Weekly Ramble #139

The truth is and this might not be a revelation, I’m constantly busy with something. Whether it is blogging or writing, social media or day job stuff, there is always an abundance on my to-do list. I’ve partially concluded that I might only be able to function effectively as a busy person which is great, but that also means I cannot stop…

On my usual social media scrolling travels I often see writers who are in the querying trenches. It seems to be a borderline obsession for some and that finding an agent or publisher is the only route to success in writing. While I applaud and admire anyone taking the dive into querying their work, I am simply too busy to be doing that. Especially when there isn’t a guarantee of an actual end result. I could be waiting half a year for a response and so everything I am busy with, ends with an actual result. From social media posting to writing on this blog, I’m getting sales and I’m getting views. Although slowly, things are moving in the right direction which is all governed by me doing the work.

This week I reached out to my following to offer Twitter coaching, a new venture and also something I have built a lot of specialist knowledge with. Just by looking at a fellow Tweeters profile page I can tell what they need to do in order to get more traction on the platform. While my guides have all tried to capture mass appeal, I think I would be way more effective on an individual basis. Of course, new ventures always start slowly, but for this one, I am optimistic.

Indie Book Rec’s : Non-Fiction/Memoirs

In celebration of #indieApril over on Twitter and because there are some wonderful indie books out there, I’ve put together a series of posts recommending some awesome works I have read over the years.

This post is dedicated to the genres of Non-Fiction and Memoirs so here are some books I highly recommend:

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao

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

Full Review

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‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts 

Essential reading for marketing books effectively while gaining a better understanding of Amazon key words and beyond..

Full Review

‘The Art of Reading: How Reading Can Help You Become a Better, More Productive Writer’ by J.D. Cunegan

A relatable and open guide about reading to improve your writing…

Full Review

‘A Squatter in London’ by Irene Pylypec

An enjoyable well written memoir about a young lady who embarks on a travelling adventure…

Full Review

squatter in ldn

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Candid, brave and ultimately inspirational…

Full Review

‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins

An entertaining and gritty series of real life tales told with charm…

Full Review

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to use #indieApril over on Twitter to show your support for indie authors and their awesome works!

Excerpt of ‘The Big Cinch’ by Kathy L. Brown

The Big Cinch, Chapter One: Goodwill


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.”

“Debut?”

“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

Weekly Ramble #134

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!

50,000 Views Special

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 at around 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 Information blog has become my internet home as a creator and you are all welcome anytime! Peace out, rock and roll and blogging man!

Every Book I have read in 2021 Pt2

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…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon

An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Fear Farm No Trespassers’ by S.J. Krandall

‘Immersive page-turning horror stories full of thrills and chills…’

5 Stars Full Review

‘Nevada Noir : A Trilogy of Short Stories’ by David Arrowsmith

A brief but deeply descriptive brush with the dark…

4 Stars Full Review

‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ by A.J. Ross-Etheridge

Fun, honest, thought-provoking poetry guaranteed to put a smile on your face…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Fairy tale and STEM combine for a fun story with an important message…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Evil Eye: A Slasher Story’ by April A. Taylor

An unpredictable fast-paced slasher with plenty of twists and tension as the storm unfolds…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Home’ by Thomas Overlook 

Unique and intriguing. A page-turning tale that’ll take readers down the rabbit hole of what’s there and what isn’t…

4 Stars Full Review

‘The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing’ by R.T. Slaywood and R.C. Martinez

A refreshing outlook on writing and publishing that’ll make you smile…

5,000 Stars Full Review

‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan

A feel-good cosy romance story about two passionate souls

5 Stars Full Review

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford 

Cleverly plotted British mystery thriller with darker psychological tones and twists…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox

A thrilling jet-setting tale of deception stretching further than anyone can imagine…

5 Stars Full Review

‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

‘An easy-to-read mystery full of intrigue, atmosphere and chills…’

5 Stars Full Review

‘Stars Never Die: A Movie To Die For’ by Walrus

‘Quick, fun and easy to read race against time story with murder mystery vibes…’

3 Stars Full Review

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Faye

A comprehensive and valuable guide for any author looking to make a career out of their writing…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Beginner’s Luck’ by M.J. Furtek

‘A breezy action-packed and unpredictable page-turning spy thriller that could go anywhere next…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Fear and Fury’ by Jamie Jackson 

An unconventional and enjoyable superhero tale told with buckets of unique personality…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Dust & Lightning’ by Rebecca Crunden

Page-turning sci-fi action with a revolutionary theme…

5 Stars Full Review

‘The Bad Part of Time’ By Joshua Ingle

A thought provoking time travel caper exploring the themes of life, age and politics…

5 Stars Full Review

Star Child by D.K. Johnson – Review

The truth is out there among the stars and so is the journey to thought-provoking enlightenment

4 Stars Full Review

‘Body In The Waves’ by Kristina Gallo

Heavy themes and issues make for a dark but thrilling tale…

4 Stars Full Review

‘No Rest For The Wicked : Detective Stories’ by Megan Hinde

A collection of intriguing short noir crime stories

4 Stars Full Review

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!

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden – Review

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…”

5 Stars

Weekly Ramble #128

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.

‘Fear and Fury’ by Jamie Jackson – Review

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.