Weekly Ramble #89

November is a strange and long month. I’ve always called it the month of lethargy and it is in some senses. It just keeps going. The sky is normally grey and the weather turns along with the nights that seem endless, much like this year. And what a strange year this has been.

I’m still quite hopeful that quite possibly my best news is yet to appear. One is allowed to be optimistic and of course vague as the ace up my sleeve is paper thin, but it’s still an ace. Perhaps all my efforts have been building to something bigger, that’s the hope and hope is something that has kept me going time and time again throughout the slog that 2020 has been. Keep reviewing books and good things will happen, keep blogging even when everyone was taken over or distracted by fear and good things have happened. It’s turned out to be the biggest period of growth and success I’ve known to the point where others are noticing. Supporters are returning week in week out – this ramble series, the most viewed normally each week. Folks that care and perhaps even want me to succeed, ah the dream. Not once has this writing, blogging and social media-ing deal ever felt like work, although I treat it that way, if something get’s a good reception I just go with it and hope things stick.

All I have tried to do is carry on and support others like I wish to be supported. The give as good as you get philosophy but perhaps flipped around although my expectations are always grounded. We’ll see what happens next because that ace beckons…

Weekly Ramble #84

Winding down… only kidding, I wouldn’t know how. Lee Hall is only Lee Hall if he is writing. Third person narration aside (because I am nowhere near notable enough for that) I’m going to keep going – the results were too goo not to…

Normally by this time of the year it’s the off season for me. I’ve spent the last 9 months writing and fashioning all of my efforts into promoting the 6th book release to worthwhile results. Now I would normally look to calm down into what is supposed to be a rest phase. Until after January I usually spend these winter months playing around with experimental writing projects, theatre writing and perhaps some initial drafting. Not this time as this isn’t our usual year.

I’m near enough most of the way through that guide book I might have mentioned once or twice. It’s turned out well and will be around 30,000 words of relaying experiences from everything that’s brought me to 2021 in writing. It’s an attempt to capture what it takes to be an author and blogger in the social media age – something I’ve got some experience in after nearly 7 years or so. From selling books effectively to blog subject ideas, there should be something for everyone looking to either blog or author in the social media age.

My hope is to be able to pass on something worthwhile and also to steer the literary world in a better direction through persuading more indie authors to review books from their peers. Trust me when I say this whole deal turned a massive corner when I started offering reviews for indie authors. It’s fostered connectivity and the right kind of engagement. Reviews are something authors can never ever have enough of and so that presents an unlimited amount of need for them – something that I have stumbled into and made myself a name with. To convince the world your intentions are genuine will sell more books than anything else, I shall share more in the guide book coming soon. Watch this space and until then you can expect more book reviews along with other writing related content including another promo of my Ghost romance for Halloween!

Weekly Writing Inspiration…

Because if I can do it, anyone can so how about some motivational propaganda to start the month of right! And let us start with some very wise words…

20200701_094731

Darke Blood got it’s latest review via Goodreads; this has been especially rewarding after new marketing idea!

Image

It’s a bargain, but I’m not so sure about the story….

Image

soshaldistancing

AMIRIGHT….

Shout out to S.D McKinley for this awesome review of Open Evening

OE review

Word of the month…

Image

And Finally, ‘Every Stephen King Book; even the ones that aren’t macabre or supernatural still finds a way to be depraved…’ 

Image

Have a good rest of the week, and have a good month! Rock and roll man…

American Blasphemer by By John Gillen – Reedsy Discovery Review

A masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life… 

53551587. sy475

John Gillen has put together a series of life encounters; his own bible you could say or even a modern companion to it. Of course that could be classed as blasphemy through the eyes of some but the many references to God and religion is but a metaphoric vessel used to tell these candid stories. That being said, through all the events that take place its also about his relationship with religion and not once did I find it preachy or overbearing in that sense.

From the title you can probably guess it’s going to take readers to places of a sordid nature and it does, but that’s not for the sake of just telling a story or for the shock factor, its for a deeper meaning that each reader might grasp differently – only a true artist can achieve that. Past the drug taking, the sex and the chaos in these accounts you’ll find the real meaning behind it all and an honesty, a pure and raw poetic honesty. This is a modern reflection of America that highlights violence and a historic thirst for war, it doesn’t sugar coat anything and even touches themes that are happening right now in the world.

