How about, just be kind…

You never know how far those words of yours could go.

Someone could be sitting in a break room with their bag of Doritos trying to have a rest from the shit they have been shovelled and then they come across your words while scrolling for an escape. Your message of kindness could resonate with them to the point they forget where they are just for a moment. Then after finishing the Doritos and that break they face whatever crap they have to face with a smile, with hope and with a power you have passed on to them all because of kindness. They take on whatever shit comes their way with a spring in their step and that smile, that undefeated powerful smile and for the next fours hours or how ever long, they get through. All from kindness and being nice, that stuff can resonate trust me.

That Tweet you put out to support others or just to be positive gives perhaps one other person a power to carry on. Even if you never intended for it to be loved and liked a thousand times, the message within matters more because maybe it was something they needed to hear today. Maybe whoever you reach will go home armed with that smile and fire up their own laptop and be inspired to write down half a chapter or a paragraph or something positive all because of the good you said. A passing moment where you just wanted to spread a little nice, and trust me when I say nice wins and nice goes a long way.

Through all of the things we want to be in our social media presence, how about, just be kind.

Weekly Ramble #120

And so the notifications fall silent but the words I have laid down are seemingly just as loud in my absence. In the near week I have been away from Twitter the amount of followers I’ve gained has gone up by over 300. While silence is sometimes solace, I see enough of it while writing and I’ve concluded this journey is nothing without the company I have found across social media.

I did say previously I am on this journey because of the writing but now the social media connections, the personal connections I have made with so many like me are now a part of that. The good things I have found and created for myself outweigh the bad by a lot. This always has been an eye of the beholder type deal and I know social media can be a grind, for some, it can chew you up and spit you out, but only if you let it. With my following, we made Twitter a good place to be, a place to converse and sell our work to the world while we learned from one another. We found each other and together we are going to step forward day by day and continue what we started. I value it too much to just walk away. I value personal connections as much as my writing.

The world can be a bad place but it can also be a good place, but you have to be willing to let that positivity in and embrace it because soon enough the negative will emerge. I’ve been away only for a little while and I’ve found my happy thoughts, I’ve found my balance and I’ve concluded that I am all in from now on. I was burned out but you’ll be amazed what a few days of silence will do for the mind.

There always will be others who’ll try to be the opposite of me, folks I have no time for. It’s why Twitter invented the mute, unfollow and block buttons. Tools I’m gonna be using to protect myself, because I come first, my following does too and I’m too far down the track to let a few bad interactions stop me. The bad feelings they present me with weigh nowhere near as much as the good. As I said, balance and I’ve found mine.

Last Outlaw: A Western Sci-Fi Horror – Read Part 1 for Free

The once reputable profession of being an outlaw is dying with the times. I ain’t the type to use words of the finer persuasion but I know what’s what in this world and these times are getting harder by the day. Folks like me have got to work to survive. That’s all this is, taking from the lesser man or woman to live. Some call it crime, but I call it opportunity and there are all types of people who are struggling to fit in with this now civilised society including me.

First I watch, and if that opportunity comes then I take. Only after half a shot of whisky is it apparent to see the saloon I was sitting in weren’t anywhere near the normal standards. The people around me, all of them seemed on edge. I’ve been a newcomer in a thousand small towns but this one had something sinister hiding in plain sight, I could feel it…

Read the rest of Part 1 for Free via Patreon here.

Patrons will be able to read the rest as it releases each week.

7 Years of Blogging: Here’s what I’ve Learned

Writing books and blogging go hand in hand to me. They have done for seven years now and just last month I was notified by WordPress for reaching that milestone. Time flies I guess… This Hall of Information blog is the central pillar to all of my content and this post is dedicated to everything I have learned in that time. Before I dive in, let me just thank all of you, for joining me here in this space on the internet I call home. You support is very much appreciated!

Last year I put out a similar type of post which then inspired me to write a little self-help book called Consistent Creative Content. Here’s what I’ve learned in seven years of blogging.

Time

The major factor in all of this is time. If I could have incorporated that word into the title of ‘CCC’ I would have.

Blogging takes time, good results take time, finding content takes time… you probably get the picture. If you dedicate time to blogging it will eventually get better.

For those not sure where to start with blogging my basic tip would be to consider your blog as your own personal space to talk uninterrupted about any subject you wish. This brings me to…

Diverse Content – to a certain degree…

Many blogs including mine will stick to a certain theme when it comes to content. You probably won’t see a book blog talking heavy politics often and sometimes it’s good to branch out a little but my advice is to stay in the same content neighbourhood. While my Hall of Information blog started as a journey towards publishing that was fairly limited in what I could blog about. Since then my content has diversified within the realms of publishing. From indie book reviews to interviewing authors on occasion all the way to book promotion results and even just ramble posts that capture what I’m currently feeling. They are all in the same neighbourhood as my original vision but stretch a little wider in appeal. So perhaps trying new things is a good thing but…

New Ventures can take time…

Blogging for me turned a huge corner when I decided to take the plunge into offering Indie Book Reviews back in 2018. What happened the moment I launched that service? Nothing because it takes time to get the word out and build up a trusted reputation. Eventually indie book reviews became what I was known for but it started slowly.

