marketing novels, novel, sci-fi, science fiction

Smashwords Book Sale – 75% Off!

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A quick post to let you all know that from now until the end of July, both my current novels are available from Smashwords at 75% off!

That’s $1.57USD a book (local country prices will vary, though will still be 75% off).

Multiple e-book formats are available, so get a copy while the going’s good!

And don’t forget, I’m just a struggling indie author, so if you enjoyed your read, be sure to leave a review. Believe me, it helps a load. ✌️

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film review, movie review, sci-fi, science fiction

So Long Solo

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I did a mad dash to the cinema the other week to catch Star Wars’ Solo before it ended its run.

Overall, it was an OK film. Alden Ehrenreich did well as the young Han, and as the film progressed he slowly developed Solo’s customary swagger. It was interesting to see how he came to be named Solo, and how he got into the life he did, and the film made for a nice little background story. So you didn’t miss key moments in his past that link back to the original franchise, the original Star Wars strain would play, you know, as an annoying “hey, this moment is important!” to the audience 🙄.

I guess I’ve been spoiled by the likes of Avengers and Deadpool, where the humour is apparent and frequent (or in the case of Deadpool, thick and fast), and I forget that other science fiction films are less in your face. As is the case with the Star Wars franchise, where action and storytelling are at the forefront, and the occasional humour elicits the meerest of smirks. This was true of Solo, so if you’re after a laugh-out-loud kinda film, this ain’t it.

That being said, it’s an enjoyable addition to the franchise, though I can see why it may have stalled at the cinema. It’s a slow runner of a film, and to be honest, we’re being a bit saturated with Star Wars film of late, what with the trilogy. I know the same is more than true of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (3 films a year y’all!), but as I said before, they’re a different kind and calibre of film, which is possibly why ‘offshoot’ films continue to do so well (though time will tell with AntMan and the Wasp).

Still, I’m glad I caught it, but I hope they stop and have a think before releasing the Boba Fett film they’ve had in the pipeline, as I have a feeling that could do worse at the box office.

As a Marvel side note. I’m happy to report that the Paramount channel has come to UK TV (including Freeview). Why does that warrant mentioning? Because it brought with it Marvel’s Agent Carter.

Set shortly after the war, and Captain America becoming a popsicle, it sees Peggy Carter relegated to secretarial duties in the SSR, and having to deal with the misogynistic headache that comes from that. Then Howard Stark is accused of treason, and he drags Peggy into the fray to help clear his name, along with the help of his butler, Jarvis. I enjoyed the first episode, and it was cool to see where ‘Jarvis’ came from. Hopefully Paramount will see fit to run the first season in its entirety, and the second season quickly after, but it’s a shame it’s another Marvel TV series that got cancelled too soon.

Book Review, Manga, sci-fi, science fiction

Monthly Reads – June 2018

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June’s been a bit of a chill month reading-wise. No long, grandiose novels, but rather two more instalments of the Death Note series, an X-Men comic, and a Marine Conservation Society magazine (which, in all honesty, I skipped through the majority of).

I’ve noticed that with the new storylines on the offing, the Essential X-Men comics have been reformatted, and are now 51p dearer. That extra few pence does, however, get me a marginally longer read (75pgs vs 69pgs) and a thicker spine with the volume info written on it (making it easier to find these instalments amongst my 100s of other volumes).
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Part 5 and 6 of Death Note has Light relinquishing his Death Note, and with it, all memory of Ryuk and his past as Kira, allowing him to help L track down a new Kira who’s appeared and is systematically killing of businessmen. I’m still enjoying this manga series very much. Book 6 also marks the half-way point in this novel series (there are 12 books altogether) so I’ve still got some way to go till I reach its conclusion.

The rest of the month has seen me go back to my DVLA books, as I’ve got my first driving lesson scheduled for the beginning of July (eep!) and I need to take my theory before then (or at least after the first couple of lessons), and I’ve pretty much forgotten everything I learnt from last month’s read-a-thon (stupid brain!). So back to learning I go!

author, novel, sci-fi, science fiction, writing

Bird Song and Second Drafts

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I’ve finally finished the second draft of my third novel. Seems like it’s taken me an age to read through it, and I’ve realised I’ve not included a prologue, so if I’m to keep in line with my previous novels, I need to write one. However, I’m going to put the manuscript to the side for a while, otherwise, with plenty more rewrites to come before I publish it, I’m going to start getting sick of what I’ve written, and that’s not going to help me approach it with an objective mind.

Still, I did get one piece of motivational good news, and that is someone’s bought a copy of my first novel. It’s the first sale I’ve had in about two years. So if you’re wondering if self-published authors live a glamorous life of multi-million dollar sales, no, we don’t! Writing is a labour of love with very little returns.

In other good news, the house martins have returned (again). Mum and dad managed to survive the attack on their nest, and the decimation of their first brood, and after a couple of weeks of being MIA, they came back to the nest. Dad sang the song of love, while mum cleaned the nest by kicking all the crap out of it at such an angle that it rained in through my open window. Charming! They then shored up the nest by fixing the hole, and on Sunday, they spent their first night back in it. I know, because their squabbling woke me up at 1am.

