Books & Movies, My Writing:

Ebook Sale, only 2 days to go

Only two days remain to buy ebooks from my website or from Kayelle Press for $1.00 each. This offer WILL expire at midnight on 31 December 2014, Australian EST.

Head to either of the two websites, a larger selection is available from Kayelle Press, and grab some reading material (fantasy, science fiction and horror) right now before you miss out.

Don’t forget to tell your friends and family, especially those who received an ereader for Christmas.

Book Reviews, Books & Movies

eBook Review: White Fang

White FangWhite Fang by Jack London

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I have fallen behind in writing reviews for the books I’ve finished and still have a couple to do from the end of last year. So far, this year I haven’t read anything for pleasure as I’m busy doing something else, but the break isn’t bad, it’s just irritating as I do love to read. I’m hoping to start reading again soon.

Anyway, White Fang is a classic and early in 2012 I decided that I must read or reread some classics. For every two modern books I read I’ve been reading one classic, and here’s what I thought of this one. I finished it on 17 December 2012.

Description:

He was three quarters wolf and all fury. Born in a cave, in famine, in the frozen arctic. Born in a world where the weak died without mercy, where only the swift, the strong, the cunning saw each dawn. It was White Fang’s world–until he and his mother were captured by the man-gods.

But men and their dogs taught White Fang to hate. He was beaten, abused, attacked. He was bought, sold, tortured, trained to kill in blood sports. Knowing no kindness, he became a mad, lethal, creature of pure rage.

Only one man saw White Fang’s intelligence and nobility. Only one had the courage to offer the killer a new life. But can a wolf understand the word “hope”? Can a creature of hatred understand the word “love”?

Review:

I first read this book when I was a young teenager. I remember crying then. I didn’t cry this time round but the actions in this book did strike a chord with me. I really do detest cruelty to animals; the cruelty in this book is paramount.

White Fang is a product of his past. He has been taught to hate. He has been taught to survive at any measure. He is vicious. He is a killer! Yet he’s these things because he has to be. His other choice is to be the weak link and die.

It’s a powerful story. Well told. No holding back; aimed straight for the jugular. The biggest lesson learned by reading White Fang is that you can beat an animal (and I believe this relates to people too) into doing what you want but loving them produces a much better (long-lasting) result. A beaten animal will do as you want, but will rip your throat out if given the opportunity. A loved animal will be faithful, loyal and forever.

There’s little more to be said about this book except that it’s worth reading. I highly recommend it.

Book Reviews, Books & Movies

eBook Review: d.evolution

d.evolutiond.evolution by Lee Carlon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

d.evolution is about one of our possible futures. Jason Smith is a co-founder of New World Technology and he finds himself in a confusing situation where he can make a difference. The thing is, will the difference be for the good of man kind, the advancement of technology or personal gain?

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book when I first started reading it. But I was quickly pulled in by the characters and plot.

The biggest plus for this story is that it is quite thought provoking. The author has taken ‘what if’ to another level that begs to ask the questions: What would you do?

And: Who has the right to decide?

I found myself pondering the answers to these questions long after the story had ended, and believe me, that is a good thing!

d.evolution is a well written post-apocalyptic story and anyone who enjoys science fiction will enjoy this book.

Books & Movies, Personal

Paperbacks v Digital Books

There was a time in the not so distant past when I clearly remember believing paperbacks would always be my preferred reading source. I love books. I love reading. It’s the one thing I do constantly in my life and have done since I was a very young child. Books are important to me.

I love the feel of them. I love the smell of them. I love seeing them lined up in a book case, showing their vivid colours and inviting me to jump into their secret worlds. These things cannot be said about digital books.

I love walking into someone else’s home and viewing their books of choice scattered around the place. It hints at the type of person they are, the imagination they might have. It’s possible to spy reference books which tells you of that person’s interests too. And in moments of quiet, they allow you to point to a book and ask them about it … which may well lead to a very interesting conversation. Again, these things cannot be said about digital books.

I love walking into a book shop and browsing the shelves of unknown authors, never before seen covers. Picking them up and flipping them over to read the (hopefully) catchy blurb on the back. Will it intrigue me enough to want to read it? Or does it sound boring or too serious for me, which will make me put it back on the shelf? At the risk of repeating myself, this cannot be said about digital books.

Yet, with all this said and done, I can’t help but prefer to read books in digital format these days. In 2011 most of the books I read were digital. 2012 has only just started, but my reading list comprises of digital books only so far. I have a beautiful wooden bookcase in my bedroom, filled with wonderful books. I want to read them all. They deserve my time, but I feel pulled to my reading device.

It’s a small object really. Most people would lift an eye brow and scoff at reading on it. They mumble things like “small screen” and “eye strain” but I always assure them that the size of the screen is not noticed and I’ve never had eye strain whilst using it.

