Weekly Ramble #137

Sometimes you’ve just got to enjoy the ride. One of the most wonderful things about being an indie author is having no deadlines. I’m fully in control of what I want to do and when I want to do it while right now I’m just enjoying the view. Freedom in this world is hard to find and so in that respect, it does more good for my own creativity than anything else.

Doing things when I feel like it fosters my creativity, there’s no pressure or rush. I’m taking things slow whilst keeping up with the social media game right now. Books are selling, followers are finding me and reviews are coming in. Everything is seemingly moving in a good direction and all of those foundations I have laid in the past five years are continually coming to fruition. Quite recently I’ve taken the plunge into kind of resurrecting my Facebook presence just to have a better spread for communicating with followers. With my experience its gone well initially and that experience is something I am going to utilise in other creative endeavours eventually.

For what began as a stressful hectic year is starting to calm down a little. I’ve taken the rough with the smooth and rolled with a few unexpected punches. As for my writing, it’ll happen when I’m ready. The wonderful thing is, I’m in control.

Weekly Ramble #132

In 2021 over 20,000 readers visited this blog. A record that stands as the best ever for Lee’s Hall of Information and proof that your words can eventually find an audience no matter how long you have been trying. And to me, trying is all you ever have to do in any vocation to find results.

Good things take time, work and patience and if you are willing to endure the journey of facing zero and the general graft of it all then someday that reward will present itself. That may sound easier said than done, especially now as I sit here with such a great number but those who have been around a while will know this journey has not been easy. From reverting to zero to dealing with the general snooty gatekeepers who I share this literary industry with. I have also found a wonderful and giving audience, you guys, who keep me blogging.

The future of this blog is incredibly bright and after so many years, ups and downs and work, this whole deal is starting to pay off! Thank you for reading and joining me. 2021 is coming to a close but there are just a few more tricks up my sleeve before the sun goes down on it.

Weekly Ramble #127

November brings the start of reflection for me and what a year this has been. Some of you might remember at the start I said it would be long and brutal in places and it has been. It has also been the best I have ever known as a creative for both book sales and social media results – for that I have you to thank. This train is going to keep rolling because in December I am eyeing up a rather spectacular finish with something special.

You could say this spectacular finish is something I have been planning all along and this path I am on might have always been leading to this. Quite soon you’ll be hearing more and normally this time of the year my writing efforts are wrapping up, not this time as things are only getting busier towards December; a month where my final act shall appear. I’m being super cryptical here but for those who follow my efforts as an author, this will be good for you I hope.

I have always gone where the demand is. My past releases have been dictated by having an ear on the ground and looking at what readers are buying from me. This final thing will hopefully secure what has been an awesome but difficult ride while also laying a good path for next year. More soon and of course, watch this space.

Twenty Years on and the Dream Remains Strong

It can take a lifetime to put together and finally complete a story. But to me, the journey, the work and the dream is worth that time.

Some of you know my journey started back in the early 2000’s on a rainy Sunday in front of a windows 98 computer. I was twelve years old and the dreamer in me then is still the same only now I have a completed manuscript for that first story I began then. A story about robots in the future that would stretch generations of characters and time, that world known as the ‘Future’ full of lore that has grown with me and now that book is 130,000 words strong and 500 pages of writing destiny. This legacy story was and always is the plan and the truth is, I was only ready to complete it now because I love it so much, I held this story so dear and I care for it so much that I wanted to be the very best I can be to tell it. This story has always deserved the best and even though I am always learning and honing this craft, there’s a bunch of road behind me full of experience, books, readers and life. Now I stand in a position I have never been. A completed story that is my destiny facing the journey of what could be next.

Anyone can call hindsight here but this has always been my plan. To spend my years learning and honing. Convincing myself and others I can do this and I can do it well enough to inspire, inform and entertain others. The 900 plus followers on here and the 16,000 plus Twitter followers will tell you everything you need to know about that. The connections, oh the wonderful connections that have secured me a fantastic exciting future, all because I started writing on that rainy day.

I have carved this path for that book, for that story I love so dear and because it matters to me, a story about robots in the future that is really a ballad for humanity. Yes there is action, fighting, gadgets, lore and so much more but there is also that message about finding your own destiny, finding others to help you and seeking out the truth in life. Fighting for what you believe in stands at the very core of this book and this is also my own belief. The first original attempt at this book contains all of that but that was just the seeds being dropped into plain earth and now we stand in a garden blossoming with life and all of it driven by love. Those plants of destiny reaching high towards the stars.

