Weekly Ramble #148

It can be tiring sometimes. With the constant social media presence and content creating, that is whilst also trying to survive a world that is seemingly getting darker and worse every day. That’s how it seems anyway. Not so long ago I revelled in the fact everything went quiet for those pandemic quarantine days, now things have come back to full capacity, they seem to have returned even busier and harder.

The anxiety seems to come frequently these days and is triggered by the sometimes inane things. From an unwanted letter in the mail to a bad interaction whilst driving. This world isn’t exactly forgiving right now. Then you’ve got the politicians making decisions that really don’t seem to make sense. It really is a weird time if you think about it deep. Times keep shifting for the worse it appears, just when things start to quieten down, it gets noisy again. The disruptions are probably the cause of that anxiety and maybe I do just need to stop for a while. Take my foot of the gas and just breathe.

This week I’m in need of a recharge and unwind. Perhaps I’ll dust off the games console and escape that way. It has been all work and no play recently and well you probably know what comes from that. Stay strong loyal followers.

1000 Blog Followers Special

Blogging has been a journey that’s served as probably the greatest companion and outlet for my creativity. This Hall of Information blog began life as a plunge into the unknown to create a presence and a home for my writing online. It pulled me along when nothing else did and eventually over some years it became the central pillar of everything Lee Hall.

This post is a short reflection on reaching 1000 WordPress followers which is a huge number for a WordPress blog and a powerful thing that has kept me inspired to simply keep going. Over some years I found my creativity, my consistency and of course my content through this blog and eventually it began to turn the needle for me. There are so many lessons I have learned over the years on this journey and this blog has been there for all of them.

Like many of my successful moments, they are defined simply by the fact I have just kept going, kept chasing and kept learning. Along the way I gained you, a loyal follower and reader, someone who answers back from the void that I was seemingly shouting into all these years – the secret ingredient to all of this. I am living proof that blogging can be a success if you work for it and part of this journey would be nothing without this Hall of Information blog – a hub and account of my journey told in real time. And time is what it takes for anything good in this world along with good people to help me, you.

There are a plethora of influences who have shaped my blogging success, from those who nominated it for awards to those who might just be silently reading without ever engaging with me – both and everyone in between is fine for me and no matter who you are, as long as you are kind, you are welcome at the Hall of Information. From the day in day outer’s who I see blogging everyday to the occasional creator, the interactions I have had over the years with all of you have given reason and meaning to this sometimes hard journey.

From then, now and to the future, thank you for supporting me. I have learned so much from what you have given me.

Self-Help Book Rec’s

If in doubt there’s probably a self-help book out there for it and so this post is dedicated to some of the self-help books I highly recommend. From writing craft to the finer details of marketing to even changing the way we think, let us dive in.

‘Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ By Catherine Ryan Howard

If there was one book that paved the way for this blog’s very existence, it would be this guide by Catherine Ryan Howard who has since gone on to have massive success with her writing – I’m talking six figure publishing deal kind of success, and my journey was inspired by Self-Printed which is a guide for both authors and bloggers. The writing style is fun and its a great insight into what it takes to self publish.

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ – Stephen King

Say what you like about probably the greatest American story-teller of a generation and seemingly it appears to be the fashion to not like him in some circles but Stephen King has put together a fantastic guide that is both craft and practical based. I’d say that anyone who is looking to get more from their writing should invest in this one, its not even that long for a King book, so win win.

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

Keeping to the theme of shorter guides, ‘Break Them All’ refers to unlocking the potential of your own mind by overcoming things such as ego and ambition in a positive sense to be a better person. Easy to read and also intelligent, this different but great guide is well worth a look.

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

I discovered this guide via Reedsy Discovery and ‘Lazy Creativity’ kind of normalises the fact that its okay to be lazy in your creative endeavours. Its detailed and covers many different types of creativity from the view of an artist who is also therapist. It certainly opened my eyes.

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book focuses on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. Highly recommended.

‘The Art & Business of Writing: A Practical Guide to the Writing Life’ by Chris Jones

Chris Jones lays out his tenured journey in the writing industry while generously passing on his wisdom in an easy-to-read guide full of resources that will either help or reassure the modern writer or both. Many other guides suffer from over informing or throwing way too much at once to the reader but here we get a fine balance between just the right amount of information and a tone that is friendly and consistent.

