Free Facebook Book Giveaway and New Book News!!!

This post is old. I’m impressed that you found it….

Both Darke Blood and Open Evening  were available for free but they are still competitively priced, maybe check them out…

This special  promotion was for the 400 like milestone on my facebook page.

That page and the many loyal likers over the years have been there for me through everything! Thank you to everyone for the support, this has been a wonderful journey with all of those who have joined me since 2012. Old and new, you all rock!

And so as I cruise hopefully soon towards the big Four hundred I have set out to pay that loyalty back.

The details… This Giveaway is closed as of the 12th of July 2017…

The other huge news is….

c house

Yes If you follow me on instagram and of course Facebook you will know that yesterday I crossed another enduring milestone. My next book is officially drafted! Right now all I will say is that yes it is the sequel to Open Evening and it is called CEMETERY HOUSE

Those who have read Open Evening all the way through will know a little something about where the story will go next. This time around instead of introducing a universe I have taken that ball and gone all out into a sprint with it! Hopefully after some extensive work before even taking it to a professional edit, we will have an awesome sequel which carries on the story.

And yes this book is also linked to Darke Blood and will follow into the Darke Blood sequel which is available now and called Darke Awakening! 

That wraps up this weeks news and now I need to lie down. Peace out, don’t text and drive and thank you new/old followers/likers/readers/fans/cats….

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press Review: Are billionaires destroying free speech?

Netflix has a funny way of slipping in and out of one’s life. I can go for weeks not watching new content and all of a sudden a hidden gem appears from near enough nowhere. It’s worth mentioning the content of this review is not new, but the message is important.

I am going to talk about one particular docu- feature called Nobody Speak: Trials of the free press. It’s no secret that I have been and still am to some degree a wrestling fan. The Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal broke a few years back and yes they are words that should never be put together, but hey it happened.

gawker

hogan

The background…

The outcome of such a high profile case wasn’t about the money it seems. Hogan was rewarded (140m) but how he came about getting it came as a big surprise. In fact the Hogan Gawker case is the tip of a somewhat potential totalitarian iceberg that threatens freedom of speech and traditional journalism.

Gawker was, and I stress the word was, an online news blog with a gossip/satirical edge to much of their coverage. Celebrities were called out and even reported in a bitchy light. Headlines sometimes had an ultra-honest message with the website having a core value of saying things how they saw it.

Some years before Hulk Hogan in the light of his marriage break up found himself being filmed by his apparent best friend at the time. The footage showed acts of a sexual nature towards this best friend’s wife. Later on there was even footage of him saying some racial and offensive things. Gawker was approached by someone with the footage and of course they jumped at the opportunity to publish this heavily edited version albeit heavily damaging. Now this is where it gets really interesting.

Secret Benefactor…

It turns out after Hogan sued Gawker the film revealed that he was in fact backed by a silicon valley billionaire. What is even more interesting is during the latter stages of the court case Hogan dropped a particular charge. This charge involved any damages that would be paid to Hogan being done so through Gawker’s own insurance. This meant any damages would have to instead come direct from Gawker – this would in turn liquidate the firm. So it became apparent Hogan wasn’t just looking for compensation he was trying to bury Gawker; and he did!

theil

Trump and Thiel 

Peter Thiel; billionaire supporter to Donald Trump, Paypal founder and beneficiary to Facebook early on turned out to be financially backing Hogan’s law efforts and hence comes the main theme of this blog post.

A billionaire essentially funded the destruction of a major media news outlet. Of course this is subject to opinion but Peter Thiel had once been personally attacked by Gawker in a particular article that outed him as ‘gay’. He essentially funded the bankruptcy of a news blog for revenge and even went on to say the Hogan Gawker win was “one of my greater philanthropic things that I’ve done.” 

The argument..

Hogan v Gawker only took up a portion of this hour and half documentary that instead lifted the lid on how close we are to billionaires controlling the press. The days of traditional investigative journalism are dying, and yes even if it was ‘wrong’ to publish a sex tape of a former wrestler it is still freedom of speech and having a media company like Gawker stamped out of existence all because of a billionaires grudge, well that’s a dangerous path.

