Weekly Ramble #38

I’m setting my sights on another no drinking booze record. Last time I got to 37 days and now I’m eyeing 50 days which will bring me in line for my 30th birthday.

For context I am now the lightest I’ve been this year and probably the healthiest; these two achievements alone isn’t why I’ve chosen to abstain from booze; I hate the fact I sometimes act like the way I do after a drink and of course the hangover but I probably won’t ever give it up completely, I am a writer after all. Zero percent beer has been a life saver and although it’s a kind of a weird feeling to taste something that is associated with ‘easin’ the pain’ it does do enough the replace the thirst, for the time being anyway.

In the past three months I have also changed my eating lifestyle; I haven’t eaten a ready meal in 3 months! Everything I cook now is from fresh. Frozen veg and meat also counts these days because the quality is so much better now and this also means they don’t perish as quickly. There are a stack of great meals out there that can be made healthy. The vegan stuff is also so much better now and has more options; the days of one vegetable/quorn quesadilla being the only vegan/veggie choice on a menu is disappearing, and although I am not a full vegan, I have meals and days where I am inspired by it. Ben and Jerry’s vegan non dairy ice cream is my pro dieting tip! 

Exercise has always been a pillar of my lifestyle and right now like the past few years I am a big advocate of yoga – DDP Yoga to be specific. I’ve put up some reviews of the program up on here before and I cannot stress how good yoga is for not only the body but mind as well. This year I have also got back into running and can now do up to 5k in distance!

My advice for anyone looking to battle stress, depression and injury – three things I have been through; is to take up more of an active lifestyle even if it’s just a little more than before – go for a walk, start making fresh meals, do a little yoga; all of this stuff keeps my mind in check and looks after the body also. And I say this a lot, as a writer and person YOU CAN DO IT! Because I did and continue to do so! 

Thanks for reading. Hello to new followers. Those who have been tuning in and are part of the writing community, I shall be putting up my Bookbub promo results this week! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A thank you to everyone!

I don’t normally post something on here unless I have the material but guys the follows and overall support I have got this month as an author is incredible!

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU ALL. Like publishing a book in general I took a plunge or leap this month while already riding the coat tails of some already epic numbers this blog has seen in 2019. Just look where we stand now….

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I mean those figures speak for themselves alone just for this month, but 2019 so far has been huge compared to before and there’s another incredible result…

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Last year I dove into the unknown of publishing a super hero comedy novella. Upon release the sales figures were insulting, my ego diminished and all belief in book stuff pretty much gone. We all want instant results but they don’t happen and so after some serious time spent making a name for myself in the literary world of indie publishing/ reviewing, The Teleporter finally arrived!

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As you can see The Teleporter shifted some big time numbers and even had a stint as #1 in it’s particular ‘genetic engineering’ chart…

And that isn’t all because there are some genuine results from the Teleporter’s arrival!

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I had to put together a fricking slide show to display the amount of new reviews we got!

But wait there’s more, I’ve even had fellow bloggers write reviews which I then re blogged here so Thanks to Mullen Crafts and  also thanks to Elysia Lumen Strife. Both of your reviews were probably better than the damn book itself, and they made it all the way to Amazon.com! the holy grail of places for reviews! 

There was also a 1 Star review which I won’t dwell too much on, but I think some people came out to read the Teleporter in response and support of me, so thanks folks. You can read my reaction to it here via weekly ramble numero 30…. 

For those looking for book promo tips I recommend this little results post I put together earlier in April

And to everyone else, writer, blogger, tweeter or reader, a tip of the cap to you all. Peace out! That’s April folks… my best month ever in writing!  

April 7th… 

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April 30th

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Amazon US 

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Weekly Ramble #31

Writing is home for me. But right now I feel far from home. Things are busy, damn busy and although it’s the fashion these days to have loads going on, it’s relentless right now. I just can’t catch a free moment, and I know if one want’s to write, one will write, but time is something I don’t have and inside it’s partially killing me not to be sat at the keyboard creating.

I’m an adult now, perhaps that’s the problem because I have responsibilities and stuff, that’s something I have to learn to live with whilst also feeding the need to write. 2019 is proving to be one of those important season finale type of deals with loads of plot arcs wrapping up and people rushing to resolve their stories whilst I’m jumping from one turning carousel to another. Many of the things I’m wrapped up in this year are more significant to others while I play the passenger and it’s tiring.

But the most important thing above all for me is that I am not alone and I haven’t been for seven years to the day. Today I celebrate walking my significant other home on a rainy late April night and asking her to be my girlfriend, it sounds like some next level sitcom romance stuff, and back then it was, and still is. I can only function while being happy, all of this circles around the concept of having someone and I do. Somebody said once that all you need is love, and beneath the shroud of busy and hectic life I have right now is just that. Don’t ever understimate the power of having someone and that makes me feel at home more than anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Thorn: A story of the Future: Chapter 2, Part 3

In the expansive ‘white room’ of the Secret Earth Services Cade Biggs used his muscular and wide frame to tackle one of the remaining robots to the floor.

“I don’t fight as pretty as the other guy,” he said and pinned the uniformed target down. His hand pressed against various chest mounted medals the robot wore.

“Watch the other hand Cade!” Jack shouted while Cade turned.

Before he could glance back down a swiping hand scratched out. It pulled on his bearded face and gripped onto hair. Streaks of red began to emerge.

“Dirty bastard!” He gripped the robot by the scruff and angrily heaved the robot up onto two feet.

“Screw this. Hey Thorn, you deal with this!” Cade swung and released his grip. The robot spun and careened towards Jack with a high boot at the ready.

After an immediate spark the robot clanged to the floor and all the commotion from before reached a pinnacle of calm silence. There lay a pile of wrecked robots with various stiff limbs stuck out in several directions. Uniforms had been ripped and ruffled.

Both Jack and Cade were out of breath when they realized victory was theirs;

“I used to play rugby and I’ve hung in with some big and also depraved fellas. Back in the day I bounced around some tough orphanages in downtown Jo-burg’, but you’ve gotta be the toughest, fight enjoying son of a bitch I have ever seen,” Cade said while wiping the blood from his face.

A drop of sweat dripped down Jack’s cheek and he dabbed it away.

