Thoughts on a Tuesday – New Paperback Launch

‘Likes’, ‘Follows’ and so forth

I’ll admit it.  I’ve participated in a few ‘Like for a Like’ and ‘Follow for a Follow’ schemes in recent times.  Now, the theory is that you’re supposed to click on ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’, or something very similar, for everybody you track a link to.  In all honesty, at first I adhered to that rule.  Lately, however, I’ve been very naughty!  I’m afraid that if I didn’t like what I found, I didn’t do what was expected of me.  What caused this revolution?  Well, quite simply, some of the participants were ringers!  The schemes were supposed to be for authors, writers, self-publishers, book reviewers and maybe book lovers.  Some of those who jumped on the ride, however, had nothing to do with any of the world of books!  They were promoting sites/blogs/pages that did anything but talk about books.  Then, there were some that did fill the bill but I had a crisis of conscience over and had to duck away from (and no, I’m not going to say what they concerned, other than for the ‘make me rich by buying my self-help-get-rich-quick book’ types).  I have no objection to the concept, but in truth I prefer the idea of having a similar scheme where you only ‘Like’/’Follow’ those you actually have an interest in hearing more from.  It’s time for a more discerning scheme for these things!  Yes, I know that I’ve gained followers, but it’s almost by accident as I’m sure the vast majority don’t really expect to maintain any active interest, and many cancel their ‘Like’/’Follow’ after a while.

Paperback Writer

Yes, the second paperback is out there – sort of!  Following the instructions given, by FeedARead, I ordered a ‘proof’ copy of my novelette in paperback.  Now, the instructions indicated that I had to approve said proof before it would go live on their store.  Performing what I like to call a ‘security check’ by Googling my name, to see if any of my ‘to-buy’ books were in places they didn’t belong, I encountered my new paperback being offered for sale by… FeedARead!  Now, in essence, I don’t have a problem with that.  I do, however, object to having to buy a copy of my own book – surely they could absorb the cost of a complementary copy – on the grounds that it wouldn’t be put up for sale until I had done so and approved it, only to discover that it was being advertised anyway!

Well, if it’s good enough for them (and no, I won’t be using them again!), then here we are:

Shade of Evil (Being Part 1 of G1: The Guardians) is available from FeedARead, ISBN 9781782993551, for £3.99 plus Post & Packing.  To quote the blurb:

A simple man bears a terrible burden, unknowing. Now, that burden is killing him, seeking freedom from his exhausted hulk. Freedom to satisfy its evil hunger.

“A darkness dwelt there, a vile miasma of misery that gnawed at the very soul of the man. It had been there for years, growing like some parasite, growing bloated with every bit of melancholy that was sucked from him. Worse, it was taking on a life of its own, a substance that should not exist. And the man was becoming something less, something hollow.”

A novelette.

A Matter of Spam

This blog is very well protected against Spammers by a system called Akismet.  The odd bit slips through, but as I have to approve comments from anybody who hasn’t been previously approved, they’re easy to mark as Spam and disposed of.  More rarely, a comment from somebody legitimate might end up in Spam when it doesn’t deserve to, but I’m scrupulous about checking before emptying the Spam folder, so they get found and approved that way.  The same isn’t true for all blogs!  I’ve noticed several blogs where Spam comments have gotten through, which means that the blog has become vulnerable to attack, and other readers may suffer if they follow links in those comments, or click on the commenter’s name.  More worryingly, this is happening on some sites that use alleged secure systems, like Captcha, which requires that you  decipher something before your comment will be accepted.  Obviously, Captcha isn’t working!  Why?  Because Spammers all know about it and it seems they are (probably) randomly attacking sites in person, so that they can get past Captcha!  Unless, of course, somebody’s created a ‘robot’ program which can solve the puzzles.  If you’re a blogger, I suggest you keep a close eye on all comments!  If you’re a blog reader – be wary of clicking on links in comments, especially if the language is poor and the comment seems ‘odd’.

