Weekly Ramble #47

Blog Post 301. Not a bad milestone to reach. I originally put this blog together to display my writing prowess and the ironic thing is my 300th post wasn’t really about my writing as such, it was about sharing my book promotional efforts to help other authors. 

Things only really start to move when a writer decides they are no longer an island. I mean I could go on and on about my books but between me and you and it isn’t the most riveting of subjects. It’s self centered to constantly talk about one’s stuff and the only real way we learn in life is by reaching out and listening to the trials or errors of others. My writing does the talking for me and how the reader interprets what I have to say is down to them.

My default philosophy when I have any writing ‘success’ is not to celebrate and wave it like a flag but to think how I am going to share with others how it happened. There is a historic reason why people help each other and it’s not for the recognition or for the spotlight; people help each other because it makes the individual feel good for doing so; I guess this only applies to the honest amongst us.

And when someone is honest they are representing the truth and the truth is something real and when something real it is something you can feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Words stacked against me…

It feels like the words are stacked against me, 

Get this done and maybe I’ll be free,

Right now the ending I cannot see. 

Miles of words to go until I can end this show,

Forward is the only way I know how to go, 

How I’ll actually get there, not even I know… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I write…

Many of us create to beat the blues,

So don’t blame me for the 2 star reviews.

Something I made way back when,

Words I’ve moved on from since then.

Although it may still be a piece of me,

Publishing it set those words free.

A thousand days of thinking it through,

Just to create something for you.

My stuff may never be your cup of tea,

But it’s not for you, it’s for me…

My New Book: A Retrospective

May has arrived, and for me this is the biggest month of my writing life! Darke Blood arrives in a mere few weeks so this entry is a dedicated retrospective of all things Darke. I will be talking about the story, the inspiration behind it and of course my extensive attack based marketing plan which is already in full swing! This is Darke Blood, a retrospective look.

image

 My first real television hero in life was female. Many of you will know whom I am referring to but before the days of the Avengers and the seemingly endless tirade of cape wearing redemption seekers there was Buffy Summers. One of the very first female leads in television that was perceived as strong and later on independent. This might not appear a big deal today but we still have a very long way to go in terms of diversity in all forms of storytelling,  although cliché does have a big factor to play in that but so does society.

created by

Joss Whedon created Buffy with a view to flip cliché and embrace the quirky differences many of us have. The real horror in a world of vampire slaying wasn’t the demons coming out of the hell mouth below the high school, it was the high school (something I used in Open Evening). A clever and different story followed from this premise with the introduction of a character orientated story and the ever important humour that brings it away from any real darkness. As the high school in Buffy crumbled so did the change of horror, now it was surviving college and struggling to date someone who’s actually mortal. Eventually it shifted again with adulthood becoming the real theme of Buffy, either way the characters had each other to deal with whatever life faced them and that is above all what inspired me to write stories, the resolve.

After finishing my first published novel Open Evening, there came a decision I needed to make. What next? Very quickly the genre of vampires and witches came to mind, but there were two reasons for this. Firstly I had always wanted to do vampires just to pay homage to my favourite television hero and secondly, these stories still sell and are arguably more popular than ever. If you look at TV and literature, in the last decade there has been more than one big time vampire or witch story . So to me this seemed like the perfect idea to step into.

I’ve already shared the somewhat painful drafting process Darke Blood I went through so I wont dwell on it but there was the question of what exactly does it pay homage to? Well, stories speak to people in different ways, go ahead and read a book you’ve read before, give it a few years and your perception, mood and current lifestyle all come to play in how you perceive it, sometimes it will even change.

As I have read through Darke Blood after the several edits and of course the back and forth with my editor, I think I have finally grasped what it’s about and what it really pays homage to. That being strong female lead characters and our need for them even more so today.

Hence I have come full circle in life, from sitting in front of the TV as a 12 year old kid on a Thursday night, to writing my own take on Buffy. And if you ask me Darke Blood is so much more than homage to a TV show which broke boundaries back in the day.

