jo robinson

Guest in the Hut – Chris Graham – The Story Reading Ape

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I have a very special guest in my hut today. None other than friend to readers around the globe, and tireless supporter and mentor to indie authors. Chris Graham is The Story Reading Ape we know and love. For those of you who know Discworld, you might be surprised to hear that his first cousin is the Librarian at the Unseen University – no need run though – our Ape got all the friendly genes.

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Mostly for me Chris is a wonderful friend, and not because he has the klout to make my books visible to real readers, but because for the duration of the time that I’ve known him, he’s often blown me away with his acts of generosity to so many of our tribe of often much maligned indie writers. He promotes our work, shares really useful tips on the nuts and bolts of our profession, and often pops up with hilarious bits of fun just to brighten our days. Mostly he hunts down good reads for his furry following of readers and has regular bookworm goodies to share. For those of you who don’t know him yet – what y’all waiting for then? Thank you so much for joining me in my hut dear Ape – it’s much more spacious on the inside as you can see, and don’t worry about the little feathered guys. I’m sure they realise you’re a bit too big to eat…. I think….. I hope….. Over to you that Ape!

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Before we start, I’d like to thank my very good friend Jo for inviting me to her lovely home and also to request her to please turn off the spotlights and loosen my restraining straps, I promise not to rampage or frighten the little Birds, they are perfectly safe perched on my ears (providing the one on my left ear stops trying to pull the fur out of it) 🙂

You are very supportive of self published authors, giving so many the opportunity to be seen on your Story Reading Ape website. What inspired you to do this?

When I got my first eReader (a Nook HD) in December 2012, it had an app already on it for Goodreads. Being a curious (oh, all right – NOSY) ape, I clicked on it and signed up. As I was dragging books I had read out of my ancient (extremely dusty and cobweb packed) furry brain cell (I’ve only got the one very hard working brain cell LOL), I joined a few groups and started receiving notifications from them.

Among these were Indie Authors looking for reviewers, telling about their new book releases, discount and free days, etc, but most were pleas for help in advertising the books.

As I got more familiar with Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and the like, I started looking at the authors profiles and was amazed at how sparse the information was, with a few exceptions.

Most authors were so intent in selling their books, they had missed out on, in my opinion, the opportunity to actually CONNECT with the readers and becoming a familiar, friendly household name, the way more famous authors are.

What do I mean by this? Well, look how much information is available about the authors themselves – the books are only part of what interests readers, they like to learn more about the PEOPLE who WRITE them!
That is why I started my blog, to give Indie authors the same opportunities that the famous authors had.

Tell us – who is Chris Graham, the person? What do you love, not like at all, do for fun?

Reading a Magazine

I, me, myself? I’m no-one special, just an ordinary old ape who loves reading and being transported to other times and worlds.

I don’t like flying – not afraid of it, just fed up doing it for so many years, so I avoid it as much as possible now. For fun, apart from reading, I like to get out for long walks in nature, visit historical places, take photographs, many a poor unsuspecting animal, bird, fish, tree and bush have been snapped unawares (but not in embarrassing situations) 🙂

I also enjoy playing on my computer with my 3D and Image Editing programmes.

Take us on a little tour of your The Story Reading Ape site, and show us around your world.

Well, the main blog is all about authors (as people) and their books, plus helpful editing tips from a Professional Editor every Tuesday, plus, any helpful, informative articles for writers from other blogs.
There are, of course, announcements about new / debut books, bargain or free days.

It also spotlights special people I’ve met online and is a talent showcase for published and unpublished writers.

AND LOTS MORE 🙂

Associated with the main blog, are eleven (11) bookcases, sorted by genre, where visitors can browse and even get to the relevant online store to buy them. Visitors can even follow these bookcase blogs, so when books are added, they will get an email about them 🙂

Yours is the only site that I personally know of that showcases such a wide variety of genres. What are your favourite genres to read?

Oh, I like most genres from informative to fantasy, historical fiction to science fiction and even books for kids (being just a big overgrown kid at heart myself LOL

What is your opinion of ebooks for children?

I think they’re great!

Nowadays, some kids would be embarrassed to be seen with a real book, but an eReader is acceptable.

I have a special fondness for informative books for kids and read as many as I can, I’ve learned a LOT about animals and things that way 🙂

Who are your top three favourite authors, and why do you love them?

