General Ramblings

Ghostbusters, Doctor Who, and the Next Generation (aka my kids)

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I had the distinct pleasure of indoctrinating… er, I mean introducing my kids (6 and 3) to the world of Ghostbusters on the weekend. Completely unintentional, mind you. I hadn’t meant on them watching it, but they wandered out when it started, saw the librarian ghost (thought she was fantastic) and sat and watched the whole thing.

Their favourite part? The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man of course. Once we’d finished the first one they saw the picture of the “Lady Ghostbusters” (as they’ve dubbed them) as we had to watch that too.

So over the weekend we’ve watched the original twice, the remake once, and a heap of the cartoon Ghostbusters on YouTube. Plus, today I’ve printed out a heap of colouring pages to keep them busy.

I always held out hope that one day my nerdier interests would influence their tastes. When my eldest was a baby and I’d be nursing her and watching Doctor Who, I used to tell my wife that we were enjoying our favourite show together.

Neither of my kids have so far shown an interest in the Doctor, but it seems as though I’m at least on the right track.

As for the Ghostbusters reboot (the Lady Ghostbusters according to my kids), I really enjoyed it. Had a heap of great moments that had me laughing out loud, and the whole sequence at the end when they’re sort of back in time was fantastic.

It’s a shame the mysogonerds had to go and ruin its chances (and the chances of any sequels) at the box office by spreading their hate before even stopping to consider that it might, in fact, be good for the franchise. So they’ve successfully robbed us of any chance of seeing more Ghostbusters any time soon.

Of course now the same thing is happening with the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor in Doctor Who. I’m sure the BBC will stick to their guns, and we’ll see a few seasons with Ms Whittaker at the helm of the TARDIS. I believe this will be the shot-in-the-arm the Doctor Who franchise needs to keep it going strong.

I’ve been a fan of the Doctor since I used to watch the original series as a kid, and again with the rebooted continuation. Since the (seemingly at the time) throwaway line during “The Doctor’s Wife” episode about the Corsair being a bad girl during some of his/her regenerations.

That planted the seed in my mind that one day we might see a Time Lady. Then following up with The Master / Missy regeneration, and the on-screen regeneration during Hell Bent, it seemed like an almost certainty.

Personally I can’t wait to see Ms Whittaker’s take on the Doctor. My personal preference for the role was admittedly Richard Ayoade, who I’d still like to see as the Doctor one day. But until then, I’m eager to see a Time Lady in the role. I think it’ll give a unique depth to the character we’ve not seen before, and I for one can’t wait.

I hope my Kindle never dies

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I love technology. I love all the new clever things that people way smarter than me invent and put out.

Even my Kindle isn’t immune. New versions keep coming out: back lit, no buttons touchscreen, etc… but my Kindle is one thing I refuse to update.

It’s got one job to do and it does it well. Yes, I need a light to see the screen. Yes, I have to press buttons to navigate… but damn it if this humble piece of tech doesn’t hold a special place in my heart.

It looks worn out, well used and loved to death I prefer to think. I hope it never dies. 😀

Got one in worse condition than mine?

My Kindle with subtle ad for my book 😉

Vikings, Reddit, and Real Life

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The last month has been hectic. My pay-the-bills job has been keeping me busy, plus other things outside of work have got me to the point of not wanting to do any writing when I finally have spare time.

I know that’s not the attitude to have, but it’s just been exhausting. That said, I think things are finally easing up a little which is giving me time to think about my next project.

I’ve decided to work on a new idea that’s been floating around in my head rather than the other story I got part of the way through before stopping to write Badlands and The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior.

It’s still a little too early in the game to give away too much, other than to say it may make me a target for religious nut-bags. It’s a humorous tale of God and the Devil, Christ and few other family members and the havoc they cause.

Other than that I’ve been spending a lot of time over on Reddit as a way of not doing any writing. The Writing Prompts subreddit is one of my favourite places to hang out, reading all the prompt-inspired responses. I’ve posted a few of my own over the time, none that have really taken off until the one I posted the other day.