As an aside, you can find out about any commenter quite easily.  First choice: Google them!  Chances are, you’ll find a string of entries where they’ve posted on various forums and blogs.  If you’re still unsure, maybe because Google has proven inconclusive, there’s a site called WhoIs.  That will look up information on anybody who is online, and it can even trace IP addresses.

Take care out there!

~ Steve

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“I’ll do it tomorrow…”

I was chatting with a fellow author, by email.  It turned out that we had both been prompted to get on with writing – now!  We had both had a brush with death that was too close for comfort.  That sounds enormously dramatic.  Believe me – it is!  I have no desire to repeat the experience, that’s for sure.  But it got me wondering about how many other authors had suffered similar experiences.  It would make an interesting study.

We’re all guilty of putting things off until some later time, which often doesn’t materialise.  That’s especially true with ‘hobbies’.  All too often, it’s our creative impulses that are pushed aside, either by genuinely important things, like raising a family, or just plain lethargy.  We’ve all seen the joke: “National Apathy Day – Cancelled due to lack of interest”.  I’m afraid that writing, like so many creative hobbies, is burdened by apathy and an unwillingness to challenge a seemingly insurmountable weariness, brought on by work, family, travel and all the other tedious, everyday ‘realities’.  Those same things which inspire non-writers to view us rather jealously as being non-workers lounging about, drinking vast quantities of alcohol and generally not having a care in the world.  They’re wrong to see us like that, of course, but then we don’t exactly give our creativity its fair due, either.

I have said previously that I’ve always felt driven to write.  You’d think, then, that I spent every available second doing just that.  In fact, I just shoved it aside as much as possible. It just didn’t seem to be a worthwhile use of what ‘leisure time’ I had.  That was particularly true when family issues were put against it.  If I’m absolutely honest, though, there were plenty of hours when I could have been writing.  Those times spent watching television or just doing nothing were a complete waste.  Oh, I had moments, when the writing bug struck hard enough to make me actually follow through with it, but they were very rare.

Today, I’m more afraid of not having enough time to write all that I’d like to.  I fear that dark figure who walked far too close beside me for a while.  The thought of dying without ever really trying is far more chilling than I would have thought possible.  I now feel compelled to write at two levels.  First, there is that old bug that’s nagged at me for decades.  Second, there’s a sense of living on borrowed time.  In case you’re wondering, I’m not at all religious.  I’m afraid I don’t feel as though I was given a kick by God.  I can’t provide a story to inspire at that level.  Honestly, if that was God, then it’s one really nasty way to make a person do something!

I appeal to you!  Don’t put things off.  Not anything!  Life is just too unpredictable.

~ Steve

Celebrity and the Author

OK, hands up!  How many authors reading this want to achieve Celebrity status?  How far do you want that celebrity to go?  Your books in all the big chains, a constant round of book signings, lecture tours, invitations to conventions in the genre(s) you write in, award ceremonies and major literary awards to your name, being listed on respected Top Seller lists, radio interviews, TV appearances, your books made into TV series or even movies, recognition wherever you go, wealth, relentless pursuit by the paparazzi?  Do you set limits on what you’re willing to accept, or endure, for your celebrity?

Personally, I don’t crave celebrity.  In fact, the thought of Fame makes me shudder in horror.  In all honesty, without any false modesty, all I would like is to know that I have written something that has given others some pleasure.  Even having a ‘publicity’ photo’ taken fills me with dread.  I can certainly live without making any kind of personal appearance.  It’s a character trait, simple as that.  Even as a small child, the first thing people would comment on was how quiet I was.  That was quickly followed by the observation that I was shy.  That was normal behaviour – imagine how much more pronounced it became when there were strangers around!  Of course, I would like to make a god amount of money from my writing.  That’s normal.  I’ve never had money of any significant amount and it would be nice to be comfortably well off.  I’d have to be insane for anything else to be true.