Trump Factor

At the moment we have a billionaire in the White House and a man who hates the media with a passion. The documentary touched on this subject showing footage of Trump directing audience members at various rallies to yell abuse/attack the media and press! Of course he pretty much established the concept of fake news and has a somewhat fixation of allowing the media to be sued. One of his ambitions is to make this easier whilst in office.

First amendment…

The right to journalism and freedom of speech in America is governed by the first amendment. After consulting google this is what I found:

‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’

The truth

So my conclusion after watching this insightful and eye opening film is that freedom of speech and the truth is being stamped out by people with enough money to do so! Does this mean journalists will stop covering people who they are afraid of being sued by? Is this what the word has become? I thought democracy was based upon freedom of opinion and speech? To me this is just bullying from people who think they have more power!

In the past journalists have journeyed for the truth and found it. Can the truth just be bought and sold by billionaires? That’s the true message this film is giving us. Of course this is all the more prevalent today especially with a global pandemic and Presidential election campaign in full swing.

Have you watched Nobody speak? What do you think? Is the destruction of Gawker damaging to the future of free speech?

Power Rangers Review

It’s been over twenty years since many people of a certain age would have first seen the Power Rangers. I was in my second year of school when the first film arrived and before then the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers in all its 90’s greatness was probably the first television show I followed as a child.

pr 2.PNGBack then it was everywhere seemingly, and the merchandise that went with it was of course always sold out including the original mega zord or those dolls which you could flip the head. But things move on and times change. One thing that remained and carried on through many different versions was indeed the Power Rangers. Whether it be Turbo force, Dino Thunder or Zeo, the power rangers series has managed to cultivate and capture generations of kids imaginations all looking for their Saturday morning fix of heroes.

To me the idea of a rebooted Power Rangers film (about the first series) has been something I have been waiting a very long time for. The concept of 5 teenagers chosen by destiny to save the world was very much lost in the cartoon style of the original and of course we shall try to forget the disappointment the first film came to be. So for a 90’s kid like me I was in full support of this reboot which is in fact much more than that. It’s a re imagining and expansion of  the original concept story and has been given the modern cinema treatment.

The films opens with the back story of old. Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) betrays Zordon who’s dying act is to send her packing deep below the ocean. This happens in what later becomes modern day Angel Grove.

Next comes the gradual and detailed introduction of the five main characters; the rangers. Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Zack and Trini. All of them high school kids and all them with the many problems that come with that age. You could even call them a group of misfits that don’t really like one another and that’s where this film becomes interesting. Back in the original there was a hell of a lot of less detail about why these kids were actually friends.

The film succeeds in displaying what modern age kids are like and some of the struggles they have to deal with, such as bullying and just trying to fit in. Jason a once star football player has to face not being that anymore. Billy; the clever kid on the ‘spectrum; Kimberly who just had a rough break up and is involved in a photo texting scandal. We also see Zac who’s mother is sick who he has to look after and of course Trini who’s always the new girl in town.

I thought the introduction of these new kids as the iconic parts previously played was vitally important to get right and the young actors and actresses very much did that along with giving these characters a depth I never thought they had.

After some time they find 5 previously buried colored rocks known as power coins which teases they eventual stumbling of their way to the command center; a crashed space ship in which Zordon (Bryan Cranston whom voiced characters in the original series) is somewhat imprisoned in the ships computer. Of course we see the re-imagined robot Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader) and things start to roll towards these five misfitting kids becoming friends.

Rita Repulsa finds her way back to land and to life and so the real threat becomes apparent. The five kids must become Power Rangers to save the day.

pr

Verdict

I have only chosen to mention selected parts of this film so I don’t spoil it for anyone wanting to go and see it. I recommend it highly and so comes my verdict.

For any fan of the old show you will indeed like this film if you are willing to wait and see everything unfold. The action doesn’t get going straight away and this is a slow burner which works towards these kids becoming the rangers. When the action does happen its explosive and sort of like a controlled transformers action sequence. Fan boys and girls will smile at the homage to the original opening sequence of the TV show as the zords arrive.