I found myself unable to look away right from a beginning that introduces John among a dysfunctional family, he knows them well although he isn’t like them, he isn’t like a lot of people. The many stories might even represent an ‘anti bible’ because like that text they include similar themes such as charity but with a hope of self gain and even a captivating encounter with temptation and bargaining that leads to something much more sinister.

For everything that is laid out on the surface, the trials, the tribulations and the misadventures all of which could be even be classed as ‘total cinema’, it’s what you’ll find underneath that makes this book well worth taking the time to read.

4 Stars – Here’s the link to my Review which premiered on Reedsy Discovery , thank you to them for providing a copy in exchange for this review. This may be one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. You need to check this one out trust me! 

Erase history, erase the lesson…

France – June 10th 1944 

On a sunny Saturday in a rural farm village known as Oradour-sur-Glane 642 innocent people were massacred by the German 2nd Waffen SS Panzer division. They just turned up out of the blue that morning. Women and children were herded to the local church and then grenades were thrown through the windows. The men were split up and put in the many barns that surrounded the area. Those barns were set alight and any one trying to escape were immediately shot. The small peaceful village was then practically levelled by German grenades and fires. A harrowing tale of unnecessary violence toward fellow man. War has always been the same and the survivors were less than 10.

Instead of bulldozing the wreckage, it was decided that a new town be built very nearby and the current remains left as a reminder, as a monument of the harrowing destruction and loss of life war brings upon this world. And trust me, I know this because I have been there twice, and it’s poignant, quiet and sombre. You can feel the atmosphere among the silence. The still charred stone of buildings along the high street. A doctors car still left with it’s door open, rusted and sunken into the ground. The church, now without a roof or stained glass in the window frames. Bullet holes in the walls and many more plastered over a WW1 monument. The museum that straddles the monument puts everything into context, without it, maybe the place would be wrongly conceived as just a ruin, because new generations forget, but within those crumbled bricks and a growth covered tram line is the truth of what history really serves, a reminder and lesson of where humanity went once, and a hope that we can learn from it.

Oradour-sur-Glane, France: Remember. – Rick Steves' Travel Blog

Statues fall and so does the lesson…

Every now and then a moment in history moves many people toward a desire for change. As humans we should always be trying to better ourselves. Regimes fall and over time they are forgotten mostly, or at least their context is. Those people who died on that sunny Saturday are forever immortalised by the wreckage of their home which serves as a monument. If the French authorities were to tear down this monument, or if a mob of protesters looking for change suddenly invaded it, then there would be public outcry.

I see the news and what is going on right now. I can only think the same thing when I see these mobs tearing down statues, some of people who serve important moments in our history. There is no thought, just spray paint and tear it down. Of course some of these statues represent people and a time far gone. Slavery or even genocide, people who probably shouldn’t be paraded in public places, but removing that statue and that name entirely is erasing history. Erase the history and you erase the lesson and again we lose our humanity. 

Not for one moment should you think I agree with these statues and what they stand for morally once upon a time, I agree that they should stand as a reminder of where we were and where we are now. Like Oradour-sur-Glane in 1999 they opened that museum and gave everything some context, because people of that age were rapidly passing away, time takes away good people and memories of a certain time.

Put these statues in museums with some context beside them. People have lost reasoning because there is no context and they are desperate to see something done. Why is there a statue of this person? And more importantly why was it re homed to this particular exhibit.

You keep the history, you keep the lesson and eventually you reinstate humanity. I know what happened recently is terrible. And Black Lives Matter very much so, even more now than ever because racism needs to be stamped out and we can only do that via education and history. I’m 100% with everyone who’s feeds have become activist feeds recently, keep flying that flag, keep being proud to call bullshit on racism, but remember the history that got us here and view it in the context of modern day. This year alone has been the true test of humanity and we need it more than ever!

Awesome Short Recommended Reads…

When it comes to reading, it’s not always about length…

Shorter books frequent on my shelf and there’s nothing that beats the feeling of getting to the end of another read. Not only does it give you the satisfaction of having achieved something, but reading apparently makes you smarter, so the more books you read…

Either way here’s a bunch of shorter reads I recommend…. and guess what, they are all Indie books!

seller of sins

‘The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo

Genre: Romance

Page Count: 84

The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo didn’t feel like a shorter read. It carries a depth and style that will make you think you are reading something much longer and detailed.

