Weekly Ramble #91

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.

My Top 5 Blog Posts of 2020

It’s December, a time to look back and reflect on what has been a good year for the Hall of Information. There have been some true highlights that have defined the era of quarantine with nothing but good memories of blogging. We thank you kind follower for joining us so for those who might have missed some of the best performing posts this year here’s a countdown style rundown…

Numero 5

‘6 Years of Blogging – Here’s what I learned…’

We don’t need much of an excuse these days to put out a blog post but back in July we celebrated 6 years of doing just that. During those years I’ve learned a thing or two and fashioned such lessons into this post which then served as the basis for a self help guide book I have set for release next year. 26 other awesome bloggers like this post which is near personal best territory…

Numero 4

500 Followers Special – Awesome bloggers who deserve recognition!

It’s hard to believe that all the way back in April this celebratory post dropped and it focuses on the bloggers who have helped this Hall of Information grow into what it is today. Things have moved pretty fast in recent times and now we are on our way to 700 followers so I can imagine there will be one of these posts again in the near future. I highly recommend you follow all the bloggers mentioned…

Numero 3

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao – Review

Yes, a book review made it on this list which for me is the dream scenario because reviewing books is what we do here. If one person buys a book based on my recommendation then this would have all been worth it. This self help book I picked up all the way back in early February serves as a unique insight into breaking the so called shells that govern our existence. Well worth a look!

Numero 2

Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt1

Supporting and helping fellow authors is the best way to support the industry you are in and if you support that industry it will support you, trust me. In recent times these book promotion posts have helped many authors navigate the murky waters of trying to sell books they have also got an awesome amount of views. If you have something people need, they will flock to it.

Numero uno

Book Promotion Results – July 2020

As you can see there’s a theme to the top end of this countdown and the most viewed post of 2020 is more book promotion results in the form of a guide which has hopefully helped others. We pride ourselves on helping others and it has paid off by bringing new traffic to this site and new books to read. Long may it continue!

That wraps up a fun but hopefully very useful list for fellow authors and bloggers. Tomorrow – the best books I have read this year. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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

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

There is so much information in this clear and concise guide which is designed to help anyone who is published via Amazon reach readers through the concept of shared interests using keywords – while this may sound technical and it might be but Dale L. Roberts explains this concept flawlessly and easily. Not once did I have to re-read anything although I will be going back many times to use this guide as a reference point to improve my own book marketing efforts. While reading it I have already implemented some of the valuable advice given.

The guide begins with Dale relaying a conversation he had with a few old friends who share the same interests and this serves as an example throughout in how we can find an audience that can relate to our books to eventually drive sales. That ideal reader is out there and we just need to build a bridge to them through keywords. Of course we get a plethora of information on keywords like what they are, why they are important and how best to use them. It’s upfront about the fact keywords aren’t all that sell books but they are indeed important.

The world of selling books on Amazon can be daunting especially if you don’t know much about it but this guide has given me a lot more than I used to know and there are even some other valuable outside the box tips that opened my eyes. From search engine algorithms to the relevancy of key words alongside many more useful articles linked throughout and at the end of what I consider an essential read for all authors.

5 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Review: Darke Awakening by Lee Hall — SDMcKinley.com – indie author / blogger

A tip of the cap to fellow author and blogger S.D McKinley for this wonderful review of ‘Darke Awakening’.

Be sure to head on over to his blog and give it a follow!

I read the first book in this series titled Open Evening and I can tell you that this writer ( Hall ) has evolved. Toward the beginning of the book, with the rocks and the lake, it reminded me of lofty, floaty feelings I got when reading Storm Constantine’s The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence […]

Review: Darke Awakening by Lee Hall — SDMcKinley.com – indie author / blogger

‘The Ghost of Whitmore Manor’ by Sarah Jayne Harry – Review

A breezy paranormal romance with a young adult edge…

For a short book Sarah Jayne Harry has managed to deliver a satisfying story with a range of themes with an easy to read writing style. There’s a young adult vibe from the very start as ‘Charlotte’; a paranormal sceptic is dared to spend the night in an abandoned manor house. It’s spooky and descriptive from sight to smell and we even get a harrowing backstory of the place – some elements of this book do go to dark places and this is mentioned beforehand but only for a short while and it’s not exploitative but necessary for plot and eventual resolve. On this night our main character and narrator comes across ‘Lewis’ a ghost which she befriends. This friendship in turn becomes something more.