“Thanks, most people, just get in the way, in a situation like this. You did good man,” Jack said.

“My guess is you passed fella…”

They watched a doorway appear and out of darkness came a troop of what looked like riot police.

“Step away from the robots!” One of them barked through the audio output of what looked like fully sealed armoured bio suits. Their visors were dark and Jack could only see his reflection back.

“Mercenaries,” he said.

“I don’t think those robots pose any harm son,” Cade said while a large transparent shield was held towards him.

“Get back until we can make the area safe! Can we get a medic to that man? He’s bleeding?” Another shouted, the group formed around most of the downed robots.

“It’s just a scratch I’m all good,” Cade insisted.

Next appeared Axel Hendricks rushing through the door way with Jermey Jones casually trailing behind.

“I can only apologise for the situation that this escalated into. This was never the plan…”

“Nonsense Hendricks, they both acted according to the situation. Now Commander Biggs I must thank you very much for participating and helping us realize the talent we have here with Thorn,” Jones said and offered a hand to Cade.

“All part of the greater plan Sarge.” He gripped the taller Jones’ hand and then faced Jack.

“Thorn, this was, interesting. I’m hoping we can collaborate again someday in the future,” he said and offered his hand to shake.

“What, you’re going? Won’t Cade be involved in this?” Jack asked and gripped hands with his make shift ally.

“I’m afraid not, you see Commander Biggs is a businessman as well as someone who’s interests lie with relaunching the World Force. I’m sure we will see more of him in the future. Come Thorn, there is much to talk about,” Jones said.

Jack watched Cade get escorted away by a medic as Jones and Hendricks subtly moved him into the open expanse of the white room.

“This was never meant to go this way Thorn. We did plant those robots to make this look like a competitive environment. They were just never supposed to turn against you and Commander Biggs,” Jones explained. Jack walked between him and Hendricks.

“So it was just a work? That’s some effort to protect my one and only ego,” Jack said.

“I’m guessing it’s still intact like the rest of you. We’ll have to let our robot supplier know of the faulty units they provided,” Hendricks said. He looked to Jones who was pulling a half smile.

“We believe, especially after that display you are the one to take the lead in modern robot crime fighting,” Jones said, he moved in closer to Thorn and faced him.

“Essentially without you knowing, this is your destiny. I mentioned before that your parents were linked with the World force and what happened to them is all linked to this. Your father Clark has kept much of the past under wraps for now and rightly so. If you are to embark on this journey you will find out what happened and you may not like it.”

Jones looked Jack square in the eyes, two eyes that were curious and ready.

“I want this. I want to know the truth,” Jack said.

“There are some instances of the past that are quite dark Thorn. Some of it still haunts us today,” Hendricks said whilst he held out one gloved hand.

Jones then gripped Jack’s shoulder;

“We will discuss the history of all this soon. Seeing as the war on X43 will be over probably sooner rather than later I would like to officially offer you the job as our Maverick-Captain of the relaunched world force.”

“Consider the offer accepted Sarge. When do we start?”

“You see, I am trying to put together a team of people much like yourself. They needn’t be as talented in combat as you but they have to be determined. For now I envision the war on X43 to be your priority. I expect to see you afterwards ready for this and perhaps with a few others who have experienced what you have.”

“I can think of a few people who would be interested. There may even be more after the war.”

And like that Jack Thorn went his own way, out of the mysterious world of the Secret Earth Services and towards the muddy murky planet of X43. His destiny stood on the not so far away horizon, first he would have to face war.

*                      *                      *

Anne-Marie revelled in wearing her waitress uniform; that being a white dress with red pinstripes and a waist high apron. For the first time she had fixed her hair into something more than just a hospital mop and even wore a name badge which she kept polished.

“Rouge. That’s a pretty name for these parts. French aint’ it?” The large bearded trucker man asked as she poured him another coffee. He sat in one of the many window adjacent booths that looked out onto the desert highway.

“Yes sir, French like my mother. What will it be?” She asked with smile.

It had only taken a few days to make Denny’s road stop diner her home. In fact she was the first smiling waitress they had seen come in since, well a while. The sole owner, a chain-smoking wrinkled woman by the name of Denise Appleby or ‘old lady Denny’ is what most of the regulars called her. She welcomed Rouge and the clan she came in with. Both F.G and the Freak made themselves useful in the kitchen where as the Warrior stayed out of the way and mostly hidden.

“I’ll go for the double stack burger and some fries honey,” the trucker said as Rouge swiped her finger on a clear credit card sized device.

“Coming right up,” she said and moved to the next booth with her coffee jug.

Instinctively she had given up asking if they wanted coffee, it was a truck stop so everybody normally did. She began to pour for the next gentlemen who sat with the sun shining in on him.

“What can I get for you?” she asked without looking at him.

“What range of pies do you serve dear?” He asked and leaned forward out of the sun. Two shaded lenses glanced up to her.

She recognised the voice but spoke anyway,

“We have blueberry today sir.”

His veiny cold hand grabbed hers with a strong grip. Then he removed the shades and two beady eyes looked into hers.

“You remember me don’t you, Anne-Marie?”

“Doctor Leecher,” she said under her breath and wobbled on her feet for a moment.

“I’ll take that. We don’t usually let patients handle hot liquids,” Leecher crooned and grabbed the coffee jug. He slid it away and pulled her in close.

“Now what have you got to say? Not one for words without that robotic friend of yours, are you?” He asked with a demented type of stare.

“I did some research about him and I dug into some old Police Force records. He’s known to them in the state of New York. They would very much like to talk with him…”

“No please Doctor, just take me,” Rouge said trying to contain herself.

“Oh I will be, seeing as he’s not around at the moment. I did come prepared,” Leecher said and gripped her chin with a cold hand. He forced her head towards the front door.

“You see the two rather smart chaps up front. They are with me, both robots and both quite strong. You’ll come with me and there will be no trouble. Then I won’t inform anybody about that ‘friend’ of yours. Let’s move ‘Rouge’.”

There was nothing she could do. The nice trucker man one booth over was back facing and everyone else seemed none the wiser. She bowed her head in shame and began to walk with the ever so close Doctor Leecher.

