Discounted Book(s) Alert!

Hello cultured follower. Some of you may know that in my spare time I write books. Now there are a bunch of you who have taken the time to read, review and generally be an awesome supporter of them. Of course there are some newer folks who might not have read them or read all of them, and right now 4 of these books are discounted to 99 cents per e-copy. Banners, links and info below, enjoy…

The Ghost Beside Me

Inspired partly by a true ghost story my Grandfather told me when I was much younger and partly from a potentially paranormal experience of my own in a previous place I lived; ‘Ghost’ makes for a unique diary style account of one lonely person’s quest to get over his social awkwardness by way of an entity not of the mortal persuasion. It’s powerful, gripping and quick – basically the best advert for my writing there is because if you liked this book you’ll probably read my other stuff but if you didn’t it’s only a few hours reading so you haven’t lost much…

The Teleporter

Let’s face it, we all need to laugh more. And considering this is my only comedy book (unless you laughed at the others) you’ll probably find something that’ll get you laughing in this story of one slouch who get’s superpowers and decides to do the right thing. It’s also novella length so again, nothing lost if you don’t like it. There’s a range of diverse characters and it’s also a middle finger to the nearly previous President…

Open Evening and Darke Blood

The two oldest rides in the fairground are and always will be 99 cents from now on. They mark the beginning of my journey and the Order of the Following Series which is still running strong. From hive mind creatures to vampires, the two worlds in these books eventually collide later on making for a multi character Avengers of the Occult world.

Well there we are cultured followers, that’s about all I have in terms of pitching my books to you. Click on the banners for the Amazon dot com links. Some more links are below and do let me know if you grab a copy of something – I’ll happily give you a shout out via social media! Rock and roll man!

Amazon UK Page

Amazon Canada Page

Amazon Australia Page

‘Cemetery House’ is currently discounted…

I mean most of my books have remained constantly discounted this year for part promotion part people need to read something in order to distract themselves from the dumpster fire that is 2020 but why is this significant now?

If you have just a few moments let me entertain that question and thought. Now ‘Cemetery House’ is a sequel, part of a series and also works quite well as a stand alone or even an entry point to my Order of the Following Series. Where my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ has all the traits and clunkyness of a debut novel (although I still reckon it’s worth a look), ‘CH’ is the smoothly flowing bigger brother of a sequel.

It’s been Free to download yesterday and the day before, I would have told you this on here but I equally love posting memes and author interviews so there was no blog space unless I wanted to post multiple times a day and I don’t think you as an audience member are ready, and neither am I. Plus buying it after a free promo run while it is on discount will help a lot more, not because of royalties, what are they? But because after a promo run the book is much more visible and has a good chance of climbing the trees of the amazonian eco system known as the charts.

As I write this, this current book promo run has been the most successful ever or all time. There will be a results post sharing what I did to achieve this soon.

If you like this time of year – lets face it Spooky season is great, then Cemetery House is the book for you. It’s part ‘Final Destination’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘the Faculty’ all rolled into one. Set mostly in a creepy horror themed amusement park during Halloween, do I need to sell it any more? There is also some great characters and witty dialogue which is all wrapped up in one hell of a thrill ride that is written in the rhythm of a roller coaster.

I’m immensley proud of Cemetery House and the lack of reviews really doesn’t reflect how great this story is. I know I’m tooting my own horn here but for this book I have to until someone actually reviews it. You can grab ‘CH’ for 99 cents or the equivalent of that in your territory.

If you want to grab a copy, there is a link below or you can just copy this number and put that into your regional Amazon search bar: B07JZ6KTBL

Blurb Reveal – Book 6 – ‘Darke Awakening’

Coming this September (that’s rather soon!), my 6th book and sequel to ‘Darke Blood’ and the next story in the Order of the Following Series;

Darke Awakening: Embrace the True Darkness

Here’s the blurb…

Darke Awakening blurb announcement

Of course any critique on the grammar/structural front is welcomed, I can’t really change the content in terms of the story as it’s already written… either way, I hope you are ready for what I hope is going to be quite an event. 13 or more sales on release day is considered a win. It will be available for Pre-order soon – I hope some of you will at least think about supporting this one. 

