Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Want Tales From Virdura Free?

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I would be taking a break from social media for a few weeks.

Well, I'm back, and I can now reveal why I was away: my wife and I bought a house!

Yes, that's right. After ten years of living in a third-storey flat, in a complex without a lift, we have a nice big house that we can lose ourselves in. Not only that, but we have an outdoors... and even a pool.

The last two weeks have been spent packing up the flat, and unpacking the house. We still have a look way to go, but we're getting there at least.

The most frustrating part has been (and still is) waiting for Telkom, our only fixed-line telephone provider, to install our new telephone line. They were supposed to come last week Monday. They never pitched, and I'm trying to get hold of them to hear why they didn't pitch, and more importantly to find out when they're going to install the line.

Oh well, while I wait, how would you like the chance to win a free e-book copy of my latest book, Tales From Virdura?

Enter the giveaway below. You have one week. Go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Why I Read E-Books

You know, the debate between e-book readers and print book readers borders on religious-level intensity. Even after all these years, it shows no sign of abating.

But one thing I've noticed is that the people who prefer to read print books tend to be the most vocal. Not just vocal, but downright nasty, often going so far as to accuse e-books of being "not real books", and/or the readers of those books as being "not real readers".

Personally, I read e-books exclusively. I haven't read a print book in at least five years. A couple of months ago, I tried, but I just couldn't do it. My eyesight is simply too bad. I can only read during daylight hours, and then not when it's overcast. Even when the conditions are ideal, I struggle to read the print - and it's not practical to go out and buy a large-print version of every book I want to read (even if I could find them).

Since making the switch, I've fallen in love with many of the other advantages of e-reading, too. The built-in dictionary, for one.
Being able to adjust the font size, colour, margins, etc. That's an obvious benefit, that's most often cited. I now prefer to read white text on a black background, and I find the traditional black-on-white very strange. The high contrast is far easier on my eyes. Not to mention the fact that I set the font size up to pretty much as high as it can go.

Of course, there's the knowledge that I'm carrying my entire library - hundreds and hundreds of books - in my pocket wherever I go. And the syncing across devices. I read on my phone throughout the day at work (during smoke breaks, toilet breaks, while waiting for meeting participants, and so on), and nobody needs to know what I'm doing on my phone. Which is just the way I like it because I'm a very private person and I don't like people knowing what I'm doing.

In the evenings, I pick up my 10.1" tablet and start right where I left off.

And to top it all off, I am no longer responsible for any dead trees!

I now read at least twenty times more than I used to before I discovered e-books (for all the reasons I've just mentioned above).

There really is no downside for me!

Having said all that, I'm not going to go around accusing people who like to read print books of being neanderthals, or backwards.

A book is a book. Who cares how you choose to consume it?

And this, of course, isn't even touching on the revitalised audio-book craze. Stephen King's quite fond of those, but I've never been able to get into them.

Everyone, please, can we just calm down and allow each other to enjoy our written entertainment as we see fit?

What do you think? Is there a right or wrong way to read? Please let me know what you think in the comments below. I'd love your input!

Oh, and in other news, I'm taking a bit of an Internet break for the next two weeks or so. I'll be around, but you probably won't be seeing any new blog posts from me until at least 23 August.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

My Billy's Zombie Proof Arrived

About a month ago, I announced the publication of the paperback edition of Billy's Zombie on Lulu.

It's been available on Kindle for almost two years, but I never thought anyone would be interested in a paperback version. Besides, I always thought it was far too short.

Well, I bowed to popular demand last month and put one up for sale. I solved the length problem by including The Witch of Wellington, a story out of my paranormal flash fiction collection, Heaven and Earth.

After putting it up on Lulu, I ordered a proof. It arrived on Friday, and I'm super happy with it:

It's now been approved for distribution, so over the course of the next few weeks, you should find it in online retailers all over the world.

You're welcome!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

How creative can you be in just 81 words?

That's the question asked of a new story sharing site (well, new to me, anyway) called 81words.

The site challenges writers to come up with unique, compelling works of fiction, in exactly eighty-one words. No more, and no less.

Readers can then log in to the site and rate and comment on each story, and the best stories stand a chance of perhaps being published in an anthology one day.

I've started submitting some of my own "81's". It's a lot of fun! Click here to see my submissions, and get rating, commenting, and writing.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Book Review: Mind's Eye by Douglas E. Richards

About the Book

When Nick Hall wakes up in a dumpster--bloodied, without a memory, and hearing voices in his head--he knows things are bad. But they're about to get far worse. Because he's being hunted by a team of relentless assassins. Soon Hall discovers that advanced electronics have been implanted in his brain, and he now has two astonishing abilities. He can surf the web using thoughts alone. And he can read minds. But who inserted the implants? And why? And why is someone so desperate to kill him?

