Three yes! Three Kindle Countdown Deals starting today:
The Persuasive Man is on a countdown on Amazon.co.uk – Finance, intrigue and special powers?
Get them whilst they are hot and cheap!
Three yes! Three Kindle Countdown Deals starting today:
The Persuasive Man is on a countdown on Amazon.co.uk – Finance, intrigue and special powers?
Get them whilst they are hot and cheap!
Not trying to steal Pink Floyd lyrics from the song of the same name and no this is not a comment on the recent planetary discoveries. This is about this very quiet blog. Quiet from me that is after nearly a month without a post. Of course I have done a couple of minor updates to pages. Blink and you would miss them. Updates on pages about books which is, in the end, the purpose of this blog.
Yes despite the politics and commentary I’m trying to sell my books or at least get people interested in reading them. Sorry if that is a shock to anyone that does read the blog.
“How’s that going then?” I hear you
Well, as of 18:30 UK British Summer Time on 7th September 2016, generally OK. Not great but OK if I take the long view. My biggest seller is currently ranked just over 700,000 out of 6 million plus on Amazon USA and 290,000 on Amazon UK. One sale can move me up tens of thousands of places until you hit the lofty heights of the sub 100,000s. Good news today is that I have had an offer to translate one of my books into Portuguese.
I still have sales occasionally, even rarer to get reviews which may or may not hamper or help sales but we are not here to discuss sales or reviews or even lack of blogs. Oh no, we have bigger fish to fry.
The anyone out there was based on some alarming statistics on the actual number of readers as percentages of the population. I was led to this topic by a GoodReads forum discussion. They had USA figures which implied that only 2% of the US population had read a book in the past year. That is still a lot of people but that means 98% had not – a much bigger number. So I have been digging.
According to National Readership Survey 65% of UK adults read some print news on a daily basis rising to 92% on an irregular basis and higher if electronic media is included. According to this news story in The Guardian from 2013, 4 million adults never read a book for pleasure which implies that the UK is far more literature inclined than the US and…
A quarter of the UK’s adult population – more than 12 million people – had picked up a book to read for enjoyment less than twice in the past six months.
Which of course means that 75% of adult population had i.e. 36 million potential readers and the numbers are better for a single book in 12 months. I would presume that this number had not gone down significantly in last 3 years. So I have a massive market to aim at. I should be happy at the potential, I mean even an Apple like 0.0005% (tax Apple allegedly paid on profits in Ireland) would equate to 186 sales – wow I could get to 150,000 or higher on that basis!
Surely there is someone out there that wants to read a book, mine I mean? Is there anybody out there?
I have been posing a question to myself, no one else talks to me so I might as well. Has Human evolution stopped? If you are a creationist or other similar believer please stop reading now.
The general scientific viewpoint is that the evolutionary process as described by Darwin and others is how all lifeforms on planet Earth (and anywhere else) evolved via genetic mutation based on survival of the fittest. To be blunt this means that only the strongest survive. In relatively modern times (given billions of year of Earth’s history) the study of this has had bad implications from Eugenics to the Nazi’s but have we as a species also caused our own problems.
Many of you will be aware of the Darwin Awards which describes anecdotal or sometimes real incidents where Darwin fights back against stupidity of human beings but I would like to widen the discussion into two areas. Health and Safety and Dentistry. The medical arguments would only cause anger and allegations of discrimination whilst missing the point.
An example from the Olympics at the weekend. The leading rider crashed in the women’s race the day after 2 of the leading men’s race riders had done a similar thing. This prompted all and sundry to complain about the safety of the course. No one mentioned that the riders should have ridden slower to ensure they got around the bend(s). Likewise at work we have become accustomed to the H&S rules dictating everything from ladder positioning to what height out seat should be. All of this is taken care of now and policed by a range of rules and legislation. Thus preventing a range of actions that would have killed off sections of the public who seem to have lost the ability to think for themselves. i.e. crossing roads by looking both ways not whilst reading your phone with headphones in/on. Instead build more barriers and post warnings not to do this. So the stupid idiots who lack common sense are maintained in the gene pool to reproduce and create more idiots who will then have to be protected from their own stupidity. Of course if our ancient ancestors had not played with fire we would not have developed the means to use it. Playing with a busy road may not be the best way of progressing the brainpower of our species, although car brake engineering has come on leaps and bounds.
