Thank you/ Tell me about your blog…

We broke more blogging records! Yesterday saw the greatest number of views ever for the Hall of Information. Let me take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone. Followers old and new, this record belongs to you.

all time 2

This blogging effort has only been made successful by readers like you who have joined me on this journey.

In celebration of the numbers and the sheer amount of new followers this blog has I want to know more about you. Now I know most of us writer types are introverted but we all love an opportunity to talk about our own stuff so tell me about yourself via the comments; followers old or new; what do you blog about? Share a link to your latest blog. Interaction is the key to this game so tell me more about you! 

Looking forward to the comments and have an awesome weekend!

Rock and roll man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Ramble #15

November is a shitty month. Its a kind of a between space, like an airport or a station, full of people on different paths; all of which are in my way… okay that’s super pessimistic and people aren’t the problem, they are the solution, but the point I’m trying to make is simple, November sucks, and its not a destination, its a holding space…

I’m not currently reading which is a problem. For a writer it’s almost like a blockage. With no reading there is no producing or creating, no flow, just stifling emptiness. Writing books has taken a step back for now; I’m part way through another stage play script, progress is slow like this month.

Everyday recently I am assessing my options, and without seeming above everything, I feel as if I am too good for the writing platform in which I am sat. I’m a higher class player in a lower division and I know that sounds super ego but it’s true. My ‘success’ feels somewhat held back by my lack of salesman skills. I’m not a seller, I am a creator and I have learned they are two completely separate entities.

I watch or read stories thinking I could have done that better or different; my vision for a story has been enhanced through my journey past four publications and two stage plays. I can never sit and not create, even when the pages are blank, my mind is full of ideas. And it’s okay to create.

What I need is someone to sell that creativity to a bigger wider market. Someone who sells like I can create. Do I dare contemplate trying to get an agent? I know this time the circumstances are different but the goal has always been the same, to create, perhaps someone else can deliver…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DDP Yoga: Fitness Diary Review

For as long as I can remember I have always had some kind of injury or ailment to hold back my fitness. Eventually this turned into a vicious cycle of persistent exercise only to be chopped down by shin splints, a bad back or even worse, my bad knees. As much as gyms are good for exercise I still believe they are designed in a way to minimalize progress. Nothing beats real exercise as opposed to ‘simulated’ gym stuff.

Getting outside for a long brisk walk or a park sprint session really makes you feel a million dollars. But around that corner for me was and still is an injury that has kept me from doing anything physically demanding for over two months.

I am talking about sciatica, a debilitating injury which begins in the lower back and soon takes over your leg muscles and nerves causing a hell of a lot of pain. It hurts to sit, walk, stand and pretty much exist. Like a pulled muscle but on steroids which doesn’t go away after a decent night’s sleep, sciatica is here for the long term and it is the worst injury I have ever had.

What caused it? A combination of things, but this blog post isn’t about causes, it’s about healing and prevention.

Having taken over a month to walk without much more than a dull aching pain, whatever I set out to do was going to take time. In fact, I had never been so consistent with exercise by doing all this walking, something which early on, eased the excruciating pain.

With sciatica, movement is king, where ever possible just move, stand up and walk around. And so with that in mind my healing journey began. Every so often the pain would come back and sometimes stronger. I am now at a point where it is getting no worse or better. Something more than what I was doing had to be done, and so here begins my journey of a pain free, sciatica free life.

My vessel on this journey, hard work and DDP yoga! Here is my first week’s progress…

yogy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08/08/2016

Weigh in – 11St 8 / 74.9 KG

Started the program on the beginner schedule. The first session; Diamond Dozen is a semi workout tutorial that quickly gets the blood pumping. It’s a series of different movements targeting lower body and upper body muscles. Dynamic resistance is the key word here and Dally insists that you must get a heart rate monitor to track exactly how much the moves are making you use your heart. Many of the moves are easily modified to suit all abilities and levels of mobility. He shows us with the use of other demonstrators how to pull off many of these simple but really effective workout moves. An easy to follow session for all levels. My sciatic pain only bothered me a few times but overall I was fine.

