Guest Post: ‘The Story Behind The Story’ by Micah Kolding

Author Micah Kolding shares his story which led to his first published children’s book.

It starts with my community theater work. My voice qualifies as “true bass”, which is rare enough to be in high demand among local musical productions. I therefore find something of a niche as “the guy with the deep voice”.

Something I realized over the course of my theater experience is that the kids tend to find it fascinating that I’m part of the cast by choice. There are occasions when I’m the only straight guy who isn’t one of their dads, and they gravitate to me to talk about things they probably don’t feel like they can talk about with the rest of the cast. They ask if I like geckos, they want to discuss Star Wars, they need to recount how they got in trouble at school… a lot of topics that are, on some level, too “boyish” for much of the musical theater environment. And it’s very often the girls who most need to talk about this.

I’ll always remember one girl in particular; a true tomboy, she once showed up before a show in a pink dress and revealed that she was only wearing it because she lost a bet. When much of the cast reassured her of how pretty she looked, she shouted, “I’m going to sit with Micah, because he won’t judge me!” She did, and I told her she looked like “a pink nightmare”. She said “Thank you!”, and we fist-bumped.

My takeaway from this experience is just how little people understand tomboys. More girls than we realize are not buying into the culture of constant sensitivity and validation; they want to be challenged, they want to compete, and they want to be “one of the guys” without having adults ask if they’re pre-op. You look at how tomboys are depicted in most stories, you see hostile weirdos who are content to be the one sporty friend in a cast of near-identical bratz-dolls, and I wanted to write something that rang truer.

The plot of “The Fellas, the Mermaid, and Me!” came to me while I was serving as Lurch in the Addams Family musical. It’s a story about a mermaid named Kris who hangs out with five human friends, all of which are boys. I remember realizing how perfect it was to depict a composite of every tomboy I knew as a gritty, gap-toothed mermaid; people expect mermaids to be quintessentially girly, but they’re ultimately an apex-predator sea creature, making them necessarily a sporty, adventurous, competitive friend.

Indeed, when I first sent out the story to beta-readers, I got a few comments opining that Kris shouldn’t be the only girl in the group. It was enough that I actually ran the idea past my wife; “Should I change one of the boys to be a girl?” Speaking from quite a bit of experience herself, her reaction was an insistent “NO! She’s a TOMBOY! She doesn’t hang out with GIRLS!” So “The Fellas, the Mermaid, and Me!” went to self-publication as-is.

You can find author Micah Kolding on Twitter and his books via Amazon

Guest Post: Music to Write By: Motivator or Procrastinator? By Emma Jordan

Introducing author Emma Jordan who talks about music and writing…

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As an indie romance author, I love making all my own writing decisions, from series concept to book marketing and even the actual writing bit. Who wouldn’t?

But what I REALLY love is deciding what music to play, whether I’m:

· Researching an idea;

· Creating a Spotify playlist of my novels;

· Creating an Amazon playlist to inspire me on car journeys;

· Distracting myself from writing;

· Tidying my CDs;

· Taking a break from writing;

· Avoiding editing;

· Celebrating self-publishing a book;

· Trying to write character arcs.

The rhetorical question is: do I play music to motivate my writing or to avoid writing?

A little of both, as any graduate historian will conclude.

I’ve included music in all three of the romance novels in my series, Love is Everything (across all musical genres):

Everything, Except You – four decades of country music and 80s film themes;

Everything and Nothing – seventies rock and classic rock;

Everything For Her – 90s pop and Latin music (this is the book I’m currently, musically, distracted from);

Even my Christmas novella, Everything This Christmas, includes Christmas songs (and films).

You know when people say they’ll listen to anything?

I really do, I’ve seen New Kids on the Block and Andrea Bocelli live shows – not together, although that could inspire an intriguing book one day. I’ve spent five days at a country festival that I had to be dragged away from, I RockFit to Rammstein and I’ve seen Muse perform 12 times in six countries (don’t even get me started on combining travel and music).

I even volunteer to write music reviews and interview musicians for Lyric Magazine, because I love sharing my love of songwriting and storytelling.

I’ve always loved music. I grew up in a music-loving household. We didn’t have much, but we had cassettes. I remember 13th July 1985 as a 7 year old, standing in the lounge in front of BBC One and yelling to my Mum, ‘It’s On!’ just as Live Aid, the first charity concert, was about to kick off 12 hours of live music (including Paul Young. Swoon).