The prompt I submitted was: You accidentally summon a demon by trying to pronounce IKEA product names. I honestly didn’t expect it to get any traction, much like the ones that I posted before. But to my utter astonishment it took off, trending as high as top spot in the subreddit and garnering over 7,800 up-votes and even a gold star.

If you’ve got a bit of time, go over to Reddit and check out the awesome responses people have posted. It’s great to see how people interpret the response in different ways.

In The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior related news, it’s now been a little over a month since I released this book and I can honestly say it’s by a wide margin the best-selling book I’ve ever put out there.

It’s been snapped up by people all over the world, including countries I’ve never reached before. Sales have slowed a little since its initial release but I’m still seeing lots of people grabbing copies through Kindle Unlimited, and even the odd paperback copy being sold. Having people read and enjoy something I’ve written really makes my day.

That’s all for now. Back to procrastinating …er… working on my next book. 🙂

Judging Books By Their Covers

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Yes, I know you’re not supposed to judge books by their covers but I’m talking about my own here so I think I’m okay.

I’ve never been 100% happy with the covers of Boneyards or Badlands – the two books of the FTW series, so over the last week or so I’ve been busy reworking them into something I’m happier with.

This time I’ve tried to incorporate something that feels more like the world described in the book.

Boneyards takes place (mostly) inside the Boneyards where piles of scrap are picked over by the people living there. Check out the Boneyards page for more on this book.

I think the new cover shows this much better than the concrete wall of the previous cover. The good news out of all of this is if you previously purchased a copy with the old cover it’s now a collector’s item! 🙂

The cover of Badlands has also been updated to look more like the environment our heroines are exposed to.

The book takes place outside the walls of the city, in the baron wastelands beyond, the imagery which I’ve tried to inspire on the cover. Check out the Badlands page for more about this book.

I’ve also made the two covers similar in both colour scheme and title area to help join the two together when seen as a set.

If you’ve not yet read the series, what are you waiting for? Check out the sample of Boneyards over at Amazon!

Both books as well as the combined edition are available on Kindle Unlimited as well if you’ve got that.


Check out my Author Profile at Amazon for everything I’ve published.



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Oh, look what I have 😁

My paperback copy arrived from CreateSpace!

Update: The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

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I’m sure you’ll be eager to hear that my work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior – is now at the “beta reader” stage of editing.

That means it’s getting much closer to being completely finished! Once I get it back and comb through the notes, adjusting my draft where necessary, and it’ll be one step closer to putting it onto Kindle Scout.

In the meantime I’m busy working on some other things for the book. Firstly, in my books I like to have a custom “mid-chapter break” or “section break” if you prefer. In a lot of books these are three little asterisks “***” or bullets “•••” or the like that usually denote passage of time during a chapter.

I’ve always gone with a little symbol I like in all of my books to date – – for no other reason than I happen to like it. But with Gustav I’ve made a custom symbol, Gustav’s head:

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 »

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 »

Reading Suggestions

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I’ve recently received a few emails with suggestions of books I might like to read based on others I have reviewed and thought I should clarify my position.

I am more than happy to receive suggestions for books to read, but please check my recent book reviews for the type of books I prefer. I will check out your suggestion, and if it sounds like something I’d like then I’ll add it to my Goodreads “To Read” list. But fair warning, there are already quite a lot of books on there! The more your book captures my attention, the more likely it is to float to the top of the list.

I post honest reviews of everything I finish reading here on my site as well as Goodreads,,, and from my next one (because I’ve just realised I can)

You can suggest your book via my Contact form. Things you should include in your message:

  • Your name (or the pen name you write under),
  • Your website address so I can see what else you’ve written,
  • Book title (link to Amazon or Goodreads would be better),
  • The blurb so I know what it’s about,
  • And other books I’ve read that are like yours (in other words: why you’re recommending it).


Final Thoughts:
Please don’t submit your entire back catalogue. Choose one and suggest that. If you’ve got a Goodreads or Amazon author page then I’ll find your other works that way.