Advertisement: Sale of the century – the Crimea Corridor

075AAre you having trouble in your “caucuses”?  Has middle-age finally caught up with you – and your wife is less than thrilled?!

Fear not!  The 100%-guaranteed answer to erectile-dysfunction is here!  The European Union, in conjunction with Ukraine, is delighted to offer the Crimea Corridor, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the man who has everything, but especially a flaccid penis!

But wait – there’s more!

Is the bulk of YOUR navy is surrounded by the territory of another nation state?

Have YOU run out of investigative journalists to have shot?

Are YOU bored with poisoning dissidents in London, and then laughing your head off while the British government huffs and puffs but does nothing?

If so, then YOU need the Crimea Corridor.  Just send 20,000 of your best troops on vacation, and watch them spread fear and terror throughout Ukraine.  The European Union will promise to deliver more feeble-minded bluster than you thought possible, until eventually urging Ukraine to give up 30% of its territory to avoid World War III.

It’s the Sale of the Century!  It’s the Crimea Corridor!  Don’t delay, grab yours TODAY, and make Mrs Putin purr with pleasure at the kind of action she hasn’t seen since her wedding night!


 

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When your kids have a better sense of humour than you

Lukasz2 - CopyHere’s a funny story. The other day I went to get my son, aged 16, from his guitar practice with his mates.

ME: “So were you rehearsing or writing new stuff?”

SON: [shrugging] “We were just jamming, dad, you know.”

ME: “That’s great!  Genesis wrote some of their best stuff just by jamming!”

SON: [withering look] “And not only Genesis, dad.”

ME: “Well, I hope you can come up with some good stuff, ‘cos you’re going to have to look after me in my old age.  I tried to look after myself by writing books, but that didn’t work, so I’m afraid, mate, that you’re going to have to write some blinding music so I don’t starve or freeze to death when I’m an old codger.”

SON: [withering look] “Come on, dad.  What’s your problem?  You only need to write better books.”

And then I realised how lucky I am to have such a son to spell out to me the things I need to be spelled out to me.  We chortled and guffawed, and although I felt like throttling him, I decided not to as he’d made a very good point indeed :)


 

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Thinking about things I don’t understand

Mystery1AEveryone enjoys a good mystery, and I want to share one with you that I’ve had for the last four years: what’s the difference between music, film, and books?

If a musician says: “I’m Indie!” everyone nods approvingly.  If a filmmaker says: “I’m Indie!” everyone nods approvingly.  But if an author says: “I’m Indie!” most people think, if not say: “Ah, so your book wasn’t good enough to get a deal with a real publisher, was it?  So, in fact, you’re probably just a talentless, illiterate hack.”

Let’s turn it around.  When an Indie musician self-publishes a song, what people do NOT say is: “Your music must be crap because Sony and EMI wouldn’t take it, and those companies are the last word in quality music.”  Similarly, Indie filmmakers are seldom subject to the accusation that their films must be crap because Paramount, Universal, and Warner Bros. didn’t want to know, and those Hollywood heavyweights are the ones we all trust to protect film as an art form.

So why do Indie authors not get the same treatment, or at least the benefit of the doubt? Continue reading

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Book Review: Three Little Birds by Carol E. Wyer

CarolTLBToday is a big day for my dear internet friend and fellow author Carol E. Wyer, as she releases her new book, Three Little Birds.  I began reading Carol’s books a couple of years ago, mainly because chick-lit is my guilty pleasure.  What separates Carol from the rest, however, is that her male characters are just as well written as her female ones.  In addition, she has a warmhearted yet slightly naughty sense of humour which makes me laugh and feel good.  Three Little Birds is no exception, and is a fine addition to her body of work.  Below is my review, which I shall now place all over the internet :)

Three Little Birds is available in paperback and as an e-book, on Amazon in the US here, and Amazon in the UK here.  Also, Carol has announced the release on her own blog, here.  Many congratulations, Carol! :)

Carol Wyer’s new book is one which has a very big heart.  Two friends end up swapping ‘carpe diem’ lists to complete challenges which get progressively more difficult.  However, for the heroine, Charlie, the stakes go up when the survival of the hospital radio station where she works comes to depend on her successfully completing the next challenge.  In addition, there is a lot more going on in Charlie’s life which also needs her attention, saps her energy, and drives her a little nuts.