And so that wraps up my self-help book rec’s. Thank you for reading!

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith – Review

An imaginative and highly original tale about first contact with corporeal beings from another world some of which are already here….

Pat Griffith takes readers on an original and unexpected journey that begins in one place and then takes a direction I did not see coming. A group of high school aged friends spend an evening camped out in the woods for some stargazing and experience something none of them could have possibly expected. And then there’s first contact as the real story kicks in.

The light around them dimmed, eliminating the shadows. The sun grew cold and the wind blew harder. As they looked up, gravitating toward each other, there was a mutual, unspoken question between them: What in the world was that?’

The pace suddenly quickens as its apparent this fallen meteorite contains life that has a unique invisible ability to spilt and take over a human mind. This life even has a conscience and thought process even if it does find the human anatomy seemingly foreign. After hitching a ride on their nearest hosts the chase begins as the authorities are informed – the FBI who usually turn up to these things are on the case and then comes the realisation that some of these beings were already here, hiding amongst us. The focus is on the human mind and how it can be altered or even intercepted to the point where they (the humans) are no longer in control.

Through the vessel of some wonderful description and heaps of originality we are taken on this ride of chase and hide adventure as these beings intercept and try to run. There are even those in authority who have succumbed to the effects of them. What they want is never really known but does it matter? Perhaps not because like all life, that’s probably what they want, to live. There are brief shades of Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with a less horror-esque tone and more of a focus on that corporeal life that silently takes on a human host.

For anyone looking to read an original sci-fi adventure about life from another planet that intercepts life on this one, this is definitely one for you!

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Ramble #146

Just a few years back the concept of reaching 30,000 Twitter followers is something I would have laughed out loud at. Not anymore. And this journey has known zeros often but not today because I’ve reached that once impossible seeming milestone on the platform.

Of course and above all, this has not been a solo effort or journey. Much like all of my successes, they have been governed by others. And the help of others is what has pushed me to go further and dream bigger. I am nothing without the fantastic support of you and the now 30,000 followers who give me reason to keep going. This creative journey has been hard and every now and then it does bite me on the rear end but, the rewards are huge and this is a defining turning point.

But how? And what advice would I give to anyone looking to grow on social media as a creative? Just be open and do your best to build conversational bridges. My agenda has never really been to make money – I suppose that’s what has driven me to try and find something else and I have, conversation, support and consistency, they are just three of the many elements that make up the factors of my Twitter success. If you can offer something, someone out there will probably be motivated to take it. That and the sheer will to never ever give in, no matter what adversities I’ve faced internally and externally. Rewards come to those who work and keep going.

There is a hell of a lot more to come from me and you can expect a lot more content based on my Twitter experiences soon. For now, be sure to check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here.

Thank you for the support!

The Teleporter turns 4 Today

Time flies when your busy reading, writing, tweeting, blogging and just trying to survive this world. Today marks the 4th anniversary of when I took a huge plunge into the unknown by releasing a super hero comedy novella called The Teleporter. Today, it is my most successful book.

The truth is, I really wanted readers to enjoy and find something within that at least made them laugh just once because comedy has brightened my life so much over the years and if you can laugh at just one thing every day, even if it is in the mirror like me, then you’re probably doing okay. Back when I began this indie author journey, there were just two stories that kept nudging me to write them, one of of which became my debut and the other became The Teleporter which at the time and probably even now is a far cry from my usual genre of horror, thrillers and stuff that seems darker in tone. When I wrote it, I just wanted to have some fun and come away from those darker tones.

There is a lot of advice going around in the writing industry about staying in genre and not pushing boundaries too far from your usual stuff but The Teleporter goes against that grain and took me out of my comfort zone. While some ‘industry’ advice does work for all, following your heart and your creativity is important because anytime I have created out of my comfort zone, things have eventually gone well. After an initial release that saw less than 20 sales in the first month, I was convinced very early on that I had failed. 2018 Lee was a different, less patient creative who had no idea about the path that was coming.

It is never too late for a book to find success and The Teleporter is proof of that because just over a year after release, BookBub selected it for a featured deal. A BookBub featured deal is a huge thing for any author and is often referred to as the holy grail of advertising deals. For a very small time indie author to have a book I thought nobody liked selected by BookBub was a truly special moment and then in 2021 they selected it again – at the time, it had around 20 Amazon ratings. These two moments are what I always draw to whenever I have any doubts because if a site like BookBub who often feature literary giants like James Patterson and Stephen King say yes to my book, well then I must be doing something right.

