Tuesday 31 July 2012

They're watching...

It did no good, had no effect other than momentarily confusing people. Most thought it was a trick, others didn’t even notice. I showed them the truth and they ignored it. 


RIP Maeve Binchy

"We have lost a national treasure," Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
Maeve Binchy, who sold 40 million books worldwide, died in Dublin after a brief illness, Irish media and national leaders said. She was 72 years old. Bincy was one of Ireland's most popular writers.


Granny Smith is proving popular with good reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, and strong sales through the Amazon store.

Check out the adventures of the geriatric crimefighter in the novella, Granny Smith Investigates. The eBook, currently available through Amazon is DRM free and can be downloaded with just one click. A free sample is also available on Amazon. The book will soon be available on other eBook sites such as Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

Help out this little old lady and join the Granny Smith network.

Get the eBook HERE

Join the Facebook page HERE

Visit the website HERE

“It’s Miss Marple on steroids.”

A brutal murder in a small Welsh village and the police are stuck without a clue. With no motive and no real suspect the investigation soon grinds to a halt. Enter Mary Alice Smith, otherwise known as Granny Smith, the rock music loving, pipe smoking, chaos causing amateur sleuth with a difference.

Granny has a talent for mayhem and soon those talents are put to good use as our intrepid pensioner starts the unravel the case, which finds her provoking Chief Inspector Miskin as she comes up against a full scale police investigation, proving that you’re never too old to make a nuisance of yourself and that sixty three is actually the new twenty three.

Murder's never been so much fun.

On the origins of the Granny Smith
 Extract from Granny Smith Investigates
  • Publisher: Red Valley Books; 1st Kindle edition edition (24 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EKH9QG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Of course Granny Smith’s real name wasn’t Granny but everyone called her Granny. It wasn’t because she was a grandmother, though she was three times over, but rather because as a child she had loved apples, would take one to school for her lunch each and every day. It seemed that wherever she went an apple went with her and so associated with the fruit had she become that eventually some bright spark had nicknamed her Granny Smith after that popular Australian variety of apple. 
Granny may have reached the age where her Wild Oats have turned into All-Bran, but there are plenty of tunes that can be played on an old fiddle.
Get the eBook now- Granny Smith Investigates and read the first book in this all new series, but don't forget to take a little nap before Granny returns later this year in Granny Smith and the Deadly Frogs. 
Coming Nov 2012
Granny Smith and the Deadly Frogs
Extract - Granny Smith and the Deadly Frogs (C) G. M. Dobbs and Red Valley Books 2012

Granny sighed.
This wasn’t getting them anywhere and they had skirted so far away from the central issue that they were in danger of losing sight of it all together.
‘Capitalism by its very nature exploits the working man,’ Mark brought a fist down on the table to illustrate his point.
‘And the working woman,’ Sue chimed in. ‘It’s not all about men you know.’
‘Right on, sister,’ Mansall punched the air and had to adjust his headband which fell forward over his eyes.
‘I think we should get back to the frogs,’ Granny said and then used the pun she had been itching to use for the last ten minutes: ‘We seem to have hopped away from the point of this meeting.’
Maud liked that and nudged Granny gently in the side as a token of her appreciation.
‘Yes,’ Mark stood and leaned forward, his knuckles on the edge of the table. ‘I used the word man as in mankind. And that includes women too.’

Delta Rose papeback available now

The Ballad of Delta Rose by Jack Martin

Paperback out 1st August 2012

Find it HERE

Apple getting silly over Amazon

Apple said Amazon is its competitor, so the name cannot be mentioned in potential iBooks submissions

Apple recently refused to carry an ebook in its popular iBooks store because it mentioned a huge ebooks competitor -- Amazon. 

"This is not professional behavior from a professional market," said Lisle. "And cold moment of truth here -- you cannot write a writing course that includes information on publishing and self-publishing and NOT mention Amazon. It's the place where your writers are going to make about 90 percent of their money." Holly Lisle 

Lisle submitted her book to Apple's iBooks store, and received a rejection letter stating that she wasn't allowed to have live links to Amazon inside. She then removed the links and resubmitted the book, only to receive yet another rejection letter. The reason? She wasn't allowed to mention Amazon at all in the book because it is an Apple competitor.  
Apple rejected a book called "How To Think Sideways Lesson 6: How to Discover (Or Create) Your Story's Market" by Holly Lisle.

UK gets the fire

It seems that Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet will finally hit the UK this September to coincide with the US launch of the Kindle Fire 2.

There should be two 7-inch models hit first, one with and one without a camera. Another model should hit after that with 4G options, currently unavailable for the Kindle Fire. Finally, there should be the 10-inch version to compete with the iPad.

Monday 30 July 2012

Dredd -early reviews are positive

Lovingly ripped from the pages of 2000AD, Dredd is an adrenaline-fuelled thrill burst that does Tharg’s finest justice, stays true to its roots and leaves you battered, bruised and hungry for more. SFX Magazine.

Grim, gritty and ultra-violent, "Dredd" reinstates the somber brutality missing from the U.K. comicbook icon's previous screen outing, the disappointing 1995 Sylvester Stallone starrer "Judge Dredd." A reboot as drastic as Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins," this hard-R, sci-fi actioner from director Pete Travis and screenwriter Alex Garland should find an appreciative audience among serious-minded fanboys and gorehounds, while the pic's more extreme elements will likely limit its potential of crossing over to the superhero mainstream when Lionsgate releases it domestically Sept. 21. Variety

You've got to give ‘Dredd’ some credit for its fundamental delight in being fascist. It makes ‘Dirty Harry’ look like ’12 Angry Men.’ Screen Crush

Does traditional publishing hurt your career?

