Tag Archives: Amazon

Politics

I’m not generally one to weigh in on political matters but I thought that today’s vote for independence, or otherwise, was too important not to talk about. I wrote this on my Facebook page so all my friends could see it, although to be fair I think I know how most of them are voting already, that’s what makes them friends!

 


 

Good morning Britain from Australia,

Before you head out to the polls today please take the time to watch this video of Professor Michael Dougan, a Law professor whose speciality is European Constitutional Law at the University of Liverpool, talking about the implications of leaving or staying in the EU.

Having moved to Western Australia two and a half years ago (for purely personal reasons, nothing to do with the economy, jobs or immigration), I am seeing your current situation from the outside but from the point of view of an insider.

Now while I love living in Western Australia (WA) I think there are some things that could be learnt from looking at us. WA, and Perth specifically, is a very remote place, both geographically and socially. One of the outcomes of this is that everything – yes really, EVERYTHING – costs a lot of money because Australian trade agreements were set up by a single, sparsely populated country (Australia) with other countries who were either more populous or else more powerful.

I don’t want to show any lack of respect to my newfound home, it’s a great place to live, however I do miss the ease that I could get hold of, say, an egg whisk for a ridiculously low price simply by hopping onto Google and searching for egg beaters. I often ended up purchasing from e.g. Amazon. Now Amazon is an American company, America has trade agreements with the EU…BUT NOT THE UK!!! This means that England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales would then have to pay the same (very steep) tariffs as China, Brazil, India, etc.

I also used to enjoy, to a greater or lesser degree, my occasional trips overseas. Which were a lot easier because most of the places I used to visit were within the EU. No problems with getting visas, and the queues at immigration were always relatively short.

There is a lot of stuff I miss about the UK, but if a greater part of the British population vote “leave” today then it will probably be some while longer, than it would otherwise have been, before I can bring my family back for a holiday, because the prices are likely to mean that we will have to save up twice as much before planning such a trip.

However you’re going to vote today, have a great day. And think carefully before you pick a box to tick.

Cheers

Dan

 

 


 


Reviews – Robinson Crusoe 2244 by E.J. Robinson and Jump…by Me

In my ongoing attempt to dominate the world of publishing, I have been getting a bit more socially involved, internet wise. Yes, I still have the six extra Twitter accounts (more about that some time soon), the G+, Facebook and other such tools that I’ve been using, but now I have also started looking for and reviewing other authors’ work.

Being a poor (or at least tight!) writer I am not inclined to fork out much (or indeed, any) money for books, so I’ve been keeping my eye out for deals of the day on Amazon, as well as following all kinds of promotional accounts on Twitter. it was via this medium that I happened upon a book which sounded kind of interesting.

The name of the book, as alluded to in the title of this post, is Robinson Crusoe 2244. The author’s name is E.J. Robinson, whom I discovered, in the course of writing my review, is called Erik. I did wonder to myself if his name had anything to do with why he chose that particular classic to update, but there isn’t any hint of that in any of his supporting material.

I’ll paste my review in now, and then get on to what happened next…


I had no preconceptions when I started reading this. I assumed it would be some kind of futuristic updating of the classic desert island shipwreck adventure, but didn’t expect for a moment that it was about to become one of my new favourite books!
The thing that surprised me most was the similarity to the writing of Jack Vance, the dialogue, the colourful characters, the intense impressions of scenery and clothing. Everything is so beautifully extemporised that you feel you’re inside the scene watching.
And the story…Instead of just a straightforward update, Mr Robinson (Erik, not Crusoe) has ripped the original into little pieces, mixed it up with half a cup of Richard Matheson, some shavings of Stephen King and fashioned a believable but horrifying future. I loved it!
Can’t wait until 2245!


In case you’re wondering, he has another book coming out in a week or two’s time, which is going to be called Robinson Crusoe 2245. Suffice to say I will be purchasing it when it hits the shelves! He is a sublime writer and the story was brilliantly planned, well thought out and included situations which, although fantastical, were utterly believable.

So, I posted my review, then forgot all about it.

A week or so later I realised that I had completely missed setting an account up on one of the biggest reading/writing resources on the interweb – Goodreads – so I signed up and went through the process of getting myself recognised as the author of Jump. In case you’re at all interested, my page is here. After getting it all sorted I had one of my first interactions, someone had bought my book and it turned out to be the aforementioned Mr Robinson. I was mildly surprised and also intrigued to see what he would think of it.

Reading it seemed to take him no time at all and shortly after he finished the following review appeared on my feed.


