Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Lockdown is hard on some people

In case you didn't know, South Africa (along with most of the world) is currently in lockdown to help flatten the curve and curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At the time of this writing, the lockdown is slated to end on 16 April 2020.

For the most part, I’ve been enjoying lockdown immensely. 

I’ve always been an introverted loner at heart, so the prospect of not being ALLOWED to go out and interact with people, even if I wanted to, has been strangely comforting to me. It’s renewed my soul, recharged my batteries, and is rekindling passions which have dwindled to little more than embers in recent months and years. 

But I’m also acutely aware that I have friends and family members who aren’t like me, and for whom lockdown feels like the worst punishment.

These are friends who thrive on physical human interaction, for whom video just isn’t enough. Friends who maybe even live alone—I can imagine just how terrible that must be. 

Or friends who, unlike me, aren’t lucky enough to live in free-standing houses with private outdoor areas that they can spend time in in seclusion, and still be more than a safe distance from their neighbours. 

Or divorced friends who are used to seeing their kids every second weekend and now aren’t sure when they’ll have physical contact again (bearing in mind that it’s entirely possible they’ll extend our lockdown way past 16 April). 

Or who’ve had loved ones pass away in other provinces or countries, and can’t attend funerals, or even be there to comfort and be comforted by their families. 

Or what about people who have to live with people who drive them crazy? Maybe it’s housemates... but maybe it’s even family; we love our spouses, children, and parents, but sometimes we can only handle them in small doses! 

Or (God forbid) friends who’ve either been diagnosed with the virus, or know people who have, and now find themselves scared and alone, with no idea what to expect. 

To all those friends and family who, for whatever reason, are having a terrible experience under lockdown, I need to tell you that I’m sorry for my selfishness.

And if you have any friends or family like that, please reach out to them. We introverts, we natural hermits, can often forget just how difficult it is for our extroverted friends. Pick up the phone (however much you may hate talking on the phone. I know I do.), give them a call. Find out if they're all right.

I promise you, they'll thank you for it!

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Who's Going to Win the March Ebook Voucher?

In case you missed it, allow me to announce the February winner of my monthly ebook voucher competition: For the second month in a row, the winner is... the wonderful, amazing, beautiful Joni Mielke!

Honestly, what more can I say about Joni that I haven't already said? Her dedication to authors is matchless and unprecedented, and it's not possible to articulate just how important she is to us.

Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to best her. It can be done, people! It can be done. Why not throw your hat in the ring for March? You never know. ;-)

How Do I Enter?

Every month I give away either a $5 ebook voucher to the store of your choice, or $5 in PayPal credit. Basically, all you have to do is write a review of one of my books.

Okay, so there's a little more to it than that.

First, you need to be a member of my email list, so if you're not already, click here, pick your free book (did I mention you get a free book?), and enter your email address.

Once I've confirmed your subscription, join our secret Facebook group, here. You'll need to enter the email address you used to subscribe to my emails.

If you've entered the right email address, and I can match you to my subscribers live, I'll approve your request. Then, visit the group again and read the "Announcement" at the top.

Follow the instructions you find there, and you might just see your name in this blog next month....

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Loads of books on sale for Smashwords Read an Ebook Week

Around this time every year, indie ebook retailer Smashwords runs a week-long promotion called Read an Ebook Week.

Now in its eleventh year, the 2020 is now on, and runs all the way to Friday 7 March 2020.

This year, I have two books enrolled in the sale, so if you hurry, you'll be able to get either Memoirs of a Guardian Angel or A Petition to Magic (or both) at 50% off. Click below for details.

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel

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.

A Petition to Magic

Queen Celeste rose to the throne of Virdura a month ago, after the sudden death of her mother.

Desperate to prove herself, she agrees to hear the case of a simple farmer who claims a neighbour stole his cow.

To help her in this task, she orders her chief advisor, the royal wizard Solon, to cast a spell and divine the truth for her. Solon, however, is keeping a terrible secret.

