Title: Dying of the Light
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Science Fiction
In Dying of the Light George Martin takes the reader to the planet of Worlorn, a Festival Planet that is one of the largest accomplishments of civilisation. The planet is in an outer region of known space, built for fun, boasting wealth by mocking any common sense for its existence. Dirk t’Laurien travels to Worlorn when he receives something, a gem belonging to his former love Gwen Delvano. To his surprise he finds her there in entirely different circumstances than he could have imagined, and together they live through one adventure through the next nightmare, as the former rulers of High Kavalaan, a distant planet, are trying to get to them. In more than one way.
A wonderful and worthwhile read, with more than one surprising end.
As you may know, DRM stands for “Digital Rights Management.” It’s a copy protection scheme designed to prevent piracy. While few would disagree that authors deserve compensation for their hard work, the problem with DRM is that it treats law-abiding customers like criminals. DRM controls how, where and when a reader reads books. Oh, and then there’s the small matter that DRM doesn’t work.
Five Reasons to Say No to DRM:
Today I found a few amazing reviews on Hilda – Cats that I just have to share with the world.
This one, rated 5.0 out of 5 stars:
One of the best series out there!, By JohnR (OH USA):
I really love this series of books. They are extremely entertaining. When I see a new one, I drop everything, get it, and read it.
Characters are very well presented, you really do get to know them and look forward to the next book. Usually a series of books kind of sputters a bit as it goes on. Not this one! These books just go a completely different direction, and are simply as great reading as you could possibly imagine.
I would suggest starting at the beginning though, the books do progress through the lives of the “sweetwitch” and her wizard.
If I have any complaint it is that I have gotten the whole series here on Amazon for free, and that seems wrong to me. Any author that has worked as hard as this one has certainly deserves to be paid!
Thank you very much Mr. Kater!
You are more than welcome, JohnR! And then there is this review, rated 4.0 out of 5 stars:
The most enjoyable Fantasy I Have read in A While, By Laura S. Heinzel (Corpus Christi, TX)
Paul Kater wrote 6 Hilda – Witch stories. This one was one of my favorites. They are a series & need to be read in order, to make better sense of them. As I am a cat lover this one was endearing. Kater takes you right into his alternate world of magic as you fall in love with with his witchy withches for good or not so good. It is hard to put these books down. You manage to want to go right on to the next. I love his flow of the language as he develops these characters in extreme detail that one manages to fall in love with. Last of all the scenery is so descriptive, you can feel the houses come alive and the kitties purring in your lap.
Thank you. Also to all the people who read and enjoy Hilda without leaving a review. I feel honoured.
I shall be engaging in a number of interviews with independent authors. May you find these informative, entertaining, and perhaps even inspiring to go out and locate their books!
This interview is with author Valerie Laws.
Dear Valerie, can you offer us a little insight into who you are?
I’m an award-winning writer who infamously spray-painted poetry on live sheep in my Arts Council-funded QUANTUM SHEEP project which combined random haiku with the principles of quantum theory. I write crime fiction (THE ROTTING SPOT, with a skull collecting theme and a homeopath detective, now available on Kindle), poetry, plays (12 commissioned for stage and radio), best-selling language books… I’ve had ten books published and have just e-published my eleventh, my first as an indie author, LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG of which more below. I’ve had many Writer in Residence posts, in a pathology museum working with dead bodies, University brain institutes, Egyptian 5* hotel ( those contributing to ALL THAT LIVES, poetry of sex, death and pathology newly out), a physic garden growing mind-altering plants… I perform my work all over the world and in the media, and specialise in science-based poetry and art, creating new forms of kinetic poetry on unusual media, not just sheep but beach balls or computer controlled illuminated installations, for exhibitions and public art commissions.
What is the reason that you started writing? When did you start writing?
I’ve always written and told stories. Ideas come to me and keep nagging me until I write them, either as plays, poems, novels, sci-art, whatever. I’ve been a full-time professional writer for about 11 years.
Are you writing under a pen-name, do you use your own, or is your work out in both ways?
I use my own name, Valerie Laws, for all the widely different genres I explore.
What, do you think, is your best book? And why is that?
My books are so widely different that it’s hard to say! My newest e-book is very funny, my crime novel is highly praised by readers and eminent writers, my poetry collections ditto. I’ve had a play published, also a book challenging ageism and telling the stories of older people both independent and with dementia. My newest poetry book ALL THAT LIVES means a great deal to me and gets terrific responses from live audiences, it took years of research and also personal experience, witnessing the deaths of my parents, studying the science of dying, watching dissections, and also writing about my sexual adventures post-divorce, which brings a balancing comedy. I’m very proud of my first crime novel THE ROTTING SPOT as I’ve always loved crime fiction.
Naturally, after the best book, what is your worst, if there is one? And why do you feel that way?
I don’t feel that way about any of them. They were all important at the time and still are, to me. Some are less or more successful but that’s a different issue.
How do you think your writing has changed over time? Did it change at all?
I like to think my life experiences have deepened and strengthened my writing and I’ve certainly learned a lot and my writing has become more and more diverse. For years I concentrated on poetry but lately have been writing novels as well.
