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. :)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Animals: Premium Children's Colouring Books

Here's something you may not know about me. Or rather, my wife. She loves putting together colouring books for our nieces and nephews. Be it a birthday, Christmas, or just because, she scours the Internet looking for black and white line drawings. She compiles them, puts them in order, prints them out, and ring-binds them to give to the kids.

It was our three-year-old niece's birthday this month, and of course, she got a colouring book (we bought her a "real" gift, too). When her mother did one of those "Kids' Interview" things with her, and asked her what her favourite book was, she said "The colouring book that Aunty Elmari gave me." That brought a lump to our collective throats, I can assure you!

But it also got us thinking. Maybe we could actually do this. If our nieces and nephews loved their colouring books so much, maybe other kids would, too.

And so, Premium Children's Colouring Books was born. We intend to do a whole series of them, each with a different theme. The first one, Animals, is out now:
This book provides hours of colouring fun for children (and grown-ups) aged three and up.

It's a beautiful A4 colouring book, comprising of 64 crisp white colouring pages. Adult colouring books are all the rage these days, but ironically, the children are being left behind. This one's just for them.

The book is currently available on Lulu for $3.60, but hopefully you'll be able to find it everywhere else online in a few months.

If it's a success, we'll be releasing the next book in the series quite soon (let us know in the comments what you think that next theme should be - cars? sports? something we haven't thought of yet?).

Are you interested? It would be great if, while you wait for it to arrive in your mail, you would go and add it to your Goodreads "Want to Read" shelf. Every little bit helps, to spread the word to as many parents as possible.

So, what do you think? Will this work, or is it just a waste of time and money?

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Book Review: Solomon's Porch by Wid Bastian

About the Book

A prison inmate caught in the crossfire between God and Satan
Peter Carson, a white-collar inmate at a low-level U.S. Federal prison camp, is given a vision by God to be shared with the world. The most unlikely of divine messengers, Peter is prophetically destined to provide the world with hope and miracles and to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Will the prisoner become a prophet?

Backed up by divine intervention, Peter is surprisingly supported by inmates, as well as the warden and famous theologians. Astounding supernatural events begin to take place all around the world, involving even the president of the United States. But Satan is quick to strike back, doing everything in his power to stop Peter from executing God's plan. The world holds its breath as the unbelievable takes place. Will the message be heard?

My Review (3 / 5 Stars)

This is a difficult book to review. I liked the story, but it wasn't anything like any Christian fiction I've read before.

In most Christian fiction, the protagonist believes in God (or comes to believe in God) as a given. He's there, in the background, and characters make their big life decisions prayerfully, trying to discern what God wants in a given situation.

In this book, it's almost as if God Himself is the protagonist, and there isn't a single scene, or practically a single line of dialogue, that doesn't mention Him. It's cool, don't get me wrong, but it took a bit of getting used to at first.

The writing's not great, and the style is often inconsistent. In some places, when a character speaks over multiple paragraphs, the author doesn't close the quotes at the end of each paragraph. In other such cases, he does. All speech is in double quotes, but sometimes, quotes within quotes ALSO use double quotes, and other times, they use single quotes. It makes it difficult sometimes to figure out who is speaking.

There are also some incorrectly used words, or even non-existent words ("alright" is a bugbear of mine - there's no such word).

But what bothered me the most was the author's treatment of swearing. Now, it's plain to me that the author believes that using certain words, in and of themselves, constitutes sinful behaviour. I don't agree with that view by any means, but I can respect it.

The problem is, that these words that the author considers sinful are "starred out", so you see for example, "s***" written in the text. It feels to me as if I'm watching a movie with the audio channel set to "Family". I don't know if you've ever done that, but I find it incredibly distracting, and after a while I just cannot concentrate on the story anymore.

There are plenty of wonderful books out there that don't contain any swear words, and I don't miss them at all. When they're there, but censored, you'd better believe I miss them! Honestly, if you're going to include something in your writing, don't censor it. If you're not comfortable including it uncensored, then don't include it at all.

The other problem with this approach is the subjective way in which the author chooses which words to censor. "Crap" is acceptable, but "shit" is not. "Ass" is censored, but "bitch" and "whore" are apparently quite okay to use, as is the word "nigger".

Seriously, nigger? Last I checked, Amazon refuses to publish reviews containing that word. Maybe Goodreads will too. We'll see after I hit Save.

Now as a Christian, I personally have a big problem with using the Lord's name in vain. I find it far, far worse than the odd "fuck" or "shit", but here, characters spout out "Oh my God" with impunity; even the non-Christians, and nobody rebukes anybody for that.

Other than that language rant, I enjoyed the story. I thought the theology was quite sound, and the ending was brilliant. It wouldn't at all surprise me if things actually did play out exactly that way, when the time comes.

But then, I'm a Christian, and I also take the existence of God as a given. As to a non-Christian? Well, I hope that God moves them to read this book, but I doubt many will. For those that do, I hope they can get past their prejudices, and that it will help bring them to salvation in Christ Jesus.

No, scratch that. I pray that it will. I pray that in all earnest.

Edit: I tried to paste this same review into Amazon, and it wouldn't post. Probably because of the word "nigger".

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Coming Soon: RBTL Blog Tour for Tales From Virdura

As you no doubt know, I've been incredibly busy over the past month or so, promoting the release of my new Flash Fiction collection, Tales From Virdura.

The book was on pre-order all of last month, and it officially released last week, on 1 June. And I'm pleased to announce that I'm going to be featured in a blog tour this month!

From 21 to 28 June, 2016, I will be featured on the following blogs:
If you're going to be online on any of those days, please do me a favour and pop in to say hi. :-)