Tuesday 28 July 2015

Crossword Puzzle - July 2015

Well, you all know the drill by now. Here's a crossword puzzle for you to solve.

Get all the answers correct, and e-mail them to me before Tuesday 18 August. That's the day when I post the answers on this blog.

If you're the first person with the correct answers before then, not only will I mention your name in that post, but I'll also send you an electronic copy of one of my books, free of charge!

Ready? Good luck!



1 Unleashed (6)
3 Sol (3)
7 Remove the skin off a fruit (4)
9 Egg of a louse (3)
11 Ball (3)
12 Biblical Mount (5)
14 Respectful address to a woman (4)
16 Of the navy (5)
17 Of a monarch (5)
18 On demand (2, 3)
21 Have fun (5)
23 Worn on the foot (4)
24 Describing words (5)
26 Made his acquaintance (3)
28 Of a smile, dry (3)
29 TV psychologist (4)
30 For writing (3)
31 Disconnect from a network (3, 3)


2 Bring about destruction of (2, 2)
4 Alien ship (3)
5 Animal tracks (5)
6 Cain's brother (4)
8 TV award (4)
9 Maths game involving picking things up (3)
10 Get a dark skin (3)
12 North Indian tree (3)
13 Japanese martial art involving swords (5)
15 Moses' brother(5)
18 Exclamations of enlightenment (3)
19 Scottish expression of surprise (4)
20 For writing on a blackboard (5)
21 Red muppet (4)
22 Alternative spelling for "you" (3)
23 Afrikaans, "cut" (3)
25 Russian mountain range (4)
27 For resting a golf ball on (3)

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Crossword Puzzle - June 2015 Answers

How many of you have been struggling to find the answers to the June 2015 crossword puzzle?

If this is you, you're welcome! :)



1 A young goat (3) kid
3 With a needle (3) jab
5 Nothing (3) nil
8 Anger (3) ire
9 Thailand (4) Siam
11 Brand of beauty soap (3) Lux
13 Do with a canoe (3) row
14 Open area of land for temporary pasture (3) ley
15 Witch (3) hag
18 Motor-cross bicycle (3) BMX
20 Estimated time of arrival (3) ETA
21 A tree's blood (3) sap
24 Used to see (3) eye
26 A young wolf (3) pup
28 Currency of Japan (3) yen
30 Make a mistake (3) err
31 The alphabet (3) ABC
33 Afrikaans uncle (3) oom
35 First month (3) Jan
36 Fancy (4) posh
37 Submachine gun (3) Uzi
38 Dude, or guy (3) oke
39 Rodent with a long tail (3) rat
40 Catholic, wears a habit (3) nun


2 Not bright (3) dim
3 Work well together (4) jell
4 Reminiscent of a box (4) boxy
6 Member of a people of S.E. Nigeria (3) Ibo
7 For extinguishing cigarettes (7) ash-tray
10 Persistent pain (4) ache
12 U-turns (4) ueys
13 Steal (3) rob
16 Did with food (3) ate
17 Happy (3) gay
19 Height of the lowercase x (7) x-height
22 Large primate (3) ape
23 Prefix in pursue (3) pur
25 Island in Tuscany (4) Elba
27 Command for a horse to stop (4) proo
29 Vietnam (3) nam
31 Slightly open (4) ajar
32 Also Canute (4) Cnut
34 Large evergreen tree (3) oak
36 Small metal rod (used in needlework) (3) pin

See you next Tuesday, where I'll have a brand new puzzle for you!

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Tales from Virdura: A Murder in Carrington

At Virdura Castle, Queen Celeste and her chief advisor, the Wizard Solon, were sitting down for their evening meal, and discussing the events of the day.

“We had a messenger today, from Carrington. A young man named Jonah,” said Solon, before tearing off a piece of chicken with his teeth.

“Carrington?” answered the queen, “We haven't heard from the village of Carrington in... how long has it been?”

“Too long, your highness. Your mother visited there once, when you were but a child. You should really pay them a visit one of these days.”

“That's a good idea,” said Celeste, “Perhaps in a month or two's time, when things have quietened down at the castle. Anyway, what did this Jonah want?”

“A young girl was murdered yesterday, on a fishing vessel from Carrington. It's the first time that's happened in over fifty years,” answered Solon.

Celeste gasped, and she brought her open palm up to her mouth, before Solon continued, “They apparently have a young man in custody, a boy by the name of Richard. The local Sherrif is requesting a magistrate to travel to the village, to preside over his trial and make a pronouncement.”

“You should go!” said Celeste immediately. “Murder is serious business. You should go, and divine the truth for them.”

Solon gave a half-chuckle, half-sigh, before responding. “I'm sure Virdura's magistrates are quite capable, Celeste,” he said, slipping into a familiar demeanour towards his friend and queen. “Besides, you said yourself how busy we all are here. I'm afraid that I can't spare the time to go to Carrington, any more than you can.

“I have asked Jessa to travel with an entourage to assist them. She will leave at first light tomorrow morning, and should arrive in Carrington in no more than two days.”

Author's Note: This is an extract from one of my works in progress, about a murder in the small fishing village of Carrington, in the kingdom of Virdura. What do you think? Should I pursue this story, and would you be interested in reading it?

Tuesday 7 July 2015

E-Book Prices in South Africa

The de facto standard minimum for independently published e-books is $2.99.

That's thanks to Amazon, because $2.99 is the lowest an author can price his work to qualify for 70% royalties from Kindle Direct Publishing. Below that level, authors can only expect to earn 35%. Books on sale are generally priced at $0.99, or free.

Some people think $2.99 is too low, and price their books at $4.99 or even $5.99, but for most self-published books on Amazon, $2.99 appears to be the norm.

Now, if you live somewhere other than the United States (and particularly in a country where Amazon doesn't have a native store), like me, then you really have no idea what $2.99 equates to. Sure, you can ask Google, and it will tell you that, at the time of this writing, it's worth ZAR36.93, or whatever, in your native currency. But is R36.93 a fair price for a South African to pay for an e-book? Does $2.99 really mean as much to an American as R36.93 to a South African.

Clearly not. There's a reason why iTunes in South Africa charges R7.99 (or did, up until a couple of months ago) for stuff that Americans pay $0.99 for, even though $0.99 actually works out to R12.20!

Maybe the Bic Mac index will help shed some light on it, but it's clear to me that $2.99 means less to an American than R36.93 does to a South African, and that R36.93 means more to a South African than $2.99 means to an American. In real terms, does R36.93 translate to... $6 to an American? More?

Add to that the fact that South Africa is in the middle of Amazon's infamous "surcharge zone", which means that you're extremely unlikely to actually pay $2.99 for a book with a list price of $2.99; you'd be lucky to pay under $5 (R61.60) in South Africa!

So what do you think? Do you live in South Africa, and buy e-books from Amazon? Do you think the prices are fair?

If you live in another country, have you had any similar thoughts?

I'd love it if you'd post your experiences and thoughts in the comments below, and let me know what you have to say!