Sunday 30 December 2018

Nemesis by L.J. Martin (Book Review)

When I first saw this book, I was over the moon: Wow, I thought. A western that's not a romance! I honestly didn't think those existed anymore.

I wasn't disappointed. All those spaghetti westerns I watched and adored as a kid, starring John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and others? Ja, this is exactly like those. A simple plot centred around revenge, barely believable action sequences, dirty rotten cheaters getting shot over the poker table in smokey saloons... I felt like I was in heaven.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the end, skimmed through the other books by this author and publisher, and realised that the genre is alive and well. Where have you been all my reading life?

On the editing side, it's not the most polished bit of writing I've ever read, and I spotted a few typos, missing words, and redundancies throughout the text. But the plot was good and kept me interesting.

Another thing worth mentioning is how easy it was to get back INTO the story after having to put it down for a couple of days. Because, you know, life happens, and sometimes you can't read as much as you'd like. And when that happens, I've read books where it takes five or ten minutes, sometimes, to get back into the story and figure out, "What's happening again?" This isn't one of those books. It's a nice, easy read.

So if you're looking to re-live your cowboys-and-indians loving youth, and you don't care for bodice rippers, I highly recommend you give this one a read.

My rating: 4 / 5 stars

About the Book

The fools killed his family...then made him a lawman. This wild and wooly western, in the Louis L'amore tradition, comes from renowned author L. J. Martin, whose over 20 novels have brought compelling reading to so many. McBain, broken and beaten from the Civil war, is reluctant to return to his family, as a snake dwells in his belly and he can't get the images out of his mind...until he learns his sister and her family have been murdered. Then it's retribution time.

Click here to find out where you can buy the e-book.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

My Favourite Books of 2018

I do this every year: write a blog post, listing out all the books I gave five-star reviews to during the course of the year. These aren't necessarily books that were released in 2018; just books I read during the course of the year.

And if you know anything about me, you know that I can be pretty anal. It's really difficult for any book to earn a five-star review from me.

This year, though, takes the cake. There are only two of them!

The two books I gave five-star reviews to this year are... (drumroll please) Dark Whispers by Jo Macgregor, and The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

I reviewed them both on this blog at the time, so click one of the covers below to visit the original post, read my review, and find out where you can grab a copy of the relevant book.

Sunday 16 December 2018

The Year of the Dragon by Stephen Hayes (Book Review)

I honestly believe that this is a book that needs to be read. Set in Apartheid South Africa under the rule of Die Groot Krokodil himself, it tells the story of an old woman's death and the search for the secrets hidden within a Christian ikon of great significance.

Having said that, it isn't really a story about politics. Or, to put it another way, politics isn't the central theme or point of the story. At its heart, it's about supernatural power, and how God can (and does) use everyday people like you and me to further His goals.

The story is beautifully woven, and the pacing is brilliant. Fair warning, though: the first five or six chapters or so are nice and short (twenty to thirty screens of my e-reader, and I read on the largest font size), and you think "Hey, cool! This is going to be a nice quick read." But after those first five or six chapters, the story takes a dramatic turn. Everything gets deeper and darker. The stakes get higher, the characters get more serious, and the chapters double or triple in length. It can be jarring if you're not expecting it, but when you look back, you realise the timing was perfect.

From an editing standpoint, it's very good, although there are missing punctuation marks scattered throughout (most often question marks, which happened so often that I found myself wondering whether I'd missed something intentional), and at one point, some dialogue is attributed to a character who isn't present at the time. None of that detracted from my enjoyment of the story, though!

Also, in the early chapters, the language is a bit... stilted. Overly formal, somehow, or maybe old-fashioned--particularly in dialogue, where I found myself thinking that nobody I know actually talks like that. No, I don't think anyone spoke like that in the '80s, either. But it either got better as the story went on, or I just got used to it.

But I would strongly urge you not to let any of the above stop you from reading this beautiful story. Honestly, I learnt so much reading it, not only about our South African past, and Christian history, but about my own faith, as I was frequently forced to stop and re-evaluate some of my own beliefs.

Don't worry if you're not a Christian, though. This book isn't going to try and convert you; you'll likely just read it as a great fantasy (and that's okay).

I think if you love Christian thrillers, paranormal thrillers, or reading about South Africa's dark and terrible past, this is a book not to be missed.

My Review: 4 / 5 stars

Click the cover below to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

About the Book

The year is 1988. 

For 40 years the world has been in the grip of the Cold War, and South Africa has been in the grip of apartheid. For 71 years Russia has been under Bolshevik tyranny. Though few suspect it, this is about to change for ever. 

On a farm in the picturesque southern Drakensberg of South Africa a woman dies, and a young lawyer, Richard Rutherford, and his friend Denis Walters combine business with a pleasure weekend in the mountains. They will visit the farm to take the first steps in settling the estate. They soon discover that others also have an interest in the estate, or at least some items in it, and that they are prepared to kill for them. 

The contentious items seem to be some old Russian ikons, but how they got to a remote farm and why others are so anxious to get hold of them is a mystery. The search for answers leads them to a strange hermit and an even stranger priest, and a drive of a thousand miles in search of King Lobengula’s legendary treasure.

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Short Stories Volume 2 by Thomas Ryan (Book Review)

These stories are great!

I remember mentioning when I reviewed the last book that the editing needed some serious work. Well, that's been greatly improved with this one. It isn't perfect, but the missing words and punctuation are mostly gone. Enough, at least, that I could focus on the stories.

Not all of these stories will be your cup of tea. That's to be expected. But I enjoyed most of them. The first one, Bedridden, is the perfect lead-in because it tells you exactly the kind of stuff you're going to expect. I had about half a dozen theories as I read it, about what the twist could be. Turns out, none of them was right.

Each one of the stories has a twist like that. At least one, but some have more.

In terms of genre, they're a mixed bag, ranging from comedy to thriller, to psychological, to paranormal murder mystery, you're sure to find some that you like.