So what is the message here and what is the real point to this? I hope you grasp the fact that your story, no matter how long it takes to find and bring to the world matters. It really matters and it is okay to love those characters, their struggles and their journey. For so many years this book of mine has kept me going knowing I have it as an ace up my sleeve and it is ready to throw onto the table. But its also more than that because they give me an escape to in life, when life does come crashing down around you, we as writers do have somewhere to go and I’ve always had this hand of cards but I have the knowhow to use it now. I loved this story so much that I used it as fuel to improve everything I am as an author and blogger. Words and writing are still the most romantic way anyone can communicate in this world and they will always be around in some fashion so maybe I am just an old fashioned romantic who has a love for stories. But that love is powerful, and that love is purpose. Let those stories of yours guide you, they have guided me since I was very young.

Weekly Ramble #124

The place you once stood compared to where you are now in writing and publishing can get better if you keep going. I boast continually to be nothing special and I’m not, but the results I’m seeing are both a constant and a variable because they keep improving over time. All I have ever done is kept going and the rewards follow, whether it be higher social media numbers, more supporters on here or even more sales. In the past three months my books have gotten more reviews than 2016, 2017 and 2018 combined. As an author I am very much in unchartered territory of regularly selling books, leveraging social media and getting an uncanny amount of reviews, its fantastic.

It might feel like a struggle, and believe me it is, but eventually and if you keep going that struggle turns into reward. The efforts of a person who seeks to find a better tomorrow might not stand in a great today but if they work hard it will eventually be better than yesterday. While that may sound philosophical or like some over hyped motivational speaker I am simply a person who started from zero and cultivated that number into something better through creating. As I said, nothing special which means what I’ve done is more than possible to achieve by anyone who works at it.

People, good people along my journey resonated with my efforts while I did with theirs and we connected to make this whole thing bigger and better over time. To me this is and always will be a one person at a time deal, but the number of people is just way bigger than yesterday.

To those who have left reviews for my work in recent months, thank you.

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 4

The journey to reading and reviewing 43 indie books continues and again I am back to share with you what I’ve been reading. Let us dive in!

‘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 Here

‘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 Here

‘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 Here

‘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 Here

‘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 Here

Bonus Review:

‘Fee Simple Conditional’ by H. C. Helfand – Review by Erik Meyers

Full Review Here

If you have recently reviewed a book, this blog is always looking for guest content. Check out the Submit A Book Review/Article/Book Excerpt tab on the menu above for details

That wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Remember folks, if you read a book, leave a review! Peace out, rock and roll and books man!  

900 Followers Special

When I began my foray into blogging way back in 2014 I didn’t really know what I was doing. Other than giving my writing brand a home I had no clear cut idea where it would take me or how it would work out. This wordsmith journey extended into blogging as a way to build a bridge to others because writing for the most part is a solitary thing and I knew from the very start that anything creative is better shared with others.

In truth, my whole persona as a blogger and author would be nothing if it wasn’t for the support I have found on here. The day in day outers who like my posts, read them and comment on them – you are the people who keep me going and you are all over the world. Many of you share the same struggles as me, we might not have a lot in common but our bond no matter where we are is shared on here, together.

Writing to me is a person journey and by that I mean spending the journey convincing one person at a time to read what I have to say and take part. We have write the damn thing first but after that, I know there is an audience for me. I half jokingly named this blog Lee’s Hall of Information and now it stands as the central pillar to everything I do in writing and blogging, it is my home and I am joined by 900 followers – something I take very seriously because that’s an incredible amount of people to have in my corner.

This post could have been so many things, from elaborate celebrations tagging the various influences and supporters that hold this place together to something much more but sometimes in this busy world a simple thank you is enough. After all I’ve got blog posts to write, books to write and a career to build out of this, all of which started from scratch, all of which started with your loyal support. .

You know who you are, so thank you for being here. And whether you signed up yesterday or years ago, thank you. My advice for anyone who wants real success in writing and blogging, its kind of simple, just keep going.

Weekly Ramble #119

Last week saw my Twitter hit the 13k follower mark and I was so busy with content that I had no time to take a moment and let it sink in. Of course we are already moving towards 14k and things just seem to be going from clay to stone on the platform for me.

I seem to have figured things out over on the Tweet machine and just this year it has become an exceptionally powerful tool for my author blogger endeavours, Not only do I regularly sell books on there but I also bring that following over here to read the various articles and guides I write. Now I have even managed to leverage that awesome following over onto Patreon. Over the weekend I secured my first Patron – a fellow author who will get their own feature on here soon and that is just one of the many incentives you’ll get if you join. Others include a free book and social media shout outs to that 13k following.

This week my first fictional Patreon post will premiere in the form of a western sci fi horror I am currently querying. The first part will be Free to read and then Patrons will have exclusive access to the further instalments planned this month and next. Of course this new venture has started slowly but I am hopeful it will eventually be a success not only for me but for other authors who decide to support me. As I said there will be rewards, incentives and plenty of guides coming so watch this space like a hawk!

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: 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.