But isn’t the main character in Darke Blood male?

In essence there are two lead characters in Darke Blood one is male and the other is female. But throughout the narrative our female is the stronger and somewhat a leader, but it isn’t about breaking down those boundaries because Buffy did that, this is about that concept working alongside with the other.

What set’s Darke Blood aside from other stories of the same genre?

Well this book doesn’t spend the whole time paying homage to Buffy, it has an independent identity and my own take on vampires. We are all led to believe that vampire stories have to fit into a certain set of rules, rules which have just been there since the Van Helsing days. You know, using garlic and having to invite a vampire in. Instead of these tales of folklore, why not add a little science to vampires? Maybe even define vampirism as a disease which in fact could one day be cured. What if there was a blood substitute, after all it’s a chemical right?

Same goes for my take on witchcraft. If you break that word down, you are left with ‘craft’, so what if there were different particular crafts? Again I used the science route to redefine and somewhat invent my own version of magic but strictly keeping it close to a reality where this stuff could actually be possible.

Both vampirism and witchcraft are just sub-themes, as much as they are unique selling points that give the book it’s rounded appeal, the main theme of Darke Blood is identity. Main character Blake Malone soon finds conflict within himself as the realization comes apparent that his memory seems to be blocked. Along the way of trying to resolve this conflict he discovers the forces of vampirism and witchcraft accompanied by some very special nods towards Open Evening. I will say no more.

How are you going to implement Darke Marketing?

My first book was always going to be a trial and error experience. Many lessons were learned and a lot of stuff came up that I probably should have done but wouldn’t have been aware of unless I took the plunge into publishing (if you get what I mean?).

In terms of marketing as an independent author I am pretty much the General or architect of my own success. But social media is the king of book sales and so my efforts towards it have gone up tenfold this time.

What I have already done

Teaser Trailer

This was my first experience of making something like this and to be fully honest it looks okay. The whole idea of this trailer was to get the name out there and of course the release date. Over 700 people have viewed it so far, and if I can convert even a small percentage of that figure into sales then we shall be off to a good start. I even had some good people share it which is always fantastic so thanks to those that did.

Emailed my subscribers/ people I know who would like the book/people whose email I have

Yep if you’re lucky you may have an email from me in your junk box. This sort of thing is imperative to get the word out early. Loyal friends are great way to get in early reviews and get the ball rolling. Sign up now by following this blog with your email address to receive future stuff for free.

What will you be doing?

Book cover reveal blog post

Book cover reveal FB post

Book cover trailer (Maybe)

Facebook online launch event – invite people to share the link

Going live on FB- Maybe a Q and A if anyone actually cares (maybe)

Facebook Advertising

Goodreads exclusive UK giveaway

Ask some peeps to guest blog on my site

Incite people to take a book selfie – this really sold books last time

Press release to local and national press

Instagram posts (something that is book related and not just booze or food)

Email my loyal followers – sign up on this site today to receive future news first and even exclusive pre sale content.

So as you can see I have a huge list of stuff planned. This month there will be all hands on deck from me to give Darke Blood the best chance it has of being a success. I do hope you can join me, this story isn’t just about vampires, witches and identity. It isn’t just about a homage to Buffy or female lead characters. It’s about all of them and so much more!

A thank you to followers

The Hall of information officially opened for business nearly two years ago with a dedication to gaining more followers. With every entry over that time I can happily say that the follows have slowly crept up to 70. Something which two years ago Lee wouldn’t have thought a realistic thing.

My whole premise is to build a loyal following of good tasted people who will buy my book when it first hits the shelves this September. Yes, Open Evening will make its journey over the summer through a professional cover artist and professional edit. Hopefully a wonderfully polished product will come out the other side and will be something I am more than proud to share with you.

