like a job for the cops.”
“No, no. Nothing like that. Her debut is this weekend at the Piasa Lodge Ball.”
“A party. Where young ladies are presented to society.”
I nodded like I understood. I didn’t understand. “And it’s in a piazza? Somewhere on the Hill, I guess.” I tried with difficulty to picture which courtyard in the tidy Italian neighborhood, not far from where I stayed, could hold a fancy society party—in February, to boot.
“No. Piasa. Pie-uh-saw,” Violet said as she crossed her arms. “The American Indian mythological figure? The painting on the river bluffs discovered by the first French explorers?”
The Judge looked embarrassed at my ignorance. “At least a dozen businesses in St. Louis and even more across the river in Alton are named for it,” he said, smiling at her. “And, of course, the premier civic booster organization of the city.”
Well, la-de-da. “So, nothing else for her to hide from?”
“She’s been a bit wild.” Tapped the picture in my hand, Violet said, “That’s from a few years ago. Now her hair’s cut short. Skirts too.”
I liked the twinkle in Lillian’s eyes and something about the smile. The girl had a secret or two, just waiting for the right moment to bust loose.
“She’s just in a phase,” Violet continued. “She’s engaged to be married to a respectable attorney.”
“Trouble with the boyfriend?”
“Perhaps.” But from the look on her face, the boyfriend had nothing to do with it.
Kathy L. Brown’s The Big Cinch is a Dashiell-Hammett-style supernatural noir mystery novel featuring wizards and Mississippian mythology, available now from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm but this year has officially started rolling. What began with some difficult outside of writing endeavours based stress has turned around for me this week and I’m now diving back in to the writing.
Life will always have a way of stepping in front of my creative endeavours, as always its about priorities and of course my best friend; slow, gradual progress. A sentence at a time in an orderly fashion is enough and eventually that’s what books become. The same can be said for other life things too, ticking one task off at a time is key for me. This year I’m currently envisioning two releases – another non-fiction and the final story in my not very well known Order of the Following Series. I’m also involved in an author academy which you can expect some more news from soon.
Book sales have miraculously continued steadily into this month and it is shaping up to be the best January ever. This month is notoriously slow for me usually and so I am buzzing to see so many sales coming though which is hopefully a sign that 2022 is going to be my year no matter what!
The thing about being busy is that some milestones tend to creep up on you and yesterday the notification came through saying this blog had reached 50,000 views. Let me take this opportunity to thank every single visitor to this site who makes up that number. To be read in a world where everyone online is trying to get exactly that, this is a pretty awesome feeling. This post is dedicated to looking at some fun statistics from the 9 years Lee’s Hall of Information has been operational, you’ll even find a few tips also.
So let us take a look at the individual monthly numbers first. As you can see things started rising ataround the midway point of 2018 which was an important year. A year that I began reviewing indie books and released my 3rd and then 4th book
You can see the highest views came last year in March, April and May – this coincided with the pre-order run and then release of my author/blogger/ social media guide Consistent Creative Content.
Tip for authors: When releasing a book, every element of promotion should be at the maximum running up to release. For this case, my social media and blogging endeavors were and in May I hit 10k Twitter follows.
If we dive a little deeper into the individual years you can see more views appeared as I created more blog posts.
You can also see that comments and likes increased with that content. It seems the more you put in eventually the more you get back.
So where did the majority of my all time views come from. Here are the top 10 nations:
Of course there are numerous other places where my readers come from so wherever you are in this world, thank you!
2021 was the best year yet and so where did most of the reader traffic get referred from?
Twitter makes sense as I spend the majority of my social media time there although it is still a challenge to get link clicks on the platform so how did I get so many?
Twitter link tip: Instead of sharing a link in a tweet either drop it in the reply below or just tell your following to click on the link in your bio (you’ll need to put a link in your bio for them to click on). I’ve been doing this for the majority of last year it has got me nearly 6,000 clicks.
And lets take a look at what you guys have been reading. These are some of my most popular posts of 2021:
You can find some of these things over in the Resources section or just search for them via the search bar which should be to the right or below somewhere depending on your browser. Evergreen is the key word when it comes to these posts – basically stuff that can be shared again and again and have appeal over the long term. The top 3 in particular are very much in that category.
Blogging Tip: Most of these posts were published some months ago and have gained more reads by being shared several times across platforms. It’s okay to share older stuff to newer audiences, especially if you have a following which has grown.
