Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Evacuation on Scribd

KU isn't the only subscription service on the net. Scribd is another, (and if you're in the UK, it works out cheaper at $8.99). Almost all the books not exclusive to Amazon can be found there, like the Evacuation Series.

ebooks unlimited - new service for Kindle Unlimited

If you're signed up to Kindle Unlimited, you might want to sign up to this newsletter (I have). It's brand new, but as I understand it will be a moderated & genre specific list. Looks pretty cool.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Are you reading wrong? - New Tech City

Just listened to a very interesting episode of New Tech City, a podcast from WNYC, on how the way we read is changing the more we move from reading on paper to screens. Very interesting (and a very interesting show).

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Work. Rest. Repeat. - Out Now

Only $0.99 (also on Kindle Unlimited in the US) 

It is sixty years since The Great Disaster laid waste to the Earth. Outside the city walls, the rising seas have long since flooded the toxic desert that once was humanity’s home. Inside, the descendants of the few that survived that terrible apocalypse strive day and night to complete construction of the colony ships. An evacuation to Mars is the species’ only hope. It is a desperate plan but, after generations of labour, the first of the ships is nearing completion. 

A launch date has been set. There is to be an election to choose a new Chancellor, to lead the people during this last exodus. But, with only twenty-four hours before voting begins, two workers are murdered. It is the first serious crime since the survivors retreated into the Towers of The City of Britain. 

It is down to Ely, Constable of Tower-One, to solve the crime and apprehend the killer. No matter what, the workers must be protected, production must come first.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Work. Rest. Repeat. - Inspired by Planet Money (partly)

I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of my favourites is planet money from NPR. One of their recent episodes played a significant part in the development of this story. 

It's the story of the delivery drivers. The terrifying part, the line I can't get out of my head, is that the drivers were told in which pocket they should store there pens, in order to ensure maximum efficiency when they reached for them.
Truly disturbing. (but a brilliant episode)

Amazon Packaging - My solution

Right, so in the UK (and in the borough in which I live) we have separate bins for garden, domestic and recyclable waste. And these are large bins. Mine is currently full of brown cardboard from Amazon. Don't get me wrong, getting sent a free storage box with every purchase has saved me a lot of money this year, but I've packed away everything I own, (and then packed the small boxes into large boxes) and I'm still left with a bin full of cardboard.
And sure, it's going to be recycled, but it's still a lot of water and energy that's going to end up wasted.

I've a solution. A while back I heard an episode of Peter Day's BBC podcast, in business: 
(it's dated Saturday 30th May, and titled Packaging in a pickle)

or direct link to the mp3 here:

In the episode they talk about edible packaging. The reason given to why it's not used is that when cooked (to sanitise it) the nutritional value is lost.
So, my solution, packaging that is soluble in water, made of some cellulose type material dosed with plant food. 
Plants don't mind if it's sanitised, or care what it tastes like. Brilliant, right?

Of course, this might be a problem in the rain (we could solve this by using hot water, perhaps redirected from the out-flow from the washing machine, say.). 

I say it's worth a try.

Castle #2 - Eltham Palace

t's been a busy day. I've been crossing out i's and tweaking the t's in Work. Rest. Repeat. and working on Unsafe Haven (it's at 37,000 words, so about half done), and plotting out the rest of the series. Like I said. Busy day.

I don't know if I'll write all theEvacuation books for which I have ideas, certainly the one set in the US featuring the Last President (and Sholto's connection to him) may end up turning into a different story for a different series, but I do plan a book about a siege. And I mean a proper siege, one set in a castle. My big problem here is picking the right one.

Eltham Palace is my current favourite. It has a moat, filled with the largest fish I've seen in London outside of the Aquarium

But it's too close to London.
I love this place, one of the reasons being that, when it was rebuilt/restored in the 1930's, the owners wanted to have all the mod cons. Those included a central vacuum cleaner system. So in each room there is a little nozzle to which you can attach a vacuum hose, the dust and dirt then gets sucked up into some central repository. Very cool, but not very helpful when trying to withstand a siege by hundreds of thousands of the undead.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Work. Rest. Repeat. - 8,000 word excerpt

An 8,000 word excerpt (this is the prologue to the story) can be found at the above link. The book is currently back at the editors, and is waiting for the final proofreading. All should be complete to have the book out on Amazon in the next few weeks.

Castles, castles, everywhere...

After I sent ‘Work Rest Repeat’ off to the editors last week, I took six hours off. Then I went back to Unsafe Haven. I’ve finished the outline and am now going through it, fleshing out the story.

There’s a couple of things I’ve noticed that I thought I’d share. For one, (just like ‘Work Rest Repeat’), this was meant to be a novella. It’s already turning into a novel.

More interestingly, you wouldn’t believe the number of great castles there are near the Scottish border where survivors could hold off a zombie horde. But I can't set this story in a castle. Why not, you ask? 

Ah, because Chirk castle is referenced in Undead Britain, a short story that’s going to be released in a horror anthology coming out this autumn.

I’ve plans for this castle, you see, and don’t want to dilute the plot by setting any of the other stories in a similar place.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Life Under Mars

In Work Rest Repeat, the last remnants of humanity are in a desperate race against time to complete work on colony ships to evacuate humanity to Mars. I based the technologies used on those being developed and trialled for the worlds various upcoming missions to the red planet. When I saw this article I thought I'd have to share it.

Essentially, it comes down to this. The missions so far have been focusing on whether life existed (past tense) on Mars, not whether it still does. This proposed experiment would search for life under the surface.

Fascinating stuff!