Wednesday, 14 August 2019

In Two Minds

Some years ago I had all my books available in printed form and were sold via Lulu Publishing through their online store. I also had a number of printed copies myself that I sold via Ebay. Over the years however there was a decline in sales so I changed from printed editions to ebooks and sold them via Kindle Direct Publishing removing them from Lulu first. Kindle also had the option to do printed books but I found that to be far more cumbersome than Lulu due to the formatting structure of ebooks being vastly different than its accompanying printed form. Although having said that I still have a number of printed books available via Amazon.

Well now I appear to have reached a similar juncture as I had with Lulu in the past. My sales have dwindled of late and it's only my very recent books that sell. There's still the option to release my old titles for free via Amazon but that option is only available for five days per year, per book, so while I may get a sudden increase in readership it's only short lived and doesn't always guarantee a review.

The other option of course is to place my books on my website for free. I have experimented with this in the past and I currently do this for my micro-short stories and fan fiction, but I'm still in two minds about it. With some of my very early work, my first novel for instance, I'm perfectly happy to do such a thing but with some of the larger novels it feels a little strange.

There's also the advantage that I have more control over a web based book and can alter the entire formatting with ease. In the same way that a movie is released at the cinema then later released on DVD with lots of extras I could remove my older Amazon books and convert them into web based stories with extras. This is also an advantage for people without a Kindle who can read them using their computer or mobile phone.

Anyway whatever I decide it will only apply to my older books, I'll still be writing more titles for the Amazon Kindle in the years to come. I'm not planning to retire just yet.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Fairy Dance (Short Story)

A very excited person is filled with childish joy when encountering fairies at the bottom of the garden. They are deliriously happy and share a joyful dance while birds sing above. This soon reaches its conclusion when this happy person is forced to face reality once more breaking their joyful mood.

* * *

I laughed ecstatically, with pure joy within my heart, as I span on the spot in the middle of the lawn, surrounded by the fairies. It was already dawn, with the distant sun popping its head above the horizon as if to peep at the surreal spectacle of me dancing in nothing but dainty pink panties. The damp grass beneath my bare feet cooled the rest of my body, that never ceased spinning for a single moment dancing alongside the fairies. I was growing increasingly breathless and I knew it wouldn't be long before I had to stop, but I was ecstatically happy not wanting this feeling to ever end.

Fairies were gentle creatures, pure of heart, that only chose to reveal themselves to true believers. No doubt they sensed I was special, one of the chosen few, someone they could trust. There were around half a dozen of them, each with wings of splendour, dancing with one another as I danced among them. My smile was wide. The birds in the tree above sang a calming tune as the fairies and myself danced in unison.

"Tweet, tweet, tweet," said the birds.

"Flutter, flutter, flutter," replied the fairies with their gentle near silent wings.

I gave the birds a momentary wave while continuing with my dance. It wasn't long however that I grew exhausted and collapsed onto the lawn almost falling into the pond in the process. Quickly repositioning myself I looked up at the early morning sky with the fairies still dancing around me. I felt giddy and took deep breaths.

"Danny what are you doing? You're embarrassing yourself, get inside now!" My wife called out from the open front door of the house.

"I'm dancing, um, I'm with the fairies," I replied while slurring my words.

"Why are you wearing my undies?" My wife moaned.

Turning to the fairies they appeared unbothered by my wife's words and continued to dance with happiness, the birds however had swiftly left the tree.

"You're drunk!" My wife moaned.

Fairies or dragonflies, what did it matter? They made me feel happy. So long as creatures exist that spread happiness who cares what they're called. My head continued to spin as I made my way slowly on my wobbly legs towards the house and my angry wife.


Friday, 5 July 2019

My Brand New Bikini Body (Book Review)

There appears to be a glitch on Amazon's website. Basically if I log in I can see my review of this book yet if I'm not logged in it doesn't show. Maybe it's because it's classified as an adult story but other books don't appear to be effected in the same way. Anyway I thought I'd mention it because I'm not the sort of person who buys books and doesn't leave a review.