This blog is titled a journey to publication and it is during my year of writing that the destination is sitting just before the horizon now. A year so far which has seen me over come a high level of writers block type frustration along with adapting to being a shift worker. Things will just take longer to create from scratch from now on. My latest draft of a new title will hopefully reach completion with in a few weeks and maybe I will divulge some more info on that soon.

In other writing news my first play will make its way to the stage next week. Hotel doom stars an all talented cast of fine actors and actresses who have worn my writing like a glove. Their input has been amazing and we have a great show. It would be a shame if the audience numbers do not match the level of this show so if your in town next week then check it out here.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever supported me on this journey of writing. Whether you have simply liked a status, retweeted or followed me in some capactity I can only do this with your help. Let’s get some new faces out there on the shelves with decent meaningful stories to tell.

editing begins

Year of writing

Reflections of a writer director

I write this current blog entry after what has been a pretty damn disheartening week for me. Before I spend words moaning at life being hard and all I would like to say that this piece isn’t directed at anyone personally other than myself.
Although it would be easy to use social media as a vessel for sending subliminal messages I am very much an adult and won’t do such things. More over I would rather use this blog page as a way of just venting my current feelings and mood towards things.
First off let me just talk about my writing situation, this is a blog so nobody can interrupt, basically shut up and listen.

Since November I switched departments at work in order to chase better opportunities and more money.  Doing so meant that I no longer work Monday to Friday with weekends off. My work pattern is rather sporadic at best and gives no real stable routine. Something which my writing thrives under, or used to anyway. Gone are the days where I could come home and begin writing at six all the way through to half ten at night. Those times where I really learnt my craft and I look back on them as one great lesson in penning words.
Now my time is way more valuable, not only for me to write but to spend time with my nearest and dearest and of course to actually sleep. Saying that my writing in the past five months has reached a rather diabolically slow pace. If I am completely honest the current book I am trying to draft is a complete and utter shambles. Some of you are probably saying really is it that bad? My angle is that I don’t want to sell a shitty book, which is what it currently is.

Maybe I have just taken it a bridge too far especially after the last book I drafted literally flowed like water and in a matter of months it was done. Foolishly I thought maybe I could repeat that again by just going with a few loose plot points and deciding the take it from there. Perhaps an arrogant approach from me.

There seems to be a complete lack of inspiration for me right now which is holding my creativity down below the surface of rather stormy waters. Maybe in the books I have previously written I was just lucky to have the story already there, but with this project is just a brick wall. It’s frustrating as hell because I want this so damn much and there is some awesome points that this story could shine with.

Only if I can unlock the links between these few great moments is becoming an ever such a hard task.
More than once have I almost walked away from this project, but a very deep need to succeed and get it done is holding me onto it. Somewhere my inspiration lies, but where I still haven’t found out.  I don’t watch much tv these days which is one of my many vessels of inspiration for ideas, lets face it, UK Netflix sucks a big dong.

It’s been over a week since I even looked at the book I am trying to write and as that time increases it fills me with zero remorse for walking away. We’ll see.
To add to my already frustration and lack of writing inspiration for the new book, this week I was forced to make a decision which has caused my conscience to remain a little unsettled. Being a first time writer director of a play so far has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in life but saying that, this week I had to make a rather difficult decision. Maybe it has even cut a friendship from my life, I do hope that isn’t the case.

Things were pushed a little too far in my mind and action had to be taken, deep down I feel a little remorse but the in the long run if I want something to be successful sometimes a small sacrifice is worth the reward. I will do anything to ensure my writing isn’t put at jeopardy and the fantastic cast I have, my team which I cannot let down. Making this decision truly is best for business, but where do friends come in business. Only time will take its course for me to know that.

Until then I will try to throw myself back into writing a book which my heart really isn’t in. Maybe that’s a subliminal method approach seeing as it’s about vampires.

My book update : Options….

It was around March/February of this year I sent out my manuscript to the various powers that be protecting the gates to publicationville.

