Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Killer Coffee Beans’ by Shaun Young

Author Shaun Young shares an excerpt of his soon to be released book ‘Killer Coffee Beans’

Via Shaun Young’s Twiiter

Guatemala Countryside – 6:09 P.M. (7:09 P.M. Kansas City)

Sabi followed Vane through the front door of the house, out to the porch. She placed herself in the rocker then watched him. Vane cradled the gun in her lap then crossed her hands over it as though she was trying to hide it. Sabi leaned against the post next to the steps facing her.

“Go ahead. Who is Sabi and why does he need to hide at my house?” She asked while lazily rocking in the chair.

“Okay. I’m not sure where to start.”

“Why don’t you start by telling me why a guy that drifts in and out of British accent. Sometimes sounding European and sometimes sounding American is in Guatemala? And why that guy is lugging around all this computer equipment?”

“If I answer questions for you will you answer questions for me too?”

“We’ll see. Get started,” she said as a light breeze blew her hair moving it gently.

“Okay. I was staying at a resort on the coast.”

“I knew that.”

Sabi shot her a look, telling her not to interrupt him with his eyes before he continued. “I’d only been there a few days. Before that, I was in Bolivia, before that, Sierra Leone and before that, Togo.”

“Togo? You’re making that up.”

“No, it’s a real country. Look it up. It’s in Africa on the west coast, very small. Nice on the coast, but when you get inland a little, there’s not much and it’s a lot warmer. Anyway, you are starting to get the picture. I’m always moving. I’ve been home three times in the last two years. I go from one hotel to the next.”

“Why?” She asked. She had stopped rocking and scooted forward in the rocker.

He held up a finger, “I’m trying to explain. I’ve never told anyone this story. I have one friend that knows parts of what I do and other than that, it’s my boss and Momma.” Sabi stopped talking, moving from the post he was leaning against to the opposite side of the steps. He sat down leaning back against the other post. “I was educated in England then went to university in America. America is where I received my degree in international finance. My dad was a big wig in the Ministry of Finance at home.”

“Where’s home?”

“Oh. Turkmenistan. So I get home, dad gets me a good job at the biggest bank in our country. In less than two years, dad is convicted by the government for a bunch of crap. Basically dad was on the take. The trial is like the first one ever in our country to be televised. Within a week of his conviction, I’m fired.”

“I guess I can understand that, but it doesn’t seem right.”

“I knew it was coming. There was a lot of talk at work during the televised trial. Not much I could do about it. So I’m out of work. The government took everything from my Momma and dad. Momma moves in with me and I’m now the man of the house with no way to support her. Two weeks later, I’m down to next to nothing in money. A guy shows up in front of me on the street, asking if I want a job in international banking. “Sure,” I say. He tells me to be in front of my building the next morning at nine and someone will pick me up. I’m out there a little early, waiting and right on time, this limo pulls up in front of me and this man tells me to get in. I get in, there’s another guy in there. I’m thinking he’s interviewing too when the first guy hands me a hood and tells me to put it over my head.”

“You get into a limo and they want you to put a hood over your head?” She says not really asking a question.

Sabi nodded his head. “Yeah. So, I have to wear this hood the whole time. And it wasn’t really an interview. Basically, the guy tells me that he was friends,” Sabi used his hands to make air quotes as he says friends, “With my dad. He says he will give me a job and he’ll make things easier on my dad. He says Momma will be taken care of. And he will even make sure my two brothers are able to stay in school, one in England, one in America. I have to do what he says.”

“Shit. I thought I got dealt a bad hand. Go ahead.”

“So it turns out, this guy is a big-time opium smuggler. He needs to be able to launder his money now that the government threw all his contacts in jail. I spent about three months, traveling all over the world to conferences. I learned how to catch money launderers. Then I came up with a system to use, to beat their system of catching people like me. One of the things involves me moving all the time. Hence, I’m in your country.”

“Okay, that explains why you’re in Guatemala, but not why you’re at my house.”

“You don’t think I’m a bad person after hearing that, do you? I did what I could to help my mom, dad and brothers. I never planned to be involved in something like this.”

“No, I don’t think you’re bad. You’re not doing good things, but…” Vane shrugged her shoulders.

“I know. Sometimes I’m not happy with myself. I don’t like what I’m doing now, but I don’t know another way out. Momma. My brothers and dad. I didn’t want to steal the money, but I don’t know any other way to get out and save my family.” Sabi hung his head down between his knees.

He started sobbing quietly and turned away from her. Vane moved from the chair and knelt behind, him placing her hand on his back. She rubbed his back in a circular motion, “Sabi, you’re not a bad person.”

