Stephen King

Funny Typos

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The suppliers of South Africa’s electricity are very happy with their loadshedding these days. The lights are going out whenever they fancy – sometimes up to three times a day, which is a large pain when you live online. Not to mention that winter’s pretty much here, and my feathered horde don’t take kindly to life without heat. Button’s taken to sitting next to me on my chair for leg warmth, with Jelly now a lap bird and the parrots feather boas. Anyway, moving unreasonably on to the totally unrelated topic of typos.
Button Singing
Not all typos are created equal. I know that some people are infuriated having a single one assault their sensibilities, but I think that some of them are so much more fun than the real word they’re impersonating. The problem is that sometimes after seeing a particularly cool one, they can put the brakes on anything else you’re trying to get done.
I was zooming through a fairly serious book for research purposes, when I was Earth-stoppingly (not a typo) struck by a little typo that now refuses to leave my mind, surfacing all the time and stopping me from doing anything constructive. A couple of typos in the books I read don’t generally bother me, and neither did the fact that this book had a typo in it. It’s the actual typo itself that won’t go away because of my weird and abnormal sense of humour. I know it’s weird and abnormal, because every time it strikes, and I’m laughing so hard that I cry, people always look at me in confusion when I try and share the funny – which is probably what you’re about to be doing right now. In this case it was –
Wonton Destruction
Wonton Destruction
Images of wontons being destroyed keep pushing my own sentences right out of my head. Destruction of wontons by flood, fire, and terrible cruelty. Even if I could eat gluten without fear of much pain and illness, I don’t think I could ever eat a wonton again. Crunching the poor little guys up – wanton wonton destruction. Perhaps there’s a whole world out there somewhere in the multiverse, where wontons exist peacefully, trotting about on their little legs and reciting beautiful wonton prose, but unbeknown to them, a fleet of spacecraft is preparing to enter their atmosphere carrying thousands of alien wanton wonton destroyers. Good! I think I’ve got it out of my system now by sharing it with you. Thank you.
I think that in a couple of years Indie books are going to be much less likely to have editing issues than traditionally published books, because of the need to prove ourselves up to the actual work of publishing. Gordon Ramsay with his name spelled wrong in the front matter of his memoir is alright for him, but as an Indie you would get properly pummelled for getting your own name wrong in your book. Even Stephen King had a problem in one of his short stories – Autopsy Room Four – which I absolutely LOVED until I got to the bit about an American golfer being bitten by a Peruvian Boomslang. My beloved Stephen actually mentions how much he enjoyed putting that imaginary snake in the story, because he loved the name Boomslang. Most people probably won’t see a research problem there unless you’re a South African King fan (and we are LEGION by the way), and know that Boomslang is an Afrikaans language word meaning tree snake, so any Peruvian snake is highly unlikely to be called by that particular moniker. You’d think that a top editor for one of the most legendary authors on the planet would have picked that up, but still not a big deal for him. The new breed of Indie would have researched a little more, I like to think, and not made that mistake.
So. After sharing all of these highly intellectual things with you, thereby proving that I really am a very, very serious author type person, back to work for me. Before the lights go out again.

Before You Say You Suck

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Before I started writing I read all the time. Not having a book to read filled me with dread. I’ve been known to read the backs of cereal containers, toilet paper blurbs – anything. My writing trip started very recently, but it really is all encompassing now. I live and breathe my book worlds. Just lately there have been all sorts of troubles with fake, nasty, and jealousy induced reviews popping up. This really pains me. If you look at my reviewer profile you’ll notice that I only ever give five star reviews. This doesn’t mean that I’m a sycophant. If I think a book is worth less than five stars I don’t leave a review at all. I just really, truly believe that as a writer – and a newbie writer at that – it’s really not my place to trash and burn any other scribblers efforts at all.