This year I started another new blogging venture of offering space on my blog for guest posts and articles. Again hardly anyone applied but last month 8 posts were from guest authors who shared excerpts, their stories and even the story behind their story. Some of this stuff makes for great reading.

New ventures in blogging can take time but they’ll work eventually. In these two cases both offered an incentive. Incentives are the key to selling and now this month I have started a Patreon. As of right now the amount of Patrons I have is zero, but with a little more work I imagine some supporters will eventually arrive. There will be some more content soon, even some fictional stuff.

Leverage your social media following

Those who know me over on the Tweet machine will know my following has pretty much doubled in the space of a year. If you have a loyal engaged following on a platform you can turn their attention to your blog and drive them to it – this is part of the reason why my blog gets so many views these days. But how, well, this leads to…

Know your audience and write for them…

In July of 2020 this blog had 63 click through’s from Twitter, this year it has 394 and counting. This is because now I write partly for that Twitter audience of writers and bloggers who appreciate my guides and reviews. This already galvanised my existing blog audience which was bookish to begin with. For those with a small audience or none at all this is a fantastic opportunity to write about whatever you feel, if it captures your personality, eventually it will resonate with someone.

Blogging Tip: If you blog with WordPress the social element of connecting with others is already there as everyone with an account has access to a feed that shows you suggested blogs to follow – this is a great way to branch out at the start.

Guest content still takes work…

After nearly a year of pushing a lot of my own content out onto my blog I kind of hit a creative wall. While I still have hundreds of guides to come from my many experiences, I took the plunge in offering space for guest posts on my blog which has over 850 followers. Plenty of authors have since provided me with guest excerpts, stories and reviews but even that takes work. While I might have outsourced the creative element in guest posts, they still take time to check, put together and schedule. There is also a fine art to spacing out guest posts so my audience is not too overexposed to the same thing…

All content all the time may not necessarily work…

Simply, if you want to grow and grow quickly in blogging then produce more content but too much content might have an adverse effect as readers read in their own time so if you are posting daily they might not be able to keep up. Last year and even recently I would post up to 6 times a week which is great for views but the content ranged from reviews to rambles. If you do suddenly ramp up content, be aware of how your audience respond and they will…

Listen to your audience…

I don’t get a lot of comments on my blogs but most of them come from loyal long term followers. They are my bricks and mortar and I do my best to listen to their feedback and engage with them. In blogging most followers don’t unfollow so a follower earned is a follower for life most of the time.

Blogging is a craft to me…

Like writing I can show you to the door and even set you up afterwards for marketing but I cannot physically teach you to blog. That is something you have to find within and working hard to get better will pay off eventually. Your audience may start small but they followed you for a reason, give them something to come back to every week or day. Its going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing for some time but give it time and good things will happen.

My favourite saying in all of this is simple; If I can do this, then you certainly can. Here’s to many more years of blogging and thank you all for being here day in day out to support my efforts. It really does mean a lot. I have some more quick fire tips for blogging over on my Patreon which is FREE to read at the moment and can be found here.

Peace out, rock and roll and to many more years of blogging!

A Year of Reedsy Discovery Reads

Time flies when you’re reading books and I’ve been reading a lot of them in recent times. Last year Reedsy Discovery; a platform for reviewing indie books approached me to be a reviewer. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and it that time I have discovered some gems, and so here they are…

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‘American Blasphemer’ by By John Gillen

4 Stars

A masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life…’ 

Full Review

‘The Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage’ by Chad Lehrmann

3 Stars

A twisting unpredictable creature feature set in a small town with a big secret…

Full Review

‘The Dreamophile’s Diary’ by Shazrina

4 Stars

A descriptive collection of tales that capture the very essence of dreams from surrealism to their deeper metaphoric meaning…

Full Review

‘Senescence’ by Denver Scott

5 Stars

One giant leap into the future of humankind via the cosmos through the vessel of science that makes for a fascinating read!

Full Review

‘Noxious’ by Bruce Knapp

4 Stars

An enjoyable yet sinister tale of the macabre that’ll keep you turning pages…

Full Review

‘Fly Fearless & Fear Less: Eliminate your Fear of Flying with Knowledge!’ By Peter Brandt

4 Stars

A concise, insightful and reassuring read that’ll help you cope with the irrational fear of flying…

Full Review

‘Big Noise’ by J.P. Biddlecome

3 Stars

A tale that walks the fine line between survival and madness through solitude

Full Review

‘A Diary in the Age of Water’ by Nina Munteanu

5 Stars

A truly important once in a generation read that flows like a wild river right through your imagination and heart...’