“No funny business. I am prepared,” he said and revealed a syringe to be sitting in his jacket pocket.

They moved towards the doors and came past the front counter. Old lady Denny frowned to see her star waitress leave with this older gentleman.

“Rouge honey, everything okay?” She asked.

“I’m sorry Mrs Appleby I have to go…”

“Don’t talk, just move,” Leecher said pushing her forward hastily.

“Hey what’s going on?” The old lady asked and stood from her fur lined stool.

The two taller suited gentlemen robots nodded to the doctor and then rose from their booth. They went outside into the blistering desert sun whilst holding the doors.

“Hey F.G, get out here!” Old lady Denny shouted.

Rouge stepped out into what felt like the gallows.

“That’s a good girl. No trouble. Either way that friend of yours will find a sorry end,” the doctor said and chuckled.

For some reason that creepy sinister laugh had struck a nerve. Just when a tear was about to fall from Rouge’s eye, she began to feel something she had never felt. Maybe the sedative drugs in her system had previously masked a furious anger which began to flow from her clenched fists. She started to tremble, not in fear but in pure rage. This life she had started was good, those robots in the kitchen were her friends and waiting by the trailers behind the diner was her guardian. He watched on and stood nearly ready to run in when it happened.

“Just so you know Doctor ‘creepazoid’, I’m friends with not only a Warrior but two robots also. Right now I don’t need them,” she said and drove an elbow into the soft stomach of Leecher. He yelped in pain and fell.

The two robot suits looked on in amazement before stepping forward. They charged clumsily as Rouge stood ready with a defensive grace. Her fist pulled in tight like she had been taught the next series of moves with precision.

In a flash she had swung her ankle up and high. It collided into the first heavy which stumbled to her. The waitress dress she wore ripped at the thigh and she drove her knee up whilst gripping her first target’s hair. The robot’s face sparked with an impressive explosion of black liquid. Rouge wasn’t done, from this point she would never be done.

The second robot cautiously moved in and tried to swipe from a distance. After a third attempt Rouge had gripped his hand and twisted the arm into an ungodly angle. There came a robotic crunch and she released her grip. Then came the final move and lunging kick of her heel into the chin of the robot. The bright spark and crash to the floor signalled for this brief onslaught to be finished.

“I’m never normally a violent person,” she said doing her best to neaten the now ripped dress she wore.

Her eyes looked down into the ever so fearful Leecher.

“I want you to leave Leecher. Now!”

“Okay okay I will. Please don’t hurt me anymore,” Leecher pleaded.

“Well go then!”

The doctor scrambled to his feet and past the two wrecked robots he had hired. Away he went and to a large dark car.

From the doors burst F.G with the Freak. They were both armed with a pot and large frying pan.

“We will have no trouble on the premises,” the Freak said then noticing the obvious wreckage on the floor.

“Rouge are you hurt?” F.G asked as old lady Denny appeared.

“Rouge dear, your uniform honey. People are looking,” she said and rushed to her. She took off her nicotine smelling shawl and wrapped it around her.

“Can you deal with this mess guys?” she added and began to lead Rouge away. They moved around the side of the diner.

“I’m so sorry Ms Appleby I don’t know what came over me…”

“Nonsense dear, you were defending yourself. Now come on. I’ll just tell the customers that guy was being a jerk. They’ll be none the wiser.” She looked up in the shadows. The dark figure that was the Warrior appeared.

“This one can really defend herself. I’ll get you a fresh uniform, but for now take the afternoon off,” Denny said, and she headed back to the diner.

“I, I don’t know what happened…” Rouge looked at her two scratched hands which were shaking. She whimpered as tears began to fall down her pale face.

“It’s alright. I am here,” the Warrior said. He gently wrapped two huge robotic arms around her.

“You needn’t cry my dear. You defended yourself well. Even if you couldn’t, we are with trustworthy people and robots here,” he added.

“It’s just what he said about you and being wanted in New York…”

“Now now Rouge, I am going nowhere. I will have to face New York again one day but it will be with you. I watched you defend yourself, the way you moved. Nobody taught you how to do that, you did that yourself, with instinct, from within. I’ve never seen a man run away so fast,” the Warrior said as he wiped her tears away. She smiled at the thought.

“Yeah he looked pretty spooked. I had been waiting to do that for a while.”

“Yes Rouge, but you also must appreciate your instinct makes you who you are. There is a reason why I am your guardian…”

“Because my uncle couldn’t look after me and there were robots who wanted me dead, yeah you’ve told me the story a thousand times,” Rouge said sounding like her teenage self.

“No Rouge that is only a portion of the story. Those doctors say you are special because you are. You just proved that.”

“I didn’t have any control I just did it.”

“That’s because you must learn to harness your power. Anne-Marie Thorn, you are a prophecy. Named a Maverick by the Warriors before me. They fought and died to make sure you would survive and answer your calling. Destiny has selected you for this.”

End of Part 6

Read Part 7 Here

Tune in Next week for another edition of Jack Thorn. Same Jack time, same Jack place… Remember if you enjoyed reading, tell a friend, leave a comment and share it around on social media…

Copyright 2004 – 2019 ‘Jack Thorn’ and ‘The Thorn Legacy’ Written By Lee Hall 2019 All rights reserved.  

Weekly Ramble #30

I find myself resisting the urge to react to a negative review of The Teleporter. I know the ‘rule’ is to ignore and move on but this format here is my yard and I’ll use it however I like. First of all I don’t wan’t to appear to ‘retaliate’ in anyway but everyone whom I have spoken to about this has deemed the situation a little unjust and that’s something The Teleporter fights for…

You can find the review on Goodreads and if you ask me; like others have pointed out, it’s contradictory. And should I even be doing this? Right now, yeah, as I’ve said this is my motherfu**ing yard’ll say what I like.

The main gripe focuses on the reviewer not appreciating name calling of a certain character. In fact this reviewer clocked up the precise amount of times this character was called a certain name or referred to it as that name, which tells me there was more counting going on than reading and delving into the words. I just feel as if this book reviewer has rushed through my work and not actually read it properly. Maybe we’re just looking to add another number to the goodreads list…

The focus on this name calling which I wont fully explain because I don’t need to, can be defined with this statement:

 If you don’t get it, you don’t get it, but the whole name calling thing of this character is a part of her journey. Plus this book is a comedy of the comic book persuasion, sometimes people and places are named quite literally. It’s never said in an abusive or bullying type of manner. Her journey which includes this name she is called comes to a culmination with her winning and then choosing to embrace the name everyone calls her, how can’t you see that? 

This reviewer has totally misinterpreted The Teleporter by basically concentrating on finding something that could be deemed as offensive. Maybe we were looking to slam a book because we haven’t given a bad review before… Unfortunately the world is full of name calling, sometimes it can be considered as banter or fun and sometimes it’s part of wider story that the reviewer didn’t quite grasp.

We live in a world where if one person gets offended by something arbitrary then all of a sudden everybody grabs a pitch fork and torch; this is my one fear in the outcome of this review. I’m not against anyone having an opinion, that’s allowed, but make sure you execute what you have to say in a less contradictory manner.

I don’t give shit if it got one star and it wasn’t somebodies cup of tea, try tequila instead and grow the fuck up.

 

Weekly Ramble #29

This week more than any I stand by my decision to write and tell a story about a drunk super hero.

Like all of my books they are about so much more than what’s on the surface. Blurbs and covers sometimes do a book zero justice and even now I have a feeling people judged the Teleporter harshly to begin with and most probably still do (I guess I cant win them all). How dare I write a story with a genre that’s ‘in’ at the moment because even now I can see my own logic in doing it. Super heroes are more popular than ever, and did people just see through that? Did everyone just see me trying to ride a trend and attempt to cash in on it?  Was it just an empty grab a fashionable genre?

To begin with that’s what I set out to do, but in the end, this book became something so much more.

The sheer will of my main characters journey is what makes The Teleporter worth reading.

13 people purchased a copy of the Teleporter on release. That was my lowest ever book launch sales figure until Cemetery House but we won’t count that or talk about that (sequels are strange) and even though it’s low, I have zero complaints. That number grew by a handful until this year and back then (even January this year) my following was a lot less than what it is compared to today. This whole deal; reviewing books, interacting, giving back to the writing community has opened a huge door for me. And I haven’t just reached out past my own shores of Hall island to sell books, I’ve done it above all to become a better writer and to be taken seriously, and people are taking this seriously now.

There are two ways a writer learns their craft; by doing and by reading. Along the way I’ve met some pretty bad ass bloggers and authors, types whom I share this voyage with. Perhaps building bridges is what leads to real success in creating.

This week The Teleporter has owned the day. Several times when complete strangers have cast the net out into the twittersphere looking for reads; my scrappy little underdog of a book has come out on top; above other books from authors with huge amounts of follows. That has always been my gimmick, the underdog who waits on the fringes of the unexpected, waiting to strike, waiting for my moment and proving to the international stage that I’m good at what I do.

Thank you to everyone this week, and before this moment. Those who left a review for the Teleporter before today are probably a huge reason why it’s been downloaded over 600 times in two days!

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The Teleporter is FREE to download!

KABLAMO!

Friends, bloggers and readers from all over the world my 3rd Book The Teleporter is officially free to download. This is a rare one off deal so go now to Amazon and grab yourself a copy….

(The Teleporter won’t be free to download for a very long time, trust me) 

Not convinced I hear? This post is dedicated to convincing YOU to make The Teleporter your next read!

Let the prosecution present to you ‘Exhibit A’ or also known as ‘dem’ Reviews…

Exhibit A:

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Reviews aren’t everything, I know and some of you know that. Maybe some of you are thinking I just paid a bunch of people to review The Teleporter I didn’t, in fact this book is relatively undiscovered…

FUN FACT: It only sold around 13 copies on release…. 

Indie books take a long time to gather any type of following, unless you got a pro marketing company, a boat load of money and lady luck on your side, so like all of my works the reviews have come after some time. It’s taken a whole year to get to 6 reviews and so its up to you, the reader to tell the world about it.

You could be responsible for telling the world about The Teleporter! (I’ll probably buy you at least 12 drinks for that type of support)

(No doubles, I have a mortgage to pay…)

Exhibit B: It’s a comedy….

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, let me admit these quotes are actually quite terrible at reflecting how funny The Teleporter really is (no wonder it only sold 13 fu**ing copies), but trust me, you’ll laugh, I did, a lot.

ANOTHER FUN FACT: My marketing campaign was probably terrible… there really are better quotes than the sh** above; lesson learned I guess and that’s the most important thing (what all partial failures like me say).

But… it’s not all ‘ha ha’. This book has a hell of a lot more going on than just gags. There is a real message and moral to the story. Our main protagonist struggles to come to terms with his new power, there is a whole responsibility thing going on with that struggle and friendship arc as well.

Exhibit 3: – It’s deep (not a sexual reference)

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Members of the jury, seeing as this book is a super hero story, it wouldn’t be one without subtly nodding to the Marvel cinematic universe. This quote above is said by a ‘Stan Lee’ type during the latter stages of the story.

Exhibit D: – The Teleporter is dedicated to breaking stereotypes by appearing as just another super hero story, but it isn’t just another super hero story!  

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The prosecution rests…

ANOTHER ANOTHER FUN FACT: I’m into courtroom dramas at the moment, can you tell? That ‘The People Vs O.J  show was awesome… yes I also realize I’m some years late, I’m an author, and I’m busy…

…and now awaits the verdict which will hopefully be in the form of a 1000 downloads or more. Let me know if you’ve grabbed a copy by commenting on this post or tweeting me! Happy reading and thanks for the support!

Extra fun fact: Every time The Teleporter is mentioned in this post, the link to the book is attached to it… so get clicking! 

Bonus shizzle/ further reading:

Here are some more reasons why you should read the Teleporter…

And this is what the cover looks like, although you shouldn’t judge books by covers, except mine because they rock!

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Ultra Super Bonus content: Are you still here? Well if you are I have promised to myself that The Teleporter will get a sequel if it gets more than 15 reviews… so what are you waiting for? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Thorn: A story of the Future: Chapter 1, Part 3

Jack eased himself onto a wooden bench and sat back. Green grass surrounded him with a line of flowers following the nearby path that snaked away from the scene. Birds were chirping and the trees rustled gently as a warm breeze blew. He unzipped his army tracksuit jacket and at that moment a beam of light broke out from the clouds above.

“Could be worse,” he said. Even the smell of summer filled his nostrils.

“Hey, new boy!”

He could see a little further along the path whilst a figure approached. At first she seemed a blur until coming closer. Blonde hair flowed down over the shoulders of a white lab coat she wore. Her face smiled towards him.

“Katie,” he said and slowly stood. She crashed into him and wrapped both arms around his shoulders.

Just when the warm familiarity consumed them both, their whole world flashed. Alarms blazed and sirens rung.

“No full body contact! No full body contact! Disperse now! Disperse now!” A computerised voice commanded on repeat. That was until they separated.

“Ah, I guess it’s prison rules for us,” Jack said, “of the non-conjugal persuasion,” he added looking up and all around before moving to the bench.

“We can still hold hands,” Katie said and interlocked her fingers with his. Both of their images flickered momentarily and there they sat in this near perfect backdrop.

“How’s life?” He asked while briefly finding her blue eyes.

“Probably better than the rock you’re on,” she said.

“And the two dependents?” He asked.

“Growing up without their Dad, quickly.”

Those two ‘dependents’ were the only thing Jack Thorn had any pride for in life. His marriage stood at joint top although he didn’t boast about his private affairs to anyone, it was a sort of protectiveness. Thorn hardly showed affection to anyone unless he knew them quite well and even then he still had to like them, but around Katie, he let his guard down.

“So how’s my war hero?” She rested her head on his shoulder and removed contact just before the alarms sounded again.

“I’m hardly a hero. I just helped out a little and got awarded a star of honor. The wage doesn’t change.”

The couple had done well considering both of them were once outcast kids of a private academy. She played the goth type once upon a time, he was the fish out of water scholarship kid. They were a match made in heaven from the very beginning. Even after she lost the piercings and spiky black hair. Their rebel drop out phase came and went, now they were adults. Then came the war.

“Well about that. Things have been rough back at home, especially with the move and all…”

“Move? What happened?”

“You haven’t heard the news?” Katie swivelled and faced him.

“We don’t get much news out on this rock.”

“The government, they shut down every department in Cliffeville. The whole state is cut off. The western divide has fallen. We had to leave it wasn’t safe,” Katie explained.

“Where did you take the kids?”

Kate leant forward and hesitated momentarily,

“Look Jack, you know this is hard. You’re away from home and I’m working full time with a seven and a four-year-old,” she said.

“Katie, what is it?” He took her hand.

“It’s your Father.”

He immediately turned away in defence, but Katie kept her grip on his hand.

“He reached out to me. He offered us all a room at his place. We’ve moved in with him okay? He was so helpful and nice…”

Jack pulled his hand from her. He then fully turned away. There was a history. A history of no contact for many years.

“Yeah that’s how he starts. Look I have no time for the guy but as long as you, Shane and Kristie are fine, that’s all that matters,” he said and faced her again with a hand held out.

“He is a good man Jack. After all, if it wasn’t for him you wouldn’t be here.”

“If you say so. We’ve never seen eye to eye, and we haven spoke in literally years. How is he with the kids?”

“He’s fine Jack, please don’t worry okay. Just worry about getting home. And I‘ve got a job in the city. Daytime clinic hours at the Grace hospital. Maybe when you get home, we could think about moving there full time…”

The surrounding area began to slowly darken and flicker.

“Attention, credit is running low, credit is running low. Please transfer funds into your account,” the loud announcing voice said.

“That’ll be the complimentary army credit. Look Katie I got to go. I’ve got some meeting with a Sergeant.”

“Jack?” She took his other hand and looked him in the eyes. That was when her image began to flicker.

“I love you and I miss you. Come home safe, please…” Katie’s image disappeared just as Jack lowered his head and muttered

“I love you, too…”

From out of the darkness came blinding light of pure artificial white. Jack lifted a hand and waved it in front of him. Nothing. He patted his head and slowly removed the V.R. helmet. There he lay on a narrow bed with each of his limbs connected to various wiring by oversized clear plastic boots and gloves.

Surrounding him were several other beds, some with soldiers in, others without. He sat up and got out of the gloves and boots, then he pulled himself out of the bucket style vessel and made his way past the several V.R. beds. Near enough every wall surface was plastered with the logo ‘Pluto’ and slogans like ‘Pluto sponsors the Troops’. This was a corporate war after all, even his army tracksuit had corporate tags.

 

Jeremy Jones hadn’t felt this nervous for years. He stood in front of an empty classroom. The individual desks filled with nothing but air and the only sound came from the constant hum of electricity probably from the various sponsor type posters projected onto the walls. He looked at the nearest slogan, ‘Pluto is in every business, even the war business…’.

“This war is just a damn commercial,” he muttered and perched his large frame against the front desk.

Where was this kid he was supposed to be meeting? He was due five minutes ago, Jones didn’t like bad punctuality; if you say you’re gonna be somewhere then be there. Regardless of who you were.

“Where is this damn kid?” He muttered and turned to face a large screen.

From the back came the sliding sound of double doors opening.

“Sorry I’m late Sarge, I had to call home to my wife sir,” Jack said with that army assertiveness as he stood to attention.

“No need for the ceremony kid. I lost my rank a long time ago,” Jones said.

“All for a good cause mind.” He smiled and turned.

Jack was smaller than Jones expected although Jones stood taller than most people with his wide shoulders and now slight gut.

“You must be Jack Thorn. The name’s Jones, if you want you can call me Sarge,” he added.

“So you’re not a Sergeant officially but, people call you it anyway?”

“It’s a long story son, but I have heard reports of what you did out there on the battlefield,” Jones said as Jack readied to mount a defence.

“Yeah, I guessed that’s why you were here. If you want me to admit it was risky and dangerous then…”

“No, no. The reports I have heard are only good. In fact, not only did you make an Army of Earth Major’s battle report but a Secret Earth Services Mercenary-General’s report. They were right to reward you with that star of honor. I’m sure with enough time on the battlefield you’ll earn more, but I’m not here to talk about a corporately sponsored war.”

Jack kept a curious focus on Jones,

“Then why are you here?”

As much as Jones wanted to mention what he knew Jack to be. He left the prophecy and destiny talk for now.

“If I said the words ‘World Force’ would they mean anything to you?” He asked as Jack shook his head vacantly.

“He mustn’t have mentioned anything,” Jones said to himself but out loud.

“What about robot crime?” He asked.

“I know my father had something to do with robot crime when he worked in the Police Force. Then he became a lecturer for a while.”

“That’s correct Jack. In the past, myself and some others put together the first robot crime fighting force in the world. We originally worked out of the New York Police Force and separated soon after. We were called the World Force. For some years, we made the city a much safer place, especially in times where human crime was all but zero.”

“What has this got to do with me? I’m just a soldier,” Jack said.

“But you aren’t Thorn. Those battle reports describe you as single-handedly taking on robots with a combat expertise never ever seen on the battle field. I want to use your skills in reforming the World Force. The robot crime problem has never gone away even with the recent rebellion. I want you to come to the Secret Earth Services just for a no strings attached try-out of sorts. If the reports are true, then you will make the ultimate robot fighter.”

“I don’t know Sarge. I’ve still got a war to fight here on X43 and then I plan on getting home to my family.”

“The endless battle on this rock can wait. There won’t be a job in the army after this war for you but there will be in robot crime. Think about it Thorn, this is in your blood. I knew your father and your mother, they were both fine robot crime fighters, this is what you are destined to do son,” Jones said without realizing he was clenching both of his fists in passion.

“You knew my mother? Do you know what happened to her? I never got an answer from my father, but it looked like a robot killed her. What happened Sarge?” Jack looked to Jones with a firm stare. It was in those eyes Jones saw a fire and motivation to find answers.

“You will find answers if you choose to join me Thorn.”

“Sign me up,” Jack said.

The one thing Jack Thorn never understood was the past. Although he’d always been destined to fight robots, his personal purpose to find the truth drove him. And at that moment the first flame towards an eventual fire of destiny sparked to ignition.

Jack Thorn’s journey to being a maverick had just begun.

*                      *                      *

He’s coming.

From a very young age Anne-Marie learned to hide the torment of her inner mind and keep everything under the hood. People asked less questions when faced with a fake smile. She chose to scream on the inside and swallow down the fear of what sleeping had become. Insomnia used to work as a teen, but even she knew from the confines of a ‘secure hospital unit’ that if you wanted to retain your looks, you had to sleep.

Her alleged doctor even helped with that by hooking some ungodly device to her intravenous line. Every time she would wake, normally with a heavy breath and a fast beating heart, the machine would click in with a whoosh and administer another damned sedative. Asleep is what he needed her to be if they wanted ‘collate’ information about her ‘wonderfully gifted’ brain, that along with the head gear strapped to her which in hand was tethered to a computer. She really hated that doctor, with his white coat and silver hair. The typical older creep, normally with a syringe in one pocket and something condescending to say, even his name Dr Leecher sounded creepy.

Whether the doctors were helping passed her by, especially after years of confinement, white coats and experimental procedures. Anne-Marie had become quite the paranoid soul. Underneath all the sedatives and tormented sleep she knew one day her guardian would return and bust her out of there.

When the dreams fuelled by fire and lightning ended, a pure black stared back at her and that was when she chose to awaken. Slowly her eyes would open but she did not move a muscle or dare increase her breath intake. Any sign her body had found consciousness and that machine would kick in. Her eyes wandered around the plain dark room, they ached as they reached the extremity of right and left.

Something disturbed her and it wasn’t the dreams. An almost premonition kicked in, something was coming.

Directly in front stood the door with a pane of opaque glass. Weak light beamed through from the corridor. A shadow drifted by, the night orderly, or one of them anyway. Hopefully it wasn’t the handsy one, although being a patient of her caliber and the lack of dignity, it still never ever felt right to be groped in any way by someone perceived as trust worthy staff.

Again a shadow passed and then another, both were in a rush and their erratic voices spoke. Would this be the night where her guardian would finally ride in and sweep her away to safety?

“Call for security! Wait no…” A shadow violently crashed into the door with its mass filling the window. It slid downwards without struggle.

He’s here.

After more commotion the door handle got firmly gripped by a looming shadow. Anne-Marie watched with two wide eyes as this tall and wide mass entered the room.

“Warrior, is that you?” She asked breathlessly and so that machine wouldn’t inject her again.

The reply didn’t come straight away, and the mass seemed to stand there just watching. Then a voice spoke,

“Yes my dear. I have finally returned to you.” The square shouldered figure known as the Warrior spoke with a deep computerized style voice.

Her heart began to beat quicker and she was awake now. The machine began to whirr as it came to life.

“Please, the machine…” She weakly pointed to it in shadowy darkness. Her saviour had already got there.

A large hand moved to the intravenous line that fed into her hand. Although big and clunky looking this Warrior moved gently in disconnecting her. He moved to the headgear and carefully raised it from her blood red hair which flopped down.

She shuffled herself into the beam of light shining from the hallway. Her blue eyes and pale face stared up in wonder at this rescuer.

“I waited and waited. About time you got me out of here,” she said.

Two glove covered hands began to scoop her from the bed.

“It would be great for you to pick me up and whisk me away but I can manage,” she said and speedily jumped out of the bed. Her bare feet touching the shiny floor.

“Very well. We must move with haste.” They linked hands. One of flesh and the other of a being known as a Warrior. Just when she gripped firmly the room flashed red. Alarms began to ring.

“That’s the lockdown alarm!”

“Come on,” the Warrior shouted, and he led her to the door.

They stepped out just when the alarms muted but the flashing lights continued. Either side stood security guards, each of them with handguns outstretched. Behind the line of security were two orderlies, both looking worse for wear whilst standing beside a white coated older man, Doctor Leecher.

All of them cast their eyes upon the pair, one, a pale red headed woman in all white; the other a considerable figure in an all-black armoured type of wet suit. His shape resembled machine more than man.

“Please whoever you are. Whatever you are, that girl is very very important. You have no idea, she is vital to much of the research conducted here…” Doctor Leecher shouted and the Warrior interrupted.

“No human, you have no idea how important this girl is to the future of mankind. Stand down all of you!”

“It’s woman, not girl,” Anne-Marie said breaking the tense silence and raising a hand.

“Please Anne-Marie talk some sense into this, this prowler,” the doctor demanded.

“Actually it’s Rouge, and this prowler is a Warrior. ‘The Warrior’ and he is here to bust me out Leecher,” as the blood red haired Rouge finished talking the guards from either side moved in aggressively.

The Warrior scooped her into his large arms and spun.

“We are leaving,” he bellowed. She was cradled in large robotic arms that lay under the tight armouring. Her only safe place ever.

Guns fired into the back of this wide protector, his protective attire deflecting the bullets. He groaned in reaction and took her back into the dark room.

“Aim for the damn head of that thing!” The doctor demanded and the guns aimed up at the equally armoured balaclava of this Warrior.

“Go for the window,” Rouge shouted. She pointed towards a wide barred window.

He charged with her still in grasp and turned at the last minute. His bullet deflecting back crashing through bars and windows.The view Rouge had represented spectacular destruction. She felt the air of a clear evening and a bright moon shining down above. Her airwaves breathed in fresh oxygen and she could smell flowers and grass.

“You are okay?” The Warrior asked while holding her close. She nodded and his two thick legs sprang into action. She couldn’t help looking at the hole where the barred window previously stood.

“You took the whole wall out,” she said.

“A necessary act,” the Warrior added.

“What happens now?” She asked in that slightly condescending manner like her protector hadn’t thought of a plan.

“We run, like always.”

*                      *                      *

 “The revolution will come, and the freaks shall rise. We will reclaim the streets as our own and our master the Keeper shall return to lead us into revolution. It will be a hard battle and many of us will not see freedom. That we all know too well is the price for such a thing…”

From behind came the rusty metal on metal sound of the truck’s back window sliding open.

“Hey Freak. You talkin’ to yourself again?” The large robot known as F.G asked. So large in fact he couldn’t fit in the passenger section of the old beaten pick-up. His wide head offered to the much smaller opening looking to the driver.

“I was just re-living an old memory and envisioning another time. If only I knew what I know now, then,” said a robot known as the Freak with a deep sigh. His white balaclava covered head paired with large dark sunglasses matched the namesake well.

No longer did an audience stand out in front looking up to him but a darkened street instead.

“What memory was that?” F.G asked.

“Oh, of days gone and perhaps never to return. Days I found myself at the forefront of revolution, not of robots rising up, but of robots playing their part in the crime fighting efforts our kind have become known for. Working shoulder to shoulder with men and women of the World Robot defence force. Looking up to our ancestors known as Warriors. Bringing the fight to the First and spawning the Robots with Humans. I had a purpose back then, and now, what of now?” The Freak sighed.

“What about the days of anarchy?” FG asked.

“An empty reboot of a day even further from reach F.G. None of us apart from the one they now call Mimic actually wanted to partake. I long to find myself involved again with battles, even to be caught in the cross fire as a civilian would thirst a longing quench. On my chest of this uniform once read the letters ‘R.W.H’ now it is plain and without purpose.. Much like the once enigmatic Robots with Humans.”

“You mean quench a longing thirst?” F.G asked and momentarily checked his chest and the matching dark blue camouflage uniform. Much like the Freak’s his once was labelled.

“Precisely old friend. I just want something purposeful F.G. Waiting for this supposed lone Warrior to emerge is just another false promise,” the Freak said.

He looked right to see a fenced surrounded building drowned in shadows.

“Is this even the correct location?” he asked.

“This is the place. He’s been seen here hanging around.”

“And then what F.G? What do we say to this Warrior when he faces us?”

“That question is something I think you’re about to ask?” F.G said. His chunky finger pointed to a bright mass of light which burst from the building they were parked opposite.

A piercing alarm sounded, then came the crashing followed by echoing gun fire. Movement came from the grassy area between the building and a surrounding mesh fence.

“Something is indeed happening. Look a figure, is this a break out?” The Freak asked. He watched two shadows move out of the motion sensed lighting.

“There’s two of them,” F.G. said and moved across the flat bed of the truck.

 

Rouge felt momentary joy when her bare feet touched soft grass. Just when she was about to express her happiness there came another overwhelming feeling of exhaust. She watched the Warrior run ahead.

“I think I’m drunk…” She began to fall. The Warrior doubled back and scooped her up. From nearby they both heard the struggling of a starting motor.

“Guess you gonna have to carry me,” she added.

Voices and thumping footsteps came closed in. The Warrior frantically looked all around for a way out. The fence stood high and capped with reels of barbed wire.

“We, need to go,” Rouge drunkenly said and stared up the Warrior’s balaclava covered head.

“We need a way out,” he said.

It would only be moments until more armed guards arrived.

“How did you get in?” Rouge asked as a beam of light closed in from the nearby fence.

It shone brighter and brighter and came closer. A clunky engine struggled and then came the sound tyres mounting a kerb. Those same tyres screeched and the Warrior cowered away when the incoming light hit mesh fencing. It burst through with one try and skidded around on the grass to reveal itself as a truck.

“I must recommend! That you endeavour to join us in this vehicle,” the Freak shouted from the front. He shoved the vehicle into gear.

The Warrior stared at the large robot in the back and hesitated for a moment. Gun fire burst towards him, one stray bullet hit the truck.

“Quickly, if you please?”

“Here, hand the girl to me,” F.G. said whilst holding out both hands.

The Warrior gave an unconscious Rouge to the robot known as F.G. and hopped in to the back of the truck.

“And, accelerating.” The Freak footed the gas pedal and wheels spun on damp grass. Gunfire bounced off the rusty metal truck which found the road and sped off into the night.

 

End of Part 3

READ CHAPTER 2 HERE

Tune in Next week for another edition of Jack Thorn. Same Jack time, same Jack place… Remember if you enjoyed reading, tell a friend, leave a comment and share it around on social media…

Copyright 2004 – 2019 ‘Jack Thorn’ and ‘The Thorn Legacy’ Written By Lee Hall 2019 All rights reserved.  

Weekly Ramble #28

Success as a writer will always be in the eye of the beholder. The real aspiration is simple for me and plenty of other wordsmith folks out there. To get better. Everything else is just a reaction to the effort we put in as writers, a bloggers or content creators. 