After work out meal – Two scrambled Eggs, spaghetti shapes and two rashers of unsmoked bacon (grilled)

Verdict: So far so good. Must get a heart rate monitor.

 09/08/2016 – Rest day

Began the morning with fruit and small glass of milk (phase 3 of the yoga fitness regime does say to remove all dairy). Took some time to read the DDP yoga guide. Its a great motivational and factual tool complete with schedule, success stories and even some awesome recipes.

‘There is no try, there is only DO!’ I read from the guide.

Already feeling better today with my sciatic pain easing throughout the day. Some muscles are a little tight from the initial workout yesterday but all good today.

Enchiladas and rice for dinner! Fitness is life!

10/08/2016 – Diamond Dozen and Energy

OK two workouts today. Well the diamond dozen is a much slower paced tutorial but moving on to the roughly 25-minute energy workout, for a newbie to yoga it was a challenge. Constant movement and holding poses, many of them can be modified as to which I did a few times. Throughout my sciatic pain reminded me it was there especially with the floor based stuff. Good energetic workout, any one unfit will struggle unless you modify, I did it just about with only a few mods. We shall have to await how the leg and back feels throughout the day and tomorrow.

Must get a heart monitor.

11/08/2016 – Rest day but went to the gym

The leg pain came in and out today but was mostly lesser than previous days. No particular aches or pains from the yoga so I decided to hit the gym. I did 12 minutes of cardio via the cross trainer and some dumbbell stuff. The cross trainer is a wonderful piece of kit and the movement alleviated any sciatic pain I had today. Good times.

Fruit for breakfast, pasta for lunch and steak for dinner.

12/08/2016

Energy work out today and only just about did it because my stupid dam laptop decided to run updates. The workout was awesome, I got my heart beat jacked up and broke a sweat. Struggling a little with the lower body based moves as my legs aren’t that strong. Felt great after the workout, sciatic pain came and went with no real improvement today. Guess it’s going to take a while.

Ate out for dinner and treated myself to Calzone. Watched Suicide Squad, review here.

Weekend 1 – Rested, well I was at work so I did some walking. Tried my best not to sit all the time as that flairs up my sciatica. Ate moderately clean.

Meals included Leek and pea risotto with garlic bread. Chicken breast with salad. Roast dinner on Sunday with a can of stout.

15/08/2016 – End of week 1

Monday morning, early start for work. Feeling some sciatic pain but nothing more serious than the past few days. Did a lot of upper leg and hamstring stretches in the morning. Applied heat to back and leg a couple of times. Lunch meal included a cheese and roast vegetable panini and a large salad.

Energy yoga workout today, managed to grasp many of Dally’s moves better and held them for longer, especially the runner’s lunge parts. I could really feel my heartbeat during the workout today, and that’s even from staying still. I guess that’s the dynamic resistance working. Back and leg felt so much better afterwards and there was no pain afterwards for my 25 minute walk! It feels like the sciatic pain is retreating finally!

Conclusion

As you can see within only a week progress towards curing my sciatica was made. There are still several steps to follow and it is only the first week, but already I feel stronger, I feel more energetic and even happier. Nothing beats breaking a sweat and getting the most important muscle in the body pumping.

I included a rough account of my diet as exercise alone isn’t a fair indication of how much progress I am making. Diet is everything when it comes to fitness.

My next objective is to get as many people to join me on my journey, then we can have DDP yoga workout parties!

Stay tuned for my next update soon!

the gram

 

Stranger Things: A review: More like Better things

So many of us know that one day the post-apocalyptic survivors will consist of Trump, Google and Netflix.