Sir Terry Pratchett is at the top of the list, it was he who gave inspiration for, and life to, my online persona!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his Sherlock Holmes and non SH books.

Charles Dickens with his entertaining and insightful stories.

I also have favourite Indie Authors, but I’m not going to name them, most have appeared on my blog though and some have yet to visit when they get the time.

Apart from your three top favourites, what books have most influenced you?

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Animal Farm and Roots both resonated with me and made me vow not to deliberately oppress anyone or anything, to make amends if I had inadvertently done so and to help those who were being oppressed by others.

I strongly oppose cruelty, bullying, intolerance and terrorism, in ANY form, to ANY creature!
Sorry Jo, I didn’t mean to snap the restraints like that, I’ll just climb back down from your roof and nibble a nice calming banana or three 🙂

Share your best banana recipe. Add a copyright if you’re concerned about any other recipe stealing apes out there.

All apes (and anyone else) are welcome to any banana recipes, but I think it might be better to skip past this question Jo, my furry chin is already dripping wet from the delicious pictures flashing through my braincell LOL

Ha haaa – eeeek! Have you ever written anything yourself, and do you see yourself publishing anything in the future.

Only the odd article on my blog, or other people’s blogs. I can’t say I will never publish, because stranger things have happened 🙂

You are a talented cover art designer, and created the fantastic cover for my Shadow People (I LOVE it!). Tell us about your book art and cover design business.

(Blushes madly – in the furry face you naughty reader!)

It’s still early days Jo, you were kind enough to publish one of my efforts and the late Steve Smy published three covers with my work on them, so my ‘portfolio’ is small, but growing.

At present, the images I show on my Book Covers for Sale blog are just to demonstrate some of the capabilities I have with my software, however, I will be posting an article in January showing much more ‘Book Cover’ like examples, complete with text 🙂

What was the nicest, funniest, or most stand out moment in your online life?

The most stand out moment to date was when the Fourth Grade pupils from Honduras, plus their parents and teachers, visited my blog articles about their interview (by Skype) with two young authors based in the USA.

I was left some lovely comments and they were telling everyone they met that they were famous because they appeared on my blog.

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I wish all kids were so enthusiastic and so lucky to have such an inspiring teacher and that all authors, Indie and Established, would take the time that Josh and Jared did to connect with their fans, kids and adults alike.

What is your opinion on self-publishing today, and what do you think readers want from indie writers?

Apart from good entertaining stories, I think better editing and for European authors, better translations from their languages into other languages, not just English.

I know that sometimes books from ‘Established’ authors also contain errors, but not, I have to be frank, to the same extent.

If you suddenly became grand overlord of the planet, and held all the bananas, what would be the first thing you would change about it?

THAT is a TOUGH question Jo and I have to say, there is no easy or simple answer for it.

You can ban and legislate all you want but there will always be someone, somewhere, who will flout it and cause misery, pain or suffering to others.

However, I would make it MANDATORY for ALL politicians to learn a hands on trade and live off its proceeds for a minimum of 15 years before they are allowed to take office, instead of concentrating on Law, Accountancy and Advertising. That way, they may get some insight into the NEEDS of the ‘ordinary person in the street’.

It would be even better if they worked in healthcare for at least 10 years as well, in various parts of the world (poor countries), so they get a grasp of the issues that affect the majority of the world today.

Thank you for taking the time to answer all my questions Chris, you’ve been very patient and resisted diving into the food on the table, so now that we’re finished you can go eat – Where did he go? – Where did all the food go AND my tablecloth – Come back with my tablecloth you big ape!!!!

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So, for all you lovers of the written word, find the wonderful Chris Graham below, and make a grand new banana loving Ape friend for life.

The Story Reading Ape Blog
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It’s Read Tuesday!

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Today is Read Tuesday guys. A day for me to release my inner book glutton and load up my Kindle with piles of discounted and free books. There are some awesome authors on this list, so click here – Read Tuesday – and get shopping. And don’t forget the bookworms in your life this Christmas – check out this post on how to gift an ebook from Misha Burnett.

My African Me & Satellite TV is discounted on all major Amazon sites. It’s 99 cents on Amazon.com, and equal currencies on Amazon.uk, and the rest. Also on Smashwords. Shadow People is also 99 cents on Amazon.com, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. My short story, The Visitation is free today on Amazon.com and Amazon UK.

