Thursday, 24 July 2014

Patriotic? Support our Armed Forces? Not if you are a member of Solihull Council

Okay then, I hope you all forgive me for this as it is not my normal blog post.  It isn't very often, heck, it rarely happens that I talk about things that affect me or the things that I want to be involved in.  However this has got me really wound up.

Last year, a wonderful lady within a small village called Dickens Heath, on the outskirts of Solihull in the West Midlands, put together a charity night in aid of the charity Help For Heroes.  It was extremely well supported within the village and raised within the region of £5000 on the night.  It was an overwhelming success, and one that I helped in a very small way to support by donating a signed copy of "For The Lost Soul".  A large proportion of the village pulled together and there was a real sense of community spirit.

With the 100th anniversary commemoration of the outbreak of World War One on the 1st of August, that same wonderful lady, Debbie Hobson, wanted to recreate that atmosphere of community spirit and respect for our current and past serving men and women of the armed forces, and so the next Help For Heroes function was arranged.  Poppies were ordered and grown at her home and planters bought.  These were soon arranged around the venue, The Chalice Bar & Restaurant, in the heart of the village.

Tickets, priced at only £10, were being snapped up and with the regular live band, "New York Minute" booked, everyone was looking forward to a chilled night of entertainment, socialising and of course, fundraising for Help For Heroes.  Raffle prizes were coming in thick and fast, myself included of course, and the whole of the village was expecting a fun filled night that would honour those men and women who have served our country so proudly.


As it turns out, a local resident, one single person, put a complaint into Solihull Council saying that it would be too noisy and that it would ruin their evening's entertainment.  Apparantly, the council, in their wisdom as only councils can do, agreed and allegedly have threatened the landlord of the bar and restaurant with losing his license if the event goes ahead and someone complains.  This is a local business that has been running for over seven years in the village.  A business that supports local charities, such as the Maddie Fighting Fund, which raises money for a young girl suffering from leukemia, who lives within the village.  A business that is a focal point for the community of the village.
At every charity event, party, heck even a normal night, the owner ALWAYS insists that no-one is allowed outside the bar with a drink after 10.30pm.  Music is always turned down before then.  Even though they have a license to run until 2AM, they always ask the customers to respect their neighbours when leaving the premises.

YET Solihull Council has decided that the event is going to be too upsetting for that one resident to endure and so they have killed it off before it starts.  There was no consultation with the residents of the village.  No consultation with the owner.  No consultation with the local Parish council.  Someone sat in their ivory tower, with no knowledge of what the majority of the village residents want, has made a decision which has caused the organisers to cancel the charity function.  After all, if someone has complained BEFORE the event has actually happened, do we really think that small, petty minded individual will not be on the phone as soon as the evening starts?

Our brave soldiers who fought for freedom from oppression, those very people who the charity night was there to remember and commemorate, must be turning in their graves.

Solihull Council... you need to have a long, hard look at yourselves and decide if you are the type of person that your mother would be proud of.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Rory is the main story in a weekend dominated by Unlimited news.

Well, what a weekend of golf it has been at The Open Championship and once again, Rory McIlroy has rediscovered the form that lifted him to number one in the world and he picked up his third major of his career.  What is more impressive is that he has now won three different majors and is on the verge of becoming one of the few players in history to do the clean sweep.

You do have to give a lot of credit to the chasing pack though as well.  Although Rory never had a lead of less than two on the final day, Sergio Garcia and an ever improving Ricky Fowler certainly made sure that Rory couldn't relax.  Talking of the Californian, that is now three top five finishes in the three majors in 2014 and surely it is only a matter of time before he picks up a win.  His interview on the BBC afterwards was one of respect and intelligence and he certainly has made a lot of friends in the UK this week.

Roll on the PGA in a couple of weeks, and of course, The Ryder Cup at the end of September.

The big story that is going to rock the world of reading is the announcement by Amazon of their new subscription service called Kindle Unlimited.  At the moment, it is only in trial in the US but it certainly looks like the more active readers amongst us will get great value for money.  Priced at $9.99, it allows the customer to download upto 10 books at any one time.  Once read, you can return the book and download another.  You can do this as often as you want, hence the Unlimited nature of the name.
I believe that this can only be a good thing for us aspiring authors as it should encourage readers to take more risks on the unknown names, trying their books "for free" which may lead to full sales rather than the hire of the books under the subscription.