“You don’t understand.” He said between sobs, his shoulders heaving up and down. “I haven’t had anyone to talk to in so long. Always being careful what I say. Looking over my shoulder. This is the first time I’ve been able to let my guard down with anyone in-” He trailed off, trying to remember the last time he openly talked to someone.

“You want to take a break for a little bit? I could tell you my hard luck story if you’re interested…

This is an excerpt of ‘Killer Coffee Beans’ by Shaun Young which will be released on August 1st. You can find more information via Shaun’s Twitter.

Guest Post: Music to Write By: Motivator or Procrastinator? By Emma Jordan

Introducing author Emma Jordan who talks about music and writing…

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As an indie romance author, I love making all my own writing decisions, from series concept to book marketing and even the actual writing bit. Who wouldn’t?

But what I REALLY love is deciding what music to play, whether I’m:

· Researching an idea;

· Creating a Spotify playlist of my novels;

· Creating an Amazon playlist to inspire me on car journeys;

· Distracting myself from writing;

· Tidying my CDs;

· Taking a break from writing;

· Avoiding editing;

· Celebrating self-publishing a book;

· Trying to write character arcs.

The rhetorical question is: do I play music to motivate my writing or to avoid writing?

A little of both, as any graduate historian will conclude.

I’ve included music in all three of the romance novels in my series, Love is Everything (across all musical genres):

Everything, Except You – four decades of country music and 80s film themes;

Everything and Nothing – seventies rock and classic rock;

Everything For Her – 90s pop and Latin music (this is the book I’m currently, musically, distracted from);

Even my Christmas novella, Everything This Christmas, includes Christmas songs (and films).

You know when people say they’ll listen to anything?

I really do, I’ve seen New Kids on the Block and Andrea Bocelli live shows – not together, although that could inspire an intriguing book one day. I’ve spent five days at a country festival that I had to be dragged away from, I RockFit to Rammstein and I’ve seen Muse perform 12 times in six countries (don’t even get me started on combining travel and music).

I even volunteer to write music reviews and interview musicians for Lyric Magazine, because I love sharing my love of songwriting and storytelling.

I’ve always loved music. I grew up in a music-loving household. We didn’t have much, but we had cassettes. I remember 13th July 1985 as a 7 year old, standing in the lounge in front of BBC One and yelling to my Mum, ‘It’s On!’ just as Live Aid, the first charity concert, was about to kick off 12 hours of live music (including Paul Young. Swoon).

As a teen, I took babysitting jobs based on the person’s cassette collection, and if there was a twin deck I could record from. As an adult, and parent, I need live shows as much as my daughter needs to read (proud mama moment; she’s book-obsessed). Perhaps my gig obsession is not for the reason you think. I’m deaf in my right ear, which probably explains my addiction to live shows (front and centre if possible) I need to feel the music. It also makes for great writing inspiration when I hear something completely different to what’s actually being said. Talk about Four Candles.

I absolutely can’t wait for live shows to resume again, so that I can convince myself, ‘I’ll write on the train’ when I actually mean I’ll listen to artist’s music all the way back home, reliving the show, drifting to sleep with a huge grin across my face.

What do you listen to when you’re supposed to be working?

Romance writer Emma Jordan hangs out on Twitter and Instagram (as well as Spotify and Amazon’s KDP reports) and loves to connect with readers and potential-readers.

To celebrate the 1st book birthday of my second romance novel, Everything and Nothing, all readers can add this to their #TBRPile FOR FREE before the end of Friday 16th July 2021.

Guest Post: ‘All Things Writing’ by Myron The Dreamer’s Spirit

We all have expectations!

We’re all excited and waiting for something eagerly to happen. Some of us, especially artists, writers, and avid dreamers can even see our expectations fully realized within our heart imagination. We can taste it, smell it, maybe even feel it like a new set of clothes against our skin. We even dance in celebration! There’s real joy in knowing we already have what we’ve sought out for despite not having it in our hand.

However, on who or what do we rest our expectations on? A person? A place? A government? A time in the future? (Personally I wouldn’t choose any of these). Be mindful on whom or where you set your expectations on. It’s important to dream and to plan for the future, regardless of how far or near it may seem, but be careful with the choice of your foundation, the thing that you rest your expectations on. If you want your hopes and dreams to be fully realized beyond your wildest imagination then rest them on something sure and solid (such things do exist), something that won’t change like the weather or your mood. Your dreams, your life are very real and very important. Shouldn’t they be rooted and planted in and on something that will always be there for you? The future is unclear, in fact it doesn’t even exist. There’s only the present. Be wise and check your foundation. Choose a foundation you trust to rest your life on and expect the best while in a state of rest because the fruit of your labours is coming. Like someone who sows seed in good soil, the crop has no choice but to come and it will come quickly.

