Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Magnetic bracelets and copper bangles

This blog is a bit like a bus. You wait for ages and then two come along together. All right it's an old joke, but then again, as the saying goes, the old ones are the best.

What I mean is, you're probably wondering why I've suddenly become so active. The answer is I have a lot on my mind and all my friends are busy. So I'm sharing it with you. One of the things that is on my mind is my newfound interest in magnetic bracelets and more generally in magnetic products for health.

Now I know what you're thinking... how come this guy who has always been so sceptical that anything that reeked of New Age could even be considering anything as pseudoscientific as magnetic bracelets for pain relief and therapeutic effect? Well the answer is that I have become open-minded in my middle-age.

No, not buying it? All right then. I'll come clean. I have been reading up on the subject, because of personal need.The strain of typing at the computer for long hours is finally taking its toll on me and my wrist. (A cynic would say that I'm straining my wrist with other activities too, but that's another matter.)

Anyway, I want you to know that I am still open-minded, and have not committed to it one way or the other, but I am moving away from Gradgrindesque scepticism to cautious enthusiasm.

So as they used to say in journalism: watch this space.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

How to write an Amazon fiction book for the Kindle or CreateSpace

David Kessler - AKA the world's best thriller writer - has written a wonderful 240-page book called How to write an Amazon fiction book that SELLS.

Aimed squarely at the Kindle and CreateSpace market, there is also a CreateSpace edition, with a slightly different title (for reasons too complex to go into). Here are just some of the things that the book covers:
  • Getting ideas
  • Turning basic ideas into a story
  • Getting past the ole' writer’s block
  • Starting the book in a way that makes the reader curious
  • Picking the correct style and genre
  • Research - when and how
  • How to write sizzling action
  • How to write crackling dialogue
  • Making your description spring to life
  • Point of view and author's voice
  • Getting the pace right
  • Ending chapters at the spot that reader's want to know more
  • Ending the book to sell the next one
  • Self-discipline and sanity
  • Getting the most from the Kindle and CreateSpace platforms
  • Coming up with that perfect title
  • Steering clear of the sharks (vanity publishing and bogus agents)
  • You've written it, now SELL it!
To promote the book, Kessler is giving away ten free copies in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

How to write an Amazon book that SELLS* by David  Kessler

How to write an Amazon book that SELLS*

by David Kessler

Giveaway ends December 09, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
You can enter the giveaway from here or go to Goodreads and do so from there. That's for the paperback edition. If however, you are a Kindle person through and through, you might like to go directly to Amazon and get the Kindle version right away.  You could be reading it in less than a minute.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy hits Amazon

Sometimes revenge sweeps through a town like a hurricane!!!!

Hurricane Sandy has hit Amazon with a vengeance (literally) in this exciting new thriller by Phillipa Braham.

The year is 2024, when criminal trials take place on television, with the verdict decided by public vote. Under this populist system, Sandy's uncle Bobby Jensen was found guilty of raping and murdering his 13-year-old daughter Judith, in the face of overwhelming DNA evidence, despite an alibi. And now he is dead - the victim of an unsuccessful escape attempt planned by his niece.

It was Sandy herself who gave him an alibi at his trial. But the public didn't believe her and she was vilified as a sick perjurer. Now she wants revenge on all the people responsible for uncle Bobby's death... the DNA "expert"... the cop who interrogated Bobby... the DA... and TV personality "Judge Jenny" who is more into stripping than law.

Sandy Hunter is... the Hurricane Sandy!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Hidden Menace - sterotyping Arabs and glamorizing Israelis

The following originally appeared on my website www.davidkesslerauthor.com

When Mossad operative Dov Shamir kills an al-Quaida terrorist in London, his face is captured on a webcam, turning a routine elimination into a nightmare.

Branded a “rogue operative” and abandoned by his own people, Dov takes refuge in the home of the one man he can count on to help him – a Palestinian intellectual who was his professor and mentor at the School of Oriental and African Studies where he did his PhD. Though Dov and Rahman are divided by politics, Rahman is a man of immense personal loyalty and a staunch opponent of anything that will bring the Palestinian cause into disrepute (as well as being Dov’s former SCUBA diving partner).

