Looking back at my debut novel these past few days has presented a range of emotions. From cringe to admiration all the way to evolution. Like all art it captures a moment in time and also accurately relays the creators frame of mind and their ability in such a moment. It might not read as fluidly as my more recent works and I’ll admit it’s got all the usual ‘debuty’ attributes of an author figuring out their words but that story even now is solid as a rock. Back then I had that same fire I still have only now it burns brighter.
For what once stood as 6 lined pages of scratchy writing telling a story based on a dream I had way back when I was 14, Open Evening became my entrance into everything that stands today. I sometimes forget the before, we all do while striving for a better future.
Just what business do I have going back to revisit old works? This time of the year I always update the URL’s and links in all my works but this time I thought I would give Open Evening a little polish. Now when something is released into the world of publishing it kind of no longer belongs to the creator but the wonder of modern publishing allows some licence to improve existing works. Truthfully my writing style back then (2015) seems so far removed from my standard today and I guess above all that’s a wonderful sign of progress. You can trace my evolution as a story teller chronologically in all of my works which is voyage of discovery in it’s own right. These books will be around for a lot longer than me and the hope is perhaps some day someone follows that evolution as a reader. That paper trail I leave behind will hopefully represent me more than personality ever could. Maybe that’s how our legends are built.
TODAY ONLY MY DEBUT NOVEL IS AVAILABLE ACROSS THE WORLD FOR FREE!
Open Evening is a fast paced thrilling tale of survival that will see you wanting more!
‘Luke Hartford struggles to fit in at high school and we all know how hard that can be. After a vivid dream shit really hits the fan and it’s no longer about fitting in, it’s about staying alive because his horrific vision comes to life…’
What are readers saying about Open Evening?
“Here we have non-stop action with an unlikely band of characters, there are seriously high stakes with times where I was kept on the edge of my seat.
This definitely exceeded my expectations, it’s so addictive…”
“Once the action kicks off it continues until the very end. There are tantalising backstories teased at for some of the characters. There is more going on than we truly understand. But what we do see is our motley crew stepping up to the plate, and shaping up to become just the people needed to try to save the town. The big question is, can they? And can they survive becoming heroes??”
They live on the fringes of society chasing and fighting the horror of what lurks just beneath the surface…
Their symbol opposes evil.
There are five corners to a pentagram.
This Pentalogy is governed and connected by those who look to expel evil from this world.
They are The Order of the Following.
These stories stand on their own but they are also linked….
Embrace the unexpected….
A story of survival of what lurks underneath the fringes of small town America. The sole follower arrives and leads an unlikely group…
‘Twister pointed to a small pentagram tattoo on her inner arm. Over the top was a more prominent tattoo of a crucifix. He then revealed the exact same mark on his arm…’
You’ve never known true darkness…
Vampires and the occult world; two pillars which are linked to the story of Open Evening while also cutting its own path through the lightless void…
‘Our following could benefit with more like you two. I shall give you a day to think about the choices you make. If no, then the sun’s power awaits you.’
– a man named ‘Hudson’ (Mayor of Darke Heath township)
Survival was just the beginning…
The lone Follower Twister is no longer a solo Warrior. His newly assembled group look to find answers about the evil that lurks below. Their story becomes aligned with the occult. They learn of Twister’s origins and the ‘book’…
‘Dreads gently took out a large leather-bound book from the felt bag. That was the first time I saw the symbol. You know, the pentagram with a crucifix over it…’
“If I can see you. They can see you…”
4. DARKE AWAKENING
Embrace the true darkness…
Everything you thought about these stories is going to change. There has been an awakening in Darke Heath and so the fourth corner appears….
The characters of these stories will collide in an epic cross over full of revelations, action and the occult.
Creatures, witches and vampires will collide!
It’s time to embrace the true darkness!
COMING SEPTEMBER 2020
The editing process of book number 6 has gone well. ‘Darke Awakening’ is a bold and somewhat incredible feat – if I’m allowed to say so. The work we do must give us some sense of pride and as I reached the summit of what was a second draft, I feel a little more relaxed about it.
When it comes to my own stuff, my main concerns when penning any story are:
1. Is this thing going to work?
2. How the hell am I going to market it?
Luckily when I drafted ‘Darke 2’ I put in a huge amount of effort in answering question 1. First drafts serve that purpose and now comes the probable difficulty in all of this – getting people to read it!
My marketing endeavours have historically worked to an extent and this time around I shall be looking at previous methods while also trying to find new ones. My audience is in a constant state of gradual growth which helps immensely.
