Book Review | Dreadnought by April Daniels

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I’m on a bit of a heroine kick at the moment – FYI – I just made myself triple check the spelling of that to make sure it didn’t come across as something else entirely. Between what I have read and a number of books I plan on reading next there are quite a few female protagonists in my future.

This book – Dreadnought by April Daniels – came through my WordPress feed thanks to Reading Sanctuary, and after reading their review and checking out a sample I was hooked. I grabbed a copy of the full novel that same night. Narrated by our heroine Danny in a close first person perspective, you can’t help but get sucked into her world.

Quick Note About This Review

This is the first time I took notes as I read to help me when it came time write the review. Usually I just wing it and try to remember the salient points, but this is an effort to make the reviews I post better.

First up, the blurb: Read the rest of this entry »

Social (Anxiety) Media

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m really terrible at all forms of social media. I resisted most of it for a long time, relenting to Facebook a few years ago which I update and check occasionally. When I started my journey to become a published author, I expanded my presence to Twitter since that seemed like the thing to do. Since then I’ve added a few others like Instagram and most recently a Facebook Author Page.

I resisted mainly because I’m ridiculously bad at self-promotion. Good thing I’m not an author aspiring to get the world to know of my books, huh?

Unfortunately, of course that is exactly what I am. I write to get my stories out there, but balk at the thought of trying to promote myself. I know that I have to because no one else will, but that doesn’t ease the anxiety at all.

I follow a lot of other self-publishing authors and sit back in awe at their ability to self-promote and interact with their followers. They’ve got hundreds of people hanging off their every word. Things they post get re-posted and shared like there’s no tomorrow. They launch a new book and hundreds (myself included) descend to snap it up. What I wouldn’t give for that level of confidence. Now I know they didn’t get that to that level overnight, but surely an innate ability to interact with people had to be present beforehand. Read the rest of this entry »

Progress Updates

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My focus this week has been split between first-round editing of my work in progress, the comedic Viking fantasy “The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior”, and reading the superb superhero coming-of-age story “Dreadnought”. More on Dreadnought further down because first up it’s all about me! lol 🙂

So my first round edits basically involve me printing out the entire Word document as well as converting it to spoken word with a text-to-speech program. Then I sit and listen to the mechanical voice reading my story back to me. Any errors or awkwardness I find I correct on the print out. When I’m done with that, I’ll update the Word doc and convert to Kindle for a read through before I send it off to my beta reader.

I’ve also been tweaking my cover art for my work in progress. I had a brainwave late one night earlier this week that the cover I’d settled on was a little too flat and it might look good if it was stacked-paper. So I got to work editing the artwork which resulted (after a few horrendous attempts) in the new cover design shown here.

I had to adjust a few of the colours because once I shrunk it down to thumbnail size I couldn’t read any of the title text. To make the colours more complimentary, I changed the water and the background to green, and I think overall it works. So it’s the one I’ll be publishing with (unless hit by some major inspiration and redesign the whole thing, unlikely).

Below is a quick progression of how the cover art matured over time. The first (lame) attempt was mainly to get the bones of the idea in place (such as the Viking long boat at sea) and then go from there. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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Sometimes poking around random GoodReads lists pays off big time. That’s certainly the case with this one – The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I grabbed the sample chapters from Amazon and knew right off it was one I’d lose myself in, and after I bought the full story, I found I was right.

A time-travelling pirate ship? Count me in right there. But there was so much more to love about this novel. Lost love, adventures through time, romance, action, myths brought to life, redemption. Plenty to keep you busy. But first, as always, let’s check out the blurb.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveler. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question . . .

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

Nix and her crew mates can travel anywhere in history (including to fictional worlds), so long as they have a hand-drawn map of where they want to go. The kicker though is once they’ve used a map they can never return because maps are only good for one trip. The “how” is fairly wishy-washy, in that you have to believe in the map and it’ll take you there. No less implausible than other time-travelling devices though, so I don’t fault it on that. Read the rest of this entry »

Funky Cold Medina – An Epiphany

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I’m baffled as to why he needed Funky Cold Medina to score with the ladies…

Anyone who grew up in the 80s would have heard of Tone Loc. He had two major hits I can think of, one of which was Funky Cold Medina. If you haven’t heard of either Tone Loc or Funky Cold Medina, then you’ve lived a sheltered life and I pity you.