I’d be most grateful to any of my friends who would share this news anywhere at all. Now – I’m off on a book binge – happy shopping!

Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013

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Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013

Celebrate His Life

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Nelson Mandela
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For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela
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Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity. It is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
Nelson Mandela
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Resentment is like drinking a poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
Nelson Mandela
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I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter. I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret, that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.
Nelson Mandela
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As I walked out the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
Nelson Mandela
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I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.
Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom
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We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
Nelson Mandela

The Good Guys

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WordPress has changed everything around and I don’t have a clue what’s going on now. I want my quick post back! Anyway. I popped out to the shops yesterday for a couple of arbitrary things and got caught up in the festive craziness. Reindeer, tinsel, carols. I wanted ALL that shiny stuff. Then I noticed how many people weren’t buying the bling. They were counting out coins for loaves of bread instead. It was really deflating. I’d forgotten what Christmas in South Africa was like. I think that maybe living in Zimbabwe for so many years changed me in large ways. If I’d stayed here I wonder who I would have become. I wonder if I would have noticed the beggars and the hungry rather than heading straight for the shoes. I love celebrating, and of course I love the presents and the traditions, but I see more now than I would have done if I hadn’t lived through Zim’s troubles.

Before, I mostly looked away from anything sad or horrible. I did donate to charities like Save the Children every year, but I never thought long or hard about why they actually needed donating to. Back in the days when I still ate chicken, I preferred to buy it already portioned, so it didn’t look like an actual chicken, and not think about the trip that guy took to end up as my crumbed breast. I still don’t like thinking about these things, and most certainly not looking at them. But the thing about all that went down in Zimbabwe was that you didn’t have a choice. You were plonked right there in the middle of things, and you couldn’t avoid looking at what was all around you.

I’ve made friends with people I would never have come across if that poor country didn’t have a meltdown, and seen things that made me realise that we are all just the same, only with different amounts of luck. The world is covered with millions of us, all living vastly different realities, and even though we don’t have to look, sometimes when we do, we find that we actually can make a difference now and then. Whether it’s to support an author donating the proceeds of book sales to help starving children, or buying free range meat if you can afford it, or adopting an old battery hen, and letting her have some chicken times and get to know what grass feels like under her poor bent feet before she dies – all of these seemingly small things are actually huge when they all add up.

I’m not sorry that I’ve seen tragedy, cruelty, suffering and death – both in people and in animals, even though it’s wounded me deeply every time I did. I’m glad that I know what goes on in the world around me, and I’m even more glad that there are amazing people out there, much braver than me, who have the balls to try and change things, even when it sometimes means that others revile them for what they do, and often that it means that their whole lives are dedicated to relieving the suffering of others, and they get to miss out on all the fun stuff and the bling. Kudos to those fantastic souls.

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Last Rant Ever – Promise! – Well –

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Just to clarify my last post. Ever since I went on my cleanup campaign I’ve been on a mission to do everything right as far as internet ethics are concerned. I’ve been following what I’ve obviously wrongly construed was the online etiquette for small self-published scribblers. I’m not talking about the websites of guys who tweet or blog about belly busting humour, or offer sound eating advice, like my namesake and Google page one nemesis, Jo Robinson, author of Eat Wild. Fashion blogs, hilarious Twitter accounts, and advice columnists are welcome to my slavish following, and I wouldn’t expect their notice any more than I would expect Dan Brown to pop in for tea and biscuits. The same applies to readers, amazing friends who happen to also be tireless and supportive book blogger’s, and other innocents who are supplying a much needed service to the millions of unknown independent writers out there.

I saw a blog rant a while ago where someone said that people who go around “liking” blog posts without commenting are basically sycophantic tools. I like to leave a “like” to let the blogger know that I’ve read and liked what they have to say. I think it shows my interest and support. What’s the “like” button for if not to like? Why should I have to think up a comment when I don’t really have anything in particular to say, but still enjoyed what I read? Regardless of my current temper-driven wordiness, I am terminally shy, and I have an underlying fear of saying something – however seemingly innocent – that will end up with some sort of wrath being rained down on my head. It has happened. Liking is a lot safer. There are so many nebulous blogging, tweeting and general “how to behave online” rules that the mind boggles.