According to Smashwords founder, Mark Coker traditional publishing deal might actually do more harm than good for an author. That's what Coker claims in a recent Smashwords blog post - Essentially, Coker broke it down on the Smashwords’ blog in this nutshell. Data shows that authors who sell their ebooks at a $2.99 price point can actually end up earning more in royalties than authors whose books are priced at $6.99 or higher because they move more product. Only authors who have the option to price their books that low can see this gain over authors whose titles are priced by the publisher.

If an author can earn the same or greater income selling lower cost books, yet reach significantly more readers, then, drum roll please, it means the authors who are selling higher priced books through traditional publishers are at an extreme disadvantage to indie authors in terms of long term platform building. The lower-priced books are building author brand faster.  Never mind that an indie author earns more per $2.99 unit sold ($1.80-$2.10) than a traditionally published author earns at $9.99 ($1.25-$1.75).

"The picture painted augurs well for indie ebook authors, but indicates that authors who continue to publish with traditional publishers might actually be damaging their careers.  Look no further than the bestseller lists at Apple, Amazon or Barnes & Noble to see that indie ebook authors are taking eyeballs from the authors of NY publishers.  As I write this, seven of the top 30 bestsellers in the Apple iBookstore are distributed there by Smashwords."

Full article HERE

Black Horse Western Charts july 2012

Charts supplied by Black Horse Express

1. Darrow's Badge (Black Horse Western) by Gillian F Taylor (31 Jul 2012)

Kindle Edition Available for pre-order £2.74

2. Sabinas Kid (Black Horse Western) by Steve Ritchie (29 Feb 2012)

Hardcover  £9.12

3. Buck and the Widow Rancher by Carlton Youngblood (29 Feb 2012)

Kindle Edition £2.74

4. The Ghosts of Poynter (Black Horse Western) by Amos Carr (30 Jun 2012)

Hardcover £10.25

5. The Prairie Man (Black Horse Western) by I. J. Parnham (31 Aug 2011)

Hardcover £4.99

6. The Devil's Payroll (Black Horse Western) by Paul Green (30 Dec 2011)

Hardcover £8.18

7. Wild Bill Williams (Black Horse Western) by Jack Martin (31 Oct 2012)

Hardcover Available for pre-order £12.38

8. All Guns Blazing by Doug Thorne (30 Dec 2011)

Kindle Edition £3.43

9. Arkansas Smith (Black Horse Western) by Jack Martin (30 Apr 2012)

Kindle Edition £3.43

10. Shadow Man by Andrew McBride (30 Dec 2011)

Kindle Edition £3.43

E V Thompson RIP

Author EV Thompson, who sold more than five million books, has died at his home in Cornwall, his family has confirmed.

The 81-year-old author published about 40 historical novels, most of them set in Cornwall.
He was appointed an MBE in the most recent New Year's Honours list and was also a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd.

Publisher Robert Hale said it was with the "greatest regret" that staff had learnt of his death.

The company said: "He was a friendly, agreeable and likeable person who had the gift of getting on with everyone he met.

"He was a publishers' dream author, not just because of what he wrote, but his efforts to promote and sell his books which he was doing to the end with great success.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 23 Jul - 29 Jul 2012
URL: http://tainted-archive.blogspot.com/


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits4603984094014064704392,983426
First Time Visits4343773823823824474232,827404
Returning Visits2621271924231615622

Saturday 28 July 2012

Archive's Sunday Comics - FLESH

Flesh: The Dino Files
Rebellion graphic novel

When 2000AD first hit the shelves, Flesh, alongside Invasion 1999 and Dan Dare, was one of my favorite stories. It had everything - cowboys, time travel and dinosaurs. The strip was originally developed by Pat Mills for another IPC title, Action but when the title suffered from censorship the strip was held over for the soon to launch SF title, 2000AD.

Flesh initially followed a pattern set by another Mills title, Hook Jaw, about a killer shark, but Flesh was, to my mind, more successful. The premise of cowboys from the future traveling back to prehistoric times to harvest dinosaurs for their meat, was inspired. And another great idea was to have the main dinosaur, a T-Rex, mutilated by Earl Reagan. This set up some kind of relationship between the man and monster. Reagan gouged one of the T-Rex's eyes out and afterwards the creature would become known as Old One Eye. Most of the dinosaurs were depicted as dumb killing machines, but Old One Eye was given personality and also an intense hatred for the human who had gouged its eye out.

The strip initially lasted for 19 issues of the comic and the ending, the aftermath of a dinosaur war, was groundbreaking for its time. Our hero Regan found himself thrown in prison because he failed to stop the dinosaur war from escalating, and the bad guy, Claw Carver was lost in time due to a time shuttle problem. It wasn't exactly a happy ending and readers were sorry to see the strip end.

The full run of Flesh Book One is included in this graphic novel.

Flesh Book 2 came is issue 86 and continued until issue 99. Book Two also proved popular but I didn't like it as much as the first story. For one thing we never did find out what happened to Regan and instead the strip concentrated on Claw Carver, with no mention of what had happened to Regan. The entire run of this second book is also included here. And after reading it again all these years later, I found I enjoyed it a lot more but the original run is still, in my opinion, the best.

Texas, ten episodes included here, was a latter day Flesh adventure and it takes us back to the origins of the story, with cowboys and dinosaurs battling it out for dominance. I'm not so keen on these later adventures but the first two stories show what made 2000AD such a great title.

There are also a couple of bonus Flesh strips from a 2000AD annual and a Summer Special.

Well worth seeking out.

Friday 27 July 2012

The Graphic OxBow Incident

I often pick up these Classic Illustrated perfect bound comic books, and although I don't get every issue I do pick up those that are of special interest to me.

And this comic book telling of Walter Van Tilburg Clark's classic novel which inspired the excellent movie starring Henry Fonda is just my thing.

My name is Art Croft. Gil Carter and I were cowboys who worked cattle over the ranges of Nevada. It was three by the sun when we rode back into the town of Bridger's Wells after winter range. It was the spring of 1885, the year of the Ox-Bow Incident.