As a teen, I took babysitting jobs based on the person’s cassette collection, and if there was a twin deck I could record from. As an adult, and parent, I need live shows as much as my daughter needs to read (proud mama moment; she’s book-obsessed). Perhaps my gig obsession is not for the reason you think. I’m deaf in my right ear, which probably explains my addiction to live shows (front and centre if possible) I need to feel the music. It also makes for great writing inspiration when I hear something completely different to what’s actually being said. Talk about Four Candles.

I absolutely can’t wait for live shows to resume again, so that I can convince myself, ‘I’ll write on the train’ when I actually mean I’ll listen to artist’s music all the way back home, reliving the show, drifting to sleep with a huge grin across my face.

What do you listen to when you’re supposed to be working?

Romance writer Emma Jordan hangs out on Twitter and Instagram (as well as Spotify and Amazon’s KDP reports) and loves to connect with readers and potential-readers.

To celebrate the 1st book birthday of my second romance novel, Everything and Nothing, all readers can add this to their #TBRPile FOR FREE before the end of Friday 16th July 2021.

Guest Post: ‘All Things Writing’ by Myron The Dreamer’s Spirit

We all have expectations!

We’re all excited and waiting for something eagerly to happen. Some of us, especially artists, writers, and avid dreamers can even see our expectations fully realized within our heart imagination. We can taste it, smell it, maybe even feel it like a new set of clothes against our skin. We even dance in celebration! There’s real joy in knowing we already have what we’ve sought out for despite not having it in our hand.

However, on who or what do we rest our expectations on? A person? A place? A government? A time in the future? (Personally I wouldn’t choose any of these). Be mindful on whom or where you set your expectations on. It’s important to dream and to plan for the future, regardless of how far or near it may seem, but be careful with the choice of your foundation, the thing that you rest your expectations on. If you want your hopes and dreams to be fully realized beyond your wildest imagination then rest them on something sure and solid (such things do exist), something that won’t change like the weather or your mood. Your dreams, your life are very real and very important. Shouldn’t they be rooted and planted in and on something that will always be there for you? The future is unclear, in fact it doesn’t even exist. There’s only the present. Be wise and check your foundation. Choose a foundation you trust to rest your life on and expect the best while in a state of rest because the fruit of your labours is coming. Like someone who sows seed in good soil, the crop has no choice but to come and it will come quickly.

So what are you resting your expectations on?

Thank you for stopping by!

By Myron, aka the Dreamer’s Spirit who you can find on Twitter.

If you have an article or a book review and want to be a guest writer then the Hall of Information wants you! Reach out via the submit a book review/article section.

Guest Book Review: ‘Into the Breach’ by Halo Scot Reviewed by A D Green

Introducing fantasy author A D Green who reviews ‘Into the Breach’ by Halo Scot.

5/5 stars – A Brutal, visceral Grimdark Horror that will stay with me

I am not a massive Grimdark fan. I have read a few before and most have failed to engage me. Not so Halo Scot’s offering. It grabbed me by my shirt front (okay T-shirt) and did not let go until the last page.

The story is set thousands of years in earth’s future and it is not a happy one. The planet is scorched and has flipped so that Antarctica is the new north and humankind lives there in a desert wasteland. A rift has opened, a gateway to the seven realms, it seems we are not alone and the gods are revealed. Powers are awakened in humans that mirror the four seasons, summer for mages, winter for shields, autumn for shifters and spring for healers.

Into this backdrop come Kyder (our antihero) and Rune (our hero). One born at the height of the summer solstice, the other the winter. The most powerful of their kind they are two sides of the same coin. One broken by birth, the other broken by death. One a psychopath, the other an empath. One born on the fringes of society the other at the heart.

No story is for everyone (I mean some people don’t like Lord of the Rings if you can believe that!) but this story should come with a health warning. I found it as disturbing as I did fascinating and I could not stop reading it.

The story alternates from each protagonists point of view and moves at a great pace from when they are children to young adults. Halo Scot pulls no punches, is brutal to the point I would have turned away if I watched this on a screen, but reading it I had no choice but to read the words, live the emotion, good and bad. It is morally indecent, a lot, which I found more disturbing than the violence. I mean, violence is a known thing, right? We all watch it and read it and see it happening in our world. But what we think, what we know of as right and wrong, those deep, dark questions that hide in the back of our minds are so much scarier when they are on a page (or maybe that is just me).