Sexual attraction (and consequent mating) is based on physical attractiveness our use of dentistry to improve looks is now hiding genetic failure. If you genetically have bad teeth a trip to the dentist will help, but your future mate would not know what’s hiding in the genes or jeans. This Dentistry is denying Darwin. Of course dentistry also improves health due to lack of cleaning teeth but thus bad teeth genetically continue. Darwin reversed or blocked. The same is true of course of other medical advances.
Of course the keeping of genetic mutations which might otherwise die out also means that the genetic spectrum is wider thus potentially more scope for greater and more diverse development. Then there is the impact of gene splicing or other genetic manipulation either before birth or via stem cells/medical implant to remove certain diseases or hereditary illnesses.
Who knows perhaps in 10,000 years we will all have perfect teeth at birth and live as long as we want.
I’m a Luddite, a technophobe or just plain old. I don’t get social media. Clearly that is not strictly true. This is social media or part of it, as are Twitter and Facebook. I have accounts at both I just don’t use them. I mean when this blog is published it gets linked to Twitter, Facebook and my Linked-In profile and of course back to my author pages on Goodreads and Amazon. But that is it. If I don’t post I barely use the other means. I do post some limited comments on Goodreads and occasionally re-tweet a like. I have used a small Twitter advert alongside my other woeful attempts at marketing. Other than that the accounts are dormant – I struggle to recall my Facebook log-in
I just don’t fell the need to tell the world what I am doing every minute of every day. I watch the Millennial generation permanently connected and typing text, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc. I have no idea why they do it or feel the need to share their now non-private lives with anyone who cares. They exchange their data with all these companies with barely a thought for what is done with it or where it is or why anyone wants to know. My wife and daughter constantly update and like others’ streams, timelines and whatever the profile details are called.
As the usual technical support for these and other IT issues, I have no idea how to post a photo onto the timeline. Actually, I do but I cannot be bothered. I don’t want to be tagged in a photo. Actually as a so-called IT professional I feel I should know all about these systems and how they work, but frankly I do not care. I am far more concerned with infrastructure, databases, networks, system up time and performance than I am with how to add a comment to a Facebook post..
At work I have email, Intranet, IM and Yammer. Again I struggle to understand why everyone wants to know what I am doing, where I am and what I am working on or even at work, in a meeting or away. Of course my boss wants to know and he does. Normally we meet or I telephone.
Some people think this is reclusive behaviour, guilty as charged. I just like to think that I like my privacy especially away from formal work. This means that I am doing the role of author all wrong. These days I should be posting and twittering continuously in the vague hope that all this activity might lead to someone reading my book or even better buying one.
PC Pro published an article this month (I’m a subscriber to a physical magazine – as I said a Luddite) stating that ‘eBook sales were stagnant and the technology underpinning them was dull.’ It then listed some stats on UK sales from the top five publishers, forgetting about the rest of the world and independent writers in the process. Certainly the biggest e-book retailer seems to be having few problems. Perhaps the premise was wrong
I bring this up not just to comment on the article, I might write to them in a handwritten stamped addressed envelope delivered by Royal Mail. They appear not to have a web site not one the magazine lists anyway – they do. They have email, Twitter and of course Facebook. I have dispensed with a dedicated web site. I still have a name and page but my web site is now this blog. A sign of the times or just the sheer effort needed to keep all these systems going. I’m blogging today when I should be writing. I’m reading Goodreads’ forums rather than reading a book or better yet trying to write one.
