Free Books On Amazon

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To celebrate the fact that it’s always Spring – somewhere, I’ve decided to put all my tales on Amazon up for free today and tomorrow (12 – 13 April). I’ll pop the links on here if you’d like to download them. I hope you enjoy them! They will go free at around 12 CMT, so in around two hours from now. African Me & Satellite TV will be published next, and then on to the second book in the Shadow People series.

And join us today and tomorrow at the Spring Fever Reads Giveaway, and stand a chance to win more books and a Kindle Fire!

Till next time friends. xxx


Book Worlds

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Reading has to be one of the best stress relievers there are. I haven’t had much time to read for pleasure lately, but after finishing up a couple of projects by the end of next week, I intend to make some. Reading a lovely review of one of my favourite historical writers today (Philippa Gregory – born in Kenya by the way – another notch in our African belt of great ones) brought on a terrible urge to grab one of her books, curl up somewhere comfy, and get reading.

Books take you away from everyday life to other worlds, times, and places. Movies are good, but with a book, you translate the script into what you see with your mind’s eye. I’m sure that every reader sees the world in a book differently to the way the author visualised it.

I read Stephen King’s, The Shining before I saw the movie, and my visuals of those spooks had been a lot scarier than depicted on the big screen.

Reading isn’t only entertainment, it’s creativity. I don’t know if Anne McCaffrey’s Pern dragon series (the best dragon books ever written in my opinion) were ever turned into movies, but if they were, I don’t want to see them. The cover art was more than enough to start me off, and Pern and its dragonriders have very distinct lives in my mind. I don’t want to change that.

Apart from zooming off to distant planets, or times long gone, sometimes when real life gets a bit tedious or generally not much fun, I’ve headed off to the worlds of my favourite funny guys. Not many of my friends love Terry Pratchett quite as much as I do, but his Discworld series has to be one of the cleverest, funniest ever written. It’s not just the humour, which has had me in half an hour, jaw aching, unstoppable laughathons, it’s the sweet little digs at everyone and everything on this planet. These are not children’s books at all by the way – this author can wield sexual innuendo better than most.

Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series is another pick me up go to place,

as are all of Robert Rankin’s brilliant books,

but I have to say that the funniest books I’ve ever read have been by Tom Sharpe. Definitely not for under eighteens, but as far as I’m concerned, his books are some of the rudest, most hilarious ever written.

So… If you are not having the best day ever, and things all just seem a little too much, whether it’s tedious relatives having partaken of too much gin after the Easter Sunday lunch, or life just getting you down in general, I suggest you zoom on over to Amazon, or your book supplier of choice, and find a lovely little place elsewhere to spend the rest of your day. Also, find some lovely friends, readers, bloggers, and authors on Google+ – I’d love to see you there. And as a P.S. – any of my African friends (or friends from anywhere really), who might have trouble buying books online, give me a shout, and I will be more than happy to send you any of my scribbles that you might want to read for free.

Till next time friends. xxx


What Poet Through Yonder Window Breaks?

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I think I’ve figured out why poets are so dark and brooding, and sometimes project a sense of passionate rage and barely controlled violence. It’s because they’re really nice people. They actually do have terrible desires to poke out eyeballs or violently kick shins and other bits, but they’re exercising extreme self-control, merely smiling darkly, and muttering into their beards. This is definitely not an attitude cultivated, as I originally suspected, to project a Heathcliffian (Wuthering Heights – yes – I know it’s not a word) kind of smouldering, yet menacing sexiness. They really do want to be left alone in a garret somewhere to be at one with their angst, and be able to curse loudly, yet unheard, at the bastard lack of a word that rhymes with innocence.

Trying to write a few poems for Christopher’s Diary in African Me has proved quite a voyage of discovery. I’ve discovered violent and surly depths to my own character that I never for a moment suspected were there. I’ve always thought I was rather nice, caring, and generally more than willing to do anything to help out. Turns out that the mauve beret has revealed a pretty mean side to me. I won’t share my more elaborately violent daydreams when innocently asked to type a little thing, or pass the biscuits, or I would imagine every one of my friends would run for the hills in terror, never to speak my name again. I think these malignant thoughts might make for a pretty nasty character in a future book though, so having a go at poetry may not turn out to be a total loss. Of course I won’t give up till I have at least three semi-decent poems. I just hope that unsuspecting innocents around me survive the trip.

New Rules Learnt:-

1. Avoid scowling people wearing mauve berets and occasionally throwing pencils at nothing in particular.
2. Be nicer to poets. They try really hard not to hurt you.
3. Don’t talk to poets unless they talk to you first.
4. Don’t look at poets unless they look at you first, and if they do look first after you’ve just spoken – run!!
5. Don’t ask poets to do things, unless you’re asking from outside when they’re inside, and you’re really sure you can outsprint them if they leap out of the window.
6. If you’ve never tried to write a poem before, don’t start now. I think it could be some sort of possession.
7. This is not really to do with poetry, but not a bad thing to know. If your best friend’s a plumber, don’t ask him to fix your loo when he’s nibbling on a canapé and sipping a lager. Plumbers can be just as dangerous as poets I’m thinking.