(My review: 4 / 5 stars)

About the Book

Award winning thriller novelist, Thomas Ryan, is also a prolific writer of short stories and he brings more of his sense of fun and adventure to his new collection, Short Stories Volume 2. From the creepy ‘Gerry’ to the humour of ‘Holmes for Christmas’ and the human drama of ‘The Best of Times’, there is more than enough variety to keep readers captivated. 
Ryan believes all good short stories should have unexpected twists and turns and be entertaining to read. Applying his thriller techniques he manages to achieve this end with the suspenseful ‘Wooden Sword’ and ‘The Chest’ but it is in one of the short story’s ‘John Wayne’ Ryan displays his accomplished storytelling skills as he follows an episode in the famous actor’s life where he almost brought about an end to the Second World War and walked on a beach with Eva Peron. 
Quoting a recent reviewer of Thomas Ryan’s work, ‘these are very intriguing, original stories, all well written and enjoyable. Ryan really gets inside his characters and makes their world our world, whatever its moral code or unwritten rules. His stories are powerful and stay with you once you've finished them.’ Readers will find Ryan’s short story writing gripping and easy to read. Short Stories Volume 2 by Thomas Ryan are a must read. 

Click here to find out where you can grab a copy.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Remember My Colouring Books?

In case you've forgotten, my wife and I put together these beautiful colouring books.

(Click on the image above to visit the official website)

I've actually been rather amazed at how popular these books have proved to me with kids aged anywhere from three to seven years old.

If you buy them online, there may still be time to get them for your kids in time for Christmas, but if you live in or around Johannesburg, South Africa, you can always buy direct from me. I have limited stock available, but you can e-mail me to arrange.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Why Do Traditional Published Books Cost So Much?

Take a look at Amazon's Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store.

Do you think you could separate the self-published titles from the traditionally published ones?

I think you could.

With very few exceptions, you probably aren't going to find a self-published e-book with a regular (non-promotional) price of over $5. Conversely, very few traditionally published e-books will have a regular (non-promotional) price of less than $10.

Conventional wisdom tells us that's because traditional publishing companies have to pay for professional editing, cover design, and marketing... Hmm, but don't indie publishers also pay for all those things?

The truth is, traditional publishers have to pay staff and shareholders. They pay their authors too, of course: 20% royalties, twice a year.

But for the same amount of work, self-published authors earn 60% royalties, monthly. And as a reader, don't you want to see your favourite author make money? Maybe even quit his or her day job one day?

Next time you're looking for an e-book, take a look at price. Instead of paying $9.99 for your next read, is it not possible you'll get more bang for your buck, and do more good for authors, by buying two great reads for $4.99 each?

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Dungeons and Dragons Month Two: What an Epic Tournament!

Last month, I blogged about the first of our new monthly D&D sessions.

Well, the second one happened last Saturday, and it was even more fun than last time!

Continuing on our quest for the four legendary weapons, to defeat the four legendary dragons, our intrepid party stumbled upon a town holding a grand tournament. The grand prize was, coincidentally, one of the legendary weapons we were seeking. Naturally, we felt compelled to enter.

Along the way, we picked up a new party member, a half-elf rogue played by my brother, who will be joining our sessions from now on. Unfortunately, we didn't win the tournament (I think the DM had intended for us to win, but the dice went against us, and she had to improve the rest of the session).

Now, we're stuck trying to figure out a way to get the person who did win to part with his prize, so we can continue on our quest.

Nothing beats in-person, tabletop roleplaying, because absolutely anything can happen. In a video game, or even a board game, you're restricted by what the game designers intended, and you have no way of thinking out of the box. But in a tabletop RPG, you can do things that DM never imagined you would, and it's up to her to improvise and figure out if it works or not. There really is nothing like it, and now I can't wait for the next session!

Monday 12 November 2018

Smashwords Has a New Homepage! Celebrate With $1 Off Memoirs of a Guardian Angel

In case you hadn't noticed, indie e-book retailer Smashwords launched a new homepage last week. Personally, I think it's really cool! I was worried that they might do away with the nice, clean interface I've come to appreciate from them, but they haven't. The homepage has been modernised, though, to include things like bestsellers, trending now, and featured deals.

Check it out.

How about a special offer to celebrate?

So for a limited time, you can get $1 off (that's 50%) of the list price of my Urban Fantasy novella, Memoirs of a Guardian Angel, at Smashwords.

Click here to visit the book's page at Smashwords, and then click the "Buy with coupon" button.

Here's the synopsis for the book:

Do you believe in Guardian Angels?
Have you thanked your Guardian Angel today?
I never did... now I wish I had.
Now I understand the hard work and difficult situations they face every day. That car that veered off course, the knife that slipped or even the close call when you nearly tumbled from a tree.
It wasn't good luck that saved you, it was me.
My name is Adam and I'm a guardian angel.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Free Shipping at Booktopia

Are you in Australia or New Zealand?

You may be interested to know that you can get free shipping on all my print books at Booktopia, between now and 12 November.

Click the image below to see my books there.

Here's how it works:

Place an order and spend a minimum of $17 before Midnight, Monday the 12th of November, 2018 (AEST and NZST) with the promotion code FESTIVE, and you will receive free shipping on your order. The promotion code can be used as many times as you, or your family and friends, want on any orders between now and then.

The promotion code field where you enter the word FESTIVE is on the last page of the checkout just before you complete your order (Payment and Review). Under Order Summary, click the plus symbol to expand the section so you can enter the code**.

Please note: You may need to click the word "Apply" next to the promotion code field to receive your free shipping discount if it has not automatically applied it.

Note: the above text was copied verbatim from an e-mail Booktopia sent to me. E&OE. ;-)

Friday 2 November 2018

The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor (Book Review)

You know what makes a good mystery? When you're completely bowled over by the ending, but as you look back at all the clues the author sprinkled into the text up to that point, everything makes perfect sense.

That's what it's like in The First Time I Died. It's only the second of Jo Macgregor's mysteries that I've read (the first being Dark Whispers), but I'm beginning to see a pattern: you know the first person you suspect? The first one you're absolutely, 100% sure is the culprit? It's not them.

Maybe next time, Macgregor should throw us a curve ball by making the killer the first person we even begin to have an inkling about!