So what are you resting your expectations on?

Thank you for stopping by!

By Myron, aka the Dreamer’s Spirit who you can find on Twitter.

If you have an article or a book review and want to be a guest writer then the Hall of Information wants you! Reach out via the submit a book review/article section.

“Consistent Creative Content” by Lee Hall | Book Review

Thank you to fellow writer Ellen Khodakivska for this wonderful review of Consistent Creative Content which is discounted tommorow!

Ellen Khodakivska

If you need a dynamic, informative, inspiring guide to authoring and blogging, you definitely should read this book.

Pic by valerioerrani on https://pixabay.com/

Genre: A guide to authoring and blogging in the social media age

Language: English

Release date: 2021

The Plot:  The last time I was so obsessed with reading the book about writing was reading “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. But, truth to be told, Lee Hall managed to stand head and shoulders above my previous read related to writing. This book is not just an ordinary guide to authoring. “Consistent Creative Content” is a multilayered manual for people who can’t imagine their life without writing. The author doesn’t teach you how to write; he gives you brilliant tips on keeping afloat and not giving up in this hectic, competitive bookish world.  Revealing his personal writing experience, the writer leaves…

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Let’s talk about… Book Marketing

Do you feel slightly dirty whenever you spam the link to your book on social media? People who see it feel the same too because nothing is worse than seeing an author constantly spamming their own social media platforms with their own stuff…

I thought it would be best I put together some other methods to get folks to buy and more importantly read your books. Marketing is the most overlooked part of being a writer and the excuses range from ‘I’m an introvert’ to ‘I’m not a salesman’. Well the truth is you need to be neither to get reads and sales. While selling stuff is subjective I can happily admit I’ve sold a few books in most corners of the civilised world so this is my talk about book marketing…

What you need to do above all is to set out a realistic and achievable goal. Before you even start, ask yourself what I do want to get out of this book I have bestowed upon the world?

What do you want and what do you need to do in order to get it?

Sales and money ? – in this age of everyone self publishing (which is good and sometimes very bad…) I wish you all the luck in the world. Unless it’s about a real current thing that’s gone crazily popular or even a masterpiece you’ve written, don’t expect instant bucks, just don’t. Breaking even is a dirty word around here… and so I can’t help with this one…

sales

People reading and reviewing your work – now this is a very achievable goal and the chances are of it happening will grow as you release more stuff – that is if you intend to write more than one book like a real writer… There are many a different factors that govern whether or not people will see you work, pick it up and then review it. I can’t list them all but here’s a mini breakdown.

  1. Reasonable Price
  2. Decent Blurb
  3. Decent pro cover art
  4. Catchy title that matches genre and cover
  5.  A social media presence of some kind

That’s great and all but HOW can I get people to read my work?

Well if you have the 5 factors above ticked then all you have to do is let the world know about it. And no don’t just go spamming the link every 5 minutes. Do these things instead:

  1. Reach out to book bloggers for a review – offer a free copy in exchange. We don’t bite…
  2. Friends and relatives are a great starting point for reads/reviews. Ask them to help.
  3. Give your E-book away for free and pay for advertising through many book promo sites – check this post out for more info on that 
  4. Read and review other authors works – many writers will repay you because that’s just manners (don’t expect this though).
  5. Write another book and then another – writers with a back catalogue will most likely have returning readers if they liked one of your titles. Immediately after reading my first Crichton novel, I pursued his whole catalogue…
  6. Start a blog like this and talk about the laments of being a writer. Share your woes, book sales results and give back to the community.

Some writers who stubbornly say they wont give their work away for free will not get very far. Unless you are already famous or some kind of popular figure it’s highly likely you are starting this from zero. Sometimes setting the price to zero will attract readers who might buy at full price next time.. this then leads into…

Use social media properly – The word ‘properly’ is just my humble opinion but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be active on social media and to engage with others both respectfully and genuinely.

Don’t just share your book link, don’t, I see you’re about to do it, just don’t!

Instead comment on other authors posts, be encouraging, friendly, follow back and retweet stuff. Trust me this will turn more heads than anything else on social media and of course Twitter. Be genuine.

If you want my top tip have a real profile picture. This is a very simple and effective way to be genuine. People who don’t have an actual person as a profile picture have an incomplete stance on social media, plus it’s kinda creepy that you would wish to remain anonymous. Honestly show your pretty face, it can’t be that bad…

Be patient – okay this one might be a cop out, but good things like having sales and reads take time, commitment and books. Write more, dive into the words and don’t dwell on people who haven’t discovered your work.