To quote my review: ‘this tale carries a deeper moral story about love and what really matters and we realize this at the end…’

44175626. sx318

‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou

Genre: Fairy tale/ Romance 

Page Count: 49

‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou is a feel good story that begins like a YA novel which quickly spins into a fairy tale. It’s a page turner which I managed to finish in just over an hour. Here’s what I said in my review from last year:

‘You’ll find there’s a lot more to the story other than happy every after including a curse and even prophecy in what is a short but fun read…’

48720608. sy475

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao

Genre: New Age (Self-help)

Page Count: 65

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao is a break the mold mind opening book designed to get you thinking. It’s unique and looks at how to overcome our ‘phenotypes’ (ego, ambition) in order to be more productive.

‘Well written and structured this is a book that may provide readers with insight to some answers you never thought could be out there!’

44172434. sy475

‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 70

‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza is a personal collection of poetry that is deep and incredibly brave to present to the world. You may know the author as awesome blogger ‘Stoner on a Roller Coaster’and I urge you to check this one out!

Recent review quote:

‘For anyone who is a fan of immersive poetry and for those looking to take on a read that is different but also very honest, I recommend this book. It tells a story while also being inspiring.’

45888643. sy475

‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller’ by Mallory Kelly

Genre: Horror

Page Count: 48

‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1) by Mallory Kelly is the first of 4 chilling shorts that read like episodes of a crime horror TV show. Two agents are in pursuit of a killer clown which then turns out to be two clowns which then becomes a whole conspiracy.  I’ve been diving into the series every so often this year and I highly recommend the series..

38106336. sx318

Memories of Mars: a Novella (Custodian Library Archives Book 1) by Colin Yeoman

Genre: Science Fiction/Space Exploration

Page Count:  68

‘Memories of Mars’ by Colin Yeoman took me by complete surprise. For what started out as one story going one place became the rabbit hole of perhaps our existence. This one got me, and managed to do it in 68 pages. To quote my very recent review:

‘Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original.’

 

And so that brings us to the end of some awesome short book rec’s. Have you got a short book that you would recommend?

Thanks for reading!

File:Thats all folks.svg - Wikimedia Commons

 

Memories of Mars: a Novella (Custodian Library Archives Book 1) by Colin Yeoman – Review

A thought provokingly original novella that will leave you wanting more…

 

38106336. sx318

There aren’t many stories that successfully combine real science with imaginative fiction which is not only clever but also thought provokingly original, Memories of Mars is both of those and so much more.

From what is a relatively slow but curious start moves towards an imaginative theory about the origins of man and the history of the red planet known as Mars. That is after main character ‘Josiah Lamples’ discovers evidence of life on the barren surface and is soon ‘let go’ by his employers. This is where the story becomes engaging and interesting with just a hint of deception, we see ‘Josiah’ come face to face with the rabbit hole of theory and that life long question of what happened to Mars?

Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original.

Readers of both science fiction and literary fiction will enjoy this brand of ‘Fringe Fiction’ that gives answers and leaves you wanting more..

4 Stars – A very interesting and original read. Novellas like this don’t get enough credit. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon UK

 

 

Weekly Ramble #67

Even in these times of pandemic weighing on my shoulders I’m still writing and reading. Carrying on in the face of adversity is a survival instinct and I’m holding in there, I hope you are too!

Like me you probably can’t help but look at the news for the twelfth time in a day but that’s how we are wired in this age of information. Watching the news all the time will have a bad effect eventually, stay away for a while. Find your escape through means of what you would normally do – in a safe way. Its Easter so theres chocolate and food. Check in with family and friends, use the social media channels, they are still plugged in and aren’t going anywhere.

We as a species have an incredible way of facing the odds with a smile and I’m trying. Truth is I’m doing okay and this covid thing has had a unique effect of my literary stance. Books, my books are selling. Paperbacks are actually selling. These really are unprecedented times and now I am feeling the satisfaction for having a form of art to offer. Others are taking on my work which is there for anyone. Writing will last longer than any who scribes it no matter the times. That gives me hope even in ‘normal’ times my writing will have a place for somebody.

Editing and drafting new stuff takes up some of my time, even with this new pressure of what is happening showing no signs of letting up. I’m not spending hours working but I’m slowly and surely making gradual progress. A page a day, one step at a time and things might be okay…

 

My debut novel Open Evening is free this coming Wednesday!

