Weekly Ramble #74

I’m starting to embrace and enjoy the semi lock down lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I miss people, I miss gatherings, I miss the opportunity to have conversations but many of the lifestyle elements right now I am enjoying. 

It’s a case of embracing what is good in a shituation. That’s what this is and for so much bad that has come from this, it’s also been a huge opportunity to take on things that I wouldn’t normally take on. In the beginning I got myself back into booze nearly every night. Drinking for me has always been a vessel to good times and so I leaned on that perception to have a ‘few’ every night and for a while it worked as a coping mechanism. We all know that’s a slippery very short term slope and especially so for the health situation and of course the scales which I quickly became unhappy with.

The lock down was something that began to piss me off, no matter what I did and so my mental health took a hit for a small time but I’m pretty damn good at getting my ass up off the ground. I took one big look at myself and said ‘I can do more with these days’ and I’m lucky enough to have a work that has continued to pay and employ me, just on a different basis. I have to attend work for two shifts every 6 days, day time or night time.

For someone who’s been held down by the excuse of work for pretty much everything I eventually crawled away from that because of all this time I now have. I’m getting up before 9 every day, I’m eating clean, I’m exercising every morning and then leaving my afternoons to write and read. This is the best shape my schedule has been in for a long time. It’s like being semi retired and I’m doing stuff I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe finding the best out of a bad situation is really the best way any of us can cope…

How are you coping right now? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about… writing – The First Draft…

A new blog series emerges, out of the unknown void of creativity where I sometimes have ideas…

Let’s talk about writing. You’re probably not going far and neither am I.

So while I’m here and you are (hopefully) let’s use this time to reflect on writing, after all it’s what most of us blogger types do.

Personally there is no full proof blue print to teach someone to write. You have to find that within yourself but I can sure as hell talk about it and hopefully pass on some ‘wisdom’ about the craft. If you tuned in to Twitter recently you may have seen my recent thread that 4 people probably read all about that first draft.

15 Websites And Apps For Creative, Fiction, and Short Story ...

It’s easier and relatable to think of writing in a way that everyone can. So for this post, we are going to use the analogy of cooking to represent writing that first draft…

Drafting a book 101 – The Omelette Analogy

 Egg sales have soared to a 30-year high  — smashing the 6.5billion barrier

So, you’re hungry and it’s approaching lunchtime. You have a hankering for an omelette…

* Translation – you have an idea and want to write a book. 

For a while you’ve been thinking about what you want to put into this omelette and you have some ideas. Do you have the ingredients? Do you have long enough in your lunch break to pull it off? Is there is decent frying pan in the kitchen. Do you even have a kitchen?

* Translation – you have some story ideas that could link together to make an entire book, and you’re set on a genre. Do you have enough ideas to run the course of a book? Do you have the time in your schedule to dedicate to writing. This will need to be a regular time nearly everyday. Do you have a laptop or a working computer? Do you have a dedicated writing space – I wrote on my bed for 4 years, ask my back about it… 

You’ve got several eggs and various other ingredients (ideas) some you know work and others that don’t but you figure ‘what the hell, this art and I am an artiste’. You grab the frying pan (laptop or notepad), make some time and start cracking eggs. You set the heat to medium and begin to mix..

*Translation – you’ve answered most of the questions above and dive in! 

Even though you’ve never cooked an omelette of this kind in full, you are getting a feel for the process and are learning by doing. This is probably the way I found my chef’s voice (writing voice) by spending hours upon hours of cooking (typing).  

*Translation – you’ve probably dabbled in some kind of writing before. A short story here or essay there… 

You then omit some ingredients (story ideas) because there are too many things going on at once hence disrupting the overall flow of things (the story) and so now you pour the mix into the pan. Of course you haven’t greased the pan (know what you’re really doing yet) but go with it and set the heat lower..

*Translation – although things might not have fully formed, you see the potential in your own work – its important to encourage yourself in the early stages because this is solitary effort. Nobody is on the sidelines cheering you on, nobody probably knows or ever will appreciate the time you put in to get better and make a story better…

Things start to shape up pretty well and you grab a spatula to shape the omelette into what omelette’s look like (you’ve read books, lots of them and know what they look like…) although at this point you should be concentrating more on the eggs (story) really being cooked… (you may even go back a few pages and do some editing) 

You move to flip the omelette although it’s stuck to the bottom of the pan but you persevere and manage to flip the thing although it breaks up and is partially burnt. Basically one hot mess…

They feel that it is acceptable to serve a burnt omelette for ...

bon appetite, this isn’t mine….