And today there aren’t many doubts about this book which was downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day for that second featured deal. Just some days later it then became a Best Seller on Amazon and just months after it hit 100 Amazon ratings. Every month since that second deal which was the best business decision I’d ever made, The Teleporter has always sold copies and to me is the greatest proof that it is never too late for a book to find success.

To all of those who have supported this super hero comedy, thank you.

You can read all about how I secured that 2nd BookBub Featured Deal here.

Weekly Ramble #142

Its okay to do nothing sometimes. In this world where being busy is pretty much the norm, taking time away from that hustle and bustle is good for you. That’s what I’m doing my best to convince myself with right now because I am currently between projects and its quite nice.

This year I’ve been running hot with social media stuff or content stuff and now things have found themselves wound down for the time being. Many of us pride ourselves on producing stuff all the time but stopping and taking a look around is a healthy way to recharge. I’ve got seven books published and they are all assets that are serving me well. I could easily take a step away from putting out anything new for a while and still be able to feel the benefits of a backlist.

The engine room of all my efforts and presence is Twitter where right now new followers are coming in at around a hundred a day, that’s a huge amount and something I find incredibly rewarding. With that many new eyes on my work there’s opportunity in those numbers. While I say I’m between projects right now, I am still working towards my Patreon Twitter coaching audio sessions where something should appear rather soon. And of course I’m moving towards my 8th book but right now I’m enjoying the quiet.

Weekly Ramble #141

Indie April is here! Which in recent years has become quite a spectacle for fellow indie authors to celebrate their works and support each other. Even those outside of the author bubble jump on board for a month that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. You’ll find me across my platforms supporting fellow indies in as many ways as I possibly can because this author support train does not stop!

To anyone who does support indies like me or for any month of the calendar year, thank you! To those who have releases this month, best of luck!

Outside life things have been keeping me busy for the past few weeks or so but now I am back for more blogging, book reviewing and of course social media-ing. 2022 has already been an extraordinary year for so many reasons and while it does appear to be passing rather quickly, I am ready to seize every opportunity to keep on rocking and writing in the free world! Have a great April!

‘Powerless’ by Vicky Ball – Review

A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…

Vicky Ball delivers a twisting tale that carries a plethora of darker themes while being executed in a page-turning style that hops back and forth in time with dual P.OV’s. Ball does everything to tell this story and succeeds. As readers we are shown just enough to suggest what is happening beneath the surface of a story that tackles the themes of naivety, coercion, trauma, addiction and of course danger that is a lot closer than first realised.

When ‘Beth’ returns home after several years after disappearing it brings up all kinds of questions and contention that places her younger sister ‘Abby’ on a twisting path of realisation. There is a lot to unpack and it happens gradually while the twists appear unexpectedly. Perhaps this a cautionary tale for those who are younger to not be so trusting to those who clearly want something – a powerful message aimed at readers of a certain younger age who will get something from this book. What we are shown is just enough without glorifying or even exploiting the many issues the reader and characters face. The concept of ‘Businessmen’ simply casts a long enough shadow to suggest what is really happening and the message being about trust.

With a story that goes full circle, Powerless is a thrilling and twisting tale that will take readers on a dramatic and sometimes unexpected ride.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 6

Its been a while since I last did one of these but I have been reading again, and most of which were indie books. Let us dive in and take a look at some recent awesome indie reads that I recommend!

Fee Simple Conditional by H.C. Helfand 

A gem of a read about life, love and land…

Full Review

Escaping First Contact by T.S. Beier

Original and imaginative space sci-fi full of depth and immersion

Full Review

The Art of Reading: How Reading Can Help You Become a Better, More Productive Writer by J.D. Cunegan

A relatable and open guide about reading to improve your writing…

Full Review

The Art & Business of Writing: A Practical Guide to the Writing Life by Chris Jones

A valuable easy-to-read resource for the modern writer

Full Review

A Twist in the Rift by Meg Radiant

Original page-turning sci-fi with unlimited portals of potential…

Full Review

Summer of ’77 by Rebecca Amiss

An easy-to-read heart-warming story of friendship and nostalgia

Full Review

And so that wraps up another long-awaited edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Thanks for stopping by and peace out!