Got a Kindle?

If you have a physical Kindle, don't worry: all of my Smashwords titles are 100% compatible with your device.

After you've purchased, when asked which format you'd like to download, make sure you select the mobi (Kindle) option.

Then, take a look at this handy blog post for instructions on how to get the book onto your ereader and start reading.

If you don't have a physical Kindle, feel free to download the epub format instead.

Other Books on Sale

Mine aren't the only books on sale at Smashwords this week. Hundreds of authors have discounted hundreds of thousands of their books to anywhere from 25% to 100% off!

Click the button below to see all the books enrolled in the sale this week, and find a new favourite indie author.

Note: although my books are all available in mobi format, many Smashwords titles may not be. If you have a physical Kindle device, make sure the book you're about to buy is available to download in mobi (Kindle) format before you click that Buy button (if you don't have a physical Kindle, you can just get the epub version).

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

And the winner of a $5 ebook voucher is...

Did you miss my announcement earlier this month on social media, about the winner of my monthly $5 ebook voucher giveaway?

If you did (or perhaps you just need a reminder), then allow me to announce that the winner for January was non other than Joni Mielke.

Joni is an absolute star. She's very active in the South African reading community, and is passionate about books and authors... especially South African authors, and especially indie authors. We really need more people like her!

She won with this amazing review of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel on Goodreads. Please help her get more exposure for her reviews, by "Liking" it on Goodreads and sharing it with all your friends.

How Do I Enter?

If you didn't know, every month I give away either a $5 ebook voucher to the store of your choice, or $5 in PayPal credit. Basically, all you have to do is write a review of one of my books.

Okay, so there's a little more to it than that.

First, you need to be a member of my email subscribers list, so if you're not already, click here, pick your free book (did I mention you get a free book?), and enter your email address.

Once I've confirmed your subscription, join our secret Facebook group, here. You'll need to enter the email address you used to subscribe to my emails.

If you've entered the right email address, and I can match you to my subscribers live, I'll approve your request. Then, visit the group again and read the "Announcement" at the top.

Sound like fun? If you love reading, and you love talking about books, it should be. :-)

Good luck!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Wholistic with a "W"?

I got an email from one of my colleagues in the UK the other day. In it, she used the word "Wholistic", spelt with a "W".

I don't think the word was wrong, per se, but I'd never seen it spelt that way, so I asked Google to define it. Apparently, it's a variant spelling of the word "holistic":

Which didn't surprise me; I thought it was a UK thing.

But I did some further research, and I ran across this article from Merriam-Webster. It turns out that the first usage of the word was without the "W" (which isn't the surprising bit), and that it was first used by a South African!

The article states:
Holistic was coined by South African soldier and statesman Jan Christian Smuts in the 1920s as a philosophical term. Smuts, who—aside from war and politics—was a student of natural science, used the term to describe his complex philosophy regarding the organization of nature. Viewing the universe in terms of "wholes"—that is, organisms and systems instead of molecules and atoms—he derived holism from the Greek word holos, meaning "whole." In his 1926 book Holism and Evolution, he defines holism as "[the] tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution."
The "W" was tacked on shortly afterwards, but the original spelling continues to be the most common.

I love stories like this. Finding a "South Africanism" that's become commonplace all over the world fills me with patrotic pride.

Did you know this about the word "Holistic"? And can you think of any other South African words which non-South Africans from elsewhere in the world use all the time?

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Your Favourite Book of All Time (for 2020) is...

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

By overwhelming majority, the book that you have selected as your favourite book of all time is...

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

by J. R. R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. The text in this 372-page paperback edition is based on that first published in Great Britain by Collins Modern Classics (1998), and includes a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson (2001). Unforgettable!

I first read The Hobbit in Junior High School (somewhere around Standard 7 / Grade 9), and I remember it affecting me profoundly. I've tried to read The Lord of the Rings many times since then, and only ever got past the first instalment; it just never really grabbed me. But The Hobbit, wow, now that was a story!