Perhaps it’s my personal circumstances that make reading this way more attractive. Our lounge room has no lighting except for a single lamp. Reading in the evening is difficult due to shadows across the pages. To avoid the shadow I must sit in an uncomfortable position. I’ve tried using a book lamp but it was more trouble than it was worth, to say the least. However, when I use my reading device I can sit anywhere I want, however I want because the backlight on the screen is just right (for me) for reading.

If I can’t sleep, I can sit in bed and read in comfort. If I want to sit in the garden, I can. I can read on the train, and can swap and change between books if I want to. I can take a selection of books with me on vacation or to work or to the hospital. There’s no weight, no storage problems. If there’s a power source, I can plug in and read. If not, the battery lasts for an entire week if all I’m doing is reading on the device.

I have purchased ebooks from online bookshops, but there is no personality and no feeling of belonging. Shopping in the virtual world is not as good as shopping in the physical world. I still want to browse books, pick them up and flick through the pages, read the blurb and make a decision. But I think when the decision is made I’d like to be able to go up to the counter and say I want the digital version.

Bookshops need to get with the times, and I believe this is starting to happen, but it’s not something I’ve seen for myself. Bookshops draw booklovers to them, so why not entice the booklover to walk out of the shop with a book in hand (be that paperback or digital). Instead of denying the existence of an ever changing world, merge with it and grow.

People will continue to buy printed books, but more and more people are swapping to digital reading. Once, I would have vocalised loudly about the need for paperbacks, but now I find myself vocalising more loudly about reading itself, not the format it’s done in.

Book Reviews, Books & Movies

eBook Review: Fright Files – The Broken Thing

The Broken Thing (Fright Files: Beware the Author, #1)The Broken Thing by Peter Swift

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover attracted me to this book. The minute I saw it I paused and thought, “Now, that looks interesting.” It promised weird things with its vivid colours and wacky looking character.

Fright Files is a series for younger readers. As I write for younger readers and actually enjoy reading books for this age group, I thought I’d give the book a go. And why not, it’s free!

Stevie and Angie are best friends. She’s fearless and looks for adventure and he goes along for the ride, even when his better judgement tells him not too. That’s not to say he doesn’t like the thrill of excitement … he just isn’t so thrilled about the twisted creature that come with it.

The book started out well but hit a bit of a slump where I found myself wondering when the action was going to start. However, don’t give up on it as it quickly picks up again and then it’s full steam ahead. Actually, from that point on it’s full of action, fear and creepy scenes that will have you looking over your shoulder and into the darkened corners of the room.

I’d recommend the book to the young and the young at heart. I believe the second book in the series is due out next week.

1. The Land of Miu, Books & Movies, Speculative Realms

Free eBooks for Summer/Winter

Cat's Eyes speculative-realms-coverI’ve heard that some people only read in the summer and others love to read in front of a warm fire during winter, so it seemed appropriate for me to add my ebooks to the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale July 1-31 because as Smashwords have so rightly acknowledged, “It’s summer in the Northern Hemiphere, and winter for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere.”

And if people really love to read then why not give the ebooks away for free!

So that is what I’ve done. You can get a copy of Cat’s Eyes and/or Speculative Realms: Where there’s a will, there’s a way right now for free. But this deal is only valid until 31 July 2011.

Click on the book covers above to be taken to the ebook of your choice. Or, grab a copy of them both. Membership to the Smashwords website is free, so it will cost you exactly nothing but a few minutes of your time.

If you enjoy the ebooks, please take a moment or two to write a quick review. It would be much appreciated.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to see what other free ebooks you can find.

Book Reviews, Books & Movies

eBook Review: Write the Fight Right

Write The Fight RightWrite The Fight Right by Alan Baxter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot to be said about the common writing tip, ‘write what you know’, and Write the Fight Right by Alan Baxter is testament to that. Alan is a writer, but his passion for the martial arts truly comes through in this book. His knowledge and understanding on the subject makes this book a resource I’m grateful to have purchased.

All writers have to face a confrontation at some time, or their characters do at least. I find it one of the hardest things to write, so when I found out about this ebook I was quick to get a copy because I need all the help I can get. Also, in a fight or flight situation, I’m the ‘flight’ type of person. I’ve never been in a punch up of any kind…except with my younger brother when we were kids, but that doesn’t really count as those ‘confrontations’ were never serious. I’ve never had any self-defence classes either, so I have no experience to draw from. If faced with a precarious situation my first option would be to flee, if that wasn’t possible I’d probably die of fright.

Write the Fight Right is written in a way that kept me enthralled. Honestly, the words flow so nicely and I was pleased to see little examples which reinforced what the author was trying to get across. He touches on things that a novice to fighting wouldn’t even consider when writing a fight scene. And most importantly, he brings the fight alive on the page and made me believe I could do the same!

If you are a writer, then I highly recommend this book. It’s a resource you cannot be without, especially writers who are not fighters.

Agents, Publishers & Assessors, Books & Movies, Writing:

Digital Rights Contracts

Personally, this is something I haven’t had to think about as I have not sold digital rights to a publisher. However, Michael A Stackpole has something to say about it in his post 9 Must-have Clauses for Digital Rights Contracts and I found his comments interesting.