50,000 all time views is an incredible milestone and I hope you enjoyed this post. This Hall of Informationblog has become my internet home as a creator and you are all welcome anytime! Peace out, rock and roll and blogging man!
And we’re back for the second part of every book I have read in 2021 and this time I have 22 books to share and recommend! What a ride this year has been and made all the better for the wonderful reads you shall find below…
‘Spook City, U.S.A.: A Shadybrook Community Patrol Novella’ by Drew Purcell
‘Fun, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…‘
And so that wraps up an incredible year of indie and self published books. Thanks for reading and thank you to these awesome authors for their wonderful words! You can expect another post very soon highlighting my favorite books of 2021. Stay tuned!
Page-turning sci-fi action with a revolutionary theme…
Rebecca Crunden introduces readers to a futuristic world not too dissimilar to our own time where there’s pollution, a rich to poor divide and a government that stokes the fire of such only now its on a grander scale. Straight away we find this out as the scene is set in this rich setting and the stakes are introduced via ‘Ames’ who is on a rescue mission of sorts. A mission and journey that will take him across planets while being chased all for the purpose of finding his missing brother.
On his tail are the various agents of the Democratic Plantery Alliance which are anything but their namesake and even though our main character is seemingly wanted he still does his best to do the right thing. He meets ‘Violet’ and intervenes in her situation which in turn forges a bond and an unlikely ally in a situation full of uncertainty. They band together and eventually arrive on the distant planet of ‘Kilnin’ in search of answers.
Pages turn quickly in this action and drama packed chase/find story without chapter breaks hence I read it in just a couple of sittings. The world-building is on point and the wider universe is something with a lot of potential especially as the ending brings promise of that. There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.
“Eventually even those who avoided the world were drawn into its madness…”
Constantly chasing higher numbers on social media can be draining. Especially when you think you’ve figured out the answers, they go ahead and change the questions. Who are they? The platforms and their algorithms which to me are kind of like a gym membership – costly enough for you to return most weeks but also designed to cast the illusion that you are making progress but actually you are in the same place.
How do I cope with the constant mind fu** that this can all be? Quite simply, I take it one day at a time and honestly, I enjoy the challenge and the connections I make with others. Seeing faces or those behind the handles return everyday to face the same grind as me provides comfort because social media can be a lonely places sometimes, it can feel like you are drifting in space but there are good folks out there and together we make it bearable.
I’m doing my best to up my Twitter game because 20,000 follows is on the near horizon but it just feels like things have slowed on the platform and as someone who is experienced with it I know the problem probably sits with me. The times are moving on from the pandemic ‘everyone is always online’ era and a time where I managed to seize the opportunity. In the past 16 months I made the best of this blog, my author career and wider social media presence but now I’m going to need to adapt to this newer emerging world. But people will always take what you are offering, whether it be content or just your presence, remember that constantly chasing numbers can be a psychological minefield but on social media you get results near enough instantly. So for now I’ll keep chasing because bigger better things are coming.
An unconventional and enjoyable superhero tale told with buckets of unique personality…
There are heroes and there are villains and then there’s’ Meg’ who tries her best to survive between the fringes of those forces and life in general. Her job is not so great and her outlook on life leans towards just wanting to be left alone. We find this out through an unconventional and sometimes comedic fourth-wall-breaking narration style that has literally buckets of personality and snark. Of course this flavor and comedy in general is a challenge to get right especially in this day and age where some readers refuse to receive it but me, I very much enjoyed that element which was executed very well by Jamie Jackson while only being part of a complex story because ‘Meg’ has a unique super power with a darker edge.
That power is rather a hot commodity to some, we see all around Superman type ‘Greg’ persistently trying to recruit our main character while on the other side of proceedings a sinister collector of powers known as ‘Red Eye’ is also pursuing her. In between being told to ‘shut up’ by ‘Meg’ we see her trying to juggle options she is constantly caught between and her deadly power is always whispering. Her control over those voices can sometimes have consequences that not even she is able to control.
‘I told the whispers to watch over me. And they agreed, because they wanted more blood…’
Its easy to read and full of some wonderful description along with great dialogue which I sometimes felt was broken up by narration that confides in the reader pulling me out for only a moment or two – my only real critique because everything else left me wanting to turn pages, know more about this world and where this story could possibly go.
4 Stars – A different take on the tired superhero genre and done rather well.
It feels like a while since I did one of these and the indie book review train just keeps on rolling all the way to 43 reviews for this year. From jet-setting thrillers to romance all the way to mystery thrillers full of twists, here’s what I have been reading and reviewing recently.
‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan
‘A feel-good cosy romance story about two passionate souls…‘
Quick, fun and easy to read race against time story with murder mystery vibes…
This is my second Walrus experience and yet again I found it to be an easy-to- read enjoyable take on the film industry with a few unexpected original spins.
The story starts out with a symbolic and cinematic murder which then unfolds into a mystery/high stakes situation where it is believed ‘Stars Never Die’ is a movie that seemingly carries a curse as bad things seem to unfold around it. ‘Jessica’ who is part inventor and part investigator must race against time to stop this film premiering and of course solving a murder with some deep rooted family history. She soon realises someone is following her and so the chase is on.
There are mystery and tech vibes along with some fun moments that kept me turning pages and wanting to find out what was going to happen next.
‘I’m a star. And stars never die…’
Ironically and funnily this quote is played while a strangulation and violent struggle takes place which then erupts into a much bigger brawl – just one of the fun quirks this story and writing style has. For anyone looking for an escape even just for a few hours then this one is for you.
IMPECCABILITY is what you need to become an IMPECCABLE social media author like me and this guide contains everything you need to get there. Let the impeculation flow through you as this guide will avoid the same old repetition you’ve been reading online for years. You won’t find the same old repetition here because that impeculation will help you sell books, get social media fame and overall success on this path. We’re not even sure impeculation is a word but this is a space for creatives, not snarky editors. Let’s rock!
In order to achieve IMPECCABILITY first you need to know the definitions of what social media is. So take what you think you know and tear it to pieces because social media is only one place, Twitter! Throw away the hundreds of followers you’ve earned elsewhere apart from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and any blog you might have and focus on the place where the real party is happening.
Followers: Followers are what make up the audience in which you’ve got to throw every ounce of content you have all the time. When it comes to followers, their actual opinion, needs, and tastes don’t really matter but the number does so just focus on collecting more of them. Talk at them and they will listen, in fact keep talking at them until they buy your stuff. If they don’t buy your stuff then don’t waste your time on them. Block Block Block! Make sure you appear as if you are the only person in the world they have to follow. Don’t give them an opportunity to be included, just make them want to be you!
Engagement: This is the stuff you want to avoid on social media because engagement zaps up valuable time when you could be posting links into the void. Top Tip: Stay away from the replies on any platform where someone is engaging in you. Engagement is the enemy.
DM’s: Direct Messages, this is the tool where you can really hone that IMPECCABILITY by directly targeting followers into submission until they buy your crap. More on this below, probably but all good platforms Twitter allows you to directly message anyone. That is if they haven’t got those pesky privacy settings meaning you can only send them a message request. Block them if they have this. Don’t waste that time.
Now we’ve looked at the definitions lets look at the real definition of social media, and the only place you can really sell books, Twitter!
The true power on Twitter is the personal connections you can make through DM’s. There’s a plethora of spammy unofficial add ons you can install onto your twitter that will do the work for you. And by work I mean bothering newfollowers into submission withinformation – this really works to sell things. So I recommend you set up a function that DM’s new followers instantaneously with a message of your choice. This message must be at least 7 paragraphs of your stuff. Links, blurbs, a not so sincere blanket thank you. And remember the more pretentious your message, the bigger you will appear to the lemmings so if you really want to appear big-time make sure you mention that a social media PR firm are handling all your endeavours. This will show you really care about personally connecting with others.
In terms of being a successful social media author you need two things and then you need to do one thing.
Grow a social media following;
Write a book.
Share it to your social media following for instant sales.
That is it. And before you ask, yes it is that simple but the real challenge is conducting yourself to get sales.
There are a bunch of things you must do everyday to secure dominance and then IMPECCABILITY by using Twitter.
Firstly and most importantly when considering tweeting you must include several hashtags and a link – you’ll find specifics below as to what to actually tweet but the basics are having hashtags and links. This way, the algorithms will favor you every time over everyone else. Only losers really attempt anything other than sharing links and using hashtags. Keep away from conversation and focus on flinging links and making tweets more readable by making #at least #every other #word a #hashtag because this doesn’t look desperate for attention, its the tweet conduct of someone who is goal driven!