The power ranger suits I thought looked modern and was a far cry from spandex and the helmets of old. Above all what I enjoyed the most was comradery of these 5 kids who are chosen unwillingly to save the world. Bryan Cranston although mainly a voice impressed and inspired with his performance. Elizabeth Banks played Rita without the cartoon- esque demeanor her character is known for and very much impressed me. Overall this film was enjoyable and although it didn’t hit number 1 in the charts this is probably because Beauty and the Beast was released at a similar time and was equally as impressive. 

Go go power rangers and hopefully soon we shall hear the announcement of a much needed sequel.

A guide to getting published: Conclusion

A guide to getting published…. The concluding conclusion

And so it was early 2016, I had organised a publication date for Open Evening and now I needed to find a cover artist!

cropped-boooks.jpgThe platform in which you can upload and self-publish books via amazon allows you to use their software to put together a cover. The offer a fairly limited amount of designs mainly of the plain persuasion but it all depends on what you want, sometimes plain can be effective. I’ve personally never used it and on advice I received I suggest you don’t either. Unless you have an elaborate idea of what you want or even a photo you have personally taken I would suggest using the services of a cover artist in which there are many out there on the world wide webisphere…

I’m telling you to do this because A) Getting a nice cover made should already be in your budget and, B) a cover is really important and just in case you didn’t know, people do judge a book by its cover. If you read the last post you can see at the very bottom how mine turned out, and yes it looks wonderful.

design-for-writers

After some research and even reading some self-help books I concluded that I wanted a company called Design for Writers to make my cover. Their Facebook page displayed a wonderful array of covers in which I imagined mine would be like. And like that I accepted their quote and waited until closer the publication day to begin working with them.

During this time and getting nearer to publication day I began to pen my next book Darke Blood in which I concluded drafting in June of 2016 (coming out this year!).

Editing and Cover stuff- Final putting together of the book

Nicky Fitzmaurice my editor had informed me she had began her work and it was August now! Time flies huh? It wasn’t long until I had back my manuscript which had been annotated throughout with changes/corrections.

After approving the changes things were really ready to move into publication.

Design for writers presented me with a link to an online basecamp where I could tell them what I wanted. They asked me a boat load of questions regarding tone, plot and characters just to get the idea of what I wanted and what they could do. After some weeks of work and back and forth (its okay to ask questions at any stage of a project, especially if you are not sure) soon enough we had a cover ready! They had even given me the choice of 3 completely different options.

The final cover proof was sent to Nicky who uploaded it to Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing along with the edited manuscript and we were ready for launch!

Book Launch and Marketing – This doesn’t have to be a frightening ordeal but this is what I did and learnt from it…

And so here it was, the moment I had been waiting for since that rainy Sunday afternoon with the windows 98 computer. Book release day.

Now my advice would be to publish and upload your book maybe a week or so before your actual publication date. This allows for you to make sure it’s OK and delivers out to people in one piece. By this time, you have maybe told a close group of friends and some of them have ordered copies. Now the buzz can really begin. Some of them may have even put up a first impression review!

Out of all my ideas to market Open Evening there was one movement which sold more books that I hadn’t accounted for. The Open Evening ‘SELFIE’. And trust me book selfies sell books, in fact they sell around 50 in the first week of release.

open evening clip collection

Selfies and cats sell books!

Even now I am still figuring out how to market my book and get sales which haven’t been remarkable but… slow and steady does eventually win the race. My amazon UK page has 6 reviews so far and all of them are good.

Goodreads would be something I suggest you get into and they offer an awesome giveaway service which will get an abundance of eyes on your book. I have also tried the Amazon US giveaway scheme which can actually get you more twitter follows.

If you would like to read on about more of my book marketing advice and adventures then check back with my resources section soon.

