Friday, 23 July 2010

A Book Sale

If anyone was thinking about buying my latest book, The Incomplete Guide to Action Movies, now is the perfect time.  Due to a glitch in the Lulu.com system my book did not show up in search results immediately after I published.   By way of an apology they are offering it at a discount for readers.

You can now purchase The Incomplete Guide to Action Movies at 15% off with coupon code BEACHREAD305 until August 15, 2010, Just use the coupon code at the checkout!


Almost everything you need to know to enjoy an action film!

Presenting an irreverent manual for dissecting an action movie, a guide to the nuances of that summer blockbuster!

Consider musings about crashes, clichés and cannon fodder!

Discover how to survive an action movie!

Learn the proper way to watch a bad action film!

Disagree with the recommendations and the top ten lists!

Read all about it today (at 15% off)!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

I Write Like...

For those who haven't heard there is a new website out in Internet World called I Write Like where you can have a few paragraphs of your writing analyzed and their algorithm will tell you which writer your prose most resembles.

Always willing to try something a bit goofy, I had the program analyze three different paragraphs from three different stories (from my book Passing Fancies).   It seems I'm quite the diverse writer because I got three different answers.

Here are the results:


1-  My short story, The Wild Hunt:



I write like
J. R. R. Tolkien
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


2- My short story, A Funny Murder:



I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



3- My fiction short, Dark, New World:



I write like
Arthur C. Clarke
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



Now how can I disagree wiyth a pedigree like that!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Subtle Cyber-tech Sci-fi: A Review of Self Made

My review of Self Made by M. Darusha Wehm:


The short novel, Self Made, is an engaging sci-fi tech novel best described as cyber-punk noir.
“She said her name was Ivy Velasquez, and Dex wasn't sure whether that was her real name or a name she invented for his benefit. It didn't really matter; the funds she transferred to the organization's escrow account were real enough.”

Self Made by M. Darusha Wehm is worth reading. The opening was a bit flat, but the shaky prose doesn’t last and the book picks up steam quickly, building an intriguing world of online interaction, avatars and virtual murder. The plotline revolves around the “murder” of Reuben Cobalt, a virtual avatar. Andersson Dexter is hired to investigate the crime, leading him into the online world of avatar programming and “multis” that turns into a complex mystery to unravel.

The crime and mystery plotline is nicely written and the conclusion satisfying, with the allusion of noir and murder providing a flavourful background, but the true value in the novel is in the character interaction and the topics it reveals. Like all good science fiction, the book has subtle layers, and touches on a variety of issues such as civil rights, reality vs. virtual, gender identity and human interaction. The author has skilfully explored the depth of the characters; the plot revolves around the detective, Dexter and it is his complex personality that keeps the reader engrossed. The world the author created is filtered through his eyes, and it is fascinating.

“The last thing he needed was Shiraishi running around giving all the multis on the nets nightmares. Even if there were a serial multi killer out there, which Dex had no reason to believe, all a full scale panic would do is tip that person off to who the multis were. It was a dumb, rookie move, but Dex understood. They were his people. He was one of them, they were his community and he wanted to protect them. Dex understood, but he didn't share those feelings. After all, he had no one to protect.”

Besides the slightly weak beginning, there are a few distracting typos (although the book I read was an advance copy, so some of those problems may have been corrected), but nothing major and certainly nothing to detract from the reading experience. Self Made is an excellent book, especially for fans of cyber-tech sci-fi.

Self Made is available in e-book form at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/7552

It’s also available through CreateSpace and Amazon.com in a print version

You can also find this review on my Examiner Page



Note:  I received a free e-copy of this book for review.  

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Time to discard Lulu.com?

I just published my latest book, The Incomplete Guide to Action Movies, with Lulu.com and it was a bit of a nightmare.

Once again Lulu's incompetent (at least in my experience) cover wizard glitched and screwed up my cover.  This time it happened during a book revision; it somehow (the staff at Lulu.com say the how is a mystery) reverted my cover to default colour and font and removed my front cover blurb. 
Now, every time you revise you must purchased an obligatory proof copy, so having not realised the glitch, I bought not one, but two copies (the second copy was to be used in a book giveaway).  The two copies arrived and, surprise, I was looking at a cover I didn't want.  This was highly annoying and problematic for the loss of money and the disruption of my marketing plans.  So I contacted Lulu to complain and that is when my problems got worse.

Their first response email said they had to send my problem higher up the food chain.  Okay, I could understand that.  Too bad they sent it to someone who seemed to have little grasp of the words "customer service".
My first email from this "person" stated, "We noticed that you had disabled your account".  Well gee, I hadn't.  The guy didn't even look up the right account!
In the second email he states, "we unfortunately cannot revise the cover for you".  I never asked them to do that; I just wanted answers.  He did also state though, "we can bypass the proof copy requirement by offering you a free copy of the version with the corrected cover".  Okay, I thought at least that's something, so I replied.  I asked how I could obtain the free copy and a few other questions about using the PDF of the original cover.  I waited for an answer, but none came that day or the next morning.  So I went ahead and revised the cover, figuring I could wait to order the copy.
Then the third email arrives, with this gem, "We can use the cover from the first version, however we will need to upload this as a one-piece cover as opposed to going through the studio. If you would like, I can make a revision and upload the cover for you, as well as place a replacement order. I will also set the order up in order to bypass the proof copy requirement. How would you wish to proceed?"  So, I guess they could revise the cover after all, despite the earlier statement.  Too bad I did it already.   So I relate this information and inquire, again, how can I get the free copy.  This exchange happened on July 1st and I waited patiently for a reply, taking the holidays in to consideration. 
By the 6th I lost patience waiting for a reply and just ordered the book.  Then I received this email, "Thank you again for your patience and I apologize for the delay. I have placed a reorder for the new revised book."  Oh thanks, you don't get back to me, don't answer my inquiries about the ordering procedures and then order the book the day after I do!   Way to communicate with your customer!

This is just the newest round of indifference I had with customer service at Lulu, but it is the last straw for me.  I'm disillusioned with Lulu.com; their prices and shipping charges are too high, their customer service sucks and I'm finding them less and less author friendly.  I think it is past time for me to find a new way to get published.



The Incomplete Guide to Action Movies


Almost everything you need to know to enjoy an action film!

Here it is at last!

Presenting an irreverent manual for dissecting an action movie, a guide to the nuances of that summer blockbuster!
Consider musings about crashes, clichés and cannon fodder!

Discover how to survive an action movie!

Learn the proper way to watch a bad action film!

Disagree with the recommendations and the top ten lists!


Read all about it today!
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-incomplete-guide-to-action-movies/11602857