I take more notice of a book review written by someone who has never so much as scribbled an essay than an award riddled author. I’ve been a reader all my life, and I have hero writer guys who I would defend to the death, regardless of typos, weird characters, or outrageous plots. Hello Robert Rankin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you are an indie author – and not Stephen King – be careful who you trash. Not purely for the possibility that the guy – or girl – who you rain turds on might have a staunch following and squish you like a bug on the old world wide web, but because it’s just not cool.

It’s really true. Everyone’s a critic now, but think before you leap into the fray as a writer. You know how hard it is to pen a book, and you know how painful it is to be told that you suck. Think before you head under the four star train smash. Sometimes it’s kinder to just shut up.

Button

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.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Virgins-Lover-ebook/dp/B005Z4QUBO/ref=sr_1_28?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1364743919&sr=1-28&keywords=philippa+gregory

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.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shining-ebook/dp/B0037TPMOA/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1364744055&sr=1-1-catcorr

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Dragonflight-The-Dragon-Books-ebook/dp/B008FY4KBS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1364744306&sr=1-1&keywords=anne+mccaffrey+pern+series

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.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Colour-Magic-Discworld-ebook/dp/B0031RS69G/ref=sr_1_14?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1364743487&sr=1-14&keywords=terry+pratchett

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

http://www.amazon.com/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-Galaxy-ebook/dp/B003GK2180/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1364743642&sr=1-6&keywords=douglas+adams

as are all of Robert Rankin’s brilliant books,

http://www.amazon.com/The-Antipope-Brentford-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B007JPNZUQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1364743759&sr=1-1&keywords=robert+rankin

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.

http://www.amazon.com/Porterhouse-Blue-ebook/dp/B0051UT83Y/ref=pd_sim_kstore_4

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.

https://plus.google.com/communities/115573021758683598908

Till next time friends. xxx

book

Reviewing Amazon Reviews

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It’s considered “uncool” as a writer to give nasty reviews the time of day. But. When I got my first (so far only, thank goodness) one star review for Fly Birdie it hurt. Fly Birdie is a little tale very close to my heart, and it baffled me that anyone could find gentle Hannah “disgusting” in any way. The hurt gave way to wondering if the reviewer had actually read the story. I always find one liners that say nothing at all about the story a bit suspect in any review. Then I felt terrible that she had actually been so grossed out at anything that I’d written. I really hoped that it had been a free download and that the poor lady hadn’t actually forked out .99 cents for it. All of these emotions were gone in an hour, and then I started laughing. I realised that I’d had a very sharp spike in sales since the posting of that review, so I sort of started to like it. Of course not everyone is going to like what you write. One three star review for The Visitation I have totally taken on board. While the reader really enjoyed the story and got into it, she felt that it ended too soon. She wanted more. Excellent feedback as far as I can see. I loved that she liked it, and I’m grateful for her suggestion. While that is originally exactly what I wanted to do with that particular short story – I wanted it to be short and shocking – I am now considering fattening it out a bit and sending that lovely helpful reader the new version as a gift.

Ignoring bad reviews isn’t going to make them go away. I for one am not ever going to try and hide a bad one. I trust that genuine readers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves whether a review is worth taking into account or not. If you want to sell books on Amazon you have to have reviews. Anybody can post reviews on Amazon whether they’ve bought the book or not, whether they’ve read a book or not, and regardless of their credentials as far as commenting on literature is concerned. These are mostly real opinions from real readers. Some are fairly obviously not real, and nobody with half a brain is going to be swayed one way or another by lonely onions in petunia patches. I spend a lot of money on books. I buy loads every month regardless of the fact that I don’t have much time to actually read them. I will get to all of them at some point in my life. I only started looking at reviews when I first published Fly Birdie. I still don’t often look at reviews, but when I do, spotting a really vitriolic one star review often has me hitting the buy button. I read the blurb, have a look inside, and then I decide whether I’ll buy the book or not.