While I enjoyed the story, it isn't as good as Dark Whispers. It's not as dark, and the psychological aspects aren't as well defined. It's almost as if it's more... immature.

But probably makes sense, in a way. The first half of this book is written in alternating chapters of "Then" and "Now". "Then" being ten years ago, when our heroine was a teenager. Those chapters are written in a very YA style, because they're meant to appeal to young adults. The other chapters, when she is an adult, can't really be too "adulty", or the book would be confused about its target audience.

Still, this is a great mystery, with a smattering of paranormal activity as our amateur sleuth receives cryptic messages from beyond the veil. Definitely a treat for fans of the whodunit.

My Review: 4 / 5 stars

About the Book

The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone. 

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago. 

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics. 

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strange sensations. Are these merely symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an over-active imagination, or is she getting messages from a paranormal presence? 

Garnet has always prided herself on being logical and rational, but trying to catch a killer without embracing her shadow self is getting increasingly difficult. And dangerous, because in a town full of secrets, it seems like everybody has a motive for murder.

Fast-paced and riveting, The First Time I Died is a suspenseful and haunting crime story with an supernatural twist.

Great reading for fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware and Liane Moriarty.

Click here to find out where you can pick up a copy.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Are you anywhere near the Anderson Public Library? Read my High School Bullying Story, Stingers, Free!

Continuing my series on libraries, and my books in them, I discovered yet another library where you can read at least one.

If you're anywhere near Anderson, Indiana, and have a library card, did you know that you can read my High School bullying story, Stingers, absolutely free?

Click the screenshot below to see the book in the library.

In case you didn't know, here's the description for the book:

Thirteen-year-old James Clarke is always being picked on in school. He hates sports, and he particularly hates Stingers, a schoolyard game in which children throw tennis balls at each other. The other kids always seem to throw the ball harder, when it's at him. His physical education teacher, Mr Evans, has no sympathy for the boy, believing he just needs to toughen up a bit.
When James returns home from school after a rough game of Stingers, his mother is mortified when she sees the bruises on his arm and chest. She phones the school to try and put a stop to the cruel bullying of her son.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

My Books Were Featured in my Library

I've been talking a lot lately about libraries, and I've been really excited over the past few weeks, as I've started seeing more and more of them in the Gauteng Libary's Catalogue.

Last week, though, was another first. I was browsing the library's homepage in Libby, looking for something to read. And as I was scrolling through the featured categories, look what I saw....

Yip. Both A Petition to Magic and Tales From Virdura, right there, staring me in the face, prominently featured on the homepage in the "Fast Fantasy Fables" section.

And that's not all. Scrolling further, I see Sliced and Diced, a horror anthology by a very good friend of mine here in South Africa, Joan De La Haye.

I'm so happy for her! She's on the same screen as Stephen King. :-)

I really think libraries are so often overlooked these days as sources of books to read. There really is no excuse for someone to say they can't afford books, or to pirate books because they can't afford to pay for them.

Do you read library books?

Sunday 21 October 2018

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Book Review)

This was an incredible end to The Strain trilogy!

Two years after the apocalypse, the world is a bleak place indeed. Pretty much the only form of human resistance consists of our intrepid band of Eph, Nora, Fet, and Gus, whose progress we've been following since book one. Humans are farmed in camps for blood, or forced to do menial labour in exchange for food stamps. A dystopian world if I've ever seen one.

The writing is tight and on-point, the world is described in vivid detail, and the ending... oh, the ending. I just wish I could tell you more without spoiling it.

We also learn a lot more about the origins of The Ancients and The Master, and we find out what happens when a pregnant human gets infected with vampirism.

I wish I could write a more useful, balanced review. A good review is supposed to contain a bit of what the reviewer didn't like, or maybe point out something that people might not like about the book. But try as I might, wrack my brain as much as I can, I can't think of anything. If you're into horror, dystopia, or vampires, you need to read this series.

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars!

About the Book

The night belongs to them, and it will be a night eternal... After the blasts, it was all over. Nuclear Winter has settled upon the earth. Except for one hour of sunlight a day, the whole world is plunged into darkness. It is a near-perfect environment for vampires. They have won. It is their time. Almost every single man, woman and child has been enslaved in vast camps across the globe. Like animals, they are farmed, harvested for the sick pleasure of the Master Race. Almost, but not all. Somewhere out there, hiding for their lives, is a desperate network of free humans, continuing the seemingly hopeless resistance. Everyday people, with no other options - among them Dr Ephraim Goodweather, his son Zack, the veteran exterminator Vassily, and former gangbanger Gus. To be free, they need a miracle, they need divine intervention. But Salvation can be a twisted game - one in which they may be played like pawns in a battle of Good and Evil. And at what cost...?

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

When Last Did You Play Dungeons and Dragons?

When last did you play Dungeons and Dragons?

We played on Saturday, and for me, it was easily the first time in ten years (longer as a player; I've been Dungeon Master in almost every game we played).

It was so much fun! In our party, we had a Dragonborn Paladin, a Tiefling Sorcerer, a High Elf Rogue, a Human Wizard  (Yours Truly), a Wood Elf Ranger, and a Gnome Cleric.

Yip, that's a lot of players. In fact, I was afraid it would be too many players, but to our Dungeon Master's credit (a young lady who works with me, Yvonne Delport), it wasn't, and the game went really smoothly.

In our first session, we rescued a young girl who got lost in an imp-infested forest of perpetual fog. After that, it was off to a big city a day's travel away, to convince Lucifer, a fire-elemental owner of a brothel, to part with his magic sword. Hilarity ensued.

We're going to be playing once a month, which is all the time we can commit to in our busy lives. I can't wait for the next session.

If you've never done table-top roleplaying before, I highly recommend you give it a go. It's fantastic for your creativity, and the friends you make will last a lifetime.

Have you got any funny roleplaying anecdotes to share? Let me know in the comments. Let's all have a laugh.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle (Book Review)

I'm not much of a YA fan, but I spied this book in one of my daily newsletters (I can't remember which one), and the description intrigued me. I added it to my to-read, then, seeing that it was available on Overdrive, recommended it to my local e-library.