Only a few rejections have trickled back to my inbox since then. I did once receive a reply over a year since submitting, guess they are busy rejecting other writers. Not that I am bitter, these literary agents have to make a living somehow and choosing my crap maybe isn’t for them.

Slowly and in an orderly manner I am accepting the ‘standard’ way of publishing my book won’t work for me. The whole pander to an agent by telling them what my book is similar to simply isn’t my style, it never will be. Editing a book can only be done so many times. So in this ever growing world of reliance of internet I have to address my options.

Option 1

Self publish my book – This will involve mostly all costs coming out of my creaking wallet. Editing, cover design and formatting onto amazon are all things I am not a professional at. Therefore they will cost me. I consider this option my last resort, by that I mean when every other idea has been tried several times.

Option B

Keep hitting out to literary agents, maybe I will get lucky – This one is wearing thin right about now, but I will start a new campaign sometime later this year when my self-esteem has re spawned. Although like the lottery you need a ticket to be struck by lightning twice. I like those odds.

Option C

Crowd Funding – Let the ‘people’ decide – This depends on what crowd funding outlet I choose. Some you can just sign up and go where as others such as unbound you have to apply, in which I did yesterday. Thanks to Matt for pointing that one out to me.

Option 4

Give up, become a guy that used to write. Say that in bars in a half drunken slur to a much younger bright eyed version of myself – Although the promise of a constant booze top up sounds nice it isn’t viable for my liver or livelihood. Plus I’m better than that to give up now, I hope.

Option E

Mothball the Clark Thorn series – This is a very viable option, I started all of this as a back story for the Jack Thorn series, now I know that story I could just move on. I do have an idea for a horror story also.

 

Even after glancing at the options I have to keep going. The weekend after completing the first draft of my third book I am back editing the first one. Hey maybe combining the options could work, I may just get lucky and the good people of unbound may see something in my book. But I am definitely mothballing the whole being drunk in a bar thing.

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with social media

The Hall of information has been in the dark quite recently with no new material coming to fruition for quite some time. My efforts towards drafting Clark Thorn Rebellion (book 3) have taken center stage because a deadline for finishing it has been set! As of the middle of July drafting will be finished, my task from now is to pen around 30 to 40 thousand words and wrap things up nice n pretty with a bow and ribbon.

I don’t give much news out often because simply there isn’t. The life of an unpublished author is much spent trying to prove to the world that we are doing something. But a minute by minute update of ‘today I made a cup of tea and wrote 2000 words’ doesn’t make much for blogging entertainment. Much like writers can’t go onto the stage of Britain’s got talent and say they are that. There just isn’t a well spotlighted outlet for budding pensmiths to be noticed (not one that hasn’t pissed me off anyway), you get the self published ones who constantly (and I mean constantly) shove their books up on FB and twitter. They claim to be great and all but most of the time they followed me first, then you expect me to buy your book? I was just being nice by noticing your efforts and clicked like, don’t take the M out of Michael about it.

Social media is a circus full of people saying ‘me, me, me’ and quite honestly after a few years I just cant be bothered with trying to compete with the like mongering and share this and share that, follow me because I am somewhat relevant even though I live under another name and won’t follow you back. I’m a writer and that’s as far as I am willing to take it.

Right now social media for me is just for contact, the whole blogging thing is a bore to me because the train to publishingville hasn’t set sail yet and wont for some time. So this journey to publication much like British rail is currently delayed.

I like writing and will always write but I don’t like social media for what it has become, the land of bullshi**ers and people blowing smoke up their own rear end.

Maybe that’s me being reclusive but nothing would make me more happier than to live in a small community of close family and friends, write stories, send them to publishers and write the next one. I guess we all have that perfect scenario but that’s life.

Moan done, back to my laptop and the world that I control.