 

Now finally the conclusion via a list of stuff you need to be like me and published…

 

  1. The willingness to write and get better at it
  2. Dedication
  3. A book idea that’s good
  4. A completed manuscript which you have edited multiple times. Trust me this is important and the amount of people who have unfinished work is more frequent than it sounds. Get to writing you can do it!
  5. An online presence – Facebook/ Twitter and Blog. Get out there and engage with people!
  6. Money! You can do this on a budget but I would say you need at least £800 to get everything you want, this also includes marketing such as Facebook adverts!
  7. An editor and or publisher who wants to publish your work.
  8. A cover artist. Plenty of good ones out there, research research research!
  9. A thick skin and a lot of patience (mainly because stuff doesn’t ever happen quickly)
  10. The ability to ask questions…. Because although it looks like I know everything, I don’t.
  11. A plan to market and sell books. How are you going to do it?
  12. A good group of friends to help you launch the book with selfies and those important first reviews.
  13. A realistic approach and of course its all subjective. Success as an author is in the eye of the beholder so set realistic and gradual goals!
  14. Just keep going and never look back!

 

Final thought

Its been rather nice re-living the story I lived over the past few years and I must thank you all for the wonderful response I have received so far. Thank you all for the likes, follows and re-tweets.

This has been my journey to publication and of course we all know it has only just begun…..

 

 

 

 

DDP YOGA REVIEW

So here it is, my full review of DDP yoga! I have reached the conclusion of the beginner’s schedule under Phase 1 and I am ready to share with the world my results and thoughts.

yogy

A little about me:

In order for you to gauge whether or not this is a suitable work out plan first you must know my background.

I’m a 27-year-old male around 5’8 weighing 76 kg and have no serious medical conditions apart from undiagnosed sciatica which I have been suffering from since late May this year (2016). I am a shift worker and attend work at a range of sometimes weird hours and also have quick turn arounds (so I’m tired a lot), this also means I have to stay healthy and immune, so exercise is vitally important!

I first found out about DDP yoga from watching a documentary film called the Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts. Long story short but it’s worth a look (via Netflix), a burned out beaten up former pro wrestler is pretty much circling the drain physically and mentally, he is somewhat saved by a yoga lifestyle program designed by another former wrestler known as Diamond Dallas Page. The film follows Jake on an emotional journey of total recovery and redemption, all achieved by this life style made by DDP. Its some really inspirational stuff and even better for a wrestling fan like me. And so after seeing this film I checked out DDP yoga.

My Sciatica problem:

Around this time and after spending a few years sitting badly and not using correct posture I had pretty much destroyed my lower back which led to a severe flare up of sciatica on my right side. I was working constantly at this point, something crazy like over a 100 hours in 9 days so there was no time for any exercise or rest which are as important as each other. Right now I would seriously consider ditching the midnight surfing in bed and read a book instead!

A shooting and somewhat debilitating pain would run all the way from mid butt all the way down to my foot. I’m talking weird twitches, pins and needles and even locking up of the calf muscle, at one point I could hardly hobble on said leg. Something had to be done and so I looked to DDP yoga.

Previous exercise and fitness/ diet

I have held a membership of a gym since I was 18 and on average would go at least a few times a week mostly but I’ve never been motivated to go any more than that. Mostly I would focus on cardio based exercise with some weight lifting but nothing drastically heavy. On average I would say that I’m in ok shape, I could run few laps of the local sports field no problem and still can.

In terms of diet I suffer from acid reflux which keeps me away from fizzy pop and a lot of dairy. I eat fruit every day along with some kind of vegetables and meat. More recently I have had less of an emphasis of junk food so I eat pretty healthily.

DDP Yoga Review

By the time August rolled around, my sciatica was getting no better or worse. At least by now I could spend my exercise time walking and I did a lot of it. The longer I would spend walking the better I would feel.

I received my DDP yoga pack for my birthday from my better half and it had been shipped all the way from the US (there was an extra charge for customs, so watch out for that if your UK based).

This pack included six DVDS, a poster of various yoga positions and a guide book appropriately titled DDP YOGA, Fitness + Nutrition + Motivation.

The book was not only an introduction to DDP’s story but also a helpful insight as to what could be achieved, it’s written in a motivational style and DDP talks exactly how he does in the video sessions. The basics are covered along with a brief guide to the workouts. Then comes the workout grid which acts as your workout calendar. I chose the beginner schedule considering I’ve never done yoga before and because of my sciatica situation.