And then promptly forgot about it. Until, that is, my library e-mailed me to tell me they'd purchased a copy.

It was awesome. Really, a completely different take on our hapless stepsister. The beginning of the book was absolutely identifiable as Cinderalla, but towards the end, it takes a different turn. A darker turn? Certainly. A more believable turn? Debatable.

The chapters are also deliciously short, each one able to be read in five minutes or less. And I do so love short chapters.

I came into it knowing that it was a novella, and sometimes, shorter works are best, so that wasn't a problem for me. The thing was, I kind of got the impression, based on the title, that this book was erotica. If that's what you're looking for, be warned: it's not.

Thankfully, it wasn't what *I* was looking for. I mean, I don't mind erotica, and I would've read this book even if it were, but it's actually refreshing that there is no bad language, and only mild violence and sexual references.

If you enjoy fairy tale re-tellings, this one's more familiar than most, but also offers a really satisfying twist.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

I'm not who they think I am. A docile girl who meekly obeys her stepmother and stepsisters. Some kind of sick angel who cheerfully bears their mistreatment. That's what I WANT them to think. Because then they won't suspect what I'm really up to.

The ball, the prince - it's all part of my plan to come out on top. Stepmother and her demented daughters will pay for every floor I have scoured, every sneer I have borne. They don't know about the white magic, how I use it to enhance myself. They can't see that my heart is black as midnight, rotten as a poisoned apple.

They're about to find out.

Click here to find out where you can pick up a copy.

Did You Miss My October Periscope Session

My second Periscope session, where I spoke about my month in books, happened last Friday. I was a little less nervous than last month, but it was still quite hair-raising.

Still, I think it went a little better. This month, I held my phone in my hand instead of propping it up on my desk, so it was easier to read the names of people who popped in. And one person did pop in, although they never said anything.

I'm getting better at this; maybe by November, I'll be a pro!

Click the image below to visit my profile, and watch the session. And don't forget to follow me, so you get notified of my next session.

Sunday 7 October 2018

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (Book Review)

This is a difficult book to digest. Like any good book, it really makes you think. What defines mental illness, and all the different kinds?

Sure, as the title suggests, this book focuses mostly on Psychopathy, but in so doing, it touches on things like schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a range of others. Through a loosely related collection of anecdotes, the author explores these mental disorders and more, along with the evolution of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). He doesn't really present you with any conclusions of his own, although it's fairly clear that he thinks that, while mental illness, and psychopathy, in particular, IS a thing, over-diagnosis and labelling is a big problem. For example, did you know that there's a huge group of people out there who believe that childhood bipolar disorder simply does not exist, and that it's impossible for anyone under the age of 18 to develop it?

The anecdotes are entertaining, and often freaky, but most importantly, they provide much food for thought. If you or anyone you know has ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, or you suspect you might have one yourself, you should read this book.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness. Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he's sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths. Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power . . . Combining Jon's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is a deeply honest book unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Monday 1 October 2018

My Next Periscope is due this Friday

In case you missed it, I do a live Periscope session on the first Friday of every month, and this Friday will be my second one ever:

I spoke about my last session here. It was a harrowing experience, but quite a bit of fun. I had one participant, but you have to start somewhere. Maybe there'll be more on Friday.

Won't you consider joining me? Click the logo above to visit my profile.

Monday 24 September 2018

Traditionally Published E-Books Are Sometimes So Bad

I'm reading The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It's the second instalment of The Strain trilogy.

I'm really enjoying the book, but I'm reminded of something I heard David Gaughran say in a video once. In it, he asked a question: as an indie author, what's the first thing we do after uploading a book to a retailer?

The answer is pretty obvious. We download a copy for ourselves so that we can check that it's formatted correctly. It's the very least we do.

Traditional publishers, though, often don't even bother with that simple step.

And that's the problem with this book. The story is enthralling, and the world is expertly detailed, but the formatting is terrible. I'm reading the one published by HarperCollins UK, which I bought from Google Play. A couple of niggly things include missing quotation marks and italics, and the fact that accented characters (like the French é) are garbled, but that's not my biggest problem....

A linked Table of Contents is, in my opinion, critical for an e-book, even in fiction. Without one, you can usually tell how far you are in the book overall, but you can't tell how far you are in any given chapter, or sometimes even how many chapters you have left. What's worse, though, than the complete absence of a linked Table of Contents, is a broken one.

And boy, is this book's TOC broken. Firstly, only every tenth chapter or so actually appears in the table (and there's no discernible pattern as to which ones those are), but Google Play reckons the book is only fifteen pages long! Oh, it's plenty more than fifteen pages, because it takes a week to read a single one of them. Consequently, I have no idea how close to the end of the book I am after two weeks of reading, and I can't update my Goodreads progress, either.

Now you might say that this is Google Play's fault, rather than the publisher's. Google must've messed up the formatting and page numbering, you say. Fair enough, but there are millions of e-books available on the Google Play store, all with perfectly fine page numberings and Tables of Contents.

Google could've messed up the formatting because the publisher did something particular with this book's epub file, or it could just have been a glitch.

If whoever uploaded the book had bothered to simply download it from the store and check, they would've identified and fixed the problem in minutes.

This also goes to prove another commonly spouted adage by indie publishers: nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to care as much about your book as you do. And why should they? They're probably making bucketloads of money off the print version of that book. Publishing the e-book is simply an afterthought.

People often complain about the poor quality of self-published books. They may be badly formatted or poorly edited, it's true. But when that happens to an indie book, it's often down to (unfortunately) lack of time or finances on the author's part. Not that that's an excuse, it's just the way it is.

There is, however, no excuse for a massive publisher like HaperCollins UK, with their near infinite resources, and the pitifully low royalties they pay their authors, to not do the legwork in making sure their product is as polished as it can possibly be. It comes down to pure apathy and laziness.

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Selling Print Books in Person

Even though I don't read many (or any) print books anymore, having graduated to e-books, there's something really special about selling a print book in person and signing it for the buyer.