More information about the wider Order of the Following Series can be found here. All three of the books that precede this one are discounted to 99 cents in most territories. If they are not available where you are and if you promise to leave a review, I will send them to you free of charge. The book cover shall be revealed soon! 

Rock and roll, peace out and thanks for tuning in!

The Order of the Following Banner

‘Breaking the Darke Crusader’s Code’: The making of a book that almost wasn’t to be…

Some of the best moments come from the most difficult of circumstances in this funny old thing we call life. In early 2017 when I began to embrace the idea of drafting a ‘second book’ I never expected that journey, laced with internal creative difficulty and even physical health obstacles, to end up producing a book which is now my most critically and statistically acclaimed.

Of course I am talking about ‘Darke Blood’ which on the surface appears to be a vampire story, but in truth there is a hell of a lot more going on underneath the surface of just blood sucking creatures of the night. This post is a deep dive into the making of that story, and yes there will be some element of light spoilering with the intent more to advertise and spotlight the qualities of a book’s success that still fills me still with baffling but swelling pride. I’ve never really spoken about the process that goes into writing a book and they sort of get forgotten after being released. But what I went through to write ‘DB’ should be remembered, because it did not come easy and hence the swelling pride… 

Rule one in all writing: always embrace the good things that comes from it, especially the one’s you don’t expect…

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Before the books that now make up my back list (I have a back list? even that baffles me sometimes…) there was a time where I exclusively wrote science fiction with a hope to query agents, get a book deal, get a movie deal and thank the academy for giving me  this here best original screenplay award. Let’s just say the experience of getting nothing more than a few good people’s attention, none of them rhymed with Spielberg was humbling and as a writer and person, I grew up and started again mostly from scratch.

It’s never too late to start again, or even start. Starting is the first step to anything worthwhile…just start okay! 

The feeling of dropping a project that saw zero success was liberating to say the least and even though I left those sci fi books behind they stand as a testament to how I learned to write. Post writing liberation came my first foray into the world of indie publishing with a book known as ‘Open Evening’ which had some ‘success’ but before even sending that manuscript to my editor, like always I was looking to what would come next.

With 6 months until ‘Open Evening’ would see the pen of an editor I decided to get into another story which eventually became ‘Darke Blood’. My divine wisdom told me after writing a creature feature chase story with heaps of action I needed to do vampires next along with a slower more mysterious and fleshed out pace. Like everything I write, it needed to have some differential concept to the last project and the whole vampire thing would also be a tribute to probably my all time favourite character driven show – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

What’s in a name?

Okay, so I’m doing vampires, that means the setting would need to be dark and shadowy, perhaps almost black like the night. This would tie in with the title and be both catchy and unique, something only someone searching for your work would find; and that’s a pro tip when coming to deciding title’s, make it stand out

There would be some kind of forest, one with trees where the leaves don’t fall and a town that’s small enough to realistically host vampires. In 2017 I was spending a lot of time in a place known as Iver Heath which is a neighbourhood surrounded by mostly trees and farmers fields. They have two country parks nearby one of them called ‘Black Park’ so in the beginning I just merged ‘Black’ and ‘Heath’ but it turns out Black Heath is an actual place – back to the drawing board but I was set on using ‘the Heath’ I just needed a word to put before it. Next came Dark, but as the history of the town began to spiderweb in my head, perhaps when it was established back in colonial times it would be spelled oldy worldy style and so ‘Darke Heath’ was born. Put the concept of vampires, blood and all that along side Darke, you have ‘Darke Blood’. Trust me this process sounded prettier in my head…

So we have a forest, it’s going to be shadowy and there’s a colonial history to the place. By the time I had reached this point, the Prologue had already been drafted. A page turning chase in the shadows where some not so happy campers are split up, they first find an old cemetery and then a house – the haunted house trope always, always has a place in my heart, it just does. At the very end of that sequence we are introduced to the perhaps slightly condescending main narrator. Open Evening had more of a pessimistic trope busting narration style, this one, straight up insulting, trust me those differences are important…

What’s in their names?

