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Monday, March 28, 2022

A to Z Theme Reveal For 2022

 Time for this year’s A to Z reveal. And this year’s theme is…Shakespeare’s plays! 

Shakespeare - Public Domain

If you have been following this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of the Bard, and have been since I was about twelve, at which age I first read Julius Caesar. I found my sister’s copy, which she had studied in Year 10, and opened it up to read. Next thing I knew I was reading it aloud, declaiming speeches all over the house. I had never before been so excited by anything I had read! 

Then there was Wayne and Schuster’s comic skit, Rinse The Blood Off My Toga. My father and I listened to a recording and quoted bits to each other. I’ll talk more about this further down the track, but meanwhile, you can see the visual version on YouTube if interested, along with other Wayne and Schuster skits. 

I’ll be talking about plays, characters, productions, actors and what films and books have been inspired by Shakespeare.

And, like every year except last year, when I did Greek myths, I will have a hard time thinking of something starting with X.

Oh, well. See you in April.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

If You Want Blog Promo…

 In the last couple of weeks I have had several inquiries about doing reviews of self published books. I don’t usually do that, but I did offer guest posts for all those whose books fitted this blog.

I got one response. I published the guest post a few days ago, as you will know. It was an excellent post which got some impressed comments from you, and I hope will have made some sales for Hans since then. 

I’ve also had inquiries from people whom you would think would have paid attention to the blurb, or at least had a browse through some posts before emailing me. 

I said no. The most recent was from a woman who spent her entire blurb making her book sound like a romance with some adventure,  and not a YA one, which I could have considered. When I explained that it didn’t really fit due to this blog being about children’s, YA, historical, crime fiction and true crime, she said it was so a crime book! That might be so, but if she wanted to draw my attention to that, she should have said so in the first place, instead of all the romance stuff. Which told me she hadn’t checked out the blog, despite saying she had read some posts - I did ask which posts, and she didn’t answer that.

At least she didn’t claim to love my blog as did some of the others. 

So here are some of my suggestions to people inquiring about blog reviews. Firstly, check your market, just as you would a publisher market. If your book is self published, of course, you don’t have to check out publishing markets, but review markets are important too, whether or not your book is traditionally published. (And you will still have to do that, if you sell a book, because publishers are not helpful in that regard as I discovered when my one novel was published). Don’t send your inquiry for a children’s book review to a blog that writes about true crime or movies. 

Well, unless your children’s book is a true crime book, anyway, and even then read some of the posts first; it may still not be suited. 

If there is a contact name, use it; I have had too many inquiries that were obviously one of a hundred inquiries copied and sent everywhere, so I don’t reply to those that don’t use my name. I do understand, but half the time it’s for a book that doesn’t fit here, yet the author claims to love my blog.  

Which leads me to the next issue: absolutely don’t say you love a blog you haven’t read. The lie doesn’t flatter the blogger and just suggests you are using it to get their attention. And you do, but in the wrong way.

Interestingly, nobody who says this in an inquiry has ever answered me when I say, “Really? That’s great! What do you love about my blog? Any particular posts?”

Just a general suggestion to self published authors using marketing companies: be aware that they will charge you quite a lot of money just to send the same email to several hundred blogs, whether or not they suit your book. Better to do that yourself and spend the money on a good quality editor, especially if it’s your first book. And I don’t mean asking your family and friends to be beta readers; they will tell you what you want to hear so as not to hurt your feelings or lose your friendship. (The one time I was a beta reader for a friend, she ignored ALL my suggestions. I was lucky she didn’t take me off her Christmas card list. Never again!)

I do know someone who doesn’t bother with editors for her self published books, but she knows what she is doing, and has sold enough stories in the regular market to be allowed to join the Science Fiction Writers of America. And even so, I remember her sneering at the very idea of doing research for a fantasy novel. Fortunately she mostly writes SF.

Anyway, if you want to be reviewed or guest posted on a blog, and not offended by a reply, please do read the blurb and at least a few posts on the chosen site. 

I hate saying no to an inquiry! And I bet other bloggers do too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Retro Review: Honk If You Are Jesus by Peter Goldsworthy


I read this novel when it first came out, and later heard the author speak at my school about a book the Year 12 students were doing for English. 

He did mention this one, though, and described it as his Jurassic Park book. 