I still wonder, though.  How many new writers are pursuing the money and the celebrity, rather than obeying a deeply felt need to write?  I guess I can make an assumption for those who write the ‘get rich quick’, and some varieties of ‘self help’, books.  But what about the rest?  Are you honest enough with yourself, let alone others, to admit if you lust for celebrity and use that as a significant motivational force in your writing?  Does it colour your choice of genre?  Have you leapt onto a ‘bandwagon’ to exploit it’s popularity simply to gain that celebrity, or do you genuinely enjoy the genre, both in reading and writing?  Maybe you just want ordinary Fame, a notoriety that says that you are respected for your writing but doesn’t impose too powerfully on your life, and privacy?  Do you, perhaps, hide behind a penname and refuse to have any photographs of yourself published?  If you do desire celebrity, would you feel offended if you were not recognised by those you meet?

I will reveal something here.  I not only have no desire for celebrity myself, I’ve never been impressed that somebody else is a celebrity.  Whatever the scandal sheets might like us to believe, there’s no way we can know what a celebrity is really like.  Let’s face it, we have enough trouble understanding people we’re close to!  It’s possible that I have, in the past, offended the famous, by not showing any overt excitement at meeting them.  For example, in just one instance, our sons brought home a new friend one day.  They were all fans of Games Workshop’s Warhammer/Warhammer 40K and that was enough for them.  They had met at the local Games Workshop section of a major local department store.  A while later, the young lad’s father arrived to collect him.  Naturally, he was invited in.  While his son prepared to drag himself away from the games, he viewed our gathering of cockatiels, which we had just started to breed.  He was fascinated and told us that he had a friend who bred cockatoos.  There was nothing false about him.  I liked him, and that’s uncommon for me, in so short a time.  When he had his son safely in tow, he departed with genuinely friendly words and thanks for looking after his boy (though we’d done nothing more than let him be).  After he had departed, and my wife had come back into the living room, I mentioned the man was none other than Griff Rhys Jones, then famed as a comedian, though he is also an actor, writer and TV presenter.  She was astonished, though she had had strong suspicions (I’m afraid she struggles at times with putting names to faces).  Of course, when she mentioned this fact to our sons, it was utterly meaningless to them.  They had never seen him (that they could recall) so his fame was somewhat less impressive to them.   If I offended him by not acknowledging him as anything more than a visitor, then I apologise.  In truth, I don’t believe it worried him in the slightest!  There must be times when celebrity wears you down.

So, what’s your ambition?  Celebrity?  Simple notoriety?  Or just read and enjoyed?

~ Steve

Hunter (Intrepid #2) by Chris Allen: A Book Review

HUNTER_mr First, I should say that I was provided with a copy of Hunter, in ebook format, for review purposes.  This has not influenced my review.  Hunter isn’t in a genre that I read often.  I am, however, willing to venture beyond my normal bounds to some degree.

Hunter is a thriller of a very modern type, featuring the ex-SAS hero, Major Alex Morgan.  A member of Interpol’s covert Intrepid branch, he is called upon to carry out operations that the usual force is not equipped for.  In this novel, he is pitted against Serbian war criminals turned gangsters, from the dreadful days of the Balkans Conflict, who have eluded the law for too long.  And those Serbians are brutally ruthless.  In an effort to undermine the law, the worst of the Serbs, Drago, has threatened the judges and their families.  Intrepid must track down Drago and bring him and his organisation down, and Alex Morgan is at the heart of the operation.