Got to tag them all:
If there’s one thing that will help you gain traction and visibility it is to tag those with larger followings than you. They have spent many years carving their engagement and following so its time to use that to your advantage plus they are on twitter so they cant be busy. In order to really get someone’s attention, you want to tag these folks at least three times in a day. Maybe more if you’ve never ever interacted with them. Negative attention you ask? There is only such thing as positive attention online. They will love the overabundance of notifications, trust me.
Drop those links:
Just as you’ll be tagging those higher profile accounts it is also important to drop your book links on their tweets. Even if it is entirely unrelated because this is seen as an entrepreneur move. Everyone and their following will notice your sharp marketing skills and instantly buy your stuff. Drop those links everywhere. Twitter will totally not notice and tell you off. There is a rumour that dropping links all the time will bury your visibility, this is pure myth. Drop that link!
Keep it current, Keep it political:
The best way an author can become IMPECCABLE is to comment on current political events that everyone will forget next week but they won’t forget how you reacted. Jump the gun as they say and throw your one sided opinion into the void. Guaranteed followers and good natured engagement, especially if you move into the trending side of twitter. Much like the bone yard seen in the Lion King, you’ll find a Hyena or two willing to listen and engage with you. This will also show your true colours and reactionist mentality that everyone loves these days. Mud will stick here but this is the type of mud you can use as the foundation for that empire you’ll be creating.
Twitter is a wonderfully designed platform where it is very easy for your cryptical replies to be misunderstood and ill received. This can only be a good thing because people love a puzzle and conundrum – Sudoku is still huge and so consider this your opportunity to be puzzle master. Let your replies come across weird and give them a tone that cannot be gauged, this will guarantee IMPECCABILITY over time.
Enforce the rules:
Let’s face it, most of us have always had a boner for authority so on Twitter where the catchment of rule breakers is wide, it is important to shout from the hills that everyone should follow your story telling rules. It’s okay that you break them, but everyone else must get in line. Be that bullish borderline narcissistic bully and everyone will follow you in fear. Fear is your friend and leads to sales. Project your nonesense onto others until they love you. They really will.
The Writing community has a weird way of attracting trolls. The best thing you can do is block them and move on engage them. Exchange gifs and give these haters a platform. You’ve got time right and remember everything you tweet will be seen by your followers who will love to see you enabling these worthless fucks good people.
Section 4: But What to Tweet about?
The question of all questions and only now am I going to answer it because you need all the information above to have a fighting chance of wading and then floating through the sheer deluge of words scrolling by per minute on Twitter.
These things are great to tweet about:
If you’re a newbie the best thing you can do is say you are new to the writing community and that you are looking to connect with others. These tweets normally blow up so seize the moment and even if you are not new, it’s okay to say you are. Twitter traction is all based on exploitation and small lies non-truths;
Another great way to get everyone’s attention is to say that Twitter is quiet today. This normally brings in the droves right to your profile. Of course Twitter isn’t quiet, you’re just using it wrong because the platform is open all the time;
Not knowing what to Tweet is also a great advantage. If you were to tweet that, again you’ll get some great levels of attention and remember taking attention away from everyone else is the key to success on the platform;
Of course if you’re looking for answers then ask questions. Asking inane questions all day everyday will guarantee to move the needle in your favor and you’ll notice how much your follows and activity rises when you try something other than inane questions. Remember the more obscure the better, like what would the milk taste like if your main character was a dairy farmer. That’s the real nitty gritty right there.
Sub tweeting – now I might have got this completely wrong but sub tweeting is a great way to show that you’re on track in terms of diet. So next time you eat fresh and grab yourself a subway footlong, tweet about it. This post is not affiliated with Subway in anyway.
Running your own writers lifts. For some reason everyone loves these, even years after the fact most have realised they mean nothing and get your nowhere. You can really build up a huge following of thousands and then be left pondering why none of them bought your book.
With the sections above you can tell I pretty much have a Doctorate in Twitter, social media, subway and IMPECCABILITY and now you can too!
I reckon you are set for pure social media IMPECCABILTIY like no other. That competition of yours will be crushed but there is one final part that is imperative to all of this. The general consensus from some truly IMPECCABLE social media authors. I put the subject of this post to the very best and we shall finish with their answers.
Thank you for reading and for the love of god please treat this post as satire, I wrote it for fun and I’ve had a difficult month/year and my go-to coping strategy is comedy/satire, stay IMPECCABLE!
Lee Hall is an indie author and blogger who spends much of his time putting together awesome guides like this. You can read more serious ones via his patreon and if you sign up, you get a free book, exclusive first access to future guides and his general love.