Those in the loop will realise I have subtly prefixed ‘The Order of the Following’ on the end of Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood’s amazon page titles. And in order for Darke Awakening to be fully appreciated they need to be read first as it is all linked together in what is an ambitious crossover. You can expect to hear more about ‘The Order’ soon.
The hardest challenge an indie author faces is brand awareness and distribution. Translation- telling people your works exist and that they have appeal. That’s what I shall be doing in the coming months so watch this space!
For a while I can let it sit and go back to reading some awesome indie books. My current read is a book called ‘NightJar’ – its a wonderful foray into the English language, I urge you to check it out.
Those of the author persuasion how do you tell people about your works?
Alright, I know. This may just sound like an empty opportunity to lick one’s posterior and it is partially, but 2019 has been a big time year for reviews of my stuff. In this year alone I’ve got more reviews than I have ever had for any other previous year.
It feels as if my arrival to the indie publishing scene actually happened but only with the help of what I regard as a truly important group known as the writing community, this is of course without discounting anyone else’s efforts to review my books, friends, family, bloggers and plenty of other folks I have connected with along this journey.
While it would be nice to celebrate all of the ‘positive’ or ‘good reviews’ we’re going to start with honoring a not so great review of my super hero comedy The Teleporter. I know for a fact my work isn’t for everyone and the reason I am celebrating this 1 star review is because of the response that happened afterwards!
Before I delve into the most heroic of reactions from some fellow authors let me quote what this particular reviewer had a gripe about…
“While Hall did a good job doing this his way of treating the side characters Casey really saddened me. I don’t know how many times I marked the word “bitch” associated with her name (I marked it 32 times and the word was used 48). Why? Sure in the beginning Kurt (the main character) called her that because it was kind of her nickname in the building but why did he keep thinking of her as “the bitch” for most of the rest of the book?”
Now this review dropped back April and right now I’m pretty much over it however my point is simple when it comes to the whole gripe about a character being called ‘bitch’. The reviewer totally and completely missed the inner meaning of it. This wasn’t just a blind attempt at bullying or name calling. I did put together a response of sorts via my weekly ramble post which you can read here but let me just say that sometimes we get reviews that hurt, and it’s so damn important not to directly respond, do it on your blog instead… like me.
And so why did I class this 1 star review as one of the best I’ve got this year? Quite simply because of the response that followed. If you are a part of the writing community or any type of group that supports your efforts they will be there when the chips are down. I found this out after this review dropped. For every 1 star review a well supported author will have another 5 writers jump to their defense.
Just a week or two later an awesome author by the name of Elysia Lumen Strife restored all reservations and doubts I had with the Teleporter. Her review which is probably better than the damn book (and that seems to be a running theme) is probably too long to slap onto this post but you can read an excerpt below or the whole thing here.
“It was entertaining to find a book about a realistic man that had something supernatural happen to him. We all want to feel like there is this possibility, this hope, that some miracle will pull us out of the muck of everyday life, and we’ll be able to finally change the world. All too often superheroes are from rich families or royalty or gods. Kurt is an unlikely option in our stereotypical world. But here, we get to see him in action. Hope and humor thrive together in The Teleporter…”
The month of April continued to be huge for The Teleporter with reviews from some other wonderful wordsmiths:
And the reviews continued… an instant response for an author in need!
Like I said for every 1 star review a well supported author will have another 5 writers jump to their defense.
To quote another review from top author Kurt Brindley ‘Mission Accomplished!”
So that next 1 star review you get may be a blessing in disguise, trust me!
The best reviews I got this year weren’t all from the Teleporter, even though it is probably my most successful book ‘Darke Blood’ literally came out the shadows after not having a review for quite some time.
Blogging royalty and big time supporter of my work Jaycee Lynch from Thinking Moon Blog had this to say about ‘DB’. Take into account she is huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan much like me so of course her standards are going to be high…
‘DB’ also happened to be the first book I asked Blair from Feed the Crime to review, here’s what he said:
You can read the rest of Blair’s review here and remember to give all of these awesome bloggers I’ve mentioned some love by following them!
Nicole from Mullen Crafts put together a review that championed probably one of my favorite characters in anything I have ever written, Caitlyn Turner and yes you will see a lot more of her in the planned Darke Blood sequel which should arrive in September 2020!
We haven’t had a review for my debut ‘Open Evening’ in what feels like an eternity. Luckily Nicole had my back and so in November the story of the unexpected got some more good words…
And so the Goodreads statistics pretty much speak for themselves! But If I wasn’t constantly up selling then I wouldn’t be an indie author because you may have heard, I’ve got another book out! And what’s incredible is that good folks have already been reviewing it!
‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is literally a week old and already you can see from the stats above it’s doing quite well!
Here’s what author of ‘The Four Before Me’ E H Night said about it:
And it hasn’t stopped there. In one weekend both Mullen Crafts and Feed the Crime put together some awesome words…
You can find their full reviews via their blogs which I urge you to follow and support!
It’s been a journey this year. Much of the success and reviews have come from people who are genuine supporters. The writing community is an important pillar in all of this and no matter what people think of my stuff, reviews good and bad help sell books. Remember if you are published your stuff is out there in the public domain. One star reviews happen, embrace them, learn from them and don’t let them dishearten you!
Shout out to everyone who has reviewed my work this year! Peace out! Rock and roll man!
Halloween approaches, the leaves have turned and the temperature has began to recede. While the shadows do their best to cast over everything it’s time to embrace the season and the unexpected because both Open Evening and it’s sequel Cemetery House are free to download today and tomorrow only! (this is a one off deal)
Every published author has that book which broke them into the world of story telling and Open Evening is that for me. It’s a story in which I am immensely proud of and I pretty much got to work on making a sequel for straight after; that was after penning Darke Blood which happens to be set in the same world now known as the ‘Order of the Following’.
There are going to be more books based on these stories coming soon!
So what are they about?
Open Evening and Cemetery House are two fast paced reads of the unexpected and survival. They are about so much more than the horror that is on the surface; they highlight the social struggle of growing up along with what it’s really like to go through high school. As much as there is terror and action, they are stories of friendship, coming of age and above all life. Much of the stuff in this book represents the years I spent at school – so it’s real to an extent.
Its ‘Alien’ meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Blade’ all wrapped up in some Halloween spookyness!
A recent review of Open Evening:
“If you ever found secondary school hard, then you’ll be able to relate to the main character. If you loved Buffy the vampire slayer, then you’ll love this book…”
Cemetery House then picks up literally three weeks after the events Open Evening. High School is over and those who survived have moved into the world of work while something else lurks just underneath the surface. Not only is this a sequel but in this one you get answers and the rabbit hole goes deeper into this world which will then lead into the Darke Blood sequel!
‘CH’ is ‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘House on Haunted Hill’ while continuing on from Open Evening.
A recent review of Cemetery House:
“I really enjoyed this follow up to Open evening, gripping story definitely a page turner for me…”
This is probably one of the only times both of these books will be available together for free!
I’ve reached 2000 tweet machine follows folks! To celebrate I am giving away all 4 of my books!
Details are below. To enter head on over to my Twitter or check out the side bar >>> where you will find the promo tweet!
FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY! Celebrating 2K Twitter followers!
3 Prizes available
1. Open Evening & Cemetery House
2. Darke Blood
3. The Teleporter
All paperback copies will be signed. Entrants must provide mailing address.
To enter: RT, like and comment on this post and follow me (I’ll follow back)
The 3 Winners will be contacted this Friday the 21st of June 2019
Thank you followers old and new for helping me reach the 2000 milestone! In return I am running my biggest book giveaway ever!
The hall of information has been a tad quiet since early summer, mainly due to me not really having much to talk about. Not that I have been sitting inside all that time looking at the wall. Being on this journey that might one day result in becoming a published author is mostly an uneventful one (for the people outside looking in).
Hopefully within the next year that could change. Blogging and social media(ing) about being an author is mighty difficult to pull off when you have nothing to show for it. Yeah sure I have written books, but they have yet to be showcased to the world. Finding a publisher in this day and age is more myth than reality. But like all writers you edit and create a way to that goal.
My current project ‘Open Evening’ announced last month is at the tail end of production and is looking more and more like a short story or novella right now. That works for me as my whole approach to this title is a small amount of commitment just to get myself out there. I will spend minimal time trying to pander and attract the attention of any literary agents and then proceed to the route of self-publishing.
When I say small commitment, that doesn’t in anyway mean this project won’t have any quality. Any material I do publish will be of the highest standard.
Right now the new title sits at around 40,000 words. Really not a bad attempt for a first draft on a genre I know not a lot about and with generally most of the story made up on the top of my head. I’ve really tried to capture the whole awareness of the horror genre in this book and through narrative I will hopefully flip it back on itself. This whole genre awareness thing has been explored before but takes the story away from just the usual high school horror we have all come to know too well.
I expect by next month ‘Open Evening’ will be drafted and then the initial edit can go ahead.
Thanks to everyone for the continued support and follows of my Twitter, Facebook and on here. Means a lot. Hopefully some more news soon.