As far as reviews for my own books are concerned, I hope that everyone who reads my scribbles will leave a review for me, to tell me what they thought. Good or bad, all of these opinions can only help me. Why announce rave five star reviews from the rooftops, and ignore the bad? From now on I’m going to take note of all reviews that I get. That’s the beauty of publishing on Amazon. You can fix problems. Bring on the reviews I say! I love every one that a reader has taken the time from their lives to give me. Thank you, lovely guys. To be honest, I haven’t actually roared too loudly about my five star reviews, so you might wonder why on Earth I’m going to share my really crappy one star review with you. Well. Because I’m sharing a couple of one star reviews from some really famous and outrageously wealthy authors, and I’m thinking that it’s only fair to tack mine on at the end. So – for all my lovely author friends that have ever got less than a five, here’s to let you know that you’re in the illustrious company of book selling rock stars. Rock on reviewers! If reading rotten reviews offends you, stop reading now, otherwise join me for chuckles. I’m very seriously compiling a little book of the worst reviews ever written. It will get loads of rave five star reviews and earn me millions. Ha haaaaa!

Till next time friends. xxx

Stephen King – Night Shift
(MY COMMENT: I LOVED this book – I would give it 5 Stars)

1.0 out of 5 stars One of the most horrible books I ever had the displeasure of reading., September 25, 2008
By
E. Adam Galmor – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: Night Shift (Hardcover)
I am a Stephen King fan. In fact, my most favorite book to date is his masterpiece, The Stand.
But the stories in this book are just pointless, uninteresting, uninspiring and downright awful.
I am simply dumbfounded at how this became a #1 best seller, or why it has such great reviews on this website. Rarely have been so utterly disappointed in a book.

Maeve Binchy – Lilac Bus
(MY COMMENT: I loved it as much as all of Maeve’s books – 5 Stars from me)

1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, February 10, 2013
By
hope sank – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lilac Bus: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Awful book not up to authors standards. As if she didn’t finish it. Nothing came together. Don’t read this one.

Hugh Howey – Wool Omnibus
(MY COMMENT: Still on book one, but I really like the way Howey writes, and everyone I know who has read it, loves it)

1.0 out of 5 stars A complete dud. Seriously??? Five stars?, March 13, 2013
By
HouseofG – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) (Kindle Edition)
It’s easy to see why the author self-published this book- his very poor writing style, dull plot, and weak characterization would have been rejected by editors a thousand times over. Having said that, I surmise that his success derives from one thing only: the originality of his general storyline, however poorly executed it was. The overall dystopian concept of an entire civilization living in an underground silo has apparently not been done before, and is the only reason I can give this series even one star. We can only hope that Ridley Scott, who surprisingly optioned the film rights, can turn this lumbering, slow-paced read into a compelling cinematic experience. I suspect that was what he had in mind.

J K Rowling – The Casual Vacancy
(MY COMMENT: Haven’t read it yet, but did buy to see what all the fuss was about, so $17 in JK’s pocket anyway)

1.0 out of 5 stars 100 shades of “meh”, October 2, 2012
By
Amanda Richards (Georgetown, Guyana) – See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (TOP 500 REVIEWER) (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Kindle Edition)
Man down
In little town
Council seat
Incomplete
Nothing more
What a bore

This tedious, overstuffed, character-heavy story takes you through the machinations of finding someone to fill a vacant council seat in a little town. After countless repetitive chapters about the lives of the unlikable characters, each stuck in their own personal imbroglio yet linked in one way or another, you may feel the need to take a break to watch the grass grow on your front lawn.

The main problem with this book is that the most interesting character physically leaves the scene in the first chapter, and by the time you finish dragging yourself through the painful ordeal of completing the book, you’ll feel that he’s the luckiest one of all.

Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg – Nightfall
(MY COMMENT: Speechless!!)

1.0 out of 5 stars Blah, November 27, 2000
By
Shane Tiernan (St. Petersburg, FL United States) – See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: Nightfall (Mass Market Paperback)
I haven’t read the short story but I would recommend it – even if it’s terrible at least it’s short and terrible, not long and terrible like this waste of trees.
It’s everything you would never want in a novel: boring, repetitious, filled with generic writing and dialogues; and all this is heaped onto an idea that probably would have made a good short story – oh wait from what I hear it did.

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games
(MY COMMENT: Not read but really wish I could sell as many books)

1.0 out of 5 stars Panem is Snoozeville., March 2, 2012
By
Alex – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, Book 1) (Hardcover)
I’m seventeen, and everybody and their mother told me to read The Hunger Games, because “it’s incredible!”. I finally decided “Why not?”, despite the fact that I have long given up on Young Adult novels. Sure, I’ve come across some good ones, but The Hunger Games is a prime example of why I don’t shop in that section anymore.
For what was advertised to me as an “awesome, fast-paced adventure”, I was bored out of my mind from start to finish. With every turn of the page, I thought it’d get better, thinking surely something interesting had to happen or else people wouldn’t be so obsessed with it. Twilight should have taught me that people can go nuts over poorly executed literature, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt.
The book is poorly written, in the POV of the main character, Katniss. When I say “poorly written”, I mean both in the construct and execution of plot and characters, AND the writing style (e.g., Lots of cliche ideas, like “it feels like I was just dreaming”, and one line I remember reading was “the saltiness of the soup reminds me of my tears”. I find that ridiculous, like some moping Emo-stereotype) And, because the story is in first-person, I (*spoilers*?) started the book KNOWING that she wasn’t going to die (not to mention, two books follow). I didn’t feel any danger for her and I didn’t like her. While, admittedly, I like the CONCEPT of the book, I didn’t enjoy anything about it while reading. The characters and plot are one-dimensional. It was painfully predictable. Cliche. Boring. Immature.

The sad thing is, I think teenagers like this book because it requires no thought–it has no sustenance by means of developed characters or intricate plot. If we want people my age to start reading, should we really settle for feeding them empty stories like this one?

E L James – 50 Shades Of Grey
(MY COMMENT: Not read – or bought, but reading EL’s reviews is a hobby of mine. They’re hilarious. Good for her causing such a stir!)

4,884 of 5,134 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the worst I’ve ever read… No, wait. It IS., March 6, 2012
By
Ebeth822 (Tx) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded the book to my Kindle because it was on the best seller list and had 4 stars overall rating on Amazon. I wish I’d taken the time to read some of the reviews. As it turns out I agree with the negative.
I found myself thinking “Twilight, plus some spanking, minus the sparkly vampires.” Here, I’ll save you all some time (SPOILER ALERT):

Once upon a time…
I’m Ana. I’m clumsy and naive. I like books. I dig this guy. He couldn’t possibly like me. He’s rich. I wonder if he’s gay? His eyes are gray. Super gray. Intensely gray. Intense AND gray. Serious and gray. Super gray. Dark and gray. [insert 100+ other ways to say “gray eyes” here]
I blush. I gasp. He touches me “down there.” I gasp again. He gasps. We both gasp. I blush some more. I gasp some more. I refer to my genitals as “down there” a few more times. I blush some more. Sorry, I mean I “flush” some more. I bite my lip. He gasps a lot more. More gasping. More blushing/flushing. More lip biting. Still more gasping.
The end.

The bad:
It was an interesting concept – for a “romance” novel. However the story is weak, the pace is slow and awkward, the characters come through as more schizophrenic than complicated, the “romance” is a jeuvenile and dysfunctional crush, and the “erotic” scenes alternate between “Penthouse Forum” and something that sounds like it was written by a painfully shy and sheltered 13 year old. I have now read through some of the rave reviews and I have to assume that these were posted by people easily shocked and/or titillated. I can’t imagine what fans are comparing this to when they describe this as “good.”

The good:
Nice cover art.

Jo Robinson – Fly Birdie
(MY COMMENT: Erm…..)

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wasted my time, March 3, 2013
By
Linda Hutson – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Fly Birdie (Kindle Edition)
Grade school quality SHORT story. Not enjoyable at all. I was disgusted by the actions of the “heroine” of the story.

Van Gogh pd book