Even better is when, having read the book they bought, the person asks to buy more copies to give as gifts to friends.

And that's what happened to me on Saturday. A friend of mine bought a copy of the paperback of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel a few months ago, and loved it so much that, not only did she buy a copy of Stingers from me, she asked for another copy of Memoirs for a friend!

And of course, I signed Stingers for her, and Memoirs for her friend.

I tell you, words cannot explain how good that feels.

Have you ever bought a self-published book, directly from the author? If not, why not? You should try it sometime; you will never know what a confidence boost it is for the author.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

My First Periscope Was Live on Friday

Last week, I told you that I was going to start doing a live Periscope chat on the first Friday of every month.

Well, that broadcast happened on Friday. It only lasted six and a half minutes or so, and had one participant, who didn't chat with me. But it was a lot of fun, and you have to start somewhere, right?

It was nerve-wracking, let me tell you! I ran through the books I'd read in August, what they were about, and what I thought of them.

Click on the image below to visit my profile and watch the reply. Then, let me know what you thought in the comments below.

And don't forget to subscribe, so you can be notified when I'm live next month.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Killer Space Clown by Eli Taff, Jr. (Book Review)

I love me some flash fiction! Especially of the horror kind, and this collection features some of the better-written stories I've read.

It contains ten flash fiction stories, each one guaranteed to be exactly 500 words in length. Which is not an easy thing to do: guaranteeing less than 500 is one thing; guaranteeing exactly 500 is quite another. I really appreciate the craftsmanship here.

As you go through the stories, you start to get a sense that they're all connected in some way. Perhaps set in the same universe. Initially, though, that connection is quite subtle, but as the stories progress, it becomes really obvious. Obviously, a lot of thought went into the order of stories in this collection.

And that universe is really compelling. I think this author might just end up being a modern-day Lovecraft. If you like weird horror, you're sure to love this.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

This spooky anthology by Eli Taff, Jr. is a collection of ten flash fiction stories packed with cosmic horror and unbelievable terror that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you sleeping with the lights on.

The evil clown that steps out of a childhood memory and kills with a touch; the terrified mother who finds a monster in her daughter's bedroom; the unfaithful businessman who gets off the subway at the wrong stop; the gangster who robs the wrong old lady on the wrong night.

Each microfiction horror story is exactly five hundred words long, and one or more can be easily devoured in a single sitting.

Click here to find out where you can buy the e-book.

Are You On Periscope? Join Me on the First Friday of Every Month

From September, I'm going to be trying something new. On the first Friday of every month, I hope to have a Periscope session, where I chat about all the books I've read in the previous month, and what I thought about them. I hope to get some great feedback and recommendations from visitors too, and start cool discussions.

If you're on Periscope, click here to follow me, so you can be notified when my first broadcast happens.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel is $0.99 at Wallmart

In case you haven't heard, Wallmart and Kobo have partnered to bring you thousands of e-books, which you can shop directly from Wallmart's website.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm happy to announce that Memoirs of a Guardian Angel, my urban fantasy novella, is available for only $0.99, for a limited time only.

Click below to buy it directly from the Wallmart store!

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Nilsen's Hollow by Allen Caraway (Book Review)

Where to start?

The plot was good, the story was okay, and the mystery was unpredictable... at least to me. But it was one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments when the culprit was revealed, so it's possible that someone with more experience reading mysteries than me will figure it out long before I did.

On the downside, the supernatural element was downplayed and disappointing. Early on in the story, the protagonist sees ghosts everywhere, and a poltergeist-type entity keeps moving his stuff around. And then it abruptly stops, with no real explanation. Other than a few tenuous dreams, there isn't any more mention of it until right at the end, when a... well, let me not tell you that.

The writing's also strange. It might just be a British thing, but the author keeps forgetting to use the word "I". Instead of saying "I did this", he'll just say "Did this". That took a while to get used to.

He and his characters are also always "sketching" things, like salutes or waves, and sometimes smiles. How do you sketch a smile?

One word he overuses a lot is "Evidentially". Which wouldn't be so noticeable, but I'm pretty sure that he means "Evidently". Every. Single. Time.

In summary: not a bad story, but the writing takes some getting used to, and I felt I was let down because it was billed as a "Supernatural Mystery".

My Review: 3 / 5 Stars

About the Book

A spectacular, heart-pounding paranormal mystery about one man’s quest to hunt down and stop a serial killer.

“This is a tight thriller, a paranormal mystery that stands foursquare to its brief and delivers with confidence ... what I read was a book that Stephen King would be proud of ... a solid read; entertaining throughout ... a work written with a great assurance ... it is brilliant holiday reading material.” ~ Kate Onyett, The Future Fire Reviews


Sam Munro doesn’t believe in ghosts. However, he soon changes his mind when he discovers that his hotel room is haunted, the paranormal activity terrifying him and the disruptive and restless ghost pursuing Sam wherever he goes.


A young woman goes missing, presumed murdered, her body never found. Seven years later, the local sheriff’s office has all but forgotten the case. Only one man is trying to find her and the killer: the woman’s uncle, Gunther Parkinson, a retired Chicago homicide detective turned private investigator.


When Gunther asks Sam to assist with his investigation, Sam quickly finds himself entangled in a supernatural mystery that catapults him into a maelstrom of deception, vengeance and murder that leads Sam to a horrifying conclusion: he has trusted the wrong person and could be the killer’s next victim …

This exciting paranormal thriller will take the reader on an unforgettable journey through the darkest corridors of human emotion. In Nilsen’s Hollow, Caraway writes about how grief, mania and retribution can change lives – for the worst, and forever.

Steve Pattee from HorrorTalk on this powerful haunted hotel story: “… effectively creepy … it more than delivers on the suspense ... Caraway does a great job on presenting believable, likeable characters in realistic circumstances without falling into the trap of making anyone too clichéd … There is also no disputing that he can write a mean mystery … I would eagerly read more of Munro's adventures.”

Lilia Tombs from Horror Shock Lolipop on this intensely suspenseful ghost mystery: “Caraway's writing style is wonderfully descriptive; he creates the beauty of the landscape in Montana just as vividly as the horror of gory murder scenes … reading it is enjoyable throughout … a solid, well-written paranormal thriller.”