So I was listening to (okay I was enthusiastically singing along with) Funky Cold Medina on my way to work when it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I’ve been wrong about this beverage of mystical abilities all along.

I’d always thought it was some magical drink he was giving out that made all the girls want him (and a quick Google search later proved I wasn’t the only one), but now I’m thinking it was something he drank that made him more attractive. Much less creepy than drugging his potential one-night stands.

Bear with me here as we step through the lyrics and the music video for the answers. Regular visitors may notice this isn’t the kind of thing I normally post, but when one is hit with an epiphany of this magnitude one must share it with the world. Read the rest of this entry »

AdWords and Breitbart – A Trap For New Players

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Over the last two weeks I’ve been running ads for my FTW series books on Google AdWords to coincide with their promotional pricing on Amazon.

I was startled over the weekend to be called out on twitter for advertising on Breitbart, a far-right website known for hate mongering. At first I thought it must have got the wrong guy, but no, the screenshot had my ad in all its glory above a homophobic rant on their website.

Of course I took immediate steps to remedy this. Being away from my computer limited my options, but I immediately halted all my ads from running until I could manually block the offensive site.

The Sleeping Giants (twitter account, logo above) helped me out with this. I honestly had no idea my ad would be shown here and am very disappointed that a progressive company like Google continues to push their ads there. Anyway, the Sleeping Giants forwarded me a document which I’ve linked to here: Read the rest of this entry »

Work In Progress Update

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update on my comedic fantasy work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior (TTTAOGGLVW for short, lol).

Well, it’s going really well, about 95% complete or thereabouts, and is now officially the longest single work I’ve written to date. Currently weighing in at a little over 47,100 words, I’m aiming to get it above 50,000 by the time I wrap it up.

Why? A couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a nice beefy number for a novel, and make it a good 10,000 words longer than my second longest. A decent sized read and makes for a nice thick book on the bookshelf. 🙂

Secondly, I’d like to try Kindle Scout and they have a hard 50,000 word minimum limit for submitted works. Never heard of Kindle Scout? This is what they do: Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | The Amateurs by John Niven

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amateursWhile on my search for a new book to read I came across an oldie but goodie that I’ve read countless times – The Amateurs by John Niven. If I was to make a list of the all-time funniest books I’ve ever read, this’d be very high on the list.

I bought this way back in 2009 (I think?) after reading the blurb and knowing it was for me. This was back when I still bought paperbacks, so I even imported it from the UK because I couldn’t wait for shops in Australia to carry it.

I’m not a golfer, but you don’t have to be to enjoy this story. Yes, the main character is obsessed with it but mainly because how bad he is at it. Until one fateful day he cops a golf ball to the head and his whole life changes. Sort of for the better, but a lot for the worse… Read the rest of this entry »

Another Book Sale!

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If you missed the Boneyards and Badlands sale last week, well good news! The combined edition of FTW Series is on sale now until March 12th for only $0.99 / £0.99!

The FTW Series is an exciting young-adult fight for survival in a dystopian future. Featuring strong, no-nonsense female lead characters, this duo of face-paced, action-packed books will keep you up all night because you won’t want to put them down.

Book Review | Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers by Tom Moran

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dino_numbers

Another suggestion by Goodreads and another home run. My profile over there is obviously tweaked to perfection because it’s been recommending a lot of winners recently, and Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers by Tom Moran was no exception.

If you were to merge Arthur Dent with Mister Bean and add them to a Sherlock Holmes mystery, you’d get something similar to this book. Walton Cumberfield is a character you can’t help but laugh at and with as he struggles on through his adventure. Read the rest of this entry »