It wasn’t too long ago that publishers didn’t have to worry about anything other than printing rights. From what I’ve heard, very little royalty was given to the author. I remember one author saying, this was about 10 years ago, she received less than $1 for every book sold. At the time I was shocked by this news as plainly the amount of work that goes into a manuscript was surely worth more than that. Yet thinking about it now, I can see that she didn’t write for the money, she wrote to be read.

Anyway, ebooks made an appearance and it would seem that publishers still didn’t bother with digital rights because who’s going to buy them anyway? This left an opening for the authors to step in and take control of their own ebook sales. I have no idea if this opportunity was grabbed by authors or not but they would have been crazy not to.

Now publishers are realising their mistake and have started to include digital rights in the contracts. Why? Because it’s more money for them. And the author will continue to get some meagre royalty for all their hard work. However, that’s beside the point. My problem with this is that the ebooks will be sold for the same price as the paperback, or perhaps slightly less.

To me this is outrageous. I feel strongly about this. Ebooks should be at least half the price of the printed version. For heavens sake, there’s no paper, no ink, no postage, no storage. And don’t give me all that rubbish about the amount of work that goes into setting up an ebook. That’s crap. There’s no more work setting up an ebook than there is a paper version. I know. I’ve done both.

Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent. I believe ebooks in the hands of traditional publishers is a bad thing. Yes, sell publishing rights, but all authors should hold on to their own digital rights and, for a change, start making some decent money from the sales of their work.

1. The Land of Miu, Books & Movies

Read an Ebook Week 2011

ipod-touch-stanzaDid you know ebooks have been around for 40 years? I didn’t. In fact, I find that piece of news fascinating because in my own mind ebooks were invented only a few short years ago. However, when I think about it for a while, I clearly see the flaw in my thinking because I used to make pdf versions of my manuscripts years before I became aware of the actual “ebook”.

These days ebooks are becoming quite well known and in some circles they are focused on and being watched very carefully. At some time in the future, ebooks will be mainstream and paper books will be for the wealthy. It will have nothing to do with what we like or prefer, it will be totally due to environmental issues. At the moment, we have a choice and I don’t expect that to change in the near future, but it will change.

Anyway, this coming week is “Read an Ebook Week” and I encourage everyone who hasn’t tried reading an ebook to rectify that over the next seven days. Ebooks can be read on your computer using applications made by Kindle, Stanza and other companies promoting digital printing. You can also read them on your iPhone, iPod Touch and of course the iPad. I believe other phones also have the ability to read ebooks too. And of course you can purchase ebook readers of all sizes as well. So, with all this in mind, there are plenty of options and no excuses. Read an ebook this week and see what you think.

If I haven’t sold you on the idea yet, here’s an added bonus. Ebooks are generally sold cheaper than their paperback equivalent. In fact, it’s through purchasing cheap ebooks that I’ve discovered some excellent new authors. This week Smashwords is having a “sale”. Hundreds of authors are slashing their prices, some are even offering their books for free, but the sale is only happening this week to celebrate “Read an Ebook Week”.

My book, Cat’s Eyes, is being offered at half price between 6 March and 12 March 2011. For $1.50 you’ll own the entire book to read at your leisure, as often as you like, where ever you like. The recommended retail price of the paperback is $14.99 so this is an excellent price.

Whether you purchase a copy of Cat’s Eyes or not isn’t relevant. Of course, I’d be thrilled if you do and would be forever grateful if you also wrote a quick review over at Smashwords too 😀 (OK, I’ve finished with the shameless self-promotion stuff now). What I’d really like to see (and hear about) is more people trying ebooks and letting me know what you think. What I’d also like to hear about is have your opinions changed towards ebooks over the years. I know mine have!

Read an ebook this week. I think you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Book Reviews, Books & Movies

eBook Review: Heidi

Heidi (Kingfisher Classics)Heidi by Johanna Spyri

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like most females, I loved this story as a child. However, recently, I realised that I’d only ever seen various movie versions of it (the one I remember most was the one with Shirley Temple playing the role of Heidi) and had never actually read the book. With this in mind, I decided it was time to fix that oversight.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri was written around 1880 and for this reason the wording is very old fashion and stiff to read. Yet, knowing the era the story is set in suits the formal writing. I found it easy to accept and even to ignore.

Heidi is about a young girl who lives in the Swiss mountains. Everyone who meets her falls under her spell as she is a girl of innocence and loves helping people. Her loving nature and giving heart result in people depending on her more than they should.

The story is well known by most people, as it was to me. What I didn’t know was that the book is heavily religious orientated. These days, a writer is warned to be subtle in the messages they wish to share with their audience. The messages within Heidi were not subtle! The messages are clear and strong, sometimes even a bit overpowering, but I didn’t allow that to ruin the story.

Give with a willing heart.

Remember God in all that you do and the reward will be greater than your wish.

I’m glad I read the ebook for no other reason than the fact that I can now say I’ve read it. It was good to revisit a childhood story and discover new things within it.