Tuesday 24 February 2015

Crossword Puzzle - February 2015

Okay, everyone, it should be an easy crossword puzzle this month. There are lots of intersecting words. Feel like giving it a go?



3 Indian conference (6)
9 backbone (5)
12 evil (6)
13 having muscle definition (5)
14 The Isle of Death (6)
15 old (3)
16 almond (8)
17 god of strife (3)
19 capture (3)
22 he causes consternation (8)
25 account (3)
26 she died for love of Pyramus (6)
29 tobacco cylinder (5)
32 Gretel's brother (6)
33 paradise in the desert (5)
34 envelop (6)


1 upon (3)
2 denoting an inhabitant (3)
3 throwing the shot (3)
4 receptive for mating (6)
5 a silly person (6)
6 panaceas (11)
7 old; (3)
8 departing (6)
9 crazy (4)
10 representing God in human form (11)
11 writing that pushes the boundries (4)
18 cut teeth (6)
20 tennis player Andre (6)
21 regular drinker of wine (6)
23 folded tortilla dish (4)
24 on either side of your head (4)
27 Solo (3)
28 Extract, Load, Transform (3)
30 Ian (3)
31 aim (3)

So here's how it works: be the first to solve this puzzle before 24 March 2015. E-mail me your answers. If you're right, I'll mention you on this blog, along with any link you'd like me to use (such as a link to your professional website, or perhaps your Twitter account). Your name will also be mentioned in the March 2015 issue of my monthly newsletter. You'll be immortalised for all eternity!

Sound like a plan? Well, what are you waiting for? Read... steady... go!

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Crossword Puzzle - January 2015 Answers

It's that time of the month already, folks. 2015 is well under way, and it feels like we were never on leave. Most people have finally stopped writing/typing 2014 in dates, and are desperately looking forward to the next public holiday (21 March, in South Africa).

So how did you get on with the January 2015 crossword puzzle? Let's take a look at the answers:



1 Go in a specific direction (4) move
5 Cry feebly (4) mewl
9 Never-ending (7) eternal
11 Shaped like an egg (4) oval
12 Garment worn by Hindu women (4) sari
13 Single-celled animal (6) amoeba
14 Danish King (4) Eric
15 American equivilant of Matric Fairwell (4) prom
16 Solutions of NaOH (4) lyes
17 Roofed colonade (4) stoa
18 By means of (3) via
21 Leaves boiled in water (3) tea
23 Not stiff (4) limp
26 Horse-back game (4) polo
29 Frankenstein's assistant (4) Igor
30 Rear-opening (4) anus
31 Lunatic (6) maniac
32 Of abundant vegetation (4) lush
33 Plant used as herbal medicine (4) aloe
34 Canadian province (7) Alberta
35 Make a hissing sound (4) siss
36 Old English for "ash" (4) aesc


1 Leprous (5) mesel
2 Eared seal (5) otary
3 More very (6) verier
4 Fines paid to a victim's family (5) erics
5 Nibbles (5) moops
6 Turns inside-out (5) evert
7 Type of protea (6) waboom
8 Animal, related to camel (5) llama
10 Between eggs and pupae (6) larvae
19 Greek island (6) Ithaca
20 Rwandan city (6) Kigali
22 South American parakeet (6) conure
23 Beans (5) limas
24 Monochrome pictures (5) monos
25 Inquires too inquisitively (5) pries
26 Upper bract of floret (5) palea
27 Has strong sexual desire for (5) lusts
28 Gum plant, smells of ammonia (5) oshac

See you next week, for the February 2015 puzzle!

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Tales from Virdura: The Captain's Heir

“Where is Clyde?” asked Sheriff Camden Maynard, over Helena's screams, which were emanating from the adjoining room. “He should be here for the birth of his child.”

“Still on the lake,” replied Davina. “The Sail's not back yet.”

“Damn and blast!” said the Sheriff. “They should have been back an hour ago. In the name of princess Tricia, he's going to miss it!”

Abruptly, the woman's screaming stopped. Davina and Sheriff Maynard looked at each other in silence, with expressions of horror on their faces. Moments later, a new scream erupted. It was not the scream of a woman, however, but that of a baby.

The door to the room was thrown open, and the midwife stormed out. “Where is that fool, Clyde?” she asked. “He's just missed the most important moment in his entire life, I'll wager: the birth of his son!”

Just then, Clyde came bursting through the door, huffing and puffing. “Sheriff Maynard,” he spluttered, “You need to come quickly. And bring as many men as you can. We've just caught the biggest fish I've ever seen.”