Which it was, sort of. No dinosaurs, but certainly referring to bringing back extinct creatures…

I reread it recently, in ebook, and while I had thought it might be a bit dated, it wasn’t, really. There will always be something, of course. The Internet was in its infancy when this book was published, and not everyone had, or could get, a mobile phone, so certain things might have been different if it had been published more recently.. But the rest was not at all bad. 

For example, there has recently been talk of bringing back the thylacine, aka the Tasmanian Tiger. This novel, published in 1992, had a Tiger brought back, plus dodos. It even suggested that a thylacine might be started in the pouch of a Tasmanian Devil, later in an artificial pouch. 

The heroine, Dr Mara Fox, has been in a job where she does not much beyond abortions, though she is an expert in reproductive medicine. One day she gets a call from a Bible college in Queensland, run by American televangelist Hollis Schultz. She can be a Professor, in charge of an entire department in the college’s hospital, plus have whatever advanced equipment she wants. 

Suspicious - there has to be a catch - she accepts anyway and moves to Queensland’s Gold Coast. There, she meets youthful genius William Scanlon, who brought back dodos and has more recently revived a thylacine. 

But more is planned, much more, connected with all those religious relics being brought to the college from overseas; the thylacine is just a test run, though a very exciting one.

It’s pretty obvious from early on in the novel what the religious nut Hollis Schultz has in mind, but I didn’t mind; it’s great fun, if silly, an easy read for the beach. 

You may need to get this one in ebook if interested, but worth checking out. It’s available in both Kindle and Apple Books.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Guest Post by Hans Kullberg!


The author and his daughter Aviva

Recently, I received an inquiry from Hans Kullberg about promoting his new children’s book written in honour of his late baby daughter. I invited him to tell us about it himself rather than review it, as I think it’s more appropriate in this case. 

I will add links to purchasing sites after the post. 

Take it away, Hans! 

A father’s life is completely changed the moment he holds his child for the very first time.  Fathers receive a new outlook on the fragility of life while he cradles his tiny child in his arms.  Time becomes a precious commodity and the things we thought were important are re-prioritized. A father’s new priorities entail a well-nourished baby, clean diapers and a schedule that accommodates for naptimes. Even though we get less sleep, we are awestruck by the miracle that is life, and we start dreaming about our child’s future: her first words, her first day in kindergarten, her college graduation and watching her grow up into a thriving adult. 

But what happens when that dream ends? What does a father do for his child when the unthinkable happens?  After enduring the catastrophic tragedy of my daughter's death at 10 months of age due to an undiagnosed illness, I held her in my arms and promised that I would share her story with the world.  Losing my precious daughter at such a tender young age has cut short that future I had envisioned for her.  Aviva was full of life, love, laughter and had a contagious personality that lit up the room.  Her story was cut too short.  Knowing that such a force of life was taken from my hands far too soon has been beyond devastating.  However, as a father who still believes in giving his daughter the best possible future, I’ve been motivated to share her life’s story with all the children that never got a chance to meet her with the hope of inspiring others.  

The main orangutan protagonist in the book, Baby Aviva Orangutan Diva, embodies my daughter’s personality and characteristics including courage, joy, charm, fearlessness, teamwork and grace.  Relying on her vivacious spirt, musical melodies and can-do attitude, Aviva the Orangutan Diva’s quest for golden bananas leads her to confront dangerous encounters and overcome obstacles for the benefit of her community.  The uplifting children’s book on jungle animals teaches kids many important lessons including overcoming fears, adapting to new environments, the importance of teamwork and staying true to oneself.  By remaining true to own’s most authentic self and finding strength from within, almost anything in life can be accomplished and anything is possible.

As a heartbroken father and first-time author, my simple goal for the book is to spread my daughter’s joy, charisma, personality and love with all the children she would have met around the world.   Although I can no longer hold her in my arms, I look forward to the day this book brings smiles and joy to children reading it with their parents all over the world.  Perhaps it will even bring fathers closer to their own daughters, knowing nothing should be taken for granted in this life.  Through this, my daughter Aviva will live on, and her legacy will continue.  Even though she's no longer physically here, it is my simple hope that her legacy can have an enduring impact on many others around the world.  As a father who has lived through the unthinkable, my dream for my daughter never ends:  I still believe she can have a positive and impactful future and I’m excited to see how Aviva’s story unfolds.  By turning the page, her story is just beginning. 

Thanks, Hans! 

And here is where you can buy the book.

Amazon Link for Baby Aviva Orangutan Diva:

Barnes & Noble URL: