Weekly Ramble #25

It’s okay to have anxiety. Sometimes the smallest of stuff can bring you down. We’re human after all and the world is slowly grasping that. Unfortunately this world can be prone to making us anxious and it can also turn our thoughts dark.

I say this with my fair share of experience. In part, dark thoughts can be part of an authors work process like all artists or creators, much of it can be self inflicted or sometimes triggered by the arbitrary or just the need to go to a certain place. The work we do creates a level of expectation in our heads that most of the time it doesn’t succeed that expectation. We build stuff up in our heads and on paper it may look awesome and then the world appears to reject it or ignore it. That may not be the case at all, and brandishing everyone with carelessness is careless in its own right. The whole manifesting ignorance is just a thing in our head, like anxiety and subsequent dark thoughts.

If this stuff comes from within then so can solutions and ways out of it. For me things and thoughts turned dark a while back, really dark. I don’t feel it necessary to give any details other than I thought I was done with writing. Eventually a lightning strike of epiphany hit me, that dark thinking passed, inside my brain had figured it out. Internally I was thinking about all the good that I have in my life, it pulled me through. And that is my advice for anyone going through stuff, take some time and just think about what you’ve got in life that simply makes you smile; a memory, a person, hell even your job. You’ll be surprised how resilient you are inside because I found out I am.

It took me a while to process that whole being ‘done’ with writing. But it did pass, and since then the time after has been my most successful as an author, blogger and creator. Your moment could be over the next horizon.

I finished my latest writing project over the weekend, it’s a great achievement but for me it’s redemption for carrying on in life. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you cannot find yourself in creating, I have several times and yes there will be anxious thoughts, sometimes on a daily occurrence, you have to breathe and think. You can work through it. Talk to others about it, none of us are really alone in this world anymore.

 

This blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award!

I can happily announce that this rather small blogging operation has been nominated for an award!

liebster

First and foremost I humbly accept and let me take this opportunity to say thank you to the Thinking Moon Blog for the nomination. This is the first time my writing efforts have ever been recognized in any way, it truly does mean a lot but this award nomination isn’t all about me (begrudgingly moves away from the spotlight…)

As well as being the rules of my nomination (more on that in a bit) it is my duty to say something about the fellow blogger who nominated me. The Thinking Moon Blog  contains a huge and diverse amount of content categories from sustainability articles all the way to Buffy the Vampire Slayer stuff (my favorite category). You can also find more Thinking Moon content via the tweet machine and Instagram. The word on the street is this awesome blogger has got a book in the pipeline! Check out the blog and remember to hit the follow button.

So, what is the Liebster award? 

Well firstly ‘Liebster’ is a German term which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The Liebster award is an award that exists on the internet and is given by bloggers for bloggers. The whole deal is for bloggers to spread the word about each other in a rather nice way. This thing grows year by year as blogging communities grow. 

Here are the rules: (control c’d from Thinking Moon… more info via the Liebster site)

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Answer the 5 creative and unique questions given to you.
  3. Write a small post about what motivates you in life (not just in blogging)
  4. Nominate 2 – 6 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award
  5. Create 5 creative and unique questions for your nominees
  6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post.)
  7. Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post

Unique questions given to me….

Q1: Who was the last indie author/musician/podcast/lemonade stand you supported and why? If not who do you think you will bring your support to this year?

the pass

The last Indie Author I supported was Susan Mary Malone, her immersive collection of short stories ‘Over the Pass and Other Stories’ made for some wonderful reading and escapism. One of my main goals this year is to support as many indies as I can considering I am one. The best way to show support to any author is to leave a review and interact. 

My reason for supporting this author and many others is the fact they all approached me via the tweet machine late last year. I put up a simple request for some reading suggestions which eventually got over 30,000 impressions, I soon installed twitter back on my phone… 

Q2: I’m obsessed with tattoos and I know not everyone is, but if you were to get one what would it be. Or if you have one already what is it and why?

Tattoos are very popular these days but nothing has ever motivated me to get one. I’ve been told that if you want to get a tattoo you have to be really sure, I can’t even decide what I want for lunch most days.

As a kid I was obsessed with drawing stitches on my hands so perhaps I’ve already got enough ink flowing through me, I did become a writer after all… Thinking about it, if I ever did get a tattoo it would probably be something from my books. ‘Twister’ from Open Evening has a rather distinctive bad ass tattoo on his upper arm. (yes I just plugged my own book…)

Q3: What was your favourite childhood television show?

‘The hardest thing in this world is to live in it…’ 

created by

Of course I am quoting Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even though I only caught the final two seasons of this show back during it’s original run when I was 12/13 I still count it as childhood. I have since watched the whole deal (several times, normally every few years).

There are so many things I could say about ‘Buffy’ and even ‘Angel’ equally but we’re only at Question 3 so I will just say this. If I never watched this show then I would never have ever been inspired to become a writer. And even before those aspirations came to me, I viewed Buffy Summers as my first ever television hero. The latter episodes see her become a leader and an adult whom I looked up to an incredible amount. And that counts for all of the characters who spoke to me in different ways. The cast really were that group of older kids I looked up to and this show got me through some real tough times.

Q4: What scares you the most, that most people consider to be irrational?

I really don’t enjoy flying. I know that can be quite common and I did manage to get myself through a long haul flight to mexico and back but I still really, really, really don’t like it. The worst part is literally waiting in the departure lounge before. The waiting to go and do something I really don’t want to, I find quite hard. What I don’t like about flying is the sensation and the lack of being in control. Take off is pretty cool though… ‘you cant take the sky from me’… 

Q5: What is your favourite place to bring an out-of-town guest?

pitch.PNG

on the pitch….rock and roll man!

There is only one place I would class as my home away from home and that is Loftus Road Stadium; the home of my football team Queens Park Rangers located in Hammersmith West London. Since a very young age my Dad took me with my brother to watch them play in what is quite a small but wonderfully immersive stadium. Wherever you sit you’re normally close to the action and the atmosphere is always electric. I may not seem like the usual football following type, and I’m not really, but QPR are my team and if anyone is looking for an afternoon or evening of football culture and atmosphere, I recommend it!

A little bit of motivation for life…

It would be easy for me to say money motivates me in life but in large sums it motivates pretty much everyone apart from Bill Gates and people who own oil. What motivates me in life is balance, and I’m not trying to be super positive or half glass full here.

I have an awesome job in science and I have a just as great hobby in writing and blogging. In between that I have a significant other and a great bunch of friends. All of this stuff doesn’t function unless they are balanced. Balance in life leads to variety which in turn leads to being happy. A winning lottery ticket wouldn’t go a miss either!

My Nominations and Questions…

The bloggers I would like to acknowledge and nominate are…

Bookshelf Battle –  a fellow indie author and blogger.  I follow Bookshelf Q Battler because of the level of humor and sheer content all of which I find to be very pleasant. I have even read/reviewed the novel written by this awesome blogger called ‘The Last Driver’. Check it out.

Bookworm –  a reading and writing blogger whom I have recently connected with via the tweet machine and is always there to like or retweet my stuff.

This whole deal is optional so don’t feel any pressure to participate and nominating others is entirely optional but just remember no wordsmith is an island, we’re in this together!

Of course there are numerous more supporters out there, all of which I would like to thank for reading and following this blog.

Questions for nominees:

  1.  You’re sitting in a bar at an empty table. There are 4 seats available, living or alive name any 4 people you would invite to join you and why?
  2. Name a film or television show that has shaped or influenced you in some way?
  3. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in writing or life?
  4. When was the last time you laughed out loud?
  5. You have the opportunity to gain a super power. What is it and why? (invent your own or pick a known one)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #24

Hand writing a book is hard. Being so used to the availability of the backspace button I fear what I have written could be complete and utter shite. Then again, being confined to the page with just a pen has been an interesting and refreshing challenge.

On the surface it would appear a tad pretentious to say ‘my next book is going to be completely handwritten’ but I’m doing it to channel the inner method of the book’s main character. Eventually it will get typed up which is all part of the editing process. I am also embarking on this journey to come away from screens and Microsoft word just to find myself because this infliction (yes I view writing like that sometimes) can wear away at the soul. Overall I do this because I enjoy it, from the whole initial idea thing spinning around in my head all the way to writing ‘the end’, all of that is great, but what comes afterwards is probably what will turn me away from writing, maybe one day.

g beside me

Progress has been clunky with this handwritten project but this has been the busiest time of my life. Busy is good, a distraction from the rat race, an escape from the mundane. Time is ticking away quickly and we’re in Feb already. 2019 is going to be a unique journey that may not see a book release, but content is building so another publication won’t be far off.

For now I’m reading a lot of indie stuff, leaving reviews and interacting on the scene. I’m doing my best to give back. Writing and publishing isn’t all that what being a writer is. I’m trying to interact and comment on stuff whilst trying to be genuine. There are too many fakers on the interweb super highway, so when you get my attention it’s for real. There are some fantastic bloggers and fellow authors out there, many I have been acquainted with in the past year or so. We represent a generation of new words. New words are good. New words are the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not the Lee Hall who wrote ‘Billy Elliot’

Hello everyone. Important message here, well all of my blog posts are. I feel somewhat inclined to reach out to everyone in general just to say I am not the Lee Hall who wrote Billy Elliot. Quite recently I have received messages from people assuming that I am that same Lee Hall. I am not. But my name is Lee Hall.

And yes this blog post is totally dedicated to me not being the guy who wrote Billy Elliot!

It isn’t particularly difficult to work out that I am an Indie Author of 4 books and 2 plays. None of which is Billy Elliot. I mean that in the most sincere way but use your fu**ing eyes! I’m sorry for swearing but all you really have to do is read probably the first few lines of my profile on all social media outlets to grasp that. I’m not angry either (that’s not allowed either these days).

However, speaking of me, here are the four of my books that are competitively priced on amazon, you should buy one and leave a review….

books

Weekly Ramble #23

I’m still coming down. And god damn I am proud of what we did over the weekend. For the first time in the 76 year history of Iver Heath Drama Club we put on our own written pantomime show.

This journey hasn’t been easy (and there’s still another weekend of shows to go), they never are and the reward is like nothing I have ever felt before. Writing plays is something I transitioned into from performing, every show I was cast in, I took that as an opportunity to fuel my learning. Eventually that turned into the unique ability to be able to tell my own stories and the open welcoming environment of Iver Heath Drama Club has fostered and nurtured my writing to heights I could never imagine.

I take a look around and ask myself how the fu** did we get here? How did this whole deal become this big. The answer, like all big answers is relatively simple. Without intentionally being deep, the answer much like everything good we ever do or create comes from within.

And I say this now as advice to anyone looking to succeed in not only writing, but in life and work. All you have to do is show up on time and work hard. Get there and roll up your sleeves. If the environment you’re in is decent and so are the people, eventually they will reward you for showing up and doing a shift. And quite possibly they might even love you for it. Everything else will follow, we all learn in our own way.

I view story telling as just a sequence of ideas put together in a neat orderly fashion. The more time you spend tidying up those ideas in that mind of yours, the better the stories will get along with those ideas. Above all I create because I enjoy it, making something gives me the greatest sense of fulfillment in life and this time around I am not alone. We put together a show as a team, and for the first time, writing hasn’t been a solitary lone affair, its been so much more and so I can live with being high on that for a while…

Weekly Ramble #22

Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you cannot create. We only learn in this world by creating, and we can only create by learning; these two forces foster each other and above all they give everyone in this world purpose. 

I have learned that to create is to feel and be free. To be free in this world is to live and to feel makes this whole deal real. Nothing sets me free more than writing and creating worlds. Find what sets you free, pursue it, get addicted to it, believe in it and shout about it. Some day soon if you try and keep trying, you’ll find a small group of wonderful like minded folks who may do the shouting for you, reward them, befriend them, be kind to them. Give back what has been given to you and be humble. Remember those who’ve helped and those who haven’t, don’t carry grudges; laugh at such things.

Buy that second hand guitar and teach yourself to play, you might suck to begin with; but you’ve gotta start somewhere and learn. Find others who suck and befriend them. Learn to play and figure this stuff out together. Put a band together and start to jam; get that first gig but keep playing no matter how crap the reviews are, eventually you’ll learn and eventually you’ll get good. You could even be the next Cobain or Grohl because they never gave up creating. They always had it inside them and so do you.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you cannot create.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undertown: A novella by K.Noel Moore – Review

“Something happened tonight, I don’t know what. Something that ripped the veil between the Chicago of the living and the Chicago of the dead…” 

Undertown is a clever fusing of history and horror intertwined with real events set around the historic crime wave/prohibition era of 1930’s America. I found myself reading this novella in one sitting within a few enjoyable hours. undertown

The story centers around main character Billy Foster jumping from his present to past in a clear and well paced style. As Billy’s coming of age tale unfolds towards a life of crime influenced by his older ‘brother’ George it slowly moves and twists into a ghostly direction that is unique for the genre.

In the present day of Billy’s story we see him along with homeless companion Sam as they both struggle in the fringes of the crime society beneath the streets of Chicago. There are subtle hints that suggests an unspoken romance between the pair; something I thought added an extra dimension to their friendship giving this retro story a modern feel and relevance whilst not being over done.

There are plenty of references and terms used in the narrative which are authentic to the historic era with a handy reference/definition section placed at the end of the book (something I felt was a nice touch and shows the author has put in a large amount of care, research and thought into).

Overall Undertown is a perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.

5 Stars 

 

Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica) By Tracy M Joyce – Review

Fantasy world building that reads like historic fiction…

‘Altaica’ is a book set in a world of clan’s, troops, magic, bows, swords and a plethora of diverse characters. Although I did struggle to get into it initially , I enjoyed this debut novel which has been put together with an imaginative and intricate level of detail. altaica

The writing style has a feel of historic fiction meets fantasy; giving it a unique voice comparable to Wilbur Smith meeting essences of a modern day Tolkien. There were some instances I forgot that this was in fact based in fictional places as I became immersed into the story. I particularly enjoyed the diverse range of characters with their unique names which the writer has clearly put in a lot of thought and time to create along with the world they live in.

Overall ‘Altaica’ is an epic journey and delivers in gradually immersing readers effectively to escapism; something which all authors no matter the genre strife to achieve. This type of book and the way it is written makes it very accessible for those unfamiliar with the fantasy genre along with satisfying those who frequently visit worlds such as this one created by Tracy M Joyce. You could even say this book steps out the barriers of genre that it would usually be defined by and carves its own path making for a unique, fun and enjoyable read.

Four Stars 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #14

I’ve had an epiphany. Whilst publishing I became lost. My mind began to reel and wonder why this was all worth it. Why bother when the ‘rewards’ for this deal are pretty much minimum.? Why try to recapture nothing more than a ‘fad’ of deciding to publish a book two years ago? Back then it felt like everyone I knew came out to support me. Today it feels like I stand within a ghost town of that support; not that I hold any anger or bitterness towards the fact I feel very much solitary in my latest publication because I am not. There are only a handful of supporters this time; they are the elite, they will never fail me, they will always support and only partially that is why I do this. 

So why do I do this? That is where my epiphany came from. I don’t do this for reads, for sales, for money, for recognition, for reviews, for exposure or any other temporary possessive thing. I do this simply because it fulfills me. I write stories because ultimately they are truly about life and what I have seen and felt in this life. In essence they contain more truth than any conversation I have ever had. So if anyone ever asks me why my work stands out it is simply that, my stuff doesn’t contain an ounce of bullshit, it is the truth personified and that is all I will ever strife to do in writing, to make it feel real.