Many many more things – there are a stack of more things that come into play with book marketing, perhaps for another post sometime. But don’t forget luck, the time of year, what’s happening in the world and many many more things need to be taken into account in book marketing…

The biggest challenge any author faces is not the writing but what comes after. Informing the world you exist is that challenge. Embrace it, go after it and more importantly don’t give up on it. Giving literature to the world is a gift trust me…

And if you enjoyed this post head on over to my resources section for more book promotion and marketing things!

And and before you go, let me tell you about my recently released self-help book that is packed full of information and guides on selling books all the way to social media. All you need for success is Consistent Creative Content.

 

Weekly Ramble 112

Winding down. For real this time. It has been a busy and intense journey but now I’m on my way out of that place to hopefully somewhere a little more calmer. No doubt the last year has been a fight to get my name and words out there but right now I feel like that fight is done and the best thing is, I’m happy with the results.

It feels nice to be able to sit back. By that I mean recede into writing more and more. I’ve got editing to do, I’m going to try and query agents at some point but the wonderful thing is about this stuff, the pressure is off. I was being pulled along by my aspirations to reach 10,000 Twitter followers and releasing a book. Both are now done and so I can relax. This blog wil continue to produce content, it is the pillar of everything no matter how many thousands of social media followers I have.

I’ll be present where I can but for now I’m content with relaxing a little. Maybe that desire to chase and chase and chase will be back again soon, but success is in the eye of the beholder in writing and what I see before me is all good things.

Guest Post: My Personal Journey as a Writer by Danielle Larsen

Introducing Danielle Larsen who shares an insight into her journey as a writer.

I never really thought of myself as a writer. Even now, with a published book, it’s still something I struggle with. I think it’s because I’ve always had this image in my head of what a writer is “supposed to be.” I picture Charles Dickens or Jane Austen sitting by candlelight hunched over pages and pages of handwritten stories. I see Jo March from Little Women feverishly writing into the night until her hand cramps up. I never thought that simply writing about myself was enough to consider me a writer.

Looking back, writing has always been part of my life, but it probably wasn’t in the way that most of my peers came to it. I was the teenager with endless journals and diaries, pouring my heart and thoughts into pages but struggled with writing assignments in school. If there was an opportunity for an alternate assignment that didn’t involve writing a paper, that’s what I was going to do.

When I was in college, my school had a habit of “personal reflection essays.” At the end of each semester, you had to write a paper for almost every single class reflecting on your journey and time in that class. Writing these small essays got me into the habit of looking inward and really putting my thoughts into something coherent. I fully believe this is what eventually led to my current blog, The Mindful Fight, which has been up and running for about a year and a half now.

But writing a memoir, even though people had told me that I should, wasn’t really anything that I thought I’d ever be able to accomplish. While writing any kind of book is a never-ending process of revisions, edits, and late-night writing sessions, when it comes to memoir writing you have to look so deep within yourself that the process itself is extremely exhausting. I knew that writing about my own story, which involves domestic abuse, would be something that would take a lot of strength and courage.

Even as I started writing, though, I doubted myself. The stories and words were pouring out of me, but diving into things that I’d long since buried was extremely difficult. I was finding that if a story was in my head ready to be written that I had to get it down or I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I spent many nights writing until the crack of dawn because of this. The process of tapping into these memories was exhausting enough, and I was burning the candle at both ends.

It’s been 6 months since my book came out and, if I knew then what I know now, I would have taken my time. I would have paced myself instead of subjecting myself to a constant flow of difficult memories. I had friends telling me to, but I simply couldn’t stop writing. This sounds like a good thing, but in hindsight it actually made the process harder. I would write a difficult story and then jump right into the next one. Then I would go back a few days later to reread it and it was like a severe form of immersion therapy: being constantly throw into the deep end hoping that I would swim.

Writing a memoir, no matter the subject, is something extremely personal and unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to explain how difficult it really is. Many people see memoir writing as self-indulgent and I simply don’t think that’s fair. It’s a weird thing to say, “Hey, this book is about me,” and hope that people will read it, but we wouldn’t tell our stories if we didn’t think they were worth telling. My story isn’t unique at all, but many abuse survivors never find their voice. I was able to find the strength to tell my story and my hope is that it can help others in similar situations find theirs. That’s why I called my book From Voiceless To Vocal because I went from being silenced to speaking out in the ultimate way.