Mr Allen uses variable length chapters very effectively, creating an almost documentary style account.  There are times when the tale races along, but Mr Allen also succeeds in portraying the long, tedious hours spent waiting and watching, or the vast amount of research, intelligence gathering and information co-ordination that goes into any operation involving law enforcement.  His characters are well developed and easy to like or despise, depending on which side of the fence they’re on.  Alex Morgan is very able but no superman.  His comrades in Intrepid are human, with all which that entails.  A particularly strong character is ‘the Wolf’, whose brutal efficiency as an assassin and enforcer for Drago has become legendary, who is a sinister figure pacing through the shadows behind the action.  Refreshingly, there is genuine cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of all the countries involved – not the constant petty politics of jurisdiction and national ego so often portrayed in books and on film.  When the climactic moment comes, you find yourself wishing the action was more prolonged, but of course that would be contrary to what special operations are all about.  They deal in seconds not minutes, minutes not hours.  Anything else could be catastrophic.

A tale of cold-blooded ruthlessness (from both sides), treachery, courage, cowardice, avarice and lust for power, Hunter has everything the thriller aficionado could wish for.  Yes, it took me a while to read, but then I’m a slow reader and I wanted to do justice to a brand new book in a genre I rarely visit.  I found it easy to read, partly thanks to that clever use of chapters varying wildly in length, according to content.  To me, the story passed a very important test: I began picturing the characters and locations as I read!  There is enough detail for both to give a firm base, and sufficient unsaid to allow the imagination to do the rest.  The second test was passed, too: there were times when I read far more than I meant to, and certainly for longer than the time I had available!

I can happily award Hunter five stars!  In fact, now I’m left wanting to read more of these tales…

You can find out more about Mr Allen and his books on his website.

~ Steve

A Whole New Vocabulary

We all want children to be literate.  Ideally, we’d like them to enjoy a broad vocabulary.  There is, however, a problem.  We’re inclined to use the vocabulary we have been accustomed to using for years, especially when we’re writing.  Our children, though, have a more dynamic vocabulary!  Words enter it and become widely used with remarkable speed, but then some of those words simply die, passing like yesterday’s fashions.  And more than the wholly new words, they change the meaning of existing words, often inverting the meanings.  It’s a complex world!

What, then, can we do?  Well, to start with, we have to accept that the dynamic vocabulary exists, evolving faster than ever before.  We have to be prepared to use it.  At the same time, we have to ensure that we observe the use of good grammar, and also avoid the linguistic errors which have crept into common usage.  It’s a balancing act.  The use of the dynamic, I would suggest, should be confined to narrative, unless you’re writing in the first person.  Also, we would be wise to be careful to use only those new words which have survival potential.  If we use every new word, we risk our work being outmoded before it’s even published!

Language is never entirely static.  the difference now is the speed of change.  In truth, the dynamic value of evolution has been increasing for a considerable time.  It began to speed up with the Industrial Revolution, as new technologies came into existence, demanding new words.  Then, in the first three decades of the Twentieth Century, more new words began to appear from elsewhere, as the USA started to have a greater impact on language, introducing words coined to describe a rapidly changing society’s activities.  Prohibition, in particular, introduced many such words, from the criminal fraternity.  ‘Talking pictures’ also helped disseminate words that were definitely ‘Americanisms’.  With the advent of the Second World War, another surge occurred,with a host of words coming from the military and from trying to cope with the new forms of warfare.  After that, advertising invented many new words which were adopted and eventually made their way into the dictionary.  Now, our language is influenced by science (particularly new science), advertising, new technology and a strong, vibrant youth culture.

Oddly, poor literacy is probably responsible for the youth culture’s impact on language.  As vocabularies have shrunk amongst young people, the need to express themselves has led them to invent words.  We’ve all been confronted with moments when we couldn’t find words to express our feelings.  The young overcome the problem by making up new words to suit, often in the lyrics of songs.  In fact, the music business is such that the rapid spread of new words becomes understandable.

Who knows?  Perhaps if efforts to improve literacy are successful, we may see a decline in the rapid changes in language.  With larger vocabularies to work with, the young may have less impact on the evolutionary rate of language.

~ Steve

Book Promotion Day: 25th April, 2013

Due to the problem experienced during last week’s Book Promo Day, I am carrying forward the books from that day.