Right now I’m happy with the latter surviving especially if they keep providing decent original series like Stranger Things. An eight part mystery horror set in 80’s small town America. The cliché boxes are literally being ticked as the first few minutes of the show play out, what I can say is that on this occasion, cliché is your friend.

stranger things

We don’t do spoilers here at the Hall of information, but we do our best to persuade you, valuable reader, to go out there and watch the shit I watch. Then we can converse over a few vodkas one lunch time about such things. Yes, my lunchtimes are wild.

So the Duffer brothers have done their absolute best to bring you all a show which from the very beginning pays homage to Stephen King and John Carpenter style story telling . This is also completed by the postmodern synthy type music that plays as we see the red neon writing that reads this show’s title. There are numerous 80’s greats that this show tributes, something which JJ Abrams tried to do with super 8 but just missed the mark.

Some of these tributes include the goonies with a great group of leading kids whose characters contribute to believable situations in an unbelievable situation. When they are not on their bikes they are forever referencing geek stuff such as dungeons and dragons, Star Wars and x men stuff.. An escaped mystery girl with telekinetic powers even mirrors Carrie in some senses.

The first billed actress Winona Ryder plays an older single mum struggling to meet ends when her youngest of two sons mysteriously goes missing. Although she does over play it sometimes, her performance is mostly positive.

The town’s nearby department of energy are more than just a power station and so the premise of mystery along with this kid going missing quickly ensues.

We see the town’s rugged and somewhat over the hill police chief, very well depicted by David Harbour bring a performance of a man whose witnessed great loss but will do anything to find this missing kid. His solo scenes are something which can only be described as a joy to watch, all the more reason to get behind him. His chemistry with Winona Ryder make two brilliant leads along with some of the older kids. All of them with one goal. To find out what happened to this missing boy and what is going on in their town.

Even just as a look back at a time of such rich pop culture makes Stranger Things probably the hottest show on Netflix right now. The music, clothes, cars and look are all something an immense amount of effort has gone into.

We’ve all seen orange is the new black, now its time for horror to rule for a while.

The pacing, atmosphere and characterization are well achieved by the writer/director brothers who have brought an instant cult classic which I urge you all to watch. Yes you may cower behind the sofa but you’ll be better for it.

It really is about time that we stopped relying on House, Buffy and breaking bad to re watch for viewing pleasure. There is new stuff and its good.

The show can either be seen as a stand alone or with plenty of stories left open. If a season two is on the cards, it has my vote.

OITNB: Season 4 Review #nospoilers

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

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

OITNB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After all this my #yearofwriting

 

 

 

#Brexit A nation de-vided

Before I delve into what has been a very interesting and somewhat revolutionary bunch of days for UK politics I would just like to say:

It’s OK to be pissed off about a certain way an election/ vote has gone.

Its OK to have an opinion about the UK EU referendum and for either side.

Its OK to debate and voice your opinion just so as long as you are pleasant and nice about it, especially with friends. And above all, its more than ok to make any political situation comical, it’s a way of coping.

I don’t want to use this blog page in a way that throws opinions of politics into disarray or to start any kind of debate, yes your opinion is welcome but the main aim of this page is to grow viewers who will hopefully one day buy my book.

So what happened?

I woke up on Friday morning to see the news of Prime Minister David Cameron resigning. To my shock the British public had voted to leave the European union. Soon enough social media went into over drive. What shocked me the most was the mood of people who didn’t get what they wanted from the referendum vote. Some even resorting to say it was horrific or scary (perhaps a little dramatic).

I must say in nearly every election I have voted in, I haven’t got what I wanted. That’s the case for many many people. Most who aren’t racists or radicals but people who want the best for themselves and the country. Not getting your way is a harsh reality of living in a democracy. A place where you are free to speak about your disdain for whatever result. A place where its OK to be annoyed at a government without fear.

We (the UK) are a civilized bunch (or so we say) but we also love a good moan. In fact it felt like to me nobody on my tweet machine or Facebook actually voted leave. Well someone had to because it was the majority vote.