As I sit here, with my book on a shelf over my head, it’s still hard to think of myself as a writer. Most of my peers are fiction writers and a lot of the time I feel as though I’m on the outside looking in within the writing community. It’s hard to consider yourself a writer when those around you are promoting their multi-book series and you have a 140 page book about your own life. But at the end of the day, I am a writer. I’m a published author regardless of what exists between those pages and even if I never sell another copy, I’ll always have that.

My advice to anyone struggling with their identity as a writer is to not compare yourself to your peers. Trust me, I know how difficult that is, but we’re all struggling with the same things. Even if you never publish a book or you have 20 by the time you’re finished, simply writing things and committing yourself to the page, regardless of whether others see it or not, makes you a writer.

Maybe some will disagree with that, but that’s part of being a writer too. Not everyone is going to love everything you have to say… but say it anyway. If you have a story you want to tell, tell it. Write the stories that you want to write because you love them and don’t worry about what might happen down the line. It might live in your computer forever or maybe you’ll become a bestseller, but you’ll know that you put those words down and that alone should make you proud.

Danielle’s inspirational memoir ‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ is available now and you can find out more information here.

Click on the book below to see my recent review and be sure to check out her website The Mindful Fight here.

Weekly Ramble #108

My author and blogger social media engine is running hot. While it has been an incredible ride to see so many awesome things align in recent times, its been an arduous journey. Most followers only really see the end product and the good statistics I share but beneath all that is just one person doing his best to hold everything together.

Around twelve months ago I took a vow to carry on through whatever this world threw us. We’re still in a very real pandemic situation that is still rocking our world to the core. Carrying on is my way of coping, perhaps even plastering over the cracks of doubt or uncertainty. We all have our mechanisms to cope but with those mechanisms comes the eventuality that they’ll break down and weaken. The reason I say my engine is running hot is because everyday I have been out there showing up and carving a following from near enough nothing. My social media following statistics are quite incredible but there is also a price and quite soon I am envisioning a slight step back. There are a stack of non-author things on my to do list and they are building up.

For every wonderful moment I have on social media every now and then I’ll come across something that effects my mental health. A bad engagement or even something I just scroll past can be a trigger and this becomes all the more prevalent when you spend more time exposed to it. For all the good things that have come from social media, I need a break, I’m fine, but I need a break and I need to go back to the writing…

Weekly Ramble #106

The past week has been an intense deep-dive into the editing of a book which is a month away from release. It represents the journey of everything I’ve learned and its intention I hope is to serve as the grandest gesture I can pay to the writing community and my readers – many of which are authors. After all, you folks made me, and you folks decided that my works were going to be a success.

I’ve become one with the journey which has now evolved into a quest. A mission to prove that not only I can find results in indie authoring and blogging but that everyone else can too, no matter where you start. Our words can stand on their own two feet and shoulder to shoulder with the rest of literature. A bold and possibly over ambitious goal but everything else I’ve achieved was and is just that. Not for glory, not for money but for the better of writing; that’s the dream I am now facing because as I said the journey has become part of me.

My numbers across the board have continued to rise and galvanise everything I’ve put into this book with hopes others can take some information and perhaps even leapfrog what I’ve done. That would be the true dream in all of this. Just how are my numbers rising daily? The support from you guys and just by being myself because good people are drawn to honesty. What you see with me, is what you get. No Twitter gimmicks, no controversy grabs, just plain honesty and a drive to help others. Honesty and being genuine always wins the day.

Blurb Reveal: ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ By Lee Hall

Okay, here goes the blurb reveal for Book 7 which is a self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Pre-order now for a discounted price!

Best-selling indie author and blogger Lee Hall shares his journey of experience in this part-memoir part-guidebook that aims to inspire and inform budding wordsmiths at any level. From the basics of blogging and authoring all the way to advanced social media methods and marketing; this book is filled with good practical advice, top tips and effective strategies. You’ll even find some never before shared resources to help navigate your way to authoring and blogging success in the social media age. Subjects include:

Basic and advanced blogging;

Basic authoring and a publishing overview;

Social media for authors and bloggers;

Book marketing and the art of indirect selling;

Book promotion strategies. Including worked examples;

Book reviews;

Building your own turning point and identifying when that ‘wave of success’ is coming;

Practicing self-care.

Plus, a whole host of resources with links to the various guides and tutorials Lee has published via his highly successful Hall of Information blog.

After selling hundreds of books and getting thousands of blog views, you’ll discover how Lee Hall published six books in five years through a detailed road map and how he put together the building blocks of success to sell books and gain social media traction. This easy-to-read guide will inspire the modern-day author and blogger to achieve the same by carving their own path and all you need is Consistent Creative Content.

‘You can do this, quite simply because I did and you might even leapfrog anything I’ve achieved…”