The phase 1 guide notes talks about looking towards nutrition. You don’t have to be strict to begin with but just start to think about avoiding processed stuff and junk. The rest of the guide talks of the next 2 phases and a more in depth nutrition guide which also includes recipes for meals and juicing. I immediately followed some of the later phase stuff and still do, such as what foods you should and shouldn’t combine. Even the smallest of tricks make all the difference, like eating fruit at the beginning of the day only when your stomach needs the sugars.

The very back page of the book jacket is a display of the many DDP yoga success stories. Real people who have had real results, so this stuff is jammed with motivation and its exactly what you need before embarking on this journey.

So I’ve read up and now I’m ready, so far so good.

mamas-yoga

Individual Work Out reviews

Being a phase 1 beginner I was introduced to the yoga sessions via the first recommended workout, the diamond dozen (there is a level below this called beginner if you are seriously beaten up). This 45 minute tutorial is presented by Diamond Dallas Page and with the use of fitness ‘models’ and by that I mean real people who have had results. He instructs you how to do all the various moves. To begin with this was a challenge and already I was feeling my sciatic muscles being used and manipulated along with other places.

DDP insists on making the workouts your own and there is a modification for every move. Most sequences involve dynamic resistance which gives you results if you put in the effort. Of course every sequence is finished off with the now famous diamond cutter move which involves flexing and putting in as much as you want/can.

The next workout I tackled next would be Energy! A 25 minute burst of energy which for me was a challenge in the leg department. This would involve standing splits on one leg and even some planking. Already the multiple use of muscles was beginning to take shape. This workout started out as a big challenge but eventually I needed to look for more, although I still use Energy every week and combine it with another workout! (And that is essential for results, especially if you are quite fit, many of the programs can be combined to get up the minutes)

Fat Burner turns up the heat a little and is the 30 minute long bigger brother of energy. Here we explore more planking and use of the legs which is a worthy challenge to even someone who considers themselves fit. Dynamic resistance fits well into this work out leaving most parts of the body given a good test just as long as you put in the effort.

My first month would consist of me doing energy and fat burner multiple times a week and this really gets the ball rolling of learning the style DDP teaches. He’s loud and larger than life in his sessions and gets you sweating and shouting!

After the two-month mark I felt ready to start combining Energy and Fat Burner with the shorter workout Red Hot core. This focuses on the important core muscles and even moves into more complicated and flexible yoga moves.

As I got to the end of phase 1 I was also introduced to a longer workout called Below the belt. A leg focused session which includes more flexible stuff and even some impact style planks. The initial sessions hint at what is to come and that is longer sessions with big results, but you have to stay persistent. Results will only come with dedication and trying hard and PERSISTANCE.

The work outs are designed to test you and all of them at first I struggled with. The beauty of this program is that most of the time you are standing still. No travelling to the gym or exercising out on dangerous roads or in bad weather. All you need is a yoga mat and DDP insists you get a heart monitor just to keep track of things.

Having only really touched the surface in phase 1 there are an abundance of workouts that are to follow along with multiple combinations but they require the ground work of the initial ones first. Eventually the sessions will get up to an hour long which I am very much looking forward to as the results are already apparent in me. I’m only up to DVD 3 of six after 40+ sessions and 13 weeks!

jake

Jake the Snake Roberts before and after DDP Yoga

Results and Conclusion

My sciatica and any pain caused by it, is 95% gone. Most of which is with thanks to DDP yoga but not only has this program helped that but has also got me in better shape. For the first time in years I look in the mirror and can see muscle definition in my abdomen and chest so it definitely works!!. I’m stronger and more active, there’s now a spring in my once painful step.

Along the way, I have learned that sciatica also requires rest to heal and so I have combined my efforts to yoga and rest. These days I’m either in bed, doing yoga, writing or at work.

In conclusion his workout plan does work. But the rules are simple.

  1. Do it 3 to 4 times a week (but what if I haven’t got time? Make time its better than the gym!)
  2. Be consistent
  3. Measure your goals (Simply tallying up the amount of workouts is a motivation in its own right)
  4. Put in the effort (the more you put in the more you get out)
  5. Eat right 80% of the time (Swap that cup of coffee for juice once a day and build from there)
  6. HULK IT UP! (As DDP would say)

 

Everybody differs and people who are quite fit will need to look for challenges in more depth but there are so many different work outs to combine the possibilities are quite endless. I am only at the tip of the ice berg right now and so much better for it. People of all physical abilities can try this program and get results.