This is how I see things. There are blog and Twitter sites that have a million followers and follow back three only – their granny, their BFF and one other site that is so awesome that it doesn’t follow even them back. That’s cool – nothing wrong with that. They have no need to make friends and influence people, and I’m more than happy to follow their awesomeness because they really are rock stars. Then you have the indie writers. There are millions of us. Some have achieved some level of success, and have so many followers that it would be impossible to have a squiz at what their fans are up to. That’s cool too. Happy to follow for gems of advice or some of Chuck Wendig’s hilarious F-bomb humour. Some try, like Toby Neal and Hugh Howey – he actually will try to answer or respond to his fans every time. Lovely guy. Then you have the small indie writers who make the time to interact with their entire following on every site – this is me – and apparently this is the wrong way to go about things. Good thing to find out because it’s tiring.

I don’t know. I’m probably wrong again. I generally am. I wonder what we’re up to though. I do feel that any other small member of the millions strong indie scribbler club, who takes the time out of his or her hectic life to notice me long enough to follow me on any site, or like anything I have to say, deserves the same attention from me. My rant was directed purely at my own club, by the way. Small self-published writers, struggling to be noticed. I do get the concept of content blogging that’s so awesome, you don’t ever need to follow back or interact. But not all blogs are that brilliant, and some indie authors end up stuck in an incestuous group of fellow indie buddies who they solely interact with, ignoring all new comers, and grandly accepting new followers in the manner of established famous writers. This is probably cool too. They could be hobbyists, and genuinely not care about what their followers and fans are up to. That’s what they do for fun. They have a place to hang out with their pals. Then again, I believe that the world of self publishing is a totally new animal. Logically it doesn’t make sense to convince yourself that you’re already big enough to sit back and accept any love coming your way without reciprocating, when it’s obvious that you aren’t. When you are unknown and not selling thousands of books every day, why on Earth would you pretend to be doing that very thing? Reach out and make new friends. Help, or at least interact once or twice, with new friends and followers.

Am I doing it all wrong? Am I giving the wrong impression by taking an interest in those who take an interest in me? Am I a terminal groupie? Probably. Anyway. I won’t ever stop loving those great blogs who make me laugh every day, or those of famous scribblers who teach me about writing or blogging, and certainly not those of those guys who tirelessly support indie writers with little or no benefit to themselves, and most of all my friends – my indie writer friends who do the work, write, market, and still take the time out of their lives to notice others who take the time out of their lives to give them a boost, a word of encouragement, or just a simple “like” now and then.

So…. This is what I’ve figured out:
1. Everyone has different reasons for interacting on the old interweb.
2. They’re all entitled to their opinions.
3. It’s not my place to crap on anyone for doing what they’re doing.
4. I’m entitled to my opinion too, and I need to wo/man up and act accordingly.

My original intent for this blog was to post excerpts from a fictional character’s diary. That never worked out, but I found that I loved blogging in general and interacting with other bloggers around the world. Not just book bloggers, but bloggers who scribble about all sorts of things.

New Rules for Me:
1. I will always try to interact with my followers, and see what they’re up to, even if it’s only occasionally, and even on the snowball in hell chance of me ever becoming a famous scribbler.
2. I will continue to slavishly follow the funny and informative guys even though they ignore me or sometimes respond to my comments in hilariously rude and offensive ways.
3. I will always support in any way those awesome bloggers who give their friendship and talent freely and lovingly.
4. I will no longer interact with bloggers that I’m trying to interact with in a mutually beneficial way if the interaction isn’t mutually beneficial. My likes and shares are probably irritations to them anyway, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
5. I will not be afraid to share my opinions just because they’re a little different, and because they are likely to get me unfollowed in droves.

An Opinion:
Beginning with a fact or two – 95% of traditionally published authors ever, sell fewer than 500 copies of any given book. 98% of self published authors sell fewer than 5 books other than to friends and family. Considering the millions of self published books, the two percent that do is actually quite a lot of scribblers. Most wallow in that 98 percentile chasm. So, unless you actually are part of the awesome 2% club, and even so, why on Earth would you ignore a potential ally? That opinion’s just from a marketing perspective, and not my main reason for blogging. I do it because I enjoy it. I especially enjoy that the bloggers I follow interact with me as a person, and appreciate my comments and interest in what they have to say. And unless they are in fact Hugh Howey, I enjoy seeing their opinions on my humble opinions now and then. That’s what I believe, and that’s what I’m going to carry on doing, together with my friends and any other followers who didn’t squeeze their nostrils shut and jump ship following my original whinge. I’m just going to carry on being me, and even though I obviously will carry on following blogs that really interest me on a non-writer level, like recipe, real life issues, ghosties and funnies, without for a second expecting any of them to notice me, I’m not going to carry on supporting small indie writers struggling up the ladder, unless I really do think that they are the next Phillipa Gregory if they don’t return that support.