Previously published as Drowning in Shadow/To Evil Comes a Daughter.

Click here to find out where you can buy a copy.

A crapton of Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for $0.99

Do you love science fiction and fantasy?

The guys over at Art of the Arcane have put together a massive list of science fiction and fantasy e-books, all of which cost just 99 US cents. Click the banner below to see them all:

Also included in the list is my paranormal flash fiction collection, Heaven and Earth!

As you can see, the promotion ends on 31 August, though, so you'd better hurry.

What's your all-time favourite science fiction or fantasy book? Let me know in the comments below.

You're welcome, by the way.

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Overdrive Libraries in South Africa

I've blogged here about Overdrive before, specifically, the Gauteng E-Library. It's an awesome free way to read e-books and listen to audiobooks.

Someone posted in a reader's group on Facebook over the weekend, asking about Overdrive. She's in KwaZulu-Natal, and wanted to know how it worked.

With that in mind, here's a list of all the provincial libraries in South Africa that belong to Overdrive. You're welcome.

Note: These are all the South African provincial libraries I've been able to find on Overdrive. There may be others, so if you know of any, please comment below, and I'll update the list.

There are also quite a few private and school libraries on Overdrive in South Africa, and the company you work for may have corporate libraries as well. When it doubt, ask someone.

In terms of how to borrow books from a South African provincial e-library, The way it works in Gauteng is, if you have a card to any library anywhere in Gauteng, you have access to the Gauteng Library's Overdrive site. I don't see why it wouldn't work that way for the other provinces as well.

However, your card does need to have been issued fairly recently (probably within the last three years or so). I know this because when I was first trying to access Overdrive, before I got my own card, I tried my mom's card--which was issued yonks ago--and it didn't work. Then I got my own card, and about a month later, it was active on the Gauteng library site. My new card looks very different from that old one of my mom's I was trying, and the length of the number is different, too.

So it's probably just that you need to have a library card that was issued after the various provinces started using Overdrive.

What about you? Have you been able to borrow e-books or audiobooks from your local Overdrive library? Please comment below if you have; maybe your experiences will help others, too.

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Featuring South African Indie Authors

For the past couple of months, I've been making a point of showcasing one South African self-published author in my monthly newsletter. Last month, for example, I featured hybrid author, Joanne Macgregor.

It gives me a good feeling, knowing that I'm doing my small part to help out the wonderful people who've helped me so much on my author journey. And I like to think my readers appreciate it, too.

This month's featured author is a secret, but if you're interested in reading more South Africans, and supporting the self-publishing scene in general, won't you consider signing up? You can click the link below to do so, and I'll even send you a free book to say thank you:
I hope to grace your inbox soon!

By the way, if you have a favourite indie author, who is currently living in South Africa, please feel free to comment below with a link to their website. Let's keep this post relevent for a long time, by showcasing our favourites.

Friday 3 August 2018

Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Three stars, four stars, three stars, four stars. Eenie Meenie Minie Moe.

I loved the story. The plot. I watched the TV series a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was keen to find out if I'd enjoy the book just as much.

Well, I did. Pretty much. The problem is that the writing, while completely devoid of any technical issues that I could pick up, isn't very easy-reading. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone just discovering the joy of reading, or learning English as a second language.

Run-on sentences and fragments abound. Sentences are two or three words long. And then all of a sudden you read a monster (excuse the pun) that spans a screen and a half of your e-reader, replete with a long-winded parenthetical note which, by the time you get to the end of it, you've forgotten what came before it.

Irritating, isn't it?

So you see why I'm struggling so much to decide.

Look, del Toro is a master storyteller, there's no doubt about it. He's written a gripping book, which was turned into an amazing TV series.

I've read a few reviews that complain that there are too many characters here. I must admit, I felt that too, in the first third or so of the book. But here's a spoiler for you, which shouldn't really be a spoiler, in a book like this: most of them are dead by the end of the first half. And I think most of those characters are necessary early on, so you can really appreciate the scope of the tragedy that's unfolding before your eyes.

If, like me, you love vampires but hate zombies, well then the monsters in this book are somewhat of a hybrid between the two. I'm still not a fan of the whole zombie genre, but at least these guys have some intelligence. Some discernible motivation.

Check it out, if you're a man of more classical, long-winded writing.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

A plane lands at JFK and mysteriously ‘goes dark’, stopping in the middle of the runway for no apparent reason, all lights off, all doors sealed. The pilots cannot be raised.

When the hatch above the wing finally clicks open, it soon becomes clear that everyone on board is dead – although there is no sign of any trauma or struggle. Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control must work quickly to establish the cause of this strange occurrence before panic spreads.

The first thing they discover is that four of the victims are actually still alive. But that’s the only good news. And when all two hundred corpses disappear from various morgues around the city on the same night, things very rapidly get worse. Soon Eph and a small band of helpers will find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the whole city, against an ancient threat to humanity.

Click here to find out where you can get the e-book.

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Book Marketing With Images

I've decided it's high time I started promoting some of my other books on social media again. I've been promoting Memoirs of a Guardian Angel every day since April, and I think whoever was going to see it has seen it by now (whether they've bought it is, of course, a different matter).

But the way I used to promote them, especially on Twitter, was boring. So I've taken some inspiration from the wonderful Tallulah van der Made (née Habib), who did the cover for Memoirs. She also gave me a collection of beautiful images, with quotes from the book, to use when promoting it.

With that in mind, I've started creating "Quote Images" for my other books, which you should start seeing me using over the coming weeks. They're not nearly as spectacular as Tallulah's, but I don't think they're half-bad.

I have four so far. What do you think? (Click on an image to visit the book's page on my website)

By the way, feel free to share these images on your favourite social media channels!

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Do you shop at Exclusive Books or Loot?

Here's some amazing news for you: the paperback of my Urban Fantasy novella, Memoirs of a Guardian Angel, is now available in South Africa, from Exclusive Books and

Click on the images to buy it:

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel has received multiple four- and five-star reviews on social reading site, Goodreads, so don't miss out.