We go to restaurants for company and the food to find our companions still telling the world that they are in a restaurant and interacting with people that are not there. Still one thing I would have loved when I was a single dating person (neolithic age I think) is Tinder. I used to hate asking a girl to dance or to buy her a drink, because I was scared of the big No rejection. Now I would just have to swipe. Not that I have. I have just watched how it works. Mrs H need have no concerns. This is not an Ashley Madison confessional.
You see I do know about these things I just don’t use them. They are like a drug and a I saw a news article this week about IT Detox. Yes it was on-line and had hundreds of comments, likes rather missing the point I thought.
Please of course like this, re-tweet it – I’m not that anti.
After waiting 7 years we finally have Sir John Chilcot’s report on the lead up and prosecution of the Iraq War based on the inquiry he lead. For the grieving and wounded I doubt it will bring much closure, whatever that means?
As those of you have been kind enough to read, I too have used the background to the Iraq war for my own scribblings in the Demise Trilogy (available at all good book stores – well Amazon and Lulu anyway) The backdrop to the story is how a conspiracy manipulated data to make the dossiers used to justify the war more compelling. Little did I know that that was close to what the report has unearthed. Of course we already knew much of this. The farcical claim of a 45 minute of WMD attack on the UK was just that. Anyone who looked at weapons capability in Iraq knew this was a joke, in my view a criminal misrepresentation of the capability of weapons. To claim the UK was at risk was so far wide of the mark it beggar’s belief that anyone in Intelligence or Senior Military allowed such rubbish to be proposed in a Parliamentary document. In this respect I would not expect the political leadership to know. They are not experts they depend on advice yes the rubbish was allowed to stand unchallenged.
During a previous life I had the opportunity to be involved in some of the work used to monitor Iraq after the end of the first Iraq war. This was led by UN weapons inspectors and was part of the cease fire agreements put in place after that conflict. Part of my role was to assess Iraq’s weapons capability and to then brief my colleagues on their remaining weapons systems. When the claim came out in 2002/3 as a support for the war I was personally astounded. I was out of the military by then but nevertheless that assessment seemed amazing given the state of their weapons complexes which were bombed every time Saddam threw the Weapons Inspectors out of the country.
At the time of the war I used to state the right war for the wrong reasons. I meant that Saddam had to go because he was in constant breach of the ceasefire obligations and certainly intended to get WMD back, not that he had it right then. He continuously threatened his neighbours vowing revenge. Blair has defended himself by stating that Saddam had to go and he would do it again. That may be true but he did not have to go then nor in that manner and certainly not for that reason. We were already fighting a difficult war in Afghanistan and to redeploy troops to a different theatre was madness and again should have been challenged. Saddam was not going anywhere.
I say back about WMD because he had used chemical weapons against Iran and then against his own Kurdish minority. He had had not used them in the first war simply because he was threatened by the USA of the consequences if he did. Not that that stopped the deployed military being issued with NBC suits and medication in case they were used. During and after the first Iraq war, for the liberation of Kuwait, chemical weapon sites were attacked and stockpiles destroyed. Even after the second war some small residual caches were found left over from the Iran Iraq war which were mostly rusting artillery shells which were unsafe to fire. By the time the second war came around there was virtually nothing left to attack.
The fighting of that war leaves a sour taste due to the tactics employed. Many have concentrated on the failings in equipment and strategy of the British forces and the lack of planning for after the war. It is not the military’s job to plan peace. Their job is to win a war as quickly and effectively as possible. There were major errors in this plan. In particular the destruction of main infrastructure which caused so many problems after the war. For example destroying whole power stations when sub-stations would have created the same effect. Useless destruction of main bridges. The Iraqi military was pitiful, especially after the first Gulf war. Their ability to fight as an Army was so degraded I’m surprised the war lasted as long as it did. The liberating armies became oppressive conquerors and subject to guerilla warfare because the hearts and minds cannot be won when there is no security, no water and no power. From a military assault point of view overwhelming force is the key to win quickly but that is where civilian control comes in.
I have previously commented on the lack of military experience in Government on both sides of the Atlantic and in all political parties. Actually it is not just military experience but experience of anything other than politics.
