“So much universe, and so little time… “

If you haven’t heard the news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s final trip into Discworld on the arm of DEATH  himself, then go forth and acquaint yourself. I’ll wait here while you google it…

Sir Terry Pratchett – RIP

I have been a Kevin (my own favourite designation for a STP Fan) since I started earning my own money and buying my own books – about the age of 13. I’d read the Bromeliad Trilogy when I was a little younger and loved it, so when I suddenly had the money to buy my own books, I jumped at the chance to pick up “The Colour of Magic.”

Reading it was like a light-bulb flickering into life in my head.

I’d always loved Fantasy (Eddings, Tolkien, Lewis, Carroll, Brooks, Le Guin all had been read and enjoyed), and I’d read a few comedic fantasy books through the library – Piers Anthony, Tom Holt and Dan McGirt – but nothing inspired my imagination like the gentle-fun-poking-at-fantasy-tropes that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series did.
I devoured each book as I read it and re-read them often in the few years before I went to University. I managed to hook my boyfriend on him as well and together we have spent many hours laughing at the jokes.

I managed to get the first 20 books of my collection signed and dedicated when the Great Man himself was doing a signing at a small indie bookshop in Plymouth. I was the only person there that had the whole set with them (I lived around the corner from the bookshop) and I waited four hours to have that moment with him – the film crew doing a documentary for Ch4 with him insisted I wait until the end of the signing…

He was polite and friendly (despite being very tired and having aching wrists) when we chatted and as he finished each book, the crew broke the spine (I still wince about it) and took a photo of the dedication before I could put it away. They were (and still are) my most prized possession.  I would be devastated if anything happened to them.

I met him again a few years later at another signing – this time with my young son in tow. Again he chatted to m e and I was as starstruck as ever.
I’ve bought every book he’s written (I’m still missing a few) and once my collection is complete, I will read and re-read them over and over again.

He was a great man and his journey into the black desert with DEATH is one of the saddest days of my life so far. He increased my love of reading a thousandfold, he inspired me to write my own stories and to share them with the world at large. He has given me joy and laughter with every book and I have found friends who enjoy those books as well.

I will raise a glass of appropriately strong alcoholic beverage to his memory later tonight (after the baby has gone to sleep) and more than likely, I will yet again cry as if a member of my own family has died.

So here is my Toast to him.

To the Words he gave us to read and the words he inspired in a generation of writers.
To the Fun and Imagination that he inspired in his Fans.
To the Creation of a World that will live beyond his lifespan.
To all the laughs, all the tears, the wits, the irony and his immense compassion.*
To a Life very well lived.*
“May his voice ever be heard, and his name ever spoken, for it is written no man is gone if his name still be spoken.”*

Rest In Peace, Sir Terry Pratchett.

Footnote –
* These lines came from fellow Kevins;  Andrea Núñez Molina, Crystal Jones and Rômulo Nascimento of the Third Person Group. They said it better than I did, so I borrowed their words… they can have them back now…

I’m getting irritated with Amazon…

I have a friend who is a writer. In fact I have several friends who are writers, but this particular friend is special.
He’s one of the few Indie writers that I will buy every book from, not just because he’s a friend, but because he writes exciting, intriguing, wonderful stories that always entertain and always have a different twist to them. I have collected every book so far and there hasn’t been a bad one amongst them!

…I’m aiming to buy them all in print as well…

If anyone ever asks me for a book recommendation, his is one of the names that I pull out, alongside Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. Yes, he’s that good that I rank him with those masters of the written word.

Now,  I am also a writer… what do you mean you hadn’t noticed?… and I quite often write reviews of books that I have read and enjoyed, because I understand that the writer needs those reviews. I never say anything that I don’t mean, but also if I don’t get on with the book or don’t like it, I just don’t review it – if I know the writer through FB, I might contact them privately, especially if there’s typos or whatever – but I was always told to say nothing if you can’t say anything nice…

And before anyone complains that I haven’t written them a review yet, I have a massive TBR list at the moment – it’s the main reason that I don’t actually do book reviews…

So the writer I am talking about published a new book – I’d pre-ordered it and as soon as it appeared, I started reading. I couldn’t put it down  (My fiance got quite annoyed with me) and I enjoyed every minute of the story. I couldn’t wait to write a review (I’ll post a link at the end of the post, stop looking at me like that.) so as soon as I could I headed to amazon and posted my review.