Talon, come fly with me Talon, come fly with me by Gigi Sedlmayer

The first novel of the Talon series.

Nine-year-old Matica lives in a remote little village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved here with her Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents when she was five years old. Ever since she could remember she faced cruel rejection because of her growth handicap. She is trapped in a body the size of a two year old. Because of that the local Indians wouldn’t accept her into their community or allow her to play with their children. Under the watchful eyes of her parents who understand her, lonely Matica explores the plateau for entertainment.
And so with patience and a sense of adventure she befriended a pair of condors and named them Tamo and Tima. A strong bond and love developed between them.

Having an egg, Tamo and Tima try to fight off a couple of poachers but they succeed in stealing their egg from its ledge. Eventually Tamo drives them away and the poachers leave the egg. Being unable to bring it back to the ledge, Tamo and Tima make it clear to Matica to take care of the egg, so she does.

Exactly on Matica’s tenth birthday, the condor fledgling ‘Talon’ hatches. The book then describes in detail how Matica helps Talon grow into the majestic bird he was meant to be.

Two months after confidently flying, the most unbelievably amazing thing happens.

This is the beginning of a time of incredible adventures with Talon and Matica, which is carried on in subsequent Talon books.

Recommendation in LinkedIn about my  series from:

Jay Miller has recommended your work as Talon, on the wing at Talon, come fly with.

Dear Gigi,

I’ve written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.

Details of the Recommendation: “Also being an author of children’s books myself, I was so taken in by Gigi’s first book, Talon, come fly with me. She is a wonderful writer that children will gain much understanding of love and respect for others from. I see now she has published two more books in the series which I am eager to read. Wonderful!”

Price:

Please see websites below

Purchase from:

Paperback and/or ebook: BookPal (the publisher’s website) – Amazon.comBarnes & NobleWaterstonesAuthorsDen

More information:

Blogs: www.gigi.hooza.co and maticatalon.blogspot.com.au (under construction: talonbooks.wordpress.com)


Panoptemitry_cover Panoptemitry by Sarah Baethge

With a goal as high and lofty as the unspecified pursuit of knowledge, there may not be a clear point at which to stop. Acting as one has been taught to can seem to hold just as much purpose as the actual reason for taking those actions. When the growth of technology begins to hold the same powers as religious doctrine has declared divine, does the simple recording of events become blasphemous? Who’s to say we even understand that ‘so-called’ divinity?

On a research mission to provide information for a great galactic computer network (called S.Y.M.A.C.), Emilija Lithuan and her assistants run up against the higher ranks of the Caytalan Church. The punishment that these religious leaders try to stick them with, could possibly have a greater effect than was ever intended.

When their escape saddles them with a famous outlaw, a careful reassessment of what is right and wrong can’t be avoided. How much of what is ‘common knowledge’ is even actually true?

And if it’s not, just how much perceived reality is built upon a lie?

Price:

$4.99 USD

Purchase from:

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
iWriteReadRate.com

More information:

Blog: sarahbaethge.blogspot.com and sarahsreadings.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SarahBaethge
Twitter: @22niel


amazing-matilda-coversmall01 Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale by Bette A Stevens

Written and Illustrated by Bette A. Stevens

SIXTEEN 5-STAR Reviews

Inspire the kids in your life to meet challenges with patience and persistence!

Matilda becomes discouraged when she is unable to fly during the early stages of her metamorphosis. But, this ‘Amazing Monarch’ never gives up on her dream. Unlike her friends, Matilda doesn’t want to leap onto ledges or bound across fields, she only wants to fly. Matilda’s friends laugh at her because she doesn’t have any wings. They wonder: How can a creature without wings ever hope to fly? While Matilda progresses from egg to butterfly, her friends recall how they felt before they were able to do all of the things they had dreamed of doing. Encouraged by her friends, Matilda learns that if she keeps trying, she can do anything that she really wants to do.