I purchased this book some time ago last year. I still have it on my Kindle and is certainly an enjoyable read, the kind of book that can be easily read in one sitting. It's classified as transgender erotica, BDSM erotica and lesbian erotica but personally I'd think of it more as comedy erotica due to its over the top plot.

The story is about two guys, Adam and Neil, who are on vacation and intend to have sex with lots of women. Neil is jealous of Adam's muscular attractive looks but is also secretly attracted to him. This becomes all the more complicated when Neil is effected by a strange turn of events which results in him turning female. Neil becomes Nellie.

The story is told in first-person going in precise detail with Neil / Nellie's emotions as well as his / her physical feelings.

My only niggle is that the story ends rather abruptly on 55% before listing previews of other books. I can't help but feel people do this for the sake of padding.

Neil's hot new body.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Vampire Valley (Short Story)

A young boy is lost within Vampire Valley as nightfall draws in. As the sun goes down and the weather takes a turn for the worse, hunters are on the prowl and it's not long before the child's fear and imagination takes over believing that danger lurks around every corner. Not all of the dangers are within his imagination however so it's imperative for him to find a safe place to hide. In the meantime the boy's frantic mother searches the valley knowing all too well the life and death risk she is taking.

* * *

I remember that frightful day as though it were yesterday yet I was no more than a mere child when my life almost came to an end. The fragility of life comes all the more apparent when something as simple as getting separated from my mother for a few hours nearly caused my existence to cease. I was alone that day with only my wits to help me survive as I wandered alone within Vampire Valley.

It began with the inevitable panic as I rushed around frantically calling out to my mother hoping she was within earshot.

"Mummy!" I screeched at the top of my voice causing my throat to become sore, "Mummy!"

The darkening sky above appeared to spin and my breath grew shallow while I tried in vain to attract help. I was already light-headed due to panic. The dirt ground beneath my ragged boots crunched while the bare trees above offered no protection against the elements. My shoulders hunched from the cold and it was sure to rain as the grey sky darkened further.

"Mumm..." I yelled before stopping mid-sentence hearing a rustle within the thicket.

Could it be my mother? I wondered. Is my ordeal over? Am I rescued? Maybe it was something else, perhaps a monster on the hunt with me as its prey. I didn't want to wait around to find out if I was being stalked so instead ran as fast as my legs could carry me practically slipping against the loose ground. My breathing was fast, my belly ached with each breath, but it was essential that I did not slow, even for a moment, until I reached somewhere safe. I could feel raindrops already starting to fall.

I ran on and on, as fast as I could, but could still hear sounds behind me. The sounds of breathing, the sounds of snapping twigs and the sounds of snarling creatures. The sounds echoed throughout my mind, causing me to feel giddy, filling my head with extreme panic, and it wasn't long before they surrounded me. I could see nothing, just the trees among the darkening sky illuminated by the full moon. But I knew of the reputation of Vampire Valley and the monsters lurking within the darkness. They were ruthless hunters and could be hiding all around me luring me into a trap.

I collapsed in a heap with total exhaustion not being able to run any further while panting heavily trying to regain my breath. I sensed movement from behind but the moment I turned and saw nothing. The fear of being followed diminished only to be replaced by sensing more movement from behind. My imagination was playing tricks upon me but my eyes were not so easily fooled.

The sound of a bird swooping from the thicket both startled me and filled my heart with relief. I clearly wasn't being stalked but within a flash my imagination took over again and I wondered as to what had startled the bird.

With just a hint of a smile of relief I spotted my eye on a dilapidated shack among the trees, not long for this world but sturdy enough for temporary shelter. My ankle twinged as I jumped to my feet but ignoring the pain I hobbled as fast as I could towards the shack practically diving inside. Swiftly I slid across the creaky wooden floorboards then huddled in the corner hugging myself for warmth and to self comfort my shattered nerves.