That narrator just happens to be named Blake Malone. The Blake I can’t recall settling on,  it came after I decided to use Malone which is tribute to the narrator ‘Edward Malone’ from Conan Doyle’s Lost World – a book I first read when I was 12 and then proceeded to get bitten by the literature bug. Blake Malone also shares a light Irish heritage like Edward as they both have a pale complexion and they both are recalling their account of an experience in going into the unknown.

“My name is Blake Malone, and I do hope you will join me on this journey as I relive each moment in an effort to remember what happened. I’ll try not to patronise you but there is no guarantees…”

The second billed character and creature of the night/ bad ass ‘Caitlyn Turner’ came next. Her inspiration came from the world of video games. One of Fallout 4’s popular and bad ass companion’s is an Irish lady known as ‘Cait’. I gave her a full name and a backstory of depth and history which spans back to those colonial days and is inspired by the many episodes of ‘Angel’ that see’s a younger version of the title character in the past. She has a history of love, deception and fighting along with links to witchcraft. Her story serves as the second part of the first act and by that point should hook most readers in.

“A woman’s heart can have secrets. A vampire’s hear can hold dark wonders and deep mystery…”

Another popular face in the lore of ‘Darke’ is the older gentleman known as ‘Angus Greene’ who is a pick up truck driving, helpful and kind country fella who’s family have been taken by the vampire threat in the Heath. His inspiration and name is tributed loosely to ‘Hershel’ from when it was popular TV show The Walking Dead. Although Angus is more of a fighter and perhaps a little more cynical. He becomes more and more of a leader in later books.

The Darke Crusader’s code

Blake Malone has arrived in Darke Heath for a ‘new start’ or so he says but after confiding in the reader only, he is actually in the Heath to investigate the findings of someone known only as the ‘Darke Crusader’ which is in fact an anonymous internet handle who has reported some weird things going on in the Heath before disappearing. This is the central motive as to why Blake has come to town but worryingly his recollection of anything before arriving is blank, and this works as the conflict our MC would overcome later on in the narrative. It also adds a unique psychological edge to the whole deal – so we’re already better than Twilight…

Much of the time during my writing process I will just throw open ended ideas into the mix, and originally what brought Blake to town was most likely going to be dealt with much later on. The Darke Crusader was originally in fact someone external from outside the character loop who would arrive and lift the dramatic lid later on, sort of like a murder mystery reveal. Unfortunately this concept didn’t really line up or work. Bearing in mind I was already 40,00 words into the book at this point and in April/May of 2017 I was suffering badly with sciatica – to the point where sitting, laying and standing hurt. Writing is still painful by the way… always.

The concept of this mysterious internet persona held everything together. After all it’s why Blake is in the town and why the story is happening. The magic word there is motive, which all stories must have, the why.

I just couldn’t find a way to link it all together to reveal this external character and break the Darke Crusader’s code and it started to piss me off.

The recycling bin beckoned…

Frustration loomed, and anger, lots of it. This was my second foray into writing an original story from scratch and I’m stuck. After an angry gym session (is that sweat or tears?) I seriously considered putting that many words into the recycling bin but then, inspiration hit me. Like always while in the car on the open road a solution appeared.

Never underestimate a good drive to clear the mind and find thoughts… sorry environment I need to think!

What if this Darke Crusader was actually already an existing character? What if Blake had no recollection of the past because it was removed in some way? Maybe he was already from Darke Heath in some capacity and then sent out by the evil forces to shut down this crusader. The whole plot began to turn back on itself and unfold into the series of twists and revelations that followed. I’ll admit I put Blake Malone through a Shutter Island level of mind melt hell. But it worked; just about… I was already going down the psychological route anyway so it lined up. There is also just a slice of the Shining in there too.

Big reveals turned into twisting revelations as the Darke Crusader’s code had been cracked in front of my own eyes and imagination. The characters figure out themselves as the story unfolds. Placing this character into an already introduced persona made for a justified twist that the vampiric powers were willing to go to in order to find out who this crusader was because after all they had control of Blake. He also found out where he had come from and it was much closer than he thought. Doing this aligned him with the forces to fight back and so the final act emerged out of such struggle.