* Translation – you realise writing is hard, this is where most give up but you persevered no matter how ugly it looks and somehow you’ve dedicated the time to completing the first draft…

You take a bite and although you probably wouldn’t serve this up to anyone else, you like it, and you can see some potential. But a first draft is many things, telling yourself the story, the foundations or even the skeleton of a dream. 

For those who persevere with their dream they know things aren’t fully ‘right’ so they continue to go back and change a few things such as the heat level of the pan, what gets used to grease it, the quality of eggs and ingredients. Some of these can be worked on, but only the cook who wants to cook the omelette can do it on their own accord by carving their own path… 

And so I hope you are still with us and that analogy didn’t quite clog up the brain. Drafting a book is just the first step and I hope you can see what I did in comparing it with cooking. This is just like making an omelette and much like you need the tools to execute in the making, you’ll need the same for writing.

Thanks for reading…

Does your writing process compare to something relatable like cooking? 

 

The night workers lament

The night worker is paid for their time but the currency is sleep. For every shift they work they are for the night to keep. 

The entire world has gone to bed and then there’s us, the night worker’s who keep the place running, our appetite in tatters, our eyes tired and our bodies weary.

Keep the lights dimmed. Let the Coffee, tea and sugar keep our systems running.

Is there another soul out there? Sometimes my eyes play tricks, guess that’s just the fatigue or perhaps something else..

Torchlight down corridors and hallways that lay silent. Did the door behind just open? A vending machine, my beacon of light, don’t swallow my change, I need this, alright.

Time seems to crawl and I’m feeling adrift. I’m just waiting for the light to give me just a little lift. Find any way to pass the eternal time. All of this just for the extra dime.

Early morning sky brings that light, my stomach realises and comes back my appetite.

Soon we’ll go home past the ‘normies’ who work all day. While I’ll be in the dark trying to drift away.

Sensitive to light and tired for days. But I’ve always got plans, always.

I guess I like it but sometimes need to vent, for this truly is the night workers lament.

Cemetery House Release Date confirmed

Yep, you read that title right. CEMETERY HOUSE, the sequel to Open Evening has an official release date! There’s a teaster trailer currently making the rounds of the Facebooks so if you see it, remember to give an indie author a hand by liking, sharing and commenting…. 

Seeing as I haven’t blogged in quite a while here’s a rundown of all the recent news from the universe of Lee Hall, procrastination extraordinaire and sometimes word smith…

trailer

Click on me to view the trailer, you know you want to…

September Anniversary Freebie Bonanza!

yeah

Yeah!

A few weeks back I celebrated the 1 year anniversary of becoming a published author via the arrival of Open Evening. For a few days the E-book of both Open Evening and Darke Blood were available for free (I only intended the first book to be free, so a cock up on my behalf). But either way the reaction was massive, and already I have received new reviews from new readers. And I have to say the numbers of downloads were record breaking for me. A new personal best came on the 23rd of last month with over 600 e-books being downloaded. Of course if you were watching, Open Evening shot up the Occult charts on amazon all the way to Number 1! Awesome right?

Drafting finishes for the Teleporter!

My next book will be a novella/shorter story called the Teleporter, and it is predominantly a super hero comedy with elements that break the fourth wall and has some politically loaded messages. Last month I managed to finish the first draft and will hopefully be looking at a release in the fist half of 2018. You can like the Teleporter’s page right here. 

Editing begins on CHc house

Seeing as I have already decided upon a release date for Cemetery House you can probably guess editing is going spectacularly well. The story is shaping up and will be somewhat of a departure from the first one as much as a continuation. Of course I plan on developing characters and giving answers to the readers along with linking this all in with the Darke Blood universe in which a crossover will follow. If you liked the first one, you will love this one, trust me.

 

All I can really say now is thank you for the continued support, reviews, likes and shares. This whole indie author thing only works if awesome people like you who use their right and left turn indicators help me!! 

 

 

Publication Day! Darke Blood out now!

The day is finally here! My second book Darke Blood is officially out now! The selfies already started earlier this week after I kicked off proceedings on Instagram where I can happily say we have already broke records with the amount of likes it recieved.

image

That many likes for something without a cat, food or cleavage…

And that is all I want out of this book, growth and evolution. A few more sales and few more likes than last time will make me a happy independently published author.   Above all more reviews on Amazon and hopefully Goodreads will grant this project a success, so please if you read my work leave a review!

I must take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support towards Darke Blood, this was indeed the hardest story I have ever struggled to tell and seeing the whole thing come together with your support has been fantastic. Being a two time author makes this all seem like I am more than just a lucky one off guy who published one book, plus it gives readers a back catalogue to delve into if they like my work.