Price:

Paperback $8.54 (SAVE 95 cents RIGHT NOW)
Kindle version $3.99

More Information:

Find out more about the author and her books at Amazon.com

Special Note:

GIVEAWAY Drawing ends April 27th. Author-signed copy) on author’s Facebook Page


Leon Opio - Vengeance Is Mine Vengeance is Mine by Leon Opio

Four people are trapped in four separate rooms. They are each responsible for the same crime and will endure their own private hell. Even though the Bible states, ”Forgive us the wrongs that we have done, as we forgive the wrongs others have done to us,” the one I own is missing those pages. As the day goes by and the night sets in, I smile at the thought of the truth my guests will endure but by the end of their journey, Vengeance is Mine.

Price:

Paperback $10.10
Kindle version $2.99

Purchase from:

Amazon.com

More information:

Facebook
Amazon.com


Rhonda Patton - African Safari African Safari with Ted and Raymond by Rhonda Patton

Ted and Raymond go to Africa. They take a safari to learn new foods, new names, and interesting facts about the animals. Did you know that elephants can grow as tall as 13ft and weigh nearly 15,000 pounds. Your kids will love the pictures and learn too.

Price:

Paperback $7.99
Kindle version currently $0.00

Purchase from:

Amazon.com

More information:

Website
Facebook
Amazon.com


Cisi Wright - Hampshire House Hampshire House by Cisi Wright

Kate Brockett was raised in an orphanage, but nothing she ever learned there could have prepared her for her first position outside the Home. Lord Clayton Bingham had requested her specifically to come and be the governess to his nine-year-old twin boys, but why? She didn’t know him, didn’t know Hampshire House, knew no one this part of Leicestershire, so why was she going to this spooky place?

Tipton was the more than capable butler, with the wonderful Emma, the head cook, as his wife. Mrs. Hudson was the cold, heartless housekeeper. All of the maids and crofters showed the appropriate deference, but from the moment she arrived at the gatehouse of the manor house, someone had been trying to harm her, possibly kill her! Who could it be? Clayton? Mrs. Hudson? Someone from outside the manor house?

Surely it wasn’t Clayton! His amorous attentions after she twisted her ankle made her head spin, heart pound, and awakened feelings in her that she didn’t know existed, in spite of his hateful cousin, Felicia. Kate’s duties as governess were expanded to housekeeper when Mrs. Hudson was discharged, and once she was gone, Kate thought she was safe. Until the attempted rape by parties unknown, and the fire in her bedroom, and…

Price:

Paperback $14.50
Kindle version $7.98

Purchase from:

Amazon.com

More information:

Website
Blog
Amazon.com


“Sniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under Siege” by Dan Mills

Sniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under SiegeSniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under Siege by Dan Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book when I was going through a period of reading lots of the genre. Sniper One has to be one of the most honest stories I’ve ever read. Sergeant Dan Mills doesn’t hide anything.

The first thing that the reader has to accept is that snipers are a breed apart. They are specialists and they take great pride in their skill. To them, the more lethally effective they are, the better the chances of their comrades (and themselves) going home alive. If you deplore war, then don’t read the book! Dan Mills doesn’t pretend to be anything but a very effective specialist who enjoys being successful – bringing maximum harm to the enemy.  There’s one point in the story when the sniper squad are immensely excited to have access to the superior weaponry and ammunition of an American special forces member, which reveals just how these men think of their job.

The story involves the deployment of Dan Mills’ platoon of snipers, part of an infantry battalion, to southern Iraq. The battalion’s mission: win the hearts and minds of the local people. It was supposed to be no more than that. Unfortunately, events elsewhere had led to an explosion of violence in many areas, and the battalion walked right into a hornet’s nest that somebody else had just kicked! What followed was nothing less than a small contingent of soldiers trying to operate to mission intentions while virtually under siege from heavily armed militia. They were, effectively, engaged in the longest, most dangerous firefight any British troops had experienced in over half a century.