Namaste.

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Foul Play

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Nigella Lawson programme that I didn’t like, and I’m sure I’ve seen most of them. I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Cooking is a favourite hobby, and so is watching foodie programmes on TV. I love Gordon Ramsay’s toe-curling rudeness and Guy Fieri’s anaconda-like ability to unhinge his jaw and pop massive burgers in his mouth.

Earlier this year I really felt for Nigella when I saw the photos of her husband, Charles Saatchi, throttling her and horribly twisting her nose for all to see in a restaurant. Such appalling behaviour, and justifiable by absolutely nothing. He originally attempted to condone this unforgivable behaviour by saying that she regularly did these things to him. Sorry lovely guy, but nobody’s going to be able to picture Nigella throttling anyone. Now, in the true form of gentlemen everywhere, he’s calling her “Higella” and trying very hard to completely trash her reputation by spreading the word that she’s some sort of rotten, spaced out, drug addict who encourages her daughter Cosima to snort cocaine.

He laid charges against her two personal assistants, Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, last year after he found out that they’d been having a ball with his credit card – to the tune of £300 000. They used various reasons for their thievery, including the fact that they used some of the money to buy up piles of his own books – on HIS instruction – to give them a boost in the league tables. WHAT?! Then, after not mentioning a word until about a month ago, Mr Saatchi receives notice of a new statement from the felonious two that Nigella was totally cool with them using her credit cards to stock up on their Chanel and Prada collections, just as long as they kept mum about the fact that she and her daughter spent their days smoking pot, sniffing cocaine and taking prescription pills.

I really hope that any books he published, and is apparently in the process of buying up for himself, aren’t whodunits, because any scribbler, and most people with the smallest capacity of logical thought should be able to see exactly what’s going on. Seriously? Nigella on drugs? I don’t believe it for a second. You don’t get to build an empire the way she has when you’re stoned out of your mind all the time. And that’s a pretty big secret to keep from your husband for ten years, which he claims she did. Not many real addicts are likely to encourage their children to join them on their painful trip, and anyone as obviously loving of her brood, and more than intelligent enough to know just how bad that would be, is most definitely not going to do anything as stupid as that.

Just goes to show that money and power can’t make people believe that you’re a nice fella, no matter how loudly you tell the world that your wife is a horrible junkie. To be honest, the thing that really got up my nostril and made me pay attention was the bit about him buying his own books to push himself up the rankings. FOUL! FOUL! Even though I don’t believe that she has done any of the awful things he’s accusing her of, I’m pretty sure that I for one would turn to hard liquor at the very least if I was married to someone like that. Anyway. I’m sure that Nigella Lawson will make it through this horrible attack, and come out smiling and with her head held high on the other side of what is clearly a vengeful plan to terminally embarrass her.

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Pardon?!

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I’m not sure if it was my admission to being a techie dimwit, but all of a sudden I’ve got piles of Spam with the letters RSS in it. Not to mention bullies holding forth around and about. For example:

Hello!! Achieve you get condition they make few plugins to avoid with explore engine optimisation?? I’m irritating to get my blog to rank in support of some under fire keywords but I’m not considering fantastically sunny gains. Condition to identify of any satisfy distribute. Be thankful for it!!! I’m attempting to live talented to enrol in the RSS feeds excluding cannot figure it out. A quantity of assistance will be present awe-inspiring. Thanks!!!

Well… I couldn’t have said it better myself. Quite right you are dear Spammy. The internet never ceases to amaze me. I suppose that it’s similar to “real life” where you get thieves and violent hoods who get up to nasty physical shenanigans. These guys are on the same level of pond life in the virtual world. I don’t know if these blog messages are harmful – I’m sure that they could be if you approved them. I think it was blog spam that ended in me having to bin a perfectly good computer because of one of those guys that worm in and hijack your system to beam out who knows what onto the world wide web, so I’m a bit more careful now with regular scans and so on.