If you like Darke Blood and survive the ride,  the twists and the turns then I guarantee you will be a reader of my stuff for years to come. This one really tests the boundaries for the reader as well as tell an atmospheric psychological story of redemption and identity. And yeah there are vampires, witches and some connections to Open Evening!

This hasn’t been a sole effort and I must thank my editor and publisher Nicky from Satin Publishing for helping me so much develop this story into what was an initial draft all the way to polished published book. Darke Blood went through many minor and major changes throughout the drafting and editing process. My next thank you goes to Design for Writers , they simply gave this book an identity by creating a fantastic looking cover. I was really stumped as to what I wanted this one to look like so Design for Writers saved me in that sense and the outcome is a world class looking cover.

All there is left for to say is thank you everyone, I have achieved my dream once again and now it’s over to you to help me find some success with it. Let’s start a new selfie movement with Darke Blood and remember your shares, likes and comments are what generates buzz about this, and will ultimately decide its success!

Happy publication Day!

And heres the direct link to the book…

Write with your head, not the heart

Over the past few months I have come to some realisation on how I perceive myself in writing. From what started off as a pre teenage dream now stands as something dead serious, to me anyway.

On my way to adulthood I learned quickly from the working world about having an important thing called work ethic. Without tooting my own horn too much I have taken such ethic and applied it to everything I deem as a success. My philosophy in life and my ultimate key to success has only really consisted of three things:

  1. Turn up on time
  2. Be nice
  3. Work hard and be useful

The above rules work together as much as they do in a formulaic way. If you feel useless in a new job at least you turn up on time and be nice. If you can’t work hard because of some arbitrary consequence then just be nice and turn up. Everyone has no excuse for rules 1 and 2, to me they are the most important.

In writing it’s hard to find success even if you apply my rules because unfortunately there is always something else denying you. All you can do sometimes if continue onwards and work towards an eventual goal you may not even see on the horizon.

This stuff I talk about here is good and all but what is my point?

Writing is indeed something very personal. Here you are pouring all emotional strength into a story and yet people are rejecting you left right and center. Much of the time we get lost in our own creativity to even think that if we want genuine success as writers it needs to be treated like a job.

Slowly everyday that is my realisation. Take away all the heartfelt stuff, emotional connection with characters and  you can still let the creativity flow. Last year I made a critical decision to let go of my first written stories.

There were many reasons but above all if I want success as a writer I need to take away the emotion and write a story with appeal across the board. Don’t get me wrong that isn’t the key all writing success because all of this is figurative but I was penning a story that meant so much to me. Perhaps it just wasn’t right for me anymore or a readership.

To all those writing a fantasy time travel pirate series for example. You may have had this in you for years and it means so much, the story very much runs in parallel to your own life. For sure go ahead and write it if that’s what it means to you. If you want to find publication not only does this piratey masterpiece need to be good enough for a literary agent to like it but also have appeal to a massive group.

Making things complicated from the start will leave you disappointed and there isn’t an agent in the world who will take on your stuff if it has zero appeal to a mainstream audience. You also need to be somebody these days. By mainstream I mean all types of folk. Adding several sub genres to a title is just narrowing down potential readers each time. My suggestion and this is all yet to be proven so take what I say with a pinch of salt, keep it to one simple and single genre.

Why do you think Justin Beiber (through gritted teeth) is such a success? Two reasons: The stuff he makes is one genre and his target audience are a large number of people. He didn’t know he would be a success to begin with but he made it easier by making stuff that appeals. How do we do the same as writers?

Treat this thing like a job and research what is hot at the moment. If you are a writer and call yourself one you have to be prepared to do parts of the job you don’t like. Much like the real world of work. Put the pirate fantasy time travel story away for a while (but don’t forget it) and pen a simple romance story or something of the young adult persuasion. Two genres that are massively popular across many ages. Widen the range of people your writing will appeal to and grow a readership. The pirate story will come later when people buy the book because who’s written it and not what it’s about.

That good people is where I currently stand. My close to heart story and pick of destiny book series the Thorn legacy is currently on hold. A futuristic science fiction action thriller is too genre heavy right now for it to actually weigh in as a success. That doesn’t mean it’s gone because some day it will return. Right now my focus is on writing simple stories with mass appeal that I can get out myself and actually build a following.

Before August I was writing this series which had a zero following and readership. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t really want to do. But if you are what you say you are (a writer) then that’s what you got to do. The story you are destined to tell comes after the story you have to tell.

My first book Open Evening comes out this year. It’s recognised as young adult in genre. I have absolutely zero expectation as to how well it will do because I don’t know. For me that is the thrill of publishing. Not knowing and being surprised by what can happen. I’m very sure soon I will officially announce the publication date and begin a countdown.

So my advice right now is write with your head. Not your heart.