It's on sale now and western fans wont want to miss it - All artwork re-coloured and covers digitally enhanced. Perfect Bound issues - superb new copies of the greatest comic artwork.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Old age is no place for sissies.

"I liked the story, entertaining, easy to read. I sort of half guessed who it was 3/4 through but had to keep reading to find how it all worked out.

As 60 is the new 40 I think Granny Smith should be 70-75. Indeed I've always visualised myself as Miss Marples on Steroids or possibly gin and valium when I get much, much older!!

I enjoyed the book and it's a definite 'recommend for this one'. I'm sure there will be more in pipeline?"
D M Harrison Amazon review

Catch up on Granny Smith now.

It's Miss Marple on steroids!

It's an un-cozy crime and although her wild oats may have long turned to All Bran, Granny still knows how to misbehave with the best of them.

“It’s Miss Marple on steroids.”

A brutal murder in a small Welsh village and the police are stuck without a clue. With no motive and no real suspect the investigation soon grinds to a halt. Enter Mary Alice Smith, otherwise known as Granny Smith, the rock music loving, pipe smoking, chaos causing amateur sleuth with a difference.

Granny has a talent for mayhem and soon those talents are put to good use as our intrepid pensioner starts the unravel the case, which finds her provoking Chief Inspector Miskin as she comes up against a full scale police investigation, proving that you’re never too old to make a nuisance of yourself and that sixty three is actually the new twenty three.

Murder's never been so much fun.


The Walking Dead Season 3 trailer

Fifty Shades of Sherlock Holmes

After the success of the literary mesh up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and other books in the mesh up genre, it seems that Mommy Porn is now the way to go as many classic books get the soft porn treatment.

ePublisher Total E-Bound, have released a new series of e-books (“Clandestine Classics”) that include the titles Northanger Abbey (by Jane Austen and Desiree Holt), Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte and Sierra Cartwright) and Sherlock Holmes: A Study In Scarlet (by A.C. Doyle and Sarah Masters).

The new spin on Sherlock Holmes casts the detective and his sidekick John Watson as gay lovers. In Jane Eyre, Jane has passionate sex with Mr. Rochester before leaving him.

Here's a snippet from the new sexed up Sherlock Holmes:

“In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. It was a somewhat difficult time, being among so many men, with me being who and what I am. I suppose people may have guessed … How could I explain that the softness of a woman did not appeal? That the swells on their chests were not something I wished to explore? That I preferred the flat planes belonging to a man, the smaller nipples that I longed to flick my tongue over?”  

Another scene from the sexed up Holmes book features Watson coming across (pun intended) two gay lovers.

"Confusion claimed me for a moment, and my mouth dropped open as I took it all in. The joy of knowing other men were the same as I was quickly eclipsed by the fear that if they were caught it would be the end for them. I was stuck between wanting to step forward and warn them they ought to be more careful and remaining where I was to silently watch."

It's all too much for purists who are up in arms at the current movement towards rewriting the classics for a modern sexed up audience.

Publishing is fucked as DOJ case goes ahead

The US  DOJ have rejected criticisms of its price fixing case against Apple and five major publishers, saying its critics either don't understand or are just looking out for themselves.The DOJ filed a case in April accusing Apple and five publishing houses of colluding on eBook prices in their attempt to counteract the growing dominance of Amazon in the market.

Three of the publishers have already settled the case, agreeing to rip up the contracts that contained agency agreements between themselves and Apple, thus once again allowing retailers to discount books as much as they want and ditch most-favoured nation clauses.

The agency model, not in itself illegal, was at the heart of the DOJ's concerns. Under those contracts, publishers set the price for eBooks and retailers take a percentage. Before Apple came on the scene, publishers sold their eBooks at a wholesale price and the retailers were the ones who priced them, allowing Amazon to sell eBooks at cost or below cost in order to shift its Kindle readers.

The DOJ said it had received 868 comments in the case – from individuals, publishers, retailers and even Apple. While some supported the DoJ, others criticised the case, but the DOJ maintained that the critics either misunderstood the department's judgment or were trying to keep prices higher for their own purposes.

The case will go to court next June

Mary Tamm RIP

Mary Tamm, who played the first incarnation of Time Lady Romana opposite Tom Baker in Doctor Who, has died aged 62.

According to the report at BBC News, she had fought a long battle with cancer, and died in hospital in London. As well as appearing in Doctor Who during the Key to Time season, she starred in the movies The Odessa File and The Likely Lads as well as the TV series The Assassination Run and The Murder Game. She also had stints on both EastEnders and Brookside.

Mary had recently revisited the role for several Big Finish audio adventures alongside Tom Baker.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Holy everything you need to know about Batman in one post

He was originally to be called Birdman but thankfully during development Bob Kane and Bill Finger switched this to Batman Initially Finger received no credit for his part in the character with Batman, for a great many years, being credited as a Bob Kane creation. It was only in later years that Kane acknowledged Finger's contribution to the early development of the character.

"I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN. Finger talking about his initial look at Kane's creation.

Indeed it was Finger who suggested giving the character a cowl instead of the domino mask, a cape instead of wings, adding gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume But Bob Kane's dad was a lawyer which assured that Kane got his byline on each and every Batman story, which was something unheard of during the period.

Batman first saw light in 1939 with issue 27 of Detective Comics. Many of the aspects of the modern day character were in place for this first story - Batman's secret identity as Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon and of course the costume style which although developed over the years is still essentially the same thing.

Over the years we have learned that Batman's cowl contains a transmitter, that the thickest layer of body armour is around the bat symbol on Batman's chest, that the outer layer of the batsuit can be electrified and that the suit is fireproof. The biggest element of the suit is that it scares bad guys. And Batman was initially a vampiric character and this symbolism has been used effectively by many of the writers over the years. The Batman of Tim Burton's Batman the Movie was very much Dracula with morals.