Then there are the meany trolls who pop up on threads in various groups around and about, and viciously attack some poor innocent for no reason at all. This seems to me particularly true in writers groups. You’ll have one guy who just knows he could write Stephen King under the table and out of the door, and he will just as soon as he finishes his seven year edit on his first chapter. He will pick any random post and rip it apart, often insulting the scribbler of said post at a much deeper level. If this sort of thing isn’t nipped right in the bud I believe it can cause much harm to the person so attacked. This could totally shatter a newbie’s confidence.

Group moderators who condone this behaviour by continuing such “discussions”, and thereby giving credence to this troll’s vitriol are just as much to blame. Nope. There is never a place for this sort of behaviour and it is the job of moderators and admins to stop it right there. If what someone has posted offends you so deeply that you want to poke your own eyeballs out, get in touch with a moderator and tell them. Don’t just let rip with something like, “You rotten, disgusting, pompous idiot. My scrofulous green toenail has more talent…..”. Have a little compassion.

I don’t believe that ripping anyone to shreds in any public environment makes you look any better. Kind advice, well worded and not intended to insult goes much further. When I see that type of thing on any group I’m involved in, my blood boils, and I have to generally walk away for a bit to prevent myself sinking to levels best not plumbed and blasting the nasty sod off the face of the planet.

I reckon we should all stop taking ourselves so seriously that we feel justified in spamming and trolling – or whatever you want to call it. If the spammers spent as much time as they do spamming doing honest work, and used their tech savvy to try and build something instead of breaking things down, and the trolls spent more time eyeballing the boulders in their own eyeballs before spending so much time on the specks in others, they might get to create something brilliant and have people actually like and respect them, rather than quivering in terror whenever they enter a room. Life is just way too short. Now. I’m off to smell the roses. Flowers. Stuff.

Succulent Flowers

Cover Reveal! Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies by Charles Yallowitz

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Allure Final Cover

Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies

The epic adventures of Luke Callindor and Nyx continue after their journey down the L’Dandrin River in Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.

Reeling from his failures in their previous adventure, Luke leads his surviving friends to his hometown. With his mind frayed and his confidence fractured, Luke must face the family and fiancée he left behind. It is a brief homecoming when the vampire Kalam attacks the village, forcing Luke and Nyx to break into his lair for the key to resurrecting a fallen warrior. It is a quest that will force both young heroes to reach new heights of strength and power that they never knew they had.

Can Luke and Nyx escape the lair of Kalam? And, what role will the orphaned gypsy Sari play in their looming destiny?

Release Date- December 1st, 2013

Previous Books-

Beginning of a Hero- http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Hero-Legends-Windemere-ebook/dp/B00BL9GBU2/

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower- http://www.amazon.com/Prodigy-Rainbow-Legends-Windemere-ebook/dp/B00E8WUD5S/

Cover Artist Info- Jason Pedersen http://www.jasonpedersen.com/

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Author Bio-

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
His blog: http://www.legendsofwindemere.com

Cleaning Up My Act

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Pardon me if I’ve missed anything. My computer’s been behaving badly so I’ve been running everything from full malware scans to getting paranoid and deleting my entire My Documents library – again. Fortunately I picked that up before running a cleaner. Eventually, and very reluctantly (because so many people say that Firefox is the best) I changed over to Google Chrome. And. It’s COOL. It works really smoothly, and even though all the layouts and sizes are slightly different, I just find it better in every way. In fact things appeared that I hadn’t even seen before. I still haven’t managed to claim my blog in Google though. I reckon some guy somewhere is employed specifically to make people like me never get to claim our blogs. So bugger that I say. I’m not going to try anymore – any time soon anyway.

Whatever the most productive, least time-consuming, most effective way to do something is, you can rest assured that it won’t be being done by me. Not because I enjoy laborious or just plain stupid ways of going about things, but because unless I actually concentrate quite hard on most technical things (like opening the vacuum cleaner to find the bag), I just can’t get my head around them. When I do, I generally forget about them straight away so I have to start over many times before anything sinks in. I also have a tendency to take on too much and lack the ability to say no to anyone, so I never have the time to concentrate on these things.