Weekly Ramble #57

Seeing your own writing come to life and put onto a stage in front of an audience is something I am still getting used to. It’s an incredible and rewarding feeling. As writers, bloggers and creators many of us don’t ever get instant applaud for our work. Books can take years to ever gain any type of gratification so most of you can imagine when an audience member approaches me and say’s that I did a good job, it’s probably the pinnacle of being a story teller. And I wont lie, even after the past weekend which now seems a lifetime away; I’m still rather high from it all and perhaps I should be. 

The truth is I am damn proud of the stories I have created but the plays, they are truly special because they are made by the performances and the production. My writing is a mere first step, or even a suggestion of an idea; the rest is in the hands of everyone else. Those performers and everyone else involved should be proud, not only because they have brought a fantastic show into this world but because there aren’t many good  moments in this life to be proud of. Life can be bitter sometimes and it can bite you hard and bring you down. You must find things to be proud of to cast light over the shadows of hardship and that’s up to you. Taking pride in one’s work is probably more important than any other type of praise or reviews; the fact that you did it and it made a difference; a positive difference in your life is all that matters when it comes to story telling.

Be proud, all of you!

The stories that inspire us – ‘Timeline’

The stories we read, see and hear sometimes leave a lasting effect on our lives. Stories inspire us to be who we are. They shape our own journey and can take the mind anywhere. There are some stories that effect us so much, they even shape our future…

Welcome to a new series that hopes to give insight to some of the stories I have experienced that shaped me and my writing. Many of them I hold close to my heart and some you may end up taking on as recommendations. Without the stories in this series I would not be here today!

Although this series will cover stories from all mediums it starts with a book that might possibly be one of the most important I have ever read. This is the story of destiny and how I came to find a story called Timeline. 

I grew up near Heathrow Airport, in fact the runway stood no more than two miles from my house. We were parallel to it so we didn’t get the flight path noise, plus in that distance there were a stack of fields and houses in that space. The sounds of take off and jet engines I found comfort in, I still do. Eventually I found myself a job at the Airport. In 2005 I was sixteen years old without a clue about the real world, what real work was or who I really wanted to be. The dream of being a writer was still forming and back then the prospect of being anything and nothing all at once fed the imagination of the dreamer in me. Back then I had never properly read much apart from some kids stories and of course ‘the Lost World’ by Conan Doyle – another entry for another day perhaps…

The work I found wasn’t great. It was a bottom rung of the ladder type of gig although the money wasn’t bad for someone my age. My first job; aircraft cleaner. My stint at Heathrow only lasted about six weeks – sixteen year old Lee didn’t want to work Christmas so he handed in his notice… but the one thing I did get out of that job may serve as my reading and writing destiny. This is what I found, discarded and probably aimed at the trash… (you don’t ever throw books away, that’s a rule)

82388540_2767793129922668_5957050524938272768_nI picked up this book while cleaning and immediately the authors name grabbed me.

‘That’s the guy who wrote Jurassic Park, I’m sure…’ 

And I was right. Michael Crichton is the guy who wrote Jurassic, so if he can tell a story that good about dinosaurs then what can he do with time travel?  Being a big time fan of Back to the Future my mind was open about another time travel caper. So what can he do with time travel?

My answer is: everything you can imagine and more! I took this beaten and weathered book home and read it cover to cover in around ten or so days over Christmas 2005 – I had no friends anyway…

The picture above was taken especially for this entry. Timeline sits on my shelf alongside eleven other Michael Crichton novels. When I open it, I still smell that musk of old pages, it takes me back to that moment where I discovered a novel about realistic time travel. But it’s not just about that, like all good books, like all good Crichton books, it’s about so much more. As well as being a history lesson, it’s a roller coaster of science, action, deception, twists and turns. When I finished reading this book I had only one goal in life – to read more of Crichton’s works and I did. My aspiration and dreams of becoming a writer began to form because of this man’s work and his stories.

If there is a truly pinnacle moment in my writing and reading journey it would be when I found Timeline. Only three years after I had found this book Crichton sadly passed away and I remember exactly where I was. I will never be able to thank him personally for the story that inspired me to go on a write my own works under his influence with his works on my shelf beside mine where they will always be. The inspiration of stories lives on in those who have read them and experienced them.

Have you ever found or been given a book and it ended up being a masterpiece?