Tag Archives: Kindle

‘Kill the Past, Destroy the World’ – Short story ebook now FREE on Amazon Kindle for 72 hours!

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If you haven’t already downloaded my latest short story, the provocatively titled prelude to my new novel, now is your chance! For a limited time, Kill the Past, Destroy the World is available to download for FREE on Amazon Kindle. If you have read the story, then I do hope you will share it with anyone else you think might enjoy it.

Kill the Past, Destroy the World tells the story of Mailyn, an embittered sorceress who returns to her homeland, determined to settle some old scores and seek revenge for the sins of the past. Guided by mysterious beings she believes to be ‘angels’, Mailyn is part of a dangerous plot that could spell the end for an entire world. With Mailyn determined to set Alanar alight with the fire of the angels, only one man, the High Priest Ardonis, can stand against her and prevent her from unleashing a planetary apocalypse.

Leading right into the opening pages of The Key of Alanar (which is now available to preorder!) this is one of the most morally ambiguous pieces I’ve ever written and I loved exploring the backstory that leads into an incredibly epic tale that spans 10,000 years and multiple dimensions. The adventure now begins…

Be sure to grab your copy now!

DOWNLOAD FROM AMAZON.COM

DOWNLOAD FROM AMAZON.CO.UK

The story is also available from every other Amazon region, be sure to check it out!

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Why Books Have Become Devalued

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These are interesting yet precarious times for fiction writers. Although the digital revolution has given authors an unprecedented opportunity to share their work, it has come at a price.

The landscape has changed almost beyond recognition. It’s much easier to ‘be’ a writer now. Anyone and their uncle can churn out a book and have it published on Amazon Kindle that afternoon. In spite of this, it’s actually much harder to ‘make it’ as a writer, due to complete over-saturation of the market. Something in the range of 4,000 books are being published every single day. Competition can be a good thing, but it also has its downside. What happens when a market is oversaturated? The product in question inevitably becomes devalued, and so does the supplier of that product.

I believe the devaluing of fiction started off with supermarkets and online stores such as Amazon artificially slashing the prices of books. Publishers were in many cases willing to make only a marginal profit (if any) per unit in exchange for selling in greater quantity. I always suspected that mass market paperbacks had an adverse effect on other publishers and lesser known authors unable  to sell their product at such low prices.

In terms of Amazon Kindle, the leading ebook store by a wide margin, what I’ve seen happening is authors and publishers pitching their products at the lowest possible prices in order to stand above the competition. While this is good for the consumer in many respects–they can afford to buy more ebooks!– what it means is that artificially low prices have become the norm.

The reader clearly isn’t to blame. If there are so many books out there at 99 cents/pence or less, why should they be willing to pay more? The publisher of my first novel, Eladria, doesn’t seem to know how to deal with this, having charged everything from 99p to £6.49 for the ebook. I can’t see many willing to pay the latter price for a book by a first-time, sadly quite unknown author, even though the book in question took three years to write and garnered pretty impressive reviews. The only exceptions to the “pay cheap” rule are the big-name authors and they have the backing of big publishing houses behind them. And even a number of them are struggling in the new publishing landscape.

Again, this is good for the reader in the short term. It’s a buyer’s market without a doubt. But I fear that in the long term everyone may suffer. Writing is and always has been a very labour-intensive process. Some writers have the ability to churn out book after book in a conveyor belt-like process. If anything I’m a little envious of them. But I contend that the best books take time and care to write; not weeks, but months and possibly years. Unfortunately, authors who invest such time and care in their work are struggling to survive. The new model of cheap fiction is only viable if an author can release a LOT of work, very often.

I’m concerned that what the digital revolution has seen in terms of fiction is a shift to quantity over quality.

Unless they already have money in the bank, writers can no longer spend years on a single project. The focus is now on producing more, more often and selling it at knock-down prices. It’s inevitable that the quality of the output will suffer in some way. This looks set to continue and perhaps even get worse. Is the publishing industry on the verge of disintegration or can it, by picking itself up and adapting to changing times, create a radical new renaissance?

My Tao Te Ching book is now available to buy!

Hi everyone! I’m pleased to announce that the paperback version of my Tao Te Ching book is now available on Amazon and is currently on sale at cost price. The Tao Te Ching is a remarkable gift, and I wanted to be able to share it as such.

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Five years ago I set myself the challenge of creating my own version of this ancient text. I wanted to encapsulate the best of my favourite translations, retaining the text’s integrity and poetic flourish while making some of the more cryptic statements (of which there are a great many!) a little clearer and easier to understand.

I spent time reflecting on each verse and pondering the meaning of Lao Tzu’s words and then wrote a commentary on each one. I did this for myself more than anything, but decided to share it on this and my prior blogs. A lot of people have really enjoyed my take on the Tao, which has subtly evolved over the years as my own understanding has grown. Here is my introduction to the text.