Knowing Clyde's propensity for tall tales, the Sheriff waved him away with a chuckle. “Clyde, I'm sure that whatever you and your crew have can wait. You need to go and see your wife, and your new son.”

“What?” said Clyde, and took a step backwards. Then he composed himself, and went on. “Well, yes, that's wonderful. I'm sure she's beautiful... I'm sure he's beautiful. But Sheriff, if you don't come quickly, this monster's going to sink the ship!”

Sheriff Maynard sighed, and followed Clyde out the door.


Maynard whistled when he saw the fish, resting on the deck of The Carrington Sail, the village's only fishing boat. The fish was as long as nearly five people, lying head to toe. And Clyde hadn't been exaggerating about the weight, either; the water level was right up the side of the boat, and some of it was even seeping onto the deck. The ship was indeed slowly sinking.

“Do you believe me now?” asked Clyde. “If we can get that thing to shore, it will feed the entire village for a year. If we don't, then it might be the last fish we ever catch.”

Maynard screamed for as many people as possible to get onto the boat, and help to get the fish, but it quickly became apparent that they weren't going to bring it ashore in one piece. He gave the order for the men to start hacking away at it, with knives, swords, saws, and whatever other implements were at hand. After nearly an hour of work, over twenty people had finally carried the last of the fish onto the shore.

“And now,” said the Sheriff to Clyde, as they were admiring their handiwork, “you have another matter to attend to.”


When Clyde and the Sheriff arrived back at Clyde's home, Davina was still standing in the living area, waiting for them. She gave Clyde a reproachful look.

“Your wife is inside, with the midwife, and your child,” she said. “She almost died giving birth to your son, and she's not happy with you for not being there to support her. Best you go in, now.”

Clyde's excitement and smile disappeared as the gravity of what Davina was saying sunk in. He could have lost his wife, that day. Without another word, he opened the door and walked in.


Clyde walked into the room, prepared for a tongue-lashing from his wife. “My love,” he said, “we almost lost The Sail tod-”

He was cut short when she looked up at him, beaming from ear to ear. In her arms, she was holding the most beautiful baby boy that he had ever seen.

Upon seeing that face, and the baby boy in his wife's arms, he immediately rushed to her side and clasped her hand in his.

“Oh, my dear!” he exclaimed. “You're beautiful. He's beautiful. We saved The Sail today, as I said, and one day, that boat will be his. My dear, sweet, beautiful Albert. What do you think of that?”

Image: http://campadmin.itamtam.co.kr/web/uploads/camp/pic_src/201410/baby-20939_640.jpg

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Help Sell E-Books to Earn Extra Cash

Okay, so that headline sounds a little scammy. But come on, you know me. I promise it's not! I'm not promising that you'll get rich quick, be able to leave your day job, or earn $5000-$10000 per week, or anything stupid like that. Just a little extra pocket-money, if you're interested.

So, do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Want to earn some extra cash?

I'm not sure if you've ever noticed, but if you visit many books on Smashwords while you're signed into your Smashwords account, and you scroll right down to the bottom of the page (past the reviews), you might see something similar to this:

(Click the image above to enlarge it)

The text after the "ref=" will be your unique Smashwords username, and the number before the question mark will be the unique ID number of the book on Smashwords.

Go ahead and give it a try, with Stingers, Heritage of Deceit, or A Petition to Magic (you must be signed in to Smashwords first, so create a free account there and sign in, if you haven't already).

So here's how it works:

  1. Each book contains a unique URL. If you want someone to buy a book, send them the unique affiliate URL of that book, including "?ref=" and your unique Smashwords username.
  2. If the person visits the link you send them, and ends up purchasing the book in the same session, you will earn the stated percentage of the book's list price at Smashwords. 11% is typical, but some books may offer more or less commission, or none at all (free books offer no commission at all). All my books offer 11% commission, at the time of this writing (except Billy's Zombie, which is free).
  3. Even if the person ends up not buying that specific book during that session, but buys another qualifying book, you will earn the stated commission (if any) on the book that the person eventually ends up buying.
  4. Similarly, even if the person does end up buying the book you sent them to, and then buys another qualifying book during that session, you will earn commission (if applicable) on all books purchased during that session.
As you can imagine, it could end up being quite a lucrative proposition for you!

Smashwords accrues your income immediately, as you sell books, but "banks" all money owing to you until such time as you have at least USD$10 in your account. Then, once a quarter, you will be paid the amount owing to you (if it's over USD$10) into your PayPal account.

So what do you say: do you want to help me sell some books?

If any of the above is unclear, or you need help getting started, just hit me up in the comments below, and I'll try my best to help you out!