Mortars pounding the compound the soldiers operated from, militia attacking at every opportunity, these soldiers were isolated, fighting virtually alone. The snipers came into their own. They inflicted heavy damage on the enemy ruthlessly. But they were, after all, only a small platoon. Casualties mounted slowly, but they couldn’t afford any losses. And then the enemy came in waves that threatened to overrun the British position.

A tale of courage, brutal combat, and a soldier’s celebration of his comrades’ outstanding performance under impossible conditions, Sniper One is reminiscent of the famous Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the 19th Century Zulu War (filmed in Hollywood style as Zulu).

It’s not the only tale of British forces facing such a position. Many of those who have served in Afghanistan can tell similar tales of facing impossible odds under siege conditions. What’s remarkable here is the honest pleasure in the execution of combat skills expressed by Dan Mills. It’s also one of very few books concerning the war in Iraq.

I don’t hesitate in giving this book 5 stars, but I repeat my warning: if you are sensitive, don’t read it. And do remember that, while I believe many young people would learn valuable lessons from these books about real warfare, this is very definitely a book for adults!

View all my reviews on Goodreads

~ Steve

News Bulletin

New Blog Records

200 followers

First up – good news!  Imagineer-ing is going from strength to strength.  The blog hit 200 direct followers.  That’s in addition to over 1170 Twitter and 330 Facebook followers!  And last month’s record 1000+ views is likely to be beaten this month.

I would like to extend my personal thanks to all who have elected to follow the blog.  I am honoured!

New Newsletter Option Available

Yesterday saw the launch of an opportunity to stay updated on my new book/ebook releases, any changes to existing book/ebook availability, any special offers that may come along and special announcements.  This is a recognition of the fact that staying aware of such things through social network postings, or even what’s posted here on the blog, can be extremely difficult.  Obviously, the Newsletter will be continued only for as long as a reasonable number of subscribers are on the mailing list!  Newsletters take time to produce, after all.  Naturally, signing up for the Newsletter will not lead to an inundation of unwanted emails – your details will never be shared with anybody beyond the list handler and myself!

For your convenience, here’s the subscription form:

Sign up for our free newsletter!

If you have a QR Code scanner on your mobile device, just scan this image:

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New Look

You may have noticed that there is a subtly different look to the blog.  The menu at the top has been condensed, with some items brought together for obvious reasons.  Nothing has vanished, but some pages are now accessible as dropdown options from broader menu subjects.  It’s important that websites aren’t static in their design.  These are minor amendments, but larger changes may occur in future, to keep things ‘fresh’.

~ Steve

Book Collectors

As the owner of several antiquarian standard books, including a very early copy of The Virginian by Owen Wister, I began to wonder what impact ebook publishing would have on First Edition volumes.  There are two types of First Edition owners: the true bibliophile and the investor.  The former may be less concerned about the fact that a book may have originally been published as an ebook, but what about the latter?  Of course, we may not particularly care about the investor’s attitude, if that’s all they are.  I know that I would rather that all First Editions were owned by true bibliophiles, and especially those who loved the books for their content first and foremost.  Even so, will we see a shift away from just ‘First Edition’ to ‘First Print Edition’?  One thing is patently obvious: there will never be a trade in First Edition ebooks!  There’s a better chance of eReaders becoming valuable collectibles.  Does that leave a gap in the book trade?

I know that many authors enjoy owning every First Edition of their own works, and giving copies to family and friends.  This obviously can’t happen in the same sense with ebooks.  Is it something we should mourn?  Are we going to be happy with the ‘First Print Edition’ alternative?  Or are we resigned to waiting until we publish (ourselves or through publishers) printed books?  And there’s another question springing from that.  Many self-published authors opt for paperback editions (I know I have), because the cost of hardbacks would be exorbitant.  But paperbacks, notoriously, don’t stand the test of time well (though I’ve bought hardbacks that have actually been even worse!).  Are we, by the combination of producing our first editions as ebooks and self-publishing as paperbacks, devaluing our own collections of our own works?