Full Review

‘Awake’ by Andrew Palmer

4 Stars

An original techno-psychological thriller that captures the essence and surrealism of dreams with a sinister edge…

Full Review

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

5 Stars

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

Full Review

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

4 Stars

He’s in deep with the big fishes and the odds are hardly in his favour…

Full Review

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

4 Stars

There were many things the people of Warrentown didn’t know about Raven…

Full Review

‘Sex, Violence, Mars’ by Walrus

4 Stars

A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…

Full Review

‘Operation: Palmetto’ by R.T. Breach

3 Stars

‘The chase is on for one man on a mission to prove his worth and the stakes are high…’

Full Review

‘Spook City, U.S.A.: A Shadybrook Community Patrol Novella’ by Drew Purcell

4 Stars

‘un, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…

Full Review

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon 

5 Stars

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

Full Review

There are some fantastic indie books on this list that were indeed awesome discoveries. Reviewing books has become the central pillar to my blogging and authoring brand and without it I would never have connected with so many awesome creators. Some of these books made me laugh, made me think, informed and inspired while most importantly they got me through the past year. You can find me over on Reedsy Discovery here.

Thanks for reading!

The Power of Positivity on Social Media

Over the many years and through great trial and error on social media I have concluded that positivity is a powerful thing. Now I’m not talking about stapling a smile to your face for the crowd because when it comes to being positive online, that’s something that cannot be staged. But like most of the things I say that work on social media, they are no good unless I show you. So what do I mean by being positive – perhaps something one shouldn’t go shouting about these days out in the street without some context or a mask…

Some Context

Any victory small or large that you positively share with a social media following in a gracious way should be well received. How do I know that? Because I’ve spent a huge amount of time testing the waters and those stormy social media seas can be weathered by anyone; all you need to do is try and keep trying. But what do I really mean? All I can do is tell you my results that have worked and no, there isn’t any hack or magic formula to being positive online – you just have to show up and share.

But what if it feels like I haven’t achieved anything big or small to share?

That’s the wonder of being positive because it has multiple inputs. Sometimes it isn’t all about you and yes even I struggle with telling my ego that but, well-wishing is greatly received on social media. Just wishing your following a good day will resonate with someone and that resonation might compel someone to converse which is engagement which will turn into visibility and visibility turns into sales or follows or often overlooked – a good conversation and experience on social media. And remember social and media, they are named in that order to me for a reason – be social first, share media second.

Being positive on social media isn’t always about sharing results or victory but simply sparking an opportunity to engage and talk with another human behind the handle. So many users forget that or don’t even realise that. Just being on social media to sell things probably won’t take you very far unless you have a very mainstream and needed product or a bucket load of money to push your presence in front of everyone.

There are so many social media users out there who try to stir a reaction by being controversial or perhaps even spicy. I call that sort of thing bait and they’ll cast it out to the masses just to stir engagement – having been a reader most my life and present on social media for years, someone like me can see straight through it and none of that stuff ever really compels me to engage plus ultimately it is negative. Those who do thrive off negativity on social media will not last, no human can sustain negativity for long so be positive instead because sharing good things leads to even better things.

The Outlook is Positive

I know all too well that it’s hard having a lower following and for a long time it will feel like you are simply shouting into the void. Fill that void with positivity and it will answer back eventually. From sharing those smaller victories like a follower milestone, single book sale or new book review to simply wishing others a good day – humans are drawn to good news, good things and good things happening to you.

It fosters hope and if you give another person hope, they are unstoppable.

Practical Applications for Being Positive on Social Media:

Basic Tip: For those looking for a better reach, try using some hashtags. Most of the time the Hashtags I use are writing based like: #writingcommunity #authors #indieauthors #booktwitter #readingcommunity

There are even some mainstream hashtags that trend at certain times or days like: #mondaymotivation and #fridayfeeling

You can find more positive things listed on the original post which can be found and read for FREE over on my Patreon.

Those thinking about signing up will receive social media shout outs, coaching, a free book and will also get first dibs on my many guides coming soon.

Thanks for reading and stay positive folks!

Guest Post: Monty Jay: Indie Romance Author and her Author Merch by Emma Jordan

Emma Jordan is back to talk about Romance Indie Author Monty Jay.

I first discovered romance author, Monty Jay, earlier in 2021, when I bumped into the release of her latest novel, Courage for Fools, a rock star and US road trip romance that tugged, but didn’t sever, the heartstrings: who doesn’t need a happy-ever-after in their fiction?