The amount of people who do take what I do seriously has stayed at a level amount for nearly two years. I don’t blame people for not taking me seriously, I haven’t been published yet and thus their theory is proved.  But for some of those people around me who do not believe I can write, I can only say two words to ya and that’s Hotel Doom. A play I wrote last year will come to life in the near future and people will finally see what I capable of.

The Woman in Black : Angel of Death , 2015 is here!!!

2015 has rolled around quicker than a turkey dinner hiccup and the Hall of information is open again for all of your blogging needs!!!!

So come with me again if you want to continue to live as I will be your guide from all things current affairs, movie reviews and of course book related as I continue my journey to find publication of my first novel Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project!

15

Happy new year from the Hall of information

A movie review! The Woman in Black : Angel of Death

Who said that cinema horror is dead? Well it’s certainly alive and kicking and extremely jumpy in some circumstances. But before I delve into reviewing I must make a side note.

 

Side note (notice how this note is to one side)

Before the movie commenced we were

exposed to a few trailers, one of them being

Insidious 3, OMG the trailer on its own made

many of the audience scream out loud! Including

Falcon Garman who was sitting next to me.

Back to the review:

So after our palpitation warm up we were ready for the sequel of 2012’s Daniel Radcliffe screamer! Here we are introduced from the very beginning to a rather sketchy looking house. Sort of ‘don’t go in there’ material. This sets the scene straight away that we will be returning to Eel Marsh house. Then we are taken to London 1941 and a group of young children including two teachers are being evacuated from the city. And guess where the local council are sending them!

woamn hous

Looking Sketchy

Now personally I feel uncomfortable with the whole kids being kind of hypnotized by the woman in black but it does make the story that much creepier. I refuse to give no more away as I feel this film carried on right where the first left off. It is mainly a lower profile cast but everyone involved works tremendously hard to capture the horror and of course the war time era that its depicted in.

Jumpy throughout this one is similar to the first but ultimately lifts the lid a little more on who the woman in black is and she’s still up to her old tricks. It’s a cinema film and works well in the dark. I recommend it. There were some occasions throughout the film when I would whisper ‘oh shit’ knowing that something was about to jump out. Part of the fun I say!

That’s my first film of 2015 but it wont be the last, Star Wars, Jurassic World, Hot tub time machine 2 and the Avengers age of ultron are all yet to come!

 

Next week the Hall of information will resume on it’s normal day of Tuesday

 

Pilot

It’s that moment, much like when you watch the first ever episode of a TV show you come to love years later.

Where it all begins, a wild eye medical intern called JD passes through the walls of a daunting hospital known as sacred heart. Or that moment a cartoon layabout and accidental time traveler meets a well-known robot bending unit, unaware he has just stepped into a suicide booth.. Yes I am referencing TV pop culture because apparently it’s appealing. I pity the fool who doesn’t use pop culture to entertain, ok I’ll stop now.

Many of us have those favorite shows we watch over the years but never see the pilot. We will have that eureka moment when we realise why something is the way it is. That is of course if you are lucky enough to be around for the first episode. For you this is that moment. The few people who are reading this on release date I salute you!

This ladies and gentlemen is my pilot blog and welcome all of you. Much to my dismay it won’t be paraded in front of television networks and selected for an autumn slot on E4. But it will be exposed to the people that matter the most to me and that is you. Thank you for taking the time to look at this member of the general internet public.

Welcome to the Hall of information.

Side note: Having read a self-help book recently it did advise coming up with a pun type name for one’s blog, I hope you like it.

Condescending paragraph about your surroundings:

As you can see I have constructed this page via word press who have kindly provided setting a template with colours and all that jazz. At the top of the page you can see some categories, they can all be clicked on and take you away from this (thank god, some of you are thinking.) To the right is a Facebook thingy and below that, a sign up doohickey to receive email updates of when the next installments of this blog comes out. I will leave it up to you to decide if you would like that service (do it for me). It will make the blog seem more popular to newcomers. Finally there is some kind of twitter feed. Anyway that’s enough of the surroundings.

