Monday, 25 February 2013

Now available! Get it while it's hot!

I've got two announcements today. Firstly, Gift of Continence is now available from the Kobo store: get it here

The other announcement is that the book Four Paws that I told you about in my last couple of posts has been released and is now available on Amazon here: Remember, ALL proceeds go to the shelter!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Book Review - Four Paws

I received an advance copy of this delightful book, which will be released on Amazon on 24 February. It's a short anthology of poems by four very talented writers, introduced by the well-known Russell Blake.

There's something for everyone in this delightful collection of short poems. For anyone grieving the loss of a beloved friend, there is the comfort of shared sorrow. There's hope for the future, there's celebration of the richness of life.

The book has been created by The Quillective Project. All proceeds of its sale will go to Dog & Kitty City, a no-kill shelter in the Dallas area. That is 100%! All of it. Read about the Quillective Project here:

I strongly urge my readers to buy this book. Buy extra copies to give as gifts. It won't be expensive, and every cent will go to help the shelter, and every copy out there will help to spread the word, both about the shelter and about the Quillective Project. They're good poems - there is really no downside. Here, another free sample:

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Coming soon to an Amazon near you!

On Sunday, 24 February, a very exciting event will take place. This will be the release of Four Paws, a Quillective Project anthology of poetry.

The Quillective Project's mission is to turn the power of the written word into an instrument of compassion, hope, and generosity by putting that power directly in the hands of organizations that share our principles. To this end, anthologies are published each year, with proceeds going to a selected animal welfare organisation. This year's beneficiary is the Dallas Humane Society's no-kill shelter, Dog & Kitty City.

The 2013 Quillective Project is Four Paws, a poetry anthology featuring bestselling authors Scott Morgan, Ben Ditmars, Amber Jerome~Norrgard and Robert Zimmermann, with a "fourward" by Russell Blake.

Unlike many fund-raising events, the Quillective Project's books are unusual in that, rather than the more usual "10% of profits" or similar, 100% of all proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the beneficiary. This is made possible because the people who have worked to produce this edition, and those contributors, have all done so without remuneration. No hidden costs, no gala lunches for socialites, no swallowing up of donations in "administrative expenses". Your purchase of this book does make a difference. Buy some for your friends as well! It's not expensive.

The book goes live on February 24th, 2013 on Read more about the Quillective Project here:

Friday, 15 February 2013

Action Sequences - or, if we want to be cruel, Arcade Sequences

What do Mills and Boon, the first three Star Wars movies and the Lethal Weapon movies all have in common?

They waste the reader/watcher's time with endless, pointless action sequences.

Whether it's a car chase with lots of crash-bang action, a space battle or soft porn, it's still what in the gaming world is known as an arcade sequence.

Arcade sequences are all very well for pre-pubescent nerdy kids who live for their joysticks. But to a reader, who by definition should be literate, they are the death of good writing.

If you really feel you can't be true to your creative vision without long, long action sequences, it's time to team up with a second-rate artist and go in for Manga.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Why Katherine Kurtz' Knights Templar series doesn't work for me

Now I am not vain enough to assume that my criticisms of Ms Kurtz' work will apply to others, but here for what it is worth is my view of why I did not enjoy the first two books in the series (The Temple and the Stone and The Temple and the Crown) and why I will not read any further books in the series (if indeed more have been or are to be written; of this I am unaware).

These books can be viewed in two ways: as historical fiction and as fantasy fiction.

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction to be enjoyable (for me) has to be authentic. The introduction of the fantasy elements of magic, conjuration of demons, mystical powers of the biblical artefacts etc, renders this impossible in this work. Although I am sure that the historical elements of the work have been diligently researched and are probably accurate in every detail, this authenticity cannot be attained in the presence of the fantasy elements. Therefore, I did not enjoy the works in the sense of historical fiction.

Fantasy fiction

For me, for fantasy fiction to be what I consider good, one element is absolutely indispensable, and this is that I must be able to like the protagonist/s. Although there was nothing absolutely repellent about Ms Kurtz' knights, they failed completely to engage me. The characters were shady and incompletely drawn and appeared to me very two-dimensional. So the books for me did not work as fantasy fiction either. In fact as I reflect on those works of historical that I have enjoyed, it becomes apparent to me that in them too, the characters need to be well developed in order for the book to work.