Have you ever actually read it? If so, is it your favourite book of all time?

If it isn't, did you vote for your favourite?

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Win monthly ebook vouchers over on my Facebook group

How would you like to win $5 (or equivalent in your currency), every single month?

This year, I'm running a competition over on my private Facebook group, where I'll be giving away ebook vouchers and PayPal credit every month, in exchange for you posting your reviews.

To find out more, join the group and read the announcement on the top.

Note: you must be a subscriber to my email list in order to join the group.

Are you already a subscriber? Click the image above, click Join, and enter the email address you used to sign up.

If not, click below and fill in your email address. Your Welcome email will contain a link to the group.

Good luck!!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

The Real Cost of Kindle Unlmited

Did you know, in order for us Indie authors to make our books available on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited platform, Amazon requires us to sign a very restrictive agreement with them?⠀
This agreement gives Amazon worldwide, exclusive rights to sell our ebooks. Which means:⠀

  • We are not allowed to make them available on ANY other platform, including digital libraries through library aggregators such as OverDrive
  • We're not allowed to use them as "reader magnets" (incentives to sign up to our newsletters) 
  • We're certainly not allowed to give them away, other than by gifting them on Amazon, or running officially sanctioned Amazon giveaways -which means we have to pay full-price for them

Running competitions where we email people mobi, epub, or PDF files, or hosting those books on BookFunnel, Prolific Works, etc, is against the terms of our contract with Amazon.⠀

If an indie author whose books are in Kindle Unlimited is caught doing any of these things, they could be banned from selling their ebooks on Amazon ever again, and might even get sued!

Yet, many authors who are in Kindle Unlimited do just that. They either don't realise that this is, in fact, against the terms of their contract with Amazon, or they underestimate how dangerous it is for their careers.⠀

So, if you see an indie author giving away a book that's in Kindle Unlimited, please say something. The contract they entered into with Amazon is legally binding, and very serious. The last thing you want is for your favourite author to fall foul of the law.

Incidentally, publishers of traditionally published books don't have to sign this exclusivity agreement, and can freely enter and leave Kindle Unlimited at will. Why? Because Amazon knows that these publishers would never stand for it.⠀

So why do so many indies stand for it?⠀

Well, a significant number of us WON'T stand for it. Which is why, for as long as Amazon requires us to sign this draconian exclusivity agreement, denying millions and millions of people access to our ebooks, you will NEVER find my books available in Kindle Unlimited.⠀

You can help by standing by me and other authors like me, and making it clear to Amazon that you won't support Kindle Unlimited as long as they persist in punishing indie authors, and the people who would otherwise discover, read, and potentially fall in love with our books.

For the full copy of the KDP Select agreement, which indie authors have to sign to make their books available in Kindle Unlimited, click here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/select

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The Stingers Second Edition Paperback is Out

The newly edited Second Edition paperback of my High School bullying story is now available, complete with a beautiful, brand new full-wrap cover!

I haven't even approved it for global distribution yet, but you can get it for 30% off from its official Lulu page. Once I've approved it, it'll be available everywhere else, but the 30% discount is only valid for a limited time.

What this means is, if you buy it now, one of two things will happen:

  • If there are errors in it, you have a highly valuable misprint, which will never be available for sale again!
  • If it's perfect, you're one of the first people to hold the new edition in your hands, and you got it for an amazing price.

What's more, if you happen to be in Joburg (Or you can get to Joburg), and you buy a copy, I'll sign it for you with the greatest of pleasure!!

Click the cover below to buy it from Lulu.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Your Favourite Book of All Time (Shortlist)

Well, well well, all through December, you voted for your favourite book of all time. And I can now share with you that the shortlist is out!

Write-in votes are now disabled, but please fill out the form below and pick which one of the following is your favourite.

Once again, I'll leave this running for a month or so, and close it off on Monday, 3 February 2020. I'll announce the winner on this blog on Tuesday 4 February.