There were 650 MPs in parliament who had a vote on going to war. The action was approved 412 to 149. As you can see not all MPs voted. Currently, approximately 50 have served in the Armed Forces. As decisions are normally taken primarily in Government and directly supposedly in Cabinet it is interesting to note the Chilcot findings on the lack of wider decision making outside the Prime Minister’s office and the failures of the senior military and Intelligence chiefs. MoD Procurement needs culling – perhaps a few days on the front-line with the equipment they procure would get their priorities right. As for the treasury Brown was far more interested in undermining Blair than he was in ensuring that the UK’s forces had the right equipment, size and funding to carry out
government, Blair/Bush policy.
As I have written on previous blogs, Parliament is sovereign it really is time that our MPS not only served their party but their country. There is no bigger decision then going to war, or not. I would like to think that some of the MPs might actually know what they are arguing about. The evidence suggests they do not and cannot be bothered to find out. After all it is far more important to spend time briefing against your enemies in your own party than planning for real enemies and threats to the country. For evidence look at the Blair/Brown actions also going on at this time. The evidence before the war was out there. The distrust of the dossier was known yet we went to war on a false promise.
The pitiful state of our current armed forces is for another day’s writing except – We have Aircraft Carriers being built with no aircraft. Our contribution to Syria is barely a squadron of planes. Our Royal Navy, once the commander of the seas, has barely enough ships to patrol a harbour. Our response to Putin is to send 500 troops to Eastern Europe two years after the events. We’ve even stopped allowing the Red Arrows to display at our primary Air Show. Let’s hope we never face a real threat. If we did someone else could take seven years to write a report that will change nothing.
I have managed to not blog on the EU Referendum result or the lead up to it for a couple of weeks. I remained undecided until I walked into the voting booth. I was as amazed as anyone else when the result went through. Even more amazed by the reaction of some remain supporters. Yes there were some foolish potentially racist comments posted in the aftermath although I was not aware Polish was a race, nor Muslim.
Accusing leave voters of being racists, Nazis, stupid, working class idiots also does not hold good for democracy either. Scotland’s histrionics just add to the noise. Clearly the SNP does not understand what democracy is. Scotalnd voted to stay in the UK, the UK voted to leave. To claim that the Scottish referendum would have been different if the EU result was known is a great way of re-writing history or wishful thinking. It’s not as if the Conservative Party’s promise to hold an EU referendum was a secret.
Perhaps instead of blaming England the SNP leadership had spent more time in England convincing English voters to Remain the result might have been different; but that’s a lot of votes (1.3m) to change. Isn’t democracy an awful form of government except all the others to misquote Churchill I think. Could someone please give Donald Tursk and Claude Junker a lesson in how democracy really works. Again perhaps if they had spent time trying to persuade the UK how great the EU was rather than trying to scare the living daylihts out of the electorate the rsult might have been different. Same for Merkel, Allande etc.
The argument on young people wanting to remain is also difficult to substantiate. Given information is opinion poll based i.e. a good guess, it appears that 65% of the so called 18-24 year old surveyed could not be bothered to vote. Then again 28% of the electorate did not bother either. Compulsory voting anyone.
Yes I can also calculate that 52% of 72% of the 39.5m voting population of 65m UK (and Gibraltar) total population is not a majority but neither is 48% of the same numbers. The rules were passed in Parliament. Did you campaign for any decision to require 66.6% majority to change or a 75% turnout. Are you aggrieved that a Scottish golf course voted to keep women out because it also had a two-thirds majority rule. Should we have a two thirds for a new referendum on staying in to reverse this advisory decision. How about two thirds for Scotland to leave UK. I don;t mind but don’t try to change the rules afterwards. I personally think that the England football team should be given a two goal head start for every game and only blind players should be allowed in the opposition team. Unfortunately those are not the rules. Perhaps I should approach FIFA to get them changed or cheer Iceland on.
Anyway what is done is done, and that is democracy, however flawed – sorry BBC, parliamentarians and so on – so lets have some facts. Could have done with some of these in the debate.