It wasn't long before the sky darkened further, causing the already crisp air to bite, as nightfall fell. The rain poured heavily tapping against of what remained of the tin roof of my shelter, yet it barely covered the sound of my own breath that croaked with each inhalation.

My ears were poised listening intently at the sound of something approaching but with the sound of the pouring rain ricocheting from the dilapidated shack it was difficult to know whether it was my imagination playing tricks again. Maybe I had been lured into a trap after all for there was no escape from my present location.

It took me a while to reach the conclusion that it wasn't my imagination and footsteps were actually making their approach. I held my breath while my body shook as I saw the silhouette of a figure standing within the open doorway. It was difficult to see clearly within the partial moonlight. It was a woman wearing Victorian clothing shaking raindrops from an umbrella as she entered. The stench of death oozed from her pours filling the shack with the aroma of fresh blood. The woman looked down at me, grinning widely, revealing her razor sharp fangs that appeared to glow within the near darkness.

"Mummy!" I called out jumping to my feet and rushing over to her.

She hugged me tightly as tears fell from my eyes. I was safe once more.


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Mirror's Edge (Comic Book Review)

I bought a Mirror's Edge graphic novel recently from an online book store, via ebay, that sells used books. For a fairly recent publication it has that addictive old book smell to it that kind of smells bad yet pleasant simultaneously.

The comic is a full graphic novel rather than a compilation of smaller comics and is 144 pages long. Other than the intro page and one page of ads for other books the rest is all story. It's published by Wildstorm Publications.

The story begins with Faith as a runner but is initially set before she gets her tattoos. The story is faithful to the original Mirror's Edge game containing most of the same characters albeit without her best friend Celeste. I suppose the story counts as a prequel so it's possible they haven't met yet. Faith's sister makes a number of appearances too as a disapproving yet caring police officer.

Whilst discovering a fellow runner being attacked Faith assists and fights off the attacker where upon the runner's bag is dropped spilling its photographic contents. Faith realises they are surveillance photos of her father and suspects that he may be in danger due to the Libertas freedom movement he had once been involved in. As Faith continues to investigate she discovers more about her late mother and her and an electronic device she had been working on. There is a lot more to this story which I won't mention because of spoilers.

The entire feel to the comic matches the Mirror's Edge game precisely and its clear the authors have done a good job researching the source material, being true to the characters and not wavering from the lore. It's a very easy read too, divided into chapters and laid out neatly upon the page. Some of the chapter covers have Faith's appearance being off-model but that's only a mild criticism as she is clearly pictured within the story itself. My only real criticism is the ending appeared far too swift and didn't fully resolve the mystery about Faith's mother.

An exciting read.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

The Art of Mirror's Edge Catalyst (Book Review)

I've always had a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to the Mirror's Edge video games as I enjoy them immensely yet at the same time feel that they could have been a lot better, especially Mirror's Edge Catalyst which didn't feel finished. As well as the games there are a number of books and comics available.

The Art of Mirror's Edge Catalyst is a beautiful book containing stunning images taken from the game as well as concept art, promotional art and illustrations of in-game props such as Faith's running shoes for instance. There's also a lot of art from the original Mirror's Edge too.

The text is brief and written in the style of collective first-person with the game creators known as DICE explaining their love for the game whilst showing the related art work. Even at 200 pages long it can be read in one sitting but re-enjoyed over and over again looking at the stunning pictures.

The book is available in hard back and measures approximately 12 inches x 9 inches (30cm x 23cm). It's published by Dark Horse Books.

In summary I'd say this book is a must for all Mirror's Edge fans yet I can't help but feel it over praises the game showing the potential of what the game could have been rather than what the game turned out to be. I suspect the book was compiled while the game was still in production.

Stunning artwork.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Resident Evil Subtitles

Just a quick post today. I thought I'd mention something I noticed about the subtitles when I was playing Resident Evil. I've mentioned something similar before when talking about 66 and 99 quotation marks but I noticed that it also applied to this game.

It appears the programmers couldn't decide, or didn't notice, the varying styles of quotation parks within their game.

“things” & "thing."