I’ve been posting the content of this book in this blog for almost two years now, and will continue to do so until I have posted all 81 verses. If you’ve enjoyed it and want to have the complete work to hand, then this is for you! It’s been available to download on Kindle and Smashwords in ebook format for some time now, and the paperback edition looks beautiful I have to say. It’s a book that’s great for keeping at your bedside and dipping into for a little inspiration and insight.

Click here to view the book on Amazon US

Click here to view the book on Amazon UK

It should also be available in most other territories. The Smashwords ebook edition (which includes Kindle, ePub and many other formats) can be found here)

Hope you enjoy!

I’ve also just finished my second novel, which follows on from ELADRIA. It will be published in the Spring, along with a whole range of surprises. It’s a work I’m very proud of and a story that has been with me most my life. I can’t wait to share it with you. Hopefully now this major project is out the way, I will be able to get back into a more regular blogging routine!

Book Review: “Gyaros Book One: The Mice Eat Iron” by Rohan & Alex Healy

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Every so often I’m going to post reviews of books I’ve read, and here’s my review for Rohan and Alex Healy’s debut sci-fi novel, now available to download on Amazon Kindle.

Gyaros: The Mice Eat Iron is a science-fiction/dystopian thriller novel by brothers Rohan and Alex Healy. For a debut novel it’s remarkably assured, confident and accomplished. If I didn’t know better I’d think these guys had been writing novels for years. They’ve crafted a detailed, textured and immersive world that in many ways could pass as a slightly more futuristic, dystopian version of our world. Carthage is a dreary, corporate-run world in which you can live a reasonably comfortable, if uninspiring life, by keeping your head down and playing your part as a mindless cog in the wheel of society. Early chapters set the scene nicely and in some ways reminded me of the sobering vision presented by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World. Outwardly everything is pleasant enough and society runs in clockwise fashion, but it’s a somewhat robotic existence and beneath the shiny exterior, there are some very nasty things lurking.

Key to the novel’s success is getting the reader to immediately empathise and form a bond with the protagonist, Miles Stanton. Miles is very much an ‘everyman’, which makes him easy to relate to and his motivations, feelings and reactions are clearly conveyed throughout. Miles is a good guy who has a run of terrible luck, culminating in his exile to the dreaded prison moon of Gyaros. If you’re unlucky enough to be sent to Gyaros, you won’t be seen or heard of again — in fact, you’ll be lucky to survive your first day. The early chapters have a certain foreboding, as the reader knows that Miles is going to end up with a one-way ticket to Gyaros. When he arrives, the writers do a good job bringing this fearful penal colony to life, with all its ramshackle towns, vicious gangs, monstrous creatures — and yet there’s also a surprising amount of variety, too. Like most things in life, there’s a mixture of good and bad people (with some very, very bad people thrown in to tip the scales a bit).

The central theme of the novel appears to be Miles’s struggle to retain his humanity in an inhuman environment. This is a question that’s always intrigued me. It’s easy to be a good person when you’re in pleasant surroundings and circumstances. But how would you respond when you’re basically thrown into hell? How long would you be able to retain your own moral code? There are a few instances where Miles is in danger of losing his humanity just because of the extreme situations he finds himself in.

As the story unfolds, Miles makes some allies and these characters are nicely-drawn and lend the book a kind of archetypal balance. There are plenty twists and turns along the way, with some surprising revelations about some of the characters that kept me wondering throughout. One of the most striking qualities about Gyaros is the tight pacing: it’s an action-packed adventure, with some very neat set-pieces and the action is adeptly-written and exciting. Fortunately the authors know when the take a breather as well, so the pace isn’t too top-heavy. I’d say the pacing and structure is well-judged. There are some familiar tropes but they’re well utilised and nicely incorporated into the story. The use of language and expletives seems appropriate for the environment and characters, although occasionally Miles ends up slipping out some profanities, which I’m not sure quite fitted him as a meek, polite, slightly uptight character. But given his desperate circumstances, it still works.

I’m normally quite a slow reader but I got through Gyaros quickly, hastened on by the exciting set-up, cliffhangers and the action-oriented nature of the plot. The ending didn’t quite have the level of resolution I was anticipating, but that’s perhaps because I often forgot it’s the first of a trilogy! The epilogues do a neat job of throwing in some twists and new elements that set the scene for book two, which I am now eagerly awaiting. This is definitely a novel I can recommend; well-written, the plot, pacing and characterisation are accomplished and skilled, with some interesting themes and reflections on society, culture, morality and human nature. A very enjoyable, fun, engaging read.

Now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk — and heck, most likely all the other Amazons too! Although perhaps not the South American one.