I’m a great proponent of ebook publishing, especially as it gives genuinely able authors opportunities which might never otherwise occur.  At a personal level, I’m perfectly happy to accept the ‘loss’ of a pure First Edition of any of my works.  I’m also happy to accept the fact that any First Print Edition will be in paperback.  To me, the value of a book must be, above all else, in its content.  My ownership of antiquarian books has less to do with their age than those other qualities of printed books: the look, feel and smell!  You may think me odd, but one or two of the old books I own that I cherish most are not antiquarian standard.  In fact, they’re not even a high standard.  They were printed during the two World Wars, when paper was not to be wasted on such things.  The paper they’re made from is coarse, thick and very badly trimmed.  All of which gives them  a curious quality.  More, they were obviously considered to be works of such importance that they were published!  I wonder how many modern books would be so honoured in the same circumstances?  I suspect that we would see just about all books being hastily converted to digital formats.  Publishers are, after all, in existence to make money.  Being prevented from publishing hundreds of books because of restrictions imposed by governments because of war would not sit well with them.  What then for the First Edition aficionados?

In parting, let me make one thing quite clear!  The issue of First Edition values has nothing to do with whether a book is self-published or not.  Many famous authors would never have achieved their renown without self-publishing, and their First Editions are extremely valuable.  It is only a question of the nature of the first edition of a work that is involved.

It will be interesting to see how the trade in First Editions develops in coming years.

~ Steve

First Paperback Released!

Yes, that’s right!  My first paperback has been released!  You may recall that I mentioned in previous posts that I was trying two different ‘Print On Demand’ (POD) services.  Well, the clear winner in terms of timescale and level of communications is skoobebooks.  Skoobebooks had everything but the final )printer’s) proof sorted by last weekend, and that last proof was sorted yesterday.  I would like to express my thanks to Keith at skoobebooks for all his hard work.  Needless to say, more paperbacks will be entrusted to them!

FeedARead are still processing the novelette I sent them.  They have finished the interior but the cover hasn’t yet been finished.  Considering the fact that I sent the manuscript to FeedARead first, I’m not overly impressed with their performance so far.

Now, as to the actual, real live paperback:

For the Sake of Mercy (A Captain Henri Duschelle Story) is available for ordering.  It costs £3.99 GBP, plus post & packaging, and is normally despatched in 5-10 days from skoobebooks.

To repeat the book’s blurb:

Merchant Captain Henri Duschelle, a man Union Fleet wish they had, must lead his loyal, hard fighting crew on a seemingly impossible mission: to deliver a vital organ to the dying son of one of his crew, across the longest span of the colonised worlds – to an insane deadline. He is convinced that only his ship, the stunningly beautiful Persephone, can make such a journey in the time allowed. But dangers lie in wait on this, perhaps the greatest voyage ever made by humans…

A novelette in the series: The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories.

The paperback has 68 pages.

About the Series:

For those ‘not in the know’, the series of The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories made an early start with the short story To Sail The Dark Sea.  I decided that that tale would, for now, constitute Number 0.5 of the series, with For the Sake of Mercy being Number 1 and the next novelette, The Ossilan Affair, being Number 2.  At this point in time, there isn’t a set chronology, other than the fact that Number 2 most definitely follows immediately on from Number 1!  That may sound obvious, but those numbers may change in time, if new tales actually precede them chronologically.  The numbers, therefore, are rather arbitrary.  It’s not even certain, at this point, that the short story occurs earlier than the tales in the two novelettes.  The numbers are there purely for convenience.  Also, there is no certainty that future tales will all be either short stories or novelettes.  It is an entirely flexible arrangement.  All I can say, with any certainty, is that the existing short story will continue to be available for free download, though it may be added to another, longer, tale in the future, as ‘bonus material’ for anybody who hasn’t availed themselves of the offer.

~ Steve