And this is where the irritation with amazon comes in.

Yes I’m a writer, but when I read, I am wholly and fully a reader. I don’t buy any books that I don’t intend to read, and I always read without my writing head on

I feel a bit like this fella sometimes…

so if my writing head reappears while I am supposed to be reading, then I know something is wrong. It actually happened to me the other day while I was trying to read a book by a fairly well known author – it’s disconcerting and usually means I will put the book down and forget about finishing it.

Anyway. I read as a reader. I review as a reader. I see nothing wrong with reviewing another author’s books, even if I know them as a friend. Except that… amazon sees that as a bad thing – this is in the review guidelines:

What’s not allowed
Amazon is pleased to provide this forum for you to share your opinions on products. While we appreciate your time and comments, we reserve the right to remove reviews that include any of the following:

Promotional content:
• Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively
• Sentiments by or on behalf of a person, company or web site with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)
• Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product
• Solicitations for helpful votes

Now, I understand that this supposed to stop people writing nasty reviews of other people’s books so that theirs looks better, but I never do that. I see that sort of thing as immoral and I wish that more people felt the same; clearly they don’t or there wouldn’t be such a rule.

Anyway, the upshot is that my review hasn’t appeared on the page with the book. Because I write books and compete for the same readers as my friend. There are enough readers out there to go round and I’m willing to share them.
Amazon doesn’t see it that way though.

So I am going to post my review below. It’s shorter than my usual ones:

5.0 out of 5 stars A return to a brilliant world by a superb author, 3 Feb. 2015
I didn’t think it was possible for Mr Booth to surpass the last Silver Magic book, but he has… the world is as bright and shadowed as ever, the Brother’s Grimm are still menacing yet entertaining and Glass has grown up a great deal, but still with that sweet edge to her sharp angles.

This book held me enthralled from the moment I started reading. I could see it playing out clearly in my mind, and it would make a superb TV series… if only the BBC had the budget to do it justice! I fully recommend this continuation of the Silver Magic world and will be picking up the rest of this series as soon as I can.

Go forth and enjoy his work!

*You may notice that my review has appeared on Amazon US… I have no idea why its on US but not on UK…

Grey and Grumpy day today – Help!

It’s Wednesday. Normally I’d be introducing you to a new writer or one that I really enjoy reading and there are several books that I’ve read recently that are worthy of the attention.

“Enchanted Glass” by Diane Wynn Jones for example. Her last published book , it is everything you expect from her and more. Or maybe Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” or “Fire”; beautifully written and superbly built fantasy worlds that draw you away from the hum drum of this reality.

There are so many books on my “To Be Read” list. I’m in the middle of M Cid d’Angelo’s “Dark Running” and enjoying it immensely. I’m eagerly anticipating Terry Pratchett’s “Dodger”…

…but to be honest, today I can’t be bothered.

It’s halfway through the second week of September. The kids are back at school and the autumn weather is starting to appear. I’ve been writing and enjoying it, even though I’ve had a few bouts of vertigo and headaches.

Maybe it’s the rain? We’ve had some lovely weather over the last few weeks and now we’re starting to get the chilly winds and wet weather of a welsh autumn. The colours don’t seem as bright under the grey cloudy skies and I can feel myself drifting on that downward spiral.

I’m tired from having to get up earlier than I’m used to, now that NOS is going to high school and needs to be checked before he heads out to the bus. Maybe this is the beginning of the SAD season? It’s possible; I do have more problems with my depression in the winter than I do in the spring and summer. It’s the whole reason my desk is next to a window, so I can get natural light.

It could be my finances. I’m juggling the family’s needs against the little that we get coming in at the moment and finding that there is very little leeway. That’s enough to depress anyone, I suppose…

I want to write and help to support the family, but I’m so scared of mucking it up that I can’t concentrate on the writing enough to make it good!

*sighs*

It feels very much like I’m on a treadmill, running to try and stay in one place instead of dropping backward or moving forward. I know I should be pushing myself to go forward, but it feels like I am on a bungee cord, pulling against me.