In case you missed it, here's a quick blurb:

Do you believe in Guardian Angels?

Have you thanked your Guardian Angel today?

I never did... now I wish I had.

Now I understand the hard work and difficult situations they face every day. That car that veered off course, the knife that slipped or even the close call when you nearly tumbled from a tree.

It wasn't good luck that saved you, it was me.

My name is Adam and I'm a guardian angel.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Book Review: Transient by Zachry Wheeler

This book was awesome! It reminded me so much of True Blood that it made me half want to watch that series all over again.

It concerns vampires in the distant future, except that term has fallen out of favour of late, and most people use "eternals" instead. But these are real vampires, not the sparkly, hunky, romantic vampires we've been so exposed to since the release of Twilight.

The story takes a while to get into. It opens pretty much in the middle of the action, and backstory is given in bits and pieces throughout, so it keeps you interested and curious; I only figured out what was really going on about 25% in.

Editing-wise, it's near-perfect. There are a few WTF moments which disrupted my immersion, but those are few and far between, and shouldn't be nearly bad enough to detract from your enjoyment.

There really isn't much more to say about it without regurgitating the plot, so I'll just reiterate what a fantastic story it is. If you like real, blood-sucking vampires, you should love this book.

My Review: 4 / 5 stars

About the Book

The year is 2578 and immortals control the world. Brutal wars and endless genocide have reduced mankind to a handful of mountain tribes. In order to survive, humans infiltrate the eternal society as transient spies, hoping to uncover a means to regain control of the planet. 

Jonas is a young transient deep undercover in downtown Seattle. He lives underground, works at night, and drinks his daily blood rations, just like any normal eternal. He is a model spy, but also an apostate among extremists, torn between ideologies (as well as lovers) from either side. 

Allegiances are strained to the breaking point when Jonas bears witness to a violent death that rocks the eternal civilization to its core.

Click here to find out where you can buy the e-book.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Results of my BargainBooksy promo

I got a BargainBooksy last week for Memoirs of a Guardian Angel, which ran on Monday. The book was discounted to $0.99 for the duration. Because of technical issues, the BargainBooksy e-mail only went out on Tuesday, so I set the price back to $1.99 on Wednesday.

I thought you might be interested in how it did.

The promo cost me ZAR531.04 ($40), based on the exchange rate at the time of this writing. Here's what I made in Book Sales this week, in ZAR:

Heaven and Earth

  • Amazon (USD) - R4.65

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel

  • Amazon (AUD) - R3.45
  • Amazon (EUR) - R8.68
  • Amazon (GBP) - R5.09
  • Amazon (USD) - R144.09
  • Barnes & Noble - R15.67
  • Google Play - R12.62
  • iBooks - R7.84

Total Sales: R202.09

I included Heaven and Earth in this report, because it may have been buy-throughs from people who bought Memoirs.

One of the things I noticed is that I made far fewer sales on each of the non-Amazon platforms, but made more money per sale--twice as much, in some cases. Amazon's royalty rate is pathetically low.

I knew I probably wasn't going to make my money back on this one promo, because it's a long tail. As more people finish the book they bought, and recommend it to their friends, or buy-through to my other titles, that'll hopefully come with time. Still, I had it in my head that I would make about 75% of my money back. As it stands, I made just under 40% back in sales.

I did, however, get a five-star review of Memoirs on Goodreads, and you can't put a price on that! ;-)

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Do You Read Flat White Magazine?

Flat White Magazine is an online lifestyle magazine with a focus on South Africa, published by my good author friend, Christine Bernard. It's really good, and if you haven't read it yet, you really should.

The July/August 2018 issue is chock-full of recipes, travel, things to do, and author interviews. Including a wonderful interview with yours truly!

I'm so grateful to Christine for interviewing me for this issue (see pages 31-32 for my feature), and was really happy for how it all turned out.

Flat White magazine is completely free to read online. Click the cover image above.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

The Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is in Full Swing

The Smashwords Summer/Winter sale is in full swing.

Every year, from 1--31 July, the e-book retailer runs a massive sale, with books discounted anywhere from 25% to 100% off!

This year, I have three books in the sale. Click on the covers below to view them on the site:

A Petition to Magic

Price: $1.04 (25% off)


Price: $0.99 (50% off)

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel

Price: $0.99 (50% off)

Want More? 

Even if none of those books strikes your fancy (or even if they do, but you're just looking for more), click here to see the rest of the catalogue. There are literally thousands on sale!

Book Review: Sticky Fingers by JT Lawrence

I love short stories, and seeing as I'd just come off the marathon read that is 11.22.63, this collection was just what the doctor ordered.

As most such collections go, though, this one was a mixed bag.

The first story, Bridge Gate, would easily get five stars from me. It was poignant and emotional--actually having me almost tearing up by the end.

I have a friend who reads a lot of e-book samples, and will immediately stop and refuse to buy the book, if he finds just a single editing issue. I couldn't help thinking of him as I read this story; the first half of it contains quite a few, but they're all deliberate. I wonder if he'd actually take the time to catch the joke, or if he'd give up way too soon.

The last story, Escape, is similarly good, but for different reasons. You kind of figure out what's going on quite early into it, and because of that, you think you can predict the ending. But you can't.

I quite liked the story about the pigeons too, but aside from these three, none of them were particularly memorable. They were good... just not that good.

The one about the review of the holiday resort started out quite funny, but quickly became silly. And I struggled to reconcile what exactly was happening. At first, it seems like a guy's making a public review on a public website. The establishment responds to the review, he responds, and so on. After the second reply, it starts looking like a private e-mail conversation instead. Was it ALWAYS a private e-mail conversation, or did it start in public but become private? Or is it private from the beginning?

Either way, the ending, while I can understand the attempt at humour, doesn't make sense. That doesn't look like any non-delivery report I've ever seen coming from a mail server. And his e-mail address/domain name doesn't work, either.

I guess, being in IT, these things just bother me a bit too much.