I have to create, and I always will. Publishing is more or less just a side effect or even a symptom of that. Hell, I’m just sitting in a chair typing away and playing around in the worlds I build. I know for a fact I am not for everyone in this world and neither is my work, and I am learning to live and accept that. I don’t ever intend to please everyone, because why I write is purely selfish, I do this for me.

My appreciation for those who have paid money to read my stuff will outshine any other feeling I have for this work. That small group I call the elite are there for me and I am ever so damn thankful. Hopefully they’ll feel what I do when I lay down those words, if they don’t I have failed but then again I am just doing this for me, because I am a creator and I need an outlet.

4 books equals experience in not only writing but everything that comes with it. A book series takes time to establish readership, leaning all of you writing efforts onto one series is simply foolish, I have learned that only today. As a writer we must cross genres, test our ability daily, go places even we feel uncomfortable, tell other stories. Good luck writing just a series, unless your J.K it aint worth it, but my all means write. Sit in that chair and bleed for the words, above all create and make, if that doesn’t stick try again, and again and again. For the love of god never give up, a young naive fool walks away from a battle worth winning. A experienced person will only ever wage wars they can win. Life is too damn short to dwell on failure or lack of success when most of the time it is in the eye of the beholder anyway.

So what only a handful of people bought your new release. They are your elite and your tribe. Reward them, let them know they have made you happy for just a second enough to know they care.

Either way I’m already into my next project because I will Always Be Writing…

 

 

Weekly Ramble #13

Crichton has been gone 10 years. Something I  learned yesterday on the anniversary of his passing. Sometimes we are too busy in the world to stop and reflect, sometimes we just have to step away to think about life and how one day we are here the next we are gone.

More recently I have been too damn wrapped up in getting my 4th book published that I’ve lost my way a little, I’ve lost who I am whilst trying to be what I want to be. And learning of this poignant anniversary brought back a memory that carries everything I stand for. I’m not being dramatic and I am not trying to take anything away from a world renowned writers passing this is more of a tribute than anything and its also truth. When you speak from the heart and when you speak truth, people truly listen and care. 

In 2005 I was sixteen years old when I took my first job as an airline cleaner at Heathrow Airport. Whilst on that job I found a discarded or even left behind book titled ‘Timeline’ written by Michael Crichton. I quit that job way before I finished reading Timeline but that book had a lasting effect on me. It inspired me; an already want to be writer; it pushed me to read more and so every time I had some extra cash I spent it on his work. Michael Crichton became my writing idol for some years, all I would read is his stuff, all I could read was his stuff. Slowly I became more and more immersed in his science fiction- research heavy narratives.

Now why is just finding a book and reading it anything special? because of what came next. That sixteen year old kid who quit cleaning planes never forgot the style of Critchton or the tales he wrote, that sixteen year old kid lived his life and read all he could. Then he delved into writing seriously. He worked tirelessly much like Michael and he eventually became a published author of 4 books. His friends and family supported him and spread the word about a book called ‘Open Evening’ a book inspired much by Jurassic Park and Prey. 

It wasn’t until I stopped and thought about it for a moment that it actually sunk in. That moment I found a book influenced who I became and only all these years later has it actually become apparent. Books have a power to not only immerse but to influence others.

We aren’t here forever and I never got the chance to thank Michael for his influence on me as a writer and a person. He’ll never know how he shaped my work and possibly others. You can still see his work even today; Westworld and the new Jurassic films come to mind. His books will live on through readers and writers alike and that is what we work for. Sometimes that wordsmith goes silently by whilst others become immersed in their worlds. The day I learned of Michael’s passing ten years ago crushed me because I knew there wouldn’t be any more of his works and I would never get the opportunity to meet him.

Maybe one day…