And can you say that writing has changed you?
It’s part of me and it’s what I do. The fact that I’m doing it as a job has changed me, I’ve had to learn to pitch and publicise especially now I’m venturing more into e-books, selling does not come naturally to me. I love to learn new stuff, new technology, new skills!
What is the most daring thing you ever did or tried in your writing? In which book did that happen?
I suppose spray painting the sheep, in Quantum Sheep. There was a huge media frenzy about it and it still gets published and publicised today. I could have just been mocked and in fact I was pretty much teased about it by the media but I’m happy for people to laugh! I did another quantum haiku on beach balls for BBC TV, just published in an NYC anthology Maintenant 6. But also writing plays is very daring, because you have to hand them over eventually and watch them totally at the mercy of the actors and director, but it’s great when you sit in an audience who are laughing, and crying, around you – when you meant them to!
And, if your feel up to it, what is the most daring thing you ever did in your life? Feel free to skip this one, not everybody is up to revealing much about themselves…
I was disabled in a car crash 26 years ago so everything since then has been a challenge but I embrace change, challenge and transformation. Walking again after that, which I still do with difficulty and pain. I travel, have snorkelled with turtles and sharks. I’ve flown a plane. Had my second child after disability. Got divorced after 25 years and started dating fascinating men (some much younger than me). Bought my own house. Became a professional writer and performer. Studied Maths & theoretical physics, my worst school subjects, when disabled with two children, and got a first class honours degree. Wrote and performed poems about my sex life! All those things were daring I suppose!
Is there something you still want to have a go at, in your writing life? Is there a challenge you envision that’s worth pursuing?
There will always be challenges in writing. My main immediate challenge is to get better at the whole e-publishing phenomenon. I’ve learned to format and everything! But still so much to learn.
Has your writing ever been compared to the writing of another (perhaps even famous) writer/author? And do you like that?
Not really, I’ve been lucky enough to win prizes and awards and get fab quotes and reviews, but they don’t compare me to anyone else!
Do you have one or two favourite books (written by someone else)? If so, what are they, and why do they appeal to you so much?
Oh I love so many books! And writers! I love the novels of Barbara Pym, and Jane Austen (though I’m having fun with her in my new e-book!) I love a lot of poets’ work and I know many of them so have to be careful here but I love Sharon Olds, an American poet who is breathtakingly honest and intimate. I love Shakespeare, he’s funny, lively, sexy, sad and his language is so powerful and entrancing to hear. I love William Blake’s poetry, he’s a true prophet, he foresaw some modern scientific and social ideas far ahead of his time.
Which book you ever read would you label as least readable book, so far? Feel free to comment as liberally as you want to the why.
I don’t like extreme ‘torture porn’ crime fiction, like Birdman. I suppose Finnegan’s Wake is the one most people quote as unreadable but I also find (confession time) I can’t bring myself to read the great Russian novels, or most of Charles Dickens though I have read a lot of them and liked some.
Is there a book that you know of that should never have been published, in your opinion?
Mein Kampf? Books which encourage hatred, war, racism, misogyny, homophobia, cruelty… Of course there are books I don’t like or think aren’t good but somebody might like them, and if nobody does they won’t buy them, so I wouldn’t normally be in favour of wiping such books, however badly written or boring, out of existence.
Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with? And what genre would you like to write in then? Something you’re familiar with?
I’ve collaborated with visual artists, theatre directors and actors, but I can’t imagine co-writing a novel or poetry although I co-wrote two best-selling language text books which was different.
Let’s see… is there something in the realm of ‘wise words’ you once picked up that you would like to share? This does not have to be limited to writing, there is more to life than writing. At least, I heard there is.
The poet/playwright Peter Mortimer told me a poem, and I think it’s true of novels and plays too, needs an imperative of some kind: meaning, it’s something you feel needs to be said. For myself, I’d say embrace change, celebrate life and its changing nature, keep learning and exploring new ideas, skills and experiences. Physics has taught me the universe moves, changes, transforms, all the time and we should accept and live with that.
And as a last question, what is cooking with you? What’s your work in progress? Is there a tip of a veil that you can lift for us?
I’m working on a near-final draft of my second crime novel which hopefully my agent will find a home for! I’ve several poetry projects on the go. But mainly I’m working on getting the word out about my new e-book LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG and the kindle version of THE ROTTING SPOT, now they are out there.
If there is anything else you would like to share, for example a thought, some promotion for your book(s), then here’s your chance!
My ‘antidote to Austen’ is my new comedy YA crossover, LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG – THE REAL STORY OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Lydia is outrageous and gives a whole new slant on the story, and uses modern teen language in Regency times. It’s available ($1.55 or 98p) from Amazon kindle at http://amzn.to/LydBBUK and in US at http://amzn.to/LBBUS and from Smashwords and I’m also blogging it, or Lydia Bennet is, at http://bit.ly/LydiaBsBlog
My first crime novel THE ROTTING SPOT is available (99p or $1.57) on kindle at http://amzn.to/RotSpot & in US at http://amzn.to/RotSpotUS
Or in paperback from www.redsquirrelpress.com, who also publish my latest poetry collection ALL THAT LIVES. I hope to put my other work out too as ebooks.