Grey Magic, which I know is insanely popular (popular enough to warrant a spin-off novel-length work, apparently) wasn't really my cup of tea, although the ending made me chuckle. And the titular story, Sticky Fingers, was amusing, but predictable.

The editing of the whole collection was great. Almost flawless, in fact (which is what brought this review up from three stars to four), except for one little niggle. I know that times are changing, and I'm just being an old fuddy-duddy, but I kept screaming at my e-reader: "Alright is not a word! All right?"

My Review: 4 / 5 stars

About the book

Alternate cover edition for B01F6FAQZC

Diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized, this compelling collection of 12 short stories by JT Lawrence include:

'Escape' -- a story about a suicidal baby who knows he was born into the wrong life, and has to get creative to take measures correct the mistake, much to his mother¹s horror.

'The Itch' -- a story about an intense, uncontrollable, unexplainable itch that lands the protagonist in a mental institution.

'Bridge Gate' -- In this poignant and charming short story, a daughter yearns to connect with her absent father through the letters they exchange. She's not put off by his pedantic corrections of her writing, despite the slow reveal that he is less than perfect himself.

'The Unsuspecting Gold-digger' -- a woman gradually poisons her husband so that she doesn't have to break his heart.

Click here to find out where you can get a copy.

Friday 29 June 2018

Book Review: 11.22.63 by Stephen King

My word, but this book is long! It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's long. It took me exactly a month to read it, and I'm not exactly a slow reader.

I watched the TV series a few years ago when it came out, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. But then, I remember thinking that THAT was a bit long too--only six episodes, sure, but each one was about 58 minutes. That's long for an episode of a TV series.

The book is way longer. There's so much more depth than on TV (which is no surprise), and I particularly enjoyed the references to It in 1958 Derry. All that extra depth, though, while enjoyable and flavourful, weren't really necessary to tell the story, in my opinion.

Yoh, this book is long. I guess it wouldn't have bothered me so much if there were more (but shorter) chapters. What got to me was getting to the end of a particularly long chapter, and having this feeling of achievement because it took two full days of reading sessions to finish, and then starting the next one and having Kindle tell me something like "1 hr and 10 mins left in chapter".

I mean, really?!

My review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . . 

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense.

Click here to find out where you can buy the book.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Changing E-Mail Providers: Goodbye Mailchimp; MailerLite, here I come...

I've been using MailChimp to run my e-mail list since I sent out my very first one, back in early 2013. From the beginning, their "Forever Free" plan roped me in; I would never pay them a cent, as long as I had fewer than 2 000 subscribers. And of course, back then, I was so small that I never imagined I'd ever get anywhere near that number. Plus, it was easy to use, and I liked the cute chimpanzee that was their logo.

But over the years, their interface has gotten clunky, busy, and slow. They've added loads of new features which I will probably never use. Some that I probably would use, to be fair, but they're for paid accounts only.

For the past few months, I've been hearing lots about this new kid on the block, called MailerLite. The interface is clean, slick, and fast loading, and their feature set is more suited to the things an indie author might actually use. Their free plan only covers the first 1 000 users (as opposed to Mailchimp's 2 000), but in the first place, I don't even have that many, and in the second place, every single one of their features is included in the free plan. Yes, even a few of the features that Mailchimp charges for.

Plus, it was super-easy to export my list from Mailchimp and import it into MailerLite. MailerLite is also fully-GDPR compliant, plus their form builder's easier to use than Mailchimp's.

Oh, and did I mention MailerLite's 24-hour live chat support is open to everyone, too? With Mailchimp, that support costs extra.

I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel: Paperback Approved!

So this arrived in my postbox on Friday...

Finally. I ordered this thing on 5 May 2018, and it finally arrived on 15 June.

The purpose for me ordering it was to proof it and make sure everything was formatted correctly. This was also the first book that I've actually had a proper wraparound cover done for, and I was eager to see what it looked like.

It's amazing!

I've approved it now, so it should start showing up in all sorts of online stores in the coming weeks. And who knows, maybe some brick-and-mortar ones too, if they decide to buy stock.

As I find it in more places, I'll be adding links to the book's official page on my website, so check there often, and click "Paperback" under "Buy Now" to see them all.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Let Me Know: Where Do You Buy Your Paperbacks?

I ordered a proof copy of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel from Lulu on 6 April. Because it's coming from the states, and our postal service isn't the best in the world, I haven't gotten it yet. It should be coming soon, though--hopefully within the next week or so.

As soon as it arrives, I'll check it for errors, and hopefully the layout and format will be right. If so, I'll approve it for distribution, and it will start showing up in bookstores all over the world in a few weeks.

That got me thinking: since I haven't personally read a book in print in a really long time, I'm completely out of the loop with where people shop for them these days.

I think here in South Africa, Exclusive Books is by far the most popular bookstore, but I've also heard good things about Book Depository because they offer free international shipping on all their orders, all the time. Loot also seems to be quite popular.

Internationally, though, is Amazon still king?

Where do you buy your print books from? Let me know in the comments, and let's start a conversation.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

South African Provincial E-Libraries

Since I discovered the Gauteng E-Library a year ago, I've been fascinated with the concept of people logging into a website with their library card number and borrowing e-books. When you think about it, it's a groundbreaking concept.

So I've been looking for other South African libraries which offer this service, and there are precious few of them. Some private school libraries have e-lending facilities, as do some companies (although the latter mostly stock non-fiction books related to the industries in which they operate).

Last week, I went on Overdrive (an online library distributor), and went out of my way to search in each of South Africa's nine provinces. This is what I found:

Out of nine provinces in South Africa, only four have e-libraries, that I could find. And the Eastern Cape isn't even completely covered; you can only borrow e-books if you happen to live in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Maybe I didn't look hard enough, so if you know of any provincial e-libraries I missed, please let me know, and I'll update this post.

If you've never logged into your local e-library before, but you have a library card, give it a try. Once you're logged in, you can recommend all my books... and Gauteng already owns a copy of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel!

I'd love to hear your opinions on this. Do you have a library card? When last did you visit a physical library and borrow a book? Have you ever borrowed a book from an e-library?

Hit me up in the comments, and let's start a conversation.