My opinion (in or out) will remain to myself for now as its no longer relevant. The UK voted out and now we must look on together as a nation, for unity. Again something in which the UK politicians should lead by example, except that’s wrong.

Already several politicians are resigning and leaving their responsibility. Public service is their gig so why don’t they roll up their sleeves and get on with it? If a decision came my way at work that I didn’t like I wouldn’t be taking my ball and going home, I cant afford to. Hence comes my reaction to this vote, not the result itself but the behavior of public figures has been completely and utterly disgraceful.

Yeah I get it Mr Cameron, you wanted in and didn’t get it, you can leave. But everyone else just bailing on their government because of one decision not going their way, come on man. Walking away from something is what you learn not to do as a kid.

Its so ironic that this vote by the people has gone the way the people wanted and for once the sitting pretty politicians have no control of it.

This country needs each other right now, and it’s just seemed to of divided us further. Banks and share values always react like they are and will recover. The world’s perception of us will be as it once was again and things wont feel like they have changed just yet. After all evolution is a change that nobody sees. I’m sure the UK and world will survive, we have left geographically, just politically.

That’s my moan about this whole thing, but what I have appreciated is how politically connected many of my friends are. The vote had a good turn out.

What I loved the most was the political satire and comedy that came from what probably is a serious situation, but you have to be sarcastic first before dealing with it. Below are some social media highlights….

brexit 4

 

brexit 3

My new Book is complete

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

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

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

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

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

first drafts...

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

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

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

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

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

My #YearOfWriting Continues…..

 

 

A thank you to followers

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

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

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

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

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

editing begins

Year of writing

Reflections of a writer director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Update: Chasing the Words….

Oh my G its halfway through March already! Here’s the scary figures. In 9 months it will December again! In a few weeks our evenings will be drenched in sun again (in the uk and only for a while anyway). That also means we are getting ever so much closer to the publication date of my first book Open Evening! 6 months to be precise.

This month I have managed to do two major things in guaranteeing that my book will arrive by September 29th. Firstly I have secured my editing spot with Satin Publishing. Work will begin on that in August. Also if you are a follower of my FB page you would have seen a status telling you all that I am in the process of sorting a cover artist.

I can happily announce that design for writers will be taking on the job. That being, the making of an eye catching and memorable cover for Open Evening. Show them some love by liking their page of FB and you can even see some of their work.

Chasing the words…

Some of you may know that late last year I changed jobs. There were numerous reasons for doing this,

1.A better career prospect and future

2. More monies for a house and to fund books

3. A better direction in life

Now that I am a shift worker instead of a daytime softie, this means that everything outside of work becomes a challenge to do sometimes. I find myself constantly busy in my various endeavours, like directing a play for the summer or doing my best to write another book. Finding time to exercise and look after myself has also been a challenge and as you can see there hasn’t been much activity on here as of recent.

Time has become my most precious commodity.

In order for me to achieve those three things above I have to sometimes sacrifice my time. Its for my future and there’s nothing that will stop me from securing a viable future. Its been a slow process writing my next book but its getting there and like anything I want to do now, I have to go after it!

And that resonates through anything that anyone wants to achieve. You have to go after the challenge! Want to do it when you don’t (if that makes sense) because we all have limitations. Time is my limitation and just because you don’t hear from me as much doesn’t mean I’m not writing.

There was a time when I could come home every week day and spend 4 hours writing. Those days are gone and now the challenge is to write effectively in less time. This means the stuff I write has to be good within a time frame.

Although I do blog less. Behind the words is me. With the biggest hunger to chase them and make things happen!

Your wonderful support does not go unnoticed. Thanks to everyone for liking the FB page and to those who re tweet, favourite or follow me on the tweet machine. My following grows steadily and I am hoping towards publication date the good citezens of the internets (you) will rally together and show your support for getting new writers on the shelves.

Now go and chase those words….