We also see ‘Charlotte’s’ home life where her over protective and abusive Father casts a shadow over everything while the pressure of succeeding in school is ever present. There are other characters in this story, even if they are smaller parts they contribute to the wider picture. Soon this picture culminates with a choice or suggestion that ‘Lewis’ makes and an ending perfect for the genre. I would have liked to of seen perhaps a little more between ‘Lewis’ and ‘Charlotte’ but for a short read which most will complete in one sitting, it makes for a perfect spooky season experience.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon

‘The Pirate Captain – A love story’ by Jill A. Logan – Review

A feel-good swashbuckling fairy tale style romance of the seven seas…

The Pirate Captain is an easy to read short but fun tale that follows the journey of young lady ‘Avalee’ who escapes her abusive confines and empty promises made to her for an education. From the first page we get a lot of information that helps set the scene as her life transitions from that confinement to escape and the terror of being on the run to an eventual destination; that being a stowaway on an infamous Pirate’s ship.

After some quick thinking our heroine disguises herself to fit in and talks her way into joining the crew of this vessel. She changes her name and spends her days adjusting to the life of a pirate in sometimes amusing and possibly disastrous ways that almost reveal her true identity. All the time ‘Lee’s’ journey unfolds a slow burning admiration for the ship’s captain begins to form into something more.

The strength of this story is the slow build towards an eventual romance which runs the course of an enjoyable tale where the worst of situations in life bring the best possible outcomes. Nearer the end it get’s a little steamy making this one probably better suited for a more mature audience. My only real critique is that the story does tend to tell as opposed to show but for a shorter book that works.

4 Stars -Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

Happy Halloween! ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is FREE Today Only!

Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween. Wherever you are I hope it’s a spooky one.

To celebrate the culmination of spooky season my 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is Free to download today only. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to promote this ghostly tale that marked one hell of a milestone for me and a return to releasing books after nearly walking away from writing…

‘Ghost’ is a diary style tale account about one soul who spends his days introverted and tormented by loneliness until a ghostly companion begins to try and make contact. Eventually they become more than acquaintances in what is a short but powerful tale of love, life and death. It can be read in just a few sittings or even just one; perfect for the spookiest night of the year. You can find the various links below:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon India

Amazon Australia

Spooky Season Book Recommendations 2

What’s better than one post dedicated to spooky season book recommendations? Two posts dedicated to to spooky season book recommendations, so come with me on another journey showcasing some reads that are perfect for Halloween…

“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: A Novella by [K. Noel Moore]

You should know by now that here at the Hall of Information we love a good novella and this one fuses history with some serious ghostly spookiness. The prohibition era meets the supernatural as K.Noel Moore tells a story that’s readable in just a few sittings and will make for one of those perfect reads for Halloween.

A slow burning tale that twists into the deep shadowy darkness of the unexpected…’

Blood of the Sixth by [K. R. Rowe]

There’s a lot going on under the surface of a story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft. While it is a complex story it’s also very well executed by K.R. Rowe. The whole layout of the book from short sharp chapter length, to characters all the way to general story has been well thought out and makes for some perfect spooktober reading. Be warned this one’s a little brutal – I’m kind of numbed to that sort of thing…

Be careful with dreams, they may come true….

Most of us can relate to the struggle of fitting in at school and Kristina Gallo has used that as inspiration to tell this story with a supernatural edge that guarantees to satisfy. It’s a shorter read but still manages to entertain. This one I recommend for Halloween but the other works of Kristina I highly recommend also! You can check out a recent Hall of Information interview with her here.

Page turning space sci-fi full of chills and fun from beginning to end…

I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy space science fiction quite a lot and my go-to author of that genre is Christina Engela who once again provides another awesome series but this one contains some chilling but fun spills that begins with ‘Dust’. The ‘Panic! Horror in Space’ series is well worth a look for some awesome Halloween spooky goodness.

Did you expect any less than a little shameless self promotion? Let’s face it, you’re gonna get that on here but with good reason because my 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is FREE on Halloween! This memoir style account relays the story of one lonely soul who connects with another not of this mortality. It’s short, powerful and most probably an important moment for me as the milestone 5th book mark was crossed with it – apparently after releasing that number of books things start to happen and well something good has been happening since on here… What if the greatest love story was also a ghost story?

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

A small town, an ancient monster and some history to boot – let’s face it that concept is right up my alley and ‘Rites of Passage’ makes for some decent wintery/Halloween reading. An ensemble of characters band together to fight evil on several fronts with some action and a few twists along the way. I first reviewed this one over on Reedsy Discovery

A modern vampire story that takes the reader on a journey of twists and turns…

Nocturnal blood

Good and original vampire stories are hard to find but Villimey Mist is leading the charge with her gory but always enjoyable ‘Nocturnal’ series that begins with Nocturnal Blood. We see a young lady thrown into the world of vampires while also suffering from debilitating anxiety and OCD. She must endure a journey into what is just the tip of the ice cap as there is more to come from this series which will get the third book next year.

And so that wraps up part 2. Wishing you all a spooky Halloween and see ya’ll in the next one!