Into the Breach is much more than all that though. What really carries the story is the conflict of emotion, the war of the soul. It is a story of love rather than hate and of redemption (yes, that old chestnut we all love). I was sucked into Kyder and Rune’s world and bought into their lives in equal measure.

We love Hannibal Lecter for his intelligence and hate him for his cruelty and he scares the s**t out of us, well Kyder is cut of the same cloth. I wouldn’t say he was my guilty pleasure but he was my guilty something.

Anything I didn’t like? Well not really. Maybe a small bugbear, a gripe, that both protagonists break the fourth wall at times and talk directly the reader. Just a thought here or observation there. Well, I didn’t like this. I didn’t notice it in the first half of the book – only the second but that could just have been due to shock! It was a conscious decision by the author, presumably to engage the reader. Make them feel they were part of the story if only a witness to it and I get that some people will love this (I mean, I liked Deadpool’s fourth wall breakage) but for me, it ruined the spell that had been cast, took me out of rather than into the story. Like I say, potatoes, potatos. Thankfully, for me, it was not overused.  

This book will live with me for a long time. It is beautifully written, all the characters feel so alive and uniquely distinctive and oh so very human. I could go on, could probably write an essay on this book but well I won’t, too damn lazy and who would read it!

If you are still intrigued after reading my review then stop procrastinating. Go buy it and read it yourself and go write your own damn review. Halo Scot, I salute you, even though you scare me a little and there is three more books to come. Gulp.

This review first premiered via A D Green’s blog which you can find here. You can also find him over on Twitter and he is part of the #indiebookclub who choose and review a new indie author every month.

Books by A D Green

Guest Post: My Personal Journey as a Writer by Danielle Larsen

Introducing Danielle Larsen who shares an insight into her journey as a writer.

I never really thought of myself as a writer. Even now, with a published book, it’s still something I struggle with. I think it’s because I’ve always had this image in my head of what a writer is “supposed to be.” I picture Charles Dickens or Jane Austen sitting by candlelight hunched over pages and pages of handwritten stories. I see Jo March from Little Women feverishly writing into the night until her hand cramps up. I never thought that simply writing about myself was enough to consider me a writer.

Looking back, writing has always been part of my life, but it probably wasn’t in the way that most of my peers came to it. I was the teenager with endless journals and diaries, pouring my heart and thoughts into pages but struggled with writing assignments in school. If there was an opportunity for an alternate assignment that didn’t involve writing a paper, that’s what I was going to do.

When I was in college, my school had a habit of “personal reflection essays.” At the end of each semester, you had to write a paper for almost every single class reflecting on your journey and time in that class. Writing these small essays got me into the habit of looking inward and really putting my thoughts into something coherent. I fully believe this is what eventually led to my current blog, The Mindful Fight, which has been up and running for about a year and a half now.

But writing a memoir, even though people had told me that I should, wasn’t really anything that I thought I’d ever be able to accomplish. While writing any kind of book is a never-ending process of revisions, edits, and late-night writing sessions, when it comes to memoir writing you have to look so deep within yourself that the process itself is extremely exhausting. I knew that writing about my own story, which involves domestic abuse, would be something that would take a lot of strength and courage.

Even as I started writing, though, I doubted myself. The stories and words were pouring out of me, but diving into things that I’d long since buried was extremely difficult. I was finding that if a story was in my head ready to be written that I had to get it down or I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I spent many nights writing until the crack of dawn because of this. The process of tapping into these memories was exhausting enough, and I was burning the candle at both ends.

It’s been 6 months since my book came out and, if I knew then what I know now, I would have taken my time. I would have paced myself instead of subjecting myself to a constant flow of difficult memories. I had friends telling me to, but I simply couldn’t stop writing. This sounds like a good thing, but in hindsight it actually made the process harder. I would write a difficult story and then jump right into the next one. Then I would go back a few days later to reread it and it was like a severe form of immersion therapy: being constantly throw into the deep end hoping that I would swim.

Writing a memoir, no matter the subject, is something extremely personal and unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to explain how difficult it really is. Many people see memoir writing as self-indulgent and I simply don’t think that’s fair. It’s a weird thing to say, “Hey, this book is about me,” and hope that people will read it, but we wouldn’t tell our stories if we didn’t think they were worth telling. My story isn’t unique at all, but many abuse survivors never find their voice. I was able to find the strength to tell my story and my hope is that it can help others in similar situations find theirs. That’s why I called my book From Voiceless To Vocal because I went from being silenced to speaking out in the ultimate way.