Of course most of you know how much I appreciate the support. A follow, a like, a share or even a comment can propel amyone towards having a better day.

The arts will always be subjective. So will percieved success. Whether or not we reach such a thing doesn’t actually matter. To create something that takes just one person away from the mundane of life is to really succeed. I do this because I enjoy it and it makes me happy. To find something like that is rare. If you enjoy something make it your passion, want to get better at it by simply doing it. Put in the hours. Toil over the words, the characters, their conflict, the setting, everything. Listen to those closest to you and even those who are distant, especially when they give constructive advice, yeah we know they haven’t lived the lives we have through words, but their perspective counts, they live in this world too.

In every project I take on, I simply look to deliver it in a different way to the last as well as proving to those who follow me that I am getting better. Although I realistically do it for me, they are the ones who will be reading my work.

Progress may be slow, but then again when was the last time you turned around and realised not just a handful of loyal people were following you, but 200 plus. It took me 6 years, four books and 2 plays to convince enough people my voice was worth hearing, and still I try to prove to more people everyday.

Good things can happen in creating. The best results take time, work, honesty and above all, the desire to want to get better is all you need

 

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200 Followers Special!

It’s finally happened,

I did it, more like we did it!

Lee’s Hall of information blog has reached 200 followers!

It’s taken the best part of 6 years but together we have built a following that is 200 strong. So this post is dedicated to those who have helped, inspired and shaped this blog. There are even some out there who aren’t aware of their influence and that can sometimes be what the definition of a writer or blogger is; creating something and not knowing how far it will stretch…

I will get to those individuals shortly but first and foremost to everyone…

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING! 

This journey into the unknown of words began way back 2014 and now we are here!

And so now I must acknowledge some folks who have influenced and helped me over the years… 

Way back before I took the path of indie publishing, I had a starry eyed view that some literary agent would notice my below par unpolished work and take me under their wing, a six figure publishing deal would follow and Spielberg would be on the phone at tea time. As far as I am aware, that didn’t happen, to me anyway, but like many indie authors out there, they are non trad published authors who never gave up and so I needed to start from the very beginning.

catherine ryan howardI needed a guiding light with self publishing. And this biblical level of advice came in the form of a self help book called ‘Self Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’. Written by Catherine Ryan Howard; a now very successful author who has just got herself a huge publishing deal; a phenomenal achievement and also pretty damn inspiring for small time indies.

Self Printed’ is written in a light hearted and sometimes comedic style which works as a no nonsense useful guide to anyone who is interested in taking self publishing seriously. I particularly took inspiration from much of  her blogging advice and without that book this Blog would not exist! Her equally helpful blog has a huge amount of stuff that I must recommend to anyone looking for a guide in writing and blogging! 

mr streuli

Matthew Streuli is the go-to blogger for all things mental health; he has also been a close personal friend of mine for the best part of 10 years. Matt’s blog contains a wealth of personal mental health experiences that he has bravely shared with the world.

From battling depression and even a suicide attempt his blog is a vitally important contribution to mental health campaigning and awareness. Depression is something many of us will suffer from at some point in life and Matt has been leading the charge with his blog for many years. He has even written articles for the Huffington post as well as making many television and radio appearances. His contribution to blogging and the mental health community deserves to be acknowledged.

 

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Without Nicky Fitzmaurice there would be no ‘Open Evening‘, ‘Darke Blood‘, ‘The Teleporter‘ or ‘Cemetery House’. Nicky has worked with me as an editor, formatter, uploader, publisher and expert advisor for all of my books. It’s s a rare thing to find someone trustworthy, honest and reliable in the world of publishing and Nicky is all three and more! Without being over assured or straight up arrogant the reason why my books are as good as they are is because of the work that goes in after I have drafted them.

Specificly speaking, the ending to ‘Darke Blood’ was shaped by Nicky’s advice and the reason why ‘The Teleporter’ flows like it does; especially in the latter chapters is because of her wonderful work!

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It is also safe to say there would be no ‘Open Evening’, ‘Darke Blood’, ‘The Teleporter’ or ‘Cemetery House’ without Design for Writers, and these books would look nowhere near as good without their fantastic work on what are incredible looking covers. Andrew and Rebecca work trumendously hard and they have always been there for me and a huge array of authors. For what is such an important part of book publishing, I would always reccomend Design for Writers!

 

In more recent times I have changed my whole approach as an author and blogger. My belief now is that no wordsmith is an island, as you can see above the people that have influenced this operation. But by just interacting with others via social media you can build a readership and following; something every author needs.

During that journey of interaction I met a fellow blogger who has not only become a loyal reader/ follower but also a friend and blogging influence, plus she nominated this very blog for an award!

Jaycee Lynch has helped and contributed to the growing of this blog and my overall following as an author. I very much carry the simple philosphy that consists of paying back people who help you. Jaycee has always taken a genunine interest in my work and has left reviews, blogged about my stuff and has overall been a great supporter. In return I sent her a signed copy of Open Evening; something I feel obliged to do when I get support of this level. She has a blog also which has a crazy amount of followers and content. This place is basically a beaten up old shed compared to the castle that is the Thinking Moon Blog

thinking moon

My final acknowledgement of those who shaped this blog is The Writers Community of the Tweet machine! Late last year I started taking Twitter ‘seriously’ and just put out some feelers to see if there were any indie authors who wanted a review….

See the source image

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As you can see the response only got a few hits… it was at this moment whilst I was watching something on Netflix, I briefly looked at twitter via my google chrome app on my phone and realised…

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I used to have the app but deleted it to save phone memory…

Since that day I vowed to review all of the indie books! This year alone I have read and reviewed 10 indie books and that number is steadily growing. Without reading and reviewing some awesome titles, this blog would have never surpassed 200 follows! 2019.PNG

Final Thought (Jerry Springer style)

And so as the 203rd blog post, a 200 followers special comes to a close we should take some time to reflect and look to the future… Without that being an obvious plug to Jack Thorn; my sci fi dream novel which is going to be serialised via this here blog, I would like to just share with you what blogging progress looks like… 

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Bad times don’t last, but good words do, especially when they are followed by even better people! Thank you.