What’s interesting is they seem to have returned with reinforcements. There’s been a couple of other house martins flying about with them, and trying to get into the nest. It could be that they’re some of last year’s brood, as they do stick around to help with the next clutch, but that’s usually a clutch within the same year of them fledging, not the proceeding season. A year on, last year’s young should be setting up their own homes, with male chicks nesting close to the parents, and the female chicks buggering off to pastures new. Perhaps these guys have failed to find partners, and have decided to stick around with the parents instead. I just hope this new batch survives, because at an average lifespan of 1 – 2 years, mum and dad haven’t got long to go 😔.

author, marketing novels, novel, sci-fi, science fiction, Uncategorized, writing

Big News!

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I can finally reveal why I’ve been silent here for so long, and the reason is, I’ve been hard at work prepping my novels for release in paperback form. All you old skool book lovers (and in all honesty, I don’t blame you if you are) can now get your hands on a physical copy of my first two novels! Woo-hoo!!

And boy, has it been a labour of love…or should that just be ‘been a labour’…to get them ready. First, I updated the ebook editions, giving them another thorough once-over with various grammar/spell-checkers, plus giving in, and introducing the Oxford comma to the text.

Next was the preparing of the covers for Amazon CreateSpace. The cover for Warriors Made of Glass wasn’t too much of an issue, as I’d saved it with excessively high dpi for the ebook. It was A Candle Amongst the Stars which was the bugger, as its size and dpi was the minimum for an Amazon ebook; therefore, too low for the cover, so I had to go about manipulating it in GIMP to try and up the count without distorting the image noticeably. Hopefully, it’ll come out alright in print.

Then there was the formatting of the manuscripts themselves, and I used Amazon’s Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word to automate the process. The app is in Beta, and though it streamlines the process nicely, it crashed A LOT, so if you’re thinking of using it for your own books, save your work regularly! Again Warriors Made of Glass behaved itself, and I got it exported as a pdf pretty quickly. A Candle Amongst the Stars, not so much. For some reason it wouldn’t behave when it came to page numbering, choosing to start at page 2 instead of 1. After several hours of swearing, I found a simple (typical!) solution (I manipulated the footer by hand) and managed to export the pdf before it changed its mind.

So there we have it. My novels are now in printed format. You can find them on Amazon here: A Candle Amongst the Stars* and here: Warriors Made of Glass*. The links take you to Amazon UK, but they’ll be available from your national site too.

Also, I’m planning to do a freebie offer on the ebook versions soon in celebration, so stay tuned for that!

 

*Links via AmazonSmile. Please read this notification for more details.
film review, movie review, sci-fi, science fiction, Uncategorized

Thor-some Sauce

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I managed to go and see Thor: Ragnarok the other night, and boy was it awesome. The laughs came thick and fast, and there was plenty of action. The Thor series definitely went back to its roots, but this time without the tepid love action courtesy of Jane’s inclusion, which I always felt was a bit weak and shoe-horned in.

Honestly, I would have given Thor: Ragnarok 10 out of 10 on IMDB if it weren’t for two minor things. First, Cate Blanchett’s Hela was rather hammy (why do women badies have to chew up the stage so much?). Secondly, Bruce Banner was more ‘bumbling’ than he has been in the past. That being said, if I could’ve, I would’ve given this a 9.5 as these are pretty minor gripes compared to the film as a whole, which was fantastic.

Overall, I think this is one of the best entries into the MCU, beaten only by the original Avengers film. Actually, they may even be level-pegging. So if you haven’t seen this instalment, do so. You won’t be disappointed!

Book Review, Open University, sci-fi, science fiction

Monthly Reads – October 2017

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

[The Three Laws of Robotics: Issac Asimov]

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I’ve finally read I, Robot! And none too soon, as I’ve been breezing ahead with my Open University material, and I’m now several weeks ahead in my TM129 studies.

I have to say, the way the book is structured is completely different to what I was expecting, having only ever seen the movie. I’d read that it was laid out in a series of short stories, but I didn’t realise the stories had no real bearing on the movie of the same name.

In reality, the book revolves around an unknown interviewer, and his questioning of Dr. Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist at US Robots. She relates, through these short stories, the evolution of robots and robotics through the mid 21st Century. Simultaneously, the actual writer of the stories, Isaac Asimov, explores his three laws of robotics, and how they interplay with each other in unusual situations, or if their precedent with respect to each other is changed.

Still, despite the stories being completely different to the movie, I found I, Robot to be very interesting, and in places gripping. It gives the reader an idea of what the future of human and robotic/artificial intelligence (AI) interactions could be like, with family companions, superintelligent robots, mind-reading robots, anti-robot laws, and humanity-controlling ‘machines’ being considered through its chapters.

The narrative does come across as a bit aged in places, with characters smoking in buildings, and robots saying “golly”, but even so, Asimov’s view of the AI of the future is pretty believable. However, in reality, we’re a long way off in terms of the types of AI Asimov conjures up in his book. For example, Google’s AI is apparently no smarter than a 6-year-old. Further, there’s unlikely to be a ‘positronic brain’ in the offing anytime soon, to help speed up AI advancement. So, despite the AI scare stories that have been thrown about of late, we’re not heading towards a robot uprising anytime soon.

As well as I, Robot, I read my monthly Essential X-Men magazine, and a Garfield book I had to tag on to an Amazon order to get free posting. But with I, Robot finished, it’s back to my Kindle backlog of free fantasy novels. I’ve started on Pax of Wildly Women, by V.C. Bestor, so stay tuned for its review in November’s Monthly Reads post.