By the way it was a secret ballot but I will confess to voting out the first and only time I have ever stated who I actually voted for. I am clearly a working class, racist idiot who does not understand anything. I have never voted for Boris as I am not a Londoner or in his constituency, nor can i or could I vote for Crobyn or Cameron as MPs. O could have joined the parties and voted for them but I have better things to do with my life. – like most of the population.
Or maybe I think that the UK Parliament is sovereign for the UK, not 27 other countries who have different legal systems and cultures. I never got to vote to go in, nor did anyone else. I was too young to vote to stay-in, so this was my first ever opportunity to have a say – yours too unless you were over 18 in 1975 . No mainstream political party (ignoring UKIP) has offered this change at a General Election since Labour changed policy at the last referendum (Corbyn has as well despite being an out campaigner for decades).
Is the sun out yet?
My first creative writing outside school work was actually music lyrics. The words were my first artistic adventures and continued for many years. The few poems on this site are really lyrics for various songs that I have written over the years. Music still inspires me and has the power to move me like no other art form. I like to think I have a wide taste in genres from classical (including some opera) through to modern pop, although rap is a real effort whilst appreciating the skill of the lyricist.
I appreciate art, as in painting and sculpture, in the same way but I do not find it moves me in the same way as music, likewise theatre. I did write a short story, Landscape, with art as the background attempting to convey my love of some paintings. Musical theatre does have that impact, whereas opera tends to get lost for me except the odd aria. Probably the language barrier but also the variations in the notes – a complaint I have with much Jazz.
The language barrier (not necessarily the artistic barrier – ignore the Eurovision song contest) of course applies to our European colleagues, the focus of much of the debate in the referendum. There is not just a language barrier but also a cultural and legal one. Many European countries have a legal system based on Roman/Napoleonic basis (France and other codified legal systems) or are federated states (UK has devolved power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not England) as opposed to common law based on precedent with juries. The EU is codified leading I believe to many of the clashes we have seen with the ECJ and the slow but creeping codification of the UK’s laws driven from the EU – a background driver for the sovereignty debate i.e. where UK precedent can be overruled by a codified European Court causing a codified change to UK law.
I remain undecided. I have written before about my concern with population growth. This issue is mixed up with immigration, asylum and the crisis facing the world (not just the EU) The increase in the world’s population is staggering
As is the UK’s from Migration watch but using ONS numbers
The future projections which are based on net migration levels plus the impact of the new population having children must be addressed. Regardless of what happens in the referendum, and associated immigration policy, the increases of the last ten years will have a major impact on schools, housing, healthcare, etc. for generations. More cars, more use of public transport, and it takes years to get infrastructure in place to cope from London airport runways to sewer mains.
I grew up at a time when the net birth rate was thought to be falling below 2, i.e. population decline. This has now reversed and we have added a massive increase in life expectancy which impacts the same things plus pensions but with a disproportionate impact on health and social care.
As with many undecided I am annoyed with the quality and tone of the debate making it very hard to decipher fact from fiction or forecasts or the real risks in either choice.
The In campaigners fail to talk about the impact of ever closer union (yes UK may have an opt out) when EU policy is pursued. Especially the efforts of Eurozone countries to support the currency. We will be outside (we already are) that decision process. i.e. if EU funds are used to support an in-crisis Eurozone country ahead of a non Eurozone country purely to help stabilise the Eurozone and prevent another crisis. I have just returned from Greece – that crisis has not gone away. The impact on the UK and the financial systems is there regardless of membership status. Outside the Eurozone the UK has zero ability to influence policy in or out. The only way we could would be to stay in and join the Euro! That is something that has been ruled out by most euro campaigners, which seems illogical if we really want to be at the table and have a say on the future of the EU.
The Out campaigners fail to address the risk and the economic forecasts, ignoring many supposedly qualified commentators. Albeit, being lectured by American bankers (Merrill Lynch) and other big businesses does not go down well. Of course economic forecasters are well known for their accuracy; from the IMF to the Treasury we can clearly believe everything they say. Growth rates, employment rates, financial products. That is sarcasm by the way, in case anyone thought that I think economic forecasting has a better success rate than weather forecasting beyond the next 24 hours.