Along the way we meet a whole cast of entertaining, larger-than-life characters: some wacky, some fun, and a few sinister.  In Three Little Birds, Wyer offers up a warm yet page-turning yarn.  It is sentimental without descending into mawkishness, funny without descending into thoughtlessness, and above all delivers the kind of satisfying story I and many others have come to expect from Wyer’s books.  It’s the ideal lazy-Sunday-afternoon read, which just might encourage you to have a go at some of those challenges yourself!


 

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Book Review: Vokhtah by A. C. Flory

Outstanding, original science fiction

VokhtahHere’s a book you don’t come across very often.  Vokhtah is “pure” science fiction; wholly original, breathtaking in scope, enough action to turn the page, and completely believable.

The title is the name of the planet on which live two broad categories of creature: the powerful Vokh and the lesser iVokh, the latter of which consists of many subspecies.  The story concerns the adventures of one of the more important iVokh, called simply “the Blue”, as it attempts to avert a potential disaster caused by the short-sightedness of the Guild – the most powerful of the iVokh, who have decided that a Vokh must be killed.  The Blue undertakes a desperate journey across the planet’s land mass which taxes its skills and endurance to the limit.  During this journey, we learn more about the feared Vokh, all of the subspecies of the iVokh, and just how hard life on Vokhtah is. Continue reading

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MH 017 – What Happens Next?

EyeThe shooting down of MH 017 is one of those rare events which future historians may come to look back on as “defining”.  The potential for upheaval, if not chaos, is vast.  But while the shock waves from this tragedy continue to ripple, it’s worth looking at what might happen next.

The most likely result will be… not much at all.  Investigators, rescue workers and peace-keepers will arrive, and once the bodies and wreckage have been recovered, they’ll leave.  The Ukrainians and Russians will then continue killing each other. Continue reading

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Taking a Literary Vacation: The Short Story

Stories of GenesisWhen I published my third full-length novel in March last year, I decided I needed a break from the novel as a form.  With a full-time job which eats a minimum of ten hours a day, three school-age kids, and a wholly unsupportive spouse, writing a novel takes me around a year, plus a further three months for editing.  I really wanted to publish something much sooner than it would take to produce another novel.

A volume or two of short stories seemed the obvious answer.

Like most writers, I constantly jot down single-line story ideas and leave them in the inky blackness of my head to see if they’ll grow into something more substantial.  On review, it was clear that while many of those ideas would struggle to expand to novel length, I could take the best of them and write up some single- or multi-scene short stories.  I quickly decided on a length of 25k words per volume for pricing reasons: I wanted enough to provide a solid couple of hours’ entertainment at a relatively low price compared to what I charge for my novels.

Here are a couple of the advantages and disadvantages I came across. Continue reading

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Steve Hackett, Summer Dreams, and stress (relief)

FINALFrontcover - smallThe last few weeks have been what my old maths teacher used to call “tricky”, but the results have been more than worth it.  I’m still a little in shock at getting an endorsement quote from Steve Hackett for Stories of Genesis.  I always imagine famous people to be under a constant barrage of nobodies who want something, and I was just another one of them, so I was very keen not to come across in any way pushy.

Steve Hackett in his natural environment

Steve Hackett in his natural environment

Obviously, I tried to give Steve and his lovely wife Jo plenty of wriggle room: firstly, they must be very busy people, and secondly, they might simply not like the stories.  I’m a reader too, and if I read something which doesn’t do much for me, the last thing I want is the author on my back looking for praise.  So I’m really chuffed that they took the time to read the books and give me a quote with permission to use it.  When I began Stories of Genesis a little over a year ago, I never would’ve thought I’d get so far as to have a band member read and praise them.  I’m tremendously pleased that the books now have this support: Continue reading

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Stories of Genesis, Vol. 3 (A new kind of fan fiction)

“The face in the water looks up.  She shakes her head, as if to say,

That the Blue Girls have all gone away…”

Right, let’s get the boring, formal stuff out of the way first:

SecondsnipforblogPress Release: Chris James announces the publication of his new book, Stories of Genesis, Vol. 3, which features another eclectic selection of six original short stories inspired by lyrics in songs from the rock band Genesis.

Chris James is the critically acclaimed author of the ground-breaking Science Fiction novels Class Action (2010), and the first two parts of The Second Internet Café trilogy, The Dimension Researcher (2011), and The Cascade Annihilator (2013), as well as the author of yah-di-yah-di-yah-di-yah. Continue reading

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