E.J.’s review

In JUMP, it isn’t the discovery of time travel that sets the story churning, but the potential misuse of it. When a covert environmental group threatens to destabilize the past in hope of limiting man’s influence on the future, the fate of the world hangs in the balance and our likeable cast of heroes must race to heal time’s wounds before it’s too late.

Ladle’s prose is intelligent and thoughtful and the story focuses on the characters as much as the premise. The time travel element is heavy on theoretical psychics and laymen not used to the genre might get confused, but the second half picks up the pace to what is an exciting resolution.

For fans of the time travel genre, JUMP is the thinking man’s TIMELINE, and it’s good to see there’s room for a potential sequel. A solid debut.


I was, literally, amazed! This nice man, whose book is a masterpiece of modern sci-fi/fantasy/fiction, seemed to think that what I wrote is worthy of a modicum of praise and even a sequel. He awarded me four out of a possible five stars too.

This is the first review Jump has received and the best I could ever have hoped for. The fact that he thinks the theoretical physics stuff is intelligent surprised me somewhat, as I am in no way a physicist and didn’t even do very well on my exams for that subject more than 20 years ago!

I was also pleased that he recognised that I was going for a character driven story and not trying to focus on the technical side of things too much, as that was exactly what I aimed for while writing the thing.

So, all in all I’m very happy with what he wrote, hopefully he feels the same way about my scribblings on his own labour of love. The whole experience gives me some hope that the 100,000 or so words I created are not so bad after all.

Here’s to you, Mr Robinson!


A Tweet in the Dark

I am currently working on marketing Jump, and when I say working on it is a bit like a full time job. Let me outline my strategy.

From the eleven characters in my book I picked six, there was some reasoning behind my choice, as some are no longer available at the end of the book and some are not the sort of people to go around “expressing themselves” in public. For these six characters I set up accounts on Twitter, this included finding profile pictures (I didn’t use photographs of people’s faces, that might have caused some issues), I also found some images for the backgrounds and headers and got them all prettified.

After the initial account details you are asked to choose people to follow, I decided not to go for anyone who might actually know me, instead I decided what sort of things each of them would like and started adding, e.g. bands, organisations and people.

So I ended up with six accounts for imaginary people who I then needed to allow to start having opinions and things to tell the world about. This was an interesting exercise because, although some of them are a little like me, e.g. similar taste in music or technology or etc., they are also quite different people. However, after writing a book about all of them I felt relatively confident that I could come up with some interesting things to say (on their behalves!).

Initially I set up the accounts and purely logged in and out of Twitter on my computer, but this soon got a bit tiring so I added each of their accounts to my phone, fine but not super easy to cope with swapping between and responding to each other’s Tweets, after all, they know each other and have worked closely together so are a pretty close group who interact a lot, although they are all starting to build up their own group of followers.

Now though, I have settled on using TweetDeck, which is a fantastic little program you can install on your desktop computer, then add Twitter accounts and receive, compose and respond to Tweets. My favourite thing though is a function I am just trying out, its possible to schedule your messages to be sent at a later time and/or date. So far today I have found a number of different things of interest which I have written Tweets about and marked for sending between about five PM tonight and half three tomorrow morning. This is very useful when your characters live in a completely different time zone and part of the world, as mine do!

Anyway, my plan is to get these six people interacting with a bunch of (probably, you can never quite tell) real humans, then slowly leak out bits of the story, eventually admitting that they are actually characters from a book and trying to appeal to their followers to buy their story.

I have no idea if this will work, but its quite a lot of fun pretending to be an attractive thirty-something woman with an interest in shoes, or a multilingual translator, or a guy who built a time machine.

If you like you can try to find and follow them, but I’m not giving you any sort of hints so you’ll just have to seek them out for yourselves!


Amazon-azing

A couple of months ago my writers group meeting was about getting published.
A couple of the attendees had self-published on Amazon and said that it was relatively easy and was actually making them a few dollars.
I went home and checked out some of their work and, excuse me if I’m biased but, I think mine is of an equally high standard!
This got me thinking and so the past week or so I’ve been setting myself up on Kindle Direct Publishing. As they suggested it wasn’t super difficult, the only tricky bit being the American tax declaration you have to do because the big A (Amazon) is in the big A (America).
Once I got all the paperwork out of the way I started putting the details together to actually publish my book.
They make it shockingly easy, offering advice at every step and even offering a cover designer, which I used and seems to give pretty good results.
I’m still writing a synopsis and “author bio”, which is harder than you might think. Then the final step is to do one last read of the book to make sure it makes sense. After that I just need to upload it and hit the publish button.
Scary!
But for now I’ll leave you with my current cover design (which may well change before publication) and get back to my editing.

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