From the first couple of pages I was hooked on Courage for Fools. Rhett and Quinn leapt off the page, and their road trip and romance are just gorgeous. He’s the reckless rock star on his way from the east to the west coast; she’s on a road-trip with a purpose. Emotion + banter = happy reader.

As I confessed to Lee’s readers recently, I’m a little bit of a music fan – I loved the book so much I had to see what else Monty had written.

That’s when I discovered her 4-book hockey romance series and promptly lost a weekend underneath my Kindle. I was immersed in the fictional world of the Chicago Fury hockey players, starting with the two main characters from book one, Love and Romance. Valour Sullivan (Vallie Girl) and Bishop Maverick (B) have known each other since childhood. Both characters live for hockey and are destined to follow in her father’s footsteps, becoming the best hockey players in the NHL. It was great seeing the perspective of both Men and Women’s hockey, and following other Fury players in books two, three and four.

THEN Monty announced that author merch is available from her online shop.

Now, as a fellow indie romance author, I always have an eye on unique marketing opportunities. (I recently encouraged readers to download one of my free books so that I could treat myself to a new coffee machine). What better way than for a writer who has created a fictional rock star and a fictional hockey team to enhance the reader experience than by offering hoodies and shirts in a shop that ships worldwide? I was more than happy to help out and treated myself to a Vallie Girl sweatshirt which is so comfortable, whether I’m writing (or editing) at my PC or on the school run! Supportive AND practical.

As Monty told me, ‘I love being an indie author because I have the freedom and control over my own work. It’s hard to build readership, but when you do you know it’s because you did it your way. I can write the stories that inspire me, and brand and market myself the way I want others to view me!’

Why shouldn’t authors who have created worlds for their readers be a bit rock star and offer readers clothing, bags, stationery, home items, to celebrate their characters? I’ve started to notice other authors offer swag bags or reader-themed goodies, or authors who have an Etsy presence. The marketing opportunities for independent authors are phenomenal.

What will you come up with to share your character’s stories with readers?

Monty Jay has a new, supernatural, series on the way, out in September 2021.

Favorite Flash Fiction -An Excerpt

Hello everyone, today fellow blogger Megan shares some flash fiction….

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Since I now have three Experiments in Flash Fiction published I figured I would share some of my favorite pieces from each collection. For anyone new here: Inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Clue, is my version of Where, What, And Who. I think of these as writing prompts to help get the writing juices flowing. Using suggestions from my reading audience: A Place, An Item and A Name/Occupation is all I use for inspiration. Ranging in length from 83 words to 4523 words there are 78 unique pieces of fiction. Here is An Experiment in Flash Fiction. 

Starting at the beginning with Haunted Hydrangeas -An Experiment in Flash Fiction.

Treehouse, Crack-Pipe, David Bowie

George climbed the rope ladder up to his childhood hideout. The treehouse that his dad had built a lifetime ago was still in the backyard of the little yellow house on Pine…

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Birthday Book Discount

Hello loyal followers. Today is my 32nd Birthday so I’ve decided to significantly discount the price of my authoring and blogging guide book Consistent Creative Content. I know many of you either write, blog or spend some time on social media and this guide will help you with all three, plus it’s available today for a fraction of the price.

Thanks for the support, rock and roll man!

Joining Patreon

As mentioned recently I have taken the rather uncertain step towards authoring and blogging being a potential career by joining Patreon. Yesterday my first guide post launched rather softly and that is going to be my approach to begin with. Gradual has always been my key to success in any new venture and social media is a tough arena to launch new ventures in.

My ultimate goal is to help others in the world of authoring, blogging and creating because helping others is fulfilling and being known for that has presented me with an opportunity. Over the past year I have experienced enough growth to justify my work to have a certain value and so Patreon feels like the best choice to showcase future guides, book promotion results, writing tips, social media tutorials and even my fictional works. Most of this stuff is what my readers and followers want and I have a plethora of work planned for this venture. I hope it is received well while some of you on here consider joining me over there.

This blog will still operate at normal capacity. Lee’s Hall of Information will continue to provide readers with book reviews, weekly rambles, guest posts and all the usual content you can expect as a follower for free.

While some might think joining Patreon is just a cash grab, and there has already been some frosty-ness shall we say towards the idea of my blogging work being monetised but those who do choose to join my Patreon will be rewarded. The incentives range from a basic shout out on social media all the way to a free digital copy of my book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ and the higher tier will also include exclusive one on one Q&A’s. For now all of my future guides will be available first on my Patreon first and then eventually they will make their way to here, my base of operations. You can find all of the relevant information here.

The first month of content which includes a few guides and some exclusive fictional work will be FREE to read. I would have never got to this moment if it wasn’t for the loyal support you guys have shown for this blog. Whether you are a blogger, writer, creative or just a reader, I hope you’ll join me in this new venture that dreams are made of. Rock and roll man!