Batman also has a utility belt which over the years has carried grappling hooks, cameras, lights, weapons and communicators.

The trauma of Batman witnessing the murder of his parents as a child left him with an hatred of guns and he vows to never use them in his fight against crime. Though that doesn't stop him using explosive pellets or lethal batarangs.

Batman uses various gadgets from kick ass cars to shark repellent bat spray. The batglider is bloody cool too and Batman keeps all these at the Batcave which exists beneath Wayne Manor.

The origin - Bruce sees his parents killed, vows that he will fight crime, trains , becomes Batman.

"I chose this life. I know what I'm doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today however isn't that day."

Gotham City is a city where town planning never existed and where a lot of lowlife scum tend to operate. The city houses the Arkham Asylum which is a gothic nightmare.

Robin is Batman's sometimes sidekick. There have been various Robins over the years but personally I prefer my Batman to operate solo. Damien Wayne, Bruce's son, is the current Robin.

Alfred Pennyworth was once a cockney womaniser who fought the Zulus but is now the stereotypical English butler. One of the few anachronisms in popular culture that actually work.

Commissioner Gordon - Batman's buddy in the police.

Batman sometimes works with his super buddies such as Wonder Woman, Green Arrow or Superman. And of course Bats is also a member of the Justice League of America. The caped crusader is often a part of other teams too.

Batman sometimes get his leg over and his birds have included Vicky Vale, Julie Madison, Vesper Fairchild and Catwoman.

Batman fights many enemies but the most iconic are:

The Joker - the most iconic of them all. Joker is to Batman what Lex Luthor is to Superman.

Penguin - next to the Joker he's the tops.

The Riddler - takes third place.

Bane - overrated

Two Face - excellent character

Mr Freeze - Silly

Catwoman - Sexy

Poison Ivy - also sexy

Scarecrow - often a very effective character.

Alongside Superman, Batman defined the superhero age - they were characters for our times. Indeed during the second world war Batman was drafted in for many advertising campaigns.


Batman Year One

The Dark Knight Returns

The Killing Joke

Death in the Family

Arkham Asylum

Knightfall parts 1 and 2

The Long Halloween

There you have it - that's everything really, because Batman can be picked up and enjoyed at any point in his long continuity. I've only recently started reading the comics, after many years away, thanks to the Titan collectors editions, and I'm enjoying them as much as ever. For there is more than one Batman and the character can, depending on how he is presented, be for the young kiddies as well as the more mature and demanding readers.

Maybe more so than Superman, Batman is the no 1 superhero ever created and this is perhaps because he is not really a superhero, but more an everyman. A symbol of the hero we like to think resides within us all.

Now Explore this:

Fatman on Batman podcast

 The Bat Blog

Batman News

Blakes 7 on the way back

Director Martin Campbell made two James Bond movies and both of them gave the franchise a shake up, so Blake 7 fans should be delighted with the news that he is to direct a revival of the TV classic.

Blakes 7 was originally created by Terry  It was a pretty big hit right from the off, and for a show that commanded such strong ratings, it went into some brave and unexpected places for a TV sci-fi series, like having the main character framed as a child molester for a start. Right from the off Blakes 7 was a frightening view of the future, an anti Star Trek if you like.

Writer Joe Pokaski (Heroes, CSI) will pen the re-imagining of the original series created by Terry Nation, a prolific UK TV writer who also created the Daleks for the classic BBC series Doctor Who. Campbell is attached to direct the Blake’s 7 reboot, which is being shopped to U.S. networks.

The Hobbit X 3

Originally the rumours that Peter Jackson would make a trilogy out of The Hobbit were rubbished, with the studio claiming the book would be split into two films. However the Hollywood Reporter is now saying the the film will indeed be a trilogy along the same lines of Peter Jackson's telling of Lord of the Rings.

The real surprise is that this seems to be Peter Jackson's idea and not the studio trying to get a bigger return from their investment. Still Jackson knows how to tell a story and if he feels that the story can be told over three movies, without stretching things then we could be in for another Middle Earth treat.

Monday 23 July 2012

The Dark Knight Splutters

OK - The Dark Knight Rises is a good movie, but it is nowhere near as good as its immediate predecessor and at two hours and forty five minutes it is way too long and seems to grind to a standstill several times. Still when taken as a whole, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is probably the best superhero series ever made.

The bad points first -

1 - Bane is just too bland as the villain and his speech pattern is oddly comical -  He sounds like a West Country Darth Vader on times and at other times like something out of Spongebob Squarepants. He looks powerful in several scenes but just doesn't come across as a formidable enemy for the man who defeated Heath Ledger's Joker in the previous movie.

2 - There also seems to be no sense in Batman simply appearing in the right place at the right time for the admittedly stunning climax.

3 - The film is just too long and all that messing about with Wayne Enterprises doesn't really add anything to the story but merely serves to slow everything down.

4- It also seems odd that Bane is initially able to beat Batman. breaking his back, with no real effort and yet when Bats returns later in the film the tables are so easily turned and Bane is no longer any kind of match for the Batman. I suspect that the voyage of discovery Bruce Wayne goes on in the middle section of the movie, as he lays in his prison with a broken back, is meant to have made him a stronger character but that doesn't some across as obvious. This section of the movie could have done with some extending while other sections could have been trimmed considerably.

The rest is good,-

The storyline  manages to include both terrorism and the fall of capitalism which gives the film a topical edge. Christian Bale also offers his best ever Batman/Bruce Wayne performance in this movie, perhaps because he gets to spend so much time out of the mask and the new Catwoman is, in my opinion, the best version we've ever seen of the character.

The action set pieces are incredible and the ending is arguably the best ever city-getting-trashed sequences ever filmed. There are some great iconic images of Batman fighting side by side with Gotham's citizens. This Batman seems very real  and the movie depicts Batman as an everyman, as something inside of us all. Indeed Batman tells young cop, John Blake that it can be anyone in the bat suit and that it is the symbolism that truly matters. It's very complex in that respect and on times uses Batman almost as a metaphor.