As Hall races to find answers, he comes to learn that far more is at stake than just his life. Because his actions can either catapult civilization to new heights--or bring about its total collapse.

Extrapolated from actual research on thought-controlled web surfing, Mind's Eye is a smart, roller-coaster ride of a thriller. One that raises a number of intriguing, and sometimes chilling, possibilities about a future that is just around the corner.

My Review (4 / 5 Stars)

So this guy wakes up in a dumpster, and discovers he has no idea who he is, where he's from, or how he got there.

He quickly figures out that some very dangerous people are out to kill him, but he doesn't know why. He learns this based on a very strange ability he also realises he has: he can read people's minds.

While on the run, he meets a woman, and a romantic entanglement ensues.

If you think you've heard this story before, you may be right... but you've never heard it like this before!

The tale is woven so beautifully, so effortlessly, that everything feels completely natural, and nothing is forced. I was carried away by this story, and fully believed every scenario presented to me. Even the ending, while maybe a little far-fetched, was perfect. It took me totally by surprise (I did NOT see it coming), but everything was explained so thoroughly, I was left absolutely satisfied.

The writing and editing are flawless too, and there's not a single typo, glitch, or plot issue that I can remember.

This truly is a marvelous book, and my hat's off to the writer.

There's one tiny detail, that caused me to dock a star off my review. The Kindle edition which I read doesn't have a linked table of contents. That's important to me, because it means that my Kindle wasn't able to tell me how much longer I had to go in a chapter. It's not an issue in a print book, where you can easily flip forward a couple of pages and figure it out, but it's almost impossible in an ebook.

But no matter, that's easily fixed. Again, great book. Technothriller fans, stop what you're doing, and go read it. Now.

Buy Now

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

25% Off My Books at the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale 2016

From 1 to 31 July, 2016, Smashwords will be holding their annual July Summer/Winter Sale, with massive discounts on e-books.

July is mid-summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but what those northerners often forget, is here in the South, it's the middle of winter. And it is cold!

I love this annual Smashwords event, because I appreciate their inclusivity. So if you, like me, find yourself huddled under a blanket at this time of year, why not read a book?

How it Works

Each book enrolled in the promotion has a coupon code associated with it:
  • SSW25 - For 25% off
  • SSW50 - For 50% off
  • SSW75 - For 75% off
  • SFREE - For 100% off
When you click on a book that's part of the promotion, Smashwords will tell you what coupon code you need to use, and what discount you can get. Click the Buy button, and follow the instructions. Don't forget to fill in the coupon codes when prompted.

My Books

This yeaqr, two of my books are enrolled in the promotion: A Petition to Magic and Stingers. And then of course there's Billy's Zombie, which is free anyway. See below for the links (click the cover or title to visit the book's Smashwords page):

Price $1.49 $1.12
25% off with code SSW25

Queen Celeste rose to the throne of Virdura a month ago, after the sudden death of her mother.

Desperate to prove herself, she agrees to hear the case of a simple farmer who claims a neighbour stole his cow.

To help her in this task, she orders her chief advisor, the royal wizard Solon, to cast a spell and divine the truth for her. Solon, however, is keeping a terrible secret.

Price: $1.79 $1.34
25% off with code SSW25 

Thirteen year old James Clarke is always being picked on in school. He hates sports, and he particularly hates Stingers, a schoolyard game in which children throw tennis balls at each other. The other kids always seem to throw the ball harder, when it's at him. 

One day, James' mom phones the school to try and put a stop to the bullying, but it only gets worse.


Young Billy MacIntyre has always been a weird kid, always taking every little slight to heart.

One day, he decides that he's had enough of the relentless mocking and bullying at school and around town. 

He decides to exact his revenge on all those simpletons who have done him wrong. And he does it by taking a book of Necromancy out of the library, and raising a zombie from the dead!

Other Books on Sale

Besides those books, there are literally thousands of other books in the catalogue, all with discounts ranging from 25% to 100% off. For the full list of books on promotion, click here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The RBTL Tales From Virdura Blog Tour is Over. Were You There?


So, my first ever blog tour is over, and I have to say, it was quite a rush. In case you missed any of them, here are the direct links.

Read Between The Lines
The Book Quarry
Andrew Jericho
My World
Ramblings of a Book Nerd
Dante Eternal's Virtual Bookshelf
Between the Pages

Click the links to view the posts, and let me know you did by posting a quick comment. :)