The pleas from foreign leaders feel forced and in some cases (USA) hypocritical. Of course the USA wants the UK in the EU. It means there is some check from the UK on various EU proposals on trade, data and competition so that USA interests are protected.
For EU leaders, if you are so desperate for the UK to remain, Mrs Merkel, why did you not offer a better reform package to the UK when Cameron was running around Europe before the referendum was announced? Actually, why haven’t you reformed the EU thus making the changes needed before a referendum was called?
I cannot abstain. I believe in voting, there should be more of it. I just do not know what is the best decision, for me, my family, the generations to come and my country. I do believe that the EU would be a worse institution without the UK in it but would the UK be worse? I do not just mean economically, but worse in a generic sense. Would the UK be a worse place to live or better? If someone can give me a clear answer to that and address the population growth issue (not just the immigration issue) I would be grateful.
Whatever the outcome of the vote, I can still write words and occasionally music. The paintings will remain in the galleries. Life will go on. The world will not stop and the 6.5 billion people who live outside the EU (with or without the UK) will continue to have their lives. The population will continue to increase, and the poor and scared will desperately seek a better life wherever that may be.
Out today on Kindle
The Complete Demise Trilogy
This is a complex thriller based on the lead up to and aftermath of the second Iraq war. A conspiracy to cover up the associated activities of parts of the intelligence services. Now available as a complete trilogy.
An Agent’s Demise
Intelligence analysts and agents have gone missing, some may have been killed. The press and the police suspect there is a serial killer on the loose. John Slater was near the latest victim, he is evasive, appears to have no history, and he might be the killer. The second Iraq war and the intelligence network may link the victims and so The Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch investigates, with the help or hindrance of the Intelligence Agencies. The mistakes made in creating the dossiers used to support going to war are supposed to stay buried on both sides of the Atlantic, but still a killer strikes and is everybody telling the truth?
An Agent’s Rise
The Demise operation was shut down the killer allowed to disappear. But the conspirators have not all been caught and the efforts of MI6 and the CIA to cover up the dirty deeds of the security services only results in more deaths and destruction. Slater returns to tidy up, but how can he reconcile his new life with what he is asked to do?
What happens to Jess and Michael? Will the newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Hooper really allow the suspected killer to go free?
Can the authorities continue to cover up the plot to alter the Iraqi Dossiers on both sides of the Atlantic?
Can the killer stop killing?
An Agent’s Prize
The conspiracy is over, the mistakes and cover up are hidden and buried for good. Both sides of the Atlantic can concentrate on the threats from Islamic Terrorism. That is what they all hope. They want to enlist a hidden black asset in the chase, but there are risks to that approach.
Meanwhile the FBI is still investigating what really happened. Is the conspiracy really over?
Al Qaeda plan new atrocities and MI6 with Homeland Security will try to stop them.
The newlywed Michael Johnson can help but his wife is still recovering from her injuries and she is suspicious of her husband and the authorities. From the streets of San Francisco to the suburban towns of England the terrorists are plotting an outrage.
We are All Miss America
Self-published books: good books, no middleman
Reviews | Interviews | Giveaways | "I'm Mad About Books"
Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.
A cruel, futuristic vision created by science fiction authors James Courtney and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills. ©2013-2016. All Rights Reserved. All writings available through Amazon.
The Ridges of Intertextuallity
The Nucleus of the Universe for all Nerd Hacks!
Home of Anthony Vicino
Books, writing, publishing, promotion and editing
Ramblings of an aspiring author & book blogger
Reflections of a deeper psyche!
The trouble with...
Defending the planet from bad science fiction
A great WordPress.com site
How to appreciate the everyday
Was I born a masochist or did society make me this way? I demand unconditional love and complete freedom. That is why I am terrible.
By Bledel Brook, Young Adult Author