Gary Olman also gets his best shot as Commissioner Gordon and this time it is he and the John Blake character who carry the movie. And there are some truly stunning visuals and overall Nolan manages to remain on the dark and gritty road he started down with Batman Begins.

And that ending! WOW!
Did Batman die?
Well...yes and no.
It's the symbolism that matters you know...it could be anyone in that suit.

It's been a great year for Superhero movies and although The Dark Knight Rises doesn't disappoint on a major scale, I think the Avengers was better.And it is only when taken as a whole  that the movie really shines and offers a satisfying climax to a movie series that will be talked about for years.

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 16 Jul - 22 Jul 2012
URL: http://tainted-archive.blogspot.com/


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits4294303793944003483642,744392
First Time Visits4014083543573733253392,557365
Returning Visits2822253727232518727

Amazon black horse western charts

Charts supplied by Black Horse Express

1. The Prairie Man (Black Horse Western) by I. J. Parnham (31 Aug 2011)

Hardcover  £11.93
2. Buck and the Widow Rancher by Carlton Youngblood (29 Feb 2012)

Available for download now £2.74

3. The Ghosts of Poynter (Black Horse Western) by Amos Carr (30 Jun 2012)

Hardcover  £10.26
4. The Devil's Payroll (Black Horse Western) by Paul Green (30 Dec 2011)

Hardcover  £9.12

5. Wild Bill Williams (Black Horse Western) by Jack Martin (31 Oct 2012)

Hardcover Available for pre-order £12.38

6. All Guns Blazing by Doug Thorne (30 Dec 2011)

Available for download now £3.43

7. Shadow Man by Andrew McBride (30 Dec 2011)

Available for download now £3.43

8. Arkansas Smith (Black Horse Western) by Jack Martin (30 Apr 2012)

Available for download now £3.43

9. Trail to Fort Laramie by Jack Edwardes (30 Dec 2011)

Available for download now £3.43

10. Twilight Trail (Black Horse Western) by Lance Howard (31 May 2012)

Hardcover £12.38

Sunday 22 July 2012

Amazon - the end of the book world as we know it.

I couldn't believe it - Perfect People by Peter James, a five hundred plus page book. from the pen of one of Britain's finest thriller writers for 20p. Of course I bought it immediately, but afterwards I felt a little bad about the purchase. The book was dirt cheap, almost a giveaway but had I, in being seduced by predatory publishing, helped hasten the demise of the bookshops and in the long term traditional publishing as we know it?

Perfect People is published by Macmillan, who are one of the big six publishers hotly contesting the US DOJ price fixing case - and other books from the same publishers are being sold on Amazon for the same price.

So is this, I wonder, Amazon showing their strength by devaluing Macmillan stock?

The Bookseller recently published an article that makes for disturbing reading to anyone who loves books - they reveal that these 20p bestsellers are a result of a war between Amazon and Sony. A war where all of publishing could go down as collateral damage.

Apparently Amazon are matching Sony's prices which makes for some bargains for readers, but it's just so wrong. You know I'm against price fixing in principle but this is just so wrong and no matter what the likes of Amazon and Sony say it is devaluing the book.

Check out the Bookseller story HERE

Those titles currently on the 20p cut-price list come from three major publishers—Quercus, Pan Macmillan, and Canongate.And according to the BOOKSELLER, Amazon are training readers to search for the lowest price. It is already hard enough for most writers to make a living without this nonsense going on.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Amazon are a great company with brilliant customer service - but this predatory pricing should leave a bad taste with book lovers.

Saturday 21 July 2012

Batman sensless shooting

It is one of the most anticipated movies in cinema history and yet The Dark Knight Rises will forever be overshadowed by the senseless shooting in Colarado - The UK news is reporting that 14 people have been killed, but some reports are stating it was 12. I'm not really sure of the exact amount but reports are that there are also more than a dozen people in a critical condition.

I saw the movie last night myself but don't feel like reviewing it at the moment - maybe, in a week or two.

So sad.
So stupid.

Friday 20 July 2012

U S Senator wants DOJ price fixing case dropped

United States Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has written an open letter to the Department of Justice, which was published by The Wall Street Journal, telling the agency to drop the eBook price-fixing lawsuit against Apple (AAPL) and two other major book publishers. Schumer warns that the suit could “wipe out the publishing industry as we know it, making it much harder for young authors to get published.” The senator also notes that ”the suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market, if that happens, consumers will be forced to accept whatever prices Amazon sets.”

Schumer believes Amazon’s “monopoly in digital publishing” is not in the best interest of publishers and authors, who are forced to make a “Hobson’s choice” and settle for Amazon’s low eBook prices, thus undercutting their own hardcopy sales. Due to increased competition from Apple, however, Amazon was forced to “expand its catalog, invest in innovation, and reduce the prices of its Kindle reading devices.”

Cop steps into Dredd's jack-boots

It is rumored that PC  Simon Harwood will take over the role of Judge Dredd for the greenlit, Dredd 2.

The Wish I could have bought that department

A ranch once owned by king of the screen cowboys Roy Rogers has sold for $645,000.

The Double R ranch near Victorville, in the Mojave Desert, includes a 1,700-square-foot home, a red barn, a stable with 15 stalls, a half-mile horse track and fenced pastures.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/16/2260087/former-desert-ranch-of-roy-rogers.html#storylink=cpy

Self Publishing goes mainstream

From the Bookseller

Pearson has acquired self-publishing company Author Solutions Inc for $116m (£74m) in cash, with Penguin c.e.o. John Makinson saying "self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry".
Formed in 2007, ASI generated approximately $100m of revenues in 2011, according to a Pearson statement, growing at an average annual rate of 12% over the past three years, with its revenues stemming primarily from services to authors. The company has worked with 150,000 authors to publish, market and distribute 190,000 books, with approximately 1,600 staff located mainly in Bloomington, Indiana and Cebu City, the Philippines.