Spooky Season Book Recommendations

It’s the season of spooky and what better way to celebrate the nights drawing in and those leaves falling than to read a Hallow-tastic book. Here at the Hall of Information we love a thrilling and chilling reading experience so here’s a run down of some recommendations perfect for the season…

‘In space, not all things were certain… not even death’

Space and horror, simultaneously they are right up my alley and back in 2018 Christina Engela made history by being the first ever author to approach the Hall of Information for a book review. Of course we obliged and the journey of discovery began.

Imagine ‘Alien’ and ‘Event Horizon’ combined with Engela’s immersive writing style and you have the tale of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space and then it begins… They run into another ship that appears abandoned and just floating there. What unfolds is a tale of mystery and suspense. Check out my full review here and this book is part of the wider ‘Galaxii’ series which I plan on reading more of soon!

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

Who doesn’t love a slasher story this time of year? And branding this book only that would most probably be an insult because ‘the Four Before Me’ is so much more. Author E.H. Night blends nostalgia of the 80’s with a twisting initially slow burning story that becomes unputdownable. I even said in my review that this one reads like an early Stephen King with all the sights, sounds and senses captured that make for a chilling read!

Chilling, immersive and full of tension. Everything you want from a crime thriller…

Clowns and horror go hand in hand and Mallory Kelly has put together a chilling tale of shorts that I spent the first half of this year slowly delving into. Each book follows a separate story while the wider plot follows a pair of investigators trying to chase down a murderous clown which is part of this network or shall we say conspiracy. It’s part X-Files meets the irrational fear of clowns and these stories make for perfect Halloween reading. You can read my review of book 1 ‘Dead End’ here.

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

Bruce Knapp has managed to pack in the many pillars of horror into one book with Noxious which I found through my Reedsy Discovery endeavors. Having enjoyed his ‘Night Audit’ series of shorts I jumped at the opportunity to take on a book about one town with a dark cloud hanging over it. From gruesome murder, witchcraft, possessions to even something monstrous lurking in the local river this one has it all and will certainly itch that horrific Halloween scratch. Check out my review here

An entirely unique and original page-turning journey of variety on the open road…

It probably doesn’t get any more unique or out there than ‘How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal’ which is a fun road trip story full of variety. Like many awesome authors I’ve become friends with S.D. McKinley reached out to the Hall of Information for a review and I was not disappointed. The supernatural element makes for some great spooky season reading and there’s even zombies! Here’s my review.

And so that wraps up my spooky season book recomendations but some of you probably know by now that I love a sequel so you can expect a part 2 quite soon.

Do you have any spooky season book rec’s? Send them my way via the comments!

Recent Reedsy Discovery Reads Issue 1…

It’s been 4 months since I joined book review platform Reedsy Discovery and my experience so far has been mostly good. Not only have I read some pretty cool books but I’ve also connected with some awesome authors. Let’s take a look at what I’ve read recently…

American Blasphemer by John Gillen is a potential read of the year for me and what a way to arrive on a new book reviewing platform. This contemporary/literary fiction story reads like an autobiography and its a dysfunctional one at that. If you’re okay with profanity, swearing and sexual stuff that’s turned all the way up to the extreme you’ll probably enjoy this one although it’s about way more than that trust me. It’s a series of encounters that make up an anti bible of sorts told through the eyes of someone trying to make their way through life in modern America. Like my review said it’s “a masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life… 

Rites of Passage by Chad Lehrmann is “a twisting unpredictable creature feature set in a small town with a big secret… and it’s my second Reedsy Discovery Review. Although I am a sucker for small town horror this one did have quite a few tropes usually seen in the genre along with it being the typical ‘chosen one’ story. Saying that this book did enough to hold my attention, it’s well paced and the pages fly by. Full review here.

Senescence by Denver Scott is another potential read of the year and was also my first 5 star Reedsy Review because it’s an incredible deep dive into our potential future. Science fiction and non fiction merge in what is a plethora of all things cosmos and wider science that looks at the many aspects of humankind. Just what will our future look like? Find out with this highly readable and accessible book that boldly goes where not a lot of books have been before – seriously check it out. My full review is here….

The Dreamophile’s Diary by Shazrina is both unique and surreal which is exactly what dreams can be like – the very essence of that weirdness is captured quite well in this series of short stories all based on, you guessed it, dreams. “Life is strange indeed, sometimes what you most desire becomes futile for you the very next moment…” You can read my full review here….

Noxious by Bruce Knapp is a book for those who love their horror with variety. From witchcraft to possessions and everything else that could possibly be enveloped by the shadows of the macabre this one is a page turner. Of course Bruce Knapp is no stranger to the Hall of Information as last year we reviewed the short stories that make up his Night Audit series and now he’s back with another series all based around the town of Blackwater. Watch this shadowy and dark space! Full review here….

And so that wraps up Issue 1 of what I hope will be a quarterly exploration of Reedsy Discovery Reads. If you’re on the platform come and say hi. Until next time, peace out!