Introductions Part 1

Most of you will know who I am to some degree, having been spammed by me over the last few years but in case you are a viral reader (not the diseased kind) let me introduce myself.

Lee Hall is my name and I am an amateur author. Having just recently changed my pen name slightly to L A Hall, this is because there is already someone famous out there called Lee Hall. He wrote billy Elliot and that is far as I will possibly advertise him. Back on to the subject matter, I have been writing since the age of 12. Mainly focusing the genre of science fiction.

I remember that rainy Sunday afternoon spent on an old windows 98 pieceofs**t (although windows 8 isn’t much better) and pecking away at a keyboard. Hence my first character and creation was born. Jack Thorn was the name and the story. Simple at first, about a guy seemingly talented in fighting robots.

That was the whole premise of what would snowball over ten years later into the Thorn legacy. I originally envisioned 3 Jack Thorn books but quickly the back story expanded so much it became 6. Hence Clark Thorn was introduced (Father of Jack). Are you still with me? Yes complicated I know but if I pull it off and it’s successful this will be short of what I class as a small miracle.
So, what is this blog about?

My journey towards publication of Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project. The various musings, trials and tribulations of an unpublished author trying to get his name on the bookshelves. Each week he will update the world trying to earn their following/pity.

The end
No this isn’t the end or is it Monty python in which this title was inspired by. But I really don’t want to bore you all with a long winded story about how I wrote a story. Story in a story we all know what many film fans will yell next! Incep…… We get it. So a little more of the history next time and even a picture or something.

Of recent I have decided that I will travel along the route of self-publishing. Now a lot of you will think last resort. I think the opposite, I see an opportunity here to build something from the ground up. That is why this blog has been created. A platform of access to my readership, a chance for me to convince you that I am a competent writer. Because I know fighting criminal robots isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but the material here might be.

Upon my many drives to and from work I have eureka moments or things that I think are clever (tractors on the road are not). My latest one is the following concept.

I can write a book but it is up to YOU to decide whether or not it is a success.

Therefore I need to connect with people on a basis such as this to gain a following and when launch day comes my posse will be there for me. That would be to buy my book, but that’s only if you like it.

So why? I hear you ask? What makes me want to read your book?

  1. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Or 2. (my preferred answer) Have you ever purchased a book or a music album that you were proud of discovering yourself?

Not in the sense of ‘gathering a crew of 20 strong men and sailing into the unknown’ type of discovering. I mean perhaps you read a book you really liked then you wanted it to do well. You backed it because you liked it. Then it hit mainstream audiences and you smugly say, ‘I discovered that before it was cool’, you proceed to put your hipster glasses on and sail off into the wind. (yes there are two sailing references in this paragraph) That’s the type of loyal followers I am looking for (not sailors, well If you are, alright if you must). People who helped towards something meaningful. People like me who are just normal, but there efforts towards something are extraordinary, much like Clark Thorn (clever that). Something that started out small but became a big deal.

If I’m gonna get published I may as well try to aim high. Yes, ladies and gentlemen that what this effort is all about. The only way I’m gonna get there is with help from my contacts. It could be you!!! (absolutely no relation to the lottery adverts, if you see a large hand pointing at you from the sky then run in an orderly fashion)(UK joke only I think)

Come launch day I would like a decent group of people to help me put a dent into amazon and help put my book on the map.

But if you don’t fancy what I have to offer you are still welcome here. It won’t just be about my first book and the trials of getting it published. This is a fun informative read for anyone to enjoy or try to enjoy anyway, ok just tolerate. Easy reading we could say with a slight edge of humour.

And that was it. Thank you for reading, do tell your friends, share it on FB but pleaaaaase actually say something about it instead of just sharing. Importantly and above all tell me what you think, this blog is for the reader and that is you!!
The actual end.

(and remember this is the pilot, so you the audience member can decide what worked and what didn’t, was it too long? The power is in your hands to tell me)
suicide booth