Keeping it in the Heath…

Deciding to keep the Darke Crusader inside the confines of just the town made for the feeling of no escape. The world was just limited to that town between the trees. There is an alternative ending to ‘Back to the Future’ where instead of harnessing lightning from the clock tower in Hill Valley, they go to a nuclear power plant instead, out of town and away from where the story takes place. Comparing my stuff to that masterpiece is a little indulgent but keeping everything in the Hill Valley/ the Heath rounded the story perfectly.

Back To The Future Review | Movie - Empire

Overcoming it all to tell one heck of a tale…

The struggle I went through in both back pain related and story related issues may have made for the reason why Darke Blood stands out as probably my better books. The whole tying together in the penultimate act either turns people away or grips them more. It’s decisive and carries weight. And this is before the awesome editing and cover art work that tops off the whole deal. It didn’t come easy, and much like those difficult second albums, it felt like an uphill fight to tell a story that I desperately wanted to be different from Open Evening and so it was, but they are connected…

The Open Evening Connection…

In order for the past elements in Darke Blood to work (Cait’s story and the main antagonist), it made sense for the creatures seen in Open Evening to exist in the same universe. And so after all of that struggle and part of it was making the whole deal fit, I managed to tie it into a wider universe which is still growing today.

the order symbol (weathered with title)

Final witchy thoughts…

This deep dive is in fact just more of a shallow swim into the complex but satisfying tale that is Darke Blood: You’ve never known true darkness. There is a whole segment of the book that is probably best described as ‘Light Witchcraft’ which I haven’t really mentioned here but later on becomes ever so important. This is also galvanised by the Sisterhood theme that runs beside the second billed character of Caitlyn Turner who turned out to be way popular than I thought. Her journey continues in the next Darke coming this September.

Looking toward the wider ‘Darke Series’

In what is hopefully going to define my work as an indie author Darke Blood works as a stand alone but can also be delved deeper into a trilogy which will continue this September but the Open Evening side arc is very important to that. They are tied together and will culminate together.

Have you read Darke Blood? Not many have but those who left reviews, thank you. 

 

Darke Blood 3 year ‘Book-iversaire’

It’s been three years since Darke Blood was released. The reason I acknowledge this milestone is because during the writing process of that book I firmly believe I hit the point of no return on the road to becoming a writer. And plus in life, you should celebrate the little things… image

Now I firmly believe a true writer isn’t just someone who puts together one story and a bunch of concepts to then throw into the world. A writer is someone who can fashion a story from very little to create a lot multiple times. One book isn’t enough to find yourself as a story teller, but two, means it was no fluke.

I could lather it up with this artistic talk but I’ll just admit ‘Darke Blood’ was a pain in my ass to write and put together. 2016 – the year I drafted it was a tough year, I had bad sciatica, I was getting used to working shifts (albeit badly) and all around the writing stuff didn’t seem to be flowing. A few times I almost dragged DB to the recycling bin but now I don’t regret persevering once. Digging deep in times of struggle comes with reward and that’s what I got with ‘DB’.

It has become my most successful and most critically acclaimed book. Yes there a few moments where the story is a bit ‘out there’ and trust me I know it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to immerse a reader and that’s what story telling sometimes needs to be. As book it must have worked and this one fashioned and shaped my tenure as a pensmith while also shaping the Order of the Following Series which it is now a part of.

You can expect more from the ‘Darke’ series this September as the follow up and sequel ‘Darke Awakening’ arrives which is also a crossover to Open Evening and Cemetery House. Currently I am drafting the third and final ‘Darke’ book which will cap the pentalogy that is the Order of the Following.

Happy ‘Darke’ Day! 

The Order of the Following Series by Lee Hall

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.

Five corners.

Five stories.

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….

the order symbol (weathered with title)

1. OPEN EVENING

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…

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‘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…’

2. DARKE BLOOD

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…

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‘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) 

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3. CEMETERY HOUSE

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…’

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“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 order symbol with books lightning

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #61

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.

dfw-lh-3dx2The 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? 

 

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Open Evening & Cemetery House are FREE to download today!

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) 

dfw-lh-3dx2Every 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…”

You can download a copy of Open Evening here for free! 

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.

You can download a copy of Cemetery House here for free!

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!