But it becomes particularly important to help when Dov reveals the terrorists’ plan to blow up the sunken wreckage of an old World War II munitions ship packed with high explosives. And when the terrorists ambush them, Dov has to form an uneasy alliance with Salima – Rahman’s feisty and distrustful 24-year-old daughter.

Unable to convince the skeptical authorities that the attack on the ship is anything other than a desperate fabrication by Dov, their only hope is a junior police officer. But he has motives of his own. And with the net closing in on the fleeing Israeli operative, Dov and Salima find themselves caught in a race against time to stop the attack before hundreds of innocent people are killed.

I have to confess that I had reservations about Hidden Menace, because on re-reading, it does seem to stereotype Arabs somewhat. I say "stereotype" rather than "demonize" because the book does have some "good" Arabs too - i.e. those who oppose terrorism. But I still can't escape the feeling that I have created stereotypes and effectively sold my soul to the realms of Hackdom, as it were.

This is not what I am about - normally. I like to think that I possess a modicum of literary sophistication. To this end, I try to avoid stereotypes in my characterization, just as in my use of language I avoid cliches like the plague. On the other hand, controversy sells. Look at good ol' Jeremy Clarkson raising hell by suggesting that public sector workers who go on strike against unilateral attempts to breach the pension provisions of their contracts should be shot. A silly off-the-cuff comment that is quintessentially Jeremy Clarkson. In other words, the kind of low-brow, man-in-the-pub macho talk upon which Clarkson has built his stag-party reputation.

And guess what? All of a sudden, everyone's talking about Jeremy Clarkson just when his star was fading. It seems that just as being outrageous can buy the untalented their proverbial 15 minutes, it can also breathe a new lease of life into the talented but erratic.

And while we're on the subject of talented but erratic, let's get back to talking about me! My new book may not be a literary masterpiece. As with cars that's my other book. But it is what I would call an excellent Velvet Underground piece - in other words, a Loo Read.

And as for that cheap shot at publicity.... well here's my contribution to the debate: Jeremy Clarkson should be shot! Now would somebody kindly report me to the Director of Public Prosecutions - PLEASE!!!!!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Christmas (commerce) is coming

So with halloween over and Guy Fawkes night almost upon us, we are now entering the Christmas rush, when shops start selling like mad as frantic customers venture out into the cold, dark streets to buy presents for family and friends, big gifts, little gifts, special gifts for that special person and stocking fillers.

A few years ago, a survey showed that the Scots are actually the most generous people in Britain but that Yorkshiremen lived up to their miserly reputation.  Then a couple of years later another survey showed that the people of Yorkshire are the most generous but that the Scots lived up to their reputation.  So is this just a case of you-can-prove-anything-buy-surveys?  Well actually, no.  The surveys contained a lot of useful information once you actually looked at their methodology.

The first survey - in which the Scots came out on top - looked at how much people spent on Christmas presents.  The Scots led the country at £401 (this was quite a few years ago) whereas our friends from Yorkshire averaged a mere £80.  But in the second survey, the basis of comparison was how much they gave to charity.  And here the roles were reversed, with the Yorkshire people showing as the most generous and the Scots coming out as misers.

But this all serves to illustrate a very good point made many years ago by James (the amazing) Randi when he dismissed palmists, astrologers, dowsers, tea leaf readers and phrenologists et al over their alleged ability to discern human traits from unscientific and obviously irrelevant "evidence."  He pointed out that it is meaningless to say that some one is "generous" not only because it was most people want to hear, but also because people can be generous in some respects and mean in others.  The same can be said of intelligent, friendly, courageous, introvert, extrovert or any other human characteristic.

But to return to generosity and Christmas, I would venture to suggest that it is a time when lonely people yearn not for others to be generous, but for the kind of human company that would enable them to be generous - i.e. some one to buy Christmas presents for and some one to go Christmas shopping with.  Of course one can treat oneself to an iPad, iPod or iPhone or an amazon Kindle or any one of the countless gadgets or celebrity books or cookbooks that flood the shops at this time of year.  or even go on a holiday abroad.  But it's not the same as having some one to share it with.

At least if your a Scotsman.