Thank you, Valerie, for your time, and for sharing your words with us!
Welcome to Monday. Here is today’s Indie Promotion, that you were probably waiting for already.
by Kristina Jackson
Ebook Short Description: Can tarot cards help a young woman whose life is not all it’s cracked up to be?
Moira is frustrated by her life and even more so because she doesn’t know what to do about it. A spur-of-the-moment decision to visit a psychic fair for a tarot reading changes everything. The reading helps her to see what she should do. When they learn she is consulting cards for guidance, Moira’s friends and family begin to believe she is losing her sanity. When she decides to quit her job, sell her house, and move away, they’re sure of it.
Can Tarot cards help Moira learn more about herself and guide her to a happier future? And what do a haunted chest and an encounter with a poltergeist have to do with Moira’s journey to find fulfilment?
We’ve all heard the argument that e-books should be cheaper because they don’t have printing, shipping, and warehousing costs. Blogger Deanna McFadden, who works in digital publishing, takes exception to writer Michael Chabon’s recent statement that it’s unfair publishers should get the same royalty as paper books for “an e-book that costs them nothing to produce.”
McFadden attributes this sort of statement to ignorance of all the costs and hard work that go into readying a book for digital publication, and grumbles that “Chabon essentially thinks my role, that of e-book person, is essentially worthless”.
Let’s take again the idea that for those two earlier books that essentially cost a publisher “nothing” to produce and actually look at what’s involved. Because the books are older, and let’s assume they are a fair bit older, no digital files exist. That means a gross, labour-intensive few days of scanning the text into a file. Then there’s the time it takes to clean up that file, to strip out all the gunk that scanning creates and make sure the e-text is as accurate as it can be to the p-text, again, more time. And sure, there are companies all over the developing world that will do this terrible work for a low cost (and my thoughts on that are, well, far too long to include in this already too long post). In the end, you’ve got the work into a digital format and it’s ready to be converted to epub, more buttons are pushed, coders come in and clean everything up, and you’ve got an ebook that’s ready to go. It’s proofed and checked and proofed again. Metadata is built, ONIX is created, files are FTP’d to the vendors, Amazon’s mobis are created, various different formatting things are checked, and then the book is for sale — but, hey, apparently, this costs all of us nothing to produce, right? There’s no time or energy or effort or anything put into pushing a button and magically having an ebook show up around the world, naw, it’s nothing compared to boxes and gasoline and shipping and warehouses, right? And I’m even simplifying things here for the sake of making a point — not a week goes by where all of our books end up in the right place, where none of them have some sort of technical issue, where there’s not a problem with data that needs to be solved — it’s complex, time consuming, and, at times, really frustrating.
McFadden does admit she may not be putting Chabon’s words into the right context. And I think that’s right. She’s kind of comparing apples and oranges. Yes, e-books have fixed costs of production, of the sort she describes. So do paper books. And they share many of the same costs, and (as McFadden notes) since e-book publishing and print publishing are often treated as two separate things instead of one thing with two separate products, they often duplicate those costs.
But what Chabon is talking about when he says they “cost nothing to produce” is the marginalcost. It costs a certain amount of money to run off each paper book, to ship it, to store it, and possibly to ship it back and destroy it. But e-books have such a miniscule production cost per unit—a few watts of electricity, a few kilobytes of bandwidth—that they effectively cost nothing to run off each digital copy. So if we assume that fixed costs are equal, e-books will earn those costs out much faster while not adding any marginal ones.
That doesn’t mean that the work of someone preparing those e-books doesn’t have value. It just means that when you start selling a lot of them, there’s a lot more room to cut price and/or raise royalty payments on the electronic version. Or so the perception goes, at least. There’s still considerable argument over whether that is actually true.
From the press release:
When it comes to books, there is a debate over which format is more popular — e-books or print editions. What many people fail to identify is the connection between the two, as the two formats tend to influence each other. According to self-publishing company Lulu.com, the number of print titles they produced for 2011 was around 50,000, which was a 9 percent increase over the prior year. Over 115,000 new e-book titles were released during the same period, which is a 22 percent increase over the prior year. However, print books accounted for 68 percent of all book sales.
“There is certainly a wonderful increase in the production and sale of e-books,” explains Sarah Gilbert, director of sales at Lulu.com ( www.lulu.com ), a self-publishing company. “But that doesn’t mean that people have done away with print books. Not by a long shot.”
What Lulu.com has found is that each of the two types of formatting tends to help fuel the sale of the other. Those authors who publish their book in both print and e-book format tend to sell double the amount of books, because it is available in the format that the reader prefers. While someone may read an e-book and recommend it to someone else, that person may go on to buy a print version of the book, or vice versa.
Lulu.com has found that many authors offer free e-book previews of their printed work, which helps to drive the sale of print editions. Many authors did this throughout the holidays last year, and while e-book sales doubled the day after Christmas, a few days later print sales tripled.
Sometimes I just feel like making silly things.