And so, back to my darkened den to see if I can find words that rhyme with other words, and yet make sense, while trying mightily not to leap on anyone and pull their eyebrows out one hair at a time.

Till next time friends. xxx


How Do I Love Thee

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I wonder if Kathy Reichs still does such prosaic things as washing dishes. I’m sure Stephen King doesn’t mow the lawn. Robert Rankin’s capable of anything I imagine. He’d more than likely happily wash a pile of greasy pans wearing only a rubber apron and a pink floral shower cap. That’s one of the reasons that I’m so partial to him as a person as well as respecting him greatly as the author of some of the craziest books I’ve ever read. I certainly have to do an inordinate amount of prosaic things though. Just lately it’s been zooming around trying to save things from water damage, and drying out soggy corners to prevent mould. The biblical proportions of rain we’re having has uncovered quite a few leaky bits in the roof. So once again the dream of a romantic corner in an attic somewhere creating fantastical tales takes a back seat to manual labour. I’ve pretty much given up on apologising for always being late for everything too. Anyone who knows the sorts of things that come my way would probably be more surprised if I wasn’t late.

I’m getting African Me & Satellite TV ready for publication on the 31st March. My hero’s diaries need to be filled out with a few poems. That’s just the kind of guy he is. Even though I love poetry, and actually furtively stalk quite a few modern poets, unbeknownst to themselves of course, I’ve never actually had a proper try at writing any. When that sort of thing was happening at high school I was a lot more interested in a gorgeous rugby playing, two legged, poem called Michael, if I recall correctly. It’s a miracle that I passed English at all. So, just as soon as I’ve washed the dishes, fed the feathered horde, bleached a couple of suspiciously mouldy looking walls, and caught up with my beloved social networking, I’ll dig out my mauve beret, find a suitably stubby pencil somewhere, and see if I can wax poetic on the bench near the birdbath under the coffee tree. I’m doubtful of a satisfactory outcome though, so I’ll probably just tiptoe around the web as well, and see if any of my favourite poets would be gracious enough to give me some tips. Much as I love them, some poets carry an air of brooding danger about them, and can seem a little intimidating to us mere mortals. Whether this is cultivated or something particular to the general genetic make-ups of bards I don’t know, but I’ll take care nevertheless. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite poems to be getting on with, and another famous writing, which, whether poem or not, is one of the most beautiful things you could ever read, and an awesome credo to try and live your life by.

Till next time friends. xxx

How Do I Love Thee?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use, in my old griefs,and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.


Ode To The Short Story

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First and foremost I love to read.  Ever since I was a small girl, my nose has been buried in a book of some kind.  Beatrix Potter and Dr Seuss progressed to Enid Blyton.  Then there was a small, furtive digression into Mills and Boon and Barbara Cartland during my teenage years.  I make no excuses for my brief addiction to these tales of young love, and the terrible horniness of the Dukes and waifs of bygone days.  It is natural, I think, for teens to be drawn to anything remotely sexual.  Perverted little buggers we were!  Then on to the laughter of Douglas Adams, the intellectual silliness of Pratchett, the terror of King, and never forget the more high-brow literary gems that we inflicted on ourselves in our twenties, pretending to have enjoyed Leo Tolstoy’s daunting tomes, War and Peace and the slightly less agonising Anna Karenina.  Following were those unforgettable, riveting, and down to earth tales, like Fried GreenTomatoes, and The Colour Purple.  You connect with the people in those worlds.  I will always remember Izzy and Celie.

Apart from an unreasonable quantity of recipe books – yes I unashamedly worship the Goddess of the often eye-wateringly embarrassing plays on cute words, Nigella, and feast my ears and eyeballs on the profane manliness of Gordon Ramsay, not to mention marvel at Guy Fieri’s impressive bite capacity – anthologies have always made up a large part of my collection.  I would usually buy them because one short story had caught my eye.  Very occasionally I would enjoy every one in a collection, but not often. Some anthologies, like Jennie Orbell’s compilation, Eternal, have the quality of any good novel, and leave you wanting more as you come to the last page of the last story, but there are very few of those. The problem that I often found, due to my obsession with never leaving anything unfinished, was that I would manfully plough through every tedious page in a book on principle, and feel merely irritated at having wasted precious reading time at the end.

And then I discovered the single short story.  There are well over sixty thousand of them on Amazon alone.  With the thousands of full length novels selling for ninety nine cents, or going for free, why would I pay for one lonely little story?  The answer to that is the same as why I would pay fourteen to twenty dollars for any other book.  Because I want to enjoy what I read, and not just grit my teeth and stubbornly hope to find a good bit, reading through something which I really don’t enjoy, merely because it was cheap or free.  A decent sized slab of my other addiction, chocolate, is a little more expensive and gone in a lot less time.  So my single short story collection grows on my Kindle, as does the list of my newly favourite authors, and my own contributions to that genre will also grow, unapologetically, for those of my readers who enjoy only one, small and twisted tale now and again.


Till tomorrow – if those fickle Gods of the internet allow it.  xxxx