As I sit here, with my book on a shelf over my head, it’s still hard to think of myself as a writer. Most of my peers are fiction writers and a lot of the time I feel as though I’m on the outside looking in within the writing community. It’s hard to consider yourself a writer when those around you are promoting their multi-book series and you have a 140 page book about your own life. But at the end of the day, I am a writer. I’m a published author regardless of what exists between those pages and even if I never sell another copy, I’ll always have that.

My advice to anyone struggling with their identity as a writer is to not compare yourself to your peers. Trust me, I know how difficult that is, but we’re all struggling with the same things. Even if you never publish a book or you have 20 by the time you’re finished, simply writing things and committing yourself to the page, regardless of whether others see it or not, makes you a writer.

Maybe some will disagree with that, but that’s part of being a writer too. Not everyone is going to love everything you have to say… but say it anyway. If you have a story you want to tell, tell it. Write the stories that you want to write because you love them and don’t worry about what might happen down the line. It might live in your computer forever or maybe you’ll become a bestseller, but you’ll know that you put those words down and that alone should make you proud.

Danielle’s inspirational memoir ‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ is available now and you can find out more information here.

Click on the book below to see my recent review and be sure to check out her website The Mindful Fight here.

Guest post: Excerpt of ‘Mobbed Up in Suburbia’ by Charlie Crane.

Introducing author Charlie Crane who shares an exclusive excerpt of crime thriller book ‘Mobbed Up in Suburbia’.

Junior found Hot Nose standing out on the veranda, watching the late night closing in on another morning. Junior had stood just inside the house for a time, watching Bill sip his whiskey, looking out at yesterday and tomorrow. Melancholic was how it had struck Junior, which was out of character for Bill, so it could be a moment of opportunity. A rare time when Bill’s sentiment allowed him to drop his guard.
Bill pushed a clean glass Junior’s way. “Join me, kid. It’s good to have the company.”
Junior poured himself a whiskey and took a belt and Hot Nose said,
“It’s a beautiful night out, ain’t it, kid?”
“It is. I miss these autumn nights. LA’s got two seasons. Hot and not so hot.”
“Sounds miserable. I don’t know how you do it.”
It had taken Junior some time to adjust—he’d spent countless nights in his first few months searching for environs that would make him feel more at home. He’d finally given up and realized that LA had a charm of its own, and if he were going to stay, he’d have to learn to appreciate it for what it was. “It has its upside.”
“Yeah,” Bill said, watching the night, “I guess everywhere does. Good and bad.”
Junior faced Bill’s formidable profile. “You’re gonna have to talk to me, Bill. You know that, right? You’re gonna have to give me what I need. Bill?” Bill faced him. “Otherwise, tell me what the hell I’m doing here.”
Bill turned away. “You’re just here, that’s all. Your father wants you here. Tell ya the truth, I was against it. I didn’t see the need. We been doing battle with the Costellos for thirty fuckin’ years. Off and on, we have. This ain’t nothin’ new.”
“No? Well, something’s new, Bill, something’s changed. The Don’s not a guy who overreacts, is he? I know he trusts you. I know he talks to you. There’s a lot you’re not telling me. Tell you the truth, I’m beginning to feel a little offended. I heard about the girl, Bill. I heard somethin’ bad happened. And I heard it was The Don who was to blame.”
Bill whipped his head in Junior’s direction. “The Don! To blame! You don’t know what the fuck you’re talkin’ about. The Don never wanted that!”
“Then what did he want, Bill? You tell me. Set me straight, so I do know what the fuck I’m talking about. So we don’t have to keep playing this game with each other. You don’t want me here? I understand. And I don’t want to be here. So do us both a favor and tell me what the hell we’re working with so I can get out of your hair!”
Bill turned back to the night. “It got out of hand. The Don likes this girl. He knew her when she was a kid.” Bill glanced at Junior. “I did, too. A sweet kid. She grew up around here. An Italian girl, but nothin’ to us, nothin’ to any family. Not even her own. They’d been looking out for her none of this would have happened.”
“Who is she, Bill? What is she to The Don?”
“Who knows? Your father’s got a soft spot for these wayward girls. He always has. He sees them on the street, he sees un peccato, una parodia. He’s gotta save ‘em, you know.” Bill turned to Junior, and said, in a shrugging way, “It’s a weakness.”
Junior nodded and said, “So the girl? This girl The Don wanted to save? She got turned out?”
“Si, she got turned out. By one of Costello’s guys. The one who thinks he’s a lover. The one they call The Gent. But he’s got no respect for women. His mother was a whore.”
“So who’s the guy who blinks?”
Bill looked at Junior with surprise. His nod said he was impressed. “What’s it matter? He’s in the wind. We had to save him. Now they’re all over looking for him. But he’s a ghost. They’ll never find him. Only The Don knows. There are some things, you know, kid, that The Don keeps to himself.”
Junior topped off his whiskey and let it lay. It was about all he was gonna get out of Hot Nose Bill tonight. They sat back and stared at the moonless night together now. Nothin’ but empty blackness swallowing weakly flickering stars.