Diamond Dallas Page is forever telling you to make the workout your own and that’s what you got to do.

For a peace of mind, body and soul try DDP yoga and stick at it to see eventual results. Once a week isn’t enough! This workout is well worth the money!

Have you tried DDP yoga? Did you get results, let me know in the comments and for future free book content sign my mailing list today!!!!

Now you’ve read my most successful blog post check out my first book Open Evening! A thriller about the unexpected set in a small town america high school. What starts out as your standard horror quickly twists and turns! Click on the book for the link!

image

 

My Book Cover….Revealed!!!

It’s time to embrace the unexpected because the moment is finally here. After a year of hard work not only from me but some other wonderful people I can show you the visual representation of what my dream looks like!

Ladies and Gentlemen introducing the cover of my first book Open Evening!

copy-of-cover

This is actually happening!

At the end of this month I shall ask you all to join me on my journey of publication as the destination is finally reached.

Open Evening hits the amazon shelves via satin publishing in the form of an e-book, but do not despair those who love the smell of real pages. The print version will follow soon so why not see if you like it by checking out the online version! #Hardselling

Save the date of the 29th and let’s help a new author make their mark in the literary world!

So what did the process of making the cover entail? Well it all started when I discovered design for writer’s work and checked them out on the Facebook. After agreeing a quotation, the project was initiated at the beginning of August and I was invited to an online project base camp. An online tool to collect as much information as possible about Open Evening and what I want it to represent as a cover. After some back and forth questions on both sides the cover is finally here and its awesome!

Originally there were three versions of a cover that I was given a choice from. To begin with a very hard decision, but after some consultation with my cover artist and some close friends the above product was chosen and how great does it look.

I don’t expect huge sales within the first few weeks or months of publication but this sort of thing takes time and people, decent people who like decent story telling like you! So come the 29th it will be time for you to survive Open Evening!

2016 is my #YearOfWriting and its happening now!!

 

(Cover design by designforwriters.com)(Open Evening copyright by Lee Hall 2016 Published by Satin Publishing 2016)

 

Book Update

Blog number 80!

My debut novel Open Evening is under two months away from publication. Things are beginning to move in my #YearOfWriting and they are moving towards this project being finalized. And so loyal follower or new reader I thought I would grace you with my presence by informing you of the news.

Here are the facts: On September the 29th this year, Open Evening will be available as an e-book via amazon.

Sometime later in the month of October (in time for Halloween ooooh) the paperback version will be available for you to buy via a print on demand service. I would recommend you buy this if you really like the e-book version as it will probably be pricey (close friends and family, if you think you qualify will get one as a gift from me).

Open Evening is completely new stand-alone young adult horror story. It is not about robots in the future which my previous unpublished works were (they will come later).

It will be brought to you by the wonderful services of satin publishing, an e-pub house who have successfully published many books previously. Nicky Fitzmaurice of satin will be editing my manuscript and providing the publishing services.

Design for writers will be producing the cover (which I am already very very excited about). They have produced some excellent work which you can see on their FB page. I am currently putting together every ounce of information they need to give me the best possible eye catching cover.

Very soon there will be an official cover reveal, then things will get really really exciting.

I’m currently very busy editing the book myslef at the moment so if you see me in person your very lucky, oh and I am going to be 27 this week so buy me card in the form of a beverage.

This is all well and good but what is Open Evening about? I shall present you with some quotations from the narrative.

“Sometimes you don’t get to choose where you are placed in the collective ecosystem of a high school. Survival for me has always been objective number one.” 

“Just remember what you expect and what actually happens are two separate things.”

“The unexpected is a wonderful thing; anything can come from such a place including the horrors of mystery surrounding it. Sometimes it isn’t what is there but what could be there.”

“If I can see you, they can see you.”

Who are they you ask? Well they may or may not be human (but they are not robots). You shall have to find out. I hope I have given you enough to at least wet your appetite for what’s to come.

To be published is a dream come true for me and I very much want this to be a success. I can only do that with your help!

editing begins