So there is only one thing for me to do. Start pushing myself and pull hard enough on the bungee cord to make it snap and free me.
How am I going to do that? Well for a start, I am going to publish a few more things:

“The Heir of The Dragon” is currently in Beta Reading Stage. I’ve drafted and redrafted it enough to be happy with it, but I need to make sure it’s perfect before I put it out there. So hopefully that will be out in the next three months.

I have a collection of Horror Stories that I hope to get out by Hallowe’en, I just need to format and get a cover done for them. That will be under A.E. Churchyard. Watch this Space

I have moved into the last stages of editing for “The Angel’s Crown”, so that should be available in the New Year.

I’ve started writing the next story in the “Tales of Cassius” series. I’ve got my characters all built up, so that will be out there in January as well, or sooner if I can manage it.

I would like some help please though…

I currently have two books out on the kindle shelves:

The Necklace of Harmony

My first story collection… a gentle introduction to my mind.

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes.

Do you remember this? Well it is currently languishing at #393,998 on the bestsellers listing. I’d like to get it up the ranks a little and for that I will need help. How? Well here’s how:

  •  Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so! I shall be doing a promotion to aid sales soon, but until then, please buy and read!!!

 

  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.

 

  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Necklace-Harmony-Collection-ebook/dp/B0079HL2FE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343998081&sr=8-2

The other book I published was this:

Tales of Cassius: Statues of Justice

Cassius Longinus has a long memory. He can remember over three thousand years and in all those memories, he cannot recall an atrocity like this.

New Texas was supposed to be a peaceful place where Reiskinn and Human could live side by side. That peace is shattered by the greed of a few and Cassius must put things right.

Brought back to society by a slave raid on a nearby village, Cassius is sent on a quest to retrieve the tribe’s women and children by the Tribal Shaman.

What he discovers when he finds them is beyond anything he has yet encountered…

Poor Cassius hasn’t even made it onto the seller list… he has however garnered a 4 star review:

“Justice must be served even if you’re three-thousand years old. Having witnessed humanity’s atrocities for that long time the hero, Cassius, puts an end to horrible wrongs inflicted by Earth colonists on the new planet’s natives. Can he bring overcome his thirst for vengeance and build a lasting peace? Can he validate the faith of the one who so touched his heart three-thousand years ago? Be prepared to want to read more.”
– Paul De Lancey, Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Cassius-Statues-Justice-ebook/dp/B008BKGPRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344120397&sr=8-1

What can you do to help Cassius gain a foot hold? Exactly the same as the list for Necklace of Harmony:

  • Have you bought and read it? No? Well please do so!
  • Did you answer yes to the above question? Have you written a review of the book on Amazon? No? Why not? It only takes a couple of lines to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you’d recommend it or not. I’m not asking for an essay (unless you like writing them) just a tip of the hat to tell me if I’m getting it right.
  • Have you got friends with kindles? Have you loaned them your copy? You can do that you know… and once they’ve read it, asked them to tell me what they thought of it.

I shall be sorting things out from my end, but please, if you enjoy my work or even if you only like my blog, then can you please go to the Amazon pages for both books and like them? Like the helpful reviews as well, and agree with the tags… It’s only a small thing, but if enough people do it, then I might actually be able to start pulling on the bungee cord, instead of fighting against the pull back.

The thing about the reviews is that we authors like getting them. I suppose that for us small independent authors, it’s a way of keeping score, of knowing how well you are doing and if it’s worth going to the trouble of publishing a new book. We write all the time – we can’t stop, but publishing, now that’s a different matter. As I said in my last post, there are hundred of words on my PC that will never see the light of day as a published book; I don’t feel they’re good enough, so they don’t make it out into the world.

Publishing something yourself, if you’re determined to make a good job of it, requires about ten times the effort of writing the story in the first place… so we keep score. We check our ratings and reviews and make daily decisions about our future as writers on them. It can get very depressing if you don’t have many readers…

*sighs*

The sun has come back out and I’m feeling slightly better than I did when I started this post. I’m going to go getAngel’s Crown” finished and ready for formatting…