As for me?  I have been receiving some nice reviews for my latest book, Under A Blood Moon, including one where a reader from the USA stating that she has fallen in love with my new teenage vampire, Alex.  I have also just been interviewed this afternoon by Heibooks, a new website that helps advertise books.  I've been told that it should go up in the next week or so.  I have also started work on my next project, which is book two in The Alex Hayden Chronicles.  I've been hard at work, re-reading Blood Moon so that everything is fresh in my mind again, and with the general plotline and ongoing series plots laid out, I am just about in a place where I will start putting the proverbial pen to paper and start writing "The Howling Wind".  I know that Lucy, my cover designer, has already started putting together ideas for the front cover so it's all exciting once again.

I have also been hard at work with reading and reviewing other books and here is one for you to have a look at.

4.0 out of 5 stars Quick fire fun action
By Michael Andrews
Format:Kindle Edition
This short story is a quick paced action book based around the Hartman siblings, who's company run the online game Dragonfire. This is a game where you transpose your human self inside the game, but while there are safety measures in place to protect you, things can go wrong.

It is an intriguing read as the author meshes in the idea of the game, the differing characters of the "real" world with the computer world and in my opinion, would work well if he ever decided to turn it into a full length novel.

If you want to pick it up, it's priced at just 99c or 77p and you can do it here for the US and here for the UK

In other news, it was with sadness that I have just heard that James Garner has died at the age of 86.  Famous for his roles in Maverick and the Rockford Files, as well as appearing in The Great Escape.  He will be missed.

Well, that's my lot for this week.  Hope you have all had a good weekend.  Peace!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

"Pulled" into a Flawed universe

Well it's been a busy week or so since my last post, with new books being read, adverts being accepted and World Cup matches to watch.
Firstly my stuff.  "Under A Blood Moon" is now officially up and running with sales coming in from Europe and the UK.  Still waiting for that first US sale, but with it now up on Goodreads as well, who knows?  Received my first copies in paperback which is always a cool feeling.  I've also been accepted for an email shot by eBookSoda which goes out on the 12th July so hopefully that will help push things along.
I've started laying the groundwork to book two of the Alex Hayden Chronicles, which is called "The Howling Wind".  No prizes for guessing what paranormal creature is going to make an appearance in this one haha!  I've set myself a tough deadline though, having announced in the first book that "Howling Wind" will be released in time for Christmas this year.  It took me around eight months to write "Blood Moon" so with only five months realistically for "Howling Wind", I am going to have to make sure that I am not distracted as I have been by other projects.
Talking of other projects, I received an advanced copy of a short story by Becca J Campbell called "Pulled".  This is a short story from her "Flawed" universe, something that I had not been aware of before receiving the book but one that has now tweaked my interest.  This is my review that I have left on Amazon for Becca's book.
“Pulled” is an interesting short read that introduces the reader to the “Flawed” universe.  I have assumed this is written as a prequel to a future story, “Pulled” introduces the eight year old Juniper, a girl with the ability to be physically transported to the location of other ‘Uniques’, other people with special abilities.
The story is fast flowing, which at twenty eight pages it needs to be, but you are drawn into the plight of the young girl who has been in and out of foster homes due to her ability.  It was an enjoyable short read and is billed as a standalone story so you do not need to have read any of the other “Flawed” stories, which I have not…yet.
A nice introduction to the author’s other books which I will now be taking an interest in.
If you are interested in taking a look, here is a link to the UK site.  Pulled by Becca J Campbell
Pulled: A Flawed Short Story
I have also recently read another short sci fi book called Rescue One: Breaking Point by a New Zealand author called Michael Gardner.  This is a prequel to his new book which I picked up through seeing it on Goodreads.  Again, here is my review.
Roll on the first book proper!!
I bought this book as I had seen it on Goodreads and I liked the front cover, it grabbed me straight away and as a fan of sci-fi, I thought, heck why not!!
I read another review comparing it to the Star Trek universe and I can see where he was coming from in that this is the Star Trek First Contact to the next set of films.
This prequel sets the background to how humanity discover faster than light space flight and the main protagonist is someone that you want to like, while wanting to dislike as well. Going back to the Star Trek similarity, he is the James Cromwell!
All being said, it is a short story that has grabbed me and is making me wait for the first book in the series, as I am sure that I will be hooked.
 Again, here is the link for it if you want to check it out on Amazon.  Rescue One:Breaking Point 
Rescue One: Breaking Point
And finally, England decided to cut short their summer vacation in Brazil, a nearly pointless exercise, and with two of the four quarter finals completed, I think Germany are now looking strong favourites to win it.  With Neymar now out of the tournament, I think that the Germans will be too strong for the hosts.  On the domestic front, Leicester are signing their players to longer term contracts, which is great news.  Only Lloyd Dyer has left the club but should easily be replaced with the signing of Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton.  How and why the Villa let him go I've no idea!  Just need to add a little bit of quality to the squad and I am sure that we will survive next season, which is all that matters after a ten year absence.