This is an excerpt of ‘Mobbed Up in Suburbia’ by Charlie Crane which is available now.

You can find the Charlie over on the Tweet machine here.

Guest Post: ‘Turning rejections into acceptances’ by Susie Kearley

Introducing freelance journalist and writer Susie Kearley who relays some insight and experience from her many successful years of writing articles.


Turning rejections into acceptances

Writing short pieces, like magazine articles or blogs, can hone your skills so when you’re writing books, you’re better at editing your own work and getting the tone right for the market.  When I started writing for magazines in 2011 it was a rocky road, littered with disappointment and rejection. But fortunately, with perseverance and determination, I’ve since sold well over 1000 articles to publishers across the globe. One thing I have learnt to do however, is master the art of turning rejections into opportunities, some of which have resulted in sales. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt.

Lesson 1: Give the editor what he or she wants

Take 3! The sound of eggs sizzling in the frying pan filled the air and James, the editor of Good Motoring magazine, asked: “What do you think of my breakfast this morning, Susie?”

He poked a microphone at my face and I garbled something incoherent about fry ups not being very nutritious. Porridge would be better.  

We were recording a podcast for the Good Motoring website, and the ‘cooking breakfast’ sounds were pre-recorded. I was nervous and didn’t like being unprepared. I wanted to write my answers down and read them back with confidence, but James whipped my notepad away saying he didn’t want it to sound staged. “No danger of that,” I thought.  

The interview was the outcome of a rejection letter. James had rejected my proposal to write about the hair-raising experience of being a learner motorcyclist on British roads, but said he was interested in other road safety ideas. So instead, I secured a commission to write about good nutrition to help drivers concentrate on the road – this podcast was part of the package.
“I don’t normally eat a full English breakfast,” said James, “but I thought it would give us more to talk about!” And so began the start of a beautiful working relationship – he has since bought my articles on speed cameras and motorcycle driving tests too.

What did I learn from this experience? To listen and learn from the feedback received. Look for opportunities that rejection letters reveal and then give the editor what he wants.

Lesson 2: Don’t write an essay!


One of my earliest customers was Paranormal magazine. The editor, Brian, didn’t offer firm commissions, but would tell me if he liked an idea. Then I’d submit a full article on spec for his consideration.

He was interested in an idea I’d pitched entitled ‘The Psychology of Fear’ so I trawled through my psychology degree books, writing up all things fear-related including conditions like panic attacks and their treatment. It was well researched but a bit academic, so I made an attempt to lighten it up and submitted it.

Brian rejected the piece saying it was ‘too clinical’. More suited to a psychology journal than a magazine about hauntings. I understood the problem and managed to find another buyer for some of the work: Leader magazine is an academic title published by the Association of Schools and Colleges. I used some of the ‘fear’ material in a feature on stress and it worked well because the body’s reactions to stress are very similar to fear.

Leader paid three times as much as Paranormal, and the sale resulted in commissions for a further two articles on the topics of nutrition and social media.

What I learnt: If you write something on spec which is rejected, think laterally about alternative markets for the piece, and consider whether parts of the article could be used to cover a different topic altogether. Rejected work can still form the basis of a good article for a different market, and that can lead to a profitable long-term relationship.

This is an extract from Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens by Susie Kearley.

View the book here:

Susie Kearley is a British freelance writer and journalist, working for magazines, newspapers, and book publishers around the world. She has a collection of books on writing, and her debut novel ‘Pestilence’ is out now. You can view Susie’s Amazon author page here.


If you have an article or a book review and want to be a guest writer then the Hall of Information wants you! Reach out via the submit a book review/article section.