In a statement, Penguin said the acquisition gives it "a leading position in this fast-growing segment of the publishing industry and brings significant opportunity for the two companies to collaborate".
The statement said ASI's strengths lie in "online marketing, consumer analytics, professional services and user-generated content", with Penguin contributing "design, editorial and sales skills, and its strong international presence", as ASI looks to expand outside the US.
Makinson said: "This acquisition will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future.”

He also said: "Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry over the past three years. It has provided new outlets for professional writers, a huge increase in the range of books available to readers and an exciting source of content for publishers such as Penguin. No-one has captured this opportunity as successfully as Author Solutions, which has rapidly built a position of world leadership on a platform of outstanding customer support and tailor-made publishing services."
ASI chief executive Kevin Weiss said the company was looking forward to being part of Penguin's "vibrant culture" and said the company "look[s] forward to accelerating the pace of change the industry is experiencing. As part of Penguin, we will be on the front-end of that change and have the broadest set of offerings of any publisher today. That means more opportunity for authors and more choice for readers."

Author Solutions will be integrated into Penguin's infrastructure, but will continue to be run as a separate business. Pearson will be expensing integration costs in 2012, and expects the acquisition to boost adjusted earnings per share and to generate a return on invested capital above Pearson's weighted average cost of capital from 2013.

Thursday 19 July 2012

The Road to Batman Rises

After the camp mess that was Batman and Robin, Warners didn't know what to do with the Batman franchise - director Joel Schumacher absolutely ruined it and very nearly brought George Clooney's career to an end.

"On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid's toy commercial." Chris O'Donnell,  Robin in both of Schumacher's Batman movies.

In my opinion neither of  the Schumacher Batman movies are any good- the director didn't seem to understand the character and as a result both of his movies are loud, brash and childish and both are overly heavy on homo-erotic symbolism.

"You might also be interested to know that Wil Wheaton is sixth in my list of enemies, right between Joel Schumacher for nearly ruining the Batman franchise, and Billy Sparks, who lived down the street from me and put dog poo on the handles of my bicycle." Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory.

Warners were stung by Batman and Robin, which was considered both a financial and critical failure and it wasn't until Brit director Christopher Nolan came on board that the franchise started to show promise. Nolan wanted to take the character back to basics and using a mix of storylines from Batman: Year One and The Man Who Falls, he gave us a realistic Batman, a character who could actually exist.

Batman Begins was never intended to be a trilogy and Warners weren't expecting great things. There was much controversy, most notably over the casting of Christian Bale - it seemed the fans couldn't get their heads around the fact that they were expected to swallow a Brit in the role.

Pretty soon those selfsame fans were eating their words and Batman Begins was universally acclaimed.

There were several reasons for the success of the movie - the cast were excellent. Gary Oldman is the definitive Jim Gordon, as is Michael Cane as Bruce Wayne's loyal manservant, Alfred. The Gotham City of Batman Begins was less comic book and more noir movie and Christian Bale struck all the right notes as the tortured Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Nolan tweeked Batman's origins for his movie - it was a stroke of genius to have the young Bruce scared of the bat-like character in the opera and forcing his parents to leave the theater which resulted in the murder of his parents.The character's fear of Bats had been established earlier when Bruce fell into a well which was filled with bats and this scene came directly from the Batman comic story, The Man who Falls. This meant that the director was able to explore the character of Batman in a much more satisfying way than even Tim Burton had managed.

The film was a huge success and initially Nolan resisted the requests from Warners to helm a sequel, saying that he would only do it if he had a good idea. That idea became The Dark Knight which pitted Bale's Batman against the Joker - Heath Ledger gave a performance that was even more manic than Jack Nicholson's in Tim Burton's Batman. Until this movie it was unthinkable that anyone could even top Nicholson's Joker but not only did Heath Ledger do this but he did it in spades.

Again Nolan went back to the original Batman comics for his storyline and this time he used elements from the story, The Long Halloween which told the origin story of Two Face. The film was an even greater success than Batman Begins and to date has taken well over $1 billion in revenue worldwide.

The Dark Knight continued the grim realistic approach of the previous movie, and it is because of the success of this film that the Nolan Batman trilogy - as I write there is less than twenty four hours to go before The Dark Knight Rises is released - is talked about with such reverence. These are not silly comic book movies, these are true epics in every sense of the word.

Tonight I'll be going along to the cinema to see the final movie in the trilogy and advance word is that it's going to prove a worthy close on what may be the best series of comic book movies ever made.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Holy Over'reaction!!!

Don't fuck with the bat fans!

It’s a lesson some critics are learning thanks to furious online commentary — including death threats — in response to less-than-kind reviews of The Dark Knight Rises, the highly-anticipated finale to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Reviewer Marshall Fine of the website Hollywood & Fine was the first to declare his dislike for the movie, calling it “tedious” and “lumpish” and comparing it to Michael Bay’s Transformers films. His review on Tuesday prompted the film’s score on review-aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes to fall below 100 per cent.

That’s when commenters struck. One person fantasized about beating Fine “with a thick rubber hose into a coma.” Another urged him to “die in a fire.” Others posted wittier criticism, quoting the movie’s villain Bane and saying Fine’s “punishment must be more severe.”

There were even some nuts threatening to rape and kill the family of the critic, and from there it went completely insane.

It all resulted in Rotten Tomatoes the unprecedented step of turning off comments on the review.

The Ultimate Avengers

Mark (Kick Arse) Miller's  Ultimates, upon which this animated movie is based, was a retelling of The Avengers storyline in a much more mature way than was usual for the title, but it's just a shame that this movie didn't manage to  retain the same tone. It does aim for a adult audience though and it is a little too serious for younger children, but it just doesn't manage to hold it together in the way DC's animated movies do. Marvel may currently rule the live action super hero movie, but they just don't some close to DC in the animated stakes. I think with some of the better DC animations you are sucked into the story to such an extent that it seems to become a live action experience, but not once while watching The Avengers did I forget that I was watching an animated adventure. There were parts that were very cartoonish.