One thing that’s always bothered me is the fact that some of the blogs I’ve followed don’t have follow by email buttons. Don’t yell, don’t yell! I know I’m supposed to go through my reader or RSS feed, but for the reasons listed above, and my generally all over the place nature, I mostly forget about the reader and I still have no clue at all what an RSS feed is. This has meant that I’ve missed a lot of posts that I would have liked to see. Now I’ve found out that if you go into the Edit Blogs I Follow thingy on WordPress, you can change all the settings to receive instant emails every time they post. Eureka! Now all the blogs I follow pop up on my email and I don’t have to stress about missing anything anymore. Possibly I might stress about all the extra emails, but I must say it’s been really nice catching up on all the posts I haven’t spotted. Getting this right has inspired me to clean up my ditzy habits in general.

I’ve decided against finishing the NaNo this year. I don’t like the way that story’s going at all, so instead of wasting the tiny bit of time I’ll have this month on that, I’ve decided to GET ORGANISED instead. The general idea for my NaNo story might be useful for some future project, but what I’ve got so far can only be called crap really. So – get organised. I’ve decided this many times before and failed horribly every time. This time I plan to get it right. Possibly not right now at this very moment, because if the thunder’s anything to go by the heavens are about to open. Anyway. I’ve got a plan of action now. First – totally clean and organise my office and desk. Right now I think it constitutes a health hazard. Then consolidate all my scattered To Do lists into one epic Master To Do List. Finally tidy up my messy computer files and insane email files. Then get back to work properly.

I’m not going to try and write again until I’ve got all these things sorted. I’m slowly figuring out that running around doing tiny bits of many things is actually worse than not doing anything at all. Right now I have so much that needs to be done that just thinking about it has me running for cake. Time to be firm. No more worrying about the actual volume of work that needs to be done, or things that are late or forgotten about right now. All the worrying leads to total avoidance and fear of getting crapped on. No. I’m going to put on the brakes, clean up my act, and take on one thing at a time from my new, epic, Master To Do List. I’ve started the physical side of the cleanup. This should take a while because I’m more of a get into corners with a toothbrush kind of cleaner than a sensible one. Right – busy, busy, busy….

Construction

The Writing Prompt

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I haven’t had time for writing or spending much time at my computer for a while. Things are settling down slowly, but still a bit hectic for the next couple of weeks – then hopefully all will be tranquil in the land of Jo, and I can get some work done. If I manage 10 000 words on the NaNoWriMo this year I’ll actually be quite proud of myself. Doubtful though. Anyway. I spotted a writing prompt that got my scribbling mojo briefly interested.

WRITING PROMPT: The benefits to the Earth brought about by humanity living on it.

Um. Ummmmmm.
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OK – got one! The Mushroom Death Suit. Cool! A suit infused with flesh eating fungus spores to help with all the decomposition and – stuff – whatever goes on six feet under after our souls blithely trip off through the pearly gates.
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The suit’s inventor, Jae Rhim Lee, educated these mushroomy little guys to develop a taste for munching on a bit of human by feeding them bits of herself – skin, nails, hair, oozy bits – you get the picture.
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She maintains that mushrooms are environmental cleaning heroes, and that this sort of “person disposal” is all to the good of a green planet. Well. Fair enough. What do I know? I’m not a scientist. Still. This whole business just gives me the willies. We now have real live flesh eating fungus on the planet. Mushroom spores like to travel, and the little fellows are pretty good at it. Things like to evolve, adapt, kick up their games. Black mould is already partial to a bit of human lung, so hopefully these fellows won’t get together with the flesh eating ‘shrooms and make some whoopee. Mushroom Zombie Apocalypse. Anyway. We’ll just have to wait and see if future Earth ends up looking like a big giant porcini hanging around idly in space, waiting for some unsuspecting little green alien to pop over for tea.
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I don’t think wild animals are prone to as much sickness and disease as we are if they’re left in their own untainted environments. They just get on with things. Unfortunately we’re far too clever to just get on with things. We like to make cool stuff. I bet you ten magic beans that most of the deadly viruses around uttered their first goo-goo ga-ga’s in a lab secreted away in some innocuous looking building somewhere. We have pigs, mice, rabbits and other creatures that have been genetically modified with human DNA. Whatever the reasons were to do these things were – well – I don’t really care. It’s just not right. Think up ways to fix the climate guys – or any of the other things that we’ve already broken before creating mushrooms that enjoy eating us.
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Anyway. Back to square one and my writing prompt. Now. Let’s see what we got. We….
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Sometime later….
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Later still…..
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Ummmmmmm…..
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New writing prompt needed.