"It's too violent for younger viewers, but not mature enough for older ones. It's a movie trapped in between target audiences." Film Critic, David Cornelius

The film starts off during World War II and we discover that Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America has been frozen. We then jump forward to the present day when Cap is found and thawed out to face a baffling new world.  Then we have Nick Fury trying to form the Avengers in order to thwart an alien invasion, which the team eventually do but then find themselves having to battle the Hulk and it is in these scenes that the movie really comes alive. As with the Avengers live action movie, the Hulk is the star of the show. Iron Man comes across as a little bland which is not the case with the live action movies and out of the Avengers it is Captain America and The Black Widow who are the most interesting characters.

Now I don't consider myself to be a hardcore comic book geek, but I have known these characters since I was a kid and have read many many comic books, and I found this movie to be good but ultimately disappointing next to the animated DC movies I've seen of late. Maybe if I hadn't been aware of the heights DC were hitting with their animated films, then I would have though better of this one.But there we have it - it is a good film and the final battle with the Hulk is paced well and full of humour.

The film is currently available as a triple set along with The Ultimate Avengers 2 and the Next Avengers, and at  the budget price it is truly a bargain, and provides big entertainment for a small amount of cash.

Gotham Knight-animated movie

This was originally released straight to DVD a few weeks before Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight hit cinema screens. It's an anthology movie with six stories of the Dark Knight weaved together. It's set in the time between Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, though in truth it could fit anywhere into Batman's long continuity.

It did come from the producers of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies and it certainly feels like it belongs in the Nolanverse.

It's grim, it's gritty, it's dark and contains buckets of animated blood.

The animation is done anime style which provides for some truly artistic vision of the Batman legend. The first story, Have I got a story for you was my favourite and it was clever in which the Dark Knight was drawn the way differing characters perceived him, thus one one section he's little more than a shadow, in another he's a vampire like creature and in another he's an all powerful robot.

I'm a big fan of anime and the Batman universe lends itself well to such representation.

The Welsh Invasion

I have spent that last two days going through the final proof of Wild Bill Williams, which my publisher sent over a few days ago. It's been well over a year  since I sold the novel and I'd not really read it since typing -  The End.

Of course I knew the basic drift of the novel, but I'd been away from it for so long, done so much since, that much of it seemed new to me - It's an unusual western, I think in that the main character is probably the antitheses of the standard western hero. There's a lot of action and, I'm pleased, a great deal of suspense. There's also some character comedy that I'm especially proud of.

I'm excited by this one and even the cover image matches the story perfectly If fact it directly represents a scene from the book - something not often achieved given the use of stock images

The book's gone back to the publishers now, with a couple of minor edits highlighted. The next step is the printers and then in October it will hit the shelves.

The book's already available for pre-order on Amazon and pre-ordering is a good option since no money is taken from bank accounts until the book is ready to ship. It also works out that you usually get your book a week or so before official publication.

For now, though I leave you with the first chapter:



There was nary a frown when Wild Bill Williams was in town. He had a way about his manner that enabled most folks to forget all their troubles and become positively festive. It was said that Bill could start off a dance at a funeral and carve a grin out of the most granite of faces.
He had been born a Welshman; in a village called Gilfach Goch, a name that was unpronounceable to all but himself. But as a young man of fifteen summers, with no compulsion to go and work in the coalmines, those same mines that had aged his father beyond his years, he had had set out in search of adventure and found himself stowed away on a ship making the Atlantic crossing to the United States. He’d landed in New York and after a few aimless years had started out West in search of the future he had in mind for himself.
Go West, Young Man, and grow up with the country”, The New York Tribune had advised in striking headlines that had filled men such as Bill Williams with optimism for a future on the rugged frontier. It had seemed Bill’s destiny to follow the westward trail. What that destiny was no one, Bill included, knew.
Indeed if Bill had ever known what he had intended to do with his life then he’d long forgotten. And these days he just walked through life happy-go-lucky and faced whatever fate threw at him.
Fate sure did like to interfere with Wild Bill Williams.
Take today for instance; one moment Bill was enjoying a poker game after drifting into the town of Stanton, and the next he was in the jailhouse nursing a split head.
It had happened thus:
Bill, face totally expressionless, peered over his cards at the men seated around the table. He was holding, “Aces Up”, a strong enough hand but he would have preferred better. There were three men, four counting himself, at the game and Bill looked at each of them in turn. Dutch Carter had a sweat on, Sam Jessup looked to be almost asleep and Cleveland Ohio, lovely name that, sat trying to suck life into a massive cigar.
‘You know,’ Bill said, about to make his move when the batwings suddenly swung open and a young man of maybe seventeen summers stood in the doorway, his face furious, his hands hanging, gunfighter style, at his side. Whatever Bill had intended to say then was lost, even to himself as the actions of the armed man had stolen Bill’s train of thought.
‘Caleb Stanton,’ the young man said. ‘I’ve come to kill you.’
The saloon fell silent and at the far end of the counter, a big man of about thirty, Caleb Stanton, Bill guessed, stepped forward. The big man was dressed completely in black - black pants, black shirt, black boots, with a black Stetson sat upon his head. He even wore a matching gun-belt and save for the glow of the Schofield pistol, the only colour about the man was his thick red hair, which was a trait of the Stanton clan.
‘Come back when you grow up,’ the man spoke directly to the kid. He seemed completely at ease but Bill noticed the way the man held his body, coiled, ready to act at any moment.
‘I’m plenty growed up,’ the young man said and pulled a Colt. He pointed it directly at the man named Stanton. ‘Make a fight then,’ he prompted.
‘I’m not going to draw on you,’ Stanton said, calmly.
‘Then I’ll shoot you down like the dog you are,’ the young man snarled. ‘Now defend yourself.’
‘In front of all these people, I don’t think so,’ Stanton said and Bill had to admire his coolness. ‘For the last time, boy. I’m not going to fight you.’
‘You’ve got no guts less it’s for disrespecting women?’ the young man sneered.
That seemed to hit Stanton and did provoke a flash of anger in his eyes, but it was momentary, and immediately replaced by a smile.
‘Someone been telling tales?’ Stanton said.
‘Fight you coward,’ the young man insisted and fired his gun, sending a bullet into the floor. ‘The next one gets you.’
Suddenly the kid was pushed forward as another man came through the batwings. The newcomer, a short squat man immediately charged the young man, bringing an elbow into the small of the kid’s back and sending him sprawling.  The kid lost his grip on the Colt and it clattered to the floor.  Stanton immediately came across and kicked the gun away from its owner.
‘Get up,’ Stanton said.
Winded, the kid was unable to oblige, but it was no matter because the squat newcomer lifted him to his feet and Stanton drove a punishing fist into the kid’s stomach. The kid’s legs buckled and if the man hadn’t been supporting him he would have fallen back to the floor. Stanton immediately followed up with a left hook to the kid’s face, smashing his lip and sending a spray of blood onto the saloon counter. The kid’s eyes rolled back in his head as unconsciousness overtook him.
‘Ain’t finished with you yet,’ Stanton said and slapped the kid open handed across the cheek, reviving him.
The squat man, holding the kid, laughed.
Stanton hit the kid again and again.
Bill looked around him and frowned. The saloon was filled with folk, but no one stepped forward to help the young man, they all just stood there silently watching the kid take a beating. The kid may have started the fight but this was brutal.
‘You gentleman will have to excuse me,’ Bill said as the man called Stanton delivered another brutal punch to the young man’s face, which was beginning to resemble raw meat. The Welshman stood up and sent his chair flying backwards, whilst immediately turning on his feet and pulling his own Colt. He stood there; legs bent at the knees, hand held rock steady with the gun pointing at the man called Stanton.
‘Sit down, stranger,’ Stanton warned.
‘I don’t think I will,’ Bill said. ‘And if you strike that kid once more I’ll bloody well shoot you.’
Everyone in the saloon seemed to take a sudden breath.
‘You new in town?’ Stanton asked.
‘I am indeed,’ Bill answered, smiling jovially. If not for the gun in his hand he could have been greeting the other man at a social function.
‘That figures,’
‘Meaning you don’t know how much trouble you’ve brought on yourself.’
‘That’s always the way with me,’ Bill said. ‘My tad was the same and no doubt his before him, trafferth wherever we go. If there’s one thing a Williams seems to court, trafferth is it.’
There were several muffled laughs around the room, not to mention the odd sigh of astonishment but Stanton stood still, regarding the Welshman in stunned silence.
‘Do you want to die?’ Stanton asked, presently.
‘Die, me?’ for a moment Bill seemed to be considering the question but then he smiled. ‘I don’t think I’m quite ready to die yet. There’s still so many drinks I have not drunk and pleasant thoughts I have not thunk. The world is a wondrous place, full of possibilities so no, I do not wish to die.’
‘You’re loco, mister,’ Stanton sneered.
‘That’s as maybe,’ Bill said and then his voice took on a harder edge. ‘Now let the kid go. Lower him down gently. I’m sure you gentlemen don’t want to hurt him.’
Stanton nodded to the squat man and he gently lowered the kid down to the floor.
‘Good boys, you are,’ Bill said. ‘Now step back from him. Go on, a bit further.’
Bill moved cautiously forward putting himself between the two men and the kid.
‘Now toss your guns over, very slowly,’ he ordered. ‘I’m likely to get jittery and blast one of you.’
‘Mister you really do not want to be doing this,’ Stanton said.
‘Now there you go again,’ Bill said, aware of the young man holding onto one of his legs and trying to use it to pull himself to his feet. ‘Guns. I shall not ask again.’
Stanton lifted his Schofield by thumb and index finger and tossed it towards Bill.
‘Now you, Shorty,’ Bill said and grinned at the squat man.
The squat man shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t carry a gun and had never needed any weapons other than his fists. He lifted his shirt to show he was unharmed.
‘You don’t carry a gun?’ Bill asked, knowing such a thing was a rarity this far west.
‘These are the only weapons I need,’ the squat man held up his hands and made two powerful looking fists.
Okey-dokey,’ Bill said and without taking his gun off the two men he bent and picked up Stanton’s gun. He slid it into his own waistband and then helped the stunned young man to his feet.
‘What’s your name?’  Bill asked and allowed the young man to lean against him in order to stay upright.’
‘Henry,’ the young man managed, speaking through blood soaked and swollen lips. ‘I’m Henry.’
‘Well Henry,’ Bill said. ‘Do you think you can back out of here with me?’
‘It’s a whole heap of trouble coming your way,’ Stanton said but the Welshman ignored him.
‘Yeah,’ the kid said and regarded Bill through the tiny slits in the middle of his bruised eyelids.
‘Then come on, boyo,’ Bill said and, keeping the gun trained on both men, he backed away, moving for the batwings.
Bill would have reached them too, had fate not decreed otherwise. But at the very last moment, Sheriff Tray Clemens came through the batwings, and in one fluid and well-practiced movement, brought the hard butt of a Peacemaker down on the Welshman’s skull.  And for a moment Bill Williams had been back home in Wales, sitting upon a hilltop, his beloved Blodwen within his arms, but then there was just nothingness.

Australia empowers Big Tobacco with its new draconian and simply barking mad vape restrictions

 From July 1st 2024 it will be illegal to own or buy any vaping device other than from pharmacies, and flavours will be limited to mint, men...